Authored by William Robert Barber
There is a belief that as a manner of endeavor the sanguine quality of rational and reasonable is a demeanor of human constancy. This belief prompts many to believe that prudence and good sense are a certainty amongst and within a wide girth of substantive transactions. For example, the forming of legislative policy is believed to be founded on premises derived from the result of prudent-logical deduction. Conceptually, the idea is that the legislator acts to enhance the public good; it therefore follows that what is logical, assiduous, principled, and morally compliant owes its breeding to what is rational and reasonable. Furthermore, the supposition of belief is that rational and reasonable is not only omnipresent, particularly in material transactions, but factually embodies the palpable cognitive of all sapient thinking.
Now, if that actually was the truthfulness of the matter, wouldn’t that all be very lovely? But instead, those in power and those that seek power create counter-intuitive impediments; they trade their values and compromise beliefs. As matter of established sway they can be counted on to pervert whatever was the original intent. Those in power or seeking it are always perched on the verge of a wanting, opaque determinative; some cause to separate them from their peers. The powerful pay more attention to the means to the end than the meaningfulness of the end. With willful acquiescence they readily resolve to abandon the literal meaningfulness of the constitution to suit their ideals, stylistic inclinations, or personal particulars. They cheerfully create for self-serving purpose pecuniary opportunities that veer the legislative process away from the vector of good sense and prudence to one of as much cronyism as righteous governess.
If one could trust in the constancy of rational and reasonable, the operational process of managing, regulating, and enforcing would be facile and deliberate. But the truths of motivational norms are elusive. I am beginning to think ‘rational and reasonable’ might be a software application; a program that intermediately intercedes into the fray of what is illogical, extralegal, and insane and then, by cause willy-nilly or discretionary, withdraws its effectiveness.
Withstanding the unreliability or the measured veracity of rational and reasonable, for the majority, not only is rational and reasonable considered a constant in material application, it is ordained as a predetermined sapient trait; an integral constant within the human endeavor. Indeed, such an understanding is the probable platform of pre-agreement that is automatically inserted into all policy or agreement making. The believers consider rational and reasonable as an Ipso Facto, as a conclusive acceptance, a component of the beginning and the end, all wrapped into the one of an a-priori assumption.
One can certainly understand the why-fore of such an assumption. After all, it is the rational and reasonable that creates the wherewithal for comparative analysis. The problem solving mindset of pragmatic thinking — it is the deductive analysis that precedes conclusion. Therefore, critical to the resolution of any problem, the first cause of fundamental existent is the predeterminative: Rational and Reasonable. In other words, there is comfort in the knowing that as long as peoples of the world and their institutions are consistently rational in their thought and likewise reasonable in their behavior, the process of deductive reasoning will always result in the correct conclusion.
But of course the world (according to Bill Barber) is not rational nor reasonable. History indicates that a portion of the world takes its turn at expressing its brand of counter-intuitiveness, counter-productiveness, and outright insanity. Certainly there are numerous instances of actions persecuted, affirmed, and devised by the nation state to evidence the diagnostic that if not clinically insane clearly these well-documented actions are examples of explicit behavioral dysfunctional.
In spite of the rational reasonableness of any persuasion, it is not rational or reasonable to believe that North Korea is going reform its dysfunctional behavior. Such acknowledgement applies to Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, and Iran… well, the list goes on and on.
Nevertheless, policy-makers continue to conjure contractual agreements that presume the counter-party to be rational and reasonable. Our supposed allies are the countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have extensive and intensive contractual relationships with both. But clearly, the actions of these counter-parties do not enhance – or even meet – the stated objectives or goal of the United States.
It is silly of us citizens to believe that the merits of rational reasonableness will ever prompt our elected officials to act in the interest of the nation, much less their specific constituency before they act to properly feather their own bed. And surely the interest of their political party will come before the wants, needs, and requirements of us citizens. Of course there are exceptions; there are elected representatives that have epitomized the ideal traits of statesmanship. The trouble is there are too-darn-few.
The truth of the issue is that rational and reasonable has little to do with the process. And it is the process, along with statutorily compliant corruption, premeditated governmental ambiguity, the natural corruption aligned with incumbents, and the willingness of citizens to not participate or affirm their rightful obligations of citizenship.
Rational and reasonable is not a constant, not an assumptive. Read the tax code, try to understand the legislative process, audit the information the federal government posts under the flag of transparency: The application of rational and reasonable as such applies to the legislative and governing process is no longer the normative but the exception…