Asheville Daily Planet
RSS Facebook
Wednesday, 02 October 2019 22:19
Special to the Daily Planet

“But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.” 
—  Edmund Burke

The problem 

n contrast to the publication in hand, Asheville’s daily is dangerously dedicated to the idea that advocacy and journalism are the same. Their service as marketing agents for the fantasies of progressive-liberal-socialism adds insult to that injury.

 Why’s that important? Because without a balanced source of facts, news becomes propaganda and propaganda makes us foolish.  

 Evidence surrounds on the dumbing down of America. For those interested in resisting that slide, here’re some helpful tips on fighting folly. Buncombe’s former county manager offers an unfortunate example.

Wanda Greene & Company

 The publication mentioned above recently posed question on why county leaders blessed with power, extravagant salaries and a bright future would be so foolish as to embezzle.

 That’s easy. These folks stumbled for the same reason a whole lot of us do – a phenomenon called “Distraction Therapy.” 

 Life is challenging and thus the itch for diversions. The more pressure and pain, the more we feel entitled to relief. That’s how respectable physicians get lost in child pornography, teenagers get addicted to cell phones, overweight people get attached to high-calorie snacks, and public servants get corrupted by graft.

 The slide is incremental. It’s likely Ms. Greene was boiled one degree and distraction at a time. None of us are immune from being similarly destroyed.

 In the end what saves or condemns is the No. 1 life course determinant – personal choice, guided by conscience and character. That contract must be renewed daily.

 Somewhere along the line, Ms. Greene, her identified compatriots, and some yet to be announced others forgot that. Further examples of folly follow.

Drugging ourselves into darkness

Take time to speak to our community’s police officers, firefighters, or emergency response personnel. These almost always dedicated sheepdogs struggle with a demoralizing sense of hopelessness over their inability to protect, serve, and sometimes save the rest of us.

Our front-line troops are the first to eat the impact of community enthusiasm for drugs and similar diversions. The never-ending parade of addicts, street predators, system abusers, and self-serving social manipulators is horrific.   

What we have in Asheville today is a blind culture enabling drug abuse and licensing the silly view that those thus messing up their lives are entitled to a free ride out of other people’s pockets.

That’s not only public policy folly, but also a very unloving approach. Enabling, like toxic waste, is poisonous to everyone it touches.  

Similarly, most treatment resources reliably sidestep personal accountability. Success is thus incidental and infrequent. It’s a personal view that over time we salvage one in ten hard core drug addicts. No helping equation failing to address the power of personal choice has any chance of victory. The “it’s a disease” model of addiction is brazenly naive.   

Shameful public-school folly

 Asheville’s city school system, like most publicly funded education institutions, confuses teaching students to be liberals with teaching the liberal arts. That’s programming – not education.  

 Let’s go deeper in noting only 30 percent of ACS black students meet state reading, math and science proficiency standards compared to 80 percent of white students. This decades-long performance gap is shameful.  

 These statistics are habitually attached to something over which no one has control – color. Forces over which we have infinite influence – choices, character and culture – are ignored.

 Assuming intellectual equality in a supportive learning environment, may one suggest that 66 percent of our city’s black students are strangling their future with misguided choices, character and cultural commitments?

 The year-after-year persistence of the same old failure stats demonstrates no amount of money, political correctness, or fake concern will fix this kind of problem.

 Why do we continue to foolishly believe it will? Because, like applying new paint over old rust, it takes less courage to sabre-rattle at symptoms than do battle with causes. 

Spending ourselves toward disaster?

 For those believing we have a responsibility to look out for those who come later, a quick survey of city, county and national debt figures tracks folly.

 I won’t bore you with the numbers, but leave it to say that if our economy stops humming at some point – and it will – we’re in trouble.

 One notable exception is state government. Thanks to the restrained realism of a Republican majority, the Tarheel state’s debt picture is manageable.

 The amount of local debt mirrors that of the 1920s, when we ran into a wall called the Great Depression. It took a combination of default (county) and decades-long paralyzing repayment (city) to recover normalcy. We’re set-up for Round Two.

 National debt is so extreme that it’s impossible to construct a scenario where we fix it. Ask those looking straight at the numbers. All we can do is postpone the day of reckoning.

 I’m grateful the Republican Party at least attempts to speak to debt control and slow down the spending train. That’s not nearly good enough, but it’s better than Democrat Party policy to spend, expand government, unleash debt and rob taxpayers with enthusiasm.

 Debt accumulation and not brushing your teeth are similar forms of folly. Eventually, things are going to start hurting and falling apart.

 Why this foolish accountability dodge? Because it’s easier – and voters like easy.


 Those looking for antidotes to folly can start with a simple formula – Questions + Facts + Goals + Accountability = Achievement.  The contrasting folly equation – Assumptions + Pretense + Fantasy + Negligence = Failure.

 In the case of the former, anyone not asking the right questions of the people charged with the work is insincere. Same-same if the focus is on political correctness versus truth. Without measurable goals attached to accountability, human initiative melts.

 We need two things if we want to stop the Wanda wannabees warming in the bullpen – balanced representation in local government and investigative journalism. We haven’t had either for decades.

 Ms. Greene and her acolytes practiced nepotism, rejected transparency and embraced rubber-stamp oversight for years. Whistleblowers were persistently discredited and ignored.

 No matter how often our mainstream media outlets tout their investigative credentials, they rejected clear signals and have substituted reporting what happened for digging for the truth while it was happening.

 As for balanced representation, the Democrat Party was firmly in control while this mess went down. That team of donkeys continues to guard the henhouse — and Republican reps with the courage to challenge status quo are as rare as investigative journalists.

 Fixing our school performance gap requires we get real about the fact that today’s black culture is at least as dysfunctional as the white racist culture preceding it. It’s past time to stop obsessing over the “c” word – color – and to concentrate on the three that matter – choices, character and culture.

 Hand-wringing administrators, educators, parents, politicians and community organizers deserve a burden of disgrace. We’re sending our unprepared children into a hard world indifferent to excuses.

 What do we do with debt? How about a rethink on the timely notions one should live within their means; there’s no such thing as something for nothing; and responsibility is the authentic foundation of prosperity?

In 21st century America, folly detectives will never run out of work.

Thankfully, we live on God’s constantly self-correcting world. It doesn’t always happen when, where, how and to whom we would wish, but it does happen.

The best safeguards against folly and correction are the shielding counters of wisdom, personal responsibility and a functional moral code.

No one gets all that right. There’s no folly in trying ....

Carl Mumpower, a psychologist and former elected official, is the past chairman of the Buncombe County Republican Party. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



contact | home

Copyright ©2005-2015 Star Fleet Communications

224 Broadway St., Asheville, NC 28801 | P.O. Box 8490, Asheville, NC 28814
phone (828) 252-6565 | fax (828) 252-6567

a Cube Creative Design site