These days every single one of us appears to have an issue with which we feel outrage. The thing about this emotion is that it’s often rooted in fear and ignorance and is usually contagious. What I mean by that is you read or hear somewhere how someone you respect felt about an issue and immediately thought you should also feel the same way. The issue doesn’t matter.
It may be a politician, cling film, avocados, gender politics, an ideology, a brand of coffee, banks, mortgage brokers…you get the picture. We often start to form opinions about these issues by listening, watching or reading about them by people or sources which we subscribe to.
The information media, long ago, came to the conclusion that it could influence us by telling us how to feel about an issue and which issues are seemingly important. In the past these “opinions” were buried in the middle of newspapers. These days they’re usually the first half a dozen stories on their websites. These opinion pieces often create a narrative that many of us follow without question.
Once these opinions take root we often never change the way we think about them because we keep feeding our views with like minded people’s views. We also begin to feel outrage about opposing views.
For example, if politically you’re a left leaning person you may get your news from left-leaning sources (like the Guardian or the Project for example) if you’re right-leaning you may subscribe to The Australian or watch the likes of Andrew Bolt. If you’re digitally literate, you will fill your Reddit feed full of views sympathetic to your own. Or follow the “appropriate” person on Twitter or Facebook. These people become influencers.
The most famous of these influencers is probably Kim Kardashian. Whilst many people argue that she is famous for no particular reason she makes tens or hundreds of millions by this flagrant self-promotion. I’m not judging.
It’s rare that people can sit and listen to views that they disagree with dispassionately. And here, in my view, is where we let ourselves down. We let our outrage (rooted firmly in fear and ignorance) get in the way of a good analysis.
For example, I find the views of Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Pauline Hanson abhorrent but lately I’ve been forcing myself to listen to them, dispassionately. I must admit that all three are just playing to their audience and I find myself flinching at Hanson’s inability to string a sentence together whilst claiming to be the shining light representing the down-trodden.
I still disagree with almost everything Hanson and Bolt say. But with Jones, I feel myself agreeing with much of his views. It’s his fear mongering on almost every issue that I oppose. Also, I arrive at a different conclusion – most of the time.
What this exercise has done is given me an understanding of where many of my fellow inhabitants of this country are coming from.
When it comes to consumers of finance there are many Hansonites out there. There are also many expert views out there about what the housing market will do or where interest rates may be in six months time or what the Government may do to affect these in terms of fiscal policy.
Regretfully, I find the majority of consumers are just not aware of the detail of these issues and, more importantly, how this ignorance tuns to fear which in-turn becomes an outrage that negatively impacts their lives.
For example, I got into an Uber a couple of days ago and there was a discussion on the radio about banks. The considered view on the radio was that banks are the source of all economic pain afflicting the old and young. A view agreed to by my driver.
Not wanting to raise the temperature I enquired about his vehicle – which was a brand new Toyota Camry. This started another outrage about how he was being ripped off because he rented the vehicle from another driver for $1200 per month.
As I picked my jaw up from the very clean Uber floor. I asked the driver if he knew anything about car finance. It was clear that he had no idea. So I gently started to explain how he could probably halve this major monthly expense that he had by acquiring his own vehicle. It was his turn to pick his jaw up from the floor. He was lost for words.
The car finance conversion had taken around 60 seconds – the length of time it took me to explain to him how it worked and to make sure there weren’t substantial other monthly costs that were being covered by his current monthly payment. As we reached my destination he asked how I knew what I knew and I explained that I was a finance broker. He then asked for a business card.
He called me that night and I had a longer chat with him and provided him with a more precise calculation and my initial estimate was off by $20. So I adjusted my commission – which I had informed him about – so that my initial estimate was bang on. His saviour was a major bank. The irony was lost on him.
His new outrage is how much rent he pays and how his Chinese landlords are ripping him off…
You can lead a horse to water … I want another 60 seconds with him.
I gave him 5 stars. His car was very clean and he was courteous.