Friday, August 19, 2005

Vonnegut on Free Enterprise

Free Enterprise is much too hard on the old and the sick and the shy and poor and the stupid, and on people nobody likes. They just can't cut the mustard under Free Enterprise. They lack that certain something that Nelson Rockefeller, for instance, so abundantly has.

So let's divide up the wealth more fairly than we have divided it up so far. Let's make sure that everybody has enough to eat, and a decent place to live, and medical help when he needs it. Let's stop spending money on weapons, which don't work anyway, thank God, and spend money on each other. It isn't moonbeams to talk of modest plenty for all. Dwight David Eisenhower once pointed out that Sweeden, with it's many Utopian programs, had a high rate of alcoholism and suicide and youthful unrest. Even so, I would like to see America try socialism. If we start drinking heavily and killing ourselves, and if our children start acting craazy, we can go back to good old Free Enterprise again.

-Kurt Vonnegut at his address to the graduating class at Bennington College, 1970

I think that this is noble thinking. I know not everyone agrees and I'm sure people are sick of me forcing Kurt Vonnegut and Democratic Socialism and Healthcare for all down everyone's throats, but I think the world is too harsh. We need to do more to soften the vicious nature of the Free Enterprise system.

I'll start bringing some Greg Palast quotes in here as soon as I find my copy of "The Best Democracy Money can buy." That's good stuff.

It's not a bad thing to take some extra money out of your pocket and give it to someone who needs a sandwich or a hot coffee or a bottle of booze or an appendectomy. In fact I've done all of the above. And I think when the problem is right in your face in the form of an actual hand out, pan handling for it, you put what change you can spare in their hand. We need to stop thinking out of sight out of mind with these problems and just take better care of each other.

Vonnegut once proposed an ammendment to the Constitution that said basically all Americans must be treated as though they felt they would be sorely missed whenever they left a room. I'm behind him on that one. If everyone could make everyone else feel wanted... That would be a great thing. An impossible ideal, but one to strive for, nonetheless.


Anonymous said...

Vonnegut also said that a wimp is someone who bites the bubbles of his own farts in the bathtub.

Bryan said...

Actually, he said that was the original definition of "twerp" and if I remember correctly, he was commenting on words with ridiculous and specific definitions.