I wasn’t planning on buying anything today – I don’t like going to the mall to begin with, and Black Friday is exactly the sort of shopping frenzy I do my best to avoid. So instead of heading out to the malls for the biggest shopping day of the year – and secure in the knowledge that I had plenty of shopping days left to hit Amazon.com – I’d made plans to spend the day playing Dungeons & Dragons, HeroClix and Risk 2210 with my friends.
And then I heard about Buy Nothing Day, an effort by all sorts of far-left radicals (i.e. communists, greens, socialists, bleeding-heart Christians, etc.) to get people to reject America’s “culture of consumerism”, acknowledge the devastating effect that employing millions of Third Worlders on the the Left’s never-ending guilt-trip agenda, and save the planet’s from the capitalist economy driving the world toward ever-greater efficiencies and innovations.
I’d like to thank Wired.com for bringing the “Buy Nothing Day” campaign to my attention, since this now insures that I will buy something today. Indeed, if this campaign continues into the future, it very well be enough to end my Christmas shopping procrastination for all time. ‘Cause frankly, any day I can piss off a liberal and pursue my own values is a good one for me.
Basically, the rag-tag coalition behind Buy Nothing Day – the same holier-than-though folks who brought us the Seattle riots and the assorted “peaceful” rampages through business districts around the world –believes that American consumerism is destroying the planet by consuming unsustainable quantities of resources, while at the same time insuring that the Third World remains in poverty by making sure that they can’t get to those self-same resources.
Nor do they let little things like facts stand in their way. Point out that people have been saying that we’re going to run out of resources for centuries, and yet resources are cheaper and more plentiful than ever, and they just get red-faced and say “but this time it’s different”. Point out that communist countries – ones driven explicitly by the protestors own explicit code of self-sacrificial, state-driven altruism – did far more damage to the environment and than capitalist ones ever did, and they start steaming and say “well, that wasn’t true communism”. Point out that every single society that has implemented communism has seen the complete and utter destruction of its economy, mass murder of its citizens, extreme poverty and outright starvation, — and that said societies have only been saved by the amount of free-market capitalism they let enter their closed system – and they start screaming at you “hey, I said that wasn’t real communism! And besides, it’s the capitalists’ fault for stealing all those resources from third world countries!” (you know, the resources “stolen” by paying fair market prices…”)
Instead, they scream, they rant, and they run to the mall to get people to feel guilty about buying gifts for their loved ones, gifts they earned through their own hard work. They hope to get people to buy only what they “need”, rather than what they “want”. And exactly what is an individual’s need? How do the protesters know what it is? Well, I’m sure they can tell you that … as well as all about their plans for a new government agency to insure that people don’t spend more than their federally mandated “need” allows.
Apparently, they think that Americans halving their purchases on Black Friday (or abandoning them entirely) is supposed to bolster the economies of the Third World by leave more resources there. Never mind that America is a huge importer of products from Third World countries, and that any drop off in our purchases will have a devastating impact on their local economies. And let’s of course, they want us to forget the fact that the reasons that many of the countries we don’t do business with can’t exploit their own resources is that they have fundamentally rejected Western values, specifically a) they don’t respect the rule of law, b) have no concept of individual rights, c) reject the concept of property rights and d) think that the rule of the gun can get them anything they want. Oh, and they keep listening to these latter-day hippies running around American malls hoping to earn enough frequent flier miles with their guilt trips to fly themselves into philosophical oblivion.
They also believe that Americans engage in all of this purchasing because they are blindly caught up in consumer culture. If they could just show everyone how much better off the world would be if we were all poor, starving, and motivated by cannibalistic love for one another, everyone would cut up their credit cards and start wearing hemp. Instantly the Earth would be saved … at least until a rogue comet slams into the planet, wiping out the majority of the planet’s lifeforms, and sending environmentalists to their happy watermelon Nirvana.
I for one will say this: I am fully aware of why I buy gifts for my family and friends. I do it because I love them, and because these gifts – purchased with the fruits of my own hard work – are a reflection of my values, and my belief in pursuing happiness in this life, not the next. These gifts are certainly not the only way I show my love and appreciation for my friends and family, but they’re certainly a lot of fun. 🙂
I fully, and happily, embrace capitalism as the economic system best suited for pursing my goals. The activists demand that I consider the effects of the entire world accepting America’s capitalist values. I have, and I can only hope that the rest of the world does embrace them. Because on that happy day, when the Second Enlightenment breaks over the world like a second sun, there will be no end to what humanity can accomplish. People won’t have to dream of achieving happiness in some far off afterlife, because heaven will have been realized here on Earth.
And that folks, is why tomorrow morning I’m going to surf over to Amazon.com and buy my presents. I urge the rest of you to do the same.