An Unexamined Life

My “on-the-way-to-work” coffee shop sits at a busy corner in one of the wealthiest towns in the country. It’s a crossroads, though, and the crowd isn’t only parents on their way to yoga and kids sitting with their tutors. Construction workers, roofers, and tradesmen aren’t out of place—this is a union town, and everyone depends on The Industry. This part of Michigan is pretty democratic.

This afternoon standing in line for my afternoon joe I stood behind a small group of older teens. One wore a t-shirt for the “Milton Friedman Club”, the back bearing the quotation, “The government solution to a problem is always worse than the problem.”

The sentence is an abomination. I’m no notable quotable but I’d hate for my immortalized words to be so horribly written—which of course isn’t the big problem. Within a few miles of the cafe are two of the nations best public school systems and two of the best private schools. It’s foolish to make assumptions but it’s safe to say this kid never worried where his next meal was coming from.

Government solutions—you know, like social security or Medicare—have been wildly successful at protecting our most vulnerable, something that Ford and GM are not likely to focus on.

This kid’s mentor—the sponsor of his Uncle Milty club—is doing him a disservice if the only message delivered is, “Quick, pull up the ladder!” It’s easy to believe the government is useless if you don’t recognize how much you’ve benefited from your position of privilege, from your own sort of government largesse.

I hope these kids learn the easy way that real life for most people isn’t all Lacrosse tournaments, Land Rovers, and beer in the basement.

1 Comment

  1. nar

     /  September 1, 2013

    its so very important that you pointed this out. its very easy to feel as if nothing is being done if everything is handed to you.

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