I Hate Being “Protected”

My brother-in-law warned me that building a house in North Georgia is likely to be an expensive proposition, thanks to all the tests and inspections required by county building codes.  One of my brilliant ideas as I cast about for how to design the place was to minimize windows on the first floor and keep them small and high.  I’ve been burglarized before: it’s not a pleasant experience.  A multi-story house could be relatively economical since rooms built upon rooms make the most frugal use of construction materials–but such a dwelling would also reduce the surface area that offers easy access to casual break-ins.  Just keep those first-floor windows as inconvenient as possible for intruding bodies!

Now I’m wondering if I won’t have to scrap that part of the design–because I’m pretty sure that the county incarnation of Big Brother will want us to be able to escape the house readily in the event of fire.  I’m more worried about uninvited guests coming in than I am about the occupants finding a quick way out.  (I’ll have a basement, and smoke doesn’t travel downward.)  Nevertheless, I would lay even money that the code will preempt my personal concerns with the all-foreseeing mandate of an all-knowing bureaucracy.  I’m not handy enough to build a house on my own, and any construction crew will be forced to follow regulations; so they have me.

Now, I can always shutter points of extreme exposure or otherwise short-circuit the code once I’m in the house.  But my point in making today’s observation is just this: do-gooders often do more harm than “bad agents” when they have insufficient evidence and, at the same time, arrogantly suppose themselves to be experts.  You can see this playing out at every level of government from the very local to the international.  Somehow, the arrogant intruders are eligible for unlimited forgiveness because they have pure motives.  (I’m not unaware that many of them have very venal motives, by the way; a lot of petty inspectors and vendors of needless accessories make bundles of money off of stuff like building codes, thanks to their unions’ generous donations to certain campaign coffers.  Yet let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the motives are pure.)

I don’t like such people.  Go ahead and call me a hater: I hate such people.  I hate people who grind you under their boots in order to “do good” for you–in order to save you from your own stupid self.  I hate ’em–I won’t pretend otherwise.  They’re not nice human beings.  They’re imperious and self-righteous.  Their public-spiritedness is a mere pose upon which they greatly pride themselves, like an admiral in full uniform primping before a mirror.  If we wretched imbeciles didn’t exist, they’d have to invent us.  They need someone to “save”… and you and I will do just fine.

To hell with that.

Gender-Neutral Pronouns and Cultural Meltdown

Grading final exams is a dismal enough task: the “someone… they” agreement errors, the use of “like” and “however” as conjunctions, the utter cluelessness surrounding “whom”; but when students who can’t get any of this stuff right begin to lobby for pronouns that don’t “offend” by expressing gender, then I know that I may have missed the TITANIC’s last lifeboat.  Why are you offended?  Because you’re neither “he” nor “she”?  Well, we have “it”… but that’s most offensive of all, because you now sound like an impersonal object!  But if you have no gender… oh, excuse me!  You do have a gender, only you’re neither male nor female!  But if you’re a male identifying as female, would you not be “she”, and vice versa?  Or if you are neither and not neuter, then exactly what are you?

Students clamor for this non-existent fourth option because other professors have primed them to talk and think rubbish–and because, of course, they want to appear broad-minded and compassionate.  Yet how is the stilling of tongues in impotence lest they utter a substantial thought compassionate?  Say that our conversation in the present constantly reminds me of times past.  I want a tense that accomodates both the currency of our words and the nostalgia that their echo awakens in me.  I’m so frustrated!  My language will not do this; and you, by speaking to me in one tense or the other, are collaborating in the offense!  Ouch!  You’re hurting me!

Vanitas vanitatum.  What an infantile, futile, facile era we live in…