Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Chris writes: I’m not sure if this is present in your neck of the woods but in the last year or so I’ve started to notice a lot more “privileged” (for lack of a better term) parking spots at stores near me. Military veteran parking, law enforcement parking, expectant mother parking, etc. (I’ll email you the pics). As a Libertarian it shouldn’t really bother me as these are private businesses and certainly said signs aren’t violating the non-aggression principle. But if I’m being honest, it does bother me. I just see it as a further indictment of AGW/hero worship in our society and how we’re all suppose to go supine and acquiesce to these groups. Am I blowing this out of proportion or is it another troubling sign of the times? Thanks for your time and consideration.
My reply: It bother me, too – because it’s another form of theatrical virtue signaling. Look how concerned we are about (insert here). It’s ironic that, as our society has grown coarser and more violent, there has been a a rise in this false civility. Another good and related example being the practice of stopping in the middle of the road – when the driver has the right of way – to make way for a car attempting to merge. He is smug in his very public display of what he considers to be virtuous but has created a road hazard and is also being very discourteous to others – those behind him.
And of course, handicapped parking is completely out of control. It is almost comically absurd. A dozen always empty spots at big stores; there are even reserved handicapped spots at overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway now. Because everyone knows that multiple wheelchair-bound people are visiting mountain overlooks at the same time. Note also the proliferation of those Handicapped plates, too. They used to be occasional sights and the person within was almost always obviously crippled. Not anymore.
But I agree with you the most in re the setting aside of spots for various “heroes” – i.e., armed government workers. I especially dislike this business of “thank you for your service.” This is deluded – and dangerous – as well as servile. People have various reasons for joining the military but all of them are government workers who are paid with funds extorted from unwilling victims. This isn’t “service” – which implies a voluntary act desired by the beneficiary – and I certainly won’t compound the affront by thanking them for it.
A Boy Scout candidate for Eagle who – on his own initiative and using materials obtained via the willing cooperation of others – builds a shelter for homeless people has performed an act of service – and I thank him for it.
A neighbor who helps an elderly lady on his own time (and nickel) has performed an act of service – and deserves our thanks.
These are examples of making an effort to help others on your own initiative without expectation of payment other than perhaps appreciation. That is service.
But being a paid mercenary for the government isn’t “service” – and I’ll thank them not to expect me to thank them for it.
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