"Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them -- and then, the opportunity to choose." ~ C. Wright Mills
My Cat Supports Terrorism
Huffiana Airington (name changed to protect self from frivolous but well-financed litigation) has taken upon herself the moral duty to inform us that SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) owners support terrorism. The chain of logic is:
1. SUVs* are gas-guzzlers.
2. The more gasoline is used, the more oil is needed.
3. The higher the demand for oil, the more is purchased from Middle Eastern states that support terrorism.
4. The more money the Middle Eastern states that support terrorism make, the more is transferred to terrorist organizations.
5. Ergo: SUV owners support terrorism.
*Also referred to as Stupid Useless Vehicles when driven only to the mall by folks who never see more than one-tenth of an inch of snow in a bad winter and have no reason to ever engage four-wheel drive.
What about those of use who don't own SUVs'which I personally would never call a Stupid Useless Vehicle, not even when one comes flying up behind me at 60 mph during rush hour in a 40 mph zone and slams on the brakes in order to keep from moving into my trunk and winds up driving about 23 millimeters off my rear bumper because the driver thinks he can stop on a dime and give you nine cents change. We'non-SUV owners, if you lost the meandering trail of thought'also buy gasoline which, if one follows the solid chain of logic outlined above, goes to support terrorism. But by Airhuffia's definition, it's not using gasoline, it's how much gasoline one uses.
Let's assume the average SUV (which I personally never would refer to as a Stupid Useless Vehicle when I come out of the store and find my car recently and completely surrounded by towering vehicles of the SUV persuasion, thereby forcing me to hire someone to guide me out of my parking space without getting crushed beneath the wheels of yet another Stup . . . SUV) gets 18 miles per gallon. Then, by the Gospel according to Huffairhead Rantington:
' Owner of vehicle that gets 18 miles or less per gallon supports terrorism. Bad Person. Osama Bin Drivin'.
' Owner of vehicle that gets more than 18 miles per gallon is a Patriot because he uses less petroleum and therefore enriches terrorist-supporting nations less than the Bad Person. Good Person. Ashfeld Rumscroft, Jr.
See? It's not a matter of what one does that supports terrorism, just how much one does it. There is a break point in terrorist-supporting activities. Do a lot, be a Terrorista; do a little, be a Patriot.
Sometimes the break point is not on what level of activity, but whether such activity is sanctioned by the State. PSAs (Public Service Announcements; also a prostate cancer diagnosis test) take the same moral tone in stating that partakers of illegal recreational drugs support terrorists and not, as we all thought, South American and Asian drug kingpins. Legal drug users don't support terrorism, we may infer.
Michigan raised its cigarette (legal drug) taxes to the point where it became extremely lucrative for smugglers (an honorable profession'John Hancock was a smuggler) to move vanloads of smokes (still legal drugs) from South Carolina to Southeast Michigan. In the Detroit area many small businesses bought the smuggled coffin nails (legal drugs, but now illegal due to lack of tax stamp) and resold them at great profit to folks who could ill afford the higher-priced (ridiculously-taxed) variety. Everybody profited except the State, which is a great moral argument in favor of smuggling.
Lest you think this talk of cancer sticks (still legal drug) is a non-sequitur, one group of smugglers'Middle Eastern men, by the way'converted their profits from smuggling legal drugs into items wanted by terrorist groups and shipped them overseas. All manner of gadgets and supplies'GPS devices, binoculars, firearms, dried foods'found their way from this group of Middle Eastern men in South Carolina to other groups of Middle Eastern men in the Middle East.
' Ergo: The State of Michigan supports terrorism through its attempt at punitive taxation and recklessly not taking into account the Law of Unintended Consequences.*
*While not a law in the legal sense, it is as immutable as the Law of Gravity and the Law of Unexpected Costs.
To further point out the absurdity of the Huffairia message, let us just take the claim to the next level
' All users of petroleum products support terrorism.
When one uses or purchases a petroleum-derived product, one does not know where the petroleum came from. A reasonable assumption can be made that some portion of the product came from terrorist-supporting petroleum-exporting nations. If not, then the use of petroleum entirely from non-terrorist supporting states forces others to use higher ratios of petroleum from terrorist-supporting states.
' Ergo: All Americans support terrorism.
Do you drive on asphalt roads? You support terrorism. Asphalt is a petroleum by-product. Don't drive? How do you think your Snackwells' and Nikes' got to the store? Via Harry Potter's owl? Does your girlfriend burn candles? Paraffin is a petroleum product. Do you use nasal spray? Petroleum is a base for nasal sprays. Ever grease or oil a squeaky door hinge? Petroleum. Use dyes? Paint something? Petroleum. Buy only synthetic fibers because you favor animal rights? Petroleum products, you Terrorista Peta-head. Use heating oil? Flip on a light switch in a region where power is generated by diesel turbines? Read something printed in ink? Terrorist.
And as for you legal drug users' yes, you people who obtain a prescription and have it filled at the pharmacy or just buy over the counter drugs'you support terrorism, too. Petroleum is used in drugs. There is a just as direct'or tenuous'a link between legal drugs and terrorists as there is between marijuana and terrorists and gasoline and terrorists.
And plastics. Oh my, do we ever use plastics. Plastic comes from petroleum. If ever there was a petroleum pusher it's Toys Backwards R Us'. I can't think of how many Fisher Price' little people toys I bought for my kids. The little terrorists. Do you throw out empty plastic food containers? Use plastic forks? Spend time in a hospital using disposable syringes and other medical supplies? Ship something in polystyrene "peanuts?" Get a foam styrene "take home" container from a restaurant? Plastic. Go through one day'no, just one hour'and note every time you use something that is at least partly plastic. Within two hours of rising, I use an alarm clock, can opener, pen, coffee grinder, coffee maker, coffee mug, animal food dishes, PDA, toothbrush, and now I'm writing on a plastic keyboard attached to a plastic-encased computer.
The daily demand for petroleum in the U.S. is over three gallons per day. Per person. That's going on a billion gallons a day. Got oil?
So what's my cat go to do with it? Cats, in grooming themselves, ingest hair. Cats with medium and long hair'like Buster'collect it into little impacted masses in their stomachs which, now and then, tend to expel said masses in a violent manner. Hairballs are not a pretty sight, reminding one of Osama Bin Hidin' on a bad beard day. The sound of a feline hacking one up isn't music to the ears, either. Ergo (my word of the day), I give Buster a daily dose of medication designed to ease the passage of hairballs in a more natural direction, so to speak. It tastes good'to a cat, anyway; I haven't tried it'and Buster just licks a glop of it off my finger. The main ingredient? Petroleum.
My cat supports terrorism.