ABOUT THIS BLOG
Let’s Sort Some Things Out is my attempt to expose and dispel flawed assumptions, false factual claims, faulty logic, and destructive values commentators use to advance harmful ideas concerning culture or public policy. Unless a commentator reveals otherwise, I assume that the commentator is proceeding in good faith (most likely in error because of indoctrination into a faulty or malevolent ideology). My impression is that all too often, people believe falsehoods and take firm stances on extremely complicated issues based on a combination of too few facts, lack of logic, and counterproductive values. When they propose a solution, they too rarely consider what Thomas Sowell says is the quintessential question concerning any policy, “At what cost?” My hope is that this blog expands people’s (including my own) perspectives and brings more clarity to thinking about culture and public policy.
Claims in this blog will be made with humility. I fully understand that I may be missing relevant facts and essential considerations or making logical errors. I welcome others pointing those out. Only fools believe they can possess all essential facts concerning any cultural or public policy issue or that their values, goals, findings, and conclusions are flawless, unbiased, and indisputable, or that their policy prescriptions would necessarily achieve the intended consequences without creating greater negative consequences. For such arrogance to be justified, one would need to be omniscient, super-intelligent (intelligent far surpassing that of the brightest and most gifted human minds) and “super-wise” (to coin a term). Far from being omniscient or super-wise, no one can possess perfect and complete knowledge about the facts he has identified or know for sure he has identified all the significant facts relevant to a policy. Worse, one cannot rule out the possibility that the sum of all relevant but insignificant facts affecting a policy will overwhelm the identified facts. In light of the above, anything other than humility about one’s policy prescriptions is foolish and irresponsible.
However, one should not despair over the above reality. Despite those universal and timeless realities, humans have progressed. Proof of that can be found in my blog post Greed, in which I describe few, if any, people today would not trade places with John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in modern history (at least as of 2017 when I wrote the post).
Likewise, more progress is possible when good policies are adopted. “Good policies” are those with positive effects that exceed its negative effects. Thankfully, history is replete with examples of both good and bad policies. Policymakers can learn from and hopefully wisely apply the lessons of the past.
Societies, however, should also attempt to improve on good policies of the past. Unfortunately, history reveals that most attempts to improve on good policies fail, i.e., they do more harm than good. The blog contains many examples of that phenomenon.
When policy changes are made on a grand scale (e.g., Lenin’s, Mao’s and Hugo Chávez’s “Great Leaps Forward”), disaster almost always follows. Disaster can be avoided with multiple and modest policy experiments. Multiple because the more experiments, the greater the likelihood that a net positive policy will be found. Modest because the odds are the experiment will fail and small failures are not disasters. Successes on a modest scale provide proof of concept for use in multiple places. Through this process, leaders everywhere can take advantage of all net positive discoveries made anywhere in the world — and set about improving on them.
This blog launched soon after President Obama had fulfilled much of his campaign promise to “fundamentally transform America.” While Trump appeared to be better than the Democrat alternative in 2016, Trump’s victory was probably more about how bad his opponent was rather than how good Trump was. [That America’s political system offerred the voters two terribly flawed candidates indicates that there is much room for improvement of America’s nominating processes. Yet, here too, caution is advised in such consequential matters.] The stakes were high that America was on a course to have another go at socialism, a failed idea that fails every time it is tried, often in disastrous or monstrous ways. Many of the posts in this blog touch on that subject, and more are to come. It was, and remains my hope that I do my part to avoid that and other calamitous policies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I sought and obtained a degree in Political Science because public policy was (and remains) my primary passion. I was a deeply committed leftist in high school and was further indoctrinated to leftist ideals in college and law school. Obtaining a law degree instead of some other degree to make a living was an effort to learn the mechanics of law and how the law might be used to improve the lives of poor and middle-income people.
While experiencing the realities of life and practicing law in a corporate setting for a few years after school, the beliefs systems into which I had been indoctrinated were being constantly mugged by how things really worked and what the public policy issues really were (as opposed to what I had been taught). That is when I really started digging deeper into the issues, economics, and history. Through it all, and now, my primary passion to improve the lives of poor and middle-income people has been a constant. The goal of my blog is not to save poor and middle-income people. They can be saved only by doing what they can do for themselves and those around them, thereby gaining both earned dignity, self-sufficiency, and the satisfaction of helping others. The goal of this blog is to disclose the many ideas and policies that impede poor and middle-income people from improving their lives themselves so that society can rid itself of those ideas and policies.
HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM THIS BLOG
Each blog post addresses a specific topic. Each topic, however, deals with a piece of what I believe to be a coherent philosophy that, if adopted, would result in greater flourishing of humans of all income or wealth categories everywhere in the world, especially for poor and middle-income people.
My approach will be to reveal another piece of this philosophy with each post. While, hopefully, each post will be interesting and will stand on its own, the most will be gained from this blog if you understand each piece in the contest of the whole. Consequently, I strongly urge you to start with the first post, “Wealth,” and go from there. Enjoy!