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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My uncle, the socialist

Katowice, Poland, the neighborhood I lived in. Public domain,

There is a lot of anger in the public conversations in the United States these days. Differences in political opinions break families, end friendships, and spread nasty animosities on social media. On Medium, I have been called names and blocked by a small crowd of writers and readers. Medium minders blocked two of my comments, unjustly, in my opinion. I do not block anyone. I am not upset when people disagree with me. It does not bother me when some people lose their cool and use offensive language to hurt me. It is their problem, not mine.

With every instance of the politically motivated viciousness, I reflect on my upbringing in then-socialistic Poland, where we had similarly deep political divisions, but I do not remember seeing so much ferocity in our personal interactions with people of opposite views. My uncle, the socialist, comes to mind, but I can think of many other examples of open communication with political opponents that I had or people I knew did.

The uncle I am writing about was my mother’s cousin. His mother and my maternal grandmother were sisters. My grandparents had a farm. They were poor, but their family, with nine kids, did not live in poverty. My uncle’s father died young, and his mother struggled raising two boys. She used to send them to her sister’s farm for summer vacations. The uncle was about the same age as my mother and her sister, my aunt, who later became a nun. During these vacations, they bonded.

My aunt joined the convent. My uncle ended up on the other side of the country, and he showed an interest in politics. He was a person with a sharp mind, always eager to learn new things; he absorbed knowledge from all directions like a sponge. As a teenager, he attended religion classes at his mother’s request. On one occasion, a priest gave some nasty critique of socialists. My uncle stood up, and after a feverish exchange, he stormed out of the room, declaring himself an atheist and socialist. It was noted in the school, where he soon became chief of the young socialists’ organization. With excellent grades as well, he grew into a rising star in political circles. As a reward, he studied at the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

After graduating, he worked in top positions in government administration. With his eloquence, he became a lecturer for the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party. As such, he was a propagator of the ideas of socialism and the party’s political agenda.

We lived on opposite sides of the country, which likely was the main reason we did not visit each other for years. But when we met, the childhood friendship between the cousins rekindled. By a freak coincidence, in my middle 20s, I relocated and ended up living two apartment buildings down the street from my uncle. I already had some national recognition as a political writer at that time. Our personalities clicked, and during the eight years we lived nearby, we spent endless hours discussing politics.

He told me he had started noticing that socialism was not as rosy as promised soon after arriving in Moscow. As a part of his education, students of the Lomonosov University visited local factories. It shocked him to see workers having a pickled cucumber and a glass of vodka for lunch. He had an internship in a small city in southern Russia. There were some gulags nearby. He learned about them because prisoners in one of these camps revolted one day. They got out and ransacked the town. The next day the military mercilessly restored order. There was no mention anywhere in the media about this incident.

He realized that life in Moscow was much better than in the countryside. There was no way he could roam the countryside legally. He visited Poland usually twice per year, and it took about a full day on the international train from Moscow to Warsaw. In one instance, he used his eloquence to convince the officer controlling the boarding that he needed to take a local train because he missed the international one and there were no tickets available for many days ahead. It worked. The trip took three days with stops. He met locals and could take a peek at the cities along the journey. The overwhelming poverty and hardship that people were enduring stunned him, such as someone going to the city 50 kilometers away to buy a bag of sugar or flour.

Gdańsk shipyard during the strike in August 1980, I was there. Public domain,

Solidarity and martial law happened during the years I lived near my uncle. As soon as strikes started in Gdańsk, I went to visit my family there. Knowing that there were food shortages, I took several pounds of sausages. In Gdańsk, I managed to get to the hall where the strike leaders negotiated with the government representatives. At the back of the hall, there were tables with leaflets. My empty bag was full again, this time with several pounds of political flyers. My uncle got one copy of each one.

About that time, I finished my book “Could it be better in Poland?” I did not write that socialism was bad; I suggested making a few changes, similar to those China took a few years later. My uncle read the manuscript. He complimented me in general, but with the usual smile disappearing from his face, he told me it was the most anti-socialistic book he had ever read.

The coal mine “Wujek” was nearby where we lived. Miners there went on an occupational strike when martial law was imposed. Three days later, the military surrounded and then pacified the mine. They started by shooting the miners inside the plant from afar, killing nine men. The next day, I stopped by the site on my way from work. There was an improvised memorial with hundreds of candles and flowers on the fence and lying around. I could not find on the internet any pictures of it. A few hundred people were slowly pacing in silence.

Coal mine “Wujek” around the time of pacification on Dec, 16, 1982, as I saw it then. Public domain,

Before leaving, I stopped and looked at the place from some distance. Then, I heard someone behind me whispering in my ear: “Those SOBs did it.” I turned around; it was my uncle, the socialist, with tears in his eyes. We could not talk, but exchanged greetings and went our ways. I thought later that some of these “SOBs” were his bridge buddies.

In the following conversations, occasionally, I gently implied that events like that at “Wujek” discredit socialism forever as a valid option. I got my answer about two years later. By that time, I had opened a small business installing alarm systems. Not by my choice, but because I was blacklisted and could not get any job in my profession. My uncle used to stop at my shop for a chat. On one such occasion, he argued about the superiority of socialism as a political system. His top line was that socialism is the future; the problems we experience are just the pains of growth. After all, many tragic moments also marked the development of capitalism.

He knew well why I needed to open my business. I pointed to my humble shop and asked why I should scarify my education, talents, and life ambition for the lofty ideas that had never worked before. With all its faults, capitalism allows so many to work to their full potential, enriching them in the process. After that, he never again tested his new lecturer’s speeches on me. Not much later. I ended up in Chicago.    

During the Solidarity time and the following few years of martial law, our conversations were still cordial but more reserved. He supported the changes, but formally we were from the opposing camps. By talking, we could get a peek at what was going on behind the doors on the other side. He was part of the political elite for 25 years; he knew many people personally and understood the inner players’ rules. I mingled mostly in the Solidarity circles. He shared with me many details of what was happening on the government side. But I noticed how careful he was with trickling the information. And, I was similarly cautious, thinking ahead to possible consequences when sharing with him specific details. The sincere concerns about the nation’s best interests were the common ground in all our conversations.

Not as often, I had similar discussions with other people from the opposite side. Many Poles had those kinds of dialogues. From there emerged the idea of the Round Table Talks, which led to the peaceful transformation of the system. Today, I wonder why Americans cannot do the same. 

Within the family, we knew that as children, my uncle and my aunt, who became a nun, were good buddies. They had similar personalities. Both were charming, non-judgmental, curious, always smiling and surprising with a light jeer, but very principled at the same time. The career of my aunt mirrored the one of her cousin, the atheist and socialist. She graduated from Catholic University. She worked in leadership positions for most of her life, serving as Mother Principal of her congregation for several years. And like her cousin, she was a lecturer as well, on retreats for teenage girls.

We have always wondered what would happen if they met again. One summer, accidentally, they did at my parents’ place. It was about 40 years after they saw each other as teenagers. There were smiles and formal pleasantries, but the conversation over the meal was like walking on shells. Then, surprisingly, both my aunt and uncle declared they had decided to take a walk. They returned two hours later, chatting in a friendly manner, the same way they had done 40 years earlier.

Again, we can ask why Americans cannot take that long walk with their compatriots of different views.

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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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