sequence

A: I don’t know, I think we need to get our own house in order before we launch into critiques of our enemies. 

B: There’s no time for that! The situation is too dire. 

A: But what if the situation is dire precisely because we never got our house in order, because we tolerated dishonesty, corruption, and short-term and shabby thinking for so long? 

B: Maybe that’s true, but we can’t worry about that now. Our enemies are taking over and we have to stop them at all costs! 

A: But isn’t that what you were saying years ago, in a situation that you now see as less dire than the current one? 

B: This is a do-or-die moment. You’re just denying reality if you don’t see that. 

A: You said that years ago also. If every moment is one of absolute crisis, then no moment is. I know a guy, a maker, a very successful small businessman, who is running way behind on his work. He’s facing a genuine crisis. And yet he just took six weeks off to completely reorganize his workflow and his workspace. He did so because he knows that (a) he should have done it long ago and (b) his problems won’t go away — unless people stop ordering his products because he doesn’t deliver. In that case his problems will have gone away because his business will have gone away. He’s taking a big hit to his business in the short term because that is the only way for him to be successful over the long haul. That’s precisely how we ought to be thinking. It is never the wrong time to get your house in order. And maybe the greater the crisis the more essential it is to take a good hard look at ourselves before flailing at our opponents.  

B: Stop blaming the victims! 

(P.S. I’m A. You wouldn’t have guessed.)