Sunday, October 04, 2015

Any way you look at it....

            I’ve never really been a big fan of “last chance” or “going out of business” sales. Even after the last chance ends, there’s a good chance you’ll have another chance to get the same item at another store the next time you’re in town. And most of the time, if a store that has something people really want goes out of business, another business will start handling that item. Barring that, I can always have one of my grandchildren get on the computer and order it online.

            Last week there was an event they called a “blood moon eclipse”, where the moon was supposed to glow red and have an eclipse at the same time. While blood moons and eclipses are fairly common, the conditions for both to occur at the same time hadn’t happened for 33 years, and according to some reports won’t happen again for another 18. I did a little figuring in my head, and decided that if I wanted to see a blood moon eclipse for myself, this might very well be a real last chance, so I made a conscious effort to stay awake long enough to go outside after it got dark and check it out for myself.

            As luck would have it, it was pretty cloudy over our house that night, and while I could see the outline of the moon and the eclipse as it moved across it, it didn’t really look any more red to me than it did on any other night. I did see some pictures people had taken from other locations, and the moon looked a lot bigger and redder, and the eclipse looked a lot sharper than it did from Hagerstown. I guess it all depended on where you were standing when you looked at it.

            Of course, when it comes right down to it, the moon didn’t really change at all. It’s still just a big ball of dirt and rocks orbiting around the earth, and it doesn’t change color or shape, unless a meteor slams into it and shoves some dirt and rocks around a little bit. But people have been watching it for a long time, and even staying up past their bedtime to check it out when the light and the shadows hit it just right, and make it look different than it looked the last time they looked at it.

            I suppose where you are has a lot of bearing on how you look at a lot of things. I’m sure the 18 years until the next blood moon eclipse looks a lot longer to my grandchildren than it does to me. I think where you are has a lot of bearing on how you look at government, also.

            George Washington said that “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” While a lot of things have changed since George made that observation, the fact that government uses force, or the threat of force, to carry out its policies, hasn’t.

             Part of that government force is used for transfer payments, where it takes money from one group of people and gives it to another group of people without any goods or services changing hands. That practice now consumes the bulk of the federal budget. If a person is on the receiving end of the transfer, they tend to see government a little differently than if they are on the paying end of the transfer. And no doubt a lot of people who are standing in the paying line are looking forward to the day they will be standing in the receiving line.

            It might be a good time to start looking at ways to involve government a little less in our daily lives, because the more people we have in the receiving line, the more force will be required to keep everyone else in line.

             That’s how it works, no matter how you look at it.


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