A little practical skepticism would be useful

Just a quick thought:  it seems to me that our nation(s) would be in much better shape if we all accepted that no matter what we do, even our best solutions will always work imperfectly and will always have downsides.  We would do well to be skeptical of the promises of politics—not just politicians, but politics.  We would do better to be skeptical of plans and programs and ideas for improvement—even our own.  No matter what we do, this world will still be broken.  Some people will be poor, and some will be exploited, and some will be abused; some will be exploiters, and some will be abusers, and some will be just flat evil.  We need to set aside our technocratic assumption that these are problems to be fixed and realize that they are people to be faced.  We need to give up the naïve idea that these “problems” can be fixed, which is really just avoidance:  we don’t want to face these people.  We don’t want to meet them honestly in their mess, we want the promise of a quick, clean, antiseptic solution that will make the mess go away where it won’t bother us.  We ought to be deeply skeptical of such promises, and even more skeptical of the desire of our hearts to believe such promises.

We won’t solve the problem of human evil by passing laws.  We won’t stop gun violence by passing laws against guns—or laws in favor of guns, for that matter.  When someone is determined to break the law, what’s one more?  That’s the easy way out, the cheap way out, the coward’s way out.  We will only make a dent in the evil of this world the hard way:  one life at a time, by knowing our neighbors and loving them as ourselves.


William Holgarth, The Polling, 1755.

Posted in Culture and society, Politics.

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