Category Archives: Charity

BiWeekly Meditation–Looking for the Win-Win Solution

“[Adam] Smith noted that in all transactions, both parties come out better for it.”–Republicans And Reincarnation 

Weekly Meditation: The Sixth Chakra.


Okay, first let me say that I’m switching to bi weekly mediations.  I’ve been doing this for two year and (taking the few weeks I skipped) that’s about 100 meditations, (That’s a lot of meditations) if you need something to focus on to center your mind, it’s not like they have a shelf life and go bad after two weeks.  So rather than keep coming up with stuff every week, I’m going to switch to doing these every other week.

And I think that works out best for everyone, it allows me to take more time to plan these, and you more time to get something out of every meditations.

It’s a win-win.  Which happens to be the theme of this meditation.

As many of my more loyal readers know, I am a huge fan of capitalism.  And besides the fact that it’s the only system that works and is sustainable, there are all the ethical reasons I support capitalism.  One of them is that capitalism is the only system that allows for a win-win scenario. Every honest transaction in capitalism benefits both the seller and the buyer–you both get something you want and you both make your lives better for it.  It’s why this system is the only one that creates prosperity, creates wealth, creates ideas and innovation, and creates a better society.  It’s a system where no one has to lose.  Every other system there HAS TO BE a loser, with liberty and true capitalism the only losers are the ones who don’t engage in the system of free exchange and try to be the most virtuous person they can.  It is the system that models the growth of our souls to enlightenment, everyone can get there, but it is only by choice, work and will power they will.*

But one of the reasons I think so many people are opposed to it is because they are stuck in a win-lose mind set.  They think that every situation has to have a winner and a loser.  If you’re doing better I’m doing worse.  In reality this isn’t so.  With the exception of the artificial nature of sports, life doesn’t have to be about winners and losers.  If one company does well it doesn’t mean its competition must fail, it only means that its competition must adapt, possibly by improving their product, possibly by going in a new direction…and the consumer benefits from both (Microsoft AND Apple seem to be doing well, as well as they myriad of companies that benefit because they do well and the chain of thought goes on and on). Just because you get a promotion doesn’t mean I lost, I now have further opportunities to shine, and I don’t have to feel pressured by the comparison (or a thousand other ways to look at it…a lot of situations come down to how we choose to interpret them and react to them.  If you look at most situations as opportunities, you will seldom find a loss).

But let’s be honest, since there are people with the win-lose attitude instead of the win-win attitude, it does spill into our lives whether we want it or not.  So we have to show people that there are win-win solutions where we can find them.  We have to look for them, we have to propose them to those around us, and we have to convince people.  But the first part of this is that we have to look for them.  So I would recommend either in the evening to spend ten to twenty minutes reviewing all the situations you had during the day that devolved into win-lose situations (or the morning to look back on the previous day).  Look for the ways that they could have been win-win solutions for all involved.  Run it through your mind for to see if there were multiple ways it could have been a win-win.  And do this not with guilt or self-recrimination.  You’re looking at this to get you mind in the habit of looking for win-win opportunities, not to chide yourself for not seeing them at the time they occurred.  The only way you’re going to be being to see them as they occur is if your review previous encounters and see what other possibilities were open that you did not see at the time. And, like so many of these meditations, isn’t something you’re not going to pick up immediately.  It’s a skill that needs to be nurtured, refined, and practiced before you get really good at it.

Now, I do need to point out that just because you can see the win-win solution it does not mean you can convince others.  I remember a time I tried to help someone with a project at work and they incredibly behind on.  This person at first attacked me because they saw my attempt to help them get through the project faster as an insult and responded rather angrily with comments like “I said I’ll get it done and I’ll get it done” (even though they were past the deadline) and then told me “if you want to do this all, fine, I would rather be doing something else.”  This person saw only the win-lose, either they did all the work, or I did all the work, only one person gets free time (yes this had bled into working on the weekend).  It became clear that the win-win of if we both do this we’d both get out of here quickly wasn’t open to this person.  So I shut down my computer, went home, and finished the project later that night when the portion I was waiting on was finished.  If it’s going to be win-lose, I have no intention of being the loser.  And it is at this point that you need to understand if someone makes it clear that there is only a win-lose situation, you should not act like a martyr and think that you should be the one to lose.  Like the Constitution, spiritual enlightenment, is not a suicide pact.  If it’s going to be win-lose, and you’re tried to make an attempt to show any win-win opportunities you can think of, if it is the other person choosing the losing philosophy don’t let yourself be harmed by it.

 

So for the next two weeks look for the win-win opportunities and see you can reduce the stress and increase the moments of peace (and maybe even enlightenment) in your life.

*Okay there might be divine grace in there too, but that has no parallel in any economic system…unless we want to get into voluntary charity, which again is a liberty/capitalism thing.

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Movies for Conservatives: Les Miserables

Les Miserables Posters

“Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men.  It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again.”

Les Mis a movie for conservatives?

Yeah.

But let’s first talk about the qualities of the movie apart from political or philosophical points.

The High Points

This is the play in all its glory.  And the play is a truncated version of one of the most moving books ever written.  All the passion, all the empathy there.  You will cry for Fantine.  For Eponine.  For Gavrouche.  For the revolutionary Friends of the ABC.  For Javert. And of course for Valjean.  Bring tissues this is movie that you will cry at, a lot.

And this movie has a few truly wonderful scenes that supply motivation that was missing in the play.  For instance it has Javert arrive on the same day that Fantine is dismissed from her job, which gives a reason for Valjean not taking a more serious interest in her case.

The movie also supplies little moments from the book that were never in the play, like Grantaire standing by Enjolras at the moment of execution.

I think director Tom Hooper created something truly genius with the live singing way this movie was made…however it appears in the early scenes that there was certainly a learning curve involved in using this technique (I wish this wasn’t the first movie to do it so Hooper could have had something to reference).  But for any inconsistency it brings up at some moments, it adds deeply to the rest of the film and emotional impact of the songs.

Les Mis HathawayAnne Hathaway deserves an Oscar.

And Russell Crowe’s singing was a pleasant surprise.  He added more humanity to Javert than any actor I have previously seen.

The Low Points.

I feel there was a lot that got left on the editing room floor. At 2 hours and 37 minutes this was pushing it for most movies nowadays and I’m pretty sure if all the little things that were taken out were put back in it would be well over 3 hours.  And since Hollywood has no intention of returning to the idea of an intermission (to me this makes no sense as most of the money comes from concessions and if there is a break at an hour and a half we would be more willing to buy soda since we wouldn’t have to worry about running out to the rest room and we would buy food at the halfway mark as we would be hungrier by that point…but at least it seems that way, real data I’m not privy to might show otherwise) they were probably forced to make some heavy cuts to the movie.  This creates some odd pacing issues, where certain parts feel a little rushed.

Also, and it may be a personal issue that others may not have a problem with, I was not overly impressed by Jackman’s singing. It wasn’t bad, but I’m used to a deeper more sonorous voice for Valjean.

On the technical points, the movie is one of the best of the year, the acting and visual work was spectacular. The editing needs work (or at least a director’s cut DVD…please.) and the directing while exceptional still could have been just a little better (I think the high cost of production may have prevented doing reshoots that other films might have done)…Hooper gets an A not A+.

The Political/Philosophical Points

Did you know this was Ayn Rand’s favorite book?  It was.  Kind of puts any thoughts that Les Mis is liberal out of the “obviously” category doesn’t it.

Okay let’s look at some of the points. On their own merits.

“I am the master of hundreds of workers, they all look to me.  Can I abandon them, how will they live if I am not free. I speak I am condemned, if I stay silent, I am damned.”

Jean Valjean is a convict, yes. But while that’s all that Javert sees, we’re supposed to see more.  We’re supposed to see the successful businessman who not only created a whole industry in a town, bringing it out of poverty and into an economic renaissance, but who also out of Christian charity (not guilt, it should be noted that if you read the book Valjean is motivated by a desire to be a better person, not by guilt about his prior actions) creates hospitals and schools for the poor.  In a day and age when lesser writers like Dickens would just recycle the terrible image of the robber baron, Hugo gave us a noble businessman as an example of what others should be. It should also be noted that in a very Atlas Shrugged kind of way, Hugo has no illusions that once Valjean is forced to run the industry and the town is not able to survive in its thriving state without Valjean’s leadership. The book to a great degree, with touches still in the movie, shows that prosperity is driven by captains of industry.

“Take my hand I’ll lead you to salvation.  Take my love, for love is everlasting.  And remember the truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God.”

Further it should be noted what a deeply religious story this story is.  It is God and the Bishop of Digne, not government that redeems Valjean.  God and faith permeate all levels of this story.  Faith ironically is what drives both Valjean and Javert.  And it never condemns any form of faith, showing that all those fallen (except sadly Javert, whom I’m sure Hugo would have placed there) together in heaven.

The novel, the play, and now the movie praise faith.  It’s a rarity these days in serious well produced films.  And given the desperate need for spirituality in our modern world, something like this must be embraced.

“Let us die facing our foe […] Let others rise to take our place until the Earth is FREE!”

And dare we forget that much of the second half of the story is taken up by an uprising by Republican revolutionaries, seeking a return to law and not the capricious whims of a king.

“But, but, but” some liberals will complain.  The book is about helping the poor, and how unjust the criminal justice system is.  Those are liberal issues. And what they fail to realize is that these are different times and different issues.  The poor in 19th century France were starving (a problem with accuracy is that even the slums of France look too pretty in this movie…honestly we wouldn’t have felt comfortable actually watching what the “The Miserable” of 19th century France looked like…it wasn’t quite Nazi Concentration Camp, but certainly not as pretty as this film depicts it), the poor in 21st century America are suffering an obesity epidemic.  Hugo critiqued those who were lazy and those who felt entitled.  Poverty of the kind Hugo witnessed in France was what he wanted us to feel empathy for, modern poverty would not likely bring as much empathy from Victor.  And he would be horrified by the lack of the churches and religion in the government welfare that modern liberals champion.  And don’t even get me started on the fact that you can’t compare the legal system that punished Valjean for 20 years and hounded him for life for stealing a loaf of bread to our modern system…yes we have problems, but we have the kind of problems Hugo would have only dreamed of.

“Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free.”

Of course for me one of the most revealing passages in Les Miserable is when Hugo takes a moment to critique communism.

(It should be noted the terms Socialism and Communism at the time do not have the same meaning now…what he calls Communism would be more in line with modern European Socialism…the term Capitalism was first used in 1854, 8 years before Hugo published Les Miserables—it took him nearly 20 years to write—and its usage as a economic system did not begin until Marx used it in 1867, 5 years after Les Miserables was published.  So he could never expect to hear him use the term capitalism even thought that seems to be what he’s calling for.   He certainly did not have the term cronyism which describes the economics of 19th century France better than anything.  So pay attention to the systems and practices he is referring to, not the titles, as he had no access to the title we currently use.)

“The reader will not be surprised if, for various reasons, we do not here treat in a thorough manner, from the theoretical point of view, the questions raised by socialism. We confine ourselves to indicating them.

All the problems that the socialists proposed to themselves, cosmogonic visions, reverie and mysticism being cast aside, can be reduced to two principal problems.

First problem: To produce wealth.

Second problem: To share it.

The first problem contains the question of work.

The second contains the question of salary.

In the first problem the employment of forces is in question.

In the second, the distribution of enjoyment.

From the proper employment of forces results public power.

From a good distribution of enjoyments results individual happiness.

By a good distribution, not an equal but an equitable distribution must be understood.  The highest equality is equity.

From these two things combined, the public power without, individual happiness within, results social prosperity.

Social prosperity means the manhappy, the citizen free, the nation great.

England solves the first of these two problems. She creates wealth admirably, she divides it badly. This solution which is complete on one side only leads her fatally to two extremes: monstrous opulence, monstrous wretchedness. All enjoyments for some, all privations for the rest, that is to say, for the people; privilege, exception, monopoly, feudalism, born from toil itself. A false and dangerous situation, which sates public power or private misery, which sets the roots of the State in the sufferings of the individual. A badly constituted grandeur in which are combined all the material elements and into which no moral element enters.

Communism and agrarian law think that they solve the second problem. They are mistaken. Their division kills production. Equal partition abolishes emulation; and consequently labor.

It is a partition made by the butcher, which kills that which it divides.

It is therefore impossible to pause over these pretended solutions. Slaying wealth is not the same thing as dividing it.

The two problems require to be solved together, to be well solved. The two problems must be combined and made but one.

[…]

Solve the two problems, encourage the wealthy, and protect the poor, suppress misery, put an end to the unjust farming out of the feeble by the strong, put a bridle on the iniquitous jealousy of the man who is making his way against the man who has reached the goal, adjust, mathematically and fraternally, salary to labor, mingle gratuitous and compulsory education with the growth of childhood, and make of science the base of manliness, develop minds while keeping arms busy, be at one and the same time a powerful people and a family of happy men, render property democratic, not by abolishing it, but by making it universal, so that every citizen, without exception, may be a proprietor, an easier matter than is generally supposed; in two words, learn how to produce wealth and how to distribute it, and you will have at once moral and material greatness; and you will be worthy to call yourself France.”

[Emphasis added]

You will notice he is proposing such things as universal education, due process of law, and property rights.  He condemns any attempt for everyone to have their fair and equal share and envying the wealthy.  He proposes that people be paid just wages for their work (which was an issue then, not so much now). He proposes to make every man his own master, that everyone may earn wealth.  I can’t speak with certainty what political path Hugo would take in the modern world, but I can be fairly certain that if a modern day liberal went back to see him, Hugo would try to slap the stupid out of the Occupy trash.  I can also be mildly sure that Hugo might encourage the building of a few barricades against some of the government overreaches of the modern world.

All in all, the story is one of the value of liberty, of the individual, of redemption through works and of God.  Those are conservative themes if I ever heard them.

“Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night

It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light.

For the wretched of the Earth there is a flame that never dies,

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

We will live again in Freedom in the garden of the Lord.

We will walk behind the plowshares.  We will put away the sword.

The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?  Who will be strong and stand with me?

Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?

Do you hear the people sing, say do you hear the distant drums?

It is the future that we bring when tomorrow comes!”

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Reflections on the Election: Why I was wrong, Why Obama Won, and what the GOP needs to do. Part III

It’s been a month since the election…and as you can tell from the limited number of posts, I’m still kind of depressed Obama won, America Lostabout this (and overworked at work, but that’s another story).  I’m still shell-shocked that people could be that stupid—even I, who believe the masses are idiots, can’t fully comprehend that people are so fucking stupid as to vote in a tyrant not once but twice.  It baffles the mind.  If you care about only what you can get you should have voted for the guy who would guarantee a higher chance at raises and better jobs: Romney.  If you cared about other people you should have cared about the guy who would have done the most to improve the middle class: Mitt.  If you care about character it would be the guy who personally does charity whenever he can: Willard Mitt Romney. Intelligence, that would be the guy who got his J.D. and MBA in the same 4 years: The Governor.  Experience, class, vision, leadership, surrounding himself with qualified people.  On every criteria you can come up with it’s a no brainer, but, but, but…

People are really fucking short sighted, envious and dumb.

But are we just powerless to do anything? Are we at the mercy of party leadership to pull us out of this tailspin the country has voted itself in (dear god that’s a depressing thought)?  Luckily no.  Unfortunately I’m not promising anything easy either.

So what can we as individuals do?

Well first I would like to turn back to the exit polls.  Now looking at ethnicity or gender or even age is pointless because there is nothing we can do to change that.   People are what they are.  (Yes, age changes, but it’s not like we have any actual control over it).

2012 exit polls education

Now education can change (complete shocker that Obama the no intelligence/no high school bracket and the no real world experience/postgraduate bracket) but unless you’re a parent most of us can’t really affect people’s education.  If you are a parent, I might suggest that you state you’re not paying for any kind of college education unless they get a degree in the Math/Science area and thus have marketable skills (if they want to get a dual major and have a liberal art as well, well you can negotiate) but parents do not pay for Sociology degrees they are worthless and breed dumb liberals.

2012 exit polls single

Next we turn to gender and marriage status.  A lot of to do was made about women in this election, but as you see it wasn’t really women so much as single women.  And I have seen conservative writers talk about how the single women pose a threat to liberty as they seem to look to the government for the security nets…but it if you look at the data single men are also pretty dumb. The conclusion I’m drawing here isn’t that women are liberal, it’s that single people on the whole are liberal and need to be stopped.  (Yes, I as a bachelor, may not want to throw stones in a glass house, but I’m not as dumb as my fellow singles who voted for Barry…but if you are or know any single, intelligent, conservative, spiritually open women in the Phoenix area…well…my email address is posted…).  Now does this mean we should all go out and get married without standards or relationships, that marriage is an end unto itself. No.  One of the reasons we have a high divorce rate is that people don’t take the time to plan and make sure they’re making a right choice.  So really unless you want to start playing matchmaker which some of us are more qualified than others (this would certainly not be a skill of mine).

2012 exit polls religion

And then we see that Obama did well with the non-religious crowd* and Romney did well with the religious crowd.  Let me put these last two points in context. It doesn’t have as much to do with faith or companionship.  For a lot of people it is an issue of safety.  If you have a spouse, if you have an active church community you have someone you know you can fall back on if things go bad, if you don’t have these things, then the psychology of most people is to seek something you can fall back on: the government.  Now I would rather people evolve and see themselves as their fallback (or at least maybe God) but if we’re going to get there we first have to have an economic system that allows people to take care of themselves (i.e. we need to get rid of liberals and progressives at every level).

So what does this have to do with religion?  Well it means that if you’re a member of a church you need to encourage, push for, and if necessary demand, that your church be more active in the community—charity, public works and improvement projects, fundraisers not for the church but those honestly in need. This should have nothing to do with demonization or dogma.  Only about helping the community and strengthening the bonds of community.

If you’re not in a church, say a New Ager, it couldn’t hurt to find a non-pushy church out there and see if they would like help with those charity projects.

If you’re in a church that does do these kinds of charity projects then see if you can invite people you know to help, don’t proselytize, don’t make it about belief, only about helping others.  (Also may I suggest making your charity functions known to the local middle and high schools—students, especially college bound students, are more and more looking for community service on their resumes—and let them know their parents are invited as well).

This has nothing to do with dogma, it has to with a core tenet in every religion I can think of, charity, community, compassion.

Show people that government isn’t the only source that they can fall back on.  Look at it this way, the way people talk about others often shows how they themselves think.  I call it the “I am the world” fallacy, and I’m guilty of it myself sometimes, we all are.  We tend to make assumptions about the way people act based on our own habits and thoughts.  Conservatives naturally tend to think that the government isn’t needed because we ourselves are more generous and just assume everybody does the right thing.  Liberals assume others are avaricious, cruel, irrationally selfish, and miserly not because they’re saints and know everyone else is stingy, but because they themselves are not compassionate at their heart—they fear they will have no one to fall back on because in their heart of heart they know they won’t help other either.  (Liberals give to charity less than conservatives and they volunteer a hell of a lot less than conservatives, see Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks).

But if we get people who might not usually attend church to come to charity events we can show them that people do care for people and that we don’t need government to care for us…and maybe we can even show them there is personal joy in compassion and charity.  Trust me, a person who does charity out of the joy it brings them never votes liberal, liberals give out of guilt not joy.

So get your church (or any other group that has the resources) involved in the community (if you’re not doing at least 3 events a month, it’s not enough), invite people to come just for the charity aspect, and watch their belief that the government is the only one looking out for them disappear (also with more human contact and larger social circles we might fix that single problem listed above).

Also this process will help destroy that one thing that Obama did well in “He cares about people like me.”

2012 exit polls key points

Charity and a strong community teach us that we are capable of caring for people who aren’t like ourselves.

But that can’t be all we have to do.  Liberals have done a great job with controlling the media.  News, movies, TV shows, you name it there are liberal messages.  But we cannot give in on this.

So there are a few things we can do.  The first is that we can try to pull their funding.  Here at the Conservative New Ager we’re going after that Goebbels style propaganda wing MSNBC.  We encourage people to write to their advertisers and pull their ads.  It works.  If a company just gets a hundred letters asking them to make sure the shows they are advertising on are only reporting the truth, they will either pull the ads or they will use the power their money buys them to get results.  We have already heard from P&G and UPS.

The next thing is that we need to expose people to the truth.  I would recommend everyone use all the social media they have to expose their friends to the truth.  Now you don’t have to repost a thousand articles every day, but don’t be afraid to share something for fear of losing a friend.  For everyone you lose you’ll likely help push a two or three that much closer to the truth.  (And if you’re like me you don’t have many liberal friends left anyway, it’s the middle we’re trying to win, not the ones beyond hope).

Also if you get a real newspaper (there aren’t many left: The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times…if it uses AP articles don’t bother) take it to work and leave it in the break room every day.  It can only help expose people to the truth.

But on that note we need to share the media that is conservative we need to focus on the stuff that isn’t the news and isn’t explicitly political.  Liberals have tried to infect every book, every movie, every show with liberal messages and just habituate people into thinking in liberal terms.  The problem is that most good literature is more conservative in its themes.  Self sufficiency, rational thought, ethical behavior, connection to God.  These subtle themes are in literature everywhere, even when it’s written by artists who are liberal themselves.  George Orwell was a socialist, but 1984 and Animal Farm are scathing critiques of the very state Orwell would likely have supported.   Given time, the truth will out, as a conservative writer once put it. What conservatives make the mistake of doing is trying to give people Atlas Shrugged and Ann Coulter and Thomas Sowell.  It doesn’t matter that we enjoy those, those books only preach to the choir.  If someone isn’t open to those ideas, if they’ve been indoctrinated to think conservatives are evil, Rand was psychotic, Coulter is vicious and Sowell is an Uncle Tom, it doesn’t matter if the facts are there, their emotional reaction to those works will prevent them from seeing the facts.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t share books and TV shows with friends, family, acquaintances. I’m sure we know lots of people who are not conservative but if they were introduced to those ideas the logic and reason of it would come out.  That is why I am putting together a list of books, movies and TV shows that depict the conservative themes and that we agree with, without being explicitly conservative.   The Individual, reason, ethical behavior, long term thinking, the truth.  These are things that bring people close to conservatism.  I would take a look at this list (and keep coming back as I hope to keep adding to it).  Lend these works out to people who you think might be open to them.  Give them as gifts for any holiday and any excuse you can.  And then discuss them with the person after they’ve read or watched it (never give out something you’re not familiar with already!  You don’t want to get caught where they make some silly liberal interpretation and don’t have a comeback for it).  It seems silly but ideas have power, and once they’re in a person’s mind they spread not just to affecting the other ideas of that mind but in the way they behave to others and the way they influence the ideas of others.  And if they get more conservative in their thoughts introduce them to the more explicitly conservative works…but don’t start with those, they’ll just shut people down.

Finally it’s the old stand-bys.  Write a blog or letters to editors.  Donate to organizations that promote your beliefs (right now I would focus on Heritage and Freedomwork because they do not seem overly obsessed with the social issues which are dragging this party down and giving the left too many easy targets), volunteer for campaigns, get involved.  We have four years where we can do next to nothing to save the economy or well being of our allies across the sea.  Nothing.  We have this idiot tyrant in charge and he will wreck the place as much as he can through a combination of stupidity and malice.  Focusing too much on that will be somewhat fruitless for us as individuals—but as individuals we do have the power to influence those around us and help bring them to our side.

*Also Obama did exceedingly well with people who aren’t not affiliated with any religion but are spiritual  you know, the kind of people the Republicans and Reincarnation was written specifically for.  If you know some of these people, could it hurt to give them a copy?

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Movies that show the rich as good #4 Batman Begins

“And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Oh come on you knew he would be in here. Super rich guy who uses his money to battle crime and evil. Of course he’s going to be in this list.

So I chose this one film over the whole spectrum of Batman films for two reasons. The first is that I find the Bale/Nolan interpretation of the character to be far more human and realistic than any other version of the character. The second is that because this version of the film includes not one person to admire, but two.

The first is of course Bruce Wayne. Yeah a little off in the early parts of the movie, but once he finds his calling for his life—“I’m gonna show the people of Gotham their city doesn’t belong to the criminals and the corrupt.” It’s a very conservative/libertarian idea—I’m going to show people that they can stand up for themselves, I’m going to show them their problems aren’t so big that individuals can’t face them, and, as he says in a later film, “A hero can be anyone.” And this is what makes him better than the other visions of Batman which at their best seem to only be driven by revenge or guilt at their core (or campiness) and have merely sublimated it into something more productive…but rather someone who has moved beyond his need for revenge and self-pity to actually do something productive with his life.

Honestly, the argument for Bruce Wayne kind of gets made on its own…or you’ve really been living in a cave.

But there is another nice thing about Batman Begins: Thomas Wayne.
This film gives us a look at the virtues of the Wayne family that are often ignored just a little in the whole of films.

“In the depression, your father nearly bankrupted Wayne Enterprises combating poverty. He believed that his example could inspire the wealthy of Gotham to save their city.”

Thomas Wayne shows all the virtues of all those robber barons of the 19th century who used their earned wealth to build infrastructure, charities, fund churches and reform movements, who brought cheaper goods at greater quantities. Those evil bastards. They understood the call of the now overly forgotten virtue of noblesse oblige*–that with the wealth you have earned and inherited one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things you can do with that wealth is help others fulfill their potential as well. Wayne especially in his building a transportation system rather than just giving out the dole understands that it is systems and tools that help people more than just handouts.

“Gotham’s been good to our family, but the city’s been suffering. People less fortunate than us have been enduring very hard times. So we built a new, cheap, public transportation system to unite the city.”

Of course also this is the kind of man who through his superior actions as a parent also shows himself to be worthy of complete admiration. Even his dying words, “Don’t be afraid,” are concerned with the not just the physical well being of his son, but the mental and spiritual well being as well (yeah, it took Bruce awhile to internalize them, but he’s only human).

The Nolan series of Dark Knight movies as a whole is a wonderful depiction of human virtue and the good that people are capable of, but this movie also doesn’t give into the knee jerk ability to just portray the rich as vapid and pointless. (Notice also how offended even the rich are when Bruce starts to pretend acting like most Hollywood writers think the rich actually are).

*Yes I realize that the term has numerous definitions from the derogatory to the chivalrous, I’m going to use it here to more or less mean: To whom much is given, much is expected… or, if you prefer I keep in the comic book parlance for the blog, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” You might also look to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Book 4 Chapter 2 for a further discussion on this virtue.

Honorable Mentions in Film
I would be remiss to not mention two other rich people in film in conjunction with the Dark Knight films.

The first is Zorro. And I will say the best version of Zorro is still the The Mark of Zorro with Tyrone Power. Like Wayne, and in most versions of the Batman story the inspiration for Batman, Don Diego de la Vega is rich but cannot turn aside from the injustice he sees. So he dons a mask and becomes the Fox, Zorro. Now granted the wealth of a Spanish noble in Spanish California is probably not as ethically gotten as a modern industrialist, but it’s not as relevant to the story.

And of course, since most of Marvel’s stable of heroes are merely rip offs of DC characters we have to mention, Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr.’s Ironman starts off as a bit more immature than Bruce Wayne, but over the last three films (and soon Iron Man 3) we have certainly come to love Tony, if not still finding him a bit egocentric.

These are highly entertaining films, albeit maybe not as deep as the Dark Knight films.

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Filed under Capitalism, character, Charity, Movies

Movies that show rich as good #9 Castle

There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about how to kill people: psychopaths and mystery writers. I’m the kind that pays better.

Before anyone thinks that this is only going to be a list of movies made before 1970 where everyone in almost every film is wealthy and sporting more liquor than I would possibly know what to do with (don’t believe me, watch a Thin Man movie, fish drink less). But have no fear, this is not just a list of classics…

Take our number #9 pick: Castle and its eponymous character Richard Castle. Is Castle rich? Oh yeah, this bestselling author can buy a bar just because he feels like it or put out 100K just to help get a killer. The man certainly qualifies as rich enough to quit working and still have enough to live comfortably. (Which is arguably what he’s done since he’s now only averaging a book a year).

Richard Castle: Oh, I’ve been kicked out of all of New York’s finer educational institutions at least once. The irony is, now that I’m rich and famous, they all claim me as alum and want money.
Kate Beckett: It is just so rough being you.
Richard Castle: My cross to bear.

And what makes him so great?

Well there is one thing, his clear sense of justice…not just in catching the bad guys but in the sense of that this is a man who digs through old case files to see that the true love of a man who breaks his girlfriend out of jail for a crime

And let us not forget that Kate comes from money as well…not Castle money, but certainly from that line between upper middle class and lower upper class…and she is also shown as a hero without equal.

they didn’t commit ends with them being released not both thrown into prison. This is a man who puts his life on the line for friends and never does anything he even remotely considers wrong. (Immature to the nth degree yes, wrong no, and when he has screwed up he is remarkably willing to apologize).

Further, Castle while obscenely generous at times, he also understands the real purpose of money: to use it in furthering happiness. Yes Castle seems like he is irresponsible and devil-may-care…but that’s not because he can’t be mature (he has too many moving scenes with Alexis, Martha and Beckett for it to be that) it’s just that he has earned his second childhood through the hard work of writing over two dozen best sellers. He earned it and he’s going to enjoy it, and that’s more or less exactly what money is for.

Like most good people with or without money, Castle is a good child even to a mother of sometimes questionable skills (while we all love Martha at this point in her life, we all have to admit she was a terrible parent from some of the stories she and Castle tell). But like a good son Castle loves his mother, and for all of his annoyance is always there for her with a shoulder to cry on or a rent free apartment if she needs it.

And of course, forget Beckett and Martha, forget his generosity and devil-may-care attitude, the single most important thing is that Castle is admirable and that he is perhaps the single greatest father in the history of television. The character has raised a mature, self-reflective, high-achieving, self-sufficient daughter who is also well adjusted socially. And it’s just not writers shoehorning these characters in, the writing of the character of Castle is at all times supporting, caring, loving, and encouraging of his daughter and acts in exactly the way you would need to raise and encourage such a young woman. For whatever flaws of ego or clownishness the character comes with, his parenting skills and infinite love for his daughter more than wipe them out.

That is not to say money is a necessity of good parenting (although I think you’re rather selfish to bring a child into the world if you don’t have the money to support it) but the writers of Castle have gone out of their way to show a character who has more virtues than vices (and rather superficial ones as they disappear the second they are inappropriate), and they have made this character very rich without a moment of or scintilla of remorse over his well earned riches.

Like father like daughter?

Honorable Mention

Simon Tam from Firefly.  Yeah, Simon was uncomfortable and out of place.  But he gave us his whole extensive fortune for the love of his sister.  Have to appreciate that.

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Romney: The Man of Near Infinite Empathy and Compassion

Mitt does not like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point.–Ann Romney

So the continuing attacks on Romney are just getting more and more egregious.

In the last few days I’ve seen Romney called a fanatic and shameful for actually saying America should be defended and respected…and I’m apparently a fanatic for defending this belief as well. But then again apparently any defense of Romney is my “salivating” over him without using any intelligent thought. (This while the left ignores all of Obama’s flaws and slobbers over him.)

But apparently to some of those who support government any defense of the free market or American Exceptionalism is fanaticism and a call for genocide. Back here in reality it’s a defense of virtue, facts, and what works.

So just to annoy them, and I would recommend all my readers do the same in their personal lives (just for fun), let’s point out the numerous qualities that make Romney the kind of person I want to vote for.

Now I prefer intelligence and common sense in my candidates, but there seems to be a large call for a candidate with empathy. Now everyone but a sociopath* has empathy but some exude and act on it better than others***. Mitt Romney is apparently not one of these people who exudes a “I feel your pain” feeling on camera (I can however tell you from personal experience that he’s very charismatic and likable when you’re ten feet from him, but again that shouldn’t necessarily be a reason to vote for him). However, since liberals are hitting him as being a cold and vicious heathen for not exuding this empathetic claptrap on TV let’s look at his actual behavior to determine if this is a man who acts with charity and compassion to others.

This is the man who would give a struggling family $250,000 because he heard they needed help. 

This is the man who has saved a drowning family.

This is the man who shut down his company, possibly loosing thousands if not millions in the process, so that he could direct his company’s full attention on finding and saving the daughter of a friend

This is a man who gives millions in charity, giving more than what is tax deductible

A man who is so uninterested in money he gives up his salary as governor (about half a million over 4 years) and who took no salary for the work he did to save the Olympics.

A man who takes time to comfort the sick and needy, to care for those who feel they are in darkness and who need help.


And there are EVEN MORE STORIES HERE…
You know what, you can say a lot about Romney? You can say that, “Oh he has money, he can afford to be that generous”…true…but what about the people the left defends endlessly like tax evader Warren Buffett***. The fact is that he has earned his money and then does what few of us ever have the chance to do, and what few of those who have the chance ever actually do, use it to gain happiness by helping others. I guess you could claim that ALL these people are lying, but that would be fairly petty. You can claim that compassion and empathy and charity aren’t everything…I would agree, but do you really want to have an argument about intelligence and policy when your candidate is Obama?

But you can’t claim that Romney is not a man of extreme empathy, extreme compassion, and extreme charity.

Any attack on this man’s character is just silly.

*I could name some politicians, but I’ll be polite.
**I believe the word for exuding empathy is charlatan.
***If you bring up Romney’s tax returns, you’re an idiot. There is not a single iota of evidence to suggest Romney has cheated on his taxes or hid money. It is a fact on the other hand that Buffet and half the cabinet are avoiding paying their taxes.

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Filed under character, Charity, Election 2012, Faith, Free Will, God, Individualism, Love, Mitt Romney

Tax Returns, Rich Liberals, Stupidity and Hypocrisy

This thing about Romney’s tax returns is stupid, and I’m just tired of it. 

You have to consider a couple of things to start out with.  (1) It’s not like Obama’s White House and IRS don’t have access to those returns and (2) the IRS under Obama has been more than willing to harass Romney supporter as shown here and here (3) if there was anything damning in them don’t you think Obama would have already leaked that (after all if highest level classified national security information can be leaked to the New York Times to get reelected do you really think Obama draws the moral line at leaking his opponent’s tax information?).  Also given that people are upset about things like offshore accounts (which are actually good for growing and American economic growth) and the fact that Romney only pays about 15% on his income (because it’s pretty much all capital gains income which is taxed at a much lower rate than other income because if it wasn’t you would see the collapse of what is left of the American economy) it is clear that ignorant people are very agitated by the intricacies of finance when they have no understanding of what is going on…thus releasing even more financial information will allow liberals to make ethical, legal, and smart financial choices sound like unethical, illegal and stupid financial moves (like giving money to your cronies at Solyndra…oh wait that wasn’t Mitt). 

This then of course brings up a discussion of how the rich need to pay their “fair share.”  Let’s just ignore that 47% of the nation isn’t paying anything (is that fair?) or that the top 10% earn about 45% of the income but pay 70% of the taxes (yeah that sounds fair).  And Mitt only pays 15% of his income to the government, that’s not fair (of course he already paid taxes on when Bain earned the money and paid a corporate tax on it, then Romney paid taxes on the money Bain paid him, which he then invested in companies who paid their own taxes on the money they earned, and then Mitt paid his 15% on the income he earned from that investment.  Oh, and the US has the highest corporate tax rate of any nation (http://www.heritage.org/federalbudget/corporate-tax-rate) …so it’s not like he hasn’t paid and paid and paid taxes on that income.  Yep he hasn’t paid his fair share.  Now there are other reasons that Mitt hasn’t paid income taxes in a while…like the fact that he didn’t take a salary as head of the Olympics or as Governor of Massachusetts–when you don’t earn anything you don’t pay taxes.  And of course this all ignores the fact that this is a man who gave away his entire inheritance to charity and gives about 15% every year to charity (some bigots will decry the fact that a large portion of that goes to the Mormon church, but even if you had theological issues with the church , you’d be a damn fool to say they are not in the business of numerous aid programs).

But liberals just dismiss this because (A) “he’s not paying his fair share” (still waiting to hear what percentage that is) and (B) it’s not to the charities they like. 

And this leads to an odd habit I’ve noticed among rich liberals.  They bitch and moan and whine about how we don’t support Planned Parenthood, or NPR, or PBS, or the arts or this or that project or organization enough.

Now as far as I know, and I haven’t verified every picture on this, but except for Mitt I think everyone in this picture is liberal…and as far as I know only a 4 or 5 give significant sums to charity (only a couple do it without seeking public praise for thier charity)…so the question is that if most of the these liberals feel that more money should be spent on the poor and thier pet projects, why don’t they put thier money where their mouth is?

Oddly enough these are often the same rich liberals who say that they aren’t being taxed enough.  (Let’s ignore for the moment you can just not take deductions and pay the full rate or you can give more than the minimum to government…and yet they’re taking deductions and not just giving money by the bushel load to the feds  (follow the link, it goes straight to where you can just give money to the Treasury Dept…I’m going to wager right now no one is going to give a dime).   That the rich should be taxed at much higher rate (one assumes to pay for all these pet projects they want funded).

Hmmm….rich people say the government is taking enough of their money AND they’re saying the government should give more to their pet projects…hmmmmm….

 

Am I the only one who thinks that they could just cut out the middle man and give more to all these things they say needs funding.  Just cut a check, and don’t worry about the government.

But, some whiny liberal will say, there are more rich Republicans.  But that’s not really true, it’s a bit more divided fairly evenly and statistics suggests it may be slightly biased to the left (performers are statistically more liberal and entertainment makes people very rich very quickly).  Also it might be helpful to take into account that Obama has raised 181 Million from large contributors and Romney has raised only 121 Million from large contributors (a 3:2 advantage for the left ) so while not a perfect way to calculate it (if nothing else Romney had months of fundraising that he had to share with Ricky and Newt that Obama could just rake in the dough) but there is still the fact is that there are still a lot of rich liberals .

Then of course the rich liberals will complain that it’s not enough if they do it, they need the money of ALL the rich to make an effort…apparently these people are forgetting what the overhead of the government is between numerous departments, lost interest on the money, corruption, waste, idiocy, Michelle’s vacations, trust me giving straight to the charity is far, far more efficient (or did we forget how much money the GSA is spending?) .

Now if liberals don’t want to spend their money that’s their right and I support it.  I believe in the virtue of charity, but I also believe that different people have different things to learn in different life times and the virtue of charity, while admirable in most cases (it’s not as if it’s done merely for good press…like, say, you say you’re going to give all your money away when you die, but you spend your days trying to avoid paying back taxes…Warren Buffet I mean you), but it is not the only virtue and I can see some spiritual lessons may require for not giving out money…and I’m not going to judge who is in what category.  But I will judge hypocrisy.  And if you claim more of your money should be taken for the public good, but don’t spend it on the public good when it is fully in your power to do so, you are a gutless, virtueless, hypocritical piece of filth.  I believe it also goes by the title DNC donor. 

The fact of the matter is that liberals don’t care about Romney’s tax records.  The bright ones know there is nothing untoward in there, they want a piece of propaganda to rile the more ignorant in their base.*  They don’t care about fair share or helping others because if they did they would put their money where their mouths are with or without the government’s help. 

*I’m not claiming there aren’t ignorant people on the right, there are, they were known as Santorum supporters…but his loss shows they’re not in the majority.

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Filed under Capitalism, Charity, Congress, Conservative, Economics, Election 2012, Free Will, GOP, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Individualism, liberal arrogance, Long Term Thinking, Mitt Romney, Natural Rights, Obama, People Are Stupid, philosophy, politics, Taxes, Welfare

The Best Patriotic Films #12 Cinderella Man

“I have to believe that when things are bad I can change them.”

If you’re a consistent reader of this blog, you’ll probably know that I am not the biggest fan of sports the universe has ever known.  But while most sports bore me, movies about sports can still be great. And Cinderella Man is one of those films.  (Also despite the very patriotic undertones of Far And Away and Apollo 13 I felt those were more centered on the characters than the nation that gave rise to those characters, but I really thought a great director like Ron Howard did deserve to be on this list somewhere).
For those who don’t remember this film, it is the story of Jim Broddock, a boxer who lost everything in the early days of the Great Depression, including his promising boxing career…only to make a miraculous comeback after being called on to fill in last minute for a fighter who had to bow out.

It is an American story for many reasons.  The least of which is that it is the story of an underdog.  Americans for all their strength in economics, military, this or that field, love an underdog, because that’s what we are.  We are band of misfits who created a great economic power.  We are a band of untrained militia who beat the most powerful military in the world.  We are the place where someone can through willpower and skill change their life for the better.  We are the place that gets knocked down time and time and time again, and always comes back stronger than before.  And we love to root for underdogs like ourselves.

But like any great underdog story, this is the story of a man who survives and excels because of willpower and drive.  The America Dream is not the American Dream because lots of people here can win the lottery or just find success by dumb luck—it is the American Dream because we have control of our own lives, power over our destiny—we don’t live as the victims of our circumstances but as the master of them (or at least that’s what we preach…but at least we preach this bit of truth, rather than some froggish countries that preach dependency.)

And it is again the simplicity of the American Dream that makes this movie stand out.  The final title cards show that Braddock did not just blow his money (it should be noted that according to the movie he didn’t squander the money he earned early in his career…he just invested it right before the crash), but rather lived the modest American Dream most of us have in mind for ourselves and one day for our children:

“Two years later Jim Braddock put his title on the line against Joe Louis. Jim knocked him down in the first round though Louis went on to win the bout. Joe Louis would always call Jim Braddock the most courageous man he ever fought.  Jim served honorably in World War II. He later owned and operated heavy equipment on the same docks where he labored during the Great Depression. In the early 1960’s he helped build the Verrazano Bridge. Jim and Mae bought a house in New Jersey with the winnings from the Baer fight. They raised their children in that house and lived there for the rest of their lives.”

Of course what really makes this movie stand out is Braddock’s behavior to the relief money (today we would call it welfare).  Yes he needed to take relief money to keep the power on so that his kids could stay with him and his wife.  There is nothing wrong with welfare when people are desperate and no one in this country would begrudge legitimate need (as opposed to making no effort to get on your own feet, to control your own life, to educate yourself, or to get a job…those lazy couch potatoes we have a real problem with).  But what makes Braddock’s story interesting is what he did when he was back on his feet:

Reporter: Bob Johnson, Boston Globe. Two days ago, we ran a story about you giving your relief money back. Can you tell our readers why?

Jim Braddock: I believe we live in a great country, a country that’s great enough to help a man financially when he’s in trouble. But lately, I’ve had some good fortune, and I’m back in the black. And I just thought I should return it.

While there may be cases like this elsewhere, it is only the most charitable nation in the world that you will see this as not being an act of insanity, but rather an example of the best that this nation has to offer.  We don’t glorify need, but we do glorify those who are able to pick themselves up to a point where they can help themselves and those around them.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Art, Charity, Conservative, Debt, Faith, Free Will, Individualism, Movies, Movies for Conservatives, politics, Welfare

Facts vs. Emotion in Campaign Season

It’s interesting to watch how both campaigns are beginning to work. And as usual, the old battle lines are being drawn. Democrats are playing to lies, half truths, and emotion and Republicans are more or less playing to facts and patriotism.

Let’s take a look at what I mean by taking a look at 4 ads that came out this weekend. Obama and his team came out with this ad hitting Romney for closing a steel plant in

It starts with a former steelworker saying that his company GST Steel, which is kind of odd because if you had a great reputation for quality I don’t think the company would ever have been in a position where Bain Capital could have bought it out. But there I am using logic, silly me all that matters is that picture of the old guy putting on the hard hat. I should really feel sorry for him. Then we have David Foster, Lead Negotiator for workers at GST Steel, saying that it was Romney’s fault. Okay let’s deal with that point piece by piece. First GST Steel closed in 2001 two years after Romney left Bain. Second, the reason GST Steel was closed because Bain kept trying to make the plant work but as the union refused to compromise on ANYTHING there was no way to make the company profitable.  Also let’s not forget that Bain offered to buy employees out and offered to give them new jobs, albeit non-union jobs at the profitable steel company…more on that later.  So in reality it was the union’s refusal to negotiate that killed GST…hmm who was the chief union guy?…oh, that would be the “Lead Negotiator for workers at GST Steel” David Foster. So Foster’s claim that Romney was to blame comes off a little hollow as it was really Foster’s inability to put the well being of employees ahead of the well being of the union. “They closed it down without any concern for the families or the community”…after you know, years of trying to make it profitable. And they “made as much money off it as they could”! Dear God! What monsters! They actually tried to make a profit. Sick, sick people.

They terminated health and life insurance…strangely that’s what happens when you go out of business.

“It was like watching an old friend bleed to death.” And given that it was the employees and their union that refused to bargain which was what really killed this company, the image of standing there, watching your friend bleed to death, and not just doing nothing, but continuing to stab him repeatedly is a very fit image. If anyone is to blame it’s not Romney.

My union refused to negotiate. I refused to take a non-union job. It’s all Romney’s fault.

I love the “Those guys are all rich” complaint. Not only is Obama still playing to the most base and uneducated class warfare, but it shows how dumb some people are. You can have millions. Hell you might even have billions…but that money doesn’t last to just give out, if you’re not making a profit, then that money won’t last forever. The implication from that line is that Romney and all the other Bain executives should have gone bankrupt to keep funding a plant that wasn’t making money.

“We view Mitt Romney as a job destroyer” and I view you as someone who doesn’t do math very well. Why? Well, 750 employees (you have to love how they claim he destroyed thousands…the typical Democratic propensity for lack of accuracy in numbers ) lost their jobs because of what Bain did…now last time I checked 750 was less than 6,000…8 times less if my math is correct. Also fun fact, the GST Steel plant was reopened in 2004 with somewhat fewer workers…thus proving Mitt Romney’s point that sometimes you need to let industries go bankrupt so things can be reset, reorganized, and redone and come back stronger than ever…it’s a term in capitalism known as creative destruction. Although from the Obama ad you would never know the plant reopened.  And also what’s with all the pictures of houses collapsing like it’s a post-Apocalyptic landscape?

“How could you care for the average working person if you felt that way?” Well jackass, you care because you want to actually build something that will last, that will make a profit and that will not need the constant handout that this ad was asking for. And then this loser looks like he’s about to cry. This, I can only guess, is supposed to make us feel for him. I will admit it does make me feel something—it makes me feel like slapping this loser so hard he grows up. For god sakes, you lost a job, it happens to the best of us, man-the-fuck-up and go get another job, don’t cry like a baby and bitch about the mean businessman who didn’t want to bankrupt himself to keep your losing company alive.

Strangely there are no facts quoted, no numbers given, no quotes used (other than comment by Romney which have no bearing on this issue). Hell, GST Steel pensions were underfunded by $44 million when it went bankrupt…that would have been a fact to use…of course I think all of that came after Romney left Bain and they were already stretching it as it was.

Meanwhile over on the Romney side, we have 6,000 jobs created…and again I think 6,000 is more than 750. You know if for every 750 fired we get 6,000 new jobs, bring on the massive firings (start with OSHA, TSA and the Post Office)! We’ll be at 3% unemployment in no time.

Now granted there aren’t a lot of facts in this one either (of course it’s not even half as long), but what facts there are are accurate (go back and watch the Obama ad again and see how many different numbers they use for how many people lost their jobs). And there is the fact that this is one of the companies that Bain helped out when Romney was in charge (as opposed to GST closing two years after Romney left).

The American Dream brought to you by Romney, Bain, and capitalism.

Also, instead of treating people as helpless who need Obama’s teat to survive, rather it shows hope and prosperity and that people can actually live on their own. The American Dream, which for most of us is to provide for ourselves through our work…for Obama it appears the American Dream means living high on the hog off of the rich and entitlement programs…just look at Julia.

Are they playing for emotion as well? Yeah, but you’ll notice it’s not hate and pity and vitriol, it’s hope for tangible things like a job and prosperity (rather than some ephemeral undefined “hope and change” that means nothing) and the best in us…

Also you have to love how Romney got this out less than 24 hours after Obama’s crappy ad…and Obama’s looks more professional. His campaign has clearly anticipated objections made by Obama and has the rebuttals already in the hopper. This is like watching a novice try and play Deep Blue.

But let’s look at how the groups that are not part of the official campaigns are working…

Please give me the quote where Romney threatened to end contraceptives…that would have been Santorum.
And insurance charges you more because the actuarial tables say you cost more…so to have equality it would just be that men would pay more (thanks)…I assume you want to make sure that car and home insurance companies stop it when they charge women less than men…because that would be unfair.

And he hasn’t threatened to get rid of Planned Parenthood …just public funding of it. If it’s so great a place, then I’m sure your rich liberal friends who want to be taxed more, will donate by the bucket load when Romney lowers their taxes.

And throwing women under the bus isn’t Romney’s style, MoveOn.org…it’s yours. Because let’s remember that MoveOn was formed to tell Republicans to Move On past Clinton’s numerous infidelities, because it was “just sex” (and sexual harassment lawsuit, accusation of rape, exploitation of a 20 year old woman who was incredibly naïve, perjury, suborning perjury, adultery…yeah it’s Republicans throwing women under a bus and waging a war on women).

Not one fact, not one reference, not one piece of truth. Everything I’ve come to expect from MoveOn.

Every one of Obama’s quotes are in context. Every fact is shown for quite a bit of time, and can be easily searched for. It’s interesting how, when the facts are on your side, you tend to use them.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. Republicans are not saints, they are human, they come up with crappy misleading ads as well. But right now the GOP has the facts on their side and appears to be using them.

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Filed under Capitalism, Charity, Congress, Conservative, Corporate Welfare, Economics, Election 2012, Evils of Liberalism, Fear, Free Will, GOP, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Mitt Romney, Obama, People Are Stupid, politics, Unions, Welfare

10 reasons why libertarians have become a joke…

The ever so poorly named “Reason Magazine” has put out an article preposterously titled “5 Reasons Why

Libertarians have this really bad tendency to follow leaders blindly. Hayek, Von Misses, Rand and now this lunatic. All of them had good ideas, but none of them were divine prophets to never be questioned...

Conservatives Should Root For a Romney Defeat.”    Lately Libertarians have been getting more and more annoying with their embrace of full blown isolationism (which given how it has NEVER worked, means they’re either very, very stupid or in favor of tyrannies being free to do whatever evil they wish) and their recent and exceedingly naïve push for the gold standard as a cure all for all economic woes.  This is not the libertarian party I once knew of sound economic restraint and social liberalism…this is now a libertarian party of cowards and cranks.  So let me refute their 5 reasons to not vote for Romney.

1.  Reason claims because the Supreme Court will only overturn the individual mandate but leave the rest of Obamacare…because Romney and the Republicans don’t have the guts now to overturn the rest of the law we should let Obama stay in office and let a real reformer get in office in 2016 who will then overturn the law.  Common sense states that you would give some reasons to back this up but Reason’s article seemed quite lacking, in well, reason.

This is stupid for three reasons.  The first being that if the Supreme Court overturns one part, they’re probably taking it all out (Scalia’s comment about “you don’t expect us to go through this line by line do you”)…further it would require you to believe that the justices who are voting to overturn the mandate would leave all the economically disastrous parts that a mandate was a necessity to pay for.  The second is that Romney has promised to overturn the law in toto and will send that law on the first day in office to Congress, which if passed in the first week of his administration it has the most chance of getting through Congress with little disagreement.  The third being that, while the economically stupid issue of covering preexisting conditions needs to go, after another four years of Obama it will NEVER be overturned as no Congressmen, no matter how conservative, will have the guts to take away something that has been around for so long.

2.  Reason’s second claim is in two parts , first that you just can’t trust that evil flip-flopper Romney.  This is a claim that is without basis.  Romney’s changed his position on abortion…everything else is liberal lies.  Thank you libertarians for being dumb enough to believe liberal lies and immoral enough to repeat them…not to mention demonstrating liberal tendencies by not doing the research!

The second part of their reasons to not vote for Romney is that he will make our military second to none.  Oh, how terrible.  When did libertarianism become the philosophy of cowards and complicity in tyranny via our isolation.

3.  They don’t trust Romney to do away with Crony Capitalism as he says he will do (and as he did as much as he could with limited power in Massachusetts).  Why doesn’t Reason believe him…because he supported the financial bailout.  Which is kind of dumb.  Yes TARP was a horribly conceived and horribly executed program…but to do nothing as libertarians seem to suggest would have been equally stupid.  For years government conspired to force the financial sector to give out all those crappy loans (and yes they did force and threaten them with criminal and civil lawsuits if they didn’t give them out) so while the financial sector is not exactly saintly and has more than enough blame to go around on its own, the government is equally at fault.  But the libertarians argue that after you’ve stabbed someone in the kidney it’s their responsibility to heal themselves.  Huh?  Yes TARP should have been drastically smaller and shorter, it should have been more targeted and not an industry wide panacea, it should have probably been designed to cure the shock waver after one of the major banks went belly up to prevent a panic not preventing them all from failing, but you know what, not doing anything would have been as bad if not worse.  And yes Bush, Congress and the Fed deserve a lot of blame for not doing a more limited plan, but that does not mean an outsider who had no say at any level of the decision making process should take the blame for supporting what may be the lesser of two evils.  So I can’t fully hit Romney for being pragmatic and saying, yes we need TARP.

Reason also claims that calling China on its economic corruption is a bad thing.  I’m confused by their stance, probably again because Reason failed to state any reason for their belief and rather preferred to make an uninformed hitpiece.

4.  Oh and if we elect Romney then no “real conservative” will be able to run in 2016.  True, I look forward to Romney’s second term.  However, since Reason’s definition of true conservative is a person who holds to the insane dogma of Austrian economics and who is a complete coward in foreign policy.  You know a “real conservative” unlike that filthy Monetarist, strong foreign policy, fake conservative Ronald Reagan.  Somehow I’m not being swayed by Reason’s arguments.

5.  And their fifth argument, losing will allow the GOP to collapse…and theoretically realign itself…despite the fact that, realignment actually usually occurs when a party wins the White House (Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, McKinley, FDR…and I can’t think of a realignment that occurred when the party lost…but these are libertarians, the people who ignored all the economic panics, recessions and depressions caused by the gold standard and who completely failed to notice the utter failure of isolationism throughout all of history…no shock they don’t understand how realignments work historically).

So let me now respond with 5 reasons why libertarians should back Romney.

  1. He has a history of actually doing what libertarians like: cutting government and not raising taxes.
  2. Romney is actually endorsing the plan of reformers like Paul Ryan.  He also is backed by a whole team of some the best minds in every field…just check his website…unlike Reason which apparently is working off of innuendo and media lies. And again go to his website, no candidate in my life time has ever had so much data to review as Romney has provided…and it’s all great
  3. For supposed economic conservatives I don’t understand why libertarians would be so hostile to someone who is actually from the private sector.  This is the kind of guy who actually knows what he is doing.  He is not a career politician (he’s only ever held one other elected office for one term), thus he is not beholden to the bureaucracy or the party, he has no favors to fulfill which will actually help to end cronyism. Also cronyism occurs when you have something to gain…remind me how you actually bribe a man who is both rich and not avaricious (as judged by his overly generous charitable contributions).
  4. This country cannot survive another 4 years of Obama.  4 more years of over regulation, taxation, government abuse of power, extreme deficit spending, and insane union support will gut this country and if it doesn’t result in a global depression to make the Great Depression look like a walk in the park, the only reason that we won’t become a 2nd   rate power is because everyone else will fall faster than we do.
  5. Do you remember how reviled the Greens were in the Democratic party after handing the election to Bush (yes I’ll admit if Nader hadn’t run then Gore would have won)…well if you jackasses were to hand the election to Obama then you would be even more reviled and will guarantee the death of the libertarian strain in the Republican party (i.e. you’ll be handing the party to the social conservatives).

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Weekly Meditation: Words of Wisdom

I still really like this as an all encompassing New Age symbol

As a New Ager I find truth in most of the religions in the world.  And while I love to quote from A Course In Miracles(and could probably do so for years going at the pace of one passage a week) it has occurred to me that I should, in true New Age fashion, pull a selection of quotes from other holy books.  Before anyone gets offended it is meant as a compliment, I’m not trying to insult your religion.

This week I thought I would pull a quote from the Tao Te Ching, the central text of Taoism.  Written by Lao-Tzu before departing China to escape it’s superficial and corrupt life, he left a short book of his wisdom for the people of China (yes I realize that there is a lot of myth tied to that story, I still like it). The book is probably the shortest holy text in the world (unless you want to count individual books of the Old, New, and Gnostic Testaments of the Bible).  Written as a series of 81 short poems, the Tao Te Ching (The Book of Virtues of the Way), the book is often a series of double and triple meanings crammed into short, cryptic phrases.  (Given that Chinese is also a language that poorly translates into English, poetry especially, it is always best to read three or four translations if you’re going to try to read the book.)

For this week I’m going to go with a quote from the 19th poem in the Tao.  (I’m just going to go with my favorite translation).

“Give up kindness, renounce morality.

And men will rediscover piety and love.”–Lao Tzu

So what does this mean?  That you should give up being kind and moral?  No, silly.  It means that you should stop doing things because you are supposed to them because they’re rules or codes or values you’re supposed to hold.  Things you’ve been taught to follow.  Ideals society wants you to do.  Why? Because when you force people to do things you breed resentment, hostility, rebellion.  You should do things because you want to, because your personal reason dictates it, because it makes you feel good…not because someone says you should.

 

Why is this the weekly meditation?  This week I want you to ask yourself if you’re doing something because you want to and it makes sense…or because you’re expected to.  Reason and your heart are fine things to follow, and they will often agree with society’s rules, but make sure they are before you act.  I promise you you will be more in tune with yourself and the universe if you do what you want and think is right more than what is only expected of you…even if it’s the same thing, the intent and the reason make a huge difference.

 

 

 

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Books for Conservatives–Faith of the Fallen

Possibly the best book in the series

Once again I come back to my favorite series of books Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series.  Partly because I’ve gotten away from this when I shouldn’t have…and partly because we have a lull in election season so I can concentrate on something else for a little while.  So, as I’ve done the first five books, here is book six, Faith of the Fallen.

This is probably my favorite book in the entire series.  As I have said I love this series for not only providing a well paced and character driven fantasy series, but because each book is thematically tied to what the author has the Wizard’s Rules…a series of 11 short simple ethical statements. These 11 wizard’s rules that are actually possibly the best set of rules I have ever seen for living one’s life, because they don’t discuss specific acts, which are always dependant on situations and variables, so myriad that no hard rule on behavior can ever fully cover them.  But Faith of the Fallen is probably my favorite, not just because the plot is even more character centered than most of the other books in the series, but because I love the wizard’s rule more than any of the others.

Wizard’s Sixth Rule:

The only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason.

Explained as:

The first law of reason is this: what exists, exists, what is, is and from this irreducible bedrock principle, all knowledge is built. It is the foundation from which life is embraced.

Thinking is a choice. Wishes and whims are not facts nor are they a means to discover them. Reason is our only way of grasping reality; it is our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking, to reject reason, but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss that we refuse to see. Faith and feelings are the darkness to reason’s light. In rejecting reason, refusing to think, one embraces death.”

–Faith of the Fallen pg 319

Again, I’ll be vague in the plot summary so as not to spoil anything if you haven’t read the books to this point (but really this is, hands down, the best book in the series).

The hero of the story Richard Rahl is forced to leave his wife Kahlan to save her life.  He is blackmailed by the sorceress Nicci subject of his enemy the Emperor Jagang, that he must travel with her into the heart of Jagang’s Imperial Order and do exactly as she says or the lives of his beloved will be extinguished.  And while you might expect torture or mind games you find something much worse in the Imperial Order: communism.  Complete, total and utterly inefficient communism.  Government control of everything. Government corruption rampant.  Starvation.  Misery.  Masses living lives under a crushing totalitarian regime that makes life not worth living.  Nicci’s plan to crush Richard’s will and let him see the evil nature of mankind and turn him to her side…I will put in one spoiler: this plan fails (but that was kind of obvious).

I’m not sure but I suspect that Goodkind did an extensive amount of research on life in the USSR, Soviet Blocs and Maoist China as the world depicted in the Imperial Order could have easily come out of any textbook or autobiography on life in those nations.  The inefficiency, the corruption, the lack of basic needs due to stupidity of a system that is at every step controlled by an overarching authority.  Every aspect of life, from care of the environment to daily quality of life to even being able to enjoy sex is polluted and destroyed under totalitarianism.

What does this have to do with the idea that reason is the only thing that guides your actions?

It has to do with the fact that there is this thing called human nature.  Human nature is always trying to find the best in life.  We are naturally selfish from the most rational of us to the least rational of us; human nature has this odd behavior of caring about our needs first.  Now granted the more rational and educated a person is the more they think toward long term and spiritual and emotional benefits to themselves than the immediate but we are all motivated by self interest, it is simple basic fact.  And everyone agrees that it cannot be changed, from the radical atheist that sees us as nothing but being motivated by a biological imperative to survive to the wises of spiritual masters who tell you to love yourself as much as you love any other person, who tell you to reach enlightenment as your primary goal, who even tell you that you are connected to everyone and that the good you do for others is good done to you, every person with even the smallest fraction of intelligence acknowledges that human beings are motivated by self interest. Now you can accept that fact and accept that it cannot be changed, or you can choose to deny it.  Now if you accept the fact that mankind is motivated by self interest then you would try to make sure that your nation had laws that would try to move that self interest in the most useful ways, encouraging policies and practices that benefited not only the individual pursuing self interest, but also everyone they associate with.  Or as Adam Smith observed, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”  Capitalism is that system.  Or you could try to deny facts, deny reason, and suggest that both the biological and spiritual imperative toward self-interest can somehow be destroyed by government fiat and try fascism or socialism or communism or some odd mixture of all three (I think it’s called Obamaism).  You can accept something about human nature to be true and work with it or you can deny facts and try to change what cannot be changed. Which plan is guided by Reason and which is guided by only irrational faith and feelings.

And at every level of the economy from the individual level to the nation wide Faith of the Fallen shows how this rejection of reason is a rejection of humanity.  At first it merely leads to inefficiencies but will soon corrupt and destroy whole systems and lives—killing hope, drive, happiness and in the end, life.  And in opposition to this an embrace of self-interest is an embrace of life in all it’s glory (the book makes this point very clearly near the end with artistic point).  Now I know that any liberal that has stumbled upon this review is probably having seizures by my praising self-interest trying to list all the terrible things that self-interest can lead to.  Yeah?  Duh.  Self-interest is a fact.  The question is whether you are using reason to guide your self-interest or if you let your feeling guide it.  Reason by nature thinks long term and by nature looks for win-win scenarios. Even without compassion or empathy guiding it, reason is a benevolent force. It is only when you let compassion or empathy rule instead of informed reason that you do things because it feels right, ignoring whether or not it will actually work.  And the book makes this very clear. Self-interest in itself is neither good or bad, it is merely a fact. You can either choose to let it be ruled by reason, which seeks a win-win, or you can try to deny it which builds nothing but misery, resentment and a viciousness to lash out at others. But then again to judge between the two requires reason to guide you.

And the other greatness of the philosophy of this book is that it shows how this principle permeates not just economics, politics, and military strategy.  It extends to even issues of art.  Inevitably art that embraces the denial of reality, the idea that self-interest must be condemned, must at all time deny the existence of heroes or greatness in the individual for to have such examples would be to give something for people to aspire to which in itself is another example of self-interest driving us, we want to be like the people whom we admire.  Thus intelligence, strength, character of both the hero and the common man must be denied and only suffering and inadequacy highlighted.  Charity is also perverted from an act of personal humanity and an acknowledgement of the potential in others, to nothing more than a duty from which no one should take pleasure in.

As always the relationship between the characters is even more enjoyable than the philosophy in Terry Gookind books…but as I said I don’t like giving away too much…although I would add that watching the character of Nicci go from being only motivated by the illogical desire to destroy self-interest to embracing life and reason is a hopeful one.

My one caveat on the sixth rule as Goodkind writes it is a small one.  He suggests that faith is opposed to reason. I would say that there are two kinds of faith, rational faith and irrational faith.  Faith about things that are not contradicted by reason (a belief in God for instance or what drives most people that they can do something that others say they can’t) is not a flaw in human reasoning but one of its greatest abilities.  It is only faith about something that reason directly contradicts (like the belief you can change human nature into something better than it is through laws and government power) that should be opposed and resisted.

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Snatching Defeat From Jaws of Victory: Republican’s idiotic obsession with social issues

I believe in liberty for all, capitalism, a Classically Liberal republic of limited government that combines to make this nation (and any other that follows those principles) the shinning city on the hill for others to look to as the model. Which is why, for better or worse, I am a Republican.  The Libertarians don’t believe in the first or last point  (they seem to think the rights listed in the Declaration end at the border and if another country has a genocidal dictator that’s none of our business), the Democrats abhor the two in the middle.  But the Republican Party stands for all of them.  And every time we run on those principles we win.  Coolidge, Nixon (even though he didn’t believe in them), Reagan (go on, tell me which social issues he made a focus of his campaign…none), the Contract with America (the closest it came to social issues was dealing with the marriage tax and tax credits for care of the elderly and adoption, it dealt entirely with money and the size of government).  Every time we run on expanding the government we lose.  Hoover, George H.W. Bush (read his lips, more taxes), Ford, Dole, McCain.  The two major exceptions being Nixon the first time (and we can blame that on how he looks without makeup and Joe Kennedy buying a lot of votes) and Goldwater (where the economic moderates and big government Republicans actively backstabbed their own candidate).

But overall there is a simple rule: Economically Conservative Republicans win. Economically Moderate Republicans lose.  (Certainly not once can I remember an economic liberal and social conservative win).

But, more and more, the Republican Party wants to press social issues?  Why?  Conservative economics and foreign policy are winners with the American public…liberal stances on those mixed with big government behavior for social issues is always a loser.  And I don’t mean just Santorum, there are a lot of “socially conservative” issues out there that are actually taking aim at our economic conservatism and I don’t understand why Republicans are so eager to hype the weakest issues and the ones that will cause us to lose.

Now full disclosure, I am a social moderate.  I don’t want the government in my wallet, my business or my capitalist transactions nor do I want them in my bedroom, my marriage or my doctor’s office.  I believe in small government (and unlike pro-tyranny Libertarians I think that’s a human right not an American right…yeah Libertarians are really pissing me off too lately, can you tell?).  But apparently some in the GOP don’t know that we’re the party of small government, not just the party of small government in the economy.

And it’s getting bad.   Even my beloved Heritage Foundation is saying stupid things like “As conservatives, it is important to remember that social issues are central to preserving the Principles of the Founding Fathers.”  Uh-huh, looking to the Founders for social conservatives.  Ben Franklin who never married the mother of his child but lived with her in sin for most of his life.  Thomas Jefferson, and probably most of the Sothern contingent, and their pro-raping the slaves practices.  John and Abigail “let’s abandon our children to the care of others for almost a decade” Adams.  Alexander Hamilton who had an affair with another man’s wife. They were all heavy drinkers and Franklin was not the only libertine among them. Now don’t get me wrong, I admire these people to the ends of the Earth, but I don’t mistake greatness for sainthood (one, John Dickenson, I think should have been treated to a short drop and a sudden stop for his behavior at the signing of the Declaration and Constitution).  But don’t just take my word for it.  Go look at some real conservative authors like Larry Schweikart’s What Would the Founders Say?  or W. Cleon Skousen’s The Five Thousand Year Leap: 28 Great Ideas That Changed the World…both books are about the Founding Father’s opinions of government. Now while both stress the importance of personal religion and spirituality, of the societal importance of marriage (which anyone with half a brain has to admit) the closest either comes to what modern social conservatives consider important is when in Skousen’s book he points out that the Founding Fathers would not be for government money paying for abortion. That’s it. That’s all I can find of two well researched authors (who I would wager are more socially conservative than I am)…the most the Founding Father’s would care about modern social issues is the economic side of it. That’s probably because if you stop to think about it this motley crew of misfits, smugglers, drunks, deists, and other radicals, when asked about what goes on in their bedroom or what happens with their doctor would point you to the 2nd Amendment…and if the point wasn’t made clear enough that government had no right in those issues they’d drive the point home with their musket barrel in your redcoat face.   And before you look to more modern Republicans for your pinnacles of virtues I would remind you that Reagan was divorced and Lincoln, well, it’s the “Log Cabin” Republicans for a reason.  The fact of the matter is that most modern social conservatives would criticize that Jeshua of Nazareth guy for his hanging out with hookers and his obsession with alcohol (to the point of making a whole ritual of it).

This is idiotic.  We’re Republicans.  We don’t trust.  We just admit that a little (very little) government is needed for society to run.  But there now seems to be the Santorum wing of the Republican Party that thinks, per Santorum’s words:

“One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a Libertarianish right. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. That is not how traditional conservatives view the world. There is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.” [Italics Added]

Ignoring the fact that Rick Santorum just admitted to knowing less than nothing about history or conservatism…actually no, let’s not ignore that fact, Santorum is about as anti-American as it gets and it is revolting that a man who says such filth could get to any office, let alone a Republican one.  You’ll notice that Rick tries to quote the Declaration a lot when in every speech he mentions the last line “we pledge our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor.” (Odd from a man whose life is all about him and his ego, who is actually one of the few millionaires who doesn’t give to charity, and who has no honor).  He never quotes “life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” as one can see from his above quote, viscerally opposed to the “liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” part.

But it’s not just Santorum whose “social conservatism” (I want a better term, conservatism in reference to government has for the last 100 years meant smaller government, social conservatism means larger government).

For instance in Arizona, my home state, there are two laws that just baffle the mind

SB 1359 which states:

12-718.  Civil liability; wrongful birth, life or conception claims; application

A.  A PERSON IS NOT LIABLE FOR DAMAGES IN ANY CIVIL ACTION FOR WRONGFUL BIRTH BASED ON A CLAIM THAT, BUT FOR AN ACT OR OMISSION OF THE DEFENDANT, A CHILD OR CHILDREN WOULD NOT OR SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN BORN.

B.  A PERSON IS NOT LIABLE FOR DAMAGES IN ANY CIVIL ACTION FOR WRONGFUL LIFE BASED ON A CLAIM THAT, BUT FOR AN ACT OR OMISSION OF THE DEFENDANT, THE PERSON BRINGING THE ACTION WOULD NOT OR SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN BORN.

C.  THIS SECTION APPLIES TO ANY CLAIM REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE CHILD IS BORN HEALTHY OR WITH A BIRTH DEFECT OR OTHER ADVERSE MEDICAL CONDITION. 

D.  THIS SECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO ANY CIVIL ACTION FOR DAMAGES FOR AN INTENTIONAL OR GROSSLY NEGLIGENT ACT OR OMISSION, INCLUDING AN ACT OR OMISSION THAT VIOLATES A CRIMINAL LAW.

Translation into human language: Your doctor can intentionally not tell you about medical conditions that might cause you to get an abortion and you can’t sue him for that lie of omission.  WTF!  Let’s ignore all the social concerns about ethics of aborting a child with severe diseases because people will never listen to reason on that, they’re in whichever camp they’re in…notice, however, that this law is a direct attack on capitalism.  You have a contract with your doctor.  The contract is you pay them; they give you correct medical advice.  This bill condones violation of contract, effectively little more than fraud and theft (I’ll take your money, but not give you what you’re paying for).  This is what we have government to stop, not to condone!  So social conservatives show they only stand for the quantity of life, none of the liberty and human dignity that is implicit in capitalism and democratic-republicanism.

Or try this one HB 2625.

It’s two fold.  First it lets any company, not just religious ones, exempt out of paying for contraceptives. I’m a capitalist, so I’m fine with that part. I don’t think companies should be forced to pay for insurance so I’m for tearing down these laws piece by piece.  But then they do something else to the existing law.  On numerous occasions this update of an existing law, they strike out the following phrase:

“A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.”

So if your employer finds out you use birth control they can now fire you without fear of a lawsuit?  One, I’m not sure if any court would side with an employer if such a suit were brought to court.  Two, this endorsement of violating a person’s right to privacy is rather disturbing.  Now if you wanted to change the law that an employer can fire you for any random reason they have no matter how insane (before you go to the extreme example I will counter that numerous studies, see Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics to start, show that even racial discrimination hurts the employer more than the employee…if you’re going to fire good workers for stupid reasons, you’re not going to be in business for very long) I would have no problem with that.  But to pick and choose is economically inefficient, but to pick and choose in favor of idiocy…well that just goes beyond rational thought.

Oh and over in Virginia they passed a law that requires women to get a “transvaginal ultrasound” to see the fetus before getting an abortion.  I am not going to go into this one for long as I couldn’t easily find the bill text and there is conflicting reports on exactly how bad this is (the left wing media makes it sound like something beyond rape and the right wing media makes it out to be a gentle massage…shame on both sides for not providing me with some reasonable information)….but given just how uncomfortable the procedure sounds (gentlemen, switch it to transurethra to get an idea) I’m willing to say that in all likelihood this is a stupid bill.  Most Americans would want an ultrasound, a 24 hour waiting period, maybe even a counseling session with a professional (a real professional, not some hack) before getting an abortion; even a die-hard pro-choice person like myself is not going to say that this is a small issue that should be taken lightly or without consideration.  But there’s a difference between running the ultrasound wand over a belly and sticking the wand up a person’s genitals.

So called conservatives, don’t you see the hypocrisy of this?  Of the government mandating objects be put into people’s bodies.  That’s about as intrusive as a government gets.

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point.  These so called conservatives are really just big government liberals, using the government to enforce their will. And if they are not stopped in this party they will sink it (or worse, I fear that after a summer of $8 a gallon gas the GOP could run a sock puppet against Obama and win…even Ayatollah Santorum might stand a chance against this idiot.  And I really don’t want to live under the regime of a man who not only whole heartedly believes like Obama that government should be deeply involved in the economy and pick winners and losers, but also feels the government should enforce his psychotic Puritanical views on a form of Christianity Christ would have condemned to no end.)

Now, granted, the left is partly to blame for this.  They keep fanning the flames of ultra-liberal social policy in people’s faces. Sex-ed to kindergartners.  A pile of paper work for students to get a band aid, forbidding them access to aspirin…but the condoms are in a basket for all to take.  Forcing people to pay for birth control when they don’t want to (I have no problem with you buying birth control, when I’m in a relationship I insist on using it, but I’ll split the bill with my partner and not ask you pay for ours, you do the same and don’t demand we pay for yours).  Same goes with abortion, you can have it, I don’t want to stop you, but don’t ask that I pay for it.  But just because the left is constantly trying to shove government into this, that does not excuse the right reacting with the same level of idiocy.

Now, all that said, a real social conservative would not want government involved in social issues. They would be for a large church presence in society, they would be for encouraging others to attend some form of spiritual life, they would conduct their own lives with temperance and prudence (in all aspects of their personals lives) and encourage others to do so.  But they would never demand that government enforce that. Conservatism is supposed to be a belief in liberty, a belief that government is only to stop immediate and severe threats, not to impose the standards that we live by, but to provide the safety and freedom necessary that we can choose to live by those standards.  True social conservatism is not using government to force others to live by our codes of conduct, but to live them ourselves and by our example and civil argument with individuals encourage others to do the same

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Romney’s primary concern isn’t the very poor and yours shouldn’t be either

Around 400 BCE Aristotle in his Politics, went over the numerous kinds of government systems.  (I’ll spare you a lot of Aristotle’s words because, as much as I love the man’s philosophy, what is left of his works has a style dryer than a stale cracker in the middle of the Gobi desert at noon…that and I’m planning a whole series of blogs on his Nicomachean Ethics to start in a month or so, so don’t think you’re getting out of this). The long and short of it is that he dislikes extremes.  Rule by only the rich leads to corruption and misery.  Rule by only the poor leads to stealing the wealth of the rich and anarchy.  Rule by one person leads to tyranny and suffering.  Rule by letting everyone vote (even if they’re criminals or non-citizens…I wonder who would be dumb enough to support something that insane?) leads to chaos and anarchy.  Aristotle liked middle ground.*  He liked the idea of a constitutional government, of a government of what he called aristocracy (we would call it a republic or representative government) and democracy, of where the law was higher than the whim of the ruling body (a set Constitution that is higher than the will of the mob) but not set in stone where it can never be changed (the process of amending that constitution).  But of the things he goes over a lot is his distrust of the very rich and the very poor.  He points out that whenever the concerns of either of these groups takes precedent it is the middle classes that suffer first followed by the entire government collapsing under the weight of corruption and chaos.

Over a century ago it was recognized by Alexander Fraser Tytler (although often misattributed to de Tocqueville because it mirrors the idea of Democracy in America):

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.” [Italics added]

Again, like Aristotle, de Tocqueville and Tytler seemed to recognize that when one group of people get a hold of the government they vote themselves and their government into oblivion.  Cronyism (which has NOTHING to do with capitalism, really it’s closer to socialism in form, so the term crony capitalism is just stupid) has shown us how this is true in one case, the bankrupting of every state and the federal government has shown the other extreme to also be true.  (I don’t think even Aristotle or de Tocqueville could have imagined such a hideous hydra as one where the very rich and very poor conspire together to bleed the middle class dry).  But the fact of the matter is that we haven’t had a president or Congress that hasn’t played to one if not both of these since Coolidge.  So what do we need now, we need a leader who is going to tell both groups, which are hell-bent on destroying our civilization, to go to hell.

What would such a leader sound like?  What would they say?  I think they would say something like my focus isn’t on the concerns of the very rich or the very poor…maybe something like:

ROMNEY: I’m in the race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America. The 90, 95% of Americans who right now are struggling.  I’ll continue to take that message across the nation.
HOST: […] You just said, ‘I’m not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net.’ And I think there are a lot of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, that sounds odd. Can you explain that?

ROMNEY: Well you have to finish the sentence.  I said I’m not concerned with the very poor who have a safety net and if it has holes in it I will repair them. The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor. And there’s no question it’s not good being poor. And we have a safety net to help those that are very poor, but my campaign is focused is on middle-income Americans. My campaign — you can choose where to focus. You can focus on the rich, that’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus.  My focus is on middle income Americans—retirees living on Social Security, people who can’t find work, folks that have kids getting ready for college—these are the people most badly hurt by the Obama years.

 

Oh, but what happens when you say you won’t cater to the needs of the very rich (like say Obama caters to Soros, Buffett, GE, GM, Hollywood) you get ignored by the media because that would point out how their golden boy is the worst supporter of this evil since LBJ (a man who when he had brought his party down had the class to not run again).

And what happens when you say your concern isn’t for the truly poor, the lowest 2.5-5% of the nation, you’re called callous.  Which is odd because he said we have a safety net for those people, which we do.  We have public housing, and welfare, and Medicaid, food stamps (one thing that Newt is right about is that food stamp use has grown drastically under Obama), and a myriad of other federal, state and county programs.  Not to mention the fact that we have free K-12 education for anyone under the age of 21.  And as it is education that is the single greatest determining factor for personal success, it’s hard to say that we haven’t given the very poor the tools they need to not be very poor.

We shouldn’t care about the very poor.  We shouldn’t care about the 1% that claims they are “the 99%,”  we shouldn’t bankrupt ourselves for the 1% that has major medical problems (1% account for 22% of all medical costs…might be because most of life isn’t a constant disaster as liberals would have you believe …and half of all medical costs are paid out on 5% of the populace)  our primary concern shouldn’t be about giving handouts to those who don’t have because we already have systems in place for them…and as Romney says very clearly “If it [the safety net] needs repair, I’ll fix it.” He has no intention of abandoning those who have the least, but he is not going make it his driving passion to give them more of what they have not earned.

Where did he say his concern was?  With the middle class.  With those who do work.  With those who want to work but can’t find a job right now.  He wants to create a larger middle class rather than pit one class against another (unlike Obama and Newt).   He seems concerned with creating a culture that will help social mobility and advancement, that will allow growth and prosperity that will create an economy that will naturally have a much lower unemployment rate (as opposed to $500,000 to “create” a single job).  Heaven forbid.  The heartless fiend.  Trying to create a system where the middle class thrives and the poor are taken care of (but not pampered)…I can’t see why anyone would support this monstrous Scrooge.

The fact is that to critique Romney over what he said, to take his quote out of context, to say it is wrong to say that making the prosperity of the middle class your primary concern is the worst and most villainous type of populism (Newt) and socialism (Barry), and behavior totally unworthy the head of any state.

And is it just me that Romney’s “gaffes” all seem to revolve around statements being taken out of context where he is expressing ideas that have a complexity that can’t be reduced to simple sentences and sound bites.  Oh, heaven forbid, he thinks Americans are competent to grasp whole paragraphs of thought, that they can understand those thoughts and not just meaningless phrases and words like “hope” and “change.”  Maybe I support him because I’m just tired of every other politician treating me like a moron too stupid to understand anything, whereas Romney seems to think America is bright enough to understand the problem and the solution.

*Oh, before someone tries to come back and point out Aristotle hated capitalism, let me start off by saying, you’re an idiot.  Yes, he hated the rich in his day, he hated money lending, he hated trade.  Probably because all of that was based on slave labor and very little was the fruit of man’s mind.  There was nothing of modern capitalism (innovation, creation, hard work, personal responsibility) in the wider economy of the ancient world. There was stagnation and slave labor…I’m just shocked that an intelligent human could find making money off that system morally repugnant.  Trust me, if you run post-Wealth of Nations capitalism through the values of Aristotle you find they match up perfectly.

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Some people are like slinkies…

…not good for anything… …but they provide a pointless distraction.

So over the last couple of days liberals of all stripes have called me and friends of mine cold, lacking in empathy, privileged (because apparently using reason to judge a statement makes you a privileged member of the upper class…this does not speak well of the intelligence of the 99% if this statement were true) and heartless for critiquing the numerous, pointless, pathologically riddled  with lies and half truths, and nothing but  worthless whines of all the schmucks who claim to be “the 99%”  (who strangely tend to endlessly piss off the 47% who actually pay taxes).

So let me give a blanket critique of the “99% whiners”  because I can guarantee you that each and every one will fall somewhere in this critique.  Why do I feel that these people need a complete, total dressing down?  Well first because I remember reading in the Bhagavad Gita:

“Charity given for the sake of righteousness, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness. But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion. And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.”—Bhagavad-Gita  Ch17. 20-22

And I find giving to people who whine and choose to not improve themselves, but demand others pay for them to be quite literally the “unworthy persons” warned about in this point.  Intelligent religions over all of history have made a distinction between giving for the sake of helping people improve themselves and just giving because they want (or does no one remember that you’re not supposed to give a man a fish) .  But still they feel you should give them anything they want because I have and they don’t…because they think they are entitled to my empathy and compassion because they were born, because I am under some order to love my neighbor…well guess what, because I can actually read I know I am advised to “love my neighbor as I would love myself” and let me tell you I am very critical of myself when I succumb to my worst habits, my worst inclinations, and my worst faults.  People who don’t love themselves, but ask me to feel compassion for them are the most rank hypocrites.  But why do I say they don’t love themselves…well generally rational self-interest, the love of yourself that this guy 2,000 year ago advocated (I’m sure he was a disgusting egotist for such a suggestion) tends to mean people take care of themselves, to better themselves, to have some concern for their well being…or at least to work in their best interests.

So let me ask about all the people who claim to be in “the other 99%”, have they acted always in their best interests?  (Now I will admit I do not meet all of the points I’m about to go over…but I’m not asking for sympathy.  You can be a good person and not do these things…you cannot be a sympathetic one and not meet all of these requirements).

 

Let me ask, did you graduate high school?

Cause the other 99% percent seems to suffer from a rather bizarre level of unemployment.  Now the people who have the highest levels of unemployment.  I hate to say this but a lot of these 99%’s are not exactly singing the virtues of their education while they’re complaining about unemployment (not all but a lot) which makes me ask if they’re unemployed because no employer would legitimately be insane enough to hire them if they had a choice.  Which is made all the sadder because, as a high school teacher, I know how unspeakably easy it is to get a high school diploma.  Really.  With schools, charter schools, alternative schools, online schools and GED you have to try to NOT get a diploma.  It takes work–Lots of work—to not pass high school.  Yet around 16% of this country manages to do it.  Oh, yes some of you might argue about the quality of the diploma (I have no argument there, only to say that given how low that quality is, it’s kind of sad when you can’t reach that bar) or the schools are not set up to teach students…to the latter point I would say that I would bet that even in the worst school in America there is one teacher there who actually does give a shit and if you went to them with an honest desire to learn, a drive to do whatever they asked, and willingness to be helped they would help anyone who came to them.  THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR NOT HAVING A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR THE EQUIVALENT.  And before I could even possibly feel sorry for someone I need to see that they have the brains and self respect for even the most bare bones level of education.  Yet I don’t see a lot of 99%’s talking about their education…

Which brings me to my second question, did you go to community college, a trade school, or state school?

This is tied to the first.  If you don’t have the desire for self improvement, why should my money or the money of the 1% go to you?  Getting an AA at a community college is possible, even on a minimum wage salary.  Same is true of a trade school.  It will take time, but it is possible.  So when I see all these people who say, “I worked for 30 years”  I always have to wonder what were they doing those 30 years.  The signs are designed to elicit sympathy, so if they were doing something like nursing, or teaching, or getting an education they would include that.  But they almost never include what they were doing.  Would full disclosure of what you were doing not elicit sympathy?  But back to schooling, anyone if they scrimp, save and work for it can get an AA or trade school degree which would make it far more unlikely that they would ever be fired and make it far more likely that you will get a new job easily if you were fired. Anyone can do it and anyone with a half functioning brain knows that education provides a safety net.

Do you like your job and don’t need anymore education.  Fine.  Commendable.  You did what we recommended to find something you like and do that.  But you knew that staying in that one position, not constantly improving yourself, not making yourself more skilled, not seeking a better job or position came with a risk and that risk was that when the shit hit the fan you were the most expendable person around.  There is nothing wrong with not seeking more education than the job you enjoy needs…but don’t come crying to me.  You took that risk.  I take lots of risks, I don’t ask anyone to be held responsible for them but myself.

Why do I put state college there?  Because a lot of these people on these 99% pictures list their tuition debts at levels far exceeding what a state college could cost to a state resident (even with room and board).  This means they chose a private school or an out of state school knowing what the cost would be.  Yet, somehow, as implicit in their whining is they think their debt is too high.  Well if it was too high, go to a state school.  I went to a private school, but I was under no illusion that I would be tying an albatross around my neck for the next 30 years—and I’d do it again in a heart beat.  It was worth it.  But don’t complain to someone else because you don’t want the bill for the services you used.  Don’t want high college debt?  Go to a cheap community college, get your AA then go to a state school for the BA.  If you’re working fulltime you won’t be more than a high car loan worth in debt.

Let me ask did you get a degree in a practical skill or a hard science?

And a lot of these whiners who complain about their college debt also bitch about not having a job.  Which is odd because the unemployment rate for college graduates is around 4.4%.  So I have to ask, what did you get your degree in?  Was it sociology?  Women’s studies in relation to Enlightenment culture?  A Master’s degree in Music theory?  What possible degree did you get that makes a high school graduate a more appealing hire?  I got a B.A. in English with a minor in Education, I knew that this qualified me to teach English and not much else, good thing I wanted to be an English teacher…but I got a degree in a field I wanted to go into and I knew there was a reasonable need for the profession.  What worthless liberal arts degree did you think it was a good idea to drop 60K on…because I can promise you if we split that 4.4% into hard science degrees and Liberal arts, the hard science ones would be much lower than 4.4%.  You wanted to study what you wanted to study.  Fine, it’ s your right.  But when you have given yourself a skill set that makes you unemployable you should learn to live with the consequences of your actions and not whine to me about it.

Did you refrain from having children until you were married?

Oh, here is a big one for the people whining about their lives in “the other 99%”  they bitch about child costs but very often I do not see reference to a spouse.  I know some wonderful women who had children before they got married and who are doing well in life (strangely they don’t whine a lot about things being other people’s fault), but I get the feeling they’re going to not only tell their own children, but society in general, having children before marriage is really, really dumb.   I would even go as far to say that having children before you’re relatively financially stable is a questionable move, but let’s deal with the more egregious problems.  Having children, married or not, employed or not, makes your life infinitely more complicated and difficult.  More rewarding, certainly, but infinitely more complicated.

And I’m sorry but I can’t feel sorry for people who have children when they’re not ready.  It’s not like it just randomly happens without any personal choice (okay yes there are two exceptions, one involves rape and then you have my instant compassion and desire to help you, and the second way usually also comes with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh…but these are the exceptions, not the general rule) on your part being involved.  Yes, are the deadbeat dad’s also to blame, hell yes, and I will instantly support a law that says that dead beat dads who don’t pay should have the very organs that got them into this mess surgically removed…but I don’t see many 99% people arguing for more personal responsibility, so that’s neither here nor there.  You made your bed, you sleep in it, don’t ask me to subsidize your bad choices and I won’t ask you to subsidize mine.

Let me ask did you work hard at your job before you were fired?

Oh so many of these people who say, “I am the other 99%”  seem to have lost their jobs.  Oh boo-hoo.  I know some people have lost their jobs because their companies went under, but if they were competent I think a good many of them got new jobs.  And other people are fired because they refuse to go along with the incompetence/unethical behavior of their superiors, and again if they were competent they probably got a new job relatively quickly.  But you know what, most people who get fired get fired because they’re the worst person on the job.  Businesses that need to fire 1,000 people don’t fire their 1,000 best employees—no they tend to try to fire their 1,000 worst employees. (Unless it is a union job and then they are required to go by seniority.  But I don’t see many people identify themselves as “the other 99%” being against such corrupt union practices, in fact if anything I’ve see n nothing but support for unions.  And well it’s a little hard to feel compassion for someone who loves their destroyer.)  So I really have to ask, every jackass who complains about A. losing a job and B. not being able to get a new one, did your prior work ethic and skill set have anything to do with those things?  Because even in this economy I have a really hard time thinking that someone with a good education, a strong work ethic (which breeds strong recommendations from your coworkers), and dedication can’t find a job.  Yes it may not be as good a paying job or even one they really want, but it’s a job, and people with good work ethics tend to find those jobs.  So really, can you tell me straight faced you were the best employee the company had and that despite your skills and work ethic you lost your job.  Or is it that these whiners who worked for 20 years and were then laid off were laid off because they just sat in that one job for 20 years, becoming complacent and letting their skill rust, seeking only to meet the bare minimum of work…a minimum which during economic hardships gets reset at a level higher than they’ve ever given.

Let me ask do you have friends?  Real friends?

I am the world’s biggest asshole.  There are days I make Greg House look like a cuddly puppy.  And I know without a doubt that if I were to lose my job or my apartment or come down sick that in addition to my family I have at least a dozen friends who would take me in and do whatever was in their means to help me get back on my feet if I needed it…as I would do for them without even thinking.

How few real friends must these people have to have no one to fall back on.  How bad are all of these people that they have to whine that the rich should have their wealth stolen from them.  I’ve always noticed that when I complain about these people on their blogs that so many of the friends of these self reported “other 99%” are quick to call me heartless and unempathic for not wanting to share my money for someone I don’t have any respect for…well where were you when your friend was in need?  You’re quick to chastise me for not wanting to share my hard earned money with someone I dislike, did you so graciously share every dime you could with your friends?  Did you stop going to the movies to help pay for that extra $20 for your friend’s chemo?  Did you cut back on dining out?  Did you make up the spare room for them so they wouldn’t have to pay rent?  There are friends in my life who I will put myself in debt for to help them, because they are worth it.  Where were you for your friends?  Or is beating up on people who use logic instead of blind unquestioning corrupted empathy the extent to which you will go?  With friends like you…

 

Let me ask, do you have character? 

Obviously the mere act of whining states no.  But let’s ignore this for a moment. The fact of the matter is that many of these people shade facts, use half truths or out right lies to drum up sympathy.  All of it is ethically equivalent to lying.  And anyone who engages in it is totally without character.  Let’s use the most recent picture I’ve seen to make the rounds as an example.  (And I’m using screen shots from his blog instead of just links…because I’ll be honest, he strikes me as the kind of guy who would go back, edit the facts, and then call me a liar).

He uses the phrase “part time” to get sympathy because we all think of part time as less than 40 hours of work…a technical definition is 30 hours or less.

He says here in his picture that the insurance he was getting wouldn’t cover his treatment of cancer.

Yet on his blog he states:


He was not “part time” in any conventional sense until after his diagnosis.  So that’s a half truth at best.  And at 60 hours he must have been making more than the limit that Arizona aid requires.  So let me ask you what is a fair limit?  How many people should be allowed on state and federal aid.  Give me a dollar figure of where the line should be?

He outright lies when he says churches won’t help.

So they did  help up to a point.  Yes could they get the money in time, no, but this guy says he has stage IV cancer…it takes time for churches to raise money for charity, they can do it, but just because you can’t have it now does not mean churches can’t and aren’t willing to help, they’re bound by the same laws of economics everyone is.  (Laws that state it would be much easier to raise money for charity if it weren’t for the fact that Americans are being beaten down with massive government regulation and taxes, you know what the 99% is demanding).

But my personal favorite is his implication that his minimum wage insurance wouldn’t cover his treatment.  Why do I love this one…well…this one from his blog announcing that he has cancer…

It’s so hard being a pathological liar when you don’t have the entire DNC there to help keep your lies straight.  So which is it?…is it that the insurance wouldn’t cover it (which in reality, I have my doubts, most plans, even crappy, will always cover the removal of a tumor…they just won’t cover the chemo and radiation because those treatments actually have an obscenely low success rate…especially on Stage IV cancer…but who knows it could be a really, really crappy insurance plan) or is it that you stopped paying for insurance of your own free will (he looks to be in his 40’s which would makes this an incredibly dumb move, given how after 40 your chances of major disease jumps, no matter how little he’s getting paid).  It’s one or the other, it can’t be both.  Either you had crappy insurance or you stopped paying for it.  Being a liar is so difficult when you have to keep all your lies straight.

(I could do a whole blog on how he seems to be saying he hated the pay cut that saved the business from bankruptcy and by extension everyone else’s job…but let’s ignore his gross lack of economic understanding for the moment).

Did you maintain a healthy community life?

This one is actually part of the friendship question. As Aristotle observed no one can live completely out of society and be considered a good person unless they are a beast or a god.  And there are remarkably few who can live with only a few close friends as their primary contact.  Most people need human connection to be considered a good person…so if you shunned society for so long, why is it society’s responsibility to take care of you.  Seems rather selfish and self-serving….but I forget I’m the egotistical and unempathetic one.

Did you start saving from an early age?

Really there is no excuse for this one.  If you didn’t save you’re either an idiot or knowing taking a risk hoping that whatever you are putting your money into will pay off.  If it’s the latter you wouldn’t bitch because you knew it was your fault and your fault alone.  If you’re an idiot, well, as you can guess, I’m not inclined to sympathize with you.

Oh and a lot of these people have a lot of medical problems.  Cancer seems to the biggest one.  Strangely, unlike every cancer patient I’ve ever seen they’re awfully vague about what they have…they describe having cancer and then describe symptoms that sound like benign cysts.  They say they have cancer….but if you can track down their blog they use the technical term for a throat doctor…which makes me ask how much did you smoke?

So before you want me to feel sorry for your disease let me ask some other things:

Do you ever habitually smoke or drink?

Lung cancer is one of the 3rd most common types of cancer up there (when you add in all the other cancer that smoking can increase the odds on the whole smoking related thing because it’s the number one killer).  Now if you smoke or drink I do not look down on you.  I understand it’s a wonderful feeling.  Hell, if I could afford the habit, I would look like a sixth member of the Rat Pack with the amount of alcohol and nicotine I would be putting in my body.  But guess what, I would blame only myself when I got diagnosed with a disease caused by my habits.

Do you over-eat?  Do you exercise?  Did you not lead a sedentary life style?

I’m sorry but a lot of diseases are heavily related to lifestyle and asking me to pay for medical treatment that was the direct result of the fact you did not care for your body…I’m having a hard time caring.

Now if you have a disease or condition that is no fault of your own, of course I feel for you.  I mean I wouldn’t expect someone who from childhood was deaf and blind to be able to write books and take care of herself…oh wait.  Or someone who had their neck broken to be expected to learn to breath on their own again without the help of a machine and make it a goal of walking again…oh wait.  Or someone with a degenerative neurological disease to make major contributions to science and beat all odds by living to 70…oh wait.  Damn, is it just me, or are there enough cases of people with a debilitating disease overcoming the challenges that disease brought and showing us the best of humanity not by whining others should take care of them, but by doing what no one thought they could, that it makes it hard to take the major whiners seriously.  My heart goes tends to go with one group and not the other.

Did you abuse drugs?

Kind of a no brainer.  But given the amount of crack pipes they found at Zuccati Park, I feel the need to mention this one.  I do believe that people can recreationally use certain drugs and not have it damage their life…but most of the time that is not the case, and if you feel the need to engage in this kind of activity don’t expect me to feel sorry for you. (And of course there’s that little hypocrisy about the money spent on drugs that could have gone to savings or self betterment). 

And finally do you learn and grow…or do you whine?

I believe that all of life is a giant classroom from which we are supposed to learn from.  And the best lessons are the hardships, the crucibles that show us what we are made of, and what, if we choose to, is the best within us.  Choosing to whine about it on the internet.  Not exactly what I would call learning.   Frankly, even ignoring this point I doubt anyone who claims that they are “the other 99%” could claim that they have not made the mistake I have detailed.

I know some of the people who whine and bitch and moan about their problems when they read this will wish I got to experience their hardships.   They’ll wish I lose my job.  They’ll wish I get cancer or some other debilitating disease.  Bring it on.  I’ve dealt with unemployment before with grace and honor.  I can do it again.  As for disease…well I had to die of something, I accepted that decades ago, and because it will not come as a shock I guarantee you I will not whine or say that it is unfair or that others should help me because they have more than I do. I promise you that in my death I will have more honor, courage, and virtue than those who claim to be in “the other 99%” have in their entire lives.

Now will all of these apply to everyone, no…but you show me someone who over time earned a college level education when times were good in a practical field, who always gave their best and excelled at work, who lived a healthy lifestyle and didn’t engage in behavior that was utterly lacking in common sense who is in on hard times but still trying to support themselves, looking for any job, because no job is below them, or has come down with a debilitating disease, I have and will help them in any way I can.  I have not seen one person like that claim “I am the other 99%.”

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