Saturday, 5 June 2010

Cognitive Dissonance

When there's an environmental disaster with drilling, the rational response is to look at factors like our dependence on oil, what preventative measures can be used by oil companies, risk factors, etc. But humans are not rational beings, we suffer from what psychologists call cognitive dissonance. When we see evidence that conflicts with our beliefs, we don't discard our beliefs. Rather it makes us more resolute in our beliefs.

Case in point, Sarah "Drill, Baby, Drill" Palin. While most would see off-shore drilling as the problem, not Sarah. "Drill, Baby, Drill" is good for us, it puts jobs in the hands of Americans, makes companies comply to safety standards (We're Number 1!), and because of environmentalists efforts to take drill away from shallow waters where it is safe, disasters like this happen.

Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country’s energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It’s catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it.

We need permission to drill in safer areas, including the uninhabited arctic land of ANWR. It takes just a tiny footprint – equivalent to the size of LA’s airport – to tap America’s rich and plentiful oil and gas up north. ANWR’s drilling footprint is like a postage stamp on a football field.
There you have it folks. Cognitive dissonance in action. "Drill, Baby, Drill" is just fine, it's only because it's being restricted that problems are arising. It reminded me of the economist who blamed regulation on banks for the financial crises because they worked hard to subvert it. Yep, if only the regulation weren't there then there wouldn't have been a problem! Cognitive dissonance in action.

To quote Bill Maher: "Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty."

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