Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I notice shouted questions flying about... like "are you against" or "are you for" as if many of the complex issues America faces can be solved by a knee-jerk huge emotional yell. YES! NO!

I remember old men who used to come into bars where I drank (way back when in the East) missing limbs and fingers and hands or eyes. They were mine workers from the coal mines of West Virginia. These men worked those mines before any federal agency cared to look into mine conditions. My own hearing is nearly gone because when I was young and stupid, nobody required or offered me hearing protection in noisy shipyards, factories and job shops. Also young and stupid, I smoked until I was 41, but, finally, the information got through because federal agencies got a loud enough public voice to cut through the day in and day out cigarette adverts that filled the airwaves and blocked my hearing.

Knowing my own youthful sense of immortality, I'd be an idiot to give a straight out shout: YES! NO! about many federal programs or regulatory agencies. Not one of those agencies would be in existence if somewhere out there in the great free enterprise system some conscienceless schemer hadn't endangered others public safety through some thoughtless plan to get rich. Federal agencies aren't invented out of whole cloth over nothing, though there are some who would like us to believe that all government is bad government.

Always, in every case, men and women of good will need to go over these matters and make wise decisions about reducing, increasing, eliminating or creating wise policies and institutions for the good of the whole. Doubtless, many bad things could be improved. That's what we elect our representatives to D.C. and Olympia to do, not sit on their hands and draw their pay. Of course... I agree with those who say that the good of the whole is usually some measure of good individual sense, magnified through a resonate ballot box, but I little trust men and women who think that only the selfish whims of the most powerful Americans should be honored and who completely distrust their fellow men. After all, we can tell much about our trust of ourselves by how much we trust others. We can only know another human's capacity for ill doing, by knowing our own capacity for it. Our measure of others is made of the ruler that we hold against ourselves.

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