On Excuses for Big Problems and Poor Policies

In local politics, one sometimes hears flimsy excuses for big mistakes, just as one hears implausible explanations for serious problems.

These sort of explanations are the stock in trade of officials who simply don’t want to accept responsibility for mistakes, or who simply don’t want to do the hard work their positions require.

Whenever I hear excuses and rationalizations of this ilk, I think of a scene from Jaws:

Few in the film’s fictional town of Amity wanted to address the truth of their predicament: that they faced an immediate and ongoing danger. Insiders were inclined to rationalize everything away as a boating accident, or to mischaracterize concerns in ways designed to dismiss peremptorily others’ legitimate concerns and worries.

For it all, the actual threat that plagued them remained the same.

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