Democracy breeds gullibility. Lord Bryce observed in 1921, “State action became less distrusted the more the State itself was seen to be passing under popular control.” The rise of democracy made it much easier for politicians to convince people that government posed no threat, because they automatically controlled its actions. The result is that the brakes on government power become weakest at the exact time that politicians are most dangerous. Blind trust becomes a substitute for informed consent. But mass trust in government compounds the political damage brought about by pervasive ignorance.
The bias in favor of trusting government brings out democracy’s worst tendencies. The normal defenses that people would have against alien authority are undermined by a chorus of politicians and government officials continually reminding people that government is themselves, and they cannot distrust the government without distrusting themselves.
—How Democracy Breeds Political Idiocy, James Bovard
Five defining characteristics of stupidity, it seems to me, are readily apparent.
- First is sheer ignorance: ignorance of critical facts about important events in the news, and ignorance of how our government functions and who’s in charge.
- Second is negligence: the disinclination to seek reliable sources of information about important news events.
- Third is wooden-headedness, as the historian Barbara Tuchman defined it: the inclination to believe what we want to believe, regardless of the facts.
- Fourth is shortsightedness: the support of public policies that are mutually exclusive, or contrary to the country’s long-term interests.
- Fifth, and finally, is a broad category I call bone-headedness, for want of a better word: the susceptibility to meaningless phrases, stereotypes, irrational biases, and simplistic diagnoses and solutions that play on our hopes and
There is enough evidence that one could almost conclude—though admittedly this is a stretch—that we are living in an Age of Ignorance.
How Stupid Are We? (Rick Shenkman)
We live deep in a surreal world of lies, blatant falsehoods and manipulated propaganda. If they serve to enhance our ability to survive with the least amount of anguish and anxiety, most of us would rather remain embraced by the warmth of these lies. Thus, we face again the power of self-delusion as an evolutionary propensity of great force. Better, it would seem, to live the delusional life than to live in fear of a reality that we feel helpless to affect.
Moreover, despite American’s seemingly insatiable appetite for manipulated realities and the opiate of self-delusional myths, the fabric of America is unraveling at an increasing intensity. It cannot last much longer. This is the missing ingredient in common economic forecasting. We are witnessing far more than a decaying, indebted America fighting for a renewed economic vibrancy. We are watching an accelerating collapse of the entire edifice of American civilization.
The process of economic collapse is coexistent in time with our social, ethical and political decay. The search for first cause is irrelevant; the end game is what should be of concern. The solutions for the economic and the political are one. The study of human economics was once called political economy—before it assumed the obnoxiously false mantle of science. It should be again.
Every day that goes by brings us closer to the collapse of our financial markets, held together by monetary leverage and the Möbius strip of delusional wealth creation at the hands of market participants that are paid to play as if it will never end, hoping, no praying to the God’s of Mammon that they can keep the Sisyphean boulder from rolling down on them prior to bonus time! It is after all a game, is it not?
If I told you that there was a 20% chance that your house, the one you lived in, would burn down, you would very likely move out. No matter how much insurance you could take out, this high a degree of risk to you and your family and cherished possessions would clearly warrant such action. If there was a 20% chance that your financial house could burn down, what would you do? If a man in a jail cell was told that there was a 20% chance his jail house could burn down, what could he do? I would expect he would have sleepless nights, show signs of stress and do a lot of pacing in his cell, but he certainly would not risk escape or be able to move out freely. This is the plight of the money manager.
Despite a sense of rising systemic financial risks facing global markets and economies once again, the professional money manager is paid to play–locked in the cell by the mandates of the game he or she has chosen to play, and by their psychological commitment to the rules of the game they will continue to do so until it is too late to act.
What would happen to global equity markets, markets that have long since been reflective of the future realities of the economics that theoretically support the underlying assumptions upon which decisions of ownership are made when everyone awakens to the true market risks? The risk that there is close to a 100% chance all of our houses will, theoretically, burn down?
Of course, some might say well, it depends on the time horizon of such an event, which is a valid argument. What if there was close to 100% chance the financial house will burn to the ground along with most financial assets, but for Gold, and that the time frame is no more than one year to such an event, though it could happen at any time between now and then? Please, please be prepared for what lies ahead will make 2008-2009 look like a walk in the park on a sunny, breezy and cloudless day.
Are you waiting for the next major wave of the global economic collapse to strike? Well, you might want to start paying attention again. Three of the ten largest economies on the planet have already fallen into recession, and there are very serious warning signs coming from several other global economic powerhouses. Things are already so bad that British Prime Minister David Cameron is comparing the current state of affairs to the horrific financial crisis of 2008. In an article for the Guardian that was published on Monday, he delivered the following sobering warning: “Six years on from the financial crash that brought the world to its knees, red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy.” For the leader of the nation with the 6th largest economy in the world to make such a statement is more than a little bit concerning.
Lord of the Flies
Myrmikan Capital, LLC
Dan is an old friend and one of the most astute, studied and erudite monetary analysts i have ever read, let alone had the privilege of knowing. I hope to sometime in the future, that is when I have overcome my serious ADD tendencies to avoid tedious tasks no matter their import, post a number of Dan’s brilliant insights. When one considers, and one must do so, that the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve and architect of much monetary desecration has finally, as if in his final confessional, returned to the truth and the womb from which his economic intellect was birthed, becomes a adamant gold bug it is time to do the same? This is same guy who warned only a few years in advance, while still in control of the monetary fiat currency printing presses, of “irrational exuberance” and he is now rejecting his CFR, as well as his “Illuminati” mantel with a warning all of us of the non-gold asset collapse ahead and we do not listen. That is the true definition of insanity. Einstein would agree, I have no doubts.
If you own no gold, may I be blunt? You are a fool playing with your own and that of your families very survival, very likely not just financial either.
Apparently, if you put a bee and a fly in a jar, point the bottom at a light source, and leave the top open, the bee will never escape. It sees the light and is smart enough to know where it wants to go. It will die trying to get there. The fly, on the other hand, is far stupider. It will bounce around inside the jar, with no clear purpose, and eventually, randomly, escape.