"Remember, it’s not only the questions you ask, but the questions you fail to ask, that shape your destiny." – Tony Robbins
Believing that America will continue to be strong, prosperous and free no matter what we do is just as foolish as believing that a human being will continue to be healthy, happy and free if he consumes nothing but vodka, crack and doughnuts.
Just as the richest, healthiest, happiest man can be undone if he stops doing what made him successful, America can be undone if we stop asking the crucial questions that guided previous generations.
1) Is this worth the cost? As Thomas Sowell has written,“Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions — and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.” That sort of thinking is exactly how America ended up with a 17 trillion dollar debt. You often hear politicians from both parties call that “unsustainable.” Another way of putting that is if we don’t focus on what’s worth our money today, we won’t have the money we need for Defense, Medicare and Social Security tomorrow.
2) Is this good for society? No man is an island and any American who believes he’s a “citizen of the world” should ask himself when the last time was that he spent a great deal of time fretting about how the people of Djibouti are doing these days. This country is like a fish tank. The culture, the economy, the morality, and the corruption all impact your life and will make a big difference in how your kids grow up. If the oxygen in the water gets low, if mosquitoes move in, or if someone drops a spoonful of ammonia in the tank, we all suffer for it. The less we worry about what’s good for all of us economically, morally, and socially, the more of us will end up getting flushed down the toilet in the end.
3) Is this politician fit for office? Paradoxically, Americans say that, “Morals don’t matter,” when it comes to politicians; then they complain incessantly about how corrupt and dishonest Washington has become. Along similar lines, they vote for politicians who’ve never accomplished anything in office and then they bemoan their ineffectiveness and incompetence. There was a time when Americans actually held politicians to a HIGHER STANDARD than the average person. What’s wrong with expecting our politicians to be as moral as a preacher, as honest as an accountant, and as competent as a firefighter? How is it that we hold 18 year old kids fighting in Iraq to a higher standard of behavior and performance than men three times as old that we expect to lead our country?
4) What's the long term impact of this decision? Thomas Paine once said, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." What happened to that mentality? What happened to preserving Medicare and Social Security so that future generations of America can retire? How about paying off our bills today so our kids don’t end up as debt slaves? What about insuring that Iran doesn’t get nuclear weapons so we don’t end up on a planet full of nuclear-armed basket-case states? Our decisions have to be based on factors bigger than whether the stock market goes up or down tomorrow, which interest group is going to get its panties in a bunch, or which political party benefits from today’s news cycle. Whether you plan for it or not, the future eventually arrives and it belongs to those who prepare.
5) Would God be pleased with what we're doing? If you believe in God, you should DEFINITELY be concerned about whether He approves of what our nation is doing. Even if you don’t believe, this country has been successful in large part because of Judeo-Christian ethics, a puritan worth ethic, and Christian philosophy. Maybe you don’t like all of Christianity or maybe you think parts of it are oppressive and silly, but that doesn’t change the fact that it has borne fruit for America. At the end of the day, even if you don’t know how a light switch works, you should still be able to appreciate the fact that if you flip it, a light comes on.