Friday, November 28, 2008

In The Era Of Hope, Some Things Don't Change

The last eight years, at least from our leaders, have demonstrated the worst aspects of human behaviour. And to be sure, they've brought the United States to the brink of disaster on just about every front imaginable. To me, the current economic meltdown and the election of Barack Obama, seemed to indicate that people are finally looking for something different. And a lot of them are.

But not everyone, apparently.

The end of Thanksgiving ushers in the start of the (insert your holiday of choice or make one up here) season. You remember, that time of peace on earth and good will towards men? Unfortunately, the season also comes with an ugly underbelly as the focus for many seems to lock squarely on the acquisition of "things."

Yes, the quotes are meant to convey my disgust. Did it work?

Today is what is affectionately referred to in the retail world as "Black Friday." The term is meant to signify a shopping day where the registers ring so loudly that the balance sheet is solidly in the black. But it also has an ominous ring to it and nothing makes the point better than what happened today. This morning a temporary Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death as he attempted to unlock the doors of the store in Valley Stream, New York. It occurred at the ungodly hour of 5:00 a.m. when you would think that a person might be safe. Instead it seems that a two thousand people had lined up like pigs at the trough to gorge themselves on the latest bargains, or perhaps the slim hope of scoring a Nintendo Wii. When the man and his fellow workers began to open the door, the crowd surged forward, breaking the doors in the process. It took several minutes for help to get to him, but not before he was trampled reportedly by hundreds of shoppers.

What's the price of a man's life? Today it's apparently $100 of Chinese made crap.

Unfortunately, this is not the only report of consumerism gone lethal. At a Toys 'R' Us store in Palm Desert, California, two individuals were killed in a shooting. These tragedies are the outcome of a country that is too focused on material goods, a country that has mortgaged it's future and sold it's soul to foreign powers in the name of convenience and the saving of a dollar. Welcome to Ronald Reagan's America and George W. Bush's new world order.

I wonder how many others have to die at the alter of greed?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you write an article or direct me to something that explains what is meant by the "Era of Hope"?

What is the altar of greed?


12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Era of hope refers to the Obama era. It seems that many people are shifting their sights to more high minded priorities. But obviously not everyone. The alter of greed is metaphorical, though in the case of the Wal-Mart trampling, it might as well be literal.


2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

High-minded priorities?

Could you give some examples?


1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, please define 'greed'.


2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"High Minded Priorities" - universal health care, infrastructure rebuilding, investing in alternative energy sources, attending to environmental concerns.

My definite of "Greed" - the rampant acquisition of material goods beyond all reason.

You're really chewing through this one.


10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Universal Health Care-like in Canada where one in five people can't find a doctor? What is high-minded about enslaving health care providers?

Infrastructure building--private or public funding?

Investing in alternative energy sources--private investment I hope since public "investment" is really just consumption spending by politicians.

Attending to environmental concerns--hopefully not through draconian, impoverishing laws.

Is world peace high-minded, quixotic, both, or neither?

How is it determined that someone's acquisition of material goods has gone beyond all reason?


6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


>>Universal Health Care-like in >>Canada where one in five people >>can't find a doctor? What is >>high-minded about enslaving >>health care providers?

No -- I'm not talking about socialized medicine, I'm talking about health care as a fundamental right. Making it possible for every person to have health insurance.

>>Infrastructure building--private >>or public funding?

Public. The roads and bridges of this country belong to all of us.

>>Investing in alternative energy >>sources--private investment I >>hope since public "investment" is >>really just consumption spending >>by politicians.

Yes -- private. But we need to provide a sufficiently business friendly tax environment to help the transition along.

>>Attending to environmental >>concerns--hopefully not through >>draconian, impoverishing laws.

Hopefully not. But, our planet is out of balance and it is starting to fight back. There is no reasonable dispute to that. If we don't address these issues, the earth will survive. It just won't be hospitable to human life.

>>Is world peace high-minded, >>quixotic, both, or neither?

Both, but that doesn't mean that it's not worth pursuing. 150+ years ago the abolition of slavery was also probably considered so. Doesn't mean that it wasn't the right thing to pursue.

>>How is it determined that >>someone's acquisition of material >>goods has gone beyond all reason?

That's for each one of us to decide for ourselves. For me, the line was the trampling to death of a Wal-Mart employee which was what that particular blog post was about.

I don't know if you agree with me on that, but if you don't, what standard would you use.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Health care cannot be a fundamental right. No one has a right to the services of another outside of a voluntary agreement. Otherwise the relationship is form of slavery. One problem is we have is terminology. What we call health "insurance" is not insurance at all; it is a health care payment plan. Check any basic text on insurance--getting a regular check-up by a doctor is not something that insurance would cover. From wikipedia:
"Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for a premium, and can be thought of as a guaranteed small loss to prevent a large, possibly devastating loss."

Almost anyone can, if they choose, afford a catastrophic care insurance policy, what used to be called hospital insurance. Routine medical care would then be paid out of pocket with payments contributing to the high deductible of the catastrophic policy. This would greatly reduce health care costs by removing the insurance company as the middleman (the actual customer really) in medical transactions. Registered nurses have formed fee for service clinics and some doctors are now cash only.

I support Ron Paul's health care reform act:

What is needed in health care is the free market, but we keep moving further and further away from it as government paid health care like medicare eats larger and larger slices of the health care pie.

As far greed goes, you are right,it's a personal call. I don't blame greed for that guy getting trampled--maybe Long Islanders are just rude. Rude people in mobs can do stupid things. Joe Sobran had a good explanation of how the term greed is abused. "'Need' now means wanting someone else's money. 'Greed' means wanting to keep your own. 'Compassion' is when a politician arranges the transfer."

I would say the politician is the greedy one.

On infrastructure, did you see the Conference of Mayor's 800-page book of pork barrel "infrastructure" projects? It would make a non-politician embarrassed.
"Obama's Pork-Barrel Infrastructure"

Thanks for the reply,

3:06 PM  

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