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The new age of conformity and uniformity

Anyone remember Apple's commercial of the late 1990s, ”Here's to the crazy ones”?
InvestmentOffice, June 2023

Anyone remember Apple's commercial of the late 1990, ”Here's to the crazy ones”?

The ad only lasts 30 seconds, featuring images of iconic individuals like Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Muhammed Ali, and Bob Dylan, accompanied with the following monologue:

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes ... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo.”

At a time when Apple was on the verge of becoming another victim of creative destruction the ”Here's to the crazy ones” commercial ushered the beginning of a new era for the company, with Steve Jobs returning at its helm. Over the next two decades it unleashed a cumulative series of innovative products, propelling Apple to become the first company to hit the trillion-dollar market valuation in 2018. Five years later, at the date of this writing, it stands at a whopping three trillion!

While Apple did more than deliver on the content that its ad alluded to, simultaneously, and symmetrically, in the shadow of the company’s incredible success (actually its second birth, as it was in a dire financial situation back then), the world seems to have marched in the exact opposite direction, in what can be referred to as the age of conformity and uniformity, in stark contrast to what the commercial hoped for!

The "crazy ones" have left the stage and are nowhere to be seen on the horizon. Taking their roles is a swarm of the collective, chanting the same catechism in perfect harmony, whether when wanting to save the planet, pushing for lockdowns, or pretty much anything that justifies a more active presence of the technocrats.

And there is an eerie similarity in the uniform language and repetitive slogans of the new religion (in fact more of a sinister cult!) with the ad campaigns during the communist era of the Soviet Union (and all its satellite countries), or of the socialist era in Germany during the third reich, featuring in both cases bravely aligned pupils, all starring at the future with authority and confidence, so convinced to be on the right side of history.

The fields of "magic mirrors" and "windmills" being blessed into a nirvana of "zero everything" have replaced the former images of agricultural and industrial prosperity.

Never mind that it was a poisonous cocktail of fantasy thinking and technocratic coercion, the priority was for the collective to perpetuate the lies, retreating into a world of self-delusion.

Past a critical point it becomes too late to retract, not only for those leading the charge, but also for the majority that followed and chanted the refrain. Turning back becomes an acknowledgment of how wrong you have been, and for how long! So, the best strategy for all involved (directly or indirectly) is to stubbornly continue along the same path, only this time with more conviction and aggressiveness.

By the way, it is a characteristic of the technocrats, that they can never admit being wrong, preferring to double down on their mistakes, even if it means taking down the ship along with them.

Like the former regimes of the Soviet Union or Eastern Germany (GDR), there will be zero accountability, and most of those who participated in this orgy of lies will probably be long gone. Only a lifeless process and some petty good intentions will be left behind…

Arguments that are easily refutable, objectives that can’t be properly articulated, let alone defined; moreover, the same supposedly objective are to be made unreachable by design, therefore justifying all the means along the way.

I get some comfort by reading (or listening) to the wisdom of Milton Friedman or Friedrich von Hayek, thinking that they went through the worse periods of history, and somehow managed to keep their optimism and sense of humor.

Although at the end they got proven right, and all the others wrong, it came at a tremendous expense for society, so that one would happily trade the being right for a less costly outcome.