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Fantasy Social Theory is Simple, but Wrong

February 23, 2013

It’s called a fantasy ideology (1).  An idealist has a symbolic map of how the world works.  For example, poverty causes desperation which causes violence.detroit-slum

That means we need your tax money so we can eliminate violence.  How can you need your own money when lives are at stake?!  That sounds justified on the surface.  The map of those ideas is so simple that it is hard to get lost..  until you remember the government will take your tax money by force.. to eliminate violence.  The mental map of how things work is simple, but wrong.

Here is another example.  Gangs are violent.  Gangs sell drugs to get money.  Therefore we need another anti-drug law until gangs stop selling drugs and become peaceful.  Yeah.  Prohibition works so well.la_gang

Gun bigots made a similar arguments about gun violence.  People commit violence with firearms.  That means the police need to raid your home and take your guns so we can stop people from using violence to get what they swat

The simplistic argument makes perfect sense if you stay with simplistic logic.  Idealists refuse to look past their fantasy.  They ignore our complex world that refuses to fit their simple map of reality.

A theory is only useful because it accurately predicts reality.  There are many causes of poverty.  Broken families are chief among them.  There are many causes of violence, drug prohibition is the largest.  Some problems don’t have easy solutions even though the fantasy theory is so simple and so attractive.

Thobama-candyere is one great advantage of fantasy ideology that I need to bring up.  Fantasy ideology is a  perfect fit with the news media.  A talking head can parrot a talking point in 20 seconds or less.  A great slogan is short, simple.. and too often wrong.


All that glitters is not truth.  Some beautiful theories are only skin deep and ugly to the bone.



Sometimes you have live in the real world.  Trust me, it has its own kind of beauty.

(1) See Lee Harris on Fantasy Ideology


Rob the practical epistemologist.

What do you think?

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