I have long wondered why people continually act contrary to their own self interest. In a capitalistic and liberal democracy society, there is a core underlying tenet that we will act in our own and immediate circle’s selfish interest first. The hopeful outcome of all that being that enough of us want similar things out of life that our actions, votes and desires taken in aggregate actually will help contribute both to benefit to ourselves and then the society at large.

When you think you are changing your destiny, you are actually fulfilling it

The above quote is something I coined in a high school essay some 15 years ago (whether I actually invented it is probably dubious but I am claiming it for now) and is reflective of my opening thoughts. It is the thought of many in my adopted country that the destiny of these United States have a divine destiny to be a light for the world for freedom, commerce, opportunity and liberty. In so many ways that is true but not in the ways that these same people think and moreover usually in spite of their actions, votes and desires.

We have just survived a Government Shutdown (for now at least) and the hardcore electorate that supported said action of which polls say comprises 24% of Americans are largely the same people that believe in American exceptionalism. However a shutdown certainly hurts commerce and economic freedom and if the US defaults on its debt is the beginning of the country not being able to offer great opportunity and liberty for all.

To top it all off, a majority of these people are relying on the government to provide jobs to their area via military contracts, farm subsidies, energy and gas tax breaks or direct employment in areas like the military and law enforcement. So basically these people in supporting certain these political movements are actually acting completely counter to their own and immediate surroundings self interest. This also exists on the opposite side of the political spectrum as well but the shutdown is front of mind.

So what does all this have to do with destiny. Well when we believe our destiny is to be a beacon of light as a country and fulfilled as an individual and those interests are in direct conflict with each other, in an ironic way we are fulfilling our destiny by often acting contrary to what we think will help achieve our ideal destiny. Boy is that a mind trip 🙂

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