My second career was as a software engineer (my first was as a teacher and my third was as a community worker). A big part of that involved designing, programming and testing complex software systems that needed to respond in real time to external events. One of the things I learned earlier on was that it was often relatively straightforward to get the product we were working on 90% right but it was the last 10% where the problems occurred and that took the time to sort out. It was one thing to deal with obvious scenarios and the ones most likely to occur but there were the less obvious and unexpected, which had the potential to crash the system.
One of my colleagues was Trevor Stevens, who was fond of quoting Sod’s law, a variant on Murphy’s law set out above and even more pessimistically. His golden rule was never assume anything and to question everything. Trevor and my own experience had a bearing on how I carried out my work. I became quite an expert on working on specific scenarios which the system under development was unable to cope with and more often than not the solution to making the system cope (usually changing the software) was not obvious. In later life, when I became a community activist and these days a blogger on a variety of subjects, the experience I gained all those years ago has affected my approach now. Some say I am a skeptic; I would like to think I adopt the approach of questioning everything because like my friend there is much I cannot assume.
This has put me in a lot of trouble and lost me friends (although I have gained other friends). My observation is people tend to accept the official narrative, as stated by political leaders, society’s elite, left leaning academia, people with power and mainstream media, to explain what is going on around us. Part of that is down to ignorance and laziness and part is due to wanting an easy life by not rocking the proverbial boat and not to be seen as a pain in the neck or if we are getting political, one of the deplorables. I have had to learn the hard way there is a time NOT to open one’s mouth when it comes to going out on a limb challenging popularly held opinions and widely accepted versions of events and a time to say what we think as it is too important and, while I may not have the whole story, the story is not what we are being led to believe and that needs challenging.
Which brings me to my second meme. Those who read my blogs know I tackle difficult subjects and express unpopular views. Subjects are wide ranging and include Donald Trump, Brexit, Immigration, Islam, LBGT matters, climate change, gun control etc. One of the reasons for doing so is that if I don’t how will the truth get out and if the truth doesn’t get out people continue to live under bondage and tyranny. As I am on my way out and have little to lose (unlike a younger generation that may have a lot more to lose, including their means of livelihood) it is a small service I can render for those I will likely leave behind. I do not trust government and I do not trust mainstream media. One obvious example is the Gulf War being entered on the basis of a lie, e.g. Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Less obvious examples include the J.F.Kennedy assassination and the story behind 9/11. It seems to me that while conspiracy theorist is a pejorative term, it can also be rightly applied to those who do not accept the official version of events and who may or may not offer alternative explanations, but in any case will keep asking questions until the truth is discovered.
Often the stories we hear and are encouraged to believe by our leaders are right but often and especially where it matters they are wrong. While representative of the alternative media like Alex Jones, Tommy Robinson and David Icke are often vilified as conspiracy theorists and come with a health warning, they often make important points I don’t get elsewhere. Often opinions raised, these days on the lines of being more tolerant and inclusive are right but sometimes there is another side and those that try to explore what that might be are branded as bigot, racist etc. I try to be humble and circumspect; I try to dig all the pertinent facts and consider alternative view points; I don’t always succeed. What matters is finding the truth and balance, and that is what I try to do.