Monday, September 30, 2013

I'm not getting over it...get over that...

  I read another editorial the other day explaining that Obamacare is now the law, and that it's been ruled Constitutional, and that we just need to get over it. I've never been very good about just getting over "it", and our country was founded by a bunch of people who weren't very good about getting over "it" either.

  If they had been good at getting over it, I'd probably be drinking tea instead of coffee every morning.

  And I've also noticed that whether or not something is Constitutional depends more on who is on the Supreme Court at the time than it does on the Constitution.

  There are a lot of government programs that have been instituted over the years that require the threat of government force to make people participate in them. I haven't gotten over those yet, and I'm still working to remove government force from the equation, and allow people who want to opt out the chance to opt out.

  So, I'm not about to get over this one, either.

  Get over it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

You know what really bugs me?....

  A couple of weeks ago, some big black ants decided to visit our sun porch. I'm not sure why. I don't know what ants eat, but whatever it is, I'm sure there is more of it outside than there is in our house. And I don't really mind if they just visited and would stay on the porch for a while, but for some reason they decided to look for something to eat in other parts of the house.

  If they would have just asked, I would have told them they were out of luck, but they didn't even ask. I tried shooing them out, but either their little tiny ant ears couldn't hear me, or they simply chose to ignore me.

 As a last resort, I bought some ant poison to put out for them. Since they didn't have any luck finding anything else to eat, I figured they might give it a try. Sure enough, before too long, I started seeing some sick and dying ants on the floor. Eventually, there got to be a big pile of dead ants around the ant poison.

  The odd thing was, even when the dead ants started piling up around the poison, the ants that were still alive kept coming in for more. Even if they had to crawl over the dead bodies of other ants. I began to think that maybe the problem wasn't that they couldn't hear me, but maybe that they just weren't all that bright.

  I guess when it comes right down to it though, we've seen the same behavior out of people. People have been going to the government for years thinking it can solve their problems. The government has declared war on poverty, war on drugs, and war on terrorism. After spending trillions of taxpayer dollars, the poverty rate remains about the same as when the war was started. Drug use hasn't been curtailed, but we have the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world. We've traded foreign attacks on our liberties for domestic attacks by the NSA, the DEA, and even the FDA. 70 of the federal "alphabet agencies" now have armed divisions and arrest powers.

  We're putting up with this, along with reaching a $17 trillion dollar debt sometime in the next month or two. And next year, come election time, we'll overlook the mess they've created, and go back and vote for the same people and the same policies that got us into this shape in the first place.

  Maybe we're not all that bright, either.

  There's a Better Alternative , but we have to be willing to step outside of where we are now.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rights vs. Abilities...


Stinky Wilmont was the biggest kid in the 5th grade at Millville Grade School. I suppose his size could have been attributed to genetics. As I remember, his mother was a woman of rather large proportions, and his father, though not as rotund, was still a mountain of a man. At least they seemed pretty big to me at the time.

So that could have had something to do with Stinky’s size. Or it could have been that he was 14 years old. Regardless of the reason, he was a looming figure in the classroom, the lunchroom and on the playground at recess. And if Stinky took a notion to lay claim to your new pencil or eraser, or if he decided he was going to take your cornbread and leave you with just the beans, that’s pretty well the way things worked out.
For the most part I stayed on good terms with Stinky, so most of the time my school supplies and my lunch were safe. Still, I couldn’t figure out why he had the right to do some of the things he did. When I got a little older, I figured out that he didn’t have the right to do them. He only had the ability.

A couple of years ago, before the Indiana General Assembly adjourned for the year, they passed a few new laws that Hoosiers are going to have to deal with. One thing they did was reduce the number of drivers that are exempt from the seatbelt laws. The drivers of pick-up trucks are no longer exempt, unless you’re farming or making certain deliveries. They also created another entitlement program, providing health insurance to families that make up to $40,000.00, and funded with an increase in cigarette taxes. Apparently with smokers in the minority, the assembly felt safe on this one. But, as the number of smokers decreases, or turn to black market cigarettes, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will be chosen to fund the program as revenues decrease and costs increase. Property owners certainly seem a likely target under the current crop of lawmakers.

The thing is, the government doesn’t have the right to make any private citizen wear a seatbelt, anymore than it has the right to make an uninvolved citizen pay for that citizen’s medical expenses if he is hurt in an accident. And it doesn’t have the right to force one group of citizens to pay for another group’s health insurance. Or entertainment. Or retirement.

As citizens, we can’t give our government the right to do these things. We can only give them the ability. We can also take that ability away. And that’s something we had better start thinking about before things get totally out of hand.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Your Choice...

  A new ice cream shop opened up in Hagerstown last month, and one of its main attractions was a menu that included 24 flavors of ice cream, along with the traditional chocolate and vanilla. As part of their Grand  Opening, the owners offered free t-shirts to anyone who tried all 24 flavors. Being somewhat of an ice cream connoisseur, I gladly accepted the challenge. Although I wasn’t the first person to make it through the list, I was the first in my age group. I don’t suppose first place means as much as it used to since we started handing out more than one blue ribbon for the same event, but I guess it’s supposed to make us feel better about ourselves. I think that’s why everybody on my Grandchildren’s T-ball team got a trophy, even though they never won a game. But that’s a topic for another column, and regardless, I got a t-shirt out of the deal.

  I’ve also noticed that even with all of those choices, a lot of people still step up to the window and order chocolate or vanilla. When I ask them if they’ve tried Red Velvet Cheesecake or Pistachio Nut, they often reply that they haven’t, and that they are quite satisfied with the old standbys. Even when I’m almost evangelistic in explaining how Red Velvet Cheesecake in a Waffle Cone can be a life changing experience, many are unwavering in their loyalty to the simpler confections.

  I’ve also seen people step up to the window and freeze like a deer in the headlights when they panic and realize they have no idea which of the 24 flavors they want this time. I wonder how many times someone has blurted out “Chocolate!” not because it was really their first choice, but because they felt the pressure of the impatient line behind them. Some people handle choices better than others, and when you’re stuck in line behind someone who can’t decide what they want, it’s almost enough to make you wish there weren’t so many choices.  Or better yet, wish there were separate lines for people who wanted to make a choice and people who didn’t.

 I really don’t have a problem with people who have a hard time making a choice, as long as they aren’t in front of me in line, and I don’t have a problem with people who always choose chocolate or vanilla, as long as they don’t try to tell me that I can’t have Red Velvet Cheesecake. Or Pistachio Nut.

  I wish the people up in Washington D.C. felt that way. They have developed a very bad habit of making choices for everybody. About 80 years ago they decided that everybody needed to take part in a retirement plan that they had developed called Social Security.  When you look at the amount of money you pay into the plan compared to the amount of money you are likely to receive from it, it really isn’t a very good plan at all. Still, some people think it’s a good choice, and I certainly wouldn’t do anything to deprive them of their choice to participate in it. I would only ask that they, and the government, respect someone else’s choice not to participate in it.

  Those same folks up in Washington like to make our choices for us regarding our health insurance and health care, and on who or what is deserving of our charity, and even which side we should support in another country’s civil war. It seems the bigger the government gets, the more choices it takes away from us, and the more bad choices it makes for us.

  I’m willing to take responsibility for bad choices I might make from time to time, but the ones the government makes for me tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

  And they make me want to choose a smaller government.