Hubris is a Political Danger

Hubris & arrogance can have big consequences. When they happen in public life, we are all left to pay the price.

Hubris is a Political Danger
Photo by Tristan Gassert / Unsplash

When things run your way, you are tempted to think that you have some special gift and that the trend will continue. Sometimes, it does - until it inevitably stops.

The halt usually comes when you have placed your biggest bet. Overcome with hubris and confidence, you throw caution to the wind and lose it all.

I'm not just talking about gambling or investing. It happens in almost every walk of life.

The rock-climber pushes that extra boundary and fails. The businessman pays too much for the wrong acquisition. The politician thinks their popularity and lack of scrutiny will continue forever.

Sometimes we should be grateful for those who are prepared to push boundaries. Embracing the risk of failure is a primary means of innovation and progress. Most often, it is courageous and committed individuals who make that difference in our lives.

However, hubris and over-confidence aren't an asset in politics because the damage they deliver isn't confined to personal humiliation. They can do immeasurable damage to the broader community.

Frankly, I think we are seeing a bit of that now.

Our State Premiers think they are untouchable and can get away with almost anything. They are trading on the benefit of the doubt many Australians have given them over the Coronavirus response.

Never before have so many civil liberties been curtailed in such a cursory manner, and the people have been so compliant. In fact, many are displaying a version of Stockholm syndrome and thanking them for 'keeping us safe' regardless of the cost.

Don't worry, I will not get into the corona mania battle today, but it is where we got to from here that counts.

The State Premiers have basically been given a free pass during 2020. Despite a few targeted questions, most of what they have imposed and the lines they have spun have been accepted by citizens and media alike.

Our leaders have spun their way out of any untruth without much damage.

Dan Andrews is riding high in the polls despite the deaths and falsehoods. Gladys Berejiklian has seen off her ICAC disaster and the breach of her own COVID rules. Annastacia Palaszczuk won an election using the Covid threat.

Steven Marshall continues to blunder through his failures but claims them as successes with little scrutiny. It's the same all around the country.

This experience will tempt some to over-reach politically, financially or in the community. It is simply human nature and almost impossible to resist. Like all temptation, it gets stronger over time.

It's hard to know exactly where it will happen, but rest assured, it's coming, and my bet is that it will cost you plenty!

It's the same in investment markets. If you have profited from our recent investment calls, don't let hubris bring you down. Every trend remains intact until it stops, which often happens when you least expect it.

With the Dow Jones jumping past our 30K goal last night, it might be wise to lighten the exposure. So, too, if you've ridden the Bitcoin juggernaut these past few months.

Tremendous gains have been made, so think carefully about how you'll react if they don't continue...or even reverse.

Keeping our rationality and common sense intact when everything seems to be going our way is a learned skill. Unfortunately, the only way to really ingrain it in our DNA is to take some of those really big wake-up calls without too much damage.

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