„Who would appreciate such candor? No one. None of us really likes honesty. We prefer deception –but only when it is unabashedly flattering or artfully camouflaged. Groups seem to need to believe that they are superior to others and that they have a purpose greater than just passing along their genes to the next generation. Individuals seem to need similar delusions – about who they are and why they do what they do. They need heroes, however fraudulent… Studies show that people are more likely to accept the opinion of a confident con man than the cautious view of someone who actually knows what he is talking about. And professionals who form overconfident opinions on the basis of incorrect readings of the facts are more likely to succeed than their more competent peers who display greater doubt.
What’s more, deception works best, according to studies by psychologists, when the person doing the deceiving is fool enough to be deceived, too; that is, when he believes his own lies. That is why incompetent leaders – who are naïve enough to fall for their own guff – are such a danger to civilized life. If they are modern leaders, they must also delude themselves into thinking they know how to make the world a better place. Invariably, the answers they propose to problems are ones that bubble up from their own vanity, the essence of which is to make the rest of the world look just like them!“
Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics