The Pain Is Too Real For Too Many

By all appearances society is coming apart at the seams. Not just coming apart – being ripped apart. People will believe the absurd, defend the absurd and then argue the absurd. If one points out that these things are absurd it will get you labeled a radical. It is not an accident that these things are so.

The primary tool by which society is ripped apart is propaganda. As of late it has been labeled ‘fake news’ – but Goebbels would recognize it right off. It is intended to produce a psychological reaction – and anyone who fails to share the psychological reaction is labeled an enemy. That is pretty much how it works. As I detailed yesterday it takes one down the path of moral and intellectual bankruptcy. 

The Trump, Clinton and Sanders campaigns last year were entirely propaganda – and people are still fighting over how their candidate’s propaganda was superior to the other candidate’s propaganda. What they are really fighting over is a preferred psychological reaction. I opposed Trump, Sanders and Clinton on the basis that none of them should’ve been President. Trump has not been nearly as bad as I thought he could have been (it is early yet!) but it is also looking as though nothing much of lasting effect may get done either.

On the flip side it is hard to imagine a party doing worse than the Democrats. It would appear that the goal of the Democrat Party is to validate that every bad thing ever said about them is true. While the Republicans are getting nothing useful done the Democrats are making themselves out to be the pariah party. The capstone is creating false moral equivalencies to rationalize political violence and intimidation. False moral equivalencies are now epidemic on the Left. The Left is seeking to rationalize what is clearly irrational and wrong – and it continues to isolate them. Increasing numbers of rank-and-file Democrats are aghast at what is being done in their name – the allegations of what Trump and Republicans will allegedly do look trite in contrast to what the Left is actually doing and the population at large has noticed this.

So far the key to understanding what is going on is that the allegations of what Trump and Republicans will allegedly do appear completely false. Russian collusion. Obstruction of justice. Apartheid. Anti-Gay agendas. Wholesale persecution of Moslems. Wholesale persecution of Hispanics. Wholesale persecution of immigrants. You can tick off the allegations – allegations that the Left use to justify all sorts of abhorrent behavior on their part but in reality are not in sight.

This creates a dilemma for the Democrat Party. A majority of the Democrat Party are rational, good human beings who have no interest in being associated with the Left and tactics of violence and intimidation – let alone basing their lives on allegations which increasingly appear to be false. It is looking entirely possible that the Democrats will have to choose between disinviting the Leftist or continue to be electorally isolated. I am guessing that they will end up disinviting the Leftist but it may take a disastrous election or two for them to get to that point. American elections are won and lost in the center – and while that center is shrinking – it is highly unlikely that the Left will ever garner sufficient support to win a national election. A recent Gallup poll showed that what American voters overwhelmingly want is for things in DC to get done and the Left has steered the Democrat Party into a mode of preventing anything getting done. Propaganda won’t fix this problem for the Democrats. The pain is too real for too many Americans.

The Democrats will own this in 2018.

Boom And Bust

In a capitalist system, the bust portion of the cycle occurs because misallocated capital is cleared out. In other words, people who have invested capital in a venture in order to gain a return on that capital either voluntarily or involuntarily discover that the expected return will not materialize and that capital is then reallocated to another venture in which a return is expected. It is a healthy thing and it occurs frequently, in fact in a capitalist system it should occur on a small scale daily. This is the beauty of the self-regulating portion of a capitalist system, misallocated capital is discovered quickly and reallocated quickly in relatively small amounts.

The system for which the statist advocates the government will provide an incentive for misallocated capital to remain misallocated and in fact for ever more capital to be misallocated. Rather than a free market capitalist system where capital is cleared out frequently and reallocated, in statist systems the misallocated capital remains misallocated for years and grows and grows because that is the behavior the state incentivizes, coerces, compels and forces. In statist systems, when the misallocated capital eventually clears out (as it always does) it results in a major economic catastrophe.

In a capitalist system the boom and bust cycle is much more frequent and of much smaller scale. In the system that statist advocate for the boom and bust cycles are much less frequent but they reach much higher highs and much lower lows. In a capitalist system people lose money. In statist systems people lose houses, careers and hope.

These are different.

The Moral Bankruptcy Of The Left

A few days ago John C. Goodman published an article entitled “Why Are We So Divided?”

From the article:

“The left in America is intellectually bankrupt. And this is a worldwide phenomenon. For most of the 20th Century the ideological left controlled the policy agenda. But in the last quarter of that century, they experienced a complete intellectual collapse. Ronald Reagan was elected. So was Margaret Thatcher. The world saw a surge in privatization and deregulation. Eastern European countries turned to the flat tax. More than 30 countries either fully or partially privatized their social security systems. Sweden adopted a national system of school vouchers.

On reflection, the left was wrong about everything. They were wrong about communism. They were wrong about socialism. They were wrong about the welfare state. Given that history, why would they want to talk about ideas?”

I have long asserted that in regard to economics the Democrats/Progressives/Liberals are not arguing against Republicans/Conservatives/Libertarians but that they are arguing against math. The present mathematical economic argument of the Left boils down to:

If we can keep interest rates at zero or lower and continue to create endless amounts of credit then we might get ten more years without an economic collapse.

To describe Leftist economics as being a zero-sum game is far too kind a description. The Left would prefer collapsing the global economy instead of saying “I am sorry, I was wrong.” To the point Goodman makes, the more evident the intellectual bankruptcy of the Left becomes the less inclined they are to reassess and the farther they retreat into moral and intellectual fantasy.

I often quote James Kunstler, “Sometimes societies just collectively go insane.” Our societal insanity originates in the moral logic of the Progressive movement – moral logic which essentially is reduced to nothing more than “Someone somewhere at sometime did something wrong hence that entitles me to do anything wrong that I wish – and if I do it then it is not morally wrong simply by the virtue that I am doing it.” That is insane – but that is genuinely and sincerely what they believe. If the Progressives cannot find something someone actually did in order to justify their lack of morals – they just make it up! I cannot recount how many times over the last week I have been told that because Rand Paul and Ted Cruz proclaimed that the Second Amendment exist in order that American citizens may have the tools to resist tyrannical government that it justifies murdering congressman.

That line of thinking is pretty much the mother of all false equivalencies – but to the Progressive mind the truth or anything approaching morals and human decency – is an irrelevancy. All that matters is “someone somewhere at sometime did something wrong hence that entitles me to do anything wrong that I wish to do” – even if that someone somewhere at sometime is manufactured out of whole cloth.

This is an ideology that rationalizes its’ very own continued existence with false moral equivalencies. Without false moral equivalencies Progressivism melts away like snow on a summer day – because Progressivism is a slap in the face to every moral code the world has accepted. Theft, using force to require others to violate their conscience, rationalizing murder – there is no moral bottom to this ideology.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Progressives believe themselves to be gods – that they and they alone are empowered to determine truth from fiction, that they can create truth from fiction, that they are empowered to proclaim reality as fantasy and have exempted themselves from the reality the rest of us mere mortals must occupy. It is no doubt quite intoxicating to exempt oneself from moral and intellectual bankruptcy – that what ever preposterous absurdity one wishes to believe one can also assert is truth – and have other occupiers of the ideological bubble also proclaim your absurdity to be truth. Math, history, reality, truth, facts, data – they all bend a knee and bow to what ever absurdity a Progressive proclaims to be truth.

Or so they believe.

Anyone with half a brain understands that this will not end well. How it does not end well is still unknown – but it will not end well.

Stumbling Toward The Abyss

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley

There is a very funny episode of “The Big Bang Theory” where Leonard takes Penny to the gun range. Penny questions if Leonard knows what he is doing with a gun and Leonard replies that he has played enough video games he should know how to handle a gun. Leonard then promptly shoots himself in the foot.

I think the online world is probably having an effect on our culture, as represented by the “Big Bang” episode.  One of the characteristics of the online world is for one to experience a virtual simulation of something while disregarding all of the inconvenient facts that would discourage or control that activity in real life.  For example no matter how many video games Leonard had played he had no idea how to safely handle a firearm. That is an irrelevancy in the online world.

Playing a soldier in an online game does not make you a soldier no matter how many thousands of hours you played that game. You never put eighty pounds on your back, humped it ten miles and then fought a physical battle with actual life or death consequences. There is a difference in these two things.

The online world allows one to create or be something that is a fantasy. I do not think that is inherently bad or unhealthy. What does seem to be bad and unhealthy is that we collectively seem to be losing a certain ability to understand the relevancy of information when it conflicts with what we wish to be true.

As a society we seem to be blurring the lines between what we wish was true and what is actually true.

We seem to be reaching a critical mass in our ability to ignore facts which conflict with and preclude what we wish to be true. This is having a detrimental effect on our collective quality of life. One can see this online; arguments that are easily and unimpeachably refuted are presented all day long as ‘facts’.

One of the most common of these ‘facts’ is that socialism represents equality and that government is required to make things ‘fair’. There is zero data, history, or examples of that being so. When challenged to produce an example of this the purveyor of this ‘fact’ inevitably resorts to something along the lines of “In my personal view…” which is identical to saying “In my personal fantasy…”

I am not a Randian but I do think Ayn Rand was a brilliant novelist who said things worth hearing. One of the most profound things I think she said was “He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see.”

We are collectively stumbling blindly into an abyss. Refusing to see it does not mean it is not there and does not mean that when we fall into it that you will not be injured.  I am highly confident that if we stumble into the abyss quite a few people will not possess the skills to get out.

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