TOD 09.01.07

Imagine someone told you he wanted a car that was fast, safe, reliable, cool, and cheap. When you stopped laughing, you’d explain to him that there cannot be such a car. But we can easily understand why he might make such a silly request. Americans are used to having perfect products, and if an item has even small defects, we quickly return it, demanding a refund and probably an apology.

Unfortunately, this mindset which is so effectively encouraged by modern capitalism has poisoned our thinking about ideas and people. We find ourselves demanding they be equally free from flaws. If an idea is only 90% true or if a person is only 80% decent, we want a refund. Even worse, if a fairly decent person proclaims a mostly true idea, we reject both because of their joint imperfection rather than embracing their majority benefit.

Our perfect product preference has led us to become intolerant of imperfect ideas and companions. We demand they be “our way, right away“ or else. And I can’t help but wonder if this was as common a problem for people back when the only car they could buy was a horse.