Wikipedia defines ideologue to be “an adherent of an ideology, especially one who is uncompromising and dogmatic.” While I think all of us are ideological about some idea or other, it will pay us to know where that leads.
There are several factors to consider:
- No idea is complete, correct and without any aspect that can be the subject of disagreement.
- In the effort to pursue a solution to a problem or to exploit an opportunity every decision automatically creates a set of other options that you exclude. The “you can only spend a given dollar once” effect addresses this. The same resource cannot apply solve problem 1 and still be available to solve 2.
- Every decision has side effects. Doing nothing has side effects just as surely as doing something. The adult decision involves a comparison and a cost/benefit analysis.
- Dogma driven ideology distorts problems and opportunities. None are so simple that a single method is necessarily correct and unchanging.
Problems look different depending on viewing point. In a business, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and finance all see situations differently. Management must merge the viewing points to get a complete answer. That answer may not be “right” for any of the contributors, but the amlgam is likely more correct than any individual approach.
Society, as found in bureaucracies, seems to no longer have the merging of viewpoints idea deeply ingrained in its decisions. Political power is achieved through polarization and strong narrow stands on any topic.
The necessary result is that most political solutions are poor solutions. They are too costly and poorly implemented. For example, green energy may be a good solution but it costs too much and no one considers its side effects. How many people are harmed because they cannot afford energy or lose their jobs because energy is made artificially expensive by the political decision?
Politicians must do what they do because they must seem to be doing something. Cause and effect. Problems that take a long time to mature and solve are not really political decisions. No one can claim credit for the solution. Politicians must be impatient to survive.
If the marketplace (the people) would solve a situation efficiently in 40 years, that marketplace must be ignored or possibly corrupted by manipulations that harm it. From the viewing point of people who want instant answers, allowing something that takes 40 years to work is essentially the same as doing nothing.
Impatience is the bane of us all and should be tempered with rational thought, even wisdom.
Don’t hold politicians to too high a standard.
Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.