Bad decisions flow downward and outward in the organizational pyramid, spreading bad ideas through obedience and the suppression of cognitive dissonance.
“A wise man changes his mind, but a fool never.”
“Unadvised hasty judgment is a token apparent of a very slender wit.”
Anne Askew, 1520-46
America’s chaotic and humiliating exit from Afghanistan did not just happen. Human decisions instigated and implemented it. But the key question, if we are ever to hold anyone responsible for this disaster, if anyone is to be tried and convicted of crimes against humanity (in America? forget it: Dubya, Rumsfeld and Cheney should be in jail for life), we have to find out who.
“…style is intrinsic and private, like…voice or gesture, partly a matter of inheritance, partly of cultivation. It is more than a pattern of expression. It is the pattern of the soul.”
Think of language as haberdashery: you have a closet full of clothes for every occasion. Your clothing choice expresses yourself in a particular context, for a particular audience. In the same way, barely aware of it (or not aware at all), you change your speech to what you think (though there are no conscious thinking processes) will be effective for a particular situation and audience.
Political speech – simpler, but no less devious
Definitions of “politician”:
An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared.
(One who) divides mankind into two classes: tools and enemies. That means he knows only one class: enemies.
[Someone] who identifies the sound of his own voice with the infallible voice of the public.
Joseph K. Howard
A set of men who have interests aside from the interests of the people and who…are, taken as a mass, at least one step removed from honest men.