Thursday, August 17, 2006

It Has Been Too Many Days Without a Rant

Kids will be returning to school soon. My son got his school uniform (if you can call it that) yesterday, consisting of khakis, golf shirts, and rugby shirts. I was never crazy about the idea of school uniforms until I saw and read about how cruel some teenagers can be to kids who don't conform to some ill-defined idea of what is currently 'cool.' Weird. Kids, purporting to be nonconformist, want their peers to conform. Or else! I guess the idea is not to conform to whatever their parents or society at large might expect. Maybe we weren't that much different at their age. At least if everyone dresses the same, some kids won't be ostracized just because they don't look exactly like the others.

That sort of stuff went on when I went to high school, but I didn't pay much attention to it. I took a couple of years off during my high school years and when I went back to school I dressed pretty much as I pleased. The thing about behaving just like Tweedledee and Tweedledum is that you just confirm yourself to be Tweedledumber. Many teenagers don't get that.

My son dresses fairly well, but I get on his case because his pants and shorts often hang far too low on the waist, in keeping with the ghetto look. I think it looks ridiculous, but I do recall that in 1958 or so, when I was his age, boys wore their pants half-way down their ass as well. And we wore our belts with the buckles at the side, rather than at the front. I guess we were just as silly as are the current crop of kids.

A couple of years ago, I tired of buying nice clothes for my son, and then having them hang unworn in his closet. I told him that if he wasn't going to wear the clothes I bought for him (many of which he picked himself,) I was going to stop buying his clothes. He would have to use Christmas money, his allowance, and money he got from his grandmother to buy his own clothes. Guess what? He bought his own clothes, made mostly good choices, and actually wore what he bought. What made the difference is that he now valued the things he had because he had to pay for them.

We are all like that. Anything that is 'free' or unearned is unappreciated, or at least under-appreciated. What we sweat over, or get calluses or headaches working at, we appreciate much more.

So-called intellectuals don't get it. Governments don't get it. The Great Unwashed don't get it. They want more and more and more and, guess what: they don't want to pay for it. They take, but they don't appreciate. They allow you, me, and our neighbours to pay the taxes used to grant them their every whim, but they have nothing but contempt for us. Why wouldn't they? They haven't been taught to be appreciative. They haven't been taught that money only grows on trees in Fantasyland. They see us as fools, because we are too weak to tell them all to go piss up a rope and leave us alone.

We are weak. We all put up with stuff that several decades ago would have been unthought of. We work and slave and sacrifice so others can loaf, boss us around through the long arm of government, and consume. We are not free, and haven't been for a long time. Free people are in charge of their own destiny. They spend their money, all of it, where they choose. If they screw up, they take care of the mess themselves. They understand that with freedom comes responsibility. They know that one can't exist without the other.

Are we free? Try withholding your taxes. Try non-compliance with any one of the tens of thousands of really silly laws that control our every move.

Yes, so far at least, we can say what we want or need to, in this medium and elsewhere, as long as it is politically correct. How much longer, I wonder, will that last?

It's time to go home. I have to try to understand how I can start writing about school uniforms and then end up all lathered up about taxes and loss of freedom. I guess someone has to do it.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I love your rants! LOL! And, I agree - freedom is a tricky little concept and it in undenialby linked to responsibility.

    My Most favorite in it's original form:

    "It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." -- John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election, 1790

    A sentiment later borrowed and spoken by Wendell Phillips and Thomas Jefferson, better recognized as "The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance".

  3. Right on, Penny. The tragedy is that sentiments like these are seldom expressed in academia (or anywhere else) these days, except by libertarians. And because libertarians don't like to control others any more than they themselves wish to be controlled, the possibility of a restoration of true freedom is remote at best.

  4. Back in the '50s, Elvis wore his belt with the buckle to the side. It prevents the back of a guitar from getting scratched up. Thought you might appreciate that, being a guitar player.

  5. I had no idea, geoff. Makes sense, though. I thought we were just being 'cool' and making some sort of silly fashion statement, along with collars up on shirts and, I'm sure, other vanities I have long forgotten.

  6. We're going to have to do a hell of a lot of searching to find some new place to attempt to live in liberty. "Galt's Gulch" isn't likely to be a reality in a country where you still have to pay rent to the freaking looters and pull-peddlers on property that supposedly belongs to you, which they can take away from you anytime for any trumped-up reason.

  7. I am discovering that a few libertarian types are doing much the same as I -- investing elsewhere, where government meddling hasn't reached the sophistication or measure that it has in North America. Panama, where we are developing, is stable, growing economically, and has an ever-increasing expat population. Some are setting up in Argentina, Ecuador, Nicaragua, etc., where the political situation is somewhat more tenuous but the opportunities, given a period of stability are immense.