Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Beatles, Boy Scouts & mock sabbaticals ....
Quote the Beatles:
"You say you got a real solution"
One thing seems explicitly clear to me. Other than corruption, the economic problems facing the U.S. today stem from a "shop until you drop habit" by individuals and, most particularly, by government (local, state and federal). To compound the problem, the shopping has been done largely with credit rather than real money.
Now, the President and most members of Congress actually think that having government extend and expand the shopping spree with still more credit buying will solve the economic problems. Well, maybe, maybe not.
The fascinating (one of my favorite words) element here is that neither the leaders nor the followers can accurately predict what the end result will be. The design of the scheme reveals an obvious step toward the massive redistribution of wealth, and there is nothing new about that. The Greeks did it successfully; the Romans did not fare so well and suffered 100 years of civil war. (Had redistribution gone well for the Romans, Julius Caesar might not have been assassinated, therefore, Shakespeare would not have written his play and, therefore, we would not have his most excellent piece of theater to enjoy.) The U.S. did redistribute wealth to a moderate extent in the 1930s, the 1960s and, some would say, resumed doing it again in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Personally, I think a revolution has begun. I hope I am around to witness it fully to the finish, to learn what shape of government evolves from it. (This might take a few decades.) As historian and philosopher Will Durant put it: "Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again."
Truly risky business and, for sure, the next few years could be absolutely, positively fascinating. In the meantime, my "real solution:" Buy gold and diamonds, and vote historians to Congress rather than attorneys.
Like a good Boy Scout, "Be Prepared"
A few days ago, someone commented that my words had a cynical tone to them. My response was to say that I was born cynical.
I don't suppose I actually was born that way, but close, and my opinion is that working as a newspaper reporter has fostered a deepening cynicism. Think about it. I've covered a couple of murder trials, been to numerous crime and accident scenes, and become of aware of many instances of corruption, malfeasance, incompetence and conflict of interest in government and business. Sometimes, as a general news reporter, you are a witness to the best in people but, more often, you are exposed to the worst.
Some people lead very sheltered lives and try to avoid hearing or reading negative news. They might go so far as to block out the words of someone who disagrees with them on political, religious or any number of issues. Fine for them, but between natural curiosity and a measure of cynicism born from exposure to the world as it is, I want to be aware of everything and anything which might affect my life. I know, from experience, that lightning does occasionally strike, harshly, mercilessly, sometimes in the form of nature, sometimes in the form of another human being. I want to be prepared physically and mentally as best I am able should such a thing happen near me.
I guess that means while some might consider me a cynic, I would say I utilize my cynicism as a tool to be a realist. Remember the Boy Scout motto.
It might be time for a "mock sabbatical"
Just to find out what is going on in the newspaper employment market, I checked out "JournalismJobs.com" today. Six openings in Florida, six openings in California, no openings in Minnesota. This website has been filled to the brim with newspaper openings in the past. What does that tell you? It tells me that any changes for me might involve another "mock sabbatical," which, actually, would be welcome.
Music Note: Listening to Scorpions ....
Specifically, "The Best of Scorpions" ....
(One of my favorites, "Still Loving You")
(Deutsche kennen gute Musik)