Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - April 6, 2014

Brian Gongol

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A little bit of philosophy

The ongoing worries about what happens next between Russia and Ukraine (or others among Russia's neighbors) has me wondering: What's really at stake? Russia isn't really "Eastern" in the sense of being like India or China, but the situation really comes across as a struggle over the embrace of Western values. So what are those values?

I think Western philosophy really boils down to this:

1. Make money
2. Have fun
3. Clean up after yourself
4. Mind your business

Each of these is a little more nuanced than that, of course:

Make money: You are free to produce goods and services by the work of your hands, your mind, and your capital. The profits are yours to keep and to spend or invest as you choose. Conveniently, the more of this you do (and the more of it your neighbors do), the better off we all become -- even without a coordinated effort.

Have fun: You are free to speak your mind and enjoy the things that make you happy, be they material goods, entertainment, religion, or other things. You have the natural right to go about your life free of the intrusions and repressions of government or other powers telling you how to live. Life is short, so you should make the most of what you have.

Clean up after yourself: You can do most things at your own liberty, but you don't have the right to freeload on others. If what you do in the interest of making money imposes a cost on the health or safety of others, you have to pay for it. By the same token, if you choose to do things that harm your health or put you in danger, nobody else is obligated to pay for your recovery.

Mind your business: In the conventional sense, mind your own business -- not the lives of others. Peacefully coexist with one another with a sense of tolerance. But in a more literal sense, mind your own well-being: Get better at what you do and invest in your future well-being. Civilization only moves forward if we all take incremental steps forward all the time, and if you don't do that, you're just trying to get a free ride on the backs of others.

In the news this week:

News NATO looks to protect Ukraine
It's being said that Russia could invade at any moment, and there's no question that the mainstream of Europe would be opposed to an invasion on their doorstep. Meanwhile, the former president of Ukraine is backtracking on his embrace of the Russian incursion into Crimea. This whole affair is turning into a real test of just what "Western" values really are and how much those values are capable of overcoming the enticements of power.

News Poland is asking for troops
Russian activity of late is making them nervous, and they want NATO's help

Broadcasting Ron Howard and Discovery are spinning up a production company focused on online products

Business and Finance Can the President really be used as an advertising prop?
Certainly not in good taste. Poor form, David Ortiz and Samsung.

Broadcasting Cadillac and Ford show signs of fight
Ford's out with an ad that spoofs a Cadillac ad. A good rivalry can bevery good for sharpening businesses.

Listen again:

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