Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
The best time to plant a tree was twenty-years ago. The second best time is now.
I am basing what follows on a central premise: None of us is so dumb that we don’t have the ability to listen or to learn or to get wiser. Where we go awry is ignoring what is really being said or done because we’re heavily invested in one side of an argument or the other. The result is that learning is difficult and painful and wisdom elusive. All of us know that when we go wrong, some kind of pain follows. The solution for some is to pass the pain to others, as in let-the-buyer-beware.
Okay, why, as I suggested previously, don’t political divergences have to be watched or run down to be negated? Well, political divergences are designed to anchor a thought so that other thoughts will seem to be frivolous. The notion of a culture of entitlement may sound correct when selected facts are tossed in. Even the phrase “culture of entitlement” wreaks of negativity—Draculas not only sucking the money right out of our pockets, but feeling justified doing so. What we clearly need, according to those espousing a solution, is to encourage initiative and discourage taking from those that have such initiative. How can we argue with that?
On the other hand, a culture of caring may sound correct when selected facts are tossed in as well. Think a nation of people with anguished faces reaching out for help—how heartless can we be to deny them? Even the phrase “culture of caring” sounds like a no-brainer—what could be wrong with caring? What we clearly need, according to those espousing a solution, is to collect monies from those that have so we can help those that don’t.
C’mon. One doesn’t have to get lost in the divergence. We don’t have to risk our attention being usurped by getting caught up in the diversions, as that wouldn’t eliminate the diversion, only create more diversions Besides, if those diversions are someone’s political baby, someone is going to be a bit miffed and miffed means more diversions. The bottom line here is don’t get distracted by the lure of “logic” based on a single premise when we live in a world of complexity—sometimes there are multiple solutions to a single problem.
Look, if someone promises you more money or stuff, common sense (even if it’s not so commonly applied), might make you wonder how that works. There are a lot of Ponzi schemes, whether they’re manufactured by private or political “entrepreneurs.” The central theme of a Ponzi scheme is that someone somewhere along the line pays but gets nothing. Sometimes the scheme is a bit tricky, like you get some money for nothing or save big on some item, but then pay even more than that later (think tax rebates by political “entrepreneurs” that wind up costing us or the “loss-leader” concept in marketing by private “entrepreneurs” whereby the consumer gets a product at less than cost, but pays more for all the other stuff they buy). There’s a rule we really all know: Opportunity costs, it is not free. The point is do the gains outpace the costs? But we have to ask if the gains are strictly for an individual while the costs are passed on to us all?
At the risk of digressing, let’s define entrepreneur. How about this: Someone or some entity that takes a risk to make things better for all of us. I know the last part is not in the dictionary, but I don’t care. An entrepreneur, political or private, is NOT someone or some entity that makes money at other folks’ expense. End of definition! If gains are made at the expense of others, that’s a scamming spirit, not an entrepreneurial spirit.
All right, how do we know when to care and when to stop carrying? It’s really very simple, it doesn’t require a college degree or anymore evolution—it is something nearly 100% of us know: We always care and we stop carrying when others who are capable of adding to their own wellbeing only take. It is the job of a parent to care and carry a child. It is the job of a government or private entity to care and carry the stewardship of being a true entrepreneur. The argument is when to stop carrying, but there is absolutely no place or time where we should stop caring. (Note to folks who hate others for whatever reason: You hate because you quit caring, not because of what someone did. If a child was murdered and/or molested, you cannot selectively care about the child and not care about the murderer or molester. Why? Because it is likely in some way that a lack of caring contributed to the problem. Caring is not the same as handholding—we don’t have to invite murderers or molesters to our home and give them the run of the place). So what’s our tool for when to stop carrying? Time. Look, some folks will always need both caring and carrying. Let’s get over it and not begrudge them. Others take longer to get the point of making a positive contribution. So, though we use time, we cannot have a static period of time for everyone. We know this. And we may have to make a very difficult choice in other cases—as in giving the recalcitrant (those who are capable, but refuse to contribute) some subsistence without resenting them. So now we have a basic safety net simply because such a net benefits all of us. But, we do not allow the capable to live grandly off of the work of others.
Yes, these actions require some thought, but they’re not so obscure that we have to leave them to the “elite” to implement. We can easily keep track of the folks to whom we have entrusted the stewardship of caring and carrying. We don’t have to have politicos arguing for our hearts and minds because our hearts and minds are our own and not theirs to argue for!
When you go to the polls, or go to bed, or go to work, keep this vision and these actions in mind: We always have to care. We don’t always have to carry. The entrepreneurial spirit, whether political, individual, or corporate, is about safeguarding and promoting benefits for all. There are costs to that—so get over it.
It seems to me we are already capable of a better world if we would just quit getting lost in the rhetoric of those who want us to believe in them, as opposed to the values we all know to be right. However, for those who need a single guiding thought for all problems, how about this?: Our legacy will not be measured by how well a few of us do, but by how well we cared.