You Never Learn What You Don’t Wanna Know
January 6th, confirmation bias, and the fear of being proved wrong
Watching the televised hearing from the Select Committee Investigating January 6th last night rekindled the horror of that infamous day. Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice-Chair Liz Cheney presented a compelling narrative of the events and, more importantly, the long lead-up to how it happened. The story is knit together with eyewitness testimony and indisputable facts—much of it coming from Trump supporters and family members.
Never-before-seen video footage, edited in chronological order, provided a visual timeline of events as the day’s crimes unfolded.
Perhaps you’re familiar with Confirmation Bias. It is the predisposition we all have to pay attention to information that supports and reinforces the views we already hold. Conversely, it causes a person to filter out, ignore, or discount counter-arguments, evidence, or information contrary to their pre-existing beliefs. In some cases, the bias is so strong that nothing can be done to persuade a person to consider another point of view.
The Grateful Dead song Black-Throated Wind says, “You ain’t gonna learn what you don’t wanna know.”
Last night’s hearing reinforced my views. It strengthened my belief in Trump’s guilt and dereliction of duty with new supporting evidence.
But millions of others began and ended the evening with opposite views. Nothing said or seen changed their minds. Not the video evidence, not the sworn testimony of a female police officer who was knocked unconscious and still did her duty. She described the scene as a war zone of hand-to-hand combat as she struggled to keep her footing in the blood and vomit of fellow officers under siege.
It was a “trial by combat” — exactly like that called for earlier by Rudy Giuliani, one of the former president’s disgraced attorneys.
I can’t understand any genuine American not wanting to know the whole truth about that day. I can’t fathom attempts to sweep this event under the rug. How can any American not wanna know?