Gruber’s Bluster and The Assault On Hubris

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There is good reason why human nature tends to be intuitively fond of humility.  Humility reveals confidence, and illustrates an ego not in need of constant polishing. It also reveals trust.  While it is very naturally human to not listen to our intuitions, the failure to “listen” can have calamitous results when our actions are discharged in a voting booth.

The_Consummation - Thomas Cole.1836 -

When elected leadership fails to respond diligently to challenges facing the Nation because its insight is smothered in arrogance, the conceit accelerates through time to deliver an assault on hubris and usually brings about the destruction of its host.  The imperious White House is now thrashing about, pretending to ignore the populous clamour outside its walls, and is fantasizing that its crown is secure and imagines that the ornate regal mink robes it has layered on itself are not shredded.

We have recently been treated to shrill, but telling, boasts coming through the vocal chords of MIT wunderkind,  Jonathan Gruber, . . . echoing the arrogant egos who currently control the White House,

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK? So it’s written to do that. ….  And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass.”

Gruber was not only intimately familiar with the contents of the Affordable Care Act, he was an architect of its sale to America. The lies were imposed on voter consciousness, and they were successfully foisted on five minds of the Supreme Court with a deciding flop from Justice Roberts who wrote,  “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”  Tax? Penalty? Mandate?  It’s all in tactics used to sell it, and if your audience is “stupid” then according to this Administration, the persuasion is accomplished with little challenge, and the end justifies the means.

The human mind and human intelligence are complex systems, and their output is a consequence of interactions across billions of neurons.  Their product is also derivative of our intuitions.  The extreme arrogance demonstrated by Gruber and his “former” boss, seems void of understanding, and void of intuitive wisdom.   Making the assumption that 330 million Americans are stupid, attests to the degree of the disdain held by this Administration and its leader, in regard to the majority of the vast population which “feeds” them.

While we cannot predict the future, we know intrinsically and inherently that arrogance phases to its own destruction.  You will recall six years ago when the world watched with some disgust, as Democratic candidate Obama revealed himself in Denver, from amidst Roman columns, as if coming out to imperially address plebians in ancient Rome.  For many of us the sight echoed Thomas Cole’s “The Consummation of Empires,” an oil on canvas depiction of a magnificent state, heralding a glorification of its power with its sovereign being conveyed on a mobile throne crossing a bridge, and a thousand marble columns cradling the opulence.  Cradling pomposity.  Cradling arrogance.

In Thomas Cole’s series of paintings entitled The Course of Empire, the next in the sequence following Consummation of Empires, is The Destruction of Empire, in effect depicting the above noted assault on hubris.  The goodwill of a majority of Americans was abused, and the assumption that this majority was stupid, was a vainglorious and gross blunder.

Empire Destruction

Gruber could not  help himself.  Neither can his boss.  Their insecure and fragile egos are now in denial.






A constituent of the vast baby boomer generation with a career which has been fortunate to know the ponderous corporate worlds, as well as the intimately pressurized, and invigorating entrepreneurial domains of high tech and venture capital, I have harvested my share of mistakes meandering through corridors of enterprise from Silicon Valley, to London and endless, colourful, sometimes praetorian points in between. The voyage has provided an abundance of fodder for a pen yielding to an inquisitive keyboard, a foraging mind, and a passionate spirit. Whether political or business or social or economic or personal, is it not all political? It is a privilege to write, and an even greater privilege to be read by anyone, and sometimes with the wind at my back the writing may occasionally be legible. I do not write to invite scorn, nor to invite respect, but if I get really lucky the writing can stimulate thinking. I also write for the very selfish purpose of animating my own processes, and engaging the best of what life offers. Above all, whether biting fire or swatting shadows, I am grateful to be gifted the freedom to write and publish whatever flows down to the keyboard. To all those who enabled this freedom, and to all those standing guard to preserve it, I am indebted.

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