Ryan, the publisher of this paper has graciously offered The Alternative to several other Mid-America publications. He suggested I give a little background. I agreed, as I always consider the source of information to be as important as the information itself in anything I read.
Looking out the window was what I loved most about English class. I’ve always pitied any foreigner trying to learn this language and consider it to be torturously inconsistent. Yet here I am,still trying to learn it at sixty-five years of age.
I have written lots of letters to the editor down through the years but what really got me fired up was that each year when summer vacation ended and the kids went back to school, there would be cartoons in the paper depicting parents overjoyed at the prospect of having their kids gone from home most of five days a week.
Once I wrote a letter to the Mason City paper claiming parents should be responsible for the “results of their honeymoon” themselves. A letter responding to mine claimed that if the state didn’t forcibly confiscate our children five days a week, there would be no firemen or paramedics. But that is not the real tragedy of these cartoons. How sad is it that a parent would want to be rid of their child?
My interest in sharing my opinions with the public has not been limited to letters on valuing our kids. But they had their roots there because before the state took over so many of our personal responsibilities, all the best decisions were made by considering the cost and benefit to ourselves alone. (In my writing “the state” refers to the government in general.) About six years ago, Brad, who was The Chronicle’s publisher before Ryan, agreed to let me write The Alternative twice a month.
We settled on The Alternative as a title because that is my inspiration. The mainstream media mostly consists of reprints of press releases from government or established organizations. An alternative was badly needed. Think back to all the troubles of the world. They are all caused by individuals using the common good, race, religion, or nationalism as a cause to limit the freedom or steal the wealth of others.
I was taught that this country was exceptional because the individual has greater value than the collective. Yet nearly all input into our brains comes from some sort of group. It distorts the influence of individuals who, acting in their own self interest, make choices of lasting value because the cost is theirs alone and not being borne by someone else. All these individual decisions combined are what we call “the market.”
All the luxury we enjoy in the United States only exists because individuals produced a product that others decided was worth buying. This used to be how the economy worked. Then as it became apparent that we could be forced to buy products by law, more businesses used that route to success instead of offering products that were desirable on their own merits.
This process was implemented in such an incremental way, we hardly noticed. But a little imagination will reveal that a huge amount of our incomes is spent on things we would never dream of buying if it were up to us. I’ll try to earn your time by exposing some of this waste so we can fight back.
Any response to my opinion is welcome through a letter to this paper or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.