F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines

Week of:
August 6, 2000
Random Thoughts About Dependency

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

Pets have to be taken care of, but people are not pets.

Bear Necessities
Yogi Bear had it pretty good in Jellystone Park. He may occasionally have accused Ranger Smith of trying to starve him to death, but we all knew Yogi was just engaging in post-hibernation hyperbole, and we counted on his level-headed little buddy Boo-Boo to chastise him for it. The real problem, as all Hanna-Barbera buffs know, was that Yogi happened to prefer "pic-a-nic" baskets to the traditional diet of the "average bear." The ranger was merely doing his duty in trying to keep Yogi from jeopardizing his health with too many sweets, while at the same time protecting the personal property rights of park patrons. As it turns out, Ranger Smith's solicitude compares quite favorably to the callous neglect of his real-life counterparts at Yellowstone Park. Their politically correct approach to wildlife management is killing the animals that live there. Following a perverse policy called 'natural regulation,' rangers allow the numbers of elk and bison to increase unchecked, until their food supply is exhausted and thousands die of starvation. In the meantime, the swelling ranks of ungulates destroy the vegetation that bears feed on, imperiling their survival as well.

Do Not Feed the Boors
No artist need starve for lack of an NEA grant to subsidize his self-indulgence. If he wants to profit from the germinations of his genius, he can simply put some effort into finding buyers for his work, or commission an agent to perform that service for him. Of course, if he can't find buyers for what he produces, he may want to consider producing something else, something that people will buy. If his immense integrity inhibits compromise, he may have to settle for a 'day job,' slaking his artistic instincts in twilight hours. No matter how fruitless his creative quest, he has no right to pick the pockets of American taxpayers. They, too, may be frustrated artists, and ought not to be penalized for finding gainful employment.

Deregulate the Individual
While American consumers applaud the manifest benefits of increased competition, downsized workers demur. Their reservations are certainly understandable. No one likes being let go. No one likes having to start over. But no employer should be expected to keep on workers when he has no work for them. If he did, he'd run the risk of bankrupting his business and idling his entire staff. Who would benefit from that? Sure, everyone likes comfort and security, but no honest man wants to receive a paycheck that exceeds the value of his services. No honest man wants to go to work every day and have nothing to do. An occupation, after all, is meant to keep us busy. It may be human nature to avoid pain and seek the path of least resistance, but aren't the highlights of our lives just those moments when the most is demanded of us and we surprise ourselves by rising to the occasion? Don't we feel the greatest satisfaction when we overcome the greatest obstacles? Wouldn't we all be better off if we reclaimed some of the rugged individualism that made America great?