web analytics

Known Knowns and All the Other Ones

Written By: - Date published: 12:49 am, January 4th, 2020 - 6 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, Deep stuff, Ethics, Politics, uncategorized, war - Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I must be the odd one out, the outsider, because a lot of stuff that others get passionate or worked up about flies right over my head. There is not enough time in my day to try following everything that happens let alone think about and understand it. Life is too short and my brain too small.

Sometimes I try and I really make an effort to get to the bottom of things. It is a mission impossible with truly complex and controversial topics. One reason is that I generally do not possess first-hand experience and thus have to rely on second- or third-hand reporting and information.

However, nowadays I cannot easily tell which sources are genuine and can be trusted. I do not have the means to verify information other than to compare and contrast with other sources. Et cetera.

This used to be a conundrum for me because by nature, I like to know and understand things and I hate being taken for a fool. I felt I had to (be able to) decide what is correct or incorrect, what is right or wrong, what is good or bad. In short, I was approaching complex topics with a binary attitude.

The same attitude forced me (!) to take sides, to come off the fence, take a certain position, and form an opinion. Of course, this was flawed from the outset because what I was really trying to do is to find and mould information so that it would not be inconsistent with my existing biases. 

 


Ignorance might be bliss, because there is nothing to distract or contaminate my mind with, but bias is present from the moment the information or knowledge vacuum gets filled. At least I then have an opinion and my moral compass will guide me along from there onwards. Yeah, right!

I have come to realise that there are usually multiple sides to a story, that context and nuance matter, that often two choices can both be bad (as in Sophie’s Choice), that it is ok to admit that I don’t know shit about something and therefore do not, cannot, and must not have a firm opinion on the matter. 

I know we all love to judge. In fact, we all seem to have a need to judge. I tend to reserve judgment until I am very sure and even then, I proceed with caution. Believe it or not, the sky won’t be falling down when you don’t form a view on something that happened somewhere in the world some time.

Stopping judging the actions of a PM in a different country is not going to stop Climate Change, for example. It is ok to go “meh” – nek minnit they’ll have a different PM. I have no control over these things and neither have you so we would be wasting our time and raising our stress hormone levels for nothing – no actual fright-fight-flight response required as desktop warrior.

But what about public opinion? If we become a nation of fence sitters, the politicians would have free reign and no longer be accountable to public uproar and pressure? For example, if our Government decides to join a war based on mis-or disinformation.

 

I think the onus is on the Government to persuade the public. Yes, I know this opens the can of wiggly PR worms. The Government has to be as open and honest as possible with the people. If, sometime in the future, it is found that they acted on wrong or misleading information they will have to take personal responsibility for that. They cannot hide behind some kind of political immunity. After WWII, wir haben es nicht gewußt was not an acceptable defence and neither is it now.

The more is at stake, the higher the risk or danger, the higher the burden of proof before acting. If the stakes are low or the evidence is weak the only acceptable course of action is to collect more information until there is enough for an informed decision (which might be to do nothing at all).

The truth has a habit of coming out sooner or later, sometimes a lot later. People in power should not escape from taking responsibility for their actions – it is a fundamental legal principle that applies to all persons. They should not be able to duck for cover. They should be known to act honestly and with integrity and honour at all times. This should be a known known upon we can trust and thus we would give our elected representatives the power and authority to act on our behalf. Betray our trust at your peril. Sadly, this is hollow and meaningless and the peril is ours.

6 comments on “Known Knowns and All the Other Ones”

  1. Sacha 1

    raising our stress hormone levels

    Some people get off on that alone and any argument will do.

  2. bwaghorn 2

    The problem I have now after 5ish years of the open uni at standard is that now I trust no one ,dont no how to get to the truth of alot of things and lack the time to do it. 

    Still it's better than being very definite and very wrong. 

  3. Kay 3

    "People in power should not escape from taking responsibility for their actions – it is a fundamental legal principle that applies to all persons. They should not be able to duck for cover. They should be known to act honestly and with integrity and honour at all times. This should be a known known upon we can trust and thus we would give our elected representatives the power and authority to act on our behalf." 

    Yet, for some reason our elected representatives- especially Ministers of the Crown- are seemingly immune to this fundamental legal principle, frequently abdicating all responsibility of their role if the actions/scandal of a Government agency they are ultimately responsible for gets a bit too toxic for their liking and doesn't present them in a good light PR wise. How often do we hear the 'it's an operational matter/employment matter/not a matter for politicians to get involved with lines thrown around?

     

  4. Janet 4

    Like you I only “discuss” the topics I am living and working with first-hand and totally understand the bigger picture and the smaller pictures. I have no time to properly research the politics of other countries.

    I do not debate a point for the sake of a debate.

    “For example, if our Government decides to join a war based on mis-or disinformation.”

    I already know what I would do , I would walk the streets with a petition like I did to stop nuclear power coming to NZ , whether it was “mis” or “dis”  or information, as NZer,s do not need to participate in someone else’s war mess . If war came to our shores then I would stand and fight, not run to hide in someone else’s country leaving the rest of my countrymen to deal with it.

Leave a Comment

Use WYSIWYG comments on next comment (inactive new feature)

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Wairoa gets up to $6.1m to rebuild heart of CBD
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing up to $6.1 million to revitalise business and tourism opportunities in Wairoa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF is funding: Up to $4.8 million for the Wairoa Integrated Business and Tourism Facility Up to $960,000 for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Major Events support for creative and cultural events
    Creative and cultural events that highlight New Zealand’s diverse culture and build national pride are set to get a funding boost through the Major Events Fund, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. The new Creative and Cultural Events Incubator, which is funded through the Major Events Fund, will open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Classroom internet in hundreds of schools to get a boost
    The Government has begun a massive IT upgrade to provide more seamless internet access to 200 schools around the country. Te Mana Tūhono – Technology in Schools work programme will launch with a pilot of 10 smaller state schools early this year. IT equipment that gives students access to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Construction workforce, apprenticeships hit record highs
    Working with industry and committing to rebuild New Zealand’s infrastructure has produced a record high number of Kiwis working in the construction industry and learning trades, says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. New figures available today from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Tertiary Education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • NZ concludes digital economy trade talks with Singapore and Chile
    A new trade agreement concluded today helps New Zealand exporters and consumers take advantage of opportunities from digital trade.    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker together with Chile’s Vice Minister of Trade Rodrigo Yañez and Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, have announced conclusion of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to fund Waipukurau cultural development and tourism
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna -  Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project will receive $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to create an authentic cultural tourism experience, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today “The project will inform visitors about the history of six pā sites in Waipukurau with a combination ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 21 new judges boost diversity, improve access to justice
    Twenty-one new District Court judges have been appointed in a move that will improve access to justice and boost diversity on the bench. The new judges include replacements for retirements and 10 new positions. Attorney-General David Parker today announced the 14 judges who can immediately be named, with the remainder ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Puhinui to Auckland Airport in 10 minutes
    Aucklanders are another step closer to getting rapid transit to the airport, with the start of construction to upgrade State Highway 20B to the airport, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. SH20B will be upgraded with additional lanes in each direction, dedicated to bus and high-occupancy vehicles between Pukaki Creek ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Advancing New Zealand’s trade agenda focus of Europe meetings
    World Trade Organisation reform, agricultural trade and a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom will be the focus of Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker’s visit to Europe this week. David Parker leaves on Tuesday for a series of meetings in the UK and Switzerland that aim ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit counterparts in US and Canada
    The Minister of Defence, Ron Mark, departed today for the United States and Canada where he will meet with his counterparts.  While in Canada Minister Mark will meet with his counterpart, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.  “New Zealand and Canada are close friends, and share an instinctive like-mindedness on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to deliver family carers $2000 pay rise, expand scheme to spouses this year
    The Coalition Government is delivering this year the changes to Funded Family Care the disability sector has long-asked for, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. “Today we are announcing the details of our big changes to Funded Family Care, including an annual average pay boost of $2,246.40 for funded ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Ko te reo kua mū: Piri Sciascia
    Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta joins te ao Māori in their sorrow as they learn of the loss of one of the great orators and spokespersons of a generation – Piri Sciascia.  “The son of Pōrangahau was a staunch advocate for Māori development and served his people for over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister opens new ecosanctuary at Cape Farewell
    A new ecosanctuary with a predator proof fence on Golden Bay’s Cape Farewell, which will restore a safe home for sea birds, rare native plants, giant snails, and geckos, was officially opened today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “There has been a fantastic community effort supported by the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pacific partners work together to provide additional support to Australia
    The NZDF continues to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles fires in Victoria and New South Wales, including by transporting Republic of Fiji Military engineers from Nadi to Australia, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark. On Saturday morning a NZDF Boeing 757 will depart New Zealand to uplift ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive PGF funding: A $9.88 million investment to begin the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt accounts in surplus, debt remains low
    The Government’s books are in good shape with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown accounts for the five months to November. The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above forecast by $0.7 billion resulting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Auckland focus for first Police graduation of 2020
    The number of Police on the Auckland frontline is increasing with the graduation today of a special locally-trained wing of new constables. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of eighteen officers from Recruit Wing 333-5 means that more than 1900 new Police have been deployed since the Coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Wairarapa gets $7.11m PGF water boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund is putting $7.11 million into creating a sustainable water supply for Wairarapa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The following two projects will receive Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding: A $7 million investment in Wairarapa Water Limited for the pre-construction development of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Progress with new Police station in Mahia
    Community safety and crime prevention in the East Coast community of Mahia has moved forward with the opening of a new Police station to serve the growing coastal settlement. Police Minister Stuart Nash has officially opened the new station, which was relocated almost 20 kilometres along the coast from the nearby ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Plans to protect the future of whitebaiting announced
    With several native whitebait species in decline the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has today released proposals to standardise and improve management of whitebait across New Zealand. “The need for action for a healthy whitebait fishery has never been greater,” Eugenie Sage said.  “Four of the six whitebait species are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New resource for schools to increase awareness and understanding of climate change
    A new Ministry of Education resource available for schools in 2020 will increase awareness and understanding of climate change, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The resource, Climate Change – prepare today, live well tomorrow, will help students understand the effects of climate change at a local, national and global ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting more out of our most productive firms
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has approved the terms of reference for an Inquiry into the economic contribution of New Zealand's frontier firms. Frontier firms are the most productive firms in the domestic economy within their own industry. “These firms are important as they diffuse new technologies and business practices into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZDF sends more support to Australia
    The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending an Environmental Health Team, a Primary Health Care Team and a Chaplain to Australia, boosting New Zealand support for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles bush fires in Victoria and New South Wales, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand joins partners in calling for full investigation into air crash in Iran
    Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters says that developments suggesting a surface-to-air missile is responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight in Iran is disastrous news. “New Zealand offers its deepest sympathies to the families of the 176 victims. It is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Staying connected to Australian agriculture
    Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, says the Ministry for Primary Industries is continuing to stay connected to federal authorities in Australia as devastating fires affect the country.  “The Ministry is using an existing trans-Tasman forum for discussions on the agricultural impact of the fires and the future recovery phase,” says Damien ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Investment in schools – a commitment to communities
    Thousands of school-age children, their teachers and wider communities are benefiting from the Government’s multi-million dollar investment upgrading and renewing schools, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “We want New Zealand to be the best place to be a child and that means learning in warm, comfortable and modern classrooms,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Defence Force sends support to Australia
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark today announced New Zealand is sending three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and crew, and two NZ Army Combat Engineer Sections as well as a command element to support the Australian Defence Force efforts in tackling the Australian fires.  The New Zealand Defence Force ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Better access to books for blind and low vision citizens on World Braille Day
    "Today is World Braille Day and I am delighted to announce that an international treaty giving blind and low vision New Zealanders access to books and literary works comes into force today,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “Today the Marrakesh Treaty and the associated amendments to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to send further firefighter support to Australia
    The New Zealand Government is sending a further 22 firefighters to help fight the Australian fires. “The devastation caused by these fires is taking a substantial toll on our Australian neighbours and we will continue to do what we can to assist as they deal with this extremely dynamic, dangerous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago