Archive for September, 2009

Vacation!

September 30, 2009

I will be on vacation until 10/12/09, and will resume posting then.

Gotta go walk in the woods!

Warm Regards,

Tom

Advertisements

Amplifying and Fleeing in Terror (1990)

September 30, 2009

Amplifying and Fleeing in Terror (1990)

On the Today Show this morning a soldier teleconferenced from the Middle East with his family in the U.S..

The two young children sat highly polished and prompted upon the lap of their very nervous mother.

The soldier, ill at ease and stiff, attempted to convey his loneliness and caring for them with dignity. Of course dignity won at the expense of true intimacy. The “I love you’s” and “I miss you’s” uncomfortably resembled a crude and trivial computerized audio-visual simulation of human emotion. I felt very sorry for them.

The pragmatics of the Middle East crisis have dictated human suffering. This is not new. Humans have suffered in such traps forever. But in America, before Vietnam, they suffered without the media amplification of anguish and self-doubt throughout their homeland. Perhaps some would argue that this will end war. I will argue that it will only lose wars.

Some of the media’s questions and remarks were as follows:

To the Soldier: Do you miss your wife and children?

To the Mother: How did it feel to lose you husband and father that suddenly?  It must be very hard to be alone with these young children.

To the Children: Is it hard to lose your daddy like this?

All of this was followed by reports of increased depression, poor school performance, nightmares, suicide, etc., among the family members of soldiers who have been sent to the Middle East.

These consequences of war are eternal and they should not be denied. To compassionately give special provisions for the support and welfare of families so separated is an excellent practical idea and also a moral and ethical one.

However, while our Nation sends 400,000 of it’s warriors, half a world away to confront an insane and rabidly lethal force, it assiduously lays the groundwork for it’s own psychological and physical defeat.

I do not wish for war. But once war is eminent, or engaged, there comes a point of no return: a time when individuals and societies must choose to win or lose in mortal conflict. Our choices and actions in WWII led to the survival of our way of life. Our choices not to win in the Korean conflict and the Vietnam war have weakened us: and now the Persian Gulf Crisis.

To perseverate upon the deprivations, dread, and pain of war, and to amplify them through the mass media, self-defeatingly makes whimpering cowards of ourselves. To do this is to flee in terror from the grace of the forces of natural selection of individuals, species, and societies which once blessed America so richly.

VTM,  11/26/90

P.S. My concerns have not changed to this day, as our troops are fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They may also soon be fighting in Iran and other places around the world (VTM, 9/30/09).

Billy Budd

September 28, 2009

Billy Budd

There is no time: children, private practice, university, service. I am tired of the constraints of discipline.

I have an overwhelming need similar to any of the basic biological imperatives.

I will simply share the snippets of my emotions and thoughts. You may do with them as you wish.

I write only for me. If you find something of significance within, I am happy. If you do not, my intuition about the general malaise in the face of our great nations demise is confirmed.

What can I do? Little more than raise my children, be a good mate to my wife, play and laugh loudly, do my work, and rail against the giant forces of our social undoing.

I will go about my life in a congenial and caring way. The world beyond my family and friends will not know me. My coming and going will be of little consequence.

But occasionally, when alone, I will wring my hands and weep for the things I believed were true as a child. Most often, though, I will pound my fists and curse the forces of stupidity which rule us all.

I will look fearfully at the storm clouds gathering and pray for strength for my children and loved ones to live well and defend themselves when I am gone.

If I have lost you in what I am saying, it matters little. Go find that which is meaningful to you and feel do something beneficial.

If I have struck that spring loaded pit, the raw spot, wherein dwells your quiet fears, indignation and anger over the unraveling of this great society, then—

Join me in catharsis!

 Billy Budd

A long time ago.

A Problem of Tragic Proportions

September 27, 2009

A Problem of Tragic Proportions

It is a problem of tragic proportions that our modern cultural designers, at all levels, make decisions that will shape the behavior patterns of hundreds of millions of us, yet they know very little, if anything, about the psychological laws and principles that control human behavior.

This is an amazing problem. Just consider what would happen if our physicians were trained in much about physiology, but never learned about the causes and cures of sickness. These physicians would be incompetent and unable to follow their own well known caveat: “Above all, do no harm”. Our politicians may know the mechanics of government, but they do not know the true causes and cures of our sociocultural behavioral “sicknesses”. Unfortunately, this lack of modern knowledge is also true of the rest of our intelligent general electorate.

Some may read the above as disrespect for the genius of America’s Founding Fathers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Based upon the vast majority of our historical cultural outcomes, they miraculously got it right! Regrettably however, we are the ones that have made many of the American Post-Modern cultural design changes (mistakes) that are clearly failing.

B. F. Skinner (1971) has remarked about the lethal cultural problems that we now face when he observed: “Twenty-five hundred years ago man understood himself as well as any other part of his world. Today he is the thing he understands least”(Beyond Freedom and Dignity, P.5).

Skinner had great hope that education would lead us to a better future and he that scientists who studied the effects of environmental experiences upon human behavior had learned a great deal that could benefit human-kind. I, too , am convinced that we already know enough to correct many of our recent cultural design mistakes, which have lead to dramatically increasing behavior problems within our population.

From this perspective: America’s greatest contemporary problem is our general  population and our electorate’s lack of understanding of the hard-earned scientific principles of behavior change that we Americans have predominantly discovered.

There are many reasons for this lack of learning and lack of use of our own discovered human behavior principles to improve our lives. I suspect that one central problem is that these behavior principles applied at the sociocultural level do not quickly create material wealth, as did the technology gained from our space program (microwave cookers, computers, new metals, etc.). With the skilled use of a behavior technology in cultural design and planning, many rewards will certainly come, but they may be delayed by at least a generation of time, if not more.

Humans do not learn well when the consequences for their actions involve delayed rewards or delayed pain. Fortunately, however, many people will learn to do things that they believe can avoid very large , very likely (or certain) painful consequences that are delayed. For example, individuals get inoculations against killer diseases of the past (small pox, measles, polio, etc.), they lock their doors, install smoke detectors, buy health insurance, and fasten their seat belts. Of course the culture assists its citizens to do these smart things through education, standardizing practices, and imposing legal sanctions. Similarly, cultures behave in other ways to protect themselves against very large, very likely (or certain) delayed painful consequences. For example, America retains stores of food, medicine and fuel in case of catastrophe. We also maintain a strong military to defend ourselves in the event of war, or to counter certain threats that may be gathering in the future.

There is good reason to hope that if we citizens can see the reality of a lethal threat to our existence, that we and our government will be motivated to learn and to do whatever is necessary to save ourselves and our loved ones from disaster. For decades America’s population has been suffering from increasing rates of severe psychological/behavior problems. I will argued that if these behavioral trends are allowed to continue they will destroy our civilization.

About this, there is both bad news and good news. The Bad news is that these trends are very real. The good news is that these problems could not appear at a better time in our history.

Behavioral scientists are in considerable agreement about how certain environmental experiences can affect our behavior for the better and for the worse. In spite of this good news, there remains a great and threatening paradox: The more our scientists know about the causes of troubled or abnormal human behavior, the more troubled and abnormal our behavior has become. The great irony is that our behavioral scientists have learned a great deal about improving human behavior within the last 100 years—but this knowledge has gone pitifully unused by us to improve America.

Stay tuned, there is much more to come.

VTM, 9/27/09

“Stealth Jihad”

September 26, 2009

“Stealth Jihad”

Spencer, Robert (2008). Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs. Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing.

It is easy to be too naive and too trusting of others. It is also easy to become too suspicious and even paranoid about the intentions of others. How does one defend against either of these damaging extremes? Reality testing is the only defense, but it is easier said than done.

I suggest that we stay connected to conservative, liberal, progressive news and information sources and do the best we can to discern the truth about the complex unfolding issues that now threaten America and the World.

In doing this,  it will be essential to consider the work of  Robert Spenser. I found the information in his book, Stealth Jihad, to be particularly troubling when juxtaposed with the flow of current American domestic and World events.

VTM, 9/26/09

“Basic Economics”

September 26, 2009

“Basic Economics”

Sowell, Thomas (2007). Basic Economics: A C0mmon Sense Guide to the Economy (3rd. ed.). New York: Basic Books.

Many factors sustain the greatness of America. Without question, the health of our economy is one of them. Economics should be a required course in our. This is because the American voter too frequently has no idea about how the political ideology that presently fancy, will impact their economic condition in the future. I believe that this is just one of the fatal flaws in our Republic that must be corrected.

If you have not had a good course in Economics, read this book. It is very comprehensive and will open your eyes to  new realities that are essential for the survival of our American way of life.

VTM, 9/26/09

Ahmadinejad on America’s Fate

September 26, 2009

Ahmadinejad on America’s Fate

In an Associated Press article entitled: Iran Leader Blasts U.S, Capitalism, Karin Laube describes Ahmadinejad’s speech to the U.N..

“Ahmadinejad portrayed Iran as a defender of poor countries, lashed out at unbridled capitalism which he said has reached the end of the road and will suffer the same fate as Marxism.”

The main message is unmistakable. This meglomaniac dictator thinks that our way of life is all but on the trash-heap of history. O.k., what else would you expect him to say? We’re supposed to listen to this crazy man?! We’re supposed to listen to the man  who repeatedly states that the holocaust never happened, etc.?!

But wait—did you notice the word “unbridled” when he refered to our doomed capitalism?

If capitalism is now unbridled, it must mean that it was once bridled by something. Could it be that Ahmadinejad has noticed something that we have not? Afterall, even psychotics can perceive fragments of reality.

In my opinion, what once “bridled” Capitalism (and also our Republic) was the more pervasive rule of ethics and morality. These ethics were based upon Judeo/Christian religious teachings. Of course the influences of these ethics was never perfect,  they were just greatly more powerful than they are now.

Our Founding Fathers knew that our Republic could not last without a strong religious/ethical base. More recently, Thomas Sowell (the well known Economist) documented the powerfully damaging effects of corruption upon the economies of Nations (see my recommended readings).

People, I am sickened with fear about crazy Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s prediction: “unbridled capitalism will suffer the same fate as Marxism.”

VTM, 0/26/09

P.S. The Associated Press article appeared in the 9/24/09 issue of the South Bend Tribune (Indiana).

 

The Marriage Penalty

September 25, 2009

The Marriage Penalty

Two Professors of accounting wrote an excellent opinion piece in the 9/24/09 issue of the South Bend Tribune (South Bend, In).

In this article, Claude Renshaw and Ken Milani explain that the marriage penalty happens when  individuals get married and thereby lose substantial tax credits.

I quote from their article:

In our opinion, federal income tax provisions that create a hurdle to getting married are unfair to the people involved and unhealthy for a society that already has too many people co-habitating instead of living as husband and wife.”

In another quote, they state:

“Studies continue to report that one of the contributing causes of poverty, illegitimacy, crime, inadequate education and other socioeconomic challenges can be traced to the absence of two married, committed parents in a family. Our current income tax laws don’t seem to help and actually create a hurdle to getting married—or cause a horrible surprise when the newly married couple files their first tax return as husband and wife.”

The one of the great laws of psychology is the Law of Effect. This law states that consequences control behaviors.

You and I allow our government to financially reward those who cohabit and have children out-of-wedlock. We allow our government to financially punish those who marry and have children.

In the meantime we all suffer the social ills that this fragmentation of our vehicle to a better future (married parents and their children) predictably cause.

From a psychological-cultural design perspective, punishing married families with children and rewarding non-married cohabitation and births-out-of-wedlock  is a stupid and self-destructive thing for America to do.

VTM, 9/25/09

Stealth Jihad

September 24, 2009

Stealth Jihad

The following quotes are taken from Robert Spencer’s 2008 book, entitled Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs. The book is published byRegnery Publishing Inc.

The following several paragraphs are quoted from the Introduction of Spencer’s book. His words should motivate responsible citizens and voters to learn more about the possibility that Stealth Jihad could, along with many other contemporary forces, destroy America as we know it.

Begin quote:

In this book, I offer evidence for the proposition that terror attacks involving bombings and shootings are not the sum total of terrorist aspirations, but are just one component of a larger initiative. The goal of that initiative is the imposition of jihadists’ ideology all over the world—over their fellow Muslims and non-Muslims alike. That ideology may be summed up by the phrase “radical Islam,” although tht term is used in many different ways. Some use it to suggest that it is only radicals—those who distort those teachings into “radical islam”—who are responsible for violence in Ilsam’s name.

I am not using the phrase in that way. Rather, I have long contended that Islam is unique among the major world religions in having a developed doctrine, theology, and legal system mandating warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers. There is no orthodox sect or school of Islam that teachers that Muslims must coexist peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis.  I use the term “radical Islam” merely to distinguish those Muslims who are actively working to advance this subjugation from the many millions who are not, as well as to emphasize that the stealth jihad program is truly radical: it aims at nothing less than the transformation of American society and the imposition of Islamic law here, subjugating women and non-Muslims to the status of legal inferiors.

Those who are working to advance the subjugation of non-Muslims are not doing it soly by violent means. The common distinction between “radical” and “moderate” Muslims has generally been made between those who are engaged in blowing things up or are plotting to do so, and those who are not. However, the evidence presented in this book shows that the distinction ought to be placed elewhere: between those Muslims who believe that Islamic law is the perfect system for human society and who are working by whatever means to impose that Islamic law, and those Muslims who support Western pluralistic governments and seek to live with non-Muslims as equals, under secular rule, on an indefinate basis (pps. 4, 5 & 6).

Next quote:

The West today faces the threat of stealth jihadists. By using this term, I am not implying that they operate in secret; to the contrary, one of the key characteristics distinguishing them from their violent counterparts is that they carry out their business openly, carefully constructing a facade of moderation. What is stealth about these operatives is their ultimate agenda—they are not seeking to protect Muslim’s “civil rights” from the rampant “Islamophobia” that ostensibly plagues Western societies, as they claim. Rather, they are leading a full-scale effort to transform pluralistic societies into Ilsamic states, and to sweep away Western notions of legal equality, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and more.

The stealth jihadists have already made significant inroads into American life. They are well-funded, well-organized, and persistent. They will not be pacified by negotiations, compromises, or concessions; they cannot be bought off. And every day, they are advancing their agenda—while most Americans don’t even know they exist.

In his controversial book America Alone, Mark Steyn suggests that Europe is falling to the Islamic Jihad, and that only America will be left as a bulwark against Islamization. But it is unclear how much of a bulwark we will be if we allow our freedoms and way of life to be eroded in the name of “getting along.” That is exactly what is happening today. The stealth jihadists are working energetically to wear away the very fabrick of American culture

Its happening right now , under our noses (pps. 6 & 7)..

End of quotes.

Please view the following. Note the message, at the end of each page.

www.islamoncapitalhill.com

A Loving Gesture or Stealth Jihad?

VTM, 9/13/09

A Loving Gesture or Stealth Jihad?

September 23, 2009

A Loving Gesture or Stealth Jihad?

For over 50 years America’s Presidents have hosted an ecumenical National Prayer Day at the White House. President Obama cancelled this National Prayer Day for 2009 at the White House.

However, Muslims will meet and pray on Capitol Hill on September 25, 2009. You must see the following:

http://www.islamoncapitolhill.com

 Note:  The statement,  “Our Day Has Come” at the bottom of each page on this Muslim web site.

I recommend that you read and important 2008 book by Robert Spencer, published by Regnery Publishing, Inc.. The title of this book is Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs.

A loving Gesture or Not-So-Stealth Jihad?

VTM, 9/23/09


%d bloggers like this: