Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fair? You wanna talk about fair?

So, I made the mistake of watching an "amateur comedy night." I'm sure they'd take offense with my referring to it as "amateur night." But they were definitely amateurs. Not just at comedy - at thinking. Apparently, most would-be comedians seem to be under the mistaken impression that volume = quality. They yell and scream into the microphone until it hurts your ears. They get upset if you don't clap - or don't clap loud enough. Their jokes are generally tasteless and not funny, ex. "So, they released the report about what killed Gary Coleman. It was a different kind of stroke. Well, at least Michael Jackson now has someone to play with. And it's not technically pedophilia."

I'm not making that up.

I don't think it's wrong to make jokes about celebrities. I don't think it's necessarily wrong to make jokes about dead people or about death. But every single joke told by these people was told in a manner that made it apparent that they believe themselves smarter, wiser, somehow more worthy than the rest of the world. And don't even get me started on their so-called social commentary. Or their political bits. Now, I understand so-called "entertainers" have a tendency to be fairly liberal. I get that. And I get that it's because they've generally either a) been raised privileged enough not to have to worry about a real career, b) been raised to believe that education somehow makes up for intelligence, c) been indoctrinated by the culture of their industry. I get that. I get that most of them won't have a 9-5 job for the majority of their life. I get that most of them probably don't want a 9-5 job, preferring a job that allows them to have their nights free to pat each other on the back and drink too much. I understand how attractive a drug and alcohol induced haze can be compared to the realities of life.

I understand how people feel like something is wrong as long as some people starve to death. Or freeze on the streets. Or die of heatstroke. Or just don't have a home to go to, don't have the money for clothes. All while a minority of our population live in luxury. I understand how that can look like some form of injustice must be being perpetrated. And I'm not saying there isn't any injustice. I'm not "pro-wealth." I'm pro-reality. I'm for realizing that there's more to it than just seeing that everyone has a good meal and place to sleep. And it is beyond ridiculous to try and blame the wealthy "because they're wealthy" for the state of affairs. What would be a perfect solution to hunger? Hmm? Making sure everyone gets enough to eat isn't "the solution", it's the goal. The solution is how you're going to make sure everyone gets enough to eat. First, determine "how much is enough?" Because the more you have to give everyone at each meal, the more you have to somehow produce. Then ask yourself "how will we produce this amount of food?" Let's assume it's all crops. Someone has to grow the crops. Someone has to plant them, see to irrigation, keep pests away, harvest and process and transport the crops. Who's going to do all of that? And who's going to pay for all of that?

The government isn't an endless supply of money. "Government cheese" is a ridiculous idea, the government is already hemorrhaging money. Is everyone going to chip in and donate money to this endeavour? Or are we going to somehow do all of this without any money? That's not going to happen, not in this world.

What should the government provide for people? What should people provide for themselves? Does equality mean everyone has the same things and the same amount of everything? Or does equality mean providing a system in which a person's hard work, dedication and drive to succeed can give him the opportunity to acquire for himself what it is he desires? Some people denounce greed as evil. Greed is not evil. Greed is a human motivator. The desire to have something you do not have or to have more than you have. Greed is not evil. Greed motivates people to succeed. It motivates people to study, to work hard. It motivates people toward accomplishment. Greed can be taken to extremes. There are those who are greedy to have everything but who do not want to work or expend resources to acquire the things they desire. Those who want others to provide for them. These people are lazy. They are greedy AND they are lazy. That is when things start going bad. They want what others have. They want more than what others have, in fact, because they don't want to have to earn what others have. When people have no incentive to put forward any effort, they don't. The struggle for achievement, for improvement, for advancement of the self-interest is motivated by the promise of some kind of reward. Perhaps the reward is peace of mind. Perhaps the reward is access to greater resources. Perhaps the reward is self-fulfillment. When someone else provides everything for you, you have no incentive to advance your own interest.

In short, I understand the sentiment behind being upset and thinking it is "unfair" that some people have more than others. But that is life. That is the way the world works. Things aren't always fair. And I don't begrudge people their grumbling. Everybody grumbles. Especially on the bottom of the ladder. The person who goes out and works sixty hours a week swinging a hammer and hauling cinderblocks and shingles around and gets paid less than the scrawny twerp who sits in an office counting pencils all day is going to bitch. That's normal. I've been that kind of guy.

But the kid whose only job has been waiting tables, not because they were too poor or stupid to go to college and pursue a better career but because they were too LAZY.... the kid whose parents are still paying their bills ofr them... the kid who has never had to worry about such basic things as budgeting and making sure they had enough to pay the light bill and buy groceries for the month... that kid has no damn right to bitch about unfairness. And more to the point, that kid has no damn right to sit there and tell me - when I'm working 60+ hours a week - that I have to give up a pile of the money I'm earning to try and provide for myself and my family so that someone can make things "more fair."