The Problem of Doing
Recently, I’ve had to deal with people who are not me screwing up some things that are very important to me yet out of my immediate control. I could either: ask them not to bother to fix their mistake and just walk away, or I could do what I can – unfortunately not much – and watch them while they either take productive steps to fix the mistake or continue to make more mistakes ad infinitum.
This got me thinking. The essential problem is it seems: when you (and here I mean “you” as anyone) do things or take things on you create the expectation that those things will not suck. When those things do suck, it leads to frustration from others and other horrible downstream effects, since, in a cooperative society, other people depend on your work.
Two possible conclusions result: one is that whatever you did that sucks needs to be fixed. This is the general position of modern liberalism. The other possible conclusion is that whatever you did that sucks no one should have done to begin with. This is the general position of modern libertarianism.
It is important to note here, that, in the year 2014, our society is already quite ripe. We don’t get to go back to the time before our mistakes, before whatever stupid thing we did. We have to live with the world we have, and we have to make decisions on how to act in that world accordingly.
It seems to me then that: (1) the pragmatic approach of looking at each situation separately and determining a situation-specific solution is the best course of action; (2) this would be the best general approach to understanding this modern sort of ex post facto problem (i.e. the problem isn’t that we need to build prisons or a prison system and figure out the best way to meet that need – it’s that our prisons suck); and (3) such a modern approach necessitates a strict negation of ideology, wherein the whole liberal-libertarian dichotomy becomes utterly meaningless and collapses upon itself.
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