Thursday, June 21, 2018

"Repeat After Me..."

"Is The United States On A Road To Becoming Ungovernable?"

"Is The United States On A Road To Becoming Ungovernable?"
by Michael Snyder

"For a long time I have observed the rancor in modern American political discourse, and I have become concerned about where all of this anger and frustration is taking us. In order for any society to function, there must be some form of government.  And in order for government to function, a certain percentage of the population has to be willing to submit to the authority of that government. For example, there will always be a few tax protesters out there that refuse to pay their taxes, but if every single American suddenly decided to stop paying taxes our system of taxation would collapse overnight. Sure, the government could prosecute thousands of us, but if that crackdown still didn’t motivate people to start paying their taxes there is not much that could be done. The only reason any form of government works is because enough people buy into the narrative that the government is legitimate and should be respected. Here in the United States, fewer and fewer people are buying into that narrative.

The Pew Research CenterGallup, and NPR have all run polls that show that faith in government is near all-time lows in the United States. A lot of us have been let down so many times, and most of us simply do not “believe in America” like we once did. Yes, we may still believe in “the people” or “the values” that the nation was founded upon, but at our core we just do not have faith in our governmental institutions.

But simply being disillusioned is not going to be enough to make us ungovernable. Generations of Americans have complained about government, but they have always gone along with the system. Unfortunately, things are changing in a fundamental way. Instead of just complaining about government, Americans are being trained to think of government as the enemy. We certainly witnessed a great deal of this under Barack Obama, and without a doubt Obama was absolutely terrible, but now under Donald Trump things have gone to an entirely new level.

We literally have millions of people in this country that truly believe that President Trump is the moral equivalent of Adolf Hitler and that the Republican Party is a bunch of fascists. Of course some conservatives have been saying similar things about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Democrats for years. But with Trump we are witnessing something that we have never seen before. The mainstream media is actually pounding the drumbeats of hatred for our president day after day, and when you say something long enough and loud enough some people are going to believe you.

If you truly believe that someone is just like Adolf Hitler, the logical response would be to do whatever is necessary to end the tyranny. And this is precisely what we have seen from Antifa – their open embrace of violence is justified in their eyes because of the “enemy” that they are fighting.

And it isn’t just Trump that the left is targeting. Just this week a deranged man in Ohio was arrested for threatening U.S. Congressman Brian Mast" "A Stuart man was arrested Tuesday after a federal complaint states he threatened U.S. Rep. Brian Mast’s children over the Trump administration’s child-separation immigration policy. Laurence Key called Mast’s Washington office Monday and said, “I’m going to find the congressman’s kids and kill them,” an intern who took the call told the FBI, according to a federal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. “If you are going to separate kids at the border, I’m going to kill his kids.”

For those of you that don’t know, Congressman Mast is a double amputee. He lost both legs serving our nation overseas, and he has a young girl and two young boys that are all younger than 8. Are you starting to understand why more good people don’t run for office in this country?

Now that President Trump has signed an executive order that will keep immigrant families together at the border, the left has got to come up with something else to keep the rancor going. So now we are being told that President Trump is inhumane for “putting entire families in cages” at the border, when that is not true at all.

But it really doesn’t matter what the truth is – the key is to keep the narrative going. We have already reached a point where a certain percentage of the population is not going to recognize the legitimacy of our government no matter who is sent to the White House. Millions upon millions of Americans refer to Donald Trump as “not my president”, and there are millions of us that never accepted the legitimacy of the Obama presidency.

So who would the American people accept? Someone in the middle? Sadly, the truth is that Barack Obama and Donald Trump are “the middle” today. There is no longer a single set of values that unites our nation, and America is becoming more deeply divided with each passing day.

The only thing that is really holding us back from mass rioting and chaos on a constant basis is our massively inflated debt-fueled standard of living. As long as people have plenty of food to eat and lots of entertainment to keep them sedated, a complete and total societal meltdown is unlikely. But if our food and entertainment were to be taken away, the American people are primed for the biggest temper tantrum in the history of our nation.

We have never had a president that is hated as much as President Trump, and the mainstream media keeps feeding that hatred on a daily basis. Whatever goes wrong over the next few years will be blamed on him, and the moment a real crisis hits we will start to see cities burn all over the country.

The second president of the United States, John Adams, once made the following statement: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Today, the American people are not very religious and they certainly are not moral. Suicide rates are absolutely soaring, and we are very deeply unhappy as a nation. It would be wonderful if we could unite behind the values that this nation was built upon, but we discarded those values long ago. So now we face a very uncertain future, and it is only a matter of time before someone lights a spark that sets off mass societal unrest all across the United States.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Free Download: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, "The Gulag Archipelago"

“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil. Socrates taught us: 'Know thyself!'” 

"To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law. Fortunately, it is in the nature of the human being to seek justification for his actions. Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble – and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb too. The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology.

Ideology – that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and other’s eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors. That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis by race; and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations.

Thanks to ideology, the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing on a scale calculated in the millions. This cannot be denied, nor passed over, nor surpressed. How, then, do we dare insist that evildoers do not exist? And what was it that destroyed these millions? That is the precise line the Shakespearean evildoer could not cross. But the evildoer with ideology does cross it, and his eyes remain dry and clear."
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Freely download "The Gulag Archipelago", by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, here:

"It Is Not Necessary..."

We're doomed...

"How Many Galaxies Are Out There?"

Michelle Thaller, "How Many Galaxies Are Out There?"
"If we ever discover the true size of the universe - is it infinite or just too big to measure? - we'll likely have galaxies to thank. The trillions of massive star clusters we've observed are sending light from the early universe back to us. But our measuring instruments - the strongest of which is NASA's Hubble Space Telescope - aren't powerful enough to detect light from furthest points of the universe. But in 2020, the James Webb Telescope should be able to, revealing a truer number of galaxies and perhaps the boundaries of the universe itself."

Musical Interlude: The Moody Blues, “Your Wildest Dreams”

The Moody Blues, “Your Wildest Dreams”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Bright spiral galaxy NGC 3169 appears to be unraveling in this cosmic scene, played out some 70 million light-years away just below bright star Regulus toward the faint constellation Sextans. Its beautiful spiral arms are distorted into sweeping tidal tails as NGC 3169 (left) and neighboring NGC 3166 interact gravitationally, a common fate even for bright galaxies in the local universe. In fact, drawn out stellar arcs and plumes, indications of gravitational interactions, seem rampant in the deep and colorful galaxy group photo.
Click image for larger size.
The picture spans 20 arc minutes, or about 400,000 light-years at the group's estimated distance, and includes smaller, dimmer NGC 3165 at the right. NGC 3169 is also known to shine across the spectrum from radio to X-rays, harboring an active galactic nucleus that is likely the site of a supermassive black hole.”

Chet Raymo, “The Maintenance of Self”

“The Maintenance of Self”
by Chet Raymo

"Ah, yes, the pitcher plant. Those devouring goblets. Those caldrons of digestive juices. And now naturalists have found the biggest one yet, as big as a chalice, on a mountaintop in the Philippines, its punch bowl filled with beetles, flies and wasps.

Come hither, ye who flitter. Admire my colors. Sip my nectar. Yes, yes, just like that, 
touch my milky pool. I'll be your Tar Baby. Your flypaper paramour. That's it. 
Sniff my irresistible scent. My buffet waits. Sip. Lap. Gorge yourself. 

Gotcha!

Countless plants use insects to consummate the business of sex, and some, that generally live in nutrient-deficient soils, have turned to carnivory. Alastair Robinson, who was part of the team that discovered the gargantuan pitcher, says the plant is "akin to an open stomach." Which is miracle enough. But what I want to know is: Why don't its dissolving juices dissolve the plant itself?

Oh, wait. My closed stomach does the same thing, digesting plants and animals but not itself. How can that be? Well, as we all learned in school, it does. The gastric juices eat away at the stomach's mucus lining, which has to be constantly replaced. Somewhere I read that the stomach lining sacrifices half-a-million cells a minute, completely replacing itself every three days. Digestion of food is a work in progress, a delicate balance between the dissolver and the dissolved. The stomach lining works like like an ablative heat shield on a space craft, except it is perpetually regenerating. 

Pitcher plants, apparently, use a variety of mechanisms to turn their prey into useful nutrients-enzymes, bacteria, mutualistic insect larvae- but they too must have some way of maintaining the integrity of self. Maintaining the integrity of self! That's what it's all about, isn't it. We need to eat. Other organisms want to eat us. Ablating stomach walls. Immune systems. Repair mechanisms. Our bodies are winds of molecules, torrents of cells. Blowing in and blowing out. And somehow a self remains.

The biological integrity of self, upon which depends utterly the intellectual integrity of self. Astonishingly resourceful- for the pitcher plant and for ourselves. But not unlimited. We are all doomed to die. Let's give the last word to one of William Blake's "Songs of Innocence":

"Little fly,
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
For I dance
And drink and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death,
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.”

"Eternal Enemies..."

"Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter. A democratic state may profess to venerate the name, and even pass laws making it officially sacred, but it simply cannot tolerate the thing. In order to keep any coherence in the governmental process, to prevent the wildest anarchy in thought and act, the government must put limits upon the free play of opinion. In part, it can reach that end by mere propaganda, by the bald force of its authority - that is, by making certain doctrines officially infamous. But in part it must resort to force, i.e., to law. One of the main purposes of laws in a democratic society is to put burdens upon intelligence and reduce it to impotence. Ostensibly, their aim is to penalize anti-social acts; actually their aim is to penalize heretical opinions.
At least ninety-five Americans out of every 100 believe that this process is honest and even laudable; it is practically impossible to convince them that there is anything evil in it. In other words, they cannot grasp the concept of liberty. Always they condition it with the doctrine that the state, i.e., the majority, has a sort of right of eminent domain in acts, and even in ideas - that it is perfectly free, whenever it is so disposed, to forbid a man to say what he honestly believes. Whenever his notions show signs of becoming "dangerous," ie, of being heard and attended to, it exercises that prerogative. And the overwhelming majority of citizens believe in supporting it in the outrage. Including especially the Liberals, who pretend - and often quite honestly believe - that they are hot for liberty. They never really are. Deep down in their hearts they know, as good democrats, that liberty would be fatal to democracy - that a government based upon shifting and irrational opinion must keep it within bounds or run a constant risk of disaster. They themselves, as a practical matter, advocate only certain narrow kinds of liberty - liberty, that is, for the persons they happen to favor. The rights of other persons do not seem to interest them. If a law were passed tomorrow taking away the property of a large group of presumably well-to-do persons - say, bondholders of the railroads - without compensation and without even colorable reason, they would not oppose it; they would be in favor of it. The liberty to have and hold property is not one they recognize. They believe only in the liberty to envy, hate and loot the man who has it."
- H.L. Mencken,
"Liberty and Democracy" in the Baltimore Evening Sun (13 April 1925)

X22 Report, “The Central Bank Moves To Control The Collapse Narrative”

X22 Report, “The Central Bank Moves To Control The Collapse Narrative”
Related:
X22 Report, “Abandon Ship! The Trap Has Been Set, There Is No Way Out”

"That Doesn't Mean..."

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The Daily "Near You?"

Port-of-spain, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Thanks for stopping by!

"Life Is Like A Deck Chair..."

"Maybe I can put it another way. Life, Charlie Brown, is like a deck chair."
"Like a what?"
"Have you ever been on a cruise ship? Passengers open up these canvas deck chairs so they can sit in the sun. Some people place their chairs facing the rear of the ship so they can see where they've been. Other people face their chairs forward. They want to see where they're going! On the cruise ship of life, Charlie Brown, which way is your deck chair facing?"
"I've never been able to get one unfolded..."
- Charles M. Schulz

"America the Illiterate"

"America the Illiterate"
by Chris Hedges

"We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal." - Carl Bernstein

"We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.

There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.

The illiterate rarely vote, and when they do vote they do so without the ability to make decisions based on textual information. American political campaigns, which have learned to speak in the comforting epistemology of images, eschew real ideas and policy for cheap slogans and reassuring personal narratives. Political propaganda now masquerades as ideology. Political campaigns have become an experience. They do not require cognitive or self-critical skills. They are designed to ignite pseudo-religious feelings of euphoria, empowerment and collective salvation. Campaigns that succeed are carefully constructed psychological instruments that manipulate fickle public moods, emotions and impulses, many of which are subliminal. They create a public ecstasy that annuls individuality and fosters a state of mindlessness. They thrust us into an eternal present. They cater to a nation that now lives in a state of permanent amnesia. It is style and story, not content or history or reality, which inform our politics and our lives. We prefer happy illusions. And it works because so much of the American electorate, including those who should know better, blindly cast ballots for slogans, smiles, the cheerful family tableaux, narratives and the perceived sincerity and the attractiveness of candidates. We confuse how we feel with knowledge.

“The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. 
The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.”
- Thomas Sowell

The illiterate and semi-literate, once the campaigns are over, remain powerless. They still cannot protect their children from dysfunctional public schools. They still cannot understand predatory loan deals, the intricacies of mortgage papers, credit card agreements and equity lines of credit that drive them into foreclosures and bankruptcies. They still struggle with the most basic chores of daily life from reading instructions on medicine bottles to filling out bank forms, car loan documents and unemployment benefit and insurance papers. They watch helplessly and without comprehension as hundreds of thousands of jobs are shed. They are hostages to brands. Brands come with images and slogans. Images and slogans are all they understand. Many eat at fast food restaurants not only because it is cheap but because they can order from pictures rather than menus. And those who serve them, also semi-literate or illiterate, punch in orders on cash registers whose keys are marked with symbols and pictures. This is our brave new world.

Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant. It can be completely at odds with the facts. The consistency and emotional appeal of the story are paramount. The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice. Those who are best at artifice succeed. Those who have not mastered the art of artifice fail. In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we do not seek or want honesty. We ask to be indulged and entertained by clichés, stereotypes and mythic narratives that tell us we can be whomever we want to be, that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities and that our glorious future is preordained, either because of our attributes as Americans or because we are blessed by God or both.

The ability to magnify these simple and childish lies, to repeat them and have surrogates repeat them in endless loops of news cycles, gives these lies the aura of an uncontested truth. We are repeatedly fed words or phrases like yes we can, maverick, change, pro-life, hope or war on terror. It feels good not to think. All we have to do is visualize what we want, believe in ourselves and summon those hidden inner resources, whether divine or national, that make the world conform to our desires. Reality is never an impediment to our advancement.

The Princeton Review analyzed the transcripts of the Gore-Bush debates, the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates of 1992, the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 and the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. It reviewed these transcripts using a standard vocabulary test that indicates the minimum educational standard needed for a reader to grasp the text. During the 2000 debates, George W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.7) and Al Gore at a seventh-grade level (7.6). In the 1992 debates, Bill Clinton spoke at a seventh-grade level (7.6), while George H.W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.8), as did H. Ross Perot (6.3). In the debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the candidates spoke in language used by 10th-graders. In the debates of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas the scores were respectively 11.2 and 12.0. In short, today’s political rhetoric is designed to be comprehensible to a 10-year-old child or an adult with a sixth-grade reading level. It is fitted to this level of comprehension because most Americans speak, think and are entertained at this level. This is why serious film and theater and other serious artistic expression, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of American society. Voltaire was the most famous man of the 18th century. Today the most famous “person” is Mickey Mouse.

In our post-literate world, because ideas are inaccessible, there is a need for constant stimulus. News, political debate, theater, art and books are judged not on the power of their ideas but on their ability to entertain. Cultural products that force us to examine ourselves and our society are condemned as elitist and impenetrable. Hannah Arendt warned that the marketization of culture leads to its degradation, that this marketization creates a new celebrity class of intellectuals who, although well read and informed themselves, see their role in society as persuading the masses that “Hamlet” can be as entertaining as “The Lion King” and perhaps as educational. “Culture,” she wrote, “is being destroyed in order to yield entertainment.”

“There are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect,” Arendt wrote, “but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say.”

The change from a print-based to an image-based society has transformed our nation. Huge segments of our population, especially those who live in the embrace of the Christian right and the consumer culture, are completely unmoored from reality. They lack the capacity to search for truth and cope rationally with our mounting social and economic ills. They seek clarity, entertainment and order. They are willing to use force to impose this clarity on others, especially those who do not speak as they speak and think as they think. All the traditional tools of democracies, including dispassionate scientific and historical truth, facts, news and rational debate, are useless instruments in a world that lacks the capacity to use them.

As we descend into a devastating economic crisis, one that no one cannot halt, there will be tens of millions of Americans who will be ruthlessly thrust aside. As their houses are foreclosed, as their jobs are lost, as they are forced to declare bankruptcy and watch their communities collapse, they will retreat even further into irrational fantasy. They will be led toward glittering and self-destructive illusions by our modern Pied Pipers - our corporate advertisers, our charlatan preachers, our television news celebrities, our self-help gurus, our entertainment industry and our political demagogues - who will offer increasingly absurd forms of escapism.

The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Politicians have used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to their advantage, but these forces will prove to be their most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us.
Related:

"Professor Blames Mathematics For 'Global Disparities In Wealth'"

"Professor Blames Mathematics For 'Global Disparities In Wealth'"
by Toni Airaksinen via Campus Reform

"A professor at the University of Exeter claims in a new textbook that learning mathematics can cause “collateral damage” to society by training students in "ethics-free thought."

“The Ethics of Mathematics: Is Mathematics Harmful” was written by University of Exeter Professor Paul Ernest, and published as a chapter in a 2018 textbook he edited called "The Philosophy of Mathematics Education Today."

Despite the myriad benefits math offers to society - such as increased scientific knowledge and improved healthcare, allowing us to live longer and happier lives - Ernest warns of three ways mathematics education causes “collateral damage” to society.

First, Ernest asserts that “the nature of pure of mathematics itself leads to styles of thinking that can be damaging when applied beyond mathematics to social and human issues,” since math facilitates “detached” and “calculative” reasoning. “Reasoning without meanings provides a training in ethics-free thought,” he writes, fretting that this “masculine” paradigm “valorizes rules, abstraction, objectification, impersonality, unfeelingness, dispassionate reason, and analysis.” 

Second, he argues that the “applications of mathematics in society can be deleterious to our humanity unless very carefully monitored and checked,” worrying particularly about how math facilitates transactions of money and finance. “Money and thus mathematics is the tool for the distribution of wealth,” he states. “It can therefore be argued that as the key underpinning conceptual tool mathematics is implicated in the global disparities in wealth.”

Finally, Ernest worries of the personal impact math has on “less-successful students,” especially women, since math is often perceived as a “masculine” and “difficult” subject. “One of the persistent myths of the twentieth century has been that females are ‘naturally’ less well equipped mathematically than males,” Ernest claims, albeit without acknowledging data that would complicate his theory. 

“So two of the detrimental effects of images of mathematics that I shall foreground here are first the negative impact on female students following on from the masculine image of mathematics. Second, the negative impact of mathematics related experiences and images on the attitudes and self-esteem of a minority, including many girls and women,” he writes.

Reached by Campus Reform, Ernest explained that he wrote this chapter due to his long-standing interest in the intersection of math and ethics, dating back to 1990, when he edited his first book on topic. The new textbook for which the chapter was written - Philosophy of Mathematics Education Today - was inspired by conversations held at the 2016 International Congress on Mathematical Education in Hamburg, Germany, Ernest explained. “Of course I acknowledge that mathematics is wonderful and beneficial in many ways,” he noted.”
God forbid one should engage in aware and informed “detached” and 
“calculative” reasoning. That might inspire inconvenient questioning of the status quo...

Gregory Mannarino, “6/20/18 Post Market Wrap Up: Spooky Quiet- Keep Your Eyes On This Market”

Gregory Mannarino, “6/20/18 Post Market Wrap Up: Spooky Quiet- 
Keep Your Eyes On This Market”
CNN Market Data:

CNN Fear And Greed Index:

"How It Really Is"

“The Wit And Wisdom Of Will Rogers”

“The Wit And Wisdom Of Will Rogers”
by Tom Purcell

“Things are mighty heated these days. Tempers are flaring and minds are closed. Here’s the solution: the wit and wisdom of Will Rogers.

“The short memory of voters is what keeps our politicians in office.”

“We’ve got the best politicians that money can buy.”

“A fool and his money are soon elected.”

Rogers spoke these words during the Great Depression, but they’re just as true today. With 24-hour news channels, our memories are shorter than ever. And in the mass-media age, the politician who can afford the most airtime frequently wins.

“Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it.”

“Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing. That was the closest our country has ever been to being even.”

“Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.”

Today, unfortunately, we’re getting more government than we’re paying for. We cover the difference by borrowing billions every year.

As the king of the velvet-tipped barb, Rogers never intended to be mean, but to bring us to our senses. One of his favorite subjects was to remind the political class that it worked for us, not the other way around.

“When Congress makes a joke it’s a law, and when they make a law, it’s a joke.”

“You can’t hardly find a law school in the country that don’t, through some inherent weakness, turn out a senator or congressman from time to time … if their rating is real low, even a president.”

“The more you observe politics, the more you’ve got to admit that each party is worse than the other.”

That’s for certain. I used to fault the Democrats for cronyism and reckless spending. But that was before Republicans took over.

Rogers’ thinking on American foreign policy really hits home today:

“Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”

“Diplomats are just as essential to starting a war as soldiers are for finishing it. You take diplomacy out of war, and the thing would fall flat in a week.”

“Liberty doesn’t work as well in practice as it does in speeches.”

Rogers was born and raised on a farm in Oklahoma. His wit reflected the heart of America – the horse sense, square dealing and honesty that were the bedrock of our success.

“When a fellow ain’t got much of a mind, it don’t take him long to make it up.”

“This country is not where it is today on account of any one man. It’s here on account of the real common sense of the Big Normal Majority.”

Franklin Roosevelt, a frequent target of Rogers’ barbs, understood how valuable Rogers’ sensibility was during the years of the Depression: “I doubt there is among us a more useful citizen than the one who holds the secret of banishing gloom… of supplanting desolation and despair with hope and courage. Above all things, Will Rogers brought his countrymen back to a sense of proportion.”

A sense of proportion is clearly what we’re lacking right now. We need to get it back quickly.

Hey, we’ve got a rapidly aging population – a Social Security and Medicare train wreck is just over the horizon – and there is no shortage of additional woes we must resolve if we expect the American experiment to keep on rolling. But instead of working to resolve our challenges, we snipe and point fingers and make absurd accusations. We forget we’re not Democrats or Republicans, but Americans.

What we need now more than ever is the calm, clear perspective of Will Rogers. He offered some sound advice on how we can get started: “If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?”