More and more, we are becoming a society of people who allow circumstances to shape our views. We see it all the time in the news. Following a mass shooting, the surviving victims and the family of those who perished will line up in unison to demand tighter gun control laws. After someone is killed by a drunk driver, their relatives will begin lobbying for tougher laws against drinking and driving. After a person dies of a certain type of cancer, their husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, or child will then become an advocate for more research to eradicate or cure that form of cancer.
However, we should instead let principles, not circumstances, shape our views. For example, if we believe that tougher gun laws are the answer to gun violence, we should not wait for one of our relatives to be killed in a mass shooting before taking a stand on the issue. Conversely, if we believe that tougher gun laws are not the answer to gun violence, then we should stand on principle and not change our minds after someone we love is killed in a mass shooting. The same goes for other things, such as drunken driving and cancer research. We should be for or against tougher drunk driving laws, based on whether we feel they are appropriate or not. We should make our decision whether or not to crusade for a given form of cancer research based on whether feel it is worthwhile or not.
Principles should have everything to do with the way we view the world, and circumstances should have nothing to do with it. The reason is clear: Circumstances change. Principles do not. We either stand on principle or fall for circumstances.