Would you give up your freedom for cheap gasoline?

Matthew Arnold Stern
3 min readJun 17, 2022
Gas pumps back when gas was cheap

Inflation hurts all of us, with the poor and working class hurting the most. One of the biggest hikes is the price of gasoline. At the least expensive Costco in our area, it’s $6 a gallon. When you commute to a job that hasn’t increased your salary to keep up with inflation, that’s a big hit on your budget.

When people are desperate for relief, they will turn to anyone who can offer an easy solution. No matter if they backed an insurrection, preach White Christian nationalism, or want to strip away all of your rights. You might consider giving them your vote if they can bring gas back to $2 a gallon.

That’s why I want to tell you a story I heard long ago. I don’t remember the author or title, but it goes something like this.

A traveling rabbi was going to a town to teach. He was well-respected for his scholarship and had an impeccable reputation for honesty and integrity. But he was very poor. When he was close to town, he had to sit by the side of the road because his hunger made him too weak to continue.

He came across a stranger who noticed his predicament. He told him, “Rabbi, I look a lot like you. If you let me wear your clothes and use your name, I’ll get you something delicious to eat.” The rabbi agreed.

A few hours later, the man came back in a rush. He handed the rabbi a sack of food and his clothes and said, “Rabbi, I’d get far away from town, if I were you!” The rabbi later learned what happened. While the stranger impersonated him, he robbed and murdered a man. The townsfolk summoned the police, and now everyone in the country is looking for him.

The rabbi had to flee for his life. He couldn’t go back to his home village and his family. With his reputation ruined, he had no way to prove his innocence. He soon died from exhaustion and hunger after losing everything, including his good name.

This is what happens when you put your faith in someone who offers you easy solutions and instant relief. You can spend your entire life paying for that brief moment of comfort.

That’s where we find ourselves. We face serious economic problems with inflation and recession. But real solutions take time and require a bit of trial and error. Legislation to support…

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Matthew Arnold Stern

A novelist and award-winning public speaker and technical writer. My novels Amiga and The Remainders are available now.