Sunday, March 2, 2014

Popeye Philosophy, or Sunday Keyboard Ramblings

My last post (Smörgåsbord Morality) got a number of people talking, most notably my wife.  She took exception to the idea that everyone succumbs to the “pick and choose” morality (though I explained that some are pickier than others).  I explained where I deviated from the “norm” (being careful not to accuse her of the same, since I like sleeping in a bed vs. the sofa), and she eventually came around. 

She also wondered why I was making so many posts about this topic, especially as it related to the current anti-online-poker crusade of Sheldon Adelson.  I told her it made no sense that his Coalition is trying to prevent legal online when the illegal offshore stuff will continue, plus, you can (a) gamble in other forms online (horses) and (b) you can play poker (just not online).  And it makes no sense that this is a campaign to stop people from gambling being funded by a guy who makes billions from…gambling.  She finally said she agreed, and replied, “Well, yeah, really, no one likes to be told what they can and can’t do.”

Ain’t that the truth?

If we all must have a personal morality, and we do (though many fail to develop one), mine is pretty simple.  Live by the Golden Rule, the tenets of Secular Humanism, and try to be consistent.  What you do in private is your business, not mine.  The old saying about “you being free to move your arms about until an inch from my nose” is pretty much the case – play your music up to the point of disturbance and no louder, enjoy life and leave it in better condition than you found, and so on.

On the negative side, only a few things stand out.  I hate hypocrites.  That, and litter, are two of my pet peeves.  Oh, and being told what to do and what not to do, especially by those who are, at best, sanctimonious (I had to go look that up to make certain it meant what I thought it did.  Yup).

It’s no wonder that I (now) own my own business (along with my best friend and severest critic).  I can’t remember any position (er, job), that didn’t entail someone telling me what to do, or what not to do…and then, seeing them not doing what I was told to do and doing what I was told not to.  “We have to work late tonight,” said the boss who left at 4:45pm.  “Don’t use the office Xerox for personal copies,” said the boss who used it for…oh, you know the drill.

The best boss I ever had was Jack Trumpy, VP and Head Auditor back at the Ann Arbor Bank.  He and I were at opposite ends of the social/political/you-name-it spectrum, but a better man was not to be had.  Jack had two rules – One, if you made a call out in the field and were right, he’d back you 110%, but if you were wrong he’d explain why you were wrong, how it affected others, and how to correct it so it didn’t happen again.  Two, and more importantly, he would never ask you to do something he would not do himself.  And he would occasionally go out of his way to show you he meant this.

Two episodes stand out.  One, when we had a teller discrepancy of more than $1,000, he and I went through every scrap of paper (including the trash) in the entire branch.  He could have easily assigned me the trash room while he took the manager’s office, but it was important, so everyone did everything.  The other was when the back decided to enforce their “no facial hair” policy (this was the early 70s) after I grew a beard.  Jack thought it a stupid rule.  And grew a mustache. 

But back to being told what to do and what not to do.  My wife is right, no one likes that.  And it seems to me that the people who like it least are the people who spend much of their time trying to tell others what to do, or what not to do.  Is this a defense mechanism?  Projection?  Sickness?

I have great difficulty understanding why, in today’s society with our current issues of economic inequality, environmental pollution, global warming, peak oil, personal security and safety, and so on…that so many people worry about the trivial matters of behavior, that, quite frankly, are none of their fucking business.  Period.  Obviously, I include a ban of online poker in this category (especially the clown in Pennsylvania who wants criminal charges against those who play online).  And I have decided that, since I have a blog and a voice, I’ll try to use it to speak out.  To what impact this will have, I cannot say, but it’s what I can do.

I don’t like labels (forgot to mention this above).  I’ve been called Liberal but usually by those who think it means something nasty.  I like Progressive more than Liberal, but it’s not quite accurate.  I’m more Libertine than Libertarian, as I can see an important role for government, especially a government of the people (do we still have one of those).  Speaking of – didja ever notice that government is more of a problem and seems to work worse when it’s being run by people who believe that government is the problem?  Just sayin’.

So however you want to define me, this is who I am.  This is why I will fight the good fight.  Online poker.  Human rights – ALL rights.  Free speech for all, including douche bags.  And so on.

It was Popeye who famously said, “I yam what I yam and tha's all what I yam.”  So yam I.

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