Tag Archive | mussolini

Socialism & Fascism

In a recent article, Robert Higgs made the argument that socialism is pretty much dead, and that fascism is instead the dominant economic policy on the globe. As far as I’m aware, this is my first exposure to Higgs, and I must confess: I’m not impressed.

First, it should be readily observable to all people that fascism and socialism are related, in the same sense that an orchestra maestro entails mastery of the musical pieces; fascism is the conductor’s mastery, and socialism is mastery of the song. It’s possible to be a master of the song without being a master conductor, but it’s not possible to be a master conductor without being a master of the song.

In classic logic terms, all bloops are bleeps, but not all bleeps are bloops.

This is because socialism is an economic policy, while fascism is what we would call governmental policy. It’s true that “fascism” is a notoriously difficult idea to pin down, and a lot of people mistakenly attribute “nationalism” as one of its primary tenets, but that’s a misattribution, a result of people focusing more on words than with the essence represented by those words. State supremacy is the hallmark of fascism. Through most of human history, this would have manifested as nationalism and the notion that the nation is the greatest; in more modern times, it manifests primarily as globalism, and the notion that a global government would be the greatest. However, regardless at what level the fascist pledges their allegiance (whether to the nation or to the globe), the primary hallmark is the same: the state that is in charge is supreme.

Everything within the state. Nothing outside the state, nothing beyond the state.

— Benito Mussolini

Socialism is an idea that prescribes state ownership of capital. To explain this, we must clarify the difference between capital and a consumption good. A consumption good is one that does not increase in value, one that, under normal conditions, only decreases in value (i.e., is “used up”). A consumption good is something that is used and ultimately discarded, and is not an investment. Televisions, cell phones, food, clothing, gasoline, and other similar items are consumption goods. Socialism absolutely allows for individuals within the socialist society to own consumption goods. Even the most diehard socialist isn’t going to advocate a system where Bob, having run out of toothpaste, can enter your apartment and help himself to yours. In the socialist apparatus, consumption goods regularly pass into ownership by consumers, where they are consumed, and the state merely creates, assigns, and hands out these consumption goods.

Capital, on the other hand, is held entirely by the state. Houses, land, vehicles, manufacturing plants, and similar items are the property of the state, and the state uses this capital to create the consumption goods and dole them out to the citizens. The state owns the toothpaste manufacturing plant and provides one tube a month to each citizen, in other words, and once that toothpaste is handed over, it’s generally considered that citizen’s toothpaste. The state doesn’t really care what happens to consumption goods, because they are consumption goods–even if Bob hoards all of his toothpaste and attempts to sell it on the black market, it’s just not going to give him enough capital to seriously challenge the state. Besides which, it has an expiration date–the day is coming that the toothpaste will be without any value at all.

When we discuss “private property” under the ideas of capitalism, we are not saying that individuals have the right to own consumption goods–this right is a given, and even the most adamant socialist isn’t likely to challenge it. Instead, we are saying that individuals have the right to own capital. Individuals have the right to purchase items that will generate a return on the investment, that will produce wealth. Under capitalism, an individual can purchase the glass, copper, gold, plastic, and whatever else is necessary in order to produce phones, which are then sold as consumption goods to other individuals for money, thereby creating a return on the investment. This model is obviously successful, and obviously creates a net benefit to society as a whole: some people get the phone, and one person is rewarded for their investment with more money.

But it’s not my intention here to point out that capitalism is better.

In fact, the requirement that individuals be allowed to own capital is in the name: capitalism. We could easily call socialism consumptionism, in fact, because it restricts the individual’s ownership of property solely to consumption items–to the phones produced, to the toothpaste, to the gasoline, to the food, and never to the facilities, rigs, or farms where these things are produced. Instead, everything of real value that can have labor added to it in order to increase that value belongs to the state.

Five hundred acorns are of very little value to me, after all. However, by adding my labor to them (by planting them, nourishing them, and watering them), I can turn them into 500 trees of considerable value. This is the essence of capitalism: taking a resource, investing in it, and seeing a return on those resources. In the socialist order, one would still be allowed to own acorns, in most cases, but the state would claim the trees as soon as they were grown, and would fine and arrest the person who planted them.

Socialism is state ownership and control of capital property.

Fascism is state control of pretty much everything, including capital property. The state cannot be supreme if it does not control the means of production (i.e., capital). This is why every fascist government that has risen has also been socialist, from Mussolini’s Italy to Hitler’s Germany to Kim Jong Un’s North Korea. Strangely, in his article, Higgs stated that North Korea is one of the few socialist nations in the world today. I have to marvel that this popular thinker doesn’t understand what he’s talking about, because socialism absolutely dominates the globe. In fact, North Korea is one of the few fascist nations in the world today, where the state openly controls everything from education programs to capital.

Similarly, we in the United States are much more fascist than we’d like to realize, and we’re entirely socialist. No American is allowed to own capital; the ownership of all capital is ultimately the American Government. In a capitalist order, a person purchases a house and the land around it, and then it’s theirs–it belongs to them, and they can do whatever they want with it, because they are the owner. This is not the case in the United States. In the United States, the person has an enormous list of things they are not allowed to do with the property, must petition for the right to do countless things that they supposedly have the right to do, and then must pay rent each year to avoid having the property taken away from them. Paying property taxes to the government in order to avoid having the government take the property away is not in any sense different from paying a bank note to prevent the bank from taking the property away.

Why should the government get money from you each year, just because you own a house and the land around it? It’s not the government’s house or land, is it? By inserting themselves into this process, lining up outside of your property with guns and soldiers and demanding that you hand over money or they will forcibly remove you, the state has usurped your ownership of the home and made itself the owner. We can use all the doublethink and cognitive dissonance we like, but the fact remains that this affair is known as “renting,” and not “owning.”

This is similarly the case for whatever manufacturing facility you own. Not only are you required to pay duties on thins that you import, but you must pay the government a portion of your profits regularly, because, if you don’t, they will take the manufacturing facility away from you. And, of course, you can’t just build a manufacturing facility in your backyard; you must acquire permits, many of which are exorbitantly expensive, and rely on getting the government’s permission for you to use “your” property in the way that you want in the first place.

This, to Robert Higgs, is “private property.”

What nonsense.

It would be no different if I came by your manufacturing facility once a month with armed goons and demanded a cut of your profits for “protection,” and made it clear that, if you didn’t pay, you would have an “accident” that would end with one of my people being installed as the owner of the facility. This is what the state does now, today, in 2017 Common Era, in the United States. The idea that this arrangement constitutes “private property” is demonstrably false, and has been demonstrated as so.

If that was your house, you could burn it down. If that was your house, you could add a wing without getting permission from the government. If that was your house, you could install your own septic tank. If that was your house, you could dig an enormous hole and create a pond. If that was your house, you would not have to pay someone each year in order to prevent it from being taken away from you. Instead, it is the state who decides whether you can have permission to add a wing, it is the state who decides whether you may install a septic tank (“No, you cannot, but you can pay $1,200 to this guy who paid us $3,000 for his license to do it.”), and it is the state who ultimately owns the property, who must receive a payment from you regularly, on top of all these other considerations.

The thing about ownership is that it means I can do whatever I want with my property.

Compare the ownership of capital in the United States–as most obvious in regard to houses–to the ownership of consumption goods. I can do whatever I want with the Linksys WRT54GL that I’m looking at. I can write my name on it. I can install DDWRT firmware. I can put it on whatever subnet I want. I can take it outside and smash it to pieces. I can unload sixteen 12 gauge shotgun shells into it. I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission, and I don’t have to pay anyone each year for the “privilege” of owning it. It’s mine.

That difference is critical to understanding the current state of the world. No, Mr. Higgs, socialism is not on the decline. It’s more powerful than ever, and more dominant than ever. If we do not take back the right to own capital, free of government regulations, government mandates, and government threats of theft, then the problems we face can never be fixed.

And all of this is without even getting into Intellectual Property, eminent domain, civil asset forfeiture, and the millions of regulations that bear down on us every single day. Anyone who looks at this state of affairs and calls it “private property” is severely confused. After all, both socialism and capitalism feature the ownership of consumption goods. As such, the ownership of consumption goods cannot be a deciding factor in whether a society is capitalist or socialist–as it is contained on both sides of the equation, it is reduced:

Private ownership of capital + private ownership of consumption goods = Capitalism

State ownership of capital + private ownership of consumption goods = Socialism

Anyone can see that “private ownership of consumption goods” has nothing to do with it, and must be subtracted from both. What we’re left with is that “private ownership of capital = capitalism” and “state ownership of capital = socialism.” Seeing as Fascism is state dominance over everything, from medicine to education to capital to consumption goods (because, for obvious reasons, if the state manufactures the only toothpaste in existence, then the state controls who has toothpaste and who doesn’t, as opposed to capitalism, where a person who has pissed off Colgate can still purchase Crest).

Fascism is also alive and well, although the state that people want to be supreme over everything has moved up one level, for the most part, to globalism instead of nationalism. This is why I once made the point that national fascism is easier to defeat than global fascism, while I explained my support for Brexit and America leaving NATO and the United Nations. Although viewed as contentious, that statement is actually an obvious extrapolation of how local governments are easier to influence than federal ones. It is much easier to get my city council to do what I want than it is to get the federal government to do what I want, and much easier to get the federal government to do what I want than it is to get the world government to do what I want. There is also the reality that world government soldiers from Uganda and New Guinea will face no real hardship oppressing people in California, while soldiers from California will face some internal difficulty oppressing people in Arkansas, and soldiers from Tate County, Mississippi will face considerable internal strife oppressing the people of Tate County. Local > distant, in every conceivable way.

However, that fascists today are roughly evenly split between nationalism and globalism is of no concern. They want state supremacy either way. The global fascists simply want to create a higher level of government to be supreme and enforce their desires. In that way, the globalist fascists are more fascist than the nationalist ones. And, yes, there is a strong correlation between those who want a powerful world government that can dictate national policies and those who openly desire socialism; yet, even among the national fascists, there is a strong tendency for the state to control different aspects of people’s lives (marriage, sexual identity, drugs, whatever). The globalist fascists simply want to create a Big Joker, because they don’t like how the nationalist fascists have the Little Joker.

 

Why Violence is Incompatible With Anarchy

I recently got into a discussion with someone about the Batman villain Anarky, particularly in the video game Batman: Arkham Origins. In the game, Anarky sets bombs around Gotham City with the intention of using them as a method of coercion, to force the mayor, police department, and some other place to do what he wants them to do. My contention is that Anarky is clearly not an anarchist, and that anyone who would use force, violence, and coercion to achieve their ends is not an anarchist. They may be trying to spread chaos and disaster, but “chaos” is not synonymous with “anarchy.”

Anarchy is the absence of a state. It is not the condition where several states are fighting for dominance and supremacy over a given territory. Let’s take the nation of Boogaloo for example. There are five warlords in Boogaloo, and the nation is in chaos, with these five warlords constantly fighting battles across the land. Many people would say that such a condition is an anarchy, but it quite obviously isn’t. Given enough time, one of these warlords will defeat the others and will come out dominant and supreme, and will promptly rule uncontested over the nation of Boogaloo. The only thing that will have changed is that the supreme warlord will suddenly be without competition in his/her control over the land.

It is not anarchy when this warlord reigns supreme over the others, regardless of the warlord’s methods. Seeing as this person is a warlord, we can expect them to rule with an iron fist, barbarically and tyrannically, blatantly using force, violence, and coercion to rule the people of Boogaloo. This was also the case when this warlord controlled one-fifth of the land of Boogaloo. Prior to his conquest, in effect, Boogaloo was split into five nations, each ruled by a warlord, and these five were at war and trying to unite the five nations into one larger one. They ruled their territories with brutality and violence, and it’s irrelevant whether they ruled a land that consisted of a fifth of Boogaloo or all of Boogaloo. It was not an anarchy before one warlord defeated the others, and it is not an anarchy after.

Instead, what we had were five states fighting for supremacy and dominance over the entire land. It is irrelevant to our discussion whether Warlord Jim was elected by the people of his small territory, and whether he ruled with compassion and justice, but we can easily allow for this possibility. Perhaps the people of that one-fifth of Boogaloo called the Arid Region elected Jim to defend their land from the aggression of Warlord Michael. Doing this quite obviously means that Boogaloo is not an anarchy, yet the only thing that has changed is the internal structure of one of the five states.

Even if we assert that all five of the Warlords live up to their name and were not elected to rule, but merely took power because they had an army and weapons, it does not fundamentally change what is happening. It is still not anarchy, because there are still states. To assert that Boogaloo is an anarchy because it is split into five mini-nations, each with their own leader and army, is to assert that Planet Earth is an anarchy, yet this is clearly not the case.

We can even allow that only two of the territories of Boogaloo are at war with one another, and that the others vary between friends, allies, and simple trade partners. We can go even further and allow that every two years, the Warlords come together and try to work out agreements to the betterment of the whole of Boogaloo. Or we can put all five warlords again at each others’ throats, at war, and fighting viciously to reign supreme over Boogaloo. In none of these examples is it anarchy. The relationships between existent states does not determine whether something is or isn’t an anarchy. The methods by which territories select their rulers is not the determining factor on whether something is or isn’t an anarchy.

It is readily apparent that there is no metric by which we can distinguish these Warlords of Boogaloo from what we’d commonly call “the gangs of Mad Max.” Did the manner in which Warlord Jim was given power affect whether or not his nation is a state fighting with and competing with the other Warlords? Certainly not. Even if the people of the Arid Region have a Charter that Jim and his lieutenants are not permitted to violate, it hardly changes the nature of what is happening: Jim is the leader of a gang, and that gang is fighting other gangs.

Now, what if Warlord Jim is going around and planting bombs everywhere, in an attempt to use them as a terrorist would, threatening to detonate them if the other Warlords do not comply with his demands? “Withdraw your forces from the Arid Region,” he might say. “Exile those within your forces who are corrupt,” he could also say. He could even say, “Adopt a Charter of your own that prohibits you from violating the liberty of your citizens.” The substance of his demands are irrelevant.

What if Warlord Jim did not control the Arid Region? What if he controlled… no territory? What if Warlord Jim was just Random Guy Jim, and he had planted the bombs and made those demands? Well, let’s evaluate that question a bit, because the situation I just posited… is a contradiction in terms.

If Jim has planted bombs and is demanding that people comply with his demands then Jim is, quite obviously, attempting to rule over the people of whom he is making demands. Whether they bow to his demands or reject his presumed authority, Jim is attempting to conquer the people and force them to comply with his wishes. In effect, Jim is an authoritarian attempting to take control of others. So quite the opposite, in fact: rather than controlling no territory, Jim is actively engaged in the process of attempting to conquer territory, and he is using force, violence, and coercion to do it. “Bow to my demands–accept my rule over you–or I will inflict violence upon you.”

Jim is clearly not attempting to create anarchy. Jim is attempting to set himself up as the dictator of a state.

Jim’s methods have prevented him from being an anarchist, as his methods have been an attempt to create a state and set himself up as its head, dictating to his subjects what they can and cannot do, what they must and must not do. Just as it’s obvious that Mussolini’s Italy was not anarchy, so is it obvious that Jim’s imposed brutality onto others as he sets himself up–however temporarily–as a dictator is not anarchy.

Any attempt to use force, violence, and coercion is automatically an attempt to set oneself up as an authoritarian state ruling over others and making them comply. This is incompatible with anarchy, because anarchy is the absence of a state. It follows, then, that no one who uses force, violence, and coercion to achieve their ends can be an anarchist. At best, they simply dislike the old state and are trying to set up a new state.

 

Discussing the 2016 Election

I’m going to share some emails between myself and a few other people. I’m not going to identify the other people, but my remarks will be italicized.

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the only value in discussing the election now is in asking “what does this say about this?” There’s a reason otherwise meaningless and inconsequential information is referred to as “academic.” Conversations about such things are little vehicles for knowledge, perspective, wisdom, and such. The vast majority of things that occur at places like universities are indeed academic. All that brain exercise is largely entertainment for the participants. You and I enjoy considering things like this, but in fact anything/everything – or nothing – can happen between now and November. Right now it’s simply brain food. The information doesn’t exist that would enable someone to “predict” the election.

Trump is just a symptom…an indicator…a “barometer,” so to speak. It enrages me that the Left is so afraid of change, but that, too, is a massive indicator. More and more, the shift is toward looking to the government as the solution to problems. That’s horrifying. And the Left just wants more and more of it. There can never be too much for them. It’s the projection of the ego, and it’s as “natural” as can be. Humans are lost, desperately searching for SOMETHING to “make everything ok.” Nobody really grows up. We’re just old children. We are so emotionally weak it’s astonishing.
What I can’t reconcile is the basic Left impulse. Is it lack of confidence that humans can take care of it themselves? Does it emanate from a sense of fear, that left to their own devices humans are self-destructive? Isn’t the irony absolutely breathtaking? I mean, really. Isn’t the fundamental tenet of marxism that humans are basically good? How does that ethos co-exist with a paternalistic view of government?
And, of course, I realize that the “left” in America bears little resemblance to Marxism. But I’m thinking of the basic motivations, the issues on which peoples’ worldviews and thus decisions turn? Am I fighting a straw man?
You know, THAT right there distinguishes a real thinker from the “rest.” Seriously. Consider how attractive and nature the strawman impulse really is. My strawman tends to be of two types: the liberal intellectual who hates all things uneducated, religious, “redneck.” He sees bias and racism everywhere. He feels himself completely qualified and justified spouting his “progressive” views everywhere. He thinks he pities those who come from “challenged” backgrounds. He is not proud of his ancestors. He feels no patriotism, nationalism….not even sure what “pride” is. Yet he completely understands “black pride” and he feels a sense of righteousness in their anger. He “understands” them.
My other strawman is the person the educated liberal doesn’t know exists. This person doesn’t work and doesn’t want to. This person lives among a culture than devours the system that devours them. She knows every trick in the book – how to qualify for all the programs that enable one to live and build a large family of dependents, without working a job. She has 8 kids by 3 different fathers. She’s not qualified to work, and she likely suffers from several physical and/or mental disabilities, any of which can be used to further her cause. Her interest in government (politics) is 100% limited to how it serves her specific purpose.
I know individuals who fit both those profiles. But do they exist like that at large? Or am i fighting stawmen just like everyone else, and therefore I’m missing the real points, overlooking the real issues?
Are Hillary and Trump simply dogs and ponies, trotted out every 4 years to occupy our attention, while the REAL business of running the world goes right on? Are we eating the diversion hook, line, and sinker? Does it matter? I mean, really?

You’d have to look to Mussolini, not Marx, to understand the left in America, and it was your email that just made me realize this. The left simply wants more power. That’s all leaders on the left want. I know that sounds like a strawman, but Mussolini and Hitler also sound like strawmen, don’t they? There’s no chance that Sanders genuinely believes the bullshit that comes out of his mouth, but that’s how the left functions. What an interesting thing, considering neurology. Anyway, they simply take an emotion and add “The government should put a stop to this!” to it. But this isn’t a policy. It’s an emotion that could lead to a policy. Instead, the left takes their solution of having the government brute force it, and associates it directly with that emotion. “No one who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty! So we must raise the minimum wage!” and they never realize how divorced from each other those two statements are. Wanting workers to make more money becomes associated with raising the minimum wage, to the extent that liberals think you can’t be for higher wages if you don’t support an increased minimum wage. “You don’t want to raise the MW? So you’re okay with families living in poverty?”

The statement “No, I’m not. But I also know that the MW is the reason that many people live in poverty, and that raising it will only ensure that ‘the percentage of people who live in poverty’ will only increase.” falls on deaf ears. They literally can’t understand it, because they’ve tied their emotion to their solution.

Leaders on the left did this intentionally, framing themselves as the only possible solution, such that anyone who didn’t support those solutions therefore lacked those emotions: sympathy, namely, often blown up to ridiculously selfless levels. Of course, everything about it is egotistical. The mask of selflessness is absolutely something that they take pride in. So they have pride, I think, and they know what it is–they just take pride in the fact that they don’t take pride. It comes back to that thread we’ve discussed often: trying to abolish the ego is, itself, an act of ego.

The masses are merely tools for this. I was stunned a few years ago when a recently graduated friend informed me of what her student council defined as “leadership.” It was, more or less, “the ability to influence people to support your ideas.” It’s a sort of ultra-cynicism that views people as pawns to be moved around on a chessboard, and those people have taken over the country. Hillary’s snide smirk says it all. And I suspect that Trump actually is somewhat better, because he knows that his business empire is built on the backs of thousands of other people. Yes, he deserves his wealth, but he is not the sole person earning it, and he surely knows that. That’s where the left’s ideology completely breaks down: we don’t need megacorporations and mega-banks, but they absolutely need us.

We don’t need Wal-Mart. Not really. We do right now, because so many of the government’s laws assist Wal-Mart by preventing places like Dollar General from truly rising to that level. We need Microsoft because Intellectual Property prevents Android from making a competitive PC version. Everyone wants what they’re accustomed to, and there is nothing that stagnates competition quite like intellectual property. If Android could throw a start button and windows into their OS and slap it on PC, they’d finish off Microsoft. We both know that a competitor should have risen with Windows 8 and pushed Microsoft out of the market. But they didn’t. Why not? The pieces are all in place: we have new operating systems that work better, are cleaner and more efficient, and we have companies with the money to do it. But it didn’t happen. The Windows 10 debacle is just a new step in Microsoft’s fuck ups, yet they still reign supreme in the PC market. Why? Intellectual property.

So the government has, one by one, fabricated these conditions where we can’t solve our problems ourselves. We can’t solve the problem of Wal-Mart’s reliance upon child labor and Microsoft’s bullshit shenanigans by switching to competitors because there are no competitors, and there are no competitors because the state’s laws prevent competition. And they do this in the misguided idea of “leveling the playing field,” forgetting, apparently, that the universe isn’t fair and that we can’t use laws to make it fair without violating rights. My cover of Metallica’s Call of Ktulu is likely to land me in very hot water at some point in the future, but I will never take it down. It’s more than 10% different from Metallica’s, and it’s obvious that I used their version as a springboard to add my own ideas to it, but it won’t matter. In every sense, I violated their intellectual property. But what is that, really? It is their ownership of me. I picked up my guitar, used my computer, my drumsets, my time and my energy, and I recorded a song. Everything that I used was 100% mine, even the cassette tape that I listened to as a teenager that contained Metallica’s song.

Intellectual property was the mechanism by which we had our property rights stolen from us, usurped by corporations.

All of this probably seems unrelated, but I don’t think anything is really more important. If we are allowed to own things and put our resources to use, then there is no limit to what we can accomplish. But we’re not allowed to own things. We’re allowed to lease things. There’s a reason all this shit we’re buying comes with gargantuan Terms of Use and license agreements. What kind of shit is that? I bought this software, Microsoft. It’s mine now. Not yours. If you weren’t prepared to surrender ownership of this copy of the software, then you shouldn’t have fucking sold it to me.

More to the point, I recently realized the same thing that you just said, except I don’t think it’s really just a strawman. The only people who are socialists are the people who don’t have, and this is the reason that socialism failed to compete with private property when the hippie communes rose in the 60s and 70s–they couldn’t attract engineers, doctors, physicists, etc. Socialism is for the unskilled and lazy. No one who has their effort rewarded would ever choose to enter into a system where their effort would not be rewarded. Such a system is only attractive to people who are not being rewarded. And while that characterization could actually describe me, I’m smart enough to see the inherent flaw–one day, my various efforts will be rewarded, and, even if not, my own interests simply don’t outweigh the interests of society. Sure, I could benefit from socialism, but the rest of society would stagnate. I guess it’s kinda like my refusal to condemn discrimination and make it illegal. Sure, I’d benefit, but what about other people? Surely they deserve freedom, too?

Socialism is too easy to pick apart for that one fundamentalism reason, and I can’t take any “intellectual” socialists seriously. I think they’re propaganda tools, though they probably believe the bullshit they say. I can understand that, as Matt Slick undoubtedly believes his TAG is sound, but it obviously isn’t.

Mussolini said about democracy that it looks beautiful in theory, but that it’s a disaster in practice, or something to that effect.

Isn’t that pretty much exactly what we’ve been hearing about Trump’s nomination and the Brexit vote?

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i’ve been saying for months what continues to be evident, perhaps obvious: Trump is destroying the GOP. I think I said “he’s killed the GOP and something will take it’s place.” I’ve equated it with the death of the Whig Party, which basically ended with and because of slavery, when rifts among Whigs because too deep and wide for any kind of national cooperation to survive. The modern equivalent just might be immigration, although there certainly are many issues that will contribute. The bottom line is a 2 party system in a place as diverse as America is a goddamn travesty. It almost insures nothing of consequence will get done, because even the most liberal party democrat favors what can only be regarded as status quo. That’s why Trump scares them so badly.

I don’t think it’s possible Trump can win, because I don’t believe anyone can win without a party machine. There’s just too much infrastructure. Elections in America aren’t like class president or the homecoming queen. These are some of the largest, most broadly-cooperative networks on the planet – literally. The democratic party in the US can mobilize more resources in a shorter amount of time than the vast majority of countries in the world.
I’m starting to think this may have all been a prank. I’m starting to think Trump has played one big joke…or pulled off the greatest con job in history.

I think Trump and the GOP are the least of the problems these days. Websites being off from free speech in favor of “protected groups” is the biggest problem. Milo knew it was only a matter of time before he was banned. AIU and TNB also know it. And while this makes them retarded for sticking their hands in the oven when they know it’s going to burn them, the obvious divisiveness of having protected groups is something that can’t easily be undone, not when “but look what happened in the past” remains an acceptable argument. Once it’s a given that the idea of reparations is stupid, we might be able to move forward.

I decided a few days ago that I simply have to stop fighting on a few fronts. That won’t be easy, because every part of me wants to weigh in, but I have to be more focused and concentrated in a few areas. My target audience is minuscule.

I’ve stopped predictions about the election. I think Trump can win, but I don’t see how, not without appealing to moral outrage. We bombed Libya a few days ago.

Libya.

A country that we’re not at war with.

We killed 28 civilians in Syria last week. We killed 100,000 in Iraq. Hilary bears a lot of responsibility for all of this, and she’d definitely continue it.

There’s another way this could go, though: the libertarian party replaces the GOP. It’s not an accident that we have two Republican governors as our nominee, and that I’ve written extensively about why there’s nothing libertarian about Johnson. They’re not angling to promote libertarian ideas. They’re aiming to sacrifice those and become a new liberty-leaning GOP. And it looks like they might be successful. If Romney and Bush endorse Johnson, then libertarian principles will die, and Hillary will certainly be victorious.

Sometimes I think about the reality that one of these two is going to be president. That’s horrifying. Only 9% of Americans picked them. If that’s not an argument for anarchy, then I don’t know what is. 91% of the country had nothing to do with this.

this is what’s horrifying: “banned.”

No doubt. The sentiment that people deserve safe spaces and deserve to be protected is growing, not dying. The reality, though we don’t want to accept it, is that creating online profiles immediately exposes someone and violates their own safe space. This is what happened with the Khan family.

Man, I’ve made some people angry on Quora! Never have I had an answer get this much attention from babies with no comprehension of what I said.

I’ve since stopped arguing the thread. Once I meet someone who drags the topic toward freedom of the press and the Constitution who insists he’s staying on topic, I know to wash my hands of it.

Khan and the dems expected that they couldn’t be criticized because “muh son died, yo”. The bias in questions about it that I’ve been asked to answer… I’ve only answered one more, and only then to call attention to the bias in the question: “Why did Trump criticize the parents of a fallen soldier” or something like that. My first line was “Is this question for real?”

But yeah, it was. My point remains perfectly valid: if I have a child who dies as a soldier, could I then say “Long live David Duke” and no one would be allowed to criticize me?

“But that’s fucked up to say, so yeah, you’d be criticized.”

Great, so we’ve accepted that your indignation isn’t with the fact that Trump “criticized the parents of a fallen soldier,” but that he did so when they were expressing opinions you don’t disagree with. So what we have is you using these people to voice your opinion and wanting them to be inundated against criticism because “muh son died” is a credential if the person agrees with you.

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both you and I are pretty analytical. we see things and then we look for their causes and explanations. with that in mind, here’s why clinton will win, and likely pretty solidly:

the single biggest point of confusion for me when I was in sales was how amazingly difficult it was to get customers to change from their current provider (interesting term, given the topic) to a new one, *even though they detested their current provider*. During the sales process (primaries), the emotion was fervent. “Oh my, yes, your option does look great…that’s MUCH better than we’re getting now….wow, I LIKE what you’re saying!”
Then, after all the dogs and ponies have been trotted out, and it was time to put a piece of paper in front of the customer, and it was time for them to put a signature on that line……..they just couldn’t do it.
I saw this over and over and over and over and over, until I accepted it as a fundamental of human behavior: Unless there is a clear and decisive benefit to switching, people will stay with something they know is bad rather than change to something new. This tendency is ALWAYS exaggerated when the NEW thing is in the least bit associated with risk. Humans as a group have a genetic aversion to RISK. A bad sure thing is often preferred over a possibly-good-but-risky alternative.
And the Dems know this. They have always been better at understanding and taking advantage of human psychology. Hell, their entire existence, their raison d’etre, is THAT – emotion, appealing to fear. The irony is that’s what liberals THINK is going on with Trump, and, surely, there is an element of that in ANY and EVERY campaign – me, good. him, bad. BUT, this election is turning on it more than any other we’ve ever seen.
When it comes down to it, Trump is just too risky for Americans. The voters will decide – in the end – that we’ve likely seen Hillary’s worst, and “it ain’t SO bad” (humans are the best rationalizers the universe ever created).
Trump’s a master salesperson, promoter, marketer. He really is. That’s what he does. It’s why he’s a billionaire. But this is one deal he won’t be able to close.

I don’t agree. For most independents, that could certainly be true, but here’s a few details that I would add. The biggest spoiler of independents is Gary Johnson, and he’s drawing primarily from Hillary. So is Jill Stein, who I rather like (just can’t stand her policies), though she’s also proving a safe place for many Sanders supporters.

If we had a different libertarian candidate, things could be different. McAfee would be trolling what little remained of the defeated GOP and Democratic party by now (bit of an exaggeration), because there’s such a seismic shift away from systemic corruption, from both sides of the aisle, and McAfee couldn’t have been accused of that. But without more major endorsements, Johnson just isn’t going to achieve anything, and many republicans are placing loyalty to the party above dislike for Trump, and so they see people like Romney as traitors.

More importantly, has Hilary EVER been in the public eye for any length of time without her approval rating plummeting? Nope. Every time she appears, we remember how much we can’t stand this bitch, and we marvel at the fact that she hasn’t fucked off yet. Unless Assange is an idiot (and he’s proven that he isn’t), he’s got enough material to throw a new controversy at Hillary regularly through to election day. As soon as one dies down, he throws out another. Each time, Hillary’s numbers go down just a bit more. As long as he’s telling the truth about how much content he has (and he’s never lied about this sort of thing before, and I’ve been following wikileaks since the Iraq diplomacy cables), Hillary is done. There’s just too much dirt, and recent leaks have revealed homophobia, racism, and all kinds of shit from top democrats. The left-wing media just is ignoring it, but social media is NOT.

i would need to see the demographics. perhaps social media has more of an impact than i appreciate. i still see a GOP that looks a lot like my grandparents, and they got their news from cbs, nbc, and abc. We know what their “news” looks like.

You’ll hear hard-core numbers people say elections are simple numbers – numbers that can be forecast. thus, elections contain no real surprises. I’ve seen the electoral college forecast over and over, and trump has a problem because the GOP has a problem. No republican is going to change the fact that Dems start with about 247 electoral votes, the GOP about 200. Trump can’t lose either Florida or Ohio. He must have them both. Could the Hispanic vote in Florida mean the difference? Could the Hispanic/Latino vote in general mean the difference? North Carolina is up in the air, as always, and its hispanic population has grown (where hasn’t it grown?) steadily since 2000.
do people vote for party or for people? I could make a case either way. You seem to be focusing on the impetus created by dislike for Hillary personally. will that cause people to stay home or vote differently?
Republicans have struggled with all minority groups, but especially the ever-growing Hispanic segment. Trump kicked that into mega-overdrive. It could be the difference, IMO. Interestingly, hispanics are not especially-motivated voters. Their turnout is less than other groups. But fear is a fantastic motivator – perhaps the best. And what do immigrants fear above ALL THINGS? Immigration “reform,” read: deportation. Talk of walls and shit certainly crystallized a segment of trump’s base, but likely didn’t bring him many new voters. But it absolutely, unequivocally cost him any/all chance of substantially improving the GOP’s standing with latinos.

wow. I came across this comment in a discussion regarding voter segments, demographics, specifically trump’s problem with Latinos. it made an immediate impact:

It is hard to imagine a white woman doing worse than a black man among white voters.
No, it’s not. And THAT may very well be the difference.
The context was comparing possible red/blue state alignment in 2016 with the election of 2008. the author suggests that because Obama won with only 37% of the white male vote, the outlook is good for Hillary. Only, he’s wrong. The average white American male likely MUCH prefers Obama to Hillary.

Just consider the fact that Sanders went even with Hillary while the media mostly ignored him. Or Ron Paul doing so well when the media COMPLETELY ignored him. And insulted him. In fact, the attached is one of my favorite images of the week.

If you’ve never seen Mike Judge’s Office Space, I really think you’d appreciate it. Lumberg… Man.

Johnson climbed to 10% from 5% riding on social media.

Research shows that a person hearing an idea three times from the same person has the same effect as hearing the idea from three different people. It also shows that we assess popularity based on our familiarity. It’s why fans of obscure anime shows think their pet is popular when it obviously isn’t. One of the greatest challenges as a modern human is learning of these psychological vulnerabilities and using that conscious awareness to defend it against them. It’s why I talk of the Dunning-Kruger Effect so often. That, and, once you learn of it, you’ll seriously see it everywhere.

In fact, this election is a wonderful example. The average American has no idea what would be good for the economy, health industry, diplomatic interests, terrorism, whatever. And that’s so obvious that no one will dispute the statement. Everyone knows that the average person knows nothing about any of these things, and everyone accepts that truth.

“Except me, of course. *My* ideas would CLEARLY be best.”

Last night I argued with a guy who called Trump a fascist. When I told him what a fascist is (someone who wants business to merge with the state while the state is revered as supreme), and pointed out that this obviously describes Hillary and Sanders (particularly Sanders) far more than Trump, he said something like “Well, Trump is a pumpkin and racist tyrant.”

The irony of insulting someone based on their skin color while calling them racist was too much for me to take.

He proceeded to talk about how Trump is a fascist, but using different words. Authoritarian, Nazi, etc. None of which are synonyms, of course, but my point is that he didn’t alter his worldview to accommodate the new information. He proceeded as though his position was just as valid as mine.

I helped put Obama into office (delusionally, I mean, since the popular vote doesn’t matter).

But she’s wrong, and I guarantee she’s not white. The average white person voted for Obama BECAUSE he was black, and it was that white guilt in action. Hillary doesn’t have that advantage.

Love Office Space. Gary Cole deserves an oscar for that performance. OMG he captured every sales manager in american business history. 

this is a quote from Michael Moore:
listen to Hillary and you behold our very first female president, someone the world respects, someone who is whip-smart and cares about kids, who will continue the Obama legacy
“…someone the world respects….” 
when someone with his visibility is THAT delusional, what are the chances of sanity ever prevailing. I mean, really…..
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Well, that hit 4300 words, so that’s probably enough.