In one of the most famous political speeches, then-U.S. President Richard Nixon alleged his innocence in the Watergate scandal with the now-infamous words, “I am not a crook.”
Nixon went on to become the only U.S. President to resign from office, with those five short words defining his presidency.
Rationalizing the Irrational
John Dillinger, the infamous gangster, bank robber, and “Public Enemy #1” during the Great Depression, was hailed by some a modern-day Robin Hood. Robbing banks that were foreclosing on homes was viewed by many as a just retribution for the pain caused by the banks.
We, as humans beings, are amazing creators of rationalization. Not the logical kind of rationalization, but the illogical rationalizations we use day-to-day to justify our often irrational behavior.
Irrational behavior can be made consciously plausible, maybe even admirable. The greatest lies are the lies we tell ourselves.
“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”― Saul Bellow, To Jerusalem and Back