C.S. Lewis once quipped, “Put first things first and second things are thrown in. Put second things first and you lose both first and second things.”
Lewis was borrowing the thought from Augustine. It’s the idea that our lives ought to be properly ordered. If we put the joy of alcohol before our family, we’ll wind up with poor family relations and derive little joy from alcohol. Conversely, the man who has put his family ahead of the joy of alcohol will sit down to have a beer with his brother, enjoying both the beer and his brother’s company.
This lesson is more true than ever for politics and freedom.
China, by hiding their COVID-19 data, put their reputation before truth. Now they have neither reputation nor truth.
If a company places talent before diversity in their hiring, they will wind up with a high measure of talent and diversity. Getting the best and the brightest on this planet will generate talent from every walk of life, gender, country, creed, and colour. Conversely, getting every creed and colour for talent has tendentially arrived at organizations with myopic WASPs, who all think alike.
Here’s the diverse Huffington Post staff:
Economies that place liberty before equality end up with more liberty and more equality. Economies that place equality before liberty wind up with neither. Inevitably, socialism leads to government bureaucrats eating well, and the private sector garnering less and less. Meanwhile, more economically liberated countries enjoy income mobility and lift people out of poverty.
Nations that place security before justice, can kill so many children, so many innocents, that in the end, the passionate hatred against that nation is so intense that their enemies will be so numerous they have lost security and remain in a state of danger for decades.
Political philosophies that emphasize women’s rights over human rights wind up with neither. If you emphasize human rights, you’ll end up in a mad rush to end sex trafficking, you’ll view politicians that cozy up to the misogynist barbarisms of Saudi Arabia with extreme suspicion.
I’m not sure why this is, but those who prioritize women’s rights end up in support of Hillary Clinton, who partnered with the sex traffickers of Libya. They’re supporters of Justin Trudeau, who sells weapons to Saudis and works on behalf of Saudi contractors in Canada. They wind up with neither women’s rights nor human rights.
This entire essay arose out of some socialists’ concern for the impoverished. What began as a concern for those who are unable to pay their rents, echo chambered, the frustrations were augmented, and when it was brought up that landlords would still want their companies to stay afloat, the socialists ended up in the suggestion that landlords who don’t comply with their desires ought to be placed in a guillotine. These individuals put empathy ahead of justice and truth and wound up with neither empathy nor justice and truth.
This is par for the course in communism. When Marx opened the Communism Manifesto it began with reduction of poverty, by its end he was recommending despotism for his political opponents.
We must always and everywhere place first things first, and second things second, and in the end, we’ll have both.