Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

They’ll Believe Anything

May 12th, 2021 No comments


What is it about humans that makes them so susceptible to things that not only defy logic, but also at odds with the reality of their own experience and observations?  It’s as if there is a built in need to believe in things that are strange rather than filtering them out through reasoning and hard logic.  Perhaps it’s a built in survival mechanism so that humans can offload shortcomings in their own lives onto the vicissitudes of the unknown.  We can observe this by the continuing popularity of Tarot card readers, Ouija boards and astrologers.

Humans have the innate need to constantly get information about everything.  This is different from other animals that process information for basic existential purposes. The desire for information among humans extends to not just receiving information, but also to pass it on to others.  One could argue that this passing along of information perpetuates the species and thus is a survival mechanism.

This passing on of information is institutionalized by systems of education present in all societies.  Until recently, the font of knowledge and enlightenment was controlled by anointed groups, such as church elders, scholars and academics. These people were the authority on the validity of every topic and issue.  This arguably worked well, as long as these experts knew what they were talking about, or at least were assumed to know.

Which brings us to modern times in which the font of knowledge is no longer controlled by any wise group of sage savants.  Instead, with the opening of the doors to information to anyone who wants it, people can now make up their own minds as to what constitutes knowledge….at least in theory.

In fact, the pursuit of knowledge and information is still controlled by a select group of people, because people (on the whole) are naturally lazy. They prefer to have someone tell them what reality is rather than figure it out for themselves.  Ironically, this is a by-product of many education systems in which students are required to agree to a body of knowledge presented to them or risk not attaining the coveted diploma as proof that they did.

Once free from their formal education, people are then subject to the ‘news’ that emanates from the general media and thus the media becomes their new font of wisdom. Having been conditioned to agree with what others around them accepted during formal schooling, people thus continue to defer to that which is popular in the larger community.

In previous generations, if it was in the papers, it must be true.  Television took over from newspapers as the arbiter of truth since TV’s reach was far greater than newspapers.  Also, it was more believable if an earnest and sincere looking person was delivering the information. Now of course, with the decline in reputation of both print and TV news sources, the internet has spawned countless sources of alternate news all vying for legitimacy among browsers.

The difference is that many popular personalities are as credible for news and information sources as Michael Moore would be as a Chanel runway model.  Many are existing or erstwhile entertainers and thus the line between entertainment and information is blurred.  The concept is not new.  P.T. Barnum of The Ringling Brothers Circus fame was a genius in manipulating people’s naivete and yearning for entertainment into great commercial success.  Recall that he was famous for this quip ascribed to him: “there’s a sucker born every minute”.

Oddly, credibility is not necessarily a needed asset in the information game.  It is only necessary to repeat the same message over and over again to confer credibility to a position. The most recent events surrounding the global shutdown is the best example of a message that becomes the truth once it has been promulgated by enough sources.  For most people, it’s easier to go with the crowd. Despite all that we know of the scientific method and what is just basic logic, populations have deferred to the ‘experts’ in determining the path of their lives.  In an earlier piece, I gave the analogy of a white shirt being washed with red socks.  Once tainted, the shirt can never be white again.  It seems to be the same for people’s beliefs.

Going with the crowd has resulted in numerous hoaxes and scandals over time, since there will always be those adept enough at manipulating the naivete of people.  We can point to numerous examples of hoaxes, deceit and other assorted urban legends that once held people’s attention as being real.  The website, lists a number of high profile hoaxes of the recent century.  Perhaps there’s such a thing as a dumbbell  gene in humans which is recessive but is triggered by certain events and then serves to over-ride normal brain functions.

It’s puzzling that with all the knowledge accumulated by centuries of civilization that enlightened people can still be as naïve as when they wandered around in loincloths.  Who would have thought that today, it’s not the loins that need covering, it’s the face.

Categories: Culture, Politics Tags: , ,

Experts Say…It’s For Your Own Good

April 19th, 2021 No comments

link:  Ontario Canada Goes Full Covid Police State (

During the most recent lost year of everyone’s lives, there has been a never ending parade of ‘experts’ counselling the hordes of us illiterates on the proper protocols to safely navigate every aspect of our otherwise hazardous existence.

The best example is the high regard that most hold for the people in the medical field which includes not just practising physicians but also pharmaceutical executives.  This circle of experts has expanded to include political consultants as well as certain software moguls.  Someone needs to do a study to determine whether the longevity of these people are any better than the mean of the greater population.  Gone are the days when ads proclaimed that 8 out 10 doctors preferred a certain cigarette brand, but yet, their sober health directives are still keenly observed by the average victim, er patient.

In the last year, we’ve been exposed to the advice of presumably highly respected sources on the efficacy of all kinds of things to prevent the agony of Covid 19…and much of it contradictory from the same source **cough cough Fauci**.   No masks; then masks; then two masks: two week quarantine, mass immunity; one year quarantine, mass immunization.  Here’s the best one; wash hands.  At least that one makes sense and it was relayed by an expert, so it must be valid.

We’ve become a society deluded into thinking that experts are out there for any and all aspects of our lives and by adhering to their sage advice, we will become better, fitter, richer more attractive and of course healthier.

We’ve essentially farmed out the knowledge of great chunks of our lives to others, since it’s far too much trouble to determine things for ourselves.  An apt analogy is that we’ve separated our knowledge base into individual apps.  Instead of having to concern ourselves with a good general knowledge base, formerly referred to as common sense, we’ve parcelled out needed information into discrete files to be accessed when needed. In geek parlance, our hard drive is light, all the needed info is in the cloud.

Why bother to know something when someone on You Tube has a video on it? While certain specific tasks require some learned skill, much of the advice we seek from ‘experts’ is laughingly banal: everything from how to boil water to folding clothes properly to applying sunscreen.   I’m sure we’d find a video instructing people on how to run properly:  is it necessary to alternate feet?, etc etc.   We have governments paying money on infomercials instructing people how to wash hands.  I’m sure it’s been an epiphany for some older people that they had been doing it wrong all of their lives.

The precarious societal condition we find ourselves in today is the direct result of deferring what we know of the world to some ‘expert’ who tells us what we can just as easily see with our own lyin’ eyes.  The hazard of course, is when we are told something which is the exact opposite of what we can objectively observe… and yet still take the word of the ‘experts’.

In a free society, people are allowed to do stupid things, that’s their right.  As a matter of fact, I can make the case that doing stupid things is how you best learn about life as long as it doesn’t become a vocation.   But we’re moved noticeably away from the vaunted free society we all nominally cherish.  We’re seeing more and more that lifestyle suggestions are not just recommendations anymore, they are increasingly becoming edicts to be enforced by the state.  Of course, the rationale is always that such edicts are for the greater good.  In fact, most political policy is derived from whomever happens to have the ruler’s ear at the time.  A lifetime of living tells me that when governments tell you it’s for the greater good you had better really worry.  As Ronald Reagan famously said, one of the scariest utterances from politicians is “we’re from the government and we’re here to help”.

Categories: Culture, Politics Tags: , ,