This morning I want to talk a bit about cognitive dissonance. A couple of days ago, I posted a link to this fairly old NBC article:
I first came across that almost exactly two years ago now. At the time I was involved in an online discussion with people I’ve associated with for many months and in some cases many years. One of the participants is a well qualified Cyber Security professional who was working for a major university, securing their systems at the time. I’ll call him Tom. The discussion of whether election devices were online or not came up and I offered the NBC article as evidence that they apparently were in several jurisdictions.
Tom immediately stated that the equipment was not online despite the fact that he’d just been offered a major media article that stated the inverse, He went on to say that the equipment was certified and that this type of equipment would be regularly patched. At the time, I was just beginning to learn that this information is either irrelevant or untrue. In the next few weeks I’ll lay out just why that is so, but for today I want to concentrate on the fact that the individual was given evidence from what most people would consider a reliable source, and in the face of that evidence, without having specific knowledge to the contrary, he disputed the information. Why? It contrasted with his belief system. He believed that his government and others in his industry were taking care of business.
In the previous article that linked to NBC, I referred to the National Election Defense Coalition, a leftist election integrity site. The NEDC website is a pretty good example of cognitive dissonance on it's own. They state repeatedly that there are vulnerabilities in the system, but as soon as people started saying that the vulnerabilities had been exploited in 2020, they started dancing on a tightrope to avoid damaging the preferred narrative.
I personally didn't look into the 2020 election until several days after the election. Slowly, I started looking, reading and examining some stats and I realized that yup, there had been cheating, but even then had no idea of the scale. In the months since, there have been several times that I have been forced to consider fraud and corruption that was of a mind boggling scale. This is not a simple ballot stuffing in the middle of the night operation. It is that, but's also a sophisticated cyber and influence operation on a scale that is unimaginable to most people. In making that statement, people will start to discount what I have to say because they don't want to believe that could be true. I understand. I have sat at this desk stunned, and simply not wanting to believe what the conclusions I was coming too. The scale of this is literally too big to comprehend. Our minds do not want to wrap around evil on this scale. It is easy to reject these ideas. That doesn’t mean that it’s proper to do so.
Strangely, the old fashioned ballot stuffing takes hundreds of people to accomplish - possibly thousands, but the cyber and influence part? They take far fewer people and likely have grater affect.
The conversation with Tom that I described above happened just a short while after the election, but before another significant event that Tom would become deeply involved in. The Solar Winds. hack. I don’t believe that most people understand the scope of the Solar Winds intrusion. This affected most government and large corporation cyber operations to their core. The people that did that, had pretty much unfettered access to EVERYTHING.
In the early days of that disaster, Tom stated that he couldn't say much about it, but it was bad. Real bad. I didn’t ask if it had changed his mind on election issues. He was already having to face ideas that bothered him. He was having to face some facts. That can be a hard thing to do.