Preferences Provide Opportunities

Preferences are a personal thing. Some people prefer dogs while others prefer cats, and some like both species equally. None of these choices is wrong, even if one choice might make more sense or be more right for some people.

If dogs are preferred, there are those who prefer large dogs and others who prefer small dogs. Some people prefer aggressive dogs while other people want a more sociable dog.

It’s all OK unless your preference is to prevent others from making their own choice based on their personal preferences.

If you decide your preference for large sociable dogs means cats should be banned or tightly regulated, and small, aggressive dogs must be confiscated and destroyed, your preference has crossed the line. It is no longer acceptable; it’s antisocial.

Even if the majority of people take your side.

Yes, there are acts that aren’t the same as preferences. You can’t just say your preference is to break into houses and steal what you want instead of earning money with mutually voluntary trade to pay for those things.

Well, you can say that’s your preference, but no one is obligated to sit by while you act on it. Anyone has the right to stop you when your preference violates others.

Very few of the things people choose between harm anyone. You might be bewildered by someone’s choice. You might even believe it’s immoral. Unless it “picks your pocket or breaks your leg” — to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson — it’s your responsibility to mind your business.

Differing preferences provide opportunities. If everyone liked the same thing, there would be no need to make different kinds of food. Generic “Human Chow” would be good enough. Everyone could wear the same style clothing, in the same color. All cars could be identical.

Life would never have a chance to improve because there would be no reason to experiment with different things.

Look how many innovations were stumbled upon by accident. Often the underlying cause was someone trying to fulfill their own, or a pool of potential customers’ preferences; some that are known and others that are a mystery even to those who possess them.

It would be sad if everyone were the same and liked the same things. I’m glad people like different stuff. It exposes me to things I might not otherwise experience, it gives me options and enriches my life. And it might someday introduce me to something I had no idea I was going to love.

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