Ideologies & The Red Pill

Think On: “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.  It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” WILLIAM PITT, Speech in House of Commons, 1783

Tumbleweed has written before about ideology versus principles.  Some folks took issue with my comparison of ideology resting on a foundation of emotional sand versus principles resting on the bedrock of moral rules.  Folks are entitled to their opinions, but let Tumbleweed suggest that ideologies, as described so very effectively by clinical behavioral psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson, are “simple ideas, disguised as science or philosophy, that purport to explain the complexity of the world and offer remedies that will perfect it.”

Tumbleweed suggests that ideologies are mere substitutes for true knowledge and invariably dangerous, as a simple-minded, know-it-all approach – such as utopianism – cannot be a match for the complexity of our real-world existence.   The very word “ideology” has an 18th century French origin attributed to A.L.C. Destutt de Tracy and was to be used to designate the science of ideas.  While it was originally a serious philosophical term, Napoleon Bonaparte borrowed it, used it derisively, and relegated it to the trash heap of now being defined as a systematic body of concepts especially as ascribed to particular groups or political parties.  Tumbleweed has suggested that ideology not grounded in solid moral principles is downright dangerous.  In today’s morally relativistic world, the underlying morality of an ideology is critically important.

For example, there is a growing demographic in U.S. culture that has adopted socialism as its ideological mantra.  These folks are generally labelled as far left progressives, most often of the “new” Democratic Party persuasion.  Most have learned their socialism from media, academics, and political zealots as opposed to any intellectual debate in the crucible of ideas and experience.  No where in history has socialism succeeded as a form of government.  Certainly not Sweden for those not paying attention to that nation’s gross failures.  Socialism either regresses to a dependent culture with widespread socio-economic repression in which capitalistic elements are cherry-picked by the ruling class of utopians in a desperate effort to try to salvage the society or they take the next step to totalitarianism, as in Fascism, Communism, or Nazism.  Of course, the Communists have found the most expeditious way to control their utopian experiment is simply to kill dissenters…like more than 110 million in the past century alone.  Thank you, Karl Marx.  Oh, and the Communists are very much alive and well in the United States…some disguised as socialists.  Indeed, an ideology can be a dangerous, especially when grounded in faulty moral principles.  Tumbleweed argues that socialism seriously threatens our republic.  The sound moral principles embedded in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are vastly superior to any socialistic ideology, yet they are being challenged by mostly what Vladimir Lenin called useful idiots.

Tumbleweed believes it’s important to fight against evil.  Evil is an aggressive, pervasive, often subtle artifice that must be fought and defeated.   The alternative is to live in mediocrity or worse.  It boils down to a natural human tendency to treasure liberty, the opportunity to carve out our own opportunities unencumbered by some ponderous metastasizing supposedly-utopian government’s idea of how we should live every facet of our lives.  So, Tumbleweed has chosen the “red pill” (recall The Matrix) and is fighting  the evils of relativism, nihilism, and utopianism.  Just sayin’.

Scandal

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’.

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’.

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’.