When Talk Can Be Expensive
The old proverb, “Talk is Cheap” implies that words rather than costly but necessary action, are empty of value – or worse – of disastrous consequences. For example, how often have you said before you have incurred a preventable but also costly accident or repair, “I’m going to take care of that before something happens and costs me some real money.” Perhaps you were considering the under inflated tire or that your car pulled hard to the right when you hit the brakes or you were concerned about a puddle of purple fluid growing on your garage floor and you said, “Well, maybe tomorrow, if I have time, I will take the car in for a checkup.” But you never got around to doing it and the next thing you knew you were being airflighted to a trauma center after your vehicle flew off the road and smashed into a concrete roadside culvert. The last thing you remember was hitting the brakes hard to avoid hitting a deer who had out jumped in front of you. Your car had immediately swerved hard to the right as your faulty brakes reacted predictably and the harsh reality of your inaction hit you head on!
So why is it that people often take the slow road, the road of cheap talk but no action, even while knowing that there are many dangerous curves and potholes perhaps just around the bend? Death, where is thy Sting! could also be written, Procrastination, where is thy Goodness?
Why don’t we take the fault laden car in for a checkup and needed attention? Is it our time that we don’t want to spend on this problem? Is it the money we might have to spend to have it repaired? Does our grasping possession of these two precious items – our time and our money – rule over our common sense? Why do we allow irrational reasoning to guide us – that although we know faulty brakes can cause serious perhaps fatal consequences – that in our case – it won’t happen to us!
The idea that bad things do happen but not necessarily to us is too often the “reasoning” that we employ to avoid acting wisely. Another common dodge we use is that if we don’t think about it, it will go away. Or that when the trouble comes, we can simply talk our way out of it. But all these fantasies are only filmy covers for our real and deeper notions working against us to do the right thing: it is that we value our comfort, pleasures, and money over sacrifice. We block out of our minds threatening problems, minimizing their imminent dangers, and all to our peril. The old Fram oil filter commercial expresses this tendency by this memorial phrase, “You can pay me now (the car repairmen) for an inexpensive new filter, or you can pay me later a very large amount for the damage to the car engine caused by not replacing the old clogged filter.)”
Today, the world is facing another monumental evil, Islamic Jihadism, that is as real and threatening to the world’s freedoms as Nazism and Communism were eighty years ago. The “ism” is different in name only: the goal of Islamic Jihadism is the same: totalitarian world domination and destruction of all those who resist. Not all the words ever spoken can deter this evil force; not all the entreaties made to Hitler or Stalin or Mao resulted in turning them from their hell-bent ideologies. Using talk and “persuasion” to combat today’s evil of Islamic Jihadism is useless and extremely dangerous. If this approach is pursued – as seems to be the current strategy – the world will soon be submerged into a ghastly, horrendous upheaval, the likes it has never seen before.
The struggle for human freedom is an age-old reality: there is nothing new about the evil that roams the planet today. It has only surfaced now with new faces but with the same intent: to rule over all people and destroy their freedoms. We need to take all steps to defeat this scourge now before the cost grows beyond our means. Just talk can be very expensive, indeed!