Attorney Steve Grow
April 13, 2012
In the few really important matters in life, one must become one’s own expert. This does not require one to master and know every detail of the type of matter involved.
Do not be even slightly surprised if average Americans and the rest of the world recognize and act in light of some pretty obvious facts.
First, American bankers (investment and otherwise) either don’t know (or don’t care) what they are doing so long as they can get lots of fees or commissions.
Second, way too many in the American political establishment, a rather self-satisfied bunch of economists and politicians and media owners (both parties, not without exceptions), do not have enough common sense collectively or individually, to recognize a problem and provide sensible regulations.
Third, the educational institutions who allegedly educated these folks, and the rest of us, have not exactly covered themselves with glory. Reconsider whether our public schools are doing an adequate job. Think thrice before wasting a third of a million dollars to send one of your kids to one of the “elite” schools that our easily misled and misleading “leaders” (in many important fields) attended and send their children to.
We must learn how to turn out intelligent people, with common sense and ethics still intact. After years in our schools, all too many become hypnotized zombies prepared to swallow their honest doubts if only their commissions or bonuses are large enough, their government, business or professional position is prestigious enough, or they get reassurances that they are fine from someone who claims to understand it all--so they don't have to.
We must make sure that never again in any large area of economic activity (including government spending on any programs whatever), can people play exclusively, or almost so, with borrowed or other people's money—such as the money of future generations.
Never again should we assume that all, or even most, Harvard Business School or other business school graduates (such as our undistinguished most recent former President Bush), or Harvard Law School or other law school graduates (such as our even more undistinguished present President Obama), or their circle of contacts and advisers, really know what they are doing in the most essential matters.
Never again should we assume that enough people in the media understand business, politics or the economy well--so that alarm bells will ring in all leading newspapers and electronic outlets if there is really anything to be concerned about. Journalism schools need marked improvement. Newspaper and other media outlet owners are, all too often, interested in becoming power brokers, not in informing the public--especially of facts that might undermine their personal ambitions. They tend to find people to work for them as reporters and columnists and commentators who will play along and not rock the boat they want to sail. There are exceptions, but we could use more.
The only experts and leaders who ever say “leave it to us and don’t even check up on us,” prove by doing so that they are unworthy of trust. All trust should be accompanied by verification. The truly trustworthy want you to check up on them, so something they might be missing, or doing wrong, can be brought to their attention and addressed.
We must all quit pretending that we have not been pretending. We have all ignored genuine misgivings. We have swallowed too many things that are too good to be true--and aren't true. Because of our guilt for hiding from the truth, we have become more and more unwilling to face any of the truth about our own contribution to this mess. After pretending for awhile (and pretending that you are not pretending), it is easy to just kind of forget that you are pretending.
One of the first things that an immature person does when wrenched back to reality is to find someone to blame (never wanting to shoulder any of the blame himself). “It’s entirely someone else's fault!!!!” (If only that were even usually true. It isn't, though.) Many of us gather and share news and information in this unhelpful spirit. See my previous article “How Do You Gather and Share News?” W.C. Fields expressed a core truth about people when he said, “You can’t cheat an honest man.” You might be able to fool him once or twice, but he is honest enough face the fact that he has been fooled, rather than continue to hide. For more on the dynamics of this, see my previous article “Are You Running from the Truth?.”
So, what do we do now? My next article will address that in more detail. But here are three crucial things.
First, we must not panic or resent realizing what our situation is and the need to face it and figure out how to address it. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny, as all generations of American have. As Franklin Roosevelt admonished in his first Inaugural Address in 1933, in the depths of the Depression,
This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.
Recall the many severe economic and political crises in our history.
It was not easy to escape the grip of Britain and other European powers. It has always been difficult to contain and frustrate would-be domestic tyrants, local and global, like Al Capone, Aaron Burr, and those who ran company towns where they could treat their employees unjustly. The problems of slavery and racial discrimination have presented us with enormous difficulties and trials. The confrontation of Hitler and the Soviet Empire and other tyrants and committees of tyrants will be remembered well by many now alive. The era centered on the Civil War was a very frightening time in which many fought and died, to help America move closer to being able to live in accordance with its ideals.
That battle is not altogether over yet, but thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr. and his inspired, nonresentful leadership of the civil movement of his era (as well as to our Supreme Court which, in 1954, unanimously overruled Plessey v. Ferguson and rejected the notion that “separate but equal” accords with our Constitution. “Separate is inherently unequal,” they said, in Brown v Board of Education. (By the way, Supreme Court that decided that case consisted of 9 white men, including some from the South who had previously supported or not opposed segregation but who were able to move to a higher plane and transcend their pasts. People can do that. It is what makes sound progress possible. Your past and present need not define your future.)
The Brown decision gave a significant boost to the Civil Rights movement for racial equality. Just look at the PBS documentary series “Eyes on the Prize” if you doubt that black people and others wanting American to live up to its founding creed, took considerable encouragement from it.
These have all been very difficult struggles, and people of all races and backgrounds have made the sacrifices, and provided the resourcefulness necessary, to continue America’s unending journey to make itself a better and better land of the free--albeit imperfect, as all things human can't help but be.
Secondly, we will have to curtail spending. (If there is no money to borrow, there will be no money to spend beyond what is being taken in taxes and fees!) So we can all acquaint ourselves with how money has been and is being spent, at all levels of government. Technology makes it easy to do that—by creating websites with all the details available for anyone to look at. The state of Nebraska has done this for years and Missouri implemented something like it a few years ago. My recommendation that a database be established so (almost) all amounts spent can be seen and checked by anyone, will help “We the People” to oversee this painful transition and argue out what needs to be argued out to do the best we can. See my proposal for doing this. “Quit Trusting the Trust-Us Politicians.”
Finally, we need not, and must not, ever surrender any essential American freedoms. In tough times, at least as tough what we face now, the American people have always managed to work through the problems and survive and thrive in the end. So, as many times before, we need a reaffirmation and rebirth of freedom, and the full use of it, not the surrender of any of our essential freedoms.
Anyone who insists that you surrender your freedom, or give up your effective power to protect it, before he will help you, wants you weak so he can help himself to you when you have no teeth to resist. No exceptions. None. You can arm yourself against fallacious arguments people use to trick you into this by reading my article "The Rot at the Heart of Statism."
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We can and will get through this--as a free people, with even greater assurance that our freedom is the key to our well-being. We need not, and must not, surrender any of our basic individual freedoms or our inalienable rights, as human individuals, to govern our governments. Nor must we give up any of the teeth that enable us to defend those rights against usurpers.
We must realize that we, each of us, can cope, survive and overcome the problems that our pretending has created. The strength, resourcefulness and self-reliance of free individuals is amazing to behold. It has astounded the world wherever it has been let loose. For part one click below.
Click here for part -----> 1,
© 2012 Steve Grow - All Rights Reserved
Steve Grow holds degrees in physics, law and philosophy. He is a retired lawyer who practiced business law for many years. He studied philosophy and cognitive psychology at the graduate level, including working with one of the world’s leading scholars on the work of Aristotle. He was co-editor in chief of his college newspaper. He has observed and wondered about history, psychology, religion, politics, journalism and good (and bad) government since childhood.
He believes that, now and always, the central problem in politics is monitoring and governing those in political positions—so that ordinary people are the ultimate governors and can hold those in office fully accountable. Ordinary people deserve, and need, full legal protection of their privacy. In contrast, all activities of those in government should be open to full scrutiny at all times. In a certain sense, ordinary people should be “ungovernable” and accorded a broad measure of privacy – on the other hand, politicians and their actions should be open to monitoring, closely watched and constrained. Anyone with a contrary view, he believes, is an enemy of freedom—wittingly or unwittingly.