Fences are a handy dandy analogy for some of the concepts explored here weekly. I mentioned Chesterton’s Fence back on 9/15/15 (just because you don’t see a reason for a fence that has been erected doesn’t mean you should immediately tear it down – it’s an admonition against rash social policy reform efforts). Reasoned acceptance of the status quo is far superior intellectually then angry screams for radical reform. We saw this while peering into Edmund Burke’s wardrobe of a moral imagination from 12/5/17 to 1/30/18. In order to preserve and protect our family’s wealth, we need to erect cognitive (and moral) fences around our encampment of well-being. There are enemy forces outside seeking to attack our lifestyle and freedom.
One of our most menacing enemies is mass ignorance and false certitude. Politicians and pundits with wrong ideas are absolutely convinced nonetheless that they are right and actively seek to impose their bad ideas upon us all. There is a community of bloggers who call themselves “LessWrong” focusing on human rationality. That’s a humble name for a group whose members are really smart. Scott Alexander (Slate Star Codec) wrote a cool article in 2012 using the term Schelling Fence.
A Schelling Point is a term from Game Theory (named after economist Thomas Schelling). It is a solution to a problem or conflict that seems natural, special or particularly relevant. A Schelling Fence then would be a walled off moral and cognitive position that defends against slippery slope arguments or other attacks against my clients owning “too much” wealth. Our War Chest fence extends across similarly situated people and across personal values as they evolve over time. I have made a vigorous, credible pre-commitment to defend our economic, intellectual and moral positions against poisonous public policy pundits who think they know better.
They are enemies at the gate. Post-modern Marxist ideas are looming thought foes. Next week, we’ll examine the rationality sabre in our War Chest that easily obliterates enemy Leftist thought combatants lurking outside our Estate Planning Schelling Fence.