Grabbing the Third Rail with Both Hands

So, I’ve been listening to a lot of the coverage of Sarah Palin and her daughter and it’s gotten me thinking about abortion. This is one of the political issues that my wife and I don’t see eye to eye on. That’s largely because she’s very decidedly pro-choice and I’m largely indecided.

While I could get into it in more detail here, that’s not the point of this post.  The point is that I think I’ve finally figured out what it is that bothers me about the abortion debate.  Pro-lifers are clearly anti-abortion.  I am not clearly anti-abortion, so I don’t really feel like that qualifies me as pro-life.  At the same time, I don’t feel like I’m pro-choice, either, but I could never figure out why I felt that way.  Last night, it struck me why.

I don’t think pro-choice is the proper term any longer.   (more…)

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Published in: on September 6, 2008 at 7:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Joe Biden? Really?

Seriously?  Obama picked Joe Biden as his veep?  I’ve been pondering this decision since I heard about it, and I’m honestly surprised.  I figured the candidate for change, the candidate who’s all about not following politics as usual would have chosen someone a little less… usual.  I mean, I saw a picture of the two together and all I could think was, “Look, another old white guy running for office.  What a shock.”

It seems to me that the best thing McCain could do is pick a VP that’s either female or a minority.  Better yet, both.  I know Condie has said that she doesn’t want to run for office, but I would think that you’d be able to defuse a lot of the racial and gender tensions with a choice like her.

I figure I should take a quick moment to note my… strategy(?) with this blog.  I don’t really care about this election.  It’s been going on so long, I can’t quite remember when I started getting sick of it.  I don’t like either candidate, and I won’t be voting for either candidate.  I’ll vote, but it’ll definitely be for a third party candidate.

I pick on Obama because all I ever hear is praise and adoration.  The McCain supporters I know tend to have the feeling that, “Eh, he’s not what I want, but he’s close enough.”  The Obama supporters, on the other hand, tend to be downright fanatical.  I hear off the wall comments and conversations bordering on worship, and I feel like I have to step in and remind people, even if I’m just talking to myself, that he’s just another politician.  If ever anyone in power, say the leader of one of the houses of Congress, says that McCain is a “gift from god,” I’ll do my best to take him down a notch or three, as well.

Redistribution of Idiocy

I’ve just gotten done listening to a lecture by Walter Benn Michaels, the author of a book called The Trouble with Diversity.  In this lecture, he expounds on his belief that diversity is not so much an issue in America as is equality, more specifically, financial equality.  He talks at length about how the wealth gap is growing and nobody seems to care, distracted as they are by issues of race and gender discrimination.

What bothers me about this lecture is that several times he says he believes that rich people ought to make less money, that they ought to be taxed higher (with the money going to “name your cause”), and he mentions wealth redistribution numerous times.  What he doesn’t say is how this should happen, nor does he explain how taking money from a rich person makes a poor person’s life any better.

I’m especially struck by a comparison he makes between two sexual discrimination suits, one against Wal-Mart, one against a brokerage firm.  His major problem with these suits is that no one is paying attention to the fact that the suit against Wal-Mart is so that the women can make $21,000, while the broker is looking to make $1.4 million a year.  He’s appalled by the gap between the two sums.  I work for Wal-Mart, though.  I simply can’t say that the job I do is equal to the job the broker does, so why should I be paid equally for it?

Additionally, he seems to think it is wrong for a person to make more money who worked hard to get into medical school, got good grades, worked hard at an internship and got a good job as a doctor, then (by extension) someone who didn’t.  Apparently, someone who slacks off, flunks out, and flips burgers because of it, deserves to be paid as much as someone who devoted their life to getting ahead simply because it is unequal and unfair.

This logic bothers for another reason, as well.  First, I work at Wal-Mart and so does my wife.  From conventional logic, you’d think we would be destitute.  We’re not that bad off.  We own a car, we rent a really nice apartment, we eat well and I have so much technology floating around here it’s almost disgusting.  (Okay, it really is kind of disgusting.)  However, I would like my life to be better, even still.  I’d like a second car for my wife.  (Okay, actually a third car, but the Comet needs an overhaul before it’s even capable of running, so it doesn’t count.)  I’d like to buy a house.  I’d like to feel like I can afford children.  To that end, I’d like to become wealthy.

I know this may come as a shock, but I’m motivated to rise above my station in life.  Apparently, in Mr. Michaels’ world, I’m not allowed to do that.  If his desires for the world were to come true, it wouldn’t matter whether I worked at Wal-Mart or worked hard to make my writing talent become profitable, I’d make the same amount of money, either way.  And if I could do even less work for the exact same amount of money, then, let’s face it, I’d rather stay home and play video games.  Except, I doubt anyone else would have a desire to create games worth playing, so never mind.

(As an interesting aside, Mr. Michaels mentions in his lecture that he’s had a lot of criticism, very poor reviews and gets a lot of debate about his ideas.  The more I think about this, the more I realize what’s going on here.  He lectures about this because he actually thinks it’s a good idea, that people will eventually agree with him, if he just keeps explaining it.  In reality, it’s nothing more than a return to Communism, and a really terrible idea.  I mean, even China has adopted many aspects of capitalism.  It would seem to me that there’s clearly a problem with Communism, but it must have escaped Mr. Michaels notice.)

(As another aside, if you really do believe in what Mr. Michaels is saying, and you make more than about $25,000 a year, send me an email.  I’ll give you my address and you can send me a check to make our salaries more equal.  🙂 )

Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 9:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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