Charlie's Blog: 2016


On Shaving

The best reason I can think of for not running for President of the United States is that you have to shave twice a day.

The issue of shaving comes down to two basic times in a man's life. The first is when he is a boy hitting puberty, and the hair begins to grow on his face. It is not quite a beard, but it is unsightly all the same. At some point, he cracks out his dad's unused Norelco given as a thoughtless Christmas gift and buzzes off the hairs, or he uses one of those cheap single blade Bics and some Barbasol to get the job done. The second time comes later after some years of shaving when a man must decide to let his beard grow or continue the daily ritual of sliding a razor across his face. To shave or not to shave. That is the question.

Beards are manly. There is no question about this. The problems with beards are many which is why men opt to shave. The first and foremost is that a beard cuts off virtually 90% of your job options. The only thing worse than a beard for landing a job is having a face tattoo. The face tat limits your job options to tattoo artist or gang member, Likewise, the beard limits you to lumberjack or tenured professor.

I have had employment situations where I could have a beard, and I even tried one on in my twenties for a few weeks. It was a bad experience for me. A beard to me is like having an itchy rug on your face. I found it annoying. The other thing I discovered is that you still have to shave. You have to lather your neck and shave or else let your beard and body hair connect making you look like a sasquatch. Then, there is the phenomenon known as beard dandruff which can be treated with shampoo and beard oil or cured with a daily shave. I had the beard dandruff. Yeah, it was gross.

I'm not a beard guy. I respect any man that opts to grow a beard, but I reject all the arguments they make for growing it. Beards are as high maintenance as shaving daily. They are unhygienic. And they are uncomfortable. Plus, I like being gainfully employed. But even if my job did not depend on it, I would still shave daily.

The choice to have a beard is primarily an aesthetic one. The same is also true for mustaches, goatees, lamb chops, and the rest. The beard conveys the message of manliness. Real men let their beards grow. Of course, hobos and homeless guys also let their beards grow. The context of the beard matters.

If you tell all the men in our armed services, fire departments, and police departments that they aren't real men because they are beardless, they will certainly correct this illusion with a manly ass whipping. Most men shave their beards. Now, if it truly is a man's world, why would shaving be so ubiquitous? Why do most men generally have short hair and shaved faces? Blame it on the Romans.

Shaving and hair removal existed in various forms among ancient cultures like the Egyptians, the Mesopotamians, and others. It is said that Alexander the Great shaved his face. But it was the Romans who really made it a thing. Now, shaving in the world was a painful ordeal. They didn't have Gillette and Foamy back then. The razors were poor. They also used tweezing and waxing methods. Shaving was not a pleasant thing. Plus, it was expensive and time consuming. So, why did they do it? The answer is obvious. Shaving was good hygiene.

The Romans found that a shaved face was an advantage in combat because the enemy couldn't grab a faceful of beard and yank on it. But unless you have a ZZ Top beard, it is hard to grab a man by the beard. A pair of scissors could have shorn any beard short enough to make it ungrabbable. The simple fact is beards and hair are home to lice. The ancient world crawled with lice. This lice made the torture of hair removal bearable in contrast.

The barbarians were bearded men and were called "unbarbered" which is where the term "barbarian" came from. Basically, these men were filthy and infested with lice and fleas. Beards are sexy until you see some bugs crawl out of them. The Romans looked clean and civilized in contrast to these men resembling animals. Facial hair would come and go over the centuries until World War I. That war permanently removed hair from the faces of US military personnel.

Prior to WWI, beards were common in the military as evidenced by this photo of Sherman above. But the clean shaven look was mandated in WWI because of the filthy conditions of trench warfare and the need to make a uniform seal on the face when wearing a gas mask. Ever since then, the military has been against facial hair and even mandated short hair for the head. The hygiene question is why the military shaves the heads of recruits when they enter basic training.

I think the hygiene issue still matters. Nothing screams filth like a bearded hippie. This is why the clean shaven look made its way into the world of business. Like suits and ties, the clean shaven look was carried over from the military because it conveyed the same level of respectability. This is also why short hair on men is preferred to long hair.

Once you decide to accept shaving as your thing, that leaves the method of shaving. Some men will experiment with electric shavers, and those experiments will fail. I have never had an electric shaver that could adequately get the job done. There are always a few whiskers left that stubbornly refuse to get shorn by the razor. In frustration, you will turn to a real razor to get that last 10% done. Then, the thing gets tossed in a box to rust at the bottom of a closet. Men, do yourselves a favor and don't waste your time with an electric razor.

Your next option is the most dangerous option. This is the straight razor. Straight razors will get the job done. It will remove all whiskers as well as skin, earlobes, and a piece of your nose. I am exaggerating a bit here, but I am not exaggerating when I say that the straight razor requires a skilled hand. I have never attempted to shave with what I call the "danger razor."

My preferred option for shaving is the safety razor. It gets its name from the fact that you can't slice off your face with it like the straight razor. When this thing came out, it rapidly became the razor of choice for many men. This is the razor John Kennedy shaved with. This is the razor used by US troops all over the world. It got the job done and will always get the job done. So, what happened to the safety razor to make it disappear? The answer to that is simple. Gillette wanted to make money, so they introduced cartridge shaving. That was a bad move.

The Gillette Trac II was a success for the company. They could patent a product that would have to be bought again and again. It wasn't necessarily a bad product. The cartridges were easy to load. They had two blades which made shaving faster. But it basically locked you into Gillette. Then, when the patent ran out, they went to Mach 3, Fusion, and all the rest. Schick copycatted with their products. Naturally, they are hideously expensive prompting up starts like Harry's and Dollar Shave Club to get into the act. Frankly, the act has become ridiculous. What used to cost pennies now costs many dollars.

The old school safety razor is the way to go. I've done the cartridge thing, and I find that multiblade razors give me razor bumps. Disposable razors are nice if you have to use them, but I recommend a single bladed Bic razor. Basically, it is a safety razor with a plastic handle.

If you get the idea that they are ripping you off with those expensive multiblade razors, you would be correct. The other place they get you is on the shaving cream. Canned shaving cream is a gigantic waste of money. For the same price of a can of Foamy or Barbasol that will last you for a week, you can get a cake of shave soap that will last for months. Invest in a brush and a cup, and you will never use canned lather ever again.

I prefer homemade shave soap, and my supplier is lady who lives in my town and sells her products at the local farmer's market. You may be able to find some online. These soaps are well made and have a nice scent. They are also kind to the skin on your face. Plus, that warm wet brush of lather feels awesome. Combined with the safety razor, shaving becomes a real pleasure with the brush and lather.

This leaves us with aftershave products. If you are a metrosexual type, you will opt for some silly expensive cream out of a tube which is basically hand lotion for your face. If you are a real man, you will go with a cheap aftershave that your grandpa used. It will have alcohol in it, and it will burn when you apply it. Then, it will feel great as it evaporates leaving your face feeling refreshed and smelling manly. My preference is Aqua Velva or whatever drugstore copycat product is available.

Shaving should be cheap, mostly comfortable, and leave you looking great. Somewhere, the companies involved with shaving decided they needed to milk the cow harder and sell men on expensive products that did a worse job at a ridiculous price. Do yourself and your wallet a favor and shave like your grandpa did.

Finally, we have the last aspect of shaving to consider which is the shaving of the head. It is said that Telly Savalas shaved his head to play Pontius Pilate in The Greatest Story Ever Told. He liked the look and kept it.

Savalas didn't have much to shave. He had the classic horseshoe thing going. At this stage of baldness, shaving it off is an improvement in much the same way that taking a chainsaw to a dead tree can only improve the landscape. Other famous men like Yul Brynner and Bruce Willis would clean off what was left on their balding pates. I highly recommend it. It is a liberating thing. 

Jesse Ventura used to belong to the head shaver's club, but he decided to let it go wild. Now, he looks more like a clown where he used to be a certified bad ass. If he had a matching beard, I would chalk it up to him not giving a damn in his old age. But when you truly don't care, you take it all off and forget about the hair you once had.

For myself, the shaved head thing was a gradual thing as I cut my hair shorter and shorter until I found it more convenient to just lather my head and shave it off. I was not balding at the time when I made the decision, but I am now. I find hair to be a nuisance now. I don't do anything different for the dome than I do with my face. I use the safety razor, and I bathe my head in the same aftershave I use on my face.

Shaving can be a chore for me, but there is an upside. It feels cleaner and better to be hairless. When I had the mop, I suffered from dandruff. I went through a lot of bottles of Head & Shoulders during those years and that stuff never worked as advertised. I found my scalp issues vanished with my hair. I shave daily except for Saturdays when I give myself a break and let the scruff appear. I am not inclined to change my changeless appearance.


The Blue Collar Approach to Living

What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.

When I meet people, I tend to sort them into two types of people. The first type are the schemers. These are the ones who believe that success comes from superior thinking, tricks, gimmicks, and the "gift of gab." The second type are the doers. These are the people who either never bothered with the gimmicks or have merely grown tired of them. The doers put their hard hats on and get to work. Naturally, the schemers think these doers are a bunch of simple minded fools. Work is for suckers too dumb to pawn it off on others.

The world of personal development is largely devoted to scheming. The epitome of this scheming has to be The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. It is largely a book of tricks and gimmicks  You don't have to read the book to come to this conclusion. It exists right there in the title. The 4 hour workweek is a play on the 40 hour workweek. Blue collar people work 40 hours a week. These are the fools and suckers in life. Ferriss could have written about a 7 hour workweek or a 3 hour workweek. But the four hour thing has the echo of the 40 hour thing. Even the cover has a graphic of a guy lounging in a hammock on vacation in some tropical getaway.

I have read the book, and it boils down to two basic tricks. The first is to shirk some work such as not answering your emails. The second is to pawn off work on some peon. In this case, it would be a call center in India. These tricks are nothing new because they are the Standard Operating Procedure for managers in every Fortune 500 company. These parasites are paid handsomely for being clever at getting out of doing things.

I'm not into tricks and gimmicks. It's not that I'm too stupid to trick others into doing my work for me and getting paid to do it. I just find it dishonest and immoral. I don't think it is enough to win honors. One must also have earned them. Otherwise, they are as empty as the martial arts championship Ferriss won by exploiting a loophole in the rules and pushing everyone out of the ring sumo style. As Aristotle put it, "Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them." At the end of the day, there is no virtue or honor in winning on a technicality.

Unfortunately, the mindset behind The 4-Hour Workweek is not confined to The 4-Hour Workweek. Among personal development literature, websites, and podcasts, there is the desire to achieve success without actually working for it. Now, this isn't to say that you can't become rich through trickery. Con artists do it all the time. But somewhere between the illegal and the moral is that twilight zone where people can lie and get away with it. We know this as "marketing." If you read the Wikipedia article on it, you get nuggets of wisdom like this:
Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. The American Marketing Association has defined marketing as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." 
The techniques used in marketing include choosing target markets through market analysis and market segmentation, as well as understanding methods of influence on the consumer behavior.
Now, Wikipedia usually offers the straightest answer you can get on a topic. Unfortunately, they fail on this topic. Marketing is merely a fancy term for what we have always known as "bullshitting." Except for clothes and music, the needs and wants of human beings have been fairly consistent for millennia. They want to eat, drink, sleep, and gratify their genital areas. To a secondary extent, they want to be entertained and also achieve social status in various ways. And the most consistent want is to gain these things without actually working for them.

Work is a dirty word. People want the EZ Path® to health, wealth, and happiness. If you doubt this, write a book called The 80-Hour Workweek and see how many copies you sell. People don't want the work. They want the trick. They don't want to study hard and do their homework. They want to sit next to the smart kid in class and cheat off his paper come exam time.

My thesis is a simple one. The near universal aversion people have for work is the cause of much of our misery today. Despite record high student loan debt and a dismal job market for white collar workers, kids still pile into colleges and universities to train to become debt slaves because they want to escape the alternative which is life in a blue collar job. If you ask these foolish kids why they don't pursue a career in the trades, they will answer in the same way. "I'm too smart for that sort of work." But they aren't too smart for the work of pouring coffee in Starbucks to service Sallie Mae and eat Alpo.

Here's an idea. It is a nutty idea, but I think we should try it and see what happens. Why don't we give hard work a chance? We are at the stage where the tricks and gimmicks have exhausted themselves mainly because we have run out of idiots to do all of our work for us. Why don't we start doing our own work instead? And, why don't we do a whole bunch of work while we are at it?

The work ethic works. Granted, hard work does not always pay off. But the alternative is laziness which never pays off. And, yes, there is a place for genius, but genius should enable us to do more not enable us to get away with doing less.

People today marvel at what our forebears accomplished in their day. They can't fathom things like the great cathedrals of Europe or Hoover Dam. How did these people do so much when they didn't have our technology? But the answer to that is obvious. They worked really hard at what they did. The irony is that we never ask the opposite question. Why do we achieve so little today with all of our superior technology and knowledge?

We are lazy. You can scheme all day, but nothing gets done without the doers. The world can live without schemers. It can't live without doers. Work must get done to have or achieve anything of substance or value. The world will always depend on the workers.

Embracing the work ethic is a hard thing. Work is such a torture. But when you actually do some work for a change, you will discover that this fear looms larger in the mind than in reality. Laziness is simply a barrier we erect in our minds because we have come to equate work with hell. It has been my experience that the only hell of work is having to deal with scheming rats too lazy to do their jobs.

People need to make peace with work. They need to accept it and embrace it. It is the hard path, but it is rewarding. Work is worth it. Work will make you a better person, and work makes the world a better place. And you will also learn that the highest honor and greatest success in life is when people praise you for your work ethic. We call this dignity. It is something no schemer will ever have.



Prose is architecture and the Baroque age is over.

Ernest Hemingway was a good writer. He was also a bad writer. He could be a really bad writer. The reason he was both good and bad is the same. Hemingway was a minimalist. Minimalism can be a cure, but it can also be a curse. To avoid the curse and embrace the cure, I recommend anti-minimalism.

We live in an age of extremes where to embrace a position means to automatically be opposed to its opposite. Readers of this essay will assume that anti-minimalism is the same as maximalism. This assumption is a mistake. People can't seem to think except in terms of either/or. This represents a mental trap. They see a front door and a back door, but never reflect that a window is a perfectly suitable exit from a burning house. Anti-minimalism is a window.

The problems with maximalism are obvious. There is such a thing as too much. Whether it is art or lifestyle or interior design or suburban homes, adding more on top of more ends up being stupid, wasteful, and ugly. More is not more. More is just trash burying the treasure beneath it.

Minimalism is the extreme reaction to those maximalist impulses. When people go down the minimalist path, it is liberating at first in the same way that going on a diet yields healthy weight loss in the beginning. Then, there is anorexia nervosa where that healthy weight loss zips by the window as you race down the interstate highway of oblivion.

Minimalism is anorexia. You don't have to become a skeleton to not be fat. You just have to not be fat. Likewise, you don't have to be a minimalist to not be a maximalist or a materialist. Yet, people go to extremes because they can't do the hard mental work of deciding what is enough.

I believe in simplicity. I like a watch that is inexpensive, tells the time reliably, and maybe even tells the date. I don't need a maximalist smartwatch that connects to my phone and the internet and notifies me of Facebook status updates. But I also hate watches without numbers on them. A numberless watch makes it hard to tell time, so I have to guess if it is 10 o'clock or 11 o'clock. That is the stupidity of minimalism. This is where less becomes less.

The way to escape the minimalist/maximalist mindtrap is to stop thinking in terms of less or more. Instead, think in terms of better or worse. We do this all the time. For instance, we adjust the volume on our devices to a midpoint between mute and deafening. We find that point where it stops being bad, but we stop before it becomes bad again. Yet, some people can't apply this same distinction to things like product design, their wardrobe, the homes they live in, the cars they drive, and on and on.

I believe that you should make things as simple as possible. Simplicity is awesome. I love simplicity. If you can subtract something, then you should do it. But the level at which you stop subtracting is that point where it stops being better and starts becoming worse. If only Hemingway could have figured this out.

Minimalism is prone to becoming ridiculous. This is why you have to become an anti-minimalist. To be anti-minimalist is to follow common sense. Common sense dictates that you should improve your life not empty it or fill it with needless crap. Learn how to be simple and better.


The False Idol of Humanism

What I'm asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives.

Atheism is a negative. It is a claim about what you do not believe in. It is very difficult to build a worldview and an ethic of life based on a negative. So, some atheists like Isaac Asimov chose humanism as a positive to believe in. And what is humanism? There are many various and complex definitions, but I can sum them all up in one simple declarative sentence. Humanism is the belief that humanity can save itself. This belief is naive and foolish.

When I was an atheist, I never subscribed to humanism. I never declared myself to be a secular humanist. The reason for this stance was because I was never against the ethics and values of Christianity. I didn't believe that the promotion of atheism and Darwinian evolution in the schools would necessarily lead to good things. And I took no pleasure or glee in trying to divorce people from their religions. I knew that atheism produced problems that were not necessarily going to be solved automatically by the rejection of God and the embrace of reason. And why did I believe this? Basically, I spent my entire childhood under the shadow of thermonuclear annihilation from an empire of atheism. This is something that is hard to forget even when you become an atheist.

But I was an atheist, and this presented a problem to me. How does one live without the belief in God and the moral code of Christianity to guide you? The person who best captured this problem was Jean Paul Sartre who declared, "Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.It is up to you to give [life] a meaning." I agreed with Sartre. It was up to me to decide how to live. I would have to create my own values and come to grips with the absolute freedom that atheism gave me. But that is when I immediately soured on Sartre because Jean Paul Sartre was an advocate and an apologist for Stalinist Communism. Sartre subscribed to the dictum that in order to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs. Basically, this belief is the one that in order to create something new you must destroy something old. In the case of Stalin, the eggs were the lives of millions of people who weren't in line with the program.

I could not understand how Sartre the existentialist could sign off on the atrocities of a mass murderer like Josef Stalin. His nemesis, Albert Camus, could not either. Camus, like Sartre, was a Communist, but he defected from that camp when the bodies started to pile up. I found in Camus something admirable. He embraced the existential freedom Sartre had declared, but he decided that this freedom should be used to pursue goodness. As Camus declared, "Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better."

If atheism could produce a saint, Albert Camus would come closest. But Camus was no saint. He just believed that you shouldn't go around killing people even if you had the freedom and the power to do it. Camus said that it was the job of thinking people to not be on the side of the executioners. My opinion of Camus was that he was like myself. He could not believe in God, but he wanted to believe in God. As he wrote in one of his notebooks, "I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist."

Sartre delighted in the death of God while Camus seemed to mourn it. Perhaps the best book Camus ever wrote was The Plague which asked a fundamental question. Can an atheist be a saint? In the book, a doctor tries to save a city from the plague that has afflicted it. The man is heroic and selflessly gives himself to save people from the disease. But the man does not believe in God. My interpretation of the story is that the doctor was Camus himself, and the plague was the proliferation of bad ideas in the world. The doctor was powerless in his fight, but he did fight against human suffering and death knowing it was a battle he would never win. He did this all without belief in God, religion, or ideology.

I am indebted to Camus for keeping me from becoming a monster when I was an atheist. My perspective is that Nietzsche gave license to the Nazis, and Sartre gave license to the Stalinists because he was a Frenchman who could never be a Nazi after World War II. Either way, both of these guys became monsters in my thinking. Camus showed me that becoming a monster was not an automatic thing. One could choose to do better.

The problem with Camus is that he backed away from being a monster and settled on being a scoundrel instead. His adulterous affairs with numerous women are legendary. As I said, the man was not a saint. He simply didn't believe in killing people.

Camus was the reason that people called me a "nice atheist." I wasn't a nice person at all, but I suppose I was nicer than other atheists. Where other atheists would fight to pry religion from the hearts of others, I thought people should be left alone to believe things that brought them some level of comfort in this miserable world. As long as they didn't hurt anyone, I didn't care. This was how I drifted into libertarianism.

Libertarianism is essentially the Silver Rule turned into a political philosophy. The Silver Rule states that you should not do unto others what you would not want them to do to you. Basically, you shouldn't hurt people when it came to life, liberty, and property. It seems like a fair rule though limited. I never hesitated to assault people's feelings, character, and the like. And when I wanted to beat the crap out of somebody, I would try and provoke them to violence, so I could beat them into a bloody puddle without violating my conscience. This became my infamous "Way of the Snake." Don't tread on me. Yet, I really wanted somebody to step on me in the worst way.

The fact that people did not see me as evil then is mainly because their moral lens has been clouded by their own distance from the Christian faith. I was an atheist with a very dumbed down and EZ moral code that I managed to follow because it asked very little of me. I didn't hurt anybody unless they deserved it.

The thing that never gets said is where both Camus and I got this sense of morality. Camus was raised a Catholic. He became an atheist, but he retained a conscience. Similarly, I had been a Protestant Christian until the age of 30 when I decided I could not believe in God anymore. But one cannot be a Christian for 30 years, and it not leave an indelible mark on your thinking. The morality of Camus and myself was a thing stolen from Christianity. It was deformed by atheism, but there is no denying its origin.

I am of the opinion that one cannot be good without God. Humans cannot save themselves. They will either fashion a belief system that is evil and turn them into monsters. Or, they will steal from Christianity and settle on being scoundrels. But atheists can never become saints. And this is where we deal with the false idol of humanism.

Secular humanism believes that reason and the scientific method are all that are needed to promote and establish a flourishing and happy society based on altruism, democratic values, distributive justice, and the like. The people that actually accept and promote this sort of thinking are incredibly misinformed and stupid. I actually used to meet with and debate with these people at a regular meeting of atheists and freethinkers. How can I describe these people? They are the sort of people who subscribe to a Star Trek vision of the world. They are long on science and science fiction optimism but know next to nothing about history or philosophy. They are naive nerds. The most vivid example of one of these naive nerds is science fiction writer Isaac Asimov.

Now, I like science fiction. It is entertaining. But the key thing to remember is that it is not science. It is fiction. Unfortunately, secular humanists try to make it into prophecy. The ultimate science fiction expression of secular humanism is found in the world created by Gene Roddenberry in Star Trek. Here is a description from the British Humanist Association:
Gene Roddenberry, creator and executive producer of the television series Star Trek, believed that: human beings can solve problems through reason and co-operation; that there is no need to turn to superstition or religion for help; that human understanding and intelligence will help us to develop and progress; and that the universe is a natural wonder waiting to be explored and understood.   This philosophy shines through the many adventures in Star Trek.
That sounds just peachy. Basically, the Starship Enterprise is the science fiction equivalent of the Tower of Babel. Everybody is on the same page with the reason and humanism thing. I have yet to see the episode where the crew mutinies on Kirk or Picard. It is all sweetness and light on board the Enterprise. The bad guys are always external, and they are always irrational and unreasonable. Somehow, reason always comes to save the day. What never gets addressed is this. What happens when everyone is not on the same humanist page? What then?

It is easy to get to the truth when you dispense with fiction and cut to reality. The science fiction show about a utopian future where reason prevails was created by people who could barely get along with each other. On screen, it was paradise. Off screen, it was like any other place. Humanists are supposed to be reality based people, but they are actually pushing a new religion detached from reality. The fact that Roddenberry saw himself as the visionary of this new humanist religion is telling.

The reason the tower of Babel fell is because the builders lost unity when the languages were confounded. The point of the story is that this is the reason humanity cannot and will not ever save itself. They can't agree. "Reason" is offered as some sort of commonality that will unify the human race. If Star Trek were more true to life, the biggest obstacle they would have to surmount each week would be the inability of everyone to agree on the best course of action and the moral failings of various crew members. I would love to see the episode where they can't get to warp factor 9 because Scotty is laid out drunk from too much scotch, or Kirk endangers the crew to fornicate with some green alien princess.

The problem for humanism is the same problem as the builders of the tower of Babel had. How do you get everyone on the same humanist page? And what do you do with the ones who will not comply? The answer is obvious. You start breaking eggs. To build a new society based on new thinking, you have to eradicate the old thinking and kill off the old thinkers. This is when you break out the guillotine.

Asimov, Roddenberry, and other humanists are amnesiacs when it comes to history. They forget that the French Revolution was based upon the very values they espouse--reason, secularism, fraternity of humanity, etc. Christianity was rejected in favor this new religion of enlightened humanism. The result was a lot of bloodshed and death and the rise of despotism in the form of Napoleon Bonaparte. And their ignorance of philosophy shows their inability to appreciate the problems a world without God presents. At least the existentialists were free of the foolish optimism of these thickheaded humanists.

For humanism to flourish, you would have to kill every last human being remaining. This makes humanism a self-defeating proposition. I knew this before I ever became Catholic which is why I preferred the individualism of libertarianism over the collective aspirations of humanism. Individualism is also a false idol along with humanism, but it does not require human sacrifice.

Secular humanism is science fiction. It doesn't work. It denies reality, and it is not reasonable in the least. Humanity cannot and will not save itself. You cannot have a deeply ethical or spiritual life without God. Some secular minded people acknowledge the flaws in their thinking which is why "multiculturalism" and "tolerance" have become a thing. They suggest building a utopia on differing viewpoints and opinions. The influx of murdering Muslims into the secular superstate of Europe should show the foolishness of that idea. Secular humanists need to abandon ship and accept reality. Theirs is a new and false religion that denies reality. And that is not reasonable.


Pure Dumb Luck

Ringo isn't even the best drummer in The Beatles.

When I think of someone who made it on pure dumb luck, Ringo Starr springs to mind. I like Ringo, and I think most people in the world like Ringo. He is the most likable Beatle. But his fame and fortune are due primarily to the Beatles firing Pete Best and hiring Ringo to replace him. Had that event not happened, the world would never have known Richard Starkey. He would have played in a few more bands and probably returned to his working class roots. Even as a Beatle, Ringo never felt secure in his job.

Ringo is humble which is why he is so likable. He played his role in the band and never let his ego create friction. The band already had three egos to contend with and a fourth would have blown it apart. Ringo Starr caught one of the luckiest breaks in musical history. His talents as a drummer are debatable which explains John Lennon's snarky quote about him. Paul McCartney was probably the best drummer and best musician in the band, but you can only play one instrument at a time. As for singing, Ringo is good as a singer and did some memorable songs with the Beatles.

The antithesis to the pure dumb luck of Ringo Starr was the pure bad luck of Pete Best. There is debate about Pete Best's drumming abilities, but he was the most solid of the Beatles eschewing drugs and grinding it out with the band for over two years. But seeing a picture of Best with the Beatles tells the real story. Pete Best was the best looking guy in the group. The girls swooned over him. But when you see a picture of Ringo with the band, you can see why he got the job after they fired Pete Best. Ringo wasn't so good looking.

My personal opinion is that Pete Best got the heave-ho for being pleasant to the female eye while Ringo got the job for being ugly. Normally, being good looking would be a stroke of good fortune but not for Pete Best. Best would return to his life of relative obscurity. People only know him today as the guy who got sacked by the Beatles.

The fact is that the rest of the Beatles owed much of their success to the same dumb luck that plucked Ringo Starr from obscurity and put Pete Best back into obscurity. What makes it harder to make that case is the undeniable talent of the band members as singers and songwriters. We feel that McCartney and Lennon are somehow deserving of the fame and fortune that came to them. The problem with that argument is the vast abundance of talent that exists in obscurity. If you doubt this, peruse the YouTube channel of this fellow. Thanks to the internet, we can witness people playing in their bedrooms or on the street in performances that are simply mind blowing. Why aren't these people megastars bringing down millions of dollars? Who can doubt that this guy playing his PVC pipe techno solo has more talent than Ringo Starr? Instead, the millions go to subpar talents producing hip hop albums.

The only real difference between Ringo and the other Beatles was that humility. Ringo knew he made it on dumb luck. The real agonizing thing is to decide which is better--talent or dumb luck? Is it better to be the best at what you do? Or, is it better merely to be lucky? The simple and undeniable fact is that dumb luck beats talent every time. That is a sobering reflection.

Moving to the world of art, we have the most potent example of the delinking of fame and talent in the artwork of Jackson Pollock. Pollock became a rockstar in the artworld for producing works that could be painted by any small child let loose with a bucket of paint. This period of drip painting as masterpiece shows that the artworld is akin to the emperor's new clothes. Here is a critical analysis of Pollock's work:
Pollock’s finest paintings… reveal that his all-over line does not give rise to positive or negative areas: we are not made to feel that one part of the canvas demands to be read as figure, whether abstract or representational, against another part of the canvas read as ground. There is not inside or outside to Pollock’s line or the space through which it moves…. Pollock has managed to free line not only from its function of representing objects in the world, but also from its task of describing or bounding shapes or figures, whether abstract or representational, on the surface of the canvas. (Hans Namuth)
Pollock had zero talent who lucked into a period of utter stupidity on the part of the artworld. In the world of pure dumb luck, Pollock's luck was the dumbest of all time. Pollock remains controversial to this day, and he suffered from a lingering doubt that he was just a phony. Let me end the debate now. Jackson Pollock was a complete phony. He deserved none of the fame and acclaim he garnered in life. I believe this drove him to drink harder and to kill himself in a drunken car crash.

It is not enough to have fame, fortune, honor, and glory. One must also believe that one is deserving of these things. That deserving part is what creates bitterness in the talented but obscure and self-loathing in the famous but untalented. This mismatch between what people receive and what they deserve leads to a profound sense of injustice in the world. Either God is unjust, or the world is governed by the same chaos you find in a Jackson Pollock painting.

The first myth we can dispense with is the idea that life really is just pure dumb luck. There is no such thing as pure dumb luck. What we call luck is really the collection of factors beyond our control or influence. The reality is that all things that happen are governed by the providence of Almighty God. This would include Ringo Starr and Jackson Pollock. Nothing happens to us or anyone else that isn't foreordained and determined by God. As Matthew 10:29 puts it, "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father." If even the most insignificant things happen as a consequence of providence, you should believe that the fortunes of all people, nations, and the like are also foreordained and determined by Almighty God. Life is not the product of chaos.

The second myth we can dispense with is the idea that we are deserving of anything. The only thing any human being deserves from the hand of Almighty God is eternal damnation. The fact that any of us escapes this fate is completely as a consequence of God's mercy.

When we forget these two facts of life, pride comes into the picture. This pride is what produces arrogance in the fortunate and bitterness in the unfortunate. We believe we deserve good things from God. So, we look with envy on those who receive better things than us, and we look with disdain on those who have received worse things.

The antidote to these two poisonous myths is humility. We must acknowledge our sinfulness and utter dependence upon Almighty God. We must never forget these facts. Jesus Christ could have come as anyone in this world. He could have chosen to be the emperor or even the king of Israel when that would have been a glorious thing. But Jesus came as a humble carpenter and a suffering servant. He alone is worthy of all the honor and glory we think we deserve in our pride. Yet, Christ emptied Himself and humbled Himself even to the point of humiliation and death on a cross. It was not bad luck that put Christ on the cross. It was Providence. And Jesus accepted the Father's will for Him without bitterness or complaint.

For us, our cross is to accept where God has placed us and what God has planned for us. It matters not whether we have good fortune or bad fortune in our lives. What matters is that we accept both with humility and the knowledge that it all comes from God's hand. The proper response to these things is gratitude. God knows best, and the light of eternity will reveal this even if we see it only through the darkened looking glass of the present time. Life is not chaos, and God is not unjust. Trust in God.


Rise and Fall

An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.

There are two competing views of humanity in the world today. The view you subscribe to has a large impact on your lifestyle, your values, your politics, your morality, and many other things. It is important that when picking which view to hold that you get it right because of the large effects such a viewpoint will have on you and on the world. These views center on two questions. Did humanity rise from humble origins to greatness? Or, did humanity fall from greatness?

The belief that humanity rises is the one held and promoted by those who subscribe to the worldview known as secular progressivism. These are your atheists, materialists, and left wing liberals who believe that the human race evolved by accident from lower organisms. According to these people, humanity was bestial but has become more civilized as a process of evolution. Now, humanity has the chance to evolve and progress further as it ascends to utopia. Many are the cries to not "turn back the clock" and "lean forward." Humans are getting better and better.

The Christian religion opposes progressivism and declares that humanity is fallen. Humanity is not getting better and better except to the extent that the Christian religion is allowed to flourish. Human beings began at a high place and have descended to a lower place. Instead of animals becoming men, men are becoming animals.

The antagonism between these two views is fierce. For the progressive, man's "elevation" has occurred accidentally through a process of deliberation. Now that we have attained our present enlightenment, we should no longer leave the progress of humanity up to mere chance. Progress should be directed collectively and from a centralized authority with great levels of control over families and individuals. Anything that thwarts progress such as Christianity needs to be eliminated.

In the progressive's mind, religions like Christianity represent useful stages in the evolutionary mindset of man. These religions helped to advance humanity but now outlive their usefulness being supplanted today with philosophy and science. The Church of Reason is the new temple in which all human beings will worship. All other religions are outdated superstitious ignorance.

Who is right? The argument would seem to hinge upon the idea of evolution. If human beings did evolve from primates, it would seem to indicate that our superior reason and intellect over the inferior reason and intellect of animals means that we are evolving or progressing to something higher since we started somewhere lower than where we are now. This is what I call the "clever monkey" view. Humans are merely clever monkeys, and our survival and flourishing depends upon us becoming more clever. This cleverness is the bedrock of the progressive ideology.

Religion's role in this progress was as a handmaiden to philosophy. Religion promoted culture, literature, art, and thinking. These are good things except that religion also retarded reason and science. This weird relationship is how things like pagan civilizations could build monumental structures, map the stars and their movement, and also sacrifice their infants to cruel gods.

The Christian viewpoint is decidedly different. Humanity was created in a harmonious relationship with God. God allowed humanity to eat of all the trees of the Garden of Eden except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They were forbidden to eat of this tree. Essentially, all the trees of the garden are all the many fields of human endeavor. Humans excel at many of these things. One of these things is science.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is essentially the tree of religion. By eating of this tree, our first parents decided that they would be the captains of their souls instead of God. The result of that decision is a panopoly of civilizations that were adept at technology and architecture and many arts including warfare. They also sacrificed their infants to cruel gods we know today as the demons. The Fall was a trick where humans were not turned into gods but where Satan and his horde were turned into gods. Humanity has suffered ever since.

It is no accident that the most advanced civilizations in human history have also been the most cruel. Progressives will claim that it was the superstitions of these civilizations that fostered this cruelty, and they would be correct. Pagan religions are evil. They make you kill your own children. It is not unlike the carnage of abortion.

Millions face death in the name of progress. The Aztecs ripped hearts from the chests of their living victims. Yet, are we no different in declaring "brain death" before we start carving up people to harvest their organs and tissues? Is it the act or the reasons for the act that are the deciding factors in these atrocities? Would the Aztecs be seen in a better light if they had developed anesthesia first and used it on their victims? Is butchery of human beings OK as long as the living have no sensation of the pain?

The progressives are at pains to explain an uncomfortable fact of their program. Wherever progressive enlightenment is found, a lot of people end up dead. In France, the revolution lead to a reign of terror with priests and nuns being the primary victims of the purge that ended up taking down aristocrats, a king, and the revolutionaries themselves. This same thing would repeat itself in other revolutions whether it was the Russian revolution, the Maoist revolution, Pol Pot, or today's revolutions for "democracy." The glaring fact is that there is little progress in progressivism. The only difference between ancient paganism and modern progressivism is that atheists have a higher body count.

G.K. Chesterton stated that original sin was the one Christian doctrine that could be proven empirically, yet it is the one doctrine that scientifically minded progressives are at labors to deny. The simple reality is that humanity is evil. It has always been evil since the Fall. The tendency of man is not to become like the angels but to become like the demons that tricked them in the first place.

Christianity offers the antidote to this fallen condition. Yet, progressives are at pains to deny the uniqueness of Christianity. To them, Christianity evolved from paganism. The Christian religion supplanted the more primitive religions. Now, progressivism is the religion that must supplant Christianity. Yet, where are these saints of progress? What great moral person has science ever produced?

One does not have to believe in Christianity to believe in the fall of man. If man is merely a clever monkey, then he has not evolved from his base origin and will never evolve from it. His cleverness will increase, but his savagery will remain intact. Inevitably, the human race will annihilate itself in nuclear holocaust. The simple fact is that natural history shows that extinction is the end of virtually all species, and there is nothing to indicate that humanity will not share the same fate as the dinosaurs. The key difference between humans and dinosaurs is that humans will be the authors of their own destruction.

Christians are accused of creating a myth out of the past. By the same token, progressives make a myth out of the future. In their myth, the future is utopian and perfected. Humanity will achieve a greatness that will extinguish its flaws. The extraterrestrial is the icon of that perfected humanity.

The extraterrestrial represents an advanced sibling to humanity. If advanced civilizations exist beyond our own world, then this gives us hope that our own race can extend itself into space. Aliens have replaced pagan deities as the new gods of a new mythology. It is no coincidence that alien representations look so human. There is no scientific reason to think that aliens will look so much like us except with bigger brains and the absence of body hair. And what is the deal with those big black eyes? But it is no mystery. The lack of hair removes the animal from the being. The big brain is the advanced reason. The big black eyes are the lack of a soul and empathy. Basically, advancement means losing your soul to become more like a robot than a human being.

All of this is madness and nonsense. Humans are not advancing except in the cleverness department. Where civilization advances in all its facets, you find Christianity. Christianity is hope. The problem with people is not that they are stupid. The problem is that people are evil. They lack the sanctifying grace needed to become better. Yet, this sanctifying grace is the gift that Jesus Christ gives to all who believe in Him. Through Christ, the fallen man can be restored and put on his proper path.

The fact that the world hates Christianity testifies to these truths. People only become better when they submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ. The proper and fitting end of a man is to become a saint. The world has never had a saint before Jesus Christ. It can never have a saint apart from Jesus Christ. Jesus conquered the Fall. Eventually, we will be allowed to eat from the Tree of Life which is immortality in eternity. Those who follow Christ aim for a new destination for humanity. That destination is the elevation of humanity from evil to good. And if you lack faith on this, I would suggest that you follow the evidence. Progressives can merely lie and try to tell you that black is white, wrong is right, and the end that does not exist will justify the meanness of the means in the interim. What good can come from such evil?


The Day Job

The talentless job you're currently working for just to make money, while in the process of following the career path you are working on and that you actually really want.
URBAN DICTIONARY, day job definition

I have a day job. I use this term because this job is not a career. It is simply what I do to pay the bills. It does not command my passion. It does not contribute to any concepts of self-actualization. It merely feeds me, houses me, clothes me, and puts gas in my vehicle. I hate my day job but not because of the actual work I do. I actually like working, and I engage in labor that can be greater drudgery than the work that earns my paycheck. My hatred for the day job is because of the mismanagers who make each day of my working life a complete hell with their endless stupidity. It is never the work itself but the frustration of that work by people who do no work at all.

The opposite of the day job is the dream job. This is the job you wished you had getting paid to do what you love. You already do what you love, but it costs money instead of generating money. The dream is that this job would actually pay you enough to live on. Naturally, these dream jobs involve professional athletics, music, acting, and the arts. For some weird reason, dream jobs never pertain to the janitorial arts or the digging of ditches.

Dream jobs just don't pay the bills. For every millionaire Mick Jagger, there is one hundred or more people who sing better or who are better looking fronting unknown bands in bars around the world. The simple fact is that a guy like Jagger represents not someone with talent who achieved through hard work so much as a lottery winner who happened to pick the right numbers on his ticket.

My dream job would be working as a full time writer. The problem is that precious few writers can earn enough to pay the bills and this includes those with books on the bestseller lists. In fact, writers who don't write fiction have very little chance of being full time writers because their work can't be turned into movies which pay better than books. Then there are those writers who write full time by being journalists during the day and novelists at night and on weekends. This arrangement is probably worse than being a janitor who writes novels because the journalist must use his brain for the entire day while the janitor's thoughts are still his own.

Many of my writer heroes had day jobs. In fact, I think those day jobs provided inspiration and structure to their days. It definitely makes for a busy schedule and a hectic life, but I think that life is more fulfilling than merely working a job and watching four hours of television at night or writing four hours a day and watching eight hours of television in the evening.

I have come to reject certain ideas. One of those is the idea of retirement. I don't believe in retirement, and I have no intention of ever doing it. I want to work myself to death. Similarly, I reject the idea that you should do only one thing. I love wearing multiple hats. One of those hats is my day job. Another one of those hats is my writer's hat. Still another is my apostolate. Then, there is being a husband.

If I won the lottery, would I keep working my day job? That seems like an absurd question to ask. If I work for the money, having money would end the necessity of the day job. But I have to admit that I would not give up my day job for much the same reason that I would never retire. It amounts to the same thing. Winning the lottery makes it possible to retire early. I equate retirement with decay and rot. I will always work a day job though I might change my field of endeavor to something more challenging. Winning the lottery would afford me a chance to retrain. But the day job is a permanent part of my life.

Being a full time writer is an intriguing possibility except that I can't write full time. I have two to three days off each week, but I cannot write for an entire day on these days. Four hours is all that I have in me at any given time. Unlike my day job, the writing gig takes more energy out of me. I believe that sleep is more for the benefit of the brain than the body, and I find that writing drains me more than a 12+ hour day at work. On a day when I neither write nor work, I feel energized and fresh. Writing is work, and it is more intense than real work. If you doubt this, watch a typical university student procrastinate on writing his term papers.

Not having a day job would not increase my writing output. The problem I have in writing is not so much time as it is material. The day job gives me time to think about what I want to write next. I used to write way more than I do now, but that is because I got married. It was a good trade because being married has been the single best thing that has ever happened to me. Unfortunately, my wife can be a writer's widow during the time I work on my projects. But she has her projects she works on.

Having a day job negates the time I would spend watching ball games on television. I am always in a state of work. Everything I do has a seriousness about it. I don't have time for frivolous things. I don't understand how people can idle away time watching grown men play games. At the very least, you could spend that time playing that game and improving your health and fitness. Even a nap is more beneficial.

We fool ourselves with the notion that we would achieve more if only we had more time. But that is a myth as evidenced from the fact of all the time we waste now. If we are profligate in the small things, why should we be given the greater things?

All of these things make me more accepting of the day job. The day job earns me a living, but it also does something else for me. It keeps me from being lazy. Nothing is more perilous for the writer than success. Success makes it possible to do nothing. I embrace my day job. I don't embrace it the way someone embraces a career, but I do embrace as something more than just paying the bills. It refines me and strengthens me. Work is good for the body and the soul even if it is rarely pleasure.

As for self-actualization, all I can say is that I am not paid to play. This is what people want from a job. They want to be paid very handsomely for what amounts to play. One of these groups of people paid to play is the professional Catholic. The professional Catholic is a layperson who neither teaches in a university nor serves in any capacity except as a full time blogger, vlogger and/or podcast maker. These professional Catholics like to pass the hat for donations to keep doing what amounts to a hobby. They could do this stuff for free while holding down a day job because I do it for free while holding down a day job. I will call it what it is. It is laziness. It is getting paid to play.

I want to live more robustly, and I believe the day job is part of that program. I have never been fond of specialization, and I subscribe to the Renaissance Ideal. Pursue multiple projects. Do many things. My day job is me, but it is not all of me. It will always be me. I work. I am a worker. I want to work until the day I die. I want to work forever. Work is life. Idleness is death. I am grateful to God for the work He has given me. I give it back to Him with love.



. . .whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

On April 26, 1986, the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl became unlivable. A nuclear reactor had a meltdown, and the subsequent disaster left the site and the city covered in radioactive contamination. Chernobyl is now a ghost town. The area will not be safe for human habitation for 20,000 years. The picture above is the famous "elephant's foot" in the basement of the reactor. If you saw this in person, it would be the last thing you saw because it would kill you instantly. This blob is what is left of the nuclear fuel of the reactor.

This disaster is what comes to mind when I think of the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. This tragedy came to light during the waning years of the ponitificate of Pope St. John Paul II who was obviously too ill and too much in the dark about what amounts to a disaster for the Church. The reason I think of Chernobyl is because the scandal still continues to contaminate the Church in much the same way the elephant's foot of Chernobyl keeps sending out its radioactivity. Like Chernobyl, the disaster has been contained, but the damage lingers on in after effects on people's lives and perceptions of the Church.

I cannot evangelize or even mention that I am Catholic without someone throwing pedophile priests in my face. Becoming Catholic in the aftermath of this scandal is like electing to buy a home in Chernobyl and going there to live. Now, they write books and make movies about the scandal. This thing is never going to die. It has eclipsed the Spanish Inquisition and the Galileo Affair in terms of damage to the Church's image and reputation.

People may wonder why I would wish to join the Catholic Church in the wake of this mess, and I can only say that I truly believe it is the One True Faith. I can never leave the Roman Catholic Church. It is not an option for me. Conversely, I cannot remain silent about what I think of this scandal or the direction of the Church under the disaster of this current pope who lectures world governments about corruption while sitting on a Vatican Bank implicated in money laundering. Combined with the sex abuse scandal, Pope Francis is pulling specks out of the eyes of the world while trying to look around the log in the Church's eye.

This scandal undermines virtually all of the Church's moral authority in the world. The simple fact is that pedophilia is considered to be the most heinous crime in our time. Men would rather die than even be accused of such despicable acts. Even incarcerated criminals will batter and kill a pedophile in prison because they wish to not even be in the company of such evil. Yet, for decades, these crimes were committed and covered up within the Roman Catholic Church. When the morality of our priests and prelates has sunk below that of your average criminal, what authority does the Church have to speak about faith and morals?

If my faith rested on the sanctity of the priests and prelates, I would be an atheist again. But my fidelity to the Church rests on Christ's promises, and I look to Him. The simple fact is that we are all sinners, and the Church is comprised of sinners. I am disappointed in the scandals, but I am not surprised by the scandals. It is good to read about saints and martyrs who lived and died for the faith, but I think it is also helpful to read about the scoundrels who caused scandal. This practice creates defensive pessimism, so that when a leader stumbles and falls it does not make shipwreck of one's faith. Jesus had his reasons for picking Judas Iscariot, and I think it is to be a warning to us all to remain in the faith.

How do you go about cleaning up such a mess as the sex abuse scandal? You might as well ask what it would take to clean up Chernobyl or Fukushima. But what I can say about the matter is that the world is worse than the Church. The day is coming when this perverted society will embrace the crime of pedophilia as merely another lifestyle alternative. The secular society is already making moves in this direction. And if you doubt this, look no further than the present scandals of abortion and gay marriage and adoption and transgender restroom policies. Don't say it can't or won't happen. They said the same thing about the travesties we see today.

In a full scale global thermonuclear exchange, Chernobyl would look absolutely livable in comparison. Chernobyl was merely an accident in contrast to nuclear armageddon. Similarly, the sins of the Roman Catholic Church will look tame in comparison to a worldwide unleashing of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The reason for the scandal in the Roman Catholic Church is because it became too much like the world around it. The Church does not corrupt the world. The world corrupts the Church. All people are sinners and fall short. The antidote remains the same as it has for two millennia. Flee to Christ. Avail yourself of the sacraments. Get into a state of grace and remain there. Do works of penance and mercy. Be a saint.

This advice to become a saint seems really stupid. What can one saint do? What is one candle against a world of darkness? But as John 1:5 puts it, " The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." Darkness cannot extinguish light. Similarly, evil cannot extinguish good. As much as people decry the sex abuse scandal of the Roman Catholic Church, the reason they can even care about such evil is because of the Church. Before Christ, such crimes against children were commonplace in the pagan world.

Be a candle in the darkness. That's all any of us can ever be. Night will not last forever. The daylight will return. Until then, we have to be the light of the world. And we will not be overcome.


Politics and Temperament

Where you stand depends on where you sit.

Miles's Law came about from the observation of how a bureaucrat changed his thinking on a thing when he was promoted to a different position requiring a different viewpoint. Instead of basing his opinions on an objective view of the facts, he chose to mold his opinion to his paycheck. Similarly, most people's political viewpoints are based not on reason or creed but merely on what enables them to get paid. Yet, we see people who can take a welfare check and still vote Republican. Or consider the character of Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation who was a libertarian who worked for a government agency. You can decry certain people as hypocrites or sell outs. Yet, Miles's Law contains a truth and an untruth. People's political viewpoints are not based so much on reason or where they get a paycheck so much as temperament. Their personalities are what determines their politics more than anything else. And this matters because it points to the futility of reason in the political sphere.

The terms "left" and "right" come to us from the French Revolution of 1789 when members of the National Assembly sat down. Those who supported the king and the Roman Catholic Church sat on the right. These were the conservatives. Those who opposed the king and supported revolution sat on the left. These were the liberals. Left and Right have been with us ever since.

The Left/Right thing is present in virtually every country. In the USA, we have the Republicans on the Right and the Democrats on the Left. In the UK, they have the Conservative Party on the Right and the Labor Party on the Left. In Israel, they have the Likud Party on the Right, and the Labor Party on the Left. Granted, there are third parties such as the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, etc. But they tend to be greater or lesser extremes of Left/Right. When I was a libertarian, I tried to defy the Left/Right thing, but I have to admit that I was on the Right and always have been. I have never voted for a Democrat in my entire life.

People tend to fall on either the Left or the Right. It is much like the issue of Continental divide with water and streams flowing either towards the Atlantic side or the Pacific side. Now, this tendency towards Left and Right defies reasonable explanation. For instance, in the USA, everyone was essentially conservative at one time. If you were blue collar, you voted Democrat. If you were white collar, you voted Republican. Otherwise, the country agreed on many things. The split between Left and Right began under FDR as Roosevelt instituted social programs. Blacks who had been Republican like Lincoln started to become Democrats. Southern whites who had always been Democrats became Republicans. Today, you have weird things like blue collar people supporting conservative and Republican candidates, and hedge fund traders giving millions to support Democrats and Hillary Clinton. If Miles's Law held, these people should be voting completely opposite to how they actually do. But they don't.

The explanation for these oddities come from temperament. A person's temperament is their natural disposition. Some people are simply predisposed to fall on the Left or the Right. And this predisposition is easy to discern in a person. You should not ask someone what their politics may be, but ask them how they feel about work. The answer to that question will tell you everything you need to know about that person's politics.

People on the Left hate work. Work is a curse. The Left has not always thought this way, but we have Karl Marx to thank for this mental shift. Marx was all about the working class or the "proletariat." He was at pains to show how the working class was downtrodden and victimized. The irony was that Marx was never a member of this proletariat. He was basically a lazy bum trying desperately to not be working class.

Leftists today are essentially the same as Marx in their laziness. This is why liberals champion expansion of the welfare state, taxing the rich, and wish for a socialist state with a gigantic sucking bureaucracy where people like themselves do very little all day and get paid handsomely for it. When leftists do work such as in academia, journalism, government, NGOs, and the entertainment industry, they work at jobs that resemble play more than work, and they draw down salaries far in excess of anything a working person receives. And they have no problems or qualms availing themselves of every tax break and Swiss bank account they can find to keep their lightly earned lucre.

People on the Right are different. They believe in hard work. They take the hard jobs, and they work hard. They become entrepreneurs or work hard in companies. If they do work for the government, it is in the grittier roles of the police and military. People of a conservative temperament are used to work, but they resent having their income stripped from them and employed in things they disagree with. People on the Left like to decry the greed of the Right, yet it is conservatives and not liberals who give the most to charity and are most grateful for what they have.

I have seen this division more times than I count, and it explains the reason people become either liberal or conservative more than anything else I have considered. It defies wealth and class. It also explains why a blue collar worker would wave the flag and vote for a Republican despite the Democrats trying to champion his cause. It also explains how a billionaire like Warren Buffett can be a Democrat and a liberal giving millions to causes like Planned Parenthood. Warren Buffett has never had to do a day of real work in his life.

I wrack my brain trying to think of an honest worker who was a Democrat, and the few examples I come up with are handful of black people who were 99% Republican on the issues but insisted on voting their race instead of their deeply held beliefs. Beyond that, those belonging to the Parasite Class tend to be liberal and Democrat while those who belong to the Producer Class tend to be conservative and Republican. Where you stand on the issues depends on where you sit as a producer or a parasite.

I have always been a producer in my life. Consequently, I have always been on the Right. I was a conservative then a libertarian and now I'm back to being a conservative. Despite being an atheist at one time, I could never embrace progressive thinking or the Democrat Party that champions that thinking. Despite my religious views being very different, my political views have been much more consistent. This is an important thing to consider when it comes to political discourse and debate.

If people were liberal or conservative based upon conclusions derived from reasoned arguments, you could stand a chance of persuading them. But if people are liberal or conservative based upon being hard working or lazy, you are wasting your time. You would have better luck convincing these people to change their hairstyles or their fashion sense than you will with their politics. But this begs another set of questions. Are conservatives good? Are liberals evil? Is work a curse?

Work is not a curse. The curse of work comes from the frustration of work, and liberals are fond of creating such frustration. As it stands, liberals and liberalism/progressivism is evil. Their revolution is not so much to overthrow aristocracy as the original leftists back in France desired but to become the new aristocracy set free from work. Conversely, conservatives are champions of work and the work ethic. Conservatives are good.

If you abhor honest work, you will be a Leftist and a Democrat. If you believe in honest work, you will be a conservative and a Republican. It really is that basic.


Work Theory

The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.

This post will not be an organized one. It is written from the jumble of thoughts I glean from my work life. I have been doing various forms of blue collar work ever since my old man put me to work at thirteen. Over those years, I have learned and developed a body of principles that constitute a theory about work in particular and life in general. I call this body of principles my "work theory."

Theory is defined as a set of principles on which the practice of an activity is based. In my case, the activity is just work in the blue collar mode. The first chunk of work theory is what I call my "work rules." These are the three things I have learned over the years make the job better and even more fun. Here they are:

1. ABD
2. ABH
3. QYB

They are letters, but the letters stand for something. I just use the letters as an easy way to remember the rules. Here is the explanation.

1. Always be doing.

Idleness is the enemy of productivity and work. This doesn't mean that you can't take a break or get rest. Those breaks just have to be earned, and they are sweeter when you have actually earned them. Otherwise, your every waking moment should be dedicated to some activity or task. Idleness needs to be obliterated in your life. Such a relentless dedication to always working might seem hellish, but you will find it blissful if you commit to doing it. Don't let those Zen practitioners fool you. Nirvana is not found in stillness but activity.

2. Always be hustling.

Hustling has to do with the tempo of the work you are doing. Decades ago, I used to lift weights with a friend at the gym, but we never had time for cardio because we were students. But we worked on the same job, and he said our job could be cardio. You do the same things, but you do them faster. From him, I learned that work should also be a workout. There should be some aerobic benefit to the work you do. Now, don't go cutting your fingers off with the circular saw. Some things can't be rushed. But if you find yourself on the end of a shovel or a sink full of dishes, do the work briskly as to train the body like at the gym.

3. Quit your bitching.

I cannot recall a single time on the job where complaining made any difference. There are those workers who would rather bitch all day than work all day. At some point, you realize their bitching and whining is their way of getting out of the work. You can shut them up with a little mockery and ridicule and a command to "suck it up." But the main thing is to shut yourself up. Yes, things can be really bad on a job, but humor is the best way to handle it. If you have ever watched Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs, you learn what it is to find humor in the unpleasant and the dirty tasks of life.

Do I always follow the work rules? Heck no. They are more ideals to aim at than to achieve. I have been idle on the job before, and I don't always hustle because I get tired. And, sometimes, I groan pretty loudly about management stupidity. But I am not better for breaking the rules. But I am better when I try and follow them.

The next component of my work theory is the Law of Work Attraction. I'm not a believer in the Law of Attraction or any of that New Age pseudocrap. But the Law of Work Attraction is totally real. Here it is. Work flows to the one who wants it. It can also be stated with another phrase. The reward for good work is more work. There is also a corollary to the Law which states that work flows away from the one who does not want it. I will explain how it works.

In any workplace I have ever encountered, you have about 10-20% of the people doing the real work with the remaining 80-90% just hanging out either doing nothing or doing the bare minimum to avoid getting fired. These people are either slackers or management. All managers are lazy by nature and scheme their way out of work. Why are things like this?

It never fails that on any job I do I end up with overtime on a weekly basis. I don't plan this, and I think it is a sin to milk the clock. But managers find that it is easier to get me to do a thing because of my willingness to do it than to argue and threaten someone else into doing it who doesn't want to do it all. This is how that 80/20 thing develops. A good manager would work hard to get work out of the slackers, but managers are lazy by their nature. So, they take the path of least resistance which is me and people like me. By the end of a workweek, the worker bees have 10 to 20 hours of overtime. The perplexed manager is left trying to explain to his boss why he has to pay out the extra. So, he blames the worker bees for "milking the clock." Somehow, these hard workers become lazy schemers getting over on the company. Yes, it is a ridiculous notion, but managers will say anything to excuse their own laziness.

The Law of Work Attraction is the cornerstone for success in life. You can be an unemployed bum, and you can rise if you embrace this Law. Once you decide that you want to work, work will flow to you like a river. It won't be immediate, but it will happen. This is how a lowly Mexican immigrant can end up owning multiple shops and restaurants within a decade. People love to dump work on hard workers forgetting that those people get paid for that work. If you just work hard at everything, good things will flow from that dedication. I can't guarantee that you will become a billionaire, but  the circumstances of your life will steadily improve as a consequence of this dedication to hard work.

This brings us to the third aspect of my work theory which deals with stress. Like it or not, the workplace can really stress you out. Yet, I have encountered people who never seem stressed about anything on the job. Nothing flusters them. They never get mad. They never bitch or complain. Their attitude tends to be positive. I have racked my brains to understand their secret until I realized something about these guys I admired and envied. They all had solid work ethics. They worked really hard. So, I tried it myself, and I discovered something. The antidote to stress is exhaustion.

When you are really tired and sleep deprived on the job, you never lose your cool. This is because anger and stress require energy. When you are exhausted from always working hard, you don't have the energy left to feed these things. Consequently, there are two ways you can burn yourself out. You can burn yourself out with work, or you can burn yourself out with worry. Choose the work option. I'd rather be pleasantly tired than stressed to a nervous breakdown.

All of this talk of tiredness and exhaustion probably makes you tired and exhausted. There is a belief that doing well on a job requires you to be in good health and rested. You may hear this when you read some article about the work benefits of taking vacations. The problem is that all of that "rested" talk is crap. I have learned another truth from doing blue collar work over these many years. Feeling bad is not the same as doing bad.

Yesterday, a co-worker told me of a day when he was physically ill and vomiting on the job. He tried to get the boss man to relieve him, but the boss did nothing because all bosses are slime. The irony was that my co-worker had one of his best days ever performance wise on a day when he should have stayed home to recover from his illness. I have had similar experiences. I have lost count of the days when I have worked while sick, sleep deprived, heat exhausted, injured, etc. I just never call out for any reason whatsoever. When I do call out, it is usually my vehicle that has failed because the battery was dead, or I had a flat tire on the way to work. When it comes to my body, I find suffering at work is not any different than suffering at home except you get paid to suffer at work. And don't worry. The moment you are too sick to work, they send you home because they aren't going to pay you to do nothing. This only happened to me once.

This constitutes my work theory at this stage of my working life. I will probably learn new things in the future. What I do know is that there is no end to work. Work is forever. What matters is how you think about that work. Embrace work as a reward. Don't endure it as a punishment. How you think about it affects how you do it. We have Mark Twain to thank for this insight. If you find the pleasure in work, you will have truly made a Heaven out of Hell.