February 06, 2008


I do fall easily into using religious language. It comes natural, it's the way I was raised.

But seriously, the advice not to put one's faith in people, that's just good sense all day long. No shared ideology or affiliation should encourage us to turn off our skills of critical observation when dealing with others of our kind. Trust the people you have a reason to trust and be on the lookout for false friends.

I have friends who've held my head and hands and brought me tea when I was so sick I just wanted to be put out of my misery. I trust them. I have friends and family who helped me when I didn't know where my rent or grocery money was coming from. I trust them. Settled and done.

Then there are people who've argued and worked and fought for the ideals I hold dear for crappy, but mostly no, pay, through times when it seemed that the whole world thought they were a laughingstock; and I include bloggers in that, but also mean people in the larger, global progressive movement. I trust them. There are people who've devoted their whole lives to science, a field in which the pay is rarely commensurate with the difficulty, uncertainty and frequent tedium of their day to day working conditions, because they had an ingrained commitment to advancing the frontiers of human knowledge. I trust them. There are people who could have been comfortably unconcerned with the rest of humanity for all their days, but chose to try to make the lives of others better, instead. I trust them. Though to the extent that they aren't people I know personally, I'm inclined to trust, but will keep a watch for.

The rest, eh, I want some serious proof. I want a pattern of action that doesn't need a lot of justification. I want words that line up with those actions. Then we can talk, because I'm not inclined to offer the benefit of the doubt.

As the definitely not religious Robert Heinlein wrote for his character, Lazarus Long ... "Money is truthful. When a man speaks of honor, make him pay cash." And politics is top heavy with pearl-clutchers who complain about attacks on their honor by the people they claim to share a team with, but don't want to change the behavior that led to those criticisms. They won't pay up in the currency of good faith. They want sinecures out of the reputation economy.

Look back at 2007 and tell me again that trust should be apportioned based on party affiliation. Look at the climate legislation winding its way through the Senate and tell me again that trust should be apportioned based on claims to represent the environmental, the scientifically-based, perspective, as opposed to public stances and actions taken.

Trust? Have faith? No. I think not. You're barking up the wrong tree.

Come back when you have something more reasonable to offer, like a world exclusive on a Santa sighting.

Posted by natasha at February 6, 2008 12:12 PM | Philosophy | Technorati links |