Monday, November 1, 2010
"You Can't Cheat An Honest Man"
Never smarten up a chump.
These are the words the immortal WC Fields uttered as Larsen E. Whipsnade in the movie "You Can't Cheat An Honest Man".
These were his grandfather Litvak's last words "just before they sprung the trap" (they hung him).
Ah. The art of the con. You know, that very first maxim isn't true. Of course you can cheat an honest man. This is included in the lore as a rationalization. See? It's the first lie of the con.
"The con is a legitimate social tactic because everyone is on the make. If they weren't on the make, if they weren't lookin' for a leg up, why, they'd never have fallen into my confidence to begin with? Serves 'em right!"
So goes the lie. Don't believe it. If you really think that theft (which is what a con is) requires a willing victim... I don't know what to say.
You know what the worst con of all is? The one we play on ourselves. The great physicist Richard Feynman once said "The first principle is you must not fool yourself, and you are the easisest person to fool". What he meant by that is "Forget about what other people are lying to you about. Concentrate on what you are lying to yourself about".
Be careful with that. There are a lot of people out there who believe that they want what is best for the country, when, really, they want what's best for themselves. They just assume the rest of the country is just like them. Or at least as much of a chump as them. It isn't.
I'd like to smarten up those types of chumps.