Can’t or Won’t? (EP.14)


“Can’t” and “won’t” are completely different. Much of how we see and deal with ourselves, family and society depends upon how we define those two terms, those two states of mind, and how we apply those definitions in our lives.

For example, we all want to help people who can’t and don’t want to help those who won’t. Yes?

As we go forward together with these podcasts, this can’t or won’t distinction will become more important as we begin to outline a complete political, personal and financial philosophy. A way of looking at, living in and contributing to the world around us.

This definition, this distinction, is a good example of the many places in our lives where there is a lot of grey, but we need to make–and act on–a firm choice.

In our lives, we experience events and make decisions. In our personal lives, negative events are things like home fires and auto accidents, and positive events are things like winning a raffle and having unbroken good weather on your first vacation in two years. Societies, countries, can have negative events, e.g., earthquakes, and positive events, e.g., having oil under the ground. No one can take either credit or blame for events. Everyone is responsible for decisions.

Personal decisions can include things like going to college or helping to pay for someone else to go. Societies observe, correctly, that people cannot provide their own military, fire protection and law enforcement, so that is provided by governments. In the US, government has made that same decision with K-12 education.

Some people in our society do things like pay for college, support their children, practice good health habits and pay for their healthcare. Others don’t. BTW, as previously mentioned, this podcast/teaser blog assumes that we all agree that if people can’t they should be supported, and if they won’t, they should not. As with anything, I’d love  to hear from you if we disagree.

The standard for deciding if someone can’t or won’t should be a tough one. We all know that if we let ourselves off the hook here, that we do ourselves no favors. We should, in love, do no less for others.

This can’t or won’t decision process is continuing. This is not something we can think through one time, then allow to rest. It requires continuous self-challenge to make sure that our thinking has not gone stale.

Caution: It is so very (very) tempting to treat decisions we are making, or have made, as events. That will allow us to duck responsibility for our decisions. We make many more decisions that we experience events. I would make the case that no event, no matter how negative, cannot be overcome with the right decisions over time. And no event, no matter how positive, can save us from our bad decisions.

Will Luden, writing from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

Will Luden
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