Maybe you follow Glenn Beck, and maybe you don’t, but last week on his show (this one) he talked about the “normalcy bias” so I just now did a little googling around to learn more. The gist of it is that there may be some sort of mechanism in our brains that when faced with impending doom of some sort we grab onto something that we consider normal in order to avoid facing the coming disaster.
This is what wikipedia says about the process:
The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred that it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.
Personally, this makes perfect sense and helps us better understand the fact that about half the US population does not see the economic crisis we could well be facing. It also, in my mind, explains why many Europeans don’t see the disaster on their doorsteps (the Fall of the Roman Empire anyone?*) with the massive Muslim immigration that has only increased dramatically since the “Arab spring” began in Egypt and throughout North Africa and the Middle East in recent months.
Of course, Glenn Beck urges viewers and listeners to get past this mental state and prepare oneself. If nothing happens and you can return full-time to your flower garden or your golf or whatever else you enjoy, great, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with being ready and having prepared one’s mind and one’s family for difficult times ahead (in between the gardening and the golf game!).
I think this is why some people hate Beck so much, he tells people what they know deep down but they grab onto that normalcy thing and try to kill the messenger (Beck) to avoid contemplating possible pending doom.
* The author in this piece on Europe jokes that Europeans will be seeking asylum in the US, and he urges them to all learn Spanish first—very funny.