Summary: What we are and What we Should Be…

I have said before, in replete and substantial prose, from my Second Edition of my book “Swimming in Cosmic Soup”: During our current human events we live in a world that is poisoned by Ideologues of all natures, religious, political, cultural – thus subsequently Evil…

We need a creed that addresses the values of “The Golden Rule”, underpinned by the Hippocratic Oath: “To Do No Harm”. Without which, we are a world adrift in philosophical mental quicksand, poisoning our lives and those of others, that bears no health, no fruit, no goodness… But only metastases Segregation, rather than Unity…
Anyone who disputes this is captured by Evil and perhaps Born of Evil, that tortures humanity, rather than improves and loves humanity…

What could be worse? NOTHING…

Any such Individual, Group Think Organization, or Philosophy that does not at the simplest of levels understand this clearly implicit TRUTH, is EVIL – and a Curse on Humanity in the deepest of all manners…

Therefore, if you think your Truth, Religion, Philosophy, or Culture is sacrosanct, outside of the guidelines of the “The Golden Rule”, which Does No Harm, you are a miss-guided and poor human-being, that is committed to Harm, not Goodness…

Please review your “Thinking”, and commit to “Goodness and Honesty” … As any perspective that is less, is wanting – and lives in wishful thinking and self-deception… As there are many facts that cannot be known, save by faith, which is not reality, yet we choose to sadly ignore this truth and be dishonest with ourselves.
Please find the Goodness in your Heart, rather than the will of an ideologue, that lacks common sense and honesty with one’s self.

This and Only This: will Change the World and Humanity for the Better, which should always be our goal…

Cheers to Everyone – Always,

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I have never seen such extreme partisanship, such bitter partisanship, and such forgetfulness of the fate of our fathers and of the Constitution. —Robert Byrd

First, I would like you to know that I deplore and despise the labels of partisans. But out of our language bag of restrictions, we often relate to the easiest form of communication, which is to use labels to simply identify a complex concept or tag an individual or group with a two-bit, easy label.

This, I believe, separates us and ideas, rather than unifying and optimizing potentials. In the same way, President George Washington believed that if the union regressed into parties, we would be less inclined to work for the common good, rather than our own self-oriented ends.

I agree with President George Washington. He believed it would hurt the union, and I believe it has too.

So with that explanation of labels and my disdain for them, let me define them at the same time, I hope with the point to demonstrate that we are really best defined and served well when we work together, rather than as partisans.

A conservative, in a general sense, is someone who wants to live by traditions of the past, whether right or wrong, and will go to often unrealistic extremes or far-fetched thinking to achieve their principles, or premises—such as fallaciously suggesting that science cannot prove that the earth has only been here for six thousand years. Sometimes this is, at its very core, born from past cultural and/or religious belief systems, which were construed before we had empirical scientific proofs or some reasonable scientific assumptions. Therefore, the shamans, or spiritual leaders, of the tribes would invent knowledge, based on hope, whim, dreams, and some wisdom, out of a controlling power methodology.

A liberal is someone who is open to almost any form of behavior, sometimes without any evaluation of risk or moral-related bounds. Morals are a touchy issue, as morals should, for me, be solely based on the Golden Rule and to “do no harm” when at all possible. But some liberals exceed this concept with a vengeance, but no more than conservatives, and adhere to their thinking with an angry zeal, which nullifies their principles or premise of open thinking. Certainly on a personal level, many people behave in this manner. Just watch them. Ironically, ego-based foolery too often is demonstrated by both conservatives and liberals!

In both labeled systems, watch for the groupthink behavior or individual behavior fraught with the fervor that they display by way of attitude or constructed language that bankrupts their integrity. When individuals do not retain the tenets of the Golden Rule and to “do no harm,” observe the anger or even sometimes the depression and sociopathic listlessness driving their behaviors, which again, I repeat, demonstrates the folly and emptiness of the depth of their sincerity.

In conclusion, balance and common sense for both groups, I would argue, would bring them together, thus deposing their label-based myopic pedestals and reducing them as black-or-white label-made entities. Still, both so-called conservative and liberal labels do have some seminal values when viewed for selective merit. Certainly the traditions of history have taught us of our folly and improved us, just as forward thinking and openness too offer a view often ahead of their time. Most importantly, read between the lines and find the common ground—and evaluate behavior as equally as rhetoric.

Again, I personally deplore labels—hence my bias toward common sense or toward common ground and a belief that we can all work together without partisanship if we only give the subject matter being discussed its true due. For example, when I see our US Congress vote along party lines, we experience a complete and utter failure to witness integrity. All we are seeing is groupthink and a miscarriage of justice toward the truth, toward peace, toward love, and toward right and goodness.

When I witness such individual and groupthink behaviors, I am reminded of the word pernicious, which is one of the most eloquent words for the excesses that label-driven or partisan people demonstrate. Firmly the cant of hypocrisy is certainly on the move when partisanship is in play.

One final comment: Certainty it is obvious that we need labels to identify objects. Please grasp the gist of my theme here, as it is subject to the constraints of exposition afforded us via the limitations of language. I am speaking about the labels of partisans, not objects.

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Competion Versues Cooperation

What we will and can achieve Together is Far, Far Greater than what we will achieve Individually.

Cooperation is the victor of Competition, forever and a day…  But until we understand that competition is the short-lived victor of only a moments end, we will continue to sacrifice the long-term improved results and success that cooperation is only capable of delivering…

Perhaps one of the greatest athletic coaches of all time coupled with his brilliant words of his published book, as the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) Coach John Wooden once said: “It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”:

Once this is achieved in the course of human affairs and goals, we will exceed perhaps our own perceived impossibilities.  But until we accept the premise of working as allies, not adversaries our potentials, will be limited, constrained and ultimately wanting of the possibilities the world and the human race can fully achieve, from science and its humane improvements, too new economic and social freedoms, and the rights of human beings to contribute individually at the highest of levels by way of this use of new universal freedom and equality of life, limited only by the “Golden Rule and to Do No Harm to Humankind.”

Once this is understood and executed, we will go where no one has gone before and reach a level of humanity that someday will care for all living things, as we progress step by step toward our greatest of humanities.  At first, as it has always been, we will still test and experiment, with humanity on an often harmful and painful level of a species other than ourselves to find medical cures and answers to mysteries.  This is certainly at odds with our ultimate goal of caring for all living things, but it must be acknowledged that life exists today only by the death of others to feed others (whether by animal or plant), both of which show signs of harm when they are threatened or killed.  A Fact, that science, has proven and will someday possibly be able to abridge and dismiss humanely.

However, In the course of a sustained and a more humane life’s end result, we must begin this cruel journey together, against the best of our ultimate humane goals – as to do it without consensus and compassion, is a plight doomed to fail its full and ultimate potential.  And that failure is the limitation and ultimate extinction of the human race and the good we could possibly do, versus the inevitable contrary.

While competition drives the best in us individually, it is only through cooperation that we achieve the power and grace of humility and the absolute best of our collective lives holds for us…

I pine over this truth between competition and cooperation, but I also accept it, until I can be convinced otherwise.  As we as a collective are born to kill (to feed) to continue to live.  A truth, I find factually abhorrent but also factually honest, however with improved scientific knowledge we will be able to create the demise of this current truth, or at minimum diminish it.  And the Result, will be goodwill toward all, and for all time.  But this passage of change will be obtuse and confused in its evolutionary process.  An implicit trivial, that I find implicitly a fact I must resign myself too.  But non-the-less an ultimate and profound truth…

Again – Contributing and Working Together we win for All.  Individually, we only win for some.  The former should be our goal to achieve the best in us – and for all of us…

Russ Otter 10/5/2016

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Infinity and Reality (Oxymoron’s?)

Without Impossibilities there are no Possibilities…

Infinity is without linear space or time:
This is an anomaly to the finite world, as Infinity must be by definition.  It defies explanation to a finite sentient mind, but it is sensible and accurate under its own pure nature, in order to create an environment, that is no environment…

Simply how else would you have an endless existence, that has no beginning nor an end?  You cannot.

However, you can grasp this substantive reality that Infinity is a mere nonlinear moment in a momentand nothing beyond.

Clearly infinity has no Alpha or Omega (no environment that can be delineated by linear or non-linear definition), and as such – redacts itself to its nature as a “Superposition”, for a lack of a possible better expression.  Infinity is Both Here and Not Here at the same Time and in the same Space.

Any future research that ignores or moves beyond this circumspect absolute, is reaching into a hopeless effort for the good of nothing, or rather very little.

Infinity answers to no one… [PERIOD and FOREVER].   And Yet without its reality, the finite world would not exist, which does contain the realm of and Alpha and an Omega…

Infinity is a conundrum that possess, its own endless energy that will never die…

Therefore, continuous or Potential Energy is a Truth, not an abstract to be discounted, regardless of its implicit origins from the “Infinite realm”.  If we in the “Finite World” reach into the “Natural Energies, such as “Electrostatics”, “Magnetism”, coupled with the dimensions of Motion, both linear and non-linear, we may capture a world yet unknown to us, and improve the world in manners un-believed before, by the common-denominator of communication via virtually free Energy…  THE GREAT EQUILIZER FOR HUMANITY…

With knowledge comes many possibilities…  But to rely on the shoulders of histories so-called physics absolutes via such as the concepts of “Thermodynamics”, without exploring further – divides and diminishes our potentials…

Warn your gray-matters against such diminishing returns that result from not thinking outside the box…

PS:  For further physics thoughts, please review a former Blog I posted: “Picture of Physics”.

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It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit. —John Wooden

Leadership ideally rallies all to the cause of itself. It breeds leaders and seeks leaders who are better than itself. It knows when to give and knows when to push. Discretion and judgment, not inflexible rules, are its wisest allies.

Leadership is the gray area I have spoken of where common sense and personal commitment to self-honesty and responsibility come into play. For example, imagine a business with union and management; you find both groups have rules to abide by. If you run a business solely operating by fixed rules—management vs. union—you have solid friction, butting heads with one another, without give-and-take. This is a formula for robots, not human beings. In the best of businesses, union and management both use these rules as guidelines, not as absolutes. Give-and-take would, therefore, be the standard, not the exception. Hence, they work together in a gray area, where frictions are decreased and people are enabled to do their best. The work rules may require a break period for a worker and restrict workers to X amount of daily work hours. However, workers may be involved in a project about which they have great pride and ownership of and have chosen to forgo their break time and put in extra hours at home or at work. In turn, management sees fit to let this union employee have more freedom and flextime to manage a personal issue or grant other liberties. These are mutually agreed-to choices that benefit everyone and produce greater quality of service, products, and very importantly, personal self-esteem. This kind of relationship uses rules as guidelines to protect against abuses, but does not rule by a fixed method of operating only based on the established rules. This eliminates unnecessary friction between groups and allows the intent, not the letter, of the rule as primary.

Rules are the least effective, poorest form of an education or teaching method. Rules are primarily needed to protect against abuses. Rules are too often used by educators, management professionals, or family leaders as the easiest way to deal with an event, question, or situation. They are used too many times to allow us to skate past the important work of analyzing the merits of a situation. I will reiterate that to be human is to use judgment, not to simply react as an amoeba would to fixed stimuli, but to respond with consideration for the context in which an event occurs. This ability to measure and judge is a human attribute and a high responsibility, which we sometimes will relegate to rule-based guidelines through laziness or ignorance.

The easiest and poorest method of teaching anyone anything is to defer to rules, rather than take the time to actually evaluate and communicate intelligently—hence, teach.

The common cry when fixed rules are not followed by people who operate by using more common sense and individual reward/merit diversity with different people is the hue and cry that this is not equal treatment; it is favoritism, or it is even too productive and keeps other workers from finding work. These arguments are primarily sour grapes, and based more on envy and a poor understanding of how good working environments and teamwork are actually created.

Working with people through give-and-take, through measured responsibility and reward, is good for everyone, for overall morale and trust in any working environment. Just review the businesses that operate in this manner versus the businesses that operate based on friction through black-and-white operating conditions. The latter businesses are cold and wasteful and restrain the creative abilities of individuals. If any individual wants to contribute additional effort, then equal guidelines need to be applied.

Allowing freedom to workers is the ultimate equality.

This is also true in families with children, where guidelines for behavior are drawn. If you have one child who is exceptionally responsible and demonstrates great trust and worthiness, you can afford to bend the curfew and grant other little freedoms; however, if your other child is less trustworthy and pushes the limits consistently, you would not afford him or her any additional freedoms.

Equality means you treat people the same based on their behavior, not based on the guidelines for behavior. Those guidelines/rules will be used when you have abuses; then you enforce them with absolute commitment. But when responsibility begins to develop in someone, you move away from the use of fixed rules toward trust and common sense. This is the intangible medium of human potential that transcends mere rule-based methods of communication and actions.

This again is the essence of equality and fair treatment. You treat people the same by treating them differently, based on circumstance and/or behavior.

Do not expect the politically correct, or a bureaucrat, to have any understanding of any of this. They, by definition, do not respect values per se or common sense; they only respect control and condone actions, thoughtless or not, imposed on those who violate a particular set of written words (rules). Weak or artificial leadership simplistically respects operating from a point of high friction, operating from absolutes; as such, weak or artificial leaders are often demonstrated through zealot forms of behavior. They do not operate with common sense, as common sense implies following the intent of a law or rule, not always the letter of the law. Such reason would blur their fixed judgments and dismantle the self-righteous support pedestals that their identities are built upon. They do not understand the gray areas of communication, the merging of diverse views and opposite points of view to enable improved results. Such are the politically correct people who, on paper, appear to be social and corporate saints, but they are the first people who must be removed from positions of authority if optimized results and successes are to be realized.

Jack Welch, General Electric’s former CEO and business author, has spoken of four types of workers: (1) the ones who make numbers and are part of the corporate culture, (2) those who make numbers but do not marry into the corporate culture, (3) those who do not meet numbers but meld well with the corporate culture, and (4) those who do not meet numbers and do not meet up with the culture. Number four types are easy to get rid of or remove from a business; number two types are critical to get rid of, but take the greatest effort and courage to do so. Number three types are good people and good people can always be turned around to make the numbers; but group number two, the people who make numbers, cannot always be made into good people.

This is what I believe Jack Welsh would argue. Jack Welsh is a true leader in the corporate world, which I would say only a handful of CEOs could lay true claim to. Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Airlines, is another gentleman who is a true leader and a success in a brutally tough industry. He has spoken of not always hiring experts, but rather of hiring good people. Again, good people can become experts, but experts cannot necessarily become good people. This, in my view, echoes much of what Jack Welsh says.

I would add another corporate true hero of mine to the list of great CEOs: Herb Kelleher, former CEO of Southwest Airlines. Please read his book NUTS. Herb breaks the rules, trusts people—and wins. He is not what I would ever call politically correct; rather, he is genuine—a very rare commodity in this age. He is an icon and role model for all business leaders.

Another book that captures the essence of equality through different treatment based on behaviors as it outlines how to be a smart and effective manager is Ken Blanchard’s The One Minute Manager. If you have not read that book, it is a great read. It is concise, capturing the essence of how to evaluate situations while teaming with and managing various types of people.

Finally, one of the greatest business leaders of our modern times is W. Edwards Deming, whose iconoclastic methods did not simply change a corporation, but changed a nation, Japan, into the quality center of the globe. In my view, Deming mirrored an understanding shared by John Wooden, the greatest coach in UCLA basketball history and a brilliant author, who believed in how amazing results can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.

Dr. Deming was a world-class statistician, who was ironically fond of saying that “He that starts with statistical methods alone will not be here in three years as a business.” His approach would also apply to athletics or any enterprise, as it is attitude and character that make a leader and a winner. Dr. Deming, like John Wooden and other unrivaled leaders, is intelligence and integrity personified, and they all stand out from the crowd. I would recommend any one of several books written about Dr. Deming, as he is an example of a consummate leader, not bound by conventional business practices. Dr. Deming honored the value of human beings by his lifelong commitment to excellence through a marriage of common-sense judgments and science. Dr. Deming’s leadership methods led major businesses and the Wall Streets of the world, rather than being led by them and their conventional shortsighted quarterly analysts. Dr. Deming was the Einstein of business success, who certainly was not an unsung icon, but did not reach the sustained acclaim I believe he deserved. Frankly, he was flatly rejected by too many for some of his seemingly more unorthodox approaches to working with people, which were essential to his successful management formulas for business.

Other business leaders today, such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, are role models for common sense and demonstrate a caring for humanity that is lacking in our general business leadership today.

Great leaders with strong leadership qualities run short in this world, so be wisely skeptical and wary of charlatans, even though many of them are generally good people. I have found even the good folks are caught up in being first and foremost out for themselves. Then there are others who are simply not good people and are disguised in sheep’s clothes. Their lip service is world-class. I also call them politically correct weasels. Foremost for leadership, measure all things against your standards, your ethics of high principles, and trust yourself first. Have character. By that I do not mean to demonstrate irreverence or disrespect for other people, but respectfully attempt to avoid being led by conventionalists and mere mediocrity. Find a way to influence and lead by example, an example that builds on cooperation rather than competition.

Let me try to capture this in brief poetic verse:

Truth is found between the lines, in the middle, where grays and paradox abound. It is found in give-and-take, through common sense—the law of shades. The engagement of truth is to be moral, rather than conventional, as egos can only scream in silence here.

For it is easier to be emotional, indignant, and anchored to the black or white than do the math. Truth’s equations do dismantle aristocrats’ might. Truth forever will scoundrels and ignoramuses frankly frighten.

Value your inner voice and find it, clarify it, use it. Your integrity requires it. The current state of the world can use you. Ignore the cries from the colorful demagogues, those who exploit and portray half-truths as facts to garner attention and promote self-serving agendas. In contrast to the demagogues, a true-hearted person lives in the middle, not in the extremes; is described and defined in character, not in cause; and is actually the person living in the peacemaker’s seat, without grandiose identity—but with something more than flash and pomp. That person has honor, not medals; has kindness, not sentiment; has a respect for truth, not for agendas; and has a love for what is truly right, not for what is technically right. That is leadership.

If you find your inner voice, either quiet or overt, you will not become a politically correct nuisance to the world, creating volumes of unnecessary one-sided noise. You will become a much truer, more honest voice of diversity, merging the sounds and feelings of everyone through your voice, by your actions, in your symphony of thoughts, in your music that is intrinsic and somewhere in all of us.

That search for the common denominator—the common truth that resonates in us all—will never be found in the black-and-white sides of an issue or an organization, but in the middle, in the grays, between the lines, in the dance that brings us together. In that dance, both the magic and discipline of authentic ideals are born.

True effective leaders know this. They understand the dance: leadership is a melding of differences into one objective, and to accomplish that takes intelligence, which is sometimes reticent, sometimes overt, and sometimes a combination of both. You need to be straight and to know when to bend. The best of leadership is a combination of skills. But first and always foremost, it is built from a true individual, not a conventionalist. In other words, character counts. Integrity is essential. It is important to attract genuine respect from others. That respect translates into a bond and a trust that is essential and unmistakable. Think of the few who you can count on your hand who engender such respect and trust.

It is far too few.

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Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress . . . but I repeat myself. Mark Twain

You may have figured out my politics by now, but there’s more to politics than a personal point of view. There is the nature of the beast itself, which this chapter addresses, as well as my own leanings.

Ideally politics should be the art of governing—a society, a community, or a world—with balance, moderation, and wisdom based on the principles of liberty and fair play.

Unfortunately, given that humans are not perfect, politics is also not perfect. As a result of our human flaws of insecurity, ego, and selfish interest, societies manifest partisan politics.

It is ironic that our liberties are controlled or manifested upon the Machiavellian power plays and the hyperbole of political opponents.

You would believe, based on much of our political parties’ behaviors, that each party operates as a monarchy, as despots, in absolute conflict and with a continuous effort to disable the other party. This is true not all of the time, but too much of the time. Welcome to partisan politics.

Ultimately, however, general compromise or simple voting blocs win the day, and we avoid implosion—such as with a civil war—but we do not necessarily get good government. Certainly in the news you see personal matters impacting a political figure on a regular basis. You can almost be assured someone from the other party is attempting to gain political mileage out of those personal and private family issues. I understand that private lives involve character and have relevance, but balanced respect for decency seems often abandoned within the political arena. This shameful behavior by so-called leaders is given credence by too many.

Partisan politics is an obstruction to good government. I have never registered in a political party because I have never supported us and them labels. Pragmatically, if I ever ran for a political office, I would, by necessity, have to join the two-party majority system and which party I chose would be a momentary decision based on practicalities. I consider myself neither liberal nor conservative. I consider myself down the middle, which encompasses both conservative and liberal attributes depending on the circumstance. I support principles that are linked to a given objective, with exception to partisan politics that logroll and find value in political gamesmanship and shameful underhanded political vendettas.

In general, I find that politicians exemplify partisanship, not statesmanship. Statesmanship acts and thinks both with the people and for the people in a manner that works for the benefit of all. Partisans act in lockstep with their team label of Democrat or Republican, to name two, for example, to advance advantage over their opponent, not to advance leadership or effective legislation, but to advance political gamesmanship to advantage their political party’s base in the end. Statesmanship seizes on understanding, cooperation, and integration. Partisanship seizes on self-interest, meanness, and segregation.

Since our representatives are regionally based politically, they have the proclivity to engage in what US House of Representatives Tip O’Neil captured perfectly: “All politics is local.” In other words, self-interest becomes the order of the day, whether for your region or your political party. This should not be.

The impacts of this reality are corrupting good government.

To avoid this intrinsic failure in the nature of the political process of good government, you need leaders who are not party loyalists, but individuals first and foremost. You need leaders who are centered on uniting, not dividing, which is personified by partisan politics.

As a young man, my friends told me I should be a Democrat. The older I became, the more often they told me I should be a Republican. I have a real disdain for labels and political-party parlor politics that cause separation, not cooperation. My agenda or politic is not based on party but on policy, as I think many people tend to agree with, whether registered to a political party or not.

The country in which I live, America, has a tradition that changed the last couple of centuries on this planet. It offered liberty and freedom to people fleeing various tyrannies, both economic and social. America’s foundational ideal is my politic. The current two-party political system is simply the structure that attempts to execute America’s founding ideals. Those structures have become organized self-serving entities unto themselves, whose sometimes first allegiance is to their own party’s survival, not to America’s. Simply stated, the party is more important than the country when partisan politics is in play.

Perhaps the two-party system is the best we can devise to run a democracy or republic, but it is a system of snares and pitfalls that requires honest review and statesmanship to run it well.

Certainly as you review history, the wax and wane of policies between the two parties is obscure. For instance, President Bill Clinton had the statesmanship to contain spending and implement work for welfare. People misguidedly assumed such goals were Republican goals, but President Bill Clinton knew they were pragmatic balanced objectives not respective of party. President Bill Clinton accomplished some sound objectives that are generically good, not Republican or Democrat. Additionally, traditional big spending is assumed to be a Democrat trait, but President Clinton was, by and large, fiscally responsible. Actually, President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush, along with President Barack Obama were the biggest spenders of all time. To be fair, while Congress authorizes spending, it is the executive branch that authors and submits the budget. Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barack Obama appear to be nearly purists when it comes to Keynesian economics at nearly full throttle, a Democrat trait by assumption. A Democrat today, one might believe, could scarcely get away with such loose spending policies and survive. However, President Obama, has broken that mold, as peculiar economic times may turn the tables on us all, once again showing the ebb and flow of changes between policy changes of Republicans and Democrats.

Other inverse examples of party distinctions are the anti-Communist Nixon took us to China, and the progressive Lincoln was a Republican; the list goes on. Parties wear different policy hats dependent on other affiliations and the times, which demonstrate the obscure differences in the flavors of party identities. Which party is progressive and which is traditional continues to morph and change.

In truth, the obfuscation of principles between these political parties’ wary distinctions is a good thing as it builds on their more nuanced diversities to a single objective of working for and with the people together, rather than for their party’s deluded notion of a better­than-you syndrome, which is regressive and fallacious. Such partisan behavior and perspectives are destructive to good government, as you may note from my previous chapter about partisanship.

Clearly good ideas are not Republican or Democrat; they are practicalities of the moment, gifts, and manifest out of fortunate events that good sense and reason should seize upon. Both parties do this when operating well. The parties are at their best when collaborating and working for and with the people in a check-and­balance mechanism of ideas, not as an us-and-them, black-and-white team sport.

As I see the political parties today, and with few exceptions, over my lifetime, I see partisan theater, melodramatic/demagogic elucidations of the issues, and highly superficial respect for the other side of the aisle. The cliché-driven oratory and grandstanding is juvenile and poor theater. The differences between the two parties are more nuanced, albeit some important nuances, but both parties seem to abide by their hierarchy’s party line, regardless of constituency, reason, or integrity. Party lines are tired old hoodwinking rhetoric about how “good we are” and about how “bad they are.” They appeal to the selfish in us, rather than the selfless.

With some notable and encouraging exceptions, my view of the current-day leadership of the parties is that they are too often weak and fumbling, almost substantively anemic, while attempting to appease every interest group. Democrats are famous for the so-called leftist issues, but they now hold to fiscal belt-tightening, while the Republicans are offering spending for all, along with baseline support for the religious so-called rightist issues.

As of originally writing of this book, the current Democrats have some leaders who have few legislative accomplishments of note, nor do they seem to represent much more than political lapdogs, touting tired old clichés of justice and gifts to all. Substantive anemia is sometimes probably too weak a description. They disappoint me, but no less than the Republicans. The Democrats’ rhetoric of principles from some of the leadership, not necessarily the rank and file, has become almost demagogic utopianism. They need some new leaders who are not just sugar-and-spice-and-everything nice.

The failure of neoliberalism (neolib) is that it does not acknowledge the selfish underbelly of humanity, that once you offer assistance, some will take advantage. They need not cast pearls before swine, nor act the demagogue in offering what they have no prescription to deliver.

The neo-republicans (neocons) are equally uninspiring and misguided in their overzealous current-day interventionist policies abroad. We are breaking at home and need to work here foremost—and that means supporting the world, too, by the way. We are truly a wealthy nation, both in economics and values, and should be a generous nation, providing not only our wealth but leadership. But security and leadership begin at home, and I would argue, even in light of a new era of increased global economic and social interdependence, which we ignore at our own peril, that we are breaking the balance between the two priorities of internal and external interests. I will agree that internal and external interests are becoming one and the same, but how we manage those must be done in a manner that is sometimes subtle, even covert, sometimes overt and aggressive. Again, I think the neocons are on a current one-speed-ahead aggressive path that does not serve their well-intended interests for us or the world. Republicans, like the Democrats, act the role of demagogues in offering what they also have no sound prescription to deliver.

At the time of the writing of this book, the disappointment with the Republicans as of late is they slightly have, more than the Democrats, demonstrated the courage of conviction to state economic and social realities. Ronald Reagan was a good example, but Ronald Reagan had scarcely an iota of courage to act on his rhetoric of economic principle—he never authored a balanced budget. Tragically, though, with exception, the Republicans have intervened in areas in which I categorically disagree, namely on the social front, where their neo­conservative positions on religion and lack of patient/individual rights issues are anything but limited—government-and-liberty-based. It is as if they are, in many ways, the neo-inquisition-fundamentalists for faith-based intrusion into personal lives, the new champions of big government versus individual liberty and the values of limited government. Clearly the Democrats are not without some of these same ideologues as well.

For me it is hard to get a fix on either party’s core values when both parties’ modus operandi when on the political-speaking stump is too often built upon bravado, innuendo, and aspersion rather than facts, reason, and collaboration.

The reality for me is that these two parties will eventually, perhaps within an administration or two, actually flip-flop on the issues as I have described them in current terms—perhaps not entirely, but to some degree. Our two-party system’s notion of substantive difference is more opaque than clear. What is different about these groups is that each party is vying for power over the other through appealing to some very different competing special interests. These special-interest groups are, foremost, self-serving, not necessarily for our liberties and common interests, but for their niche organizational goals. I would note that some special-interest groups do have more than organizational self-interest at stake, just as some of the business, social, or environmental agendas may have sound merit. Still, the special interests in this country own the dollars behind political parties, when it would be far better to have a true statesman rally these sometimes disparate groups to work together. I would somewhat argue that party differences are certainly over time obscure, and they are built primarily on the backbone of an us-and-them structural nature. That structural nature is, unfortunately, more about the power of self-interest than the power of liberty, for which this country of America was founded.

I believe nearly everyone would agree it is better when we come together in a cause for liberty and justice, rather than obscure and dilute our common cause through us-and-them politics, or in other words, partisan politics.

As a solution, both parties should routinely revisit their roots and the realities of the day, and tether their leanings to true libertarianism, from which both parties originally sprang as they opposed the governments of previous monarchies. Not that libertarianism in and of itself is the answer, since I also realize it, too, is somewhat utopian. However, it has great fundamentals we should aspire to: individual liberty and limited government.

That is where I am with my politics—and why I still have chosen not to join any one party.

I am very much anti-nationalistic, as I see nationalistic behavior as a dangerous black-and-white idea of “I’m better than you are,” bravado pedestal to be standing on. Good is good; it is not nationalistic or specific to any particular political party. Goodness and sound humane values thrive best when their examples speak for them, not when they pound their chests and disparage others. Humility is the essential key to success here.

Too often Democrats and Republicans are so wrapped up in themselves and their parties, they forget about America or the bigger picture of humanity in general. Partisan politics is the death of leadership and a stumbling block to the ideals America stands for.

It is my understanding that George Washington, the first president of the United States, never believed in the value of political parties. Rather, I suppose, we should have candidates’ debate and then make our ballot-box choices. This may be structurally naïve, but it is a position that has solid benefits as well. It is where I would prefer to see us work from, since the partisanship of our day seems so often self-defeating to America’s enunciated ideals. I would propose we all run for office under our personal platforms in a primary and then in a general election and have a runoff between the two leading candidates. Legislative committee leadership would work in a similar fashion. But then again, this will never happen with the traditions we have virtually enshrined, and it possibly lacks the needed financial reality that political parties supply. However, I think the question is worthy of debate to promote better cooperation, versus competition, within the political process.

Today, our two-party system is much too controlled by the edge groups—neolibs and neocons—and as a result, we are precariously too ideological. Both groups see mecca at the end of their ideological rainbow, but neglect the practical matters necessary regarding the journey to actually get there. That journey is more pragmatic and proposes balance and review based on circumstances. That journey is sometimes liberal and sometimes conservative. This balanced point of view, this sense of statesman-like reason, is lacking in polarized political leadership, and I would add from the public masses, who demagogue with the best of them as well, which often is too partial toward its political party’s platform. Fortunately, the process of democracy intervenes, and we are forced to review the ideological rhetoric from these polarized bodies. This forced review of the pontificating political mix of ideological melodramas, in the end, comes to an often more practical and balanced solution—but not always. When statesmanship is lacking in our leadership, then the democratic process is far too protracted, resulting in our failure to act in an effective, timely manner. It is critical to note that our new high-speed technological era has exponentially changed the playing field of ideas and solutions and the importance of how they are executed in timely manners. Technology waits for no one, and we need to recognize the equivalent necessity of swift and thoughtful, less-protracted political solutions. Either we lead, or we, as a people and a nation, will be led by technology as second-fiddle minstrels to the orchestrated tunes no longer within our control.

The moral of the story is that we can afford to improve and should find the humility and good sense to do so. We need greater balance and reason, not us-and-them processes, dominating the political groups running our country or any enterprise in today’s world, from family to business to governments.

Partisanship needs to take a sedative and rest for the future good of everyone—except the political talking heads, as they might be largely out of work if the ideological mentalities wane, giving way to responsibility.

I also would add the politics of segregation in any form other than perhaps humor, lighthearted camaraderie, and sport, or for specific short-term social goals, is a tricky minefield. Organizations and groups, be they nationalists, businesses, racial, ethnic, religious, political, or even social—often have a proclivity to unite themselves as a group, but divide themselves from and against others to a fault. This so-called diversity can sometimes become more divisive than uniting. It needs to be reasoned out and managed with diligence. We should be building a united front in this life, not a divided one, not one of us-and-them.

In resting my case on this subject, I am going to focus on two quotes. The first quote is humorous but much too true.

A lot has been said about politics; some of it complimentary, but most of it accurate. Eric Idle

The quote above illustrates the politically indigenous proclivity that “all politics are local.” This conventional slide away from integrity into a tangled web many politicians weave to suit a moment’s convenience and self-interest binds and captures too many good individuals to the detriment of all.

Finally is a quote from a politician with some genuine boundless statesmanship, at times, but as time went by in his political career, it looked as if the web of the partisan political weavers was beginning to trap him as well. Nonetheless, this quote stands on its own for the ages. We should continue to take note of such truisms in order to hold at bay those temptations that limit our integrity, and always direct ourselves to continue to grow and avoid the stagnation of accepting what we could otherwise make better.

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

—John F. Kennedy

Make no mistake from my comments about America and its politics. While I believe thoughtfulness and improvement are incumbent upon us to sustain success, we live in the greatest and most successful political experience of the ages.

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Politically Correct

Being Politically Correct means always having to say you’re sorry. 
—Charles Osgood

The politically correct!

Oh, let me hold my fury! Let me find some objective approach to verbalize my view of these folks and the trouble they cause. I may take some liberties here in this section of print to be a bit more pejorative and present my thoughts with not-always-useful language, but for hyperbole’s sake and my own selfish disdain of the self-righteous in this world, I may be drawn to forgo balance and enjoy some richer language regarding these politically correct folks, who in the end, deserve respect, just as anyone does.

“There but for fortune go you or I.”

If I were born at another end of the block or associated with different friends, perhaps I would have taken another view of life, and I hate to say it, a politically correct view! From that frame of mind, I would hope others would still love and care for me and work to broaden my perspectives and improve my behavior toward others and ultimately toward myself.

But for now I may have some pompous fun describing the self-serving and destructive ways of my politically correct friends.

Political correctness affords no quarter to honesty. It makes liars out of people. It is akin to living in the USSR during the iron-curtain era, in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s reign, or in the United States during the McCarthy days of the 1950s. You can only say what is acceptable, or you will be killed, maimed, disowned, or disparaged.

You certainly cannot be honest.

Political correctness dismantles two-way communication, much like ideologues or theocracies do: you must think as I think and behave as I do, or you will be in grave jeopardy of losing your family, your career, and perhaps, your life.

Political correctness is a demagogue’s righteous indignation at its height of destructive power, based on the ridicule of others and on misinformation, manipulating the ignorant into a fevered pitch that is unfair and destructive to all that would otherwise be honest and good.

Politically correct people disable kindness. They wear their sentimental attitude heavily on their shoulders, ever looking to be kind, but they are anything but.

When I was a manager, I sometimes said in meetings that I did not want political correctness in my meetings; rather, I wanted honesty. It is critical to know how and why people think the way they do. To be a leader, to be a manager, or just to have a semblance of integrity, you cannot allow yourself the selfish luxury of being offended. It was my job to be an objective observer, rather than a victim of someone’s words. Physical behavior is something else altogether, and when behavior directly imparts harm to someone else is where I draw the line between expression and actions. Thinking and expression is fundamental, essential. and incumbent to establish growth, to improve everyone. Words represent; they do not behave.

Responsibility for behavior is, first and foremost, owned by the receiver of information, not the giver. What I mean by that is, I am not responsible for how someone reacts to me, my words or behavior, if it is directed toward who I am.

If I were to hug and kiss someone in a room full of people and someone else is indirectly offended by that action as inappropriate behavior, that is the other person’s (the observer’s) responsibility to manage. I am not responsible for how other people react to me; they are. On the other hand, if I physically hit someone in the mouth, then I have directly impacted him or her with behavior and I am responsible, regardless of the actions that may have provoked the event.

Working in the corporate world for nearly thirty years, I had to periodically attend courses on ethics and sexual harassment. In one of these sexual harassment courses, the instructor used the nearly exact example above about hugging someone in a room as being inappropriate behavior because it might offend someone else. I disagreed with the instructor’s argument since I do not believe I am responsible for how others respond. Other people in the course also argued that their culture instilled in them, as a courtesy, to hug and kiss people. But the instructor argued that the corporation could potentially be sued and that we were to cease and desist from any such behaviors. Hogwash! That was the corporate line to protect themselves. Other corporations, such as Southwest Airlines, which stands out in my mind, broke this politically correct stance and trained and trusted their employees to be smart and sensible, versus the virtual drones we were expected to be.

By the way, only a very small group of people bought into this model of conduct and people still embraced people in my former company, but the rhetoric, in many ways unintentionally, undermined the company’s level of trust in its employees, which in turn diminished the employees’ respect toward the business. With such rhetoric in place, this could then adversely impact the innocent, under the guise of being politically correct and proper.

If I were to be responsible for how people reacted to me, then I could not ever tell them what television shows, movies, or books I have seen or read, because they might think them politically incorrect or just wrong. These politically correct people would then be enabled to claim they were victims based on anything they disagreed with that, in some manner, offended or frightened them. This is, of course, the cultural phase we are currently in, which started around the 1970s, but really found its footing in the 1990s and has progressively created a whole new culture of victims.

I was born in 1950, a time when personal responsibility, rather than victimhood or the blame game, more consistently molded the culture and the character of individuals, a time when teachers were always supported by parents. Some of you will remember of what and when I speak. Believe me, these teachers did not always merit the blind trust of our parents, but it was far better than what has replaced it today, with parents blaming anyone and everyone but their children and themselves for their children’s behavior. Lucrative litigation, by the way, is partly to blame, as it always is easier if you blame someone else, especially those with big pockets, like municipalities. As a result, we now have a very blame-focused society that benefits materially by playing the victim, but sacrifices integrity and self-responsibility in the process. We are raising an entire generation in this mode of consciousness that finds fault with nearly everything and believes in entitlement, which is quite the opposite of previous generations, which put greater reliance on hard work, standards, and personal responsibility.

My youthful years, in which I grew up, were a time when drama was only drama, not the overplayed melodrama that our highly competitive media and our politically correct citizens would rally us to believe today. It was our youth, using both our heads and our hearts, that brought my friends and me the wisdom to deal with the aberrant, rather than sheltered and coddled us from humanity or thought us immediate victims of another’s contrary behavior. That was just life. We were expected to manage ourselves and be guided by the uncelebrated diversity in those days of measured judgments, common sense, and fundamental personal responsibility. Hence, we matured with the sense that humanity is both good and bad by nature. This paradox taught us to understand the good and bad in all people through the collective wisdom of balance, perspective, and understanding, that “there but for fortune, go you or I.”

That culture has profoundly changed, or so it seems to me. As I reflect and look back, I am thankful for the values from my youth, my family, and my friends.

Speaking of teachers from my youth reminds me of a news story I saw about a decade ago, in which a seventeen-year-old girl had a sexual relationship, in fact, a love affair, with a twenty-four-year-old teacher. The mother of the girl was standing over her seated daughter at a televised news conference. The television newsperson asked if she loved the teacher, and she said yes, she did. Immediately, you could see the mother’s face tighten up, tacitly implying that was not what her daughter should be saying. The daughter very timidly followed up with the thought that, “Well, what he did was wrong”—further implying that she was a victim now. The mother took over the interview after that, chastising the school and the teacher.

I tell this story, because what happened between those two lovers was not abnormal behavior when you view it generically. It was a human romance story between relatively similarly aged people. In fact, in some portions of the twentieth century and beyond, this would have been thought a delightful development in many circles. However, given our cultural times, it was frowned upon, with high shame for the teacher and automatic victim status for the student. As I remember, the student was eighteen by the time of the civil case and the news interview. And it was clear the mother portrayed her daughter as a victim, who shared no responsibility.

Had this instance happened when I was going to school, my mother and father would have, by default, put 50 percent of the blame on the student, if there should be blame, and 50 percent on the teacher. But this mother did not allow the daughter to take any responsibility. She was adamant that her daughter was the victim of a heinous act of being in a relationship with a teacher. The daughter seemed to be buying into this position, further eroding the character of this young girl. I would put greater shame on the mother and any other parent who gives impunity to themselves and their children in similar situations.

If these two young people did something destructive and wrong, I would have said shame on both of them. The girl at age seventeen was no child, even considering that the teacher was in a position of authority. If people will remember back a few years, it was not uncommon for people to get married at twelve and thirteen in this country, and culturally throughout history, any time after puberty was thought to be the marrying age in many cultures. Even if it is wiser to not get married so young, is it actually immoral, as one might infer from the attitudes in our culture today?

I know of a woman who had just turned fourteen when she married a twenty-one-year-old man, and by age eighteen she had four children. Today, just imagine what the politically correct would have thought of this woman’s husband. The standards for morality, when it comes to relationships and sex, have certainly been arbitrary. They change depending on when and where you live and who is setting the social standards. Historians will tell you that Mary, the mother of Jesus, has been thought to have married Joseph, a thirty-three-year-old man, at twelve or thirteen years of age, which was the norm in those days, and she also had several children at a young age, the first of course with the claim of a virgin birth. Yet our glorious, politically correct, who find trouble when there often is none, may have had Joseph up on pedophile or child-molestation charges if given the opportunity in today’s world.

The point of these stories is not to make light of using your head when engaging in sexual behavior or when engaging in relationships that deserve additional review, but that personal responsibility and equity have all but been abandoned when we measure how to assign objective responsibility in these cases. This is in part to credence given to these new modern-day fundamentalists called the politically correct.

Our whole civil justice system needs better guidelines or better juries and judges, because the victim syndrome of the last couple of decades has eroded much of our common sense when deciding cases for the plaintiffs. In life, whether you decide to smoke cigarettes, drive a car, have surgery, or engage in sexual relationships, you own some share of responsibility and cannot blame everyone else for failures within your chosen engagements in life, unless malice or clear and absolute gross negligence can be proven.

That is rarely the way the current system always works in reality. It should, but it does not.
When I went to school in my primary and secondary years, self-responsibility was, in my view, more fundamental, versus the victimhood that has replaced it today. In contrast, today if a teacher in some circles even touches a student, the teacher can be accused of misconduct and essentially held guilty until proven innocent. The student is almost always treated as the victim; in fact, the teachers are held up to ridicule and are impugned when they often have done nothing wrong except care enough to try to manage a given situation that required an adult’s physical or verbal intervention.

When I was a young student, I believe the majority of my friends, in most cases but not all, were in general more mature in some respects, because we understood and dealt with issues that today might make a young person think he or she were somehow a victim of inadvertent and innocuous actions, and consequently fail to show any sensitivity, understanding, or responsibility in a given situation. If young people have a sound family (mother and/or father, guardian(s), etc.) that supports personal responsibility, they will be responsible, but without that strong family support, they will often take the line of least resistance. Today that line is to become a victim and leverage your youth and presumed vulnerable status in society. That is a sad reality, and the real victims are all of us in the end. Personal responsibility is important. However, personal responsibility is removed from the politically correct paradigm. Victimhood is understood as the norm, not the exception.

That appears to be changing. Our society is beginning to question the motives and merits of these politically correct criers. There is an emerging recognition of the apparent over-reactive hype that is often orchestrated by so-called victims today. It literally pays to be a victim; it pays to stay sick or you will lose your government benefits, and so forth. This cycle of victim status is becoming as indigenous to our culture as individuality and hard work once were. I hope change in our society is coming soon, because this superficial victim status most importantly debases and diminishes true heinous acts upon real victims.

The politically correct are our neo-fascists, neo-fundamentalists, and neo-ideologues disguised as utopian saints. They are insidious and lost as to how to manage themselves, let alone others. Be wary of the politically correct. As George Bernard Shaw might have put it, “They can turn truth inside-out like a glove” at the drop of a hat, and they will, if victimhood can be attained.

Honesty is a better policy.

Please do not mistake sensitivity in language for the politically correct. Sensitivity is a quality in individuals that has great value, but to stifle or sacrifice honesty for sensitivity is a critical mistake, and one that must be managed with wisdom and good sense. There are clearly vulgate, informal, and formal modalities of language. There are appropriate forums in which to engage each of them, but the politically correct have taken this concept of properly socialized behavior to excessive abstracts, which has transformed the values of self-responsibility and common sense into far less-valued commodities of behavior. Self-responsibility, self-reliance, and common sense are essential for character and appropriate action. Unfortunately our current cultural tide of an either-or-black-and-white belief system, born of the politically correct, has taken away the mix of grays that both sides of an issue have in common. It has taken away the middle ground by which personal responsibility, common sense, pragmatism, and mutual understanding operate.

The ability to reason and understand the myriad circumstances involved when making decisions is what makes us humans and not automatons. Each situation has its own set of circumstances and deserves review, sometimes mitigation and understanding, and sometimes the full weight of difficult consequences. To be human requires judgment; if it required less, we would be mere drones and robots, responding at an amoebic level to stimuli. We are not amoeba; we are evolved self-aware beings, which have a higher standard and responsibility beyond taking the simple solution and meting out laws and behavior requirements that do not also consider context.

I want to also mention how oppressive political correctness can be in group settings. For instance, in many academia circles, which can be either liberal or conservative, this stranglehold from group political correctness is the greatest of oppressions. It is based in psychological terms on groupthink.

Groupthink is very simply explained as when you are in a group environment where the majority thinks one way, if you do not agree with the groupthink, you are a vile pariah. Integrity is not respected in such environments, and worse, not allowed within groupthink organizations, save by way of pseudo-acceptance rhetoric. There is an uneasy emotionalism or outright indignation within such groups. These groups carry a very emotional edge that limits the value and execution of logical or open communication. In such groups, diversity of thought is intellectual suicide for those without a strong constitution or a wish to be possibly ostracized or demoted in their careers. You must think as the others do within the group, or you are simply a swine or worse.

You find these behaviors often in youthful groups, such as on college campuses or other almost cultish organizations that have a holier-than-though, rather immature, and sometimes bombastic nature. As these groups mature, they do begin to lessen their emotionalism, replacing it with understanding or respect for the other side of an issue, however appalling, as the picture of life eventually broadens for them. But as young neophytes, by way of a new job, a new subject study course, or some change in their life, which uncovers the richness of having an identity through thinking for themselves, they can awaken intellectual passions to the point of zealot-like behaviors, giving their cause an imbalance that is rebuffed for its angered/passionate indignant edge, not always for its merits. In other words, indignation and callow quests for believing in what is right often rally these individuals to causes to the point where rationality and understanding are lost.

Conversely, maturity understands and demonstrates respect even for those so-called scoundrels in life, since you or I could be your very opponents simply by an unchosen different upbringing.

It is so very important to learn as soon as possible in this life that wise people clearly state the truth, but with a glint in their eye and compassion in their heart for the other person’s position, for the other person is sometimes only a duped pawn opposing them. This is the bedrock of maturity and respect, which are essential components of decent enlightened sentient beings, such as Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, and the Gandhi’s and Albert Schweitzer’s of this world.

In other words, think before you speak, and then continue to think again and again and always admit mistakes as you continue to mature. Let your mission be humility and caring for all. In contrast, avoid being an indignant politically correct person. Political correctness more often than not only illustrates an undisciplined, unruly child, shaking his or her rattler for identity and attention, and ultimately underpins the behavior for which wars are fought. Make no mistake: we all at some point contribute to warring behavior, but we should fight the hardest of battles within ourselves not to do so.

Political correctness is a judgment-based system outside of context. It is ideologically self-righteous and one of the human race’s great disgraces. The mischief these people have invoked on society through their pseudo-art of black-and-white intellectual judgment and discourse bankrupts reason while rewarding demagoguery.

It is rhetoric all wrapped up in catch-22, lily-white language that sounds good, but is anything but. It lacks understanding, balance of thought, and critical reason, extrapolating with demagoguery when any chance may arise. Political correctness also repels any honest discourse with individuals with the wrath of a psychological indignation fit for the great religious inquisitions of the Middle Ages. The politically correct do not respect opponents; they crucify them.

Political correctness is the insidious tool of either selfish scoundrels or unfortunate, poorly reasoned thinkers.

In either case, political correctness is shameful stuff.

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