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Pericles(MBA)

Protecting America for the Socialists

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I didn't feel like this topic merited posting on the blog, especially since it is likely to be rambling as I am fighting off a cold and other distractions this weekend. However the topic is extremely important to me on a personal level. Also blog postings should be finished articles, and this is something that I would prefer discussion.

As the war in Iraq continues and the discussion continues on television and in the public I keep returning to my original concerns that I voiced after Sept 11th and America's return to patriotism. I saw then that many statist politicians suddenly became great spokesmen for the defense of America, even if previously their foreign policy ideas had been foolish. My initial thought was: these statists do want to protect America, because they want it safe for their control.

I had thought that swift victories in the WOT would assure a return of our troops and a boost to our economy, making my fears of statist opportunism invalid. I should say that I am a supporter of Jack Wakeland's idea of cultural colonialism and I see Iraq as a possible victory in that respect.

However even as we are successful in the war, I am seeing increasing examples of anti-capitalist successes here in the United States that would threaten to make victories in the WOT somewhat lessened. The FDA has succeeded by its twisted partnering with drug companies, in undermining Americans trust in the free market. Do not be surprised if the FDA proposes an extreme clampdown on pharmaceuticals next year, and the majority of Americans support it. The pharmaceuticals that took part in the charade are mostly to blame unfortunately.

I do admit that personal illness (digestive disorders) is making me frustrated to see reforms more quickly in my lifetime. I do admit that I am personally feeling the financial pinch of government idiocies more now than ever before and that biases my thinking. I do admit that my personal goals are for being able to lead my life as freely as possible now. I don't want to make America safe for statist politicians, I want it safe so I can live and flourish. My biggest fear is that I would become like many with declining health that spend a great deal of time complaining about the government, but not capable of accomplishing other goals. (Not that there is anything wrong with complaining about the govt, I just want energy to do other things).

When I was enrolled in business school I met many MBA candidates who held strong pragmatist and utilitiarian beliefs about business. How can the business community ever beat back statism when our business leaders keep seeking to partner with the government? Who could be happy employed by one of these fools? Do you know how many major CEO's of Fortune 500 companies are taking part in the presidents Corporate Responsibility campaign?

In discussions on privatizing social security with co-workers I met a fairly strong opinion that social security was necessary to help the returning GI's by providing them financial support. This is not the first time that I have seen statist policies defended as "necessary for our defense". That is exactly the platform I expect to see John McCain use when he runs for president. McCain is the most talented of the statist opportunists, and I am certain he would be better at deceiving Americans into socialism than Hillary.

In my search for a better doctor I am coming across the enourmity of support for socialized medical care, and no doctors who are committed to their science. I would not care about them, if I had time to go to medical school and find my own cure. But life is expensive, and becoming more so in a world with many egalitarians. I spend all my time just getting by, so I don't have time for returning to school to become a doctor. I am doing my own personal medical research thru private contacts as time allows.

There are crimes against capitalism happening here that will have repercussions in our culture and politics (and effect me now). I would rather this stuff happen after my lifetime, not during. I don't have time to speak out in defense of capitalism and continue my personal medical research.

On a personal level, I am now feeling more isolated from like minds than I ever have before. This forum is the one of the few connections I have with people with whom I feel a common bond. (And even on here I only really feel close to a few). Seeing how cynical many Americans are, I have doubts about whether many would ever accept Objectivism. I completely sympathize with Dr Peikoff for beggining to feel that public lectures do not grant him enough like minds to make it enjoyable, because I feel the a similar sense of frustration.

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I have not lived here (in the USA) long enough nor have been aware of the state of the culture for a long time as some people here have such that I can easily determine what change in the general culture has happened, whether for better or worse. But whenever I try to do so, I always get mixed conclusions: in one way (politics especially), the country still seems headed towards fascism; on the other hand, there have been several encouraging and hopeful developments in academia (even in the humanities/social sciences!) that seems to indicate that the country is at a turning point for the better.

I'm not certain if my evaluation is correct (my knowledge/cognitive context is too limited for me to make a certain conclusion), but judging by some of the remarks of Betsy and the like, it seems to be true. The cultural nadir may have been in the late 1960's to the 1970's.

Of course, politics is always the last result in a philosophical movement. It took over a century of Enlightenment before its ideals became widespread in America and before the USA was created by the Founding Fathers. Likewise, socialism/communism took all of the nineteenth century to take root and grow before finally emerging triumphant in the Russian Revolution in early 1900's. So even if the positive turning point has come (and very recently), it might take until the end of the 21st century before we see any political-economic reforms towards laissez-faire capitalism! (barring any unforeseen catastrophe that would prompt immediate and fundamental reforms)

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Tom-

Yes, I agree that on some levels there is hope that we are reaching a turning point philosophically. It is especially hopeful that the framework of the education system is changing such that people no longer trust public schools. Also people are starting to see dynamic ways of learning outside the government monopolized higher education system. We may have some hard years politically, upcoming under a McCain presidency, but eventually laissez-faire will triumph.

However, I personally do not want to live under fascism. I am already frustrated by the limits placed on my life now. I feel a strong dislike of our mixed economy as someone who lives in China and yearns to live in America. I yearn to live in a non-existent free America because I more strongly than ever feel the frustration with the false limits we have in place. I may only have ten years of working time left, and I do not want to spend my most productive years under increasing servitude to the state.

Betsy can look with hope to the future as she has a child, as do many Objectivists. I have no children, so other than serving as a historian of failed ideas, I have little to comfort me in trying to survive amongst irrationality. Many of my attempts over these past years to live a responsible life have been greeted with punishment by the government. For example, when I had a 401K, and then attempted to transfer it to a new employer the IRS taxed me twice and I have spent the past year with my tax attorney trying to tell the IRS this. The amount of taxes they claim I owe for the 401K, exceeds the 401K! But the IRS guys are stuck on the idea that I am trying to get away with something and won't let it go.

If I could teach it might grant me something, but since that is not my degree breaking into the education field is near impossible. I guess I am trying to find where I fit into this in-between time. I need to feel again that I have a personal stake in Objectivism.

Btw, what sort of catastrophe do you think would prompt immediate reforms? In my view most catastrophes would only serve to allow the statist viewpoint to increase. (See Sept 11th for example.)

I have not lived here (in the USA) long enough nor have been aware of the state of the culture for a long time as some people here have such that I can easily determine what change in the general culture has happened, whether for better or worse.  But whenever I try to do so, I always get mixed conclusions: in one way (politics especially), the country still seems headed towards fascism; on the other hand, there have been several encouraging and hopeful developments in academia (even in the humanities/social sciences!) that seems to indicate that the country is at a turning point for the better. 

I'm not certain if my evaluation is correct (my knowledge/cognitive context is too limited for me to make a certain conclusion), but judging by some of the remarks of  Betsy and the like, it seems to be true.  The cultural nadir may have been in the late 1960's to the 1970's.

Of course, politics is always the last result in a philosophical movement.  It took over a century of Enlightenment before its ideals became widespread in America and before the USA was created by the Founding Fathers.  Likewise, socialism/communism took all of the nineteenth century to take root and grow before finally emerging triumphant in the Russian Revolution in early 1900's.  So even if the positive turning point has come (and very recently), it might take until the end of the 21st century before we see any political-economic reforms towards laissez-faire capitalism! (barring any unforeseen catastrophe that would prompt immediate and fundamental reforms)

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Tom Rexton: "Of course, politics is always the last result in a philosophical movement. It took over a century of Enlightenment before its ideals became widespread in America and before the USA was created by the Founding Fathers. Likewise, socialism/communism took all of the nineteenth century to take root and grow before finally emerging triumphant in the Russian Revolution in early 1900's."

I'd like to pick up on this point Tom makes. I believe that IF an objectivist votes for a political candidate it is in the spirit of opportunity. That is - they vote the candidate that is likely to shift the status quo in their direction. However, Im convinced that as a problem of philosophy and not politics the only real way a permanent shift towards Objectivism can be brought to term is through grass-roots movements.

Other threads (such as'Could we create Atlantis?') put forth the question of whether creation of a 'Galt's Gulch', or creation of a new nation in the spirit of the founding fathers is a valid vehicle for the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Im doubtful of such fantasy; I think there is neither the cohesion or the means to do it, amongst other considerations. However I think that if there is an opportunity it is through targetted grass roots movements.

Why not target those areas considered most firmly blue or red? the yee-hah right and liberal lefty hotbeds? A young, innovative and reasonable [possibly republican] candidate with an economic message, yet a highlighted free thinker on social issues, for blue cities such as Seattle...? Stirring some contention on the social [values] scene in churchyard America...? It seems to me that breaking the mould...the predictability of electoral bias can only favour us if we are there to offer an alternative.

Charlie

Edit to add: If ever there was a break in the mould, it would be the election of the first female president in 2008 - the first female black president, a republican, a hawk: President Condi Rice. (Discuss!! :dough: )

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Pericles I agree with all your comments. I too want to see a rational society in *my* lifetime. And as the creator of the "Could We Create Atantis?" thread I think I have at least the initial framework of how this can be accomplished. It is NOT fantasy. But I would like help fleshing it out.

Charles I think my idea is the ultimate "grass roots" project. It will narrowly target a single state. It will have Objectivists acting as activists towards a Rational society as opposed to endless debates on the matter. If we could pull it off our transformed state would be the shining beacon which leads the rest of this nation, that I deeply love, towards Objectivism.

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Pericles I agree with all your comments.  I too want to see a rational society in *my* lifetime. And as the creator of the "Could We Create Atantis?" thread I think I have at least the initial framework of how this can be accomplished. It is NOT fantasy. But I would like help fleshing it out.

Charles I think my idea is the ultimate "grass roots" project. It will narrowly target a single state. It will have Objectivists acting as activists towards a Rational society as opposed to endless debates on the matter. If we could pull it off our transformed state would be the shining beacon which leads the rest of this nation, that I deeply love, towards Objectivism.

Leadership is lacking--not to mention expertise and intelligence. Creating a new government, particularly a laissez-faire government, in the midst of the US federal government will be no easy task at all, even with a group of political talent like the Founding Fathers. One of the advantages they had, in addtion to being talented and intelligent statesmen, was that they were geographically isolated from the powers of Europe by the immense Atlantic Ocean.

Setting up as free a state as can possibly be made without being sovereign (i.e., outright independent of the US government), its residents will still have to contend with the Federal income tax, the federal ownership and regulation of roads and some lands. Businesses will still have to contend with the hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations, anti-trust regulations, healthcare regulations, etc., not to mention the punitive profit taxes, capital-gains taxes, payroll taxes, and a host of other hidden taxes.

There is no way to be free from such things unless the state is truly an independent republic--and if you think that you can win independence by force from the Federal Government, then you ARE fatansizing. The question of peaceful secession was brutally settled over a hundred years ago in the Civil War, and the government has since then become more vastly powerful and omnipresent.

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Leadership is lacking--not to mention expertise and intelligence.

Was this meant to be a direct attack against me? If so I demand an apology. I won't involve the moderators because I don't like censorship. At the moment I'm not trying to be a "leader" but initiate a discussion on my idea. I have no expertise on this matter, but then I would like to know who does and what this "expertise" consists of? Also as to my intelligence I have consistantly scored in the 130 IQ range since junior high school. I am now 27. I studied physics at the college level. I stumbled upon and then was self-taught Objectivism. And I continue to think about these things every day. I don't like where you went with that assertion if I misinterpreted it I apologize.

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Was this meant to be a direct attack against me?  If so I demand an apology.  I won't involve the moderators because I don't like censorship.  At the moment I'm not trying to be a "leader" but initiate a discussion on my idea.  I have no expertise on this matter, but then I would like to know who does and what this "expertise" consists of? Also as to my intelligence I have consistantly scored in the 130 IQ range since junior high school. I am now 27. I studied physics at the college level. I stumbled upon and then was self-taught Objectivism. And I continue to think about these things every day. I don't like where you went with that assertion if I misinterpreted it I apologize.

First off, that was no personal attack. Forgive me for being so unaware of the fact there are currently living among us the likes of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and the Adams who could do the monumental task of nation-building for us Objectivists in the state of New Hampshire.

Nation-building takes more than just a high IQ. That should go without saying. The Founding Fathers were highly educated in Anglo-saxon jurisprudence and in political theory and history; and they were very experienced statesmen: they were delegates to the continental Congress, representatives to their respective state legislatures, prominent lawyers and judges, and officers of the continental army during the Revolutionary War many years before they even got together in Philadelphia and then in the subsequent years establish the new government.

I'm sorry if I overlooked the numerous promiment Objectivist politicians, lawyers, judges and political professors. I certainly was never aware that such talented and experienced statesmen existed among us.

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I simply want the nation all the great men you mentioned tried to create to exist once again. In my lifetime. Why is this such an absure notion? I don't like this nation moving toward socialism as it now is. And I want to do what I can to correct it. In my lifetime. I am not trying to make an enemy of you. I too want a grass-roots return to this nations root. I think my idea has merit in this regard. If you disagree, fine. But, explain to me why; don't impune my intellgience.

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I simply want the nation all the great men you mentioned tried to create to exist once again. In my lifetime. Why is this such an absure notion? I don't like this nation moving toward socialism as it now is. And I want to do what I can to correct it. In my lifetime. I am not trying to make an enemy of you. I too want a grass-roots return to this nations root. I think my idea has merit in this regard. If you disagree, fine. But, explain to me why; don't impune my intellgience.

I'm not impugning your intelligence. I'm merely pointing out the fact that deconstructing the current government and replacing it with a new one--a capitalist one--is no simple task by any measure, and it certainly cannot be established by a mere group of Objectivists who barely know anything about law other than what they learned in a few political essays.

This is why I said the firm leadership of an experienced and intelligent body of statesmen is necessary. I highly doubt that a capitalist republic can be established without them at all. But let me ask you, who and where are they? Because if they don't exist, then let's not fool ourselves into thinking it's just going to take a simple constitution and few laws here and there in some small state. Jurisprudence is difficult and complex--Ayn Rand herself acknowledged this. And I don't believe that even she herself could have devised a wholely new government unless she actually entered the field of law.

I reiterate that it would take a large group of talented Objectivist statesmen of great leadership to carry out the plan of creating Atlantis, and that as far as I know, they currently do not exist. :dough: This is why I think Objectivists are better off educating and trying to penetrate the academic establishment, for in doing so they may create such a body of intelligence and leadership that could one day make Atlantis a reality.

[edited, grammar correction]

Edited by Tom Rexton

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I simply want the nation all the great men you mentioned tried to create to exist once again. In my lifetime. Why is this such an absure notion?

Mr. Rexton is free to correct me if I'm wrong, but here are my impressions of his posts (and yours) at this point.

It doesn't appear to me that Mr. Rexton is saying he doesn't want a more rational nation. Rather, it appears he's stating that accomplishing this at this time may be a more daunting task than you expect. I don't think anyone thinks you are absurd for "wanting" a nation of great men, but wanting and achieving are two different things.

Also, it didn't appear to me that Mr. Rexton was trying to insult you with his comments. I would venture to say that you and Mr. Rexton don't know each other well. That being the case, it would be quite a presumption on his part to place you on the same mantle as the founding fathers. You will note he did not dispute your IQ, he simply said it takes more than that. I would have guessed that in commenting on the lack of leadership, he would more likely be referring to prominent figures in Objectivism. Who's doing the moving and shaking of furthering the philosophy?

Have you accomplished any great feats in furtherance of Objectivism that he should be aware of? By your admittance of having "no expertise", it would appear not. That's not to say that you don't have the potential. Instead, it provides no evidence that others should presume that you are that great leader.

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I am not presuming to be a great leader or asking anyone to presume me to be. I have never made any "accomplishments" in Objectivism. I merely have an idea that I think has a chance for success. Would it be easy? No. The main point is why should Objectivists wait for others to "catch up" to them philoshophically, *sacrificing* their potential, to "educate" the general population? Why not create a plan that shows what Objectivism is capable of in practice. Would it immediately be completely laissez-faire and rational? No. Do I think it would move towards that ideal quicker(in *my* lifetime)? Absolutely.

Also don't think that just because I "want" something I think that I should get it. I am not a whim-worshiper. But also note, that when a want is rational, and wanting to live in a rational society in my lifetime certainly is, I'm going to persue whatever course of action I think can create it. And attempt to find others to help.

It doesn't take a large group of intellectuals (Objectivist or otherwise) to create this (although you're correct this will help). What it takes is a devoted group of Objectivists, of Men, willing to work for it(rational society in their live time).

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I am not presuming to be a great leader or asking anyone to presume me to be. I have never made any "accomplishments" in Objectivism. I merely have an idea that I think has a chance for success. Would it be easy? No. The main point is why should Objectivists wait for others to "catch up" to them philoshophically, *sacrificing* their potential, to "educate" the general population?  Why not create a plan that shows what Objectivism is capable of in practice. Would it immediately be completely laissez-faire and rational? No. Do I think it  would move towards that ideal quicker(in *my* lifetime)? Absolutely.

I have already mentioned that establishing a free society under the federal government is impossible unless we openly rebel against it. The statist elements of our government--federal taxes, federal regulations, and federal laws--CANNOT be rescinded by any state act. And I for one do not intend on fighting a war for independence from the US government. I just don't see how that could be in my interest at all.

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Pericles, no offense, but I think you are just in a bad mood.

Place yourself in a historical context. Our fight is Capitalism vs Welfare statism.

Think back to the turn of the 20th century, when the fight was between Capitalism and Communism. Not pinko socialism that is flaunted today, but outright bright red 100% communism as Karl Marx described.

Back then, there had been no failed communist systems, but because Capitalism was still young and developing, there were plenty of examples of how Capitalism (supposedly) was destroying the lives of the lower class (factory workers.) Men like Bastiat and Von Mises were living in rough times when Communism had gained a tremendous foothold in western lives, and Communist thugs like W.E.B Debois were treated as celebrities. Imagine being a capitalist during the 30's, a time when America was an economic wasteland and the Soviet Union was seen as the bright shining star of the future. the early 1930s was the only time in American history when more people emigrated out of the country than immigrated in. As late as the 1940s movies which idolized communism were still being made, as shone in the book "Ayn Rand and the Song of Russia."

and before that fight, it was the fight that Jefferson and Madison fought: the fight between Capitalism and Mercantilist monarchy.

Nowadays, how many Mercantilist Monarchists do you know? as for Marxism, the only Marxists I have ever met are either volatile teenagers or intellegensia who are too disillusioned from reality to actually make any contributions to society.

We have reality, rights, and reason on our side. We will win. But we can not slack in our fight, because should we falter, or cease, America and the world will go the way of the Roman empire. Take it to the welfare statists. Let them dream of France and Sweden, those places will become ineffectual places eventually (as they already are.) Then one day in the future when Capitalism faces it's next opponent, our descendants will look at our lives with mixed awe. They will be Incredulous that we were able to hold on to our values while under assault from the welfare statists, but at the same time envious as we do not know of the new enemies that Capitalism currently faces.

perhaps no one can better describe my way of thinking better than the lovely Ms. Rand herself can:

"The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours. But to win it requires total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence, which is man, for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that yours is the morality of life and yours is the battle for any achievement, any value, any grandeur, any goodness, any joy that has ever existed on this earth." ~ Ayn Rand

(these words brought tears to my eyes the first time I read them)

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Great words of encouragement the_tortured_one!

Rather than negating Rational_Ones ideas would any one give my simpler focus some consideration? It can be summed up in my last sentance:

"It seems to me that breaking the mould...the predictability of electoral bias can only favour us if we are there to offer an alternative."

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