“One must pay meticulous attention to the private confessions of the wolf.” – On Unsolicited Confidences, ― Lamine Pearlheart
I was perplexed when a group of leaders recently helped some morally and ethically bankrupt tricksters win election after the primary. They knew about underhanded behavior before, during, and after the primary but did nothing to address it.
“I’ve warned them not to do those things and I don’t think they will,” replied one Ada County leader when I asked how he could support someone so morally bankrupt and deceitful. In sort, he defaulted to it’s just politics.
I had paid meticulous attention to the leaders’ words and actions given their personal declarations of faith and principle and was stunned to learn that the pursuit of their better vision in November was so all-consuming that they justified supporting tricksters.
Of course the tricksters, once in office, have gone on to do worse. But this leader justified his support by telling me that the achievment of his better vision in November made it all worthwhile. The end justified the means.
How’s that working for us now, I’d like to ask? As if politics has an exclusionary morals clause.
Then I got a call last fall from another morally and ethically bankrupt trickster who had been working covertly and ferociously to subvert a long-established, well-supported partnership. He’d been drinking – a huge misstep on his part – or he wouldn’t have revealed himself so completely. I paid meticulous attention to that wolf too.
What he admitted over the course of 45 minutes quite frankly stunned me. In relentless pursuit of his vision for a better future, he weaponized everything he could to rally people to his scheme, not caring who he hurt in the process. The essence of his confession was, “Teri, it’s not personal. It’s just business.”
The end justified the means. As if business has an exclusionary morals clause.
Absent a Damascus Road experience, tricksters and wolves do not change and see no need to do so. The danger lies in their lack of self-awareness (and ours) and the fact that so few pay attention to their confessions, be they words or deeds.
If a wolf confesses, believe him. Euripedes warned, “When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.”
Business and politics these days are full of wolves – tricksters and their enablers. Their endgame is to convince others that their better future is most desirable.
But listen to me with meticulous attention. There is no exclusionary morals clause to anything.
The end can never be allowed to justify the means. If you hear that it does, in private or in public, a wolf has just confessed.