by Brad Nelson
Thoughts from my head to yours, with very little chance of acquiring a communicable disease. Join me for a look at the absurd, the remarkable, and the whacky.
Gratitude in a Leftist World
I think I learn most of life’s lessons in the supermarket checkout lane. I was in that lane yesterday and the cashier said something like, “I hope I get a paper cut and then I can get off work and go watch the football game.”
He’s a nice, jovial guy, and his comment was meant to be light-hearted and funny, which it was. So I quipped back to him, “You must have one heck of a healthcare plan.” However, the large, kind of permanently-scowling, guy in front of me wasn’t quite in on the joke and said in a gruff tone something like “My plan is crap.”
I take it as axiomatic the all of the policies of the Left and of the Democrats stoke envy, grievance, a sense of entitlement, and a chronic sense of dissatisfaction. Certainly one can’t blame all the sourpusses that one sees in life on the Left. But I’m seeing more and more of this kind of stuff, and have been seeing it for years.
We live in the greatest, most wealthy country in the world, and yet I remember some of my Leftist friends complaining about how bad the economy was under George Bush. I believe unemployment was something like 5-1/2 or 6 percent…about as low as you can practically go. And yet the media had convinced these useful idiots that life was bad.
Add to this the images one sees on television 24/7 where, quite frankly, everything good and decent is ridiculed. A noble or good thought doesn’t stand much of a chance of forming. We are turning into a sourpuss culture of bitter, angry, ungrateful people. And I think this ingratitude is less an overt expression and more a case of this bitterness being on a low boil. But sometimes it does, of course, boil over. Is this what you want? Is this what I want? Hell no.
Christianity is not a Poverty Program
I still remain somewhat at arm’s length from Christianity, if only because of doubt and because so much of actual religious devotion is Marxist in orientation. It is certainly good and right to help people who need help. No question about it. Rather than a whore, as Christopher Hitchens called her, I think Mother Teresa is a saint.
And yet Christianity is not a poverty program. The compassion that is evoked and set free by an ennobled heart will certainly work to help others. But many people are jumping right past this stage and going straight to the poverty programs, in essence turning Christianity into little more than a program that Lyndon Johnson might have officially adopted into the government of his era.
But Francis of Assisi, to name one notable example, actually embraced poverty as a vocation. He did so not because he despised wealth or possessions but because he wanted nothing between him and Christ. Think of that. Instead of trying to eradicate poverty, he asked others to join him in it. And thousands did.
Christianity has lost its way. But this hasn’t been the first time. One wonders now who will rebuild His church.
The Pampered Consumer
I have some equipment around the office that still functions and is upwards of forty, maybe fifty, years old. Maybe I’m a conservative because I like conserving things.
I also have a collection of retro video game systems that I love. My nephews have played on my old Atari 800 computer and one of them remarked, “Gee, I didn’t realize you had such cool games when you were a kid.” These “cool games” consisted of 8-bit highly pixelated graphics and maybe 16 colors at most. But these systems often had gameplay that is still unsurpassed in many newer systems which simply flood the screen with smoothly-rendered pixels in millions of colors — shiny things galore. But often the gameplay is quite dull.
It is inaccurate to call it a consumer market that we live in today. We are not consumers. We are narcissists-in-the-making. Steady improvement is a good thing. But we now commonly discard perfectly functioning items because some new version has just come out that offers but a few more bells and whistles. And I’ll admit to loving my gadgets and technology. But think about the kind of person who is unwittingly being created by this market where every little whim is catered to and where “great” is quickly discarded because “super great” is the next promise.
We glorify this narcissim by calling it “consumer choice.” But, good god, I hope you know what I’m talking about. Look at just about any product or service that is offered now. They come so highly specialized that we can no longer rightly be called consumers, we are the pampered masses. And we have become used to having things completely our way.
One thing that pleases me the most is when I’ll find some old discarded gadget at, say, Goodwill and I clean it up and restore it. I have an old stopwatch that I take along with me when I’m hiking that I rescued and restored from Goodwill. I find more satisfaction in this then buying something new. It’s sort of like the love that Rudolph and friends had for the discarded toys they found on The Island of Misfit Toys.
Ironically, we are the ones becoming the misfits, expecting our every whim to be catered to. We are the Pampered Populace and it shows. I have people who regularly come into my office bitching and complaining because some service at Brand X didn’t do such-and-such. Or they bitch because they had trouble finding our address. Or whatever. Such pampered people. How will they ever hold onto their freedoms? The answer is, they won’t. They will give in to any demagogue who promises to fulfill their every wish. • (1186 views)