De Ole Dawg – Part 7: 2018 -Truth answers to the project and policy hitmen

Why we must build Montserrat’s future on credible truth (instead of political “spin” and “hit jobs”)

BRADES, Montserrat-  Montserrat’s future lies in the balance, we are at what the Spanish call un momento de verdad, a moment of truth.  But, what is the truth, how may we credibly, reliably, confidently know, trust and act on it in the face of contention, controversy, confusion, hostility, spin tactics and outright deceit?

(Where, as the Lenten season reminds us all, notoriously, Governor Pilate once had The Truth Himself standing before him and cynically dismissed his duty to do the right with: what is truth? He then washed his hands as though he was not knowingly going along with gross injustice, the judicial murder of an innocent man. Thank God, that was Friday, but Sunday was a-coming! A sobering lesson of hard-bought history, one that many of our local and UK decision makers, movers, shakers and pundits who are tempted to go along with wrong because it seems to be the path of least resistance would do well to heed.)

Ironically, what truth is, is simplicity itself (as Aristotle long ago pointed out in his Metaphysics 1011b): truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not.  Or, saying it like it is. That is, truth accurately describes reality, so if we are to build a sound future, we must prize, seek, warrant and build upon it. There, we have said it, and once said it is actually obvious. This instantly sweeps away ever so much of the cynical rhetoric and the dirty power games that too often drive decisions in a world where we are all finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill-willed. Including, right here in Montserrat. Well did the same Jesus (who stood before Pilate at his failed moment of truth) counsel us in the all-time best case of “a good man speaking well” – the right use of rhetoric:

Matt 6:  22  “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23  but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  24  No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” [ESV]

This gem is a little parable about the power of sound insight, of sound thinking. A healthy mind reliably “sees” accurately and fills us with a true picture of our world and circumstances, guiding sound decision and action. By contrast, the unsound mind driven by lust for money and what it buys blinds us, leading us to error and even ruin. Where, in another gem of wisdom, the same great teacher counselled that the blind can lead the blind about as far as the nearest ditch. A third, points out that it is knowledge of and acting on the truth that makes us free. (And yes, this time of year reminds us that our attitude to the wisdom in the scriptures – especially that in the mouth of Messiah – is one test of our spirit towards truth. Nowadays, Montserrat’s social media over-brims with those who foolishly fail this test.)

By contrast (and as TMR has noted so many times), to lie is to speak with disregard to truth, in hope of profiting by what one says or suggests being taken as true.  Willful, cynical deceit for “advantage.” And, frankly, there is far too little of the truth and there is far too much of the deceitful and unjust in our public discussion and decisions for and about Montserrat’s future. Here, and in the UK. Last time, we had to deal with a case, hitmen hurting us badly in the UK press. And, there are a lot more hitmen about; people who without good cause willfully damage or even wreck decisions, people, projects and policies alike.  “Advantage never done.”

Let us be utterly, coldly clear: that which is false is just that which fails to fit with reality, so it will lead us astray and ends in ruin. Never mind the power that backs it up and promotes or even demands that we accept it, or else.  Let us be equally clear on this: the destructive hitmen, the lying spin masters, the bought- and paid- for half-truth telling technicos and their backers betray us.

But, how can we know what is true and what is false?

Let’s put it this way: we are most at risk of being deceived or falling into error when we are ignorant, angry or ill-willed. So, we must diligently seek knowledge, the peace of justice within and without, and the common good. Where, knowledge is best understood as well-warranted, credibly true (and reliable) belief.

That is, our mind’s eyes must be good, and we must diligently seek to ground what we accept as credibly true.  Where, our emotions are no better than the perceptions, expectations and judgements that lie at their roots. Similarly, no authority – no expert, no witness, no book, no news anchor, no spokesman, no teacher, no leader – is better than his or her soundness on the facts, logic and peace of justice in his/her heart. For, it is only when we start from the whole, undiluted, untainted truth that makes a difference to our decisions and then reason soundly, prudently and justly that we credibly have a trustworthy basis for action. We may still err, for that is human, but this is the path to soundness. Where, too, the old saying is right: “a half truth is a whole lie.”

By these yardstick principles, far too much of what passes for conventional wisdom or even knowledge here, in the UK and across the whole world in our time fails the test. King David of old is right: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” [Psalm 146:3, ESV.] Political messianism is idolatry and idols will be broken. No politico can deliver heaven on earth. S/he who pretends otherwise is a fraud or a fool.

For example, on matters of economics, we would be well advised to know that several decades ago the world passed through a period of great ferment and deep disagreement, but after the Cold War era ended in the 1990’s,  there is now much more of a consensus on what leads to sound development – and our Economic Growth Strategy[1] builds on that. But to get to the “catalytic” infrastructure and access projects that would open up tourism and other high growth potential sectors, we have to address sound governance, including sound project and programme management and sound financial management as well as the legal basis for our development partnership with the UK, the UN Charter, Article 73.  Which will also require that we face some bitter truths.

And, to build a solid informed consensus that will check hitmen, spin doctors and their backers, we have to become a much better aware, prudent public. That requires sound public education. Such has been a major focus of The Reporter, and it will continue to be a main focus going forward. Happy Resurrection Sunday!  END

[1]           See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/de-ole-dawg-part-1-2018-what-are-montserrats-economic-realities-challenges-and-opportunities/

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Why we must build Montserrat’s future on credible truth (instead of political “spin” and “hit jobs”)

BRADES, Montserrat-  Montserrat’s future lies in the balance, we are at what the Spanish call un momento de verdad, a moment of truth.  But, what is the truth, how may we credibly, reliably, confidently know, trust and act on it in the face of contention, controversy, confusion, hostility, spin tactics and outright deceit?

(Where, as the Lenten season reminds us all, notoriously, Governor Pilate once had The Truth Himself standing before him and cynically dismissed his duty to do the right with: what is truth? He then washed his hands as though he was not knowingly going along with gross injustice, the judicial murder of an innocent man. Thank God, that was Friday, but Sunday was a-coming! A sobering lesson of hard-bought history, one that many of our local and UK decision makers, movers, shakers and pundits who are tempted to go along with wrong because it seems to be the path of least resistance would do well to heed.)

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Ironically, what truth is, is simplicity itself (as Aristotle long ago pointed out in his Metaphysics 1011b): truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not.  Or, saying it like it is. That is, truth accurately describes reality, so if we are to build a sound future, we must prize, seek, warrant and build upon it. There, we have said it, and once said it is actually obvious. This instantly sweeps away ever so much of the cynical rhetoric and the dirty power games that too often drive decisions in a world where we are all finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill-willed. Including, right here in Montserrat. Well did the same Jesus (who stood before Pilate at his failed moment of truth) counsel us in the all-time best case of “a good man speaking well” – the right use of rhetoric:

Matt 6:  22  “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23  but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  24  No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” [ESV]

This gem is a little parable about the power of sound insight, of sound thinking. A healthy mind reliably “sees” accurately and fills us with a true picture of our world and circumstances, guiding sound decision and action. By contrast, the unsound mind driven by lust for money and what it buys blinds us, leading us to error and even ruin. Where, in another gem of wisdom, the same great teacher counselled that the blind can lead the blind about as far as the nearest ditch. A third, points out that it is knowledge of and acting on the truth that makes us free. (And yes, this time of year reminds us that our attitude to the wisdom in the scriptures – especially that in the mouth of Messiah – is one test of our spirit towards truth. Nowadays, Montserrat’s social media over-brims with those who foolishly fail this test.)

By contrast (and as TMR has noted so many times), to lie is to speak with disregard to truth, in hope of profiting by what one says or suggests being taken as true.  Willful, cynical deceit for “advantage.” And, frankly, there is far too little of the truth and there is far too much of the deceitful and unjust in our public discussion and decisions for and about Montserrat’s future. Here, and in the UK. Last time, we had to deal with a case, hitmen hurting us badly in the UK press. And, there are a lot more hitmen about; people who without good cause willfully damage or even wreck decisions, people, projects and policies alike.  “Advantage never done.”

Let us be utterly, coldly clear: that which is false is just that which fails to fit with reality, so it will lead us astray and ends in ruin. Never mind the power that backs it up and promotes or even demands that we accept it, or else.  Let us be equally clear on this: the destructive hitmen, the lying spin masters, the bought- and paid- for half-truth telling technicos and their backers betray us.

But, how can we know what is true and what is false?

Let’s put it this way: we are most at risk of being deceived or falling into error when we are ignorant, angry or ill-willed. So, we must diligently seek knowledge, the peace of justice within and without, and the common good. Where, knowledge is best understood as well-warranted, credibly true (and reliable) belief.

That is, our mind’s eyes must be good, and we must diligently seek to ground what we accept as credibly true.  Where, our emotions are no better than the perceptions, expectations and judgements that lie at their roots. Similarly, no authority – no expert, no witness, no book, no news anchor, no spokesman, no teacher, no leader – is better than his or her soundness on the facts, logic and peace of justice in his/her heart. For, it is only when we start from the whole, undiluted, untainted truth that makes a difference to our decisions and then reason soundly, prudently and justly that we credibly have a trustworthy basis for action. We may still err, for that is human, but this is the path to soundness. Where, too, the old saying is right: “a half truth is a whole lie.”

By these yardstick principles, far too much of what passes for conventional wisdom or even knowledge here, in the UK and across the whole world in our time fails the test. King David of old is right: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” [Psalm 146:3, ESV.] Political messianism is idolatry and idols will be broken. No politico can deliver heaven on earth. S/he who pretends otherwise is a fraud or a fool.

For example, on matters of economics, we would be well advised to know that several decades ago the world passed through a period of great ferment and deep disagreement, but after the Cold War era ended in the 1990’s,  there is now much more of a consensus on what leads to sound development – and our Economic Growth Strategy[1] builds on that. But to get to the “catalytic” infrastructure and access projects that would open up tourism and other high growth potential sectors, we have to address sound governance, including sound project and programme management and sound financial management as well as the legal basis for our development partnership with the UK, the UN Charter, Article 73.  Which will also require that we face some bitter truths.

And, to build a solid informed consensus that will check hitmen, spin doctors and their backers, we have to become a much better aware, prudent public. That requires sound public education. Such has been a major focus of The Reporter, and it will continue to be a main focus going forward. Happy Resurrection Sunday!  END

[1]           See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/de-ole-dawg-part-1-2018-what-are-montserrats-economic-realities-challenges-and-opportunities/