Change The Arc Of History

Last weekend we delivered our oldest grandchild to Queens University to finish his final year. For him, it has been a remarkable journey to this point. He is a practical thinker, which will serve him well in the future. As we grow older, we become wiser, and to some extent, that merely involves noticing what is happening and estimating the outcome. The meaning might be a better way to think about it.

Meaning is getting harder to see.

At one time, the system was organized to deliver meaning nearly instantly. If you did something dumb, consequences fell upon you quickly. The modern version does not require that to happen. In many ways, the reality is distorted to suit the need of elites. If an elite is found to be wrong, propaganda must be invented to make what was wrong seem right. The Covid fiasco provides more than ample evidence to support the idea.

Many of us grew up with the idea that mistakes were expected. Correcting them and learning from them was the only requirement. You cannot acquire meaning while you overlook and/or forgive your mistakes without change. Richard Feynman was one of the most objective and brilliant scientists of the 20th century. His thought:

“If you don’t make mistakes, you’re doing it wrong.
If you don’t correct those mistakes, you’re doing it really wrong.
If you can’t accept that you’re mistaken, you’re not doing it at all.”

If I look at current political thinking, the promotion of nonsense as truth, and the suppression of information to the contrary, I can’t see how we can learn from mistakes. Not accepting you are mistaken is a severe error and difficult to learn from.

Where will it go from here?

There are two conflicting possibilities.

  1. The arc of history bends toward the truth.
  2. The victor writes the history.

Suppose I look at the behaviour of the media, the health establishment, the education establishment, the environmental establishment, the justice establishment, and the military establishment. In that case, I am concerned about who will write the history. Objective evidence would seem to support the idea of history reaching truth. Still, socially we are being fed contrary wisdom strongly promoted by people who benefit from avoiding evidence.

Who will succeed in writing history?

Permitting a lie to stand is not much different from promoting such a lie. People not among the elite will have a hard time overcoming the propaganda. They can do it but not easily. Former world chess champion Gary Kasparov has pointed out the way. “There would be no game if the pawns refused to play.”

The problem we face

Many of us are supporting a team. Little thinking goes into that, as with football, basketball, or hockey. These people generally don’t think beyond the surface. If they believe Dr. Fauci and his allies, what will move them to examine other points of view?

Very little will move them. Mark Twain pointed out the problem, “It is easier to fool someone than it is to convince them they have been fooled.”

In our current place, those who believe the narratives about Covid, systemic racism, income inequality, public education, climate change, and border issues see themselves brighter than all the others. How hard will it be for them to admit the “dumb ones” were right? That’s why it is hard to convince people they have been fooled. To be fair, maybe the contrarians are the ones who are foolish. A lot of evidence seems persuasive, but still, it is not impossible to be wrong. Arrogance is not your friend.

As my mother would say, “Be polite when you’re right.”

Moving on

Until the corporate media and social media offer objective evidence, it is reasonable to believe they have nothing to shore up their position. Given the complexity of the problems, it is well beyond challenging to do your own research. To the extent there are any, the facts are easy to find if they support the narrative and deeply hidden if they don’t. There are charlatans on both sides. Skepticism is barely enough.

Reality says two things. People, when divided, tend to gravitate towards three positions. In favour of any proposition, about 40%, and opposed to that position, about 40%. Both groups have only the “team colours” to support their beliefs.

That means the eventual outcome will not be decided by those with a team affiliation. The independents will lead. They can be convinced by better evidence and will change their mind when it is presented. That ability to be uncertain and open-minded is not so common. Possibly not even 20% of the people can operate there.

Your job here

Look for people you can vote for who are open-minded and pragmatic. If fantasy is promoted as truth, you cannot expect a better life for yourself, your children, or your grandchildren. There is a reason. Things that don’t work don’t last. If something or someone permits failure to persist, how can any good come from that?

Be more aware and, if possible, be more active in seeking truth.

The bit to take away.

As I think our grandson is coming to. Pay attention to the evidence. Read works by people who disagree with your point of view. Look for people who are virtue signalling and ignore them.


I build strategic, fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways to achieve spending and estate distribution goals. In the past, I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, 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. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning. I have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and Banks – from CIBC to the Federal Business Development Bank.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email at don.shaughnessy@gmail.com.

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