No Good Choices
I wish I could convince myself that choices open to us in international affairs, and most other social/political issues, were good ones as well as bad ones, rather than just bad ones and worst ones. Faith in the optimistic liberalism that defined much of my life would be a pleasant respite from the reality I see in our future.
How I Became A Liberal
In 1960 I was in the Army stationed in Okinawa. That year I voted for the first time by absentee ballot for John Kennedy. I was inspired by Kennedy's "New Frontier" as were most young persons at that time. The “New Frontier” ideal, that social science could do for human societies what physical science did for technology, led me (after military service) to the Peace Corps in Peru and later to graduate work in geography and a position as professor at Ohio University. My area of specialization was Latin America and because I viewed poverty as the prime problem in that region my research interests were directed toward economic development. I firmly believed the New Frontier dream, that social science, and especially we geographers, would solve the problems of underdevelopment in Latin America and lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and into the good life. Those were heady days!
I soon became aware of the fact that most social scientists in Latin America subscribed to the communist/socialist model of development, and that that view was apparently shared by a significant share of social scientists in the U.S. My Peace Corps experience in Peru and research in other Latin America countries had convinced me that Latinos are extremely individualistic and undisciplined (to a much greater extent than people in the U.S), and that they never trust government to do anything, let alone everything. It was very hard to believe the communist/ socialist model could work in Latin America. Nonetheless, we had the example of the USSR that had "pulled itself up by it bootstraps" to achieve considerable development over a short period. If that model could be made to work in L.A., and given that there was little democracy and individual freedom to lose, I reasoned that the "forced-march" to economic development would be worth trying.
By 1980 it was clear to me (and I believe anyone willing to face reality) that Communism was an economic, social, political, and environmental disaster even in the relatively disciplined countries of Europe and Asia, and that there could be no hope for success in Latin America. Nevertheless, Latino and American social scientists did not change their opinions—indeed, they seemed to become more strident and militant in the face of evidence that their ideas were completely wrong. I found that baffling.
At a Latin Americanist geography meeting the prime-time session was on "The Alternative View of Development in L.A." Interestingly, no one spoke against the "alternative" (communist/socialist) view, nor did anyone point out that the “alternative” view was apparently the near universal view among Latin American social scientists and a large share of social scientists in the U.S. Comments from the floor by two of the most influential people in the field brought cheers from the panel and audience: One said "we say we oppose exploitation and here we are drinking coffee produced in Latin America;" (implying that importing coffee from L.A. constituted exploitation), and the other said: "The people of L.A. are poorer now than they were in 1950 when I first began to study that region." I was flabbergasted to hear those things from persons I respected. I went to the second individual (who had served on my dissertation committee) and told him that based on my short experience in Mexico in the late 1950's, it was my impression that most Mexicans were illiterate and dirt poor, and that is certainly not the case today. He said: "You don't know the half of it; when I first started working in L.A. most people were landless peasants just avoiding starvation…" "But, in the meeting you said …" I reminded him. "Oh hell, don't pay any attention to what people say at these silly meetings!"
Imagine my shock and indignation; I thought we were about the important business of economic development, and was told by one of the most prominent persons in the field that it is just a silly game. Could we be more concerned with spouting politically correct views than the important business of economic development? We all knew that suppression of communism had produced many conflicts in Latin America, including several wars in which many tens of thousands of people lost their lives. And, we knew that communist ideology was so disruptive in Latin American universities that graduation of most students were much delayed, sometimes by years by closures and protests, and that economic development in many countries had been set back a generation! Could we ignore that? Is it possible that we place our concerns for politically correct speech above the welfare of the people we purport to serve?
I attempted to begin a dialogue with a number of "liberals" who were espousing the communist/ socialist model. I felt that if we could write views on paper and give the other person time to think through the response, the shouting match could be replaced by rational thought. Not ONE of those persons ever responded to my attempts at dialogue. I cornered one guy at a meeting and asked him about a response: "Yeah, I'm going to get around to that," he said, and hurried away. I believe they were actually embarrassed by how silly their views were. For example: At one meeting one of them stated (to the cheers of fellow socialists) that "US investor's take more money out of L.A. than they take in!" No shit Sherlock; would businessmen put more money into their business than they take out? Some business! When a US businessman invests 10 million in L.A. he intends to take 100 million out over the coming couple of decades; after all, he could double his money in a bank over that period and with no work or risk at all! He will also have generated a billion dollars or so, most of which goes into the local economy in the form of rent, wages, and payment for raw materials, and none of which would have existed had the investment not been made. How can someone argue that Latin Americans would be better off without the 900 million in rent, wages, and payment for raw materials? What do you suppose the guy who made the silly statement (that they take more out than they take in) had to say to my response? He said nothing at all.
So, What The Hell Are We Doing?
I soon began to realize that we (social scientists) are not about the serious business of economic development, or anything else related to social problems. Most of the successful social scientists who did not espouse the "proper line" did not engage social issues at all. A bright colleague of mine spent most of his time studying barn types (and other cultural features in rural areas in Ohio) and made a hell-of-a career out of it, with many publications and even a documentary on PBS. He always advised me to stop "butting my head against the wall." Those people in the field who thought through the issues were just standing by, smiling down their noses like grammar teachers watching the antics of the children on the playground. But, I couldn't do that. The idea that my life's work had been trivialized by a political correctness so silly it could not be defended by the most convinced believers was too much to take.
During the 80's and 90's I witnessed the takeover of another branch of my field—study of the environment by “environmentalists”. We have now reached the point that most rational persons will stop listening after hearing the word "environmentalist." One colleague of mine told his students for 30 years that we would run out of oil (copper, iron ore, and other minerals) in 10 - 15 years. His evidence consisted of a table showing the amount of “known reserves” of various minerals and the number of years that reserve would last at the current rate of usage (in most cases 10 to 15 years). The definition of “known reserves” is clearly stated at the bottom of the table: Amount known to exist that can be extracted with current technology at the current price. Is there anyone who does not know that mining companies would have to be morons to develop reserves that cannot be sold over the next ten to fifteen years? Is there anyone who does not know that if there were a shortage, pressure for more efficient technology would promote a change in the method of extraction, or a substitute for that mineral would be developed, or the price would go up, bringing into production supplies that could not be produced at the lower price? Is there anyone who does not know that the real price of virtually all raw materials and other necessities has been declining since stone age times and (with a few exceptions, including petroleum) has declined to so small a percentage of total income that a doubling of the price would hardly be noticed? But never mind; we will run out of this or that in 10 to 15 years. My environmentalist colleague has had one hell-of-a following; his students almost worship him. Of course, for these kids 10 years is half a lifetime, and a few years from now they will dismiss their environmental "education" as a college fling, and my colleague will have a new group of kids to turn on. No harm done? The hell you say: The extremely important work of maintaining our environment and correcting problems requires serious science and lots of the taxpayer's money, both of which are made difficult or impossible by making "environmentalism" a silly game to turn on college students. Are we to ignore the real impact of their silliness? There is a terrible price to pay—not the least of which is trivialization of the field of study that has been at the center of my life's work.
Young Persons Need To Be Liberals
But, don’t get me wrong, I can certainly understand how and why college students are liberals. I can even understand the “angry young man” syndrome; that is, how a young person could assume that a Creator who allowed the evil to exist on this earth must be an evil God. I went through all that myself. I always encouraged my students to be liberals (idealistic); what could be more distasteful than a cynical young man or woman? I just suggested to them that they should not vote; most don’t get around to voting anyway, fortunately because they would almost certainly vote against their own self interests. Virtually every one of them would vote (if they did vote) to give the old folks (and anyone else with their hand out) even more health care, social security, and anything else anyone can come up with, to be charged to young workers and future taxpayers. Do you suppose the old folks would vote to reduce the social security taxes imposed on young workers, or vote to include young workers in their government paid health care program? How many old folks, who have thought about it, do not know those young workers who are paying their bills will not have those benefits when they reach age 65? Do you suppose they would favor allowing young workers to invest their social security taxes (or some portion of those taxes) in their own IRA’s (so that they would be able to collect some benefits from all the money they are paying into the system)?
I understand the selfless attitudes of young persons and the selfish attitudes of the old folks. What I find baffling is mature adults who continue to espouse the liberal view or continue to suffer the “angry young man” syndrome. Young persons believe the human condition is perfectible, or if not perfectible, at least greatly improvable. Haven’t mature persons been around long enough to know for sure that cannot happen? Haven’t they examined a colony of ants or bees and asked themselves if they would also enjoy marching around lock-step in perfect harmony doing their duty to the colony without the slightest notion of what it would be like to break ranks and be an individual (and screw things up)? Haven’t they been around long enough to know that free will guarantees that we will do evil as well as good—indeed, that good could not even exist in this world in the absence of evil? How could an older person believe there could be right without wrong, pleasure without heartache, fun without boredom, happiness without sadness, or for that matter up without down? In short I can understand young liberals—I was one! But I cannot understand how mature individuals could be liberals. How can they believe what they say they believe? Are they completely unaware of reality, or are they just putting us on? No, they are not unaware, and they are not just putting us on. They are intelligent, thoughtful, concerned individuals. So what does explain it? I’m baffled!
Liberals and the Economy
The Baby Boom generation around the world (born 1946-65), and most especially in the U.S. and other Western countries, has been the richest generation of people to have ever lived on this earth. Incredibly, they have not paid their own bills for health care, pensions, and other social programs, but have charged much of that to future tax payers. How does it come to pass that now as “senior” citizens, who (on average) have many times more wealth than workers paying the bills, they deserve to have taxpayer funded health care and pensions? Well, you say, those young workers will some day benefit from the government paid health care and pensions; after all, we have several trillion dollars in the Social Security Trust fund. Oh really? The Trust Fund balances are available to finance future benefit payments and other Trust Fund expenditures – but only in a bookkeeping sense. They do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits. Instead, they are claims on the Treasury that, when redeemed, will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public, or reducing benefits or other expenditures. The existence of large Trust Fund balances, therefore, does not have any impact on the Government’s ability to pay benefits.
When the Social Security system was established the life expectancy in the U.S. was 67 years. That meant people would pay into the system for an average of 45 years or so and collect for an average of two years. Also there were fifteen persons paying into the system for each person receiving benefits. So we could have “social security” for a very small a price to individual workers. The government put all of that money into the general fund and spent it, and issued IOU’s (government bonds) to the Social Security Thrust Fund. If life expectancy and remained at 67 years (and at the time demographers believed that it would be impossible to substantially increase life expectancy), and the age structure had remained pyramidal. with a huge number of young workers and a tiny older population (but birth rates has already fallen drastically prior to implementation of Social Security), the Social Security “Pyramid Scheme” could have continued to provide a modest retirement to a small number of older persons with a very large number of young persons paying a small bill. But, life expectance in the U.S. is now approaching 80 so the average citizen will expect to receive benefits for 15 years. The Baby Boom from 1946 to 1965 postponed the collapse of Social Security for a generation. But now the number of workers paying into the system relative to the number collecting benefits has declined and will soon be three to one. Does someone believe that workers in the near future will (on average) be willing to pay a third of the (average) pension of each senior citizen? If not, payments could only be made by increasing the national debt. How long could that continue? Would young workers continue to believe they would collect their Social Security and Medicare in their old age? Do we suppose everyone is insane?
The socialist economies of Europe are currently in crisis because the amount of debt greatly exceeds the ability of taxpayers to pay those bills. Why? Will guess what; politicians, and most especially socialist politicians, are more than willing to give money to their constituents and charge that to future taxpayers. Are you surprised? Did they suppose the bill would never come due? Is there anyone who actually believes future tax payers in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy, will be able to repay their national debt—or for that matter, continue to pay the interest on a debt that already exceeds the annual GDP of those countries and continues to grow rapidly? Is there any rational person on this earth who cannot understand that socialist politicians will provide benefits to their constituents in order to get them selves reelected and charge those benefits to future taxpayers? Don’t we know that politicians will continue to charge benefits to their constituents to future taxpayers even after it is clear that future taxpayers could not possibly pay that bill? Does someone believe socialist politicians will actually enact the austerity measures required to begin to address their debt problems—or believe people who have been pampered by socialism will be willing to accept those measures? Does someone think those bills will not have to be paid? Is there anything about the collapse of Western European socialism that surprises anyone? Are we deaf and blind; completely ignorant; unable to think for ourselves? I’m baffled!
As European countries face bankruptcy, liberals in the U.S. insist upon following their example. George W’s “compassionate conservatism” led him to add the prescription drug plan to Medicare at a time when it was clear that Medicare was already unsustainable. How is it that persons over 65 who have (on average) many times the wealth of young tax payers deserve to receive even more benefits from tax payers (or more correctly future tax payers)? George W responded to the 9/11 event with war; I applauded that. But, he decided he would charge the bill to future, rather than current, taxpayers. Why? Will guess what, your constituents won’t mind going to war if they don’t have to pay the bill. After winning the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in a couple of weeks with very little lose on our side, George W. decided to “rebuild” those countries and introduce democracy by winning the “hearts and minds” of people who hate our guts. After a decade of catastrophe we are finally pulling out of those countries as LOSERS! Johnson and Nixon did the same thing during the war in Viet Nam. We just charged the cost of the war to future tax payers—“Guns and Butter”, Johnson called it, and then went on to win the “hearts and minds” of those people who hate us. When the bill for the Viet Nam War came due our government knew there was no way tax payers would pay it; so they allowed inflation to reduce that debt to a fraction of what it had been. Remember the 12 percent interest rates on homes in the 70’s and 80’s (most of which went to cover the inflation rate)? Please don’t anyone think that was an easy way to pay our bills! For those of us who already owned a home and had a job that allowed income to keep up with inflation, the problem was minor. What about those people who needed to purchase a home? How about the workers in the housing industry who depended upon new homes being sold? How about the folks on fixed incomes? How about college students who saw their cost of education double? What share of the total population benefited (or were not hurt by) inflation during that period? How many of those were young persons who were (or will be) called upon to pay the bills?
We are told that the Social Security system is very efficient, costing only 1% of total receipts to administer the program and manage the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Thrust Fund. Hummm; how much should it cost to manage a pile of government IOU’s? Yes, we know there are some older persons who lack resources sufficient to pay for their own health care. So why do we not have means testing to determine which older persons actually need such help? Why not require recipients of Social Security to go to the Post Office and show a picture ID to collect their SS check next month? Notice that the dead people would not be able to do that and the millionaires wouldn’t bother. Oh, but what about those who elderly persons who are unable to drive or walk. Have them turn in a notarized statement by a doctor or caregiver stating that (with the assurance that any person who lies on that form will face a very large fine and possible prison time). The result would be many hundreds of millions of dollars in savings in one month; but of course people working for Social Security are not concerned with saving money—hell, it’s not their money!
Now we want to extend Medicare to the entire population. Okay, the thousand page document doesn’t spell that out, but we know that when the private insurance systems collapse the only alternative will be a single-payer government system. Do we suppose the government system will be more efficient? Will it be less costly? Will it be more accommodating to the user? Will it provide improved medical care? Is there any other government program that has ever been more efficient, less costly, more accommodating, or provided improved services? So, will this one be the first? Can any rational person buy into that? The Obama-care bill would force young persons to purchase health insurance (which most don’t need) in order to reduce the price of health care for elderly persons (who do need ample health care). Why? Will guess what; the old people vote and the young people mostly don’t vote, and when they do they vote in favor of passing out more goodies to the old folks (and anyone else with their hand out) because they are mostly liberals and idealistic.
We in the US are fortunate in that we can control our own currency (unlike Europeans who have a single currency). So, we can use inflation to reduce our national debt. However, the U.S. Treasury is now selling inflation protected bonds (called TIPS) that will pay a small rate plus inflation. I bought some of those because I expect inflation to hit 8 or 10 percent within a few years. But, if the government continues to issue TIPS they will not be able to use inflation to pay our national debt. Do you suppose politicians do not know that? So, why are they doing it? Do you suppose they just trying to kick the can down the road far enough to allow them to finish their own political career? Without the ability to use inflation to pay the bill, are we not in the same position that Greece is in right now? What do we hope to do? Do any politicians, and most especially socialist politicians, concern themselves about that?
Liberals And Current International Affairs
Military people always want to fight the last war; Consider the French in 1939 and their silly Maginot Line, and Civil War soldiers being mowed down by the thousands as the walked across fields toward enemy lines (after new rifles made defensive strategy superior to the strategy of attack). Similarly, we (liberals) are doing the same thing now, pretending the Islamic Fundamentalism movement is somehow akin to the Cold War we grew up with—a struggle of poor against rich, haves against have-nots, or socialism versus capitalism. It just takes a lucid moment to realize the enemy of Islamic Fundamentalism is not Capitalism or Christianity. If we were all Christian Fundamentalist they would have no problem with us. Their enemy is liberalism, individual liberty, freedom of speech, consumerism—in short, western material culture and secularism. They must lose because western culture moves at the speed of light on the airwaves and they cannot prevent their children from being exposed. It's like French bread: Everyone who has ever tasted it likes it and you just can't improve on it. There is nothing they can do to stop western material culture. And, there is nothing, short of mass suicide in the west, that we could do to stop it. (Although mass suicide in the west—a fertility rate well below replacement level—is already happening in Europe and may soon develop in the U.S.) Before this war against Islamic Fundamentalism is over we will be looking back with nostalgia at communism as a worthy adversary. The Communists didn't want to kill us; they didn't hate our culture and way of life, they wanted to share it! And, notwithstanding Regan's "Evil Empire" rhetoric, most of us respected their hopes and dreams of building a more just society. We just didn't think it would work and were not willing to give up our individual liberty to make the attempt.
Communism gave the world a century of respite from the age-old ethnic struggles humans have always faced. (Actually it began in 1800 with the French Revolution.) They gave us a powerful myth of commonness-of-kind among the world's poor and disenfranchised that temporarily suppressed ethnic warfare. (Standardized wages and unionism helped do that too, at a time when the majority of workers earned a standard hourly wage for a standard hour of work.) The demise of communism has returned the world to pre-Communism, when ethnic cleansing was a norm rather than an aberration. In ethnic war you don’t have a “Geneva Convention.” You must kill the children, or those children will grow up and kill you. There is no peace treaty until one side is totally without means to ever fight again. Could anyone be unaware of the fact that ethnic war is sweeping the world? Don’t we all know about Yugoslavia and Rwanda? Don’t we all know that “The Shinning Path” in Peru, and “Zapatistas” in Mexico were ethnically (rather than social class) oriented revolutionary movements? The multinational states build by capitalism versus communism are now disintegrating. Our celebration of "multiculturalism" is a wistful longing for peace and harmony in our country—and an attempt by "liberalism" to sustain the hope of a world where the primary battle is between rich and poor, rather than between people of different cultures.
But, most unfortunately, multiculturalism is not in God's plan. I don't say this because I want ethnic war or because I do not want people of differing cultures to live in peace. I say this because the evidence tells me it is true. If I could find some evidence that it is not true I would be happy to discard this belief; and, if not believing it would help to make it untrue, I would happily stop believing. Unfortunately, the truth will remain true whether we choose to believe it or not. Politically correct thinking does not change anything! In those countries where ethnic groups are mostly spatially separated (as in Canada) ethnic war can be avoided by territorial division. Unhappily that cannot be done in our country (nor European countries where there is a substantial Islamic population that is severely discriminated against with no attempt at integration). Unfortunately for native Europeans, the Islamic people are having children and the natives are not, so the percent Islamic will increase dramatically over the next couple of decades. If the natives think that when the Islamic population becomes the majority of youth and working age persons they will continue to receive their government pensions and medical care, they just haven’t thought about it very much.
In the past, the dominant English culture forced integration of immigrants from other cultural groups by intolerance and discrimination. All those groups who could join the dominant culture, including Germans, Italians, and Eastern Europeans, who would have otherwise outnumbered the English, did join, and mostly disregarded their native language and cultural values. My grandmother was a first generation American of German decent who had learned to speak German as a child, but my father and his brothers refused to learn German and completely disregarded their German heritage. Being German in the twenties as not a popular position. I remember one of my Dad’s brothers who served with Patton in Africa and Europe coming home from the war and telling his war stories. My grandmother would sometimes protest: “Those are my cousins you are talking about” she would say. I shall never forget his response: “I wouldn’t give a nickel for a damn German!”
Blacks were excluded from integration by racism, and indeed they are a racial rather than ethnic group. Segregated life in the ghetto has produced a culture of poverty and crime; that is something the vast majority of Blacks want to shed, notwithstanding the Black "leaders" use of it to maintain solidarity. Similarly, for any Mexican-American with a nickel's worth of brains the Tex-Mex culture of Mexican labor camps is something to get rid of rather than celebrate. (Incredibly, some politically correct people in universities want to teach Tex-Mex language! To whom? For what purpose? ) The U.S. will also face a serious ethnic problem inasmuch as our immigrant population has much higher fertility than do natives and will continue to increase as a percentage of the total population . Our “si queres hablar español oprima el dos” multiculturalism has produced a population of Hispanics who have lived in this country for decades and cannot say more than a couple of words in English. Inability to speak English virtually guarantees that they will be unable to escape poverty and discrimination. They can thank the politically correct for that (that is the absence of intolerance). Of course, the children of Hispanic immigrants will learn the language of their peers in school and speak it as native Americans—unless the politically correct liberals are able to impose multi-lingual programs in schools. Teach them in Spanish as children and they will never learn standard English and will be condemned to poverty and discrimination for the rest of their life. Is that a small price to pay for politically correctness?
Several years ago I taught an off-campus evening course for K-12 principals funded by the Department of Education. The Department of Education paid me a handsome salary and paid all the participants for their time as well. The purpose of the course was to convince those school administrators that they should promote multi-lingual education. The first day one school principal stood and said: “I immigrated to this country from Greece and went to grammar school without knowing any English, but I learned English in a few months and I believe the struggle caused me to be a stronger person and a much better student. Furthermore the fact that I had two cultures and languages gave me a feeling of superiority and caused me to excel among my peers.” Of course, I responded, kids can learn a second language easily and perfectly in a few months, unless you try to teach it to them, and speaking two languages is like living two lives. “Then,” he said, “why are we doing this?” Because the Department of Education is paying us to do it! That got a big laugh from almost all participants. Actually there was one person who took exception. She stated that “it is not fair” that Hispanic students had to begin grammar school without knowing how to speak English. So, what do you recommend? “We should teach them is Spanish”. If we do that they will never learn to speak English without an accent, and that would condemn them to a life of poverty in this country. “It’s just not fair,” she replied. No; it really isn’t fair; indeed life is not fair! She must have been a liberal! Notwithstanding that individual, we didn’t deal with multi-lingual education again in that course; I just taught my standard course on Latin America. Fortunately (for me), the Department of Education really doesn’t bother to check or even care about what is taught in those “multicultural” courses; after all, it’s not their money!
The Coming Ethnic War
I fear we have not seen the worse of Islamic Fundamentalism. They won't be able to sustain it over the long term. They can't continue the subjection of women to the status of domestic animals and the poverty that is the only thing their system can only produce (absent oil wealth). But, they will probably "tear off an arm or a leg" before they go down. A dirty nuc in a shipping container in New York or LA … harbor, should be expected. And, I firmly believe they react to weakness—not strength. Can anyone seriously believe that they will "like" us or "feel sorry for us" if we show weakness; Good Lord! We are currently paying the price for Carter's whining and pleading over the "hostages" in Iran. That gave the Islamic Fundamentalists the notion that we could be defeated; that is, Carter gave them the notion that we were pitiful cowards who would not use our weapons against them. Is there anyone in Iran that doesn’t know the U.S. could destroy their country and kill most of the people in one day? The Iranian students also proposed to take the Russian Embassy; the Russians told Iran that if they took the Russian Embassy they would bomb Teheran. What do you suppose the Iranians did? They called out the police to prevent the students from taking the Russian Embassy. Was anyone surprised?
The Iranians were better off with the Russian ultimatum. It is most unfortunate, both for us and mostly for them, that they were not given that ultimatum by Carter. The result is that we are locked into a contest that they will eventually lose, but will probably cost us many tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars. Is there someone who does not understand this? Did Carter actually believe his whining could have produced peace, or did he just want to postpone the war until he was out of office?
They can't win—forced Islamic (Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.) fundamentalism is incompatible with individual liberty and consumerism which people everywhere now hold dear. If we allow them to get a good hit on us, we will get pissed off, and that will be very bad for them. Liberalism means nothing when someone is killing your children! If we allow that day to come they will be in for a serious war. Let's state it very clearly: If they ever pose a serious threat to our families and way of life we will use nuclear weapons to destroy them—the whole 1.5 billion Islamic people if that's what it takes. They had better hope their war ends sooner rather than later.
The U.S. is just a couple of decades behind Europe in the lowered birth rate and increased immigration issues. Fertility among native Americans is now approaching replacement level, and will soon drop below replacement level. Hispanics are having children. They are already approaching majority status in some southwestern States. Thank God they are mostly Christian rather than Muslims; perhaps our ethnic war will not be as terrible as the one facing Europe. But it will be an ethnic war!
If Not A Liberal I Must Be A Conservative
We live in a time when social and political issues are presented in black and white. One must either be “pro-choice”, that is, in favor of abortion on demand, even in the case of a full-term baby, and even paid for by taxpayer’s who oppose abortion; or “pro-life”, that is, opposed abortion even during the first few weeks of pregnancy, even in the case of rape or incest, even if the child will be mentally or physically impaired, and sometimes even if the health of the mother is at risk. One must favor all tax cuts, even those benefiting only multi-millionaires and their heirs, or be opposed to all tax cuts, even if those cuts stimulate the economy sufficiently to increase total government revenue. In fact, the vast majority of Americans do not agree with either extreme position on these and most other issues (or wouldn’t if they ever noticed a choice other than one of the extremes). In the university community we often have “both sides” of an issue presented by extremists in order to achieve a “balanced view;” as if two piles of shit sums to something other than shit!
Consider the following questions: Do concealed weapons permit laws reduce or increase the crime rate or the number of gun related deaths? Are persons under the age of 18 best served by laws requiring parental consent for abortion? Should school children have full access to the internet at school or in the library? Are minority persons best served by affirmative action quotas for college enrollment and jobs? Will “thinning” the old growth forests in our National Forests and other public lands increase the probability that they will survive the next fire season? Is the apparent increase in temperatures the result of burning fossil fuels and can it be reversed by reducing the use of those fuels? And, so on. How could I possible know the correct answers to all these questions? I have not conducted primary research on these issues. I have read some of the literature, but I know much or most of that research is biased by predetermined political positions of the researchers. I don’t know the correct answers, but it would be absolutely incredible to me if someone could divine the correct answers to those and all other social questions on the basis of which way their knee jerks.
Rejecting liberalism does not make me a conservative! Conservatives are as out of touch with reality as liberals. Take just one recent example: Republicans are blocking attempts to reduce the budget deficit by rejecting any form of tax increase, including tax increases on millionaires and billionaires. “If we raise their taxes they won’t create jobs,” we are told. Economics 101: Businessmen hire an additional worker when the return on that worker will exceed the cost (wages, benefits, and administrative costs). Businessmen hire more workers in order to make MORE MONEY, NOT LESS MONEY! They do not hire additional workers because they have extra money (because they pay less taxes). In my opinion, excessive amounts of wealth is more likely to cause such persons to be less efficient and less thoughtful about their business. I have known a few millionaires in my life but all but one had inherited their wealth rather than earned it. Those persons were among the most pitiful and worthless individuals I have ever met. Such persons, absent their wealth, would almost certainly commit suicide or just collapse and cry. Obviously, those who had earned their wealth, if suddenly broke, would go out and earn another million or so. But, God help their children!
Yes, I favor increasing the tax rate on wealthy persons. And a very large tax on inherited wealth—too bad there are not more like Carnegie who told his kids to get off their asses and get to work because they would not inherit anything! And yes, I object to the fact that fully half of wage earners in our country pay no taxes at all. Why? Because they are not in the game; they have no incentive to vote for political leaders who will use our tax money wisely! No, I’m not a liberal, and No, I am not a conservative! I have a brain and I intend to use it!