The Art of Accommodation
I’m listening to a song called “Money, money”. I’m also thinking about the great ongoing debate in both the US and Europe. The current divide is about — correct me if I’m wrong — individual liberties vs. solidarity. Some call it capitalism vs. socialism. Others make it into a difference between freedom and oppression. I am simply amazed that we cannot reconcile the two.
Those of you who know me and follow my thinking know that I am a man of the middle. I am also one to keep my views to myself. I discuss politics with few other than my sister. With others I tend to listen and learn. I may have opinions, but I keep them to myself. I might be changing.
As I grow older, I grow frustrated with obsessive righteousness. I grow impatient with dogmatic retrenching. I want a world that reconciles the best of all views. Note that I have said all views, not just left and right or democratic and republican or conservative and liberal. We live in a world of grey though we pretend to categorize it into black and white. Take my diet as an example. I am a vegan. Well, between me and heavy meat eaters there is a vast array of dietary preferences. Even among vegans, we differ.
I believe that our political, economic and social systems must accommodate a much wider variety of options. We can be both fiscally conservative and build in a safety net for those who need it. We can cut waste in government while remaining a die hard liberal. We can believe in non-intervention while acting on behalf of the oppressed oceans away. That, my friends, is what I call genuine enlightenment. That is what I believe represents humanity’s highest peak. That collaboration is the only way to overcome our woes. Do you want to save the climate? Well you need industry on your side, not against you. Do you, conversely, want to defend your energy sector, well you work with conservationists to establish a win-win transition from dirty to clean. Think about it, a world in which we actually sit down to find a solution to our problems.
This line of thought takes me back a couple of years to the Chilean mine incident. Remember that? How many were they? I forget. About twenty or so if memory serves me right. Here they were trapped, on their way to the pearly gates unless those above got them out and did so quickly. Is there time for dissent in this scenario? Can you imagine the scene in the office trailer above? I can. I can imagine that there were two, three, maybe ten different options to get them out. But I’ll bet anything that they did not waste much time throwing daggers at one another when a decision was ultimately reached. Well fellow humans, our planet, our societies, our nations… are all a Chilean mine disaster and we sure as heck had better get a plan together quickly. I want to see Senators, House Representatives, Parliamentarians, Prime Ministers, Presidents, Industry Leaders (add as many titles of influence as you’d like) — I want to see them all working on solutions. And if they disagree, then tough. Some will have to learn the art of compromise more than others. Which ones you ask? Why not them? Why us? If you’re asking the question it’s because you do not understand the philosophy of compromise and accommodation.
A closing thought: maybe that’s why so many politicians cheat on their spouses or divorce outright. Maybe they really don’t get the art of agreement. As a happily married man, I learned long ago that I cannot always be right, even when I am!