Next to the word canny in my dictionary of the English language is a photo of a man I appreciate as a friend, Stephan A. Schwartz. And in my definition for the word Protean is a reference to canny ;)
Stephan has done a great many very unusual things successfully, as well as the usual things North Americans do. You’d be especially surprised at the sort of people he knows and who seek his counsel. He has introduced me to new friends who are renowned in the fields in which I have interest. In talking with him he has mentioned authors, congressmen and TV personalities. He has done interviews and demonstrations on national TV including prime-time.
But because he has learned to live in his own moment, he’s not the sort to feel like he has to prove who he is by who he knows.
Stephan loves good facts and good data, no matter their source. To me that’s always an indicator of courage. Although he’s astonishingly intuitive, he’s also a courageous empiricist. I’ve listened to fascinating presentations from him, had fascinating conversations and hope for many more. One day in 2007 at lunch an observation he made about humanity simultaneously enlightened, stunned and sobered me. What he said actually made me light-headed. He also said I was the first among his acquaintances and friends to hear it from him; because I saw the comment as incontrovertibly insightful, I felt honored to be witness to his thoughtful evolution.
Because I’m always interested in what Stephan sees coming, I’d like now to point you to his regular news service, The SchwartzReport. You’ll find unique perspectives there you’ll not likely find anywhere else in the world of English, and perhaps any other language.
Take a look, especially, at his Editor’s Note for today, 9-17-10. For the time-impaired, here it is below. Now suck it up and use it wisely:
“We stand at cross roads, every major social trend I see describes an America in decline, an America abandoning over two centuries of commitment to the creation of a vibrant middle class, which is the essential ingredient to a successful democracy. Why?
The very rich, as is always true, have the means to just do much as they wish; they do live in a different larger world. The poor in most systems of government, have a very small voice except in revolutions. It was the genius of the Founders to give voice to the poor by creating a mechanism encouraging the creation of a middle class.
Perhaps because their own family’s immigration was still very much a part of their personal narrative they fully recognized that we are all immigrants — and always have been. It is America’s deepest chord. Everyone, including Native Americans came from somewhere else at sometime. Immigrants collectively creating a middle class by emphasizing upward mobility, is the impulse behind the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Benjamin Franklin saw this clearly, envisioning America as a land of upwardly mobile technologically gifted immigrants each aspiring to improve themselves. The American dream — I can be whatever I wish to be, as long as I am willing to work for it — is a statement of upward mobility.
The difference between one billionaire and another may be meaningful to them, but to the other 99 per cent of the country it is a distinction without a difference, and meaningless. To make a democracy work you have to a large group of people affluent enough to create small businesses, and employ people, but not so rich that they can accomplish all they envision alone. The middle class has an investment in stability and peace, and its members recognize from their own lives that social change occurs through joint effort. Rotary and Kiwanis, library guilds, youth centers, and local parks all exist as expressions of this intention. This is what has created the America we mean when we say America. And few trends now support this.
The only way these trends are going to change is if you, every one of you who is an American of an age to vote, do so, and vote for life-affirming policies that help support a vibrant middle class. I publish these stories so that you will understand in objectively measurable terms exactly what is at risk. There are more of us who are life-affirming. If all of us vote we can change these trends to ones that are healthful, financially secure, and in harmony with the great systems of the planet.