This country is in deep trouble because our people are in deep trouble. The economy is only an indicator. The situation is depressing and discouraging. Some of my best friends and some family members are ignoring and criticizing the charity of a man who has donated more to charity in each and every year for the last 20 years than the total lifetime donations by all of my friends and family combined. One friend foolishly called his charity to the homeless 20 years ago “window dressing.” Some ignore his 10% donations to his church as if they don’t matter, but who among them donates 10% of their income to anything charitable? They have allowed the windows to their minds to be decorated with nonsense.
We have the opportunity to elect as President the most generous man ever to be a serious candidate for President. He donated his inheritance from his father to a university. He served as Governor of Massachusetts 4 years without pay. Accepting a request to help turn around a failing and corrupt Olympics, he accepted no salary for 3 years while serving as CEO, and during that period donated a million dollars to the Olympics, and then he accepted pay only after the successful Olympics turned a $100 million profit. He has a strong relationship with his wife and they have raised a large family together. He has been a bishop of his church for more than a decade and a missionary. He made his fortune by his work and smarts, growing a one store operation to 2000+ stores and 90,000 employees, and then replicating that formula in other businesses.
There is no moral equivalence between one man who amassed a private fortune by building a business which employs tens of thousands of tax paying citizens …and then he donates 10% to 15% per year of his personal income amounting to millions of dollars per year … when compared to another man who is promoted and paid in the public sector by the taxes of citizens, and who earns his fortune by his celebrity and the distribution of the wealth and property of others. But my friends and family who ignore or criticize Mitt Romney, they voted for John Kerry, who inherited and married his wealth, and Barack Obama, neither of whom have ever worked in the productive private sector of the economy much less run businesses which employed tens of thousands of people which in turn enabled their families to have homes, meals, educations and to pay taxes.
One man is morally superior to the other.
The country is in a moral and economic crisis because a large number of people who should know better are no longer willing or able to independently exercise their intellect to be able judge the character of men. They allow the media and pundits to dress the windows of their minds, to position alternatives, and they are persuaded by charisma without thinking through consequences. While one man understands and has been very successful in the private economy without whose funding the government could not survive, the other man is a lawyer with no experience in the private economy, who is highly skilled at dividing communities, and understands how to transform the Constitution and America to his anti-colonial ideology. While one man donated a fortune to his church and charities, the other man and his wife sat for two decades in a church where the pastor damned America. While one man humbly appreciates his and America’s successes, the other man apologizes for America’s failures but never his own. This should be an easy decision, if you get out of line for the new iPhone and turn off the TV in your mind.
The ability to make judgments is a highly conserved survival skill. This should be an easy election decision. But, the ability to make good judgments has been severely degraded in America…perhaps irretrievably. But we have a chance to elect a moral man who has been successful at turning things around.
Philosophy professor Ted Nordenhaug said:
A society that puts down thinking is not likely to have a bright future… It appears that millions of Americans do not find their minds a pleasant place, so they spend most of their time being out of them….A dumbed down society is not a pleasant place to live.
Here is a bedrock truth. We can inform you, we can expose you to things you never heard of before, we can explain things, we can sometimes entertain you, we can often bore the hell out of you, we can set up good learning environments (or not), we can test you, we can grade you and credential you, and you can like us or hate us. But however well or badly we do those things, there is one thing that we absolutely cannot do, even if we stand on our heads—and that is: educate you. That is because the educational part of an education requires a personal investment from you that is not in the contract…it is a startling fact that, in contrast to getting a degree, getting an education in our society is virtually free.
Statistics show that the average American spends thirteen uninterrupted years watching television. The pollution that now spews forth from this medium in the guise of news and entertainment is turning even the wealthiest suburb into a Maquiladora of the mind. As these electronic emanations seep into our souls, civility in public discourse declines, issues that require thought are reduced to ten second sound bites, violence and banality rule in programming, titillation and distraction reign in the news, the American attention span shrinks to that of a gnat, while ever present commercials bombard us again and again with a single proposition: happiness consists of having stuff and more stuff. These symptoms point to an underlying misery that is well captured by the following:
For we have reached the place of which I spoke,
where you will see the miserable people,
those who have lost the good of intellect….
Strange utterances, horrible pronouncements,
accents of anger, words of suffering,
and voices shrill and faint, and beating hands,
all went to make a tumult that will whirl
forever through that turbid, timeless air,
like sand that eddies when a whirlwind swirls.
Is there a better description of the Jerry Springer show? Never mind that it comes from the third Canto of Dante’s Inferno…
The particular section of hell Dante is describing is for those miserable people who have lost “the good of intellect.”