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.

PREVIOUS COMMENTS
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.
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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.”    

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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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The politically incorrect commencement speech

Dear 2020 graduates:

You already have gotten one slap in the face with all ceremonies and the following parties being canceled. Have your second cheek ready for further blows of reality. There will be a shortage of jobs for those of you who will seek them, and there will be fewer advanced education opportunities if you choose that path. But do not feel sorry for yourself; feel blessed. Why? Because hardships give you the benefit of experiencing life at its worst. On day one, you will face challenges that, reaching decades back, your predecessors did not need to fear.

For those of you who just graduated from high school, welcome to adulthood as it is, not as you wish it would be, or not as someone might promise it to you. In my native country of Poland, a high school diploma is called a certificate of maturity. The high school ends with a – considered harsh – maturity exam. When handing high school diplomas to their former pupils, instead of using first names as they might have done minutes before, teachers, for the first time, call them as Ms. Kowalska or Mr. Nowak. That little spectacle is to emphasize that you entered high school as kids but are leaving it as adults. Regardless of whether there is a formal maturity exam or not, the actual maturity test starts the first day after graduation.

You may look in the mirror, doubting who you are, and wondering what you want to do with your life. All of us had those moments, and it usually takes a few years to get some meaningful answers. You are lucky because stark reality will make your choices clearer. You will mature faster, which might be a daunting experience. But, if you overcome that hurdle, you will be like hardened steel when facing the next challenges.

As the old saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. You are fortunate that you are being forced to look for that silver lining in your very first adult decisions. The secret of becoming happy and prosperous is in finding something positive in whatever bad is happening to us. Try to see that silver lining in every obstacle you will ever encounter until your last day.

In your early teens, when entering high school, you already felt like almost adults and impatiently counted the days separating you from the formal recognition of your adulthood. Now, once you have achieved it, I have bad news for you: The next counting is to your last day. I hope all of you will be among the first, apparently already born, who will live until the age of 150. But we know that most of you will be gone much sooner – many too soon. Have this in mind when making your life choices. As none of us knows in advance how many days we have been given, do not waste any of them. Do not waste even one minute of your life. Every one of them is precious. Even in the smallest tasks, engage merely if you can see a superior purpose behind them. Whatever you do, do it the best you can. Life is too short to waste even one minute of it.

Do not get lured by today’s doubtful pleasures or conveniences that can be corrected tomorrow or next year. That next day or next year might not be there for you. Like many of us before, you soon will realize that with every year, birthdays seem to come more often than before. Do not get caught with regrets when because of age, illness, or economic conditions, it will be too late to mend your earlier mistakes. Live every minute of your life as if it is the one before your last. This way, when the final moment comes, you will be at peace with yourself. You will know that whatever you got, you lived it to its fullest. If you live your life this way, happiness will happen to you without you even trying.

If you graduated from college, just by selecting the course of your education, you have some primary life decisions already behind you. What you have learned in your specialization will work for you. The additional few years you spent in school will work against you. Schools, by design, tell you how things should be in real life. Professors are like Catholic priests (those obeying the canonical law) teaching sex education. As the ones not practicing, they might have a valuable perspective. As the ones who read all the relevant books, they know about things that are better to learn in the classroom than in life’s school of hard knocks. But whatever you learned in school is like sex; you cannot master it unless you practice it. Also, usually, it is much more complicated than as seen in the movies.

Regardless of whether you have a diploma from high school or one with a doctorate title on it, do not get overwhelmed by what you know. It only defines the borders of what you still do not know. What you do not know is much more than you ever can learn. Knowledge is like an endless universe. You cannot conquer it all; the name of the game is in exploring it as much as you can endure.

Some may tell you that if you want to specialize in art history, you do not need math or biology; if you study math, you need not learn geography or literature; and so on. This approach assumes that you will be a tiny cog in the machine, the complexity of which you would never comprehend. If you want to be a fully developed human, you need to have a broad basic knowledge. You need to make sure your old-fashioned human intelligence is well advanced to survive in a world where artificial intelligence takes over many tasks that, until recently, had been done by humans. You will be fine if you follow the old rule that an intelligent person “tries to learn something about everything and everything about something.

COVID-19 reminds you that we live in the global world now. Embrace it. We are all connected. Data tells us that education in the United States is not as good as in many other countries. You might be a part of this statistic. Do not be soothed that some might receive an even weaker education than you did. If you fall into complacency that some are still not as good as you are, one day there will be no one there; you will be the worst one. If you measure up to those who are better than you are, one day there will be no one there; you will be the best.

If you are an American, I have to confirm what you might already know, that now is not the best time for the United States for America. Foreigners have many jokes about Americans. In one of them, they ask what we call someone who fluently speaks one foreign language. It is a bilingual person. What do we call someone fluent in multiple foreign languages? It is a multilingual individual. What do we call someone speaking only one language? He or she is an American. Do not be an American who fits this joke. Learn at least one foreign language to the degree that you can connect with the culture behind it. The old saying is that one lives as many lives as the number of languages he or she masters. Also, knowing at least one distinct culture, you will always have one more perspective on whatever problems you tackle.

Riots on the streets reveal that the United States has fundamental problems. The bad news is that there is no vision anywhere on how to get out of it. The good news for you is that there is no vision anywhere on how to get out of it. You need to get America out of the current trouble. No one will do it for you. This is a challenge and an opportunity for your generation.

Your ability to act will be limited because, within the last few decades, we experienced an accumulation of wealth. As you heard it, the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. If you are among the 99.99% financially, you are likely in a worse position than your parents or grandparents were at your age. Your only way of correcting this is by getting rich. Yes, you have heard that there are more important things in life than money. You probably heard that when chasing a dollar, many lose their moral compass. They did not tell you that money demoralizes people, equally those who have it as those who do not. The looting we see everywhere confirms this.

Many of the billionaires were talked into signing a so-called “giving pledge.” They committed to give away most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. The giving pledge illustrates the crux of our problem: making money is morally dubious, living off charity is acceptable. In a healthy society, most people earn enough to support themselves. Only a few live off charity. In the United States, too many Americans do not earn enough to support a decent life. Instead of finding ways for Americans to make more by diligence, skills improvement, and entrepreneurship, our leaders went an easy way by giving alms to low-income people. Regardless of how generous that food stamps, housing support, tax income credits, and all other handouts are, they cannot make your life dignified. Dignity, like satisfaction and happiness in life, cannot be given; they have to be earned. The easiest way to get satisfaction in life is from the job well done; happiness comes from the paycheck earned, even if it is not much higher than the check handed out.

The giving pledge is just one more idea of making even more Americans dependent on charity. Behind the giving pledge is an unexpressed assumption that even if given the same opportunity that many of our self-made billionaires were fortunate to have, other Americans are not capable of succeeding. Reject this handout as contemptuous and ask for that money to be invested in start-ups. With the diminishing middle class, your chances that between you, your family, and friends, you can find the seed money needed to start a business have shrunk. The only way of rebuilding the middle class is by giving money to industrious people, with ideas and entrepreneurial drive. If only a tiny percent of them succeed, it will be enough to reverse the weakening of America. Only the billionaires have the money needed to do it. Many of them have already agreed to give their money just to keep more Americans dependent on charities. Convince them that instead, this money should go to Americans who have ideas and the drive to enrich themselves and others. That seed money should make many of you into millionaires and billionaires.  I do not know how you will convince billionaires, but if you do not ask for that money, you certainly will not get it.

For the generation of your grandparents, John Wayne was an icon portraying the romanticized characters of American frontiers. The idols were people of a strong personality, with a firm sense of right and wrong. Hard work, family, and respect for others were in high esteem. Those were values that young people were taught to follow; despite that, in real life, things were not much different from now. About 30 years ago, Homer Simpson came into existence, showing the satire of that idealized America. Critics claim that after the first 10 seasons, The Simpsons declined in quality. Perhaps it is a matter of perception. After enjoying the value of a good parody, gradually, Americans embraced the Simpsons, not as their caricatures but as their authentic portraits. There is nothing laughable when Homer Simpson is our boss, a politician, or a media personality.

Those of you who already have an account at LinkedIn may receive emails with the subject line: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In the world, as portrayed by John Wayne characters, it is about who you are and what you know. It is the same in every respectable organization. In the world of Homer Simpson, it is about whom you know. LinkedIn is just one example; you will face that “simpsonization” all over America. Do not accept it. Do not become a caricature of yourself.

When seeking solutions to problems that America is facing, do not listen to people who have answers, listen to people who have questions. You can figure out the answers. Do not listen to doomsayers that nothing can be done because of this or that. Everything we can do better than before. But the first step is in understanding that any deficiency can be corrected by clearly defining its essence. Focus on that one and dismiss ideologues pushing their solutions in abstraction from the facts. Because, if you define the problem properly, you are already halfway to the right solution.  

Dear graduates, you have a rough start. But you are blessed with challenges of epic proportions. Start working on them today. The future is yours to enjoy. Live your life in a way that, at the moment of your last breath, your last thought will be that you contributed to making the world around you better than it was when you started.  

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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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