by johnbechtel on February 4, 2013
in Closed borders, Declaration of Independence, Economics, Financial Independence, Freedom, Government, Group warfare, Groups, Individual Rights, Jehovah's Witnesses, Labels, Monopoly on use of force, Philosophy, Politics, Power of Belief, Property Rights, Separation of Church & State, Smallest minority, U.S. Constitution
It is my intention to provide my readers with a very valuable and unique service. I am a voracious reader and it is my special talent to distill complex subjects down to their simplest parts and principles (if indeed such principles exist). Much of what is written, past and present, is intentionally obfuscated for political purposes or dishonest gain, whether of the material, intellectual, or emotional varieties. It is designed to misinform or mislead. Even when the ideas are simply muddle-headed rather than intentionally disingenuous, there is rarely an understanding of where those ideas originated, or historical consequences of their application. These observations are particularly applicable to political discussions, but are not uncommon in virtually any serious discourse.
I am driven to know what is. I grew up in an intellectually closed society, as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I left that religious organization in mid-life only to find a whole smorgasbord of other closed societies, whether religious, philosophical, political, or social. There is a vehemence and even fierceness of advocacy that inhibits civil conversation and betrays intolerance of different life experiences and conclusions. What is most remarkable about all of these is that either side in any of these debates would passionately agree with my observations herewith stated, but only find them applicable to the attitudes and behavior of those with an opposing viewpoint!
As the polemicists outshout each other in the vain belief that raising the volume of their cranky bombast is the key to recruiting you to the cause or the sale, regard for evidence, logic, scientific method, clarity, and other calm pursuits are left behind like abandoned children. Defense of our own position usually trumps all other considerations without any awareness whatsoever of the road by which we arrived at our convictions. My most important takeaway from my own life-altering experience is that I am the bouncer and doorman to my own mind, and I have sole discretion over what is permitted to enter. I am the final arbiter of what I accept, because I become what I ingest intellectually. This is a personal responsibility that I cannot delegate to any other person, institution, or authority. In my opinion, every one of my readers shares this same responsibility for themselves, for the same reasons and with the same rewards. Bitterness and anger about years wasted in misguided belief and defiance of reality are efforts to transfer responsibility for our own past choices onto others, but in every case it was we who negligently invited strangers, in the form of ideas, into our mind unidentified and unchallenged. Even when we absorb faulty premises in our age of innocence, responsibility to identify and correct these later in life cannot be avoided with impunity.
I frequently include book reviews on this blog, on a broad range of subjects. All of these book reviews are at least somewhat positive in nature, because I do not waste my readers time on books that are in my opinion without at least some important redeeming values. I am neither Democrat nor Republican, neither liberal nor conservative, and these days, once you get past the rhetoric, it can be said their distinctions are often without differences. I have no ideology except the value of the individual human being. Each of us is a minority of one. Regardless of the comfort we find in each other, there is no collective brain. Descartes famously said “I think, therefore I am.” What we think determines what we become.
I want to share some rules of the road from my personal experience.
When I was growing up, my parents taught me to eat everything on my plate at meal times. It was axiomatic that to waste food was wrong, even though our young minds rarely grasped the contradiction in the fact that we didn’t overload the plate with all that food, the grown-ups did. How could we possibly know that for the rest of our lives other BIG PEOPLE would be filling up our intellectual plates with the impassioned ideas, ephemeral notions, and absolute certainties they insisted we must ingest because it is “good for us.” As in childhood, we trust the source, the same one we associated with survival itself.
Rule #1 : The purpose of all propaganda is to become your “trusted source.” Read more..
Here we go with the vocabulary thing again. I promise to make this easier than your last root canal. The Federal Reserve Bank is a central bank. Central banks are created to control and manipulate the money supply. The money supply is the aggregate total of all the money in circulation in an economy. It is often referred to in the media and the industry as M. Controlling the money supply frees governments from the responsibility of living within their means. It makes it possible for them to counterfeit money. All governments have laws making counterfeiting their currency illegal. That is because all governments have a monopoly on counterfeiting and do not tolerate competition in the business.
Governments counterfeit money in the exact same way all counterfeiters do; they print it, and slip it into circulation into the economy. They spend it. They spend more money than the economy produces because they do not want to live within their means. They do not want to live within their means because they use money to buy votes. They give out goodies in return for favors; favors in the form of legislation that promotes the welfare of one group over another group; favors that line their individual pockets, reward their friends, punish their enemies, and above all, favors that get them re-elected.
Other reasons are given, of course, for the existence of the Fed. But it is axiomatic that all governments seek continual expansion of their powers, and control of the public purse and the power to tax is the Holy Grail for power seekers. The founding fathers of this country feared government more than anything, and the Constitution they framed was to protect us, not from foreigners, and not from each other, so much as from our elected government itself. The debates about economic policies are a sideshow and a distraction; the main event is the relentless expansion of executive power and the quiet transfer, not only of wealth, but of personal liberties as well. Without economic freedom based on individual rights, private property, and the right to keep and dispose of our earnings as we choose, there is no freedom at all. Read more..
I have decided that we humans are fundamentally lazy, that is, we travel with the herd and we will do what we have to for our own survival, but for the most part we will ride on the efforts of others as much as possible. It is best and safest to be in the middle of the herd, for those who travel on the periphery are far more likely to be picked off by predators or somehow get separated from the herd, to their destruction. Basically, all we want is what the members of any herd want, the freedom and safety to graze and reproduce. Now what, exactly, does this have to do with financial literacy? Everything, dear Reader, everything. Read more..