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prescient last won the day on December 3 2014

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  1. where to start? This proposition seems so insulting. Economists in the preceding six years have been quarter after quarter unexpectedly surprised or taken aback by the results of the previous quarter. These same economists made predictions or assessments for the next quarter and again unexpectedly surprised to be off the mark where reality fell short of their attempts to talk up dysfunctional policies.This fellow is no different. His making a comparison between a society formed around principles of minimal governance and respect for the individual against societies of the past formed around monarchical, centralized governments and the economies therein would seem to be too dishonest to be taken seriously. To his assertion the American dream is dead, I think he is missing a basic point the American Dream is not a dead but has been put on a severely shortened leash by onerous, statist politics. The American dream when put into practice rewards the individual who is motivated, has skills and is inclined to act on his or her abilities and skills to reap the rewards for that hard work and perseverance. The American society has in the preceding decades, going back to the great society policies anyway, been incrementally boxed in, hemmed in and restrained by statists motivated a social engineering agenda rooted in the artificial outcomes based on fairness. The opiate of fairness has been the fuel which has driven the welfare state, sapped individuals of their individual motivation and thereby fed a perception that because the trappings of success have not been handed out there is no longer an American Dream. An essential tenet of the American dream is we have the right to nothing but the pursuit of everything. In as long as society accepts success is rewarded from a government program, the American Dream will be perceived as non existent. In as long as there are Americans willing to reject this idea of the state as guarantor of success, the Dream is alive and well. Society must reset expectations where It is not the state's role to guarantee outcomes based on fairness or even define the starting line, much less the finish line. Success is not defined or declared by the state. Success is achieved and earned by the individual. We must dispense with this tyranny of altruism which decides to confiscate the earnings of a person to reward another person has chosen not to take the initiative be productive and earn. .
  2. Well put and in 1981. This same affliction infects American business, governmental and acedemic institutions today. As pointed out 32 years ago, the successful have been cowed into accepting some blame or shame for benefiting from their success rooted in their abilities, motivation and ambition. Instead of admiring the successful and striving to emulate the them, a growing number of people are brain-washed into hating the successful and expecting to be entitled to the very rewards of those who have succeeded. Perversely, this very sentiment has been formulated and advanced by members of the very same class inhabited with the hated successful people. It is as if a segment of the successful, achiever class has succumbed to some manufactured guilt which compels them to advocate the punishment in the name of a lower class which the guilt ridden feel some obligation. However, the self loathing achievers instead of parting with their wealth as a gesture of philanthropy instead agitate for the confiscation of other people's earnings and accumulated wealth using the purchased access to the levers of state power to engage in government sanctioned charity.
  3. This manner of left leaning tantrum is too frequent and as always mis-guided. Attack Ayn Rand while ignoring the basic message. Statism and the tyranny of altruism is counter productive and not conducive to a well functioning society. People like Maher disregard this was proved by the failure of the Soviet Union in its 76-year experiment with the cradle-to-grave-model of social engineering. Maybe those of Maher's ilk are blissfully unaware of this since the old Bolshevik empire simply dissipated because there was no hard structure to collapse and cause destruction and the create the spectacle of defective state's demise. Rather, like a flimsy balloon, it popped and disappeared leaving in its wake a vacuum which freedom gladly filled. As for Atlas Shrugged, I listened to it on CD, 42 of them in the box to be exact. I have listened to it three times all the way through (I have a long drive to work). I find it appalling so many reject the idea of individual liberty and responsibility, embrace the state as a care giver and in the bargain expect I accede to allowing the confiscation of my earnings to support those who choose not to earn.
  4. What too many critics of Rand completely miss is that these two stories pointed out are intended to be cautionary tales rather than scripts or manuals for living. They are just stories. Howard Roark and John Galt are characters who produced solutions to architectural and energy producing problems. One character struggles to maintain his integrity in an industry which displays a weather vane type behavior. The other character is fighting against an out of control state. Neither of them imposes the product of their efforts in a "for your own good" manner we see practiced today by the statists running our government. These two characters offer their inventions and work at a price commensurate to their estimation of the worth of their work. In the case of Galt, his ideals ran contrary to the socialists who tried to engineer the culture of the company he worked for. So he took his creation elsewhere. The Howard Roark character endured a period of destitute living based on his not finding a buyer for his architectural creations. Two men who stood by their principles for better or worse. At the risk of isolation from society. But their choice nonetheless. Sirot's rambling discourse in name calling and labels ignores that there is not a strict disagreement with government and taxation but rather the demonization of excess government and over taxation. Sirot (and maybe Saunders) miss the point that our republic is founded on the principle of limited government. Rand's outlook was based on her experience with the oppressive Soviet state which imposed itself in all aspects of the individual's life. Cradle to grave. We have instead since the 30's slid into a repetitive cycle of our government trying to solve problems it cannot fix only to exacerbate the original problem and thereby feel compelled, justified, to throw more tax payer (confiscated income) money at the same problem. This seemingly never ending cycle results in huge bureaucracies which demand to be maintained and funded to address problems which by now defy explanation. We saw this with Chrylser in the 70's and in 2008 and as well with GM. Neither organization was afflicted with a problem the state could fix. Only the free market can fix that which it created. Similarly, only society can solve the problems which itself creates. It is up to the state to stay out of the way and keep out those external influences which would impede us, society and the free-market, from solving problems as we deem appropriate. The poor nations alluded to by Saunders and Sirot are as much victims of their own social and moral dysfunctions as they are of external influences, if at all. As for Salon, I abondoned reading that site some years back. It is like a dog pound: a lot of barking and yipping from interesting looking mutts, but none I would want to take home.
  5. Nothing makes objective discussion difficult like a subject term. Words like fair, enough or "too much" are bandied about too casually and the treatment of these terms as fact rather than opinion is dangerous. The opinion that someone "makes too much", "doesn't pay enough taxes" or "they need to pay their fair share" are the uninformed opinions which shaped this recent election. We have indeed entered an era of the church of statism and every payday is a forced collection to subsidize the good works of this contrived theology.
  6. This is certainly an act of incitement which can only backfire. How advertising licensed gun owners helps the public is mystifying. I think a degree of quid quo pro is in order. A map pointing out women who have received abortions would be a good start. We really do need to know who is on public, taxpayer funded, assistance. Where do the six offenders in our neighborhood reside? These have to be far more relevant than pointing out people who actually obey the law.
  7. How have we come or how far have we gone? The misue of firearms leads to injury or death and now we want to ban them. The misuse of drugs leads to injury or death and now want to to legalize them? Is this legalization an admission a war is lost or a tacit acknowledgement that too many are too weak minded to not use drugs? Is it easier to rationalize sloth and depravity rather than put the effort into self control? The war on poverty has certainly failed to the absurd point where we subsidize it through confiscated income, yet complain at once about people are in poverty. Why are we not dismantling the welfare state in acknowledgment that "war" is lost?
  8. Well, Clinton may have been a better politician, but he was certainly not a better president. The nation was not helped by four terrorist attacks by November 2000 and an economic collapse by March 2000. Not to mention Clinton strengthened the Community Reinvestment Act which lit the fuse on the housing crisis which blew up by 2008. The choice of a statist over statist is not much of a choice.
  9. I think what you are referring to is philanthropy. One's efforts to help their fellow man irrespective of their accumulated wealth or earning power is simply an act of benevolence. A person's voluntary efforts on their time to help the truly poor cannot be deemed hurtful where this philanthropist has not used the levers of the state to confiscate other peoples' income or compel others to act through coercive or subtly manipulative means.
  10. While Mr. Tedeschi’s observations are right on the mark, I would propose “Keynesian” economic theory is not growing as an influence and rather the growth of this economic theology is already well established and now working to establish permanence where it has been well established on both sides of the Atlantic for decades. In the U.S. since at least the New deal programs of the Great Depression. In the context of recent developments in the U.S., as Keynesian economics are theoretical, they are treated as law. They are treated as unassailable fact where if the government is spending large amounts of money on something with no positive affects or measurable negative effects, Keynesians respond with increased implementation of the model rather than the recognition the theories are not working as, well, theorized. If a billion dollars did not fix the problem, then ten billion should fix it. It seems never seriously considered the act of NOT spending money is the answer to a perceived crisis. A key distinction in the model is that in times of economic crisis consumer demand must be stimulated by government investment and saving must be discouraged. This distinction is, I think, at the very heart of the problem at least here in the U.S. The key term here being crisis. For a statist, his usefulness is tied to the populations’ needing him. If the statist is only needed in a crisis, then at the end of the crisis he can be dismissed. Therefore, these statists adherents to the Keynesian model have over the decades contrived to create states of emergency, conditions of crisis, where by only the participation of the state could help resolve the crisis. Many of the crises confronting society are either manufactured by the state for its own justification, or, persistent features in the human condition which no amount of money or government could resolve. By manufacturing a crisis or aggravating already manageable conditions to the point of crisis, the practitioners of Keynesian economics have built a system of self justification. These very programs invented to address a crisis have in the bargain succeeded in making worse that which it was supposed to fix. Unemployment insurance was created to bridge that gap between the end of one job and the start of another. We now have people on the “temporary” compensation up to three years. Three years of essentially being paid not to work without any incentive to return to work. They make as much not working as they did when employed without any effort. Now, we have the charade of people being paid not work, angry at the prospect of not having access to the money of people who ARE working. Worse, people are collecting unemployment and working in the underground economy and off the books and tax rolls. Social security was created to supplement a person’s pension or retirement savings. We now have a condition where in the absence of any incentive to save, many people wonder how they can live on social security as they seem oblivious to the fact they are supposed to live on social security. Through the taxation of savings interest and investment income, far too many people have been conditioned not to save and instead look to social security as their retirement income. At the same time, many of the same people scoff at the prospect of the system being operational in any useful state. As people have been discouraged from saving through government intrusion, they have been trained to rely now on short term credit to make purchases where in the past cash would have sufficed based on a savings level. This absence of discipline to save has resulted in undisciplined spending where now people have put themselves ignorantly into the roles of borrowers. As this short term credit spending accelerates, discretionary purchases take on the financial burden comparable to a house and its attendant costs. Welfare was intended as a state (taxpayer) funded mechanism to help people and families get through hard times. It seems for families, hard times have lasted for several generations. These people have existed in a sustained state of crisis where the government (through confiscated income) has provided, money, housing, food, education, transportation and education. This persistent state of crisis shows no sign of abating given the inability of individuals to make sound choices or others propensity for continually make bad choices. These are just a small sample of the crises which Keynesian economics have either made worse or just invented. In every case, there exists a taxpayer funded bureaucracy dedicated to not just addressing the conditions of the crisis, but, insuring the conditions of the crisis continue. Because, the meaningful resolution to these problems would mean there would be no further need for these bureaucrats, there is not a true incentive to resolve these issues.. Although many of these people are well intentioned, the outcome of their actions has not resulted in the meaningful positive outcome one would expect from decades of effort and trillions of dollars spent. And in the end, the Keynesian psychology seems to have become one that accepts that one’s good intentions are justification for one’s actions rather than the outcome. The Keynesian theories of state action to address crisis have devolved into state charity to treat the human condition. The state of poverty, homelessness, addiction in its many forms and related maladies are ones which humanity has experienced for as long as one can find records of such. These conditions are more often better addressed by the charitable, philanthropic and benevolent endeavors of concerned citizens and organizations rather than the actions of certain disconnected elitists who feel some guilt for their good fortune or who are attempting to prove a point at someone else’s expense.
  11. I will resist the temptation to make a crack about Fred Shapiro simply because, well, who is Fred Shapiro? The point being missed by Mr. Shapiro, sarcasism notwitstahding, is that making money is not a sin or affront to society. Fred seems a bit confused about the question and seems somewhat dismissive of Rand's contention we are free to benefit from the fruits of our labor without having to be subjected to the contrived idea we must comply to a subjective assesment of what we owe society such that those who do not expend the extra effort to succeed can realize the benefits of other peoples' ambitions.
  12. By first, this content must viewed understanding the The Daily Show is an entertainment program hosted by an admitted fake newsman on a comedy channel. Beyond that it is funny indeed. Another amusing example of the pretzel logic of the subjectivist statists attempting to butter both sides of their bread then explaining we should not try the same. San Francisco is the model which the progressives in Washington (Paging Nancy Pelosi!) attempt to expand to the rest of the republic. These are amusing anecdotes but people who can think critically and objectively soon see through these transparently hypocritical ruses.
  13. When someone like Tom Snyder attempts to discuss a book he has not read with the author who, I cringe. This clip was quite informative and as philosophy and epistemology may seem abstract at first, Ayn does a good job of breaking down the base concept into understandable language. As the tag line under the clip states, we are first and foremost responsible for ourselves and to ourselves. If we cannot meet these two essentials, how then can we expect to be of any use to others around us?
  14. An interesting and thought provoking short film. However, a couple of the follow-up questions have the “have you stopped beating your wife” flavor which cannot have a simple yes or no answer. If you willingly enter into a contract which you have read through and understand, how then can your decision to break that contract be defended? Unless of course the other party in the contract has abrogated their responsibility in the contract. If I understood the film, the principle invented something he did not want to surrender to his employer even though the employer has provided the main character the facilities, materials and money to create this invention. If the employer provided the means to create this invention, it has to be rightfully the property of the employer as per the prior contract. If however the Galt-like character in this film has an idea, he should have ended his employment contract with the employer and pursued the invention on his own. That would have been an honest pursuit of the invention as well as protecting the principle form the state like entity portrayed in the film. The independent pursuit of this invention on terms of the main characters choice would make this device entirely his to do with as he wishes.
  15. This discussion once seemed to be the philosophical difference of statism versus the free market. The whole conversation seems now to have fermented into unholy mating of statism and the free market. I think in some respects, these former objectivists have been beaten having worked in a decades old system which has extolled the tyranny of altruism. A system which has made a virtue of good intentions rather than substantive outcomes. That is, there is a resignation in the Alan Greenspan’s of the world that the statist interference in the free market capitalism is here to stay, fact of life, and cannot be turned back or even contained. The laissez-faire model relies on all participants being educated in that they understand their rights and responsibilities in such a system. In reality, we have a population of individuals who are both uneducated and ignorant of their roles or reject their role as willing participants out of laziness. As such, statists have seen an opportunity to take advantage of this schism where in exchange for power and votes, they will confiscate and extort money from the taxpaying producers and give some portion of that to those who have opted to take the easy way out of their responsibilities as citizens in this republic. Where our system of government treats people equally, our politics does not. A dumbed down populace has accepted the contrived class-warfare argument of the statists to the point where they are willingly compliant to a system in which they can gain fifty-cents for tacit support rather than working for a dollar. This dishonest outlook promotes the attitude it is better to let statists confiscate the income of the producer on one’s behalf rather than work a bit harder or improve one’s skills to get that income through one’s individual actions. In fairness though to some of these people of the state, their intentions are born of a sincere dedication to help and improve the lot of those whom they see as deserving of such efforts. However, these same altruists have so anchored their outlook in the perspective of the perceived deserving, they have formulated an unsympathetic and dismissive regard for the people who are assigned an opposing role in the conversation. This outlook on the “haves” from the position of the “have nots” has been the prime motivator on the long festering class-warfare engaged in by the social engineers who have rooted their agenda in the man made rights of the 2nd bill rights. People dedicated to the proposition that other people have a right to that which they cannot earn honestly. Over the decades, these advocates of the down trodden and under-privileged who would have once found their home in charity, have instead made a home in the state. They view the state as the platform for their progressive politics which would be used not just help people, but instead transform a society so unfair it created the problems these progressives have set out to make producers atone for. A society so unfair, that the earned benefits of the successful are viewed as injustices worthy of some prosecution. Instead of individuals being permitted to act through charities, philanthropies and related benevolent organizations, these statists have instead decided they would act through their political allies, or in some cases as the politicians and bureaucrats, in the three branches to assign some punitive punishment either in the form taxation or statute to as they see it level the playing field. As more people are loaded into the wagon of the welfare state, the Alan Greenspans become nothing more than teamsters and wheelwrights. Once skilled people relegated to making sure the load can be carried. Alan Greenspan and his fellow travelers are now in a stage of their life where they have no stake in trying make a free market capitalist system work and can go before congress to engage in the intellectual treason they would have roundly condemned in past decades. They can now take comfort in benefiting from a system they allowed to fail and in this betrayal they are rewarded by the very statists they would have viewed as philosophical enemies. Alan Greenspan seems to have somewhere in his path adopted the “we can get along” approach in the context of the free market and the welfare state. These two systems are wholly incompatible and his surrender of his moral position is rather sad.
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