Many people write or speak to tell us what we should think. Some want to be believed because they are experts, or think they are. Some want to be believed because they claim to speak for us. Some have had revelations. Others want us to trust them because they communicate through prominent media outlets. Many tell us what we should think. I write to encourage my readers to think for themselves. I write to ask you to inquire. Question me. Have fun.

Comment of the Day
The Editorial Board should have no opinion

Jul 11, 2020

The WSJ Editorial Board expressed its opinion about the case of Michael Flynn. It does not matter what they said; in my book, the Editorial Board should have no opinion on any topic. Editorial boards’ job is not to lecture, but to facilitate views from individuals who can present valid arguments. The Editorial Board's job at the WSJ is to guarantee to me, a subscriber, that the different opinions presented are fact-checked. I pay a subscription for the WSJ because I do not have the time nor the means to fact-check whatever is written and posted on the internet. I do not pay for the subscription to be brainwashed by whatever the self-anointed authority of the Editorial Board believes is right. I can make my judgment based on the facts and their interpretation by other individuals.

More parenting is needed
Aug 01, 2019
Peter Gray in Psychology Today advises for less parenting. The problem is exactly the opposite: There is not enough parenting. In the past, when most of our ancestors lived in self-supporting households, often a farm, out of necessity, children were an integral part of whatever adults needed to do during their daily life, and they learned that way. Now, we do not need to do as much at home. Work is outside the home, food is brought in, heat is turned on and off, and mysteriously magical, colorful screens are the center of most activities. If we leave children free to explore what they find the most attractive, they will play video games. There might be some educational value in it, but one needs to learn much more. Hence, we need more effort in parenting, with parents doing more in the home than is otherwise required, and spending more time with children outside in order to introduce them to the real world. This realization hit home after I witnessed the surprise of a 7-year old seeing apples on my apple tree.
Less fight more work
Jul 30, 2017

The fight over Obamacare repeal is over, at least for now. The GOP can start to work on a new proposal that each of us can look at it, and then compare how my particular health care solution would play in it, as compared to Obamacare. In a television interview, HHS Secretary Tom Price said that Obamacare “may be working for Washington, it may be working for insurance companies, but it’s not working for patients.” Maybe it is time to consider patients’ involvement in the preparation of an Obamacare alternative? It could be that Obamacare repeal failed just because it has been prepared by Washington with consultation from insurance companies. Let us start with addressing 19 health care issues that politicians avoid talking about.

How to pay for the wall?
Apr 04, 2017

If you want to build the wall, pay for it with your own money. How much of your own money are you willing to donate? Trump received 62,979,879 votes. If each of Trump’s supporters voluntarily donates at least $1,000, which corresponds to about $42 per month for the next two years, and if we encourage those who are more affluent to double their donations, then Trump can have on hand about $100 billion, which may suffice for a substantial piece of the wall. Hence, all of you who are talking loudly about spending my money on building this wall, stay away from my wallet, but open your own wallet and send money to the “Build the Wall Fund.” Put your money where your mouth is.

What is wrong with Russia?
Dec 22, 2015

It appears that Russian leaders cannot free themselves from the medieval concept of regional influence, where weaker neighbors were subdued into becoming serf states. Is anyone capable of explaining to them that in these times of a global economy, any influence comes from economic strength? Russia, thanks to its size, natural resources and well-educated labor force, has everything that it takes to maintain a dominant position in the region, just by maintaining free trade with all its neighbors. It can do so without military interventions in Georgia and in Ukraine. Russia has everything that it takes to be a respected wealthier neighbor, to whom everyone in the region would turn for help when needed. Instead, it is a bully and a hooligan. It would take so little to change that. But it is so hard for Russia to do it. 

Closed mind for closed borders
Nov 19, 2015

Known to some as a libertarian, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. speaks against open borders. His argument is that it is an infraction against private property. He misses the point that most people migrate just because Mr. Rockwell’s neighbors want them on their private property – for picking apples, washing the dishes or writing a computer code. Then, Mr. Rockwell wrongly laments that those foreigners invited by his neighbors violate his private property rights by loitering in the public spaces that he frequents. He wants the government to deny the rights of his neighbors to do on their private property whatever they wish, so he will not need to face immigrants in the public spaces. Mr. Rockwell left the train called “liberty” at the station called “xenophobia.”    

They do not know…
Sep 14, 2015

Mr. Trump says: “A lot of what I’m doing is by instinct.” I prefer that our President would make decisions based on systematic due diligence. The instinct that guides Mr. Trump in his professional life arrives from his vast experience, starting when he was growing up under the mentoring of his successful father, followed by a solid education and years of practice. Mr. Trump's confidence is misguiding, as it gives his supporters the illusion that someone who mastered real estate dealing can be equally skillful as President. It is similar to the illusion surrounding Dr. Carson, that he can be as good a President as he is a brain surgeon. If both gentlemen were humbler, they would realize that they qualify to be President equally as much as Mr. Trump qualifies to conduct brain surgeries and Dr. Carson to run Mr. Trump’s real estate empire. The problem is not that they do not know many things they should; the problem is that they do not realize that.

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American hubris caused our border crisis

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

The good news is that senators have begun talking about immigration. But, as the Politico reporters noticed, “with the surge of migrants arriving at the border,” forging an agreement is unlikely. It might sound obvious, but logically, the reoccurrence of a border crisis should motivate senators to seek a solution.

The Politico reporters explained that we have an impasse because Democrats “for long pushed for (…) legal protections to undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children, (whereas) Republicans (…) won’t support anything without additional border security.” Again, we have heard it so often in different variations that we take it as a given. But, after a moment of reflection, we get it. Neither Democrats nor Republicans care to find out why we have massive illegal immigration and then eliminate it. They talk about it, but their true objective is to advance their ideological agendas. 

When regular mortals face a problem, we try to identify the causes first. Politicians seem to be above tedious things like learning. They have their lofty goals. They act as though they are wise by virtue of being. For regular mortals, this is called hubris, an arrogant ignorance.

The union of American states forged in 1776 arose from humility, from the belief that a man should not control another man’s destiny. It was an assumption that society benefits the most when people are free to work on advancing themselves. In 1776, it was a belief. At the beginning of the 20th century, when the United States emerged as the world’s wealthiest nation, it was the proven science. Nevertheless, Americans tinkered with it.

Prohibition is the first example. The damage to society from the abuse of alcohol was obvious. Well-intended people wanted the government to protect Americans from their own vices. One thing led to another, and in January 1920, Prohibition became the law of the land. As we all know, it was unenforceable. By the time it was repealed in 1933, the biggest beneficiary was organized crime. It is hard to find a better example of American hubris than Prohibition.

At the same time, the newest immigrants mainly arrived from Eastern Europe. Poor and illiterate, they were perceived as being of inferior stock and thus would not likely integrate into a burgeoning American society. But, most of all, they were willing to work for less than what already established Americans wanted to get paid. That combination of racism and economic factors fueled anti-immigration sentiments. The calculation was that with fewer immigrants from impoverished countries, Americans would get better pay.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

The same politicians who gave us Prohibition used the same wisdom when forming a new immigration policy, legislated in 1917-24. Prohibition was repealed, but the core provisions of our immigration policy, despite many modifications, still stand. The greatness of America the first time around was in the free movement of people. Millions tried their luck in America. Only those who succeeded stayed. Others returned to their mother countries.

American politicians a century ago ignored that simple fact. Full of hubris, they legislated immigration law to implement some abstract ideas, arrogantly disregarding the economic, social, and political conditions that motivate people to move from one country to another, temporarily or permanently. People’s migrations are part of our nature. A man’s rule can accommodate it; it cannot change it. Today’s politicians cannot accept it, just as their predecessors could not a century ago. So much has changed; hubris has stayed.

In the newly proposed U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, one can find a myriad of abstract numbers defining how many immigrants in various categories should be allowed to come. One can ask how politicians could know how many people in each group might want to come or might be needed here in the future. The simple answer is: They do not care. Regardless of whether they are Democrats or Republicans, they have their abstract ideas. Their disagreement is in following different illusions.

By design, our immigration law ignores the most common reason for migration: seeking better economic opportunities. We have 11 million illegal immigrants because they have jobs here. It benefits them and their American employers. Purposely, our immigration law makes it cumbersome for an American employer to hire a foreigner. Neither illegal immigrants nor their employers are interested in following the law. Politico illustrates it in the article about the failure of E-Verify. Politicians have delusions they can create and enforce a law that runs counter to the interests of the people it pertains to.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Interestingly, I heard about a business that needed to fire some workers because of COVID-19. It ran E-Verify because it perfectly knew who would not pass. Politicians likely marked it as one more business following the law.

We often hear stories of aspiring immigrants struggling with the nonsense of our immigration policy. An immigrant visa officer also writes about them at Politico. For example, a grandmother who wants to spend a year or two with her American grandchildren may find it difficult to get a tourist visa but may obtain an immigration visa even though she does not need one.

The solution is not to establish a special category of visas for grandparents. The answer is to ditch the hubris in our immigration policy. We need a prudent recognition that we cannot shape human migration to satisfy our political whims. Grandparents are not the biggest problem. We may ask them for proof of health insurance, but otherwise, let them stay as long as they wish.

The biggest problem lies with accepting that immigration restrictions cannot protect American jobs. It is as easy as shielding Americans from their vices during Prohibition. If Mr. Smith prefers to hire Mr. Gonzalez from abroad instead of Mr. Jones living down the street, there is a reason for that. If the government proves effective in stopping Mr. Smith from hiring a foreigner, Mr. Jones likely will not get the job offered to Mr. Gonzalez. That job will go abroad, or Mr. Smith will scale down or move out of town. Mr. Jones will be left competing for the few jobs that cannot go away, at Walmart, McDonald’s, and the like. If Mr. Smith can get foreign workers, his business will expand, needing more local employees too. The community will grow, opening more job opportunities for Mr. Jones.

Mr. Gonzalez needs a job; he cares less about his immigration status. He wants a visa to work in the United States. If Mr. Gonzalez is disappointed with America, he may go back home after a few months or a few years, knowing that he could try again later. In the meantime, he may take English classes to improve his chances next time. If, after some time – let us say, five years of work in the United States – Mr. Gonzalez wants to make it permanent, getting a green card should be a formality. That is all that is needed to end the border crisis.

We should throw our current immigration policy into the dustbin of history, where it belongs. It helped us as much in managing immigration as Prohibition helped us in curbing alcoholism. It is high time for politicians to have the imagination, courage, and humility to declare that we are ready to accept more foreign workers. Then we could tell people crossing the border illegally today that within the next few months, there would be formal channels to apply for jobs in the United States. People now in the detention centers could be informed that their chance to find a job by staying there would be no better than if they return home. After that announcement, people crossing the border should be advised to go back home and apply for a job there.

Within a few days, we can resolve forever our antagonizing border problem. We just need less hubris and a little humility. Why is something so easy, so hard to do?

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About me

I was born in 1951 in Gdansk, Poland.
Since my high school years, I have interest in politics and love for writing. During my college years, I started writing to student papers and soon became a freelance author to major Polish political magazines.

In 1980 I wrote a book “Czy w Polsce może być lepiej?” (“Could it be better in Poland?” – this book is available only in Polish) analyzing major problems in Poland at the time and outlining possible solutions.

I was among those Polish political writers who by their writings contributed to the peaceful system transformation that finally took place in 1989. Since 1985, I have lived in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in the service business, I have seen the best and the worst places, I met the poorest and the richest. I have seen and experienced America not known to most of the politicians, business people, and other political writers. For eleven years, I ran my own company. Presently, I am an independent consultant.

My political writing comes out of necessity. I write when I see that the prevailing voices on the political arena are misleading or erroneous. Abstract mathematics and control theory (of complex technological processes) strongly influenced my understanding of social phenomena. In the past, my opponents rebuked my mathematical mind as cold, soulless, and inhuman. On a few occasions, I was prized for my engineer’s precision and logic.

I have a master’s degree in electronic engineering with a specialization in mathematical machines from Politechnika Gdańska (Technical University of Gdansk).

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