Monday, January 15, 2018

what makes the world go round

Facebook can offer some interesting discussions. Diverse groups of people come together there with often one common thread but a lot of diverse ones. I've had a few deeper conversations, which did not dissolve into name calling and ended up actually discussing an issue with differing opinions and leaving it-- agree to disagree.

This was part of one of those threads with the other commenters extreme liberals or even peaceful anarchists-- yes, it appears there are such. One man put out the idea that no one should be allowed to make over $100,000 a year, with all the rest taken by government.

So, I commented with my own take (i.e. that pure communism, leaving out the dictator part, never actually works other than on paper). I then wrote more of my own philosophy after a link suggesting our system pushes people to over-consume. My comments have been edited from FB, where it doesn't allow for paragraphs in comments-- and I've eliminated some wild hares that didn't benefit the subject (one of the things our president needs to learn to do-- not get off track of what mattered in the issue).

Interesting thought, but if it had been our sole way to value success, how come Martin Luther King is praised so highly, has streets named after him and a holiday? Likewise the way we revere Mother Teresa? I can name more like Edward Abbey, John Muir, Ansel Adams, etc. It might be all that some humans use to depict success but certainly not all humans. 

That said, I have been amazed how in our time, we've had a reversal of how people used to see robber barons. Now men like Bezos and Soros are highly praised at least by the liberal side, as they amass fortunes at the expense of other businesses and individuals. It's only seen as a bad thing when the billionaire is on the wrong side politically like Trump (ditto how conservatives see it in reverse). I do think some, especially in the religious prosperity movement, equate wealth and conspicuous consumption as a sign a god favored that person. Being modest though in consumption, like Warren Buffett, is admired. It's not though how Gates lives, and he's admired because he donates what seems like a lot but is a pittance to what he has.

I think something about our modern economic system, that being taught in major universities, is deranged, but it's what so-called important and knowledgeable economists push-- and it can be about government spending lavishly, as much or even more than individuals, as a way to keep the economy going. I've seen a lot of university thinking on economics in small start-ups, how they are encouraged to borrow or get investors rather than grow organically. The teaching has permeated most universities.

As one who lives a pretty conservative life (what the word used to mean), I think that whether it's individuals who overspend or the government, when you don't have the money, it's still unhealthy. I get it that borrowing makes the world go round-- also bankrupt when it goes wrong.
I thought the opinions expressed in the thread, provided an exploration of different ways of thinking about life without attacking. FB could use more of that but finding those who can agree to disagree is not easy as so many have to go until they win an argument-- and when that doesn't happen, they get nasty and attack the other person's character. 

There are different ways of seeing things and some comes out of life experience as well as compromising and realizing nobody gets it all perfect... that I've met so far anyway.


Friday, January 05, 2018

Fire and Fury or fake news?

Not sure how many who come here will be reading Michael Wolff's new book. It's going to be popular, as many left-wing or right-wing tomes are, as it caters to a mentality in this country, saying what readers already want to hear. We like hearing what suits us-- not so much what does not.

I don't read political books and won't make an exception on this one, but would like to hear what others think about it. It's pretty obvious from the interviews Wolff is doing that he was out to do-- a hit piece. That didn't mean he didn't do a fair one. The following is one of the many interviews he is doing to get sales for his book.

It will be interesting to see if it has any impact on polls or whether those who read it already knew what they thought-- on either side. 

The one thing in the piece above that would be troubling, if true, would be the possibility that Trump is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. We know we had one President who had that issue. Could we have another? The interesting part about what Wolff's article was saying Trump didn't recognize people at his New Year's Eve bash-- contrasting with Geraldo Rivera saying he'd been with him on his trip to Puerto Rico and he was sharp as ever. 

One thing about Wolff's book, it's based on sitting and watching what went on from one of the White House rooms and getting interviews. Interviews are opinions and not necessarily so-- although they can be.

If you read it, please let me know what you felt when you finished.