Archive for October, 2017

Money—is the root of all evil ???

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Oct. 30, 2017

So the saying goes. I suggest an alternate version, “money is the godfather of all good.”

Both sayings have truth. As do sayings like “the rich should pay their fair share” (assumes the government controls things and taxes play a role) or “wealth ‘trickles down’ or not” (assumes private profits play a role) or “A rising tide raises all boats” (supports profits and wealth for all).

The public is fascinated, sometimes resentful, of great wealth. Everyone likes to visit rich celebrities, welcomes a win in lotteries or horse races, and any rise in income.

Democrats tend to err on the resentful side; Republicans on the fascinated side. Both parties have love affairs with wealthy patrons that bring hints of corruption. Democrats have George Soros, Nancy Pelosi, the Roosevelts, and the Kennedys. Republicans have the Koch Brothers, Donald Trump, and assorted rich tycoons. (Actually, Trump is a wild card, formerly a liberal Democrat and now a maverick Republican).

Democrats are by and large convinced that the socialist goal of rough equality in all things—wealth, talent, housing, environment, education, food, and healthcare. They also seem to believe the government can and should control all these things. This is a noble idealistic goal but impossible to achieve in practice.

Republicans by and large say ‘’me too” when forced to vote on health, taxes, welfare, public goodies, or the environment. Trump and a few conservative libertarians have recently challenged those “me too” politically correct beliefs. It remains to be seen whether their challenges will make a difference.

One key issue is big today­—that any inequality is bad, period. When pressed all would admit there are large differences in talents for sports, academics, science, mathematics, art, music, and intelligence. But all citizens should have equal opportunities to achieve. I agree. But when individual failure inevitably follows, Democrats tend to blame the environment (he or she didn’t have parents that read to them!). Many Republicans agree. Libertarians like me blame a synergy of genes, individual choices, and yes, the environment. There may be no cure beyond tolerance for the failures.

Democrats tend to look on inequality as bad. Republicans tend to say “me too.” Libertarians tend to welcome inequality, claiming it is needed for progress and when failure comes it is testing mainly our tolerance.

This is clearly brought to mind by people’s attitude to the belief that wealth “trickles down.” Or a ‘Risin tide raises all boats.” Or not. Democrats are united in claiming “not true”—it is a capitalist myth. Republicans argue it is likely or at least possible. Libertarians think for certain it happens since profits and “trickle down” wealth is a “rising tide that raises all boats” and the only real signposts of progress.

For evidence compare China under the communist Mao and China today, in equality and living standards for all. China’s people today agree with Adam Smith rather than Karl Marx (despite their holding on to the communist name and rule from above) that three things are necessary to get rich—private property, free trade, and diversity of talents. Notice that this leaves no room for inequality.

Democrats tend to look on wealth as a more or less permanent state marked by a store of land, property, houses, stocks, jewelry, expensive furniture and cars, lots of servants, a conservative outlook, and rich stuff. Sort of like the Agricultural Age when the rich had tons of land, gold, and many peasants, serfs, or slaves. That’s when the saying “money is the root of all evil” got started. Also when theft, violence, and imperial wars accelerated and were more common than ever before.

Libertarians say wealth in the Modern Age is talent and efficiency rather than any rich store of stuff. This explains why I usually vote Republican now. Republicans tend to be pro-business, pro-profit (essential for any and all progress), pro-entrepreneur and small business, for lower taxes for all, and against outright gifts to individuals or businesses. Democrats, on the other hand, tend to favor more government jobs and benefits, higher salaries and benefits mandated by the government, consultants galore, committee studies without end, and sometimes outright grants to bureaucrats, professors, students, artists, musicians, journalists, the poor, the minority, and for that matter any do-good group, so long as it is non-profit. I once fit into more than one of these lists. Predictably I was a member of the left-liberal clergy (see Bill’s Blogs, pp. 74, 78, 103.). And I reliably voted for Democrats.

All this is fine but not proof. The most crucial fact to me is profits. Societies that have gone down the equality path in socialism with the government in charge of pretty much everything have universally failed. This has been the really tragic story of idealistic failure in China, Russia, India, Germany, Italy, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, and in a different way also in today’s West, including Europe and the UK.

Yes, these Western countries are prospering now, and have indeed prospered in the past few decades (mainly due to their large talent and profit store inherited from the more distant past). They may yet relapse into yesterday’s savagery of fascism or communism if they continue to go all out for the siren call of socialist equality and wide-open borders.

On the other hand, when these many of these same societies, Western or not, ignore inequality and respect profits, they tend to prosper dramatically in wealth, living standards, and ironically in greater equality!

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

For the curious who want to know more details of my life-long journey through the idea swamp, from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian, I suggest, or stronger, I beg you to buy and read one of my three recent books (they are all dirt-cheap and, in my opinion, very true if not revolutionary)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or at minimum view some ideas on science and society streamed free now on YouTube.

Who, What, When, and Where?

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

Oct. 23, 2017

Briefly and long ago I thought of majoring in journalism. At Antioch College, they had a work-study program and I was assigned a plum job in New York City at the Overseas Press Club. I learned there, and at college, that a news story should tell in its first paragraph–who, what, when, and where. It is a decent rule that is often followed by most newspapers. I also learned there that I wasn’t really cut out to be a journalist!

So I changed my mind about a career in journalism and got a Master’s degree from NYU in philosophy. Now at long last, I can combine the two disciplines, philosophy and journalism. This is reflected in the effort today. One thing I learned in philosophy classes was to never treat anecdotes as reliable evidence for anything. In other words, the journalist’s stories that almost always feature the who, what, when, and where are useless as proof of any truth or political policy!

Take that you died-in-the-melting-glacier, polar-bear-loving, and hurricane-tornado-and storm-noting radicals for climate change.

Trump is famous for attacking the “media” over “fake news.” I often support Trump’s claims. I subscribed and for many years read the justly famous New York Times (“all the news fit to print”). Only recently could I see clearly their bias. Their “fake news” stories usually began with an “unnamed” source leaking some juicy story that did have the What, Where, When, and Who. But it was neatly packaged by the Times to skewer Donald Trump and support left-wing Democrats.

Donald Trump has accused the media (especially The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN) of consistently making up this kind of fake news and being extremely biased against him. He does have a point. They really do and show extreme bias against Trump and all of his policies. Recently The Baltimore Sun joined the battle and claimed in its editorial, reprinted widely and our local newspaper (clearly dominated by liberal clergy journalists) headlined the attack, “Trump’s attacks on the media are ‘disgusting’.”

In support of that opinion, The Baltimore Sun drew on a historic event (the passing and failure) of the “Alien and Sedition Acts” during the time of our third president, John Adams. The editorial parenthetically, hopefully, and copying the tweets of you-know-who, came up with a prediction–(“John Adams was a one-termer. Sad.”)

It remains to be seen who will win in that second term election. If I were a betting man I don’t think it would be wise to bet against The Donald. He has chosen in my opinion a very powerful way to go by using the bully pulpit of a presidency in a unique way­­, tweets.

So far at least Trump has shown very few signs of being fast on the way to a fascist dictatorship. Not nearly as many signs as the liberal hero, Franklin D. Roosevelt left. Or the progressive hero here in Wisconsin, Fighting Bob LaFollette, or for that matter the president who first invented the phrase bully pulpit, Teddy Roosevelt. FDR used Fireside Chats by radio to get his messages out. LaFollette and Teddy had to rely on long-winded speeches from random stumps, railway cars, and the halls of Congress. Trump has reinvented the bully pulpit. He uses a 21st century invention, Tweets, to magnify, communicate, and extend his point of view. And to bypass the establishment clergy and get his message to the public! In a democracy like ours the voters will have the final say. Trump’s tweets may prove especially useful in recent flaps over “disrespects” to black veterans who died in the service of the country or “knelling” football players who decline to stand for the National Anthem.

Actually I agreed with the history part of The Baltimore Sun editorial. The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 signed into law by our third president John Adams forbade anyone from making fun (or making up fake news stories) of government officials. They were actually revised and codified in 1918 for use in Woodrow Wilson’s WW1 and used to imprison citizens sympathetic to Germany. In turn the same repressive laws were used by President Franlin D. Roosevelt to lock into prison Japanese, German, and Italian aliens–and citizens–during WW2. These same revised laws remain on the books today!

As the editorial of The Baltimore Sun correctly pointed out, these Alien and Security Acts of 1798 are clearly unconstitutional and a serious blow to freedom of the press. I agree. But face it guys–Donald Trump, to my knowledge, has never called on Congress to pass any new sedition laws against “fake news” or media bias. He has instead relied on tweets that do get under the skin of editorial writers of the dominant left-liberal clergy men and women–journalists and pundits on the fast declining circulation and staffs of the liberal newspapers, magazines, and cable news outlets.

For instance here is a copy of a recent letter of mine that gives, in my opinion, a hint of where things are heading tomorrow, “Please cancel my subscription to The New York Times. I have been a reader for many years, but in recent days I have found your paper too left-liberal biased. Also, especially the Sunday edition, is too difficult to even follow with your increasingly bizarre typography, presumably redesigned to appeal to your leftist readers.”

Come election and bankruptcy times, we will find out who has the most trust.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P. S. For the intellectually curious who want to know more details of my life-long journey through the idea swamp, from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian, I suggest, or stronger, I beg you to buy and read one of my three recent books (they are all dirt-cheap and, in my opinion, profoundly true if not revolutionary)–Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or at minimum view some ideas on science and society now streamed free on YouTube.

In Defense of Pornography

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Oct. 16, 2017

I may be too old to write blogs every week, but I am not too old to like pornography.

I like it despite its anti-feminist content, its crudity, its narrow view of sex, its depiction of women as sex objects, its kinky excursions into ridiculous fantasy, its near relation to criminal child porn and abuse, its use and abuse of young women and teenagers, its thumbing of nose at the politically correct, and its near-total lack of intellectual ideas or social relevance.

Why do I like it then? I like for its honest purpose and result–masturbation and orgasms. How many sites can offer as much?

I also like it because, despite the intense disapproval of many people I respect, it is immensely popular. Free porn on the Internet is in many cases also responsible for a good many things of virtue: saving many marriages by giving a simple way of getting orgasmic relief for both the male and the female partners with children but for the moment sexless; for making successful and sexy marriages more sexy and successful; for reducing prostitution; for reducing abortions; increasing male and female pleasure; bankrupting porn theaters and pimp incomes; increasing tax revenues and decreasing welfare costs, drug use, and drug crimes.

Take that reference to tax revenues and welfare costs. Anything free is suspect. How can free pornography can make a difference in tax revenues and welfare costs? Simple enough.

Anything that makes marriages, or just living together with children, and having periods of limited sex is not only welcome. In many cases, it can mean less welfare, less police, more revenues from taxes on gainful employment, and less free stuff the government is forced to give when activists and left-liberal clergy stage protests. It also makes for happier and more satisfied citizens, a healthy and growing population with fewer abortions, more wanted children, less prostitution, fewer street protests, and reduced police budgets.

I respectfully ask–what is not to like about all this?

The anti-pornography feminist and religious crowd can argue all they want that pornography cheapens loving sex–like the nudity in Playboy or Penthouse magazines–is insulting to ordinary women, is gross and god-awful aesthetically, and is an insult to all religious morality from the Bible to the Quran.

How many men and women today really and truly believe this today?

Many do but judging from the literally millions of hits on typical free porn sites compared to the hundreds, or fewer, on serious religious or intellectual sites like this one–not that many!
Despite all that defense, personally I have to confess the awful truth I find the typical porn video pretty boring and I don’t get really get much satisfaction, or even a decent erection, watching porn! But I admit I still watch! Of course, that only proves what I already know only too well–I am getting really old! In the short as well as the long run, porn video does not come close for me to the pleasures of watching TV sports matches, heavy Shakespearean or even sentimental tearjerking movies, old-time musicals, and for me political folderol.

Speaking of old-time musicals you could do worse than pay close attention to songs from the musical South Pacific. I still remember Mary Martin in the worst part of WW2 belting out this old chestnut from the 1940s in a plush Chicago theater I visited as a 17-year-old Navy recruit (and woke up singing this ditty last week) …

“I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
That we’re done and we might as well be dead,
But I’m only a cockeyed optimist
And I can’t get it into my head.

“I hear the human race
Is falling on its face
And hasn’t very far to go,
But every whippoorwill
Is selling me a bill,
And telling me it just ain’t so.”

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P. S. For the intellectually curious who want to know details on my life-long journey through the idea swamp, from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian, I still suggest, or stronger, I beg you to buy and read one of my three recent books (they are all dirt-cheap and, in my humble opinion, profoundly true if not revolutionary)–Twilight or Dawn? A Travelers Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s-Blogs. Or at the minimum please view some of my ideas on science and society, now streamed free on YouTube.

Dry Spell

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Oct. 9 2017

Sorry, but I couldn’t come up with a good idea this week. Too old!

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P. S. For any who want to know details on my life-long journey through the idea swamp from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian, I still suggest, or if you insist, I beg you to buy and read one of my recent books (they are all dirt cheap and I claim, immodestly, they are all profoundly revolutionary in their messages)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some of my ideas on science and society, streamed free on YouTube.

Consultants, Journalists, and Clergy

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Oct. 2, 2017

Some readers take offense when I write about the “clergy.” I use that term deliberately to connect the secular religion that is currently popular—left-liberal Socialism—with dominant religions of the past like Christianity and Islam. The modern clergy do not wear special garb but they do set the tone for modern states in the Western World.

If you doubt this, a quick look at currently popular TV shows and the ads that support them will convince you. If you choose to get your News or streaming from the Internet or newspapers this clergy is still dominant. Rare is the journalist who doubts the wisdom of politically correct values. (This does not apply to President Trump and some Fox News fans.)

Among these Politically Correct faiths are that:  the government is and should responsible for nearly everything from the economy to the climate; radical equality is the major order of the day. Not merely equality under the law, but equality of talent and wealth is a not a privilege but a right; the government should seek to control and maximize people’s health, wealth, welfare, environment, and above all do something to control the climate; charity welfare programs, consultants, and bureaucrats are needed to do this; prejudging any group (perhaps excluding majority whites) is a major no-no, no matter how destructive, ignorant, violent, or incapable is the individual minority member.

A democratic egalitarian government should add more welfare programs to help minorities, even if they end up counterproductive; personal sob stories and street protests are the most effective tools the clergy uses to advance their agenda and to encourage immigrants from anywhere; last but not least, the clergy heaps scorn on the belief that our culture (Western Civilization) is the best, or that it is in any way exceptional!

The government and the press should also be concerned about relatively minor things like: football players not respecting the flag; college students raping girls or not paying back loans; activists destroying monuments they don’t like; union people paying for their own health insurance; LGBTQ bias; professors not allowing right-wingers a voice; bureaucrats leaking top secrets; journalists making up fake news; governments, businesses, and schools hiring consultants to cure the incurable; and above all encouraging diversity in the workplace, education, government, advertising, and entertainment.

The only thing the government must never do is use the military to fight wars to defend our freedoms: to do or not do any PC or non-PC action.

I do confess I too believe some of these PC values. I too think the government is important and is right to be concerned with the “common welfare.” I too am against wars and prejudice and for diversity, with some minor exceptions.

I do think the government can go too far in its lust for giveaways, useless or harmful programs that curb freedom, and make dependents (sometimes violence-prone looters and drug criminals) out of many otherwise decent and potentially productive citizens. I think the government can do more to encourage families by tax laws and discourage children out of wedlock.

Take the current flap over football players kneeling for the flag and anthem. Personally, I agree with our President that they should be fired but I don’t agree that the government or the president should do anything about it. If fans agree with Trump (and I suspect most football fans will) the crowds will slowly fade, the advertisers will reduce their support, the TV revenues will crash, and the athletes (and the sport of football) will suffer. Things will change!

If college students are really raping girls and not paying back loans they should promptly be arrested and have to face a jury. Likewise people destroying public monuments should also be arrested and have to face a jury. If private companies, government employees, or schools commit bribery or corruption they too should be punished. As for most consultants, journalists, and bureaucrats, don’t hire them in the first place and things will still change!

Journalists making up fake stories should be fired, and soon. So should government employees who leak information. So should athletes, actors, musicians, and comedians who make millions entertaining us be fired. Free speech has never been absolute and doesn’t protect the jerk who cries “fire” in a crowded theater. They are crying “fire” in our way of life.

I make an exception for health care. The liberal Democrats have a point and single-payer is probably inevitable. I’m just not sure it’s going to be any better than the free market we have all lived with for centuries. In the short run, socialist health systems seem to work fairly well in European cultures. But in the long run, they may not work well in populations as diverse as the US.

Remember Bill’s Law #2: Political bad ideas have a half-life of a century or so. Egalitarian socialism is a politically bad idea. It has dramatically failed in diverse large countries like Russia, China, and India, even in small states like Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea.

As to climate, leftist greens are whistling in Dixie if they imagine anything the government can do will make a difference. If we were to go back to a medieval agricultural lifestyle and drastically lower our standard of living (as well as take years off our average lifespans) as Pope Francis and some Greens actually urge, that might help. But all the subsidies and rosy impossible dreams for renewable energy as well as all the worst clergy journalists can say about fossil fuels won’t make a lick of difference to Mother Nature or lower by a single dollar all the hurricane, tornado, and major storm damage.

As for all the consultants, journalists, lobbyists, and bureaucrats hired (at large salaries) to make a difference in diversity this will indeed raise our taxes, lower everyone’s living standards but not make a sliver of difference in education, housing, policing, and effective government.

The long and short of it is–despite their interest in being progressive, I think the left-liberal clergy is really out to destroy Western Civilization and the Modern Age that the USA launched a little over 200 years ago.

This is, without doubt, the most serious complaint I have against the clergy—where I was once a humble deacon.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill