Monday, January 26, 2009

Secret organizations control everything.

No they don't.

In times of uncertainty, economic upheaval, and political instability, it is a dead certainty that we will be inundated with articles, books, opinions by pundits, and icendiary speeches which will assign the blame for the current malaise to shadowy organizations, back-room dealing, and cabal's of elites whose common threads are race, culture or (GASP!!) going to the same Ivy League University.

The authors of same are usually people who have not managed a large complex organization with many moving parts. Some of the authors even state that government is (paradoxically) inherently incompetent, yet assert that certain groups operating within government have super-human capabilities.

Apparently, these operatives can see the future and engineer outcomes (formerly) based on a massive amount of variables. They can rig elections, commit crimes with impunity, sell billions of dollars in securities without anyone knowing about it, destroy governments and enslave whole populations. These operatives can out-smart everyone...except the good and righteous people who see through the Wizard of Oz's pyrotechnics.

And so it goes. The authors and pundits ask rhetorical questions like "there was no credit crisis, so why was one engineered, and to whose benefit?" As if the answer to that question either solved a problem or assigned causality.

But this impetus for humans to assign causality is one of the strongest heuristic biases we unfortunately possess. In good times, humans over-assign positive causality and worship "genius" politicians and CEOs. These gilded people traversed the pitiful obstacles placed before them and triumphed. All manner of investigatory techniques are used to extract the good habits and lessons to be learned from these shining examples of human achievement. Which books did they read?, what schools did they attend? who are there heroes?, what religious practices do they endorse?, what pets do they prefer?

In bad times, these useless, avaricious, miscreant reprobates all collaborated to rob and enslave the general populace. All manner of investigatory techniques are used to demonstrate that these people are connected, have all been enriching themselves illegally, have no compunction or restraint in their immorality, and only seek to destroy the U.S.A. and move to the Caribbean. We need to know who their friends are, which books they read, which academic influences are communists, which school they attended.

Humans NEED explanations so violently that the lack of one causes them more consternation than the sober, objective and temperate pursuit of the truth (which usually lies between the two poles used for example in this post). Humans assign more value to causality that is quickly and easily understood than one that takes time and is more nuanced and complex. We see this everyday in the markets with the incessant news headlines attributing this or that down/up move to "X" event, only to learn months later that "Y" was the true cause.

Unfortunately, a more thoughtful investigation requires time, education, and no deadlines. The leisure class is a dying one these days...

probably too busy thinking of ways to ship us all off to Mars to their alien masters.

No comments: