Aphorisms and Letters The Grand Experiment—What Went Wrong? A Layman’s Interpretation HTML version

The rising crime rate remains a hot button issue with each party pointing the finger of blame at the other. The exponential increase in
felonious crime (396 percent since 1960) covering the last eight (8) presidencies begs the question, which party stands accused of
benign (urban) neglect that has reduced America‘s once thriving metropolitan centers to urban playgrounds and sandboxes? Although
poverty has certainly been a contributing factor to our nation‘s urban malaise, it doesn‘t completely define the phenomenon. From an
economic standpoint, even the poorest segments of society are incomparably better off financially than at the turn of the last century.
The problem as I see it centers on rising expectations. Wholesale improvement in our (collective) standard of living has failed to keep
pace with our insatiable appetites driven less by what we lack or perceive is lacking rather than an envious desire of having what other
people have for the sake of having it. In addition, our collective failure to properly distinguish between equality of opportunity and
equality of results has produced an entitlement mindset. Everything else being equal, differences in aptitude and talent, motivation,
values and (ingrained) habits, health or the lack of, not to mention accident and chance are all contributing factors to financial
success. Finally, there exist among us incorrigibles; so-called enemies of society; sociopaths who commit acts of wanton violence not
for (economic) gain but rather for perverse enjoyment. This last group, in particular, appears to be growing at an alarming rate.
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The expression ?Tickle Down Economics? has come under assault in recent years by liberal economists and socialists of a Keynesian
persuasion as ?pernicious? to the functioning of a well ordered society. It is often referred to by its liberal critics as ?Voodoo
Economics? although I cannot possibly imagine how any clear-thinking individual could possibly argue against economic policies that
have occasioned ninety-six months of unprecedented (economic) growth and the return of economic prosperity after nearly two
decades of high inflation and unemployment. I suppose it all depends on one‘s point of view. Nevertheless, there remain skeptics
among us, including, unfortunately, so-called moderates who (should) know better but, for expediency sake, are hoping to score
political points by maintaining that our thriving economy has left far too many people behind and that the ?poorer? classes continue
expanding at an ?unprecedented? rate, with the more militant among them continue equating our nation‘s economic climate with the
Great Depression. Such hysteria fails to refute what recent experience has confirmed: that a (far) greater number of people embracing
a variety of individuals and (ethnic) groups are presently enjoying the highest standard of living in nearly two decades. The poor, of
course, will always be among us. The emphasis on a sound economic policy, however, should be on Movement. Statistical
measurements are merely snapshots in time of individuals or individuals falling within certain groups (or classes) at a fixed point in
time (and space). Statistics, properly understood, are constant, although the essential ?components? of statistical measurements,
considered separately, oftentimes vary. Everything else being equal, an individual or an individual within a certain group (or class)
who is poor, however defined, at a given point in time, like today for example, may not necessarily be classified as poor next year or
next month or next week or tomorrow for that matter as the (economic) condition of that particular individual or individual within a
certain group (or class) will generally vary over time. Economic indicators report raw data, such as the unemployment rate at a
particular point in time. These indicators neither measure movement nor track the (economic) success of a particular individual or an
individual falling within a certain group (or class) at a certain point in time. That is to say, these indicators do not necessarily measure
the same people at different points of time in their lives but rather extract abstracts of such people understood in terms of (statistical)
numbers. They oftentimes fail to account for individuals or individuals within a certain group (or class) who have risen above their
present economic condition superseded by others. In this manner, it could be argued that statistical methods measure individuals or
individuals within a certain group (or class) at a fixed point in time however do not necessarily measure movement as it relates to time
and space; that is to say; they do not measure the same people at different points in their lives. Therefore, immigrants, for example,
entering the country in search of economic opportunity, or those lacking skills and/or formal education are likely to be situated among
the lower social and economic strata. Whether an individual chooses to live as a member of his or her own ethnic group or (or class) or
as an outsider among members of another (ethnic) group is irrelevant. The greatest number, however, must invariably gravitate
towards the lowest (economic and social) stratum. In time however, given a proper work ethic coupled with favorable economic
opportunities, most should improve their social and economic standing. Economic assimilation, if history is any indication, has been a
brilliant success in light of the many people from various ethnic backgrounds and races who continue to migrate to our shores either as
individuals or as individuals within a certain group (or class) in search of a better life for themselves and their families. We should
have cause for alarm, however, if over an indefinite period of time, the same individual or individual within a certain group (or class)
were locked-in a cycle of poverty without recourse to a better life, which appears to be the case with some groups. This anomaly,
however, should be considered a by-product of social engineering courtesy of big government beginning with the Great Society which
I will treat later on.
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How unfortunate that life is not (immediately) self-correcting and that many of us must often suffer the inevitable consequences of our
own determinate actions or non-actions as the case may be. When we are willing to learn from our mistakes, however, and become a
better person as a result of our experience, perhaps our oversights and/or lapses in judgment will have hopefully served some useful
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I would like to say a word or two about term limits. Troubling as the continuation of mediocre leadership in government may seem to
some of us, should a politically capable and talented individual, who has diligently pursued and honestly fulfilled the requirements of
political office, be compelled to relinquish his or her seat by the imperatives of arbitrary laws rather than by free elections? Should
individuals who have (consistently) demonstrated high moral character, generosity and (political) courage be held to the same
standard(s) as another individual who is (either) morally or intellectually unfit for public office or has (otherwise) disgraced such