Friday, January 23, 2009

Bootstraps

Let me begin by excerpting one more sentence (with critically necessary edit) of the president's inaugural address:
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.
While I was reading through the multitudinous comments to my Wednesday and Thursday posts, one thing tied them together. And it also reminded me of some of the dumbest comments of the dumbest Obama voters (the ones who expect Obama to magically make their problems go away). And

Far too many people have become dependent on others to survive.

I know, it's a statement of the obvious, but it had to be done. Because at this point, with the deepening recession, we're approaching the point where we can be cast irrevocably into the type of command economy that worked so well for the Soviets. And with the mentality that others must provide us stuff, we're poised to accept it.

Now here's where I tie my earlier posts together. The Obama/Newdeal v2.0 post was about, in essence, unrelenting assumption of power and responsibility over our daily lives. My post arguing that the old guard of the civil rights movement are becoming the source of racial tension now has a side corollary: far too many in the black community still cling to the idea that the deck is stacked against them, and therefor government is required to "balance" things for them.

Other things catch my eye. Walking past the TV a minute ago, I saw two stories mentioned at the bottom of the screen (over the three seconds it took me to get from the kitchen (for coffee) to the bedroom (to type this)) indicating two states were having financial problems keeping up with unemployment. Every news break on the radio details the latest bad numbers. Hell, the damn commercials try to sell shit based on the idea the economy's doing a swirl around the crapper.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the assload of bailouts pouring forthwith from Washington, and how people claiming to be conservative saying that they "have to do something" to justify it.

But this post is not about blaming the government. Because blaming other people is a step on the road to expecting government intervention in the name of "fairness." And the simple fact is that we are reaching a point where we're simply going to run out of money trying to "help" people.

I know, because I've been there (and am still not wholly free of government largess).

So here's the point. We need to get responsible for ourselves and for our families, and encourage others to do the same.

Now I know many of you are already self-sufficient. And I know there are people who have had bad things happen that are overwhelmed by the hits that keep coming. But for this to work, it's time to take it to the next level.

I'll be honest, it won't be easy. But the idea is that we take care of our friends, our family, and ouur neighbors so that the government doesn't have to. I do make exceptions, though, if people seek self-destruction despite our help. But you all know the differnece between the person who blows his money on crap while his ouse gets foreclosed and the family that's struggling to keep up with medical bills while one parent is on the roles due to layoffs. We need to embrace our common faith, both in each other and in God (or an equivalent morality for you atheists). We need to support those businesses that serve us best and that strengthen our community (even to returning to some semblance of the Buy American mentality). And charitable giving should be embraced to help other people, tax deductions be damned, which means donating time, food, personal items, and clothes instead of just money to a charity.

And we need to demand that people in our personal circle take care of the messes they have created, the children they have produced, and others they impact daily.

Simply put, we're not going to drag ourselves out of this mess by waiting for the Stimulus of the Week (add that under Asshat of the Week?) to show up from Washington or the next check from the state to deposit (I assume you go direct deposit rather than messing with paper).

This is not a new idea, but it is forgotten as we isolate ourselves (oh, I'm guilty here). It would be truly amazing if we banded together at the local level to support each other rather than sitting around in our houses looking to far-off governments to plunk their magic twanger and bring relief and prosperity through the most inefficiency method.

So grab up them bootstraps and start a'pullin'.

21 comments:

Name: Soapboxgod said...

You'll get no argument from me Patrick. This is the way it ought to be and have been.

O/T: I've finally finished the detoxification process and am officially back in the blogging saddle again so do check in...

- Sudsy Soapster

rockync said...

Patrick - I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with this post completely.
If the right and the left can just put aside their opposing ideologies long enough to realize that we must pull together to get through this mess, THEN we can get back to all the idle chatter. At this critical point in our history, there is no room for partisanship - first we have to survive, then we have to recover.

Arthurstone said...

Some good stuff here Patrick. Even as a die hard liberal I've yet to meet anyone who felt Gov't had an obligation to help them meet every one of their needs. But then I haven't met the CEOs of Citicorp Haliburton or Blackwater yet.

Of course not all government spending is designed to 'help' people. Unfortunately.

Once we as a nation begin to address the trillions tossed down the drain (with lots and lots more to come) for our imperial adventures in the Middle East we can start to have a real discussion.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/07/AR2008030702846_pf.html

Just Little Ole Me said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TAO said...

Well, it looks like my mother (alias Just little ole me) has found your blog Patrick...

She was for Clinton and in her last couple of emails it appears that she has been watching Fox News...

Now it looks like the transformation is complete! :)

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Tao:

You kiss your mama when she got a mouth like that?? (lol)

And Patrick: I got a magic twanger too.

It looks like you might possibly have cut me off at the knees at every argument I might possibly have raised here. I shall take the credit for your apparent reeducation on certain topics...

But I'm going to read it again and see if I can't find something to bitch about. Or reeducate you. Or both. :P

TAO said...

Speaking of transformations! Wow, Patrick!

So Wall Street gets bailouts and we get community soup kitchens and victory gardens! :)

Got to admit that I do agree with everything you have said! I know that I annoy conservatives but realistically big government and big business are not friends of the working class....

Capitalism ain't what the textbooks say it should be and I do not care what anyone says but no one has a right to a $16,000 shower curtain or a $35,000 commode...

It just ain't right!

James Manning said...

For the most part I do agree with you but (and you knew there was a but coming), if we look at the complexity of our society not even the states truly have the capacity to do everything themselves. Take any city and tell them starting today the government will only provide for safety and public health: no more public schools, no public assistance, the city pays for its own roads and public transportation.

And as for taking care of others, there are 35 million americans in poverty and the number of homeless families is rising.

What are most religious organizations doing? Building million dollar churches and protesting gay marriage! And these are the same people we're suppose to trust to generate funds for health care, prescriptions drugs, education, maintaining roads, investing in new technology and plowing the roads?

Let me know when a state or even a city decides they will not take any federal dollars for anything - and it survives, then I'll believe conservatives and libertarians are serious.

dmarks said...

@arthurstone: "imperial adventures in the Middle East"

$0 has been tossed down the drain for this. There have been no imperial adventures. (There has been one anti-imperial action, in the case of Iraq, which under Saddam was an imperialist expansionist nation. But even that did not meet the definition of a military adventure). Now back to Patrick's subject.

@James Manning: "What are most religious organizations doing? Building million dollar churches and protesting gay marriage!"

Most? Most religious organizations I know personally are running hunger drives, raising funds to send to overseas disaster victims, or opening the local churches as homeless shelters. The ones who do as you say do exist, of course, but I hear about them on national news. It grabs headlines.

"Take any city and tell them starting today the government will only provide for safety and public health: no more public schools, no public assistance, the city pays for its own roads and public transportation."

James, the government of the city I am nearest has nothing to do with public schools at all. So the city government does not provide it.

Patrick M said...

Most of you agree with me because we all understand that as action is more local, it is more efficient. This is why I continue to demand less federal control on everything. Now to the specifics:

Rockync: If the right and the left can just put aside their opposing ideologies...

The problem is that one of those ideologies (which many in the GOP seem to like) involves continuing government expansion. That's not a recipe for survival.

Arthur: ...I've yet to meet anyone who felt Gov't had an obligation to help them meet every one of their needs.

But the expectation is there for some things. Whether it's even more money for schools or prescription drug benefits, or [fill in the blank]...

JLOM: When you can leave an intelligent comment....

Tao: That's not a shift in ideology, it's rank anger.

And it's not a transformation. See below.

Saty: It looks like you might possibly have cut me off at the knees...

There's a joke there that I'm not going to take advantage of.

But it's not reeducation (or a transformation). It's self-reliance. You just don't recognize it because I came at it from the angle of the personal, not the political.

James: No comment on the "But(t)s".

This is not a sudden change I'm talking about. It's seeking a return to a time when we were really self-sufficient. Maybe not pioneer self-sufficient, but at least much less reliant on the largess of Washington, less reliant on our states, and maybe equally reliant on the local governments we have control over.

Of course, as you're in Chicago, that might not work as well.

As for the other specifics, Dmarks has me covered.

Dmarks: What you said.

TAO said...

First off, Dmarks needs to get off the Iraq was not costing us anything...its being bought and paid for through supplemental budget requests by the citizens of the USA.

Second, if the local community pays nothing for local schools then exactly where does property taxes go? If not partially to local schools?

But then again, Patrick, we can never GO BACK in time...only forward. So, you got to figure out a way to build a future that allows one to capture the best of the past but still incorporates the reality of today.

I would love to see a new law passed and that is where all stores, including the internet shops, close on Sunday.

It would be a good first step in changing the ways we live our lives.

I would include restaurants to.

dmarks said...

"First off, Dmarks needs to get off the Iraq was not costing us anything"

I'm off it. I was never on it. I am full aware of the $10 per month that is usually claimed.

"I would love to see a new law passed and that is where all stores, including the internet shops, close on Sunday. It would be a good first step in changing the ways we live our lives."

That would be a big step in the government telling us how to live our lives.

But woudn't it be fun to see this law passed, and Amazon and eBay shift their operations to Canada to get around the "no Internet shops on Sunday" clause? In fact, it would probably cause most Internet-related businesses in the US to flee to Canada and Mexico.

Thousands of restaurants would go out of business, due to loss of the popular "Early Sunday breakfast" business and "After church brunch" business. Pizza shops in Windsor, Ontario (across from Detroit) would do a huge business delivering pizzas into Detroit because the government would have banned the American pizza shops from selling pizzas on this day.

No. Let's leave this up to the people, not the government.

dmarks said...

that's $10 billion per month on Iraq above. mistake corrected.

Also, about the ban on Internet shops on Sunday thing? I am thinking that the only way to prevent your law from forcing all Internet businesses to leave the country would be to ban the use of the Internet and telephones on Sunday.

You might have to ban television on Sunday, too, because Canadian mail-order companies would be advertising TV order numbers on Sunday.

Your "Let's be Amish for one day" proposal.... We might as well dress in black-and-white too.

You think it is a good idea? Then live that way. Nothing in the world is stopping you from doing so. But I strongly oppose any effort to get the government to force your lifestyle choice on others.

Patrick M said...

Tao: I would love to see a new law passed and that is where all stores, including the internet shops, close on Sunday.

Uh, no. part of the problem is that we too often cede control to the government. A law such as this would be an imposition of beliefs on those who may not share them.

These choices must be made by the individuals, not the government.

Dmarks: Well, you took Tao's idea to the extreme. I think they did this with smoking already, and are starting that with fast food.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Actually I think a lot of people would like it if stores et al closed on Sundays. Chick Fil A doesn't open on Sundays. Ever. And I know a few privately owned stores and restaurants that don't either. Most of them advertise the fact with big signs referring to Keeping The Sabbath Holy.

Obviously this isn't a law and no one's required to do it and I'm not saying they should. I'm saying that in its own way it's a valid marketing tool as well as a day off. Plenty of people will respect and appreciate that message and patronize these businesses on other days because of it. Have you EVER seen a Chick Fil A that didn't have a line going around the block?? I don't think their Sundays have hurt them any.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

And I don't know about where yall live, but you can't buy alcohol here before 1PM on Sundays.

And I still think there are dry counties out there. If I'm not mistaken, Jack Daniels' distilleries are in one.

Patrick M said...

Saty: There's a distinct difference between local laws, which are up to the people that live there (and we voted in favor of Sunday sales. Yay), and large impositions by state and federal governments. And you'll never hear me say someone should be forecd closed or open by ordinace.

And yes, the distillery is located in a dry county. Doesn't matter. The grocery store in town here has the liquor license.

Come to think of it, my whiskey IS low.

dmarks said...

@Patrick M: "Dmarks: Well, you took Tao's idea to the extreme. I think they did this with smoking already, and are starting that with fast food."

I don't mind the smoking restrictions, because the choice to smoke is typically forced on others. In contrast, I have yet to hear of one person going into a fast-food place and being forced to eat a cheeseburger. It's just not the same at all.

About Tao's idea, I don't think I took it to the extreme. The ramifications would probably go a lot further than my musings. It is quite obvious that a law that allows American Internet businesses to only operate 24/6 would force these companies to go to countries that allow them to operate 24/7.

Another situation to consider with his restaurant ban. Many churches sometimes serve meals after church on Sunday. He might have trouble imposing his Sunday restaurant ban on churches due to separation of church and state. I could see the churches with facilities for this greatly expanding their Sunday dining offerings to fill in for the business of the restaurants that can't be open. I wonder if it is Tao's real intent for churches to get into the restaurant business.

Laws like these have consequences. Look at how the campaign finance reform laws were supposed to get "corrupt money" out of politics, but instead what happened is that they limited free speech and corrupt 527 organizations flourished.

dmarks said...

Satya: "Chick Fil A doesn't open on Sundays. Ever."

You won't find me in one of those lines. According to the web site, they only serve white meat. No thanks.:)

Satyavati devi dasi said...

You won't see me in Chick Fil A either. I'm a vegetarian.

BTW: our temple feeds many people every day of the week, not just Sundays (but more on Sunday, like 150-200) but we don't charge. So that's not 'being a business' and it wouldn't be affected by any kind of law about not running businesses on Sunday.

I think it's an underutilized market strategy, though.

dmarks said...

Not only that but Chick-Fila's are hard to find. I think I saw once once somewhere.