Wants versus Needs

January 6, 2009

Recently, I had the pleasure of hearing Pat Buchanan, one of my favorite news commentators, quote the most crucial theme of all my political articles, the idea that it is the job of politicians to concern themselves with what their constituents need as opposed to what they want. It is, of course, much more productive and equitable to balance “needs” rather than wants and amazing compromises can often be achieved. *

Mr. Buchanan, I have found, is a “true” conservative. As a fairly liberal minded advocate, of course, I have many disagreements with him. However, I love to watch and listen to him because he sees so many things that I miss. He also tends to put his principles on the line.

I watched Mr. Buchanan last year on one of the prominent news programs. He was seated at the table with Congressman Gutierrez, a vocal advocate of a liberal immigration policy. Mr. Buchanan had only recently released his book State of Emergency, in which he expressed his fears that the U.S. might lose its “ideals” under the sudden massive influx of immigrants, especially in the Southwest. To see these two men, with diametrically opposing viewpoints, race to see where their professed needs could meet in agreement was heartening.

The two men actually seemed to respect each others’ arguments, even agreeing, for instance, that if felons and other significant criminals would first be expelled, the remainder of illegal immigrants could be dealt with more reasonably and that they could not be summarily deported.

When people differentiate between what they need and what they want, it is the beginning of the solution of even seemingly impossible impasses in our increasingly complex world.


Allen Finkelstein, D.O.


*Note: See May 6, 2006 article from The O’Finky Factor, A Tribute to American Politics (http://ofinky.squarespace.com/a-tribute-to-american-politics/) and A Serious Disconnect (http://ofinky.squarespace.com/a-serious-disconnect/) from October 2, 2008, in which this concept was originally discussed.