The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, May 06, 2022

Effort Justification

The fear associated with the COVID pandemic has begun to wain among many citizens, but there are still those who are barricaded in their homes. The media continues to promulgate scare stories (the latest: long COVID makes you impotent) with little scientific evidence and less context. 

In free states like FL, life returned to near-normal well over 18 months ago, but in blue states, that has begun to occur only recently and in fits and starts. It seems that some blue state leaders wouldn't let go of the autocratic powers conferred by COVID fear-mongering.

John Tierney writes:

More than a century ago, Mark Twain identified two fundamental problems that would prove relevant to the COVID pandemic. “How easy it is to make people believe a lie,” he wrote, “and how hard it is to undo that work again!”

No convincing evidence existed at the pandemic’s start that lockdowns, school closures and mask mandates would protect people against the virus, but it was remarkably easy to make the public believe these policies were “the science.”

Undoing this deception is essential to avoid further hardship and future fiascos, but it will be exceptionally hard to do. The problem is that so many people want to keep believing the falsehood.

Adults meekly surrendered their most basic liberties, cheered on leaders who devastated the economy and imposed two years of cruel and unnecessary deprivations on their children. They don’t want to admit these sacrifices were in vain.

They’re engaging in what social psychologists call “effort justification,” which has been observed in studies of painful initiation rituals for fraternities and other groups. Once people endure the pain, they convince themselves that it must have been worthwhile even when their reward is actually worthless.

If one brief bad experience can transform people’s thinking, imagine the impact of the pandemic’s ceaseless misery. It’s been a two-year-long version of Hell Week, especially in America’s blue states, with Anthony Fauci and Democratic governors playing the role of fraternity presidents humiliating the pledges.

In a just world, the blue "fraternity presidents" who made hundreds of bad and destructive decisions that ruined lives and livelihoods, disrupted the education of our nation's children, and created what can only be called a mental health epidemic would be held to account. But this isn't a just world, and they won't be.