Celebrating the Fourth of July with Rush Limbaugh And Karl Marx

I remember the Fourth of July much the same as many of my readers. Fireworks used to be “firecrackers”.  Dad would find one of those traveling Fireworks stands in front of the local supermarket and purchase a collection of pyrotechnical joy for us.  I remember closing out  an evening of picnics and fireworks with the lit up stick that we would parade around and sword fight.   Then the night would be over and back to normal life, since dad usually had to work the next day. The Fourth isn’t much different today.    The usual grill-side conversations are about the history of America and the gratefulness we feel toward our troops.  While these are key to consider when celebrating our nation’s birthday, freedom as a treasured and delicate state need to be discussed with a sense of urgency.

McGill student vote mob 2011

McGill student vote mob 2011 (Photo credit: Adam Scotti)

Rush Limbaugh reincarnated Karl Marx’s use of the term “useful idiot” when he began discussing “low information voters” during the 2012 Presidential campaign.  Strange bedfellows, Marx and Limbaugh.  Rush points to a scary trend in today’s society.  As a ditto head myself (for those of you in Rio Linda, that means I like Rush).  You, however, can completely disagree with him and should still fear the growing power of the low information voter.

Low information “voter-itis” is a disease that slowly leads to Truth Decay and ultimately  destroys  freedom.

The low information voter believes everything he hears on TV, the radio, and especially the Internet. A Pencil is just a pencil to this person.  It fell out of the sky and into his pocket as the shiny and completed lead tipped tool he now holds.   It was never a tree that needed to be harvested, transported,  and packaged as pencil.  It never needed to be shipped to Staples with lights, air conditioning, plumbing (for when you run in haste to use their bathroom – please leave a quarter on the sink), and  employees with mandated health benefits and a federally mandated minimum wage.  The famous Milton Friedman reference to the pencil as an illustration of basic economics makes no sense to the low information voter.  The low information voter wants the government to send him free pencils.  Government pencils don’t involve feeding the corporate fat cats at Staples or chopping down innocent trees.  Economics is much more than the 11th grade class taught by the football coach (he had to teach SOMETHING).  Economics has consequences.  Usually the unintended consequences become the political footballs tossed around by pundits and politicians.  The thing is,  politicians are smart.  They know that forcing a fee (AKA tax) on grocery bags does nothing more than raise the cost of groceries.  It doesn’t matter because the low information voter sees it as a noble act to save the environment.  Since the useful idiot can’t see full picture, there is no downside.  Free healthcare? Who needs to read the bill?  Nancy Pelossi said it best when she said we will figure out what’s in it when we pass it.   To the low information voter, there’s no downside to free healthcare.  You may agree with taxing grocery bags or with Obama Care.  That’s not the issue.  The issue is the low information voter raises an image of the German voter checking a box of approval next to Hitler’s name.  He told a popular story for the time and place, and the people were too naive to see the blurry edges around the consequences.  Freedom comes from knowledge.  True freedom comes the ability to critically think and form a true understanding of the total impact of decisions.  With that freedom comes the courage to challenge ideas that contradict our values, and that is the core of American liberty.

If you are a recovering low information voter or suffer from its more deadly form of useful idiocy, take these few steps to begin your recovery.

1. Read a book.  Start with anything.  Gradually begin to read history and economics.  Read about the concepts and theories (ie, how is Hayek different than Keynes?).  Then read for yourself and discover the differences (upsides and downsides).  Understand the politics of the authors and their agendas.  Let the books inform you rather than form you.

2. Don’t watch junk:.  Limit the Jersey Shore and Jerry Springer indulgences.  They don’t add value.  Enjoy if you must, but the 12 hour Jersey Shore marathon comes at a cost to your recovery.

3. Don’t stop at the headline: Read the entire article before you form an opinion.

4. Decide for yourself:  Did you cringe at the name of Rush Limbaugh?  Many people do.  Another name that drives people crazy is Glen Beck.  The thing is, most people who have a deep negative opinion about these guys have never listened to them.  “Rush is  addicted to pain killers,  and Glen Beck was fired from Fox News for being crazy.”  That’s all they know.  You don’t have to agree with them to respect the level of developed thought and dedication to the facts.  Give them a listen.  They might just surprise you.

5. Pay taxes: For my young readers out there, wait until you pay taxes.

Wait until your $1,000 check comes in at just under $700 dollars.  This is perhaps, the most valuable economics lesson of them all.

We pay taxes, as we should to maintain the basics.  It’s of course the “basics” that we constantly argue over.  Every “basic” has a cost.

America has asked for a special gift on her birthday.  She wants to assure continued freedom for her people.  The means to freedom is curing the disease of low information “voter-itis”. Unfortunately the treatment is not a covered benefit under Obama Care (it clearly states that in paragraph 1402.456 subsection A/C of document 1.24 in the revised new interpretation under Federal Law 5.44). In case any real low information voters are actually reading this far; that was a literary mechanism known as sarcasm.  You are free! Happy Fourth of July.

Rocco De Leo

What’s the Deal With this Twitter Thing?

So what’s all the buzz about this Twitter thing anyway?  After all, it’s just the shortened Sit-Com version of Facebook.  Just another place to comment on the spinach fritatta you want your friends to think you ate for breakfast when in fact you had a stack of pancakes, sausage, and a blueberry muffin.  Forget sharing the truth, this is the Internet! Truth is so Analog!  Ok, so really, what is the point of Twitter?  I have been active on Twitter for an entire month, and I am a quick study.  While I am not prepared to tell the HOW of Twitter today, I am going to tell you the WHAT and the WHY.

Washington DC: Smithsonian Castle - Pile of Loot

Washington DC: Smithsonian Castle – Pile of Loot (Photo credit: wallyg)

You must be on and active on Twitter.  Whenever I meet a high level executive or have interviewed for jobs, I always ask what the person reads.  This says a lot about the person.  Do they read?  What type of material do they read that influences their thinking? In a Pre-Twitter world, knowing what they are reading at that particular time was all I could capture.  It’s important to read what people you wish to emulate and/or learn from are reading.  It simply makes sense.  Twitter gives you that option.  I love to read and hope to be a published author in the near future. Surprise, surprise, a blogger hoping to publish a book! Guy Kawasaki is extremely active sharing what he reads on Twitter. He’s not sharing other twitter feeds like “he look my neighbor planted roses last weekend”.  He’s reading piles of articles a day.  He filters out the ones he deems valuable to share, and shares them.  Simple.  Multiply that by however many people you follow.  I am always impressed by Rush Limbaugh‘s “stack of stuff” he refers to everyday on his show.  I attempted to compile a “stack of stuff” once.  I spilled coffee on 10 articles that would never have been read and was over that. I am not Rush Limbaugh or Guy Kawasaki.  I can, however, participate in the what goes into their minds.  Before Twitter, I would have had to go through Rush’s garbage to see what magazines he was reading.  Guy Kawasaki has 2 big and hungry dogs, so I was never able to go through his trash.  I can “follow” authors like Dave Ramsey, Mark Sanborn and Glen Beck.  These are people  I enjoy and from whom I have a lot to learn.
Ok, now you ask, what’s this cost me?  It costs you what you want to get out of it.  I know that sounds dangerously like that guy who wanted you to sell life insurance in the 90s.  The new cost of entry in the twitersphere is “engagement”.  This is what we as bloggers (I’m yet to have much) are seeking.  Followers are nice, but people who stick around and engage through comments are the high value targets.  They make this twitter thing fun, and can also support those providing monetized value (i.e., books, seminars, etc). I share this blog 2-4 times a week on Twitter.  I also re-tweet or share tweets several times per day.  Most of the tweets I enjoy are links to well written articles read by people I follow reading authors I NEVER would have found on my own.  In essence, Twitter provides me a FREE knowledge staff.  Twitter is my think tank. Thanks Twitter!
Share with me your favorite Twitter personalities. You can admit if it’s Kim Kardashian.  I’ll laugh, but I’ll probably follow you on twitter.

Rocco De Leo