“The licentious sinners we can control; the saintly ascetics may destroy us.” – Geoffrey Brennan and James M. Buchanan, The Power to Tax: Analytical Foundations of a Fiscal Constitution
I do like this quote. It is quick witted and, if you are me, you may have to pull out a dictionary to make sure you understand the quote correctly.
licentious 1. Lacking moral discipline or ignoring legal restraint, especially in sexual conduct. 2. Having no regard for accepted rules or standards. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/licentious
ascetics 1. Leading a life of self-discipline and self-denial, especially for spiritual improvement. 2. Pertaining to or characteristic of an ascetic; self-denying and austere http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Ascetics
When working with individuals, it important to remain objective and work within their values*. That is why we ask loads of questions. That is why we take care when thinking and responding to questions.
In my opinion, people want strong beliefs and morals. They also want their advisor to accept that people have different ways of confronting their life. They do not wish to be judged but desire counseling.
When given guidance, people shy away from absolutes that do not allow individuals flexibility to come to their own conclusions. As an advisor, we hope to get the ‘a-ha’ moment where the puzzle starts working together for our clients and the directions seem self-evident.
For many, it is fairly easy to spot the attributes to solutions many will not find suitable. So, the licentious paths may be easier to find and develop our arguments accordingly. It is much more difficult to defend against those professing virtue and use that virtue as the only justification for their arguments.
The high road should be traveled with enlightenment and not on the back of forcible indoctrination. We should demand more from our relationships than just common beliefs.
* If you are not comfortable with someone’s values, you can always walk away from the arrangement.