Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Call to Arms, 2017. Part Five: The Village

I live in a small town on the edge of Boulder County. It's a town of about 90,000 people. I realize that it may not be considered a small town in the broadest sense, it is a small town to me. There are plenty of advantages to being in a small town, and there are some drawbacks and there are fortunes as well as misfortunes.

My town is bordered on all sides by countryside. There are wide expanses to the north of where we live, also to the east and south. The south end of town nearly tickles the few towns down the line and eventually the sprawling mass of Denver just beyond that. To the west, the Rocky Mountains which are a mere 7 miles away. It's dark here at night, and I like that. I live on the north end of town and as I drive up Frances Street toward home, I'm met with darkness where the town ends in a final cadence of street lamps. The view reminds me of the Middle East. Just darkness looking north. Actually a great deal of what I see here both day and night remind me of the Middle East. I was reminded today that this Friday, February 24th will be the 26 year anniversary of when we invaded Iraq.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Call to Arms, 2017. Part Four: Reading

I have labored under the assumption that our time has becoming increasingly limited with all the twenty-four hour conveniences and constant connectivity. I think the instant information and the fast food has, for some reason, made our time dwindle or disappear outright. I have very little scientific reasoning for this, only observation.

On a vacation years ago, on Texas's Gulf Coast, Galveston I think, I was spending my morning drinking coffee and reading a book at a picnic table. This was a long time ago, before smartphones. We were camped, as it were, on a concrete pad and in a travel trailer. My neighbor, another RV camper was out too. He was furiously fussing with a small satellite dish. The breeze from the Gulf was refreshing. Seagulls were cacophonous. I had my paperback on the table top. My neighbor huffed toward me. “Are you having trouble with your satellite reception?” he asked. “No,” I said. “I can't get the damn thing to work,” he said. “No,” I said. He huffed away. I don't know if he got the thing to work or not. I mean, what the hell was he going to watch on the tv? I didn't even have electricity. The situation still confounds me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Call to Arms, 2017. Part Three: The Mind, the Pen and the Wherewithal of Self-Reliance

I can blame all of my social thought on one thing. It's this: what goes on around me is not the way I feel inside. I mean, I live in a small, but congested town. I work, very part time, in a restaurant. I am forced to mix with people, and the more this happens, the more I lose all faith in humanity. Couple all of this with recent political events and the way events are packaged to us via news outlets and of course I have certain social thought.

I see the world with a Kaizen lens. I also see the world like my BMW 2002. Kaizen is the practice of self improvement via small but significant changes. For instance if you're fat, take the stairs instead of the elevator. This is a small change, next you'll stop eating processed food, start making your own meals with whole ingredients, sell your big suv for a small car or no car, stop watching tv and start reading. But it all started with the decision to take the stairs. The BMW 2002? I owned that car many, many years ago. I am not a good mechanic. Anything that squeaked, rattled or annoyed me on that car I simply removed. It's amazing how much you can take off of a car and it will still go and stop. I treat my life in the same way, on both points.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Call to Arms, 2017. Part Two: The Economy is Very Local

I have a neighbor who baffles me in just about every way. This neighbor taxes my imagination and my patience. This neighbor is the exact reason why I am so critical of just about every one of my countrymen. Before I go further, please know that I am not judgmental, to each his own. Also, let it be known that we need all types of people to make up the fabric of life. Last, please know that if everyone lived the way I do, modern civilization would not exist.

When I think about economy I think of one of three things. The first is Adam Smith and the classical economic debate. In a nutshell, Smith tells us that economics is the continuum of unlimited human desires overlaid on limited resources. Again, this a paraphrase, and I think it's true. The second thing I think about is the ninth point of the Boy Scout Law, A Scout is Thrifty. The tenth edition of the Boy Scout Handbook says this about it: A scout works to pay his way and to help others.
He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property. 
I know that not everyone has had the benefit of Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations. I know that not everyone has been a Boy Scout.

Sadly, I know that not everyone has read Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Walden is the third point of my thoughts on Economy. Thoreau did not pay his taxes because he did not believe in the Fugitive Salve Act nor did he believe in the war with Mexico. What if I don't believe in building walls or banning people from predominately Muslim countries, should I forgo paying taxes? Political leanings aside, Thoreau wanted more time to spend in nature, which was the basic fundamental belief with Transcendentalism. Thoreau outlines how he spent his money and his time in the chapter “Economy” which I think is well worth the read.