Monday, August 9, 2010

For the Sake of Argument...

I am not in the midst of an argument...

I've just been thinking about what makes a valid argument or justification.

You see, there are certain "arguments" for a cause that just hold absolutely no water with me. In fact, they usually cause me to listen for more chinks in said "argument", if I don't tune out the individual altogether. I'm busy and I listen to enough chatter without adding someones inane blather.

Not to go into too much boring detail, the Husband receives e-mails from a task force he is on re: the school budget and e-mails go to the family account and I see them. I don't respond though, because it's not my task force. I just read them and think one person needs to learn what constitutes a valid argument for a whole group and not just in his own mind, for his own family. ;)

You see, I don't think "I have to pay more for X so why shouldn't they?" or "I had to do it so why shouldn't they?" really constitute valid arguments for a cause. Or against one for that matter. These arguments, in my humble opinion, are self-centered and do not address the big picture...let alone the common good. Instead they suggest one person's experience should be the benchmark for an entire community.

I hear these sorts of arguments regularly. In certain instances I think they might work. If one child had to earn money to pay for X then maybe the sibling should too. That makes sense in some situations.

However, sometimes we're not comparing apples to apples and the argument goes downhill fast. (In my mind anyway.) Saying: "we walked to school 30 years ago so why can't these kids? Or we didn't have computers, pencils and paper were OK for us. Or if I have to pay more each year for insurance, why should they get it for free? Or if I don't use a school program, why should my taxes go up?" miss so many realities of living today in this community and world...not to mention they miss the whole common good thing.

If I am going to debate education spending, budgets and what is valuable in the school system, I expect better arguments than I get from my "It's not fair!" 8 yo when his brother gets more ice cream in his bowl for dessert.

Like I tell him, "Life isn't fair." However, we have the opportunity (and calling) to make the world a better place by acting with love and kindness and generosity regardless of whether we expect to receive any benefits at all.


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