I keep hearing about the debt ceiling. It’s all over the television. It’s smeared across every newspaper. Twitter is abuzz. Everyone has something to say about the debt ceiling. As I search for something to write about, I keep thinking that maybe I, too, have something to say about the debt ceiling. But the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that I do not have anything to say about the debt ceiling. Then it hit me: that’s the point.
What point, do you ask? Well, I’ll tell you: I’m no economist. I’m not even particularly good with my own bills. My wife keeps track of all the money for me. She makes sure the bills are paid on time. We don’t always have the things we want, but we always have the things we need (thank God!). But special economic knowledge doesn’t seem to be a prerequisite for speaking out about the debt ceiling. This country is full of armchair congressmen that have the answer to all the country’s ills. I wish I was one of those people. Alas, I am not. I do not have the answers to all the country’s ills. I do not have the answer to my own ills. All I have is this:
Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (ESV)
I think maybe we have shown the world a little too much folly. Now may be the time to close our lips. It’s not something that comes naturally to any of us (especially me). But I’ve been working on this, and I find that strife is like fire—it’s looking for fuel. If it finds none, it will move on. Does that mean we should just silently accept our fate? By no means! Remember, this country was founded by a bunch of yahoos that snuck onto a ship and threw all the tea into the harbor. We don’t accept injustice in any form, and that is what I think our best quality is, as a culture. But we should always speak—and act—with thoughtfulness. We should carefully consider the options and alternatives. And we should, really, try to recognize the subjects on which we are ignorant.
What makes a fool? A fool is someone who doesn’t know what it is that he doesn’t know. A fool thinks his own special set of knowledge is all there is to know. A wise man knows that he knows very little, and only speaks about those things which he knows. So, I may not know anything about the debt ceiling, but I do know something about being quiet. And so I shall.