Law of the Instrument

The law of the instrument, law of the hammer, Maslow’s hammer, or golden hammer is a cognitive bias that involves an over-reliance on a familiar tool. Abraham Maslow wrote in 1966, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail.” 

Nearly fifty years spent in this hobby has convinced me of a similar thing, “If you frequently criticize everything the ARRL does, it is tempting to blame them for every ham radio problem.”

Like any member organization, the ARRL makes decisions that rarely pleases every member. Often forgotten is that these decisions pass through the filter of member-elected politicians. But that’s not how this has been working. Seldom do you see someone praise some League actions and criticize others when it comes to ARRL. For many of its detractors, decisions aren’t just sometimes wrong, no, the organization is on a mission to destroy amateur radio.

It’s an incredibly ignorant position to take, yet it seems an infectious notion and I believe it to be a sign of these times. Look no further than at our national politics. It’s no longer that two candidates hold opposing views on how to fix a specific problem, it’s that one candidate is “right” while the other is bent on destroying America.

Sound familiar?

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