Here Come the Straightshooters (Part 1)

Anyone possessed of both a functioning brain and a set of bollocks will regard brushes with authority, jobsworths and jumped-up thugs in uniform as a badge of honour. I gave up on trying to ‘impress’ such pillocks and chinless wonders many years ago, realising that the concept of authority, which encompasses all manner of statuses from parenthood through management sycophants, traffic wardens and the filth, is a corrupting influence on individuals by its very nature. It creates a sense of royalty and peasantry both within organisations and on a wider level, enables whoever has put themselves in charge to re-align the world according to the contents of their fucked-up mind, forces the powerless and defenceless to adopt the perceived worldview of another deeply flawed human being, rather than simply dealing in reality and the truth.

The only reason that ‘party lines’ exist is for the purpose of deliberate deception. A world in which someone is unable to repeat their understanding of the truth is a very, very fucking dangerous world to live in – people who are opposed to political correctness solely as they like offensive language and tasteless jokes are arseholes, but those of us who understand that it is essentially a restriction on argument, which is the way to to the truth, are surely closer to the mark. I’m not remotely interested in ‘the party line’ or ‘perception’, which whenever I have heard the word used, tends to mean something that a lot of people believe but isn’t actually true – see also conventional wisdom and factoid.

An individual who is only interested in the truth, regardless of its (in)convenience is known (yes it’s an Americanism, but what’s wrong with that?) as a straightshooter. All of the genuine Libertarians I have spoken to certainly meet this criteria and I don’t think for one second that this is an accident. When your political outlook centres around individual freedom rather than group think and refuses to resort to the pork barrel politics of bribing people with their own money, a serious level of straightshooting is both facilitated and becomes absolutely necessary. Of course, this puts us at a serious electoral disadvantage as we cannot promise people as much ‘stuff’ on the doorstep, sincerely or otherwise.

As I’ve stated on many occasions, the virtue of democracy is over-rated on a fucking chronic scale, but that’s for another day.

My memory of events from the fairly distant past has been jogged by something I discovered recently. A tale relevant to the matter at hand concerned a conversation I had with an old manager of mine when I was twenty years old. I’d just taken part in something that was essentially a training course, but also had a competitive element with the top seven out of the twenty-one contestants going through to the next round, which was basically a week in France doing team-building exercises and getting pissed out of our heads (well, that’s what we turned it into). Anyway, a head for numbers and some basic abilty to communicate ideas had got me over the line in fifth place, so I returned to work with a mix of steely-eyed confidence and self-satisfaction that, if I’m honest, bordered on smugness.

My boss was a nice enough fella, but (and there’s no way to sugar-coat this) a bit of a spineless bastard. Perhaps without realising it, he shot what I’d just achieved down in flames by explaining that he was worried about certain people within the organisation who saw me as (his words) dippy and scatty. My response was to point out that, seeing as I’d just beaten some of their blue-eyed boys in a fair and even contest, despite many of them wanting a free holiday more than I did and the handicap of a rotten hangover, this analysis must surely be wrong. I also suggested that part of his job, for which he was very well rewarded, was to understand when an urban myth or piece of conventional wisdom is not actually based on reality and ignore it accordingly. There’s a word for the art of contstantly worrying about and trying to change false perceptions of you – that word is neurosis.

It’s probably fair to say that our relationship was never quite the same after that, which illustrates my point about straightshooters and their difficulties within large organisations. When perception, regardless of accuracy, finds itself awarded gospel status, the ‘feelings’ of whoever has put him or herself in charge about an issue actually become more important than the truth. One of the most disturbing elements of modern life is the vast number of sane, rational people who reduce themselves to little more than sheep on an utterly voluntary basis, refuse to engage their brains, blindly swallow what they are told and dare not countenance the idea that authority, when placed in the hands of someone who is dishonest or following a personal agenda, is the single most dangerous tool that one person can hold over another.

The problem in this context is that management jobs become rewards for consistent displays of obedience and not ability, while straightshooters are seen as ‘loose cannons’ who need to be ‘sorted out’ and brought back into line. Hand on heart, I have never, ever gone into work wondering how I can cause offence, undermine someone else, or incite a riot. Actually, I’m as passionate and committed to delivering what I’m paid to do as just about anyone. It just seems utterly insane that there should be a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answer to everything, with appropriate rewards and punishments, regardless of what the truth might be. I once thought this bullshit would stop when I left school, but in reality (and that’s what we’re interested in, right?) the older people get, the more childish they tend to become.

Particularly if they’re given the legitimate outlet that is…a bit of power. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.


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