Thursday, May 21, 2015

"We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be"

"We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained," said Gates, who as U.S. secretary of defense helped end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that barred openly gay individuals from serving in the military.

That's confused on two or three basic levels:

i) Although we must deal with the "world" as it is, not as we might wish it to be, the BSA is hardly the "world." Rather, that's a free association. A private organization.

In the nature of the case, a free association can be whatever the members wish it to be. A free association is selective. A subset of like-minded individuals who come together based on common concerns or shared interests. Take a chess club.

ii) Moreover, even though we must deal with the world as it is, there are many instances in which we can and ought to influence the world. Those who came before us impacted the world we received at their hands. We can do the same. Although we begin by playing the hand we were dealt, we can reshuffle the deck. 

iii) Furthermore, his statement is self-refuting. To say the status quo can't be sustained means the state of "the world" is not a given. It changes, for better or worse. And we can be agents of change. Our influence is limited and unpredictable. But we should do what we can. We can make a difference. Sometimes great, sometimes small. But every bit helps someone. 

1 comment:

  1. It seems that the realist position (act according to the way things are) would not be against effecting change, since that is apart of the nature of things. The question is what change should be effected. In the instance of barring/permitting gays from the military, policy according to the realist would change based upon the current state of affairs surrounding issues such as budgets, other existing policies, or what have you. All of these are subject to change, which is what the realist would use to make their decision for the policy.