The Clare Spark Blog

March 5, 2016

Is the promise of a golden “retirement” hot air?

shorthandle-revIn her lament for the “shattering” of the Republican Party, big-hearted Peggy Noonan chastised elites today (3-5-16) for not facing the “facts” of people’s lives who were non-elite, distancing herself from any variant of noblesse oblige.

She didn’t get down and dirty with the “facts” so-called Republicans should face, but I will try to at least introduce the subject here.

We are inundated with images of aging couples of roughly the same generation, taking glamorous cruises up the Rhine, hosting big family dinners, drinking wine, and playing with their pets or sports as if such activities were the norm, not the exception. Here is one article among many seeking to explain (genetically) why women outlive men: But Scientific American did not factor into their prognostications class differences, nor did they factor in the laboring classes and their shorter period of pain free health, owing to lung diseases and repetitive motion injuries. (When I looked for pictures of repetitive motion injuries, all the images were concerned with bad posture by computer users.)


Indeed, my physical therapist informed me that the latter painful ailments frequently hit his laboring patients by their early fifties. By contrast, I, who have led a relatively privileged life, did not experience joint pain and tears from various inflammations and “wear and tear” until the last two years, roughly around age 76 (I am in my 79th year now).

So instead of the idyllic “retirement” promised by the mass media (remember the golden watch ceremonies celebrated in ads directed at the successful middle class when I was growing up?) the “facts” we should be looking at are the physical travails of the working classes, both male and female. But Peggy Noonan and her colleagues at the Wall Street Journal have blotted them out in favor of the most vulgar and costly conspicuous consumption.

This is not the first time I raised this issue. See

West Virginia coal miners, 1907

West Virginia coal miners, 1907


  1. We are on the cusp of a transhuman age – synthetic body parts, genetic regulation, regeneration via stem cells, cellular-level therapies. I expect the World’s population will decrease by several orders of magnitude, by a combination of lower birth rates and disasters such as a massive eruption of Yellowstone. Humans will become placid and cooperative. Religion will disappear, although there still will be the inevitable death (Brownian motion). OTOH I do not think there will ever be androids or artificial intelligence because there is ultimately a metaphysical root to reality (somewhere below the Planck scale).

    Just my opinion, based on a superficial understanding of science and technology.

    But as I approach my 70th birthday I do not expect to live to see much of that. Social media has put me back in touch with 3 friends from my teen years. One died within 2 weeks of that contact, and before I could answer him. Sudden heart attack with no prior symptoms. The second spent 30 years stocking shelves in a big box store and is in poor health, lives on his brother’s land and fishes for his protein. The third spent 20 years in the Navy, retired in 1986 and has been working as a civilian for the Navy since (8 kids, 13 grandkids). I have not heard from him for a couple of years and do not know if he is still alive. He was waiting for a re-replacement of his knee replacements. I dropped off social media.

    My life turned out better, physically and financially. I am not on any medication. My cholesterol is high but I will take my chances. I have one major (rheumatoid arthritis mostly in remission) and several very minor chronic ailments but I ignore them. I walk 1-2 hours a day and do my own made-up exercises at home – a bit like pilates.

    Comment by Robert Pullman — April 17, 2016 @ 4:16 am | Reply

  2. I think Noonan addresses those who run the state and reward their friends, punish their enemies, via laws they write.

    ACA is great stuff for common citizens, but Congress exempted itself (and some friends of Congress). EPA employees can make basic mistakes, dump tons of toxins into the Animas River and nothing will happen. There’s Hillary and her server(s). Even without little Blumenthal getting information and running a personal intel op for Hillary, she should be on charges. The VA is defrauded in multiple ways by employees and fails in its mission…nothing happens. IRS, DOJ, OPM…and that is just the stuff we know of at the federal level.

    Then there’s the ex-city manager at the tiny, grubby city of Vernon, egregiously overpaid and then collecting a pension from taxpayer money too high to hide from.

    The corruption and use of the state for personal and financial goals seems to have exploded greatly. It has been there, always, as long as an government official could sell favors and not get caught. LBJ didn’t make millions because his wife managed the “kitchen money” carefully.

    The artistes at the Oscars, behind a wall of heavily-armed LEO’s, are free to bleat about disarming the commoners. They can have all the armed security they want, and, like Sean Penn, if they have a desire to carry concealed, City Hall will no doubt issue the permit. Sean Penn wanted one, despite his drug and anger management failures. San Francisco’s machine was happy to respond.

    In Lost Angles County/City, I don’t qualify. Oh, sure, I have held permits in other locales for 14 years. I have been stalked so I understand “police protection” rather better than the average bear. I can carry in 35 states, but CA is so special, it doesn’t recognize that any other state’s permit is “good enough”. CA is so special.

    CA also has a concentration of the welfare community. Certainly, this worked to the benefit of those at the state and local level who manage the spigot. CA was a widening “income inequality” situation, but Brown et al clearly don’t care. They got theirs, and they can always mandate an increase in the minimum wage, thinking they are solving a problem. Dumbest, worst political class since this experiment started.

    I hope we recover from it. A straw in the wind may be the ousting of the long-term heads of The CA Coastal Commission and SCAQMD. The Lost Angles Times and its socialist op-ed fixtures have been in a fury about both, which probably bodes well for the state, endorses the changes. Maybe.

    Maybe Gina McCarthy will come here, get onto the Coastal Commission, and pursue her “light pollution” agenda. It’s harder for her to see the stars in places she never goes because natural gas is flared off and there are so many lights on the ground.

    Talk about living in darkness, and getting paid well to do it…

    Comment by harryschell — March 7, 2016 @ 3:09 am | Reply

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