August 6; If Only I Had Not Used a Hypothetical, Then I Wouldn’t Be In Trouble MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK: 365 Daily Bible Verse & One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful
Chapter Eight: Communication; 6 August
Jesus said to them,
“If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I have come here from God.
I have not come on my own; God sent me.
|If Only I Had Not Used a Hypothetical, Then I Wouldn’t Be In Trouble|
Your Business Professor used to run a small software company that specialized in Visual Basic. Not the old BASIC with If/Then statements full of coding first-class conditionals. Logic and software go together.
Logic and politics? Not so much.
Bill Bennett, Secretary of Education under President Ronald Reagan, made the mistake of mixing logic and public policy and abortion on his radio program. Liberals and “journalists” pounced on Secretary Bennett when he formulated a complicated conditional statement. They couldn’t follow his ‘if-then’ declaration. They called him a racist for wanting to kill Black babies.
Here’s Bill Bennett’s hypothetical and the must read analysis by writer Ed Morrissey:
But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.
(Actually Secretary Bennett has this wrong. New York City is already aborting every unborn Black baby and the crime rate is still going up….)
Dr. Bennett is guilty of no sin except violating The First Law in Public Debate known by media savvy professionals:
Don’t do Hypotheticals.
What follows the ‘Then’ is more important than what starts with the ‘If.’ The second part of the implication is all that will be reported.
What did progressive detractors in the audience hear? “You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”
This is not what he meant—Bennett being a good Catholic boy and all—but he did use words that guaranteed being misunderstood. The phrase is out of the context of the conditional statement. And he is a professional.
Any scenario that begins with ‘If’ will be reduced to an unfavorable sound-bite. Rabbit trails leading down Alice in Wonderland rabbit holes.
If a question or a rebuttal comes at you starting with “If,” change the subject. If you are thinking “If,” change your mind.
“I don’t deal in hypotheticals,” is the only verbiage used if “If” comes up. If it persists, go up to 30,000 feet with a simple over-arching, overview.
There are four classes of conditionals and each is best avoided.* Even if (!) a listener could keep each of them straight, then (!) this might be do-able. But the seasoned manager would never inject so much confusion into a communication.
The 16th century theologian John Calvin once described Scripture as God’s baby-talk to man. (Calvin 1536) I’m not so sure…
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. John 8:42
Baptist preacher and scholar Dr. Randy Yeager comments on this passage in his translation and commentary of the Bible,
Jesus’ statement is a second-class contrary to fact condition, with ei and secondary tenses (imperfects in this case) in both protasis and apodosis. dn is added in the apodosis, although it is not strictly necessary in koine Greek. The condition is determined as unfulfilled…Whom God sends, God’s children love. (Randolph O. Yeager 1981)
Some word constructions, like hypotheticals, are so complicated that the Thinking Manager and politicians and “journalists” should avoid them.
*There are no Fourth Class Conditionals in the Bible, not real ones, thank God. That would be way too many variables. Even for the professional manager.
Full Disclosure: Your Business Professor was awarded a minor consulting contract in the Department of Education when Bill Bennett was the Secretary under President Ronald Reagan.
OK, the thinking manager could possibly use a hypothetical in an economic jest. But only in a joke: “If everyone had a horse, then the country would be more stabilized.” Yes—awful. It is a hypothetical.