Photo Challenge – Order – All Lined Up

See the differently-colored punts, all lined up on the banks of the River Cam, in Cambridge, England.  They are just waiting for some people to come along and rent them for a lazy trip down the slow-flowing river.  Perfect for a summer afternoon.

Trinity College
Punts on the Cam, rentals from Trinity College


The Natural Order of Things

My hero, Rush Limbaugh, likes to point out that, through much of human history, the natural order of things in our world has been tyranny and misery.  Since humans  started to live in groups, the vast majority of people have led lives that were “nasty, brutish, and short”.  Until very recently, human life-expectancy has been under 40 years.  The average person worked on the land, for a master who had no concern for his or his family’s lives.  Small groups of nobles ruled their lives, limited their choices, and commandeered their labor, and the fruits of that labor.

That situation began to change, in the 14th Century, when the populations of Europe and the Middle East were decimated by the Plague.  Barbara Tuchman’s book A Distant Mirrorgave an excellent account of that time.  For the first time, peasants had some power over nobles, who needed them to work the fields and mines.  The average person had somewhat more control of his life, and could bargain with the nobles over his situation.  He could leave his area and move to another, where there might be more demand for his services.

Gradually, the Natural Order of Things started to change.  We all know where that led… It led to the rise of Capitalism, elucidated by Adam Smith in his world-shaking book, The Wealth of Nations.  The Founders of the USA were aware of that tome, and many others, when they left Europe for America, in order that they should have Religious Freedom, and live their lives as They wished, not as their Masters wished.

Fast-forward to today.  Much of the developed world lives in luxury unimaginable to their recent ancestors.  Even today, great masses of humanity still live in semi-primitive conditions; many of those people every year, leave their miserable countries, and attempt to emigrate to other countries where they might be able to earn a better living, and support their families amid better conditions.  Why do you think so many people clamor, and apply, and positively break into our country?  Because, over the short history of the USA, we have led the way to Prosperity, and Liberty, based on our Founders’ vision of the Rule Of Law, Religious Freedom, and the ability to Pursue Happiness.

But beware, there are elements of our own people, who deem the previous history of America to be Evil, and Grasping, and Imperialistic.  They view the Founders of our country, perhaps the most remarkable group of people EVER in Human History, as thugs, who forcibly deprived the people living here when they arrived of their lives and culture. (Just so you know, the tribes of Native Americans were just as evil, and just as thuggish to each other, often warring among themselves over land and animals).  For nearly 50 years, public school children in America have been taught to hate their country and its founders.  We are now reaping the whirlwind, with whole parts of the world engulfed in war and destruction (Ukraine, Israel, Africa).

The United States was founded on an IDEA, of Liberty, not tyranny.  Even here, we are being subjected to the Tyranny of the EPA, ObamaCare, and the ever-present Executive Orders of the president who thinks he’s a King.  The Natural Order of Things changed with America.  We need to make sure that it does not get reversed, back to tyranny and misery.


Are We Citizens? Or Are We Subjects?

This is a very pertinent question these days, when we hear daily of transgressions against us by our Intelligence Services, the Tax-collecting agency, and our own Justice (?) Department. When the powers-that-be on all levels of government are delegating more and more quasi-legislative power over us, to un-elected bureaucrats. When even the federal Department of Education has its own SWAT team! You may protest, you may complain, you may write letters to the editor, but you may not change the Rules. Herewith are some examples.

–> The City of New York has a crime rate that has shrunk dramatically in the last few years. This has been the result of much better crime-data gathering that led to better concentration of policing in high-crime areas. More cops right on the street, becoming known to the locals, so they felt comfortable with the police, and would come forward with information when needed. And NYC has an enforcement method called “Stop, Question, and Frisk”. When a policeman sees a person acting in a suspicious manner, he may stop the person, ask them what they are doing, and if the answer is not acceptable, only then do the Frisk the person. According to NYC officials, this system works well, often catching potential wrong-doers BEFORE they do wrong.
Well, a group of the usual “minority suspects” (including our favorite, Al Sharpton), have sued the City to stop that crime-fighting policy, based on the “disparate impact” of the policy on minorities, i.e. more minority people than white people are being “stopped and frisked” (note the absence of “questioned”). No mention of the fact that, perhaps, more minorities than whites were exhibiting suspicious behavior! And this even in a city that has a large number of minority cops! So if the suit is successful, the city will be forced to abandon a crime-fighting policy that demonstrably works, and the mostly-minority residents will again be subjected to being preyed-upon by their own (criminal) gangs.

–> The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued “enforcement guidance” saying that businesses may not employ criminal background checks when screening potential employees. So now businesses must choose between risking federal lawsuits if they initially reject someone with a criminal conviction, and risking losses if an employee with a conviction on his record steals from the employer, or ruins his equipment.

–> Your local government institutes zoning laws that essentially tell you what you may and may not do with your own property. Farmers lose the use of whole acres of their land to rules regarding how far they must be from waters, even those waters totally enclosed by their own boundaries. Property owners are told which trees on their land they are prohibited from cutting down, and what percentage of their property they may cover with buildings.

–> The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau tells your bank what they may and may not charge you if you overdraw your account (even though you voluntarily engage in the banking relationship).

–> The new ObamaCare regulations require businesses that provide health insurance to their employees to provide contraceptive services at NO CHARGE to the employee (meaning that the employer must pay for it).

–> The State dictates how many hours per day you may work, and dictates that you must take a lunch break. Your employer is afraid of the state coming down on them if you do not take lunch!

–> The US Department of Justice allows injustice by refusing to prosecute New Black Panthers who engage in verified voter intimidation at polling places, and refuses to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the porous borders.

–> The president, by executive order, enables illegal alien youth to go to college on taxpayer money.

–> The National Labor Relations Board, whom an Appeals Court has ruled has NO quorum, continues to promulgate rulings that favor their Labor Union buddies at the expense of private employers.

–> And perhaps the worst of all, the Internal Revenue Service continues to target conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny, thus silencing their voices. The IRS has the unchecked power to simply ruin any citizen by seizing their property, freezing their bank accounts, garnishing their wages, and shutting down their businesses. The power to tax is the power to destroy, and it happens all across America.

So what do you think? Are we still free-born citizens of this Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth, or are we now simply Subjects of all-encompassing Government?

Making a difference every day

Have you ever seen recruitment literature for elite colleges, MBA programs, or non-profit groups like Teach for America or the Peace Corps? They say “Go to our school” or “join our program”, or “do this activity” and make a difference in the world. The implication is that, whatever you are currently doing, you are NOT making a difference. This is untrue. Take a careful look at what you do every day. Do you get up in the morning and go to work? Do you write reports for your manager about the project you are working on? Do you counsel high school students about their future careers? Do you design parts for cars or airplanes? Do you take orders for your company’s products? Do you play an instrument in a community band or orchestra? Do you deliver packages to businesses or private homes?
Well, if you do ANY of these activities, you ARE making a difference every day. If you did NOT do what you are doing, would anybody notice? If they would, you already ARE making a difference every day. You don’t have to go to Africa or Asia to help people build schools, or dig wells. You can make a difference right here at home, and you probably already are.
I have a sign above my desk at work (made with my simple graphics program on my home computer), that says “PROUD COMPANY EMPLOYEE, ADDING VALUE EVERY DAY”. You may wish to do this too, as a reminder that you are a productive member of society.