Nature gives animals a gift of discernment in the present moment. Dangers and opportunities are instantly and correctly assessed to facilitate survival. Animals can be fooled but the odds of getting the situation right are astronomically high. Most fish don’t take the bait. Most deer don’t die at the feeder. Within a given species, animals are not vulnerable to deception from one another.
The human species is different. Person to person deception is a constant. There are strange patterns for dealing with threats, opportunities and dangers. For humans, deception is a valuable tool for survival. People create fantasies and euphemisms to replace reality so as to manipulate the behavior of others. Predators use deception to trick prey that is not part of their own species. Human beings constantly bait one another for personal gain. False pictures are created to facilitate herding and living off the efforts of others.
The result is a human’s ability to discern is inhibited by viewing the present moment through a cloud of fantasies and euphemistic definitions. Institutions are defined one way but they function as another. Halos are placed over the heads of certain members of society who are deemed anointed. The universe’s hostilities are explained away and modified in order to comfort the mind.
If there is danger or opportunity in the moment, chances are it will go unrecognized. In the United States all of our institutions are assumed to be doing the task they are assigned to do. Conservative Republicans like to use the acronym RINO to describe members who are liberals in disguise. They are what they are in name only. In practice all of our institutions do something other than the task they for which they are intended. The RINO concept can be applied to just about any institution or person in high office. It could be accurately said that the Supreme Court is a court in name only. The Federal Reserve could be called a central bank in name only. Senators and congressmen are representatives in name only. The list is almost endless.
The public generally believes the fantasies and euphemisms that wrongly describe the real functions of the people and institutions which are ostensibly operating on their behalf.
The natural gift of discernment is largely diffused withing the human species. This is why I go such an extent to make sure I my mind is free from fantasy and euphemistic definitions when I think about economics and politics. In Fantasy Free Economics, the president gets no halo. The president is just one of the animals acting is self interest. Certain people like doctors, judges, teachers and preachers are not assumed to be morally superior. Again, they are just animals living in life’s arena and acting out of self interest. In economics self interest is the only visible incentive.
I don’t live my life this harshly but, as an economist getting the right take on things has preference over everything else. In another time and place I wouldn’t even be writing this blog. If there were not so many economic and political hazards on the horizon there would be be point in it.