Saturday, February 27, 2010

...And How Ignorant Does That Make Us?

Jay Ackroyd is another blogspot Blogger, who is also friends with The Great Curmudegon, and occasionally is allowed to guest-post at his site.

Tonight, Ackroyd left such a post about seeing Daniel Elsberg at a conference this past week [additional paragraphing and two small edits for clarity are my own]:

... Ellsberg recounted a time in 1969 when he explained to Henry Kissinger what would happen after he was given the dozen or so clearances above Top Secret (the existence of which is also classified, of course).

What happens first is you feel like a fool. You've published books that you now discover were filled with stuff that was wrong. You have believed you understood how things worked for your entire professional life, but you now find out you were completely wrong, that the real world is entirely different from what you have been told. The books you've written, the lectures you've given are based on a false understanding of the world.

But this stage only lasts a few weeks. After you have been reading this material for a while, hitherto unavailable ... you begin to see everybody
else as fools.

Only people with these top level clearances know the truth. People whom you previously regarded as experts become ignoramuses -- doubly so because they don't realize that they actually know nothing.

And so your conversations with them become telling them what you want them to think.

Henry Kissinger is still an Eminence Gris in the world, but he's been outclassed by others, now -- and I can't say there's anyone who could be considered a modern counterpart to Henry. Even so -- how many layers of influence and power are there between people with this level of awareness about how things really work such as Kissinger... and the Street, where we live?

And, down here at the bottom of the information food chain -- what does this perspective which Ellsberg shared with Ackroyd say about us?

And -- what is it these people with Clearance know, that we don't?

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