Think On: “The greatest enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and realistic.” JOHN F. KENNEDY, U.S. PRESIDENT

Scandal is defined as an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage.  You’d hardly have guessed from the way scandals bounce around these days.

In today’s toxic environment, the term scandal is tossed around so readily as to have become meaningless.  After all, there are rarely any consequences in the political arena.

See whether you can say the following in a single breath: IRS Scandal, AG Contempt, Benghazi, General Motors Bailout, Obamacare, NSA Spying, DOJ Spying on Journalists, National Intelligence Leaks, Fast & Furious, Clinton Email Server, Veterans Affairs Scandal, Iran Deal, Bergstrom Deal, Chelsea Manning Commutation, Solyndra, Investigation of James Rosen, Illegal Executive Appointments, Iran Cash, Food Stamp Mania, Student Loans, Record Executive Orders, FISA Warrants…huff an’ puff.  That barely scratches the surface of “scandals” in the Obama White House.  Of course, some aren’t considered scandals if you’re of the Progressive liberal political persuasion.  The political liberals have their own set of Trump White House “scandals.”

The common thread among these scandals is not so simple.  They are certainly morally and legally wrong and have caused outrage by some segment of the public.  Tumbleweed hopes readers catch the drift.  Your morality or my morality; your legality or my legality?  Arghhh.

In Tumbleweed’s humble opinion, much scandal is a product of the failure of our cultural infrastructure from suppression of free thinking in our education system to the conscious devaluation of faith and family to the erosion of the nation’s founding principles.  In defense, people have learned to look out for themselves, as they seek pleasure in their hedonistic-driven culture and lash out at annoyances (i.e., scandals) that threaten that pleasure seeking.  Tumbleweed suggests that is a quite arrogant worldview given that most of the 108 billion humans that have populated the earth have already come and gone.  An infinitesimal fraction has the gall to complain!

Solutions?  For a start, we might reinsert our nation’s founding principles into the culture.  We might build/encourage families as basic unit of society.  We could stop government from stealing our liberties.  We might avoid addiction or enslavement to any ideology.  WE might strive to avoid taking advantage of others for selfish purposes.  We might try doing all things to the glory of God.  Yep.  There are some solutions.  These but scratch the surface.  Just sayin’.

Political Compromise – A Paradox

Think On: “The greatest enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and realistic.” JOHN F. KENNEDY, U.S. PRESIDENT

Like so many folks concerned about the ever-metastasizing Federal government “swamp,” Tumbleweed has observed that the often-manufactured divisiveness of politics layered atop the bloated bureaucracy defies credulity.  As JFK noted, myths abound.  If the myth suits your beliefs du jour, you fly to it like a moth to a lightbulb.  Our President refers to these politically-oriented myths as “fake news.”  But tumbleweed contends that its not really about politics and the accompanying myths, lies, exaggerations, half-truths, and sleight-of-hand, but an underlying paradox.  There is a major philosophical contradiction at work in our nation.

First, let’s consider compromise.  Compromise is the finding of some middle ground that two politically disparate parties can support.  Recall a definition of diplomacy as “the knack of letting the other person have your way.”  Think about if you accept a compromise on an issue that in some part contradicts your core beliefs, you thus have become party to something that thereby compromises your own morals.

Politicians are used to compromise, as they quickly learn to check the latest opinion polling (or convenient nearby lobbyist) and test the political winds of the day rather than reach into their own set of core beliefs.  “There are liars and there are politicians, but I repeat myself.”  So, goes the quote often attributed to Mark Twain.  Don’t we find it refreshing if not surprising, when a politician actually comes close to keeping campaign promises?

Tumbleweed contends that the United States has become a fertile breeding ground for lies and deceit, often cloaked as “news” but actually promoting seditious agendas that would totally undermine the founding principles of our nation.  We dare not lose sight of Adolph Hitler’s “social justice” reforms, Josef Stalin’s ethnic cleansings, or Pol Pot’s genocidal madness, as we listen to wet-behind-the-ears students, elitist academics, and leftist progressive politicians espouse their own agendas of reform that would rip our founding principles asunder in the name of some bumper sticker worthy issue.

Today’s real-world outcomes of progressive socialism-oriented entitlement culture that eschews compromise of their radical agenda, such as found in California, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Rhode Island, and more, find themselves in horrific social and financial trouble.  A socio-economic divide of their own making!  Big government entitlements require ever-higher taxes to maintain that safety net that fast becomes a spider web that then envelopes its victims.  Myths of global warming (no such thing as “settled science”), one-size-fits-all education (like failing “Common Core”) rooted in an archaic Prussian model, racism that simply no longer exists, urban “plantations” that enslave the poor of all races, “social justice,” and the plight of women purportedly downtrodden by a male-oriented culture are all fodder for the radical agenda.  Compromise isn’t in the radical lexicon, as it defeats their divisive purposes.

The amoral “anti-establishment” radicals of the 1960s and 1970s sowed the seeds for today’s morality-compromised generation of progressive professors, politicians, lawyers, and cultural absolutists.  Often as followers of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals playbook for the left, these demagogues live by those persistent, persuasive, and realistic myths of which JFK spoke.  They have spurned absolutes of right and wrong.  Little wonder that it seems as though America has lost its way.  As Christian apologist and author Ravi Zacharias notes, “the power to harness rebellion through media and technology is much easier.  One statement in one minute can reach one million now.  And evil people will harness that.”

Those who ascribe to the U.S. Constitution as the guiding principles for our nation have compromised for so long that they’ve nearly given away our freedoms.  It’s high time that freedom-loving citizens got some backbone.  Compromise is indeed paradoxical; call it absurd, abhorrent, enigmatic, or whatever label we choose to more accurately define it.  The paradox is that in ascribing to compromise, we give away some pieces of our principles.  Do it enough, and we soon discover that our principles – the ones that protect our freedoms – are gone.

Tumbleweed believes that political compromise is a game in which there are no winners but certainly losers.  It boils down to ideology versus core philosophical principles.  Ideology refers to a set of beliefs or doctrines that back a certain social mindset.  Philosophic principles refer to looking at life in a pragmatic manner and attempting to understand why life is as it is what principles govern it.  Leftist progressives see principles as a metaphoric straightjacket rather than as standards for protecting freedoms.  When you compromise your principles, you have lost.

Recent politics have offered a serious lesson in backlash.  Pushed to the brink by years of political compromise and its impact on our daily lives (e.g., sprawling invasive government, loss of freedoms, etc.), frustrated angry Americans elected a non-politician president.  We might take issue with his colorful Bronx style, but love the way it offends the condescending elitist leftwingers.  They call it “Trump derangement syndrome, or TDS.  Draining the swamp, deregulating business, freeing energy resources, cutting taxes, appointing an apolitical judiciary, and hardline foreign policy have answered the prayers of the political right while throwing the political left into pangs of apoplexy.  The president has given hope that the nation might yet be saved from the brink of failure-prone European-style socialism.

Tumbleweed has shared an unusually long post wrapped around a complex subject.  BUT, our nation was founded on important bedrock principles.  Any further compromise will most certainly destroy the freedoms those principles protect.  Just sayin’.


Think on: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, then to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows no victory nor defeat.” T.R. Roosevelt

Tumbleweed spent 8 years in a part-time gig as an adjunct professor of business at a local college, teaching management, finance, marketing, and the like.  It was a joy to share and impart knowledge.  Students would often ask about their careers.  The Tumbleweed answer was simple yet profound; as I’d draw three intersecting circles…a Venn diagram.  In the first circle, the student would put what they were great at; in the second what they were fully passionate about; and the third whether it could earn them a living.  The nexus was what author/researcher Jim Collins in Good to Great called the BHAG, or Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

That’s a long way to getting around to sharing Tumbleweed’s BHAG.  Perhaps, my experience will help you find yours.  As a freshman in high school, my English teacher had us memorize lines from Shakespeare.  I chose Marc Anthony’s soliloquy over the body of the murdered Caesar, “Oh pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth that I am meek and gentle with these beggars…”  I was hooked.  I wrote my first poetry.  Powerful.  Cathartic.  But life went on.  Tumbleweed sort-of-grudgingly majored in English with a history minor in college, partied heartily, then left the creative to get a job writing technical manuals for military systems.  That was a far cry from creative writing.  But the trail led Tumbleweed to other communication forms, like advertising copy, brochures, press releases, scripts, and websites.  In the background, poetry, the music of the soul, kept my creative juices alive.  Business pursuits kept the lights on, but…

At some level, Tumbleweed was fairly good at writing – and even passionate about it – yet couldn’t lift the craft to the ultimate, fully-dedicated heights of passion, as my creative writings weren’t earning income.  A couple of early novels danced from fingertips to computer keyboard.  Tumbleweed self-published a Christian men’s self-help book, Building Godly Manly Men.  (Generally speaking, men’s self-help books don’t sell…no exception here.)

So, have you read Thomas Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities?  I not only read it but attended a talk by the author at a hotel in downtown Washington, DC.  Wolfe was resplendent in white linen suit, expounding artfully on his craft.  Tumbleweed so wanted to be at that lectern, talking about his own books.  The fire had been lit.  I wrote another book, and then another.  The drafts sit gathering dust.  I published a novel for teen boys, Jackson’s Journey. It got good reviews on Amazon, and a few copies were sold.  Nice, but not a way to earn a living.  Had to keep the day job.

Then, Tumbleweed’s writing passion was truly rekindled.  I picked up a dog-eared, coffee-stained copy of part of my Texas ancestral history along with a hand-scribbled family tree.  From that emerged an historical novel, biographical in nature, about Tumbleweed’s great great grandfather Nicholas Dunn titled Long Larry Dunn: A Texas Family Destiny.  (Long Larry was Nicholas’ own grandfather.)  The Texas tale inspired more poetry and led to self-publishing Life Unfettered, a collection of dozens of Tumbleweed’s poems.  I joined the Poetry Society of Texas, the Pennsylvania Poetry Society, and Catoctin Voices, a local poetry group.  Another Texas novel surged from my dreams and passions.  Cowboy Nation: A New Republic is a fictional account of a Texas successfully gaining independence from the United States.  Tumbleweed joined the Texas Nationalist Movement as part of the research for the book.  A third Texas historical novel, Recollections, about a cousin who was a railroad entrepreneur and helped build the Panama Canal is in the works today.

The dream, the vision, the passion lurks within.  Tumbleweed envisions sharing Texas with large audiences of western story aficionados.  And, I hope to vividly capture and share the stories of my own ancestors that immigrated from Ireland to settle the Texas frontier.  They were men and women of faith, hard-working, and able to endure life and find joy on the Texas frontier.  After all, everything is bigger and better in Texas.  No blarney.

So, what’s your dream?  Vision? Passion?  Just sayin’.

Utopia or America?

Think on: “The theory of Communism may be summed up in a single sentence: Abolition of private property.”  Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, 1848

Tumbleweed has observed that there are actually citizens who think America should be a socialist utopia, a faux-paradise of equality.  It harkens me back to a few years ago when my then 13-year-old son upon being asked if it would be great to live in a utopian society responded, “Yours or mine?”  Profound!  And equality?  It’s about equality of opportunity, not sameness.

If any of the so-called intellectual elite out there have bothered to truly absorb Thomas More’s Utopia or Plato’s Republic or Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan or Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, they should be quickly dissuaded of the practical viability of utopianism as an undergirding form of governing people (aka, socialism).  Our founding fathers surely recognized this as evidenced by our Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States.  To the purpose of creating a free society of individuals that controlled their government rather than vice versa, they followed the philosophical teachings of John Locke in Two Treatises of Government and the writings of Charles Montesquieu.

As described by economist/historian Friedrich Hayek in The Road to Serfdom, governments based in utopian principles such as communism, Nazism, and socialism depend upon and eventually gravitate to tyrannical leadership if they don’t first fall socially and economically by their own weight.  George Orwell’s 1984 is arguably a variant on this process, keeping in mind that he was an avowed socialist.  Of course, some of those “intellectual elitists” point to a nation such as Sweden as a socialist success story; ignoring the fact that they’ve had to adopt capitalist techniques to prop up their economies and continue to suffer from failing infrastructure.

High school history books – or whatever they’re calling them these days – pay scarce if any attention to Woodrow Wilson’s espoused commitment to Hobbesian utopian philosophy featuring big government determining life as it should be lived.  Also ignored is the fact that Franklin Roosevelt’s key advisors studied Communism for years under Trotsky and Lenin.  Little wonder that FDR sought to apply Communist principles as the underpinnings of his New Deal.  Those programs were failing miserably, saved only by the political-economic aberration called World War II with its accompanying vast military buildup.

Tumbleweed could go on at far greater length as to the failures of utopianism, but suffice to say it’s quite scary when citizens – especially younger demographics in our nation – embrace socialist utopian thinking.  Keep in mind that these utopian states are godless societies.  Rights in such societies are issued by government, not by God.  Morality – or virtue, if you will – becomes a frightening variable, built on the sand of man’s musings of the moment rather than on the rock of biblical teaching.  The utopians evolve their morality from laws aimed at controlling the population.  Utopia is about crowd control, not individualism.  In a utopia, your individual creativity and motivation are unwelcome, as you must succumb to the central control…the government…the masters.  In the utopian-driven socialistic model, the welfare safety net turns out to be a spider web where the government spiders devour the hopes and dreams of its the individual victims.

So, Tumbleweed will go out on a limb here.  In a government as we have in the United States today wherein politicians and bureaucrats will go to great lengths to preserve and even increase their power, how can we the people regain the control that our founding fathers intended?  Draining the proverbial government swamp only scratches the surface, as entire industries are wrapped around the perpetuation of Leviathan, from healthcare to energy to education and so on. It’s like a metastasizing cancer on our nation.  Would that folks read the Constitution and restore us to its basic governance principles?  Just sayin’.

Christmas Joy

THINK ON: Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.  This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” LUKE 2:9-12

Tumbleweed figures it’s appropriate to end the year on a lighter note, at least as opposed to dealing with all the problems in the world.  Christmas is a time of joy; a time of celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Joy?  It’s certainly tempting to take “joyful” back-handed swipes at the myriad political kerfuffles we witnessed this past year.  I expect we’ll have more of that sort of joy to look forward to next year.

“News of great joy” holds such promise.  Actually, joy for Tumbleweed is family and friends.  My blessings of joy seem numbered as the stars in the night sky.  My wife and our two sons top my joys at Christmas.  Then there’s my dear family spread across the country; though especially in Texas.  Friends, good close friends are few in number but bountiful in my heart.  Indeed, great joy fills Tumbleweed’s heart.

Joy is so important, as it has the capacity to compensate for the not-so-joyful happenings that find their way into our lives.  Think on Mary and Joseph who faced family ostracism over her pregnancy, and then entered crowded Bethlehem and had to endure bedding down in a stable.  Seems their situation was turned to joy with the birth of Jesus and knowledge of what He was to become.  And now we celebrate their joy with a holiday we call Christmas.  We celebrate His life, death, and resurrection; but at this Christmas moment, we celebrate the joy of His birth.

Tumbleweed wishes everyone a joyful Christmas.


Only a Trillion Dollars

Tumbleweed admits that this is an unusually long post.  Then again, a trillion dollars is a lot of money.  It takes a special perspective to come to grips with it.  The next time you hear a politician use the word “billion” in a casual manner, think about whether you really want that politician spending your tax money.  Then, think about “trillion,” which you hear increasingly from the hallowed halls of our government.  Let’s see, to truly grasp the number it’s got to be more than the fact that a trillion is a thousand billion.

A billion is a difficult number to fully comprehend.  By comparison, a trillion is absolutely mind-boggling.  So, let’s get some perspective:

  • A billion seconds ago, it was 1976 (a trillion seconds would put you at roughly 30,000 B.C.).
  • A billion minutes ago, Jesus was alive.
  • A billion hours ago, our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
  • A billion days ago, no one walked on the earth on two feet.
  • A billion years ago, the earth was pretty much a molten mass…and a trillion years ago our solar system likely didn’t even exist.
  • A billion dollars ago was less than 2 hours ago at the rate our Federal government is spending it.

Now, let’s see.  The U.S. national debt as of November 2017 is $20,597,790,000,000.  Hmmmm!  The Gross Domestic Product is a mere $19,420,000,000,000.  So, the debt represents 105 percent of the U.S. GDP.  That is as bad as it seems.  Of course, politicians quickly point to Japan at 230 percent debt to GDP and Greece at 177 percent.  Of course, those two economies are in the proverbial toilet.

Actually, did you ever notice that the typical calculator won’t even permit you to enter a billion?  Hmmmmm.  So, what does one TRILLION dollars look like?

All this talk about “stimulus packages” and “bailouts” and “temporary spending bills”…  A billion dollars…  A hundred billion dollars… One TRILLION dollars…  What does that look like? I mean, these huge dollar numbers are tossed around like so many doggie treats, so I thought I’d try to get a sense of what exactly a trillion dollars looks like.

We’ll start with a $100-dollar bill. Currently, it’s the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slightly fewer have owned them. Guaranteed to make friends wherever they go.  A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2″ thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun.  The next little increment is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000), and you could stuff that into a standard grocery bag.  While a measly $1 million might look a little unimpressive, $100 million is a bit more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet about waist high.  However, with $1 BILLION dollars, we’re really getting somewhere.  It would fill eight of those waist-high pallets.  Getting scary isn’t it?

Next, we’ll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we’ve been hearing so much about. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it’s a million million. It’s a thousand billion. It’s a one followed by 12 zeros.  You ready for this?  It’s pretty surprising.  A trillion dollars would require three football fields of those pallets stacked double high with $100 bills.  MIND BOGGLING!!!

So, the next time you hear some politician toss around the term “trillion dollars”… that’s what they’re talking about

The government will have taken in $3.21 trillion for fiscal year 2017 while spending was pegged at roughly $3.7 trillion, an “automatic” deficit of $490 billion.  The U.S. national debt is $20.6 trillion and interest is $2.4 trillion of which we will pay annual interest of more than $228 billion (there are those big numbers again).  We will have spent $1.3 trillion more on so-called “entitlements” (Social Security, Welfare, Unemployment, Housing, & Medicare) than we will have spent on defense of our nation ($1.9 trillion vs. $569 billion).  Besides borrowing, where does that money come from?  Bet you can’t read the following in a single breath:

Accounts receivable tax, building permit tax, commercial driver license tax, cigarette tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, individual federal income tax, state income tax, multiple healthcare taxes, capital gains tax, business taxes, federal unemployment tax, social security & other payroll taxes, excise tax, energy tax, healthcare tax, fishing license tax, food license tax, fuel permit tax, gasoline tax, hunting license tax, inheritance tax, customs duties, estate & gift taxes, inventory tax, IRS interest taxes (tax on top of tax), IRS penalties (another tax on top of tax), liquor tax, luxury tax, marriage license tax, Medicare tax, property tax, real estate tax, service charge taxes, road usage tax (truckers), sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, state income tax, state sales tax, state unemployment tax, telephone federal excise tax, telephone federal universal service fee tax, state local telephone surcharge tax, telephone recurring and nonrecurring charges tax, telephone usage charge tax, telephone state & local tax, utility tax, vehicle license fee, vehicle registration fee, watercraft registration tax, well permit tax, building permit fees, workers compensation tax…anyone laughing?  Oh, and now we’ll add 23 new taxes and a penalty connected with the “Affordable” healthcare law.

Now, I hope you’re seated.  NONE (zero, zilch, nada, nil), none of these taxes existed 100 years ago!  AND our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

Just 125 years ago, we had absolutely no national debt, we had the largest middle class in the world, we were mostly pretty self-sufficient, divorce was rare, television was nonexistent, Twitter was what you felt when you were in love, AND moms stayed home to raise and often home school the kids.  We didn’t need bailouts or stimulus packages, the Federal Reserve wasn’t, paper money was backed by gold and silver, and no nation messed with us.  In fact, the government didn’t mess with us very much.  We weren’t perfect, but… arguably we were in better shape than today.

If you’re ready to hyperventilate, go to

Anyone check lately about whether “entitlements” are in the U.S. Constitution?  Uh-oh.  They aren’t, are they?  What happened?  Whose money is being spent?  Whoa, wait, that’s our money!

Can you spell g-r-e-e-d?  Can you spell l-i-e-s?  Can you spell p-o-l-i-t-i-c-i-a-n-s?  How about P-r-o-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e-s?  E-n-t-i-t-l-e-m-e-n-t-s?

Billions…trillions…numbers that are so overwhelming that we’ve become numbed to them.  We hear them bandied about in the media, but since we can’t conceive of ever attaining those numbers for ourselves we tend to tune out the news.  Should we?

There are idiots out there that want to give even more free stuff from government coffers to citizens.  All we need to do is get rid of spending on defense and tax billionaires more heavily.  So, aside from our enemies coming in and walking all over us, let’s take away the sources of investment for the businesses that employ our workforce.  Putting aside that most billionaire wealth is tied up in investment (e.g., corporations, real estate, etc.) that’s not taxable as income, all the U.S. billionaires net worth combined could barely put a dent in the national debt.

Maybe what we actually need is p-o-l-i-t-i-c-i-a-n-s with f-i-s-c-a-l r-e-s-p-o-n-s-i-b-i-l-i-t-y.

Sexual Harassment – Defamation Tool

Think on: For wicked and deceitful mouths open against me; they speak against me with lying tongues.  They surround me with hateful words and attack me without cause.  PSALM 109:2-3

Like many folks, Tumbleweed has been noticing a veritable plethora of claims of sexual harassment and aggression exponentially dominating headlines.  From Congress’ Anthony Weiner to Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein to Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott to Alabama’s Roy Moore, we are besieged with real and possibly fake accusations.  Sorting through them to determine veracity can be a challenge unto itself.  How many are true?  How many are trumped up fakeries to bring down a celebrated figure or organization?

Tumbleweed suggests that accusations drawn from the past are more often becoming a tool of political hacks to take advantage of opportunists with clouded memories dredging up alleged dark secrets.  Yep, Tumbleweed is talking about those “wicked and deceitful mouths” out there.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  When there’s legitimate sexual harassment, violators should be indicted, tried, convicted, and punished.  Hang’em high!  We cannot stand for attacks on women.

So, there is certainly sexual harassment out there, and it’s shameful.  But we must stand awestruck at the profusion of accusations that continue to flood the media, as accusers get their 15 seconds of fame to bring down an alleged predator.  Tumbleweed thinks back on Bill Clinton’s “alleged” peccadillos and how his victims were sanctimoniously poo-pooed by the liberal elite.  Even his wife viciously discounted Bill’s victims.

What are the solutions toward stopping sexual harassment?  Education?  Probably.  Mutual respect between the sexes?  Good idea.  Christian love and compassion?  Certainly.  Avoid situations that encourage sexual contact?  Duh.  Just sayin’.

Social Media – Friend or Foe

Think on: “All the lonely people, where do they all belong?” PAUL MCCARTNEY Eleanor Rigby, 1966

Tumbleweed recently reengaged with social media and tested the Facebook waters.  I was quickly reminded of its addictive allure.  It can be enslaving.  I was reminded why it’s both friend and foe, as I viewed posts from family and friends.  In some instances, posts were downright startling in their lack of social engagement.  Liberals especially see things as black or white and often express views in rather sanctimonious fashion.  One of the scariest aspects is how people hide behind the masks of Facebook, Twitter, and their ilk.

Social media has become like a second skin to many, especially to what they call the Millennial Generation.  Whether in life or in the business world, it is an environment that must be faced.  It is defined as online digital communications between individuals and communities.  Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, and the like represent an all-to-real contrivance of communities.

This 21st century phenomenon has a global reach; is mostly blind to race, gender, nationality, or intellect; enables far-reaching densely networked communities; fosters narcissism, loneliness, and isolation; and enables cultural tribalization.  “Whoa!” you might say, “How do communities foster loneliness and isolation?”  Well, we’ll talk about that.

First off, why is it importance to balance social media in life and business?  Anytime you have an imbalance, the implication is that something is out of whack.  Anytime that you obsessively or compulsively – or addictively – use anything to excess, other aspects of life and business necessarily suffers.  So, as with any excess, it is vitally important to achieve balance.  For example, drinking alcohol isn’t bad, but drinking to a drunken stupor is; having plenty of money isn’t bad, but worshiping the hoarding of money is; material things aren’t bad, but accumulating far more than you can reasonably use is; and so on.  Similarly, we cannot function in society, in God’s world, if we overly isolate ourselves from it.  You get the picture.

Tumbleweed suggests that there are three principle components to this isolation condition.  There is solitude defined as a physical condition of separation; there is independence which is a conscious choice; and there is loneliness which is psychological.  Social media by its very nature interferes with “real friends,” creates artificial distance (invisible protective barriers), fosters loneliness, and passively consumes yet broadcasts disconnection.  The social media disciple fails to recognize that it is the quality of social interaction, not the quantity, which predicts the degree of loneliness.  In other words, quantity creates a place in which you can become effectively anonymous.  The social media addict physically meets fewer people and by gathering less creates fewer bonds.  It also shields them from the realities of society.

Amazingly, most people fail to comprehend how social media has, as a consequence of its isolating nature, had a cocoon-like effect on our society as people struggle with interpersonal relationships.  It separates.  It divides communities.  Sitting in front of a computer or tablet has also led to more physical and mental ailments, as less exercise breeds obesity coupled with susceptibility to illness and mental health has deteriorated.  Little wonder that the behavioral health industry is flourishing.  You may wonder what this has to do with you and your life.  I would hope that answer is obvious, but you really must ask yourself, “What would Jesus have done?”

Solitude should be an overtly planned act, not one dictated by a smart phone.  We need solitude to recharge our physical batteries.  What do you do during this solitude?  You apply introspection, especially accompanied with prayer, to talk to yourself.  One of the best ways to do that is to talk to another person, one you can trust, to whom you can unfold your soul.  Oh, that other person is God.  Try it.  Trust me, it’s far better than the distraction of 846 supposed “friends” on Facebook, and the feedback is far more trustworthy.

If you’re feeling especially frisky have some friends over, check smart phones at the door, and actually talk.  Is social media your friend?  Social media can be friend or foe; but you make that determination.  Just sayin’.

Tyranny of the Left

Think on: “When one gives up Christian belief, one thereby deprives oneself of the right to Christian morality.  FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

Tumbleweed doesn’t believe Nietzsche for a nanosecond, as old Friedrich never truly understood the fundamental Christian tenets of faith, salvation, and forgiveness that transcend evil.  That would require humility, and Friedrich was anything but humble.  Recall that Friedrich famously said that God was dead.  (Maybe the first five letters of his name describe his brain.)

Having had my fun with Nietzsche, let’s briefly examine how the excising of faith contributes to the title of this post.  The tyranny Tumbleweed refers to here is that of public opinion as driven by morality.  Imagine if the United States were to be ruled by the public opinion of the moment.  It might resemble the great coliseum in Rome where the fate of gladiators rested on the whim of the crowd’s thumbs up or down.  Thankfully, we’ve got a democratic republic and the Electoral College to prevent such tyranny of the masses.

Tumbleweed contends that there is a direct correlation between the continuous removal of religion from the public square and the steadily declining morality in our nation.  Recall “separation of church and state?”  It was defined in a 1947 landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in Everson v. Board of Education which incorporated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as binding upon the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The decision in Everson marked a turning point in the interpretation and application of religious disestablishment law in the modern era.   Then on June 17, 1963 the Supreme Court in Abington Township School District v. Schempp made its famous “school prayer” decision.  This prohibited school officials from organizing or leading prayers and devotional Bible reading in public schools.  Few of us have actually read the decision, which means that we’ve been susceptible to successive opportunistic religious and political leaders – like a bunch of Nietzsche Chicken Littles blabbering about “kicking God out of the schools.”  It turns out that the Supreme Court ruling never banned prayer or the Bible from public schools. Students do have a First Amendment right to pray alone or in groups, bring their scriptures to school, share their beliefs with classmates, form religious clubs in secondary schools, and in other ways express their faith during the school day as long as they don’t disrupt the school or interfere with the others’ rights.

Tumbleweed contends that especially since the Schempp decision, our nation has devolved into near moral bankruptcy as Christian morality has been systematically excised from the public arena.  Ironic how a mere 60-second daily devotional exercise – feared by left-wing atheistic zealots – is viewed as threatening the outcome of a social-justice-based curriculum indoctrinating children every day for 12 years.

The bottom line is God-centered versus man-centered worldviews.  It’s whose you are versus who you are.  For those never exposed to or accepting of Christian values, it can be a slippery slope to cultural decay.  And even for those who claim to be Christians, too often human pursuits ease out Godly pursuits.  We dare not forget Romans 13:8-10, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Love your neighbor.  That can be a bit of a challenge in today’s social media driven society.  Love is mentioned as many as 538 times in the Bible, depending on the translation.  Tumbleweed has observed a not-so-subtle cultural engineering prevalent in social media, as the persons who control the menu control the choices people make.  This self-centered view fostered by social media has bred an intolerance that tears away at freedoms in schools, courts, and communities.  It’s a logical leap that the more social media with its aversion to Christian morality picks informational winners and losers, the less freedom Christians and others will enjoy.  It isolates us and presents easy socio-political targets for our enemies.  Indeed, we wind up with a mechanism that enables left-wing progressives and their socialist ilk to deliver on their tyrannical social, economic, and political views.  They wield the establishment clause as a hammer to remove every last vestige of religion from the public square.  With it go our freedoms.

Dare we be surprised that Biblically-based morality is fast-disappearing from our nation?  Dare we fight back against the tyranny of the left?  Why not?  Just sayin’.

Gold Gets Bad Wrap

Think on: “Non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut aurum.  ALAIN DE LILLE, Parabolae

Tumbleweed’s having a bit of fun with y’all here.  In plain English, “All that glitters is not gold.”

So, my family tells me that writing a post about the “gold standard” is simply too heavy for most folks to absorb.  Well, that may be because most people don’t know what it is, and when they do hear about it, it’s usually being treated with derision as something archaic.  Interesting.  Once again, our education system has let us down by giving in to the progressive lefties in our mix.  Heaven forbid that our founding fathers and capitalism should make sense.   By definition a gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is based on a fixed quantity of gold.

Currency manipulators chalk up a win!  Actually, the United States was technically on the gold standard until President “Tricky Dick” Nixon signed its death warrant on August 15, 1971.  That’s not really that long ago.  The question is why was it dumped?  If you follow to economists like Friedrich von Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Henry Hazlitt, or Nathan Lewis, you’d understand that the key to great economic booms is stable currency.  Oh, and you may have heard of a fellow named Adam Smith who framed capitalism in his Wealth of Nations treatise.  Effectively, hardly anything in an economy is created without combining goods, services, labor, and capital networked through use of money and shared via prices, interest rates, profits, and losses.  Whew!  That’s a mouthful and likely pretty dry stuff for many people.  Bottom line, a stable currency is critically important.  An unstable currency in an economy is like a computer virus, corrupting “bits” of the economic program to create destructive bubbles not unlike 2007.  For example, in 2001, our beloved Federal Reserve deliberately weakened the dollar, and that drove oil from $20 a barrel to more than $100 a barrel.

Gold lost its luster.  Gold affords a fixed weight and measure to the value of products and services.  (For those concerned with today’s fluctuating price of gold, it’s simply a reflection of wildly fluctuating world economies based upon U.S. paper – not gold.)  The gold standard’s demise pretty much began in the 1890s with Democrat William Jennings Bryan’s pro-inflation, anti-gold presidential run.  The Great Depression – of which the gold standard was a victim not a cause – gave the left-wingers the ammo to further sow the seeds for playing vague paper-money games via central bank theory, aka, the Federal Reserve.  They embraced John Maynard Keynes (Heard of Keynesian economics? Try socialism or social capitalism.), and stable monetary value went down the toilet from there.  Throw politicians into the socio-economic mix, and we’ve got a volatile concoction that has throttled the U.S. economy ever since.  People don’t understand the complexity, and this translates into fear that politicians prey upon.  While capitalism may seem complex, the seeming simplicity of socialism becomes attractive until you learn its fatal flaw as articulated by George Orwell in Wigan Pier.  That is, socialists actually don’t like the poor; they merely hate the wealthy.  Unstable currency enables the socialist mantra of power in the hands of a few and keeps the road to serfdom wide open.

President Ronald Reagan tried and failed to restore the gold standard in the 1980s, as he was blocked by Keynesian progressives sowing fears that social justice causes would be destroyed through economic stagnation, rampant inflation, and political upheaval.  Hmmm.  It seems that’s exactly what the Keynesian central bank acolytes have wrought for us today.

So, my family is probably right.  The gold standard and its critical importance might be too much for most folks to grasp.  For my part, I wish more citizens would get a hot branding iron in their pants toward returning to the gold standard.  Just sayin’.