Thursday, October 25, 2007

On making big or small decisions

From The Case Against a Libertarian Political Party, by Erwin S. Strauss (1980):

“To understand the extent to which people are beginning to appreciate that participation in politics confers no significant control over events, consider the following joke. A man is asked by his neighbor who makes the decisions in his household. He replies, ‘I make the big decisions; my wife makes the small decisions.’ When asked for examples of small decisions, the man says, ‘Where to live, whether to get a new car, where to send the kids to college — things like that.’ If those are the ‘small’ decisions, then what are the big decisions? ‘Who should be President, whether to increase the defense budget, whether to reduce welfare payments — things like that.’ The fact that most people get the point of this joke (regardless of how funny they think it is) indicates that they are aware that their decisions on the ‘big’ things don’t really count for very much, while their decisions on the ‘small’ things are conclusive.”

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