Category Archives: Ethics

What is Memorial Day?

I failed to post this yesterday as a follow up to the Memorial Day 2017 dedication I posted on Twitter.

Yesterday wasn’t about me or others that have served, or are serving in the military.

Its about those soldiers, sailors, marines, and air corps, who gave everything they had to the cause of bringing conflict to a conclusion, and to allow people the opportunity to choose for themselves as to how they want to govern.

All the criticisms of the military, our government, our industrial, technological, or wealth, has nothing to do with Memorial Day. There were many people who chose to use it to support their political, ideological, and critical view points. It has nothing to do with that at all.

The United States, for all its flaws, shortcomings, and mistakes, has at its core a desire to keep the world safe enough for people to choose for themselves a way of life. Written in its foundational documents, are the basic humane principles of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

When a person enters the military, they become part of a history of a nation that wants to protect those foundations. and has been willing to do so at great personal risk, significant loss of life, wealth and reputation. To argue we gave blood for treasure is to ignore that no amount of industry, or military victory, has offset the price we spent, or the blood we spilt, not just for ourselves, but many other nations as well.

Our history as a nation has been to cede back the lands, rebuild the basic civil foundations, and for decades, donate vast resources & money in order for the weak to become stronger. We are not a conquering people, we’re a liberating people.

How do I know this to be true? I’m one of the millions, who over the centuries, left my home, voluntarily gave a portion of my life, to be trained, skilled, and willing to defend this country. We desired no lands, sought no riches, and did things few are willing or able to do.

I have this one day of the year to thank those who were required in the course of their service, to lay down their life to benefit, defend, secure, the liberty of others, including me. That’s Memorial Day. A day which we as a nation should remember those who died for us, yet we so soon forget in our normal, comfortable, and mostly peaceful journey.

 

Economics 101 – The Mess We’re In

Politicians have modified capitalism to suit their largest contributing supporters, thereby enhancing their future elections. This is often referred to as Crony Capitalism 1.

Here are some basics which people are either ill-informed, or refuse to understand because their beliefs override facts.

  • Poor people don’t employ other poor people.
  • People that possess money, or obtain credit, leverage their ideas and talent at great risk, often employ other people.
  • This can enhance the wealth of those business leaders who combine & leverage the labor and skills of others in creative ways.
  • Creditors and investors provide capital to the business, and benefit by the financial gain of the company.
  • Those whose primary object is to decide what’s fair in compensation, for the labor and skill of employees, do so by taking more from those who create and sustain that employment.
  • Eventually, the balance is tilted under government control, such that they and their closest friends & allies, receive the greatest benefits through confiscating the profits from the investors and the company.
  • They (politicians) redistribute profits to appease the employees, and describe that as fair. Creditors & investors withdraw their support.
  • Those who have placed themselves at the greatest risk and have used their imagination to begin or enhance the business, now find their financial rewards diminished.
  • These dwindling profits, and the lack of investors, push the owners into foreclosure and bankruptcy and they join the throng of those who have already staked out their claim for government assistance.
  • In the end, everyone’s standard of living has diminished except the politicians and their cronies.
  • The poor become more poor because business has been destroyed by those who gained their office through a promise of fairness.
  • Larger business, through the support of their friends in government, buy the distressed assets at reduced prices and become more wealthy.

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  1. Crony Capitalism An economy that is nominally free-market, but allows for preferential regulation and other favorable government intervention based on personal relationships. In such a system, the false appearance of “pure” capitalism is publicly maintained to preserve the exclusive influence of well-connected individuals.
Now what?

Caught Up With Our Self Importance

Everywhere we look, we can see examples of how we are caught up in our own self-importance. It’s difficult for us to see it in ourselves, but we notice it readily with others.

Driving our cars, we can see examples routinely of people cutting in and out of lanes, crossing the road or turning in front of us, even though there are huge gaps, or no one at all behind us. Public conversation can suddenly be interrupted by another person who walks up and wasn’t part of the discussion. We just can’t seem to help ourselves.

There are international demonstrations of this going on right now. The leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong-Un is a prime example of someone who believes his word is supreme. It’s one of many of those who rise to power, who think they’re someone very special.

A recent brief confrontation between an American reporter and a Russian Minister, makes this point when he asks, who taught you manners? She just couldn’t help herself. She thought her interruption was important.

Andrea Mitchell isn’t unique in shouting questions at someone in public. Watch talk shows when they have a guest they either don’t agree with or want to show their disdain for them in public. They haven’t the courtesy to allow the person to finish their answer before they talk over them with another question. It’s as if they’re pelting them with words, since it’s socially unacceptable to throw rocks at their guest.

All of this brings me around to an immense collective of people caught up with their importance, as this is Easter weekend. To many Christians, this is the premier weekend, because it’s a celebration of a person claiming to be a deity, that through martyrdom and the public acceptance of being brought back to life, is going to resurrect any who believe this story. They will go to heaven and live with this deity, forever.

Wait a minute, I’ve gone too far, I’m way out of line for suggesting this is another in a long history of people thinking they are really special and very important. How does this story tie in with our inflated ego?

First, we believe in our significance among the vast universe of billions of stars, in countless galaxies. Many of us think an eternal being, a deity, constantly watches each of us and sacrifices their number one son just to “redeem” us, if only we will believe this story to be true. Our distorted self-centered nature causes us to think we are so very important, that we must be permitted to carry on — forever.

For many, the thought that we don’t go on forever, united with friends and family, is too unnerving, It places us in a vacuum of, now what must I do? If there isn’t an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, intergalactic wizard that restores us back to life, then we’re time limited, hopelessly lost to our own actions, our foolish blunders, even the planet we live and spin on, is our responsibility.

How do you determine if you are being duped?

The list is endless of those who can improve or advance us. They convince us to believe they can help us find hidden or ultimate truths. Many are message experts who build their case against some personal defect(s), identifiable yet unseen power(s) or negative world condition. They tell you they have the answers to these and other unanswered questions, in which you desire to have greater knowledge, or they have answers to the great problems in our lives.

They follow a pattern like confidence artists. They have a rehearsed formula to gain your trust, your time, and your money.

  1. Associate
  2. Indoctrinate
  3. Obey
  4. Stay
  5. Pay
  6. Pray
  7. Convert
  8. Rinse – lather – repeat

As we continue to look for hope in a grand scheme which ties all of our mysterious origins and destinies together, we hang in, even if we have doubts. If you decide to leave, they have ways to make you feel guilty or declare some method of punishment to haunt your thoughts of having a safe future. The stories found in religious text bring people together, with the overarching thought, we’re here because of a deity. Our lives are controlled by the whim of this deity. We must obey all that this deity demands or we will suffer after we die, forever.

Now that’s the ultimate penal sentence. If you refuse to follow, choose to independently think, act, and realize you’re nothing more than a tiny life form on a very small planet. When you recognize you’re responsible for your own actions, AND there’s no wizard that will save you from ignorance, bad decisions, or even halitosis.  Then we begin to realize what surely will come to us all is death?

No, that’s too much to take in. Give me back my security blanket.

The Christian knows what will happen to you if you don’t believe in these stories. You will suffer in hell, while they sing and dance and look down on you. All because you dared question the idea of an ultimate spiritual dictator.

Suddenly, Kim Jong-Un, almost seems kind. He can only sentence you for 50 to 90 years of hell, or thereabouts.

The more ambitious use a variety of ideas which ultimately prey upon our own narcissism. They teach us to adopt behaviors and vocabulary which separate the insiders from the outsiders, making us feel superior to those who aren’t knowledgeable or part of the same group. Many flaunt this relationship of exclusivity, just as clever advertisers do with selling luxury cars, perfumes, or clothing.

Examples Using Group Exclusivity

Christianity, Islam, Scientism, Atheism, Polymorphs, Religious Science/Mind Science, “Laws of prosperity”, creating one’s own reality, technologists, reincarnation, meditation, faith/ confession, occultism, pantheism, chanting, mantras, universal force, energy/mind power, gangs, etc.

A Force For Good?

The short answer is yes. Clearly there are many who have joined a group of like-minded people who gain trust, hope and a greater belief in their own self-worth. If it enhances your ability to see the value in others, the consequences of your own actions, observe your own deceptions to self and others, and the need to be independently productive and creative, then those are worthwhile attributes.