Youthful Exuberance

The Declaration of Independence served as formal separation from old ways. Youth and newness were to replace the stodgy conservatism of the aging and antiquated. Thomas Jefferson himself was in his early thirties at the signing of his handiwork. Progress was not fast enough and the exuberance of an emerging nation could not be contained. And so it was, over two centuries ago that the United States of America was born by the passion of a rising generation.

And the lesson I take from such a significant event: whenever tradition hinders progress, it should be thrown to the fire. Ways of doing things are only worthwhile when they advance mankind. And what should we consider progress? “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Anything that moves us closer to that ideal is progress.

Though it seems absurd that a country so enterprising in oppression and servitude should express such an ideal, it is exactly those lofty and seemingly insurmountable goals that America is famous for achieving! We can also be sure that such an ideal WON’T be attained through a government created in antiquity and populated by elderly statesmen. The “new world” in this digital age exists online obviously — and it is in this realm where the brashness of a rising generation will take its place at the helm.

As everything moves online, those stuck in an immovable conservatism will persist in an unchanging world as vitality happens in the cloud. And in time, that liveliness will spread to the static domain as it plants itself on the remains of what was. So on this day, July 4th, I celebrate an end to the old while welcoming in the new. As John Adams wrote to his wife after the signing:

“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

So you see dear friends, it is the American way to usher in change before we’re ready then somehow deal with the consequences. Therefore, even though we’re not ready, we must embrace a new era and all the change that comes with it — and we should do so with unrepentant optimism, ever heading towards the ideal so stated above: that all of us are born with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Perpetual Politics

“The problem with the other side, is that they’re a bunch of know-nothing morons that try to impose their stupidity onto everyone else! They simply don’t understand the world we’re living in! Well, I guess now that we’re in charge, we can try to work with them, but you know they’ll constantly fight against us. But for the sake of the country, we’ll try to get along.”

I use to follow politics because I thought it made me smarter. To be smart is to be well-informed. And since politics plays a prominent role in shaping the world, I had to know about politics in order to truly understand what’s going on here. WRONG.

Examining politics as a means of understanding the world, is like staring at the contents of a used toilet in order to understand people. Politics is not the start of the cycle, it’s the end product — the stinky, nasty turd in the toilet.

If you take a step back and really look at politics from a wider perspective, the repetition is obvious. It’s the same situations over and over, rinse and repeat ad nauseum — oftentimes the names don’t even change. And just like the digestive cycle, if you feed it crap then even worse crap comes out the other end.

If you want to understand what’s going on here, the WORST place to start is the toilet bowl. From there you’d surmise that people produce nothing but foul odors — they’re gross, disgusting creatures that smear feces wherever they go. Yuck!

Politics will always engage your outrage, that’s its nature. Don’t get involved with potty-talk, speak to people when they’re outside the stalls. Rise above the revulsion. Focus on what you’re feeding yourself and what you’re offering to others.

Political Quagmire

Boy am I tired of this narrative: “Hey young-people, get out and vote, it’s your most powerful form of expression!” Then the next day: “Oh well, you’ll get ’em next time! You just have to wait patiently until the next election.” But as evidenced by the current sitting president, a person’s most powerful form of expression is social media.

I’m also tired of the 50/50 vote splits that are simply handed-over uncontested. With all the talk of dodgy practices in relation to voting-machines and voter-suppression, a few thousand votes could go here-or-there based on fraudulent tactics — yet the election is called before any investigation takes place.

While I’m at it, I’m also tired of the same people getting elected. Even when term-limits preclude them from running for the same office, they simply switch to a new position. It’s the same cast of characters all the time. And no offense, but most of these people seem awfully shady and tend to make a lot of money while in office (and after).

I’ve been on-and-off watching this political stuff for a few decades now. I’m really trying to give it up completely. People often rail against social-media and its worthlessness, but politics is a pure shit-show and always has been (even a cursory glance at history reveals this). Young people are told to get informed and vote — but it’s the same story over and over.

My advice to young people: become a social-media influencer and you too can become president.

Religion of Politics

For some, government is God. You’ve got your high-priests and adherents divided into many branches and sects. You even have your proselytizers attempting to rally others to join them. “Register, and all your sins are forgiven!” Pick a side and vote the party line and you too can put your faith in politics. Things didn’t go your way this time? Well don’t worry, just trust in the power of elections and prosperity will come to you in the next round!

There is a fundamental question that we all must answer for ourself, and that is: How do things get done in the world? Politics is one answer — but it’s not the only answer. For some, it’s God or a form of spirituality. For some it’s science, for others it’s magic. By our nature, we select an answer whether we want to or not.

Everything happens for some underlying reason — and this foundational belief is your religion. You might not call it that, but it is what it is. “But doesn’t government get things done?” Well that’s certainly what its followers would like you to believe. Is it true? For some perhaps — but for others it’s their prayers, wishes, and vision-boards that get things done. And to others, the principles of science get things done.

Isn’t government and the political process simply an added layer placed atop our foundational belief? No, it is without a doubt its own religion. And engaging with multiple primary beliefs necessarily dilutes and confounds one’s system of belief. People often speak of having or lacking “faith in government” — it’s a religion through and through.

But like any religion, it has its good and bad qualities. We can’t judge political-believers based on the extremists that want everyone to consume their particular brand of religion. My point is this: Politics is not the answer for everyone. As Jesus once said: Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

In other words, if you’re a spiritually-minded person, you’re barking up the wrong tree if you’re trying to achieve your aims via political means. A tempestuous external world is a direct result of inner turbulence. For the spiritually-minded, God is found within — and His company is best appreciated by keeping our own house in order. What’s the point of slapping a fresh coat of paint on a house that’s crumbling from within? The external relies on the internal, not the other way around.

The spiritually-minded person must answer this question: is matter your master or your manifestation? Are you only to wait and hope and vote for the material world to get itself together before you find satisfaction? Your time is right-now, in this moment. NOTHING need be fulfilled in order for you to enjoy life. The door is always open — and by the appreciation of life in this very moment, you enter.

Parade Politics

If you want to understand the immigration debate, try finding a seat at a parade.

When the early-birds show up, the world is their oyster, plenty of room for everyone. They’ll even set up some coolers filled with chilled beverages. Folding chairs are everywhere. This is open-country, and they’ll do with it as they please.

When the on-time people start arriving (slightly before the parade starts), the early-birds eye them suspiciously and man their defenses — they’ll hunker down, get to their chairs and shoot judgmental looks all around, securing their territory.

But when the late-people get there, the “laties” as I call them (arriving at the start-time or after) — oh boy, well they just expect to squeeze-in anywhere or perhaps they’ll go right to the front. Some will claim a form of hardship to try and garner sympathy.

We forget that what we’re there for, is to celebrate our union, our togetherness, in the form of a festive procession. Yet we’re territorial tribalists putting party-first as soon as some “others” show up looking to squeeze our space into something smaller than it was.

I’m usually an on-timer by the way, so I view the early-birds as idealist dreamers willfully refusing to accept the fact that others will be coming. Of course there are more people coming, make some room! But man, I am not a fan of “laties”. I sit in my small spot, maybe even in the back, as I try to be respectful and well-behaved — therefore, I can sympathize with early-birds at that point when late-people start showing-up and make my small space even smaller while some even stand right in front of me (so rude!).

I start to think… if only they capped it off and didn’t allow laties into the audience at some point. How can you do that at a parade though? Yet I see this scenario playing out at every event I attend. But if a problem follows you around, the problem is probably you. So of course the real solution for me, is to not focus on the audience, but focus on the show. Why get so entranced by territorial matters when that’s not why I’m there.

In other words, my lack of focus is causing my discomfort. Even if there wasn’t a “laties” issue, then I might focus on the excesses of the early-birds. Or maybe, god-forbid, there’s a smoker next to me. If I’m looking to be perturbed, I can always find something to dislike (seek, and ye shall find). Moral of the story: stop whining and enjoy the show.

An Odd Coincidence

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Haphazard Historian.

In 1972, during his first term in office, then president Nixon made a historic journey to the East in order to establish relations with an angry and isolated China. In 2018, current president Trump made a historic journey to the East in order to establish relations with an angry and isolated North Korea.

In 1974, Nixon resigned due to a scandal that came about from the 1972 presidential election, the election in which he attained his second term in office. Shady characters working on behalf of Nixon sought to sabotage his Democratic rivals. At least some of these men were caught in the act. A high-level FBI official, knowing what happened, leaked what he knew to The Washington Post. This information would link these shady characters directly to the president himself, ultimately resulting in his resignation.

The current president is currently plagued by election issues in which it’s alleged that shady characters sought to sabotage his Democratic rival. In Nixon’s time, the FBI was apparently not able to directly involve itself in the situation, hence the leaking-of-information tactic. And as it was then, The Washington Post is a vocal critic of the current administration. One would reason then, that the ultimate goal is to tie the current administration directly to the shady characters that worked to sabotage its opponents.

Another item to consider, is that during his time in congress, Nixon was an active member of the House Un-American Activities Committee, the controversial committee that investigated communist ties and spies. According to this group, there is a long and established history of Soviet espionage and tampering within the United States. It is alleged that the successor of the Soviet Union is continuing this trend and in fact played the part of the shady characters.

Is history repeating itself? Will this narrative have a surprise ending or is it simply a remake of the original? Like in Hollywood, are there only a handful of storylines that just get remade over and over again? Does this lend evidence to the proposition that the world is merely a manufactured fiction? A simulation perhaps…? Stay tuned! Same Bat-Time! Same Bat-Channel!

American Style

I’d say what makes America, America, is reckless radical optimism.

How are we gonna get there?
F*ck it, we’re already out the door!

First there’s the Pilgrims:
John: Hey, you know what’d be better than all these old fogies tellin’ us what to do?
William: Um, moving to an untamed wilderness and starting our own God-based society?
John: YES!! We’re totally on the same page bro!
Henry: But how are you guys gonna survive? You’re like a businessman or whatever!
John: Huh? I can’t hear you bro, I’m already on a boat halfway to America….

Then there’s the Founding Fathers:
Samuel: You know what’d be better than all these royal asshats tellin’ us what to do?
John: Startin’ a war and implementing our own government??
Samuel: You read my mind cousin!
James: How the heck is that gonna work!?
John: LOL! We’re just gonna wing it brah!
Samuel: Too late to worry now! Shots fired!!

And how about those plantation owners:
Rhett: How are we gonna get all this work done Bo?
Bo: Well, we could just kidnap folks from a remote location and force them to labor without wages.
Rhett: Won’t they object?
Bo: Nah, why would they, prolly love us for providing jobs!!
Rhett: What about the long-term ramifications?
Bo: Can’t hear ya! Already halfway to Africa!!

And there’s the Civil War guys too:
Henry: What if we free them by sending hundreds of thousands of armed men down there?
David: Um, won’t they fire back?
Henry: Are you nuts! What could go wrong!
David: Um, hundreds of thousands of people could die in the process…?
Henry: Preposterous!
David: And what about the aftermath? Maybe if we looked at England’s method of….
Henry: Huh!? I can’t hear you over the cannon I keep firing!!!

And of course there’s foreign policy:
Allen: You know what might help the ongoing strife in that non-english-speaking country…
Dick: Sendin’ weapons and troops…?
Allen: You know it bro!
Dick: Well at least it can’t hurt!

And what about space travel:
Tim: I’m thinkin’ we strap y’all to a rocket and fire it up toward the moon… whaddya say?
John: Haha, yeah whatever.
Neil: I’ll do it!!

And electing the president:
Adam: Who should we elect as president?
Bruce: Maybe we nominate the best and brightest and follow that up with a rigorous selection process?
Adam: Nah, go with the guy that electrifies the crowd!
Bruce: Yeah that’ll work too!!

This is no criticism by the way, simply a characterization. If you’re wantin’ to pump the brakes, then you might not be much of an American. If you’re ever faced with the question, “Should I do this?” — stomp the accelerator — the answer is always “Yes”! If you’re thinkin’ ’bout potential negative consequences then you’re doin’ it wrong! Things are gonna turn out awesome, always!!

Democratic Consensus

People often assume that democracy necessitates a majority-rule system. For instance, two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner — obviously in a majority-rule system the sheep is toast. So, majority-rule is not a sustainable system, the majority would continually exploit the minority. And from the minority perspective, why would they agree to be contributing participants in a society that guarantees their powerlessness? The point of a democracy is for the people, ALL PEOPLE, to have power.

In a well-functioning democracy therefore, the sheep’s voice matters. “Oh you don’t want to be eaten? Then we shall compromise and come to a consensus.” A well-functioning democracy polls the people not to determine a ruling majority, but to listen to the tiniest voice of dissent. If there is no consensus, then there is no democracy, you simply have tyranny of the majority.

Another example: Jim, Carol, and Alice are deciding on what to have for lunch. Jim and Carol vote for a large cheese pizza but Alice is allergic to all dairy ingredients. In a majority-rule system, Alice is screwed. But in a democratic system in which every voice matters, a compromise is reached and Alice receives a palatable meal.

In a well-functioning democracy there are no teams because every voice is heard, there’s no vying for a majority. Every individual has the right to live the life he sees fit. Within a viable democracy, two conditions should be met: society must maintain a belief in everyone’s equality, and secondly, the powerful must sacrifice a portion of their power for the sake of the democracy.

For example, the wolves must respect the sheep’s right to live unmolested while welcoming their participation in society. Additionally, the wolves must not use their power to intimidate and force preferential outcomes. Because of this, rules of civility and equality must be maintained and enforced and checks must be placed on the influence of the powerful.

If a society maintains a tyranny of the majority, it’s a cruel and careless system that is not worthy of upkeep. A sustainable and well-functioning democracy necessitates that every voice is heard and considered.

Labor Day

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Haphazard Historian.

Imagine that there are some people willing to enslave other people for their own gain. Well in fact no imagination is necessary, as we can browse the pages of history (or even current events) to know this to be the case. So we know people can, and will, exploit their fellow man for mere economic advantage.

We know there are some that would do all they can to get as close to slave-like conditions as possible, just to get a bit more. This being the case, what protects workers from such unrepentant greed? What protects those with little-power from hungry wolves waiting to feast?

Answer: the power of the herd, an unshakable union of fellow workers. Without this solidarity, workers are picked off one-by-one as each individual stays silent, threatened by the knowledge that he’ll be next should he utter complaint. Only as a solid whole, a single voice, can these workers hope to overcome the power of greed.

And so, this is the day we set aside as reminder of that ongoing struggle against greed. A greed so nefarious that man would kidnap his fellow man and force his labor, that man would employ children in perilous industry, that man would continuously shave as much as mathematically possible from wages — ever attempting to reach zero.

But it is not this selfishness we must focus on today, it is the unity that opposes it. Throughout history, the bulk of mankind has only ever shown a desire to pitch in, to contribute to community. He wants to work and do right by his neighbor. It is with this spirit, that mankind often bands together whenever foxes attempt to divvy him up.

As a collection of individuals, mankind can be divided. And, it often requires a bit of prodding before the sleeping giant of solidarity awakens to the threat of dismemberment. But in due time, and after much strain, he does wake, and those that dared divide him meet their end.

As workers ourselves, it is our duty to keep an open ear for this call to solidarity — for it is in our best interest, and the interest of industry itself. Fruitful commerce requires a fruitful workforce who in turn become prosperous customers. Industry itself is not the enemy, there’s simply some greed that needs weeding out. And we must all be on the lookout.

American Ideal

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Gentleman from Massachusetts.

It would do us well to remember that the United States of America was established by those that outright rejected and abandoned their previous government. The people that brought about this nation were not United States citizens by birth, for there was no such entity, but they became Americans through their optimism and innovative ideals. From the Pilgrims to the Founding Fathers to the later waves of immigrants, America was populated by those seeking drastic alteration of the status quo.

I dare say that stodgy old conservatism does not belong here, this is not a land in which ancient ideas should entrench. America is a country by immigrants for immigrants, it is a realm that cannot be constricted by tradition lest it choke and wither, it is a land in which the constant churn must produce newness. Change in a progressive pattern is the very nature of America, and always will be despite those that attempt restraint.

For those that would deem the establishment of staleness appropriate, I piteously say, perhaps this place is not for you. There are already well-established stalwarts of old-world practices. You may think it harsh to turn-out those knowing only this land as home, but I simply hold a mirror before their faces. And truly I wish them not to leave, but merely align their mind with the true nature of the American ideal, which is unrepentant optimism in an ever changing greatness.

Living in this land does not come without a price. The fee comes in the form of a welcoming spirit. What created this country was not the particular system put in place, but the confidence of risk-takers, the boldness held by the foolhardy, the daring of dreamers fulfilling their vision — it was the courage to trust in positive outcomes while maintaining faith in the goodness of people. Our initiation as Americans is not by birth or oath, but by active battle with fear, a foe we must defeat.

We must not be afraid of the future, of change, of differences, of ideas, of countries, of neighbors, of religions, of lifestyles, nor even death itself. We must not shrink away in the cowardice of conservatism, but go boldly forward into the morrow — our very foundation as a nation wills it. Cowards cannot be free, as they are ever locked in a prison of their own design. Let us therefore fight against fright in all its forms and hold fast to the American ideal of unrepentant optimism, which in a word, is courage.