Pop psychology: ACW history on the couch

I'm still wondering about "today's dominant consensus about the war."

"Cognitive egocentrism, as I have tried to make clear, stems from a lack of differentiation between one’s own point of view and the other possible ones..." Jean Piaget, 1962

"... a large number of them have what Kroll (1978) calls a ‘cognitive egocentrism’. That is, they find it difficult to entertain points of view other than the ones they themselves embrace." Alexandros Paraskevas and Eugenia Wickens 2003
Centennial historians and cognitive egocentrism. Hmmm, the path to "dominant consensus" may be paved with innocent intentions after all.

But I hear my grandfather's voice: "Are they innocent or ignorant?" Well, one could be both, I suppose.

Maybe this all starts with Lincoln. Passing from egocentrism to hedonism, "Feinberg quotes a story in which Abraham Lincoln espouses psychological hedonism, then stops his car to rescue some drowning pigs."

Psychological hedonism? Stops his car?

"Lincoln is asked, the story goes, 'where does selfishness come in on this little episode?,' and he responds, 'that was the very essence of selfishness. I should have had no peace of mind all day had I gone on and left that suffering old sow worrying over those pigs. I did it to get peace of mind, don't you see?'"

A method of history writing suggests itself - eliminate the contradictions, the irritations. Get peace of mind. Move "the car" down the road. Practice "psychological hedonism" and get the job done comfortably.

Then, when the corrections roll in, put on your cognitive egocentrism, stop up your ears, and arrange some Pulitzer prizes for yourself and your friends.

Laugh, but we're living a 50-year-old shrink joke.

(Hat tip to The 2nd Draft.)