December 15, 2004
When I sat down at our office Christmas lunch, I immediately remembered that I don't like any of the people I work with. I ate with a bunch of looters
. Two hours of conspiracy theories and "health care is a right" and all sorts of socialist nonsense from people who have chosen to remain in Germany as squatters, mooching off the Army. The table conversation would've been funny, I suppose, if it didn't make me want to throw up. One woman was complaining about health care in the US and about how much better it is in Germany. She said that German doctors weren't motivated by money like American doctors and that they earn the same salary as schoolteachers. "Then what's the incentive to become a doctor?" I asked. She got all flustered and condescending. "But that's thinking like an American
! You can't think like that!" "But I am
an American," I responded. "I'm an American to the bone." "But life isn't about money!" she whined. So here's where the fun began. "OK," I said, "then since we all work equally hard in our education center to help soldiers, why don't we pool our money and all get paid the same salary?" "Oh, but that's different because we work under the American system..." she trailed off. Different, really, how? Oh, because she makes $61,000 a year and I make $12,000. It's her
pocketbook now, so it's different. "Germans aren't motivated by greed like everyone is in the US," she continued. Her mental gymnastics were simply stunning: this is the woman who gets an outrageous housing allowance from the American government, illegally rents part of her house out, and uses the profit to buy up property in Germany and re-sell it. I suppose she does all of that out of the goodness of her heart and not for profit or anything.
On the way home, I tried to convince myself that I had just had a lovely lunch with Bunker, Deskmerc, Amritas, Fad, and CavX.
A girl can dream, right?
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December 12, 2004
LIFE IMITATING ART
The husband finished Atlas Shrugged
the other day; I still have a couple hundred pages left. But what I'm noticing as I'm reading is a sad parallel between what's happening in the book and what I've been reading on blogs lately. Take this gem for example
: In Britain, if you want to replace a broken window or rewire the lighting in your house, you have to ask the government's permission. Bureaucrats have to come and make sure your home still meets Kyoto regulations. Of how 'bout this from the Netherlands
: The government would pay artists with taxpayers' money to create art, which would be stored in a warehouse, just so that people could have a job.
So how do people react to a society of "each according to his need", of government control of everything, of forced multiculturalism? They want to leave:
"Van Gogh's death was a confirmation for them of what they already sensed was happening," he said. "They're accountants, teachers, nurses, businessmen and bricklayers, from all walks of life. They see things going on every day in this country that are quite unbelievable. They see no clear message from the government, and they are afraid it's becoming irreversible, that's why they are leaving."
Ellen, 43, a lawyer and banker who votes for the free-market Liberals, said the code of behaviour regulating daily life in the Netherlands was breaking down.
"People no longer know what to expect from each other. There are so many rules, but nobody sticks to them. They just do as they want. They just execute people on the streets, it's shocking when you see this for the first time," she said. "We've become so tolerant that everybody thinks they can fight their own wars here. Van Gogh is killed, and then people throw bombs at mosques and churches. It's escalating because the police and the state aren't doing anything about it.
"There's a feeling of injustice that if you do things right, if you work hard and pay your taxes, you're punished, and those who don't are rewarded. People can come and live here illegally and get payments. How is that possible?
"We didn't think about how we should integrate people, to make sure that we actually talk to each other and know each other, instead of living in ghettoes with different rules.
Is life imitating art, or did Ayn Rand predict all of this?
(But don't forget that our country isn't immune to ridiculous government spending...)
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