few weeks ago I posted an entry entitled “Attention All Investors” in which I
said that Congrass (oops I meant Congress) was willing to sink the American economy in order to gain
political dominance; that this state of affairs was likely to continue
indefinitely into the future; and that, therefore, America was not a good place
for long-term investment. (The old meaning of the word "congress" is "copulation," and maybe this is what Congress is doing to us.) This essay got more hits than most others. Since
there were no comments left, I do not know if the reaction was positive or
that time, the budget impasse has been resolved. In December 2013, Paul
Ryan (Republican member of the House) and Patty Murray (Democratic Senator)
announced a bipartisan budget agreement that has proven acceptable to both
parties. Finally, in January, both houses of Congress passed a budget that
forestalls any future battles until September of this year. All of the
announcements were celebrational; a Congressional lovefest seems to have begun.
absent was any Republican attempt to destroy the Affordable Health Care Act.
This was what they insisted on eliminating in October, absent which they were
willing to crash the economy. Also absent was any Republican mention that they
have changed their views. There was no repentance. None of them, to my
knowledge, said, “We have decided that the Republican Party was a destructive force
in the world, and that we henceforward wish to be constructive, and to love
those whom we formerly and very publicly hated.” The Republicans just changed
their approach, suddenly and without explanation. It is as if Viking raiders in
an Irish monastery suddenly treated their former victims to a feast in their
honor. It is as if Scrooge became an altruist without ever having been visited
by the three ghosts and not having a change of heart.
after having tried intimidation, have decided to embrace altruism.
to say, I do not trust them. This is because I see all politicians (Democrats
as well, though less dangerously so) as acting solely in their own interests,
desiring only to increase their dominance in society. Animals use whatever
behavior patterns they can to gain dominance in their societies. In many mammal
species, dominant males use intimidation. But altruism can also be used as a
behavior pattern to gain dominance. This pattern is mostly known from humans,
either in tribal or civilized societies. The altruistic humans benefit from indirect reciprocity, that is, they gain
social capital by getting other people to think they are nice and generous.
Politicians are now, as ever, simply trying to manipulate their images.
in time for an election year, Republicans have tried to change their image from
dominant gorilla to cheerful altruist. As voters go to the polls, they will
have forgotten what the Republicans did in 2011 and 2013. Every odd-numbered
year is a time for Republicans to turn into gorillas. Even-numbered years are
times for them to become altruists. I am not accusing Republicans of doing
something supremely evil; I am merely calling them human.
some of us are not fooled.