Run the other way

Section: 
Editorial

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Growing up, my generation was taught to respect elders and community and to do an honest day’s work for a day’s pay.

Females were to be treated with respect and there were rather strict rules when it came to one’s sexual conduct.

Those concepts seem completely foreign today.

The Ford brothers would likely have been tarred and feathered 60 years ago in Toronto. They don’t know the meaning of respect. The mayor of London would have had to resign 50 years ago after he was charged with paying for his son’s wedding with a federal government cheque back when he was an MP.

But the behavior exhibited by Rob Ford has always been with us. Look at one of Aesop’s Adages and you’ll see that: “The smaller the mind, the greater the conceit.” That’s from Aesop’s story of the Gnat and the Bull.

The Fords are bullies and so is Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. But bullies have always been with us. A number of people stated in the 1800s: “A bully is always a coward.”

Dr. Lawrence Peter wrote the Peter Principle back in 1969 more as satire than fact. However, many workers looked at their bosses and fellow workers and immediately noticed what Dr. Peter said was true and his book became a best seller.

If The Peter Principle – “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence” – was obvious 45 years ago, perhaps we are in need of a corollary. How about Murphy’s fifth law? It states: Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.

The Peter Principle is likely why the federal and provincial governments don’t seem to work very well and why the number of government employees in Kincardine (and likely in many other jurisdictions) has doubled since amalgamation.

Many Canadians have lost respect for government and it’s little wonder. In Ontario, the current government has rammed windmills and gas plants down our throats at great cost to the public purse. In Ottawa, we’ve had a host of senators, led by Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, feeding very well at the best public trough in the land.

Well, there is a law for that too, for nothing is new under the sun.

Brandeis’s Law states: “Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for the law.” U.S. Supreme Court judge Lewis Brandeis made that statement back in 1928.

We’ll end with Torquemada’s Law: “When you are right, you have a moral duty to impose your will upon anyone who disagrees with you.” Tomas de Torquemada presided over the torture of thousands of people during his 18 years as inquisitor general of Spain (1481-1498).

That law covers a lot of bad guys, Hitler and Stalin to name a few. If you hear a politician say he is always right, run the other way.

Things change, but people don’t.

Laws quoted above were found in Hugh Rawson’s book, “Unwritten Laws”.