I have for some time believed that it is impossible to underestimate a politician. Not so much the human, but the political persona they express. I have come to mistrust everything they say and certainly mistrust their reasons for doing. Spin is the enemy and the political narrative will be our undoing.
I have paid only a little attention to the Wells-Fargo and Deutsche Bank problems. Breeding mistrust of banks and other large business enterprises as a government activity fails. When people stop trusting banks, what will replace them? This does not condone their behaviours, but losing customers, and at the extreme letting the bad actors fail will solve the ethically challenged managers more readily than will ideological political activity.
Media is complicit in spin. Most practitioners today want to be treated like Edward R. Murrow without the track record. Some people demand respect at least for the position. Pope and until recently president or prime minister even professor or judge had that right. Anchor man, columnist and editor may have had it at one time. The current practitioners have mostly thrown it away.
It is easy to disrespect the position when it is occupied by a psychopath or narcissist. But that’s our fault. We allow them to get there and to remain.
Blind Justice has become an oxymoron. Who you know matters. The idea of equality before an objective system of law is gone. The FBI and the justice department have trashed that idea, probably forever.
The politicization of science is a huge problem. The old idea “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but they are not entitled to their own facts.” has been overthrown. The idea of scientific consensus reached by a survey or show of hands seems ludicrous. Today’s proponents of settled climate science will eventually be seen to be the deniers. I hope someday that the motto of the US will become “In God We Trust; Everyone else must bring evidence.”
The problem seems to lie with well-meaning folks who do not get several facts:
- People are not equal. Everyone has their own skills and defects. They should have equal opportunity to make their way but no expectation of equal outcome.
- Most problems cannot be solved by a new law.
- Impatience is an impediment to reason.
- Correlation may indicate causation but it does not demand it. Statistics must be collected objectively and competently interpreted to have any meaning.
- Every decision has side effects. Sometimes they are more a problem than what was previously the problem.
- You cannot borrow yourself out of debt.
- Things that do not work should stop no matter how ideologically attractive.
- Data mining to support a particular belief is a sin
- No government has their own money and no government has the ability to create wealth. They can only redistribute what others have created.
- Many people have neither the time nor the skills or even the interest to know what is really happening.
- People can become selfish if the polarization of politics is successful
- Paying attention to trivia is debilitating. “Trivial inconsistencies are the hobgoblins of little minds.” Emerson.
I am happy with the tool of critical thinking coupled with a modicum of skepticism, but that puts me into the naive class. I do not like being cynical and I am concerned about that. Cynicism makes me unhappy. It is not a desirable human trait. It is time consuming and difficult to assume everything you hear from the government and its politicians is a lie. It may not all be lies, but that seems to be the way to bet.
Do I have a choice? Maybe not. Hear Lily Tomlin
“No matter how cynical you become, you can’t keep up.”
Somewhere in our future, I hope there will be leaders who are patient and lead by principles instead of by rules. Mistrust is debilitating.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org 866-285-7772