January 25, 2008
-- by Dave Johnson
I received one of those anti-government propaganda e-mails today. Look how they do it. It's a really funny story, until they inject the propaganda point as the last line:
The Firewood StoryAs if a corporate weather source would somehow be different. The government is US, and stories like this carry a profoundly anti-democracy message, intended to make people think that somehow privatizing government functions to corporations would be better for us.
It was already late fall & the Indians on a remote reservation in South Dakota asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold & that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared. But, being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea.
He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service & asked, 'Is the coming winter going to be cold?' 'It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold,' the meteorologist at the weather service responded. So the chief went back to his people & told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared. A week later, he called the National Weather Service again. 'Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?' 'Yes,' the man at National Weather Service again replied, 'it's going to be a very cold winter.'
The chief again went back to his people & ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find. Two weeks later, the chief called the National Weather Service again. 'Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold' 'Absolutely,' the man replied. 'It's looking more & more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we've ever seen.'
'How can you be so sure?' the chief asked. The weatherman replied, 'The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy.' Always remember this story whenever you get advice from a government official!
But a corporate information source would be about screwing the customers and the employees and the public so the CEO could get a bigger jet. No one except a very few already-wealthy power brokers benefit when we hand over our common interests - even weather reporting - to corporations as they are presently constituted.
Posted by Dave Johnson at January 25, 2008 12:14 PM
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Yeah - it's a weak story. Nobody is compelled to take advice from the National Weather Service. We're just compelled to pay for it through our taxes.
If it was an Indian medicine man calling the FDA for advice - that would be more interesting. We're all compelled to take the "advice" that the FDA dishes out (i.e. - that medicine's not approved so you can't have it).
In most cases, if you don't take the government's "advice", judges will levy fines. If you don't pay the fines, men with guns will take you to jail.
There's something to be said for corporations. They don't have the right to use violence to get their way. The government does.
Actually in the privatized version, the CEO of the weather forecaster company would be the one owning the firewood (or oil)futures.
Posted by: FreeDem at January 25, 2008 4:40 PM
"They don't have the right to use violence to get their way. The government does."
You haven't run into Blackwater mercenaries anywhere lately, have you?
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