Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Pete Morin Editorial Review--Issue #73

Common Sense--An American (un)activity

It just never ceases to amaze me how many people come into my bookstore, and after having looked around for a few minutes will ask me how to get to the basement. Books are priced at a bargain rate in the basement, so that's a natural destination for some customers.

When customers enter the store by the front door they get an immediate view of the stairway leading to the second floor. Now, common sense would tell you that a stairway leading to an upper floor is also the overhead to a stairway leading to a lower floor; at least in most of my observations with respect to stairways. Could this be, perhaps, a lack of said 'common sense' in an unperceptive American consciousness?

When Americans listen to politicians promise them the world and much more if elected, do they not understand, perhaps, that this is merely a staircase to nowhere? What makes Americans think government can do a better job of running an economy than private markets. What makes them believe politicians can actually deliver on promises to make your life better, richer, safer and more rewarding than doing so for one's self?

The art of governing is said to be compromise. But compromise is nothing more than a rather large opportunity cost. Economists use this term to refer to actions that prohibit an individual from doing more than one activity or action simultaneously; i.e. attending evening college classes, but not being able to work a second shift that conflicts with the classes. Personally, I don't put too much credence in compromise, especially when I'm trusting a politician to perform the negotiation. In my mind politics is less about compromise and more about power; raw, unmitigated power to ensconce a grifter in a cocoon of protected, unchecked magnificence. Nevertheless, we have those gullible people who listen to these self-proclaimed lords & masters and expect our civilization to improve.

I would rather live my life, complete with all its flaws, misunderstandings and foolishness than subject some other individual to such a precarious existence. I wish others would act in the same manner, but I guess this is too much to ask. The urge to acquire power, either for one's self or through the agency of an elected representative is an urge not to be denied.

I'll take this as compromise: you leave me alone and I'll do the same for you. But first, learn about stairways.

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