There have always been competing factions in the contest for power over others, now called politics and economics. Parallels of political struggles are found in all societies, whether a republic or an authoritarian state. Which political faction may prevail over the others in a particular conflict is often up in the air.
For the United States, today’s greatest world power, what can be learned from these recurring struggles within humankind? How could these predictable dramas affect our fate following the coming implosion of the US dollar and the reordering of the nation and the world economy?
Is there a direct link between the varied qualities of individuals and how the contests for the future play out for whole societies? If so, how can the underlying social chemistry best be understood?
From liberty’s point-of-view, how does economic and personal freedom as the only good solution for our US troubles best be presented to different kinds of people in a chaotic world? Is there a method of sophistry for liberty that might tip the balance in the key coming conflicts with the statists over the best new course for a bankrupt America?
A Common Thread
Everyone’s social experience shows there are at least several types of people that seem common in their general outlook, goals and methods in life. Psychology in one general view is the cooperation and conflict between the personalities of humankind. The same can be said of history.
The various kinds of human personality tend to interact with harmony for the most part. After all, the contributions of a cross-section of people make for the best available effort and solutions to common goals most times. Economic growth is centered on close cooperation obviously. So is civilization in general. The human is a social being through and through.
Too often though, personality differences seem to be in insoluble conflict. All too often the conflict is of the irrational and violent kind, especially when it comes to certain mixtures of people and certain kinds of times.
New work in anthropology posits that roughly eighty percent of people past and present want to cooperate rather than engage in any form of conflict: a near constant figure. The other kinds of people defined by this work are the “defectors” who harm the group, openly or secretly, and the “punishers” of “defectors”, who try to enforce justice and thereby help preserve the group. See here and here.
To this way of thought, it truly is the good guys versus the bad guys as a constant. Our present problems with greed and theft at the top and the bottom of the social order are far from anything new. It is always just a question of degree.
Defining the Players
So, who are these various factions with such different ways of thought?
We all know them, in all walks of life.
Personality types can be sliced or diced in any number of ways. The potential list of personality subgroups is unlimited, but the concept loses meaning as the list lengthens.
Academics in psychology have defined lists of personality types, with some wide difference of opinion naturally. There is also a singular view of personality known widely as Maslow’s Hierarchy, where behavior is common for all, but always tied to economic circumstances.
A favored course of psychology tries to build on the theories of Hippocrates and Galen of ancient Greece, the four temperaments of human personality, sanguine (warm, pleasant), phlegmatic (slow-moving, apathetic), melancholic (depressed, sad), and choleric (quick to react, hot tempered). Four Greek Temperaments As the titles strongly imply, the Greek writings on personality seem unsparing in their various assessments of the two-legged beast.
In modern times it was psychoanalyst Karl Jung during the 1960’s and 1970’s who took up the Greek temperaments and changed the dialectic to “personality preferences” and tried to make a closer tie to human physiology, especially genetic makeup. Dr. Jung expanded the field of personality theory to identify the four essential human traits that shape personality, one’s view of the world and one’s role in it, while keeping the essential Greek formula in place.
To Jung, personality type is the product of the differing ways people receive and then process information in their mind. There are two contrary dimensions to both receiving and processing the events, people and knowledge one comes across. The variants are:
Sensory (S) or Intuitive (N) – Whether a person’s observations and thought processes concentrate on cataloguing and detailing events or concentrate on connecting new events to more abstract categories.
Judging (J) or Perceiving (P) – Whether a person contends with key events by creating and acting upon carefully made plans or instead contends with even important events in a flexible, contingent way.
Extrovert (E) or Introvert (I) – Whether a person is energized by interaction with a wide variety of people or energized by the examination and perfection of ideas and the progress in plans being executed.
Thinker (T) or Feeler (F) – Whether a person prizes the use of investigation and logical analysis in contending with life or instead prizes the vitality of relationships and the great help positive social connections create.
Though all people obviously have capacity in each of the four variants of personality, everyone also has, according to Jung, defined “preferences” among the four that tend to dominate one’s thoughts and interactions with others. These four preference variants are ingrained in each person’s genetic makeup, dispersed at random through the population, a default setting for every individual.
With four double variants, Jung’s personality typing falls into sixteen categories (ESFJ to INTP). With this system of thought at its center Jungian’s “humanism” psychology has become the predominant scholarly discipline in the West.
The Briggs/Myers mother/daughter team worked to adapt Jung’s system to definitive personality testing. The Brigg-Meyers Type Indicator (BMTI) is the most widely used psychology tool of any kind by far, now published in fourteen languages. Disciplines across psychology use the BMTI.
What the BMTI has shown is that the distribution of dominant personality traits is amazingly constant across cultures and time, though a bit different between men and women. Each of the sixteen personality types can be expressed as a percentage of the population within a small range.
The life’s work of WWII fighter pilot Dr. David Keirsey in the same field of personality theory is also known across the world. http://keirsey.com/default.aspx Keirsey’s theory divides people into four basic kinds of personality, ones a bit different from the ideas of the ancient Greeks though.
Dr. Keirsey has also been testing his personality theories for over fifty years with surprisingly common results across the ranks of society. His general descriptions of human behavior are written considerably more favorably than the stark observations of the ancient Greeks were. Dr. Keirsey’s works will be the analytical jumping point in this article.
The Guardians (Phlegmatic)
The Guardians are the bulwark of civilizations, whatever form society may take.
Guardians are sourced in the fundamental beliefs and institutions of the tribe, whether it might be established liberty or, at the opposite pole, blindly serving an emperor or dictator. This group is loyal, dependable, and generally productive. They accept established authority and dream of meting out justice to wrongdoers of all stripes. A number of Guardians strive to political leadership and often succeed. Many, many more though strive for an easy ride as much as they can as life goes on. Words tend to substitute for deeds more and more so.
Guardians get married and have children, emphasize personal security, vacation at the same place, vote more often than others do, energize public rituals like the pledge of allegiance and religious worship.
Guardians tend to be shift foremen, government employees, especially police, accountants, teachers, soldiers, organizers, lobbyists, lawyers and judges.
Examples of Guardians are George Washington, King George of England, Jimmy Stewart, Darth Vader, Barbara Walters, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Mother Theresa, Joseph Stalin.
Guardians, according to Dr. Keirsey’s research, are the largest population group, almost half of all citizens, up to 45%.
The Artisans (Sanguine)
If one asks, who in this world actually makes something novel and interesting, the clear answer would be the Artisans, people with special talents. Innovation drives the economy and the passions.
Crazy like a fox, smooth as a salamander, master of techniques and tools if not of exactly why they work, with few fears and fewer inhibitions, the Artisan is ready to energize the present with whoever happens to be along for the ride. Never worrying over the past and supremely confident of their future, Artisans are looking for excitement, especially pleasure. With minimal interest in deep relationships, Artisans have little emotional baggage weighing them down.
Artisans live alone or become the head of the house, never worry over security or the future, know lots of people but have few friends, love to party.
It can also be said of the Artisans though that many, if not most, waste their talent due to personal failure of one kind or another. Unencumbered in their mind by society’s rules, Artisans tend to run afoul of the law and just about anyone they come across in the end. Since Artisans are focused on themselves and their special talent, there is little interest in others or alternate careers. Most of the small-time and the big-time criminals are Artisans.
The sign of an Artisan is having an extra sense or two it seems, a natural intuition, at least in one important way. Those specially blessed become the innovators in all parts of life. Few Artisans on balance seek political power, but those who do so successfully may prove especially dangerous to the general welfare. Usually though, Artisans have little interest in the theories of politics. It takes a selfless stake to some degree, after all, to dream about proper public policy.
For those touched with an Artisan’s talent less profoundly the model is more a hindrance to personal growth than it is a benefit. If their talent is not a money-maker then it really does not matter much to the Artisan what occupation he or she enters. A job is a necessary and hopefully temporary evil. The natural affinity of Artisans for producing and operating machines, tools and equipment opens though many job opportunities in industry and construction.
Artisans suffer from love and ego, but are ready to charge ahead with both. Those nice Guardians aside, things like manual labor or paperwork or personal loyalty are usually secondary to enjoying life for Artisans. Personal issues tend to dominate life.
It is the Artisans who become the artists and entertainers, fighter pilots, craftsmen, top athletes, high stakes gamblers, novel business entrepreneurs, race car drivers, loggers, gold miners, bull riders, Medal of Honor winners, and explorers and adventurers of all stripes. On the less gifted level you may find Artisan types in factories, repair shops, sales, recruiting and financial counseling
Examples of Artisans are Benjamin Franklin, Evil Knievel, Katherine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, Madonna, Winston Churchill, George Patton, FDR, JFK, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton.
Artisans are the second largest component of society, about one-third of the population.
The Idealists (Choleric)
Idealists are among the most intelligent and compassionate people among us. Personal integrity is a central pillar for most Idealists.
Society is known by this group to be a part of a perfectible universe whose general dimensions can be clearly understood, at least by those who thoroughly examine the big questions in life as they do.
Somehow, Idealists tend to find one another, sometimes divide into opposing groups, debate with compatriots within a narrow band of ideas, then reach a general consensus as to exactly what basic form the ultimate truths of life and society take for their movement. The Idealists stick together while saying they are especially independent thinkers. They go forth with their fashionable common beliefs, pushing and prodding others to accept the truth of things, being both passionate and persuasive. For their fervor, narrow dedication and tenacity, Idealists have an influence on society well beyond their actual numbers.
Idealists tend to become ministers, journalists, professors, failed entrepreneurs, caretakers, writers, activists, advisors of all kinds. They are especially active in political life, occupying the fringe of both ends of most ideological debates within statism thought, Rachel Maddow vs. Sean Hannity, for instance.
Examples of Idealists are Patrick Henry, Joan of Arc, Oliver Stone, George Orwell, Mahandas Ghandi, Pol Pot, Karl Marx.
Idealists, like Rationales, are near the fewest in number, more or less 10% of people.
The Rationales (Melancholic)
There are few of us who do not believe their decisions and actions are governed largely by the dictates of logical, informed analysis. Yet, only a certain number of people are truly driven by the quest for knowledge through the scientific method.
Rationales are seen as unemotional though they know that not to be the case. Rationales shy away from presumptions about most things, including the people they meet. Their analytical bent betrays a false aloofness, something quite illogical, after all.
Far from egotists, Rationales tend to go their own way and allow others to do so as well. They care little in the end about what others believe, even of them. Their natural capacity for good leadership has to be drawn out of the Rational by others around them.
Rationales build and build and build on their inner, evolving concept of things, usually with good satisfaction by middle age. Yet, Rationales are the first to acknowledge, “one should never say never”, the polar opposite of the Idealist view of most things.
Rationales read and read and read though they do not pretend to have many key answers. Rationales typically are scientists, business owners, seldom revolutionaries.
Rationales tend to become architects, engineers, lonely dissenters, physicians, writers, publishers, leaders of enterprise, rebel lawyers.
Examples of Rationales are Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Margaret Thatcher, Ayn Rand, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Dwight Eisenhower.
Politics for Liberty
Interesting categories maybe, and compelling connections, but what meaningful direction does all this lead to?
Are there at least sixteen basic ways, as laid out by Jung, to best advance the case for free markets and free people?
That seems quite true.
Natural for the philosophy that best suits humanity’s traits, liberty’s agenda is attractive to all people by appealing to their different frames of mind.
Examining the status quo in the United States today reveals a daunting challenge for liberty’s case.
In looking at the possibilities, this work continues with the framework of Keirsey and his four temperaments.
US Guardians and Debased Liberty
One hundred years ago, Guardians in the United States, almost half of society, had long been the bulwark of liberty in every way. General freedom amid rugged individualism was the social credo in the US so cherished by society’s protectors.
Guardians today recognize that individual freedom is the basic philosophy of America’s founding: America’s historic formula. Guardians know liberty has transformed the modern world for the better, now across the world. These basic ideas are deeply accepted today, rhetorically anyway, by almost all Guardians.
But an overpowering statist dementia has grown in the Guardian class as the century of big government has advanced in the United States.
Guardians now combine their slogans for liberty with eternal faith in an American global empire based on endless warfare. Guardians also lead the war on drugs mindlessly. Guardians would shed their last drop of blood today to preserve the Social Security and Medicare unfunded, entitlement systems. Many Guardians salute police brutality and the police state in general.
Guardians now buy into the concept of Idealists, the law should be written endlessly to address almost all areas of life. The defense of liberty seldom interferes with this dreamy ideal.
Therefore the challenge for liberty’s voice with Guardians is monumental in the United States today. The most sedentary of mindsets has become the central pillar of expanding tyranny.
So, it is a good thing that liberty has so many pathways to moving the human soul.
Empowered Artisans Opposing Liberty
If Guardians as presently configured in the US present the voice of liberty with its greatest challenge overall, Artisans offer the greatest danger.
The ultimate utilitarian, Artisans are, after all, in a comparatively good place right now under crony capitalism. They know how to take advantage.
Artisans will be delighted to realize that a climate of liberty is the best way to allow the pursuit of individual happiness in all manners of ways. Other topics will prove too boring for most by far.
Far from a menace, the welfare state is a godsend to most Artisans, opening wide opportunities for living off of others. No one is better able to obtain a bailout, private or public.
But the greatest frontier for Artisans has become the booming financial industry, now incredibly 22% of US GDP in the business of passing around money and gambling. Artisans are the natural Keynesians rigging markets by force and swiping capital. It is the ethos of Wall Street, the Square Mile and even the Bank of China.
Most troubling is that Artisans in the 20th Century and beyond have passed through a milestone in their membership in the political class. JFK, LBJ, Reagan and Clinton were all Artisans. The Artisan numbers in legislatures has sharply risen in the present age of irresponsibility. The prospect of dividing up over half of the nation’s money presents a monumental lure to Artisans, those with the talent and the false words to win elections with. They present the greatest danger to the nation once the collapse arrives. They are inclined to risk everything to “win”.
It is the capture by the Artisan genie of the world economy that threatens chaos after all and led to the writing of today’s article.
So, Artisans are the central piece of the problem (and always have been and will be).
Idealists: Not Always Liberty’s Opponent
Typical of their effective work, Idealists in the US are at the center of power, controlling almost all Democrat lawmakers and their inner circle. Idealists occupy most seats of political power right now, at least in a general sense.
Idealists are though the faction of humanity that present the best motor for thoroughgoing social revolution. Idealists may be liberty’s necessary partner in revolution, even if the main opponent in rebuilding the nation.
However, even Idealists can be moved by the idea that a wealth of private decisions miraculously becomes the best course by far for everyone in achieving economic growth. Liberty, by definition, is egalitarian, an Idealist’s passion. Idealists also tend to like the protection of civil liberties, something they often exercise.
If only Idealists could ever be convinced there is no need for the informed elite to direct the world at all, even from the sidelines.
Rationales: A Balky Allegiance at Best
One might naturally assume the Rationales would become the architects of liberty’s agenda in revolutionary times. That is not necessarily the case.
Rationales generally pursue careers advancing real things, building success by personal effort and talent. Most Rationales have little interest in the vagaries and rivalries of statism politics, even aversion. The prospect of dividing up everyone else’s money while gaining personal standing and wealth in the process is not an attractive one to Rationales, though replacing that kind of system may be.
Few Rationales end up as legislators, never will. Do not expect lots of social networking. Executive power though is a possible attraction.
So, relying on the help of the ultimate individualist and steady achiever may not work so well in the end.
Facts and calm logic may not be best way anyway to convince the mob that their own liberty is the best course to follow by far.
Producing a Formula
How can the four-side theory of personality best be used then? How, one by one, is Keirsey’s four main characters best played in different situations, played off each other?
Since groups of people, even small ones, are all composed of different personality types is the methodology useful only person by person?
What about the large differences between the variants? For instance, when talking the Guardian’s game is the Artisan in the conversation usually turned off? Can the net positive balance in this trade-off be improved and how?
A work like this one, or a wall of volumes on this subject, could never offer anywhere near a complete answer to questions like these.
But a general formula is made: Knowing and applying the frame of mental reference of the listener is central to knowing how to best present the case on any subject to that person. Only then can the correct themes be played.
Appreciating that individuals most likely think and operate quite differently than you do is the path to success suggested today. Having a general guide for this, even in a contingent of only 16 types, is a fundamental change in the way of perceiving yourself and especially how you choose to interact with others in most ways.
So, time for some fun speculation in a riddle first examined by Hippocrates.
Guardians: A Frozen Yukon hits Breakup
There is little more troubling to the psyche of a Guardian than a collapse of many of the ideals they always gather their thinking around; the realization that the institutions and leaders they so relied on were not worthy of trust. Breakdown is a time of betrayal of the most loyal.
Added to this is the fact there is suddenly little to no proven hierarchy to rely on, even law-enforcement greatly debased. People are suddenly freer to commit all brands of debauchery and crime, something hugely disturbing to the Guardian. Preparing for violent self-defense becomes an overriding priority. Enemies are seen everywhere.
So, where is a Guardian to turn in chaos: So many have become near helpless from the coddling of a counterfeit, bubble economy. It is a lifetime crisis for Guardians like no other possible.
Expect most Guardians to man the ramparts for our statist leaders till the bitter end, actually pulling the trigger in several ways on fellow citizens in order to quell the chaos of thought and order they so fear. That is the nature of things when political orders fall.
But the balance in US revolution will lie with where the many, many Guardians defecting from the failed moral order eventually choose to go, to liberty or to a new statism.
One thing seems certain. The shocked Guardians will band together like Idealists relying for their primary direction amid chaos from their leading mind-mates, not outsiders with odd ideas. Here is a key for liberty, one largely liberated from the limits of a person by person approach.
That key is to preach to traditionalists a renewed social morality grounded in American individuality, self-reliance and personal achievement.
The sudden breakdown of living standards can actually be an accelerant for the substitute life philosophy, instead of inevitably leading to even more damaging statist measures. It is shock therapy helpful to many.
More importantly, the unexpected valor that rises in many souls in the midst of economic meltdown could prove to be liberty’s fire. Individual valor organized voluntarily to meet a mutually created cause needs to overcome fear. Little is more inspiring to people, especially for those who so wish to trust in society.
Once instilled within Guardian opinion-makers liberty’s mindset may truly rage across the nation in treble Tea Party force winning the Second American Revolution improbably for liberty. So, find a way to make yourself a fine example of self-reliance and volunteerism for the traditionalists to appreciate as their best new path forward. Hope you do not also have to seriously undertake the trait of personal courage as well.
Seize the troubling time of fear and indecision by proving liberty as the only truly moral social order for the US. Convince certain leaders and the most of the herd are likely to come along.
So, here is liberty’s case as the best chance for lasting peace and order. Find one here on liberty as the best place for the practice of religion. Here is liberty’s case for creating the most prosperous of middle classes.
Bribe the Artisans Worth Having
It will not be a grand new philosophy that moves the Artisan in times of political breakdown. The Artisan’s priority will remain unchanged.
There will be opportunity on all sides of revolution for the Artisan. Which faction has the best offer? How flexible an arrangement can be made?
For the younger, brighter Artisans social breakdown may prove more thrilling than frightening. There will be a time again where the Artisan combatant and craftsman and adventurer, in all their shapes, begins to overshadow all of society once again as it was with prehistoric humanity. These are many of the key leaders and examples that must be attracted to liberty’s torch.
Of course, the Artisans who do not excel at much at all will remain the destroyers: most of the truly bad guys on anyone’s side. There is no changing that lineup either.
Indeed, all Artisans that do join liberty’s cause should be considered temporary, conditional allies until proven to be something more.
The formula for attracting the Artisans that would be a great benefit to the cause is so basic and simple. All it takes is favoritism for the fresh recruit, special rewards for special deeds. Rewards can be paid in cash, goods or services or even adulation and fame: the only currencies for the Artisan. Sometimes even liberty’s business is not a pretty affair. But it must be done.
So, manipulate the master manipulators. Find your own information references for the special talent a desired Artisan recruit possesses and use that knowledge to liberty’s service. And always be cautious of his or her lesser soul-mates.
Cultivate the Idealists
Yes, the Idealists are born for revolution, the best in the field, and even have a strong moral streak.
But, do not expect the Idealists in the US though to rush to liberty’s side when chaos arrives. After all, the Idealists already have effective ownership of their own major political party in the US and have the Presidency for the next four years, at least in theory. It is too much to lose for these born revolutionaries actually so few in number. The great thinkers will not easily transform their Keynesian and state welfare principles. They will die on the cross of unfunded entitlements.
So, the herd of Idealists will also join the present regime’s ramparts pushing for ever more suffocating measures on the economy, maybe a new currency with wage and price controls. Default on all non-US Treasury bond holders is a near given.
But a good many Idealists will break away in time, especially as Obama and Congress lose all credibility and the true scale of past corruption becomes known. Converts will say they were persuaded by evidence and logic. What will work with Idealists best though is the demonstration of a solid moral lining, liberty’s strongest case.
So, the disenchanted Idealist could easily be recruited. There is so much to work on together, the same basic goals, at least for now. Here is a short list for the new US Idealist in the alliance with liberty.
The lock of the Democrats and the Republicans must be ended. Both are irredeemably corrupt in most ways.
The police state must be ended, but first evaded, infiltrated, even sabotaged when necessary to save innocent lives.
The US military empire must be reigned back big time. The drone war has been a war crime: an impeachable act.
The “Too Big to Fail” must be broken up and the financial mafia who run them jailed for their crimes.
A new order is coming.
With so much to agree on, liberty’s forces may eventually forge a vibrant alliance with many Idealists. The combined positive destruction will be impressive, terrifying to the quickly sinking top of the 1% and their paper money empires.
Then there is the day after the revolution is over and how to deal with the dreamy, tyrannical Idealists, the cycle in a fresh phase: a subject for another day.
Enlisting the Soul of the Rationales
It is this brand of personality least affected by nationalism, even culture. It can be said fairly though the Rationales’ mindset in the United States has been brutalized by Washington’s tyrannies. There is an immeasurable longing among the people that deliver technology and industry for far, far less government in our lives. Rationales have proven key to inventing new American liberty going back to the beginning, Jefferson and Madison, in the breach, Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, right up to Barry Goldwater and Ron Paul, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
Though it is quite true that moving to New Zealand or the Cayman Islands is easily the most logical thing to do when the great nations are suddenly withering away, Rationales need to stay in the game. Just appeal to their emotional side for liberty’s sake.
Part of a mind that prizes measurements and calculations is a deep sense of correctness and, yes, proper order in society, freedom of endeavor. Impulsive and unrealistic as this streak may be, it strikes the heart for most Rationales. Inspiration from opening ideas, from creating a paradise for ideas, will capture the Rational and energize their industry. Tell them, they can go home to something sensible as soon as the job is done.
If the freedom to dream and to build on dreams were to arrive like never before in the United States, the Rationales will have a lasting victory in their eternal differences with the Idealists and the rest.
Stephen Merrill is a trial lawyer practicing in Anchorage, Alaska. He was a founder of the Tidewater Virginia Libertarian Party in 2001, the most successful Libertarian Party affiliate in the nation. He is now a founder of the Anchorage Tea Party, Occupy Anchorage and General Counsel and Secretary for the Alaska Libertarian Party. He remains a longtime defender of the Bill of Rights.
Mr. Merrill served in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps and as a Navy Reserve Intelligence Officer.
© 2012 Copyright Stephen Merrill - All Rights Reserved
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