Saturday, September 04, 2004

Who am I

This is part of the answer I posted on MT politics today in answer to some questions in a comment thread from Gman. Let me say that first of all, many years ago when I first started college I was both a journalism and a political science major. So I started out with a background in sociology, economics, political science, history, English, the humanities and biology, as well as geopolitics. After the military, I had a job and took full-time and part-time classes and eventually graduated with a major in English and a minor in history. Those years included more classes in sociology, psychology, economic history, U.S. and world history, Russian history, Latin American history.

I can't name the books I've read. I have been an inveterate reader all my life, including reading Shakespeare (all of his works) and the Bible the summer after I was a junior in high school. Within the last month, I have finished reading the 9/11 commission report and the Guns of August, which I missed the first time around, and I have read Tuchman's other books The Distant Mirror and the March of Folly. For light reading, I take Time, considered a conservative magazine by many people (although not by me) which I have read long enough to know how to weed the facts from the opinion; The Week, Archeology, Scientific American, Science Weekly, Discover, Skeptical Inquirer, Smithsonian, Free Inquiry, and others I can't always put my finger on right away, plus picking up some at the newsstands. I also read various blogs, including this one, as well as dropping into Hayek's postings, Daniel Drezner's, PressThink, Corner Solution, and a variety of others from time to time. I also go on-line and read the originals of various items, including Lincoln’s 1847 comments about President Polk’s Mexican-American War which could be read as an atttack on the Iraq war.

I have been a newspaper man, a teacher, a public relations person, a writer and editor, a tax preparer, and several other things. And, no, I do not trust the individual particularly. Besides the fact that half the people in the U.S. are below average (of the American people), I also see people making bad choices by cashing in IRAs and 401Ks for things such as medical bills, houses, businesses, and because they need the money. How do I know they are making bad choices and how do I know that they can also make bad choices on investments? Because I did. If you don't know what you are doing and trust a money manager, you may wind up in it up to your neck. Many famous people have; look at the rich athletes and entertainment stars who have been taking for trusting an individual. Most people, inclulding me, are not knowledgeable about investing or are bored by it. You have to have a certain kind of brain, which I don't have, to find investing fun.

I also am aware, as many money managers don’t seem to be, that there are a lot of people out there who are not benefiting from this economy. Montanans are making more money, for instance, but the average income is still below national standards. Many people are living hand to mouth with families and having to pay medical bills that they can’t afford. Have you ever looked at routine bankruptcy records? Most people who file bankruptcy have at least one large, for them, medical bill in the stack.

This country was founded by individuals if you want to consider the individual western founder. But if you look at the origins of the Constitution, you realize that it was the cooperation it involved that actually created this nation. Most people forget that we went from the Revolution to the Articles of Confederation which upheld the rights of the states and individuals in those states to go their own way. It didn't work so we got the Constitution, which barely passed, incidentally, and took a lot of arguing by Madison, Hamilton and others to get through. Now it's a sacred document for the same people who probably would have voted against it then.

In the west, the individualists pushed forward and discovered the hills and valleys and farmlands that were later developed. But it took the help of the army and the discovery of gold before the west got settled. And the western states are creatures of the federal government, not the other way around. If you look around, you find that very few of the original “individualists” who came to Montana or other western states are represented by people who have much impact on those states today. Most of the people who live in and control Montana today came in during the homesteader days (promoted by the federal government—which may have been one of your mistakes) and a lot of the attitudes range back primarily to the oil boom days.

I started out about as conservative as you are and people who knew me in my younger days still think I may be. But if you work in the news business long enough, despite some of the examples we see locally, you begin to realize just how false the idea of the individual and the free enterprise system is without any regulation. People can be fed, and believe, a lot of pap. They will believe it even when they are faced with the truth, and they will then deny that they are receiving the truth, the big argument for calling the mainstream news media liberal in this country. Do you believe a hurricane is coming into Florida today or tomorrow or maybe just a tropical storm? How did you find out? Strictly on the web? I also know, from a comment you made on my post about evolution, that you come from a strong right wing background that depends on revealed truth rather than thinking or researching the facts. Your reading list, such as Hayek, is always right wing. Don't you read anything centrist? And I don’t waste time on right wing reading just as I haven’t read Michael Moore. Why waste my reading time?

Your idea that government help just creates a bigger problem is that you have looked at the facts from the angle of one who believes he iis not being helped and look down on those who need the help. You are an elitist and I suspect you don't care if we have people dying in the streets while you live in your house up under the rims and eat tenderloin.

3 Comments:

Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...

I'd like to see BRT's resume next to yours.

11:14 AM  
Blogger bedrocktruth said...

"I haven’t read Michael Moore. Why waste my reading time?"

You'll have to agree, LA, that I'm a lot closer than you are, eh?

I've never claimed to be a voracious reader or very much of a scholar either, although you wouldn't know it by my IQ scores-just fact.

I've always had to deal with information I needed to know to run an operation. And it doesn't usually come from Tolstoy, Hayek or Yeats for that matter and I certainly defer to Chuck and perhaps to you on that score.

My somewhat limited brain power has always been focused on more mundane things like press capacity, equivalent employes, average advertising and subscriber rates, union relations, community affairs, gross and operating profit, etc.

But my contention is, as it has always been, that good executives don't need to be experts on everything. They just need to know where to find and how to recruit, utilize, reward and hold those people-like Chuck-who are.

Maybe I'll go into my background sometime since you brought it up. But honestly, at this point in my life, it's past history and if my satisfaction is only personal then that's fine with me.

I don't have anything to prove on that score. To anyone......

4:18 PM  
Blogger Steve Austin said...

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12:55 PM  

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