Opinion: Me and We

How do you convince children to eat their food? You might say, “Think of all the children starving in poor countries and how lucky you are to have food.” If you want to get ahead in the social world, you might argue, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” You may believe that you should be able to express yourself, say what’s on your mind, and promote your own goals. If so, your orientation is fairly typical for Americans.

Another Perspective: Weighing rights

It is common to hear people asserting their rights in many different ways. One is a shallow version of rights, such as when someone insists: “I have a right to faster service at this restaurant or a right to get my questions answered by a human being rather than a bot.” At a deeper level, however, certain rights get established by the society as a whole and should apply to everyone: protecting safety and life, free speech, freedom of religious expression, the right to bear arms, the right to property, the right to protection from discrimination of various types, due process, freedom from unjust imprisonment, etc.

What are capitalism and socialism?

We hear the terms capitalism and socialism often these days, but rarely do we hear definitions or explanations. Politicians and commentators say things like, “There is no good alternative to capitalism!” or “Socialism is the fairest and best system,” as if these were all-or-nothing propositions. This kind of talk leaves most discussions with a simplistic either-or conclusion, and without touching the ground of economic or political reality. Although types of economic systems are complex topics that cannot be reasonably treated in a short piece like this, we’d like to make a few points about these terms to help readers consider them further.