What upsets me is not that you lied to me, but that from now on I can no longer believe you.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
Like most children, my parents raised me with an unending plea to always tell the truth. In my mom’s eyes, a clean conscience was to be valued above all else. “Besides,” she always said, “if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.” I have carried this commitment to truth and honesty with me, almost to a fault. It has served me well.
As I have observed the global meltdown of the financial industry I can’t help but believe that it has been forever transformed by a blatant lack of trust. When the banks stopped lending it was clear that they no longer believed one another. The Bernie Madoff case was the icing on the cake. It seems to me that it will take a long time to restore trust and confidence into the financial system. In the process, I am not sure what kind of “financial system” will actually emerge on the other side.
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
— Lord Acton
I was born in Canada and came to the US between my sophomore and junior year in high school. One of my first courses in my newly adopted country was high school civics. I learned with a newcomer’s sense of awe about the three branches of government and their important role in each checking the power of the other. It is highly attributed that this system of checks and balances is the genius of the America.
In the intervening years since those wide-eyed high school years I have been a casual observer of the reality that power and money are self preserving. …
MSNBC ran the startling headline this morning: Man arrested near Capitol faces WMD charge. How intriguing! Was a criminal mastermind skulking through the streets of DC with a nuclear bomb in his trunk?
[The suspect] tried to manufacture a “weapon of mass destruction, that is, an explosive device capable of causing multiple deaths or serious bodily injuries to multiple persons, or massive destruction of property,”
At the height of the Cold War, “weapons of mass destruction” meant nuclear warheads that were capable of eliminating broad swaths of humanity with a single explosion. With the onset of the “war on terror” we expanded WMD to include bio-weapons that could infect the water supply for an entire city or chemicals that could poison the air of a local community. …