The halls of your local middle school are likely riddled with posters, banners and bulletin boards, all containing supposedly “motivational” and “informative” messages. If you can block out all of the horrible 12 year olds psychologically and physically tormenting each other, middle school hallways are very encouraging places.
There’s the poster with an image of an athletic young woman riding a bike, or climbing a mountain, emblazoned with the word “GOALS” or “ACHIEVEMENT.” There’s the perfunctory “DIVERSITY” banner, adorned with different colored hands clasped together across the globe.
Then there’s the requisite “Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars!” poster. It should be noted that this one, although commonplace, is reckless and horridly inaccurate from an astronomical perspective. Trust me, kids, if you shoot for the moon and miss — God help you. The people in Apollo 13 followed this advice, and look what happened to them. If you don’t land on the moon, you will NOT be “among the stars.” You will be approximately 90 MILLION MILES away from the nearest star, the Sun, and TRILLIONS of miles from the second closest, Proxima Centauri. Either way, you’re not even close.
And now you’ll be doomed to float aimlessly in the black, dead, vacuous abyss. Haven’t you seen Gravity? Eventually your oxygen will deplete and you’ll die slowly, alone, out in the unforgiving nothingness of space. If you’re lucky, a space rock will fly by, rip a hole in your suit, and your face will explode. At least then your death will be quick, even if it’s unimaginably painful. So, if you shoot for the moon you damn well better hit that thing. This is the real positive message for the youth: “Achieve your goals or die alone in the darkness.” Someone put that on a bumper sticker.
In any event, worse than this scientifically implausible cliché is that one motto that’s hammered into our heads from the time we take our first step, until we breathe our last breath: “Safety First!”
Safety first. Think about this. You’ve heard it a billion times; have you ever actually considered the implication of this deranged saying?
Safety first? FIRST? Safety before everything? There’s nothing more important than being safe? If that’s true, then we really shouldn’t be, like, doing anything. Ever. I saw a TLC special about a guy who lived by this mantra. He was a paranoid OCD schizophrenic; he locked himself in the bathroom for three years, washed his hands 400 times a day, and had food given to him under the crack in the door. Say what you want about the dude, but you can’t accuse him of putting anything but safety first. He was safe. His life was also miserable and pointless, but at least he succeeded in prolonging it.
I wanted to go skydiving a few years ago, so I started researching places online. I found a reputable skydiving business and perused it’s website. Sure enough, right there, front and center on the homepage: “Here at ____ Skydiving, our motto is ‘Safety First.’” I suppose this is meant to be soothing to potential clients, and, certainly, I want to do my skydiving with professionals who care about safety. But if you really put safety FIRST, wouldn’t you refuse to take anyone skydiving at all? The only thing safer than safe skydiving is not skydiving. In other words, if you’re skydiving, safety is not your top priority.
Safety should always be a consideration, but I’m not sure that it should ever be your primary concern. Yet we’ve increasingly adopted this catchphrase and it’s had exactly the sort of impact that you’d expect. “Safety First” is the most damaging exactly where it’s the most common: in the realm of child-raising; in the schools, in the daycares, at home. Gone are the days of teaching children to take healthy and rational risks; of encouraging them to run and jump and climb trees; of embracing their rough and tumble nature, particularly among young boys. Instead we’ve put Safety First, and now we have a generation of lazy, gelatinous couch potatoes — but at least they’re safe!
The latest from the Safety First front has the internet in quite a tizzy today: Weber Middle School in Long Island joined the War on Recess, and they’re coming out with the big guns. They’ve instituted a ban on footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, lacrosse balls; any sort of hard ball that might bump a precious child and cause a small bruise or skin abrasions of some sort. They’ve also outlawed tag and cartwheels, unless supervised. (Side note: somebody please start an indie band and call it The Supervised Cartwheels). The emergency room director at the local hospital has endorsed the move. He claims that he’s seen an uptick in “head injuries, bumps, scrapes.”
This, of course, leads one the following question: Who the hell brings their child to the emergency room for a bump or a scrape? We like to blame the schools for this sort of madness — Lord knows, I’m never hesitant to assign them their portion of the guilt when they deserve it — but the schools generally aren’t the ones shipping kids to the ER for a scraped knee. The schools also don’t sue themselves when Johnny falls off the swing and sprains his wrist. The schools aren’t instituting these policies because they want to; they’re doing it because the public forces them into it. Why are those kids brought to the hospital for minor dents and dings? Because Mommy and Daddy see an opportunity to turn a profit. It’s the same reason someone goes to the doctor for “whiplash” after a minor fender bender. They’re building their case for the impending lawsuit.
It’s hard for me to stomach some of the “let my child play dodge ball at recess!” hysteria, because we all know that half of the people screaming it wouldn’t hesitate to contact a lawyer should their pumpkin come off the dodge ball court with a broken nose. I’ve spoken to many daycare providers, and almost all of them have banned most forms of physical exertion among the children they supervise. Why? Are they conspiring to make our kids fat and slow? Or could it be that most of them also have horror stories about almost losing their home and business after some kid with litigious parents accidentally fell and bumped his head during Activity Time?
We can’t run around looking to sue everything that moves, and then become indignant when everyone around us starts to take a bit of a defensive posture. I just read another story recently about another school removing their swing sets. The parents and students rallied around the forsaken playground equipment and accused the school administrators of being Joyless Scrooges. Notice, they didn’t direct any of their ire at the people actually responsible for the travesty: the parents who sued them for having such a “dangerous” apparatus on their property. Are the schools supposed to risk bankruptcy for the sake of recess games and playground furnishings? I wouldn’t. I believe in standing on principle, but I’m not going to sacrifice my livelihood just to defend the honor of kickball. Sorry.
As with most cultural problems, we look for a simple way to explain why so many kids are mushy wimps by pointing at the easiest scapegoat. In this case, it’s the school system. But the school system has no vested interest in stopping your child from having fun. In fact, I’d wager that most teachers would prefer if these hyper sugar-fiends could work off some of that energy and come back to the classroom docile and rundown.
They’re hands, however, are tied. If a kid gets hurt at school, somebody will file a lawsuit. That’s the way America works, and we all know it. How do you expect them to respond? There’s a sickness in our society, and it’s turned many of us into exploitative, whiny, manipulative opportunists. All of our institutions reflect that reality, and they all have to protect themselves from the hoards of lawyers and carpetbaggers who are just waiting for a lucrative accident to occur.
Besides, if you want your kid to run and leap and wrestle and play, he’s still got plenty of time for that. Take his computer and video game system away; send him outside to discover the wonders of the great outdoors. How many parents who complain about the lack of physical activity in school, then turn around and allow their kids to sit in the basement all weekend with their Xbox? If your kid is lazy and overweight, it’s not his teacher’s fault. It’s yours. Give Jimmy a carrot, shut off his smart phone, and make him go dig a ditch or move some rocks or rake some leaves.
They say you can’t have it both ways. Well, in our case, we’re looking to have it about 40 different ways at once. We want the children to play games at recess, but we don’t want them to get hurt (or we’ll sue), but we don’t want them to be fat, but we don’t want to take their video games and cell phones away, but we want them to get a lot of exercise, but we don’t want to enforce that rule at our own homes. We don’t know what we want, but DAMN THE SCHOOLS FOR NOT LISTENING TO OUR CONFLICTING DEMANDS!
Yes, the schools! Blame the schools! Blame somebody! Blame Big Foot! Blame… anyone! Anyone but us! That’s our mantra; second only to “Safety First.”
Dear President Obama,
You strike me as the sort of man who spends a lot of time staring at his own reflection. I wonder, what do you see when you gaze so admiringly at yourself? What image do you find in that mirror of yours? Let me guess: a graceful Greek god with a golden crown, draped in luxurious robes, perched on a giant, magnificent throne atop a mountain in the sky? You see a throng of angels singing your praises and masses of subservient peasants prostrated before you, trembling with fear and awe? You see a man who is more than a man, and a president who transcends the presidency; you see a historic figure of immortal importance?
Yeah, that’s what I thought, and I can’t blame you, Mr. President. By all accounts, you’ve always been an arrogant, haughty narcissist — and that was before you became president. Your supporters and your enemies may argue over whether you descended from heaven on the back of a Pegasus, or were birthed from the bowels of Hell to bring about a Biblical apocalypse, but they both agree on one thing: you are a figure of great significance and immense power. You are either the anti-Christ or the Second Coming, with no room for anything in-between. Surely, this talk might cause even a humble man to slip into a state of vanity and pride, so I can only imagine what it must do to a man such as yourself, already so aloof and so conceited.
That’s why I’m writing this letter. My impression of you is quite different, and it has only been solidified by your performance during this shutdown/Obamacare debate. I find you to be a very small man, Mr. President. Far from larger than life, you are petty, frivolous, pathetic; sneering and pompous but also trifling and narrow. I don’t mean to dismiss or underestimate the damage you have done to this nation — it has certainly been profound and lasting — but I want you to know that your legacy will not be one of grandeur and brilliance; it will be the legacy of a shameless, desperate bully. Both your opponents and your proponents hoist you up as a world leader with a grand vision, whether benevolent or malevolent. I, on the other hand, believe you have the vision of a temperamental two year old. You simply want to feel like you’re in control; you want to “win,” you want everybody in the room to pay attention to you, and you’ll stomp your feet and whine until you get your way. You govern like a coddled toddler; it’s inappropriate to pejoratively refer to you as a “dictator,” but only because it lends you a certain unwarranted credibility. I think you wish to be a dictator, but instead you’re just a bumbling bureaucrat; easily replaced and even more easily forgotten. You have the ethics of Genghis Khan, but the leadership skills of Michael Scott. This is why we are forced to witness the spectacle of, for instance, our president brazenly threatening to invade another nation for no reason, only to clumsily abandon the idea after being publicly spanked by Putin.
Your legacy, Mr. President, will be defined by small, shameful things, as your presidency has been primarily a succession of small, shameful things. The platitudes you spouted during your campaign — the theatrics, the pomp, the hype — have all faded. Replaced by the scheming partisan machinations that have come to define your tenure.
Every president has a moment that encapsulates their time in office; your moment, Mr. President, happened this week. Sure, future generations will look at you with mockery and scorn because of bigger scandals — Benghazi, the IRS targeting conservatives, Obamacare, the birth control mandate and your attacks on religious liberty, spying on journalists, arming terrorists overseas, Fast and Furious, the green energy scams, the bailouts, your support for infanticide, the billions you’ve given to the abortion industry, your cowardice in refusing to address the Gosnell murders, your reckless exploitation of the Zimmerman trial, the out of control deficit spending, your refusal to enforce immigration laws, the massive expansion of the Welfare State, the lies, the broken promises, etc — but I think, in an understated way, what you’ve done this week is a better microcosm of your entire reign.
I’m not just referring to the fact that you are peddling the lie that “Republicans” have “shutdown the government,” when, in fact, they have attempted to pass several bills that would fund the government. Mr. President, you tell these fables to the trained seals in the media and your voting base, but you know damn well that any American with a capacity for critical thought will roundly reject this absurd narrative. YOU have chosen to “shut down” the government because you have made Obamacare the ultimate priority. You have said, “Obamacare or nothing,” and then accused Republicans of being the “hostage takers.” They are holding the government hostage by trying to fund it? What a silly idea. But then, you are a silly, ridiculous president. Speaking of which, this takes us right to your defining moment: barricading memorials and monuments in a ploy to win an argument.
Comparatively insignificant when stacked up against your war crimes and constitutional infringements, but it is nonetheless an apt illustration. The Lincoln Memorial is just a giant statue. There isn’t any reason why people shouldn’t be able to look at a statue during a government shutdown. In past shutdowns, the memorials were open, with only the information centers closing down. The Lincoln Memorial has never been completely closed off from the public until now. You have decided to spend money to block and guard open-air monuments, when it would be cheaper, require less staff, and be less onerous to simply leave them be. Is this some sort of bizarre punitive measure against the American taxpayer?
Infamously, you even attempted to stop WW2 veterans from visiting the WW2 memorial. That memorial is mostly privately funded, and is open 24 hours a day. You SPENT MONEY to physically guard the monument from a group of elderly war veterans. This is truly unprecedented. We have had horrible presidents in the past, but none quite so shallow, cheap and contemptible. You tried to close down Mt. Vernon, which is privately funded, but had to settle for closing its parking lot — even though the parking lot requires no immediate on-going maintenance or surveillance from any federal workers. Did you have to shut down the Normandy cemetery and memorial? Are we saving money that way? I doubt it.
It’s the same game you played during the sequester, and it comes as no surprise to those of us who pay attention (which means it came as a surprise to large number of people). Rather than leading like a statesman, you hide in the shadows; scheming, conniving, exploiting. You emerge only to make hyper-partisan speeches, with rhetoric best left to Democratic talking heads on afternoon cable news shows. Far from being a “new kind of politician” (as you were advertised), you are the most political politician this country has ever seen. You are political to your core, in your essence, at an atomic level, and so you are unable to offer any direction or clarity when the nation needs it most. Sometimes, Mr. President, the affairs of this nation require a man, not a politician, and it is during those times that you are especially useless. You don’t have any interest in fixing our present crisis because you’re too busy finding ways to keep a busload of 90 year old war veterans from looking at a memorial.
Closing down parks, monuments and memorials just to score political points is hardly your most insidious deed, but it’s certainly one of your pettiest. That’s why it stands, ironically, as a monument of its own. If we ever build a statue of you, Mr. President, you won’t be triumphantly holding a flaming torch like Lady Liberty, or standing authoritatively with a look of determination, like the MLK memorial. No, it will be a statue of you pulling the wings off of a fly, or spitting in someone’s orange juice. It will show you in your essence, as monuments are meant to do. It will show you as a petulant, skulking, juvenile bully. It will you show you as you are.
And we’ll make sure it’s always open, especially during a government shut down.
Senate candidate Matt Bevin joined Matt in the studio today to discuss his campaign against Senator Mitch McConnell and other local, state, and national issues. Jessie Benton from Senator McConnell's office also called in to respond to some comments. Listen to the segments below:
Andy Barr joined Matt to discuss the going on's with the government shutdown. Listen here: 2013-10-2 - Matt with Andy Barr
Senator Paul joined Matt to discuss the shutdown and Obamacare. Click here to listen: 2013-10-2 - Matt with Rand Paul
Man, I hate these stupid, crazy, tea bagging right wingers. So foolish, so uncivilized. They run around screaming like crazed anarchists about how they want to stop Obamacare. Damned idiots don’t realize that the government needs to be involved in our health care decisions; we’re too helpless and feeble to handle it ourselves — unless we’re making the “medical” choice to get an abortion, in which case, THIS IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, YOU GOVERNMENT PIGS. GET OUT! I mean, leave your wallet on the table, ’cause I’m gonna need you to pay for this, but then GET OUT, JERK.
There are many scare tactics being used by the tea baggers in an effort to discredit Obamacare. Personally, I hate scare tactics. You should never let anyone scare you away from supporting socialized medicine, mostly because without it every poor person in the country will get sick and die. Anyway, like I said, I disapprove of scare tactics.
They claim that Obamacare will raise taxes, but this has been PROVEN false so many times. You know it’s been proven because I capitalized “proven.” Sure, there might be a few minor billion dollar taxes, like the individual mandate tax and the employer mandate tax, the Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans, the Tax on Health Insurers, the Tax on Innovator Drug Companies, the High Medical Bills Tax, the Medicine Cabinet Tax, the Tax on Indoor Tanning Services, and the Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals. And, yeah, there might be a small number of multi-billion dollar tax hikes on things like the Medicare Payroll tax and the “black liquor” tax and the HSA Withdrawal tax. And, OK fine, we’ll even see some tax deduction eliminations, like the deduction for employer-provided retirement prescription drug coverage.
But besides, like, 20 new taxes and tax hikes totaling, like, hundreds of billions of dollars, there aren’t ANY tax increases attached to Obamacare. None. NONE. See? I did the capital letter thing again. Pretty convincing stuff.
The redneck Tea Party crazies have even gone so far as to completely LIE about the impact Obamacare will have on the workforce. They insist that businesses are actually being forced to cut hours and lay off employees just to comply with the “burdensome” Obamacare rules and regulations. Again, this is a fabrication. Businesses aren’t cutting hours. Besides Walmart, Regal Entertainment, Trader Joe’s, Subway, Firehouse Subs, Sea World, Lands End, Dave and Busters, White Castle, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Home Depot, and academic institutions like Philadelphia University, Sam Houston State University, Ball State University, Georgia Military College, Three Rivers College, Hillsborough Community College, and University of North Alabama, and county governments in Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as school districts like Middletown Township Public Schools in New Jersey, Millard School District in Utah, and Shelbyville Central School System in Indiana, along with over 280 other businesses, universities, school systems and town governments, literally NOBODY is losing work because of Obamacare.
The radical, anti-governmentFascistAnarchistNaziBible-thumpingPuritanOtherRandomConflictingDescriptors right wing conservatives like to drone on and on about “small businesses”. Well, news flash: Small businesses CAN’T WAIT for Obamacare to take hold. Half of them aren’t even planning on significantly cutting their workforce to comply with it, while the other half are super excited to cut their employees’ hours, because, like Nancy Pelosi said, it’ll free up time for all of these people to take up new hobbies and “follow their passions.” Sure, because of Obamacare they won’t have enough money to feed their families, but at least they’ll have plenty of time to work on arts and crafts projects.
Obamacare is just so wonderful. It could have only come from the mind of a brilliant man like President Obama. Think about it: We had a problem in this nation because so many people couldn’t afford health insurance. So what’s Obama’s plan? Simply charge those folks money for not having enough money! Brilliant! Oh, but his master strategy doesn’t stop there. It used to be expensive to buy insurance on the individual-market — now it will be TWICE as expensive for men, and only almost twice as expensive for women!
Do you see how this works?
Problem: Insurance is expensive.
Solution: Make it more expensive, and then tax people for not buying it.
There are a few other objections to Obamacare that I often hear raised by moronic neanderthals, such as the 200 economists who lobbied Congress to repeal the law. Let these so-called “economists” pretend they know something about the economy. I’ll take Harry Reid’s word over theirs any day of the week. Some say that this massive tax and spending program can’t possibly be sustained by a nation that’s already over 16 trillion dollars in debt. That’s where they’re wrong.
Little known fact: The economy works sort of like the card game Hearts. In Hearts, you’re supposed to avoid getting points. But if things go really poorly and you somehow collect ALL 26 points in a hand, you get zero and everyone else gets 26 — it’s called “Shooting the Moon.” It works the same way with the national debt. If a country can rack up 26 trillion dollars in debt, they go back down to zero and everyone else owes THEM 26 trillion. FACT. Look it up. It’s in, like, the UN Handbook or something. The good news is that Obamacare will get us to 26 trillion much quicker than you might think. Thank God!
Finally, you often hear the myth that the US Constitution doesn’t grant the government the authority to force citizens to buy a product. They even say the government doesn’t have the legal power to seize total control of an entire sector of the free market economy. Luckily, I don’t have to engage this argument because the Supreme Court already ruled. If the Supreme Court says it’s in there — it’s in there. Period. If the Supreme Court says dragons exist and Big Foot is real, then dragons exist and Big Foot is real. End of discussion. The Supreme Court is never wrong, just ask Dredd Scott.
Despite all of the FACTS I just laid out, these maniacs still find a reason to oppose Obamacare. They’d even risk a short-term, temporary shutdown of government just to make their point. SHUTDOWN THE GOVERNMENT?! BUT HOW WOULD WE EAT OR BREATHE?! This is a warning to Ted Cruz and all his ilk: If the government stops operating for even one day — chaos and cannibalism will reign in the streets. Mark my words. Yeah, a government shutdown would only impact “non-essential” federal government functions. And, yeah, some might even argue that the government should only be doing the essential things in the first place. But that will be of little solace when you’re bleeding on the ground, being eaten alive by the starving masses. I can scarcely imagine the horror. If non-essential government agencies and departments are forced to close for a short period of time, that means we’ll have to find a way to go without the Administration on Aging, and the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. WHERE WILL I GET MY TRANSPORTATION STATISTICS?! You’re playing with fire, conservatives. Civilization is bound together by the strong, steady hand of bureaucracy. If you loosen its grasp, you risk plunging us all into a dark, perilous land of individual responsibility and liberty. Our Founders fought and died to rescue us from such a fate, and I’ll be damned if I sit here and let you undo their efforts.
I remember when a fast food chicken sandwich restaurant became, out of nowhere, a hotly contested battle ground in the gay marriage debate. Everything was fine, everything was normal, everybody was eating chicken, until suddenly liberal activist organizations were encouraging gay men have heated make out sessions at their local Chick-fil-A, and Christians were countering with a Bible in one hand and waffle fries in the other. Boycotts, rallies, Appreciation Days, demonstrations, fundraisers — it was war. Personally, I have plenty of opinions on the topic of gay marriage, but on the topic of Chick-fil-A all I ever cared about was their chicken.
Millions of people cried out, “We must win Chick-fil-A to our side!”
And I courageously stood and shouted, “Can I get a number one with a Diet Coke?”
I didn’t think political discourse could get any more absurd than the Gays vs. Chicken War of 2012, but that was before the CEO of Starbucks said the word “gun” and the whole world exploded.
If you missed the “controversy,” it all started when Starbucks announced a few months ago that the guns policy in its stores would follow local laws and ordinances. If you live in a state where open carry is allowed, you can open carry in your local Starbucks. If you don’t, then you can’t. Simple. Sensible. Neutral. Cool, let’s all move on with our lives, right? Nope. Sorry, this is America and we’re bored, so we’re going to turn this thing into a crisis just for the hell of it. Some gun rights activists and gun owners (note, I said “some”) responded by marching into their neighborhood Starbucks toting ARs, AKs, and shotguns. They gathered in large groups, all packing heat as openly and visibly as possible, and took pictures to post on Twitter and Facebook. They wanted to “prove a point,” they claimed. But nobody understood the point they were trying to make, and I’m not sure they did, either.
I received several emails from people proud to show me photos of their “demonstration.” Invariably, it was an image of some guy flashing his holstered firearm in the middle of the store, while a lady in the background looks on with an expression of concern and befuddlement. My response was always the same: the store let you carry that inside, why are you punishing them for it? Yes, perhaps other patrons shouldn’t be worried just because half of the people in the store are armed to the teeth, but they will be worried. And you know it. So your act of “appreciation” is to hurt the business you claim to appreciate by abusing the thing you appreciate them for? I’m confused. And befuddled. Actually, I guess I can relate to that woman in the photo.
This is like if I permit you to wear shoes in my house, so you, rejoicing my leniency, celebrate by jumping into a mud puddle, stomping on my carpet and putting your feet up on my coffee table. Congratulations, I’ve just amended my shoe policy, and it’s all your fault.
I love gun rights, I’m a humongous Second Amendment advocate, and I have consistently and passionately used whatever little voice I have to advocate for the rights of gun owners, but this — this is not activism. This is a disservice to the gun rights movement. Responsible gun owners don’t parade around coffee shops with their shotguns just so they can post a photo of it on social media. Responsible gun owners aren’t impressed with themselves; they see the gun as a tool — not a toy, not a fashion accessory, not a “point,” not an excuse to cause a scene — and they carry that tool with a sense of maturity and discipline. I live in Kentucky. People open carry here all of the time. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest and I would fight tooth and nail against any politician who would try to abridge that right. But carting a bunch of firearms into a Starbucks just to prove you can? Come on. There are real battles to be fought, but they don’t involve mocha lattes and overpriced frappucinos.
Starbucks had a reasonable and neutral gun policy, but a select group of attention seekers wanted to force the company to choose a side. Starbucks, for some reason, has to be “pro-” or “anti-.” So a few days ago the CEO issued a statement ASKING his customers to refrain from bringing guns into his stores. He said people with guns will not be kicked out, and they will not be denied service, but he would like everyone to voluntarily respect the rule. Of course this announcement of a voluntary business policy was greeted with accusations of “discrimination,” and cries of “rights” being violated.
I don’t even like Starbucks; I know auto parts shops that have better complimentary cups of Joe. I’m also aware that the corporation has some left-leaning tendencies and, stereotypically, attracts a more liberal clientele. But I’m not going to act like they’ve done something wrong here just because I’m “supposed” to be on the other “side.” There doesn’t need to be a side. The gun rights fight doesn’t belong in a Starbucks due to the fact that, frankly,YOU DON’T HAVE GUN RIGHTS IN A STARBUCKS. Do you know why? Because it’s a private establishment and they can make whatever rules they like. They decided that it doesn’t particularly help their business to have customers in their stores, drinking coffee with a rifle propped up against the table, so they changed their rules accordingly. They have the right to do that, you have the right to go elsewhere. You don’t have the right to make your own rules for their private business.
Indeed, the only “rights” at stake here are the rights of private business and private property. I wish more than a few people in this country actually gave a damn about those types of rights. They aren’t as sexy or as flashy, but they are necessary. In fact, none of your other rights mean anything if you don’t possess the basic entitlement to govern your own businesses and set the rules on your own property. I’ve seen folks on the internet declare their intention to open carry inside a Starbucks regardless of the rules. Again, these are not activists. The gun rights movement should not embrace them. People who believe in liberty, believe in liberty it in all of its forms. They wouldn’t set their Second Amendment rights against another’s private property rights. They understand that our rights are in harmony, not in competition. In other words, the issue over at Starbucks isn’t gun rights vs. property rights, it’s just anti-property rights vs. pro-property rights. Gun rights have nothing to do with the situation.
Here’s how this works. A business owner comes to the marketplace and says: “Hey everyone. I’ve got this business I started. We make coffee, it tastes like you’re licking the pavement on a hot day, it’s fantastic. Anyway, here are the prices, and here are the rules, and here are our hours of operation, and if this all seems attractive to you, please come on in and let’s do business. Otherwise, you’re free to get your black tar coffee elsewhere.”
Now, we don’t get to counter with our own rules, and our own prices, and our own hours of operation. We don’t get to say, “you close at 9 but I feel like coming at 10,” anymore than we can say, “you don’t want guns in your store but I’m bringing one anyway.” We can go with their program, or we can go somewhere else. That’s it. End of discussion. We can impact the prices and the rules within the context of the free marketplace, but we don’t get to claim joint ownership of the enterprise and then complain that our rights are violated because we disagree with how they choose to do business. People who still choose to bring their weapons into Starbucks are choosing to undermine private property rights. They’re just as bad as the gun grabbers in DC, and perhaps even more hypocritical.
As a secondary concern, I’m really getting quite sick of this new American pastime where we troll business owners and force them to “have a position” on the divisive issues of the day, then promptly punish them no matter what they say. Some businesses choose to wade into ideological waters, but many are pushed into it. It’s ridiculous. Why can’t coffee and chicken be apolitical? Why does everything have to be a controversy?
Am I only supposed to do business with people who share my ideology?
What’s next? Are we going to demand that the guy who owns Radio Shack publicly endorse a side in the euthanasia debate? Then, if he’s against it, we can stick it to him by staging assisted suicides in the store, right next to the cell phone chargers. Hey, next time you stop to buy a drink from a little kid’s lemonade stand, insist that the child explain his views on campaign finance reform. Then, if he says the wrong thing, dump the lemonade on his head and stage demonstrations outside of his mom’s house until they’re forced to move out of the neighborhood.
This “controversy” is another example of the media presenting a distraction to the public, telling them “the sides” and sitting back while millions of Americans fall in line and react exactly how they were told they should. Of course plenty of “conservative” talk radio hosts jumped on this Starbucks Outrage Bandwagon because it’s easy and it will get the phones ringing. I tried to present a more nuanced and objective perspective and now I’ve got listeners emailing accusing me of being a “liberal” and a “traitor.”
Welcome to America. Now get in your preassigned box and toe the line. Don’t worry about thinking for yourself, we’ll do that for you.