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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Socialism eternally alive

Image by Alexei Chizhov from Pixabay

One can theorize that our civilization grows like a spiral. The dilemmas of ancient Greeks were not much different from ours, but we have better toys than they had. Like on the spiral, we are at the same point on the perimeter, but on a higher level.

During my youth in Poland, there was a lot of talk about the conflict between generations. People who survived WWII were concerned that those carefree youngsters would never mature enough to take over. As a joke, someone published a column condemning the recklessness of adolescents. It sounded like one of many other voices in the mass media; it was a translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs more than 3,000 years old.

One may say that we reenter the same situation from time to time. More often than not, it is not our choice; history reimposes on us the old choices. That feeling of déjà vu often comes to me when I get into politics in the United States.

It is socialism all over again

The broad support for socialism in the United States is the surprise that history threw at me.

I grew up in Poland. My first memories of politics reach back to the turbulent year of 1956. I remember the scratchy voice of the newly elected leader telling us over the radio that only calm could save us; he meant from the bloody Soviet invasion, as happened in Hungary.

Contrary to the opinions of many socialists today, for example, on Medium, Poles were mostly pro-socialism. There was a firm anti-Soviet sentiment, but people understood the reality. In the years 1948-56 the Soviets tried the collectivization of Poland’s fractionalized agriculture. They failed and needed to back off. As a result, private farmers held about three-quarters of the arable land. The Soviets tried to atheize the population as well. They got the opposite; traditionally secular Poles became more religious.

I remember that during the bloody riots in Gdańsk, in December 1970, I saw a big sign carried by the shipyard workers: “Socialism YES, its distortions, NO.”

Socialism was the reality

At about 16, I realized that regardless of what I might want to do in my life, I was in a socialistic country, and I needed to find my way of living in it. I started reading major political publications and reached for books and brochures about socialism.

At 18, I made one of the smartest decisions; I signed up for the Evening University of Marxism and Leninism. For four semesters, every Wednesday, I spent six hours studying socialistic ideology, economy, sociology, and politics. I found out later that the purpose of the school was the political education of young professionals. Without that school, it was harder for them to get into managerial positions. To give credit to Party (PZPR – Polish United Workers’ Party) apparatchiks, that school had the best lecturers from the local universities.

We were at the end of the third semester when the riots of 1970 happened. Blood was almost literally on the street in front of the building where we held classes. About 200 signed up for our class, but usually only 50 attended lectures. The room was not big enough to seat everyone during the first meeting after the riots. I found out that young engineers and economists from the shipyard (the same one where “Solidarity” was born in 1980) were at least half of our class. The three crosses that stand today by the entrance to the former shipyard memorialize three shipyard workers killed a few weeks before our meeting. These young professionals were fearless in their opinions. It was an eye-opening experience.

One of the following meetings was more meaningful. A top-ranked political insider informed us about the Party’s policies after the riots. It was a small group of only about 30 attendees, allowing for more cordial and open conversation. The food shortage and rising prices had triggered the riots, so I asked about measures to increase food production. The frankness of the answer surprised me. The speaker said that small farms, the only ones legally allowed in Poland, were too small for modern agriculture, so there were limited abilities there. The government could allow and support the growth of larger, more productive farms. But then, soon, most of the land in every county would be owned by several farmers, and they would have real political power. “We will never allow this to happen; the Party will not give up its political power,” the lecturer explained. It was not about doing what they knew was the best for the nation; it was about staying in power.

Then I thought, what is wrong with political power being in the hands of people who can produce the food we need? And, what is the benefit of power held by people with noble ideas who put their lofty concepts above the welfare of the people they are supposed to serve? For the record, 18 years later they gave up power; I had my tiny contribution to that. 

How can you make socialism work?

Presently Americans can freely debate what is better, capitalism or socialism. Under socialism, we did not have that freedom. Before I was born, socialism was decided to be a better choice; no further discussion was needed, ergo forbidden. When I was growing up, they did not kill or put people in prison for openly opposing socialism. But with the government controlling jobs, education, and housing, the policy was to make life miserable for their opponents. I got my share of it.

Those of us who cared used all the knowledge we gained about socialism to make it work. I write about it in my article “What did I learn from the world’s best editor?” telling the story of one of the most intellectually inspiring publications in the history of the Polish press. Apparatchiks shut it down as being too risky.

In later years, as a freelancer, I published a few articles in “POLITYKA,” then and now the most prominent Polish political publication. They tried to hire me but could not get the Party’s approval, which was necessary.

I had been writing for a student periodical where, for many years, I was one of their leading political writers. Once my colleagues got a copy of a confidential memo from the Central Committee of the Party evaluating our magazine. In the Party officials’ opinion, we formally were for socialism, but we brought facts and reasoning supporting anti-socialistic ideas. They were writing about me. I was surprised because I never thought about my writing in that way.

By the end of the 1970s, the political tension intensified, and the censors blocked some of my articles. So, I wrote a book, “Could it be better in Poland?” Using all the knowledge about socialism, I argued Poland could use some capitalistic concepts in advancing the economy without abandoning the core socialistic principles. In short, I suggested something similar to what China did soon afterward. The history of that book is worth a separate article.

I asked my uncle, the socialist, to read the manuscript. He was not an ordinary socialist, but the official lecturer of the Central Committee of the Party. It was an elite group of socialistic intellectuals in Poland whom the Party selected and trusted to promote its policies and socialism. He was my mother’s cousin and a childhood friend. By pure coincidence, we lived a three-minute walk apart. We socialized and became friends. On several occasions, that three minutes took us two hours of an evening walk back and forth discussing politics. I can say that besides a college-grade education, I received an extensive private tutorial from a wholehearted, certified socialist.

After reading the manuscript of my book, my uncle complimented my creativity but then surprised me by saying that it was the most anti-socialistic book he had ever read. At that point, I realized that there was no place for me in the socialist country. For the record, I still stayed friends with my uncle. Knowing my predicament, he made an extra effort in using his intellect and charm to convince me that all the problems we could see were the pains of growth and that socialism was the future of humankind.

Socialism eternally alive

That was the slogan on a tall building I saw for 10 years twice a day, during my commute to school and back home. I heard about eternal life in my catechism classes. The slogan implied that socialism has an immortal soul. I found it funny.

The rising popularity of socialism in the United States proves that socialism is eternally alive. To my surprise, with gray hair but the same vigor that I had half a century ago, I am reentering my dance with socialism.

Soon after joining Medium, I noticed the platform has a robust pro-socialistic leaning. Regardless of the subject, the Medium Daily Digest recommendations are skewed toward pro-socialistic views. With some effort, one can find better-written and more informative articles on Medium but with a more pro-capitalistic twist. Medium does not promote them. Some suggested I should leave Medium for that reason.

Then I thought about the story of the Baťa family. Everyone who has studied business or marketing knows it. At the beginning of the 20th century, Tomáš Baťa built the worldwide shoemaking business by using the same industrial concepts that Henry Ford used to make cars. At some point, they were selling shoes all over the world except in Africa. So, they sent two independent agents to explore market opportunities there. The first agent arrived with the bad news that there was no chance to sell any shoes because most people walked barefoot there. The second agent saw the tremendous market opportunity because most people walked barefoot, so they all needed shoes.

So I decided to stay on Medium precisely because most people here can benefit from my message. Reentering my dance with socialism, I am curious if I can find something new that I missed the first time around. I am intrigued if, in the meantime, some new ideas have developed that I might have missed. I will seek new interpretations of the known facts.

So far, I have more followers than those who blocked me. We will see how it turns out when we go at full speed.

Thank you, Medium, for this opportunity. I feel half a century younger if I do not see my gray hair in the mirror.

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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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