Answers to Obsidian’s Questions

It’s a snow day, so that gave me a good chance to answer Obsidian’s very interesting questions on the upcoming decade.

1- Looking ahead for 2010-and the decade as well-how do you see the national economy? Will the stimulus package(s) work, and why/why not? Will the coming decade portend yet another round of convulsing recessions, and if so, when? How long will they last? And what sectors of economy (those that are left standing at present) can we expect to get hit?

Very slowly, the economy is starting to recover. GDP is going up and business will start hiring again. This won’t necessarily be reflected in the unemployment rate because more people will start looking for work. The recovery is more due to the resiliency of America’s free market system than the stimulus. Most of the stimulus that was allocated in 2009 either went to tax rebates that people put right in the bank or used to pay down debt, or to wasteful pork projects in key congressional districts. The government would have better off giving everyone a $100 gift card to Wal-Mart or Best Buy. Also, keep in mind that most of the stimulus money wasn’t even spent in 2009 on the mindset that Democrats wanted the recovery to occur in 2010 to benefit them in November.

In the long term, American can expect boom-and-bust cycles over the coming decades. But for the next couple years, they have reason to be optimistic. But American manufacturing, the auto industry in particular will suffer.

2 – Speaking of areas of the economy, what will be the “growth sectors” in the coming decade? What areas will we see a shrinking or contraction of? Will either hold post-2020? If so/not, why?

One growth sector will be health care as the Baby Boomers move toward retirement. I also expect that smartphones will become more commonplace and less a toy of the rich as was seen with regular cell phones during the last decade. Expect consolation in banking and financial industry as those on the top become more powerful.

3 – Over the past decade or so-from 2000 to present, we’ve seen two “bubbles” bursting-the socalled “tech” bubble, and the more recent banking/subprime mortage bubble. Te former wasn’t as bad, some econ-type say, because it was largely an “insider baseball” kind of game; the only people truly effected, were the “players” themselves. Not so with the latter, and I need no reiterate here. My question to you Gents, is what is the next “bubble” to burst, when can we expect it to go down, assuming it does happen over the course of the current decade, and what will be the overall net impact?

There will probably be a bubble that occurs before it, but the deficit bubble is what worries me the most.  At some point, lenders are going to say to the United States, “Account Overdrawn.” At that point, there have to be either serious tax increases or spending cut-backs. Social Security and Medicare will have a great deal to do with this. Expect this somewhere the 2030s.

4- Much has been said about the Walls St/Main St dichotomy; for the former, despite heavy losses and taxpayer funded bailouts, life has largely been good there, wit top dogs and fat cats at major American banks getting hefty year end bonuses, while Main St suffers a slow and undignified death. Many have observed that the chasm between haves and have nots continues to widen; worse, that the channels, or access, to upward mobility lessen with each passing year. What are your thoughts on all of this in coming decade? Will this trend reverse itself, ease somewhat, or will it continue unabated, a kind of 21st century Dickensian nightmare?

Disparity of income isn’t a problem as long as everyone as a decent standard of living. In that respect, we aren’t anywhere close to a Dickensian nightmare. Will Wilkinson wrote a very good white paper on this. I’d rather be in the bottom 10% today than in the top 10% in Dickens time. There are great problems for people in this country that prevent them from getting ahead like a crappy public school system, lack of family structure and urban violence but America’s problems shouldn’t be measured in raw income disparity. As for a prediction, raw income disparity will increase, but it will mean nothing in the life of an average American.

5. All of you are quite familiar with what some has referred to as the Mancession-what I want to ask you all is simply this: how long will it continue, what will be the likely impact and fallout, short term (this year) and long term (over the course of the decade), and where will the Men hit by it go from here? What do you see it most likely to happen?

Male unemployment will be higher than female unemployment for the foreseeable future, that’s a given. But male unemployment will decrease as the economy improves so I don’t see it as a hopeless situation for men. If the Republicans take back the House in November, you can expect to see a lot of “angry white men” articles like there where after 1994. Obama might start making more overtures to white males pretty soon.

6-  Continuing on from the preceeding question, not only is little if anything is said about the Mancession on ANY MSM channel, network, website or blog, but the same can be said for the inevitable social upheaval it brings in its wake. However, many of you have spoken on this to one degree or another, in particular you Welmer; your work at The Spearhead online Men’s magazine is exemplary in that regard. My question to you all is, what are, and will be, the social ramifications for the literal flip-flopping of labor power here, from a majority Male workforce, to a majority Female one? How will this effect us, and in what ways will we see this over the coming decade? Does anyone see anything manifesting itself on the horizon, this year?

The trend of many black men living at home or largely living off their wives or girlfriends may become more commonplace among white men. I don’t think there will be that much blowback because the Men’s Rights movement as it stands is a joke and most men are too proud to take part in a culture of victimization that feminists have been doing for many years. There might be an increase in crimes committed by white men.

7- Again, in keeping with the theme of the previous two questions, we’ve all seen and heard of Tiger Woods’ travails; more recently, Obama Administration member Mr. Peter Orszag has come into the spotlight for his own questionable deeds of a personal nature. Clearly, both stories says something about us as Americans, and shakes to the core everything we profess to believe: Love, Marriage, Sex, Ethics, and so much more. With all that in mind, what will the coming decade bring along these lines-more instances of Woods and Orszag-like scandals of heretofore “squeaky” clean imaged Men? What does this mean for social institutions like Marriage?

In our culture, I’m not even sure what Orszag did qualifies as a “scandal.” He’s not going to lose his job over it. Tom Brady pretty much did the exact same thing as suffered virtually no damage to his public image. In today’s America, nothing you do before a marital vow will hurt you in the long term, a validation for Roissy’s belief that men should not get married. If Orszag had left his pregnant wife for another woman, it would have been a much bigger story. As for Tiger, that’s an even bigger validation for why men, especially men for whom one woman is not enough, should not get married. As John Mayer said:  “If Tiger Woods was single and he texted a girl and said ‘I wanna wear your ass like a hat’, why would that ever hit the news?”

Because of technology, it has become increasingly difficult for men to carry on affairs discreetly. Long term, this could lead to several possibilities. One, married men become more prudent and avoid affairs altogether (least likely). Two, marriage culture goes in a more European direction as married men with mistresses become more tolerated in order to lure men into marriage (somewhat likely). Or third, that more men just choose to avoid marriage altogether and just fuck around (most likely).

If people ask why men do what they do, tell ‘em that it’s human nature.

8- As you all know, I am an African American, and as such, I have a keen interest in issues that effects them a bit more than everyone else. When it comes to Men overall, one is hardpressed to think up a subset that has been hardest hit than Black Males. I need not revisit the stats, you all know them. With a Black President in office for the first time in American history, do any of you see President Obama actually doing anything to address the many problems that besiege Black Men particularly, and ironically enough are now starting to plague the wider and Whiter American community, and if so/not, why? Do you see, or don’t see, any significant action or initiatives, taking place on this front in this decade?

In terms of substantial policy, no. From a political standpoint, he can’t afford to spend much time on black issues. Obama was able to convince enough white Americans that he wasn’t going to be the “black president” to win the election and if the perception creeps in that he is the “black president,” it will kill his presidency. Obama needs around 40% of the white vote to get re-elected in 2012 and he can’t afford to do anything that might possibly offend them. The Henry Louis Gates controversy cast some doubts among him among white America and another statement like that might cause him to Reagan Democrats. Symbolically, Obama is a great role model to young black men and Obama will continue to say things like “put away the Playstation and do your homework.” A cynic like me might say that is just as much aimed at whites who want to believe that Obama isn’t “one of those.” “Talking down to black folks” as Jesse Jackson put it.

9- Dovetailing the above and previous questions, what are your thoughts for the future of American education? I mean both in the primary and secondary levels? Some have openly begun to question the realworld utility of expensive and questionable college degrees out on the open job market; others have suggested that the elites have successfully duped everyone else into thinking that they cannot succeed without having gone into mountains of debt and obtaining a degree; and still others argue that colleges and universities act as de facto IQ certification courses, in an era where jobs cannot test for IQ outright. Personally, I am of the view that American higher education is not only vastly overrated, but that it actually does more harm than good in many cases. But that’s just me. What do you is likely to happen in the coming decade on this score? Feel free to elaborate.

I wouldn’t call college a “de facto IQ certification course” but rather a measure of one’s competence and ambition, both of which are more important in the so-called “real world” than IQ. If tuition rates keep climbing the way they are, I’d think that maybe some in the lower-middle class might choose to forgo college. If you can learn a decent trade, you can make pretty good money without a college education. But if you’re not very physically inclined or don’t have the best motor skills, you’ll need a diploma. Yeah, we all know the stories about the guy with a Master’s working at Starbucks, but what percentage of people earning over $100,000 aren’t college graduates?

10. Much of our discussions revolve around Women; last year, Maria Shriver released her much lauded “A Woman’s Nation” report. Given what it says, and your own thoughts on the matter, how will Women fare in this decade? What are the upsides, and downsides, and when do you see each manifesting itself? Again, feel free to elaborate.

Too many manosphere bloggers are acting like this is a zero sum game. That women are succeeding necessarily means that men are failing. Today, women have more of chance to prove their worth and achieve their dreams, which I think is a wonderful thing. Women make a majority of the workforce, but they also make up a majority of the population, so it kind of makes sense. The rate of women employed relative to men probably won’t increase much further because there aren’t many barriers left for women so all individuals will be judged according to their competence. The potential drawback to this that women crave to find a stronger man they can look up to. So the stronger women get, the harder it will be for women to find men to look up to, creating a less fulfilling personal life.

11. Given the ever-quickening pace and accessibility of technology, what do you see on the horizon as the next big or even “micro” trends over the next decade? What will be the next “big thing” for the masses? What major pharma or tech-related innovations, discoveries and the like, that’s next to come to market, this year and in the coming decade? How will all of this change the way in which we as humans, as Americans, relate to each other?

As I mentioned before, I believe smart phones will become more affordable for the lower and middle classes. Also, the phone will become more advanced. You might be able to store hundreds of DVD quality movies on your phone. People will become increasingly social isolated as they spend all their time on their little devices.

12. A tremendous deal has been said about Game over the past few years, and some have suggested that it has gone “viral” or mainstream. That begs the question-will Game ever become a dominant force on the present/modern day American social and dating scene, and if so/not, why? What *is* the Future, of Game, say, circa 2020? How will Women “adapt”-can they? How will Game “evolve”? Will it still be relevant, ten years from now? How? In which way(s)? Feel free to elaborate. Given the current economic climate, and what is likely to happen over the course of the decade, how will this, and/or Game, impact the American dating/mating scene? Again, feel free to elaborate.

Woman needs man and man must have his mate, that no one can deny. “Game” has always been the dominant force in the American social and dating scene, it’s just not until recently that men have been able to discover resources to improve their game. The particular tactics will change from over time, but the general strategy will remain the same: to prove to her that you are man of value. In football, whenever a revolutionary offensive scheme is developed, a new defensive scheme stops it within a few years. Poorly executed routines will be called out by women; ridiculous peacocking will be mocked, but the arms race between men and women will continue as innovative men develop new tactics. Pat Benetar was right, love truly is a battlefield. However, I don’t see PUA-style game catching on as a cultural force because I believe that most men don’t have the confidence or the discipline to make the necessary work to improve one’s sexual standing.

13. On to the world stage. Let’s begin with the recent “underwear bomber” scare a few weeks back. It appears clear now that we’re no closer to getting a handle on Al Qaeda than we were nearly a decade ago, with Sep 11, 2001. What do you perceive as President Obama’s next move(s) will be on this front, will heads roll in the wake of the current fiasco, and how will all of this effect American lives? Can we install an “El Al” type scheme? If so/not, why? Do you see another major terrorist attack on US soil, and if so, when? Can Al Qaeda be defeated, and if so/not, why? Where do you see the War On Terror moving to next-Somalia, or some other African country? Yemen? Where?

Holder and Napolitano are safe for the time being, although Holder should resign over trying to have the KSM trial in lower Manhattan. Barring another 9/11-sized attack, it’s unlikely that El Al system could be installed in the United States for a variety of reasons. One is that the United States has a greater respect for civil liberties and privacy than Israel does. Another reason is the fear of lawsuits caused by profiling. Third, it would greatly add to the cost of airline travel, which consumers would protest.

14. What are your thoughts of Obama’s plans for Afghanistan, and will they work? If so/not, why? What can it mean for the larger region-Iran, India, Pakistan? What about Iraq?

I cautiously supported Obama’s surge. The surge in Iraq engineered by David Petaeus has been very successful but I think there are differences that might prevent it from working in Afghanistan such as a more illiterate population that is less inclined toward secularism and the mountainous terrain. However, it’s essential that the United States make sure that Afghanistan doesn’t become a failed state and a haven for terrorists plotting attacks against us. If the surge works, terrorist might flee into Pakistan, making for some short term problems, but in the long term, it’s better for Pakistan if they don’t have a basketcase of a country on there border.

15. Assuming Obama runs for reelection, do you foresee him being reelected, or losing to a challenger? Who do you think that challenger will be? Will a Woman be elected by or before 2020? Who? Also, from your vantage point now, in Jan 2010, what will be Obama’s legacy? How will he be viewed by future historians? Will he be assassinated, and if so, when?

If I had to bet a dollar, I’d say Obama won’t win reelection. The American people are in a sour mood and I don’t see their problems being resolved by 2012. The Republican field is wide open but if forced to pick, I’d go with Mitt Romney with consideration to Tim Pawlenty. I do not see Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee. The most likely way for a woman to get elected before 2020 is if Obama, worried about his reelection, drops Biden from the ticket and replaces him with Hillary Clinton. Obama goes on to win and Hillary is Obama’s obvious successor in 2016. She’ll be a few months younger than Reagan was in 1980.

Whether Obama wins or loses, I think his legacy, like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, will be that he was an idealist who came to Washington to shake things up and ended up biting off more than he could chew. It’s up to him whether he chooses to be stubborn like Carter or pragmatic like Clinton. If were to be assassinated, it would more likely come through a nuclear bomb than through a gun. That’s how secure this man is.

16. Many have suggested that the “emerging” world economies/powers, like China, India, South Korea and Brazil, will overtake the United States in this century. 100 years is a bit far off for my radar and tastes, so let’s just focus on the next ten years. What do you make of all the punditry surrounding these countries? Will they in fact become major players on the world stage by or before 2020, and if so/not, why? Personally, I see many social, political, economic and even environmental problems for all these countries, though to varying degrees depending on the particular country involved. But I put this question to all of you, my friends. Additionally, what do you see ahead for the African continent-what countries look to be up and coming stars on the horizon, and which ones are likely to fall over into the abyss in the coming decade? What role Africa, as a whole, play in the coming decade, and what role, is any, will the aforementioned “emerging powers”, and/or the USA, play in it? What say you?

The United States has the largest Gross Domestic Product over Japan and China by a factor of close to three. For a perceptive of just how large the American economy, check out this map comparing the 50 U.S. states to various countries.

What’s the reason for this? The United States’ respect for individual rights and economic freedom.  Looking at the most populated countries in the world and the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, the United States is the only country that is in the top ten in both lists. (And Japan is the only other country that is in the top twenty.) China is where it is it mainly because of the sheer size of its population.

China and India have the population bases to potentially overtake the United States and the country that places greater emphasis on economic freedom will be more likely to do so. If I had to guess, I might say India because the democratic intuitions create an incentive to create a system that works for the bulk of the people rather than just the ruling elite. Keep in mind that these trends are very long-term and wouldn’t occur until about the middle of the century. While I disagree with him on some gender-related issues, The Fifth Horseman’s piece on why the United States will be the only superpower in 2030 was excellent and I co-sign the bulk of it.

For the African continent, as education and medicines improve, I think African countries will slowly get a handle on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Economically, until African governments start promoting economic freedom, they’ll continue to lag behind. Botswana is the only country in continental Africa that is considered “mostly free” and high rate of economic growth. Hopefully, they’ll serve as a role model to the rest of the region.

17. Speaking of the environment, what are your views of Global Warming/Climate Change? Will this have particular impact for our nation in the coming decade, and if so, how?

Personally, I believe that global warming exists, that carbon emissions probably have a good deal to with it, but attempts to regulate carbon is a solution that’s worse than a minor problem. Given the economy, the public is very little mood to talk about it. Cap-and-trade is dead in Congress and if the Democrats have any sense they’ll stay far away from the issue.

18. Many of you here are at the least familiar with “HBD”, or Human Bio Diversity, if not out and out supporters of that view. What do you see as the future of said views, over the course of the coming decade? Do you see any evidence from where you sit in Jan 2010, of it becoming more mainstream, or the reverse? Some have suggested that it is the last remaining taboo of the Scientific World. Others have stated that it is little more than a 21st century of pseudo-scientific, racist-informed drivel, akin to Phrenology. Will Eugenics ever make a comeback to respectability since Hitler and Nazi Germany? What are your personal views of the matter? Feel free to elaborate.

HBD, at least the Steve Sailer style of HBD, will not be accepted by the public. It’s clear that there are genetic differences between groups of people, but there’s an argument that many HBD advocates are using it for a rationalization for racism. The genetic difference between different races is far less than the differences between different breeds of dogs, so I don’t think this is something you can build social policy out of.

The nature vs. nurture debate that has been going on for decades has put some liberals in an awkward position. They want to argue that sexuality comes from birth, is not a choice, and that upbringing has nothing to do with it. They also want to argue that the struggle of African-American is purely based on socio-economic factors that genetics plays no part. So while they’ll belittle conservatives for not believing in evolution and join “Flying Spaghetti Monster” groups on Facebook, they only believe in evolution up to a point.

More mainstream gene-centered evolution (like the work of Richard Dawkins) may become more popular, but there are some things holding it back. Liberals won’t like it because of its un-PC conclusions, particularly on sexuality and gender. Conservatives, religious conservatives in particular, will reject anything they see as potentially undermining traditional morality. Libertarians may be uncomfortable with it because it might undermine the belief in free will. So far, evolutionary-based politics has been most popular among a narrow slice of non-religious paleoconservatives, which isn’t much to build a movement off of.

I don’t see eugenics making much of a comeback for the same reasons. It’s largely associated with Nazi racial theory and “Brave New World.” It’s completely contrary to the American principles of the right to pursue one’s own happiness and the freedom of association.

19. This question follows the last, in that it has to do with a particular focus of the HBD crowd-IQ. For them, it is the most consistent and reliable indicator and predictor of life measures and outcomes across the human spectrum, from national GDP to personal conscientiousness. Many pundits, like the New York Times Tom Friedman, have made clear that the 21st century belongs to those who have the brainpower to take full advantage of all its wonderous possibilities. Personally, I think IQ is overrated, but I wanted to get the view of Men I consider much smarter than myself, LOL. What do you think? Is there one way to measure IQ, or many?

As I noted in the earlier question on education, I consider competence and ambition to be more important than IQ. This country is filled with genius-level people who were unable to succeed because they didn’t have the drive to put their intelligence to good use or squandered their life on drugs or alcohol or just didn’t have the practical skills to make much of an income. There probably is coloration between IQ and quality of life, but I don’t think not as HBDers would like to believe.

20. And finally, the last question-the last ten years has been dubbed “The Lost Decade”. Personally, I would largely agree with that moniker-but I think it will not be the only one. It is my view, based on my astrological researches, that the current decade will not be looked back upon favorably either. But how do you think this decade will be remembered?

I believe the decade will be remembered as the opening salvo in the worldwide struggle between western liberalism and Islamic fundamentalism. The defining events of the decade: 9/11, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan both directly tie into it. This is the ideological fight of the early 21st century like the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Bloc was for the second half of the 20th century. Whether Europe becomes more Islamic or the Middle East becomes more western (or maybe both), the last decade will be seen as critical turning point.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Answers to Obsidian’s Questions

  1. Oilsands

    I personally find the whole Terrorism alarm to be patent fear mongering.

    Let’s take a look at 911. Okay, what, about 3000 people died as a result of well.. somebodies attack . Sure, it’s a sad event. Yet : The shoe bomber and the underwear bomber scored zilch. Smaller attacks on warships and army bases have totalled a few hundred.

    The total numbers are SFAll in the rankings of total causes of death. Hell I bet even falling down stairs or slipping in bath tubs has higher total mortality.

    Of course years of bombing the living shit out other countries and interfering and causing revolutions and mass death ; that might eventually result in a few upset folks looking for retribution.

    And so far that equals = not much.

    But, massive insanely huge expenditures have been instigated at this huge ( rollseyes ) “terrorist threat”. Come on now. I ask who has really benefited from the billions laid out.

    Sure, someday if the west doesn’t stop this constant war war war mantra, there could be a serious retaliation. Consequences.

    But, on its own, if people just minded their own business this wouldn’t even make it into the Top 100 Fatality list.

    One last comment. Meanwhile the Economic Terrorists cough * Goldman * cough are systematically destroying the world economy and all they receive is billions in bonuses.

  2. It’s true that the number of deaths from terrorism are fairly small, but the economic impact of 9/11 was huge. It destroyed two of the tallest skyscrapers in the United States, shut down the NYSE for close to a week (and it had a huge drop on the first week of trading after reopening), and grounded US flights for several days. Much of Lower Manhattan was closed off for months, forcing small businesses to close. Americans became more reluctant to travel. The economic costs of 9/11 was in the trillions of dollars. Whether the actions in Afghanistan and Iraq were an effective use of money in preventing another terrorist attack is more debatable. I would say that if there where further terrorist attacks, that would cause further economic anxiety. So the United States has to take a proactive, but cost-effective, approach in preventing terrorism.

    And you certainly won’t find me defending the folks at Goldman-Sachs. I ended up voting for Bob Barr because both major candidates supported the TARP plan constructed by Hank Paulson.

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