Yesterday I posted a meme on Facebook about those who call themselves children of the Earth being welcome to stay here, while the rest of us went to the stars. I did it mostly because the million face book memes had made me pissy with the bathos and environmental pieties of city dwellers who wouldn’t know nature if it took a raw chunk out of their left buttock. It annoyed me in the exact same way the constant evocations of religion by people who are clearly non-believers do. And in the end that’s what it is — a public evocation of what “everybody knows” to be a “good thing” which then absolves the speaker of actually trying to do something for another human — or animal — being or even of having to lead a minimally decent life.
It didn’t help my mood that the whole Earth Day thing is an abominable boondoggle. It was created (as we all probably know now) by a Murderer and it’s not based on the sound conservationist practices that anyone close to the land learns — say Dave Freer, or even my dad — to keep that particular plot of land healthy for generations to come. No. It’s based in making much noise about the Earth as a whole, a Rosseaunian mal-apprehension of nature always being indefinably “better” and it leads its devotees down a path of undefined animism and hubris, in which, somehow, the Earth is sentient, we can harm it by having our houses just a little too warm (even in aggregate, our scale is minimal compared to say volcanic processes) AND a belief that the way to “salvation” (of the Earth) is either to eliminate all humans or to get government to severely restrict the comfort of THOSE OTHER PEOPLE, over there. The devotee, of course, though he might engage in rituals with plastic bottles and the sacralized utilization of cloth bags, is not required any drastic sacrifices. As a true apostle his “sacrifice” is to spread the word. Vid, Al Gore and all the Hollywood celebrities who worship “Mother Earth” by spreading her gospel with private jets.
When I get annoyed I post stuff poking at the annoyance, which is what that post was. I don’t remember the precise words of the post, but it was something like “You’re children of the Earth. Fine. But some of us are orphans of the stars, and we want to go back to our real family.”
Within a couple hours a commenter had posted that I was greedy and entitled (!) and was an ugly American.
The bizarre lashing out was all the more bizarre because I have absolutely no clue what in my post gave any impression of my being “greedy” or even “greedy” for what. (Stars?) Even if she had read yesterday’s post (she did, because she accused me of pointless and wasteful consumerism, for wanting to turn on all lights during Earth hour. Pointless in her mind. In mine it was clearly telling these idiots where to step off and that no, some of us will not go quietly into the night they wish to impose on us.)
I realized then that “Greedy and entitled” had become the new all-purpose insult, as the old “raccciiiiiiisssss” has gotten frayed. It’s more useful to the forces of statist obscurantism being vaguer. Greed is something no one is very sure what it means, except for a nebulous idea of “wanting more than they’re entitled to” (and who decides what you’re entitled to?) and “entitled” is the new cry of various people. The only person I’ve seen use it in any way that makes sense is Amanda Green who mostly uses it for spoiled children that never grew up, like the kid who thought he shouldn’t be tried for crimes, because he grew up too rich to know good from evil.
But most people use “entitled” to mean either “has more than I do” or “expects more than I think he or she should.” In such a usage, it is the raised finger of envy screaming “I want what you have.”
The accusation was bizarre not just because it was unprovoked by anything in the post, but because the insult of “ugly American” showed that beyond not knowing her references, this person knew absolutely nothing about me. What set her off was, very plainly, that I refused to bow to the pieties she thought EVERYONE should bow to and make public obeisance to. (Which again proves she knew bloody nothing about me.)
Am I greedy? I have a million sins I could be accused of, but unless the greed in question is for chocolate and I’m depressed (the rest of the time I control it, but I am a stress eater) it’s not even in the realm of possibilities.
Greed is defined as an abnormal or excessive lust for riches, which is so great it harms the individual and those around him.
Do I have a lust for riches? Well, about once a year I remember to buy the lottery (it’s not exactly on my list of priorities) so I can spend a couple of days daydreaming of what I’d do with upteen millions. You know, the usual: I’d like to establish some sort of competitor to Amazon, because that particular choke point worries me, as more and more of my friends depend on the company for their livelihood; I’d like to pay an honest to heaven publicist to publicize me and my friends whom I think deserve more recognition; I’d like to pay off my sons’ student loans and a bunch of my friends’ debts; I’d like to be able to fly back to Portugal a couple of times a year to maximize the limited time I have with my parents; I’d like to fund the research of a dear friend who is a brilliant scientist specializing on the brain, I’d like to establish a little retreat somewhere — a refurbished hotel or a bunch of cabins or something — where writers whom life has down can come and work and be refreshed. (Maybe a place with babysitting so older son by adoption can come and work, and take a break from full time child care.)
What I never really dream about is holding on to the wealth and mwahahahahaing over it, because I’m keeping from others. (No, I wouldn’t twirl my mustache. Okay, I’m a Mediterranean woman of a certain age, but there are limits on facial hair growth. Also, there’s hair removal wax.)
Let’s suppose I were so blessed as to win the lottery. Would this be money I took by unsavory means and which I’m not entitled to? Depends. Some people disapprove of games of chance. But I’d be taking the money in exactly the same way other people who buy the lottery hope to. And legally I’d be entitled to it.
That pecadillo aside how greedy am I? Well, I do wish I had more money, about three times a day. Being able to buy a house outright is not very different, since we qualify easily for loans, but being able to pick above the tight spot for finding homes in this region would make a big difference. And then there’s the kids’ student loans.
Look, being blunt: we did our best to raise our kids on parity with the kids of our friends who had two income families (okay, technically so do we, but if I get sick or things don’t go well, there have been years where my income was 3k) We never bought them the latest games or the trendy clothes (America is such a blessedly RICH country that by buying from thrift stores and being about five years behind the curve, we made the kids happy, and spent very little.) BUT we did spend money to enroll them in classes in subjects they showed an interest in; we bought them books and art materials; and we took them places (okay, mostly Denver, but interesting places in Denver.) I won’t say I have no regrets. I wish I’d been a little greedier for vile lucre. We’d be in better shape right now. But I thought writing was eventually bound to pay off (and maybe it will, as I do more indie work) and though we were tight most of the time, none of my regrets involve the mindless pursuit of lucre long beyond what my family could be said to need.
As for entitled… Sure, I am that. I’m entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, particularly the rights codified in the United States constitution.
And I think that’s what rubbed that commenter wrong.
You see, these priests of environmentalism, like all tin-pot dictators and despots are both “entitled” (in their minds) and GREEDY. They might think — some of them, the smarter ones are out for all they can get in coin of the realm too — they’re very pure because they’re not pursuing lucre.
But their vile hectoring, their attempt to infringe others’ liberties, their appalling lust for government intervention in the every day activities of otherwise free citizens, is Greed. It is a much dirtier greed than mere desire for money (particularly if one is willing to work for that money.) They are greedy for power.
They think they are entitled to tell what you should have and how much of it.
Having swallowed the insanity of closed-pie economics (mostly because it serves their purposes) and the siren song of “To each according to his need, from each according to his ability” they realize such a society necessitates an arbiter of need and ability. And they want to be that person (or one of a group of such persons, though the cannibal feast tends to ensue then.)
It’s not an accident that every “socialist” dream society ends in an (often hereditary) feudalist nightmare. It’s baked in the cake. To take and give, you must have someone who purports more than normal status, and the ability to see into the heart of others.
And these people who come out frothing at the mouth, screaming “Greed and entitlement” are the ones who are greedy for power to tell you what you deserve, and who think they are entitled to ride you, like a puppet master on your back, controlling your every wish and thought.
I advise them to read the very end of Puppet Masters.
And if they can’t stand that, then, well, just be aware that we are free men and women, and we will never give you that power. Froth and scream, and thrash about how unfair that is.
We are not obligated to gratify your greed for control nor your obscene lust for power. In fact the millions of graves your system of thought filled in the 20th century obligates us to resist you with every fiber of our being.
And we will.