Is Our Livelihood at Stake in the United States?

With the re-election of president Obama, I’ve tried to get a feel for what my current social circle of friends, family, and acquaintances are thinking about his re-election and the state of the country. I’m also very interested in how they see the future and what their attitude is about the United States moving forward. I’ve tried to be both serious and lighthearted in my discussions as I do this. I’m very much research and curiosity oriented and I want to share my findings as well as make a plea to members of the Yakezie for their expert inputs because I’ve found the responses to be very mixed.

The Responses to Obama’s Re-election

I’ll try and categorize best the responses I see to the president’s re-election. The responses range from doomsday to the future being very bright. I find it very fascinating that there is this wide range of emotions and feelings, but I also know that each of us has beliefs and opinions based on our own experiences and what we’ve seen in our lives and this includes myself. I do my best to be conscious and aware of my emotions and really dissect if they are surfacing on auto-pilot and from past experiences and if there is anything I can do to correct them where they are harmful. At any rate, I’m going to share the different views I’m seeing and I’m asking for the opinions of anyone who simply wishes to raise their voice a little and be civil about it :)

Opinion 1: Doomsday

One of my friends mentioned that they were going to start building up there food storage much more now. Others have said the world will really end now on December 12, 2012. There seems to be a belief among some that Obama’s re-election is the nail in the coffin for the end of days as we know it…

Opinion 2: Livelihood is Slowly Being Taken Away

Others of my friends are very concerned for their livelihood – that is, there ability to live and pay for the necessities of life. This is particularly true for those in the medical field and at family practices who feel that the Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare) is going to put them out of a job.

Opinion 3: Either Way, We’re Screwed

Others still don’t think it matters who becomes President and that the country is headed for an eventual collapse, either through rioting, hyper-inflation, or a bloody revolution.

Opinion 4: Indifference/Nonchalant

This is the label I often get hit with. I generally portray a free-spirited philosophical person who doesn’t quite have a grasp on reality. Besides that, many of my other friends feel it doesn’t real affect them with whoever is running the country. They feel they control their own destiny and if people just pay attention, work hard and put in effort, that opportunities will always be their to succeed and live well.

Opinion 5: Happiness/Applause

Lastly, I do have friends who applaud the re-election of President Obama. They agree with the fairness in same-sex marriages/gay rights, and the combination of socialism and capitalism that the country has adopted. What’s funny about this is that I’ve been listening to interviews with Ayn Rand lately, and it seems even way back in 1959 there was this same talk about how the country is in trouble because of moving toward socialism/capitalism instead of a free market society. 50 years later, the exact same discussions and worries still seem prevalent.

My Own Opinion

The first thing I realize is that most of my immediate family and friends are on the side of the fence that our country is headed for trouble and our livelihood is at stake and would much rather have seen Mitt Romney elected as President. I also find that most of my online friends outside of my immediate family and friends feel that the future is very bright.

If you would do me the courtesy, I would like to share my own opinion now as best I can with words – knowing full well this opinion is simply based on where I’m at in life and what I presently believe based on my own life experience and interactions with others.

I’m very cautious of stating something as an absolute because I know that statement is based on my own life experience and does not take into account other people’s experiences and situations I may not even be aware of. I will, however, state what I feel with that caveat – that what I share is based on my own life experience and what I’ve learned from others, with some of my own thoughts mixed in. My hope is that any who read my opinion will have extra knowledge – an extra tool in their arsenal to better understand this life and increase in opportunity going forward. I find it much easier to simply write out my thoughts than to debate in person where I’m more concerned about not hurting another’s feelings. Here we go.

I believe life is what we make of it no matter what our government is, so long as we have the freedom to make our own choices in life. I believe in the United States we still very much so have that freedom. I believe that capitalism and the free market are still at work in society allowing anyone to jump into competition and take a shot at being wealthy. I don’t believe the system is perfect and it will never be – there’s too many people with diverse opinions and views for it to be perfect…

I do believe that this freedom carries with it the responsibility of paying attention to the events that unfold around us. We cannot simply continue on the same path all the time because indeed, the government, a competitor, or a new paradigm in the way an industry runs may surprise us and we end up unprepared without additional skills to adapt. If our industry is disrupted by government or new technology, it should be a wake up call to each of us individually to pay more attention and better prepare ourselves to adapt.

I believe our thoughts and attitude guide us to either a life of happiness and success, or a life of stress, worry, and dissapointments. To me, life is like a great river and we are all simply passenger’s riding on boats able to control some things and the current causing us not to control others. I do believe in the concept that Jim Rohn taught that our philosophy will determine where we end up in life and not taxes, government, or any outside institution. Even in a Nazi concentration camp, Viktor Frankl maintained a positive outlook and made it out alive.

I don’t feel, except with extreme effort and dedication, that any of us will really be able to dictate the flow of where the United States goes. In four years, I have a feeling Republicans will start to gain traction as history shows that no one party controls the presidency for more than 8 to 12 years. To me, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t see the doom and gloom that others see in our country. I do see opportunity mixed with difficulty. I see that same mix continuing for as long as I live and then some. With such a diverse mix of people, there’s going to be friction and conflict among us, but done civilly, I believe this is healthy and creates more perspectives and adds to our knowledge going forward.

I believe elements of capitalism and socialism both make sense. As I mentioned before, I’m watching some interviews of Ayn Rand. Agree or disagree, she has a powerful philosophy and certainty about her. I’m an amateur on her objectivity views. I agree that each of us should pursue our own self interest. I do believe we should not be bogged down by un-necessary regulations. I very much agree with the part of Capitalism that allows each of us to freely create our own ideas and to have a shot at creating wealth in our lives.

I don’t agree with the philosophy of Ayn Rand that says we should always be selfish and that to serve others before ourselves is evil. I believe life is complex and it is the responsibility of those who are educated, have knowledge, and have wealth to share with others who may not be as fortunate or struggling in hard times – but to share only if those others are showing the willingness to put forth the effort to get out of their struggles.

I also believe that there should indeed be some element of socialism that provides regulation. I’ve seen businesses unjustly and dishonestly label their products and services and sell on emotion alone to those not informed or educated enough to know that what is being offered is not going to help them. I do feel it is not their fault for being uninformed. To me, it is dishonest to persuade the uninformed to part with their money for something that will not help them anyway, due to the course they have taken in life.

For the first time in my life, I think I am forming a political view. The closest thing I can think of is a CapSolist or maybe I’ll just call it a Capsule. That there are elements of socialism and capitalism that can be used to create a balanced society.

To sum up my current philosophy as a simple and young man of 34, I don’t believe our country is headed to doomsday. I’m not a non-caring and nonchalant person who doesn’t care about others. I’m very free-spirited, yes. Life is a journey and I’m happy to be a pat of it. I very much care about the welfare of everyone, but also know that to succeed in life requires adapting and not staying with knowledge or skills that could become obsolete due to changes in government or new emerging technologies.

I believe it is up to us to be smart with our money and what we spend our time doing. If we are unwilling to curb our spending pleasures for comforts, immediate gratification, or nice things and find ourselves in debt, I believe we should personally have to bear the negative consequences of those actions. It is up to us as people to know where things are headed and to adapt to the very complex and changing world. Who else is going to do this for us?

I don’t expect anyone to simply believe what I’ve said. But you will also be doing yourself a great dis-service, in my opinion, if you disagree and simply discount everything I’ve said due to your own beliefs. Why not take what makes sense for you and your life and add it to your arsenal? Why not ask the question if something I’ve said here is worth investigating more and trying in your own life?

Help Us All Understand

Members of the Yakezie and any of my other family/friends/acquaintances who would like to share their voice, this is a free discussion in the comments below. I simply ask for civility and honesty among everyone. I really do care about people even though I may come off as a naive and uncaring soul, which is really not how I feel. Here’s some questions to get your mind stirring.

  • How will the future be bright over the next four years and beyond?
  • Does it make a difference who is president?
  • Do we control our lives and destiny with our thoughts and attitudes, regardless of circumstance?
  • What is the best way for all of us to work together to make the United States better? And what does better mean?
  • What creates the spirited debates among people with different view points? Is it feeling threatened or standing up for what we think is right?

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2 thoughts on “Is Our Livelihood at Stake in the United States?

  1. I like your thoughts, and I like the idea of focusing on what you can touch and change in your life and go with the flow.

    I’m not an Ayn Rand expert, but I do think that some straw men her arguments. I believe one should follow their highest values. At the limit, it is the nature of life to place one’s family before all else, and for family to come before strangers. Nothing controversial in that, but this meme can be subverted by those in power toward illegitimate ends. To me, the wrongs in the world have nothing to do with left versus right – this is an illusion. The real problem is having no real choice and being told that we do, losing our freedom and being told that we are free, and watching the powerful bend the laws to their will and being told that we have a free market economy.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think we have it rather good. I also think that we have not reached the end of history and while I don’t believe in the sky falling and sure, even after events like ww2 life went on, things can still happen and we will still have to live with them. Hyperinflation? A major crises in govt? Why not? This shot happens all the time all over the world, we are just too insulated to really see it. No point in being frightened, though — live your life and live it well, because that’s what you can control.

    Enough ranting from me. I like fofoa’s thoughts and sometimes I read the mises forums, just avoid the ideologues. Dogmatism of any stripe ain’t so good, but living well and having good values always helps, no matter what your political leanings may be.

    1. Kevin, thanks for sharing those great thoughts! You are certainly right that anything can happen.

      I’m also definitely an amateur when it comes to understanding the current problem with our choices being limited over time as laws and provisions are added. I may very well be blinded to the loss of my own freedom due to lack of understanding, so that is an area I need to improve in.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I especially have to think about the choices I think I have today and am I being coaxed to a certain set of choices without even knowing it.

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