Constitutionally Right

The only way to predict the future is to create it.

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Location: Yardley, PA (Bucks County), United States

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Brave New World - Philly Burbs

I have a sense that the recent challenges in my own business are similar to those experienced in most organizations. I began my independent orthopaedic sales business 20 years ago that almost completely fell apart 3 years ago.
I initially did what many are doing which is to blame the economy and business climate, but the truth is that I was searching for business that didn’t exist anymore. Without boring you with details I spent the last 3 years trying everything with varying degrees of success. This deep-digging period of reinvention has led to a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
The light’s still a little ways off, but its spark is deeply rooted in how to serve others better than ever and by doing more with less. We serve ourselves best when we put the needs of others before our own.
The answers that many are looking for get even more elusive when we blame the prosperous and/or look to government for a solution. The “occupiers” on Wall Street, City Hall in Philly and other venues all over the nation remind me of the large numbers of students protesting Apartheid at Penn State during my sophomore year. I hadn’t a political bone in my body and had no idea what Apartheid was, but was curious about the sea of mock graves, banners and the like. Not one protester could tell me why they were carrying on like maniacs. I was truly interested, but luckily there was a very comprehensive article in the paper the very next day that answered all of my questions.
This leads to the one thing in politics today that should be more effectively addressed. Everyone’s running around saying that they’ll create this job or that job. Really? The notion of “job creation” only focuses on the employee as if the end-game is having a job. What about the job itself? Employment is a mutual exchange of valuable labor and pay. The entire argument does little more than to perpetuate the entitlement mentality that’s taking down the nation. Job creation is a “What’s in it for me?” discussion which would have a much better result if addressed as “What’s in it for us all?” or “What can I offer to others?”.
Economic growth is a result of everyone working together in a productive exchange of labor, innovation and investment. Free markets are a perfect machine that serves us all better than anything else ever could. They are void of blame, self-pity, government interference and political manipulation. And, above all, free markets are pure honesty.
Of course we’re pretty far away from a free market, but we can still do the best we can regardless. Take the healthcare industry for example. The patient ultimately is not in charge which is why everything is paid at prices that don’t reflect real environments. This can easily lead to a $60 aspirin or $100,000 knee replacement and inefficiency of epic proportions. Just think what we could do if we were to craft an environment where people made their own decisions. For some reason I’m a bit optimistic that the day is coming.
Another example is high-frequency-trading where complex mathematical algorithms determine what stocks to buy by the millions and then sell in a matter of seconds or less. This sort of manipulative modeling seems to be inconsistent with real market conditions and may create a series of damaging ripple effects. A little regulation here, if done correctly, might be in order, but typical knee-jerk reactions need to be resisted in favor of honest investigation and resolve.
We could endlessly go on and on, but should really start with ourselves. What would happen if every one of us pursued the best ways to participate and contribute? The right answers are definitely in there even if they don’t immediately jump out. Many of us constantly readjust and reinvent to changing environments while others are stuck in old, outdated and irrelevant models. Success isn’t easy, but anything worthwhile rarely is. Reward and difficulty tend to go hand-in-hand which would imply that challenges are the vehicle of prosperity and are to be embraced. They force us to search hard for the best answers possible that often come after considerable failure.
We’ve tried the “all government all the time” approach (with predictable results). Let’s try something different and stop it with all of the politics. It seems as though to many of us wish to be deceived, but we’re better than that and can do much better.
A return to what made us who we are would be a great start.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Who's Asking? - Philly Burbs

I wonder what the response would be if all homosexuals in the military were asked what they thought of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal. My educated guess is that 9 out of 10 (or more) would speak of a strong desire to serve their country and not so much of a need to express their sexuality.
Gays in the military never came up in my almost 5 years of full-time Marine Corps active duty. Making it an issue never even entered into anyone’s consciousness. There’s a good chance that it was because no one really cared.
This whole thing started when a Naval Aviator felt the need to come out of the closet during the Clinton years. President Clinton took this on as his pet project for some reason. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was the end result with an initial burst of military-wide sensitivity training (followed by a lot of good people leaving the new “gay” military).
Don’t get me wrong - I’m first in line when someone offers a pesto, avocado and sprout sandwich, but the military is no place for a gay-pride event. The military is a place where men are men. They tape pictures on their wall lockers of their girlfriends or wives, speak of things that young men speak of and eat, sleep and train together 24/7. Painting a picture of a dude in a Speedo on a jet fighter just doesn’t work in this environment.
Sure, no one cares, but many of us out there can’t wrap our hands around the gay lifestyle. We don’t care and it’s fine, but many really don’t want it thrown in their face. Almost every homosexual in the military is OK with keeping it to themselves; they prefer it that way because they understand the inability of many to relate to their lifestyle. It’s not a bad thing - there’s just a time and place and the military isn’t it.
One might ask, then, why does this sort of thing even come up? Could it be a Congress that strives to demonstrate its tolerance? In my view the concept of “tolerance” is a big insult. It implies that there’s something inferior that needs to be tolerated which is inconsistent to the notion of all men and women created as equals; a notion that I personally subscribe to. It’s the bliss-ninnies of the world saying “Look at me. I’m so above it all. Yes, I am that smart and highly intellectual. I have supreme wisdom of all things and you must listen to me.”
Well, I disagree and recommend that the military develop and implement their own policies. It’s always been OK to be gay in the military, but a demonstration of homosexuality is a disruption to good order and discipline. The real gay community knows, understands and respects this. It’s just the way it is and won’t be changing probably ever and the current course will, as usual, have a negative long-term impact on many levels.
At this time I’d like to ask Congress to allow the military to be the military and stop distracting them with nonsense. The military does an infinitely better job of managing itself than Congress does of managing much of anything, so just stop it. Seriously. And if you disagree with me then you’re probably not gay, but are just walking around with a chip on your shoulder constantly looking for ways to be offended and I don’t like you. Your misplaced agenda has nothing to do with military service; unlike our gay military personnel whose only agenda is to serve our nation. Now go away.