Sunday, September 21, 2008

Conversations With Moonbats

Back in July of this year Mae and I attended my company's annual mid-winter dinner for employees and their spouses or "partners" as is the current politically correct term for those who may be in a committed relationship but might not be married; you know where that all comes from; more on that later. Anyway, it was a nice affair, much better venue and food than the year before despite the weather being the same: cold and raining. Following the meal people began to mingle and move around, and a few of us, mostly smokers, went outside with our drinks to have a smoke. Mae and I had been sitting with one of my co-workers - let's call him "Ward" - from another department and his daughter (whom he brought instead of his wife) - I'll call her "Buffy" - and they joined us outside.

Ward and I are gear heads (or "petrol heads" as they are called down here), and we often discuss racing and cars and bikes and engines get the picture. Well, Buffy is also a bit of a petrol head as well, and the three of us were having a good ol' time "shootin' the shit". Mae is not a petrol head: "It's all tin and rubber," she is often heard to quip, so she had wandered off not long into the conversation. Ward, not one to have an empty bottle in his hand on such occassions soon was back at the bar for a refill, leaving just Buffy and me having our conversation. She was telling me how much she really liked old American hot-rods and how she wanted to build one some day when she had saved enough money to do so. I was impressed; a girl who not only liked cars but who also apparently realized the merits and value of saving money toward achieving a goal as opposed to being only able to spend it as fast as she got it. That's where the conversation went sideways.

Out of the blue - and to this day I still can't explain how - Buffy, who is about 20 years old, made a comment about America having a terrible health care system and how there were so many poor and homeless people yet so many rich people who run everything and don't give a shit. I said, "Slow down; one thing at a time." I asked her what she knew about health care in the US and where she got her information from, to which she replied, "The news and that Michael...what's his name? The 'Fahrenheit 911 guy'. I just saw his film where he went to Cuba and got better treatment than the US."

"Oh, you mean Michael Moore, that fat fuck who lies and uses creative editing to make anti-American propaganda films and calls them documentaries," I responded.

Buffy, a bit shocked at my description of Moore, asked, "Well, the US doesn't have free health care, do you?"

"Nobody has FREE health care, Buffy. You don't have it here in NZ, either. You pay for it in taxes," I told her.

"Yeah, but we don't have to pay for going to hospital or for most surgery. You do."

"That's true, but you still have to pay to see your family doctor," I said, and went on to explain further. "You see, Buffy, most people in the US have private health insurance, and most reputable employers offer group HMO or PPO policies to their employees and dependents. It cost me like $50 per month. I had a good plan where I worked for a company of less than 20 people in San Diego. The last time I went to the doctor there the visit cost me $10 out of pocket and the prescription cost me $15. When I had to see a doctor here it cost me $50 just for the visit and another $30 for the prescription. Even had I been a resident or a NZ citizen it would have been only 10 or 15 dollars cheaper. So who's got the better deal?"

Buffy, quite surprised at that revelation, then asked the BIG question: "But what about the poor people who don't have health insurance?" Here's where it got REALLY interesting!

I said with a straight face and a calm tone, "What about the poor? Fuck the poor."

"What do you mean, 'Fuck the poor'," Buffy screeched in utter dismay and disbelief.

"Just what I said. First, define what 'poor' is. Let me explain a few things to you. People who live below the poverty line and actually have a paying job get all their income taxes returned to them at the end of the year, so they, in effect, pay no income tax. Furthermore, many of them get tax credits, or free money from the government, which comes out of my pocket and every other American who DOES pay income tax. These 'poor' people - many of them are home owners; drive cars less than 5 years old; have cable TV, cell phones, and broadband internet. Many of them don't have such luxuries, but it is all a matter of choice what people do with their money, regardless of how much or how little they have. Is it my fault if people choose to spend their money frivolously or my responsibility to make sure that people get their priorities straight and live within their means?"

"But the government should do something. They should provide health care at least."

"Why? You realize that when you say 'the government' you really mean the rest of the tax-paying citizenry. The government has nothing; it only has money that they collect from people who work and pay taxes. So what you are saying is that the government should have the right to force me, by coercion, by theft of my money, to pay charity."

"Well, it's for the good of society," Buffy said.

Channeling Ayn Rand I told Buffy, "I don't live for the good of society. I am a free man of free will, and if I choose to give charity, then it shall be my choice as to how much and to whom I give it. No government should ever think it has the right to force me, against my will, to live for the sake of another man. I have the right to be selfish."

Frustrated, Buffy asserted, "Well, if I ran the world, I would take all the money from all the greedy, rich fuckers and give it to the poor so there would be no more poverty."

"Then," I told her, "you are a communist and a fascist."

Buffy stood there, looking at me with eyes wide and obviously quite upset at this point, and proclaimed that she was not a communist. I then told her that redistribution of wealth to make everybody "equal" is the cornerstone of communism: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." The conversation was pretty much over at that point.

Mae informed me later that Buffy had told her about our conversation and was quite upset that I had called her a communist. Mae told me that she had set Buffy straight on a few things, telling Buffy that she was just young, naive, and idealistic. Then Mae gave Buffy the best advice she could give her at the time: "Have another drink."

The preceeding conversation illustrates a fundamental difference in how two people, and to some extent, how two different cultures, view the role of government. Myself, an individualist who values freedom, free will, and self-determination, sees government as having a limited role in the lives of its citizens. Government should spend tax-payer money on things that benefit all individuals, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status - no "group" is entitled to preferential treatment or special rights promising "equality". Freedom means the freedom not only to succeed, but to fail. The US Constitution guarantees the pursuit of happiness, not happiness itself.

Conversely, people like Buffy see the role of government as being some sort of provider, there to guarantee equality. They see the individual as secondary to the overall collective social welfare. They believe in engineering society into some Utopian ideal where nobody wants for anything; where nobody gets offended. Government is there to protect people from themselves and provide a life-long safety net to catch them when they fall. Those who have more should have more taken from them and given to those who have less, all in the name of equality. As Orwell once wrote in his parable, "Animal Farm", there will always be those who are "more equal" than others. Equality is a myth.

Just remember one thing. In the 20th century alone, scores and scores of millions of people were murdered or tortured in the name of "equality" by communist or fascist regimes, but, whether or not they knew it, those people actually died for freedom. Think about it.

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