Fundamentals In Consistency

     I would like to start off by saying, I do not intend for this to become a political blog. I try to type independently of any partisan viewpoint. But it is impossible to write about one’s own thoughts, ideas, and beliefs without bias. After all, our bias informs all of these things. That being said, I have heard people from all over the political map spout inconsistent stances. If nothing else, I would like to eliminate inconsistency from the intense debates here in the US.

1. The abortion – capital punishment inconsistency.

     I don’t care what label you put on it. Fetus, baby, we all know what we are talking about. No one having a miscarriage ever said, “I lost my fetus!”. Also, every part of your body carries the same DNA signature, yet a fetus has its own DNA signature from the time sperm met egg, so it isn’t part of your body. It is its own entity wholly dependent upon another. Whether or not it is yet a human being, the process has begun and it is pure human hubris to think that we have any business tampering with it. Susan B. Anthony was opposed to abortion, she saw it as a tool to keep women subjugated.

     If you are pro-choice (aka abortionist, quit acting like it is anything else) then at least be consistent. Quit opposing the death penalty. If our society can allow the unborn to be terminated upon the decision of one person, then we can most certainly terminate a fully grown adult who made their choices and was convicted by the decisions of twelve people. How many jurors do you think actually want to condemn a person in a capital case? Not enough to make unanimous decisions easy. Our society needs to quit treating the convicted criminal like they are the victim. Proving the wrongfully convicted innocent is one thing, refusing to execute the guilty is another altogether.

     A person who is pro-life and anti-execution may have an aversion to ending the life of another. At least such a view is consistent. A person who is pro-choice and pro-execution is also consistent. They simply have no qualms about ending life under either set of circumstances. A person who is pro-life and pro-execution sees the unborn as the most vulnerable and innocent stage of human life. Such a person is only in favor of killing those that are found by a jury to be responsible for horrific crimes (I would gladly add serial rape to the list of capital offenses). But the person who lobbies for abortion and against the death penalty is for ending a human life before it can make choices put against ending a convicted adult.

2. The wage – price inconsistency.

     Why doesn’t Mr Big Box Store pay higher wages? Let’s raise the minimum wage! What? Major Burger Joint just raised the price of their fries by two cents? I’m going elsewhere!

Do you see the problems with the above statements? No? Then do us all a favor and just shut up regarding any business/employment/wages/economy issues out there. Seriously, you are COMPLETELY unqualified to offer any insightful opinion if that is the case. And I wouldn’t recommend starting your own business. Either you will change your mind from learning the hard way, or you will fail and fail hard. Maybe both.

     There are a lot of things going into that price and the products have gone through multiple middlemen to get to you. The raw materials may have been sold to someone for processing. Either way, they were sold to a manufacturer to make a product. That product may have only been a component. In that case, a lot of different components were sold to another company from a lot of different companies. This is why there are so many corporations that you never heard of. After the manufacturing chain, the product may be sold to a distributor. Distributors usually have better retail connections than factories. Then the product is sold at this wholesale cost to the store/website/catolog/etc. that you are buying it from.

     All these companies have employees to pay and provide benefits for in addition to building/equipment/maintenance costs. Also, inventory shrinkage is code for damaged, defective, and/or stolen goods. Don’t forget advertising, taxes, company events, research and development costs, promotions and loss leaders, unsold product, and training. All of these are costs companies must recoup in order to break even. No one is ever in business to just break even. You start a business to make money. Subtract the total cost from the total income and you have profit. It’s no wonder that standard retail markup hovers around 55%. And just because an item goes on sale for a lower price does not necessarily mean that a profit can be made on an item for that price. Sales are used to reduce losses on products that aren’t selling well. Better to lose a dollar on an item than to lose on three. Also, both sale and regular prices can be used for loss leaders.

     A loss leader is when a company takes a gamble by selling an item for no profit or even a loss in order to regain it elsewhere. Take the TV show Leverage. There was an episode where the team tried to take down a big-box store. Hardisson, the hacker, tried to case a major loss to the store regarding TVs. I forget whether customers were getting them for free, or just a ridiculous price like ninety-nine cents. In any case, the attempt backfired. The store showed record profits. Why? Because the people buying the TV were also buying other things while they were there. This is exactly how a loss leader works.

     If the minimum wage increases, so do the costs the companies have to recoup. Not only that, but prices of goods and products go up over all as other companies are affected. This makes the profit worth less. $10,000 of profit may now only buy as much as $5,000 did in the previous year. So now the company also has to make more profit to make it go as far as it did before.

     If we demand higher wages, we must expect to pay higher prices. Otherwise, companies have to find other ways to cut costs. This means hiring fewer employees, cutting hours, using temps, layoffs, increased automation, and outsourcing to areas with cheaper labor. And those are just the most laudable methods. How many places just cut corners?

     If we are to demand high quality at low price with maximum employment, wage must remain at low to no growth. That is just the harsh reality of the situation. Economics 101, class dismissed.

3. The gender paradox.

      You can’t do that, I’m a lady! I can do anything a man can!

     The above phrases should never come out of the same mouth, yet often do. When the gender roles were separate, responsibilities and benefits were divided. They may have been assigned in a lopsided manner, but that has no bearing on my point. When women fought for civil rights, many women took on traditionally men’s work and privileges. The problem is, they didn’t want to give up any privileges and expected many responsibilities to remain with men. Rather than equal rights, some women seek special rights.

     Take my former dating etiquette article. It is only one of many examples. While many women do seek equality, a good number don’t. Women within that number see no problem with founding women-only establishments, but get up in arms if men do the same. Take Curves for example. It is a women-only gym chain. Now imagine a men-only gym opened. And no, that isn’t practically every regular gym out there. How many women would put up a fuss to be allowed membership?

      How many shelters for the battered only take women and children? It stands to reason if the sexes are equal, that there are battered men out there too. There are too few establishments where they can seek shelter. “But men can tough it out!” If women can do anything men can, then they are capable of toughing it out too. I’m not saying that women aren’t equal partners with men. What I’m saying is that the civil rights movement has left men behind.

      Society knows that men are capable of raping women, women are capable of raping women, and men are capable of raping men. Yet, society has difficulty accepting the fact that women can and do rape men. Society even questions the very manhood and/or sexual orientation of such a man. Yet it does happen. In fact, it is a very under reported crime.

If you too recognized gender equality, then recognize it in full. Know that men oft have similar vulnerabilities and weaknesses to women, and that women should have similar social responsibilities to men. “But I’m a woman!” must never become an excuse for ANYTHING.

These are but three points. There are more. Perhaps I’ll do a future installment. Tell me in the comments, have I overlooked any?

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