2016: The Year of the Bold Iconoclasts

Olivia's picture
Submitted by Olivia on Thu, 2016-12-15 01:57


At the beginning of this year, I remember friends, relatives and colleagues commenting that it was going to be a very interesting one. This pithy utterance was motivated mainly by feelings of immense curiosity about viewing the upcoming election in the United States and the scheduled Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom.

At the time, Hillary Clinton was the subject of not one, but two imminent agency probes into her conduct over the deaths of her diplomats and two CIA operatives in Benghazi, Libya, while she was serving as Secretary of State, and the use of her homebrewed email server on which she controversially sent and received classified, State Department information.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump was battling not only 16 other candidates in his run to win the Republican Primaries, he was constantly battling a condescendingly arrogant news media hell-bent on preaching to the American public that his run was nothing more than a mere public joke.

On the other side of the great Atlantic, European parliamentary member Nigel Farage was doing his level best to persuade British citizens that leaving the dictatorially globalist and multicultural European Union would be the only way forward for Britain to remain a nation with any kind of meaningful sovereignty or borders. Angela Merkel’s leadership in Germany had seen fit to usher into Europe’s nation states untold masses of Islamic “refugees” – due in part to Assad’s destructive war on his own people, though the amount of immigrants far exceeded those from just Syria; the numbers included tens of thousands of people seeking to leave Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Morocco, Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan and Libya - this, at a time when Islamic terrorism in Western countries was reaching an unprecedented high.

The context at year’s beginning could not have been more infused with opportunity for radical outcomes, not if people were paying any kind of serious attention – yet, by the end of the year, half the populations of Western countries were utterly blindsided by the results of these portentous democratic events.

Nigel Farage’s matchless powers of persuasion worked and the Brits voted to exit the EU. David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister in gentlemanly fashion, though also in abject embarrassment (he only agreed to a referendum in order to shut the dissenting "leavers" up once and for all). Trump wiped the floor with all his competitors and won the Republican ticket, then went on to spectacularly win the general election with every single possible odd stacked heavily against his favour. Hillary Clinton, the most cocksure woman on the planet who was leading in almost every reputable and disreputable poll, suffered a well-deserved defeat, along with a total spiritual collapse as Americans decidedly showed her the door out of politics for good. Angela Merkel, arguably the most miserable woman in (what used to be) Christendom, has admitted that her open immigration policies have been very flawed (read: have wrought rapine havoc in Europe) and is now taking a slightly less mechanically mothering stance toward muslimas in her nation, in a desperate bid to try to win a fourth term as Chancellor. One could easily contend that Mama Merkel ought to be banned from public appearances if she is not wearing a burka.

Last month, Cuba has both celebrated and mourned the loss of their iconoclastic ex-leader Fidel Castro. Most of those who celebrated had the gumption to run away from Castro's idea of a fair democratic revolution - complete with firing squads and prison sentences for those who publicly dissented or broke his dictates. The people who mourned him were ordered to do so compulsorily including a nine day ban on selling alcohol and forbidding any spectacles of public mirth (a tall order considering the jeep towing his coffin broke down during his funeral procession and had to be physically pushed). Contrast this with the death of British statesman Winston Churchill, the greatest man of the 20th Century, who would've risen out of his coffin in sheer horror at the idea of any self respecting person enduring nine days without alcohol. Public mourning for his passing was voluntary - and here's what that genuinely looks and feels like.

Last week, Dutch-right-wing-politician-with-the-hair, the indomitable Geert Wilders, was found guilty of hate speech (inciting discrimination) against Moroccans in Holland. His Party for Freedom, the PVV, has since gained in rising popularity and numbers; have the elites who condemned him learned nothing about the events of this year? Have they not learned that the great moral lesson of 2016 is free people do not care to be told what to think, what to say, how to act or to which ideas they must pay homage? This year has seen the monumental rise of the iconoclastic leader who dares to defy the status quo and assert a more individualist ethic and a bolder personal character. In light of the deep and forboding geopolitical problems the West now faces, it could not have come soon enough.

Looking ahead to 2017, Western leaders will need undauntable leadership when it decides to finally face the aggressively authoritarian regimes and antics of Iran, Russia, China and North Korea. Theocratic Iran, as late as last week, still makes threats to destroy Israel, their excuse this time is if Trump threatens the status quo of President Obama's suicidal Iranian Nuclear Deal. Oligarchic Russia thinks it’s entitled to invade the sovereign borders of other nation states in order to keep expanding its diminished empire. Communist China indulges shamelessly in cyber attacks and currency manipulation, as well as seeks to expand the reach of its power in the South China Sea. Totalitarian North Korea proliferates ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads with the express goal of being able to hit any city within the United States. There's also the urgent problem of ISIS - I won't even begin to go into that vile and current evil, for we all know they need to be deleted.

In mankind’s relatively short existence on Earth, war, brutality and tyranny have been the norm, not the aberration – it is peace, freedom and prosperity which have been elusive for long periods throughout history. I have no trouble asserting that Western culture is fundamentally superior to all other cultures because it is the only one which has consistently made peace, freedom and prosperity its defining daily character – and that has been the major source of its influence over all other cultures which have sought to emulate it, in whole or in part. If new and bold leaders manage to uphold these core values of the West – regardless of whether any other cultures seek to emulate them or not – then the world will continue to have shining examples of what thriving, freedom oriented civilizations actually look like; nothing could be more precious and rare than the continuity of these examples. But hell help the people who try to make war and mayhem on free and prosperous lands! They will deserve no mercy, for peace through strength actually means something very unusual - it means the good guys win because the bad guys can only resort to their one crude value - destruction. At great cost though, sometimes this can be altered. Ask the Japanese.

- See more at: http://www.oliviapierson.org/b...

Donald Trump's Greatest Sin -- Lookism

Neil Parille's picture

I ran out of my free views of Wapo Stories, but here is the headline:

For top jobs in Trump’s government, right look matters as much as résumé
President-elect Donald Trump believes that those who aspire to the most visible spots in his administration should not just be able to do the job, but also look the part, which lends the feel of a casting call to the parade of potential jobseekers at Trump Tower.

Lady S

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Your commentaries just keep getting better and better. And your reply to Kyrel here is bang on. Forget the intellectuals and those who want to masquerade as intellectuals. They are worse than a waste of space—they are, in their nerdy, incompetent irrelevance, enablers of evil. Their spluttering pretentiousness is hugely entertaining, for a few minutes, then dull, then intolerable.


Olivia's picture

I believe in philosophy. And Trump doesn't have much explicit freedomism in his current political philosophy.

It's all very well to "believe in philosophy" - whatever that actually means, but surely the point of a good philosophy is to help us judge things realistically. By the standards of Objectivist doctrinal purity, Trump is "mixed." But at the heart of his "mix" is a respect for American freedoms and exceptionalism. What galled me over the time of this election was the likes of not only nearly the whole worldwide "intellectual" community, but also the likes of Yaron Brook's commentary where his basic position was that Trump was evil for America and somehow Hillary Clinton would be a morally better choice. She however, was never "mixed." Her policies were anti American, as Obama's have been.... and anti freedom of course.

The fact that Trump's individualist spirit, immense competence and obvious love for his country (extremely rare and valuable traits for a modern politician!! ); his love of her traditions and her greatness, counted for absolutely nothing in the eyes of Objectivists at this time! This has been an utter indictment of the stupidity of putting philosophical beliefs before the actual concrete human beings who one ends up having to choose from in political decisions.

When contemplating this daftness, I remind myself of occurences in history, such as when John Adams chastised Thomas Jefferson for having anything to do with Thomas Paine when Paine returned from France, on the basis that Paine was a disgusting Atheist whom no decent person should have any truck with if they valued civilisation. Thank god that Jefferson was his own man, able to befriend whomever he thought worthy.

I think this election has driven home the idea - nay, conviction that Rand deeply understood - and that was the intellectuals were the least reliable people to judge the actual goings on in world events. They were too removed, snobbish and dazzled by their own supposed clever-dickness to gauge what was needed, or even wanted, let alone what may be good.

Alpha Male Character and Winner Persona vs. Explicit Philosophy

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Olivia -- Well, maybe you read Donald Trump's character and persona much better than myself. I believe in philosophy. And Trump doesn't have much explicit freedomism in his current political philosophy. So he's going to have to wing it and make it up as he goes long. How well he'll do is still a pretty giant mystery.


Olivia's picture

When Trump gets behind closed doors he's a completely different man. He becomes very serious and no-nonsense.

Trump was always that man - that was damn obvious! It was in his books - and interviews (earlier as well as current ones), and everyone who knew him, family, friends etc, made that point a million times. Why was it so hard to believe that a person who is as big & flamboyant as he is will also be off the cuff impulsive sometimes, full of anger toward the lesser beings who judge him for petty shit AND serious no-nonsense and thoughtful all in the one skin??

Watching the public all over the world judge Trump from the stunted limits of their own tiny personalities and pathetic little codes of "respectability" was the only problem all along, and will continue to be.

Donald Trump According to an Astute Local Radio Personality

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Olivia -- One interesting reality about Donald Trump is he has a longtime friend on the radio called Mark Simone (heard in New York City from 10 AM to noon, Monday thru Friday, on 710 AM; listen here: http://710wor.iheart.com). I've heard Simone about 100 times this past year (his opening monologue of 15 minutes, at least). Thruout the campaign, every time Trump did something personally petty and/or highly "unpresidential" -- such as loose talk or wild tweets about enemy people or groups -- Simone would heavily remind his audience:

When Trump gets behind closed doors he's a completely different man. He becomes very serious and no-nonsense. Trump listens carefully to what everyone has to say about a given issue and then asks pointed questions. Then, more times than not, he makes his various decisions with insight and great business acumen. I think we're seeing this phenomenon in action right now in all those political preparations which are currently taking place at Trump Towers (at 58th Street and 5th Avenue, NYC, where he lives and works).

Trump very much seems like a non-ideologue and pragmatist. Thus, if he works hard, uses his brain effectively, and hires good subordinates, he will naturally be lead in one direction and one direction only: neither rightward, nor leftward, but toward that which is governmentally virtuous and practical: toward social libertarianism and economic capitalism. Let's hope!

Thanks Kyrel...

Olivia's picture

I hope you're right. I personally feel a buoyant optimism at the moment, though I don't doubt that times are going to get tough geopolitically - but another new American century may be on its way! I hope you naysayers about Trump feel a little chastised at what's happening - filling his cabinet with Ayn Rand sympathisers was beyond what even I expected!

Yes, bold iconoclasts do make civiisation by leading the way, whereas timorous idiots like Obama get forgotten in history.

The Ascent of Man

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Wonderful, wide-ranging, ambitious, worldwide survey of the past year, Olivia! Bold iconoclasts almost always lead the way and rule the earth. Mankind is philosophically, culturally, collectively, and personally rising toward reason, individualism, liberty, and triumph.

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