Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a theory about human behavior that was developed by psychologist Louis Festinger in 1957. It refers to a situation where you have two incompatible beliefs or bits of knowledge which cause psychological discomfort. According to Festinger, when this situation occurs people seek to diminish it by changing one belief to bring it into conformity with the other.

So why on a gun blog would we even care about some psychological theory?

What if your Democratic Congressman who is endorsed by the NRA-PVF, who delivered the carve-out on the DISCLOSE bill for the NRA, and spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting finds himself in a tough race for re-election. In an effort to shore up his Democratic base he reaches out to a former President who is roundly despised by gun people and who implemented some of the worst gun control laws in recent memory.



At Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden, NC – 2008


I am speaking about Congressman Heath Shuler and former President Bill Clinton who will share a stage together Thursday in Asheville, North Carolina. Clinton is coming to Asheville to headline a campaign rally for Shuler in an effort to shore up the “base”. According to an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times, Bill Clinton was one of the people who encouraged Shuler to run for Congress in 2006 as well as holding a fund-raiser for him last year. The other person who pushed Shuler to run was Rahm Emanuel. The relationship between Emanuel and Shuler is or was so close that lefty blogger Jane Hamsher referred to Shuler as “Rahm Emanuel’s puppet”.

I realize that politics in western North Carolina suffer from a bit of schizophrenia. I still remember a classmate in graduate school who, in her mind, saw no conflict between being a big Clinton fan and supporting arch-conservative Jesse Helms.

That said, how is one to reconcile Shuler’s pro-gun views with Clinton’s anti-gun behavior? Frankly, I don’t know. All I can figure is that Shuler is determined to stay in Washington longer as a Congressman than he did playing for the Redskins.


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