PhilO

Self-Interest and Political Alliances

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The man who is doing what is necessary to maximize the potential of his own limited life is profoundly moral. A day spent happily earning a living and enjoying life in a country that is not trying to rip him off and wrap chains around him is a good day. The strikers in Atlas had no moral obligation to be the self-sacrificial goats a hopelessly corrupted America wanted them to be, and the same is true for real men pursuing happiness now.

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The man who is doing what is necessary to maximize the potential of his own limited life is profoundly moral. A day spent happily earning a living and enjoying life in a country that is not trying to rip him off and wrap chains around him is a good day. The strikers in Atlas had no moral obligation to be the self-sacrificial goats a hopelessly corrupted America wanted them to be, and the same is true for real men pursuing happiness now.

A man cannot pursue happiness unless they are free to do so. And America is corrupt because a lot of the people with the principles to guide the change are to short-shghted to see that without a short-term committed and concerted effort toward replacing the corrupt principles what freedoms are left will disappear. So a man that is attempting to maximize the potential of his own limited life without acknowledging that to do that in a society requires a government with specific guiding principles is evading the facts of reality and hence immoral. One person cannot create change from the fringe without a concerted plan which is why the Founding Fathers met in Philadephia to create that change. If one wants to call those acts sacrificial then America will become further corrupt and hopeless as it takes principled people to stand up in a concerted effort to replace corrupt principles so that we can pursue our long-term happiness.

On a side note, the strikers in Atlas Shrugged were committed in a concerted effort also, but I might remind people that that was fiction and that Ayn Rand never went on strike. And if people do have to end up going on strike, just like in the novel, things are going to get much worse before they get better.

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The way that works is not a strike, but to maximise your wealth and then leverage the power it gives you. I am a great admirer of the Koch brothers, who have managed to remain relatively understated despite being responsible for the starting and funding of maybe 80% of the right wing thinktanks and action groups in the US today (such as the American Enterprise Institute). The approach might not fit with some of the purist Objectivists but at war, you take the allies you can and the resources you can, and you maximise the impact you can have. I do not think that my writing letters to editors and walking in the streets have much effect in terms of cultural change (thankfully, as for that kind of stuff we are massively outnumbered by the socialists who by virtue of being unproductive and idle have far more time to dedicate to it).

I will make my fortune and then I will act. It is very selfish. I do not want to be a Carlos Slim or Roman Abramovich, wealthy but in a broken society. It is important for me and my children that the world I live in is free. As a trader I must, however, maximize the return per dollar invested and minimize the risk.

More on the Koch brothers (biased as hell as you can expect but gives you a hint): http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08...30fa_fact_mayer

Incidentally, the Koch traders I have met have always been quiet and extremely competent. No wonder KI is so successful.

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I quote their enemy:

Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

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The American Enterprise institute is a think tank of neoconservatives.  The President is Arthur Brooks.

The following may be of interest.

http://blogs.forbes.com/objectivist/2010/1...big-government/

Concerning Neoconservatism,

"FMM: In your book, Neoconservatism: An Obituary of an Idea, you discuss what neoconservatives call a philosophy of governance, a plan for governing America. Can you explain what this means? What is at the philosophical core of neoconservatism? Is it compatible with individual liberty?

Thompson: The neocons’ “philosophy of governance” is not a political philosophy; it’s a pragmatic mode of thought.  The neocons do not have—indeed, they are opposed to—a defined program of principles or policies.  Instead, their notion of a “governing philosophy” is guided by concepts such as the “common good” or the “public interest,” abstractions that are free-floating, open-ended, and indefinable.  A governing philosophy is ultimately about developing strategies for getting, keeping, and using power in certain ways, which means that it is about developing a political rhetoric that will arouse the passions and loyalties of the voting masses.  Thus the neocons are less interested in the particular content or the truth of an idea than they are in its political utility. They view ideas as weapons, as a means to a political end."

http://freemarketmojo.com/?p=9082

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I don't care why the guy next to me is holding a rifle. I care only that his shots are accurate and directed towards my enemy.

The Objectivists who voted Obama because they thought Bush was not the right kind of right-wing brought us, indirectly, Obamacare, the financial reform act, soon to come increases in taxation, environmental BS, a deficit so high people are actively discussing the possibility of US default and which forced Ben Bernanke to print large amounts of currency (whatever the reasons he gives, taking down the middle of the curve, putting money in people's pockets, blah blah blah, it's really just diluting the USD so that debt can be paid back). I don't care if they are doing it For Jesus the Christ and Savior (plus, the Protestant Work Ethic built America as we know it). I don't care if they hate all government including its essential services. They are picking up a gun and firing and I will provide them with bullets because the shots they take benefit my aim.

What is the point of discussing the finer point of intellectual property rights when you are getting brutally taxed to fund a welfare state and free healthcare "for all"? What is the point of debating whether creationism has a place in schools or whether abortion should be legal when the other side happily confiscates more and more of our liberties?

This does not mean I give up or agree with them. When a libertarian tells me he wants anarchy I reply why I consider the State to have a duty to protect property rights. When a centrist talks about social democracy (as an alternative to full blown socialism) or "a safety net" I reply with the slippery slope, philosophical argument (if you give them an inch by conceding people have a right to other people's property...). But I will gladly mix with these productive people who have the same ideas as me.

Every minute spent pointing out why one should vote Obama to "send the GOP a message" (I think they got their message, but not through the 2008 election, but through the tea party uprising) is a minute the Democrats are gaining ground. I do not like it. I intend to live in your beautiful country, please don't get in the way of anything that can help it retain its core philosophy.

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Thanks for the links rtg24 and Rick. From the interview with Thompsom I found the question and answer below to cut right to the core of what I am attempting to point out.

FMM: What did philosophers such as John Locke, Adam Smith, and our Founding Fathers understand regarding individual liberty that Americans today do not?

Thompson: They understood that there can be no morality and no justice without individual liberty, that liberty is only possible where governments are limited to the protection of individual rights, and that one must be eternally vigilant in protecting one’s liberty.

Without liberty and the willingness to defend it by creating political alliances one's moral choices disappear and all one's collected wealth will disappear also. I have no desire to create an immense amount of wealth so that I can then give it up to the local bully politician. I intend on fighting for my liberties so that I can one day have politicians that understand individual rights and swear to protect them. One cannot reverse the order.

And for those that think they are acting in their self-interest and just jump from one continent to the next with no political alliances except to money I would like to offer quotes by two well known men from the time just before WWII. Both men were lacking in what has been defined as national pride/patriotism or in other terms national self-interest as they attempted to appease Hitler by throwing their political alliances into the fire while hoping that a war could be avoided.

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain quoted from his book In Search of Peace: "I had the opportunity yesterday of exchanging a few words with M. Blum, the French Soicalist leader and former Prime Minister, and he said to me that in his view, and in the view of all the Socialist friends with whom he had talked, there was only one danger of war in Europe, and that was a very real one: it was that the impression should get about that Great Britain and France were not in earnest and that they could not be relied upon to carry out their promises. If that were so, no greater, no more deadly mistake coulbe be made - and it would be a frightful thing if Europe were to be plunged into a war on account of a misunderstanding."

In other words, Chamberlain and Blum seemed to be worried that they would be pulled into a war as Germany/Hitler did not think either country had the resolve to fight to win even though they had the military resources which far-out-numbered Germany.

Even John Maynard Keynes occasionally got things right as he did in this quote: "Our strength is great, but our statesmen have lost the capacity to appear formidable. It is in that loss that our gretest danger lies. Our power to win a war may depend on increased armaments. But our power to avoid a war depends not less on our recovering that capacity to appear formidable, which is a quality of will and demeanour."

Keynes was also correct when he spoke directly of Chamberlain: "He is not escaping the risks of war. He is only making sure that, when it comes, we shall have no friends and no common cause."

So, once again, for those that think they are escaping the war, you are not. It is in one's self-interest to choose political alliances and fight with them before they are overwhelmed and one is left with "no friends" to fight the cause of liberty and individual rights. And in a certain context to leave America and go to another country is to say (whether directly or not) that America is no longer worthy of one's alliance as the people have already lost the "quality of will and demeanour."

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I intend on fighting for my liberties so that I can one day have politicians that understand individual rights and swear to protect them. One cannot reverse the order.

But then who will fund their campaigns?

I agree that the wealthy should not run away from problems. The head in the sand syndrome is problematic. This is why the Koch brothers etc. have fought the way they know, by investing in powerful assets that can be mobilised against the enemy. I read in Richistan that most upper middle class people (net worth up to 10m USD) are staunchly conservative, but that the two segments above that (10-500m net worth) are always very Democratic (vast wealth, the Mellons of this world, are mostly conservative with some exceptions, Bill Gross, Warren Buffett, George Soros, etc.). There lies the sweet spot. It was a bunch of millionaires (the "Gang of Five") that started the epidemic wave of Democrat takeovers of red states in the last decade. Nobody on the other side had the business sense or resources to fight against their organised and efficient and well funded campaigns.

Resources matter in war and politics.

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You are welcome Ray.  Here is another interview with a question that I think gets to the core of this issue.  Arthur Brooks, AEI and the neoconservatives are not defenders of liberty, individual rights or the pursuit of happiness. The fundamental question when it comes to self interest and political alliances is whether or not you are going to act on principle or be pragmatic about it. 

"2. What do the neocons mean by “governing philosophy,” and how does this affect the way they engage in politics in America?

Identifying and deciphering what the neocons mean by this notion of a “governing philosophy” is, I think, one of the most important and original contributions of our book, and it’s the key to understanding their public-policy advice to the Republican Party.

The neocons explicitly reject the suggestion that neoconservatism is a systematic political philosophy grounded in absolute and certain moral principles. Instead, they describe it euphemistically as a “mood,” a “style,” or a “mode of thinking.” They don’t want the broader conservative movement limited by the straightjacket of permanent first principles. Not surprisingly, then, neoconservatism is an amalgam of several different ideologies. Daniel Bell once described himself as “a socialist in economics, a liberal in politics, and a conservative in culture,” which sums up rather nicely the content of their philosophy of governance.

But there’s more. The neocons’ “philosophy of governance” means three things. First, it’s a technique that teaches rulers or potential rulers how to think about politics rather than what to think. It’s about developing pragmatic tactics for getting, keeping, and using power in certain ways. It’s about knowing how to improvise, modify, and adapt one’s principles to changing circumstances. Machiavellian prudence must always trump principle."

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2010/12/hbc-90007833

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RayK - a rational, free America is not going to happen in your lifetime, and it won't happen in the lifetime of your children. That is the working context. The world is bigger than America. That's another part of the context. By far, the surest way for somebody to maximize their personal freedom today is to not be permanently stuck in America as though it were the only place on earth. America has not been a fundamentally free country anytime in your lifetime, nor in your parent's lifetime, and the statist juggernaut continues to grow daily.

Consider attempting to transform a country instilled with everything from Christianity to hard-left Marxism to rampant environmentalism and very little that is reasonable, otherwise. Exactly where are the minds in that mix to which you believe radically better ideas can operate? Where are the large scale private schools, starting at first grade, that you would need to even begin to attempt to make a big dent, and what do you think is happening in the many, many years before that could ever happen? Tens of millions of copies of Atlas have not led to anything approaching tens of millions of correspondingly rational men - not anything remotely like it - and anyone who believes they are better than Ayn Rand at describing and selling better ideas is self-deluded. In between the supposed "someday" of a fully rational America, and America today, an incredible amount of destruction is occurring.

*If* one is still attached to the idea of large scale cultural change, I think creating a completely new country is far more logical and far more feasible, on a much shorter timescale. If Israel could do it in the 20th century - with all of its huge faults and overwhelming odds against it from the start given its completely insane location - then other men can do it, and I think better. The fundamental reason is straightforward: I think there are enough rationally productive men *right now* to make it happen. But they are diffusely spread out throughout the world - and they have no homeland.

When one wants gold, one could either delude one's self into believing that alchemy works and spend a lifetime trying to turn sand into gold - or one can work on finding the gold that actually exists and concentrating it into a useful form. *That*, at least, is possible, even if a lot of work.

In any case, I consider it contemptible to criticize somebody because they seek to maximize their own personal happiness and focus on their actual values in their brief lifetime, if necessary by not becoming attached to one place for too long. Objectivism is not about being some Kantian duty-driven selfless social activist and anyone who thinks it is, has very little grasp of what the philosophy is really about and is certainly no ally of the philosophy or those who try to live by it.

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I intend on fighting for my liberties so that I can one day have politicians that understand individual rights and swear to protect them. One cannot reverse the order.

But then who will fund their campaigns?

I agree that the wealthy should not run away from problems. The head in the sand syndrome is problematic. This is why the Koch brothers etc. have fought the way they know, by investing in powerful assets that can be mobilised against the enemy. I read in Richistan that most upper middle class people (net worth up to 10m USD) are staunchly conservative, but that the two segments above that (10-500m net worth) are always very Democratic (vast wealth, the Mellons of this world, are mostly conservative with some exceptions, Bill Gross, Warren Buffett, George Soros, etc.). There lies the sweet spot. It was a bunch of millionaires (the "Gang of Five") that started the epidemic wave of Democrat takeovers of red states in the last decade. Nobody on the other side had the business sense or resources to fight against their organised and efficient and well funded campaigns.

Resources matter in war and politics.

I am not stating that people should stop working nor fund campaigns and that is not what this thread is about, unless I have misunderstood what others are stating. What I am attempting to point out is that one "cannot plant mulitple flags" which by the very nature of that statement also requires that they have no political alliances and will jump to the next seemingly safe ground as soon as the enemy attempts to move in. In other words there really is no vigilance to the principle of individual rights.

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It looks like Charles Koch is familiar with Ayn Rand, not sure why he is a Libertarian, and I wonder if he supports ARI?

"Readers expecting a recipe book for business success will be disappointed, but those of a more philosophical bent will find Koch's observations fascinating. Not only has he digested the entire Ayn Rand syllabus of free market theory, but he's had the chance to put it to work from his headquarters on the plains north of Wichita."

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d.html/ref=aw_...mp;a=0470139889

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Phil, I agree that America is a different country than what it was at it's founding, so I understand your context. But America, even with all it's mistakes, is no worse than most other coutries and without a defense sytem (as we have talked of before) where is one to go There is no other country in the world that can produce a military response as America can, even with it's messed up foreign policy. But let us once again, discuss your other idea. Where are the people you mention? Where are the invitations to discuss political philosophy and set up a new country, it's government and it's military like what was done in American during 1775 and 1776?

And my answer to your last paragraph is to refer you to my quote from Thompson: "They understood that there can be no morality and no justice without individual liberty, that liberty is only possible where governments are limited to the protection of individual rights, and that one must be eternally vigilant in protecting one’s liberty."

One cannot have personal happiness when they are enslaved, so it is in one's self-interest to fight.

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This discussion has reminded me of the following.

"On behalf of the Zimbabweans who desire to live as human beings, free from the shackles of Mugabe's tyranny, I have a favor to ask of you, America.

No, it is not a request for a check or some other handout. Nor is it a request to send over your 4th Infantry division to liberate us. Our suffering does not give us a right to your wealth or to the lives of your brave soldiers.

No, the favor I have to ask is very different--and far simpler. America, stop apologizing for your greatness.

Stand up and proudly champion the principles that have enabled you to earn your wealth and power: capitalism and the individual's inalienable rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. Condemn every form of tyranny and tell the world that the political system created by your founders is the only noble system the world has ever seen. Tell every individual across the globe that no matter if he is black, white or Arab, the only path to freedom and prosperity is through the ideas contained in your Constitution and Bill of Rights. To modify a saying from one of your great founders, George Washington: Proclaim a standard to which the wise and the just can repair.

To do so costs you nothing--and will achieve much."

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=New...cle&id=7427

I had the pleasure of first hearing this in a lecture given by Andrew Bernstein to a small group of Objectivists back in November 2010.

I agree with Ray the fight for our life and liberty is here in America. 

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One cannot have personal happiness when they are enslaved, so it is in one's self-interest to fight.

It depends on the context. Ayn Rand was enslaved and she decided to flee to a country where she could be freer. Also, "fighting," in our current context is not a matter of occupying, securing, and defending geographical territory. One can promote and defend American and Objectivist values from anywhere as Monroe Trout did from Bermuda and bloggers from all over the world do on the internet.

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One cannot have personal happiness when they are enslaved, so it is in one's self-interest to fight.

It depends on the context. Ayn Rand was enslaved and she decided to flee to a country where she could be freer. Also, "fighting," in our current context is not a matter of occupying, securing, and defending geographical territory. One can promote and defend American and Objectivist values from anywhere as Monroe Trout did from Bermuda and bloggers from all over the world do on the internet.

And all of them can keep up their abstract discussions about what should be done and nothing or very little will get done. One of the biggest differences I recognized while studying the Founding Fathers is that they not only had the mental faculty to define their ideas, they were willing to take the action to see those ideas go from abstract to concrete which so many others were unwilling to do. So, it is not just a matter of defednig American and Objectivist ideas and values, it is having a place where one can live according to those ideas and values. In different terms, in reality man lives in specific geographical territories and to get and keep them he must implement his abstract ideas with concrete actions.

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And all of them can keep up their abstract discussions about what should be done and nothing or very little will get done. One of the biggest differences I recognized while studying the Founding Fathers is that they not only had the mental faculty to define their ideas, they were willing to take the action to see those ideas go from abstract to concrete which so many others were unwilling to do. So, it is not just a matter of defednig American and Objectivist ideas and values, it is having a place where one can live according to those ideas and values. In different terms, in reality man lives in specific geographical territories and to get and keep them he must implement his abstract ideas with concrete actions.
Again, I need help grasping why the intellectual activism I engaged in while still in the US is different from what I do in Australia. I live according to the same values here in a country that is actually freer than America currently. Yes, I understand that America is where Objectivist ideas will likely take hold first, but I still don't get how one must be there to fight effectively.

I will freely admit that my goals in life are not primarily intellectual activism and therefore the kind of fighting I do is no different wherever I choose to live. So I have to ask, what kind of people specifically are you referring to? This conversation is fascinating to me, so I don't want to come off sounding dismissive. It's clear you are passionate, Ray, as are we all here, so rather that try to read between the lines, I'd prefer to continue to engage in this debate.

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Jason, what I am stating is that if we are going to make real changes in our lifetimes (which is what really matters to us, the now living) we are going to have to take more defined efforts, more concerted efforts. Objectivist individualism is defined different than what most other people think of individualism (which I know that you know), but that does not mean we have to work independently to achieve the same or similar goals. To bring about the change that I think all of us here would enjoy is going to take a concerted effort and a standing up for the changes we want without a flinching (a demonstration of weakness) in front of our enemies. In other words, we cannot have people on our side that constantly state that the war has already been lost, when we have not even aroused the people to fight. The Founding Fathers did not wait for every colonist to fully understand the abstract idea of individual rights before they took actions to make their goals come about. Some people on this forum have stated time and time again things like I just mentioned, but I would like to remind them that before The Declaration of Independence no one stood up for individual rights yet that did not stop them. As Objectivist we have reality and morality on our side and we have the intellectual tools to put abstract thoughts into action in a non-contradictory manner, so we cannot let the numbers scare us into inaction.

And before anybody misunderstands my statements, I am not talking about getting a weapon when I use the term fight. But I do mean that we have to stand up and confront our enemies even if it is uncomfortable. I think short-term discomforts are a small price to pay for one's freedom and one cannot be free if there is no recognition of individual rights and a government properly defined and limited to the role of protecting those rights.

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Jason, what I am stating is that if we are going to make real changes in our lifetimes (which is what really matters to us, the now living) we are going to have to take more defined efforts, more concerted efforts.

And those more defined efforts require one to be taxed at a higher rate?

What if a man can donate $30,000 more per year to ARI because he saves that much in taxes from incorporating somewhere else? And what if he is involved in manufacturing, and since the US hardly makes anything more, he has to move to Asia?

What if a man hates the weather of Canada, so he sells products to people in Canada but spends his time on the beach in Thailand? What I don't get is how he can't make cultural change in Canada from the internet or donating money. Because of the division of labour, some of us are better off supporting an intellectual or organization who can say it better than we can. We can focus on our jobs, and enjoying our lives. If we don't make a lot of money, we can still write to almost any newspaper in the world from any place where there is a wifi connection.

In other words, we cannot have people on our side that constantly state that the war has already been lost, when we have not even aroused the people to fight.

I'm not sure anyone is saying that. We're all fighting for the right culture.

The Founding Fathers did not wait for every colonist to fully understand the abstract idea of individual rights before they took actions to make their goals come about.

How does living, working, or banking abroad stop one from making cultural actions? I can make a good case that in todays regulatory environment, one can do more if they get the IRS and regulators off their backs.

As Objectivist we have reality and morality on our side and we have the intellectual tools to put abstract thoughts into action in a non-contradictory manner, so we cannot let the numbers scare us into inaction.

Nobody seems to be arguing for inaction, at least recently.

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Jason, what I am stating is that if we are going to make real changes in our lifetimes (which is what really matters to us, the now living) we are going to have to take more defined efforts, more concerted efforts.

And those more defined efforts require one to be taxed at a higher rate?

What if a man can donate $30,000 more per year to ARI because he saves that much in taxes from incorporating somewhere else? And what if he is involved in manufacturing, and since the US hardly makes anything more, he has to move to Asia?

What if a man hates the weather of Canada, so he sells products to people in Canada but spends his time on the beach in Thailand? What I don't get is how he can't make cultural change in Canada from the internet or donating money. Because of the division of labour, some of us are better off supporting an intellectual or organization who can say it better than we can. We can focus on our jobs, and enjoying our lives. If we don't make a lot of money, we can still write to almost any newspaper in the world from any place where there is a wifi connection.

In other words, we cannot have people on our side that constantly state that the war has already been lost, when we have not even aroused the people to fight.

I'm not sure anyone is saying that. We're all fighting for the right culture.

The Founding Fathers did not wait for every colonist to fully understand the abstract idea of individual rights before they took actions to make their goals come about.

How does living, working, or banking abroad stop one from making cultural actions? I can make a good case that in todays regulatory environment, one can do more if they get the IRS and regulators off their backs.

As Objectivist we have reality and morality on our side and we have the intellectual tools to put abstract thoughts into action in a non-contradictory manner, so we cannot let the numbers scare us into inaction.

Nobody seems to be arguing for inaction, at least recently.

To lead one must know what their troops (or subordinates) are going through by having personal experience. A leader must train, bleed, sweat and more with his troops. The reason Washington was so beloved by his men is because while the rest of the officers went home over the winter Washington stayed and froze just like they did. All the abstract ideas one holds could be fully sound, but then one must convince others to follow him, which cannot be done without earning their loyalty. Why do you think politicians have "town-hall" meeting and not "wifi" meetings?

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I think we can agree about the nature of the fight and disagree about geography. This is also why we have organizations to which we can donate money who have many more resources at their disposal than any one individual does. In other words, I absolutely think I can live in a place of my choosing outside the US AND contribute meaningfully to the fight. Because Ray was careful to say that he doesn't mean the actual taking up of arms, I am of the firm opinion that I can make good contributions wherever I may reside. Let's also recall the context: I'm not a professional intellectual and I'm not inclined to jump into the fray the way some people and organizations are.

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...I'm not a professional intellectual and I'm not inclined to jump into the fray the way some people and organizations are.

And I thank you for you efforts and applaud them.

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I've brought this post over from the other thread since it was more relevant to the topic of this thread.

I, however, agree with the good point you made in your post above that one should
Plant multiple flags and take advantage of greater freedoms in some countries than others.

Unless one has an immense amount of wealth with no real need to work in one specific field to create such wealth, how may I ask is one supposed to "plant multiple flags?" Last I checked most of the people that still work hard to make America great (or at least are working at it) are not cosmopolitan types. As a matter of fact, the cosmopolitan types (belonging to the world) get up and run away instead of fighting anytime things do not go their way.

I think the real question is not *how* one is supposed to "plant multiple flags" but *if* one should if one can (to which I say yes). I did not understand Duke's statement as suggesting a goal to achieve by setting up bases in multiple countries so that one can shift base if, for example, taxation gets too bad in the US. Instead I took it as a suggestion about how one could maximise one's profit if one has the resources to "plant multiple flags".

What is wrong with someone residing in the US but setting up shop in, say, India (in one of its Special Economic Zones (SEZs)) or Dubai (in the Jebel Ali Free Zone) because taxes are lower (or just lower for some particular industries) and labour is cheaper? That is what I understood from Duke's post - taking advantage of each country's (and in fact of individual states in some countries like India) particular economic policies - and *not* to run away when the going gets tough.

I agree that freedom must be fought for and that running from the field eventually leaves nowhere left to run. I have, in all my posts in the original thread, consistently stated that as far as "making one's home" goes, there is no better place than the US, despite its heavy taxation and mixed policies.

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MRZ, my main complaint was not the idea of traveling around the world nor finding "tax-havens" which allow a person to increase their wealth. My primary problem is that the so called "cosmopolitan" types are not the one's in history that have ever created real change. If a person is going to motivate their fellow people of a society to rise-up and shake off the shackles then they have to be in the trench (fighting for the same values) with those they expect to lead as no group of people are going to have respect for nor follow someone they cannot find common ground with. Leadership requires more than just ideas, it requires taking the actions of a leader and one cannot lead an intellectual battle (or any battle) while sitting all safe in their ivory tower/fort. In different terms, a person is not going to convince another person how powerful a philosophy can be toward creating a better life when they are safe and sound 10,000 miles away and the other person is struggling just to pay for a gallon of milk.

The greatest war leaders of the American military had the respect of their men, because their men knew (for the most part) that their leader has already gone through or will go through exactly what they were going through. One does not have to be a military leader to gain the respect of those they are leading, and the example one sets will do a lot more to convince people one is worthy of following then all the abstract ideas. But one cannot get down in the trenches with their troops if they are always planting multiple flags when things do not automatically go their way. It is when things do not go as planned that one must plant their flag deeper and not pull it up and move it.

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In different terms, a person is not going to convince another person how powerful a philosophy can be toward creating a better life when they are safe and sound 10,000 miles away and the other person is struggling just to pay for a gallon of milk.

Just so my thoughts are not misunderstood I would like to add some to my earlier post.

I am not stating that philosophy does not matter, instead one cannot lead without a philosophy guiding their actions. But, the best leaders, such as Washington, were great because they were men of the intellect who also took the required actions. In different terms they were willing to integrate their thoughts and actions which exemplyfied their philosophies which allowed them to gain the alliance of their men.

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