SETTING A FEW THINGS STRAIGHT
(N.B.: This is a "reprint" of an email rant I sent out some time ago that still tickles me. Sorry, but I am the sort that laughs at his own jokes. I have updated a few references. See if you can spot the changes, if you are absolutely out of things to do.)
1. The Declaration of Independence is a document of political aspiration, an outline for the establishment of a government that treasures individual liberty. It is not in any way a statement of genetic fact, so get over the idea that your drooling idiot son should go to college and become a doctor. You don't see me petitioning for a starting spot in the NBA, because I wasn't issued the tools. No law can change that.
2. The idea that the "wave" of youth violence is caused by violent media, or the lack of prayer in schools, is as bankrupt as Enron. By the time a kid is sent off to kindergarten, his parents had better have taught him the fundamentals of right and wrong and that God is watching, or it's too damn late; he's already 8-5 to turn out a sociopath. And here's an idea: maybe mom should be home every day at 3:00 when the kid gets out of school and spend some time talking and listening to him. He is sure to get a lot of crazy ideas at school, from teachers and fellow students; someone has to help him separate the truth from nonsense. Of course, it would be nice if life in the richest country in history were such that it didn't take two incomes to run the average household.
3. This obsession with regulating ones neighbors' lives has got to be rooted out of the population and especially the Congress and legislatures. Prohibitions on human cloning are being bandied about from Austin to Washington and guess what? If I or a member of my family need a new liver, heart, etc., and can grow a genetic match in a tank, I by God am going to do it -- and will run the risk of Him striking me down, as I perceive Him to be a lot more compassionate than his louder self-proclaimed representatives -- and if you mean to stop me, send tanks. You want to stop abortion, get into counseling and convince kids to respect themselves and their bodies. Decide for yourself whether preaching abstinence or birth control is the way to go. But stop wasting everyones time trying to legislate your idea of the moral solution. The courts are going to keep sending you home without supper. And if you bomb a clinic or shoot a doctor, expect to be hunted down like the insane coward you are.
4. Along the same lines, the Bill of Rights is not a Chinese menu; you don't get to pick the ones that suit your tastes. That means Billy Bob can arm himself and defend his home, even from his neighbor Larry Liberal's coked-up son who slips into Billy's at night to liberate that big screen TV. And as long as Larry keeps the noise down, he can practice voodoo, have sex with Taiwanese triplets, and preach gay-Indian-Black-Martian rights; if Billy objects, he can move.
5. Actors, athletes and other entertainers have every right to sound off on politics and other weighty issues, but if you take what they say seriously, you belong in a mental institution. These people float on a sea of self-absorption, divorced from any economic reality other than they are paid a lot of money to amuse their fellow man. They have no idea how wealth is generated or capital formed. They live in a world where there are pain-free solutions to their most trivial concerns. Many subscribe to Scientology, which is merely total selfishness packaged as some sort of deep philosophy, and was invented by a science fiction writer in the 40's on a bet that he couldn't create a religion and profit from it. Any wonder he chose entertainers as his prime marks?
6. The reason that we trial lawyers sue big business, big insurance, and big medicine is because people are wrongly maimed, killed, cheated and defrauded daily, and those institutions, which are largely populated with honest, decent people, do zero to self-regulate (See Enron). Ask your doctor on your next visit if he has ever taken steps to run a hack out of the profession. Ask him, if he had clear evidence of malpractice causing a serious injury or death, would he testify against the offender? Check out what business and insurance are doing to promote ethics and safety: lobbying the courts, legislatures and Congress to lower or eliminate standards and cap or eliminate consumer remedies. Does anyone believe it's a coincidence that the Ford/Firestone tragedy arose in this era of "tort reform"?
7. The education departments in the universities shoud be shut down, now. To teach math you ought to have a math degree, and one three hour semester-long class in educational methodology, plus another semester spent in supervised student teaching. Teachers unions should be prohibited from bargaining for anything other than economics. Curriculum, hours, class size, etc., don't belong as part of any labor agreement. The ratio of teachers to adminsitrators should be about 50-1, and any district that violates that standard should be defunded. Except for math and science, the curriculum should look like that of a 19th century English boarding school. Don't know where you'll find a slot for Latin? Jettison "social studies". Separate the students and schools into college prep/learn a trade tracks after competitive exams in the 8th grade.
8. Promoting self-esteem by distorting history is societal suicide. The Egyptians were not Negroid, they couldn't fly, with or without airplanes, which they did not invent. Blacks in Africa were an essential part of the slave trade. Mexico under Santa Anna was a miserable dictatorship, not unlike what they've had there up until the election of Vincente Fox, who may or may not succeed in reforming the mess. Everyone who was born in the US, not Mexico, as a result of the Texas Revolution and the Mexican War, ought to offer up prayers for Travis, Houston, et al for their good fortune.
9. Ditto "multiculturalism", or as I like to think of it, cultural slumming. We'd better stop teaching our kids that a society grounded in political and religious freedom, the pursuit of knowledge, and a free economy is no better than your average tribe of grub-worshipping, genital-mutilating ignoramuses whose biggest achievement was adopting a law prohibiting defecating upstream from the village water supply. Noble savage my behind.
10. Not that we don't have to be vigilant to prevent the degradation of our own culture. I'm not talking about legal coercion or censorship, a sure case of the cure being terribly worse than the disease, but about all of us taking responsibility for elevating the culture. Pick up a book and turn off the damn TV. If you are on a jury and some pimp-rolling, gang-banging piece of human refuse wants a walk because of his tough childhood, flush him. Reject the notion that the least educated and stupidest among us set cultural norms in entertainment, etc. Explain to your kid how Shakespeare is better than the Porky's movies; if you don't know how, study until you find out. Serves you right for sleeping through English Lit. Above all, don't tolerate dishonesty in the public discourse; if you see some idiot spewing what you know to be rank nonsense on Crossfire, call him out. Write an Op-Ep piece, set up a web site with the truth, and don't be afraid to ridicule the ridiculous, regardless of sacred cow status. There's a reason parody and sarcasm have been freely employed by the great political thinkers and doers (Churchill comes to mind); they are among the most effective tools in exposing the falsity of inaccurate conventional wisdom.
If you think you spotted some contradictions above, so what? It's a complex world and every benefit carries a cost. Remember consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.