Village Idiots Dancing On The Table

Umberto Eco some years ago wrote “Chronicles of a Liquid Society.”

“Once this all-seeing Witness has gone, has been taken away, what remains? All that’s left is the eye of society, the eye of the Other, before whom you must reveal yourself so as not to disappear into the black hole of anonymity, into the vortex of oblivion, even at the cost of choosing the role of village idiot who strips down to his underpants and dances on the pub table.”

In the view of Eco a ‘liquid society’ was one stripped of any anchors to anything outside of it self. There is no permanent, no eternal, no future and no past, no concepts of reality outside of the zeitgeist of society.

Village idiots dancing on the table is very likely to be what this era will be known for in future history books.

Ben Boychuk recently wrote in the Sacramento Bee that California has become the definition of a ‘liquid society’ – but it is not just California.

As a society this country is rarely anchored to reality. Some examples from just the debt venue:

The debt obligations of the United States total up to about $2.1 million per household over the next 30 years. People argue, “Yeah but that is over thirty years!” So let us work that out – it is $70,000 a year per household for thirty years. Do you have an extra $70K a year for your household to make these debts whole?

Just one program in Colorado, PERA (the government pension program) is short by $42,000 per household. Have an extra $42K hanging around? Check between the couch cushions. I didn’t think so – but what is more the gap must be made whole by taxing citizens who will have no chance of retiring at all in order to pay government retirement benefits for the privileged few. How well do you think that is going to go over?

In Chicago each taxpayer is on the hook for $41,700 just in city debt! Think the taxpayers of Chicago have that kind of cash on hand to make the city whole? Think they cannot just vote with their feet? Of course they can and will.

As a whole this country is caught in a debt trap – no one even attempts to make a rational argument that we are not caught in a debt trap – they simply ignore that we are in a debt trap while continuing to argue over should we or should we not make using a particular personal pronoun a criminal act. Yes we have become that silly and removed from reality.

By the way that debt trap extends to the corporate, business and personal world as well. The Federal Reserve has hinted that in the next recession it will go to negative interest rates. 5000 years of interest rate history on planet earth and there is no hint in all of that time of negative interest rates until the last handful of years. That illustrates how absurd and distorted and removed from reality our policies have become.

We are a society unanchored from anything in reality. We just make up what we wish to be true – inevitably justifying our own fantasies by doubling and tripling down on the absurd – and then advocate for the belief that we can go down that road endlessly with out any painful consequences. Many of the same people arguing in favor of Roy Moore would be calling for guillotines and calling him a pedophile if Moore were a Democrat. Just truth. People who are excusing Al Franken and saying ‘It was just a joke’ would be wearing pussy hats and holding a million women march if Franken were a Republican. You know it is true.

We have become an absurd people because we have become unanchored from anything real. History used to be used in order to provide context for the present and prevent a society from being swept away in the zeitgeist. Historical knowledge was a limiting factor in how much damage the zeitgeist could do. Currently history is used to justify the absurd by being highly selective in what we consume and regurgitate and often just flat out making it up.

Not only do people no longer have a useful means of applying math and history they no longer have even the most rudimentary understanding of how government works. Ask someone, anyone, what is the monetary policy of the United States? Do you think 1% can answer that? 2%? 5%? Certainly not ten percent of the population understand what the monetary policy of the United States is – but they are just chockfull of opinions on what the government should be doing and how, without the least understanding of any of the mechanics of how that would happen, let alone a useful understanding of who would benefit and who would be devastated by those policies. They are in love with campaign propaganda with no clue about reality. None. Ask them about the Taylor Rule – I dare you. Then ask them how it might effect their daily life.

We have spent decades telling people how smart and educated they are when in reality they are simply well indoctrinated with propaganda and have little to no knowledge of reality – and no desire to acquire that knowledge.

Fortunately we still have people who know history, can apply math and have moral and intellectual standards not tied to popular media. These people still have context around what is happening – and as such are refusing to be swept away by the zeitgeist.

Anyone who knows history, can apply math and understands how the government currently functions also understands there is a social, political and economic reckoning in the foreseeable future. For those indulging in the zeitgeist it will be a shock.

It need not be – but sometimes societies just collectively go insane.

More good news: Trump’s triumphs the media tries to hide and some conservatives try to ignore.

 
 
It is fashionable for some conservatives and libertarians to point out dumb things Congress or President Trump does, and to huff it makes no real difference which party controls the federal government. I feel that way myself sometimes. The impression is reinforced by a media that, in its most recent hostile self-embarrassment frenzied wrongly over how Trump tossed too much fish food into a koi pond, while largely ignoring his substantive and successful visits with a number of heads of state. Herewith, some recent reasons I’m pleased that Donald Trump won last November.
 

On the domestic front, At Trump’s direction, cabinet heads are overseeing a historic slowdown and rollback of intrusive regulations. Business confidence and consumer confidence are surging as a result. A Democrat administration would never take this direction. It’s doubtful whether any of the other Republican candidates from 2016 would have, either.

 

Singling out one of the stars, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is bring law and order to an agency with a history of overreaching lawless disorder. On a matter of substance, Pruitt is unraveling the EPA’s power grab over electricity generation via its sweeping rewrite of pollution laws. The war on coal is over, Pruitt declares.
 
On a huge matter of process, Pruitt declared an end to collusion between radical environmentalists and sympathetic bureaucrats, the so called sue and settle strategy. For decades, it’s been a dirty little open secret that activists achieve regulation through litigation. They would bring a lawsuit against the EPA arguing for more aggressive enforcement of various policies. They agency would settle, and gleefully put the screws to business and property owners, because it “had to.” No more, Pruitt says:
The days of regulation through litigation are over. We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the Agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress. Additionally, gone are the days of routinely paying tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to these groups with which we swiftly settle.
 
 
On foreign policy, I’m pleased to have a president who puts American interests first and does not seem embarrassed by American strength and prosperity. Consumers of American media wouldn’t know it, but Trump’s Asia tour was a resounding success. He was received with respect, he schmoozed ably with world leaders, and reached a number of favorable understandings and agreements. This includes a little reported pact with China, in which China agrred to invest an eye-popping $84 billion in petrochemical projects in West Virginia.
None other than Piers Morgan formerly of CNN wrote that Trump’s trip was a triumph the media tried to hide.
 
Undoubtedly, they’ll keep trying.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Senators keep gunning for nominees’ religious beliefs.

We have posted before about Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee exhibiting hostile attitudes toward nominees’ religious faith. One of the most aggressive, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse apparently wants to become the committee’s chief spear carrier in that regard.
 
In his questioning of Leonard Steven Graszn, nominated to the US Court of Appeals, Whitehouse spent the end of his time exploring the appropriate role of religion in judicial rulings and in the committee’s consideration of judicial nominations. Grasz and Whitehouse appeared to agree that religion per se should play no role in either. Rulings should be based on the law, and approval of a nominee should be based on his or her qualifications.
 
Whitehouse concluded with a seemingly reasonable sum up question: Is it appropriate for the committee to try to assure itself the nominee will adhere to that standard, and keep personal religious beliefs out of his rulings? Yes, Grasz agreed.Watch the exchange starting at 5:25 in the YouTube link below.
 
The problem with this seemingly arm’s length accord is that it opens the door for all manner of personal probing about what those beliefs are and how they might influence a nominee. This would be an unusual and insidious direction for examinations to go. There have always been nominees of various faiths. Many have come from churches with traditional views on the sanctity of life, family and marriage structure, freedom of religious practice against government regulation. The fact of the diversity of religious views has not previously been an invitation to senators to cross examine nominees about the details of their doctrines. Doing that smacks of an agenda to intrude, to expose, to isolate, and to ridicule. This is particularly troubling where Sen. Whitehouse appears to have precisely that agenda.

Indeed, in the hearing, he argued that “there’s simply no way to prevent a judge’s . . . personal beliefs from influencing” the judge’s rulings It appears Whitehouse is setting up a one-two. Ask questions eliciting any belief in a doctrine that does not comply with current legal trends, then argue the nominee will be unable to follow the law. Rather he’ll be improperly influenced by his church’s teachings.
 
Reinforcing this concern, the ABA investigator who gathered information for the ABA’s report to the Senate questioned Grasz about why he sent his children to a private religious school. That is not relevant fact gathering. An ill wind blows.
 
 
 
  

 

“The Most Fatal Thing A Man Can Do Is Try To Stand Alone”

“The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.” ― Carson McCullers

Some smart people have drawn parallels between our current global society and culture and the culture and society the world knew in the years leading up to World War I. On the surface those comparisons appear preposterous – but if one looks a little deeper then perhaps the critical traits are very similar. The primary trait that we appear to have in common with 105 years ago is the belief that the world dynamic and organization is static. Now – again – on the surface that assertion appears preposterous. Look a little deeper and it is perhaps not preposterous at all.

One can easily argue that the Trump people and the Sanders people are interested in burning it all down. However if one was to listen to what they actually proclaim then they are less interested in burning it down than they are in cherry-picking events, policies and social dynamics from the past. Furthermore they are predicating this wish list of cherry picked items on a perpetual continuation of the current system.

The differences in Trump and Sanders culture are really not about changing the fundamental system but more about which cherry picked items from the past get included on this wish list. Beyond even that the cherry picked items are often derived from a fictional past created to conform to an ideological and political imperative. The wish list has little to do with what really happened in the past and nothing at all to do with cultural, economic and political context around these supposed events. Both the Trump and Sanders people to a large degree believe that sheer government power can create a fictional past that they wish to reside in today.

Sometimes societies just collectively go insane. However it is a strain of insanity that we have known before.

In a very real way the Trump and Sanders people are fighting against change. Perhaps more specifically they are fighting against the unknown that is an inherent component of change.

Socialist in 1912 Europe were ostensibly fighting for change – but were they really? Socialism was derived as a response, and successor, to a specific government-economic-cultural model. Once that specific government-economic-cultural model ceased to exist the socialist argument also ceased to exist. In order to perpetuate the socialist argument the socialist have had to create fictional straw men to argue against – because the pro-socialist argument simply ceases to exist when the target of its’ argument also ceases to exist. Socialist always become fully invested in a static system – having to create new fictions and new straw men in order to adapt to change and make your ideas appear appealing is strenuous work. When the pre-existing system utterly melted down from 1917 to 1919 the only socialist capable of taking advantage of that meltdown were Lenin and Trotsky. Lenin and Trotsky succeeded due to their willingness to kill anyone with an alternate idea and by creating fiction on the level that Orwell wrote so eloquently of in ‘Animal Farm.’

Socialism is predicated on opposing a specific system – and if that system does not exist then a fictional opposition system must be created in order that socialism not appear as absurd as it actually is. For the socialist, Franz-Josef must always be on the throne and if he is not then his straw man must be created.

To summarize, change is the lethal enemy of socialism.

The Trump people often seem to be equally as wedded to cherry picking the past. The newsflash here is that Trump is not Reagan and this is not the 1980’s – but quite a few people seem to have predicated their view of the world on Trump being Reagan and this still being the 1980’s.

The world is changing and that change is quite possibly going to be on a similar scale as 1914-1919. Demographics, debt and the human yearning for power and wealth drives the change. These three things are intertwined with each other. To a large degree we in the United States are oblivious to the change and how these things are connected.

These three things are not secrets but the popular culture in the United States has relegated them to the category of not important – mostly because they do not fit the narrative that popular culture desires to be true. Four articles from just this weekend’s news:

From “Deutsche Bank: The Fiat Money World May Be Coming to An End”:

“Reid’s basic contention is this: The dominance of the fiat currency system since Richard Nixon decoupled gold from the dollar in 1971 “is inherently unstable and prone to high inflation,” and an offsetting disinflationary shock that kept it afloat since 1980 is now slowly reversing.

If that’s the case, Reid says the fiat currency system — a term which describes any currency whose value is backed by the government that issued it, rather than by a commodity like gold or silver — could be “seriously tested” over the next decade.”

From “Is There Any Way Out of the ECB’s Trap?”

“Despite the massive injection of liquidity, he knows that he can not disguise political risks such as the secessionist coup in Catalonia. The Ibex reflects this, making it clear that the European Central Bank does not print prosperity, it only puts a floor to valuations.”

From “Animation: The Rapidly Aging Western World”

“However, one problem of particular importance – at least in places like Europe and the Americas – is a rapidly aging population. As the population shifts grayer, potential consequences include higher dependency ratios, rising healthcare costs, and shifting economies and cities.”

From “What Now?” by James Kunstler:

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has been a giant gasoline bomb waiting to explode for decades. It occupies one of the geographically least hospitable corners of the earth. Its existence as a modern (cough cough) state relies strictly on the reserves of oil discovered as recently as the late 1930s, that is, within the lifetime of people still reading this blog. The oil supply is in steep decline, and so, of course, is the stability of the kingdom.

Politically, it’s a super-medieval operation, an absolute monarchy tied to a severe religious order with the law floating precariously between the two, and old-fashioned customs such as the public beheading of criminals (for misdeeds such as “adultery,” “atheism,” and “sorcery”). The Saud clan has controlled the throne all these years, and its grip on power is slipping as the country itself slips into the prospective next era of its history, minus the endless gusher of oil that has made its existence possible — hence, a true existential crisis without the usual pseudo-intellectual bullshit.”

Of course on top of all of this is the global debt. Global debt now approached 360% of global GDP (see attached chart) – debt accumulated by the same constituencies that also have aging demographics. Let that sink in. Paying that debt back or defaulting on that debt is a requirement – a requirement that does not fit the narrative of either the Trump or the Sanders people. The demographics-debt conundrum is driving the change that both the Trump and Sanders people violently oppose. Just a note – debt and demographics are infinitely more powerful than any political system or fantasies that our popular culture embraces. Our collective insanity is the compulsion to embrace and predicate our lives on the ephemeral when that ephemeral has a limited shelf life with the expiration date in clear sight.

The world has elected to adopt an unsustainable monetary policy that has created unprecedented debt – and elected to do that at a time when the demographics for the people who have consumed that debt are such that repaying that debt would be most damaging and unpopular. Change is barreling down the highway at us and we have decided to have a picnic in the middle of the road.

Beyond even that – the linchpin in the global monetary system is the political stability of the Gulf States and most importantly of Saudi Arabia. If Saudi Arabia were to turn away from the petrodollar it is then entirely likely that the whole house of cards as we have known it will come down.

Everything we know in terms of government services is likely to change. By change, I mean to go away. The welfare state is dying due to debt-demographics and having predicated its’ continued financialization on the House of Saud. No matter how many North Africans that Europe imports or Central Americans that the United States imports it will not be enough to change the fundamental demographics – but it does change the fundamental culture. China and Japan are not even trying to import younger people in order to salvage their welfare states – unlike Europe and the United States, Asia appears simply willing to take the pain. Global monetary policy has created a debt trap in order that the shelf life of our fantasy narratives may be extended – a debt trap dependent on the Saudi’s to boot. The debt trap will eventually spark a liquidity crisis that will lead to a general economic crisis. As I said above, it is a strain of insanity that we have known before. When interest rates rise, as must inevitably happen someday, the fantasy narratives will come to an end for all but the most deluded.

Those of us who recognize this demographics-debt-monetary policy-Saudi situation is driving the change that will come, we have more interest in determining what comes next than arguing violently over what are ephemeral issues, excepting circumstances where the ephemeral issues will determine what comes next. In short – the more freedom and liberty then the more fluidly and adeptly we will be able to adapt to the coming change. This is why enhanced government control – such as socialism – will cause more pain as the changes occur. In fact, government control can only extend the pain. The last thing we will need is government trying to ‘fix this’ or make it ‘fair.’ That is an invitation to experience the next Lenin and Trotsky.

I began this article with a quote from Carson McCullers, “The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.” A coalescing is beginning to occur among those who acquiesce to the reality of the coming change. While it may sometimes appear that we stand alone, every day more and more people from across the political spectrums who have maintained that ability to recognize fictional narratives for what they are point out the reality to come.

Buckle up.

The Tribe Defending Religious Faith at Town Hall

Some of President Trump’s judicial nominees have faced questioning from Democrat senators that seems more like a religious inquisition than discussion of judicial philosophy and temperament. The senators’ motives appear troublingly anti-faith. I posted about it here yesterday. Town Hall published a modified version today. Please check it out at the link below.

.

Left’s Litmus Test for Confirmation: Deny Your Faith or Be Rejected.

 

 

The Country Is Not Populated By Bad People

Let me make bold statement: this country is not populated by bad people.

That this is a bold and controversial statement that flies in the face of accepted ideology and social norms speaks to our cultural rot.

There are more than a few organizations and individuals who wish to convince you that the country is populated by bad people. These miscreants are quick to point out that YOU are not one of those bad people – but the other guy is one of those bad people. If you will only give power and money to the people and organizations who ever so carefully point out who the bad people are then those people and organizations will take care of those bad people so that you do not have to fret about them anymore.

Inherent in this argument is the ability to engage in your own personal sense of supremacy because those other folks – they are the bad people – but not you, hence your superiority is evident and indisputable. What ever you do to those bad people – character assassination, spurious claims, call them names, take their money and property, pass laws to make them do what you think they should be doing – it is okay because, you know, they are the bad people and you are the good people so you are morally entitled to decide what is what.

Regardless of your faith – this is what a post-Christian world looks like. We now inhabit a world where increasingly only the other fellow can sin but not you, hence a world without grace, forgiveness, love, humility or charity.

Individuals and organizations are gaining wealth and power by playing to and manipulating the most destructive human desires.

About where we are?

Sometimes societies just collectively go insane.

Page 3 of 3712345...102030...Last »