30 June 2017

To be Silent or to be Irritating . . . that is the Question

"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?" 
Hamlet, Act III, Scene I

It is an age-old concern.

I, for one, am tired of being cheated then being forgiving and silent about it whether or not individual problems are resolved.   My old policy was to give only good credit where good credit is due. My new policy is to also give negative credit when and where it is due - publicly - whether or not the problem is satisfactorily resolved.

Dishonesty and cheating are an increasingly much larger problem at many levels.  They have filtered down, increasingly, to the personal level as well.  If we do not disclose the dishonesty and cheating of organizations (e.g. businesses, non-profits,  government) when they choose dishonesty, then our silence is the same as acceptance and encouragement.  It does not require much silent "encouragement" for deceit to run rampant in any organization, to the point that it becomes wide-spread corruption the enabling of which is often found to be dependent entirely upon unwritten s.o.p. for the purpose of deniability.

In addition to the fact that the internet makes it easier to call out unethical practices so that more instances are known by more people, there is also an increasing problem that has lead to more corruption, everywhere, partly because folks who can afford to be cheated find it more convenient to pay a few cents, or dollars, or hundreds or thousands of dollars more . . . rather than to take the time and make the effort to quibble about it.   For example, everyone has experienced the ongoing strategy of prices increasing, while amount and quality of products and services decrease.  Why is that?   How about because customers are too busy to quibble about a few ounces or shoddy service; or because something is less expensively and more easily tossed or replaced than exchanged or repaired even if on warranty. 

The strategy of price gouging is used repeatedly, consistently, and successfully because those using it are profiting at the expense of everyone when some can afford the convenience of ignoring the problems, which leads to the convenience of choosing to pay a little more to avoid prolonged time-consuming bickering about issues associated with unnecessary price increases and decreases in quantity and quality.  But "a little more" is highly relative.  "A little more" in every aspect of one's life slowly creeps into everyone's reality and adds up to eventually become an overwhelming amount in the lives of many folks.  Look at the history of increasing health care costs for an overwhelming example of that which affects almost everyone more than it should and destroys the economic responsibility, in terms of personal accountability, of too many people.

Cheating by businesses and employees at all levels of government occurs - across the board - increasingly.  If we do not call-out the various small problems of dishonesty, manipulative misleading, and cheating when it is more trouble than it seems worth to bicker about it, then it is considered to be silent approval by those engaging in the wrong-doing.  Then it encourages the belief in businesses and those who are paid to be "public servants" and to have the constituencies best interests in mind, that the entire public and/or constituency is ignorant, easily fooled, and mislead.  In fact, that belief becomes actuality when we do not all speak up about being wronged every time we are wronged, including when the wrong is righted and the outcome is as it should be.  It is tempting to assume that because the majority of people are parents these things are understood.  Is it possible that many folks really are so naive as to not understand that the longer adults are allowed get away with believing they are empowered to behave like naughty misguided children, the longer they will behave like naughty misguided children - some at the two year old level, some at the permanent adolescent level or anywhere in between?

It is a fact there is a lot of public grousing for good reason, and also a fact that people really get tired of rampant complaining.  Many people tire of their own complaints before anyone else does which results in some amount of self-limiting.  Even though complaining and the complaints of others can be tedious, they can also be encouraging because it demonstrates that people are refusing to remain silent about wrong-doing.  There is not always a fine-line between incessant pressure-releasing dumping or over the top criticism, and the effort to warn other folks to be careful for specific reasons by pointing out dishonesty and cheating (whether diplomatically or not) after it occurs and while doing one's part to stop it. How one says what is said and the spirit in which it is said, makes a difference in that respect.

It has become a matter of necessity that we must overcome the dishonesty and corruption all together, or experience increasing erosion of all that is good in life as it continues.  We all need to find our own most effective ways to do so with the minimum amount of annoyance to others.  Being irritating can not be completely eliminated, but it can be minimized.

I, for one, am going to continue to warn others about deceit which I personally experience, and know has occurred in businesses and government, as I hope others also choose to do - all of us in the least annoying ways possible to ourselves and other folks (except the offenders).  We have to depend on one another to do so or the few squeaky wheels set themselves up to be mercilessly harassed.  "Speaking truth to power" is how some refer to it - a catchy slogan and the point of it is understandable. However, I simply do not like equating deceit with power because I do not consider those who deceive to have actual "power" regardless of all the trouble, death, and destruction that is the  intentional result of deceit.  Wrong-doers only have power when we give it to them by being silent and allowing them get away with wrong-doing.

Unless one is very affluent, remaining silent about deceit will eventually overwhelm all aspects of  life.  The least affluent among us suffer first, most, and longest because of it.  But in reality it also  eventually catches up to the very affluent too who take longer to  understand the problems when they are people of integrity who are not causing the problems.  Ultimately, none of us has it better than our least common denominator - the most disadvantaged folks who need the most assistance because of equitable opportunity having been withheld.  Not everyone who is disadvantaged makes bad choices and engages in self-destructive behavior.  But those who do, especially when turning to crime, lower the bar of the least common denominator for all.  It is a far-reaching societal issue that is a symptom of a lack of adequate and appropriate foresight in our nation's elected and appointed leadership, along with their collective disregard for the welfare of others - including posterity.  Such attitudes eventually permeate entire populations when a nation's leaders, collectively, refuse to transcend greedy self-interest instead of doing their best to make choices that provide equitable quality of life for all.

We all need to do our best to offer warnings , as deserved, about what is dishonest rather than to complain, argue, obfuscate, and refuse obnoxiously to communicate about what we don't like because it might not, or does not happen according to the way we prefer - an attitude that creates "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" which eventually causes everyone to suffer.  No one has a franchise on knowing best about everything all the time.  No one.  I call b.s. on anyone who stifles civil communication and/or refuses to civilly communicate because of believing otherwise.   Do you?