Thursday, December 13, 2012

Where do we go now? Or: New American mantra.

My exercise for the past few days has been to analyze an absolutely brilliant speech given by Bill Whittle 12 November 2012 to the Hancock Park Patriots.
I looked and looked for a transcript without success, so bit the bullet and did this work. I've written PJTV for their policy on transcription etc., without reply to date. If/when cleared I can then post a transcription. 
In the meantime, here is my summation of what I see as the key points (and my extrapolations) of his one hour and two minute presentation of what is the root cause of the problems this nation faces, and what to do about it. There is of course much much more in the presentation, including some facinating thoughts on establishing a Virtual Presidency to serve as a 'loyal opposition' as well as thoughts similar to those of Ayn Rand on how the message might better have been delivered. So you must watch the video. This is only my effort to package the message in a form that can easily be presented and remembered:
+ America's heritage is one of virtue: being the best you can be at everything, and being so fairly, honestly, and committedly. Which in turn require you to bring along your fellow man.
 Which America has done more of than any other country in the entire history of the world:
We are bigger, faster, braver, more hardworking, and kinder as a nation than any other has been in the history of the world. 
"Yes, I am better than you because I'm better educated at it and I work harder at it, but I'll gladly show you how." Missionaries, Rockefeller Foundation, Singer Sewing Machine, Coca Cola, Ford Motor Company, the list is endless. That was the message they all carried to all corners of the earth. But we have forgotten that message.
    - Thus there is a crisis of virtue in this country. Where it is no longer cool to be the Lone Ranger, to rescue fair damsels, to be the best we can be, and to help teach others how to be better. We need to reverse that. Until we reverse that the fat cats will continue to rape us. Fat cats in Government (SES, GS-15, flag officers) included.
    - You cannot overcome the crisis without first overcoming the culture. Make it cool once again to be the best.
    - You cannot do that without a war of one kind or another: call people out. Tell the kids to pull up their pants and put their hats on straight. Write a blog (I'd be delighted to help you set one up. It's easy, especially when you know how). You build the message: It is cool to be straight, and pick the right messenger to act as a role model, and it flies. Never fails.
That kind of "culture of personal excellence" and its leadership abounds in the military. It is cool to be the best that you can be. And it's not just the military. The young fellow behind the counter at Long Wharf Seafood believes it too. He's neat, courteous, helpful, and prompt. As I pointed out to his boss yesterday in his presence. 
Whittle: "Our founders understood that virtuous people can govern themselves. That virtuous people don't have to have thousands of laws and regulations placed upon them because they don't need to be governed from without, they're governed from within. They're governed by their conscience and by their goodness. Virtuous people understand more than anybody how easy it is to fall from a place of virtue and be human and have feet of clay. But at least a country that has been educated and mythologized about virtue understands that the reason we have small government and the reason these people have been off our backs is because we can take care of ourselves. We won't steal from the treasury. Why? Because virtuous people don't steal from the treasury."

+ The degradation was triggered by the industrial revolution, when waves of peasant immigrants were jammed into cities, they too hapless to comprehend and deal the complexities of language and technology without assistance. A "take-care-of-me" culture arose, fostered in part by well meaning corporations: at 65 you got a gold watch and a pension. Take-care-of-me. Don't stand out. Just keep your head down.
Which has persisted to today.
So don't blame the liberals, they are not trying to be bad. They were just raised with these ideas as their culture. They "just know" that is how it should be. It's in their culture.
Which are the most liberal states today? Those where the industrial age was most concentrated.
So it is not a deliberate moral decision to demand all this handout stuff, it is a cultural heritage in parts of the population stemming from their immigrant industrial age roots. But fortunately, that mentality is no longer needed for survival and is therefore invalid.
Once again, you have to change the culture. Make it cool to stand up on your own and do your own thing.

+ This is happening: in the information age: when anyone can pull a phone out of their pocket and order steel from China, you no longer need the huge industrial complexes and the dependencies they foster. You can set up a virtual business in a heartbeat with a blog and a website for *free* and start buying and selling stuff and making a living. Of which Bill and I are living proof.
So we can safely dismantle the monolithic bureaucracy without having people suffer IF, and only IF, we educate them: teach and show them the tools and methods for them to:
+ Be virtuous. Being virtuous is cool.
+ Do what you want to do.
+ Go where you want to go.
+ Say what you want to say.
+ Be who you want to be.
+ And reap the rewards of your own hard work.
+ But do so in a kind and virtuous manner and gladly help show others how to do the same.
All of these are completely contrary to the dog-eat-dog-take-care-of-me-and-don't-piss-off-anyone-because-we're-living-'way-too-close-together mentality BORN of the masses of helpless individuals of the industrial age jammed into six-story cold-water walk-up tenements. That mentality was what people needed to have then to survive. They don't need it any more.
This is my idea for a new American mantra, a short, sound-bite message that people can easily carry around in their heads, like the song from Gilligan's Island:

+ Be virtuous. Being virtuous is cool.
+ Do what you want to do.
+ Go where you want to go.
+ Say what you want to say.
+ Be who you want to be.
+ And reap the rewards of your own hard work.
+ But do so in a kind and virtuous manner and gladly help show others how to do the same.

That is what the United States of America did for its first 150 years of history.
That is what we have collectively and culturally forgotten how to do.
I've certainly seen it work in a microcosm. It can work for all.
As my Dutch friends say het is geen wedstrijd. It is not a contest. We either all win or we all lose.
And we are all losing now.

We need to change the culture.

(I also found a way to download YouTube videos and save them. In case anyone wants to try to wipe this one I have a copy... See
Very easy, download the file, save it somewhere, make it executable, and call it from the command line, e.g.,
It's 384.43M and takes about forty minutes to download.)}

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