Uninformed & Assuming

I used to think I was on the cutting edge of the news because I read the NYT, Atlantic Monthly, WJS, and listened to NPR each morning and afternoon. I figured that I was finally educated enough to understand their erudite vocabulary. Indeed I was better informed than the electricians I formerly worked with, and indeed those news sources are more “sophisticated” than the daily newspaper in Phoenix AZ or the pablum fed to us by Peter Jennings and his colleagues each evening. But nevertheless, the news produced by either source—dumbed down or sophisticated—that news is still controlled by those same gatekeepers that OWN all the news media.

Surely they are benevolent and want what is best for me.

So I was listening to NPR a couple of mornings ago, and they had an expert guest discussing Russia. She sounded young--too young to provide the kind of perspective and wisdom that we have come to expect from NPR. Her name is Julia Ioffe, a senior editor at New Republic (a respected liberal News publication). But I give people a chance, so I set her youthful voice aside and listened with an open mind as she explained why Vladimir Putin is likely to face trouble from within Russia this year. Maybe she is right, maybe not. What became apparent was a certain bias:

Even though she claims (warranted) to be expert on Russia, her conclusions betrayed several misconceptions about the United States as she built her logic on deeply held assumptions that too few people question.

If I may digress for a moment…

I hope that most of you recall the structure of logic that you should have learned in school: Do you remember the Syllogism—the thought formula that leads us from truth, through the available data to sound conclusions?

Given a major premise (truth), and considering a minor premise (fact), we can conclude that…

  • All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
  • Lawbreakers try to escape the police. OJ Simpson ran from the police. Therefore, OJ broke the law.
  • Men have wider shoulders than women. Michele has wide shoulders. Michele is really a man.
  • Normal trading patterns reflect the randomness of human psychology and news events. Metals charts are displaying regularity in downward moves. Therefore, human agency may be unduly influencing the price of metals.

Are those "givens" really true? It is the “givens” that cause problems, not the logic. Our confidence in the truth of the major premise determines the likelihood the conclusion is true. In the examples above, we can question the major premise to a greater or lesser degree, extending doubt into the conclusion. Moreover, there are always conditions that can negate the major premise altogether. We must consider these conditions before pronouncing our conclusion valid, e.g., a man could claim to be the son of God, some lawbreakers want to be caught, many women have masculine physical attributes… And with gold? Well, let’s move on…

The logic always works! The problem come in when one does not test or question the major premises, when we ASSUME that these are true without examination or at least recognizing there nearly always conditions that can negate them.

We build our lives on these major premises—collecting a set of “Truths” that guide our decision making, our evaluations, our judgments for our entire lives. As a person sets up their foundation of major premises, they rarely come back to question them, ever. We believe truths taught by our parents when we were babes. Our schools from Kindergarten up to very high levels teach and reinforce faulty major premises. College could have provided some truth, but too often education is either too narrow, as the chemist stuck in a lab for 9 years mixing magic potions who never reads outside of his discipline, or professors with an agenda simply not teaching all they know. Getting a broad-based, high quality education is difficult.

Literally, we are at the mercy of the truths we believe. And it is a matter of belief. Many argue that there is no “Truth.” These social constructionists have some firm ground to stand on in arguing that claim. I take the position that “belief is what matters and that truth exists, but is difficult to know.”

But when you build your life on assumptions that are arguably false, then you have some problems and will say and do things that lead to personal disaster.—lead a community disaster if you are a leader.

  • Fiat money is as good as gold.
  • The news media is free.
  • Democracy is the best form of government.
  • War is necessary and normal.
  • The US government tells the truth.
  • Government officials of other nations tell the truth.
  • The news media tells the truth.
  • The US government represents the people.

Then when an old fart like me starts disbelieving the “standard account of how the world is” I am called a cynic, a whacko, conspiracy theorist, or worse (if there is anything worse). But maybe that cynicism is merely wisdom that comes with experience. If there is any negativity, it is due to the attitude, not the knowledge of the cynic.

(Down goes gold even as I type, as the French government is falling apart, as San Francisco deals with an earthquake, as The US Services PMI numbers miss again, as CITI sells off their dollar holdings, as we have an active shooter at Fort Lee, and as we learn that 50% of loans in Cyprus are in default, new home sales drop and the Dallas Fed plunges, Ukraine destroys more imaginary Russian tanks and the S&P is at 1999)

So getting back to Julia, I had to listen to her comments in light of the interviews with Dr. Cohen. Julia is competent, educated, outspoken, confident, but still operating with deeply held assumptions about the US and, its history, and its current policies. Dr. Cohen seems to have lost any illusions about the nature of the US and provides a more insightful perspective of events in the Ukraine. Cohen has told quite a different story, a story with deeper levels of narrative fidelity and probability. I urge everyone to listen to the podcasts if you want to understand the big picture in Ukraine.

But Julia has said the following about Putin and Russia:  link  link

  • “Putin’s reckless policy in eastern Ukraine”
  • “Ruthless”
  • "He … eviscerated … the fledgling forms of democracy and free speech”
  • “Vladimir Putin isn't very good at thinking long-term. … started this mess, but he didn't, necessarily, start it with an exit strategy prepared.”
  • “But before the West celebrates the possibility of Putin being forced from the throne, we should consider what might come after him.” 

In that series of statements I hear that the US foreign policies are superior to whatever Russia has, I hear that Putin is evil and not very smart, that the US supports democracy while others do not, and that all she had been taught about US and Russian history was correct--all from an American perspective, reinforced by a selective vision that sees Russian corruption, to be sure, but interprets all their actions through the lens of Soviet imperialism.

What about American Imperialism? Victoria Nuland? Bringing you "democracy," whether you want it or not!

If what Furguson, MO experienced was democracy, I may need to rethink all this...

I can tell you from experience that Journalism majors are only required to take two history classes and no economics, in most programs. Any expertise one gains in an area must be gained on your own. The problem here is not Julia’s competence or journalistic ability (she is actually quite fearless and impressive), but the problem is her set of major premises that is beset with ignorance about American history, the relationship between world bankers, governments and their designs for the future, the nature of money. With such assumptions, and given the evidence she has uncovered, her conclusions are logical. But with the knowledge many of us here have embraced, Putin actually seems to be doing what is best for Russia--especially in light of his comments about ending dollar hegemony. He gets it.

The problem is in those pesky major premises.

Ignorance in America is by design—in the news media and in the citizens. No doubt our political leaders are ignorant as well, as they accept their bribes perks as payment to pass legislation. Truth is sometimes taught in areas that do not threaten the political-banking power structure. But when it comes to what makes this nation and economy tick, the truth is obfuscated with complexity, or just buried.

The data we can see is this: our economy is broken, living a lie on QE life support, the US is instigating wars to boost its economy, the bankers are pillaging what they can as the situation declines, the Dollar is being marginalized, and Russian leaders are no worse than our own (ruthless, no exit strategy), and America is neither democratic nor a Republic any longer, see this and this. Given that data, logic will not allow you to move forward with optimistic conclusions. Nor can you work backwards to uncover major premises about the nature of our leadership and power structure that are not absolutely repugnant.

But back to metals... Are you having trouble building that stack due to this tough economy (I am these days)? Well, an education is probably worth more than silver and gold (though having both is nice and certainly possible), and it is free. This, and other like-minded websites are providing education, for those who will hear it—an economic and political education. You can find specialized classes in health, medicine, gardening, prepping, organic foods, investment, and about every deep conspiracy theory you want to explore.  Or if you consider such things too frivolous, you could go to the U of Texas and take “Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond.”

The problem isn’t that people are stupid, but that they are ignorant, then they defend their assumptions with tooth and nail. As children we are trained, told what and how to do things. We do not even ask why. If we do ask too many questions, we get slapped down because our parents-teachers may not know why.

We are not taught anything near the truth about American history in terms of the American power structure. And if events pull back the curtain, the news media quickly shoves a fluff story in our face to redirect our attention the other way. I recall using that tactic with my kids when they got into something.

If you want to reach your relatives and friends, educating them about the economy and world may be the best way. Appealing to greed with tales of $50 silver may get interest, but fear of loss will balance the scale and bring them back to their norm. Education about the true state of our economy only has to overcome ignorance to be effective. The conclusion to prepare will logically follow.

A wise man once said, “if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”

America is in trouble and the seas are getting worse.


DayStar's picture

Last Syllogism

I don't follow the logic in that last syllogism.  I don't think there is enough information in that syllogism to definitely conclude that human agency is influencing the price of gold.  We would have to know for certain the price change could not be from any cause other than human intervention, and I don't think the syllogism accounts for that.


Fat Willie's picture


Nice work doc!

edit- damn, second.   Oh well, back to the blow and hookers.   Like my buds at the CFTC.  

silver66's picture

Third or as we say here---THURD

nice article


crylandjr's picture

Great Post!

yes First!!!

Dang, not even third.

Dr Jerome's picture


Daystar, I tried to clarify that last one...

Hey! gold just bounced up $2 after I posted . Therefore I conclude that articles on this blog support metals prices.

Hammer's picture

(No subject)

Turd Ferguson's picture

Wow! That's really good stuff, Doc.


Thanks for the very insightful post.

amarula4's picture

@DrJerome - all syllogisms are not created equal

Well I think we are not quite grasping at the same straws here:

  • All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. [All is absolute - so conclusion fine]
  • Lawbreakers try to escape the police. OJ Simpson ran from the police. Therefore, OJ broke the law. [But, NOT all lawbreakers try to escape the police - some try to lie and fake it out. ALSO, SOME people run from the police who are NOT lawbreakers - some are innocent but afraid of guilt by association, some are afraid of being arbitrarily arrested/shot/questioned/being forced to appear in court and waste their time, etc, etc. There is a lack of absolute - it does not say 'All lawbreakers...' - you could say it is indicative, or statistically suggestive, but never conclusive]
  • Men have wider shoulders than women. Michele has wide shoulders. Michele is really a man. [Again, lack of an absolute, NOT ALL men have wider shoulders...]
  • Normal trading patterns reflect human psychology and news events. Gold charts are erratic. Therefore, human agency is unduly influencing the price of gold. [Totally all over the place - a complete non sequitur - 'normal' charts is so hard to define - normal for silver (higher volatility than gold or bonds) is not 'normal' generally...take each word and even try to define it... eg, 'human psychology' = 'human agency' !? - conclusion just not happening dude]

'It is the “givens” that cause problems...' - maybe, but here I think it is the lack of definitions and absolutes that prevent valid syllogistic apples-for-applesness here.

Dr Jerome's picture

The givens


Well I tried to bring that out--the certitude of our givens determines the probability that the conclusion is valid. All these major promises can be questioned. Absolutes are few and far between. We are on the same page. I'll add an edit above to clarify.

Silver Sooner's picture

Dear Julia,

The KGB is VERY good at thinking long-term.


Silver Sooner

PS: Cookies are reckless too.

ancientmoney's picture

Russell on gold: wait til 2015 . . .

"In other words, regardless of its price, gold represents a certain amount of wealth. Gold is at the bottom of the wealth pyramid. All prices are figured off the standard, which is gold. Sell everything else if you have to, but do not trade or sell your gold. If or when everything else is crashing, gold will be the last man standing.

The P&F chart indicates that gold could fall to 1230 while the bottoming process proceeds. A clean bullish breakout would occur if gold fills the 1330 box, but I don' think this is in the cards at this time. I believe gold will continue building its massive base between now and the end of the year. My thinking is the next year we will see the start of a new and giant bull market in gold and silver."

Great article, Dr. J!


ancientmoney's picture

Julia: another pretty "expert" given to us . . .

by the MSM to feed us their desired messages.

ancientmoney's picture

DayStar: you were first but didn't trumpet the fact . .

Now I know society is crumbling and we are doomed! smiley

argentus maximus's picture

Dr J. Well said!

Dr J. Well said!

Dr Jerome's picture


I see what you are saying. I thought the James McShirley article did a good job of comparing a "normal" period when nightly open moves were more random, compared to the unusual regularity of the downward moves in recent years. There can always be other variables that negate a conclusion. A good researcher addresses them. A t-test statistically concludes whether a new pattern could happen due to chance, or due to a variable.

I tried to clarify and added a qualifier above.

Urban Roman's picture

All syllogisms have three

All syllogisms have three lines.

Therefore this is not a syllogism.

infometron's picture

Modus Ponens

If I am American (or nationality of your choice) then everything America does is great.

I am American

Therefore, everything America does is great

This is a very nice and commonly used rule for detaching oneself from thinking.

Thanks for another great post, Dr. J.! As always: reflective, thoughtful, and engaging!

silver66's picture

I learn at the feet of the master

could not have said it better myself


Clubfoolish's picture

just received my discounted 50 ozs silver bars from eBay

10 x 5 oz bars, delivered for $950 total fiat.

Amazing 'trade' at this juncture in our semi-defunct "treasury/bond/debt/fiat supply" cycle.

Hope *everyone* here gets their free 10% off (up to $100) and adds to their stack of Ag or Au from eBay.

btw, my redemption code was a generic "CSAVENOW".  It might work for everyone, but I don't know.

crambo's picture

Assumptions and Syllogisms

I look forward to your weekly entries as much as I do Cal Lawyer's. Both of you have intriguing and thoughful insights.

As I have gotten older I've come to realize that "reality" and "truth" exist in some place between the sender and the receiver. I have often told people of polar opposite views that the "truth" is probably closer to somewhere in the middle of the two views. But folks like that don't like to think there is any view but their own. They fall back onto their own "truths" as a source of comfort and anchor.

I recently sent Senator Enzi (Wyoming) a note regarding this issue and the state of our Federal government, lies and all. Your timing is intriguing.

Bottom line, the confusion I feel at times trying to discern where "reality" lies, coming to grips with the concept that America isn't all the advertising would lead us to believe and wondering where the future lies for the human species leads me to understand why even a false syllogism is of some comfort. But those can you lead you astray, as you so ably noted.

Focus on your local level, work with those around you, your neighbors, co-workers and the like (in my case, even local government). It is the only solace I have for the madness that seems to surround us.

treefrog's picture


re: local government.  local, small town politics seems to me less crooked than state level or national.  i think the reason is that everybody knows everybody else, and the local politicians realize that if they do something rotten, someone will tell their mother.

infometron's picture

back to school in 'merica

crambo's picture


My experience supports your view. When someone working in an elected office can't face the electorate locally with a clear conscious, they will be gone next election cycle.

It is one of the reasons I moved here. Actually had a chance and a reason to be involved, unlike Kalifornia...

SS121's picture

Dr. J, please check my answers

The problem is in those pesky major premises.


Are those "givens" really true? It is the “givens” that cause problems, not the logic. 

I originally questioned the "given" that the price data displayed on the silver and gold charts are the results of ANY actual trading.

If we do ask too many questions, we get slapped down because our parents-teachers may not know why.

Yes, that is the story of my my life.  And asking whether or not the silver and gold charts were totally manufactured (fake) wasn't popular either.  So I intuitively and logically posed the question to reality.

Would it be possible to fake the charts? ANSWER: "Yes" (my many years running a Network Operations Center, actually designing chart data feeds, etc.. testified accordingly.  "Possible" and MUCH easier than managing prices through all the trading and economic dynamics the media constantly implies are at work.)

would it be in the interest of those who own "the charts"?  ANSWER: "Yes"  (.."give me CONTROL of the world's ..."  "those few who do understand the SYSTEM will be so dependent on it.."  it's owners testified)

if every stock, and silver and gold, are actually "computer traded" by all these unlimited-fiat big banks and hedge funds the world over, then that should make for a huge industry employing 100s of 1,000s of programmers and all their accompanying corporate baggage... shouldn't it??  ANSWER: "Yes" (but i searched the internet for even little pieces, and no such industry, or "Become an HFT-Algo Programmer and See The World" schools, or anything similar could be found)

Then there was the time that the apparently "programmed" end of day silver chart close setting was left in a tiny 20-cent range, for 10 days!!  Could this be anything other than a fake chart? ANSWER:  "No" (no way a multitude of random computer traders always move the price chart back to the same little end of day range like that)

Then, in late June 2013 the down trending silver chart was stopped dead in it's tracks by public physical Silver demand.  And since June 2013 the silver chart has been limited (controlled) by the public physical Silver demand threshold of which supposed HFT Algos etc would have no visibility or not regard even if they did.

Does this sound more like a 14-month statistically impossible coincidence or a chart that is programmed to manage the public's "Silver sentiment"? ANSWER: "of those 2 choices, definitely the latter... fake chart"

For many months (years?.. good grief) I've basically made the case that the world of charts (silver chart anyway)  is a 100% hoax.  To suggest that published football scores, or the displayed results of speedometers was a hoax would be quickly met with videos, or alternative time/distance methods of validating speeds, etc.  Yet, i haven't heard the first peep from anybody explaining to me the silver chart's proof of legitimacy.  does this prove the silver chart is a fake?  ANSWER:  "No" 

Would the bankers be more interested in controlling the price of silver or profiting from trading? ANSWER: Controlling Price. (they have unlimited fiat, don't need to trade.  but if they lose control of the price of Silver, it's all over for their system)


Thank you for that excellent article Dr. J.  I love the context of challenging premises using intuition and logic when no direct evidence is available.  I'm sorry you have to suffer through my writing here and wish i was in your class so we could draw all this out on a giant white board and really put it to the test!! 

Kerbouchard's picture

@ Infometron

Yeah, that Burning Platform article hits the nail on the head.  There's no gratitude, just an inflated sense of entitlement.

About twenty-five years ago I got involved in a food drive with certain celebrities.  Even back then, I was appalled with the underlying (and overt!) attitude displayed by the "needy" families.

Where's the humility?

opticsguy's picture

The Atlantic has become unreadable corporate propoganda

I let my subscription lapse after 22 years last month.

New meme

Dr Jerome's picture

food drive

I was involved with a food bank at our church a few yeass ago. We sponsored a Spaghetti dinner one Friday night for  a couple of bucks per plate. The room was packed with our local "patrons.  I was behind the serving counter and overheard people saying they had skipped more than one meal, by choice, so they could eat more that night. Some people came back for 3-4 large plates loaded with pasta and bread. I couldn't believe how much they ate.

Infometron--that article is disturbing. Thanks for the head's up. Our future is bleak. This is NOT my grandparents generation heading into a depression.

BagOfGold's picture

Dr Jerome's most unfortunate event!...

By executive order...Obama is NOT a pizza!...Therefore...


So sorry...Dr Jerome!!!...


Bag Of Gold


SaratogaPrepper's picture

"Indeed I was better informed

"Indeed I was better informed than the electricians I formerly worked with"

Gee, thanks Doc. wink

cliff 567's picture

Bro Jerome

I never felt the first twinge of disparagement on the first read. I noticed it and entirely empathized with the premise.

After Saratoga's pun, I did a review assessment anew. I still have zero fault.

All of my Bros are real human beings.

cliff 567

Syndicate contentComments for "Uninformed & Assuming"