appearing in Thursday,May 7th, Lakeville Journal
Looting is a mixed-use activity.
Some looters really and truly have nothing and this is their first (and perhaps) only chance to improve their lives.
Many looters find themselves carried along in a crowd. They’re in shock, and afraid. They stop, look around. Well, hell!
Most looters have nothing else to do and are showing off for their friends and relatives. They see themselves as heroes in a battle. Against whom they could not say with certainty. “Them.” (This is prefatory to being easy prey for terrorism.)
In this country, we believe in individual responsibility. Just as we believe policing and imprisoning is a local issue. Just as we have a state-by-state schedule of social assistance, food stamps, aid to needy families. This means that families can move from one state to another for no other reasons than higher food stamp allowances, higher monthly welfare payments. JUST as it’s possible to be a felon in one state and not another, same crime, different (lesser or greater) penalty.
Suppose we were able to persuade a giant industrial firm (oil, construction, mining, finance, aircraft, etc.) to invest in one — and only one — city that was teetering on the brink of dissolution. What the government could offer: tax breaks (always and forever, tax breaks), professional personnel, educational materials, excess nutritional supplies, unused construction tools, and – ideally – teachers, guides, city planners. (All of whom are already being paid by our taxes.) (NB: This is NOT a “government program.” adding layers of bureaucrats and delays to everything it touches. All negotiations take place between our industrial grantors and our mayors,city councils, etc. It is the task of local school boards,local builders,local problems solvers to make this Plan work, along with our generous grantors.)
What Big Industry offers: money and drive. Individual concerns would be free to select the overseership of a city or town where they already have a presence. Where they already know and perhaps have combatted the local problems. Where their own personnel cares deeply about their living conditions. The length of industry’s commitment could vary, from ten years to forty.
How would this begin, after a firm has been persuaded to save a locality? With the same tools and materials. Money. Suppose, for example, that on entering first grade, each child were to receive an actual, hold and spendable “scholarship.” Perhaps in first grade one dollar a week, for 52 weeks. For second grade, perhaps six; then seven, and so on. By the time a child has reached high school, he or she would be bringing in fifteen to twenty bucks a week, all year round, for every day, every week they attended school. This begins to amount to some serious money for young people over the years, but it saves the government loot, to be sure.)
Suppose further that the sponsoring industry has, since first grade, been teaching these children about what it does, how it benefits the world, how employment in it can be exciting and worthwhile? Another feature of this idea is that more than one industrial giant can sign up to support a locality. If a city has fishing as a major industry, in addition to high tech proficiency and power, why shouldn’t both unite to build a community comprised of good education, solid plans for a future, living conditions that are humane and enviable, and a real solid future?
Ideally, the value of goods looted and buildings ablaze disappears in time when each person feels a connection to his or her community. Destruction for its own sake would be meaningless in the face of the rewards of cooperation, hard work, and real bankable income. It might finally dawn on looters that what they destroy is themselves.
Industry builds a public relations bonanza, not to mention workers for positions at all levels, well-prepared and able. Industries might even compete to be seen as healthy, forward-looking entities. Industries will also be building a new nation of youthful consumers, customers, on and offline.
How does this program benefit the nation as a whole? Clearly, monetarily. The country saves in the following categories: insurance, insurance, insurance – (the government doesn’t have to repair CVS; CVS does, proudly) – healthcare, dependent support, import/export income, solidifying families (fewer one parent households), longer (and safer) lives. International improvement in scholastics, standard of living, family dynamics. Further,the PLan is COLOR-BLIND. ALL children qualify; ALL benefits accrue to all children and thence to their families. ALL emphasis is placed equally on young men and young women, which is something that no critic/philosopher has yet begun begun to consider.
What does the country lose? Burning tires, pointless deaths and injuries, the antagonism between man- on-the-street and policeman-on-the-beat. Violence. Riot. Envy. Covetousness. Empty hours and lives.
All of this brought to you by You.