Solomon is a little harsh. More than a little.
Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise,
Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler,
Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.
That’s from Proverbs 6:6-8, in the New King James. I had remembered it as “Consider the ant”, but it’s almost exact.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, is cautioning people who are slackers – professional slackers – that they could learn a lot from God’s creation. I was reminded of this recently when I saw some spider webs on bushes. They looked similar to this pic by cajebo
There’s no real structure – no fancy “spiderweb” pattern. And there’s no pattern to the location of the webs – some of the bushes had five or six different webs on them.
I was jokingly thinking “Who’s in charge here? Who’s the spider monitor?” Then I started thinking about our great system of capitalism and free enterprise, that one of the things that made our country great is the ability of every man (and woman) to go do the thing he wants to. There was no artificial boundary, no guidelines, simply the “Go West, young man!” and the promise of potential. No guarantees, and a lot of your results depended on your own hard work.
Nowadays, people don’t have the fire burning within them that compels greatness. A partial cause of that is the lack of investment. Not necessarily money in accounts, or stock owned, or mutual funds in the back pocket. If something is free, it is valued less. A resource that doesn’t cost anything, be it water, air, or police, is easier to abuse and discard. When half the citizens don’t pay federal income taxes – indeed, 40% of households get back more than they give in – we’re not pulling the same load.
I’m not arguing that everybody needs to pay more taxes. We are already over-taxed, paying at the local, city, state, and federal levels on income, and Medicaid and Social Security along the way. That’s just the income side. The outgo side includes sales tax, gas tax, property tax, phone tax, and cell phone tax. I’d gladly pay a lot less taxes and get a lot less government.
I support the military, and research, and some basic health/science work (like the Centers for Disease Control). I don’t support government waste. I’m not endorsing this list, because I haven’t investigated it all, but they’re throwing around millions like they were dry leaves. I have my distinct suspicion about some of the packages, like the couple hundred thousand for lobster research. I could do a whole lot of research for that amount, like whether lobster is better with salted or unsalted butter. I’d draw a pretty picture of my findings. Where can I join?
I don’t want to chuck it all and start building my own spiderweb. I’m happy that there is a phone company that transfers my phone calls to other companies, and eventually to my called party. I’m glad the fire department has trained workers, with trucks to drive and roads to drive them on. I’m glad for building inspectors that made sure our new house was safe. I’m glad for policemen and women who keep our community safe. I’m even glad for the construction crews that will have our road torn up, because it’s fixing something that wasn’t right.
I’m less happy with somebody in a different state deciding what I need to pay in order for somebody else to get medical treatment, especially if that person is an illegal immigrant. Immigration made our country great – hybrid vigor doesn’t just apply to corn. And I am all in favor of helping out those in need, those less fortunate. And since God has blessed Bettie and I massively, we want to share massively. But we don’t want to do it at somebody else’s insistence.
Bettie was commenting over the weekend about high taxes being a bad thing – “Let the people keep their money, decide how they want to spend it, and get the money back into the economy”. I told her she’d make a lousy liberal, what with wanting people to decide for themselves what they want to do.
I love Bettie. Even if she doesn’t like spiders.