Email to Steve Huntley
"Gimme" Philosophy
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20120615                        Morality

From: Scott Sinnock 1:05 pm, 6/15/2012
Subject: Sun Times 15 Jun 2012

Your article in the paper today, headlined by the editors, "Day of Reckoning for 'Gimme' Nations" rings very true. I was almost completely with you, which is very unusual for me, all the way to your last two words "common sense". I think the "gimme" philosophy is very common; if not for money, perhaps for moral converts or other things people "commonly" want from, or of. others, you included (e.g. "gimme" proper punishment of immoral Islamists (or whatever name you want to use or whatever target group of "bad-acting" people* that must (perhaps just "should") be coerced to "gimme" peace or some other "good" for me and mine). Moral evangelism, it seems to me, says "gimme" as much as saying "gimme" more money. The "gimme" motive is very common, perhaps universal, and so it is "common sense". We all want things. What isn't common sense, at least it seems to me, is the giving by those who are asked. The giving side has changed, not the asking, or shall I say "commanding", gimme side. It seems "giving" is being sold ever more insistently during our echoing times of the 1700's enlightenment - Hume, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Hobbs, Mills, Locke, and other purveyors of the ideas (1) that birth rights are not special but universal, and (2) that nature obeys laws of logic and mathematics and perhaps morality does too. We have massaged their ideas, those of "the giants" on whose shoulders they stood, and added some. Of particular note are (1) Einstein's relativity and Plank's quanta that deeply question assumption 2, or at least drive it to deeper, unknown causes and effects, and (2) the accompanying** cultural and moral relativism reflecting confusion in the light of shared world information, which likewise seriously questions assumption 1. The result is some sort of crazy amalgam of democratic, utilitarian, and judeo-christian-muslim ideals of justice, community responsibilities ("Am I my brother's keeper?"), individual rights, (gay rights?), and qualifications for authorities empowered to mete out punishment. All this is mixed in with a big dose of culterual relativism's "God's dead, so it doesn't matter", and seething under it all is the "selfish gene". Somewhere in that amalgam of values lies the "gimme" motive, gimme food to feed my starving child, gimme shelter to house my poor old feeble mom, AND in there also is social responsibility to give by those that have excess. The "gimme's" will never stop asking, so unless the givers stop, the granery will be emptied. With many enthymemes then, the "common sense" that seems to be lost is the sense that we are somehow responsible for other peoples' suffering, and its corollary that the state is the 'big brother" most efficient at leveling or otherwise managing the suffering by redistributing the surplus, either economic or moral. So it's common sense to say "Gimme"; but not to respond.

* many moral systems distingush 'bad people' from 'bad action'. In them all people are created equal, nez pas?, so it must be 'free-will' choices that 'harm others' hence are immoral actions that society has a right to censure or punish. Morality in such systems is restricted to choices not genes. This, it seems, is the essence of the argument for gay rights. So, now for the real bomb: What of child sex offenders whose genes compel such desires linked with a children whose genes compel responsive desire in an age of birth control?

Oh NOOOOOOO, don't go there ................. but, I think you see that's where the gay rights argument leads. Or murder? "Can't help it, it's in my genes". as murderous aggression certainly is.

** perhaps antecedent, perhaps consequential, depends on whether you are wearing physical or social scientists rose-colored glasses.

From: Scott Sinnock 10:33 pm 15 Jun 2012
Subject: Oops, 'Gimme' follow on

I almost forgot the point of my diatribe on the common sense of "Gimme". The great tsunami of "gimme" is just starting to swell. The first baby boomers reached full-benefit retirement age just this year. I know, I am one.  I was born January 9, 1946, just nine days after the "official" start of baby-boomer children. My first Social Security Retirement checks arrived just this year. The great swell has started. The demographers have warned us about this for years. The Europeans pushed the crisis of the post WW II demographic population explosions combined with "compassionate" socialism to earlier years by enacting retirement ages less than our 66.4 (current and rising) retirement age. Ours crisis is coming, perhaps it is already here. Transfers of wealth from the "young" to us "boomers", transfers we have built into expectations and political expression, transfers that are knowingly for ourselves, transfers we will politically engage (we vote)  to protect (both pensions and medical); these transfers are probably the greatest robbery in history. I am a beneficiary of this crazy social, and as you know, even crazier economic experiment. I suspect mine will be the only generation to benefit. Our legacy will be to teach the lesson that "gimme" must be refused. In the meantime, I can only say "thanks" world, for "gimme-ing" me about 10 times what I put in plus interest, if I Iive to be about 85 and COLA's continue to pace or nearly pace inflation (real cause and effect intertwining here), and that doesn't even count the thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars I will use, no "demand" for my medical "rights" to the "best" care available. Something's gotta give, and I suspect we will see a continuation of the post WW II inexorable trend to ever more taxes to support ever more "managed" governmental compassion. Scott Sinnock, geologist