(Originally posted June 03, 2008)
“You distract her, and I’ll hit her with a shovel.”
Whenever you hear someone whining, you should analyze their words carefully to see if their whining makes sense. A lot of people like to whine in order to vent their frustrations, but they completely ignore whether the resolution of their complaint would actually make them happy. If you take such inconsistent whining too seriously, your well-intended resolutions can actually make the complainers less happy.
Generally, people buy cheap items and then complain that they break. They demand perfect justice but get mad when they have to sit in court all day. They complain about the high cost of movie tickets, but they also adore the exotic special affects, computer animation, and ridiculously paid stars which drive up the cost of movies.
In economics, trade-offs are inevitable. There is no such things as a free lunch. (Free samples hour at Costco is the only known exception to this rule.) People who whine about costs they have already willingly paid are schizophrenic. Of course, there is nothing wrong with whining simply to vent frustrations. The problem comes when “problem-solvers” actually start trying to find solutions to the thoughtless complaints of others.
Many Americans complain about the price of gas, which is currently approaching $4.00 per gallon. Overall, such a problem is worthy of complaint. It irks me, however, that the same whiners who complaint about expensive gas are simultaneously causing the high prices. Pricey gasoline comes from deficits in the supply for oil. Easing restrictions on oil drilling in the United States would eliminate these deficits and allow more oil to be turned into gasoline, as would the production of additional nuclear power plants, which would reduce the need for oil power plants. Building more oil refineries would also help the situation. But does anyone imagine that the schizophrenic voters of America would jump for joy if we implemented such wise policies? I would jump for joy, but Americans as a whole have voted socialist environmentalists into office. Now they whine about the economic consequences of their own stupid policies.
I think the world would be a much better place if everyone were more like me. When someone asks me, “Drew, don’t you care about the snowy deer up in Alaska who might instantly die of fright when we drill in Alaska?” I just say, not particularly. I try to be consistent. But I am too smart to imagine that others will follow suit, or that anyone will seriously change his mind about socialism merely because gas costs a lot. No, Americans will merely continue to whine, even though they actually appreciate the high gas prices more than appreciate like the alternative – free trade.
Again, inconsistent whining is not particularly immoral, although it is annoying. Whining about nothing is just part of the human identity. You have to know to look out for it. The status quo will never please everybody. The successful businessman addresses the sincere complaints of others. He ignores the whiners who, out of human weakness, merely complain about everything.
“My dad says that if people stopped buying bottled water, they could afford their gas. I think in some cases the water actually turns out to be more expensive per gallon than the gas, actually.”
(06-03-2008, 11:41 pm)
“Yeah, you’re probably right. Dave Ramsey made a similar point recently about giving up gourmet coffee.”
(06-04-2008, 11:11 pm)
“Drew, I’m sorry but I have to point out an inaccuracy in your recent post:
You have to pay for a Costco membership. Therefore, the free samples there aren’t really free, unless they’re handing them out in the parking lot.
Alas, I suppose this is no such thing as a free lunch!”
(06-12-2008, 2:36 pm)