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The Right to Life August 15, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
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Four couples moved to a village.

They agreed at the outset that everyone in the village had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

They also agreed that everyone in the village would pay 1/10 of their earnings in taxes ~ a communal pool to cover shared expenses.

The first couple, the Smiths, started having children ~ popping one out every year.  The other couples discouraged this behavior and encouraged the Smiths to use birth control to keep the population to a manageable level.

The Smiths refused, insisting that the village had a responsibility to provide their growing menagerie with food, clothing, shelter, education, healthcare, and  supervision.

The Smiths argued that “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” included the right to procreate . . .  whether or not they had the necessary resources to care for their growing family.

The second couple, the Trouts, had lots of bad habits ~ eating, drinking, smoking, and engaging in other risky behavior . . . all to excess.

The other couples discouraged this behavior and encouraged the Trouts to eat and drink in moderation, quit smoking, and curtail other risky behaviors.

Woodstock-&-Snoopy3The Trouts insisted that “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” included the right to engage in whatever behaviors they chose . . .  and that the other villagers had a responsibility to provide medical care for injuries and illness caused by their dangerous proclivities.

As expected, the Trouts needed extensive and expensive medical care as a result of their bad habits.

The third couple, the Wanderers,  liked to travel and enjoyed exotic cuisine. They didn’t work in the village or contribute much in taxes to the communal resources.  They spent all they earned and didn’t save for the future.  The other villagers encouraged them to earn more and contribute more to the communal pot but the Wanderers refused.

The Wanderers insisted that “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”  included the right to travel to foreign ports . . .  and that the other villagers would have a responsibility to provide for them in old age.

The fourth couple, the Wrights, enjoyed staying home and puttering around the yard.  They grew organic fruits and vegetables to ensure they ate a healthy diet and enjoyed plenty of fresh air and exercise.

The Wrights chose to remain child-free in order to avoid the time and expense associated with rearing children.

They didn’t smoke or drink and seldom ventured outside the village.  They saved their excess earnings for the future.

After a number of years, the resources of the village became strained by the life choices made by the Smiths, the Trouts, and the Wanderers.  All three couples drew more from the communal pool than they contributed, due to the choices they made.


Wikipedia ~ Beggar (in Public Domain)

The three couples argued that their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness meant that the Wrights had a responsibility to dig into their savings to provide for them in their “hour of need.”

The Wrights disagreed, refusing to dip into their savings to pay more than the agreed upon 10% in taxes.

The Smiths cried, “That’s not enough!  Our children are starving.”

The Trouts cried, “That’s not enough!  We’re dying of heart and lung disease.  You have a responsibility to keep us alive!”

The Wanderers said, “We would have contributed more, but we’ve been too busy to work.  We need you to provide us with food, clothing, and shelter.”

The Wrights listened to the Smiths, the Trouts, and the Wanderers and shook their heads in disbelief.

Finally, I. M. Wright spoke to the assembled group:

You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . . period.  If you woke up on a desert island ~ you would have those rights and nothing more. You would NOT have a “right” to food, shelter, education, medical care, etc., unless and until you provided them for yourself and your family.

You’ve confused basic human rights with something that derives solely from a “social contract.”

We never agreed to support you in the lifestyle to which you’ve grown accustomed.  We encouraged the Smiths to stop having children.  They refused to listen.  We encouraged the Trouts to stop engaging in risky behavior.  They refused to listen.  We encouraged the Wanderers to work and put some money aside for their retirement.  They refused to listen.

Your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is YOUR responsibility, not ours.   You made bad choices and shall have to live or die with the consequences of those choices. 

The Smiths, Trouts, and Wanderers of the world are like the Grasshopper ~ making choices without effectively considering the consequences.

When their choices create unnecessary suffering for themselves and their families, they expect someone else to step in and fix the situation for them.

But resources are limited because there aren’t enough Wrights around to compensate for the multitude of bad choices being made.

The right to life means that we should refrain from taking active steps to shorten another’s life . . . it does NOT mean that we are obligated to take active steps to save people from the stupid decisions they choose to make.

No rules.  Just write! 

What about you?

Do you feel sorry for the Smiths, the Trouts, and the Wanderers?  Do you feel that I.M. Wright is wrong ~ that he is obligated to finance their stupidity?

Do you feel that the “right to life” imposes a burden on others to keep us alive and to protect us from self-created harm?

Or do you agree with I.M. Wright that our “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is our responsibility, and others need only refrain from acting to shorten our life span?

Related posts:  The Grasshopper and the Ant * Are Human Rights Alright ~ part 2 * Paternalism Produces Whiny Babies * Life: A Balancing Act * Begging The Question (BainWaves)

Join the 7 Links Challenge August 15, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Food & Drink, Humor.
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Between sharing recipes for food we drool over, and entertaining us with wit, humor, and charm, Greg and Katherine took the 7 Links Challenge.

As part of the Challenge, they invited 5 blogs (including SLTW) to identify:

1.  A beautiful post:  Photo Challenge ~ Colorful

What’s more colorful than food, glorious food?  Since I tend to eat food long before I have a chance to shoot it, I highlighted delectable culinary creations from Rufus’  Food & Spirits Guide.

Go hungry . . . leave happy. 

2.  A popular post:  What The World Really Needs

Time and energy are limited resources.  Attempting to help out with every “good cause” that comes our way is not an effective use of our limited time on this planet.

We can’t all be Mother Teresa . . . that was her job.

3.  A helpful post:  7 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic

Each blog starts out as a tiny minnow in an enormous  pond ~ the cyber sea.  As we develop readers (and friends), the traffic on our blog expands.  Minnows become fish and a few select fish become whales.

What determines which minnows become massive blogging whales?

I’m not telling . . .  😀

Wikipedia ~ The Death of Chatterton (in Public Domain)

4.  A controversial post:  Checking Out

I’m not convinced that there is an absolute correlation between suicide and mental illness.  

Just the opposite.  I suspect that many who commit suicide are saner than the rest of us.

My comments, and the post as a whole, ruffled some feathers.

That’s fine with me since the post served its intended purpose ~ to make people think about a subject that is often swept under the rug.

5.  A Surprisingly Successful post:  The Chain ~ Harbinger of Things to Come

Just for fun, I did a post on Chain Letters of the cyber variety.

Surprise!  Surprise!  Surprise!  WordPress selected it for Freshly Pressed and the comments rolled in at a fast and furious rate.

6.  A post that didn’t get the attention it deserved:  What’s So Special About Baby Ducks

Why do people who contribute to the suffering of animals by eating copious amounts of beef, pork, veal, duck, chicken, and turkey raised on factory farms go to the time, effort, and expense to rescue a few  ducklings trapped on the wrong side of a grate?

Why is saving a few ducklings that have fallen through a storm drain  newsworthy?  Are baby ducks more precious than baby chicks?  Baby calves? Baby pigs?  Baby seals?

What’s so special about baby ducks? 

You tell me.

7.  A favorite post:  Revel in Uncertainty

Even on the downhill slope, life continues to surprise and delight with unexpected opportunities and curve balls tossed in our path.  We think, “this is me,” and some hidden facet of our personality starts knocking to be let out “from the cupboard under the stairs.”

We say, “this is my life,” and new adventures appear on the horizon.

Life is full of surprising detours.  We cannot always predict what waits around the next bend.  Our life is our own when we embrace our freedom instead of our fear.

Revel in uncertainty.

No Rules.  Just Write!

Tag . . . You’re It!  Here are 21 Blogs that I would love to see join the 7 Links Challenge:

1.  Kate Shrewsday’s Blog
2.  Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror
3.  Water Witch’s Daughter
4.  The Laughing Housewife
5.  The Only Cin
6.  Janna T. Write’s Blog
7.  Uphill Writing
8.  A Nightingale’s Blog
9.   Agrigirl’s Blog
10.  Random Thoughts From Midlife
11.  Woman Wielding Words
12.  The Anvil
13.  Sinister Echoes
14.  Maggie Writes
15.  Souldipper
16.  Mirth & Motivation
17.  Naomi Notes
18.  Global Mysteries
19.  Footprints in the Sand
20.  Write Up My Life
21.   YOU!  . . . Yes, YOU!  If I read your blog, or you read mine, I’d love to see which posts you pick for this challenge.

If you wish to participate . . . select posts that fit the categories above (or make up your own categories), write a new post with links back to each of the selected articles, include a link to your new post in the comments below, and tag a few other bloggers to encourage participation . . . or just get all your blog buddies involved.

Sound like a lot of work?  It is!

But it’s also a ton of FUN!

If you don’t have time to review and share 7 links, pick one or two favorites and post links below in the comments for us to enjoy! 

Related posts:  Looking Back (Vix) * Reflections on Writing (Lisa) * Mirth & Motivation * Of Cemetaries and Samurai (Kate Shrewsday) * Maggie Madly Writing * Piglet in Portugal * Janna T. Writes * My Desktop Jacuzzi (Kate Shrewsday) * My Seven (Raptitude)