From The Right

Home | Et Alia: Article Archive | Ideology Test | Primary Calendar | Letters

We Need It But Not If It Affects Me
Authored December 1, 2003


There have a been a few events over the past few months that have hammered home to me the greatest problem in this country. It is what I will call 'not in my backyard-itis'. This is the very disease that makes people abandon their so-called principles and become part of the mushy middle ground in society. That's right, that middle ground where people reside because they are unable or unwilling to take a position.


There is little question that our presence in Iraq is good for most of the people. Granted you will not see that on the news, but keep in mind a few key facts. All of the schools are open with better attendance and better performance than before our occupation. Most of the communication infrastructure is replaced, upgraded and operational. There are a whole host of gems like this that you can research.

The point is that our presence is a good thing and the removal of Sadaam was a good thing. There is a small faction of Iraqis that do not believe this. Presumably many of them are the violent criminal prisoners that Sadaam released just before the war began. These combatants are causing some of our service members to die, but the sacrifice is for the sharing and spread of freedom and is therefore not in vain.

Many Americans agree that the sacrifices are for a larger good and are worthy. Most Americans (the Neo-Democrats excluded for the most part) understand that freedom is not free and there is a cost for freedom. They understand that until someone in their family gets injured or killed. Then the war is unjust. It is only a just war until it affects them.

This elitist arrogance is going to undermine the humanitarian purpose of spreading, causing and protecting freedom is only worthy if it does not touch the every most important 'self'. This implies that those families who say the war is not proper as a result of one of their own clan giving their life are more important than an entire nation being free. This mentality is warped, sick and must stop. These families would be heroes themselves if after losing a loved one they acknowledge their loss and grief but also proclaim that the cause is worthy: the cause of spreading freedom.

School Referendum

"We must take a stand against wasteful spending in the schools." I hear that from so many "fiscally responsible" people. It is a very true statement and everyone should be standing up against each referendum that each school district puts forth until there is a complete overhaul of K-12 education.

It is very clear that the school districts propagandize and threaten parents. 'After school activities might be cut.' 'We will have to raise class sizes by an average of 1 student.' 'Some of the district swimming pools will have to be closed.'

The threats go on and on...some of them are very creative. Nonetheless the thugs know that even the most ludicrous threat will make most of the "fiscally aware" parents buckle. Why will they buckle? Because of not-in-my-backyard-itis which makes them adopt the following broken philosophy. "We must stand up against the schools, but my child's luxury is more important than fixing the school systems for all. Therefore pass my child's referendum but fail all the other school districts."

Either you are trying for fiscal responsibility or you are not and the only way you can show your colors is to actually vote down your own referendum. Lobby against it. Either you are with us or against us. At least Wellstone was willing to take the consequences for his beliefs.

Building Prisons

One recurring secondary issue is that of building more prisons. With every major crime (as of today it is the North Dakota student that has been killed) there is renewed fervor for either the death penalty or extended sentences. After listening to weeks of discussion on this issue it is almost universally agreed that sex offenders need at the very least longer sentences if not life sentences. Great...where do you keep them then?

Not in my backyard!

Almost ten years ago a major campaign issue in Minnesota was whether or not to build new prisons. The prediction (that the left said was end-of-the-world rhetoric) was that by 2006 the prisons will be at capacity. Guess what. Those predictions were right. The prisons are at near capacity and we do not have any new ones being built. Why is that? Because no one wants it in their backyard. We have to more prisons and society is in basic agreement regarding the desire to hand out longer sentences. The proper stance then is to support the best location for a new one. The infantile stance is to support the best location except in your own location.

Your community is safer with a new prison in your area than with no new prisons whatsoever.

My Lay-Off

Earlier this summer I was having a conversation with a co-worker about the University looking into wage freezes instead of layoffs. I was of the position that layoffs were better in the long run for a whole host of reasons. The co-worker insisted that my cold and crass position was because I had not been laid off.

Actually that response was false. I have suffered from a lay-off from Westonka Investments. Even more ironic was that my boss at the time had already (secretly from his superiors) started the process of laying off my position.

Even at the moment of my lay off being told to me, even during the weeks between that job and my next one, even as I sit here and type this I am still of the position that the best course of action is lay-offs instead of wage freezes. I am not suffering from not-in-my-backyard-itis.

Commuter Rail

There is discussion about the state paying for a second commuter rail system. The first is the billion dollar boondoggle for the 10-mile stretch of Light Rail (which at a billion dollars is almost 300% overbudget). The second is one that would benefit me directly. If I suffered from the same mental affliction that most Americans do then I would support the second one since now benefits me. But the complaints are still the same: ineffective and only the users that benefit from the project should pay for it.

That is why I have been calling the state legislature's transportation committee indicating that I am a resident of the area that is looking to get this project installed but the state should not pay for it. This is part of the typical conversation.

"Well, then you and your neighbors would have to pay more for it."
"We are the ones who get a direct benefit from it, correct?"
"That's right."
"Then why should anyone else pay for my benefit?"

Enter stage-left the stammering and stalling and finally the concessionary 'thank you for you call and will keep that in mind.'

What is the antidote for this horrible mental affliction known as not-in-my-backyard-itis? Just a little common sense and a lot of humility in understanding that your needs are not superior to the benefit of humanity, they are in par. Sometimes a prison should be build in your community; sometimes that school referendum needs to be killed; sometimes you pay more for your services and sometimes you get laid off. But in a society sometimes you get the short end for the protection of the entire society.

Not-in-my-backyard-itis is a mental affliction of the weak-minded. The cure is selflessness with your policy positions.