Category Archives: Selfishness

Weekly Meditation: Live for yourself

A few weeks ago I saw the following on twitter:

And I realized that this was the perfect quote for a meditation.

We often worry too much about others.  I know society has made us think such a thought is anathema, but it isn’t.  Rational interest is not some evil, it is the middle ground we should all seek.  It is place between the two evils of hedonism (the denial of the rights, needs, and concern of others) and altruism (the denial of the rights, needs, and concern of self).  Rather it is the middle ground of rational self interest that say you should “love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

So this week you should consider yourself first.  Do what you want and don’t worry about if it annoys others.  Now don’t go out of your way to piss people off (that would still be letting them dictate your life, although with a slight amount of more pettiness*), just act like you would if they weren’t there.  Now if someone says that what you are doing is annoying them, then the polite thing is to reach a compromise…but your wants, your needs, your desires should be respected.  Do what you want to do.

The goal of life is to reach Happiness and Enlightenment and no one should harm you in your pursuit of those goal.  Those two goals should be your first concern (although you make sure you’re not harming anyone else on that trip).

Remember you’re a child of God, you have the right to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.

*Now if you do what you want, like say, write blogs about what you believe politically, and get enjoyment out of watching people who disagree with you get infuriated, bully for you.  But it should first and foremost be because you enjoy the writing and expression of ideas…not just solely to piss people off…unless you to make a larger argument and win people to your side is to show how foolishly your opposition reacts, but again your first purpose is to win the argument not to piss them off as an end itself.

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Only 100 days to go!!!!

Only 100 days to go until the release of Atlas Shrugged Part II. I’m still not sure why they felt the need to replace the entire cast, but I assume there is method to the madness.

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A Season of Patriotism

So what makes this worthy of our allegiance?

So it’s June.  A week after Memorial Day and a month before one of my two favorite holidays: Independence Day.  And as with the approach of every Independence Day I am struck by the difference between Independence Day and my other favorite holiday: Christmas…or more accurately the Christmas season.

Christmas gets a whole month to celebrate.  From Black Friday to New Year’s Day people are little happier, a little nicer, a little more willing to let the best in them come out because they want to celebrate.  It’s a whole month of festivity and joy, parties, decoration, music, food, friends, special films that are for that season and that season alone, and yes finally gifts.  A whole season.

The 4th of July gets a day.   Hell even Halloween gets treated better with a whole season.

There is something wrong here.  But, I know someone is about to say, “Christmas (and Chanukah, Solstice, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s) is a religious holiday, directly tied to our relationship to God.”   No really someone actually tried that on me once.  To which I can only respond, “And you don’t see anything of the divine in Independence Day?”

I know liberals, and probably libertarians as well, have a problem with this, but there is something truly special about this nation.

I was for Romney before I heard it him say, but when at an Arizona rally he said [and this is not word for word as I’m going off memory] “Some people believe that our Declaration and Constitution were written by very brilliant men, others believe that they were divinely inspired when they wrote it—I believe it was a bit of both” it was at that moment that all my worries about Romney faded.  This was a man who got it.  He saw that the documents were written by men, albeit brilliant men, but men nonetheless, who were capable of error and thus you could not claim absolute perfection in their

Go on name for me one other time there were as many great minds in one place?

documents…but he also saw that the beliefs and ideas in these documents represented an immeasurable leap forward in human society and that at some level the hand of God was present.  Name for me a time when you would have an Adams, a Jefferson, a Washington, a Franklin all in the same room together.  History provides few men of such insight, intelligence, and character (not that they were perfect, but they were certainly ahead of their time by massive steps); occasionally you get two of them together at the same time; at very special moments you get three together at once…at both the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention you had whole rooms of these men.  Please tell me of another time in history when you had such a grouping (and to see it happen twice in one generation).  To a group of men who believed in ideals of right and true being more important than their personal fortunes (a good portion of the signers of the Declaration went broke, many were tortured all of them suffered for signing that document…not one recanted their signature.)  How do you not see the hand of providence in that?

If more divinely inspired words have been written, I do not know about them.

How do you not see it in:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Please tell me which passage of the Tanakh, the New Testament, the teaching of Buddha, the Gita, the Tao or any other holy book surpasses that passage in it’s understanding of the relationship between God and man (that we are given free will and liberty by our creator with the expectation that we will use them), that understands the teleology, the purpose, the end of life (to achieve Happiness), and how men should treat one another (not violating the rights of others, but settling up a society to protect them from those that do seek to violate those rights).  The heart of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics answered correctly in one sentence.  And you don’t think God had anything to do with that?  Do you see the hand of God in anything?

And then you look at our history.  Time and time again, if Vegas odds makers had existed from the 1750’s to today, you would have bet against the survival of the U.S. over and over again.  Yet somehow we’re still here.  The history of America is often the history of convenient accidents.  Convenient in that reinforcements were mistakenly diverted from helping General Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga, letting the Americans win when they most needed a win.  Convenient that when Lee, a general of unquestionable skill, was a week’s march from capturing D.C. he has the 3 dumbest days of his life at a little town in Pennsylvania.  Convenient that all of our carriers were out of harbor on December 6.  To name a few, there are so many others.  You can believe in chance, I don’t.

We make mistakes, and dear God have we made some abhorrent ones.   Liberals love to point out all the evil things we have done, ignoring that at anytime in history, we didn’t even rank in anything but the top third of what the rest of the world was doing at that time.  Oh and I know pointing that out is wrong, because that’s their culture.  Oh that’s right anyone else does something worse than America and it’s racist to hold them to the same standard…but we have to hold America to the standard of perfection (which, ironically, shows that even liberals believe in American Exceptionalism, otherwise why hold it and it alone to such a standard).  We’re not perfect, no one is.  But we have always been the beacon that sings to the best in humanity, not the example that speaks to the worst.

We’re the nation that fought to create a republic where the haves and have nots gave equal measure.  We’re the nation that fought our own citizens to free slaves.  We’re the nation that pioneered capitalism and law that gave liberty and opportunity and progress to more people than any other country in history.  We’re the place where “tired, the poor, the huddled masses” come to be energetic, successful and stand on their own feet.  We’re the country that conquers whole nations so that others may be free then tries to rebuild them and then leaves without tribute or power.  If you don’t think we’re the “shinning city on the hill” you don’t know history, philosophy or human nature.  We’re not perfect, we’re not always right, but we are consistently the nation that calls for the best in humanity to put down the worst.

But to celebrate the greatest nation in history, we have a day.  Barbeque, fireworks.  Woo-hoo!  Seems a bit off doesn’t it.  Granted, patriotism should be a year long habit, not just a seasonal or single day event…but the same can be said of all the ideals of the December Holiday season, so that’s not an argument.

Too often I think people forget that this is a nation where people still regularly risk their life to get to.  America-or-die isn’t a slogan it’s of a fact of existence.  Whether you were born here or came here you should take more than just a day out of every year to remember what a blessing this country is.  Of course there are some ignorant jackasses out there, who don’t seem to understand this blessing who say “I didn’t sign up for a country that’s the rest of the world’s police, I just happened to be born into it.”  (We’ll get into the petty ignorance and evil of the world police thing later.)

I don’t know what we could do to make our celebration of our nation and what is good about it longer than a single day…it should be from Memorial Day to Independence Day, but it’s not.  Maybe it’s that there are so many holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year’s that make it a season.  That’s easily solved.  Let’s move tax day and Election Day to July 2nd (the day the Continental Congress actually voted on the Declaration).  I think we should always keep in mind what we’re voting for so by placing election day on the same day as the vote of the Declaration would work just fine by me and by moving tax day to the same day we can remember what control the people we’re voting for have control over (instead of almost 7 months after they’ve stolen from you and your hatred for the libertines with your money has faded).

For my part it’s going to be a couple months since I’ve done a series of movies, and so starting tomorrow we will count down the best patriotic films as well as a few blogs about what it is that makes America so special.

And perhaps, just perhaps I’ll start convincing you to start decorating the house from Memorial Day to the 4th with flags and symbols of patriotism like you would at Christmas with wreaths and trees.  Maybe just maybe I’ll be able to kindle a sense of heightened patriotism that isn’t just for a day but for a season, which may have residual effect through the year.  And with any luck this will spread to even more people.

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Weekly Meditation: Do It Now, Part II

So last week’s meditation was to try and do a little quiet so soul searching and find your purpose in life (short of that divine revelation, to at least focus your goals).

Again, just to reiterate this pair of blogs was inspired by the song “Do It Now” by the great Ingrid Michaelson.

So now that you have some better understanding of where you what your purpose of where you should be directing your life, I hope, we need to put that into practice. (Still don’t know what you want…then I may suggest using this Michaelson song in the meantime as your goal until you have your own purpose figured out.).

First the easy part. Come up with a 5-10 step plan on how you will get that goal (or those goals if you have more than one) done. That should be relatively easy.

And now for the hard part you knew was coming…Do it now. Take point 1 on the list for all of your goals and do it this week.

How is this a meditation? Well meditation is the art of focusing your mind on something…and nothing is more about focus then when your mind and your actions are one and directed toward a very clear goal.

Now I would also suggest, in accordance with the law of attraction that you begin and end each with 10 minutes of visualizing not just following through on that first point but all the way through each point until you achieve your goal. But visualization are not cure for actually getting starting and doing it right now.

“But…”
No.

“But…”
I don’t care
“But….”
You really do not seem to be getting the message…

DO IT NOW. This week. I don’t care what it takes, I don’t care if you need to take a day off work. Even if you need to take a few hundred out of savings. DO IT NOW. And if your first step cannot be done in a week, then clearly you need to break that down into smaller pieces as well.

Now if you’re already in the middle of achieving your goals, this certainly can’t hurt you.  But if, as the song says “you’re living to die” then you need to get out of your morass and start living.

But to move forward this week you need to start working toward every goal you have.

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Ramblings of ConservativeCathy–It’s not Fair!

It's not fair! It's not, it's not, it's not...

What do you hear little children say all the time – “it’s not fair”.  But we thought that you were not supposed to grow up and learn that life is not fair – nor is it meant to be!

I hear Democrats, President Obama and others using versions of this phrase on almost a daily basis now.

Not wanting to go into all the individual points this phrase is used for I want to just deal with the concept of “what is fair”.

Is it fair that some people are better looking then others?  Is it fair that some people are downright unattractive?

Is it fair that some people have great bodies and most of us don’t?  Is it fair that some people can eat all kinds of things and not put on weight while others of us just look at food and seem to put on weight?

Is it fair that some people can go all night and day and seem to have everlasting energy while others of drag along on a daily basis?

Is it fair that some people get sick when other do not?

Is it fair that some people are smarter then other people?

Is it fair that some people have great athletic ability and others of us are uncoordinated morons?

Is it fair that some people know things that others do not?

Is it fair that some people inherit money while the majority of us need to work for it?  Is it fair that some people are able to invent or think of an invention and make lots of money?  Is it fair that some people become great actors and make all kinds of money and most don’t?  Is it fair that some people successfully build a business empire and make loads of money while most of us don’t?

Is it fair that a lot of us must pay taxes while others do not have to?  Is it fair that taxes are based on our incomes rather then our productivity or looks or weight or what the government actually needs to run just the areas designated in the constitution?

Is it fair that I am never hungry and many others are daily?

Is it fair that I have access to great medicine while many others don’t ?

Is it fair that I have religious freedom and many others don’t?

Is it fair that I am a woman and men seem to rule the world?

Is it fair that children must follow rules?  Is it fair that I cannot have as much as others?  Is it fair that life is not minute-by-minute what I want it to be?

Is it fair that there are poor people in the world?  Is it fair that all people do not have a sense of humor similar to my own?  Is it fair that everyone does not want to live the way I choose?

Is it fair that someone else’s needs are more important then mine?

This list could go on and on…..

Get over it – life is not fair in any aspect – it is just life and you can do whatever you want or are capable of doing with it – so enjoy and make the most out of it without requiring me to participate in you life!   

 

Any politician using these types of phrases should be immediately removed as they are not mature enough to lead anyone particularly themselves….. is that FAIR??????

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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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Misconceptions about New Agers and Pagans: That we’re all liberals

One of the main reasons for this blog and my book Republicans and Reincarnation is to kill this persistent myth that that all Pagans and New Agers are liberals (usually the common beliefs paints us as the hippie progressive type).  And I’ve had a few blogs about various misconceptions about New Agers but I felt I should once again deal with this major one.

Why?  Well because as the GOP race gets closer to the end (and especially since that dimwit Santorum has been given press time far exceeding what his lacking intellect would justify) I get to once again hear the phrase “Judeo-Christian values” bantered around and around in debates, speeches, on blogs, in news stories, on Facebook and Twitter.  Judeo-Christian values.

I have asked in various different forums and in person what that phrase “Judeo-Christian values” means.  Each time I have asked I have gotten nothing for answer.  I mean if it’s supposed to be a catchall phrase for a long list of values and principles shouldn’t someone be able to list it?  And it seems to be usually argued that these values dictate that you should be a conservative, but I’ve heard it argued the other way around.  I think part of the problem is that nobody really knows what that list means.  Yes the Founding Fathers followed Judeo-Christian values, but if you corned Washington, Adams or Madison and got them to delineate even 5 of those values I doubt it would be even remotely be close the list Santorum, Huckabee, or Perry would come up with.  And if we don’t know what that list is, then how can we even use the phrase.

One the other hand I can tell you exactly what some of the values of New Agers and Pagans are.  Is this a complete list?  I doubt it.  But it is a list I think any person who calls themselves a Pagan or New Ager (I’m just going to use New Ager as a catchall from here on in) can agree to…and I think they clearly lean to one political philosophy over another.

God is a being of love and reason.

Unlike some religions New Agers do not load down God with very human flaws like anger and jealously (or in some truly insane cases genocidal rage and say He is not bound by such things as reason).  We accept that old Platonic formula that God is Good, which means that God is Reason and Just and Beautiful and True (and adding the logical extension that Plato forgot but the Christians didn’t, God is Love).  This doesn’t translate into any political form by itself, but it does offer us the idea that reason and compassion should be a guidepost in all things.

The Divinity of Life

Every New Ager I think would agree that life, all life, has a spark of the divine in it and as such has value.  Now there might be a wide variety of debate over the equality of the value of a turnip and a human, I would be more firmly planted in the field that human life is unique and given special predominance, but I think we’ll all agree that we are not slaves or servants of God, but a part of him, his children (and if we can get rid of our fears and delusions) his equal.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on A Course in Miracles [Italics added]

What does this translate into politically?  It wipes away any political system that denies that “all men are created equal.” This doesn’t have a lot of value in most modern American political discussions, because I would hope we all agree on this, but it is a place to start.

Intellect, Free Will and Liberty

The next thing I think we all agree on is that our greatest gift from God is our intellect and our free will.  We have the ability to look at our life and not just analyze but choose the course we are to take.  This is what makes us the equals of God; beside God no other being in the universe has both the intellect to judge the world around them and free will to act upon those choices.  Some religions decry reason, others consider our free will a sin and think we should slavishly reject our will and submit to another’s.  We however revel in ours because we know that when we use both perfectly our will and God’s are not opposed, but the same.  We take comfort in the fact that while free will can allow us to make mistakes it also allows us to learn from those mistakes and grow.

“He tells you but YOUR will; He speaks for YOU. In HIS Divinity is but your own. And all He knows is but YOUR knowledge, saved for YOU, that you may do YOUR will through Him. God ASKS you do your will. He joins with YOU. He did not set His kingdom up alone. And Heaven itself but represents your will, where everything created is for you. No spark of life but was created with your glad consent, as you would have it be. And not one Thought that God has ever had but waited for your blessing to be born. God is no enemy to you. He asks no more than that He hear you call Him Friend.”—A Course In Miracles Chapter 30, Section 3

What does this one mean politically…well quite obviously the political extension of free will is liberty, the right to exert your free will.  And as it is a gift from God the freest use of our liberty should be allowed to the greatest extent that it does not harm anyone else’s right to life and liberty.  Thus it is the government that governs least that governs best.  Further since everyone is equal this pretty much dictates a classically liberal democratic-republic.  It also means that any drive to control society through government should be curbed, government is not there to tell people how to live their lives, only to protect their right to life and liberty (oh and a few other things, but we’ll get to that).

The Point of Life is Happiness and Learning

 

See there is a reason I ordered the first three this way.  New Agers view life in two ways, as an individual life, and as a series of lives in a long chain of reincarnated existences.  From the individual life perspective the highest goal is Happiness  (capital H), Happiness in the Aristotelian sense as a fulfillment not just of our needs but of our aspirations and highest virtues and greatest gifts shared with friends.    Meanwhile the goal of the multi-life existence is Enlightenment (a return to God) which is more of an eternal Happiness.  Happiness is in each individual life is a requirement for meeting this goal, but you also need learning, self-reflection and growth.

“If you possess happiness you possess everything:  to be happy is to be in tune with God.”–Paramahansa Yogananda

In a political sense this translates into two very important points.  The first point, when considered in light of our first three values, leads to an acceptance that rational self-interest (if Happiness is a goal rational self-interest is the only way to get there) and rational self-interest leads to capitalism when taken to a grand scheme.  Capitalism is the only system of economics that allows for the expression of free will where people are allowed to treat each other as equals and deal with each other through reason (or if they choose through compassion).

Quality over Quantity in Life

Having that view to Happiness and leads to a natural preference for quality of life over the quantity of life.  What does that mean?  It means we New Agers should find more beauty in a single act of compassion of one person helping another than in a million welfare checks handed out.  It means that a short life lived well is more important than a long life merely survived.  It means that life should be judged by the quality of our choices, the number of true friends we make, and the amount of learning we achieve…not the years lived, the diseases survived, or the amount of things collected.

“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.”—A. Sachs

What does this mean in a political sense?  It means we should reject calls for social welfare programs because they only care about quantity of life not quality…but it does reaffirm our need to be generous and charitable in our personal lives.  But just because some choose to make the wrong choice and not show the amount of charity that will bring them the most happiness, it is the previous points about free will and Happiness destroy any argument that these individual’s foolish choices of irrational self interest means we have to provide for those who do not have.

The Long Term Solution is the Best One

When you live with a belief that you’ll be reincarnated, as most New Agers do, long term planning is kind of important.  The karmic payment plan “Buy now, pay forever.”  So not just in your personal life, but in the political sphere, short term fixes are usually to be shunned as you will always have to deal with their effects…even if those effects are over a generation off.  So government plans that won’t work for the next 50 years, hell even a hundred years are not popular when in the New Age mind set.  Programs that will never be able to pay for themselves and never yield real long term progress should not be popular with New Agers, and this leads to a fairly conservative view point (note I’m saying conservative not Republican, those idiots can be some of the most short term thinkers around).

***

Classically Liberal democratic-republics coupled with near laissez-faire capitalism and thedesire to keep government small, efficient, and protecting your rights is the logical out- growth of Pagan and New Age principles.  One wonders why so many Pagans and New Agers are liberal.

 

 

And you know what?   Forgetting that these are values of one spiritual outlook or another…I would bet you the Founding Fathers would agree with this list more than any list Rick Santorum or Barrack Obama would come up with as their guiding values.

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Rick Santorum’s perverted view of America

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”—Thomas Jefferson (Notice the use of the singular “mind” and “man”…if he had meant society he would have said “minds of men” but rather this is a statement against tyranny over even a single individual…yes he was a little lax on fulfilling that depending on the complexion of the individual in question…but I’m going for a philosophical concepts here, not the fact Jefferson had personal issues.)

Today’s stupid liberal quote come from uber-liberal and Christian Sharia supporter Rick “I will trample every freedom history has ever known to establish my theocracy” Santorum.

Putting the “Fun” back into psychotic fundamentalism

From Rick Santorum’s book, It takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good:

“It wasn’t a freedom that celebrated the individual above society. It wasn’t a freedom that gave men and women blanket permission to check in and out of society whenever they wanted. It wasn’t the freedom to be as selfish as I want to be. It wasn’t even the freedom to be left alone, with no obligations to the people we know and to the people we don’t yet know. The Constitutional Convention’s freedom, American’s traditional freedom–or the better word, as I defined it earlier, liberty–was a selfless freedom, freedom for the sake of something greater or higher than the self. For our founders, this liberty was defined and defended in the context of our Judeo-Christian understanding of humanity. Often, in fact, American liberty meant the freedom to attend to one’s duties–duties to God, to family, and to neighbors. Our founders were in the business of constructing a nation, a political community. No-Fault Freedom, a freedom from every tie and duty, provides no basis for that project: it is a principle of division and social deconstruction.” (44)

Okay this is perhaps more frightening than anything I have seen Obama say.  Granted Obama’s actions are those of a petty banana dictator trying to create a fascist state…but he’s an idiot and doesn’t do it well.  Most notably he can’t come out and defend his statist collectivist views.  But here we have Rick Santorum doing that very articulately.

Let’s take this monstrous evil apart bit by bit.

It wasn’t a freedom that celebrated the individual above society.

 

Yes the Founding Fathers believed in none of that tripe that said individuals “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Oh wait.  Notice how liberty is joined with the pursuit of Happiness.  Happiness (capital H) is an Aristotelian concept that an individual has reached the completion and fulfillment of their life through the expression of personal virtue, not through the collectivist service to virtue that Santorum suggests here.  A society cannot pursue Happiness, only an individual can.  A society cannot have a right to life, only an individual can.  But, Santorum wants you to believe that Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin who worked on the first draft put a social right in between two individual ones.  And if you believe that one I have a lovely bridge to sell you.   Further, pursuit of Happiness is an expansion of John Locke’s right to property (his original rights were the right to life, liberty and property and no one in their right mind ever thought Locke was talking about social rights not individual one).  If, as Santorum dishonestly suggests, the Founders held society above the individual then that would mean the right to pursue Happiness as a more evolved idea of property, was only for society, which would mean that property should only be held by society and not the individual….and you wonder why I consider Santorum a filthy socialist.

And of course the Founders held the good of society above the good of the individual.  Which is none of them ever broke any of the laws that were for the good society for personal gain—so long as you ignore that John Hancock made a fortune as a smuggler.  And if you put the good of society ahead above the individual then you would see the need to pay off the debts incurred by a massive war fought partly to defend you from the French and not complain about the numerous taxes levied to pay off that debt…oh wait no they would rather risk “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” than pay those taxes.  By the way Rick, honor is also a personal virtue.

Notice also some of their complaints

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

All of those are actions by the British Government attempting to bring about the “public good” but at the expense of personal liberties.  Notice Rick, how the individual is not being sacrificed for the good of the whole by the Founding Fathers.

Notice also phrases like “To secure the public good and private rights” from Federalist 10 by Madison, which seems to place the individual on equal, not subservient, value to the public good…you know kind of like how Christ put the individual on equal footing to everyone else when he quoted Leviticus and said “Love your neighbor as you would love yourself.”  Ignorant, and evil, collectivists like Santorum also seem to miss the second part.  But I shouldn’t expect someone as zealously passionate about his religion to actually read the damn book.

It wasn’t a freedom that gave men and women blanket permission to check in and out of society whenever they wanted.

As Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington did quite often.  And stop me if I’m wrong but wasn’t America founded by people who wanted to check out of society and start a new one, wasn’t this nation founded by people who wanted to check out of the society of Great Britain, wasn’t westward expansion driven by rugged individuals who wanted to check out of society and go west (which was, last time I checked part of the Founding Father’s vision).

 It wasn’t the freedom to be as selfish as I want to be.

Which I’m sure is why Jefferson said “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”  It might be easy to assume Jefferson held the attitude to all private actions that didn’t hurt anyone.

Or try this one from their contemporaries Adam Smith

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.”

Selfishness is what defines human progress.  But Santorum wants to think in the very plebian and uneducated way of sin and virtue.  Selfishness and Selflessness.  It shows that he had done little to any study of the philosophy of the Founding Fathers, nor does he know anything about his own Catholic doctrines…as study in either would lead him back to Aristotle who saw each virtue to have two vices not one (but you know when I looked up Santorum’s education, it came from the Dickenson School of Law, named after John Dickenson, a man so morally bankrupt that he is the only person who had the chance to sign both the Declaration of Independence AND the Constitution AND refused to sign both.  It’s good to see Santorum is keeping up with that legacy of opposing what is right and good and true).  But back to Aristotelian virtue.  It is not a choice between selfish and selfless it a choice between the virtue of rational self-interest and the vices of narcissism and selflessness.  Rational self-interest is where one puts ones needs, wants, and desires first but not at the expense of others, where one’s rights are on equal foot with the rights of others, and where we treat others with compassion, not just because we have the duty to, but because it makes us feel good.  Santorum confuses selfishness, caring about your own concerns, with narcissism where you care ONLY about you and damn how others are affected by your actions (one might say this is the behavior of a sociopath, but even most high-functioning sociopaths take the needs of others into consideration as a means to their ends…so it’s hard to find a lot of examples of this particular evil.  Most evils in the world are caused more by short sightedness and ignorance, not by narcissism).

 It wasn’t even the freedom to be left alone, with no obligations to the people we know and to the people we don’t yet know.

I think he is trying to pervert Edmund Burke’s definition of society (and by extension) as “a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”  But a partnership is not an obligation.  The partnership Burke spoke of was to not view government as a joint stock company like short sighted East India Trading Company he had to deal with (the GM of it’s time) which was designed only to make a quick buck, what he was talking about was that society and law should be made with the long term good in mind.  That we should not solve our problems by heaping problems on future generations.  But if it is trying to pervert Burke he forgets that Burke was probably America’s chief proponent in Britain of our argument to King George III and Parliament that said we have a God-given right to be left alone when we choose so and our only obligation to you, our parent country and society, is to “hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”

There are however no “obligations” or “duties” in this, only the basic ethics to not intentionally harm others (i.e. future generations) but we have no obligations other than the ethical injunction to not maliciously and unjustly harm others.

It is the freedom to be left alone.  Who the hell does this man thinks made this nation?  A bunch of people who just sat in society and always worked in it or those who constantly moved west when they got tired of society.  Don’t like society, move to America.  Don’t like the first colonies’ society, move West.  Don’t like the colonies society, cross the Appalachians.  Not thrilled with the society of the new Union, cross the Mississippi.

Oh and I hate to make this observation, but I have never in my life known a person with an IQ over 110 who doesn’t long for at least some point of each day where they have the freedom to be left alone, who doesn’t want time with their own thought…who wouldn’t yearn for days to be left alone if not longer…what does it say about a man who not only doesn’t want that freedom, doesn’t understand it, but actually wants to outlaw it.

The Founders would have agreed with their contemporary Adam Smith that our obligation is to ourselves and to reason because through these two things naturally develop empathy and compassion…and without a rational self-interest there can be no empathy, compassion or ethical behavior.  And I don’t know if there was enough in all 13 colonies to make them agree with this disgrace of an American named Santorum.

The Constitutional Convention’s freedom, American’s traditional freedom–or the better word, as I defined it earlier, liberty–was a selfless freedom, freedom for the sake of something greater or higher than the self.

Yes, they were after something higher than one person: property and property rights.  And the Happiness of the individual.

I don’t know how selfless it was, as it was very much for the defense of personal property and the right to shoot anyone, be they an individual or a tyrannical government, who dared think they could take your hard earned property…but it was for something greater because they knew that if you could not control your own fate through work, property and achievement there could be no Happiness.

But this man clearly doesn’t believe in Happiness…no, like a good little Kantian he only believes in duty and obligation.  (Remember that Kant is the philosophical basis for Communism and Nazism).

 For our founders, this liberty was defined and defended in the context of our Judeo-Christian understanding of humanity.

Could someone please tell me what Judeo-Christian values are?

Would that be the Enlightenment/Thomist-Aristotlian view each person was personally responsible for themselves.  Perhaps the Puritan/Protestant view that salvation of self was a personal matter and that each person is saved or damned based only on their own merits as an individual.  Couldn’t be the Unitarian view that Franklin and both John and Abigail Adams had that took that Protestant view of individual relationship to God even further and saw it not only as personal but private as well.

Perhaps it might be the in line with the view of the Bill of the Rights of Englishmen that more or less implied that since we can’t possibly know the mind of God we’re not going to legislate in such a way that suggests one religion is more right over another….you know one of those British things that the Founding Fathers actually wanted to continue.  Shame you don’t want to continue that Rick.

Might it be that Judeo Christian understanding of humanity that a Catholic like you should know, that of St. Thomas Aquinas, who in the Summa Theologica stated that “human law does not prohibit every vice from which virtuous men abstain, but only the more serious ones from which the majority can abstain, especially those that harm others and which must be prohibited for human society to survive such as homicide, theft and the life.”  Hmm…even Thomas Aquinas seems to recognize the importance of personal property rights (and this was still before the only ethical means of economic dealing, laissez-faire capitalism, had really been codified in both law and practice)…shame a man from 1200 is centuries ahead of Rick Santorum (but frankly people in 500 BCE were centuries ahead of Santorum).

Often, in fact, American liberty meant the freedom to attend to one’s duties–duties to God, to family, and to neighbors.

No you have a duty to yourself.  If we are made in God’s image then there is nothing higher we can serve than our self, our reason and intellect which makes us the equals of God if we choose to use them, our free will which according to the Christianity is something no other being in existence has been given.  Yes, if we are being true to ourselves, our reason and our will we will be compassionate and kind to others and wish them the best and help them when we can, but because “love [them] as we love [ourselves]” not because “we love them more than we love ourselves” (I seem to not remember that little distinction in the Bible).

 

Duty, a fascinating word.  As in duty based ethics.  The ethical system of fascists and communists everywhere.  Thank God the Founding Fathers were versed in logical people like Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke and Adam Smith who recognized that it was self interest that caused people to be good and the goal of society to provide the tools to become a good person if they choose to be (but never forcing a person who is not harming others to be something that they do not choose to be)—they thankfully never gave into the evils that the word duty has created other the course of history.

Sad they didn’t have the DSM-IV around yet…they could have also looked up Dependent personality disorder.  (Which is pretty much the opposite of a narcissistic personality disorder, which is apparently what Santorum thinks anyone has if they have even the smallest concern for their own well-being).

 Our founders were in the business of constructing a nation, a political community.

This is perhaps the only correct sentence in this quote.  Of course the Founders thought of it as one joined together by mutual consent rather than forced upon people.

No-Fault Freedom, a freedom from every tie and duty, provides no basis for that project: it is a principle of division and social deconstruction.

I will not disagree that people are often at their best when they are involved in society and working to better it (there are of course numerous exceptions, which Santorum might have heard about if he ever actually read something)…but it only yields something good for everyone when it is done by choice with the goal of personal fulfillment being equal or higher than the wanting to do good for others.

The point of society is to produce the highest good and the highest good is personal individual Happiness.  Granted the best society is the one that allows (not brings, because Happiness can only be achieved, never given) for the most people to reach that Happiness…but that Happiness can only be achieved in a society free of preposterous concept of duty…individuals are good by nature and choose freely to help others, they do not need moral obligations to enslave them to do so.  Rick Santorum fails to realize this, and fails to realize everything that is good in this nation.

***

British historian Lord Acton observed, “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought.”

What Santorum insanely proposes here is that “Liberty is not the right to do what our reason tells us we ought, but the obligation to be enslaved to invented obligations to one man’s narrow definition of God and to everyone else in society of others. “

Which sounds like one the Founding Father’s actually supported…and which one do you think Adams, Hamilton, Washington, and Jefferson would be drawing lots as to who got to shoot him for treason?

***

On a side note this is the second time in the last couple of weeks I’ve had to attack a Catholic who also happened to be a communist and who tried to use religion as a cloak for his evil.  What the hell?  I’m a Pagan, but believe it or not, I have a lot of respect for Catholic doctrine and the Catholic Church.  While neither is perfect, they have done far more good for the world (philosophically and materially) than they have done harm.  When did it get infested with this socialist tripe?

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Come Gather Round People Wherever You Roam…

I bow to this man’s genius.

 

And before you get all upset at the parody I would remind you of this Dylan quote:

“The world was absurd … I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of[…] I was fantasising about a nine-to-five existence, a house on a tree-lined block with a white picket fence, pink roses in the backyard.”

 

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Economic inequality hurts people…or does it?


“The Other 99%” (or I’ve also seen 98%) they don’t seem to have a lot of specific goals and ideas. But by their title alone they seem to think that because the top 1% has the majority of the wealth in the world then that clearly means that they’re the ones ruining our lives and it has nothing whatsoever to do with our choices. I think it’s fair to say that whatever the cornucopia of beliefs this movement holds; they all seem to think that the wealth should be spread around a little more. But does that work?

Well let’s look at some facts and figures.… (yes I do math so you don’t have to, you should thank me for doing something so drearily dull as this for you).

They seem to think that if the wealth were spread out just a little more that their lives would be better.

So let’s look at some common statistics before we look at the heart of their argument.

What leads to a better life?

Well the UN has some statistics on standards of living (I’m not sure if this is the best judge for what is a good life, but we’ll play in the liberal’s ballpark and use the UN’s numbers).  Now if we chart that against the average GDP for each country (numbers from the CIA Handbook), (I’ll include a long boring chart with all these figures at the end if you want to check my math) we find that, low and behold the more money you have the better the average quality of life is in any given country. (In case you want to know the better quality of life the higher the score). Not terribly surprising when you consider that one of the UN’s criteria is average GDP, but you’ll notice that that the line goes up exponentially (it curves up) rather than linearly (a straight line) thus suggesting that at some point you need more money just to get the same jump you did last time.  Thus to get to the highest standards of living you need lots of money, at least as an average GDP.

Further it would not be unreasonable to argue that there are secondary benefits, (not having to worry about debt, freedom for leisure, the joys of philanthropy–which is really dependent on having lots of money, etc) that come from extra money not shown in the UN’s standard of living numbers thus making the exact curve even more pronounced in the favor of higher GDP having numerous benefits. So in reality, if we were able to measure all the benefits provided by higher income (see video below), for every extra $10,000 you earn your quality of life better than what it is suggested by the UN data graph below.  (Or to put it another way if we had accurate data and not just UN numbers you would not see as great a level of diminishing returns, but closer to a linear progression).

But is money alone what causes a good life? Not quite because we need to answer what creates lots of money.

And for that we turn to economic liberty…you know the very thing these whiners at The Other 99% are arguing against. For that we turn to the Heritage Foundation and its yearly ranking of economic Freedom. (Again, the higher the score the more economically free).  Seems pretty clear to me that if you have economic freedom you get more money and a better standard of living. Yes, yes, yes correlation does not equal causation…but you’d have to be a damn fool to not see that they’re not related. (By the way, the United States has dropped it’s economic freedom almost every year for the last decade…you know all the while that the economy kept getting worse and worse…I’m sure one had nothing to do with the other).

Okay, so it apear to me that you need more economic freedom if you’re going to have a better life. However, maybe that’s only one interpretaion. Maybe these Other 99% people have a point. So where do we get numbers for economic inequality? Luckily the UN collects those numbers as well. They use something call the Gini coefficient–I could bore you with the math, but let’s just say that the lower the number the more wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, and the higher the number the more the money is spread around. I’m dealing with a slightly smaller pool of countries because the UN reports do not have a complete listing for all countries (countries where a GDP of nothing is spread around equally or countires where the dictator owns everything are pretty much what makes up the majority of the list where you find no data).


If you’re looking for a straight line, you’ll find Waldo in there before you find a straight line. At most you could argue you see the a bell curve here (especially since some of the worst countries where everyone shares in poverty are not on the list and proably have Gini coefficient near 10, and GDP near 0 weren’t calculated) but that would be a very weak correlation at best. Yes you don’t want massive inequality like you would see in Saudi Arabia, but you don’t complete socialist sharing either). What you seem to want is a Gini score between 30-45 (the U.S. is at 40) but this is no guraentee of success. You’ll notice that some of the lowest countries for GDP, standard of living, and economic freedom are all in that range. Conversly if you cross a 70 score on econoimc liberty it seems literally impossible to be in a bad spot.

The distribution of wealth on the whole seems to be a very irrelevant piece of information. It doesn’t appear to be a cause of good or bad economies nor does it appear to be an effect or sign of good or bad economies. It’s a useless talking point. It doesn’t matter what portion of the pie you’re getting…it only matter how big in an abosolute sense a piece you’re getting. If you’getting only a diproportionate 1% of the U.S. eocnomy you’re doing better than most of the world currently (would you rather have your exactly equal share by population of the Somalian economy?) and certainly better than 99.999999999% of the people throughout history.

Real math seems to show that economic inequality is nothing more than a useless talking point that drummed up for class warfare purposes.

If these idiots at “The Other 99%” really cared about improving the quality of life of the 99% who aren’t among the rich, then they would be protesting government, bureaucracy, red tape, taxes and regulation…but they don’t care about that…they don’t want it better for everyone, they just want if better for them so they can sit around all day and get paid for doing nothing…that or they are obscenely bad at math.

So the next time you get into an argument that the rich control too much or that they aren’t paying their fair share and that should change (i.e. redistribute wealth and lower our economic freedom) ask them what proof they have that such a move would improve our quality of life or even average GDP. What proof do they have? Because it certainly isn’t any proof from this little thing called reality.

Country GDP per person Economic Liberty Score Standard of living
 Albania

3,900

64

0.719

 Algeria

4,600

52.4

0.677

 Angola

5,000

46.2

0.403

 Argentina

9,000

51.7

0.775

 Armenia

3,200

69.7

0.695

 Australia

57,400

82.5

0.937

 Austria

45,900

71.9

0.851

 Azerbaijan

5,800

59.7

0.713

 Bahrain

19,200

77.7

0.801

 Bangladesh

700

53

0.469

 Barbados

13,900

68.5

0.788

 Belarus

5,700

47.9

0.732

 Belgium

44,700

70.2

0.867

 Belize

4,400

63.8

0.694

 Benin

700

56

0.435

 Bolivia

1,900

50

0.643

 Bosnia and Herzegovina

3,600

57.5

0.71

 Botswana

6,900

68.8

0.633

 Brazil

10,400

56.3

0.699

 Bulgaria

6,700

64.9

0.743

 Burkina Faso

500

60.6

0.305

 Burma

800

37.8

0.451

 Burundi

200

49.6

0.282

 Cambodia

800

57.9

0.494

 Cameroon

1,200

51.8

0.46

 Canada

46,600

80.8

0.888

 Cape Verde

3,200

64.6

0.534

 Central African Republic

400

49.3

0.315

 Chad

700

45.3

0.295

 Chile

12,100

77.4

0.783

 China, People’s Republic of

4,400

52

0.663

 Colombia

6,500

68

0.689

 Comoros

800

43.8

0.428

 Congo, Democratic Republic of the

200

40.7

0.239

 Costa Rica

7,900

67.3

0.725

 Croatia

13,500

61.1

0.767

 Cuba

5,200

27.7

0.76

 Cyprus

21,000

73.3

0.81

 Czech Republic

18,800

70.4

0.841

 Denmark

56,300

78.6

0.866

 Djibouti

1,500

54.5

0.402

 Dominican Republic

5,300

60

0.663

 Ecuador

4,000

47.1

0.695

 Egypt

2,700

59.1

0.62

 El Salvador

3,600

68.8

0.659

 Equatorial Guinea

22,300

47.5

0.538

 Estonia

15,300

75.2

0.812

 Ethiopia

300

50.5

0.328

 Fiji

3,600

60.4

0.669

 Finland

45,500

74

0.871

 France

39,900

64.6

0.872

 Gabon

8,500

56.7

0.648

 Georgia

2,500

70.4

0.698

 Germany

40,600

71.8

0.885

 Ghana

1,300

59.4

0.467

 Greece

28,400

60.3

0.855

 Guatemala

3,100

61.9

0.56

 Guinea

400

51.7

0.34

 Guinea-Bissau

500

46.5

0.289

 Guyana

3,000

49.4

0.611

 Haiti

700

52.1

0.404

 Honduras

1,900

58.6

0.604

 Hong Kong

31,700

89.7

0.862

 Hungary

12,900

66.6

0.805

 Iceland

40,800

68.2

0.869

 India

1,300

0.519

 Indonesia

2,900

56

0.6

 Iran

4,600

42.1

0.702

 Ireland

44,200

78.7

0.895

 Israel

29,000

68.5

0.872

 Italy

33,800

60.3

0.854

 Jamaica

4,800

65.7

0.688

 Japan

42,800

72.8

0.884

 Jordan

4,300

68.9

0.681

 Kazakhstan

8,100

62.1

0.714

 Kenya

800

57.4

0.47

 Korea, South

20,700

69.8

0.877

 Kuwait

51,600

64.9

0.771

 Kyrgyzstan

800

61.1

0.598

 Laos

1,000

51.3

0.497

 Latvia

10,800

65.8

0.769

 Lesotho

1,100

47.5

0.427

 Liberia

300

46.5

0.3

 Libya

11,500

38.6

0.755

 Lithuania

10,300

71.3

0.783

 Luxembourg

110,400

76.2

0.852

 Macedonia, Republic of

4,400

66

0.701

 Madagascar

400

61.2

0.435

 Malawi

300

55.8

0.385

 Malaysia

8,400

66.3

0.744

 Maldives

4,700

48.3

0.602

 Mali

700

56.3

0.309

 Malta

20,400

65.7

0.815

 Mauritania

1,200

52.1

0.433

 Mauritius

7,500

76.2

0.701

 Mexico

9,200

67.8

0.75

 Micronesia, Federated States of

2,200

50.3

0.614

 Moldova

1,600

55.7

0.623

 Mongolia

2,000

59.5

0.622

 Montenegro

6,000

62.5

0.769

 Morocco

3,300

59.6

0.567

 Mozambique

400

56.8

0.284

 Namibia

5,600

62.7

0.606

 Nepal

500

50.1

0.428

 New Zealand

33,000

82.3

0.907

 Nicaragua

1,200

58.8

0.565

 Niger

400

54.3

0.261

 Nigeria

1,300

56.7

0.423

 Norway

88,600

70.3

0.938

 Pakistan

900

55.1

0.49

 Panama

7,900

64.9

0.755

 Papua New Guinea

1,600

52.6

0.431

 Paraguay

2,900

62.3

0.64

 Peru

5,300

68.6

0.723

 Poland

12,200

64.1

0.795

 Portugal

21,400

64

0.795

 Qatar

75,300

70.5

0.803

 Romania

7,400

64.7

0.767

 Russia

10,500

50.5

0.719

 Rwanda

500

62.7

0.385

 Saudi Arabia

17,200

66.2

0.752

 Senegal

1,000

55.7

0.411

 Serbia

5,300

58

0.735

 Sierra Leone

400

49.6

0.317

 Singapore

43,300

87.2

0.846

 Slovakia

16,000

69.5

0.818

 Slovenia

23,900

64.6

0.828

 Solomon Islands

1,300

45.9

0.494

 South Africa

7,300

62.7

0.597

 Spain

30,300

70.2

0.863

 Sri Lanka

2,400

57.1

0.658

 Suriname

6,700

53.1

0.646

 Swaziland

2,600

59.1

0.498

 Sweden

50,200

71.9

0.885

 Switzerland

68,700

81.9

0.874

 Syria

2,700

51.3

0.589

 Taiwan (Republic of China)

18,700

70.8

0.868

 Tajikistan

800

53.5

0.58

 Tanzania

500

57

0.398

 Thailand

4,800

64.7

0.654

 Timor-Leste

500

42.8

0.502

 Togo

500

49.1

0.428

 Tonga

3,400

55.8

0.677

 Trinidad and Tobago

16,800

66.5

0.736

 Tunisia

4,200

58.5

0.683

 Turkey

9,500

64.2

0.679

 Turkmenistan

5,700

43.6

0.669

 Uganda

500

61.7

0.422

 Ukraine

3,000

45.8

0.71

 United Arab Emirates

60,700

67.8

0.815

 United Kingdom

36,000

74.5

0.849

 United States

47,600

77.8

0.902

 Uruguay

12,200

70

0.765

 Uzbekistan

1,400

45.8

0.617

 Venezuela

10,700

37.6

0.696

 Vietnam

1,200

51.6

0.572

 Yemen

1,300

54.2

0.439

 Zambia

1,200

59.7

0.395

 Zimbabwe

600

22.1

0.14

Country UN Gini Score GDP per person Economic Liberty Score Standard of living
 Albania

31.1

3,900

64

0.719

 Algeria

35.3

4,600

52.4

0.677

 Argentina

48.8

9,000

51.7

0.775

 Armenia

33.8

3,200

69.7

0.695

 Australia

35.2

57,400

82.5

0.937

 Austria

29.1

45,900

71.9

0.851

 Azerbaijan

36.5

5,800

59.7

0.713

 Bangladesh

33.4

700

53

0.469

 Belarus

29.7

5,700

47.9

0.732

 Belgium

33

44,700

70.2

0.867

 Benin

36.5

700

56

0.435

 Bolivia

57.2

1,900

50

0.643

 Bosnia and Herzegovina

26.2

3,600

57.5

0.71

 Botswana

60.5

6,900

68.8

0.633

 Brazil

49.3

10,400

56.3

0.699

 Bulgaria

29.2

6,700

64.9

0.743

 Burkina Faso

39.5

500

60.6

0.305

 Burundi

42.4

200

49.6

0.282

 Cambodia

41.7

800

57.9

0.494

 Cameroon

44.6

1,200

51.8

0.46

 Canada

32.6

46,600

80.8

0.888

 Central African Republic

61.3

400

49.3

0.315

 Chile

52

12,100

77.4

0.783

 China (PRC)

46.9

4,400

52

0.663

 Colombia

58.5

6,500

68

0.689

 Costa Rica

48.9

7,900

67.3

0.725

 Croatia

29

13,500

61.1

0.767

 Czech Republic

25.4

18,800

70.4

0.841

 Denmark

24.7

56,300

78.6

0.866

 Dominican Republic

50

5,300

60

0.663

 Ecuador

54.4

4,000

47.1

0.695

 Egypt

34.4

2,700

59.1

0.62

 El Salvador

46.9

3,600

68.8

0.659

 Estonia

35.8

15,300

75.2

0.812

 Ethiopia

30

300

50.5

0.328

 Finland

26.9

45,500

74

0.871

 France

32.7

39,900

64.6

0.872

 Georgia

40.4

2,500

70.4

0.698

 Germany

28.3

40,600

71.8

0.885

 Ghana

40.8

1,300

59.4

0.467

 Greece

34.3

28,400

60.3

0.855

 Guatemala

53.7

3,100

61.9

0.56

 Guinea

38.6

400

51.7

0.34

 Guinea-Bissau

47

500

46.5

0.289

 Haiti

59.5

700

52.1

0.404

 Honduras

55.3

1,900

58.6

0.604

 Hong Kong

43.4

31,700

89.7

0.862

 Hungary

26.9

12,900

66.6

0.805

 India

36.8

1,300

0.519

 Indonesia

34.3

2,900

56

0.6

 Iran

43

4,600

42.1

0.702

 Ireland

34.3

44,200

78.7

0.895

 Israel

39.2

29,000

68.5

0.872

 Italy

36

33,800

60.3

0.854

 Jamaica

45.5

4,800

65.7

0.688

 Japan

24.9

42,800

72.8

0.884

 Jordan

38.8

4,300

68.9

0.681

 Kazakhstan

33.9

8,100

62.1

0.714

 Kenya

42.5

800

57.4

0.47

 Kyrgyzstan

30.3

800

61.1

0.598

 Laos

34.6

1,000

51.3

0.497

 Latvia

37.7

10,800

65.8

0.769

 Lesotho

63.2

1,100

47.5

0.427

 Liberia

52.6

300

46.5

0.3

 Lithuania

36

10,300

71.3

0.783

 Macedonia

39

4,400

66

0.701

 Madagascar

47.5

400

61.2

0.435

 Malawi

39

300

55.8

0.385

 Malaysia

49.2

8,400

66.3

0.744

 Mali

40.1

700

56.3

0.309

 Mauritania

39

1,200

52.1

0.433

 Mexico

51.6

9,200

67.8

0.75

 Moldova

33.2

1,600

55.7

0.623

 Mongolia

32.8

2,000

59.5

0.622

 Morocco

39.5

3,300

59.6

0.567

 Mozambique

47.3

400

56.8

0.284

 Namibia

74.3

5,600

62.7

0.606

 Nepal

47.2

500

50.1

0.428

 New Zealand

36.2

33,000

82.3

0.907

 Nicaragua

52.3

1,200

58.8

0.565

 Niger

50.5

400

54.3

0.261

 Nigeria

43.7

1,300

56.7

0.423

 Norway

25.8

88,600

70.3

0.938

 Pakistan

30.6

900

55.1

0.49

 Panama

54.9

7,900

64.9

0.755

 Papua New Guinea

50.9

1,600

52.6

0.431

 Paraguay

53.2

2,900

62.3

0.64

 Peru

50.5

5,300

68.6

0.723

 Poland

34.5

12,200

64.1

0.795

 Portugal

38.5

21,400

64

0.795

 Romania

31

7,400

64.7

0.767

 Russia

39.9

10,500

50.5

0.719

 Rwanda

46.8

500

62.7

0.385

 Senegal

41.3

1,000

55.7

0.411

 Sierra Leone

62.9

400

49.6

0.317

 Singapore

42.5

43,300

87.2

0.846

 Slovakia

25.8

16,000

69.5

0.818

 Slovenia

28.4

23,900

64.6

0.828

 South Africa

57.8

7,300

62.7

0.597

 South Korea

31.6

20,700

69.8

0.877

 Spain

34.7

30,300

70.2

0.863

 Sri Lanka

40.2

2,400

57.1

0.658

 Swaziland

50.4

2,600

59.1

0.498

 Sweden

25

50,200

71.9

0.885

 Switzerland

33.7

68,700

81.9

0.874

 Tajikistan

32.6

800

53.5

0.58

 Tanzania

34.6

500

57

0.398

 Thailand

42

4,800

64.7

0.654

 Trinidad and Tobago

38.9

16,800

66.5

0.736

 Tunisia

39.8

4,200

58.5

0.683

 Turkey

41.2

9,500

64.2

0.679

 Turkmenistan

40.8

5,700

43.6

0.669

 Uganda

45.7

500

61.7

0.422

 Ukraine

28.1

3,000

45.8

0.71

 United Kingdom

36

36,000

74.5

0.849

 United States

40.8

47,600

77.8

0.902

 Uruguay

47.1

12,200

70

0.765

 Uzbekistan

36.8

1,400

45.8

0.617

 Venezuela

49.5

10,700

37.6

0.696

 Vietnam

34.4

1,200

51.6

0.572

 Yemen

33.4

1,300

54.2

0.439

 Zambia

50.8

1,200

59.7

0.395

 Zimbabwe

50.1

600

22.1

0.14

33

70.8

0.868

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Laws for Conservatives to pass: Encouraging innovation

As I have stated before I want the tax code rewritten. Ideally I would prefer going entirely to a sales tax (no corporate tax, no death tax, no income tax, no capital gains tax, no luxury tax, no tariffs, nothing but a flat sales tax). Short of that I want a flat tax rate with no loopholes (and again most of those other taxes eliminated). But if we can’t even have that, or at least a stepping stone to those other programs, we need to A.) lower the tax rates and B.) eliminate ALL loopholes. All of them, even the ones that encourage things we like, like mortgage deductions and child tax credits. ALL OF THEM.

However, I have proposed a very special kind of exemption in “Republicans and Reincarnation” that I will stand by.

That exemption was that Congress should offer a multimillion dollar prize to anyone who can create an engine that can replace the internal combustion engine that is cheaper and has fewer emissions. In addition to the prize they will be exempt from ALL taxes for the rest of their life. I do this because the kinds of people who tinker with this kind of technology in their garage don’t always think long term enough to consider the advantages of compounding royalty payments and thus they don’t see what should be the obvious incentives to spend time coming up with inventions that we need. The scatterbrained genius needs immediate incentives to work or at least to channel their energies. The only thing they would have to give up is the right to negotiate price on selling the rights for this invention. They will still be paid for every use of their invention, but I want these inventions in use yesterday and I don’t want them held up by negotiations, (and if we’re paying that kind of money for it Congress will not be able to hold it back if it knows what is good for it). (Especially since there is a mild conspiracy theorist in me that isn’t willing to fully dismiss those stories that better engines have already been invented but bought up by oil companies and kept out of the public’s view…I have no proof beyond hearsay and personal accounts. But given the short sighted nature of a lot of companies right now it wouldn’t surprise me).

Yes I fully understand the nature of capitalism, that it will always create the thing we need, when we need them. I understand that. But there are some things we could use right now even though we haven’t reached the level of absolutely need. I would prefer to get around the necessity for that kind of need and the temporary hardships it brings to an economy. For instance we all know that eventually the internal combustion engine will be replaced when the reserves of gasoline start going dry, and we know there will be a period of hardship in that change over period, so I would just like to skip the hardship if we could.

So here is a list of inventions I think congress should offer a $100 million dollar prize for, plus having to pay no taxes if you’re the first to come up with it. And I will justify why all of these would save us more money than the costs.

1. The first is obviously the replacement for the internal combustion engine that actually works. I don’t care if it’s electric, a brilliant new type of internal configuration on the internal combustion engine, hydrogen fuel cells or the static electricity engine from Atlas Shrugged—I don’t care if it’s long lived hamsters on steroids and meth with a tread wheel…all I care about is the following: It costs less than $100 to build. It can power truck or SUV with a full load for 300 miles, without being refueled, while going at 65 miles per hour or higher. It must be able to be refueled in less than 10 minutes from a completely empty and a full refill can cost no more $20. Oh and it has to have 20% less emissions than the cleanest internal combustion engine available. This is the problem with all the current alternatives electric cars have no speed or ability to pull large loads (not to mention they take too long to charge). Hydrogen fuel cells are too expensive. I want powerful, fast and cheap. If you can get those standards on a fully loaded SUV then the figures for a small sedan should be even better. The advantages to this are obvious. I don’t really care much about the emissions because I don’t believe in the BS that is global warming, but I live in Phoenix and so I do know the problem that is smog so I would like to see that lowered. Obviously if we weren’t dependent on oil (or at least as much oil) then that will hurt the bottom line of oil sales in the Middle East, which means less money going to terrorism, which means we might not have to spend so much fighting terrorism. Further with less money being spent on fuel and shipping this will of course save money in your pocket,  which will bring cost down and profits up…and you can figure out how that cycles through the economy and works better for everyone.
2. A battery that will work and survive for 7 or more years in temperatures ranging from 30 below 0 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. It also needs to hold at least 3 times the charge of a battery of comparable size can do now. This is one of the biggest problems of electric cars. Here in the South-west you can’t have an electric car because everything is so spaced out that you risk using an entire charge before reaching your destination and it gets so hot out here that car batteries need to be replaced every two to three years (expensive enough in a regular car, outrageously expensive in an electric car). On the east electric cars won’t function when it gets too cold. If you could overcome these problems with electric cars, even at their current levels of horsepower would be far more efficient and useful and thus worth the cost. The benefits then become the same as invention 1. However improved batteries that store more would have additional uses that would save us all money even if we had improved battery technology. Just for example how much power does it take to power every street light in the world every night? Right now it’s prohibitively expensive and bulky to power most of those with solar cells and batteries…but it might not with much smaller, more efficient batteries that didn’t have to be replaced. Apply that same idea to numerous other small things that could run off better batteries. That’s a lot of saved energy, which means a lot of saved money.
3. One of Obama’s BS ideas to help get more jobs was infrastructure improvement. Wow more jobs for unionized construction workers, I’m sure that will help the economy. However, this does bring up a fact that infrastructure is a large and continual part of federal, state, and local government costs. One of the reasons why is because that crappy asphalt and concrete we put on the roads keeps wearing out, develop pot holes, become road hazards and need to be replaced. And replacing them takes time (lots of time, which hurts traffic and destroys productivity, not to mention all the wasted money just sitting there letting the engine idle in traffic) and lots of money—those workers are union and government. They are about as overpriced and overpaid as work gets in this world. So here is what I want, I want someone to come up with some kind of chemical that can be added to the concrete or asphalt, or some new substance all together, that will prevent it from wearing out or at least radically slow the decay. If you could make every road last just 10 years longer than they currently do the saving in government expenditures alone would pay for that prize for inventing the stuff.
4. We haven’t come upon it yet, but more than oil we have another natural resource that is getting very, very sparse. Water. “What?” you say, “The Earth is covered in the stuff!” Yes it is, but that’s salt water. Clean, desalinized, drinkable water is becoming more and more rare (especially with continuing growth of world population). There is not nearly enough drinkable water to support 7 billion people at first world level (and it should be our goal to get everyone up to first world level) at present. We need more drinkable water. But most processes for desalination are prohibitively expensive as it currently stands. Trust me we will need a cheap and quick way to desalinize massive amounts of water within the next 50 years. Let’s make sure we have the technology to do so without having to first have millions die from not having enough to drink. Further if you could cheaply do it, then you could easily do it to supply areas suffering from drought which always causes economic problems.
5. Cars that drive themselves. We all saw Minority Report (and a few other films) and have seen cars that just take verbal commands and take you to your destination while you can spend your time reading, working, talking, doing anything other than have to pay attention to the other insane people on the road. The average American spends about 130 hours in a car. Think of what you can do with an extra 130 hours, about 5 and half days (just for comparative purposes if you’re Jack Bauer you can save the world a half dozen times and kill 143 people in that amount of time…so there is a lot you can do in that amount of time). So an average extra 5 days worth of time for all 300 million people in the US, less stress from driving the freeway. This system would have to be based on being able to avoid accidents, so lower insurance rates and less money wasted on fixing cars. And let’s not even talk about the fact that you’d never have a drunk driving a car, so the loss of life from driving goes down drastically. Yeah I think that’s worth $100 million.
6. The fruit picker. To hell with making robots walk and talk. I want someone to develop a robot that can 90% of the time recognize if a vegetable or piece of fruit is ripe and then harvest that plant without damaging it. People complain about the plight of the migrant worker…well this would eliminate the need for that kind of work. Which would in turn eliminate this country’s terrible habit of keeping a pseudo slave class in the form of illegal immigrants. The saving for this should be more than obvious.
7. Plants with over active metabolisms. Think about it. Think of how much the lumber and paper industry could benefit from trees that took half the time to grow. Or what plants which convert carbon dioxide into oxygen twice as fast could do for any future space programs…which could in turn open up space itself for exploration, mining and colonization. I know I’m stretching with this one…but it has possibilities. I’m a little worried about this being brought to the food industry, but it has possibilities as well. In the end it would pay for itself I think.
8. The transporter. All the other things on this list I think are actually possible but just have yet to be invented (okay I’m stretching with number 7, but it’s not out of the realm of theoretically possible). This one, well, what I know of quantum mechanics tells me that this is never going to happen. Still I want one. I don’t even care if you never figure out how to get it to transport organic material. Think of what you could do just in terms of shipping with a transporter. It would of course be prohibitively expensive up front, but long term I think this could pay for itself.

Why is there nothing from the medical field here? Yes I know that most of our current government expenditures are in the medical field, but this is to encourage people to start tinkering in their garages on their off time. Do you want medical experiments going in people’s garages? Hell no.

Why are there no flying cars? Because while the flying car is cool there are two big problems. First it offers no additional economic value. Second because how do you brake something that’s flying?

And yes we would all love a light saber or a time machine or a holodeck, but again those are not exactly scientifically possible and I’m not sure they would be good for society.

I might also like to see a Roomba that can clean bathrooms and kitchens, but I’m not sure that will save $100 million in the economy.

What other inventions could redefine the world?

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Republicans and Reincarnation is for sale!!!!

It’s for sale.

Republicans and Reincarnation: The Conscience of A New Age Conservative is finally for sale!!

You should buy a copy. Or three. One for you. One for your best friend whom you want to have one of the best books of the 21st century. And one just because you never know when you’ll need a back up copy.

Buy it at my publisher AuthorHouse

Barnes & Noble

Amazon  (although they apparently are not selling the Kindle version just yet, but they should have it up soon).  

Prices for the book are lower at my publisher, prices for the Nook at B&N is lower than the price at my publisher.  (Royalties are higher from my publisher, so you know where my bias lies).

Feel free to write a review or two…Feel free to mention it to every carbon based life-form you know…feel free to forward information to any member of the media you know.

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What’s wrong with the GOP.

Oh god where to start?

The fact that most of representatives are little more than liberals in conservatives clothes? The fact that our primaries are almost designed to pick the most incompetent candidate? The fact that a brainless bleeding heart like John McCain is actually allowed in this party? The fact that Michael Steele doesn’t have a spine? The fact that Alan Keyes lacks sanity? The fact that given a choice, far too many people in this party would pick abortion as the most important issue to vote on? Ah that seems like a good place to start, this parties inability to get it’s priorities straight.

Let’s look at the party platform (I’m just copying off the party website)

1. National Security: Defending Our Nation, Supporting Our Heroes, Securing the Peace

2. Government Reform: Reforming Government to Serve the People

3. Economy: Expanding Opportunity to Promote Prosperity

4. Energy: Energy Independence and Security

Environment: Environmental Protection

5. Health Care: Health Care Reform: Putting Patients First

6. Education: Education Means a More Competitive America

7. Crime: Protecting Our Families

8. Values: Preserving Our Values

Well isn’t that a wonderfully liberal little list of drivel (and I don’t mean liberal in the good classical liberal sense). Now first off we know that the part really has their so-called “values” (which do include “preserving traditional marriage” and “the value of human life” if you look further down on the page) isn’t 8 on the list, it’s #1. Why do I know this? Hmmm… maybe has something to do with ballot measures dealing with banning gay marriage and a strange lack of ballot measure preventing government intervention in the economy. Might also have something to do with a real fiscal conservative like Guliani and Thompson not making it very far in the primary, but Huckabee and Romney actually winning states (last time I checked the only qualification either of the idiots had was their religion…it sure as hell wasn’t brains).

Still this list looks like Roman Senate debating on which honors to vote Caesar while the barbarians are at the gate ready to burn down the city. That line may prove to be more prophetic than I would like it to be.

But lets go back to the actual list:

1. “Securing the Peace” well isn’t that a wonderfully isolationist and appeasing sounding phrase. I can just hear Chamberlain’s nasal voice promising “peace in our time.”

2. “Serve the people” …is that like “To Serve Man”? Am I the only person who remembers that we’re conservatives. WE DON’T BELIEVE IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVING PEOPLE. The government isn’t there to give you things! It’s there to protect you from those who would use force to take what is yours…you know your life, your liberty, your property. Other than that government has next to no legitimate powers. It’s not there to give things, only to make sure others don’t take without payment.

3. The Economy. Shouldn’t this like point 1 or 2? Lets look at some of their great ideas: “Keeping jobs in America” because economic isolationism and protectivism and other such socialist, yes as in the exact opposite of free market capitalism (what we’re supposed to be in favor of) has always worked to improve the economy…oh wait, it NEVER has.

There is also some doublespeak about the about reforming the tax code, but there are no specifics. Great because going in without a plan is working so well for us in Iraq.

“Protecting Union Workers” is in there. Nice. So we’re going to protect the people whose astronomically high salaries helped destroy the auto industry, and whose abysmally low standards have helped to ruin the education system. With ideas like this who needs Obama to wreck the country? I’m not saying get rid of unions, but when they’re worse than the robber barons they were formed to oppose there is a problem.

“Free and Fair Trade”…which are ruined by overly powerful unions and isolationist trade.

“Supporting our Agriculture”… apparently through more subsidies. Hey maybe we can pay them more to grow more corn for ethanol which is more worthless than any other idea I’ve ever seem.

4. Energy…you know a real energy plan would be nice. It’s called nuclear power. It’s clean. It’s cheap. It’s safe. Not wind. Not solar. Whose costs outdo their benefits. Screw the environmentalist Chick Littles and fire up the reactors.

5. Health care. More double talk that sadly doesn’t include the words “We’re sorry for being the ones responsible for creating Medicaid, Medicare, and the HMO’s that are driving up your costs, we’re going to get rid of those evil organizations the minute we’re in power.” Nope didn’t see that. Didn’t see tort reform there either.

6. Education: I’ll have a rant on this later, as I am more than qualified to particularly talk about this. But the short is that you’re not going to get education reform until the platform includes the words “Break the Teacher’s Union.” Until then I recommend home schooling.

7. Crime. The 2nd point after child molesters is, and I’m not making this up, INTERNET GAMBLING. Yes, gangs, drugs, Al Qaeda recruitment in prisons, illegal immigration, prison population overcrowding… None of this matters in the face of that horrible evil that is INTERNET GAMBLING.

8. Values. I’ve already talked about this but let me tell what else comes in for the GOP as a low level issues at #8 “Protecting our National symbols” and “Preserving American’s Property Rights” That’s right making it illegal to burn a flag is just as important as letting me keep what I’ve worked for (actually the symbols beats out private property rights…private property beats out only one issue “Supporting Native American Communities”…which is kind of odd when you think about what happened to their private property.) You know if I had to choose between property rights (the basis for capitalism and a main pillar of Classical Liberalism) and some dipshit burning a flag to prove to the world he has less than a full brain cell working….yeah I’m going to say that my property rights are more important.

The fact is that the Republican party is going to keep floundering until the platform reads something like this:

1. Conservatives: Grow a pair

2. National Defense: End Tyranny, Secure the Borders, Honor our troops by letting them do their job.

3. The Economy: Free trade, pay down the debt followed by tax cuts, your property is yours not ours.

4. Government Reform: The Top 10 Cabinet Level Departments we plan to give pink slips to.

5. Health Care: We’re getting out of it because we don’t know our ass from a hole in the ground.

6. Energy: The same as our policy toward despots—Nuclear.

7. Education: No Union, real standards, real tests.

8. Crime: We’re going to lock criminals away for a really long time so they can’t hurt anyone else.

9. Values: We’d be happy if you had some, but we’re the government and your values are your business, not ours.

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Why I’m a New Ager Part 1.5

Okay, so I came across the following this afternoon and had to comment:

I then said that while I don’t like to use absolute moralist terms like “good” and “evil,” one has to at least define them and use them as reference terms if you want to communicate with people. One can therefore say that the essential core quality that has to exist as a behavioral platform for evil to flourish is selfishness. Selfishness — “not them but me, not the greater good but mine” — is where all bad and ugly things begin.

This little gem insanity/ignorance/evil is brought to you by a blog called Hollywood Elsewhere, which given insightful statements like this one, will not be one of my preferred reading haunts. So why do I bring it up, and why do I bring it up as why I’m a New Ager when the rest of the article is all about how conservatives are evil and should be done away with. Well, this is one of those other reasons that I can’t quite bring myself to go to one of those more traditional religions. Pretty much every traditional religion I can think of tends to agree with that statement up there to one degree or another. ‘You are evil when you do things for yourself,’ they say, ‘it is only when you serve others that you are good.’

Now before I get into how New Age belief can be different (and I’m sure that you could interpret any religion to say what I’m about to, it’s just now as surface obvious as it is with New Age beliefs) let me deal with what selfishness is and isn’t. A dictionary definition on the word selfishness tends to run something like this: A chief concern for one’s self and well-being. Now what exactly is wrong with that. Anyone who doesn’t have concern for their well-being is probably not mentally stable. Now of course you could claim that there are people who sacrifice their lives for beliefs, causes, fellow soldiers, family, ect who aren’t crazy…and I would agree with you, but they’re still selfish…they’re acting off the thought of ‘I couldn’t live with myself if such and such happened’…it is still in their best interest to act in a way that causes very short-term harm.

The problem is that most liberals, or most people for that matter, have this bizarre habit of forming things into opposite pairs. On one end they have altruism, where you have concern for others, and on the other you must have selfishness where you are evil and have no concern for anyone but yourself. I’ve actually been told that by liberals…it’s probably why one of my calming mantras is: Liberals are stupid, they can’t help saying stupid thing. Liberals are stupid, they can’t help saying stupid things. (Repeat that while watching the news it will make for a much more calming experience).
The reason for this, is that human nature can’t be neatly fit into 2 either or categories. If you’re going to break it down to as few categories as possible, then to be accurate you have to break it into 3: altruism, rational selfishness, and irrational selfishness/hedonism. Now despite moron-boys hesitancy to use the words “good” and “evil” some of these are clearly good and some are clearly evil. Rational self-interest, ie selfishness, is good. The other two are evil.

GASP! you say. Altruism evil?

Yes Altruism is about the worst evil in the world. Altruism says that you should do things not because you get pleasure out of them, but because you are here only to help other people. Anything done for yourself is bad, anything done for others is good. There’s a flaw in that logic though. Basically it says that your life is worthless–after all if it had value than you should have some concern for it–but since you shouldn’t have concern for it, then your life must be worthless. Now liberals and extreme religious zealots will try to wiggle out of this and fudge the line between rational selfishness, just like they tried to fudge the line between hedonism and rational self-interest a minute ago when they told you thinking about yourself, being selfish, is wrong…don’t fall for it, it’s a trick. Altruism means you can have no concern for yourself. If you do it because it makes you feel good, that’s rational self-interest, not altruism. But let’s get back to the problem with altruism. The logical problem is, if your life is worth nothing then how can anyone else’s life be worth anything. After all we are all human, and if my life is intrinsically worthless, then your life must be intrinsically worthless by nature of being human…so why should have any concern for something that is worthless. But wait the liberal/zealot shouts it’s not anyone one individual, it’s the whole of society that has value not individual lives. Let’s see if that works

Nothing times everyone on the planet…
0 x 6,500,000,000= oh wait that still equals nothing because anything time zero is nothing. (It’s failure to do basic math like this that leads to liberals being so unable to balance budgets). And while I know the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, that’s usually assuming the parts had some value. So if society as a whole has some value then individual life has to have some value. Hence pure altruism can’t be right.

But then you tell me that all I’ve just said is crazy philosophy and has no relevance in real life. Okay, fair enough, I’ve seen some pretty crazy philosophy that I can’t quite say has anything to do with reality so lets put it to the reality test. Lets look for examples of pure altruism in real life…that in political terms would be called…ummm…what’s that word… communism which demands everyone serve the higher concept of society and fascism which demands everyone serve the higher concept of the state/race. Even a cursory knowledge of history tells anyone that altruism in that sense tended to end fairly poorly and violently, resulting in genocide and the most torturous standard of living imaginable. Or we could look to the Middle Ages where everyone lived not for themselves but only for God…there’s a reason this is also called the Dark Ages. Pretty much the same standard of living in Eastern countries where the king was revered as a god. All in all the practical benefits of any system that preached altruism was misery for everyone, with the exception of some hedonistic bastard(s) at the top.

It is only rational self-interest, the belief that your life and the lives of others have value that works to better ourselves and others. We do what benefits us, because our life has meaning and value. We should make sure we don’t intentionally hurt others while we seek our happiness, because their lives have value too. THe nature of seeking what is best for ourselves, in competition with others, is what drives progress and excellence.

Why is this a New Age concept. Because unlike most traditional religions, New Age belief doesn’t say I was born into sin (read without value) and must serve only God’s will not because it makes me happy but because it’s his order (a disgustingly Kantian duty based philosophy) nor does it say I am only an ego (read worthless) that must be dispelled into nothingness when I reach Enlightenment. New Age belief says I am a soul (of value), a Son of God (read you don’t get more valuable than that), that just happens to be hampered by an ego at the moment (which in trying control you with fear and false dichotomies, like only offering you a choice between self-denial through altruism or self-indulgence through hedonism). To be with God, to reach Enlightenment, I must have concern for myself and make myself happy, because being with God is a happy thing. And I should do things that help other people, not because I should out of some sense of duty, but because it makes me happy. And New Age philosophy is the only one I can find that consistently embraces that truth.

So back to our idiotic quote
One can therefore say that the essential core quality that has to exist as a behavioral platform for evil to flourish is selfishness. Selfishness — “not them but me, not the greater good but mine” — is where all bad and ugly things begin.

well, history has shown that the greatest evils of all time have all been propped up with “the greater good” and the greatest advancements in human evolution have been done by people who were out to do great things. I leave you with this thought from Adam Smith:
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.”–Wealth of Nations

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Filed under Individualism, New Age, Selfishness