Attention Millennials – Socialism Will Never Work In America

“Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.” – Ayn Rand

The United States of America declared its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776 to create a new republic that was free from the tyranny of a monarchy. Prior to this, the economic system in the colonies was a capitalistic one and America has incorporated that system to this day. It is surprising to see a self-proclaimed socialist, Bernie Sanders, picking up steam as a potential Democratic Presidential candidate. What is more surprising is the millennial generation that seems to be the basis of his promotion. I have watched countless late night television shows interviewing these very same people who support Bernie Sanders and say we should embrace socialism because they love the idea of freebies- free education, free healthcare, free savings accounts, a higher living wage and an entitlement mentality. They don’t understand the ramifications of socialism, so I will explain why this is not possible in application in America today.

Alexis de Tocqueville said, “Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” In simple terms, there has to be a balance between liberty and equality. Once the psychological mindset swings to everyone being equal and getting everything for free, the pendulum has swung to a socialism mentality. In this case, personal liberties are diminished, which means the key ingredients that drive innovation and success are non-existent. People run on incentives and if that is removed, everything falls apart.

When people work, they expect to be rewarded for their skill and effort. Capitalism, at its core, provides a monetary reward that actually motivates people to perform better and work harder. Socialism actually does quite the opposite. It acts to discourage people because the hard work and effort they put in becomes part of a collective. This means no matter how hard you work or how highly educated you are, you will be rewarded the same as someone not half as qualified or educated as you. Even worse, workers tend to become less productive. If you are working twice as hard as another employee yet receiving the same pay, why would you want to work so hard or produce so much? They will put out the minimum effort to get the job done because they will not be rewarded for stellar performance. In a capitalistic model, however, the lazy and less productive employee would be fired and the most productive ones would receive a monetary remuneration. It is this incentive provided in a capitalistic system that leads to hard work, innovation and creativity because there is a monetary incentive for stellar performance.

Socialistic mentality craves self-indulgence versus self-reliance. It doesn’t matter if you ever learn certain skills or attend an elite University because you will never have to depend on yourself if the going gets tough. There is always a nanny state to pick you up, dust you off and provide you with a living wage. The socialistic system rewards bad judgement, laziness and irresponsibility. It also creates a demand for instant gratification versus delayed gratification, meaning why work hard and sacrifice today because there is no reward in the future, so take and use everything right now.

Colleges are commonly grouped into four tiers, with tier one being the most desirable and the most competitive. Students have to jump through many more hoops and have the highest GPA’s and standardized test scores to get into these elite institutions. But an astounding number of students work harder and apply for one reason: they believe their future success is ensured by attending an elite school. Only the students who have certain ability and have shown they can take a rigorous course load are selected. It is a fact that there are certain exclusive law firms that only hire from the top three law schools in the country and the monetary rewards exceed offers fourfold for the third or fourth tier law schools. The resources are also much better at elite schools because their endowments are so much higher than the rest. That implies that the graduates of these institutions have become highly successful and can afford to bestow large monetary gifts to their alma maters. The National Institute of Health (NIH), which provides funding for medical research, grants huge awards to the top medical schools in the country. Interestingly, the greatest awards are given to the tier one medical schools almost exclusively. The NIH recognizes the greatest research comes out of these institutions. If you now lived in a socialistic world, your eventual salary would be the same no matter where you attended, so why not slack off a little in high school and go to a non-competitive college, because in the end, it will make no monetary difference. The effects of this are chilling. If innovation, creativity and discovery are not incentivized, life changing ideas and things like medical technologies & innovations, cures for diseases, the iPhone, electric cars, music and my favorite play, “Hamilton”, may not exist.

Socialism inevitably leads to homogeneity. Imagine an America where the government dictated your personal liberties and everyone’s house looked the same and was the same size, where everyone drove the same car, shopped at one store, wore the same type of clothing or accessories and watched the same governmentally run television station. It is unfathomable! Americans relish in the freedom of expression and have done so since the beginning of our independence. It is that independent nature that makes us unique, innovative and successful. It is the grit and determination to see something we aspire to and achieve and even exceed that goal. That is possible in America and why so many immigrants flock to our shores. Talent and skill are rewarded via prosperity and the sky is the limit; socialism caps that limit. I say, take off the caps, throw them to the wind and aspire and achieve. The possibilities are endless because this is an American capitalistic society.


Top Gear – Punching It Down The Blacktop

This is it. The race of your life. Head to head. Nose to nose. Flag to flag for the championship of the world. And only your best friend – or your worst enemy – stands in your way as you chase each other around 32 fiendishly tricky racetracks scattered from Paris to Rio.

Then there was the SNES trilogy known as “Top Gear” (or “Top Racer” as it was known as in Japan). The sequels after the first TG became more advanced as far as options for races, cars, designs, and required “money” to purchase parts and accessories won from high pole places in a race. The original Top Gear is valued for the fact that it was simplistic in nature: chose your name, chose your transmission (auto or manual), and chose your controller layout, and a car, and just race!

You each choose your car carefully for speed. handling and power. Grab the controls, and punch it down the blacktop. This is awesome splitscreen racing at its best, and it takes all your skill, courage and splitsecond timing to stay on the road, day after day, night after night, past roadblocks, barriers and pitstops. So gear up. Get your motor running. And go for the nitro. There’s only room in the winner’s circle for one!

Graphics:

The graphics in this game do their job well a neat opening screen is followed by a well laid out options screen which includes an impressive (by SNES standards) digitized photo behind the text. In the game itself the graphics are pretty good and the cars themselves are well drawn. One effect in top gear I have never seen anywhere else is the way that during some races day changes to night and vice versa which improves or worsens your visibility.

Also back drops are unique to each track, you can see the leaning tower of Pisa in Pisa, the Eiffel tower in Paris etc. The pit lane is also well animated and the speedometer, timer.Are intuitively laid out so you can glance at them quickly without crashing. I also liked the little speech bubbles coming out of the side of the car whenever you crash into another car or use a nitro. For example if you get caught in a group of cars and you keep banging into them the driver will say something like ‘get outta my way’ or ‘are you blind’.

The Controls:

The controls are in a word faultless. you have 4 control options including a left handed option where you hold the SNES pad upside down. Maneuvering your car is simplicity itself as is cornering. overtaking on high speed corners is no problem as you can go full speed round the outside or take a small speed drop and pass on the inside.The brake and nitro buttons are easy to reach requiring just a roll of the thumb to reach. In manual gears mode a simple tap of the R or L buttons will take you up or down a gear.

Music and Sound FX:

I have to say I think Top Gear has the best music in any of the earlier racing games. The title song is a classic (It is also the ending music for lotus1 on the genesis) and the in game tracks are also perfect and always seem perfect for whatever track you are on, high notes seem to coincide with sharp turns and generally the music has a rhythm that manages to get the adrenaline going as you are tearing round hairpin bends. The sound effects of the car (skidding, engine noise etc.) are also perfectly recaptured.

Gameplay:

Top Gear’s Strong point is its thrilling gameplay. The fact that its permanently split screen (like Mario Kart) will always have you competing against another “human” player is it’s trump card. If you are playing in one player mode the second players car is controlled by the SNES and it will have to refuel just like you. In two player mode player 2 will control this car. In each race there are 20 cars and your position on the starting grid is determined by your finishing position in the previous race e.g) if you finished 1st you begin the next race in 20th, 2nd = 19th and so forth.

When you finish first on any given track in a country, you earn 20 points, 2nd place earns 15 points, 3rd place earns 12, 4th place earns 10, and 5th place earns 8. That is the cut off point however, because if you do not finish a given track 5th place or better (out of 20 cars), you will not advance to the next track. In addition, you must finish at least 3rd or better on any given country or continent in order to advance to the next country.

There are 32 tracks over eight areas around the world: the United States, South America (mainly in Brazil, but oddly it includes one track in Mexico), Italy, Germany, Japan, France (including one track in Monaco), The United Kingdom, and Scandinavia (Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark).

In addition, you can choose one of four cars, most of which contrast sharply from one another. The white car is best for fuel consumption but on average it clocks the lowest speed, while the red car is the fastest on average but drinks gasoline like water. The blue and purple cars share a similar speed and gas usage rate, but the blue car handles more soundly around turns then the purple car does.

There are big differences between each car and playing the game with a different car makes each play feel like a different game as depending on your car you could have a very manueverable machine or something that handles like a brick on wheels. (when driving the blue or red car it becomes much more difficult to overtake and avoid objects). Or you could have a vehicle that needs to be refuelled once, twice or not at all on a particular track.

Also acceleration varies which is crucial when you’re starting off or just after a bad crash or pit stop.the nitro power also varies from car to car also which affects the duration and overall speed boost. Also max speed comes into play also some cars ‘hold’ speed better than others and do not seem to slow down as much after a nitro boost or a steep hill.

When your low on fuel you have to pit stop to do this simply steer into the pit lane and when your fuel level is sufficient drive out again. Pit stops require tactics as pitting early in the race will give you more time to catch up. If you do run out of fuel it does not mean you are out of the race as your car drifts forward for a while and if another car hits the back of you will start moving again.

Because of this its possible to do a whole lap with out fuel until you either manage to finish or reach the pits. Although more than likely you will lose a lot of positions waiting to get hit or stop in a lane where no other cars even goes. In 2 player mode you can just get the other guy to give you a push though.

The tracks are all well designed and on the longer courses it is possible to have many different tactics about when to refuel or nitro. Some tracks like the black forest are true to life as this track is full of steep hills just like the real place. The speed in Top Gear is phenomenal, it is not un-playably fast but it’s devastatingly quick and smooth when compared to the likes of F-Zero and Mario Kart which are sluggish and seem slow in comparison.

Challenge Factor:

Top Gear has three difficulty levels the higher levels make the computer cars faster and more aggressive and also add more obstacles to the course. Although completing the game is not too difficult you should try to finish first in every race, as any loser can finish fifth. also you should try and beat the course record which is shown on the pre-race screen.

As well as that you should attempt to complete the game with every car like in the red car you can not afford to crash and you can hit speeds of around 240 mph if you are good. The red car also guzzles fuel like there is no tomorrow but goes a lot faster than the blue and the white car. To sum up the white car is for beginners, the blue and purple cars for intermediary players, while the red is for the pros.

Final Thoughts:

Top Gear does not hold a lot of weight in the history of racing games because it does not have the super deluxe choices, features, and add ons like it’s sequels did, or other games that would follow it on other systems. And that is a shame, because not only is Top Gear simplicity in its most compelling form as far as strictly racing goes, but it also paved the way for other games to copy the system it implemented and make it even better, solely from a gameplay stand point.

If you have an SNES and want to re-live a glorious Pre-whacked out racing Era of games, Top Gear would be one of those you will want to get your hands on. The experience will give you arguably be one of the best racing games ever in your collection.