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Rights and Consequences: The Right to Fail

Failure can make you wise and strong

I was thinking about consequences today on the long ride home from a road trip. I was thinking about a fellow I know who spent a great deal of his life smoking marijuana. He liked it, and wanted to do it, so he did. He married, owned a small business or two but never quite succeeded to the level his family thought he could. His father thought he could do better, his wife thought so too. He dismissed them as a father for whom he was never good enough and a normal nagging wife who loved him and would stick by him no matter what. Eventually, he got a little older, his second business was doing well but the amount of work it took to run it was exhausting. It wasn’t making him rich and it never would. He was okay with that because he enjoyed it but he couldn’t keep up that pace forever. He had that little grain of thought in his mind that there might be a better way but no motivation to do anything about it.

He realized that the work, which he thought as so difficult, actually wasn’t when he hired someone to take a little bit of the load off him. His new employee ran circles around him with half the experience. The work wasn’t difficult after all. What was it then?

There is wisdom in the trial and strength in the failure

Take time to ponder your existence.

This was just the start of reflection, which is always needed to make change. Pondering is a very powerful tool which I recommend for everyone. It’s a fancy word that just means thinking about things and perhaps we can add that there is an element of desire to figure how things work.  One day he figured it out. A friend of his, who was in the same business, basically had a sort of meltdown due to being drunk in public. This was in an environment where drinking was acceptable but being drunk wasn’t. This person was at a trade show and behaved so badly that their reputation with suppliers and customers was shot.

Soon after that the friend’s business failed. It had failed because of the owner, not because of the economy. This was the road my friend was on due to his use of marijuana. It didn’t make him explode in public, that’s not what the drug does, but it did make it terribly difficult for him to be motivated to do the kind of work that was needed. he just couldn’t push himself. He realized his dad and his wife were correct. he was capable of much more but was being held back. He got off the pot as it were and the rest took care of itself. Not by magic and not over night. He sold the business, went back to school, and struggled until he succeeded at the result he desired. He didn’t blame the pot nor did he suddenly think it should be illegal. It already was illegal and that, he said, was largely the appeal (at least at first) because his dad was so strict in a non-productive way. The law didn’t stop him; trial, error, and failure did.

“When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes.” – Thomas A. Edison

There were negative consequences to his choices which eventually led to positive ones. When asked if he would have changed anything my friend couldn’t say he would but that it didn’t really matter anyway since things turned out alright.

Consequences are where the right and left merge philosophically. They are both bound and determined that you should not face them. They seek to protect individuals from the consequences of individual choice. For the left, they want to allow all kinds of choices in the name of freedom. They call this liberal for that reason. However, they create social safety nets and programs so that people don’t have to feel the impact, or at least the full impact, of their choices. The right passes all kinds of laws restricting behavior. Their thinking is that if it’s illegal people won’t do it. If they don’t do it then they won’t have to face the consequences of their actions. The fact is, they are simply creating a different set of consequences: fines or prison. Sure, things like drugs are bad, but so is prison. They really haven’t helped anyone.

Letting others fail doesn’t mean you don’t care.

Normal people don’t like to see others in distress, in harm’s way, or doing poorly. We have a built-in desire to help others. Watching someone fail, letting them fail, is incredibly difficult. This is especially true when we can help through either material assistance or the benefit of our wisdom. My friend now knows from personal experience that smoking pot can have an adverse affect. He may want to share this with others. They can learn from his mistakes, or not.  I am sure it wold be frustrating for him  to watch someone not listen to his advice and continue on in their ways knowing what he knows now. With government, they pass laws to make people listen or to soften the blow when they don’t. Under these two methods people don’t learn anything. Obeying a law, even if it is good for you, doesn’t mean the person has chosen the better way, it only means they’ve been forced. The left is the same. It isn’t charity to tax someone and take that money for someone else. That’s not the loving path. Under such a system of force no one benefits and society isn’t made wiser.

Liberty means you can choose for yourself but it doesn’t mean you can choose the consequences of your actions.

It isn’t laws that will keep people from a certain behavior, it’s the natural consequences. People see laws, rightfully so, as restrictive. As someone trying to force them into acting a certain way. People, as a general rule, hate this. One of the quickest ways to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t. That is all the right accomplishes with their laws. Same for the left. Can’t own guns, people want to, can’t make fun of someone, people want to, we rebel. People rebel. We just do. But when we learn for ourselves through facing the consequences of what we’ve done then we learn and are not likely to do it again. For those who don’t learn they have a very tough life beating their head against a wall doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. If we try to force them they will fight against it, if we try to soften the blow we will always be propping them up and never gaining a different result for our efforts.

“Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

How can a man know what will work and what won’t if he never tries? Why would he try if he doesn’t have to?

“Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” – Thomas A.

This is where the left pipes up and tells us what horrible people we are for wanting people to fail. Of course we don’t. Like I said, it is a natural human inclination to want people to succeed and it is very hard to sit by and let them fail. This doesn’t mean we can never help but the choice must be carefully made by each individual based on the circumstances of their life and the life of the person they wish to help. This is not a decision that can be made by government, let alone one in a far distant capital. Americans give billions of dollars each year, of their own free will, to help others. This dollar amount does not factor in the value of their time which they also volunteer to help others in various ways.

Laws don’t prevent crime and social programs aren’t compassionate. Without government interference there will still be plenty of people offering a hand but it will be the hand of friendship and not grasping hand of government.

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