Archive for November, 2008

19
Nov
08

Life is short…..screw everyone!

integrity1

If there was any doubt in my mind that our society is in a state of steep moral decline, those doubts were erased when I found out about this odious little company.

Now look, I’m not a Pollyanna.  People have been cheating on their spouses since the days of Neanderthal man.  What bothers me here is that now, in the 21st century, the very term “immoral behavior” has become quaint and irrelevant.  Now, it’s Big Business.  Now, it’s all good.  Forget about this little thing called morality, forget about your wedding vows, forget about your spouse’s or your children’s feelings.  There is no more shame in our society, no real notion of right and wrong.  If it feels good to me, then it must be okay.

The very idea that sometimes you just have to say “no” to yourself because what you’re about to do is wrong seems to have become as outdated the top hat and corset.

Once you buy into the mentality espoused by these people, then really, anything is possible.  Life is short, right?  So, for example:

Life is short…..embezzle from your employer!
Life is short…..plagiarize!
Life is short…..steal from your kids’ college fund!
Life is short…..steal gas from your neighbors’ cars!
Life is short…..cheat on your math test!
Life is short……tell her you love her if it gets you laid!
Life is short…..lie through your teeth if it gets you what you want!
Life is short…..desert the military!
Life is short…..stiff the waitress!
Life is short…..lie on that job application!
Life is short…..don’t pay that child support!
Life is short…..use your child support to buy cocaine!
Life is short…..don’t waste time spending it with your children
Life is short…..well, I think you’re getting the idea.

Life is short.  That is the justification for doing whatever the hell you want, to whomever you want.  Nothing else matters, nothing else is important or even relevant except your own personal gratification.

I seem to remember when I was a child I was taught something known as The Ten Commandments.  “Oh, there you go, Smith, bringing religion into it again!” I hear you say.  No, not really.  Allowing for the religious bent of the Bible that obviously colors the first four, aren’t the other six really just a social compact?  Let’s see, what do they really say?

Respect your parents.
Don’t kill people.
Don’t cheat on your spouse.
Don’t take things that don’t belong to you.
Don’t accuse anyone of something they didn’t do.
Don’t covet someone else’s spouse or property.

Gee, I dunno.  These kinda work for me.  It seems to me that they’re pretty hard to argue with, irrespective of your religious beliefs or lack thereof.  You don’t need to believe in God to accept the fact that some actions are just plain wrong and immoral.

I once had a boss who told me he valued integrity even more than honesty.  A callow youth in those days, I asked him what the difference was.  He said to me, “Integrity means doing the right thing when no one is watching you.”  And yet we live in a society in which concepts like respect and honor are seemingly less and less relevant.

To what extent does our society still value things like honesty and integrity?  I’m really starting to wonder.

-Smith

13
Nov
08

Get healthy, or else!

cheese-puffs

I read this rather disturbing article in the Associated Press today, in which it is reported that “Manchester is hoping to fight fat with a reward system that works like a retail loyalty card. But instead of earning credit for opening their wallets, residents will be rewarded for keeping their feet on the treadmill and their fridge stocked with healthy food.”

Now, on the surface, this might seem like a good idea. Heck, I could stand to lose a few myself, and who wouldn’t want to be rewarded simply for doing the right thing? But if you look a little under the surface, this becomes troubling.

First and foremost, I have a problem with the government sticking their nose into my personal life, no matter how benevolent the motive may seem. It’s a short but steep slope from “We’ll reward you for being healthy” to “Get healthy, or else!” Right now, they’re offering the carrot, but who’s to say that once we accept this latest incarnation of Nanny government that the carrot won’t be replaced with a big and expensive stick. For example, what’s to stop the government from offering two tax tables, one for people who meet its definition of “healthy”, and those who don’t. As an overweight man who loves to smoke, I know which table I’d be paying under.

“Ah Ha!”, you say. “Smith, you big fat smoker you, you’re a drain on the health care system! Look at me: I’m a non-smoking vegetarian who runs five miles a day! You and those like you should be like me!”

To which I say: that’s the price you pay to live in a FREE COUNTRY. (Remember that phrase?) You have to put up with my bad habits and I have to put up with yours. Chances are, you are not entirely vice free yourself. And even if you are, I have news for you: unless you get hit by a bus, you too will grow old and become a drain on the health care system. It happens to almost all of us.  Your wonderful “healthy lifestyle” won’t save you in the end.

Those who believe in the Nanny government and who wish to control us realize that they cannot do so without uniting people against a common enemy. For Hitler, it was the Jews. For McCarthy it was the Communists. For Nanny government advocates, it is: Bad Health. These people feel they can enact all manner of government intrusion into people’s lives, as long as it is being done in the name of Good Health.  Good Health has become our new Golden Idol.

And for some of you who were nonplussed at my recent post about the 2008 election, know this: this is exactly why I have never voted Democrat. It is why I remain profoundly concerned about the Obama presidency. This sort of thing is far, far more likely to occur in the United States under a Democratic government.

Says Timothy Armstrong, coordinator of the World Health Organization’s global strategy on diet, and quoted in the same article, “I haven’t seen any evidence that it works, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try it…as public health officials we really don’t have the luxury of waiting to see what works and what doesn’t. We really do know that, in terms of curbing the obesity epidemic, all of society needs to play a role”.

It takes a village, right Timothy? And naturally, this is being funded by (who else?) the taxpayers.

Just so no one gets the wrong idea here, let me state flat out that I realize that this program is benign and well meant. And yes, I realize it’s happening in England, but our two countries are so closely linked culturally that it’s no stretch to imagine it happening here. Just look at what the Boston Public Health Commission is trying to get away with. People are getting fatter (probably because they’ve stopped smoking). But I become deeply troubled when the government starts using its leverage to try to force me to live a certain way, because I realize how quickly and easily the can change from benevolent cajoling to a direct order.  I believe that, deep down, the Nancy Pelosi’s of the world don’t really want to be agreed with, they want to be obeyed.  Once people allow themselves to buy into the idea that Nanny government is taking care of them, anything is possible. “Get healthy, or else!”.

Now where did I put those Cheesey Puffs?

-Smith

07
Nov
08

In case you were wondering…..

The picture below pretty much sums up my feelings about the soon to be Obama presidency……

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924771537

05
Nov
08

Thanks a lot, George!

american-flag

I saw this coming two years ago. Don’t believe me? Then read this post I wrote almost exactly two years ago.

At the time, I honestly believed the Republicans would answer the wake up call. That they would learn a bitter lesson from the pasting they suffered in 2006. Obviously, I was wrong.

The farcical administration of George W. Bush has given the Democrats their most resounding victory in decades. In what can only be seen as an excoriating indictment not only of the Bush administration, but of the Republican party in general, America has elected an ultra-liberal Democrat with less than four years experience at the federal level. The Democrats have also achieved a stranglehold on both houses of Congress.

In the meantime, Sarah Palin can go back to honing her foreign policy skills by looking across the Bering Strait.

Republicans had their chance and blew it, big time. From January of 2001 until November of 2006, they controlled both houses, while also enjoying the luxury of a Republican president. They had the perfect opportunity to show the Democrats and Liberals alike how it was done. Instead, the Bush years will be remembered as a colossal failure, the arrogance of this administration exceeded only by its incompetence.

The Republican party is supposed to be the party of small(er) government, low taxes, and a thriving economy. The idea was that if you gave corporate America free rein, it would result in prosperity and a robust economy, which in turn would result in a better life for the Americans who worked for these companies. This is an idea I have supported since I’ve been old enough to vote. I believe in the capitalist ideal.

But what we got instead was corporate CEO’s earning 7 and 8 figure salaries while simultaneously cutting employee benefits or eliminating their jobs altogether. Under eight years of George W. Bush, corporate America was given free rein, but it seems as though the only ones who benefited were the CEO’s and the stockholders. And now, even the stockholders are sucking wind.

We got two wars which will not end any time soon, due in part to this administration’s insistence on waging them on the cheap. Now we have an economy in shambles. All George Bush’s fault? Of course not. But these things happened under his watch, and the American people have laid the blame at his doorstep, while showing the Republicans the door.

Americans finally had enough, and gave corporate America and its Republican enablers a collective “Up Yours!”.

While I honestly don’t think we will become a Socialist state, as many alarmists have already predicted, we are no doubt entering an era in which the government, at the explicit request of the American people, will now play a greater role in our lives, for better or for worse. Big Brother Obama wants to “spread the wealth”, which is a nice way of saying he’s going to stick his hand deeper into our pockets. Under an Obama administration, I can certainly see us moving more toward the European model of quasi-socialism, with higher taxes and (perhaps) greater social services. National health insurance may not be that far off. Whether or not that can be accomplished without further decimating the economy remains to be seen. I’m not necessarily saying I welcome this development, but it’s coming just the same. And Republicans have no one to blame but themselves.

But in any event, at least I can say I was a witness to history. And it must be noted that Obama was not only elected by black America, but by white America. Surely that, at least, is something that might give one hope for the future. And I remain ever grateful that I live in a country where, when the election is over, the two candidates practically fall all over themselves trying to say nice things about each other, and the two parties at least try to work together. In many countries, the losers get taken out behind a wall and shot. Most importantly, I am grateful that I live in a country where the will of the people–even when I don’t agree with it–really does count for something.

America needs a breath of fresh air. Now that his election is a fait accompli, a part of me desperately wants to believe that Obama will be that breath of fresh air. I didn’t vote for him, but I do want him to succeed. We simply can’t afford four more years of Presidential failure. But as I watched him deliver his acceptance speech, I was struck, as I have always been, by his youth, and I remain profoundly afraid that he’s just not ready for the job.

I hope I’m wrong. I say: God bless Barak Obama. He’s going to need all the help he can get.

-Smith




taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood" ~ Dr. John H. Watson ************************
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