Monday, October 20, 2014

Information Immunity

Theory without empirical evidence is mere speculation. Empirical evidence without theory is simply a collection of facts. Theory supported by empirical evidence is science. How is this for an opportunity? You want to move to a new country but there is a ten to twenty year wait to get a visa. Or you can reach that country by taking an dangerous and unpleasant trip, across rivers and deserts, guided by unsavory characters who will probably demand extra money at the end of the trip, and who think part of their fee is the right to rape any women they are guiding. What is at the end of your journey? Why a country that many claim is not as good as where you are now. Yet millions make that trip. They wait years for visas, or make that dangerous trip, to enter the United States. If our country is so terrible, why do so many want to move here? I have friends who risked everything to reach the United States. Yet many of our so-called elites denigrate our country. They claim that we should copy Europe or other systems. Those elitists want a statist system, similar to what my friends fled. Even some who flee to this country want to make us into a copy of the tyrannies they left. Why? Almost certainly because they accept the nice theories and ignore the evidence. They never ask what makes this country so attractive that people risk their lives to get here. To the credit of my immigrant friends, I've never known even one who would not change his mind when I pointed out his inconsistency. Our native statists, on the other hand, seem immune to such reasoning. They reject the limited government our founders gave us, the standard of freedom that was widely accepted only a few decades ago. Why the difference? The immigrants have seen statism in action. The natives, on the other hand, have only a theoretical idea of what it is like. They pay attention to words, not results. Contrary information bounces off them like a ball off a wall. One notable exception was Eldridge Cleaver who metamorphosed from violent socialist to conservative Republican. He spent time in Cuba, saw what it was really like, then rejected the statist ideology. Of course he realized that the U.S. is not perfect, but he also found that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Not so most native-born statists. They reject freedom, preferring the restrictions of statism, even desiring to strengthen those restrictions. How can people, often smart people, be so blind to the evidence? I attribute it to three factors, three kinds of immunity to information: First, such people seldom see information contrary to their preconceived belief. They get their news only from sources that support the statist ideology. I have friends who refuse to even open a book or web site if they think it will present a viewpoint contrary to their belief system. In this the news media is complicit. Second, when presented with evidence of collectivism's problems, those people deny that it can be that bad. For example, they become justifiably angry about Hitler's atrocities, yet they refuse to believe the truth about Cuba under Castro or Venezuela under Chavez. The information ball bounces off their wall of preconceptions. Third, many fall for a “grass is greener” syndrome. They see the problems we have and assume that other systems will be better. I even had a friend claim that our slums were the world's worst. Anyone who has seen the slums in other countries knows better. Yes we have problems; nobody in his right mind would deny that. However that does not mean that other systems are better. Our salvation, if it comes at all, will come from voters who look at results, not just nice-sounding theories. Next time, unless something intervenes, I plan to discuss the biggest pseudo-scientific system of all. (Based on Chapter 4 of my upcoming book, Twenty First Century Serfdom)

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