"Barring polygamy, you will break up with every person you date minus one." - Yellow
Question #92410 posted on 07/04/2019 8:24 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What did the natural process of aging mean by this?

-MI:CVII

A:

Dear Aziraphale,

Considering the natural process of aging is not in and of itself an entity, I'd have to there is no meaning, just a combination of random chance, genetics, and lifestyle.

~Anathema

A:

Dear Kim Possible, 

She's lost that loving feeling. 

Cheers, 

Maverick

Question #92364 posted on 07/04/2019 8:24 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

We hear a lot today about how people have a "right to food, housing, health care, education, etc." I don't remember which answers or writers have specifically mentioned these in previous answers, but I recall reading a few posts about it. While I personally disagree strongly with this idea (based on the idea that you do not have a right to force someone to provide you a good/service), I'd appreciate hearing a rationalization for this perspective.

How do you justify the idea of personal liberty and the right to personal property with the right of people to have the aforementioned things?

-Genuinely Curious

A:

Dear curious, 

First of all, I think Luciana says this far more eloquently than me, so read her answer first and then come back here.

Okay, now I've almost definitely said something along those lines, so I figure I should defend my stance. In the United States founding documents, there are two quotes that stand out to me: 

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…"

and 

"...in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."

Are we really protecting our citizens and their right to life if they're starving or frozen because they don't have somewhere to stay? Sure, it's not realistic that we really can feed and house everyone that struggles... but it's a self-determined purpose of our government to try to protect those people, if you ask me. Their right to life is severely limited if we don't care for basic needs. Additionally, they are not free to exercise liberty or pursue happiness if their basic needs are not met. The same applies to healthcare. If current wages for a full-time employee can't cover living expenses, much less health care or anything else, then it seems like we're failing somewhere. So we should do our very best to protect those people, or else we are denying them the very things that were defined as unalienable rights. That seems... problematic. 

I agree with your statement that you don't have the right to force someone to provide you with goods and services. But the government isn't quite the same thing as a private entity with specific private property rights. By creating policies that "promote the general welfare," we are fulfilling our purpose as outlined in the Constitution and taking care of constituents. We aren't violating anyone's rights. If anything, we're actually enabling more people to access their rights.  In my view, we don't even need to increase taxes to get there, we just need to reevaluate our budget (properly, instead of getting into a standoff and being stubborn like a bunch of children and then just shutting down the government for an entire month.) 

I also wonder, who decided to monetize those things in the first place? I have separate feelings about how stupid it is for someone to capitalize on something that used to be a shared resource, especially by overcharging and taking advantage of other people for personal gain... I mean, let's get real: private ownership of basic necessities like water and shelter is a human construct. We are the ones that made it all about money. In other words, we took what used to be free and accessible (land, water, shelter) and decided we cared more about greed and money than about basic humanity. We even criminalize the people who try to make their own shelter because it's on "our land." Which, in itself is cruel and not very sensible, considering the history of the land in the first place. We stole it and made it monetized, and if that's not the dumbest thing ever...  

And that's what it comes down to for me. Do we prioritize money and property, both fundamentally useless human constructs (if/when crap hits the fan, neither of these things will have any meaning), or do we prioritize human life and decency? Easy answer. 

Not everything falls under that umbrella though... I don't actually think education, cell phones, public transit, the Internet, etc. fall under the same category, because those are not necessary for human life or liberty. We've made access to those things easier, which is really excellent. I do think that the more public goods there are, the better a country is - it's better serving its citizens. But, those public goods are not technically part of its responsibility. These kinds of things are more complicated than just "we should give every person free EVERYTHING!" because that isn't the case, and it isn't sustainable. But we do have a responsibility as a country to protect the lives and welfare of our citizens, and food, shelter, and affordable health care access are the first places to start. 

I don't think you actually disagree with that idea, but rather you disagree with how it should be implemented. I think I'm thinking more on a theoretical plane (this is something we should be doing, this should be an aim of government) and you are likely thinking more along the lines of how realistic the whole thing is (sure, maybe we should do this, but we won't because...) It doesn't seem likely that you think people should starve to death, rather, we simply discuss the topic in different ways, and disagree on how the problem should be approached. And that's perfectly alright. In fact, I'm glad you made me think about this. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear George,

To me, the principles of personal liberty and right to private property mean a few things, namely:

  1. The government protects my rights and property.
  2. The government does this while taking away as little of my freedoms or resources as necessary.
  3. I am free to choose my own destiny. If I want to be poor I can be poor. If I want to be well off and provide for my family, that is within my realm of possibilities.
  4. We guarantee these same rights for everyone, including those of future generations.
  5. We should seek to improve and expand the personal liberty and freedoms for those in our communities.
Some people look at these principles and decide that, to uphold them, the government should leave securing food, education, health care, and housing entirely up to the people. Others look at these same principles and decide that the government should help provide food, education, health care, and housing for their citizens. I personally believe that the government should help in those regards because that helps make our country fair and productive, which will ultimately lead to to better outcomes for everyone.
 
There is strong evidence to show that if you grow up poor it is hard to get out of poverty. I would recommend reading this set of 14 graphs on economic mobility in the US. The graphs are pretty unreal and do a good job of demonstrating that principle. While we like to think that America is a land of economic opportunity (and it still very much is), it's hard for poorer people to reach that. I have friends in high school that couldn't do as well in school because they had to work to support their family. I have friends that haven't gone to college because they can't afford it. I know people whose families have lost nearly everything due to medical expenses.

The point of the last paragraph is to show how much of our personal freedoms are out of our hands. Just by being born in a poor family or by getting sick, your road to economic prosperity can be seriously hindered due to no fault of your own. When hardworking people can't afford to go to college, or start businesses, we lose that economic value. Sure, paying for the services would necessitate a raise in taxes, but they could have a better more broad economic impact on our citizenship. (We could also stand to spend less on our Defense budget but that's a rant for another day.)
 
The Government helping people afford food, housing, health care, and education may seem radical or socialist, but there are already ways that we're doing this that are successful and could be expanded to better serve our citizens. Here are some examples:
 
  • Food: School lunch and summer programs are great because they specifically help children. If adults budget poorly and don't have food that is a consequence of their own actions, but children shouldn't have to go hungry because their parents can't pay for food. Food stamps are also good because they cannot be used on things other than food. So we don’t have to worry about food stamps being used on drugs or alcohol.
  • Housing: Utah especially could use some affordable housing. Housing prices are too dang high, and there's not enough affordable housing. This wouldn't even require government subsidized housing necessarily. Opening up zoning would allow the market to adjust itself and create more reasonable housing prices for everyone
  • Health Care: I feel like we should have social health care. The insurance industry makes so much money. Especially since the Affordable Care Act set an insurance requirement, insurance prices have just shot up. If we just went to social health care we could lower health care costs for a lot of families.
  • Education: FAFSA is a great program that helps students afford to go to college without taking on large amounts of debt. I would have a hard time getting through school without FAFSA. Education is really important to economic mobility, and I feel like expanding FAFSA would be a good way to make education more available for everyone.
Anyways, I believe that providing these things would make the United States a more fair place for everyone and help everyone have the freedom and mobility that the USA should represent.
 
Peace,
Tipperary
A:

Dear GC,

I agree with you on a theoretical basis. If I had food and a starving person approached me, they have no right to take my food if I am unwilling to share it. The same applies to the concept of a roof over my head, a Band-Aid, or a textbook. The basic concept of ownership assures that my possession of something should not be violated, even if someone else has greater need. I have my agency and my autonomy.

However, the basic concept of government somewhat modifies those standards. A human being is born with few inherent rights, though government theorists might profess that an organized government ought to protect and ensure the right to concepts like life, liberty, and property. Those assurances are the primary benefits of government, and theoretically the reason we are willing to give up some degree of our power and live in a governed society.

By voluntarily living under a government regime and by paying taxes, we are in essence investing in a sort of social insurance (at least in my view). We agree to obey the law in exchange for certain protections. However, the specific protections offered vary by government, and ideas about what the government ought to insure vary widely. In the United States, we profess to believe in the right of every human to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Those are vague concepts to legislate, but they are a driving force in political discussion. Many people believe that food, housing, health care, and education are included in those definitions and ought to be provided by government in the event citizens are unable to earn it for themselves.

So in essence, the government does have the right to take things from me because I have given them that right. I pay my taxes and the government uses that money in part to help ensure the people they profess to protect have their basic human needs met. The U.S. government does at least to some degree believe that food, housing, health care, and education fall into the category of basic human needs. They don't take primary responsibility for ensuring each citizen possesses those things, but they are willing to step in and provide assistance when necessary.

When people claim that we as human beings have a "right" to something, they probably aren't referring to rights inherent from birth. They are referring to services the government insures.

I'm a fiscal conservative so I believe in limited government, but I'm still grateful to live in a country where the government cares if I starve, freeze, or die of something easily treatable. I'm glad they insure certain rights.

Love,

Luciana

A:

Dear Aziraphale,

I have to agree that people don't intrinsically have the right to demand these things of other people. However, I do think that as humans we have a societal responsibility to provide food, healthcare, housing, etc. for people.

~Anathema  

Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What are your opinions on the student loan forgiveness measures proposed by recent presidential candidates?

-My Name Here

A:

Dear friend, 

Like SNB, I think forgiving the loans fails to address the real issues, and ultimately doesn't fix anything. The real problem lies in stagnation of wages while inflation has exponentially increased the cost of living and education. Plus, the rise of 'certification culture' means that you will never be able to live comfortably unless you go grossly into debt to get a degree... and even then, the gap between a paying job and the expenses you have to cover is widening. 

In short, it seems like an overly simple band-aid for the real issue at hand. It sounds nice, but surely won't be effective in the long run. I also think it's kind of just a ruse to get some of the younger voters. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear you,

I don't think it solves the root of the problem. I haven't done a lot of research into this particular issue, but it seems to me like the real issue is that college is becoming too expensive and that there needs to be some regulation about how much colleges can charge, especially lower-ranked colleges. 

Plus, student loan forgiveness isn't going to get us any closer to balancing the budget, which I think may never happen in my lifetime.

-Sunday Night Banter

Question #92424 posted on 07/04/2019 4:36 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do you impress your significant other's parents when you meet them for the first time?

Thank you,
Aurelia

A:

Dear you,

Be your best self. I mean, if you do something crazy just to impress your future in-laws, then they will come to expect that from you every time you interact with them. It will be much easier just to show up and *figuratively* say, "Here I am, this is what you're going to get for the rest of eternity. Hope you like me!" instead of saying, "Here is something I'm going to do because it's the first time I'm meeting you, but I'm never ever going to do this or act this way from now on. I hope you're prepared to be disappointed in the future."

-Sunday Night Banter

P.S. Wow, am I just a drop of golden sunshine or what?

A:

Dear Aurelia,

Do a back flip.

-Tipperary

A:

Dear Aurora,

Yes, obviously be yourself. Their child fell in love with you for a reason, and you just have to let that amazing personality shine. However, I realize that can be harder said than done, and it's completely nerve-wracking to meet your significant other's parents for the first time. That anxiety makes it a lot harder to be yourself. So, in the absence of you feeling comfortable enough to really be yourself, there are still things you can do to make a good impression.

  1. Wear nice clothes that are appropriate for the occasion. Now is not the time to wear your favorite old t-shirt and your oldest, comfiest pair of jeans. Dress to impress.
  2. Smile! Not non-stop, you don't want to seem like a crazy maniac, but, you know, throw one in every now and then.
  3. Ask the parents questions about themselves. Most people really enjoy it when others take an interest in them, and will naturally warm up to someone who seems to care about them. This is also a good time to use bits of trivia that your significant other already told you about their parents. For example, "Mark said you're a software developer. What project are you working on right now?" or, "So I hear you really like to paint. That's so cool! How did you first get into that?"
  4. Compliment the parents. It can be on their clothes, or their hair, or their witty conversational skills, or on raising someone who you obviously think is a good enough person to date. People generally like receiving compliments, and therefore they tend to like the givers of compliments, too.
  5. Have some good talking points about yourself. Now is your chance to brag about how awesome you are, but in a humble way (without having it come off as a humble brag). Chances are the parents are going to ask you some questions about yourself, and like in an interview, you want to present yourself in the best light while still being honest. Talk about how amazing your mission was and how cool it is to be able to speak a foreign language! Tell them why you think your major is great and how you'll be able to make the world a better place because of it! Discuss how you're going to be graduating soon! Talk about your awesome job! You don't have to be a perfect person, and it's okay for you to not totally have your life figured out right now to be able to portray a picture-perfect representation of your life, but let them know that at the very least you've done something worthwhile in your life. They want to make sure that the person their child is dating is worth their time, so have some cool facts about yourself at the ready to help assuage their fears.
  6. Try to find common ground with the parents. The sooner you can stop making awkward small talk and talk about something you both care about, the better. And hopefully talking about something that you're passionate about will help you relax to the point that you can be your best self. Katya gives some great advice in Board Question #92308 on how to find common ground with people.
  7. Finally, don't freak out if there are some minor awkward moments. You going in for a hug while the mom was just trying to give you a handshake is fine. Telling a joke that falls flat isn't the end of the world. It's not a big deal if there are awkward silences. Sometimes those little social hiccups just happen, and I can almost guarantee that the parents, being older than you, have experienced many more over the course of their lives than you have, and they know that life goes on despite them and wonderful relationships can blossom despite them.

-Alta

posted on 07/05/2019 10:46 a.m.
Also, offer to help with the dishes! (or cooking, or whatever.) My parents took a while to warm up to my brother-in-law (who's actually really awesome) because he sat on the couch instead of offering to help in the kitchen. I learned from this and told my SO to offer to help when he visited for the first time, and my parents were sold on him almost instantly. Maybe this is different per family, but it was big for ours.
Question #92386 posted on 07/04/2019 3:12 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Could you write us a poem about your favorite fruit or vegetable?

-Bored

A:

D
Dear all I can afford is a bored,

Loquacious Larry the loquat
Dream-ed of selling gold coat racks
But hope as he might
He realized one night
That absolutely no one would buy that.

Suerte,

--Ardilla Feroz

P.S. Loquats, known as níspero in some Latin American countries, are sweet, tangy, and refreshing. 
(source)

Loquat-Fruit-800x416.jpg

A:

Dear you,

I'm really not one to eat veggies,
Though, it's hard to say that I've tried.
I usually like some meat,
Or perhaps food that is fried.
But occasionally I'll do something,
Like eat a fruit or two.
It's nothing very exciting,
Just some juicy grapefruit.

-Sunday Night Banter

A:

Dear person,

Your idea is really quite good,
And I'd write one, if only I could.
I love my sweet citrus
- So very delicious! -
But absolutely nothing rhymes with orange, so why bother?

-Sheebs

A:

Dear Bored,

One weird assignment I had in my high school Spanish class was to do exactly that (though in Spanish, obviously). My ode to la alcachofa (the artichoke) was terrible, in my opinion, but my teacher liked it and sent it to some magazine for high school Spanish students, who also liked it. It got published and they sent me a check for $35.

Unfortunately I no longer have access to what was apparently my greatest literary accomplishment in life, but for your reading pleasure I do remember it contained the line "una flor con espinas."

Love,

Luciana

A:

Dear friend, 

I'm not one for rhyme 
I simply don't have the time
to create something funny 
much less something punny
But here is my best try:
 
When the sun shineth bright 
summer, the great plight 
becomes so much sweeter
because I'm a peach eater 
On the fuzzy fruit I rely. 
 
The heat is truly the worst
thus, for peaches I thirst 
their tart juice my oasis, 
puts me in homeostasis
Dozens and dozens, I'll buy

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear Bored on the Board,

I would, but Gwen Stefani beat me to it (with some swear words, sorry).

-Alta