We’ve been listening to a lot of Kraftwerk around here recently, and here’s some of the crowd favorites:
Kraftwerk – The Telephone Call
Kraftwerk – The Model
Kraftwerk – The Robots
Kraftwerk – Tour de France
Kraftwerk – Music Non-Stop
(That last one always chokes me up when they leave the stage with the music playing. That’s a classy way to end your concert.)
There are basically two ways of paying for something:
- Pay for it yourself
- Make someone else pay for it
Method 1 is pretty straightforward: you use your own money, which you earned somehow, to pay for the goods or services you desire.
However, Method 2 has many nuances:
- For instance, a woman can marry a man (or vice-versa) and allow him to support her (or vice-versa).
- Or, like Obama’s faceless girlfriend Julia, a woman can get every man in America to support her and the children she has out of wedlock.
- You can buy a gun force people to give you money at gunpoint.
- You can buy a gun for someone else, and have them go and force your neighbors to give you their money and stuff. Give your gunman a badge to make the hold-up seem legit.
And here’s the crux of what I don’t understand about people and politics:
Why do people think Methods 2.2 and 2.4 up there are more noble and generous and kind and benevolent and altruistic than Method 1 or Method 2.3? Why is method 2.4 socially acceptable when it is generally agreed that 2.3 is wrong?
Methods 2.2 and 2.4 involve taxing people to pay for services or goods the government provides. Perhaps the first tax collector doesn’t have a badge and a gun, but rest assured, if you resist the polite attempts at collection, the guns will come out and force compliance.
Let’s explore a scenario:
Doogooder Bill thinks it is sad that people are out of work. He wants to help people get jobs again, but realizes that they may be short on cash, resources, or know-how, and they will have difficulty finding a new job. And sure, there are lots of job placement services out there, but they charge for their services! How greedy and corrupt do you have to be to charge out-of-work people to help them find a job?
But Bill doesn’t want to start a non-profit, that would require begging for voluntary donations and relying on the kindness of others, and D.B. doesn’t believe in any such nonsense.
So what’s his other option? Turn to government, of course!
So he has his legislator create a Department or Bureau of Workforce Services. He has people with badges and guns go out and take money from the populace at large to fund his operation. People without enough initiative to visit a private employment service can come to him and he’ll do the same work for greater cost, without charging them a cent!
So is D.B. noble for doing it the publicly funded way?
I’d argue no, but only because I prefer voluntary contracts and associations, I don’t want to force people to do what I want them to do, or to force people to pay for things they have no desire to pay for, or to support people with whom they have no ties nor interest.
If someone has a product or business concept with no commercial value and no way to bring it to market, I think the idea should die in obscurity. Other people think the government should send out people with badges and guns, take millions of dollars from the populace at large, and give that company a fighting chance.
Why is it considered more altruistic to force people to do things they don’t want to do at gunpoint, than to let people do what they want to do voluntarily? Why is government considered by so many to be corruption-free and as acting in the public’s best interest, when this is so demonstrably untrue with even a cursory glance at modern events and history in general?
That’s what I don’t understand.
In today’s edition, we take the Wayback Machine to 1989, a full 23 years ago, for some quality time with The Art of Noise.
I was in high school, the A’s were playing the Giants in the World Series, and a massive earthquake killed a bunch of people, ruined some bridges, and interrupted the game.