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JeffS

What Will it Take?

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There's this:

"President Barack Obama's tax proposal – which promises to increase taxes for those families with incomes of $250,000 or more -- has some Americans brainstorming ways to decrease their pay, even if it's just by a dollar."

As well as some conversations I've had with producer friends of mine who say they're not so interested in working hard anymore. I begin by asking them, "How do you handle it? Why do you keep going on?" They usually respond with, "You know, I'm still glad I live and work in this country. I love this country, and I've been able to accomplish a lot. But it's just getting harder and harder to justify being away from my family so much, and worrying about everything."

I don't want to sound fatalistic because I've got a fairly good grasp of history to know that "this, too, shall pass." However, it seems to me we're sliding further and further into a hole from which getting out will require revolutionary change, in every sense of the term. It probably won't happen in my lifetime, but certainly in my kids' lifetimes. And it's going to be painful. The longer it takes to get there, the more painful it's going to be.

So, if the producers are going to eventually give up, I would prefer they do it soon. But there doesn't seem to be much impetus to do it. The story above, and my own interviews are purely anecdotal, and probably not very representative. But... I wonder.

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You mean, when is the revolution starting? I wouldn't call that "giving up," because it's quite the opposite of that.

The revolution will start as soon as the dominant ethics in American culture becomes the Objectivist one, or something sufficiently resembling it, such as the ethics of the Founding Fathers.

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You mean, when is the revolution starting? I wouldn't call that "giving up," because it's quite the opposite of that.

The revolution will start as soon as the dominant ethics in American culture becomes the Objectivist one, or something sufficiently resembling it, such as the ethics of the Founding Fathers.

I don't mean the producers would revolt. And I agree "giving up" is not appropriate. What I'm really wondering is when the producers will do what the individuals in the article are doing: withdraw their support of a failed state. How much more can they take? What will be the straw to break the camel's back? It's different for each of them, I'm sure, but I wonder what would cause a mass exodus?

Effective tax rates have been much, much higher in the past, even as recently as the 70s, yet I think this was (given America's prominence in the world market) more endurable than it would be today. Would it take a 70% tax rate? 80%? 90? Would it take another alphabet soup of government programs and regulations?

The revolution wouldn't be started by the producers - it would be started by the parasites who wake up one day to discover their hosts have gone. I'm no Cassandra, but the parallels between today and AS are eerie.

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What I'm really wondering is when the producers will do what the individuals in the article are doing: withdraw their support of a failed state. How much more can they take? What will be the straw to break the camel's back? It's different for each of them, I'm sure, but I wonder what would cause a mass exodus?

A mass exodus presupposes some destination to leave for, somewhere it is better than in the States. With most of the world being worse than the States, it is not about to happen. The scenario in Atlas Shrugged is not realistic; if the nation's top producers were "cool" enough to pull off or even contemplate something like that (or if just one of them were savvy enough to convince all the others), there would be no need for it because they would stand up to the politicians and pressure them until they left the economy alone. (I believe Miss Rand herself said that she did not intend AS as a real-life plan of action.)

The problem is not that producers don't have enough power right now; the problem is that their ideas of morality prevent them from using it the right way. The government may have more tanks and fighter jets than, say, Exxon, but what good are the tanks and fighters unless Exxon supplies the fuel to make them go? The government disposes over a lot of money, but how much money would it have if the people who actually make money didn't pay their taxes? It's a bit like America vs. the Islamists: without American technology and American money, the ragheads would be nowhere near capable of threatening America--and if America decided to send them to hell right now, they would all be lining up at Satan's checkin counter within less than a week. It's not that we can't do it; we just don't do it because nobody in our leadership thinks it would be the right thing to do.

Most of the Fortune 500 CEOs are convinced that capitalism is bad and that the government is doing all of the nation a favor when it taxes them to death. This is why they support people like McCain and Obama for political office. Turn this around, and Comrades McCain and Obama will be lucky if they can get a job cleaning the toilets at a gas station in rural Kansas.

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I don't mean the producers would revolt. And I agree "giving up" is not appropriate. What I'm really wondering is when the producers will do what the individuals in the article are doing: withdraw their support of a failed state. How much more can they take? What will be the straw to break the camel's back? It's different for each of them, I'm sure, but I wonder what would cause a mass exodus?

Effective tax rates have been much, much higher in the past, even as recently as the 70s, yet I think this was (given America's prominence in the world market) more endurable than it would be today. Would it take a 70% tax rate? 80%? 90? Would it take another alphabet soup of government programs and regulations?

The revolution wouldn't be started by the producers - it would be started by the parasites who wake up one day to discover their hosts have gone. I'm no Cassandra, but the parallels between today and AS are eerie.

I agree with Capitalism Forever...things will change - and I think they will change quickly - when genuine producers realize their own self-worth, stop feeling guilty for their earned values and realize that they are the ones with all of the legit power. Remember, the evil needs the good, not the other way 'round. Not that Govenrment is inherently evil...I hope you get my drift.

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A mass exodus presupposes some destination to leave for, somewhere it is better than in the States.

Not necessarily - it just means "leaving, departing, going away," it doesn't presuppose any place to go. They could do what the people in the article I posted are doing - they could just stop working as hard, or working altogether.

The problem is not that producers don't have enough power right now; the problem is that their ideas of morality prevent them from using it the right way. The government may have more tanks and fighter jets than, say, Exxon, but what good are the tanks and fighters unless Exxon supplies the fuel to make them go? The government disposes over a lot of money, but how much money would it have if the people who actually make money didn't pay their taxes? It's a bit like America vs. the Islamists: without American technology and American money, the ragheads would be nowhere near capable of threatening America--and if America decided to send them to hell right now, they would all be lining up at Satan's checkin counter within less than a week. It's not that we can't do it; we just don't do it because nobody in our leadership thinks it would be the right thing to do.

Most of the Fortune 500 CEOs are convinced that capitalism is bad and that the government is doing all of the nation a favor when it taxes them to death. This is why they support people like McCain and Obama for political office. Turn this around, and Comrades McCain and Obama will be lucky if they can get a job cleaning the toilets at a gas station in rural Kansas.

If I understand your point correctly, you're arguing the producers themselves don't feel they're being used, or they feel it's morally proper that they be used. But that's not the impression I get from the anecdotal evidence I presented, at least not for those producers. Furthermore, I highly doubt most Fortune 500 CEOs are convinced capitalism is bad, or that the government is doing all the nation a favor when it taxes them to death. If that were true, most would not be in business, and most would be giving their money to the government regardless of what the tax rate were.

Regardless, let's assume you're correct: What will it take to disabuse them of this faulty thinking? In AS Galt wouldnt' approach any producer until he felt that producer was ready to hear what he had to say - I think that's kind of what you're saying. What will it take for the producers of this country to be ready to hear what "Galt" has to say? That is, what will it take for them to be receptive of the idea that people aren't on this planet to be used by others?

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Not necessarily - it just means "leaving, departing, going away," it doesn't presuppose any place to go. They could do what the people in the article I posted are doing - they could just stop working as hard, or working altogether.

Ah, I see, so what you mean is "quitting." :) Producers are never motivated to stop working altogether, since that is a bit like committing suicide. As for not working quite that hard--as you say, that is happening already.

If I understand your point correctly, you're arguing the producers themselves don't feel they're being used, or they feel it's morally proper that they be used.

The latter.

But that's not the impression I get from the anecdotal evidence I presented, at least not for those producers. Furthermore, I highly doubt most Fortune 500 CEOs are convinced capitalism is bad, or that the government is doing all the nation a favor when it taxes them to death. If that were true, most would not be in business, and most would be giving their money to the government regardless of what the tax rate were.

One key thing to know about Americans is that, by their own ethical standards, they are the world's greatest sinners. They are taught in church that pride is a sin, and they always nod enthusiastically when they hear that said, but when asked if they are proud of being Americans, they would just as enthusiastically say "Yes!" They are taught that sex is dirty, and they agree--but they keep wanting sex, and having it too. They are taught that money is the root of evil, and they always love to hear that--but then they go and keep making more money.

I think most Americans implicitly understand that what the ethical powers-that-be call "sinful" is in fact good for them. In no other country could a place known as "Sin City" become the nation's favorite destination for vacations and business conventions. But "good for me" does not automatically translate into "right," and man's psychology is such that he will always desire to do what's right (according to his ideas), even if it conflicts with his other natural desires.

Regardless, let's assume you're correct: What will it take to disabuse them of this faulty thinking? In AS Galt wouldnt' approach any producer until he felt that producer was ready to hear what he had to say - I think that's kind of what you're saying. What will it take for the producers of this country to be ready to hear what "Galt" has to say? That is, what will it take for them to be receptive of the idea that people aren't on this planet to be used by others?

You seem to be on the premise that, if they were used a lot more, producers would eventually say "Enough!" and revolt. Well, it is true that if they are used to such an extent that it directly threatens their lives, or otherwise seriously interferes with the "other natural desires" I talked about above, then they would say, "Hey, you're using me too much, could you use me a bit less please?" And then some Republican cuts their taxes by two percentage points and they go, "Thanks, that's much better now"--and then hurry to the church to confess their act of selfishness. Again, it's similar to the situation with totalitarian Islam: one often hears the idea that it would take "another 9/11" to "wake up Americans"--but 9/11 was enough to wake up anybody for a lifetime. It's not that Americans are not awake to the fact that Islamists hate them and want to kill them--but rather, they think they are right to hate them, and right to want to kill them. This is why another attack would result in the exact same response that the one in 2001 did: after the initial anger and self-defense reflex, motivated by the immediate and concrete threat to their lives, Americans would eventually go back to thinking about it in abstract moral terms--which, until there is a philosophical change, are going to be the exact same terms that characterize their thinking now.

"Hitting them until they learn" is not sufficient--and not necessary, either. People already know that they hate being hit. What they don't know is that they don't deserve being hit--that the moral kudos goes to them, the "sinners," not to those meting out their penitence.

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Michelle Malkin is documenting the "Going Galt" phenomenon in her blog lately, she uses that very name and draws lots of references to AS (her readers do as well). Mostly it means small business owners and self-employed people are trying not to break the $250,000 income barrier in order to keep their tax bill smaller, but also quite a few others are cutting back on their production in order to lower their taxes (even when they don't come close to earning $250k per year).

The thinking among many of these people is very similar: why work harder and longer when you won't get to take home more money? A few others are trying to "starve the beast," meaning they want to deprive the governemnt of their income.

This is mostly to the good. We should take this opportunity to let them know they are right: it is their money, their work, their lives, and they should be free to do with them as they please. We should also let them know why they are the sacrificial sheep of the day. That message will be ahrder to get accross, but it is by far more important.

The address for Malkin's blog is http://www.michellemalkin.com

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While I agree in principle I think there are two sides to John Galt. Fist there was the withdrawel of the mind. But second there was galt's gulch and that one is still missing (or at least I haven't been invited yet :( ). That's the thing I am trying, what I think is my purpose in life: to find or found the place where my children can be free.

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"Hitting them until they learn" is not sufficient--and not necessary, either. People already know that they hate being hit. What they don't know is that they don't deserve being hit--that the moral kudos goes to them, the "sinners," not to those meting out their penitence.

This sounds like the psychology of a woman who get beaten by her husband and continues to stay with him. She doesn't like being hit, but she doesn't know that she doesn't deserve to be hit, so she stays and/or doesn't defend herself.

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I think that State secession should be a real possibility. Obama is fast tracking this Republic into oblivion.

Wrongo.

Obama's plans are hardly worthy of secession or leaving the country. You are sounding like the goofy Hollywood liberals who said they would leave if Bush became president. America is still plenty free, and it will remain that way.

Also, there is no state would be better off without being part of the U.S. You either have religious fanatics or commie liberals.

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If there is a "Revolution", per se, I don't think it is going to start as a producers' strike a la Atlas Shrugged. Instead, I believe it will start with the more common conservative; the base silent majority, including the religious right, and even the not-so-religious right.

I don't know where many of the members of this forum live, but those of you who live in and around the Ohio Valley/Appalachian Area...Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, Etc...know of our unique breed of "redneck." I would call them "rednecks," because any urbanite, northerner or west-coaster would probably call them such at first glance.

Business executives, business owners, doctors, pharmacists, scientists, engineers can all be seen driving big Ford turbo-diesel trucks with "NOBAMA" and "Where's MY bailout?" stickers on the back. Many might own or live on farms, board horses or graze cattle. Our culture is very rural. Most of the more successful who work in big cities like Louisville commute from either suburbs, or more rural towns that can be less than 20 miles away from downtown big-city.

My barber is one of those. He owns a successful barber shop in the south-central part of Louisville. His barber shop is atypical, compared to most of the stylists and salons you'll find in the city. His shop is decorated classically; spinning barber pole on the outside, mounted heads of the spoils of his many hunting trips on the inside. He teaches a CCDW class about once a month in the shop, the class one is required to complete before obtaining a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon in the state of Kentucky. At the beginning of the class I took, he first mentioned how frustrated he is with the idea that private citizens are required to obtain a license from the government to carry a deadly weapon.

The slogan of his barber shop is, "The safest barber shop in town!" It can be found on the front of camouflage baseball caps for sale, underneath the name of the shop, and the silhouette of a pistol. Signs are posted on the front window with the text, "NOTICE: EMPLOYEES AND PATRONS MAY BE ARMED." The signs don't lie.

He owns a small arsenal. Like many here, when Obama was elected, he stocked up. I personally witnessed how the shelves of local gun-stores were emptied of first assault rifles, then hunting rifles, and finally pistols and ammunition within the first month after the election. Six AK-47 variants (Yugoslavian, Czech, some Russian) comprised his most recent purchase, as well as several thousand rounds of ammunition. When I asked him why he felt it necessary to have such a large arsenal, (I already knew the answer) he noted that the constitution, the bill of rights, and especially the second amendment, were designed to protect private citizens from an out-of-control government. Our style of government was formed so brilliantly, with checks and balances on government power extending to the people. If the bicameral form of legislature is designed to create checks and balances within Congress, the private citizens' "checks and balances" on both rest in our constitutional rights, including our right to keep and bear arms.

"The ultimate power is the power to kill; it is the simplest and most efficient way to win any argument. Should this power, at some point, rest only in the hands of Government...we will truly be f*cked."

The news was on during our conversation, news about the bailouts, mention of socialism, etc. We were both tsk tsking and shaking our heads. As began to leave, I sighed and said, "What can ya do?" With as serious as a demeanor as I've ever seen, he said, "I'll tell ya 'what can ya do.' It's high time for a good ol' fashioned revolution. I'm sick and tired of all this bullshit and I know I'm not the only one."

Now this isn't some whiskey-drunk hillbilly sitting on a rusty oil-barrel in his backyard. This is a successful small-business owner. There are many like him here. LOTS. Doctors, engineers, lawyers, business execs, farmers...even police officers and members of the military. You might not know it, or believe it, because they keep to themselves. They work, they go home, spend time with their families, sleep, work. They don't have time to walk in the streets, beating drums and holding hastily-made signs.

So there's lots of them, and they're fed up. I think they'll be the first one's to stage any kind of revolt, or revolution, as it were; the level of organization of which is debatable. One good thing about living in the rural sprawl is that there's a lot of space for you to do whatever you want and go unnoticed. For all I know, there could be a large militia training not more than two miles from my home in the deep woods.

For that reason, I think it would be hard for anyone to really know if all this is just flighty theory until it really happens.

One thing I do know is that, if all this were truly the case, they wouldn't fire the proverbial "first shot." They would wait for the first shot, then return fire with a level of "shock and awe" that would make the invasion of Iraq look like a bunch of kids playing with fifty-cent fireworks.

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"Hitting them until they learn" is not sufficient--and not necessary, either. People already know that they hate being hit. What they don't know is that they don't deserve being hit--that the moral kudos goes to them, the "sinners," not to those meting out their penitence.

Based on the results of a recent polling, nearly 100% of participants disliked being hit with a pole.

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One key thing to know about Americans is that...

On key thing is that lumping individuals into a category certainly is not justice.

Forturnately, the smallest minority in any group is the individual. Individuals have to make their own decisions, and be morally responsible for it. Or guilty for it. Certainly, there are many that work, and work hard, and not all American's follow the religions that one claims to drive them to guilt and/or sinning. Actually, some Christain religion promotes being the best at what one does. But that does get lost to some as it doesn't forward the cause of beating down religion.

Regardless, individual choice always comes into play...unless government places force upon the individual.

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If there is a "Revolution", per se, I don't think it is going to start as a producers' strike a la Atlas Shrugged. Instead, I believe it will start with the more common conservative; the base silent majority, including the religious right, and even the not-so-religious right.

I don't know where many of the members of this forum live, but those of you who live in and around the Ohio Valley/Appalachian Area...Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, Etc...know of our unique breed of "redneck." I would call them "rednecks," because any urbanite, northerner or west-coaster would probably call them such at first glance.

Business executives, business owners, doctors, pharmacists, scientists, engineers can all be seen driving big Ford turbo-diesel trucks with "NOBAMA" and "Where's MY bailout?" stickers on the back. Many might own or live on farms, board horses or graze cattle. Our culture is very rural. Most of the more successful who work in big cities like Louisville commute from either suburbs, or more rural towns that can be less than 20 miles away from downtown big-city.

My barber is one of those. He owns a successful barber shop in the south-central part of Louisville. His barber shop is atypical, compared to most of the stylists and salons you'll find in the city. His shop is decorated classically; spinning barber pole on the outside, mounted heads of the spoils of his many hunting trips on the inside. He teaches a CCDW class about once a month in the shop, the class one is required to complete before obtaining a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon in the state of Kentucky. At the beginning of the class I took, he first mentioned how frustrated he is with the idea that private citizens are required to obtain a license from the government to carry a deadly weapon.

The slogan of his barber shop is, "The safest barber shop in town!" It can be found on the front of camouflage baseball caps for sale, underneath the name of the shop, and the silhouette of a pistol. Signs are posted on the front window with the text, "NOTICE: EMPLOYEES AND PATRONS MAY BE ARMED." The signs don't lie.

He owns a small arsenal. Like many here, when Obama was elected, he stocked up. I personally witnessed how the shelves of local gun-stores were emptied of first assault rifles, then hunting rifles, and finally pistols and ammunition within the first month after the election. Six AK-47 variants (Yugoslavian, Czech, some Russian) comprised his most recent purchase, as well as several thousand rounds of ammunition. When I asked him why he felt it necessary to have such a large arsenal, (I already knew the answer) he noted that the constitution, the bill of rights, and especially the second amendment, were designed to protect private citizens from an out-of-control government. Our style of government was formed so brilliantly, with checks and balances on government power extending to the people. If the bicameral form of legislature is designed to create checks and balances within Congress, the private citizens' "checks and balances" on both rest in our constitutional rights, including our right to keep and bear arms.

"The ultimate power is the power to kill; it is the simplest and most efficient way to win any argument. Should this power, at some point, rest only in the hands of Government...we will truly be f*cked."

The news was on during our conversation, news about the bailouts, mention of socialism, etc. We were both tsk tsking and shaking our heads. As began to leave, I sighed and said, "What can ya do?" With as serious as a demeanor as I've ever seen, he said, "I'll tell ya 'what can ya do.' It's high time for a good ol' fashioned revolution. I'm sick and tired of all this bullshit and I know I'm not the only one."

Now this isn't some whiskey-drunk hillbilly sitting on a rusty oil-barrel in his backyard. This is a successful small-business owner. There are many like him here. LOTS. Doctors, engineers, lawyers, business execs, farmers...even police officers and members of the military. You might not know it, or believe it, because they keep to themselves. They work, they go home, spend time with their families, sleep, work. They don't have time to walk in the streets, beating drums and holding hastily-made signs.

So there's lots of them, and they're fed up. I think they'll be the first one's to stage any kind of revolt, or revolution, as it were; the level of organization of which is debatable. One good thing about living in the rural sprawl is that there's a lot of space for you to do whatever you want and go unnoticed. For all I know, there could be a large militia training not more than two miles from my home in the deep woods.

For that reason, I think it would be hard for anyone to really know if all this is just flighty theory until it really happens.

One thing I do know is that, if all this were truly the case, they wouldn't fire the proverbial "first shot." They would wait for the first shot, then return fire with a level of "shock and awe" that would make the invasion of Iraq look like a bunch of kids playing with fifty-cent fireworks.

I wonder if Obama regrets saying that stuff about Americans and their guns? Actually, he's probably forgotten it by now.

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