Cognitive Dissonance Also Makes You Stupid: Now NeverTrump Conservatives Are Offended By “1776”

Anti-Trump madness, aka. Trump Derangement, is causing some Republicans and conservatives to support Democrats, progressives and anti-American totalitarians on the rise in their gradual rejection of all traditional American institutions, heroes, symbols and images. On the Left, the reason for the push to kick them into the dustbin of history is a basic dislike of the nation and its values generally: it’s always been racist, sexist, and imperial, you see, essentially bad, so it needs to be torn down. Everything American became unbearable once slavery was strategically accorded a position so deep and low on the cognitive dissonance scale that the United States’ historical connection to it drags literally everything American below the center line.

Here’s Dr. Festinger’s essential scale again:

The idea is that what we associate with something or someone inevitably affects how we feel about them. If, for example, I am positively inclined toward a character on a TV show—let’s say that character has a plus 4 score on my scale—and that character states admiration for someone whom I detest, say Megan Rapinoe (at least a minus 20 in my estimation), that obnoxious opinion would pull the once-admired character well below zero, which indicates neutral regard. Dr. Festinger’s theories argue that Megan would also improve her ranking by being connected to that character.                                     This is a real example, incidentally.

Through historical revisionism, relentless repetition and strategic propaganda by institutions gradually taken over by the American Left, slavery and racism have been strategically lowered on the cultural cognitive dissonance scale to a depth below all else, virtually to minus infinity. Anyone or anything linked to slavery cannot maintain positive regard with anyone who has absorbed this radical version of the scale. Remember, cognitive dissonance works subconsciously, not rationally, which is what makes it so powerful, insidious, and useful to revolutionaries.

Look at what and who the Left reviles today. All of the Founders (those who weren’t slaveholders associated with those who were, so the scale drops them as well), Lincoln, the flag, the National Anthem, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Fourth of July, whites. By extension, the drop in respect and regard extends to everything these produced or stand for, including the Rule of Law (too many blacks are in prison!), and our society, as well as the disciplines and mechanisms that underlie our society and culture. Speaking clear English, mathematics, merit-based achievement, making deadlines, even free speech, equal justice under the law and democracy itself are now in negative territory on the scales of a large and growing group of citizens.

It’s a warped ethics epidemic, a disastrous trend that threatens the nation’s stability, core values and continued success, particularly since so many politicians and elected officials lack the courage, character and dedication to national values to stand up against it.

Conservatives are able to place slavery and racism in perspective by resisting appeals to emotion and not accepting the Left’s manipulative expansion of “racism” to mean any adverse criticism or consequences affecting blacks. Their ability to fight the pernicious infection of the Cognitive Dissonance Scale favored by today’s progressives, however, is being crippled by large contingent operating with an equally distorted scale themselves. On this scale, Donald Trump is the ultimate anchor, pulling anything he touches, supports or admires down.

Another feature of the scale’s operation that comes into play here is this one: if a previously negatively-ranked individual or entity also opposes someone or something deeper in negative territory, then that individual or entity rises in regard on the scale. If progressives hate Trump, then they can’t be so bad. Thus we have seen Trump Deranged conservatives who spent their professional lives opposing the Left’s policies and ideology supporting those policies—after all, if Trump opposes those same policies, then they can’t be so bad. This is how Liz Cheney came to vote for a partisan impeachment lacking any legal or Constitutional validity.

Trump cleverly (and appropriately) launched the “1776 Project” as a direct rebuke of the anti-American (and ahistorical) “1619 Project” that holds that slavery was the origin and heart of the American experiment. If Republicans and conservatives were not perpetually asleep at the proverbial switch, they would have devised the 1776 response—it’s pretty obvious— but they are asleep, and Trump aggressively seeks to protect the core American culture against the anti-American hordes among us. Indeed, this is a large part of his appeal to so many patriotic citizens. “He fights,” as Abraham Lincoln said of General Grant to brush off his Cabinets’ reservations about the hard-drinking, unconventional commander.

Yet here is Amanda Carpenter, conservative writer, speechwriter and Hill staffer now writing for the NeverTrump website, The Bulwark:

And now the founding of the United States is something shameful to celebrate, because it is associated with Donald Trump.

A corollary to the Ethic Alarms motto “Bias makes you stupid” is that anti-Trump bias makes you dangerously stupid. The enemies of this country’s mission, history and culture are playing the Cognitive Dissonance Scale like a Stradivarius. The nation’s defenders had better catch on and catch up, fast.

24 thoughts on “Cognitive Dissonance Also Makes You Stupid: Now NeverTrump Conservatives Are Offended By “1776”

      • I’ve found that when I start talking about social/cultural trends most people’s eyes just glaze over and the don’t wanna get involved in the conversation. It drives me a bit nuts too.

        I think the cognitive dissonance is an underlying driving factor in the social and cultural shift that’s happening right now, and I think you’ve described it quite well with your explanation of how the cognitive dissonance scale works. Many people have lost the ability to think critically and this is a big part of why.

      • It’s a great description of the problem. Ethics Alarms is a major source of news for me, too.

        If it’s discussion you want, I could chime in with some solutions. Those don’t tend to get much of a response here, though, so lately I’ve been concentrating my efforts elsewhere.

        To counteract cognitive dissonance and remove the effects of a person’s reputation on the reputation of an idea, I tend to favor the “Small minds discuss people; average minds discuss events; great minds discuss ideas” approach.” Actually, all of those things are important, but it tends to work best to start from ideas, then use our conclusions about ideas to discuss events, then use our conclusions about events to discuss people. If a person’s a racist, that’s bad, but it doesn’t mean literally everything else they think is bad, so let’s forget arguing about who is racist and look at the ideas. Then we can work our way back to the people.

        In other words, I’d have people forget about the people they admire or detest and just look at ideas on their own merits, starting with basic human hopes and fears and looking at how ideas might play into those. It’ll be tough, but it’ll be much more rewarding than having to put up with people arguing about points that are entirely tangential to policy discussions.

        I’m giving classes now, so anyone who wants to be part of the first wave can get free lessons and help with curriculum design through feedback.

        • EC wrote, “I’d have people forget about the people they admire or detest and just look at ideas on their own merits, starting with basic human hopes and fears and looking at how ideas might play into those.”

          Exactly how would you do that when these are very deeply held beliefs, they’re almost religious or cultish in nature. I’ve had friends state outright to me that they will never believe that Trump is not a racist” and when you challenge their statement because it lacks supporting facts and present facts that show that Trump is not a racist you become the pariah and are cast out in the wild for like-minded wolves to devour. It’s like trying to convince people that believe in God that there is no God.

          How would you apply what you’ve written to the world around you in an effort to convince those that are exhibiting hive-minded thinking and cultish behaviors, these people have very serious psychological problems getting beyond their cognitive dissonance. If I’m understanding what you’ve written, it’s counter to hive-minded thinking and cultish behaviors; don’t you have to effectively deprogram cult programming before you can get them to start thinking critically again?

          What’s happening is a fundamental cultural shift that being promoted by propaganda, it’s heading towards totalitarianism, it’s cultish hive-minded behavior in its purest form and it’s dangerous.

          What’s your plan on a social and/or cultural scale to mass “deprogram” cult thinking?

          • Step 1. Understand one’s own values
            Step 2: Understand others’ values
            Step 3: Frame the situation constructively

            Speaking for myself, I don’t care that much what people think about Donald Trump. There’s enough different flavors of racism and “racism” that I don’t put much stock in the labels unless people properly define what they themselves mean when they use the word. Racist is as racist does, after all. I just want people to have constructive conversations about policy. Once we can agree on a policy approach, then we can argue about how much we would trust Donald Trump to implement that approach, and how we might hold him accountable.

            To set up a productive policy discussion, I’d start by suspending judgment and learning as much as possible about people’s values, their hopes and fears, the reasons why they’re willing to bet a lot on the idea that Trump is a racist and everything he does is bad. They’re definitely afraid that bad things will happen if they don’t act as if those things are true. Learning what they’re afraid of is an essential process. It can be tricky when they’re not honest with themselves about what they fear, but with a toolbox of foundational concepts it’s easier to identify fears, because there aren’t that many sorts of fears a person can have.

            I would then demonstrate to people that I understand their fears as they understand them, and reassure the people that I don’t want their fears to come true either. I would then work with them to brainstorm approaches that address their fears while also not causing problems for other people.

            Most of the time the cultish behavior happens because people latch onto a particular approach, lacking the wherewithal to seek other possibilities. Because they think it’s the only way, they rationalize to themselves that nobody else is hurt, or those who are hurt deserve it. They stand their ground because they know nowhere else to go.

            Instead of starting by trying to convince people that what they’re doing is wrong, I find it’s easier to show them other options that might satisfy them without making enemies of other people. That leaves them a line of retreat, which makes them feel safe enough to allow themselves to doubt their current position. They can question and reevaluate their opinions when those opinions aren’t the only thing they have to hold onto.

            In other words, I don’t try to destroy people’s worldviews without first showing that I can offer viable alternatives. Does that make sense?

            • EC wrote, “I don’t try to destroy people’s worldviews without first showing that I can offer viable alternatives.”

              Good luck with that approach. I’ve found that any kind of reasonable approach, like you propose, that essentially panders to their “feelings” will not work with unreasonable cultish hive-minded people. Sometimes you simply have to ring their bell LOUDLY to get them to hear anything you say and for some it might only takes a pebble to cause a ripple. The problem is that cultish hive-minded people have brainwashed ad hominem ideological dikes the size of Mt. Everest built into their programming to intentionally stop ripples from becoming waves that destroy their hive-mindedness. The only way to make a rapid and serious ideological dent in this kind of cultish behavior is to isolate and deprogram and that starts with completely crumbling the foundation of the cult and then everything else crumbles along with it.

              Effective deprogramming on a society and cultural scale must be done the same way they brainwashed them into this cultish behavior, apply social and cultural pressure slowly via a fact based propaganda bombardment from an ethical media and education that starts at a young age. The problem is that we no longer have an ethical media and system of education and we don’t have the kind of time required to complete the campaign because the climb to the top of their totalitarian peak has already been completed, our society and culture has already shifted and now it’s just a steady slide into a totalitarian abyss.

              Please, anyone, convince me that I’m wrong. Seriously, I want to be wrong on this, convince me.

              • The power to control people’s social environments would make it easier to change their minds, certainly, but it’s not necessary to start out with that power.

                All we need to do first is to find the early adopters who are interested in constructive approaches, and equip them to create a shared vision. As they work together towards that vision, it becomes a movement. The more support it has, the more people it influences, and the more support it gains. It’s a virtuous circle. Eventually the hard cases and the holdouts won’t be numerous enough to enforce their destructive preferences on others.

                We have seen that movements can grow and consume entire countries, so that part already has proof of concept. The only new question here is whether the movement can become sufficiently popular while maintaining enough nuance to not warp the culture into something extreme.

                That’s where Visionary Vocabularies comes in. The VV toolbox of basic concepts helps people express as simply as possible what matters most. That reduces the amount of time and effort it takes for people to understand each other’s priorities, define problems, brainstorm constructive solutions, and implement those solutions effectively and accountably.

                The toolbox makes it easier to evaluate policies, not as points on a spectrum where “balance” is subjective and largely arbitrary, but in terms of why and how we expect them to make the situation more for people over time. It allows people to understand each other and express constructive ideas in ways that are easy to understand. It allows people to bypass distracting nonsense and start looking at core issues and effective ways of handling them. The only thing humans have really been missing all this time was a solid place to start.

                I installed a new self-image last week, since my old one was falling apart, so now I’m able to handle ramping things up so we can get all this done. It doesn’t take a full commitment; right now I’m designing a modular curriculum to get people set up with some basic concepts. It’s in alpha testing right now. You interested, or you know someone who might be?

                • EC wrote, “All we need to do first is to find the early adopters who are interested in constructive approaches, and equip them to create a shared vision.”

                  Forgive me but I feel like I just stepped into an episode of the twilight zone. It’s really clear that we are not talking about the same people or we’re talking past each other.

                  I’m talking about the cultish hive-minded totalitarians that have ZERO interest in constructive approaches, they are already working work together towards a vision and that vision is a totalitarian society where your opinion is outlawed if it differs from the hive min. These cultish totalitarians don’t discuss or debate, period. Their critical thinking is limited to four points; 1) their hive mind is right, 2) everyone else is wrong, 3) wrong is evil and 4) evil should be destroyed.

                  I’ve heard you talk about this allusive toolbox before. Who is it that you “expect” to sit down to a discussion table with you and discuss these core beliefs in a civil manner, these cultish totalitarians aren’t going to do that so who the heck are you talking about?

                  Seriously, have I missed something?

                  • Hi Steve, sorry for the delayed response.

                    The reason that people behave like as cultish totalitarians is because they are afraid. They fear that if they allow people to say things that they disagree with, then people will be persuaded to do harmful things.

                    It is tricky to get them to feel safe considering other viewpoints, because they and those manipulating them have put psychological measures in place to prevent ordinary communication from influencing them to rethink their perspectives. This is dogma, the tradeoff incurred by overregulating stagnation. It blinkers people.

                    Therefore, we must apply augmented communication. By that, I mean combining the mindset of communication (which deals with interactions), with the three other axial mindsets: perception (which deals with ideas), facilitation (which deals with paths), and action (which deals with effort).

                    Combining communication with perception yields education mindset, which deals with paradigms. In this situation, education mindset will enable us to get inside people’s heads, figure out what they fear, and identify the concepts and sources of meaning that can help them feel safe. Education mindset also helps us be aggressively reasonable, so that a fanatic is drawn into explaining their beliefs and in the process ends up taking a closer look at them than they ever had before.

                    Combining communication with facilitation yields presentation mindset, which deals with ambiguity. In this situation, presentation mindset will enable us to counteract the distorted interpretations that are pushed on people, and undermine the reputations of the perpetrators while taking precautions against the worst scenarios for having our images twisted to serve someone else’s agenda.

                    Combining communication with action yields connection mindset, which deals with relationships. In this situation, connection mindset will enable us to figure out who is most receptive to constructive ideas, and to negotiate and build rapport with them. Those people will be the early adopters, and they will put peer pressure on those around them to abandon destructive ideas and embrace constructive ones. Those other people will put peer pressure on those around them, et cetera, gradually draining away all support for the fanatics who are least likely to change. Then we as a society are free to keep an eye on them and continue to reach out to them while demonstrating how much we can accomplish when we put our constructive ideas to use.

                    There are plenty of people who are reasonable and amenable to constructive political ideas. Many of them just aren’t involved enough with politics to participate in online forums and comment sections. All they need is something constructive to stand for, and the words to define and express it.

                    Does that make more sense?

                    • EC wrote, “Combining communication with perception yields education mindset, which deals with paradigms. In this situation, education mindset will enable us to get inside people’s heads, figure out what they fear, and identify the concepts and sources of meaning that can help them feel safe. Education mindset also helps us be aggressively reasonable, so that a fanatic is drawn into explaining their beliefs and in the process ends up taking a closer look at them than they ever had before.”

                      I think your overall approach works great in clinical or relatively isolated and controlled environments but it’s not going to work as a society wide approach to stop the sociocultural shift and change opinions. You can’t take this kind of clinical approach when those that are promoting the totalitarian view points are constantly hammering society and culture with wave after wave of pure hive-minded propaganda, you might a few to change their ways but not on the scale that is needed and we’re running out of time.

                      Remember Obama’s words calling “progressive” activists to action during his Presidential campaign in 2008, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”, well here we have it, the Democratic Party is fundamentally changing the culture in the USA and turning it into a totalitarian nation. The Republican Party needs to effectively counter this irrational cultural shift that’s clearly shifting away from the constitution and the status quo that’s made the USA the great country that it is and towards the abyss of totalitarianism.

                      A few years ago I stated somewhere online that I think there’s a very good chance that there are socialist minded professional psychologists and psychiatrists involved behind the scenes helping in some way to focus and direct the anti-American propaganda that we’ve been seeing in the 21st century. At this point in the current massive sociocultural shift I think a massive campaign of counterpropaganda is probably the only possible course to stop and/or reverse this shift that doesn’t involve direct and physical confrontation. The only way that a massive campaign of counterpropaganda like this can take place is for Conservatives across the USA to band together under one common goal and fund it with nearly limitless dollars like the “progressives” have been doing for nearly 20 years; unfortunately, conservatives are so busy putting out local fires that need to be put out that they are not thinking nationally; this is where the political right needs massive and effective leadership. Where do we get that effective leadership from, I really don’t know right now but what I do know is that Trump is not the man for the job unless he can be effectively “forced” to put his narcissism aside, keep his damn loose cannon mouth shut, follow the script that achieves the goal of reversing the cultural shift and simply do the damn job that needs to be done.

                    • It sounds like we’re looking for a constructive vision people can stand for, so they can unite and push back against short-sighted and selfish policy. Does that sound about right?

                      It’ll take a bit more than counterpropaganda, though that will help. Actions speak louder than words. People are told to fear each other, but demonstrating a willingness to help in a way that they understand will be most effective at getting them to reconsider that fear and at building trust in its place.

                      The Conservatives will find the leaders you deserve by recognizing and respecting people who stand for constructive policy, policy based on listening to everyone and reconciling their needs with creative approaches. Propaganda works against you because the ideas you subscribe to aren’t sufficiently serving people’s basic needs. Conservatives need to become more than what they currently are.

                      That change is tricky, because conservatism is based on rejecting the risks that come with changing paradigms, just like progressivism is based on accepting those risks. The problem is that not only are both of these philosophies traps, but the entire spectrum they’re on is a trap. There is no magic balance in between conservatism and progressivism. There’s just the constructive virtues that let you deal with the paths you take.

                      That’s where I come in. With the right vocabulary, it doesn’t take decades of hard lessons for people to recognize and share good ideas. And good ideas are already out there, so it’s not necessary that everyone develop the ability to discover them from scratch.

                      I think a majority of regular Conservative folks are willing to try out constructive ideas, at least on a small scale to start. They just need to hold their elected officials accountable for being competent leaders. It’s not hard to find better ideas than what Progressives push, once you know what to look for. When Progressives see that Conservatives can stand up for them better than their own political class, they’ll lend their strength to your side instead.

                      Except there won’t be Conservative and Progressives sides anymore. There will just be the people, and the elites who no longer have audiences to pander to.

                      What do you think?

                    • EC wrote, “When Progressives see that Conservatives can stand up for them better than their own political class, they’ll lend their strength to your side instead.”

                      In all seriousness; did you really just write that?

                      Let me reiterate, I feel like I just stepped into an episode of the twilight zone. Is this some kind of gaslighting?

                      It’s really clear to me that you haven’t been talking to the modern day “progressive” cult that’s pushing the United States away from the Constitution and Liberty and directly towards the abyss of totalitarianism. I think your grasping.

                      If I’ve somehow misunderstood your intent then it must be out of my wheel house to understand and I’ve got enough integrity to say it.

                    • I’ve been talking to regular people, people I consider intelligent, who support the Democrats. They trust the Democrats because the Democrats know how to signal caring about their issues, at least better than the Republicans ever bother to do. They fear the Republicans because the worst examples of Republicans are the loudest and are signal-boosted by the Democrats, just as you are shown the worst examples of Democrats because they are the loudest and are signal-boosted by the Republicans.

                      The Left is not full of cultists any more than the Right is. I suspect you just haven’t been hanging out with ordinary people who happen to be Left. I can introduce you to some around here, if you like.

                      There’s also Beau of the Fifth Colum, a perceptive man in rural Florida who breaks down progressive points of view on YouTube. I don’t agree with him about everything, but he’s quite reasonable and definitely not dogmatic.

                      Then of course we have Braver Angels, an organization working to build understanding and trust between people of different political ideologies. The first step in that direction is meeting people from across the aisle and realizing that they’re not brainwashed, that that’s not the reason they support the policies and politicians they do.

                      There’s a gradient of public opinion here. Most people are closer to the “middle” than to either extreme. The extremes are playing tug of war because the moderates don’t have anything to unify them. They don’t have a shared vision. They don’t know how to negotiate and implement creative solutions that obviate zero-sum tradeoffs.

                      If we give them those things, we allow them to collaborate on constructive goals. We unlock all that collective potential. Over time, the people closer to the extremes see that this way is much more effective than what they had in mind.

                      If that doesn’t match your assumptions about how political opinion works, then I’m confused as to what you think is happening instead. Do you think that half the country is brainwashed zealots, and the solution is to have the other half–whom they have been taught to resent–all rebuke them at the same time so they’ll thoughtfully reflect on their folly?

        • A constant Cognitive Dissonance problem of long-standing. Should we really only evaluate the message and ignore the credibility and character of the messenger? Bill Cosby lectured the black community about elevating their moral and ethical compass, creating strong role models for the young, not breaking laws, and holding themselves to a high standard of conduct. All the while, he was a serial rapist. Is it reasonable or even possible to ignore that when evaluating his advice?

          • There’s a reason we have a Well-Poisoning Fallacy, also known as “don’t shoot the message”. If you forget for a minute who made a statement, does the statement stand on its own? Does it help you accurately predict reality? Does it help you accomplish what you intend? Does it meet ethical standards? If it does, then it doesn’t matter how evil or stupid the original source otherwise was. Stopped clocks are right twice a day and all that.

            I have a hard time wrapping my head around Cosby’s actions, due to the sheer amount of disintegrity it would take to play the wholesome, moral icon while regularly engaging in despicable acts. Either he didn’t believe a word of what he said about character and standards, or he believed it but he felt he was entitled to make exceptions for himself. Either way, that’s a scary level of sociopathy.

            Regardless, that should have no impact on a person’s decision to learn from the role model that Cosby pretended to be. If humanity can’t learn from people who have done harmful things, if we assume that a person’s bad deeds mean that 100% of the things that person did are bad and all their thoughts were evil, then humanity will never learn anything.

      • Would you be ok if I shared it on Truth Social? I share many of your blogs with family & friends (via text, over the phone, reading aloud, etc.), but since I left Twitter & Facebook two years ago, TS is the only access I have to social media.

  1. I think a big part of this problem is that people’s understanding of slavery is completely lacking in nuance. Their understanding is completely abstract.

    The only thing people seem to understand is the profound evil of chattel slavery. Take that as a given. It is fundamentally wrong to own people.

    And, I find it hard to understand how one could own a person the same way one owns a pet. I have pets; I also have children; owning a full-fledged adult is something that is hard to understand.

    But, I have also read hundreds of different slave narratives. Doing that will place one in the difficult position of having to admit that the fundamental evil of slavery tells you only the simplest truth about slavery.

    The institution of slavery was as complex as the variety of people involved in the system.

    Slavery was not just a system to “civilize” an “inferior” race.

    It was also “chattel” slavery. Slavery was an investment. Slaves were treated like other “work animals.” You can’t simply abuse them. Slaveholders had incentives to feed, clothe and care for slaves, just as they would care for the animals that plowed the field.

    It was also an investment for breeding. In this regard, the institution covered the spectrum. Some owners cared nothing for familial ties between slaves. Other owners did, opting not to break up families, if possible, and allowing couples to be “married.” Other times, breeding was involuntary.

    And, industry by slaves was usually permitted. Slaves could be permitted to have their own gardens and grow their own food. While this fact may seem innocuous or negligible, I have not seen a single account of oxen being permitted to plow their own fields in their free time. What this tells me is that, as dehumanizing as slavery was (perhaps for both the slave and the slaveholder), the humanity of the slaves could not be completely denied.

    And, reading many of the accounts from slaves alive at the close of the Civil War, it seems obvious that, in some cases, living with people for long periods of time creates an affection between people. Despite the fundamental dehumanization involved in slavery, many slaves retained an affection for their owners and many owners maintained an affection for their slaves.

    Of course thinking these thoughts are quite difficult if your sole purpose is to frame all thoughts of slavery within the confines of the thought: “slavery is evil.”

    However, if that is your goal, you don’t really have to think about the reality experienced by real people.

    You don’t have to think; so most people don’t. The fundamental advantage of this is that you don’t have to admit that, behind the fundamental truth that slavery was evil, the “lived experience” (probably the first time I have ever typed that hackneyed phrase) of the slaves and owners was hardly as black and white as we would like it to be.


    • Jut
      I am so pleased that someone else has stated what needs to be said about the issue of slavery.

      The logic that slaves were routinely physically abused never made sense. Why would anyone invest so much money on productive resources only to render that resource incapable of production from time to time. No doubt runaways were dealt with harshly with physical punishment and families broken up when an owner sold or traded them for a different type of labor. But corporeal punishment was routine in the 17th and 18th century in all parts of society, especially in the maritime industry. Flogging was often the go to punishment of sailors who broke rules.
      With respect to the issue of cognitive dissonance EC’s ideas could work with honest people but when economic interests are tied to affinity relationships people will cling to the favored narrative that will allow them to live their lives with little personal cost.

      • “In 1855, Frederic Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who designed New York’s Central Park, was in Alabama on a pleasure trip and saw bales of cotton being thrown from a considerable height into a cargo ship’s hold. The men tossing the bales somewhat recklessly into the hold were Negroes, the men in the hold were Irish. Olmsted inquired about this to a shipworker.

        “ ‘Oh,’ said the worker, ‘the niggers are worth too much to be risked here; if the Paddies are knocked overboard or get their backs broke, nobody loses anything.’ ”

      • Aye, that’s where negotiation comes in. The deconstruction method is 1) make them comfortable, 2) make them think, and 3) make them choose. Well, one of the things you can make people think about is how you intend to respond to the choice they make. You can add carrots and sticks depending on what works best. If people find the status quo lets them live their lives with little personal cost, you can advise that you intend to do something which will disrupt that status quo. On the other hand, if they choose to take the more ethical but more challenging road, you can offer to help with that. This is one of those situations where people get the opportunity to show what good politics is truly capable of.

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