This past semester I have been taking a class about Behavioral Economics and the Law. I signed up for the class thinking I could utilize my economics background. It turns out, however, that behavioral economics is basically the opposite of regular economics. Behavioral economics is all about poking holes in capitalism by showing that humans frequently act irrationally. After all, if humans do not act rationally, then markets generally fail to function properly.
At first, pointing out the specific circumstances where humans frequently act silly and irrational might seem like fun. Sometimes it is. Nonetheless, our teacher leaned a bit to the left, and after almost every new psychological phenomenon, he would ask the class about the “policy implications” of each reading. By “policy implications,” he generally meant, “What should the government do to intervene in the market to account for this irrational phenomenon?” I usually would argue that the only implication is that individuals should understand the psychology involved, and take it into account during their personal and financial lives (and that they might also spread this wisdom to their friends).
Rather tragically, leftists can never explain a phenomenon without designing a coercive answer to respond to it. Leftists cannot deal with imperfection. They are obsessive in this regard. Moreover, leftists generally believe that they personally — or else the government in general — can create perfection.
You may wonder, “But Drew, What about the Leftist tolerance for promiscuity, rampant divorce, abortion, broken homes, drug use, and other sorts of social ills? Obviously they can accept these imperfections!” But of course, this objection omits the obvious: Leftists do not actually condemn any of these behaviors. To the contrary, leftists go out of their way to avoid condemning these moral failures.
Even when statistics show the destruction resulting from immorality, leftists refuse to acknowledge these behaviors as flawed. If you criticize a girl for being promiscuous or getting an abortion, for example, you are sexist and judgmental.
One reason the leftist ignores these immoralities is that if he accepted these behaviors as imperfect, he would feel compelled to cure society of them. And deep down, leftists realize that a purely governmental (as opposed to social or spiritual) cure of these ills would be impossible. Thus, declaring everything moral — except the failure to worship government — seems easier.
Even with economic topics, leftists do not generally condemn behavior as immoral. Rather, the only immorality results from failure to submit to government. Hence, Wall Street businessmen are “greedy” because they want to avoid paying high taxes to support welfare programs. No action makes them greedy, but rather their attitude makes them greedy. They simply fail to submit properly to government in their hearts. This attitude violates the Left’s primary commandment.
Ultimately, I do think just admitting that humans are somewhat irrational is best. Admitting the problem, after all, is the first step toward self-help. And then after that admission, rather than seeking a coercive remedy through government for our mental imperfection, we can strive to enhance our rationality ourselves. Or better yet, we could work on ourselves while also appealing to God to enhance our rationality and economic wisdom. It would certainly be a better idea than appealing to the United States government!