Quote of the Day: Not My Problem, Grasshopper

 

“Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.” — Bob Carter

When you consider American conservatism, self-reliance always comes to the forefront. The classic conservative American ideal is the self-made man, the person does not need to rely on others. Now, this is not exactly accurate — we are not islands isolated from each, we are social creatures — but the principle is there. We do not celebrate, barbecue, and launch fireworks for Dependence Day.

There is a harsher side to this focus on self-reliance — the fate of those not self-reliant. This brings up the classic fable of the grasshopper and the ant. The grasshopper partied while the ant kept busy storing up resources and digging a burrow, and when the winter came the grasshopper starved and froze to death. Harsh, yes, but that was the way of the world for centuries. Pity and charity are fundamentally luxuries — if you do not have abundance, the unprepared starve. There is no obligation to help others at a cost yourself except moral principles. It is noble and a deeply respected tradition to offer hospitality to the traveler, even if he was unprepared for the journey. Regardless, there is no formal duty to aid others.

I am not a believer in Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, with its hatred of altruism — I serve the King of Heroic Sacrifice — but the modern culture of dependence and refusal to prepare for future misfortune is leading us off of the cliff. Perhaps it is time to bring back a dose of cold reality to our modern grasshoppers.

There are 14 comments.

  1. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin Post author

    The person who suggested this quote is very interested in preparedness – a “prepper”. It would be interesting to hear how people on Ricochet handle preparations for disasters and atrocities.


    This entry is part of our Quote of the Day series. We have many openings on the August Schedule for your wisdom. We’ve even include tips for finding great quotes. It’s the easiest way to start a Ricochet conversation, so why not sign up today?

    • #1
    • August 21, 2018, at 11:15 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. DonG Coolidge

    I think everyone has an obligation to understand the natural disasters that are possible for their area and their neighborhood and to take mitigating actions to prepare. Everyone can afford a week’s supply of water and ramen. If people don’t know how to prep, ask around.

    • #2
    • August 22, 2018, at 6:48 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Vectorman Thatcher

    OmegaPaladin: Pity and charity are fundamentally luxuries – if you do not have abundance, the unprepared starve. There is no obligation to help others at a cost yourself except moral principles.

    The Bible shows that when a disaster strikes, one must make adjustments. In the Book of Ruth, a famine hit Israel, and even a rich man couldn’t help everyone. So Elimelech and his wife Naomi and their two sons went to Moab, where they dwelt about ten years. After Elimelech and his sons died, Naomi took back her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth to Israel, and the rest is history.

    OmegaPaladin: It is noble and a deeply respected tradition to offer hospitality to the traveler, even if he was unprepared for the journey. Regardless, there is no formal duty to aid others.

    In this case, the aid is temporary. Permanent aid is very detrimental to both the individual receiving aid and the society.

    • #3
    • August 22, 2018, at 7:05 AM PDT
    • Like
  4. Vectorman Thatcher

    DonG (View Comment):
    Everyone can afford a week’s supply of water and ramen.

    The shelf life of modern canned food and staples like pasta, rice, and flour is better than ramen. Buy food on sale, mark the use by date on the top, and rotate out as needed. Even yesterday, we noticed a can bought about two years ago with June date, so we had it for dinner. The “use by date” is a suggestion, so 2 months “late” was less than 10% over, and the can was stored in a cool basement, greatly increasing shelf life.

    As for water, use food safe heavy duty jugs (such as Arizona Ice Tea) and mark the filled date on the cap with a magic marker. After a year, use the water for plants and general clean up. Alcohol (such as hand sanitizer) removes the marker date, so reuse the jugs and add more to your supply.

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    The person who suggested this quote is very interested in preparedness – a “prepper”. It would be interesting to hear how people on Ricochet handle preparations for disasters and atrocities.

    As shown above, being a “prepper” is relatively easy. Get “free” flashlights from Harbor Freight, including one in each vehicle. Add simple tools like hammers, manual tree saws, etc. Another item is a camp stove with enough cooking fuel.

    • #4
    • August 22, 2018, at 7:38 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    Paladin, how do we get around the fact – distasteful as it is – that we’re an administrative state, now? (Besides parents clearing out their basements, that is…).

    • #5
    • August 22, 2018, at 8:04 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    The person who suggested this quote is very interested in preparedness – a “prepper”. It would be interesting to hear how people on Ricochet handle preparations for disasters and atrocities.

    As shown above, being a “prepper” is relatively easy. Get “free” flashlights from Harbor Freight, including one in each vehicle. Add simple tools like hammers, manual tree saws, etc. Another item is a camp stove with enough cooking fuel.

    We have those things. What we don’t have is a stockpile of the drugs and medical devices necessary to keep the family members who would need them alive and functional. Part of the reason for that is what Nanda said,

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):
    how do we get around the fact – distasteful as it is – that we’re an administrative state, now?

    Prescription medical supplies are heavily regulated by the administrative state. Even obtaining something as simple and lifesaving as injectable epinephrine can be difficult unless you can convince a doctor you “need” it (as in, are likely to use it during the course of ordinary life, not just in case). Or at least it is difficult if you’re worried about being busted as a druggie or smuggler if you obtained it illegally.

    In the event of a prolonged breakdown in the social order, people with needs such as these may simply volunteer to die in order to reduce the burden on others whose needs are more easily met. What’s the point of taking food and water out of another family member’s mouth if he only needs food and water to survive, while you need other stuff which can’t be gotten?

    • #6
    • August 22, 2018, at 10:40 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Vectorman Thatcher

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    Prescription medical supplies are heavily regulated by the administrative state. Even obtaining something as simple and lifesaving as injectable epinephrine can be difficult unless you can convince a doctor you “need” it (as in, are likely to use it during the course of ordinary life, not just in case). Or at least it is difficult if you’re worried about being busted as a druggie or smuggler if you obtained it illegally.

    • #7
    • August 22, 2018, at 11:03 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    In the event of a prolonged breakdown in the social order, people with needs such as these may simply volunteer to die in order to reduce the burden on others whose needs are more easily met.

    You’re *scaring* me, Midge…Our “sacrifice” in this scenario of Darwinian imperatives is how euthanasia and/or suicide gains acceptance. (Related question, our sacrifice is not akin to His, is it?) 

    • #8
    • August 22, 2018, at 11:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    In the event of a prolonged breakdown in the social order, people with needs such as these may simply volunteer to die in order to reduce the burden on others whose needs are more easily met.

    You’re *scaring* me, Midge…Our “sacrifice” in this scenario of Darwinian imperatives is how euthanasia and/or suicide gains acceptance. (Related question, our sacrifice is not akin to His, is it?)

    It is a little scary, yes. But as Omega Paladin said,

    OmegaPaladin: There is a harsher side to this focus on self-reliance – the fate of those not self-reliant.

    As members of a civilized society, we consider it only civilized to treat those we sincerely believe are non-self-reliant through no fault of their own as if they were honorary members of the self-reliant crowd. If society broke down, though, there would be reasons for this norm to break down, too.

    I know some Ricochetians would prefer to avoid futile medical care, despite their opposition to euthanasia and suicide. Food and water aren’t considered medical care to begin with, at least not now, but if food and water became so scarce that the able-bodied had to ration them like lifesaving medicine just to keep themselves alive… Yes, that is going to a very dark place, but then, complete societal collapse would be a very dark place.

    • #9
    • August 22, 2018, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    In the event of a prolonged breakdown in the social order, people with needs such as these may simply volunteer to die in order to reduce the burden on others whose needs are more easily met.

    You’re *scaring* me, Midge…Our “sacrifice” in this scenario of Darwinian imperatives is how euthanasia and/or suicide gains acceptance. (Related question, our sacrifice is not akin to His, is it?)

    It is a little scary, yes. But as Omega Paladin said,

    OmegaPaladin: There is a harsher side to this focus on self-reliance – the fate of those not self-reliant.

    As members of a civilized society, we consider it only civilized to treat those we sincerely believe are non-self-reliant through no fault of their own as if they were honorary members of the self-reliant crowd. If society broke down, though, there would be reasons for this norm to break down, too.

    I know some Ricochetians would prefer to avoid futile medical care, despite their opposition to euthanasia and suicide. Food and water aren’t considered medical care to begin with, at least not now, but if food and water became so scarce that the able-bodied had to ration them like lifesaving medicine just to keep themselves alive… Yes, that is going to a very dark place, but then, complete societal collapse would be a very dark place.

    Futile care avoidance and forced or voluntary suicide/euthanasia are worlds apart for me. The first is my personal and faith-life mandate. (Btw, since Pope John Paul II, nutrition and hydration are considered ordinary medical care; which can be discontinued if one is no longer metabolizing it.) The second is – and always will be – an abomination for which I can find no ethical/moral justification. I do see that others – including other believers – may reach different conclusions…

    • #10
    • August 22, 2018, at 12:23 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Basil Fawlty Member

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):
    Btw, since Pope John Paul II, nutrition and hydration are considered ordinary medical care; which can be discontinued if one is no longer metabolizing it.

    I thought they were a natural means of sustaining life.

    • #11
    • August 22, 2018, at 5:11 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):
    Btw, since Pope John Paul II, nutrition and hydration are considered ordinary medical care; which can be discontinued if one is no longer metabolizing it.

    I thought they were a natural means of sustaining life.

    Nutrition and hydration delivered not-by-mouth, sorry I wasn’t clear. And, yes, they are; no matter how they’re delivered. Hence, the extension of the imperative to provide them – in whatever form – in medical environments.

    • #12
    • August 22, 2018, at 5:28 PM PDT
    • Like
  13. Basil Fawlty Member

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):
    Btw, since Pope John Paul II, nutrition and hydration are considered ordinary medical care; which can be discontinued if one is no longer metabolizing it.

    I thought they were a natural means of sustaining life.

    Nutrition and hydration delivered not-by-mouth, sorry I wasn’t clear. And, yes, they are; no matter how they’re delivered. Hence, the extension of the imperative to provide them – in whatever form – in medical environments.

    I guess I’m confused by the “metabolizing” exception. How do you stop “metabolizing” water?

    • #13
    • August 22, 2018, at 5:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):
    Btw, since Pope John Paul II, nutrition and hydration are considered ordinary medical care; which can be discontinued if one is no longer metabolizing it.

    I thought they were a natural means of sustaining life.

    Nutrition and hydration delivered not-by-mouth, sorry I wasn’t clear. And, yes, they are; no matter how they’re delivered. Hence, the extension of the imperative to provide them – in whatever form – in medical environments.

    I guess I’m confused by the “metabolizing” exception. How do you stop “metabolizing” water?

    When your gut and kidneys shut down, such that there’s no further “output” of what you’ve “input”, there is no imperative to continue, as death is imminent. Pain control then becomes the goal. 

    • #14
    • August 22, 2018, at 6:08 PM PDT
    • Like