I Have a Dream

I have a dream.  I have a dream that one day all people in America will be rich.  Not just the top 10%, but everyone.  The way I see it, “America’s Decline” largely owes to two predominant driving factors:

  1. Structurally: The economy truly is not working for everyone.
  2. Culturally: Generally speaking, with each subsequent generation, we’re overall growing weaker.

To the first point:  As I’ve ranted on before, over half of all Americans aren’t even invested in the stock market.  Thus, this has given rise to the “Shareholder Class.”  (I didn’t invent that term; can’t remember exactly where I initially read it, but it’s accurate.)  AOC made waves last week by ragging on DIA and SPY’s recent record gains.  I’m no AOC fan, but on this point she’s entirely correct.  Until all Americans participate significantly in the stock market, we will never have broad-based wealth for all.  Platforms like Robinhood are a good start.  But we need to further democratize accessibility to the equity markets and do everything we can to maximize broad-based market participation.  When Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple does well– everyone should do well. When Tesla changes the world with EVs, everyone should benefit.

To the second point:  I want America to be a country that lasts a thousand centuries.  I wish for our nation to surpass the heights of the Roman Empire.  It’s true we are a country with great promise and potential.  And we’ve had auspicious beginnings, not to mention we are geographically blessed.  Two oceans isolate us from much of the rest of the world and its challenges/problems.  And from sea to shining sea, we’ve literally got everything it takes –the natural resources, the ingenuity, drive, creativity, and persistence of our people– to be great.

But like all great civilizations, a great danger looms.  Not of a foreign nation-state nuking us or threatening our way of life.  No, external threats which are easily visible are easily identified.  Faced with external danger, America has never wavered; that is not our greatest fear.

No, our greatest threat —like all great civilizations that reached for the heavens; the Persians, Romans, Mongols— America’s greatest enemy is from within. It’s us.  It is complacency.  It’s from our own people tearing ourselves apart.  It’s from growing soft and spoiled while the rest of the world grows strong.

Here’s a historical tidbit I tell often (that trended as a meme back in 2018):  In 1944, 18-year old American men stormed the beaches of Normandy, climbing out of Higgins boats onto Utah and Omaha, under relentless hail of German machine gun fire.  Our bravest and greatest generation defended the free world from the Third Reich.  When everything was on the line, Americans, the best of a generation, rose to the occasion and defended our liberty and democracy against the Nazi regime.

Fast forward to recent years.  Nowadays, what occupies the public discourse of our 18-year-olds?  Safe spaces in universities.  Eating Tide Pods and vaping.  Fear of being “triggered.”  Endless debates over transgender restrooms.

We can do better, America.  As the popular African saying goes:  “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”

Wobble X

Inspired by the Google X model, I now feel every person should dedicate 20% of their free time/energy/passion to pursuing one of their “moonshot projects.” Like my mother always taught me: “Treat your own life like you’re a company.”  IMHO though, personal moonshot projects needn’t necessarily be hyper-ambitious or “world-moving.”  It simply needs to be something that moves you.  An endeavor/mission that inspires you to rise early in the morning.  (Inspired by this  YouTube video.)  In the video, Ben (DevDuck Games) describes how everyone aspires to wake early to work out Rocky-style or read The Odyssey, and maybe you’ll eventually get there– but in the beginning, Ben recommends that the best way to initially develop an early-bird habit (he rises every day at 5-5:30a, even on weekends!) is to wake early to work on something you enjoy.  In Ben’s example, he rose early each morning to play The Witcher 3 videogame!

I also think it’s important to nurture multiple personal moonshot projects.  Think of this 20% time as your time:  Pursuing some flame that inspires you.  But on some days, some flames burn more brightly than others.  Being promiscuous with your passions is important.   I’m already using most of my waking hours coding (and spending time with Bagel), but that coding has been mostly focused on day-trading concerns.  Kicking off 2020, I’m resolving to dedicate 20% of my time to:  A)  More writing!  At minimum, journal more frequently on this blog!  B)  More coding/data science projects that have nothing to do with day-trading.

Life is beautiful, expansive, and brimming with boundless, infinite possibilities!  But staying motivated and focused is critical path.  Even if you possess all of the money and time in the world, it’s all useless if you’re depressed and uninspired.  Stoke the flames of passion, stay hungry, and be promiscuous to keep your Galtian Motor healthily humming at all times!


The Cinemax series, Strike Back, is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  Breathtakingly beautiful women, profanity, excessive violence, over-the-top action, nonstop-mile-a-minute-pacing, and a throwback to “old-school” tropes and testosterone-filled storytelling.  As Aaron Sorkin would write, “‘Tis was a time when men were men.  No 21st century, “female-empowerment/lean-in” narratives here!  Nor any “celebration of minority cultures or diversity messaging.”  Oh no.  In Strike Back world, the Americans are unequivocally good, the villains are basically all non-Americans, and the women are universally gorgeous and, uh, portray roles customary in Cinemax productions.  It’s all very glorious.

Anyway, the reason I bring up Strike Back here is because Sullivan Stapleton’s character, Damien Scott, is an elite ex-Delta Force operative whose main role, as far as I can discern after watching all five magnificent seasons, is to essentially be the “reluctant moral conscience” and then utter the word, “f**k!” every time he and Stonebridge (The crown jewel of Montana!  Belgrade’s very own Philip Winchester!) need to “do the right thing” in the face of overwhelming danger and certain death, compelled solely by some platonic sense of duty and responsibility.  For example, they’ll be on the verge of escaping the terrorist hideout but then need to shoot their way back in, guns blazing, in order to save the last hostage.  Or they’ll be in the free and clear of the nuclear bomb threat, only needing to return to rescue the ambassador’s daughter.  Or… you get the idea.

Basically, the gist:  The are times in our lives when we can clearly see the path forward, the one that leads to safety and comfort, out of the woods.   But for whatever reason, we always go back.  Because in your heart of hearts, you already know– it’s the right thing.