***The New Dark Ages Cometh

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Watched Robin Hood yesterday. The 2010 film starring Russell Crowe.  I was getting ideas for the days that come.

At the beginning of the movie the declaration read: “In times of tyranny and injustice when law oppresses the people, the outlaw takes his place in history.  England at the turn of the 12th Century was such a time.”  The United States at the beginning of the 21st is as well.  Much of the rest of the world is already there.

King John was at the end of the old Dark Ages… we are at the beginning of the new.

King John was an incompetent, lying, coward in well above his head. Ring any bells?  The United States currently has an Executive Branch that reminds me a lot of King John.  Like King John, blaming everything on its predecessor and declaring everything it does is owed them and necessary to fix the problems left by others.  The IRS, NSA, Justice Department, … – are they fixing the problems or causing them.

It is not just the current Executive Branch at the Federal level that gives me pause.  The Legislature as well is taking us down the path of tyranny.  Also cowards, but more are leading than following.  The administration as a whole is a puppet…  a puppet of the forces of the party.  Some of these forces operate within the government and sit in positions of power in the Legislature.  Others run things from the background preferring anonymity and deniability.  But culpable none-the-less – even more so since they are pulling the strings.

As well, let us not leave out the State and local governments.  Not to be outdone, many are jumping on the bandwagon of tyranny and oppression.  Even further restricting the rights of their people and/or stealing their means of support through taxation.

That said, I heard over the past week that the U.S. is becoming a single party system (don’t remember who said it).  Not one in name, but in philosophy.  In action.  The Progressive Party.  Not official.  Doesn’t need to be.  Based on “official” party ideologies alone many of these actions could not be taken.  The House and the Senate should be at odds.  But they are not.  The official parties are separate.  The House “led” by one, the Senate by the other.  The, theoretically, underlying ideologies are separate. The actions of the members are not.  Regardless of the party, they are justifying oppression in the name of progression and diversity.  Each and every action taken of late, regardless of party affiliation is socialist.  From firearms to religious freedom to taxation to illegal immigration and border security to…  I could go on and on.  A few will be discussed below.  Others at a later date.  Regardless, we are a Socialist nation.  Becoming, as they all do, more and more oppressive in the name of “protecting” the people (not to mention ensuring their feelings aren’t hurt).

Of course the protection of the people, as is necessary for tyranny to reign, comes in the form of denying them the means to protect themselves (outlawing firearms), denying them a belief in a higher being – in anything other than the secular ruler – (i.e., religious freedom), and taxing them past the limit of capacity to “provide” for the “needs” of the whole.  To name just of few of the tyrannical acts being perpetrated on the American people of late.

The old saying goes, “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns” is getting closer and closer to reality.  Every new crime committed with a firearm is being used to outlaw more and more of our right and ability to protect ourselves.  On this subject, I defy anyone to provide concrete, empirical data that supports the idea that taking guns from law abiding people reduces the amount of crime perpetrated by those that use them for evil purposes.  One would think that if such proof existed it would be used to back up the actions taken to deny us guns.  However, the “arguments” used are all based on emotion and sensationalism.  Legitimate study after legitimate study, in this country and around the world, proves just the opposite.  As well, every study conducted on the subject demonstrates that when confronted with a firearm in the hands of their potential victim, the perpetrator flees.  Legitimate studies (I keep using that term to differentiate from those “studies” conducted or charted by anti-gun individuals and organizations – the typical study skewed by the questions and illegitimate statistical “analysis” of the results) have shown far more lives are saved each year in the U.S. by the use of a firearm in defense than taken by those committing crimes.  Every one!  I’m sick and tired of having to hear it.  I’m sick and tired of having to say it.  I’m sick and tired of it being ignored!

The new health care laws are pushing further and further into the area of religious belief and forcing both religious “organizations” and privately owned companies to go against their beliefs to comply with the law.  Our government is placing more and more restrictions on individuals and organizations in the name of socialism.  Not only are they severely restricting what is defined as a “religious” organization in order to force this health care plan (something, by the way, we don’t even need and does not in any way fulfill the illegitimate promises made), but are denying privately owned companies from making their own decisions based on their own moral convictions.  We cannot have individual moral convictions.  We may only believe those things that comply with the socialist ideals of Progression and Diversity.  Anything else in their minds is anarchy!  Heaven forbid we have our own beliefs.  Beliefs that have stood the test of time and more often than not have been of benefit to all.  Oh, sorry… am I allowed to say “Heaven forbid” or might I offend someone?  I’m sure in the times to come, regardless of the fact that people have a choice as to whether or not to read my prose, I will be forbidden from uttering such words.

“More taxes” is the battle cry of the weak.  The battle cry of those that have no clue of the way economics and monetary policy works.  Every time taxes are lowered to a reasonable level (yes, the government DOES need funding for legitimate purposes), the coffers of the government increase.  One would think the liberals would want lower taxes.  It would give them more money to waste.  The problem with that is they don’t want more money to waste.  In reality they are not after our money.  It is just the tool used for control.  They want to control us.  For no other reason are our bank accounts being emptied.  And when they can’t empty them anymore, they borrow from our children and our children’s children.  Those yet to be born are already being controlled.  More and more of our fellow citizens are becoming unemployed.  You would think this a bad thing.  However, to the current tyrannical regime, it is what they want.  If you are unemployed you must seek assistance from somewhere.  Since more and more of your family, friends and neighbors are unemployed or under-employed as well, where does one turn?  More and more are on welfare.  More and more are on in the food stamp program.  More and more are being dragged, sadly even willingly, under the yoke of government programs.

These are of course just a few of the issues being perpetrated upon us.  Add them to those of our own making (or at least the making of our fellow citizens). Those such as the large number of men that are too cowardly to stand up and be fathers – those that think being a man is having the ability to get a girl pregnant.  It is not.  Boys can do that.  Men are those that ensure the legitimacy of their relationship with their women and stick around to take care of her and her child.  How about – two years after the birth of an unplanned child, about one third of mothers living with the father [i.e., unmarried] have ended the relationship, compared to only 7% of married mothers.  Does this matter…  Considering the majority of those end up on welfare and in poverty I would say it does.  The median annual income for female-headed households with children under six years old is roughly one-fourth that of two-parent families.  Enough stats…  MAN UP!  btw:  Congratulations on this Father’s Day to those of you man enough to be heads of your households and provide for and lead your family.

This leads to, but is not the only contributing factor, unwed (especially teen) mothers.  Nearly 40% of all births in the United States were to unmarried women in 2007 (I’m sure there are newer statistics but that makes the point – it is getting consistently worse each year though).  Almost half (48%) of all non-marital first births are to teen parents.

There is much more contributing to our fall into darkness.  I’ve discussed apathy…  We will leave it at those for now.

Robin Hood said, “In tyranny lies only failure. Empower every man and you will gain strength.”  This line fell on the deaf ears of King John.  It would fall on the deaf ears of the powers-that-be of today as well.  They, as he, don’t understand.  They, as he, are too cowardly to share power.

Bottom line of all this:  We still have a chance but I do not see us taking it.  Soon the opportunity will have slipped away.  Nay, be given away by our inaction.  We are heading for the New Dark Ages.  You heard it here first.  I will not accept surprise when it happens.  Be prepared!

I’m not sure yet what form this New Dark Age will take.  I will contemplate this and consider enlightening you in the future (knowledge is after all, power! – well, that and good quality firearms!).  With technology in the picture and more and more being controlled by the government it will be difficult for anyone to combat.  We will not exactly be able to jump on horses, draw our swords and battle the king’s forces (although learn to ride and use a sword so far has been my advice).  In the old Dark Ages little real difference existed between the king and a pauper.  As stated by Robin in the movie, “There is no difference between a knight and any other man aside from what he wears.”  Not so much now.

Have we yet hit the last straw?  No, but we are close.  What can we do?  As stated on the hilt of the sword, “Rise and Rise Again until Lambs Become Lions”.  It will become more difficult but, for those of you that don’t mind a little blood, maybe exciting.  The question for now is, what will you do?

>>> 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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Let us start with APATHY.  In a single word, the encompassment of ALL problems in the world today.

I wanted to start with this to clear a few things up right away.  First, if you want to know why the world is in such dire straits (and have no doubt, it is), this is the reason.  Although I believe it has been in worse, I’m not sure the historic reason(s) can be attributed to apathy.  Second, as you read my posts in the future you may come to conclude that I have it.  But, of course, you’d be in error.  There is great difference between not caring and acknowledging the situation around you. Were I not to care, this blog would be superfluous to my end.  My goal is education.  My greatest adversary is apathy.

> Some have suggested ignorance is that single word.  I would of course disagree.  While everyone is born ignorant and to various extent remain ignorant about most things (there are countless things about which to know in this world), the ones whose ignorance is problematic are the ones to apathetic to educate themselves.  While people are born ignorant, and you really can’t fault them for that, many choose to stay that way – for that you can fault them.

>  It is though, what led to the circumstances of today. Little by little people are giving up.  It is easier (I will speak of this later spread across numerous blog entries) to just sit back and let others do what needs to be done.  Self-satisfaction…  Who needs it?  A true understanding of whatever topic one is addressing… why?

>  Read some newspaper article, usually written by those that lack the knowledge themselves and who refuse due diligence, and you are an expert. Why bother to actually do your own research?  Why bother to substantiate accuracy?  Apathy.

  • As an intelligence officer in the military I HAD to be correct.  Lives often depended on it.  I had not the luxury of a retraction.  Local/National news periodicals, CNN, NBC, etc can always say “oops”.  Often should.  Rarely do.  People then come to believe this is an acceptable manner of living their lives.  Why learn?  Just repeat.  If it is wrong, most won’t know anyway.  Apathy.

>  A few small examples – many more will follow:

  • Drivers that drive slow in the left lane.  Most (if not all) states in which I’ve driven require slower traffic to keep right.  Often times there are even road signs to that affect.  But do people do it?  Do they care if they are blocking traffic?  Do they care about the law?  Apparently not.  While it is not justification for “taking things into your own hands”, I can certainly understand the frustration of those wanting to get by.  And I believe many of them don’t even understand they are doing something wrong.  You may suggest that means they are ignorant, not apathetic.  You’ve be wrong.  While they may very well be ignorant, the fact that they don’t think enough about their fellow man to learn correct, courteous driving confirms their apathy.  On the other hand, if they DO know (as I suspect is the case in some instances), they are precariously apathetic.
  • Not signaling when changing lanes.  On my way to work one day I witnessed a car change lanes not less than 10 times (in the span of just a few miles).  Not once did he signal.  The one time I saw a signal, he didn’t change lanes.  This was during Rush Hour when many of his lane changes were dangerously close to other cars.  I have come to realize and acknowledge, if not complete accept, that these people are far more important than the rest of us and have places to go, people to see, and things to do.  All far more important than whatever the rest of us might have on our list for the day.  Forget HOV lanes.  Consider VIP lanes.  Would you need a special license plate?  How does one prove they are more important than the rest?  Apathy.
  • Wearing pajama in public. Saw one just the other day at Einstein’s Bagels.  Grow women (probably thirties) in PJs and slippers.  Seriously.  At hotels such as Embassy Suites where breakfast is offered.  It may be breakfast but it is still public.  Put some clothes on.  More on clothing on a different day.
  • According to the latest statistics from the US Census Bureau, between 1932 and 2010 the percentage of voting age population that voted in the general elections ranged from 49% (1996) to 63% (1960).  The latest election for which they have numbers showed a percentage of 58.  These are the people that run our country folks.  These are the people that make significant decisions about our lives.  These are the people that take and spend OUR money, send our military to war, determine how our children will be educated (more on this later as well).  And never in, at least, the last 80 years has even 2/3 of the population taken the time to vote.  Apathy.

>  I coined a “phrase” a few years back to describe those of my students that just didn’t care.  IDC. I Don’t Care.  I know – real original right?  But it captures the essence of so many today.

>  Is everyone apathetic? Certainly not.  However, I have concluded that we are reaching the “tipping point” [Malcolm Gladwell].  How little things can make a big difference.  Once you get past that tipping point you are gone.  Life as we know it is over.  Usually this is not good.  Since we are concerned here with the sociological aspects, as Gladwell states, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.”  Have we yet arrived at the tipping point in this country?  In the world?  I’m not sure we have.  However, I AM sure we are darn close.

>  This idea goes along with the “Butterfly Effect”.  In chaos theory, the Butterfly Effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state [freedictionary.com].  In mathematics, a nonlinear system is one whose output is not directly proportional to its input.  Yes, I understand and LOVE the last few sentences.  Bottom line:  A butterfly can cause a hurricane.  A recent example – voting for a Socialist leadership results in higher taxes, increased debt, fewer jobs, etc. and, ultimately, the collapse of a society as it was formerly known.  Look at Europe.  Again, I’m not claim we, the US, have reached that tipping point.  However, it is clear a significant number of us don’t seem to care what the consequences of our actions are.  Maybe once they experience those consequences the apathy will subside.  Can you say “too late”?!  While I have no intention of turning this into a political blog, I can assure you there will be a few posts in the future concerning the recent choices of many in the US (as well as a suggested name change).

>  Can we change it?  Well, YOU can.  However, it may take quite a few of you to turn things around.  There are quite a few IDCs with which you are competing.  And THEY have a lot to lose.  Apathy has led to dependence.  Dependence leads to anger if support is removed.  Anger and apathy together is not a good combination.

>  It is going to come to a head in this country and this world at some point.  A new Dark Ages if you will (more on this later as well).  Some are even preparing.  I suspect I will no longer be when this occurs.  However, things do have a propensity in this day-in-age to move swiftly.

>  Again, I have just touched on the problem to bring it to light at the beginning.  Many of my future posts will have an apathy component.  I won’t necessarily tie them specifically to apathy.  I will often leave it to you, the reader, to make the connection.

   “Remember, upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.”  –Alexander the Great

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