If someone built a bridge of twigs and mud, and told you it was an Interstate Highway bridge, Mr. Blunt and Cranky hopes you would not drive over it; (if you would, he shan’t ride in a car with you). Oh, the person might ask you to “trust them”, to “have faith”, and urge you to drive over the bridge despite the obvious weakness. But no one possessed of even a moiety of their marbles would be fool enough to do so. Faith is a wonderful thing in its place, but one must not let it be used to enable folly or to cause harm.

A pity, then, that so many people put their faith in structures of similar weakness; theories of economics, political party affiliations, and the like. These are matters of propaganda, philosophy and convenience, but still subject to validation by evidence. And, regardless of what we might wish to believe, facts will have their way in the end, regardless of how earnestly we might wish otherwise.

Because Faith, by definition, is reserved for things that may not be proven or disproven: one can have (or not) faith in a God or Gods, for instance (as Mr. Blunt and Cranky does, stubborn old Presbyterian that he is). But how can have faith in something like a theory of economics, which can be proven right or wrong?

Things of the real world are solid, and not subject to alteration by our wishes, no matter how passionately we may believe them. Put another way, we are all entitled to our opinions and beliefs, but not to our own set of facts. Disagree? Then let’s see you walk through a solid granite wall, defy gravity, or overdraw your checking account. No matter the depth of your faith, you’ll wind up sorry and sore in the end.

When politicians ask us to “trust them” as they keep secrets from us, we are being asked to use faith in the wrong place: because their secrets will come out in the end, and their follies will hurt us and break our hearts. Politicians CAN give us information if we demand it. They are not suitable objects for our faith, and we do wrong when we give it to them.

As the parties build their flimsy structures and ask us to drive across them, we owe it to ourselves and each other to look upon them with clear eyes; yes, and to use our brains, too. Because if we all drive across their flimsy bridges based on mere faith, we and our fellows are quite likely to come to a very bad end.

Mr. B & C