Archive for December, 2010

Beware the Anti Capitalist

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that many if not most anti capitalists, are ambivalent what system of economy a government imposes, as long as it is not the market system. To the hardened anti capitalist, reverting to the feudal system would be preferable to market based economics.

The feudal system has it’s attractions for the anti capitalist. It strictly controls who can own land and people. Regulating land and labor in this way would ensure that a small faction of society decides what is to be made and farmed making profit a secondary consideration. The feudal system has a permanent upper class and lower classes. This would protect the elite from upstart entrepreneurs that threaten their elite status. So you see, to the anti capitalist even the feudal system is preferable to the market system.

Some people may say, “That would lower the standard of living for the people, do you really think they want that?” To them I say, “Yes they do!” Look at their rhetoric. A never ending drumbeat of everyone must sacrifice, meaning, we must sacrifice while they engorge themselves as rent seekers. Anti capitalists claim our cars are too big, our houses are too big and our taxes too low. The anti capitalist is opposed to an ever increasing standard of living, they want the standard of living, of the masses, to at least stagnate but better if it went down.

It is exactly that the market system leads people to a higher standard of living that makes the anti capitalist an anti capitalist. Lets examine some of their rhetoric in this regard. Anti capitalists are fond of claiming capitalism begets poverty. It was in the Communist Manifesto, and has been propounded ever since. Marx spoke largely of the inherent tensions between industrial demand for labor dropping due to the increase of efficiency in the productivity of each laborer. “As the forest of arms raised for work grows ever thicker, while those arms themselves grow ever thinner, will the revolution take place.”

But as with most if not all anti capitalists, it is not that someone has more than someone else that is intolerable, it is that someone has more then the anti capitalist… that is intolerable. Being an anti capitalist requires some level of self centeredness. For a person to believe that every other person should bow to his will requires a high level of hubris. So with self centered hubris in hand the anti capitalist seeks to change the world more to his or her liking. Using force to impose his will, for our own good, if necessary.

With the word “equality” always on his lips the anti capitalist seeks to impose absolute inequality on society. When a communist, socialist or progressive, all anti capitalists, claim it is wrong that 10% of society control 80% of the wealth what they really mean is that 1 person should control 100% of the wealth; like in Cuba, North Korea, the former USSR , etc… The “equality” they espouse is the equality of the powerless. Equality in tyranny, equality in misery, equality in helplessness and equality in hopelessness.

I have said many times in these blogs to watch the actions of people instead of their rhetoric. The anti capitalists always betrays himself this way. Decrying in others that which they themselves do. Appealing to your emotions. Because emotional arguments get in under the radar of logical examination. That is why everything an anti capitalist says makes perfect sense… until you think about it.

Like government creating economic demand from taxing it’s citizens then spending the money on $500.00 toilet seats. This absurd idea neglects to think that if the money were not taxed in the first place it would flow naturally to where it is needed in the economy due to market forces. Most probably far more efficiently than any government stimulus, imagined by some number cruncher in a cubicle, with limited faculties, facilities and fidelity.

Let me make this suggestion; if the wealth of a nation is shrinking it means government policies have warped the market such that money is being forced into inefficient use. If the wealth of a nation is growing it is an indicator that government policies are not warping the market more than it‘s ability to overcome them. It is also a means to tell if the anti capitalists have too much power…or not.

Belief In God

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that there are only two possibilities, one that God exists, and two that God does not exist, lets take the position, for proposes of argument, that God does not exist, is it then in our personal best interest, to believe in a non existent God? Put another way, why should a person believe in a fiction.

The argument of a functional myth is well known and has pertinence here. A functional myth is an idea, similar to a societal myth, that bestows a benefit upon it’s adherents that functions outside it’s obvious meaning. Like the Roman Societal myth that the best death was death in battle, a marshal societal myth that made Rome into a world power, protecting the large share of it‘s inhabitants the horrors of war, war that they honored, and resulted in Pax Romana. But a functional myth about God would not have the same effect as a marshal myth about a warlike culture. It would necessarily function in a different way.

The point here is very similar to the point Socrates was trying to prove when arguing for Glaucon and his compatriots in Plato’s Republic. The point is, that all benefit, when people are honorable. The greater the percent of a society that is honorable, the more smoothly life can proceed, no matter the economic system. People who have a belief in God are more likely to be honorable than those who do not. If a society has few that actually believe in God, and are not honorable, corrupting those that do, is not a reflection on a belief in God, but in the absence of belief in God. You cannot live in a cesspool and not smell like it.

Belief in God grants a person the ability to move past injustices and personal setbacks. Having a means to flush the detritus of life is essential, especially if there is no God. If there is no God then why not flush the excrement of our lives to the fiction. Relieve ourselves of our personal demons and nagging doubts to the “fictitious” God. No can argue we are better off holding every setback, frustration, lost love, death, and all the other negative things we have to deal with, as living beings. To argue thus is to argue down is up and up is down.

We all need something to worship. It is a fact of life. Look at people. Those that don’t believe in God, believe in horoscopes, crystals, witchcraft, and any other plethora of nonsensical beliefs that have negative consequences for there adherents. We can clearly see that in the modern hedonistic society that we find ourselves in, the number of fanciful beliefs, grows daily. Probably the most pernicious is worship of the Earth… a stone age belief system.

Lack of belief in God fosters a hedonistic society where it is common to hear “I would rather die owing a million dollars… then having a million dollars, because then, I will have spent and gotten the benefit of that money.” This philosophy of life is as pernicious as any. Disregarding the fact, that it discount’s the needs of one’s heirs, it insures that a person will not have a well lived life. The person who believes this will not have a correct moral compass. Lack of a functional moral compass will lead a person into all sorts of negative outcomes.

Some people, who consider themselves enlightened, will argue, it is unenlightened to believe in any theory that is unproven. These same people have an unwavering faith in Anthropomorphic Climate Change, Quantum theory, Einstein’s theory of relative motion, evolution and many other “scientific” explanations for the perceived world around us. Even the most dedicated cosmologist has no explanation for what came before the “Big Bang.“ All of these theories have applications and all of these theories are very incomplete. To have unwavering faith in an incomplete theory is simply a belief.

We have to ask ourselves, will a stone age belief system serve us well in the Twenty First century? One that allows for any action, possibility or legislation? Remember, one of the most important functions of a belief in God is the moderating effect it has on these areas of humanity. Is all research good research? Are all actions good actions? And is all legislation good legislation? Don’t we need a means to control the hot tempers of today against the interests of the next generation? This is one important function of a societal belief in God we cannot do without.

But if we add to the argument that there is a very real possibility that God does exist then we have to admit that it is pure selfish delusion not to believe in God. If we admit there is the possibility of God we have to also admit the possibility of punishment for our transgressions and the possibility of a reward for our good actions.

This subject is far too complex to be treated well in a one page blog.

Economics and John Meynard Keynes

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that the US economy is as “stimulated” as it can be, any more and we will start hearing martini bar music. Trillions of dollars have been printed and circulated during Quantitative easing 1 and 2 with 2 not finished yet, trillions have been borrowed and spent by the US government, interest rates have been kept at artificially low levels, by the Fed, and yet we have 2.6% annual growth in the GDP, according to the latest figures. All this stimulus and more to come in the form of additional quantitative easing if it is deemed necessary by the Fed Chief, Bernanke.

According to John Maynard Keynes theory of economics the economy should be spinning out of control.. but it’s not? Either Keynesian economic theory, the theory that formed the basis for the twentieth century economists is wrong or there iss something else at work. I have questioned the theory myself many times and find his demand side economics to be wanting, as I find Say’s Law to be wanting in it’s own respect, but I don’t claim or think Keynesian economics has nothing to teach us. But the present day stands as confounding evidence for Keynesian economics.

My last blog about how the Healthcare law is holding back the economy in a dangerous way made salient points about why the economy is so lagging with so much stimulus in place. Another reason not mentioned is the Banking regulation passed by the last Congress. It drives up costs, increases paperwork, makes the market less nimble, applies more layers of bureaucracy, and does nothing to protect us from another economic disaster.

No matter your political leanings you have to admit that more regulation of an industry makes it more expensive to do business in that industry. The cost of starting a new business, to compete with established business, becomes more expensive as well. The more regulation the higher the cost of running a business and starting a competing company in that industry.

When you drive up the expense of starting a business, less will be started. Less new business means less demand for workers, less innovation, less entrepreneurial activity and more entrenched monopolistic companies, that can, and are urged to, grow too big to fail. These businesses that grow to be too big to fail are necessarily less innovative, have higher prices for the consumer of their products, and skew the wages in a nation.

All these things that hold back the economy are a direct result of the legislation passed by the last Congress. The pernicious incentives and direct headwinds to the economy will have their effect. The thing is, these are not the first bad laws passed in the USA that negatively effect the economy. For years laws that drive up the cost of startups and protected entrenched companies have filled tome upon tome. More and more regulation that lowers the efficiency of American workers and drive up the imbedded cost of doing business didn’t materialize overnight.

It’s just that the last Congress went too far and passed legislation, they allowed socialists to write, into law. Legislation, that when added to the pile of already bad laws, snaps the back of our proverbial camel like a twig. Even the ship of the desert has only so much capacity to handle a load as does the American economy.

Nothing is unbreakable; if you set your mind to it…

Health Care Insurance

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that one of the biggest, if not the biggest, drag on the US economy, is the Health Care law. The new law is to be implemented over a period of years making the business environment uncertain for years. The long phase in period is only one of the negative impacts of the new law, the necessary increase in health care costs and taxes is another. All this bile for the economy to swallow, over such a long period of time violates Machiavelli’s maxim, that a when a wise prince can do a good for his people, he draws it out so it can be better enjoyed; but when he must do an evil to his people, he makes it quick so it is not tasted for long.

Never mind that this law is State centered, unconstitutional, with so many unrealistic requirements from the market, state governments and the insurance industry, it will ensure the system will collapse, requiring the government to eventually become a single payer provider. One reason people find this so vexing is because, in their hearts, they know this truth and resent it.

The sad part is that we all know the US needs to get health care costs under control. The part the government has already taken control of, Medicare and Medicaid, is destined to bankrupt the nation in the near future. The Obama Health care law was supposed to address this problem, with the State taking total control in ten years or so, when the system collapses. His plan was to simply accelerate the collapse.

Over five hundred years before Christ, Confucius was asked about good government; He replied good government straitens things out, rectifies terms and sets good examples.

Perhaps a better way to get health care costs under control is to follow Confucius teachings, and for the US government rectify terms. First of all, healthcare insurance is intrinsically an interstate commerce question, and should be regulated on the National level per the interstate commerce clause in the Constitution, state governments have no true legal justification in regulating healthcare insurance. If all regulation of health care were done at the national level portability would go away as an issue.

Another way to rectify terms would be to have a panel convene with equal representation from small insurance companies and large insurance companies to come up with five to ten policies that would be priced by each insurance company independently. Bringing market forces more closely aligned and making the choices for American people and American business much more easily comparable. All companies would bid on the five to ten policies. At least one would be an umbrella policy that is for catastrophic illness coverage only.

Standardized policies across state lines and standardized forms would reduce the paperwork for doctors, insurance companies and patients alike. Reduction in paperwork and file space, to accommodate the reams of redundant paperwork, required by the various companies for various illnesses, necessarily increases the overhead costs health care. Rectifying terms in these ways, would drive down these costs, for everyone effected.

But give insurance companies the leeway to come up with clever new ways to control costs. When government tries to regulate an industry it always gets more and more labyrinthine and less efficient, driving up costs, and lowering quality. This is necessarily true do to the nature of government i.e. Government being a Political animal.

Health care could be a source of growth for the US economy but it is a source of reduction. It all boils down to incentives for the individual to act. When government draws out pain for the people it does no one a service. When government creates confusion in the markets it violates one of it’s fundamental responsibilities, to straiten things out. Government does all of these things at it’s own peril, but not only it’s own, at the peril of the nation at large also.

Inheritance Tax

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that a person who has never done a days work in his life, did nothing but complain about how good some have it, while never producing for himself, his family or society, only complaining and griping about those that produce for him and his family, when the reality is, that he was and is, too lazy to produce, becomes rich at the public trough, that person is a hypocrite. Useless to himself, his family and especially society the hypocrite continues to whine that a producer might be able to leave his heirs his amassed wealth while the hypocrite has no intention of paying any tax on his amassed wealth no matter the immoral nature of the hypocrite’s amassed wealth.

We are of course talking about the inheritance tax. The tax that will effect the entrepreneur, the farmer, the collector, and the businessman but not the rich. Make no mistake, those that argue that the “rich” should be punished have a different idea of who the “rich” are. No matter their personal fortune they are never “rich” and will never come under the provisions of the inheritance tax.

Do you honestly think Nancy Pelosi ‘s heirs will pay any inheritance tax? Of course not. That’s foolishness. She will, has or knows, of a loophole for her and her friends. Don’t worry about the billionaire Nancy Pelosi, she will have an exception just like in the Healthcare Law, that a part of has been recently declared unconstitutional.

Really, do you really think that someone like Bernie Sanders heirs will ever pay a penny of inheritance tax? No matter his accumulated wealth. To set the record straight, he did work half a day, one time, painting Bailey Spring and Glass in Barre, but he threw down his paintbrush and exclaimed, “This is intolerable!” And went back on welfare. Since he was elected to office he has been a mayor and a house representative now is a Senator and is worth millions. Remember what President Truman said, “Anyone who gets rich at politics is a God Damned crook.“ Yet Bernie Sanders begrudges those that produced a good for humanity their wealth.

Like Bill Gates. No matter your personal opinion of the man you have to admit, that had he not sold Dos to the IBM clone producers, the computer age may never have taken off, at least not as quickly. Bill Gates is the Henry Ford of our time. No matter your personal opinion of Henry Ford…

Those men improved the lot of Mankind and by doing so they became rich. How they use the money is their choice not Bernie Sanders who has produced nothing but a string of complaints, yet he will never pay the taxes someone who produces and makes the money, Bernie does, will.

Morality aside, money is better in the purse of the public than in the public purse. The individual will spend his or her money much more efficiently than any government no matter how benign and enlightened. Even if a person or two simply burned the money to light cigars the money will have been put to a more productive use than government would. Money burned to light a cigar is taken out of circulation slightly raising the value of every other dollar and putting money in your pocket… not taking it out.

The hard truth is, that the inheritance tax and any other ruse, to make one group hate another, is a form of Fascism. That is the nature of Fascism, to group people, make them hate each other, then use the out of control hate to wield people like swords. Chopping your way to total power. Pitting society against a group, no matter the definition of that group, by race, economic status, religion, handicap, sexual orientation, or any other way, to do so is evil and wrong.

So we have pointed out the utter hypocrisy of those that call for the inheritance tax, the pernicious effect on the economy of more government spending on the economy and the self serving nature of the argument, but it feels so good to hate the rich, even though the people who are urging us to hate the rich are themselves rich, and mostly do not deserve their wealth, and moreover that the very tactic they are using is evil and wrong…

Constitutionalism

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that to say, The Constitution is a statement of values and the job of a court is to apply those values to a changing situation, is to focus on a small quality while ignoring the larger quality. Unfortunately, this argument will go on ad infinitem, due to Mankind’s capriciousness in trying to get out of contracts, we see as not advantageous to us.

Codifying the values, or morality, of a governmental system, is implicit in any law, as law is the codifyment of government morality. Why else pass a law, because a policymaker’s opinion, is that this or that is unconscionable. The term unconscionable suggests a moral determination. To be unconscionable a thing or action must be morally wrong else it is conscionable. So morality is implied by any law or system of law… but is not the primary purpose of a Constitution.

The primary purpose of a Constitution, is the explicit need of people, to be protected from an out of control government. Tyranny has been the more natural state of humanity throughout the ages. Constitutionalism was conceived as a means to counter this tendency in human government. The Constitution is a contract between the governors and the governed. It clearly states the limits of government. This is the larger quality of a constitution.

To try to logically prove that a smaller quality should supersede larger quality of a thing or action is one definition of arguing spuriously. Spurious argument is to make an argument that sounds logical, while it is in fact, not logic at all and is, in fact, being used a means to deceive. In this case we can clearly see that to ignore the larger quality, that a constitution is a contract between the governed and the governors, limiting the power and scope of power of the governors, and instead to claim that it is merely a statement of “values” is as spurious as can be.

Since the invention of constitutional government the governors have been trying to escape the more difficult proscriptions of their constitutions. Governors being more comfortable in the role of tyrants than as public servants. Why should they serve anyone? They are the Elite and should be served. The modern incarnation of aristocracy, to hold aristocracy to a contract, proves that we don’t know our station in life.

So to argue that a constitution only suggests, by means of a value system, how to govern but is no actual limit to the governors, is to use rhetoric as a sophist, as a means to get your wants met regardless of the justice of those wants.

The example of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution is always brought up so we will address it here. The side that prefers tyranny argues that the first clause in the statement, “A well regulated militia” means the Amendment gives the State government’s the Right to keep and bear arms and is not a blanket limit on government’s monopoly on violence. When in fact, when reading the words of the founding fathers, we can clearly see that they were not interested in limiting the power of the people but in limiting the power of government to oppress those people. So why would they have specifically given government a right it already has written elsewhere in the document? Merely as redundancy?

To use the means codified in the Constitution to change it, to meet a changing situation such as the Internet, is not efficient enough, for those that favor tyranny, but I would add the modifying phrase, “for their tastes.” The means written in the US Constitution are very difficult and drawn out. Not only subjecting any potential amendment to a great deal of scrutiny in area but temporally as well. It takes a lot of time to get it looked at and passed.

Why do you suppose the framers of the US Constitution wrote such a long and arduous road into the Constitution when it is to be changed to meet a changing situation? The person who favors tyranny would argue that they foresaw the Supreme court changing the meaning to meet the new situation, making the need to follow such a difficult process redundant and only for window dressing, so to speak.

It is clear, from this line of reasoning, that those that favor tyranny, believe a constitution limit’s the people, and those that favor liberty, believe that constitutions limit government, giving us a metric to see who favors tyranny, from their arguments…

Letting Go

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that you have issues, he has issues and I have issues, that guy over there, who claims he doesn’t have issues… that is one of his issues. We all are flawed human beings. To believe that I am flawless is to believe that I am superhuman. A person with no flaws need not improve him or herself in any way.

No reason to diet, perfect weight, no need to read, perfect knowledge, no need to think, perfect recall and no need to eat, perfect digestion. That person is one who most reasonable people would admit doesn’t and probably cannot exist. Even the Jew, Jesus Christ of Nazareth came into this world as a child, learned at the hands of his parents and Rabbis then grew into what he became. Even he didn’t achieve perfection until his resurrection. How much less are we?

We mask our issues as best we can. Some better than others, the guy drunk on the train tracks, no job, not even looking for employment has made the choice that society or community be damned. He wears no mask. If some one wants to help by buying him a bottle of Old Duke he is willing for the comfort. He has no mask… The rest of us wear masks.

The thing is, there are so many shoals in the seas of life that we must run aground now and then. It is inevitable. They are there for good people and bad alike. But as special accident theory goes, the more complex the system and the more tightly it is interdependent the more likely of a catastrophic failure in it. Life is no different.

Obstinacy, temper, aloofness, vitriol etc… in our lives amounts to tightening up the interconnections, our lives are complex as it is but throw in some lies and complexity grows exponentially. No matter the source of the lies. Increasing complexity and tightening the connections assures us of a catastrophic failure when we run aground instead of a minor scrape.

One way to loosen up the tightness of the interconnections is to have a belief in God. When we run aground there is no better attitude then to say to yourself, “It was the will of God.” Then let go. The biggest obstacle to this path is the human ego.

Hearing this makes the gut tighten, and we have a fight or flight feeling. We feel we can’t run and have to fight so we tense our gut gird ourselves. But the third option, to let it go and give it to God, is the best option. Even though it makes our gut even tighter… until we let go.

Most people respect their boss. You wouldn’t say to him or her , “You are a jerk.” (or something much worse),except kidding. To do so puts one’s livelihood at risk, and as Confucius says, “A fool walks a dangerous path when a safe one is available.” To be socially inept, intentionally, with a boss is foolish, and so we don‘t let our ego get in the way. But what is the worst he could do? Fire us Taking away our lively hood. But we say vitriolic things to God, at least once in our lives… or more.

I’m not saying we should quiver in fear of a vindictive God, I am saying we should respect God for a person who takes all kinds of verbal abuse and puts up with it. (Few thankyou’s and a lot of please’s, why’s, don’t’s and anger).

So when a shoal comes into our lives and we run aground it is better to let go of the issue, say “it was the will of God,” and move on, than to clutch it, hold it tight, and nurse it into a grudge. Or be so shattered by it that it results in some catastrophic failure in our lives.

Maybe, as someone told me once, we live many lives, each teaching us a lesson, some painful some joyful, the one we are in maybe one of the painful lives… or it may be one of the joyous.

Depends more on your point of view.

Why is our Economy Grinding Instead of Racing?

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, from the totalitarian communist to the anarchist, everyone agrees that the US economy is broken. All disagree on the reason or cause, but agreement is uniform, that there is a problem.

If we use the analogy that an economy is like a car engine then the parts of an engine will have their analogs in the economy. Like small business being the pistons, the workers the explosion and money, the air for the engine to work. We can say that the rectified terms, or weights and measures, are the cam shaft, regulating the working. But what does an engine need, to run well, or to run at all… Oil.

Confidence in regulation, costs, market demand, etc are the oil that allows the engine to run. Without these confidences an engine will seize up. The piston dare not ride up and down the cylinder with no confidence it won’t be ripped apart, the cam stops keeping time and the power of labor goes into energy of destruction instead of being used as work. The engine destroys itself. In our little analogy the economic engine destroys itself.

The policies of the Obama administration have in essence drained the oil from our economic engine. The health care reform he passed is so laden with traps for the unwitting small business owner he dares not move until he knows with some certainty what his eventual costs per employee will be. Demonizing the small business owner by using class warfare to raise his taxes is not a good way to restore confidence the system is fair.

Recognize this fact; people do not hurt themselves. When a billionaire tells you he will screw the rich, he is really going to screw you. No one hurts themselves. It is not human. Believe me that the small business owner who labors 80 hours a week, his whole life for his business, will see a substantial tax increase, if the taxes go up due to the sunset. But the billionaire’s taxes will most certainly go down. If you believe otherwise you probably own the Tappan zee bridge too.

Today on Fox News it was stated, several times, that government spending is at a 50 year high while taxation is at a 50 year low… as a percentage of the economy. According to Keynesian economics the economy should be spinning out of control not grinding slowly along like there is no oil in the engine. Government spending this high should result in huge public demand while low taxation should result in huge private demand in the economy, both together, pushing the accelerator to the floor. Yet unemployment is going up and no one even projects economic growth exceeding 3% in the years to come.

If we take John Maynard Keynes to be partially correct, in his demand side economic theory, then with the demand side of the equation so high why is the supply side so slack? Keynesian economics is blind to the reason.

Uncertainty is a killer to the economy. Look at the days of FDR. He was all about random regulation, price freezes, rent control etc. No one knew if they could invest in any business today because government regulation tomorrow could make it unprofitable and you will loose your shirt. All because of uncertainty.

Why would you hire another person even if you really need them? Your embedded costs per employee may skyrocket due to the new Health Care law, Your taxes will certainly go up, You may be looking at runaway inflation due to the monetizing of the debt, coupled with unpredictable regulation and no economy could function properly.

The problem with draining oil from a car engine is that it usually does permanent damage. When the rings encounter the cylinder walls without an oil barrier they weld themselves to it. When business is destroyed by regulation the business owner is reluctant to take chances again. He or she feels they were not in a fair game, the game was rigged… And it was. Discouraging entrepreneurs is a way to permanently damage an economy.

But maybe more regulating food will do the trick…

He Who Sets the Trends is Responsible for the Outcome

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, historically, whenever government wins a new power over the people, government lords that new power over the people. As government gets more and more power it eventually must be reigned in. Importantly, it takes revolution and the spilling of blood to bring government back under control. Even then, more often than not, government has so polluted society, that the endemic corruption, (created by irresponsible government), leads the people to call for tyranny, to be protected from their very own vice. Like Weimar Germany.

People look to their leaders for what is good. We all do it. We look to the cultural Elite to set the dress styles, the educational Elite set the curriculum of the schools, the entertainment Elite decide what the people will watch, and so, the Elite in the aggregate, set societal norms. When the Elite lower the norm to the point of corruption, showing, teaching and styling, that moral, consideration, thought and action is obsolete, society flounders. Then the political Elite can step in, save the day, and impose tyranny, establishing order. Order that was destroyed by the Elite themselves, perhaps, to establish the environment where they can become tyrants and perpetuate their status as the Elite.

From this, we can see that, if there is evil in society, we only have to look at those that set the trends. If the trend is evil; society will take that path. If the trend is good; society will take that path. Culture is what the Elite make it. They set it. For good or ill, the Elite in our society set the standard, and have been ratcheting it down… year after year.

But we have a say too. The Elite set the standard, but we, in part, decide who the Elite are. We have the power of our collective wallets. If we choose to attend a movie that we know undermines societal values we are culpable in the undermining of those values. When we vote without due diligence and vote for those who we know in our heart, will not do as they say, and we “go along,” we decide who will be the Elite. Our own actions have an effect on who is the ten percent of humanity that will be the Elite.

We also have an effect on how corrosive the Elite’s actions are to civilization. When we lament what our lawmakers do, but vote for them anyway, we are duplicit in their chicanery. Marion Barry comes to mind. The man was so corrupt he makes a cesspool seem a spring of fresh clean drinking water. Not only was he corrupt but he was caught, over and over, yet he was still reelected. Unless the voting system in Washington DC was, and perhaps is, fixed, then the people who voted him in, year after year, are as guilty of the misdeeds, that lowered the standard of living in Washington DC, as much, or more than Mayor Barry. To complain about the poor state of the schools in DC, after having voted in such a corrupt man, is like shooting your own foot and complaining how hard it is to walk to the store, or smashing every window in your house then complaining how cold your house is. An unbiased observer would have to conclude a person who did these things must be unhinged.

Olson’s “The Logic Of Collective Action” give us some insight why… we vote in dirt bags, that we know are dirt bags, and then are amazed when they act like dirt bags. He says that if a bad thing hurts a person a little, it may not be worth the effort to follow up and take the actions necessary to rectify the situation. But when a bad, or good, thing effects us profoundly then we act. He used the example of the US sugar subsidy. The subsidy drives up the price of sugar for everyone in the US. A large bad thing, widely distributed, is individually very small. But for the sugar farmers who get the benefit of the subsidy, and are a much smaller group, it is of great concern. So the sugar farmers take the action necessary to insure the subsidy remains, but the people, who in the aggregate are harmed far more than the sugar producers are helped, take no action, because individually the harm is too small to warrant the cost, in time, energy and money to affect change.

This same logic works in other aspects of human existence as well. We all do a cost benefit analysis in our heads before we take any action. Maybe that is why we continue to promote the Elite that effect our civilization so negatively. We make the calculation that our promoting, by attending, buying or voting, has a small effect and so is ok. We feel we have only a limited effect on the Elite. But that is not true. Cumulatively, we have tremendous power, if we only wield it.

It is in the Elite’s interests to lower societal standards… to make the people more dependant on the Elite. But for an individual, it looks as if like we have no ability, or our individual ability is so small, it is worthless to use. So we just go along. The Elite do what is in their self interest but the people do what is patently not in theirs. Not out of ignorance or stupidity, but because, collective action is necessarily expensive, in time, energy and money.

Recognizing a problem is always the first step in fixing a problem… Ironically, I am as lazy as anyone…