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May 04, 2007

Comments

Alex Censor

Hi Dick,
You wrote, in part --
"...For me there are lessons here. There is virtually no limit to human stupidity. I am not talking about the guys in jail but their clients. Make no mistake. The guys in jail had savvy enough to use county recorders offices to help them put some money in the bank. The same stupidity here is why folks can convince otherwise sane and functioning people that Federal Income Tax is voluntary."

Dick, I fear it has something to do with something other than just sheer stupidity in the sense of raw lack of neural function.

I have met some folks who seem to be at least moderately intelligent (say can master moderately complex computer functions, read and use maps to navigate, and who I am sure would score at least 120 on an IQ test if not higher) who can believe the "income tax is voluntary" to say nothing of believing that the US government blew up the world trade centers (I'm appalled at the policies and idiocies of this administration but believing that nonsense requires some incredible mental gymnastics and ability to look incredibly selectively at reality.)

I know nominally intelligent and well educated people who can sign onto the various versions of Ponzi schemes that keep reappearing -- sometimes mixed in with multilevel marketing, "new age spiritualism", etc.. In contrast, my wife, while intelligent and not overly cynical, has only a high school education -- yet she spots these same schemes instantly -- understands that if there's more money supposed to be coming out than true productive activity going on, or if you don't understand how a company makes its money don't mess with it, and that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

I don't have a name for what it is, OTHER than your suggestion of just lack of neural capacity or education (what I guess you mean by stupidity), it takes to fall for those kind of cons, but it's in the realm of ability to believe what one would like to believe and to compartmentalize one's concepts and thus simultantiously keep contradictory beliefs isolated from each other so as to not see that at least one of them must be flawed.

{This message constructed with not less than 99% recycled electrons}

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