One can cite favorite references to explain that a certain politician is benevolent and is only interested in the public good, but if someone counters with other references that hint that the politician has the potential to be a narcissistic tyrant, there will be claims that the contrary evidence is taken out of context. On and on the quarrels continue without evolving into legitimate arguments.
It seems that the political cycle in the United States never gets a time-out. Even during the conclusion of elections, campaigns for the next election begin in earnest. The contrarianism and toxicity continue unabated. The political pundits and the politicians themselves seem to need to justify their careers. Entire organizations are instituted around the concept of obfuscation. It is nearly impossible for the public to assertain true facts about candidates and issues.
I mailed my ballot in early last month ahead of this month’s Nebraska Primary Election. That means I have also been able to step back and witness the bickering as a more or less disinterested observer. If the business of electioneering wasn’t so serious, it would be amusing. The pervayors of half-truths and outright deceit are cheered on and sometimes even worshipped as god-sent saviors by many citizens of the democratic republic.
I find it fascinating that we human beings are not only prone to being mislead by politicians and advertising, but appear to encourage and embrace disinformation and misinformation. But enough about the players in the election cycles–their lackings of integrity regarding ethics, morality, clarity, pandering, and transparency are infamous around the world.
The world’s parents, teachers, theologians, and philosophers have long taught that honesty and clarity of intentions produces true dignity and trustworthiness. We crave and need forthright partners and friends in our lives. We weed out people who appear to be concealing or hiding pertinent facts about themselves and their actions.
When we obscur our own minds by our own personal dishonesty, we exhaust our emotions and mental state as well as those of people around us. Humans invent beliefs, ideologies, and institutions to distract and obfuscate our lack of candor and fidelity. Communication is muddled while intent is inextricable and unclear even when we believe we are communicating and behaving according to the most accurate algorithm and legality. Essential facts and ingredients are withheld in the interests of reputation and personal gain.
Yet another form of obfuscation, but not the only other one, is the use of jargon. We display our pride of position and intelligence by expressing simple concepts and thoughts with exclusive words and communiques in ways that “outsiders” cannot understand. Certain technical words and jargon are particularly legitimate, useful, and expedient for insiders and practicioners of the arts and sciences. There is no doubt of their necessity in specialized fields of study and commerce. However, the overuse of jargon is a sign that we should be on the lookout for clever deception and distraction.
The fact that obfuscation is accepted and ubiquitous should mean that we are wise to practice discernment about our interactions and in the formation of our personal opinions. It is also prudent to be aware of our own obfuscation. Of course, these are just my observations; others may disagree.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century English poet and writer, Dorothy L. Sayers. “Any fool can tell a lie, and any fool can believe it; but the right method is to tell the truth in such a way that the intelligent reader is seduced into telling the lie for himself.”