Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Crazy That Lies Beneath

I think one of the advantages of being ridiculously wealthy (conjecture, I assure you as I am not) is that you get to a point where you can lose your mind publicly and it doesn't matter. It's what devoted partner refers to as FU money. Tom Cruise went absolutely retarded on national TV and we've all sort of just let it go now. Richard Branson routinely does crazy shit like piloting a rowboat from London to New Zealand and we just sort of shrug it off. If you watched The Colbert Report this week, you may have noticed a little tidbit on Ted Turner. If you didn't, I'll wait while you watch it.

Ok. Yes. Crazy. On the face of it. And yet so intensely brilliant. When you or I suggest that we buy the right to have babies from the poor, we sound insane, deeply unpleasant, and others ignore us. When Ted Turner says it, it sounds MASSIVELY CRAZY, and yet, this guy is a highly successful businessman, so you sort of assume he's thought about it. Which, in turn, leads you to think about it. Or about things like it.

As I am of the belief that we are merely a hop, skip, and jump from dystopia, I gave this more than casual thought, and discovered that, in theory, I wasn't completely opposed to the idea. And yet, much like the privatization of social security, it's just not practical right now.

Let me explain: let's say we allow all people to manage their own retirements. What percentage of those people, freed from the burden of forced savings, do you imagine will not save at all and end up at 70 without any money? 5%? 10%? I'll bet it would be higher. And then what? We're not really prepared to let people starve to death on the side of the road, so then the government would step in to take care of the people who need it; this, in turn, would cost money angering the very people who want to privatize social security. Similarly, the free marketers might see sense in the selling of reproductive rights. After all, if it's a saleable commodity, have at it. Oooooh, except, I'm not sure how they would feel about either a) government sterilization or b) arresting illegally pregnant women and terminating their pregnancies. We just don't do that sort of thing.

But I can definitely see a future where this sort of thing isn't frowned upon, and while I might not like to live there, it sounds like a fascinating place to visit. And I'll bet I run into Ted Turner there because this is a crazy man who is definitely going to be cryogenically frozen until they find a cure for being old. Maybe we'll grab drinks.

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