When the Danger is the Greatest

My wife and I, and a few friends, recently saw Garrison Keiller in Tampa. He’s the well-known host of Prairie Home Companion on public radio.

This guy’s a character. As he walks onto the stage with his dark grey suit, red tie, and red sneakers, you immediately know he’s someone different.

He grew up in the great cold of Minnesota, in a very fundamentalist family. He wasn’t the type of guy that would just fit in to such an environment, so he has many great and funny stories to tell and a lot of wisdom to share about life.

He is clearly an outlier by Malcolm Gladwell’s definition.

And he’s a rare speaker and comedian that can appeal simultaneously to more conservative people, with old-fashioned values, and to college students and more progressive audiences.

He just sees directly through life and its paradoxes…

And he tells stories in incredible detail, with down-home humor and penetrating insights. One of his funniest lines (of many) was that young people today, with all of their piercings, “look like they fell facedown into a tackle box.”

If he comes to your city, I recommend you go to see him. It was the best $55 I’ve spent in a long time.

But more than offering you a suggestion for some great entertainment, I write to you today about him because he and I share a core message. That is, people try too hard to avoid pain and discomfort… and in doing so we only weaken ourselves. It’s when we embrace that pain or our circumstances… accept the consequences of our decisions… that we progress.

Like Keiller and those who grew up in Minnesota in the 1950s know, they never closed the schools when it got bitterly cold or snowed heavily. They’d just put on their coats and snow shoes and go about their lives.

Today, too many people think we can have pleasure without pain, good without bad, booms without busts. We’ve become spoiled brats by any definition.

We don’t ever want to have a cold. A cold and its inconvenient symptoms are a sign that the body is ridding itself of an imbalance or toxic situation. We get congested noses because that is how our body flushes out the danger. We cough to clear our lungs. Our bodies ache because we need to rest so our defenses have the energy necessary to beat the contagion.

But we have cold medicines to suppress the aches and pains, congestion and coughing. Is that a good idea? Sure, we can go about our day. But in the process, we’re likely spreading the illness to those we come into contact with AND we’re endangering our lives.

Doctors in third world countries classify diarrhea as a disease. It’s not a disease! It’s the process by which the body eliminates toxins as rapidly as possible.

Doctors (governments and economists) just love to treat symptoms.

Smart people treat the causes.

Like Keiller hinted during his show, we’ve lost touch with reality. We’ve disconnected ourselves from the natural pains in life that actually teach us how to survive and grow.

Economists are as guilty of this as anyone. They think the economy should run like a machine… constantly growing, with low inflation and no recessions. Just suppress the symptoms. Stop the natural purification process!

What total idiots.

They’ve helped create the greatest bubble in modern history with all of their instant-relief antibiotics we know as Keynesian economics. Now their only solution is to keep the bubble going forever. If they don’t, the economy could implode.

How stupid is that?

Governments won’t allow the debt bubble to rebalance, or asset values to come back down to reality. They espouse free-market capitalism, but they prevent it from working when there’s the least bit of pain.

I’m with Garrison: “No pain, no gain.”

These wimps at the helm of our country are killing the very golden goose of free-market capitalism that created our unprecedented wealth in the first place.

Mark my words: History will not view these economists and politicians favorably… and ultimately, these guys won’t win this battle against the greater natural forces.

We have become comfortably numb today, and that is when the danger’s the greatest.

Harry

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About Author

Harry studied economics in college in the ’70s, but found it vague and inconclusive. He became so disillusioned by the state of the profession that he turned his back on it. Instead, he threw himself into the burgeoning New Science of Finance, which married economic research and market research and encompassed identifying and studying demographic trends, business cycles, consumers’ purchasing power and many, many other trends that empowered him to forecast economic and market changes.