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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:50 am 
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Valkenar wrote:
I disagree that Obama is implying there's no connection between hard work, smarts and success. I think that's a ludicrous accusation. He's simply saying that hard work and smarts by themselves did not create the success.

That's what you WISH he said. This is what he said.
Obama wrote:
If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get that on your own. You, you didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think ‘Wow it must be because I was just so smart.’ There are a lot of smart people out there. ‘It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.’ Lemme tell you something; there are a whole bunch of hard workin people out there.

To an adoring partisan audience, he's rationalizing high taxation and the existence of big government. Federal government needs the money because these entrepreneurs CANNOT innovate without the Federal government. God forbid he believe that the federal government exists because of the toil of the movers and shakers, and wouldn't be able to build roads and bridges without them.

Thomas Jefferson wrote:
I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it

Hmm... ;)

Valkenar wrote:
In the US, we have a society that makes it so that people have a relatively easy time innovating.

... when we can get government the hell out of the way.
Thomas Jefferson wrote:
The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.


Valkenar wrote:
The point isn't that lazy people like me need subsidies from hard-working people like you . It's that people who are truly struggling should have a fair chance for their hard work and intelligence to pay off. It's not like it's impossible to climb up if you're poor, but to deny that it's damn hard to escape true poverty is, I think, willfully ignorant.

Well then call my father ignorant, because he arose from poverty in the depression and did pretty well.

Call me ignorant because I told my dad "No thanks" past a point. Like him, I went my own way, worked my way through school (or got loans), and left school with a lot of debt. And now it's paid off, and I have a great credit rating.

Valkenar wrote:
Your father sacrificed so that you could go to college. He was also the kind of person that could teach you a work ethic. That's admirable, and you were lucky to have such a father. Now can you really say with a straight face that someone born in south central LA to an unmarried, drug-addicted prostitute has an opportunity equal to yours?

No. And you know why? Because Great Society programs destroyed many such families. They made it easier for pregnant women to stay single, and fathers not to commit. Single moms raising young boys leads with an extremely high probability to the next generation's prison population. Single moms raising young girls leads with an extremely high probability to teenage moms. The cycle of poverty continues.

As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It took a Democrat (Clinton) to pull off welfare reform. A Republican would have been called mean. And that happened because Gingrich's "Contract with America" Congress forced the legislation on him.

Meanwhile... we have people like Louis Farrakhan telling young men not to depend on "the man" and to take ownership of their lives and their responsibilities. Some call him racist, or criticize him because he's a leader of the Nation of Islam. I think he's an inspirational leader - even if he is at times highly eccentric.
Jill Weber of Penn State wrote:
The official purpose of the Million Man March was to "enable and encourage" black men in the United States to "take a greater responsibility and play a greater role in caring for, and uplifting the status of, the Black family."[38] Farrakhan blamed black men for the proliferation of drug use, crime, and fatherlessness within their communities and called upon the men to atone for their sins. In addition to promoting self-enhancement and moral reform within the black community, the march would demonstrate to the nation and the world that black Americans would no longer tolerate racism, inequality, and inaction.


FYI... Farrakhan's son played basketball for UVa. Betcha didn't know that! ;-)

Image

Louis Farrakhan wrote:
Never exalt people because they're in your family; never exalt people because they're your color; never exalt people because they're your kinfolk. Exalt them because they're worthy.


I leave you with one other quote from the founder of UVa.
Thomas Jefferson wrote:
I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.

This comment he made in the 1700s. It boggles the mind! :-D

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:33 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
To an adoring partisan audience, he's rationalizing high taxation and the existence of big government.


That's what you see. But what in his actual words that you just quoted, is wrong? There are a lot of hard working people. There are a lot of smart people. That's true. Small business owners don't have a monopoly on those traits. You're taking his words and conjuring an implication that is consonant with your overwhelmingly negative view of Obama. That's not surprising, but it is mildly disappointing.

You show me just one entrepeneur who had no help from anyone and made no use of government services along his rise to success and then I'll accept that Obama was mistaken.

Thomas Jefferson wrote:
Well then call my father ignorant, because he arose from poverty in the depression and did pretty well.

Call me ignorant because I told my dad "No thanks" past a point.


Come on Bill, you know better than this. An anecdote doesn't prove anything. My great grandmother lived to age 99 eating heaps of butter and other awful stuff. I guess you're wasting your time with all that healthy eating stuff. Some people, get this, smoke cigarettes all their lives and don't die of cancer.

Quote:
No. And you know why? Because Great Society programs destroyed many such families.


None of what you said is false, but it's also not the whole story. You can't lay all the blame on government for this one.
Also, since we like anecdotes as disproof of trends, my mom was a single parent for much of my childhood. I've never been to prison, so obviously your theory about single moms raising young boys is wrong, right?

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:58 pm 
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This is a pretty fun one of these political questionaire sites

http://www.isidewith.com/

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:23 pm 
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Valkenar wrote:
This is a pretty fun one of these political questionaire sites

http://www.isidewith.com/

Ron Paul, 89%

Romney 85%

Obama - dead last

No surprise there, given my Jeffersonian/libertarian principles.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:25 pm 
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Well, Justin, I'm satisfied that I've articulated my principles - and defended them - pretty clearly. And I'm satisfied that Obama can do little wrong in your eyes, and you haven't a clue why he can sometimes be so noxiously offensive to about half the electorate.

For the record... his spinmeisters were scrambling when they realized how badly he came across with this speech - particularly the part I quoted.
National Review wrote:
A couple of weeks ago, the Obama campaign — facing an uproar over Barack Obama’s comment about businesses ending in ‘you didn’t build that’ — released an ad where Obama said, “Those ads taking my words about small business out of context; they’re flat out wrong. Of course Americans build their own business.”

So what's up with that? What's all this fuss, Justin? Much ado about nothing, you would say.

It is what it is.

Here's an exercise I'd like you to do some time. If you know Obama is going to give a State of the Union speech, DO NOT watch it. Instead get a copy of it and read it first. THEN watch it. Do you feel differently about the speech between the time you read it and you saw it delivered?

For the record... my dad was both an extemporaneous speaking coach and a debating coach. I see things... 8)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:01 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:12 pm 
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Wow... Someone out there sees what I see. Imagine that!

David Frum wrote:
Obama combines two ideas: the familiar and broadly acceptable idea in Elzabeth Warren's speech—and a second, much more destabilizing idea.

I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

Obama's second idea is that success is to a great extent random, a matter of luck. You think you succeeded because you were smart or hard-working? Listen—a lot of smart and hard-working people don't succeed.
- Why "You Didn't Build That" Stings the Successful

Again... Go read the book Outliers. Then come talk to me.

Thomas Jefferson wrote:
I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.


- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:46 am 
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Interesting Bill. As I said much earlier, I look at these things from a much simpler point of view. I believe I can usually judge a persons character pretty well. This being from 27 years in law enforcement meeting literally thousands of people both innocent, guilty, mean, cocky, mild, psychologically unstable, etc.. What struck me about this series of comments was one of the ones you quoted. "I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart". Exactly who was he referring to? Who was out there in the public saying "My success must be because I am just so smart"? Who was he referring to? That was a clearly revealing statement to me. That was the crux of his statement. I don't remember hearing about anyone who had made the public statement (prior to his speech) "I'm just so smart I made it all happen".

He could have just as easily said........ "I realize that America is a place where hard work and perseverance can pay off and people can experience the American dream. We, as your elected Government have been committed to doing everything we can to help you succeed."

There. Was that so hard. He makes his point and acknowledges the small businesses everywhere. But to me, the voice inflection he used and the term....."I'm always struck by people who............" To me it was pretty much equal to his right hand man, Joe Bidon saying "He's gonna put yall back in chains". Joe meant to say it. He said it with "gusto". He said it in an animated fashion. To me it's an attitude. Reaching all the way back to telling citizens "You lost, get over it". It's an attitude. I realize that President Bush isn't well liked by many folks. And I don't agree with everything he did. But to this day, you haven't heard him criticize Obama. He refuses to do it. That reveals character to me. I believe this, and the Bidon gaff (which they stand by) simply reveal the character at the top. IMHO of course.

Steve


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:34 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Well, Justin, I'm satisfied that I've articulated my principles - and defended them - pretty clearly. And I'm satisfied that Obama can do little wrong in your eyes, and you haven't a clue why he can sometimes be so noxiously offensive to about half the electorate.


Actually there's lots I don't like about Obama's presidency. Monsanto lobbyists appointed to the fda, his support of ACTA, the crackdown on California's medical marijuana, his zealous whistleblower prosecutions, being slow to support gay marriage openly, letting the sleazebags off the hook during the bailout, even Obamacare isn't progressive enough or my tastes. But there is a lot I do agree with him on, and Romney is certainly my bottom guy.

http://www.isidewith.com/results/48396753 You can click on a candidate to see my actual answers, and be appalled. :)

People who worship money assume that you'd have to be stupid not to want to pursue money. And that obviously if you were smart, you'd do something very lucrative. What they miss is that there are lots and lots of smart and hardworking people who are satisfied with a modest income. The article you linked makes this mistake. Another mistake they make is thinking that smart means smart at business. History is littered with inventors, musicians, scientists and others who were very smart, very hard working, but not good at (or just didn't give a damn about) marketing and other business skills. As you well know, intelligence is multifaceted, and the forms of intelligence most applicable to business are not the only valid ones.

It's grossly self-serving to believe that just because you made money you must be smarter than anyone who didn't. While nobody comes right out and admits it, that's basically what it boils down to. Even you, Bill. All your talk of Pareto, natural law and luck-is-really-intelligence boils down to this conceit. It's exactly analogous the idea that the wealthy are those who god favors, or who are the most righteous, which used to be more in vogue than it is now.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:19 am 
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It's disturbing to agree 100% with BOTH Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, isn't it?

Wait, I got different results when I didn't write in my own answers.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:42 am 
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Yeah, it's a fun survey with some good features, but it's not very accurate when you use the extended answers much. I got Gary Johnson the first time around, then checked his website and was mildly horrified.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:18 pm 
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I can't believe you wrote this, Justin. I can't figure out whether to be disappointed in you not having read what I wrote, or be mildly annoyed that you're either intellectually stubborn or just trolling.

But if I must... Out comes my debating katana.
Valkenar wrote:

People who worship money...

That's as far as I got. There really was no reason to go further.

Image

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- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:38 pm 
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I know I'm not really addressing this thread properly but I did have an interesting thought.

IF I take credit for my successes based on my hard work and effort, then I must take credit for my failures. I cannot blame anyone else.

IF, as president Obama asserts, I should share equal credit for my successes with my teachers, road builders, government agencies, etc........will they also share equally in my failures and take responsibility for that as well??

I'm guessing I know the answer.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:47 pm 
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Here's another book I'd like to recommend for your reading list, Justin. Since you're now stuck on "being smart", it's a teaching opportunity for me.

And no, I'm not being a smartass. This really does apply, and it will be like detergent to the oil of your strawman argument.

Image

Here's a picture to ponder.

Image

And finally...

This is a classic experiment, Justin.

kids vs cookies

Much has been written on this. People who fell on either one or the other side of the outcome of this experiment ended up having very different outcomes later in life. VERY different.

Imagine that! The world isn't RANDOM after all!!!

And if you ever start getting any of this... Then I can bring you into my work world. This is the world where we figure out why some people behave like this...

Image

and most behave like this...

Image

And with that painful reality, we have to figure out how to get "emotionally stupid people" (for lack of a better word) make smart (healthcare) decisions. The field, by the way, is behavioral economics.

Image

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:23 pm 
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Steve Hatfield wrote:
I know I'm not really addressing this thread properly but I did have an interesting thought.

IF I take credit for my successes based on my hard work and effort, then I must take credit for my failures. I cannot blame anyone else.

IF, as president Obama asserts, I should share equal credit for my successes with my teachers, road builders, government agencies, etc........will they also share equally in my failures and take responsibility for that as well??

I'm guessing I know the answer.

The whole purpose of these kinds of threads - on MY forum - is to explore why we believe what we believe.

While I'm passionate about my beliefs, I also understand that they aren't fixed. People generally vote and believe in things associated with their self-interest. So for instance when I was in graduate school (supported by an NIH grant and loans) or research faculty (supported by an AHA grant), I tended to vote Democratic more often than not. Later when I started saving money for retirement (because Medicare and Social Security will have collapsed when I get there) and for the kids' college, I began to develop more Jeffersonian/libertarian ideas.

As someone once said... If you're younger than 30 and not a socialist, you have no heart. If you're over 30 and still a socialist, you have no brain. Thinking evolves, and for very good reasons.

There's a third of the population that always votes Democrat. They affect elections to the degree that they show up - or not. Another third always votes Republican. Then there's that pool in the middle that can't be defined on a one-dimensional political spectrum. (Most experts identify at least 3 dimensions that define political beliefs.) These "swing voters" are key to any election. Candidates use highbrow or lowbrow methods to move those swing voters either away from the other guy (fear) or towards them (inspiring).

Back to your point...

We've jumped into an important point about why people are successful. One major theme is whether it's random and/or selfish vs. somewhat predictable and/or benign. That in turn is often used politically to do the following to the successful:

  • Encourage them - because more rich people means more government revenue, even with a flat tax.
    ...
  • Admire them - because of the "Puritan ethic" that started many of our colonies. It's also based on a belief that success isn't usually an accident.
    ...
  • Hate them (those awful one-percenters) - because SOME of the unsuccessful covet what they don't have.
    ...
  • Tax them disproportionately - because statistically (Vilfredo Pareto's benign observation) they're in the minority and so you can. And it's rationalized by a belief that an unequal distribution of resources is random and/or immoral.

So as far as I am concerned, you are spot on the topic. It's a broad one. Investigating the nuances helps us understand why we believe what we believe.

- Bill


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