Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Motorcycle Musings On Myths

The thing about riding solo for a long distance on a motorcycle is that your mind has time for thinking about, well, stuff. There certainly is the little matter of keeping the scooter where it belongs and watching out for things that could interfere with your continued breathing but with experience that becomes somewhat automatic and doesn’t occupy your entire intellect. So the, in my case, questionable occupation becomes mulling over somewhat larger concepts than food and drink.

Since I was spending a whole lot of time riding across the plains of Montana and North Dakota I needed something to occupy my mind – there is a really large amount of not much out there. “Oh look, there’s a tree,” quickly loses its novelty. So I reflected on the folks I was meeting along the way, friendly open folks - that was amongst us white folks. There is a real strong current of that "descendants of the rugged individualist Old West" theme.

I certainly won't deny that it was hard dangerous work ranching and homesteading the Plains, but it also has generated a myth of stand on your own and keep the government out of the way in that spirit. This ignores some rather inconvenient facts in service to the charges of socialistic Obama-ism. No cowboys or homesteads would have happened without a way to get the products to market and that way was railroads. Rails got laid out here because the government handed out right of way parcels to the railroads on each side of the rails - serious parcels worth serious money because close to rails is valuable to own. Lots of land to sell for lots of money. Importing cheap labor also wasn't a problem.

There is the little matter of the land the ranches and homesteads were put on, very nearly free or free from the government in pursuit of settling the land. The largest purchaser of the products from the lands was the government - in great part to supply the Army. That Army was very busy subduing, moving, or slaughtering the indigenous people, different religion terrorists called American Indians. The descendants of the beneficiaries of serious socialism are real busy crying about socialism now in the name of their history (er myth).

I take nothing away from their ancestors, but the government had an end in mind and didn't care a bit about seriously subsidizing the people who were accomplishing that end. It continues today as ethanol is subsidized to add to gasoline so that 15% power and mileage can be lost in search of ... well I'm not sure what. The math is very troublesome.

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