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China v. Japan

March 1st, 2013 // 10:18 am @

Interesting commentary with visuals:

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Category : Blog &Current Events &Economics &Foreign Affairs

Emotion and Politics

February 18th, 2013 // 10:35 pm @

In all the commentaries about the president’s 2013 State of the Union address and the responses by Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, one really stood out.[i]

Democratic thought-leader Van Jones said it outright: “Marco Rubio is dangerous for Democrats.”[ii]

Why?

Because he gets emotional about the issues, and, as Jones pointed out, genuine, authentic, caring emotion sways American voters.

The GOP has long acted as if all politics needs to be intellectual, and emotions are often treated as weakness or shallowness by the Right.

But the electorate loves emotion, and votes accordingly.

Put simply, if a top Republican can unite large segments of the populace behind authentic emotional passion, he or she will be a serious challenger in the 2016 election.

The last Republican candidate to elicit such raw emotion was Ronald Reagan.

Jones went on: “Marco Rubio is to the heart, what Paul Ryan is to the head…. [Rubio’s] ideas are extreme, the Tea Party loves this guy, but he is dangerous for Democrats because he can connect in a way that other people with those ideas cannot.”[iii]

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama appealed to both the mind and the heart, and so did Reagan.

Indeed, great presidents know how to effectively communicate in both realms.

The problem for the GOP in 2016 is simple: primary voters want something different than the general electorate.

While Republican primaries usually pick a nominee based on emotion, and then disappointed Republicans intellectually reason that they should vote for him because he is better than the liberal alternative, the better course would be to use intellect in the primaries and select a candidate that can win the general election by swaying the emotions of the general populace. While Democratic primaries tend to select candidates based on intellect (emphasizing who can win the White House), the general election emphasizes emotions.

This is a headache for a Republican party deeply divided between the following factions:

Tea Parties: “We’re broke, and going more broke. Fix the finances. America is in decline because our financial house is a mess—and getting rapidly worse. Freedom means small, limited government that lives within its means and unleashes the power of free enterprise.”

Fiscal Conservatives: “If we don’t get our fiscal house in order, we will continue to decline. But drop the angry tone. Let’s just fix the finances. Freedom demands wisdom.”

Social Conservatives: “It’s all about morals. If we don’t turn our hearts to God, we don’t deserve our freedoms or prosperity. We are in decline because our values are under attack. Freedom means moral strength.”

Compassionate Conservatives: “Government should be limited, fiscally strong, and attentive to real social needs. America is in decline because it is widely divided by classes and racial conflicts, and the solution is for government to wisely reform, cut spending, raise taxes where needed, and emphasize public-private cooperation to increase social justice. Freedom flourishes when government and the private sector work together.”

Neo-Conservatives: “Free markets are flourishing in the world, and the future of freedom has never been brighter. American isn’t in decline, we just need a solid conservative in the White House. Freedom means taking responsibility in the world.”

Ron Paul-Style Revolutionaries: “We’re way past reforming things. We need an outright revolution, and we need a great man or woman to lead it. Progress and decline are simply a matter of who leads us, and it’s time to get a great leader. Fix the finances, stop being the world’s policeman, and make America free and great again. Freedom is cool.”

There are also a number of Special-Interest Republicans who focus on one central theme (such as immigration, gun control, etc.) in their voting.

In the end, all of these groups will most likely support the Republican candidate, but during the primaries each will put forth its favorites.

This is the perhaps the biggest irony in American presidential politics: While Republican primary voters are generally very emotional, the Right usually turns intellectual during general elections.

The problem seems to be that the various factions of conservatives have a hard time getting passionate about supporting other kinds of Republicans.

They see the need to unite behind one candidate, but their support is mostly intellectual—not raw, gut emotion.

Democrats don’t seem to deal with the same challenge.

They are emotional (as well as intellectual) during the primaries, but they generally transfer their emotional support to the chosen candidate—regardless of who they supported in the primaries.

Intellect will be required for a candidate from either party to make it to the 2016 general election.[iv]

Once the two top candidates are selected, their biggest challenge will most likely be convincing Latino and independent voters that they care about their interests and needs.

No candidate is likely sway either group without a genuinely strong emotional appeal.

The GOP’s biggest benefit in 2016 might be President Obama.

If his administration continues its drive to the left—continued spending, taxing, borrowing, inflating the dollar, and regulating—most conservatives will be deeply emotional about politics after four more years.

If their frustration reaches a boiling point, we may witness a waking giant.

 

 

 


[i] Perhaps the most striking thing about the event is that fewer people watched the State of the Union address than any in the last 14 years.

[ii] CNN commentary on the 2013 State of the Union.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] It always is.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Government &Independents &Leadership &Politics

A Modern Classic – The Conscious Creator

February 15th, 2013 // 2:33 pm @

Book Review by Oliver DeMille of The Conscious Creator by Kris Krohn & Stephen Palmer

The Law of Attraction, Revisited

Every once in a while I read a book that really changes me—deeply, drastically, truly. I’ve never been the same since I read Les Miserables the first time, for example, and when I read The Making of America by W. Cleon Skousen my whole life shifted. The same happened when I read A World Split Apart by Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, and The Law by Bastiat. Of course, scripture is the best read because it has changes for you no matter how many times you re-read it. Some books just change your life.

Today I read another life-changing book. In fact, I read it through the evening and couldn’t put it down so I read through the night. I usually read fast, but in this case I took so many notes that I didn’t finish until after 3 a.m. The book is The Conscious Creator by Kris Krohn with Stephen Palmer.

This book is brilliant, and I don’t use that word lightly. This book is a revolution, because it really gets to the heart of what the whole modern “Manifesting Your Dreams” movement is all about. Manifesting works for some people, but not for others, and Krohn and Palmer show why.

When the book The Secret came out a few years ago, it was an international phenomenon. Millions of people were touched by it, and moved by its promise of what great things can happen to one’s life when we apply “The Law of Manifestation.” Within a year, many people around the world were using its concepts in their daily lives. But over time, a lot of them felt disappointed by the results. Many critics lamented that the reality just didn’t live up to the hype, that the promises of the book just weren’t as realistic as described.

Perhaps the problem was that many people didn’t quite understand what was really needed. “Manifesting” can mean different things to different people, after all.

This problem is remedied by The Conscious Creator. It outlines six laws of manifesting, not just one. The first law, which is basically the same as that listed in The Secret and so many other books on manifesting what you really want in life, doesn’t work if you don’t apply the other five laws!

Just the chapter on Law 4 alone is worth much more than the price of the book. Anyone who wants to really understand the laws of success should read this book. After I finished reading it, even though it was late, I pulled out my copy of The Secret and perused my notes. In fact, many of the six laws are there, I just didn’t quite catch them before. But with the six laws fresh in my mind from reading The Conscious Creator, suddenly The Secret was a whole new book.

I read every new book I can get my hands on about the topics that really interest me, and manifesting is a fascinating field—whether you buy into it or not. Having read dozens of books on the subject, I am impressed by how effectively The Conscious Creator teaches the principles of success. In my opinion, it is the best book in the entire manifesting genre, right up there with The Jackrabbit Factor.

It is written as a story, like The One Minute Manager or The Richest Man in Babylon, and the story is engaging and fun. This is a great book, and I couldn’t sleep until I wrote this recommendation to everyone. In short, this is truly a great book! Read it! It won’t disappoint. It’s a modern classic.

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Category : Blog &Book Reviews &Mini-Factories

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

February 13th, 2013 // 4:04 pm @

In the push for more gun control and changes to our national immigration policy, a few very important things have been mostly left out of the news in recent weeks.

They have been mentioned, yes, but not emphasized.

And these items deserve to be seriously considered by all Americans.

  • First, economic figures came out last week showing that the U.S. economy actually shrank during the last quarter of 2012—with negative growth in the U.S. GDP. The Administration waived this off as hardly newsworthy, a mere blip in many months of growth, but for those who closely watch the economy this is a serious concern. Recession hurts us all.

 

  • Second, a poll last week showed that 53% of American citizens consider the federal government a threat in their lives.[i] This is very different from an approval rating. In fact, this is extreme. A majority of Americans now see Washington as a threat. This is a big deal, because a nation that doesn’t trust its government is going to become increasingly dysfunctional—and solutions are going to be more difficult in such an environment.

 

  • Third, a new article argues that Congress and some federal Executive-Branch agencies are prone to political corruption[ii]—especially from well-funded special interest groups. The article concluded with concern that it is probably only wishful thinking to hope we can ever return to being governed according to clear, known, accepted principles instead of bureaucratic complexities. Government now is just too big.

 

  • Fourth, as a corollary of item three, the complexity brought on by the sheer size of the federal apparatus has created the same level of bureaucratic technicality at the state and many local levels of government. Even our towns, cities and counties now tend to operate in the complicated style of federal agencies, where simplicity is suspect and byzantine rules apply to things that should be easy and straightforward. Locales are often funded from Washington and find that their otherwise uncomplicated systems must be complex in order to interface with federal offices and programs. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States 76th in free economic burdens on business growth.

 

  • Fifth, many modern governments are now in the business of creating new “rights,” telling people that they need these “rights,” and then finding that the government can’t afford to fund these “rights.”[iii] This causes government to grow even more, in the desperate attempt to fund newly-established “rights” by consistently increasing taxes. Note that such “rights” aren’t inalienable, but rather established by governments. Among these “rights” are health care, unemployment income, and the pursuit of money for a growing number of consumer wants.

 

  • Sixth, the U.S. infrastructure of roads, bridges, electric grids and drinking-water systems will cost $2 trillion to bring up to first-world standards.[iv] This at a time the government can hardly afford its current liabilities.

In short, government policies are slowing or reversing our economic growth, the people don’t trust their government, the government just keeps growing and growing, costs are increasing, and government is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to manage at all levels.

This same bundle of policies—along with massive involvement in foreign wars—brought down many of the empires of history, including the Roman, Ottoman and British.

Perhaps the six items outlined above haven’t led the news cycle simply because they aren’t really anything new.

Most regular Americans probably already knew about these trends—at least at a gut level—before they were officially announced.

Still, these are in many ways the big news of 2013.

This is the new environment in which we live, and all of these trends are making freedom less likely to flourish in the months, years and decade ahead.

Government is simply too big right now, and as it continues to increase in size many more such problems will naturally arise.

 


[i] See discussion on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, February 3, 2013.

[ii] Richard A. Epstein, “The Perilous Position of the Rule of Law and the Administrative State,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Winter 2013, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 5-19.

[iii] See, for example, ibid, pp. 10-12.

[iv] See Fareed Zakaria, “Can America Be Fixed?” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2013, p. 28.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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The Republican Presidential Candidate of 2016

February 13th, 2013 // 3:02 pm @

Conservatives keep saying two things in the aftermath of losing the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama.

First, they talk a lot about the 2016 election, but there is no real front runner to be the Republican candidate.

In fact, the few people who are mentioned as possible nominees aren’t drumming up much excitement.

But the second idea that keeps floating around in conservative circles is a much worse problem for the Right.

This argument goes something like this: “Well, of course we lost the election. After all, the majority of people in America want the government to take care of them. They voted for Obama because he promised more government programs, and as long as the electorate acts this way conservatism isn’t going to win much in the years ahead.”

This narrative goes along with the widely-publicized comments by Mitt Romney about 47% of the people wanting a government handout.

Whether or not this got reported accurately—and in this media environment almost nothing does—the reality is that far too many on the Right see things this way.

This is the general mood among many conservatives right now: “The people want socialism, so America’s future is dim, and only some great, overwhelming event or leader will ever get things back on track.”

On the one hand, if this sense of overwhelm gets the House of Representatives to finally take a stand and just shut down the non-essential parts of the federal government, then it is all well worth it.

Until the House gets serious about stopping the White House and Senate from continuing its reign of debt, deficits, credit downgrades, more regulations and increased spending/borrowing, the decline of America will continue.

And by shutting down the non-essential government, the House will operate from a position of power.

But there is a bigger problem with the current sense of Republican malaise.

To put it bluntly, it is downright wrong.

Republicans don’t keep losing the presidential election because a majority of Americans want government programs.

This is an issue, but it isn’t the issue.

No, the Right doesn’t win the White House as often as the Left because it persists in believing that the electorate votes in presidents based mainly on the issues.

This is inaccurate.

In the television era, the majority votes for the coolest candidate, pure and simple.

Does anyone really think that Eisenhower, Nixon or Ford could have won the White House in our current media environment?

Well, maybe Eisenhower’s status of war hero would have been enough, and for the record, Ford never actually won at the top of the ticket.

But Carter never had a chance against Ronald Reagan.

In short, the coolest candidates win in our modern American political milieu.

And Republicans aren’t prone to lifting a candidate through the primaries and putting in a nominee based on electability–which now includes charismatic television effectiveness, or put simply, coolness—rather than the issues.

Democrats believe in the emotional appeal of candidacy, and they often put up the most appealing nominee.

For many, if not most, Republicans, this feels like a cop out, a sellout of what matters most (ideas) to what is most likely to win (emotional appeal).

This isn’t because Democrats are shallow, despite what some on the Right may say.

It is just that Democrats generally think it is possible to get a candidate that is both strong on the issues and also cool.

Republicans would like to do the same, where possible, but they ultimately tend to go with candidates on the issues.

Just the issues.

If the candidate is also cool—like Reagan or Arnold Schwarzenegger—so  much the better, but for most Republican primary voters the issues are the issues are the issues.

Election after election, the cool candidate wins.

Voters chose Reagan over Carter and later above Mondale, and they picked Bush over Dukakis.

Reagan was cool, and Bush benefited from just how cool Reagan was.

But if Clinton had been running in 1988, the first Bush would have lost.

Clinton was definitely cool, as both Bush and Dole found out.

Here is how the modern-era elections have turned out:

Cool Candidate          Result              Impact
Reagan                           Won                    2 Terms
Clinton                              Won                    2 Terms
Bush II                              Won                    2 Terms
Obama                              Won                    2 Terms

Lacking Cool                Result               Impact
Mondale                              Lost
Dukakis                               Lost
Bush I                                  Won                   1 Term
Dole                                      Lost
Gore                                     Lost
Kerry                                    Lost
McCain                                Lost
Romney                               Lost

In 2013, it might seem like Bush II doesn’t belong on the cool list. But just remember how intensely people supported him in 2000.

He was the frontrunner from the get-go, talked about for four years after 1996 as the next president (at least in Republican circles), the larger-than-life governor of Texas, the son of George and Barbara Bush, the next member of the dynasty.

And Al Gore was, well, he belonged on the list of candidates like Mondale, Dukakis and Dole.

Say whatever you want about any of these candidates and their political strengths or weaknesses, but a majority of voters thought they were boring.

On the same note, if Howard Dean had won the nomination he most likely would have won the election over Bush II—just apply the cool test.

Gingrich was the coolest leading Republican candidate in 2012, but he wasn’t as cool as Obama.

There is no way to verify this kind of historical “what if,” but today the Right is doing something just as ridiculous.

They are in denial, frustrated with the American voters, refusing to take responsibility for the fact that they need a real candidate.

Democrats already have their heir apparent, Hillary Clinton, and whether or not she eventually runs, the party is already laying the groundwork to win in 2016—their candidate will benefit from this, whoever it is.

Republicans have no such plan.

Their best hope right now is that Joe Biden is the next Democratic candidate (Biden has a lot of strengths, but in the modern television sense he isn’t cool, not like Reagan, Clinton, Bush II and Obama were cool.)

Republicans might luck out, for example if Rand Paul turns out to have the cool factor his father does combined with the party credentials primary voters look for, or if Marco Rubio can be more like Chris Christie or Christie can be more like Marco Rubio.

But right now, the 2016 Republican candidate for president is entirely unclear—which gives the clear advantage to Clinton II.

For Democrats, not having a real frontrunner yet wouldn’t be a problem.

Both Clinton and Obama came almost out of nowhere, for example.

But Republicans want someone who is known.

Even Reagan had to run twice before he won the presidency.

So, while it is possible that some new, exciting, cool conservative will arise in the next four years, it is highly unlikely.

The cast is probably set.

Republicans just have to decide who will win the lead role.

If they choose another candidate on the issues without giving much regard to coolness, they’ll lose again.

And again—until they figure out that the voters want a cool president.

For conservatives who consider this a frustrating, high-school approach to electing a president, you are probably right.

But until the Right puts up a presidential candidate that is both strong on the issues and cool, Republicans will keep losing.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Culture &Current Events &Featured &Government &Politics

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