Jeff Neely, a commissioner with the federal General Services Administration,
shown in a hot tub high in a Las Vegas hotel during an advance reconnaissance trip to that city
that was devoted to planning a major subsequent tax-payer-funded GSA training event there featuring
endlessly flowing alcohol, lavish meals, a clown, a mind reader, and a comedian.
You are selfish, and you need to pony up for the common good. Federal employees are working hard for you, and yet you think to deny them their meager reward. Shame on you.
Over at a predominantly agnostic/atheist message board devoted to criticizing, lampooning, mocking, and denigrating Mormons, there is talk right now of how a certain Brigham Young University professor whom they hate — no, actually it isn’t yours truly, or at least, it wasn’t, though now my colleague Bill Hamblin and I have been dragged into the discussion as further illustrations of the same sordid type — has traveled to various places, including Paris, at the expense of faithful Mormon tithepayers. He and Bill and I feel that we’re entitled to this, these impartial mind-readers reveal, because, humiliated virtually daily by our being revealed as lying incompetents, we view such sybaritic globetrotting as our soothing, compensatory, and well-deserved reward.
Anybody who actually knows anything about academia, of course, understands that this is just how the academic game is played. Professors in all disciplines at major colleges and universities jet off, at least once and sometimes several times a year, to conferences from San Francisco to Boston, from New York to San Diego, in London, Chicago, Paris, Rome, and so forth. Those who don’t present papers at academic gatherings tend not to get tenure, promotion, or salary increases. Schools want visibility, enhanced recognition, and prestige, and presentations at conferences are among the means by which those goals are achieved.
So, plainly, there must be nobody on that particular message board who understands academia. If there were, that person would surely step forward and say that, on this score, at least, the three supposedly epicurean BYU professors aren’t doing anything even remotely atypical when they attend and participate in academic congresses and conferences.
So you would think.
But you would be wrong.
There is at least one participant on that very thread who teaches at a state university in the American Southeast. At least a portion of this person’s academic record is readily accessible on line, and one sees immediately that s/he has presented papers in such places as Montreal (2006), Cincinnati (2007), South Africa (2007), The Netherlands (2008), and Philadelphia (2009).
Presumably, these trips (and probably others like them; only a partial record is visible) were undertaken at the expense of this person’s university, which is, as noted above, a taxpayer-supported state school.
No actual photographs of this tax-supported bon vivant enjoying his or her travels
at the expense of the housewives, mechanics, farmers, factory hands, children, and day laborers of his or her state
have been released to the public, but this still photo of a colleague,
taken from an important 1978 documentary film,
gives the general idea.
Now, while tithes are voluntary, taxes are not. In other words, whereas the three purportedly hedonistic BYU professors being criticized have sometimes traveled (in luxurious economy class) to exotic climes — being specialists on the Middle East, this was always likely to be the case — wholly or in part on funds contributed voluntarily by faithful Latter-day Saints, this person has almost certainly traveled around the United States, to Europe, and to South Africa on monies coercively extracted (ultimately, in effect, at gunpoint) by the state.
Whether out of indifference to justice, however, or because it’s just too darned gratifying to watch one’s enemies being publicly pilloried, or because s/he is a coward, this pampered and tax-supported servant of the state has remained completely silent.
And s/he’s vocally of the political inclination, by the way, that demands that you pay more taxes. Go figure.