To the power elite, facts do not matter

walk awayby The Sean & Lauren Spectacular

Do facts matter?
[Via CNN.com ]

The fact-checkers have been out in force for months. With the presidential and vice presidential debates fully under way, and both parties claiming that their opponents are liars, websites and news shows are inundated with experts and reporters who inform voters about whether candidates are making claims that have little basis in fact.

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The short answer is that no, facts do not matter for many people in America today. Lies give the elite the power and money they crave. They are bandits. 

As I wrote about yesterday, we are living in a time when bandits allow the stupid to have some power, thus permitting the bandits to steal more money from society.

Let me be clear – the bandits do not come from only one political philosophy, nor do the stupid. There are plenty of people in both parties to fill the bill. They seek mainly to gain power and wealth just for themselves, doing little to actually help others.

One hallmark of the stupid is the inability for facts to make an impact in their behavior. The intelligent see facts and act on them, helping all of us. The helpless see the facts but do not act. The bandit sees the facts and acts on those facts to help themselves.

The stupid hurt society and hurt themselves by their actions. How can any sane person do such a thing? For the stupid, it may well be because they simply cannot see the reality of facts. They confuse lies with facts and act to hurt all of us.

It would appear that the stupid are unable to see the facts for what they are.  They see fantasies, lies, untruths and stories more strongly than they see facts, and then act on those false narratives. Or they want to see them because reality is not comforting.

They would rather have a lie that confirms their gut feelings than a fact which confirms the lie.

Thus when the intelligent hold sway, and the stupid follow them, society follows  a fact based approach and moves upwards. The intelligent keep the stupid from power. The bandit is under control. There are few helpless.

When the bandit holds sway, and the stupid follow them, society follows a fantasy-based approach and moves downwards. The bandit allows the stupid to have power as it provides a better means for robbery. Too many of the intelligent have moved over to the helpless.

The inability to discern fact from fantasy is how the bandit persuades the stupid to do things that are harmful to both the stupid and to society. 

The stupid believe the fantasies the bandit weaves, confusing those lies with facts and not seeing that the bandit is robbing everyone. Maybe some people see the problem but too many of them have now fallen into the helpless side of things.

Could the intelligent regain power from the bandits, again guiding society upwards? The Roman Republic fell in large part because the bandit led the stupid.  The rise of Venice as a city-state – the richest city in Europe – was destroyed by the bandit leading the stupid. The French Revolution only resulted in the bandit taking over again.

The best examples I can find for effectively dealing with a situation where the bandit is leading the stupid are reformation and revolution – the Protestant Reformation and the American Revolution.

Both dealt with times when society was being used by the bandit to enrich themselves, to the detriment of Luther’s community or the Colonies. Both saw the rise of incredible intelligent men whose reasons for overturning the rule of the bandit was to help both themselves and the community.

Both sets of leaders saw facts, not fantasies, and used them in a way to help others, not just to make money or gain power for themselves. They created documents encompassing these facts that have had lasting impact.

For both, the only solution was to walk away, creating a new community in which the intelligent could again hold sway, and that facts were used to enrich society.  They separated themselves from the old society.

Similarly, I am becoming more and more convinced that we must walk away from much of the current power structure, finding a way to construct a new one.

Perhaps then we can begin moving upwards again and begin to solve the complex problems facing us.

5 thoughts on “To the power elite, facts do not matter

  1. The biggest problem every era is the INTERPRETATION of the facts! It is bad enough deciding which facts are important, but interpreting them is the real problem. And who is to say who is a bandit and who isn’t. The Robber Barons built railroads which was a good thing for the average person. They exploited workers, which was a bad thing. But they created jobs which was a good thing. Lumping them all together is not really a good thing.

    1. I would agree with you – many of the Robber Barons were not bandits. They created benefits for society as well as for themselves. I never put them in the bandit category.

      An easy way to tell is that a bandit usually plays a zero-sum game – for them to win, someone else (society?) has to lose. In many ways the intelligent (yes, I dislike the names but that is what we have) produce win-win solutions.

      So, Robber Barnos – win-win more than zero sum. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates – win-win. Hedge fund managers – zero sum. Derivative brokers – mostly zero-sum. Lobbyists – mostly zero-sum.

      I would disagree with what you say about facts. I’m not just talking about what actions one group might take or not. Liberals and conservatives have always done that but they at least recognize the same facts. They just have different solutions.

      Today, there is real disagreement about the facts themselves, something we have not seen much of until the last generation. I’ve written about this denialism that is pervasive. We have a large percentage of the US that simply does not acknowledge evolution, that does not acknowledge climate change that does not acknowledge the benefits of vaccines. etc.

      These are the most obvious ones. I’ve seen many other types that all seem to have the same approach of simply not even seeing the facts. If someone is shown a fact that their worldview can not support – say that obese people over the age of 50 live longer than normally weighted people – they simply ignore that fact. They do not act on it. They do not let it penetrate their worldview. They simply ignore.

      It is a willful ignorance that approaches stupidity (I do need a less pejorative word). But it is not simple ignorance.

      Ignorance can be fixed with knowledge. But the willful ignorance that is seen in the stupid can’t be fixed with facts. They simply ignore them, forget them refuse to acknowledge them. They retreat from reality into Cargo Cult Worlds that provides them comfort.

      But as the world continues to change, their Cargo Cult World deviates more and more from reality, making it much more likely that they, and everyone else that inhabit similar Cargo Cult Worlds, will go down in a destructive fashion, as they try to more violently hold onto a fantasy that is ultimately harmful.

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