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Life DESPITE politics

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Another "any thought"... ...

It is really important to plan and design your life so that you can achieve your ends and your happiness despite the politicians and despite the ideologies of your fellow voters.

Yes, the only vote you can count on is the one for yourself. Well said.

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Plan your life intelligently and with smarts; invest, have money "on hand", get out of debt, have food storage and emergency supplies, learn basic survival skills, try to grow and make your business robust, establish support or mutual benefit networks with other business and friends, have a plan in case of any type of emergency, don't splurge with money and/or credit cards, enjoy life! - although America's future (as of now) looks bleak, man cannot stop living and loving his life to the best of his abilities. As Objectivists we are the standard barers of the heroic and the rational. We forge ahead and don't allow obstacles to cloud our way.

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Another "any thought"... ...

It is really important to plan and design your life so that you can achieve your ends and your happiness despite the politicians and despite the ideologies of your fellow voters.

And yet, as Rand had aptly shown, it's impossible to plan and design your life around force. With the way everything's going, one has to wonder if the only way to achieve your own happiness is by dropping your goals for the time being and try to restore freedom first.

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With the way everything's going, one has to wonder if the only way to achieve your own happiness is by dropping your goals for the time being and try to restore freedom first.

It's just not possible to live without positives in your life. Also, it's not a literal American cultural emergency (what would that look like anyway?), so why treat it as the most important thing in your life?
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It's just not possible to live without positives in your life. Also, it's not a literal American cultural emergency (what would that look like anyway?), so why treat it as the most important thing in your life?

Actually, I think we do live in an emergency.

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Do explain, specifically.

Aside from the 200-year old assault on reason, the successful dumbing down of the populace by education, the rampant nihilism present in almost every single piece of art (if you could call it that) today, the fact that a man who is successfully destroying the last bastion of freedom in the world was re-elected by people who are afraid they will go back to slavery if he weren't and are completely oblivious to the destruction he perpetrates as long as they receive the welfare checks he's going to provide them with, and the complete intellectual impotence and lack of integrity of his fragmented, disorganized opponents, we don't live in an emergency.

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...the fact that a man who is successfully destroying the last bastion of freedom in the world was re-elected

Of course, only half of the votes were for Obama.

An emergency would mean that you literally could not do anything but engage in some kind of literal battle for your freedom. You still have a lot of freedom, and you probably will until you die. In that context, it is not just silly but also depressing to give up good things that matter to you -- for no reason, really.

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We are not in that kind of State of Emergency, yet. It is good you treat these ideas as serious and recognize the destructive potential of something like Obamacare and plan but let’s be real… We are not fiscally at Greece yet. We are not at hyperinflation levels of many failed Banana Republics. We do not have censorship. We do not have imprisonment. I live in Michigan and I’ll be the first to admit that I would not be moving to Detroit anytime soon since I expect real it to get even worse there and possible riots soon, but I’m not going to stop living. There is a difference between being prudent and becoming one of those prepers you see on TV.

One only needs to look at the conditions of most South American countries to realize that we are not there yet.

It’s good to be concerned and care, but don’t sacrifice your will to thrive because a plurality of American’s voted for the anti-man instead of the non-man. And really, Obama’s victory is not that surprising since the choice was really Peter or Toohey. The only thing this election proved was the failure of the Republican Party since they could not beat a sitting President in a terrible economy when he got 9.5 million less votes than the last election.

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With the way everything's going, one has to wonder if the only way to achieve your own happiness is by dropping your goals for the time being and try to restore freedom first.
Are you assuming that one would spend so much time on political/advocacy type of action that one would not have time for one's preferred career? If so, what type of full-time advocacy are you thinking of here? Do you mean things like: joining ARI, CATO, the GOP....and so on?
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"It Doesn't Matter" from Zero Hedge 11/06/2012 edit: added link

Via Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

It’s really hard to ignore what’s happening today; the election phenomenon is global.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve traveled to so many countries, and EVERYWHERE it seems, the US presidential election is big news. Even when I was in Myanmar ten days ago, local pundits were engaged in the Obamney debate. Chile. Spain. Germany. Finland. Hong Kong. Thailand. Singapore. It was inescapable.

The entire world seems fixated on this belief that it actually matters who becomes the President of the United States anymore… or that one of these two guys is going to ‘fix’ things.

Fact is, it doesn’t matter. Not one bit. And I’ll show you mathematically:

1) When the US federal government spends money, expenses are officially categorized in three different ways.

Discretionary spending includes nearly everything we think of related to government– the US military, Air Force One, the Department of Homeland Security, TSA agents who sexually assault passengers, etc.

Mandatory spending includes entitlements like Medicare, Social Security, VA benefits, etc. which are REQUIRED by law to be paid.

The final category is interest on the debt. It is non-negotiable.

Mandatory spending and debt interest go out the door automatically.
It’s like having your mortgage payment autodrafted from your bank account– Congress doesn’t even see the money, it’s automatically deducted.

2) With the rise of baby boomer entitlements and steady increase in overall debt levels, mandatory spending and interest payments have exploded in recent years. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office predicted in 2010 that the US government’s TOTAL revenue would be exceeded by mandatory spending and interest expense within 15-years.

That’s a scary thought. Except
it happened the very next year.

3) In Fiscal Year 2011, the federal government collected $2.303 trillion in tax revenue. Interest on the debt that year totaled $454.4 billion, and mandatory spending totaled $2,025 billion. In sum, mandatory spending plus debt interest totaled $2.479 trillion… exceeding total revenue by $176.4 billion.

For Fiscal Year 2012 which just ended 37 days ago, that shortfall increased 43% to $251.8 billion.

In other words,
they could cut the entirety of the Federal Government’s discretionary budget
– no more military, SEC, FBI, EPA, TSA, DHS, IRS, etc.–
and they would still be in the hole by a quarter of a trillion dollars.

4) Raising taxes won’t help. Since the end of World War II, tax receipts in the US have averaged 17.7% of GDP in a very tight range. The low has been 14.4% of GDP, and the high has been 20.6% of GDP.

During that period, however, tax rates have been all over the board. Individual rates have ranged from 10% to 91%. Corporate rates from 15% to 53%. Gift taxes, estate taxes, etc. have all varied. And yet, total tax revenue has stayed nearly constant at 17.7% of GDP.

It doesn’t matter how much they increase tax rates
– they won’t collect any more money.

5) GDP growth prospects are tepid at best. Facing so many headwinds like quickening inflation, an enormous debt load, and debilitating regulatory burdens, the
US economy is barely keeping pace with population growth.

6) The only thing registering any meaningful growth in the US is the national debt. It took over 200 years for the US government to accumulate its first trillion dollars in debt.
It took just 286 days to accumulate the most recent trillion (from $15 trillion to $16 trillion).

Last month alone, the first full month of Fiscal Year 2013, the US government accumulated nearly $200 billion in new debt– 20% of the way to a fresh trillion in just 31 days.

7) Not to mention,
the numbers will only continue to get worse.
10,000 people each day begin receiving mandatory entitlements. Fewer people remain behind to pay into the system. The debt keeps rising, and interest payments will continue rising.

8) Curiously, a series of polls taken by ABC News/Washington Post and NBC News/Wall Street Journal show that while 80% of Americans are concerned about the debt,
roughly the same amount (78%) oppose cutbacks to mandatory entitlements like Medicare.

9) Bottom line,
the US government is legally bound to spend more money on mandatory entitlements and interest than it can raise in tax revenue.
It won’t make a difference how high they raise taxes, or even if they cut everything else that remains in government as we know it.

This is not a political problem, it’s a mathematical one. Facts are facts, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Today’s election is merely a choice of who is going to captain the sinking Titanic.

Edited by Grames
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The author is right. The way to be free is by getting a passport and some language skills, not by preparing for the apocalypse or expecting any one country to let you be free. Neither thing will happen. The government won't disappear, nor will it be limited to its proper function anytime soon.

http://www.sovereign...om/simon-black/

Edited by Nicky
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Are you assuming that one would spend so much time on political/advocacy type of action that one would not have time for one's preferred career? If so, what type of full-time advocacy are you thinking of here? Do you mean things like: joining ARI, CATO, the GOP....and so on?

I believe that political and intellectual activism has been ineffective in changing the culture. I am becoming convinced that can only be achieved through education. Also, I think that one can pursue their preferred career and still have the explicit goal of helping to restore freedom. I don't think the two have to be at odds.

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I believe that political and intellectual activism has been ineffective in changing the culture. I am becoming convinced that can only be achieved through education.
What do you mean by education, different from intellectual activism? Are you referring to basic education: K-12... learning how to think, etc., or something else?

Also, I think that one can pursue their preferred career and still have the explicit goal of helping to restore freedom. I don't think the two have to be at odds.
Sure. It sound like you're answering the question you posed earlier, and you're saying that it is possible to achieve happiness without dropping one's goals to work on achieving more freedom. If so, I agree.
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What do you mean by education, different from intellectual activism? Are you referring to basic education: K-12... learning how to think, etc., or something else?

Sure. It sound like you're answering the question you posed earlier, and you're saying that it is possible to achieve happiness without dropping one's goals to work on achieving more freedom. If so, I agree.

I mean teaching children how to use their minds and inductively build their knowledge so as to "immunize" them (hopefully) against rationalism. I also have in mind courses on subjects such as economics, history, language and philosophy, which would be offered at higher levels, and would have the specific purpose of offering some initial protection against what the young adults would face later on. (Actually, I would definitely enjoy a course in objective history and objective economics, as I am hopelessly ignorant of these subjects.) For those who are in the process of going on their own career path, courses in professional skills would be offered, such as writing, teaching, technical skills etc. Of course there are schools which already have all of that, but I'm not so sure they employ proper methods of teaching, or even that they interpret their subjects properly (economics and history are both good examples of that).

I didn't have in mind courses on Objectivism in schools. What I had mind was schools whose explicit purpose would be to systematically build knowledge and a provide a rational epistemology for children, schools who would offer such schooling in a remedial capacity for those who have discovered that they need to re-build their minds, and are eager to solve that situation, and schools for the intellectuals who are pursuing their own career path. I think that's the only way out: a rational curriculum for all ages.

With regards to my earlier remark: momentarily after finding out the results of the election, I had this vision of all the productive people of the country quitting what they were doing for a moment and going to Washington to take back what was theirs in the first place ...

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We are not in that kind of State of Emergency, yet. It is good you treat these ideas as serious and recognize the destructive potential of something like Obamacare and plan but let’s be real… We are not fiscally at Greece yet. We are not at hyperinflation levels of many failed Banana Republics. We do not have censorship. We do not have imprisonment. I live in Michigan and I’ll be the first to admit that I would not be moving to Detroit anytime soon since I expect real it to get even worse there and possible riots soon, but I’m not going to stop living. There is a difference between being prudent and becoming one of those prepers you see on TV.

One only needs to look at the conditions of most South American countries to realize that we are not there yet.

It’s good to be concerned and care, but don’t sacrifice your will to thrive because a plurality of American’s voted for the anti-man instead of the non-man. And really, Obama’s victory is not that surprising since the choice was really Peter or Toohey. The only thing this election proved was the failure of the Republican Party since they could not beat a sitting President in a terrible economy when he got 9.5 million less votes than the last election.

You're wrong about the Greece part. We're exactly like them but worse. There are only three major differences. The world has not yet realized that our debt is junk, our debt and inability to repay it is far worse and we have a gun pointed at our own heads in the form of a printing press.
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You're wrong about the Greece part. We're exactly like them but worse. There are only three major differences. The world has not yet realized that our debt is junk, our debt and inability to repay it is far worse and we have a gun pointed at our own heads in the form of a printing press.

Debt as a percentage of GDP is not as high as Greece and we have more banking flexibility since we are not restricted to an outside Reserve System (aka EU centralized banking). Further, we are not at their level of mixed economy or entrenched looter class. I agree America is in rough shape and we are going there fast (as someone from Michigan I’m predicting riots in Detroit and Flint burning this decade) but it is not as bad as Greece. Yet. What is alarming is that we are heading that way.

Obama's re-election is disappointing, no so much because he won but because his "victory" is forcing us to see the trends for what they are. Today is no different from last week. But life is good and the good is to live it so we should not lose perspective on the good even when we need to take stock of the bad, and when needed prepare rationally for the ugly.

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You're wrong about the Greece part. We're exactly like them but worse. There are only three major differences. The world has not yet realized that our debt is junk, our debt and inability to repay it is far worse and we have a gun pointed at our own heads in the form of a printing press.

I can't think of a single characteristic or indicator that's worse in the US than in Greece.

The US is far superior in terms of an economic foundation (greater respect for property rights, a more efficient regulatory environment, a far more free labor market, far less corruption, a more limited government), it has lower taxes, it has less public debt (100% of GDP compared to 140%), it has less government spending (42% of GDP vs. 50% of GDP), it has more natural resources, it is doing better in terms of economic growth (2.8& vs. -4.7% last year), it has lower unemployment, it has a higher retirement age.

What are you basing your evaluation on?

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The world has not yet realized that our debt is junk, our debt and inability to repay it is far worse and we have a gun pointed at our own heads in the form of a printing press.
It is true that a creditor to a sovereign does not want to see the printing presses run. However, when faced with a choice of printing press cutting 5%-10% off the value of the amount owed to you versus a 50%-70% "haircut" (as in Greece), the choice is clear. Creditors of the Greek government would have preferred it if the ECB simply ran the printing presses and paid them off.

It's easy to project the worst type of collapse in the U.S., but the doomsayers usually get it wrong. In particular, I'm very wary of doomsayers who think the U.S. will end up far worse than most other countries. A particular peeve is the folk who say that China will stop buying U.S. debt!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another "any thought"... ...

It is really important to plan and design your life so that you can achieve your ends and your happiness despite the politicians and despite the ideologies of your fellow voters.

The wisdom of your positive statement is a striking contrast to the negativity of impotent complaints. My focus of attention has been similar to yours... on the ways which I can render the role of government inconsequential to the quality of my life. Or more broadly... how to live a good life in an evil world.

Each person's experience of government varies widely and is largely dependent on how they live. This puts the responsibility on us, rather than on the government. Someone I know said that it's more important what you do in your house than what they do in the White House.

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I think it is ironic that a lot of people probably see this as a pessimistic statement:

My focus of attention has been [...] how to live a good life in an evil world.

It is worth remembering that people who work to figure out new moral truths always live in an "evil world" relative to their own moral understanding. But this is a good thing; moral progress doesn't come unless someone does the work to discover what's right and what's wrong. I believe there will be a day when people look back on our morals as "evil" relative to their own, and that could be a good thing, too.

Edited by FeatherFall
Added missing text.
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