For those miserable people who have lost “the good of intellect.”

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.”

About budbromley

Bud is a retired life sciences executive. Bud's entrepreneurial leadership exceeded three decades. He was the senior business development, marketing and sales executive at four public corporations, each company a supplier of analytical and life sciences instrumentation, software, consumables and service. Prior to those positions, his 19 year career in Hewlett-Packard Company's Analytical Products Group included worldwide sales and marketing responsibility for Bioscience Products, Global Accounts and the International Olympic Committee, as well as international management assignments based in Japan and Latin America. Bud has visited and worked in more than 65 countries and lived and worked in 3 countries.
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4 Responses to For those miserable people who have lost “the good of intellect.”

  1. Under your logic Alice Walton, daughter of Sam Walton, is the most qualified person to be president since she gave the most to charity last year. My point from earlier, which I stand by, is that you fail to see how somebody could possibly support Obama except to say that they don’t use their brains. To you it is such a clear decision that if someone disagrees with you they must not be using their capacity to think. Can’t you see how a thinking person could question whether giving money to a church that spent millions to get Proposition 8 passed makes you morally superior? Can’t you see how a thinking person might not consider Obama’s support of raising the highest income tax rate from 35 to 39.5% evidence that he’s an immoral wealth redistributor? You may not agree with these people, but you can’t say they’re dumb. They just see things differently than you. You can post quotes all day long, but you remain intellectually lazy if you’re going to dismiss half the country as unthinking.


    • budbromley says:

      Dear Spiralstairs,

      The spam filter blocked your response, which I have only just now discovered. Sorry about that. I don’t know how to turn it off yet.

      I disagree entirely with your comments though for many reasons. First, dumb is is different from unthinking. A unthinking person may be clever but have never thoughtfully considered a specific subject. Americans by and large were never given the information to think about the differences between these two candidates. By this definition of unthinking, I definitely dismiss half the country as unthinking. Second, I do not dismiss people who disagree with me, I do dismiss people who do not think, ignore, and willfully disbelieve facts before them.

      Charity is clearly not the only criterion for deciding a President, nor did I say so. On the basis of charity, Romney was the morally superior candidate. Also, one can find many other qualitative differences wherein Romney is superior to Obama, but I won’t go there now. In a thinking America, Obama would have been defeated due to his track record in office as George H.W. Bush was defeated for “Read my lips, no new taxes.” Given the almost complete absence of information about candidate Obama in 2008, a thinking person would have voted against him due to his friends and associates and his impractical platitudes.

      “Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and given him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the new wonderful good society which shall now be Rome’s, interpreted to mean more money, more ease, more security, and more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)

      Like G.H.W. Bush, Obama’s own words compared to his actions should have resulted in his political demise. There are plenty of examples. Here’s one, “America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.” ~ Sen. Barack Obama, March 16, 2006.

      Of course, Romney could have become President and could have spent wildly and failed to veto like George W. Bush and Barack Obama. And Romney could have committed Command Negligence and started needless wars as did George W. Bush in his willful negligence to protect American on 9-11-2001 and the War in Iraq, or like President Obama in the Benghazi tragedy and his continuing murders of innocents and his multiple drone wars. It appears that we will never know whether Romney would be better than Bush or Obama, but Romney’s charity versus Obama’s was a good criterion to make that anticipatory judgment.

      Regarding Proposition 8, a law passed by the majority of Californians: the people in a society are well within their rights and duties to pass laws which protect the continuance, safety and survival of their society. The same is true, in any free society, for a religion such as Mormon, including members and donors to that religion such as Romney. “Moonbeam” Brown and Barack Obama, nor any politician, are not elected to act out their personal opinions. They were elected to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of their office, and they swore and oath to do so; their duty is to enforce the law, and neither is doing so with regard to Proposition 8. Both Brown and Obama are willfully disobeying laws on the books which were passed lawfully by the people or the Congress, and both politicians should rightfully be removed by the citizens for the Brown and Obama’s dereliction of sworn duty. It is legally immaterial whether or not the politician agrees with the law, they are sworn to enforce it. Proposition 8 is not the only example. Obama’s Attorney General, Holder, is legally charged with contempt of Congress, a felony, and also charged in a civil case brought by Congress for contempt of Congress – the first Attorney General to be so charged. Obama, who claims to be a constitutional legal scholar, is attempting to protect Holder by Executive Privilege even though the Supreme Court has ruled that Executive Privilege may not be used to hide a crime. The moral and legal issue here is for Obama, Brown and Holder, who swore to protect and defend the Constitution and the law. America is, or was founded to be, a nation of laws, not men. Thinking people throughout history have recognized that men (and women) are well known to let their passions run to the madness of crowds.

      Regarding your question: “Can’t you see how a thinking person might not consider Obama’s support of raising the highest income tax rate from 35 to 39.5% evidence that he’s an immoral wealth redistributor?” A thinking person knows it is immoral to take property from one person and give it to another.


  2. Dismissing those with whom you disagree as unthinking seems intellectually lazy. And as a public school teacher of 11 years I resent your suggestion that those “job creators” of the private sector are somehow superior to those who work in public service.


    • budbromley says:

      spiralstairs74, I am not breaking any new ground here. I am saying as clearly as I can that Mitt Romney is morally superior to Barack Obama, based on comparing the history and behavior of those two men. Our country and the world will be better off if we choose the morally superior man. One man is morally superior to the other. If you contribute more than I do, then you are morally superior to me. There are absolutes. And if you willingly contribute more, then your character improves and you better yourself. One person may contribute money, another art, another science, etc.

      ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ ‘Give, and it shall be given unto you. Judge and be prepared to be judged by the same measure.’

      There are many things to compare in the lives of these two men. I provided a clear example of moral superiority, which is one man (Romney) has a long term, consistent history of donating very large amounts of his personal property to charity as well giving of his own time. The other man (Obama) gives less and does not have an extended history of giving his own wealth. In other words, giving is a moral good. Giving more is morally better.

      Furthermore, giving to charity from one’s personal property is superior to providing charity or welfare by re-distribution of the property of others. Re-distributing the property of others is morally negative, i.e. amoral or immoral, when that property is acquired by mandate of government against the will of the governed.

      Judging people and events is a highly conserved genetic characteristic necessary for survival and adaptability. It is natural law, God’s law. The taking of property or money (re-distribution of wealth) against a person’s will is theft, it is immoral, it is in defiance of God’s natural laws, the Constitution, and the Magna Carta, etc. ‘Thou shall not steal.’

      Ranking candidates for public office according to your judgment of their moral character is the duty of every voter/citizen, exactly what we all should be doing in every election. An election should be the ranking based on the citizens’ cumulative judgment of the character and experience of the candidates for public office.

      I confidently stand in spirit before God and I judge Obama to be less moral than Romney, knowing that I will be judged by the same measure. Mr. Romney is not my perfect candidate, but he is a morally better man than I.

      “The men who administer public affairs must first of all see that everyone holds onto what is his, and that private men are never deprived of their goods by public men.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

      “If you judge, investigate.” ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC-65)

      “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~ Wayne Dyer (1940-?) American psychotherapist, author and lecturer.

      “No accurate thinker will judge another person by that which the other person’s enemies say about him.” ~ Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American speaker and motivational writer.

      “Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.” ~ Samuel Adams, November 4, 1775, Letter to James Warren

      “The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one, and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions. The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of Nature for his rule.” ~John Locke

      “Hence, in a state of nature, no man has any moral power to deprive another of his life, limbs, property, or liberty; nor the least authority to command, or exact obedience from him. Hence also, the origin of all civil government, justly established, must be a voluntary compact, between the rulers and the ruled; and must be liable to such limitations, as are necessary for the security of the absolute rights of the latter; for what original title can any man or set of men have, to govern others, except their own consent? ~ Alexander Hamilton

      “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, from the prospectus for his translation of Destutt de Tracy’s Treatise on Political Economy, communicated to Joseph Milligan in a letter of April 6, 1816.

      “Politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality’s foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they’re sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.” —Ronald Reagan

      “You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence. And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.” ~ William J. H. Boetcker, (1873–1962)

      “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.” ~ Will Durant, historian.

      “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” ~ John 7:24
      “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” ~ Mathew 7:1

      “Don’t wait for the last judgment – it takes place every day.”
      ~ Albert Camus

      “Do not judge, and you will never be mistaken.” ~
      Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) Swiss political philosopher and essayist.

      “It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character.” ~ Dale Turner


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