Open-Mindedness vs. Blind Obedience

I recently wrote a post explaining how groups in power are generally unwilling to listen to opposing viewpoints. On the whole, people only feel the need to appear open-minded when they are trying to rise from a lack of power. However, the post did not address an equally important aspect of the same topic, specifically the definition of open-mindedness.

To many today, open-mindedness is defined by acceptance of their position. In other words, a person who is open-minded is one who sees the sagacity of “my” position. This obviously cannot be an accurate definition as it can’t be applied by all people in the same way. Being open-minded has nothing to do with acceptance and everything to do with consideration, contemplation, and reevaluation. The person who can soberly evaluate his own position against that of opposing viewpoints is open-minded.

It is instead blind obedience most people seek when they claim to look for the open-minded. Any challenge to their own position requires them to evaluate their decisions, something with which they generally appear uncomfortable; they are more close-minded than they care to admit. Unfortunately, like so many social terms tossed around today, open-mindedness is misapplied by the very people lacking it.

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Only Temporary

One of the perhaps unexpected drawbacks of a representative republic is the temporary nature of leadership. While the limited tenure of politicians is often portrayed as a benefit of the system, the potential brevity of an individual’s office lends itself to a much shorter time preference. The result of this is representation prone to exhaust available resources as quickly as possible because there is no incentive to save for the next person to fill the office.

Short representative terms are also detrimental because of how they allow power to accumulate. For example, when one representative expands the power of an office, the opposition will often remain silent about it knowing that they may regain the position, and therefore the power, at the end of the current term.

One glaring example of this concerns the supposed power to wage war gathering in the office of the President. While progressives and their representatives were vocally against George Bush’s wars, they grew quiet when Obama continued and expanded those same conflicts. Now that Trump gives them every reason to again oppose war, they remain silent. Why? Because Trump is only temporary and the next President might be one they support. As long as Presidents are able to accumulate power in the office, particularly related to the ability to wage war, politicians of all stripes will benefit and individuals will suffer.

Price Equilibrium

A restaurant near my office makes delicious sandwiches and sides. When it first opened, the price of my favorite sandwich, the Belly Banh, was around nine dollars. Word of the food quality quickly spread and, before long, a line of customers would wind around the small space and out the front door. As a result, I would avoid the place if I couldn’t get there early enough in the day.

Upon a recent return to this establishment, I found that the price of my favorite sandwich had risen to around twelve dollars. While still popular, the restaurant no longer experiences long lines of customers. This offers a prime example of price equilibrium. Pressures of supply and demand cause prices to rise and fall in response. As prices fluctuate, they approach a balance between the desires of the clientèle and the efficiency of the service provider.

In the case of this restaurant, limited space offered little opportunity to accommodate the high demand for their product. The options available to them were rapid expansion or diminished demand, the latter accessible by raising prices. A subset of customers found the price increases too high for the value they placed on the offering. As a result, the restaurant now realizes higher profits on fewer sales and greater efficiency serving those customers who find the price increase reasonable.