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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I noticed this week that the coppers had put one of those mobile radar contraptions on the main route between Port Swiller Manor and the various schools, churches and offices which I haunt, the kind that shows you how fast you’re going and flashes at you if it thinks you’re above the limit.  I hate those things – bastard officious mechanical Nosey Parkers.  I also can never decide whether they’re designed just to guilt you into slowing down; whether they are also rigged with cameras and will send you a lovely (and expensive) remembrance  in the mail a few days later; or whether there’s a real, live policeman lurking somewhere in the neighborhood, ready to pounce.

I mentioned this as the middle gel and we passed the thing homeward bound one evening.  This provoked in her a counter-rant about how everybody speeds on our street and the police never seem to do anything about it.  I explained that the reason they don’t is because our street was built on what used to be a rail bed, and the sides are mostly either embankments or cuttings, making it very hard to find a place to safely pull over.

Hmphh. They really ought to do it anyway,” she sad.  “Everybody’s breaking the law – even you!”

“Well,” I replied, “There are laws and then there are laws, you know.  When you’re old and experienced enough, you’ll learn which ones need to be followed carefully and which ones can be replaced by common sense.  Besides, would you really want to live in a world in which the government was watching your every move, waiting for you to slip up?”

She didn’t seem much mollified.

I begin to worry about this gel.  The other two are the usual self-absorbed, adolescent pirates, but this one shows signs of being an Idealist.   Such childs must be handled carefully, lest they go off the rails.  (Take She Who Must Not Be Named, for example.  Started, apparently, as a Goldwater Girl in her own yoot.  Now look at her.)¹   So I do what I can.

T’other day, in fact, the gel mentioned some presentation at school about the imbalance of wealth distribution in the world and how unfair it all was.   My limousine liberal smoke detector started flashing, and I quickly said, “Oh, it is unfortunate, and certainly we ought to do everything we can to help the poor raise their living standards.  But simply taking things or money from the rich and giving it to the poor is no solution.  That’s just the politics of Envy, and is therefore sinful.  Besides, it’s based on the false premise that wealth is finite: that there’s just one pizza, and if I take all the slices, the poor and their kids will have nothing to eat but the box.”  (Yes, I stole that metaphor from Peej O’Rourke.)

“Wealth isn’t finite, it’s made, it’s generated.  And history tells us the very best way to lay the foundation to encourage its making is to hammer on three principles: Property Rights, Rule of Law and Education.  Countries that adhere to those ideas have a funny way of being much better off than countries that don’t.”

I don’t know how much of this actually made it past the aria she was listening to on her iWhatever, but I hope that if I say it often enough, it’s bound to sink in to at least some extent.


¹  Okay, I realize that SWMNBN can be described as a self-absorbed pirate, too.


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March 2013