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rainlead

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rainlead last won the day on April 12

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  1. When he took office, Donald Trump did a complete about-face regarding his foreign policy with the middle east. Notably, he went from condemning Saudi Arabia to tacitly praising them. The US's commitment to regime change and meddling in the middle east makes little sense on the surface. There is no obvious strategic or economic value to these actions. The 'humanitarian' concerns are clearly a pretext. So what is the real reason for all of this? The answer is the petrodollar, and the maintenance of US economic supremacy. Saudi Arabia demands US dollars in exchange for oil. That's what truly gives the US dollar its value. That's what allows the US to have enormous trade deficits with other countries. For example, China sends its goods to the US in exchange for USD which can be spent on Saudi oil instead of US goods and services, creating a trade deficit advantageous to the US economy and its people. The rest of the world exports goods, the US exports dollars. In return, Saudi Arabia gets the support of the world's strongest military and an incredible amount of leverage with which to direct it. If the Saudis chose a different exchange currency, the US economy would quickly collapse. Without Saudi oil to back it, the US dollar would inflate wildly. The US would not be able to sustain it's huge trade deficits, and the people would suffer. The Saudi government is also in trouble. A huge proportion of Saudis rely on welfare, without that, a revolution from the underclass would be inevitable. The massive Saudi welfare state is sustained only by its oil exports. The Saudis have plenty of reasons to destabilize their middle eastern rivals and assert control over the region and its oil. Because of a largely useless populace, controlling and exporting more oil is the primary way that Saudi Arabia can expand its power and improve its economic situation. The world's largest importer of oil, China, would obviously rather trade in Yuan. China has made agreements with Russia for the trade of oil, at the expense of Saudi Arabia. Unless the Saudis accept Yuan, they will lose a great deal of China's oil trade to Russia. China is poised to take international economic supremacy from the US, and they will if the Saudis accept Yuan. To avoid this, the US must appease and assist Saudi Arabia against its rivals. Syrian insurgents are funded and supported by Saudi Arabia and the US in order to take control of more oil in the region. To maintain its precarious economic position, the US cannot allow China and Russia to control more of the world's oil and price it in Yuan. Failure means a devastating economic collapse for the US including hyper-inflation and a severe reduction in imports. The US would be unable to fund its incredibly expensive military, and the US would lose its position as the world's foremost superpower. Donald Trump has to make the difficult decision between catastrophic warfare and economic collapse, and it looks like he has already made his choice. https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/balance-of-trade https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-05-30/the-untold-story-behind-saudi-arabia-s-41-year-u-s-debt-secret https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/11/china-will-compel-saudi-arabia-to-trade-oil-in-yuan--and-thats-going-to-affect-the-us-dollar.html https://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-wagner/saudi-arabias-dark-role-i_b_3402447.html
  2. You may be conflating consciousness with conscientiousness. There is a strong correlation between conscientiousness and conservatism. Conscientiousness is also associated with personal responsibility.
  3. I don't believe anything with certainty, at least not with absolute certainty. I could add qualifiers to my every statement in order to illustrate my uncertainty, but it would be tedious to write and tedious to read. Are you trying to make the point that fear and anxiety has little or nothing to do with leftist ideology? If you want to make a case for that, I'd like to read it.
  4. I'll say this one last time. With very few exceptions, everyone (left or right) feels some level of anxiety and fear. We live in a terrifying world and the threats to our existence are practically infinite. If we felt no fear or anxiety it would be more of a disorder than any absurd political ideology. The difference is how they respond to fear. The left abdicates personal responsibility, and puts faith in the state. These are effective ways of managing terror. That's part of what leads them to their political perspectives.
  5. I'll break down the 'Existential Anxiety and Fear' a bit more. With the possible exception of sociopaths and people with a rare brain disorder, everyone feels fear and anxiety. I think one of the most fundamental aspects of person's personality is how they manage their fear and anxiety. Putting trust in god or in the state is a very effective way of managing terror, and that is what most people choose to do. But if you also wish to abdicate personal responsibility, you must choose the state. That's because God demands virtue and sacrifice. As for Siegfried's questions; I am a private intellectual, and I just love a good intellectual challenge.
  6. In arguments, I have noticed a sort of algorithmic pattern of behavior from leftists. We've been analyzing the ideas and environmental factors associated with the modern left, but we need a deeper understanding. It has been one of my greatest intellectual challenges to unravel the most fundamental emotions and motivations of their ideology. Disclaimer: I will be broadly generalizing in my descriptions. 'Leftist' is a broad term with variability in its definitions which is used to describe millions of people who are all different. Existential Anxiety and Fear: There are a great many threats in the world, and most people are aware of more than a few of these threats. Our fear and anxiety comes from an ancient part of our mind, one equipped for immediate threats and unfamiliar situations. Human beings are in a unique position of feeling our 'primitive' fear and anxiety in response to every threat imaginable. And, we can imagine so many existential threats to our lives, and to our well-being. We can also imagine threats to our ideology and mental continuity, which is an important element in this description. You may have observed someone become absurdly upset in response to an idea. New ideas can be perceived as an existential threat; a threat that was not anticipated and is not fully understood. The idea is not just a group of words, it is a gateway to an abyss. It is an implication that one is misguided, ignorant, stupid, poorly equipped for life, and/or doomed to suffer and die. The Abdication of Personal Responsibility: It can be a great relief to reject personal responsibility. It dispels anxiety, guilt, and shame. It means not having to work harder or to improve oneself. It means not having to change or to annihilate parts of oneself in order to become better. Determinism: Perhaps determinism is rational, even scientific, but that is not the main reason the modern left favors it. The modern left favors determinism because it allows them to abdicate personal responsibility, something they value far more than scientific rationality. Scientific rationality could not be their highest value because they reject the scientific claims that conflict with their ideology. Unhappiness: Let's face it: most people are unhappy most of the time. Happiness is not a common or sustainable state. "Life is suffering." We live in an era of unprecedented affluence and luxury, but people are still unhappy. The modern left has a specific response to suffering in life. Because they abdicate personal responsibility, the modern left must blame environmental factors for their suffering. Therefore, to diminish suffering, the environment must be altered. It is the only real conclusion that can be drawn from these elements. Of course, altering the environment usually means using state power. Faith in Government: It is a common response to fear and anxiety to put faith in a 'higher power' in hopes of receiving some protection from the existential threats. Just considering potential corruption in the government is frightening. Not only that, the idea of government corruption could return the onus of responsibility to the individual. To them, government is the most powerful tool we have to alter society in order to reduce suffering and make people happier. Faith in government reduces fear and anxiety, relieves personal responsibility, and it can be used to alter society and environmental factors. Idealizing Society: Instead of idealizing potential characteristics of individuals, the modern left must idealize potential characteristics of society. This too, is caused by the abdication of personal responsibility. Because suffering and inequality cannot be the result of individual inadequacy, suffering and inequality must be caused by environmental factors. Therefore, environmental factors must be changed. They pursue utopia. With these elements in mind, the political beliefs of the modern left don't just make sense. These factors make their political beliefs inevitable.
  7. Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction is about an IARPA program which crowd-sourced political forecasting to volunteers. The book studies the methodologies that the absolute best forecasters used to generate such accurate predictions so consistently. Biases, open-mindedness, the scientific method, team dynamics, and things like that are discussed in this book. I found it to be very enlightening and dense with valuable information. It covers excellent practices of analysis including many of the things which I think are necessary for wisdom in general. Since it covers the IARPA crowd-sourcing experiment, the information in the book is supported by scientific evidence. Have any of you read it? What are your thoughts on it? Here's a link: http://www.audible.com/pd/Business/Superforecasting-Audiobook/B0131RM7OK
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