Russell and Duenes

They Had No Word Processors

with 5 comments

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” These have been some of the most comforting and sustaining words in all of Scripture for me. As John Piper remarks, Jesus promises us grace for whatever comes at us today,  and only today. Yet we can also have confidence that the grace we will need for tomorrow will show up tomorrow, which will then be “today.” I have loved these words because they keep me from thinking too much about all of the supposedly “big things” that can tend to haunt and torment my soul. Trusting Jesus for the day seems so much more doable than trying to think about what my faith is going to look like on into the future.

I am continually amazed at the things that Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and others of their generation accomplished, given that they had no computers or other so-called labor-saving devices. They did not have the “access to information” that we have. I have sat around with attorneys and wondered how lawyers in the pre-computer age were able to do all the things we do today. I simply cannot imagine doing my work without word processing capability and computer-based research. Yet these men of the past wrote extensively, kept up tremendous personal correspondences, managed estates, commanded armies and engaged in wide-ranging political and administrative activities. All without our vast technological apparatus. Yes, most of them had slaves to help manage their domestic affairs, but those affairs still had to be supervised and administrated. It’s incredible, and doubtless there is a lesson here about diligence, discipline and using one’s time well. It also puts the lie to the notion that we need computers to help us learn well. We are “busy” in today’s world, but in our busy-ness, we do not accomplish even a fraction of what these men of old accomplished.

And now, from the Office of Ridiculous and Unnecessary Government Meddling (ORUGM), the City of Seattle has decided that its residents must never put food waste into their garbage cans. Instead, the food must be separated out into compost bins, (along with all of the other things I imagine must be separated out, as I had to do when I lived in Berkeley, CA). The city will then haul away your compost, for a fee, of course. If you don’t obey, your garbage can will be tagged with a red tag. As The Week puts it, “those who put food in their garbage are being shamed by having their bins affixed with a bright red tag visible to the neighbors.” And according to NPR, residents who fail to comply will start incurring fines come July of this year. This is another example of a bogus law that imposes on the average person the ever-increasing burden of feel-good, leftist, do-goodism. It’s preposterous, to say the least; and I can tell you what I would be doing if I lived in Seattle. I’d be making up bright red signs for my garbage can to announce to all my neighbors what I think about such a stupid law. I would do the city one better than their red tags; I would proudly plaster my garbage can with all sorts of colored tags so that my can could be seen all the way down the block. Apparently, according to one Seattle garbage collector, about every fifth can is being tagged. And no wonder. People already have plenty of things to busy themselves with in our harried modern lives. They don’t need another assinine assignment imposed on them from bureaucrats who can’t mind their own business. Nor do they need to be shamed as if they are some kind of moral inferiors because they happen to not properly sort all of their garbage. If people want to voluntarily compost, I’m all for it. We’ve done some of it ourselves.  But Leftists can’t stop with that, because as Charles Krauthammer says, liberals don’t care what you do, as long as it is mandatory!



Written by Michael Duenes

January 31, 2015 at 3:15 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Having lived in Tokyo and sorted garbage up to six ways, only one word comes to mind: Whiner.

    Garbage collection is a service. Landfills are limited. Sorting waste means that landfills can be used much, much more efficiently and for much longer. A fine would be a service charge – a red tag much cheaper.

    The service provider already stipulates how trash must be disposed of (e.g., in bags or cans, not just thrown out on the curb). Why can’t the service provider give additional stipulations, especially if they are justified by future projections such as the cost of purchasing additional landfills, increases in population/garbage, ground water contamination, new disposal methods besides landfills, etc.?

    Andy Gray

    February 1, 2015 at 5:23 am

    • Right, everything the government wants to do is a “service.” It matters not to me that you had to sort your garbage in six ways. That’s preposterous, and a fault of the Japanese government, not a selling point. Here’s what you can likely count on: More people in Seattle will simply put food down their garbage disposal, rather than in the trash. Others will simply continue to put food in their trash, but will be sure to put it in bags where it cannot be discovered. When regulations become so onerous, people find ways to not comply, and rightly so. I imagine the trash collectors will not go tearing into people’s garbage bags to find violations. To your point: The government stipulates a lot of things, why can’t they stipulate thousands, yea, tens of thousands of more? It’s not just garbage sorting that’s the problem; that just happens to be a ludicrous symptom. If siding with Thomas Jefferson, who charged the King of England with “erect[ing] a multitude of New Offices, and sen[ding] hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance,” makes me a whiner, then I’ll wear the label with a badge of honor.


      russell and duenes

      February 1, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      • I meant this in particular is a service. If the local government doesn’t provide it, then it will be provided by a business. I think people will get used to and realize it’s not a big deal on every level – it’s reasonable and with some simple adjustment it’s not hard work.

        I don’t live there so I can’t verify that it’s “reasonable” – I admit that. I can imagine it is (see my last comment). Have you considered the reasons at all? All I’ve read so far is that you would be put out by it.

        Andy Gray

        February 1, 2015 at 3:44 pm

  2. Andy, you’re right. The truth is, it’s probably not such a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, at least in this case. My reaction to it is more centered on the fact that they’re using red tags on garbage cans in order to kind of “shame” people into compliance. That does really bother me, I admit it. If you want to fine people for noncompliance, you have that power, but this kind of announcement to your neighbors, like some kind of scarlet letter, is beyond the pale, in my view. I’m generally averse to what I perceive to be the massive intrusion of the state into every nook and cranny of people’s lives, and there would be even more of it if the statists thought they could get away with it. I wouldn’t be all that “put out by it,” you’re right. I suppose I’m put out by the tactic, more than anything, at least as far as I perceive it.


    russell and duenes

    February 1, 2015 at 7:22 pm

  3. I was going to say that I also don’t like the shaming idea. As a rule, I just think we have too much shaming going on as it is. But the more I thought about it, I wasn’t so sure it’s a bad idea. 1) For people who can’t afford a fine, a red tag is more gentle. 2) It saves creating a whole new layer of administration to charge, collect, and enforce fines.

    In Japan – a shaming culture – there are no red tags. The garbage collectors will just leave your stuff behind. Or, I kid you not, one of your neighbors might knock on your door and tell you to fix your garbage.

    Andy Gray

    February 1, 2015 at 8:14 pm

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