The Most Dangerous Man on Earth

After extended and painful deliberation… we have arrived upon an unshakeable conclusion:

The most dangerous human being on Earth is the ideological human being.

It is the ideological human being — the human being set aflame by theory and belief — that most menaces our individual and collective happiness.

For the ideological man would wreck the world before he would see his ideology wrecked.

This is the man with theories. This is the man with ideas ricocheting throughout his skull. This is the man married to and devoted to abstractions.

It is the ideological man who is hot to “make the world safe for democracy”… to “save the planet”… to yell that a biological man can in fact be a woman and that a biological woman can in fact be a man… to hug the theory that spending trillions of dollars into existence will not yield an inflation… that the solution to a debt crisis is the creation of debt greater yet.

There you have ideological man.

Ideological Men

Are you willing to chance atomic war with Russia over the Eastern European nation of Ukraine?

We have encountered those who would. Here you have ideological man.

Are you hot to outlaw the internal-combustion machine by 2035? Then you — friend — are an ideological man.

It has no grounding in fact.

As the ideologue erects his lovely castles in the blue skies above… he razes actual structures on Earth itself.

See for example the French Revolution. See for example the Soviet Revolution. See for example China’s Cultural Revolution.

Others exist.

Most critically: This is the man or the woman who cannot accept an honest opposition.

The ideological man must set the non-ideological man to rights.

As an engineer surmounting a difficulty to be overcome, he or she is out to engineer humanity itself.

That is the man — or woman — to watch. He or she represents a vast menace.

Ideology vs. Principle

The non-ideological man is content to plug along under reasonable constraints imposed by God, by nature, by reality.

He may yearn at times that immutable reality was other than what it is. Yet his reasoning faculties instruct him he must take the world as he finds it — not as he yearns it to be.

Yet ideological man conscripts his reason in the service of his beliefs… and places a rifle in its hands.

He will not bend himself to the world. It is the world that must bend itself to him.

Here we must distinguish between the ideological man and the principled man.

The principled man has his convictions, it is true. Yet the principled man recognizes limitation. He is not out to create the world anew.

He accepts that he must at times accommodate himself to an imperfect and unjust world. He is — in brief — rational.

The ideological man, the zealot, the 100% man, he will not accept the world as it is.

Place him in charge and you will likely discover that you have a future Robespierre on your hands, a future Mao on your hands, a future Hitler on your hands.

Look out.

What Underrides Ideology?

Yet the question naturally arises: If ideology animates a man… what animates ideology? What sits beneath it?

The answer is belief.

The intellect is slave to belief.

Beliefs are invisible censors that patrol the newsrooms of the human mind.

They run all entering data, all entering information, through their scrubbers.

Only the inflow that confirms their positions is shuffled along to the “conscious” mind. The remainder goes into the subconscious hellbox, shunned and discarded.

The recipient then accepts the end product as reality. He is unaware of the filtering that has occurred.

Beliefs Are Sunglasses

Ideological man is a man unknowingly sporting shaded sunglasses — be they red-tinged, blue-tinged, green-tinged — what have you.

The world before him thus appears crystalline and concrete in red, blue or green, depending on the model.

What he sees is as obvious as the very nose emplaced upon his face.

‘How can anyone disagree that the world is red?’ wonders the man with the red-tinged sunglasses. ‘Can’t they see?’

How can anyone disagree that the world is blue? wonders the man with the blue-tinged sunglasses. Can’t they see?

Each is unaware — blissfully — of the shaded sunglasses he is donning. He accepts as reality the biased and distorted images they project into his skull.

Beliefs are sunglasses. Beliefs provide the shading.

Ruthless Censorship

The censorship is ruthless. And all rival beliefs are mortal foes to be scotched at every possible hazard.

Like the genes of the human they infest, beliefs are committed unequivocally to their own survival.

They will defend themselves to the last ditch and to the final bullet.

Yet again, they produce a product the intellect considers unimpeachable and unassailable.

After all, only confirmatory data are cleared through to the final receiver in the cortical centers.

The intellect, again, then wonders how anyone can entertain opposite understandings.

“How can Joe vote Democrat?” Frank asks. “They are nothing else but rogues, rascals, knaves and nuts. Can’t he see it?”

“How can Frank vote Republican?” Joe asks. “They are nothing else but rogues, rascals, knaves and nuts. Can’t he see it?”

They may both be correct. They are both — in this instance — very likely correct.

Yet their polar beliefs blind them to the other’s position. They cannot see it.

It’s a Binary World

Observe this simple sketch. See the young beauty glancing out toward the 10 o’clock position.

You can discern her lovely eyelashes… hear left ear… her graceful jawline… the tip of her pert nose.

Her hair flows back in beautiful cascades. A necklace encircles her neck.

Do you see her?


image 1


Now have another look…

Take the head-on view. See the wretched old hag in a scarf. Note the monster nose, note the beady pinprick of an eye.

Note the gash of a mouth… and the witch’s chin jutting horribly beneath it.

You do see her, correct?

Now attempt a synthesis. Struggle to see both hag and beauty at once. You cannot do it. You see the one or you see the other.

You cannot see both.

Once you make the psychological commitment to one, you are blind to the other’s existence.

So it is with beliefs.

And here is an observation: When fact is weakest, belief is often strongest.

That is, a man harbors the strongest beliefs about that which he knows least.

A Matter of Faith

How else does one explain religious belief? The human being knows no more about God — His existence or nonexistence — than the average senator knows about the Constitution.

But tell a Muslim that Allah is fictitious… tell a Christian that Jesus is not the Son of God… tell an atheist that he is the actual creation of God…

And now you have a vicious enemy on your hands. But where are his facts? Indeed — where are your facts?

They are nowhere in evidence.

Again: Belief is strongest when fact is often weakest.

Perhaps that is why we believe so strongly in the government of the United States…

The Daily Reckoning