Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The State We're In

Is Depression Becoming the Natural State of Things?

It seems to me that more and more Americans (and presumably all Earthlings) are depressed. Perhaps it has always been so. Part of me believes it's the times we live in - this is a fast paced, go go go and bloody expensive way of life - and part of me belives it's a perfectly natural condition. What I mean by perfectly natural is that everything is not going to be ideal all of the time. Everyday things are going to get us down and Lord knows sometimes our own bodies and our own minds let us down. But having an occasional case of the blues and having deep, profound depression are quite different things.

I have been hypothesizing that the boob tube is really the culprit - and I really think it plays a part. Aside from people spending way too much time in front of their TV's the programming content is itself as depressing as it gets. How much depravity, negativity and unbridled shilling can we Americans take? Sure, there are a lot of really fine programs to watch, but people have put the clicker down and live a real life now and again.

Of course TV is only a part of it, there are natural causes like bio-chemistry, heredity and situational reasons many people become depressed. Modern medicine can and does work wonders. I do not follow the Tom Cruise line that drug therapy is a grave sin. It can literally be a life saver. Yet, I feel that we need to do all we can within ourselves to combat depression before it gets so bad that we need drugs. However, if medicine is called for BY ALL MEANS TAKE IT!

The following is a method that I have used to keep myself from sinking into the depths of depression. It is a concept originally conceived by the late Professor Julian Simon. This world renown economist and thinker suffered repeated bouts of depression through out his life.

Anatomy of Depression
and How it Can be Defeated

the depression formula: mood =

Presenting this formula for beating back depression in a graphical manner really brings it home for me. One can see that the events in your life coupled with a bad self image and unrealistic desires can drag anyone down. But those who can drain off the negatives and focus on something outside of themselves stand the best chance of living in Happy City, USA. I for one want to live there!


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

No Hope For Political Junkies

Our Political Biases Become Hard Wired into the Emotional Centers of Our Brains

Part 1

Are we slaves to our political "feelings"? Those of us who are extreme partisans apparently no longer use logic or reason during the political season. According to new research discussed here in an aptly named column "Is This Column Futile?" by Dick Meyer, seems to conclude that strongly partisan people are essentially immune to rational argument about political things.

I, for one, cannot argue with that. I can't read extreme liberal diatribes and process any of it into a persuasive refutation of my biases. Even when everything they say seems perfectly reasonable and their "facts" demonstrably true. My own bias looks right past their outward arguments and looks for the hidden agenda or deliberatly omitted facts that will (in my mind) render their entire argument meritless.

For instance when a local radio show (where the two hosts represent a liberal and a conservative) begin discussing global warming I simple cannot hear the liberal when he immediately scoffs at the notion that the Sun is a likely cause for increased global temperatures. He will point out that we are burning more fossil fuels than at any time in human history. Well, he's right, it's a fact. Does one have to do with the other? Maybe, maybe not. The point being that since he won't grant me the fact that the Sun is a HUGE contributor to the temperature of our planet (duh) then nothing he says, reasonable or not, will affect my opinion. This is a purely emotional response on both of our parts, thus bolstering the claims of this study.

I like to think I am open minded and perfectly reasonable guy. In truth I am a slave to my emotions like everyone else. The difference is I believe that nature of liberalism is emotionally based. Conservatives sometimes miss that people have two natures in the form of emotion and logic. It's best not to be blinded by pure emotion like the liberals but we have to recognized that "feelings" are legitimate factors in our belief systems.

Part 2

All of that being said - I grow weary of right-wing pundrity. Don't get me wrong the leftists and dyed-in-the-wool socialists are not persuasive in the least, in fact, I agree with some of the more strident right-wingers when they claim that liberalism is a mental health issue. But the conservative movement needs new rhetoric something fierce. It is not enough just to refute the liberals when they say Republicans are "mean". The future of America and Western Civilation is literally at stake.

From the President on down the center/right has to develop new strategies that connect with middle America that can't be demogogued by the liberals. This is not a time to pussy foot around and try to assuage the fears the Democrats foster about "mean" Republicans.

I am not holding out hope that someone will come along anytime soon to re-energize me the way Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh did but the time has come for something new on the right. I am bored. Just think of how interesting 2008 will be if the conservatives had an articulate, no nonsense, America loving pursuader running against that phony baloney Hillary Clinton.

One can dream...


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Oppressed and the Oppressors

During the Cold War I used to daydream about a world where the human potential and genius of the Russian people had not been locked away behind the Iron Curtain. Can you imagine the world with two or three Silicon Valleys and a handfull of MITs or several Hollywoods, multiple Mayo Clinics and NewYork Stock exchanges. Imagine where humankind would be if we wouldn't have had to spend 50 years and billions (if not trillions) of dollars trying to bottle up the failed ideology of communism.

Daydreaming is fun but its usually unproductive and so is dwelling on the past. But the past isn't really gone yet... Our Cold War foe may have been vanquished but the legacy of Marxism is as pervasive as ever. It lives in the socialist beliefs of most of Europe and half of America, (not to mention the ruling class in China).

Commentator Arnold Kling discusses the history and the consequences of two philosophers who have had a profound influence on this world. He examines with ultimate irony the roles and perceptions of the oppressor and the oppressed.

For example:

Seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke's theory of government influenced America's founders. It has become deeply embedded in our culture. Beliefs that Locke helped to encourage include:

-- individuals have inalienable rights
-- those who govern have obligations to the governed (and not just vice-versa)
-- government's rightful powers are limited, not absolute

At the level of folk beliefs, Locke's views have been distilled into a jaunty defiance of tyrants, whether they are actual, potential, or imagined....

...As Americans, we cannot conceive of ourselves submitting meekly to tyranny. We cannot picture a regime like that of North Korea or Saddam Hussein's Iraq taking root in our soil.

By maintaining our Lockean tradition, we have built a vibrant society and a prosperous economy. Limited government has allowed innovation to flourish in a peaceful, gradual, evolutionary way.

Despite her legions naysayers and self-haters America is the most successful and most powerful nation there has ever been. Far from being invaders and genocidal maniacs Americans have been liberators. A statement like this is sure to be greeted with a chorus of laughs but upon examination the truth is out there for those who care about such things.

What is it that Marxist socialism has left as enduring legacy? From the article: re: Karl Marx

Marxist countries have murdered millions, imposed a regime of fear and repression on their citizens, and impeded economic development. Where the "natural experiment" was performed of splitting one culture into Communist and non-Communist regions (North and South Korea, East and West Germany), well-being in the non-Communist country ended up several times higher than in the Communist country. People fled Communist countries by the millions, while barely a trickle of individuals chose to emigrate in the other direction...

...Class membership trumps individual character in determining moral standing. It should be no surprise that this belief could lead to tyranny and wanton murder by government. It should be no surprise that this belief has failed to improve the lot of those regarded as "oppressed." It inverts Martin Luther King's call to judge people by the content of their character.

Even when Marxism does not lead to tyranny, it retards economic growth, as the stagnation of continental Europe indicates.

Unfortuantely too many people in the West and particularly in America have no idea what their own country means to the world. They are fooled by a media/entertainment/academic conglomerate that delights in making America look bad. Actually, I think a lot of people do get it and are growing sick and tired of it. After all, since the advent of modern talk radio and Internet blogging we proud and loyal Americans finally have a way of "talking truth to power". (God how I hate that phrase, but you know what - It works for me!) .

All together now: POWER TO THE PEOPLE! See, didn't that feel good?