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It’s never all or nothing
Jason Nelson
by Jason Nelson
August 1, 2021

I never want to insult you. I hope you trust me on that. But I do like to challenge you because I know you can handle it. So, I have a word for the gullible: “If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you. God is generous to everyone and doesn’t find fault with them” (James 1:5 GW). 

I’m not finding fault either. But gullible people fall for all-or-nothing propositions. Falling for them on a regular basis amounts to a cognitive disorder because it plays to chronic anxiety in us. Salespeople exploit it to get us to stop reading the fine print and act fast. What happens in your head when you hear, “This offer is for a limited time only”? All-or-nothing marriages end in divorce. All-or-nothing friendships—aren’t. Framing a policy position as all or nothing is fearmongering. “If we restrict access to assault weapons, they will take all your guns away and you will never go duck hunting again.” Beware of anyone who tells you it is all or nothing. 

Life is not a zero-sum game. One side of an argument doesn’t always cancel out the other. Rational people are willing to dicker with each other to close the deal. They explore alternatives and compromise to find common ground. It is the art of the deal and the art of democracy. If anyone tells you to “take it or leave it,” be prepared to get up and walk away.

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