Monday, August 19, 2013

Reality Disconnect, Again

So many news headlines these days take my breath away because they are just so intent on pushing liberal/progressive views. Today offered one of the worst: “Last Bernanke Years Shows No Sign of Buyer’s Remorse” online at Bloomberg. The article is congratulating Bernanke for navigating the last six years without seeing high rates of consumer price increases. I know that many people disagree with the government’s claim that prices have not been climbing more rapidly, but for the issue in the article, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the underlying, widely accepted view of the article. That view holds that it is okay to focus very narrowly on an isolated, micro point, and assert that it means something. Using Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s DIM nomenclature, this is at best D1, possibly D2.

A knee-jerk, but nevertheless appropriate, response to this article would be to observe that there is less upward price pressure during a recession/depression. As Bernanke has responsibility for the recession, which he shares with some other esteemed governmental and legislative fools, it is morally outrageous to give him credit for the accidental consequence that consumer prices aren’t raising fast enough for people to be angry. Supposedly, Bernanke meant for prices to remain stable. But that is not true. Bernanke has been trying for a 2.5% rate of increase, and he hasn’t been able to get there, regardless of the amount of made-up money he has pushed toward the economy. Bernanke is being given credit for something he didn’t want and really thinks is bad.

Furthermore, focusing on the period of the last few years fails to observe that the consequences of his policies are going to be disasters for many more years into the future. This is another sign of the D mentality: the future isn’t real to them. What happens tomorrow is always a complete surprise. When you discard causality, the future has no relation to the present. This is especially true of government actions. They say that their new law or control will eliminate some perceived error in economic activity. They never check to see if the law or regulation had any effect on that problem, never. They do apparently assume that merely making the law is a sufficient “cause” for the problem to go away. But they do not actually realize that their action might cause some other, unwanted effect, in spite of the current wave of the hand at “unintended consequences.” The possibility is not part of their view of the world because they don’t understand cause and effect.

Bernanke is such an eloquent example. He was surprised by every turn of the economy from the day he took office until today. He has denied that his actions have had any negative consequence. He just won’t believe it (see my blog on his speech about the cause of the housing price boom). He has one response for any kind of economic situation: put more, lots more, money into the economy. More money is always good. And if wonderful things don’t happen, it is because really bad things were happening, which were staved off by the money he did put in. “Just think,” he might say, “how bad things would have been if I hadn’t acted.” Thus he proclaimed himself hero of the universe when he pushed a trillion of so into the economy during the beginning of the recession. Never mind that he has had to do the same thing repeatedly since. In his view that is because capitalism had let us down drastically in 2007.

This is another aspect of the D1 (he is a D1 because he does have a theory, an integration, which he thinks is founded in science). The theory is true, and thus must be applied, regardless of the actual results. He is not capable of reevaluating the theory.

All of this underscores the vital nature of philosophy in our battle to change the culture. We can’t argue or collaborate with a D. There is no common ground, actually no ground at all for him. We have to just replace him. In general, the same is true with the M. In the sense of using their theory, the M holds his ideas in much the same way as the D: the theory cannot be touched by reason or consequences.

We have to address ourselves to those people who aren’t contorted into either anti-reason methodology. That means the young and those individuals who somehow survived today’s schooling with some of their brains intact. It isn’t easy.

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