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Of Markets and Bridges

Of Markets and Bridges

Hello and good day!

When somebody says they don't want to brag, you know a brag is coming.

Listen, I don't want to brag, but I'm a good person to talk politics with.

I won't get mad at you for holding any particular position. I'll let you say your piece and I'll do my best to find something that we can agree on rather than trying to find a point of dispute.

I like hearing a person talk about their politics because nowadays it has become such a taboo topic.

People want to say what's on their mind but they're a little scared about it. Somebody might be listening, and whoever is listening might judge you.

We're more comfortable letting loose in comment sections online than talking in person, because in person, it feels a little dicey.

I like hearing people talk about religion and their belief or disbelief in God too.

When people discuss God or politics in public these days, they tend to speak in a whisper.

Their eyes get squirrely and strobe back and forth, double checking to make sure nobody is listening too closely.

I don't know how it happened, but I simply do not have a desire to make people agree with me on most points.

I suppose I have just two core beliefs that I hold strongly enough to argue about.

Treat people how you would want them to treat you if you were in their position.

Eat delicious, ethically sourced chocolate.

If I catch somebody violating either of those, I may put pressure on them to reconsider their point of view.

But other than that, have at it.

You can tell me whatever you want to tell me, and I'll hear you out.

In theory, this is one of the great benefits of democracy.

Everybody gets a vote.

Each vote counts equally.

Majority wins.

You might not get your way, but you do get your say.

And people who at least get their say tend to be more pliable and willing to compromise than people who feel strong armed.

The main argument against democracy is the concept of the tyranny of the majority.

You may have a majority of people who agree to violate the rights of a minority.

This is the kind of thing that can lead to genocides and slavery.

I believe that we have a pretty good system in current day United States.

You may disagree with me and that is fine.

We have a constitution, and we have extremely decentralized power as a result of states' rights as outlined by the tenth amendment.

It is much easier in modern day USA than most any other place in the world, and easier than any other time ever in history, to go where you feel your cultural beliefs are held by the majority.

There are a lot of outs available if you don't like how things are being run where you live. Again, this is historically unique.

Here is another thing I'd like to point out.

Just because you don't like a politician's overall track record or general philosophy of government doesn't mean that they haven't done anything worthy of praise.

Take a look at the photo above please.

That is the bridge we ship cacao across. The left side is the district of Huarango.The right side is the Jaen-San Ignacio Road.

It used to be that we had to float cacao across the Chinchipe River on a floating platform barge that was connected to a cable and pulled along by the river's current.

When the river was high, we couldn't transport cacao because the barge would flip over.

Sometimes residents of the district of Huarango were trapped on the wrong side of the river and couldn't get to the hospital in time to buy antibiotics for an infection.

The administration that built the bridge was that of president Ollanta Humala.

I lived in Peru when Humala was running for president and a lot of people were freaked out by his presidency. He was known to be a hard left socialist.

For whatever its worth, I don't like socialism.

My hobby used to be studying economics.It was my favorite topic for ten long years.

I don't like socialism on logical and utilitarian grounds.

Logically, it doesn't achieve its own stated goals which means that it is an illogical approach to solving the problem it explicitly attempts to solve, namely increasing the material standard of living for an average person.

From a utilitarian perspective, I'd like as many people as possible to have an adequate standard of living.

I've concluded from copious research that free market economies are a better approach than socialism for utilizing the means of production.

I think it makes more sense for helping the poor to produce vast surpluses which can then be shared.

So, Humala was a socialist, which means I definitely wouldn't have voted for him if I had a vote, which I didn't.

Then, at the end of his presidency, he was thrown in jail on corruption charges. The accusation was that he sold favors to a big Brazilian industrial concern. He tried to run for a second term, but only received 2% of the vote his second time around.

Corruption and socialism are two things I deeply do not care for.

Those are big strikes against him.

On the other hand, though, he built a lot of bridges which helped millions of people, including people we care a great deal about, our cacao farm partners in the district of Huarango.

It's ok to give the guy a tip of the cap for the good that he did, right?We should give credit where credit is due.

There are grey areas in life. Not everything is black and white.

What got me thinking about this whole line of thought was two conversations I had yesterday with two different hardcore people.

One was hardcore left, and the other was hardcore right.

I can find something to agree with in both of those positions and I didn't find it necessary to do any debating.

I stood and listened.

I wanted to really get my head around the rationale for the viewpoints.

What I came away with was that both are inaccurate.

Neither is sufficiently nuanced.

And the anger associated with these positions is something that I find to be unhealthy and non-conducive to a productive and harmonious community.

I didn't realize it until just now.

It wasn't planned.

But a bridge is a nice little metaphor, isn't it?

An honest to goodness bridge that makes life easier on people is something that should transcend a political position.

Nobody in good conscience of any political leaning would argue that a bridge like the Chuchuhuasi bridge above is anything but good and positive and makes the world a better place.

And what does a bridge do?

It connects the two separate sides.

Deep, I know.

This is the other reason why it's good to discuss politics with me. I find all kinds of hidden meanings.

Not to brag, by the way.

Thank you so much for time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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