Socialism requires 100% participation to work. If anyone is exempt, there is no equality, and someone is exploiting the system. However, the basic nature of humanity is to disagree. Different values, different goals, and different experiences result in a wide variety of opinions on any topic, and on all topics. In fact, some people will disagree with the majority just to assert their individuality. Therefore, there will never be 100% support for Socialism. Which means that enacting Socialism can only be done by force. As such, Socialism is antithetical to the principles, norms, standards, institutions, and traditions of the United States. I will work with the finest minds in the nation to find ways for you to attain the sense of security you falsely think Socialism provides.
Socialism is a poison pill in a candy shell. Unnecessary and untimely death accompanies its ascendance into any government.
Capitalism, for all its flaws, harnesses the power of selfishness to improve everyone’s lives. The free market cannot sidestep the laws of physics and supply/demand, but the combination of Capitalism and Free Markets have lifted more people from poverty than any other system, by several orders of magnitude.
Free Market Capitalism offers you choices. You may not like the choices. The choices you want might not be currently available to you. But with Free Market Capitalism, you always have choices for the mix of effort, comfort and risk you feel comfortable with.
Free Market Capitalism’s biggest failures occur when someone manipulates information to deceive. Failures also occur when the government picks winners and losers.
I will work with the finest minds in the nation to use government power only to ensure you have the most accurate information possible, and not make decisions for you.
Abortion is a tragic and unnecessary act that results in the death of a unique human being. Nevertheless, a vocal minority in the United States considers it a vital right, and the US political system is designed to protect minority rights. I will work with the finest minds in the United States and abroad to create a society in which no one feels abortion is necessary ever again. Until that day arrives, I will work to limit abortion to comport with reasonable standards of responsibility and accountability.
Taxes are an unfortunate necessity. However, centuries of history demonstrate that rather than raising taxes to provide services, governments provide services as a pretext to raise taxes. It is a simple fact that government wastes money. Merely paying the salaries of bureaucrats lowers the value of tax revenue spent in services, and most of the services provided by government would be better accomplished if the money had not been taxed in the first place, and for expenses individuals cannot afford, via charity. I will work with the finest minds in the United States to cut spending to create surpluses that pay off our debt, and then can lower taxes. My eventual goal is the elimination of all income taxes, so that all the federal government requirements are funded through corporate taxes and some necessary tariffs. Although the federal government should not interfere in State processes, I will work with states to eliminate property taxes, to fulfill the American Dream of owning property, rather than just renting it from the local government.
Self-Defense is the most basic, fundamental right that underpins all the benefits of liberty in the United States. As such, I will work to remove many of the infringements made on the Second Amendment that actually work to make individuals and society less safe. We will move cautiously, to ensure that citizens of all races and economic levels are able to peacefully exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Citizenship is a valuable status, and should be seen as such by all residents in the US. I will work to reform the Permanent Residence system to discourage de facto dual citizenship. I will work with the finest minds in the United States to emphasize and strengthen the benefits of citizenship to encourage every resident of the US to seek citizenship as soon as possible. For example, perhaps income taxes could be levied only on Visa holders and Permanent Residents, but not US Citizens.
Illegal Immigration will be halted. I will use every power available to me to end and reverse illegal immigration. E-verify will be mandatory, I will work with Congress to pass laws encouraging collection agencies to seek repayment of education and medical costs incurred by illegal aliens, illegal aliens will not be able to obtain driver’s licenses, and we will halt the unConstitutional practice of Illegal Alien Sanctuary Cities. The IRS will be ordered to take action against stolen identities and Social Security Number fraud. This will result in increased prosperity and employment for US Citizens. Once our borders are secured and illegal aliens are unable to live comfortably in the US, I will work with the finest minds in the United States to increase legal immigration and guest worker programs that serve the needs of the poorest Americans.
Medical Care is a source of worry and instability in all societies. The demand for medical care is unlimited, but supply is finite. No one will ever be able to obtain the quality and quantity of medical care they want. Most government medical care systems provide an illusion of care by lowering the quality of care to increase the quantity. The bottom line is, to the government, you are a statistic. Your life has the most value to you and to your loved ones. The decision for medical care for you and your loved ones should be a decision made only by you, with the input of your doctor, based on what you can afford. If you include an insurer in the process, you potentially can afford more care, but you also subject yourself to the restrictions of what the insurer will improve, and they will always attempt to limit their costs. This is even more true if the state or federal government is involved, with the added burden of administrative waste.
It is painful to recognize that you cannot afford all the care you would like to have. It is painful to have someone close to you die when there is treatment you cannot afford. However, there is no solution that doesn’t involve gross inequality, or allow the politically-connected better care at the expense of everyone else.
As such, your medical care can only be based on what you can afford. If you want more care, you need to save more. If you cannot save more, you must earn more by working harder. If you cannot earn more by working harder, you must find ways to increase your value to employers to earn more. If you cannot increase your value to employers, then you must develop rich relationships with family, and decide among yourselves how to pay for the care your family wants.
If these solutions are not acceptable, then you must rely on charity or insurance.
There are no solutions, only trade-offs, and you will not be able to get all the quality medical care you want. It is better to understand that now.
I will work with the finest minds in the United States to establish a nationwide, true Catastrophic event insurance that provides a defined level of care (i.e., generic drugs and cost-scaled treatment). I will also work with Congress to provide incentives for corporations and universities to research new medicine, techniques, and technology, and to ease the rules for voluntary experimental medical care. The rich will continue to underwrite experimental medical treatment for the benefit of all.
Okay, that’s all I can think of right now. What can I improve? What other topics should I address? Maybe future installments of this will address Free Speech absolutism and National Defense.
The other day I shared that I think the Left, and particularly the US Left, are politically children. This isn’t a political post…I bring it up as an introduction: I identify them as immature because they are only concerned with some power giving them what they want, without costs or trade-offs.
This is from my assumption that with maturity comes wisdom. Chesterton’s Fence is a good example of how a mature mindset plays out in real life. The more times you’ve been around the sun, the more times you’ve seen well-meaning policy changes founder on reality, due to unintended consequences or short-term thinking. After all, we haven’t needed this fence within the last 10 years or so of memory in the person wanting to tear it down…it is only the aged that realize the fence was established to prevent or ameliorate a once-every-twenty-years event.
Game of Thrones includes the warnings of wisdom in its repeated reminder that “Winter is coming.” Most of the people battling for power and control had lived their whole lives in one of Westeros’ sometimes decades-long summers.
We are creatures of experience, and we doubt our parents. We consider them moribund, hopelessly behind the times, and clueless about the way the world works now. This is one of the themes of Generation Ships, or even of interstellar colonies in which civilization collapse: the parents have stories of Old Earth, and the Old Ways, and technology, but the children consider them fairy tales and society devolves to a lower level of civilization in ignorance.
So there is a a good story topic, if you want: We haven’t had a new Generation Ship story in generations, I don’t think. Except instead of writing how children dismiss the stories of their parents and civilization devolves, you could write a story of what the on-ship society does to prevent the devolution of technology and civilization. Instead of what goes wrong in a cautionary tale, explore the obstacles and propose solutions. There is still a good story in the drama of overcoming obstacles to retain civilization, and of the people who live through it.
The reason I have been thinking about “generation” ships, however, is because the pace of counter-aging research appears to be picking up. I think this is because Moore’s Law means computing power has advanced to the point that we can actually begin to control for all the variables in the aging process. We can actually track the degradation of cell functioning, and how the decline of one cell, or one tissue, or one system, impacts and affects others. The human body is so complex, and so the aging process is so complex, it makes sense that the computing power of 10 years ago might still be inadequate.
In any case, there are reports that some researchers are already conducting trials on counter-aging of pets, like dogs. Researchers already have a better grasp of how telomere length impacts aging, and the problems of artificially lengthening the telomeres. We have enough modern data to know how exercise and learning help preserve and retain youthful health so that fewer years are spent in mental and physical decline…this is important, because with lifespan extension, you want an increase in enjoyable years, not an increase in years spent in a nursing home, or attached to a machine. Even a few years ago, researchers discovered that you can extend both life and functional youth by at least a decade with just a combination of two substances that clear out senescent cells, which prevent aging damage to nearby cells. Of the two substances, one is cheap (you can get sufficient quantities by eating a spoonful of capers every day), and the other is rare enough to cost $50k/dose (which I think is every month). Obviously, the goal is to reduce the cost of the second substance to a realistic number. And even aside from that, there is some compelling evidence that simply getting transfusions of young blood can help delay aging…but I’m not sure if it can actually reverse it (can it cause hair gone gray to begin to recolor? Doubtful.)
As I like to say, I originally thought that aging, and thus most disease (which if often aging-related, as body systems that prevent disease break down), and even natural death would be fully solved in my grandchildren’s lifetime. Then I began to think my children might have a shot at it. Now I believe that if I keep myself in good shape, staying as mentally and physically young as I can, they will conquer aging in my lifetime.
I *hope* it will end up as the ability to select the age you you want (and I would probably choose late 30s…just before presbyopia set in), but even if it just ends up at only being able to slow aging to the point that we have extra decades, I have made it my goal to live to age 130, with enough health and vigor to enjoy it.
But what would that do to society?
Tolkien’s elves live for centuries. He then posited a lower birth rate, or else elves would have choked the world with their numbers, and I think that is probably correct.
Larry Niven had boosterspice in his stories, and it was the key to one of his plots, in that a woman was concealing her advanced age as part of a scam, and had to “pretend” to trip…Niven assumed that with age and experience would come grace that would arise from greater experience on how to avoid things like tripping. [shrug]. I guess I can understand that, from the standpoint that kids are clumsy…we even call teenagers or young adults coltish, in that they aren’t yet accustomed to new height after a growth spurt.
Some vampire stories certainly try to display the increased knowledge vampires have from centuries of experience on the earth.
But for the most part, I am not really impressed with the maturity shown by most of the long lifespan individuals in most science fiction stories.
This is a problem for writers: how do you write beyond yourself? Can you only write at your own intelligence? Meaning, how can you write a genius character if you aren’t a genius yourself? I think this is easier than it sounds: most of intelligence is speed. The more intelligent you are, the fewer repetitions you need to learn and understand something, the more quickly you learn when and where you can take mental shortcuts, etc. Intelligence doesn’t always mean insight that leads to wisdom. So you can write a brilliant character merely by thinking things through, and having the character able to make leaps of logic or grasp things immediately, that other people would need more time to get.
But maturity….that’s another problem.
Some maturity issues are easy to see and understand. Obviously, children want immediate gratification, so you can write a mature character by having them delay gratification, see the long view.
I know I’ve matured quite a bit since age 25. But I also think I’ve matured quite a bit in just the last few years. I understand so many more things about my wife, about relationships, and about male/female differences in just the last five years, and I’m over 50. So what insights will I have when I’m closing in on 100? Can I imagine those?
One aspect of maturity is because you’ve seen it all before, you have more patience in frustrating situations. On the other hand, with age comes an “I’m too old for this crap.” impatience. I’d argue the first is mature, the second is merely advanced age immaturity, but that’s an aspect worth considering more deeply yourself. But I do think if we had leaders with three centuries of experience, there would be an increased willingness to let things play out on their own, to not see urgency in most crises, because intervention too often makes things worse.
The vampire stories posit that with age comes an understand of human nature that makes it easier to manipulate people. That might be true.
But I’d counter an inability to remember immature mindsets seems to come along often with maturity. The adults cannot remember the angst and worries of youth. The elderly don’t have the interest in keeping up with fashion, and trends, and fashionable thinking. It is possible to keep tabs on modern thought, but is it possible to do so well enough to be master manipulators? Without seeming out of touch? I’m not sure.
In any case, this is the science fiction topic you could tackle: if/when humans no longer *must* die (although accident, murder, suicide, and some illnesses will still result in death), how does it change society? Do people suicide when they get bored? Do we finally have the longevity to make terraforming Mars and colonization of interstellar systems possible (imagine a “generation ship” that takes two centuries to reach a Alpha Centauri, crewed/populated with people who fully expect to make the return trip within their lifetime). Do the aged withdraw from society as they grow bored with the immaturity of the young? Does the birth rate plummet? Or does colonization of the moon, Mars, Jupiter’s moons, and interstellar systems create enough room that we have a population explosion? Do the elderly ensconce themselves as leaders, guiding all of society with their greater knowledge? Do the young now chafe at the reduced chance of earning key roles, since no one ages out of a prominent position anymore? Or do they win key positions in corporations and government due to youthful exuberance and innovation?
If nothing in society changes except for everyone alive suddenly having a realistic chance to live for 500 years or more, what happens? There are a hundred different story possibilities to explore right there.
Go do it. I want to read some good stories that explore this issue, that will help us be prepared for it when it eventually happens.
I think emphasizing the Creepy Line is what might finally get enough people incensed about Big Silicon Brother enough to actually scale back their surveillance of us.
Facebook watches you and everything you do in a way that would freak women out if it were a guy doing it. Instead, women use it more than men. I think it’s because the creepiness of Facebook’s surveillance is downplayed, and so broadly unknown or underestimated.
How did we get here?
I think we naively sold our data for a handful of beads, and for convenience.
We embraced free email, never spending much thought on how a company can make enough money to store all those petabytes of email at no cost to the user.
Well, there is a cost. You just don’t know you are paying it.
Email companies can scan your emails. You are not allowed a presumption of privacy unless you encrypt…and maybe not even then.
Email companies can show you advertisements. But it would be silly to assume they get enough revenue that way.
I don’t have the numbers, but I have to believe email companies get most of their money by selling source code to the Silicon Valley giants. Every email you send has invisible code embedded that track you. They report back where you navigate to, where you navigated from. Almost every webpage you visit has those same trackers. Facebook has a file on you, even if you never made a Facebook account, even if you have never visited Facebook.
That’s why I call it Stalkerbook. The Facebook webpage is just the smiling face of their data-mining and manipulation operation. You make it easier on them by posting on Facebook, but you certainly don’t slow them down by not.
The Internet of Things and 5G are eagerly awaited by Big Corporations. You should not be excited.
Because they will tout “blazing fast data transfer speeds” and then add so much ad bloatware that you’ll still have download pauses and it will still take about the same amount of time to load a page. The human psyche can handle a certain amount of delay/frustration and no more. Silicon Valley and other Big Businesses will use that tolerance to identify and track you.
Convenience explains the rest. It’s *easier* when the credit card company watches your purchases and flags anything that seems fraudulent. Which sounds great, until you have your card declined while on vacation, trying to purchase dinner a time zone away from your normal stomping grounds.
Silicon Valley tracks us because we let them. We were insufficiently suspicious of all the free social media programs.
We aren’t going to get them to stop by passing laws.
The only way they’ll stop is enough people are both aware of the tracking, and creeped out enough by it to demand they stop. We’re gonna need to get the women upset about this, it seems.
But let’s say we burn down Facebook and salt the earth where it stood. Let’s say we break up Google. Let’s say we are all up in arms about tracking and we actually get effective laws passed to regain our privacy.
What happens to commerce? Because one side effect of that is they won’t be able to target advertising for us. It might actually be harder to stumble on something you would like, but don’t know you would like.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. There are times where Amazon’s algorithms have actually helped me find something I wanted, and so my life is slightly better as a result.
I realize that contradicts the first 80% of this post. I don’t have an answer that resolves it.
However, I now think I have a little bit more to add to that.
To be honest, I rushed through my first response. Partly because I was just irritated with having read what felt like a steaming load of nonsense, but partly because I wanted to discharge the obligation. But I kept thinking about it, and I think there are a few more points I want to make.
First, Vox Day gives his own “12 Rules.” The most charitable take is that if he’s going to spend a book criticizing JBP’s 12 Rules, he should have his own. The churlish take is that he wanted to demonstrate his superior intelligence by providing a list better than JBP’s.
Actually, Vox Day’s list isn’t bad.
Embrace the Iron
Take the wheel
Be the friend you want to have
Envision perfection and pursue excellence
Put a ring on it
Set your face against evil
Do what is right
Tell the truth in kindness
Learn the easy way
Believe the mirror
Get back on the horse
Find a best friend
But at best, Vox Day doesn’t realize what JBP’s purpose is; at worst, Vox Day simply doesn’t care. Because this list is largely inaccessible to the people JBP is trying to reach. “Put a ring on it,” indeed. One of things JBP is addressing is males who cannot attract a woman, because their life is in chaos. “Take the wheel.” The whole point of JBP’s teachings are to help males learn that they can take the wheel, and to avoid disaster when they try. You can’t just tell them to take the wheel; you have to teach them to walk before they can run.
So Vox Day’s rules aren’t bad, they just reveal that Vox Day doesn’t comprehend JBP.
This is a problem.
It indicates that Vox Day is criticizing JBP because JBP’s advice doesn’t apply to Vox Day.
It may even indicate that JBP’s concepts threaten Vox Day in some way.
Vox claims to be very, very smart, and expensively educated. We aren’t told exactly what “expensive” means to Vox Day, but based on his writing, he isn’t very highly educated. It seems very likely to me that he never continued past a baccalaureate.
To characterize Vox Day’s fundamental error that underlies his entire book, his choices demonstrate that he has no interest in constructing a compelling argument, but feels it is sufficient to merely make a plausible one.
You see this error in several places. As I pointed out in the last post on this topic, he comes up with a single plausible argument why Ben Shapiro would get his work promoted over Vox Day’s. Having found that single plausible argument, he assumes and declares it must be true. He makes little attempt to consider other reasons. He doesn’t address all the potential challenges to his theory. He makes his claim, explains why he thinks that, and stops.
This is undergraduate level thinking: “Here’s what I think, and why.” Period. End of thought.
Studying for a Master’s Degree, providing a single plausible explanation isn’t enough. You must make a case for why your view is the most compelling. You must provide multiple chains of logic that support your view, and address competing arguments. Heck, the first thing you have to learn is to recognize that there *are* competing arguments.
Vox Day rarely take that step, and certainly doesn’t do so in any systematic effort.
For all the problems in our education system with Marxist indoctrination, this is one reason I still recommend people go to college, and in some cases, study for their Master’s. Education teaches you better ways of thinking, understanding, and arguing.
Elementary education is mostly (or should be) rote learning.
Secondary education is about regurgitation of what you are told, but with more complexity than just memorized tables.
Undergraduate education is about demonstrating that you understand what you are taught, that you can understand arguments that are made for or against something; to research what others think; to analyze and come to basic conclusions.
Graduate education is about synthesizing conclusions: sorting through existing knowledge to find new connections and new conclusions. Your master’s thesis should result in new conclusions and new understandings of existing knowledge, and learning to make arguments to support your new conclusions, so they can be accepted as accurate.
Post-graduate (doctoral) education is all about creating *new* knowledge: researching, experimenting, and studying to find accurate knowledge that was either not known, or was an incorrect conclusion.
Vox Day’s writing never gets beyond the Undergraduate level.
I can tell he’s intelligent. But his intelligence hasn’t been trained or honed into useful application.
His argument is, in a nutshell: “I’m smart and accomplished. I don’t like JBP’s teachings. Therefore, no one should.”
But let’s look deeper at that first claim.
One of Vox Day’s claims is that JBP’s advice is for Gamma males. Elsewhere, he says JBP is a confirmed Gamma male.
The last time, I criticized Vox Day as not understanding that the high status/low status lobster is just one paradigm of how life works, and JBP likely was saying to reject that paradigm, and *not* to try to end up at a mediocre status of not being bullied, yet not being a high status lobster, either.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Vox Day embraces the paradigm of Bully or Be Bullied because he fancies himself an Alpha Male, and wants to enjoy that status. Naturally, he would resist encouraging people to reject that paradigm: what good is it to have high status if people don’t recognize that status?
Look at the things Vox Day points to for credibility to criticize JBP and to claim the right to dismiss Jordan and his followers as Gamma males:
National Merit Finalist. Who is going to know what this means, except for those vying for it (i.e., geeks)?
Game designer. Who cares, except for geeks?
Member of “successful” techno band. Main claim to fame was being on a Mortal Kombat soundtrack. More geekness.
Started a Science Fiction publishing house. Geeks.
Nationally syndicated writer. Okay, this one doesn’t seem related to geeks.
These are not things to be sneered at, but clearly aren’t accomplishments most people would recognize as providing credibility to criticize the works of a popular Self-Help guru with a PhD in Psychology.
To be sure, you don’t really need credentials to criticize ideas. You merely need enough of a platform to promulgate your ideas and criticisms of ideas, and let the ideas speak for themselves.
I think Vox Day provides his accomplishments as credentials for two related reasons. First, he has a sense his criticisms aren’t compelling, and so wants to claim a status that elevates him above JBP. In a sense, it is a dick-measuring contest. “Pay no attention to his ideas. My dick is bigger than his. You can tell this because I have a hot wife.” Second, he is signalling to an audience that is actually receptive to that sort of posturing. What sort of person would be convinced by the “I have a hot wife” argument? Gamma males. Which is why I emphasized the geekness above.
So when Vox Day is arguing that JBP is a Gamma male preaching to other Gamma males, he’s actually making a Beta male gambit to maintain his standing as leader of Gamma males. He can’t understand that a true Alpha male wouldn’t give a crap about JBP, they’d just go get laid.
And this all goes back to Vox Day being the con man in the scenario. He doesn’t understand the needs of low status males, has absolutely zero interest in helping them improve their lives. His entire criticism of JBP is predicated on maintaining his preferred world order, with Vox Day as an Alpha Male with a bunch of lower status males in their proper position as subordinate to, and in admiration of, Vox Day.
This is Vox Day’s con. He is attempting to protect the brand that is Vox Day.
I received an email yesterday, requesting I post this letter. So here you are:
This year, at a client’s Christmas party, we were challenged to “Pay It Forward” – we were all given a $50 bill, and told to change someone’s life. It’s an incredibly hard task. It seems easy enough, just give it to charity. Can you change someone’s life that way? Collectively, sure. I tried a lot of different things. I was shocked at how HARD it is to find someone to take your money. I found wishlists. I tried to fulfill them. But then couldn’t get callbacks to go and drop off what they wanted. I already do Angel Tree. I already buy toys for kids who need them.
But life changing? That’s a big job.
I finally donated the money we were given, along with some extra, to buy 750 meals for those in need in my area. We had a deadline on the Pay It Forward, and I had to do something.
Life changing? No. Day changing.
But there has something that has haunted me for over 30 years. A person I have wronged. I think about her quite often, to be honest, and wonder how she is doing. No way of making it right. Probably not a chance in Hades that she would ever answer the phone, if I even had her number.
I bullied her.
As a kid, I pretended to be her friend, and then spilled and laughed about her secrets. I made horrendous remarks on her appearance for laughs. For 13 years. She found out in 8th grade. I remember the day.
I know what you’re probably thinking. Believe me, I’ve thought worse about myself. But I have to forgive myself now, and not hold onto it. I chose her as my victim because she had a great father. Mine was into abusing me – sexually, verbally, and physically. HER father went to her events, was fun at sleepovers, loved his kids. So I chose her.
When I was thinking about changing lives, I thought – that’s the one thing I’d like to fix. In my life, and in hers. And maybe if I share this story, I can change yours, too.
If you have ever been bullied, take this note, and let me apologize for them too. There are sometimes stories behind a bully. Nothing makes what I did right. Nothing. But find forgiveness – for yourself. That’s life changing.
Saturday, she will receive a box from me – with goodies and this note. And I hope she forgives me. And I hope I forgive myself for Christmas.
“There will never be a good excuse for what I did to you when we were kids. There’s no way around it. I bullied you.
You were a wonderful, kind person to me. You didn’t deserve what I gave you. I’ll always regret that. I could go into the “whys”, but that’s not what is important. What is important to me, is that you know this – I am terribly sorry, I always have been, and you’ve been in my prayers for decades.
I hope you have the happy life you so richly deserve.”
That’s pretty heavy. And pretty brave. Admirable, as well.
We all do stupid things. We all hurt people. Most of us have a cruel streak; some of us even try to eliminate it, or at least suppress it.
The person who wrote this was a child when bullying. I agree: that doesn’t excuse it. the actions described in this missive were clearly wrong. But we have to forgive ourselves as we forgive others. It is very nearly as wrong to live with the guilt of this for so long, as it was to cause the harm in the first place.
I’m not a Christian. I lost my faith. Interestingly, I lost my faith due to my musings on sin. Too long and complicated to explain here. The salient point is I still spend time musing on the nature of sin.
Sin can be defined as any time we treat others (or ourselves) as objects. Sin can also be defined as the damage we do to others.
Sin begets sin. The father of the writer sinned, and cause damage that led to additional cruelty, i.e., more sin. And I’m sure that the recipient of the bullying acted out her pain and sinned against others.
We all sin. There is not one single person on this planet that has not sinned, and does not continually sin. The burden of our sins would be crushing, if we don’t learn grace and forgiveness.
Healing cannot begin until after forgiveness has had its impact. It shouldn’t be cheap, or easy. But I think the obvious anguish displayed in this letter makes it clear forgiveness in this case could be neither.
Whether or not the victim is comforted, whether or not the victim forgives, good was done here.
Would that we all had the courage to face up to our own sins.
There have been plenty of parasites attracted to the trust that results from the rules of manners and decorum that provide the structure for society.
One of the more recent, relatively speaking, is the Offense Industry.
In order to remake society according to their Progressive wishes, they exploit human nature’s natural tendency to want to get along by taking offense at minor “mistakes”. There are multiple, dovetailing purposes behind this, I think. One of the main ones, of course, is to make you accept the Progressive worldview: someone’s identity as a man or woman is subject to a personal feeling, racism is endemic and prevalent in society, etc. But in some (most? all?) cases, it is also an exercise of power: if they can make you apologize or change your word choice when speaking, they have power over you, and the feeling of power of others is a pleasure, for some.
But it’s wrong. It’s just plain wrong.
Taking offense puts the offended at the center of the universe. They expect everyone to know their preferences and sensitivities, and to act according to those arbitrary and unknowable rules. If you “misgender” someone (i.e., call them by a pronoun they don’t want to apply to them), it is *your* fault, and you are wrong. They’ve made a push to make it actually criminally wrong in California, and possibly other places.
One person, and their preferences for speech, is thus elevated to rules of politeness for everyone else. For anyone else they might happen to meet. They might walk through a city of millions, but each of those millions must immediately recognize and employ only the terms the Perpetually Offended wishes them to use.
This is ridiculous. Society develops organically. Norms and manners and customs are developed over centuries as the framework by which we are able to interact with some level of trust, without having to have every interaction be governed by an explicit contract, or without killing each other.
The Offense Industry destroys this. One person can demand that everyone else follow their own personal, arbitrary rules, and if others don’t play along, they will be punished. And then this is multiplied by the millions who take up the mantle of Taking Offense.
This is truly a situation where the only way to win is to not play.
Don’t just refuse to be sorry for not coddling their delusions, call them out on it. Shame them. Take offense at their taking offense.
This, like most Progressivism, is a cancer that destroys social trust, and makes every man an enemy of every other man.
Why do they do this?
Because they can’t take power in society any other way. If people’s lives are happy, prosperous, and stable, they won’t turn to government for help.
The problem is they destroy all social cohesion to do it. They literally make humans ungovernable in order to get their shot at governance. They don’t care, because they have no problem using force to obtain compliance. And if they fail, they still exult in exercising their power to smash what they consider stultifying traditionalism.
They will happily destroy the village to “save” it.
Okay, sure, most of these Offense Puppets aren’t thinking that far. But make no mistake, that is the strategic consensus. They aim to destroy to rule, or to make sure no one else can.
This is why we can’t have nice things. Don’t let them win. Stand up for traditional mores, standards, norms, manners, and politeness forms of traditional society.
I’ve encountered some white racialists a few times. By the term “white racialists”, I mean those who see “white” as an identity, the same way blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc., see it as an identity, or as a shorthand for making accurate assumptions about people. You could also call them White Identitarians, White Nationalists, or similar names. I think they are distinct from White Supremacists, although they apparently hold some views in common.
Anyway, I don’t like white racialists. Here are some of the views they’ve expressed that I disagree with:
calling other races “mud people”
claiming the US Constitution was written for white people
claiming only white people (for the most part) can understand the US Constitution or live according to its precepts
claiming that low IQ, violence, and other negative character traits are inherently and inextricably connected to race
I disagree with all these notions.
But SCIENCE! they cry.
Nonsense. First, I understand there are high correlations between race and IQ, and high correlations between IQ and success in life. But what science *actually* tells us is that correlation, even *extremely high* correlation, is not causation. The white racialists who cite statistics on IQ and its relation to success, and thus conclude that blacks and Middle Easterners cannot live peacefully in a liberty-based society are clearly reasoning based on assumptions of causation. Race *is* IQ, and IQ *is* destiny, so therefore Race must be Destiny.
Again, I say: Nonsense.
I am not a scientist, and I will not attempt to replicate or debunk any studies. However, I do understand how science works. I do understand that a science experiment is only as good as the researcher, that the conclusions they draw are not always supported by the data (again, only as good as the researcher), and that social science is much less definitive than physical science.
As such, the scientific method is based on observation, forming a hypothesis, and testing that hypothesis. If that hypothesis cannot explain what you observe, it is a false hypothesis, and should be rejected.
And the hypotheses of the white racialists doesn’t stand up to even casual scrutiny.
First, the notion that because the US Constitution was written by white Anglo-Saxons, it only works for Anglo-Saxons doesn’t follow. I point to the fact that two of the most prominent and effective advocates for the US Constitution and its original meaning are Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas. They counter with arguments of IQ and point to inner city blacks to claim that there may be exceptions, but the vast majority of blacks prefer to live in violent squalor, dependent on government largess. They point to the mess that is most of the nations in Africa, and will throw dozens of charts at you showing the average IQ of Africans by nation, with many averages of 85 IQ or lower.
But, again, correlation isn’t causation.
There are significant problems with the efficacy of IQ tests. Moreover, if IQ and race were the defining factor, then we would see successful liberty anywhere a majority of Anglo-Saxons dwell.
But the whites who vote Democrat are Anglo-Saxons. They are the biggest threat to liberty in the US, bigger than blacks, illegal aliens, and Islamic refugees. In fact, they are the ones *enabling* illegal aliens and Islamic refugees to dilute US commitment to liberty and the Constitution. And these are the highly educated US Elite, with IQs significantly higher than average.
Their theory of race and IQ doesn’t address that.
Their theory of race and IQ also doesn’t address that the highest IQs are scored by Asians and Jews, who should thus consider white Anglo-Saxons to be mud people, too. Asians and Jews, having the highest IQ scores, should have the most advanced technology, culture, society, and sustained success.
And yet: nope. It’s the Anglophone world.
Because here’s the other aspect that destroys their racialist argument: Modern-day UK.
They do things like ban clapping. They’ve banned guns, disarming their citizens and making it impossible for them to enjoy their Right to Life, and when that actually encouraged violence, banned knives. They *lurve* them some big-government socialized health care.
This is the People that brought us the courage in the face of the Nazi Germany Blitz. This is the People of the Stiff Upper Lip. The People that had the largest empire ever known to man. They have fallen.
And how did they fall? They sold their culture for security. They couldn’t resist the lure of socialist policy.
And it’s happening in the US, too. Moreover, as I’ve already alluded, it is happening in the US with white Anglo-Saxons as the leaders and instigators. Blacks and other minorities are adjunct, followers, beneficiaries, support troops at best. Whites are ruining US culture.
This is already long enough, so I’ll wrap up quickly.
Culture comes from the standards you set in your family and your community. Very generally speaking, mothers impact most the way the family works, and teach you your role and status in your family. Fathers impact most the way society works, and teach you your role and status in your family. Mothers tell you that you are special, wonderful, unique, and uniquely valuable. Fathers tell you that everyone you encounter every day is equally special, wonderful, unique, and uniquely valuable, so you need to respect others’ rights and ego, and work hard to outperform them.
Both views are valuable.
If you take away fathers, the culture declines and dies. If you marginalize and weaken the role of women, the culture declines and dies.
There are negatives in the typical black culture and typical middle-eastern culture. In the typical black culture, white Progressives have destroyed the role of husbands and fathers. In the typical middle-eastern (Islamic) culture, they have marginalized and destroyed the role of wives and mothers.
This says nothing about individuals.
Culture > race. Take a family from Korea and drop them in rural Alabama, but have them still only marry other Koreans. The first generation who are children here will be fluent in English. The second generation of children will never learn any Korean. By the third generation, the kids will have a Southern drawl.
Humans aren’t a true blank slate. There *are* some racial differences. But the differences aren’t significant enough or distinct enough to explain what we see.
But culture explains it well.
Culture > Race. Fight for US Culture. Let’s return to Constitutional-based governance, and restore our high-trust society, assimilating all minorities and/or immigrants into the best culture in the world (and, of course, ending the massive influx of those who want to exploit US freedoms rather than embrace them, but that’s another can of worms).
Let me start by saying that I find the concept of “cultural appropriation” itself to be wrongheaded, foolish, and kind of absurd. It assigns some kind of collective ownership of the nebulous basket of language, tradition, customs, food, clothing, fashion, and all kinds of other ill-defined elements that supposedly belong to a given people.
Nevermind the fact that peoples and nations interbreed and change and that cultures develop and assimilate and adapt.
And who is supposed to arbitrate these transgressions? If one single Chinese person indicts me for enjoying theirdim sum, am I guilty of creating a problematicsituation?
Does it matter that another Chinese person rules that it’s ok for me to eat dim sum, but that I may not make it myself? Or that a third, more rational native doesn’t give a crap?
Does it change the calculus when the majority of a country or culture likehaving their culture appropriated (the real term is “appreciated”)? I can tell you from my time living in Japan and consuming Japanese media that the people over there are flattered and pleased when foreigners try on kimono, or dress up as a popular anime character, or take an interest in Japanese language, lore, history, whatever.
It’s ridiculous to think cultures should be treated like private (group) property.
And so I was disappointed when I was listening to an otherwise quite interesting discussion of an old weird tale yesterday, and the speakers posed the question of whether a white man writing about a black protagonist was cultural appropriation.
Thankfully they were gracious enough to rule that this was not the case – after all, the white (racist) narrator was reallywho the story was about.
I’ve gotta say, I find it quite troubling and a bit confusing, how such big fans of speculative fiction could conceivably buy into the idea of cultural appropriation, especially when it comes to the fiction they read.
Scifi and Fantasy are full of stories about aliens and other non-human beings. But they’re not real, so I guess this is in-bounds. Well, women write male characters and men write female characters. Should this gender appropriation be pooh-poohed?
Is Captain Blood cultural appropriation, because it sees an Irish protagonist written by an Italian author? Or is this okay because they’re both white ethnicities? Do “White People” all get lumped together into one culture?
Is Othello problematic because its noble Moorish (often portrayed as African) hero was written by a white Christian?
Should books written by White People only feature white characters? If you think so, it sounds like you’re ready to nix an awful lot of cool SFF and other great literature. And why? Because a few emotionally unstable people have nothing worse in life to worry about than some white dude writing a story about a black guy?
(Whoops – forget that last one – he’s one of those white hispanics!)
Are Japanese manga and anime highly problematic for featuring so many Caucasian characters?
And if you answer “yes” to all these questions, or even if your response is more nuanced or qualified, what’s the solution? Do we need a tribunal to determine which cases are acceptable and which are “problematic,” and then to rule on a remediation?
It’s such a silly piece of business. I’d be tempted to ignore it if I didn’t see the idea as such a threat to creativity and freedom of expression. Of course no one’s talking about outlawing cultural appropriation, but if it’s such a bad thing, I could imagine things moving in that direction in some quarters, someday. And really is there much practical difference between outlawing something and drubbing it out of polite society?
This weekend, I took my kid back to college in Huntsville, Alabama. While there, we stumbled across the Rocket City Arcade, where they offer a host of classic arcade games that you can play all day for just $10.
It had been a long day of driving, and so we only played for about an hour. But it felt like even that hour was well worth the money spent.
One precondition was they had to have Joust, and they did.
It took me a little time to get the game skills back, but by the fourth game, I got 64k points and set the high score for the game. I’m really not sure why no one plays it, because 64k points wasn’t that tough to get. I think in my heyday I must have broken 100k points, because 64k points included making it past just one survival wave and one egg wave, and I think i can remember making it to at least 3 egg waves previously.
The thing I love about Joust is there are no patterns to learn at all. No way to memorize a method or route that lets you beat the AI, or even puts you in a good position, like you can with games like Pac Man or Super Mario Brothers. Your flapping works against gravity based on your rate of taps, and it is impossible to hold a perfectly rock-steady altitude. Left and right are possible, but it often takes some finesse to zero out your lateral motion.
There are some places where you can hang out that make it more likely to kill the bad guys, but holding position there is tough, and if you camp there, they’ll get you.
Great game. Highly recommended. Probably my favorite game of all time, although Karate Champ is also very good.
The arcade also had a great old Star Wars game, where you shot tie fighters before making a trench run. As the game got tougher and faster, with more defending fire directed at you, the trick was to use your blasters to hit the defending fire and stay alive; shooting the enemy was only a secondary goal.
I got to try Donkey Kong, and made it to the 3rd level pretty easily. Got to do a few driving games, which are always fun. One game I loved, but only saw once, was a stunt driving game. You did jumps, loops, etc., and the game had some feedback that helped you feel you were actually driving the car doing the stunts. I’d pay good money for an original game in good condition to have the chance to play that and get good at it, but that is apparently not my fate. It might have been Atari’s “Hard Drivin'”, now that I’ve taken a moment to search. I thought I remembered green vector graphics, rather than the CRT graphics of “Hard Drivin'”…but the description of showing a replay of your crash sounds familiar, and the gameplay sure seems familiar, too. Memory is a funny thing.
But that wasn’t one of the games they had. They did have, however, The Simpsons, and Crystal Castles (boring) and the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Several shooting games, but those weren’t as fun. I usually died in seconds, and only got anywhere by hitting “continue”. My kid and I had some bonding/fun on one of those for about 10 minutes.
They had a modern update to Rampage, which sucked. Different versions of Street Fighter, which was always best in the original Street Fighter 2 edition, before all the special moves just got stupidly complex and powerful. They had some Galaga types. They had Commando, and I died too quickly to want to try to get back any of that game’s muscle memory skills.
All in all, it was a fun trip down memory lane for me, and a chance for my kid to understand what gaming used to be like.
Doing a quick search, I’m seeing that several places combine retro games with bars. I didn’t look deeply enough to see if you still have to pay for the games. If you pay bar/pub prices for drinks, plus a quarter per game, it doesn’t seem worth it to me. There’s one in the DC area; I might try it.
But playing the game has convinced me that I will probably will purchase an Arcade1UP Rampage machine, as it includes Joust and Gauntlet. Rampage is okay. Gauntlet is actually kind of fun. I’ve played a pretty good Gauntlet emulation with my kid on the PS2, and the ability to just hit “continue”, with the loss of limitation of needing to drop a quarter in, makes the game much less fun. “Red Warrior Needs Food, Badly” is a sentence that sends chills down your spine if you have already given the machine your last quarter.
The system also has Defender, which is perhaps the most masochistic game Williams ever invented. But that is a game that might be enhanced by eliminating the necessity of quarters: it might actually now be feasible to practice to the point of actually getting good at it.
What classic arcade game was your favorite? Which do you miss? If you missed out on the era, which do you wish you’d gotten to try?
I was a little excited when I saw this article by NeoNeoCon. Finally! Someone would talk about the shenanigans that go on when arguing about Presidents, debating who is to blame and who gets credit for economic developments, etc. When I read the article, I was disappointed. She hit some good points, but her approach was vastly different from what I was thinking. So I guess I have to do it myself.
First of all, I hate the phrase “on his watch.” It’s lazy analysis. “Bush is to blame because it happened on his watch.” “Russian occurred on Obama’s watch.” No. I mean, yes, that’s a factual statement, but it implies a causation that is not necessarily there. Equally as bad is arguing that a President “inherited” some aspect, good or bad. Yes, there are some lagging indicators, and a President’s actions do carry on beyond their term. But most people use it to deny giving credit to someone they dislike, or avoid giving blame to someone they admire.
Furthermore, I dislike the trend of blaming or crediting a President for everything that happens. Sure, it’s easy to just blame/credit the President, and I think that’s why people like doing it: it’s easy. The reality is we are governed by a government split into three branches. The President only heads one branch, and the bureaucracy is so large and unwieldy, the reality is a President’s control is tenuous at best, and we should treat it as a fourth branch of government. Even with the formal branches, a President has extremely limited input to the Judicial Branch, and is given an often passive role when it comes to interacting with Congress.
On the other hand, a President has a few advantages:
the single government office that the entire nation elects. The President has a mandate that even a Senator from California doesn’t have. This is balanced somewhat by the House of Representatives, which provides more fidelity on the Will of the People via smaller districts and elections every two years. The balance of these two expressions of the Will of the People mean that a POTUS should have a huge mandate in their first two years, but following Congressional elections add nuance and chip away at the edges of a President’s mandate.
the Bully Pulpit. Being a singular head of a Branch means that a President doesn’t have to compromise with anyone to promote his views or his policies, can criticize the other branches, or even social developments, from a single person’s perspective. As the most visible, singular, and sole nationally-elected official, citizens care more about what a President says, promotes, discourages, etc., than any other single official…and the news media follows suit. There is an incredible potential to push an agenda without creating one word of policy vested in the Office of the President
However, that doesn’t mean a President is all-powerful. We credit a President too much for many things that happen in the United States. A President doesn’t control the economy, and certainly cannot prevent normal economic cycles. The President doesn’t set spending levels, or taxation levels. The President can *propose* his preferred policy, and can use his Bully Pulpit to put pressure on Congress to pass it, but he doesn’t control legislation.
So let’s take a look at how people poorly and/or deceptively evaluate Presidents.
George H. W. Bush was POTUS from 1988 to 1992. In the early 90s, the US economy contracted. This was blamed on Bush, which, in my opinion, was unfair. Sure, it happened on his watch. Moreover, it was likely triggered by Bush agreeing to sign a bill into law that raised taxes. So, yes, he did it. However, the recession itself was inevitable, sooner or later. If the tax hike hadn’t triggered it, something else would have. Moreover, raising taxes is a *Democrat* policy, and it was passed by a Congress controlled by Democrats. Even worse, the economy had recovered before the end of Bush’s term, but because there is a great deal of fuzziness and arbitrariness about when a recession begins or ends, the news media was able to falsely claim we were still in a recession, and that it was fully Bush’s fault, right up until that dishonesty helped Bill Clinton defeat Bush.
Continuing on, Clinton is not only erroneously credited with fixing the Bush Recession, he is also somewhat inaccurately credited with reducing the number of people on welfare and with an extremely hot economy (sometimes called the dotcom economy or the dotcom bubble). Yes, both those things happened on his watch. Yes, he even signed the welfare changes into law, and it was the result of his deliberate triangulation on the issue, to deal with the mandate the Congressional Republicans had earned by winning a majority.
But the obvious success and benefit to the US in these policies are used to credit Bill Clinton himself, and in his status as a Democrat President. The argument is, Bill Clinton presided over the economic recovery, got people off of welfare, and led the nation into the internet age. Since his term, every good economy and period of low unemployment is compared to Bill Clinton’s dotcom economy, and rightfully so: they were excellent numbers. The argument continues that Bill Clinton was/is a Democrat, so if you want a great economy, low unemployment, and people off of welfare, you must vote for Democrats.
There is nothing magical about Democrats or Republicans. What matters is the *policy*, regardless of who enacted it.
Welfare Reform is, at heart, a Conservative policy, not a Progressive one. Progressives throw money at problems, Conservatives set up consequences and demand individual effort to obtain benefits. Forcing people to actually and earnestly seek work to continue to receive welfare ended up with more people in the workforce because the policy prevented the “discouraged job seeker” phenomenon, and prevented recipients from living comfortably on the dole. The dotcom bubble was also a Conservative event: it took over our economy because there were no taxes for items purchased on the internet: a tax moratorium is now proven to stimulate economic growth and increase employment. But Conservatives want lower or eliminated taxes; Progressive policy is to raise taxes whenever/wherever you can get away with it. If Democrats had free reign, they would have imposed taxes on the internet from the beginning.
The lesson from this is, if you want to grow Space Commerce, do you announce that you will fund exploration and development with a fairly high corporate tax rate on all space activities? Or do you announce a moratorium regarding any/all taxes on revenue derived from space commerce? Obviously, the latter. And just as obviously, that is a conservative policy, and runs counter to Progressive policies.
So let’s look at President George W Bush. What does he get blamed for, and get credit for, in my view?
Well, 9/11 occurred before he had his security team fully in place. Moreover, the US Govt was hampered in its ability to detect the terrorist plot due to “walls” preventing information flow between different federal government agencies, and those “walls” were put into place by President Clinton, on the advice of his prominent advisor Jamie Gorelick. Maybe you can’t blame Clinton, but you clearly can’t blame W, either. Reports that “he was warned” are silly: the “warnings” were vague, and no action could have been taken without severe violations of the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution. Sometimes bad things happen because of chance. Other times, bad things happen because an enemy has a successful plan that exploits weaknesses. That’s what happened with 9/11.
Bush should be credited, however, for the improvement of the economy following 9/11. From 2003 to 2006, the US economy was pretty much the equivalent of Clinton’s dotcom economy. And it came about due to Bush pushing for tax cuts back in 2002. But if you want to credit Congress instead, I won’t argue with you. The important thing is that the Conservative policy of tax cuts stimulated the economy. As such, we shouldn’t elect a President because a Democrat or Republican President is better for the economy, we should vote for and elect a President who promises to cut taxes wherever possible, and finds ways to cut other stealth taxes (like federal govt regulation, and fees, etc.), because reducing the costs of doing business improves the economy.
But at the same time, Congress was spending like a drunken sailor. Porkbusters emerged to try to fight back against GOP Congress-led pork barrel earmarks. You can blame the GOP Congress for doing this, and you can blame W for signing the spending bills that included the pork barrel spending, but you can’t use that as an argument to vote for Democrats, because increased spending is, at worst, a *Progressive* policy…and at best, a bipartisan one. Democrats who campaign on Republicans running up the deficit never cut spending…they find new things to spend on, arguing that fed govt spending improves the economy, and then they raise taxes to close the deficit, which kills the economy and makes things worse. Republicans who campaign on Democrats running up the deficit will cut some spending, and make abortive attempts to cut other spending, but apparently will not cut spending, over the protests of the Freedom Caucus and Tea Partiers in the GOP, and with the RINOs gleefully joining with Democrat Congressional minorities who chortle about getting what they want with the GOP taking the blame.
This really needs to get fixed, but that’s an argument for another day. The point is that the spending doesn’t stay high because of the President, and sometimes it stays high due to GOP defections joining with Democrats to make a virtual Democrat majority. And there are plenty of times the GOP just plain embraces spending. But it is worth noting: the GOP has a vocal minority against the excessive spending, and that vocal minority has been growing over the last decade. There is no minority among Democrats, vocal or otherwise, that is willing to consider spending cuts at all. In an even more stark disparity, GOP voters get fed up with spending to the point that someone like Dave Brat can surprisingly defeat a leading GOP Representative based purely on spending issues. Not only does that never happen to Democrats, the opposite does: a prominent Democrat Representative gets defeated in the primary by someone who advocates the nearly-unlimited spending of Socialism: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
So when it comes to the deficit, ignoring parties and personalities, the lesson is clear: tax cuts grow the economy, excessive spending causes deficits, and while you might struggle to force the GOP to cut spending, Democrats will always push to raise both spending and taxes.
Continuing on, W gets blamed for the 2006-2017 recession. But I think if you look closer, you see a few things: First, Democrats took over Congress in 2006. They won by pushing an end to the failed war in Iraq. However, by the time they took office, W’s “Surge” had actually won that war, and Iraq was relatively peaceful. So Democrats began talking down the economy and increased spending and regulation. That primed things for a downturn. The trigger for the crash, however, was clearly caused by encouraging banks to lend money to riskier borrowers. W was to blame for not vetoing the Democrats bills that weakened the economy. But he actually pushed back against the devastating lending encouragement; in fact, Democrats called anyone racist who opposed that social justice policy. Thus, the crash was caused by Progressive policy. If you think I’m being too vague, it’s to keep this shorter. I could write 4-5 pages just on how Democrats caused the crash.
W is also to blame for signing TARP. But please be clear: it wasn’t Bush’s policy, and it *certainly* wasn’t a Fiscal Conservative’s policy. It was, from start to finish, a Progressive policy. It made things worse.
I agree that Obama can’t be blamed for the job losses that occurred “on his watch.” However, I think he also cannot blame W for the economy he inherited, because he voted for the policies that crashed the economy as a Senator in 2006.
Moreover, Democrats blame W for the deficit because the deficit started to climb under W. Again, you have to look at who controlled Congress and the nature of the contributing policies. The deficit reduced every year under W after 9/11. The economic hit of 9/11 make those deficits understandable. The deficit reduction continued even after Bush’s tax cuts (indeed, I think it was *because of*) and despite the spending in Iraq. The deficits didn’t start to grow again until Democrats took control of Congress and started passing policy that damages the economy. So W can be blamed for not vetoing, but that should make it clear: the blame lies with *Progressive* policy, not the party of who was POTUS at the time.
Even worse, Democrats wanted lots of new spending, because their ideology, against all available evidence, still erroneously believes govt spending helps the economy. So Congress refused to give Bush the 2009 budget to sign. This was because it was so stuffed with pork, even W might have vetoed it. Plus, they believed it was usher in an era of prosperity, and didn’t want W to get credit. So they delayed delivering the bill until Obama was POTUS. Once that huge spending increase was set as the baseline, Democrats dropped the regular budgeting order and just forced Continuing Resolutions so they would never again have to face voters with votes for their ruinous levels of spending. And after deliberately arranging for Obama to be the one to get credit, when it didn’t work out as they hoped, they churlishly give W the blame for the increased spending…I guess depending on ignorance of when the 2009 spending bill was actually passed, and who signed it.
Okay, that’s a bunch of paragraphs of narrative, but it is all to set up this explanation: I also think you have to credit/blame a POTUS for what they promise and predict.
For instance, Obama campaigned on the notion that he knew what was wrong with the economy, and would fix it immediately.
Okay, we can allow for campaign exaggeration. But after being elected President, he predicted recovery the first summer. When it didn’t happen, he blamed Bush for the economy he inherited.
No. If you claim to know what the problem is, predict you can fix it, and get the policy you want, you now get the blame. He spent his entire two terms blaming Bush for anything that didn’t work out like he wanted.
This is wrong.
Likewise, Obama and his sycophants predicted all sorts of disaster under Trump. Some said the stock market would *never* recover. Obama himself mocked Trump by asking Trump if he had a magic want to magically make the jobs come back. When Obama’s anemic economy never broke 3% growth, Obama and his sycophants said this was the new normal, and the US would never see growth above 3% again.
As such, no one should be allowed to claim Obama gets the credit for the economy under Trump. It is stupid.
If your predictions for the economy are completely wrong, then you lose all credibility to blame or credit at all.
Again: Trump enacted *Conservative* policy: he reduced all sorts of federal govt regulation, reducing the cost to doing business. He also clearly telegraphed that he wouldn’t add unexpected, onerous new regulation, so businesses could plan for growth without worrying about painting themselves into a corner. This was one thing Obama clearly did wrong: Obamacare was a whole bundle of uncertainty. Businesses had no idea how much costs would increase from year to year. And to keep the health system from catastrophic failure cause by Obamacare, Obama unilaterally (and probably in violation of the US Constitution) delayed implementation of many of its aspects. But all that really did was increase the uncertainty of the business climate. Then when Obama started pushing diversity/identity issues, it frightened companies about the possibility of arbitrary increased costs at any moment.
As a result, Obama didn’t just preside over the worst recovery in the history of the US, he arguably caused it.
The argument that W ruined the economy so badly that it caused the slow recovery is ridiculous. In the history of the US and economics in general, the worse the economic downturn, the quicker the recovery. Economic cycles are *always* long/slow/mild or quick/short/deep. Obama’s economy was not. The decline was rapid and deep, and then stunningly anemic in recovery. And it was due to uncertainty in the business climate from policy advocated and/or enacted by Obama.
The penultimate point I want to make is that Trump promised he would create an environment that would boost employment for blacks in specific and minorities in general. Okay, okay he claimed he would create jobs for blacks. But as you hopefully realize by now, Presidents don’t create jobs. They merely help create an environment conducive or adverse to economic growth. But with the reduction of taxes, reduction of fed govt regulation, and attempt to reduce spending, Trump has encouraged a business climate that has significantly increased manufacturing jobs, energy sector jobs, and pushed unemployment for blacks and Hispanics to record lows. Since this is what he predicted he’d do, he gets full credit for it.
The final point is a word about gas prices. Again, a POTUS doesn’t have direct control over gas prices. It’s a complex pricing system, with inputs coming from OPEC, US domestic production reacting to barrel prices, barrel prices reacting to expectations of future surplus or future shortage, summer driving demands on gas, refinery availability (impacted by flooding and hurricanes), and fuel mixes that change based on season and geography.
But, just like how a POTUS can impact the business climate to encourage or discourage expansion and hiring, a POTUS can impact whether the speculators think there will be surplus or shortage in the future. One of the ways is by signalling a willingness to tap the strategic oil reserve. Another way is by pushing to lower the federal gas tax. Another is by signalling willingness to approve additional drilling locations.
In every case, Obama signalled that he didn’t care about low prices, and wanted so badly to reduce CO2 emissions and boost “green” energy, that he was unwilling to do anything that made fossil fuels more available. This caused higher prices. In contrast, W signalled willingness to allow drilling and tap the strategic oil reserve. Prices remained high due to uncertainty worldwide about how terrorism and war in the middle east might impact oil availability.
Add to this, China’s economic growth has stimulated a sharp increase in their demand for petroleum, which increases global demand, which increases prices.
I’m not going to go so far as say we should blame Obama for high gas prices on his watch but give Bush a pass. There is more that Bush could have done. There were many things that were out of Obama’s control.
But I do think the differing attitude, policy, and revealed intent should indicate whether each should get credit, blame, or tolerance.
And this is how I evaluate Presidents, and how I think everyone should evaluate Presidents. Some tribalism will always be a part of the evaluation, based on your preferred policies. But rather than making arguments based on the party you like, you should analyze the policies that brought about the results you like, and then advocate for the candidate/POTUS you prefer based on your preferred outcomes. This should result in a lower level of tribalism.