Have you noticed how often policy discussions present a clear divide between the advocates of “more” and those urging “less”.  Take for instance the debate on gun violence.  For many the  answer is obvious.  To them “more” is the solution.  Increase the number of weapons in circulation and the “bad” guys will think twice about using them.  “Less” guns, opponents insist, is the reasonable response to the scourge of armed violence in the U.S.

What is it that distinguishes the “more” people from those insisting upon “less”?  Some part of it surely is spite, even defiance such as one might expect from a child.  Told he’d better do a certain thing, he proceeds to do the opposite.

“More” is often dismissed as excessive, unnecessary.  Take sleeping.  To those recommending “more” sleep, opponents counter that it leaves you tired and lethargic, wastes time and may even signify depression.  Americans generally make do with “less” sleep – been doing it for years.  “More” homework, we’re told, makes a better prepared student.  Others campaign for “less”.  Reduce the pressure on kids, they declare, and allow them to pursue other interests.  A similar divide exists over testing.  “More” testing sharpens skills and provides a better gauge of student capabilities and teacher performance.  Others consider”less” to be better.  An overemphasis on testing distorts the purposes of education.  Same divide regarding exercise.  The “more” the better keeps you fit and healthy.  “Less” wear and tear, others say.  Besides, exercise can become addictive.  Just go for a walk.

Divergent opinions on the economy and growth often produce intense “more” or “less” debates.  Consumers need to spend “more” to prop up the economy and prevent business slumps.  But others counter that “less” spending is needed to reduce personal indebtedness and increase individual saving rates.  “More” government debt during economic slowdowns is how you restart the economy.  “Less” deficits make more sense, we’re told, because it channels more money into the private sector, increases business confidence and reduces government interest payments.  The tax controversy mirrors these arguments.  Raise “more” tax revenue in order to fund government services.  But “less” taxes we’re informed will accelerate consumer spending, spur economic expansion and prevent government from assuming unnecessary obligations.

On another front, we hear on the one hand that the future energy needs of America require us to drill “more” in order to uncover new supplies of oil and gas.  Not so, say opponents.  Continued reliance on fossil fuels only delays the days of reckoning.  “Less” drilling is essential so we can focus upon developing alternative energy sources.

“More” or “less” frequently distinguishes Liberals from Conservatives.  Liberals generally favor “less” disciplinary measures whether in the home, school or court, whereas Conservatives incline to “more” discipline and harsher punishment.  Conservatives generally favor “more” guilty verdicts and jail time, whereas Liberals prefer “less” convictions for minor infractions and sentences that are “less” severe. When it comes to government regulation of the private sector there are few shadings Conservatives are most comfortable with “less” regulation; whereas Liberals believe circumstances usually require “more” oversight.

So, consider your position on the issues of the day.  You’ll likely discover that on most “more” or “less” is where you’ll be.

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