The terrorist attacks on 9/11/01 astonished the world. Rather than admit that the plot was well-designed and executed, many people fell back on acceptable assumptions and conceits. I call this behavior “mindsnap”. Another example of this may be found in the way so many analysts address the JFK assassination in 1963. There are, to be plain, a lot of questions which should be considered about that assassination, yet many who believe the government’s original case that Oswald acted alone (1964) refuse to consider evidence which contradicts the claim. On the other hand, many who believe there was a conspiracy to kill JFK, as Congress also concluded in 1978, also refuse to consider evidence which did not fit their own assumptions. The trauma of having to deal with a horrific event causes people to lock out difficult concepts and questions which cannot easily be answered. It is my belief that only be acknowledging the existence of such a behavior, can one begin to correct that bias and approach difficult questions with a fair hope for resolution.
Recognizing this syndrome is helpful in comprehending the behavior of certain groups. Mindsnap is why people afraid of Islamofascism can ignore that the horror or Terrorism is carried out by less than one-tenth of one percent of Muslims. It’s why millions of American Muslims can demand that they be respected without publicly denouncing the murder of innocents in the name of their religion. It’s why people will angrily denounce cartoons rather than stand up for helpless victims of repression, come to that. It’s why people who are determined to believe a conspiracy theory for major events will ignore all the evidence that they embrace an absurd fantasy. It’s why folks can support a leader at one point, then later pretend he is a fraud for maintaining the same position he always did. It’s why so many people feel obliged to refer to an unpopular leader as the “worst in history”. It’s why masses of people can blame the federal government for state and local government blunders, or for acts of Nature. It’s why people can still presume that folks will act a certain way, according to their appearance and genetic background. It’s why people can demand they and their community be respected , even as they show no such respect to anyone not aligned with their political and cultural opinion. It’s why various hatemongers can be not only excused for their venom, but lionized as some kind of hero for even the most vicious lies. It’s why some can claim they “support the troops”, when they do absolutely nothing to back them up in their mission or needs, or to care for their families. It’s why the MSM tosses off a few selected sound bytes which match their perspective and call it “news”. And it’s why rational attempts to discuss issues and reach a consensus are all but doomed before they begin.
So what does the mature mind do when faced with such a massive syndrome affecting the sanity and reason of the species? Well, that’s where you and I come in. The only cure is to sit people down, one by one, show them their false assumptions, challenge them to look at the broader perspective, and hope for a few grey cells to kick in and move the brain to cogency. The bad news is, this is a huge problem and it’s growing fast. The good news is, we’ve seen this before. Those who know History will remember the arrogant assumptions of the Egyptians, the Chinese, the Romans, and all the various monarchies throughout Time. Every time, someone took up the challenge and forced a look at the facts. It’s just that time again.