Why I Am The Crusty Old Bastard That I Am

A relevant question in light of recent events, one would assume.

I’ll try to explain.

I do not count myself as a great thinker. I’m not particularly intelligent; I would say that I’m about average. I didn’t go to top tier schools and didn’t graduate with a vast array of honors and accolades. I actually was a bright student but a relatively lazy, and most times, a very lazy one – I probably would have been diagnosed as ADHD back in the day – but in the age of stone tablets, these were just letters. I performed much better academically as I learned to focus my mind and I found subjects that intrigued me – history and philosophy were two of them.

But since I had no interest in teaching and there were no demand for philosophers, I obtained an education in business and engineering – but I never lost my affinity for history and philosophy and have read and studied everything I could get my hands on.

I may not be a robust intellect, but I am a proven problem solver. For the past 15 years, that is what companies have paid me to do – and I have made a very, very good living at it. I actually enjoy stepping in the middle of chaos and disaster and finding ways to pull order and success out of it. It requires that I use every experience that I have had, every tactic that I have learned and every strategy that I can conceive. It also has taught me to be a keen observer of people.

Being a keen observer has taught me that people rarely fail in recognizing or understanding a problem. They often do not fail in figuring out the right solution to it – but from the shop floor supervisor to the CEO, people fail all the time in implementation of the solution.

I have attended meetings with CEOs and Senior Vice-Presidents and heard them define for me exactly what the problem is with extreme clarity…and yet, there I am, talking to them about solving the problem for them.

Why?

Because most companies are operating at an “acceptable” level – they can bear the pain and the CEO either has no idea how to implement the solution or they are afraid to do it. You would probably be surprised how many times it is a fear of looking bad that stops it – at this level companies tend to de-select people for these positions rather than select them, so you screw up once and you are out – it is better to ride low and in the middle of the herd.

What good is a solution to a business (or a government or society) if it sits in a three-ring binder in a bookshelf behind the CEO’s desk? What good is it for CEO to know that that there is a problem, announce it to his employees, propose a solution and yet not do anything about it?

In my observation, this is where we are as a country.

The fact about this is that there is only about 20% of the population of the country who are paying attention at any given time – 10% on the left and 10% on the right. The other 80% are just plodding along, hoping that someone is working on the issues. In the Presidential election of 2012, only slightly over 50% of the eligible voters (40% of the total population) actually did vote – that means that roughly 93 million couldn’t be bothered to decide on their own future. In the hours after the election in 2012, I wrote:

I was thinking about this today before I read Geraghty’s piece – according the Census Bureau, in 2011 we had 311,591,917 people in the US, 23.7% of which were under 18, leaving 237,744,633 people old enough to vote, That means that roughly 50.7% of the voting age population saw fit to vote and out of those, 50.4% voted for Obama or roughly 25.6% of the voting age population decided what America would be.

One quarter of America voted for Marxism and free stuff.

One-quarter of the population determined our fate while 93 million watched from the sidelines.

We have individuals who think it is just as fine as frog’s hair to be a law-abiding citizen, work hard, pay the bills, raise a family…and go about their lives without making waves. They look at the next intrusion on liberty by our government as something that they can accept because it is such a little change or that it really doesn’t directly impact them. They react to something like the IRS/Tea party scandal as if it was as 2 cent increase in a postage stamp. I’m not gay, so why does gay marriage imposed by the government worry me? I can still feed my family, buy my 65 inch flat screen TV, surf porn on my computer and pay my monthly credit card bill, so why should a millionaire’s taxes concern me? I’ve done nothing wrong, so why should I care if the NSA is sweeping up terabyte after terabyte of data – and the law allows them to do it?

It is also true in business – seldom are there companies who experience a single, massive issue that brings them down – and when they do, it is easy to understand. Almost every time, the issues are accumulations of many problems (and often attempts to fix them) that add up over time. Because people get used to them, they usually can’t see them and resist changing because this is what they have been taught to do – a change to their routine, a move out of their comfort zone is seen as an attack on them personally.

Folks, the road to tyranny is paved by incrementalism. There isn’t likely to be one defining moment were a “progressive” president orders the military to move on a Tea Party enclave in Panama City, Florida or a drone strike on my house in Texas – but there will be thousands of small actions over time that will add up to almost that.

We have a populace that knows that something is wrong, some of them even have defined it – most haven’t, but none know how to change it – how to implement the solution.

This is why I have pushed so hard against the “should be” arguments in favor of recognizing “what is” and what we can do about it with the tools available to us. If we could have convinced just 5% of the 93 million on the sideline to vote for Romney, Obama would be giving speeches at rubber chicken dinners instead of wasting our money giving a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany today.

The strongest philosophy or the greatest idea means nothing if it cannot be implemented.

11 thoughts on “Why I Am The Crusty Old Bastard That I Am

  1. Well said sir. Good comparison of your business experience and acumen to the state of our nation. I have seen some elements of business success that you allude to here at our operation from a previous General Manager.

  2. UTAH, It is that very incrementalism that is the strength of the Marxist /Progressive movement.( My post in your reply to me addresses this)
    We have to fight back in the same way. One step is to increase school vouchers and get children out of government schools. But we still have to watch the TEACHERS.

  3. Very Good post Utah……..What is the Solution !?……..Youare right.

    Today ….. Ted Cruz on Limbaugh dais to Stay active….to call GOP Senators and tell them TO NOT support the Senate Amnesty Bill……It is not THE solution…..but we have to stay engaged as Raplh says above.

    We…of like minds….HAVE to stay engaged…..incremental can work foe us TOO.

  4. I’m with you, Utah. We have to do what we can to resist the onslaught of the socialist nightmare, even if it’s in small, seemingly insignificant steps. I work in the Forest Products industry and am active in several industry organizations. We have a measure in the proposed State budget that will help some of our members, but not all. My company doesn’t get help right now, but I figure we can see results in a couple years. One of our members is livid he’s been excluded and threatens to derail the entire project. Once this budget passes, we’ll have the means to complete what we started on a statewide level. But he’s got no patience and wants results now.

    Our opponents have been chipping away at us for over 40 years. They’re content to achieve their little victories, which over time have added up to an insurmountable obstacle. Still, we can’t quit, or we lose.

    Meanwhile, people like this member, have sat on their hands for years, content to let someone else carry the torch for them. For all of these years we’ve not heard one word from this particular member, but finally something reached him in his backyard and now he’s all worked up. I’d like to ask him where he’s been all this time, but I’m afraid that I would tell him how I really feel and create bad blood. If we start fighting amongst ourselves, we lose.

    The 93 million who did not vote sicken me. They’re the first ones to bitch and the last to get off their fat asses to do anything to help themselves. And they’re the reason our country is going to socialist hell. I detest the Progs [looters], but really loathe the apathetic masses [moochers].

  5. First question I ask any one who starts bitchin about the government. Did you vote in all elections open to you? No? Not interested in your opinion, because you obviously don’t value your opinion yourself.

  6. Utah: “This is why I have pushed so hard against the “should be” arguments in favor of recognizing “what is” and what we can do about it with the tools available to us. If we could have convinced just 5% of the 93 million on the sideline to vote for Romney, Obama would be giving speeches at rubber chicken dinners instead of wasting our money giving a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany today.”

    That is your answer? We should have voted for Romney? I mean, I get it, but … okay, I liked his Santa Claus remark, but the last I heard he was at a bipartisan convention in Park City. C’mon, screw that.

    If we’re going to talk about incremental steps, then lets talk about growing the tea party or something. Otherwise we’re just right there with Rubio, no thanks.

    • Well, Justin, Romney was the opposition candidate and I lived in Park City for 18 years, so I guess that is what I was suggesting…

      Actually what I was suggesting was that if 5% or the 93 million could have been motivated to vote for the candidate, whomever they were, that the politically left candidate would have been out of a job. This is about an ideological shift, not necessarily about a particular candidate. Theoretically, the stronger the ideology, the more likely we are to get a candidate that mirrors that ideology and has broad enough appeal to win elections.

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