Friday, November 22, 2013

The Medal of Freedom Should Perhaps Be Renamed

Daniel Kahneman
Interesting - President Obama is awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Daniel Kahneman for Economics. Kahneman is a behavioral psychologist who has worked in something called "hedonistic economics". His work attempts to explain, in part, the mistakes people make when estimating the effects of different scenarios on their future happiness (also known as affective forecasting - predicting how feelings can be affected by illusion. The "illusion" occurs when people consider the impact of one specific factor on their overall happiness while ignoring other factors. In other words, give people a powerful enough illusion and they tend to greatly exaggerate the importance of that factor in their future happiness, while overlooking the numerous other factors that would in most cases have a greater impact.

In other words, whether that was his intent or not, Kahneman gave the propagandists a tool that teaches them how to fixate the minds of the masses on one big thing that is presented as the "key" to their future happiness so that they will ignore and dismiss other factors that are likely to be more important and may even undermine their happiness. For example, fix the public mind on the importance of universal healthcare so that they ignore the loss of individual liberty, the threat of massive debt, massive taxation and the loss of opportunity and freedom of action.

While Dr. Kahneman may be a lovely person who had no intent to aid in the downfall of America, perhaps "Medal of Freedom" isn't the write name for his award. 

Obama also included Bill Clinton, Oprah and Gloria Steinem in the group and, oddly enough, Loretta Lynn - though Lynn is an old pal of Jimmy Carter, so that probably explains it.

Ah, well, the politics roles on.

© 2013 by Tom King

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