Archive for January, 2017

Why Political Systems Endure to Squabble Interminably

January 28, 2017


(Spoiler:  It’s the Libertarians)

Perhaps the reason various political systems endure and are argued is that they all have some current application.  For example, monarchy is the ruling system of the family:  King father, Queen mother, the aunts and uncles of Nobility, and finally the lowly Citizen-children.  All are granted their seniority with due rewards and obligations in the hierarchy.  Women especially have a warm spot for the royal touch of the hereditary monarchies, such as the  Camelot Kennedys and Princess Diana.

Communism, which would seem worldwide to be the adversary of free enterprise, capitalism, business and ‘the American Way’ – is actually the functioning paradigm of most business. At work, the resources of the company are generally there for the use of all workers – workers whose value and efforts at building the company are judged and used and disposed of in kind.  One’s attitude is continually monitored with periodic supervisory ‘evaluations’ of performance being common.  You are told which work you will perform, where it will be done, and who you are to report to.  You have a ‘job description’, which describes the type of corporate citizen you are.  Freedom of speech is curtailed.  Dress codes prevail.  Outside activity can be proscribed.  The strictures are manifold.

Socialism is most clearly practiced in the public schools, where labor and money are dispensed – on the basis of need –  to children who are yet unable to contribute to the economy.

Fascism is the essence of professional team sports and corporations, where the workers are employed, fired and transferred on the basis of enhancing the organizations’ success.  Titles, job descriptions, and status designations predominate and rule activity.

But perhaps it is the in the military where the most effective mechanisms of Fascism function.  The struggle of veterans to re-enter a civilian society which after their service seems lacking in purpose and commitment, speaks to the great power of the fascist mental engine in creating an unbreakable bond of loyalty between brothers united in a single focused challenge rimmed with excitement and danger.   It may have been Susan Sontag who said, “The problem with fascism is that it’s too exciting, and the problem with socialism is that it’s too boring.”

Theocracy is the hierarchy of organized religion – and even disorganized religions – which place God at the top.

Democracy is the representation and working mix of this hodgepodge of political loyalties, which, to function, must respect each systems natural dominion.

But as the partisans of each system expand, they seek  to re-create the government in their image.  History abounds with examples of failed countries where each of these systems have transgressed their natural bounds and have obtained the coercive powers of government.

 The American Constitution, by seeking to limit the coercive power of government over its citizens, ironically insures the liberty of its citizens to chose their preferred ‘political’ lifestyle.

Academics and the government employed edge towards Socialism.  Families prefer the Monarchy style.  Corporate and military lean towards the Fascist.  And the Church of course is Theist.    It is the Libertarians, whose vision of government most resembles that of a Constitutional Caretaker, who labor daily to keep the warring political creeds contained within their dominions and voluntary; that is, removed from the levers of power. 

And it’s a thankless task.  Libertarians rarely generate enthusiasm.  And they rarely win elections.  But it’s the wise ruler and citizen who heed their counsel.

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My High School Address As a Returning Famous Alumni

January 7, 2017

       I’ve fantasized ever since high school about returning as a famous and/or accomplished alumni and delivering an address to the assembled senior class.  I doubt that I am alone in this dream.  Also I am not alone, I believe, in not being asked to speak.  But, being in the arts, I am well used to this.   And perhaps we have trained to handle this better than many in the other professions.  Artists, especially I would think poets, know that life burgeons without audience, and for example a fish or a flower (and maybe even a poet) actually does better without us around.  And poets have continued to thrive like weeds, and to produce poems like dandelion seeds, even in those arid locales empty of audience.  In short, I am warning you that I plan to deliver this high school address nevertheless.  Because I feel I have something to say, but more importantly, because I want to.  Poets know that what you want is surely the most compelling reason for anything. More important than sex, fame or money – or perhaps one in the same.   it’s like breath.


Dear Seniors:

I am limiting my remarks to two nuggets of advice I would offer the young person heading out into the world.  This first nugget is not something I came up with myself.  Most of the best advice you won’t come up with yourself, just like the best words or phrases, or the tools you loan to a friend.  You loan them because you’ve found them to be handy.  So it is with this first bit of advice on contentment:  Don’t try to get more out of something than there is in it.

 I have seen this bit of advice violated all of the time and have even do so on many occasions myself.  Right off the top of my head, the first subject under this heading to discuss would be marriage.  But since you’re graduating seniors I will start with something I had to learn which is much closer to home: your parents.  Stories of parents who pressure their children to either be like them, or to achieve better than them, or to find some destiny denied to them, or simply to continue ‘being’ them after the parents own best years pass are legion.  And almost as legion are stories of parents, especially fathers, who do all they can to prevent their offspring from usurping their glory, or even imagined glory.  You all must know what I am speaking of.  You know it’s wrong.  They may or may not know.  But what it amounts to is trying to get more out of their children than is offered.  What hadn’t occurred to me for many years was that the maxim turns counterclockwise also.  Children often stubbornly demand that their parents offer more than is available: more love, more support, more understanding, more assistance, even more understanding, more knowledge or experience, or even more support.  I wanted mine to be an artist – or at least to value art.  The list is longer than the squalling.   Right away, whether you are the parent or the child in this drama, you can halve your frustration immediately by simply giving up.  Or as one of Arthur Miller’s characters says in a play, “The secret to wisdom is to stop.  Whatever you are doing, stop it.”

Marriages are ruined, tarnished, and impoverished all of the time by a failure also to acknowledge this maxim.  Your partner cannot make you successful.  They cannot keep you from failure, work, or illness, or any of “the thousand Natural shocks. That Flesh is heir to…,” or supply you with discipline or character.”  Don’t expect it.  Don’t demand it.  Things will go better.

My second nugget of observation would be that humans are natural problem solvers, and that this world is rife with problems.  We’re a natural fit.  So when you go out into the world wondering what you should do, what you should become – ask yourself what problems there are which you enjoy working on?  it’s said that the best boss is the one who wants to hear your problems.  The best physician wants to hear what’s wrong.  The best actor asks, “What causes this character to move?”  The best inventor wonders how we could do this easier?  What is it you like to fix?

No one hires someone to enjoy the salary, or the perks, or the status or the adulation.  Everyone is paid to solve a problem.  What problems do you like to solve?

Start solving them.  You are writing your ticket.

That’s it.  That’s all.

Thank you for offering me this opportunity.

1967 Alumni, Carl Nelson

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The Two Mathematicians

January 5, 2017


Global Warming Alarmists, with their over-riding  faith in the ‘accepted’ scientific consensus, remind me of the two mathematicians who proved that bumblebees can’t fly.  (The implications of which would be alarming, also.)

When it was pointed out to them that bumblebees do fly, they said, “Oh!  So you consider yourself a mathematician?”  They then produced a stack of cardboard boxes filled with papers crammed with mathematical formula, equations, arrows, diagrams and calculations.  “Perhaps you would show us then, please, just where our mistake is?”


“You can’t, can you?”  They replied smugly.

If you would like to read more work by Carl Nelson, please visit:

Newspeak and Masculine Vigor

January 2, 2017



The above opinion in the Washington Post by Eugene Volokh concerns free speech issues at the University of Oregon.  Apparently the University of Oregon administration has declared that students or staff may be institutionally disciplined not only for what they say, but that they may also be disciplined if enough others object to what they have said.  “The harassment policy, the university report notes, bans conduct that creates a “hostile environment” based on “age, race, color, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, religion, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or the use of leave protected by state or federal law.”

That’s quite a mouthful to worry about as you chirp, “Good morning,” to your students or colleges and consider the risk of follow up.  It would seem that teaching some subjects under this ban would be very difficult – most likely impossible to do credibly – and make tricky teaching of many others while staying out of the cross hairs.

Which may be the point.   This is taken from the New Criterion,  January 2017.  It concerns “Newspeak” as invented by George Orwell in his prescient book, 1984, about evolving totalitarianism:



By limiting what may be said, the University – much like the Inner Party of 1984 – is well on its way to making the construction of conflicting arguments impossible, and eventually, as per the recipe for Newspeak, recounted in 1984, finally impossible to consider or even to imagine.

You needn’t wander very far from home to see the mechanisms of Newspeak operating around us now.  Conservatives encounter this on a daily basis when trying to discuss political matters with Progressives.  Progressives literally cannot understand us.  Progressives cannot understand why Trump won.   Instead they shout slurs as if to ward off the Devil.  They cannot understand why we are not petrified by Global Warming.  They cannot understand why we would not want to welcome thousands of Muslim immigrants.  They cannot understand that illegal immigration is illegal.  They don’t seem to understand the word “illegal”. There are many sides to other issues which the Progressive Newspeak simply will not allow Progressives to imagine or to understand.  Like scared Shamans, all is left in the Progressive arsenal are explanatory pejoratives, the ‘usual suspects’ of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny,  islamophobia, flat earthers,  the scientifically illiterate, poorly read, intellectually challenged, … idiots, morons, dumb, and then the reactionaries, assholes, mean-spirited, selfish, greedy, blind, pigs…   It goes on and on.  One would have to be quite gifted to be all of those things at once.  And on this, we seem to agree.  This, they explain, is why we win.

It is widely held by critics of public speaking that an audience is often much more influenced by the appearance and performance of the speaker than by the value of what is said.   I would be hard put to find anyone of whom this is more true than Donald Trump.  Not only is much of what he says incorrect, but it can change dramatically the next day, the next hour, or even within the next sentence.  And if you catch him in a deception he will either deny it or disparage you, or tell you that he is very very smart (and yourself, well, not so much).  You have no idea how smart!  One would think that these are all poor character traits to have in a Presidential Candidate.

Unless, that is, you would want someone who can tear through the turgid net of Progressive cant in which most Conservative speakers allow themselves to be constricted.  Trump tears through Progressive verbal strictures as if tender paper nets constructed in safe areas by cloistered ‘snowflakes’.

What does it matter, specifically, what he says?  That could change.  Generally, though, we get him.  And the payoff is immediate.  He talks back to Progressive power.  A fresh breeze blows through.  Clear thinking is allowed.  Thoughts can be thought.  Arguments can be had.  Common sense decisions can be made.  And there doesn’t seem to be anything the Progressives can do about it.  In fact, Donald has them wringing their hands and shedding tears.

When Taiwan calls, Trump picks up the phone, because it would be rude not to.   He chats.

“Heresy!”  says the accepted thinking of the Intelligensia.

“Jeeze, that feels good,” says his electorate.


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