How’s your objectivity today?
Let’s do a little check-up.
If America continued to accumulate 1-1.5 Trillion deficits, and as “unfunded liabilities” accumulated, it went bankrupt in the next ten years, would that lead to positive changes, or negative ones, in America’s form of government and in the culture at large?
Would it be an opportunity for a strong, articulate “balanced budget” or “constitutionalist” faction to sway political leaders towards genuine reform, and to make a public argument for a new better way of doing things?
Or would it be a crisis that would lead to an entrenchment of the “aristocracy of pull” in a new, complex scheme, which the populace, numbed by a collaborationist disintegrated journalist profession would be unable to decipher, and thus succumb to?
Or perhaps neither, something different?
No matter. Take a few minutes, say just five minutes — you know, not long — to think about it, and justify your own answer to yourself. Preferably, write it down. Use a timer so as not to spend to long on it. (I did.)
Then come back, and keep reading. (Don’t go on just yet. Take five minutes, and then come back.)
…So what did you think/write?
I’m not particularly interested in whether or not you take an optimistic, pessimistic, or neutral view. The outcome is not really the issue.
What I would invite you to look at is the basis of your view, and especially the method you used to approach the question.
…Here’s what my subconscious came back with, when I posed the question of myself:
- Is bankruptcy really possible?
- What happens when countries go bankrupt?
- When do countries go bankrupt, and how?
- What typically results? What are exceptions, if any?
- What explains the range and variety (assuming there is one) of outcomes, and what would be relevant to any such situation unfolding today?
- What would be the fundamental similarities between the current case and previous ones?
- What are aspects of the present context that might differentiate the present moment from previous ones?
Then, my mind started to plot out a few initial answers:
- America is in a historically unprecedented position.
- It has the world’s reserve currency (that by itself is *not* unprecedented, there have been many cases of that, including imperial Spain and before the US, Great Britain) so that has to be a factor, when currency is combined with a geo-political reality that America is far more militarily powerful that the rest of the world combined. So if America experiences an economic crisis, an important question is: how do the economic variables interrelate with other variables, to shape the context in which Americans would respond to the crisis.
Then my mind leaped to that external context, with other thoughts and questions:
- Japan will go bankrupt first. What effect will this have?
- What is China doing, and where is China going? We know they are accumulating gold reserves at a frantic pace.
- Can Russia and China really work together, when push comes to shove?
- To the essential point: What is the state of American political culture? The DIM Hypothesis indicates either continued DIS-integration, or repudiation of the “D” framework, and an economic crisis as a “trigger” for M2 takeover. This is the heart of the question, because the issue is: how will *Americans* respond, i.e. by what method of thinking will they even approach the issues before them. I do not see any basis for an “I” method to have a significant place at the table. Even if there are some better elements in the mix, they will, at best, be undermined by modal inconsistencies.
So that’s what I came up with in five minutes.
As you know, if you’ve been reading my recent pieces, I take a negative view. But, when I put the question to my subconscious, the first thing that started to happen was that my subconscious responded with a series of relevant questions that it expects to bring to bear.
That may seem strange. I asked my mind for answers, and it came back with questions.
Not only questions, of course, it started to flow towards filling in the picture. -So the first thing that happened, was my (subconscious) mind insisted on clarifying what is involved, by signalling my conscious self that to answer such a question requires answering a host of related questions. Then it started to provide my conscious mind with a series of contextual issues to start setting up the context for a proper consideration of the outcome: world’s reserve currency, military power, Japan, China, DIM…
That would have been just the start. I had to stop at five minutes.
So what did your mind tell you?
Did you immediately state the answer to yourself and start justifying it?
Did you even have the guts to take this objectivity pop quiz, or were you afraid? Are you in a position of having to admit to yourself that you would not have a clue how to answer such a question?
That, at least would be a sign of intellectual honesty. Although, I certainly would not call it objectivity, if you haven’t even bothered to define a view and a justification for it, given the obviously negative trends in society today. Your life is at stake. What do you spend your time thinking about?!
If you did have a strong answer to the question I posed, let me ask you something else: did it include a factorization of:
- an awareness of America’s world’s reserve currency status, and what that means, and how that is evolving?
- a thought about military power and how it relates to economic questions, say in relation to how Britain, the world’s most recent superpower before America lost its reserve currency status to the US as it went bankrupt from the world wars?
- a thought about how the current debt crises in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Japan are unfolding both in sequence and in parallel to each other, and how central banks and the people are responding?
- a thought about China’s massive dollar holdings, and the nature of the US-China trade relationship?
I know that none of these things directly relates to the question. But they form the context.
The context of any particular issue is “the sum of cognitive items conditioning” it in your thinking–in this case, conditioning your personal outlook or prediction, i.e. a claim to knowledge.
So how’s your context today?
A rich pageantry of historical precedents and logically interconnected concretes culminating in a nice fully parametrized causal perspective on the world today and where it is going?
Predicting the future of America is not a deduction from Objectivist principles. It’s an induction from historical examples, and a historical awareness of the present, philosophically integrated.
So how’s your objectivity today?
Isn’t it time you made historical literacy a part of your intellectual life?
Of course, the question is: how?
Answer: Stay tuned!