I reckon I have made a bait (an archaic Southern expression I am still fond of meaning a whole lot) of bad life decisions. Me and a lot of other people have had the same problem. To some, the bad life decision I have made is to continue living in the rural area that I was born to. I don’t suppose the bad life decision was really about where I was born, since I had no input on that, but returning to rural life after living in cities apparently rates as a bad life decision and makes me a bad person. At least one UC Berkeley graduate student/instructor, Jackson Kernian, thinks so.
Kernian had this to say in a now deleted Tweet:
I unironically embrace the bashing of rural Americans. they, as a group, are bad people who have made bad life decisions. Some, I assume, are good people. But this nostalgia for some imagined pastoral way of life is stupid and we should shame people who aren’t pro-city.
He also Tweeted the following:
The need for affordable rural healthcare = The need for people who decide to live in rural America to be subsidized by those who choose a more efficient way of life”. Rural healthcare should be expensive! And that expense should be borne by those who choose rural America!
Same goes for rural broadband. And gas taxes. It should be uncomfortable to live in rural America. It should be uncomfortable to not move.
I’m generally in favor of crushing rural America through market mechanicms.
Bad life decisions. Bad life decisions. Let me think about it for a while and see if I have actually made any. Of course I have. The bait bucket brings up the whole baitfull. I can think of hundreds of bad life decisions, many of which were powerfully poignant, bought, lessons about what not to do. Fortunately, I survived the bad decisions and mostly did not make the same bad decision again, which is the benefit of bought life lessons. They are not easily forgotten. When confronted with challenging decisions that must be made, prior bought bad decisions can immediately rule out a hundred choices, which, still not bringing forth the right decision, can immediately remind one of what not to do. This is very helpful.
I’ve lived in cities. I can get by in them just fine. I much prefer the population density I have now, which I can accurately calculate to be a total of two in the square mile around me, and that would be me and my wife of forty years. Occasionally we have our granddaughters for an extended stay, which temporarily raises the population density to four per square mile. Down the road a bit, my mother, widowed for the past year, lives in a place with a population density of one per square mile, and the one would be her. According to Kernian’s philosophy, since philosophy it must be since he is philosophy graduate student/instructor, we are all bad people.
Kernian wants it to be uncomfortably expensive for us to live in our beloved rural area. He wants our health care to cost more, or for us to bear the full expense of it. I reckon I already bear the full expense of mine. We recently had a new hospital built in our small county seat of DeKalb. It is still shiny new. I have used it for occupational therapy for a problem with some neuropathy in my right hand, which makes this difficult to type now but nearly impossible a few weeks ago, so I am making progress. I have no doubts that the hospital was subsidized in one way or another. It is nineteen miles to that hospital for me. I had other, unsubsidized, options, which included choosing any one of the several physical therapy clinics in Meridian, thirty miles away, or in Columbus, fifty-five miles away, or even in Tuscaloosa, seventy miles away. I don’t expect my health care to be too close, because nothing is too close, nothing but the local flora and fauna. Indirectly, since they all take Medicare and Medicaid patients, they are subsidized, but so are all the hospitals and medical care facilities in California. Many health care facilities, rural and urban, would go extinct without these subsidies.
Fortunately, a friend of mine saw a market opportunity to bring broadband internet to us via a combination of fiber to cell-phone tower and a final leg of microwave transmission to my home. He is making a lot of money bringing me this service, and he gets nothing in the way of subsidies. The market has found a way. Prior to his service, we had internet by satellite, which was a bit slower, but still suitable for me. My complaint with satellite was the expense of a limited bandwidth, but I learned the rules and got used to it. I also have unlimited 4GLTE communications which is fast enough to stream video, and we soon will have 5G. Soon enough, since the Mississippi state legislature passed a bill allowing our local electrical cooperatives to bring us internet, I will have access to a direct fiber link. It may take a while, but it will eventually get here. My friend’s service took a a while to get to me. Satellite has been available for a long time, but it worked. The market has furnished me with many unsubsidized internet options way out here in the country. You are reading this, which should be proof enough.
I like the self reliance required for country life. I always have. We are electricians, plumbers, carpenters, roofers, land clearers, loggers, masons, mechanics, welders, gardeners, butchers, marksmen, reloaders, IT managers, and crafters of all sorts of things from the things we have on hand. Country folks are among the world’s first re-cyclers, re-purposing all sorts of things for all sorts of various uses. I suspect it is the thing Kernian likes least about us rural people. Of course, I use the state and county roads a lot, but I already pay significant fuel taxes for that, and a tax on my vehicles. I pay the same fuel taxes as the trucks that bring Mississippi cotton, or pecans, or Paccar truck engines, or earth moving equipment parts, or steel castings, or Mississippi-made Toyotas and Nissans, or recycled steel, or lumber, plywood, paper products, rocket engines, helicopter parts (I assume they fly the completed American-Eurocopters there), utility power and electrical distribution transformers, utility high voltage circuit breakers, utility voltage regulators, and any one of a number of items that that come from Mississippi which need transport to California, directly or indirectly supporting Kernian’s life in Berkeley. Many of the Amphibious Landing ships and Aegis class destroyers that are berthed in San Diego were built in Mississippi and sailed through the formerly subsidized Panama Canal to get there. The berthing of these ships provides thousands of jobs for Californians, military and civilian, all of them subsidized.
To my knowledge, there is no plastic drinking straw manufacturer in Mississippi, but if there is, I don’t suppose they would ship very many to Berkeley, given criminal charges than can be levied against those who improperly distribute them, which seems to me to be the highest tier of virtue signaling. What I don’t pay is the exorbitant fuel taxes they have in California that fund roads that are much more archaic and in desperate need of repair than those here. Already, California may be using its legislative muscle to penalize rural people. Kernian evidently does not understand that the same exorbitant fuel taxes paid by California’s bad people, those who made bad life decisions by living rurally, are spread across the cost of goods delivered to Berkeley, nearly all of which are brought in to their final destination by truck. Of course, we learned that Kernian’s background is in Philosophy. He apparently lacks enough economic training to fully understand his connection to the market mechanisms he calls on.
Bad life choices. Hmmmm! Though a philosophy graduate student at UC Berkeley who teaches a few classes, thus enabling him to call himself an instructor, he is still a student. I wonder how much he owes in the way of student loans that are enabling him to earn his post-graduate degrees in Philosophy and if so, why we taxpayers should help subsidize them. Is his dream to continue on as an “instructor” which is a even lower rank than “adjunct”, which we understand make about the same as minimum wage with no benefits? Does he expect to have a good life in Berkeley making those kind of wages? I wonder still. Does he support the forgiveness of all student debt, which is a subsidy of the highest order? If he has student debt, I’d hazard a reasonable guess that he does. Subsidies proliferate through all of society.
If I might surmise a bit about Jackson Kernian, perhaps he is likely to qualify as the “pajama boy” poster child. Maybe Kernian is a trust fund baby, or perhaps he is being subsidized by his parents. Maybe his parents want him to get out of school and get a job. He could have gone to any University with an engineering program and graduated in four years with a degree in Electrical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering, and come straight out of school courted by many companies and start out making high five or low six figures. Unfortunately, he chose a field requiring at least an MA, and likely a PHD to even get a part-time benefitless job as an adjunct. Maybe Kernian is the one who has made a bad life choice. Philosophy is a great hobby, and a poor profession unless one gets the full professor job, and there is a lot of competition for those. Kernian may not measure up.
I wonder what Kernian thinks of all the people in Berkeley, or just up the road in Oakland, or across the bay in San Francisco, who have made bad life choices and now live on the streets? No matter where one goes, there are plenty of folks who have made bad life choices. I can’t think of any in my community at the moment who are still alive, but I don’t know everyone. However, there are none sleeping alongside the roadways, or under the bridges in my county; perhaps they, like Kernian, prefer cities.
I am fairly well sure that Kernian’s series of Tweets were bad life choices. He may recover. In the meantime, he has deleted the Tweets and apparently deactivated his Twitter account. He has also tried to mitigate the severity of his Tweets, even going so far as to apologize for them, indicating that people failed to understand his humor.
We out here in the country wish him good luck even though he embraces our bashing and our crushing. I fully expect that were he to come out here to bash us in person, he would not like his reception. It is the way of academic bashers to expect others to do their real bashing for them: a subsidized bashing one might say. I know some who would subsidize themselves handsomely for the opportunity to be the one he tried to personally bash. He would then instantly know the painful consequences of a bad life decision. Perhaps Berkeley is just where he needs to be, bashing away behind the armor of a computer screen.
Good luck, Jackson Kernian. If bash is your goal, try bash-ful rather than bash-ing.
©2019 Mississippi Chris Sharp
PS: I have no need of nostalgia for some imagined pastoral life; I am in the midst of living one, and it’s an unsubsidized lot less expensive than living in Berkeley.