In either case there is no true breach between correct principles and practice.
- On the other hand, the underlying principles may be correct, but our view of reality itself may be skewed because we find it difficult to imagine cases outside of our relatively narrow range of experience. This bias is particularly likely among concrete-bound people, who may imagine themselves "practical" and "hard-nosed" but are often merely short-sighted. In Section 5 we shall see how such limited perspectives can have highly deleterious effects on the political process.
The widely perceived conflict between the moral and the practical arises from the fact that people are accustomed to dealing with conventional moral systems that cannot work in practice, because they are not based on reality. In particular, altruism, which as we have seen is egoism's chief philosophical rival in our culture, arises from mistaken metaphysical principlesin particular, from the idea that a human being is a means to the ends of others (pp. 3.5:7-8). Consequently, we should not be surprised to find that altruism is self-defeating in practice.