Our Modern Robespierres

The called him the Incorruptible.

So pious was Robespierre that he felt it necessary to expunge society of the impure element.  And expunge he did in the tens of thousands as the head of The Committee of Public Safety.

Robespierre equated his reign of terror with virtue.

Does this all sound familiar with the media, our modern Robespierres, clamoring constantly for the beheading of any athlete or celebrity who does not measure up to their standards?

Scarcely a day goes by without these nitwits calling for a public execution. The latest to face their knife is Adrian Peterson for disciplining his child too harshly and Ray Rice for punching his wife unconscious.  It’s not that these individuals should not face judgment that is the prime issue, but that out modern media deems itself worthy to sit in judgment.

Verily, I speak, the greater danger to America is not Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, or the guy coming up next, but they, the media, our modern-day Robespierres.

CalPERS and You

So I read today that CalPERS, the giant fund that manages retirement money for public employees in California decided to get out of hedge funds. CalPERS thought the hedge funds were overpriced for their return.

Good for CalPERS.

Now, here’s some more advice for CalPERS: Do the country and your retirees a favor. Get out of the casino, excuse me, stock market altogether. I did.

That’s right. I got out of the stock market over a year ago when I got this sneaky feeling that it wasn’t the same stock market in which I participated 10 to 20 years ago. I would find myself placing an order at a stated price only to find the order disappearing and then reappearing unfulfilled but with a brand-new higher asking price.

I would find myself chasing a higher price.

Something did not seem right. This feeling was confirmed when I read Flash Boys by Michael Lewis.

What has happened in the stock market is that high-frequency trading plus an unfair speed advantage that some firms possess has led to a situation whereby stock trading is akin to playing Texas Hold’em where some players can see what cards everyone is holding.

Can you win a game like that?

Nobody can win a game like that. Not me, not CalPERS.

PS: CalPERS won’t do any better in the regular market. A cheater can sit at any table.

Ray Rice and Ourselves

Why do we like to talk about Ray Rice?

All day I can listen to the radio sports shows and hear novel comments such as this:  “People should be kind to each other.”

I’ve never heard that before.

Or this gem:  “Spouses should work things out peacefully.”

We like to talk about Ray Rice because we can’t handle our own imperfections and flaws. And our own personal problems are certainly too emotional and subjective for us to tackle.  So, instead, we reach out at someone’s else’s faults and transgressions.

Other people’s problems don’t carry that emotional and subjective baggage that our own problems do; consequently, we actually enjoy lounging back to pontificate on proper behavior.  “Yes, yes, yes, it’s all so simple, all one has to do is  ….”

Curiously attendant to this noble opinion of ours, besides an incomplete grasp of facts and knowledge, is an intolerant fiat that we would enforce at once were we the Commissioner of Football.  “Yes, it seems to me that a lifetime ban is in order, and I say this because in my experience … and several years ago when I was working with youth  … and furthermore when I was at the University … and then to wrap it all up, in the words of my father …”

In our modern world, other people’s lives have become more important than our own.  Rather than invest in ourselves, we put our energy in others, principally celebrities.  Eventually this takes its toll as our own family structure crumbles.  We have become like the town busybody who tries to solve everyone else’s problems while our own house falls into disrepair.

Respectfully spoken, such behavior is a subtle form of arrogance.  This arrogance and its attendant lack of humility translates into a judgmental world of lesser tolerance and trust for others.

A society is only as strong as its people just as a house is only as strong as the bricks and boards that comprise it.  Too tightly packed, too stiff without the right amount of give and the house will most assuredly fall.

Ray Rice is the least of our problems.  Our talking about him far outweighs any crimes he may have committed.

Communism

People naturally would like to know what communism is all about.  People talk about it and people fear it; and many people embrace it.  But how many people know what it is really about?

What communism is about, for the leaders, is power, control and money.  It has little to do with selfless devotion to the people because if communism were about that, communism would have died a long time ago.  Why?  Because it has resulted in poor outcomes and a poor standard of living for the people it was intended to help.

Communism is nothing more than monarchy in a suit.  All that occurs under communism is that King Louis IV and Marie Antoinette have taken off their robes and dressed up in a suit.  The result is the same, power in the hands of a few people.

Many admirers of communism have this dreamy notion of a responsible committee that reflects the will of the people, a committee of concerned activists who participate for a few years only to willingly yield control to other eager and willing participants.

Good evening, Disney World will be closing in 15 minutes.

Under communism, leaders become entrenched, stupid and lazy.  You can see it in our country today as America has become more socialized.  Believe it or not, there are representatives in Congress who have been there for more than fifty years.  Fifty years!

Communism is about money for the leaders.  The leaders can easily pass regulations that favor companies that their extended families own.  Plus, who will supply the uniforms, ammunition, foodstuffs, and so forth that our soldiers need to fight wars that are created out of thin air by these leaders?  The leaders will, of course.

War is the ultimate government program.  And war is essential to a socialist or communist regime.  Because the economy is so poor under communism, because the goods have become so shoddy that no one wants to buy them, the only resource left to a communist country is war.  And it does not necessarily need to be a physical war; it can be an abstract war such as the war against poverty, the war against illiteracy, the war against drugs, the war against violence, the war against crime – all of which require, surprise, money, money that goes to the companies that the leaders control.

Does all of this sound familiar?  It should because I am describing America.

But wait a minute, you scream, “We’re not communists; we are Americans.”

As I stated earlier, Good evening, Disney World will be closing in 15 minutes.

The Future

Hollywood paints a grim picture of the future in their movies.

Typically, their films portray an apocalyptic society where the majority of people scrap out a meager existence amid violence and overbearing governmental control.  The citizens are usually deformed, dirty and crazed.  Everyone seems self-serving.

We don’t have to live in a world like that, nor must we lower our imaginations as to what the world can be.

I don’t see a world like that at all.

Rather I see a world where citizens are wealthier than they have ever been, cleaner than they have ever been.  Violence has largely been replaced with civil behavior as people have greater control over their lives.  Sure, there are rich and poor people, but the disparity is far less than what it is today. The disparity is less because the people chose to place reasonable limits on just how much wealth an average person or corporation could amass.  They came to realize that money as a power, when absolute, corrupts absolutely.  And corporations no longer were permitted to exist in perpetuity; there was an actual life and death to them.  Plus, when corporations committed malfeasance, they could actually be de-chartered, shut down.  When this happened, the corporations were no longer permitted to view malfeasance as an operating cost.

Citizens are the only people permitted to visit a congressman, their congressman, and their congressman only.  Gone are the days of the professional lobbyist who crowds out the individual citizen, hogging up the congressman’s time, portending to represent vast groups whose citizens have no clue what the lobbyist is angling for.

In this world, the Senators are answerable to their states as the 17th Amendment has been repealed.  Gone are the days when Senators act as viceroys from Washington, DC.

As the federal government has grown smaller, the state governments, closer to the people, have grown larger. These state governments have issued in a new diversity in America.  Regional diversity has grown as states and their peoples are now free to experiment and become a laboratory of new ideas. People have voted with their feet by gravitating towards those states that provide a better way of doing things.

Trust has reemerged in the country as people have rejected the federal government’s 800 numbers that existed for neighbors to turn each other in. Citizens decided to outlaw whistleblower compensation fees as they came to realize that trust was the coin of the realm and that if the federal government was that easy to rip off, maybe the solution was to decrease the role of the federal government.

As the federal government has grown smaller, so has its crony corporations and its endless war machine.  Americans are no longer all over the globe fighting wars to keep national and international corporations in the green.  Americans have realized that they do not exist for corporations; corporations exist for them.  As a result of this, larger corporations have come back home and hired Americans to manufacture American goods.

The maxim that America is its own champion and no one else’s rules the day.

People are happy.

The people who aren’t happy are the thieves on Wall Street who are on the run.  No longer able to fleece hard-working Americans out of their monies, no longer able to afford private jets and vacation homes on the Hamptons and the Vineyard, these Wharton School parasites have actually had to find a real job where they make something.  The merger-mongers are gone too, relegated to the waste heap of history because, if you’re too big to fail, you’re too big to succeed.  Bye bye.

So, life is good.  People are lied to less by the media because the media has been broken up; people came to realize that a monolithic media only serves the desires of a monolithic federal government.  Because truth is greater, better decisions can be made.  Rather than spending its monies on poorly fought wars foreign and domestic, wars are prevented in the first place via civil behavior.

Oh, and one more thing.  People now rely on their gut instincts to make decisions.  They came to realize that statisticians are really mathematicians, number manipulators, glib linguists, con men who get their degrees in the arts, not the sciences.  Finally, finally, people realized that they, the people, are not numbers to be totaled up and erased but actual human beings that bleed and cry.

http://www.fixthebus.com

ISIS, ISIl and IS

There is a rational limit to what we can hope to achieve in the Middle East.  First, it is their house, not ours.  We don’t live there, and we can not possibly comprehend how 5,000 years of killings and slaughterings have weaved their way into their traditions, attitudes and psyche.  Second, it is not our job to teach people how to be civil towards each other.  Ultimately, people are responsible for their own actions.  Third, if we continue to run about town solving other people’s problems, our own house falls into disrepair.

Fortunately, there is a solution that we can employ that can help them and us. We can walk away from them physically and commercially.  When I say walk away, I am not just speaking of ISIS but those countries who have funded ISIS as well, you know, our so-called allies such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

By setting standards of behavior regarding the people with whom we choose to associate we can do both ourselves and the inhabitants of the Middle East a lot of good.  If they want to live in the seventh century under a caliphate – with stonings, beheadings, burqas, sharia law – then let’s not get in their way.  Let’s help them return to that age by not trading with them, for the modern conveniences that have enhanced our lives as well as those of the people of the Middle East were invented by the western civilization they despise so much. Advanced textiles, medicines, surgical techniques, automobiles,  jets, weapons, cell phones, digital goods, modern building materials, plastics, vaccines –  all of these were invented by us.

Actions speak louder than words.  And, truthfully, the greatest pain you can inflict on someone is to ignore them.  Nothing brings people around more to your position than exclusion.

Now, some may say that the Europeans and Chinese will sell to them if we do not.  Fine, let them deal with their new friends. Perhaps they will have more success than we.  We’ve tried for over seventy years; maybe we don’t have the talent in convincing people.  We can be big enough to admit that.

Of course, it will mean a sacrifice for Americans to have our oil from the Middle East cut off; but the sacrifice will be far less than the war we will have to fight otherwise.  Americans are resourceful, and I am confident that within ten years we can put ourselves in a position of energy self-sufficiency, which we are going to have to do anyway.

This was the approach our government could have taken after 911.  Think where we would be today had it done so.

Power and Discipline

What can the black man do if he is stuck in the ghetto with violence and gangs all around him?  What hope does he have? His only salvation is his personal decision to make himself better spiritually, mentally and physically through his own individual choices.  His hopes and dreams can never be fulfilled by another man, entity or movement.  All the protesting and vigils in the world are for naught if he does not first make that decision to discipline himself.  

A man can not wait for others to clean up his neighborhood; a man must go out on his own to clean the trash off the streets, to repair a broken window, to clean graffiti off a wall.  And if other members of his community undo what he has cleaned and repaired, let him go back out again the next day and fix what they have undone.  The destroyers derive their power from jealousy, fear and apathy; their power is therefore weaker.  

A man can read a book, and a book is power.  The title of the book matters little.  Whether it is The Great Gatsby or How to Fix an Air Conditioner, the power of a book far outweighs anything seen on television or at the movie theatre.  When one book is mastered another can be begun.   In short order, through reading, the black man can reign supreme.  

The black man wants to know when it will be his time.  His time will come when individual choices are made.  The power of Rome was not in the state; the power of Rome was in each citizen’s individual choice to discipline himself.