Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Picture of Success

I know that Kevin Williamson is a fan favorite around these parts, so I am happy to pass along his description of truly successful people. By his lights, such people are humble and modest. They let their work speak for itself.

Williamson's remarks come from a column this morning about William Buckley:

Truly accomplished people are, in the main, generous, gracious, and open; it is the mediocrities, those who have done a little bit of something or other but still feel the need to convince themselves that they deserve whatever reputation they have, who are hard to take. It is an ordinary and familiar human failing: They are selling you themselves, hard, because they themselves do not quite believe in the product. Baryshnikov never feels the need to say, “You know, I’m a really good dancer.” Bill Gates never feels the need to mention that he is immensely rich. George Clooney never talks about his romantic history.

5 comments:

Ares Olympus said...

Buckley: Truly accomplished people are, in the main, generous, gracious, and open; it is the mediocrities, those who have done a little bit of something or other but still feel the need to convince themselves that they deserve whatever reputation they have, who are hard to take. It is an ordinary and familiar human failing: They are selling you themselves, hard, because they themselves do not quite believe in the product. ...

Of course no one needs to point out how Donald Trump falls short on these standards.

Okay, I can't help myself - Just curious, how many candidates announce their candidacy for the presidency while beginning with a statement of their net worth?

http://time.com/3923128/donald-trump-announcement-speech/
---
And I have assets— big accounting firm, one of the most highly respected— 9 billion 240 million dollars.

And I have liabilities of about $500 million. That’s long-term debt, very low interest rates.

In fact, one of the big banks came to me and said, “Donald, you don’t have enough borrowings. Could we loan you $4 billion”? I said, “I don’t need it. I don’t want it. And I’ve been there. I don’t want it.”

But in two seconds, they give me whatever I wanted. So I have a total net worth, and now with the increase, it’ll be well-over $10 billion. But here, a total net worth of—net worth, not assets, not— a net worth, after all debt, after all expenses. ... So the total is $8,737,540,00.

Now I’m not doing that to brag, because you know what? I don’t have to brag. I don’t have to, believe it or not.

I’m doing that to say that that’s the kind of thinking our country needs. We need that thinking. We have the opposite thinking.

So I put together this statement, and the only reason I’m telling you about it today is because we really do have to get going, because if we have another three or four years— you know, we’re at $8 trillion now. We’re soon going to be at $20 trillion.

According to the economists— who I’m not big believers in, but, nevertheless, this is what they’re saying— that $24 trillion— we’re very close— that’s the point of no return. $24 trillion. We will be there soon. That’s when we become Greece. That’s when we become a country that’s unsalvageable. And we’re gonna be there very soon. We’re gonna be there very soon.
...
So I put together this statement, and the only reason I’m telling you about it today is because we really do have to get going, because if we have another three or four years— you know, we’re at $8 trillion now. We’re soon going to be at $20 trillion.

According to the economists— who I’m not big believers in, but, nevertheless, this is what they’re saying— that $24 trillion— we’re very close— that’s the point of no return. $24 trillion. We will be there soon. That’s when we become Greece. That’s when we become a country that’s unsalvageable. And we’re gonna be there very soon. We’re gonna be there very soon.
---

I suppose I do agree with him in some, but I think "net worth" is also a part of our problem, and asset values that make him so proud are currently inflated in a bubble of easy money and will drop signicantly when the Fed can no longer prop us up on false confidence.

And for myself, I wonder how comfortable Trump is to pay down the $18 trillion national debt if this threatens the economy, when businesses are uncertain and not spending, and individuals are uncertain and not spending, and government also decides to stop spending, how does he avoid economic slowdown, and reduced confidence, and further reduced spending and investing and everything?

I do think Trump with his mere $500 million debt can handle a 90% market drop without having to sell too much, although I'm not so sure. And who is going to buy when the defaults start coming and only the billionaires sitting on cash can buy up the monopoly board on the cheap?

Its good to have successful billionaires on our side, if only I trusted he was on our side.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Does Kevin Williamson know who else is running for president?

By this standard, Obama and Clinton must be truly accomplished then. So "generous, gracious and open." Real presidents don't say "the police acted stupidly" and Condoleezza Rice never seems compelled to tell us she's a woman.

I wonder what kind of country Williamson wants to live in. It's easy to be a critic. I'm sure he'll be smug and self-satisfied living in Hillary's America, with the rest of his National Review buddies who find themselves ignored for their sage ideological wisdom. Put Kristol and the Weekly Standard geniuses in there, too.

Don't forget something else Buckley said -- his rule was to vote for "the most rightward viable candidate."

As for Trump, I quote Lincoln's remarks on Grant: "I can't spare this man; he fights." The Donald's performance thus far is certainly a lot better than the other 16 in the "dream team" Republican field.

No perspective. None.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Another thing on this, and why Kevin Williamson is a silly, redundant windbag...

Baryshnikov isn't running for president. If he did, there is little doubt he would talk about how hard he trained, and his success on the stage in a physically-demanding sport. If he didn't talk about those things, he'd have little to say, based on his experience.

Bill Gates isn't running for president. If he did, there is little doubt he would talk about how he built Microsoft into a multi-billion empire, and how he is saving the world through the Gates Foundation. If he didn't talk about those things, he'd have little to say, based on his experience.

George Clooney isn't running for president. If he did, there is little doubt he would use his good looks, glamor, and effective communication skills to win the office. And there would be a subtle subcontext about what a hunk he is and has been. If he didn't talk about those things, he'd have little to say, based on his experience. And let's be honest... if Mr. Clooney had run in the Democrat primary against Hillary, he wouldn't won. Away.

William F. Buckley, Jr. ran for mayor of New York City, and had no municipal executive or government experience at all. Buckley, while a wonderful and gracious man, was also quite arrogant and sure of himself in his writing and television performances. And there's nothing wrong with that -- you have to have an ego to write for public consumption, or be on television. He played in the world of ideas. If he didn't talk about those things, he'd have little to say, based on his experience.

If Mr. Williamson ran for anything -- which he won't, because it's great being a critic, and he couldn't get elected anyway -- is there any doubt that his campaign would be based solely in the realm of ideas? Mr. Williamson is an intellectual... all he has is ideas. He has no business or government experience. He's a pundit... he's the Exchequer. So he's never really done anything but write. Should we besmirch him because he's not had ideas of his own that have come to pass in the real world of policy? If he didn't talk about those things, he'd have nothing to say, based on his experience.

Donald Trump running for President of the United States of America. His success has been in business. He has no government experience -- executive or otherwise. Hillary didn't have any executive experience, either, until she served as Secretary of State and flew all over the world with her girlfriends and accomplished nothing, and allowed 4 Americans to die in Benghazi on her watch. If she didn't talk about her opponent or that she is a woman, she'd have little to say, based on her lackluster experience.

So Mr. Trump is selling is selling himself, hard, because he is running for political office. His name appears on the ballot. That's what people are deciding on. It makes sense that Trump is running on his business success. If Mr. Williamson had a whit of practical awareness, he would acknowledge this. Instead, he ridicules Mr. Trump for trumpeting his greatest advantage. It would be like making fun of Ronald Reagan for being an effective communicator.

We will all have to go into the voting booth on November 9 and hold our nose (as we always do) and select who each of us believes will be best to run the country. Will Mr. Williamson vote for Hillary the Liar, Gary the Pothead, or Jill the Socialist? Or perhaps the candidate for another no-chance third party? A Hillary presidency will vanquish any chance that Mr. Williamson's dearly-held ideas will ever come to pass. I guess he just wants to be respectable, intelligent and reasonable, and look like the smart guy.

Sam L. said...

I'm not sure Kevin is a fan favorite around here. At least, not for me, and I'm around here.

Anonymous said...

Mr. W recently wrote a perfervid diatribe about blue collar Trumpers.

Worthless. Useless. Ignorant. Stupid. Drug & booze addicted. Shouldn't be living.

In NRO! They fired Coulter and Derbyshire for less.

I can't take him or them seriously anymore. Big loss, eh? -- Rich Lara