“What if there were flavors other than chocolate?” — The last words of a freethinker who was burned at the stake, illustrating the dangers of wandering too far into the deep philosophy of pudding cups.
This post became necessary after reading some comments and having several conversations concerning my original thoughts about pudding. The piece was flawed. I had intended to relate the story of a minor epiphany, become distracted explaining the nature of the epiphany, and ended by neither successfully telling the story nor explaining the realization.
The point of the first piece was to illustrate a principle. I am not here concerned with making an argument over the validity of the principle, because I think that will take too much time. The principle is this: One of the dominant ideas of American culture is the idea of fixing problems. We find evidence of injustice, locate the cause, determine who is responsible, (you should imagine Law and Order black-screens and sound effects between each step) and pass legislation to keep it from ever happening again. Read around on the internet a bit: people are constantly drumming up injustices or problems and trying to get us fired up to do something about it.
Now, the conservative (at least my conservative) ideology is slightly different, not in the desire to solve problems, but perhaps in the nature of the solutions. My Conservativism likes to identify problems and likes to solve them and likes to dream about effective legislation that would do so, BUT the key difference is in the order of the operation. First, “can I, personally, fix this myself?” Then, and only then, if the answer is no or a very limited yes, “how should the government involve itself?”
In my story about the pudding cup, what I failed to show was that the problem was my reaction a difficulty. My first thought at trouble with a pudding cup lid was “someone should fix this” instead of a much more reasonable, scientific, and conservative “maybe I’m opening these things incorrectly.”
I think the political talking point about such ideas is “personal responsibility”; I think it should be replaced with “correct order of mental operations in the face of adversity”.
Parting shot, fired wildly over the back of the shoulder – I believe it was the kind of thinking I have just described that led to the almost-passing of universal health care laws and I am glad it didn’t. I don’t think it would have solved the problem, it only would have placed the blame.
Second shot, fired even more inaccurately – Obama’s rhetoric in general seems to find a lot of blame.