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As Long as We Remember...

May 5, 2008

Our 10 Most Dangerous Concepts

Steven R. Berryman

It has been said many times over the last week that before we can solve a problem, we first must be able to identify it; and thus get our arms around it. In many instances, by the simple act of stating the outline correctly, one can be drawn to solutions.


The following is a list of 10 potentially actionable items drawn from the headlines and from my own experience at random for our examples. First a simple outline, and then a plan for involvement follows.


1. Bio-fuels v. Food. This can be a zero-sum game. When our gas is subsidized by the availability of ethanol from corn, food from all around the world domino’s up in price. This becomes a moral dilemma suffered most by those on the edge in the “third world.” Seen rice prices lately?


2. “My country, right or wrong.” This works in a perfect world that we are not in. We live in a Republic where the power to govern is handed away to our surrogates at election time. Then public apathy may allow the system to break down without accountability. The result can be legislators bent on remaining in a job for life, with a personal agenda taking precedence.


3. Health Care v. Socialism. The former is broken by all accounts. The solutions are many-faceted and many steps must be taken concurrently to solve, including such diverse items as drug regulation, and the cost of medical school. The latter happens when one gives up.


4. Political Correctness (PC) v. Doing the right thing. The former is the result of a desire to have the correct “appearance” of a circumstance or position. The latter can hurt. Intestinal fortitude can help this moral dilemma.


5. Ethnic Diversity v. Racism. The former is a laudable goal. The latter is a potential result of getting beaten over the head with the former. Totally avoidable with sound government policy, especially at the federal level. See item 4.


6. Entitlement v. Personal Responsibility. The former dilutes the latter by removal of essential incentives. Should mortgage companies be bailed out for making bad loans? Or, do we teach risk management by allowing some pain? Should illegal immigrants be given a safety net? With your money?


7. Media Bias. Scholarships awarded to students who are then steered into the liberal mind-set education paths is one cause. This process amounts to shooting oneself in the foot. How about some more diversity in programs awarded via scholarship?


8. Un-funded mandates. This is the process that forces costs downhill from the federal government to the state and local governments. Citizens receive a poor result in reduced services as a result. This can result from item 6. An example is the Supreme Court decision of Plyler v. Doe of 1982. It is fully illegal to NOT educate any student based on their legal status or citizenship. But who ultimately pays for this?


9. “Non-perishable Cookies” used to spy on you. A cookie is a file or program that is transferred to your computer in the course of visiting a web-site or downloading a program. They can be used as marketing tools to find out your consumer preferences. Or, they can be malicious and spy on everything you do on your computer. The harmless cookies can be removed by clearing your browser routinely and using safety software. Non-perishable cookies are persistent and are used for internal and external “domestic spying” in the United States, perhaps without a warrant. Current laws do not cover this civil liberty issue.


10. Television v. Reading. The former can sap away your life with inconsequential drivel used to mask reality in some cases. Books and the written word contain the deep level knowledge and the critical thinking necessary to advance our civilization, culture, and world. Choose wisely, especially with kids in the equation. “Everything in moderation” applies here.




The Plan: Make your own list, drawn from the things you are passionate about. Write it down. Discuss your thoughts and conclusions with like-minded friends. None of us are as smart as all of us!


The modern next step is to write items into a diary, or an on-line log. This is your typical Web-Log, or “Blog.” Others can share your ideas and comment back if you wish.


It’s easy. And it’s totally free.


My process is to go to to list things.  Anything! When I develop anything of merit, I offer it up to to share with the greater concerned community.  I also work it backwards and store my original Tentacle content and related articles back on later on.


You will be astonished at how productive the process is.


Now it’s your turn!

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