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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On immigration, the government is the problem

Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

I have been writing about American immigration problems for about 15 years. My original conclusion was that the government is at fault. Since then, the more I know and understand, the more convinced I am that Americans bought into the illusion that by controlling the inflow of immigrants, the government can make the United States more prosperous. The opposite happened; our immigration policy is detrimental to our economy.

As my perspective goes against the dominant mantra in mainstream politics and media, I looked for debates where opinions such as mine clashed with others. I found people thinking alike, but nowhere could I find a forum where people of different views confronted each other in discussions, similar to those on the long-gone Firing Line, once a popular program on PBS.

With Medium encouraging writers to start new publications, it was a logical step to open a forum for debates among diverse views. You are reading it now; it is Virtual Agora.

The government proved unable in managing immigration

The question for debate today is: Can government manage immigration? It is a part of a broader question: How much government involvement in our daily affairs do we need? In my view, the less, the better. Peter Faur disagrees. In his article “Government is the Problem?” he argues that Ronald Reagan was wrong when he claimed that “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” I challenged Peter to prove it in the case of immigration. Peter kindly answered by writing that “There’s no alternative.”

I think that the failure of our immigration policy proves beyond doubt that on immigration, Reagan was right; the government is the problem. Surprisingly, Peter sees it differently. He asks, “But if not the government, then who?” My short answer is: Peter, it is you and all your compatriots. My long answer requires references to history and data.

For a little more than a century, the government has been trying to enforce a very restrictive immigration policy, but it does not work. It did not stop illegal immigration. And it will not halt it by repeating with more determination what has not been working so far. We all remember the often-cited quotation about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Someone has to be wrong on immigration. Who is it?

Illegal immigrants are here because the American economy needs them. For the economy to gain more momentum, we need more immigrants. But there is no political will for that. The recent opinion polls show that almost three-quarters of Americans see immigration as good for the country; it is a meaningful increase since prior years’ polls. But only about one-third of Americans agree that we should increase legal immigration. Again, this is more than ever before, but regardless of how we massage this number, it is only one-third, not enough to achieve any change in our immigration policy.

The pollsters did not ask about the size of immigration increase that Americans are willing to accept. Wisely, because most likely, even supporters of increased immigration would not agree to the immigration surge our economy needs. Presently, immigrants are about 13.7% of the population, but legal immigrants are only 10.2%, and unauthorized immigrants are the remaining 3.5%. Most industrialized countries have more immigrants. In Canada, it is 21%; in New Zealand, it is 26.7%; and in Australia, it is 29.9%.

One can make a reasonable assumption that our economy is akin to the Canadian one. For the sake of argument, we can presume that our economy can absorb as many immigrants as Canada has. The 7% difference between 21% in Canada and 13.7% in the United States, out of about 330 million of the current population, amounts to about 22 million new immigrants we would need to admit on top of legalizing all presently undocumented ones. Good luck with getting any support for a meaningful immigration increase.

Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

Presently, about one-third of Americans want increased immigration, one-third want to keep it as it is,  and a little less than one-third want fewer immigrants. We have to acknowledge that not all of these Americans can be equally right. Someone is wrong here, and it is the job of people like Peter, me, and others to figure out what would and what would not work.

Without politicians meddling with it, migration works better

In his article, Peter tells us that the immigration issues should be important to us, and we should badger our congressional representatives to get serious about them. But if we do that, we will tell our representatives in Washington the same as what the opinion polls tell us. We will tell them that we cannot agree on what to do.

Recently I looked at the dynamics of migrations inside the European Union after the more prosperous Western European nations opened their borders in 2004 to migrants from the post-Soviet nations. The first two years were wild, but within 10 years, the migrations calmed down. For example, in the years 2005 and 2006 about one million Poles went abroad for work. Since 2016, the net balance of migrations in Poland is close to a boring zero.

One of my mentors used to say that the future has a rich past. We can look at how our immigration policy functioned before the government took over. There were racial restrictions, but Europeans were allowed to come without any significant limitations. By looking at travel documents, we know that one person was going back to Europe for every three people arriving. In short, many people tried their good luck in America, but only those who succeeded stayed. The government did nothing. What was wrong with that?

Interestingly, when the European Union decided to open its borders between the wealthy old member states and the backward post-Soviet states, they took a similar approach. They encouraged businesses to solicit workers abroad. These new workers filled the gaps where they were needed, allowing businesses to grow, opening new jobs for the native population. Everyone gained.

Mass media failed us on immigration; Medium has a shot

Peter’s position in his article is typical for someone trusting the mainstream media. In his defense, we all have lives to live; we do our jobs the best we can. We make a reasonable assumption that the media do it as well. We hope that regardless of whether we watch CNN or Fox News, read The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, we get reliable information. We do not.

As I mentioned in the introduction, nowhere in the mainstream media can an American such as Peter Faur find information that we once had a better alternative for our immigration policy, which made America great the first time around.  Our media feed us the mantra about the need for securing the southern borders. But, they will not tell us how Europeans eliminated the borders between rich Western Europe and the emerging former Soviet Bloc countries.

We are told that it is given that the government needs to review and approve every single case of a foreigner seeking employment in the United States. No one in the mainstream media says aloud that it is a relatively new invention. In the past, Americans had the freedom to hire whoever they considered fit their needs the best, regardless whether that person came from across the street, the ocean, or the Rio Grande. Unless they spending a lot of time on research, people like Peter Faur have no chance to know that the same concept has worked great in integrating diverse European countries.

To the best of my knowledge, getting the government out of micromanaging immigration is the only way to fix our current mess. But, assuming that I might be wrong, can we agree at least that badgering our elected officials to do something, as Peter suggests, is fruitless?

We need a factual nationwide conversation on the future of our immigration policy. So far, the mainstream media have not done it. The format of Medium gives us that chance. At Virtual Agora, we are ready to coordinate this effort. We appeal to all writers and readers to contribute with their ideas and suggestions. Together we can do it. 

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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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