Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Individualism is Dead!

Individualism is defined as a social theory advocating the liberty, rights, or independent action of the individual; the principle or habit of or belief in independent thought or action; the pursuit of individual rather than common or collective interests; egoism; individual character; individuality; an individual peculiarity. Today, the closest people come to individualism is to post something on Facebook. However, this should not be confused as being true individualism – it is narcissism. Facebook posts and YouTube videos do not pay the bills and define the entire person. A recent report indicated that one in five Americans are on Medicaid and one in six Americans are on food stamps. About 13 million Americans are on welfare, 6 million Americans are receiving unemployment, and millions more are receiving disability. Anti-poverty programs make up better than one sixteenth of our GDP and total government spending makes up nearly one third of our GDP (local, state, and federal). In fact, over 35% of all Americans were on some sort of welfare program in 2013. That’s more people on welfare than who are employed full time! I am for helping a person in need, but these programs are exploding because a vast number of people remain on some sort of government welfare program their entire lives. People on welfare are certainly not defined as being “individualists” since they require the help of the government to survive. A true individualist would never accept any government subsidy for any reason (and yes that includes government programs such as cash for clunkers and subsidies for buying a home). A true individualists’ always earns their keep. The statistics are even worse when it comes to Americans belonging to clubs or organizations. Fifty million Americans belong to a health club alone (80% of all people cannot work out without someone dictating / motivating their work out) and it is estimated that over 90% of all Americans belong to some club or organization (NRA, GOP, Democrat, health, Unions, etc.). And let’s face the fact; over 90% of these individuals are followers and had no input in club rules, laws, and regulations. Hence, they are not individualists because they cannot think, act, or advocate for themselves. Today, people are not defined but instead groups of people are defined – White, Black, Hispanic, Male, Female, Gay, obese, smokers, etc. This is another function provided by our government. The government no longer represents the individual, they represent the group. Since most individuals cannot afford to lobby for themselves they must join a group to afford lobbyists and have not their voice heard, but the voice of their group. Unions are great example of this, but there are also environmental groups as well as ethnic groups such as the NAACP. The media also likes to classify groups of people. The media, like political parties, love to pit different groups of people against each other: rich v. poor; big business v. poor; black v. white; pro-abortion v. pro-life; environmentalists v. big oil, female v. male, and so forth. This, of course, makes it harder for this country to overcome bigotry, racism, and stereotypes because we classify groups of people instead of seeing the individual. What has led to the decline in individualism? The answer is easy – political progressivism has created an atmosphere that people are no longer smart enough to think for themselves so they must have a union or have the government do it for them. Hoover is probably the last president to preach individualism, but he quickly turned progressive after the depression hit. Coolidge is probably the last president to actually preach individualism and have his policies targeted to that philosophy. Coolidge was a progressive to a certain degree, but he felt that the best kind of progressivism was individual progressivism. Individual progressivism is where people worked hard to better themselves over the course of their lifetimes. This country would be better place if even a small fraction of Americans would live their lives in accordance with the life of Coolidge and his rules of individualism: refusing to join clubs and organizations, living with a balanced household budget, living within our means, leading by example, taking the high road, practicing what they preach, and never taking any government funding.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ferguson MO Epitomizes what is Wrong with America

It seems every issue has liberals and conservatives on opposite ends of the spectrum and Ferguson is no different. Liberals seem to support Michael Brown and the protests while conservatives more than likely support the police. The sad thing about it all is that really no one really knows the truth. Only Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown know the complete truth. I would estimate that 90% of the public thinks they are in the know when in fact they are only agitators pouring gas on a burning fire. And it is our 24/7 media coverage that is brainwashing Americans into taking sides.

Last night liberal outlets excused the violent protests by proclaiming a vast majority of protestors are peaceful. In my book peaceful protestors within a violent group are also complicit in the crimes. And conservative outlets chastised the St. Louis Ram football players’ peaceful protests and are working with local Ferguson police to find the unlawful protestors. I am sure the police can find the violent protestors without the help of Fox News. None of this helps a devolving situation.

Meanwhile, the President has race baiting liberal Al Sharpton as his advisor on the problematic situation and his Attorney General is outlining new profiling laws. How can the general public be objective when our government and media cannot? There is absolutely no evidence this case was about profiling – if so the grand jury would have indicted Wilson.

If the President was truly objected he would listen to the voices of people such as New Orleans tight end, Ben Watson. If you have not gotten a chance to see the words written by the former Georgia University star, you need to read them. He has some unbiased insightful words. But for every Watson there are a dozen agitators.

The end result are violent protests occurring around the country killing more people and destroying hundreds of businesses. Yes, this is what our problem solving skills have resorted to. I am embarrassed to be an American. And both sides are complicit in this disaster.

I have had some very bad experiences with police in the past where they used excessive force. The culprits were White, Hispanic, and Black police officers. But as I look back on those difficult experiences I realize there are always two sides to a story. I was a dumb kid who put myself and hence the police in a difficult situation. I did not break the law and I did not deserve to be treated with brutality, but l should have never gotten in that situation in the first place. And I also realize that if I was in the police officers shoes I would have done arrest the same as they did. They have no idea who can be trusted and who cannot. So excessive force is warranted to protect themselves. I am not proud of these moments in my life, but the experience taught me a lot especially about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It is not easy to be a police officer and I came to respect that. In the long run, I decided that the conflict could have been avoided if I was not a stupid young man and hence most of the blame fell on me. Could officers have handled the situation better? Yes, but even though I did not break the law, I was drunk wondering the streets and they felt I could be a danger to myself and others. They were probably right.

My point is that I can see both sides of the story in Ferguson. Could the situation have been handled better by the police? I bet the answer is yes, but the whole situation could have been avoided had Michael Brown not broken the law and heeded to initial police requests without being belligerent. So, I blame Brown more than Wilson, but it is impossible to put ourselves into both men’s shoes without being there. Therefore, to claim to be in the know is impossible and incorrect.

We live in the narcissistic era of social media. It has taught us all to be selfish. It has taught us all to be socially ignorant to resolve issues. It has taught us how to become problem creators instead of problem solvers. And it has taught us all too completely disrespect people with differing viewpoints. The end result is what has happened in Ferguson Missouri. We should all be ashamed of the country we live in.