Can you basically trust people?


People only care about themselves. This has been proved time and time and time again.  The bushfires were a good example. Remember those?

The fires caused about 100bn of losses (houses lost, businesses, tourism down etc). An appeal was held, and about 1% of what was actually needed was raised. There then was a fake scandal where, literally, a few people in some focus groups said they were concerned how the donations were being spent, the media beat it up (of course) and everyone jumped online to say how it had ruined it for them and they weren’t donating any more.  The excuse to stop donating to a cause (so big it would have caused real financial pain) had been provided, and we accepted it greedily.

The houses are still burnt out, people are still homeless, and nobody cares. I wonder how long it will be before we’re told the homeless people in the bushfire zones need to accept personal responsibility, and go after $3 per hour fruitpicking jobs in the outback?

Its really time to stop deluding ourselves that people are meant to care about each other.  I found out what a mistake this is many years ago when I started working. The scope of human selfishness really is boundless.  Need to testify to help a mate? Sure I will- until I have to actually do it and it might cost half a day’s pay; then my phone will ring out and you’ll never hear from me again.

People can point to the doctors and nurses keeping everyone alive in the coronavirus crisis, and, yes, good for them.  But its notable how powerful the underlying altruistic idea has to be in public health (with everyone reinforcing it) to motivate a group to keep striving to a common goal.

Meanwhile in early March the Australian newspapers are full of paid for ads by the mining industry talking about how dynamic it is (in other words signalling to the press gallery/elites they don’t want their diesel rebate touched or any mining taxes increased from their present pathetically low level). The press gallery, as always, pick up on this, automatically assume this is what ‘the readers’ want; and any increase in mining taxes is quickly binned as ‘too hard’.  Selfishness grinds on.

One thing that gets me is the constant surprise at the selfishness. Basically someone (if they have the time) will give you a jumper lead start for your car, and that’s about it.  Then we’ll go back to opposing that local shelter for veterans (you just know its inappropriate for the area); any sort of tax rise; anything that would have the slightest impact on your life.  All this as my phone lights up with scamming phonecalls and messages.

I honestly think we’d all be better off stopping trying to project fake altruism.  The wide eyed appeal from union leaders about ‘members money’ (when they’re stealing it themselves); press gallery journalists dressing up the desire for gossip as a right to know; politicians virtue signalling. Lets accept that many times (not always; not in health care) those that want to expand government have their own self or business interest at heart.  Lets accept that self interest is a bedrock human motivation (the motivation) and adjust our perceptions accordingly; and still do business with people on this basis. Life is a seething mass of competition over not enough and always will be. We’d all be better off assuming that truth.