Specifically, this has to do with the theory of cognitive dissonance. This refers to a situation in which there exists a contradiction between a belief and what is found to be reality. Specifically, if a group believes that a military training exercise will lead to a curtailment of civil liberties, confiscation of firearms, and martial law but those dire events don't come to pass, the believers should experience cognitive dissonance. And they will find some way to reduce that dissonance. But how?
Many years ago, social psychologists Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter studied the social processes of a group that believed that the world was coming to an end through a flood on a specific date (December 20, 1955) but they would be carried off by a flying saucer. The date came, and the flood didn't happen..
False alarm, folks! In did not end, either with a bang or a whimper.
Anyway, Festinger had an idea that this would happen; what he was concerned with was how the group took that non-experience afterward. Was it: (a) Gee, it didn't happen, our bad. And feel like a bunch of boobs* afterwards. Or (b) We just got the date wrong; our calculations are a little off.** Or how about (c) Our faith warded off the end of the world. As explained in their book, When Prophecy Fails, they chose to view their efforts and faith as being instrumental in having the God of Earth not cause the flood! Out of this naturalistic study and experimental studies done later, Festinger, Reinken, and Schachter formulated a theory of cognitive dissonance to deal with how people handle this absence of fit between their expectations and what will happen!
Now I'm totally expecting Operation Jade Helm 15 to be a non-newsworthy event. Not like Kim Kardashian's keister! So how are the concerned citizens of Bastrop and other places in Texas going to react to this disappointing non-event? My prediction is that this motely group of loons will decide that their organizing scared the bejeesus out of the U.S. Army and caused it to back off! And that way they can give each other high fives and feel like the cat's pyjamas and hold a victory parade down Bastrop's main street! Someone might even sell t-shirts with the message: "Operation Jade Helm: First Place" or "Texas 1 Army 0, or "I Survived Operation Jade Helm".
Then someone will point out that some earlier training exercises went unnoticed. And they will wonder what dastardly deeds occurred during those earlier operations. Like, what about the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1940?
*Not that kind.
**Like the Millerites in 1844.
|Can that be a threatening slogan?|