There is an epidemic of a psychological phenomenon called cognitive dissonance in the world today. Everybody is susceptible to the reality of cognitive dissonance in one degree or another, but, to many observers, it seems to be especially prevalent in average Americans today.
Cognitive dissonance refers to the psychological or emotional discomfort felt when one is confronted with new information or a new reality that contradicts one’s deeply held beliefs or belief systems. It seems especially common among people who have been victimized by TV commercials and other methods of brain-washing and propaganda. It is also true of cult membership that is led by a charismatic, deceptive leader or membership in some other authoritarian system, including punitive parenting and religious or political indoctrination.
When there is a confrontation of conflicting and mutually exclusive beliefs, intelligent, open-minded and thoughtful people are usually willing to change their minds by re-evaluating their prior stances, looking carefully and honestly at the new evidence, reassessing the credibility of both positions and then making a decision to adopt or reject the new information, depending on the evidence before them.
Close-minded, distracted, uninformed, ignorant, too-busy, addicted or intensely conservative people may not, for a variety of reasons, have the time, inclination, intelligence or political will to look at new evidence that might run contrary to their ingrained beliefs. Therefore they may unconsciously or reflexively reject the new information, even if the evidence is overwhelmingly and provably true.
Two good examples of avoidance of unwelcome truths (and the fear of cognitive dissonance) about atrocities committed during US wars of aggression are the corporate media’s total blackballing of these taboo subjects: veterans of the Vietnam War and the Afghanistan/Iraq wars coming home to testify about the war crimes they committed overseas. (See http://www.wintersoldier.com/; http://links.org.au/node/3343; and http://www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier)
Of course the threat of being ostracized or accused of being insufficiently patriotic, traitorous or risking one’s job for telling the truth are also huge factors in covering up the Crime of the Century. The hidden message is “what is happening to Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden and what happened to JFK, RFK, MLK and Paul Wellstone might happen to you!” As Daniel Ellsberg, the famous whistle-blowing Pentagon Papers “conspiracy theorist” that leaked the painful truths about the atrocity-producing Vietnam War, said: “I have had the owners of highly-regarded media companies confide in me privately that they don’t believe the government’s version of 9/11 but are scared of discussing it publicly because they don’t want to be tarred-and-feathered for discussing “conspiracy theories”. (See http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25286)
People who freeze, faint, flee or fight when they are confronted with information that contradicts what they thought they knew are often influenced by spokespersons for authoritarian entities that have hidden agendas involving survival, greed and power. Usually such thought-leaders are financed by wealthy elites of the ruling class that have easy access to powerful propaganda machinery. One only has to look at America’s various media empires – owned and operated by excessively wealthy, politically conservative corporations – whose real interests are well hidden.
Holding conflicting ideas simultaneously is difficult or impossible for most people (except for the bribed, the ignorant, the distracted, the semiconscious, the drugged or those with an “I don’t give a damn” attitude). So the natural instinct for most humans is to make a judgment in favor of the old, deeply embedded idea. The tendency to be dismissive of the new information, even to the point of angrily labeling the new idea a “conspiracy theory” and then ridiculing the “conspiracy theorists” who have challenged them with unwelcome facts.
Not to do so may result in having to admit ones errors, which, to many people (especially Western men), can be psychologically intolerable. Another good example of cognitive dissonance and denial are certain religious fundamentalists who, while professing that the bible is inerrant, have to be in denial of the fact that there are numerous internal contradictions and inconsistencies between the Old Testament’s ethical teachings that often justifies homicidal violence and the nonviolent ethics of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount that forbids homicidal violence.
Cognitive dissonance and 9/11 truth
The best recent example of society-wide cognitive dissonance that has placed America on the slippery slope of global conflagration, economic collapse, “Big Brother” surveillance states, endless foreign wars and domestic martial law is what has been happening ever since millions of observant, open-minded patriots saw, and then courageously said something about, what really happened on 9/11/01.
What they saw contradicted what the 24/7 corporate media reportage that was coming out of the Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld/Rove White House and the NeoCons of the Project for the new American Century (google PNAC and 911). The disinformation was obediently echoed – and enforced – by the NSA, the FBI, the CIA, the Pentagon and by members of both political parties who couldn’t admit that they were destined to be part of a major conspiracy that would lead to the evisceration of the Constitution and the deaths of and disruptions to millions of innocent, unarmed men, women and children in the Middle East.
Believe your eyes and not the lies
People who watched the events of 9/11/01 on live television or were actually present in Manhattan saw fireballs erupt near the top of both 110 story twin towers and then burn out rapidly. Most eyewitnesses didn’t see the first plane hit a tower until a day or two later when accidental coverage by some French videographers was shown on US television. President Bush had lied when he said that he had seen the first plane hitting the tower because there was no live TV coverage of that incident.
Many credible eyewitnesses (especially the scores of NYFD firefighters) saw and heard multiple explosions in multiple sites in both towers just before they exploded and were reduced to pyroclastic clouds of fine dust. There is testimonial and video evidence of widespread destruction in the bottom floors of the Twin Towers before the buildings were imploded. See: http://911blogger.com/news/2010-10-06/new-video-911-firefighters-reveal-huge-explosions-towers-collapsed
Sturdy, over-engineered steel girders up to 4 inches thick were nicely sectioned by cutter charges into easily transportable lengths before they hit the ground. Some of those multi-ton steel beam sections had been thrown, at high speed, horizontally, embedding themselves into adjacent buildings up to 600 feet away. Mayor Rudy Giuliani illegally tampered with the crime scene when he ordered the sectioned beams to be hastily shipped overseas as scrap metal to be melted down before they could be examined in the US.
According to the testimony of hundreds of interviewees, some of the explosions originated in the basements of the towers in the minutes before the collapses and after the fireballs had burned out at the top of the towers. One eyewitness who worked in World Trade Center # 7 (later to be demolished by obvious controlled demolition at 5:20 pm – on the direct order of WTC complex owner Larry Silverstein) testified that there were explosions in # 7 before any planes hit the other two towers. That man has since died under suspicious circumstances after giving his dramatic and dissonance-inducing testimony on live TV.
Many physicists, engineers, chemists, architects, jet pilots, demolition experts, scientists, intelligence agents and others (those not co-opted or bribed by special interests) have been exhaustively evaluating the video footage of the collapses of the three towers. They have concluded that the official conspiracy theories were patently false.
Any honest viewer of even a few of the thousands of YouTube videos on the subject of 9/11 will agree with those expert observers. The scientists among them have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all three towers came down at accelerating free-fall speed, meaning that there was nothing structurally intact below the top of the collapsing buildings. Pulverized concrete and suddenly transected steel columns offered no resistance to the falling buildings, a reality that totally destroys the absurd pancake theory that the White House and uninformed others want gullible people to believe.
The twin towers had suddenly disintegrated an hour or so after the fires had extinguished themselves and only black, oxygen-starved smoke from low temperature office fires was coming from the buildings. No plane hit #7 and only a few insignificant, easily controllable office fires (which did not occur because of falling debris, since no windows had been broken on the involved floors) were present in that over-engineered (for sturdiness and safety) high security building. Curiously, WTC 7 contained many offices of powerful entities like the CIA, Mayor Giuliani’s emergency command center and the SEC’s (Security and Exchange Commission) files on Enron and other corrupt corporations that were heading to litigation.
Within hours of the twin towers being explosively pulverized into fine dust, the corporate media was already reporting that culprits had suddenly been identified, accused, convicted and condemned, all without a jury trial. Suddenly there were pictures on every news report of 19 young Saudi Arabian men and the terminally-ill, recent American ally Osama bin Laden (who had already been nicely demonized in the American media). The major media conveniently failed to report later that at least six of these alleged suicide bombers had been found, alive and well, in the Middle East. Go figure.
The “lone assassin” and false flag operations fool most of the people most of the time
It is important to de-mystify the favored “blame it on a deranged lone shooter instead of guilty entities that profit from the killing” explanation (and therefore non-conspiratorial] for assassinations that governments love to trot out when their official pat answers about how the latest progressive leader or journalist or whistleblower had been “offed”.
Recall the “lone assassins” Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray and Sirhan Sirhan who had been fingered as ending the lives and missions of antifascist peace and justice advocates like JFK, MLK and RFK.
There is abundant evidence, always silenced by a total media blackout, that legitimately questions the validity of the official theories of, for example, who killed JFK, MLK and RFK, or Paul Wellstone, for that matter. (See Dr. James Fetzer’s www.assassinationscience.com and http://911caper.com/2011/03/12/paul-wellstone-they-killed-him-a-15-part-documentary/ for much more on these and other critically important issues that can cause cognitive dissonance.)
Devious opinion leaders and disinformation agents like to proclaim simplistic, superficially plausible explanations for complex events, especially when corporate or state interests are at stake. These entities hire cunning communications experts that are geniuses at “explaining/propagandizing” everything with pithy slogans and 20-second sound bites that are articulated by “embedded” journalists and their “news reports” (that are actually propaganda pieces) that most of us patriotic (and very short-attention-span) Americans want to believe. Even incredibly complex situations like American invasions of or attacks against sovereign nations are often only given simplistic explanations whose opposing points of view are rarely given adequate media exposure.
False flag operations are clever, pre-planned propaganda events that governments orchestrate in order for it to justify going to war.
In addition to the obvious false flag operation of 9/11, the Berlin Reichstag Fire, Operation Northwoods and the Gulf of Tonkin episodes (google them) come readily to mind. False flag ops, breathlessly proclaimed and endlessly referred to (and therefore ultimately accepted as truth by most folks), fool many supposedly smart Senators and Representatives, as well as presidents. Of course, one must also wonder how many or our so-called leaders in the fall of 2001 were in on the deception or have since been part of the cover-up (and therefore an accomplice of the crime).
Many citizens simply want to be led by a charismatic leader or an attractive Prime Minister or President, but what happens if these citizens are incapable of using what may be seriously atrophied critical thinking skills? Do they wind up believing what they have been told over and over again by the ruling elites who have control of the White House, the Congress, the Supreme Court and fraudulent investigative committees like the 9/11 Truth [sic] Commission? Indeed that is the case. And what guarantees the success of the elite ruling class’s agenda is their control over what gets published or discussed in the media.
Lone assassin theories and false flag operations are absurdly easy to propagate by endlessly repeating the sound bites and perpetually re-stating lies as truth. 19 brown-skinned, bearded Arabs and a dying, despised Osama bin Laden were easy patsies, just like the patsies Oswald, Ray, Sirhan and the pilots of Wellstone’s fatal plane. (See the documentary “Wellstone: They Killed Him” at http://www.snowshoefilms.com/wellstone.html and the black-balled [in the US] book exonerating James Earl Ray, titled “An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King”. Also learn about the 1999 jury trial convicting Lloyd Jowers and “other unnamed co-conspirators” for MLK’s murder and listen to King family attorney William Pepper on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWS1KPCmOrI (Preview) and at http://www.williampepper.com/).
It is far too easy for the propagandists to convince us busy, distracted, over-entertained Americans to believe their lies, whether repeated by talking heads on Fox News, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, or regurgitated by normal people in the local bars, street corners or pulpits. And it’s hard to speak up when one is likely to be shouted down by a crowd of dis-informed folks whose opinions have been shaped by cunning propagandists who have had control of the megaphone.
Lessons from Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment
The master propagandist, now unconsciously emulated was Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment.
Goebbels had authoritarian control over all of Nazi Germany’s print media, radio broadcasts and the movie industry. If it was broadcast on German radio in the 1930s, it was information that was right-wing, state-sanctioned and pro-Nazi. Dissension was verboten, and no alternative news reporting was allowed. Liberal printing presses were smashed and their editors and journalists were often thrown in prison or concentration camps.
As an example of the many official (and legal) repressive actions, Goebbels was able to suppress the showing of the classic antiwar movie “All Quiet on the Western Front” by, initially, having his obedient brown-shirted, thuggish, traumatized ex-combat vets (from World War I) in the right-wing SA set off stink bombs and released mice in the theaters.
Goebbels subsequently banned the showing of that movie, which, by the way, is likewise frowned upon as being too truthful about the savagery of war by all militarized nations, including our own. Goebbels’ techniques of brain-washing eventually were supplemented by harsh legislation that was enforced by the Gestapo and punished by the People’s Courts (often resulting in the death penalty). Listening to radio broadcasts from the BBC was a capital crime in Nazi Germany.
The three “wise” monkeys
As children we all saw the pictures of the “three wise monkeys” that we were told were supposedly telling us to “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. I thought about that “lesson” a lot as I grew up. There was something profoundly true about the image of the monkeys holding their hands over eyes, ears and mouths, but there was something subtly wrong with the sentiment that was giving children a moral message to stay away from evil.
I now think that the three monkeys were actually conveying to us something entirely different. They could as easily have been conveying this much more sobering message, one of obedience to authority: “Avoid seeing, listening or speaking painful truths”; be good little patriots and mindlessly say the pledge of allegiance to the flag every day.
The Sicilian Mafia, who demanded unconditional obedience to authority, probably saw the image and message that way. That brutal organization actually still uses the symbol of the monkeys as emblematic of their code of conduct and “honor”, which is a code of secrecy similar to the oath of allegiance that many powerful institutions abide by, including such groups as the National Security Agency, the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI, local law enforcement agencies, multinational corporations and many political groups.
The Mafia – as is true of most of the other groups mentioned above – never admits their criminality, immorality or unconstitutional behaviors. The reason that they promote falsehoods or engage in other illegal activities does not involve cognitive dissonance. Rather, they remain silent (pleading the 5th Amendment if they ever get subpoenaed) because they are threatened, are afraid for their lives or livelihood or have been paid off. The rule in many such authoritarian groups is “if you rat on us – you die”. Such “traitors” are cold-shouldered, blackballed, imprisoned or disappeared, which was or will be the fate of all those whistleblowers mentioned above, but their motivation is not the fear of psychological discomfort.
Trying to save the soul of our errant nation by speaking truth to power
Most of the whistleblowers that I know are altruistic patriots who have seen the dark underbelly of their own nations and choose to overcome their cognitive dissonance and courageously speak the painful truth, risking the chance that they will be unfairly labeled “conspiracy theorists” by those that don’t know any better. They are trying to save the souls of their errant, but beloved nations.
The painful truth of the matter is this: contrary to the drumbeat we have heard over and over again about 9/11 for the last 12 years, the Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld/Rove White House Conspiracy Theory about 9/11 is provably false and the proof has been available since 2001. There has been so much evidence disproving it that it is almost laughable that anybody who looks at the evidence and still believes the lies could still defend their beliefs. 9/11 is still regarded as a taboo subject in America and one of the reasons for average citizens remaining ignorant about it is cognitive dissonance, the reluctance to admit to having been fooled by the propaganda machine. The ability to accept the humiliation of being conned into believing a falsehood is not a common trait among Americans.
Many American may not care enough and perhaps are too distracted, too busy or too addicted (to brain-altering drugs, entertainment, video gaming, food, sports, religion, etc) to take the time to do their own research and to double-check the veracity of what has been proven over and over again about the WTC towers: they were demolished by unknown insiders who pre-planted the explosives and not by foreigners. That is both important and tragic, for 9/11 is the Crime and Cover-up of the Century. It is the most serious issue of our day, the cause of massive death, destruction and wars and one that is deciding the increasingly dismal future that may not be able to sustain a healthy living environment for those who are following us.
To continue to ignore the truths uncovered by the multitudes of thoughtful, highly intelligent and courageous prophetic voices world-wide and to continue to believe the absurd official theories when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary is to helplessly go along with the evil agenda of shadowy, exploitative, psychopathic powers that are not your friends; nor are they the friends of your children, your nation or the earth. To continue to be oblivius about the Crime and Cover-up of the Century will be putting our children and their planet in peril.
For more information, please start your research here:
(check out these very informative websites that reveal the truth about 9/11, including Dr James Fetzer’s Scholars for 9/11 Truth at http://911scholars.org/, Richard Gage’s Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth at: http://www.ae911truth.org/ or Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice at www.http://stj911.org/.
Dr. Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic mental health care for the last decade of his career. He has been involved in peace and justice issues for decades and continues to speak out against totalitarianism, fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism and other anti-democratic movements. He is also a member of Medical Professionals for 9/11Truth