Perry B. Newman’s column hit the nail on the head: “We fear change because it will cost us …” This country needs many, many more of its citizens willing to compromise, to give up something of their own for the common good.

Would you, the well-off folks in Forecaster Country, be willing to pay a few dollars more in taxes so that we could get health care for all? No? Then the effort to move to a better health care system is dead. Would you, the SUV driver in Forecaster Country, be willing to stop driving your gas guzzler? No? Then the effort to slow global warming is dead.

Our political system has evolved into a situation where a minority is able to block any significant change, and because few among us are willing to give up a few of our own goods for the greater good, the nay-sayers prevent any change. Alfred North Whitehead’s summary as quoted by Newman will prove correct. “The more prolonged the halt in some unrelieved system of order, the greater the crash of the dead society.”

We are facing two crashes in our “dead society.” Our economic system will fail under the weight of ever-increasing health-care costs. Our planet will cease to support life as we know it, under the weight of carbon emissions.
Change will come. Each of us is deciding, every day, whether it will be catastrophic change, or something more gradual. If you want the latter, be prepared, as Newman wrote, “to compromise in the interest of progress.”

Chalmers Hardenbergh