Poll of a Billion Monkeys

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Should Be, and What Actually is...

What the Federal government can and should and must do if it is to survive, (and frankly I don't care if it does) and to encourage Capitalism, Free Enterprise, and the Building of Wealth among American Citizens:

1. Lower Rates of Taxation, at both the Corporate and Individual Levels, and abolish many forms of taxation, such as Social Security taxes, institute a fair tax or consumption tax, and thereafter encourage the development of just and beneficial allodial and fee-free tax systems.

2. Abolish much of government.

3. Spend far less on government.

4. Assist in educating Private Citizens and the entire Society on the advantages of Capitalism, Free Enterprise, Private Industry and Individual Wealth Building, and how these things are actually accomplished (versus the socialistic and communistic principles now being taught as pseudo-science and distorted macro-economics in Federally supported public schools and universities).

5. Abolish many forms of regulation, and severely curtail many other forms of regulation to the lowest possible level in order to still maintain acceptable safety protocols, as well as abolishing subsidies to industry.

6. Eradicate Social Security and all others forms of failed socialistic economic policies and instead replace these with tax incentives and education programs to encourage and develop individual savings and investment and insurance accounts.

7. Abolish Public Education at the Federal level.

8. Return the Federal government to its necessary and very limited functions. Acknowledge and eradicate its numerous and unnecessary losses, rather than encouraging and subsidizing constant and continual states of failure.

9. Employ far fewer people at far less pay and benefits (especially at the Congressional, Court, and Administrative levels), see itself as a Service Oriented and temporary Career or Profession, rather than as a permanent and fixed political class (America should be political-class-free) and a personal benefits industry and life-long occupation. Government is not a "calling," service in government is a calling. But government is not, and should never be, a life-long enterprise. It is public service, not life-long employment at Public Expense. Americans are not Imperial-era Romans, and neither should we be run like a Third World Banana Republic. To this end it is also extremely necessary to institute Tort and Court reform.

10. Actually become Pro Business, Capitalism, Free Enterprise, Industry, and Private Wealth Creation, as well as becoming Self-Limited and self-limiting, and self-disciplined.


What the Federal Government actually does:

1. Seeks any and every opportunity to raise tax rates and to increase the bureaucratic tax burden.

2. Seeks constantly to grow itself at the expense of the nation, the culture, and the People.

3. Seeks constantly to spend more, and to bankrupt itself, the nation, and the American People.

4. Seeks constantly to engage in Socialistic Care-taking policies like Social Security, subsidizing failed enterprises, and seizing control of whole industries like the Medical and Defense Industries.

5. Seeks constantly to increase the regulatory burden of government on every sector of the economy, finance, and enterprise, and even on individual behavior even when the evidence is clear that such regulations cripple or destroy market and national competition and entire sectors of industry and the economy.

6. Constantly grows socialistic programs while at the same time funding them by means that would in every other circumstance be considered illegal and immoral, while suppressing the development of Individual Business and Saving and Investing and Charity and Philanthropy incentives and programs that would actually work, both societally and financially.

7. Constantly fails to educate most people, at great and ever increasing public expense, and the educational efforts it does operate are inefficient and more often than not outright erroneous and inaccurate.

8. Constantly seeks to enlarge and spread its creeping, corrupting, and nefarious influence into all aspects of American life and culture. Continually excuses and subsidizes its own abysmal rates of failure, moral and financial bankruptcy, and horrendous and miserable acts of unrepentant incompetence.

9. Seeks constantly to swell its rank of employees, dependants, unionized collectives, and supporters to give its gargantuan and bloated bulk an apparent and superficial legitimacy it does not really enjoy.

10. Engages in constant acts of sabotage, injury, regulatory destruction, and burdensome taxation and exhaustion against Individual and Corporate acts of Business, Capital Accumulation, Charity and Philanthropy, Free Enterprise, Market Development, Productive Industry, and Private Ownership and Wealth Creation.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Nature of Work and Productivity

Pesharim - The Nature of Work and Productivity


Work is a subject upon which I have spent much time, labor, and effort (pun intended). I have also spent much time studying Work, how it operates, how to improve my own productivity and the productivity of others, what it achieves, what the limitations of work may be, and so forth. Work is also a subject very dear to my heart, for I think Work is an extremely important aspect of human life. One of the fundamental aspects.

That being the case I'll present my own views about Work and productivity, which have changed over time as I've experimented with different work methods and with different means to increase my own productivity. Now I have to first admit, in the interest of fairness, that I do many different kinds of work and that each different kind of work may require a different method of efficiency and action (as regards the particular details). I suspect that is true for everyone, no matter what kind of work they do.

So, that being said, here are my general observations about work, how to be more productive, and the relationship between vacation and occupation.


1. People are supposed to spend far more time working than they are entertaining themselves. Or being entertained. That seems counter-intuitive in modern society, but it is true.

2. Most of the time it is better to work than to be entertained. Work is good for people and part of the expression of their soul, it is not just something you do for cash. If it is something you just do for cash you're in the wrong line of work. (Nothing wrong with money, I'm not saying that, but money is just one kind of motivation for doing good work, it should not be the only motivation for doing good work.)

3. Good work is good for you, bad work is bad for you. Seems self-evident but you'd be surprised the people that never figure this out.

4. A certain percentage of your work time should be spent in a relaxed and casual mode, this helps you to problem solve, and then again a certain percentage of your time should be spent in a very serious even stressful mode - this helps you to focus and concentrate on the task. Percentages of work-mode activity will probably vary by individual.

5. Socializing all of the time at work makes you less productive and lazy. Socializing efficiently, or a certain percentage of the time, probably makes you more, not less, efficient. No man is an island, but no man should be nothing more than a social butterfly either. If you want to be a social butterfly, be that on your own time. At work socialize efficiently and casually, not obsessively and constantly.

6. Vacations are vital to help you recover from the stress of long or extended work periods. Take them, in moderation. I think a lot about work when on vacation, then again for some of my work, like writing and inventing, vacations are perfect times to get new ideas and to take notes. This doesn't bother me at all, and makes my vacations far more enjoyable to me. But if you don't wanna think about work at all on vacation, then don't. But take vacations when you can. They are good for you. They help you recuperate and regain your energy and focus. They generate new ideas. They allow you to travel. They are beneficial. In moderation. Like wine is good for you in moderation. But drink all the time and you're a lush and a drunk. Vacation constantly and you do nothing more than avoid work constantly. You're slothful.

7. The same is true for entertainment. There is nothing wrong with entertainment. Enjoying yourself is very good for you. But there is something very, very wrong with the modern idea that you must be entertained at all moments of the day and night, even at work. Let a certain part of each day be reserved for entertainment. Otherwise do your work. And work before entertainment, certainly not the other way around. That's laziness and lack of ambition.

8. Relaxation is good for you. A certain percentage of your time should be devoted to relaxation, to hobbies, personal enjoyments. Relaxation is like a mini-vacation you can take each day or week. In moderation of course, but nevertheless such time periods are very good for you. And they are good for the people around you, and they are excellent times to associate and socialize with others freely and without restriction. Your main socializing times should be during periods of relaxation, vacation, and entertainment. Not during work cycles.

9. The proper amounts of rest, sleep, entertainment, relaxation, vacation, exercise and sex will all improve your productivity. Suppression of these things tends to make you less efficient, less effective, and less productive. A good diet will also certainly improve your overall efficiency. A bad diet will make you stupid, slow, inefficient and unproductive. Improper amounts, and improper kinds, of anything decrease or suppress productivity. Proper amounts, and the proper kinds of most things, make you far more productive. Proper and improper amounts probably vary by individual. And by period. At least in some matters. (I.e. Everyone needs necessary levels of water and air to live, not everyone needs the same levels of exercise, sleep, or sex.)

10. Self-disciple is more important to high levels of productivity than is discipline inflicted by outside forces. Self-discipline is the one virtue without which no-one can ever be truly efficient or highly productive. So cultivate it as an operating principle in your own life. If you desire to work well or do important work.

11. Everyone should experiment with different methods and techniques for improving their own productivity and work capabilities. Adopt those principles which work best, discard inefficient and ineffective techniques and methods. I'd say the same is true in every area of your life. Too much of life is spent wasted pursuing ineffective and bad techniques for work, in relationships, even in entertainment. Experiment, and if something is a failure discard it, if something works then adopt it, and if something works modestly then improve it.

12. Seek out work which makes you happy and which is of benefit and profit not only to yourself but to the rest of the world. You'll be glad you did, and so will others.

13. You're not wedded to the same work or job for your whole life. If you're dissatisfied with your work then improve your current work, find another occupation, make your own work, or start your own business. That might be nearly impossible in some parts of the world, but probably not for you. What prevents you from being satisfied with your work is you. Plain and simple. Everything else is just excuse making. You might not find or make satisfactory and enjoyable work overnight (that rarely happens), but you sure as hell won't find it sitting on your furry and flea-bitten tail howling at the moon about it. Risk scouts the way, complaint kills the day.

14. Variety is very important to satisfaction in work involving constant change and new challenges. Consistency is very important as regards repetitive work. The quality and productivity of your work will be determined to a large extent by your individual nature. If your nature naturally seeks variety, seek out work involving constant change. If you have a nature that desires stability and consistency, seek out work that does not change much. Fit your work to your nature, and your nature to your work. As much as possible. Levels of variation between stability and change will fluctuate over time.

15. Schedule yourself and generally speaking you will be more productive. Allow a certain level of flexibility in your schedule, but stone by stone lain rightly builds the mighty coliseum. Better to do a little well every day, than to attempt to drink up the ocean overnight. You will have to make both sacrifices and efforts for work. The disciplining of time is the disciplining of actual achievement. Fail to discipline your time and time escapes you. And time escaped cannot be recaptured.

16. Failure is the best method of learning what won't work. Yet you'd be surprised at the people who either stubbornly won't learn that lesson, or never bother to notice it. Yet it directly affects your real productivity.

17. Be yourself, and your work will flourish. Be what you are not, and your work will fail.

18. Your work is important. If it isn't something is definitely wrong with either your work, with you, or with both.

19. Work should be a natural part of your life and soul. So look first at your life and soul and this will help you determine what work is best for you to pursue. When your work is an extension of your own soul, you will love your work. When your work suppresses your soul, that is totally unnatural and counter-productive. I do not consider my work as being separate from my family, my friends, my community, state, nation, the world, or God. Rather my work integrates with all of these either things. As it should. That is the good way. It should not be the uncommon way.

20. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Whatever your Sabbath, keep one day devoted to being vacated from work, and to pursuing other things that are just as important (if not more-so) as work, such as family, home, your soul, and God. Working at your own soul will not only make you far more productive, it will make you a far better person. Work is supposed to make the world better, working at your own soul will make you better.

To me these are the most important general principles of work and productivity.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Foreign Affairs Brilliance of Obama and the Democrats

The Glair - The Foreign Affairs Brilliance of Obama and the Democrats


"Change without a difference. It's why 9 out of 10 tyrants now like and respect us."

or

"Change bowing to everyone. Because it's just really sweet and hip for Free Men to bow deeply to Emperors and Kings."

or

"Because being well-liked is far more important than being effective. Ain't it?"

or

"Because if we try them in New York then every terrorist around the world will finally know they're beaten. Unless of course, by some odd circumstance,  they don't really care what we think."

or

"Bankrupting both the US and China. I mean, if we both go down hard then there are no more Superpowers, and what better way for everybody to be finally and truly equal in the UN?"



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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Economic Brilliance of Obama and the Democrats

The Glair - The Economic Brilliance of Obama and the Democrats


"Change no-one can afford."

or

Debts of Future Passed
(on to the next five or six generations).

or

"Saving or creating more fictional jobs that at any time in American history."


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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tome and Tomb

Humours of Idleness - Tome and Tomb



I have a Blog on Gaming which I have been writing for awhile.

Now that I have sufficient material up for reading I'm linking it to this blog in the case any of my readers are interested in gaming matters. Visit it and let me know what you think. It's called Tome and Tomb.


Jack.


Friday, July 31, 2009

THE RENAISSANCE GILD: AN INTRODUCTION

Pesharim - The Renaissance Gild: An Introduction

Synopsis: The Renaissance Gild is a simple yet effective method of fully developing a wide range of skills within a single individual, and of self-development of the polymathic capabilities and ingenuity inherent in each person.

Introduction: I have been working on this idea for well over thirty years (in one way or another), the accompanying Theory Paper and assorted supplementary material regarding this project for about three years now, and my own Personal Gild Program for a little over a decade. Anyway I thought it was about time to put the idea into wider circulation, both among my friends and colleagues, and as regards the world at large.

What the Renaissance Gild Is: The Renaissance Gild is less a formal agency, organization, group, or club, than it is intended to be an informal "movement of individuals." Though it could also easily become an informal movement among a vast number of individuals (my hope is that this is exactly what will develop over time), or it could even become a more formalized structure for group accomplishment, but I would not want such a movement or organization to in any way suppress or hinder the noteworthy accomplishments of individual Gild members. What is most important about the Gild is the promotion of individual achievement, not the primacy of formal group structure or exclusivity. Indeed no "membership" of any kind is required or necessary other than an honest motivation to achieve and accomplish and the steady, persistent, and patient labor demanded for real and lasting success.

How the Renaissance Gild Operates: One needs no formal degree or training in order to participate in the Gild. One may be self-educated, formally and institutionally well educated (I am both, and I recommend both if possible, but if a formal education is not possible or practical then I definitely recommend a good, solid program of self-education), or even not very well educated. One need not worry in any case, as one may counteract a poor education through a well-developed method of Renaissance Education, which I will discuss at another time.

The Gild is open to individuals of any age. A Gild member can be of any sex, race, background, nationality, or religion. Requirements regarding Gild members are not exclusionary, but rather progressive (not in the political sense, but in the objective sense) towards future achievement. What is actually required of the Gild member is hard work and serious study, along with much practice and persistent application to accomplish those things that are long lasting, practical, beneficial and useful, and/or broad in scope or accomplishment.

To this end I suggest three broad areas or categories of concentration for each Gild member: those of Art, Religion, and Science. Why do I recommend these particular areas of concentration for achievement to each Gild member? The reasons are simple, historical, and profound. Throughout human history, and indeed given what we know of human pre-history the same basic conditions apply, the greatest human advances have been made within these general categories of activity. Men have made their most important (and sometimes most destructive and counterproductive – but our intent is to avoid or overcome those malignant tendencies) discoveries and advances within the fields of Art, Religion, and Science. (I do not rank these categories of achievement in order of importance within my own mind, but rather for sake of simplicity, alphabetically.) Indeed nearly every form of human activity can be roughly classified as falling within the parameters of these three general subject areas.

For example, Art, from the very beginnings of human prehistory has been an important aspect of human expression, and perhaps just as importantly, of representing the world through images and symbols that others could understand.

Religion, also from pre-history onwards, has been an important, if not the most important to most people, method of rendering value to the world, of shaping how men behave towards their fellow man, and of speculating about conditions and events beyond the known and immediately evident world.

And Science (and I classify things like the earliest attempts at the creation of tools, of domesticating animals, of developing agriculture, etc. as acts of science or proto-science – even when such acts were not then understood to be scientific in the modern sense of the term) from man’s earliest roots has formed the basis for man’s attempts to control his environment and to understand and profit from his physical conditions.

Most things that people do or achieve can be classified as arising from an artistic, a religious, or a scientific impulse. Or sometimes from one or more category of activity working in conjunction with the others. For instance was the painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel a religious act of devotion, an artistic act of inspiration, or a scientific endeavor requiring great skill and technical mastery? Or was it in truth not all three?

So these categories are certainly not hard and fixed, impenetrable the one to the other, but rather all forms of human activity are open, fluid, malleable, and osmotic, and therefore art, religion, and science far more often than not cross-fertilize one another in very productive and beneficial ways.

There are of course also fields of human activity that could be considered sub-categories of the general fields of Art, Religion, and Science. As an example some fields of human enterprise naturally fall into more than one category of classification. For instance both Business, and Athletic performance can variously, depending on the particular circumstance involved, be considered an Art, a Science, or both. For this reason as regards my own Renaissance Program, rather than trying to determine whether I think my business and athletic enterprises are more truly Art, or Science, or both, I simply classify them as separate sub-categories of activity. I do the same with the fields of Politics, Social and Civic Activities, and Philanthropy and Charity operations. I also maintain a separate category for my various Avocations, because some are scientific in nature, and some are artistic in nature, and rather than confuse or overcomplicate the point I simply classify them separately. But generally speaking, if I wished, and for sake of simplicity, I could easily enough classify even activities like business, athletics, philanthropy, and my avocations as being Artistic, Religious, or Scientific in character. For ease of understanding I will give my example of how the Renaissance Gild works by employing the simple and general categories of Art, Religion, and Science. But first let me give my own brief descriptions of how I define Art, Religion, and Science for the sake of understanding how the Gild best functions. You are of course not bound by these particular descriptions or definitions. I offer them merely for the sake of illustration and to provide clear and concise examples of possible and pragmatically functional definitions.

Art - All of those concerns normally associated with the Arts and with creative functions of all kinds. It is everything from sketching to film to architecture to painting to music to writing, and even to things like acting and dance (I have little personal interest in acting and dance, but they are arts, so I include them in this description). Art assists with the way one perceives the world, and with how one represents the world to others.


Religion - How a man conducts himself towards his fellow man, towards other creatures, towards his world, and towards God. How he disciplines his behavior and does good towards others. His moral character, the practice which assists him with bettering himself and the world, and most especially important, towards establishing, maintaining, and bettering his relationship with God. The example of God he follows, the closeness of God in his soul, his actions in this world, and how he prepares himself for his life after his physical death.


Science - The methods by which one seeks to perceive and understand the physical aspects (and perhaps in some cases, other aspects) of this universe, how it operates, and in what exact manner(s) it may operate. How one seeks to master and manipulate both matter and energy, and to what ultimate end and in what way. Science is both an act of seeking to understand the physical universe and to control it or shape it for the better.



An Example of How to Use the Renaissance Gild:

An individual chooses one major accomplishment or perhaps two or more minor accomplishments for every year to two years, as a stated goal for achievement in each of the three various categories of Art, Religion, and Science. Each person picks what is best and most natural to themselves as far as the exact goals to be attempted, and as regards the sub-categories and sub-disciplines within each general branch of Art, Religion, and Science to be undertaken.

For Example:

ART

I intend to paint three canvasses in oil detailing my famous ancestors, their backgrounds, environments, and some of their exploits – major achievement

Or

I will write and publish a small book of poetry, and learn to play the piano – minor accomplishments



RELIGION

I will go on an extended Missions trip to help the people of Madagascar with their spiritual, medical, and physical needs – major accomplishment

Or

I will assist the poor of my local community, and I will give more money to charity and/or volunteer more of my time to worthwhile charities – minor accomplishments



SCIENCE

I will perfect my invention to the best of my ability and thereafter market it for the benefit of the public and for my own benefit and profit – major accomplishment

Or

I will conduct experiments in chemistry, biochemistry, and medicine to develop a better method for preventing and treating burns, and I will use my new telescope to make detailed observations of the moon and nearby planets hoping to make a new discovery – minor accomplishments



As I have previously noted one can also develop sub-categories of endeavor, such as Civic Accomplishments, Political Aims, Avocational Interests, etc. in which one can also detail one’s personal aims and objectives.


Of course what each individual considers a major, or a minor accomplishment will vary with the individual concerned, but I offer the following examples above as possible guidelines for developing your own Renaissance potential.

Once one accomplishes one’s stated desire within any given field or category of activity then one records that accomplishment in one’s Accomplishment List (discussed below) and replaces the accomplished goal with a new objective.

In time the aim of your personal Renaissance project is to develop a wide range of useful and beneficial skills, to study widely and to be able to converse ably and competently on nearly any subject, to become ever better at what you do best, and over time to fully develop and exploit your own set of talents, your own genius, and your own polymathic capabilities. What separates the ultimate objective of the Renaissance Project from a standard set of Goals and Objectives (which are usually limited and aimed at only a specific, discreet, or narrow intention) is the Real Purpose of the Renaissance Model. The aim of the Renaissance Model is not merely to achieve a certain set of goals - but to achieve a certain set of goals and objectives and thereby to accomplish certain important and worthwhile work while one lives in such a way as to master and develop one’s full range of Artistic, Religious, and Scientific capabilities simultaneously, and in conjunction with each other. The aim of the individual Renaissance Program is to develop one’s individual Artistic, Religious, and Scientific capabilities and abilities so that each field of endeavor supports and compliments the other, and so that a person can best exploit and express their own individual force of Arete. In that way one seeks to become both a polymath, and to gain a real mastery of understanding in the way different fields or disciplines of activity and knowledge interrelate the one to another. A secondary and yet vital benefit derived from the individual Renaissance Project is the fact that one becomes acutely and intimately aware of the full range and breadth of possible capabilities inherent within one’s self.


Tracking Gild Accomplishments: Various methods of Goal and Objective setting, achievement, and tracking are possible in regards to the Renaissance Gild. However I highly recommend the use of the Accomplishment List. The Accomplishment List is simply a list, using the same basic format as the Gild itself, that details what accomplishments and achievements you have already made or completed in regards to your own Renaissance Program. In that way you can see what you have achieved in the past, those areas of enterprise in which you have the most apparent ability or capability and tendency towards success, and furthermore you can use the information regarding your past achievements and accomplishments to set newer and better goals and objectives for what you would like to achieve in the future.

Background on the Project and Gild: I plan on writing a long paper or essay, maybe even a short book on the Renaissance Gild. Though the idea is a simple one in execution (see sections above). I developed the idea by studying how geniuses and polymaths like Erasmus and Goethe and More and Bacon and Archimedes and Da Vinci thought and worked. I came to the very obvious and simple conclusion that many people like this achieved so much in so many wide and diverse fields of enterprise simply because they both had a wide range of interests (and thus studied widely), and most important of all attempted to do a number of different things in various disciplines or fields of activity. It may seem an obvious point that anyone wishing to become a polymath must attempt many things in separate and various fields of activity, but in our modern world and society attempting many and different things is often subtly, if not overtly, discouraged. For instance the common refrain of many in our time, “that’s not my field,” as if to say, that is beyond my real capabilities and expertise while unconsciously (and often falsely) supporting the idea that only the “specialized expert” could possibly know of what he speaks in that category of activity. It is extremely hard for me to imagine an Erasmus, an Archimedes, a Saint Ignatius, or a Da Vinci saying with any sense of seriousness, “that’s not my field.” That sort of self-imposed smallness of mind would be naturally repugnant and ridiculous to such men. For good reason. What one doesn’t know one can easily enough learn and then master if one is determined to do so. Only lack of imagination and desire condemns the modern man to his narrow corner of shackled enterprise and accomplishment.

(To tell you the truth it has been my observation that most people already do a number of different things in different fields of activity. The difference between this normal state of affairs in life, however, and the idea of the Renaissance Gild is that the Renaissance Gild encourages such activities to become noticeable and formalized, to become concentrated, focused, and intentionally overt rather than merely unfocused and with no real overarching objective, aim, or purpose. For instance a person might play ball, work a job, take part in his church, invent something, and so forth and so on. But that individual sees all of these diverse activities as separate and mainly subjectively unrelated spheres of action, and rarely thinks to integrate these activities into a single, conscious, coherent, objectified, and useful method of both life examination and life achievement. The point of the Renaissance Gild is to produce a goal-oriented and integrated Great Life, one that focuses upon enjoyable, necessary, and intended achievements, and thereby is not simply a sort of meandering, unconscious, vague and listless life of seemingly accidental occurrences and achievements – regardless of whether one’s achievements are truly accidental or intentional. The aim of the Renaissance Gild then is threefold, to produce a Great Life with real purpose, to be aware of the fact that the various activities of one’s life lead towards a greater and more integrated and more thorough Union of activities, most of which, if not all of which, can be when properly perceived viewed as a coherent whole, and finally by having a Great Life and by being aware of the fuller integration of one’s various individual activities, to produce ever newer and greater Goals and Objectives that serve to increase of augment the Great Life that one already enjoys. In other words the Renaissance Man or Woman has a Great Life that is both fully integrated and perpetually improving, and ever therefore ever more progressive.)

I, personally, even as a kid, was never by nature or interest comfortable with the Hyper-Specialization of Modern Society and Culture. The idea that people become "Experts" in an extremely narrow, or ever increasingly narrow, field of activity.

This idea, this ideal of the modern expert and the narrow-specialist seems both a joke and a simple-minded delusion to me. It is based upon the canard common in our society, fostered by “knowledge experts and educational gurus” that there is simply too much to know, and therefore it is a basically bootless undertaking to know many things correctly, much less most things well. And that therefore it is a wasted effort to know what you do not know. But ironically, and obviously if one thinks but a short period of time upon the matter, by becoming an "expert" in an extremely narrow range of knowledge and activity one fails to be able to see the evident interactions between wide ranges of different types of activity, action, and thought in both the functions of nature, and the real behaviors demonstrated by men in their actions. The modern expert is often as blissfully ignorant of nature (and her operations) and the wider world around him, as he is of the simple observational arts, body of information and experience, and obvious human interactions that would make most of the behaviors of his fellow man far more visible and comprehensible to him. He has traded “expertise” for genuine understanding, and narrowness of contextual experience for true comprehension. All because he too often uncritically accepts the words and conclusions of others who deem themselves experts based merely upon the notion that they are satisfied with knowing more about less that at any other point in human history.

When Hyper-specialization occurs then people willingly blind themselves and their capabilities to how the world, and to how human activity, really functions, tends to act, and to react. Hyper-specialization and the modern mania and juvenile fascination (giving rise to the corresponding false assumptions of that self-same fascination) with the "expert" does not in the long run create real experts. It instead creates a sort of pseudo-expert, a priest of sub-par and fractured knowledge, a mere facade of real expertise, an alias of and an alien identity among countless other so called experts who seem to have an intimate grasp of their subject matter but usually lack even the most basic and fundamental understanding of how their particular field or discipline functions when in contact with other forces or influences, or when in operation in the real world.

To counter the modern mania of hyper-specialization and the ill-conceived fashion and fad of the contemporary expert I went back to the Renaissance Model (which in itself is based upon the far more ancient model of the well-rounded Classical Genius, men like Archimedes, men filled and consumed with Arete) and started to develop a counter-program and counter-cultural ideal which is really just my current reinterpretation of the Polymath and the Genius fluent in many fields of activity and productivity.

Thankfully I see much evidence that our culture has tired of the Hyper-Specialized expert, and that it is now far more dubious and critical of such a fantastic creature. You see this counter-reaction with the development of various think tanks devoted to a wide range of enterprises and studies, you see it in more modern career paths (where people move from one field or discipline to another with relative ease and with confidence in the pursuit of their various enterprises), you see it in various books being written, in the development of the multi-capable Special Forces Soldier, and so forth and so on. There is a blurring of the lines and a breaking down of old, outmoded, and artificial divisions of thought and activity. You're even slowly seeing it in politics with the disenchantment of the idea of the "expert politician." So I'm hardly the first to notice or promote such trends in our society.

But doing away with a thing is not the same as replacing a thing with something better.

And long ago I decided to devote myself to the idea of the Renaissance Man, rather than to the modern conception and misconception of the Expert. What is needed in the contemporary world is a New Breed of Man, who is in reality merely the very best kind of man, filled with the very best kind of virtue (Arete), from the very best ages of the past. What is needed now (especially now) is the Renaissance Man (who sometimes arises from the ranks of the Professional, and just as often arises from the ranks of the Amateur). The Art, Religion, and Science of the Renaissance Man, properly undertaken, is the cure for the modern (shallow minded, narrowly accomplished, and often wrong) and artless, aimless, and ignorant Expert.

Now don't mistake my real intention, I have nothing against the idea of Expertise, or the Expert, in general or per se. Real Experts serve a valuable and necessary function, and one should be good at what one does, and knowledgeable about any field of activity in which one is employed or engaged. But I am in truth speaking (throughout) about the difference between the modern ideal of the expert, and Real Expertise, which by its very nature requires at least as much breadth of understanding in how to interact with the rest of the world, as it requires depth of self-understanding and self-critique. You have to know what you are doing, and how. Then again you must also know why you are doing what you are doing, and where and when what you do fits together within the larger context and scope of the world.


So I began work years and years ago, back when I was a teenager actually, on an answer to and counteraction against the modern ideal of the expert and the promotion of the principle of hyper-specialization. Those who have known me for a long time probably remember at least some of the conversations we had on these and related matters, even as kids. Of course back then I didn't call my counteraction the Renaissance Gild, or anything as formal and well structured as that, as it was more a sort of vague and internalized concept of mine than a fully realized and incorporated notion. I simply spoke about my disdain for overspecialization, that I held more with the idea of anti-specialization, based more on what I didn't like about specialization than what I wanted to replace it with, because at that time I did not really know how to, or with what I should be making such replacement. I’m sure though that many of you remember me speaking of the age of Renaissance ideals and of the polymath, and of my admiration of the advances made by such Renaissance individuals. (In this particular respect I use the term Renaissance and polymath almost synonymously.) But over time I developed, in my twenties and thirties, a program, set of studies, system, and counter-ideal with which to replace the concept of over-specialization and the modern expert. I eventually called that the Renaissance Gild. So originally (when finally settled upon a real course of action, or counteraction) I set out to set up a Counterprogram of Great Work, (of how people approach Work and Career, and to what end) and a counter-cultural concept. That was my original motivation. I've worked upon my own personal concept, ideal, form, and program of the Renaissance Gild for about 10 to 12 years or so now. I would only very rarely or only in emergency situations suggest anyone undertake anything I have not first experimented with and tested upon myself. So I do not offer this program and concept as mere theory (being driven, motivated, and consumed with theory alone is unfortunately the province and proclivity of far too many modern experts), but as a personally tested method of operating.

Eventually though (after using the Renaissance Gild as the basis of my personal way of approaching work and achievement) I decided to integrate the Renaissance Gild Ideal into the Homeschooling Educational Program I had developed for my own children. Although I have never told them this formally or openly (though I have often stressed the importance of ingenuity and wide ranging knowledge to the development of real capability), they have both been practicing their own Renaissance Gild Program for a very long time, and it is an integral and vital component of their homeschooling and wider educational program. I think the evidence bears out how well it has worked with them because I often get comments and compliments from others about how "smart and well-rounded" my children are, and how capably they act and perform. Part of this is genetic (their mother is smart and strong too, like my children, even if her capabilities are sometimes under-developed and under-utilized), part is desire and natural (innate) capability, part is the moral and educational discipline I have imposed upon them, but a large part of their capabilities derive from their Renaissance Training and conditioning.

(I also strongly suspect that Renaissance Training and activities work to counteract the ennui, boredom, listlessness, and "drifting - lack of real goals and objectives in life - so common to modern societies and cultures. Unfortunately cultures and societies such as ours far too often eat-up excess energy and potential productivity on the part of the individual with distractions of unending desire for escapism and hunger for too much entertainment - as we have discussed elsewhere. Renaissance Training and Work tends to counteract this sense of listlessness, boredom, confusion, and lack of motivation and accomplishment. However as I said earlier I think the younger generations are much better qualified and prepared than we were - especially the baby boomers - in this sense. I often see a sort of intuitive understanding and counter-reaction against the ennui of modern life and culture on the part of many young people. Many young people are anxious to achieve and "do something worthwhile," even if they are often not certain or are confused as to what might actually qualify as being worthwhile. In any case it is very hard to be distracted, listless, depressed, and aimless when one is busy and consumed with meaningful work and achievement.)

Nevertheless as I've said there is a difference between knowing what you don't want to do, and having a solution or useful method by which to achieve the opposite. So over time I developed the Renaissance Program(s) to both counteract the current situation and paradigm and to provide a model for a different way of living and working.

End of Introduction.


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Monday, July 06, 2009

Monday Political Appraisal 7/06/09

Monday Political Appraisal

Shooting it Out - I know this really doesn't qualify as politics in the most basic sense but the case has really interested me and I've been following it closely. I hope if this is true that they did in fact kill him.

McNamara Finally Out of Vietnam


- If China burns then who will buy our trillions of dollars of debt President Obama? Since you're in Russia already drop by Beijing and see if you can prevent a coup there like they had in Honduras. Our future healthcare could depend on it.

The Neolibs and "Meddlin with my Ass" - When you get the "meddling - then we become a fist speech" by an old SOB like this who really gives a damn? Alright, we're scared, will you please stop your nuclear weapons development program now? We're very sorry you're having to murder little girls in the streets right now because of us, but we have our own interests to look after. We're Neolibs after all. You know, "freedom for everyone if it's safe enough for us. " So, can't we make a deal to show how enlightened we all are? We wouldn't endanger that kinda prospect with harsh rhetoric.

Hooray!

Biden, Rubin, and the Neolibs misread the Economy - Well, sometimes you can't win em all, and sometimes you can't even understand your own major political platform. But just keep doing what you're doing, Joe, just keep doing whatever it is you're doing. You're bound to hit bottom if you dig hard and long enough.

Captured - True or not this whole scenario smells fishy to me. Like gar on a hot butcher's board.

Stemmed

(WOD) The Long Slog: The War On Debtors

Going the Other Way - I've personally had more than enough of politicians who cling to office no matter what they do. (Sanford, etc). Does this qualify as putting principle above politics. I don't know. I'm will to see what she does next. I like to see people fulfill their obligations. Then again I know there are exceptions to every rule when resistance becomes more distraction and drag than impulse to achieve. I don't know if this is one of those exceptions or not. One step at a time I reckon.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July



My nation has many problems at this point in history, mainly economic and political. Yet today is the Fourth of July. Anything is possible, and many things are still probable.

May this day be the Rebirth of a new spirit of responsibility and liberty in this land, and a return to the Revolutionary fervor that gave us the courage to be free men and women, to reshape the world, and to bring about a new age in our own affairs, and in the affairs of men.

God I ask that you have mercy upon my nation, and I know that you have and that you will, but most of all I ask that you guide and help us with a renewed and divine wisdom so that we may put aside our recent mistakes and terrible arrogance, that humility again reign in our hearts, and that immediate, urgent, noble, and holy ambition allow us to reform our nation and our government, both of which are disastrously sick with overmuch corruption and barren and bankrupt self-indulgence.

I've had enough of the way we are, help us to again become what we should be.

And we will be again. If we but try.

Happy Independence Day my fellow countrymen.

Let's make that phrase meaningful again.

Free men are free of the need of an enslaving and irresponsible government.
Free men are free because they are not afraid to govern themselves responsibly.


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday MCW Briefing - 6/25/09

Thursday MCW Briefing (Military/Crime/War)

MS-13 Indictments


The West African Coke Line

Hizballah of New Jersey

Detachment 88


NYPD Counterterrorism

Into the Abyss

Murtha Speak

The King of Korea - interesting analysis.

The Predators in Pakistan

The Just War

Fight Like You Intend to Win, Fight Like Injuns - The Iranian opposition and the people are still trying to fight this thing like it's a Marquess of Queensbury match. It ain't. When you're fighting tyrants you fight like Injuns, not like Englishmen. They need a real leader and a real revolutionary with real plans and they need him now.

Shattering the Illusion

The Strike

The Altruism of War - Although I am agnostic on this study I cannot help but tithing of both the altruistic and individual motives of protesters in Iran

Cybergon


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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sanford's Real Sin

The Glair - Sanford's Real Sin: the Modern Hubris of the Indispensable Man

I would have been happy for Mark Sanford to run for president. I would have helped to elect him. Done everything I could have to made sure he became President of the United States of America. Before this.



I fully admit I have no understanding of these actions at all. Maybe because for the most part they really are incomprehensible. Sometimes love makes people crazy I guess. It does teenagers anyway. But this is a nearly fifty year old man. At some point you grow beyond your immediate impulses. Or, maybe not...

This is exactly the kind of thinking and behavior that lost Republicans so many offices last time. With good reason. The idea that emotions, not thought and discipline and self-control should run the affairs of the individual and the affairs of the nation.

But if I'm understanding these events correctly then even after the trial separation with his wife Sanford ran down to Argentina and spent some quality tear time with his adulterous flame. Without properly notifying the people for whom he works. In dereliction of his governmental and political duties.

Yet far worse to me is the general attitude that Sanford seems to have that the political affairs of the state come before his own family and marriage. Now I firmly admit that I am the last person on earth to think that politics is the most important occupation in the world. Yes, I have been at one time or another deeply invested and active in politics. I'm about to become so again because of my opposition to so many of the policies of President Obama. But to me politics is not like curing cancer, or even painting the Last Supper. It just isn't the grandest contribution to life that one can make and to tell you the truth usually it achieves very little of lasting value. Most of the time that is.

However if you're gonna be involved in politics then you have certain public obligations to meet. Sanford failed his in a particularly inexcusable way. He failed his public duties and he failed his state.

More importantly (and this is Sanford's real sin) than even that he failed to understand that his time in office would have been of a relatively brief duration, with or without these series of events to cloud the matter, in comparison to the entire course of his life. He placed his political career (for without his political career the odds are small he would have engaged in this particular affair in any event) and his adulterous career over that of the importance of his family, his wife, his sons, and what that will represent to them in the future. In other words if your marriage and family were falling apart why not just put aside your career for at least as long as it took to make a course correction and satisfy your first, and more vital set of obligations before carrying on dutifully with a mere job? I just don't get this about modern people. They'll screw everything and everyone around them up completely in order to concentrate upon a public career that they will certainly ruin anyway by screwing up everything and everyone else around them. Did your career save either your marriage or your job-reputation Governor? How did that work out for ya? If you can go "hiking" for a few days then couldn't you have perhaps better expended that time productively working out your marriage and family problems? Hell, at least give it a try like you actually mean it. My marriage was about to fly apart at the seams about a year ago and I fought like a damned wolverine in a wolf-pack fight til it got settled. My wife deserved that much, my children certainly deserved that much, hell, I deserved that much. To try at least. You'd fight heaven and hell against fiscal and financial injustice and irresponsibility (nothing wrong with that by the way) and you'd take a separation from your wife and repentance from an affair like it's a confusing accounting maneuver you need time to more fully analyze? Or a psycho-therapy session you need to cry-out for good measure? Do you think you might have some fire left in your belly for your family man? If not then you think that maybe you should have stoked at the flame a little? You know you're not so crucial that the world can't do without you long enough to prove that there's something more important than what you desire at the moment. It's just a suggestion Mark. Take it for what it's worth.

I hope this turns out to be some kinda lesson for the wise at heart, or soon to be that way. (I'm looking your way too young Republicans.) If your career has doomed your family then maybe it's not your family that's the main or real problem Mr. Einstein. In other words solve first things first. If your house is afire then don't worry much about the slow leak in the kitchen sink. Other things you can catch up with later. Is that really brain salad surgery, or am I just that much smarter than the average modern Joe? Cause it seems to me it's pretty much like reading a grizzly bear paw print at high noon in fresh mud with the help of a old mountain man as your tour guide. If it got anymore self evident then maybe it needs to be published in a pop-up coloring book, or an alphabet primer.

I hope and pray that he will come to his senses for the sake of his wife (and I don't know the personal situation personally, but from her statements I think she certainly deserves better than this infidelity and betrayal) and his children. The fact that he cannot instantly grasp the full weight of his own hypocrisy (in comparison to what he says he represents) is just further proof that he's out of his mind at this point and it is his emotions that guide the autopilot. To paraphrase the ancients, "our emotions make fine steeds, but poor charioteers."

You need to get off the ride Sanford, and if she'll have you back then you need to walk home humbly, tell your wife you're stronger than a sixteen year old in mindset and outlook, resign your office (be a man about it, because you know you need to be, and spare us a well-earned impeachment Mr. Clinton, I mean Mr. Sanford), get out of the public limelight, concentrate upon your family, and remember that your duties and your obligations are what define you as a man.

The State will be just fine without you (God I wish more politicians understood just how really dispensable and disposable they are, their own opinions to the contrary) Governor, and you will be far better off in a state that concentrates upon what is most important, instead of just what is most politic.

Anyway you can forget my political support in the future.
I'm not gonna ask that my Republican representatives be perfect, but they gotta do a lot better than this one. That's just a given.

Get yourself straightened out and as far as I'm concerned, I'll forgive what you did. Not that that's important. You got a lot more significant people than me to re-earn the trust of.
But in any case get yourself straightened out now man. Right now.

You're starting to look like a little boy playing at being Tarzan, King of the Monkeying-Around Men.

Gird up your loins man, gird up your loins. Don't just sling em around like jungle vines for purposes of entertainment and circus shows.


Story Link


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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Science and Technology Abstract - 6/23/09

Tuesday Science and Technology Abstract



Intuition, Email, and Doom - When do people know what they don't yet?

The Cyborgin Impulse

Metastatically Examined

The Tilted Mass

I find this one particularly interesting as personally I have often wondered at the many seeming inaccuracies and inconsistencies (both physically and mathematically) in common models of solar system formation.

The Stretchable Creation

The Listening Ear

I've long been a proponent of biologically based and biologically modeled technologies, for obvious reasons. Here is a good example of why. The applications are enormous, for what if one designed chips and recovers of a molecular and genetic nature based upon the hearing capabilities of dogs and wolves?

The New Spin

I also have to wonder how this might effect practical applications of Spintronics.

The Entrained Brain

The Great White Serial Killer


I'd like to see this used as the basis for developing analysis systems for violent human psycho and social pathologies. In other words develop this study into a predictive analytical tool concerning human serial killers, as one possible application. I'm not talking about the direct correlation, but the generla methodology.

America's Most Twittered

I've recently been considering the real value (if any) of various social networking applications. Here is an application I could actually make real use of.

The Sharp Alchemist

Need I say more?

The Resonant Recharge

The New Cyber-Warfare

The Sunny Devil

I know I have included more than the usual number of articles in the Abstract. But the past few weeks have seen some very interesting and exciting developments in the various disciplines of science and technology that I thought were well worth examining.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Political Appraisal

Monday Political Appraisal

Iranian Protests Continue, Government pursues predictable counter-tactics

Politics by Other Means

Non-Burgas, Franco-style

Iranian You Tube

From Winds of Change

Sex Offenders Law



___________________________________________

I helped elect Jim DeMint. Both to the House and Senate. I consider him a friend and to tell the truth he is the man I am most proud of having helped to elect at this point in American history.

I really like this idea because I don't consider the Senate very highly. It is primarily a house of beasts and effetes. So I'm posting part of Jim's Letter to support his idea.

___________________________________________


Dear Fellow Conservative:

If it concerns you that America is sliding toward socialism, I hope you will join me in supporting a group I am leading to elect true conservatives to the U.S. Senate who will fight to save freedom.

Fighting for freedom is the reason I ran for the Senate and it's also why I wrote a new book called Saving Freedom that I would like to send you. I'll tell you more about that in a minute... But first, I need you to act if you agree that we need to elect more true conservatives to U.S. Senate who will fight for liberty.

As you know, President Obama and congressional Democrats are ramming billions in bailouts, stimulus plans, and pork-barrel projects through Congress as fast as they can. We desperately need principled leaders in the Senate to stop them, and we need those leaders now. The tea parties are great. They are a physical representation of the growing anger Americans have over the direction of our country. But now we need to channel our energy into positive action that makes a real difference. That is why I formed the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF). Its mission is to bring bold leadership to Washington by supporting only the most rock-solid, conservative Senate candidates nationwide -- candidates who believe in limited government, a strong national defense, and traditional family values. SCF does this by making financial contributions to candidates, educating voters on key issues, and building a grass-roots army of like-minded conservatives across the country who will push our candidates on to victory. And let me be absolutely clear about something. SCF does not support liberal Republicans and is not affiliated with the Republican Party or any of its campaign committees. SCF only supports conservatives and will support conservative challengers in Republican primaries when it's necessary.

So if you like wishy-washy Republicans who talk out of both sides of their mouths and try to have it both ways, you won't like SCF. I will tell you that up front. But if you love America and you believe it is the world's greatest bastion of freedom, then you should join our team and help us take back our country. There are just 500 days until the 2010 elections, and we have a lot of work to do. SCF has already made three important endorsements for three impressive candidates.

In Oklahoma, we are supporting the re-election bid of conservative U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. As I'm sure you know, Senator Coburn is a one-man pork-busting machine who has done more to protect American taxpayers from wasteful Washington spending than anyone in Congress.In Pennsylvania, we are backing former Congressman Pat Toomey in his race to replace ultra-liberal Senator Arlen Specter, who helped President Obama pass the $1 trillion stimulus bill and recently switched parties to save his political hide.

In Florida, we have endorsed former Speaker of the House Marco Rubio who is running for the GOP nomination against Governor Charlie Crist. Rubio is a bright, articulate, and principled leader who has what it takes to win this important seat for conservatives.


Iran's Electoral Swindle - from Asharq Alawsat

A buddy of mine sent me this editorial from Amir Taheri.
I thought it extremely well written and his observations insightful.

Iran's Electoral Swindle


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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Free Iranians

Free Iranians

You are going to have to expand your tactics.

It is summer now. You are out of school and university. Your nation has succeeded in Revolution before. You’ve overthrown the Shah. You can overthrow the Ayatollah. Continue to push. Use the season to your advantage. Use the environment to your advantage.

Rally at night, as well as in the day. Rally late at night and at early morning and at nightfall. When the government will have much more trouble preventing you from congregating and assembling. Rally in shifts if you have to do so. And at different locations. Exhaust the opposition.

Encourage market and work strikes.

Get your parents and the middle class involved in your effort. It’s their nation and liberty at stake too.

Develop new means of communications. Use word of mouth, use graffiti on walls, use paper and pen, and develop your own codes. So that you can communicate securely whenever you need and without fear. Exploit all available technologies, but do not just rely upon technologies that the government can disrupt. Also keep communicating in English when you smuggle out messages to the West. Sympathy is strong for you here and will only grow with admiration for your courage and strength.

Organize and attack specific targets that will hamper the government. But do not attack your fellow citizens or innocents. Instead recruit them to your cause. Grow your numbers to an unstoppable host.

When the time is right recruit the police and the military. Many of them are your relations, friends, or even direct family. They can and should be turned to support you.

Instead attack government communications systems and munition stores and transportation networks. Engage in effective sabotage.

Have strikes, prevent commerce from occurring, and continue to rally, march, and shut down fuel networks.

Do not look at this as a defensive action. Instead think of what you can do to actively sabotage and cripple your government while making more and more of your fellow citizens your allies and supporters. Do not stop now. If you give in now then the government will just arrest, try, and imprison or kill many of you. You’re all the way in now, do not turn back though it take weeks or even months to win.

Organize and develop effective and good leadership. Elect leaders and substitute and back-up leaders in the case that your first set of leaders are injured, arrested, out-of-action, or killed.

You need effective Plans. You need a definite Goal and a set of real objectives. Once the revolution is won then you will have to build a new government for the people and by the people and of the people. You also need new routes of movement, and new systems of communications that are your own. So that you can not only win, but also build a new nation afterwards.

You need persistence and this is the perfect time and the perfect season and the best opportunity you have ever had to achieve what you wish, liberty, prosperity, justice, and a real future worth having.

You will have to take what you want but you are all well educated, smart individuals. Use what you know. Exploit where you have advantage. Where there is an obstacle, adapt and overcome. Find a way over, under, or behind any obstruction or opposition.

And screw what your government says, screw what my government and president fails to say. We are with you and you can do this. But you will have to be smart, and organized, and effective, and persistent, and courageous.

You are all of those things.

Now prove it. Don’t forget that the American Revolution was fought by and achieved by the efforts of a relatively small percentage of the population. And yet you young Iranian men and women are 3/5ths of the entire population of your nation. Bring them all in on your side. Win the Hearts and Minds of your fellow citizens. Then you will have victory, real and unfettered victory.

Now Godspeed and God be with you.
And He will be if you don’t give up.
God gives victory to the determined and the courageous.

We are with you too.
Until this is finished.
In the right way.


Meaning, to your advanatge.



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Thursday, June 18, 2009

AN IRAN FOR FREE MEN AND WOMEN

Go you magnificent young boys and girls! Go you Free Iranian Men and Women!


I know you can do it.

Yes, we are watching here, from America. We watch you here in the United States. I watch you, my buddies watch you, and my children are watching you. Gladly.

You have courage; this is your moment in history.

Do not back down. Not today, not ever. Bring those bastards to their knees.

Pressure, every day, more pressure. More liberty, more courage, more of you and what you are proving.

You can do it. You will do it if you don’t hesitate. If you won’t stop.

Victory will be yours.

Eventually the police will side with you. Eventually the military will side with you.

The mullahs will flee your nation just like the Shah did.
I’ve waited a long time to see this. So have you. Don’t falter now, we’re with you. It’s your Revolution now. It’s your nation now.

Take it!

And God Almighty I’m proud of you guys!

Take it and be free, and we are with you.
You’re an example to us all.

Now fight til you win dammit!!!
FIGHT TIL YOU WIN!



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