Thursday, May 29, 2014

When It's This Hard to Sell Freedom, Something's Horribly Wrong

I like to step back.

Stepping back allows you to clear your mind, take the horse blinders off, but most importantly allows you to see the situation for what it truly is.

For example, the eternal debate of Austrian vs. Keynesian economics.  The front lines of this battle are between economic intellectual giants on both sides of the debate.  Krugman, Reich, Williams, Sowell, you name it, heavy hitters from prestigious institutions of government and academia tender increasingly complex and researched arguments.  It's like the Battle of Somme being waged, slugging it out, with no clear winner.

But what if instead of burrowing your head further into No Man's Land you instead, pull back, hop on a plane and take a look at the debate from a completely different, simpler, and admittedly, less-intellectual perspective?

You'd soon realize the debate is about whether the government knows what's best for the economy and has the right to intervene or whether it should be left up to the people. 

The answer, if you're intellectually honest, is simply clear.

Global warming is another example.  The pro-global warmists will through up a chart and claim we're all going to drown in 500 days, the anti-global warmists will show new data debunking said claims and the latest global warming models.  Sheeple will believe who they choose to.  Whoever is right, however, if you step back and look at it with different eyes you'll realize it is much more likely this is just the latest political ruse by socialists posing as caring "environmentalists" to get more of other people's money.  But you can't come to that realization if you're steeped in the religious indoctrination, or in the throes of debunking it.

So a third "Step Back" observation dawned on me and its ramifications are quite depressing.  And that is:

How f*cking hard is it to sell the platform of freedom to people?

Step back and think about this.

Those evil,
baby seal clubbing,
grandma tripping

Republicans want basically one simple thing:

Lower taxes.

And not just lower taxes for "the rich," but lower taxes for everyone.

Yes, duly noted, a faction within the Republican party is against abortion.  Thank you leftists, we got the memo.  But aside from that overly beaten accusation of a drum, their overall political product is freedom.

Now you would think, given logic and reason, the American people would in general want freedom.  You would think, given the history of humans, where the vast majority of them were oppressed by the government, they would want LESS government and MORE individualism.

You would think.

The irony is, however, that it's damn well near impossible to sell freedom to the American people.

The question is why, and when you step back, clear your eyes, and think about it, the answer is quite scary.

Admittedly, part of the reason American's are so resilient to freedom is that the Republicans are the worst salesmen in the world for it.  But although poor salesmanship is in part to blame, the real reason is that the American people have been brainwashed to think against their own, long term self interests.

This may sound conspiratorial, but it is not.  This is only the natural consequence of a leftist political party that uses a public school system and a leftist media to convince people to;

1.  Not think critically
2.  Never develop the capacity for delay gratification
3.  Never learn about basic personal budgeting and financial planning (you ever see this in schools?)
4.  Hate and envy other, more successful groups of people, that they should be emulating instead
5.  Self-rationalize why they are entitled to said successful people's lives in the form of their wealth

Of course, this scam is obvious to even the part-time observer of politics.  But what is truly scary is how effective it is.  It's so effective, and the people's brain's so dumbed down and impaired, they not only can't identify this ruse for what it is, they are so far gone they actively reject and vote against something as simple and good as freedom.

Naturally, I've given up and don't really care.  If people are so lacking in brain power and intellectual honesty they foolishly think they can get something for nothing and that such a system is sustainable in the long run, then they don't deserve the freedoms that true intellectual giants fought wars over to ensure.  The question is whether you can admit the same and realize you're dealing with insanity when people reject freedom.


Glen Filthie said...

"Admittedly, part of the reason American's are so resilient to freedom is that the Republicans are the worst salesmen in the world for it."

Nonsense, Captain. Nobody sells freedom like Newt Gingrich. The man's facility with rhetoric would leave speakers like Pelosi, Hillary and Obama looking like chimps. Ditto for Glenn Beck, Rush and even yourself. Half the guys on your blogroll are fine salesmen too. Americans know EXACTLY what they are turning their noses up at. 150 years ago guys like you didn't advocate freedom - you jumped in a covered wagon and headed west to live it.

Today a 'carefully researched argument' is nothing more than cherry picking your facts. When you step back as you say - and notice the glaringly obvious contradictions, errors and will be dismissed as a
climate denier
ad nauseum
There are a whole lot of things wrong in America right now, starting with that idiot in the Whitehouse. The first thing that needs to be ended is those 'free money for stupid people' programs.

Sherman Broder said...

Excellent observations.

Stepping back even further reveals that "economics" is simply trade between individuals. Should individuals be free to trade as they see fit, or should a third party (from the government) always be involved in the trade?

My neighbor and I decide to trade: my lawnmower for his bbq grill. Should we be able to make this trade "on our own" without a government official intervening?

Two individuals trading w/o government is "freedom."

Two individuals able to trade only with the intervention of a government official is "statism."

Why would any sane individual want statism?

Anonymous said...

Funny enough, a friend and I were talking about putting things into perspective last night. My old army buddy says to me: "Brother, the world is divided into two camps: Those who would stop little Johnny from owning a lemonade stand and those who would not stop him. Those who would stop him are the enemy, they have occupied the organs of the state and do not know that they are the enemy but they are the enemy of our system and way of life. "

Then he talked about how his friend's kid got fined for opening a lemonade/hotdog stand, meanwhile the kid's dad is getting chunks of meat blown out of his legs driving an mrap in fucking Nuristan, all to defend the freedom of these desk-jocky beauraucrats to dick people around. It's all FUBAR cappy. I can't wait for the nukes to fly.

Vader999 said...

Cast not the pearls before the swine, captain......
It is a useless gesture.

Anonymous said...

You're a good writer.

H.L. Mencken said...

Government, like any other organism, refuses to acquiesce in its own extinction. This refusal, of course, involves the resistance to any effort to diminish its powers and prerogatives. There has been no organized effort to keep government down since Jefferson's day. Ever since then the American people have been bolstering up its powers and giving it more and more jurisdiction over their affairs. They pay for that folly in increased taxes and diminished liberties. No government as such is ever in favor of the freedom of the individual. It invariably seeks to limit that freedom, if not by overt denial, then by seeking constantly to widen its own functions.

Tyler said...

Aaron,I think you are looking at this the wrong way, I think it is hard to Sell Freedom because a majority of Human's really don't want it.

I think a majority of people are satisfied with being told what to do and actually do not want true freedom. If you look at history in general, every societies always end up being run by a select few people, whether it be Kings/Queens, Emperiors, Dictators, Elected Officials., because that is what the majority want. What causes revolutions etc is when the people in power end up taking away "Materialistic Freedoms" or easy decisions (i.e. What Type of Music to listen to what you can watch on TV etc.) is when the masses finally take a stand.

The majority of people are followers and do not want to make the actual real life decisions. That is the whole Alpha Beta structure (don't like using the terms anymore because Game has really distorted it). The Alpha dog makes the rules and the beta's follow. If the Alpha dies there is mass confusion until a new Alpha steps up. Beta's don't really want freedom and definately do now what to make decisions they want leadership and to be told what to do.

The majority of Humans are Beta's and what the USA/Canada was for a time was a place where Alpha's escaped to and build their wealth. (Other's would just stay in their current country and be happy be told what to do). The issue is that over the years through birth and immigration (post North American establishment) diluted the Alpha ratio in North America and now it is probably close to the same as it has been in Europe for centuries.

What I think you and most freedom loving people don't get and what is the most frustratin is that most people don't think that way. Most people want to be told global warming is true and not have to worry about questioning it.

Anonymous said...

I love freedom and individualism. But any smart libertarian will know that ALL poltical parties are corrupt and do not care about the individual's rights and freedoms.

Both parties are like gangs and mafias- greased and bribed (sorry I meant "lobbied") by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and the rest of the Bilderberg group scum hellbent on destroying the world.

Republicans do not give a toss about middle class America. Both Bush senior and Bill Clinton were strong advocates of NAFTA which resulted in more than 8 million jobs being shipped abroad.

If you are true to your cause, then do not support ANY party. They are all scum and locusts who profit from the destruction of civilisation. Follow the teachings of Gerald Celente and Jesse Ventura.

ToshAR said...

Republicans may be the party of lower taxes, but they certainly aren't the party of freedom or fiscal conservatism.

The Republicans gave us the PATRIOT Act, domestic surveillance, suspension of habeas corpus, multi-trillion dollar wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Wall Street bailouts, and they mostly support the Federal Reserve and its anti-free market manipulations.

These are not the positions of a party concerned with upholding freedom or keeping government spending in check. At best, Republicans are the lesser of two evils for their tendency to lower taxes, but it's misleading to champion them as anything more.

A.B. Prosper said...

Cappy JMO here but Freedom and Liberty ought to be separated.

Freedom is being governed by your own customs by your own jerks. Every group wants this unless the state has gone completely nuts in which case they want help till the state stops going nuts than they want the jerks back.

Liberty OTOH which is what most in the US call Freedom is somewhat more complex

There is positive liberty which is having the means to accomplish your goals

and negative liberty, what you are calling freedom which is being left alone (mostly in your post expressed as lower taxes)

However not everyone finds the "everyone for themselves" negative liberty only Libertarian Capitalism that appealing.

Mostly its the Liberal types of course, they normally abhor competition but some Conservatives also don't object to a slower growing more regulated state if it provides stability, social peace and adequate opportunity. Chaos ruins Conservatism.

Also speaking for the US only here, this country rightly should be called the "the land of people who don't want to pay for things"

Even the Rebellion and Slavery were manifestation of this.

The Rebellion to avoid moderate taxes to England (and note of the colonies we were lightly taxed and little tread on compared to most ) and Slavery to avoid paying immigrants a working wage.

This did have good manifestations, re: automation but on the whole the US has played out a very Marxist way, Capital trying to control workers often with force, workers trying for more wages and so on,

A great many Americans just an inherently distrust the rich for these reasons and rightly should, after all wages as GDP per worker are down 50% since 1973 and taxes for most are not much higher.

Thus people think its companies making labor arbitrage with mass immigration, free trade and conspiracy pushing wages down faster than automation would

This is not entirely true of course but there is truth to it, enough to make the idea quite sticky.

Its not a new thought Adam Smith mentioned the same issue more or less back in 1776 and nothing has really changed

worse lower taxes simply don't help nearly as much without other policy choices, closed borders, repatriation, social conservatism and yes some regulations designed to incentivize paying Americans higher wages even when they really don't deserve them on market grounds,

In short, trickle down is just trickle on and showers of gold are well golden showers.

Thus it becomes a lot harder to push the kind of freedom you want as when it comes time to ask "Cui Bono." folks answer "Not me" and they won't fight for it since it does nothing for them

Basically, enjoy the decline

A.B. Prosper said...

Uh, Glen. Newt Gingrich, Ah no.

I've listened to him, read his work (fiction included) and I think you overrate his persuasive and oratorical skills.

De gustibus non est disputandum and all that but Bill Whittle is far better and getting to heart of things and standing for things.

leeholsen said...

"Naturally, I've given up and don't really care. If people are so lacking in brain power and intellectual honesty they foolishly think they can get something for nothing and that such a system is sustainable in the long run, then they don't deserve the freedoms that true intellectual giants fought wars over to ensure."

I second that sentiment, unfortunately it took me 5 years to get there. if i would have followed you and talk legend neal boortz from day one who also preached it was too late to reverse, i'd probably be spending my days on the golf course with a beer and cigar while the country spirals downward.

sth_txs said...

It is laughable that anyone can think vermin like Newt Gingrinch or Rush believe in freedom. If that were true, they would have endorse Ron Paul instead of the selected establishment whores.

Glenn talks a good line, but he is suspect. I'm lost how he became more freedom but said some years ago that Ron Paul supporter were terrorist.

RobertW said...

Stepping back even further the "argument" is about power. The leftists want power over everything. They have nothing of value to offer anyone except the hard work and money they confiscate from other people. So the only way they can live lives in anything but abject poverty is to stay in power. That's why I laugh when I read that Democrat policies have failed because more people are out of work; incomes have gone down; racial conflict has sky rocketed; more people are on foodstsmps; etc. From a normal sane person's perspective those are failures. But as far as Obama and the Democrats are concerned, they are successes because their power over others is increased. Naive conservatives and Republicans have to stop thinking that the Democrats want the same things that they do but just are too incompetent to pull it off: prosperity, peace, strong families and communities, etc. The aim is power over others. Never forget that.

thatmrgguy said...

Erich Fromm wrote a book about it called "Escape From Freedom."

Freedom can be frightening; Totalitarianism can be tempting.

So says the sub title of the book.

I started reading it about a year ago and had to put it down. Fromm may be a famous psychologist, but his writing is boring as hell. If you have insomnia, it will put you right out.

Sanders said...

Americans love their Freedom. They are free to go where they want, to do what they please, to be as hedonistic as they care to be. Even a slave can enjoy a tremendous amount of freedom.

It is Liberty that scares the shit out of most Americans. Liberty and all the responsibilities it entails.

"A Republic, if you can keep it."

Don T Tread said...

I like to say: Freedom is messy, deal with it.

Most people just can't deal with it. And they vote accordingly.

It's going to get real messy soon, however, because freedom always finds a way. When this thing collapses, it will be epic.

Support your local strongman. You will be forced to choose between many imperfect solutions.

Rick said...

Aaron, I can't believe you included Krugman in your list of "economic intellectual giants"

I'll go read the rest of the post now. I just had to stop and get that out.

Tars Tarkas said...

I woke up one morning and realized that if I am smart enough to be worth all this money then surely I must be smart enough to find a way to keep more of it, or earn it in manners that don't involve taxable benefits, or just plain work less. Turns out that yes I am.

Strangle the bastards at the source. Who is John Gault?

Senoir Manchild said...

Some good news Captain,

Anonymous said...

Great post. It's truly remarkable how so many American's have been brainwashed into believing that higher taxes, bigger govt, more laws, etc... is best for them. I'll never understand the mind of a liberal. The lack of reason and rational thinking that these people display is amazing. It's truly hard to care anymore.

I don't see any solution to the problem outside of revolution/civil war/coups. Conservatives are out numbered in the US and there doesn't seem to be any hope to voting this problem away. The Republicans are not helping and they are terrible salespeople for capitalism and the republic. I live in Asia now and my taxes were less than 10% of what I paid in the US. It is truly economic freedom that is most important to me and that gets destroyed further and further every day in the US.

On a side note it's fascinating to see the the liberals , especially stupid liberal expats, over here losing their minds over the coup in Thailand. Basically the middle class and wealthy are sick of the populist bullshit there and support the coup. Of course the US has to threaten and posture to restore "democracy". I'm really sick of hearing about "democracy". It's just another tool in the Socialist's tool bag to be used to take money from the producers and wealth builders in society who will always be the minority in any country.