Why Can't They Just Do It?

Once again, a big software company got my attention by making the mistake of sending me an email, which linked to a blog post, which I actually decided to read. The topic was how to encourage people to make decisions instead of letting the boss make all the decisions. Of course, some poor soul at ECI Software Solutions who is stuck reading the "Info" mailbox now regrets that the company posted that missive, as it generated the below response:

Ironically, your blog post doesn't have any comment form that I could locate, despite its recommendations that employees be solicited for input. That leads me to believe that your company is not serious about what was posted and that it was just mindless filler designed to occupy space rather than a set of sensible suggestions that someone could reasonably implement successfully.

In today's world, low-level decision-making is not only discouraged, but usually prohibited and persecuted. The nanny state is a large part of what causes people's decision-making capabilities to atrophy. Big government and big business combine to restrict people's freedom to a point at which no one is capable much less willing of making a decision-- and cowardly people don't even want the responsibility that comes with making a decision. It's so much easier to point to a list of rules and regulations and say, "This is our policy," or "This is the law." Even legislators have mostly ceded their authority to the court system and are more than happy to toss hot potatoes to a judge. Telecommunications policy in the United States for about 20 years, for example, was largely decided by Judge Harold Greene when he broke up AT&T in 1982. If someone actually tries to make an independent decision today, he risks being "cancelled" if not by his employer then by the mobs on Twitter and Facebook or the government. Don't believe it? Try making an independent decision right now by walking around today without a mask. Covid is a crystal-clear example of how decision-making is shoved up the line until it gets to the top and why your suggestions won't get very far. Everyone talks about "safe, safe, safe" and making a decision is definitely not "safe."

If we want people to start making decisions on their own, we have to start practicing subsidiarity, which also means that people have to be allowed to fail without being fired or persecuted for failing, or even simply making a decision that no one likes. You can't encourage people to make decisions while at the same time vetoing them when they do. It also means that we have to allow true diversity, which does not mean that something is allowed as long as it's popular. True diversity may mean allowing different political viewpoints, perhaps even things that seem negative-- oh, but wait, when people talk about diversity today, they really mean uniformity, and rats, there goes our decision-making capacity and freedom again. In a totalitarian society run by big business and big government, only the façade of freedom remains, and we'll just keep getting, "I'll forward this to my boss," or "Let's see what the governor has to say about this." Big business and big government really don't want independent thinkers, and that is drilled into students in school as they are not taught how to think, but rather what to think. People who are not taught how to think don't make decisions; they go along to get along, and they learn to pass the buck. If you're really serious about letting people make decisions on their own, our world must be reformed top to bottom, which is a gargantuan task today.

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