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.

PREVIOUS COMMENTS
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.
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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.”    

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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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Are we having a dress rehearsal for a police state?

In his syndicated column, Dennis Prager claims that we are amid a dress rehearsal for a police state. He alleges that the coronavirus related rules limiting our abilities to conduct our lives as usual are Draconian. He is concerned that mass media are “supportive of the state’s messaging and deprivation of rights.” He is alarmed that “police departments throughout America have agreed to enforce these laws and edicts with what can only be described as frightening alacrity.”

Citizens who report infractions of coronavirus separation rules, according to Dennis Prager, are snitches. He compares them to the political informers for the Stasi, the secret police in the former East Germany, known for its extensive network of moles.

Why Dennis Prager’s writing is important even though he is wrong

His name may not be recognizable among communities such as Medium readers. But he is among the top political thinkers of the right. His followers are likely among those demonstrating on the streets against the lockdown. They are among those entering the Michigan State Capitol building with rifles to persuade the lawmakers. Pundits like Dennis Prager influence about half of Americans, as well as about half of our representatives in Washington, and state and local governments.

In over one-third of the 100 recent articles by Mr. Prager, leftists or the left are mentioned pejoratively in the titles. In one of his videos (made private soon after publication of this article), Dennis Prager defined well his attitude toward the so-called left:  “We think they’re wrong — they think we’re evil.” On Medium, I have read enough articles written by leftists to conclude that most of them can say precisely the same about Mr. Prager and others on the so-called right.

The sideline observer will notice the ideas presented by the right cannot withstand the critique of the left, and vice versa, what the left offers cannot survive the scrutiny of the right. Both of them talk only to their respective cohorts; they do not speak to each other.

For a critical bystander, it looks like they avoid direct debates because they know they cannot refute the critique of their opponents. In other words, by dismissing opponents, they inadvertently acknowledge that neither of them has the right solution to our problems.

The dichotomy between the left and the right in America is unproductive, delusional, and hypocritical. The aforementioned column by Mr. Prager is a textbook example.

We have a long history of police state rehearsals

Prohibition was a rehearsal of monumental proportions. The 100th anniversary of its implementation just passed this past January. I did not notice any mentions in media as there was nothing to celebrate. But Americans should never forget that painful lesson. It was a pinnacle of American hubris. Seeing alcoholism destroying families morally and financially, and emboldened by their newly gained wealth and power, Americans decided to employ the strengths of their government for bettering society.

To achieve this morally noble objective, all elements of a police state, as listed by Mr. Prager, had been deployed. Draconian laws were implemented, limiting personal freedoms such as having a beer after dinner. That law went against thousands of years of tradition of alcohol consumption. In the zenith of their conceit, Americans forgot that the powerful America they decided to use against alcohol drinking was built in large part by alcoholics.

Media were compliant in support of the deprivation of human rights required by Prohibition. And police were enforcing it. As a meaningful section of society still wanted to have a drink, police needed a network of confidential informants to chase a profound number of citizens involved in the criminal activities of making and distributing alcohol.

Why do we have snitches?

Would we call Mr. Prager a snitch if he reported to the police a burglary in progress that he might observe from his window? Would we call him a snitch if he informed police of a planned robbery that somehow he learned about? I do not think so. But, would we consider a snitch someone who, during Prohibition, informed police about his neighbor selling Canadian whiskey? Likely yes. Then, a tougher question: Would we consider Mr. Prager a snitch if he informed the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that his neighbor had an illegal immigrant as domestic help? I would say yes, but it would be interesting to hear the opinion of Mr. Prager on this matter.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Intuitively, we sense when reporting to the police is an act of civic duty and when it is snitching. When we report a crime called, in legal jargon “malum in se,” which is Latin for “evil in itself,” like theft, robbery, rape, or murder, it is a civic duty. It is a different case when the infraction is against a law considered “malum prohibitum,” which means “wrong because prohibited.”

We have many rules prohibiting particular behavior not because it is evil by itself but because we have agreed that some limitations on our freedom produce benefits that are worth it. Streetlights are the best example. We decided that stopping on red and moving on green makes intersections safer and easier to drive through. Prohibition was another example of a malum prohibitum law, where the majority agreed that elimination of alcohol abuse was worth depriving all Americans of the discretionary pleasures of social drinking.

The critical difference between the two is that with streetlights, there is perfect equality in the deprivation of freedom and precisely the same benefits for all drivers. In the case of Prohibition, many Americans, even those abusing alcohol, felt deprived of their constitutional rights to pursue happiness the way they wanted. Even those who were agreeing that people should drink less believed that it should not affect their liberty of having a few drinks on occasion. To make things worse, addicts still found a way to buy buzz illegally.

With the rules of Prohibition commonly not obeyed, all mean characters had an opportunity to snitch. Personal animosities or conflict of interest often motivated the accusations. It opened a plethora of opportunities for people with political clout to use the police for harassing people disliked by them.

It means that snitching becomes a significant problem as soon as society establishes more malum prohibitum rules, especially when these rules are not commonly accepted. When police enforce malum in se laws only, they are part of us. When they are used to enforce decrees that the majority tries to impose on all of us, they are instead “them.” Informing “them” is snitching.

The Constitution did not work as intended

The Declaration of Independence phrased the best the idealistic intentions of the Founding Fathers that the purpose of government is to secure “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” It means that the primary purpose of government is to protect us from crimes defined as malum in se. All other behavior should be permitted. The Constitution is more practical, giving government the powers to form “a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

It leaves a field forinterpretations that the government is authorized to issue laws limiting our freedom for the sake of the common good. Let us acknowledge that constitutional scholars cannot agree on how much of that power the government should have. In general, the so-called left is in favor of giving the government more leniency in this aspect, and the so-called right is for limiting the government in this regard. Obamacare is the most recent malum prohibitum kind of regulation, challenged as unconstitutional by Dennis Prager and his colleagues on the right.

But the elephant in the room is our immigration policy, which contains many pure police state regulations. Mr. Prager, who is a vivid supporter of our immigration law, does not want to talk about it.

The police state rules we already have

Interestingly, many of the same politicians who voted in Prohibition, in years 1917-1924, formed the core rules of our current immigration policy. The logic of our immigration law is akin to that of Prohibition in that not individual Americans, but the federal government should decide who should be allowed to come and settle here. Before the 1920s, Europeans were coming here with minimal restrictions. After trying America for a few months or years, about one-third returned to their home countries. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, eugenics was popular. Just by reading the Dillingham Report, one can see that a century ago Americans perceived immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe as coming from inferior stock.

After World War I, Americans worried that about three million Jews might immigrate to the United States from overpopulated Poland. Jews were not welcome in America because many of them did not assimilate, living in ethnic enclaves. But those who assimilated were often despised because of their successes in business and academia. As often was the case with Jews, regardless of whether they did something positive or did not, it was counted against them.

Parallel, new immigrants, at least at the start-up, were willing to work for lower wages than Americans. The combination of the above factors was sufficient to create majority support for restrictive immigration policy, finalized in 1924. For the first 25 years, enforcement of this policy was simple. The Great Depression of 1929 made America not a desirable destination.

With the economic growth after World War II, America needed more immigrants. Illegal immigration filled the needs of our growing economy. But, persistently, Americans have lacked the wisdom and courage to abandon the very concept of our immigration policy.

Similarly, as it was in the case of Prohibition, even Americans generally supporting restrictive immigration do not see a big issue with their employing an illegal immigrant when it fits their needs. To correct that common disobeying of the law, legislators gave the government more policing powers.
In 1986 for the first time in the history of the United States, it became illegal to hire a foreigner without permission from the federal government. When this did not produce a satisfactory result, the government received surveillance powers in the form of E-Verify, a typical tool of a police state.

I am aware of a restaurant manager firing a bartender caught stealing cash. In retaliation, the bartender informed authorities that one of the helpers in the kitchen was an illegal immigrant. The manager pretended not to know that because that immigrant put a lot of devotion into performing mundane tasks that usually no one wanted to do. The manager lost their job; the immigrant was detained. This is how snitching works in a police state. We already have it, in large part, thanks to the moral support from people such as Dennis Prager.

In this light, Mr. Prager does not sound very convincing as the defender of our liberties threatened by the restrictions imposed on us due to COVID-19.

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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 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 live in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in 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 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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