Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My World View...

As I was reviewing a comment I made on my last blog to a friend, I said to myself, "this is as close as I have come to a reasonably short summary of my personal world view". So, with that realization, I thought I would requote it as a standalone blog today...and of course see what some of you friends and neighbors think or feel about it.

Just as a preface...a lot of people and our current politicians are talking about "world views" today. I think it would be a very good thing for every leader or politician to state a one page "world view" statement. From that, personally, I could make a very quick judgment on whether I want that person leading me or not. Of course the world view has to coincide or correlate with personal action and behaviors...since actions speak much louder than words. But, I think each of us needs to establish some foundation and "personal statement" about ourselves and our order to objectively examine those of others.

This statement is not meant to be all encompassing on every issue that could come up in examining my world view, and arguably, a world view should be something that shifts and flexes to a reasonable degree to new information or personal experience. Yet, I think most people's true world view doesn’t change much over the course of a lifetime...and while the following statement relates mostly to current events, I think a lot of what I wrote supports how I have lived my life to date...

To put this into context, I was challenged by my friend's statement that being for small government and less government controls in life, markets and finances is somehow "impractical" in light of current events and world needs...

...What is unfortunately "impractical" is my country's national debt, it's citizen's personal debt factors, and now the multiple TRILLIONS in "CMOs" (Collateralized Mortgage Obligations) and CDS's (Credit Default Swaps) which have been leveraged to cover up all our mis spending and over valuated holdings under all this paper that reaches international money systems. Those false platforms have been what sustain all the money sent to support our wars and the SCORES of countries the USA government has been GIVING money to. Money that it doesn’t have.

So...PRACTICALLY speaking, this has to stop now, and we and the rest of the world have to drink the hard medicine of reality. We have to teach people to fish versus just give them fish. We have to sustain our own democracy before trying to impart it to others. We have to float our own boat before we can take in any more stragglers to democracy and free enterprise. Yes, it is going to be nasty...and fatal in many cases. But...that is a reality of life...and death...when you have been living on borrowed time and money for DECADES.

In the long run, this can and will correct itself...but if we don’t start, the whole world could implode. Maybe that is what some people want...especially those who harbor apocalyptic fantasies...but it doesn’t HAVE to be that way.

But the answer starts with the "power of one"...each person doing their part to take care of their own space in this life. If each individual just worked smarter and harder to take care themselves, their families and their communities...these statist government systems would not have the pressure, or the obligation, nor the permission to sustain these unsustainable systems for the masses.

This is not to say I don’t feel for the poor and downtrodden people of the world or my own country. I try and help when and as best I can. But the first duty of freedom is to defend and support that freedom. After that, one can pursue helping others arrive to that principle and lifestyle as well. Unfortunately, the masses in history have not been allowed or exposed to the concept of free and independent living. And, it is something they have to TAKE. It is not something freely given by governments and/or religion. I feel my main responsibility and goal in life now is to sustain...and knowledge and freedom...because I do not want to live in slavery to "the world" or wrongful ideologies that bring death and destruction.


Timothy said...

Hi Ed,

I took the same political quiz, and was located bottom left. I'm actually not surprised, as we have many similarities and differences. Regarding your response to my last post, I think you misunderstood me. I did not mean to imply that the constitutional party (not you) was impractical. In some ways it is quite practical to close up shop and just take care of your own area in the world. What I meant to say was that it was immoral. Which is probably a word you might find more offensive than impractical haha!

The financial crises means America (and much of the western world) is in for alot of pain in the near future. There is no avoiding it, and there is no silver bullet to make the whole thing go away. The question is whether you want the Government to pay for it, with a massive budget deficit in the near future, or everyday people, in the form of closing businesses and massive unemployment as the credit market collapses and dies. I believe that the fundamental lesson to be learnt from it is that Government regulation is greatly needed in the financial sector, which was already fuelled by speculative greed before the crises even took place.

I know exactly what you mean about the budget crises. Not many politicians want to admit it. Neither campaign actually wants to talk about what promises they'll have to abandon because they just dont have the money to do it (it will probably be close to all of them). My solution would be to withdraw from the Iraq war asap, scale back the bail out plan (not eliminate it all-together), take out all of the distortinary subsidies that exist in the budget (i.e. ethanol + a whole lot of agricultural subsidies), and tax the rich more. It won't balance the budget in the short term (Bush had screwed the budget so tremendously it will perhaps take a generation to put it into better shape), but it's a good start.

Regarding the poor, healthcare, foreign aid, social security, and public education (they are all pretty much the same issue). I know that you care about the poor, I never meant to imply that you didn't. What I don't believe is that many other people do. Most people believe people are poor because of their own bad choices. There is an illusion in America that there is an "equality of opportunity", meaning that if you don't succeed it's your own fault. That is the biggest lie to ever be made in a western democracy. The poor can't just 'take it' and pick themselves up from their own bootstraps. They dont have the means, the resources, or the education that we do. Not many people will care about them, and they'll be left to starve. If you honestly believe that private charity can more than make up for public safety nets, then I can give you a thousand historical examples to show the complete opposite. A society needs safety nets, and rich countries needs to help out third world countries who are being exploited in terms of trade, lack the framework to modernise, and have a ton of starving people. For example, there's estimates that millions (MILLIONS!) in Ethopia will die from starvation in the near future if noone does anything. How will the free market take care of that?

Nevertheless, although on alot of examples we both represent the polar extremes, I keep coming back to this blog because I feel that we both have good and moral intentions. An exchange of ideas between so people is never a waste of time!

edward said...

OK Ghandi...I mean Tim:). (Excuse my sense of humor friend) I do appreciate your position and you make many valid points. I think you and I agree on most of the problems, just not the solutions. We're good for each other intellectually where we differ.

Yes, unchecked GREED is one of the ingredients that has gotten our markets to this perilous point. But, the greed has not been just one sided. Generally, a lot of the receivers of aid and handouts have also gotten more and more greedy...growing up on the hind tit of unregulated and unaccounted for handouts. And historically, money that has gone from government to government experiences huge losses ot that revenue to the politicals and bureaucrats that somehow grow up in ALL statist systems, stuffing THEIR pockets first, and trickling down what they HAVE to to the poor and needy. This is the system that I say does not work and is not the way to solve world hunger and poverty. Even orgs like the "Red Cross" have problems getting the funds and goods to the people who really need them, even here in the US of A. Just imagine how much gets syphoned off in these banana republics and dictatorial regimes that control the inflow of goods to their countries. If governments were more responsible caretakers, I would probably be more alligned with your approach...but they arent. So, we have to find another way(s).

Yes, I trust more in private non-profits and private enterprise to find solutions to the poverty and hunger in the world. This is harsh to say, but MANY regimes in the world purposely keep their people hungry, uneducated and with no this is the most secure way to keep their power and position. There is no other explanation for their actions...or inaction. Every country has its battle between the haves and the have nots...and the haves are not interested in sharing. And the "haves" usually control the governments, who control the masses. I realized this as a teenager...power is all about THE MONEY. It's been the way of the world like forever. Even my country has used its humanitarian aid as a political or cultural device to force change or submission on other countries and cultures. Do you think we are ever going to change that? So, what can we do about it?

Well, putting my marketers hat on...I think "enlightened", moneyed leaders need to promote privatized humanitarian aid...and not just give money, but be involved in the distribution and being a watchdog over what money or goods are given. There needs to be RESPONSIBLE giving...and no free rides. If someone doesnt want to learn how to fish, they dont eat fish. If someone doesnt abide by the agreements or terms of the gift, that gift is rescinded. If people use aid for making weapons against their enemies and even eventually against the donor...thats the end of the gravy train. Our giving has to quit being reactionary and become PROACTIVE. It is better to educate people to feed themselves than to simply feed them. We need to give gifts that "keep on giving". We need to educate people to not have babies who cant afford to feed them. Other wise, natural selection...and yes, Darwinism...will continue to dictate who survives and who does not in this modern age.

My final point to what you stated above is I am not as cynical as you about there not being many people who care about the poor. As I have traveled and lived many places, every where I go most of the people I have met are caring, good people. Many of them, especially in this Latin culture, take care of the aged and weakest in their families themselves. There are few government programs to help the homeless, destitute or drug addicted...yet you see much less of that in the street here in Panama than you do in most population centers in the USA. While I am probably over generalizing, I would claim this means that local family or community care traditions are much more affective than government ones. These countries are very poor compared to the USA, yet they have less of a problem with public homelessness, addiction and violent crime than the USA. And the USA is only going to get worse during this current economic crisis. Why is that?

Sorry, I have lost my faith in government systems and "social security nets" to overcome the human conditions of poverty and lack of education. It is now time to reverse the pyramid from the power of governments to the power of ONE. You and I need to start that right where we are, or where ever we go. That to me is the "Christian" thing to do...and the only way we will in time overcome these obstacles. From our Christian roots, lets call it our little way of "building the kingdom of God" example of good works, productive living, responsible charity, and pursuit of living freely. This will never get done by governments, or individuals who only have time and energy for working to pay off all their debts. This takes raising global consciousness and education levels, one by one, one day at a time.

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