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30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 18

The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good. Almost every thing, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded. — Speech in Congress, 1848

My Take – Nothing we do is 100% good or bad.  The trick is to try to only do the things that do more good than ill.  I don’t expect my politicians to be saints, but I do expect them to be honest about their flaws and not be stupid.  When someone comes to you with some proposal, you have to ask three questions – Who benefits? Who will be harmed? What’s the end goal?  If they can’t give you a satisfactory answer to all three of those questions, and quickly at that, they either don’t know what they’re doing or they’re hiding something.  It’s up to you to figure out which one.

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  1. I have a little trouble with this. I think it can — and has been — a strong breach into liberty.

    Yes, this law will chip away at your right to privacy ‘a little’ but it will keep us safe from terrorists. More of a good thing then a bad thing.

    I think there should be more questions – is it really worth doing this thing at this time? We might feel safer from terrorism is we fly in our skivvies but will it really stop it now or will the terrorist just find another method.

    Is there another way of accomplishing this goal?
    Instead of everyone flying in their skivvies; could we just give everyone a pistol loaded with frangible ammunition? Which would actually make the skies safer; I don’t know but I would rather fly with my fellow passengers carrying.

    And third and most importantly is this really something the government should be doing?
    All too often we have a law passed that is out of the realm of the role of the government — yet because it accomplishes a little more good then evil; we accept it.


    • Excellent point. That which we can do for ourselves, the government ought not do. I also like your point that we should be looking for alternative plans to meet the same goal. The government seems to have only one tool in its box, and everything is starting to look like a nail. And asking if doing nothing is better than doing anything at all is always a good idea.


  2. Gotta agree with 3 boxes… sigh


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