Monday, March 27, 2000

Week of 03/27/2000

The Slacker Campaign
- by David Matthews 2

"Although the political liberty of this country is greater than that of nearly every other civilized nations, its personal liberty is said to be less. In other words, men are thought to be more under the control of extra-legal authorities, and to defer more to those around them, in pursuing even their lawful and innocent occupations, than in almost every other country."
- James Fenimore Cooper

Three words come to mind to describe the current presidential campaign: Boring. Very Boring.

I’m not the only one who thinks that way either. The media have jokingly dubbed the 2000 campaign as a race between "Gush and Bore", making fun of both Governor George Bush and Vice-President Al Gore while at the same time emphasizing their political failings.

Part of the problem with this primary season is that it was over way too quickly. Instead of a prolonged season of campaigning and various visits from the candidates, there was a marathon series of primaries from New Hampshire to Texas, forcing many candidates to actually skip some states and concentrate on those that would bring them the larger number of delegates.

Oh sure, the candidates would apologize and say they never really "forgot" about those states. Certainly the frontrunners would claim they never EVER would take the support from those states "for granted". And if you believe that, I’ve got a real sweetheart of a bridge deal for you.

Another part of the problem with this current campaign season are the candidates themselves. This is a case where the political hierarchy and cold hard campaign cash won out over any sort of political ideology. The party bosses did not want reformers or people who would "shake up" the system to be carrying their party banner. They wanted loyalists. They wanted ass-kissers. They wanted someone they could mold to their image and raise the money to keep their respective parties going. They wanted spokesmen, not leaders.

Well, they couldn’t find any more loyal candidates than George W. Bush and Albert Gore, Junior. Two men who got into politics not through leadership or ideology, but rather through their fathers. They got their tickets to ride through nepotism.

What’s worse is that the so-called "competition" has been lacking. Former senator Bill Bradley may have earned some public respect when he dropped out of the Senate because of the games being played, but he had nothing new to offer against the heir apparent to the Clinton machine. Many people knew him, but they just didn’t know what he stood for that was any different than from Al Gore. Being more liberal than the Clinton machine? That’s like saying tofu is not bland enough.

And speaking of that bland substance, the "serious" competition against the GOP’s tofu, Governor Bush, was large in numbers, but equally disappointing. Challengers who offered little that appeased the party loyalists, and most of whom quickly dropped out of the race faster than the time it took for them to enter into it. Senator Bob Smith and conservative loudmouth Pat Buchanan threw temper tantrums and stormed out of the GOP over the party bosses’ unofficial support of Bush. Buchanan is now trying to rally support in the Reform Party. Smith tried to find another party, but none would meet his demands, and he eventually rolled his rotund body back to the ranks of the GOP.

The rest dropped out of contention like flies in a bug zapper. Gone was the social gadfly Liddy Dole, the only female candidate in the GOP. Gone was Senator Orrin Hatch, who never really campaigned because he realized he already had a job as a US Senator. Gone was the theocrat Gary Bauer, who, like God Squad leader Pat Robertson, found it was much better to be the power behind the throne than to try to sit on the throne. Gone was Steve Forbes, who went from being a flat-tax campaigner in 1996, to being a theocratic ass-kisser in 2000, and finding himself in even worse standing. Gone was Senator John McCain, who was the only candidate to pose any real challenge to Bush in the delegates, only to suspend his campaign before the marathon primaries were even finished.

Did I forget anyone? Oh yes, Alan Keys. The only other "serious" GOP contender who, like Pat Buchanan in 1996, is still in the running to keep the party conservative. One has to respect someone who sticks through the race all the way to the convention, even if one does not support everything Keys stands for. Ironically, of the whole group of would-be and wannabe contenders, Keys has been the only candidate who recognizes the existence of the US Constitution. That does not bode well for America, especially since whomever would be taking the Oath of Office in 2001 would be charged with preserving, protecting, and defending the US Constitution. It’s pretty hard to do that when your plans are often in direct violation of what that Constitution entails.

So that’s what we’re told America is left with right now. Two empty, boring candidates who will try to convince us from now until November that one of them is not as empty and boring as the other.

If there was EVER a call for a third option, now is the time.

And that’s really the sad part about this. There is more than just a third option, and I don’t just mean the option of not voting. There are other candidates running for President. Candidates that you will never hear about except over the Internet. Candidates with plans and ideas for making America a better country, for right or for wrong.

Oh, sure, you MIGHT hear a little bit about Pat Buchanan because he’s a GOP also-ran running on the Reform Party ticket. But will the government-condoned duopoly called the Democrats and Republicans allow Buchanan to take part in the debates? Probably not. Not because they thought Buchanan would be a challenge to their power structure, but merely on the principle that adding even ONE extra seat to those debates would open the door for other challenges to their power structure, and to bring in candidates that WOULD be credible enough to pose a threat.

Let’s get brutally honest here… This is not about whether or not third party candidates are competent enough to run for president. As this campaign season proves, any idiot with enough political clout, a team of spin doctors, and a ton of soft money can be considered a candidate for the presidency. This is about maintaining a power structure that have profited the two dominant political parties. This is about maintaining a monopoly that would be blatantly illegal outside of politics.

The end result can be seen by what the voting populace does. They are so turned off by the blandness and the in-fighting and the mudslinging that they refuse to go to the polls. They’ve become a nation of voting slackers; of people for whom the political establishment not only expects to not show up at the polls, but base their very existence on that non-vote.

Is there a solution? You bet. But it’s not going to be easy. It requires changing the voting sentiments of people in general. It means stop voting for whom you think has a better chance of winning and voting for whom you think would best do the job, win or lose. Only when that happens do you stop the dumbing-down of our political candidates. Only then will the candidates and their party bosses stop taking your vote - and especially your non-vote - for granted. Only then will the party bosses to look for real leaders, people who can face the real issues in America, instead of looking for suave spokesmen for their agendas. Only then will you have candidates that are worth a damn in this world.

Forget trying to wait for Congress to pass some kind of lame-ass campaign reform law. The only law they’ll pass will be one that will continue their two-party monopoly and keep the party bosses in power. REAL reform won’t come from the politicians. It will come when the voters stop acting like Pavlovian dogs and start responding to the one voice that truly guides them - their own.

Monday, March 20, 2000

Week of 03/20/2000

Target: Moralism - Part 4
Confronting Moralism
- by David Matthews 2

"In any free society, the conflict between social conformity and individual liberty is permanent, unresolvable, and necessary." - Kathleen Norris

There is a scene in the Brian De Palma movie "The Untouchables" where Sean Connery’s character asks Kevin Cosner’s Elliot Ness just how bad he wants to get Al Capone. Ness replies "I’ll do everything under the law to bring him down."

Connery’s street cop character nods and then asks "And THEN how far would you go?"

When Ness didn’t understand, Connery explained how things were done in Chicago.

"He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He puts three of your men in the hospital, you put three of his in the morgue. THAT’S the Chicago way!"

Of course, Ness is hesitant about going that far. He still had principles and values that he respected. But he eventually realized that the people he was fighting against didn’t have such principles and values. They did whatever they had to do to get the job done. No boundary was off-limits to them. By the end of the movie, Ness realized that the only way to beat Capone was to fight "the Chicago way."

If only things were that simple when confronting a moralist. I really don’t think there would be a problem with moralism if things were on such an even playing field.

Unfortunately, moralists prefer not to involve themselves in such actions. They’re instigators, not participants. They would much rather hide behind the shield of more powerful thugs - namely government. They are lazy, cowardly tyrants who would much rather influence people by force than through the strengths of their arguments. And although they consider themselves to be the Elliot Nesses of this endless struggle for dominance, in action, attitude, and principle, moralists are no better than Al Capone. Or perhaps even worse, because at least Capone was willing to take matters into his own hands when he had to.

So how do you fight that?

Well, let’s get brutally honest here… you can’t fight moralism the way it has been fought. Moralists have always been on the offensive; pushing, shoving, and insisting that government heed their will. They are constantly pushing government officials to enforce antiquated laws, write new laws, and rewrite laws that have been ruled unconstitutional. The people fighting moralism have been forced to fight a defensive war, fighting for every legal inch of freedom, desperately trying to maintain the status quo.

Moralists do not play to win. They play for keeps. One law gets struck down, they get that law re-written and passed all over again. If a judge rules against them, they do everything in their power to replace that judge with one that is more sympathetic to their causes. Same holds true with politicians. If a mayor or council member doesn’t do their bidding, moralists work to replace that elected official. They continue to fight, because they know that it is a battle of attrition, not how many battles are won.

The first way, then, to fight moralism is to change tactics. It is no longer acceptable to play to win, as it has been in the past. If one really wants to fight the scourge of moralism, one has to be just as active as they are.

In other words, it’s time to fight this fight "the Chicago way."

By that, I don’t mean through violence, although some extreme moralists have advocated that route. What I mean is to fight the fight on the level of the moralist. To be passionate and spirited about not letting some dysfunctional thug dictate how things must be in the community. They must be prepared to fight not just one battle, or two, or three, but a struggle that continues until their opponent drops.

Moralists have several weaknesses. The first is the truth. As demonstrated in the past, moralists often rely on unsubstantiated rumors, innuendoes, idle speculations, superstitions, and sometimes outright lies to get the public’s attention. Unfortunately, it often takes time to gather real facts, which is often why moralists don’t rely on them. Timing is everything to them, and the same must apply to those who are fighting moralism.

If you are going to take on a moralist and win, you must respond to their accusations immediately. Don’t wait and formulate what you are going to say later. Don’t wait to gather facts. Take the moralists to task immediately and demand proof. If they can’t provide it, then be quick to paint them as the unreliable liars they are.

If by chance the moralists have proof, question it. Question everything about it; who provided it, when was it provided, how relevant is it to this instance, how did they come to their conclusions. Be skeptical of their information, and make others skeptical of it as well. Don’t ever let it be accepted as fact until you are able to counter it with your own information.

As I stated earlier, moralists love to be instigators. They love to hide behind the shield of government and let politicians do their dirty work. So to counter moralism, one must be willing to remove that shield. Make the battle personal. Do not let the battle be "The Government versus you", but rather make it "the moralists versus you". Find out which group is behind the latest outrage, and name names. Make the government’s role in the issue nothing more than the puppets they are, and show that what is being done is not "the will of the people" but rather the will of a group of elitists.

It also wouldn’t hurt to create your own political organization to rally against the moralists. Moralists use this tactic all the time. Some group called "Mothers Against Offensive Things" sounds a little more important to a politician than simply a gaggle of pissed off housewives with time on their hands and a collective chip on their shoulders. Likewise, a group called "Parents For Free Speech" sounds more respectable than a group of swingers trying to keep the local adults-only club open.

The next step is hard, but one that must be done if you are to truly win out against the moralists. You must become politically active, not just on the national level, but on a local level as well. Be aware of who is running for office, and what their stances are on issues that affect you. Pay attention not just to the city council and mayor’s races, but also to the local zoning board, school board, and library commission. You would be surprised how such branches of government would have an effect on the community. Being active in local politics lets the moralists know that you will not let them run roughshod over your life or your livelihood. Not now, not ever.

Fighting off this evil called moralism not an impossible task. The community of Holland, Michigan, recently fought off the scourge of moralism as it pertained to their regional library system. The various special interest groups both local and national managed to get a resolution placed in that state’s primary election that would force the regional library system to install filtering software on all of their Internet-active computers. The moralists thought this would be a no-brainer vote, especially since they pulled out all of their usual scare tactics. In the end, however, the voters shot down the resolution.

How was this done? How could a conservative community like Holland strike down what many thought would be a no-brainer? Simple. The people who fought for freedom and real personal responsibility did it by playing the same game as the moralists. They formed their own local political group. They took advantage of the fact that those who were pushing for those filters were being sponsored by several national organizations, and they argued that a group of outsiders were going to tell the people of Holland how to live their lives. They matched information and spin, questioned the arguments made by these pro-censorship groups, and urged people to get out there and vote.

And therein lies the real solution to fighting moralism. It doesn’t come from letters to the editor or lawsuits, even though those have been the only traditional recourse. The real solution lies in perseverance and persistence. It is getting your arguments out there, making your own voice large, while making the moralist’s voice small. It means stop being a passive observer in how government operates, and getting involved if for no other reason than for your own well-being. It means staying in there, fighting the fight, and not letting up until the other side falls.

Here endeth the lesson.

Monday, March 13, 2000

Week of 03/13/2000

The High Price of Government
- by David Matthews 2

When the Berlin Wall fell, people rejoiced. It was one of the key symbols of hostilities between America and the Soviet Union. A single city, divided into two halves, in a country that was also divided into two halves. With Berlin unified, it wasn’t long before Germany itself became whole, and again, the people rejoiced.

Soon after Germany was reunified, the Soviet Union itself collapsed. The Cold War was over. Again, people rejoiced. Fifty years of hostility ended with a whimper and not with a thermonuclear bang as so many have feared.

But when the fanfare and the celebrations were over, the people of the former Communist Bloc found out the hard way that there was a high price to pay for communism. The high price was living in a country that could not compete in a capitalist-dominated world.

This is the ugly and bitter truth about the fall of the Soviet Union. The Cold War ended with a whimper not because of the vast superior military strength of the United States and NATO forces. It did not fall because they trembled in sudden fear of the vast thermonuclear power they had collected, and their capacity to obliterate all life on the planet.

No, the Soviet Union and most of the Soviet Bloc withered like leaves in autumn because they could no longer support themselves.

Consider, if you will, how the communist system operates. The government provides everything for the citizen. Food, clothing, shelter, medicine, transportation… each according to their talents, each according to their needs.

Of course, like the pigs in George Orwell’s "Animal Farm", the governing body and those in charge of protecting the state got the lion’s share of the provisions, while the workers struggled for the rest. The state, after all, needs their political leaders to run the country, and it certainly needs its defense forces to keep the people safe and secure. And both have to be well provided for in order to do their respective duties.

Over the years, though, there were fewer and fewer provisions available for the state to distribute. Those in charge did not want to make sacrifices "for the good of the state", so the people had to. Black markets soon developed as a means to help provide for things the state failed to provide as part of their duties. Eventually, government could no longer support itself, and it collapsed.

It is clear where the problem lies with communism. The problem is a combination of greed on behalf of their leaders as well as the tremendous burden put on government to provide for the people. The combination of which spelled the death knell for a system of government once heralded by its creator as "the natural evolution of society."

So aside from a few straggling countries like China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba, the once-great Soviet Bloc is no more. Capitalism and democracy have beaten back communism. Game over, right?


In fact, the very factors responsible for the downfall of those communist countries are being seen elsewhere… including the United States.

Now let’s get brutally honest here. I’m not talking about communist spies or some grand conspiracy that would make Senator Joe McCarthy smile from the bowls of the hereafter. Rather, I am talking about the seductive trend towards the lesser form of communism, namely socialism.

There is very little to separate between communism and socialism except the degree of government being involved in a person’s life. Both operate on one key question - what can government provide for the public?

Socialists treat government like a magic genie, able to give them whatever they so wish. Need schooling? Government will provide. Need to put your kids through college? Government will provide. How about school meals? Government will provide. How about work? Government will provide. How about unemployment benefits? Government will provide. How about free vacation days? Government will provide. Health care? Government will provide. Retirement? Government will provide. Whatever it is the socialist wishes, there is government program that will provide for them.

Of course, such things don’t come for free, even though many naïve socialists are led to believe that it should be. Some European countries, for instance, love to gloat about how they have "free" health care, "free" retirement programs, and "free" paid vacations via the government. Truth is, they’re not "free" but are paid through heavy taxes. Ever wonder why the price of gasoline is about five dollars a gallon in Europe compared to a dollar-fifty in America? Two words - gas tax.

Then the question is do you get what you pay for? Here in America, one only has to look at this "glorious" retirement program called Social Security to see whether or not you do get what you pay for. Whole generations of Americans have paid fifteen percent of their hard-earned paychecks into a plan that pays them back about $200 a month if you are disabled or if you are over the age of 65. Certainly not enough to retire on, even when $200 a month was a lot of money. In order to be able to have enough to retire on, one still has to take out a separate pension program.

So why keep that program going? Because it is tax money, which to the politicians is like manna from the heavens. And because a whole group of Americans have been conditioned to believe that somehow Social Security still works.

But the wishing doesn’t stop there. In the 1950’s, politicians used to jokingly talk about a chicken in every pot, and a car in every garage. Today, politicians seriously talk about laptop computers for every child, classical music for every expecting mother, and every home wired to the Internet. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently speculated it would be oh-so nice if the poor would be able to have cars of their own instead of relying on public transportation. Mind you, this is the same publication that criticizes Atlanta for their already crowded infrastructure.

I hope you can see a pattern here. The more "feel-good" programs and "wouldn’t-it-be-nice" wishes being added to the scope of government sends it right down the path traveled by the late Soviet Union. A path that leads to a complete collapse of the infrastructure.

That is not a place for any government to be headed towards, especially one that claims to cherish freedom.

Monday, March 6, 2000

Week of 03/06/2000

Blaming The Thing
- by David Matthews 2

There was a scene in the movie "Stripes" where John Larroqutte’s character gets out of his car and is distracted by something passing by, and as he’s distracted, he runs into a pole. He immediately turns to his aide and says "Have that removed!"

Sometimes I think the world is just full of these kind of bumbling idiots.

Case in point, our obsession with foisting blame of human events onto inanimate objects.

Think about it. Something bad happens. Let’s say a car accident. People are hurt or killed. Someone pulls a whisky bottle out of the remains of the car, and instantly the cries come out for tougher liquor laws, as if THAT would somehow avenge the lives of those lost.

Passing the blame, of course, goes back a long way. In the book of Genesis, when God was angry at Adam and Eve for eating the fruit, Adam blamed Eve for telling him to eat it. Eve, then, blamed the snake for suggesting she eat it. No doubt if the snake said anything, it would’ve blamed the tree itself for producing the fruit. Or maybe not. After all, passing the blame is part of our somewhat complicated human psyche.

And for whatever reason, we always end up trying to foist blame on inanimate objects. Let’s look at some of the common scapegoats.

Alcohol - Once upon a time, intoxication used to be an excuse for anything under the sun. Even today, when intoxication is not considered to be a legal defense in court, people are ever quick to blame their situation on being drunk.

End up in a strange bed? Don’t blame yourself, blame the booze. Beat your spouse? Don’t blame yourself, blame the booze. Start a fight? Don’t blame yourself, blame the booze. Crash your car? Don’t blame yourself, blame the booze.

Most recently, alcohol was the reason given for local lawmakers in the Buckhead section of Atlanta to urge nightclubs to close at 2am instead of 4. What really sparked the movement, however, had little - if anything - to do with alcohol, and more to do with the killing of two men at the Cobalt nightclub, which Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Lewis is accused of participating in.

Pornography - The scapegoat of sex offenders and moralists everywhere! Moralists always look towards what they piously deem as "smut" as the causes of the most sickest of crimes.

Convicted murderer Ted Bundy is perhaps the most infamous man to use the excuse of "porn made me do it" as a way to get a last laugh on the world. Just days before his execution, he taped an interview for the Christian Science Monitor, in which he blamed hardcore pornography as the reason behind his abducting, raping, and killing of dozens of women across America. Never mind, of course, that Ted Bundy was a manipulative liar who would say anything to get out of Florida’s electric chair. No doubt, somewhere in the deepest bowls of Hell, Bundy is laughing his head off over that last joke.

Music - Rock music has often been considered the catalyst for young people to do stupid things. From "Elvis the Pelvis" to Marilyn Manson, people are quick to blame rock music for the failings of their children.

Granted, some of the music is dark and depressing and violent, but in some cases it reflected the mood of the group, or the mood of the audience it was trying to reach. Not to mention rock music does not have an exclusive on depressing lyrics… just look at some of the lyrics in country music for further proof.

Books and Comic Books - From the horror series of the 1950’s to today’s Magna comics from Japan, comic books have been considered to be the scapegoat of child behavior experts and moralists. But comic books are just the illustrated version of the whole genre of literature that have entertained, informed, and inspired others.

But they have also expressed ideas that some people don’t like, and divulged information that some people would use for wrong purposes, and because of that, some people want to hold the publishers of those books just as responsible as the perpetrators. The publishers of the "Poor Man’s James Bond" series, for instance, were sued by a family of one who was killed from a bomb featured in one of those books.

However, if people wish to hold authors and publishers responsible for publishing the ideas that inspire others to act, they are hypocritically silent when it comes to the one book that has been the inspiration of much violence and persecution - the Holy Bible. Where are all the blame-shifters then?

Television - It should be no surprise that people use television as yet another scapegoat. From the crime shows to professional wrestling to soap operas to "Bevis and Butthead", television had everything people wanted to see, and thus everything for people to blame.

Your three-year old set fire to your home? Don’t blame yourself for leaving matches available, blame MTV for running "Bevis and Butthead" in the afternoon. Your kids fighting too often? Don’t blame yourself, blame Jerry Springer.

Of course, if parents didn’t use television as an artificial babysitter, and took greater control over what their kids watched on the TV, they probably wouldn’t have to blame television for their failings. Even when they’re given easy-to-understand ratings to guide their choices, they refuse to heed them.

The Internet - The newest scapegoat for parents and lawyers. Get caught sending threatening e-mails? Don’t blame yourself, blame all of the time you spend on the Internet! Cheating on your spouse? Don’t blame yourself, blame the Internet for letting you have cyber-affairs. Go broke gambling? Don’t blame yourself, blame your service provider for "letting" you gamble.

You know the Internet has reached the level of "scapegoat" when lawyers create something called "Internet Fatigue Syndrome" as an excuse for someone who sends death threats online. Please!

Guns - The most recent scapegoat for the evils that men do. The old saying by the National Rifle Association that "guns don’t kill people, people do" may be true, but that does not stop the plethora of whines and moans from those who think every single gun should be confiscated and destroyed.

Guns do make killing faster and easier. However, rather than concentrating on WHO is pulling the trigger, gun control advocates rather put the blame on the weapon itself, and are quick to use every gun-related tragedy as a rallying cry against guns. To them, all guns are evil.

Using guns as a scapegoat for society is made even worse when the person pulling the trigger is not an adult. With adults, there is at least that fragment of personal responsibility. There is none where the killer is but a child.

The most recent tragedy involved a seven-year old boy, who got the gun from a flophouse where he lived. To make things worse, the gun was stolen. So in that case, no law on the book could have stopped that tragedy from happening. But that doesn’t stop the gun control advocates from blaming that inanimate object on the death of a six-year old girl.

No matter what the scapegoat is, however, the argument is always the same: human beings with functional brains are somehow not responsible for their actions, but rather become the "tool" of an inanimate object.

Now let’s get brutally honest here. There is perhaps no more asinine an excuse for human behavior than to blame a tragedy of human action over an inanimate object.

A gun does not pull the trigger all by itself. A bottle of whisky does not seize control of a car and crash it into a family of six. Neither television nor comic books force a child on top of a roof and shove him off so he could try to fly like Superman. The Internet does not compel people to break relationships nor does it compel them to gamble their life savings away or to commit rape. All of these things require human action.

So why do we want to blame inanimate objects?

Partly because we refuse to foist blame on human beings.

Christianity teaches us to hate the sin, but love the sinner. We are asked to forgive the perpetrator when he or she asks for forgiveness. But there is still that urge to foist blame on something, to give some kind of meaning to what happened. So instead of a person, we blame an inanimate object.

Plus blaming an inanimate object is pretty much guilt-free. There is no case of mistaken identity when you blame a thing. An inanimate object doesn’t show up on CNN with its lawyer and therapist claiming it was misunderstood, or the victim of prejudice. It can’t plead temporary insanity or enter into a plea bargain. It simply exists to be used, one way or another.

That’s also why politicians are eager to exploit asset forfeiture laws, and try to expand them into as many crimes as possible. After all, it’s easy to seize property. Property has no rights to be concerned with. Using these blatantly anti-American laws, police can seize property without a court order or even a trial, essentially declaring an inanimate object guilty until proven innocent. Police, prosecutors, and politicians can then parade their ill-gotten goods around as signs that they are doing their jobs. Clearly a far more visible public relations tool than arrest and conviction statistics.

While we’re blaming inanimate objects and watching them be confiscated and paraded about, we are slowly losing track of personal responsibility, of holding a person responsible for his or her actions. Consequentially, we are also losing track of what it means to take charge of one’s own life. If a person’s actions can be so dictated by the possession of an inanimate object, what does that say about a person being in charge of their own life? Of making choices? If we say that a person is not responsible for the choices they make, how can we expect them to be the innovators and inventors of tomorrow?

The inanimate object is simply a tool, being used first by the person responsible, and then again by others who refuse to adhere to holding a person responsible for their actions. If we truly value free will and the right of people to make choices and live their lives as they see fit, we must stop trying to blame the inanimate object, and start blaming the person for using the object.