Monday, August 29, 2005

I think I would have like Thomas Jefferson

Just finished watching a documentary on Thomas Jefferson - some PBS special, converted to DVD, rentable on

One thing I liked: he said the Constitution should be revisited and/or rewritten every 19 years (both State and National Constitutions). YES, YES, YES!! This would give Democracy a chance to grow with its people (cf. again things like "no spitting" laws).

He also grappled with "stuck" issues (in ways that I believe are resonant with my previous post on Unions). In particular, this documentary focused on Jefferson's frustration with "negro slaves." His plan, should anyone have wanted to implement it, was to (1) educate the slaves and the (2) send them to one of the predominantly Negro islands in the Caribbean. All at the cost of the "slave owners." Why? Because too much bad blood existed between owners and slaves. It was a horrible situation that was unfixable - the situation had to end wholesale. That is: no hope, so make a new situation. [All this according to the documentary, the facts of which I have NOT checked - it's was an introspective time for me anyway, fiction or non] Since nobody took to his plan, he decided that keeping slaves was the best option for the slaves. I know, I'm sure there were other motives, but one of his oft-repeated statements was that freeing an uneducated, thought-low-of "negro slave" was a disservice to the slave.

What scared me after watching the DVD, though, was that he gave up hope. His ideas were not realized, and he died sad. This blows my mind: IN HIS LIFETIME, Jefferson saw his ideas come into existence and then degenerate into a future without hope.

Maybe the reason I focus so much on the Church of God Himself, is that it's actually HIS thing, not mine. HE is the one that makes it work to begin with so HE is the one who can make or prevent its future. If I were Jefferson, working on a country that was NOT God's primary community, I honestly think I would have gone suicidal since I would have no hope that God would protect the people nor their community.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Unions in the U.S. today

[I live in a non-union state. I have no idea what it's really like in Detroit, for example. So I am writing already skewed...]

I'm listening to the head of some meta-union that seceeded from the mega-union recently. The guy was complaining about how union workers make 15% more than non-union, on average in the U.S. But the rate of increase in union pay has not gone up much in the last 10 years (or was it 20?). AND, those corporate &!%$#'s are giving more and more work to China.

I am STUNNED that people like this are in charge of their own electric bill, much less many workers. Hmm. Let's see. We all want to make more money than last year. So how does a company provide this? Increased wages, of course. How does a company afford this? Increased prices (a.k.a. inflation). But we want to pay LESS for the same thing. Wal-Mart hired L.S.D. induced smilies to pull out weapons and cut price markers. Why? United States citizens really, really want to pay less and make more.

How long can this last? Evidently not as long as the U.S. Why buy more expensive stuff from the U.S. when it's cheaper and better when made somewhere else. So top executives pay themselves well so they don't have to see reality. And Unions babel about how they want more money and to work less and to spend time union-ing. When did a Union ever scold its own workers for being lazy or slow or inefficient? Nope. We want everyone else to do more work. Or we want to get paid more for doing the exact same thing.

The only reason I should get paid more at work is because I am producing something more valuable than last year or because I can do more of the same thing in the same amount of time (efficiency). If not, why would I get more money? The company gets no increase in productivity or benefit from me!

What if instead of wanting a raise, I saved money. Instead of having my "deserved" vacation that I cannot afford, what if I waited until I had enough money before going? Or saw vacation as one of many ways to spend my money. What if I lived in reality - a closed system (my labor = my income + my status) does NOT just gain energy without an outside source. I have no "right" to an outside source, it is grace-upon-grace-upon-grace (or so I think as it pertains to God and this world and/or my life).

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." -Paul

Ultimate Governance

Seems like the government of the United States is asking the whole world to bow to Democracy. Our politicians used to speak about "freedom," but that has actually been replaced, word-for-word, with democracy. Iraq "needs democracy."


I haven't finished Plato's response in one of his dialogues about "justice," but this is what he has laid out so far (in the words of a friend who is questioning Socrates). Justice is a virtue only in word. If someone is actually just, they're screwed. This got me thinking.

Democracy forces those involved to live at the lowest, common level. For example, if we all agree to share equally the money we make working a particular project, it only takes ONE person to tip the scale, ONE person to use the situation to his advantage. Then comes the "laws." Rules that force us all to live in and only in the least common, most restrictive culture. Soon, all money will be handled by an "objective 3rd party" who takes a fee, of course.

Don't think so? Iraq was a democracy that exactly allowed Sadam to come to power! One guy, lots of power and guns (and other guys, I know). Now they are trying to re-do democracy. Doesn't look like it's working! Or how about the nuke issue in the Western Pacific?

And seriously, do we even have any idea how many fully stupid, restrictive laws we even have?!!? Can't spit on the sidewalk in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Lowest common denominator rules all in democracy. Great. Sign me up. How the HECK did "democracy" and "freedom" get tied together? Democracy & restriction, democracy and containment, democracy and corruption. But not democracy and freedom.

So what's better? Someone in charge. Someone who can offer the people access to a future that evolves wider than the past. I'm not saying growth is necessary, that progress = good. But compression? Ugh.