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.

More Comments

Ignore Trump

Usually, The Fourth of July is an occasion for barbecuing or escaping the city. With the first round of COVID-19 swinging its tail, we now think twice before partying or going to the beach. With less socializing, we have time for reflection on the current state of politics. Coincidentally, our country needs it.

A part of my professional life is in troubleshooting technical problems. So many times, technicians call me from the field with challenges they cannot resolve. They tell me that, suddenly, electronic devices started behaving erratically. Basic rules of physic, like Ohm’s law, seem to be not working anymore. Before calling me, these technicians had already tried a few magic tricks that did not work. My first suggestion is always the same: read the manual. Before attempting any repair, one needs to understand first how things should work. What are the required conditions? Rarely we find out that the device is defective; the most common explanation is a human error in using it.

We can apply the same approach when looking at the problems the United States faces today. The political system initiated 244 years ago, despite structural shortcomings such as slavery and limited voting rights, worked well for the first half of that period. The United States emerged from WWI as an unquestionable world leader. Then, Prohibition was a big blunder. It was followed by the Great Depression. To this day, scientists and pundits disagree on whether it was avoidable. Just recently, we could not avoid the recession of 2008. We only became more compassionate, generously throwing money, on credit, to mitigate its devastating effects on Americans. We do the same now when COVID-19 caught us poorly prepared for an unavoidable but predictable disaster.

What happened about one hundred years ago that caused the United States to lose its momentum? What made America great in the very first place? By great, I do not mean close to perfect by today’s standards. By great, I mean more successful than everybody else in the world at that time.

Politicians and media personalities have quick answers, but if their ideas were right, things would be in order, and there would be no need for this column. I write it because pessimism emanates from both media and personal conversations. The old saying was that everything was possible in America. The new mantra seems to be that nothing can be done right in America anymore. What happened?

If we want to take a troubleshooter’s approach, we need to check the manual first. We need to look at the ideas of 1776 to find out why things do not work as they should.

Before 1776, for most people, it was self-evident that political power comes from the top down. It was a king, the aristocracy, or the clergy who held the power. They instituted the laws. They told the rest what to do and how. Without them, the masses were like children without parental guidance and protection. The Declaration of Independence turned upside down the logic of this thinking. It said that it is “self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The novelty of that idea was that the governments are “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” To be precise, the concept was not entirely new. It was akin to democracy in ancient Greek city-states, and Poles had practiced it imperfectly for about four centuries already.

If we could bring one of the leaders of the 1776 revolution into our current political turmoil, what would they say? I guess they would criticize our preoccupation with Donald Trump. They would tell us that they gave us a political system where we have the personal freedom to pursue our affairs the way we please, without being told by the government officials what to do. They would be surprised by our fixation on Trump. In media and personal conversations, everyone talks about Trump’s lack of qualifications to be president.

Photo by Jose M. from Unsplush

Someone with the mindset of 1776 would tell us that they introduced the system of checks and balances for the eventuality of someone like Trump becoming president. They would say to us that in the past, subjects looked reverently at rulers as embodying the best of the nation. Now, we have a president who personifies about half of the nation – people who voted for him and still support him. The other half laments that we do not have a good king, someone brought from 1776 would tell us with a smirk.

They would tell us to ignore Trump and focus on the United States of America. They would ask us to turn off the news when reporters would again divulge one more Trump tweet or nonsensical statement. There is no news in it. They would point to us that those CNN reporters regularly belittled by Trump have nothing to report besides their masochism. They would advise us not to read the book by John Bolton because it is laughable that, presumably, a Washington insider needed 17 months in the White House to realize how bad it is. They would expect us to turn the TV off when Stephen Colbert takes on Trump, because joking at Trump is not a comedy; it is sadism.

They would request that we go over our sadomasochistic obsession with Trump and concentrate on something important, like the United States of America. They would reprimand us that we focus too much on what we are against, but do not talk to each other to find objectives that can unite us.

They would remind us that the term “republic” arrives from Latin res publica, which means a thing that is ours. They would challenge us as to why we do not take action when obviously for decades we have had a stalemate among the elites. They would ask us why we follow pundits telling us that the other side is wrong. Pundits who are eager to overcome opponents by grabbing more political power, but are reluctant to beat them by the power of arguments. They would remind us that the media are supposed to be the informal fourth branch of government, but instead, it became an extension and amplifier of the great divide.  It would be beyond their comprehension that we do not see it and do not act on it.

Lastly, a leader from the 1776 revolution would listen in disbelief when told that when facing hurdles, today, Americans’ first instinct is to look for the government’s help. For them, the greatness of America is not in what the government does but in what Americans do without any government involvement. They would notice that as recently as about 60 years ago, the American president could say, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” No politician can be elected today on this kind of platform.

Unfortunately, a government giving goodies at its whim to its subjects was not in the manual, as written in 1776. It was penned for the freedom-minded people, not for serfs who are powerless without ongoing government support and guidance. Someone brought from 1776 America would tell us that the common denominator of all our problems is that we adopted the mentality of a serf. America does not work as it should because the user’s guide, as written in 1776, assumed that there never would be serfs in America.

Leave a Reply

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).

... more