Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Answer to Every Question

You're going to want to write this answer on the palm of your hand so you won't forget it. It's the answer to every question. It's the answer you've suspected for a long time, but you were not sure. I'll help you to understand and have confidence you know for sure the one answer to every question.
In order to understand this, let's ask the right first question.
William, did you create the Universe?
“No, sir”
A very good answer. Bold, direct, believable. Let's ask someone else.
Cecil, did you create the Universe?
“No. Certainly not me. God did.”
Now, we're getting someplace. We have a handle on two people who claim they did not create the Universe, and we have a clue as to who did. Good answer, Cecil. Thank you.
Melody, do you agree with Cecil? Do you believe him when he says there's no way he himself created the Universe, but he's pretty sure God did it?
“Yes, I agree with Cecil. He looks like he has an honest face. And, I think everyone in this place will agree that a power bigger than any of us created the Universe.
Thank you, Melody, Cecil, William. Now, I want you to try this: God created the Universe and every thing. I brought this grain of sand from a beach I was recently walking on. This grain of sand probably was something larger some time ago; maybe it was in a rock or part of a mountain. Maybe its elements (like silicon and oxygen) came from some other kind of thing, like a planet or a meteor. How was this grain of sand created? You already know.
I have a piece of paper here with a question written on it. It says “What is the square root of 15,129? You'll be able to find the answer. Many people have found it before, and it's right there in your smart phone. But you can't claim to have created the answer. You just found it. Remember, today I'm trying to figure out if the answer to every question has already been created. I think the answers to all the questions have already been created although humans haven't found all of them yet.
I know all of this seems to be almost meaningless, but it's not. Here's why: The answer to every question has already been created, the solution to every problem has already been created, and the cure for every ailment has already been created. If you and your spouse are on the brink of divorce and you have concluded there's no solution, no resolution, no going back, I have news that you may or may not like. The solution is just hidden from you, but it exists. Yes, your solution exists. Others have found theirs and you can too.
If your loved one is suffering with a terminal disease, there is a cure. The cure for every disease has already been created, but we haven't had the ability to discover each and every one. Not yet.
Peaceful solutions to every conflict have already been created, but some conflicts will erupt into wars anyhow because the right people haven't discovered or chosen to apply the solutions.
It's because of you and me. We're frail and we're incompetent. We're busy with ourselves, not others. We have our heads down looking at our own feet and thinking about that grain of sand inside one of our shoes that's causing discomfort. At least I am. God created the solution for the discomfort and in a minute or two I'll put that solution into action.
Some solutions can be found in history, where the've been discovered before by people confronted by the same problems we have. Reading and understanding history would make me less incompetent. Some solutions are also time sensitive. Here's a question you probably can't answer today, but you'll be able to answer it someday when you no longer need to do so. Does anybody know what the Power Ball numbers will be for next Wednesday? If so, shout them out. We could argue as to whether God has created those specific numbers already, or whether He'll wait to create them Wednesday night. All in His time.
Accepting the idea that God has already created every thing and that every answer is available for us to discover gives me hope that we actually can do it given enough time.
There's been a lot written about hope. The Apostle Paul clarified to the Christian Church in Rome where one source of hope can be found. He told them hope comes from the good character qualities of men and women, people who patiently and persistently work to find answers.
Write this on your hand: never give up. The answer is there, guaranteed, because God never fails.

Never give up.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review The Coming Aristocracy by Oliver DeMille

Aristocracies rule according to one basic principle: they establish two sets of rules, one for themselves and another for everyone else. An aristocracy is only an aristocracy when it operates above the law.

DeMille observes that the founders created the senate so aristocrats would have a place to practice their high status, but the founders limited (enumerated) senate powers. As a result, senators could expend their mighty energies debating each other, while the people (in the form of the House of Representatives) had the real clout. Whether the founders pre-conceived this knot-tying distinction, I'm not sure, but I think it's great.

Lots of us are trapped into thinking that government is the solution to economic problems and every economic crisis. In fact, freedom is the solution.

DeMille reminds us that a clear distinction between education and training is important. Education is a broad understanding of many fields, but training is a depth of skills and expertise in a narrow field. In class structures, broadly educated people comprise the aristocracy and trained people do the work, depending on a job for survival. Think nineteenth century and earlier. Think third world. But, freedom depends on educated masses who have shared values, DeMille says.

I picked some of the plumpest fruits in The Coming Aristocracy. Here they are:

  • Freedom is taught in the classic books of history. The books are no longer on the shelves.
  • Freedom flourishes when the people are independent, free, and self-sufficient as possible.
  • We must accept the responsibilities that come with freedom.
  • Significant numbers of citizens must become owners.
  • In a free society, anyone can build and operate a mini-factory.
  • Liberals believe in the state, conservatives believe in the market.
  • The hallmark of freedom is the individual who ignores limits and lives his or her dream.
  • There are two camps, those of public debate and due process versus those of celebrity, populism, emotion, and swaying the masses. Those are the conservatives and the liberals.
  • Liberals sponsor “repetition makes it true” and “perception is reality.”
  • Liberals challenged with the truth invoke denial, charges of conspiracy theories, and “everybody does it.”
  • Liberals label patriotism and religion as “quaint.”
  • Aristocracy is where elites tell the government what to do and the government taxes the middle classes to pay for it.
  • Power as a purpose has a limit. Freedom as a purpose does not.
I'd suggest you jump onto this author and his books like a squirrel onto a truckload of nuts.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Review Freedom Shift by Oliver DeMille

Oliver DeMille has found a gemstone way down inside the sand and gravel pit of opinion on American freedom's history, and he has brilliantly envisioned a cure that could resurrect America's heritage from a lesson on the history of human greatness, where the 3%-97% rule applies. The author latched onto a golden quote from his long time mentor (Cleon Skousen) “...during the American founding era a mere three percent of the population made most of the sacrifices, did most of the work, and made most of the decisions which established America as the most free and prosperous nation in history.” I'm giving the author an A for making this high value conclusion.
Other conclusions I really like:
  • (There are producers and there are dependents). “...only a society of producers can maintain freedom.”
  • The only hope for a new generation of producers is to promote freedom.”
  • ...a thankful society naturally obtains a prosperous economy.”
P.217: A Return to Tribal Education (chapter 20) is a reminder that role models are a crucial element in family development, and hence individual development. Elijah's story (with an apprentice) adds credence to the author's opinion about setting an example for our descendents.
I was scared halfway to a “oh, no, not social justice” conclusion when I read (p.245) Mr. DeMille's contention that Social Justice is one of eight essential traditions of freedom. Luckily, his explanation was soothing, though. His definition of social justice is not central control of wealth redistribution, but one demanding that all seven other enumerated freedoms be made available to all people, not a limited group of privileged people. Whew!
If you have the privilege of reading Mr. DeMille's 262 pages, give special attention to his descriptions of “the Scarcity Party and the Abundance Party” It's an insightful way to see our current political parties and a way to envision a better choice.

The author gives credit for our sea of freedom to the 3 percent, our patriot founders. There is one chapter missing, though. It's the chapter I'd call “What Made the Founders Think They Could Succeed?” There would be a clear answer: it's the support of the same force that created the Universe: A God who never ever fails.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Psychological Impact of Identity

Who do you think you are? Know it or not, you have an internal picture of yourself, and you regard this personalized picture as your identity. You feel good (and validated) when you live out your identity. In short, if you have the identity of “host” you maximize your utility (to put it economically) by serving drinks and pretzels. And if you have the identity of “life of the party,” you maximize your utility by entertaining the crowd.

You act according to your identity or you pay a cost in utility. The life of the party doesn't feel good about just serving drinks and pretzels to party-goers.

The stronger the identity, the higher the cost of acting contrary to it. For example, once the Army builds into recruits the identity of combat soldier, any soldier refusing to charge a machine gun nest would pay a dear price in identity –- in fact, a cost dear enough to outweigh the physical danger of charging.

The Psychological impact of Identity may provide a window to understanding why high school graduates make decisions. If we try to use the identity concept like a mathematical tool, solving for n variables, there's a chance a solution might pop up. Here are some identities high schoolers might be aspiring to:
  • Sports hero
  • Knight in shining armor character
  • Academic dean's list ace
  • Be like dad (or role model)
  • Robin Hood character
  • Man of power and glory
  • Miss America
  • Wealthy beyond belief
  • Mother Teresa character
There may be some high schoolers who believe their identities are of limited fame or fortune, like:
  • Worker
  • Team member
  • Home maker
  • Park ranger
  • Truck driver
And, others may think their identities are stuck with descriptions of victim, unworthy, failure, etc.

Act according to your identity or pay a cost in utility. It might become psychologically or economically rational to act according to this identity rather than paying an identity cost for abstaining. Consider how you can change your picture of yourself or adapt to fit an identity you'd like to aspire to.

Inspiration from Garth Sundem
Image Elinor Joseph (pinterest)
Edited by Ed Slater

Friday, February 17, 2017

Open Immigration

Does open immigration have a negative effect on a country’s standard of living?

If you seek to forbid open immigration on the grounds that it lowers your standard of living, remember, it's only true if immigrants harm you through theft or injury. That's a matter for law enforcement. Otherwise, you can't make the standard of living claim unless your taxes are redistributed to the immigrants, diluting services due you.

If you believe legal immigrants increase the pool of competition, thereby disadvantaging America, you're wrong. Open competition in a free market culture is necessary and fair. If you don't want open competition or a free market, find your way to Havana for a wake-up.

Inspired by Ayn Rand's comments on open immigration

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Culture Blindness

Are we Americans one culture or many? Are we objectively seeking to consolidate or to maintain a segregated social-scape? Let's look at neighborhoods. We'll define a “non-American” culture as one that chooses not to adapt (but simply to cherry pick) American language and law.

We'll have to make a distinction between citizens whose civic behaviors fit within the boundaries of the Federal Regulations, State laws, and Municipal ordinances, and those who don't.

Is it possible for a subset of immigrants from Italy to create “Little Italy” on one side of an American city and install the culture of Sorrento? Of course, if the behaviors of those Italian-Americans don't break American laws. What about language? How will the immigrants understand American law? That's the answer to the requirement for all to understand the English language.

Can 1500 immigrants from the Middle East, followers of Hezbollah, define a local cultural zone in Detroit, Michigan and adapt as American newcomers? Can they qualify for citizenship and carry on lives honoring their Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S.? Can 20,000 Vietnamese immigrants settle in a locality and adapt? Can Somalians? Of course. The test has to be based on law abiding behaviors.

Cuisine and religion don't matter unless they are in conflict with American law. Homesteads and other dwelling places don't matter so long as they conform to local codes of health and safety. In all of these caveats, though, language matters, because an understanding of American law matters.

Sharia Law conflicts with state and local laws in every jurisdiction in America. Common law in some other cultures (punishment, child abuse, women's rights, confiscation of property, etc) is at odds with American law. Immigrants must understand American law, and they must understand that enforcement is a societal imperative. Dual systems of law cannot exist in America.

Some regulations extend certain privileges to citizens while they are in their own homes or on their own property, but these privileges are not sweeping, they are specific (like the castle doctrine). The certain privileges do not include abuse or honor killing. They do not include injury, theft, or sedition.

We send people to represent us because we believe we can be accurately and effectively represented. We put enforcement strategies to work so our rules can be monitored and honored, and so lawlessness can be prevented or confronted. We agree that enforcement of the rule of law is a good way to maintain our peace loving existence.

So our laws must be laws of the people, and they must be enforced. We live in a country where there is one culture that applies to every man, woman, and child. It is the American law and order culture. It must sweep through every town and it must be absorbed by every person within our borders. It must be practiced as accurately and precisely as each person can do. In little Italy and in Detroit and in every geographic place in America, the American law and order culture must be upheld and honored by every person, every family, and every community.

How will we help every recent arrival to the United States learn and understand his or her responsibility to live within the American law and order culture from day one? How will we create the understanding essential to meet this cultural imperative from the first second spent and the first step taken by a guest on American soil?

E. Slater

image sethkravitz.com

Monday, August 22, 2016

Human Worth, Economic Value, Poverty, and Education

I'm offering my opinion to David H. Freedman's The War on Stupid, where he makes the case that education and poverty are related and in his view, poverty seems to be winning. He finds what and who we should blame for this situation, and he suggests some solutions. I believe he has set up a straw man scenario that he says can only be solved with huge transfers of money. I'm in general disagreement with his socialist-leaning advocacy essay.

I want to clarify my point of view about human worth and personal value.

In our Western culture, we want to maintain that human life has worth equal to every other human life and every life is sacred.

We believe every human deserves to be treated as though he/she has equal worth.

Human worth applies to every human as an intrinsic characteristic, not as a value assigned by judgmental people.

Every human has an economic value as a producer and as a consumer.

Human economic value is set through interactions by the person (or his/her broker) and the marketplace.

Human economic value is necessarily a judgment made by people being judgmental.

Human worth and human economic value are completely unrelated concepts.

As a person who has been accused, tried, convicted, and sentenced for being the most judgmental man in the world, I'm particularly sensitive to writers who confuse human worth with economic value. So, The War on Stupid People struck me as being an essay confusing these two concepts. Mr. Freedman starts by borrowing phraseology lifted from concepts in The Myth of Neurosis by Garth Wood, 1986.

*  Those who consider themselves bright openly mock others for being less so.
*  ...we maintain open season on the nonsmart.
*  ...degrading others for being “stupid” has become nearly automatic in all forms of disagreement.
*  ...this gleeful derision seems especially cruel...(to)...the less intellectually gifted.
*  Rather than looking for ways to give the less intelligent a break, the successful and influential seem more determined than ever to freeze them out.

Mr. Freedman goes on to document reasons why human economic values matter in society and in the workplace, but his conclusion that an IQ gap diminishes a person's worth is illogical. He leaves no doubt that an IQ gap impacts a person's economic value, and I believe everyone would agree. After arguing correctly that low intelligence results in lower wage earning power for a majority of people, the author then tries to convince us that the strength of the link between poverty and struggling in school is as close to ironclad as social science gets. This is also correct for a large segment of the population. So what do we have? Education is less successful when students live in poverty. I agree this is often and needlessly true, but I contend that living in poverty and less successful educations are both effects of the same cause: individuals failing to take personal responsibility.

...our government and society are not seriously considering any initiatives capable of making a significant dent in the numbers or conditions of the poor. I agree, and that's why I'm interested in making a dent.

Mr. Freedman offers answers:
We must stop glorifying intelligence... This answer is illogical. I say we must continue to be ambassadors in pursuit of intelligence through superb education processes. We should strive for excellence, efficiency, and a spirit of continuous improvement in this pursuit.

...provide incentives to companies that resist automation, thereby preserving jobs for the less brainy. ...discourage hiring practices that arbitrarily and counterproductively weed out the less-well-IQ'ed. ...the less brainy are... more aware of their own biases, less anxiety-ridden, and less arrogant, and this is why the less-well-IQ'ed should be given special privileges in hiring).

Where would the incentive dollars come from? Obviously, from additional corporate and personal taxes. These answers are the ideologies of totalitarian control of an unfree population, where individual responsibility is usurped and suffocated by a Central Committee of the State.

...smart people should not be permitted to reshape society so as to instate giftedness as a universal yardstick of human worth. The author again confuses worth with economic value. I say the way free people should influence society is by being the best, most honest, smartest, and productive they can possibly be. The way to ensure freedom is for every individual to accept personal responsibility for improving and adapting their own lifestyles. Every adult should take personal responsibility for himself/herself, family, and for incapacitated citizens. Other people who can reasonably care for themselves are not your responsibility, and you skew the concepts of personal responsibility and economic value when you interfere in their reasonably capable lives.

There is a descriptive way to characterize Mr. Freedman's appeal to energize people whose feelings have been hurt, desperate to clutch for more esteem by opting for more free education money. He seems to advocate robbing the money from others who got theirs by following the rules of decency and fairness and who took personal responsibility to make the most of their educational opportunities despite their financial conditions.

image www.supportingeducation.org

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Why do American Jews vote Democrat?

For American Jews, being called racists would be their biggest shame. Only 41% of American Jews are practicing Jews. That leaves the 59% group identifying more with secularism than Judaism. Secular Jews don't regard the conservative teachings of the Torah to have influence over their un-Jewish lives. Over half of American Jews see their European roots as “the people who suffered the Holocaust,” and a great majority of Jews have very strong fears of being called “racist.” I'd say they've taken their Holocaust revulsion and made a solemn promise to “never act like a racist.”

Unfortunately, the Liberal machine has succeeded in convincing lots of voters that Republicans are gun nuts and racists. Of course, this is nonsense except for an uncountable small number of conservatives and Republicans. That's why lots of Jews vote against the Republicans who have been falsely characterized as Nazi-like racists.

Jews tend to harbor sympathy for the little guy. There's been overwhelming victimhood rampant in
American media stories. Jews cannot let go of the idea that big guys take advantage of little guys, and
Republicans have been painted as big guys (Wall Streeters, CEOs, wealthy, rich, successful). I think it's uncomplicated as to why Jews huddle with the little guy, since Jews have always been treated like little worthless people. American Jews have been repeatedly convinced that American racism disadvantages American Muslims, too. How can Jews vote against their sympathetic alliance with anti-racist Democrats?
Why can't Republicans shake the labels of “racist” and “bully?” It's because of a coordinated effective media message that comes from at least eleven seemingly solid news streams.
• WaPo
• Yahoo
• Obama administration news conferences
• Hollywood elite using a public spotlight to illuminate their scripted fights against the evil
Republican straw man.

Conservative points of view and honest unbiased reporting are routinely attacked. Outlets that dare to
expose the Lib 11 are assassinated (virtually) and demagogued by the 11. By the way, the shame of “being thought of as a racist” is also one of the biggest factors causing lots of non-Jewish Americans to vote anti-Republican, and I think this one factor was the most influential in electing Obama twice. Even Bernie's “free stuff” policy can't out attract the Democrat mainstream candidate, Hillary. Hillary is assumed by many to be anti-racist. I think she also has unadvertised assets that cannot be beaten in an otherwise fair election.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

On Hillaryism

Reference: From June 28, 2016 Elkhart Truth Opinion page: “Hillaryism is more of the status quo” by Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer, in his “Hillaryism is more of the status quo” essay contends that the 8 year development of an Obama legacy is one of tired cliches and vacuous, meaningless political teleprompter rhetoric. It's a caution that the gold star that's missing from Hillary's candidacy package is not there because of those missing things that would matter most: honesty, heart, and compassion. Krauthammer leads you and me to conclude Hillary's character, though implied by other Pulitzer class purveyors to exist, is actually imaginary. Non-existent. What's there behind the curtain is a collection of sand and gravel salted with fool's gold.
Hillary, he says, is trapped by circumstance, and she doesn't have any ideas for a way out that would also propel America forward. Faced with the prospect of crumbling infrastructure, she has neither the means nor the inventive gravitas to conceive of real repair plans, only useless 4th grade Arbor Day-ish posters designed to lampoon the crumble.
Krauthammer seems to have witnessed and reported accurately what I'd call the whore's rouge and faux beauty marks masking the foot fungus of real Liberalism. He refers to underlying sclerosis, dysfunction, and the source of present day miseries in his description. He uses sufficient clarity mixed with thesaurus enriched metaphors to attract the attention of the Conservative audience to his point. His “say it like it is” reputation probably limits readership to the untainted and the unastray, unfortunately.

The reality of Krauthammer's 700 word “Hillaryism” essay is that only a small crowd around Elkhart County paid attention. My guess is that only a few percent of Elkhart Truth readers tried to absorb Charles' opinion. I wish it were more. How many readers just browsed the headline and moved on? Eventually, we'll try to analyze why the other 90-some percent of readers gave up and skipped over to read Dilbert.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Real Gun Crime Solution Would Require a Year of Real Chaos

I'd say a push toward logical comprehensive background checks and earnest enforcement by dedicated federal, state, and local police working together to enforce existing gun permitting laws would be a great step. It's a move that would not prevent many gun crimes, though. Neither would confiscation. If we tried heartily to take guns away, there would be a period of angst, complaints, and near revolution. It would be hell in a concealed carry handbasket, and there would certainly be a period of extraordinary chaos. Do it yourself machinists would start uber-gun manufacturing plants in their garages. Guns and ammunition would go away into hiding places, but they would never disappear. Enforcement would probably result in extreme right to privacy debates, and searches would become intrusive. Politicians would fall into a crevasse of chaos, relinquishing their legacies to a list of “Twenty-First Century Dictators”.

Or, we could use up our chaos and privacy dividends by engineering a way to study, inquire, examine, and profile every person on American soil over the age of ten about their liklihood of going crazy with a weapon. I know there's a cadre of psychologists and social workers who could take on this job and do it well. There are hundreds of college and university sociology and psychology departments itching to develop a robust process. Their outcomes could probably defuse potential knife attacks, car felonies, bullying, bombings, abuse, and suicides, too. I'm high on the idea of investing the dividend in the kind of crime prevention that would have a chance of working to solve the root of the gun crime problem (which I'm sure lies in the mental health arena).

I'll voluntarily be first in line to be tested. If I'm a nut job, then take my pistol away from me. I promise I won't start any media chaos or whine about my right to privacy. And, if people in my sphere are outed as gun sociopaths, strip them of their weapons and help me keep my family safe.