Liars make the best promises - Pierce Brown, Golden Son
Why do people fall for scams? It’s obviously against your self-interest to get wrecked in a ponzi scheme, so why do so many people ignore the warning signs and blunder ahead? Where’s their sense of self-preservation?
I’m sure there’s an amount of self-deception: “this one is different, it won’t happen to me,” which of course can only be compounded by genuine ignorance. But I think it goes beyond a misguided risk calculation. It’s not just a maybe I’ll be the one who profits this time, it’s a I deserve to be the one who profits this time. The Psalms and Proverbs have all sorts of warnings over this kind of thinking:
Do not fret over those who do evil; do not envy those who do wrong. For they wither quickly like grass and wilt like tender plants.
- Psalm 37
Do not envy wicked men or desire their company; for their hearts devise violence, and their lips declare trouble.
- Proverbs 24
For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
- Psalm 73
We perceive evil and injustice in the world, and we notice that often these perpetrators prosper. But step two in this line of thinking is super important: if we envy the results of wickedness, we’re basically envying the process of wickedness.
Nancy Pelosi is wicked. Nancy Pelosi is wealthy. Dick Cheney is wicked. Dick Cheney is wealthy. If only I were wicked, I would be wealthy. “All that’s holding me back is this dang conscience!”
Scammer is wicked. Scammer is wealthy. I’ll dip in real quick before the rug pull and get myself some of these gains. Everyone else is doing it. I’ll use the money for good, or at least better ends than all these wickeds.
Oops, you just got ponzi’d.
Everyone’s a scammer, and envy is a scam you play on yourself.
The Bitcoin hoarder is in a constant battle with himself to lower his time preference as much as humanly possible.