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Free lunch & Crayolas…

November 29, 2013

new and improved giant economy size version…

The Orwellian-named “Affordable Care Act” currently being rolled around like a dung beetle’s precious cargo motivated me to review my little cache of other instances of our national regression towards a fetal position wherein permissions for, and management of, virtually all activities of daily living will be externally controlled functions. Retained and glorified as exemplars of “Liberty” will be the fact that the individual’s central nervous system retains a modicum of influence over biological function such as circulation and respiration.

One item that caught my eye was an editorial from the local newspaper, another Pleistocene relic, published earlier this year regarding an idea floated by the FCC of opening the floodgates a tad and unleashing free wireless access to the masses. The internet, the piece seemed to declare, has evolved to join food, shelter, transportation, education, medical care, designer jeans, cell phones, and Crayolas as Necessities of Life and therefore should be henceforth provided “free”, compliments of the Federal Government.

More on the meaning of the word “free” at another time.

Much like the list of Special Interest Groups, the menu of Necessities of Life keeps being expanded and it’s difficult to keep up. My understanding has always been that if one has a reasonable amount of edible nutrients in his stomach with an acceptable level of regularity, shelter that keeps most of the rain out, wearables to maintain body heat and dignity, and the desire to spend more time on one’s feet than on one’s stern sheets, one could survive and thrive. How well one would survive and thrive would depend on how much one contributed to the process, not on how loudly one screeched. One was perfectly free to play the “It’s my ass and I’ll sit on it if I want to” game if one so chose, but it was pretty much understood that manicures and color TV were not part of the package.

It’s a tough question. I realize that, and like it or not, the cyber-dimension is the printing press of the twenty first century and society must adapt. But with so many things of tradition, as well as of principle, being supplanted so rapidly by so many new things and new principles in the name of such concepts as safety, fairness, equity, and “Why Johnny Can’t Must Have Designer Sneakers and a New Smart-Phone”, I find myself waiting for the inevitable collision. With the federal government annexing so many responsibilities formerly owned by the populace, along with the authority and power to carry them out “efficiently”, when will some genius figure out that that the usual and customary definitions of Freedom and Liberty are passé and no longer fit the modern world?

My late uncle had a preserved section of pig skin that his father-in-law had owned. It was from the belly, obviously a nipple, and he called it the “hind teat”. It was a tradition to award it to those coming in last during any competition or just for the hell of it. I don’t know whatever happened to it but, knowing him, I have occasionally wondered if he might have willed it to Washington.

Has Big Government and its entourage of suckling sycophants actually been hiding my late uncle’s little family tradition all along, planning to award us all, collectively of course, Hind Teat, just as soon as they get all of their ducks, and statutes, and “free” stuff in a row?

 

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