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December 20, 2017

Luxury and Lunacy

Ken Kellar

The concepts of luxury and lunacy go a long way to explaining our current political rift between the parties*.


Stefan Molyneux recently stated this old piece of wisdom: “Hard times make strong people. Strong people make good times. Good times make weak people. Weak people make hard times.”


This saying seems to apply to the West: Europe and the United States. There, tough economies and general liberty developed a robust working class that supported innovative entrepreneurship and discovery. The resulting prosperity gave politicians revenue to conduct massive social experimentation – mostly in social programs. Now society appears to be suffering from these programs.


In the rest of the world, hard times produce misery and nasty leaders. The cycle never gets to good times. The Third World appears to lack the basic foundations needed for prosperity. What are those foundations?


Those finding themselves at the top of the heap these days seem to assume luxury and prosperity are self-perpetuating phenomena. They tend to be blind to the myriad supports and interconnections that built up and sustain prosperity.


We see this in children who inherit their parents businesses. Over half fail. Of the half that survive, two thirds fail upon turnover to the following generation. There are many reasons for this sad phenomenon. Several are: passion, skill/knowledge and resentment.


The inheritors of a business may lack the pride and passion of the business. Every aspect of the business is known by the founders. Every item and process is a result of their decisions. The children don’t see that.


By definition, the successful owners had, or developed, the knowledge and skill to run their business. Children born into the business may lack what it takes.


To the owners, the business often represents freedom and independence. The business is the source of all that is good in their life. To the children, the business may be an embarrassment, or a chain holding them back from their dreams. They don’t appreciate it, and let it die.


Too many modern Americans seem to lack any appreciation for the people and processes over the many centuries that resulted in American greatness. Their ignorance of history allows them to mindlessly declare that “white privilege” created American prosperity.


Scott Adams states that too many people appear to lack the ability to handle multiple variables when considering complex topics. “I don’t like Trump’s tweets, so I want him to not be President.” I hear this simplistic, childish statement frequently.


The first variable is “president.” The person declares I don’t want Trump so I won’t play. Poof! Trump is gone. Now what brainiac? Who in your perfect world is now president? Hillary Clinton? Michael Pence?


Here is where the lunacy comes in. If you want Donald Trump out, reality has provided only several options depending on the time scale: the primary, the main election, now.


Since time travel hasn’t been invented, now is the only time we can change. Eliminating Donald Trump now gives us Mike Pence.


Now onto some more variables, ousting President Trump on weak or non-existent charges because he isn’t Hillary Clinton would be an incredibly dangerous play perhaps leading to the destruction of our country. Ousting him because an actual “high crime or misdemeanor” gives us President Pence.


Vice President Pence is a bit of a dish rag compared to President Trump. I could envision him backing down from issues dear to Mr. Trump and his fans. Mr. Pence, as governor of Indiana, backed down from a religious liberty law passed by his state legislature. So, one might predict he would likely bend to leftist pressures and abandon the issues that brought him and Donald Trump to office. Ousting President Trump isn’t so simple.


American and European luxury has blinded many to the realities of human existence. Many do not understand the importance of many aspects of our society and economy. They see no need to protect, preserve “conserve” – the essential tenants of Western civilization. Think of recent attacks on freedom of speech.


When these blind people experience a person that can think though many variables and envision bad consequences, they are stunned. It is so obvious to them that proposal X, Y or Z is pure goodness. They lack the skill, training and desire to contemplate the consequences of a proposal beyond the first variable. They respond with disgust, rage and even violence. Lunatics living in luxury.


Defense of long-standing practice and principles can be challenging. It is worth the effort. Too many lunatics living in luxury are declaring the Titanic unsinkable.


* Note: For simplicity, I describe the political rift as between parties. However, the Republican Party is currently quite divided and cannot be claimed to hold one stable platform. It’s a “work” in progress. The Democratic Party is much better at presenting a united front to the public.

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