My journey from entrepreneur to politics to education has helped me see the world from many different angles. The journey from success to failure has made me do some soul searching and the humbling experiences have caused me to pause and ask “What is life really about?”. I’ve blogged and detailed where I think we are as a society, from a historical perspective. (See Decline of America). I’ve compiled great ideas that speak to me on the economic, spiritual, historical, health and evolution of society that all helped me to understand what makes me tick and what makes my organizations, my local community, my country and the world work. (Deep Thoughts – The Whys of The Human Condition). You can spend hundreds of hours digging through all these categories and topics as I’ve done and arrive at your own conclusions. To throw out some cliches; “The journey begins with a first step” and various versions from Budda to Edgar Allen Poe of “Believe nothing that you hear, half of what you see, and all of what you feel.”, that basically humbly ask that you take all that I’m presenting to you with a grain of salt. Review everything from your own lense.
I am not a philosopher, although I study and learn from the greatest philosophers in history and I philosophize every day. I am not a historian, although I’ve dug in enough to history to learn from its patterns. I am not a theologian although I understand world religions and have arrived at what faith is to me. I am not a motivational coach, although I mentor and lead and work to improve those around me all the time. I am not the wisest, smartest or richest but I know my constant quest for learning from others, my ability to keep going when most give up and my abundant blessings make me appreciate each day and each gift I have been given, often times, more so than others with more graces than I’ve been given.
I’ve been blessed with good business skills that have been honed over 25 years of successes and failures. I’ve spent my 10,000 hours of deliberate practice on morning drive-time radio interviewing small business owners, authors, and political leaders, and have developed a skill that continues to serve me every day. I’ve been blessed with men that have appeared in my life at key times and mentored me in positive and supportive ways.
I put all this out to you, as the reader, to warn you that I am no expert. This book is deeply personal and what I’ve learned. My journey and yours are not the same. The goal of putting these ideas on paper is to lay out an argument. My hope is that you’ll see something in this work that turns on a light bulb for you. Perhaps something I describe will anger you and make you want to dig in for yourself to prove me wrong. Hopefully, something in here will strike a cord and help you to finally see an event in your life with greater clarity. In the end, this is about me, and I hope to share it with others that could possibly benefit.
I strive to live the life of my favorite Rudyard Kipling poem ‘IF’. Some days are better than others. I’ve learned what my shadows are and how they show up in my life every day. I strive to live Aristotle’s Golden Mean and control the ups and downs that have torn men apart for over 6,000 years. I have found my current thought leaders and philosophers and I have looked back into history to pull the parts and pieces of great minds that have influenced the world. I watch the news or events of the day with a critical eye. The ability to label a sports cheating scandal or a political infidelity scandal through the lens of the 7 Deadly Sins has been a powerful way that I attempt to make sense of the senseless. In my professional life, I chose to associate with people that are on the journey of self-discovery. I am prepared to be disappointed, as they will be disappointed in me. I leave space for forgiveness and grace and I’m willing and capable of parting ways with people that aren’t willing to self-reflect and evolve.
I put forth, that all these topics and all this research lead to a theory that explains why we do what we do that was put forth in the 3rd century by Christian Desert Fathers, and popularized by 14th-century artist rendition of Dante’s Inferno. Now you must understand history to realize how heavily this theory is rooted in Christianity. From the monks in the 4th century to Dante’s work in the 14th century, the Christian faith ran most of the free world. The Rennaissance and Martin Luther Treatise had not rocked the world and the role of faith, almost as the political controller of the masses. If you are not Christian, or you do not believe in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory, that’s fine. Take the ideas that are put forth in the 7 Deadly Sins and put them through your own lens. The ancient Greeks and Romans were putting forth similar ideas and they worshiped pagan gods. I see many of Dante’s ideas in the work of the Stoic’s which started with Zeon in 300 bc and were popularized in Marcus Aurelius’ medications in 200 AD. Don’t let your faith, whatever it may be, get in the way of the message of this book.
The root of it all;
- All the motivations that cause businesses to flourish or perish,
- The map that spells out why dictators rise and fall,
- The blueprint that spells out how to have a happy life
- A guide book that shows the path for a happy marriage and family
Can be learned if you follow the role of the 7 Deadly Sins and how they show up in your life.
The capital or cardinal sins are the big ones that are transgressions that knock our spiritual journey towards God off track. First written about by the Desert Fathers in the 3rd Century and formalized to 7 or 8 major sins by Evagrius the Solitary, a Christian monk and one of the most influential theologians of the 4th Century. The 7 Deadly Sins were made famous in the 14th Century in artworks by Dante’s Purgatory, which souls are grouped on Mount Purgatory by their cardinal sins.
The 7 Deadly Sins were translated into the Latin of Western Christianity thus becoming part of the Western tradition’s Catholic devotions. In Latin, the categories were defined as;
- Gula (gluttony)
- Luxuria/Fornicatio (lust, fornication)
- Avaritia (avarice/greed)
- Superbia (pride, hubris)
- Tristitia (sorrow, despair, despondency)
- Ira (wrath)
- Vanagloria (vanity, glory)
- Acedia (sloth)
These “evil thoughts” can be categorized into three types:
- lustful appetite (gluttony, fornication, and avarice)
- irascibility (wrath)
- mind corruption (vainglory, sorrow, pride, and discouragement)
In AD 590 Pope Gregory I revised this list to form the more common list. Gregory combined tristitia with acedia, and vanagloria with superbia, and adding envy. Gregory’s list became the standard list of sins. Thomas Aquinas uses and defends Gregory’s list in his Summa Theologica. The Anglican Communion, Lutheran Church, and Methodist Church, among other Christian denominations, continue to retain this list. Moreover, modern day evangelists, such as Billy Graham have explicated the seven deadly sins. (Wikipedia)
The capital sins from lust to envy are generally associated with pride, which has been labeled as the father of all sins, etc.
Pride (Latin, superbia) is considered, on almost every list, the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins: the perversion of the faculties that make humans more like God—dignity and holiness. It is also thought to be the source of the other capital sins. Also known as hubris, or futility, it is identified as dangerously corrupt selfishness, the putting of one’s own desires, urges, wants, and whims before the welfare of people.
In even more destructive cases, it is irrationally believing that one is essentially and necessarily better, superior, or more important than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others, and excessive admiration of the personal image or self (especially forgetting one’s own lack of divinity, and refusing to acknowledge one’s own limits, faults, or wrongs as a human being).
As pride has been labeled the father of all sins, it has been deemed the devil’s most prominent trait. C.S. Lewis writes, in Mere Christianity, that pride is the “anti-God” state, the position in which the ego and the self-care directly opposed to God: “Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” Pride is understood to sever the spirit from God, as well as His life-and-grace-giving Presence.
In Ancient Athens, hubris was considered one of the greatest crimes and was used to refer to the insolent contempt that can cause one to use violence to shame the victim. This sense of hubris could also characterize rape. Aristotle defined hubris as shaming the victim, not because of anything that happened to the committer or might happen to the committer, but merely for the committer’s own gratification.The word’s connotation changed somewhat over time, with some additional emphasis towards a gross over-estimation of one’s abilities.
Dante’s definition of pride was “love of self-perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbor”.
Benjamin Franklin said “In reality, there is, perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history. For even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”
The proverb “pride goeth (goes) before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (from the biblical Book of Proverbs, 16:18)(or pride goeth before the fall) is thought to sum up the modern use of pride. Pride is also referred to as “pride that blinds,” as it often causes a committer of pride to act in foolish ways that belie common sense. In other words, the modern definition may be thought of as, “that pride that goes just before the fall.”
Lust, or lechery (Latin, “luxuria” (carnal)), is intense longing. It is usually thought of as intense or unbridled sexual desire, which leads to fornication, adultery, rape, bestiality, and other immoral sexual acts. However, lust could also mean simply desire in general; thus, lust for money, power, and other things are sinful. In accordance with the words of Henry Edward Manning, the impurity of lust transforms one into “a slave of the devil”.
Lust, if not managed properly, can subvert propriety.
In Dante’s Purgatorio, the penitents walk deliberately through the purifying flames of the uppermost of the terraces of Mount Purgatory so as to purge themselves of lustful thoughts and feelings and finally win the right to reach the Earthly Paradise at the summit. In Dante’s Inferno, unforgiven souls guilty of the sin of lust are whirled around for all eternity in a perpetual tempest, symbolic of the passions by which, through lack of self-control, they were buffeted helplessly about in their earthly lives.
Gluttony (Latin, gula) is the overindulgence and overconsumption of anything to the point of waste.
In Christianity, it is considered a sin if the excessive desire for food causes it to be withheld from the needy.
Because of these scripts, gluttony can be interpreted as selfishness; essentially placing concern with one’s own impulses or interests above the well-being or interests of others. During times of famine, war, and similar periods when food is scarce, it is possible for one to indirectly kill other people through starvation just by eating too much or even too soon.
Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice, cupidity, or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of desire. However, greed (as seen by the Church) is applied to an artificial, rapacious desire and pursuit of material possessions. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Greed is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.” In Dante’s Purgatory, the penitents were bound and laid face down on the ground for having concentrated excessively on earthly thoughts. Hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by Greed. Such misdeeds can include simony, where one attempts to purchase or sell sacraments, including Holy Orders and, therefore, positions of authority in the Church hierarchy.
As defined outside Christian writings, greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth. Like pride, it can lead to not just some, but all evil..
Sloth (Latin, tristitia or acedia (“without care”)) refers to a peculiar jumble of notions, dating from antiquity and including mental, spiritual, pathological, and physical states. It may be defined as absence of interest or habitual disinclination to exertion.
The scope of sloth is wide. Spiritually, acedia first referred to an affliction attending religious persons, especially monks, wherein they became indifferent to their duties and obligations to God. Mentally, acedia has a number of distinctive components of which the most important is affectlessness, a lack of any feeling about self or other, a mind-state that gives rise to boredom, rancor, apathy, and a passive inert or sluggish mentation, Physically, acedia is fundamentally associated with a cessation of motion and an indifference to work; it finds expression in laziness, idleness, and indolence.
Sloth has also been defined as a failure to do things that one should do. By this definition, evil exists when “good” people fail to act.
In his Purgatorio Dante portrayed the penance for acedia as running continuously at top speed.
Dante describes acedia as the failure to love God with all one’s heart, all one’s mind and all one’s soul; to him it was the middle sin, the only one characterized by an absence or insufficiency of love. Some scholars have said that the ultimate form of acedia was despair which leads to suicide.
Wrath (Latin, ira) can be defined as uncontrolled feelings of anger, rage, and even hatred. Wrath often reveals itself in the wish to seek vengeance. In its purest form, wrath presents with injury, violence, and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries. Wrath may persist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead. Feelings of wrath can manifest in different ways, including impatience, hateful misanthropy, revenge, and self-destructive behavior, such as drug abuse or suicide.
“People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.”— Will Rogers
Envy (Latin, invidia), like greed and lust, is characterized by an insatiable desire. It can be described as a sad or resentful covetousness towards the traits or possessions of someone else. It arises from vainglory and severs a man from his neighbor.
Malicious envy is similar to jealousy in that they both feel discontent towards someone’s traits, status, abilities, or rewards. A difference is that the envious also desire the entity and covet it. Envy can be directly related to the Ten Commandments, specifically, “Neither shall you covet… anything that belongs to your neighbor” – a statement that may also be related to greed. Dante defined envy as “a desire to deprive other men of theirs”. In Dante’s Purgatory, the punishment for the envious is to have their eyes sewn shut with wire because they gained sinful pleasure from seeing others brought low. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the struggle aroused by envy has three stages: during the first stage, the envious person attempts to lower another’s reputation; in the middle stage, the envious person receives either “joy at another’s misfortune” (if he succeeds in defaming the other person) or “grief at another’s prosperity” (if he fails); the third stage is hatred because “sorrow causes hatred”.
Envy is said to be the motivation behind Cain murdering his brother, Abel, as Cain envied Abel because God favored Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s.
In accordance with the most widely accepted views, only pride weighs down the soul more than envy among the capital sins. Just like pride, envy has been associated directly with the devil, for Wisdom 2:24 states:” the envy of the devil brought death to the world,”.
Biblical references of The seven deadly sins viewed by society and literature are:
- Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
- Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21).
- Greed – excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19).
- Laziness – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19).
- Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1)
- Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2).
- Pride – quality or state of being proud – inordinate self esteem: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
The Cardinal Virtues
The Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato, regarded temperance, wisdom, justice, and courage as the four most desirable character traits. The Book of Wisdom is one of the seven Sapiential Books included in the Septuagint. Wisdom 8:7 states that the fruits of Wisdom “…are virtues; For she teaches moderation and prudence, justice and fortitude, and nothing in life is more useful for men than these.”
The moral virtues are attitudes, dispositions, and good habits that govern one’s actions, passions, and conduct according to reason; and are acquired by human effort.Immanuel Kant said, “Virtue is the moral strength of the will in obeying the dictates of duty”. The cardinal virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
- Prudence, from prudentia meaning “seeing ahead, sagacity”) is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. It is called the Auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues) as it guides the other virtues.
- Justice is a virtue which regulates man in his dealings with others. Connected to justice are the virtues of religion, piety, and gratitude. 
- Thomas Aquinas ranks fortitude third after prudence and justice and equates it with brave endurance. Patience and perseverance are virtues related to fortitude.
- Temperance, is that moral virtue which moderates in accordance with reason the desires and pleasures of the sensuous appetite. Related to temperance are the virtues of continence, humility, and meekness.
Philosophers recognized the interrelatedness of the virtues such that courage without prudence risks becoming mere foolhardiness. Aquinas found an interconnection of practical wisdom (prudentia) and moral virtue. This is frequently termed “the Unity of the Virtues.” Aquinas also argued that it not only matters what a person does but how the person does it. The person must aim at a good end and also make a right choice about the means to that end. The moral virtues direct the person to aim at a good end, but to ensure that the person make the right choices about the means to a good end, one needs practical wisdom..
People To Discuss – 7 Deadly Sins
Gov. Greitens – Missouri
Trey Gowdy –
Gowdy has decided not to run again, and his reason appears legitimate, he does not like the atmosphere or what they are doing. In reference to the way business is conducted in Washington, he said “it is all about winning” and getting a bill through. He seems to understand this is not as important as doing the right thing. In the interview, his comments seemed to be tempered by his disillusion with a process where little ever really gets done in a definitive way.
Returning to why the 53-year-old lawmaker has decided not to seek reelection or seek higher office Gowdy says, “I will not be filing for reelection or seeking any other political elective office. Instead, I’ll be returning to the justice system. Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress. And I enjoy our justice system more than our political system.” A person familiar with his plans said that Mr. Gowdy had turned down an offer by the Trump administration him for a judgeship on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and that he planned to enter private practice in South Carolina instead. Most likely Washington will be glad to see Gowdy depart because it is an area of the country where truth is not held in high regard simply gets lost in the noise.
As I journey through life, I find I’m spending more and more time digging into the big “Why” of humanity. This post is a smattering of the best of the best ideas, thought leaders and communicators that may help answer the big questions;
- Why do we continue to wage wars?
- Why do some societies rise while others fall?
- What are the impacts of government action or inaction on monetary policy? On poverty? On crony capitalism?
- Why is our current society so unhealthy? Why does the Pima Indians have the highest rate of diabetes in the world?
- Why is our politics so divided and is this something NEW to our world?
- What causes society to move to and from religion?
- What’s the role of abundance or scarcity in a country?
- What can we learn from history, does it repeat?
- Which economic theories win out over time?
- Why are so many people today broken and medicating to deal with life?
- What separates a great President from a failed Presidency? What’s the magic formula for great leadership?
- When was the last time you visited a KMart? What causes one company to grow and another die?
All these answers are out there and it takes time and understanding to piece it all together. With 7 years on the air, my role was to devour every minutia of information locally, nationally and internationally. To successfully master the craft of live radio, I had to be able to speak of the issues of the day. Over time all these data points turned into a pattern. About 5 years into the radio program I started connecting these patterns into 12 arguments that show that America is in Decline. I’ve started to organize these arguments into chapters of a book. Here’s the intro.
Next, while building out an educational network that focused on history and classics, I spent years digging into the historical origins of man. The rise and fall of nations. The influence of religions and economic theories on society. I dug into philosophers, kings, and civilizations that at one point were at the pinnacle of the entire globe, and that is now laying in the archaeological rubble. From great literature, art, music, architecture to technological advancements and great migrations a story emerges.
Finally, after years growing up in Catholic education and being of service to a number of Catholic agencies, and spending quality time with men I respect in the Protestant faith I’ve started to look at what faith means to me and how it shows up in my life. From a weekend back in 2001 in Oracle and staffing a weekend in a southern Arizona hot springs, I learned about my shadows and motivations. By working with a group of men for over a decade I started to learn how wounds of the past show up in my life. With advice and counsel of strong men and mentor-ship from men in the faith, business and community leadership fields I have learned more about who I am and how I show up in my family, my career and in my faith.
To fully understand where we are today I’ve dug into the thought leaders from politics, sociology, psychology, and economics. I put forth the following lectures, discussions, and documentaries to paint a picture of how I see the human condition.
This is a long collection of my beliefs and analysis on (click for a Deep Dive by topic);
and much more.
As a father, husband, and leader of my businesses and community, I strive to put these ideas into action. I am one of the founders and current CEO of a charter school in Arizona and Colorado. Here are a few clips from an all-staff kick off in January.
What I enjoy
Listening to: My favorite bands tend to be from the decade of the 1970’s. I grew up in the 1980’s but never really connected with that time period musically. Among the favorites of favorite, if I had to listen to one playlist for the rest of my life, stranded on a deserted island, it would have to be Pink Floyd. I got a chance to see them and spend time in their hotel room during the Division Bell tour in Phoenix in the early 1990’s. Check out a cool new website, Sutori and their anthology of Pink Floyd. Follow me on Spotify for an eclectic mix of musical playlists, especially ‘Joe Can’t Get Enough‘.
Watching: I despise reality TV. I enjoy the new medium of the long form, binge-worthy, series that have been prevalent on various cable outlets. Homeland and House of Cards continue to weave real-world political storylines into a very intriguing plot line. If I’m not into a series, I’m always looking for a great documentary. Many of the best I’ve shared in this post.
Podcasts: If you haven’t stumbled into the world of podcasts yet, I highly recommend you do. Get the free app, Stitcher, set up themed playlists and sample as many different shows as you can. I go in waves of shows that I follow and devour. After 7 years on live radio, every morning, I start to appreciate and understand what makes a good show. I’m particularly drawn to great interviewers. The art and talent of a great interviewer are something to admire.
Here’s a few I’m listening too right now:
Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders – Stanford U
Here’s The Thing – Alec Baldwin
Story Corp – NPR
EdSurge On Air
Conversations with Tyler
Revisionist History – Malcolm Gladwell
The Art of Manliness
Hidden Brain – NPR
On Being – Krista Tippett
TED Radio Hour
London School of Economics
Harvard Business Review – Ideacast
Tim Ferris Show
Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie
Banter: AEI Podcast
Exchanges at Goldman Sach
Rich Dad Poor Dad
Where It’s At
Patagonia Arizona is about an hour and 15 minutes outside of Tucson. There are two ways to get there from Tucson. With your GPS mapping, our address doesn’t show up yet so if you put into your mapping app, Flux Canyon Dr. and Acorn Rd, Patagonia Arizona (Google Maps), you’ll be taken to our gate. If you come through the town of Patagonia, you’ll turn at Flux Canyon Rd. which is right after mile marker 17.
The shorter route is through Sonoita (65 miles)
The longer route is through Nogales (77 miles)
The population of Patagonia is just under 1000 people. The area is made up of a strong artist community and transplants from other states that want to Arizona western experience. A couple things to watch for (first of which is your speed while in town);
One of our go to’s is Gathering Ground Coffee and Grill – Great coffee and pastries for take out or any of their scratch breakfast or lunches.
The Stage Stop Inn – get the burger, it’s local beef and really good. At $16, it’s a little pricey but worth it.
The Wagon Wheel – (bar and restaurant) –
Food is OK, the old western bar is pretty cool. YELP
The Patagonia Market
Red Mountain – Farmers Market
Gas Station – Politically Incorrect Gas Station (P.I.G.S.)
Our area was once owned by Norman Cousins. Cousins was an author and editor from New York. He owned 150 acres which have now been divided into 3 to 25-acre parcels. Cousin’s book, Anatomy of an Illness was made into a movie starring Ed Asner. Cousin’s breakthrough work was on laughter and curing cancer. Once you get to the Flux Canyon area, you’ll see that Cousins was on to something. There are dozens of huge oak trees that are probably over 200 years old. The entire Sky Islands area (click HERE) is filled with wildlife and is an internationally known bird watching location. The contrast of grasslands, forests, sheer mountains all occurs on our property. We have 14 acres down low and 1 acre up high. Neighbors either call you a Nester or a Percher based on what you like the most. We are definitely Nesters and love the oak forest and grasslands.
Flux Canyon Rd is a county maintained road that turns into Forest Service access all around our property. It’s not uncommon to see ATV or sightseeing tourists venturing up into the mountains around our property.
Before you come to the property, study THIS treasure map and see if you can find all the spots:
If you’d like to stay and you’re not nuts about camping, check out my neighbor, Jean’s Airbnb guest house. It’s about $100 per night and really a nice place to stay;
Patagonia Lake is just over 2 miles away from the turn into Flux Canyon. The lake has campgrounds, a market, boat rentals and a beach. Make a day of it or camp out. Last time I was there it’s about $20 per carload for a day pass.
The border town of Nogales is about 20 minutes to the south of our property. All the major shopping stores (Walmart, Home Depot, Fry’s Grocery) can be found in Nogales. A day trip across the border is a great time. The Fray Marcos is a great spot to check out, it’s the large highrise right on the main drag. Jesus Peugeot is the grandson of the owner, look him up, and drop my name. The restaurant La Cava is a must see. I can recommend some dentists down there if you’re interested.
About 20 minutes north of Patagonia is the town of Sonoita. Check out the Steak Out and get the burger or a steak. The beef is raised right in Elgin by they Wycoff family. Here’s their ranch website.
History of Patagonia
(from Town of Patagonia) Father Kino was in the area as early as 1692 carrying out his missionary efforts. Principal residents at that time were the closely related Sobaipuri and Papago Indian tribes who were also closely related to the Pima Indians who lived in the Tucson area. The Apaches were also nearby and conducted periodic raids into the area.
Continuing raids by the Apaches inhibited efforts at mining and cattle raising as well as intimidating and driving away the other tribes so that at the time of the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 reports indicated that the area was so ravaged that little was left in the area. Mining activity, however, was picking up, and in 1856 US Troops were sent to the area to restore order.
Unfortunately, with the onset of the Civil War, the troops were withdrawn in June of 1861 to deal with matters elsewhere and the Apaches resumed their depredations. In 1865 they killed miner and entrepreneur William Wrightson, for whom a nearby mountain is named. Stories about that event also mentioned that the three previous mine managers had also been killed by Apaches so clearly those were hazardous times in southern Arizona.
In 1867, with the war done, the army was sent back into the area, creating Camp Crittendon and mining and ranching activity picked up once again. By 1900, Patagonia rated a two-story railroad depot and by WWI Patagonia had running water, an Opera House, three hotels, a schoolhouse, two parks and several stores and saloons.
The 1920s were a period of uncertainty, and the stock market crash in 1929 was one of three town misfortunes that year. The economy didn’t improve until the late 1930s when ASARCO built a mill and power plant at the Flux and Trench mines in the area. Those and other mines were revived to supply lead, copper, zinc, and molybdenum to the allied armies of World War II.
In 1947, townspeople called for incorporation, which became official on February 10, 1948. In 1957 troubles came again as ASARCO closed the Mill and Power Plant. In a month, the railroad had abandoned the depot and was pulling up the tracks. Suddenly the town’s main sources of income were gone.
Since then the Town has made slow but steady progress, capitalizing on the area’s scenic beauty and unique ecology as an area with perhaps the greatest diversity of plant and animal species to be found in the US, together with its favorable climate and a growing colony of artisans and artists. Birders, fishermen, and hikers share the streets with shoppers looking for that perfect, unique gift, and everyone revels in the delightful weather.
Mining Reopening in Patagonia
There is a proposed mine set to open up on top of Harshaw Rd and the forest service access to Flux Canyon. There are people on both sides of the issue. Wildcat Mining has drilled over 176 exploratory holes around an old Asarco mine. They found huge supplies of silver among other things and are planning on doing an underground mining operation. The impact on traffic and water have been a big debate in the Patagonia area. Mining has been going on in the Patagonia mountains and Harshaw since the 1800’s. Arizona Mining (Wildcat) is a junior mining company out of Canada that is doing the preliminary work. From my understanding, they have enough private property to begin operations and go for a decade or two. They’ll end up having to work with the US Forest Service, using the Mining Act of 1872 to expand and keep going. To brush up on both sides, check out;
If Not Near Patagonia, Where Should Mining Occur? – Nogales International
Here are the two sides:
Birds are a big deal in the Patagonia area. The connection of mountains and abundant water is perfect for annual and migrating birds. Check out the Hummingbird Sanctuary between town and our property (HERE). Tourist info – HERE
Movie and TV Production
There have been a number of films shot in and around Patagonia. Some of these include:
Many well-known western movies and TV series were filmed on or near the Empire Ranch (Sonoita). They include (in alphabetical order):
- 3:10 to Yuma, Glenn Ford, Van Heflin (1957, Delmar Daves)
- A Star Is Born, Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson (1976, Frank Pierson)
- Another Man, Another Chance, James Caan, Geneviève Bujold, Francis Huster (1977, Claude Lelouch)
- Bonanza, Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker, several shows (1959-73 TV series, various directors)
- Broken Lance, Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, Richard Widmark (1954, Edward Dmytryk)
- Desperado, Alex McArthur, Yaphet Kotto (1987 TV, Virgil W. Vogel)
- Duel In the Sun, Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck, Joseph Cotten (1946, King Vidor)
- Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming (1957, John Sturges)
- Gunman’s Walk, Van Heflin, Tab Hunter, James Darren (1958, Phil Karlson)
- Gunsight Ridge, Joel McCrea, Mark Stevens (1957, Francis D. Lyon)
- Gunsmoke, James Arness, Dennis Weaver, Amanda Blake, several shows (1955-75 TV series, various directors)
- Hombre, Paul Newman (1967, Martin Ritt)
- Hour of the Gun, James Garner, Jason Robards, Robert Ryan (1967, John Sturges)
- Last Train From Gun Hill, Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn (1959, John Sturges)
- Monte Walsh, Lee Marvin, Jack Palance (1970, William Fraker)
- Night of The Lepus, Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun (1972, William F. Claxton)
- Oklahoma!, Gordon McRae, Shirley Jones (1955, Fred Zinneman)
- Pocket Money, Paul Newman, Lee Marvin (1972, Stuart Rosenberg)
- Posse, Kirk Douglas, Bruce Dern (1975, Kirk Douglas)
- Posse, Mario Van Peebles, Stephen Baldwin (1993, Mario Van Peebles)
- Red River, James Arness, Bruce Boxleitner (1988 TV, Richard Michaels)
- Red River, John Wayne, Montgomery Clift (1948, Howard Hawks)
- Return of the Gunfighter, Robert Taylor, Chad Everett (1967, James Neilson)
- Ruby Jean and Joe, Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson (1996 TV, Jeffrey Sax)
- The Big Country, Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Charlton Heston (1958, William Wyler)
- The Cowboys, John Wayne (1972, Mark Rydell)
- The Furies, Barbara Stanwyck, Walter Huston (1950, Anthony Mann)
- The Last Hard Men, Charlton Heston, James Coburn (1976, Andrew V. McLaglen)
- The Outlaw Josie Wales, Clint Eastwood (1976, Clint Eastwood)
- The Wild Rovers, William Holden, Ryan O’Neal (1971, Blake Edwards)
- The Young Pioneers, Linda Purl, Roger Kern (1978 TV series, various directors)
- The Young Riders, Stephen Baldwin (1989-92 TV series, various directors)
- Tom Horn, Steve McQueen (1980, William Wiard)
- War Arrow, Jeff Chandler, Maureen O’Hara, Jay Silverheels (1953, George Sherman)
- Winchester ‘73, James Stewart, Shelley Winters (1950, Anthony Mann)
Surrounding the property is the 5000-acre ranch owned by the Circle Z dude ranch. You can live the entire Arizona ranch experience, complete with trail rides and
The Circle Z Ranch, which started as a sheep-herding operation in the 1880’s, was developed as a dude ranch in the 1920’s. It is the oldest continuously operating dude ranch in Arizona.
In 1874, Denton Gregory Sanford, a native of New York, arrived on Sonoita Creek. He homesteaded on what is now the Circle Z Ranch, a courageous endeavor considering that the Apaches were still raiding and robbing at that time. His four-room adobe, plus auxiliary buildings made it “the finest hacienda in the southwest.” An impressive set of the Sanford adobe ruins remain today across Sonoita Creek from the Circle Z complex.
A number of Sanford’s relatives followed his lead, soon claiming hundreds of acres and controlling the water supply of a ten-mile strip of land. Cattle thieves were a constant problem in the area, but swift justice was meted out to rustlers, who soon learned to leave Sanford’s stock alone. John Cady was foreman on the Sanford Rancho in 1881 when they closed out their cattle stock and set 13,000 head of sheep grazing on the range. The sheep were only run until 1884 and proved quite profitable. Scarcer than cattle, they brought a better price.
It was not until 1925 that the old Sanford Ranch passed out of the hands of the Sanfords. In that year, the Zinsmeister family of Louisville, KY, purchased the 5,000-acre spread from Sanford’s daughter for the location of the present Circle Z Ranch. They immediately began to develop one of the finest guest ranches in the state. It was the golden age of dude ranching and the Dude Rancher’s Association was just forming. The facilities were opened in 1926 with a capacity of 24 guests. Over the next few years, it was increased to accommodate 70. The average length of stay for a guest was one month and some families remained the entire season. Private railway cars of some guests remained in town on a siding by the Patagonia station. The flat land under Sanford Butte and west of the corrals served as the Circle Z polo field.
By 1929, the annual Fourth of July picnic and barbecue at the Circle Z was one of Santa Cruz County’s biggest attractions. Upwards of 2,000 people would attend this event; arriving by train and private car, they were served pit barbecue with all the trimmings. Guests enjoyed band concerts, a rodeo including calf roping, wild horse and mule riding, bronco riding and a cigar race. A dance at Patagonia concluded the day.Then the Depression arrived, as did the drought, and the picnics were discontinued in 1934. Today, we scratch our heads in wonder about how all of it was accomplished without today’s conveniences.
In the 1930’s Circle Z was the home of El Sultan, the Spanish stallion owned by the ranch. He was a Cartuja Spanish sire with the unique distinction of being the only one of his breed in the U.S. Established in 1500, it is one of the oldest breeds in the world. He started as a gift from the Royal Spanish house, before its abdication, and reached the U.S. via Cuba. There were only 6 such stallions outside of Spain. In Spain the breed is known as “Caballo Santo” (the saintly horse) because it was originated by the church and has an extremely gentle disposition. The Spanish Remount has used the breed for centuries to produce cavalry horses. To this day, the Circle Z is noted for its fine horses. They are bred, raised and trained on the ranch.
World War II put a crimp in the resort and travel business, and the Circle Z ended up changing hands several times. In 1949 Fred Fendig came from Chicago and purchased the Circle Z. He was the owner-manager for the next 25 years. In 1952 the centrally located main ranch house with its two beautiful living rooms and large dining room burned to the ground. The Zinsmeister house was taken over and became the lodge in that year.
Hollywood has visited the ranch many times. Such movies as Broken Lance with Spencer Tracy and Monte Walsh with Lee Marvin have been filmed here. Scenes from El Dorado, with John Wayne, and the final episode of Gunsmoke were filmed on ranch property as well. In 1969, after considerable battling pro and con, the government dammed up Sonoita Creek several miles below the Circle Z. This formed Lake Patagonia, a narrow body of water three miles long, to be used for public fishing, boating and water supply. The high bluffs and tall cottonwoods seen in John Wayne’s movie El Dorado lay beneath this water. The TV Series Young Riders chose the ranch for locations, and the ranch tack house was used as the background for part of a nationally circulated Chevy truck advertisement. Arizona Highways magazine has frequently visited the ranch for photographs and feature articles.
Around the Flux Canyon development and the Circle Z property are thousands of acres of forest service land.
The decline of a great society doesn’t happen overnight….
There are certain stages and warning signs that are hard to miss. As you go about your day you may be like me and you come across a story or a fact or a chart that makes you pause ask yourself ‘that can’t be a good thing’. This book is my attempt to string these ‘that won’t end well’ events and stat together and look at macro trends happening in America and the world. Some of these trends have been going on for generations and others can be started or compounded from one election cycle to the next. I attempt break these patterns or trends into 25 categories and then researched and honed the arguments down to the top 12. This dirty dozen areas are what I believe are leading to the decline of a great society.
Taken individually one of these 12 topics can be seen as a crack in the foundation of what made America great. Taking them all in conjunction you can see how each of the chapters of this book contribute to a pattern and the piling together of the patterns are leading our Country to a decision point. Will this decision point be a conflict, will we wake up and change course, can we turn the ship around? These are all questions I ask myself every day. Hopefully this book will help you make decisions for your family, you community and your country.
It will be easy to argue against a particular point I’m making but I challenge you to take the analysis of all 12 chapters in their entirety and judge for yourself. Judge our Country on the dozen items I put forward and ask yourself if we are a Country on the rise or the decline. Analyze your particular school, or city council. Use these points and start watching the TV pundits or reading your online news with a more enlightened analysis. Wake up to where we are heading as a society.
When researching this book, it helps me to look at the history behind some of the decisions or directions our country is taking. I’ve been fascinated with the formation of America. The debates, the amendments, the structure was all deliberately put together to ensure that the human desire for power and the focus on self interest would be minimized for a greater good. The Founders of our country studied the fall of great societies and tried to put in place a form of government that pitted branches of the federal government against each other. They pitted States rights against a Federalist system. They built a government and a nation that survived over 240 years. My contention is that the more we erode the founders original structure of government the more damage we’ve done to our Country. The erosion of State’s rights, the election of Senators from popular vote instead of from the State legislatures have all had profound and negative impacts on our society.
The natural inclination, as I researched this topic, is to step back and ask yourself ‘how does this end up?’.For me, knowing that the path we are on as a country doesn’t look very promising, ‘how do I take care of my family?’ In the final chapter I’ll spend some time pontificating on how our society will react to societal pressures, political vacuums and market gyrations. No one knows the future but we can look to the past to get inkling on what happens next.
This book has something for everyone, politically that is. I am a Republican, I do a morning radio show on a conservative talk network. I’ve run for elected office, I’ve helped Republican candidates and as an entrepreneur ‘I did build that’. I believe the free market is the best way to deliver goods and service between two parties. I believe in small government and lean libertarian on many issues. I stay clear of social issues relating to how people chose to live their lives. I’ve been blessed in my life and giving back through board services with organizations that I believe in.
My radio show, columns and this book is about putting ideas out into my community aimed at helping families figure out there future. This book is about how I see the my Country. For the past eight years I’ve emerged myself in politics, society and culture. Being a part of the media has given me access to the leaders and decision makers in my community, my State and in the Country. Over the years I’ve seen patterns emerge. I’ve seen the challenges at making true change at the ballot box, I’ve seen the contrast between liberal and conservative governance. I’ve observed how people handle the mantle of power and what affects their decisions. These life experiences have lead me to write this book.
Cycle of Decline
When you look at the decline of other great societies there are historic clues that don’t always line up perfectly with the arguments I put forth in this book but there are definitely patterns that should scare you and make you take notice. Alexander Fraser Tytler, a European historian published The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic. In his analysis, Tytler concluded that from his research that the following stages of societal growth and decline are clear guideposts that great societies follow:
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loss of fiscal responsibility, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world’s great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith,
From spiritual faith to great courage,
From courage to liberty,
From liberty to abundance,
From abundance to selfishness,
From selfishness to complacency,
From complacency to apathy,
From apathy to dependency,
From dependency back again to bondage.”
The American experience, at just shy of 240 years old, is following Tytler’s stages. From our Countries foundation and the push back against tyranny at the hands of the British empire to the roaring 20’s, industrial revolution, post WWII economic booms on through to the rise of the counter culture, hippies, free love and into the rise of illicit drug use through the cocaine and crack 80’s and 90’s. The final stages we are now living include lack of trust in our governmental institutions from Congress to your local school district, the rise of the entitlement state and the ‘selfie generation’ who ask ‘what is my government going to do for me?’
Historian Arnold Toynbee wrote a 12 part series in 1961 called A Study of History. Toynbe argued that civilizations travel through many distinct stage;
Toynbee believed that a civilization declines not by external influences brought on by environmental concerns or attacks from invaders but his research showed societies become very good at problem solving but are not able to adapt to new, more sophisticated problems. Their societies have created too many layers and they’ve overdeveloped their problem solving structures and can’t adapt.
He studied the role of the “Dominant Minority” that forces the minority to obey. The “Creative Minority” which once was the source of new ideas, adaptations and the ability of the minority to influence the majority continues to bask in the glory days of the past and looses their ability to challenge and push society into a new direction. .
He argues that the ultimate sign a civilization has broken down is when the dominant minority forms a large centralized ruling system, a central government or a Proletariat, which stifles political creativity. He states:
First the Dominant Minority attempts to hold by force – against all right and reason – a position of inherited privilege which it has ceased to merit; and then the Proletariat repays injustice with resentment, fear with hate, and violence with violence when it executes its acts of secession. Yet the whole movement ends in positive acts of creation – and this on the part of all the actors in the tragedy of disintegration. The Dominant Minority creates a universal state, the Internal Proletariat a universal church, and the External Proletariat a bevy of barbarian war-bands.
Tonybee argues that, as civilizations decay, they form an “Internal Proletariat” and an “External Proletariat.” The Internal proletariat is held in subjugation by the dominant minority inside the civilization, and grows bitter; the external proletariat exists outside the civilization in poverty and chaos, and grows envious. He argues that as civilizations decay, there is a “schism in the body social,” where groups are pitted against each other. Instead of virtue and community the people in the society become jealous and envious.
When short term gain for the ruling majority is bypassed for the long term gain of what is best for the society cracks emerge in the societal fabric. We will dig in deeply to the political structure, bureaucracy and once trusted institutions that are now corrupted or incompetent to deliver on their mission. America is moving towards an ‘every man for themselves’ philosophy and this shift is not only counter to what made this Country great but could spell the end of this great experiment envisioned 240+ years ago.
Our society is straining at many levels, this book will try to provide you with the arguments that describe this decline. The rot is showing itself in our financial institution, our commercial sector, the education system and in many aspects of our societal contracts. The health of our institutions are manifesting in our our cultural decay.
For the past decade, I’ve been on a journey that first to fix my community, then to fix my State, then my Country. The further I researched and the more I learn the more I realized that we are living in a Country that is in the final stages of a great empire. Just like my great grandparents who fled Ireland in the mid 1800’s and moved to America for greater opportunity, I’m trying to impart upon my children and by this book impart upon whomever will do the hard analysis that you may have to leave the Country where you were born in to find opportunity in a different opportunity.
I am no different than many of my generation. I grew up as a Reagan Republican educated in Catholic schools through high school, put myself through college at the University of Arizona and studied Political Science and Economics. I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. Coming from a middle class family I saw the life of a small business owner as the path to financial security and a life less ordinary. As I worked hard, found success and raised my family I had that moment where I asked myself ‘is this it?’ That searching led me to plug into the social program to help those less fortunate than myself. I gravitated towards Catholic organizations that needed the skills that God had given me. After years of running and growing businesses, raising my family and giving back to my faith I started seeing a patterns. The pattern that emerged was that no matter how much money we raised to help those less fortunate the ranks of those in need kept growing. Solving the pain and suffering in my community was more than raising money, it was about the direction our elected officials were taking my community.
The next logical step, crazy as the experience was, was to step up and run for elected office. I looked locally at where the concentration of power was an determined to run for a County Supervisor position and challenge a 16 year incumbent in the Republican Primary. I did not win but after much sole searching the race for office wasn’t’ about winning, it was about making my community better. As a candidate I did a number of local radio interviews. After the election, I was given the opportunity to co-host a morning radio show with Chris DeSimone. Our show expanded into 2 hours per day on morning drive time. After six years of probably the most fascinating time to have a ring side seat to State and national politics I started seeing patterns. I wrote them down, researched these patterns form a historical perspective, dug into stats and data to identify trends and project how these patterns would play out in our economy, our political system and in our culture. The patterns were developed into 12 categories that I put forth to show the decline of the American empire.
Each chapter of this book is dedicated to one of these arguments that I put forth demonstrate that America is on a trend that leads to only one conclusion. According to Tytler’s assessment our society is moving from Apathy and Dependency to Dependency and Bondage. You may disagree with a particular chapter but I encourage you to analyze my arguments in their entirety. I have no agenda, I am not selling any financial instruments to hedge against where I see our county going. I am simply putting forth where I see America heading and ask you to prepare, become aware and watch for future signs. I have no crystal ball as to when or how long the decline will take. We may stay in the Apathy and Dependence phase for decades. A jolt to the financial system that stops credit financing of American debt could move us to Dependency and Bondage overnight.
What started with a run for political office lead me to a 6 year journey on local conservative talk radio. To produce two hours every morning involved devouring every minutia of the news of the day. Our radio show involved local topics and our take on national issues. With interviewing everyone from dog catcher to US Presidential candidates patterns start to emerge. The more time I spent reading, tracking and interviewing the more I realized how genius the framers of America really were. They studied the rise and fall of great societies of the past, the Romans, ancient Greeks, the British Empire,
When you boil everything down, Countries are led by men and women that are fallible. Our constitution was set up to protect the Republic from the wills of majorities against minorities, from States against the Federalist system, from one branch of government against another. The more I saw what was happening in present day American the more I dug back into the foundation of our country. In reading the debates of our founding fathers it is apparent that they didn’t envision the intranet or nuclear weaponry but they did realize that leaders in the 1700’s, or 500bc have the same motivations as leaders in the 2000’s. They studied great societies of the past and put all sorts of circuit breakers in to stop or slow the greed, ego and natural tendencies for a government and bureaucracy to grow ever bigger and encroach on the liberty of the individual. Through this book there are major inflection points in our history that eroded the constitution and the framework that the founders envisioned. I would argue to our detriment.
From the beginning of society humans have had aspirations, inclinations, flaws, ego and desires to create a better world for our families. The foundation of this country, our Constitution was designed to keep our elected officials in check, to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. The people, through the ballot box, will ultimately retain and wield the power of their elected leaders. Our government was set up with a series of checks and balances to keep the people from being abused. Over the past 240 years, where we comprise, interpret for our times, or neglect these checks and balances we see our country slipping away from what made this great experiment work. Perhaps we need to go back to the original framework that made us great to restore those freedoms and put our government in check.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
A study of the past and a glimpse at the future;
From the formation of our government in the 1790’s through the Civil War in the 1860’s, on through the industrial revolution and right up to the Great Depression, America had a hands off philosophy surrounding the national economy. The Congress lacked the authority to dig into the day to day activities of the citizens and businesses. There were encroachments and shifts in thinking and shifts in policy but not until the FDR administration did we se wholesale shifts in the role of the Federal government and it’s role in every day American’s lives. The constitution protected the rights of States and the individual. The Framers understood the role of concentration of power in a central government and went to great lengths to reign in that power. For the majority of our Countries history is was every man for himself, rugged individualism, free markets and the freedom to freely engage in commerce.
Woodrow Wilson in 1887 glorified the role of the administration and ushered in a cadres of administrative elites who he believed had the scientific knowledge about human behavior and where better equipped to run society. He believed administrative power was to be insulated from politics just as engineering and medicine stood on their own. Wilson saw federal bureaucracies “of skilled, economical administration” comprising the “hundred who are wise” empowered to guide the “thousands” who are “selfish, ignorant, timid, stubborn, or foolish.” (The Study of Administration – Essay by Woodrow Wilson). Wilson believed that educted technorats were the answer in solving societies problems.
After the stock market crash of 1929 ushered in the Great Depression, the USA was at a crossroads. The pain brought on by the exuberance of the roaring 20’s caused quite a hangover. The cheap credit extended to the wealthy and powerful burst and the hangover was difficult to overcome. Hoover loosened credit and turned the US into the lender of last resort for the banks. With the recovery not taking hold, Hoover expanded Keysnian, government initiated spending programs that included work programs, agriculture controls and other top down controls and stimulation to get the economy moving.
With the election of FDR government intervention and stimulation went into overdrive. FDR’s New Deal brought the formation of the SEC, the FDIC, the NLRB, and the infamous WPA . For the first time in our nations history we jumped on the collectivism bandwagon. The checks and balances set up by the founders where trampled over. Leading to an attempt to court pack the Supreme Court in 1937 to overcome a series of rebukes to his legislative agenda. Government as last lender and savior of the day became in vogue and it continues today. Through LBJ’s war on poverty and creation of Social Security and Medicare all the way through Obama’s Affordable Care Act, economic stimulus and massive intervention by the Federal Reserve, our Country is drifting farther and farther from the beliefs and principals set forth by the Founders. In the end, Government is a trailing indicator to society, perhaps, as we go through the chapters of this book, you’ll find that we have the exact government that we deserve.
All is not lost. There are short term and long term solutions that can put the American experience on the right track. The solutions range from improving education and building schools around teaching critical thinkers instead of factory workers. The solutions involve changing attidudes related to work and saving. The solutions involve instilling virtues back into society through stronger families units or active and engage faith networks.
Chapter 2 – Debt and Banking