Taking people’s intentions at face value, in public discourse, is a product of failure of western education. The classics & Bible were taught for this exact reason: aiding to detect hidden demons & intentions (e.g. Homeric Trojan Horse).
Greek language (New Testament & Classics) uses verbs particularly to distinguish public intentions from internal (true) ones. μερμηρίζω δόλον: thinking [internally] to harm μηχᾰνάομαι (same root w/ word “machine”): elaborate complex plans, typically to hide intentions
Modern education, dominated by naive STEM logic, teaches the mechanical (materialistic) nature of Truth. Thus, today, the perfect Government is the one which applies the “mechanics” of democracy (e.g. voting) and applies good “mechanical” solutions (bureaucracy).
The classics, however, teach the opposite: Aristotle distinguishes forms of gvmt in good or bad based solely on the TRUE INTENTION of leadership to serve the public interest (of course intention is evaluated by actions). All types of gvmnt are bad when serving private interest.
The word Aristotle uses for intention is “proaireton” (literally “to choose before”). According to classics (and New Testament) a sin (αμαρτια) can be side effect of ignorance. But only if the person REGRETS (and adapt his/her behaviour) it may be considered as involuntary.
Example: Left-wing scholarship promotes group-based BS generalisations: If you belong to X group you’re morally superior. Thus, being poor & evil or rich & good would be a communist logical paradox. After communist atrocities, they never regretted these fundamental logical flaws.
According to christian scholarship, the evil resides:
1. inside our best leadership (Judas one of 12)
2. in our best leader (Peter denied Jesus)
3. inside the Paradise (snake)
Evil-free theories of utopia (leadership w/ no INTERNAL demonic voice) hide evil intentions.
All can be summarised in the concept of *hubris* also referred to as “pride that blinds”. Blindness means, of course, not being aware of the self-destructive side effects. But, again, it’s the product of INTENTION to outsmart instead of researching the Truth in its highest form.
Taleb: I would argue it is not hidden intentions but rather side effects of policies.
That may be true when there is a symmetry in side effects of policies (e.g. Terror in Fr Revolution). But when the side effects concern *others* (e.g. communist revolutions) and not the demagogues themselves (who become powerful), it’s the asymmetry that may reveal intention.