Friday, July 3, 2020

I Met a Nice Man - and Then He Opened His Mouth

Weak thinking is all the rage these days.  Emphasis on "rage".

I met  a nice fellow the other day and then he opened his mouth and started telling me all his opinions, at length, without stopping.  This is why I have a blog.  You can stop reading at any time.   I was going to get up to leave, but he kept on talking and imploring me to stay to say one more thing to make his point.

His point?   Well, he barfed up, verbatim, every conspiracy theory known to man - the 9/11 truther thing, the Federal Reserve, the gold standard, and so on and so forth.   No word on anti-vaxxing or aliens in area 57, but I am sure if I asked him he would tell me, at length, whether I wanted him to or not.  Secret forces were at work in the world to "take away" all our money!   I tried to point out to him that if you have no money no one can take it away from you, and the people who believe the Fed "took away their money" never had any to begin with.

I also pointed out to him that most people give away their money, willingly by buying crap they don't need, or investing in "the next big thing!"

He agreed with this and explained how he got out of stocks after losing his shirt in margin trading (!!) and now was "invested" in bitcoin and gold.   This will not end well for him.   Not surprisingly, he was a big Trump supporter.  He also admitted he was high as a kite on marijuana when I talked to him.  Funny thing about pot - it makes people crazy in terms of politics, and it doesn't matter whether it is rightist or leftist - they just go to extremes.

It was fascinating to talk to him, in the way that slowing down to see a bloody SUV wreck is fascinating (were those brains on the dashboard?  Eeeeeew!).    But you feel ashamed of yourself afterwords for gawking and need a shower.

What was interesting to me was his entire world was built around weak thinking.   Everything that was bad in his life was the fault of mysterious unseen forces in the world - the big banks or the trilateral commission or whoever is the conspiracy theory whipping boy of the day.   He never owned up to making a single mistake in his life.  Those margin trades would have been profitable, if not for the banks somehow mysteriously manipulating the market.  He wanted to make big money in a short period of time, yet it was the banks who were greedy.  Meanwhile, I spend decades quietly cashing dividend checks.  Not sexy, but I didn't lose much money.   In fact, I made a lot.

I felt sad for the guy, as obviously he had some native intelligence, but it was all put into service of the wrong people.   Everything in the world could be explained in a YouTube video or some self-published book written by a conspiracy theorist.  And none of it was up for discussion.  After all, these YouTubers were "experts" and cited legions of nameless "experts" that backed up their opinions!  In other words, if you want to believe it, you'd believe it.   It was not rational thinking, it was a religion.

On the other hand, I didn't feel sad for the guy as he was the sort of person that destroys a civilization from within.  He thought the Russians were neat folks and had the right ideas - a totalitarian State where one man is in charge and owns everything!  How this jibed with his "libertarian" views is beyond me.   I suspect a libertarian in Russia today would find themselves in a real pickle - or fed polonium soup.

What is also sad is that this sort of talk tends to scare off other people, which is why the guy was alone and why he wouldn't let me leave (I finally had to tell him that I needed to disarm a bomb slated to go off in five minutes, in order to take leave).   He was desperately lonely and clearly drove away friends and family members.

But folks like him are dime-a-dozen these days, and increasing in number.  Folks who replace analytical thinking with rabid belief.   Why bother thinking when someone on YouTube or an obscure website or podcast can do it for you?   Just ditto-head your way to success!

No one bothers to think why these conspiracies are only told on secondary channels or why people who believe in them never seem to be very successful.  No one bothers to think how believing in such things never improves their lives one iota.   And the reason is, like religion, it is all based on "belief" and contrary ideas are shouted down.   In fact, they have little lessons for parishioners on how to "win" arguments with "opponents" to bring them around to your way of thinking.  You'll show them, showering them with "facts" like "thousands of engineers have studied the 9/11 incident and have concluded it was an inside job!"   Funny thing, thorough, none of those engineers have names.

It isn't thinking, it is just conclusory statements.  Ideas without foundation, but the appearance of foundation and logic.   Anything contrary to the idea is, well, just part of the conspiracy.   I am sure that this fellow, once he realized I lived on Jekyll Island (where the Federal Reserve was born!) and lived in Washington, DC (as a government employee AND defense contractor, no less!) that I was part and parcel of the conspiracy.   No wonder I had a nice truck and camper while he drove a Geo and was sleeping in a tent.

Maybe that is the answer right there - if you want to succeed in life, join the conspiracy.  It isn't hard to do, just "sell out to the man" and get a job, save some money, get married, and stop obsessing about conspiracy theories.  It is a pretty cush deal.  I suggest you take it.