February 28, 2023- “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.”- Thomas Sowell

One of the more provocative conservatives in our midst, Dr. Sowell has made a good many outrageous statements about “the passing scene”, but he is correct about a great generality of this life: Everything has a cost, as well as a benefit. The value of things great and small lies in the balance between the two.

My thoughts:

Further, all choices we make have immediate and long terms costs and benefits. Those things which cost us, with fleeting benefits, may be viewed as expenses. Those which have long-term benefits may be cast as investments. For example, a meal in a restaurant has mostly fleeting benefits, unless it also includes the generating or enhancement of a friendship or business deal. The deposit of funds towards the education of one’s child or grandchild should, one hopes, result in both the offspring’s well-being and prosperity, and benefits to society, stemming from the person’s expertise.

The same observations may be made, with regard to social movements. Fascism and the Divine Right of Kings benefit elitist claques, and oligarchies, whilst leaving out the vast majority of a country’s citizens, aside from cosmetic and superfluous economic and social trinkets-including insipid entertainment media. Democracies, which INCLUDE republics, are far messier, but have the potential to benefit all citizens, long-term. Everyone has to GIVE, in the form of taxes, or exercising the vote, or allowing those whom one might not like the same rights as one has. Of course, opposed to both of the aforementioned systems is anarchy, chaos, which adheres to no overt rules, save vengeance, self-aggrandizement and short-term personal satisfaction.

I have seen all three, in this short span of seventy-two years, and can only see the most beneficial trade-offs coming from the patience, perseverance and resolve that come from being an active participant in a democracy-and allowing everyone else the same, including-especially, those whose viewpoints differ from my own.

Yes, everything is a trade-off. This, friends, is why we are given free will, combined with intellect and a moral compass, that we may know what to keep and what to give away.

4 thoughts on “Trade-offs

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