Monday, December 20, 2004

The Countdown Continues...

Just a few more days until Christmas. In my courier company, the lights on every incoming telephone line are lit up constantly. Everyone is sending out last-minute deliveries to customers and friends before everything shuts down for a few days on the 24th. It's good to be busy.

I was out shopping over the weekend. The stores are busy too, but not as busy as last year. At least, that's the way it seems to me. In many stores, there are already huge sales to attract customers, but it seems fewer people are buying. Maybe I'm wrong.

Everything is getting cheaper. TVs, CD and DVD players, etc. are almost ridiculously priced. 27-inch televisions are selling for half of what I paid just a few years ago. The big-screen TVs are still up there in price, but soon they too will be affordable by just about everyone. Everything is made in China these days. The quality appears to be reasonably good. Canadian and American dollars are increasingly being spent overseas.

A few days after Christmas comes a brand new year. What will it bring? Will it bring peace and goodwill among men? I hope so, but I am not optimistic.

I fear that The United States of America has seen its heyday. The United States is no longer 'The Land of the Free.' I find it heavily ironic that the socialist paradise of Canada is now more free, in many respects, than our neighbour to the south. Canadians don't have to fear The Patriot Act, passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, nor the RICO Act of 1970; each give U.S. law enforcement broad tools to pursue the guilty and to harass and terrorize the innocent.

The huge annual deficits and the cumulative national debt in the United States mean trouble. Social Security shortfalls guarantee uncertainty for baby-boomers retiring in the years ahead. How many will be prepared for retirement? Far too few, I suspect. Things appear to be a little better in Canada, but not much.

Over the last five or six decades, far too many of us have grown accustomed to nursing at the teat of government. We rarely do anything significant without looking for governments at all levels to tell us how and when. More and more, we are also being told why (or more often, why not) to do something. Nearly anything anyone says, writes or does, can be turned into hate speech or hate crimes by overzealous bureaucrats and prosecutors. Freedom of speech and association may soon become forgotten relics if present trends continue.

I am tempted, sometimes, to escape to Ayn Rand's Galt's Gulch (Atlas Shrugged) and not worry about the world as it implodes around us. But I am a curious guy. I need to be in the thick of everything, to know what is going on.

I don't know everything. But what little I do know, about what is happening around me, sometimes makes me sad.

One bit of knowledge still comforts me. I'd rather be alive, relatively free and sad, than the alternative -- to be imprisoned or dead. In many parts of the world, writing as I do about the things I do, would guarantee my incarceration or an early demise.

I love life and I long to continue to live in freedom. I hope that I will be able to do so for a very long time.

Hope and Christmas seem to belong together somehow. Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope that you will be able to enjoy the company of friends and family and that you will be safe and happy.


  1. Maybe this brief comment will improve your optimism. I just heard on TV (so it must be true) that after a lengthy study, it has been reported that researchers suspect that Christmas may in some way be related to religion. Unsure of their findings, one of the researchers stated it seems this holiday has something to do with the birth of a baby. Have a happy holiday Sieg.

  2. And a Merry Christmas to you and yours, Bill. Thanks for your lively and insightful comments.