On Being Objective

What is the worst condition for sound thinking? I think Mark Twain has summed it up best. “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” 

The problem of course is we don’t know yet what “just ain’t so.” An even bigger problem is people tend to be far more certain of things they like or agree with in principle.

The result is often mass delusion.

Some questions

Can the governments borrow whatever they need without consequence?

In the United States the Federal Reserve behaves as if they can. Their published thoughts indicates that when the conditions are right, they can reverse the immense amount of debt that is presently in the system. At worst keep it from growing. The people in favour of more government intervention accept that as gospel truth.

In Canada they just lie about it.

Can government efforts and programs overwhelm market aspects? Do the people, by their collective behaviour, have the ultimate power?

Governments like to think they act and achieve, but at some point the people are going to say “Enough!”  and all of the propaganda, mandates, and rule making will fail. If there were facts to support what the governments are doing would it not make sense to make those known. Most people who understand the situation act intelligently.

The problem with Covid or climate change is there is too little evidence to have a definitive approach that will work. That is a common problem for people. We don’t like uncertainty and our brain fills in the blanks when stressed.  The propaganda aims at filling the unknown spaces with something. From the government’s perspective, something that suits their preferred narrative.

You can tell it’s not information you can use, because no matter what people learn, it doesn’t change. Do you really believe the specialists know the same things about Covid they knew 20 months ago, or the climate scientists the same things they knew three decades ago

Decision making under uncertainty is frightening for most people and they will accept nearly anything that will reduce their anxiety.

Are the corporate and social media useful?

The governments have a power and prestige motive. Corporate media has a profit motive. Social media is more likely to be harmful than helpful. It tires you out trying to decide what might be reasonable information. Use your brain.

Is there evidence available?

You do better if you find objective evidence that supports a particular thought. For example social media will tell you Polar Bears are in trouble. People who study them tell you they are flourishing. AND they can show bear counts in the Arctic by year to support it. If you think they are lying, ask yourself why they would do so. Alternatively ask why people would say they are in trouble. Is there an advantage for them? If yes for those and none for the ones who say no trouble, are you just agreeing because it feeds some narrative you think matters?

The bit to take away

Use your common sense. In respect to each story ask, “Cui Bono?” To whom the good?

You must prepare for the lies to come undone.

Recall Voltaire’s observations.

  • “The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe”
  • “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
  • “Prejudices are what fools use for reason”

Look for the common sense meaning. It won’t be complete but it is likely to be closer to reality.

Help me please. If you have found this useful, please subscribe and forward it to others.

I build strategy and fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways and alternate timing to achieve both spending and estate distribution goals. In the past I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning, have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Banks – from CIBC to the Business Development Bank.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email to don@moneyfyi.com

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