All that happens is the cause of all that happens. Causes are numberless; the idea of a sole cause is an illusion.
The government wouldn’t spend a dime on education, healthy food, drinkable water, assisting people in poverty, de-polluting the streets, or anything else of importance. But they would be on call to spend millions on equipping a small police force to fight off a group of defenseless protestors. You can argue with me that this is not a hate crime, when it so obviously is, but you can’t argue with me when I say that this government is too corrupt to even serve it’s purpose.
Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider. For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event, anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements. You can learn a lot about a person from their rider. This is where rocks bands list their requirement for green M&Ms (which is actually a surprisingly smart thing to do). This is also where a famous environmentalist requires a large gas-guzzling private jet to fly to the event city, but then requires an electric or hybrid car to take said environmentalist to the event venue when in view of the public.
When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found. He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work. I never watched a Robin Williams movie the same way after that. I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back. I wonder how many production companies continued the practice into their next non-Robin Williams project, as well as how many people got a chance at a job and the pride of earning an income, even temporarily, from his actions. He was a great multiplier of his impact. Let’s hope that impact lives on without him. Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example.
“I don’t have money,” Mason said, “to pay for other people’s health insurance.”
That may be the most insightful statement of the misguided conservative philosophy of self-interest I have ever heard. Senator, you already pay for other people’s health insurance. And assuming you have health insurance, other people pay for yours. That’s the way insurance works.
Very few people can afford to pay out of pocket for health care, so we pool our resources. No one pays in as much as they collect if and when they become seriously ill. We all underwrite one another. That’s why we need young, healthy people in the pool and why there is a health care mandate. And if people do not have health insurance, we pay for their care in the increased cost of our own health care and hospitalization.
The same is true of life insurance. Sure, you pay premiums, but when you cash out, it’s other people’s money that pays the death benefit. No one pays their own way in this world.
I first became aware of the emboldened and benighted selfishness of the conservative right when I served on the local School Committee back in the 1990s and heard people arguing that they should not have to pay for other people’s kids to go to school. Somehow the idea that you shouldn’t have to pay for anything that doesn’t directly benefit you swept through the conservative movement like a self-inflicted virus.
A decade on, I find it extremely tiresome to hear conservatives constantly complain about paying for health care, unemployment benefits and food stamps as though they were footing the entire bill themselves. They would have you believe that they not only pay their own way, but also have to support an entire family of illegal immigrants on welfare.
To begin with, no one pays their own way. We are all supported by other people’s money. And when it comes to taxes, the portion that goes to assist the poor is a pittance.
The American way of life is underwritten by the tax dollars we pool to support a civil society and the money we pay into a social safety network of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and military and public pensions. No one other than criminals would be able to make a living, were it not for our concerted effort to work for the common good.
Of course, conservatives don’t believe in the common good, which to me means they don’t believe in America. Only in the perverse logic of the right, for example, could a Nevada rancher who refuses to pay the same fees as other ranchers for grazing his cattle on public land be considered some kind of a folk hero. He’s a thief.