Saturday, April 26, 2014


One of the most serious and contentious issues facing the United States today is border security.  The issue is a perfect example of how an incremental abandonment of the law leads to a situation from which there are but two exits, and both are bad.  There is no way to end the contention surrounding immigration and the borders that does not risk terrible injustice and open the door to fraud and unsurvivable financial burdens.  We will pay a terrible price for whatever we do, including doing nothing.  The problem should have been handled years ago, but it wasn’t.  We are now like a patient who has ignored an infection until it has become gangrenous.  Our options are not pleasant, but it is utterly inescapable that we must choose one or the other.

Living in a border state, New Mexico, I might have a unique perspective on the matter, so I thought it would be fun to lay down some hard, cold facts.  I will use a number that may or may not be factual: twenty million – 20,000,000 – 20 times ten to the sixth power.  That’s a potful in any idiom.  The reason it may not be factual is because of the FACT that nobody knows for sure.  It’s a round number and I’ll use it.  Y’all can use whatever number you want, but I’ll kiss your foot if the real number is lower than 20 million.

I will take issue with Cliven Bundy on one point.  He said Mexican immigrants are hardworking, honest taxpayers.  There is no doubt that a great may are – perhaps a majority – but I know for a FACT that a great many are none of those things.  I have some rentals in a predominantly Hispanic part of town.  The last time I had a vacancy, 27 people came to look at the apartment.  24 of them were on Social Security or 100% disability.  Only two said they had jobs.  21 of them spoke no English.  It’s illegal for me to ask for green cards, so it’s possible that not all of these folks were illegals.   I think (it’s been a while) that three of them wanted to move 8 or more adults into a  900 sq. ft., two bedroom apartment, including one very hard-looking couple in their 50’s who said they wanted the place for their daughters.   The daughters were in their late teens, very provocatively dressed, with downcast eyes and no smiles on their faces.  They were hookers, and quite likely slaves.  For the record, the person to whom I eventually rented was a young, Hispanic woman with two little girls.  She has been a model tenant, and I wish I had more like her.

The point of that story is that a sizeable percentage of the illegal aliens (No way I’ll call them “immigrants!”)  are living off the public teat, and are participating in criminal activities.   Here are a few more points: (1)  It is illegal for me, a landlord, to ask for proof of citizenship.  In some states, it is illegal for employers to ask for proof of citizenship.  (2)  As the number of illegal aliens in our population increases, it becomes more and more reasonable to wonder if any person we meet is an illegal alien.

There is a good deal of support for the idea of deporting all illegals, and while I don’t disagree with the principle, I must look at how that would be done.  First of all, how do we identify illegals?  They don’t have tattoos or tails.  In fact, they look a lot like “regular” Americans.  I’d ask how, exactly, would we go about telling a Mexican illegal from my pal, Carlos, whose family has been in Nuevo Mexico since before the American Revolution?  (For the record, Carlos served with me in the Marines, and if you want a scrap, just go messing with my brother.) Do you plan on just driving down the street in a truck and snatching up anyone who looks like a Mexican?  What in the world do you think a Mexican looks like?  They come in as great a variety as native-born Americans.  The point here is that we must be very careful in who we deport.  In fact, there must be some sort of legal process because most of those people have the sense to deny being illegal!

“Legal process” opens up a whole barrel of worms.  First, there must be standards of evidence, and because of the smokin’ hot market in false IDs, and states like mine that have been giving driver’s licenses to illegals for years, such standards will not be self-evident.  Think about it.  If someone grabbed you off the street tomorrow on your way to work and accused you of being illegal, how would you prove your citizenship?  Your driver’s license and social security card are worthless.  Even if you drive around with your birth certificate, that would have to be validated by the state or the hospital, which would take time and resources.  Utility bills and school records would have to be validated.

Resources.  Wow.  Consider this.  For every person who denies being in the US illegally, there must be a law enforcement officer to take them into custody and question them.  There must be a place to incarcerate them while waiting for trial.  There must be standards and a process for evaluating the evidence, and if someone says they went to school in a different state, the feds will have to be involved.  What if they say they were born to American parents in a foreign country, but their parents are dead?  Now we are looking at the gathering and verification of information on a global scale.  There must be a standard for bail and a whole staff of clerks to administer it.  There must be a judge to hear the evidence.  There must be a prosecuting attorney and a defense attorney.  There must be an appeal process.  Finally, there must be a way of getting the person out of the country and a record of all that has gone into the process so we can tell if they come back.

“…if they come back.”  Wow, again.  What if we spend the millions of dollars required for months or even years of legal wrangling, kick the guy out, and a week later, he’s back?  If we don’t have a means of identifying him positively, we have to go through the same stinkin’ mess again!  Another implication of this is that, even if a person admits to being here illegally, the odds are they’ll be back within a month.  That means that even if we don’t have that whole nightmare of legal process, we must still maintain a data base of accurate, verifiable records of who we kick out and when.  Just looking at this one, piddly little detail, how long will it take to photograph and fingerprint 20 million clever, committed scammers?  How much will it cost to maintain the data base and keep it secure?   “…keep it secure?”  Of course!  Don’t you suppose there might be a little profit for some enterprising clerk to delete or alter records in the data base?  Hell’s fire, we can’t even keep matters of national security safe!

Are you starting to get the picture?  Even if we clamp down on the border right now and allow no new trespass, it will take decades and cost trillions of dollars to get all the illegals out of the country, by which time there will be tens of millions of babies born to them, which is a whole ‘nother bucket of worms.

There is simply no way we can deport all these people.  I, as much as anyone, like the idea, but the practical aspect of doing so is utterly inconceivable.  We have gotten ourselves into a situation from which there is no easy way out.  There’s a bad way, a terrible way, and an even worse way.

The first thing we must do is close the borders and ports.  If we don’t do that, nothing else matters because nothing will work.  They will continue to flood and overwhelm any system we put in place.  The present administration lacks the desire and the will to close the borders.  It may be up to the states, but we must recognize the fact that state action will be regarded as tantamount to nullification and secession, and the last time that was tried, it got pretty expensive.  I’m not saying it can’t or shouldn’t be done; we just need to be very sure that’s what we want and that we’re willing to pay the price.

I must emphasize this:  if the influx of illegal aliens is not stopped, or at least slowed tremendously, the entire discussion is pointless.

Having said all that depressing stuff, I’d like to go into a few things we can do.  First, closing the border will make a lot of these folks very homesick, and they’ll leave on their own.

Second, we can block all transfer of funds to foreign banks by unlicensed individuals.  Such transfers are already licensed for businesses, so the mechanism for this is already in place.  When the tens of millions of dollars stop flowing from illegals in the US to their kinfolk elsewhere, a lot of the magic will be gone, and some more of them will go back to mama and papa.

Third, as these people enter the legal system for other crimes, we can verify their immigration status and deport those found to be here illegally.  That’s another good chunk of them gone.  (I’d like to go on record as suggesting the death penalty for anyone convicted of slave trading.  They call it “human trafficking,” but that’s a cleaner, less odiferous term.  They’re damnable slavers, and a bullet in the head is too good for them.)

Fourth, amend the law that allows anchor babies.  We can do that, and it would immediately remove a huge incentive for them to come here.  It would also limit the natural increase of the illegal population.  Here’s a comparison:  if a mom – any mom – is sentenced to prison for a crime, somebody else raises her babies.  That’s just a fact of life.  By the same principle, if a mom’s crime happens to be illegal trespass into the US, when she is removed from the free population, she can expect to lose her children.  Now, I’d give her a choice, but if she wants her kid to be an American citizen, that’s well and good, but it doesn’t keep her in the country.  I’m sure there are plenty of childless Americans who would love to adopt such babies.  This is going to be hard to do, but no harder, I think, that sending an American-born mom to prison and watching her say goodbye to her babies.  Illegal alien moms should expect no more.

Fifth, make welfare, food stamps, social security, and driver’s licenses 100% dependent on citizenship.  It boggles my mind that this is not already the case.  When I applied for a minimum wage job with Walmart, I had to show two forms of ID to prove my eligibility to work in the US. It’s called an I-9 form.  Of course, two of the forms of ID specified, driver’s license and a social security card, are totally useless for proving anything.  I had to prove citizenship to get the job, but I didn’t have to prove citizenship to get the documents that proved citizenship.  Am I missing something, or this stark, raving, batshit crazy?   It’s not likely we can eliminate all fraud in these relief programs.  However, tightening the controls as much as we can, making it clear that we don’t bloody appreciate fraud, and that we condemn it and will punish it where we can will create a hostile environment from which another group of illegals will flee.

Another note on item 5:  anytime we ask for proof of anything we must expect two things:  fraud and challenge.  We will have to reform and strengthen the legal system presently in place to deal with challenges and adjudicate cases of fraud.  That will be expensive, but absolutely necessary if we are to minimize the chance of denying relief to someone who has earned it.  The alternative is to throw up our hands, swing open the doors of the treasury, and walk away.  I do not consider such a course acceptable.

There has been talk for years about arresting those who hire or rent housing to illegals. Such laws, in many variations, have been on the books in several states for years.  Some of the cases tried under these laws have been pretty straightforward:  an employer has a verifiable record of hiring illegals, and there is incontrovertible evidence of willful violation of the law.  I’m not intimately familiar with any of these laws, but it seems likely to me that most of them have some virtue.  However, as solutions to the problem they suffer serious limitations. How is an employer to determine citizenship when courts find it incredibly expensive and time-consuming to do so?  We have seen that courts, which are specifically established and empowered to determine citizenship can spend millions of dollars and years of time on a single case.  How can we expect a business to answer the same question to the same degree of accuracy on hundreds or thousands of applicants?

The same is true of landlords.  Not only do I lack the resources to determine the status of prospective renters, but most of the information I would need to make such determination is sealed to me!  I’m not even allowed to ask for a green card, and even if I were, how in hell am I supposed to tell if it’s legitimate?  Yet, under some of these immigration laws, I could go to jail for failing to spend all I will ever own to make sure this one dipstick isn’t pulling my leg.  That isn’t right, either.  We need to make it financially survivable and actually legal to obey the law.  (There’s another insanity:  it’s illegal to obey the law.)

I said we need to find a form of amnesty that is survivable to our republic.  Unfortunately, anything short of total, blanket, no-questions-asked amnesty will be staggeringly expensive.  We’re back to the gangrene analogy.  I think military service should be a ticket into the citizenship process.  As an alternative, a period of public service should be favorably considered, though secondary to military service.  Provable participation in American society – as in working for a living and paying taxes – for some period of time might be considered.  One of the more preposterous ideas put forth by the feds is that of granting citizenship to anyone who completes a college education.  Under that particular law, that education would be paid for by the American taxpayers, many of whom can’t afford to send their own kids to college.  Not only that, but before we could pay the tuition, we’d have to know for a fact they are here illegally, and if we know that, why in blazes can’t we escort them to the bloody border?  (And, of course, there’s absolutely zero chance for fraud or graft in such a scheme.  Gasp…. Choke…)

If we could give illegals the choice of applying for citizenship or getting out, it would definitely thin the herd because a lot of them have no desire to become American citizens.  But how could such a thing be enforced?  We’d have to know who the illegals are, and we’re right back to rounding them up off the street.  It just isn’t possible.  In fact, that is the problem with any sort of conditional amnesty.  How do we even know to whom we have granted amnesty? 

There is one more legal issue we’ll have to resolve. The Constitution specifically forbids ex post facto enforcement of any law.  In other words, if something is legal when you do it, they can’t change the law and come after you for it.  (Notwithstanding the fact that the IRS and BATF are famous for changing the law and busting people for doing things that were legal when they did them.)  Given that 20 million people have basically been given a pass and told the law didn’t apply to them, we will have to be careful that whatever new laws we write do not involve ex post facto enforcement.  Nailing them for violations of the current law should be pretty straightforward, but, like with everything else in this mess, there will undoubtedly be challenges to the laws.

One last thing I’d love to see:  I want the border between the District of Columbia and the United States closed down completely.  I want those amoral, looting scumbags who have put us in this position to have to beg for readmittance to the country.  Unfortunately, a lot of the ones most responsible are dead, and I don’t know how we’d handle that.  We might have to grant them amnesty.
26 April, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014


One of the most pernicious and popular myths in the landscape of American politics is that individualists, commonly called conservatives, Tea Baggers, or right-wingers, are prone to violence, and are a real danger to the safety of our republic.  Well, that’s baloney.

Who is more likely to become violent:  someone who wants to be left alone and leave others alone, or someone who is convinced that his omniscience and moral superiority requires that he force others to do his bidding?

Historically, violence has always been initiated by the statists, commonly called Liberals, Progressives, or the Left.   (Democrat and Republican aren’t really valid terms because there are a few Democrats who are more individualistic, and a great many Republicans who are statists.)

In general, the position of the statists is that only government can do certain things, such as take care of the poor.  It is their contention that, if left to our own devices, We, the People of the United States, would not take care of our poor, so the government must seize our assets and redistribute them.  This is a critical point!  Statists do not claim that government control of the economy or of the people would generate more wealth.  They claim only that it would generate more tax revenue.  The government, even by their own admission, cannot create wealth; it can only move it around.  A pithy bumper sticker says, “The government can’t give you anything it hasn’t taken from someone else,” and the statists have never, to my knowledge, denied this.

Therefore, it is at the very core of the statist philosophy that force is morally acceptable if used against those who have wealth.  A free citizen, if approached by a beggar, would have the choice to help or walk away.  History has proven, over and over and over and over and over (can you tell I’m getting tired of having to point this out?) that the American people are the most generous on Earth.  Even in dire times, they have supported their chosen charities to an astonishing level.

But, you see, that phrase in italics tells the story.  Free people will choose what they wish to support, and it may very well not be what the statists would choose.  And this is precisely, solely why statists always – ALWAYS – initiate force against the people:  their view of how a country should be run cannot be achieved unless the government has the authority to seize wealth from those who have it and give it to the chosen ones.  “If only,” they wail, “those selfish, rich, white people would just give us their money, we wouldn’t have to take it by force.”

Statists often claim that the government can do things the people, collectively, can’t because it has more money than the people.  This idea is utterly preposterous, and here’s why:  The government cannot have more wealth than its citizens because it cannot create wealth.  Any wealth the government has must be seized from the people, and it can’t seize more than is there.

Not kindness, but naked, armed force is the heart of statist/liberal politics.   Not empathy, but pathological arrogance and ego-centrism are liberalism’s motive force.  Simply put, the liberal dream cannot be achieved in a free country, or in a country where the people have the means of meeting force with force.

8 Feb., 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


(I had actually written the first draft of this before I heard Barack Obama’s insanely stupid comment that the government had created the middle class by applying the GI bill after WWII.)

Where did we get a middle class?

In the beginning, everybody was dirt poor, and I mean DIRT poor.  Now, I’m talking about the real beginning, before there were enough people to call a “society,” or even a village.  Each person had to produce whatever they needed to live; there were no stores, or even other people to trade with.  There was no upper, middle, or lower class.

People being as fecund then as now, at some point, there were enough individuals that somebody said, “Look here.  I’m really good at gathering firewood, but I can’t make those dandy badger hide skivvies nearly as well as you.  How about I bring you some wood, and you make me a pair of skivvies?”  (Actually, this is an exact quote.  Some translations have it as porcupine quill skivvies.)   Thus was born the idea of trade and the specialization of labor.  It probably didn’t take long before people were trading all kinds of things. 

This barter economy went on for a long time because there was no such thing as money.  People traded goods and services directly for goods and services.  Some gradually amassed more wealth than their neighbors, but the differences weren’t great because the limiting factor was how much livestock or whatever one person could manage.

Now here’s a critical distinction:  wealth vs. money.  Wealth is real stuff – goods and property - chickens, firewood, berries, those nifty badger hide skivvies, clubs, flint knives, etc..  In a village where everybody likes his yardbird, the citizen with a mess of chickens would be considered wealthy.  ‘cause he’s got all that wealth, see?

Money is something that stands for wealth.  Today, a dollar bill stands for a certain amount of real, tangible goods.  The bill, itself, isn’t wealth.  It is, in every particular, a universal certificate of value. A barter economy doesn’t need money.

I’ve never travelled with chickens, but intuition tells me they’d be a pain in the butt before you’d gone very far.  A barter economy, in which people trade wealth directly, limits mobility.  It also limits invention because whether its chickens or hide skivvies, having ones’ wealth concentrated in such commodities is very time-consuming.  Also, if you can barter for anything you need, there’s not a lot of motivation to invent.

Back to the story.  Many years after the passing of the guy who started trading firewood, somebody came up with the idea of leaving the chickens at home and travelling with certificates, or chits, as we call them in the Marines.  He’d go to the next village and strike deal to trade 20 chickens for a camel.  To the camel dealer he’d give a chit that was redeemable for 20 chickens.  The camel dealer would send his lackey to Chickenville.  The lackey would present the chicken chit, and haul the chickens back to Camelville.  As long as everybody actually had the wealth that was represented by the chits, it worked great.  A pox on the SOB who figured out he could write chits for anything, whether he had it or not, but it probably happened fairly early in this whole process.

This business of chits, or certificates was revolutionary.  It allowed people to travel much more easily, but sooner or later, the camel dealer would have needed to trade for a new cook pot, which was available in Camelville, but the proportion of the wealth being traded was odd.  A whole camel would buy one hell of a big pot – or more little ones that anyone could reasonably use – and trading just a camel’s leg for a pot of the right size would markedly diminish the value of the camel for later commerce.

But, wait!  The camel dealer has this chit for 20 chickens, and two chickens would get him a perfect pot!  So he goes to the pot dealer (different from modern pot dealers, BTW), and says, “Hey, ol’ Cluckenheimer in Chickenville is holding 20 chickens for me – see, here’s the chicken chit – and I’ll sign two of them over to you in exchange for a pot.”

Do you see what happened right there?  Commerce happened without a single chicken actually changing hands!  Brilliant!  Man, did that ever catch on!  Pretty soon, folks were trading chits for everything under the sun, and, true to human nature, some sharpies started trading counterfeit chits, and even stealing the real ones.  (The convenience was a two-edged sword; you could hide a stolen certificate for a dozen camels considerably easier than the camels, themselves.)  As Sir Walter Scott would observe later, it is an ill wind that blows no one some good, and this mischief with certificates and robbery was no exception.   It led to the rise of a subspecies of HH Sapiens called “factors,” which morphed into bankers.

In exchange for one chicken, the factor would hold the certificate for the others and guarantee its legitimacy.  These certificates were the beginning of money. This development allowed people to accumulate money, rather than the wealth it stood for.  By trading money for wealth, or even for more money, some people rose above the subsistence level.  It was literally possible to have more money than actual, real wealth.

Now here’s where we get to the point of this riveting drama.  For the longest time, there was one class of people: struggling.  Even the best off among them struggled.  After the development of the rudiments of money, there came to be a class that struggled a lot less.  Now there were two.

Eventually, the specialization of labor and the mobility of the population allowed some, but not all of the upper class to actually become even more wealthy, and now there were three.  There were the poor, who struggled with subsistence.  There were the quite wealthy, who had considerable wealth and/or the money that represented it.  And in the middle, there was a – wait for it - middle class that had risen from real poverty, but hadn’t attained great wealth.  This happened at least several weeks before the end of WWII.

The admonitions to take care of the poor that fill the Old Testament stand witness to this shift.  In fact, the Bible speaks of the rich and the poor as being very distinct from the intended audience of the Books.  This group that was neither rich nor poor was the “middle class.  In Biblical days, the vast majority of very wealthy people were actually the ruling class – the royalty, dictators, and high priests – many of whom had seized the wealth of those who had created it.  This actually created a fourth economic class: looters who existed only because there were wealthy producers for them to devour.

There had been a very gradual shift in the structure of human society from the days of our wood-swapper.  The middle class was not created by the rich, and it sure as shootin’ wasn’t created by any government!  It was created by poor folks who slaved and worked and saved and took risks and lifted themselves by blood, sweat, and sheer force of will.  Some of them continued on the trajectory and became wealthy. .  The rich didn’t voluntarily build up some of the poor for the purpose of creating a middle class.  The middle class was not created by gutting the rich and giving their wealth to the poor, and Obama’s statement that it was is a measure of the man’s willingness to lie through his teeth.  (Or of his sheer, jaw-dropping stupidity.)

The existence of a middle class is an indication of a healthy economy and society only insofar as its existence proves that growth is possible – that it is possible to have wealth beyond what is needed for subsistence.  The middle class is not a primary, or essential part of our society or our economy.  It is, rather, proof of the moral substance of our form of government, and its decline is presaged by the decline of that government.   “Preserving the middle class,” as our president is fond of ranting about, is absurd.  The only way to help the middle class is to leave them alone!  If one would increase the size of the middle class, one should concentrate on eliminating things that keep the poor from advancing, or, specifically, protect and promote the things that allowed a middle class to exist.

Two things, other than hard work, made the birth of a middle class possible.  One was the existence of wealth, in the first place.  Careful, now; that’s wealth, not money.  A society must be able to produce wealth sufficient to meet the primary needs of the people, and a little more for those driven to accumulate.  If a society produces no wealth, there can be no advancement from poverty.  Had there been no wealth to be gathered, what could possibly have motivated the poor to work like that?

The second thing was freedom.  Freedom allowed those with the drive, intelligence, and a measure of luck to rise above poverty.  In essence, they had someplace to go and the freedom to go there.  Had there been no freedom, those in power would certainly not have allowed anyone but themselves to have any wealth, at all.

The surest way to destroy the middle class is to destroy those two things – destroy that to which the people might aspire, and destroy their freedom to build themselves up by honest effort.  Destroying the rich will accomplish both, and we will be back in that medieval state in which the terms “rich” and “poor” are replaced with the terms “powerful” and “powerless,” with the powerless living in horrid squalor while the powerful suck the life out of them in a ghastly ritual of economic cannibalism.

The sheer, staggering moral stature of the American Republic has always been proven by the fact  that the rich and the powerful were two distinct groups.  When the statists have destroyed the rich, there will be only the powerful.  The rest of us will exist only at their pleasure.

And that, brothers and sisters, is precisely their objective.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


We have become so jaded and cynical in the last 50 years that certain critical distinctions are very commonly dismissed or ignored, altogether.   I’d like to address two of the many.  One is the difference between leadership and manipulation, and the other is the difference between a team and a gang.


This is not about skills or methods.  It’s a comparison of leadership to manipulation.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard coworkers say leadership is a myth – a con game to sucker people into doing what’s good for the company.  I’ve sat with these people in some pretty decent workshops on leadership and team building and seen them tune the speaker out, pretend to read the written material, and blow the whole thing off as a bad joke.  This is partly because  there are many more really sorry workshops on these subjects, and people have just had it up to there with over-intellectualized baloney.  I get that.

In reality, though, there is a huge difference between leadership and manipulation.  Some of the mechanisms are the same, and when a person studies leadership, there is a moment when they realize they have an incredibly powerful tool - one that can be used for good or evil with equal ease, like a gun or a claw hammer.

Quite simply, leadership is getting them to do, for their own benefit, things they would not otherwise do.  Manipulation is getting people to do, for your benefit, things they would not otherwise do.

The problem is that the question of who is benefitting has been made unnecessarily confusing.
An awful lot of people have been taught an exclusive model of benefit.  That is, they can’t grasp that something could be of benefit to them and to another person, especially if that person is their employer.  The exclusive model of benefit (and that’s a term I just made up.  I don’t know if there’s another, better term.)  is the result of generations of statist influence in schools, especially colleges.  The Left has done a great job of brainwashing the American people into thinking anything that benefits a business owner will automatically screw them.  It’s the “pie” model vs. the “farm” model.   A farm can produce more and more if it is worked right, but there’s only so much pie, and a piece you get is a piece I can’t get.

Let me pose a few questions. Is it to your benefit if your employer is successful?  How about if his profits increase?  How about if they decrease?  There are no guarantees in life, but will you have a better chance of getting a raise if the company is making more money?   Will you have a better chance of getting a raise if you are contributing more to the company.  Actually, there is one guarantee: if your boss goes broke, you definitely don’t get a raise!

The objective of any business is to make money.  Professors and management consultants will tell you different, but they lie.  Of course there may be any number of secondary objectives that contribute to it, but the greatest objective of any business is to make money.

Let’s leave that lay right there for a minute and talk about objectives.  There is a specific term for an organization that has several members, each of whom plays a specific role in achieving the organization’s objectives.  That term is “a team.”  Let’s say the objective is to win football games.  Each of the 11 men on the field has a specific role to play.  Each must perform his assigned task, and stay within the rules of the game.  Because the objective is known, and each member autonomous, a leader can bring them together, motivate them, and help them channel their effort so the team wins games.  Winning is good for the individuals and for the organization - in the case of football, the school or the franchise owner.

That’s a critical point:  leadership requires an objective toward which the group can strive.  Sometimes, a leader can help the group set an objective, but leadership and objective go together.  If there is no objective – that is, if there is no real point for the group’s existence, how can anyone lead them?  To where would you lead them?  To what purpose?

As silly as it sounds, there are a great many organizations that don’t have an objective.  They have processes, or rules, but no objective.  Their sole reason for existence is to follow those processes.  Nobody knows where they are going, and nobody cares.  The only thing they care about is following those processes.  Imagine a football team with no field and no goal line.  What would they do?  How could they play?  There is actually a very good, real world example of a group that exists to follow processes with no regard to where they might end up.  Such a group is called “a gang.”

The gang requires members to wear certain garments, make certain hand signs, drive certain cars, have certain types of nicknames, scribble graffiti in specific fonts and colors, associate only with certain people, and a jillion other things.  Notice that none of these things have an objective beyond themselves.  As long as you wear the right colors, you’re cool.  Break the process, and you have a problem.  The only one who could possibly benefit beyond that is the boss; he (or she) gets the glory, the fame, the adulation, and usually first pick of the loot.  Hence, the boss of a gang is not a leader, but a manipulator.

A fixation on process to the exclusion of objective is one of the defining traits of a gang.  It makes leadership not only superfluous, but impossible.

The current version of the Republican Party is a gang.  They are fixed on following processes – wearing the right mantle, using the right phrases, sucking up to the right people – to the utter exclusion of any kind of objective.  They don’t care what happens to the country as long as they have good seats in the bus that is going over the cliff.  They are obsessed with straightening the deck chairs on the Titanic.  There may be real leaders in the party, but until the party finds an objective to pursue, we’ll never know.  And I can’t tell that they are even looking.

27 Jan., 2014