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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Shrink Is Back, Posting About His Father

His father passed away recently, and the Shrink is posting a series about his father's war experiences. The man flew 50 missions and lived to tell about it. Tough and lucky, which is a great combination.

I think this series is important and I think you should read it. First part here. Second part here.

Recently I have become more and more haunted by the perception that our current problems, while real, are being hugely magnified by our collective failure to admit that they exist and attempt to deal with them. Thus, while we face a potentially dire prospect, most of the intimidation arises because we simply cannot stop being idiots. Collectively, that is.

The one thing my grandfather taught me (the one who escaped Germany, got into France, and from there got illegal papers and got to this country in 1929) was that you do not want to live in a country dominated by fantasy. Ever. When you see that happening, you get out and never look back.

But I don't think getting out will do it this time - I don't think there is any place to run. So the only recourse is to fight for reality here.

All political systems trend toward what we call "third-world" but is probably better termed "feudal". That is, a winner-takes-all system where the top banana owns the resources and is able to parcel them out to his cronies as required to maintain himself in power. ALL systems, no exceptions. The U.S. has been exceptional the last 200 years largely because of how slowly that trend has developed.

What worries me is the positive step-change in the 2nd derivative of this trend since 2009. Not that the groundwork hadn't already been laid, not that the trend wasn't already accelerating, but it's getting worse much more quickly now.

Like you say, if I could escape it, I would, for the sake of my family and my work. But I can't think of a bolt-hole in the world worth a red cent if the U.S. succumbs to feudalism. Switzerland, maybe, but even that is dicey.
I see far too many conservatives and libertarians arguing that it's not really all that serious if Obama wins, and maybe it would even be better because in 2016 we could maybe get a better candidate and people would be REALLY sick of the Dems by then.

In reality, I think if we don't replace Obama in 2012, it is going to be very hard to EVEN displace the Democrats and their "progressive" ideology.
Well said, Neil. We have to make a stand here. We are the last best hope of man. I'm unwilling to let it all go without a fight. That means, at the very least, supporting conservatives with solutions with money, volunteer work, and promoting their ideas to friends and neighbiors.

So many people seem to be lulled into a sense that either nothing can be done or that throwing more money at the problem is the answer. It really is an unwillingness to accept what has to be done.

Shrink's father and his generation accepted the challenges, something the majority can't seem to do.
David nails it. If Obama wins, it's the ballgame; meaning 50 or 60 years of socialism in America.

If Obamacare takes effect in 2014, every subsequent election will be fought on the Socialist's turf as the Democrats will incessantly argue that a vote against them will result in the people losing their healthcare ( think of the 30 million people who will receive Medicaid subsidies starting in 2014.

The question is, will anyone have the integrity to oppose Obama's mock compassion in this election?

After all, anyone who dares challenge Obama's policies in any meaningful way will be labeled racist.
"If Obamacare takes effect in 2014, every subsequent election will be fought on the Socialist's turf"

It's not only Obamacare...it's the Supreme Court, it's the infringements on free speech that are likely to occur under a second Obama administration, it's the undercutting of election integrity, it's the continuing co-opting of selected businesses by (pseudo-legal) bribery, it's the rise of actual political violence against dissidents as well as systematic threats to their careers.

The stakes are very, very high.
Well, I'll hold my breath and vote for Romney if I have to, but I won't pretend that we are doing the right thing or that it will be attended by success.

We are reaching the end of the era in which less dramatic failure will suffice.
" We are reaching the end of the era in which less dramatic failure will suffice. "

Agreed, MOM. It will take the full force of grassroots America to force a ( presumably ) Republican Congress to actually cut $1+ trillion from the budget, because their true desire is to spend like drunken sailors, and to apply their slightly right of center " wisdom " to re-engineer America into the shape determined by them, the other half of the ruling class.

If a Pres. Romney refuses to meet the challenge, he will only be remembered for changing Obama's 120 mph joyride to the fiscal cliff into a waltz; the end result will be the same: the catastrophic and irreversible destruction of the US standard of living, economic leadership, and national security.
David nails it. If Obama wins, it's the ballgame; meaning 50 or 60 years of socialism in America.

I disagree.

First off, socialism has been snowballing in the country since 1930. Secondly, I think it's actually on the wane with the under-30 demographic - it may still be a majority opinion but not as overwhelming a majority as in the over-50 demographic. As baby boomers die off, I think there will be a little more pushback on the socialism scale. It'll take about ten years to notice.

The laws and the courts are one thing, but economics are another. We could very well turn into a socialist cesspool like Greece; we already have our own domestic examples such as Michigan and Illinois which may curb the enthusiasm for further economic suicide.

To continue on this road of entitlement spending and military welfare, means testing will be enacted. And people will wise up to the fact that the government only pretends to have social programs as a higher and higher percentage of people find themselves means-tested out of "their" "benefits".
Charles - yeah, we may want socialism, but we can't afford socialism. It's a fantasy to believe that this country can go socialist. It can't, because it can't afford to. The healthcare reform bill subsidy can't be maintained. It's not fiscally possible.

We're going to have to cut student funding, etc.

Heck, the Swedish PM suggested that the retirement age for Swedes should be 75.

It's not just us. The pill doomed socialism as the west developed it.
"you do not want to live in a country dominated by fantasy. Ever."

MoM, I'd love for you to develop this topic a little more, with an example or two. When you have the time, of course.
...we can't afford socialism.

It's true we can't afford the Great Society anymore, and maybe not even the New Deal. But after the crash, it comes to a choice between shared sacrifice in order to re-generate our wealth (albeit with great inequalities of distribution) or equally-shared misery (using Churchill's formulation of socialism). I don't think anyone knows what choice Americans will make.

That's why this election is so important, and why the Republican candidates are so disappointing. We don't really want Americans to have to make that final choice, because we're all afraid of the outcome.
Hate to be the disagreeable jerk, but I think this whole comment thread is missing the true root of the matter.

The class war, such as it is, going on is between value creators and value transferors. That the creators are mostly Republicans in fly-over country, and the transferors are mostly Democrats in coastal metros is used as the "narrative" to keep people misdirected and unable to form a proper response at the true cause of the country's decline. The middle-class' wealth is being looted, when their labor is not being exploited, by the value transferors.

Now I realize that sounds like warmed over Marxism, but that doesn't make it untrue.

Make no mistake, Mitt is a transferor. It's why he can't get any traction in the primaries. He's more competent than Obama as an executive, but the vector of their policy isn't going to be radically different -- just as Bush's wasn't so radically different.

Do you think Mitt is going to make E. Spitzer his AG and go after the TBTF bankers with criminal indictments? Do you think either one is going to reduce the size of Defense spending to less than all the rest of the world combined? Do you think either one is going to rein-in the Fed's Keynesian hand-outs to the worst offenders of what got us here (I'd love to have someone on 60 Minutes ask Ben B. exactly what would discredit him. That is the definition of science, yes: falsifiability.) Do you think either is going to do anything to address the economic problems that make Charles Murray's Fishtown such a depressing drag on the country?

I sure don't and neither do most Republican primary voters. I find it impossible to believe that Obama v. Romney is any kind of watershed election for the direction of our country.

The Boomers have saved nothing to fall back on and so are going to let the looting continue as long as their token hand-out keeps coming in.
Alan, I don't think you'll find much disagreement here on Romney. In the comment right before yours, I said "...the Republican candidates are so disappointing."
Fair enough. Don't want to insinuate disagreement were there is none. But then, that necessarily makes the election less important, no?

From all appearances neither candidate is going to stop filling The Onion's money hole. I can't get motivated to argue over the rate at which it's being filled, or the manner in which it's dug. What the value transferors want is the electorate arguing over the details of the hole, rather than the substance of it. If we did argue the substance we might notice they are skimming a nice percentage before the money hits the pit.
Just because the Republican party might blow it doesn't mean the election is less important. It just means the opportunity will have been blown.

Romney doesn't have a lock on the nomination yet. There's a possibility of a contested convention.
Buw-hahaha. Sorry, but who's going to contest it? Outside of Ron Paul's (to be generous) 20% everyone else is in denial or on the take.

At least, those are the two groups among the party faithful that will be deciding things at a Convention. For completeness, there's also the not inconsequential group of too-dim-to-figure-it-out. They are the one's getting excited over evolution, abortion, and sundry other minority group "rights."
Well, I suppose if you've determined ahead of time that everyone who is not a Ron Paul supporter is "dim", "in denial", or "on the take", then elections won't mean much to you. But the possibility being bandied about is that a contested convention might allow for bringing in a new candidate that wasn't in the primaries.
Well, I didn't mean to imply that I think anyone not in favor of Ron Paul is dim, denied, or on the take. But, he is the only candidate running on a platform at least attacking the status quo. Since you go to the polls with the candidates you have, and not the candidates you want, I think the choices really are Paul, dim, denial, and on the take.

Ironically, you would have got me if you said the watershed election is right now in the Republican primary. But with Paul loosing to the denial candidate, thinking it'll be fixed in the convention seems an incredible long-shot. But I suppose we can cross to that watershed when we get to it.

Just don't tell me any of these other jokers are going to do anything categorically different than 4 more years of Obama.
If by categorically different, you mean anything that will solve the problem, then I agree. But none of the Republicans is likely to set so many damaging precedents as President Obama has and will. I don't subscribe to the idea that it would be better to let the Obama Administration go ahead and crash the country so we can get started rebuilding. The interregnum could get pretty scary.
But does Paul really have a program?

He tells some hard truths, but he doesn't seem to know how to deal with them. His isolationism is a strong appeal to the public, but fiscally he doesn't seem to have advanced much else.

Part of the problem of telling the truth is to lay out a program to deal with it. There have been attempts on both sides of the aisle in Congress, and I note that Congress seems utterly uninterested in Obama's wilder reaches, and that includes the Democrats.

We're probably really waiting for the rebellion from the states right now.

Like it or not, the saber-toothed reality-tiger is going to be there outside the cave waiting for us, and we cannot stay here forever, or even for very long. The population is beginning to look for clubs, which is why Paul and Santorum have the appeal they do.
PS: I think this election is very important, but mostly the Congressional choices will determine the direction of the next few years.

Romney is not a radical. That is good, because the US people don't like radicals. But one cannot envision a Romney presidency pushing Congress to deal with all the problems it will not deal with now.

Santorum would probably push hard for a few economic steps that could make a difference. The current Congress would not comply.

Gingrich - he'd talk a lot. He'd probably kick Congress in the crotch region hard a few times, and make them deal with a few things. I don't get the sense that he'd be willing to go far enough to even attempt to begin to deal with the issue.

Congress is where the the fiscal problems have to be worked out. The presidency is really a side show from the fiscal standpoint.
That's a good point, M_O_M, perhaps Romney has failed to lock down the nomination because so much of the electorate has decided that since reform is not on offer, they'd rather just tear it all down. That would point to Romney being unelectable in the general election, since Obama will suffice for the "tear it down" program.
I don't personally get the sense that people want to tear it all down, but rather that they are desperately looking for real attempts to deal with the problem.

The average person is locked into the system and desperately needs the fundamentals of that system to continue.
I agree that Paul doesn't have a program. He would have no base in Congress, either. It would be a very interesting four years.

Gingrich...reminds me of a dog on a walk. Squirrel! No impulse control whatsoever, and vulnerable to any dumb idea that comes into his head.

Santorum has a feel for the pulse of the Tea Party, but gawd, some of the stuff he backed as a senator....

And Romney...what everyone else says.

Any of them, plus Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, squishy Tim Pawlenty, and the TexGov, PizzaMan and TooCoolForSchool Huntsman over Obama, any day, any time.

Is it too late to draft Fred Thompson?
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