Sunday, September 29, 2019

So Sorry, Your Karma Ran Over Your Dogma

When dogmas lose their grip on believers, they collapse in spectacular fashion.
Karma covers a lot of ground, but it boils down to consequences: consequences not just from your actions but from your convictions, schemes, obsessions, and yes, dogmas.
The reason why Karma runs over Dogma is that nobody clinging to a dogma sees themselves as dogmatic. The true believer never sees their conviction as dogma, but as Revealed Truth, as self-evident, a view that is buttressed by all the other True Believers who surround the believer, reinforcing their conviction and soothing any nagging doubts by mocking, "debunking" or marginalizing heretics and critics.
In our society, the mass media serves as a soothing echo-chamber of dogmas. It must be true, the news anchor said it on TV, etc.
Dogmas generate power and profits. Trillions of dollars flow into a few pockets because people believe the dogmas that "you need a college diploma to succeed" and "America's healthcare system is the best in the world."
As evidence-based doubts seep in, those at the top of the "faith" who have the most to lose become increasingly fanatical and rabid, pushing an increasingly restrictive Orthodoxy on true believers and establishing an Inquisition to excommunicate or eliminate any heretical doubts or dissenting views.
As the increasingly detached-from-reality leadership senses their power waning, they double-down, exhorting the faithful to support the orthodoxy even as the orthodoxy reaches new heights of fanaticism.
As moderates drift away (or sneak away, loudly proclaiming their fealty to cover their escape), the leadership triples down, demanding unwavering loyalty of the remaining believers, who themselves triple-down by reassuring each other that they really are on the right track and the world is about to awaken to the correctness and righteousness of their cause.
The problem with dogmas is that they are detached from the real-world consequences of dogmatic convictions. So the dogma that a college degree is the difference between prosperity and poverty is running up against the reality that the actual difference between prosperity and poverty is the amount of student loan debt that's crushing the graduates.
This reality is so dangerous to the student-loan-money-machine that the leadership has ramped up the propaganda that a college diploma is absolutely necessary if you don't want to be homeless (an obvious falsity) and going through an Orwellian exercise of "lowering" tuition. (This is a fiction because the "lowered" tuition is nothing more than what the average student actually pays after the university's shell-game of "tuition credits" and other flim-flam.)
Military dogmas get discredited on the field of battle, often in dramatic fashion. Financial markets (unless they're manipulated, of course) also provide painful real-world feedback. Those predicting one side of the trade will eventually be proven correct or incorrect.
To an alarming degree, the U.S. is dominated by dogmas that benefit the few at the expense of the many, and by leaders who are doubling or tripling down to defend the dogma and their power. As already noted, dogmas support extractive systems that enrich the few by bamboozling the many. As the perverse consequences of dogmas start piling up, those paying the costs of loyalty/belief start wavering and then buckling under the weight of reality.
The leaders, safely protected from the consequences of their elitist dominance and fearing the loss of their wealth, power and prestige, ramp up the time-honored strategy of increasing demands for loyalty and public virtue-signaling, jacking up media propaganda in support of the orthodoxy, and moving to ban, shadow-ban, suppress, punish, discredit, demoralize, de-platform, demonetize and marginalize critics, i.e. heretics who challenge the status quo's foundational dogmas.
When dogmas lose their grip on believers, they collapse in spectacular fashion. The much-derided biplane sink the status quo battleship, the stock market's "permanent high plateau" crashes, and so on. (WeWork's path from an IPO worth $50 billion to a cancelled IPO and insolvency in a mere six weeks is a timely example.)
Dogmas collapse first in the minds of believers, when they slowly awaken to the reality that the dogma no longer serves them, it only serves to prop up the wealth, power and prestige of their increasingly fanatic leaders. Propping up a failed system doesn't actually fix what's broken; it only guarantees the banquet of consequences will include shackles: the option to escape the consequences will no longer exist.
So sorry, but your karma ran over your dogma. The consequences and costs inexorably pile up, and neither Inquisitions to silence heretics nor virtue-signaling one's loyalty will stop the trajectory over the cliff.
My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format.


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