This morning NPR actually blew my mind. Thomas Piketty, a person I had never heard of, is now my hero. Why, you ask?
Piketty is a French economist, and France’s government was going to honor his achievements with an award called the Legion of Honor. He turned it down. Why, you ask again? BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT SHOULDN’T BE DECIDING WHO IS HONORABLE!
I fist pumped in my car, shouting “hell yeah!” Because that’s awesome! Here is a dude who is practicing what he preaches, actually acting on his ideals and beliefs!
Me being me, I had two thoughts occur after hearing this story. Posers are the scourge of the punk rock scene; as SLC Punk put it, “they’re people who dress like punks but do it for the fashion!”
People who don’t actually act in line with what they’re presenting to the world, people who pretend to know or be something they’re not. Posers. And Piketty is the ultimate anti-poser. Seriously, Green Day just got inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame. For a band that calls itself punk (even though we all secretly know they’re terrible), that is super fucking lame. Hall of Fame? Punk is about blowing that shit up, about destroying all of that.
Secondly, the reason PIketty totally rocked my socks off has to do with a study in psychology on conformity. A dude named Asch did a (now) famous experiment after World War Two, when most social psychologists were trying desperately to understand how “normal” people had done such extraordinarily evil things. He put a man in a group of “confederates” (people working with the researcher), then showed the group pictures of lines with different lengths and asked them to decide which lines were the same lengths.
The group insisted the wrong lines matched, and here’s the thing – the man placed in the group usually went along with it (about 75% of the time). It’s SUPER hard to go against the group, even when you know that what you’re agreeing to is wrong.
So props to you, Piketty. You’re a man of ideals, with the courage to go against what most people would probably accept.