Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Truth about the President’s Economic Policy Part 5

So, if none of our leaders will provide the truth about the President’s speech in Kansas, someone else will have to do it.

In his speech, the President said:

“And ever since, there's been a raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity, restore balance, restore fairness. Throughout the country, it's sparked protests and political movements – from the Tea Party to the people who've been occupying the streets of New York and other cities. It's left Washington in a near-constant state of gridlock. It's been the topic of heated and sometimes colorful discussion among the men and women running for president.”

It is true, the debate has raged, but the President's words are deliberately deceiving. He is actually attempting to set the terms of the debate to favor a long-standing Marxist agenda. His use of the words, "the best way to restore growth and prosperity, restore balance, restore fairness" is intended to establish false Marxist package deals in your mind. He wants you to conclude with him that we need more government controls and regulation of the economy.

First of all, today's Marxists do not care to "restore growth and prosperity". They have known for decades that Marxist re-distribution does no such thing. They use the words to pull you into their world of lies. They want you to think that they are as concerned about prosperity as you are concerned. They are not; they only want power and they use these words to fool you into thinking they actually want to make things better. In addition, their use of these terms is designed to make you think that they actually know how to restore growth and prosperity when they know nothing of the kind. They want you to think they are a vital part of the debate about prosperity and that they merely have a different view on it; that their solution, which is to create more government coercion, is just as good as your solution which is to restore capitalist principles of freedom.

The other terms: "restore balance, restore fairness" are also pure Marxist myths. They assume the premise that balance and fairness are actually proper goals of social policy (meaning goals of government force) and that you, like they, want a balanced and fair society. What they want you to ignore is that their solutions for achieving balance and fairness are nothing more than more coercion, more government force.

The other false implication of this word usage is that capitalism creates imbalance and unfairness which it does not. The Marxist idea of "imbalance" in capitalism means that some people become rich and others descend further into poverty. But, in capitalism, this does not actually happen. The accumulation of large amounts of capital enables the investment in larger and larger companies such as utilities, national transportation companies, etc., all of which create a higher standard of living for everyone especially the poor. Such successes result, not because of greed, but because some people work harder and/or smarter than others. Those who come up with the best solutions to human problems in a capitalist system are necessarily going to get richer than those who don't. The Marxist argument ignores the fact that, in capitalism, the beneficiaries of those bigger companies are the people who buy from them and that includes the poor and middle class.

The idea that capitalism is "unfair" is based upon a similar argument; that capitalism unfairly rewards people with money and punishes those without money. Again, the Marxist myth is that this is a problem. The truth is that there is nothing unfair about a person who creates great goods for trade and gains lots of money in the process. The individual has earned it. The idea that such people should pay higher taxes because they have unfairly taken more from the system than they put into it is pure collectivist hogwash. They have, in fact, put more into the system than they receive in terms of riches. The value they have created is worth much more than the profits they make. There is no way to put a price upon the long-term benefits of a system like capitalism that is constantly improving and making peoples' lives better. What is unfair, however, is the Marxist system that rewards people who use government force to put more able competitors out of business.

In spite of these ages-old myths used by the President, it is true that the debate about a proper economic system has raged. The Tea Party phenomenon began to develop after the politicians “saved” the economy by means of a massive infusion of fiat money into the banking system, most of which went to the banking institutions that contributed the most to Democratic politicians. These were institutions that had become “over-leveraged” in mortgage derivatives bundled by the Democrats at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

While the politicians insisted that TARP was necessary to “save capitalism” back in 2008, the American people gave the politicians a clear signal: “Don’t do it! Don’t bail out the companies that made these bad investments.” Congress, after first defeating the bill to authorize TARP, came back a week later to pass it. We are still struggling with the consequences of this mistake. When the American people saw that their politicians were doing things, massive things, without their approval, the genesis of the Tea Party took shape. Later, when they saw that President Obama was engaged in massive payoffs to his political cronies under the name of “stimulus” for the economy, they knew that it was time to unite against these massive violations of their rights.

However, we should not be confused about the so-called “Occupy” movement that the President mentioned. This movement is an invention of the Obama administration and the unions, not to mention the holdovers from ACORN. Union money, laundered by the administration, is behind this movement and their goal is to support the President. There is nothing grassroots about this movement. It is by, about and for the Obama administration…ostensibly aimed at the very people who support the Obama administration, the crony capitalists…but clearly it is an anti-capitalist movement (Remember, there is a difference between “crony capitalism” and capitalism). This movement is nothing more than a cynical effort by the unions and the President to gin up support for their legislative agenda and to instill in the American public an anti-capitalist attitude. It is an effort to create a faux-movement to "replace" and discredit the Tea Party movement.

Don’t be fooled when the President insists that the “Occupy” movement is a genuine reflection of real attitudes. This so-called movement is nothing more than the President’s effort to develop the pitchforks that he will need for the coming election. These people are practicing for the street riots and disruptions that will be let loose on society by the administration during the lead up to the election. This movement is nothing more than Obama’s effort to directly inject himself into the opposition’s politics so he can control the debate. The President is the Occupy movement's creator and leader and they support his goals. The unions have paid for these demonstrations with laundered money from government. This means the unions are colluding with the government in a way that is corrupt and evil – and this fact alone is a clear reason that the Democrats should be rejected wholesale in the coming elections. We must stop the unions' efforts to corrupt government. Theirs is fake outrage, fake protest and fake principles. There is nothing democratic about the so-called Occupy movement except that they are Democrats pretending to be a grassroots movement.

And should the President not be able to control his opposition, and should he somehow lose the election, these people will be ready to riot in every major city. It will be the left’s last stand and it won’t be pretty. Their goal is to create as much havoc as possible in order to save their own skins; as if this would actually save their skins. The left knows that it is due for a total repudiation by the American people and their only hope is to instill a defeatist attitude among Tea Party members.

The President is also trying to blame “gridlock” for his inability to advance his fascist agenda. Today’s gridlock is a result of Tea Party efforts to stop the President’s massive spending programs. It is, in fact, a good thing. By electing fiscal conservatives and budget hawks, the Tea Party is blocking the President’s efforts to move our nation further into fascism through massive spending and interference in the economy. The President's response is that the Tea Party movement is blocking the progress necessary to solve our economic problems. His goal is to counter the Tea Party opposition by disenfranchising it and drawing attention to the Occupy "message" of more government spending and re-distribution.

We have now discovered the next reason why the President does not want to speak in terms of essential principles. He must avoid his own essential principles because they have always been rejected by the American people. These principles are those of socialism, re-distribution and forced altruism. The President’s solution to the rejection of these principles is to discuss politics as if it were a matter of “our gang versus their gang”. This deliberate effort to obfuscate principles is the only way the President and the Democrats can run for election while at the same time moving the nation headlong into full-blown socialist re-distribution. If the President can turn the debate into a sort of “gang warfare” then he need not discuss principles; he need only throw dirt and mud at his opponents in an effort to “brand” them as evil while he pretends to be the enlightened protector of the middle class.

Can this approach win? The President supposedly has $1 billion dollars to prove that it can. The question is: Can money replace principles in a political campaign? Can money buy principles? Can the constant repetition of lies and spurious charges win an election? Can it help politicians deceive people?

Not if they are paying attention.

-to be continued

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Truth about the President’s Economic Policy Part 4

So, if none of our leaders will tell the truth about the President’s speech in Kansas, someone else will have to do it.

In his speech, the President said:

“Now, for many years, credit cards and home equity loans papered over this harsh reality. But in 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We all know the story by now: mortgages sold to people who couldn't afford them, or even sometimes understand them. Banks and investors allowed to keep packaging the risk and selling it off. Huge bets – and huge bonuses – made with other people's money on the line. Regulators who were supposed to warn us about the dangers of all this, but looked the other way or didn't have the authority to look at all.

It was wrong. It combined the breathtaking greed of a few with irresponsibility all across the system. And it plunged our economy and the world into a crisis from which we're still fighting to recover. It claimed the jobs and the homes and the basic security of millions of people – innocent, hardworking Americans who had met their responsibilities but were still left holding the bag.”

The implication here is that the house of cards collapsed because of…wait for it…irresponsible greed. It was because people wanted to make money that the house collapsed, and, the President thinks, it was wrong. But let’s look a little deeper. The President talks about the fact that mortgages were sold to people who couldn’t afford them. Who was responsible for that? Issuing these bad mortgages was caused by a regulatory scheme set up to re-distribute bank loans from credit-worthy borrowers to non-credit-worthy borrowers. Certainly, these bad mortgages would not have been given by a rational bank manager seeking to make money; he would have known that the loans were questionable and that issuing so many of them could potentially destroy his bank. Why did "rational" bank managers seeking to make money issue so many bad loans? Dig deeper and you find that this was done because of government regulations that forced banks to issue and solicit these bad loans.

Which group of people created and favored these programs? The answer is progressives of the “New Deal” variety. In fact, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which was passed in the ‘70s, was strengthened in 1994 after a law suit that claimed banks were guilty of racial discrimination when deciding who got home loans. The goal of these lawsuits was to force the banks to issue more loans to poor people. The strengthened CRA demanded that banks prove they were not discriminating against blacks under threat of prosecution by the Clinton Justice Department. And it was a willing ACORN that encouraged poor people to take these loans and they had a working scheme in place to take advantage of the CRA regulations. In addition, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought these loans and bundled” them into investment packages to be sold to financial institutions as top-rated securities. Certainly, there was some fraud involved here.

It was a failed re-distribution scheme fostered by progressives that caused the stock market to collapse, TARP to be created and the literal theft of almost one half of the savings of many middle class Americans. Yet, not one government official has been charged with a crime. It was the government, not capitalism, that was responsible for the collapse and it was progressives, including President Obama, who lobbied and sued the government to create this entire scheme. So now, one of the architects of the fiasco (the President), tells us that it was not caused by the people who forced the banks to issue the mortgages (the Clinton administration), or the people who shook down the banks (ACORN), forced banks to prove they weren’t racist (ACORN) and solicited (pressured) poor people to apply for the loans (again ACORN). And, in spite of this, we are supposed to believe that the real problem was “greed”. Is the President fingering his own greed or that of his employer ACORN? I don't think so.

Understand what I am saying: all of these bad decisions that the President criticizes were decisions made by people who share the President’s philosophy of re-distribution and they were undertaken by institutions created to effect that re-distribution. These include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, government appointed heads of those companies, Countrywide, a Democratic Congress, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, ACORN; all of whom claimed to be working on behalf of the “poor”. Yet, this sounds like altruism to me, not greed.

Why isn't the altruism inherent in these programs blamed for the economic collapse? It was not greed but socialist principles that sacrificed the savings of the middle class in order to give homes to the lower class. The actors whose philosophy caused the collapse were involved in socialist irresponsibility, not capitalism. Why didn't the media pick up on this?

The answer is pretty simple: socialism doesn’t work and they are invested in socialism. The cold, hard truth is that socialism is the means through which a smart criminal can cover up the fact that he is stealing money. All he has to do is say he is doing it for the poor. And rather than expose the charlatan scam that caused the financial collapse of the most powerful economy in history, the media looks the other way. And they allow the President to blame the fiasco on an institution, capitalism, that was raped and violated by the scam.

It should be no surprise that one of the lawyers involved in changing the CRA back in 1994, President Obama, is the one person who benefited most from the economic collapse. Not only was he able to skim some of the stolen money for his Presidential campaigns (he is one of the largest recipients of Fannie and Freddie campaign contributions), but when the economy collapsed, it paved the way for his election as President. Although he and his progressive friends caused the collapse, the Republicans got blaimed. In fact, Obama may have lost the election were it not for the collapse made possible by the failed policies he advocated. Is it a coincidence or a plot? I’ll let you decide.

Needless to say, the President won’t blame himself for the financial collapse, nor does he want to blame his own philosophy. But his denials don’t change the truth. And this is a time when honesty and truth are required (as if there is ever a time when they are not). Rather than tell you the brutal honest truth, the President would rather play politics and continue to assert in a major economic speech that capitalism is the cause of the problems that he created.

The truth is that the philosophy destroying our economy is altruism, the philosophy of the President. Does he care that re-distributing money violates the rights of hard working Americans? Does he care that it makes virtual slaves of the very people he claims to be defending? Apparently not, since he is not willing to admit that he is the real destroyer of the middle class. It is not his fault, he says. He inherited the situation, feigning innocence.

Are you now beginning to see why the President does not want to think in terms of essentials and why it is not possible for him to tell you the truth? If he were truly an honest man, he’d admit that his philosophy is bankrupt and that socialism has failed.

Apparently, judging from the President's words and actions, this is not the time for the truth. According to the President, it is the time for posturing, for pretending to be an honest critic. It is a time for telling lies and for accusing his political enemies of doing the very things that he is doing, and, if that isn’t enough, he now intends to spend $1 billion dollars (that he got from someone) to convince the American people that the real culprit is the greed of “fat cats”.

On the contrary, I think it is the time for telling the truth. We cannot survive without it.

-to be continued

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Truth about the President’s Economic Policy Part 3

So, if none of our leaders will provide the truth about the President’s speech in Kansas, someone else will have to do it.

In his speech, the President said:

“Today, we're still home to the world's most productive workers. We're still home to the world's most innovative companies. But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and their investments – wealthier than ever before. But everybody else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren't – and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up.”

Here the President is attempting to provide a reason why the “optimism” of the previous statement (Part 2) has been “eroded”. Yes, the President says, we still have the most productive workers and the most innovative companies, but the “basic bargain” has been eroded, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. What does this mean? Who eroded the “basic bargain”? What was that basic bargain? How was it brought about? Who made it possible?

The basic bargain to which the President refers was a sort of implicit contract that if you “give it your all” you have some assurance that you’ll be able to take care of your family, have your health care taken care of and put away money for retirement. It is this “bargain” that has been eroded, according to the President. The “middle class” is no longer receiving the benefit of the “basic bargain” and someone is responsible for that: “those at the top”.

Before we go back to the President’s speech, we must establish the full context. First of all, we should understand what made possible those “most productive workers” and “most innovative companies” to which the President refers. I think it is important to have this background if we are to think in essentials. Indeed, you can’t decide what to do in the future if you don’t know the essential principles that got us where we are.

How does a nation accomplish productive workers and innovative companies? Not every nation has been able to do this and it is important to be clear about the ideas and values that create prosperity. In other words, what must we have in the way of economic principles in order to build a vibrant economy?

History has provided an answer: capitalism. Capitalism is the prerequisite of prosperity. Remove capitalism from a nation and you lose it. Why is this? What is so good about capitalism that it creates such tremendous abundance?

As Ayn Rand has pointed out: “Capitalism is the system that made productive cooperation possible among men, on a large scale—a voluntary cooperation that raised everyone's standard of living—as the nineteenth century has demonstrated.”(1)

The fact that capitalism enables voluntary cooperation is missed by the President and his economic advisers. And they have no idea why voluntary cooperation is accomplished more effectively by capitalism than by their vaunted collectivism that requires cooperation through shared sacrifice. Capitalism must be inferior to them because it is only about “playing by your own rules” and stealing from people. This view sees exploiters everywhere and it misses the spectacle of millions of individual acts of mutually beneficial cooperation that take place every day under capitalism.

Rand also provides the definition of capitalism:

“Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man's rights, i.e.., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man's right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.”(2)

According to progressives, capitalism is not about the banishment of physical force; it is about the use of physical force through government to create monopolies, get special privileges and steal from the consumers who have no choice but to work in the factories and use the products. They ignore the men who rose from poverty to become some of the most successful industrialists in the world; whose enterprises provided virtually all of the luxuries we enjoy today. They ignore the elevating standards of living, the longer life-spans, the mobility and self-confidence that people develop because they hold their destinies in their own hands. They ignore the millions of morally proper decisions that people make daily. They ignore the fact that capitalist systems tend to be more peaceful and secure because people who earn their own livings do not feel compelled to violate the property rights of others.

Leftists cannot think in terms of essentials. They don’t understand that survival is about work and that any system that liberates man to pursue survival through production and trade is one that creates a million mutually beneficial trades every day. They confuse production with force and criticize production as if it means a zero-sum transaction where one person wins and gets rich and the other person loses and becomes poor. They ignore the fact that it is capitalism, and nothing else, that created the middle class. So they proclaim themselves champions of the middle class while they seek to destroy or undermine the source of voluntary cooperation: capitalism. And they countenance physical force by government in order to rectify what they consider to be problems created by capitalism (that are actually created by their own coercive policies).

Progressives act as if they are righteous defenders of the average man, protectors of the rights of man, as if they were fighting dictators not industrialists. They posture as courageous critics of a corrupt system while ignoring the fact that the capitalist “dictators” they denigrate are merely clear thinking men who have mastered the art of production, not the art of conquest. They don’t understand what it takes to create and manage a thriving corporation because they have never done it and they let their altruist morality cloud their minds to the fact that capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any of the sundry dictators they admire. Where capitalism enables thriving, socialism enables murder; and yet they don’t see it – they don’t see the killing fields and mass graves.

They don’t see the beautiful cities of capitalism, the tall buildings, the bustling factories and the brilliant shops offering stunning products. They don’t see the automobiles and the jet airplanes and the HDTVs, the 5-speaker sound systems and the iPods and iPhones. Instead, they imagine dead bodies and starving children in the clutches of a blood thirsty capitalist eager for plunder. They proclaim that capitalism would just as soon let people starve for the sake of profit without noticing that the real starving people in the world are those trapped by the progressives' view of the world.

And what is their view of the world? Like all altruists, they believe man is evil at base and incapable of being moral. They send out this teaching through every pronouncement and judgment of men. They treat individuals as expendable and particularly worthy of ridicule. Since their morality holds that man should sacrifice for others, they see man’s inability to be totally self-sacrificial as a black mark on man. Therefore, the most successful, those who practice sacrifice the least, are viewed as particularly evil and deserving of forced sacrifice, control and punishment. If you notice a similarity between this view and the views of some of the most brutal tribal leaders of the past including some of the most monstrous dictators, the similarity is not a coincidence.

What is the greatest threat to capitalism, peace and cooperation? It is the progressives' view of man coupled with the idea of collectivism, the modern form of tribal organization; the idea that people must cluster into bands or tribes and battle one another for political power. Anti-capitalism is essentially anti-reason and anti-man in the same way that collectivism is anti-individual. It is a desire to destroy the good because the good is unwilling to grovel at the altar of self-sacrifice.

Don’t proclaim that altruists really want to do good things for people. There are two sides to the altruism coin. One side is protestations of love for man while the other side is protestations of hatred for everything. One side, the side of professed love, is the outward expression of altruism that keeps altruists in the game of acting on their hatred. And this brings us back to the President’s speech.

The President, by proclaiming a love and support of the middle class, declares that the enemy of the middle class is the very system that created the middle class: capitalism.

Yet, capitalism can only exist in a nation where the government protects individual rights and the rule of law. Its basic principle is that the individual is free to use his own mind, create his own survival and keep the results of his work. It declares that man is essentially good, capable of reason and that he acquires his survival through production and trade with others, by means of reason. What does capitalism require? Capitalism requires freedom, freedom to think, freedom to evaluate reality, to make judgments, to develop products, to obtain capital, to trade and to keep the results of one's work. The President will have none of that.

Remember what I said about the character of the American people in the pre-war and wartime period; that their victories were made possible by the fact that they were free. Their freedom meant they were free to live, to think, to invest and to create…they were not regulated into prosperity; their Constitution liberated them to create that prosperity because the Founders knew that their hard work and thought would directly benefit them and that a government that protected their rights is the most advanced government possible.

Because of capitalism, the American spirit was free to win the war and this spirit, this sense of life, released upon the world a “can do” attitude that says anything is possible if you are free to act. Capitalism means freedom to survive; not just for “those at the top” but for all Americans. Americans become “those at the top” compared to the rest of the world by producing and investing their own savings (for retirement). The middle class was created when Americans were liberated to work in the factories; liberated to become the workers, middle managers and the upper managers. Without capitalism you do not have productive workers, innovative companies or a middle class.

How can the President be a defender of the middle class when he does not seem to understand this critical point about freedom - and especially about capitalism? How can he, on the one hand, champion freedom and on the other champion re-distribution of the income of producers? Isn’t he turning the producers into slaves through re-distribution? How can he, on the one hand, claim to be liberating producers, “those at the top”, while on the other hand raising taxes upon them? How can he, on the one hand, praise the free market, while on the other hand creating oppressive regulations that stifle economic activity? How can he, on the one hand, recognize that Americans are productive and our factories innovative while on the other hand not even acknowledging that it was capitalism that brought it about? And if it was capitalism that brought this situation about, how can he, on any hand, claim that “playing by your own rules” is what brought capitalism down and ended the "basic bargain"?

So the real question is not how did we lose our optimism and the “basic bargain”. The real questions should be “how did we lose capitalism?” and “how can we get it back?” And the real answer should be, by eliminating regulations, letting people keep what they earn and returning to the Bill of Rights.

-to be continued

1)How To Read (And Not To Write), The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. 1, No. 26 September 25, 1972
2)What is Capitalism, Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Truth about the President’s Economic Policy Part 2

So, if none of our leaders will provide the truth about the President’s speech in Kansas, someone else will have to do it.

At the beginning of his speech the President builds up his first key concept: optimism.

“My grandparents served during World War II. He was a soldier in Patton's army; she was a worker on a bomber assembly line. And together, they shared the optimism of a nation that triumphed over the Great Depression and over fascism. They believed in an America where hard work paid off, and responsibility was rewarded, and anyone could make it if they tried – no matter who you were, no matter where you came from, no matter how you started out.

And these values gave rise to the largest middle class and the strongest economy that the world has ever known. It was here in America that the most productive workers, the most innovative companies turned out the best products on Earth. And you know what? Every American shared in that pride and in that success – from those in the executive suites to those in middle management to those on the factory floor. So you could have some confidence that if you gave it your all, you'd take enough home to raise your family and send your kids to school and have your health care covered, put a little away for retirement.”

One thing that characterizes most of the President’s speeches, and I’ve noticed it since his first “important” speech in 2004, is that he thinks in non-essentials. What this means is that the principles that underlie his statements are not based on fundamentals but quite often on derivatives of fundamentals. To elaborate; was “optimism” really what made depression-era Americans successful? Or is optimism merely a characteristic derived from a more fundamental characteristic such as the fact that they possessed the uncompromising characteristics of a free people?

You might ask why is this question important? How does it impact the values the President is trying to explicate? First of all, a lack of conceptual clarity, thinking in non-essentials, influences decisions and proposed solutions. If the President is going to talk about what made Americans succeed during that period when his grandparents lived, shouldn’t he refer to their basic characteristics rather than non-essential characteristics? Secondly, it is important to ensure that we aren’t being manipulated in some way. Thinking in non-essentials is a characteristic of leaders who don’t understand where they are and where they are going. In other words, they may be leading you down the wrong road for the sake of their own agendas rather than yours.

This is the problem of thinking in non-essentials: you develop an inability to know, in terms of essentials, what you should do. For instance, if you accept “optimism” as a key characteristic of past Americans you cannot then decide which type of government people should establish. Optimism, not being a fundamental principle, does not explain how man survives. It does not explain how people determine their core values, their core philosophies, their needs, desires and ideas. With optimism as your guide, you cannot identify which essential measures the government should take in order to secure the safety and rights of individuals. The term is without content, standards and meaning.

Optimism is not the key characteristic that made our grandparents’ generation successful. This generation suffered greatly and they were poorly served by their political leadership. Most were not highly educated and they certainly did not have a sense of optimism about the future. In fact, they had been beaten down by poverty and unemployment, hunger and homelessness. Those not completely destroyed by it learned how to survive; they became rugged, practical and dedicated to the survival of their families. What they did have was the ability to survive and the determination to overcome incredible obstacles. This was a legacy of the freedom they possessed and the ethical standards made possible by that freedom. Yes, they were strong, resilient and committed to their families; but they were also free during a period of history when the world was moving toward fascism. They saw this trend and decided they wanted no part of it. They did not want to live as slaves.

Certainly, one could say, in a sense, that they were optimistic about the future, they had many of the traits of their ancestors and they certainly hoped for a better day. But to say that their optimism was their critical character trait is to focus only on one aspect among many that made up the American psyche.

The implication of the President’s statement is that no other characteristic of the American psyche is responsible for those successes. The President, and many others, would have you believe that it was because Americans were collectively minded, that they sacrificed for others and fought to save their communities – these were the goals Americans sought – stronger communities.

But, here’s the problem of thinking in non-essentials: if the President is going to be genuine, truly lead and inspire, he must identify the real fundamental principles that our forefathers held, not some Dale Carnegie course approximations. If the President wants to inspire people, he must deal in universal principles that ring true. The idea that “optimism” is what gave people the courage to win is false. Can you imagine a soldier heading into battle, with mortar shells going off all around him, saying to his buddy: “I’m going to kill those Germans because I’m optimistic about the future.”

Our grandparents succeeded because they were free thinkers, individualists, who refused to live as slaves. Individualism has many consequences. For instance, an individualist has the ability to think and speak as he deems fit. He can act and be goal-oriented. He has the freedom and the desire to succeed. Individualism releases a person to “be himself” so to speak and, in another respect, to create his own character and live a moral life. The individualist has a strong desire to be self-reliant and to keep the results of his work. In fact, the individualist does not like to be ruled, preached too, commanded or directed. The American individualist will fight when you threaten his freedom. And this is what helped Americans defeat the depression and the war.

But individualism is not the idea toward which the President is aiming. His goal is not to release you to defeat an enemy but to ensure that you vote for him; and toward this goal, he’d prefer that you have “optimism”, collective pride and a willingness to sacrifice. He’d prefer that you think in non-essentials because that is his only hope of keeping his job.

-to be continued

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Truth about the Obama Economic Policy Part 1

“I am not one of those whom one may ask about their why” – Nietzche (Thus Spake Zarathustra)

Whenever a nation faces a great challenge, the leader of that nation must tell the truth. He must stand upon a lectern so high that the entire nation can hear and ponder his words. He must carefully explain the situation, how the nation got there and what must be done to correct the mistakes of the past. To use a cliché, only the whole truth can help a people muster the courage necessary to save the nation. Only the whole truth can clear minds and establish the proper agenda for victory.

For a true leader, this is not a problem. Truth and honesty are part of his life. He became successful by correctly assessing a number of situations and he has proven his leadership under fire, among real people and on the battlefield that is the real world. He also knows that he cannot solve human problems by lying to the people. He must be sufficiently analytical and self-critical that he is able to discover the flaw, even in his own philosophy, that has caused the nation’s problems; and he should be forthcoming about that flaw. Times of crisis are not times for rationalization, excuse making and narcissism. If a leader thinks he can rationalize his own failings, then the nation will not be well-served.

But the truth requires more than just a statement of fact. The correct context must be established and the leader must understand that the unseen is often the cause of the seen. He must grasp the fact that it is his responsibility to be dispassionate, even self-critical, if he is to earn the trust of the people. Such a person must have a commitment to the truth and he must express it clearly, with the dignity that makes him trustworthy. He is the embodiment of the people's struggle, the repository of their hope and the representative of their aspirations for a better life. He must know that he holds the survival of the nation in his hands and that the lives of people are at stake. Only a great leader can clarify the moral issues upon which a nation is founded and only a great leader can muster the honesty necessary to point out the moral principles upon which survival will be based.

Our nation is on the precipice of disaster. Millions of individuals are without jobs, many of them have lost their homes and many live in homes worth less than the amount owed on them. The cost of transportation is going up. The cost of food is going up and there is no end in sight to the suffering. Society will collapse if the negative trends continue. Government policies have caused these sufferings and only a change in government policy will rectify them.

In the midst of this suffering, our President gave a speech in Kansas recently, in the virtual center of the country, in which he spelled out what he considers to be the truth; how he thinks we got to this position, the principles we have disregarded and the solution to our problems. He wanted the nation to rally around him and accept his philosophy as our best hope. He also wants us to reelect him so he can do more of what he has been doing to “solve” our problems.

As I will show, the speech was full of lies and any rational person can see that this man is not up to the task of leadership. The speech was full of so many rationalizations, so many fallacies, so many excuses and false solutions that any clear thinking individual can see that this man must be removed from power in the next election (if not sooner).

Yet, the aftermath of the speech exposed the fact that our situation is worse than we had thought. It exposed a leadership vacuum, not only with the President, but with his opposition as well. There appears to be no one who can answer the President; there is no one who is capable of telling the truth; no one who can rise to the occasion; no one who can tell us why we are bankrupt monetarily and morally. The President’s speech may have given us lies, but the opposition to him has been silent.

Why is that? I think it is because the opposition cannot refute what the President said in his speech. The opposition is swimming in the same river, so to speak. Republican politicians agree with every major premise the President accepts and because there really is no opposition, there is no one in the public arena who can save the nation. Where are Gingrich and Romney on this speech? Why haven’t they spoken up? Where is the response that will answer the President in clear, believable terms? Certainly, in the midst of all this nihilism, there is a person who can clearly articulate the flaws in the President's economic policy. Where is the opposition leader who is up to the challenge of history?

So, if none of our leaders will provide the truth, someone else will have to do it.

-to be continued