The Ducks glower at me as I am summoned back to the Owner.
We Dogs, I tell the Owner, do not see why we should not Chase Ducks. It is Entirely Unclear that Anyone Benefits.
I think the Ducks might be Relatively Better Off, says the Owner.
We would be relatively better off, say the Ducks.
Nonsense, I say, they would Thrive on the Exercise, I say. All the Other Dogs Agree, I say.
Go and Boil your Head, say the Ducks.
I think you are Falling Prey to the False Consensus Effect, says the Owner, owing to not having Asked the Ducks.
What is the False Consensus Effect? I ask.
It is the Belief that All Others Share our Opinions when in fact they do not, says the Owner. It explains everything from the Moral Dog’s attitude to Ducks to the continued presence of Boris Johnson in Number Ten Downing Street despite his Obvious Moral Failings.
You should sort out your attitude, Mate, say the Ducks.
I always assumed his Election was some kind of Mistake, I say.
Alas, says the Owner, whilst this view is widely held in Camden, there are places where the Prime Minister is Revered and Admired as the best Thing since Sliced Bread.
I thought Sliced Bread was Generally Scorned in Camden, I say.
Indeed, says the Owner, it is true that Sourdough now Reigns Supreme and those who do not Make their Own are generally regarded as Socially Inept. But Sliced Bread was once regarded as a Great Improvement on the Prior Situation. As, for some Individuals, is the Prime Minister.
Everything I have read in the Guardian, I say, and in the Esteemed Organ of Private Eye to which you contribute so effectively, I say, suggests that the Prime Minister is widely regarded as Pants.
And that is the False Consensus Effect to which I referred, says the Owner. It is a Dangerous Thing, both for Persons and for Ducks.
Why? I ask.
Because it Lulls us into Believing we have Made our Case, says the Owner. The False Consensus Effect is when we assume that Everyone Agrees with us and we then look only at evidence that Confirms It. We can therefore completely cease the Necessary Dialogue needed for the achievement of True Consensus. Instead we hurl insults and chase Ducks.
You tell him, say the Ducks.
I ignore the Ducks. You mean it is possible the Prime Minister is not a Slippery Eel who is not slightly Less Moral than a Packet of Crisps, that there is more to his ideology and personality than vanity, self-interest and a Smattering of Ancient Greek, and that his Ministers are not a bunch of Yes Men without an Ounce of Decency between them? I say.
It is Possible, says the Owner, albeit as Plausible as the Moral Dog’s explanation of how he came to get his head stuck in the Freezer.
Hahaha, say the Ducks.
Then why do not all share your view? I ask. I think it is best to avoid the subject of the Freezer for now, as I fear I may have left Squeaky Cat in there and I do not want to look Guilty in front of the Ducks.
Alas, says the Owner, the False Consensus Effect results in those holding such a view reinforcing it through engagement with those who Share It, whilst rarely encountering the views those who dispute it. The country becomes Divided into those who are convinced of the Prime Minister’s Slippery Eelness, and those who are not. When confronted with evidence that True Consensus does not exist, instead of engaging each side believes that those who do not share their view are Not Moral.
This certainly explains the continued popularity of the Prime Minister, I say, but I am less clear on the Ducks. Everyone knows that Ducks are Not Moral.
Who are you calling Not Moral? Say the Ducks.
Everyone who is a Dog, says the Owner, but not necessarily Everyone who is a Duck.
It seems to me that a long and slippery argument has been put together Somewhat Laboriously in order to suggest to the Moral Dog that he should not chase the Ducks but talk to them, I say.
The World would be a Better Place, says the Owner.
Ball’s in your Court, Mate, say the Ducks.
I look at the Ducks. The Ducks look at me. I clear my throat. I am a Moral Dog. Of course I want the World to be a Better Place. But I have no idea how I am going to explain this to the Others.
It seems to me, I say, that you are Hoist with your Own Petard and the Moral Dog is Entirely Free to Chase Ducks.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.