Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Arguments can be difficult. They can cause hurt feelings and in many cases can muddy the waters on what is and is not correct about the topic being argued. Of particular concern can be the motivation of the participants of the argument. Are we debating the point to come up with the correct solution to a problem or are we in it to win it? The latter is more and more often becoming the case, we are not out to get things right, but to be right and this is causing huge problems in all aspects of life now, but nowhere as much as it is in politics and governing.

Being right and getting it right can be the same thing, though it depends on the motives of the person involved. Getting it right can often be objectively assessed, where being right can just as often be a feeling of victory as opposed to being correct about the substance of the issue. The tactics are different for sure. Trying to be right can involve a tactic to shut down the debate, to conclude it, to plan a move to win. Trying to get it right, involves listening to opposing points and factoring them into your thinking and making a legitimate attempt to get facts on the issue or problem to be addressed. This is where we have often gone off the rails in government and the reason is not just as simple as we might think. There are 2 main areas that people in government manage to get solutions wrong, excluding simple corruption and nepotism.

1.    Inexperience.
We don't, and can't know everything. If a person running for office is a lawyer by trade they come in with a background in law. This is a healthy place to start when having to draft laws and regulations etc. It creates problems when the individual is called on to make decisions in areas where they lack training and experience. They may also be operating with "some" knowledge on the subject. We've all heard the saying: "a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing". Lacking experience can go in about three directions. a. The person, understanding their limits seeks out people recognized in the area of expertise and consults, takes advice and makes decisions based on that advice. or b. Driven by ego and perhaps feelings of inadequacy the person takes an interpretation that comes from their own thinking and runs with it, afraid to ask questions or entertain thoughts offered by colleagues for fear of being seen as dumb or weak and being pushed out of their position. c. Being weak in the subject matter is pulled in a bad direction by someone who suffers from the same lack of experience, but is a forceful personality. This person may be pulling, trying to do the right thing but is unable to grasp the issue any better than our hero, or might be maliciously trying to lead the decisions in a particular way.

2.   Entrenched Ideology.
We have all met up with a person in our careers or home life that has a strong personality. They have a way of doing things and they aren't open to too many options on changing it. It can be as simple as the way they do it has always worked, so why change. Sometimes though, it is not that simple, sometimes it does not work and they simply don't accept it. In political circles, this is a huge issue. These strong personalities, often called Ideologues have an idea or a notion of how something is supposed to work and will not sway, It takes a lot of energy to maintain an appearance that things are working when they are not. Whether puritan far-right or puritan far-left there is no one system with all the answers.

At either end of the political spectrum, there is little debate, only argument. There is little room for getting the issue right, it's about being right, having the win and having the power that goes with the win. The power to continue pushing the single answer that has been the answer all along. When the system put in place does not solve the issue, it's not "our fault", there is always someone else to blame and the answer is simple, keep doing what we have always done, just be a little more extreme.

So open up your social circles and your minds people. Spend time with people from different backgrounds and views and listen to them. Let what they have to say swirl around in your thinking. We may find out that the world's problems are solvable if we just take a little bit of everyone's experience and find a happy medium. Take the time to know the issues we are dealing with and what the possibilities are, then commit yourself to worry less about being right and more about getting it right.


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