Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Wed Oct 5 22:46:25 2011
Emergency Dissonance

I wonder how often cognitive dissonance leads people to strange societal positions. Let's imagine someone who has strong family ties but who is a bit off, and like most families, instead of having open acknowledgement and occasional joking around that the person's off (as I think my family does), they just don't talk about it. Let's then imagine this person, in a failure of socialisation, empathy, and self-control, rapes someone, or perhaps attacks them. I imagine that an otherwise-reasonable family might invisibly find their ideas about what is just shift so they can keep seeing the family member as a good person. Blame-the-victim intuitions might just come about not through any reason that comes from consideration of ideas, just family loyalty, and anyone who disagreed with such a consensus might be stifled because in many families certain perspectives are just-not-talked-about.

I wonder how many people would be principled enough not to think this way.

For what it's worth, I think I'm less inclined towards this pattern for three reasons:

I do think it'd be otherwise natural to prefer to take the side of a family member in disputes, even if doing so involves tortured logic. Conquering this natural urge is a positive-but-difficult task.