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2008 April 13 Sunday
Thinking About America's Vacuous Election

Are you confused by American electoral politics? Do you wonder just where did the rational arguments run off to? I don't think they ran off to the fall-out shelter. That was another era when reason had a place to run to. No, the answer is much worse: We've been feminized and Oprah-fied. Don't believe me? Oprah's endorsement of Obama was big news. If afternoon talk show fluff was treated really as fluff then that endorsement would have meant squat. Dennis Dale looks at the vacuousness of Obama mania.

"What did he say?"

"His is a rare eloquence. He struck just the right note of conciliation while still expressing the anger of black America without all the, without all the anger."

"There's a neat trick. But I thought he was addressing some controversy or other."

"Yeah, the Clintons played the race card. Just reprehensible. I'm sickened."

"What's this? The same Hillary the Great as you've characterized her BO?"

"BO?"

"Before Obama. Everything changes AO. It's a whole new paradigm. An exciting time."

"Yes, it's amazing how much of an impact he's had already. To think that some would deny him the presidency! I swear, if we fail to elect this man for the first time in my life I will be truly ashamed of my country."

People do not want to think about weighty bummer issues like Iraq or America's demographic decay or unfunded old age entitlements liabilities. No to all that. Much more enjoyable to think about "Hope!" and "Change!" and "lets show everyone how unracist we are!" and other fluff pretty much aimed at feeling good about oneself. The purpose of an election then becomes a sort of national group therapy session.

The fact that elections are between a small number of candidates tempts those who want to look at politics as all about personalities and relationships. The tendency is to turn an election into a week day afternoon talk show for ladies who have too much time on their hands. How does he feel about what she said? How does he feel about what she said? Can we get other personalities on the air to dissect the personalities that are running? Can some of those talking heads be really gushing and enthusiastic for those who just want to hear reasons to feel good? The top candidate then becomes the one who can generate the most positive emoting. That's where we are.

The Presidency used to be a serious office. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal I think its main purpose started to shift toward producing material for pop psychology gossipers. I wonder whether serious thinkers will simply withdraw from discussions about politics and the political realm will become an emotional circus show.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 April 13 11:03 AM  Politics Candidates And Press


Comments
HellKaiserRyo said at April 13, 2008 1:06 PM:

"People do not want to think about weighty bummer issues like Iraq or America's demographic decay or unfunded old age entitlements liabilities. No to all that. Much more enjoyable to think about "Hope!" and "Change!" and "lets show everyone how unracist we are!" and other fluff pretty much aimed at feeling good about oneself. The purpose of an election then becomes a sort of national group therapy session."

The United States has to go into survival mode to compete with China. These are difficult issues to discuss, but I do hope that the advisers behind Obama's optimistic facade will have the pragmatism to deal with these problems appropriately. (I believe the wonks and advisers truly possess the power not Obama with the appellation of President.) I do not have much else to say, now, but in retrospect, Buchanan would have been better president than George W. Bush. At least he was a true conservative, not this Grover Norquist ersatz conservatism pandering to the interests of the wealthy and wanting to ossify a plutocracy. Anti-immigration policies are necessary for survival (and tax hikes to at least pay off the principle for debt), but I do not think the Left will advocate those policies. In addition, I do not the Republicans will support such policies either when people such as Grover Norquist and Stephen Moore possess more political power than Pat Buchanan. Ironically, despite the fervent "hatred" that Buchanan expresses, his paleoconservatism would have served the country better than Bush's soi-disant "compassionate" conservatism. I respect the intellectual tradition of David Hume (i.e. empiricism) so I am willing to abandon the left-wing ideology on immigration. In addition, Al Gore would have supplied more money for alternative energy research by taxing the rich so he would have been better too.

I wonder if the Catholic Buchanan would stop the gravitation of the United States into a theocracy. He does not have the intention of merging church and state from what I heard about him.

To put it concisely, the United States political spectrum needs to displace the current conservatism with paleoconservatism. I disagree with the paleoconservative agenda, of course, but it would be a benign form of conservatism. At least paleoconservatism does not possess the elitism of the current Republican Party platform.

Well, I favor Barack Obama over John McCain (McBush to put it with a tone of levity); McCain is worse than Obama in foreign policy and domestic policy. I do not want a politician who will advocate policies that will exacerbate the deficits through a costly war and tax cuts. Maybe in four years, a paleoconservative will run against him.

averros said at April 13, 2008 6:47 PM:

American people had a chance this time to do something about business as usual. They blew it up, just like the good dumb sheep the rulers want them to be.

Well ahead on the road to serfdom, well ahead.

HellKaiserRyo said at April 13, 2008 7:01 PM:

Well, if Sweden is serfdom, them I like it. But I do not think we can have a benificent managerial state anymore. Damn... that sucks.

I only oppose immigration because it is a threat to the managerial state.

Randall Parker said at April 13, 2008 7:33 PM:

HellKaiserRyo,

Sweden: I like the blondes. I like the smart conscientious people. Mostly all that is genetic. It also makes Minnesota so much like Minnesota.

So if you want the managerial welfare state you need to support genetic engineering to make everyone more Swedish.

China,

People are not yet waking up to that one. I expect they'll wake up more when Chinese brand names start knocking US, Japanese, German, and other brand names out of the market.

Stephen said at April 13, 2008 7:42 PM:

Okay, few would disagree with Randall's basic proposition. So how about speculating on a solution?

YT said at April 13, 2008 8:05 PM:

Okay, few would disagree with Randall's basic proposition. So how about speculating on a solution?

Stephen,
Deport all non-white immigrants, legal or not. Then close the border and only allow in European immigrants above a certain IQ. Either deport or segregate the black and hispanic population. Use force if necessary.
Of course, this will never happen for a variety of reasons. Many will call this racist, xenophobic, hateful, etc...And many who will label it as such live very far from blacks and hispanics in places like Chappaqua. They send their kids to private schools with no minorities (maybe a few asians). Illegal immigrants don't cause their salaries to stagnate and they won't get screwed by Affrimative Action. They don't have to worry about black crime and affording higher and higher taxes to support indigent, low IQ minorities. This is the only way for whites to survive, much less keep America from becoming a northern version of Brazil.

averros said at April 13, 2008 9:38 PM:

> Well, if Sweden is serfdom, them I like it.

I would thought it's OK, but I know one too many Swedes who moved to US because they wanted to do something productive with their lives.

Hint - most of the Swedish myth of the beneficial welfare state is just that. A myth. Do not forget that Sweden wasn't ruined during WWI and WWII like most of the rest of the Europe was. So it was quite a lot richer than the rest, and it was going downhill since socialists took over.

You may not be aware of that, but an average Swede has worse standard of living than an average black in US. If you try to do well for youself there, most of what you'll earn will be confiscated by "progressive" taxes. So very few people bother.

And if you take care to look at their demographics, you'll see that the country is a walking corpse. In a few decades it'll be taken over by Muslims.

More on the topic - from Swedes:

http://mises.org/story/2190
http://mises.org/story/2259

HellKaiserRyo said at April 13, 2008 9:49 PM:

Well at least you have labor market political activities that the unemployed can attend.

Kenelm Digby said at April 14, 2008 3:45 AM:

Averros,
Taking the recent dollar slide into account ( a very necessary and totally justifed market correction) then you will see the average Swede is way better off than the average American.
Furthermore the Swedish economy with its world-beating industrial firms (eg Ericsson, Scania, Volvo, Ikea etc) is very healthy and produces a large export surplus - the same cannot be said for the USA.
In the products where Swedes compete (eg heavy trucks) they dominate the World.

Kenelm Digby said at April 14, 2008 5:01 AM:

Averros,
Portugal was completely untouched by World wars 1 and 2, yet it never developed industry and remains the poorest west European state - I'm sure other examples can be found.
Germany was almost totally trashed - most of its equipment was looted by Russia and England, and yet by 1958 it was massively outperforming England industrially.

Your arguments are all superficial, thoroughly unconvincing and have the rancid whiff of bad-breathed right-wing bullshit about them.

Wolf-Dog said at April 14, 2008 6:15 AM:

YT wrote:"Deport all non-white immigrants, legal or not. Then close the border and only allow in European immigrants above a certain IQ. Either deport or segregate the black and hispanic population. Use force if necessary. "
---------------------------------------------------
How would you deal with people who are only partly black? And how do you define Hispanic? Would Martin Sheen be Hispanic? (He is of Mexican ancestry). Many European Americans of Spanish ancestry would also call themselves "Hispanic."

Ned said at April 14, 2008 6:27 AM:

Monica certainly didn't help, but the tradition for substituting fluff for substance in presidential campaigns goes back at least to JFK, if not further (JFK is about as far back as I can remember). The MSM totally loved the Kennedy's, Camelot, PT-109, the whole bit. John Kennedy's serious health problems, his heavy drug use, his relentless womanizing (including sharing mistress-bag woman Judith Exner with Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana) and his family's creepy mob ties were completely ignored.

Stephen said at April 15, 2008 12:43 AM:

Kenelm, what equipment did Britain loot from Germany? I know the US and the Soviets each looted some technology / people (eg rocketry etc), but I'm not aware of Britain having played that game.

Dragon Horse said at April 15, 2008 10:17 AM:

Randall talked about Michelle Obama's "imaginary" racial problems having more to due with class and that she was "unqualified"...

http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/stories/2008/04/12/roommate_0413.html

Uhm appears her first college roommate went out of her way to make her unwelcomed due to race.

So maybe Michelle's essay on race at her school was not far off. I guess a white guy like Randall who doesn't have a racist bone in his body (haha) wouldn't notice things like that even if he was there...why would he? That is called "majority privledge".

mensarefugee said at April 15, 2008 4:32 PM:

Agree with Averros.

Charles Murray wrote about it a bit. He's been giving talks in Sweden for decades about how they are spending all their Social Capital via their socialism. Decades ago, he was all but ignored. Lately he's noticed that more and more Swedes are nodding along at his lectures.

Stop idolizing Sweden.

HellKaiserRyo said at April 15, 2008 6:46 PM:

Well, Sweden has "labor market political activities." Too bad the United States do not have that.

http://mises.org/story/2259

YT said at April 15, 2008 7:12 PM:

Randall talked about Michelle Obama's "imaginary" racial problems having more to due with class and that she was "unqualified"...

Did you read her paper? She is an idiot. If she was this very talented, highly intelligent blck girl, why didn't she major in math, physics, science, etc..." Not even English, but Sociology. Not exactly a hotbed of academic rigor.

green mamba said at April 16, 2008 6:53 AM:

It's spelled "privilege", Dragon Horse, no "d". And "unwelcomed" is not a word; "unwelcome" is what you want.

Sorry if these comments are racist.

Audacious Epigone said at April 16, 2008 9:39 AM:

This commentary from a recent Pew Research report by the organization's President is germane:

"While Obama's positive personal image plays an important role in his high favorable ratings, the polling found that his ratings are more influenced by how he makes voters feel than by specific characteristics they attributed to him. In particular, views that Obama inspires hope and pride are the strongest determinants of a person's opinion of him. In other words, he is a charismatic candidate who has made large numbers of Democratic voters feel good, and this is even more important to them than specific perceptions of him."

Audacious Epigone said at April 16, 2008 9:48 AM:

Oops, it's already been discussed in another post. Sorry.


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