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    Categories: Commentary

Resolve to think clearly in 2018

I usually do not make New Year’s resolutions, since I’m not on speaking terms with my own willpower, but this year, I’ve decided to give you the benefit of my wisdom and strongly recommend a resolution most of you need to embrace.

Human stupidity has become a true pandemic, and to stop this plague, you must commit to thinking more clearly, and going beyond the surface to understand issues better.  Some examples:

In mid-December I saw an advertiser promoting a new service, whereby an individual with a cellphone can pay for anything they have bought by simply having the phone scan their face and confirm the purchase. However, as soon as I viewed this ad, I had a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. I certainly understand the merchant’s motivation – who wouldn’t love a system that gets payments instantly? But what about the customer – what benefit is the consumer receiving from this technology? As far as I can tell, the answer is absolutely none. In addition, what happens if you have a problem with the product? Does the system instantly return your money as soon as you find the problem? Of course not. Start thinking for yourself rather than being another sheep.

The second example also deals with an advertisement, where a noted Hollywood actor urges viewers to “return to the America I remember,” and goes on to suggest that buying gold from some Capital Company is the way to accomplish this. Really? The America he remembers appears to be America about the time of the Second World War. I have no idea if this is a good suggestion or not, but I’m reasonably confident that your purchasing as much gold as possible is going to do absolutely nothing to accomplish the stated goal of changing America. In reality, buying gold is often because someone has lost all faith in a nation’s currency – in this case, the U.S. dollar – how does this help America? Again, think for yourself!

My third example strikes closer to home, and is again a result of viewing television. For reasons I cannot fathom, roughly a month ago, my wife and I ended up watching a broadcast of the weekly meeting of St. Albert City Council. I had never seen this broadcast before, and God willing, I pray never to see another episode.  Winston Churchill once observed that: “The problem with democracy becomes evident if you spend five minutes talking to the average voter.” With all due respect, I think dear Winston was wrong.   Rather, the problem with democracy becomes evident if you spend five minutes listening to the average politician. The evening’s antics were filled with political leaders who didn’t know what questions to ask (and therefore asked few) and bureaucrats who didn’t know what the answers were (and therefore provided few). The entire evening was a fiasco of incompetence, with only councillor Sheena Hughes showing leadership and trying to accomplish some real work.

The Japanese have a saying that “it’s fortunate stupidity is not against the law, otherwise, 95 per cent of this planet would be in jail.” I sense that the Japanese have estimated too low a number.

Brian McLeod: