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Living Life by a Coherent Philosophy

Posted By: Randy GageMarch 24, 2010

One of the secrets to happiness in life is having a coherent philosophy to live by.  Most people think they do.  Unfortunately what they think is a rational philosophy is actually a conflicting group of incongruent ideas. 

Many of the things that they think are good for them, actually are bad.  And they don’t know this because they have never questioned their beliefs with any degree of critical thinking skills.

By that I mean that they have never extended the situation to its logical conclusion, to see if the logic holds up.  For example:

Many people believe that government is too big, and taxes are too high.  They are certain that they believe this.  But they don’t really believe that, they just think they do.  Their actions betray the conflict in their thinking.

They feel that the government should test, license and regulate drugs.  They want it to provide bus service.  Run the airports.  License the taxicabs, administer the welfare program, provide unemployment benefits, and settle the baseball strike.

They want their government to balance the budget.  But when the budget cuts come – they are up in arms.  “How can they cut the symphony funding?  What about education?  How can they not spend more on the children?  They are our future!  And what about AIDS research?  And not the parks!  Can’t they cut waste somewhere else?”

In other words, they want a government that will provide all kinds of quality of life benefits for them, but they think these things are free.  They are not.

All the big and little things you want the government to handle cost money, require bureaucracy, and erode your individual rights.  Things that seem like great ideas, may not be so great – if you extend them out to their logical extension.

Let’s take wheelchair ramps and access.  Here in the States it’s a law that every sidewalk built must have wheelchair access.  And so does every office building, store, dry cleaner, restaurant, hotel convenience store, or any other private business built today.  All restrooms must be built wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, even in private offices.

Now that sounds like a good idea.  I mean what kind of mean son-of-a-bitch would want to deny a disabled person access to a public place?  But let’s look a little deeper…

When they build a public library, City Hall, or other facility that the government funds, of course they need to be built to accommodate everyone, including those with disabilities.  They are funded by tax dollars taken from everyone, including those with disabilities.  So if you force a man in a wheelchair to pay taxes or he will go to prison – which governments do – then it isn’t morally right to spend his money building facilities that he can’t use.

But why can’t Suzy Homemaker start a little café with a counter and a few tables without having handicap restrooms?  It may be that the extra cost and space requirements (which can be quite substantial), would prevent her from going into business.

Now don’t get me wrong – I think it would be a great idea to provide handicap access for just about any business you do.  But I don’t think the government should force you to do so.  Because then you are giving away your individual rights.  (And there are no other kind.)

Because let’s keep extending the principle…

Are people in wheelchairs better than blind people?  Do they deserve better treatment?  Here’s why I ask?

Let’s say that you are a distributor with Amway, Shaklee, AVON, or another direct selling company.  You build your little website to promote your vitamin products, so you can send prospects there.  Maybe you have a spare bedroom that you set up with shelves and you retail products there for your friends, neighbors, and relatives.

If you believe all businesses should provide access for the disabled, are you prepared to add wheelchair access to you home?  Renovate the bathrooms?  And what about those pesky blind people?  Do you realize that they can’t read your website?  Are you prepared to spend the thousands of dollars it takes to add all the audio components that make it accessible to blind people?

Do you know that there are lawsuits working their way through the US court system right now that would require all websites to offer complete audio translations of all written content for the blind?

And what about paralyzed people who can’t type the keystrokes?  Are you willing to invest in speech recognition technology, so they can access your site?  Or be willing to be sued for discrimination if you’re not?  Think about that a little.

If we say that it is bad to discriminate against disabled people, and we say that the government should regulate it so everyone has access to everything – what will that do to the cost of opening a business?  And the number of new businesses?  The choice to the consumer?  Innovation?  Will this ultimately help disabled people or actually hurt them?

You can’t really test your beliefs until you carry them out to their logical extension.   That’s what I mean by a congruent philosophy.

So what do you think?  Please share your thoughts below, and we’ll pick this up again tomorrow.

-RG

22 comments on “Living Life by a Coherent Philosophy”

  1. Too much red tape exasperates me! OSHA, IDEA, and other governmental initiatives can be good -but need some "common sense". There are basic things that people can do to be considerate. And when it comes to how computer use overlaps, a good study on usability and accessibility is needed.

    I'm amazed how many people still thing shiny "Flash based" websites will make or break their sales. Sales is about the relationship. Design matters, but it isn't the entire answer.

  2. Randy, I'm not sure if your post today is more on the subject of critical thinking and personal philisophy or a rant against big government. Either way I agree with you! We need to examine our beliefs along with our actions to make sure they are congruent. Your points you make about government regulation couldn't come at a more appropriate time in the US.
    Free enterprise allows everyone opportunity! I think that's all we can really ask for. We have definitely taken 10 steps backward in the last year with a cumbersome government.
    RJ

  3. The scary thing is, American kids aren't taught critical thinking skills. Integrating mandatory classes practicing critical thinking would be an outstanding use of tax dollars. Society (and those who rely on society remaining as ignorant as possible) for some reason seems to be happy with it's factious, fear-based, hype-driven bandwagon mentality, but little good can possibly come of it.

    First religion, now this...Randy my man, you do not mind kickin' the hornets' nest, do ya? Keep up the good work!

    Best to you all,
    Michele

  4. Randy-
    I read your piece on the people stranded on the island (kind of like Lost). You showed the industriousness of several people & how everyone else feeling slighted formed a government & socialized everything.
    Understanding your point I concede your point of view. However, since no one really wants to be responsible for the asphalt in front of their home-if we want roads, someone has to build & maintain them. And you can take that out to it's logical conclusion.
    Absent of genetic engineering where we eliminate blindness, sickness & dis-ease we all have to at some point suffer inconvenience. This is life within society. Now if you purchase your own island, which many people do, you can run it anyway you choose. How do you know when you have negoiated a good deal? when neither is happy with it. It's called compromise & as the late great Jim Rohn said,"that's just the way it is."
    As always thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
    Prosperously Yours,
    Derrick

  5. Which begets the questions...

    * Should governments be running the schools?

    * Is making classes on critical thinking mandatory congruent with this philosophy?

    -RG

  6. Hi,
    I think there is a happy medium. I don't what that is. I spent many years selling new homes and in the year 2000 all the homes were being built with the A/C thermostat at about 3.5 feet high. The buyers were all angry why weren't we told. Well it was the disablility act and now their little children were controlling the A/c as they could reach the thermostat. One good law seems to make other laws conflict.

    I have always just accepted things for what they are and now I am questioning. Thanks for another great post.

  7. Yes Courtney, many gov't agencies are a complete waste of resources and in no way protect the people they claim to be set up to protect.

    An example: We had a small construction project that required the use of scaffolding. It was work done on the sign for our own showroom, by our own employees, and we do not take any gov't handouts. There were a couple areas that were apparently not up to OSHA standards. So what did they do? The moron gov't agent drove by almost daily for a couple weeks at different times of the day to try to "catch" someone up there to issue a fine. Instead of seeing it, and notifying us the first time he saw it - that we we were not in "compliance" and need to remedy the situation - they wait until either someone gets hurt, killed, or caught in the act so they can fine the business to fund this gov't agency that does not actually care about safe work practices as much as it simply wants (needs) to fine businesses to feed its own parasitizing needs.

    I'm sure there are even many worse agencies in Europe, but don't worry, the States are catching up quick.

    I'm looking to move to the mtn. valley that Midas owns - now that is an ideal place!

  8. Unbelievable, I was just thinking about this very same issue today, the first time I heard or read it was in your book why you're dumb sick and broke and at first it rattled me but then when I questioned it, I thought he's right, why don't we just pay for a defense system and nothing else. All the 100s of thousands of pounds I've paid in tax and national insurance contributions over the years and for what, I haven't needed health care, I haven't used the eductational system. However fate has a sense of humour, a couple of years ago I had a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I could no longer work and earn tons of money or at least not in the field that I used to work. The government who were so keen and quick to demand my hard earned money from me now paid out a weekly sum which I still find laughable. If you would have said to me 2 years ago that I would have to live on what I'm leaving on per week, I'd say you're joking aren't you? That wouldn't last me day, I spend more on lunch. Madness! If I could have kept all the money I'd paid into the system, I wouldn't need any help from the government now. So yes, off with their heads! Get rid of the lot of them I say. Now, now, off your soapbox Sarah lol

  9. Randy:
    I would argued that your philosophy of less goverment is out-date.
    I do want more goverment and I want to pay more in taxes.

    In other words, they want a government that will provide all kinds of quality of life benefits for them, but they think these things are free. They are not.

    2)All the big and little things you want the government to handle cost money, require bureaucracy, and erode your individual rights. Things that seem like great ideas, may not be so great – if you extend them out to their logical extension.
    Who do you think have more rights?Swedes or Mexicans.Dutchs or Hondurans.
    Without regulations, a few people control all the wealth in the nation through monopolies.

    And what about paralyzed people who can’t type the keystrokes? Are you willing to invest in speech recognition technology, so they can access your site? Or be willing to be sued for discrimination if you’re not? Think about that a little

    We have the great physics from Cambridge Stephen Hawkins is trapped in his body and the University invented a speech recognition for him.

    You can’t really test your beliefs until you carry them out to their logical extension. That’s what I mean by a congruent philosophy.
    If we extend your logical way of thinking,the majority rules then slavery in the U.S was okay. Denying the right of women to own property and vote was okay too. Monopolies are okay too.

    The same argument about communist and socialism was used in Alabama in 1959 when Martin Luther King wanted to end "Separate but Equal" in the U.S.
    Who do you want to regulated and check the engines of the airplanes you fly? A qualified mechanic certifiated by the FAA or the airline company who wants to maximed profits by cutting maintance on the aircraft.

    And of course, you don't want regulated Wall Street with your ideas of less goverment bankrupted the banks,insurance companies,car industry.
    We are not living in the 17th century.
    It is quite obvious to anyone who studies economic and political history that capitalism without regulations destroys itself. We didn't learned our lesson in 1929, we are repeating it again.
    My philosophy is congruent with my values.

  10. I have no problem with whether you want more government or less, as that isn't really the topic here. Obviously I am Libertarian and prefer less. But that isn't the soapbox I am on today.

    I was using government only as an example of how many people have conflicting beliefs and don't live by a congruent philosophy.

    -RG

  11. If I may - I find it interesting that the government would legislate that I have audio for the deaf, or speech recognition for the paralyzed. If I don't, there is ground for legal action?

    I don't believe that legislation is congruent in or of itself.... for there are still rural communities that are not providing necessary bandwidth for customers to benefit from that technology. Shall I sue the providers for not making it possible for me to comply with the law?

    Anyways - I'm with you, Randy - If I so choose to provide my products, services, and content to accommodate everyone with a disability, so be it. If I choose not to, then let it be my decision to have a smaller clientele than if I do.

    I'm willing to admit being incongruent on many things - as I learn more, I will know how and in what ways - but unless I'm mistaken, no government should ever make it a law that I serve certain people.

  12. Wow, "extended the situation to its logical conclusion". That's just frigging brilliant. (Pardon the colour).

    Let's see if I have it right.
    If A then B then C then D.
    Is D the ultimate outcome I wanted at A?

    Thanks for giving me yet another life tool Randy. Love it!

  13. THAT´S TRUE!!!It is very few who have a coherent philosofy. I beleive that our intellectualised(?)society is dangerous in that way. You can beleive anything, you can join everything and listen to thousands of oppinions every day. And not everybody go home and spend their evening thinking about them...It starts early in your childhood aswell. You see "fast food" on the table but you haven´t seen the process making it. You learn things in school you don´t feel connected with personally. You spend much time in your every day life as a child doing things other people told you to do. It creates a gap between you and the world. And it continues, and continues. In the end maybe you have a Philosofy that satisfy your feeling but not coherent to real life. To survive...Some people have so much lack in worthy of themselfes they have to have strong opinions to create a space where they feel real...

  14. Good Work Randy. To add to congruent philosophy, I was just thinking - "How did 10 million Americans manage to rob 330 million Americans and consider that Free Enterprise?" - Surely the 330 million can rise up and say to the 10 million, "It's Payment time, stop the corruption, stop the bluff, stop the bullying!" America has degenerated from a country that epitomizes good values to a country that exports financial deception tactics at the expense of 330 million for the gain of 10 million. How stupid can the people get? Where is the congruency? Wake Up America. http://www.buyerbeaware.blogspot.com

  15. I can understand taking the idea of accessibility so far that it is, itself, crippling to the consumer economy. Could you please give an example of a person's actions that could demonstrate your idea of incongruence?

  16. That's what I thought as I read Michele's comment. It shows how ingrained we have become with the government fixing things. Public education is pretty much all we've ever known.

    There are other education options--charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling. But the NEA lobbies heavily to get rid of these options as well. Our public education system is more about control than about educating our children.

    And more could be said about "mandatory." 🙂

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  • 22 comments on “Living Life by a Coherent Philosophy”

    1. Too much red tape exasperates me! OSHA, IDEA, and other governmental initiatives can be good -but need some "common sense". There are basic things that people can do to be considerate. And when it comes to how computer use overlaps, a good study on usability and accessibility is needed.

      I'm amazed how many people still thing shiny "Flash based" websites will make or break their sales. Sales is about the relationship. Design matters, but it isn't the entire answer.

    2. Randy, I'm not sure if your post today is more on the subject of critical thinking and personal philisophy or a rant against big government. Either way I agree with you! We need to examine our beliefs along with our actions to make sure they are congruent. Your points you make about government regulation couldn't come at a more appropriate time in the US.
      Free enterprise allows everyone opportunity! I think that's all we can really ask for. We have definitely taken 10 steps backward in the last year with a cumbersome government.
      RJ

    3. The scary thing is, American kids aren't taught critical thinking skills. Integrating mandatory classes practicing critical thinking would be an outstanding use of tax dollars. Society (and those who rely on society remaining as ignorant as possible) for some reason seems to be happy with it's factious, fear-based, hype-driven bandwagon mentality, but little good can possibly come of it.

      First religion, now this...Randy my man, you do not mind kickin' the hornets' nest, do ya? Keep up the good work!

      Best to you all,
      Michele

    4. Randy-
      I read your piece on the people stranded on the island (kind of like Lost). You showed the industriousness of several people & how everyone else feeling slighted formed a government & socialized everything.
      Understanding your point I concede your point of view. However, since no one really wants to be responsible for the asphalt in front of their home-if we want roads, someone has to build & maintain them. And you can take that out to it's logical conclusion.
      Absent of genetic engineering where we eliminate blindness, sickness & dis-ease we all have to at some point suffer inconvenience. This is life within society. Now if you purchase your own island, which many people do, you can run it anyway you choose. How do you know when you have negoiated a good deal? when neither is happy with it. It's called compromise & as the late great Jim Rohn said,"that's just the way it is."
      As always thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
      Prosperously Yours,
      Derrick

    5. Which begets the questions...

      * Should governments be running the schools?

      * Is making classes on critical thinking mandatory congruent with this philosophy?

      -RG

    6. Hi,
      I think there is a happy medium. I don't what that is. I spent many years selling new homes and in the year 2000 all the homes were being built with the A/C thermostat at about 3.5 feet high. The buyers were all angry why weren't we told. Well it was the disablility act and now their little children were controlling the A/c as they could reach the thermostat. One good law seems to make other laws conflict.

      I have always just accepted things for what they are and now I am questioning. Thanks for another great post.

    7. Yes Courtney, many gov't agencies are a complete waste of resources and in no way protect the people they claim to be set up to protect.

      An example: We had a small construction project that required the use of scaffolding. It was work done on the sign for our own showroom, by our own employees, and we do not take any gov't handouts. There were a couple areas that were apparently not up to OSHA standards. So what did they do? The moron gov't agent drove by almost daily for a couple weeks at different times of the day to try to "catch" someone up there to issue a fine. Instead of seeing it, and notifying us the first time he saw it - that we we were not in "compliance" and need to remedy the situation - they wait until either someone gets hurt, killed, or caught in the act so they can fine the business to fund this gov't agency that does not actually care about safe work practices as much as it simply wants (needs) to fine businesses to feed its own parasitizing needs.

      I'm sure there are even many worse agencies in Europe, but don't worry, the States are catching up quick.

      I'm looking to move to the mtn. valley that Midas owns - now that is an ideal place!

    8. Unbelievable, I was just thinking about this very same issue today, the first time I heard or read it was in your book why you're dumb sick and broke and at first it rattled me but then when I questioned it, I thought he's right, why don't we just pay for a defense system and nothing else. All the 100s of thousands of pounds I've paid in tax and national insurance contributions over the years and for what, I haven't needed health care, I haven't used the eductational system. However fate has a sense of humour, a couple of years ago I had a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I could no longer work and earn tons of money or at least not in the field that I used to work. The government who were so keen and quick to demand my hard earned money from me now paid out a weekly sum which I still find laughable. If you would have said to me 2 years ago that I would have to live on what I'm leaving on per week, I'd say you're joking aren't you? That wouldn't last me day, I spend more on lunch. Madness! If I could have kept all the money I'd paid into the system, I wouldn't need any help from the government now. So yes, off with their heads! Get rid of the lot of them I say. Now, now, off your soapbox Sarah lol

    9. Randy:
      I would argued that your philosophy of less goverment is out-date.
      I do want more goverment and I want to pay more in taxes.

      In other words, they want a government that will provide all kinds of quality of life benefits for them, but they think these things are free. They are not.

      2)All the big and little things you want the government to handle cost money, require bureaucracy, and erode your individual rights. Things that seem like great ideas, may not be so great – if you extend them out to their logical extension.
      Who do you think have more rights?Swedes or Mexicans.Dutchs or Hondurans.
      Without regulations, a few people control all the wealth in the nation through monopolies.

      And what about paralyzed people who can’t type the keystrokes? Are you willing to invest in speech recognition technology, so they can access your site? Or be willing to be sued for discrimination if you’re not? Think about that a little

      We have the great physics from Cambridge Stephen Hawkins is trapped in his body and the University invented a speech recognition for him.

      You can’t really test your beliefs until you carry them out to their logical extension. That’s what I mean by a congruent philosophy.
      If we extend your logical way of thinking,the majority rules then slavery in the U.S was okay. Denying the right of women to own property and vote was okay too. Monopolies are okay too.

      The same argument about communist and socialism was used in Alabama in 1959 when Martin Luther King wanted to end "Separate but Equal" in the U.S.
      Who do you want to regulated and check the engines of the airplanes you fly? A qualified mechanic certifiated by the FAA or the airline company who wants to maximed profits by cutting maintance on the aircraft.

      And of course, you don't want regulated Wall Street with your ideas of less goverment bankrupted the banks,insurance companies,car industry.
      We are not living in the 17th century.
      It is quite obvious to anyone who studies economic and political history that capitalism without regulations destroys itself. We didn't learned our lesson in 1929, we are repeating it again.
      My philosophy is congruent with my values.

    10. I have no problem with whether you want more government or less, as that isn't really the topic here. Obviously I am Libertarian and prefer less. But that isn't the soapbox I am on today.

      I was using government only as an example of how many people have conflicting beliefs and don't live by a congruent philosophy.

      -RG

    11. If I may - I find it interesting that the government would legislate that I have audio for the deaf, or speech recognition for the paralyzed. If I don't, there is ground for legal action?

      I don't believe that legislation is congruent in or of itself.... for there are still rural communities that are not providing necessary bandwidth for customers to benefit from that technology. Shall I sue the providers for not making it possible for me to comply with the law?

      Anyways - I'm with you, Randy - If I so choose to provide my products, services, and content to accommodate everyone with a disability, so be it. If I choose not to, then let it be my decision to have a smaller clientele than if I do.

      I'm willing to admit being incongruent on many things - as I learn more, I will know how and in what ways - but unless I'm mistaken, no government should ever make it a law that I serve certain people.

    12. Wow, "extended the situation to its logical conclusion". That's just frigging brilliant. (Pardon the colour).

      Let's see if I have it right.
      If A then B then C then D.
      Is D the ultimate outcome I wanted at A?

      Thanks for giving me yet another life tool Randy. Love it!

    13. THAT´S TRUE!!!It is very few who have a coherent philosofy. I beleive that our intellectualised(?)society is dangerous in that way. You can beleive anything, you can join everything and listen to thousands of oppinions every day. And not everybody go home and spend their evening thinking about them...It starts early in your childhood aswell. You see "fast food" on the table but you haven´t seen the process making it. You learn things in school you don´t feel connected with personally. You spend much time in your every day life as a child doing things other people told you to do. It creates a gap between you and the world. And it continues, and continues. In the end maybe you have a Philosofy that satisfy your feeling but not coherent to real life. To survive...Some people have so much lack in worthy of themselfes they have to have strong opinions to create a space where they feel real...

    14. Good Work Randy. To add to congruent philosophy, I was just thinking - "How did 10 million Americans manage to rob 330 million Americans and consider that Free Enterprise?" - Surely the 330 million can rise up and say to the 10 million, "It's Payment time, stop the corruption, stop the bluff, stop the bullying!" America has degenerated from a country that epitomizes good values to a country that exports financial deception tactics at the expense of 330 million for the gain of 10 million. How stupid can the people get? Where is the congruency? Wake Up America. http://www.buyerbeaware.blogspot.com

    15. I can understand taking the idea of accessibility so far that it is, itself, crippling to the consumer economy. Could you please give an example of a person's actions that could demonstrate your idea of incongruence?

    16. That's what I thought as I read Michele's comment. It shows how ingrained we have become with the government fixing things. Public education is pretty much all we've ever known.

      There are other education options--charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling. But the NEA lobbies heavily to get rid of these options as well. Our public education system is more about control than about educating our children.

      And more could be said about "mandatory." 🙂

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