by Charly Mann
Michele Obama said recently that people in the United States are "just downright mean", and I agree. People on the left hate people on the right, and people on the right hate people on the left. Inflexibility and intellectual immaturity seems to be the only way the two sides of the political spectrum communicate with one another. I see little difference, for instance, between the acerbic and incendiary style of Ann Coulter and Michael Moore. They both use derision, fear, hate, and anger to advance their agenda.
I do not think I could say who is angrier in this country, the left or the right. Granted the left is usually more erudite and polished with their hate, with spokespeople like Keith Obermann, than the right, which tends to be loud and bullying like Rush Limbaugh. What I hate is all this anger, and there is plenty to go around. No one is listening to the other side, and I think that is frightening. In some ways, liberal intolerance is more repulsive to me than that of the right, simply because they claim to be better educated, sophisticated, and tolerant. What is stupid is not the ideas of either side, but the closed-mindness that both exhibit. This country has a lot of problems, and what we really need are people who do not want to argue, but work together to fix them.
From reading and listening to the radio, television, and blogs on the left and right, I have discovered these facts:
Liberals describe themselves as tolerant, concerned about the environment, forgiving, wanting higher taxes for the rich to give more benefits to the poor and middle class, and as all around good people. They see people on the right as intolerant, warmongering, lacking respect for the environment, wanting to help the rich instead of the poor, unforgiving, and caring more about punishment than rehabilitation. People on the left see corporations as evil because their profit motive is a form of selfishness, which causes the inequality between the rich and poor. They see big business as exploitive, and always looking for unfair advantages over their workers and competitors. They want far higher taxes, regulations, and government controls on big business to marginalize their wealth and power.
Conservatives see themselves as favoring individual liberties and responsibility, smaller and more decentralized government, less taxes for everyone, and believing our major religions should be our guide for moral behavior. They see people on the left as intolerant to people who are pro-life, own a gun, are fundamentalist Christians, and think capitalism is preferable to socialism. They think big government and socialsm are evil, and point out the lack of freedom in and millions killed by socialist and communist governments in China, Russia, and Nazi Germany. (The full name of the Nazi party is the National Socialist German Workers' Party.) They fear a “New World Order” in which governments will control most financial institutions and businesses. People on the right agree that rich businessmen and companies are sometimes imperfect, but say that is an area where laws and regulation should prevent abuse. They also point out that it was capitalism, not socialism, that liftted the majority of the people in the world out of poverty in the last century, and has doubled the living standards of most people every generation.
Listen fully to all sides and find common ground
Of course no social system that the right or left could create would ever be perfect. We are after all human beings, and have a long history of corruption, selfishness, and cruelty on both sides of the political spectrum. The real evil going on is that no one is listening to other side. People just cannot accept that their beliefs may not be correct. At what point will people realize their anger towards one another needs to be better managed, and turned into real dialogue? There is ambiguity and two sides to every story, and it is time to listen, empathize, and try to understand. We are all guilty of living with the assumption that our religion, political viewpoint, and philosophy is correct. We deride, mock, and ignore those that do not agree with us, but rarely can we truly explain or justify our own beliefs in depth, or make logical and factual arguments about the fallacies of other people's ideas. We are imprisoned by our lack of information on most subjects. By accepting the ideas of one political party or religion without questioning, we give up our ability to think , know, and reason.
by Charly Mann
We are in a deep recession that was caused by banks lending more than a trillion dollars to people who were very bad credit risks. This was caused partly by greed and exuberance by lending institutions, but the main culprit was the federal government which encouraged banks and mortgage companies to help more lower income Americans become home owners. As a result, in the last ten years home ownership rates have soared, from 60% to over 70%. Unfortunately, much of this increase came from people who could not afford the houses they purchased. When home prices started declining, and low teaser variable interest rates began to increase, many people stopped making their mortgage payments. Very quickly, this set off a domino effect in which banking and financial institutions became insolvent because they now had more debt than assets. This then caused tightening of credit, leading next to a fall in consumer spending, plunging car sales, and finally massive layoffs.
Today the United States is desperately trying to fix this economic crisis through a series of stimulus plans. The first, called the TARP, was implemented during the Bush Administration in 2008, and cost $500 billion. The second, valued at about $900 billion, will be enacted under President Obama. There are also plans for the government to help buy or subsidize payments on the bad assets that got us into this mess, which may cost up to one trillion dollars.
The problem is the United States cannot afford this 2.5 trillion dollar package. We already have $56 trillion in unfunded liabilities, including $31.1 trillion for Medicare, $7.6 trillion in drug benefits, and $6.3 trillion for Social Security. What's worse, our debts are mounting at a rate of $3 trillion a year. Every household in America is on the hook for an average of $516,348 to cover these expenses. At current interest rates, that means each family should be paying the government $31,000 a year for the next 75 years to pay their share of these obligations.
Our national debt is insane and unsustainable. The stimulus programs will only increase our debt. If we want to fix our economy we really need to put our economic house in order and drastically cut back our social spending. Unfortunately, we do not have the backbone to give up these entitlements and massive spending programs. An individual or company that took on such debt, with no viable way to pay it back, would be forced into bankruptcy. A nation does not go bankrupt though. Instead, it inflates its currency to pay off its debt. Argentina did this in the 1980s by inflating its currency at a rate of 1000%, meaning it would take $1,000 to equal the value of a dollar at the end of a year. If the United States inflates its currency at the same rate, within a year our $56 trillion debt would be whittled down to $56 billion in today's dollars. This would almost eliminate our debt and make everyone in the United States millionaires many times over. It would also mean mortgages and other debts could be paid off at a fraction of their original value. On the other hand, many people would be devastated by this kind of inflation. Those who had diligently saved for years would find their savings and IRAs nearly worthless. Also, the banks and investment companies that had made loans and mortgages would be wiped out since the money that would repay this debt would have little value. Finally our economic system would collapse until inflation could be brought down to levels under 3% again. This is because nobody lends money when there is hyperinflation. This means no one can buy houses or cars on credit, and credit cards would disappear. Everything would have to be paid for with inflated dollars, or a commodity like gold.
Original art by Kathryn Mann
"The true genius of America is a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles. We can say and write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. We can have an idea and start our own businesses without paying a bribe. In America, anything is possible.
For a young man of mixed race, without firm anchor in any community, without even a father’s steadying hand, the essential American ideal—that our destinies are not written before we are born, that in America we can travel as far as our energy and talents will take us—has defined my life. With a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya, I know that stories like mine can happen only in the United States of America."
-- Barack Obama
by Charly Mann
WARNING: The following story is not true. It is a myth but it may have allegorical significance.
There were once two great countries that bordered one another. Both had long histories of democratic government and capitalist economies. Each had recently elected intelligent and charismatic men to be their presidents, and each were experiencing the worst economic downturn in more than eighty years.
In the first country, Rainbowland, the new President introduced many benevolent sounding programs which he said would fix the country’s economic crisis. First, he said that even though the country had a huge national deficit, he would double or even triple it, if needed, to fix the economy. This meant that the national debt would soon be about $45,000 per citizen. The President said that most of this borrowed money would be used to bail out car companies, banks, and insurance companies that had been poorly run and were the primary cause of the country’s economic problems.
The other country was called Frankland, and its new leader faced the same economic problems as neighboring Rainbowland. This leader told his people that his economic rescue plan called for citizens to make fundamental ecomonic and personal changes in their own lives in order to solve the economic crisis. He said the best way for his country to grow economically was to get out of debt, and this meant the government had to spend far less and the people had to save much more. The first incentive under his plan would allow people to deduct money they saved or invested from their income taxes. Second, he said that the nation’s staggering numbers of babies born out of wedlock and single parent families were the primary cause for his nation's poverty. He said this group was costing the government $130 billion in federal assistance. His program would provide economic incentives for women to wait until they were married to have children and to discourage divorce. His plan would reward couples who took a 100-hour compatibility and marriage fundamentals course with a $1,000 tax credit each year that they stayed married. He also said men whose DNA proved they fathered a child out of wedlock would have to contribute 20% of their net pay to the care of the child for 22 years if they chose not to marry the mother.
Finally, the President of Frankland stated that spiraling health care costs were a leading cause of the nation's economic meltdown, because they made average labor costs much higher than the rest of the world. He said medical costs were now averaging $11,000 per citizen each year, and would soon be 20% of the nation's GDP. In order to curb this, his plan would provide incentives for people to live a healthy lifestyle. 75% of the nation's health care costs, he said, were used to provide care for people with heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer and obesity. He stated that all of these diseases were largely preventable by eating a healthy diet and exercising properly. Each year, every citizen of Frankland over the age of seven would be required to take a physical and attend a one hour class on healthy eating and exercise. Citizens who kept their weight within 5% of the optimal range and scored well for their age on a physical fitness test would receive free health care. Citizens who failed these standards would be responsible for their health care, which could cost as much as $30,000 a year depending on how out of shape and obese they were.
The origin of this story is somewhat of a mystery. Is it a meaningless jumble of ideas or is it a perfect allegorical expression of certain current events?
by Charly Mann
Barack Obama's daughters Malia and Sasha will be going to the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. when he becomes President. The tuition for both girls will be almost $60,000 a year. In Chicago Obama paid $42,000 a year to send his daughters to the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.
Today the vast majority of African-American parents strongly support private-school vouchers. That is because parents naturally want their children to get the best education they can have. Inner-city public schools in cities like Washington and Chicago have been dismal failures at providing quality education to their students. Obama, like most Democrats, opposes school vouchers. Most Republicans believe that giving minority parents monetary vouchers to get their children into good private schools would help provide their children a superior education and better economic opportunities.
The public education system's teachers' unions and National Education Association pour many millions of dollars into the Democratic Party each year, and their members vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates. It is clear that these groups do not want to compete with the quality and results of private schools. Sadly, it seems that Democratic politicians will continue to send their children to the best private schools and make their poor and minority constituents keep their children in failing public schools.
by Charly Mann
Barack Obama is almost six feet two inches tall and weighs about 190 pounds. That makes him skinny by modern standards, as the average American man of that height weighs 200 pounds. He maintains his weight by exercising up to three hours a day, primarily by jogging three miles and playing basketball. He does not like sweets or junk food including ice cream. He also does not have many regular meals or drink much caffeine. Obama regularly has the meal substitute, MET-Rx chocolate roasted-peanut protein bar, that contain 32 grams of protein, little sugar, and no trans fat. His beverage of choice is Black Forest Berry Honest Tea, which is caffeine free and low in sugar. It has only 34 calories in a large 16-ounce bottle. Obama does have a long history of smoking, and has tried to quit on several occasions. He is currently using Nicorette gum to fight his cigarette addiction.
John McCain is 5 feet seven inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds, a little more than the ideal weight for a man of his height. McCain’s favorite exercise is walking, and he takes long hikes whenever he can find the time. Unfortunately his diet is not as healthy as his Democratic rival, as he loves coffee, and regularly eats jellybeans, Butterfingers, and doughnuts.
Since we highlighted a number of foods Senator McCain eats that are unhealthy, we have included the ingredients of Senator Obama’s favorite foods. The Met-Rx bars are very thick and hard, which we think may damage Obama’s teeth.
MET-Rx chocolate roasted-peanut protein bars ingredients:
Chocolate Flavored Coating (Maltitol, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Milk Protein Concentrate, Cocoa, Calcium Caseinate, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor), Caramel Layer (Maltitol Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Milk Protein Concentrate, Heavy Cream, Glycerin, Butter (Cream, Salt), Salt, Monoglycerides, Sodium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan, Soy Lecithin), Metamyosyn Vpp Protein Blend (Milk Protein Concentrate, Calcium Sodium Caseinate, Whey Protein Isolate, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein, Whey Protein Concentrate, Egg White, L-gLutamine), Hydrolyzed Gelatin, Glycerin, Water, Peanuts, Maltitol Syrup, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Fructooligosaccharides, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Salt, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Alpha Tocopherol Acetate, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Gluconate, Calcium D-pantothenate, Ferric Orthophosphate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Cyanocobalamin), Caramel Color, Sucralose, Maltodextrin.
Black Forest Berry Honest Tea ingredients:
Spring water with hibiscus, currants, strawberries, raspberries, brambleberries, elderberries and unrefined sugar.
by Charly Mann
Alexander Hamilton was probably the most idealistic and forward thinking of our founding fathers. He was the leading advocate of the government we have today. In his writings for the Federalist Papers in 1787, he helped to persuade the states, especially New York, to ratify our constitution and thereby form the United States. He also stood alone among our original leaders not only in opposing slavery, but in the belief that blacks were equal to whites in ability and intelligence. Hamilton even proposed a scheme for emancipation of slaves during the Revolutionary War, in which slaves who fought for our independence from Britain would be granted their freedom.
Hamilton was probably the one true genius of the founding fathers, and probably the most remarkable self-made man in American history. He was a bastard at birth, and raised himself from a very early age. With determination, hard work, and a passion for learning he became the youngest and most visionary of these early Americans. He is the father of our national banking system, the predecessor of the Federal Reserve, and a champion for taking our young nation from an agricultural based economy to one based on manufacturing and finance, as it is today.
When George Washington became President, he appointed Hamilton, who was as close to him as a son, the first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton faced a nation with a debt equivalent to $2 trillion dollars. The new nation was in financial peril, until Hamilton consolidated our credit system, and then obtained a loan, secured by the Bank of England, that put the country on a sound financial footing.
Alexander Hamilton’s face appears on the $10 bill, and is the only non-president on U.S. currency except for Benjamin Franklin who is on the $100 bill.
"The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right."
Pulitzer Prize winning author and University of Pennsylvania history professor Walter A McDougall says “I believe the United States (so far) is the greatest success story in history, I believe Americans (on balance) are experts at self-deception. And I believe the 'creative corruption' born of their pretense goes far to explain their success." In his new book Throes of Democracy he argues Americans are liars, especially to themselves.
The following is an essay by McDougall that summarizes his thesis and provides a fascinating insight into the American Character.
Pennsylvania’s President James Buchanan rode to the White House on the strength of an unprecedented economic boom. Since 1846, U.S. markets had been boosted by Britain’s embrace of free trade, the Mexican War, the California Gold Rush, railroad and real estate mania, voracious European markets for cotton and then for commodities during the Crimean War. Wall Street displayed an irrational exuberance until, by June 1857, the New York Herald worried, “What can be the end of all this but another general collapse like that of 1837, only on a much grander scale? … Worst of all is the moral pestilence of luxurious exemption from honest labor infecting all classes of society.”
But bearish contrarians sniffed the main chance, sold short, and then cashed in when a hurricane capsized the steamer Central America 130 miles east of Cape Hatteras. She went down on September 12 with 426 souls and a half million ounces of California gold. In the resulting liquidity crisis, markets tumbled and banks collapsed. The Panic of 1857 was on.
A ruined broker named Jeremiah Calvin Lanphier believed that Wall Street, which had been reduced to cinders in a terrible fire in 1835, needed to burn again, only this time with the Holy Spirit. On Wednesday, September 23, he summoned businessmen to a noon prayer service at the old Dutch Church on Fulton Street. Six stragglers peeked in. But increasing numbers showed up over the next months. During what Walt Whitman called those “melancholy days,” prayer groups sprang up all over New York, then Chicago and Philadelphia. The revival spread all over America, but it hit northern cities the hardest because the “Plundering Generation” of textile manufacturers, merchants, shippers, insurers, and investment bankers repented of their profitable complicity in the slave-based cotton trade. Bestsellers called this revival a harbinger of the Apocalypse and Millennium.
No historian is so bold as to say that the Revival of 1857-58 caused our Civil War. But several, including myself, find it plausible that the spiritual message reinforced the political message of the new Republican Party; bred revulsion to the corruption and vice in American society; and made northern elites more receptive to antislavery agitation.
Tocqueville suspected that our democracy rested on a delicate balance of falsehoods. A Cincinnati lawyer, future Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, had explained to him that the universal vote ed in some bad elections: “Candidates win by mingling, flattering, and drinking with the people, so that distinguished men cannot struggle against the flood of public opinion.” How was it democracy thrived? Because, Tocqueville surmised, the nation was so large, secure, and abundant that even bad politicians could not wreck it, while the hand of government was so light that citizens could pursue most of their goals without it. Above all, Americans sustained democracy by pretending to uphold diversity while in fact imposing a breathtaking conformity shaped by Protestant public opinion.
A Baltimore doctor gave Tocqueville that clue, noting that notwithstanding the separation of church and state, Americans were quick to ostracize unbelief—“Public opinion accomplishes with us what the [Spanish] Inquisition was never able to do.” Americans might make a pretense of tolerance in matters of doctrine, but displayed rigid intolerance in matters of public behavior. “Despotism may govern without faith,” Toqueville wrote, “but liberty cannot.” Hence, religion and liberty were “intimately united” in America, and civil society a sort of church.
Other foreigners all noticed a certain pretense in Jacksonian America. In her Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832), Fanny Trollope scorned abolitionists who wept for the slave but wanted no part of free Negroes in the North. She was enamored of American enterprise until a crooked contractor in cahoots with the sheriff swindled her. Trollope was disillusioned, but Harriet Martineau was not because she arrived in 1834 “unprejudiced, with a strong disposition to admire democracy.” A sociologist, Martineau interviewed merchants, mechanics, farmers, fishermen, politicians, professors, and preachers, and traveled 10,000 miles by steamboat, stagecoach, and railroad. She discovered that in America politics were passionate and politics were everyone’s duty. However, she concluded that elections were decided not on the issues, but on which side was better at mudslinging, mobbing, bribing, and dispensing the booze. As for the newspapers, “It is hard to tell which is worse: the wide diffusion of things that are not true, or the suppression of things that are true.” Yet “the worship of Opinion is … the established religion of the United States.”
American writers hoped such foreign caricatures would be put to rest when the beloved Charles Dickens arrived in 1842. Dickens did find Boston beautiful and refined, and he liked the easy equality among American men, albeit they talked of little besides politics and the price of cotton. Then he arrived in New York and concluded that America was best described by swine, spit, and squalor. He compared the proud ladies and gentlemen on Broadway to the hogs that rooted the city’s sewage. New York’s amusements, noted Dickens, were confined to the counting-house, brawling pubs, and newspapers “pimping and pandering.” In the immigrant slum of Five Points Dickens was repelled by the disease and debauchery, albeit every gin mill and brothel was graced by a portrait of George Washington.
Dickens dubbed Washington City the “headquarters of tobacco-tinctured saliva.” Outside the Capitol he heard slave drivers praise Liberty “to the music of clanking chains and bloody stripes.” Inside Congress he watched the Political Machinery turn on the wheels of electoral tricks, bribes, and artful lies. Dickens charged that Americans “will swallow a whole caravan of camels, if they be laden with unworthy doubts and suspicions…. [They] simply cannot bear truth in any form.” Americans got their revenge. Within months of the English publication of Dickens’ American Notes, 100,000 pirated copies flew off bookstalls in the United States.
Pretense was the provocative theme that imposed itself on me. Americans boasted of their equality and prosperity. Priests of the civil religion like Democratic Review editor John O’Sullivan called America “the great nation of futurity” with a “manifest destiny” against which “the gates of hell cannot prevail.” But even as he wrote those words in 1839, wildcat banks failed, credit collapsed, half-built railroads lay idle, state governments defaulted, farmers went bust, urban jobs disappeared, Jackson’s Indian Removals killed thousands of Native Americans on the Trail of Tears, Southerners defended slavery by imposing a “gag rule” in Congress, Protestant mobs beat up on Irish, and Irish mobs torched Free Negro neighborhoods. In sum, Jacksonian Democracy hallowed the Union, but divided Americans poor against rich, white against black, Protestant against Catholic, native against immigrant, tippler against teetotaler, Whig against Democrat, abolitionist against nearly everyone, and North against South against West.
By 1830, America was a society up for grabs. Democratic male suffrage made government a free market in power; the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions made the economy a free market in goods; the First Amendment made culture a free market in ideas; the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, made the streets a virtually free market in violence; and free immigration made all those markets theoretically open to the whole human race.
What then could imbue the nation with purpose? Did the freedom of citizens to pursue their own happiness mean the nation at large could have no common purpose? That was one source of anxiety in antebellum America; another was that some faction might corner the market in power and impose its purpose on the nation. This anxiety erupted into panics over threats posed by Freemasons, Wall Street, the Second U.S. Bank, a “Christian Party in Politics,” Slavocrats, Abolitionists, immigrants, Papists, and Mormons. But pretense provided the glue for a huge democracy constantly buffeted by demographic, social, and technological change. To remain united the American people dared not be too honest or uncompromising about their convictions, or challenge their myths about liberty, equality, and the Providential national destiny.
Pretense swept under the rug a multitude of sins while serving two very positive values, indeed two of the holiest tenets in the civil religion. The first was Union itself. Americans invariably called their Union sacred because God’s whole plan for America’s destiny depended on its preservation. That made secession the unforgivable “sin against the Holy Spirit.” The second was the obligation of citizens to respect others’ rights to pursue their happiness. To interfere with another person’s American Dream by pricking their conscience or self-esteem was antisocial. But to damn whole categories of one’s fellow citizens on account of their business, faith, or politics was virtual treason because that, too, threatened the Union itself.
So antebellum Americans compromised their convictions as deftly as they compromised interests. Democracy needed compromise; compromise needed pretense; so pretense prevailed. Whenever crises erupted over slavery, states’ rights, tariffs, western expansion, or internal improvements, the brokers in Congress cut deals such as the Missouri Compromise, Compromise of 1833, Indian Removal Act, and Compromise of 1850. No one believed justice was done or truth served by any of these. Yet after each one Americans pretended their sectional divide had been bridged once and for all.
By the 1850s, the pretenses holding the country together grew so outrageous that Americans began to choke on the lies they told themselves and each other. As Northerners and Southerners alike started telling the truth as they saw it, the Union became a “house divided.” The key factions that had made compromise possible—Southern Whigs and Northern Democrats—quickly dissolved. By 1860 Northerners flocked to the new Republican Party’s program for industry, tariffs, and free soil in the West, while Southerners formed a sectional party devoted to states’ rights, free trade, and slavery.
The familiar evidence can be read as a gradual triumph of candor. It started in 1845 with President Tyler’s dubious annexation of slaveholding Texas, which John Quincy Adams called “the apoplexy of the Constitution.” It accelerated when the Mexican Cession of 1848 opened the prospect of new slave states in the West, and again when the Fugitive Slave Act moved Harriet Beecher Stowe to trumpet dangerous truths in Uncle Tom’s Cabin and indict Northern complicity in the slave trade. Then Stephen Douglas’ 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise line on the pretense that pioneers might decide for themselves about slavery in the territories. All that did was to provoke civil war in Bleeding Kansas and goad Abraham Lincoln to challenge Douglas in debates full of explosive candor. Finally, that religious revival triggered by the Panic of 1857 moved American leaders both north and south to confess truths so dangerous as to inspire secession and Civil War.
It is tempting to interpret the Civil War as a triumph of truth, but alas, the evidence is just as compelling that truth neither caused nor resulted from our Civil War. The partisans on both sides expressed at most half-truths. What really triumphed was pride, and what really happened, it seems, is that anger, fear, and self-righteousness moved Americans to damn the evils on the other side of the Mason-Dixon Line while ignoring their own. Southern planters claimed chattel slavery was more humane than northern “wage slavery” and involved financial sacrifice. But economic historians have shown slavery was increasingly profitable. Southerners insisted most masters were gentle, but all left discipline of field hands to harsh overseers. Planters argued from common sense that slaves imagined no other life, but freedom meant a great deal to slaves, who learned about abolitionist agitation via the Underground Railroad and Underground Telegraph. Nothing proves their discontent more than African Americans’ brand of religion. They identified with the Hebrews in Egyptian bondage and prayed for an Exodus.
Nor was the North of the 1850s a haven of free labor and land, honest government, and virtuous citizens. By the 1850s New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and San Francisco were all run by machines that monopolized the immigrant vote, stole elections when necessary, and plundered the public purse. On the state level, Northern legislators gobbled up millions in stocks, bonds, and land grants from railroad promoters. On Capitol Hill a host of “borers” (lobbyists) wrung favors from Congressmen with wine, women, and kickbacks. Southerners noticed, and feared that Union with the more populous, dynamic North must surely end in their own pollution.
By Winter 1861 Kansas was a free state and the rest of the frontier organized into territories with no mention of slavery. Abolitionists condemned slavery in the South itself, but that did not cause secession—Lincoln repeatedly said he had no intention of disturbing slavery where it existed and no power to do so anyway. What did cause secession was honor and pride. Ever since the 1819 debate over Missouri, Southerners had weathered storms of moral abuse, being called evil, barbaric, violent, licentious, and un-Christian. Still, Southern leaders had searched for ways to remain in the Union with their honor intact. They lost hope with John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, when Emerson, Thoreau, and preachers across the North eulogized Brown as a Christ-like martyr and likened patriotic Southerners to Pontius Pilate and the Pharisees.
In secessionist editorials, only sporadically did editors complain about slavery in the territories, non-enforcement of fugitive slave codes, or economics. Rather, they almost unanimously expressed moral outrage over the hateful slanders made by corrupt, heretical, hypocritical Yankees. The editor of the New Orleans Bee called Lincoln’s election the “manifestation of the popular dogma in the free States that slavery is a crime in the sight of God, to be reprobated by all honest citizens, and to be warred against by the combined moral influence and political power of the Government. The South, in the eyes of the North, is degraded and unworthy.”
Unlike Jefferson Davis, Lincoln was never sure his cause was holy. That is why he admonished Americans to act “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.” Lincoln’s assassination got reconciliation and reconstruction off to the worst possible start. But even if Lincoln had lived, it is unlikely that many Americans would have purged malice with charity after four years of unspeakable slaughter. Pretense won out after all and Reconstruction became Americans’ first of many failed experiments in nation-building. Reconstruction was half-hearted, pitifully underfunded, resisted by white southerners and resented by white northerners eager to get back to hustling in pursuit of their happiness. Accordingly, Reconstruction failed and African Americans remained third-class citizens for a century.
But Yankees pretended otherwise. In the decades after Appomattox their orators, veterans, women, children, and brass bands gathered each year on village greens to celebrate the sacred war that crushed the Rebellion and wave the bloody shirt that purged America of its original sin and sanctified the nation to fulfill its millenarian mission as the last, best hope for mankind. Nor is that the least bit ironic. Democracy thrives on pretense, and the post-Civil War pretenses about democracy, a classless society, the melting pot, the frontier as safety valve, and opportunity for all to rise from rags to riches helped the nation immeasurably during the turbulent decades when the nation completed industrialization, assimilated new waves of immigrants, built a world-class navy, and embraced a Progressive Social Gospel mission to redeem all mankind. When the Spanish American War began in 1898, just 22 years after the collapse of Reconstruction, Americans were already prepared to launch foreign crusades in the belief they could do for the world what they were manifestly unable to do for their own conquered South.
The Civil War era, it seems to me, hard-wired four telling traits into Americans’ character, traits they would go on to display time and again during their later career as a world power. The first is a careless lack of responsibility: the American people and political system invariably put off pressing problems until they finally cannot be ignored any longer. Because of delay, the solutions prove exponentially more costly and less satisfactory than they could have been. The second is amnesia: the American people tend to forget or misremember their past mistakes and ordeals out of a cheerful optimism and faith in the future born of their civil religion. The third is an amazing power of resilience: Americans invariably rebound from the ravages of war in a very short time and recover their confidence. The fourth, to paraphrase G. K. Chesterton, is a nationalism with the soul of a church, because the United States resurrected after its death in Secession purged old myths only to fuse nationalism even more inextricably with a cult of material progress disguised as a holy calling. That coalescence of Union and Creed, power and faith, rendered Americans uniquely prone to sanctimony, but also uniquely immune to cynicism.
This is an essay McDougall wrote for the Foreign Policy Research Institute (www.fpri.org).
Walter McDougall’s Throes of Democracy, The American Civil War Era 1829-1877 was published in March of 2008 by HarperCollins
The United States federal government spends $8 billion dollars a day, or $2.9 trillion dollars a year to fund all of its expenses.
The two wealthiest people in the United States are Bill Gates, with a fortune of $60 billion, and Warren Buffett, who is worth about $40 billion.
If the U.S. government were to take all their money, $100 billion, it would only pay for twelve days of government expenses.
by Charly Mann
It seems that at least half of American voters are either too racist, prejudiced, or ignorant to be able to make an objective choice of who to vote for in the upcoming presidential election. 8% of white voters and 20% of black voters said that a candidates' race is the most important factor when it comes to choosing a president. An additional 15% of white voters and 14% of blacks say that race is one of the factors they will use to decide whom to vote for. When you discover that only 31% of white voters have a favorable opinion of Senator Obama, while 83% of blacks do, it becomes clear that a large part of our next presidential election could be decided because of the color of the candidates skin.
Add to this the ignorance factor for many U.S. voters. 12% think Barack Obama is a Muslim (he has always been a Christian). 24% of U.S. voters don’t know which country they gained their independence from. 18% think the sun revolves around the earth (it is the other way around). 31% of American voters don’t know who their current vice-president is (Dick Cheney).
Finally, when it comes to prejudice, when told that John McCain is about to turn 72, almost 62% of Americans said that his age was a concern and would be an important consideration in deciding whether to vote for him.
More than one in every three dollars collected in taxes by the United States Internal Revenue Service comes from the top 1 percent of income earners. They pay about 37% of all federal taxes collected.
In contrast, the bottom 50 percent of American tax payers pay a mere 3.3% of federal income taxes. As a matter of fact, the top 10 percent of US taxpayers are now responsible for almost 70% of the tax burden.
Senator Obama says he wants to increase the top rate on federal income tax for the wealthiest Americans even more, from 35% to 39.6%. This would apply to income over $357,000. He would also significantly raise the Social Security tax on people making more than $250,000 a year. Senator McCain says he would not increase the income tax or Social Security tax on the wealthy.
Senator Obama also wants the wealthier to pay a much higher inheritance tax than McCain. Obama would allow heirs to an estate to inherit $3.5 million dollars without taxes, but pay 45% tax on anything above that. McCain wants the first $5 million dollar of an estate to be tax free, and a tax of 15% on anything above that.
"Glory is not a conceit. It is not a decoration for valor. Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you in rerun."
"If I’m elected president, the first pork-barrel bill that crosses my desk, I'm going to veto it and make the authors of those pork-barrel items famous all over America."
"I have never engaged in class warfare. I am very much in favor of tax cuts for middle-income and lower-income Americans. I’m deeply concerned about a kind of class warfare that’s going on right now. It’s unfortunate. There’s a growing gap between the haves and have-nots in America, and that gap is growing, and it’s unfortunately divided up along ethnic lines."
"I am a Republican. I'm loyal to the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. And I believe that my party, in some ways, has strayed from those principles, particularly on the issue of fiscal discipline."
"War is wretched beyond description, and only a fool or a fraud could sentimentalize its cruel reality."
"I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset that the hand of God is there also."
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
"I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war."
"We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don't want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize his or her full potential."
"This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected."
"I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible."
"My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or blessed, believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success."
"Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction."
"We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent."
Both McCain and Obama want to improve the United States health care system, and there are two important points they agree on. Both want health insurance to be portable, meaning that you keep the coverage you have if you lose or change jobs. They also both want the government to give subsidies to people with medical conditions that insurance companies now cover at much higher rates than the average American.
Below are the unique aspects of each of their plans:
John McCain’s Plan
People could buy health insurance from any health provider in the United States. Currently each state regulates insurance companies. Your costs and the selection companies from which you can choose are dependent on what state you live in. McCain believes that this would lower the price of health insurance, because it would increase competition and reduce the variety of regulations that insurance companies must comply with.
Americans would receive a tax credit of $2500 for each individual or $5000 per family for their health insurance costs.
His plan would not require everyone to have health insurance, but he pledges he would make health insurance more affordable to everyone.
Barack Obama’s Plan
Every parent would be required to have health insurance for their children.
Most companies would have to offer all employees health insurance coverage or contribute to a fund so the government could provide health insurance for them.
The government would pay for health insurance for the poor.
People with high IQs do not have good managerial skills because they don’t trust people who are less articulate or not as bright as they are, even though they may have much more experience in many areas. Being a great leader means you can listen well to others with expertise you do not have. "Having great information-processing skills is not worth a lot if you have no reliable information," says U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner.
|70%||of Iranians would like to have normal relations with the United States.|
|80%||of Iranians are in favor of not developing nuclear weapons.|
|80%||of Iranians would support recognizing Israel in return for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.|
|61%||of Iranians oppose the current Iranian system of government in which the supreme religious leader rules according to religious principles and cannot be chosen or replaced by direct vote of the people.|
|79%||of Iranians support a true democratic system in which all religious and political leaders are elected.|
John McCain opposes abortion and says he supports the rights of the unborn which he calls a human right. Barack Obama supports abortion except for late term abortion unless the mother’s health may be in danger.
Obama wants tighter enforcement of current gun laws, especially stronger background checks on people wishing to purchase a firearm. McCain wants to ban inexpensive handguns called Saturday night specials, and also wants to mandate safety locks on certain guns.
McCain believes that Gay marriage is a decision for each state to decide. He voted against a constitutional amendment in the Senate which would have banned same-sex marriage. Obama has said he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman. He does support civil unions for homosexuals, and like McCain he voted against the constitutional amendment seeking to ban gay marriage.
Sex-Education in Schools
Obama is in favor of detailed sex education classes that cover contraceptive methods and abstinence. McCain does not want birth control methods taught in sex-education classes. He does want abstinence to be encouraged.
When Bill Clinton became president and moved to Washington in 1993 he decided not to enroll his daughter in the public school in the District of Columbia. Instead she went to the expensive private Sidwell School. In 1995 Clinton vetoed a bill allowing low-income D.C. families to use public funds to send their children to private schools. Now in the 2008 presidential campaign Hillary Clinton says she is against similar legislation that would help poor families send their children to private schools
John Edwards, who focused his campaign more than any other Democrat on helping the poor, sent his children to private schools. He also opposes helping poor families send their children to the same schools he sent his children to.
Former vice-president Al Gore also opposes vouchers to help parents send their children to private schools. All of Gore’s children went to expensive and exclusive private schools.
We decided to ask a random group of Republicans and Democrats what their political party stood for, and what they thought were the defining principles of the opposing party.
The consensus among the Republicans we spoke to was that they wanted to protect our free enterprise system because it was at the heart of our country’s prosperity. They said Democrats wanted to raise our taxes and think government is responsible for solving most of our problems.
The unifying belief among our sample of Democrats was that they believe in a woman’s right to have an abortion, and that Republicans do not. They said Republicans are typically financially well off people who do not want to pay their fair share of taxes and that they are the voice of the religious right and protectors of big business. Finally, they thought that Republicans are intolerant and don’t believe all people are equal.
Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His parents divorced when he was only two and he stayed with his mother. His mother soon married a man from Indonesia, and from the ages of six to ten he lived with his mother and stepfather in Jakarta, Indonesia. From the Fifth grade through the end of High School Barack lived with his grandparents in Honolulu.
Obama went college at Columbia University in New York. He then went to Harvard Law School where he was President of the prestigious Law Review and graduated magna cum laude
Since Obama’s mother is white and his father is black, Barack is biracial. Some say if he becomes President he will be the United States first black President. We wonder if he had the same parentage in a primarily black country and was to become President there whether he would be considered a white President.
Obama has at least one vice, which is smoking cigarettes.
John McCain was born on August 29, 1936 in the then United States territory of the Panama Canal. His father and grandfather were both four-star admirals in the Navy. McCain graduated from the United States Navel Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1958. He was a Navy pilot during the war in Vietnam. His plane was shot down over the North Vietnamese capitol of Hanoi, and he was taken prisoner from 1967 to 1973 in a prisoner camp where he was severely tortured.
McCain was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982. In 1986 he was elected as a U.S. senator. McCain’s first marriage ended in divorce in 1980. McCain says it was his fault the marriage failed. He has been married to his second wife, Cindy, for twenty-eight years. He has seven children, two from his first marriage, and five from his current marriage. Cindy and John’s daughter Bridget was adopted in 1991 and was born in Bangladesh. Cindy found her when she was three months old in an orphanage and brought her to the United States because she needed medical attention.
Shia Muslims make up 65% of the population of Iraq, yet have been responsible for less than 15% of the violence during the United States presence there. Al Qaeda also has provoked most Shiite attacks. Sunni Muslims make up 16% of the population, and are responsible for 85% of the violence. Most members of Al Qaeda, in Iraq and in other countries, are Sunni.
Average household income has declined from $49,477 in 2000 to $48,223 in 2006. During this same time the wealthiest 1% of Americans incomes increased by an annual rate of 11% a year, while the remaining 99% only saw their income increase by an average of 1% . Also during this same period the percentage of American’s covered by their employer’s health insurance declined from 64.2% to 59.7%.
The United States prison population has swelled almost 700% from 380,000 in 1975 to over 2.2 million inmates today. While incarcerating criminals may seem to help reduce crime, it may actually be increasing poverty and establishing a hardened criminal class. That is because having a prison record reduces one’s yearly wages by more than 30%. Some think it may be time to reverse this trend by decriminalizing most minor drug offenses. Recently, 60% of people serving time in federal prisons were there because of drug related offenses.
According to the book The Big Squeeze, by Steven Greenhouse, in the United States today the top 20% of households earn more than the other 80%. Even more alarming, the top 1% of the population had more income than the bottom 40% combined.
For more information about this thought-provoking book click here.
The United States has spent over a trillion dollars fighting the war on drugs. Most serious crime in the U.S. is drug related, and as a the United States has the largest prison population in the world. More than thirty-nine million Americans have been arrested on drug charges. Nevertheless, illegal drugs are as plentiful and cheap as ever throughout America.
There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
The great breakthrough in one's life comes when you realize that you can learn anything you need to learn to accomplish any goal you set for yourself. This means there are no limits on what you can be.
In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
We're not meant to fit in. We're meant to stand out.
If you love life, life will love you back.
Life isn't about finding yourself; it's about creating yourself.
Making a living is not the same as making a life.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think of you.
I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod, my shadow does that much better.
If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.
Judge yourself by your actions and not your intentions.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.
Call it Nature, Fate, or Fortune; all are names of God.
Remember to work hard. Look to the future with enthusiasm and hope. Accept responsibility, not only asking for your own rights, but also accepting responsibility for yourself, for other people, for nature and for future generations.
Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it�s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.
Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.
Ethical existence is the highest manifestation of spirituality.
My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to commune with the spirit of the universe, to be intoxicated with the fumes, call it, of that divine nectar, to bear my head through atmospheres and over heights unknown to my feet, is perennial and constant.
One-half of life is luck; the other half is discipline - and that's the important half, for without discipline you wouldn't know what to do with luck.
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking.
Adults are obsolete children.
You will never be the person you can be if pressure, tension, and discipline are taken out of your life.
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing.
True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.
Love doesn't make the world go 'round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
If you're never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take chances.
Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
We can't measure out goodness by what we don't do, by what we deny ourselves, or by what we resist, and who we exclude; but we should measure our goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.
Evil (ignorance) is like a shadow. It has no real substance of its own. It is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it.
The difference between adults and children is that adults don't ask questions.
No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.
You must live for another if you wish to live for yourself.
Why is there something rather than nothing? We do not know. We will never know. Why? To what purpose? We do not know whether there is a purpose. But if it is true that nothing is born of nothing, the very existence of something - the world, the universe - would seem to imply that there has always been something: that being is eternal, uncreated, perhaps creator, and this is what some people call God.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
The shortest way to do many things is to do one thing at a time.
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
A life, if well lived, is long enough.
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.
The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.
If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.
Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.
It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of humankind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.
When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no "I'll start tomorrow." Tomorrow is disease.
Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings.
Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you're generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don't make.
The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they're still alive.
Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
Overcome your fears and you can reach your potential.
Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.
Six essential qualities that are the key to success: Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity.
Only Ideas have long and lasting consequences, and ideas come mainly from books not television, movies, or video games.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.
It's not how much money you make that's important - it's how much money you keep and how long you keep it.
Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.
The only way to change your life is to change your mind.
No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway to the human spirit.
To say that a man is your Friend, means commonly no more than this, that he is not your enemy. Most contemplate only what would be the accidental and trifling advantages of Friendship, as that the Friend can assist in time of need by his substance, or his influence, or his counsel. Even the utmost goodwill and harmony and practical kindness are not sufficient for Friendship, for Friends do not live in harmony merely, as some say, but in melody.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
I have six great friends that taught me all I knew; their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.
Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.
If you cannot accept fear of failure, you will never be successful.
The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.
Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
A certain degree of physical harmony and comfort is necessary, but above a certain level it becomes a hindrance instead of a help.
Nothing is as weak as a relationship that has not been tested under fire.
Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.
There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.
Money can contribute significantly to happiness if spent wisely.
Money often costs too much.
Passion is the genesis of genius.
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who treat you spitefully. When a man hits you on the cheek, offer him the other cheek too; when a man takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well. Give to everyone who asks you; when a man takes what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. Again, if you do good only to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do as much. And if you lend only where you expect to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to each other to be repaid in full. But you must love your enemies and do good; and lend without expecting any return; and you will have a rich reward: you will be sons of the Most High, because he himself is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.
We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.
Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.
If a problem cannot be solved, then you need to find the best way to manage it.
The greatest wealth is health.
Modesty forbids what the law does not.
Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.
You may think that you are the product of events that are largely beyond your control, but you do control the moment. The present is the time you take control of what your future will be.
Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.
An idealist believes the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
Self-pity is our worst enemy.
It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely.
Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment.
An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.
Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed.
An intellectual is a person who is always seeking knowledge and has the ability to change his mind when he learns new information.
Materialism is the only form of distraction from true bliss.
To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.