Cognitive Dissonance occurs when a human being simultaneously holds two contradictory thoughts. George Orwell employed a variant of this in "1984" for his “Doublethink”, in which, he said:
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
Welcome to Orwell’s world, Americans.
A new Axios Poll shows two strange results. The first is that respondents voted the US Government as the “least favorite” company in the nation.
The second is that the respondents think the US government is a company.
As Joe Setyon reports for Reason:
A sample of 6,188 Americans were asked to name the company they believed to have the best reputation and the one with the worst. Then, Axios and Harris took the top 100 ‘most visible’ companies and asked a separate group of 18,228 people to rate them based on a variety of factors.
And ol’ Uncle Sam came up dead last.
Political party identification didn't matter. ‘Republicans ranked the government #95 out of the 100 companies, Democrats ranked it #98, and independents put it dead last…’
Likewise, notes Setyon, age was not a significant differentiating factor.
The U.S. government is the second-least-favorite company among millennials, the least favorite among Generation Xers, and the third-least-favorite among Baby Boomers. The pre–Baby Boom ‘silent generation’ ranked it seventh to last.
The poll also shows that the US Government ranks last for trust and ethics.
Based on the results, Setyon asks a logical question:
With so many people disliking the government, it's fair to wonder how a presidential candidate like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) will be able to appeal to mainstream voters. After all, the socialism that Sanders espouses would mean the government gets more involved in people's lives. But if people already think the government is doing a bad job as it is, why would they vote for more government?
Because there is a difference between disliking “the government” currently in control, and “government” in the abstract.
This distinction is profoundly important. I can’t count the number of conversations I have had with kind-hearted, self-described “anarchist” musicians of the punk world who are actually socialist-collectivists. They don’t want true anarchy (from the Latin, an-archy, or “no ruler”). They want to replace the people who hold the levers with people who will pull them “their way”.
With this kind of mindset, the levers will remain, and, likely, the politicians will create more.
And the fact that respondents actually considered government to be a company is even more alarming.
One realizes with horror and fear that such a vast swath of the population cannot, or will not, distinguish between the force of the state and the voluntary interaction offered by companies.
The US government came in at Number 100, the lowest on the list. Meanwhile, Sears was ranked 97th.
Sears doesn’t force us to buy from them. It doesn’t throw us in jail if we don’t’ hand over cash from our paychecks to its employees. It doesn’t spy on us. It doesn’t throw us in jail for non-violent offenses against it. It has to pay off its debts - or file for bankruptcy.
The US government doesn’t “offer”. It is not a company.
As I have mentioned before to friends, governments don’t have clients or customers, they have citizens, and they don’t have to please them because people are prohibited by statute from withholding their payments.
The revelation that so many people dislike the US government might appear shocking to some folks.
What is more shocking is that in Orwellian America, so few people can recognize that the force of the state is not the voluntary offering of a market participant.
That’s very, very frightening, and very, very dangerous.