Looking carefully at that which is unseen.

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Quoted for Thought: Ron Paul

Overheard on the Brian Wilson Radio Show:

“There’s no fuzziness with Ron Paul.”

Because there’s no way with Dr. Paul for a voter to rationalize why he’s voting for an anti-freedom tyrant. Hurts the self-esteem of yer averij voter (who typically likes to pretend he’s for liberty), it does, to admit that he’s voting for a tyrant. Dr. Paul’s positions essentially call them out for their hypocrisy and having to face that sort of thing makes people uncomfortable.

Thinking about: National default

Bankruptcy is an ugly word – admitting you cannot pay your debts and going to have to default on payment to your creditors, people who loaned you money in good faith, presuming that repayment would be forthcoming. Whether due to unforeseen events, or just due to overspending, failure to repay sucks.

There is, however, something worse – and that is forcing OTHER people to repay YOUR debts, at gunpoint. The point of this? Compare and contrast what is going on with Iceland today compared to what Greeks (and Irish and Italians and Portugese and Spanish) are being told they need to do.

To the extent that bankers and investors (a new way of describing “speculators” or “gamblers”) lost their bets, that should be their problem, not the problem of the people who happen to be living where those bets were lost.

It will be interesting to see if the Greeks take their cues from Ireland – or Iceland.

Got popcorn?

Proving a point – what’s a “good job?”

From a link on Naked Capitalism regarding austerity policy in Greece, the quote: “In a very competitive job market, Greek parents sought to
equip their children to secure a job as a civil servant.”

So. A job that produces nothing except rules, noted for stifling the private sector, in a country that’s beat out by Yemen for business formation, down there at 100, is something that’s sought after?

I don’t freakin’ care that Greeks “work more hours” than Germans do – when it comes to work, it’s not a question of “quantity,” it’s a question of “quality,” and it sure seems like Greece has missed the boat on just what KIND of work they should be turning out. Ruling others is not something that’s either productive, nor grounds to be a sought after job to be proud of.

And that’s speaking as someone who has exactly that kind of job (as one of several).

Thinking about: The little monsters

There’s a wonderful post over at the HuffPo that asks the question about just WTF is wrong with parent/child relationships these days.

The writer, who sounds a lot like my mom used to, has essentially rediscovered the “permissive parenting” that rears its head again and again through the years. The idea that somehow children should be reasoned with, not disciplined, and that treating them as “my best friend” is somehow a way to raise mature and responsible adults.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that it can absolutely suck to discipline your child for doing something stupid or dangerous, particularly if it was the same sort of stupid or dangerous thing that YOU lived through when younger. Some parents simply rationalize – “Well, the marijuana now is stronger, so I don’t want my kids doing what I thought was fine” – their discipline, some choose not to – “I hated it, so I don’t want my child to hate it” – discipline, and some just recognize that bringing up children who are respectful of others’ rights is just part of the job they took on when parenting.

Or raise children who are NOT respectful of others’ rights, and watch our crime and tax rates soar as the “I can do what I want, at no cost to me!” generation ages.

Thinking about: Counterinsurgency

I’m sure I don’t agree with many of the objectives of the Occupy Whatever movement, and certainly have issues with some of their hangers-on. That being said, Chris Hedges hits one out of the park in describing how the State operates against any groups with which it has disagreement. It is interesting that in a field where it is ideas that are being contested, you do not see much in the way of actual addressing of the issues by The Powers That Be, but rather that discrediting – or flat out shooting – the messenger is the tactic of choice.

Once the State is so confident in its power and position that it does not feel any need to justify its existence, can The End be all that far behind? Students of history who paid attention to the USSWere can answer that question…

Got popcorn?

Thinking about: Collapse

Orlov updated his Five Stages Of Collapse last year in November or so. Good reading, well worth a re-read these days.

The only real quibble is his suggestion that the “market” provides anything. The problem with most languages, as H. Beam Piper once observed, is that they generally condition people to believe that everything is an action caused by an actor. It apparently takes training to understand that some things, some words, are just descriptions of processes. Such is the case with the word “market” and the disingenuous phrase “the market provides.” The market doesn’t provide anything – the market is simply a description of the multitudinous economic interactions between individual human beings. People buying, selling, and trading … THAT is “the market.” So rephrasing Orlov’s “Faith that ‘the market shall provide’ is lost.” to the clumsier – but more accurate – “Faith that people can no longer be trusted to buy, sell, or trade” yields a better reading of Stage 2.

He’s right, though, the governments (another disingenuous and misleading word – “government” is a process, not a thing) of the world with their “extend and pretend” methodology for kicking the can down the road while hoovering every last bit of wealth possible from the Disfavored have managed to keep Duh Voters from noticing we’ve been in Stage 1 for quite some time now. Of course, the bread and circuses that fill the airwaves don’t hurt, either, when it comes to distracting Duh Voters and keeping them disinterested and unaware of their own ignorance in regard to Orlov’s Elevator To The Basement…

Got popcorn?

Thinking about: People’s Direction

I’ve always liked the book “The Lonely Crowd,” ever since a sociology professor of mine told me I was the most inner directed person he’d ever met. He sent me off with a “where to find further discussion on the term” direction, and it was one of those “that makes sense!” moments in life.

Well, the book is apparently on David Brooks’ reading list as well:

The Crowd Pleaser.

The problem, though, is that “inner directed” is not, by itself, a virtue – Hitler and Stalin were “inner directed,” I’m sure. If your inner compass points in a direction of socialism and authoritarianism, if your principles tell you that other humans need to be sent to death camps if they do not follow your will, you’re still a hairball (albeit an inner directed one). One can argue which is the greater evil, of course, the guy who joins the firing squad because Those People need to die, or the guy who joins the firing squad because he has no principles except “service to power,” but that’s a different essay.

I’d agree with Mr. Brooks that Obama is likely more inner directed – but when you look at how confused and muddled he gets when he’s “off script,” it strongly suggests that his inner compass points straight to Hell for most libertarians. He’s muddled because he knows he can’t flat out SAY what he believes, but he’s not good at sugar-coating the necessary circumlocutions on the fly, and the majority of Americans – even if not necessarily libertarians – would not be pleased with a flat-out authoritarian socialist regime here.

Got popcorn?

Thinking about: Authoritarian followers

I wish I could write half as coherently and thoughtfully as Glenn Greenwald does when he’s discussing issues. Quoting from his previous thoughts on the topic:

Whether one is a “liberal” — or, for that matter, a “conservative” — is now no longer a function of one’s actual political views, but is a function purely of one’s personal loyalty to George Bush. . . .

People who self-identify as “conservatives” and have always been considered to be conservatives become liberal heathens the moment they dissent, even on the most non-ideological grounds, from a Bush decree. That’s because “conservatism” is now a term used to describe personal loyalty to the leader (just as “liberal” is used to describe disloyalty to that leader), and no longer refers to a set of beliefs about government.

That “conservatism” has come to mean “loyalty to George Bush” is particularly ironic given how truly un-conservative the Administration is. . . . And in that regard, people like Michelle Malkin, John Hinderaker, Jonah Goldberg and Hugh Hewitt are not conservatives. They are authoritarian cultists. Their allegiance is not to any principles of government but to strong authority through a single leader.

As I’ve said for years, there’s really no difference between them, other than which particular authoritarian policies they wish to inflict on Duh Voters.

Thining about: Money, again

Economists and governments like to make money seem complicated, so that they can pretend that Duh Voters can’t possibly understand what it’s all about. But money is really nothing more than a social convention, a store of wealth accepted by a group, as discussed here.

Cigarettes in POW camps, the “mack” in prisons today, feathers, shells, pretty pebbles – as long as the parties exchanging agree on the value, that’s all there is to it. It really isn’t anything more than a convenient form of barter, as anyone who’s tried to fold a Holstein to fit into a wallet can testify to. And like any other good, if there’s more of it than there is demand, people asked to trade for it will require more to make the exchange – see further examples at “inflation.”