Sunday, 24 October 2010

When Kids Give You Lemonade, You Make Lemons

Sometimes, difficult as it is to believe, I think of things to post about but have too much work to do to actually get round to it.  This article fell through the cracks when I first came across it, but Pause was kind enough to email it to me today (with an implicit hurricane of question and exclamation marks), and I don't have anything else to talk about, so let's have a crack at it.
We follow the same rules in our family, and one of them is: Always stop to buy lemonade from kids who are entrepreneurial enough to open up a little business...
The three young girls -- under the watchful eye of a nanny, sitting on the grass with them -- explained that they had regular lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and small chocolate candy bars. 
Then my brother asked how much each item cost.
"Oh, no," they replied in unison, "they're all free!"
That really set me off, as my regular readers can imagine. 
Not just regular readers, as it happens.  Nothing sets off those who are convinced their own selfishness and venality are good for the country more than finding out other people are deliberately donating their goods and time in order to be of use.
"No!" I exclaimed from the back seat. "That's not the spirit of giving. You can only really give when you give something you own. They're giving away their parents' things -- the lemonade, cups, candy. It's not theirs to give." 
Unless, of course, the parents gave them to the kids.  Otherwise, the kids are petty thieves - along with their nanny, who presumably is a latter day Fagin - and I'd like to think even someone as logically unsound as Savage wouldn't believe that such criminal activity would really be OK just so long as these underage entrepreneurs were hawking their ill-gotten gains (the Savages of this world generally frown on selling what one does not own, at least, unless doing so gets you high enough up the FTSE index). 
No wonder America is getting it all wrong when it comes to government, and taxes, and policy. We all act as if the "lemonade" or benefits we're "giving away" is free.
And so the voters demand more -- more subsidies for mortgages, more bailouts, more loan modification and longer periods of unemployment benefits.
They're all very nice. But these things aren't free. 
Savage is right.  This is what's wrong with America.  But it's not that the American people don't understand that benefits need to be paid for, it's that people like Savage - people too wilfully stupid to note that there's a difference between believing one should offer free services and believing one must receive them- are allowed access to a computer.  And the internet.  And, y'know, consonants.

Still, maybe Savage is being too pessimistic.  Maybe having read his her article citizens will decide not to request financial aid from their government, and just shout yelling at kids trying to be kind instead.  He She could even start a campaign: "Make C***s, Not Charities".


Jamie said...

How very strange. One thing to point out though, it turns out that Terry Savage is a woman...

SpaceSquid said...

D'oh! Thanks, Jamie. Sounded like a guy's name...