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How Can You Laugh at a Time Like This?

Bruce Madison/Willy Chaplin

No. 156

For the sake of posterity...

March 2, 1998

Aren't you getting tired of hearing about "saving the children?" Having run completely out of other excuses for regulating just about every imaginable human activity, politicians and other charlatans are increasingly using our children as scapegoats for their controlling everyone else's behavior but their own. We have the War on Drugs. We have mandatory seat belt and helmet laws. And, of course, that favorite of favorite, we have compulsory universal public education. Each of these abominations is mainly advanced as a way to save our children. But, one might ask, save them from what?

Whatever else these sinkholes for public funds might do, they certainly do not save either our children or us from the purveyors themselves. We have all heard that President Clinker didn't inhale. However, this paragon of virtue has recently called for a renewed effort to reduce drug use among children to make sure that, within nine years (or so), at least half of our children, who would otherwise be making this choice for themselves, do not get a chance to decide whether or not to draw the smoke into their lungs. Oh, and incidentally, he proposes to spend 18,000,000,000 dollars more of our hard earned cash to accomplish this. Most of this money is earmarked for futile "education" and "rehabilitation" efforts. Hasn't anyone ever told Billy Bob that children often do things precisely because their adult mentors tell them NOT to?

I won't get into the sorry tale of childhood deaths and injuries due to mandated seat belt and helmet laws. I am sure the pain of having lost a child to the governmental manure spreading of "liberal" lawmakers is lesson enough.

And, in fact, I am all for universal education. I don't even resent its being made mandatory. But how come the children we are "saving" with this venerable educational institution keep doing worse and worse, refusing to be educated, much less "saved?" Perhaps it is because government seldom can do anything well?

It used to be, when the church and the state were indistinguishable, the Lords and Masters concentrated on controlling our reproductive functions. Indeed, what better way to control us than to meddle with our ecstatic behavior, whether produced by the heads on our shoulders or the ones in our crotches? However, when the rulers use their exalted status to openly covet swimming pool diddle-fests and casual blow jobs, it becomes increasingly difficult to convince us, the unwashed, to control OUR pee-pee-doo-doos.

So, enter The Children. Who can argue with being kind to children? They ARE our future, right?

A related issue is the notion of saving the world for "future generations." Currently, the global warming obsessives are the main broadcasters of this hoary chestnut. Unless we act now, they assert, the people of one hundred years hence will suffer unimaginable catastrophes. The consequences are "unimaginable" because none of these harbingers of doom even pretends to know what exactly will happen. Predictions range from disastrous sea level rises, inundating coastal cities, all the way to another ice age (which, you may note, is exactly the OPPOSITE effect!). Suffice to "understand," they prattle on, that the results will be truly awful.

Thus, these CEBBTOs are mandating drastic reductions in greenhouse gases, especially by the "developing world." Countries like China and India, which are rapidly industrializing with big increases in carbon emissions, are called upon to "make sacrifices" for the sake of humanity. That WE did not make those same sacrifices when WE were rapidly industrializing is left completely unnoted.

Suppose our ancestors of one hundred years ago had the same concern for our welfare. They might have advocated a drastic reduction in horses and buggies on the grounds that if horse-and-buggy use kept increasing at the rate it was at the time, we today would be drowning in horse shit! A global fecal-disaster! Or, perhaps the great thinkers of one hundred years before that could have completely halted the industrial revolution, in order to nip global warming in the bud as well as a few other assorted "evils." Of course, we might then have continued to die at the average age of forty...from disease, malnutrition and "natural" disasters. But, at least we wouldn't be warming the Earth!

The point is simple. Forcing people to suffer now for the sake of unpredictable consequences to our descendants somewhere down the road is a shortsighted and stupid policy. Not only is it bad science, it is an insult to the intelligence of the very people we wish to "save." Why not instead rely, as we have always done, on the ingenuity and inventiveness of future generations to deal with any problems which may actually arise due to our current excesses? This is what we have always done in the past and, whether we like it or not, what we MUST do in the future. We simply do not know in advance, the consequences of our technological actions, so anything we try to do is, by definition, doomed to failure.

The only real objection to this course of action is that something we do now will so damage the earth's ecosystem that our species...perhaps ALL species...will be destroyed and that nothing at all can be done about it at the time when it occurs. This may happen. Other species have in fact vanished due to ecodisasters beyond their control. But, so what? What makes us think that we can avoid this fate using guess-and-by-golly techniques of political control as a substitute for the hard knowledge we do not possess? This is superstition, not science, akin to millennia biblical "predictions" of the end of the world.

This is both the pride and the curse of the human race. It is often said that we are the first species in history with the power to extinguish ourselves. On the other hand, we are also the only species in history that has a ever had chance of NOT doing this. When the dinosaurs were destroyed by a random astronomical act, there was absolutely no way they could have avoided it. When giant sloths were hunted to extinction by primitive humans, they had no recourse but to pass into memory. Thousands of species have become extinct during the course of the history of the world. Some were destroyed by "natural" disasters (By the way, what exactly is an "unnatural" disaster, pray tell? Are we not part of nature? Is not anything we do "natural?"). Others have simply been supplanted by "superior" species competing for the same ecological niche. So it goes.

I, for one, would rather depend upon the continuing development by the human race of technological methods of avoiding extinction than on the likes of political pimps like Bill Clinton or Al Gore doing it with bullshit and draconian controls. To my mind, what Billy Bob did or did not do with his pecker is far less dangerous to my well being than what he proposes to do in the name of "saving" future generations. How about you?

Talk to you later...

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This will be the last column I write as Bruce Madison. See The first day in the rest of my life... to understand why.

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