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!

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

You Get What You Vote For

Amazingly, a majority of Americans have voted for more of the same approach we’ve had the last four years- crony capitalism, an undermining of laws that Liberals don’t like, a crippled economy, increased government dependence, higher energy prices, dismantled restrictions on immigration…just to name a few.

A few of the big impacts of this election for the next four years:

The Economy: A second recession and increasing taxes.

Why: 52% thought we were on the wrong track economically, yet they voted again for an academic with no business experience and a 4 year record of anti-business influence that has weighed the not-so-free market down. Now Obama can really squeeze the hated corporate world for all the money he thinks they ‘owe’. Why would any business take a risk to expand (and therefore create jobs) in this environment?

Energy: Skyrocketing energy prices.

Why: We’ll get no cheap, domestic energy via our close and stable neighbor to the North via the Keystone Pipeline because it’s hated Black/Brown energy, not Green. Expect skyrocketing energy costs while we pretend that it can viably come from politically correct ‘Green sources’ that we’ve dumped billions into and have nothing to show for it. America is an energy-intensive society that needs cheap energy to grow. People cannot fill their gas tank today with political promises of Green energy sometime in the future.

International Events: An increase in international conflict, unrest, and danger.

Why: America did not lead the world in going back to its founding principles of individual freedoms and liberties. We’ve signaled the world that we will continue to ‘smoke collectivism’ and experiment with its negative economic and social outcomes. Europe will continue to double down on their collectivism (hey- America’s doing it, too duuude!). We’ve also signaled the world’s dictators that we will stay with a weak/reluctant leader on the international stage and they can expect no danger of any military action from the US. Iran can go nuclear, China can invade Taiwan, the Taliban can thrive in the Middle East.

Government Healthcare: Massive increases in cost and disruptions as Obamacare goes into effect.

Why: The government will attempt to do what it can’t afford to: use a non-free market, collectivist model to try to pay for everyone’s healthcare. Expect to lose your current healthcare as your employer jettison’s you to cut this cost. Hope you don’t get really sick before the rationing begins or die before your wait time for treatment is up. The only consolation here: Baby Boomers who like this broken model will grow old and get expensively sick with a government board of bureaucrats deciding if they cost too much to treat vs. the individual having that choice. The downside: they’ll have some years to drain the rest of our economy with the unsustainable costs and then leave the rest of us with the bill.

The new environment for 2013: The House is the same, the Senate is the same and now, the President is the same, but this time he has no re-election checks on him.

Now we’ll have 4 more years of a conflicted struggle to stop an Obama-led lurch towards a collectivist country instead of one founded on dynamic individualism that would lead us back to prosperity for all.

Let the damage begin.

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

The Results of the Second Presidential Election Debate

I am starting to see a trend in the content and focus of the debates. It happened in the first presidential election debate, the VP debate, and now the recent, second election debate. Republicans are citing facts and business-like plans for the future, and Democrats are giving us emotional comments and defenses of the last four years of economic failure. I thought that Victor Davis Hansen articulated this same thought very well in his post-debate commentary today:

Obama did not forfeit the debate as last time, and took his cue from Joe Biden in interrupting and muttering while Romney spoke, so his energy made it an entertaining night. Nevertheless, the same theme as in Denver emerged — Romney more often providing specific proposals and detailed critiques, and Obama preferring more often emoting and running more on hypotheticals, as if he were not an incumbent with a depressing record that he is obligated to defend.

I saw both Romney and Ryan do this. If we look ahead to the next four years of critical leadership for our country, do you want emotional talking points or an adult plan to focus our country back on the founding principles of enabling individuals- not taking away from them and berating their success. This is how jobs and prosperity for all are created.

 Vote for Romney/Ryan in 2012.

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

Romney Unveiled

So after weeks/months of being defined negatively by hundreds of millions of Obama campaign dollars and negatively filtered by the mainstream media, Romney turns out to be…human! In the real world of face-to-face debate of ideas and accomplishments, it’s no shock that Mitt Romney did well and President Obama did not do so well.

Mitt Romney is a family man, business man, and Governor that brings his record, experience, and compassion to his campaign for the Presidency and the privilege of leading our country. President Obama had little national political experience and no executive experience when he campaigned for President. He has had four years to lead our country forward with that lack of experience and does not have much to show for it. I blogged back in 2008 that he was not qualified to assume the Presidency and that this poor performance would be the inevitable outcome of an on-the-job (OJT) trained individual.

Some high points of the substance of last nights debate (vs. style):

  1. When asked how he would break political grid-lock and work across party lines, Romney had a record of doing so with a MA state legislature that was 87% Democrat. The President said he would listen to ideas from both parties. Then went on to say how you need to say ‘No’ to the other party no less than three times!
  2. On the topic of Energy, Romney effectively called out Obama’s Soviet-style central planning approach to picking economic losers (to the tune of 90 billion in taxpayer dollars) in the green ‘energy’ area. Romney followed that with how that money is fifty times the subsidy of entire gas and oil industry (successful producers of usable energy!) and how many teachers the President could have hired if that money had not been lost.
  3. Through out the debate Romney gave specifics on how he would do things differently than Obama. After one such set of points, Obama clumsily pulls out what must have been a poll-tested talking point to say that Romney didn’t have any specifics! That was a puzzling gaffe by a politician that has been hailed as a ‘great’ orator of our times. The President appears to struggle when he doesn’t have a teleprompter and control of the conversation.

Some great points from some of the after-debate reviews:

  1. “On the whole, Mitt Romney looked like a guy who wants to be elected president tonight, and Barack Obama looked like a guy who wants to be left alone.”
  2. “[Romney] effectively portrayed himself as a private-sector problem solver. He cast President Obama as a failed statist technocrat without appearing angry.”
  3. “For so long Barack Obama has assumed that he will not face cross-examination from the media that he simply has little grasp of policy details, and in exasperation seems to look around for the accustomed helpful media crutch. But there is no such subsidy in a one-on-one debate, and only now it becomes clear just how [much] the media, for the last six years, have enfeebled their favorite [politician].”

With an unfiltered view of the dynamic, intelligent, and experienced individual that Mitt Romney is, I hope you will vote for his leadership to put our country on the right track for the next four years.

Filed under: Culture, Politics, , , , , , ,

Romney Guilty of Speaking the Truth!

This is a great contrast of two leaders.

When Barack Obama was caught speaking how he really felt, it was to mock mainstream Americans (‘bitter clingers’) on their religion, the audacity to own a gun, or if you were ‘disadvantaged’ by being from a small town and not buying into the broken ideology of urban Liberals.

When Mitt Romney was caught speaking how he really felt, it was lamenting that 47% of our country does not pay taxes, see themselves as victims, and look for Big Government solutions that create dependency to fix their lives.

The first shows that Obama doesn’t get American founding values like individualism and Romney does when they really express how they think, and therefore, will act.

Turn our country around by voting for Mitt Romney and American values this November!

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

Will you Vote for a Free Country or one of Dependency?

Thomas Sowell writes a terrific piece in the American Spectator on the broken ideology of dependency of Obama, the Democrat party, and the Left here in the US. It’s a terrible situation when one political party takes an emotional approach to addressing virtually every issue instead of an outcome-oriented one.
To wit:
• Liberals talk more about giving (via the Government) and Conservatives actually give more of their private money. Also, the US gives more in private charity globally than the rest of the world (and all the ‘compassionate’ leftist governments) combined.
• Conservatives want to get people jobs, Liberals can only focus (and understand) on how to expand and lock people into the dependency of Government welfare programs. The ultimate welfare is getting someone a job, not some need to feel good about yourself for taking over their life.
• Republicans are pushing a free market economic model where individuals are in charge (the model that has given us our past historical prosperity). The Democrats vilify business and the individuals that build them, and wonder why our private industry is sitting on the sidelines and the economy continues to falter in the longest ‘recovery’ since the Great Depression (screwed up in the same way by FDR).
• Republicans want to create and promote domestic energy production of actual working and known resources of oil, gas, and job-creating projects like the Keystone pipeline. Democrats can only talk from a headlock by the environmental-zealot lobby that pushes Wind and Solar energy sources that cost more than they produce. The poor suffer the most from paying higher costs they can’t avoid on gas, heating, and electricity. You want world peace or at least a significantly smaller chance of US intervention in some primitive and regressive Middle East country? Produce our needed energy here!
And the list can go on interminably. The terrifying reality is that the Democrats don’t have one area that doesn’t drive toward a negative outcome and/or increased dependency on the Government. This is the exact opposite of the founding principles of our country.
In November, vote for Mitt Romney for a return to individual freedom and prosperity and vote against Barack Obama’s collectivism and drive to make us a failing nation of dependents.

Filed under: American Values, Business, Culture, Politics, , , , , , ,

Obama’s Big Government Administration Learns Painful Lessons about the Real World

After many disingenuous statements from the Administration on how Wall Street ‘caused’ the housing market collapse, the real world has once again stepped in to squash their flawed collectivist world view with reality. 

The free market works when it is free and populated with private businesses working with, and responding to, rational market incentives.

Whenever the Government interferes (whatever its ‘good’ intentions) in the private marketplace, it always causes more damage than good as an outcome. Why? Because the Government does not work on the same principals as private business. Private businesses have to adapt to economic conditions or risk going out of business. The Government only makes and responds to political conditions. Given that, how does any think it would EVER it would or should act outside its sphere in the economic realm? The Government never has to worry about ‘going out of business’, so it does NOT act rationally in a free market environment. It’s that simple. 

As I’ve said in the past, politicians of primarily Democrat party orientation have pushed the flawed concept that you had a right to a house. This was especially true if you were of a preferred ethnic minority background or were of a lower economic strata. Through Government interference of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Democrats have tried to buy votes through ‘buying’ people houses they couldn’t afford. This financially irrational behavior was done through political pressue on banks to make bad loans to politically favored groups (CRA) or using fake, Government ‘business’ entities (Fannie and Freddie) to buy bad loans with our tax dollars.

What they didn’t realize is that this would, over the course of 10-15 years, create a multi-trillion dollar housing bubble that would severely injure the US economy and ripple through out the world economy as well. 

Wall Street did NOT create this financial melt down. The Government and Democrats did by politically interfereing in the US economic market. Now, like with all their collectivist or utopian worldviews, we all have to pay when reality comes crashing down.

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

Obama- A Man Permanently Out of Step with America



I’ve seen a bizarre pattern where our (younger) President embraces and proposes the failed theories and mis-learnings of past eras that were before his time. He espouses failed collectivist theories of the 20’s and 30’s as well as a desire to be a modern-day John F. Kennedy (who was also young and lacking experience). Obama wasn’t around in the 1920’s or 1930’s and was only between 4 and 7 years old when Kennedy was president.

 

When the President sought to rally our nation with a “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” in his 2011 State of the Union address, I had to wonder: ‘who was he talking to?’ It certainly wasn’t ‘our generation.’ Who today feels an emotional impact from that statement- if they even get the reference? Did a 70 year old write the state of the union address?

 

I’m 44 and the ‘Sputnik Moment’ occurred 10 years before I was even born. This would be the same for someone who was 54 (born that year) and likely lost on anyone who was 10 years old or younger. That would put you at retirement age! And honestly, adults in their 20’s and older would be the ones that really reacted to, and did something about that with our own space program and moon landing in 1969.

 

If you were 20 in 1957, you’d be 74 this year. If you are younger than that, the Sputnik Moment is only an intellectual footnote in history to you. For most, it was likely a moment of blank faces and puzzlement.

 

Our country will be saved, revitalized, and restored by the present working class of our country: 18 to 64 years of age. Like with all the major themes of his collectivist and utopian presidency, Obama is just fundamentally out of touch with the reality of our American experience that is happening today.

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

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, , , , , , , , , , ,

An Insight into the Mind of a Disconnected US President

The below three articles are great insights into the obtuse and sometimes unexplainable worldview of President Obama. It provides answers to questions like:

• What were his formative years like and where did he live them?
• What was his family life like?
• Why does the President hate and work so hard against business and private industry?
• Why does he seem to not share the values of average Americans?
• Why is the President a rigid believer in disproven, collectivist theories?
• What drives the bizarre, anti-American foreign policies of his administration?
• Why does the President seem unaffected by the recent ‘shellacking’ of his party in the 2010 Midterm Elections?

Neocolonial Dreams from Obama’s Mother
George Neumayr (American Spectator Article)

How Obama Thinks” **A must read!**
Dinesh D’Souza (Article in Forbes Magazine)

He Won’t Be Moving to the Center
Janice Krause (American Spectator Article)

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

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