Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Where Life is Worth Living

Recently I have had the misfortune of my seasonal job as a park ranger for a nature preserve come to an end for the winter, though it's likely it's ending permanently due to my local politicians actively working to dismantle the park, so it's back to searching for employment. I had forgotten how difficult this is. Adding to that difficulty is the fact that I live near the worst parts of Michigan; I do not live in Detroit, but I will say that it certainly isn't unreachable by an afternoon's drive. But I must not lose hope: with the loss of hope comes the loss of resolve.

However, while seeking advice as how to properly seek employment someone expressed astonishment at my living in Michigan and advised that I move out as soon as possible, something that has deeply resonated with me. I had given such a thought entertainment before, but seeing this course of action in light of my future prospects made me feel the idea deeply resonate with my emotions more intensely than it had before. It is true: given the present circumstances things are going to get worse. Michigan faced depression while the rest of America faced a recession. Michigan will have a depression within a depression if America goes into a depression. I'm not sure if there are any applicable economic terms that describe the situation that would occur in Michigan if America were to go into a depression within a depression. Under the guise of trying to be helpful our politicians (my local ones I mean) make things worse and worse. They certainly have not been idle in their destruction in the past year, as my documentation can profess.

Here we have nearly endless examples. Remember the law that prohibits shutting off utilities in homes during the winter months, which leaves open the possibility of people stealing utilities and driving bills up (and perhaps companies out of business)? What about the fine that punishes home security companies for problems that have little to no control over and charges them in a fashion geared towards producing revenue for the government? There were also the considered newspaper bailouts, which would do nothing since demand is shrinking for printed news. Let us not forget the perhaps most inane proposal: the proposition of destroying parts of cities as a way of improving the economy. And so on, with future examples yet to come.

What these examples have in common is that they are all instances in which politicians claim they will be enacting this type of legislation for our good and then proceed to cause problems that accomplish no good for anyone. What scares me in principle is that I may be made to fail in my endeavors by things outside of my control. Failure as such doesn't frighten me given that I am entirely responsible for it and am able to take corrective action or am at least able to learn from it, but if my politicians continue to insist on taking more and more of my responsibilities out of my hands and into theirs it rapidly deteriorates into the case that somebody will cause me to fail and allow me little possibility to correct my situation no matter how much knowledge I gain of taking proper actions. The way it goes with politicians today is that they cause problems, evade that they are the cause of those problems, and then take further actions which cause further problems, thereby keeping the politicians' constituents in a constant state of failure. I wouldn't want to live a life that wasn't mine to maintain, for good or ruin.

The effects of such legislation are more directly perceivable in the population that has to endure them. It is becoming more and more seldom that you would see a person that is happy in my area: people are either visibly discontent, indifferent, or indeterminate (considering the amount of evidence required to be able to make an objective estimate of someone's sense of life). When I walk into some businesses I feel deceived in a way, for the establishment has smiling well-dressed people pictured on its online application and much emphasis is put on doing an exemplary job, but when I arrive on its premises I see miserable employees that seem to be held to mediocre standards. I would love to be held accountable to the rough standards indicated in the application process, but I often wonder as to the actual nature of the hiring practices of my local businesses.

And let us not ignore that a miserable populace makes for a less than choice range of options when it comes to choosing associates. My associates tend to be irrational, dishonest, and unhappy people who blindly follow what's popular, long-established, or the strongest whim. You will perhaps be most familiar with the specific group that harangued me about Man X. The root of my frustration in dealing with such people lies in that facts (1) they do not exercise or respect reason in their actions and thinking, and (2) they therefore cannot be dealt with by a process of reason (i.e. in adversity it's impossible to sit down with them and "work out our differences"). Such people are unpredictable in what instances they will choose to evade and what ideas will evoke what particular emotions. For instance, one day while breakfasting at someone's house I was asked to close the blinds somewhat since the sun was shining intensely on the floor. I had no idea what difference it made so I asked why and was told that prolonged exposure of the sun on the carpet would fade its color. Having never heard such a notion before I asked the person how he knew of such a thing and instantly his anger was provoked. "Ben!" he yelled. "It's common knowledge! I just know!" I have struck a cord of uncertainty, and he refused to support his claim, instead resorting to intimidation and a claim to innate knowledge, nothing a rationally certain man would resort to. To this day his claim remains unproved and unsupported; he won't have any of it when I try to explain his errors, just like the people with Man X did when they refused to acknowledge my arguments.

Obviously I would have little to lose if I were to move. I won't miss the politicians usurping my responsibilities and control over my life, and I certainly won't miss the unhappy and irrational people that support these politicians.

What's to gain? Everything. I have been daydreaming about this: waking up for work in my own apartment, studying late at night in my own apartment for college courses, being responsible for my own sustenance at every meal, being responsible for all the cleaning, paying my own bills with my own earned money, decorating exactly as I want, associating with whom I choose -- I am not adverse to the idea of being entirely responsible for myself, I relish the thought. I feel uncomfortable when other people cook for me (excluding restaurant cooks) and I hate it when I'm offered money I didn't earn and don't need. Even paying bills doesn't bother me: the bills I pay are for products and services that I want and need, and am very willing to pay for even if it means draining my bank account every billing period. (I do mind, however, paying taxes, as it is money taken without my consent, used for purposes I do not approve of, and in the end benefits no one. I could have done so much more with that money, which will now instead be lost forever.)

Given all this, the advice-giver has convinced me to change my course of action: As soon as I can establish the funds and the means of sustaining myself I will move from this state. Since my politicians refuse to see the true nature of their actions, things are certainly going to get worse and the population will continue to suffer. I don't think I can prosper and be happy in a state where my property is so heavily taxed and the people have no living fire. I have reenrolled in college now, so I'm going to finish a semester or so first before I seriously detail a plan for moving.

As of yet I don't know where I would like to go (perhaps Texas?), but certainly not here. Not in a place where life takes backseat to some thoughtless bureaucrat's morality.

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