Liberty

There is a moving song about indecision called loving arms. Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge made it a hit in 1973, and more recently a girl group with their own indecision recorded it in 2015. The 1973 version made the song a memory for many people. The final chourus, after describing the mistake of leaving a loved one, believing the freedom to roam would be better got my attention the first time I heard it.
“Looking back and longing for the freedom of my chains, lying in your loving arms again.”
By 1973 I had both a strong Biblical training and had begun to finish, and pay for, the last of my classes in college, by pursuing a career in law enforcement. One of the things I learned was about liberty. From the Judeo-Christian model, we learned that liberty has constraints. That is the only way it works well. The basic model of both English Common law and The Constitution were “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That is not a pro-religious statement as much as it is just a fact. That idea was well known in English Common Law, and probably the reason they were chosen to be included in the Declaration. The fact that follows from it is that America has become the most prosperous and helpful neighbor to her peers than any in history. . . with liberty and justice to all.
Contained or inferred in is Kristofferson’s being “too long in the wind.” That means being beyond control, at liberty but having no plan or goal. Even while the pledge mentions liberty, it is constrained by the responsibility to our Republic, To “keep it” as Franklin said, as our form of government. Let it control the country and the guarantees our Constitution offers. You are pledging yourself to the chains of that liberty. Also, within that liberty, is to respect the liberty of others. It means that agreeing to follow laws in this country is better than being without them. Nowhere in that liberty is the freedom to steal, assault, burglarize, damage them or their property, stop them or their cars on the street – or even shout in their face. That curtails their liberty – and like anger, there is no justification for taking another person’s liberty. The number of times the police hear a guy say, “Well yeah I hit her, but she made me mad!” are countless. The speaker always says it with such gusto – as if it was justification — some sort of get-out-of-jail card. It is not, and if you are using anger or your “right” to protest to hinder, much or harm others you are outside the law. Those are the chains of liberty. If a lover is to be faithful and true they must accept the chains of responsibility. Like in marriage, the lack of freedom to romance others, to accept responsibility for a partner, their health and individual needs as well as shared goals. The protestor, for his protests to remain relevant, must remain within the liberty of our chains.

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W.D. Edmiston

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Democracy, Freedom, and the Adult Arrested Adolescent

A couple of years ago I wrote the book, Looking Backward, Forward.   It was published in early 2018.   At the time, having a Website and Blog was not on my mind and I had no idea what it could be. 

This is a positive viewpoint on the state of our people, it has a direct effect on what will happen on Election Day. I hope you will share it with others if you find it worthwhile. Your comments are appreciated.

The time has come for me to create a blog series for that book and to share some of my experience, education, and interest in research with my readers. This is the first of a long series. Along with it will be some topical diversions based on recent news and how the treatise of the book is reflected in daily events.

A blog that believes in the kind of America where we grew up

Some 40 percent of our population includes adults who are locked into thinking like an adolescent child, a term coined as Adult Arrested Adolescent, or Tri-A. They are adult people who act like children. Tri-As (pronounced Try-Aze) respond, think, act, and have outbursts of adolescent angst and emotion that, looks like an adolescent child. By empirical evidence I hope to show you this is not only a problem but an opportunity for the USA.

While this might strike you at first as a curiosity, it is not merely an observation about an obscure part of social psychology. If that many of our people are not mature, what can we infer or observe that may have a profound effect on our culture as we know it. What does that mean about how our government works? Is it observable in your daily life that the people around you, your bosses, the check out clerk, the people to whom you trust everything from your laundry to your financial transactions are emotional, feelings driven people?  Would you rather they be able to think critically, to adhere to the social contract that says do for others as you would expect them to do for you. The fact is, we may be at a tipping point from which we cannot return. To have a large section of our adult-aged population remain emotionally adolescent with a stunted ability to think is somewhat of a crisis.

The idea came from my first book on social networking behavior, in 2006 about the internet. The behavior there was so similar to classic Adolescent characteristics, it reminded me of  reading in college Eric Hoffer’s book, The True Believer, thoughts on the nature of mass movements, (1951.) Hoffer was the first to give us definitions and an understanding of how mass movements work. Central to his writing is the idea of the true believer. True believers see themselves as damaged as adolescents often do. They instinctively look for a way to fix themselves by becoming part of something bigger and not always better. Being famous for crazy stuff is good enough. Ideas like Progressivism, Socialism, Catholicism, Christianity as a religion, Protestantism, and Islam also contain a large number of fanatics. Social Reformers like Barack Obama seek out those who mistakenly or foolishly see themselves as nonredeemable. The reformers offer them glory by “hitching themselves” to a big movement. To accomplish that ruse, Obama bastardized an idea of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s whose suggestion was for the individual to personally set high goals, “hitched to stars” rather than subsume themselves to lower expectations. To be fair, warrior chiefs, generals, and all other forms of totalitarians seeking cannon fodder have used the same spiel throughout history. From those ideas, I began to look at them as seeds of a latter-day behavioral disorder called Tri-A or Adult Arrested Adolescence.  Hoffer didn’t say a word about the Tri-A himself, my research following his line of thinking led me to the Adult Arrested Adolescent.  

Utopian schemers have created the Tri-A to be the ideal follower of their causes.

Then as now, Hoffer showed us that Utopians are constantly trying to fiddle with mainstream American culture. My own observations and research tell me not much has changed. Creating the Tri-A takes that one step further, and it was not an accident. By manipulating the American school systems quietly and promoting political correctness they have changed many of our youth into followers instead of leaders.  They have created the Tri-A to be the perfect activist for social causes – most of which are a myth. My investigative training as a police officer taught me to use empirical data. In other words, data that was readily observable. So, to a degree, this may read a little like an offense report. One day, I expect the Tri-A or a behavioral disorder by a similar name to be in the Desk Reference to Diagnostic Criteria. It may become a diagnosis like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Depression, Anorexia, or Bulimia.

After WWII and the revelations of what fanaticism had done to millions in the world, Hoffer could study the direct cause and effect of manipulative governments and populist leaders.  Hoffer watched these activities as they occurred during the 1930s (Nazism or Social Democracy) through the 1950s (Stalinism) He then compared them in The True Believer to ideas that are more ancient and the words of those who spoke on similar eternal truths. He favored  Montesquieu the philosopher and originator of the idea of separation of powers in government.  What he taught us has passed the test of time.  Hoffer understood mass movements because he immersed himself in the topic. Since 2006 I have spent hundreds of hours studying the Tri-A.   For the last three decades since first reading his book, I have applied his ideas to what has happened in America.  Since the lure of Utopian ideas and political movements are highly attractive to the person who feels he is damaged and incomplete they are interested in changing things.  Change — without any further definition has become a war cry for Progressive partisans. Their slogans sound profound and meaningful when they are just words that mean little or nothing. They are merely trying to recruit those who seek to reinvent themselves. The same partisan evangelists promise that change will make the damaged person whole but offer only fairness, equality, and promises of creating new legislation.  Each evangelist hopes that their one great effort will guarantee equality and fairness.  They tell every listener the solution is to promote the concept of centralization of all matters to the highest authority.  The first problem with all their solutions is that fairness and equality are concepts that work between individuals.  A third party, unless it is a judge deciding a fact of law, is a poor choice to determine fairness for others. So is a judge, but that’s how we set it up in the legal system. Fair solutions cannot be enforced by a top-down structure that comes from an overeager government.  As far as centralization and dictation from the government are concerned – why do we think people in government know better?  The kids of my heyday would have said, “Who died and made you king?”  Secondly, teaching that there is an ultimate authority to which all disputes can be referred does not teach self-reliance and the ability to negotiate with your friends and neighbors.  In early civilizations, the elders of some societies met at the city gate to act as judges in disputes.  It is an ancient method, more a teaching experience on how to get along than a jury system. Involving the police or courts in your affairs speaks of a weakness of character. It says you cannot reach a constructive agreement effectively.  At that point, the only thing left is to recover damages from whatever the elements of the dispute show are called for. Letting others decide how to live your life is like shooting nuclear warheads.   A real rocket scientist who worked in the intercontinental missile program told me, “No matter what happens, if we use these things; we lose.”  To teach children that they cannot get through life without handouts or help from the “boss” is to teach them to be peasants.  We lose. Have you not asked yourself if there is something more serious going on when grown people have no understanding of things once taught in high school or working with their parents?  They cannot understand or construct simple sentences or grasp more complex issues like cause and effect?   Were you slightly amused at the number of people who went to psychiatrists because their candidate lost the election in 2016?  Do the people who serve you, work for you, sit next to you at a ball game sometimes amaze you with their childish view of things?  Do you wonder how they arrive at concepts like, “Drug-free zones” or “Safe Spaces” since those are hopelessly childish views of how social control works?  That is the point.  They are not just acting like kids; they really are still adolescents behaviorally. They let others tell them how to live. They get furious and hateful when things do not always work out in their favor because they interpret fair and equal as “The way I want it to be.”  Then they get elected to public office.

W.D. Edmiston, Robert Starr, Arlington J North, Allen Spence, D. LaRue Mahlke

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Swimming in the Ocean

Your potential of having a life full of accomplishment is your ability to be comfortable with uncertainty.

Arlington J. North

Why do we ignore the risks while blithely swimming in an ocean full of man-eating creatures? Those who are close to the seashore almost completely ignore that risk unless sightings are posted. There is some uncertainty in that – but not a lot — attacks are one in 11 million. But people do get attacked and killed.

Many more are afraid to fly although there is a one in five million chance of dying from it. Walking down the street is 1 in 400. We hop in our cars to just go for a drive when the chance is 1 in 103 of it killing us. But our fears and uncertainties paralyze some of us over the more mundane unfamiliarities.

The uncertainty of going to college in another town; taking a job in a state where you have never visited, much less lived; these are things many of us face. College in another state, hum? It is comfortable, and certainly cheaper, to go to a local community college. Where you live may have a very low cost of living, parents, friends and all sorts of things like that. Those things are real and sometimes limiting. You cope.

But It is a little sad to watch fear of risk stop talented people.

 But human beings have a need for a sense of awe and it is important that we tap into it. We look at the stars and wonder what they mean; why do we find them fascinating? Nature constantly amazes us, and we wonder how it all works. What makes it do those things that give us awe. It is their uncertainty that causes awe in the stars and nature and in other people. Every human has a need to be awed and when we are, we are better for it.

 Young people, strong and capable should try as many new things as possible. I don’t mean just teens; I mean young strong healthy people. One day you are going to be old and your biggest regret will be not taking a chance at being awe; of learning other things.

You don’t know what you don’t know. When you take that chance to be awed, to see the other side of the mountain, to plumb the depths of the ocrean; you will be awed by what you did not know. Take a chance don’t be reckless, but start small, get our adventure legs under you. Then GO!

Everything I know about the Current Political Climate I learned from Dr. Seuss

By W.D. Edmiston

There is a big divide over politics today. I have my opinion, you have yours. But those not as familiar with the commonality of political rancor over the ages – it can all be summed up well with what we learned from Dr. Seuss.

Everything stinks till it’s finished.

That true of politics. But the great thing about how our world has worked out for over 200 years is that when the people get their wish, not those of one extreme are the other, it smells relatively well in the end.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not. The more you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.

So, since the founders left the power vested in the people who are all in the same pot, not the uber rich of the average politician, we make better choices for the public. That means all of us should read up, get up and do something about the things we really want to happen in our world.

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one Alive who is Youer than you.

This is encouraging to those of us who have never been involved in “campaigning” for something you want. You. Everyone in America is an individual, given a voice by those who founded the nation. The idea that some people try to shush you because they think their ideas are better than yours, or call you names just means they haven’t read enough and just don’t know.

Only you can control your future.

This could be either an encouragement to those in the above paragraph or a warning to those who want to control you. But it is also a warning of sorts to everyone. Both what you do and what you have done helps define who “you are Youer” than. Doing defines us much more than what we think or say. It indicates more than anything what you will do in the future.

Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.

This is also both an encouragement and warning. Some call  it Kharma, some say “what goes around comes around” but the fact is what you put out is what you get back.

If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew. Just go right along and you’ll start happening too.

Those who encourage the division and the discord in their lives get division and discord. Eventually, we tend as humans to sweep the discord away and search for tranquility. Keeping positive as an individual is more powerful to your future than staying mired in the discord. Those who continue to trouble us tend to get their comeuppance one way or the other. Mr. Trump seems to take a little more direct response to what’s happening in his world. It is something that seems uncharacteristic of a President. Especially those who are unfamiliar with Eisenhower and Theodore Roosevelt.

 I’ve heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve brought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see; now my trouble are going to have troubles with me.

Thank you Dr. Seuss.

Thinking about thinking

 “We are normally blind about our own blindness. We are generally overconfident in our opinions . . . We exaggerate how knowable the world is. . . people don’t think very carefully.  They’re influenced by all sorts of superficial thinking in their decision-making. . .”

Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast and  Slow

Making an unqualified statement about your decisions is as difficult as having dinner with your future in-laws.  Having an idea is so threatening to other people we must qualify it with an “I think” disclaimer.  It’s that or be labeled as not being nice – or worse, racist.

Try saying, “I think the third quarter figures indicate greater investment in marketing is needed.”  You might as well say, “The third quarter figures indicate greater investment in marketing is needed but my Ichthyology degree from Thunder-Bolt Community College and Stock Car Racing Track, doesn’t really give me much credibility on the subject.”

“I think.” in a sentence asks permission to say something, as if you would modify it if no one agrees. Really, would The Terminator have scared anyone by saying “I think I’ll be Baaak.”

Bread and Games

We live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, and political groups.  I ask in my writing ‘What is real?’ Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo realities manufactured by very sophisticated people use very sophisticated electronic mechanisms.

Phillip Dick, Philosopher

Writer, Novelist [1]

Using a Hegelian concept of “being” or “reality” our society is offering more and more opportunities to participate in activities that create an alternative reality.  That is why the young person who handed your coffee and change this morning seemed not to connect with you at all.  The place where you intersect with their world is not on that easily accessed, safe, electronic media.  His reality does not include you. He does not belong to your reality.  That can’t be good.

[1] Phillip K. Dick, Philosopher, Writer, Novelist who wrote Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, The Adjustment Bureau

The Statue of Liberty has little to do with Immigration

The history of Liberalism and Marxists is full of instances where the words and symbols they use to promote their causes are pirated and redefined. History is full of instances and none more glaring than that of the Statue of Liberty. It was never about immigration, it was about American Exceptionalism as exemplified by the Civil War.

It is easily researched that Bartholdi (sculptor) and Laboulaye (visionary financier) intended the Statue to be representative of America’s courage to fight a Civil War over the rule of law regarding slavery and the state’s right implications therein.  It was about the abolition of slavery and the establishment of liberty.  The evil of Jim Crow laws had not been completely realized when Laboulaye had the original vision or it might not have happened. Nowhere in its dedication were the words immigrant or “give us your tired” used at all.

Then, a few years later, “The New Colossus”poem was hung on the wall of the Visitor’s Center in 1903 during a dedication in memory of those raising funds for the statue’s pedestal.  Notice that I did not say it was there to add or subtract to the meaning of the Statue of Liberty.  Immigration idealists have ever since have been gradually obscuring the original message of the Statue of Liberty.  They want to say it is about modern day immigration and always had been.  A myth converted or pirated to their truth.

The idea that thousands of immigrants may have been inspired, brought to tears or given hope at the sight of Lady Liberty is not an argument that I make.  The important point is that its original intent was to honor that honest brand of American exceptionalism that lead to the Civil War because of American courage.  It also stands for the Rule of Law we are still trying to appropriately enforce over the idea of basic human individuality.  Something, I might add, neither our government nor any other person can take from you in this country.

Commentary: Sutherland Springs Church Shooting

My comment is a direct response to those who say “The politicians should do something.” Politicians make laws. Cops like me respond after shooters DO something. Laws have no inherent power to stop DOING just like the white stripe in the road. Evidence shows so far this individual had an evil hatred in his heart against this church because his wife’s family attended there. He beat her, was incarcerated and dishonorably discharged. He had a grudge. It appears it was premeditated since he went to the church on a festival day to reconnoiter.  He was mentally ill at some level. He could have driven his truck into the building, burned it, bombed it, flew a plane into it. We had laws against everything he did and it didn’t stop the hate in his heart. A man with love for his fellow man stopped him with his personal weapon.

The hard heart is the problem. What I suggest is that the sociological – one of three degrees I hold – or legal issues are not the problem. The problem is a culture that is so far from the principles that created this country that people fear each other. They collect firearms, bump-stocks, dream-catchers, dried food, astrologers, and other errata to protect themselves. We were supposed to be individuals who protected each other according to the Bible. I’m not preaching, its just history. I am not “suggesting” that we do nothing; I am saying that the law has no inherent power to  stop violence. The white stripe does not disable your car, sent you a summons, or hinder in any way your ability to cross it. You decide by social contract and self interest to stay on “your side” to stay safe. It is a representation of a legal contract you got when you passed your driving test. We “agree” to always drive on the right side of the road. You, me, most people — can do that. Then the adolescent adults of the world say of laws they dislike “you are not the boss of me” then the police show up. If we would just stay on “our side” and only reach across when we are asked for help, or need help, the world would be a better place. The biggest problem we face is two arguing sides of the political spectrum who both “suggest” that they can create a Utopian safe place with laws. They suggest they can “Fight crime” and “Win the drug war” when it is impossible. They promise fair and equal when these are ideas that are not practically achievable. We as individuals fare best when we cling to our families, love our neighbor, love those that hate us, love ourselves without boasting, trying to do the right thing, and having compassion for others. It’s not a perfect way, but it is the better way.