Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” –Alice in Wonderland
We live in an age when the level of deceit and propaganda is at an all-time high. Joseph Goebbels, Vladimir Lenin, and others did their best to force-feed propaganda to the masses, but they were rank amateurs compared to the spin doctors employed by the political leaders of today. They’re masters at convincing people of impossible things.
Whenever I listen to Americans discuss their country, I find people that are eager for more news and information, yet most, without even knowing it, accept much of the dogma they’ve been fed on a daily basis by their government and the media, even if, to outsiders, the assumptions are preposterous. Only those who make a concerted, ongoing effort to see through the smokescreen seem to keep clear.
Here are six impossible things that many seem to have little trouble accepting as reality.
Yes, the country’s in a mess, but that’s because of opposition-party meddling. If the party I favour could get a majority, they’d sort things out.
This seems to have been a popular belief for decades. It’s believed by Democrats and Republicans alike. But, in 2001, the Republicans held both houses of Congress, plus the presidency, yet even then they failed to deliver on what they claimed were their party’s fundamental goals. Between 2009 and 2011, the Democrats controlled all three, yet they, too, failed to deliver. If the electorate were to step back and look at the history of who is in power vs. changes in policy, they’d find that the government’s central programme of welfare/warfare continues unabated, regardless of who controls the Congress and White House. The primary policies of the US are determined independently of who has been elected. As American writer Mark Twain stated correctly, “If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.”
We’re on the road to economic recovery. We just have to be patient.
The US is deeper in debt, by far, than any country ever has been in the history of the world. The level of debt is so great at present that it’s impossible to pay back. The reaction by the US government has been to increase that debt, pumping more heroin into the body of the addict. There’s no possibility for this to end well; all that can be achieved is to postpone the inevitable, thus ensuring that the final outcome will be even worse. The final tab will be picked up, not by the political class, but by the electorate.
I don’t like government bailing the banks out, but if they don’t, the system will collapse.
Bank failures have existed for as long as banks have existed. Under a laissez-faire system, a bank that’s behaved recklessly with lending, to the point that it becomes insolvent, collapses. Depositors are harmed and sometimes financially ruined. Often, there’s a brief economic downturn, but the culling of the bad bank actually strengthens the economy in the long run. However, in the last century, the major banks in the US have become so powerful with regard to government policy that they can now act recklessly, then be bailed out by the government, then act recklessly again. (Ultimately, this trend will result in a crash of epic proportions – an event that may come quite soon.)
There’s no problem raising the debt ceiling. All that’s necessary is to print more money to pay for it.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Dramatic printing of currency generally leads to higher prices. Inflation robs people of their wealth. Hyperinflation can utterly destroy it. And, as regards foreign debt, trading partners don’t take kindly to having the debtors degrade their debt. At some point, they’re likely to sell back their debt into the debtor’s economy. It would only take a fraction of the US debt held by the rest of the world to be sold back into the US for the US economy to collapse.
I don’t like war, but the attacks on Ukraine and the Middle East are necessary to make the world safe for democracy.
Since the end of World War Two, the US has regarded itself as the world’s policeman – a role that most of us outside the US consider to be quite an arrogant one for any nation to take. Even more puzzling for us is the general belief in the US that American invasions of countries actually result in democratisation. From Vietnam to Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Libya (the list goes on), there has been little evidence that US invasions have led to stable, democratic rule. In most cases, they have led to increased chaos. America is seen, not as the policeman, but the world’s foremost aggressor. This is not conducive to long-term American hegemony.
I realise that the US has passed considerable legislation lately that’s taken away my basic freedoms, but it’s been necessary in fighting terrorism.
Beginning with the Patriot Act of 2001, the US government has gone mad with the passage of a plethora of legislation that has trashed the US Constitution (often regarded by the outside world as the finest founding document that any country has ever produced.) As a result, even many Third World countries now enjoy greater individual freedom than can be found in the US.
This is still the best country in the world.
By almost every standard, this has, over recent decades, ceased to be the case. Before the world wars, the UK was the most powerful country in the world. Britons managed somehow to equate this fact to the belief that the UK was the “best” in every way. This was never entirely true, but most Brits accepted it anyway. Today, the methadone has finally taken effect and most of us accept that the dew is very much off the vine. This suggests that it will be a long time, possibly generations, before Americans come to realise that the glory days of empire are over and the decline is in process.
Alice had the right idea. As a young person not yet programmed by her government and the media to believe impossible things, she had a greater ability to see the world as it was. The rest of us have to work quite a bit harder to see through the smokescreen that governments and the media create. By the 1960s, it was apparent to the world that Britain had become a shell of its former self, but many Brits weren’t ready to accept that the party was over. (Today, 70 years after the war, the message has sunk in.) Now it’s America’s turn and it will be equally hard for them. For most, the standard of living and quality of life will diminish.
Those who will be the most likely to do well will be those who choose to recognise that, as America declines, there are some countries that are on the upswing. Those few who choose to diversify themselves beyond American shores will not only increase their objectivity, but, very likely, will assure themselves a freer, more prosperous future.
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