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Times are hard for people. And there are two genetic strains of personalities reacting to those hard times.
The first is dominated by the selfish gene. They are the ones who say “hey, look at me! I’m doing just fine. If I could do it, you can too. I’m blessed. And don’t take anything of mine, unless you’re willing to pay me back a very high rate of return!”
The second is dominated by the selfless gene. They are the ones who say, “look, that could be me. Hey, I have something here I’m not using. Take this. Maybe you can find some use for it. And don’t worry about paying me back… When you get on your feet, return the favor to someone else who is down on their luck..”
We both know individuals and groups of individuals who follow these two pursuits…. To those of us who study history. a parallel can be drawn between the two camps. The selfish first stems from Old World philosophy. The selfless second originated in the New World.
The European nations were at that time founded upon the principals of mercantilism. Each nation used militaristic methods to acquire capital in the form of gold bullion. Stealing gold from South Americans was the principal cause of wealth formation throughout Europe during the colonial age. Those nations without territory in South America, stole their gold from those who had territory and were stealing South America blind. And then of course, you could trade some of your products for their gold if they were inclined to buy. That in a nutshell, was the European economic system existing at the time of this continent’s discovery.
You did not aid and abet your enemy. You charged, kept records, and used your military to collect, if those owing you money failed to meet their obligations. Needless to say, this mentality flowed downhill throughout each nation’s respective economies. If someone defaulted, you threw that person into prison where they could never acquire the means to pay you back.. You were vindictive, demanding, and cruel…. You had to be, so they feared you. Many of our early settlers were these poor locked up souls, filling up debtor’s prisons, only to be shipped over here, dumped and left to die..
Instead they prospered and from them, came the other line of treating those less fortunate: helping them get back on their feet by making them productive enough to earn money. The money then earned, was subsequently returned to those generous souls who gave them a break, by being spent in their stores on their own goods or services.
As the frontier expanded Westward, this philosophy spread with it. If a neighbor’s house burnt, you and your neighbors had a house raising party. If Indians stole their horses, you gave up some of yours. If your neighbor needed a plow, you lent him yours. The benefit was obvious. Should you befall poor circumstances, they would do the same for you, without asking. People were a rare asset as America’s frontier expanded; natural resources were abundant. So naturally, people gave up what they had, to help other’s if that meant they all had a better chance of surviving… After all, natural resources couldn’t come to your aid or load your weapon, should your family be attacked by a scalping party out on a raid.
This concept of banding together to help others is a very American trait. It would be one not so well widespread today, if it hadn’t been the greatest generation of Americans who brought it to the forefront. WWII drove home this idea to the rest of the world, It showed all that America was very different. Over here, people stood for something and because of that, they were willing to invest valuable resources to help right injustice, and even better, once winning? They packed up and went home. And one even better? They used their own precious resources to help their former enemies get back on their feet again… Gee what a great country..
Today we hear that same philosophy about helping others, being used across our health care debate This great debate of this decade is, at the core, a debate between helping people survive, or… helping people get rich off of helping people survive… All National Health Care arguments boil down to that one sentence… Whatever side you are on, whatever plank you hide behind, whatever argument you make, at its core is either the belief that we should be selfless, or selfish.
There is no way around it. If as a nation we should be selfless in our treatment to our unfortunate, our own citizens, then we need some form of governmental input. If as a nation we should be selfish in our treatment to our unfortunate, our own citizens, then we need to maintain the current status quo system of for profit private health care…
History has a funny way of playing tricks. We think of Socialism as a European tradition. However it was from America that socialism derived its inspiration during our nation’s growth over the 19th Century. Socialism was a contrived as a method calculated to achieve those values visible on the American frontier, by redirecting the wealth that for so long, had been locked down by a very few. Socialism was the way to pry open the coffers of one or two rich guys, thereby allowing help to flow outward to areas where it needed to go.. One should note, that the rise in Socialism was most prominent after WWII when the populations of broken nations looked to America as a model, and said we want to be like them… Combining the resources of government and business was their quickest avenue to achieve that goal.
It’s time we pool our resources over on this side of the ocean. Our financial system was stripped bare, and we need to grow our way back to prosperity. We also need to bring along the global economy with us..
One could argue that capitalism, free markets with no regulation, is exactly what collapsed our global financial system. AIG taking insurance payments and spending them, simply because they weren’t regulated, is exactly what capitalism calls for…
Americanism, on the other hand does just the opposite. Americanism is simply the pooling of resources for a short time only, to help a neighbor in need. It comes with no attachments, save the deep understanding that should the shoe be on the other foot, we would be the beneficiaries of their good fortune. We need Americanism if we are to continue our role as the greatest nation on earth. Our experimentation with the old world order these past eight years, led us to disaster… just like it has led European nations to disaster every twenty years, up until Americanism took over after 1945.
The wave of the future is not a free for all, money grabbing fiasco; it is an evolution. And evolution is at its most successful when the gene pool available is maximised. As for the healthcare debate, the more players allowed at the table, the better chance we have at evolving our healthcare system into the best option. That best option, will be determined not by plan or directive, but by individual purchases across every state of this nation…
Even if you have great distaste for a government entity entering itself into the health care insurance field, you can have no fear of letting it compete in the free market of health coverage… It is after all, a free market. If it can’t compete effectively, it will become extinct. On the other hand, if it is the better option and receives a much better reception than its private competitors do, it would be wrong to deny this nation’s citizens something that benefits them so greatly… It would be flat out wrong..
So the American thing to do, is to allow this governmental insurance entity to compete on the free market with private competitors. Americans helping Americans. It’s the only American thing we can possible do..
And as an aside, the next time you hear the word socialism patsied about, set them straight. It is Americanism they’re against.. Socialism died with fall of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch. Now, its Americanism. Helping ones neighbor who can’t help themselves..
But then again… there are those with the selfish gene.
Photo courtesy of Utah Senate Site
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice. FDR Prayer On D Day, June 6th, 1944
Based on what was heard before the House Armed Services Committee, our now famous embassy in Baghdad was built with slave labor.
“Mr. Chairman, when the airplane took off and the captain announced that we were heading to Baghdad, all you-know-what broke out on the airplane. The men started shouting, it wasn’t until the security guy working for First Kuwaiti waved an MP5 in the air that the men settled down. They realized that they had no other choice but to go to Baghdad. Let me spell it out clearly: I believe these men were kidnapped by First Kuwaiti to work at the US Embassy… I’ve read the State Department Inspector General’s report on the construction of the embassy. Mr. Chairman, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. This is a cover-up and I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to set the record straight.”
That was before Waxman’s committee on oversight of the building of the new US embassy in Baghdad. These men thought they had signed up to work at Dubai hotels. One man said he was excited to began work as a telephone repairman in Dubai. Once landed in Baghdad, they were loaded onto buses and smuggled past American security into the Green Zone. Whereas Americans lived one person per trailer, they lived 25 to 30 to a trailer. They worked on scaffolding without shoes or harnesses, and they could not leave….While there, six or some scaled the wall of the Green Zone. Why? They wanted to find better work. 1st Kuwaiti sent security out to find them, found them and brought them back to the compound. They were told that they were property of 1st Kuwaiti and could not be employed by any other construction firm……..
Understandably this is delegation in the Third World. Understandably it is abrogation. “We do not have to concern ourselves with that…..let 1st Kuwaiti do it.” We gave up our oversight. It wasn’t us; it was our hired help.
But more shocking was the reaction of the 2 Republican congressmen, from Va and Ca. Obviously they were under Cheney’s orders to shore up the failing defenses. They accused the whistle blowers of perfidy and treason. They were however totally unconcerned over human rights abuses. From their questioning all could see that they were solely concerned that Republicans were going to get blamed for this fiasco. You are damned right they are.
Watching them pounce all over the witnesses, churned my stomach like watching maggots swarm over a dead fish. Even had they just briefly shown an appearance of shock or outrage, that would at least offset their complicity in such actions. But no, they were unrepentant. They cared not that our country paid for the kidnapping of employees to build our embassy. They badgered the witnesses who fortunately, because of another court case, could retreat behind the statement “I am not legally permitted to answer that question.”
These poor Americans, shocked that the America they saw abroad, was not the same America about which they were taught in school, stood up and tried to do something patriotic. What was the result? The exposure to all the world, that the America represented by republicans in Washington DC, is also not the same America we learned about in schools.
“In essence, you Republicans are saying that it is ok for the United States, to be an enabler in the trafficking of human beings.”
And to think,…. our favorite son, Delaware’s lone Congressman, a republican, is one of them………..
Time for a change?
Recently in Delaware, a well know auto parts company did a comparative study and decided that Delaware was ripe for expansion. The acquisition costs were low, taxes low, and competition was archaic and outdated. They received the required financing and moved in.
They built a new store every 120 days. Gradually they had received all but the most loyal of its competitor’s regulars. They began to set the standards of how business could be run. Were one to write a textbook on how to succeed in acquiring a new market, they would have been the most quoted source. Comparatively their service times per transaction were faster, their customer satisfaction results the highest, and their return to the bottom line was better than those same company’s stores in other states.
Every opportunity was met with success. Investors as well as customers were happy they had moved in.
Then, almost inexplicably, the upper management decided to buy a local strip club that was up for sale. They tackled the purchase with meticulous detail. They wined and dined, then cold shouldered the prospective seller, until he, desperate to unload the property, gave it up for a song. No one is certain as to why this company would go into a venture half-cocked. Some thought it was for reasons, deep, secret personal reasons, that guided the chief executives decision. But for a song, the place was acquired and a great party was thrown to celebrate the new diversion. It was even whispered by some, that all entertainment costs charged to the auto parts conglomerate, would be at cost, if even charged at all. Those few who fearlessly stood up to the executive and challenged him to explain his weird choice of action, were chastised publicly and told not to worry, it would pay for itself ten times over……
But no one knew how to run it……Apparently upper management was so concerned with the acquisition and the possibility of future profits, that in their rush, they had failed to plan for its management.
“Don’t worry. We will do it” they said. They chose a bright young parts manager and put him in charge. Since the facility was intact, they placed want ads for employees and prepared to open their doors. But being new to the porn arena, caused many of the local entertainers to become a little leery of signing up. “Let’s wait and see” was their approach.
Desperate, because of upper management pressure to get something done immediately, the young part’s manager asked some of the company’s most loyal employees to moonlight for him in their off hours………Opening day was a flop.
Jeers, hoots, holla’s were shouted at the dancers. The locals treated them with contempt. Who pays to see a middle aged pot bellied male clerk, dance around in a thong? Not only did the employees get shouted off of stage, but they failed to receive tips as well. Desperate, the young parts manger made deals from his car’s window with hookers off of Route 13. He asked them to come in and fill his roster. The hookers would do so only if he stipulated that they could ply their other trade within the club’s walls. He felt he had no choice but to agree.
Costs were running 200% more than anticipated. They had underestimate the clientèle. Southern businessmen, these locals were not. Heroin was sold openly.
They had bitten off more than they could chew. Those who had supported the diversionary financial venture, began to come under fire by stockholders. Over and over the CEO reassured them that all would work out.
Close it down to stop the financial bleeding he was told. No he insisted. That would be a failure. He would not do that. Instead we will staff it with all our employees. Every employee will work half a day at one of the stores, and the other half would be at night, inside the strip club.
As the staff levels increased, operations stabilized. However the client base hemorrhaged. Most nights were devoid of customers. Occasionally a group would arrive from out of town. The strip club soon sucked up more profits than the auto part’s stores could afford. For the first time, the company dipped into the red. It never recovered…………
Then came the vice squad. Arrests were made and prostitutes and management were incarcerated. Fines were levied against the holding company. There was no money left to pay them. Under court order, the doors were closed.
For whatever the reason, whether it was due to loyalty, or trust in his past brilliance, or personal fear, no one stood up to the CEO. All who came to advise him, left with head hung, hat in hand……No one pushed back…at least not hard enough…….and as the result,…..the entire enterprise was eventually auctioned off to pay the creditors no more than 18 cents per dollar invested……….
Moral of the story: Extravagant adventures sometimes end where you least want to go……Planning make perfect……
Relevance of the story: I’m sure you are smart enough to have figured it out by now.
I find it ironic that:
Dick Cheney says pulling out of Iraq will embolden other Arab nations, and yet his company Halliburton moves its headquarters to Dubai, so it has a free hand to do business and pump up those very Arab nations he warns us about…..
That Mike Castle feels giving billions to the wealthiest few is important, but body armor to our soldiers, is not………..
That under democratic leadership in WWII, we fought two wars similtanously, and won, in less time than we have been in Iraq under republican supervision……………..
That everyone who has ever had the misfortune to be involved with Iraqi war, has suffered considerably, except one: Cheney………………………..
That a president who smoked pot and “didn’t inhale,” fared much better in making policy decisions than a president who was arrested for over drinking when he was young…………..
That Organized Labor, who singlehandedly confronted factories and coal companies and forced them to pay its workers at fair rates, is now kowtowing to the same large corporations such as NRG, thereby screwing its worker’s families with higher energy prices and lung disease……………
That Republicans can even think, that to save a son’s or daughter’s life, now stationed in Iraq to protect Dick Cheney’s oil,……. is playing politics to the far left extreme of a certain political party……………………….
That the candidate in the 41st special election, who is sponsored by the “party of the people”, has thrown his support towards a large corporation, NRG,who is intent on taking over Sussex Counties airspace with its pollution………
That the more some republicans emphatically argue that Bush is different than Hitler, the more he sounds the same……………..
That some Republicans had the guts to stand up to Adkins, and Democrats, didn’t…………………………..
That Republicans even to the point of fake television shows, went to great lengths to portray 9/11 as the fault of Clinton’s democrats, when it was those very Clinton Democrat holdovers, Tenet, Black, and Clarke, who were the very ones who pleaded with Condoleeza Rice to aggressively pursue Al Qaeda and disrupt its ability to organize just such an attacka 9/11, and each time, were unceremoniously shut down………..
That blogs, are more intellectually stimulating than newspapers…………………………..
That people complain about money corrupting politics, but avidly determine a candidate’s credibility and their vote, by how much money he or she has raised………………
Republicans gained credibility under Reagan’s crusade against Communism, and under Bush, who embraced Communisms way of dealing with opposition, they lost it…….
That the only candidate for governor to offer voters a fifty point declaration of great ideas for this state to grow and develop, is bashed by the News Journal editors as being inconsequential.
That up until this legislature started, all we heard was Karen Petersen’s open government legislation, and now, no one even mentions her anymore………..
That NRG even has an “environmental manager.”
That it is parent’s responsibility to “educate” their own children, but when they attempt to “educate” the administration by a midterm election, it is dismissed as an irrelevant event.
There is room for so many more, but I ran out of time……………………..