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A big mistake to make thinking about #covid19au is to assume that the brains of those in government are on some level fundamentally different to the brain of your uncle on Facebook who posts about how it's no worse than the flu.

They aren't. They're subject to the same errors.
This is with the added impetus of dramatic consequences for their past decisions.

Imagine the cognitive dissonance that needs managing when you've already stuffed up such a massive crisis. Are you going to suddenly be rational? Suddenly reappraise and listen to experts?
Politicians lie to the public all the time, but they lie to themselves first.

Some of their decisions might seem like cynical opportunism but often they're just sincere - and wrong - self-deception.
Morrison's decisions over the last month have already killed people.

He's made many decisions before that that have killed people.

He's not going to deal with that by staring it down the barrel, looking in the mirror and saying "I did that".

Nope, he's going to rationalise it.
Humans aren't rational, we're rationalising.

That's what you're seeing right now: the lies someone tells themselves made public, the inner monologue of self-justification broadcast to an audience.
Think about that uncle. Two weeks ago he was telling everyone who would listen "this is overplayed, it's not worse than the flu!"

Now it's starting to hit home. He's in a risk category. His shares are tanking. But he's publicly committed to that stance: this is not a problem.
It's like the classic example of cognitive dissonance: a person who knows they smoke, and know that smoking will kill them.

If we were rational, we wouldn't smoke. But if that person tries to quit and can't, they feel dissonance between those two cognitions...
So they have to take steps to minimise one or other of those cognitions: "I don't smoke except when I'm drinking" or "my nan smoked and lived to 100".

Or "smoking doesn't cause cancer".
What you're seeing is the same process, management of the dissonance between the messaging that the government has put out; "our borders will save us" and the reality of local transmission within Australia.
That dissonance is being played out at scale. Anyone who followed and believed the government's assurances needs to manage it.

The more serious this gets, the greater the weight of the dissonance.

Some will succumb to reality, but many will rationalise more and more.
Dissonance management tools are & will continue to be:

- focus on symptoms over causes (hoarding as individual moral failing)
- doubling down on prior choices (i.e. race/borders)
- minimisation (make the issue small and the dissonance with it)
- relocation (someone else's fault)
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