We recognize that, as human beings living in a world of scarce resources, we face constraints. This leads to the fundamental question of economics: What do we produce? How should it be produced? Who should produce it? For whom should it be produced? Etc.
Good economists accept that we are limited in what we can achieve. We have to try and do the best we can, given all the constraints we face. We look at the goals of policymakers and others, and analyze if and how well particular actions achieve these goals. Unconstrained thinking, which dominates the political and social landscape, ignores that there are many things that, given the circumstances we face, are not possible, or will not work the way people wish they would. In many instances, the economist often plays the role of constant inquisitor, much to the chagrin of those in earshot.