With the holiday season rolling into high gear, the political news is even more boring than usual, so I thought I’d treat myself to some stimulation with a good dose of Thomas Sowell. I randomly picked a YouTube video about Sowell that was produced by Jason Riley of The Wall Street Journal, and it reminded me all over again why I’ve always held him in such high regard as a thinker extraordinaire.
It had been a while since my last exposure to Sowell’s ideas, and they made just as much of an impact on me now as they did decades ago. His intellectual honesty is more refreshing today than ever, and when he speaks there are no wasted words. For example, when he was asked what changed him from the socialist mindset of his earlier years, Sowell answered with simple profundity, “The facts.”
Nothing could be timelier than those two words, because the outcomes of the recent midterms made it clear that millions of people are guided by emotion rather than facts. They reminded us yet again that the reason politicians virtue signal is because it works. The reason they create division between groups is because it works. The reason they lie is because it works. And the reason all these things work is because millions of people are so averse to discomfort, let alone pain, that they would rather live in a world created in their own minds rather than the world as it actually exists.
I believe this phenomenon is one of the biggest drivers of insanity. The impossible task of arguing that demonstrably false statements are true — e.g., men can have babies, government can make you better off by redistributing wealth, a modern civilization can function without fossil fuels — creates the hysterical frustration and anger that surrounds us on a daily basis.
In his book The Art of Selfishness, David Seabury poetically stated, “The comforts of self-delusion tend to be short-lived, for stubborn reality has a savage way of destroying a fool’s paradise. This side of the lunatic asylum one cannot go on believing what one wants to believe. Truth will out.”
America today is a fool’s paradise where people still look to government for the solution to their problems more than 40 years after Ronald Reagan cautioned that government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem. Government is nothing more than a collection of mostly mediocre individuals who are in the game to pursue their own self-interests, and the number-one thing they are interested in is power.
Why power? Because power unlocks the door to unlimited narcissistic gratification. With power, politicians and government bureaucrats can enrich themselves, sexually gratify themselves, and satisfy their egos by ordering around their subjects. As with everything in life, there are a handful of exceptions, but they are too few in number to make a dent in the graft, corruption, and stupidity of the entrenched Uniparty crowd.
The takeaway for those who choose to live in the real world is straightforward: Government is not your friend. Never — ever — base your plans on anything government says. This is more important today than ever before, because the lies and fantasies fed to a gullible public on a daily basis are going to produce ever harsher consequences for those who do not base their actions on facts. A financial holocaust is on the way in America, but few people have a clue that it’s coming.
To rub salt into the wound, all the investigations Republicans are promising will in all likelihood produce little in the way of punishment for those who have been most responsible for wrecking the economy and, even more important, American culture. Real punishment rarely comes to those who bring the most pain and suffering to the average citizen, and for good reason: Those who are supposed to mete out punishment are in on the take, so it is not in their best interest to rock the boat.
What I am describing here is the world as it is, not as I would like it to be. Does that mean all is lost? No. As Harry Browne put it in the title to his landmark book, it is possible for you to find freedom in an unfree world. And the first step toward doing that is to base your decisions on reality, not government propaganda. Have faith that in the end, truth will out. It can be difficult for facts to compete with emotion, but facts never let down those who remain loyal to them.