There wasn't a post yesterday due to a minor routine medical procedure, involving full on anesthesia. (The test results were perfectly normal. No worries.) I decided since driving, signing legal documents, and drinking were off the table--maybe blogging should be too? It seemed wise. So, I took the day off. Thus, NEW IDEAS happened. This is a good thing.
Just before the procedure in question, a nurse anesthetist showed up. As it turned out he was, ironically enough, a Libertarian. (Of course, he was a white cis/het dude.) He gave me the standard post-anesthesia restrictions which led to Dane and I immediately joking about going out on an all-day booze fest, flying lessons, and selling/buying a house. The nurse looked a little serious. So, I stopped and said, "That's a joke. We don't own a house." He then decided it was time to go off on how that was a good thing because TAXES. ZOMG! TAXES! "You don't get anything in return!" I blinked and thought, You've got to be fucking kidding me. Right? In an instant, I realized he wasn't. Therefore, I returned with, "Oh, sure. Nothing at all. Because paved roads, libraries, support systems, and everything else are nothing." He said that everything I was talking about re: civilization was based upon faith in the system. "Yes," I said. "The only way civilization works is that we all agree on certain principles." He nodded. "Like law." I said, "Not murdering people is good. I think we can agree on that." And then he went off on hippies and how free loaders happen, and leaving the work for a few, and "The Prize must exist" and blah fucking blah. He had to leave the room before he completed his Gospel Of Ayn Rand™. And, unfortunately, before I had time to gently rip huge holes in his religion. But I tucked that discussion away in plastic wrap for later like a piece of insufficiently chewed gum. And my brain unwrapped it this morning.
The first thing my brain unwrapped was his argument about how a few people were expected to take on the burden of Work™ for everyone else. I thought of all the free labor women do Every Fucking Day without any recognition: mothering, nurturing, housekeeping...you know all that gender-based labor that no one seems to notice. At the time, I said, "Yes. There will always be those who can't work as much as everyone else. That's what civilization is for. We band together to make life better for Everyone." He then used the word 'freeloaders.' I said there will always be those who take advantage. So what? And that's when he went on about Work™. This morning, I think maybe there are assumptions being made and those assumptions are about Work™. He's assuming that work is a bad, unpleasant thing. For me and a lucky few (unfortunately), that is not true. Work is a joy because my work is my bliss. And that's when my brain jumped to Universal Income.
The assumption by people like Nazi Nurse is that if we had Universal Income no one would want to Work™. However, human beings are active creatures. Life is a verb. Human beings need to be active or we stagnate and die. What if the erroneous assumption is that Work™ must be unpleasant? My work isn't unpleasant. Oh, sure, it has its unpleasant moments (every job does) but largely, it's enjoyable. I'd do it for free--which is a good thing because due to Capitalism artists aren't paid much. And that got me thinking too.
Universal Income would make life for artists, film makers, actors, creatives of all types including inventors and STEM researchers/explorers much more stable. It is a fact that the more stable a creative's financial life is, the more creative output is produced. And that got me thinking about how it wouldn't be limited to those traditionally considered creatives. In fact, Universal Income would permit EVERYONE to pursue their dreams-whether that was being some sort of artist or a mathematician. And THAT made me think of Terry Pratchett's The Truth. You know, that moment when Death tells Mr. Tulip all about the effect his life of crime (and murder) has had upon others:
[...] BECAUSE IF I HAD TO FIND A WORD TO DESCRIBE THESE LIVES, MR. TULIP, THAT WORD WOULD BE 'SHORTER'.
Death selected another hourglass. AH. NUGGA VELSKI. YOU WILL NOT REMEMBER HIM, OF COURSE. HE WAS SIMPLY A MAN WHO WALKED INTO HIS RATHER SIMPLE LITTLE HUT AT THE WRONG TIME, AND YOU WERE A BUSY MAN AND CANNOT BE EXPECTED TO REMEMBER EVERYONE. NOTE THE MIND, A BRILLIANT MIND THAT MIGHT HAVE CHANGED THE WORLD, DOOMED TO BE BORN IN A TIME AND PLACE WHERE LIFE WAS NOTHING BUT A DAILY HOPELESS STRUGGLE. NEVERTHELESS, IN HIS TINY VILLAGE, RIGHT UP UNTIL HE FOUND YOU STEALING HIS COAT, HE DID HIS BEST TO--
Mr. Tulip raised a trembling hand.
"Is this the bit where my whole life passes in front of my eyes?" he said.
NO, THAT WAS THE BIT JUST NOW.
THE BIT, said Death, BETWEEN YOU BEING BORN AND YOU DYING. NO, THIS...MR. TULIP, THIS IS YOUR WHOLE LIFE AS IT PASSED BEFORE OTHER PEOPLE'S EYES.
And that's why the argument "But The Prize™!" is utter bullshit. It assumes that work sucks. That the default state of work is useless activity that no one wants to do. That the Freeloader has the best end of the deal and "Why can't I be a freeloader too?" That is what lies at that argument's heart.
Yes. There are people who would take advantage of that system. There are always people who take advantage and they always will be. They're psychopaths and sociopaths. But here's the good news: they aren't a majority. They're about 2% of the population. They're not so many that they'd bring down a system comprised of 98% of the population. I'd consider them a tax on the rest. And a 2% tax is better than a 30% tax any day. Right? But even sociopaths can be useful. In this case, they can be shunted into the military. (Overseen and led by non-sociopaths, of course. No one wants a military coup.)
Would this be a Utopia? Hardly, there will always be conflicts for humans to sort out. That's just the way of this plane of existence. It's part of Life being a verb. But the good thing is: they'd be old problems in NEW forms. And THAT is this thing called PROGRESS.
I'm sure there are aspects of this topic that I'm not seeing. That's up to you, Dear Reader, to consider and come up with. No one person can come up with the answer to such problems. There is no The One Savior™. That is a myth. Substantive change requires groups of people. But make no mistake, it's an important thought exercise. There is no way that we'll move past Capitalism without our imagining what it might be like first.
 Never a good idea in my presence. Look, Baby Boomers may have done a tremendous amount of damage to America, but the concept of Love, Peace, and Taking Care of One Another is absolutely fucking NOT one of them.
 Now that I think about it. He was probably a Trumpian with a bug up his butt about all the RIGHTEOUS flack they've been getting about the immigrant families correctly seeking asylum being ripped apart by Fascists with ICE badges. In a room full of women of color that he works with--some of which, no doubt, knew people who were related to some of those families. (This is Texas, Dear Reader.) The more I think about it, the more of an asshole he was.
 And interestingly enough, according to Lt.Col. Grossman's On Killing, that's the same percentage of men willing to shoot and kill in pre-Vietnam War wars. That is, before the military began psychologically jiggering with recruits' mental make-up, preventing them from killing. (That's a whole other topic of discussion.)
 As opposed to a military coupe because a military Cadillac Coupe de Ville would be awesome in a Mad Max way. (Oh, dyslexia brain. You are the best source of puns.)
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.