Monday, August 29, 2011


I hace come to realize that there are few, if any, problems in life.

Everything that happens in life must be possibles.  By definition, the impossibles cannot, and therefore do not, happen.  Only possibles can happen and possibles are foreseeable.  And when a foreseeable happens, it is not, and ought not be thought of as, a problem.

Getting hungry is not a problem.   Needing sleep is not a problem.  They are normal, natural, possible, foreseeable.  If it rains on the day of your scheduled outdoor picnic, that was possible and foreseeable.  Not a problem.  And the same reasoning holds true for getting ill, not having enough money to buy what you'd like to buy, the show you wanted to see being sold out, etc.  All are possible, normal, natural events.

People moan endlessly about the problems in their life, when, in fact, they have only one problem:  not being alert enough to identify all possibles in their life, and to accept the possibility that those possibles may possibly occur.

And a picnic in the rain can be fun.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


*Irene Menaces North Carolina
**Pakistan: 25 Die in Cross-border Attack
***Brutal Attack on Syrian Cartoonist
****Who was Behind Nigerian Bombing?
*****Smoked Salmon Recalled after Listeria
******Deaths Remind Food Allergy Dangers
*******Dozens Dead in Mexico Casino Attack
********Rebels Seize Pro-Ghadafi Stronghold

That is 1-day's headlines from 1 media outlet.

Earth is really Hell, I guess.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Years and years ago, morality was entwined with the Ten Commandments.  They spelled out what was a code of morality: don't steal, don't kill, don't bear false witness, etc.  And the payoff was clear and personal:  Obey the Commandments and they would be your admission ticket to Heaven.  And the alternative was equally clear and personal: eternity in the Inferno.

During the past 2,000 years, morality has taken a U-turn.  Doing the right thing, being moral, has come to be not something one does for oneself, but one does for others.  How could our interactive society survive, is the common refrain, if we all did whatever we wanted to do, if everybody went his/her own way?  There has to be certain rules, restrictions.  There has to be a moral code of behavior.

The problem with that view is that it runs up against this argument:  Why should I do what's right, why should I toe the line, when no one else is?  Doggie dog world.  If its good for him, its good for me.  I ain't no fool.  Get what you can when you can, and the winner is the one who gets away with the most.

And thus the precipitous decline of morality in a world heading toward its self-inflicted Armageddon.  Check yesterday's headlines, today's headlines. tomorrow's.

Morality is a code of pro-life conduct.  It benefits you, the individual, not indirectly because it benefits society, but directly because it benefits your life.  Productivity, integrity, rationality, honesty, justice, independence and pride (the Objectivist virtues) are moral virtues because they enrich your life here and now, in this world, regardless of your participation in society, regardless of what the other guy does or doesn't do. It has been said that if a man on a desert island were not moral, he could not survive for very long.

Can you sit down with your children this afternoon and convincingly explain to them why this is so?

Now you know the problem.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I received a new real estate tax bill in the mail and saw to my chagrin that over 60% of it is earmarked for our town's public school system.

Now, a couple of preliminary points:

1.  The government should not be in the educational business.  Nothing in our Constitution to sustain it.  And turning the decision as to what should be taught our children over to politicos untrained in education is as foolish and dangerous as is imaginable.

2.  All taxes are a forceful taking of property and a violation of our Constitutionally-protected rights.

3.  It is illogical to ask "What is the right way to do something wrong?"  E.g., what is the proper length of a lynch mob's rope?

Having said all that, I now say this:  It is an absurdity that I be required to pay for the public school system when I have no kids in school.  My family is not using this "free" government service.  Ignoring #3 above, those that are using the service should pay for it, no?  Should I pay highway tolls when I don't ride the highways?  Ignoring #3 again, the government should charge those who avail themselves of government services, and not those who don't.

Further:  does it make any sense that the higher the value of one's real property, the more one pays for the schools (and everything else).  The two are not connected.  One could be a multimillionaire, own no real property, and pay the big fat Zero.  And one could own real property, yet be impoverished, and pay a bundle.

Taxes are wrong and have no place in a free society.  B ut they are here and will very likely remain here.  Can't we, shouldn't we, try to see if we can imbue them with a drop of smarts?

(I forgot.  What do smarts have to do with our public education system?)


 Here is the new phony language of the Customer Service Representative.  It is the robot-like song-and-dance you are victim to when you call any major company to inquire about its product/service, question an invoice they have sent, etc.

Listen to the music:

"Thank you for calling XYZ Corporation"
(Can't you figure this out by yourself?)

"If you would like to continue in English, press 1"
(I hope you didn't understand what I just said)

"If you would like to continue in Spanish, empuja dos"
(And I won't have to handle your annying, complaining call)

"This call may be monitored or taped for quality purposes"
("May be" means 1 in 17,000)

"Your estimated wait time is about 5 minutes"
(How would we know?)

"Pay close attention as our options have changed"
(Changed them some time in 1998.  But it spreads out the call and we take fewer calls each day)

"Please key in or speak your 22-digit account number"
(About 30& of our calls can't find it and have to hang up+
"It's in the lower left hand corner of your bimonthly statement "
(Love that one, too, no one ever has it)

"Did you say 233967545637530098H55?"
(Probably not)

"I can't hear you, I will have to transfer you"
(That' was a short one)

"Who am I speaking with?"
(They're all  the same)

"For confirmation purposes, what is your last 4?"
(No, not children)

"And what number are you calling from?"
(As if my Call Waiting isn't working today)

"What's your mother's maiden name?"
(Was she ever a maidenBut you shouldn't give that out over the phone)

"How can I help you?"
(Quick, I'm already late for lunch)

"Oh, I have to transfer you to another department.  Thank you"
(Whew, really hungry, maybe sushi today)

"If you get disconnected..."
(Which you probably will)

" back"
(Just joking).


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The federal government oversteps its constitutional bounds (what's new?) when, through the FDA, it restricts what medicines we can lawfully take.  To cure my ailment, I can swallow defecation and a thousand other self-prescribed "medications"...but I can't take a drug prepared by a major pharmaceutical company after investing millions of research dollars until the FDA (Forbidden, Dumb Americans) says it is safe for me to take.

And no, I cannot take that drug even if I assume all responsibility and sign a release in triplicate absolving everyone from any harm that drug may cause me.  The FDA (Federal Dictator Agency) is determined to keep me safe from myself.

And therein is the error.  The function of our government is not to keep us safe from ourselves.  Quite the contrary.  It is to protect our right to live our lives as we's called freedom.  The government's function is to keep us safe from OTHERS who would use force against us to deny us our freedom..

People facing terminal illness and immediate death have been denied the right to take new experimental drugs.  Why?  They might cause harm!,  says the FDA (Foolish Damn Absurdity).

Time to FDA (Forever Demolish Altogether) the FDA (Freedom Denying Arrogants).

Monday, August 22, 2011


"Jarenc," said the young god Amera to his friend,  "I have 9 commandments, I need one more, it will make the tablets look better, more balanced, 5 and 5.  What do you think of this:  'Thou shalt not lie."

"No, no, dear friend, there is great fun in lying, in getting away with things.  I wouldn't want to have to punish the People for enjoying their life.  That's the purpose of life, isn't it?"

"Ok, what about: 'Thou shalt believe that the world revolves around yourself."

"No,no.  The god Solar wants everyone to think the world revolves him, and I don't want to fight with Solar."

"How about: 'Thou shalt think rationally."

"Ha, ha, "chuckled Jarenc, "I don't think so.  We do need some people to get into heaven, don't we?"

" 'Thou shalt not be proud'.  D you like it?"

"I love it.  The people wo break that commandment will be happy about what they did, and we can have the other non-proud people ostracize them.  I love it.  It is a great commandment.  Which is why we should feel good for having thought of it."

"We?  You did not think of it, Jarenc.  I did.  This is totally my idea, and I deserve full credit for it..  You shouldn't want to take any credit for what is my idea."

"Why not?  I deserve the credit as much as you do.  I want that credit.  Why should you have it all to yourself?  It's our game,isn't it?"

And Arema and Jarenc lost their friendship.

And so the 10th commandment came to be:

"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his servant, , nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's."


I thought that the hippie generation starting in the 1950's was, although I was not directly a part of it, a good thing.  It was, it seemed to me, to be a call to individuality. "Do your own thing...whatever.  No social restraints.  Everything goes.  Live YOUR life."  And to some extent, that is what happened.

But then along came the internet, and...wham!...the pendulum has swung completely around, away from individuality and pointing today totally outward to a world of conformity more inclusive, more expansive, then pre-hippies ever knew or could ever imagine.  From what I see and hear, youngsters today measure themseles in every imaginable way by others, by what others are doing, by what others have.  It results in nonstop competition that can never be won.  Making everyone, everyone, losers.

"I only have 550 friends on facebook...most kids I know have close to a thousand."

"My ipod is out of date., it only has 1200 ones have over 3,000."

"I make $9 an hour...some of the guys make nine fifty or ten".

"Check the internet.  See what people are saying, the way it's done these days, the way you must do it if you want to make it in the world."

Can't win.  While conformity in the old days was with the few in the neighborhood, it is now aimed toward a global standard of seven billion others.

Can't win.   It is no longer a question whether the glass is half full or half is a third full and leaking.

Can't win.  There is always MORE.

There are to be sure some unique benefits to being in touch with the world...but none at the cost of losing one's self.  There are to be sure advantages to be gained from others, but none at the price of losing one's own identity, one's personal values.

With the help (?) of modern technology, the herd--horde--is now stampeding itself.

In the 1967 Broadway musical Hair, touting the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, one of the new age's dominant features is said to be "the mind's true liberation".


Friday, August 19, 2011


Arema and Jarenc, two very young gods, hovered in the stratosphere, and contemplated the universe.  It. was complete.  They had nothing to do.

Arema was suddenly inspired.

"Let us create a new world to place in the universe, a world totally different from all others we have created.  Let us infuse this world with irony, contradictions, antithesis, perversity, paradox and ambiguity. It will be fun.

"I shall begin by creating little bits of life...people, I shall call them...millions of them, to inhabit and rule this new world."

"Let us give them great intelligence, like ours," said Jarenc, "but keep from them the answer to what will be their most perplexing question: What is the purpose of  life?  It will frustrate them not to know, though the answer be close at hand.  It is, of course, as it is ours:  to be exhilarated by being alive and  to rejoice."

"Let us give them more of our god-like powers.  I give them the power of choice."

"And I," said Jarenc, "shall include the seemingly pleasurable choice  to choose not to choose.  Ha ha."

"Jarenc, you are a devil.  I give them endless desire to enrich their lives."

"And I offer them laziness."

"They will have our power to create."

"And, of course, to destroy."

"To love."

"And to hate."

"To be good."

"To be evil."

"It will be fun to see how their life unfolds, what they choose or fail to choose..  We must not interfere. Should we let them come to know, Jarenc, that it is but a game?"

"No, the fun is in their thinking otherwise, they must think everything is important or they may choose not to play our game, and how then shall we spend our eternal time, Arema?"

And so it came to pass that Earth was formed, and People came to be, with the unrecognized powers of gods...and the choice not to use them..

And Arema and Jarenc saw all they had made and behold it was very good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I am writing a series of articles called's about good thinking, the elements of good thinking, the benefits of good thinking, and the penalties we pay when we fail to ThinkRight.

This question comes to mind:  Does not a person living in a free society have the right to choose, intentionally or by default, not to engage in good thinking?  And the answer, generally, is Yes,   I say "generally" to limit that right to those whose thinking, whose decisions, affect only themselves.

But the answer is a resounding No when that person's thinking and decisions impact other people.  And that is the case with regard to our public officials.  Their ability, and propensity, to ThinkRight is critical and consequential to the rest of us.   We can check the propensity part by examining their prior actions, their record.  But how do we check their ability?

My suggestion:  half of the LSAT  exam, taken by those seeking to be admitted to law school, is Critical Reasoning, and tests their ability to think logically.  I propose it be given to all those running for, or being appointed to, elected office.  The voters would remain free to vote for whomever they wish, including those who fail the test...but at least the voters would have critical information about those to whom they seek to give authority to pass and regulate laws that affect, restrict and tax our lives, send our people off to combat, etc.

Thought you might like to test yourself on a Critical Reasoning type question:

Advertisement:  "My doctor prescribed this new headache pill and, boy, was he right.  Took one the other day and my headache went away in less than an hour.  You have a headache?  Take this new pill."

Identify three logical fallacies in this advertisement.

1.  The fact that a doctor prescribes some medication does not mean it is the right, or a good, medicine to take.  Doctors are not infallible and we DO NOT KNOW why he prescribed it (perhaps he owns stock in the company that produces it).

2.  There is NO PROOF the pill cured the headache.  The fact that the headache went away shortly after the pill was taken, does not prove cause and effect.  The headache might have gone away even if the pill had not been take, perhaps even sooner.

3.  The fact that the pill may have worked for the person in the advertisement, DOES NOT PROVE it will work for you (not all headaches are the same, not all people respond the same way to the same medication).

Wouldn't you like to know if  that person seeking your vote, or to be appointed to public office, can  THINKRIGHT?

Seems logical to me.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Here are the 3 R's of good thinking:

  REALITY...thinking deals with what is intended to fundamentally answer the following questions"  Is it real?  What is it? 

RELEVANCE...thinking about something should entail only matters that relate to, and affect or are affected by, what is being thought about.

RATIONALITY...requiring sensory proof as a condition to accepting that something is true, and avoiding the following common thinking errors:

   * blurring the distinction between proven knowledge and unproven belief
   * basing truth on mere assumptions
   * using analogies as proof
   * failing to recognize that we live in a cause and effect world, that everything that happens is the effect of some cause, or mistakenly believing that the fact that B followed A is proof that A caused B to happen
   * generalizing from a sampling
   * attacking the arguer rather than the argunent
   * believing that was is true of the whole is necessarily true of the parts, and vice versa.

Good thinking is rooted in precision, exactitude, definiteness.  What is it?  What did he say?  What did she mean?  It offers the joy of reliability, confidence, certainty.  


Friday, August 12, 2011


No, of course, you need not ..  Look around.  But your life requires thinking, either yours or someone else's.  It will not continue automatically.  Except for a few biological functions (heart beating, breathing), decisions must be made, action (which is the physicalization of thought) must be taken.  At the minimum. food must be acquired and consumed, shelter must be obtained, medical treatment may be required for survival.   If you choose not to do the required thinking, it must be done for you.  That is a fact of life.

Choosing not to think when you are capable of doing so places your life under the direction of, and at the mercy of, someone else, with all the risks that entails. (In the most extreme and vivid case, it was the decision by thousands of German soldiers to have Adolf Hitler do their thinking for them that allowed the holocaust to happen).  But the greatest damage of the choice not to think is not in the overtly bad things that may happen, but in the good things that won't happen:  the loss of the self confidence and self esteem that comes from successful personal thinking...and the consequent difficulty in acquiring and enjoying a happy life.

Why then do so many choose so often not to think for themselves, with such a large, potential downside?  For many reasons, I guess, but perhaps mostly because of the fear of responsibility for making wrong, improper or less than the best of decisions,  The deflation  of one's balloon.  Nonthinking also seems to save you time, and perhaps it does so, in the short run,  In the long run, it costs you time and just about everything else of value.

Interesting to note that society promotes non-thinking by offering acceptance to those who do what is expected of them, those who "follow the rules", adhere to protocols, proprieties and the "should do's" and "must do's"....and sentences those who do not to unfavored status and expulsion.  I suppose it is not surprising that society's public education stem omits this whole subject.

And that is something to think about.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Humans have a unique type of brain. It can:

Ask questions
Seek answers
Contemplate the world
Determine what is true and what isn't
Make decisions
Choose a course of action
Make judgments
Question itself
Make long term plans
Create new ideas, new things
Turn itself on or of

We call all of that Thinking, and it is what distinguishes humans from all other living things and everything else that exists. It is, I believe, at the root of all of man's successes and progress through the ages, and for all his failures and despairs.

This is the first in a series of posts on Thinking. When you have read them, you will know why I said "I believe" in the preceding paragraph and not "I know".

This series will look at:

Do people have to think?
What type of Thinking is Good Thinking?
What are the benefits of Good Thinking in your day to day life?
What are the common errors people make in their Thinking?
What are the penalties of poor Thinking or of not Thinking at all?
Are you a Good Thinker?


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


There is a tribe I heard about that is among the happiest of all beings on the planet. And since happiness may be the ultimate goal for all of us, I thought it worthwhile to study how this tribe lives, their customs and mores, and what they are doing that makes them laugh and seem to enjoy life so much. Here is what I learned:

They tend to weigh under 150 pounds, which suggests they avoid many fat-related diseases. Also, their lighter weight no doubt puts less stress on their hearts and other organs. Is health a factor in happiness?

Their brain size is about half the size of that of most people. Perhaps that suggests that overthinking a problem is not psychologically healthy since it may produce feelings of doubt and uncertainty, all of which attack and lessen the level of self esteem thought by most psychologists as the prerequisite to attaining happiness.

Their average life expectancy is 15 years below the worldwide human average, suggesting they avoid the debilitating illnesses and limitations of older age, and the knowledge of even middle aged people of what is likely in store for them. So while they may live shorter lives, they may be in fact more fearless, less incapacitated, ones. Happier ones.

They are polygamous, most often bisexual, and crave and engage in frequent sex...which no doubt explains a lot. Their main work is hunting, suggesting perhaps that civilization hasn't worked out as well as expected. They are altruistic and show great empathy toward other life forms. They are extremely curious, have exceptional memories, and appreciate natural beauty.

Can we learn from them? That is for each of us to answer for ourself. With so many of us finding happiness so elusive, I would think it best to leave no stone unturned.

For more information on the tribe, check out Pan Troglodyte or Pan Paniscus on your computer.

You know them as chimpanzees.

Our ancestors.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


We know the upside of marriage.  What we do not often hear is the price we pay for that upside, so here is some straight talk on that price:

LOSS OF VARIETY...the spice of life...sexually, and to some extent, intellctually, psychologically, emotionally

LOSS OF the cuff spontaneous activities are harder to pull off when there are two involved, not one...rare that two will feel spontaneous about the same thing at the same time

LOSS OF offshoot of less variety...greater familiarity, more known, "knew you'd say that"

LOSS OF CHANGING COURSE...harder to change your mind when another is dependent on your living up to your word

CONFLICTING PRIORITIES..."I think this is more important," "We can't do this without first doing that"

NEED FOR MORE wheeling upsetting to planner type

LOSS OF UNQUESTIONED BEHAVIOR... "Why'd you say that, you should've said this,"  "Can't understand why you would do that"

DOUBLE THE BURDENS...of psychological pressures, worries, fears


Small price to pay for that upside, yes?

Thursday, August 4, 2011


The title should reveal to you how I feel about our Founding Fathers, who conceived the most wonderful of societies based on the most enlightened of ideas.  History testifies to how right they were.

But, alas, alack, they were not infallible nor omniscient nor free of error.  They were human, and in the writing of our glorious Constitution, they made errors.

Herein is my list of those errors…ideas incorporated in the Constitution that are flat out wrong, some that are arguably wrong, and those that are wrong because they are lacking in clarity:

Article I, Sec. 2
“Representatives…shall be apportioned among the several states…according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons…three-fifths of all other persons.”

“All other persons”, I guess, was a euphemism for “slaves”.  The FF could not say “all other men” because then it would clash head-on with the principle tenet of the Constitution they spelled out in the Declaration of Independence:  “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are…Liberty.”

The FF should have rejected slavery as an abhorrent denigration of the luminous concept of liberty, which they extolled.  Instead, they confirmed it.  ERROR

Article I, Sec. 8
        “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises”

All taxes of any kind, shape or manner, are violations of a taxpayer’s freedom.  They are the forceful taking of my property
without my consent…property to which I have an unalienable right, as a product of my life, to retain and/or dispose of as I, and I alone, see fit.   No matter the uses, benevolent or otherwise, to which taxes may be put, each and every tax is contradictory to, and a repudiation of, the concept of freedom.  If the government needs funds, in a freedom-based country like America, it must do so without denying that base on which it rests.  ERROR

      “The Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce …among the several states”

This so-called interstate commerce clause is one of the most egregious errors made by the FF. Virtually every good and service has been deemed to be in interstate commerce.  If a single nail used in the construction of a building located in State A was made in State B, the building and all activities therein are considered to be in and affecting interstate commerce and subject to government regulation.  Under this interpretation, the federal government has the power to regulate just about whatever it wishes…and it has been upheld by the Supreme Court in doing so.

The government’s intrusion into, and its issuance of regulations, in one of the most significant of human activities…commerce, the making of money…is antithetical to the fundamental concept of the sovereignty of the individual, not the state,  America’s unique foundation.  ERROR

       “The Congress shall have power to establish…an uniform rule on the subject of bankruptcies”

See prior analysis on the government’s intrusion into commerce.  ERROR

       “The Congress shall have power to establish post offices”

The sole proper responsibility of government is to maintain an environment in which we are free to live our lives as we choose, provided we do not initiate force against others and thereby deny them their comparable freedom.   Ayn Rand has pointed out the three ways in which the government fulfills that responsibility, to wit, maintaining police forces, military forces, and law courts to peacefully resolve disputes.  It is certainly not a proper government function to be in the mail delivery business.  The fact that a national postal service was “needed” in the time of the FF is not a valid reason for the government to unilaterally extend its Constitutionally enumerated powers.  The fact that, today, the government is in the postal business in competition with private firms, and is financed in part by taxes collected from those private firms, is doubly onerous.  ERROR

       “The Congress shall have power to raise and support armies”

Certainly, a function of the government is to maintain a military force (see above).  The question is: Did the FF envision the manning of that force solely by voluntary enlistments, or by a military draft, or both?  If a military draft was meant to be permitted, then the FF failed to see the contradiction of forcing  someone to fight for his freedom.  If a military draft was not intended, then the FF failed to make that clear.

Article 2, Sec. 2

        “The president…shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States”

The granting of reprieves and pardons for criminal offenses is properly done by an independent judiciary.  Giving the power to grant them to the Chief Executive made them political in nature, and we have historically seen the not unexpected abuse of that power.  ERROR

Article 4, Sec. 2

            “No person held to service or labour in one states…escaping into another, shall…be discharged from such service or labour, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due”

Reinforces the legitimacy of slavery and the immoral premise on which it rests: the treatment of  humans as chattel.  ERROR

Amendment I

                    “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble”

The listing of specific rights suggests they are the only rights, or the only ones protected from government interference.  In fact, freedom is  an individual’s right to do an endless array of peaceful choices , all unalienable at all times.  ERROR

Amendment II

              “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to bear and keep arms, shall not be infringed”

The awkward wording of that Amendment does not make clear whether the FF intended to recognize the right to private gun ownership.  ERROR

Amendment V

               “Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”

This, the eminent domain clause, gives the government the right to seize privately owned property, if paid for.  It is a clear violation of the unalienable right to one’s property and implicitly sanctions the use of force against  innocent property owners.  If the government needs a particular piece of property for government, it must seek to acquire it within the framework of individual property rights and freedom.     ERROR

In addition to the above overt errors, the FF made a significant error of omission.    They failed to acknowledge that women had co-equal rights with men, including the right to vote, and that when they had referred to “all men are created equal” in the Declaration, they meant both men and women.  By such failure, they supported and continued an irrational and discriminatory practice toward half the population.

The Founding Fathers were indeed men of outstanding virtue and vision.  Their invention of a society rooted in the sovereignty of each individual ranks as the greatest of human achievements, despite the errors I have noted.   I applaud and revere them for the grandeur of the country they fashioned for us all.