Numbers Don’t Lie
I’ve been fooled before. I’ve listened to marketing, mistaking it for information. I bought it because it was what I wanted to buy. I was sold lies, and I bought them because it was what I wanted to hear. We need to learn to differentiate between the truth, marketing and lies. Even when the marketer thinks he has our best interest at heart.
Just the Facts, Ma’am
I try to leave emotion, ethics and other biases out of my conclusions. If I say, “politicians are liars,” most people will agree with me. That will offend few. However, if I accuse your politician, things are different.
Your Side Lies, Not Mine
If I say, “Obama is a liar” or “Pelosy is a crook,” then the Liberals get offended. Someone will very likely call me a racist or sexist. That’s impossible by the way, because racism and sexism are emotion-based biases, based on shallow generalizations. They are neither logical nor illogical, therefore I cannot be them.
If I say, “George Bush is a crook” or “Sarah Palin is a liar,” then I offend the Republicans. Those statements bite; they sting you. They tick you off, because I’m attacking your guy and your girl. But I’ll never attack your puppy.
If you look back at their speeches and interviews though, you’ll see several cases where each one stretches the truth and fibs now and then. When you strip away personal biases and even the ethical question of name-calling, you’ll see that the data and recent history indicates patterns of stretching, bending or twisting the truth from all four of the above. That means your favorite and the other party’s favorite.
I can sting you even more. Without intending to, probably without knowing it, and definitely with your best interest at heart, others have lied to you. They will continue to lie to some degree and with some frequency.
It is probably not to deceive you, or at least maybe it’s to lead you to the decision they honestly think is best, but they do all bend the truth to fit their agenda, their story, and to fit the story associated with their tribe.
Tell me who!
Brace yourself. Here comes the sting. The punch. The kick in the stomach. Here is where you get offended.
Bosses lie. We all knew that. Spouses lie. Doctors lie. Parents lie. Teachers lie. Scientists lie (See How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat). Preachers lie.
Why? They lie because their emotions are involved. They strongly believe it is in our best interest to believe what they believe, to do what they do, to be in their tribe. Their tribe is safer. Their tribe is more enlightened. Their tribe is winning. Their tribe isn’t going to Hell.
I’m not talking about the politicians who lie to get our votes, the televangelist who lies to get our money, or the activist who lies when their cause becomes more important than the truth.
I’m talking about the ones who lie because they love us.
They don’t want to see us suffer the hurt of being left out, of being poor, being dumb, of losing, suffering or going to Hell. They lie because they think they really are saving the poor, the homeless, the whales, the planet and our souls.
Just the Facts (again), Ma’am
Data doesn’t care, although the person presenting the data might skew them. Numbers don’t have feelings, although the person presenting them might fudge or exaggerate the numbers presented. Logic can’t be skewed or fudged. It can be twisted, but then it isn’t really logic any more. Then it is something else. Math can’t be spinned. Spun? Let’s go with spun.
Math doesn’t lie. Logic doesn’t mislead. That’s why I think like an Economist.
Problems are always simpler or more complex than we think they are. Each action has unintended consequences and benefits. That’s why I try to think outside the box. I try to think outside the box that the box is in.
I think I think like an economist. Although my beliefs are heavily influenced by my Christian religious beliefs, I am also very reliant upon data, logic and math.
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I finally finished Freakonomics Rev Ed: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. Finally.
That’s why I Think Like a Freak. Which is another book I have to want to read.
Do you lie to anyone for their best interest? Who lies to you? Not me. At least I try not to.