Good intentions…it has been said that they pave the road to hell. So, why is it our society is much more concerned with intentions and finds results to be somewhat irrelevant? Our entire political culture is preoccupied with the idea that as long as things are well-intentioned then the results do not matter. For example, I am sure you have heard the line that “labor unions once served a very important role in relieving the worker from oppressive employers.” This statement presupposes, in error, that because there was once a justifiable purpose for unions that they should now receive increased latitude in viewing their actions. This is an illogical view, the intellectual equivalent of saying that since a sports team was at one point good in the 1970s that they are, by default, still good.
Social Security was started with (supposed) good intentions, but the results have been to make generations of people dependent on a system which only guarantees them a horrible quality of life (if that is the extent of their retirement planning). The Federal Reserve was started to reduce the occurrence of panics and twenty years later their monetary policy triggered the start of the Great Depression (not to mention the hand they had in the recent “Great Recession”). The poor policy of the Fed was only made more damaging by the isolationist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act signed by Hoover to, in part, limit competition from imports and help increase employment [note: Hoover was not even relatively close to being a “laissez-faire” capitalist; a lot of history teachers and political pundits could sure use reading a history book or two on this one]. All passed with good intentions and all became bricks on the road to hell.
Another familiar tagline of the day is that “if one life can be spared, we must do something”; well, if this were true we would make cars illegal (or at the very least increase standards for driver’s licenses), make all structures no taller than eight feet because roofers have fallen off and died, or make bicycles illegal so little Timmy does not ride into traffic. We could make a long list of arbitrary assignments to such a statement, but we do not for obvious reasons: because it is absurdly ignorant. Still yet, we allow ourselves to be deceived by emotionally persuasive arguments while those arguing the point obfuscate the reality of the circumstance. This lack of rational thinking weakens our ability to make good choices and dooms our nation to the oblivion of debt and a rapidly decreasing level of liberty.
An emotional state of mind and the decisions that result from them are by definition irrational and should be avoided. Have you ever heard of a murderer pleading that they were temporarily logical to get out of the consequences of their crime? Of course not, they are temporarily insane; or, in other words, they are temporarily overrun with emotions that led to poor decision making. Tiger and bear cubs are cute and cuddly looking, but we do not take them home as pets because of the dangerous monsters they become. The same is true for legislation and whatever crap is spewing out of the mouths of politicians…we must consider the ramifications of such actions and decide whether the long-term results are something that is sustainable, or if those “well-intentioned actions” will eventually be the tiger that grew up to eat us.
Along the same train of thought, “shared-sacrifice” is another often utilized term of the statists. So I will leave you with a quote to consider when politicians [yeah, the ones who ride in limos and managed to somehow accumulate millions of dollars of wealth on an approximately $150,000/year salary…] speak to us as needing to “sacrifice”:
It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.