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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.  

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. ...

And although the Federal Reserve has persisted with an expansionary monetary policy inflation has stayed low just as liberal economist predicted, says Krugman.

Have the conservatives admitted they were wrong about inflation? Nope.

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.

Krugman saves his best line for last, "(w)hen faith — including faith-based economics — meets evidence, evidence doesn’t stand a chance."

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.    

Originally posted to HoundDog on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 05:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

    by HoundDog on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 05:53:23 PM PDT

  •  This Is a Fundamentalist Refusal to Believe That (16+ / 0-)

    conservatism is what it is. It's carrying on the fundamentalist belief of educated people that conservatism is some oppositional variety of liberalism.

    Conservatism is RULES not process, not a different philosophy of governing. A hammer's not a different kind of screwdriver.

    Rules, as conservatives CONSTANTLY explain to us (and we constantly refuse to accept that they believe it because if we believed that we'd be crazy), are fixed at the outset and are meant to be played by --not to be revised by the players or by the developing score once the game is underway.

    And so there is no such thing as an "error" in conservative policy because the policy is fixed rules. The rules aren't players, they're not active, they can't make mistakes any more than a soccer pitch could make a mistake. Does anyone penalize a soccer pitch? What would that be, shorten it for 20 minutes?

    Rules are not subject to change, which is why outcomes and results are not relevant, and that's why Republicans don't learn from results. Learning implies the rules would be changed to achieve different results but that's a wrong, an injustice.

    The rules being beyond question, it's behavior that is to be changed by those individuals seeking different results for themselves.

    Any problems can only be in the behavior of players. They're to be punished for violating rules, of course, otherwise, may their tribes increase, and if they don't, let them turn to family and church for support.

    Republicans don't learn from history because there is nothing to learn.

    Progressives however do have something to learn, and at the end of half a century of retreat in the face of continually triumphant illogical conservatism, the first thing to learn might be what actually is coming at us.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 06:33:14 PM PDT

    •  Interesting thesis. You should post this Gooserock (8+ / 0-)

      You've identified an important part of this paradigm clash.

      And, finding our own paradigm blind spots should be even more useful than knowing about the conservative's blind spots.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 07:16:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with HoundDog, this is an interesting line (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, leftykook, hbk

      that I'd like to see more fully laid out!

      Babylon system is the vampire... ~Bob Marley

      by sfinx on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 08:12:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Boy howdy! (0+ / 0-)
      Progressives however do have something to learn
      Marketing 101.

      "So when I [George Lakoff] was approached by Scott [Wittkopf] about what could be done in Wisconsin, I said here is what the Republicans have done, It is very smart. . . .When Republicans went to college and studied business, they took a course in marketing and found out how people really think."

      Progressives need to learn from that, Lakoff says.

      Follow the link - worthwhile read.

      Also worth a look:
      Anat Shenker-Osorio (appearing at NetRoots, I think)
      Drew Westen

      The only reason the 1% are rich is because the 99% agree they are.

      by GreatLakeSailor on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 10:06:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't agree... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Sandino, hbk

    If Conservatives really believed this then they shouldn't be so rich. I believe they don't believe but are just using this as an excuse to justify doing nothing.

    This is like man-made climate change. We know Mitt Romney believes it is happening but won't admit it again on TV.

    •  There may be some of each kind. It would be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      interesting to design a survey to get data on what this proportion might be.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 09:45:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe Altemeyer (0+ / 0-)

        found like 20% of a given population is made of those with the 'Authoritarian Follower' personality type.  They are often found clustered around a 'Charismatic Sociopath' type.

        This is not really relevant to their (inherited) wealth, since they have a very powerful, group-reinforced Cognitive Dissonance, that allows them to do business rationally while firmly holding contradictory beliefs. When reality conflicts with their dogma, they double down on the dogma.

  •  It is called Cognitive Dissonance (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arendt, GreatLakeSailor, Sandino, hbk

    as described in When Prophecy Fails, by Leon Festinger and others. Ideologies and religions with firm and fixed beliefs requiring specific actions that are hard to back away from or reverse, and that use social disapproval to enforce conformity, routinely react to the failure of their predictions by doubling down and looking for any excuse, no matter how implausible, to go on believing.

    The cult studied for the book predicted the end of the world at a specific moment, with an out for believers who showed up at a specific place with specific preparations, in order to be taken away on UFOs. Nothing happened. The cult then decided that because of their faith in showing up, the UFO masters had decided to spare the rest of the Earth. They then went out and proselytized even harder than before, and the cult grew.

    This is not working for the Religious Right and the Tea Parties, which have maxed out and are now hemorrhaging millions of young people annually. They are becoming more and more ideologically pure, and more and more determined to chase out the RINOs, and they absolutely refuse to countenance attempting to recruit any of the enemy, such as women, minorities, immigrants, the young, LGBTs, or the old.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 09:56:04 PM PDT

  •  They're driven by their Id (instincts) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 06:30:07 AM PDT

  •  Since conservatives. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cannot change their perspective or learn from experience, they will have to be removed from all positions of authority.  Their persistent dream state renders them incompetent.

    Religious convictions have an important place in human affairs, but the tools used to find spiritual truth are totally misplaced in the exploration of physical reality. Science gives us tools for this task.

    Conservatives combat certain scientific theories perhaps because they resent being proven wrong and nothing more than that.  The defensive manuevers can get drastic -- vide Galileo vs.Catholic Church and the Scopes trial.

    Conservatives think that pure faith has given them all they need to know and they reject (disbelieve) anything which contradicts it.  Imperceptive and unthinking, they resemble robots, and they must go.

    Canem Praeteri, Cave Modo Hominem. (Never mind the dog, just watch out for the human)

    by T C Gibian on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 08:04:09 AM PDT

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