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Thursday, January 19 - 9:45amSanction this postReply
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On a related note:

 

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has a brutal theory of how America went wrong over the past 30 years



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Thursday, January 19 - 11:32amSanction this postReply
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From the column:

 

"In the past 30 years, America had 13 wars spending $2 trillion ... " and "Year 2008 wiped out $19.2 trillion in US income ... What if the money was spent on the Midwest of the United States?"

 

In his two examples, totalling over 21 TRILLION, they were both due to government.  Both the wars and the government created housing-bubble crash.  But I'd guess that the 21 TRILLION is only a fraction of what was lost in American wealth - privately held wealth - given what would have been created and produced and all of the increased investments and increased profits had the government not been taxing, regulating and spending at those levels to start with.

 

We all have only our time to spend.  Our efforts and the perceptions of others will say what the market value of that time will be.  Now, imagine that for some strange reason a person who lives near you has acquired an unchallengable legal right to come over and tie you up or lock you in a closet for somewhere between 2 and 4 hours a day - hours where you can't pursue your goals, where you can't convert your time into money.  And that this goes on for your entire life.  That is what this government does to our society.  It drains it of a level of productivity that we will never be able to experience.

 

"America First" is a good campaign slogan - particularly in this progressive era of sacrifice for others that is being carried out on a global level.  It is a good perspective to start with, but next we need to go from "America First" to ceasing to use government as a tool for anything except the protection of individual rights of Americans.



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Friday, January 20 - 12:12pmSanction this postReply
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"We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example, we will shine for everyone to follow." - from Trump inaugural speech (emphasis added)

 

This is the essence of Objectivist ethics, albeit at the 'collectivist' (national) level.  Ayn Rand once warned that those who demanded self-sacrifice would demand the sacrifice of their country to the rest of the world - or something to that effect.  If Trump follows through on foreign policy (if not trade) I shall be more satisfied with him as President than any of the last four.



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Friday, January 20 - 3:14pmSanction this postReply
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Trump is a pragmatic, populist, nationalist and we don't know what authoritarian strains (if any) will arise under his leadership. 

 

But we know two things that are worth noting.  Progressivism is now more on the outside looking in than it was yesterday.  And until he takes actions as the President, we can hope he won't damage liberty nearly as much as he supports it.

 

His election is a radical interruption of progressive politics and political correctness.  Without that, we would likely have soon passed any point of return short of a violent rebellion. 

 

Trump is being demonized by many, and mostly for partisan reasons, but even supporters of freedom and reason are worried about what he might do.  It is good that these worries and the many criticisms are about a future that hasn't yet arrived.  Because with just a bit of optimism we can hope they never do - not to a great degree.  We don't know if he will become an enemy of liberty and we can still hope that he will do more to dethrone elitism, political globalism, and political correctness than anyone else who was running.

 

I like what Tom Hanks (who was NOT a Trump supporter) said: "I hope he does so well that I vote for his re-election."



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Friday, January 20 - 7:45pmSanction this postReply
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Steve I was looking over Rand's The Voice of Reason and in the 1963 article "How Not to Fight Against Socialized Medicine" I found this:

The majority of people in this country—and in the world—do not want to adopt socialism; yet it is growing. It is growing because its victims concede its basic moral premises. Without challenging these premises, one cannot win.

I was glad to see Obama waving goodbye from Marine One.  Trump being inaugurated signals the real change the country needed, and I hope he can turn things around.  I am concerned with his populism, though.  Trump has a version of nostalgia and patriotism that is his own.  It sounds collective to me, but I think for many it sounds individualist.  I'm wondering what individualism is going to connotate after his presidency is done.



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Sunday, January 22 - 12:30amSanction this postReply
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Watching what is going on with this Trump movement has made me do a lot of thinking.  I agree with Rand that the basic premise of all forms of collectivism (that sacrifice is moral) has to be rejected.  But I now think I have been seeing this time in history and what would be required to move our culture towards individualism and capitalism in too superficial a way.  I have been seeing this as an intellectual/educational issue where enough people holding the right principles is what moves the culture and changes the politics.  That's right, but it isn't enough and it deals with things as if we didn't have emotions and as if we were all intellectually independent and autonomous... and that isn't the case.  Getting from here, today, to where we'd like to be does take that change in principles - that change in understanding and in education, but there is a battle going on that isn't just between ideas.  There is an emotional rejection of many of the aspects of progressivism.  The condecension of elitism, globalism's diminishing of us as a nation, and the political correctness are all being emotionally rejected.

 

As best as I can tell, populism is nothing more than an attempt to dress-up a rejection of rule by elites - as if a rejection were a thing with a political identity of its own.  Populism doesn't have any actual political principles.  It has a style that is usually some kind of corn-pone, hokey, emotionalism that is in effect the concrete proof of non-elitism - "See, we're the common people".  In theory it elevates the popular opinion to a ruling principle... in theory.  But in practice it will usually be a cult of personality where the leader can only lead as he stays popular, but his popularity is cult like.  Since moral sanctity is suppossed to come from the masses, because they are the masses, it isn't compatible with individualism.

 

But, Trump's populism is like a harsh chemo treatment for the malignancy of progressivism - it is harsh and unpleasant, but if it actually kills the cancer that will be a valuable thing and in that sense it will be going in the right direction.  His nationalist tendencies counter-act the progressive globalism.  His America First counteracts the global redistribution of wealth and power and elite's desire to use the military for reasons other than self-defense.  His lack of presidential style breaks the facade of the usual politician who plays that game where if they act correctly on the outside, then you are supposed to accept them as if they were worthy of acceptance. 

 

His attacks on the media may come in part from ego and a thin skin of sorts, but it also has a very desirable effect.  When the media is strongly biased and engaged in effecting politics instead of giving honest reporting and analysis, then it shouldn't be given the mantle of honest reporting.  That is a form of treason against honest reporting, and it elevates lies and false news as if were an equal.  It is the giving of a kind of sanction.

 

Political correctness is a direct outgrowth of the Frankfurt School's Critical Theory that began to spread out from Columbia University back in the mid-1930's.  Political correctness is a crazy thing in itself.  It is an attempt to make it manditory in thought and speech that one accept views that are actually attempts to break all existing cultural values and create, via a kind of cultural anarchy, such a transformation of the culture as to make it maleable enough to replace capitalism and individualism with socialism and collectivism.  Trumpism is like a poison pill to political correctness.

 

As an Objectivist the number of things about Trump that I object to are many.  But if he buys time from that rush towards the progressives goals, and if he damages political correctness, then I'm all for that as the best we are going to get in the next few years. 



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Sunday, January 22 - 6:17amSanction this postReply
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Steve, that was an excellent analysis!

 

As a psychologist, you have a deep understanding of profound human needs for meaning, bonding, belonging, security, etc.  Some of these are definitely pre-rational responses hard-wired into all higher animals as pure survival mechanisms though obviously with a human element that makes them accessible to rational introspection and analysis.  Too many Objectivists fall into the idealism-rationalism trap that ignores all aspects of the reality-reason foundations of the philosophy that demand appeals to the materialism-empiricism side of things.  In other words, they attempt to view people as "purely" rational animals rather than as "ultimately" rational animals who are still, well, animals, i.e. living things with real needs endowed by nature.  Threaten those needs and responses will be predicted by natural law.  Any "rational" political movement needs to appeal to those issues of body and soul to move large segments of the population into the desired directions.  This is the classic "logos-pathos-ethos" triangular argument as old as Western civilization itself.

 

I just awakened, so maybe I am less cogent than I could be later, but I wanted to get this posted now while I have it on my mind.



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Sunday, January 22 - 9:09amSanction this postReply
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Luke, thank you for the kind words.  You may have just awakened, but your analysis was quite cogent.  Too many psychologists, sociologists, philosophers (and progressives) make the mistake that represents the other side of the coin - they see us as animals without a capacity to reason and choose (or, they see that capacity as a weak force).  I suspect that most of us became Objectivists because of a strong attachment to reason and to understanding... and for many as a reaction against emotionalism.  And that can effect how easily we can see the different layers and moving parts their are in this long term battle between opposing and shifting political ideologies.

 

As Objectivists, we know where we want to go.  And we love the clarity of that vision and the beauty of the logic involved.  We want to share that.  We should know that the destination we've chosen won't be reached overnight, so we ought to be focusing on all of those directions that might work.  But too often suitable directions are rejected because they aren't perfect and completed trips.  And look at the effect that has when getting there requires the support of a great many other people - people we have to persuade.  We need to be talking to the crowd in front of us, and not to a crowd we wish was in front of us.  It can be a mistake in the immediate situation to try to jump directly to  our destination, and therefore a mistake to try to get there by convincing the crowd about the intellectual values of the destination when what we need to do is get them excited about going the right direction.  If we don't change the direction soon, we all go over a cliff.  If we do start moving in the right direction, we still need to provide that education about the principles of politics while we are walking.

 

Progressivism is wired into our culture so deeply that we have to take its flaws, and its lies, and particularly those things that arouse the ire of the folks and beat it to death with those shortcomings.  Otherwise it will adapt its tactics, change its facade of lies and continue on.  It will always be almost unerring in seeking out the strongest and best part of any trend in the right direction as a target to demean and sabotage.  Progressivism itself, as a movement, knows very well its destination (which it keeps quiet) and at the same time focuses on getting movement in that direction.  This flexible, unrelenting focus on movement, direction and destintation has made it more effective than any opposition.

 

I don't think Trump has a destination in mind that is much like ours.  But it may be in the same direction.  At least we know that the progressives were going a totally opposite direction.  Today's crowd may be convinced to go in the direction Trump is talking to them about - if he has some successes and if the progressives aren't successful in their attacks on him, his legitimacy and don't succeed in obstructing his efforts. 

 

Even if the progressives don't stop him, it is a very iffy situation because so much of what Trump might do is still unknow, much of his character is still unknown, and without the right kind of principles his direction will end up being irrelevant because, in the long term, you can't get anywhere good, no matter what direction you take, without the right principles.  They are the only efficatious way to understand the destination.



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Sunday, January 22 - 9:56amSanction this postReply
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Alibaba's Jack Ma Isn't The Only China Billionaire That Says U.S. Has Wasted Its Wealth

 

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 1/22, 9:57am)



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