Thinking Citizen Blog — Saturday is Justice, Freedom, Law, and Values Day
Today’s Topic — Upon Request: “Moral Autobiography” (Part Two)
Last time, the story of a devout Catholic boy (1953–1967), a conscientious objector and Marxist (1967–1977), and a conflicted young adult (1977–1980). Today, the sequel. Please share your “moral autobiography.”
1980–2004 — FATHERHOOD, A NEW CAREER, AND THE POLITICAL HIATUS
1. Fatherhood and the demands of learning the ropes of a new career left little time for politics.
2. Work as a foreign exchange trader and investment analyst did require paying some attention to political risk, but apart from that, no time spent on it.
3. I may not have voted at all during this period. I honestly can’t remember.
1984 -PRESENT — THE IMPORTANCE OF ECONOMIC LITERACY
1. As an historian, I had zero clue about how the real world worked. Zero clue of how businesses worked. Zero clue about the interplay of economics and psychology.
2. Without such an understanding, judgments with respect to taxation, spending, and regulation are based on prejudice.
3. No civic literacy without economic literacy. No economic literacy without financial literacy. No financial literacy without business literacy.
NB: A real economist looks at all costs to all players over all time horizons. To understand the meaning of justice requires understanding the long term economic and psychological costs of the best-intentioned of policies (eg. the minimum wage)
2014 — PRESENT — THE PRIMACY OF GRATITUDE AND THE DAILY KATRINA
1, “Gratitude is not only the first of the virtues, but the parent of all the others.” (Cicero) I came across this sentence in 2014 or thereabouts. For some reason, I fixated on it. If it’s true, it’s the most important sentence ever written. And I decided it is in fact true. But this was not something I was ever taught in school. I should spread the word.
2. Son of an immigrant, I have been obsessed with the “American dream” since birth. About the time I discovered the primacy of gratitude, I came up with a definition of the American dream which to me is better than any other I have ever come across with: that every child born reaches their full potential for joy, productivity, and responsibility. A dream for America. And the world. Definitions matter. A lot. My duty is to spread the word.
3. To realize that dream, a child needs three things: a supportive, nurturing community, family, and school. The biggest gap between the dream and American reality is that 10 to 20 MM children are living a daily reality, a “Daily Katrina,” of unsafe streets, second rate schools, and unstable homes, And no politician of either major party is giving these kids the attention they deserve.
NB: So I launched a political party that does put those kids first. And ran for US Senate on that program. And two years later the party is still a party of one.
Next Time: Final installment: the Thinking Citizen website, the Education First Party, and the 2018 Campaign for US Senate.
For the last three years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to justice, freedom, the law or basic values. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to justice, freedom, the law, or basic values. Or just some random justice-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make someone’s day. Or to cement in your mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart.