“Is Spain in Europe?”

“Is Spain in Europe?”

By: Quincy Daniels

Please calm yourself dear readers. There is a reason my title is in quotes. I did not ask that question. This is my personal anecdote to which I was witness on July 16, 2014. My story begins yesterday morning as I was browsing a local independent bookstore. I was searching a particular shelf located next to the Art History section. (The store is not arranged well at all.) Next to me were two women I had seen come in when I did. The party consisted of a young lady who was a High School Junior, Her Mother and her Aunt.

The Girl was looking at the Art History section with her Aunt and the lady mentioned something about a book having to do with Spain. I believe it was Córdoba specifically. The girl indicated that she did not know what that was. The Aunt assured her that she would learn about it in Spanish III when the school year starts. The girl replied “Is Spain in Europe?” The Aunt seemed shocked to hear the question. “Yes it is in Europe!” The Aunt replied. “But Europeans speak English like us right?’ The girl asked. The Aunt was becoming visibly flustered and replied “Well think about it. What countries are in Europe?” Meaning she obviously wanted the girl to realize France obviously speaks French, Germany speaks German, etcetera. A look of horror appeared on the Aunt’s face when her niece could not name a single country in Europe. Visibly unable to process the ramifications of the geographical educational shortcomings of her Niece, her reply was “Well, you’ll learn all that in Geography.” Pointing out what I already knew about High Schools in my state, the girl answered “I already took Geography!” Meaning that she is done with Geography for the rest of her educational life, finished the course, passed the course, within the last year, and can not name a single country in Europe or any of the corresponding languages.

I was about to tell the Aunt that she would have to start over with her education but they quickly left the area and I had just found my book.

 

Strabo: Geography in Greek + English (SPQR Study Guides Book 46)

Stoicism

 

Stoicism

Quincy Daniels

Stoicism makes up much of how I view the Universe and my relationship with it. If that sounds like I am bragging I have two responses to that problem. My first response is that a better understanding of the nature of stoicism is needed. My second response is, that concern says more about stoic philosophy than it does about this writer.

There are many misconceptions about Stoicism. The most prevalent is that stoics “stand there and take it”. The opposite is true. Stoicism does not mean withstanding pain or abuse without action or emotional outburst. In relation to this sort of problem stoics take action. Action is not antithetical to stoicism, rather it is imperative. To the Stoic, it is not what happens to him that is important, but how he reacts. In my view stoicism values self improvement, self knowledge, appropriate restraint and appropriate action. It is personal responsibility and solid resolve. It is to strive to thrive in even the most harsh conditions. It is the acceptance that the universe will throw any and every hardship but one must be prepared and attempt to act appropriately.

Above all I believe the most important virtue of stoicism is dignity. Dignity is also a misunderstood word today. Dignity is picking oneself up. It is pulling up your sagging pants. It is not going along with a trend when it betrays decency or makes one appear a fool. It is not being able to afford a new article of clothing but repairing the existing clothing to the best of one’s ability. It is not allowing oneself to be victimized of violated by others, whether of equal position or higher. It is refusing to agree when one disagrees. It is living a life one would not shamefully hide from anyone.

Some Good Stoic Quotes:

  • Master lttei said, ‘ ‘If one were to say what it is to do good, in a single word it would be to endure suffering. Not enduring is bad without exception.”– Hagakure, Yamamoto Tsunetomo
  • To accuse others for one’s own misfortunes is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one’s education is complete. -Epictetus
  • It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. -Epictetus
  • One’s appearance bespeaks dignity corresponding to the depth of his character. One’s concentrated effort, serene attitude, taciturn air, courteous disposition, thoroughly polite bearing, gritted teeth with a piercing look – each of these reveals dignity. Such outward appearance, in short, comes from constant attentiveness and seriousness. -Yamamoto Tsunetomo
    • The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -Marcus Aurelius
  •  Speak softly and carry a big stick. – President Theodore Roosevelt

Meditations (Penguin Great Ideas)

Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics)

Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

Irresponsible Millennials by Guest Writer “Demosthenes”

Irresponsible “Millennials”

By Demosthenes

I am twenty four years old. I am supposed to be investing in the stock market, or so they say on Fox Business News. I am unpatriotic and irresponsible for not doing so. I am not supposed to be living with family. I am supposed to buy a house. I am supposed to get a four year degree at least and then supplement that degree with a graduate degree because bachelors degrees have become so ubiquitous. I am supposed to buy a car, life insurance, cable television, and a smart phone. Not only am I supposed to buy these things, but I am also expected to get married and have multiple children. Yes, these things are actually being said. I am going to add up the cost of these “responsibilities”.

  • House: Differs depending on Market. DFW area 3 bed 2 bath: $110,000

  • Four Year Degree at Non-Ivy League College: Approximately $30,000

  • Masters Degree at Non-Ivy League College: $20,000 (a steal as of 2014)

  • Car: 2014 Toyota Prius: MSRP 25,010 so maybe down to $23000

  • Smart Phone: Not Counted

  • Health Insurance (required by law): approximately $3600 per year

  • First year of having a baby (not including cost of birth) $6,282 – babycenter.com baby cost calculator

  • Life Insurance: (May need to tweak for age) $300 per year

The Total: $193,182 DEBT for one year of this “responsible grownup” life. That is before home upkeep, car upkeep, groceries, utilities, etc. Make no mistake, this is all debt. Every time I hear a news story about college I cringe when I hear about how “Mom and Dad” must feel about it. I cringe because “Mom and Dad” are not paying for college. The vast majority of students pay for college using student loans. The scholarships just aren’t there and “Mom and Dad” are not usually millionaires. If you apply for a grant, even if your parents give you ZERO support, even if you don’t even have a relationship with your parents, you have to use their tax returns when applying. If your parents make more than $20,000 per year (adjusted gross income) you don’t qualify. There are no grants for graduate students.

I also cringe when I hear that anyone who wants a job can get one, or is just being too picky.

  • Point number one: That’s easy for you to say. It is very easy for a forty year old with a long resume to say there are plenty of jobs. It just isn’t so. I hear “just take any job”. Sure. Then I’m not going to bother with paying $50,000 for degrees to work at a gas station.

  • Point Number two: Those mythical jobs are just not there. They are not. You can’t get a job digging ditches in this country. I have literally tried. It is so unreasonable and ridiculous to keep trying applications, I have started my own business to employ myself. That’s right, I’m not some welfare recipiant pretending I can’t find a job. I was a professional job applicant for years. The dirty little secret about those “Now Hiring” signs is that it is a flat out lie. Those signs help boost the reputation of those businesses. “Now Hiring” means “We are successful”. It also means “You can safely invest in our company”. There are whole neighborhoods of businesses in your city, any city, that have had these dishonest signs for years while they are in fact downsizing. Keep in mind, I’m not whining. (not that that is a legitimate criticism) I’ve started my own business. These are just the facts. Those who go inside to apply are turned away and told that they can apply online and it will go “on file”. Many times you can go on the company website and it will actually show you that your location isn’t hiring. I have filled out hundreds, possibly thousands of those applications.

My point is this: It is not responsible, reasonable, or even do-able to go down that list and follow those directions. Live your own life and make your own decisions. It is irresponsible to have children before you can afford to feed them. College is a decision that will affect the rest of your life. So is getting married, having children, and taking on the kind of debt we are talking about here. You can take your parents advice, but you don’t have to follow it. Remember they are probably not taking the reality of 2014 into account. Some things haven’t changed since 1978 but there is no such thing as “working your way through college”. That was when their student loan debt was eleven hundred dollars. Total. Remember that you will be drudging along in your career long after they are dead. Don’t listen to anyone tell you you can’t do something, and just as important, don’t listen when they tell you that you HAVE to do something.

Most of the garbage our generation catches is actually a symptom of a lack of responsibility on the part of the “baby boom” generation. All of them. The politicians, the parents, the teachers, all of them. That won’t be a popular opinion but I don’t care. When I grow up and go out into the world and there are no jobs, no money, no values, no morals, no standards, and no dignity, it is delusional to blame the generation that just turned 18.

Resources:

6 Ways Companies Are Secretly Screwing Over Job Applicants

Project Student Debt

Student Debt

“The College Conspiracy”

I do not own content of posted video or links

Scholarly journal retracts 60 articles, smashes ‘peer review ring’ – Washington Post

Story here.

Basic Services of Government: Mail Edition

Between Objectivists and Libertarians on one side of the Spectrum and Communists on the other, the majority of the American people are o.k. with the government doing certain things and providing certain services. I hear over and over that the government should deliver the mail, secure the border, build roads and bridges, defend from attack with a military and various other nice sounding things like researching cures for diseases.

I can honestly say that as of July 3, 2014 the Government is completely failing across the board on every basic front. This raises the question: “How and why are we spending soooooo much money?”

The Government is not delivering the mail. Yes there are mail carriers out there right now carrying around mail. It isn’t getting to my house. Five out of five of my last packages were delivered to the wrong address. I have received several jury summonses for other addresses in the last six months. I receive mail addressed to someone else every single day. That is correct. I have a marker in my kitchen which I use every day to write wrong address and put it back in the box. Among those items I received were electric bills, Social Security checks, letters from prison, junk mail, and various unidentifiable envelopes. That isn’t including packages. Then there are stories like thesethese of which there are many. The USPS will tell you that they are not part of the Federal Government and that they are run like a business. I wish that was true. They are actually the worst combination of the two. They are run like a business that doesn’t have to make a profit because they really don’t. They don’t get “funding” they get “cash infusions” and “bailouts”. The other options are UPS and FEDEX which have to make a profit, thus we have the better service (most of the time) and success.

“Big Government England” Just privatised their mail service. They did it with much success. They gave shares of the newly privatised company to Royal Mail employees and sold off the rest of the shares. Now their mail service is accountable to customers and to the employees who actually now have a stake in the service’s success.