COLUMN: From Here and Back Again

Jim Coufal

Our Kids’ Futures

With all that’s happening in D.C., around the states, and around the world, there is a question that seems to be frequently overlooked. What kind of world do we want to leave to our kids? The answer to this question involves science and reason, emotion, values, tradition and change, and policies set through politics. Bottom line, it’s a question of morals; how should we behave in our relations with the environment, fellow travelers, and with humanity.
Sub-questions are where the rubber hits the road:
1. Do we want to leave our kids clean water?
2. How about clean air?
3. Do all people deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
4. Do we favor free speech or security?
5. How should we treat the most vulnerable among us?
6. Should affordable and sound healthcare be available to all?
7. Is lying acceptable behavior?
8. Should life revolve around the position of us vs. them?
9. Are all people truly created equal?
10. Should our kids be able to see lions, tigers, bears and more in their real habitat?
11. Are corporations people?
12. Does gun ownership trump our kids right to life?
13. What has the war on drugs accomplished?
14. Should we give Israel $11 million per day? Forever?
15. Are we still fighting the Civil War?
16. Do we want our kids to live in a democracy or an oligarchy?
17. What are the family values we want our kids to live with?
18. Should there be a true separation of state and religion?
19. Ia America truly exceptional? How so?
20. Does trickle down economics really work?
21. Where will the current and growing wealth and income inequality lead us?
22. Roll your own.
A simple formula for policy is that it is based on facts plus values. Facts are facts (unless they are false facts?), but each of the sub-questions asked above challenges our values, asking what is the right thing to do (morality). Each challenges our narrative of life, or worldview, as well as forcing us to look at the ideology of the tribes we belong to. We can ignore them or simply accept the tribes’ view, or we can accept the challenge and engage in critical thinking and civil dialogue.
Jim Coufal of Cazenovia is a part-time philosopher and full-time observer of global trends. He can be reached at

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