Friday, July 9, 2010

Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

Have you noticed that authority reacts to whining?

As a parent of three boys, I tend to let them have freedom until they start a ruckus then I intervene. When they start arguing or hitting each other past a certain point, I step in and try to de-escalate the situation. Most of the time, I have to initially get louder and stronger in order for there to be some peace.

Churches do the same thing. Churches chug along at a complacent clip until people start grumbling or arguing. Then the authorities of the church step in to mediate and moderate the problem until there is peace or someone leaves.

Governments do the same thing. Citizens go along with status quo until someone gets their panties in a wad and then government steps in, makes a law that gets everyone back into the status quo. The biggest complainers cause the most laws to be passed, which in turn, causes a new norm to be established that everyone has to live by.

Equilibrium is the balance we have in any social system that are seen as normal. It is not always good (like when injustice or discrimination are the norm) nor is it always bad (driving on the correct side of the road is an agreed upon norm). Every social system from families to the global community has equilibrium. Some society's equilibrium is constant war, injustice and oppression (like most Muslim countries) while others are based on individual freedom and justice (like what our constitution espouses).

So why do whiners and complainers always get their way while the rest of us suffer? Until we take matters into our own hands (learn how to solve problems ourselves) we will have to turn to whatever authority is out there to solve problems for us.

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