“I’ll tell you what else is dying – common decency, respect, compassion, consideration for others, dignity, honesty, integrity, positive patriotism, credibility, kindness, manners, social norms and mores,” tweeted a former Detective Superintendent of London’s Metropolitan Police Service in response to a news story about a White House official making light of Senator John McCain’s death.
“We must never normalise hatred. Love conquers all,” she added.
A few days later, this same law enforcement official tweeted the following at Julian Assange’s mother, who was expressing concern for her son’s declining health and isolation in an Ecuadorian embassy:
“I don’t know what he’s told his old Mum, but he can leave any time he chooses. Tell him to come on out. Btw, how did you let your baby boy be the smelly kid in class?”
I spent my Mother’s Day lounging around, socializing with family, watching Eurovision and generally being more appreciated than usual. Christine Assange spent it getting vicious lies spouted at her about her son by strangers on the internet.
I’ll tell you what else is dying – common decency, respect, compassion, consideration for others, dignity, honesty, integrity, positive patriotism, credibility, kindness, manners, social norms and mores. We must never normalise hatred. Love conquers all
— Caroline Goode (@CarolinejGoode) May 11, 2018
The retired Detective Superintendent in question is named Caroline Goode. She worked on the Edward Snowden investigation and justified the detention of Glenn Greenwald’s husband David Miranda under the absurd veil of anti-terrorism laws as his electronic belongings were taken by the UK government. She does not actually believe that Christine Assange raised “the smelly kid in class”, and she does not actually believe that he can leave the embassy whenever he wants.
Cognitive dissonance is defined as “the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.” Someone like Goode, for example, probably takes great psychological comfort in the belief that she served for decades in a system that is good and just; it gives her a sense of personal validation. Taking on a contradictory belief, like the belief that that same system has imprisoned a journalist for publishing authentic documents about powerful people, would cause her tremendous psychological discomfort until she abandoned one of the two contradictory beliefs. Saying he’s “free” to leave the embassy is the same as saying he’s “free” to step off a cliff.
Mental stress is an uncomfortable experience for anyone as we all know, so what does someone like Caroline Goode do when they see a set of facts arising which contradict the beliefs that they hold about their government?
They lie to themselves.
Nobody actually believes that Julian Assange can leave the embassy whenever he wants. They know that nobody would choose to spend their life in a tiny embassy room with no phone calls, visitors or internet access unless they had no other choice. If they have done any research at all in the matter, they also know that as soon as Assange sets foot outside the embassy he will be arrested and he will be extradited to the United States, where the Trump administration has prioritized the pursuit of his imprisonment. From there the US government will do its very best to create and exploit loopholes and legally stack the deck against Assange so that he stands no chance at a fair trial, and will likely die in prison.
As we’ve discussed previously, the “Assange can leave the embassy whenever he wants” line is right up there with “Russian troll” as a popular canned response by establishment loyalists on social media, but nobody actually believes it’s true. They just pretend to in order to avoid cognitive dissonance.
You will never encounter so many liberals so deeply, deeply concerned about bail violations as you will when writing positive things about Julian Assange. This stupid nonsensical offense which remains the sole charge against Assange and which he has already served time for many times over gets treated like it’s an actual real concern, one that outweighs any and all others. Jumping bail suddenly becomes more important to focus on than the fact an innocent man is being effectively imprisoned for offending wealthy, powerful western plutocrats who can and do use the courts, governments, police forces, and the media to carry out their vindictive personal vendettas. It’s easier to believe that he’s scared of a little county jail time for jumping bail than to unpeel your eyeballs to the shocking truth that we live in an inverted totalitarian system where you will be persecuted by our overlords for pissing them off as surely as if they wore a crown and called themselves Tzar.
You will find the same cognitive dissonance on the right side of the spectrum with the Qanon crowd. Many of them cannot believe their guy Trump would ever do anything to harm Julian, so their preferred deflection is to say that Julian is not even in the embassy anymore, he’s hanging out in Switzerland or something. Despite the assurances of his lawyer, and a visit from Cassandra Fairbanks only a few days before he had his phone and internet cut off and all visitations refused, many Q people will swear to your face that he’s not in that Embassy. The police still surround the building harassing supporters who attempt to entertain him from the street, the Ecuadorean foreign minister hinted at reneging on his asylum status, and his mum is so worried she bravely entered the Twitter fray recently to voice her distress at her son’s treatment, but none of that evidence makes a whit of difference to a blinkered “Trust The Plan” Qanon cultist.
Why? Because in order to really see what’s going on here, they would have to give up the idea that Trump is fighting the deep state. They would have to accept that Trump is the deep state, “the Storm” is not coming, and mass arrests are not on the horizon. They’d have to have their Obama moment like all the intellectually honest liberals did when they realized that Obama’s words were not tallying with his actions. They’d have to let go of their hero and let go of the hope that he will fix the extraordinarily ominous situation we find ourselves in.
There is so much cognitive dissonance around this one gangly Australian not so much for the things that he has done, but for what his existence means. If our institutions were as trustworthy and just as we pretend they are, there would be no such phenomenon as Julian Assange. His reason for rising to notoriety wouldn’t exist, his publications would be redundant, and his persecution wouldn’t occur. If we really lived in a free and democratic society with a transparent and open government, he would have nothing to leak and no one would care if he did anyway, because our institutions would operate as advertised.
These fairytales we mutter to ourselves in order to keep reality at bay must come to an end. We are not children anymore. The veils of lies and wishful thinking must be torn down and reality must be met on its terms. If you want the world to change, you have to see it for what it is otherwise you are merely impotently shrieking at your own illusory nightmares. Tear down the veils of cognitive dissonance and you will see that not only is Julian Assange living proof that things are not as advertised, but that his liberation is one of the first steps we must take towards our own liberation from the chains we woke up to find ourselves in.
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