Despite all the high paid pundits and bloviators, 2010 was NOT a national disaster. Roubini, Meredith Molotova and that ilk were wrong. The stock markets made good gains. The economy stopped going down. Unemployment stopped going up. Massive new defaults have NOT occurred. The corporate bond market rallied hugely. The commercial real estate market stabilized and has rallied some.
Not all is good.
Housing prices are bouncing along the ground: no rebound is in sight, but price levels are rather affordable so further large drops will likely be temporary foreclosure rinses.
Europe is still sorting out possible solutions ... and ignoring the obvious solution, viz. becoming a United States of Europe.
Farmers & miners are making fine profits after decades of suffering; and people are griping about that.
Congress continues to be a comedy show ... or is it a cage match? No serious debate occurs regarding what kind of nation we want to be and become.
Obama is playing in Hawaii; he's now had two years in office and has shown zero ideas or leadership.
The Republicans want to turn the financial and corporate Vikings loose to raid on all of us.
The Democrats wants to turn all of us into government employees.
Neither party talks about a vision - an eschaton - for America in the 21st century.
How can "reform" or "change" be discussed rationally without knowing the end point for our path? How can "reform" or "change" be discussed rationally without knowing where we are now?
Our "leaders" have lost their way. Is any Teddy Roosevelt or Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan on the horizon? Nope. Those people has visions of where they wanted to lead the nation; they had good understanding of what the problems were in their time.
I will give you two metaphors for a paradigm of what America need to do.
First, from John Bunyan's great book, Pilgrim's Progress. The pilgrim recognized the problems where he was and knew where he wanted to go, viz. to the great city of salvation. He struggled along a path with many, many traps and pitfalls and evildoers. This book was read by the great leaders who created and saved America: Franklin, Washington, Lincoln. Its allegory applies now.
Second, from science and the work of Richard Feynman (cf. the book, A Path Integral Approach to Quantum Mechanics or his seminal paper, Feynman, R. P. (1948). "The Space-Time Formulation of Nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics". "Reviews of Modern Physics" 20: 367–387. A particle - ANY particle, with its beginning and end states set, combines all possible paths (and I do mean all - over all of space and time) to take the optimal path.
The metaphors here are definitive, spanning faith AND science: The US people - and especially its leaders - must study where we are and have vision where we want to be, and then choose the optimal path. We must combine epistemology - the study of knowledge - with ontology, the study of being - to find our path. True leadership does not come from the technocracy; it's not from technology. It's not from sloganeering. Good Leadership - the adjective is crucial - is really applied metaphysics: it applies knowledge of where we are and where we want to be in the future, then chooses the optimal path.
All these ideas are from the classics of the past 2,000+ years: Aristotle, Bunyan, Feynman. They knew these concepts that drive both the physical world and the world of the minds of men. We don't have to invent them; all we - the people - have to do is read, learn and do. Three little action verbs have the answers.
Read, learn & do.
Next year I will start with a series of posts on reform.
Word of the Day
"Zaftig" - adjective [$100] slang
Zaftig means 1. (of a woman) having a pleasantly plump figure; 2. full bodied, well proportioned. [from Yiddish 1935-40 literally juicy, succulent]
Sentence: That great beauty of the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe, had a zaftig build that modern culture might regard as fat. That's just wrong. Men - heterosexual men - are hard wired to like curves. The modern culture of excessive thinness is learned behavior from the fashion magazines that have been dominated by gay designers, who prefer boyish figures, for decades. That culture needs to be rejected; it harms young women and causes much unhappiness and pain as people try to do the unnatural. Some fat is good.