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A Good Day

Entry 1991, on 2019-07-17 at 14:54:17 (Rating 2, Comments)

I was driving to work a while back when I decided to listen to some radio news and current affairs from New Zealand's public radio service, RNZ. They were talking about a TV program created by our national TV channel, TVNZ, about racism in this country. A supporter of the program was speaking as if all the narratives of the program were established beyond doubt, but luckily RNZ had arranged to have another point of view and invited a second expert who contradicted this by showing how none of the premises of the show could necessarily be established with any degree of certainty.

For example, he pointed out that a person of Pacific descent being ignored for a certain time in a restaurant should not be automatically construed as racism since some restaurants just have poor service and that was just as good an explanation for the lack of attention as racism would be.

This was a refreshing change from the usual one-sided material I hear on RNZ, because while it has a fair standard of fact checking and credibility, that tends to occur in one direction only: towards what I would uncharitably describe as extreme political correctness.

Unfortunately, because I was concentrating on the program so much I failed to notice a traffic cop parked on the street ahead of me, and he was a quite cunning example of his kind because he didn't use his radar until I was quite close, and I wasn't saved by my radar detector.

I pulled up and greeted him in a friendly manner. Of course, I knew I was speeding because I always speed, so I was prepared to accept his admonitions, and a fine, and move on. But, as a last resort I decided to chat with him briefly about my alleged offences. He showed me my speed on his radar unit (I was surprised that it was that low) and asked if I had any good excuses. Needless to say, I did, so I pointed out that the street was very quiet and there were few other cars and no pedestrians in view, and that going slightly faster than the speed limit was not massively unsafe in those circumstances.

I was surprised when he agreed and allowed me to continue with just a warning. He said that it was unlikely that I would be excused again so to "take it easy". That seemed like good advice, so I thanked him and continued my journey to work.

I arrived at work without any further drama and started updating a web-based database system I had created a few years back. My original job title was "analyst/programmer" and I was hired to convert a lot of older programs from one machine architecture to another, and after that I created custom applications mostly for the Mac, then I moved on to web-based applications and databases. But when the structure of the organisation changed a specialised application team was created and it was deemed that I should do general Mac support work instead.

But discussing this with a manager, it was agreed that it made sense if I continued to use my well-established skills and experience to do development work even when it contradicted the structure we currently operated under. This was really just a common-sense approach which was to everyone's benefit, but it was refreshing to see that attitude existed.

During my lunch break I decided to get involved with a bit of social media controversy. Anyone following this blog will know that I am currently concentrating on anti-political correctness and pro-free speech issues, so that's what I commented on. In fact, I made a fairly moderate comment which rationally criticised some unsubstantiated statements made by another social media user who denied (or at least downplayed) the role of Islam in international terrorism.

In this case, I would normally expect reactions varying from righteous indignation to unbridled abuse, but I was surprised on this occasion to receive some feedback agreeing with my points, which were well backed up with actual statistics, and moderating the original comments after seeing that they were "probably a bit over-simplistic and one-sided".

After lunch I received a call from my friend and colleague requesting a meeting to discuss the IT requirements of his department. I'm sure my readers will be aware of my attitude to meetings: that is that they are an unnecessary waste of time. But the good news this time was that the meeting would be at the end of the day and at a local bar which is well known for having a good variety of craft beers.

So I texted my wife saying I would be a bit late and not to be surprised if "find my friends" showed me at the pub! I don't go to pubs much so she was OK with that and said she would make dinner tonight - something I usually do. So that was all good and a few good beers finished off a great day.

At this point I have to ask: how many people are suspicious of my story? I mean, does anyone's life really run as smoothly and fairly as that? No, of course it doesn't, and the whole story is complete fiction! All of the events happened at one time or another (not all in one day) but the outcomes were the complete opposite of what I said here.

So what was my point? Well, I think it is fairly obvious. My point is that many people are unreasonable and inflexible, and that extends to almost everyone today. People are too attached to their own agendas, to rules and regulations, and to cultural narratives which they rarely question.

Think about how much better the world would be if things really did work the way I described them here.

I'm not saying that we should ignore racism, but we need to define exactly what it is, and we should be really sure it is real rather than just a convenient way to pursue a political agenda. And not every interview on the radio needs to have representatives from every side of a debate, but it would be helpful if there was a bit more of it.

And speeding, and other minor violations of the law, shouldn't be always excused, but an unthinking enforcement of the letter of the law rather than its actual intent is often not helpful in the long term. If I get fined for going slightly too fast when it is not truly unsafe, then I lose respect for a law which might have otherwise discouraged me from going too fast in situations where there actually is a significantly increased chance of an accident.

And managers and other bureaucrats shouldn't take their rules and policies so seriously either. Presumably those rules were created for a purpose, so it would make more sense to follow those underlying principles more than the exact wording of a particular phrase from an obscure rule recorded somewhere.

And it really doesn't do anyone any harm to admit that they might have over-reacted to a contentious subject on social media, or even got it completely wrong. Anyone who still believes exactly the same things now as they did in the past is not showing any signs of growth, and in many ways changing your mind is not a sign of weakness at all, it is a sign of strength.

Finally, going to the pub with friends instead of going home to your family is completely unacceptable, so any negative feelings from a partner regarding that behaviour are totally justified!


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