Trying to determine which is the 'Big Lie'
In one form or another, the “Big Lie” seems to be at the core of our political life.
Predictions of disaster are the norm. Hyperbole is the currency of politics these days, and most of us have become immune to the threats. Even when we believe in one or another of the dire predictions, we hold back.
One reason is that we don’t want to be seen as extremist, as people drawn to conspiracy theories. But another reason is what’s known as the “normalcy bias.” As defined by one source:
“The normalcy bias … causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster … . The assumption … is that since a disaster never has occurred, then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs.”
Most of us have a normalcy bias. Even if we didn’t, confusion would remain in politics because one person’s big lie is another’s gospel.
There are plenty of current examples: global warming; the tyranny of gun control; Obamacare; the fiscal cliff.
We see the big lie working with regard to public pensions. They say we must fulfill the promise — the contract — we made with Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System; they don’t remember that our promise was to pay 50 percent of income after 30 years of service, not 100-plus percent for fewer years.
The big lie has been working at an unprecedented level with regard to the financial condition of the United States.
We keep borrowing more and more, and simply print more dollars to pay off that staggering debt. It’s as if the U.S. dollar is guaranteed to remain the world’s accepted global currency; it’s not, as Britain learned in the 20th century.
We artificially control interest rates and manipulate unemployment statistics to make it appear that things are getting better, hiding the true threat of financial debt crisis.
Everyone knows that a family, a city or state cannot borrow and spend without limits, without consequences. Why, then, have we come to believe that the United States of America can ignore the principles of economics?
It’s the normalcy bias at work. And those who cry out to change our financial course are branded as practitioners of the big lie.
Ignorance, as they say, is bliss.
Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@news register.com or 503-687-1223.