What's a word for something done for no effect, but makes people feel good about themselves. For instance, in an argument about drug testing welfare recipients, if the facts say it doesn't actually do any good, but taxpayers feel better about having it there regardless, what word would sum that up?
It's a palliative.
- serving to palliate; relieving without curing
n 2. something that palliates ...
Scepticism, if they don't believe what scientific studies have proved.
- an attitude of doubting the truth of something (such as a claim or statement) MW
Hyprocrisy, if they realize drug testing is useless but they want it just the same.
- The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness. TFD