Monday, September 04, 2017

Change happens one person at a time

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for August 2, 2017- I forgot to post it in full yesterday. Sorry!)

The world has plenty of problems and something needs to change. Just about everyone agrees on this point, even if the details they'd like to change differ. Everyone probably believes they have some of the solutions, too.

Assuming the change you want is actually good, and your solution would work, how do you put it in motion? How do you make sure you don't make things worse if the change you want, or your path to get there, turns out to be disastrous?

How about not trying to beat other people into going along with you? Instead, change yourself according to what you'd like to see the world become. Some say "Be the change you wish to see in the world". It sounds simplistic and "touchy-feely", but how else can you really change the world other than by taking the risk yourself? All change happens one person at a time.

If you have a better way to live, live it. Don't force it on others; lead by example. Then, let people watch what happens to you. They'll join you voluntarily if your way seems to work. If it fails, admit it and try something different.

It comes down to "you go first". If your idea is a good one-- or if you truly believe it is-- you shouldn't fear putting it into action in your life. If you won't give it an honest shot, how can you expect anyone else to?

For instance, I believe no one has the right to use violence against people who are neither using violence nor violating someone's property rights. So I don't do it. I believe the best way to live among other people is to respect their right to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn't harm the person or property of anyone else. This is how I try to live.

This doesn't mean I ignore any terrible acts I see committed, or that I reject self defense. It means I won't act in ways I believe are wrong in pursuit of the world I want.

If you reject this way, preferring a way you believe is better, live it and see how it works.

The conventional routine of forcing everyone to go along with your bright scheme is ancient, but even when it seems to work, it doesn't result in anything good. It ends up leading to more of the same. The world can't afford to stay on this path.
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A lack of imagination

I got a bit of hatred for my newspaper column "Accidents don't deserve punishment". And a little for the follow-up video I made, too.

People LOVE punishment. And they lust for it. And they simply can't imagine finding themselves in the position of being on the other end.

Unfortunately, I can imagine it.

I'm aware of times I did something really stupid in moments of distraction. Moments which could have ended in disaster for someone (usually including me). But I lucked out.

Sometimes people aren't so lucky.

This is why I have some sympathy for people who cause accidents. I know it could easily be me. Or anyone. No one is so special they are immune.

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