PARIS -- Be careful about how you interpret what you're seeing, as your eyes might be deceiving you. That's the advice I offered viewers the other day on Russia's global TV network's flagship program, "CrossTalk," when explaining that capitalism isn't facing any sort of crisis, but rather is just being subverted by socialists, Wall Street con artists and various anti-capitalist wishful thinkers who are corrupting the once-straightforward relationship between work and benefit.
It has become common to describe the now-defunct Occupy Wall Street movement as a rebellion against the perceived failure of capitalism. The Occupy movement fizzled out largely because the anarchists and various flakes involved with it were so collectivist that they denounced the very idea of any sort of leadership that might have propelled their lazy, entitled membership forward to an enduring legacy. Not only that, but Occupy members overtly considered themselves the North American counterpart of the Arab Spring. Such a perception is purely the product of wishful thinking and is divorced from objective reality.
In reality, the Arab Spring was not the American-style civil rights movement that many in North America imagined it to be, but rather just more of the same tiresome regional tribal warfare that has been going on since time immemorial -- only this time with a better public relations spin. Nor was Occupy Wall Street a revolt against capitalism. Instead, what protestors were really rejecting was the hijacking of capitalism by socialism. So while some have been quick to pronounce capitalism dead, it's really socialism that has failed.
Why so much misinterpretation? One of the intelligence field's most renowned scholars, Richards Heuer of the CIA, theorized that when an analyst sets out to explain observations, everything is filtered through the bias created by the analyst's uniquely personal knowledge and experiences. To ensure that an analysis comes closest to objective reality, the analyst must be aware of this inherent bias, Heuer said, and must deliberately examine all possible alternatives. Heuer taught that only by eliminating the implausible can the analyst weigh the value of whatever persists.
How many times have you heard that the media is "lying" to you? I know very few people in the media profession who would deliberately mislead an audience. More often, it's just a matter of not knowing what they don't know, as per Heuer's theory. And under the pressure of a 24-hour news cycle, going through Heuer's process is often a luxury media members can't afford.