Everyday First Principles

I had lunch with a friend on Thursday who is a very successful business owner, well connected and active in local politics. We had an interesting time talking about particular political efforts in Pima County right now, and specifically a meeting he had the week before with 4 other individuals similar to himself (entrepreneurs, politically engaged, etc). At that point I asked, “It’s fascinating discussing tactics and maneuvers, but in that meeting is there a guiding political philosophy at which you are aiming?”

I thought he might blow off the question as he is not nearly the “rabbit hole” enthusiast that I am, but he thought for a moment and then replied simply, “How do we get a city and county where our kids can stay and raise their families?”

Now some of my poli-phil friends might quibble with that as a FIRST PRINCIPLE of a personal political philosophy, but I think for most people it’s an understandable foundation and, for many on the conservative end of the spectrum, describes well their personal political framework.

We can learn a lot by asking each other not just what action we are taking today or what policy opinion we hold, but to what goals is that action or opinion directed. I am delightfully surprised at the wisdom I find all around me when I can convince someone (often more difficult than you might think) to slow down for a moment and tell me “Why?”

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