One of the things I did not mention in my recent post about our transition to Dallas is my current living arrangement. It was not germane to the topic last time, but now it becomes necessary for me to share with you the back story.
When I was 18 and living in rural Oklahoma, my dad and his then wife (Wife #2 for those keeping score at home) adopted a baby boy. They could not have children of their own and after many years of trying, were finally able to adopt a newborn infant. Interestingly, within a year of this milestone event, they were divorced. I probably did not have this thought as a conscious thought, but at some intuitive level I understood that my dad was not going to be there for this baby. I made it a point to stay involved in his life over these last 25 years. When I was in college, about 1 weekend per month, I’d drive to Tulsa and stay the weekend with him and do what I could with him, within my meager means. He still remembers the time we made a racetrack in the backyard for his RC Cars. After college, I got married and moved to Corpus Christi, TX. My wife and I would fly him in and we’d go to San Antonio to Six Flags or to Corpus and spend the weekend at the beach. Because of our love of roller coasters, he has mentioned that it was us who introduced him, and are responsible for, his love of the adrenaline rush.
The point is, he’s not a stranger off the street. Now, he’s a young man, with a successful career in the IT world. He’s making some pretty decent jack, and the company he works for sends him all over the world, doing IT stuff. I think his job is to make sure the flux capacitor is integrated with the ion modulator. Or something like that. He’s got a nice young lady friend he seems quite smitten with.
Now, on with the story: When I planned this move to Dallas, leaving wife and kids behind in El Paso to finish the school year, I did not want to rent a place. Frankly, this move is costing us, big time. We’re hemorrhaging money at every turn. In order to cut down on expenses, I called him up and said, “Hey, dude. I’m moving to Dallas, can I stay with you?” To which he responded, “All I’ve got is a couch, but you can use it for as long as you want.” Hell, I haven’t crashed out on somebody’s couch in 25 years, so I thought it’d be fun. And it is. We’ve joined a group called Makerspace, which is a community owned workshop, and he’s building a new desk. I’m the Transporter Of The Lumber, since I have a truck and he doesn’t. He’s building it, and it looks nice. He kicked me out on Valentine’s Day, which was cool, also. I remember being young & smitten with my wife. Nice. And we’ve drank a lot of beer. Dear God, have we drank some beers! He chastised me just last night for taking more than my fair share of the 12 pack in the fridge. To which I responded, “We’ll get more.”
Here’s a quick summary: Me: 42 years old. Married, 3 kids. Construction supervisor. In the midst of a move which is more than just a little stressful. Politics: Political atheist, with extreme libertarian tendencies, bordering on anarchism. My little brother: 25, single with a girlfriend. Making good money setting up computer networks. Politics unknown.
Last night, over burgers and beer (Twisted Root Burgers: Epic Win!) he let me have it, and how! He gave it to me with both barrels. I don’t even remember exactly how it got started. I don’t really like to talk politics, and I’m certainly no apologist for ANY political party. I’ve come to my views based on my own research. People can do their own research and listen to the same podcasts and watch the same videos I have. The information is out there. So, I assume he must have bought it up. Maybe it was the beer flowing, or maybe he’s just passionate about the topic. Actually, there’s no “maybe” to it. He’s passionate about the topic. And I don’t know that he speaks for an entire generation of millennial. He’s the only Minnie I know. To say he’s a left-leaning liberal is an understatement. He’s a statist. Plain and simple, he thinks Government is the solution to the world’s problems. So much of what he said rankled me so bad, I had to take deep breaths. I didn’t want to try and “convert” him to my way of thinking, so much as I wanted to try and understand his position. So, instead of countering his every point with a counter-point, I asked a lot of questions. Here’s a brief recap of some of his major points:
- Everybody should be paid a living wage. Everybody. I mean every single solitary citizen of America should receive money to a certain level. To make sure I understood his point, I used hyperbole to make the extreme case. So, yes, even the gang-bangers in South Dallas should receive a living wage. The street artist should receive a subsidy to make up whatever difference his art sales should not generate. When asked where this money will come from, he responded, Higher taxes. A heavier, much heavier tax burden on the rest of us. Somehow, in this system, I will have a salary 3x higher than what I make now, so I should be more willing to pay more taxes. When asked again where this money will come, I was unclear how I was going to make more money and pay more taxes.
- Also, in his utopian vision, somehow, this payment of a living wage to the gang-bangers eliminates the generational cycle of crime & poverty. I agree whole-heartedly with reducing this cycle, but I am unclear on how giving people money for doing nothing will do this. Don’t we have a system like that in place now?
- He said that Obamacare was a step in the right direction, but Obama and the Democrats are too weak-willed to really accomplish anything substantive. A totally comprehensive Government health care system is the solution. Nobody should be able to make a profit when it comes to taking care of the health needs of the people. When the profit motive becomes involved in better health for humanity, then the whole process gets corrupted. He used the example of a study that demonstrated that a saline bag costs $0.39 to manufacture and it shows up on your hospital bill for $800 bucks.
- He correlated the greatest growth period in America in the 50’s & 60’s, which also had the highest tax rates in history. So, apparently, high tax rates = high economic growth.
- The Post Office could generate money hand over fist, if only they could make their own decisions. But, any time they make decisions for them, then they lose money. (Loosely, I think “they” is the post office people, and “they” on the other hand is Congress.) I had a hard time trying to explain that “They” are both the same people: Government Drones.
- He set up as a model systems the various statist countries around the world: Spain, France, and course, the Scandinavian countries. I didn’t explain to him that most of Europe is in flames, and what isn’t burning now, will be aflame soon enough. I don’t have any idea how the statism of the Scandinavian countries.
- The Republican Party is in place for the express purpose of serving the rich. When asked if the Democrats weren’t simply another side of the same coin, he agreed, and stated that the Democratic Party does not have the strength or will to pass really meaningful legislation. I thought of Nancy Pelosi’s remark about “passing a law to see what’s in it.” Seems pretty strong-willed to me.
- He supports the 2nd Amendment. I told him the left wants to take away his guns, he agreed and said he disagrees with the Democrats on that issue. That’s all I’m going to say on that item.
- He said that there should be a minimum wage of $20-$25 per hour. Even for burger flippers. When asked what that will do to the price of a burger, he said it will stay the same and the evil burger corporations (And I might agree that the giant burger corporations are, in fact, evil) will take that out of their profit margin. Because no one has the right to charge $6-7 bucks on a burger that costs them $.20 to make.
- Apparently, in the IT world, a company will profit some 3x the amount they pay a worker and that’s not fair. I tried to explain that the reason the construction company I work for is profitable is because they make more money using me than they have to pay me. They agreed to pay me x. I agreed to work for x. If I wanted a different deal, then I should have not agreed to work for x. If I wanted to take the risk and put in the time and energy to run a construction company, I would have done that. I don’t want to do that, so I agree to work for someone who did want to do that. Presumably, it’s the same thing in the IT world. He said the same opportunities don’t exist today that existed then and it’s harder for people to start a business. I agreed that starting a business now is probably very much more difficult today then it was “then.” (Due to the Government!!) (Now, at this point, a little light bulb is starting to go off in my head.)
- It’s the Boomers fault. The generation that had the greatest opportunity in the history of the world has taken that opportunity, turned it upside down, and fucked the upcoming generations. (DING, DING, DING! We have a winner!)
There’s more, but you get the general gist of it. It was basically a model of more statism for more solutions to the worlds problems and to take care of people. Look, he’s a smart guy. He’s a computer guy. He’s making good money, and he’s traveling the world. He’s studied, at least to some level, this information. Some of it sounded like sound bites he quoted from another source; Maybe something he heard and liked. He had facts & figures in his head and cited studies to prove-up his points. I can’t disprove the Scandinavian countries models work, because I’ve never been there. But I’ve never seen something that the Government didn’t touch that they didn’t fuck up.
Here’s my takeaway from this. (Here’s where I’m going to go out on a limb. I don’t know Stephanie, and I don’t have anything against her or her writing. But from reading her work and talking to my little brother, I’m going to lump all millenials into a cohesive group, and use the word “they” from now on.)
They know something’s wrong. They see it, they feel it, they live it. Shit is fucked-up and bullshit. But, the see it and draw the wrong conclusion. It’s like they see half the equation correctly, and get the answer wrong. I had to agree with half of his premises. We’re waging unjust wars around the globe, and not taking very good care of our people here. Our current healthcare system sucks. Our education system sucks. (We talked about the student loan debt load, too.) America, once the freest country in the world, is no longer small-business friendly, while at the same time, favoring the large corporations. No one has been indicted in the scandals of the 2008 crash. Our elected officials are criminals, serving only those who donated enough money to get them elected and then seeking re-election. As human beings, we should take care of one another. We don’t do a very good job at that. All these points we were in agreement on.
It’s the solution where we disagree. As a libertarian/anarchist, I think it’s up to every human being to take care of him/her self. (I think men have a special role in this, but that’s a post for another day.) If someone wants to reach out and lend a hand up to someone who is down and out, that’s a beautiful thing, BUT I SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO DO IT AT THE THREAT OF VIOLENCE! And the state IS violence. There can be no mistaking that.
For some reason, the minnies don’t get that. Is it the claptrap they teach them at school? Do they pick this up from their peer group? From the media? The internet?
How can anyone at this point, seeing how fucked up things really are in the world, think that Government is possibly the answer to ANY of our societal problems? I think that the overall trend is going to be MORE statism in the future, not less. LESS freedom, not more. I don’t think, at this point, that there will be any reversing this train until it runs off the rails, collapses, runs into a brick wall and explodes in flames. God help us all.
I love you, bro.