“Goodists […]…

November 28, 2012

“Goodists […] put a higher premium on their moral intentions than the efficacy of their actions . . . . Above all, the Goodists are people who like to be seen to be good.”

–Bret Stephens on the dangers of blending politics and morality

When I was a kid, we used to sing this song in VBS:

Don’t build your house on the sandy land,
Don’t build it too near the shore.
It might look kind of nice but you’ll have to build it twice
Oh, you’ll have to build your house once more, more, more
You better build your house on a rock,
Make a good foundation on a solid spot.
Then the storms may come and go, but the Peace of God you will show

I always thought it was a dumb song because it’s moral was so obvious. I had never been to an ocean beach, but I imagined a group about as smart as the three little pigs, building a house of sticks on the shores of Lake Michigan. Of course it would wash away. Who is that stupid?

I now know that Americans in general are collectively that stupid. I love it, however, when my fiscally conservative side and my environmentally conscious side converge on an issue such as this.

This morning I read the following article in the “Going Green” section of the Times:

After Sandy: Why We Can’t Keep Rebuilding on the Water’s Edge

Months… maybe even years ago, I read this article from John Stossel and it’s always stuck in my head:

Taxpayers Get Soaked by Government’s Flood Insurance

Finally! Something we can agree on! I hate to even say this phrase, but this sort of thing is why our country is heading towards a fiscal cliff. Government flood insurance is bad fiscal policy. It’s bad environmental policy. Yet all anyone has to do is show some pictures of a destitute family at a temporary FEMA shelter and we are all convinced of the necessity of government safety nets and intervention for natural disaster. How can the common man be expected to stand up to an act of God after all?!

Well he can’t. And it’s about time we owned up to the fact that maybe he shouldn’t. These are the only two articles I have ever read that bother to point out that government policies such as this actually encourage people to put themselves in harm’s way. And then we get to pay to do it all again when the storm eventually strikes. When will we learn?

Parent Teacher Conference

November 19, 2012

So the husband and I went to a P/T conference for the middle child, B. That’s not just a moniker for the sake of anonymity. We really do call him “B”. Anyway, we refer to B as our bi-polar child. His mood swings are…

Barney Stinson "Legen -- wait for it -- dary"

But his teacher reported no such thing. She said he is smart with a dry wit (for a 5 year old). She also said he is pretty easy going and even-tempered. What?! We kept waiting for the “But…” but it never came.

B has a way with people. He charms strangers immediately. He is the favorite among grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. His parental unit clingy stage was so short the relatives have blocked it from their collective memories. Not only does he win people over with his hugs and kisses he has been blessed with perfect features. His hair is white-blond and downy soft. His cheeks are smooth and kissable. He has eye-lashes to die for and I swear when he runs around in his bathing suit, I can see the beginnings of a six-pack.

Yet for his parents, he turns from angel to demon in the blink of an eye. I daily struggle with this mental game. What decisions will result in the greatest probability that I will avoid a B-breakdown. Quickly followed by, is it fair to the brothers that I spend so much time and effort catering to one willful child? Some things now come naturally. Only B can claim the the green cup. His pancakes can be but into strips or cubes, but only with his prior consent. Though many rules of these arbitrary rules are now second nature, everyday, some new outburst takes me by surprise.

I sometimes think his dad and I are extra hard on him to make up for… I don’t know… his charmed life? I fear he will end up a bully. Or an evil genius. Or Peter Wiggin. But maybe he is really just a good kid who gets tired and cranky sometimes.