The Law of Unintended Consequences – Moralizing

Don’t judge me, but…

Lot of guys moralize.

(Hey! It rhymes! So it must be true.)

Some guys are into sport fishing. Others insist that you behave according to their rules. Usually without explaining why.

It’s all peer pressure and no substance.

They’re telling you what to think and how to act. Is it for your benefit or theirs?

Does moralizing work? Sure.

And if you had a goldfish brain, you’d cling to just about anything that consistently worked for 30 seconds, right?

Here’s the frightening thing… Ah, we’ll come to it soon enough.

Now if you’ve followed me very long, you’ll notice I don’t cast judgment very often, even though it clearly “works.”

Especially on the internet. Outrage drums up page-views and ad banner revenue.

Obviously we humans are attracted to people who are utterly confident and certain of themselves. It hardly matters whether they’re right or wrong. Right?

Well… Is it right?

Oh. Now ya ask.

No. It’s not. It’s WRONG!!

And you can’t do it and don’t let me catch you letting anyone else getting away with it, either. Or else there will be CONSEQUENCES.

[Music. Smoke. Fireballs. Hey. What happened to the fireballs? I said we needed those. What do you mean they didn’t order any? No, I don’t need any more smoke cans. What do you have? A lighter? What’s that gonna do? You know what… forget it. No. You blew it. Shh. I’m trying to blog.]

And since all tribes and nations carry the same genetic flaw of following self-obsessed politicians and our attention span is…

I think we just need to agree it’s less than 4 years, really…

We end up getting more of the same over and over.

So we go with the confident one. I’m certain of it. (That’s not exactly what the science says, but we’ll go with it because it makes my point.)

Henry Rollins put it this way. “When you start to doubt yourself the real world will eat you alive.”

And if that makes me an expert on doubt, then your Facebook friends are experts on vaccinations because they listened to a Playboy playmate read an article once.

So why don’t you catch me casting moral judgment?


Well, at the high risk of instantly contradicting myself, (again) it’s because it’s wrong.

And I don’t mean it’s wrong in the sense that it won’t get you elected.

Won’t make you CEO. Won’t build a fierce and loyal following of mindless drones repeating whatever you say. No… all those good things are going to happen for you.

And you’ll be fine and never know the difference.

Until you’re… How shall I put this? Not fine. (Read on)

But oh…

(Operatic Lighting Change… Ominous Orchestral Score Swells… )

The Law of Unintended consequences is insidious indeed.

(Cue Thunder.)

Simpletons (FOOLS!) want to believe that making a rule means people will follow it. That peer pressure will impose good behavior on the world. They haven’t thought things through.

They haven’t peered through the lens of the Law of Unintended Consequences, where everything you do comes back to bite you on the ass.

[Read the next part in the voice of actor James Woods lighting a cigarette, emerging from the shadows with a disconcerting grin on his face.]

((Disconcerting? What does that mean?))

[[It means I don’t know how to describe an evil grin.]]

((Just say “evil grin.”))

You’d never expect you’d be handing the advantage to the rule-breakers.

Just like you’d never expect to have the attention span of a goldfish.

[Insert Brilliant Logical Reasoning and Arguments Here] ← Please Ignore As Usual And Skip Ahead…

And that’s why the Law of Unintended Consequences screws you when you moralize, guys.

Now, compared to some, I’m a your basic simpleton, seeing the world in such black and white terms.

So I don’t want you to feel like anyone’s judging you. Even though that’s exactly what you’re doing to others. (As shown above in the brilliant reasoning.)

Wouldn’t be human if you didn’t. <- Not your fault.

Positive reinforcement has a time limit inside that brain of yours.

Like an optical illusion for your decision-making.

We do whatever gives us an instant reward, even if it backfires in 5 minutes, 5 days, or 5 weeks.

Smoking crack.

Underage sex.

Regularly praying to the completely wrong God (It’s Zeus, isn’t it?)

Yeah, there’s some evidence for some of what I’m saying, but science also tells me most people don’t give a crap about carefully conducted, peer-reviewed studies.

They just eat heaps of butter that say “sugar-free” and tubs of sugar that say “low-fat.”

And I’m pretty sure this neatly explains 102% of teenage behavior, which is mainly driven by instinct combined with ill-informed nonsense being pumped thoughtlessly into their heads by adults who are slightly dumber than their kids.

I learned this from parents, who are always saying things like ‘my toddler’s a little genius.”

Ipso facto, they’re claiming to be less intelligent than a toddler. And it’s not polite to contradict your elders.

Especially when they’re correctly pointing out that they’re too stupid not to imply that they’re actually that stupid.

We hear this junk all the time. Crap like “A stitch in time saves nine.”

Not true! That Ben Franklin is just messing with you. It’s more like ninety. But ninety doesn’t rhyme with “time”

Now, thanks to Ben’s obsession with rhymes, you and your kids think prevention is only 9 times as good as a cure.