Paul Krugman, of The New York Times have developed a theory to explain why conservatives do not seem to be learning from their errors - they are not using an evidence based approach to learning from their mistaken theories after reality proves them wrong. In Conservative Delusions About Inflation, Krugman notes that their "problem isn't ignorance it's wishful thinking." perhaps ever generously not noting the more likely possibility that conservatives may have both problems. "Confronted with a conflict between evidence and what they want to believe for political and/or religious reasons, many people reject the evidence," says Krugman.
In this case, the more one knows, the worse this delusional pattern becomes as the true believer become more expert in knowing what evidence "to reject to sustain their belief system."
Kruman describes the cases of conservative pundits whose "faith in free markets and disdain for government," were surprised by the speculative crash of housing markets in 2009 that "bubbleheads" had warned would be unstable without regulation. When the crashed proved conservative wrong and "bubbleheads" correct, they did not modify their delusional belief systems but instead blame liberals and they saw threats not from the policies which created the speculative bubble, but from Democrats efforts to repair, and contain the damage.
And although the Federal Reserve has persisted with an expansionary monetary policy inflation has stayed low just as liberal economist predicted, says Krugman.
Above all, there were many dire warnings about the evils of “printing money.” For example, in May 2009 an editorial in The Wall Street Journal warned that both interest rates and inflation were set to surge “now that Congress and the Federal Reserve have flooded the world with dollars.” In 2010 a virtual Who’s Who of conservative economists and pundits sent an open letter to Ben Bernanke warning that his policies risked “currency debasement and inflation.” Prominent politicians like Representative Paul Ryan joined the chorus. ...
Have the conservatives admitted they were wrong about inflation? Nope.
Krugman saves his best line for last, "(w)hen faith — including faith-based economics — meets evidence, evidence doesn’t stand a chance."
In fact, hardly any of the people who predicted runaway inflation have acknowledged that they were wrong, and that the error suggests something amiss with their approach. Some have offered lame excuses; some, following in the footsteps of climate-change deniers, have gone down the conspiracy-theory rabbit hole, claiming that we really do have soaring inflation, but the government is lying about the numbers (and by the way, we’re not talking about random bloggers or something; we’re talking about famous Harvard professors). Mainly, though, the currency-debasement crowd just keeps repeating the same lines, ignoring its utter failure in prognostication.
Well, it turns out that money is indeed a kind of theological issue. Many on the right are hostile to any kind of government activism, seeing it as the thin edge of the wedge — if you concede that the Fed can sometimes help the economy by creating “fiat money,” the next thing you know liberals will confiscate your wealth and give it to the 47 percent. Also, let’s not forget that quite a few influential conservatives, including Mr. Ryan, draw their inspiration from Ayn Rand novels in which the gold standard takes on essentially sacred status.
Although I recommend this quick and fun read for entertainment and perspective, it's pessimistic implications are discouraging has Krugman theory predicts more experience will not help, but only lead conservatives to become more entrenched in their delusional system of wishful thinking.