Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Lesson of the Somali Pirate Episode

So I’m sure you heard about the Somali pirate debacle. These thugs captured a US-flagged ship and held the crew hostage. I’ll admit I was worried for a bit—what exactly would the spineless jellyfish in the White House do? He’s so much like Carter, and I can’t help but remember (well, sort of—it was well before my time) how Carter responded to American citizens being held hostage—he said some snivelly, ineffectual things and it took over a year (not to mention the election of a new president who actually had a pair) for them to be released.


Turns out I needn’t have worried at all. You see, these people took it upon themselves to do whatever they needed to do, no matter how hard. I can’t imagine being an unarmed sailor taking on a crew of AK-toting thugs—but these people found the courage to do so. They didn’t demand (or probably even expect) help, they helped themselves—and managed to solve their problems without the government doing a thing.


I’m hoping it’s obvious I’m no longer speaking just about that freighter crew.


There is not a single problem in America that needs the government to solve it. They can all be fixed simply by the American people getting up, steeling themselves, and doing what’s right—no matter how hard or frightening it is. Would it be painful? Of course. Will we be comfortable with it? Probably not. But by tackling the problems head-on, doing the hard but necessary thing, we will actually solve them. By letting the government defy the basic laws of silly things like economics, or basic mathematics, common sense, the Constitution, or even the laws they invented, we make ourselves comfortable today. But that comfort comes at a terrible price—we’re building a massive house of cards that will, someday, collapse—if not on us, then on our children.


Everyone’s running around with their hair on fire screaming about how we have to save the economy. We don’t. Our economy has become a ludicrous shell game—we spend money we don’t have, so banks can loan that money to other people who don’t have it. We juggle our debt, hoping to keep it in the air forever. But because we keep spending, we’re constantly expanding the loop, trying to juggle more things. That’s how the government works, that’s how that average moron with 8 credit cards lives—and eventually we won’t be able to keep up. We don’t need to pump money back into the system to keep it going—the system is built on a lie, that’s why it collapsed in the first place, and if we try to keep it going we’ll just get another collapse. It’s like those moving walkways in the airport—we’ve been running on an economic moving walkway for twenty years, but it couldn’t go on forever and once we reached the end our feet couldn’t keep up. What’s the solution? Build another walkway, knowing eventually that one will end too? Or fall on our face, take the sting and the embarrassment, then pick ourselves back up and carry on a bit wiser? Which one sounds like a better idea? We don’t need to prop the economy back up, we need to suffer through the painful process of completely restructuring it—building a new economy. A new economy like the old one, based on working, saving, investing, and above all producing real things of real value—not another economy based on spending every penny we have and then some, basing our entire life on the assumption that things will get better forever (and we’re royally screwed if we’re wrong).


We may be afraid of that pain, we may not think we can do it—or at least many in the country have been conditioned to believe that—but we can. I honestly believe there is no crisis the American people are not equal to—as long as the government gets out of our way and lets us do it. Don’t be our parent, trying to save us from the pain of making difficult decisions. Life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows, so stop trying to convince us it is. We’re big kids now, and we can handle it.


  1. There's more than one lesson in the pirate episode, but you've obvioously hit on the big one - self-reliance.

    Some of the other lessons include;

    Iran + North Korea + Somali pirates = Obama doesn't care much about international issues. He's busy promoting a socialist domestic agenda.

    The pirate issue is not new either, it's been going on for some time. Therefore there's a blame Bush opportunity for Obama. But it's not a crisis big enough that Rahm feels they can leverage it to good use. Pointing out the problem would put an end to the electioneering blame-Bush-fest overkill. Proof the administration is purely political in nature.

    And don't forget, everyone looks up to John Maclean. No one really looks up to trial lawyers. That's an important lesson too.

  2. Well of course...that was just the most obvious one, and the one that allowed me to indulge my love of metaphors to its fullest.