What Does It Take To Be A Great President?

An American president is an icon, “The leader of the free world,” they’re often referred to. History has judged some kindly, others—not so much.

So what qualities does it take to ensure that a president has the kind of legacy that guarantees people will think of them with reverence?

First, the president must be a leader. Ask anyone what it takes to be  a leader, and you’ll hear things like charisma, strong ideas, motivation, etc. But frankly, the only thing you need to be a leader, by definition, is followers.

While I don’t think there are any polls indicating how many Americans consider themselves apolitical, the fact is, if you attempt to start a political conversation with a majority of Americans, in my experience, people more often than not will say things like, “they’re all corrupt” or “I couldn’t care less about politics.”Political Corruption

Many people do have political views, but not many can be bothered to actually listen to the news, inform themselves on the issues, consider both sides of an argument, and actively be engaged in the political process.

The Washington Times reported that voter turnout was just 36.4% in 2014, indicating that a significant majority of Americans have simply succumbed to whatever fate the voting minority foists upon them. This is a clear indication that few of our politicians anymore are leaders, because they simply aren’t engaging people in a way that makes them want to participate.

So what should a potential president do to be a leader?

Leaders are the opposite of followers. Seems simple enough, but that means that by definition, they should not be using polling, social media trending, or other such factors when making arguments. Instead, they should be original in their thoughts.  Find issues people have either ignored, forgotten about, or weren’t aware of, and bring them to light with a fresh focus, and clearly understandable arguments.

For instance, Steve Jobs brought the iPod, iPhone, and iPad to market, not because of focus groups, but because he thought of something no one else did that we consumers didn’t even know we wanted, but now can’t live without. There was no focus group telling him to do it, he used his imagination to pave a trail every one of his competitors are now following. That’s leadership.

Steve Jobs - Apple Founder
Steve Jobs – Apple Founder

Rand Paul is doing a great job of this by reaching out to colleges, minority groups, and other potential voters who traditionally do not vote GOP, and he’s making a solid case as to why they should.

A great president must also be strong. One little forgotten example would have to be George H.W. Bush in his dealing with Iraq invading Kuwait. After gaining support to address Hussein militarily, Bush delivered an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait by January 15th, 1991 or else.

Saddam Hussein ignored the warning, and the full brunt of the United States military and its willing allies was unleashed on Saddam’s army the following night. Bush did not give him a second warning, he did not do some half-hearted, “I mean it Saddam, get out” nonsense, extending the deadline to avoid war. He said what he was going to do and he did it. This kind of strength of conviction puts all other would-be enemies on notice that we are not to be messed with.

George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush

A president must be an intelligent problem solver. Some of the greatest corporate leaders are great, not because they know everything, but because they know who to ask when they need answers and/or help, and can make intelligent decisions based on the information those advisers provide.

When you see a president who behaves as if they know everything, that should be your first sign they are not an effective leader, as they’re simply far too arrogant and ignorant to listen to people who often know better.

For instance, when Obama fired then GM CEO Rick Wagoner, as if somehow he knew what was better for GM than their acting CEO, his unwarranted hubris was obvious to everyone in the automotive industry, many of who rightfully found it offense and wrong, and of course, GM ended up filing for bankruptcy anyway, which is what Wagoner said needed done all along.

A most recent Gallup poll shows that 42% of Americans are also independent. This makes independents effectively the largest “party” in America, albeit effectively a non-party. So a great president will find a way to not only appeal to their base, but also to reach out to people who aren’t partisan.

How does a president do that? It is my opinion that such a president would have to show that he or she places logic and reason before party lines. Any conclusion they come to should be well thought out, well-reasoned, and then told in a way that everyone can understand.

It is all too common for a Democrat or Republican to be strangely apoplectic about something the opposition does that is obviously quite benign, and most people can’t be bother with. A president should understand that the more they complain about their political opponents, the more they become the boy who cries wolf. If you want to be a great president, put politics aside when analyzing any issue, and make sure if you do attack, it is genuinely warranted—pick your battles wisely.

The president should be someone who doesn’t want the job, but begrudgingly accepts the position for the greater good.

George Washington railed against the idea of a president at all, fearing a president would be too much like a king. He begrudgingly accepted the nomination once it was determined there would be one, and was elected handily.Gilbert_Stuart_Williamstown_Portrait_of_George_Washington[1]

When it was asked by the Senate if he wanted a title such as “your excellency” or “your highness,” Washington simply wanted to be called the more modest “Mr. President.”

When it came time for a potential 3rd term, he stepped down voluntarily, again to avoid the idea of being some sort of supreme ruler. As such, all following presidents, until the American statist icon Franklin D. Roosevelt ran and was re-elected for a third term, never sought out a 2nd re-election as an homage to Washington.

An American president should ultimately see themselves not as a ruler, but as a guarantor of rights—a person charged with protecting the people, not presiding over them. Sadly, Gary Johnson and Rand Paul seem to be the only two candidates running with this mentality. But with any luck, one of them will gain the traction to bring America what can fairly be called another great president.

 

Sexual Orientation Is Not A Choice

Recently, famed neurologist and potential 2016 presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson recently argued that being gay was a choice, citing that some men enter prison straight and leave homosexual.

He later apologized for any hurt he might have caused, stating that he could not really argue it was a choice, but instead, that it’s a simple unknown, correctly pointing out that there are no proper studies to indicate how someone becomes gay.

Dr. Carson, while being a brilliant neurologist by all accounts, is someone whose profession involves dealing with the mechanical aspects of the brain. A psychiatrist however, is someone who deals with the behavioral aspects of the brain. Two very different sciences, arguably only related by the fact that they both revolve around the brain.

This means Dr. Carson is someone who would not be considered to have an expert opinion on the psychological aspects of human sexual behavior.

Neurologist Dr. Ben Carson
Neurologist Dr. Ben Carson

The American Psychological Association (APA) however are experts, and they define sexual orientation as “normal aspects of human sexuality.” But let’s delve a little further into what it means to be gay.

While your humble author is not gay, and cannot speak to what it feels like to be gay, I don’t have to be. We can analyze this pretty easily by looking at multiple aspects of sexuality in general with a skeptical eye.

First, we must understand that being homosexual, and engaging in homosexual acts are two entirely different things that under any situation, may or may not be related.

Acting homosexual would be the process of engaging in a homosexual act, and that is entirely a choice of basic human free will. Using the prison example, if I were to be raped by another man, I involuntarily engaged in a homosexual act, but that does not mean that I magically became homosexual in that instant.

Being homosexual, means that a person is sexually attracted to members of the same sex and not the opposite, irrelevant of whether they’ve actually engaged in the act. For instance, there are many accounts of gay men who marry and mate with women, even though they are genuinely only attracted to other men, in order to fit into societal structures better. Despite never having homosexual sex, such men are homosexual.gay-marriage1[1]

I had a person argue that once you first engage in sex with someone of the same sex, then and only then, are you gay. But by this logic, all virgins are asexual, and will only have their sexual orientation determined once they finally get to enjoy that sweet lovin’.

Are we really going to argue two twelve-year-old boys for instance, who haven’t had sex yet, but one is attracted to girls, the other boys, are the same? This logic is unilaterally flawed.

But let’s get back to the idea of choice, and specifically what sexual orientation even is.

Again, consulting the APA, “Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexual attractions to men, women or both sexes.”americanpsychoass[1]

We all know what attraction means on the surface of it, but what is attraction psychologically? It’s an instinct all animals in the animal kingdom possess (yes, humans are animals), usually for the purpose of procreation, but some animals also use it for social bonding or even fun. Humans are not exclusive in this, research has shown that many animals engage in sex for non-procreational purposes.

The social bonding and fun issues can explain away Dr. Carson’s prison analogy easily enough. Prisons are not co-ed, so if you introduce any person into a population with only their own sex to interact with, the natural order of things for these people will be to form social bonds, some of which will likely escalate to one of a sexual nature. While this is not true for sociopaths who don’t need such bonds, not all prisoners are sociopaths.

In prison, homosexuality is merely the only option for sexual activity available to them, so the instinct to have sex for the pleasure and the emotional bonds it may bring, eventually overcomes the instinct to have sex only with someone of the opposite sex. Once they get over that initial fear of the unknown, like overcoming the fear of jumping out of an airplane with each successive jump, it would be quite easy for an otherwise heterosexual male to embrace homosexual behavior if it were the only option available to him.

While I accept that many may have experienced homosexual activity for the first time in prison, I could find no study to support that many don’t leave prison and resume heterosexual activity once members of the opposite sex are again made available to them.

But is attraction in general a choice? The answer must be no, and I can prove it.

Throughout my life, I’ve often fallen in love with women who didn’t love me back, nor gave me any indication they ever would.670px-Deal-With-Unrequited-Love-Step-8[1]

I’m obviously not alone in this. If hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, unrequited love must surely be the second. I think most of us have experienced it at one time or another.

Unrequited love brings one thing and one thing only—pain. While masochists may like a little pain, no one enjoys the pain of knowing someone you want doesn’t want you back.

Let’s try an experiment. If you’re single, there’s likely someone right now that you are in love who doesn’t love you back, otherwise, you wouldn’t be single, right? You know being in love with them only brings you pain, so right now, I want you to stop being in love with them…go ahead…close your eyes and make that choice. Wasn’t that easy? It wasn’t? You couldn’t just choose to not be in love with them anymore? Why not?

If you can’t choose to turn off your attraction, by what logic could one argue that homosexuals can choose to change who they’re attracted to either? It’s a clear contradiction of concepts that cannot be reconciled except to acknowledge it’s not a choice.

Since I experimented with the single men earlier, married men, you and I both know that you are attracted to women other than your wife on occasion. It’s in our core nature to spread our seed everywhere. You may love your wife entirely, but you can’t control that sexual desire.

But if you’re truly a loving husband, you choose to remain faithful to your wife, despite your desire to have sex with another. That’s the exact same thing that happens when a gay person chooses to only engage in heterosexual sex, proving that being gay and acting gay are not the same thing. One is a choice, one is an uncontrollable instinct.

 

Liberalism Ain’t What It Used To Be. Don’t Let Democrats Hide Behind This Word.

At the root of the word “Liberal” is the Latin “Liber” which means, “Free Man.”  It’s no coincidence that this is also at the root of the word liberty and libertarian.

Many libertarians call themselves classic liberals, because liberal and libertarian are, or at least should be and used to be, essentially synonymous.liberalism-definition-then-and-now[1]

However, modern-day Democrats have hijacked this word to describe themselves, and I suspect that there are a number of reasons why. Let’s analyze a few.

Evolution

Since liberal started out as someone described as a free man, it stands to reason that free men would have been about advancing mankind in general through the benefits of free thought. It is true that Democrats of the modern era have been quicker to embrace things like gay marriage rights, marijuana legalization, and other social liberties. Since they are often promoting freedom on such social issues, unlike many of their Christian-conservative counterparts, it is fair to call their positions there liberal. So the word just evolved to be synonymous with Democrats despite the fact it’s meaning is often incongruent with their beliefs.

But liberal should mean that you are accepting of all beliefs, even of those contradictory to your own. Ask a Democrat how they feel about libertarians, Fox News, or anyone right of center, and they are often condescending and apoplectic.tumblr_m4t6dxnd5a1r47rkpo1_500[1]

To some extent, you are what you believe yourself to be, and I hate when people insultingly call a person who identifies as a Republican a RINO, or refer to me as a “so-called” libertarian because I believe in some amount of government. But nonetheless, for people who identify as liberals, they’re rarely actually being liberal in their beliefs.

Deceit

I would like to believe people are honest for the most part, but many people who in certain circles admit to being statist, socialist, or communist (I’ll use the word statist to describe all three for the sake of simplicity going forward), publicly call themselves a liberal.

Maybe they simply don’t know any better, but statism of any kind is certainly the polar opposite of liberal. But the cold war solidified the idea in America that statism is a very bad thing. So when someone who is a statist admits to it, it’s a sure-fire way to ensure you don’t get votes.

So instead, they use the much friendlier sounding “liberal” so as not to scare independent voters away who might not be too keen on casting their vote for a statist.Statism-c-c[1]

While it’s a shady tactic, if you care about winning more than your integrity, it’s not much of a stretch to do this. However, if your ideas are so great, shouldn’t you be proud of them and stand behind them 100%?

I’m proud to be a libertarian, and never claim to be anything different. It’s a shame these statists masquerading as liberals don’t have the same honest conviction.

Ignorance

To be a statist, you essentially have to believe that government knows better than you, in regards to important matters. Intelligent people generally just want to be left alone to sink or swim however they see fit, but ignorant people think that they can’t survive without a government safety net wherever they go. Since Democrats, who are largely statist in their views call themselves liberals, it stands to reason someone not intelligent enough to manage their own affairs, isn’t intelligent enough to understand the difference between a statist and a liberal.

So having little understanding of the etymology of “liberal,” they call themselves one simply by association.

If I go back to the deceit aspect for a moment, whether it be honest deceit through ignorance, or willful deceit by a dishonest statist politician trying to win a vote, it shouldn’t matter. To those of use libertarians and Republicans who form the opposition, we shouldn’t assist them in this charade.

If you are someone who loves liberty as I do, I implore you not to allow these people to call themselves liberals without calling them on it. If they are championing a non-rights-defending role of government, tell them that’s not a liberal position, that’s a statist one.No_Socialism[1]

If you are using social media, and referring to a statist-minded person, don’t ever call them liberal, call them the statist that they are. If they complain, rightly point out that they just championed a state-run position, therefore they are being statist, not liberal, and that you’re just being honest. Remember, it’s not an insult, and you’re not being rude or condescending doing so, you are truly being accurate.

If they don’t like being called statists, they shouldn’t behave like statists. If they firmly believe in their statist views, then tell them to embrace what they are and be honest about it. But for the love of liberty, stop helping them perpetuate the lie.