Good Men Must Have Latitude to Demonstrate Honorable Choices - The honorable man needs to feel he has real input to the people that craft the laws and regulations he lives by, and he has to feel he has decision making control over his behavior. He has to feel he has flexibility over his acts and the direction he gives his subordinates. He wants to be judged on the outcomes of his acts; not micro managed by rules and regulators in the process.
Therefore the laws governing the good man’s behavior must be made by legislators who answer to the good people that suffer (or prosper) under these laws. The most unacceptable structure is one where distant unreachable legislators pass all power over to a group of unelected regulators who in turn are able to write regulations that have the force of law. This situation is made far worse if these regulations micro manage the behavior of the good men and/or require detail record keeping, testing, specialization of duties, etc. to the point of depriving the good men of any significant latitude for their behavior.
Good people deprived of meaningful scope for their behavior gradually cease to be good citizens, and in time they become less than fully human. In response, they may vacate the heavily regulated arena, leaving it to be inhabited by lesser men who say to themselves “appear to follow all the rules and make as much money as possible injuring people along the way and then leave before anyone realizes what’s happened”.
Lately the new NASD/NYSE, a securities industry regulatory agency, has been discussing a transition to “principles based regulation” and “away from rules based regulation”.
Ideally the industry should get away from the “one size fits all” version of securities rules where each firm, whether huge or small, has the same 8000 pages of regulations.
However, these regulators are not proposing that large portion of the rules be canceled, rather they are proposing that examiners be given the latitude to judge the overall effort of the firm to follow some laudatory generalized principles. If the firm is judged to be “basically good” then they may get a pass on detail rules violations. If the firm is judged to be “shady” then the rule book is enforced to the letter to bring them “into compliance” or possibly put them out of business.
In fact, regulators have been operating more or less in this mode for decades, there is no brokerage firm in America that has followed (or could follow) all 8000 pages of rules. Every firm that has survived has depended upon the forbearance of some regulators, some of the time. Under this new approach the existing system will be more formalized with some new over arching general principles formalized and published around the industry.
If the rule book were trimmed down, this new regulatory system could resemble the civil law system in Continental Europe where the law being followed is expressed in brief terms and the judge in the court is given latitude in applying that law to the particular facts of the case. This system allows a particular set of facts to generate one result in one location and a different result in another location. The continental Europeans generally accept that this can and does happen.
In America the law is voluminous and detail filling libraries. The court is expected to apply the detail law with great particularity. The goal is to achieve correct, standardized results in all similiar cases. Of course, America’s court can’t and don’t fulfill this mandate because of: jury nullification, the unequal ability of attorneys to discover and present the law and facts to the court, and the financial inability of a party to fund an appeal from an improper ruling by a trial judge.
(prepared by Hugh Murray on 4/3/2007)
God Gave Man “Free Will” but “Free Will” Gave Man the Option to Sin - (Note: God’s basic relationship with man is discussed in Back To Basics, a Review of some Obvious (but often forgotten) Facts about the Natural Law found elsewhere in this web site at (gen_6a.html#e). This short essay is intended to be a continuation of certain threads of thought from that earlier essay.)
St. Valentines Day has come and gone, but the red hearts remain vivid in the nation’s collective memory. The word love is so overused and yet so important. Great acts of love come to mind. The soldier who saves his friends by falling on a live grenade, the parents who lovingly and with no complaint care for their polio paralyzed son, the nun in Calcutta who tends to the dying as they are brought in from the streets outside, etc. But there are even greater acts of love.
Think of God’s great love for man. He created a great universe for man to inhabit with time, space, plants, animals, a solar system, DNA, and myriad other things; all for man to investigate, explore and turn to his own uses. He seems to have done this in various ways using such things as “divinely directed evolution” for some things, great explosions for other things, and miraculous infusions of special characteristics for still others. For instance, when it was time for man to be separated from the animal kingdom, God evidently did this by the infusion of a soul along with self awareness and awareness of God. He created man with both a conscience and free will so each man might know the difference between “good” and “evil” and might further decide for himself whether to do “good” or “evil”. God loved each of these humans and he wanted each of them to respond by seeking God and doing “good”. Of course, there was a wholesale rejection of the “good” and even a pronounced preference for the “evil”, so God turned again to love to guide men back.
This time God sent Jesus to perform this second great act of love both for mankind, in general, and for each man, in particular. This man, Jesus, was/is said to be the Son of God by Christians, just a particularly good man by most Jews and Muslems. Regardless Jesus came to do two things: 1) He explained to man that God loves all men and that it was/is important to do “good” by loving God and helping other people, and 2) He suffered and died explicitly as an expiation for all the evil/sin that man had done (and continues to do) in this world. Jesus’ gruesome death is recorded in the histories of the time and serves as a perpetual reminder of God’s great love for man.
Neither of these acts of love have left the world without both physical and moral evil. Sickness besets man, hurricanes still destroy cities, bad men continue to rob, pillage and commit abortions, and all men on occassion find themselves falling short or, put more bluntly, sinning. However, now God has given man a way to deal with all this.
Regarding suffering, just as Jesus answered God’s call and took up his cross, men who are suffering are urged to offer their individual crosses up as smaller acts of love, to join with and participate in Jesus’ great act of love and suffering on His cross in Palestine 2000 years ago.
For those who have sinned, God urges them to ask forgiveness claiming part of the infinite supply of love and grace that Jesus earned by voluntarily dying on that cross 2000 years ago. (For Catholic and Orthodox Christians, the forgiveness comes explicitly through the sacrament of Reconciliation where a formal recitation of sins is followed by a formal statement of sorrow for those sins followed further by forgiveness of those sins being dispensed by an ordained priest who is acting in God’s place for the occasion. For other Christians, and those of other religious who hold Jesus in high regard, forgiveness is obtain by fervently praying that the sin in question be forgiven by God and that God provide special grace so sin might be avoided in the future.)
And so, as the Valentine paraphernalia is put away for another year, it is good to think of these two great acts of love by God and Jesus for the benefit of each man.. ................. (prepared by Hugh Murray on 4/5/2007)
The Imus Incident Causes Thoughtful People to Focus on Black America - The Don Imus’ attempt to get a laugh using black “hip hop slang” to describe a girl’s basketball team, cost him his show. Maybe an extreme penalty, but Imus is 66; perhaps its time for him to retire.
What about the larger question? How could black entertainers get away with popularizing lyrics that use such words to describe women?
America’s black communities, particularly teen age and young adult black males, are beset with deep problems:
-- Seventy percent of black children are born out of wedlock. The vast majority of black children have no positive male role models living in the home. Many young black men feel it is “ok” to father a child without taking any responsibility for the child.
-- The black community is bifurcated with the most intelligent, well educated 10% or 20% living apart from the bottom 80%or 90%. The natural future leaders of the black community are being systematically separated from these communities. Educational aptitude tests identify these future leaders and track them out and away to distant schools oftentimes never to return.
-- The black community is handicapped with a significantly lower average IQ than the rest of America. Charles Murray has estimated that the average black in America has15 points less IQ than the average American.
-- Most young black males are blessed with high energy levels and cursed with a shortage of moral judgement. The combination has led to flood of crime: some against property, some against persons, and some against each other. George Guilder once estimated that if laws were fully enforced, 90% of young black males in America would, at any point in time, be in jail, on parole or on probation. Recently some black gangs in St. Louis announced that they considered the police to be an “occupying army” in their neighborhoods. Accordingly these gangs have begun to take random sniper shoots at police officers on patrol.
-- Most poor blacks live in large, run down areas of America’s cities where anonymous anti-social conduct is immune to the informal social sanctions that tend to check early departures from acceptable norms. Blacks use to be located mostly in smaller communities where there were no strangers and where informal social sanction were effective at providing structure and discipline.
-- There are two ways to learn the skills needed for useful employment - “on the job” and “in school”. Blacks have a high drop out rate in school, but throughout history they have been quite good at “on the job” learning. They did it in farming, and later they did it in factories around America. Today farming is being automated, and factories are either being moved offshore or are being automated. “On the job” training has the double advantage of providing both structure to the worker’s day and the opportunity to advance as different jobs at the work place are mastered.
–- Black unemployment and black under-employment, particular among young black men, is 20%, 30% or 40%.
With all these depressing facts recounted, the question then is - What to suggest as remedies?
1) This situation requires that jobs that offer both advancement and structure as well as “on the job” training have to be created in America’s towns. These jobs can only be obtained by bringing America’s factories back from China, Indonesia, India, etc. The World Trade Organization might initially have trouble with such a proposal, but once the plight of our black citizens is explained, they should allow America to repatriate these jobs.
2) These factories should be spotted in small towns with the understanding that at least one third of the employees should be blacks imported from big cities. If a town wanted a factory, they would have to agree to recruit blacks.
3) Blacks with college degrees would be given a 5% cut on their federal taxes if they lived in a zip code with no more than 25% whites and where all adjacent zip codes were no more than 40% white. An additional 5% cut would also be available if the college educated black also works in such a zip code. This would bring some black leadership back to black neighborhoods. These leaders would insist on good police and schools, and their presence would encourage chain stores to again locate in black areas. Gradually these neighborhoods would improve and look better as the crimes against property declined.
4) Immigration from Mexico has to be controlled. American blacks are at a disadvantage competing against these immigrates. Mexican have strong family values, a bit more intelligence, and religious faith, these give them a tremendous advantage when competing against American blacks for jobs.
5) Many black churches deliver a truncated Christian message of unconditional love and mercy. Blacks need to receive a more complete messages of love, sin, forgiveness, mercy and justice. The reality and consequences of sin must be taught with clarity on the need for: a true sorrow, a fervent seeking of forgiveness, and a firm commitment not to sin again. In the absence of a strong family and a structured work situation, the only thing that can possibly steer young black man away from misbehavior is strong religious faith. Government should not interfere with churches. However, the National Council of Churches might offer programs for black pastors to train them in the importance of delivering the totality of the Christian message. The Catholic Church has many empty seminaries, perhaps these could be used to train black pastors in all the fundamentals of Christianity. Additionally, it is essential that young blacks be taught proper respect for women: women must respect themselves, and men must respect the special place of women. Blacks must be reminded that ever since Mary agreed to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, in other words, the Mother of God, women have held a special place of honor in the Christian world. These popular Hip Hop lyrics are totally at odds with a proper understanding of women.
................. (prepared by Hugh Murray on 4/23/2007)
Two Extraordinary Short Essays Appear in The American Conservative - The April 9th, 2007 edition of The American Conservative magazine contained two very informative articles on two very important but unrelated topics.
The first was the Deep Background column by Phillip Giraldi, a former CIA Officer. This column set out the degree of influence which Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have over the deliberations of the American Congress. The issue was whether or not the Congress would include in the Iraqi War supplement a clause which prohibited the President from attacking Iran without the prior approval of Congress.
Both Sen. Reid and Speaker Pelosi wanted this language in the bill but they found that Jewish lobbyist were absolutely opposed to any process which would forced the decision to attack Iran to be made in accordance with the war making provisions of the US Constitution.
Mr. Giraldi identified the several members of Congress as the principle opponents of open decision making regarding war and proper Constitutional order. These are Sen. Chuck Schumer. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Shelley Berkley, and Rep Gary Ackerman.
At the end of this essay Giraldi named two members that have introduced their own bills which would require Congressional approval before any attack is launched against Iran. These members are Sen. Jim Webb and Rep. Walter Jones. Their bills are languishing for lack of support by their fellow members. Evidently the Jewish pressure on all members of Congress is intense on this issue. Evidently Israel will go to any length to keep decision making about war with Iran away from America’s elected representatives.
The second short essay was written by Patrick Buchanan and was entitled We Don’t Live in Lake Wobegone. This essay sets out alarming facts about the American educational system in five areas:
+ a) current skills results of high school graduates in both math and reading,
+ b) mentions that 25% of white students and 50% of blacks and Hispanics drop out of high school,
+ c) discusses the distribution of IQ among students while pointing out that IQ can be measured in kindergarten but that there is no known way to raise IQ,
+ d) points out that trillions of dollars is being spent trying to educate low IQ students to achieve academic proficiency in math and reading which they can’t achieve (while failing to provide them with useful vocational training), and
+ e) not enough is being spent pushing brighter students to get their academic proficiency as high as possible.
Buchanan suggests that perhaps a trillion dollars has been wasted pursuing ill considered goals. The essay calls for a complete redesign of our educational system.
(Note: Before closing a few other key facts from this article should be presented:
Regarding proficiency of blacks and Hispanics graduating from high school:
+ 20% of Hispanic grads are proficient in reading while 16 percent of black grads are proficient in reading.
+ 10% of Hispanic grads are proficient in math while 6% of black grads are proficient in math.
+ After adjusting for drop out rates, one black in 33 is proficient in math and one black in eight is proficient in reading at age eighteen.
+ Buchanan credits two sources in his essay for his facts - the National Assessment of Educational Progress and Dr. Charles Murray, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute.)........... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 5/5/2007)
This page hopes to bring a common
sense, old fashioned view to today's news. The comments displayed
on this page were prepared by
Hugh V. Murray, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org