Opinion: False assumptions


It has come into vogue in recent years for the bureaucratic managers and technocrats of giant institutions to opine on the various machinations of the petty political world. Self-appointed moral philosophers, they take stands, almost always against, some perceived cultural limitation upon their will. To be sure, the entrepreneur, an entirely different animal, has the absolute right to express their point-of-view, however disfavored and destructive it may be. But the magistrate of a shareholder-owned enterprise is allowed to speak for those shareholders only when specifically authorized to do so. Too often, their poorly considered and preening declarations fly in the face of the best interest of the company and its stakeholders, however loosely defined.

So common has it become, in fact, that those of us pushing our own moral agenda have begun to presume the endorsement of entire classes of humans. So goes the logic, “If you are a big-company CEO, you must believe as we do – so, short of asking for your endorsement of our view, we will assume it.” Recently, a handful of CEOs uncharacteristically resisted. Finding their names and that of their companies on some publicly distributed epistle, they cried foul, claiming that they had never agreed to be included and had not been asked or approached to consider. Wisely, one can suppose given the current intolerance in our public square, they did not share a point of view on the matter at hand but instead only revealed that the publicist canvassing the missive was fraudulent in their assertions. Responding to media pressure, the issuer of the false communique conceded hubris but asserted their chaste integrity of intent. Are we all too eager to assume the support of those around us? When, if ever, are we right to charge ahead without asking for consent? And does assuming agreement grant the right?