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'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)


Friday, October 9, 2009

Our messed up priorities...

No Friday Fun Vid's today. Just a little blurb on our misplaced priorities as a society, that I was thinking about today with some co-workers...

Did you know: The minimum salary for a Major League Baseball player is $390,000?

Did you know: The median income for a Surgeon is around $150,000 to $300,000 depending on years of experience and specialty?

Now... I'm not suggesting here that baseball payers are overpaid. They're not. (Really! They really aren't!) (I'm serious!) Ticket prices are not high because of their salaries. If you think that, then you don't know the slightest bit about microeconomics. In fact, it's completely the other way around: Their salaries are high because tickets prices (and the prices for merchandise, TV contracts, etc...) are high. And THOSE are high for ONE REASON ONLY: We (as a people) keep showing that we are willing to pay those prices and more.

Now granted, most of us cannot do what these baseball players can do. No matter how long I train, I can't hit a home-run out of a major-league field, or throw a 100 mph fastball. I CAN however HIT a ball (at ~85mph) well into the outfield and throw a pretty good curve and an occasional knuckleball, when I get it right. On the other hand... I pretty much completely suck at surgery. I'm afraid that if I've got your life in one hand and a scalpel in the other? You. Are. Going. To. Die. So... which one's really harder to do? And what's more intrinsically valuable to society? (Oh yeah... and I should mention... If you're making $390,000 playing baseball? Chances are, YOU can't hit too many balls out of the park or throw 100 mph either!)

So think got me thinking about other things... because my mind tends to wander when I'm bored... and it was a quiet day at the office...

I THINK it was Jimmy Carter, speaking about the war drugs, who said something along the lines of this...: That the LEGAL penalty for the possession and use of illegal drugs should not be more excessive than the real harm that can be done to you by those drugs. IOW - the most dangerous things about any vice that the gov't wants to protect us from should NOT be the legal consequences of engaging in it.

So, from that POV...

The maximum punishment for smoking weed should be something equivalent to the forced consumption of Twinkies. But at the moment the worst thing by far about weed are the legal penalties attached to it: To protect me from the horrors of marijuana the government will do more damage toi my life than weed ever could!

Later I saw a story about teen sexting. (Texting naked pictures of themselves.) And these KIDS are being charged with DISTRIBUTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY! Now... I'm not advocating teen sexting, any more than I'm advocating smoking weed (and I'm not!) but it seems to me that far more damage is being done here by the LAW than by the activity they're trying to protect THESE VERY SAME KIDS from!!! I mean: WHO IS THE VICTIM OF THIS CRIME?!

So going back to the previous thought... I'm thinking that the worst penalty possible for sexting should be maybe having to walk naked through the town square or something like that. Because that's the extent of the damage done here: Some people will see you naked. BIG. DEAL. (I'm of course talking only about people who sent out pics of themselves, and not pics that were taken in violation of someone's privacy. I hope that much is obvious. I'm a privacy advocate, and THAT kind of violation has a victim.)

Then I thought... Hmmmm... Using the very same principle, that the punishment should be less harmful that the vice, I realized that anything up to and including the death penalty would be an appropriate punishment for failing to wear your seat belt.

But just try to get 1% of the passionate outrage that people have over marijuana or naked teenagers applied to seat belt usage! And compare the penalties! No one ever DIED because they sent out a naked pic of themselves, or saw one of someone else and when you come right down to it, nobody really dies from marijuana either. (Far less than from perfectly legal cigarettes, anyway!) And yet hundreds of people die every day from not wearing their seat belts!

What kind of society are we that wastes so much time and energy, and causes so much damage to the lives of the very people we're trying to protect, protecting them from weed and porn... But could truly care less about one of the most dangerous activities you can engage in?

I guess the same kind of that pays the worst baseball player in the league more that the best surgeon in the business.


  1. Eddie,

    I'm assuming (dangerous, I know) that you're joking about the Lady Godiva Penalty. If not, let me know, and we'll discuss.

    Your last sentence is really strong, and I agree with the sentiments. If I understand what "median" means, however, the "best surgeon in the business," if he were also the best paid, would make @ six hundred thousand, which is well above baseball's minimum. However, you're quite right that there is a disconnect between the existential and economic value of the two occupations. Why is the college football/basketball coach the highest paid member of the faculty? Because he's a generator of income. If he's a great mentor/role model/character molder, that's great, too, but first priority is W's on the board, fannies in the seats, and alumni checks in the coffers.

    I think the same thing can be said of the "war on drugs" and, to a lesser extent, the campaign against porn. Our anti drug policies, like the military/industrial/intelligence complex, resembles kudzu in the way it has overgrown and smothered our economy and our politics. Over the last few decades, as traditional industries have atrophied and the rust belt has grown, incarceration has become a booming industry. How many communities are now totally dependent on the prisons that have sprung up in the last twenty years? How many jobs would be lost, how many towns would go belly up, if we were to switch to a more sane and humane drug policy?

    (I know, "humane" is a quaint, antiquated concept but, in case you hadn't guessed, I came of age in the '60's and am fookin' proud of it.)

    Sure, rehabilitative programs work, and are incredibly cost effective, but those programs are the first to be cut. Why? Because recidivism is profitable. Every prisoner is a cash cow, and we won't talk about the human and societal costs involved, because many of them aren't quantifiable, and if you can't count it, it doesn't count.

    It reminds me of an old saying, French I think, though I've only heard it in English: "An American is one who knows the cost of everything, and the value of nothing."

    That's prototypical Gallic arrogance, but unfortunately somewhat accurate.

  2. I've used that same saying regarding conservatives! LOL. I had no idea it was french, but you (and they) are absolutely right!

    Yeah, of course I'm kidding about the "Lady Godiva treatment," LOL, but I WILL maintain that this is a punnishment that still fits the crime better than having these MINORS registered as SEX OFFENDERS, with all the attendant baggage that comes along with THAT, (college, jobs, etc...) just for forwarding on a picture someone else sent them. (Or worse, for sending one of themselves out!) And just IMHO, we are WAAAY to hung up on nudity in this country. Going back the 'doctrine of choice' post, I really don't see what crime is being committed simply because someone was seen naked by someone. Assuming we're not talking about an unreasonable invasion of privacy here... WHAT'S the CRIME?! Streakers? Who really cares? Come on! FLASHERS? (Give me a break, do we REALLY still even HAVE flahsers?!) Well, if we do, I think that the thrill would wear off a bit if we also had a few nude public beaches, parks, etc... Whatever. These conservatives (and some liberals, granted) feel blood-boiling outrage over things I'm more inclined to shrug my shoulders at; and then they get teary-eyed talking about "freedom!" PUH-LEASE!

    Drugs? Pretty much same thing. We do more damage fighting them than the drugs themselves could ever do on their own. As for my own advocation for the legalization of pot? I look at it this way: ever single penny, and every single man-hour currently spent fighting marijuana, would be better served battling crystal meth. Our cities would be a lot cleaner, a lot safer and (as a side effect of having MORE pot and LESS Meth) a little bit more RELAXED. (So yeah, crime WOULD go down!) Plus... I could eventually buy a full box of both NyQuil and DayQuil at the same time without having to go to seperate drugstores! ;)