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Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, (original, huh?) airs on Tuesdays at 10:PM and Saturdays at 8:PM, Eastern time on RainbowRadio.
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Friday, October 9, 2009
Our messed up priorities...
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.