There are some things that are too big to fit into our minds while remaining feeling like we are in control of our lives. Death, for example, or the grim fact that most of our species are self-destructive lemmings who rush at oblivion with their arms open while chattering slogans.
Despite all of the conspiracy theories, no one has produced a more convincing model for human history than people steadily discarding what works in favor of what empowers them individually, and this makes the whole system incompetent, but it cannot change direction without offending people so… down it goes!
What happened to us is the same thing that happens in every human group. Over time, people forget the goal, so they rule by regulating the methods that can be used. This backfires, and we go into a perpetual cycle of rebellion and dependency on government that makes people totally alienated.
In the meantime, they act according to precedent and rationalization. Once you choose democracy, everything subsequent that you do must be pro-democracy. Once you choose equality, you can only argue for something as good if it advances equality. Diversity infects everything even more perniciously.
Our problem is humans in groups making decisions. Like bureaucracies and committees, they respond to special interests and those who appear to be victims, ignoring the goal and everyone in the middle. This makes a hellworld of clownish dystopia that has arisen from the best principles.
None of the experts will say otherwise; they got to where they were by repeating the dogma, so they will repeat it. Same with celebrities, politicians, and — uh oh — your neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers. Everyone is terrified of stepping out of line.
If we study Communism and Fascism, we see similar groupthink caused by a desire for individual careerism. If you want to get ahead, you work with the system. This requires you repeat its narrative. That means that no one will ever modify the narrative.
Worse, in a desire to stand out at their jobs, they will further advance the narrative because that is the only way to get promoted. They will become cheerleaders for things they know to be lies and as a result, stop caring about what is real and actual (“true”). Conformity makes a society of liars.
This runaway cycle can only be stopped when enough people stand up and reject the first step in the chain of errors, which in our case was the middle classes replacing the social hierarchy with bureaucracy. Until that happens, we will keep creating our problems with our solutions.
For a case in point, look at our budget, which Americans generally agree is an issue of great importance:
Twenty years ago—after world wars, depressions, massive failed programs; i.e., the War on Poverty—the federal debt was slightly under $6 trillion. In the last 20 years, the federal debt has exploded. It has increased over five times to more than $31 trillion today with no end in sight. The political class, both Republicans and Democrats, based on actions, not words, shows no interest in attacking this exploding threat to our country.
Here are two examples of that “no end in sight” spending. Republican Congressmen, before they were sworn in, held a secret vote. A secret vote on earmarks! But not just on earmarks. A secret vote to develop a new procedure, a new name for earmarks to mask their fiscal irresponsibility from the voters. One-hundred-and-fifty-eight Republicans voted for earmarks. That secret vote tells you all you need to know about each Congressman’s respect for his voters’ tax dollars. Ask your Congressman if he voted in secret for earmarks.
We have spent ourselves doubly into oblivion, first by wasting the money on socialist-style entitlements and second because the things we should have spent the money on are now flaming crises which are cutting into our bottom line and quality of life.
And yet, if you poll the voters, they want more fisgie (FSG, “free stuff from government”) despite that making it impossible to balance the budget:
Few Americans would be OK with some ways politicians have suggested to shore up the programs: 79% say they oppose reducing the size of Social Security benefits and 67% are against raising monthly premiums for Medicare. About 65 million older and disabled people access government-sponsored health insurance through Medicare and rely on monthly payments from Social Security.
Instead, a majority — 58% — support the idea of increasing taxes on households making over $400,000 yearly to pay for Medicare, a plan proposed by President Joe Biden last month.
One way or another, changes are in store for the programs. Last week, the annual Social Security and Medicare trustees report released Friday warned that Medicare will only have enough cash to cover 89% of payments for inpatient hospital visits and nursing home stays by 2031. Just two years later, Social Security will only be able to pay 77% of benefits to retirees.
The poll found that many Americans have doubts about the stability of both programs: Only about 2 in 10 are very or extremely confident that the benefits from either program will be available to them when they need them, while about half have little or no confidence.
Very few believe these programs will work. Two out of ten say that they will not receive these benefits, but seven out of ten want these programs to continue, even though that means the programs will expand because they are underfunded.
The voters are in a paradoxical state. The “right” thing to do is to keep these programs, so they do not want them to go away, but everyone knows that in order to get out of debt, we will have to not just cut but drop these programs entirely.
At some point, we have to admit that people in groups — committees, gangs, mobs, riots, crowds — make worse decisions than social hierarchies where success is measured in results and not in fooling these paradoxical voters.
When that happens, we can let go of the precedent we have been rationalizing for so long, and let the healing begin.