Slaves and Citizens

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Here’s a thought: how about we stop worrying about the differences between the rich and the poor and just focus on helping the poor not be poor.  This cannot be achieved via redistribution of the wealth of those that earned it to pay for welfare, food stamps, government dictated medical care and other gifts to those that did not.    This creates slaves, not citizens.  Slaves ever in debt morally to the government and the people paying for those handouts.  It CAN be achieved by allowing the rich to use their resources to create employment for the poor. This allows people to get out of the cycle of slavery and enter the ranks of true citizens.  Citizens proud they are able to provide for themselves and those reliant on them.

Unfortunately our current state of Socialism won’t allow this.  It is more concerned with equality for everyone than prosperity for anyone.  Since it is pretty much impossible for all of us to be rich (I certainly am not – and barring winning the lottery, will never be), the Socialist’s solution is to take the money away from the rich and just give it to the poor (the distribution being controlled by the Socialist elite of course).  One thing the Socialists in power don’t seem to get, the rich eventually run out of money or leave the country with what they have while they still have it.  The result being that we all end up poor.  Who pays then?  What a country!

Probably more on this later…

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

Educate Yourself!

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It is quite discouraging the number of people I run into that have decided to accept the absolute minimum amount of education with which they can get away.  Students that put in minimal effort (not paying attention in class, not doing homework (or as little as possible), not studying for exams).  I wonder how they expect their life to turn out.  When I ask, I end up with the unenviable task of informing them they are living a dream.  I grade point average of 2.5 is not going to get you into a quality engineering school.  That is not a goal.  It is a dream.  As well, would you put your life into the hands of a doctor or pilot or lawyer or whatever professional that finished in the bottom or even middle of his class?  Would you rather one that put in the effort to learn as much as he could about his craft?  I tell my students, adulthood begins the first day of high school.  What they do from that day forward counts.  Their grades and effort will matter to their future college and employment plans (whether they attend college or not).  My concern also is that few professions require (and therefore few people take advantage of) continued education.  With the help of modern medical science, many people die at an advanced age knowing little more than the minimum they got away with in high school.  Sad and discouraging.

Vernon Law once said, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”  Rarely does the test come only once.  Since most of us fail the test, we had best learn the lesson – preferably the first time.   On the other hand, someone once said, “Good Judgment comes from Experience, most of that comes from Bad Judgment.” [the quote in one form or another is actually attributed to numerous people]  Unfortunately, most of you seem content with failing the test over and over again and bad judgment.  You never take the time to learn the “why’s and wherefore’s” of the lesson.  This leads me to…

Funny thing about knowledge, the more you have, the more you know.  This may seem obvious (as should many things about which I write), but many don’t seem to get it.  They claim to “know” an awful lot just due to life experience (especially teenagers – the claim being an endless source of amusement to me).  Now, while I will grant that you gain some knowledge just from living, it is a slow and painful way to attain it.  It WILL happen.  Let it.  But don’t, as so many do, let it be the only avenue.  And if you do, don’t claim to know it all just because you have lived.  It would take 1000 lifetimes just to make a dent in the knowledge of today.  And since each day our body of knowledge grows exponentially, individually we are always losing ground.  As well, it is interesting that the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.  At least you should, if you put any effort into thinking about it.  While this may seem discouraging, it doesn’t have to be.  As mentioned, man is discovering new things each day.  Many are contributing to this body of knowledge.  Recognize you don’t and never will know everything.  But certainly don’t give up or be discouraged.  Just recognize and accept there is no way to keep up with everything and concentrate on those things of interest to you.

Formal education should never stop.  I realize life gets in the way sometimes.  You have work, families, etc. to deal with at numerous points in your life.  So put it on the back burner for a short time if necessary.  While all the things listed above DO “get in the way” at times, many use them as an excuse.  There are those on the other hand that manage to move on with their education in spite of all the other things going on.  Watch less TV.  Go out with the guys/girls less often.  Play fewer video games.  Limit your internet surfing (unless it is for a necessary purpose).  Stare at the wall less often (yes, I am to understand someone I know actually does this to pass the time).  So never stop.  Formal education is not limited to universities and/or community college.  It can come in the form of on-line courses from various educational institutions or private firms, private lessons, etc.

Another point is that once you are pretty comfortable in the level of education you need for employment in your chosen field, you are free to pursue education in all those wonders of the world in which you’ve been interested since childhood.  Learn to fly, gunsmith, build knives, paint, sing, write poetry, design websites, culinary, automotive technology, sign language, carpentry/wood working, dance, martial arts, play a musical instrument, yoga.  These are just a few off the top of my head.  I suspect there is a course in virtually anything in which you may be interested.  While books (to be mentioned momentarily) are a great way to acquire knowledge, learning from “experts” is usually the best way.  Community colleges normally have teachers that have worked in the area they teach and know of what they speak.  They can provide “war stories” from first-hand experience.  Unlike books, they can answer questions and guide you in further study in the direction YOU wish to go.  Community colleges are also significantly less expensive than universities.  As well, many community centers and adult centers provide inexpensive ways to learn from people that have “been there and done that.”

Not so formal education is what should be accomplished between sessions of formal.  READ books, magazines, newspapers, etc.  Go to lectures at local museums or community events.  Watch educational television shows on occasion (my wife tends to “force” me to do this – stupid animal shows!).  There are many DVDs you can buy or rent that have lectures/lessons on various subjects.  If you can’t afford community college tuition or fees (if any) for community center events, there are a less expensive way of gaining much of the same knowledge.  Books and magazines can be free.  Try your local library.  You won’t have the expert there to answer questions, but a search of quality sites in the internet can often provide that additional information you seek.

Just get some!  Get more!  Make it a priority.

Ok, so why am I bringing this up.  Remember that blog on apathy.  If not, go back and read/reread it.  Apathy, sloth, lazy, indifference – similar ways of expressing the same issue.  And it leads to a less productive and less enjoyable society.  A culture of ignorance is a sad and hard existence.  Why would someone purposefully make their life more difficult than it need be?  Many think getting and continuing an education is difficult.  What they fail to comprehend is that NOT being educated is actually more so.  And in all reality, the more education (read – knowledge) you have, the easier life gets (unless you take into account the growing frustration with those that choose ignorance).  As well, I will be speaking in the near future of Class/Refinement/Sophistication/Style.  The individual lifestyle and a society that practices civility is by necessity educated in all classes (poor, middle-class as well as the “rich”).  I dream of the time when we again practice such in our private and public lives (or are they nightmares of never expecting to see it).  But it will never happen if a significant number of us accept the limited knowledge present society allows.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…


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As quoted on my “Why?” page:   “Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.”   -Andre Gide

Also on my “Why?” page I said I am doing this “Because the world DESERVES to know.”

As well, I said, “I have taken the burden upon myself to grace humanity with a written account of what they SHOULD already know and practice.”

That said I also want to make clear I do not have a monopoly on this knowledge.  In fact, much of what I have to say has at least been hinted at by others.  That is part of the point, people haven’t listened.  Sometimes that is due to the “others” being relegated to ancient history (about which we should, heaven forbid, read), sometimes to limited access (to a venue or an audience).  Sometimes (but rarely) I am just repeating.  Sometimes I am elaborating.  Therefore, on occasion, of which this is one, I will be setting out a series of quotes on a particular subject that spells out, by those far more intelligent than I (at least on that given subject), much that we SHOULD know.   NO, this is not a copout – not a way to just make it easy on me.  It is an acknowledgement that some people are smarter than I.  Although the first quote suggests against appealing to authority for proof of right.  I’ll let you figure it out.  Please enjoy and contemplate.

Let us start with the topic of Intelligence.

Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.   –Leonardo da Vinci

[Editor’s note:  I will have future comments with reference to education.  This is the sighting shot]

It takes a lot of things to prove you are smart, but only one thing to prove you are ignorant.   -Don Herold

You have to be smart. The easy days are over.   -Robert Kiyosaki

[Editor’s note: a lessen I hope my cadets get]

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.   -Niccolo Machiavelli

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.   -Confucius

Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.   -Albert Einstein

{Editor’s note:  another thought for my cadets (Think Ahead, Do Ahead!)]

Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.   -Blaise Pascal

There is nobody so irritating as somebody with less intelligence and more sense than we have.   -Don Herold

We all agree that pessimism is a mark of superior intellect.   -John Kenneth Galbraith

There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.   -George Orwell

[Editor’s note: If you have to think about this too long…]

Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence. This explains why we have so many stupid leaders.   -Sloan Wilson

I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.   -William F. Buckley, Jr.

[Editor’s note:  always did like this guy]

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?   -Scott Adams

[might be my favorite – well, except for the 1st]

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

Will we be ready for our next conflict?

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Failure to maintain air dominance has historically been measured in deaths. ~Adam J. Hebert (Editor in Chief, Journal of the Air Force Association)

I would suggest this goes likewise for land and sea.

Just a thought for those less inclined to support advancements in our military capability based on the idea that we are already ahead of potential adversaries or that it would be preparing for yesterday’s war.

I would assert that while the first may be accurate, said adversaries are not resting on their current capability.

Considering the second, it is wise we consider ANY kind of potential conflict and not be so arrogant as to think we can (or will) foresee the next enemy or equipment/tactics thereof.

Resting on our laurels is deadly (literally).

Take a Chance!

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Good judgment comes from experience, most of that comes from bad judgment.

Will Rogers / Mulla Nasrudin / Rita Mae Brown / and apparently many others (there doesn’t seem to be a way to actually determine the original sage)

The Biggest Day of the Year?

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It is Super Bowl Sunday.

If you get it, that is all that need be said.

If you don’t get it, that is all that can be said.


49ers.  Ravens.  The Harbaugh brothers.  Colin Kaepernick.  Ray Lewis.  Joe Flacco.

Tied for 1st with six.  Or not…

If you understand all this, enjoy the game.  If not, I think opera tickets are still on sale.


Next week – a philosophical discourse on something or other that needs be understood.


In the mean time, enjoy the game.  Or enjoy the peace and quiet that comes from your husband enjoying the game.  Enjoy the food (regardless if you are watching the game – it is not a requirement).


And always remember:

“There is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

General of the Army George C. Marshall


>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…