Skip to comments.Free Stuff...
Posted on 08/06/2006 8:47:13 PM PDT by pickrell
"Well, excuse me for seeming dense, but I don't see a lot of ruthlessness going on here. I see us being played for chumps again on a Friday evening. Everyone else is already home getting ready to party! We're stuck here waiting for that bloody UPS guy to show up..'...sometime between now and 7:30, sir...'. If we get any more ruthless, we'll have to volunteer to deliver hot meals to old folks..."
The boss laughed and scratched his nose. "I can see how this is cutting into your weekend, so let me explain ruthlessness while we're waiting to load out these packages. You see, 'ruthlessness' is where you decide that you are going to cut the legs out from under the competition by being the most reliable vendor that any company can envision. We viciously go above and beyond the call, and do whatever it takes to look after the customer, thereby providing better service than anyone else. So good, in fact, that it becomes axiomatic that we will always come through.
"And by the way- who do you think will be coming to pick up this consignment? In case it hasn't occurred to you, that bloody UPS guy, as you called him, would probably be sitting down to dinner by now... if we hadn't required him to also make this late pick up, after all of the rest that he's done."
"Well, I suppose. But still, it was our customer's fault! It was their idiot purchasing agent who caused all of this last minute drama in the first place!"
"True," the older man allowed, "but you don't pick and choose when you want to be relied upon. You simply are always there. Especially when one of your customer's people does something stupid, and then needs your services desparately. This disarms your competitors. It's ruthlessness within the dictates of honor. It's defending the job security of your employees; it's defending the investments of your shareholders; it's preserving your pledge to your customers to be the best. Right now the college whiz kids pontificate shrewdly that actual customer service is an extravagance that automated answering systems must be carefully designed to prevent! They have their business strategy... and we old schoolers have ours. One will win- one will lose.You want the best job security you could possibly find? Try convincing the boss that you're the type of youngster who actually adheres to that philosophy and practice. He'd sooner fire his own mother than let you get away! Minimum wage? Give me a break! He'd lavish kisses on your career.
"You younger troops will eventually find out that medals aren't won during parades, unless, of course, you are French. Medals are earned when everything has gone to hell, all of your carefully crafted plans are in the toilet, and the whole world seems to be suddenly trying to shave you with a hammer, a blowtorch, and a pleasant afternoon shower of concrete blocks. It's when you are unfairly being asked to do what you shouldn't have to do. Congratulations... you are now seeing one ten-thousandth of what our military people consider routine duty.
"You see, ruthless isn't a matter of demanding that last drop of blood from someone else- ruthless is demanding it from yourself. When it's uncomfortable, when it's painful, when you'd really, really, rather be home. It's when, if you'll excuse the expression, '...you absolutely, positively have to be there overnight...(yet still prefer to being alive at dawn, next morning.)' When customers see that- they aren't going to trust their business to a less reliable vendor later. They know where to turn when it is all on the line."
"Yeah, but I didn't join the Marines, I signed up for a job here."
"True, and that is your loss. But rather than be sad, let's resolve to work with where we are now. We're whining about a Friday evening. They, on the other hand, daily face being blown apart or sniped down in a foreign country. Perhaps if we can't find it in ourselves to deeply respect and honor what they are doing for all of us, we can at least learn a little bit from everything we do, so that someday," he smiled vaguely, "when we are a wee bit older, we may begin to understand what responsibility actually means. And watching those who volunteer to carry huge responsibility can surely lighten the load of those cruelly put-upon twenty year olds who may miss the first Seagrams and Seven of the evening. It might even slightly ease that crushing unfairness of having to 'stay later' at work."
"Yeah, but you're just gonna go home and watch Fox News with your wife's head on your shoulder; while I, on the other hand have an actual life! Well, when you're done laughing at me... I could meet someone tonight- it could happen! Anyway, I don't know why you bother about politics and such. I mean, it doesn't do any good anyway. You conservatives who did your best to rid the world of evil in your day- now you're seeing that it all just comes back again."
"Son, since we are talking about it- we're getting down to the nub of what it means to be conservative. A liberal will tell you how they are going to eliminate all injustice and unfairness from the world. They are going to bring about a 'worker's paradise', a People's Utopia. And they are going to do it by loving everybody really, really hard, with all of their best little squeezes.
"Conservatives, however, realize the immutability of primal forces. Man will always be man, and will always be subject to weakness. Just because you were good today, does not itself shield you from the challenge and risk of tomorrow. Conservatives understand that the teddy bears are for children, and they fight hard to preserve a world of safety for those same children, so that teddy bears, and not guns, dominate that childhood. Conservatives don't 'win' a utopian world- they just hand down the fight to their well prepared offspring, once time has worn them out. The payoff doesn't come from looting the defeated enemy; the payoff is in fighting their best fight to be able to hand a better prepared fighting position to the next young soldier. To know that they did their duty as best they were able.
"We are lootless... while the liberals will always have bags of someone else's loot to hand out. We need to grow up and realize that this will likely always be the case, at least to some extent. We need to teach the cost of that loot. About what decency is worth. About why you don't put your soul down onto the table as an ante, to try and win that big score.
"The liberal 'players', as opposed to their hapless dupes, hold out the promise of Free Stuff. This Free Stuff is something that only the government can give you, when under the trusted control of the Democrats, by taking that '...extra, undeserved money from those greedy businessmen, and other fat cats.' Now, it's true that- even though the liberal immensely feels your pain, and so must drown his sorrows during those parties on the yachts with the Hollywood crowd- he still can't give you very much individually. That is because he must use most of what he takes from the "undeserving" to create the new Federal jobs to staff the expanded government apparatus, which aforesaid jobs, of course, must rightfully be awarded to loyal campaign workers, who, though they have no managment experience or competence, must nonetheless be rewarded for their tireless re-education of you hapless supplicants to the government.
"But you would be very ungrateful if you pointed out just how little of the take you actually receive yourself... after all, it is Free Stuff. From the government. At no cost. How can you lose? It's just important that you never stop to realize just what all you have to accept and tolerate, in order to get that Free Stuff. That you never mentally connect the cost to the bounty.
"Meanwhile the conservative understands that the '...extra, undeserved money from those greedy businessmen, and other fat cats', having been previously and righteously seized by the government, is now no longer available to buy the capital equipment necessary to expand the job openings that they had planned, and so the guy who got the little dribble of Free Stuff from the government, now also just got a layoff notice. And the ones at fault are obviously those greedy businessmen who can't find a way to simultaneously pay the Worker's Compensation tax, the rent, and all of their workforce payroll, using the earnings from their obsolescent equipment. So they go out of business, and their former customers now turn to the firms in China for the product once made here. You see how these greedy businessmen conspire to ship all of those jobs over to China? Damn their insensitivity...
"And none of this means a puff of smoke, because it has been, and always will be, easiest to be tempted by Free Stuff. It's why our children not only need to understand the cost of weakness to a nation, but also the cost of ignorance. For over two centuries, in a world wracked with desparate poverty brought on by the practices and corruption of the bulk of the world's people, the United States has stood out and grown into a textbook of hope, wealth and freedom. When all of Europe made their self-serving and underhanded deals to sell each other out, we stood with a very few other nations as boulders in the raging stream of evil, and held out a chance and an example for all nations.
"Our heroes that are often unrecognized, are those few men who decided to do what was necessary, to prevent those disasters which then never occurred. Occasionally, we later find out about our remarkable escapes and reprieves. They were Presidents and others who bucked the 'People's Demands', as dictated by the Media, and instead insisted that 'peacefull co-existence' with an 'Evil Empire', is very nearly just as evil in itself. They were derided by that same sophisticated and nuanced Media as ignorant cowboys.
"Our heroes that are often recognized, are those few men who, having been left outnumbered and outgunned, decided to do what was necessary, to stand at the cost of their very lives, to stave off the national disasters previously made inevitable by those clever 'Master Politicians' so celebrated and approved of at the time by the Media. There were insufficient forces; and no one should have been expected to '...go to war with what we had, rather than what we wished for...', simply because the previous President saw political profit to be extractable by pleasing 'The People's Networks'; gutting our military power, and thereby convincing the whole of our enemies that any nation which could elect such a creature to be their leader must surely be dissipated to the point of vulnerability.
"But they did go to war. And they stood. And they paid that price. And the reinforcements later reverently carried the bodies of those few home. And that same Media contrived to be present at that painful time- in what should have been a place and time reserved only to those who understood hallowed ground- and the Media schemed to spin and callously use the grief of the soldiers for one of their own, in furtherance of the reporters' unilateral disarmament agenda."
"Well, we always do win though..?"
"I don't mean to be hard on you, son, but no we don't. WE take for granted that THEY always will win, and save our country. Somehow. At whatever cost. The reason we are sitting here tonight in jobs of our choosing is that they always have won in the past. Those of us who benefit from astounding courage on the part of others feel relieved that we don't have to bother to understand it."
"Well everyone appreciates what," the young man replied tenuously, "you know, what the soldiers do-"
"It's not enough to appreciate that the world's butt had been saved yet again! That's what schools have lost! We must attach reverence and value to those deaths by thoroughly understanding and TEACHING how we screwed up and put those soldiers in a position to have to pay the ultimate price. We honor them by not making the same mistakes over and over! We owe a solemn obligation to teach our kids why too few men were put where too many weren't available! We need make them understand why the enemies of freedom were led to believe that we were too vacillating and infiltrated with apologists and appeasers, too be able to defeat them this time. Don't tell me how much you enjoyed the fireworks and waved at the wounded veterans, this 4th of July. Tell me also what you learned in school about the mistakes my generation made that put us in that war, and the war after that, and the war after that...
"Don't tell me what your twenty-something-year-old political science teacher taught you about outlawing violence. Instead, tell me how us old guys screwed up, and how you will make something good come from that loss of blood, by making sure that you don't repeat those same mistakes. But most of all, tell me that your generation takes our election of national leaders seriously enough that you won't make horrendously worse mistakes that no amount of Marine courage could possible remediate. Don't look for more heroes to bury... instead, try hard not to make that kind of hero inevitable. Honor the ones that bought your life as it is now- by arming heavily the next ones that you want to retire when their 20 is up.
"The 300 Spartans are eulogized for their stand. But the 700 Thespians who died beside them had no publicist and no champions. The point should have been that the 1,000 shouldn't have had to die stalling the onslaught of 20,000 Iranians, just because the Athenians, the Thebans, and the other Greeks wasted time bickering over who controlled the government, and thereby convincing the Persians, as they were then called, that the Free World was weak.
"The irony of what a Thespian now is, in our language, is contemptible. The thought of them pretending for the cameras to be Super-Heroes is enough to make one retch. The irony that we now again face the Iranians, intent once more in their mad scheme for empire, should alarm us all. The irony that we again refuse to understand that the fate of the free world hangs in the balance, and instead complain that Thermopylae is taking too long to defend, and that we need to pull out, instead of preparing for Salamis and Palataea... is to our eternal shame.
"How dare we say we honor those heroes, yet allow that homage to be used as a distraction from and a mask over the despicable previous actions of so many politicians who made their deaths unavoidable. You want to honor them? Thank a veteran... but don't forget to demand that your kids learn why he had to risk his life. He served his country, and counts on you to do the same. Don't wait to see how much Free Stuff each candidate promises you. Demand instead that each candidate commit to specifically how he will stand up against the Left and make fewer sacrifices necessary.
"There is nothing more difficult for those aging veterans, who decades ago in their youth risked all to keep the country safe, and who must now watch all being again placed at risk. Beloved comrades who died violently, shorn away from their surviving brothers, with only the freedom and safety that they bought for others to offset the grief of what price was paid, now seem to have died for nothing, as the newest threat emerges. It is the bitterest burden of soldiers to have to pay for the same real estate over and over.
"Yet those who encourage our enemies to challenge us again, are the same ones who whine that soldiers hold such love for heroes. That the ones who wear the uniform wait impatiently, and even yearn for battle, making conflict inevitable.
"And the reason they say those things is that by and large none of those loving liberals have ever been up on the sharp end. Soldiers don't want any more heroes; soldiers want peace.That's why they push themselves so ruthlessly to prepare for war, because they know firsthand what price is paid when only heroes can save the day, because the forces in place were what we had at the time- not what we needed at the time. Most of the real heroes never come home, but die with their intestines in their hands in some dirtlot of a place, praying that they weren't expended for nothing, and praying that their children will somehow be okay now that Daddy won't be coming home.
"Only the tremendous courage and faith in God enabled them to commit their fate into His hands in the first place, as they step out of the deuce-and-a-half, and form up into the line. When every rational instinct says "find a deep hole and sit this one out", they instead reach down into God's ditty bag and come up with a handful of the faith and courage to carry out what they committed to do, and so let fate deal out what it will. They trained hard to survive and to prevail, and the rest is now in His hands.
"And you can take this to the bank- none, and I mean NONE- ...of them carried a Super 8 camera aboard their Riverine craft so that their subordinates can later, under unofficial orders, film re-enactments of their staged "heroics", for their premeditated use in future Senate campaigns. They may have carried cameras in-country to show loved ones who their buddies were, and what they were fighting for, but only a-. Forgive me; soldiers have a name for such an officer, when they unhappily find themselves under the command of a creature like that, but it's not polite to say aloud, and so we won't. The only mercy is that higher command soon is more than happy to overlook the rules, and "release" such an officer back into civilian life early, once his sergeants have had a quiet word with the battalion level officers. And since a creature like that, (who, due to the perversity of fate is usually successful at oozing his way into the Senate), is expedited out of an area where men are badly needed, the discharge records become lost or incomplete in the haste... to save the Army from the inevitable later Senatorial retribution of the ruthless.
"Don't tell a soldier about Free Stuff; or about how a 'peace dividend' suddenly means that all of the money formerly spent to equip our soldiers in such a way as to give pause to any potential enemy... now can instead be passed around in free stuff to those who never offered their bodies as a cofferdam against those who would destroy us all. Don't tell them how impatient you've become with their courage, and how you might change your poll vote next week. Contrary to the popular old saw, war isn't a matter of long periods of boredom, followed by short periods of terror. For too many, it's instead made up of long periods of exhaustion, followed by even longer periods of being dead.
"The soldiers who have stood, who didn't break and run, know the real cost. Nothing is free. And the price can be staggering at times. They don't want to part of the bill, but they especially don't want to carry any more of their buddies out in bags. And they know that we may still lose this current challenge to the world's freedoms, due to the psychotic lengths that the Leftists in our country, in our Media, and around the world, have been willing to go this time to encourage our enemies. Liberals aren't careful what they wish for... or what they'll trade for it. As long as it's Free Stuff, of course.
"Us old blow-hards won't be around for much longer. It'll soon be up to you younger ones to do the teaching, because it sure won't be done in the People's Schools. Have you prepared yourselves? While the Marines prepared to prevail in fierce combat, did YOU prepare to prevail against our domestic enemies? Are you ready to teach, when it's your time? Especially... if we lose this one, and have to in future teach at night, in secret, and at the risk of your lives?
"I hear the Fedex truck outside. Let's now ruthlessly do our small duties tonight. Sound reasonable?"
Ping for another read in the morning.
"Yes, it is too long, but I couldn't abbreviate. Old guys are like that."
Hey now, I resemble that remark. ;-)
Thanks for a good read. It expresses sentiments held by many, including me and most on this forum.
Free Stuff - Excellent title. Excellent article well worth rereading.
Bump for originality and creativity.
Yeah, well it's too good to stop reading in the middle. Good writing is like that. Great piece, and thanks.
Bump for later
Hey John...can you come by and give this one of your world famous pings? This is a really good post, and nobody's seeing it....
ping to good read