Because that's the way we've always done it...
Why is it that we have such a hard time letting go of the past?
"When I was a kid, it wasn't like this..."
"My daddy and granddaddy did it this way..."
"Mom always said..."
While it's important to learn from the past, why have we made it so hard to be in the present? I see this argument all the time in the investment industry. "You won't make as much money investing responsibly," the traditional brokers say. That's simply not true. They're basing their argument on old information. What I really hear is fear talking - we don't want to change because change is scary and we might lose our place at the top of the hill.
Well, get over it. As somebody much wiser than me once said, the only constant is change!
I coined the phrase Ancestor Worship a couple of years ago. Grandma was so great, or Aunt so and so was a saint. That's wonderful to think that way, but they all went through a lot of shit. They lost family to weird diseases, tuberculosis, and industrial accidents. And they weren't saints - they were ordinary people who had to deal with extraordinary circumstances - admire them for their resilience! If they were living today, their lives would be much better.
Here's the confusing part for me: if you really liked things how they were yesterday, why did you give up using rotary phones? They worked just fine? The convenience of a cell phone, let alone a smart phone should be a luxury that nobody needs.
Oh yea, when was the last time you had a good bloodletting? Advanced medicine? Nah! Let me drink some of that mercury.
I could go on and on with these examples, but I think you get the point. As society and humans move forward, we need to take what we've learned and advance - not allow a few scared individuals to hold us back.
The reality is that we're living in the best time to be alive...ever. And tomorrow and next week and next year will be even better. It's because we have people who are learning from the past and creating a better future.
We have to see beyond the entrenched interests. As always, a perfect example are the fossil fuel companies that are holding back advancements that threaten their existence. "Climate change? What climate change - here's a political donation - look the other way."
I recently had another opportunity to speak to a group of Presbyterians who were heading to the denomination's general assembly. One of the proposals in front of the assembly was to direct the investment managers to divest their fossil fuel holdings. The proposal had widespread support, but when it came down to it, the measure failed. Not because of it's merits, but because of politics. That's not the way they've always done it and they were afraid of the implications.
And this brings me to my final point. With the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, I have read that many people are hoping for a replacement who will be a "strict constructionist." Honestly, I've never heard of a more ludicrous thing.
There is no way that the founding fathers could, in their wildest dreams, imagine the United States today. They could not imagine what a telephone is, let alone a smartphone. Twitter? Biotech? M16? Uber? I don't think so.
They set up the constitution and bill of rights to be plastic, evolving with the evolution of the country. There's an amendment process for a reason.
Back then, we were mostly farmers. Now, we're information workers. The people who want to stick to the constructionist philosophy are afraid of change, because it could/will displace them from their place of privilege, their place of power. I can understand this fear, but as I said earlier we never make good decisions when they are based on fear. Let's make our decisions based on where we want to go, with the knowledge of where we've been. Let's forward-looking make decisions that benefit everyone, not just the privileged few.