Let me apologize in advance for what may be an upsetting piece of writing for some of you. If you’re in a state of shock or exhaustion from recent events, perhaps you should skip this one.
- Q3 2017 Hedge fund letters, conferences, interviews, features etc
- Hailed by many the "Next Warren Buffett", some are calling a bluff
- Baupost Letter Points To Concern Over Risk Parity, Systematic Strategies During Crisis
- Public Pension Situation Is As Bad As You Think: Moody’s
I don't offer this analysis in order to further distress anyone -- but until you understand what is happening and how that influences your psychological state, you'll remain the emotional equivalent of a rag doll shaken to-and-fro by events.
Such understanding may not bring you to a place of calm acceptance. But it will set you free.
The recent acts of violence in the US, especially the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, are not arising out of a vacuum. Nor are the Brexit vote, the election of Trump, or the recent Catalonian vote for secession, random unconnected acts.
These -- and future similarly disruptive events sure to come -- are all arising out of the fact that we all have been betrayed.
For the purposes of this article, let's define betrayal as:
the sense of being harmed by the intentional actions of a trusted person or institution. The emotional impacts of betrayal may include shock, a sense of loss, grief, damaged self-esteem, humiliation, self-doubt, shame, and anger.
We're betrayed every time our trust is violated, in small ways or large. An example of a small betrayal might be hiding a frivolous purchase from your partner when you've both agreed to stick to a shared budget. A larger betrayal would be infidelity.
But betrayals aren't limited to relationships between individuals. They can be perpetrated across groups, even nations. Like the enormous betrayal of trust committed when the US sent its military into Iraq on the basis of falsified ‘intelligence'.
No matter the perpetrator, size and scope of a betrayal, the parties involved are only able to heal the damage done if there's an open and honest dialog where the betrayer admits to their violations and atones openly and honestly. As discussed in much more detail in our excellent podcast with an experienced cognitive therapist, the betrayer must fully atone for their actions, face all consequences, and openly answer every question posed to them by the aggrieved.
If none of that happens, then then the animosity festers and is never ‘gotten over.’ Time does not heal that wound. It only offers a swampy breeding ground for a swarm of resentments.
In other words, if you find yourself increasingly distressed or angry (as I am) about the rampant violations of public trust in today's world, it’s because you're paying attention. It means you're not crazy; you're normal.
Betrayal Of The Public Trust
In the US, politicians deservedly enjoy a very low approval rating. Their words so rarely match their actions that it’s a too rare delight to find someone of character and conscience in DC.
Instead, we regularly see dirt bags like this:
This congressman is why people hate politics
Oct 4, 2017
Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy has had one hell of a last month.
In early September, the Republican House member admitted to an extramarital affair with a "personal friend"following the unsealing of divorce records that showed he had been involved in a relationship with Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist.
It got much, much worse on Tuesday when the Post-Gazette reported on a text message exchange between Edwards and Murphy in which she alleges he urged her to have an abortion.
Murphy's personal foibles are not the point here. What is the point is that he is someone who has been an outspoken critic of abortion rights in his public life even while apparently being much more willing to consider it when it impacts him personally.
Murphy was a co-sponsor of legislation --passed in the House on Tuesday night-- that would make it illegal for women to abort a baby after the 20-week mark.
He has a perfect 100% score with National Right to Life, having voted with the organization on five key pieces of legislation, including the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act." As my former Washington Post colleague Aaron Blake expertly documents, Murphy was also touting his anti-abortion stance even as he was reportedly urging his mistress to seek an abortion.
A sordid tale indeed. The essence of which is a powerful politician saying one thing but doing another. He loudly espoused strong family values and a staunch right-to-life voting record -- all while conducting an extra-marital affair and pressuring his mistress to get an abortion.
For the constituents who believed in this man, his deeds offer a profound betrayal.
Tim Murphy represents the credo that the politicians in The Swamp live by: Do as we say, not as we do.
There are so many examples of prominent politicians and religious leaders saying one thing but doing nearly the exact opposite that one hardly knows how to begin listing them all.
Heck, even "America's Dad", Bill Cosby, has turned out to be a serial rapist.
All these betrayals have led to a rule I now live by: The more someone proclaims a strong moral position, the more I suspect them of secretly doing the opposite.
It’s time to refuse to put up with this any longer.
But the scope of our victimization goes far beyond that conducted by individuals. The very institutions, both public and private, that we rely on are often fleecing us more than serving us.
The betrayals of the Catholic Church in covering up thousands of sexual assaults and tens of thousands of child victims are absolutely devastating.
Pharmaceutical companies quietly fund opposition to medical marijuana ballot initiatives because the data shows that the use of safe and effective marijuana seriously cuts into the extremely profitable sales of highly addictive and deadly opiates.
Car insurance companies rob their most loyal customers by slowly ratcheting up premiums in a scheme called “price optimization” in the industry. (This happened to me because I had not taken the time to shop around recently. I was horrified when I did. I wasn’t as badly screwed as some customers who paying up to 800% more than they should, but it still hurt.)
Of course hospitals with their captive hostage billing rackets are among the worst of the worst. So are private for-profit prisons, indecipherable 48-page phone bills, and Monsanto ghost writing “research” to obscure the probable cancer causing nature of Round Up while certain EPA staffers looked the other way.
In short, it’s difficult to have any sort of optimism about any large US corporations at this point. All of them are busy betraying us in ways large and small, every day, ranging from being evasive about the degree to which they snoop into our private affairs, to the ways in which they limit our access to the free flow of information by altering the results of popular online search algorithms.
In such an environment of pervasive betrayal, it’s difficult to maintain any sense of trust.
It turns out the best strategy is to trust nobody. Especially not a corporation with a large