The Practical Philosopher's Blog

Using the practical application of timeless wisdom to address modern issues

The Sad Ignorance of Collectivists

France is an excellent case study on wages and ignorance of ideological collectivism vs. the reality of human nature. Just ahead of the US in spending itself into oblivion, France’s collectivist President proposed a super-tax on the ‘wealthy’. Wanting more revenue to buy votes/create dependency/socially engineer their society, French President Hollande and his ideological colleagues assumed that the most productive citizens of France would take this in stride and welcome the chance to work the same amount but keep less of the fruits of their labors.

Imagine their horror and sense of abandonment when they saw the following reaction from their productive and successful citizens/leaders:

Even after weeks of speculation, the announcement a fortnight ago that [Famous French actor Gerard] Depardieu, 63, was moving to Belgium to take refuge from Socialist president François Hollande’s planned “temporary super tax” on earnings of more than €1m (£815,000) came as a shock to fans.

And after Depardieu pointed out that he was not the only French celebrity to want to minimise his tax bill by moving abroad, the newspaper Le Parisien produced an interactive map showing he was right. It revealed Switzerland as the country of choice for fiscal refugees, including national treasures such as actor Alain Delon, singer Johnny Hallyday and a colony of tennis players and sports stars.  (Source: The Guardian)

What’s mind-boggling is that fully grown and educated adults are baffled by this reaction. Those that have been weaned on collectivism in the form of socialism for decades simply appear to not understand human nature and the natural inclination toward rational self-interest. This is the only way you could explain this gem of a statement from a colleague of Depardieu’s:

However, the debate has moved beyond what some would call an act of betrayal by the star of French films such as Cyrano de Bergerac and Danton. Film director Claude Lelouch said Depardieu was lucky to pay high taxes because it showed he was a success. “It means things are going well,” he told BFMTV.  (Source: The Guardian)

It’s an honor to be punitively taxed in France. Get it? What’s not to love about only keeping one-quarter of what one makes and give the rest to the ‘needy’? Clearly Depardieu is a monster and is probably in secret communication with Conservatives in the US.

There is hope for the French, though. Their people seem not to be permanently and/or completely brainwashed by decades of collectivism and some clearly see what is happening:

“A small majority, 54%, think the government’s fiscal policies are too tough and are encouraging people to leave the country, and 40% sympathise with Depardieu. At the same time, 35% told us they were shocked by his leaving, so it’s not clear cut,” … (Source: The Guardian)

 If their government can shrink that group down into a minority, then France can have the honor and pleasure of being Europe’s next Greece. C’est la vie!


Filed under: Culture, Economy, International, , , , , , , ,

Will Obama Get it? Pre-SOTU Comments

Will Obama get that the country’s private sector, free market economy is held back by his collectivist attitude and policies or will our rookie President continue to run the most anti-business, anti-American values administration in recent history?

My guess is he won’t get it. Unless his rigid adherence to discredited collectivist ideas changes, he will still push to spend more (grow the government) and use the government to ‘create’ (or save) jobs like he has been unsuccessfully doing now for 2 years.

Pundits suggest (I think accurately) that he will talk a good game of going to the center, but will not do anything of substance to back it up- just like the campaign rhetoric that got him elected. They say he will use focus-group tested political marketing for the mentally dim like ‘investment’ instead of spending and tie these distorting terms to feel-good topics like education or jobs. So, if we hear tonight that we need to ‘invest’ in our schools and jobs for our economy to grow, we’ve just gotten more rhetorical blather to cover up that he will try the same failed approaches again and hope for a different outcome.

Reality and human nature are such harsh courts of appeal when it comes to collectivist and utopian theories. I wonder how many repetitions it takes before the outcome not matching the theory shows that certain theories don’t work? You don’t need to be smart to get this- you need to be wise.

The big question is: Will our book-smart and world-dumb President finally grow in wisdom? Will he finally start to support American founding values like smaller central government, individual liberties and freedoms, and get government out of the way so our private, free market will function again?

While he threatens us with whole-scale ‘transformation’ to the fascism of collectivism and the degradation of individual effort and reward, we will go nowhere economically and socially.

Filed under: American Values, Business, Economy, Philosophy, Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,

The Sudden Decline of Global Warming Alarmism

In following a link in an environmental article to its source, I found myself perusing the Environmental section of the British newspaper, The Guardian. What are they the guardian of? As anyone who is honest will tell you, the flawed theories of the Left, Socialism, and Collectivism fit to print. Think of it as the New York Times of the UK.

But what were the truthful clarion-calls of climate alarm and righteous environmental declarations being made there? If all the recent turmoil of false climate science are the work of (predictably) the stooges of Big Oil and other Earth-rapers, they should still be trumpeting the Green Truth, right?

Here’s what I found listed:

Phil Jones admits loss of weather data was ‘not acceptable’

Another nail in the coffin that was Jones’ activist career and the failed theory of Global Warming. He admits that more key source/raw data underlying key ‘studies’ that helped create today’s climate hype and alarmism are missing! The dog ate my raw data, teacher! Really!

BA yet to gain official approval for biojet fuel from food scraps

Synopsis: “East London factory could create up to 1,200 jobs and produce 16m gallons of green fuel a year.”

If only I could put a money-bet on this, I could become rich! I would put almost any amount of money on the bet that:
1. The factory will likely never come into existence or close shortly after it’s government subsidies run out.
2. There will be a long series of excuses and restatements as it creates 100 jobs in the UK, sets up 1000 jobs in China, and produces less than 1m gallons of questionable-quality fuel 3-5 years behind schedule.
3. The above will occur with massive government subsidies that will, in the end, create the fuel at something like 10x or more the cost of regular jet fuel.
4. The ‘green math’ (think fuzzy math, but REALLY out of focus) used will show to those that avoid reality that the project was a smashing success! The rest of us will grit our teeth and roll our eyes.

Cold weather kills off Florida wildlife

For all you ‘Deniers’, this was caused by Global Warming. Duh. It’s obvious that when earth-hating man warms the environment…it….ahh…gets colder…I guess. Next subject! Quick!

EU biofuels significantly harming food production in developing countries

More of the unintended consequences of man’s meddling with the eco-system. It hasn’t killed as many Africans as the unsubstantiated eco-attack on DDT has (an estimated 100+million since 1972– beating out all mass murderers and dictators of our times), but give it time! Nothing’s better than people suffering, starving, or dying needlessly for the greater glory of the environment!

Then in the ‘Green Living’ section of things to do or worry about if you have WAY too much time on your hands:

How to make your own (recycled/scrap paper) notebook

Is tofu bad for the environment?

Now these are the things that keep REAL eco-heroes awake at night and preparing for their next bit of green-terrorism or protesting. And you thought that Himalayan Glacier thing was life altering…

Amazingly, even the most entrenched bunkers of Global Warming alarmism are begrudgingly publishing articles that approach eco-blasphemy. I kid you not, these were in the 16Feb2010 edition of The Guardian! Like with Phil Jones, I suggest we put a humane suicide watch on all our high strung, but fragile friends in the Green Cult of Gaia.

Filed under: Environment, Global Warming, Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,

The Coming Economic Wages of Obama’s Collectivism

Obama’s rigid adherence to collectivist policies will have devastating effects on our economy. There are no jobs right now because of his assault on the free market concept in the form of threatened, super-expensive health care mandates, energy taxes (cap and trade), and further tax hikes on businesses by letting the Bush tax cuts expire. He is one of the most anti-business Presidents in the history of our country. Business owners will continue to sit on expansions and hiring until they have some idea what damage Obama and the Democrats are going to do to the marketplace they have to compete in. You cannot hate and attack the employer, but ‘love’ the employee. Newsflash to Obama and the Democrats: employers CREATE the jobs! Not you, the Government. Not from some magic place that just makes jobs ‘appear’.

Here’s a predictive outlook for an economic nosedive in 2011:  The Coming Crash of 2011

After reading and analyzing this article, I would put money on this outcome occurring unless the 2010 elections clean Democrats out of the House and Senate and Republicans (hopefully) put up an effect blocker to Obama\Reid\Pelosi collectivism.

Even then, it still might be too late to avoid much of the effects of multiple tax raises, nationalization/collectivization of our economy, and more deficit creation from our Roman emperor who just wants to spread bread and circuses to placate the masses (like when he was a community ‘organizer’).

Filed under: American Values, Economy, Philosophy, Politics, , , , , , , , , ,

Another Massive Failure of Climate Alarmist ‘Science’

This is how ‘settled’ the ‘science’ is when the IPCC is involved: “Glacier’s are melting! Alarm! Especially the big ones in the Himalayas! We heard it from a guy who telephoned another guy who made up a speculative response on the fly.”

Now THAT my friends, is good, settled science from the IPCC, a political entity pretending to be a scientific one.

When this shoddy and flimsy claim was actually scrutinized, the comment was admitted to be without any formal research and was based on only part of the Himalayan glaciers, not the whole massif.

Yet, amazingly, this became the primary source (you know, in the authoritative IPCC report on Climate Change) of the outrageous claim that not only would all the Himalayan glaciers be possibly gone by 2035, but it was of a 90%+ surety:

When finally published, the IPCC report did give its source as the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) study but went further, suggesting the likelihood of the glaciers melting was “very high”. The IPCC defines this as having a probability of greater than 90%.

The report read: “Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate.”  (article source).

It’s also an interesting coincidence that this is exactly the same ‘surety’ that underlies the overall (and political) claim by the IPCC that man is the primary cause of global warming, even though it ceased 10+ years ago. How long, and with how many failures like this will we have to endure before this biased, political entity is denounced as a fraud?!

My god, this is the basis for radical, economy-devastating legislation being foisted on us like Cap and Trade, the recent bogus EPA ‘endangerment’ finding on CO2, and the reason billions have been wasted on ‘green’ boon-doggles like Cash for Clunkers? What kind of people have we put our country in the hands of?

Virtually everyone pushing anything ‘environmental’ in our Government should be fired. Then a complete top-to-bottom legal review should be done to sue for a return of our wasted tax dollars. What an Orwellian joke Obama and his administration are in their claim that they will make a false ‘green economy’ (that will create jobs!) and ‘restore science to its rightful place.’ What a mockery of reality and rationality!! Everything they do or say is the exact opposite of its actual outcome or reality.

The poetic justice of reality slamming and disproving these Collectivist/Leftist fancies is only exceeded by finding the quote noted above in the New Scientist, the publication that carried the bogus claim of glacier melting alarmism in the first place (dated 20Jan2009):

So, the 44th president of the United States has spoken. And what he said will please many supporters of science. Likewise, without explicitly mentioning the environment, president Barack Obama made it clear in his inaugural address today that the US needs to tackle global warming and switch to renewable sources of energy.

But the nod to open science will be most welcome, given the political and ideological interference of his predecessor, who obstructed stem cell research and only grudgingly accepted that humans are driving climate change.

“We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost,” said Obama. (article source).

I am finding it hard to heap enough disdain on this naïve rookie of a politician. He would have never been elected President if the electorate was required to cite any credible past national political leadership experience or exercise any critical thinking in examining his qualifications to hold this office. This blog noted that lack of credentials and his record of far Leftism in its very first post. I have to say I am not really happy to prophetically right on this topic given the price our country is having to pay.

Filed under: Environment, Global Warming, Philosophy, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obamanomics for Michigan

The States have been called ‘laboratories’of Democracy as different political/governmental ideas and theories are tried out and the objective outcomes observed by all of America.  President Obama recently praised Governor Granholm of Michigan as one of our ‘best’ governors in the country. Excellent statement! Let’s analyze it.

Granholm is a Canadian-born leftist that has been pushing more Liberal/Democrat ideas of Socialism and environmentalism than almost any other governor than, say, California. So clearly, Obama is praising her as someone who is most closely aligned and implementing the type of collectivist and environmental ideas he thinks will ‘work’ for our country.

Has this worked? Well, outside of the labor union-destroyed auto industry and an unemployment rate of 15%+, the verdict on this new initiative is still out. But what Granholm has done is a classic collectivist blunder that will devastate the economy further by 2020 or sooner. She has mandated that 45% of Michigan’s power come from expensive and unreliable renewable resources by 2020 to replace cheap and reliable energy sources like coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Then, with her blessing, the Democrat party chair has put a proposal on the 2010 ballot to require utilities to lower their prices by 20%!!

Incredible! Since the laws of economics and human nature run contrary to Leftist political fantasy, they will mandate/dictate it to happen. Apparently, the only thing stopping the Green Revolution from happening was someone with the courage to SAY it needs to happen. Now, there will be no issue with the fact that highly expensive and unreliable ‘green’ sources of energy cost the utility 2x, 3x, 10x or more to produce the same amount of energy. Then, they will be FORCED to charge 20% less than today’s cheaper ‘earth raping’ energy rates. And somehow, the utilities won’t go bankrupt, cause rolling black outs via rationing , and the business economy will leap ahead with energy that costs 2x to 10x more than before!

Poor Michigan. How much of their economy has to be destroyed before they throw out these collectivist/socialist loons and their objectively unworkable ideas? Being smaller, States get to the objective negative outcomes of flawed ideas sooner and act as an example for the rest of us. First it was California collapsing under Democrat collectivism. Now we see the same outcome shaping up in Michigan.

Stayed tuned America, this is more morbidly fascinating than reality TV and much more instructive!

Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Ultimate Wages of Today’s Collectivism

I saw a great statement/articulation of where the Obama administration and Democrat’s collectivism is taking us: 

Despite its human cost, the lure of dependence would appear to remain very strong. We have installed a popular administration that promises a new level of dependence for Americans. The new administration’s stimulus bill seeks to undo the positive incentives of the 1996 Welfare Reform law which rewarded states for reducing dependency, and go back to rewarding states for increasing their welfare rolls. This alone is a major setback to which can be added all the other avenues through which this administration and this congress intend to “help” the rest of us toward a state of reliance that they know will weaken us and empower them. Such thinking must — and surely does — imply an assumption of superiority (them) and inferiority (us) that requires one to ignore the fact of America. That is the fact of an extraordinary nation built by ordinary self-reliant individuals.

American Spectator: Dependency‘ article

I believe this will be a great learning experience (although negative) and contrast for Americans on the value of our founding on individual liberties vs. collectivism and the eventual tyranny that inevitably follows. It’s unfortunate we will have to learn this by experiencing years of diminished quality of life .

Instead of this primitive way of re-learning what works, the American founding values of strong individual liberties, small  central government, economic free markets, and the rule of of law need to be taught to a generation of adult citizens and once again be taught to students in school that hope to be productive, functional citizens in the future.

Filed under: American Values, Politics, , , , , , ,

Obama Declares War on Economic Growth

Larry Kudlow dispenses some gems of economic wisdom in analysing Obama’s ‘State of the Economy’ address that the President recently gave. First, he recognizes the what a whole-scale blast of Socialism will do to our free market economy:

Let me be very clear on the economics of President Obama’s State of the Union speech and his budget. He is declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds.

Those of us that have are students of history and current events have seen the effects of total collectivism on the Soviet Union and the strangled growth of not-so-economic-powerhouse of the EU. Kudlow recognizes this same objective outcome:

Study after study over the past several decades has shown how countries that spend more produce less, while nations that tax less produce more. Obama is doing it wrong on both counts.

Now we hear that, despite the damage to our economic recovery that the Democrat spending bill will do, Obama is intent on further shackling us with the universal growth killer of a cap-and-trade scheme. This will hurt everyone, especially those that those that work in ‘eco-incorrect’ industries (pretty much all of them):

And as far as middle-class tax cuts are concerned, Obama’s cap-and-trade program will be a huge across-the-board tax increase on blue-collar workers, including unionized workers. Industrial production is plunging, but new carbon taxes will prevent production from ever recovering. While the country wants more fuel and power, cap-and-trade will deliver less.

As I’ve noted in past posts, this is a massive lurch toward socialism/collectivism and an attempt make a dynamic US free market economy into a low/no growth model similar to the EU. Kudlow sees the same:

Essentially, the Obama economic policies represent a major Democratic party relapse into Great Society social spending and taxing. It is a return to the LBJ/Nixon era, and a move away from the Reagan/Clinton period.

Read the Kudlow article in its entirety:

Filed under: Economy, Politics, , , , , , , , ,

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