Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stuff I Thought I Knew

The list of things that I thought I understood but now realize that I’m clueless about continues to get longer. They include but are not limited to the following:

1. The assumption that under girds all of Western Civilization that in times of great crisis, the cream rises to the top. The notion that great leaders evolve out of the stress and tumult of great events providing steadiness and visionary leadership. Just a few examples would include Queen Elizabeth, and Winston Churchill from Great Britain, Charlemagne, Otto Von Bismarck and Martin Luther from Germany, and even (although I know this is a stretch) Charles De Gaulle from France. In our own country, in just 235 short years, our turbulent seas have brought forth Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Abe Lincoln, two Roosevelts etc..etc.. But in 2011 we are being governed by the three little pigs ( Obama, Geithner, and Bernanke ) and a host of incompetent boobs in Congress from the shrill and inept Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to the blandly uninspiring Republican trio of Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell and the creepy tan-in-a-can John Boehnor. Add to this the prospect of a 2012 presidential campaign of Obama vs. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and well, so much for assumption number 1.

2. I invest money for a living so I know all about the volatility of the stock market. I’m totally aware of the random walk theory of equity prices. I completely get the short term insanity that can sometimes grip investors. But when I see in one trading day the Dow go up 200 points, stay in that general range most of the day, then tank into negative territory in a matter of minutes after one of the Three Little Pigs referenced above opens their pie-holes, then in less than an hour skyrocket to finish up 429 points on the day I can only conclude that…somebody is screwing with us. There’s just something not quite random about this walk and it has me watching the skies for black helicopters.

3. As a Christian I have always believed that our faith was what made the ultimate difference in how we handled adversity. While certainly not exempting us from the vagaries of life, faith in Christ would allow us to accept any cruelty of circumstance that might one day come our way with grace and good cheer. As I have gotten older however I am increasingly seeing that ultimately it hasn’t made a measurable difference. We all get old and infirm and we all rail against the ravages of time with far less grace than many non-believers. For this reason I wish to die in a plane crash or some sky-diving accident or unfortunate bathroom incident before the anger and bitterness of growing old lays bare my lack of faith to my children.

4. Even though here in the West we like to indulge the sociologists among us with their dopey excuse making when it comes to violence and mischief-making by the underclass, I have always believed that this was simply an indulgence that could only thrive in times of relative peace. Surely if hoodlums actually went wild in the inner cities and started pillaging entire cities the grownups would wake up and impose order out of the chaos. But the past three days has seen bands of hooded punks literally burning down the great city of London and the ruling elites of that once great country have spent three days debating whether to deploy the “water-canon” to restore order, debating whether it was moral to fire rubber bullets at the mob. Politician after politician has risen up in Parliament to blame “budget cuts “ for the mayhem while the rest of England has watched gleeful teenagers balancing big screen TV’s on their shoulders stolen from burning stores with no police in sight. Have we actually come to the place where we lack even enough confidence to defend society from lawlessness?? Apparently so.