Archive for August 9th, 2011

It’s Our Behavior, Stupid!

August 9, 2011

It’s Our Behavior, Stupid!

For many years I have heard that what determines voter behavior is the economy. Some have even taunted, “It’s the Economy, Stupid!” In fact this rule-of-thumb has become axiomatic in political discourse and  analysis. The talking heads all say it,” so it must be true”.

They are flat-out and deadly  wrong, in my opinion.  As a professor, I tracked critical indicators of the quality of America’s social behaviors for decades, starting in the 1980’s forward and (in many cases) extending back to the beginning of recorded data on our behavior patterns as a population. In almost all of the “critical indicators” that I found, or read from those collected by others, the quality of our collective behavior has had deteriorating trends over many decades.

It is my argument, that the earliest indicators of a culture in decline are worsening measures of the quality of its population’s behavior patterns.  In my view, economic indicators of failure are very late indicators of sociocultural decline.

This is exactly the way things have played-out and I will therefore argue that my views are probably correct.  Contemporary economic events confirm my predictions. Yes, our economy stinks. But our behavior has stunk long before our rotten economy appeared.

I fear that, try as we may, we will not have the human behavioral capital in sufficient quality and quantity to turn this mess around. This fear is exacerbated by the fact that many of our finest Americans are being killed and maimed in a war of attrition that we cannot win through modern conventional means. Radical Islam is degrading our vitality through uncontrolled immigration, stealth Jihad, and unremitting terrorism around the world.

I judge that economic manipulations alone will not turn our economy around. That will also require a restructuring of our socioculture to produce stronger moral and ethical behaviors within our replacement population. This will take at least a  couple of generations to accomplish, if it can even be done.

I also suspect that to vanquish Islamic Terrorism and stealth Jihad will require a social restructuring and  a military savagery that we will be unable to conceive of executing until it is too late.

This is my fear and expectation and I will pray that I am wrong.

Wake-Up America!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D. ,  8/10/11

America’s Economic Downgrade: Good, Now Learn the Lesson!

August 9, 2011

America’s Economic Downgrade: Good, Now Learn the Lesson!

I regret that I can be the absent-minded sort, at times. From time to time I forget to show-up for my haircut appointment with my friend and barber of over 30 years. It bothers me when my lack of personal organization causes a man who is working hard for a living to lose money. I therefore do more than apologize for my irresponsible behavior. I pay him double the price when I get my rescheduled hair cut.

Do I have to do that? No. But if I do not, in spite of my good intentions, I will “forget” again more often in the future. Because of the financial harm this does to a good man, it is unethical conduct on my part.

Consequences control behavior. The punishing consequence that I impose upon myself is called Response- Cost. How much did that bad behavior cost me? It cost an  extra $15. I still mess-up on an appointment once in a greater while,  but it happens much less frequently than before my self-managment effort.

America’s economic downgrade affects me badly. I am semi-retired and I am loosing hard-earned money from my retirement investments. Sally and I  are sick about this unfair outcome we have tried to be fiscally responsible. The same is true for many other Americans. No one can spend more money than we make without it catching up to us. The same is true of government.

At first I was mad about the S&P downgrade of America’s credit rating. Today, upon further reflection, I think it is a good, but painful, thing. It’s Sorta like my self-imposed response-cost contingency for missing my haircut appointment.

Both Republicans and Democrats,  and a great many voting Americans are responsible for our financial mess. Many have all been greedy, self-centered and irresponsible with their votes and their own money management. It is now time to face the consequences of our own and other’s actions.

In my view S & P did us all a painful favor. They let us know, earlier than other rating agencies who are letting us get-by with bad behavior, exactly what we will face if we do not correct our ways right now.

We, and the people that we elected failed to pass the Cut, Cap, and Balance Bill and now we are suffering the consequences.

Good! Now, I can only hope that America will learn from the consequences of our stupid and self-defeating behavior. The lesson to be learned is that liberal, progressive, and undisciplined and irresponsible behavior patterns lead to pain whether Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, or Independents do it.

B.S. walks, behavior and its consequences talk. We had better listen.

Wake-Up America!

VTM, 8/9/11


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