Here’s a genuine discussion America needs to have with itself; who gets to decide when “More” is too much? Who gets to decide when someone else has “enough?”
A perfect example would be the conversation I had about getting a new computer for my college work and the future business I hope to have someday doing graphic design, advertising and marketing for people in the region. I wanted to find a server that would do double duty managing my archived files, running multiple printers, and would sever as a workhorse of a work station when I would be creating files that would be too big for my laptop to handle.
I found the perfect machine that had the most processing power, the most RAM, the most hot-swap hard drive bays and the most slots for peripherals and printer ports.
Around this time I had to go to an social event where there would be a lot of people across a broad spectrum of intelligence and income levels. Someone whom I met only a few times before asked me what I was up to and to be polite I told him about some of my plans for the future which included the aforementioned server.
“You don’t need a computer that powerful,” he said indignantly. “No one person should have that amount of computing power, nobody.”
Shocked, I asked; “What makes you say that?”
“You don’t need that amount of computing power, and you have no business having something like that, ever.” He wouldn’t elaborate, nor do I think he could have. This man was, to be polite, one of the dumbest men I’ve ever known. Stone cold stupid, the kind of man who blames everyone when he can’t figure out how to use an iPad or any other kind of “cutesy” smart phone or device much less understand what exactly a graphic designer is or what I even do 20 hours a day.
But somehow he “knows” what I need.
While sharing this anecdote with a friend, he told me about a similar situation he experienced. Someone else told him that he didn’t “need” all that horsepower in the jeep he was refurbishing and restoring. Someone else echoed an experience when she shared pictures of her figurine collection and a new friend said that she didn’t need all of them. While talking about this phenomena with a friend of mine who collects comic books, he has told me that there have been plenty of people who have told him recently that he doesn’t need so many of them, regardless of the fact that he’s trying to get the whole series and obviously new issues come out every month.
There’s been a lot of this in the news, as well. There’s a lot of people quoted as saying that people don’t need a lot of one thing, or asking the rhetorical question “What does any one person need with so many…” of one specific item. One person shouldn’t have too much of this, too many of that…
How is it that this opinion is getting some legitimacy with the general public?
People collect things, and sometimes it makes no rhyme or reason to other people. Collecting a specific type of item is either out of pure joy and happiness, an obsession, or that it’s necessary for someone’s line of work. I actually had to take a count and I have more than 8 Hewlett-Packard products in my house that I use consistently that includes several laptops, monitors, printers, and storage devices. The server that I wrote about in the beginning of this article will also most likely be an HP, as well. There’s someone out there, right now reading this article saying that I don’t “need” all of that, I’m sure.
My neighbor collects vintage printing presses. Is it ironic or just a coincidence that a digital graphic designer is living next to a man who collects the actual printing machines, the fonts, typefaces, and the equipment need to get the job done? I would dare say that he is one of the leading authorities on how people mass produced the printed word in decades past. I would also venture a guess that there would be someone out there who would say that my neighbor doesn’t need all that “printing stuff” and my neighbor would respond by saying; “It isn’t your business.”
Which brings me to my actual point.
Who exactly are these people and how did they get appointed as the arbiter of “enough?” Who exactly are they to say that someone else shouldn’t have too much of something that they enjoy or need, especially in some cases when they don’t know anything about what they’re talking about? And how do they actually know what the cut off is? I would like to know where a lot of these people are going with these statements about people having too much of something and how some of us don’t need so much of what we have?
With some of these items that some of us have “too much” of, is there going to come a time when “They” are going to determine that it’s time for us to let go of some of this excess stuff? Are we reaching a point when “The Government” is going to dispatch the police or the National Guard to go into these homes and remove other people’s property from their homes? If not, how exactly are they going to get the “excess stuff” that some of us have that is no longer deemed appropriate by those in charge?
I’m afraid that there’s going to come a time when the government will indeed sanction confiscation of personal property from law abiding citizens because of the reckless acts of one person that will create horrific loss and pain on other. While at the moment it might seem perfectly “reasonable” to do this because of the raw emotions that will cloud our better judgment and not be able to see the long term complications of their own actions.
I could see a point when someone makes a compelling argument that some of us have too many books. Nobody should have too many books, especially since there’s no way we could read them all in one life time. Besides, with the internet we don’t “need” to have all that information horded in our own private libraries.
Throughout all this, not enough people are asking the right question; who needs all that power to determine who needs what and how much stuff another responsible adult should have? Nobody needs that much power.