Tag Archives: conservative philosophy

conservatism hits the road

I was driving to work today when I ended up behind a guy doing 30 mph in a 40 mph zone.

The first chance I got, I attempted to pass him. He sped up his car so that I couldn’t (or most couldn’t… I don’t give up easily).

To me, this was a great example of conservatism applied. One of the roots of conservatism is minding your own business and letting people live their own lives.

If someone wants to pass me, I let them. If they want to go 80 in a 40, why not? Survival of the fittest. If I let them pass me, then they’re no longer tailgating me or giving me the finger or whatever. I let them pass, and they’re out of my life. They get to go fast, I get to go my own speed.

To purposefully try to keep someone behind you is to actively assert control over another. And all it does is make sure both parties are pissed off – which opens the door to a more dangerous ending.

The man who tried to prevent me from passing was a liberal. The Obama sticker told me so (at least they’re clearly labeled… almost all of them in Madison). A conservative would have let me go, and might even have pulled to the shoulder to ensure a safer pass.

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do you hear me?

I’ve heard it observed many times that our texting culture no longer knows how to write.

And, as a hiring manager, I’ve seen way too many examples of this in resumes, cover letters and work that’s been handed to me. It is stunning, and problematic, that the next generation appears to be unable to write their thoughts with any coherence.

But only recently, I’ve come to realize that this is partly due to the fact that people no longer know how to listen, either.

The ability to listen is absolutely crucial to the future of this country. You can’t learn without listening. You can’t think critically unless you are hearing and understanding the words of others.

And hearing the words of others isn’t necessarily enough. You have to consider the context and the origin of the words.

I watched Rush Limbaugh’s now famous CPAC speech last Saturday. What impressed me most about it is that he generally left behind his mock arrogance and insistence on assigning evil motivations to liberals.

Instead, he gave, what I considered to be, a heartfelt definition of conservatism and why it promotes greatness in all people. He explained it, to the nation, in a way that it has never been explained before.

And to hear the media report what he said is stunning to me. None of what I hear reported actually came from that speech. As is usually the case with Limbaugh, you need to listen to the sum of his words. He is very hard to excerpt, which I think hurts him greatly.

But listening also requires courage. It requires the courage to suspend, just for a moment, your own beliefs, get your head in the mindset of those who believe in him, and consider what he’s actually saying. Explore his ideas and thoughts and test them out. Play with them a bit.

In the end, you may conclude he’s wrong… and that’s fine. But I am not at all convinced our nation has the ability to listen and consider anymore.

I would say the exact same thing for people listening to Obama. I don’t think anyone is truly listening to the entirety of his words and considering what they truly mean.

I fear this is going to cost us all.

how is one worth $1,000,000

I witnessed a conversation yesterday that fascinated me.

One of the two was wondering how one can be worth $1 million when it’s the labor who produces the goods or provides the service.

More specifically, he was approaching from the premise that someone believed they were worth that much and should be payed accordingly.

The other presented this scenario: there’s a specialty retail shop on the east side of town – say a jeweler – with an excellent staff. They’re attentive, they remember the customers and are always helpful.

They are making $10/hour. Say a business owner from the west side shops there and enjoys the experience. After a few visits, he decides he would like his customer service staff to provide the same experience, so he offers the staff a job at his shop.

He offers each of them, in individual meetings, $14/hour. Two accept. One doesn’t because he doesn’t want to travel from the east side to the west every day. But the owner really wants them because of their skills and offers that last one $17/hour.

The last person accepts that offer, and all go on to work there. Another jeweler from out-of-town shops there one day and meets one of the two making $14/hour. They are so impressed, that they want to hire them and have them move to a new state to work there. He offers $22/hour to do this.

This can do on and on, but the point was that these people didn’t just decide they were worth that much. The market decided it because someone was willing to pay it. And they proved, with their skill and talent (which I realize isn’t always the case when one gets promoted – but even that is the market at work), that they were worth more than their original wage.

Go back to the person making $1 million/year. He didn’t just decide he was worth that, although I’m sure he had some idea of what he should get paid based on his degree, experience, the market, etc.

What made him worth $1 million/year is that there was a company who valued his vision, intelligence, experience or whatever so much that they were willing to pay that.

So what happens when the government caps pay in any industry? Those who can make more – usually the more talented – will go somewhere else to make it. This will leave the banks with less-talented people trying to dig them out of a very rough and dynamic situation.

Sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure, to me. This is why the free market is best able to determine and solve problems like the one’s we’re experiencing right now.

When the government determines pricing, it introduces a virus into an otherwise healthy system, and unintended, negative consequences almost always results.

trickle down in reverse

I’ve never understood how anyone can argue that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. Maybe it’s mis-named.

Maybe is should be holistic economics, because the entire premise really is that everything is related. We’re seeing that now, but in reverse.

People with money have stopped spending. They’re saving right now while they wait for signs of what policies are to come.

While they hold onto their money, less money circulates within society. As they stop purchasing and investing, less business and commerce occurs.

As less commerce occurs, revenue slows down, making it impossible for employers to maintain their employee base. That means salary freezes or layoffs.

Reagan spoke of trickle-down economics in the context of a rising tide lifting all boats. He said as the entrepreneurs and business leaders enjoyed success, they’d hire more people – enabling more people to purchase and spend.

We’re seeing the opposite now.

Everything in an economy is inter-related and how things go usually starts at the top. In Reagan’s ideal world, the achievers create jobs, which spreads wealth.

In our current world, the achievers are holding their wallets, which spreads stagnation.

Either way, it hinges on the freedom to create and pursue a dream. We’re not getting out of this until we free people up to do just that.

do we recognize inspiration anymore?

If what I’m hearing in the media is correct, there is a growing tide against the “have’s” in American society.

I’ve never understood this, and I especially don’t get it now. The tales of hardship are numerous and easy to find. In some ways, they’re not even really news, anymore.

What I don’t understand is why part of the story is scorn and bitterness toward those who’ve “made it.” Despite what the news tells us, there are people out there who are enjoying success.

Instead of trying to make them feel guilty or attempting to take their money to bail out others, why don’t we hold these people up as examples of success?

During the last campaign, Obama purchased a half hour for a campaign ad. In that half hour, he introduced us to several families to show us how difficult their lives are and how they can’t make ends meet.

I wonder if America would have been better served to meet three of four families or people who started a business or found a job and enjoyed success.

It seems to me we could all use a healthy dose of optimism right now. But it won’t just come from words. Let’s focus on some real examples of people who are making it in the current circumstances.

America is about the freedom to pursue your happiness and dreams. Not everyone’s dreams are the same, which is one of the great things about it. No one, not the government or anyone else, defines success for us.

Sure, there are people who own their own planes or multiple houses. But to question that or try and take it away from them (or even make it harder to achieve and/or maintain) goes against the very heart of what makes America special.

People in America can move freely from class to class. Instead of celebrating when someone successful fails or sees hard times. We should focus on celebrating when someone rises up and succeeds.

Let’s stop trying to get even by bringing people down. How about we focus, instead, on getting even by raising people up?

Disclaimer: I am not, by any means, rich – nor do I aspire to be. I don’t own a private jet, but I’m happy for those who do. I don’t own a huge house, but I’m fine with those who have chosen to (providing I don’t have to pay their mortgage).

It’s time to start feeling good about anyone who enjoys success. To wish ill on those who are enjoying themselves is unhealthy and destructive to the future of our country.