On Beginning a New Year

Among some of the most common errors in thinking is the fallacy called "post hoc, ergo propter hoc." This simply means attributing an effect to a cause based on a chronological sequence. The classic example given by Professors of Logic is this one: "The ship left the dock on Friday 13. It sank. Therefore, the ship sank because it was Friday 13.

Absurd? You bet it is! Yet, this is a common way for people to use their precious ability to reason.

There are many thought-provoking and meritorious resolutions that could be made on New Year's Day. But, if there were one that I would like to see made - and implemented - is the resolution to fight the car manufacturers and their lobbyists who pay politicians big bucks to force the rest of us over-burdened taxpayers to cover the manufacture of air bags and the gas bags who do the lobbying. Plus! Plus - mind you - the taxpayer and consumer is forced to pay the pay off.

That's a big price to pay for the privilege of having one of those things blow up in your face, or break your arm, or kill you or your child.

Just think for a moment how much is added to the cost of a car to have those `kamikaze' air bags installed. Not only that, but just think of the fear you have to stifle just having that thing in front of you. And what about replacing it after a certain period of time? They do require replacing after a period of time.

We are permitted, one would assume, to question all the puffing about lives saved because of these air bags.

Now they are talking about citizens having to submit an application for permission to install a switch wherewith to turn the frightful thing off!

This is an outrageous insult to adult intelligence. Or is it? Maybe our `keepers' have rightly concluded that most people have abdicated their right to take care of themselves and to take personal responsibility?

Compared to the times that those air bags have supposedly `saved lives' (A pitifully small number in comparison to the number of people who paid for those unwanted bags and have never needed them), you would think the many millions in profits that go to the air bag makers would raise an eyebrow.

By the way, did you ever hear how many people are killed annually just for jay-walking? No one has devised an `air bag' to prevent death or serious injury for jay-walking.

Apparently, the American pioneer spirit and sense of independence have been washed out of memory. There was a time in the history of this country when people took to heart the cry of the New England Yankee: "Millions for defense; but not one cent for tribute!" We Americans have been "paying tribute" to unseen, hidden `royalty' for years now - from the `koshering' of almost everything we eat or use to safety belts and air bags. What is going to come next? Is there anything left that some clever and cunning conartist in government or private industry can't come up with to squeeze the last nickel or dime out of the common citizen - for our safety, of course?

Let's make 1998 a year to be proud of. Let's learn some self-discipline, get back to good health, some genuine American spirit, and maybe even a little bit of our wealth.

The time has come to put an end to all the nonsense that passes for elevating `culture.' Let's face it: We have allowed minority groups (not to be confused with minority ethnic groups) to dictate our music, our entertainment, our styles of clothing - in a word: EVERYTHING!

Someone once appealed to the "moral majority." You don't hear much about this man these days. Is it possible? Is it true? Has the majority become so corrupt and indifferent that it's a waste of time appealing to man's nobler side?

Besides the `moral majority, there was that alleged-democratic way: the way that the `majority ruled.' Let's take a vote on it! Let's have a `show of hands'!

Democracy works only when common sense and good will work. While the `moral majority' is being lulled into complacent indifference, the `immoral minority' is making an end-run with the ball!

Now, if it were a question of only a game with a few million dollars at stake, that would not be so alarming.

But, when the stakes are millions and millions of human lives and billions and billions of dollars, then the `game' becomes more serious.

No one can remain indifferent to injustice. Yet, it is essential to justice that we have a clear and precise idea of just who the victims are and who are the perpetrators of injustice. It's hard to find the culprits when they pretend to be the victims.

Why? Because by the time the truth has been uncovered, the stimulus-response conditioning of the crowd by the media has already made truth a dirty word.

That would be a nice New Year's resolution: Resolving to recapture one's human dignity.

People are naturally `joiners' even though some wish to deny it. Hermits are rare. We ought not to be ashamed of joining; we should only be ashamed of what we join!

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