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June 25, 2007


You mean Norman Podhoretz, right?

It sounds like something right out of the Onion..

The problem of why intelligent believe (or appear to believe) unbelievable things is very interesting. I was glad to read that Buckley, at least, is still clear eyed, there are few thinkers remaining reasonable in the conservative world. The ability to lie to ourselves is why we developed rigorous methods of investigation in the sciences.
There was an interesting article published by Ryan Darwish in 2006 in which he says:
"Self-deception allows one to behave self-interestedly while, at the same time, falsely believing that one's moral principles were upheld."…
“As the story goes, if you drop a frog into boiling water, it will jump out. But if you drop a frog into cold water and gradually heat it up to boiling, it will doze off, remaining in the water until cooked. While further research casts doubt upon the biological accuracy of this account of frog behavior, the metaphor is useful in understanding these research findings.”

RYAN DARWISH (2006) Beyond Compliance and Boiling Frogs. Journal of Financial Planning. February Issue - Article 2. http://www.fpanet.org/journal/articles/2006_Issues/jfp0206-art2.cfm
There is an interesting parallel to this behavior in the research on genocide deniers. This brief summary categorizes the types of deniers, their motivation and tactics. Definitely something to chew on:

Denial by assumed innocence -

Motivation: Maintenance of worldview; Ability to live with hope and trust in society
Tactics: Avoidance; Blocking; Self-deception

Denial by opportunists –

Motivation: Self-interest either personal or collective; Power, careerism, pragmatism, exhibitionism and realpolitik (in this sense: politics imposed by means of physical violence, political extortion or economic suppression)
Tactics: Acquiescence, compliance, acceptance; Conformity, obedience, submission; Failure to confront, resist, challenge

Denials by perpetrators –

Motivations: Hate
Tactics: Outright lies and inventions of fact, false documentation; Language of deception, minimizing or denying portions, revisionism; Rationalizations

ISRAEL W. CHARNY A classification of denials of the Holocaust and other genocides Journal of Genocide Research (2003), 5(1), 11–34

One other parallel examines “Ethical Fading”, but this is already a bit too long.


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