Sunday, August 9, 2009

First Things First

Growing up on a farm, I am acquainted with the laws of the farm. The first law states that there is a proper season for every activity whether it be planting, cultivating, harvesting or bringing to market; the second states that whatever you plant is exactly what you're going to harvest. I also became acquainted with the law of priority. Securing the necessities of life -- food, clothing, shelter and the means of earning them is the top priority. Comforts are the second priority. Once the necessities are secure, we can devote resources to obtaining some comforts in the form of better food, nicer clothing, more comfortable housing and maybe some entertainment. Luxuries come dead last, only after needs are met, and basic comforts provided. First, the necessities. Then the comforts. Finally the luxuries. These priorities have served me very well in providing for my family. For me, they are as invariant as seed time and harvest. Or are they? Lately, I see growing numbers of people securing comforts and luxuries before they have the necessities. And a great many of them seem to be making it work. Need shelter? Some agency will subsidise it for you. Need clothing? You will not be allowed to go naked. Someone will provide it. Need food? Food stamps! Run out of stamps? Creative dumpster diving or an emergency delivery by the local food bank. Apparently, one can eat quite well and even thrive on the dole. Priorities are for other people. Forget about the necessities and go for the large screen high definition TV! After all, life is all about the toys and priorities only apply to those who either voluntarily or involuntarily provide the resources to subsidise the lives of those whose first priority is to play. I'm disgusted. We're sowing irresponsibility. What do we hope to reap?