Collective blindness

I wrote a comment on a thread at the Guardian in response to a Glenn Greenwald post and my comment was about the fact that the average man does very little deep thinking about philosophy, economics, or ethics. I pointed out that the common man relies on the academics, intellectuals, and other opinion makers to do that for him. The State uses the opinion makers to keep the populous believing that the state is either “a good thing” or at least “an inevitable thing”. The common man does little deep thinking about things; especially ethics and economics. They don’t do as Thomas Sowell tells us to do — go beyond the seen to the unseen and then even past that to the consequences. An especially wise liberty lover responded to my comment with some words of his own and wrote about collectivists in general. I liked his thoughts and so I want to share some of them with you and add a couple of my own. I hope you gain something from this.

Communists, Socialists, Fascists, and collectivists in general possess a very selective immunity to the concepts of opportunity cost and unintended consequences, thanks to over a century of being inoculated with State propaganda. Propaganda starting in the public school and reinforced by TV, movies, and so on. The “right” pays lip service to opportunity cost when it comes to entitlement welfare, while of course completely disregarding it when it comes to corporate welfare. The “left”, of course, is the near mirror-image of the “right” as they scream about corporations and love individual handouts. Both sides want the government to rob Peter to pay Paul — they just differ on who Peter and Paul are.

I’ve yet to encounter hardly a single collectivist, right or left, here, at, or elsewhere, who will acknowledge any downside whatsoever to any government intervention they prefer. So, when I observe that Glenn’s subject here is in fact a direct and inevitable unintended consequence of allowing the State to steal the citizens’ money and dole it out to academia, the collectivist response, if there be any at all, will be either evasion or the rhetorical equivalent of “huh?”, reflecting the intellectual dishonesty and ignorance that pervades political thought and discussion today.

This ubiquitous inability or unwillingness to even recognize, and therefore consider, even first principles, is an intellectual pathogen most of us are exposed to by State schools from an early age. Since by now most parents, and even grandparents, have been infected it is now an entrenched, self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating generational phenomenon.

It makes it nigh impossible to think rationally about the ramifications of one’s ideology and inevitably leads to the us vs. them, black and white, emotion-driven mentality that the State exploits so effectively to divide, rule, rob, manipulate and enslave us.

It is horrible that as we have gained in technological progress and have “educated” so many more of our citizens with many more years of schooling, we find that most are unable to use logic to analyze our situation. Very few have any principles that they could enumerate and explain to you. If they could choke out some supposed principle you would find them in violation of it often. The basic idea of “live and let live” or the non-aggression principle would not cross the mind of most of our people even as they supposedly honour the principles of the founders of the country.

So many of our people have been bought off by the state that it will take an extraordinary effort to convince them that the state is our worst enemy. Fortunately, even with the propaganda of the government schools, the young seem to be moved by the message of liberty and freedom. They give me hope that the ideology of collectivism will be beaten.



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