Lately, it seems best to keep my mouth shut. There are always opportunities to say inflammatory things. It’s easy to spout opinions. It’s easy to want to be right or to argue.
It’s easy to talk. Listening is hard. With all the conversations around politics (and any other controversial topic), it’s easy to want to speak. And I do so more than I should.
In fact, I have a blog post in draft mode for this blog that you’ll never see. It will never get published. Because sometimes it’s just better to keep your mouth shut. Why cause conflict when we’re not going to do anything positive?
I’m not at all afraid of conflict. But it also isn’t helpful to cause conflict if you’re not going to change anything.
So maybe try keeping your mouth shut. I’m trying it. It’s making my life better.
Decide to listen more. Talk less. You never know what you’ll learn.
There’s a huge temptation to see people as heroes or villains. We look at politicians, business people, artists, and we make snap judgements. There’s no room in our minds for someone to be anything else.
But issues are complex. Example: I love the humanitarian work the Gates Foundation is doing. I also completely disagree with the Gates/Microsoft stance on privacy.
It’s like this with nearly every issue. So let’s try and avoid making people heros or villains. Most of the time, they are just doing the best they can. Issues are complex. People are complex. Acknowledge that complexity.
Stumbled across this gif the other day. Perhaps it’s not accurate for you, but it’s sure accurate everyday for me.
And it’s OK to say I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m also going to do everything I can to make it work.
Whenever we hear a news story that touches our hearts or makes us angry at injustice, it’s tempting to take a side. Often we take the side that we identify most with, whether it’s because of race, creed, gender, or any number of other factors.
And then we often decide which party is guilty without knowing all (or often any) of the facts. We take a side, we offer support via social media, and we scream injustice.
But fortunately (and I mean VERY fortunately), we live in a country where you’re innocent until proven guilty. I think we take for granted the huge benefit and blessing this is. It’s certainly not a perfect system. And occasionally, it does get things wrong.
But one only has to look to other parts of the world to understand the value it provides in the long run. Kids (literally, young men around 15 years old) have spent years in prison for an unverified, unsubstantiated claim of indecency. This behavior happens throughout the world.
Our justice system is imperfect, but it always gives the suspect the benefit of the doubt. And that’s exactly how it should be.
So before you jump on one-side-or-the-other on your social media feeds, remember. All parties are innocent until proven guilty. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want it any other way.
In case you missed Apple’s Letter to Customers released recently, it lays out a pretty strong case for why Apple is refusing to work with the FBI to crack an iPhone encryption. The case details are immense, and frankly, somewhat complicated – especially for those without a technical background (if you really care about reading more, check out one of the best analyses I’ve seen by Troy Hunt).
But ultimately, the privacy vs security question isn’t a really a privacy vs security question. It’s a security vs security question.
In other words, do we prefer to be protected from overreach of the government or do we prefer to be protected from independent agents (even within this question, there’s a HUGE assumption that granting the government access will actually keep us safer). In the short term, it’s easy to see guns, bombs, and terrorists as the real threats. In the long term, I’m much more concerned with an overreaching, overpowerful government than with common criminals. Our founding fathers were far more scared of government overreach than they were of outlaws.
Which ultimately begs the question, where do you fall? The way we shape the language around this discussion will ultimately determine the outcome.
With the upcoming election, there’s a ton of chatter about Bernie Sanders and his ideas of Democratic Socialism. I’m no economics expert (although I could say I know more than the average American), but I have spent 27 years getting to know people.
And I genuinely believe the best in people. People can be very, very good. But people (and the majority of people) are also very, very selfish. Never do you meet someone in life with enough moral and personal strength to always put someone else first.
If you magnify selfishness across the entire population of a state or country, you have a lot of people battling for their own wants and needs. The miraculous free market system (when left unadulterated) has the power to pit this selfishness against one another. If I do something of value for you, you reward me with money. And vice versa.
Multiply this times billions of transactions, and you have a free market system. You see, the key to free markets is incentives. Incentives cause people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. Incentives are why you study for a test. It’s why you go to work. And it’s why you pay your taxes. And in a democratic socialist system, you lose incentives. Or at least they become significantly distorted.
The mob can be just as selfish as the bourgeoisie. And the bourgeoisie can be as selfish as the oligarchy. Most of the problems we have now are the result of a distortion of the free market system through crony capitalism and corruption. Removing even more incentives won’t fix the problem. The only hand in the markets should be the invisible hand.