03 Oct 2009

Human Action Cannot Be Predicted

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I can’t predict my actions, so I really doubt that anybody else is going to, anytime during my lifetime.

For example, I just about never give money to panhandlers; in fact I once wrote an LRC article titled, “Stop Giving Money to Bums!” My argument was that you’re not helping them by making their lifestyle tenable. If you’re worried about someone starving to death, you can offer to walk into a store with the person and buy the food s/he picks out. (I’ve done that on a few occasions. Sometimes the people will come up with a reason that they don’t have time for you to buy them food! Other times you end up buying someone a bunch of food, which makes you feel a lot less like a sucker.)

But for some reason, tonight I ended up giving a guy $5. Here’s how it went down: I was walking around the lovely Greenville downtown, fresh from a fabulous performance at the Mises Circle. A guy comes up to me and says, “How you doin’? No offense sir, but you know who you look like? You know Seinfeld?”

So I say, “Yeah I do look like him. ‘George is getting very angry, Jerry!'” (I do a decent George Costanza.)

The guy cracks up and says, “Hey, you like honesty right?”


“Hey man, can I get a few dollars? I want to get a cold beer, you know, I’m just being honest with you.”

“Okay.” I decided I would give him $3, but I only had one single so I gave him a $5. When he saw the denomination his eyes lit up and he gave me a Denzel Washingtonian, “My man!”

So I made white people and black people happy today.* My work is done here.

* Argh, I keep forgetting that subtlety doesn’t work on the Internet. In case you are horribly offended, the point of my joke wasn’t, “Panhandlers are black.” The joke involved the fact that the particular guy was obviously black, what with my reference to Denzel Washington etc. And then I was actually making fun of the Mises crowd, in the sense that I believe they were all white.

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