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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Troubleshooting immigration

What, if instead of proposing how to fix immigration, we first troubleshoot the problem in a similar manner as engineers or business people solve their problems? The opening question is:

How it got started?
Up to about one hundred years ago, almost every European who arrived at our shores was allowed to enter and settle. It is less known that about one-third of those arriving returned home a few years later. By the beginning of the 20th century, the majority of immigrants were from impoverished and overpopulated Eastern and Southern Europe. These mostly illiterate people formed ethnic enclaves in large American cities and became an eyesore to many Americans who were beginning to enjoy the benefits of their newfound prosperity. The federal government was asked to step in.

The humble beginning of a big screwup
In 1907, the Congress formed a Dillingham Commission (from the name of a Vermont senator) to study the problem. Researchers went to countries where immigrants were coming from. They looked at immigrants’ influences on various industries. They checked immigrants’ criminality, dependence on welfare, and assimilation. Forty-one volumes, thousands of pages long, were prepared with the final report, published in 1911. The conclusion was simple: Compared to the Anglo-Saxons dominating the earlier wave of immigration, the immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe were of inferior quality, thus not desirable in the United States. For example, Poles were portrayed as not nurturing family values, depending on welfare and not assimilating. Jews were condemned, first because most of them stayed in their ethnic enclaves, and second because those who assimilated went into universities, forming Jewish academic elites there. Whatever Jews did or did not do, they were not welcome in America.

The Immigration Act of 1924
Starting in 1917, the findings of the Dillingham Commission resulted in a few temporary immigration restrictions. They were finalized in the Immigration Act of 1924, which – despite many modifications later on – still defines the core concept of our immigration policy. By this act, the Congress granted itself the power to determine how many immigrants are allowed into the country as a whole, and who they could be. The Immigration Act of 1924 arbitrarily limited the number of legal immigrants to 164,667 per year, when in the decade prior to World War I about one million legal immigrants had arrived every year. Eighty-four percent of the new quota was given to European Anglo-Saxon countries.

Immigration as a gift
The growing economy after World War II required more immigrants. At the same time the clearly racist restrictions of the Immigration Act of 1924 became embarrassing. Those two factors led to a policy change in 1965. Emboldened by the power and prosperity of the country, Americans magnanimously decided that the right to immigrate should be a gift that a wealthy nation can grant to the very few among the misfortunate people around the world. The most obvious was to give this gift to family members of people already living in the United States. This is the core change made by the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965. When it became awkward that this policy deprived the chance of immigrating legally for people who did not have family already here, in 1990 politicians invented diversity visas, better known as the visa lottery. The absurdity of government managing immigration reached its pinnacle.

The balance of one hundred years
One hundred years ago, immigration was overseen by a small government agency. Today it is a humongous apparatus of coercion. What did the government achieve during the past century? In years 1860-1920 foreign-born were 14% of the American population, all of them legal immigrants. Now it is about 13.5%, but illegal immigrants comprise about 3.5% of the American population; legal immigrants are only about 10%. During the century of attempting to get immigration under control, the government has made it a bigger and costlier problem than it was originally.

What went wrong?
Immigration controls as we have them since 1924, in their essence, are not about immigration; they are about government manipulation of the labor market. The grandiose scale of this manipulation reflects the hubris of intellectual trends at the beginning of the 20th century. Overwhelmed by the great industrial and scientific progress, some anointed themselves as knowing how to engineer social progress. This line of thinking brought to life the Soviet Union, which in the 1920s looked like a promising alternative to the faults of capitalism. The same reasoning was behind Prohibition, by the way voted in by the same Congress that implemented immigration regulations in the years 1917-1924. Since then, Prohibition has been repealed and the Soviet Union has collapsed, but our immigration policy, reflecting the same ideological concept, still stands.

Why did it not work?
There are two arguments for government control of immigration: maintaining American identity and protecting American jobs. Both of them are un-American.
– The first one is clearly racist, as it implies that people of a certain origin, race or religion would be better Americans than others. The rationality of this approach can be upheld only if we accept that the most important phrase from the Declaration of Independence needs to be modified to: “all Americans are created equal.”
– The second argument can be upheld only if we modify the remaining part of the same sentence from the Declaration of Independence implying that the government role is not in providing freedom to pursue happiness but to deliver happiness to its people. American jobs are the jobs that entrepreneurial Americans create in the United States. If these jobs are taken by immigrants, it means that born Americans did not take advantage of the opportunities available here and did not prepare themselves to qualify for these jobs, or have unrealistic pay expectations. Although initially most immigrants will accept lower pay, ultimately they strive for the same as all Americans, ending up earning as much as those Americans who claim of being replaced by immigrants would gladly accept.

The economic meaning of our immigration policy boils down to government protecting the least industrious Americans from the competition of foreigners at the cost of limiting the freedom of enterprise of the most entrepreneurial ones. Enforcing the law, which about half of Americans question on ideological, economic and moral grounds, is next to impossible. This is the reason that our immigration law has been poorly enforced. It could be much better enforced in a totalitarian state such as the Soviet Union was, but we are not there yet.

What can be done?
We have to start with an acknowledgment that the core provisions of our immigration policy, as established about a century ago, need to be questioned. One can envision a much simpler system, whereby foreigners could have a greater ability to come and work legally in the United States as guest workers. Those who stay for a longer time, let us say five years, should qualify for permanent resident status, opening a path to citizenship five years later. All other immigration channels should be eliminated. If someone wants to bring a family member, he or she should pay for it or help this person to find a job. This approach would mean taking away from Congress the power of establishing immigration quotas, and empowering individual Americans to decide which foreigner to hire or bring as a guest. The government role would be to provide security clearance for foreigners invited. Most of the current immigration enforcement apparatus could be dismissed. Can we trust that acting on their own individual interests, Americans can manage immigration better than the centralized federal government? It would follow the original American spirit, and – for this reason – it is worth consideration.

Please check my  separate blog devoted to immigration issues:

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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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