Limited progress should not preclude us from some progress

posted by Jeff | Friday, August 19, 2022, 6:44 PM | comments: 0

I've noticed a pattern in political debate that I find troubling. Sometimes it isn't even political, it's just emotional response. It usually goes something like this:

"We should do that, because it will help us get to an outcome."

"Yeah, but that barely makes a dent in the problem!"

You know exactly where I'm going with this. I've engaged in these debates on a variety of topics. For example, the first response from some folks about the adoption of electric vehicles is, "Yeah, but not everyone has access to home charging, and the range isn't good enough, and they're too expensive, and my car is still working fine!" All of these may be true to various extents, but it does not preclude us from moving forward in some way. I've been gas-free for seven years, and probably had more fun driving than most people. Is everyone me? No, but the people who could make it work are, I suspect, at least a third of the US population, maybe more. Climate change isn't getting better, so it would seem to me that any win we can get is a step in the right direction. We don't need to crush it and be at the full conversion destination tomorrow for it to matter.

Apply the same thing to any number of issues. Some gun regulation reform can have some impact without eliminating gun violence. Some measure of better access to healthcare can improve some outcomes. You can feed some people without solving homelessness. You can accept some refugees without ending a humanitarian crisis. I could go on all day.

I don't understand why some people approach problems with an all-or-nothing view.


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