Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

The Defective Products of Our Governments

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, a carpenter uses squares, levels and chalk lines to get satisfactory results, an accountant uses entries in a ledger to harmonize the income and outgo of a business’ expenses, and a CEO uses profit margins and return on investments to gauge their performance, those in politics however, have no such devices to insure the quality of their work, the effectiveness of their laws nor quantify the benefit of their actions. It would seem then, that the carpenter, accountant and executive is held to a higher standard than Senators, Congressmen, Judges or President of nations. The actions of a Judge has implications for the whole of the society, the economy balances on the laws passed by Senators and Congressmen, a President that refuses to equally administer the laws destroys civil society, yet there are no measures, gauges or regulations on them. The lack of which lowers, not only the quality of the work of government, but insures the sub par performance of everything government touches.

Imagine building a house without a level, square or chalk line. Such a house, no matter the expertise of the carpenter, would be shoddy. The walls wouldn’t be plumb, the floors wouldn’t be level and the framing wouldn’t be straight. Every part of that house would be terrible. Were a house built without the use of these tools it wouldn’t stand a year. If however, a house were built by an amateur, with the use of levels, squares and chalk line, even given the substantially lower skill level of the carpenter, it would be much better then a house built by an expert without the use of such quality enforcing tools. Quality work then requires the tools to ensure quality workmanship.

What if an accountant didn’t use ledgers to keep track of the expenditures of a business and instead kept all the figures in his head? That business would fail in short order. Money would be wasted, employees would get paid correctly, and inventory would be misallocated. No part of that business would function properly. No matter how intelligent or practiced the accountant, eschewing the use of books and ledgers would make her work terrible. Many businesses have no accountants at all however, but the owners themselves do the work with the use of ledgers and software t account for the expenditures and income and run just fine. It s obvious then that the use of ledgers are critical to running a business.

A CEO who didn’t allow the use of profit margins and return on investment would quickly find no one would buy shares of the company, and those who did would quickly loose their hard earned money. Such a corporation would be impossible to figure actual value, no one would know or could know, if it were profitable or not, or quantify the performance of the CEO. No matter how skilled in management that CEO was. The quality of his work could not be determined. Take an unskilled manager and let him used the tools of assessment of a company she runs however, and that company would be quantifiable, people would buy shares in it and the company would be able to function. If the company she runs is not profitable she will be replaced and if she does a good job the stock value will increase. The tools of return on investment and profitability are critical in running a corporation.

Politicians however have no tools to ensure the quality of their work, no tools to quantify the effect of their laws nor tools to understand the return to society of their regulations. Instead, government works in the dark, passing laws and regulations hither thither and yon. If a regulation backfires and makes the situation it was supposed to rectify worse, no problem, glom on another poorly thought out regulation. Which is like a carpenter not using a level to find plumb and so just nails on another board. If a law results in the lowering of a sector’s profitability, who can measure it, there are no ledgers to use to calculate the effect of a new law. If a decision of a judge has a pernicious incentive, who can evaluate it, there are no means of quantifying the societal impact of a judges ruling. Moreover, regulators, legislators, judges and presidents refuse to be bound by measures to improve the quality of their work, measure the effect of their labor or calculate the societal impact of their decisions.

What we have is a system where the person who labors with their hands produces high quality work, the person who accounts for the income and outgo of a business, calculates it to the penny, and the people running businesses performance is measured by the profitability of the enterprise, but our leaders have no such limits. Even the restraints of a Constitution are ignored and argued to the head of a pin. The result is that government, all governments, produce defective goods, deficient laws and inferior work. Such outcomes would be severely punished if a carpenter produced them, but they are accepted every day from our leaders. A Fourth Branch would provide the tools to measure, calculate the performance and quantify the societal effect of our leaders, unfortunately even the people most damaged by the defective products our government produces, recoil at the thought. Until we become as rational at gauging government, as we are about the quality of our homes, the profitability of our businesses and the return on our investments, we will continue to be damaged by the defective products of our governments.


John Pepin

Embezzlement by Stock Buybacks…

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, if a business is the biggest buyer of it’s own stock, that business is admitting it has a problem. To take it a step further, if most businesses are the biggest buyers of their own stock, the economy has a real problem. Sadly this has been the case for the last few years in the US. Some claim buybacks are a valid means to return profit to shareholders, but in reality, it is a naked admission of failure. Stock buyback programs are an admission the business model is insufficient to produce profit from further investment in it’s core business. Logically then, buybacks on a massive scale are an admission the economy is not conducive to further investment in plant, equipment or personnel. Moreover, when a company doesn’t plow it’s profits into buybacks, but borrows money to do it, that is a symptom of a dire illness in that business in particular and the economy in general.

Buyback programs do help the executives at a corporation however. It enhances the bonuses of executives by artificially inflating the stock price. The new class likes stock buybacks because it allows them to siphon off more of the nascent profits for themselves. Of course the chief victims are really the shareholders themselves, because the stock price increase doesn’t reflect any actual change in the value of the company, and is not reflective of a rising demand for the products or services, but is a corrosion of actual value. The employees are damaged because their wages get downward pressure due to the lack of investment in the core business, which lowers demand for workers across the economy, and the customers interests are hurt by the lack of investment, when there is less innovation and availability of products to enhance their lives. The new class is the only beneficiary, but at a cost to the economy, wages, and investors.

The stock market as a whole is made to appear stronger than it really is. As the number of outstanding shares decrease the value as a percentage of a company increases. Sadly, buybacks can make the stock price increase, even as the total value of a company decreases. If the value of a company declines three percent in a given year, but the number of shares in that company decline at a rate of four percent, the company’s stock price will increase at one percent. The actual value of the investment will have declined but the stock valuation will not adequately reflect it. As more companies do this the actual value of the market as a whole decreases, even as the price of the market itself increases. Even a first grader would understand this is not sustainable. At some point reality must slap investors in the face.

The stock buyback programs are usually funded with borrowed money. This has been enabled by the Federal Reserve’s Zero Interest Rate Policy or ZIRP. This makes the stock buyback programs even more pernicious. While the CEOs and Vice Presidents get bigger and bigger bonuses, they put the company more and more in debt, further lowering the actual value of the company. It is like borrowing money against your home and squandering it by going out to eat at fancy restaurants. Clearly it is not responsible to borrow money to use on such frivolities. Borrowed money should be put into plant, equipment or product development, any other use of money borrowed against the shareholder’s value is irresponsible. Further, when a company borrows money against a corporation, the bondholders get in front of the shareholders! So once the chickens come home to roost the shareholders will be left penniless!

Those who are entrusted with protecting and growing the value of the actual business owners, shareholders, are instead lining their pockets and stealing their employer’s money. In a sane world they would be prosecuted for such fiduciary crimes, but in our world, a world run by and for the new class, there are no consequences for what is essentially embezzling. You or I would face long jail sentences for embezzling twenty bucks, while the executives get away with millions, taken directly from retirees and people who have forgone immediate gratification, to set some money aside.

Stock buyback programs will eventually blow up in the face of our economy, the stock markets and executives themselves. Buybacks inflate a bubble in stock price, a bubble that when it pops is more likely to explode than deflate, because the actual value underlying the investment will have been so diminished. However, as history has shown time and time again, the criminals will be held blameless and the victims will be vilified and left holding the bag. Unfortunately, there is little we can do to protect ourselves, the new class run our corporations, control the media, determine our culture and man the government from top to bottom. Our only recourse is to demand they be held accountable, because the only real power we have is political, and that is only if we stand enmasse.


John Pepin

Meritocracy… The Justice of Class Mobility.

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, the real measure of justice in any society is the ability to get ahead, to move out of the social strata one is born into, and either up or down depending on the merit of the individual, and not because of their political favor. That used to be the case in the US for example, so much so that back in the late 19th century the lack of interest of Americans for socialism was explained by the socialist “economist” Thorstein Veblen, Americans don’t want to damage the interests of the rich, because every American knows he or she could become the rich, and no one wants to damage their own interests… Of course many did become rich and many more did not. Yet everyone understood the path was open for them. Opportunity has been the draw for people the world over to immigrate to the US. People would come so they could just have a chance to get ahead if they worked hard and were smart. Many did get rich and many did not but the opportunity was there. During that time, the standard of living of the American citizen rose in a way that has never been seen before, not only elevating the lot of Americans but spilling over into the rest of the world. Today that distinctly American dream, meritocracy, has been effectively crushed by our education system, regulations and cronyism.

Joseph Schumpeter said that as soon as someone becomes rich their first order of business is to close the door behind them, so no one else can come through that door and become rich. The reason is that the newly wealthy don’t want to have to face competition. Competition that lowers profits, makes one work harder for those lower profits and worst of all, creates the potential the wealthy could slide back into the middle class. The means at their disposal to close that door is regulations. Cronies use the straw dog of public safety to get regulations passed the create a barrier to entry. While an established company, with all the accouterments, can easily meet even draconian regulations, someone trying to get a business off the ground cannot. The door has effectively been closed.

Cronyism is an offshoot of closing the door. The wealthy have the money and connections to effect laws and regulations and so they use them to make easy profits. In his famous film series, Free To Choose… Milton Friedman said, if someone opens a business that sells it’s product at a lower price and has better quality, the old business owner has two options, they can lower their price and raise the quality of their product, or they could go to government and get the competitor shut down. The first option is out of the question as it requires hard work and smarts, while the second option is a no brainer. When they can they use government to ensure your profits and crush competition. Moreover, those same government connections that were formed by crushing competition can be used to get direct government money in the forms of grants and subsidies. What nation wants to loose it’s steel industry? Since every industry must corrode from within, whenever cronyism is used, it needs more and more “assistance” to stay in business, else that industry will be lost.

Regulations are the means to cronyism. Since regulations are made by unelected bureaucrats, they bypass the normal system for making laws, and can be wielded with impunity and with great effect. In addition, the cost to the economy and class mobility is irrelevant. A law is publicly debated and is subject to public scrutiny, but a regulation is passed in the dark of night, the only ones with input are the cronies who stand to gain or loose by that regulation. Examples abound, especially recently, like the new rules for the Internet, most of which are still secret, the new Pacific trade agreement, etc… the most pernicious effect of regulation however, is to limit the mobility of the population to rise above, or drop below the position they are born into. The intent and effect of regulations is to stifle class mobility.

The government monopoly education system limits our children, instead of teaching them anything is possible, it teaches them to be robots. Everyone needs to get the same education, go to the best college they can get into, take on so much debt they have to get a job and closes off both their motivation and ability to become entrepreneurs. Common core is the perfect example of this in action. Imagine trying to figure the yardage of concrete needed for a basement using common core math? It teaches the wonders of socialism where there is no possibility of class mobility, class under a socialist state is decided by political favor. The history of mankind is perverted to equate individual liberty with atrocities, when the direct opposite is true, overly powerful governments commit atrocities, while limited government is limited in it’s ability to commit atrocities. The education system has become a way for the state to remove the people’s belief in class mobility, and so make us willing to do damage to politically disfavored groups, because we have been taught… we can never become rich ourselves.

Class, caste, position, social strata, etc… are mere artificial constructs to pidgin hole people and limit them. It should be obvious to anyone with an open mind, therefore, in a society where you are stuck in the caste, class, position or social strata you are born into, regardless of your individual merits, is unjust. Justice by definition, is the equal treatment of people, where people are treated unequally, depending on some artificial construct of the elite, trapping people in the circumstances of their birth, is therefore by definition unjust. Those institutions that enforce class immobility then are damaging to the lot on mankind. Cronyism, regulations, personally limiting monopoly education system, unlimited government, socialism, etc… are by design, created to limit class mobility, and must be eliminated if we are to advance to a place where there is real justice, actual opportunity and a rising standard of living. You know in your heart this is true… speak the truth for others to hear, act so that others may follow and vote with your rightly understood interests at heart, and not out of envy or hate, and together we could restore opportunity to our kids.

John Pepin

The UN’s Agenda 2030

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, I have thrown a rock into the air on many occasion, and not once has that rock failed to drop back to the ground, of course, just because something has always happened, doesn’t mean it must always happen, however, to expect something that has never happened, despite many attempts, shows a contempt for empirically derived reality and thus contempt for the experimental method. Human history is just such an experiment. Arbitrary rule has been the norm, yet has never achieved satisfactory results, no matter how may time it has been tried. Perhaps it might achieve the desired results this time, but if empirical reality has anything to say on the subject, it will fail once again, to the detriment of humanity, once again. It would seem that arbitrary rule is like throwing a rock into the sky, the rock never fails to fall back to the ground, and arbitrary rule never fails to result in poverty, despotism and human suffering, but maybe this time it will result in prosperity, liberty and plenty, but I think not…

The United Nations has a new initiative, Agenda 2030, it seeks to institute arbitrary rule world wide, with the intent to offer the planet and the people who dwell on it, prosperity, liberty and plenty, and all the elite at the United Nations ask, is that we accept arbitrary rule. Maybe, just maybe, this one more time the rock will float, once it has been hurled into the sky, failing to fall to the ground. All they expect from us is that we cede our national sovereignty to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, all our liberty and sovereignty, and they will bestow upon us the benefits of their superior wisdom and munificence. Once the United Nations has received our liberty, prosperity and property, they will use it to enhance the lot of Mankind to a level that has never been seen before in the annuls of human history.

Agenda 2030 seeks to eliminate local everything… elevating all police powers, environmental rules and regulation to unelected, unaccountable and without recourse, people who know far better what is good for you and I than we do for ourselves. If you doubt it, just ask them, they will explain how much more intelligent they are than you or I. The UN will set aside the egoistic human qualities, such as self interest, instead only considering the betterment of humanity as a whole. They say it will be pure democracy, democracy that doesn’t bog itself down in tedious voting and referendums, the franchise that only serves to block progress, but democracy by arbitrary rule of the learned elite.

Yes, socialism has failed every time it has been tried, ushering in the worst human suffering in the history of mankind, but this time it will be different, it will be worldwide! Once everyone must labor under socialism, prosperity will sweep the planet, and want will be replaced with plenty. The greedy incentive of self interest will be replace with the lash. Low performers can be induced to perform to their utmost by whipping. Imagine a world where everyone strives to do their very best, else they are whipped unmercifully. The advancement of humanity and prosperity would be unmatched. Simply take from the rich until there are no rich anymore… then take from the upper class until there are no upper class, then take from the middle class until there is no middle class, then take from the poor, because who would begrudge the elite in the United Nations, fillet mignon, thousand dollar linens and a soft pillow to lay their head, after they have worked so hard for the rest of us?

Yes, Agenda 2030 might be a boon to humanity, this time when we throw the rock into the sky it might go into orbit circling the planet for eternity. The elite might use the arbitrary rule Agenda 2030 gives them, to benefit humanity… and pigs might learn to fly, Hell could freeze over and Lucifer might turn out to be a decent guy. It is possible that the African prince did leave you millions of dollars, and all you have to do is send someone you have never met your life savings to get it, then you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams. Maybe that guy who sent you a text that he has the investment opportunity of a lifetime is telling you the truth, and you should give him your bank account numbers, perchance the guy selling you the Tappan Zee bridge does own it, and you will clean up by putting a toll booth on it… and perhaps this time, arbitrary rule by unelected, unaccountable, absolute rulers will result in universal prosperity. I will say however, I have thrown many, many rocks into the sky, and not one has failed to fall to the ground.


John Pepin

Human Heartedness

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, the Confucian ideal of Human Heartedness, is one we all should emulate. It has been translated into many English words and phrases, but I prefer human heartedness, because it sums up most all of what Confucius wanted to say, as evidenced by his teachings. Those who should emulate human heartedness the most are our leaders since Confucius had the most to say to them. Unfortunately, most people in the West, when they hear “Confucius…” they turn off. The name has been so diminished from it’s rightful stature, from Charlie Chan movies, where the name Confucius became a punch line. Others cannot fathom how anything someone said in 550 BC, could have any relevance to today. They turn their backs on ageless wisdom to their own and our detriment. The human condition and indeed humans themselves have changed very little since then. We still strive for pleasure and avoid pain, we still fall into traps and snares and it is egoistic self interest that baits those pitfalls. Yes, Confucius and his human heartedness have a great deal to say to us today, to ignore such wisdom is to see the pit and yet step into it anyway.

A large component of human heartedness is the Golden Rule… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Every one of us could benefit from following the golden rule. Better even to double down and hold others to a lower standard then we hold ourselves. It is in our animal nature to hold others to a much higher standard than we hold ourselves and in our civilized nature to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We would benefit by living in a civilization where there can be less laws, less draconian punishments and less government, because we control ourselves from within instead of needing to be controlled from without. Prosperity would increase, since regulations, laws and ordinances are friction to the economy, but become more and more needed the more barbaric the people become. We should all incorporate human heartedness, the golden rule, into our lives.

Human heartedness is all about compassion and empathy. The golden rule is also explicitly about empathy. As I wrote in my last article, compassion and empathy are paramount human attributes, that lead to civilization and away from barbarism. The barbarian has no compassion and no empathy. When an Italian city state was being attacked by the Gauls, Roman dignitaries were called to mediate. One of the Romans asked the Gaul general, “By what right do you lay siege to this city?” The Gaul answered back, “Natural law, that the strong must take from the weak, so the strong can survive and the weak die out…” But what the Gaul didn’t understand is that there are many forms of strength and a multitude of forms of weakness. His was marshal strength, a strength that always has it’s better, he lacked wisdom. We must have compassion and empathy else we become like the Gaul general, strong in might but weak in wisdom.

One of Confucius’ disciples asked, “Does the human hearted man love all?” I suppose referring to Mo Ti’s all embracing love. Confucius said, “No! The human hearted man loves the good and despises the bad.” Clearly Confucius didn’t want good men to turn their faces from evil and so allow it to grow. To be human hearted is to lift up that which is good, in other words… pragmatically benefits individuals, society and culture, while attacking the bad, that which lowers people, harms society and rots the culture. It is obvious that embracing evil as well as good gives evil a leg up, since the good will be fair and honest while evil will use good’s virtues against it. To have a prosperous society where crime is low we need to be human hearted and embrace good while fighting evil.

When talking about leaders Confucius liked to refer to the Sage Kings of “old.” The sage kings led, as Confucius would argue, “by force of personality,” or to put it in modern terms, they led by example. If they wanted the people to be more honest in their business dealings, they would be more honest themselves, and if they wanted the people to stop lusting after each others wives, he would forswear it himself. In that way the leaders of the great society would convince the people to be virtuous. The Duke of Lu asked Confucius one time, how he could get the people to stop lusting after ill gotten profits, women and luxury. Confucius told him to stop doing those things himself and the people would follow. Confucius had to flee Lu state shortly after. The leaders of society want the people to be virtuous, but can hold to the virtue the demand in another, for a single day. If we want our children to live in a safe, prosperous and civil country we must only elect human hearted leaders, who will lead by example.

When Confucius was asked what he would do if he were made emperor, Confucius replied, “I would rectify terms…” or put another way, he would set standards. Standards apply to everyone equally, they create systems where commerce can flourish and they level the playing field for everyone. Today standards are eschewed for regulations, ordinances and laws. Instead of everyone on the same level, regulations are specifically designed so some politically favored group, can get a leg up on an otherwise free exchange. Where a standard is what it is, no matter how politically favored a person is, application of a law is dependent on who the person is. Look at Hillary Clinton’s wiping a subpoenaed email server before turning it in. If you or I did that, what was on it would instantly become irrelevant and we would be charged with a felony, tampering with states evidence. She however was not. A standard is the antithesis of arbitrary rule. For any country to flourish the leaders have to be human hearted, setting and holding everyone, including themselves, to a standard.

There is no question, we are no different than the people who lived before us, oh we might drive cars, talk to people on the other side of the planet, and have put a man on the Moon, but essentially we are the same. We have the same desires, wants and needs. Therefore, wisdom that applied to human beings in 550BC still apply to us today, perhaps more so since we have grown arrogant, egoistic and self aggrandizing, not for our achievements, but for the achievements of those who have come before us. How many among us could create a gasoline engine, having never seen nor heard of one before, yet most of us take them for granted, and look down our noses at those who didn’t have them. Yes, our society, civilization and personal lives would benefit greatly from following the wisdom of Confucius, and becoming more human hearted.


John Pepin

Empathy, Compassion and Civilization

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, compassion and empathy are at least as important factors as intelligence and wisdom, in the ascension of Man to the place we are now, in technology, philosophy and our understanding of the universe. These under appreciated and overlooked attributes of humanity appear to be waning in the world today. Compassion and empathy have served us well through the ages. Throughout history, wars have come and gone, civilizations have risen and fallen, all based on their innate compassion and empathy, these two intimately and uniquely human attributes have waxed and waned, but never to the point they seem to be declining today. Compassion allows us to benefit each other and empathy create in us a sense of other, without either, the human condition must be one of violence, famine and want.

Neanderthals ruled Europe for over one hundred thousand years until they were supplanted by our ancestors. Consider how long one hundred thousand years is, all of recorded human history is a mere three thousand years, that is only three one hundredths of the time Neanderthals lived. Many scientists believe, that it was the domestication of dogs, that gave our ancestors the advantage to replace Neanderthals. Consider the attributes it would take to domesticate a wolf into a dog. One would have to have compassion for the puppy who’s pack you just killed, so you take that orphaned wolf in. It would take empathy to care for it and give it some of your hard earned food. All this must happen before there is any payback in the form of hunting advantage from the domesticated wolf. Therefore, compassion and empathy allowed modern man to replace Neanderthal man.

Most great civilizations all have one thing in common. At their start they were birthed out of compassion and empathy. The Roman Republic was founded out of empathy for all the citizens not just the powerful, Ancient China had the Sage Kings, ancient Greece on the equality of citizens and the US was founded on the liberty of the individual, which is to say compassion for the person. They grew in power and might until they lost their compassion and empathy, then in their decadence they fell in calamity, that was all too predictable in their lack of compassion and empathy. Civilization requires as a prerequisite compassion and empathy, once lost that civilization falls back into the sea of barbarity.

Even the term barbarism connotes a lack of empathy and compassion. A barbarian lacks compassion, a savage lacks empathy, while a civilized man has both. To be civil is to have empathy for another and to treat him or her as such. To be humane is to have compassion. The term human itself denotes compassion and empathy. No one would say the lack of either makes one human. To have humanity is to have compassion, to have empathy is to be human. One can be a genius, but if that person lacks compassion and empathy, no matter how smart they are, their industry will come to naught. A society is no different, no matter how smart, rich, or blessed with natural resources it is, that society will be violent, impoverished and despotic, that lacks compassion and empathy. Clearly, empathy and compassion are more important to the advancement of civilization than industry, intelligence, science or wealth.

All true religions teach as their highest goods, compassion and empathy, that is the basis for religion. Those who are atheists who claim that they have compassion and empathy outside religion, are fooling themselves. Were it not for religion, teaching compassion and empathy, there would be no foundation upon which they could learn doctrinal compassion. If there were no religion, systematic empathy would be unknown. Everyone has some compassion and empathy, except for psychopaths and sociopaths, but it is in religion that a system is created whereby compassion and empathy can be doctrinally established. Those who claim to be above mere religion, are indebted to it for the civilization they live in, even as they decry it, and have no compassion for it and no empathy for the adherents.

Poverty for a society comes from a lack of compassion and empathy. A market society is based as much on compassion and empathy as it is the profit motive. A market is an excellent system for a society to become wealthy, but that system needs certain foundations, one of the most important is compassion and empathy. How can someone discover a new business idea if one lacks empathy? If someone cannot put themselves in another’s shoes, then it becomes impossible to imagine what someone else needs, and meeting a need is the basis for wealth in a market system. Those business owners who lack compassion will ever be searching for employees, they will lament the lack of available good employees, yet will push away anyone who works for them, because no one will work long for someone who treats them as fodder. How can a business owner get customers who lacks empathy and compassion? Customers will quickly learn of a firm that rips off their customers and that firm will soon have no customers to rip off. Compassion and empathy are critical in a market system for it to function.

We must guard against false compassion and misplaced empathy however. They are the paths to ruin. Those who lack compassion will use our empathy and compassion against us, by tricking us to have empathy and compassion for fiends, and to act on compassion by empowering demons to act on our behalf, this can only result in monsters gaining power over us. That is how socialism gets started and why socialist countries quickly loose compassion and empathy. Once we are ruled by uncaring egoists their lack of compassion and empathy taints us. As we start to feel the pinch of hunger in our stomachs, the sting of tyranny over us and the hopelessness that despotism begets, we loose compassion and empathy, narrowing our focus for those who deserve our empathy and compassion, to an ever smaller and smaller group, until we have no compassion or empathy whatsoever. Once that happens poverty becomes rife, violence is endemic and hopelessness fills the land.

Moral relativism is all about a lack of compassion and empathy, those who say all cultures are equal, are peddling poison. What makes a culture great and what makes a culture evil is it’s empathy for people and it’s compassion for the downtrodden. Those cultures that lack empathy even for the least powerful are by definition evil and those that only have compassion for certain groups are villainous. They are not equal to a culture that has compassion, they are not the peers of a culture that has empathy for everyone. Love they neighbor as you love thyself. Moral relativism is an example of misplaced compassion and deranged empathy.

Today the lack of compassion and empathy is alarming. A recent poll showed that up to a third of Americans would not protect a Jew from the Nazis! One third of our fellows would turn in a Jew to go to the gas chambers knowing full well that is what would happen! Abortion is a case of misplaced compassion, it allows a great evil to be done in the name of compassion. Genocide is televised but people have become so calloused we could care less. Christians are returned to the Middle East where they will be slaughtered because of a lack of compassion and empathy. Yet we are excoriated if we lack empathy for those who would subjugate us, and return us to barbarism, by those very people who have no compassion for an unborn child, Christians facing certain death, a little girl being raped daily or the masses of people living under despots.

A story has been told of a rich man who once stepped over the leper Lazarus every day, when the rich man died, his lack of compassion and empathy caught up with him. The rich man looked up from his burning abode, and seeing the former leper relaxing in heaven, he begged God to have the leper dip one finger in water, so he could sip of it. God said no, the gulf was too great. The once rich man begged God to send the leper to his brothers to warn them. God replied, if his brothers had ignored all the prophets and wise men, they would ignore a leper as well… the rich man and his brothers had been taught of compassion and empathy but had ignored the teachings. Today we are no different than that rich man in our lack of compassion and empathy. Since civilization requires, as a prerequisite, compassion and empathy, the lack of can only result in the fall of civilization… no matter how smart the people are, how wealthy the society, how lofty their philosophy or how arrogant the people.


John Pepin

Are You a Naysayer or a Visionary?

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, anyone can come up with an unlimited number of reasons why a thing cannot be done, but only a select few can come up with reason how to do something. History shows that it isn’t the former group, who move humanity towards prosperity, health and technology, but the latter group who improve the lot of Man. While it is easy to get discouraged, to stubbornly remain encouraged, takes will and vision. Moreover, nothing ever invented or created by humans didn’t it’s detractors who said it can’t be done, those sad people who lack vision are a huge drag on humanity’s ability to solve our problems. It’s like telling someone drowning in knee deep water, they cannot get out, when all they need do is stand up. Once a thing is invented, those same people will try their best to take credit and control of it. This is important for everyone to understand, nothing is impossible, someone just hasn’t figured out a way to do it yet.

Perhaps the most widely known example of an idea being stolen is Eli Whitney’s cotton gin. Before he invented a mechanical way to remove the seeds from cotton it had to be done by hand. A very expensive and labor intensive process. Slaves were the most economical way to remove the seeds and the demand for cotton was a strong incentive to have slaves. Even though the work was done by slaves cotton was very expensive and so only the wealthy could afford it. Most people couldn’t imagine a way to remove the seeds mechanically so the old way survived for centuries. When Eli Whitney invented a mechanical means to remove the seeds, the implications were huge, the price drop and greater availability of cotton clothes allowed anyone to own a cotton shirt. His invention, one that was considered impossible, evolved the cotton industry and improved the lives of every human born since.

Yet that invention was stolen by those who had neither the intelligence, vision or gumption to have invented it themselves. They might not have been smart enough to invent it, but they were greedy enough to steal it, claiming it for their own. Ben Franklin’s patent process, originally designed to protect the inventions of visionaries, was turned against a visionary. It took decades of litigation before Eli Whitney got the patent back, but even so a judge refused to force companies that were using Whitney’s invention, to pay him royalties for it. That process has played out many times in the past, lowering our standard of living immeasurably. Today our government is attacking the patent process with all it’s might.

Mention an idea to most people and the response you will get will be almost universally negative. They will hammer you with explanations why it won’t work. You will face opposition from the very people who would benefit the most. This is because most people lack vision, they believe, it has always been this way and so it will always be this way. Many think if it was a good idea, someone else would have thought of it before, others will simply scoff. It seems to be an attribute of humanity that most close their minds as soon as a new idea is mentioned then set themselves against it with the fervor of a zealot. Which seems to have become the role of government, to stifle innovation of individuals, and push innovation that empowers government.

Mention an old idea that has failed over and over and since it is something they are familiar with, they will jump on board. As crazy as it is, people eschew the new and take comfort in the old, even when the old has been proven a failure and the new appears to be a winner. No place is this more true than with those who call themselves progressive. It is almost like they label themselves the opposite of what they are, to hide the fact. Mention that there is an unlimited amount of resources and they will scoff, tell them that there is no upper limit on the number of people, and they will call you a lunatic, it is as if they want the lot of humanity to be suffering and want. Which only benefits those who are above the average lot of humanity.

Lionizing visionaries has been what has made America exceptional. In the past, school children have been regaled with stories of Ben Franklin’s inventing the Franklin stove, Thomas Edison’s inventing the light bulb, Savory’s invention of the steam engine, Jefferson’s ideas about liberty, Morse’s invention of the telegraph and Gutenberg’s invention of the movable type printing press. These men were taught as heroes to American school children. A sense of awe was instilled in American children for those who have vision, and as a result, those children went on to invent and see possibilities instead of impossibilities. Today, our government monopoly schools don’t teach how visionaries are great men… but slave owners, greedy businessmen and megalomaniacs. Children are taught to be naysayers instead of visionaries, and so are no different than children around the world, who are also taught to stifle innovation instead of embracing it.

There are still a few among us however who see things differently. Those few see possibilities instead of impossibilities. They have the ability to envision ways to bypass old road blocks and forge new paths. These are the people who move humanity towards a better future. Like Eli Whitney and his cotton gin, an invention that lowered the cost of a cotton shirt so anyone could afford one, these visionaries cut a trail to the future. Sadly, most and especially government, hold the visionaries back, tugging at their shirt with negativity, inculcating our children that entrepreneurs are bad, tripping them up with regulation and dragging on them with taxation. We all suffer when the naysayers win, we all benefit when the visionaries win, yet most of us side with the naysayers. Isn’t it time to teach all children the world over to see possibilities instead of impossibilities?


John Pepin

The Federal Reserves Zero Interest Rate Policy

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, you can push a car to start it, but if the engine is broken, it will not start no matter how far, fast or how long you push it, or how well it ran at one time… If an economy needs a zero percent interest rate, that is a symptom that the economic system is broken. That several nations in Europe have have negative interest rates is a sign those economies are broken. This week Janet Yellen said the Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates above zero, and could even go negative, if the economy falls into recession. Basically a full admission that eight years of zero interest rates has produced nothing in terms of an actual economic recovery. The helicopter drop of free money given to government and corporations has not expanded the real economy, but filled bubbles, bond bubbles, stock bubbles, and who knows what else has been bubbled up by this zero interest rate policy, (ZIRP). History is adamant about the results of bubbles however, they burst, and when they do economic catastrophes result.

Economic theory, money theory in particular, says that when the amount of money produced is at the same rate as growth in gross domestic product, (GDP) there is no inflation, but for every percentage point above GDP, it creates a percent of inflation, and for every percentage point below the rate of growth in GDP, there will be a percent of deflation. That the rate of money printing has exceeded the rate of GDP growth for so long, and by so much, yet there is actual deflation, shows, not that economic theory is wrong, but that there is a huge drag on the economies of the US and Europe. The only way to have deflation with so much money flooding the system, is that it is not reaching wage earners but instead going to cronies, stock buybacks and salted away by the rich, who have access to the free money. If that money got into the hands of the people it would generate Wiemar inflation.

The interest rate in the US and Europe has been at zero since Obama got elected, initially zero interest along with quantitative easing, (QE), or in other words, monetizing the debt, was to restart the economy after the 2008 recession. The first round failed to get the economy going so more QE was done to gin it up. That didn’t work, so the Federal Reserve did it again, to no avail, now the economy is addicted to zero interest rates and any rise at all, even a paltry .25% would cause the world’s economy to melt down. (Not my words but those of Keynesian economists like Krugman and Blanchflower). No healthy economy would putt along with zero interest rates, let alone negative rates, without skyrocketing inflation. To give you an idea of how much money was printed, QE3 could have made 85,000 random people millionaires, every month!

That is the elephant in the room, the economy still requires life support 7 years after the recession, with no end in sight. The Federal Reserve is in quite a pickle… If they raise rates, the economy will implode, if they don’t, the economy will explode. They are indebted to those who have got the benefit of all that free money, the elite, so they have to bend to their masters and keep it low. Remember, if they raise interest rates at all, even the pitiful one quarter of one percent, the global economy will implode, which would show the Obama economy to be what it is, instead of what it isn’t. They know better than to make Obama look bad.

Yet the media that calls itself unbiased touts how great the economy is. The official unemployment rate is around 5.6% which is full employment, the stock market, despite some recent setbacks, is near record highs and stock valuations against profits are at an historic high. The brainiacs who tell us what to think, cheer us to buy, buy buy, and forswear savings, they tell us the measure of an economy is how many auto sales there are, and the rise in the cost of housing. They explain that as long as auto sales are good and the price of housing is going up, all is well with the economy. These statistics are what are seen.

What is unseen is far more scary. The number that is reported as unemployment is U3 unemployment, which only counts people actively looking for work, or in other words, those on unemployment insurance. The actual number is the U6 rate, which includes people who would like to work but have given up, which is closer to 10.3%! One in ten people out of work! That represents a huge amount of slack in the labor force, and shows why there is so little wage growth, moreover, almost all the employment gains in the last 7 years has been by immigrants, the American worker is being squeezed out of work by cheaper immigrant labor. Where are the soup lines you ask? They are hidden by food stamps, ebt cards and the dole.

The stock market’s historic rise has been driven by stock buybacks, institutional investors and more importantly, Federal Reserve interventions. The Federal reserve has been buying stocks and bonds through their proxies to insure the market only goes up. This creates a false sense of reality. The illusion is bolstered by companies that by their own stocks to drive up the price. The bond market is manipulated as the Federal Reserve buys bonds, which drives up the price, and therefore the yield goes down, furthering the illusion that all is well. This staves off the market’s finding an actual price for those stocks and bonds making the economy appear to be what it isn’t.

What is the titanic drag then that is breaking our economy? To further our analogy of a broken engine, the sand of regulations creating a drag on economic investment, is in the crank case, welfare that creates a negative incentive for people to work, has drained the battery, taxes which remove much of the profit from an investment in the actual economy, has plugged the fuel filter, a voyeuristic government that demands more and more intrusive monitoring of every action of the people and businesses, has removed the tappet covers, the new class philosophy of maximizing profits for upper management at the cost to shareholders, customers and employees, is shattered the gears from the transmission, as well as zero interest rates that create pernicious incentives for capital flow, which is like using nitromethane, the wrong fuel. Since none of these drags will go away without a total reset, and the interests of those in power are intricately tied to them, the only answer is to keep interest rates at zero, or negative, to protect the mask of prosperity for as long as possible.

What it all boils down to is that our economy is about to crater. An illusion only works for so long before someone walks into it and exposes it for the illusion it is. That the economy needs to be pushed by zero interest rates for so long, is indicative of an underlying problem not addressed by interest rates, it is a structural problem instead of a cyclical one, if you will. It is like pushing a car to start it because the battery is dead, but no matter how far you push it, the engine will not start. Someone standing by the road, could look at the car and see it is moving, but that is only an illusion it is broken, and cannot move itself. At some point those pushing become too tired to continue and the car stops altogether. That is where we are now.


John Pepin

Christian Genocide in the Middle East

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Dear friends,

It seems to me, as I peruse the media that calls itself unbiased, there is a dearth of news about the Christian genocide in the Middle East. Where there are reports the reaction of those who write comments is horrifying. Those who would act are vilified and those who speak out are condemned, which has a chilling effect on those who are righteously offended, act or speak out. The policy of the US, European countries and most of the world is to let the Christians in the Middle East be slaughtered. Few care, less act speak out and even less act… and everyone who doesn’t at least speak out is guilty as a result. History will not hold us innocent, the atrocities are on the internet for all to see, no one reading this article doesn’t know that little girls as young as 9 years old are repeatedly raped every day, no one can claim ignorance, in fact, even at the mention of saving some of the persecuted Christians brings howls of hatred and vitriol. Meanwhile, the US government as well as European governments are importing the very people committing the genocide. Your lack of compassion will be very expensive indeed.

The genocide of Christians in the Middle East is the most widely known and least reported events going on today. When the Muslim Brotherhood gained power in Egypt the Copts were in the crosshairs. The world couldn’t be bothered with mere Christian churches being burned to the ground and the treasures looted. In fact Obama was a big supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood even as they began a crusade to exterminate Christianity from Egypt. When El Sisi seized power and ousted the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama was furious, history has shown El Sisi has protected the Christians, and now Egypt is one of the few Muslim countries that Christians are safe, and Obama still waxes a grudge towards El Sisi.

The US invasion of Afghanistan was a death knell to the Christian population there. The Christians were a sizable percent of the population there, now there are none. The military was told not to intercede in the extermination of Christianity there because it would send the wrong message. The rise of ISIS began a whole new chapter in the persecution of Christians for simply being Christian. ISIS got weapons from Benghazi in Libya and ride in brand new Toyota trucks. They travel in huge columns yet are seemingly safe from air interdiction, even as they mass to conquer Christian cities, to enslave the women and girls, while they slaughter the men and boys with glee. Showing off American made weaponry, humvees and ammunition, they boast they will soon be killing Christians in Europe and the US.

Meanwhile, the media that calls itself unbiased is silent. They bend over backwards to aviod telling the truth that it is our government’s policy to exclude Christians from asylum. They paint the plight of the Muslim refugees as pitiful, even though mot of them are fleeing economic hardship. They utterly ignore the Christian genocide, as if not speaking of that evil indemnifies them for it. The unbiased media tells us constantly how evil Christians are and how wonderful the Muslims are, even as the rich Muslim countries refuse to take in a single Muslim or Christian refugee. No one has fled to a Muslim country without being herded into a refugee camp for generations. The Palestinians come immediately to mind.

When an article does slip out t is always an attack on someone who is acting. The unbiased media always leaves out that it is US and European policy to exclude Christians, then goes on to rip apart the human hearted man, the empathetic woman and the compassionate person. The comments are even more frightful. Comment after comment bashes compassion, human heartedness and empathy, tacitly supporting genocide. The hate in the hearts of so many is saddening. Some of the comments are utterly absurd, yet they are written with the ardor of a zealot. All of which speaks loudly of where we are as a human race… Do those who lack compassion deserve it, and will those who lack empathy, get any?

The atrocities ISIS and others are committing are some of the most heinous ever committed, not only are the wicked they are televised. The Animals in ISIS gleefully video tape their atrocities in a professional manner and post them on the internet. Drowning Christians, cutting their heads off, blowing their heads off, raping little girls after praying, the list would make Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot blush. ISIS wants people to know what they are doing. Perhaps for the first time in human history, evil is openly slaughtering people, openly committing atrocities and openly bragging about them, and the world ho hums. Never before would atrocities such as these have been ignored, those who came before us, even those who owned slaves, would have spoken, would have been outraged and would have acted, but today, nothing, there is a total lack of empathy, human heartedness is dead. Look around you, those who you see walking past are dead inside, they have no soul, they lack even the most basic human compassion, that which they do show is mere window dressing.

Traditionally, in law as in judgment, ignorance has been an excuse. If someone throws a rock over a hedge, and it hits someone killing them, their claim of ignorance was sufficient to save them. Today there can be no claim to ignorance. The atrocities are in your face, you have full knowledge, you know exactly what is happening, any claim of ignorance will be met with the scorn it rightly deserves. Those committing the atrocities have more of a claim to ignorance then you do. History will hold our generation as the most vile of any that have come before us… and we will deserve it. Bonhoeffer said, “Not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act…” Your lack of speaking, and acting, shows who’s side you are really on, and his is the path to Tartarus.


John Pepin