The mariner has noticed, albeit casually over time, that one’s expressions seem to gravitate toward absolute values. He noticed this while watching a television show where a couple had to decide which of three houses they wanted to purchase. As the couple toured the three homes, both partners were wont to say, “I love this,” or “I hate this.” Yet, later in the show, these extreme terms were compromised in the final decision the couple had to make. Perhaps such extreme expression was a sign of undue prejudice – a desire to keep the world simple but at the loss of open-mindedness.

What if we consciously tempered our feelings by expressing a degree of appreciation or dissatisfaction rather than going for the absolute hate or love about what are actually mundane preferences. Would it hurt to say, “That’s nice but I would like to see something more green?” Studied measurement reflects a person who is capable of making a refined judgment without succumbing to an internalized and polarized opinion that has no ability to measure qualities other than egocentric comfort. Instead of saying “I hate that candidate,” would we have more self control, perhaps even empathy if we said, “I have some concern about that candidate.”

Speaking of candidates, Donald and Bernie have attracted followers – liberal and conservative – who have a common attitude: populism. Having populist followers is like owning two pit bull dogs. “Oh, they never bite; we even let the kids rough-house with them.” That may be the case. In fact, a tenant once had two pit bulls that were as friendly as puppies and always pleased to see the mariner but one can’t help seeing a judgmental attitude about them; Pit bulls tend not to have much reaction time between happy and attacking. Sort of like saying, “I hate/love that house” and “I hate/love the government.” Like pit bulls (or any pack of dogs), if one attacks they all attack. Populists require less provocation to incite mob rule.

Similar to a pack of dogs and those who say only “love” or hate,” populists are prone to over reacting and on the spur of the moment make foolhardy decisions that are untenable in principle. Remember when California’s citizens revolted against increasing property taxes by passing Proposition 13 driving the state to the edge of bankruptcy? Remember when KKK groups would hang African Americans for mundane behavior? Or our older relatives practiced genocide on Native Americans? Today, ISIS has vicious, torturous reactions very much like pit bulls. The US will never avoid wars until its culture adopts a more contemplative sense of self.

Still, as to followers of Donald and Bernie, someone has to attack capitalist greed and legislative incompetence….


Many readers are from The Mississippi River Valley or the Ohio River valley – the center of US agriculture. A reader may either enjoy or be irritated by the following pass along. Nevertheless, mariner is entertained by devout republican capitalist farmers who cling to their liberal, even socialist farm subsidies:

From an article, “Spoilin’ The Broth”, by Bill Cook, in the Rockdale ( Texas ) Reporter dated February 11, 2016.

A letter to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from Jimmy Henry of Broken Arrow, OK –

Dear Sir:   My friends, Wayne and Janelle over at Wichita Falls, received a check the other day for $1,000 from the government for not raising hogs.  So, I want to go into the not raising hogs business.

I need to know your opinion on what is the best breed of hogs not to raise.  I want to be sure that I approach this venture in keeping with all government guidelines.  I would prefer not to raise Razorbacks, but if that is not a good breed to not raise, then I can just as easily not raise Yorkshires or Durocs.

As I see it, the hardest part of this program will be keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I am not raising.  My friend Wayne is excited about the future of this business.  He has been raising hogs for 20 years and the most he ever made was $422 in 1988, until this year when he got your check for $1000 for not raising hogs.

If I get $1,000 for not raising 50 hogs, will I get $2,000 for not raising 100?  I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 which will give me $80,000 income the first year.  Then I can afford to buy an airplane.

Another thing, these hogs I’m not raising will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn.  I understand that you also pay farmers for not raising corn and wheat.  Will I qualify for payments for not raising wheat and corn not to feed the 4,000 hogs I am not going to raise?

I want to get started not feeding as soon as possible as this seems to be a good time of year to not raise hogs and grain.  I’m also considering the not-milking-cows business so please send me any information you might have on that.

I assume that the government will consider me to be unemployed from all this non-production, so I plan to file for unemployment and food stamps.

I eagerly await your reply,

Sincerely yours,

Jimmy Henry Henry Farms Broken Arrow, OK

  • Sometimes mariner is embarrassed by the inhumane pursuit of profit extracted from the bottom of the job market. He has insight into what indenture was like in the early days of industrialism. See:

Ancient Mariner

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