As you may have noticed, your host has been involuntarily separated from Ethics Alarms for about 24 hours. Several things occurred that under normal circumstances would have had me dashing off a post while waiting for flights or preparing to check out of my hotel—and there were definitely several comments that had me reaching for a phantom keyboard—but I was without laptop, thanks to leaving the power cord behind in my previous hotel.
So I have a little story to tell. I stayed at a decent Boston hotel last night, not a 4 star hotel like the one I just left in Atlanta (The Four Seasons), but a nice one, professionally run, dependable. Yet this morning this was my wake-up call, via recording:
“It’s 7 AM. This is your wake-up call for March 8, 2018.”
Almost at the same time, David Hogg was on CNN, explaining how darned easy it was to create a system that would prevent school shootings forevermore.
Wrong. Systems break down, you experience-free, arrogant, disrespectful, know-nothing puppet. The belief that human beings can devise systems that will solve every problem, or any problem, and do what they are designed to do without failing miserably at the worst possible times and in the worst imaginable ways is signature significance for a fool, or a child. O-Rings fail. Police don’t act on warnings that a kid is violent. Obamacare raises health care premiums. Political parties end up nominating Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Jack Ruby breaks past police security. Communism ends up killing hundreds of millions rather than creating a worker paradise. The Titanic hits the wrong iceberg exactly where it’s weakest. Hitler takes a sleeping pill during the Normandy invasion.
The T-Rex gets loose.
One of the most neglected ethical values is humility. Human beings have ample historical evidence that they are screw-ups, and yet their intellectuals and politicians continue to represent themselves as trustworthy when they claim that they can make everything better. Sometimes they can. But don’t bet on it. Solving complex problems is hard, and risky, and full of dangers, the worst of which is being cock-sure that nothing can or will go wrong. The second worst is concluding, when someone else’s best laid plan becomes Pickett’s Charge, or the Edsel, or The Indianapolis, or “My Mother The Car,” that they are idiots, and you have all the answers, and will never make a mistake that, thanks to the wonders of chaos theory, ends Zeppelin travel forever.
When I returned home tonight, I saw that the Four Seasons had, as promised sent me back my powercord via UPS express. Now that’s a dependable hotel!
Then I saw that they had sent me a second powercord that belonged to somebody else.
Of course they did.