Death Is Easy

Russell Madden

Freedom As If It Mattered

As If
It Mattered
Russell Madden

Guardian Project

The Guardian
Russell Madden


Russell Madden





Russell Madden



Et Tu

I’m simultaneously amazed and unsurprised at how frakking stupid so many people are. As Rand so ably portrayed in fiction and her essays, the number of individuals who evade the clear meaning of what a piece of writing says; who focus on nonessentials and ignore the essence of a message; who never acknowledge or admit their glaring errors, even when demonstrated; who engage in reprehensible behavior in dealing with "public" issues that they would never tolerate in their private lives; who evade principles, evidence, logic, and reason; the number of such people in both the general public and even in the ranks of so-called "libertarians" and "Objectivists" is astounding.

They know who they are.

The Customer is a Pain

While on Xmas vacation visiting my in-laws, I read an article about declining customer service. According to the story I read, young people prefer to chat on the phone or focus on themselves rather than those pesky and annoying customers. Their expectations differ from those of their parents and grandparents as to what constitutes proper behavior in a such a setting.

I’m “happy” to report that such an attitude exists among some older employees, as well.

The other day, I went into a local chain grocery store to buy some snacks. The motto of this store is “a smile in every aisle.” Yeah. Maybe. Anyway, I got the products I wanted and went to the express lane to check out. Two of the items I had were — I thought — on sale: “11 for $10” the handwritten tag had read. When the woman checker scanned the boxes, the register rang up a dollar each. Not exactly a huge difference, but a policy of this store is to give the customer an item for free if the scanned amount does not match the shelf price. So I mentioned the discrepancy, thinking I might save myself a couple bucks.

Gee. You think the gnomish little witch smiled at me at said, “Why don’t I check that for you, sir?” If so, you haven’t been paying attention. She blinked her dull eyes and pointed to the computer screen. “It rang up as a dollar,” she said, as though this were some stunning revelation.

Now, what I wanted to say was, “You stupid, !#$$%%. I can f*cking read. I know what the f*ck it rang up. I wouldn’t have mentioned it if I thought it was correct.” Instead, I stopped myself and simply repeated what the shelf price had read. She could have said, “Oh, sorry. Let me check that for you.” But, no. She simply said once again, “It says it’s a dollar,” as though repetition of an inanity somehow renders it golden. This person has worked at this store for years, so she is well aware of the policy on price mismatches.

But, hey, to deal with that meant a disruption in her routine. She might actually have to make an effort to fulfill the store’s own policy (one I applaud, by the way; gives an incentive for customers to be alert to what they are actually being charged for sale items). A bit more of this, and she feebly called out — twice; softly — a manager’s name as he walked by. So I said it loudly enough for the guy to actually hear me before he vanished from sight.

So the guy checked; said one had to buy all eleven items and have a coupon before the price was effective. I shook my head. This chain had said years ago that coupons would no longer be required for their specials. Plus, the fine print must have been very small, indeed, to include all that extra information. It was not obvious, even after I looked the tags over twice.

Regardless, though, too many employees view us mere customers — those who actually provide the income for their salaries — as an intrusion unworthy of consideration. Keep it up, and these nimrods will achieve their goal of a customer-free they line up at the unemployment office...where they will receive the kind of customer “service” they so richly deserve...

Smoking Fascists, Part ∞

The bastards never go away. New bans around the world are squeezing liberty into smaller and smaller boxes. France has banned smoking in any “public” (i.e., privately owned) businesses. California joins other states in making it illegal for people to light up in cars when children are present. They say the penalty will only be imposed if the vehicle is stopped for other reasons, such as speeding.

What a bunch of BS. They said the same things about mandatory seat belt laws. Now, lack of a cinched belt alone is enough to have the highway Nazis pull you over.

Of course, California leads the way in fascism. The eco-fascists feel are right at home with the smoking fascists. Banning plastic bags. Banning incandescent lights. Banning smoking in apartments or on the beach or sidewalks. Its all from the same mindset. Ditto the fascists who violate freedom of contract by mandating new minimum or, worse, “living” wages. Or who force feed us “recycling” or “alternate” energy or bans on “illegal” immigrants (a violation of freedom of association) or forcing people to be tested for HIV or how people must use gift cards or get a dental exam or...

Well, the list is semi-infinite.

To hell with it. Ninety-plus percent of Americans are fascists, eager and anxious to force other people to do or not do whatever those fascists want. Gang warfare on a national scale. None of them care that the prez now has the “legal” authority to declare “marital law” whenever he frigging pleases. (See Bovard here.) They’d probably applaud...if they knew.

Whatever I Want

To tie in with the first entry above, I’ll relate a lovely incident that occurred at a Florida state park campground on New Year’s Eve.

It was our second night tent camping southwest of Jacksonville. Excessive noise was banned after ten in the evening so people can get some sleep. But, hey, who gives a sh*t about consideration for other people, right? A group of assholes who reinforced every stereotype about redneck, yahoo, cracker Southerners decided that they wanted to drink and yell and ram around all night to “celebrate” the new year. And they did. For hours. Literally yelling “yahoo” over and over and over and over. Racing a motorcycle back and forth and forth and back. Music. Yelling. On and on.

One bitch even had the temerity to “invite” my wife and an older woman to “join them” to “celebrate,” the mere invitation apparently granting these jerks a license to do whatever the f*ck they pleased. To hell with the scores of other people and families around. To hell with the fact that we all paid to be there. To hell with the rules.

Even though the cops showed up twice, nothing beyond some words resulted. We discovered the next day that the sheriff never bothered to inform the park ranger (who said later that he would have kicked the troublemakers out; maybe). Whatever. The fact remains that those who broke the rules suffered no real consequences while those who obeyed the rules had a miserable night.

Since the cops did nothing, I wish there had been some of that stereotypical Southern justice administered. Smash that frigging bike to hell. Slash their tires. Break the windows on the RV. Burn the tents. Beat the ever lovin’ shit out of those creeps.

But, no. if any of us had done that, we, of course, would have been the ones hauled off to jail. A perfect microcosm of what is happening in our society. The criminals in Washington and in the various state and city governments do whatever the hell they please, making the lives of anyone who objects into a horrible nightmare, while those daring to stand up for what is right are turned into “traitors” and “criminals” tossed into jail to rot.

Justice? What’s that?

(from Don't Get Me Started!, 1-10-08)