Written by Kevin Hower Tuesday, 04 November 2008 14:22
I won’t discuss my voting decisions here, but I have to say I haven’t been particularly happy with either presidential candidate.
The ideal presidential platform, in my opinion, would combine fiscally conservative economic policies with secular, humanistic social values. Neither of the recent candidates, or their running mates, fit those views closely enough for me to get terribly excited about them. But of course a choice is necessary, for better or worse.
One concept brought up in the recent campaign—and one which I particularly detest—is wealth redistribution. I don’t think anyone’s success, assuming it comes by honest and legal means, should be punished, which is precisely the effect such a scheme would have.
Imagine if we could somehow pool all the money in the country, and then divide it equally among everyone. I don’t know the precise amount each person would get, but it would be be a lot. Those who work hard would soon be back to having large amounts of money, but those who act as though the world owes them a living would soon be back to where they were before, waiting to be spoon-fed.
On a different subject, I recently read that a well-known and widely advertised charity refused $17,000 that was to be used to help provide food and water for needy children.
Why was such a large amount of money refused? Was it because those offering it were criminals? No, it was because it was raised from the sales, at a gaming convention, of Dungeons and Dragons merchandise that is considered by some folks to be a tool of the devil.
The decision to refuse money earned by legal, honest means proves to me that for those who refused that money, it’s not about actually helping anyone. Instead, it’s about putting on a self-righteous show of religiosity. If they really wanted to help those kids, they’d check their beliefs at the door, take the money anyway, and use it to buy the needed supplies.
What I find especially ironic is that the inventor of the game, the late Gary Gygax, was a regular contributor to the very same charity in question.
The sort of folks who worry about D&D are the same ones who panic about the fictional character Harry Potter, believing he is going to entice kids into witchcraft. They’re also the same sort who worry that Philip Pullman’s excellent series “His Dark Materials” is going to somehow de-convert their little darlings into atheists, as if it’s somehow a terrible idea to discard beliefs that are not based on evidence.
Now, as someone who greatly values the Constitution, I can completely respect a person’s right to believe whatever they choose. However, it doesn’t in any way follow that I should have to respect the actual content of what they believe or be required to refrain from criticizing that content, especially if it’s not got the weight of evidence and reason behind it.
Finally, since it’s that time of year, I thought I should mention the upcoming holiday. We all have our traditions, at least in this country. My way of looking at the world and my beliefs and traditions have changed as I’ve grown, as I think they should for everyone, though some people would no doubt disagree.
I reserve my thanks—both spoken and silent—for the living, breathing human beings with whom I share this planet. I believe that for their contributions to human society, it’s to real, living, warm, loving people—with their own thoughts, hopes and dreams—that we should give thanks, rather than to the objects of their lingering superstitions.
I’m very thankful to my family, friends, and coworkers for everything they have done or will do for me.
Also, a huge “thank-you” is due to all those, living and deceased, who have fought to defend our freedom and to those who continue to protect us.
May everyone enjoy their time with family and friends this holiday season, and have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, no matter to whom they direct their thanks.