I think it’s a function of how life works, possibly with a side of the innate perverseness of… er… everything.
Actually, if I’m going to be more or less serious, things rarely if ever work out the way we think they will for the simple reason that we can’t accurately predict what the other maybe dozens of people we know will do, much less the millions of others who are out there making their own decisions without reference to what we want. And sometimes, those decisions make no sense at all.
There is a theory that every decision someone makes is the best that person can do at the time, but that still leaves a lot of room for WTFery. And there is no shortage of that anywhere. Sometimes people have such deeply ingrained beliefs they can’t look past them even when said beliefs contradict their own experience. Sometimes the beliefs are actually a sophisticated coping method that helps them deal with a world that seems horribly hostile.
Heck, one of the reasons conspiracy theories gain adherents is that it’s actually kind of comforting to think that someone is running things and it’s not just a mess of a whole lot of people doing the best they can. Plus it’s always handy to have someone else to blame – human nature and all that. We tend to find it hard to accept that something can just arise out of a mess.
I’ve been through some… interesting times before. Nothing along the lines of armed insurrection or hot civil war, but as a kid, I lived in Australia’s most corrupt state. It had effective one-party rule, which it engineered by a variation on gerrymandering that it was able to maintain for decades. The party in question had survived multiple corruption inquiries by neutering them from the start, the corruption was an open secret along the lines of the running joke being that companies got themselves the lucrative government contracts by leaving large “anonymous” donations of cash in actual paper bags at party headquarters, the state police were running the largest protection racket – and could outbid any of the crooks – and the leader of all of this did the “genial country bumpkin” act damn near perfectly to the point where when it all fell apart there were people who wondered just how much of it he knew about and how much was him being naive/stupid/blind/choose an adjective.
Me, I reckon he was in it up to his eyebrows.
What took it all down was an accident of fate. The regular rumblings were getting loud again, which meant it was time for another corruption inquiry – which would, of course, be neutered – and one of the TV channels ran a very well researched documentary about the corruption. It had to be well-researched because the government was fond of using libel lawsuits to stop damaging rumors.
The premier was elsewhere on official business when it got to where an inquiry had to be announced, so the deputy announced it. Except… he neglected to limit the terms by which it would be run. Even more damaging, he allowed the commissioner running the inquiry to offer indemnity to entice some of the guilty to testify. Whether this was a mistake or an underhanded means of blowing the whole corrupt mess open I have no idea. It could have been either.
That combination plus a very highly placed former cop who was dying of cancer and who couldn’t lie straight in bed and didn’t want to spend his last few months in jail – or possibly meet some of his victims in whatever afterlife he believed in – led to the inquiry going nuclear.
Two sitting representatives ended up doing time, along with a former police commissioner, a fair few of the Vice Squad (who apparently thought they were supposed to foster vice, not suppress it), and a number of others I don’t really remember. The leader would have done time if not for the peculiar coincidence of a die-hard supporter on the jury who was the only “not guilty” vote (a unanimous vote was needed) and some back-room dealing that led to the decision that a retrial wasn’t worth the expense.
When the inquiry was first announced, I thought it was just going to be another whitewash. It wasn’t. For months the whole state was reeling with the news coming out of the inquiry. It was extended twice to hear all the evidence that needed to be handled. Eventually, people got to the point where they simply couldn’t find the energy to be outraged any more. It faded to a kind of weary cynicism of the “Okay, so what’s he been caught at this time?” variety.
This may well explain my view that all politicians are crooked and the only thing in doubt is how corrupt they are. It certainly explains my view that nothing ever turns out the way you expect it to. And that this can be as much a good thing as a bad thing.
If you want more details, look up Joh Bjelke-Petersen or the Fitzgerald Inquiry.
If you just want cat pictures, scroll up and enjoy Westley with his tongue sticking out.