We Drink Your Milkshake

When it comes to writing and finding material to laugh at, I must admit I have a fondness for low-hanging fruit.  Although I am certainly more than willing to work hard when I have to, when it comes to finding ridiculousness in this world one often does not have to work very hard.  One example of this comes from a nation that shall not be named whose ruler had an unfriendly profile in the BBC, the result of which was the sort of legal investigations which keeps bloggers up at night [1], as if we needed more reasons to be incurable insomniacs.  Perhaps the funniest detail of the whole story is the fact that when the local offices of this news agency were being investigated they were not open and the local gendarmeries decided to help themselves to the milk drinks that were left at the door of the news agency’s office.  When conducting a ridiculous investigation in a country where a block of cheese can cost 20 days’ salary (no joke, sadly), one needs to get one’s calcium after all.  Considering that those reporters face the potential of long and unpleasant years in prison, though, it might have been more polite to let them have at least some of life’s pleasures before dealing with that unpleasant business.

I find it somewhat uncomfortable that my own views concerning matters of libel and slander should sit in an uncomfortable middle zone filled with ambivalence [2].  On the one hand, more than most people I have a compulsive need to share my own thoughts and feelings and opinions, even if few people want to hear them, from the motive of release the intolerable burden of stress, anxiety, and pressure under which I live.  Few people are likely more empathetic of what drives people to write and speak out even at great risk to themselves.  That said, I am uncomfortable with a legal regime that allows people to say whatever they want about ‘public figures’ with total impunity because I know what it is like to suffer slander and libel myself, and I detest it.  I therefore do not wish to inflict upon others which I abhor for myself.  The result is an ambivalence between a compulsive need to express myself but also a deep concern for truth and for the sensitivities of others whose tolerance for openness may not be as great as my own.  One cannot help but be deeply conflicted in such circumstances.

There are a few of the commandments and ordinances of God that I struggle with, but I think the one that I struggle with the most is the honor that God commands people have even for wicked, corrupt, and completely incompetent authorities.  Being used to thinking of the behavior of people in charge of businesses, governments, and other institutions as submoronic where not actually wicked, it is hard to honor people for the sake of the offices that they so unworthily inhabit.  I am aware that some of this trouble with respect comes from perhaps too high of an opinion about myself and my own competence and worthiness for office, and that some of this trouble comes from my harrowing and traumatic experience of abuse, but I am not a person who appreciates excuses from others so I have few to give for myself accordingly.  I often wonder why authorities act with such hostility towards constructive criticism, but then I realize that they are probably as sensitive to criticism about the way that they lead and rule as I am about things that are close to me, like my writing, and with probably more reason to be sensitive than most, since they are hopefully as aware of their own foibles and flaws as everyone else is.  When the thistle is raised up to kingship because other more productive beings are doing their God-appointed tasks, few people are likely aware of the lack of productivity and utility of the thistles more than they are themselves.

In what ways do authorities serve the institutions that they serve?  Perhaps it seems a bit odd that we should have to ask what purpose leadership has, given that we take it for granted, but given that leaders so routinely fail to provide any sort of benefit, we have to ask the question of what purpose they serve so that we may properly evaluate their conduct and train up better leaders than we often see at present.  For one, leaders are supposed to have a vision of where an institution goes that allows them to motivate and align their institutions according to that vision.  Many leaders fail spectacularly by being as nearsighted as a blind bookworm without his glasses, fumbling around, tripping over everything while everything around is blurry and indistinct.  Leaders also set the tone for the culture of the institutions they serve through the people whose talents and ambitions they cultivate and the behaviors they engage in and endorse among others.  Yet it is a lot easier to attempt to silence an open discussion and appraisal of the cracks in the edifice of any institution than it is to engage in the difficult work of shoring up our weaknesses and repairing our brokenness and disrepair.  It is better to pretend that the emperor has clothes, or that one’s authorities are brave and noble even when we know in our dark hearts that this is not so.  At least that way the police don’t have to investigate us, drink our milkshakes, and then throw us into prison for our troubles.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/02/11/your-stay-on-the-mainland-will-likely-be-of-some-duration/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/08/13/lese-majeste/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/10/16/book-review-the-czars-madman/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/12/11/stay-standing/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/09/20/ten-days-of-judgment/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/05/25/night-falls-on-ayutthaya/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/06/21/truth-is-an-absolute-defense-against-libel/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/09/23/to-which-office-do-i-go-to-get-my-reputation-back/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/12/30/book-review-blinded-by-the-right/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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