Guest Post: The "It Can't Happen Here" Syndrome
Submitted by Patrice Lewis of WND.com,
Here is a short quiz for you. Ready?
- What’s the current situation with Lindsay Lohan’s rehab?
- Who won the latest “Dancing With the Stars”?
- Name five celebrities with “baby bumps.”
- Explain how the Cypriot banking crisis could impact the European economy.
If you answered the first three questions but are clueless on the fourth, you’re in good company. Estimates are that up to half the population in America is ignorant about the situation in Cyprus. Oh sure, they hear snippets on the evening news, but since it’s far away and happening to other people, they don’t worry about it.
These people are suffering from a Normalcy Bias.
Just what is a Normalcy Bias? Wikipedia defines it as a mental state that “causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects.” It’s sometimes called the “It can’t happen here” syndrome. The assumption is that since a particular disaster has never occurred before, it never will. Any disturbing indications that something bad may happen are dismissed or trivialized.
Originally, the Normalcy Bias referred solely to natural disasters. The scale of devastation and societal disruption from Hurricane Katrina can be attributed in part to a Normalcy Bias – the refusal of the people of New Orleans to believe their beloved city could ever receive a direct hit from a major hurricane, despite its physical vulnerabilities. I distinctly remember seeing a live news report from New Orleans on the evening of Aug. 28, 2005, that showed people partying in the street with a (then) Category 4 hurricane hours away from landfall. Disaster? Nah. It can’t happen here. Gimme another beer.
But the Normalcy Bias has been extended to include political and social disasters as well. The most extreme example is Jews (and to an extent, some Germans) during the reign of the Nazis. Despite all the warning signs, many people remained in denial. Concentration camps? Genocide? Nah. Too crazy. It can’t happen here.
When we hear the mainstream media assuring us in soothing, condescending tones that we’re in an economic “recovery” – despite all evidence to the contrary – we want desperately to believe them. We don’t want anything to disrupt our ordinary, comfortable lives. We genuinely believe that if we cling to our normal way of life and habitual methods of doing things – despite overwhelming proof that something dangerous is looming – then everything will be OK. It can’t happen here.
But the situation in Cyprus is potentially international in scope. North Korea is doing some serious saber-rattling. America’s debt is so out of control that an economic crash is a statistical certainty. Sweeping anti-gun legislation is being enacted in various states even as we speak. As Ayn Rand so memorably put it, “You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”
Right now life is still pretty good in America. Grocery stores are well-stocked, restaurants are busy, movie theaters are full. Some people know that perhaps they should think about putting some of their retirement savings into tangibles or buying up some ammo, but what’s the hurry? The government won’t seize our assets or take away the Second Amendment. It can’t happen here.
But underneath our feet there is a low-grade ominous rumbling, something perceptive people detected many years ago. All is NOT right in America and in many other places in the world. Something bad IS heading our way. People need to prepare – physically, financially and spiritually.
Canada Free Press (which is not afraid to print in-your-face stuff about America) published a fascinating article on how the U.S. government has an agenda to kill the dollar. “The ultimate objective is to implement an international currency in tandem with a system of global governance,” writes Doug Hagmann. “The problem is that most people are not thinking large enough, nor do they understand the magnitude of the lie. They are not seeing the larger picture as their focus is diverted elsewhere. For example, they focus on various tentacles of the octopus such as the gun confiscation initiative, the DHS armament acquisitions and economic woes as independent and unrelated events. They are not. … Many will die from what is coming. The level of evil behind this plan is incomprehensible to the normal human mind.”
See? Normalcy Bias. People continue to cling to the notion that our leaders are working for us, not for themselves. So people sit on their butts watching “American Idol” or reading about celebrity baby bumps. Can the U.S. economy crash? Nah. It can’t happen here.
There are many people who just can’t “see” anything wrong with our country. Any restrictions to our constitutional freedoms and liberties are justified as “necessary” to ensure domestic tranquility. When the TSA performs atrocities on children, the elderly, or the disabled, they are excused as simply being overzealous for our security. When the federal government buys billions of rounds of hollow-point ammunition or mandates another offensive policy for kindergartners or places drones in American skies, we close our eyes and pretend it’s all for the common good. And for those who claim deep dark conspiracy theories? Take off your tin foil hats. It could never happen here. Everything’s fine.
And when something big and bad does happen, these people will be surprised. What will they say if savings accounts or pensions are confiscated (Hungary, Argentina, Cyprus)? If door-to-door gun seizures occur (England, Australia)? If dissident camps aren’t rumors after all (Cambodia, China, Russia)? Where did this come from?
“Denial is an integral part of atrocity,” wrote the late Iris Chang, “and it’s a natural part after a society has committed genocide. First you kill, and then the memory of killing is killed.”
The fact is, very little happens that doesn’t give some sort of advanced warning. All it takes is vigilance and a determination not to depend wholly on the mainstream media, which tends to filter world and national events to support their agenda.
So what can be done about all these dire things? Well, the first thing to do is strip away your Normalcy Bias and acknowledge that the smoke on the horizon means a fire is coming. Awareness, as they say, is half the battle.
And then prepare yourself physically, financially and spiritually. Learn how to safeguard your home and family; learn how to safeguard your money; and learn how to safeguard your soul.
But most of you won’t. You’ll have endless excuses why it’s not necessary, at least not yet. You’ll remain in denial. You won’t do anything.
Shrug. I tried.
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