Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rational - lies- ation

The dissertation on 'rationalization,' below, is something that was missing when federal fisheries managers started calling the privatization of the king crab fishery in Alaska 'rationalization.' The logic in applying this term to disenfranchising almost one thousand two hundred fishermen under the cloud of it being the 'rational' thing to do, and then by extension, it being 'rationalization,' is just plain wrong on many levels. But 'rationalization' was used in such insidious fashion prior to this in other industries. It worked there, so why not trot it out and give it a spin in Alaska to grab the crab from the taxpayers?

Alaskans started calling it 'ratz,' in a derogatory context, often with a picture of a rat in a red circle with a red line through it. And you guessed it, the federal managers started using the term 'ratz' as a term of endearment. I say 'federal managers' to lump the U.S. agency involved and a group of lobbyists that a small group of big fish biz players(not 'industry') have forwarded. Of course, the only reason they hold sway is because everyone isle has defaulted on their obligation to keep tabs on the situation. The need is to frame it in very simple terms.

'Rationalization' wasn't a term that was going to stand on the national level. Alaskans were impotent to fight the federal government to stop privatization, no matter what they called it. But to make such a political cash cow as privatization work in the rest of the country, near ivory halls of learning, such a bastardization of classic thought would be out of the question. Hence the new term, 'catch shares.'

The temptation is to rail directly against those evil empire builders who foist such garbage thinking on us. As in the subtlety of the new term's association with fairness and helping ones neighbors in a harvesting occupation. But we need to focus on the true and the good to not lose our bearings in all the smoke and mirrors.

Some in the banking business, charged with detecting counterfeit money, would just spend hours and hours looking at the real deal. Then when a counterfeit bill appeared, they could detect the difference in an instant. We need to do the same with the buzz words that are tossed about these days to influence our thought patterns. So I'll simply submit the following definition of rationalization from an anonymous writer to hold up to an irrational federal fisheries management scheme that is ruining the industry that is the backbone of thousands of coastal communities.

"Rationalization is finding 'good reason' for things that we really know are wrong."

"When something happens that we find difficult to accept, then we will make up a logical reason why it has happened.The target of rationalization is usually something that we have done, such as being unkind to another person. It may also be used when something happens independent of us which causes us discomfort, such as when a friend is unkind to us. We rationalize to ourselves.We also find it very important to rationalize to other people, even those we do not know.


1) A person evades paying taxes and then rationalizes it by talking about how the government wastes money (and how it is better for people to keep what they can)

2) A man buys a expensive car and then tells people his old car was very unreliable, very unsafe, etc...

3) A person fails to get good enough results to get into a chosen university and then says that he didn't want to go there anyway...

4) A parent punishes a child and says that it is for the child's 'own good'...

5) A person thinks he deserves more of the profit-sharing after each deal closed...and decides not to share it as promised..(that's so common as [I myself experienced that several times even with good "friends"] as greed makes them rationalize even more, esp. on verbal agreements)...

6) I trip and fall over in the street. I tell a passer-by that I have recently been ill.

When a person does something of which the moral super ego disapproves, then the ego seeks to defend itself by adding reasons that make the action acceptable to the super ego. Thus we are able to do something that is outside our values and get away with it without feeling too guilty.This is related to our need to explain what happens. Our need for esteem also leads us to rationalize to others. Rationalization also happens with bullies and victims. The bully rationalizes what they have done by saying that their victim 'deserved it'.

Self-Serving Bias uses rationalization when it leads to taking more credit for success than we deserve and blame others for our failures.Rationalization is one of Freud's original defense mechanisms.

We must learn to watch for our own rationalizations. Do not rationalize your life away as "rationalize = rational lies." I know it's not easy as we all do it all the time but we must at least try and learn not to do it. If you can be honest with yourself and with other people, you can gain esteem for your courage and integrity."