With the recent developments in Iran I have been more optimistic about our relations and the problems that their nuclear program causes. Today I heard a news report about the conservative fundamentalists in Iran who are practically rioting in the streets to protest any improved relations with the West. Wow, I thought, those Muslim conservative are always the problem (9/11, Benghazi, Egypt, Terrorism in general…). Then on second thought I realized that it is not just a Muslim issue but that fundamentalist Christians prevent my gay friends from marrying and some have killed doctors, Jewish Ultraconservatives spit at little girls who are going to school because their skirts are too short, Buddhist Fundamentalists burn down Hindu temples (and vice versa), and on and on. As a general statement it is always the conservative fundamentalists everywhere and for all times who are doing the things I consider evil. When are we going to finally throw off the shackles of our brutish uneducated history and realize that liberal (in the dictionary definition not the political one) progressive and humanistic approaches are the only path to happier and healthier humans?
The DK effect is a cognitive error where those who are less skilled have a more definite unshakable conviction in their opinions than the experts. This is likely caused by the unskilled not being skilled enough to see their mistakes while the skilled understand the full complexity of the issue and recognize the possibility of mistakes. In our culture excellent examples (among hundreds) are the anti ACA people who are certain it will destroy the budget and health-care while the experts say it will save money, the anti GMO protesters who call GMO crops poison while the biologists and food professionals indicate that there is no danger, and those who demand that, despite the complete consensus by all trained biologists and scientists in every field, biblical creation (or some variation thereof) be taught at least along side of evolution. In our complex world we can not all know everything. If we are to live in a society where we have made the best choices, we cannot afford to let our personal preferences get in the way of the truth. When the skilled agree, making decisions based on our unskilled opinions is detrimental to our health.
The loss of the middle class is at the heart of the loss of quality of life in our country and a key component in the poor economic recovery. I believe we are asking the wrong questions. We should not be arguing over the rights of the wealthy or corporations to do as they wish but rather the right of the people who live in this country to have as good a life as possible. In an unfettered capitalistic society a small group becomes enormously rich. As the laws and regulations were eliminated by conservatives and regressive democrats like Mr. Clinton this is exactly what we have seen. There is now more wealth concentrated in fewer hands and less upward mobility than anytime since the early 1900′s. Does anyone think that this has made us happier overall? I believe that the purpose of a government and an economic system is to maximize to happiness of it’s citizens. By this definition the governments of Norway, Finland, Denmark and other more socialistic countries are far superior. They allow for business and competition but do so within much tighter regulation and have robust safety nets so their citizens do not have to live in fear. We on the other hand have moved away from what we have, the results of this experiments are in and we have failed the class.