Ratchet Effect (EP.29)


As a tool, a ratchet is wonderfully useful. It allows you to tighten or loosen objects much more efficiently. For example, if you need to tighten a nut several full revolutions, a ratchet will allow you to do it in a fraction of the time normally required, eliminating many boring, repetitive actions.

In the world of tools, what makes a ratchet so useful is that it turns in only one direction. It always advances one way, and cannot go in back the other direction, until and unless the craftsman, the person using the tool, makes a deliberate change, reversing the direction.

There is a ratchet effect, the one-way-only effect, in other areas as well. Inflation is often associated with the one-way ratchet effect. Almost always, inflation goes up–one direction. Some time periods it goes up more or less than others, but up nonetheless. One way. Like a ratchet.

But this is not a podcast about tools or inflation. We are going to talk about things like politics, respect for authority, education, and work ethic. The key point in this podcast is that each of these things have been heading in one direction for a long time–and the ratchet effect will continue to hold each of them to that direction. Unless we, the craftsmen, like the one required to change the direction of a ratchet tool, make a deliberate move to change things.

Regardless of where you see yourself on the political spectrum, it is undeniable that the shift has been ever leftward. The move started with Woodrow Wilson, more noted by historians for his part in WW I, his Fourteen Points and his failed attempt to bring the US into the League of Nations. His Fourteen Points failed abroad, and his League of Nations push failed at home. However, Wilson’s progressive domestic policies stuck.

Franklin Roosevelt, president from 1933 until 1945, would hardly recognize his Democratic party today. Yes, he started Social Security, but saw it only as a supplement. Concepts like Social Security being your retirement plan, Medicare For All and free college would no doubt shock him. Today, FDR, as he is commonly called, would be a moderate to somewhat conservative Republican.

Similarly, President John Kennedy would have been taken aback at the current state of affairs in his party. Kennedy, commenting on his tax cuts (yes, cuts) said, “It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today, and tax revenues are too low. The soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates.” And he was right; that is exactly what his deep tax cut did. He cut the tax rates, and raised more money for the government. Arthur Laffer, a conservative, supply-side economist, created the controversial Laffer curve, illustrating exactly this point, tax rates down, revenue up, long after Kennedy’s death.

Even two-time California Governor and two-time President Ronald Reagan, did nothing more than momentarily slow the political ratchet effect which continues apace. BTW, can you imagine California voters ever again voting for anyone even remotely like Reagan? Ever? Speaking of the ratchet effect.

Now, let’s take a look at respect for authority. Tell me that during Roosevelt’s, Kennedy’s or Reagan’s times that someone pulled over at a traffic stop would have hauled out a camera and started snapping pictures of the officer. Or, if sober, would have started talking back to the inquiring officer. And what’s going on in K-12 schools? The evidence, both hard data and anecdotal, is about kids more and more having the run of the place, with the teachers’ hands tied by litigious parents, political correctness and administrators not wanting to rock the boat before their retirements.

Not coincidentally, the level of useful education is inversely proportional to the level of discipline in our schools. The quality of education in our K-12 schools is dropping continuously, with teachers’ unions and school districts calling for more money as the solution. And more money is never the solution. For more on this School Funding, please click here.

Here’s a teaser about an upcoming podcast looking at our growing resentment of success. As we are being told that many of us are indeed victims, deserving of being taken care of by the successful, because, you see, the successful are the ones who victimized us in the first place. And victimhood is a permanent condition, deserving of permanent support from others. And, yes, this growing number of recognized and encouraged victims is another trend in the grip of the ratchet effect.

The key point of this podcast is the observation that the ratchet effect applies to so much in our society. The key question is “Are we going to do anything about it? Are you one of the craftsmen who will step up and change the direction of these ratchets? If yes, we need to know that it won’t be easy. We’ll have to reverse–not simply slow–trends that have massive momentum and have the backing of powerful forces. Revolution 2.0™, a thought revolution, is a key part of what we are about here at Revolution 2.0.

I will leave this topic with a word of warning from John Wesley, a well-known Protestant theologian, “What one generation tolerates, the next will embrace.”  Heeding Wesley’s warning, what is it that we will continue to tolerate and allow next generation will embrace?

And, please do contact me about anything. Respond in my Revolution 2.0 blog, email me at will@revolution2-0.org. And I’m easy to find on iTunes, Google Play and the usual Bat Channels, including Twitter and Facebook.

It is time for our usual parting thought. For us at Revolution 2.0, it is not only change your thinking, change your life. It is change your thinking, change your actions, change the world. And if you can do it in love and enjoy the people around you at the same time, all the better. Remember: Knowledge by itself is the booby prize.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

Will Luden
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