Chains of a Different Master

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chainsPerhaps the most famous of all of Karl Marx’s writings was the clause “you have nothing to lose but your chains.” 

Many people still believe that human beings are chained to corporate masters.  Writers like Seth Godin talk about an awakening in which workers refuse to remain cogs in someone else’s machine. 

These well-meaning people (some are well-meaning, anyway) have no problem, though with giving more power to a handful of slave-masters in Washington. They miss the big picture.

Corporate leaders are no longer independent movers.  As we’ve seen acutely in the past two years, corporate CEOs grovel before the throne of government, begging and pleading for scraps from Washington’s table.

The whole idea of earmarks is part of this game.  Senators tax (or borrow) billions which they earmark for, say, a university in their state.  The university donates up to 80 percent of that earmark back to Senator X’s campaign.  Or the CEO of Goldman Sachs becomes Secretary of the Treasury and funnels US bonds through Goldman Sachs. 

Merry Christmas!

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The MangerChristmas is the holiday about humility.

The humility of the immortal and all powerful and all knowing stooping to become a mere human being.

The humility of God and king to live among the humblest and poorest–a carpenter’s son.

The humility of belonging to a race so broken that our Creator sent his only Son to redeem us.

For me, the humblest part of this season is what I’m doing right now.  Flashing through my mind are hundreds of memories of my own rampant lack of humility just from this past year.

Christ’s humility–infinitely greater than the combined humility of every human being living and dead–reminds me that the line for heaven will see me at the very end.  If at all.

Humility is a tough thing.  We earn humility, most of us, with pain and suffering.  I get on winning streaks now and then (usually then). It’s hard to believe I can do anything wrong during these streaks.  That thinking sets me up for great pain. Which is why I’m reluctant to ask that humble Christ-child to teach me humility.

Humility hurts.  But, ultimately, we can’t live without it.

God bless you.

May you have a wonderful Christmas.

How to Kill the Tea Party

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If the Tea Party—or ACORN or the Democratic National Committee or anyone or anything else, for that matter—stays in a perpetual state of heightened negative emotions nothing positive gets accomplished.

The gazelle that flees imaginary lions soon dies of exhaustion. As positive emotions researcher Barbara Frederickson puts it:

when extreme, prolonged, or contextually inappropriate, negative emotions can trigger a wide array of problems for individuals and for society.

Phobias develop out of unchecked fear.

Continuous negative emotions can lead to unhealthy stress levels and compromise the immune system in humans, according to psychologist Ann O’Leary in Psychological Bulletin (1990).

Too much negativity turns off society, too.

When man or beast trumpets his distress signal out of context or after danger has passed, the rest of the pack eventual turns against the noisemaker. We call such creatures “alarmists,” and it’s not a compliment. The boy who cried wolf wasn’t just ignored; he was despised.

Apologies to Seth Godin and His Readers

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I tried to manually trackback to Seth Godin’s post on TV from this post

Between WordPress’s false negatives on reporting success of links, my laptop’s touchy touchpad, and Typepad’s weird trackback URL system, I managed to:

a. Link once to the wrong blog post

b. Link twice to the right blog post

I pride myself on being respectful of blogging etiquette.  I hate trackback spam. I hate it even more when I’m the one creating it.

I am sorry to Seth and his readers. 

Not So Fast, Seth

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I am a big fan of Seth Godin’s thinking.  He clearly understands that people are rejecting steep hierarchies where an oligarchy makes all the decisions and the rest of us are expected to blindly follow instructions.

He wrote a wonderful book on the subject.  Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? holds some wisdom (and some fallacy) that will empower you to take control of your life if you listen.

As I said, I like Seth’s thinking.  I get his blog posts delivered via email every day. I have his iPod app on my phone. 

I like Seth’s thinking, but not is myopic, prejudiced politics.

Today, Seth wrote a very long post, for him. It seems that the entire purpose of the piece was to slap Fox News and Bill O’Reilly. 

What pains me about the piece is that it exposes Seth’s enormous blind spot.  Seth doesn’t realize that the liberal networks—CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, HLN, etc.—invented the divisiveness that Seth can see on in Fox’s presentation. 

Moreover, the grand awaking Seth calls for, in which people stop being cogs who take orders and follow directions, is exactly what the Tea Party movement is about. Seth seems to believe that private companies should surrender power to the people in order to grow.  I agree.  But Seth believes the people should, in turn, surrender their power and their money to the government. 

I utterly refute that notion.

Special Thanks to American Majority

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American Majority Action deserves a huge dose of the credit for Ed Martin’s tight race for Missouri’s 3rd district in 2010.  But their ground help in September and October was only the tip of the iceberg. 

Dana Loesch and I met American Majority back in April.  Ned Ryun, the founder and president, asked us to speak at the group’s Post-Party Summit in Kansas City.  The weekend was fabulous, informative, and fun.  That’s a winning combination, especially the fun.

Ned kept in touch throughout the summer.  St. Louis Tea Party helped coordinate American Majority training sessions which, in turn, helped spawn tea party and other grassroots organizations around the area, including the Southern Illinois Tea Party.

Testimonial from American Majority Post-Party Summit in KC

When election crunch-time arrived, American Majority Action was there. In addition to helping run our office on Hampton, they produced handouts, yard signs, and other materials to help in the campaign—materials far beyond STLTPC’s budget limits. 

Most valuable, though, were AMA’s people.  Beka Romm, Raz Shafer, Rachel Hassani, Austin James, and, of course, Ned Ryun are friends, leaders, and tireless workers.  They made Ed’s race and the STLTPC their mission and passion. 

Moreover, through AMA’s efforts and evangelism, young volunteers from Arkansas and other states poured into St. Louis the last week before the election for the final drive.  They knocked on thousands of doors, talked to thousands of voters, and spurred on the natives to push a little harder. 

In my view, American Majority is the most promising of young, new education and action organizations in the country.  Ned and his crew deserve our thanks. They helped St. Louis, and they continue to advance the cause of liberty. 

Please take a moment to add your name to their New Leaders project.  And, if you are able, drop a few coins in their bucket.  They do great work.