Mine is looking up. Yes, I’m still a wee bit under the weather, but I’m much better than I was a few days ago. So I thought it might be time to set the tone for the New Year in terms that are clear and specific. Bullet points, really, though I detest the notion that anything of real importance could be put across in a PowerPoint presentation.
(I once gave a presentation on “how to give a presentation.” My objective was to destroy certain practices that reduce a notionally willing audience to a roomful of semisomnolents struggling to keep their eyes open and desperate for a bathroom break. Chief among those practices was the PowerPoint presentation. I think I opened a few eyes, but I haven’t been back to check since then.)
First, a few political fundamentals:
- If you don’t have the right to speak your mind as you please, regardless of others’ feelings or opinions, you are not free.
- If you don’t have the right to acquire any weapon of your choice, regardless of who thinks it’s “too dangerous” for a civilian to own, you are not free.
- If you don’t have the uncontested and unabridged right to the security of your honestly acquired property, and an equal right to acquire still more property through honorable homesteading or trade, you are not free.
- Rights are not permissions granted by a government. They are your property as a human being, the crown of God’s creation. Give thanks for them and be supremely vigilant in guarding them.
- Always grant to everyone else every right you claim for yourself (Thomas Paine).
Now, some social fundamentals:
- You are not responsible for others’ opinions of you. A good thing, too, as it’s guaranteed that not everyone you meet will like you.
- In social matters, proximity determines significance. The people closest to you are more important than those further from you. Corollary: It’s vital to be on good terms with your neighbors. Not to be so is to teeter perpetually on the edge of calamity.
- Groups are a trap. They can submerge the individual and nullify his personal morals and ethics. Keep your distance.
- People will forget the good things you do, but no one ever forgets an offense, a slight, or a rebuff.
- Live as if you were being continually recorded from all sides, and you will have nothing to fear.
And now, a few economic fundamentals:
- You are entitled to nothing purely by dint of your existence.
- The road to prosperity is mile-marked with hard decisions and paved with sweat.
- Whatever the bounds on your talents, there are no bounds to your ability to commit yourself to a course of action. Be judicious.
- Promise only what you can deliver. Deliver what you promise.
- There is no economic asset superior to a stainless reputation for honesty and reliability.
These were once considered “home truths,” learned at mother’s knee. Sadly, few parents take the time and trouble to inculcate them in today’s youth. Yet they’re just as true, just as trustworthy today as they were a century ago. They prove their worth every day. Only tyrants, misanthropes, and parasites fail to respect them – and who wants or needs their good opinion?
If you’ve not yet made any New Year’s resolutions, perhaps keeping mindful of those fifteen points (“Le bon Dieu n’en avait que dix!” – Georges Clemenceau) will prove sufficient.
And once again, Happy New Year 2024, and all my best to you wherever you are.