Monday, October 10, 2011

Protesting Wall Street

Ah, but the great advantage of mass moronization is that it leaves you too dumb to figure out who to be mad at. Mark Steyn, American Autumn
Over the last week I have received quite a number of emails asking for my reactions to the “Wall Street Protesters” and their demands. So, I crafted the following over the last few days and was about to post this when I decided to search the Internet and see what others have been saying. Wow. Much of what I have written here has already been stated, and in many cases, far better than my musings. At first, I was tempted to forget the post but then it hit me: isn’t that the nature of reality, the nature of the obvious? I mean, it’s not like the socialistic demands of these protesters have not been asserted and then proven both fallacious and disastrous for well over 2,000 years!

So, in the spirit of Me Too! -- here are my thoughts.

First of all, as I watch and read the news, I can’t help but wonder if the parents of these people are thinking about suing the schools their children attended! If there was ever a perfect example of why we need a complete overhaul of our nation’s system of Public Education, this movement provides it. Whether it is a working knowledge of our nation’s Constitution and the nature of our inalienable rights, the differences between a free market economy and crony capitalism, or a rudimentary understanding of logic, these people appear to be utterly uneducated. (By the way, “inalienable rights” are God-given rights, not Government granted freedoms.)
Second, I am not sure many of these people even know what it is they are protesting, besides hygiene, that is. Big Business? Ok, which ones? What constitutes Big Business? Fortune 100? 400? Any business that makes more than … how much? And is everything these businesses are doing evil? And how precisely are they defining “evil”? And what about all those iPhones I keep seeing you guys use: Apple is certainly in the category of Big Business, eh? Do you even feel the slightest bit of hypocrisy?
Anyway, because it doesn’t appear there is a single voice, it is almost impossible to say, “This is what the movement is demanding.” I say “almost” because there is a list of demands circulating that many of these people either implicitly or explicitly seem to support.
1 Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.
As many economists have been pointing out for decades, if we assert that importing goods across international borders is a job-killer as axiomatic, then logic demands that we say the same thing about importing goods across state borders. You guys up for California taxing all the fruit that comes into the state from Florida?
And what’s up with the $20 minimum wage? These guys are obviously thinking way to small. Why not have Congress raise the minimum wage to $100! WooHoo!
2 Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.
Yeah. That’s the ticket! Give the Fed’s a monopoly on healthcare. After all, it did so well with the Postal Service.
3 Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.
And you would choose to work because …? Somebody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller? (Please note that I used a perfect imitation of Ben Stein, here.) And exactly where does the money come from to support all these people who will choose to not work?  -- This will be a common refrain throughout the following post. I hate being redundant, but the point obviously needs to be made, over and over again. From where do these people think the money for all their demands is going to come?” Ew, Ew, I know! Taxing the Evil Corporate Bastards." Yeah, that sounds so cool, so like Sticking it to the Man. And what do you think Corporations will do to make up for the loss of revenues? They will pass that cost along to their customers … or go out of business. (Reference: Bank of America and new monthly charges for using debit cards.)
4 Free college education.
So you don’t want to pay for your education: you want me to pay for it through higher taxes, eh? Sorry, kids, Economics 101: There is no such thing as a Free Lunch.
5 Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.
Great. No problem. But the barrier here is Big Government. When it stops interfering in the market place with its massive regulations, when it gets out of the way of our nation’s entrepreneurs, we will begin to see progress here—and not before.
6 One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.
Again: this money is going to be provided by whom? The Government? And where does the Government get this money? Besides, spending on infrastructure is right at 2.5 percent of the GDP. That’s the highest it’s been in 60 years.
7 One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.
Let’s see, now. The EPA is spending around 10 billion a year, so this means he wants 100 years of spending over a period of … how long? And where is this money going to come from? And if we get rid of dams and nuclear power plants, this will mean we have to rely more heavily on coal and natural gas: how does this square with Number 5? Think people, think!
8 Racial and gender equal rights amendment.
See what I mean? Go read the 14th Amendment, son.
9 Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” your terrorists, and your diseased yearning to bring this nation down. Whoa!
10 Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.
Ok. No problem here, except I think all he needed to demand was honest vote counts. Computers can do this, unless he just has a thing against technology.
11 Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.
This is a great strategy for doing away with lending altogether.  These people are not only ignorant of the laws of economics; they are clueless as to the nature of human beings.
12 Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.
Sure. The credit agencies were major players in the housing bubble, but the only way they could get away with lying to their customers was the fact that Big Government protected them from the laws of supply and demand but did not protect customers from fraud. This is crony capitalism at its “best.”
13 Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.
How about the Government requiring secret ballots where neither management nor unions can place undo pressure on workers to go with either group? This way, they can do what they believe is in their best self-interest without fear of being smacked down by management or the unions.  
If any of you know someone all caught up in this mob, send him or her some early Christmas gifts:
Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt
The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, Ludwig Von Mises
The Law, Frederic Bastiat (Free online copy of the book) 

Wall Street's Gullible Occupiers  Great essay regarding how "reckless government policies, not private greed, brought about the housing bubble and resulting financial crisis."

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Love and Marriage

This past Saturday, my daughter Rachel Marie was married to Justin Wetmore. Rachel is my youngest daughter, and the last of the four girls to be married. I have had the privilege of performing the ceremonies for each of them. It has been one of the highest honors of my life to do this for them. As I was asked by many of those attending for my notes, I thought it easiest to post it here. Note: as it was a blustery and chilly day for a garden wedding, and people were shivering and offering each other money for the use of a coat, I edited myself, so as to be a bit briefer, so a few remarks found here didn’t make it.

Love. We speak of it, we create art to express it, and we die – metaphorically and literally -- because of it.
But what is it? When you say “love” do you mean what I mean … or something entirely different? In English, it is a squishy word, a grey word whose meanings are as ever changing as a kaleidoscope. We use the word love to describe our feelings toward dark chocolate, our favorite football team and our children: One word to describe so many different experiences.
In Latin the word “love” has 6 words for the different kinds of love we experience.
Amor: this refers to the passion that pulls the sexes together to create a family. It is as powerful as gravity itself. You meet her, your heart stops and you are inexorably drawn to her. You could no more resist her than you could jump out of a 20-story building and fly.
Eros: The god of sexual love and beauty … intimacy. This is that mad, gaga, head over heels, driven, obsessive love. This is that love that JD Salinger was writing about: “I was about half in love with her by the time we sat down. That’s the one thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty … you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are.”
Affectus: This is the feeling of affection and admiration: the desire to be with your lover, because you admire him or her so very much. it is the source of compatibility. CS Lewis thought that it was this feeling of affectus that was “responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.”
Dilectio: This is where we delight in the person so much that simply being around her gives us unimaginable joy. The word comes from the root word electio: to “choose” to “elect.” In marriage, I think that this is of paramount importance. When eros is dormant and even affection wavers, it is this love of choice based upon deliberation that holds you steady.
Amacitia: this word speaks of friendship; alliance; mutuality. Break the law of mutuality to your peril. My dad once told me that marriage was 70-30. Sometimes you give 70, she gives 30, and sometimes the ratio reverses. BUT, and this is critical, over time there is a mutuality of giving and receiving.
One of the challenges most of us face in relationships is found here. What does he want? What does she want? Pay attention to her…to him. How is he demonstrating love? How is she demonstrating love? Go thou and do likewise … and then some. Study the other’s Way of Being and you will discover what you want to know regarding increasing your mutuality
Caritas: charity; mercy; God’s Love. As I was thinking about what to say here today it is this love that stood out. I have come to believe that many, many love-relationships fail because the love they have for each other is not tied to something or, for us Christians, to Someone: the transcendent God.
When our love for each other is All There Is to the relationship, there is a built in Not Enough. What I mean is that we cannot even remotely begin to fulfill all the needs of our lover: To believe otherwise is to place an unbearable burden on our marriage.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes about the relationship of husband and wife and how they are to mirror the love relationship between Christ and His church. There must be a spiritual quality to our love, where God is invited in to be Over, In, and Under and Beside us. How else can we even begin to mirror his relationship with the church if he isn’t part of our relationship?
There is something else here, as well. Going back to Amacitia (mutuality/ alliance): I suggest that the more successful love-relationships are those where the two have an alliance regarding their Quests in life, their respective visions for why God placed each of them on earth.
One of the healthiest things you can do in the following months is to begin a conversation around God’s love and purpose for bringing you together.

What is your mission in life and how may I help you achieve it?
Why are we here on earth together, at this time in history?

While your visions will be different, you will find where they are compatible… you will also find yourselves living for something larger than your relationship, something — and Someone-- that transcends your love for each other and, thereby, increases your attraction, your affection, your admiration and your mutuality.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011