Always Be Honest With Yourself

Rounding the corner to my 18th year of life has been quite the whirlwind of emotions. I have made it this far; but how far will I go? What is important to remember, and what would the future me be better off forgetting? Among all of the questions however, I have found an overwhelming amount of answers. Maybe too many for my own good, at times.

Most of the questions we have in our teens years, are, presumably answered by our own trial and error. Unfortunately, nobody is truly capable of warning us of the dangers we will set for ourselves ahead. Most likely, we will repeat our parents mistakes; we will say and do the same exact things that all young adults did before us (but good luck getting them to admit it). We will go on through life believing that we have all the answers already; until, one day, we realize we don’t. That will be the day that we turn back to those who were once like us; those who partied and made the wrong choices but will never admit it. And our parents and grandparents, and for some like me, great-grandparents will fill in those question marks with wise answers. They have lived our days already, and believe me, they had the same questions too.

As someone who spent their entire life running away, I find myself lost in the past quite often. For many years I wondered what it would be like to have a dad. I’d bask in the realm of imaginary childhood memories, and I’d piece together the person I could have been today. Most of all though, I would imagine asking my father the questions that accumulated throughout my life.

In the movies, I would see little girls. They were much too young to sit up front, but they were always comfortably seated in the passenger side nonetheless. The wind would toss their beautiful long hair as they glanced at their father endearingly. It was always at this point in the film that the solemn and cherishable fatherly advice would be graced upon the daughter. These car rides were always the best and worst part of the movie for me, because they were the moments I dreamed of all my life, but would never experience.

As each year passed, my family fell apart more and more. By the time I was fifteen I had lost my mom (she didn’t die, she is just gone from my life), and I was separated from my two younger brothers. I met my biological father, and shortly after beginning to build a relationship together, he left me again. I never felt enough love or trust for my biological father to ask him the questions only a Dad could answer…so I didn’t; and they built and built.

At fifteen, I fell in love. I mean, I really fell head-over-heels madly in love with a handsome gentleman named Carmine. After almost a year, we got engaged in the very same place that we met! What I didn’t realize when I fell in love was that I fell for every part of Carmine, including his family, whom always welcomed me with open arms and gave me all the love they possibly could. God had quite interesting plans for Carmine and myself, and shortly after getting engaged we moved across the country to Florida, to move in with his parents.

Carmine’s dad (whose name is also Carmine) has always been a ball buster. He is a trouble maker and an instigator; just like me. We clicked the minute we met, and we have always had a strong unspoken bond. After moving in with his dad, we only got even closer. I don’t drive so he would often drop me of at work, and I began to look forward to our sunrise drives more than anything else in the day. We would stop at the gas station, see our friend Bob, and be on our way with coffee in hand. I loved our morning routine, and so did Dad.

One day, as I was getting home from work, I walked in and yelled “Carmine, I brought you your favorite, a double fudge cookie!” and I’ll never forget the words that came out of his mouth at that moment. He sat up from the couch, turned around, and stared at me with a tough-yet-sweet look in his eyes. “Whats with all this ‘Carmine’ nonsense?!” he barked (as he quite often does). Confused, I responded “well, what am I supposed to call you…?”. “Dad” he said. And even though fireworks were going off on the inside, I just smiled, gave him his cookie and said “Okay, Pops. You got it.” and walked into my bedroom.

I had thrown around the use of “Pops” or “Dad” here and there but it was by no means a regular thing; it was more experimental than anything. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, and I didn’t want to make Carmine’s parents uncomfortable either. Yet, here I was, on a Tuesday night covered in cake flour from work, beaming with pride that this old man wanted me to call him Dad.

From then on, our morning rides were different. Almost magical. After all these years with unanswered questions, God gave me the father I always needed and I didn’t waste one second taking advantage of it. I must have asked him so many questions that he wanted to duct tape my mouth shut but he didn’t. He didn’t even ask why I inquired about his childhood dreams and plans, he just answered me.

Fast forward to last Thursday evening. It was muggy and hot, but the sky was absolutely breathtaking, so I cracked my window anyways. As the sun touched down on the earth and the wind tangled my hair, I found comfort knowing that this was my father-daughter-movie-moment. This was the day I waited my whole life for, and I was ready for it.

“Dad?” I spoke half confidently half nervously. “What is the one piece of information that you need to pass on (to me) in this life? What is the key to success?”
I looked over to the driver side and Pops was thinking. I mean, he was really thinking. I know when he is searching for just the right thing to say because he takes his time, and he puckers his mouth on his chewing tobacco like it helps him focus. He kept his eyes locked on the road even as I pressed him with my yearning stare, and he said to me “always be honest with yourself.”

I don’t think there is an emotion to describe this milestone in my life. It is a moment that my old man will likely forget, but I will cherish it forever. This, the day that I unlocked the secret to life, success, and happiness, will live forever in my heart and mind. Thank you for being my father, and loving me like your own Old Man. God was keeping you for me all of this time.

Having a Dad means knowing that one day, this person will live on through you. To be able to take this one answer from him, the most important thing he will ever pass on to me, was worth waiting more than a thousand years for. There is something about the safety of a father that makes you feel like they hold the answers to every question in the universe. And suddenly, once I asked this one, crucial question, the other ones didn’t matter so much anymore. I worry less, and I live more. Dad gave me freedom in this moment that will inhabit my soul until the end of time.

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(L150) We Were Not Raised to Be Leaders

Big actors, singers, performers, etc. are typically (publically) biased against capitalism. In my opinion, this more likely than not has a great deal to do with the people at the very top of the entertainment food chain who are controlling who truly does become famous, and who does not. In the opinion of Gary North however, the chance that guilt has a role to play could also be an option to explore. He states that the fans are the ones who truly make normal people into widely known stars. According to his logic, since famous people do not consider the fans or their talents as the root of their success, they actually develop guilt about their lavish lifestyles. In turn, they begin to support socialist/communist models of society; in order to ease their success guilt, they support routes of life that are equal for everyone.

The reason that I do not support the “guilt” solution is because of everything I have seen happen in the entertainment industry throughout my life. To believe that fans are the sole source of success would be naïve, especially considering the blatant one-world, universal control agendas propagated through actors and singers today. I do believe that actors feel guilt, and maybe even shame for their success, but it has nothing to do with wanting things to be equal for them and their fans. Wildly famous people are not idolized for their talents; the masses have just been so conditioned to follow and flock that they cannot see the truth of the matter: souls have been sold and strict orders are being followed. Should someone famous break this mold, they will disappear without a doubt. Fame comes from the devil; the fans just follow. It is my understanding that fame does not come from a capitalistic economic model, which is why I cannot point the finger at guilt.

I believe that the reason people are okay with the riches of the famous and not the riches of businessmen is because they idolize singers and actors. Children are raised to put pictures on their walls of the voices they love to hear, rather than the minds they admire. They grow into teenagers who obsess, cry and fight over the ability to be in the presence of these famous people; but never would they pay to see a successful entrepreneur. By the time they become adults, they are so conditioned to follow the entertainment industry’s every instruction on how to dress, what to listen to and what to say that they have been bought for life. We are not raised to support successful business owners. We are not raised to admire those rich in knowledge. But we are raised to fall to our knees at the command of our favorite corporate artist. We are raised to be followers, not leaders; and this is why a businessman’s success will never be glorified in society today, but rather seen as greed.

(L135) Profit & Loss: The Free Market According to Mises

Mises was confronted with many questions concerning the free market economy. However, amongst his many detailed and sensible answers, one of the most telling responses that he ever provided was to the question of how profit could possibly arise in a free market (considering the fact that every factor of production is paid what it is worth to customers).

“Thus, profit and loss are generated by success or failure in adjusting the course of production activities to the most urgent demand of the consumers…Profit and loss are ever-present features only on account of the fact that ceaseless change in the economic data makes again and again new discrepancies, and consequently the need for new adjustments originates (Mises).”

Simply put, I could not agree more; ignorance is the name of the game. Humans are bound to make errors, but not 100% of the time. These mistakes, (or the lack thereof) are what create profit and loss in the economy. Outside of a free market economy, profit and loss are generated through exploitation (of workers, companies, natural resources, etc.), coercion, and monopolies (subsidies).

Bibliography

             Mises, Ludwig Von. “Profit & Loss.” Mises Institute. Mises Institute, n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. <https://mises.org/library/profit-and-loss-0&gt;.           

(L35) The United States: Healthcare and Antitrust

1.) What are some of the factors that have contributed to rising health-care costs in the United States?

The birth of the rise in health care costs can be pinpointed in WWII. It was during this time that businesses were desperate to attract labor, but they couldn’t raise wages because the government had frozen the price. So, to compensate for this, businesses began to offer employer-supplied medical insurance; it was not considered a wage increase and thus, could not be taxed. After the war, labor unions demanded employer financed medical insurance be a continuous part of their contracts. This forced the hand of nonunion businesses to also provide health insurance in hopes of avoiding unionization. The result of all of this was that medical care was barely paid for out of pocket by Americans, which in turn caused people to care much less about price comparing. Since the client was not the one paying, (their employer was), health care suppliers then developed an incentive to offer high cost treatments. Ultimately, this created an ongoing price increase in the healthcare business.

2.) How is the actual history of antitrust different from what the average person probably thinks it is?

Antitrust is generally presented to the public as program that would help people pay ‘fair’ prices, and favor consumers. In reality however, the antitrust acts (Sherman Antitrust Act, 1980 and Federal Trade Commission Act, 1914) did the opposite of favoring consumers, and created a history of attacking successful and efficient businesses. One example of this would be the US vs. American Tobacco, in which this ness had merged with other smaller companies, (but not created a monopoly); American Tobacco was able to raise product output all the while lowering prices. There was still easy entry into the tobacco industry for competitors, and no consumers were being harmed whatsoever. However the US government decided to step in to punish and limit them by law, for favoring consumers.

Why Free Market Individuals Should be Regulating Prices, & Not the State (L35)

When observing a community of liberty-loving free marketers, one finds that success is abundant. Everyone has what they each need; there is peace and unity in a voluntaryist society such as this one. The fruits from each beings successes are shared and celebrated among many. However, on the other hand, should one observe a community submerged in state regulated price floors and ceilings, the entire market pricing system would be found a palpable lie.

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This is because state regulated prices aren’t fluctuating based on a supply and demand route; and when price floors are implemented, there is over production. Price ceilings result in shortages of goods. In a free market, the key to knowing how much of an item to produce is all found in the prices, seeing as how they display the demand of that particular item at a certain point in time. Price decision should stay between the buyer and seller, and when it does, the market will function healthily; without surplus or shortages.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Steve Jobs (L20)

Before reading, please note that the entire following essay is from a single website (cited below)

Steven Paul Jobs was born in San Francisco, California in February of 1955; adopted as an infant, his new parents took him to the city of Mountain View where he grew up. This area was booming with new businesses at this time, surrounding young Jobs with engineers and electronic growth which strongly grasped his interests. At age 13, he met 18 year old Stephen Wozniak who came to be a good friend of Jobs’ (but we’ll get to him later).
By the time his parents had scraped up enough money for him to go to the college he wanted, Jobs turned around one semester later and dropped out. He took a slight break from the rushing world around him to ‘find enlightenment’ through his world travels and drug trips; once he settled, he found himself part of a ‘hippie commune’ in Oregon.
Once his spiritual spurt was over, Jobs traveled back to California and got a job working for the (then) small Atari video game company. His old friend Wozniak, in the meantime, had been learning all about computers, and had actually been able to build his very own personal computer board. This caught Jobs’ attention, and thus on April 1st 1976 the Apple Computer baby was born with all intentions of making personal computers accessible to software hobbyists, “who wanted to write software without the hassle of assembling a computer kit.” While assembling these computers in Jobs’ garage, newer and better technological ideas were flowing; the two were able to scoop up insanely large investments from people who had both money, and faith. With their growing success over the years came interest from large companies, and their profits (as well as their products) only got more advanced.
The reason that Steve Jobs (and Stephen Wozniak) were so successful is two things actually. The first being that they had a legitimate interest and passion for what they were doing. It had been a calling from a young age, and they were able to combine their background knowledge with perseverance and a dream. This all certainly entails a great amount of self discipline as well. The second reason that they were successful is because they had constantly changing goals. They were quickly adapting to their own ever changing business circumstances. As they became more popular, they were already in the process of trying to make a newer, better version of what they already had. This is exactly what people in the market of technology wanted then, and it is more than anything what they’re desiring today. People want the most attractive, functional, advanced version of anything they can get their hands on – and they want it fast. They were able to stick to their mini goals in advancing the company as time went on because of their main goal: money. This was their greatest motivator of all; it certainly did the trick. (Moisescot)

Bibliography
Moisescot, Romain. “Short Bio.” All about Steve Jobs.com. Romain Moisescot, 7 Mar. 2012. Web. 08 Oct. 2014. <http://allaboutstevejobs.com/bio/shortbio.php&gt;.