Category Archives: Culture

The one industry in California that is thriving…

There has been no shortage of articles bemoaning the burden of regulations on business.  Over-regulation hurts competiveness, discourages hiring, and it a bottom line cost to businesses, not to mention just being an intrusive quagmire of red tape that can baffle the most determined entrepreneur.  The problem is so evident that even the White House is determined to address the issue (yeah, we’ll see).

Nowhere is this more aptly demonstrated than in California.  The quintessential nanny state has so poisoned the business environment that business are literally leaving in droves:

Companies are “disinvesting” in California at a rate five times greater than just two years ago, said Joseph Vranich, a business relocation expert based in Irvine. This includes leaving altogether, establishing divisions elsewhere or opting not to set up shop in California.

This is obviously not good for The Golden State, which in July was second only to Nevada in unemployment:  a whopping 12 percent.

There is one industry in California that is thriving.  With budget cuts affected the San Jose Police Department, the prostitution industry has in effect become totally deregulated.  Business for the street-walking entrepreneur has never been better:

Two police sources told NBC Bay Area that prostitutes have even been traveling from as far as Oakland and Fresno to take advantage of San Jose’s less scrutinized street corners.

So California, through its own mismanagement has unwittingly unfettered the happy hookers, who are now freer to ply their trade without the interference of the local gestapo, who may have more important things on their mind.

Hayek would be proud.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Culture, Government Spending, Human Sexuality, Survival

Opium

 

I have been rereading some old classics, and recently finished George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. These are the books you read in high school and kinda sorta remember them, but then again you’ve forgot everything about them.

Both works have settings that involve a certain sort of controlled society. The societies are very different: Orwell’s is grey, monotonous, and sexless. Huxley’s is bright, inviting, and sensuous.  In both cases, however, there is some omnipotent force or bureau or commission or government setting the stage.

There is another thing they have in common. In both Orwell’s and Huxley’s worlds there is is an underlying current, mentioned not as a primary point of the plot but rather as an aside that the reader is assumed to just take for granted and not question. In both worlds there was some sort of opiate always in the background, mentioned casually in passing. An opiate, if one thinks on it, that was designed to placate the masses.

For Orwell in 1984, it was Victory Gin:

Unbidden, a waiter came and filled his glass up with Victory Gin, shaking into it a few drops from another bottle with a quill through the cork. It was saccharine flavoured with cloves, a specialty of the cafe.

For Huxley in Brave New World, it was soma:

…that second dose of soma had raised a quite impenetrable wall between the actual universe and their minds.

Victory Gin dulled one’s senses. The grey world was still grey, but it didn’t much matter. One became resigned.  Soma sent one into blissfullness or dreamless sleep. It induced a feeling of well-being and peace and happiness. One couldn’t care much about anything else in that state, could they?

Karl Marx had another word for Victory Gin and soma. He called it religion, the opiate of the masses:

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.

In both 1984 and Brave New World, people had indeed given up on their illusions. They had, they were told, Marx’s “real happiness”. It was defined, not to be questioned.

It seems to me that though we would scoff at the notion that today we are being surreptiously treated with Victory Gin or induced into oblivious submissiveness with soma, that there is indeed an opiate permeating our society today.  It is less obvious but insidiously more seductive.

It is the common good.

While I am quite certainly common, possessed of no great talent nor wealth, I sense a kind of euphoric and nearly orgasmic tendency of the so-called progressive left today to leave no stone unturned to ensure my safety, stability, and happiness. I think it is quite proper as a function of government to provide, a safety net for those less fortunate or who are through an act of nature unable to take care of themselves.

But I asked for none of this for myself.  I resent these menial intrusions telling me what to eat, how to drive, what is safe or unsafe for me to do.  I can decide that for myself.

No, the opiate today is not Victory Gin or soma. It is the self-satisfied smugs of politicians who telling us they are doing us a favor.

And we buy into it. They are taking care of us, so all is good and all is well. And they are so very happy to be of service to us.

But who is serving whom ?

Confident of their benevolence, we vote them into office again and again. Their smiles are are so damn infectious as they look upon their placated masses.

Do you see the connection ? No, we are not fed Victory Gin nor are we supplied with soma.

We are being given so so so much more. Do you think they will suffer our clingy neediness for too long ? They, with their mysterious powers of laws and regulations are making sure we are not only safe, but well-behaved.  Then they have to get us to stop whining.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–forever.

2+2=4 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 Comments

Filed under Culture, Laws Have Consequences, Life

It’s come to this

From Melbourne, Australia comes the heartwarming story of the tagging toddlers who have been labeled “grafitti artists” by the local gestapo.  Their crime ?  Drawing with chalk on a sidewalk:

Sally White, who runs the family-friendly cafe with husband PJ, said she was told by a council officer that the children’s drawings were graffiti and had to stop, after a complaint from a resident.

Apparently, someone was miffed about the budding Picassos and their offensive pink and yellow stick figures and flowers which adorned the outside of the cafe. Really, somebody has to have a pretty miserable life to be offended by children expressing their innocent creativity which had become a hallmark of the establishment. Patrons and neighbors have gathered a petition of 180 signers to protest the artistic ban. But the law is the law, dammit !

Council’s general manager corporate services Peter Smith said the drawings were in contravention of council’s Local Law No. 1 2006 and the state government’s Graffiti Act 2007.

Egad. Sounds so awfully official.

Certain laws are necessary (the fewer the better), but one must imagine the consequences. When stretched to their ultimate applicability, the results can be downright ridiculous.

1 Comment

Filed under Culture, Laws Have Consequences

An interesting question: “Why is there no looting in Japan?”

The news from Japan seems to be getting worse and worse by the hour.  My heart aches for the people who are living in this tragedy.  Whole towns wiped out, people losing families, survivors hanging on in unimaginable conditions….the devastation and grief are almost beyond comprehension.

As we look in awe at the pictures coming out of Japan, we can’t help but wonder…”What would I do in this situation, how would I handle it ?”.

One can only hope that one could handle with the grace that the Japanese have.  Which causes one to wonder, “Why is there no looting in Japan ?”:

Why do some cultures react to disaster by reverting to everyone for himself, but others – especially the Japanese – display altruism even in adversity?

I have seen pictures of Japanese survivors waiting patiently in line for assistance:

As Japanese survivors cope with food and gasoline shortages amidst the aftershocks and rising body count, they draw on a sense of social order. Unlike scenes in natural disasters in Haiti and New Orleans, there is little anger, no looting.

We have had our share of natural disasters here. Katrina of course comes to mind. Yet then, it was a different story:

Looters used garbage cans and inflatable mattresses to float away with food, blue jeans, tennis shoes, TV sets — even guns. Outside one pharmacy, thieves commandeered a forklift and used it to push up the storm shutters and break through the glass. The driver of a nursing-home bus surrendered the vehicle to thugs after being threatened.

What makes the Japanese culture different?

I don’t know the answer. I can only speak from my own experience. Working in the non-profit sector in the area of workforce development, we offer programs to laid-off workers as well as TANF (formerly known as welfare) assistance. The programs are geared towards training and work-readiness, in the hope that the individuals will be able to find gainful employment. One of my responsibilities is reporting on the demographics of those we try to help. Without exception, the Asian-American demographic is almost the smallest…so small as to be almost non-reportable: less than 1 percent.

Is it a cultural thing where one group will ask for help while another will stoically survive ? Is it a sense of entitlement that drives some to loot and plunder, while others maintain and even help their neighbor?

An interesting question. I only hope that in the event of a natural disaster here that the people of Delaware will try to emulate all that is good about the people of the United States.

And keep in mind the lessons from Japan.

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Survival