It’s Not Complicated

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Confucius

The news media certainly has more than enough material lately, but if you are paying attention, we do not get much in clarity. Even something as straight forward as athletic competition in the Olympics got confusing. It seemed that everything was spinning in an incomprehensible vortex, which may explain why so many people find everything so complicated.

Modern philosophers and psychologists have a theory on this human dilemma of making things more complicated than they actually are, it’s called “complexity bias”; it essentially maintains that when faced with various explanations, or solutions to a problem, we tend to pick the most complex one in the belief that a simple explanation or solution couldn’t possibly be right. Often, we do this in an automated fashion based on beliefs that we find too difficult to challenge, which in turn creates another human tendency called “confirmation bias”, something that fits within our comfort zone of prior explanations or solutions we think worked before, so why not again, as if one size does fit all.

Take a clear headed look at what’s going on and you’ll see this very common human malady; look at the obvious, i.e. simple explanations. You may not like the answers, but that’s better than being confused about some simple things like inflation, filibuster bashing, bonds and interest rates, Russia and Ukraine….just to name a few. While of course in this world of obfuscation it’s difficult at times to see through the fog, but it’s still not complicated.

Why is there inflation? Shut down the economy and you stop production. Open the economy and demand comes back, but there’s been no production. Simple, now you have more demand than supply, so you get price inflation. Print a lot of money, as if paper is all it takes, and you erode purchasing power. Simple, now you have monetary inflation. Put the two together and it’s apparent why the CPI is now over 7.5% and still rising. We are told that inflation is “different” this time than from the Stagflation days of the past. Well it’s true we have yet to reach the 14.8% of 1980, but does that mean we wait until then before we understand that we have a problem? We did that in the ‘60s and ‘70s, so again, it’s not complicated, what we did wrong before we are doing again.

Not too long ago Republicans wanted to do away with the filibuster. Obvious, they controlled the Senate back then and the filibuster got in their way.  Now the Democrats want to do away with the filibuster. Obvious again, they now control the Senate with the VP having the tie breaker and the filibuster is in their way. Politics is not principles, it’s obvious, and so this too is simple.

Bonds, especially USTs, are debt notes. We are told the Fed is independent from the government, who confirms the chair and governors; not complicated, and no, not independent. For over fifteen years the Fed has repressed interest rates to practically nothing, and at the same time takes on debt through bond purchases with money it has the UST print up (QE 101). Not only does this fuel inflation, it pumps up stocks with massive liquidity; again, simple, the Fed creates monetary inflation. Who does this help? Well just look at how Wall Street is doing, and how massive government spending is getting funded.

Yesterday President Biden claimed that he was more than ever convinced that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent. Putin says he has no intention of invading Ukraine and is in fact withdrawing troops from the border, but US intelligence says the opposite is true as more troops arrive. So who do we believe? The answer is again simple, don’t believe any of them. Until there is an actual invasion or a withdrawal of the massive Russian military buildup, nothing is certain, except one thing, and that is Russia will never give up claims to Ukraine because in more than three centuries it never has.  For the US it’s very simple as there are no security, territorial or treaty issues; so the real question is why then is the administration playing this up as if there are?  When your ratings at home are as low as they are for Biden you need a distraction. So America, don’t be distracted, keep it simple and understand that as Ron Paul cautioned “Sanctions are not diplomacy. They’re a precursor to war and an embarrassment to a country that pays lip service to free trade.”

There are so many more examples that can illustrate this dangerous tendency in our current culture to create an echo chamber of mass and social media that seems lock stepped in a virtue signaling of just about everything, proposing a right think based on the assumption that people are best served by experts who understand the complexities far too complicated for us mere common folks. In political science, and I think in other philosophical studies, there is a term for this called “reification”, which basically describes what happens when an abstraction is treated as if it were a concrete real event or physical entity.  The counter to this is called a “heuristic” process or method, enabling someone to discover or learn something for themselves, in a “hands-on” or interactive approach, or as Mark Twain said “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.” Better that Americans make their own decisions as we have had more than enough experience to do so.

We are better off keeping things simple, not allowing politics to become more like a new religion with its inherent contradictions, incomprehensible complexities and divisive characteristics. As Richard Dawkins so eloquently explained “One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.” Let’s keep it simple America and not be confused when we are paying attention.

Author: jvi7350

Politically I am an independent. While I tend to avoid labels, I consider myself a Libertarian. I find our politics to have deteriorated to a current state of ranting tribialism, and a growing disregard for individual rights; based on the axiom that silence is consent, I choose instead to speak out and therefore launched this blog.

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