Ideas that are so basic and fundamental that they are beginning points of thinking I call “first things”.
An example of this is the idea that nothing can be got from nothing. In economics this particular “first thing” is fundamental. But wait, you might protest, the government can create money from nothing and then exchange that money for something; isn’t that getting something from nothing? No, and we know this because it violates a fundamental commonsense principle… or “first thing”.
Economics is a kinfolk of global warming and evolution in this way. A thing is made so complicated that “first things” are lost sight of. Plausible explanations about a thing, combined with a highly technical language, combined also with conclusions we desperately desire to be true, mixed with academic browbeating and political correctness, can lead otherwise smart people to believe that man can change the temperature of the planet through a tax, that he himself exists through a chain of events that started from nothing, and that wealth can be created by printing money.
But though we may not be able to argue against the millions of technical details thrown at us, as long as we do not lose sight of first things we will not have to fall prey to dazzling displays of BS. Politics has usurped true science. There are political motivations having nothing to do with the sciences at hand, but which are driving many of the issues supposedly based on science. The modern acceptance for scientific consensus is an excellent example of this. Man would do well to remember his past experiences with scientific “consensus” and make all attempts to avoid its advancement-retarding dogma.
Science means knowledge, that is, what is known and not what is politically acceptable and presupposed. We live among the wonders of a scientific age which can be intimidating. There is much every person doesn’t understand which can make us susceptible to intimidation by intellectual words, charts and doublespeak. But we need not be the moronic patsys, of others who are themselves moronic patsies, as long as we don’t lose sight of first things.