February 11, 2013
How Heuristics Can Protect Your Friends from Political Con-men
By Perry Willis

In this Dispatch:

  • How failure to learn the rules of the world makes people vulnerable to error
  • How heuristics can shield people from deception
  • A list of useful examples

If you had to relearn everything you know each morning, life would be very difficult. But this is exactly how most people approach issues relating to government...

  • They never learn the rules of the world.
  • They must evaluate each issue from scratch.
  • There are more ways to be wrong than right, so...
  • There are more mistaken opinions than correct ones.

This is where heuristics can help.

Two weeks ago we introduced the concept of heuristic thinking. A heuristic – pronounced hyoo-RIS-tic – is a simple principle that leads to quick, accurate decisions. We asserted that the Zero Aggression Principle (ZAP) is the key heuristic when it comes to politics and government...

No one should initiate harm against others or delegate doing so to "the government."

This one powerful idea allows us to quickly decide against many proposed actions.

If a proposal threatens people who have done no harm, it is immoral and must be opposed.

We argued against gun prohibition regulations for precisely this reason. Gun prohibition harms the innocent in a vain attempt to control the guilty. 

We also presented several other heuristics...

  1. You can't use evidence to overturn moral principles.
  2. You can't conduct controlled experiments on whole cultures, so "scientific" studies cannot dictate social rules. Instead...
  3. You must govern society using moral principles such as the Golden Rule and the ZAP.
  4. You must also apply the Golden Rule to competing ideas, judging each by the same standards as the others. Example: If a study can justify prohibiting you from owning guns, then The Golden Rule of Ideas dictates that a study could also justify making you own guns. Since one outcome is immoral, so is the other.

We think you should use these heuristics daily...

  • To judge claims made by politicians and the media
  • To persuade others to reject The State's initiation of violence

If you can teach your friends to use sound heuristics. Then they'll no longer need to evaluate each issue from scratch. This will make them less vulnerable to political con-men.

Tomorrow's Dispatch will describe a method for doing this. The title is...

"How you can persuade anyone without being an expert about anything"

We hope you like where we're going. If so, please help us to build the software for our new website, the Zero Aggression Project. DC Downsizers have already seen and tested early versions of this software. But the next version will be even more powerful. 

You can support this work using our secure online contribution form.

If you found this article valuable please share it. You can follow Perry Willis on Twitter @PerryWWillis

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