Posts Tagged ‘meritocracy’

Actions have Consequences

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, actions have consequences, both individual and collective, some immediate and some delayed, but they all have consequences. Government actions, (collective actions) however produce a special kind of consequence. Of all the entities that have ever existed, only government benefits from mistakes, to a point, then the cumulative weight of those bad actions come crashing in and destroy that government which has profited so much, by a series of mistakes. Elitist theory says that every fall of every government is the product of a series of mistakes that led to it. When observed by a person however those downfalls might appear random, this country lost a war and so was destroyed, that country experienced a drought that triggered a famine, and so on. But when looked at in the long term, it becomes obvious that each failure was predicated on a series of poor decisions by the rulers, that led to their own downfall. The same paradigm work today with our modern governments and institutions leading inevitably to our downfall.

If you make a bad decision, the likely hood is that you will experience the effects pretty soon, sometimes you have to make a series of bad decisions before the consequences appear, but given enough bad actions consequences become inevitable. This is how we learn right from wrong, smart from stupid and profit from loss. The immediacy of the negative consequences is a great teaching tool for individuals. Governments however work under a far different paradigm.

If a government makes a wrong decision, the people suffer, but the government prospers. Each bad action leading to more power and more money for those in power. The consequences for those in leadership are profit for bad decisions and loss for good ones. If a government passes a law that is supposed to lower the cost of health care for example, and instead that law raises the cost making health care more unaffordable, the people will turn to government again to fix the problem government created. Government, and those in government profit comes at a cost to the people. If a government regulation drives down economic output, more regulation is demanded to improve the economy. Again government profits while the people loose. This can work for generations, each wrong action resulting in more government power and more money for those in power.

It works only to a point however. Each bad decision creates tension in the economy, society and defensively. One bad action might lower economic output driving a call for more equal distribution of economic output, which further lowers economic output. Eventually the economy of such a nation will be destroyed. Then the collapse of the economy will be blamed on some extrinsic shock, that is said to have “caused” the economic meltdown. Had the economy been left alone and those cumulative bad actions had not been taken, the economy would have survived the external shock and probably would have profited by it. As government regulates it’s citizens, and so corrodes the people’s stake in the nation, those who have lost a stake in the nation will care less for it’s future and will turn to drugs, crime and the dole. As more do such things, more regulation is needed to control those who have lost their stake in the nation, further corroding others stake in the national outcome until no one cares about the nation. If a war were to break out, no one would fight for a country they have no stake in, and so the war will be lost. As we have shown, it wasn’t the war that destroyed the nation but the cumulative decisions of the leaders. The war was merely the catalyst that triggered the consequences of the cumulative bad decisions of the leaders.

Our modern countries have profited tremendously from their bad decisions. Our leaders become rich while in government, then become filthy rich after, by selling their access. Each bad action taken by our governments enriches those in power and enhances their power. Those bad decisions have apparently positive consequences for those in power and so they become drunk with their seeming omnipotence. The worst their actions they make the more power and riches they get. This continues until today when our leaders act, to any rational outside observer, absolutely absurd. Sadly, there will come a day when the true consequences of all the bad decisions our leaders have made, come crashing in on them and us. Since they have profited so much by those bad actions, to expect them to change is like expecting a heroin addict to willingly kick the habit, while heroin is freely available and they live in a mansion. In the next incarnation, this same paradigm will work out, because the actions of government appear to have opposite consequences for the elite than the people. The eventual consequences are inescapable, the timing cannot be known, and people will point to some shock, war or outside exigency that led to it… but actions always have consequences.


John Pepin

Pragmatism, The American Philosophy

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, pragmatism is the quintessential American philosophy, it embodies everything our founders believed. The US founding was based on a market system… of ideas, economics, politics and philosophy. In a marketplace, ideas, products, and even philosophy are tested. Pragmatism as a method of thought and inquiry tests ideas and weighs them on an empirical scale. In a market, if a product gives value then it will be successful, if however, it is of no value, it fails. Marketing a product then can be said to require pragmatism, if it fails losses need to be cut, so the product is discontinued. Philosophy requires pragmatism to test its results, if the results are good then the philosophy can be said to be good, and if the results of it’s implementation are bad, then the philosophy itself can be said to be bad. In a marketplace, the measure of anything is how it sells, where there is no marketplace however, without pragmatic consideration, there is no viable test on the value of a product, idea, system or philosophy. Moreover, we see empirically that where pragmatism is used the standard of living improves and where pragmatism is eschewed, the standard of living declines. Your standard of living and that of your children is dependent on our leaders, teachers, executives and even ourselves, to be pragmatic and use pragmatism to weigh our decisions.

Pragmatism as a body of philosophy is normative, or in other words, it harmonizes that which we believe and think, with that which is real. People believe in all sorts of things, from communism to relativity, but how can we discern what beliefs are true and which are false? That is where normative philosophy comes in. Pragmatism tests the social theories, philosophical ideas and organizational attempts not strictly scientific questions, while science tests physical theories not complex ones. This is a mistake that many in the sciences have made, they seek to apply the scientific method to questions of society and social philosophy, (complex systems) because the scientific method has been so successful in discerning what water is, how fast a rock will fall, and other purely scientific problems. In complexity theory, strictly scientific questions would be called mount Fuji questions, where questions of society and social interaction are a changing landscape. Therefore, to apply the scientific method to questions of social philosophy, is like driving a nail with a screwdriver.

How pragmatism is used, is it observes the results of an action, then rates those results as good or bad. The rating is then used to predict the outcome of other similar actions. For example, if government puts a limit on the price of rental housing, for even the most noble of reasons, the result is a lack of housing. Pragmatically then, rent control has a negative outcome, even though the motivation might have been altruistic. Pragmatism looks at results not motivations. When the scientific method is used however, it always takes into account the motivation, like a chemical reaction, all the inputs need to be measured, quantified and the method of combining them weighed. In a chemical reaction this is necessary and fits the requirements well, but in complex systems this level of measure is impossible, and so the scientific method fails to predict the results… where pragmatism succeeds.

The founding fathers looked at the results of all the civilizations that came before them. They were very learned men who knew history. They weighed the results of all the governmental systems that had come before, and using pragmatism, they settled on a system of government that combined the best of what history had to offer and discarding the worst. In that way the very founding of the United States was based on pragmatism. The founders pragmatically looked at the results of various systems and if they produced good results, they were considered good and were incorporated, and if they produced bad results, they were considered bad and were discarded. The founders didn’t consider the motivations of the framers of past nations, civilizations and economic systems, they only looked at the results of those systems.

The United States was founded with limited government so those in power couldn’t contaminate the system. The founders had seen the results of powerful governments and so enacted limited government to protect their new nation from those results. While the leaders of powerful governments might be virtuous, have only the most noble of motivations and honest, the results always were and are the same. The system becomes more and more despotic until the tyranny is open for everyone to see. Once that happens the people understand they are victims and loose their perceived stake in that society and the society collapses. The founders recognized that it is the nature of government to seek ever more power over the people, and pragmatically tried to check that tendency, with pragmatic Constitutional limits on the power of government.

The US was founded as a market system because the market system had resulted in such a dramatic rise in the lot of humanity. Under a market system everyone is pragmatic. If you could make more money at another job you change jobs, if you can make more money building anther product or adding features to your existing product you do it, if it fails, you revert to what worked before. Everyone weights the results of their actions. Since we are pragmatic in our business dealings, as a matter of human nature, we apply pragmatism to other aspects of our lives. Our relationships, our housing situation, etc… our every decision is based on pragmatism. Pragmatism becomes ingrained.

Pragmatism therefore is the quintessential American philosophy. The US founding was based on pragmatism, the style of government is pragmatic, our market system is based on pragmatism, our people have been inculcated with pragmatism and our society itself is pragmatic. Tocqueville called attention to American pragmatism in his theory of self interest rightly understood. To be a rational maximizer is to be pragmatic. Everything about America and the American way is pragmatic. Unfortunately, today our leaders are not pragmatic but ideological, and seek to move us away from our founding, to a place that our founders looked at, weighed and rejected… for the results it produced. Our modern leaders care nothing about results and only consider motivations. They believe a system that has only resulted in human suffering on a massive scale, can be made to work, if only the “right” motivations are applied and the “right” people are in charge. Pragmatically speaking, their ideas can only fail, and fail big time, because they always have.


John Pepin

Self Interest or the Iron Fist

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Dear friends,

It seems to me, the invisible hand is much preferable to the iron fist. The new class however, believe just the opposite, that self interest can be replaced with the lash to motivate the people. Arguments can be made for both sides, the one that poor performers will become good performers, when motivated by physical pain, and the other that the human want to get ahead will drive people to perform well. The new class, being trained by academia who’s motivations, world view and personal history is outside the norm. As such the new class sees the world through a very different lens than those not in the new class. Of course, not all members of the new class have incorporated the propaganda into their psyche, but most have. That is why so many, especially economists, (who’s science was invented by Adam Smith and therefore get their authorization from him), consider Adam Smith’s invisible hand to be fiction, to the detriment of humanity as a whole.

Those in academia that train the new class live in a different world than the rest of humanity. Their ideas don’t have to be tested in the crucible of reality, they need not give actual value for their labor and they live in a cloistered world. The result has been an academic class who’s ideas have become ever more disconnected from reality. Up to ninety percent of academics are socialists and the top echelon are outright Marxists and anarchists. When confronted with the real world results of socialism, they respond in one of two ways, real Marxism has never been tried, or the wrong people were in charge. Their ideas need not comport with history, reality or even humanity, their ideas are based in the logic of ideas, which as Hegel said, in logic, if a pen is held in the air and let go, it need not drop… that past experience doesn’t necessarily predict future results.

So the new class, is inculcated with ideas that need not necessarily rely on past experience to predict the results of their actions, and so, given their position in society as the executives of our corporations, media moguls, Presidents, Legislators, judges, lawyers and doctors, in short the leaders of our society, their personal views differ from the common man’s. They seek to use human labor to their own ends, be it corporate profit, maintaining political power, enhancing their pay, or simply continuing the status quo. Since the advancement of the human condition, as they see it, is their bailiwick, the rest of us are merely here to serve their wants. As such they believe that whatever motivation to labor is used, all that counts is that the unproductive be forced to be productive. Given their world view, hubris and power, the iron fist is far more effective than self interest.

I, however, as I said in my first sentence, am of the opinion that all people benefit when self interest is the primary motivation for human endeavor. While the lash is a powerful incentive to labor, it creates a strong resentment to the person holding the whip. That resentment then causes the labor to be undermined by the laborer. While it is true, a slave can be forced to work him or herself to death by the lash, (as has been proven throughout history), they will not willingly help their master improve the efficiency of the process, lower the input cost or improve the product. The resentment that builds up when the lash is used prevents that. Human nature being what it is. Moreover, the iron fist discounts the very real probability of societal, economic, cultural or technological advancement originating from those not in the new class.

Economists should know this as a matter of course. After all, it was Adam Smith, the founder of the science of economics that explained this paradigm far better than I could, hundreds of years ago. Their authority is based on his work, but the science of economics has moved away from empirical reality to the desires of the new class. Marx, Rousseau, John Maynard Keynes, Veblen and others gave the new class a theory that fed their egos and hubris. They taught that self interest as a motivator of humanity is flawed and that the new class can plan an economy far better. The planned economy only requires as a motivator, the iron fist, to bring even the lowest producers into production. Of course they couldn’t tell labor their true intentions, labor would have rebelled aught, so they usurped the motivations of labor to enslave it. That is why those who seek to use the lash as a motivator of men and women, always talk about equality and fairness, to fool the average woman and man into believing theirs is the cause for which the statist is fighting.

Those wielding the whip never taste it’s bite, and so see no problem with it’s use, those who feel the sting however, understand the evil of it. The new class has no worry about the hoi polloi wielding the lash against them, the new class are the leaders and so only see the results second hand, in the labor that it inspires. The new class has no need of competition from the masses for their position in society, and the iron fist is the best means to both achieve good productivity from labor, while at the same time insuring their continued place. The new class seeks low cost, high efficiency and submission from those that work for them, while at the same time, high wages, power and prestige for themselves.

So there it is, one of the primary differences between a socialist and a capitalist, is the means to motivate people to work. The socialist believing the lash as the best motivator of people while the capitalist is of the opinion that self interest works best. Adam Smith, Mises, Hayak and many others fall into the latter category. Their philosophy however dis-empowers the new class, it teaches the planned economy itself is flawed, and therefore is an anathema to the new class. The new class is egoistically self interested, forswearing the good of mankind for their own narrow good, and so the iron fist is to them the ideal means to motivate people. What do you believe, is the iron fist the best motivator of people, or self interest? Your answer shows who you are.


John Pepin

Political Heroin

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, addiction to heroin always results in poverty, sickness and a loss of one’s soul, socialism is exactly the same. Like addiction to heroin, political heroin, socialism, promises good times but delivers anguish. Both addiction and socialism make people dependent, they ruin lives and remove the incentive to get ahead. Both are alluring however. The idea that something can be had for nothing, wealth in the case of socialism and euphoria in the case of heroin, is very attractive. Today we have politicians who are nothing but pushers. They shill for socialism as a cure all for the ills socialism has visited us with. They offer a free sample, later doses of socialism will cost you dearly though, your job, your family and your soul. Even many so called conservatives offer out socialism, they say a little socialism won’t hurt you, just like a pusher claims a little heroin won’t hurt you. Both types of pushers are villains.

Imagine all the people who’s lives have been ruined by addiction to heroin. We have all seen the television shows where the heroin addict is a pathetic figure, emaciated, jonesing for a hit, strung out and will do anything for another hit of heroin. They live on the streets, stink because even taking a bath gets in the way of their addiction and plead with passers by for money. They have given up their humanity, their lives and their very souls. Of course they didn’t start out that way. Most heroin addicts started as attractive, personable and outgoing people who had it going on. They thought a little high wouldn’t hurt so they open the door and walked through. It doesn’t happen overnight, and that is the trick. Their friends see them going on as if everything was well with them and try it for themselves. Then they too walk through the door to ruin.

People in socialist countries mirror heroin addicts. The nation usually starts out as relatively wealthy. They have people that are attractive, personable and have it going on. They convince themselves the country would be better off if they tried a little socialism. The fall doesn’t happen immediately, some nations last longer than others, but the fall is inevitable once that first taste of socialism has been tried. Eventually the people are starving, the middle class is destroyed, the family unit has collapsed and the people have turned from all morality and religion. All anyone wants is the next free handout. The work ethic is corroded to the point where fewer and fewer people work and more and more become dependent on the handouts. People live in the streets from lack of opportunity and when the government runs out of other people’s money, famine, filth and despair fill the land.

The examples of nations that have gone down the path to addiction are legion. Venezuela is only the latest, but that nation, rich in natural resources, was preceded by hundreds of others. The socialist politicians like to point at socialist countries that haven’t lost everything yet, like a high school kid points to the functional addict, who is still on the football team, as an example of who he wants to be. They claim the functional addict is happier, more popular and cooler than you. All the while offering a free try. This has happened since the invention of political heroin by Rousseau. It is the functional addicts however that keep getting more people, and nations addicted to heroin and socialism. Even the most functional addict eventually falls and becomes destitute.

Today our politicians claim we need to become more socialist to solve the problems that the welfare state has brought about. They blame capitalism, but there hasn’t been capitalism since the 1920s. They point to the functional addicted nations as examples of what we should do. They point at the results of our past use of political heroin and offer that we just need to do a little more and everything will be better. No different than an addict who believes things are terrible now but everything will be better once they find a dose… and it seems to be while the dose lasts, but every dose, either of heroin or socialism, needs to be bigger to get the same result. Eventually, no matter how large and potent the dose it only keeps the addict level, the high has gone, but they need it just to stop the pain.

Heroin and political heroin, socialism, have the same attractive qualities, they both have the same addictive nature and they both ruin. At first the high seems harmless but as the addiction progresses it becomes all powerful. The answer is not to only take heroin on Friday nights, that becomes impossible, the answer is to go cold turkey. Of course, that answer is not what the addict wants to hear. They will argue to the head of a pin that it wont work, will be too painful, and that it might even kill them. What they really fear however, is the withdrawal. A heroin addict feels like their bones are breaking as they withdraw from heroin and a nation will feel similar pain as it withdraws from political heroin, socialism, but unless the drug is kicked, the fall is eventual. Both heroin addicts and political heroin addicted nations will eventually reach rock bottom, and will be forced to quit, Venezuela is almost there. Sadly, the draw is so strong, even after the pain of withdrawal, both will usually become addicts once again the moment they get back on their feet… and so, the addiction seldom ends, until the addict dies.


John Pepin

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

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

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

Elections have Consequences…

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, elections have consequences, more than you may realize, look at a few recent votes and the results of those elections on the economy, standard of living, crime rates and general sense of well being, and it will become obvious. People it would seem are forgetful and easy to fool. We forget about the results of past elections and in our ignorant self interest are easily manipulated into voting against our self interests. That is why human history is circular, we make a mistake and trust in the wrong people, we suffer tremendously for that bad decision, then after a few years, or decades, we make the same mistake again, which leads to terrible suffering, again. Once we come to our senses and get a government that stays withing bounds for awhile, our leaders become more and more corrupt, since there are never consequences for our leaders when they become corrupt, and so by that means we are led to ruin by our leaders. You would think however, since there are books written, history talked about and unlimited access to information today, we would be able to break the cycle, sadly it would seem we are not.

After New York City went through the trials, crime and economic absurdity of the 1970’s the people of New York turned to Giuliani to change course. He cleaned up the streets, lowered crime and got the economy of New York going again. After forgetting why they voted for Giuliani, the people of New York changed course and elected Deblasio, an avowed Marxists, who traveled to Nicaragua to fight on the side of the Marxists. The result, an exploding crime rate, diminished economic expectations, the streets are filthy once again and the government is overstepping it’s bounds, again.

Spain had an economy that was humming along. The government of Aznar had reigned in the Spanish government. Spain was a rising star in the Euro zone, which led to a rising standard of living driven by higher wages. The Madrid train bombings just before the election drove the people to vote in the socialist Zapatero. He immediately set himself to changing Spain’s economy from the path of a functional market system to a command and control economy. He threw Spain headlong into making solar panels and green energy. The economists of the world, being in love with the planned economy, cheered him and his policies as progressive and smart. The results have been a catastrophe for the Spanish people. Spain is now one of the nations that are derisively called PIGS, (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain). The failed economies of Europe. Zapatero took Spain from being a rising star to a failed economy with all the hardship that goes along with it.

Israel had unilaterally pulled out of Gaza and had forcibly removed the Israeli settlers. The people of Gaza had been given their freedom by the Jews, how did they respond? By voting in Hamas. That election resulted in bloodshed when Hamas murdered their political opposition the PLO. The bloodshed went on for weeks as Hamas slaughtered anyone who opposed them. Once Hamas had secured Gaza they started building rockets to launch against Israel. The result of that policy has been a failed economy, perpetual violence and a standard of living that is on a everlasting escalator down. The people if Gaza are now no more than human shields for their rulers and there has not been an election since.

Venezuela had money rushing in from it’s oil reserves. The standard of living was rising and crime was diminishing. In their hubris and ignorance the people of Venezuela voted in the Marxist Hugo Chavez, you know, to distribute the wealth. Chavez immediately nationalized the oil industry and used the profits to secure political support. As the oil infrastructure corroded, he nationalized more and more to keep the facade looking good, even as the economy crumbled. Any opposition was crushed violently. Hugo died as his socialist utopia was ablaze and was replaced by another socialist. Today, despite their huge oil reserves, Venezuela is in hyper inflation, toilet paper is nearly impossible to find, the government has become totalitarian and the standard of living in Venezuela is among the lowest in the world.

The people of the US were tired of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and so elected the unknown Barack Obama. The reality of who he was/is was available but the media that calls itself unbiased didn’t bother to look. Obama’s Marxist upbringing was ignored and his obvious anti American leanings were glossed over, the reality of Obama was replaced with, “hope and change.” The economy went into recession and instead of lowering regulations and taxes Obama raised them. The result has been a nonexistent recovery. Oh, the stock market has gone up driven by ZIRP, (zero interest rate policy) and unprecedented money printing, including monetizing the debt, but those provisions have not filtered down to the people. QE2 could have made 85 thousand people millionaires per month if the money had been given to the people but instead it was given to the banks. Today in the US the labor participation rate is at an all time low while people on food stamps is at an all time high. The soup lines are hidden by the welfare checks the government is having a harder and harder time delivering. Now the US is on the brink of economic Armageddon and still many remain ignorant of the coming catastrophe.

Each election had consequences, each took a nation that had a bright future and replaced that bright future with one that is bleak. Spain’s economy is not far behind Greece’s, Gaza is a failed state, Venezuela is collapsing and the US is about to experience economic hardships like it has never experienced before, even during the great depression. In each case the people, in our ignorance and hubris, elected people who said the government would make us wealthy, and we went along despite every historical example that proves it impossible, and the results are as predictable as night after day. We have access to information about history, world events and economics that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago, yet we refuse to use it. As people are crying aloud, “How could this have happened?” You will know. We brought it upon ourselves, through our ignorance of history, economics and our hubris.


John Pepin

Founding Principles

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, when a nation abandons it’s founding principles, that nation at that moment begins a descent into oblivion. Great nations are always founded on universal principles. Principles that protect the liberty of citizens, their property, hold everyone accountable to the law and defend the state from invading armies. There are also various societal myths that form the basis of the cultural ethos. In the US for example, the sovereignty of the individual is the societal myth. These principles and myths work together to create a strong and lasting government, culture and society, as well as protect the people from invading armies. Nations thus founded have good economies, strong families and high standards of living. It is no shock then, that once a nation abandons it’s founding principles, it quickly begins to deteriorate. Since the principles and societal myths a nation was founded on are the reason that nation prospered, the abandoning of them begins a downward slide.

The reason a nation would abandon their founding principles and societal myths is universally the same. The elite begin to feel hemmed in by the founding principles so they grouse against them. The elite want more room for action and a greater part of the prosperity, to do that they now they must get the nation uncoupled from it’s founding principles. They tell the people the heightened prosperity is owed them. They lead the people away from the founding principles and into arrogance. Playing on the people’s egos the elite keep in front of the people a meme of outdated ideas, old ways, stodgy thinking and that was then this is now. The replace the founding principles with progress, the new and fill the minds of the people with distractions.

In this way a general sense of arrogance begins to creep into the minds of the people and is magnified in the elite. Some generation, far enough away from the founding that they have forgot the violence and struggle it took to birth the nation or what times were like before the founding, disdainful of their forefathers and their egos swelled up like a balloon ready to pop, they begin to believe they know better than their forefathers and turn to their own ideas, ideas that always involve taking the liberty of people they disagree with, stealing the property of those who are “rich,” and stop applying the law equally because some can’t be held to a standard.

No great calamity happens in a vacuum. In every case calamity stems from a build up of events, most seem small and insignificant at the time, moreover they pile up and pile up without any negative consequences so they come faster and get bigger. Events such as small intrusions on the founding principles. Any well founded nation can stand many such incursions, by the momentum it builds up in it’s expansion. Rome was just such an example. Even as Titus Livious warned the Romans Rome would fall unless they went back to their principles, the people laughed and scoffed at him, Rome has lasted a thousand years and would go on forever. Displaying the arrogance and disregard of their founders that always characterizes a people before their fall. Rome did go on for a few more centuries, centuries of calamity after calamity, culminating in Attila’s surrounding Rome. Rome lasted those centuries because on the momentum it had built up in it’s republican days.

No nation that still lives under it’s founding principles is defeated in war, only those nations that have abandoned those principles, are defeated in war. Wars come and go, but they are only existential threats to those nations who’s people have become lovers of luxury, arrogant, egoistic and lazy. Such nations are ripe for a fall and every would be tyrant alive sees it. Weakness in a people invites disaster. Such people are fickle in war as in every other thing, when push comes to shove an army of such people is no more than a paper tiger, it is destroyed at the first hint of flame. The government that has led the people into being fickle, egoistic and arrogant, while it might be unmerciful to it’s own people, is terrified of other nations and displays it fear to the world further inviting calamity. In this we can say that it was the abandoning of the founding principles that made the people ripe for invasion. The leaders first the people after.

Europe and the US have abandoned their founding principles. One by one they have been abandoned and replaced by progressive doctrines that teach the exact opposite of the founding principles. The societal myth has withered in both Europe and the US. Europe is being invaded by people who will, in short order subjugate the native Europeans, when that happens, the Europeans will exclaim, “What a catastrophe! How could this have happened?” The US will soon face economic Armageddon from out of control taxation, spending, regulation and cronyism, when that happens, the American people will cry out, “This is a calamity! Why me, why now?” even as the Europeans and Americans lament their misfortune, they will know in their hearts, they are the reason for the calamity, but will not be able to face the truth… so will blame the Muslims, the Bankers, the politicians… anyone but themselves, for allowing themselves to be led away from their founding principles.


John Pepin