I am compiling a page devoted to common thinking errors that are highly relevant to economics and political science. The list will get long. For now I am just adding them as the come to mind.
1.) Self Importance: People are important to themselves, family and a few friends. As harmless as this may seems it is the root of many false notions. An individual reasons, “As important as I am, certainly I am worthy of being served by those I help elect to public office.” Of a course, a person is of no importance at all to a politician. To a politician, a voter is a resource. A permanent disconnect is formed where the constituent expects to get representation from a representative who holds office first and foremost out of self interest.
2.) What I see is all there is: Most of what is relevant is not part of what is apparent from a casual glance.
3.) Government is benevolent: People are hardwired to treat government as a parent. From kindergarten through graduate school, the benevolence of government is never question. All through life society treats government as an entity which solves problems to big for ordinary people to handle. There is never any benevolence in government. Government is where people go to impose their will on others. The competition to control government is brutal.
4.) The incentive to serve: The incentive to serve is assumed to be present in those who are elected to office or work in government. Nature provides only one incentive that is relevant to politics and economics. That is self interest. The incentive to serve is completely imaginary. People in government are motivated to exploit problems for personal gain while appearing to work in the public interest.
4.) The divinity of government: Human beings are prone to worship. The notion of the divine right of kings has been present much longer that principles of democracy. Government is largely worshiped and ascribed powers of a divine nature. It is instinctive for a human being to prostrate himself before a perceived divine entity. When a problem is turned over to government for handling, attitudes are that the problem is solved and that government has the power, knowledge and interest to solve any problem with which it is charged. There is no evidence in history that government has ever solved a problem. The idea that it can and does solve problems is born of misguided faith.
5.) Soldiers fight for freedom: A soldier is a citizen with a job. A soldier does not pick the fights he participates in. Freedom rarely has anything to do with a U.S. military operation.
6.) Gross Domestic Product is a good indicator of financial wall being: Ten percent of the population owns 80 percent of the nation’s assets. Five percent of the population receives around thirty percent of all income. Gross Domestic Product could double and the average person could be worse off depending on how income is distributed.
7.) Public officials are just like the rest of us: Public officials have political personalities. Political personality is so similar to a sociopathic personality. The two terms could be used as synonyms. Elections are so brutal that only a person with extreme manipulative skills has a chance of winning. Political office is not available to folks who have an average distribution of personality characteristics.
8.) A public servant sets aside self interest: Self interest is a constant in human behavior. Self interest does not disappear if a person takes a certain job. In the private sector self interest is a cause of efficiency. Self interest in the public sector causes inefficiency
9.) Credentials imply competence: Credentials actually contribute to incompetence. Credentials allow individuals to profit from the pretense of knowledge. Credentials can increase the odds that a certain person is competent. Credentials are often a perch from which lies are easily told and problems are exploited for profit. The Federal Reserve is an institution with a negative utility to society, It is highly respected because of the credentials of its members,
10.) Patriotism is good: Patriotism is actually the all time world wide leading cause of unnecessary deaths. A better option is to think. A thinking person knows when it is time to go to war. Most wars are wars for profit.
11.) People think independently: Most people go long periods of time without an original thought. The mind records words and images and a person believes those are his thoughts. The animal brain treats what registers a fact as a fact regardless of whether is is or not. In routine living, the part of the brain. To be considered a fact by the animal brain only requires that a impression be made on a person. It is common for folks to speak of notions as original thoughts but they normally come from elsewhere. Good examples of animal facts are these. “Ronald Reagan was a conservative.” Franklin D. Roosevelt ended the Great Depression.” Both of these statements are completely false. The truth is the exact opposite.
12.) Work is a first choice: Work is actually only engaged in if there is absolutely no way to live off the efforts of others. All animals have this characteristic. It is a survival tool. Even lions in Africa look for an already dead carcass before spending the energy to hunt. Mainstream economics treats all humans as 100% industrious. This is not true at all and it is a main reason why they never get anything right. This behavior is still part of mankind’s makeup. Normally work is the only good choice so people participate. But, they are always looking for a more direct way to sustain themselves.
13.) Every person needs a college education: When the supply of educated people exceeds the demand, a college education can be of no value at all. In today’s world, there is great opportunity to profit by giving out degrees. The process of anointing individuals as educated supports countless people in the education business. This is the driving force behind encouraging everyone to get a college education originates with providers.
14.) Communication only occurs with words: Communication without words is actually more precise and meaningful. Only a small part of what influences behavior is ever entertained by the conscious mind.
15.) All children want to learn: All very young children want to learn. As children pass five or six years of age, the learning desire subsides. By the time children are twelve years old only a small number still learn. The majority of children actually develop an aversion to learning. Instead, their minds begin rejecting new knowledge. This is why so little learning takes place in high school. All students are forced to attend and most of those actually avoid learning.
16.) As an organ, the brain seeks fairness and justice: The main concerns of the brain are survival and passing of genes forward into new generations. The brain will cause you and even trick you into doing the things evolution has determined optimize survival and reproduction. Everything your brain causes you to do is not rational in the current time frame. Social evolution and physical evolution do not take place at the same pace. At any one time one is always ahead of the other.
17.) Experts are available and ready to help: There are experts in selected physical sciences. Outside of that, the pretense of knowledge for a high price is commonplace. Often when a recommendation is made it is advised, check with your financial adviser before doing this. Do this under the supervision of a physician. So who are these highly esteemed financial advisors? What constitutes a financial advisor? Can you imagine a medical doctor giving a serious answer to some of the suggested ideas that are likely to be run by him? There are experts. Consult your pharmacist usually works out pretty good. “Generally the consult your expert first statement”, is a means of avoiding any liability the advice giver might incur. Usually, there is no genuine expert.
18.) It is good to bring the country together: Democracy provides ways for groups which are vehemently opposed to one another to reach peaceful decisions. Decisions are made when self interests of the groups balance out. When the country is brought together, it is open season on the overall population by a small group with massive political power.
19.) Human beings are intrinsically honest: Lies and deception are tools for survival. Whether truth or lies are used depends upon the situation. Honesty on the personal level is often the standard. In the aggregate, honesty is a lot less common. In the political arena, honesty is not used at all. When winning is all that matters, lies are what is used.
20.) Mankind is devoid of instinctive behaviors: Most behaviors in groups are instinctively driven. Dependence on government is instinctive. When danger appears, most animals head for the center of the herd. Humans run to government for protection. It is instinctive for humans to exalt themselves and the groups they identify with. Human behavior is instinctive first and most frequently. Thought can override instinct but that seldom happens.
20.) Change will occur without demonstrative human effort. There are exceptions. Continental drift will certainly continue without any effort. Desired changes in society never occur without demonstrative effort. What is really responsible for improvements in civil rights. Nothing has more made more difference than Thurgood Marshall’s winning the Supreme Court case of Brown Vs. The Board of Education. This is the source of my continual criticism of Americans who claim to be conservatives. There is not one demonstrative conservative movement in the world today.