Monday, June 17, 2013

Consequences and the Nanny State

I like recycling when possible, whether it's just things like aluminum cans or actually turning something that's being thrown away into something useful.  I compost in a minor way, dumping all of my used coffee grounds, cigar remnants, plain white shredded paper, and sometimes bits of vegetable matter like seeds and stems into the planters on my patio.  Here is a picture of one of my planters, enriched with coffee grounds, and planted with seeds taken from peppers I ate.

Patio planter box

This NY Times story from 16 June tells of a plan by New York mayor Bloomberg to compost food scraps in the Big Apple.  Hey, I'm something of an New Millenium guy, who likes alternative energy, "lower footprint" living, and thinking outside the box- I should love this, right?  But I don't.

With any form of recycling, there are potential drawbacks.  The blue bins in front of my apartment complex are for recycling, but every damn time I drop some cans or bottles in those bins, I see some dumbass has dropped some boxes in there, because some folks are too friggin' stupid to take two seconds to look at the illustration on the bins showing what they do take.  Some of the boxes will be cardboard, which some recycle locations (not ours) collect, but sometimes there are waxed paper boxes, which almost no-one accepts.  After our recyclables are collected, someone at the recycle location will have to go through and separate out all the extra crap that dumb asses threw in, thinking they were "helping".  On my patio, I know that I can toss in a few stems or onion skins at a time, but that if I dump a lot of food scraps, I will have an insect problem, which will lead to a sanitation problem.  I can't even dispose of all my personal food left-overs this way, much less M or RC's.  Now, think of all the potential sanitation issues of collecting food scraps from an entire city

Bloomberg has been one of the strongest driving forces behind recent so-called gun control efforts in the United States.  Disinterested people outside the debate frequently say things like, "But is it really that big a deal?  Do you need 30-round magazines?"  There are several different issues to deal with in those questions, including the US legal ruling that able-bodied males (not in an organized military force such as the National Guard, Reserve, or active military branches) between 17 and 45 years of age comprise the unorganized militia.  Outside of those questions, and the obvious difference between the government's ability to control what I want to have regardless of need, you have the true root of the problem.

Probably the single most damaging idea to our freedom and ultimately preserving our national way of life is the mistaken idea that it is the Federal government's job to take care of our citizens.  In 1935, the Social Security Act was passed. This set the stage for the Federal government's assumption of a duty to take care of whole classes of people.  This, and so many other harmful pieces of legislation, all arguably stem from the somewhat nebulous meaning of the phrase "general welfare".  A particularly important note was made in the 1936 United States v. Butler case:

     If the novel view of the General Welfare Clause now advanced in support of the tax were   
     accepted, that clause would not only enable Congress to supplant the States in the regulation
     of agriculture and of all other industries as well, but would furnish the means whereby all of the
     other provisions of the Constitution, sedulously framed to define and limit the power of the
     United States and preserve the powers of the States, could be broken down, the
     independence of the individual States obliterated, and the United States converted into a
     central government exercising uncontrolled police power throughout the Union superseding all
     local control over local concerns. 

The Social Security Act was unconstitutional, and was not overthrown only because FDR attempted to "pack" the Supreme Court with additional appointees, thus pressuring the sitting justices to rule in his favor.  The whole sordid story can be found here.  The passage of the Social Security Act, and acts based on similar thought, have led to a de facto system of economic slavery lasting four or five generations, slavery that is in some ways more soul-crushing and dignity-robbing than the evil practiced 150 years ago.  The net results have been higher crime, economic blight, national debt, and the loss of perhaps our single biggest national strength, individual self-reliance.  The passage of the Social Security Act started us fully down the path to socialism.  The question remains as to whether it is too late to salvage our great nation.

Does our national government have the ability to determine what is "best" for each of its citizens?  No.  Further, it doesn't have the right.  We must take what actions we can to regain our individual self-reliance.  I moved out of my parents' house at 21.  I don't need a committee of parental units in Washington deciding what I should do, and enforcing those decisions with the enormous power of the Federal government.  This country started with a national system of checks and balances.  Each of us must immediately work to help our state regain its share of autonomy from the Federal government.  We must support initiatives to reduce the size of the Washington bureaucracy from its current bloated size to an efficient, useful structure that is truly balanced with our local and state governance.  And we must do it now, while we still can.


charlotte g said...

I agree with so much of what you say. Each Friday, I work in a soup kitchen and give water and minimal food to the homeless. We have services for the hungry, not homeless. I am going to read and reread this. I need to. I want no one to die from hunger or thirst. I want children cared for.
I'll get back to you.

J.R.Shirley said...

The unintended consequences of the well-meaning are killing us.

I had a friend who used to say "you get what you pay for". We paid for children without the means to support themselves, and we got lots of them.

charlotte g said...

The well-meaning are trying to mend their ways, and it is shocking and helping the disenfranchised.

People without jobs or income no longer can get money for gas or housing here. But we have some limited shower passes, and laundry passes. They can't get jobs if they look tatty and smell to high heaven.

Walmart and Target bring us foods and other goods they otherwise would send to landfills. That is prudent. People bring us good clothing otherwise headed for the landfill. Again prudent. People who travel bring us their small bottles of shampoo,deoderant, etc. Prudent.
The daily meal is made from otherwise disposable food.
We do have a doctor one day a week who gives folks generic prescriptions and at least diagnoses them, and sometimes finds the way to get diagnostic tests for the most sick.
I wish the mentally ill had better places than jail to stabilize before they go back on the streets, but they don't, usually.

We get some small federal stipends.
Most is volunteer, a lot of it stuff that would be thrown away if it didn't come here.We do good. We cost very little. Some get jobs. many volunteer for the work here.
Should we get no stipends? I'm not sure we could manage without that tiny stipend.

J.R.Shirley said...

Well, I am strongly in favor of local/state action. I don't know if I am wholly against a relatively small amount of Federal assistance to charitable groups, but I am entirely against it at the individual level.

Old NFO said...

Agree with all, it's NOT the fed's job to 'police' us, but many now expect that because they refuse to take personal responsibility for anything...