San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Pope Is Dead Wrong About Justice In Economics

I was reading some articles on the CNBC website the other day when I came across this feature on the economic ideas of the new Pope.  What I read disturbed and disgusted me. The article was written by Mark Koba, Senior Editor at CNBC.  Here is what Mark had to say, "Since taking over as head of the Roman Catholic Church in March, Pope Francis has made several stark comments on world economic issues:  He's cited the pitfalls of capitalism, decried global income inequality and equated low wage labor to a form of slavery.  He has even described the financial corruption the church he leads as a 'spiritual sickness'.  Analysts say Pope Francis is not necessarily calling for the demise of free market theory.  Instead, he is issuing a very strong warning to economic leaders over its future."
Various Pope-watchers have weighed in with their opinions abut what he was attempting to say.  George Haley of the University of New Haven said, "Like many people he thinks capitalism won't survive unless it decreases income disparity.  I think its fair to say he is arguing for a more European version of capitalism going forward, especially after the Great Recession, so there is more of a safety net for people when they need it."  Joseph Pastore of Pace University said, "I don't think he is attacking capitalism of the wealthy, because if he did, that strategy would fail.  But he is rightly focusing on issues of equality and justice in economics."  Well there you have it.  I will assume these Pope-watchers have accurately described the economic views of the new Pope.  There is so much wrong with them I hardly know where to start.  Still, I will try.
Let's get one thing straight right off the top.  The free market creates income inequality.  It is impossible to have a free market and not have income inequality.  Any market where incomes are equal is not free.  There are several very good reasons for this truth.  First, people are not equal in their ability to provide goods and services to others.  As a janitor I have very little ability to do more for others.  I clean the same offices every night.  I scrub the same bathrooms every night.  The offices and the bathrooms of the people I work for are my range of service.  If I had more time, or perhaps greater efficiency, I could clean some more offices and bathrooms and perhaps make a little bit more money.  But there is no way in the world I am ever going to be able to make anywhere near the same amount of money as the people who's offices I am cleaning.  I just do not serve that many people.  People are ontologically equal.  People will be judged equally by the morally perfect standard of God's law.  But people are not of equal ability.  Some of the people I work for provide technology to literally millions of people around the world.  They are able to sell their goods in volumes that I cannot conceive of.  They are sell their products at prices millions of people are willing to pay.  They make a lot of money.  Good for them.  They are serving a lot of people.  To decry the income inequality between me and my employers is downright dumb.  To pander to the envy of those who want to make more money without serving others is immoral. 
Second, even among those who make much more money than I do, there is income inequality.  The people I work for pale in comparison to Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, the Steve Jobs estate and Warren Buffet.  The simple fact of the matter is that in the free market everyone will make the exact amount of money that corresponds directly to what he has produced and sold to others.  The more you serve others, the more you will make.  Since everyone has a different capacity to serve others, it is a guaranteed and necessary truth that there will be income inequality.  Any and all attempts to destroy that income inequality will quite necessarily impede production and decrease the wealth and well-being of every single person in the world.  Hence, all government intervention into the economy is necessarily harmful and wealth-destructive.  Always.
Socialists, communists, career politicians and Popes all like to complain about the rate being paid by entrepreneurs for the labor they hire.  Since there are more envy-filled laborers than there are job creating employers, it is a sure way to become popular with the masses.  It is also economically ignorant.  In the absence of government coercion all laborers will be paid exactly what the market determines their activities to be worth.  And, don't forget, the market price for labor is not set by the employers.  It is set by the consumers, the people who buy the goods and services being produced by the employers.  In other words, socialists, communists, career politicians and Popes, along with everyone else who goes to the Kwik-E-Mart for a bottle of Coke and a doughnut, are the folks responsible for setting the wage rate of the clerk who rings up your purchase.  To complain about how much a laborer is being paid and then blame the employer for paying him that rate is utter economic ignorance.  Why am I not surprised that it happens all the time?
I am glad that the new Pope is not "calling for the demise of free market theory", whatever that means.  Am I expected to believe that the Pope, just because he is the Pope, can eradicate the activities of billions and billions of entrepreneurs?  The Pope can no more call for the demise of "free market theory" than he can call for the demise of the atmosphere, the land masses and the oceans.  Anytime anybody does anything, apart from government coercion and control, we have an example of the free market in operation. Not even the Pope can stop that.
 The most disturbing comment in the above quotations was the conclusion drawn by the fellow from Pace University.  According to him, the Pope is "focusing on issues of equality and justice in economics."  Clearly this professor knows absolutely nothing about economics.  I have already addressed the bogus notion of economic equality.  Allow me to comment on the equally ridiculous notion of economic justice for a moment.
There is a place for justice in economics.  When two people or groups voluntarily enter into a contract and one of those parties later decides to renege on his promise, we have an example of an injustice.  In cases where voluntarily entered into contracts are immorally broken the judicial system should get involved.  Those who have broken the contract should be punished for their immoral actions.  When an employee steals something from his employer the judicial system should be involved.  When an employer locks his employees in the store for the night and orders them to rearrange all of the products on the shelves without pay, the employer should be prosecuted for his immoral actions.  So there is no disputing the fact that justice does sometimes cross paths with free market economics.  But that, of course, is not what the good professor is talking about.
'Justice' is a term that is used by communists, socialists, career politicians, college professors and Popes to describe the equivalent of government intervention into the free market economy.  According to these elite members of our society, and they do consider themselves to be better than the rest of us in every way, the free market will frequently fail to deliver the goods and services they believe should be delivered to us.  When that happens they clamor for new laws, rules and regulations that will force the market to produce what they want it to.  It does not matter that the free market has already determined what people want.  They know better than we do.
Inevitably what they want the free market to produce is directly related to their ability to purchase a vote in the next election from some envy-ridden soul who votes for him because he has taken the wealth of another and transferred it to him.  Hence we are told that some people do not make enough money so a law will be crafted to mandate a certain minimum wage.  We are told that some people are discriminated against during hiring so a law will be crafted to allow the person who was (rightfully) not hired to sue the company that did not give him a job.  We are told that any employer who does not provide health insurance, including coverage for the abortions of his employees daughters, is immoral and must be forced to provide it against his will.  The list is endless since the list of things people covet from each other is endless.
The Pope should stop talking about things he does not understand.  He understands nothing about economics and the free market.  Theoretically he does understand something about moral philosophy and ethics.  If that is true he would find his time much better spent railing against the covetousness and envy that saturates the hearts and minds of those who want the government to take from others and give to them.  He should teach us that Robin Hood was not a hero.  He should inform us that the modern interventionist state is nothing more than a thief and a robber.  He should declare that career politicians are moral reprobates bound for the Lake of Fire.  Now that would be time well spent.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Three Snippets Of Life In The Socialist Democracy Of Amerika

I had several ideas about what I was going to write about today but those ideas were overruled by what I read in the morning paper.  There was nothing particularly powerful in today's Denver Post but there were three articles that jumped out to me as perfect indicators of what it means to be alive in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika today.  Allow me to share them with you.

The first article was on the front page and said, "Obama Won't Visit Moscow".  The first line of the story reported that, "President Barak Obama on Wednesday canceled an upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a rare, deliberate snub that reflects the damage done by the Edward Snowden case to an important relationship already in decline."  How childish.  How immature.  Our King is behaving like a spoiled little brat who cannot get his way on the playground so he takes his ball and goes home.  What is King Obama thinking?
So Putin won't send Snowden back.  Who cares?  How do you think King Obama would have acted if the roles were reversed?  Does anyone believe for a minute that King Obama would have sent a valuable Russian fugitive back to Russia?  Of course not.  But when Putin does exactly what Obama would do if he had the chance, Obama throws a hissy fit and behaves like a spoiled child.  You didn't give me everything I want so I am not going to come to your party, says the King.
It is obvious what is going on here.  King Obama believes that every single person in the world is personally accountable to  him.  He believes that every single person in the world is morally expected and required to obey his direct orders without question.  That might work in the SDA but it most certainly does not work outside the geo-political boundary of this country.  Most reprehensible to me is the unmitigated gall of the King.  He really believes he is King of the World, not just King of the SDA.  Talk about an inflated sense of importance.  I hope Putin throws a party to celebrate his absence.

The second article was on page two.  It was entitled, "Grocery Stores Sued In Listeria Outbreak".  A year or so ago there was a case of listeria contamination at a cantaloupe farm in southeastern Colorado.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "In total, 33 deaths from outbreak-associated cases of listeriosis have been reported to CDC."  The farm that produced the contaminated food was immediately driven into bankruptcy due to legal actions taken by the families of the victims.  As was reported at the time, Jensen farms filed for bankruptcy in order to free up their insurance coverage to pay the wrongful-death claims.  The Denver Post reported that the company had "millions of dollars" in insurance that would be paid to the plaintiffs.  That would have made a nice settlement for all of the families of the victims  Apparently that wasn't enough money.
Scum-bag lawyer Bill Marler, of Seattle, has made a living ripping off innocent plaintiffs involved in food borne illness cases for the past twenty years.  He is a legal parasite akin to Frank Azar.  According to the article, "lawsuits were filed against Walmart, King Soopers, City Market and other grocery stores."  Let me ask a couple of questions.  How can any reasonable person expect a grocery store to individually inspect every item it sells for potentially dangerous conditions?  How can a judge possibly allow such a frivilous lawsuit to go forward?  How can any self-respecting family member of a contamination victim hold his head high when he has stooped to the classic tactic of suing the "deep pockets"?  The entire situation is disgusting.  We need to return to biblical law where a plaintiff was held responsible for his lawsuit and would be forced to pay the defendant the exact amount he was seeking if he could not make his case.  That would bring lawsuits of this type to a screaching halt.
The legal system of the SDA has evolved to the point where those who are really responsible for offenses are allowed to go free.  We are told that there are a multitude of reasons why they are not responsible for their actions.  They are mentally ill.  They are under duress.  They are living with difficult and unique circumstances.  They grew up with a tyrannical father and demented mother.  On the other hand, those who are not responsible for a particular action in any way, shape or form are held responsible because they have large bank accounts.  We all know this to be true and nobody cares.  Nobody!  It is injustice on a grand scale and nobody gives a rip.

The third article was found in the Business Section.  It was entitled, "BofA Said To Have Misled Investors".  The article informed me that, "The Department of Justice accused the company in a lawsuit Tuesday of misleading investors about the quality of loans tied to $850 million in mortgage-backed securities."  In a classic case of piling on, the Security and Exchange Commission has filed its own lawsuit against the company.  Now that the banks are once again showing profits, the various branches of government are quick to exploit the popular hatred for profitable banks and are bringing lawsuits designed to extort money from them for a variety of specious reasons.
So let me get this straight....Bank of America was securitizing mortgages back in 2008 and selling those securities in the free market.  The mortgage backed securities they were selling originated from two government organizations (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), were rated as top quality securities by the government rating organizations responsible for determining the riskiness of those bonds and then sold through securities exchanges that were closely regulated by government agents.  The mortgages that were originally packaged into securities were mandated by the Clinton administration in its futile attempt to encourage people who should never have qualified to buy a home to buy a home.  Companies like Bank of America that refused to make risky mortgages faced extreme government pressure to change their underwriting standards and make them anyway, all under the guise that the federal government would "backstop" the bad loans.  When many of those loans quite predictably went into default, the government blamed the banks for making them.
So government has had its hands over everything that Bank of America had done and now believes that it is entitled to sue BofA for reckless and fraudulent securities sales?  Who is responsible here?  Any reasonable person can see that it was the federal government that brought about the mortgage crisis, and all things associated with it including mortgage-backed securities.  For the Justice Department to go after Bank of America is the ultimate act of hypocrisy.  For the Securities and Exchange Commission to pile on is a blatant example of rent-seeking and money-grubbing by a government bureau.  But, of course, nobody cares.  It is just an evil bank.  It is filled with greedy monsters that need to be brought down by the valiant and noble government agents, praised be their names.

Welcome to life in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  I hear that life in Ecuador is good.  I think I will look into it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Mothers Have No Fourth Amendment Rights

I found out something yesterday that made me really mad.  A friend of a friend of a friend told me a story about a young woman who had recently had a baby.  The baby was born at 42 weeks, which I have been told is a couple of weeks late.  When born, the child weighed just a little bit over six pounds, which I have been told is a little bit light.  That did not seem strange to me.  When I was born I was also just a little bit over six pounds.  Other than the usual rejoicing that accompanies the birth of any Welsh child, my mom never told me that anybody made a big deal about my weight at the time I was born.  My how things have changed.
The government's war on your freedom to use drugs as you see fit has brought about a dramatic reduction in your Fourth Amendment right to be secure in your papers and possessions.  The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States requires modern representatives of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika to first obtain a warrant, granted by a judge and based upon probable cause that a crime has been committed, prior to searching your papers and possessions.  Like all of the other rights described in the Bill of Rights, the Fourth Amendment was abolished long ago.  What does this have to do with being a new mom?  Let me tell you what I found out.
This young lady went into the hospital to have her baby.  The baby was born late and at the low end of the weight scale.  The presiding doctor, fearful of reprisals from the government for failure to act as a deputized judge, jury and executioner, ordered that the baby's diaper be sent to a government controlled and administered laboratory to be tested for non-government approved drugs.  Yes, it is true.  The new mom was under suspicion for violating any of a number of rules/laws that the federales have created in recent years in their never ending "war on non-government approved drugs".  Simply because the baby was a couple of ounces below the average weight, it was assumed by the doctor that she was taking drugs that had not first been prescribed by a government agent.  If the government lab had detected the presence of any non-government approved drug in the baby's poop, the mom would have been arrested and charged with "providing drugs to a minor" and "felony child abuse."  This is where things get very interesting.
The new mom did not consent to the search of her baby's diaper.  The newborn baby certainly did not consent to the search of its diaper.  No judge issued a warrant for the search of the contents of the diaper.  No probable cause that a crime had been committed by the mom was established in the presence of a judge.  No, all that happened was a doctor fearful of losing his license for failure to act as an agent of the state secretly ordered an examination of the contents of a new baby's diaper in order to prosecute the mother if any non-government approved drugs were present.  Please explain to me why this is not a gross violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of both the mother and the baby.
I checked several internet sources to confirm that this is a nationwide practice.  I was disgusted to discover how many mothers were aware of the practice and who had no objection to it whatsoever.  The usual comment was something like, "I don't use any non-government approved pharmaceutical products so I have nothing to fear from my omnipotent and omniscient government."  The fact that they were being presumed guilty until proven innocent did not bother them.  The fact that the government was making decisions about what she could and could not put into her body did not bother her.  For the most part, these new moms were quite content to give up their Fourth Amendment rights and worship at the throne of state power.  How sad. 
One of the most bitterly ironic facts in this case is the simple truth that, according to the Supreme Court of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika (in an 1973 decision called Roe vs Wade), there was no baby present in the mom's womb until immediately after it was born.  This mom could have been arrested and charged with providing drugs to a minor and felony child abuse when she was not even carrying a human being inside her!  According to abortion advocates, this mom could have killed the tissue that was inside her body and her actions would have been considered morally outstanding.  Instead, she made the decision to carry the tissue to term, bring forth a human being, only to then become suspected of abusing that human being/tissue sample.  Have we all gone mad?
This is all a part of the government's war on non-government approved drugs of course.  Had the mother been taking drugs that were approved by a government agent holding a government license (doctor or pharmacist), she would have been considered to be a good citizen.  On the other hand, if the mother had smoked a cigarette, consumed a glass of wine, or eaten a brownie containing some THC, she becomes a vicious felon endangering the life of the extraneous tissue found in her womb.  If, at the moment that extraneous tissue becomes a human being, that baby is slightly different than the average baby, she has her Fourth Amendment right to privacy immediately suspended by a licensed agent of the state (doctor). At that point she is presumed guilty of a crime and forced to provide evidence that could incriminate herself.
And still, nobody cares.  Nobody is upset.  No abortion advocate is willing to come forward and declare that the government should keep its hands off women's bodies.  No abortion advocate is willing to come forward and declare that it is impossible to commit a crime against extraneous tissue.  Has anyone ever been arrested for appendix abuse?  The long arm of government oppression has intruded into our lives even more than I had realized.  This entire situation makes me sick.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

People Are Basically Bad

Most people believe that people are basically good.  I suspect most people believe that people are basically good because most people believe they are good and they do not want to put themselves outside of the camp of most people.  That is a foolish thing to do.  Believing that people are basically good creates a myriad of conundrums that cannot be solved.  Still, that belief persists.  Let's talk about it for a moment.
If people are basically good, how do you explain the bad things people do?  This is always the single biggest problem for those who subscribe to the doctrine of human goodness.  If individual human beings are born good, how do they ever do something that is bad?  Where does the bad come from?  There are several answers given by those people who wrongly believe that people are basically good. 
Many people cling to the foolish belief that people do bad things because they lack education.  According to these folks, all that is required to keep people from doing bad things is more education.  By education, of course, they mean government schooling.  Somehow government school teachers have the ability to impart goodness to their students.  Or perhaps it is the case that the lack of government school teaching results in children doing bad things.  I am not sure which position these people would take.  Nevertheless, the essential truth, according to them, is that more education is the solution to the problem of human evil.
I don't know if any sociological studies have been done on this topic.  If the education argument is true, then certain things follow.  Those who are most educated should do the least number of bad things.  Is it true that people with doctorates are the least bad people in the world?  Do people who hold college degrees do less bad things than those who just graduated high school?  I suspect there is no correlation between the level of education and the number of bad things a person does precisely because there is no correlation between education and evil.  Even more damaging to the argument that education solves the problem of human badness is the fact that it does nothing to explain the origination of evil.  If people are basically good, why do kindergarten children enter school fully capable of doing bad things?
Other people believe that people do bad things because they are poor.  These people will often talk about how poverty creates bad human behavior.  These people believe that if poor people had more money they would do less bad things.  In other words, just like those who believe that education solves the problem of human badness, these people believe that more money can solve the problem of human badness.
Certain things follow if this position is true.  Most strange among the necessary consequences of this belief is the fact that the richest people in the world must therefore be the nicest.  That is very strange because poor people generally believe that rich people are evil, or at least more evil than they are.  In this case money kind of ends up being the cosmic hot potato....you do evil things because you do not have enough money so you get more money....you do evil things because you have more money and you are rich.....no matter who gets the money, something bad happens.  All of this does not keep agents of the government from entering into our lives and taking the money of the rich people and giving it to the poor people.  They tell us they are doing a good thing and making people better.  I have not seen any evidence that their actions bring about the desired results, nor do I expect it to in the future.
Other people believe that people do bad things because they are disenfranchised.  These people believe that all one has to do to become good is to become politically active.  Disenfranchised people do bad things because they are frustrated with their lack of political power.  Or, more specifically, people who do not vote are frustrated because they keep having their money taken from them by people who do.  This theoretically results in the disenfranchised doing bad things.
This is a very silly argument.  In fact, it is essentially the same argument as the one that believes money, or the lack of money, makes people do bad things.  The people who keep having their money take from them and given to others are those who make up the 49% of the population who pay 100% of the federal income tax.  These people are, by definition, the rich people in our country.  Those who believe disenfranchisement is what creates evil are now justifying the behavior of the "rich", the very people they despise.  I suspect that if those who hold this position spend some time to think it through they will quickly abandon it.  They do not want to give the "rich" any justification for their behavior.
Still others believe that people do bad things because they are mentally ill.  According to this view, people are born good and incapable of doing bad things.  Unfortunately, some people are born bad and we know that because they end up doing bad things.  These bad people must be mentally ill because if they were not crazy they would not do bad things.  The whole argument is circular, of course, but that does not keep people from believing it.   These folks are in a difficult position as well.  If all bad things done by people are the result of an illness outside of their control, then no bad thing is the personal, moral responsibility of the person who did it.  There are not just a couple of people who are not guilty because of insanity.  All people who do bad things are not guilty because of insanity.  As you can plainly see, this position is insane.
There is a simple solution to this problem.  All one has to do is give up the crazy idea that people are basically good and embrace the position that people are basically bad.  It explains everything.  People are basically bad.  In the 20th century people who operated their respective governments killed about 100 million of their own people.  In the 20th century people who were in power in governments which declared war on each other killed one another at an amazing rate.  According to Wikipedia there were 355 wars in the 20th century.  Total combined deaths from those wars was around 240 million people.  In addition to the deaths listed above, civilized nations have killed hundreds of millions of people who would have been citizens had they been permitted to be born.  Conservative estimates declare that about one third of the world's population in 1900 was killed during that century.
Kids do not need to be taught to do bad things.  It comes quite naturally.  Adults need no incentive to do bad things.  It comes quite naturally.  Everyone is selfish.  Everyone would cheat if they could do so and not get caught.  An amazing percentage of people have confessed that they would murder another human being if they could be guaranteed they would never be caught or held accountable for the murder.  Where do these things come from if men are not basically bad?
The problem, of course, is that God's opinion on the matter is that people are not just basically bad, they are totally bad.  Romans 3 tells us that men are totally depraved.  Total depravity is a doctrine many people used to believe.  In our modern, enlightened, civilized society that belief has been relegated to the dust bin.  It is embarrassing.  It does not fit into the view that schooling and government can make us perfect.  It does not look to the state as the solution to all of our problems.  It does not aggrandize the state and the politicians who run it.  On the contrary, the doctrine of total depravity gives glory to God every time he changes the nature of a human being and allows him to do good things.  All of this is highly offensive to the modern secular believer in state power and authority so it will never be believed.  But all you have to do is open your eyes to see that people are basically bad.  No rational human being can deny that obvious truth.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Saddest Thing About Yuppies

I just returned from a church camp trip.  It was a lot of fun.  We spent four days in an old ghost town that goes by the name of Winfield.  We camped in a large meadow not too far from a nice river with outstanding view of peaks in excess of 13,500 feet in elevation all around us.  One of the peaks is called "Cross Mountain" because it has a natural cross-like formation on its northwest face.  I think the formation is even better than the much more famous "Holy Cross Mountain".  Holy Cross Mountain is a peak that exceeds the magical fourteen thousand foot level.  As a result it gets a lot more attention.  I had camped here twenty one years ago, on another church camp trip.  That church no longer exists.  Hopefully this one will last longer.
I will occasionally climb a mountain.  On that church camp trip twenty one years ago I took one day to climb a peak called "Ice Mountain."   Ice Mountain is less than fourteen thousand feet in elevation.  Not by much, mind you, but enough so that it is generally ignored.  That climb was a lot of fun.  I climbed it with two partners and they were the only two people I saw all day.  On this trip my wife and I decided to climb Huron Peak.  Huron Peak is easier and closer than Ice Mountain.  Still, it involves almost six miles of hiking and 3,500 vertical feet of elevation gain.  Huron Peak is a "fourteener".  It is 14,003 feet in elevation, not even 100 feet higher than Ice Mountain but in excess of the magic 14,000 foot level.  As a result Huron is very popular.
So you can get an idea of what I am writing about, here are a couple of pictures.  This shot is of Huron Peak, taken about half way up the trail.  The standard route goes up the gentle slope on the left side of the picture.  It was a lovely tundra walk that was littered with wildflowers, many of which are visible in the foreground:


 
Here is a shot of Ice Mountain taken from the top of Huron.  Ice Mountain is the high mountain in the back center with the dramatic couloir in the middle.  The standard route crosses this couloir about half way up and climbs the arete just to the right of it to the top:


Now that you have a feel for what I was doing this weekend let me get to the point of this post.  I have mentioned in the past how much I enjoy observing that sub-species of human known as a Yuppie.  A Yuppie is a person who is always fashionable attired.  Yuppies drink Michelob Light.  Yuppies drive BMWs, Lexi (plural of Lexus) and Audis.  They all have jobs that pay them upper middle class salaries and they like to show off their wealth and their good looks.  Yuppies all belong to gyms where they strive mightily to get the kind of body you see in Yuppie magazines (none of which I know the name of because I never read them).  Yuppies are also insufferable because they are totally committed to selfishness and the pursuit of their various "lists". 
You can determine if a person is a Yuppie if he/she frequently uses the phrase, "I just checked that one off my list."  Yuppies use that phrase most commonly to describe some sort of recreational pursuit.  Various recreational activities fall into and out of favor with the Yuppies.  When something is in favor it is the case that most all Yuppies will create a list of all the particular items that need to be completed to prove that they passed some sort of test.  Climbing fourteen thousand foot peaks, sadly, has become one the objectives for the Yuppies.  As a result the fourteen thousand foot peaks in Colorado are crawling with Yuppies, all nattily attired in Edie Bauer clothing, with their list of peaks and a pencil.  Or, in the case of the superior Yuppie, with an I-Pad (did I spell that right?) containing their list of  fourteen thousand foot peaks.
I first climbed Huron Peak in 1988.  I did it on a Saturday in September  those twenty five years ago.  There were about three inches of fresh snow on the ground just above timberline.  I did not follow a trail because there wasn't one.  I climbed all the way up and down, taking about six hours to do so, and never saw another human being.  That was before the Yuppies decided that fourteener bagging was something to add to their list.  My how things have changed.
My wife and I shared a painstakingly constructed trail all the way to the top of the peak with about two dozen Yuppies.  The trailhead had many fancy SUVs parked in it.  The hikers were using what my wife and I call "yuppie poles".  Yuppie poles are walking sticks that are more like ski poles and carried in each hand.  They became popular when the Yuppies discovered Mt. Everest about twenty years ago and noticed that many Himalayan climbers used them.  Naturally, they had to have them as well.  Our fellow climbers were all much better dressed than we were.  I believe they also smelled much better than we did.  We had spent the night around a camp fire, something Yuppies never do, and did not have access to all of Europe's finest toilet waters.
Despite starting later than most of the folks on the trail that day, by establishing a steady but leisurely pace, we managed to pass most of them on the way up.  We stopped for numerous water breaks and photo opportunities and arrived at the summit in a couple of hours.  We sat down for a break and were treated to the comments of our fellow mountaineers as they reached the summit and were themselves treated to the view of Ice Mountain I have shown you above.  What happened next made me pity the Yuppie.  He/she is really a sad creature.
One by one they arrived on the summit.  One by one each new arrival made a bee-line to the summit register.  Summit registers are booklets filled with many pages and stuffed into a PCV pipe that climbers can use to record the fact that they reached the top.  I have never signed a summit register because I have never felt the need to do so.  I know if I reached the top or not, I don't see how telling a piece of paper I arrived there makes any difference.  But for list-ticking Yuppies, the summit register is holy.  I witnessed one lady Yuppie almost hyper-ventilate as she sought for the summit register on a peak I climbed a couple of years ago.  Meanwhile, on Huron the individual Yuppies frantically signed their names and concluded it with which number the peak represented to them (there are 54 14ers and Yuppies will record each summit as something like #14/54 to show how many they have climbed). I could hear them saying "checked that one off the list" to no one in particular.  Meanwhile one of the most majestic mountain views in Colorado was going generally unnoticed and completely unappreciated.
After signing the register the Yuppies congregated together on the summit, forming what was essentially a small huddle.  They took pictures of each other, oblivious to the scenery behind them, and talked about how many of the 14ers each one had checked off his respective list.  Being gregarious and generous creatures with each other, those with higher peak counts were congratulated and those with lower numbers were encouraged to persevere.  Then they settled down to eat whatever bar is popular with them these days, I wouldn't know which one is.  While munching on their bars they talked about their training programs at the gym and their plans for the next climb on their list.
The Bible tells me that all men seek to suppress the natural knowledge of God every person is endowed with by engaging in various physical and mental games that leave no time to contemplate the natural revelation of God.  Yuppies are one of the saddest examples of this truth I have ever seen.  Here they are, in the middle of some of the most majestic mountains in the world, and they suppress the natural revelation of the omnipotence of God being declared by those mountains by obsessing on their lists.  How sad.