Just joined

Posted by greybear22 10 months ago to Ask the Gulch
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I just joined the site. Coming from a place, where I understand the concept, that politicians did not work for their worth. They got it due to their popularity. They never produced anything, nor provided a service, that helped others. For me, this is what Atlas Shrugged pointed out really well.

After joining, I couldn't help, but notice the number of posts in the hot category, that are straight off right wing politics opinions. Sometimes against democrats, sometimes straight against profit oriented companies.

Is this the result of the current climate? Or is this the main theme of this forum? I am actually looking for a place to have amazing discussions with likeminded people.

I am not from the US, nor am I interested in any politics, as long as it doesn't affect my life heavily (which it does, btw in Scandinavia, but that's most likely not interesting for others - I chose this place to live with all the perks and disadvantages).

So my question is: How much is this forum politics-centered usually? Is this just a weather I can storm, or will it be like this also years from now?

And to people discussing politics on the site: Am I missing something? How do you match the minimal state thought in Atlad Shrugged, with the fact, that both democrats and republicans are trying to kill the major profit oriented companies at the moment, increasing the spendings on government? Is this really a topic, that I shouldn't ignore? Is one politician really better today, than the others? If so, can you please attach some numbers, data, etc. on it? I jonestly don't want to be ignorant about it. But what I see today is governments becoming stronger everywhere regardless of the side, which results in supressed companies, who fight to create workplaces. So for me, any political debate is pretty much against the purpose of this site - and I'd prefer to understand the purpose of this place, and the content I found here.

Thanks a lot to everyone taking the time to answer my questions.

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  • Posted by Lucky 9 months, 4 weeks ago
    Welcome. It is always good to see a new member.
    When the newcomer is from outside the US it is especially interesting, there are not many of us, at the moment the number could be up to two, but there was a Canuck here not long ago.

    When I first read Atlas Shrugged, it was only 10 years ago, it was like reading the politics/economics/government in the daily newspaper. I'd look from book to paper, same, same, names and places were different but same stupidity.

    As to your comment about politics- too much of it here?
    Could be but it is easy to get obsessed by these day-to-day events, the faults of governments, the supporters of current fallacies be they the old doctrinaire left or the new post-modernists, big business cronyists, rather than thinking - thinking about underlying causes, explanations, and what to do.

    The point you make about criticizing profit-making companies is important.
    Recall the Atlas Shrugged speech by Francisco- what matters is not the amount of money you have but how you earn it.
    So it is valid to comment on the mega corporations who are so financially successful-
    what frauds or sharp practices are they in?
    are competitors suppressed by cheating, by government restrictions that they have bought?
    are the decision makers in government regulatory and purchasing agencies getting paid from the industry supposedly being regulated?
    Answers that are not easy to get from msm are on here.

    Discussion on this site is not just on a game with two big competing teams who are better described as gangs, these gangs acting more on hysteria than on values.
    There is something else going on. It is not just corruption, there is wide support for national destruction in ethics and core values as well as economics, This wide support comes from a mass who are not acting in self interest, at least in any rational sense.
    All of this is the concern of Objectivism and this site.
    This is what politics is about.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 4 weeks ago
      As far as I know all the mega corporations got their wealth by providing real value to the world. To mention a few mentioned on this site, and from the Forbes list:

      Microsoft made computers accessible to everyone
      Google (Alphabet) made information accessible to everyone
      Facebook made personal connections accessible to everyone
      Amazon made comfortable shopping accessible to everyone

      3 of these 4 are also currently making the startup of a business super easy (just managed to create a full service on a .com domain for 12usd, years ago it was hundreds with less control over the infrastructure).

      My point on political debates is just this: whenever one side is blamed, politicians already won. After all, both parties charge the above companies today for monopolistic practices (like having the formula of a great steel).

      I agree, politics could and should be discussed at a place like this. I expected it. Maybe from a bit different angle. But as I wrote, I'm at the very beginning of understanding this forum and my place within it. So these are rather thoughts written down for debate, not some ultimate statements. And still definitely all amazed by the amazing arguments arriving with each message. :-)
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      • Posted by freedomforall 9 months, 4 weeks ago
        Power corrupts. The earned (and unearned) wealth of some mega-corps is being used to manipulate government to provide unearned wealth, suppress competition, and to suppress freedom of speech in the process. I don't criticize them for their productivity, but for their corruption, use of government power to suppress competition, and manipulation of others by censorship of the internet to gain political power.
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        • Posted by 9 months, 4 weeks ago
          Interesting idea. It surely has a good foundation. Though does this apply to the companies listed above?
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          • Posted by freedomforall 9 months, 4 weeks ago
            Definitely a resounding "yes" in the cases of Google and Facebook who practice censorship of free market and conservative views every day. They also censor views from medical professionals that support those who are evidently using fear of disease to place blame on the current administration for a "pandemic" that can be treated cheaply with existing therapies. Google and Facebook are suppressing the successful use of these therapies, imo, in order to maintain fear, cripple the economy, and to prevent Trump's re-election. Thousands of people have died and millions have lost jobs unnecessarily because of these actions.
            Amazon Prime movie features often promote the same distorted and often racist worldview as other socialist propaganda vehicles.
            Microsoft has gone from offering a product that empowers customers to invading the customers privacy. They do insist that the already addicted customers consent by accepting a contract that most don't read. Microsoft's near monopoly position in the market has emboldened MSFT management to take this unethical path.
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            • Posted by 9 months, 4 weeks ago
              Ok, so this is the issue. What could be a solution?
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              • Posted by freedomforall 9 months, 4 weeks ago
                First, don't do business with any such companies, if possible.
                Unfortunately, that is not a realistic solution given the way such companies are using government policy makers to legalize their unethical actions and limit competition.
                One step is to restrict campaign funding to only donations from individuals who reside in the district of the candidate's office. For example, within the senator's state, within a congressperson's district. Corporations are not people; they are creations of government and they should not have the rights of or superior to sovereign people. I would also state a dollar maximum limit for campaign spending based upon the population of the district to level the playing field for candidates and reduce the effect of funding on elections. Being good at fund raising should not be a high priority talent for elected officials since it is not something they are required to do in office- especially if they can't be re-elected (see below.)

                Another step is to place term limits on every elected federal office. I would make it only one term with no re-election possible. Eliminate career politicians completely and reduce the possibility of corruption.

                Change the laws that allow Facebook, Google, et al to censor postings and to ignore free speech rights.
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                • Posted by 9 months, 4 weeks ago
                  I actually love the idea of not doing business with such companies - This way the market can give the sign, that the company went too far, causing damages to them. Though looking at current setup, I don't quite see the effect taking place. I mean right now even major companies tried to affect Facebook income, and failed miserably.

                  Restricting th campaign funding - I guess that could be an option. Though this would take away the option from wealthy people to affect the elections more, than poor people. This could be fair from some viewpoint (we are all equal as human beings), but to me, this sounds something, that could come from a socialist country or a fictional government in a certain book...

                  Limiting the terms could again work again. For me, one term sounds a bit too low as a limit. Though it could be 2-3 terms, that would already change things I guess, if there are no such rules in place for now.

                  "Change the laws that allow Facebook, Google, et al to censor postings and to ignore free speech rights."
                  Mmm. Making it mandatory, that these companies cannot censor anything on their domain? I guess we could extend it to production companies too. Like making it mandatory, that a certain steel production company must sell their products to people, they don't want to do business with.

                  In general I feel like we have a fairly open market, without governmental interruptions (that is, within the US and EU - admittedly even moreso in the US than in the EU). Though that's my point kind-of. Once anyone tries to make sure, that one political side should be heard, it's very easy to slip into the supression of companies. Simply because people start to see everything through the lens of politics, instead of the lens of economics.

                  And honestly, to hear the statement, that a company is closer to the government, than to the people from the US is a bit confusing to me. I mean if the US is already at a stage, where the government decides, which companies should exist, then we might as well go with the Chinese way. I mean communism is communism. At least they have expertese in it. The US seemingly used to have capitalism. Aside from this post I try to hope, that it still has. And if that's the case, then I guess companies (regardless of size) are still closer to people than to government.
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                  • Posted by freedomforall 9 months, 4 weeks ago
                    We do not need career politicians. Only one term. No re-elections. If they are corrupt force them to do their worst as quickly as possible (and go straight to jail as an example for the next treasonous scum.) If they are not corrupt then they will not want to be in DC as a public servant any longer than one term, and will want to get back to productive work.

                    Is there some rational evidence that the wealthy are better at being representatives of people than those who are not wealthy? If so, they should be more effective at sharing that evidence than the less wealthy and should not require more money in the campaign. The idea of spending more should be discouraged, not encouraged in a candidate for federal office. We don't want to elect one just because one has more money to spend on advertising. We want to elect one who will represent the people of his district wisely.

                    Google and Facebook are not production companies; they are media companies. Strawman.

                    The problem is companies that use government power to advance their wealth and power instead of serving customers. We do not have a free market because of this (and other meddling using government power.)

                    I don't know where you "hear the statement, that a company is closer to the government ..." It's not something I wrote. Your last paragraph doesn't follow from anything in this discussion that I see.
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                    • Posted by 9 months, 4 weeks ago
                      My concern about the 1 term only vs 2-3 terms is this (noting, that I think it's still a short enough term to prevent career politicians appearing, which I agree is a desired outcome): This removes any incentives for good performance. Though it creates a gap in the person's CV. This combined might result in the most incompetent people running for public positions (aka becoming candidate, at least I have a shelter for the time of election). Granting just 2 terms can give the prospect, that a successful term can grant another one. So later on it's easier to determine for an employer, that this person did well (or not) in this position.

                      Also, it's important not to be radical, throwing politicians in jails. History (even recent in certain countries) proves, that countries taking it liberal end up with stronger governments (getting rid of opposition) and modifying any good foundational laws to their favor. So I see this being contraproductive.

                      "Is there some rational evidence that the wealthy are better at being representatives of people than those who are not wealthy?"

                      This in itself is an awesome topic for a complete debate. I believe the representation itself is not necessarily as important as effectiveness (of the country, not the government. Surprisingly it seems they are inversely proportional). Wealthy people on an average have a better understanding of economics, than poor people. Of course this statement is only considerable as averages, not on the level of individual. But in this case it's masses electing, not just a few individuals. I think it would balance itself out pretty well (and US vs socialist countries seems to support this).

                      As a matter of fact, Hungary still has this rule you mentioned. It led to a semi dictatorship, as poor people were easy to convince with some free food or some wood for the winter.

                      Media companies, service providers, and production companies are all alike in a sense, that they fulfill a need. The better they do it (and luck and everything else of course), the more money they make. Google and Facebook do it super effective apparently. I don't think, any government would be able to do it better.

                      I haven't seen an evidence yet, that companies use government power to advance their wealth and power. Instead, their agenda just matches well with democrats (actually democrats followed the flow). It originated from the idea, that if we welcome everyone as equals, they will spend more time with us and spend money way easier. And we don't care who pays, we just want money. Capitalism at its best.

                      "Corporations are not people; they are creations of government"

                      You wrote this. I interpreted it as if you meant, corporations are closer to government than to people. If this wasn't what you meant (obviously, based on your previous message), then I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. I didn't get this part then. Can you please elaborate on this one? I don't get, what you meant by this then.

                      For me, corporations are things, that people start from the bottom and build it up from there as people still. Governments tend to create corporations in countries, like former USSR (to avoid actual politics of certain countries). Though as someone coming from one of those countries, this statement automatically triggered the above interpretation.

                      And btw sorry for the slow responses, it's bath time over here for the baby and soon sleep time for us, parents. But thanks for sticking around. Awesome conversation going around the topic. :-)
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  • Posted by $ Abaco 10 months ago
    Yeah, interesting. I'm apolitical. I don't even vote. Realize that the violent, abusive, angry leftists are typically found in the Democratic party. For me, that leads to a tendency to really dislike that party. There are good Dems, too. At the same time, I know some real statist idiots who watch Fox news and are proud Republicans.

    I tell my friends, 'I'm not political. I'm philosophical." That always ends any discussion they're getting wound up about, for a variety of reasons. A is A

    There are a lot a effective thinkers here...
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  • Posted by $ allosaur 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    Welcome to The Gulch and you are welcome to discuss and read whatever you want.
    Me dino is deeply concerned about politics because Nov. 3, 2020 may well be the most important election in our lifetimes.
    America is on the verge of deciding whether or not it wants to politically destroy itself.
    If this is the end of the USA as we know it, I expect this board along with freedom of speech to come to an end perhaps within a couple of years.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      I think it's still very different, if freedom of speech is prevented by profit oriented companies. Because let's be honest, they do factually close their eyes and accept other opinions, if not doing so would affect their business (ahem, China vs NBA). So the fact, that some people want to define boundaries around their own products and platforms does not imply any level of censorship to me. It's their right to do so, also to lose customers and money with it. Nobody is forced to live on Facebook. Though all Americans are forced to live in America (they can of course move to another country, but countries have the options to close their borders - ask North Koreans. Facebook can't close its borders).
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      • Posted by $ allosaur 9 months, 3 weeks ago
        ?? Your response does not pertain to what I wrote.
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        • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
          "If this is the end of the USA as we know it, I expect this board along with freedom of speech to come to an end perhaps within a couple of years."
          I replied to this part. I clarified my point on the importance of any election in my other comments earlier, sorry for skipping that part (though I admit, it should have been addressed as the major part of your message - my only excuse is the amount of messages I tried to answer all at once).

          On a government level I can't see any censorship, especially considering, that the president himself is republican at the moment. So I don't see any level of censorship and don't expect this site to go down (at least not because of censorship - I have no idea, how it works financially).
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      • Posted by $ Dobrien 9 months, 3 weeks ago
        You are correct when you have stated you don’t know enough to comment. Our con-gross granted faceplant and other tech giants protection against lawsuits if they did not act as an editor. They are acting as an editor by blocking or canceling accounts that post views not held by their biased arbiters (SLPC).
        Your Cute replies,suggest to me you will not be around here long.
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  • Posted by ycandrea 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    Welcome to our site! Politics, to me, shows a person's value system to some degree. Ayn Rand was all about the hierarchy of ones values. That is why it is so important. Especially now that we see that politics is dramatically changing this country's basic foundation and principals. Many are trying to take away individual rights and property rights.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      My point was only, that the election shouldn't be faith determining, when both parties want to take away individual rights and property rights. If a third option was realistic, I would understand it. This way I don't. But again. It's just my two cents.
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  • Posted by 25n56il4 9 months, 4 weeks ago
    Welcome to the group. We don't confine our topics to politics. Books are sometimes discussed. A lot of 'venting' goes on and sometimes we annoy one another (but we apologize right away). This being an election year, of course you know what the topic is. Best wishes N
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    • Posted by 9 months, 4 weeks ago
      Right, election year. That makes sense. Didn't register the connection between the two information. Thanks for the message.

      Hmm, annoying others. I think I can manage that. ;-)
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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 10 months ago
    We must explore and be aware of present day culture and politics or should I say, Post Moderns use of Cultural Marxism, Crony Capitalism and cowardice viewed through the lens of Ayn Rand and other adaptive philosophies.

    And if you find that depressing...check out IN THE MEME TYME published every Sat here in the gulch and partake of the healing effect of laughter.
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  • Posted by $ Dobrien 10 months ago
    You are free to participate in discussions that interest you. You are also free to ignore.
    Many here feel we are at an inflection point in the US. If freedom in the US is usurped. The rest of the world will also cave to the deep state masters.
    We have a news media in America that is pushing for a Marxist agenda, many posts are to provide a rebuttal to their sick agenda.
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    • Posted by 25n56il4 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      Well I think I have already cleared the air with my comments on Socialism, Progressiives, New Green Deal,etc. I understand Mr. Trump.
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      • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
        For me, this is part of what I don't understand yet, though as promised, I will read up on objectivism and get back with more educated questions.

        I tend to hear, that right wing is underrepresented. But this is probably the single most seen message I see everywhere. So while I get, that certain medium (cnn, bbc, you name it) might be biased, I don't get why it is a problem. If what they do is legit, it should be ok. If it's not legit, they lose credibility and people leave them, making them go bankrupt. I know it doesn't happen overnight. But it's not a process to stop overnight either, so starting to slide downhill will almost inevitably drive these mediums in the ground, if that's the case.

        At the same time, if the single most seen message I see is "we are underrepresented", then people read this message instead of a constructive idea coming from the right. By other words, why chase people away, when the other side did the same? Then this should be a game already won. The point should be just not deliberately losing it.

        This all, while the US has a republican president for now and the next term (let's be honest, Biden is still talking about the same democratic party agenda, which already lost last time. People not learning from their own mistakes tend to lose in any kind of competition).
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        • Posted by $ Dobrien 9 months, 3 weeks ago
          They the MSM are being subsidized by the deep state. If you look at the ratings they are doing terrible. Real info is coming from the digital soldiers. Yet they are being banned and censured by the monopolistic social media.
          We are in what I call an “Uncivilized War”. It is also information warfare. ThinQ of how Sweden is hiding the increase in rapes from the Muslim immigrants and the danger to girls and women there. Is it beneficial to the citizens for that info to be covered up?
          The Leftist Dems know they don’t stand a chance unless the cheat. That is why they are pushing for mail in voting which will be a disaster. BTW we are underrepresented in the MSM. But not in reality.
          I am confused by your concern of what is posted or discussed here. Use your free will to ignore what doesn’t interest you or state your disagreement of specific issues.
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          • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
            Thanks for clarifying your point of view. As I wrote earlier, I decided to stay at the sideline for now. I'm afraid it wouldn't make sense to state disagreement now, as 1. The site has a base ideology I am not familiar with and 2. The knee jerk response to many of the topics would be too far away from the discussion to make sense.
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  • Posted by ycandrea 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    I also believe that once we started "incorporating" businesses is when capitalism started to die. Incorporating took the onus of responsibility off of the business owner. They became untouchable. Ayn Rand showed her distaste of the corporate board in Atlas Shrugged. She would have nothing to do with them in all of their games and shiftness. She left that to Jim.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      If by incorporation you mean the limited liability companies, I think that's fair. But only if personal bankruptcy is also introduced. I think these are good things, increasing the willingness to take risk. If you mean the bailouts, the "too big to fail", that's just pure robbery covered by bullshit, I agree.
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  • Posted by GaryL 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    All governments thrive on the profits of others because governments don't produce a damn thing.
    Major corporations thrive on the profits from the products they produce or services they provide. We get to decide if we care to support such detestable individuals as Zuck the Schmuck on FB who has a God Complex and feels as though he gets the final word on what is and what is not acceptable.
    Politics is actually quite simple here. I would bet we have those who align with R and others who align with D but many, many more who are in the third party known as I. Some might even classify me as an L which is complete BS because neither I nor many others here saddle up to any single party or leaning on all matters.
    YUP! Lots and lots of political speak goes on here but you do have the choice to either jump in or out at will so welcome to our addictions and pick the fights and discussions you chose to become involved in. You did in fact make me give a lot of though by your post. I detest democrats and don't have much use for far too many republicans. I have a sneaking suspicion that Donald Trump is in the republican party out of necessity but he damn sure does not want to go to many of their parties. Those who pick their friends by color, party affiliations or ethnicity are dumber than the fools tossing bricks and molotov cocktails in their own towns and cities.
    You will quickly find many here from the content of their character worth having meaningful discussions with. Being you are not of this country I have to repeat a very meaningful quote you may or may not know the man of God who said it. Saturday Night Live lots of years back, Father Guido Sarducci directed this to the Pope, "You no play a the game, you no make a the rules"! If you don't live here in the US under these rules you will do well to not inject your opinions based on the rules where you do live.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      I don't want to tell anyone what to think. Though I sure believe, I have the right to have my own opinion. As I wrote, I am here to answer the messages at this point solely. I'm doing it, as I think it's good manners to do so. Of course it's not possible to answer everything over a certain amount, but I'm trying to keep up with the messages for now. And obviously, I can only answer based on my own thoughts.

      There are things I find not only factually wrong in what you wrote, but straightaway offending. I don't want to address them, simply because it can't be argued whether it's acceptable to write them. It's not. Debating in a civil way is acceptable in almost all cases. The only exception is when the wolf, the fox, and the rabbit discusses in a civil tone, which one of them should be the dinner, then they vote. No matter how civil the conversation is there, it's still not acceptable considering, they are equally valued as living creatures.

      The only part I think we can discuss is whether Zuckerberg can decide, what can be said. My argument is simple. It's his platform, his rules. If you don't like it, go to the competitor. It's a profit oriented company. They will either adapt, or die.

      And there are a number of competitors already. Though you can go to fiverr and ask an Indian guy to develop a facebook clone for you for $50. Then it's up to you to do the marketing, etc. and make it popular. Just like this forum. You are free to discuss any opinions. The best Facebook can do is offering an incredibly huge amount of money to the owners.

      If they don't accept even that sum, the site will continue to exist - so that you can share your thoughts. This is free speech. Not a right to scream into everybody's faces, that they are secondary citizens only, due to their religion, sex, age, or color, while they have to listen.

      To simplify it: if you come to me and say the same things you wrote in your comment to my face, I have the option to call the policy (civil), or punch you in the face (not civil). On the internet I can report it to the admins (civil), or bully and spam you with a few friends, that are similarly keyboard warriors (uncivil).

      I think it's better, that there is police and there are admins. Otherwise it would be pure violence everywhere. And while I can protect myself, I also have a wife, a daughter, a mom, and a dad, who I'm glad don't need to be raped, bullied, robbed, or beaten up just because they are old, young, or just weak.

      For me the same stands for Facebook. And it's always the platform owner's word, that matters. It has been like this, since the beginning of civilization. Hence the armies and police departments in all the countries.
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  • Posted by starznbarz 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    Political discussions in this country have always been one of three ways, left & right opinions that probably cant be swayed and the folks that actually chase the links, follow the story to its facts, then decide what is most likely the truth. Politics now, in this Republic, have come to two sides, Constitutional rule of law, or communist authoritarianism. The masks have come off, the corrupt entrenched congress is deathly afraid they are about to be exposed publicly and their power taken away, they are reacting as a cornered snake, striking out at anything that moves. You ve picked an interesting time to be involved, you are about to witness the power of a nation that has always known Liberty, when that Liberty is seriously and methodically, attacked.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      I think it's an interesting time indeed. Though I'm more afraid, that the reason is rather that the US has started to become a country like others. Originally it was built by immigrants. People, who took the risk and worked their ass off (ignoring any other factor). These days immigration seems to be less relevant, and for locals the politics has always been the ultimate sports event, where people can root for one side. I hope I'm mistaken. Though from the outside that's how it looks like.
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      • Posted by starznbarz 9 months, 3 weeks ago
        You are coprrect that we are becoming more like other nations, it has been a tactic of the left to promote open borders, they learned during the Johnson administration that a large, needy population keeps them in power without any questions - the one that provides the bread cannot be attacked, or the bread stops. Our education system has been overseen and unionized since the Carter administration, when a person has always been told red is blue, they believe it completely. I was raised on the Juarez border, controlled immigration matters.
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        • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
          I don't think it's dependent on the side. The US had a number of republican presidents too throughout its history. But for me it's weird to say, that the faith of the nation will be decided in the US, because otherwise the bad party will destroy the country with open borders. As an outsider it seems, the US has always had a problem with imigration. Just ask the native americans. As far as I see, nobody except for them have the logic right to debate for closed borders. And then the continent would be quite empty, khmm.
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          • Posted by starznbarz 9 months, 3 weeks ago
            Youre correct that both parties are paddling the same canoe, although, the democrat party in the last decade or so have been overrun with the radicals of the 60s, with the goal of rendering the Constitution null and void. The native Americans have a claim, but not a very strong one, as the stronger tribes took land and slaves from the weaker ones, by slaughtering and torturing them. Trump will be re elected and that will touch off some serious problems, but, it is my belief that the vast majority of Americans will stand up at that point and support rule of law being enforced. I also believe the democrat party will be very much diminished after November, as they have now publicly shown just who and what they are - and what they intend to do.
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            • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
              I think the economy won't change due to the election, regardless of who gets voted (though I agree, that Trump has the upper hand). And there are well functioning countries with and without the mentality of hissing about everything. France can't go two days in a row without a strike and they have great democracy. While I don't even know, if Iceland had at least a decent strike after the financial crisis getting their economy bankrupt. So democracy and general mood of citizens are independent of it too.

              I'm not afraid of the US' two party system disappearing either. One way or another, whoever gets elected next time will just mess it up at a certain point. Even if it's Trump (resilient against any political correctness debate), there might be a point, where it becomes too much for the majority of people. And for Biden... Actually I think he already lost black votes as a democrat. I mean there is not much below this.
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    Great to see a new person, with an open mind. I was one here not long ago.

    Definitely not all political discussion, but the present, polarized situation, and the significant dominant centralized government power position of one party biases much discussion. RINOs are almost as bad, not almost isn't counting right now.

    There are some atheists, some religious, some Rand-zealots, some simple Libertarians, a couple of socialist trolls here. There are a lot of smart people, and good discussions.

    Glad to have you!
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      Yes, it does seem very diverse. Though it's notable, that the site still focuses on objectivism. And as that is a rule, I would say, let's keep the place what it's like, to further nourish the open minded, diverse community. So I definitely don't want to be the first one breaking the rules by not understanding the main focus of the forum. Hence I'll read my part first and see back later. Have fun in the meantime and keep up the great community and discussions. ;-)
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  • Posted by VetteGuy 9 months, 4 weeks ago
    Hi greybear, Several years ago, there was a thread where Atlas Shrugged was discussed in detail, chapter by chapter. I looked for it briefly but didn't find it, maybe someone else knows where it is. It came along shortly after I had first read the book (and seen the first movie) and prompted me to do a more careful second reading. I for one thoroughly enjoyed that series, though it didn't get as much "traffic" as some of the more recent topics.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      Don't get me wrong. While I didn't find this thread, I saw a few decades old topics. Based on that and the plot of the site it seems to be a nice idea. I was just taken aback by the amount of politics in the recent threads. Someone just reminded me it's election year, so that explains a lot (still not necessarily agreeing with the concept, but understanding it at least).

      Based on a few comments I decided to stick to answering the messages I get, though not starting up topics until better understanding the concept behind the forum.

      For me, Atlas Shrugged was about libertarianism - apparently the site is revolved around objectivism, which seems to be very different for now. Considering the outstandingly civil tone (even for a live debate, yet alone for the Internet!!!), I will definitely read up on the topic some more. Then will likely come back with questions. :-)
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  • Posted by Mamaemma 10 months ago
    Greybear, there are many brilliant and deep thinkers and objectivists at Galts Gulch. An excellent way to have the conversations that you want would be to submit a thought provoking topic. And welcome.
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    • Posted by 10 months ago
      Thank you for message. It pretty much reassures, that this is the right forum for these discussions. I will try to do my best. :-)

      On that note: My initial question would be the one, I posted here. I hope I posted it to the right place. But I already got a number of messages, so seeing the forum is so live, I'd rather double check it. Is this the right topic to ask such a thing? To add to the original one: Is recent times really that different? If yes, how so? Of course due to the exponential growth of everything, at any point, the current change seems to be a lot. But honestly, I don't see as big of a difference between today and 10 years ago, as there was e.g. between 1930 and 1940. Or 1910 and 1920. Or 1840 and 1850 (in Europe at least, I'm not a history expert). I just feel like people are easier to offend these days. Not as a complaint. All the easier for me. Though I'm just trying to understand. Back in time, certain groups seemed to be more sensitive. How did even the strongest groups become so whiney (sorry for the word usage, no offense. But I don't have a better one for it).
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      • Posted by $ Dobrien 10 months ago
        Many major cities in our country are being destroyed by Marxist anarchists . In MPLS a billion dollars in damages alone , all to protest the death of a career criminal. The division of citizens has never been fertilized by the liberal leftists like what we see today. Many here know this is a fight for our lives as we know it. Passionate might be an alternative to “whiney” depending on what group you mean.
        BTW the Scandinavian co that produces LEGOS pushes a communist agenda to our children (see The LEGO movie) , that is totally against what our founding fathers stood for. I see it as an attack on my liberty.
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  • Posted by SilentScream 10 months ago
    I hear you, and I think it does have a pretty direct relationship to the current climate. Corporations & politicians here have been making VERY big moves (more all at once than any one of us can even keep up with: Battles for more money and less constitutional laws to tighten controls on the herds) and they control the narratives that get seen on TV and the main social networking sites. By mixing in just the right amount of "triggering" and distracting little spin & shift of blame, they appear on the surface (to the couch potatoes) to be giving both sides a voice without actually having to do so, but are censoring out anything that comes too close to the truth or the real culprits. Divide & conquer is currently being tried with all gas and no brakes. Consequently, those who are doing their own research and seeing through at least some of the mind-hacking are seeing how rapidly the mushroom people are becoming dangerously brainwashed by the controlled platforms (that they get banned from for trying to show others how they're being lied to). We were essentially lulled to sleep by distracting entertainment around scrambling to keep up with the ever-increasing bills as our free speech was quietly slipped away (and a ton of people just realized it). It is killing our economy, killing small businesses, killing in the name of "public health", killing our education system, building more monopolies, and those who can see even some of what's going on are growing more frantic/panicked.

    But it's easy carried away and start finding people or groups to point to as "devils" and other people or groups to hold the keys to our salvation, and much harder to unplug from the altar-net distractions and actually take a hard look at our own demons & what's making us weaker in our own lives.

    I'm with you. Just here looking for better people and better, deeper, conversations that leave me with new ideas/concepts to consider and see how they might apply & be utilized in my own life. There are good folks like this to be found, but they've never in my experience been the loudest or the most popular.

    I still feel like I have to follow the current climate at least a little in order to try to stay 1 step ahead of whatever comes down the line next, but it's such a dirty, bloody mess that certainly don't enjoy it following it. I'd rather talk about ideas, dreams, and enjoyable things. Welcome to the Gulch!
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    • Posted by SilentScream 10 months ago
      Just to end on a good note, here are a few of my favorite things in the real world: https://imgur.com/user/KnapperDan

      A very cool & unusual job working out in nature and a niche hobby that I've gotten especially good at through 7 years of practice.
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      • Posted by 10 months ago
        Thanks for your response. Unfortunately the link you sent doesn't work for me. But I really appreciated the attenpt to end on a good note. It's a hard, but very rewarding art, trying to be positive. :-)
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      • Posted by 10 months ago
        It's odd. I managed to open it on desktop now, though mobile doesn't work for some reason. Anyway. It seems to be an interesting hobby. I can see the end result, but how do you do it? I guess it can also be taken to private to avoid going off-topic. I'm new around and figuring things out, but please feel free to send me a PM, if there is such a functionality.
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  • Posted by Owlsrayne 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    There is politics in the Gulch which is inevitable due to the Covid-19 and the political firestorm of the upcoming election. Fear is running rampant in many parts of the USA, Firearm ownership has soared and where I live in Arizona prepping has become a big business resulting in empty store shelves of various merchandise.
    We have from time to time written our version of a Gulch in the current world with debate ensuing.
    Read Robert Gores' essays from "Straight Line Logic" which he publishes on the Gulch, they are excellent reads.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      Sounds great, but I don't want to mislead you. I already got so many books in my backlog, that I likely won't read this in the near future. I might need to start a written backlog I guess, especially if this goes on. Great to find a forum, where I can get reading material recommendations (though we'll see, how good these books are eventually ;-)). Thanks for the recommendation anyway, I'll try to squeeze them in after the basic pieces.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    It's hard for an objectivist to avoid discussion of politics because it hovers over every aspect of life. If there truly was such a thing as a real free market, operating without interference from governments, then the real value of capitalism would become obvious. Unfortunately, that ideal vision of a true free market does not exist.

    Nixon gambled that if the people of China could experience the results of capitalism, then their communist government would expire, swept away by people eager for personal well being. As a result, our government twisted the rules to encourage our own successful corporations to invest in China to make a capitalist system work there. The idea of extremely low wages making it possible to offer incredibly low prices made it possible for some companies to exterminate U.S.-based competition. The last U.S. television manufacturer, Zenith, couldn't compete with companies making use of lower cost labor and disappeared.

    What Nixon didn't think possible, that the Chinese could manage to create a special version of a government with the personal constraints and government authoritarianism that could still exercise a special form of capitalism, happened, giving us the market we have today, where nearly all of U.S. manufacturing other than domestic vehicle and aircraft manufacturing has left our shores to low labor countries.

    If it was simply the cost of labor that shifted the location of who provided goods for a worldwide market it wouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately governments couldn't keep their fingers off the scales, and used tariffs and incredibly difficult bureaucratic barriers to deny some countries access to their domestic markets. The U.S. is no innocent in this, denying Namibia access to the U.S. peanut market to protect American peanut growers, as one example. U.S. big sugar companies are one of the most corrupt agencies on the planet, using political connections to control the world sugar market. Their corrupt practices go back to the 19th century, causing the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy to put the islands essentially under the control of the sugar companies. Ironically, those sugar growers are now abandoning Hawaii for countries that now offer cheaper labor and less environmental restrictions.

    Objectivists in America are Constitutionalists, who believe that a government formulated on the original principles expressed in our founding document are the best form of government. Unfortunately, that concept didn't even last to the end of the century of our creation, with John Adams trying to exercise the powers of a tyrant, constrained only by our Supreme Court.

    The big companies have become part of a government-company partnership, and so it seems reasonable that excessive power, from whatever source, needs to be constrained to prevent it from crushing personal natural rights. It's the same idea behind rules that put barriers on monopolies and trusts. even when those monopolies and trusts provide good value to the consumer. When AT&T's telephone monopoly was broken up, chaos happened, for a while, to eventually be replaced with a very competitive market for communication services that has become a driver for technology advancement. It's about as close to a real free market that can exist in the U.S. today.

    So you see, everyday life, business, and government have become so entwined for American objectivists it's difficult to discuss one without the others. That is what you're witnessing as a fresh outside observer, and we hope that your independent views bring fresh inspiration to those of us somewhat fatigued by current domestic squabbles.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      This is actually a super interesting post. It assumes, that government and profit oriented companies can be allies. So logically, even though you could walk away from Facebook, this would only result in another bailout, which you are paying for, with your tax.

      Of course from a libertarian point of view, the bailout is the core issue here (actually I think from any point of view). Though so far I thought, this is only a major issue, that should not happen. Based on what you wrote I think it would make more sense to forbid any form of bailout on a constitutional level even.

      I guess the only reason for not including it could have been that it seemed too surrealistic at the time - if it wasn't included, that is.

      My concern about heated debate still remains, as what the democrats messed up, the republicans further deepened (the market would have long corrected if not for Wall Street trusting Trump). But I definitely see, how such a seemingly small event can go all the way to flip the table. Great point, thanks for it. :-)

      Actually it's not known, how good the market would be without the introduced barriers. There was a technological jump naturally resulting from the improved computational possibilities and as a result of hackers figuring out how to connect their computers to the telephone.

      My guess is, AT&T would be struggling now, or would have collapsed during the financial crisis, due to startups sucking up the air around getting monopolistic in niche markets. But honestly I don't see the disadvantage there.

      Yes, the market doesn't react immediately. But as above seen, even just a small change could flip it completely. So there is a possibility, that this step just prevented a super successful startup from appearing and creating competition on its own. Then now the US would have one more of those major corporations, that could potentially come up with their more innovative solutions. I guess we'll never know this part.
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  • Posted by NealS 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    If the politics gets to you, see the header bar above. Under "Categories" there are about 20 different topics of discussion. Sometimes it's difficult to keep politics out some of them with a different.totally disassociated title.
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      Yes, I found the bar. There are some interesting topics indeed. The only point is, I was surprised by the undertone of the forum messages (for explanation please see my other recent response). I wanted to make sure, I got the main focus of the forum. Apparently I didn't, so now it's back to the research phase. Once I'm done with that, I will be more than happy to discuss politics too. But until then I don't want to discuss volleyball on a volleyball forum, when I've never even seen a volleyball match. ;-)
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  • Posted by CaptainKirk 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    So, we live in a social world.
    Politics, in fact, dictates HOW we will live and operate.

    I believe Libertarians make the mistake that SOME EFFORT must go to PROTECT the system.
    There is a cost to a lightweight system of government, and that is defending it from communists and greedy people/companies.

    The true challenge. We are human. We are flawed. The levers of power can lead to great wealth, and has.
    Look at the income of the Clinton's and the Bush's! Romney fought to save Fannie Mae when 1/2 of his FORTUNE was invested in their bonds!
    Imagine that. They were saved. How self-serving.

    The lost lesson is our OBLIGATION to work to keep what we like about the system.
    This is where the liberals have won. They took over school boards, and teach UTTER NONSENSE.

    So, if you want to avoid the conversations about politics... But you are interested in keeping your freedoms, and your property.
    How do you propose to do that? Because ONE impinges constantly on the other.

    And in America, we are at a Crossroads. We will either clean things up (Trump and draining the swamp), or go back to being RAPED by both dominant parties!
    I USED to love Ron Paul. Until I realized HE SOLD US OUT. We had the UPCOMING Renewal of the Federal Reserve, and in exchange for putting Rand Paul in more power, he opted to be silenced. Where was his book "End the Fed", with the chapter explaining HOW... That we needed to get things ATTACHED to the upcoming renewal of the Federal Reserve, or have the president VETO IT. Where was that push!

    Anyways, welcome aboard. Feel free to start new discussions on the topics that interest you and avoid the ones that don't.
    But in America, we have a battle for the future of our country on our hands. We are either going to become a RACIST/IDENTITARIAN Communist country, or we are going to spend decades volunteering, and cleaning up the crap we call our current corrupt government.

    If Trump has done ONE thing, it is to expose the reality of the situation. The corruption runs deep (HRC doesn't need to testify, but Flynn cannot be freed yet)!
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    • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      My point was only that while you say, the other side is communist, they say you are a nazi. These labels are easy to throw around, harder to understand the other side. Even harder to avoid doing it, when people really do believe, politicians do something.

      By libertarian I mean I would prefer a weak government. Not a lack of it. Government's task is maintaining order. But that should be it as far as I see. Once the constitution is in place, it is hard for me to justify the validity of any lawmaking. I mean it's like changing the rules while playing cards. Of course if I can change the rules as I wish on the go, I will definitely win, and everyone else will lose.

      Admittedly though, libertarianism is just what it is. An idea, a theory. Nobody ever tried it for real, as far as I know. If they did, all the worse - as apparently it didn't result in a shiny success.

      Back to the current political climate of war, there is nothing new in this. Though as I wrote before, I am not in the US. So I might not know the fine details. In other cases the pattern is increasing the tension until one side gets the ultimate upper hand. Then they need a new enemy to keep the power, hence they head into a war with another country. This result in a large number of deaths, but it never matters, as long as the given politicians can keep their power.

      So I'm not against talking about politics. But on a libertarian site, thaf I thought it was (obviously it's not the case and it's only my mistake), I would have expected the main political narrative to be about how to decrease politicians' power, or which candidate wants to grow the government more. Opposed to this, I saw a number of threads cheering for one side. This is not libertarian, regardless of the side.

      But just to make sure. You are the right one here. As the site is not about libertarianism, it is more than valid to have these threads as the main narrative, especially in an election year. I just explained, why I wrote what I wrote.
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      • Posted by rhfinle 9 months, 3 weeks ago
        First of all, welcome. You will find a wide range of opinions here, and that's a good thing. Foremost we're enjoying intelligent, open discourse here, which you don't get on many, many other venues.
        On your comments about this appearing to be a conservative group ("straight off right wing politics opinions"), somewhat *or maybe a lot) true, but I remember a graphic somewhere that demonstrated that Libertarians are more socially liberal but fiscally conservative. The other extreme, socially conservative but fiscally liberal, approaches Commie/Nazi beliefs. On one side calling the other Commie while the other side calls the Nazi, remember that the Nazis were the German Nationalist Socialist Party. You, more often than not, get disparate radical socialist groups calling each other out rather than agreeing on anything. It's a power thing. The less radical ones are harder to tell, one from another. I like to say that in the US, we have many Demoblicans and Republicrats, lawyer-politicians who do not think out or adhere to defined beliefs, because their goal is largely not to do good for the country, but to get themselves re-elected. The red-state ones of these are commonly referred t as Rinos, Republicans in Name Only.
        I believe that, although he doesn't seem to be particularly Libertarian, Trump is the best thing to happen to the US in a hundred years, ~precisely~ because he's not one of them. The Democrats say that he's unstable and dangerous. He is very, very dangerous - to the stability and continuation of Socialist policies and programs they have fostered for decades. I think that's a good thing.
        My personal beliefs fall somewhere between Libertarian and Conservative, primarily because I am opposed to letting the US influence diminish in foreign countries and letting Islam go unchecked. I believe that, in the long term, Islam is at least as dangerous to world peace as Communism. We saw Russia endure 75 years of Communism and then we saw the collapse of the USSR. Communism appears to be inherently unstable in the long term, at least on a less-than-global scale, but it is a long-lasting form of despotism which should be avoided. Socialism is 'Communism lite' and sounds good until, as Margaret Thatcher said, "you run out of other people's money". In my view, the biggest danger ~anywhere~ is, and will always be, simply, 'control freaks' in whatever form they take. What I get from this forum is, how to identify them, how to determine the ramifications of their goals and policies, and how best to defeat them.
        Please note these are ONLY my personal opinions and beliefs, and I welcome hearing any and all others.
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        • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
          So initially I thought it was better that Trump was elected. It not just proved, that the US is different from other countries in that even a president can't push his stupid ideas through, but prevented Hillary from getting into the office for good. And man, she is the real deal, when it comes to career politician. I mean who else could have managed entering so many wars and losing so many of them with the worlds strongest army, while creating an amazing opportunity for China to take over the leading role in the world at the same time? This is quite an accomplishment to be honest. And then she managed to announce in the middle of campaign, that she already won, and won't continue the campaign.

          Now I see it a bit differently (not about Hillary). Trump managed to make the markets trust the US economy saying, he does understand business. And he does. But at a time for correction, this just imploded the bubble all the more. Noone else would have been able to manage this. But while it's good for the US economy today, the next recession (probably because of covid, probably the next one, after the economy bounces back post virus) will be all the worse. And I can't quite see, how this would not end up with the democrats getting back in office again, with even more power. Unless Biden is elected now and can't clarify, why the next recession will be so much worse - which he doesn't seem to understand either, so there might be a slight chance for a republican president after that.

          The problem is, Biden has done nothing as part of his campaign, but losing votes. And that's usually not the sign of a winning strategy.

          Altogether though despite Biden expressing, that the solution for all problem is more government (surprise), Trump didn't decrease public spendings either, even pre covid. So eh. Another election, two sides of the very same coin again as far as I see it.

          In the US' case though "control freak"-ness is part of the job description for a president. I mean you need to be one in order to become the head of the strongest army in the world. Not surprisingly, this also happens in other big countries. Even more so actually. In the US at least there is a limit on how many times one can be elected.

          Also, for socialism... Yes, I more than agree on being communism lite. Though it needs to be explained to people. Many only see the Scandinavian countries and how well people live there in socialism. For them, it's a proof that this can work. And it is way better for the working class (how convenient, that even the poor ones have good finances). Having moved here and seeing how the economy works in details was an interesting experience for me too. I could never experience such a setup before, though it absolutely makes sense here. For the Scandinavic countries, it's a miracle they didn't end up with straight off communism. This also needs to be understood, before arguing with people like Bernie Sanders, who just say "other, smaller countries could also do this". After all, most people (and especially poor ones) want to live better, not supporting an ideology. If they see that an ism makes their life better, they will vote for that (understandibly).
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          • Posted by $ Dobrien 9 months, 3 weeks ago
            Sweden Isn't Socialist
            In international economic-freedom comparisons, Sweden often earns a higher ranking than the U.S.

            For years, I've heard American leftists say Sweden is proof that socialism works, that it doesn't have to turn out as badly as the Soviet Union or Cuba or Venezuela did.

            But that's not what Swedish historian Johan Norberg says in a new documentary and Stossel TV video.

            "Sweden is not socialist—because the government doesn't own the means of production. To see that, you have to go to Venezuela or Cuba or North Korea," says Norberg.

            "We did have a period in the 1970s and 1980s when we had something that resembled socialism: a big government that taxed and spent heavily. And that's the period in Swedish history when our economy was going south."

            Per capita GDP fell. Sweden's growth fell behind other countries. Inflation increased.

            Even socialistic Swedes complained about the high taxes.

            Astrid Lindgren, author of the popular Pippi Longstocking children's books, discovered that she was losing money by being popular. She had to pay a tax of 102 percent on any new book she sold.

            "She wrote this angry essay about a witch who was mean and vicious—but not as vicious as the Swedish tax authorities," says Norberg.

            Yet even those high taxes did not bring in enough money to fund Sweden's big welfare state.

            "People couldn't get the pension that they thought they depended on for the future," recounts Norberg. "At that point the Swedish population just said, enough, we can't do this."

            Sweden then reduced government's role.

            They cut public spending, privatized the national rail network, abolished certain government monopolies, eliminated inheritance taxes, and sold state-owned businesses like the maker of Absolut vodka.

            They also reduced pension promises "so that it wasn't as unsustainable," adds Norberg.

            As a result, says Norberg, his "impoverished peasant nation developed into one of the world's richest countries."

            He acknowledges that Sweden, in some areas, has a big government: "We do have a bigger welfare state than the U.S., higher taxes than the U.S., but in other areas, when it comes to free markets, when it comes to competition, when it comes to free trade, Sweden is actually more free market."

            Sweden's free market is not burdened by the U.S.'s excessive regulations, special-interest subsidies, and crony bailouts. That allows it to fund Sweden's big welfare programs.

            "Today our taxes pay for pensions—you (in the U.S.) call it Social Security—for 18-month paid parental leave, government-paid childcare for working families," says Norberg.

            But Sweden's government doesn't run all those programs. "Having the government manage all of these things didn't work well."

            So they privatized.

            "We realized in Sweden that with these government monopolies, we don't get the innovation that we get when we have competition," says Norberg.

            Sweden switched to a school voucher system. That allows parents to pick their kids' school and forced schools to compete for the voucher money.
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            • Posted by 9 months, 3 weeks ago
              I think it's a common misunderstanding. It's not the first time I hear from the right wing, that Sweden is not socialist. This is not a good argument, for multiple reasons.
              1. Sweden is socialist by any international comparision, from many perspectives. One can find a few statistics, that say otherwise. But when something looks like a duck, smells like a duck, and tastes like a duck, then the fact it doesn't sound like a duck doesn't ensure, it isn't a (cooked) duck.
              2. This doesn't explain the other Scandivanian countries, invalidating any further arguments down this line.
              3. What most people care about is not who pays for it. But the free education, free healthcare, years of unemployment benefits, maternity and paternity leave, financial equality (and good life quality) among people, etc. Right wing usually phrases it as being "socialism", regardless of the official definition and statistics.
              4. Most, if not all of the current Scandinavian welfare solutions - even if they are private companies now - came from privatization of public departments. So should Scandinavia have a fully right wing history, they wouldn't have these setup today and the most desirable solutions (especially for poor people again) would not exist today.

              So for me, this argument doesn't really cut it, when it comes to left and right wing people discussing Sweden. Among right wing people sure, it can be an easy way to explain it. But leftists (who want to believe in this ideal) won't be convinced, as it's easy to come up with any of these 3 points (#1 and #3 are related) by 2 minutes of research.

              This doesn't mean, Scandinavian countries can be copied by others. They are in a very special position. While the system they have is one, that could not be replaced by anything better, it is not reproducible at other countries. However this suggests, that there is no one size fits all solution (neither is libertarianism a solution - in Scandinavia it would bring pretty much misery to people, compared to what they have today). My preference of this ideology is purely due to the fact, that I think what Scandinavia has is not the norm, neither is it sustainable.
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  • Posted by 10 months ago
    Thanks a lot guys. Awesome messages from all of you. Sorry for not answering one byone, but they are truly providing a great value together to be honest.

    1. It was awesome to see, that I got message as apolitical, just as much as about stressing the importance of politics at current time. Great diversity of thoughts here it seems, promising. :-)

    2. Thanks, I was also considering to jump into a few discussions. I decided not to hijack any threads now. I'm pretty new and it takes some common ground to have worthy discussions, which I'm not sure, how much exists between me and others yet. Hence starting this one. I guess it's better to test the waters before jumping straight in. ;-) So staying outside of political discussions for now, and might just jump in later, if I have a better understanding of the community. It might take some time though, if thoughts are as diverse all around the place, as in this thread.

    3. Big yes to laughter! I will make sure to check out the memes. This also sounds promising.

    4. I haven't seen the Lego movie (isn't there more of it?), but I guess it's usual kids's stuff, let's love eachother and everyone is equal kind of theme. I guess there's nothing wrong with protecting kids from harsh reality. It's always been an agenda, just today harshness means something different from harshness during WWII.

    5. You are right, whiney is not the right word. Though I wasn't thinking about passionate either (that is surely true too, but that wasn't my point). Let's try a second round (still has some unintended negative undertone, but can't think of a better one - try to remove the negative undertone of it ;-)) - "vocal to a level I can't understand". Please note, admittedly the can't understand is at least 50% on me and I know this. Just trying to gather the info I'm missing and so far other (admittedly rather left-wing) forums didn't provide it. Hence I'm here.

    6. Yes, I understand the concept, that the US should remain like the wild wild west to some extent - as there is no other place like it. What I'm struggling with still is understanding, why is that the case? I mean yes, this is a gut feeling. I can sense that, whenever we discuss with my wife, whether we want to move to another country (expats already). But why is that the case? I mean with cold hard numbers and facts, instead of gut feelings. And within a historical context, what could be an analogue? Or if it's a unique situation in history, what makes it to be one?

    7. I wanted to make a special point of thanking you all for the very civil tone. I hope I don't offend anyone with my questions. Trust me, there's no harmful intention from my part. Though I know I have a quite weird way of learning - challenging the edges of the idea, but it's rather to understand the limits than to prove anyone wrong. I assume any guy is just as right from their perspective as anyone else. Though we still need to live together, hence trying to understand as much as I can. It makes it easier.

    So again, thank you all for your awesome answers. And just be blunt and tell me, if I overstep some boundaries of the forum. After all, I'm here to learn the local customs at this stage. :-)
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