A contrarian world

Like it or not, we live in a contrarian world… a world rife with anger and discord. And contrarians are not making our lives easier. But what exactly is a contrarian? Is it something like a politician? a malapropian? Close, but not quite.

According to the Urban Dictionary, a contrarian is…

“Someone who automatically tends to take the opposite point of view from the person to whom they’re speaking, or to disagree with society at large out of a sort of knee-jerk reflex.”

And that’s why it rubs me the wrong way. I have nothing (or little) against somebody who argues intelligently with me, but I highly dislike people who automatically disagree just for the sake of disagreeing.

“I swim against the tide because I like to annoy.” ― Carlos Ruiz Zafón

There are two distinct species of contrarians. The smart ones and the stupid ones, and I am sorry to say that the latter vastly outnumbers the first ones.

A smart contrarian is a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion, especially in stock exchange dealing. He buys shares of stock when most others are selling, and sells when others are buying. It is a risky business, but it can be hugely rewarding.

“I paraphrase Lord Rothschild: ‘The time to buy is when there’s blood on the streets.’ David Dreman

The stupid contrarian is usually (but not always) somebody with very little schooling, not very successful, and unhappy about his condition. He also seldom or never traveled abroad and would not recognize a croissant if it flew into his mouth. He is highly susceptible to side with rabble-rousers.

You don’t have to look very far to see some of those. Just look at Congress. Some of these people make a career of being contrarians. They don’t bring much to the pot, but they made a name for themselves for being useless “mavericks”.

Contrarians are like bedbugs, irritating and difficult to get rid of. Some constituents like them for their rebellious attitude, but they just do a disservice to the nation… especially in the fight against an unyielding pandemic.

Some countries have already mandated the wearing of masks and proof of a “Health pass” in public venues. There is no doubt that contrarians of all stripes and colors will vigorously protest this preventive measure. If they persist, I have a solution.

Relocate them in some sparsely populated island (like Pitcairn) where they could live and thrive (?) with like-minded contrarians.

Alain

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