Dealing with mainstream cults

Although the article starts with these two charts, it is not about the Chinese Flu but about why people believe things in spite of all the evidence to show they are utterly untrue. The title is Why Facts Don’t Matter to People. That is, why it is near impossible to get those who seem able to believe ten impossible things before breakfast to change their minds. It is like dealing with members of a cult, except they are now the mainstream.

Here’s his point. “Engage them in conversation”, he suggests, meaning getting others – you know, like people who want to blow up power stations and defund the police – to explain their views while listening sympathetically to yours.

If you’re wondering why so many people don’t see the world the way you do, engage them in conversation. You will find they are as well-intentioned as you are, but they are looking in a different direction. Beneath their opinions and fears, beliefs are shaping how they see the world.

Because of different beliefs, your villains may be their heroes. They may look at the world of effects while you are looking at causes. They’re hoping a better leader comes to power, while you’re considering how the presidency became so powerful and destructive.

Until their beliefs change, they will never consider how politicians and experts with too much power turned a pandemic into a catastrophe. As Einstein put it, “Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is theory which decides what can be observed.”

The “clear guidance” politicians claim to dispense and “the truth” my friend wants to learn are not rooted in the principles of human flourishing. My friend is waiting for a government official to blow the all-clear whistle. My friend doesn’t want to believe experts are as fallible as he is, and that the prevailing scientific consensus may be false. For me to explain to him why “defining risk is an exercise in power” would bring a blank stare of disbelief.

I don’t think the author has an answer. He adds this at the end which only emphasises how deep the problem is.

Read Hayek’s famous observation about order, replacing the words “that in complex conditions” with the words “during a pandemic:” “To the naive mind that conceives of order only as the product of deliberate arrangement, it may seem absurd that in complex conditions [during a pandemic], order and adaptation to the unknown can be achieved more effectively by decentralizing decisions.”

With that simple substitution, we expose a core belief shared by many Americans. They believe centralizing decision-making is effective in unknown, complex conditions and they want their politicians to do something.

Well, that’s the problem right there. No one any longer wants governments to do nothing, even if that really would be the best thing to do. We are therefore falling towards a totalitarian state. One day no one may even notice our freedoms have gone, since those who grow up in this new world may never have known what freedom is.

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15 Responses to Dealing with mainstream cults

  1. nb

    Reference for the Hayek quote:
    The Fatal conceit; The Errors of Socialism, The Collected Works Of F. A. Hayek, London, Routledge, 1992, p76-77
    https://mises.at/static/literatur/Buch/hayek-the-fatal-conceit.pdf

  2. stackja

    Many people believe the MSM despite the available evidence.

  3. C.L.

    One of the worst cult hysterics in Australia is Ray Hadley.
    He pushes the ‘crisis’ of new ‘cases’ every day.

    You spend your life in a booth, Ray.
    Calm down.

  4. Bruce of Newcastle

    I’ve about fifty saved links on on how green-progressivism has morphed into a religion. I gave up on collecting any more of them about 4 years ago, there were so many.

    Hard to pick one out, but here’s Michael Crichton in 2003. Very perceptive guy.

    Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion

    I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

    We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

    Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it’s a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

    There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

    Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held mythic structures.

    Nearly twenty years later, and long after he put down his pen for the last time, his words are spot on.

  5. JC

    Small edit suggestion

    One of the worst cult hysterics in Australia is Ray Hadley.
    He pushes the ‘crisis’ of new ‘cases’ every day.

    You spend your life in a booth terrorising juniors, Ray.
    Calm down.

  6. cuckoo

    Shorter version: you cannot reason a person out of a position if they didn’t arrive at it by reason in the first place.

  7. Struth

    When we look at what Hitler did to his country’s youth, history repeats.

    It all starts in the schools.

    You wouldn’t bother arguing or explaining to a member of the Hitler youth regarding anything once he was too far gone.

    Ours are now, too far gone.

    And we now have multiple generations, not just one, who believe the same old scape goat politics.
    White men/jooos, capitalism, blah blah.

    However, Hitler had one generation completely brainwashed whereas we have numerous generations brainwashed in virtual stages,, which has enable the last to reach voting age to be complete socialist retards.

  8. Dennis Prager says; truth is not a leftist value. However it is worse than that. We are seeing so much Cultism (if that’s a word) because we’ve lost the greatest of all values – truth, destroyed by the left not because they do not value truth but because they actively despise it and seek to destroy it.

    It is why nearly all cults are borne of or adhere to socialism – The Peoples Church, Nazism, Branch Davidian, Aum Shinrikyo, Manson Family, Bhagwan Shree, Solar Temple…and of course the biggest cult ever, the Climate Cult. And why they all share the same traits, cutting people off, imaginary enemies, control of information, apocalyptic mindsets, sexual deviancy, rewriting of history…

    It’s bloody mentally exhausting to try and deprogram normies but someone has to do it.

  9. stackja

    C.L. – RH is probably missing having GP to accuse.

  10. Trax

    The whole purpose of post-modernism and modern education (there is no truth, no god, all lived experience, all emotion) is to deprive people of a proper way to look at the world so they instead go running to government to solve all their problems.

  11. pbw

    The Australian, flagship of Oz newspapers, has “Breaking News.”
    Worst day yet as new Vic cases soar to 75
    Population of Victoria: about 6 1/4 million.

    You can’t make this stuff up… (but they can.)

  12. MACK

    There’s some research on all this – people’s views are firstly influenced by their parents, then their peers, and a bit by school teachers. Later on, they change their minds, and specifically their political views, based overwhelmingly on their personal experience. Did that government change the rules and destroy my business? Did my parent die in the aged care home due to bad regulations? Does this government really deserve half my income when I get to twice average earnings?

    People don’t take that much notice of argument.

  13. gary

    The work of Kahneman and Tversky suggests that people have two ways of thinking:

    1. a quick, instinctive, emotional and reactive way of thinking,
    2. a slow rational way of thinking that requires considerable effort to investigate facts and consider various issues.

    People mostly just use the first way of thinking to make hard decisions – after all how can we know if global warming is really a threat to civilization, same as Covid-19, etc – no-one on the planet really knows the answer to these questions, so people just go with their gut, or they are influenced by their peers, or the news they watch or other issues that researchers have identified.

    If people make decisions based on emotion rather than reason, then of course no argument will get people to change their minds. To get some people to change their minds requires persuasion techniques rather than reason.

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