The self-deception of Western societies

Self-deception and dogmatism leading countries to their doom is nothing new. Historically, such a tendency among the ruling elites has led to major disruptions. As the ill-conceived climate policies and public overspending demonstrate in our time, democracies can be rigged to fall into this trap as well.

The German journalist Gabor Steingart remarked once that the modern citizen is neither Catholic nor Protestant but Politically Correct. “The highest Commandment is that in the name of the good thou should lie to yourself,” he tweeted.

Periods of massive-scale self-deception occur regularly in history and usually lead to cataclysmic disruptions. The typical symptoms of such a process are intolerance of divergent opinions, silencing debates and the rise of conspiracy theories, paradoxically accompanied by frequently hurtling conspiracy charges to muzzle dissenters.

Self-deception is usually coupled with a self-perpetuating of the political elite that requires a constant repetition of the prevailing narrative. The afflicted come to believe this discourse even when facts contradict it. As the consequences of real developments can be devastating to the elite, it is convenient – actually, from their viewpoint, necessary – to suppress the disturbing truth. Pragmatism gives way to dogmatism.

Many instances in history illustrate this mechanism. The ruling elites of France ignored the economic and social situation before the French Revolution. In Nazi Germany, official optimism prevailed until the very end of World War II. Against all logic, France tried to keep the colonial empire alive, leading to frustrating wars in Indochina and Algeria. And France and the United Kingdom succumbed to self-deception in 1956, when they went to war to preserve control of the Suez Canal …

Continue reading -> 
The self-deception of Western societies

GIS is a global intelligence service providing independent, analytical, fact-based reports from a team of experts around the world. We also provide bespoke geopolitical consultancy services to businesses to support their international investment decisions. Our clients have access to expert insights in the fields of geopolitics, economics, defense, security and energy. Our experts provide scenarios on significant geopolitical events and trends. They use their knowledge to analyze the big picture and provide valuable recommendations of what is likely to happen next, in a way which informs long-term decision-making. Our experts play active roles in top universities, think-tanks, intelligence services, business and as government advisors. They have a unique blend of backgrounds and experience to deliver the narrative and understanding of global developments. They will help you develop a complete understanding of international affairs because they identify the key players, their motivations and what really matters in a changing world. Our experts examine the challenges and opportunities in economies old and new, identify emerging politicians and analyze and appraise new threats in a fast-changing world. They offer new ideas, fresh perspectives and rigorous study.

Our Partners

Liechtenstein Academy | private, educational foundation (FL)
Altas Network | economic research foundation (USA)
Austrian Economics Center | Promoting a free, responsible and prosperous society (Austria)
Berlin Manhatten Institute | non-profit Think Tank (Germany) | Buecher fuer den Liberalismus (Germany)
Cato Institute | policy research foundation (USA)
Center for the New Europe | research foundation (Belgium)
Forum Ordnungspolitik
Friedrich Naumann Stiftung
George Mason University
Heartland Institute
Hayek Institut
Hoover Institution
Istituto Bruno Leoni
Institut Václava Klause
Instytut Misesa
IREF | Institute of Economical and Fiscal Research
Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise | an interdivisional Institute between the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and the Whiting School of Engineering
Liberales Institut
Liberty Fund
Ludwig von Mises Institute
New York University | Dept. of Economics (USA)
Stockholm Network
Students for Liberty
Swiss Mises Institute
Universidad Francisco Marroquin