It appears that the owners of Amy’s Baking Company in Arizona expected an appearance on celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” program to vindicate them. They believed that they serve quality food, that they have been unfairly slandered by the entire Internet. Maybe they had never seen the reality program, which features last-ditch efforts to save failing restaurants run by people who are delusional or incompetent…and frequently both.
We can all agree on one thing: the problem with America today is that everybody is too polite. It’s annoying! Everywhere you go, it’s strangers tipping their hats to you as they walk down the sidewalk, whistling a jaunty tune. Drivers on roadways insisting that you go ahead of them, and then giving you a smile and a wave. Store clerks and waiters earnestly thanking you for their business. And it’s got to stop.
Luckily, New York Times writer Nick Bilton is on the case. In an article that he will probably one day regret writing, the technology journalist rails against the habit that threatens to destroy the very fabric of American civilization as we know it:
Some people are so rude. Really, who sends an e-mail or text message that just says “Thank you”? Who leaves a voice mail message when you don’t answer, rather than texting you? Who asks for a fact easily found on Google? Don’t these people realize that they’re wasting your time?
Finally. It’s about time someone said it: basic human decency is a complete waste of time, and people who exhibit even a passing concern for others’ feelings are destroying America, not to mention personally offending Nick Bilton — which is, let’s be honest, the worst crime of all.
I think the solution is to work in the other direction. Instead of working back from a goal, work forward from promising situations. This is what most successful people actually do anyway.
In the graduation-speech approach, you decide where you want to be in twenty years, and then ask: what should I do now to get there? I propose instead that you don’t commit to anything in the future, but just look at the options available now, and choose those that will give you the most promising range of options afterward.
It’s not so important what you work on, so long as you’re not wasting your time. Work on things that interest you and increase your options, and worry later about which you’ll take.
Government, or politics, was, to me, always something to seek protection from, not something to exploit, either for my own ends or for those that I might define for the public at large.
["Democracy in Deficit"] made one central point; politicians enjoy spending and do not enjoy taxing. These natural proclivities must emerge so long as politicians are responsive to constituents. I have often used this example as the simplest possible illustration of public choice logic. The normative implications are clear; ordinary politics contains a procedural flaw that can only be corrected by the imposition of constitutional constraints.