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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Whew, I'm not just an old cynic

11 July 2019

As one gets older, one tends to become a lot more cynical about life and those who infest the halls of power.

I try to keep a degree of objectivity about me at all times so of late I've been wondering if perhaps my cynicism was getting a little out of control. After all, it has appeared to me that we're increasingly seeing politicians getting stupider and lobbyists gaining an increasing amount of power, through the liberal distribution of large amounts of cash and BS.

Yesterday I was very fortunate to listen to someone who's operating at very high level in the halls of power (albeit not in New Zealand).

As someone trying to be an effective influencer (for good) within those halls of power, he has always had a very conciliatory and overly generous (IMHO) attitude to those who would abuse their power and shite on "mere peasants", by virtue of their elevated positions.

To hear what he had to say (under cover of "this must go no further") was delightful and a huge relief.

After listening to what is *really* going on behind the scenes, I am pleased to report that my cynicism is actually in need of some ramping up, not down.

Even given my own distrust for politicians and bureaucrats, I was shocked to hear about the actual bad things that are really going on behind the scenes.

It saddens me that the great unwashed who are the public and the voters are unaware of the unbelievable levels of unprofessionalism, corruption, ignorance and self-interest that goes on when nobody is looking.

Yes, this was a foreign government we were talking about but I think it's no secret that this type of thing is systemic and pervades all countries, regardless of their claims to be open, honest and democratic. From what I've seen, New Zealand is no better and may indeed be even be worse.

Sadly, with a Fourth Estate that is now only interested in lining the pockets of its shareholders, we can no longer rely on investigative journalists to ferret this stuff out and expose the wrong-doings and ignorance of those entrusted with the running of a country. Indeed, it seems that the media are, as often as not, party to these deceptions and frauds on the public.

How tragic is it that, just at the time we need open, honest and ethical governance, we're getting what seems like the highest levels of self-interest, corruption and nest-feathering that has ever taken place.

How are we going to address the issues of climate change when politicians are more interested in greasing the wheels of big business than in ensuring that we invest in sustainability?

How are we going to preserve democracy when corporations and their lobbyists effectively command votes in parliament, congress or wherever, with a priority that far exceeds the directions of "mere citizens".

I really do wish that I wasn't bound by confidentiality in respect to the stuff I heard this week -- but sadly, although others may have long since forgotten the meaning or importance of the word "ethics", I still consider it to be one of the immutable basics of life. Hence, I sit on a great deal of information that, if the public were aware of it, would cause the few who still think with more than one brain cell, to enter a state of outrage.

The vast majority however, will simply be waiting for the next episode of their favourite reality survivor cooking renovation show on TV and wouldn't give a damn.

Perhaps now I can see why governments around the world are throwing so much money at building ultra-fast broadband networks. It has far less to do with global competitiveness and delivering educational resources to households than to simply streamlining the delivery of "the opiate of the masses".

Damn... should have seen that coming!

I now return you to the cute cat videos of Facebook...

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