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As we process the ramifications of the UK referendum to leave the EU and look to a contentious and possibly disastrous presidential election come November, my thoughts return to two quotes from Isaac Asimov.
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Isaac Asimov
This thread has grown thicker in recent years, leading to our present state. We can change that, but to do so, we have to actively counter these forces. We have to fight ignorance, hatred and apathy. We have to educate and just as importantly, deny ignorance a platform.
Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what’s right. Isaac Asimov
Our decisions matter, even when we don’t think they do:
Leave voter on BBC: "I'm shocked & worried. I voted Leave but didn't think my vote would count – I never thought it would actually happen."
— Laura Topham (@LauraTopham) June 24, 2016
We are in the future that we’ve created.
I would like to propose another approach that I call “trickle up economics” in which we lower the tax and other burdens on the lower and middle class, we invest in educating their children (and them), we make sure they have the skills to get good jobs in the economy of the future, and we make sure they have access to things like good transportation, safe neighborhoods, healthy food, quality health care services, etc that are required for them to be fully functioning citizens in our society.
If we do all of that, we will have a stronger workforce and a more entrepreneurial and innovative society, and that will drive wealth creation in the US that will “trickle up” to the wealthiest people in the US.
Fred Wilson, Trickle Up Economics
As someone who grew up in the middle class during the ’80s, Fred Wilson’s post resonates with me. Often left unsaid, it’s important to note that the middle class is a large and stratified group. Over the decades, I and others in my family have moved up from the lower middle class to the higher middle class, due in large part to eduction, quality health care and safe neighborhoods. This is easy to discount. So many like to fall back, telling others to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, yet we don’t provide the foundation that would allow them to do so easily. Thus, we undercut their future, and that of our society.
Trickle Up makes much more sense to me than Reagan’s famous concept, and it’s definitely one I can both stand behind and actively support.