If the only advantage in preserving a status quo is to delay doing anything, the primary achievement will be to ensure the difficulties have been compounded. It’s difficult to get anything done when nothing is being done! That means more will be impacted by delay and/or neglect, which only a few will find satisfactory.
But on matters of significance outside of our own four walls, where facts actually matter a great deal, what is the ultimate benefit to an individual or for the community at large if factual accuracy is not the objective in both the analysis and in the solutions?
Conservatives take a dim view of progress. They are not so foolish as to deny that great advances have been made in science, technology, medicine, communication, management, education, and so forth, and that they have changed human lives for the better. But they have also changed them for the worse. Advances have been both beneficial and harmful. They have certainly enlarged the stock of human possibilities, but the possibilities are for both good and evil, and new possibilities are seldom without new evils. Conservatives tend to be pessimistic because they doubt that more possibilities will make lives on the whole better. They believe that there are obstacles that stand in the way of the permanent overall improvement of the human condition.
There’s no denying the great divide separating the Left from the Right. The conflict does little but make problems more intractable, enduring, and … well, worse! But what we overlook too often is the divide itself. That great big “middle” has room enough for everyone willing to take a few steps away from the beliefs—genuine or the result of a lack of accurate information—to which each side is firmly anchored today.
If our collective future—the one we intend to pass on to our children and for their benefit—still matters, then we have a duty to do what we can to make it a better and brighter one than the future which inequality, conflict, knee-jerk dismissal of inconvenient facts, and the many damaging components of intense polarization will create instead. Shouldn’t the outcomes matter more than they seem to?
Is it so wrong to recognize that indeed “We all do better when we all do better” * and that we do so by providing more opportunities by whatever appropriate means are at hand rather than denying them to protect the interests of the already-too-powerful? Elevating the content and quality our public discourse while displaying more honorable public behaviors in the process—instead of what we witness on a daily basis—might prove more gratifying and meaningful in the long run, and for more of us. [That’s about as low a bar to overcome as one can set!]
The history of the world is simply the chronicle of what has happened because of the deeds of a small number of ordinary people who had extraordinary levels of commitment to making a difference. These individuals did little things extraordinarily well. They decided that something must change, that they must be the ones to do it, and that they could do it—and then they summoned the courage to persist until they found a way to make it work. – Tony Robbins
Fear makes man unwise in the three great departments of human conduct: his dealings with nature, his dealings with other men, and his dealings with himself. Until you have admitted your own fears to yourself, and have guarded yourself by a difficult effort of will against their myth-making power, you cannot hope to think truly about many matters of great importance . . . . – Bertrand Russell