Rigging Shack "Classic
(This column originally appeared in the August 1974 edition of Loggers World.)
‘Didja’ notice I’m a nonconformist? I keep my hair pretty much at crew cut length (that which is present and accounted for), my sideburns end above the ear lobes and I’m too lazy to manicure a moustache or beard. I dislike flared trouser legs and double knit slacks or suits. I can’t force myself to wear a striped tie with a plaid jacket.
I started smoking cigarettes again when the government decided to protect me by forcing tobacco companies to make that asinine declaration on each package. I used cyclamates up until the last package disappeared from the shelves and I tear up all those nicey-nice interest statements tacked to my charge account bills.
I haven’t written a single letter to Ralph Nader, I don’t complain about the neighbor’s barking dog and I haven’t protected my right to keep my little .22 revolver by joining the Association to Keep and Bear Arms. (Hell, I don’t even subscribe to the National Rifleman.)
I don’t protest at Planning Commission meetings when the guy next door wants to build a house on his lot, I haven’t signed a petition to remove a police chief in more than a decade, and I’ve never called my service station operator a dirty s.o.b.
I don’t put bumper stickers on my car and haven’t even given a thought to where would be the most significant forum for a “streak.”
Heck, I’m so straight and non-conforming that I even vote a straight ticket, complacent in the belief that I know more about my political philosophy than I ever will about the candidates and the chances of my voting for “the best man.”
Just goes to show you how far a non-conformist can sink these days, especially as you reach that “middle stage” where you are well established in work that absorbs your interest and delivers a comfortable existence. One gets a little heady with all the power and satisfaction from feeling that hard work and good sense still pay off.’
I do subscribe to the theory that we have too much government by about two thirds. Every time I think about too much government it reminds me of the fellow telling the story about the dog making love to the skunk. Dog said, “I believe I’ve had about all of that I can enjoy.”
That’s the way I feel about lots of things that the government is shoving down our collective throats.
The strange thing is that I never can find out who is responsible. I spend some time and effort working on this. I call on departments to find out about things. I go to the meetings where the loggers, the timber purchasers and the forest service all sit down and discuss mutual problems. The Forest Service usually agrees with most of the suggestions and then finishes with a statement that goes about like this: “We agree. That would be a good program. Unfortunately the Congress has depleted our budget and our manpower. We would like to cooperate with you but we have neither the money nor the people to do it.”
Went to one meeting where there were 17 reps. of the Forest Service, about five timber purchasers and about ten logging operators. The F.S. might not have people enough to do the work but they sure as hell have people to go to meetings.
Back to the discussion. Anything bad that happens is always someone else’s fault. The civil servants say, “I can’t agree with you more but it isn’t my fault. The legislature passed the law and I have to enforce it, don’t you see?” So I go to see a member of the legislature and he says that law was passed over his very strong objection. Funny thing here. A law got passed and every single one of the lawmakers were against it. Or every single one I could find anyhow.
You know what we’ve got? We’ve got a bunch of invisible people who no one knows that are passing a bunch of laws. Could they be people from outer space?
I don’t like government agencies that get and possess too much power. No one should ever have the power to be the arresting officer, the judge and the jury. Yet what is OSHA but that? They ferret out the infraction (if there isn’t one they might imagine one), then they fine you and declare you guilty all at one time. There isn’t anything right about that.
OSHA has one of the sorriest records of any group in existence. They can’t agree among themselves: they haven’t got a clear set of rules to go by. Some of their people have as their goal a monthly goal of fines instead of any sort of safety goal. They are a sorry lot. They need to get thrown out, the laws should be repealed and we should go back to our State Safety Organizations. I believe that.
I don’t know what my politics are. If I go to a meeting of very liberal people I sit in the meeting and mentally pick out the B.S. from their arguments and mentally cite case after case that won’t work.
If I go to a meeting of very conservative people then I do the same thing in reverse. Have come to the conclusion that I’m inconsistent in my political beliefs and have a strong tendency to agree with the last people I talked to.
I can’t stomach the argument that the government can cure all our ills. I’ve seen too many government bureaus, agents and people that were damned fools. I’ve observed too many government programs that worsened rather than helped the situation.
Yet I can’t agree with those that want no government. I have also seen different government agencies that did improve conditions and help straighten out messes.
The ting that hangs me up the highest is talking about the “good old days” like they had no problems then, that justice was available to everybody, and that everyone was honest and kept his word. I don’t believe that people were ever more honest than they are right now-or more crooked either.
The point we tend to forget is that we have a heck of a lot more people. People break the laws, foul the water, ruin the environment, make noise, steal from each other and do all sorts of good and bad things. The more people the more problems.