Some 2,500 years ago, Socrates stumbled upon a truth that hasn’t changed since: those in power don’t like to be questioned. They prefer a populace that is compliant, polite, and disinterested.
It makes life much easier for them.
This is a truism that remains even today.
Another might be that there are only two reasons why someone might resent and oppose questions about their actions. Those who refuse to take questions either believe that they are incapable of making a mistake, or they believe that they have made a mistake and they don’t want anyone to find out.
Neither approach is safe in a democracy.
First, those persons who believe that they are wiser than everyone else find questions irritating and a waste of time. Since they believe that they have always considered every possible angle of a situation, since they believe that their opinion is absolutely correct, questions only slow down the implementation of their perfect plan.
In the words of Colonel Nathan R. Jessup of A Few Good Men:
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way.
Like the fictional colonel suggests, these persons who don’t like questions would prefer that we simply say, “Thank You” and went on our way.
That’s one motivation for hating questions: Arrogance. Astonishing arrogance that leads to destruction.
Frankly, such people belong in a monarchy or oligarchy. They do not belong in a democracy.
Democracy works because we know that people are flawed and imperfect and that the only pathway to the truth is through dialog because no one of us can hold onto truth on our own.
As Socrates said, a wise man knows that he doesn’t know everything.
It is the fool who believes he does.
But there is another possibility here, another motivating factor for those who dislike being questioned. Those who refuse to answer questions put to them either believe that questions are a waste of time or they believe that the questions will uncover a flaw, an error, a mistake or, frankly, a crime that they hope will remain covered.
People who are convinced that they have done nothing intentionally wrong, invite questions from others to help them understand any unintentional mistakes.
Which leaves us with those who know that they are doing something wrong and are intentionally seeking to cover up their wrong doing.
I really don’t know of any other reason why someone would go out of their way to avoid answering questions about their actions. Do you?
I’ve been asking a lot of unanswered questions of the superintendent and the school board over the past year. The vast majority of those questions have gone unanswered. Of late, I’ve been asking how the district could write checks totaling $28,790.00 with “no documents responsive to request.” He and the board refused to answer any questions about where the $28,790.00 in funds came from.
I’ve asked for a copy of a presentation that Dr. Wardynski made to the Mt. Gap PTA on March 6th concerning the merger of Mt. Gap Elementary and Middle School into one P-8 school. While the superintendent has posted part of the presentation (this portion was posted under the incorrect date of March 13th), he refused to include any data from the First or Second STAR Enterprise testing results with this presentation. This might be understandable if that data were considered too preliminary to be considered reliable, but he has publicly used this data to support the closure of the Seldon Center and he used this data to justify the merger of the two schools.
In short, if the data were reliable enough to justify the closure and merger of schools, then it is reliable enough to share with the public.
And yet he refuses to do so despite numerous requests.
Concerning his hiring of a principal via questionable means intended to circumvent the rules and regulations established in the state for state employees, he refused to “respond to a request for comment.” Instead he writes an editorial claiming that he, and he alone, cares about meeting student needs. In this, he continues to refuse to answer questions about his actions.
He expects us just to say thank you and go on our way.
So, is Dr. Wardynski arrogant? Or is he covering up things that he is embarrassed by?
I’m not sure that his persistent refusal to answer direct questions offers any other option.
However, I know that I don’t know everything. If you, dear reader, can think of another option, please write and let me know.