I notice that our educational system promotes critical thinking and critical inquiry, but that this can have negative side-effects among intellectuals, professionals and the like.
People focus so much on eviscerating other people's ideas, proposals, and personalities, that they spend insufficient time praising others and their creations/contributions.
There's always going to be drawbacks with any idea or proposal. And no policy will be perfect. And if you spend your time…Continue
I am currently reading the Analects, by Confucius, along with selected commentaries from scholars, written over the past 2,000 years.
I find Confucius to be a highly practical philosopher and many of his precepts (and the voluminous discussions and debates over these precepts) to be very useful.
One of the things Confucius discusses is the importance of individuals regulating and controlling their impulses, as well as their mouths. He said its far more important for somebody to…Continue
Sometime back, I took an Ancestry.com DNA test, which said that my genetics were 62% similar to modern-day inhabitants of Great Britain, and 32% similar to those from Greece and Italy. Due to the fact that 3/4 of my family tree was of German extraction, I found this to be somewhat puzzling.
I contacted a geneticist I knew (a friend of my wife's) and he said this was normal for certain groups of people of German descent who take the ancestry.com genetic tests, due to the great genetic…Continue
For the past 20 years, I've heard Republican, free-trade, free-market hacks talk endlessly about Adam Smith and global economics. They've been big on talking about how countries should specialize in 'what they do best' in much the same way that different departments in a factory specialize in different tasks, and how these efficiencies maximize production. I had one Republican teacher who told me that this doctrine would mean that some countries should focus on cars, others on airplanes,…Continue
One interesting thing in strategy that I recently read about concerns the concept of OODA loops.
It has to do with the cycle of acquiring information, making decisions based on this information, acting in accordance with one's decisions, and then doing this process all over again, once you gain more info about the enemy's reaction to same, as well as changes in the environment or circumstances that have come about as a result of the dynamic strategic…Continue
I recently met a famous journalist at a local function. She and I discussed to current business, and how it's increasingly cut-throat with decreasing wages, and greater company control over the ownership rights and intellectual property rights of writers and authors.
Then we moved over into discussing the world of blogging.
She told me that it's no secret that journalists often use a special feature in google, where they can be notified about new articles, essays, blog-posts on…Continue
A TALE OF TWO ADDICTIONS
We’ve all heard about a “Tale of Two Cities.” Well, I’m going to talk to you about a “Tale of Two Addictions.” The first major addiction we see today is the opiate crisis. From 1999 to 2015, over 200,000 Americans died from Opiate overdoses. That’s almost as many Americans who died during WW2 during the same span of time. 91 people die from opiates every day. This is a public health crisis of…Continue
Lately, I have been reading a lot about the contributions South Asians made for the Allied cause in the Second World War. Over two million south Asians, many of them Muslim, served fought on the behalf of the British Empire against the Nazis and Japanese in countless theatres, such as Italy, North Africa, Burma and the like. Over 80,000 died fighting the Axis, yet we often forget about their sacrifice. Indeed, it's ironic in a way, because they were fighting on the behalf of the British…Continue
Paul Kennedy's 1987 work, "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers," is arguably one of the most influential works I have ever read and is mandatory reading in most collegiate international studies courses today. The author uses economic data to explain the rise and fall of (you guessed it) Great Powers from the 1500s up to today, explaining how European powers and later, the United States, rose to global dominance, supplanting China, the Mughals and Indian Princely States, and the Ottoman…Continue
I am reading much about Elizabeth Warren, lately, and I am impressed.
Like Teddy Roosevelt, she sees that the major economic problems of our era are caused by cronyism, monopolies and cartels.
Many people believe that capitalism and free/open markets are, in of themselves, inherently evil. That's hogwash. Capitalism has been responsible for raising more people out of poverty, globally, in all nations, than any other economic system in history. The problem, though, is that those…Continue
I have recently been engaged in some very interesting leisure reading (at night time, after Jiu Jitsu classes). For the past 2 weeks these have consisted of some works by Howard Zinn, W.E.B. Du Bois's "Black Reconstruction in America," as well as "The Civil War and Reconstruction" as well as "Look Away: A History of the Confederate States of America," by William C. Davis.
What I found interesting in these readings is how unpopular the "cause" was becoming in the South, in 1864 and…Continue
I find this to be the greatest inaugural address ever given in American history.
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which…
This subject has often been controversial in American history, due to the fact that moderate voices of reason, which are the majority, are drowned out by a passionate flock of angry birds on both sides of the aisle.
Let's get some things established, though, before we continue. America has always been a nation of immigrants. As George Washington once said, "the bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all…Continue
There's an old saying that "liberalism is a luxury for the young, and folks become more conservative as they age." This has not been the case with me. When I was younger, in high school and my early years of college, I was a pretty conservative, if not reactionary fellow. I came from a working-class white background, adored Newt Gingrich and Pat Buchanan, and read the National Review with fervor. I had a chip on my shoulder, due to my poverty and lack of opportunity, and sense that the…Continue
I have four ancestors who fought for the Union during the American Civil War, and two who fought for the Confederacy. Of these, only two of them (Frederick Zimmer and Nathaniel King, both of NYC) volunteered. The rest were conscripts. One of them, a Phillip Mueller, actually deserted his NY Regiment, because he was a pacifist (and had come to America, from Germany, in order to escape military service). During the war, about 6 percent of Union troops were conscripts, and about 12-15% of…Continue
I was born in 1977 and grew up surrounded by WW2 veterans. My grandfather, great uncles, and all the elders around me had been part of that singular experience and it defined them. One of my earliest memories are of driving my tricycle and "big wheel" down the block on a hot summer day, where all the old vets at the VFW sat outside playing cards on a folding table, the strong smell of stale beer and cigar smoke pouring out the door. I remember them talking about "Japs" and "Krauts" and…Continue
The European conception of chivalry came about during the middle ages due to the influence of three factors: one, the Church's rhetorical demand that the powerful protect the poor and weak (not always upheld); two, the demand made by Kings and Emperors that feudalism created a hierarchy of reciprocal social obligations connecting all of the major estates; and third, the superior example of Islamic soldiers during the Crusades, who were, oftentimes, better able to blend the necessities of war…Continue
China's hand in the unfolding Korea game is the most interesting to evaluate, as it has the largest number of creative options at its disposal.
China's national interests are best served by a gradual decrease in US military presence and geopolitical power in Korea and Japan, such that China can be free to expand its naval and commercial power in the region. One of the key factors keeping the US in the region, and strengthening its influence and presence with nations like South Korea…Continue
One of the things I noticed, while growing up, is that there was a profound difference in the way schools taught about Communist totalitarianism, and Nazi/Fascist totalitarianism.
In America, schools often taught about the horrors of Soviet Communism in a way that made members of both ethnic majorities and minorities cringe. They focused on the loss of freedom of speech and religion, infringements on the right to property and civil rights, media restrictions, state surveillance and…Continue