Stone Pigs

undeniable underlying truths

Situational Myopia

Posted By Alan Partis on February 8, 2009

Populism works. Demagoguery works. Speciousness works. These things work so well, they should probably be listed as Stone Pigs. Whenever a politician wants to get something done in the face of any type of substantive resistance, they invoke the above tools in the court of public opinion.

While I would like to take issue with politicians (and defense lawyers) for stooping to such low levels to bolster weak arguments, I freely admit that they are pursuing the path of least resistance to meet their objectives. If these tools didn’t bring about success so often, I’m fairly certain that other avenues would be pursued.

The problem is that they do work. They work because most people suffer from what I’ll call situational myopia. Situational myopia is an inability to see past your immediate reality to the bigger picture around you. Like a chess player who can’t see more than one move ahead, this puts people at a distinct disadvantage. For most people this is a natural result of having to make choices in life and not being able to take the necessary time to stay abreast of everything going on outside of their immediate lives and family. People do what they have to do to survive, and they work with the tools that God gave them.

Consequently, it’s easy for politicians to point fingers at corporate CEO’s mode of transportation and foment class hatred. For example, a big deal was made about the private jets used by auto industry execs when they flew to Washington, at the behest of Congress, to testify about the state of their businesses. As a result, when they returned two weeks later, they chose to drive, or be driven. The public was thrilled. But how many people saw through the circus and noticed that the GM CEO drove himself to the Capitol in a Chevy Volt? This was not the vehicle that he drove from Detroit to Washington. No, this vehicle was flown in by jet … and I’m sure it didn’t make the trip in row 10 of a Northwest Airlines Boeing 737 on a coach fare.

Situational myopia allowed the politicians to score points with their constituents, but achieved nothing of substance. It was surely less expensive for the corporations in terms of cost and loss of executive productivity on their first trip by private jet. But in the name of fiscal responsibility, the second trip likely cost these companies much more. Doesn’t it give you a warm feeling to know that this is the impact we can expect as more bureaucrats get involved in the operation of our major auto companies?

For the astute observer there are daily examples of people “failing to see the forest for the trees” and being drawn into irrational positions due to their situational myopia.


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