Dear Dr. Hurd: I think the pessimism [over Obama’s reelection] is understandable. We know enough to be very apprehensive on what’s coming our way with a communist zero, who hates America, at the helm of our country.
But I don’t think he/they will necessarily be successful in destroying the US. Because he and his hangers on have only death, taxes, totalitarian controls, unhappiness, failure, misery to offer. Eventually, some Americans will figure this out and turn from them.
It’s up to us to do what each of us can to get rational ideas, clear definitions and explanations of capitalism, individual rights, principles and how to apply them, out into the culture — so when those Americans start turning from the Zero and his hollow promises, there is an alternative to go to.
The government is defaulting on its primary responsibility (defense) and taking over where it should not (economy, energy, medicine, etc) so US society may not be able to avert a catastrophe — either domestic, financial, or some kind of offensive attack on us.
If at least some of the right ideas have been disseminated, and how to think has been explained and promoted, it could mean the US can recover from a catastrophe with a strong affinity for individual rights and freedom and capitalism — vs. not recovering. Not easy, success not guaranteed but some kind of intellectual activism is necessary if you want to nudge the culture towards reason and capitalism. It’s not going to just happen by itself.
Dr. Hurd’s reply:
There are two facts most relevant to optimism/pessimism applied to the fate of America and Western civilization.
One, the irrational is impotent. Evil and irrationality can only get by with the consent — and help — of the virtuous. In other words, Obama and the parasitical leftists who increasingly rule us have no power other than that conceded by those who produce. If everyone in the private sector went on strike tomorrow, that would be the end of government as we know it. Government lives off the productive energies of its most productive citizens. This is a hard fact that even the All Powerful Leader (Obama, or anyone else) will never escape.
Two, people have free will. The innovators and productive people can take it, remain silent and put up with all the abuse. Or, they can fight back on moral principle. To date, it has clearly been the first. The most productive and well off in American society are free to respond to the election results by saying, “OK. If we’re that evil then we quit. You’ll have to carry the $16 trillion welfare state on without us.” Nothing like this has happened, of course. But as government shackles the private economy more than ever before with Obamacare, more regulations and endless new taxes, you will see civilization quite literally start to buckle under the pressure.
Because human beings have free will, it isn’t possible to say either, “Things are doomed” or to say, “All will work out in the end.” All we can say with certainty is: People have free will, and in America the economic dictators have the upper hand because the majority are handing it to them. This is a very gloomy development, and one that does not bode well. The reason for this is that the more power we give to the irrational parasites who rule us, the worse things are going to get. The worse things get, the more subject we will be to a dictatorship, meaning the imposition of things like restricting freedom of speech, freedom of association or even elections. (Can you say: Third term for Obama?)
None of this is to prove you wrong. You offer a more optimistic scenario. I know you’re right about one thing, with certainty. No parasitical politician — not Obama, not any of them — can destroy the remnants of a semi-free economy in what was once a robust democratic republic. In a faltering democratic republic (now becoming a socialist democracy, like the Western European states), the people can only do this to themselves. What’s so disturbing about recent trends, culminating (not beginning) with the reelection of Obama is: The people are willingly doing it.
This is the first election, at least in modern times, that the state of the economy was not relevant to the outcome. Obama won despite his failure to revive the American economy as promised. The American people, based on majority vote said, “It doesn’t matter. We still want the expanding entitlement state.” It’s not clear that a majority of Americans really know what they want. I believe that while a robust minority are committed socialists like Obama, another portion simply want LESS government and MORE “security,” which they define as the presence of massive entitlement programs. The reality is, you cannot have both at the same time. It’s one or the other, and the faltering economy combined with the ever-rising deficit and debt are the best evidence of this. All the same, a majority seem indifferent to the evidence. And this is not a good sign for a culture.
I agree that Obama cannot destroy the country. Somebody must hand him the tools, and he will of course willingly oblige. Nobody as metaphysically and intellectually insignificant as this petty ruler would even matter much at all, in a better or more rational culture. If there’s any destroying to do, it will be the majority of Americans who do it to themselves. I agree that this is not inevitable. Nothing is inevitable where human beings have free will. But at the same time, even free will cannot alter the laws of economics or logic. The more human beings hand arbitrary power over to the least capable and least morally admirable among us — the politicians and the bureaucrats — the less worthwhile, prosperous and even safe a society this will be. Whether or not vast numbers of people choose to reverse course as you suggest is far from certain — and, sadly, less likely than ever before given the present state of our culture, and our politics.
I will always be optimistic about the potential of human nature. I will always be glad to have lived at what might — sadly — have been the peak of a great civilization, of mankind at its best to date. I will always know that human beings have not even approached the limits of what they are capable, if they only would leave themselves free to pursue a rational and always innovating, productive course — the sort that dominated the American experiment, at least for a time. Those are not the trends today, and they’re not the trends I see in the near future. But it will always be possible. It always was.
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