Monday, November 2, 2009

Week of 11/02/2009

What If You Are Wrong?
– by David Matthews 2

“What if you’re wrong?”

“I’m not.”

Famous last words. Or they should be.

Hollywood loves to spin tales of people taking extraordinary steps to do what is right, to save the day, to right the wrongs. No matter how far-fetched the idea or theory may seem, the hero is NEVER wrong about it. The plan will always come through, the fear or concern or suspicion WILL be validated, the idea WILL work.

The hero has every reason to be so cock-sure in what they believe in. They don’t need experience or evidence or proof, they just need GUTS, intuition, determination, and the feeling that THEY ARE RIGHT, and they will win the day.

But what if the hero WASN’T right?

Did it ever occur to anyone how some of the most dramatic stories would have turned out if the hero WASN’T right? What if there WAS no grand conspiracy? What if that hunch WAS wrong? What if the gambit DIDN’T work?

Nobody ever thinks about that. And fortunately in the fantasy worlds of Hollywood, they don’t HAVE to think about it. The hero is ALWAYS right because it SAYS so in the script.

But we don’t live in the fantasy world. We live in the REAL world. And unfortunately for the REAL world, luck is NOT always on the side of the good guys. In fact, the “good guys” are not always “good” to begin with. Sure they may have the right INTENTIONS, but so do most of the things that go horribly wrong.

The key element is RISK. Everything has some measure of risk to it. Action, inaction, decision, indecision, they all have some measure of RISK to them. You can take action, or you can do nothing. Either way there is RISK involved. If you win, you get rewarded. If you lose, you deal with the consequences.

That is how it applies to the vast majority of people in this world. That’s how the system is supposed to WORK.

The problem comes when you have that segment of the populace who DO mess with that system. Who do everything they can to maximize their reward and to minimize - if not eliminate - any and all kinds of consequence.

The great disconnect that exists between Corporate America and the rest of the world is that THEY HAVE changed the rules for themselves. When they win, they win big. They give themselves raises and “retention incentives”, stock options and other perks. But when they lose, they don’t really LOSE. They manipulate the numbers so that it looks like they’re still making money, or at least aren’t losing money. They manipulate those in government so they can outsource or “streamline” jobs to other nations, or bring people in from other nations so they can pay them cheaper than they would have to in the normal business world. They even talk the government into giving them big stinking bailouts under the excuse that they are “too big to fail”.

And when worst comes to worst, they aren’t held accountable for their actions. Sure it may have been THEIR decisions that lead down the road to bankruptcy and dissolution, but THEY can’t be held to account for that! It’s just the “nature of the system”. Sure it can lead to rampant layoffs, the unexaggerated destruction of whole communities, vast economic depression, but THEY can’t be the ones responsible for it! THEY didn’t do anything wrong! It’s just how things are. Things just MAGICALLY happen that way.

And they get away with it too, because they make friends with those who have even more experience in changing the rules to their benefit… those in GOVERNMENT!

Those in government operate under two simple rules:

Rule #1: The government is NEVER WRONG.

Rule #2: When the government is wrong, see Rule #1.

Oh they can hide it, of course. They have plenty of years experience in doing just that. They keep us busy worrying about one fear or another, one threat or another, one convenient “scandal” after another. They play games with political parties, manipulating the rules, doing everything they can to divert attention from the fact that they write themselves more and more immunization from accountability.

Sure “mistakes” can be made, but THEY will never admit to making them. Abuses will happen, but nobody can be held to account for them.

THE ONLY TIME that those in government are held accountable for ANYTHING is when they deem the action to be only for their own self-interests. $90,000 in a freezer is considered “wrong”, but rubber-stamping a $700,000,000,000 program that makes eight banks more powerful and less accountable is perfectly fine and dandy.

They’re always for holding people accountable, as long as THEY aren’t the ones that need to be held to it. They’re always for transparency, as long as THEY aren’t the ones being asked to open up. They’re always for responsibility, but only as long as THEY get to point the finger of blame, and it never seems to fall on THEMSELVES.

Sometimes they soft-pedal it. Sometimes they offer up a “truth and reconciliation commission” that would have no real power and certainly hold no-one to blame. If they feel obliged to have a “special prosecutor” then they may need to toss out a sacrificial lamb… some minor player who will willingly take the fall on some minor charge. Or they’ll insist that we “not dwell on the past”… that we should “move beyond” it all and start anew.

Or sometimes they will brazenly out-and-out refuse to be held accountable for their actions. They’ll dismiss the whole thing under words like “Executive Privilege”, “Legislative Immunity”, or just outright call it for what it is… “Sovereign Immunity”. “Sovereign” as in DOMINION. They are your MASTERS, accountable to no one, not even to God. That is how they carry themselves. That is how they expect us to treat them. To them, government is not “by the people, of the people, and for the people”. Quite the opposite, in fact; the people are supposedly there FOR GOVERNMENT.

Let’s get brutally honest here, the whole concept of JUSTICE itself is PERVERTED whenever you have a group that deems themselves beyond reproach and beyond accountability.

You want to know when corruption in government really starts? It doesn’t start with freebees or the occasional bribe. Those are just pilot fish compared to the whole whale. Corruption actually STARTS when you have those in government who decide that they don’t have to question whether or not they’re doing something right. When they believe they don’t HAVE to justify their actions or account for their activities. It’s not the cop being GIVEN the free coffee or the assemblyman being GIVEN a free meal that makes them corrupt. Businesses give away free coffee or free meals or free newspapers for any variety of reasons. It doesn’t make it corruption. Corruption in government happens when these people believe that these things, and much more, are OWED to them simply BECAUSE they’re in government.

As soon as they believe themselves to be above the rules that the rest of us are bound to, it’s only a matter of time before those with money and influence start cuddling up to them, because they know that they will be the ones to re-write the rules. You take a look at all of the problems we face today, all of the things that are destroying America bit by bit, and you’ll find powerful people using the power of government to put themselves above us, and to put themselves above reproach.

Want to make a quick fortune and don’t care about the consequences? Get government to exempt a whole market out of oversight and let it run rampant. That’s what they did with the price of oil.

Want to make eight banks more powerful than ever before? Give the Treasury Department $700 billion, complete autonomy to spend it as they see fit, and complete immunity from prosecution for lying about how it would be used.

And make no mistake, the problems that we are dealing with right now WILL come back to haunt us in the future as long as we refuse to hold the ones responsible for CREATING them in the first place accountable for their actions.

We need to start asking others “What if you are wrong?” What happens if your hunch doesn’t pan out? What happens if your guess is wrong? What happens if your plan fails?

And we need to pay attention to the answer as well… because it’s one thing to ask “What if you’re wrong?” and be told that they’re not.

It’s another thing completely to be told they don’t have to answer that kind of question AT ALL.

No comments: