Monday, February 13, 2017
Own the Problem and Solve It
Sometimes there are easy solutions to situations, as long as the principle doesn’t get in the way. If everyone who voted for Hillary Clinton donated $8.35 to Planned Parenthood once a year they wouldn’t need any government funding. Problem solved for less than a couple of trips to Starbucks. And if some of the 90 million who didn’t bother to vote in November joined in, the needed contribution would be even less. Since the donations are tax deductible, a portion of the contribution would indirectly shifted back to the government. It would be like stealth government funding. Of course it’s the principle of the thing.
Isn’t falling back on the principle of the thing a lot like whether it’s more work for the husband to put the toilet seat back down or for the wife to put it down herself? Now that’s a worthwhile argument.
Both cases fall under the heading of responsibility, taking ownership for what you see is the problem. In the first case the problem is that everyone does not want to be forced to support a cause that some people strongly believe in. If you don’t think your time protesting is not worth more than $8.35, you are undervaluing yourself. And think of the anxiety avoided with one simple action of writing and mailing a check. In the second case, if you really care about domestic tranquility, you make the effort – though it seems almost laughable to call it effort. In general, if you really care, you don't let principle stand in the way of an easy fix.
But Americans are falling more and more away from taking responsibility for problems that are under their own control. That's when the law steps in and everyone loses.
“Apple could be facing a class action lawsuit in California, demanding they find a technological solution to prevent their customers from texting and driving." It stems from a fatal crash caused by the other driver using FaceTime while driving. First of all, FaceTime is not texting. Second, how does the phone know if you are driving or just riding in a car (or on a train)? Finally, and most important, why should Apple or any other company be held responsible for the reckless behavior of their customers?
In America the last question is never dealt with. It is just assumed that if a customer misuses a product, it’s the company’s fault for not anticipating every inane use for their product. For proof of this, look up dumb product warning labels on the Internet. So much extra time and expense with lawyers and labels to avoid being sued by irresponsible people who refuse to admit to a mistake made by individuals, themselves or others.
But we have not yet gotten as bad a France where they just passed a law making it illegal for restaurants to offer free refills of soft drinks (even if you are not fat and really thirsty).
But that’s what happens. When a sizable number of citizens act irresponsibly the lawmakers go to work to protect us or steer us in the right direction. We lose our free choices because so many previous free choices have been poor ones. So many problems can be easily solved by taking responsibility and so much freedom lost by ignoring those opportunities.