The Truth of the Matter

The Far Middle episode 133 is a fascinating series of connections on the nobility of enterprise and work, capitalism and individual choice, and the associated threats these face in today’s global economy.

The discussion begins in Iowa for this episode’s sports dedication, which goes to a great American who was a veteran, the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, and the namesake of the University of Iowa’s football stadium. That individual? Nile Kinnick. Reflecting on Kinnick’s remarkable life, albeit cut too short at age 24, Nick comments that “he made the most of every opportunity and moment in his life, something to celebrate for sure.”

Shifting from sports, Nick begins this week’s connections with a quote from Machiavelli’s The Prince: “As my intention is to write something useful for discerning minds, I find it more fitting to seek the truth of the matter, rather than the imaginary conceptions. Many have imagined republics and principalities that have never been seen or heard of.”

Nick notes this line from The Prince is a theme and approach that he aims to mimic in his efforts such as The Far Middle and his book Precipice: “to sort of peel back the optics and veneer of image, that so many policies and movements fixate upon, and instead to focus on exposing the realities, and the truth, as in clinical, rational, scientific or mathematical truth, not some squishy definition or version of the truth.” 

Alongside Machiavelli, a host of thought leaders join the conversation, including Pope John Paul II, Ayn Rand, and Notre Dame Professor Carter Snead. A few of this installment’s key takeaways from Nick:

  • Capitalism isn’t broken. What’s broken is how the free market has evolved into a controlled market for the favored class, or the one percent, through policy and machinations between the bureaucrat, the political leader, and the special interest.
  • In a free market, every individual can display their morals with their actions and decisions; it’s a platform for the self, the individual, to assert their convictions with every decision made.
  • There’s a problem with finding and securing noble, meaningful work these days, as such work has vanished. It’s rare and it’s hard to find. Why? Most of it was purposely outsourced to our adversary, China, via globalization driven by the elite and expert class. American manufacturing was handed over to China so America could work effortlessly in the knowledge economy. This move is the biggest strategic blunder since the World War Two era and its damage will continue to lay wake.
  • Although the expert political class might just be waking up to the threat of China, don’t be fooled into thinking that corporate America has awakened to the threat.
  • Germany’s economy and fiscal state is a warning sign to America. Following a string of poor policy choices, Germany has downshifted from the engine of Europe a decade ago to now idling as the sick man of Europe.
In closing, Nick wishes a happy birthday to guitarist and R.E.M. co-founder Peter Buck, and quotes a line from R.E.M.’s “Finest Worksong,” off their album Document: “Take your instinct by the reins; You’re better best to rearrange; What we want and what we need; Has been confused, been confused.”