Why Don’t People See?

cliff2)I meet people that still believe that the world is fine. They believe things like:

  • The US government has plenty of money.
  • Government cares for its citizens.
  • The economy cannot crash.
  • We are not in a recession (Depression).
  • The lives of their children will be better than their own.
  • The government can continue to print money to fund promises they cannot afford.

Despite these untenable beliefs, these are not stupid people. Many are professionals who do quite well — doctors, lawyers, dentists, college professors, etc. They are not  zombies, our walking dead, who have no idea about what is happening around them no less  the way things work in an economy, society or the world. It is our educated who should care yet seem to be oblivious to what lies ahead.

The ignorance and/or lack of concern of this group is perplexing and maddening. They are certainly capable of understanding. It is also in their interests to comprehend, as they are the ones who will lose the most. How doe one open their eyes? What can they be shown to arouse them from their ignorance?

Sadly, I don’t have answers to these frustrating questions. It is not that others have not presented the information as much as these people refuse to acknowledge the implications. Are they all too busy? Are they idiot savants who are geniuses in their fields but not very smart away from it? Warnings come from many sources and from many different perspectives, yet they do not seem to penetrate the minds of those most capable of effecting change.

From a self-interest standpoint, this productive group should be the most concerned. After all, they are ground zero for the Socialist schemes that are destroying society. They are the ones that will be crushed in the redistribution dreams of our political class. Will they awaken too late? Or, will many of them just withdraw their productivity by retiring early, emigrating, etc.?

I don’t have answers to these questions, but I do know that this professional class is about to become prey for our predatory State. And, when that happens, they will hurt be but not nearly as much as the rest of us.

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19 Comments

  1. For the life of me I don’t see how the people you describe can be oblivious. You specifically mentioned dentists. I am a dentist who owns and operates a private practice, and I have taken a 50% pay cut since 2007. Most small business owners have been hit as hard. I depend on the middle class , and the middle class is suffering. You say these people do very well, but haven’t they been affected by our economic collapse? If not, why not? Because I surely have been!!

    1. I know the middle class is the one under attack. It’s easy to hear if you can see the signs. Just listen to the speeches of our elected plutocrats, the President in particular. Who are they alleging to help? Who are they trying to protect and ‘looking out for’? That should be a clear warning sign.

  2. this professional class is about to become prey for our predatory State.

    All the doctors I know understand that we are already consumed, there will be no return. The legal profession and the law as currently applied has finished us, but we will laugh last. I eagerly await the death of tort attorneys as they starve while attempting to sue the State- employed Nigerian – educated health care providers. I’m pretty sure the Fed lawyers won’t be rolling over like the current malpractice insurance providers.

  3. I like the topic and it is one that I have been mulling myself. I happen to know lots of lawyers and financial professionals, among other professional types. I agree that many (certainly not all) are ignorant of the forces at work and what they portend.

    For me, it is a two-fold issue. One, the forces at play in the economy are complex. It takes time, effort and an open mind – any one of which or more are lacking in many – to appreciate what is happening. I, for one, am engaged in the process of discovery and learning every day. Two, many are doing well in this environment, especially the two groups I mentioned. If you are doing well, it may be simple human nature to not contemplate that ending. Further, you don’t have to look far to find cheerleaders for the current system (CNBC, Krugman, etc.). People need to unlearn and/or reexamine some ideas that have been with them their entire lives and re-examine fundamental concepts – among them the concept of money. When I talk to people, I start with that concept – distinguishing “money” (especially fiat currency) vs. wealth, and move from there.

  4. Two reasons, I think. This first and most important one by far is hubris. We have educated people who sincerely believe that humans can bend fundamentals like math, chemistry and physics to their will and that there are no systems in nature too complex for us to fully understand. The second is that humans have a very strong instinct for optimism, probably as a survival mechanism.

    1. Joe,

      I readily agree with your second reason, although not so much the first. Anyone with a scientific background should understand the rigidities inherent in math, chemistry and physics principles. Perhaps your first reason is correct for others, but I have acquaintances with strong scientific backgrounds that fail to see the logical and mathematical impossibility of doing what they claim and support.

  5. This is a well-known cognitive bias affecting about 90% of the population. To the 10% not suffering from the affect, or experiencing it in a reduced form, these people appear to have their heads in the sand. Lucky for politicians, an ill-informed 90% will always out vote an enlightened 10%. What I don’t get is the selective uptake of the negative. Liberals will ignore the debt burden on their children, but then scream we need to stop global warming for the sake of the children. Messed up.

  6. I meet people who still believe that life is enjoyable even though there is good evidence that we will all die someday. I keep warning them but they refuse to face the depressing reality and instead they go merrily on their way, pretending that everything is fine. Delusional fools they are!




  7. We have allowed the liberalization of our educational system to remove basic critical thinking as the foundational aspect of our education.

    Oh, people will talk about it, like it’s still there, but ask them how they learned “critical thinking” and they will give you blank stares, as they wish to believe their enormous ‘intellect’ just bestows this trait upon them. And not you, of course.

    What has occurred is that our educational institutions have stopped teaching basic logic in elementary school.

    This instills the foundation of the basic ideas of critical thinking.

    Without it, we have what we have now.

    •∆•
    V-V

    1. Syrin,

      I have no figures. My comments are based purely on anecdotal data. I hope your anecdotal data is more correct than mine, but I think not. I have some very wealthy friends who are convinced things will be just fine. They think the economy is recovering and that the Fed can print as much money necessary to pay government bills. A form of normalcy bias I am sure.

      These people are successful. They are doers, creators and achievers. Some are highly educated, others less so. Some have scientific backgrounds which is the most perplexing. Data and results should matter to them, but it does not.

      If I could point to anything, I suppose I would say that it is a fear of being “out of step” or “politically incorrect” that blocks their willingness to deal with data when it comes to social issues/problems. It is safer to hide behind compassion than it is to defend the “unpopular.”

  8. Firstly, I often tell people, especially students, that when asked an open ended type question the first two words of your answer should be: “It depends …”. Secondly, I would suggest that given that the issue is learning, or at least related to it, it likely boils down to two things: (1) the process of learning itself, and (2) awareness.

    Regarding the process of learning there are at least two keys: (1) motivation, and (2) exactingness. Exactingness relates to the penalty associated with the task, which in this case is the penalty for not grasping reality and what is occurring and ahead (i.e., economically and otherwise). For example, the most exacting job and environment may be a soldier on the front lines. The penalty or exactingness of the task is death. It gets no more exacting than death. On the other side of the spectrum is something like night school where the penalty for a poor result is at worst not passing or a bad grade. Regarding motivation there are two kinds: (1) internal (e.g., self satisfaction or “doing a good job” for the sake of doing a good job), and (2) external (e.g., monetary motivation, i.e., doing it “for the money”). Of course, there are tradeoffs between exactingness and motivation. For example, if you do not care internally about your grade your effort (due largely to your lack of motivation) will be lacking in school. Linking this back to the question at hand, it may be that the perceived exactingness and/or motivation(s) are lacking. For example, take someone like Ben Bernanke, he is rewarded for screwing up monetary policy and hiding inflation, etc. etcetera. Therefore, his motivation is completely lacking for really doing the right thing (i.e., with respect to the economy in general he is more likely to systematically lie, cheat and steal from taxpayers and please the one world cultural Marxist oligarchs on purpose and has little or no external or internal motivation to do otherwise), and exactingness is missing. Also, as mentioned, his exactingness is perverse; and he and his ilk seem to be immune from breaking the law anyways, thus zero or near zero exactingness. Furthermore, many non-insiders like the people you refer to may not even perceive that they are negatively impacted (i.e., their perceived exactingness and/or motivation may be largely absent).

    Which brings me to awareness, that is likely to be crucial for the type of people you lament do not seem to be aware of their own best interest in terms of becoming aware and waking the heck up. In the military there is a term called “situational awareness”. Essentially it is the ability to be aware of multiple threats on the battlefield and the tendency to correctly pick out that threat that most likely lead to your death (there is some ink to, e.g., IQ but not much of a link; which may in part explain why “smart” people don’t get it or won’t get it). Most fighter pilot aces have it in varying degrees; and by the way, it is a real thing that is measureable (especially military pilots are tested for it; and special forces). I suspect that at a minimum the people you mention have low levels of what I would call economic situational awareness and/or motivation. In short, many are not even aware that anything is wrong, or motivation wise do not care. For many, the mainstream media is awash in false propaganda that all is well, “green shoots”, etc. The fog of the 24/7 false propaganda cycle alone is enough to keep economic situational awareness for most people in check. Finally, for some they just are not able to be situationally aware (regardless of the type or awareness). Simply put, just like the fact that very few people can run the 100 yard dash in under say 15 seconds, so too it appears that many cannot comprehend that we are indeed entering a depression (if not already there; e.g., using ShadowStats we have been there for awhile). Thus, some are unwilling to comprehend for simple motivational reasons, while others are unable to because of cognitive/mental limitations which are not necessarily related to things like intelligence (i.e., as measured by most people and not specifically tailored to situational awareness of the economic and social type). So you have unwilling people and/or unable, and regardless of perceived intelligence.

    In terms of what to do, I would suggest targeting motivation and perceived exactingness for those hat can perceive. The key is that some will not understand regardless of approach, method, or the news media’s false propaganda; therefore, we must target those that are capable of being aware. Those people that are capable of being aware at this point must have their perceived exactingness and/or motivations changed in such a way as to wake them up from their slumber. It may require a shock like losing their job and not being able to find another, or it might just be reading this piece. But my guess is that for many it is one on one discussion combined with reinforcement from blogs like this that will set off the mental tripwire that helps a slumbering fool awaken to the horror that is all around them. Unfortunately, given the media fog combined with human cognitive limitations for many you may not be able to save many more until after the proverbial SHTF and those that are still standing snap out of it (i.e., assuming they make it that far).

    1. I think many people are aware that something is wrong. For instance the diner next to my office closed this past week due to lack of patronage (after 10 yrs in business). Several of my patients describe having 3 generations of family living under one roof because young people are having difficulty finding jobs that pay enough to allow them to live independently. They give a variety of theories for the cause e.g. NAFTA, the obstructionist republicans and especially tea party, the robber barons of Wall St., Bush’s tax cut and illegitimate wars, big pharma or oil, etc. Most agree with Obama’s schemes to tax rich individual and corps. Kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and my grandmother used to tell me that Roosevelt “ruined the country”. Having been thoroughly indoctrinated with New Deal revisionism in school, I thought she was batty about this. It only was much later after living for a time in Detroit and observing first hand the failure of such policies that I came to see how right she was.
      The big government media, union, and Democrat party propaganda machine has overwhelmed these people. So it seems that, just as before, the present policies will be doubled down and recovery won’t occur. A very good friend who is now struggling with his public relations business advocates, Krugman-like, increased deficit spending, to whatever it takes to turn things around. When I asked him what kind of federal debt would be unsustainable, he did admit that 50 trillion could be a problem. I don’t think we’ll get that far but if Hillary is the next POTUS, we may give it a try.

      1. Your take on this and data points are interesting and generally supportive of what I’ve encountered. Furthermore, and assuming it was legitimate with respect to the largely predetermined contests that ran before it, one only has to look at the results of the national election to see that most American voters are still susceptible to magical thinking on things like debt. When situationally appropriate, I try really hard to get younger people (and some older ones too) to think critically about thoughts like “the solution to too much debt is more debt”, the solution to too much regulation is more regulation, etc. etcetera. Invariably if I am talking to a group when I look around the room I can see resistance to basic logic and math. Some will even say something like (I’m paraphrasing) “Krugman says so, central bankers say so, politicians say so, … so how can you contradict them?” I will try to change the explanation or go through my argument and logic again, yet it is a losing battle for most (not all, but most). In the end I tell them not to believe me or anyone else for that matter but to work it through for themselves. I shouldn’t be surprised but the “propaganda machine” you mention seems to have overwhelmed so many that tend to be flat out unreachable, or as you mention many may have a gnawing doubts but still stick with the Matrix. My guess is that unlike Monty’s view where he views many to be producers that the system is feeding on, I suspect that many are just implicitly and/or explicitly dependent on government monetarily and/or mentally and that until the credit card is cut they will remain in the Matrix (for wont of a better metaphor). Bottom line, I agree with you that this will continue until it is clear to even fools that the solution to things like too much debt or too much government, for example, is less of it not more (i.e., if we are lucky).

        Incidentally, in say real terms today (i.e., who knows what we’ll see in
        nominal terms), I don’t think we will get to $50 trillion in federal government debt. It may be somewhat trite to say but economic collapse is more of a process than a single event (e.g., unlike war). We have been collapsing economically for some time now and it is just now more obvious; and like the Soviet Union as the divergence between false propaganda and reality grows so will the violence and authority of the regime, and its concomitant brutality to people like us.

        1. I see the same thing. People who should know better have been completely brainwashed into believing in magical thinking. They actually agree with Krugman and Obama that we don’t have a spending problem. Actually, Krugman and Obama think the problem is that we spend too little.

          I don’t think they will ever acknowledge that they were wrong, even after the collapse. They’ll continue to blame it on Iraq war spending and Republican obstructionism. Liberal/Socialist/Communist/Marxist believers will continue to believe that free markets are bad, even after we see yet another failure of the social welfare state. Only this time, the failure will be all of western civilization. It’s too bad, but you can’t fix stupid.

          1. Agreed. The problem is that no matter what happens and why the major media companies will continue to promote the false narrative that capitalism failed, the government gave it its best shot, it’s those racists fault, guns not people kill people, blah, blah, blah ,,, At this point I think it best to just remain adamant in telling the truth and not wavering from that. Yet, it still irks me that people like Krugman and other partisan cultural Marxist hacks of his ilk have the platform they have and can largely state things that even my kids find absurd, and do so relatively unopposed to boot (or at least outside of the Internet, and even a good portion of it at well). I told my sister that if we survive these times and western civilization survives in its prior workable and just form (e.g., as the Founders intended) we might just as well call this period the stupid times. I imagine my son or daughter will be sitting with their son or daughter and the little one will ask: “Daddy/mommy tell me how stupid people were back then, and why again did those people think the solution to a problem was more of the same?”

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