A Fitting Symbol

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Over at the web site of The Houston Chronicle, I found the photograph at right, along with the following caption:

Red light cameras catch Metro, school buses -- Photos released under the Texas Public Information Act show police cars and school buses among the vehicles caught running red lights.
Needless to say, this image and similar ones of public transit buses being caught by our city's new red light cameras are rightly causing an outrage in some quarters.

What I find interesting, though, is the limited scope of this outrage, whose object is on such a low level of abstraction as to be barely beyond the perceptual level. Of course it is appalling that a school bus driver would be so careless as to run a red light at the risk of so many children on board, but where is the outrage for the other, even more reckless acts by our government that have made this picture possible in the first place?

Consider where many of our children are being sent -- increasingly doctrinaire schools which fail to help them develop the capacity to think rationally. Such schools turn out children who lack the skills essential to survival in an advanced capitalist economy, much less an understanding of the ideals and institutions that make one possible.

And consider whether it is really a good idea for our government to start installing surveillance equipment all over the place, especially given that it is already trying to force some private property owners to do so. Many, if not most people, thanks to a public "education" and years of dependence of one kind or another on the government, naively trust it to do the right thing at all times rather than look upon it as the dangerous tool that it is. In this respect, it is like fire: good for some purposes, but dangerous for others, and always to be ignored at one's own peril.

And speaking of the welfare state generally, we even see the same thing when some people attempt to "do something" about it. Such grassroots efforts as "Pork Busters" form when enough people become outraged at such things as that infamous "bridge to nowhere" -- and yet nobody challenges the massively larger larceny cum vote purchasing that is the welfare state, and which makes such relatively penny-ante outrages possible at all.

In all of these cases, people generally are unable to apprehend these greater outrages as outrages, if they are able to grasp them as anything other than immutable facts of their existence at all! This is in part because many have been trained to turn their minds off when they are informed that the impractical is the "moral" (having been taught that the morality has nothing to do with practicality) and in part because many can barely think at all (after being subjected to a Progressive education).

A man unable to think in abstractions will not see much in that picture beyond a careless school bus driver. A man unable to question the altruist morality parroted by everyone else around him will not be able to ask why his children are being sent -- at his expense and regardless of his wishes -- to have their minds slowly destroyed. A man who expects the government to take care of him will not worry about it watching his every move.

We're all on that school bus, boys and girls. Fortunately, as long as we remain alive, there is some hope of getting off. Part of that hope lies in each of us thinking for himself, questioning the morality of altruism, and working for a government that once again, respects individual rights.

-- CAV

No comments: