Beware Large Groups of People
I have known a great many terrific individuals in the course of my 72 years. Some of them have been teachers, some have even been lawyers. But once you stick people in a group, my advice is to watch your back and hang on to your wallet.
Take the United Nations. Please, as Henny Youngman used to say about Mrs. Youngman. As you probably know by now, the U.N. recently voted to grant the Palestinians non-member state status. In reality, it doesn't mean much. But in this world, perception, more often than not, trumps reality. It so happens that the United States opposed the measure. But in spite of getting a great deal of money from us taxpayers, the Palestinians ignored our wishes. What's more, there were only eight nations that supported our position: Canada, Israel, the Czech Republic, Panama, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palou. There were 41 nations that abstained, who simply couldn't bring themselves to choose between what we wanted and what the blankety-blank Palestinians demanded. Among them were many of those we had presumed to be our allies: Australia, Germany, Poland, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
The Palestinians, who are good for nothing but making trouble, garnered 139 votes.
If someone can please explain why we continue to literally house the U.N. and pay at least 25% of its expenses, I'd appreciate a call.
Another large group of ne'er-do-wells are to be found in the liberal arts faculties of colleges and universities. They're the self-righteous numbskulls who regard themselves as elitists for no other reason than that they managed to survive endless years of boring lectures.
A recent study confirmed what most of us already assumed: those with the most education have the least exposure to those holding conflicting opinions.
It's no secret that these academic boobs hold themselves in extremely high regard and hold those who don't see eye-to-eye with them in contempt. But what does an advanced degree actually amount to? What does a PhD in French literature of the 19th century or ancient Chinese ceramics actually prepare you for beyond parroting what you've been taught to those who have an equally narrow field of interest and, of course, boring the pants off the other guests at dinner parties?
These are the same louts who are always yakking about diversity on the college campus, by which they merely mean a diversity of pigmentation, the very difference that the rest of us are supposed to ignore. When it comes to real diversity, even when it's merely opinions voiced by students in their classroom, they are about as open-minded as Cotton Mather and Chris Matthews.
Consider, if you will, the political contributions of Ivy League professors. Between the eight schools, $1,211,267 was donated to Obama, $114,166 to Romney. At Brown, 129 faculty members kicked in to re-elect Obama, only one contributed to Romney. At Columbia, the score was 652 -21. At Harvard, 555-30.
Another group the world could well do without are politicians. The other day, the County Board of Supervisors informed my wife and me that in 2013, we would be charged a fee of $54 for clean water. The notice invited responses. I sent them the following:
“Between taxes and fees, as if there's a difference, you folks are bleeding us dry. And by you folks, I'm referring to the whole over-paid, over-pensioned, gang that includes supervisors, councilmen, mayors, assemblymen, state senators, governors, congressmen and senators.
"We once had a revolution over taxation without representation. The next one will be set off by taxation with over-representation.
"The Department of Water and Power is already charging us an arm, a leg and a kidney. What's next, an additional tax for air?
"It's time you guys learned to tighten your belts instead of our nooses. Our weather is good, but it's not that good.
"Is it any wonder that people are leaving California by the tens of thousands? Keep it up and soon the only residents will be those who depend on federal and state handouts to survive; namely, illegal aliens and you politicians. Sincerely, Burt Prelutsky.”
Generally, when people refer to human creativity, they're talking about inventions and works of art. But I recently discovered that it can manifest itself even when it comes to committing suicide. The chances are that most of us, if asked to make a list of means, would start scratching our heads after gunshot, pills, gas, rope, poison and leaping off bridges and tall buildings. But it seems that people have actually done themselves in by swallowing spiders; drilling into their own noggins; sticking hot pokers down their throats; injecting peanut butter into their veins; crushing their necks in vises; choking on underwear; and hurling themselves into vats of beer.
A few of those things smack of fraternity hazings that simply got out of hand, especially those involving spiders, underwear and beer. But even in my darkest hour, I can't imagine contemplating swallowing that red hot poker and not deciding to keep on living, even under Obama.
Finally, some guy took exception to my suggestion that with America as polarized as it is between those who favor big government and those who are sane, the only rational solution is secession.
He wrote to say that divorce is no answer. I wrote back to say that divorce, while sometimes tragic, can often be the only civilized way to right an unfortunate wrong.
After all, I concluded, people, especially young people, are far likelier to marry for a really dumb reason than they are to divorce for an equally stupid one.