Cognitive dissonance is sometimes described as “the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.”

I’m not going to claim I’ve never been in that position, but one legacy of my grandparents is the ongoing quest for something like truth, and testing what I believe – checking my assumptions and what Eric Raymond would refer to as “killing the buddha.” No, change and admitting one was wrong is still not comfortable or easy – any belief you’ve come to through trial and error, especially a major change in outlook, will often be very resistant to further change. Either way, I’ve come to see a fair bit over the decades, and as a hard-core introvert, socially awkward, and too damned smart for my own good had to learn the hard way to deal with people – whom I still talk over far too often.

I’ve also observed a lot of behavior in people. A lot of smart people, a lot of people who think they’re smart.

Which brings me to this – there’s a similar mental conflict when your sense of reality or what you know, and what people tell you you’re seeing, are not matching up. It’s why gaslighting can drive people nuts.  Combine that with my low tolerance for bullshit or deception and getting dipped in a vat of morons, stupid people, and deliberate liars is a painful experience.

Yes, I’m talking about the now-mostly-blown-over week or two at Vox Populi when the alt-retards and Nazi larpers came out to play.

Here’s the issue.

Over the last few years reading the site, there are several things I can safely say about Vox. He’s smart. Damned smart. I regularly lose people without trying and while he’s not scary-I-wouldn’t-trust-him-to-tie-shoelaces lost, his combined intelligence and discipline leave me in the dust. For a few hints on what to look for in smart people, I refer to a posting by Eric Raymond over here.

He’s (self-admittedly, even) arrogant. He can back it up most of the time. Damn near all of the time. He is not a narcissist, at least not a clinical one that I can see. I base this on my experience with several narcissists and near-BPD types – Vox will admit in a heartbeat what he’s done wrong when appropriate, and apologize when he’s done something wrong without shifting the blame to anyone and everyone else. Unlike, say Hillary.

He is not only, from what I’ve seen over time, not insecure, but he is damn near the one person I know who most exemplifies acting in accordance with what he says he will do. It became a damn near running joke during the puppies campaigns , actually, that he’d tell the SFWA puppy-kickers what his plan was, and then do it.

This made reading all the commentary on the gab-issue related posts actively painful. Not simply for the SJW-style bullshit and misdirection, not even for the quite painful levels of utter stupidity, but for the massive, weapons-grade levels of projection and accusations of “insecurity”, and plain old passive-agressive mean-girl games onto Vox.

I’ve seen that kind of bullshit. I’ve seen narcissists and BPD’s at play. I’ve seen every single thing they’re talking about and, going back to the coherence between Vox’s words and actions – that hasn’t been Vox. Ever. Period.

Incidentally, I dearly suspect that’s a part of the reason that Vox harps on the need for coherence of belief, in line with that old saw about not building a house on sand. It’s part of his core personality, and he has, insofar as I can tell, acted in accordance with it over the time I’ve seen him.

And you certainly cannot, in the end, construct anything that lasts on lies.

So yes, it was actively painful to see those accusations. Not because it hurt to hear people say “mean things”  about a cherished “cult leader” – see previous notes about reality testing – but because I knew with near total certitude they weren’t true, and people were swarming around to rewrite reality. Even if Vox hadn’t unveiled their “style guide” of deliberate deception, several things they repeated, especially “everyone is laughing at you/hates you/thinks you guys are cultists” etc. stood out for being so straight out of the cluster-B playbook that if I hadn’t already had to deal with people like that in my life I’d be laughing at how fucking sadly stereotypical they are.

Instead it pissed me off to watch people lie. Knowingly lie. And speak of things they either didn’t understand or because, in their fucking stupidity, thinking that calling us things we disdained, things we knew didn’t apply, would make us sad, or something. Like referring to Vox as a Gamma when we knew damn well what behavior was associated with Gammas.

Ultimately, making claims in direct contravention of what I personally observed, after being reality checked against the outside world.

Pretty much, also, why it is painful to watch liberal commentators on the news, or CNN act like they’re honest after some of the video they’ve butchered to fit a narrative. Or watching Colbert relentlessly bash Trump ignoring context or plain english meanings of things and suck up to people like Hillary, or Hillary abuse the truth.

They may convince some people – they certainly have convinced themselves – but if anything more was needed to convince me that dealing with a bunch of second-rate socialists wasn’t worth it, having them pull the whole Regina George act like a bunch of petty cunts would have done it.

For anyone interested in cluster-B behaviors, specifically Narcissists and BPD’s, it’s worth checking out as a starting point. How to deal with Narcissists by Anonymous Conservative is also a recommended read.