Blaise Pascal is known for many things, but probably one of the things he is best known for by the general population is his Wager. In its most distilled form, it says that if you are going to wager about the existence of God, it only makes sense to wager that he exists. If you wager that he doesn't exist and he does, you're in trouble.
This tool is applicable to everyday life in the most mundane things. When a politician tells you that he's going to abolish waste fraud and abuse, the prudent position would be to wager that he's lying. Why would a person seeking a position of power work to abolish the means by which he maintains that power? One man's waste is another man's essential program. Any ambitious person knows that you don't alienate those that can do you harm and you cultivate those that can help you. Wager that the politician will always act in his own interest, not yours; not the country's; not the troops; not his next door neighbor's; but his and his alone.
When a government wants to pass a "temporary tax" you should wager that it will never go away and vote against it. When any proposal is "revenue neutral" you can bet that it isn't. If it's revenue neutral, why do they want to do it?
Wager that whatever the government says, it's a lie. When seat belt laws were first proposed in Georgia, it was never going to be a reason to stop anybody, but only a violation if you were stopped for something else and weren't wearing it. Now we are subjected to the silly slogan "click it or ticket" and can be fined for not wearing it in the absence of any other "crime."
Politicians always tell the gullible voter that they want to "serve." If there was ever a case of betting on a sure thing, wager that they want to acquire power over their fellow man. If service is what they're looking for, they can go volunteer at a hospice or soup kitchen or spread good cheer in a hospital. If that doesn't suit them, they can teach adult reading or volunteer time at Traveler's Aid - there are many opportunities for service by the selfless person.
Back in the '90s, I coined the word "sanguinoid" to describe a mental disorder that causes the sufferer to believe that everybody is out to help him; sort of the opposite of paranoia. It seems that this disorder afflicts many people at election times. The election just past brought out lots of people who believed the "throw the bums out" mantra of the Tea Party and others. This is sort of understandable with young voters who haven't seen the same performance over and over again, but I was talking to a 72 year-old man that thought the Republicans were going to come in and clean house. If he had adopted my "wager that they're lying" principle he would not now be disappointed.
There are certain professions that are perceived as being dominated by crooks. Examples would be car salesmen, pawn brokers, jewelers, loan officers, cops and politicians. Politicians seem to be the only ones that are held in contempt individually, but highly esteemed collectively. A collection of politicians in something called a legislature is still a collection of crooks. It doesn't matter that the news refers to them in reverential terms such as "lawmakers", they're still self-serving crooks. Nothing they say can be believed.
When the government says that the Spanish have blown up the Maine, wager that they're lying.
When the government says that withholding tax is a temporary wartime measure, wager that they're lying.
When the government says that U.S. ships have been attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin, wager that they're lying.
When the government says that the Swine Flu vaccine is safe, wager that they're lying.
When the government says that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, wager that they're lying.
When the government wants to control the internet for "national security" reasons, wager that they're lying.
Politicians are largely people without honor or courage, always bet that they're lying.