Monday, July 27, 2009

The Dirty Word: Socialism

Like most "Real Americans," I hate socialism. As such, I propose we rid ourselves of all of its forms. Until we do, how can we really be a land of freedom?

For instance, my house caught on fire last week. These guys came with a big red truck and sprayed water all over the place. Sure, the fire was out, but what a mess! They also rescued my cat out of a tree while they were there. I hated that cat.

The most infuriating thing is that between wrecking my house with water damage and running up future pet store bills, they told me they were government employees. And get this: they had free health care, and pensions, and job security! I told those socialists to get out and send me the bill later for whatever service they thought they had provided. They said it was free. Something about my taxes paying for it. Well, joke's on them. I've got a great accountant, and I don't really pay taxes (wink, wink).

I went down to the liquor store for some more cigs (I smoked my last one while falling asleep on my couch right before all those guys showed up with their stupid hoses). On the way there, a mugger pulled a gun on me. I was ready to give this fool a total beat-down (I was in my ninja fetal-position trick pose) when a cop car rolled up. These blowhards cornered the scum and arrested him.

Anyway, I figured these guys would want to get paid, but they said their job was to "protect and serve." Apparently, they're also paid by the government. Man, that burns me up. What gives them the right to provide for my protection?

When I got home, there was a message on the machine from my nag of an ex-wife. She says I'm behind on the child support again. I don't know what she's complaining about; what does she need money for? She sure doesn't need it for day care. I mean, the kids go to school during the day for free. Let the teachers babysit 'em! And the oldest is over 18 and in community college, anyway. It costs like $50 a semester. They must not even have buildings or professors or anything.

There's one last thing that really chaps my hide. Did you know there's this giant socialist institution that no one ever talks about, because we're too busy saluting them? Check this out: this massive bunch of freeloaders get free health care for life, free housing, free food, free uniforms, an amazing pension plan, and best yet, basically anyone can join, regardless of his/her qualifications. Plus, you still get paid!

Here's the kicker: The wasteful federal government spends more money on these commies than any other facet of our woeful system. That's right, U.S. Military. I'm lookin' at you. Love it or leave it, baby.

Support the troops? Sorry. I'm no socialist.

Edit 10/25/09: See this chart for further clarification.


Jessica said...

You are a funny one.

Sarah said...

Oh Nolan. You really have pissed me off now.

The Air Force Wife.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Yeah, no using the troops as a way to make your own personal political point. Only conservatives are allowed to do that.

Nolan said...

Sarah, I would love to know why you're pissed. Did I disparage the military? Or did I point out that you are enjoying the fruits of a socialist institution, as will your children someday? Tell me how I'm wrong.

JamesD said...

I think it has to do with calling the military freeloaders. We know this was an attempt at satire. But some of us have friends, family members, and loved ones who have been injured or killed in the service of their country. I have a friend who lost his legs in Iraq. You are welcome to come over to my house for beers, and while you are here, feel free to call him a freeloader.

Sarah said...

"There's one last thing that really chaps my hide. Did you know there's this giant socialist institution that no one ever talks about, because we're too busy saluting them? Check this out: this massive bunch of freeloaders get free health care for life, free housing, free food, free uniforms, an amazing pension plan, and best yet, basically anyone can join, regardless of his/her qualifications. Plus, you still get paid!"

You are so mislead in these sentences I feel behooved to tell you the truth (from someone who's living it). While aiming at being satirical, you crossed the line into falsities.

1. Free healthcare for life.
This is extended only to the people who have been in the service for 20 years. The people who have chosen to do what they thought was right and missed out on things that people with everyday jobs have. Watching their babies be born, babies first steps, holidays, weddings, funerals, and everyday life occurrences that as a civilian you are not forced to miss do to your employment choice. As far as the healthcare goes, it may be free but it's sub-par. There are four actual doctors on Tinker AFB. Four, to try and support 20 thousand troops and their families. Surprisingly enough, they can't. We are put on waiting lists for dire needs and sent to the emergency room for unnecessary ailments.

2. Free housing
You're right, we have an allotment for housing. That for those who are fortunate enough to live off base. For those who aren't, they live in apartments or condos with their multiple children in some pretty desolate conditions. Worse off then the section-8 people. I've seen their living conditions (welfare whores) and they have it pretty sweet.

3. Free food
The mess hall makes the same food as they do in prisons. I'm not kidding. Again, for those of us who live off base (depending on rank) get about 200 dollars a month for food. Which out of all the military benefits, is probably the priced the most appropriately.

4. Free uniforms
In basic yes, after that they're fucked. A clothing allowance once a year of 300 dollars to buy a uniform that is provided in government stores and the prices are jacked way the hell up. It costs more to purchase one full uniform than the allotment. Plus, they are expecting your clothing allowance to last you all year for all of your clothing needs. Have to dip into food allotment for boots for work.

Sarah said...

5. Pension Plans
Are amazing (in theory). Ideally after 20 years of service to almost any employer, your salary and retirement are hopefully enough to last you until the day you die. Unfortunately, they aren't, so military members take on odd jobs after retirement to supplement their income. I see it everyday, poor old men coming in to see if their checks came in yet so they can put gas in their car. Their stipends after serving for 20-25 years are approximately 1k to 1.5k a month and that's it.

6. Sign up, you're in!
It's true, the basic tests to get in the military are relatively easy. However, test scores will determine the rest of a military career, be it 4 years or 30 years. Test scores will place you in different careers within the military, and then it's school time. 4-18 months of technical school on average to learn their trade. They help you to be qualified and expect you to do your job.

All of these arguments aside. You are right on one point. The military is not a democracy. One forfeits their basic rights life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be a troop. Freedom of speech is abolished and the freedom to live where you want is taken away as well. Are you suggesting this for everyone? Mandatory military service for all? In a true socialist nation, people would be told what to do and given little options in their actual lively hood. Thank God people still feel the need to sign up and keep those who don't want to enlist away from an even dirtier word: draft.

I don't want this to be about liberals or conservatives. I am not enjoying the fruits of socialism, I am loving a man who has chosen to serve and we have given up more than you know. Our children will know that their Daddy served, but they will know the truth about the governments attempt at having their military and why it will fail. I love America and I love my friends that are Air Force and I respect them. I cannot write what I completely think about the Administration due to possible repercussions my husband might experience. All I know is that the military will fail if serious reforms are not made.

Nolan said...

James, your post on my other blog was so reasoned, yet this one is just knee-jerk jingoism.

Of course I wouldn't tell a legless Iraq vet he was a freeloader, because I don't believe that.

You pointed out that I was using satire but then ignored the basic tenet of satire: you write the OPPOSITE of what you mean.

I disparaged the police, fire department, and the education system (of which I am a part). Did you think I was serious there?

All I was pointing out was that people revere the military (and rightly so), which is a socialist institution.

Your buddy deserves the best possible care, and our government should provide it for him.

Nolan said...

To Sarah, I agree with most of what you write. We don't treat our troops or veterans well enough. It is a poorly-run system that needs overhaul.

I don't know what "falsities" you pointed out. You basically said that everything I wrote was true, but that it wasn't very well done. I don't disagree. The fact that it's not executed well doesn't change the fact that it's socialism; it's just poorly executed socialism.

The fact that we don't trust our government to do things that other governments manage is the topic for another blog.

We do disagree on one major point: you misunderstand what socialism is if you think "In a true socialist nation, people would be told what to do and given little options in their actual lively hood." I think you're confusing it with communism. While it may be true that other nations (socialist and non) have civil service requirements of usually two years (which I am NOT in favor of, by the way- working for the government should be voluntary), no one is told what job they should have. Do you have any examples of this, or are you just repeating fear-based propaganda?

This doesn't even get into the tricky issue of what makes a country "socialist." It's a pretty gray area. As I've pointed out (and I didn't even get into stuff like welfare, minimum wage, unemployment, etc.), we have a lot of socialism in our own country already.

Sarah said...

Having a mandatory 2 year civil service was already put up for a vote and failed thank heavens. I don't understand your indifference to it, I think the mandatory two year service isn't a stones throw away from paying for other people to have the same comforts as everyone else. Corruption, my friend, is a part of us as humans. If moral duties become practiced law the system will never hold. While socialism is a fantastic idea, that is all it will ever be, an idea.

I think why I'm so particularly adverse to you blog is the fact that I don't like using people who serve us, save us, and protect our basic liberties to be insulted and used in such a manner. Or in any manner pursuing one's political point (Johnson). I think it is important to express ideas in a healthy way. I don't recall this level of passion from you when I was a student.

Then again, I was a young impressionable girl and your liberal agenda was probably seeping its way into my brain somehow. How could I have any control over my own education and developing my own thoughts when I was raised in the liberal California public school system?

See my attempt at satire?

Lance Christian Johnson said...


I don't think that you're being fair when you accuse Nolan of insulting the troops. If anything, since he was being satirical, he was being supportive of them. As he pointed out, when you use satire, you say the opposite of what you mean.

But okay, I can understand the notion of not liking it when anybody uses the troops to further a political point. (Although personally, I don't like the idea of treating the troops - or anything - as some sort of sacred cow that's beyond criticism.) Were you equally annoyed when Sarah Palin made an allusion to the troops in order to get the media to "stop making stuff up" about her family?

Nolan said...

Sarah, I'm not sure if we're reading the same blog.

I am not "indifferent" to mandatory civil service. I even used capital letters when I wrote that I am NOT in favor of it. You seem to be trying to put me in some sort of box that fits your view of what people who argue for socialized medicine are like.

You should go tell the people of countries with socialized medicine that it only works as an idea, not in practice. They would be surprised to hear that, because basically every study and statistic shows they're receiving better health care, living longer, and paying less than we are.

Furthermore, as I already clarified to James above and Lance has tried to explain, I was not, in any way, "insulting" the troops, no more than I was insulting policemen, firemen, or teachers. I was pointing out that like those other things, it's a socialist institution.

This is the problem with the discourse in this country. Again, as Lance pointed out, there are these sacred cows that you can't even discuss, because people just start yelling "support the troops!" at you. As I also wrote, I do want to support the troops, and I agreed with your points about them not be treated well enough.

Of course I didn't talk passionately about these issues when you were my student. That wouldn't have been appropriate in an English class. Contrary to the claim that the "liberal educational system" is indoctrinating everyone, most of us are professionals and do our jobs.

I like your satire, which speaks to what I just wrote above.

Sarah said...

Mr. Johnson-
While I understand his attempt at satire, I fear it was lost towards me. I agree that troops on an individual basis can be nothing short of ignoramus assholes, but you'll find this in every group. A small percentage of the population will always be less than deserving and the military is like any other organization in that factor. While I don't think of the military as a sacred cow (freedom of speech, blah blah blah), I do believe in the power and ability it has to do something good and the idea of helping the overall population of soldiers.

Sarah Palin is a cop out for a good argument. Taking someone so ludicrous and using them as an example for a point takes the difficulty and point out of arguing. It's like saying Bush is the voice of the conservative . It's not true and I can't argue back because truth be told, as a moderate/right leaning individual, I didn't like the guy. That being said I think Sarah Palin is another train wreck in the wide world of American Politics. True her son went off to war, but still she should have not used that overly played political card.

While I love satire I think it can be offensive and just wanted to voice my opinion of it. Hooray that Nolan has different ideas than I do, otherwise who could I ramble my ideas to? I'm not censoring, I'm creating discourse.

Sarah said...

*I meant some troops can be ignoramus assholes, just clarifying... Eff.

Nolan said...

I'm going to try to clarify this one more time, and then I'll just have to let it go:

I was not, in any way, criticizing any facet of the military, "good" soldiers or "bad." Nor was I criticizing the fire department, the police department, or public education.

In fact, I was doing the opposite. I was criticizing the attitude that we rightfully revere and accept socialist institutions but claim we are against socialism in all of its forms.

The character I created burned down his house with a cigarette and didn't pay child support. You aren't meant to take what he says seriously. He called the troops "freeloaders," not me. You're supposed to think he's an idiot.

To claim to like and appreciate satire and then say this blog is offensive because it insults the troops in incongruous.

JamesD said...

Mr Nolan-

Respectfully, my point is that when you write on a subject that is brutally close to home for some people, you cant expect anything other than a knee jerk reaction, even when satire. Just because something is satire, does not mean that it is not offensive or could be interpreted as offensive. Satire is a very hard thing to pull off, especially when you are dealing with a subject like this.

The fact is, you seemed shocked that someone could be "pissed" by what you wrote. Simply because something is Satire does not mean it cant be in poor taste. Have you ever heard a joke thats not funny, or was in someway offensive? Some of us found this piece of writing that way.

I appreciate your attempt and want you to understand in no way do I think you do not support servicepeople of all types in this country. Also, I am pretty far from a jingoist. Just because I found parts of your writing to be in poor taste, does not mean I support our ridiculous, belligerent foreign policy.


Nolan said...

I'm not shocked that someone could be pissed; I'm shocked that they're pissed for totally the wrong reason.

James, who are you? I'm guessing you're a former student, but "JamesD" doesn't ring a bell. I will say I like the cut of your jib. You write well, with mostly reasoned arguments.