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The Ben Franklin Dilemma

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I wrote the Ben Franklin Dilemma on August 23rd of 2007. I title it that because I think Ben Franklin was one of the most talented men in history, especially American history. But, as I grew into adulthood and learned more about this man who I idolized, I found myself with, well, the Ben Franklin Dilemma. You see Old Ben was a ladies man, a philanderer. I know you’re having a hard time seeing the plump old guy with the long hair and bifocal glasses as a pimp. Nonetheless, it’s true. One of the lucky things us guys have going for us is, if we can stimulate a woman’s mind it will make up for our balding heads and our bulging bellies. I’m getting off topic.… My original point was that I liked Franklin for everything he did for America but I despised him at a very basic moral level. Read on to understand the depth of what I’m saying.

The Ben Franklin Dilemma

It seems that when you really sit down and analyze human interaction and its relation to societal progression, everything falls apart. What is more important, a principle or practicality? Do you accept a politician who gets things done and moves the country forward if you know he is a philanderer or a thief? Before you answer, reflect on this question. Would you prefer a politician who sees no progress and makes bad decisions, which affect our country in environment, economy and security, if you knew he was honest and had a sound moral guidance? From this inquiry of thought, we are left with the ultimate question. How do you demand that individuals be well-balanced and sound in character in all aspects of life? I mean, if the message we send is “be good at what you do” and we will look the other way when you screw up or just screw, what is the motivation for one to be righteous? Why am I continuing to do the right thing in EVERY aspect of my life if I get nothing out of it but stress and anger? The answer seems to be a little ambiguous; maybe because there is no right answer.

If you’ve ever had a job, you will remember when you first started working, all of the companies rules and policies were laid out for you. And if you’re anything like me, for the first few weeks you followed every rule. But then something happens. You start to follow some rules while blatantly breaking others. WHY? Because you find out which rules are enforced and which ones are not (drinking next to your computer). BINGO! Did you make the parallel? Here it is: If you demand accountability you are going to get it. If you don’t you won’t. This is not a new concept. If you have kids, you know if you threaten them with the belt but never use it, they call your bluff and listen a lot less. Using the belt as it relates to the Ben Franklin Dilemma would be: Instituting shame, and using the legal system to institute punishment. This subtly smacks the ass of the public, reminding them that, their is no excuse. And that THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS. And the beautiful thing about people is that they just won’t do something if they know they can’t get away with it. The answers to our problems are so simple. They just require people to not fold on their principles. What do you stand for? Do you back it up with the belt?


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