T Nation

The Great Experiment


#1

Is over, and it failed. We had a good run, overcame a lot of significant imperfections, but it wasn't enough, and it doesn't seem we'll ever be enough.

The following is not meant as a dig to anyone mentioned, I promise, but hear me out.

In the past 2 weeks the following has happened:

1) Called a traitor for suggesting 43 wasn't a good POTUS (facebook)

2) Called a racist for suggesting Obama wasn't a good POTUS (facebook)

3) Read intelligent people whom I respect imply or downright state it is time to discuss government regulation of results to the tune of "fixing" income inequality. (This forum is not the only place it has occurred.)

4) Argued with an astonishing amount (to me) of intelligent people whom I have nothing but respect for that natural rights don't exist, and rights are granted by government.

These are educated and intelligent people who are well above the average. So once I extrapolate it to the average and uneducated... It's over. We're done. It's only a matter of time, assuming we can pump the breaks at all.

But that brings me to the point. Why pump the brakes? Let's just grab a flame thrower and burn the whole fucking thing down. Sanders/Warren '16, and let the House just open up the flood gates, tax all the things, regulate all the things, social engineer all the things. We can just let all the climate alarmists have their way, tax, cap trade, regulate, whatever they want, we'll do it, crash all the economies. Religious? Go fuck yourself, put it in your jesus pipe and smoke it. So no and so forth. (Obviously going to have to hold on to the 2nd here, but they'll be too busy celebrating to come for them jus yet, the government has planes and bombs and technology afterall.)

The Frankfurts and their Critical Theory will be toasting their champagne, the Useful Idiots will get their wish. And they'll own the entire bag.

The sooner it burns, the sooner our kids can start putting the pieces back together.

Why fight it anymore?


#2

Welcome.


#3

I told you the war was over. You don’t have to burn anything down it happens on its own. And if you stop political posting on facebook you’ll feel better. I have one only to look at pictures of my nieces. A cesspool of ignorance and people posting articles they haven’t read with catchy headlines.


#4

You got it beans. We had a damn good run, and I hope that one day the best and brightest of those who remain will be able to recognize our mistakes and begin again, a new and improved version.

Ditto that H Factor.

Both of you read Oswald Spengler. Looking at this, it’s eery how close he seems to hit the mark. I’m not a dyed-in-the-wool Spenglerian, but man it’s a hard read to swallow when you start looking around at all the things he’s calling.


#5

Of course, if we’re being honest, the whole thing ended about 150 years ago.
Lord Acton remarked: “I saw in States’ rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy… Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization, and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.”


#6

Beans, you are often my political and philosophical twin but with better math skills. Not to mention, I think we have the same bench press. :wink:

These are some discouraging times. Don’t let the bastards get ya down.

I do want to know why you never responded to my Tfriend request from months ago. I wanted you to be able to see the pic of my family in my hub. I know you’re dying to see the kids I talk about all the time. Some stuff seems to be broken here.


#7

[quote]NickViar wrote:
Welcome. [/quote]

Okay, I laughed pretty damn hard man…

I know this whole thing sounds depressing but good lord. Even the editorial pages at the Journal is basically saying we’re screwed.

We openly admit we’re printing money at outrageous rates, and not seeing inflation outside of equity’s.

My understanding is the current oil situation is never before seen in history and if you aren’t shorting it, you should start.

Labor participation rates are the worst they’ve been since 1978, and the unemployment rate, even after jobs numbers are adjusted down is basically a massive lie, newspeak.

People are actually celebrating the ACA estimates only show 1T in the red rather than 1.4T. Celebrating! Like wtf is wrong with you? Can’t you do math?

Millions of people are still upside down on their mortgages.

There is more cash and profits overseas than I care to stomach because god forbid the government gets less than 35%. 10% of something is more than 35% of nothing.

Something like 5000 democrats (I’m assuming it is a misprint or not politicians) are signing a “letter” to Hillary that she needs to push further left. Debt “free” school, and a whole host of other economic cluster fucks.

I have zero faith that the republicans can actually put forth an electable candidate, and in the unlikely event they do, be able to actually not just spend, spend, spend on dumb shit.

There are a plethora of college educated kids waging a social justice war against their oppression right now, not actually understanding that oppressed people don’t have access to college, but whatever. They are literally making up shit to be outraged over, and it is actually the HIP thing to do to get outraged over it. Like wtf?

People’s entire lives are getting destroyed if they don’t say the perfect words the gay community and their legion want to hear. Words, not actions, but words. Which is so fucking hypocritical, because when the shoe was on the other foot, they didn’t like having their lives destroyed for loving someone of the same sex, but now have no problem destroying others for being different.

We’re completely fucked. Now add in the (yes I was totally taken by surprise by this) the people that don’t actually believe in natural rights… I’ve been pushed over the edge. Call me crazy, tin foil hat, whatever… I don’t think we have a chance.


#8

[quote]Powerpuff wrote:
Beans, you are often my political and philosophical twin but with better math skills. Not to mention, I think we have the same bench press. :wink:

These are some discouraging times. Don’t let the bastards get ya down.[/quote]

I mean, I’m not going to go full on prepper or anything, lol. But I’m pretty much hopeless at this point.

Never noticed it, sorry. Will look now.


#9

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Powerpuff wrote:
Beans, you are often my political and philosophical twin but with better math skills. Not to mention, I think we have the same bench press. :wink:

These are some discouraging times. Don’t let the bastards get ya down.[/quote]

I mean, I’m not going to go full on prepper or anything, lol. But I’m pretty much hopeless at this point.

Never noticed it, sorry. Will look now. [/quote]

I see ya. Thanks.

And I realized when I said, “Some stuff seems to be broken here.” - It’s not just the TN message system. :wink:

I very, very rarely make any kind of political comment on FB - or here. I don’t like FB in general so I don’t go there a lot. With politics, most people in my neighborhood are already fairly polarized. But, there are ways to ask questions that make people think. That’s probably the best way to go about trying to do something. Sometimes conservative voices don’t speak out because of the reasons you mentioned. I often find myself in that category.

The Wall Street Journal publishes some really excellent Op Ed pieces. If you aren’t a subscriber, you’d love it. There are some smart, reasonable conservatives out there writing well thought out political pieces.

The only time I watch TV news is when I’m at the gym. I feel like my brain dies a little bit every time I watch that crap. Mark Twain said, “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” I’d like to hear what he would say about the TV soundbites that pass for “news” these days…It’s all about the Kardashians, or some 30 second piece on an actual news story that doesn’t give anybody enough information to really understand anything.

Edit: Thanks about my family, Beans!


#10

The VAST majority of my facebook is populated by good old boy small town redneck types which is where I’m from and where I’ve been around more of my life. Some fantastic people, but stupid as shit when it comes to political arguments. If I take a look at the politics on my actual feed 95% of it is “can you believe Obama is doing THIS” stuff that is literally debunked with one google search. No one on either side even attempts to determine if something is true. They just say it because the headline says it.

The few friends I have from the left side of the aisle I went to college with will do the exact same thing with the other side. I don’t even touch facebook politics because I would lose my mind.


#11

This may make you better beans:

Gigantic drops in murder: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2015/01/02/in-major-cities-murder-rates-drop-precipitously/

Illegal drug use by most metrics is lowered as well. Could be being made up by prescription drug abuse but this is supposed to be good news bastards so quit searching for the negative!

Fewer people dying in wars:

Abortion at lowest point since 1973:

Child sexual abuse down?

Gas is cheap! And you can make money by shorting oil you said!

Anecdotally it is much easier to get ammunition in my neck of the woods than it was when everything was sold out.

Kansas we can still look at naked women and drink it up…

FUCKING REPUBLICAN ASSHOLES! You were right, we’re fucked.


#12

The problem is not with the people but with the message that we are all being subjected to.

Here’s what it boils down to. We Americans are constantly bombarded with the message that it’s better to have more shit. We’re taught that it’s good to get good grades and go to a good college and get a worthwhile degree. Why? So we can get a good job and afford to buy a lot of shit for ourselves and our family. And we call it “providing for our family and children”. The end result is the general sense that the more we have, the better we are or the better we must be doing at “life”.

The point is that there isn’t enough for everyone. Not everyone can afford the finer things in life, but we are ALL told that they are available for us. Conservatives and liberals are equally guilty in this respect.

We’re all told that we can all have these things, but no one wants to acknowledge the 10,000 lb gorilla in the room: we CAN’T all have that stuff. We wouldn’t want everyone to have all that stuff. It’s simple, really. The day that everyone can afford a Bentley is the day that the Bentley loses whatever appeal it may have. It’s the things that not everyone can have that everyone wants, for the most part. Diamonds aren’t valuable because they look nice; they’re valuable because they are rare and hard to get.

The result is that we have a society that basically looks to the gov’t to do the impossible: create a situation in which we all have what we want and what we need. It’s the difference between equal opportunity and equal results. Quite frankly, Thomas Jefferson NEVER should have written “pursuit of happiness”. We all have that right, but in no way, shape, or form are we even remotely equal in our ability to achieve such happiness.

And since we derive happiness from material possessions, and we are essentially taught from birth that this is a good thing, we are eternally fucked. That fucking cunt, Ayn Rand, is more responsible for this than anything in the last 50 years, in my decidedly non-humble opinion. The idea that capitalism is morality is a farce of an ideology, one that basically ignores everything Hume has shown about the is-ought dichotomy, has zero basis in a priori knowledge (what the FUCK can be logically deduced from A is A?), and is completely void of any attempt at epistemology. But I digress.

The point is that we are taught from Day One to accumulate shit, and to put ourselves into position to do so throughout life. If we cannot provide such things to our children, then we are lesser parents for failing to do so. So we are all trying to get our hands on something that CANNOT be possessed by everyone, despite being told that we can all have these things and despite being told that we are all capable of achieving these things. There isn’t enough to go around, not everyone is capable anyways, and yet, both sides of the political aisle let this lie perpetuate itself.

I shouldn’t even really bring politics into this since this is a PEOPLE problem and not a political one.

Our political situation these days is simply a reflection of this fundamental flaw in humanity, or at least in American humans. And in a democracy like ours, why shouldn’t it be reflective of us as people? We get the gov’t we deserve. So we get a gov’t that has a short-term outlook on EVERYTHING. Why? Because WE have a short-term outlook on everything.

I’d also say that the death of intellectualism is responsible as well. Many universities are simply liberal circle jerks, and many conservatives see universities as something to be avoided altogether. The end result is a nation comprised of people who cannot think critically and are ill-informed on many worldly issues. Critical thinking and logic should be required classes from 1st grade through 8th grade, at the very least, in ALL schools, public or private. Basic Aristotelian logic is certainly within the scope of middle school. Look at how often philosophy degrees are ridiculed nowadays. Why? Because you can’t get a high-paying job with a philosophy degree (for the most part) and therefore you cannot accumulate as much stuff as you could with a business degree. But quite frankly, I think it would be a foolhardy argument to suggest that a more well-rounded individual capable of critical thinking on issues outside of their area of expertise is more likely produced by comprehensive business classes rather than philosophy classes.


#13

[quote]Powerpuff wrote:

The Wall Street Journal publishes some really excellent Op Ed pieces. If you aren’t a subscriber, you’d love it. There are some smart, reasonable conservatives out there writing well thought out political pieces.

[/quote]

Read it everyday at lunch without fail. People don’t even bother to take it anymore because they know I’ll just stare them down if they take the A section lol. They read the Globe.

I got it on my phone too but need to renew.

I like it because I’m pissed off and disagree as much as I agree.

Their piece last week slaughtering Venture Capital is what started me down this path, lol. Ironically enough, today’s reply’s to the income equality piece too didn’t help.

It really is a great paper. Op Ed’s are in the editorial section, and the other articles are just news.

There is a facebook page “independent Voter” and it is just a bunch of astro turf bots, Sanders fans and disgruntled partisans… That page depresses me more than “being liberal” or “tea party network”.

More depression:

Net Neutrality. We just celebrated that last bastion of freedom we have being handed over to the same government the didn’t press Google’s anti-trust suit because they lobbied to the tune of 16-30 million dollars. People don’t think the google’s, Netflix and yahoo’s of the world, who are the only winners in “net neutrality” didn’t buy that take over? But you know, fuck Comcast…

We’re done, just done.


#14

I think a lot of this has to do with our immigration policies, too. Not illegal immigration, but legal immigration.

It seems to me that people forget what makes America exceptional. It’s not the people, per se. And it’s not our military or our economy or any of that other superficial bullshit.

What makes this country exceptional is the fact that we are the first and only nation founded from Day One upon the principle that people have Natural Rights and that gov’ts role is to protect said rights and engender a situation in which they are not inherently likely to be violated.

That idea seems to be lost on the rest of the world. Of course, when our foreign policy in many ways shows zero adherence to this principle, things become even harder.

People come to this country under the impression that this is where they can come to get stuff. They can come here to get a job, they can come here to get a house, an education, freedom, etc. But freedom is the big calling card, and the idea of freedom has become completely bastardized. Freedom doesn’t mean you get treated equally, or that you achieve all the same things in life that someone else does.

Freedom and equality are two totally different things, but they seem to have become conflated, and I blame that squarely on the rest of the world’s failure to understand the exceptional nuances that make this country so unique. What’s happening slowly in this country has already happened quickly around the rest of the world: Latin America in the early to mid-1800’s; Western Europe in about the same time period; France in particular in 1792-1799 and again in 1848; Russia in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s, etc.

And when things don’t work out in those countries, to where do many of them flee? Here, with the same failed idea that, if social equality is not achieved, then the game must be rigged so let’s tear it down.

I’m rambling now, and not sure I’m making coherent, connected points, but I’ve tried. I agree, Beans, with your basic sentiment.


#15

Speaking of the death of intellectualism, watch old Firing Line videos on Youtube. How the fuck the face of conservatism went from an erudite person like Buckley to fucking dingbats with little grip on logical reasoning like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin is beyond me. But it’s happened. And who is the great liberal intellectual these days? Not Chomsky, no. Who is it? Oprah? Barack Obama? Hillary Clinton?

It’s sad.


#16

[quote]H factor wrote:
The VAST majority of my facebook is populated by good old boy small town redneck types which is where I’m from and where I’ve been around more of my life. Some fantastic people, but stupid as shit when it comes to political arguments. If I take a look at the politics on my actual feed 95% of it is “can you believe Obama is doing THIS” stuff that is literally debunked with one google search. No one on either side even attempts to determine if something is true. They just say it because the headline says it.

The few friends I have from the left side of the aisle I went to college with will do the exact same thing with the other side. I don’t even touch facebook politics because I would lose my mind. [/quote]

Yeah, I agree. I’ve lost my mind more times than I can count on there, every time swearing by all that is holy and just that I won’t go back. But just like an alcoholic, something happens after a long layoff to drag me back in. Sad. Don’t fall in the trap!

And you are really hitting the bullseye eith your comment about educated people doing the same shit on the opposite side of the other people. Before we used to really try as a group to support our positions from a stance of rational, logical argument and intuition. Now it seems I’m one of the only people that cares to do that anymore. On either side of the aisle. And if you don’t parrot the popular line, you’re now a bigoted racist traitor capitalist. Why? Just because, thats why.

Social media really hustled the train down the hill in a hurry.


#17

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
Speaking of the death of intellectualism, watch old Firing Line videos on Youtube. How the fuck the face of conservatism went from an erudite person like Buckley to fucking dingbats with little grip on logical reasoning like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin is beyond me. But it’s happened. And who is the great liberal intellectual these days? Not Chomsky, no. Who is it? Oprah? Barack Obama? Hillary Clinton?

It’s sad.[/quote]

Smart people don’t play well politically. People want the feeling. They want the Chris Matthew’s tingle down my leg. They don’t want nuanced arguments. They want to be told everything will be better as long as you don’t let THEM win. Them being Democrats or Republicans.

Obama, Palin, Cruz, they all give different types of people that tickle. Whether or not they know anything of substance is irrelevant. Both sides want soul stirrers because that appeals to the masses who are too busy looking at cat videos and killing people on Call of Duty to look around them. This is now a vine and soundbite world. Our populace doesn’t have the attention to look at anything that requires deep thought.

We just want to hear shit will be good if you vote for me and shit will be bad if you vote for them. The team that does that better tends to win.


#18

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]H factor wrote:
The VAST majority of my facebook is populated by good old boy small town redneck types which is where I’m from and where I’ve been around more of my life. Some fantastic people, but stupid as shit when it comes to political arguments. If I take a look at the politics on my actual feed 95% of it is “can you believe Obama is doing THIS” stuff that is literally debunked with one google search. No one on either side even attempts to determine if something is true. They just say it because the headline says it.

The few friends I have from the left side of the aisle I went to college with will do the exact same thing with the other side. I don’t even touch facebook politics because I would lose my mind. [/quote]

Yeah, I agree. I’ve lost my mind more times than I can count on there, every time swearing by all that is holy and just that I won’t go back. But just like an alcoholic, something happens after a long layoff to drag me back in. Sad. Don’t fall in the trap!

And you are really hitting the bullseye eith your comment about educated people doing the same shit on the opposite side of the other people. Before we used to really try as a group to support our positions from a stance of rational, logical argument and intuition. Now it seems I’m one of the only people that cares to do that anymore. On either side of the aisle. And if you don’t parrot the popular line, you’re now a bigoted racist traitor capitalist. Why? Just because, thats why.

Social media really hustled the train down the hill in a hurry.[/quote]

Spot on my friend. When people won’t even BOTHER to dig around to see if something is true it boggles my mind. If something sounds crazy my first instinct is to see if it’s true. Check up on it. People don’t have time for that shit anymore. I’ve got people on my facebook who if an article said Barack Obama ate a baby at the White House today for breakfast they would post that, say he’s disgusting and we need to impeach him.

It wouldn’t even cross their mind to see if someone was fucking around.


#19

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
The problem is not with the people but with the message that we are all being subjected to.

Here’s what it boils down to. We Americans are constantly bombarded with the message that it’s better to have more shit. We’re taught that it’s good to get good grades and go to a good college and get a worthwhile degree. Why? So we can get a good job and afford to buy a lot of shit for ourselves and our family. And we call it “providing for our family and children”. The end result is the general sense that the more we have, the better we are or the better we must be doing at “life”.

The point is that there isn’t enough for everyone. Not everyone can afford the finer things in life, but we are ALL told that they are available for us. Conservatives and liberals are equally guilty in this respect.

We’re all told that we can all have these things, but no one wants to acknowledge the 10,000 lb gorilla in the room: we CAN’T all have that stuff. We wouldn’t want everyone to have all that stuff. It’s simple, really. The day that everyone can afford a Bentley is the day that the Bentley loses whatever appeal it may have. It’s the things that not everyone can have that everyone wants, for the most part. Diamonds aren’t valuable because they look nice; they’re valuable because they are rare and hard to get.

The result is that we have a society that basically looks to the gov’t to do the impossible: create a situation in which we all have what we want and what we need. It’s the difference between equal opportunity and equal results. Quite frankly, Thomas Jefferson NEVER should have written “pursuit of happiness”. We all have that right, but in no way, shape, or form are we even remotely equal in our ability to achieve such happiness.

And since we derive happiness from material possessions, and we are essentially taught from birth that this is a good thing, we are eternally fucked. That fucking cunt, Ayn Rand, is more responsible for this than anything in the last 50 years, in my decidedly non-humble opinion. The idea that capitalism is morality is a farce of an ideology, one that basically ignores everything Hume has shown about the is-ought dichotomy, has zero basis in a priori knowledge (what the FUCK can be logically deduced from A is A?), and is completely void of any attempt at epistemology. But I digress.

The point is that we are taught from Day One to accumulate shit, and to put ourselves into position to do so throughout life. If we cannot provide such things to our children, then we are lesser parents for failing to do so. So we are all trying to get our hands on something that CANNOT be possessed by everyone, despite being told that we can all have these things and despite being told that we are all capable of achieving these things. There isn’t enough to go around, not everyone is capable anyways, and yet, both sides of the political aisle let this lie perpetuate itself.

I shouldn’t even really bring politics into this since this is a PEOPLE problem and not a political one.

Our political situation these days is simply a reflection of this fundamental flaw in humanity, or at least in American humans. And in a democracy like ours, why shouldn’t it be reflective of us as people? We get the gov’t we deserve. So we get a gov’t that has a short-term outlook on EVERYTHING. Why? Because WE have a short-term outlook on everything.

I’d also say that the death of intellectualism is responsible as well. Many universities are simply liberal circle jerks, and many conservatives see universities as something to be avoided altogether. The end result is a nation comprised of people who cannot think critically and are ill-informed on many worldly issues. Critical thinking and logic should be required classes from 1st grade through 8th grade, at the very least, in ALL schools, public or private. Basic Aristotelian logic is certainly within the scope of middle school. Look at how often philosophy degrees are ridiculed nowadays. Why? Because you can’t get a high-paying job with a philosophy degree (for the most part) and therefore you cannot accumulate as much stuff as you could with a business degree. But quite frankly, I think it would be a foolhardy argument to suggest that a more well-rounded individual capable of critical thinking on issues outside of their area of expertise is more likely produced by comprehensive business classes rather than philosophy classes.
[/quote]

Well, that was about as close to a perfect post as I could ask for!

The old concept that to be " educated" meant that you had to understand philosophy, language, and logic would go a hell of a long way towards fixing a lot of these issues.

It won’t fix them all of course because as you said, its a people problem…and people aren’t perfect. But it would really fix a lot of things.

One of the things I despise is the use of identity politics. I fucking hate that because it is based on sympathetic emotion and cynical us/them play rather than any sort of underpinnings of logic.


#20

To my first post, I think John Kenneth Galbraith makes the point better than I ever could in “The Affluent Society”. The basic point he makes is that the economy becomes vastly inefficient as more and more consumer goods are created. Due to the advent of mass advertising (which is WAY more omnipotent now than it was when Galbraith was writing in 1958), an artificial demand for consumer products is created.

Consequentially, artificial affluence leads to a lack of savings and actual, tangible economic health on an individual basis. The principles of the free market, when taking into account mass advertising and the idea that more is better, lead to an inefficient economy. Public goods are not produced at the necessary rate, while private, consumer goods are produced in far larger numbers than is necessary.

Galbraith and I diverge when it comes to how to correct such market inefficiencies. Force is always an option, but never a good one. The only way to create an economy whereby public goods/needs are produced and met at an efficient rate, while private goods are produced only to necessity, is to use force OR to engender some sort of massive change to the general attitude of Americans.

I think that for the last 50 years or so, we as a nation have been trying to have it both ways. It’s a sad day indeed when there are more people with iPhones walking around than a quality education, or when people have plenty of iPads while our parks system goes bankrupt. And it’s the pro-technology crowd that I hold ultimately responsible for this attitude.

My sister is a perfect example of this problem. She works for some hot-shot Silicon Valley company, yet she always complains about income inequality. The tech industry is perhaps responsible for income inequality more than any industry in the nation. Technology by its very nature engenders income inequality and only serves to widen the gap.

Apple in particular is egregiously guilty, and my rant from the RIP Steve Jobs thread was only a maniacal version of my views on the matter. When every product that a company produces starts with “I”, and then they turn around and try to push this collectivism bullshit on everyone, massive hypocrisy and contradictions follow.