Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson

By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

How do you define socialism? At least part of the definition for me is unseen forces requiring me to do or causing me to buy things in which I don’t believe or want to participate.

I was reminded of this week when I spent four nights at my favorite hotel chain. Like many major chains, they furnish breakfast. Several years ago, they had very nice paper plates and coffee cups. Objects which someone had put some thought and engineering. The cups had a bubbly kind of surface and the plates were substantial, with a plastic lining that was very nice. This went on for several years and was a real upgrade to the standard run-of-the-mill throw-aways.

Then, probably three years ago, they went back to the old kind, except now they have “recyclable” written all over them. It appears that some environmental activists group got to them and forced them to change to the inferior product.

I didn’t ask them to change, and I am not much of an environmentalist. I pay for these plates as part of my hotel bill. Someone, unseen and unknown, is forcing me to comply with their mantra, despite the fact that I am paying the bill. I could change hotel brands but would not likely do so over the paper plates they use at breakfast (although I have thought about it).

I use one of the online “shave clubs” for razors and blades. At some point, they decided to celebrate an event, call it a condition, which I oppose. At least I could stop using them and go to the other brand. I had a say. Unfortunately, the quality of the second brand was not up to the standards of the first so after six months, I went back. But at least in this case, I had a say.

Then, there are new cars. From the displays they have on the dashboards, you would think I was interested in gas mileage on real time, 10th of a mile at a time basis. Got news for you, when I buy the car, I trust your claims and that is the end of the subject. The car I bought this past June even has an “Eco” button. I looked this up. It says that if I use the “Eco Mode,” I can’t accelerate as fast and the air conditioner may shut down when pulling a hill. Think I’ll ever use that button? No. I resent even having to pay for this feature being in the car to start with.

But it is like the paper plates and not worth changing brands over. But if you wonder why I am a grumpy old man, this may help sate your curiosity. Forcing me to buy things I don’t want in order to get things I do want is socialism, pure and simple.

Then we come to the article posted in The HCP on Oct. 2, “Should government be able to seize private property to build rec trails?”

My answer is a resounding “NO.”

Further, I don’t want governments spending my tax dollars on rec trails, bicycling striping on the streets and on and on. Make the five people that use this stuff pay for it, not the rest of us.

I’ve talked about bicycle paths before, and I have talked about turning all roads into metered toll roads. This goes double and triple for rec trails and bicycle accommodation. I am vehemently opposed to paying for your hobby.

A few weeks ago, I was in Indianapolis. They are touting themselves as the “Bicycle City.” Guess where I will never move? The recreational socialists are in charge of the government.

If I have not made my point by now, I’ll make it again just to be sure: I resent paying for socialists’ feel-good projects.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.