Sunday, October 12, 2008

Going John Galt

Do you ever wonder after dealing with all that is going on with the economy and the upcoming election if it's getting to be time to "go John Galt." For those of you who have never read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, the basic theme is that John Galt and his allies take actions that include withdrawing their talents, 'stopping the motor of the world', and leading the 'strikers' (those who refuse to be exploited) against the 'looters' (the exploiters, backed by the government).

Perhaps the partisian politics we are dealing with now is really just a struggle between those of us who believe in productivity, personal responsibility, and keeping government interference to a minimum, and those who believe in the socialistic policies of taking from others, using the government as a watchdog, and rewarding those who overspend, underwork, or are just plain unproductive.

Obama talks about taking from those who are productive and redistributing to those who are not -- or who are not as successful. If success and productivity is to be punished, why bother? Perhaps it is time for those of us who make the money and pay the taxes to take it easy, live on less and let the looters of the world find their own way.

My question to readers is, what are some ways to "go John Galt" (legally, of course)--that is, should productive people cut back on what they need, make less money, and take it easy so that the government is starved for funds, or is there some other way of making a statement?

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279 Comments:

Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I've been mulling this thought for a few months now.

How and if the beast of burden sits down in the field and refuses to budge?

I think Rand wrote about it and that will have to be enough. The barrel we're over is that we must work to live, pay taxes to have any sort of peace, and be quiet, lest we be labeled "enraged."

Suppose if we all just refused to make our mortgage payment for two months and stored the money in our mattress? Take a Family Leave Act vacay.

ACORN depends on the System to break down by overrunning it with chaos and paperwork.

If enough talented folks just took advantage (maybe that's the key phrase) of so many free services, signed up for free food from local agencies (easy to do, you're never investigated. fake a ss number and address and income: free groceries! I worked for a social services agency), sign your kids up for free medical care (You won't be investigated, see previous) and flood the system with bankruptcy inquiries, and made banks file all sorts of paperwork for foreclosure notices...

Take it to the edge with every available "out".

Besides, what good is a middle-class tax break when you don't have a job?

Maybe it's time for hippie communes again? Boomertowns?

:o)

11:09 AM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Difster said...

You could leave the country.

You could pay cash for a farm and live off the land.

You could join a commune.

You could sell your home, rent an apartment and take a minimum wage job.

Unfortunately, most of us don't have the resources to build a compound in a hidden canyon.

Not that any of these guys would do it but it would be interesting to see guys like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet simply withdraw their money from the economy and disappear. But they don't have factories to shut down, etc. Their wealth is tied up in the rest of the system and they'd never exit stage left. In effect, they are the system.

11:56 AM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

Difster,

"they are the system"

I have always thought an interesting study would be to see how the political views of billionaires often change once they have made it to the top level. They seem to all swerve left at that point. My theory is that they made it off the capitalist system and are more right-leaning but later, they desire acceptance and it is easier to do that as a Democrat due to the media and good press one gets as one. Also, it keeps the competition down; use capitalism to make your fortune, then yank the ladder out from under the other guy with socialism once you have what you need. I often think they are a selfish lot in that way.

Anyway, good suggestions.

12:24 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Webutante said...

This is a great question, Helen.

Am about to go fly fishing this afternoon on the Caney Fork and will think about it while standing in the river. If I come up with any inspiration, I'll come back later.

12:31 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Larry J said...

It's an attractive notion and does happen to a degree* but I can see certain limitations to its effectiveness. Those who want to put government at the center of everything will never accept the idea of the government having to get by on less money.

If productive people cut back, the politicians will find other ways to extract extra revenues such as a "one time" tax on retirement savings (an idea that has been floated at least once). You actually saved for your retirement (401K, IRA, etc)? Well, the government needs money to buy votes and you have money, so they'll take it. If, as looks all too likely at the moment, Obama and the Democrats win big in 3 weeks, they'll control both the presidency and Congress. There will be little to stop them from going on the biggest wealth grab in our country's history.

*My wife used to work for a gifted and successful oral surgeon. This man was very good at what he did. However, each year, he'd take off for several months. He figured any additional income would be so disproportionately taxed that it simply wasn't worth it to earn more. Under Obama, I expect to see a lot more people follow his example. They'll either find ways to shelter their income or reduce their income so they don't have to pay so much in taxes.

1:00 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Samantha said...

I was wondering something similar.

I wanted to start a business that would sell a computer software product over the internet. I would just have customers purchase and download it.

I was wondering if there would be any way to set it up as an offshore corporation to avoid US taxes as much as possible.

Anybody have any ideas?

1:05 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Secession?

Peaceful of course.

I bet that the states can be divided into tax positive and tax negative, whether the state is taking more than it contributes. The socialist takeover depends on at least some people continuing to produce more than they take. Here in Tenneessee we not only have the Caney Fork and the Little River in which to fly fish but we also make our own cars. Lots of them.

Not bad for a bunch of bitter gun and/or Bible clingers. Really, the socialists do not think that well of us, maybe they will let us go without a fight.

It does my heart some good as a southerner to know that this time it is the South that is on the productive and responsible side of the issue.

Trey

1:13 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

This dovetails with the earlier living simply article. As I said then, all you need to do is lower your "requirements" and you can get by for fantastically less. It's all window-dressing anyway, as people of worth are not restricted to any socio/economical/racial/religious demography.

1:48 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Hi Helen:

I'm still here, waiting like a spider for asset valuations to drop to reasonable levels, just as Scarlet did when she went to Atlanta to await Ashley's return. And as I wait, I feel like John Galt - I have cut the operations of my business to a minimum because any investment (up till this last week, when Ashley may have made it at least to the outskirts of Atlanta) just didn’t seem to be worth the risk. My operating income is down 70% since last year, but guess what? - I don’t seem to have that much less to spend once my tax savings are factored in. I should qualify that by saying that I am spending a lot less money these days, but I already have so much junk that I don't need, that I able to entertain myself by pulling out my old toys.


I am playing a lot of golf, going on a lot of camping and rock-climbing trips with my kids and family, participating long range rifle competitions, continually and honing my forearms skills, and reading a lot. Of course I'm watching the financial and real estate markets like a hawk - or maybe I should say a vulture - but that is just what I do, it doesn't seem like work. I feel a lot less stressed and enjoying myself more than ever, especially the time with my kids (both are seniors, one in high school and one in college) with whom I have developed a closeness that never would have happened without this recession. In fact, by spending time with the kids, I have been able to instill a sense of frugality in them that is saving me thousands.


I realize that not everyone has the resources to do what I am doing, and I don't have the resources to do it forever, but I believe I have enough to weather this storm; and it is amazing how much less you need when you really decide to scale down.


About 8 months ago, I started noticing things that reminded me of the world painted by Rand in "Atlas Shrugged". Small things like fewer cars on the freeways, more cars with bald tires, more cars on the side of the road with mechanical problems or just out of gas, started to catch my attention. It also seemed to me that there was just less energy and vibrancy in the streets, stores, restaurants, and that there was a general feeling of malaise when I was out around town. So I pulled out my copy of “Atlas” and re-read it. After overcoming the initial period of depression that it brings on, I said to myself, “Self, you should withdraw, just like John Galt”. So I laid some people off (painful), put some long-term projects on hold, thereby reducing my legal, accounting, engineering, architectural, travel, and other consulting expenses (painful for all of those people as well), and started living the lifestyle described above.

You can’t wind everything down overnight, it takes time, and I am not finished. In the process, I have talked a few of my small-businessman friends into doing the same thing; and now of course many more are being forced to cut back, although maybe not as cheerfully as I am. I could go on for hours about the multiplier effects on the economy of my decision to back off, but let’s just say that they have pulled hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax revenue from the public trough; and that’s just me.


Like Galt, I feel that what I am doing will benefit everyone in the long run. The outrageous consumption habits of the American people, to a great degree encouraged by the example of the outrageous spending habits of the U.S. Government, have to stop. There is simply no way that we can spend our way into prosperity over the long term, although many still feel that we can.

I have generally been a Bush supporter, but when the first stimulus package passed, and he went on TV encouraging people to go out and spend the stimulus checks on more Chinese rubber dog shit, he lost me. Don’t we have enough stuff? Any responsible person who received one of those checks should have saved it, invested it, or used it to pay down debt. Assume they invested it in a mutual fund; they would still have some of the money left, rather than some stupid toy (probably made in a foreign country) gathering dust in the garage. With the government saying “take this money out and blow it”, I was shocked over how far off track we have gone. Bush’s advice to the People on what to do with those checks is probably what pushed me over the edge.

This recession is exactly what we need to bring some reality back into the picture. We have raised a generation, maybe two generations, of selfish, whining crybabies – both in and out of Government – whose primary business is trying to take money from others without providing any meaningful long term service to society. They need to be brought to their knees and shown the facts of life. As everyone starts to get it, as cities and hopefully even states go bankrupt, they will be forced to re-think just what is important. When the public sector gets it, to the point that many public sector employees and retirees see their benefits dramatically cut; when it is longer be possible for a 20-year civil servant to retire at 90% of his salary, and those that already have retired have their dole funds cut off by public sector bankruptcies, I will reach nirvana.


The sooner we reach that point, the better. When we do, I will get back in the game with gusto, knowing that for the first time in my life I am operating from a solid base.

1:49 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Correction: ...continually honing my firearms skills...

I take care of my forearms by covering them with sunsceen.

2:02 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Correction 2: ...when it is no longer possible for a 20-year civil servant...

3:47 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Michele said...

I felt like Atlas was shrugging a few weeks ago when I went to get gas and there was none.

I know it's not answering your question but it seems John Galt is coming up a lot in my conversations lately.

5:01 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Jeff Y. said...

Never happen. Just as men are wimpy when it comes to protecting their rights, so are productive people. I wish they would read Repent Harlequin! said the Ticktockman.

Where's our Harlequin?

I'll tell you one thing, the lawyers aren't stepping up. Of all the productive classes, they could have the greatest effect on most of these issues. Fucking wimps.

5:30 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi tomcal,

Good hearing from you. It seems like it's been a while.

7:01 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Deb said...

The best I have found are my three compromises: First, I have found a very rare corporation that deals in my field of work(bench jeweler). This allows me to have my productivity rewarded with benefits (good health, vision, and dental insurance, optional 401K, education they pay for me to get to advance my skill sets which they then pay me more for, upward mobility, national portability within the company, excellent vacation), and thus I have moved up from being a member of the lower caste in which I was raised (my mother is a looter, ashamed to say: On welfare).

Another option I found here, after tinkering with the numbers, is tactical use of my FSA, or flex spending account. I find that I can, with careful maneuvering, drop a tax bracket with the amount of money I put in my FSA. Thus, I not only get to use my pre-tax money on myself for my personal health and well being (and for my family when I have one), the amount I have chosen to place in said account reduces the amount of money stolen...oops, I meant taxed.

Another tactic that I engage in is sale shopping to forcibly deflate the dollar. I don't mean 15% off if you spend more than you can afford. More often than not, when I go shopping, I will save more than 50% of the original marked up value of the item. Most item's have a 3 to 5 key mark up, so the people that labored for the item still get paid for producing their good, and the clerks in the store still have a job.

My third suggestion is, as much as possible, buy directly from one person to the next. I buy my make up from a friend that sells Mary Kay so that I know someone I trust benefits. I purchase my training tools (for martial arts) exclusively from people that are in my school, and produce fine quality items.

7:32 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Helen:

As I said, I have withdrawn; but you are still my favorite blogger. In fact, just as the Wall Street Journal is the only daily newspaper I read every day, "Dr. Helen" is the only blog that I regularly visit. Like the WSJ, you provide all the links I need to other media which I might care to investigate in greater detail.

Tomcal

8:05 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger fboness said...

People will see things getting worse but, they won't notice that John Galt has gone missing. That is the lesson of FDR and the confiscatory taxes he got on high earners. High earners opted out of servitude and the people who would have gained employment from the cascading effects of the high earners continued to live in a depression.

8:08 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Minimalism. Work all you want. Make all the money you want but spend as little as possible. Put your cash in a safety deposit box so it's yours but the bank and the rest of the financial system can't count is as an asset and use it to make loans, etc.

Eat out as little as possible, spend as little as possible. Buy the least expensive products that will fulfill the purposes. Drive your car till it dies. And so on.

While we always talk about income taxes, we pay about 32% of our income a year in taxes. The majority of these are taxes other than income taxes. It wouldn't take a great deal of sacrifice or that dramatic of a decrease to make an impact and get the message across.

8:40 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Paul Hsieh, MD said...

I'm not quite ready to give up in America yet and "go on strike". Yes, we are going to be in for a rough ride, regardless of who is elected President.

But rather than going on strike, I'd rather try to advocate for laissez-faire capitalism and individual rights, and work to make things better. We still have free speech in this country, and we still have a culture that (for the most part) values reason, success, and prosperity.

The next few years will be critical for this country, both with respect to domestic and international issues. If the better people choose now to "go on strike", then we may simply be ensuring the victory of the bad guys, whereas if we speak out (in whatever capacity we have), then we still have a chance.

Abraham Lincoln once called America "the last best hope of mankind". I still think he's right, and that's why I don't want to give up yet.

8:50 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

"Hsieh, MD said...
I'm not quite ready to give up in America yet and "go on strike". Yes, we are going to be in for a rough ride, regardless of who is elected President."

I agree with you. I travel a lot, and there is nothing like coming back home the USA. Nevertheless, America has become a country of juvenile crybabies; the current economic situation will hopefully cause us to grow up.

8:59 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Wayne said...

Repent Harlequin! said the Ticktockman is a great story about overreaching government, though I'm not sure how it relates to the current downturn, except that the bailout is introducing even more regulation.

Still, for anyone interested, it is a great cautionary tale.

9:18 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

The "bailout" will fail, proving for at least a few decades that accepting personal responsibility for the outcome of your actions is the only way to ensure survival.

Remember what your grandparents and great-grandparents taught you.

10:03 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

I also agree that now is not the time to go on strike. It is, however, a golden opportunity to act.

Look at the records of your government representatives - they control the purse strings. If they are voting for spending; vote against them. If they are voting for nanny state legislation and against individual responsibility, and individual property rights; then vote against them. I think you get the point.

Those who voted for or who support(ed) in anyway, bills or laws such as McCain/Feingold; Sarbanes/Oxley; McCain/Kennedy; The Fairness Doctrine; No Child Left Behind; etc., should be sent packing. Anyone who stands against replacing public education with a private educational system or home schooling (and immediate reduction in school based taxes at all levels) should be voted out.

We have the right to free speech, and we have the right to raise our children to be independent of mind and strong of body. Good citizens have the obligation to exercise whatever rights they have or should expect to lose those rights. Speak, damn it! Stop sniveling and whining and do something. Organize, express your passion and take action.

Take back control over your child's education. The teachers are in place to serve the children; not the damn teacher unions or some whacked leftist agenda, or to carry the chalice of altruism for religion. If the teachers don’t like their lot; let them quit or let’s fire them for non-performance.

Social education is the responsibility of parents - education in the basics of language, mathematics, science, history, and philosophy is the education we expect our children to obtain from teachers. Topics beyond those are the domain of parents, period.

We do not send them to school to be indoctrinated into the blind acceptance of multicultural, multi-linguistic, socio-economic, or socio-sexual bullshit. These topics are the responsibility of parents, libraries or universities. Barak Obama is embarrassed that many Americans can’t speak Spanish. My question is, “Why should they?” Spanish is not the language of economics, science, mathematics or anything else of global significance. The one language that is, is ENGLISH. For those of you who think forcing children to sit through bilingual education, ask yourself why English is more important than Spanish. If everyone in America spoke Spanish, for now, English would still be the common language of business, economics, science and most other major areas of interests to developed and developing nations. It’s not by accident and for you religionists out there, it’s not by God. It’s the result of the greatest society of free thinkers and free men. It’s the result of a plan drawn up, not by a God, but by inspired men born in the Age of Enlightenment who refused to accept any facet of governance lingering from the Dark Ages of Monarchies and Religious oppression.

If one wants to send a signal that we aren't going to tolerate the socialist agenda any longer, work to pull your kids out of every elementary and secondary public school for a month...or even an entire school year. Vote to repeal all budgeted spending on schools in each town across the country, or vote to recall selectmen, city counselor, school committee members, etc. and replace them with people who will comply with the will of the people.

If all politics are local, then local politics is the place to begin. Branch out with each success…demand more from all levels of governance in terms of them keeping out of the way and sticking to the things that should be their concern – national defense, individual security and adjudicating justice through laws consistent with the spirit and intent of that U.S. Constitution.

It should be remembered that the Constitution was constructed to limit the power of government over the people. It was not constructed to limit the power of the individual over their representatives. Any law or court decision that gives government more power over individuals than the other way round is a bad law or a bad decision and requires immediate abolition.

Establishing Fannie Mae was bad law. It was made better by moving Fannie into the private sector with government oversight, but only a little better. The improvement was still bad law, but it was the people of the United States who stood by while the bill was proposed, voted on and approved and made into law with the President’s signature. Fannie Mae was established and its charter changed without a challenge. Not voting is an action as is any form of inaction. That should not be overlooked.

For now, anyone associated with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd and Christopher Cox should be voted out and kept away from any investigational body. Everyone who accepted a campaign contribution from either of these entities should have already resigned, but can and should be voted out or recalled. We don't need anyone like a Jamie Garelick sitting on a board and essentially exonerating himself of blame or fault as she did by serving on the 911 Commission.

Those truly concerned with justice need to vote appropriately in this upcoming election. They must demand that members of the new Congress appoint a special prosecutor, and that the investigation be transparent. They must ensure that in the end, all evidence will be laid bare for the public to see and evaluate on its own. In the end, it is the people of this nation who will decide if the nation becomes socialist or remains a haven of liberty and individual property rights. It’s said that Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver; how much is freedom worth?

Spend as little money as possible and send a message to banks, businesses and brokerage houses that you expect them to act ethically or to wither and die. Anyone and everyone who voted for this absurd bailout should be voted out of office. Anyone who opposes a transparent and complete investigation of misdeeds that created this economic chaos ought to be voted out until we get answers.

President Bush could have issued executive orders and Justice Department investigations into Fannie and Freddie had he any inkling of problems. The fact that the President of the United States had no idea that the financial security of this nation was under attack is appalling and inexcusable. Financial security and military superiority go hand in hand; therefore, as Commander-In-Chief, President Bush failed to protect this nation as was his charge. Hank Paulsen and Ben Bernanke were either asleep at the switch or complicit as were their underlings. Let's find out why. Did we turn toward socialism by accident or by design? We need to be able to explain to our posterity how we failed to leave them the riches that were left to us.

None of this will happen, however, because it's too easy to speak in theory and come up with suggestions than it is to take action. If now is not the right time to take action, then, when will it be the right time? How much time is left before it becomes too late to stand up and act? How many people have to succumb to the evils of altruistic slavery before an "underground railroad" of sorts gets fired up and roars into action to fight for freedom?

10:38 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger mkfreeberg said...

Before Rand's husband, Frank O'Connor, suggested the now-famous title, the book was going to be called "The Strike." In the fifties this thing called "collective bargaining" or "organized labor" was still something of a novelty. So the primary point the book was trying to make, was -- how come it iz we're supposed to be so concerned about the manual labor going on strike, but nobody gives a thought about what would happen if the CEO's went on strike?

I haven't read over the other 23 comments one-by-one, but I'm reading your post from California. And I'm thinkin'...who needs to come up with a new way? Businesses are leaving my state in droves. They're tired of the taxes and the hyper-regulation. The tax rates keep going higher and higher because the state treasury is more-and-more broke...because the state taxes people who don't have high paying jobs anymore...because...well, the businesses that used to live here, moved out.

Welcome to Galt's Gulch.

http://img387.imageshack.us/img387/1962/viciouscyclext0.png

10:48 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

mkfreeberg:

Thanks for pointing that out. The novel did indeed stat out as "The Strike".

I don't know if this means anything or not, but Rand and Alan Greenspan spent a great deal of time together in New York. Her ideas must have been compelling to him, but I really don't know enough about either one of them to dare suggest in what ways.

11:02 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

...start...

11:05 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Michael said...

Yes, you can "Go Galt" in some ways, by withdrawing your wealth from the governmental and societal parasites in whatever legal ways you can: control your spending patterns, alter the hours you work or how you are paid, etc. But stay within legal limits so you don't go to jail. Damn, we don't need good people in jail.

And remember that one aspect of "Going John Galt" is fighting for rights, reason, objectivity and reality. Staying true to those concepts (and to man's life qua rational animal) is the reason he went on strike; and the reason he gave a long speech to the country -- his own "Declaration of Independence." If you withdraw without standing up for a rational philosophy, you are not "Going John Galt," you are merely giving up.

But looking at our present culture, I'd agree with Dr. Paul Hsieh and "Doc" MacDonald: it is not time to "go on strike."

We can still, like Galt, broadcast rational ideas far and wide. We can still make a difference.

So write your Congressmen, write your local news media, speak out -- and don't let anyone try to put the blame for a social or moral ill on reason and capitalism, when the fault is irrationality and socialism.

11:17 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger Michael said...

Tomcal: Re Greenspan and Rand, Harry Binswanger said:

"Here in the States, it is ironic that Alan Greenspan, once a close personal friend of Ayn Rand, was responsible in the early 2000s for inflating the US money supply. Greenspan betraryed Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, in many, many ways. For one thing, Objectivism opposes the very existence of central banks, such as the Fed, and advocates a gold standard."

See: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/shane_frith/blog/2008/10/10/financial_crisis_what_atlas_shrugged_teaches_us

There are plenty more quotes regarding Greenspan's betrayal of Objectivist principles.

Greenspan was about as true to Objectivism and Rand, as Benedict Arnold was true to America.

11:30 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Agreed

11:43 PM, October 12, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Let's let Ms. Rand speak for herself: Ayn Rand Lexicon

12:16 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Doc Macdonald:

I agree with you almost 100%. Where I disagree is in your statement that "Spanish is not the language of economics, science, mathematics or anything else of global significance. The one language that is, is ENGLISH".

I speak Spanish fluently, and can discuss any of the topics you mention with equal ease in either language ;)

Hasta mañana y que tenga buena noche. Estaré pendiente de su respuesta.

1:22 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

tomcal writes:

I agree with you almost 100%. Where I disagree is in your statement that "Spanish is not the language of economics, science, mathematics or anything else of global significance. The one language that is, is ENGLISH".

I speak Spanish fluently, and can discuss any of the topics you mention with equal ease in either language ;)

Hasta mañana y que tenga buena noche. Estaré pendiente de su respuesta.
-----------------------------------

Por qué esperar hasta mañana cuando pueda responder de inmediato?

That English is "the one" wasn't the point, but I think you know that. For others, the point is that speaking Spanish for Americans is not as essential as Barak Obama tried to make it out to be in the primaries.

I love the lyricism and rhythms of Federico Garcia Lorca among others. I also love reading the troubled, rough and tumble poetry of Arthur Rimbaud.

America has stood unique in the world for a number of reasons. In my humble opinion, one of its key strengths comes from its heritage of striving for a melting pot society where everyone has opportunity and access to the extent that reality allows.

With opportunity and access, anyone with ambition and sufficient intellect can achieve great things if allowed to pursue ones dreams with limited impediment from government. Admittedly our attempts to achieve this melting pot have been met with great reluctance from time to time. But, we keep trying and little by little ethnic, religious, cultural and other difference have come to be accepted in the greater context of being American.

For all our faults, and we have many, we are still far more accepting than any other nation, in my point of view. That acceptance is not just spoken, it is encoded in law and some might go so far as to say our DNA.

Obama's reference is that we should, instead, be more like Europe. A continent where they can't even agree on monetary policy from one nation to the next, but call themselves a "union". It's like one person eating fillet mignon and another having a hamburger and both stating that they are brothers of the cow. The description and the reality are utter nonsense.

Spanish is a great language, but if I were a young capitalist, I believe I'd start with Chinese, Japanese, German, French or Arabic before I considered Spanish. But, that's just me. Culturally, I would approach languages differently.

Casi el 100% es más que aceptable. No puedo vivir felizmente a mediados de los años noventa zona

v/r

"Doc"

3:07 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

Of course the shorter reply is that it makes more sense and provides greater opportunity IN AMERICA if one speaks English. Being unable to speak English in America is going to be detrimental to anyone looking to work, to grow and to thrive as individuals or as the base block for building and supporting a family.

If I were to move to Spain or to Mexico, I would expect great difficulty even if I could speak Spanish, but I'd expect even more if I couldn't. Life is what it is and it is never fair; occassionally, it swings from rough to gentle and back, but that's about all one should ever expect.

I should have just posted this reply. Nah, I need the practice typing. Fingers don't work as well in ones 60s as they do in ones 20s. You know... use it or lose it. :-)

3:22 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Cappy said...

A lot of this happens when people vote with their feet, pretty much away from blue areas to make high growth areas.

6:01 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Pete said...

I sold my business.

I sold several properties, two of them to my children at a significant "loss." (Ka-Ching!)

I'm raising a great deal of my own food and taken to raising sheep and poultry. All for personal consumption, not sale.

I live in a rural area, so while Andy and bob and charlie might buy some sheep to be raised by me, Andy is buying swine, Bob is buying beef, etc.

Canning. Freezing.

Buying bulk.

I'm doing computer and electrical work. Bob is doing carpentry. Andy is doing plumbing. The whole "Pool your talents" routine.

Hunting.

Burning wood this winter as much as possible. Well water. Electric power from solar and wind.

Joining a gas co-op.

Screw you, Barack and Blue America. Have fun widdit. I ain't playing for the next few years.

Oh - and I plan to give YOUR president (Because he sure ain't mine) the same chance and respect you gave George Bush for the last 8 years.

6:55 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Ed said...

This is my plan:

http://debtisslavery.blogspot.com
/2008/10/hey-brother-can-you-spare-some-w-2.html

7:34 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger philwynk said...

I've come across a few individuals who are talking about picking a target state, moving there en masse to produce a majority, then seceding from the union to form a new nation more protective of fundamental human liberty. States that have been mentioned as targets include Alaska, Colorado, and Maine.

The advantages of creating a separate nation seem obvious, and frankly, partition into "blue" and "red" nations seems to me the only way we're going to avoid civil war in the long run. The flaw in the plan, of course, is the assumption that President Obama will not "pull a Lincoln" and declare war on the seceding conservatives. Never underestimate a neo-Stalinist's impulse to control his fellow man.

7:51 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

is there some other way of making a statement?

Remember when the Brit tax rate was so onerous wealthy rock stars were fleeing to France?

One friend setup shop in the Dominican Republic and I have long range plans to build manufacturing facilities in Haiti.

7:55 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger GaltLives said...

I'm going to do everything possible to hurt the Obama regime if it comes to pass. Start an anti-Obama web site. Sell anti-Obama buttons and stickers. Leave hateful coments about him, ridiculing every aspect of him from his gaffes to his ears.

In business I can lower my salary and either leave it in the business or pay it out in dividends (no FICA taxes). Buy gold instead of stocks and CDs. Drop all subscriptions to MSM. Buy antiques, used guns, etc. instead of new products.

But then maybe middle America will come out in droves and give it to McCain. Like when everyone thought Truman would lose in 1948.

How could an extreme leftist who didn't even grow up in America and doesn't know how many states we have win against a war hero? But draft-dodger Clinton did. We may be living in a new wussified America. We may need to let it collapse in order to save it.

8:03 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Little Towhee said...

One thing that families can do is to homeschool.

8:33 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger locomotivebreath1901 said...

Dr. Helen,

I understand your frustrations and intent. Going 'all John Galt' sounds well and good for a desired outcome of noble libertarian goals, but John Galt was a contrarian by nature & a maverick in action.

Those two qualities are not conducive for group consensus or collective organization.

The frame work for rugged individualism is missing. The beast of nanny statism is a ravenous creature. It must have access to, and consume gargantuan amounts of tax dollars in order to survive.

Much of that revenue source comes from a simply nefarious mechanism that we, the taxpayers, willingly participate in bi-weekly or monthly paychecks - the with holding tax.

Out of sight; out of mind, and the pork trough, ear mark politicians know it.

But the bite is a lot more severe, and your eye a little keener, and your pencil a little sharper when you have to write that fat gub'mint tax check every quarter.

Until the electorate demands the abolition of the insidious withholding tax nothing will change because the only way to kill the nanny state beast is to starve it.

Cut off the money!!

8:39 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger philwynk said...

Doc McDonald issues the libertarian trumpet blast:

"It’s the result of the greatest society of free thinkers and free men. It’s the result of a plan drawn up, not by a God, but by inspired men born in the Age of Enlightenment who refused to accept any facet of governance lingering from the Dark Ages of Monarchies and Religious oppression."

Freethinkers built their reputations as parasites in a Christian West. Their very lives rode on the rails of truth and virtue built by Christendom, and their ideas worked only so long as the society over which they pasted their rationalism behaved according to Christian ethics. Now that the Christianity of the West has waned, it's apparent that Rationalism has no basis within itself for moral behavior, and now has to borrow morality from the Progressives.

You should read some less biased histories, preferably several written more than 70 years ago (to weed out the Marxist and revisionist influences,) and learn to give credit to Christianity, which is the only system of thought in world history to actually produce individual liberty and universal literacy. Libertarianism is a fine thing, but cannot sustain a culture without the aid of religion.

8:56 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger MikeT said...

The advantages of creating a separate nation seem obvious, and frankly, partition into "blue" and "red" nations seems to me the only way we're going to avoid civil war in the long run. The flaw in the plan, of course, is the assumption that President Obama will not "pull a Lincoln" and declare war on the seceding conservatives. Never underestimate a neo-Stalinist's impulse to control his fellow man.

If Dixie were to secede again, it wouldn't even be a close fight this time. The South is not only far more heavily populated than it was in the 1860s, but has the industrial capacity to mass-produce the weapon systems it needs to fight a modern war. People tend to not realize that several of the major defense contractors do most of their ship building and other heavy industrial work in the South.

That's all beside the point. I think if the South and a couple of other red states seceded that "blue America" would be overwhelmingly apathetic. If not, I doubt they'd have the stomach for war, after (primarily Southern) red state soldiers brought the war into their territory. God help us if it ever happens again, we won't make General Lee's mistake of not taking the war deep into enemy territory.

9:09 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger JD said...

Every day makes me more convinced that America deserves this liberal prick. Sadly, this man couldn’t get approve for a simple security clearance. Seriously, thanks mostly to the spineless liberals across this country this man could be in the white/house. The fact that the general public has let this get this close just proves how far left this country has gone. How much more information do we need to prove this man is dangerous. The age of stupidity is here.

Pete said... I plan to give YOUR president (Because he damn sure ain't mine) the same chance and respect you gave George Bush for the last 8 years.

......well said Pete!

9:13 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger MikeT said...

"It’s the result of the greatest society of free thinkers and free men. It’s the result of a plan drawn up, not by a God, but by inspired men born in the Age of Enlightenment who refused to accept any facet of governance lingering from the Dark Ages of Monarchies and Religious oppression."

The "Age of Enlightenment" has shown a particularly callous attitude toward human life. The secular age has brought mass murders the likes of which have no precedent in human history. Even acts like the utter destruction of Carthage pale in comparison to the cold-blooded, unprovoked crimes of the 20th century. At least those past crimes had a good emotional argument "if we don't wipe out Carthage, one day Carthage will burn Rome to the ground."

The more observant among us have tended to note that secularism has brought with it a cold-blooded lack of respect for human life, and an equally heartless, legalistic tendency to wipe out human rights.

9:15 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Heidi said...

philwynk said...

I've come across a few individuals who are talking about picking a target state, moving there en masse to produce a majority, then seceding from the union to form a new nation more protective of fundamental human liberty. States that have been mentioned as targets include Alaska, Colorado, and Maine.


Has Texas ever been mentioned? Texas has an economic engine that is bigger than most countries - and it runs somewhat independently from the rest of America. For instance, if Texas has an economic downturn (like in the 80s), it affects the rest of the country; but an economic downturn in the rest of the country barely - or belatedly - impacts Texas. We have our own ports, manufacturing, oil, food production. Right now, construction is booming, and jobs are plentiful. We just had a friend move his family here to Houston after a year of unemployment (heavy civil construction) in Rhode Island. Plenty of civil construction projects going on.

Best of all, Texas has been it's own nation, and could be so again. There's an attitude here that screams independence.

Granted we have Austin...:P

Anyways...just thinking out loud.

9:30 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger john_render said...

I left the country, and have been gradually reducing my reliance of and involvement with the US and its citizens. While I still love the principles and culture that established the US, I'm not sure where that country went. And from the politics, to the legal system, to the pervasive culture of ineptitude and everything in between, it was really just not in my best interest, nor my family's, to remain.

The political situation was one small part of it. Other things that have been discussed on this blog were also considerations, as were things not frequently mentioned anywhere. I don't discuss it much, as most people don't seem to be able to see the disparate symptoms as related consequences of the same underlying cause, and see something as major as expatriation as an over-reaction. Even here, back about two years ago, the idea of leaving the country was met with contempt, something only acceptable to liberals with BDS.

So I left, quietly, and, while there have been a few major hiccups (primarily when I'm still forced to interact with US people, companies, and services), my life has improved significantly. The biggest trouble I have over here is convincing the local population that the image of America and Americans that they're shown by Hollywood and the AP is fiction.

9:35 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Ann said...

You want to make your hair fall out, google US exit tax. It's a horrible piece of legislation that our "conservative" President signed a year or so ago. We are the only country who not only taxes it's citizens who live overseas but we tax green card holders who leave and people who renounce their citizenship.

9:42 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Doc: I agree with you on the Chinese. I learned Spanish with no effort, having lived in Peru as a kid.

10:27 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

On the subject of secession, it is not true that Texas can secede from the union and remain a state. What is true is that when Texas joined the union as an independent republic (and the only state that did not require ratification from Congress), it reserved for itself the right to dissolve into five separate states (north, south, east, west, and central) and thereby dissolve the union. Each of these states would then have to apply to Congress for statehood if any desired to rejoin the union. If not, they could form a new and independent Unites States of Texas, but that would require a new constitution.

On the subject of going John Galt, last year I sold two commercial buildings and my taxes quadrupled. I had to write a check to the IRS that was the equivalent of my entire salary as a first-year teacher twenty years ago. That hurt. And needless to say, I haven't sold any more commercial buildings.

This is the problem with a progressive tax system. The more you earn, the more you pay. At some point, it becomes counterproductive to earn more, since the government is only going to take more and leave you with less.

There was a time in the late 80s when my father, who was president of the computer corporation that built the system all the banks down here run on, saw that his entire salary couldn't cover the taxes on what my mother earned selling real estate. So he retired. Their combined salaries put them in a tax bracket that basically took all of his income. Why work for nothing?

But I agree with several of the posters above. This is not the time to remove yourself but to exert yourself. We need fundamental change at all levels in this country, and if we do not demand and implement it, these United States are going down the toilet bowl of history.

11:08 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Vern said...

The advantage that conserv/atarians have is that we know that the private sector is the real agent of change in the human condition. We also know that freedom is not fragile, but insidious and unrelenting. Once people get used to freedom, they will not give it up.

It is telling that the only way authoritarians can get elected is by hiding their views, casting them as tax cuts, more freedom for the middle class, etc.

Yes, the government can do harm, but so can earthquakes and storms and anything else beyond our control.

So the answer is simple: Go live a good life, spend more time with your kids, start a new company in your garage, or volunteer for a soup kitchen, whatever. Pursue happiness in every way you can because no one else can do it for you, or stop you from trying.

We know that we don't need to force others to do or think as we do in order to change the world.

11:28 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger PatCA said...

We can "go Galt" in a symbolic and educational way. Most people under 40 have never been taught the values of self-reliance and the dangers of socialism, so why not show them?

We can borrow from the left's use of political theater. How about flash mobs to illustrate the folly of government nannyism? At a certain time and day, hundreds of briefcase wielding professionals show up at the steps of Congress, silently burn their mortgages, and then morph into hippies?

If that doesn't work we can all move to Alaska and secede with President Palin!

11:38 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Ron said...

Apropos Galt...

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/31548_Coming_Soon-_The_Pain_Ray

11:45 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Ron said...

Easiest way to go Galt? Probably just take all your money out of the bank and put it into a credit union that doesn't use the money to invest in stuff the Looters loot. Do such institutions exist? Don't know. Anyone? That would bring everything pretty much to a grinding halt, no?

It used to be our private joke every time we'd read or hear about another step our country takes toward socialism, but Patty and I have begun looking seriously at Costa Rica (exit tax, schmexit tax). Don't yet know if it's a viable alternative to living through the inexorable conversion of America to a socialist state (which by the way seems to be happening regardless of which political party is destroying US), but we've started a real assessment. Lots of retired expats there who love it.

11:57 AM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Amos said...

On topic: take a listen to today's podcast at http://www.econtalk.org.

Vern, the problem is that Socialists also make it harder to start businesses. Gurcharan Das spends a fair amount of time on how that made life hard in India in his book India Unbound. Good read.

12:51 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger ExNavyDoc said...

Thank God I am not alone in thinking along these lines.

I am a medical professional in a relatively under-staffed specialty. I have said that if Obama and crew are elected and raise the marginal rates to 60-70% or higher, I will simply go part-time.

The final straw was the last debate, when the One proclaimed that health care is a "right". Screw him and his minions. Let them try to provide this "right" to the masses, when those who produce it by their labor and intellect refuse to do so.

ExNavyDoc

1:09 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Conan the Cimmerian said...

Look at the records of your government representatives - they control the purse strings. If they are voting for spending; vote against them. If they are voting for nanny state legislation and against individual responsibility, and individual property rights; then vote against them. I think you get the point.

Well with that list of qualifications, I suppose there is no one that makes that cut.

1:34 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Conan the Cimmerian said...

philwynk said...

Doc McDonald issues the libertarian trumpet blast:

"It’s the result of the greatest society of free thinkers and free men. It’s the result of a plan drawn up, not by a God, but by inspired men born in the Age of Enlightenment who refused to accept any facet of governance lingering from the Dark Ages of Monarchies and Religious oppression."


Yes, historians do not call the rise of Christendom the Dark Ages (it seems those of the Enlightenment chose to give it that name. No bias there obviously)... it seems it wasn't so dark after all... and the Enlightenment was not as enlightened as some believe.

1:40 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

vern wrote: "We also know that freedom is not fragile, but insidious and unrelenting. Once people get used to freedom, they will not give it up."

Vern, you and I know that, but 45% of the country would disagree with us. They pay no taxes, and are quite afraid of freedom as it involves personal responsibility.

I have no ideas currently as to how to fix that. What about you?

Trey

2:31 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger JS said...

You don't understand, they can tax you whether you produce or not. By continuing to print more money and devaluing the currency they can tax until the food riots start.

Then things will get interesting.

Buy more ammo.

4:24 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:12 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

js wrote: "they can tax you whether you produce or not." Well, currently they do not tax 45% of our population. We are talking about downsizing and belt tightening to join the 45%.

I totally agree that there is a percentage of non-productive citizens where things will certainly get interesting! I wonder what the percentage is, 55%? 60%? At what percent does the apple cart tip over?

Trey

5:12 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger JG said...

Taxes: Only people who produce are taxed ("income tax").

Here's what someone can explain to me:

A man who works an entire year and earns $50,000 will have to pay over a good chunk, usually the amount will be withheld (if he's employed with a company) or he will have to pay that in quarterly chunks.

A woman on a Web site recently was bragging about some nurdy guy being interested in her. The nurdy guy was led on, but he eventually bought her a very nice diamond necklace. She sold it on eBay. She earned more with that sale than a lot of men earn in an entire year. SHE IS NOT TAXED ON THAT, BECAUSE IT IS A GIFT.

Being taken out to dinner is a gift. On the other hand, if a man EARNS the money and then takes the woman out to dinner, the man is taxed on his earnings, the woman is not taxed on the gift.

How in the hell did someone think that system up, and why are all men so gung-ho for it?

Tax gifts (not earned). Don't tax income (earned). Jesus Christ, is that so difficult?

5:17 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger JG said...

Ayn Rand forgot in her novel that all women are not like her.

And men are much more subject to sexual manipulation than is otherwise appreciated.

I get it. My hypothesis is that most men are weak with regard to sexual manipulation, and they don't get it. They think they are being chivalrous, but they are simply being manipulated.

I went to dinner recently with a client. He works his butt off. She has never worked and never will work, because she is far, far better than her husband or me. I got the drift.

She ordered a salad with her meal. The waiter brought out exactly what was in the menu (I actually checked ...). The house-pig told him to "get it right this time" ... she wanted the oil and vinegar on the SIDE. Dumb-ass. He just said "Yes, ma'am" and brought it out the way she wanted it. The husband (who was paying for everything) just looked at the ground. He was just used to it, like a parent with a mouthy teenager. She acted like that the whole night.

I don't care if I lose that client ... NEVER AGAIN with that pig.

And why on earth are these house-pigs praised while the working men are slammed in society?

No, it's not funny anymore.

5:26 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger JG said...

There are men here bragging about how they are going to do some radical thing or another ... and they can't even stand up to their own wife or girlfriend.

Laughable.

5:33 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger JS said...

js wrote: "they can tax you whether you produce or not." Well, currently they do not tax 45% of our population. We are talking about downsizing and belt tightening to join the 45%.

My point was that inflation taxes everyone, including those that pay no explicit tax. And since we export dollars to buy everything from cars to oil, the whole world also pays this tax. Someday they will refuse to take our dollars, then we will be in trouble.

We're not John Galt, the rest of the world is.

6:19 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Common said...

The giant, gaping hole in this plan is what happens to children and family life.

As has already been pointed out, huge numbers of men are enslaved to the mothers of their children. They can't get passports. They can't stop producing or they will be thrown into prison. This isn't hyperbole; it's sober fact.

Try to secede with your man and your children, instead of hauling him into the court to have him branded as your personal debtslave? Well, the FLDS ladies found out just exactly how far the state is willing to go to prevent people from having that option.

6:53 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

js wrote: "My point was that inflation taxes everyone, including those that pay no explicit tax."

Gotcha, sorry, you are thinking circles around me economically and I needed that cliff note.

Trey

9:05 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Ya know, I do not think that me standing up to my wife makes me a man. I think me loving and remaining faithful to my wife makes me a man. We have disagreements, even an occasional argument, but neither or us can make the other do squat.

I think working to have a good marriage makes me a man, and part of that is knowing when to listen, when to compromise, and when to stick to what I know is right. I am lucky in that as Christians, she and I share some background ideas and instructions about how to love each other. But I cannot imagine marrying someone I had to stand up to.

We stand together, even when we disagree.

Trey

9:08 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Ardsgaine said...

The looters can always enslave men, and eke out a living by exploiting their labor. What they cannot do is force men to use their minds. John Galt as a slave working in a grain field yields no greater benefit to his master than any other warm body. It is John Galt as productive genius and entrepreneur that the mixed economy desperately needs in order to prevent its collapse. It needs the continually increasing productivity that his genius provides to keep the economy on its feet. Its like a constant blood transfusion into a vampire's victim. Increasing productivity is not accomplished through muscle-power though. It is our minds that the looters depend on. Without that, dollars are just so much litter, and gold is just a yellow rock. And the mind is something that can never be forced. It can only be given voluntarily. They can't put a gun to the head of a genius and say, "Invent something!" In fact, the more they introduce force into economic relations, the more the mind is driven out. It is nearing the point where our minds won't have to go on strike, because they have been fired. How many of you already go to work and feel like you have to check your brain at the door?

So you don't have to stop earning money, just keep going to work, do what you are asked to do, and no more. Unless something happens to change our political course, the collapse will take care of itself.

9:18 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Common said...

No, sorry, you are wrong.

Child support is not determined by a father's paycheck, but by a judge's opinion as to his ability to earn a paycheck. A productive high-earner cannot simply quit his job and flip burgers for minimum wage and see his support payments go down. He must continue paying support based on the income he is capable of earning. Use your mind to produce that income or go to jail.

10:30 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Just talked to another dropout who could create 1000's of jobs and of course generate millions in revenue for the Government, but for the last few years has had no desire to do so. Says it's not worth the headache of regulations, taxes, lawsuits, inspections, and degrading commentary by the media.

10:33 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Common:

If there ain't no money, there ain't no money. I imagine there is less than none when the breadwinner is in jail.

10:39 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Dave W said...

Instead of going "John Galt", let's all learn Objectivist epistemology first. Let's learn the meaning of the word reason, man's means of survival, which is the process of observing existence with our senses, identifying what we observe by forming objective concepts, validating these concepts by integrating them into context and reducing any abstract concepts back to the perceptual level, and then stringing valid concepts together to form principles that accurately describe reality, so that we can successfully figure out which values to pursue and then do so, living our lives and achieving our happiness.
Too many people who claim to be Objectivists don't know how to do this; they only focus on the easy stuff, such as Objectivist politics and to a lesser extent ethics. But without understanding fully a pro-reason epistemology, the Objectivist ethics and politics do not rest on a rational enough base, and the person ultimately becomes a libertarian (and a statist).

10:40 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger JG said...

Common:

Right. The concept is called "imputed income".

And yes, men DO go to jail for not paying an imputed amount and it DOES have an effect on many of them, especially former high earners who now go back to a high-earning job to stay out of jail.

That's how things work.

10:46 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger JG said...

And if you are behind on payments, you can be denied a passport. You ain't goin' nowhere, buddy.

10:48 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Huan said...

The goal is not to withdraw from the US national politic or emigrate away. The goal is to reposition for a future win. I suggest moving to red states that voted for Obama. Being a red state it would be more palatable to live in than a blue state. Then we work to strengthen the local politics favorably, then the state politics. By being in a battle ground state we position ourselves for the next election.

For me, it will be either Palin/Steele or Palin/Jindal.

11:04 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger Words Twice said...

“I've come across a few individuals who are talking about picking a target state, moving there en masse to produce a majority, then seceding from the union to form a new nation more protective of fundamental human liberty.”

Something similar has already been done. It’s called the Free State Project and the state they chose was New Hampshire.

11:05 PM, October 13, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

By the way, Galt was imprisoned, or at least taken hostage. Sometimes "Real Change" requires that kind of sacrifice, not just words ;)

12:43 AM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Seerak said...

Yes, historians do not call the rise of Christendom the Dark Ages (it seems those of the Enlightenment chose to give it that name. No bias there obviously)... it seems it wasn't so dark after all... and the Enlightenment was not as enlightened as some believe.

No, the Dark and Middle Ages are what historians call the *aftermath* of the rise of Christendom. The Enlightenment is what came after a thousand years of Christian rule ended.

So the Dark Ages weren't so "dark" after all, eh? The soul of the religious revisionist is quite the dank little place when it is confessed in this manner.

2:55 AM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

I suppose the government will tax vagina, if they're smart.

When it comes to that, men sure aren't smart.

6:22 AM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Pete said...

Presuming, dave w, that some claim to be "objectivists," or wish to be such.

6:55 AM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

That's great dave w, if you're a computer with the proper software installed.

The overwhelming majority of people never think like that, having no idea how to think. Only what to think, as they have been taught. Don't forget emotion.

I don't believe in coincidence - or even accident - in what the world is facing now. If all thought as you have expressed above (were the tools within all people's minds to do so) would we be where we are? Well, of course not.

Until mankind has pointy ears, and all have genes to allow the Vulcan greeting spread of the middle and ring fingers, I don't see it happening.

7:56 AM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Conan the Cimmerian said...

Seerak said...
So the Dark Ages weren't so "dark" after all, eh? The soul of the religious revisionist is quite the dank little place when it is confessed in this manner.


Ah, you are a funny person.

From Wikipedia, that so to be trusted resource that is without any hint of bias ever:

When modern scholarly study of the Middle Ages arose in the 19th century, the term "Dark Ages" was at first kept, with all its critical overtones. On the rare occasions when the term "Dark Ages" is used by historians today, it is intended to be neutral, namely, to express the idea that the events of the period often seem "dark" to us only because of the paucity of artistic and cultural output,[4] including historical records, when compared with later times.[5]

continues...

However, from the mid-20th century onwards, other scholars began to critique even this nonjudgmental use of the term.[5] There are two main criticisms. First, it is questionable whether it is possible to use the term "Dark Ages" effectively in a neutral way; scholars may intend this, but it does not mean that ordinary readers will so understand it. Second, the explosion of new knowledge and insight into the history and culture of the Early Middle Ages, which 20th-century scholarship has achieved, means that these centuries are no longer dark even in the sense of "unknown to us". Consequently, many academic writers prefer not to use the expression at all,[11] and a recently published history of German literature describes the term as "a popular if ignorant manner of speaking".[12].

Even wiki can't help but note the truth.

Are you always this snarky and arrogant when you are, in fact, completely wrong?

It seems the soul of religious bigot (secularist? atheist? irreligious?)is a dank little place when it is confessed in this manner.

11:44 AM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

Doc McDonald issues the libertarian trumpet blast:...blah, blah, blah...You should read some less biased histories, preferably several written more than 70 years ago (to weed out the Marxist and revisionist influences,) and learn to give credit to Christianity, which is the only system of thought in world history to actually produce individual liberty and universal literacy. Libertarianism is a fine thing, but cannot sustain a culture without the aid of religion.
-----------------------------------
First of all, I am not "blasting the trumpet of Libertarianism". I am speaking from an Objectivist perspective and from a system of ethics and philosophy based upon rational realism. This perspective is in direct opposition from your faith based system that is based upon the ever changing whims of mysticism. Objectivism and Libertarianism are two separate entities and are totally unrelated. You may want to do a little bit of research before you criticize.

I believe in individual rights, including maximal property rights and the obligation of man to live his life as man; not as the puppet of some mystical being or representative dictator. Religion and the Marxism to which you refer are two peas of the same pod. Each requires man to submit himself and his right to pursue life, liberty and happiness as a sacrifice to either a deity or a tyrant (which are sometimes considered one in the same), or the conceptual evils of altruism and pragmatism.

I believe that man is born with one purpose and that purpose is to survive by using the one tool we are born with - the ability to recognize and identify existents, to formulate concepts and to transfer those concepts into actions that benefit our uniquely individual talents and desires. My philosophy is constant, reliable and requires no one to sacrifice to me, or me to them. It is free of altruism and non-negotiable.

Your philosophy is all about fear and self-loathing and sacrifice to the unknown and the non-provable. It is irrational, harmful to mankind and evil. Religion preaches morality while it remains a morally bankrupt alter of sacrifice upon which the value of mankind and this world is non-existent.

They are both subordinated to a preference for an imaginary eternal existence in the socialist society of heaven where all one has to do to have everything one wants is to not sin against God. The alternative? To sacrifice for eternity man's right to be man and exist for his own selfish interest, slaving away in the heat of hell performing and endless task. This latter situation appears pretty much like what religion would have man do here! Are we, then, here to practice for hell - as workers, or for heaven - as members of the utopian welfare state?

One group of Christians decides that their leaders are taking them in the wrong direction; so, they break away and become Protestants. Some Protestants don't agree with the larger group; so, they in turn break away to form yet another group of sacrificial lambs, on and on, ad nauseum. Then we see yet another group rush to a charismatic leader to become Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Moonies, Multicultural Utopians such as the members of Jim Jones' People's Temple or David Koresh's Branch Davidians.

Catholics respond to the Protestant breakaway by becoming even more dogmatic and repressive. The resulting decline of secular productivity and creativity that characterized what most historians call the Middle Ages or more popularly, the Dark Ages ensues and mankind suffers, too afraid to live the life they possess. Sacrifices move from private penance to public executions and "tests of faith".

Facts are facts and based upon the facts, I have no use for you or your dogma, nor your philosophy. Practice your faith as you will, but don't expect me or others to submit to the whims of mysticism. I believe in man qua man. I don't believe in man as the victim of apocalypticism or as a tool to be sacrificed for the pleasure of some cruel deity looks upon man as a psychopath would look upon a fly.

I hope this clears up any misconception you may have had about me or my views.

"Doc" MacDonald

11:54 AM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

The above post from me was intended to address both philwynk and conanthecimmerian. Please pardon my poor effort at cutting and pasting.

12:02 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Conan the Cimmerian said...

What is funny Doc, is that I rather like many things about Rand. I just don't buy into her completely and wholesale. Many things she had great thoughts on, but not all things.

I would take her over the marxists/socialist any day. I am a small *l* libertarian, not an Objectivist.

And I was only pointing out that the, the Enlightened/Enlightenment is not as some seem to believe.

So rave on against those that believe in the mystic, as you term it.

But do not be historically ignorant and believe the clap about the Dark Ages. As I have pointed out it is neither as dark as thought nor the Enlightenment as enlightened as thought. See the Enlightenment's birth child known as the French Revolution for details...

12:14 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

Dark Ages/Early Middle Ages: call it what you will. It was a time where little history was recorded and where little achievement can be credited. It was a time of religious repression. 1+1 = 2 Unless you are using mystical math; then 1+1 = (whatever the voice tells me) :-)

12:39 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Alexander said...

Regarding Alan Greenspan, I don't believe he betrayed Rand's values. In fact, in every public speech or debate in which he was ever questioned about her, and in his book Age of Turbulence, he praised her, praised hard money, and praised laissez-faire.

I believe Alan Greenspan is playing the part of Francisco D'Anconia. D'Anconia happily destroyed the greatest copper mines in the world to prove a point. Greenspan has done the same.

Think about it.

12:58 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

conanthecimmerian said:

What is funny Doc, is that I rather like many things about Rand. I just don't buy into her completely and wholesale.

It is not her that you "buy into"; it is the philosophy of Objectivism, or a moral system of values based upon rational self-interest. I am not surprised that you can't "buy into her completely and wholesale". Many pious practitioners of worship can't "buy into the philosophy of their particular religion completely and wholesale"; hence the multitude of beliefs and practices. When the leaders find it easy to swap "this" for "that"; it becomes even easier for the followers to do the same.

It is the willingness of people to practice only what appeals to them that separates Libertarians (small or large "l") from Objectivists. Rational realism is knowable, understandable, definable and therefore capable of being practiced and relied upon. It doesn't change mid-stream or in the face of hardship. Rational reality is what man relies upon to survive; everything else is just a hope, a guess, or a leap of faith; none of which can be relied upon for consistency.

1:05 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Conan the Cimmerian said...

It was a time of religious repression. 1+1 = 2 Unless you are using mystical math; then 1+1 = (whatever the voice tells me) :-)

Again, this view is not supported my historians...Which was my poiny with Wikipedia citation. Wikipedia is not reliable typically because of bias, particularly of a leftist persuasion. And yet they even get it right. Dark in only one particular sense, the lack of documents.

So, to be rational and objective would be to actually acknowledge that it is but also that which it is not.

wiki:
Films and novels often use the term "Dark Age" with its implied meaning of a time of backwardness. The movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail humorously portrays knights and chivalry, following the tradition begun with Don Quixote. A 2007 television show on The History Channel called the Dark Ages "600 years of degenerate, godless, inhuman behavior."[13]

The public idea of the Middle Ages as a supposed "Dark Age" is also reflected in misconceptions regarding the study of nature during this period. The contemporary historians of science David C. Lindberg and Ronald Numbers discuss the widespread popular belief that the Middle Ages was a "time of ignorance and superstition", the blame for which is to be laid on the Christian Church for allegedly "placing the word of religious authorities over personal experience and rational activity", and emphasize that this view is essentially a caricature.[14] For instance, a claim that was first propagated in the 19th century[15] and is still very common in popular culture is the supposition that the people from the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat. According to Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, this claim was mistaken, as "there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference."[16][15] Ronald Numbers states that misconceptions such as "the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages", "the rise of Christianity killed off ancient science", and "the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of natural philosophy", are examples of widely popular myths that still pass as historical truth, even though he says that they are not supported by current historical research.[17]

1:32 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Conan the Cimmerian said...

and let me emphasize:

and emphasize that this view is essentially a caricature.[14] For instance, a claim that was first propagated in the 19th century[15] and is still very common in popular culture is the supposition that the people from the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat. According to Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, this claim was mistaken, as "there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference."[16][15] Ronald Numbers states that misconceptions such as "the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages", "the rise of Christianity killed off ancient science", and "the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of natural philosophy", are examples of widely popular myths that still pass as historical truth, even though he says that they are not supported by current historical research.[17]

1:34 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

I've read the Wiki article and have little objection to it. Your statement that there existed a "lack of documents" is admitting my statement that there was a "lack of history recorded" which goes to work in favor of little having been achieved or created that was noteworthy (or worthy of being recorded).

Simultaneously, an attempt by the Catholic church to unite all of Europe was underway as a geopolitical force referred to as "Christendom". FYI there were two functionaries existing within Christendom, the church (the sacerdotium) and the secular leaders (imperium). It was felt that this union would take care of both the spiritual and temporal needs of all people. (Of course, the people being affected weren't asked for their opinion, but if offered, it usually resulting in their public execution as a heretic.

Supreme authority for the spirit was the Pope's; temporal supreme authority belonged to the emperor (or secular leader) - this is the mystic/barbarian power sharing cited by Ayn Rand that exists to this day, albeit less noticable.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

In practice the two institutions were constantly sparring, disagreeing, or openly warring with each other. The emperors often tried to regulate church activities by claiming the right to appoint church officials and to intervene in doctrinal matters. The church, in turn, not only owned cities and armies but often attempted to regulate affairs of state.

During the 12th century a cultural and economic revival took place; many historians trace the origins of the Renaissance to this time. The balance of economic power slowly began to shift from the region of the eastern Mediterranean to western Europe. The Gothic style developed in art and architecture. Towns began to flourish, travel and communication became faster, safer, and easier, and merchant classes began to develop. Agricultural developments were one reason for these developments; during the 12th century the cultivation of beans made a balanced diet available to all social classes for the first time in history. The population therefore rapidly expanded, a factor that eventually led to the breakup of the old feudal structures.


I could go on and on, but I find debating religionist tedious, simply because they debate with anti-logic and anti-reason. This you can trust, my friend, the world is much bigger than Wikipedia. Get out more and do some exploring and free thinking on your own. You just might find a better life waiting for you to discover.

v/r

"Doc"

2:23 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Conan the Cimmerian said...

I could go on and on, but I find debating religionist tedious, simply because they debate with anti-logic and anti-reason. This you can trust, my friend, the world is much bigger than Wikipedia. Get out more and do some exploring and free thinking on your own. You just might find a better life waiting for you to discover.

I could go round and round with you too. I see no reason to though, I generally do not feel the urge to waste time with people bent on casting insults while attempting to dress them up as reasoning. Characterizations of my debating with anti-logic and anti-reason, being specious and insulting while based in no observable fact presented here by myself in my argumentation, preclude any objective, logical, and rational discourse to be had.

Objectivism truly must be right and truth as the insults prove it thus.

3:10 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Bert said...

Starve the government?

I'm doing my part by somewhat starving the looters. If I know a local business owner is a looter, I avoid his products or services.

I simply looked up the contributors to the Obama campaign in my local area and no longer patronize their businesses.

3:25 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

Once again:

I've read the Wiki article and have little objection to it. Your statement that there existed a "lack of documents" is admitting my statement that there was a "lack of history recorded" which goes to work in favor of little having been achieved or created that was noteworthy (or worthy of being recorded).

Now, if we are debating that the "Dark Ages" is a misnomer or politically incorrect term because of it's prejorative influence, then, I agree with you (though some other historians disagree; which is why there is "some dispute").

If we are debating that during the early part of the Middle Ages (what used to be called the Dark Ages - for the reasons you cite), that little of note was accomplished, then I think you keep missing the elements of this discussion and instead of repeatedly reprinting selected portions of wiki, you might do better to use some original thinking and insight to clarify your position in a more insightful way.

I indicated that not much happened of significance during what used to be called the Dark Ages. You disagreed and produced a wiki article as your entire arguement. I clarified my position for you and you responded again with a different passage from the same wiki article, this time you acknowledged that there was a "lack of documents". I then pointed out that the lack of documents was a lack of history, which indicates that there wasn't much happening during that period that was noteworthy - little of accomplishment and contribution to the culture or expansion of worldview.

People didn't go to sleep at the dusk of the Roman Empire and suddenly wake unable to read or write. The lack of records (most likely) indicates a lack of productivity, of advances in culture and so on. There is a REASON why RECORDS DO NOT exist. It is here that the debate is centered, but at the same time, avoided.

This period, as I stated was followed by a gothic period where culture, architecture, and many other human endeavors once again flurished in the history recorded by man. What explains the gap? Lack of record keeping just doesn't cut it. It makes no sense when viewed over the entire history of man, who has recorded just about everything since he first learned to write.

As I stated, occuring simultaneous to this anomaly was the geopolitical union of church and state to form a Christendom, which, in spite of your wiki article was filled with disagreements, battles, torture and persecutions of non-belivers and non-Christians as heretics. It was a time where man, ordinary man, had no choice but to serve TWO Masters. His Emperor and his church. Failure to do both meant death or worse.

Now, I have given you facts. This comment contains no reproductions or articles - dispute it where you can, but if you wish to continue this discussion, use some original thinking and provide proof when you challange the facts I have provided for you. To date, you've done neither. I apologize if I hurt your feelings. I'll try to be more polite in the future.

v/r

"Doc"

4:14 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

To give you a starting place regarding the sacerdotium and the imperium, here is a link to a brief article on State and Church (as a 2nd example that the Christendom existed and was vile, brutal and anti-man.

http://www.antipasministries.com/html/file0000139.htm

4:43 PM, October 14, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

I've just come back from visiting all of my friends who were born before 1920, all 3 of them.

Each says that while people are not hungry for food, as some were during the Great Depression, there is a much worse problem now; a lack of community spirit or feeling of "we're all in this together, so let's figure out what we need to do to survive".

I don't think I lead them into that observation, I think it is genuinely theirs.

I wasn't there in in the 1930's; I'm just reporting what 3 people who were there, and are old enough to remember, told me.

2 say they are voting for McCain and one for Obama.

All were involved in the war effort against Germany and Japan. One really lights up when talking of flying bombing missions over Tokyo, the others are a little more subdued when speaking of their wartime activities.

For what it's worth, that's what I did this evening.

3:14 AM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger tomcal said...

Really old people don't seem to mind staying up late and talking. They also seem to have a great ability to consume alcohol.

3:26 AM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger Bumr50 said...

I'm going undercover in the Obama hierarchy.
I'm a recovering alcoholic with three DUI's on my record, and am a perfect candidate (victim.)
I even like hippie music.

You'll know who I am in 10 years.

7:00 AM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger javadoug said...

I agree, I've been 'going Galt' for 9 years now, consistently passing up on opportunities for higher paying jobs, because why should I pay the regressive 'progressive' marginally higher taxes, so that I must work all that harder and get little back. With Obama, I'll put that trend on overdrive, and will scale back even more.

7:50 AM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger thedreadpiratebobby said...

I'm going to become a hypercompetent land-based pirate. By the time the reign of Obama is done, I will have set up an unassailable little kingdom right in a rather ordinary midsized city in the Southeastern USA.

Don't ask me for specifics yet. I'm still working on those.

7:58 AM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger Miles from Kansas said...

I recently moved into a very modest apartment one mile from work, and left behind the TV sets and all the gadgetry acquired over several years, so no cable bill, no land line, my company pays for my mobile, I drive a 12 year old truck and a 49cc scooter, and I don't eat out so much anymore. I pay rent, electric and water, and service the debts garnered from years of being a good consumer.

I'm set up to go Galt from here on out.

8:19 AM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger 2nd cup of coffee said...

The best practical tool I see is, when the tax rates are high, quit giving to charitable organizations and limit discretionary spending, putting any excess money into Gold or some other asset.

When tax rates come down ramp up charitable giving and spending.

When the very people who are demanding government handouts see organizations that really do help people in need fail or scaled back from lack of funds and have to deal with the ineffective programs government puts in place, there will be a change of thinking in Washington.

It may take a while, but those charitable organizations have clout in Washington.

8:28 AM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger MICKLARR said...

A little over two years ago:
1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high;
2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon;
3) the unemployment rate was 4.5%.
4) the DOW JONES hit a record high--14,000 +
5) American's were buying new cars,taking cruises,vacations
overseas, living large!...

But American's wanted 'CHANGE'! So, in 2006 they voted in a Democratic Congress and yes--we got 'CHANGE' all right. In the PAST YEAR:
1) Consumer confidence has plummeted ;
2) Gasoline is now over $4 a gallon & climbing!;
; 3) Unemployment is up to 5.5%(a 10% increase);
4) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $12 TRILLION
DOLLARS and prices still dropping;
5) 1% of American homes are in foreclosure.
6) as I write, THE DOW20is probing another low~~
$2.5 TRILLION DOLLARS HAS EVAPORATED FROM THEIR STOCKS, BONDS & MUTUAL FUNDS INVESTMENT
PORTFOLIOS!

YES, IN 2006 AMERICA VOTED FOR CHANGE...AND WE SURE GOT IT!....

REMEMBER THE PRESIDENT HAS NO CONTROL OVER ANY OF THESE ISSUES, ONLY CONGRESS.

AND WHAT HAS CONGRESS DONE IN THE LAST TWO YEARS,
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

NOW THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT CLAIMS HE IS
GOING TO REALLY GIVE US CHANGE ALONG WITH A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS!!!!

JUST HOW MUCH MORE 'CHANGE' DO YOU THINK YOU CAN STAND?

10:46 AM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

As can be seen in this very thread, religious bigotry is not the exclusive domain of any given persuasion, nor is truth and accuracy.

11:00 AM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger Steve said...

As Difster noted, most of us can't buy a farm and live off the land. But we could start spending a significant portion of our grocery money at local farmer's markets, roadside stands, etc, and PAY CASH. If you work a second job where it's possible (consultant, etc) offer a CASH DISCOUNT... and we all will be good tax-units and report that income, of course.

I think you can see where I'm going with this. We can't completely "drop off the map," but if enough people do whatever they can, it will add up.

Oh welll... who is John Galt? :-(

11:18 AM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger Mina said...

Everyday do something that won't compute.
mina-notsosilentthoughts.blogspot.com

1:49 PM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger frida said...

WEll livingi n Sweden it's easy to see the results of that taxation system. All the big money earners IIKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad, the ABBA members, Hans Rausning, founder of Tetra Pak all reside in Switzerland. ona pratical note a lot of people move money to Luxembourg and we have a thriving underground economy where carpenders, constructions workers etc rule teh cash economy. So it's an interesting case.

Even more interesting is that the social democrats have lost power and the moerate right (conservatives) have started lowering taxes , cutting govt spending and mocing towards a more american style system...most of Europe is.
Ironc it is that Obama chooses to take the US there when Europe is seeing that this dosent work.

2:04 PM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger Just A Place To Post said...

The coming government will be more "progressive" than its citizens.
-- The left-liberals took over the Democratic party.
-- The Democrats are winning because the Republicans were unprincipled spenders who ignored their duties.
-- Even the good ones hardly understand their principles -- if McCain will pay off overextended borrowers, well, the improvement over Obama is marginal at best.
-- The press don't understand either, and look for conventional wisdom that can be safely repeated.

And still McCain was winning on character before the bailout demonstrated executive and legislative incompetence. We might know the Democrats can be worse, but the less alert probably find it hard to imagine.

A Galt Strike attacks a _society_ that insists on taking. Ours is a free working society inherited from immigrants, whose government is momentarily seized by political entrepreneurs. The solution is to take back those institutions, starting with a Republican party. The electorate will choose self-reliance and freedom, but it has to be offered truly and fairly.

And a Galt Strike imagines that a reasonable government emerges naturally, as people learn their lesson. It won't. Abuse of power is the most natural human instinct. _Every_ democracy is vulnerable to politicians adapting moral arguments to justify expansion of their powers. The true principles of the civil rights movement are as subject to political misappropriation as the medieval Church.

A free society requires constant resistance against status accumulation by political entrepreneurs, and vigilance against their innovations. And yet government must still adapt to real changes in technology, demographics and trade, and society must still reject any real errors conserved in its institutions. Government isn't easy, and while its principles maybe "natural", their actual enactment isn't.

It's not enough for the Galts to produce economically. They have to produce politically, too.

2:28 PM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger kona said...

Thanks for raising this Dr. Helen. I read Atlas at 19 and it made perfect sense to me. Today, I am 38, earning nearly $200K per year -- and the conversation at our dinner table last week floored me...As my husband graduates with his master's and enters the workforce in January, we actually talked about "aiming low" -- more than $50K a year and it all goes to the government...never thought I would see the day when this conversation was had in our home!

We've both had a jobs since age of 13, put ourselves through undergrad, and grad school with school loan debt around $120K. We live cheap, in a 400 square foot apartment (can't afford a house in Southern Cal, so I guess we're among the good guys), drive pickup trucks, contribute max to the 401K and believed all along we were doing the right things & making responsible choices. But we find ourselves without the tax shelter of a home or children, writing very large checks to teh IRS and FTB each year(half our earnings), so that it can help the guy down the street? Who bought what he couldn't afford? We're paying for this. And now we sit in our tiny apartment, paying our bills on time, and considering "aiming low..." to stay below the Obama threshold. Talk about devastating.

4:32 PM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger canary said...

Think of the people-pioneers, founding fathers, new immigrants- who sought out this continent. They were going "John Galt".
Where do we have left to run? Space?

4:36 PM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger MICKLARR said...

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

We are well on our way to that dictatorship as the "new Progressive/Communist Party" (Moveon: We own the Democrat Party and expect something for our money") has made it their mission to destroy the economy for the sake of an election. See, any we all thought they were a "do nothing congress" when in fact they have fulfilled their goals.

The sub prime crisis, brought to you by Fannie Mae and the very corrupt thieves like: Jim Johnson, Franklin Raines, Barney Frank, Barack Obama, Maxine Watters, Nancy "let 'em eat cake" Pelosi, John Kerry and Harry Reid ...just to name of few, should be hauled out in handcuffs and prosecuted.

5:29 PM, October 15, 2008  
Blogger Shane said...

Sometimes I wonder if my ancestors are whispering in my ear - About two months ago I got the urge to read "Atlas Shrugged" even though I knew nothing about it and knew very little about Ayn Rand and her philosophy. I am almost done with the book and I must admit that it haunts me - all day I ponder the sights and sounds of America in the throes of a tantrum, and see the tell tale signs of an economic breakdown at our most fundamental levels. If this nation cannot understand the system that has made it so unbelievably successful - so successful that it has lulled us into a decadent stupor - then only a deep correction will reveal the folly that plays so rampant throughout all groups in our society.

"Is there enough money in the world to bail us out from our arrogance?"

"Who is John Galt?"

12:16 AM, October 16, 2008  
Blogger Seerak said...

Are you always this snarky and arrogant when you are, in fact, completely wrong?

The only point you addressed was the issue of what that era is named. You did not address the *facts* of that era, as I wrote:

"No, the Dark and Middle Ages are what historians call the *aftermath* of the rise of Christendom. The Enlightenment is what came after a thousand years of Christian rule ended."

So you can hide behind nomenclature all you want. The era of inquisitions and knouts was a truly Dark age in human history, so it's the name I'll stick to.

That is beside the main point that the religionists are after, anyway. They seek to grand conceptual larceny, and claim the notion of liberty (and therefore, its expression in America) as Christian, not secular, in origin.

Christianity did not originate the notion of liberty anymore than a grave robber "originates" the lost treasures he loots from the tomb. Like that robber, Christianity (via the Thomists) played a role in *transmitting* the key Aristotelian ideas that underlie liberty to us today, but the fact remains that Christianity never thought enough of liberty to actually take the idea seriously, despite over a thousand years of opportunity (and even the several hundred years *after* Aquinas was sainted.)

No, it took a secular Enlightenment to do that, and make America possible America exists despite Christianity, not because of it.

12:57 AM, October 16, 2008  
Blogger Martin Lindeskog said...

I am partially on strike here in the socialist welfare state paradise of Sweden. I am waiting for an "invitation" from the Galt's Gulch (as described in Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged). The good news is that Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, is promoted by an organization called The Ayn Rand Institute in California. They have recently set up a public policy and media center in Washington, DC, called The Ayn Rand Center.

Best Premises,

Martin Lindeskog - American in Spirit.
Gothenburg, Sweden.

8:13 AM, October 16, 2008  
Blogger Brian said...

Helen, I've been thinking about these concepts for quite some time, especially since after originally reading Atlas Shrugged 13 years ago, I re-read it aloud to my wife this year since she had never read it.

Galt's Gulch sounds like a great place right about now. How about stocking up on gold?

8:43 AM, October 16, 2008  
Blogger Martin Lindeskog said...

Brian: I recommend you to read The Collapse of the Dollar and How to Profit from it by James Turk & John Rubino if you are interested in purchasing gold and other hard assets.

8:53 AM, October 16, 2008  
Blogger Wm_Edwin said...

There is a historical precedent to Galt's Gulch in American history:

Hessian mercenaries marveled at the wealthy farms rebel farmers abandoned when they threw in with the revolutionaries.

They contrasted it with the poverty they came from, and could not fathom how people who were better off than all but a few Europeans could rebel against the crown.

But what they could not see was that these "rebels" were accustomed to ruling themselves, and that they bitterly resented the re-imposition of the King's rule. "Taxation without representation" was one expression of this.

This "Galt's Gulch" topic reinforces the notion I've had for a while that a real, consequential contest for the future of the West won't start until those who revere it, decide to leave behind what's been made of it...

2:12 AM, October 17, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

So now they're attacking Joe the Plumber. Well, he's not always white, and not always male. Except to the liberals. It is representative of small business in America - which is yet to be defined this time around. I remember reading somewhere that the federal government considers a small business to be one with less than 2,000 employees (at least at one time).

Perhaps Obama's equivalent would be Jose the illegal immigrant or Nadine the 6 kids with 6 fathers welfare mom. That's not a popular theme that Joe can get his hands around, so Joe will also have to be destroyed by the left and the mainstream.

The average American worker used to be able to pull hard enough to let the rough side drag. The load is too heavy now. Most successful households have two wage earners these days, and have for quite a few years.

Why any productive American who gets up and gets it done every day, would vote for Obama, is beyond me. Why are they buying what he is selling? The type of people who would vote for Obama are the ones who would want something for nothing. You know, the kind of person Joe the Plumber can't afford, and is forced to fire.

Hopefully, all the plumbing outfits in the D.C. metro area will now refuse to answer calls to any government building with problems. Let it back up! It's a start.

6:41 AM, October 17, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

br549,

Unfortunately, in America now, many "citizens" (parasites, in my book) want to take other people's money to get ahead themselves--that is what Obama is selling and it seems to work with a number of Americans. I saw a Gallup poll recently that many Obama supporters are uneducated men. I guess keeping men dumb, ignorant and broke is ideal for the Democratic party. It's really pathetic.

8:42 AM, October 17, 2008  
Blogger Ron said...

Start of a trend?

10:14 AM, October 17, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

Being on the dole is the same as renting vs. owning. (although you never really own your home - even when you burn the mortgage after the last payment).

You take what they're giving. You can't paint the walls your color of choice, choose appliances, etc. And they can (and do) walk in whenever they want. I guess some people actually want to be under someone else's control. The no responsibility for self clause in modern day America.

Pelosi wants to be queen. It's a cinch she regards herself as the most powerful woman in America - and bathes in it - and had more than a little bit to do with Hillary getting pushed aside for Obama. She did not want to share the spotlight. It's also a cinch Hillary is pissed. I see a cat fight if Hillary takes the presidency in 2012. Or Pelosi may retire. One never knows about the closed door deals in D.C.

10:23 AM, October 17, 2008  
Blogger Mr. Punky Kitten said...

Don't breath, you will be in violation of Obama's laws

When I was a kid, we burned coal and wood in our fire place. We often couldn't afford the oil for our heater. With this new classification from Obama, the price of heating our homes will sky rocket. The unintended consequence will be that very many more people will heat their homes with coal and wood in their fire places and wood burning stoves.

Do you know how many pollutants AND CO2 are released by individuals burning as opposed to coal plants, which scrub the exhausts, before they are released? It's much more efficient for power plants to do so. Apparently liberals don't think, logic escapes them. Economics is way over their head.

Hold your breath, or you may be breaking the law. Any scientist knows that CO2 is not pollution, nor can it be classified as a pollutant. One more reason to vote against Obama

11:04 AM, October 17, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

When an individual places their vote for McCain - Palin, somewhere a liberal's head will explode.

Vote for McCain - Palin! The head that explodes may be a pesky liberal who comes in here every now and then.

ACK - ACK!

11:43 AM, October 17, 2008  
Blogger Mr. Punky Kitten said...

I AM JOE THE PLUMBER

12:02 PM, October 17, 2008  
Blogger gypsylady said...

I was a public schools teacher for 8 years. I just quit this year to homeschool my children.
Why? One main reason: Public Education is not working. Why?
Brief Run-down: we have illegal students here who are costing two to three times as much as children who are legal citizens. Thye must have free lunch, English as a Second Language teachers and classes, an interpreter for the parents and students. They refuse to remove or report these illegals. I was being forced to treat them better than regular students because it was politically "good" to do so. If they could not understand and spit in another child's eye--it was deemed Okay because maybe that is their culture. We must be sensitive to them and insensitive to those children they were hurting.
I also had to work with spanish speaking teachers who did not understand or could not teach language, writing, or reading. Therefore, I was asked to re-write their notes, lesson plans, and more. I already had a full plate. But everyone is so SCARED of not being politically correct, that they are corrupting our system.
I quit and I am THRILLED. My children are learning , I'm spending less money on my classroom, and am spending WAY less on gas, clothes, and food. I am making my own food at home, and do not buy retail anymore.
I was buying WAY too much for children that did not have supplies, and supplies that the school insist I have, but would not give teachers ANY money for. They also put a freeze on our income for three years. Yes we stay at the same pitiful salary for three years--we would not receive any type of increase. Yet we were not allowed to ask the students to bring in pencil and paper, and were given no money to purchase any.
Guess what all of the teachers had to do? BUY it at Walmart out of our own pocket.
I have cut WAY back--I'm nolonger buying retail, driving out of a 10 mile radius, spending money on eating out, and am no longer putting my money in a savings account. I am using the money to pay off all of our debt.
It has made our family closer, more appreciative, and I am proud to say that I believe MORALS are IMPORTANT regardless of what ethnicity you are.

9:46 PM, October 17, 2008  
Blogger Mark said...

Dr Helen.

Here in the UK where we have had Socialist Government for over 10 years now, with creeping 'stealth' taxes and other social malaise, the instinct of many middle class Brits is to emigrate, either to Australia, Spain or the US.

Yet here is where the 'strike' is failing. Immigration still exceeds emigration. With eastern european countries joining the European Union there has been a massive influx of workers from Poland, the Baltic States and so on.
The Poles in particular have come over in massive numbers, anything up to half a million. They have a great work ethic and are prepared to work far harder, which in turns generates tax revenue.

What I'm saying is that every strike has its scabs, and the US Government will find scabs to fill the gaps.

5:17 AM, October 18, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

Mark,

On the other hand, the immigrants that come over to work and pay tax can pay for my and my John Galt assosicate's social security in the future.

9:06 AM, October 18, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

mark....

The scabs are already here. They are currently called illegal aliens. illegal aliens. They will realize they are the new slaves to our government soon enough, and the crap will hit the fan with them too.

3:01 PM, October 18, 2008  
Blogger sandy said...

My husband and I are in our late 30's and among those who are supporting the exploiters by working full-time, paying our bills and mortgage ON TIME (with extra payments each month, whenever possible), and we pay our taxes. Between the two of us our income makes us comfortable, but we still curb our spending and live within our means. I would love to be able to take a couple of grand vacations every year, or buy filet mignon on a weekly basis, but I realize that I have responsibilities that preclude such frivolity. HOWEVER, we are seriously considering buying a cheapo camper and quitting our jobs to travel around the Americas. We can live off of our savings and sell whatever we can across the continent and continue to use our cash-back credit card to make a small profit off of the banks. NO TAXES, well, except for gas and other required purchases, but we can say goodbye to property tax, school tax, income tax, and any other tax that takes money out of our pocket for the benefit of those who don't deserve it.

11:49 AM, October 19, 2008  
Blogger sandy said...

My husband and I are in our late 30's and among those who are supporting the exploiters by working full-time, paying our bills and mortgage ON TIME (with extra payments each month, whenever possible), and we pay our taxes. Between the two of us our income makes us comfortable, but we still curb our spending and live within our means. I would love to be able to take a couple of grand vacations every year, or buy filet mignon on a weekly basis, but I realize that I have responsibilities that preclude such frivolity. HOWEVER, we are seriously considering buying a cheapo camper and quitting our jobs to travel around the Americas. We can live off of our savings and sell whatever we can across the continent and continue to use our cash-back credit card to make a small profit off of the banks. NO TAXES, well, except for gas and other required purchases, but we can say goodbye to property tax, school tax, income tax, and any other tax that takes money out of our pocket for the benefit of those who don't deserve it.

11:49 AM, October 19, 2008  
Blogger Mike said...

The Idea that BHO is going to reduce your taxes sounds great untill you find out that your DEDUCTIONs are going to be reduced. The revenue MUST come from you...as long as you let it.

3:00 PM, October 19, 2008  
Blogger goy said...

At this point in this thread (132 comments! SOMEOne struck a nerve here!) somebody has probably already pointed out that about 50% of those filing tax returns have already done some form of a "Galt", possibly without even realizing it.

I think this points to a different approach, discussed here if anyone's interested.

4:17 PM, October 19, 2008  
Blogger Liz said...

here are a couple of rather interesting links to a church that puts into practice punishing those who are productive to reward those who are not. Note the juxtaposition of the first post stating "we are all equal; God has no favoritism" with the second one stating that "if you have no home or job, there are no questions asked, no requirements; but if you DO have a home and job, you MUST give 10% of your income, x number of hours etc etc to help the disadvataged," The "helpees" apparently have NO demands whatsoever placed on the. What an incentive to NOT crawl out of the gutter. Once you better yourself, you will be forced to give. And whatever happened to "there is no "us" or "them"....apparantly there is, it just works a little differently than we usually think. Whatever happened to voluntarily giving? I have NO problem helping out people but this group seems like something is....off???
Linky one

Linky two

4:59 PM, October 21, 2008  
Blogger Hank Reardon said...

To Do:

I have frozen hiring in my firm.
Kids educated via private school.
No investments will be made in taxable accounts (only 401k/IRAs).
I am buying silver and gold instead of CD's or stocks with non-qualified money/savings.
I have stopped taking new clients (thus freezing my income).
I barter more and more.
Spend Less.
I Stopped Leveraging assets (don't borrow).
Vote and register Libertarian.
Give money to anti-tax campaigns (like Mass.).
Once the kids are out of the house I will move to a ranch and live off the land.
Take payments for work in cash or coins (silver/gold)
Spread Rand's work (and Frederick Bastiat, read THE LAW)

6:50 PM, October 23, 2008  
Blogger doubletrouble said...

Well, statement? No, not really. But like tomcal above, I have retired from productive employment for a spell to see what will happen.
As tomcal put it, not everyone is in a position to do this, but I made it a goal in life to be, by age 50, in a position in which I could be financially self-secure; i.e. I only owe what I spend.
Having accomplished this goal, it is my intent to "John Galt" this temporary economic (& possibly political) set of circumstances to see where my next efforts should be applied.
Life is finer when unencumbered with the need to spend 'till it hurts.
Regards...

8:50 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger Mina said...

a true John Galt, owns nothing, has no contracts including social contracts required by government agencies, pays no taxes,depends on nothing other than his own ability to self subsist. it is a fantasy to think that by owning anything especially a piece of land you can escape governmental oversite and control, that you can live off the land and be off the radar.That you can have a family and remain anonymous.There is no real freedom at all when one chooses to interact with a conformist society even remotely. It was once said that; in order to commit the perfect crime one must not even tell his shadow that he did it.To be John Galt well.....

9:14 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger Karen said...

I am heartened to see others taking part in "the silent revolt".

I immigrated to the US from Canada. When the government started "clawing back" income physicians earned that was deemed to be "excessive", the physicians I worked for just stopped working. Canceling elective surgery, etc.

Likewise, a few years ago we had a very bad experience with the public school when our special needs son was continually physically threatened and harmed, and the school refused to provide him a safe place to learn. After he got thrown down a flight of stairs, (long story, yes, we did hire an attorney, etc etc) we withdrew from the public school system and did a combination of home schooling and private school.

Since public school levies were the largest portion of our real estate taxes, we sold all of our rental property at the height of the market in 2005 and following the examples of the tax hypocrites (the Sen Ted Kennedy clan) we stashed the proceeds in tax-exempt accounts and downsized tremendously. I refuse to support a school system that I can not use.

My husband is near the end of his active duty military career. We are currently stationed in California. I have a small business and looked into opening a business here but the withholding and onerous redtape, I passed.

We are continuing to wind down and try to avoid paying taxes and supporting the nanny state of California whereever possible.

I shop online via the Exchange system to avoid paying sales taxes, and it includes free shipping. Likewise, I online shop for groceries via Amazon and other purveyors -- no tax and it cuts down on the fuel tax surcharges.

We have a small garden, which is therapeutic and a hobby, as well as significantly reducing our grocery bill. We still drive our 2000, well maintained, paid for, vehicle.

I am laying off people and gradually winding down my business. At this point, I draw enough in salary to fully fund my retirement funds to the max allowable (including a ROTH IRA) and pay for supplemental health and dental insurance.

My husband was approached by the local university and teaches a class part-time, but he has told them he is not going to renew his contract after this semester.

After he retires we plan on traveling and enjoying life. The original plan was to launch a second career, but I think enjoying life to the fullest while we have the health and mobility is a gift we deserve to give ourselves.

The Obama plan sounds an awful lot like the "Little Red Hen" to me.
I'm not interesting in growing, thrashing and baking just to have others cruise by to eat the bread.

More and more small business people I know feel the same -- when the well is empty, maybe those who aren't productive will get the hint that if you want to eat, work.

9:47 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger bmayer said...

To go "John Galt" you are looking at doing one of two things.
1. Stop producing
2. Stop giving up your production to free loaders.

If you do 1 you are useless, 2 is your only option unless you are going to retire. So how can you do that?
1. Run for office yourself.
2. The easiest way, vote for people that won't tax you more. If they do tax you more, vote them out of office.
3. Join something like the Free State Project http://www.freestateproject.org/ Once that is in effect tell the feds that you are not putting up with their over taxation, Constitution stomping crap any more.

I like redistributing my wealth to those that are less fortunate then myself. What I don't like is being forced to give my money, and then have someone else administer it. Having a friends wife, who worked in the local social security office, tell stories convinced me that gov't is not a good decider of who should or should not receive my hard earned money.

10:35 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger Sean Galt said...

Striking...there's a concept.
For a while, I wondered if that wasn't what happened to Steve Fosset.

I am really enjoying this post and these comments.

11:35 AM, October 27, 2008  
Blogger JHardin said...

Re secession: read Molon Labe.

6:55 PM, October 28, 2008  
Blogger nehpets said...

I am only pulling a semi-gault. Here are a couple of things I will do in the next months. I own a company with 30 employees.

I am eliminating the majority of non-value added (NVA) positions in my company. I have several employees whose main job is to learn their profession and assist others. Not on my expense anymore. Also, having a secretary with an assistant is a luxury I no longer need.
I will reduce the size and scope of my business. I started and built the company and can do so again if I wish. I can make the same profit by working harder myself. Yes, I have gotten lazy.
Personally, I will never buy an American car again. Detroit and the labor unions are our next bailout. Then the airlines. I will attempt to eliminate the excess spending in my life - less going out for dinner, less on holiday spending. Little things that add up.

8:14 PM, November 05, 2008  
Blogger Kristen said...

Re-reading these comments now, two days after the election, I'm finding myself near tears. I'm no fragile flower, either.

My husband earns a nice salary, commensurate with his specialized ability and effort. I pick up some freelance work, but even under current tax conditions it would be a losing proposition for me to return to the workforce full-time. We have some retirement savings and a little money put aside for our kid's college education (2.5 years away). With a final vehicle payment in February, we'll be debt-free except for reasonable, low-interest mortgages on our home and our previous house; we were caught in the market turn and couldn't sell it, so we rent it out for a small monthly loss.

Our lifestyle is already frugal. We splurge on an annual family vacation but otherwise, our money has gone into savings and our home. If our taxes increase, our comfort margin is going to be very slim. I'm already clipping coupons, shopping sales, preparing all but one weekly meal at home, managing our energy use like a miser, and rejecting 99.9% of purchases that are wants rather than needs.

Depending on which campaign speech you believe, however, President Elect Obama thinks we're rich. When he doesn't confiscate as much money as he expects from the upper 1%, I'm certain he'll reach down to our level.

While others here are thinking about how to make a statement, I'm fretting over how we can insulate ourselves against that near inevitability. We'll have a little extra money starting in late winter -- do we stash that in a safe or risk putting it into a 529 account for our kid's education? Do we stop all 401K contributions above the employer match level and put the money into something durable and further from government hands? Do we make all the purchases we've been delaying (bedroom furniture that wasn't picked from a neighbor's trash pile, lumber and paint for the house) before mid-January so our purchases won't drive the Obama economy? We're considering cutting back from expensive, employer-subsidized health insurance -- at $600/month for the family -- to catastrophic insurance only, pocketing the savings and hoping for the best.

It pisses me off. It really does. We work hard to be responsible adults, help our community, raise a good kid, restrict our energy use, support organizations that we believe in, and save for our future. Even under this administration, we've seen our tax dollars go to irresponsible, lazy people and institutions. That will get worse.

I'm worried, I'm upset, but I'm sitting down today and trying to figure out a plan.

8:26 AM, November 06, 2008  
Blogger Small said...

I found this blog in my quest to get over my post election depression and start taking action to safeguard my family's financial interests.

I started a members-only yahoo group for small business owners to talk about legitimate safeguards in the coming 4 years.

Yes, I thought about working less too. Not that hard to do, as I realized I was working hard and keeping less, and writing out that quarterly estimated tax check for the past 5 years. I know exactly how overtaxed I am.

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/obamabidenProofOurSmallBusiness

6:42 PM, November 07, 2008  
Blogger Ben said...

The other half of what John Galt did was more important (people are pulling the lever that stops the world left and right all over the place. . . try "I can has research paper" in Google -- there's lots of talent already doing very little good out there.) 145 comments and the word "Atlantis" appears nowhere. Be a John Galt. Get clever and build your own Atlantis in your own backyard. Start an underground economy and secede without leaving. Get paid back in kind. Should you stop feedin' the beast? Hell yeah! You've better things to do with your effort. Forget about the money and the greenbacks and put your focus on the REAL stuff that money chases (and often can't buy.)

12:29 AM, November 08, 2008  
Blogger Mom At 35 said...

Kona 4:32 PM, October 15, 2008 - we live in southern California and did all the responsible things you did. I have a doctorate, my husband a masters degree, and since 2005 our combined household income was over $350K (unfortunately, I had the audacity to start a business). We bought the house. Had the baby. Guess what? You'll find, as we've found, that it made little difference. This year, though, I had the fortune of deciding to cut back my biz to the point of keeping it in maintenance mode only to stay home with the baby. Now in a Obama-Biden administration, I hope to look less rich. It's tough for a type A personality like me to aim to make less $, yet that is exactly what I'm planning to do. That, and cashing out a % of our savings to buy gold, and put the rest toward the principle of our once-ridiculously overpriced house (that has since lost $200K+ of its value post 2005).

2:43 PM, November 08, 2008  
Blogger Scout said...

I have been convinced for some time that the economy was on its way to failure and that it would behoove me to be prepared. To that end I have purchased some of the Foxfire series of books. These books contain a treasure trove of knowledge on how people lived in appalachia and are an entertaining read! A to Z on being self sufficient.
As for going John Galt, the way things look we may not have a choice....when the continuing/worsening socialistic policies fail and the country is driven into poverty you better be able to take care of yourself.

10:35 AM, November 20, 2008  
Blogger Fritz said...

Interesting read and first post. In addition to the self sufficiency that several of you have made reference to, the need still exists to function somewhat in the real world. Barter will therefore become more common as the strikers trade with one another.

11:48 AM, November 20, 2008  
Blogger SDC said...

I encourage you to go John Galt. The only thing that would more quickly bring this society of 'looters' to a halt than a strike by conservative thought leaders who refuse to write more thought leading blog posts might be a strike by life coaches or personal branding consultants, but that's too terrifying to even ponder.

1:22 PM, December 06, 2008  
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12:37 AM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Ed said...

Fritz is correct. The barter system of economy will certainly starve the government of funds if a critical mass of people participate. The problem is that the government will only take more as it's needed. They will never do with less like the rest of us. Falling off the grid, as satisfying as that sounds, is pretty implausible. I think the productive class has to make sure we are as debt-free as possible. That way we can "hide" as much of our earnings as we can afford, from The One when he comes to seize it.

6:26 PM, December 22, 2008  
Blogger Rick said...

To answer your question re: legal ways to go John Gault - - -

- - - To some degree, the ‘problem’ is generational and to the extent it is, going John Gault is a natural evolution.

Yeah, yeah, yeah - - walking to school a mile in the snow - - uphill both ways - - - yak. Yak, yak - - - . Beyond the cliché, life has become amazingly easy for mainstream Americans, one generation to the next. My parents were depression era adolescents, and they taught my siblings and me an almost religious respect for personal gain through personal effort. The ultimate compliment to a man’s value among my Mainer uncles was, “He’s a workah!” - - - . Conversely, the ultimate expression of disdain was, “Not much of a workah, that one.”

My Dad’s tongue-in-cheek comment on going John Gault: “What this country needs is a good depression!” Dad is gone, my uncles are dying-off, and I’m at retirement age. We have traded the copper and brass mills along the Naugatuck River for clean water, rather than encouraging industry to develop cleaner production techniques, the steel mills are gone, Bridgeport, Brown & Sharp, Starett, Blanchard - - - all gone, and it looks like Ford & Chrysler are well on their way - - .

So, for the nest of vipers who reward non-productivity to get in office, and the idiot masses who send them to Washington, I suggest we are three generations away from any hope at all - - - . The current generation, to squander what the country has spent two hundred years developing, the next generation to whine about the loss, and the subsequent generation to begin rebuilding.

3:28 PM, December 28, 2008  
Blogger craig said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:44 PM, January 10, 2009  
Blogger craig said...

Thank you Dr. Helen for such a thought provoking blog . . . I am withdrawing, by selling my company and my wife and I converting to cash as much as possible . . . This is the culmination of a lot of things including our electeds of both parties being criminals, through things like hiding earmarks from the public, and the continued erosion of personal freedoms.
Grow a garden, own a generator, know how to defend yourself, look in rather than out for the solution to your needs . . . Take care

11:44 PM, January 10, 2009  
Blogger craig said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:44 PM, January 10, 2009  
Blogger craig said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:44 PM, January 10, 2009  
Blogger craig said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:44 PM, January 10, 2009  
Blogger craig said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:44 PM, January 10, 2009  
Blogger craig said...

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11:44 PM, January 10, 2009  
Blogger Robohobo said...

Easy. In a few steps:

Buy rural land
Build a house
Move there
Grow stuff
Invest in commodities as follows:
Canned goods, dry goods, guns, ammo
The actual products, not the false investments
Barter for as much as you can

I find the current generation a bunch of ungrateful whiners. They complain us boomers are to blame for everything when we are just now coming into the time when we will really have the power and position to run things. Screw 'em. Let them figure out how it all works. Bunch of pansies.

1:13 PM, January 19, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

There is another way - - - One whose time may have come - - - Found the "John Gault" party - - - merge with the Libertarians, and get this whole mess trrned around.

6:12 PM, January 19, 2009  
Blogger javadoug said...

>Rick has left a new comment on the post "Going John Galt":

>There is another way - - - One whose time may have come - - -
>Found the "John Gault" party - - - merge with the Libertarians,
> and get this whole mess trrned around.

Sounds good to me, there is nothing to lose (that already has happened). But who is going to do the grass roots work.
I'm already a member of the Libertarian party. I quit the Republicans 2 years ago.

7:22 PM, January 19, 2009  
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5:01 AM, February 27, 2009  
Blogger Rambler said...

How ironic it is to see those that support Obama the most are losing their jobs first. They've scared the &^%( out of the people that make the country work and create the jobs and you wonder why they are setting on their hands, stopping all expansion plans, in fact cutting back. Now all libs will see what happens when Atlas shrugs. Viva John Gault!

9:25 PM, February 28, 2009  
Blogger Nathan Hale said...

How about a Vacation for Freedom?

I am glad this is bubbling up. There is simply no better comparison for what we are going through---and what we will go through, than Atlas Shrugged.

I have proposed a figurative shot across the bow from those of us on whom the President's Generational Theft Act depends. The Shot? I suggest that we all take a Month off from working (or, at least, getting paid to work), a Month off from buying and from hiring. I suggest we don't travel, buy or sell stocks, make phone calls except for Skype and in every possible way refuse to participate in the economy. I just started a Facebook group: "Achievers On Strike--Vacation For Freedom"

It seems to me that November of this year would be an opportune time for us all to take a Vacation for Freedom. Please join us.

11:15 AM, March 02, 2009  
Blogger wildswan said...

You could go John Galt by voting against all bond issues in your area till the amount your area has to pay for the stimulus is equalized. Not refuse but just postpone.
And then you could vacation in your local area - if at all possible and definitely not out of the country.
And you could vow not to buy a car from any company that is bailed out without reform of its actual wage scale to conform to the American Toyota plant.
And you could vow to spend 50% less next Christmas.

The watchword is conspicuous saving.

5:53 PM, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Daniel Ferreira said...

I think going John Galt would be an utter failure, and if you all tried, you would soon find out that you really needed the supposedly looters, moochers and parasites after all. But it would be an interesting experiment...

6:39 PM, March 02, 2009  
Blogger T.H. said...

Going Galt can be simple! Galt's Gulch is a state of mind, not a place. I am 'going Galt' even though I make less than $250k; I refuse to support looters on principle.

I work in biotech - work that supports cancer research and drug development, among other things. I left work when I got pregnant. I was planning on returning this year, but I decided to stay at home for a few years in light of Obama's oppressive tax policies. My family will cut back on expenses and spend more time enjoying each other's company; the looter-in-chief will be deprived of ~ $10,000 because of my decision. I win! Yaaay.

9:40 PM, March 03, 2009  
Blogger AST said...

Ironically, I'm already doing it, albeit unhappily. I retired early on a disability. I'm collecting social security and a pension and am on Medicare. I have more cash than I've ever had, because I was putting all I could into an IRA, 401(k), etc.

Hoping I die before I take back what I paid in.

10:02 PM, March 03, 2009  
Blogger KCJohnGalt said...

I am retired (52), paid off my mortgage in 2001 and am 100% in cash - the reason I was able to retire 6 years ago was because I was already saving heavily for many years. Even though we are deflationary right now, I cannot see how we're going to avoid inflation. Cutting back expenses like other commenters have mentioned is an excellent way to avoid sales taxes as well as building savings that you'll need for the future problems.

We will be facing higher sales taxes, property taxes, fees for services, federal and state income taxes and other taxes like sin taxes. If you enjoy wine or alcohol, you may wish to avoid future sales tax and sin tax increases by doing what I did - I determined a reasonable life expectancy and bought a lifetime supply of hard alcohol like bourbon that will last indefinitely in sealed bottoms in my basement - if you do this, buy only liquor in glass, buy the 1.75 liter size for more savings and wait for sales at a store that will give you an additional 10% off per case. In my case, the store owner pointed out that several well-known brands have ALREADY increased their bottle prices because of THEIR additional costs.

I have also been buying durable goods in bulk that I know I will use - furnace filters, FoodSaver bags, etc, and get the best prices usually on EBay but also from various other Internet stores. You can only store so much food which you can't store for a lifetime (no thanks on the powdered eggs and other survivalist food!), but I bought plastic shelving units, set them up in my basement and have stocked them with about a 2 year supply of staples, including canned soup, vacuum-packed mason jars of rice and pasta, canned fruit, etc - all of which are bought on loss-leader sales at grocery stores. I also have 2 freezers which are kept full, the contents of which were all bought on sale.

My intent here is to avoid future sales tax increases as long as possible, and to mitigate the sales taxes I must pay by always buying EVERYTHING on sale.

I also live frugally, which is the best revenge, and since a large part of my cash is in long-term IRA CDs, I keep my income as low as possible and stay out of higher brackets, and contribute the maximum allowed (3K) to my Health Savings Account which this year will save me about $400 on my federal and state taxes since it is an above-the-line deduction. That's the same as earning a 13.3% return on that money, and the beauty is that the interest accumulates tax-free.

Past that, I intend to barter as much as possible when the opportunity arises. I am cutting firewood on a neighbor's country property in return for giving him some. I am sharing some bulk purchases with neighbors, getting better prices. I am refusing to go to parks (usually national) that charge a fee to enter.

Most importantly, unless I am in serious danger of starving, I will never get another job and allow the government to confiscate my production for their use.

Who is John Galt? We ALL are.

5:11 PM, March 04, 2009  
Blogger KCJohnGalt said...

Correction - the booze is in sealed bottles, not bottoms - lol ...

5:13 PM, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Mark said...

What a novel idea. Just stop making money so there is no money to redistribute

Mark

"I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system"

President George W. Bush
http://mark24609.blogspot.com/

9:18 PM, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Ben said...

I like that "legal" qualifier as to our response to the government. At some point the whats legal issue will depend upon need and not on obedience to a tyrannical state hell bent on the destruction of a system that is finally vulnerable to tipping over the point of no return. Then what will the replacement government be? and do you want to live under said replacement? society in flux and not a leader to be found.

2:41 AM, March 06, 2009  
Blogger goy said...

- At some point the whats legal issue will depend upon need...

Nope. We already have a perfectly serviceable Constitution. That defines what's legal. It's feasible to obey that law and effectively withdraw from support of the current government's destructive process.

Insofar as the actions of the current government itself don't conform to that fundamental law, we already have the prescription for 'replacement'.

Looked at another way, we already have a faux replacement government which is acting solely in its own best interests and ignoring the Constitution. The goal should be to undo that and inspire a government that is accountable. Right now, they're anything but accountable, and that is the real crux of the problem.

IMHO, leaders are nowhere to be found simply because the entire system - from academia, to media, to government - is completely broken. Leaders capable of correcting that brokenness are going to appear outside that broken milieu, not within or as a part of it.

Food for further thought here and here.

8:51 AM, March 06, 2009  
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12:53 AM, March 07, 2009  
Blogger El Supremo Sleep Heavy said...

Go Galt on the Philippine Islands guys... no kidding. Its a very quiet place, lots of greenery... your money has 48 times the buying power and its not in Economic Crisis. Food and sustenance is very inexpensive... power and energy is very cheap... go Galt there... live in the Sand and sea... on the beach and leave all the evils of the American Economy behind you.

10:24 AM, March 07, 2009  
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3:09 AM, March 08, 2009  
Blogger BruceKinabrew said...

What are the essential areas of going galt?

I think of some but need input...

Legal... A judge or skilled attorney could address this..

Economic... A good CPA could advise people how to shave money out of the system legally,

Educationally... home school so the local training centers dont get paid for the student not there.

Religiously... Opposite from withdrawl... get involved in government with a good christian perspective... Washington said we need to teach religion,morality, and knowledge in our school system... we have left that long behind.

What else? I need some help.

1:31 PM, March 10, 2009  
Blogger Ryan said...

Why don't we all just start a facebook group and start organizing a plan to buy some of the farmland left in Ireland or Scotland, get people who'll do each job on it, get the livestock, equipment, and housing we'll need, and start going and preparing it?

We can discuss how to develop a monetary standard that won't lose worth, where to go exactly, how to afford it, etc. Then we can leave during the summer, recruit and expand, and perhaps have other camps in other countries than the original, and figure the rest out too.

It seems simple and worthwhile, to me, to start planning for this eventuality, and perhaps even start building the farm in the summers.

It's time to take the oil out of the motor.

10:03 PM, March 10, 2009  
Blogger jd said...

Wow.

I was never a left winger, but it appears what they say about you IS true.

Then again, maybe it was the plan all along just to bring it out of you.

10:56 PM, March 10, 2009  
Blogger Hmm05 said...

A legal way to go "John Galt" is to fundamentally change our income taxation system. Specifically, to successfully pressure our elected representatives to implement the "Fair Tax" at both Federal and state level (and repeal or change the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution).

Our current "political class" (both parties) uses the federal income tax system as "cover" to "play favorites", pit one group against, another and coerce individual's and voluntary organization's behavior. If the current administration is successful in de facto nationalizing the banking system they will have enormous power to coerce individual citizens and vountary organizations (e.g., religious, and etc.).

3:02 PM, March 11, 2009  
Blogger The Contrarian Reviewer said...

http://contrarianreview.blogspot.com/2009/03/us-of-holes.html

In her novel Atlas Shrugged, the "heroes" (industrialist John Galt and a herd of likeminded, solipsistic, overfed piggies) go "on strike" to protest the fact that they have a duty to contribute back to civilization an amount fractionally proportionate to the success that that civilization has made possible for them (though, of course, Rand frames it somewhat differently). Like many of today's self-deluded, self-regarding, "self-made" men, they whine at the notion of having some responsibility to support the system (the public laws, rules, and investments) and the people (the workers and consumers) who were instrumental in creating their wealth, preferring instead the twin roles of freeloader and de-facto thief. Apparently the present-day Randian catchphrase for this kind of toddler-level selfishness is "Going Galt."

If you are yourself one the aforementioned scumsacks, yearning to go Galt, I have a Word of my own: GO. Get your stinking eugenicist asses as far away from the rest of us as you can. Spare the decent majority -- those with souls and consciences and a functional set of ethics -- from your virulent, self-congratulatory philosophies and your wanton, self-serving ruination (ruin-a-nation). Get the FUCK OUT. Find your own island. We'll film a reality show there: "Last Cannibal Standing." Then, if anyone's left, we'll nuke it till it's a crater of glass.

7:34 AM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger goy said...

TCR, your morally adolescent misrepresentation of Rand's thesis suggests that you should actually try reading her novel(s).

Ignorant and pseudo-erudite is no way to go through life, son.

9:03 AM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Well, well, well, Contrarian! Aren't you excitable!

I think you have your philosophies reversed a bit. It seems those who tried the 'Society responsible for every individual's needs' crowd (Communists), didn't do too well - - .The "leaders" destroyed the country's ability to produce, and then stole the crumbs that were left. If productive people are concerned that the good 'ol USofA is heading in the same direction then you shouldn't be surprised.

Go visiting around the world, and you will see that the poor (and not-so-poor) in this country are better off than just about anywhere. Why is that, do you suppose? Because of government?

Could it be that the wealth created by the free market system created enough so generous-minded people could afford to support legitimate charities? It is not supporting charity that motivated Atlas Shrugged - - - it is being forced to give to government-designated "charities" at the point of a gun (which is bad enough), BUT: 1. Government give-aways are invariable poorly conceived, poorly executed, and ineffective, 2. are motivated by power lust, rather than humanitarian considerations, and 3. create long-term dependency.

Charity is not the business of government. Charity (start calling it what it is) is, and should be, granted at the discretion of the giver. If we could separate Charity and State as well as we separate Church and State, there would be no need for the Galts.

9:27 AM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger The Contrarian Reviewer said...

Goy: as soon as I find a reputable reviewer who *doesn't* consider Rand's stuff middlebrow, pseudo-intellectual twaddle, I might read her. Until that unlikely event occurs, my time is too valuable.

Rick: you are wrong almost all the way down the line (with the exception of Communism, which is not at issue here anyway. The choice is not a binary one between laissez-faire barbarism and totalitarian barbarism).

You actually think the poor here in the U.S. are actually *better off* than in, e.g., Scandinavia, where everyone, not just the rich, can go to a doctor, and where there is actually some semblance of equal *opportunity* (i.e., state-sponsored higher ed, extensive job training for the unemployed, strong unions that ensure that workers receive a fair share of the spoils, and greater overall social mobility [look it up--mobility between classes is now higher than the U.S. in a number of Western nations])??

You also claim: "1. Government give-aways are invariable poorly conceived, poorly executed, and ineffective, 2. are motivated by power lust, rather than humanitarian considerations, and 3. create long-term dependency."

1) Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Tell that to the many satisfied citizens who receive Social Security and Medicare (the latter, btw, operates with a far lower level of overhead than the private, screw-the-client, for-profit insurance companies). There's an excellent reason cuts to these government programs are a political third rail--people love them!
2) lol Your empirical evidence for this claim? Is that why so many of us progressive are working night and day for little or no money to advance our goals? Power lust?? Good one.
3) Erm, you are at least vaguely aware of the 1996 welfare reform bill, which requires benefit-seekers to find work, are you not? And you are also aware that SS and Medicare are hardly "charity"--this is money set aside from people's own paychecks. Levels of old-age poverty declined dramatically after these programs were enacted. (And they'd be soaring again if we'd fallen for Bush's enrich-the-brokers S.S. privatization scam.)

11:58 AM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger The Contrarian Reviewer said...

P.S. And no, we shouldn't call it "charity." We should call it a right. (See, e.g., Article 25 of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights.) No one's life or well being should depend on "the discretion of the giver" -- not if we value human life the way we as a culture claim to do. (Tangentially, it's ironic that the first people to screech about the "rights of the unborn" rarely seem to give a flying fuck about the rights of the actual human beings that surround them.)

12:05 PM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger goy said...

- Until that unlikely event occurs, my time is too valuable.

LOL!!! Well, until then you should keep your baseless opinions to yourself. The straw man you've constructed bears no resemblance to Rand's thesis in Atlas Shrugged. And your other straw man ravings bear no resemblance to conservative thought.

Get back to us when you've actually read the thing. In the meantime, ask your taskmasters for a different assignment - you have no credibility in this forum.

12:18 PM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger Brian said...

"I have always thought an interesting study would be to see how the political views of billionaires often change once they have made it to the top level. They seem to all swerve left at that point. My theory is that they made it off the capitalist system and are more right-leaning but later, they desire acceptance and it is easier to do that as a Democrat due to the media and good press one gets as one."

Desire acceptance? Why is it that it's only the self centered scumbags like yourself that fail to understand that acceptance is waiting for everyone that gives up being an asshole? Acceptance by people that aren't scumbags, I mean--you guys flock together like stink to shit. Maybe the other way around.

2:47 PM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger peter said...

the problem with interpreting today's world through the lens of ayn rand is that she lived in an america that had a proud industrial economy. if edison had quit, we would have suffered; if jeffery immelt quits it won't make a damn bit of difference. galt's invention, a mator that runs on static electricity is a fantasy based on the work of nicola tesla. such an invention would make a man an absolute titan, but he would still have to rely on government to maintain a patent. john galt was a romantic hero but no more real that batman or the cookie monster.

7:09 PM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger The Contrarian Reviewer said...

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is,
the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

(And Peter - well said.)

9:19 PM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger goy said...

peter - most of Heinlein's work was based on science fiction as well. His observations of the human condition were (also) nonetheless accurate. Galt was a distillation - of all the entrepreneurs, engineers and various productive individuals that make society possible. That someone needs to explain this to you indicates that you may have missed the point.

Today's world needn't be interpreted "through" the lens of Rand's work in order to see that she understood human nature far better than the marxists who destroyed her homeland, and who have now set about destroying ours.

Oh... and mindlessly quoting Keynesian progressives in a discussion of Rand's ideas doesn't lend much credibility to someone who's never read her most important work, TCR. Quite the opposite, in fact.

9:52 PM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Hi Contrarian! Personally I am delighted to hear your views. I have always wanted to understand the liberal point of view, and you obviously feel pretty strongly about yours - - - .

By-the-way, you can get Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead on CD - - - my local library has both - - so you can get an appreciation of the conservative view from either one without taxing your time too much. It gives a clear view why conservatives feel they are far more compassionate toward humanity than liberals - - -

You are correcto! In Scandinavia national wealth is considered property of ‘the state’. Anyone who has a little too much is taxed back to mediocrity. Healthcare, education, housing, and most aspects of life are controlled by the state, and the state decides who should get what. Is that your idea of Utopia? Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands - - all are being over-run by in influx of looters, and they are rapidly finding that their system just can’t handle it. I believe most people in the US, compared to the world population, are much better off. I believe there is greater opportunity for an individual rise to his/her full potential here, than in any country - - including the Scandinavian countries. For me, the idea of government as the administrator of one big adult day-care center is repugnant.

1a. Social Security -

Why would anyone invest in a pension fund whose prospectus reads ‘ we will take whatever we want to ease the burden of the massive debt we have accumulated, and maybe give some of what you have contributed back to you - - some day. We reserve the right to give you whatever we want, to increase the age at which you will receive it, and to tax anything else you may earn, or discontinue payments entirely if that suits us’.

Yes, yes. It has been beaten to death - - - beaten to death, but never answered - - . Why is it that the scoundrels who have foisted the SS boondoggle on the public don’t participate in it? Why have they set up their own little ‘sweetheart’ deal? If you were to ask the man on the street whether he would rather have a congressman’s retirement plan, or SS, what do you think he would say? On the other hand, if you were to ask a congressman which he would rather have - - - but wait! He could change in a heartbeat! After all, congress makes the laws - - - .

1b. Medicare -

You really think Medicare is efficiently run? Really? I don’t think I have ever seen those two terms in the same sentence. There was a time when people who needed a doctor got a doctor. Business paid for employees healthcare, not because they had a gun to their collective head, but because it was necessary to attract good employees. Blue Cross and Blue Shield administered benefits, no one ever considered suing a doctor. The AMA weeded-out the few (very few) who didn’t meet their standards. Government was NOT in the healthcare business.

We will probably agree that healthcare needs a great deal of work. Government intervention so far has set us back 40 years. More government intervention is NOT the answer.

2. Power Lust

I believe YOU believe power lust isn’t what this difference of opinion is all about. What I don’t understand is why anyone would want to steal my property, if not to exercise power over me. I don’t ask for (let alone demand) anything from anyone. Why would anyone feel that I “owe” them - - - something? Anything?

“Responsibility to Society!” Society? Ayn Rand wasn’t a tyrannical old witch. She was a pretty bright lady who saw well-intentioned idealists turn her native Russia over to a bunch of thugs in the name of ‘the greater good’. It didn’t turn out quite the way they had planned. Society is you and me. If you need something I have, all you have to do is ask. Ask for what I have, and if I can, I will give it to you (I’m a pretty generous guy) - - - but not without conditions - - - my conditions - - and if I don’t like the answers to my questions, I reserve the right to say “no”. My money – my right.

On the other hand, if you hire a band of thugs-in-suits to steal from me, you can’t be too surprised if I resist. You think it is about money? You think we can fix what is broken with money? Roosevelt’s “New Deal”, Johnson’s “Great Society” spending, Carter and Clinton putting people in houses they couldn’t afford - - - you really think putting more money in the hands of politicians is ‘the answer’? It is about power. One group imposing their will on another, and it runs contrary to everything this country is founded on.


Contrarian, I love your passion! I believe it is misdirected, but at least you care. Know this: Today, In the good ‘ol US ofA, the only difference between a Democrat and a Republican is the lies they tell to get elected. It IS time for change, but not by stealing from the few who are keeping the economic boat afloat. Have a look at the Cato Institute. I think you may find them interesting - - -

10:34 PM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

BRIAN -
Hmmm. Why would you consider someone who peddled coffee to guys working on the railroad when he was 10, got up at 4am to peddle milk when he was 14, spent 4 years serving his country, saved a little money, founded a small business, lived on $5K/year to pay the business bills, and eventually provided work for 3 more people a "self centered scumbag"? Because I am unreasonable enough to want to keep what I have earned?

Not that it is your business what I do with my money, but I support the charities I deem worthy - - my money, my choice. Government is NOT the charity I would pick. In fact they are the most incompetent administrators of wealth on the face of the earth! Not surprising - - they were never intended to be charity administrators. I resent it when people who have worked less than I have worked organize political thugs to steal money from me.

The "American Dream" I grew up with was/is based on hard work and individual effort - - not whining, and certainly not resenting people who had the drive, ambition and brains to make their way in the world.

10:48 PM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger The Contrarian Reviewer said...

Rick:

First of all, thanks for taking the other side seriously. Too few do.

Here's the bottom line for me: no one who works for a living should hsve to struggle to meet his basic needs. No, I don't think everyone should be able to afford a Lexus. For society to function well, superior skill and effort should be rewarded more highly.

Still, anyone who works a 40-hour week should be able to obtain adequate food, shelter, utilities, and medical care. I don't care how this happens, whether through public or private means. The problem with your view is that the private sector can't do it all. There either isn't profit to be made, or there aren't suffioent, dependable resources for the NGOs to do what's needed. That leaves government as the only available institution able to do the job.

Finally, arguments that the poor should "just get better jobs" are often nonsensical, either because there aren't enough well-paying jobs for all those who want them or would train for them (even assuming such a scenario were financially feasible for a population that lacks the pay to meet basic needs), or because there are a lot of folks who frankly lack the mental equipment to perform high-paying jobs well. And no one should have to go without a living income because of an involuntary lack of mental ability....

4:59 AM, March 13, 2009  
Blogger The Contrarian Reviewer said...

One more point: let's all please acknowledge the "hard work = high rewards" mantra for the bullshit it is. First of all, define your terms. What are we talking about? Calories per hour expended? Can anyone really claim with a straight face that some vacuous newsbabe being paid a six-figure salary for looking good and reading a teleprompter without stumbling really "works harder" than any ditch-digger on earth who earns one-tenth the pay? That a CEO really works 400 times harder than a worker on the line? Give me a fucking break.

5:25 AM, March 13, 2009  
Blogger canary said...

"being paid a six-figure salary for looking good and reading a teleprompter without stumbling"

You mean like Obama?

7:53 AM, March 13, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

I take your attitude plenty seriously, and I appreciate this dialogue.

We want the same things, and we agree on the relative worth of the ditch digger and newsbabe (I have dug many a ditch!). If some idiot is willing to pay some other idiot half a mil to stick her chest out and smile for the camera, that isn't a problem for me - - - It isn't a problem, because it isn't any of my business (or government's business)

I am in total agreement on your 'bottom line'. Please consider a study in contrasts - - . This is not about 'minorities' or ethnic classes. It is about 'will' - - - the will to do 'better'. It is about 'self-determination' and 'personal pride'. I start there because, for me, it is the correct starting point. Without the will to do 'better', nothing any of us do to help the less fortunate has any meaning or chance of success.

The ‘founding fathers’ got the ball rolling by founding a new country, and wrote a constitution to insure politicians never again got the upper hand on THE DITCH DIGGER. The DD was guaranteed the right to self determination, the right to arm himself, just in case the politicians decided to undermine the constitution, freedom from religious persecution - - - you know - - the Bill of Rights stuff - - . What DD did with his right to self determination was up to him - - - the guarantee was to be free of government interference, not to be immersed in it.

The story of very poor, starving immigrants arriving on these shores to is an old one, but worth another look - - . The Chinese came and built the railroads, Italians, Poles, the Irish (my own ethnic background) - - all came, all worked, all contributed, and all paid a heavy price to find their place. All learned English. “Irishmen and Dogs – Stay off the Grass!”. They had something in common. They accepted the challenge of self-determination, and they accepted that their gains would be marginal. They reserved hope for ‘prosperity’ for their children and grandchildren. After generations of suppression in their former lives, generational gains were precious things.

In recent history, we have seen the Viet Namese come, work and prosper. We have seen their respect for education, hard work, patience, devotion to family, frugality, willingness to sacrifice for long-term gain- - the same qualities that served other ethnic groups so well, still work – and work well! The most important outcome of those efforts? Pride! Personal pride in accomplishment through ones own efforts.

Indiscriminate largess, no matter how well intentioned, kills personal pride. It breeds an attitude of ‘entitlement’ that is bottomless. When we see third and fourth generation state-dependent people who refuse to take very basic steps to improve their OWN lot in life, it is difficult to feel much sympathy for them. One is forced to ask, “What can I do to change this?”. And so the divide: One group concludes we should do more to “help” them. The other concludes it is time to separate them from the public trough, and to give them the opportunity to develop a sense of self-worth, and self-determination. That is not something government can do much to help.

You may agree with speaker Pelosi that profit is evil, self-determination is evil, and corporations are evil. You may believe raising capital and putting it at risk is inconsequential - - that the hope of profit is selfish and evil. I believe the free enterprise system – with all its’ faults – is the engine that creates national wealth and allows us to compete in international trade.

I am from a generation that has watched our 'trusted' politicians systematically rape, pillage and plunder the golden goose that dropped those eggs since the end of WW2. Why? it IS power lust. Any lie, any ‘story’, any ploy to gain election is justified, no matter the consequences. I feel like the man in the airplane who watches two cars speeding toward the crest of a hill on a collision course - - - . He can see impending disaster, and there is nothing he can do about it.

The Pelosi solution? Kill the goose, and feed it to the poor. Please, please, think about it.

9:53 AM, March 13, 2009  
Blogger Monica said...

Take your money out of the bank and stop using credit cards! I took my $$$ out of the bank last week (in 100's..they LOVED that!) and is now buried somewhere. You won't believe how hard the bank makes it to withdraw money that belongs to you...but they sure take it quick enough! The banks can eat cake!

6:24 PM, March 13, 2009  

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