Now we might have been better off
Or owned a bigger house
If Daddy had done more givin’ in
Or a little more backing down
But we always had plenty
Just living his advice
Whatever you do today
You’ll have to sleep with tonight
He’d say you’ve got to stand for something
Or you’ll fall for anything
I don’t just have arguments against what’s wrong, I have ideas for how to fix it. I’ll reveal what I have in mind at the end of the series, but this post will plant the seed.
America has been conditioned to live by constraints.
I never got on board
You’ve gotta be out of your mind on a mission to pull off what I did below in the time that I did it.
Almost everyone thought I was crazy for even thinking it was possible — and central to that belief was that they they weren’t thinking about how you would go about it.
This table & chairs wasn’t a woodworking project — it was more like manufacturing.
I still remember where I was standing in this shop as a sophomore — and being mesmerized as I watched a student carve those drawer faces with a grinder. He was Michelangelo in my eyes, as this was way beyond woodworking — this guy was a sculptor.
I knew right then and there, I had to do something special — something no one had ever done before.
I couldn’t do freehand like that, but I was on fire with inspiration — and that’s all I needed.
Inside of 60 seconds, my life would never be the same.
When I accomplished the seemingly impossible, the judges couldn’t wrap their minds around it — how one kid could pull this off. And my turnings were so accurate that they assumed I used a copy crafter, which was against the rules.
I had never even seen one.
And all that — was after we had to fight the committee just to enter the competitions in the first place (Regionals and State).
Well we don’t have a category for you . . .
I’ve been fighting that same mindset ever since.
Even though I was within the allotted floor space, some genius told us to bring the table and one chair only — with a Polaroid of the set to place on top to judge by.
“Are you out of your #!*&%-@+$ mind?”
$*#% ’em — we brought the whole set anyway.
The blankness I faced then is the same blankness I face now.
They screwed me — but it turned into a gift that’s never stopped giving. It’s a long story, but there’s one line on the The Yellow Brick Road that captures it all:
I learned early on in life that what you want gets in the way of what you see
I’m fascinated by the wonder of when a person takes that first step that defines who they become. My construct of consideration began in April 1988: One moment of truth that set the foundation for all that followed.
That teacher didn’t need a letter or a lecture, just a look and a few choice words.
He revealed something I couldn’t see, as I was blinded by my disgust in being so royally wronged — again.
The bigger picture is a beautiful thing — as your interests can be served in ways you wouldn’t have imagined had you gotten what you wanted.
Took me a few years to figure it out in full, but the world would never look the same once I did.
Since I was 16 years old, I’ve never not been pursuit of some big goal. I could spend days talking about what I was chasing and why, but without including all the people who helped shape those pursuits and define their successes, you’d never know the whole story.
You know what it feels like to have your wrists strapped into safety cables to prevent your hands from being smashed in a press? 18 years old, future in doubt, substellar grades, grimy job, and surrounded by lovely people going nowhere.
Felt like opportunity to me
I could see it as being boxed in by my restraints — or make the most of my surroundings by defining them however I choose. There’s a shift quota — something to meet, something to break, or something to smash.
It was a bit rough going when I first arrived. I was in the same town but I might as well have been on the moon.
I didn’t mind the environment at all. I liked the people and my supervisor named Shelby — and I was thrilled to land that job at $7.70/hr. But what was in store for my future weighed heavily on my mind. The company had hired on a bunch of students right out of high school as a stopgap, but cutbacks were being made as the weeks went by.
I was a little slow to start — especially on the spot-welder. I would back up every time the spatter fired back at me (which was ridiculous since I was draped in protective gear).
So one day Shelby stops by to let me know that they had to make some more cuts — but that I wasn’t on the list. She looked right at me and said . . .
I’m keeping you because you’ve got heart and I know you’ll come around.
She might as well have been God, and from that moment on — I was on a mission. Mind you, my newfound purpose wasn’t about keeping my job — it was to honor the grace and golden opportunity I had been given.
THAT — is what real leadership looks like.
By the end of the summer, I was one of only two students left from the batch hired on after high school.
To be fair, the small-parts department got hit harder than where I worked, but I had more than earned my way to stay.
That last line is one of the most instructive aspects of the story. While “one of only two students left” is true — that fact alone is misleading without including how each department was impacted.
What does that matter?
Because people you practically pledge allegiance to — make millions taking tidbits of information and framing them in a way that fabricates false conclusions.
That’s exactly what Sowell’s “Said so and so” horseshit is right here — and My Cousin Vinny’s analogy could not be more spot-on for how people pull this stunt.
He’s gonna show you the bricks. He’ll show you they got straight sides. He’ll show you how they got the right shape. He’ll show them to you in a very special way, so that they appear to have everything a brick should have . . .
But there’s one thing he’s not gonna show you.
When you look at the bricks from the right angle, they’re as thin as this playing card. His whole case is an illusion, a magic trick.
What was your argument on how a rotor with a 3mm wall could maintain 90,000 RPM to make highly enriched uranium?
And what did all your pals have to say in the talking-points parade:
- Repeat slogans: “Everybody believed Iraq had WMD”
- Question people’s motives: Bush hater, Bush basher, Bush Derangement Syndrome, Plamegate & plenty more. Adding to the arsenal of childish crap to continue the tradition: Snowflake, Libtard, Libturd, Cupcake, TDS, Demoncrat, Democrat Party
- Bold assertions: Russians said so, British said so, Bill Clinton said so, Leaders of both parties said so . . .
Never mind that those assertions are meaningless — just like these:
No coherent argument, Repeat slogans, Vent their emotions, Question people’s motives, Bold assertions . . .
Not a trace of his “follow the facts” claim to fame can be found on the biggest and most costly lie in modern history.
Remember what I wrote about good faith having a grace period?
That ship sailed long ago
But because the Left provides a piñata for the Facts Over Feelings parade, people like Sowell can forever pounce — creating an impression about themselves that simply doesn’t square with their record.
For the defenders of the indefensible — God can’t make square circles, but you think you can.
We all grew up on the idea of that the shapes had to fit. Somewhere along the way, you decided that you could just believe that they do.
I worked at Whirlpool all through college — including working full-time on a 3rd shift for a portion of that first year. I had to earn my way into Purdue by going part-time for 2 semesters.
I’d come walking into English 102 half dead from working all night, and my teacher took notice.
He took me under his wing and forever altered my future.
Alas, he didn’t learn a damn thing from me when it mattered most:
That’s an incredibly Pollyannaish viewpoint. Even a cursory look at the evidence smacks of political hackery, so it’s ludicrous to suggest that all these agencies were just acting in good faith. — Richard W. Memmer
I was always looking for ways to improve the place. So I came up with this idea below — and they made a big deal about it. I appreciated the accolades and attention, but solving the problem was my goal — not the perks for being a passionate employee.
That principle of purity in purpose — was founded on what happened in high school. I was robbed of what was rightly mine, and when I didn’t get it — I found I didn’t need it.
And out of that, I have led a life of freedom that few will ever find.
I became frustrated when they praised me for a tool that they didn’t bother training people to use. When I asked a supervisor about that, he said, “The reason it didn’t take off is because it wasn’t developed by a team.”
That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.
Fast forward a few years, and I was back in the plant visiting some people. I walked by that station and was delightfully amused by what I found.
You know the hoses on the back of your washing machine. We had to put those into bags that automatically fed from a roll. The problem was that it was difficult to wrap them tightly enough to slip into the bag (so the perforation would often break — which was a real hassle).
So one night I was sitting there thinking, “If I had a jig to wrap these things around, the coil would be nice and tight — and I’d drop it into the bag with ease.”
It worked — smooth as silk. I could crank out 4 times as many as anyone else and not break a single bag.
But somebody asked the question I never thought to:
What if we just use a bigger bag?
I was so preoccupied with the challenge of solving the problem within the existing constraints, that it never dawned on me to question whether or not we could change them.
Had he put that “team” together instead of paying lip service to it — maybe somebody would have thought of it years before.
And I’d be the first to say, “That’s a better idea — let’s go with that.”
This nation has no such notion
You’re all operating within self-imposed constraints — and even when someone has a better idea, it’s not weighed on whether or not it would work — it’s considered or dismissed based on cost/benefit to your own interests.
Never mind that those interests would be better served in the long run.
My idea for the homeless in Cruel To Be Kind exemplifies how party-line pettiness poisons everything. You’ll drag that epidemic out forever in order to comfort those you keep in misery — rather than do the difficult and raise them from the squalor you provide.
How can we flagrantly ignore such words of wisdom that were written for us to flourish?
Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it’s not working, you remain glued to your approach.
And why not, it’s The American Way — and we’re a mighty-proud people.
They are not aware when life asks them a question
I’ve always been aware
I can’t speak for what Purdue is like now — but back in my day, I had a political science teacher named Yasmin who was a purist in her purpose. She made an impression on me right off when she told us that she doesn’t vote — as a means to not harbor any political leanings in her teaching.
I immensely admire that.
I respected her passion, objectivity, and desire to make the material as enjoyable as possible. While I always did pretty well on my papers, I fell short a time or two on the exams, so I was on the border for getting an “A” in the class.
I knew the final paper would put me over the edge, and I was dead set on making that happen.
But when I got my paper back on Nazi Germany, I discovered that she had given me a “B” — decorating my paper with a lot of red ink to point out my mistakes.
I was not too happy about it and went to her office hours to talk it over. I wasn’t angry, but I wanted to raise my objections.
We went over every single item, and while I disagreed with her here and there, on the whole she made quite a convincing case. By the end of the discussion — she could tell I was still frustrated and said . . .
If you still think that you deserve an ‘A’ on the paper, I will give it to you.
That concession would have meant an “A” in the class, and in so doing provided a boost to my lackluster GPA. But here we go again with another moment of truth.
Without hesitation I replied, “I’ll take the ‘B’”
To accept the “A” would have been tantamount to disrespecting Yasmin and everything I had learned in her wonderful class — making it more about a grade than the value of the knowledge.
Don’t tell me that “college isn’t the ‘real world’” — everything is about how you approach it.
I had my shortcomings in school, but when it came to papers, group projects, presentations, debates, and so on — I tackled it all with great care and sincerity.
Even though I needed that “A” and worked hard for it, it wasn’t good enough — so I didn’t earn it.
It doesn’t get any more real than that!
Some might ask, “What does it say about her that she was willing to give you an ‘A’?”
I think she knew I wouldn’t take it — and was testing me.
I know how great teachers operate — and they have a sense about these things. It’s a risk, but great educators have a knack for knowing when it’s worth it.
What do you think I’ve been doing with my criticism of Thomas Sowell all this time? I’m not here to entertain myself by nailing this guy to the wall — I’m trying to get through to this man’s soul.
I want him to find the courage to come clean:
I was wrong — Iraq was a lie and I miserably failed to follow the facts
It’s impossible to overstate the impact of such a statement from someone of his stature. To be sure, his friends would beat the hell out of him at first — but my money says Sowell could clean their clocks.
Owning up to that unconscionable fraud would be worth far more than had he done the right thing in the first place.
We’re talking about the catalyst for a national conversation this country has never seen.
But hey, why bother turning the tide when you’ve got the image of a “national treasure”?
I don’t like what Thomas Sowell writes because he validates anything. I like what he writes because it is undeniably the truth and it makes sense. If you think it’s not true, where is your evidence?
I’ll be waitin’ till hell freezes over for that guy to consider the mountain of evidence I offer — same goes for everyone in that crowd.
The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence we have specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, we would expect the belief to be maintained and the believers to attempt to proselyte or to persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.
The claim we hold is as good as gold, bonanza
Hand in hand we built this land, the Ponderosa Ranch
Our birthright is this Cartwright bonanza
We here belong, and standing strong, wrong ain’t got a chance
Day by day, work or play, ready side by side
Hello friend, come on in, the gate is open wide
Bound to be a fightin’ free bonanza
Singing pines of boundary lines for the Ponderosa Ranch