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IPFS News Link • Economic Theory

How Did the West Become So Stupid?

•, By John Leake

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a Substack post about Dietrich Bonhoeffer's 1943 essay "On Stupidity." At this time last year, I was concerned that Bonhoeffer's observations seemed to be ever more pertinent to our own era.

This morning, while reading that Russian intelligence intercepted a phone conversation between ranking German military officers about blowing up the Crimea Bridge, I realized that much of the West, including Bonhoeffer's native Germany, is now officially stupid.

We live in an era in which patent nonsense is widely accepted by most of our political class and media, and (apparently) by at least half the adult population. And it's not the garden variety stupidity of being distracted and not paying attention. What we are now seeing is a reversion to the intellectual and emotional life of a 7th grader—a perfect storm of emotional dysregulation, lack of perspective, truculence, and gullibility.

When did this happen and how did it happen? Increasingly it seems to me that the genesis of this contagion is that our debt financing of EVERYTHING has enabled us to become detached from reality without suffering corrective consequences.

Every time it seems that reality might intrude and send us back to concerning ourselves with real things instead of adolescent fantasies and obsessions, another CRISIS erupts that gives our central banks yet another excuse for another round of massive credit expansion.

Since 2020, credit expansion has been accompanied by inflation, which seems to have accelerated and intensified the problem.