When we come into this world as babies we are pretty much blank slate with our minds empty and innocent and pure. Everything we become as an adult is due to the accumulation of knowledge and life events that occur over the course of our lives. Whatever prejudices we have, or belief systems we hold, they were somehow instilled into us as we grew from infants into adults.
This knowledge that we acquire and these beliefs we hold guide us in the choices we make and the way we live our lives. Sometimes we can change ourselves by acquiring more knowledge, but that would require that a person have the desire to expand their knowledge base instead of relying upon what they have already learned up to that point in their life. We can also change our belief system, but that is more difficult. To do so requires a deeper introspection and a lot of self examination. It often causes a condition known as cognitive dissonance, which is when an individual experiences stress due to having been exposed to information which contradicts the belief system they currently hold. In this instance many people simply refuse to accept the new, often valid, information, and go on believing what they have believed for years to avoid the stress having to accept the contradictory information causes them.
I know this for a fact because when I first started researching about the actions of our government years ago I was faced with having to decide whether to believe everything I’d been told all the years prior, or admitting that most of it was a lie. I chose to seek out the truth, no matter where it led me but it has caused me to lose friends and become know by others as, kind of, a nut case who believes in all these wild conspiracy theories. But that’s okay with me because it is a choice I made and I am willing to accept the consequences.
I cannot speak for anyone other than myself when it comes to what life events, and what knowledge obtained, have shaped and molded their lives. Each of us have had entirely different and unique experiences which have caused us to be who and what we are. I can, however, try to explain some of the things I believe in and why. It may help explain why I am the way I am, and why I believe in the things I do.
In any case, let’s get personal about Neal Ross.
When I was born in 1958 things were much simpler, at least it seemed that way to me. It wasn’t exactly Happy Days or Leave it to Beaver, but there was something very different between the America I see today and the America of my youth. For one thing, people weren’t as afraid as they seem to be today. You may have heard the old saying that you could go out and leave your house with the doors unlocked? Well it’s true, my parents did that all the time. Kids played outside much more back then, often till way past dark and parents never worried that their kids would become victims of some predator. there just wasn’t this pervasive fear that seems to grip people these days in a stranglehold.
Also people were more polite, they had more manners. Children would address other adults as Mr. so and so, and Mrs. so and so. They tended to follow orders given by elders without any back talk. It could have been fear of the consequences for disobedience, (a good spanking), but I think it was more than just that. I think it was just an overall respect for others and a good dose of manners and upbringing by their parents. Sure, I rebelled, what kid didn’t, but I was disciplined for it and I learned my place in the order of things.
We also trusted authority, be it in our government officials or the policeman who walked a beat in our neighborhoods. It was just the way things were, people in authority tended not to abuse their power and were therefore listened to and obeyed without much question.
That was what things were like when I was a child growing up in America. Now, let’s talk about how growing up in that kind of atmosphere affected they way I turned out.
Going to school I was taught certain things that kids today aren’t taught. Being a parent who has seen his son go through the public education system I can say that without a doubt the education I got was much better than his. Not that he didn’t learn more than I did, it was more in the way that he learned it. I was given material to read; a certain number of chapters from each subject, and then questions at the end of each chapter which caused me to think about what I had read and form my own opinions about it. In English class I would have to do book reports on books, often of the teachers choosing, and then give a detailed report on both the story, AND, what it meant to me. My son never did any of these things. Other than math homework I never saw him bring home any reading material, yet he flew through school as an honor student with straight A’s. I think kids today, unless they are sent to private schools, or home schooled, tend to be taught by repetition and to accept blindly everything they are told. It seems critical thinking is not among the skills that children are being taught today and it has produced generations of adults who blindly accept whatever is told to them by anyone in a position of authority. This may explain why I am able to so easily see the violations of our Constitution by our government when others can’t. I don’t know, but I just think that even though our kids may be learning more math and science than I learned in school, they are lacking in the ability to think for themselves, instead being taught to be part of a group with a common belief system. Just my two cents…
Now, as to what I personally believe in. I believe firmly in right and wrong and that right deserves reward, (or at least praise), and that wrong deserves to be punished. While on the surface this may seem pretty shallow, or at least straightforward, if you think about it you may find that it isn’t. For instance, if you have a job you are expected by your employer to perform certain tasks with a certain level of proficiency. In return you expect to receive a certain amount of pay. It is a mutual agreement between employee and employer. Neither is forcing the other to do anything. At any time the employer should be able to terminate you for subpar performance, or you could choose to leave that place of employment and seek one that pays more or has better working conditions.
But now, I go to work and see people who barely do the minimum required for their job positions. Often the first thing they do is look for something to sit down on and a fan to keep them cool. Sure there have always been lazy people, but what bothers me is that it is tolerated. Why aren’t people held up to the standards required for their position? In fact, I have seen standards lowered because people refused to put any effort into their work. Yet these same people are often the ones who cry the loudest that they aren’t getting paid enough. Why don’t they try earning what they get before they ask for more?
I hear a lot about tolerance and respect. Yet the same people who preach this mantra of tolerance and respect are those who have absolutely no tolerance for anyone who disagrees with them, or any respect for the things I personally believe in. Tolerance and respect work both ways.
And while we’re on the subject of respect, let me take a minute or two to talk about what I respect. As human being you are entitled to be treated with respect, that is until your actions prove that you don’t deserve it. No one person on this planet is any better, or any more worthy of respect, than any other. This goes for the lowliest of beggars all the way to the high and mighty; people such as the President of the United States, or maybe the Pope. Sure, the offices these people hold may be worthy of respect, but the men who occupy them are only worthy of the respect due their actions…nothing more. If they don’t respect their office, why should I respect the men who hold them?
I’m tired of being told that the things I say are offensive or cause others feelings to be hurt. I’m sorry but the truth often does hurt. I can fully understand the need to keep people from saying mean and evil things about another person, or group of people, solely because you dislike them. But if you say something based on fact and clear evidence, and it causes another to feel uncomfortable, then maybe the person who is offended needs to rethink THEIR position, not have MINE censored.
Getting back to respect, there are qualities in people that I do respect, and there are others that I don’t. Let me provide a quick list of those I do, then I will do the same for those I don’t.
I respect honesty, open mindedness, skill, your beliefs, (when they are based upon facts and evidence, not emotions and propaganda), willingness to exert oneself, (both physically and mentally), manners, charity, and an overall sense of integrity.
On the other hand, I disrespect, in fact I loathe laziness, liars, people who break their promises, people who think they are entitled to things they haven’t earned, people who refuse to examine the facts, (even when they contradict the things they currently believe), people who refuse to admit that they have been wrong, people who believe that society owes them something and that I should be required to provide it, people who think that certain groups of people should be punished for the actions of an individual, and finally, a lack of moral and ethical integrity. These things I despise in people. And unfortunately I find that these traits are far more common among people than those I do respect.
The reason I wrote this is so that I can hopefully explain to people why I am the way I am. I hope it explains my intolerance for certain things when society in general is told to be MORE TOLERANT. I am who I am due to the upbringing I received and the events that have occurred throughout my life. I am not perfect, nor am I always right. But I am always trying to better myself, both in how I treat others and in the knowledge I obtain. And, one thing that seems to set me apart from many, I am willing to admit that I was wrong.
I know that there are others out there who share many of my beliefs, but I feel we are far outnumbered by those who don’t. Our society is now filled with people who think they deserve something without having earned it. People demand that their beliefs and opinions be heard, while denouncing any who oppose their point of view.
In short, this isn’t the America I grew up in. But I ask you, at least those of you who disagree with my personal beliefs, look at America today, in 2014, and then, if you can, think back to the America of your youth. Then try to be honest with yourself and answer the following question: Which America was better off? In which America did you feel safer and more proud to be an American?
Depending upon how you answer that question you may want to reconsider the things you personally believe in, for maybe they are to blame for the state of our nation today. They say that the people we elect reflect the overall state of society from which they are drawn from, (or something similar). If that be true then until we, as a nation, change our thoughts and beliefs as to personal responsibility and the things we expect/demand from our government, then not a whole lot is going to change.
It matters not that there are all these groups springing up that are campaigning for a return to limited government and the principles it was founded upon. The fact remains that the people IN our government are elected by the people in general. Unless we have a revolution and forcefully take back our country, then we are stuck with having to deal with those that the people at large elect. And those choices are based upon the belief systems of each and every one of us.
That is what must be changed if we want America to survive…