Thursday, August 3, 2006

Tolerating Intolerance

In one of the comments I have recieved since I added the commenting capability, someone accused me of misquoting Mr. Chesterton via the slogan of the KrashPAD which adorns the banner graphic. "Tolerance is the virtue of a man without conviction." And truthfully, fifty years ago, I would have seen that. Fifty years ago, tolerance still meant "a disposition to allow freedom of choice and behavior or a permissible difference."

Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Tolerance has shifted definitions in the wider context of our society, what Josh McDowal called "the new tolerance." If tolerance still meant putting up with someone or something in spite of the fact that I do not like or agree with the idea or person (which I am all for) then I would not dream of having that quote on my banner. Unfortunately, today tolerance now means that we not only have to put up with those ideals or people, but to actively embrace and celebrate the views and practices of others, and that we also value those views and practices that we don't agree with to the degree that we value our own. This is a statement and belief that I cannot, as a Christian, accept. There are some things, some ideas which are fundamentally against my religion.

And this also applies to some ideas and concepts in my political beliefs as well.

Voltaire stated, "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it." This is no longer an acceptable form of tolerance. Today, we cannot disagree with one another, and this has lead to the only thing which is not allowed to be tolerated is intolerance.

Of course where I have issues with a lot of this not tolerating intolerance, is that the intolerance label is applied to my beliefs almost exclusively. Pro-Lifers are called intolerant because they do not believe abortions should be legal, while abortionists do not have to tolerate the pro-life position. Creationists, and proponents of Intelligent Design are intolerant (as well as considered backwards and stupid) because they do not believe in the Theory of Evolution, while evolutionists are court-protected against having to defend their ideals while indoctrinating the minds of children. We must celebrate Islam within schools, but consider it intolerant if our children have a Christmas break.

It is this which lead Mr. Chesterton to make that statement, and as long as tolerance is defined as such, I proudly wear the badge of intolerance.

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Maximizing the Minimum Wage

Well Congress is at it again. They are once more deciding that Market Forces are not enough to run things in our capitalistic society. Yes, it is yet again time for a discussion on raising the Minimum Wage.

Oh joy.

Of course the Liberal side of the blog-o-sphere is ecstatic over this. Or at least they were until House Republicans attached a few riders to the bill, such as lowering the Estate tax, and a Federal Pension bill. Personally I don’t think that even a reduction of the Estate tax is not worth a hike in minimum wage to me. So while the leftie blogs are happy at the potential for a decrease in the price of skilled labor, they are unhappy that the families of the skilled laborers who have died don’t have to give away a huge portion of their life’s savings to the federal government.

The reasons I despise the minimum wage are quite simple. They drive my own salary down. Capitalistic of me I know, but I am a Capitalist through and through. The only reason I get up and go to work everyday is because of that nice paycheck I get. And I have told my bosses this in no uncertain terms. They know without a doubt that I am there for the money, and that is fine with both them and me.

But when we get these increases, I view it as an attack by the Federal government against my livelihood. Don’t believe me?

Then let’s look at some skilled labor versus a burger flipper at McDonald’s. And we’ll not even use college-educated skilled labor for this. An electrician makes somewhere on the order of twenty dollars an hour (this is an average, some jobs get more, some less), and we compare that to the simplified cost of a burger flipper of six dollars an hour. That is somewhere on the order of 333% more for the skilled labor. And that makes perfect sense to me. After all the electrician has spent years as an apprentice before becoming a full fledged electrician, and it will probably be a few more years before they get the higher paying jobs. Now, if we increase the pay which unskilled labor gets to 8 dollars an hour, that drops the percentage difference between skilled and unskilled to a mere 250% more.

While that does not appear to be an extreme drop, it really marks a huge decrease in the purchasing power, as well as the worth of the skilled laborer. Because there are factors besides just that differential between the skilled and the unskilled which affects the purchasing power of an individual.

Minimum Wage Increases are like Tax Hikes, the only thing they do is decrease the GNP. After all, while a large company might consider hiring two or three people at five dollars an hour, they’d come up with a technological solution, which means the need to only hire one at eight an hour. We saw this in the farming industry, and it’s slowly appearing in the retail industry as well (don't believe me? Go to Wal-Mart or Winn-Dixie and look for the 'self-checkout' lanes).

Of course, this is one of the few Liberal Ideas which I would support if they would do it my way. A minimum wage increase, effective immediately, to raise the minimum wage to five hundred dollars an hour for everyone. Oh okay, waitresses can get a mere two hundred fifty still.

If we’re going to slash the differential between the skilled laborers and the unskilled then let’s really kill that, and make it a true level playing field while we’re at it.

And yes, I think that’s a stupidly silly idea. I realize that it would decimate our economy, drive inflation out of control, and make the dollar worth a little bit less than the peso. But I find the entire concept of minimum wage a stupidly silly idea. We’re a free market society, and as such should allow market forces to guide such things as wages and prices.

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