Every time I turn around
The man tries to get me down
I just can’t see your face
I’m blinded by the sun, living on the run
And I can’t remember this place
Won’t ya take me to the other side…
–Ryan Bingham, “The Other Side”
I went to the store on Saturday. I was wearing a N95 mask and nitrile gloves.
Now, the only thing unusual about that is that everybody else in the store was wearing a mask and gloves. Such is the state of COVID-19 America, where personal protective gear isn’t just for the medical professionals at hospitals — it’s for the average Joe who’s going to the local Trader Joe’s.
Why did I wear the mask and gloves? Did I wear them because the governor of my beloved Golden State of California told me to do it? Did I wear them because the ubiquitous voice of viral authority Dr. Anthony Fauci said I should? Did I wear them because President Trump offered me the option to do so?
No. I wore them because I want to stay alive and because life is the standard of value for a rational man. Without life, no other values are possible.
Do I like social distancing? No, I hate it.
I love people, and I love going to concerts, restaurants, the gym, the pub, the coffee house, the shooting range, rodeos and other sporting events (my beloved Long Beach Grand Prix was supposed to be this weekend). Yet, I love my life more, and I know that if I get sick, or if those who I value most get sick and suffer devastating consequences, I won’t get to enjoy these things.
So, for now, I am abiding by the rational policy of staying at home, practicing social distancing and wearing protective gear whenever I simply have to leave my residence.
Of course, the other side of this coronavirus damage is economic, and we’ve already seen the beginnings of the devastation headed our way.
Massive job losses, massive government bailouts, massive injections of capital via asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, massive new debt and an even more massive collapse in gross domestic product (GDP) are expected to be the short-term result of this virtual lockdown on economic activity.
Yet, how long can we sustain this economic hit before we start to kill the livelihoods of Americans permanently?
This is the debate that is raging right now in Washington, D.C., and throughout the 50 state capitals. More specifically, the debate now has become all about whether President Trump has the authority to “open up” the economy, or whether lifting lockdown orders and school closures is in the hands of the states.
However, do the politicians really control when the shutdown ends? Or, is it you and I, the American citizens, who will decide?
As Ira Stoll writes at Reason.com, “In the fight between the governors and President Trump over who has the authority to reopen America, the politicians have it wrong. It’s not the politicians who have the power to reopen America, or at least the parts that are now closed. It’s individuals, families, businesses and religious congregations.”
I agree with this analysis, and the reason why is because no politician has ordered me to take the proper actions to ensure my safety. I made that decision based on my own rational judgment. And, when we all get back to business, it won’t be because President Trump, or Gov. Gavin Newsom or Gov. Andrew Cuomo say so.
Or as Stoll puts it, “…when America reopens, it won’t be the response to top-down orders from politicians. That’s not how America works, not how the world works. If the president or governor says ‘open’ and hospitals and funeral homes are clogged with COVID-19 critical cases and fatalities, plenty of people are going to remain in place based on the assessment that it’s not worth risking death to comply with some politician’s restart timeline.”
So, it’s the rational judgment of individual Americans that’s really going to determine when this crisis is over, and when the economy will begin to heal.
And why is that? What is the motivation for that return to normalcy? I’ll leave you with how Stoll so eloquently puts it:
“Children want to see their parents. Parents want to see their children. Grandparents want to see their grandchildren. People who haven’t yet started families want to go on in-person dates. Business owners want to make money.”
Rational self-interest is the true motivating force here, and it’s one that’s not dictated to us from the White House or from a governor’s mansion.
P.S. Did you sell your stocks at the right time, i.e., before the selling storm began? Subscribers to my Successful Investing advisory service sold our equity holdings in late-February, way before the worst of the carnage took place.
If you want to make sure you have this “Fail-Safe” plan in place to protect and grow your money, then I invite you to check out Successful Investing today.
What Makes A Renaissance Man Tick?
At the risk of sounding embarrassingly self-serving, I’ll first let you know that many readers and listeners to my podcast have asked me how I came to be called “The Renaissance Man.”
Well, it’s a nickname that was given to me by my friends in college, and ever since then, the moniker has just stuck. But what is a Renaissance Man, how does one become a Renaissance Man and what is it that makes a Renaissance Man “tick”?
In the new episode of the Way of the Renaissance Man podcast, the tables get turned, as I go from interviewer to interviewee, courtesy of my friends and “Position To Win” authors John Paul Mendocha and Gabe Bautista.
In this revealing interview, I talk about my educational and professional background, and how my experiences have shaped my approach to life. I also tell you why I love doing so many different things.
Most importantly, you’ll discover why the key to becoming a Renaissance Man is to focus on the ideas you love and then integrate those ideas into action. The combination of focus and integration is what allows one to celebrate those integrated ideas in action.
If you’ve ever wanted to find out what makes a Renaissance Man tick, then this special reprise interview from the “Position To Win” podcast is what you’ve been looking for.
“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”
The ancient Greek thinkers knew that life on earth is what mattered. That’s why Greek philosophy is so human-centric and so concerned with how to live the rational life. In this quote, Aristotle reminds us of one of the greatest attributes a human can possess — courage. Aristotle died in 322 B.C., but his words have never been truer, or more important, than they are right now.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.
In the name of the best within us,