Have I Got Dissonance? Don’t Ask

March 10, 2010
Posted by Jay Livingston

Want a good explanation or example of cognitive dissonance? Look no further than last night’s Colbert Report.

Stephen didn’t use the phrase “cognitive dissonance,” but he did explain why he opposed allowing gays in the military: he categorically supports the military and categorically condemns homosexuality.

As long as the two are kept separate, no problem. But if the two are allowed to overlap . . .

(Apologies for the fuzziness of the picture. It's a screen grab expanded to match the first picture.)

. . . he’ll either have to support some homosexuals or oppose some of the militray. Cognitive dissonance. Or as Colbert puts it, “Repealing don’t-ask-don’t-tell would threaten the miliatry, and more important, it would threaten my beliefs.”

The entire clip is here. The relevant part begins at about 1:40.

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There is no evidence that allowing gays to serve openly in the military has any negative effects. So Colbert’s rant makes it clear what this is all about. Opposition to repealing DADT isn’t about preserving “the mission”; it’s not about preserving morale or cohesion. It’s about preserving the beliefs.

(An earlier SocioBlog post on cognitive dissonance is here .)

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