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Ron Paul Hysteria

2012 January 3
by Ian Welsh

So, I’m noticing a ton of attacks on Ron Paul from progressives.  The reason is simple enough, Ron Paul is great on some key things the left cares about, and horrible on others.  His last ad in Iowa says he’d ban abortion, for example.  On the other hand, he wants to withdraw all troops from foreign wars and bring back the troops from America’s far flung military bases.  And he’s the only candidate to unequivocally state that he would never order the assassination of Americans.

Paul’s economic policies are straight up insane, and would throw the world into a full catastrophic Great Depression, even worse than the one we’re in now and worse than the one in the 30s.

But the problem is that current policies by more “mainstream” candidates just get to the same place more slowly.  And maybe not even that much more slowly.  Numerian thinks this could be the year of the big crash, for example, one where even the first world has food shortages and so on.

We’re going to get there.  There is a consensus for austerity amongst the transnational developed world elites which is breathtaking in its unanimity, imperviousness to argument and lack of regard for democratic niceties.  There is no consensus on how to deal with the oil bottleneck, no plan for actually dealing with the leveraged debt overhang, no understanding of how to create real growth, as opposed to bubbles.  If they do manage to hang on, what will happen is a huge non-conventional oil boom (read Fracking) and that will devastate ground water and turn large areas into wastelands.  Nor will it last all that long or feel all that good (it’ll be better than now, but probably not even as good as the best Bush years.)

After that I see no scenario in which things don’t crack up, completely.

So Ron Paul will cause a crack up, possibly a little bit ahead of schedule.  That sucks for old people who might have died before the world went to hell, but for young people, you might as well get it done.

But Ron Paul also might do some real damage to the military industrial complex.  There is no route forward for the US which does not require taking that misallocated effort, and using it for other things.  So this is necessary.

Also the movement of manufacturing and other expertise overseas means that the US labor force is a wasting asset.  The longer the decline goes on the fewer people there will be with the skills to bootstrap back up, the less of an industrial base other than defense there will be, and so on.  Infrastructure will be more degraded, not less, and so on.  So from that point of view, cracking up sooner, rather than later, is preferable because it leaves a clearer path to the future.

But let’s move back to the title.  The reason Ron Paul causes hysterics is he pits interest group against interest group, morality vs. morality. He’s a different kind of lesser evil.  If Afghans got to vote in the US election, who would they vote for?  How important is Habeas Corpus to you really?  What about pot legalization?  Etc…  Ron Paul is awful on some issues, and very good on others.  Are abortion rights more important than dead Afghans and Pakistanis at weddings?  (I don’t claim they are, or aren’t, I simply note Paul forces you to make that choice.)  And Paul would end all bank bailouts.  Hate the banksters?  Think they’re the key problem?  Paul’s your man.

Obama is objectively awful.  Paul is objectively awful.  But unlike Romney, Paul is objectively awful in different ways than Obama.  Romney would just be Obama, but slightly worse.  If you’re going to choose a lesser evil, you might as well choose Obama.  But when it comes to Paul vs. Obama the equation changes.

And that’s why many progressives are attacking any other progressive who says anything good about Paul, because Paul threatens to split the left, and because Paul makes progressives decide what they value most.

170 Responses
  1. LorenzoStDuBois permalink
    January 3, 2012

    Paul is great if only for the way he makes our liberal class show their true colors, in that as he gains a bit of momentum, they are forced to move against him. He’ll be smacked down, of course, but by making them smack him down it’s a positive in and of itself.

    And if an anti-authoritarian, anti-police state, anti-war candidate draws a big following, less right-wing candidates, guys who I might enthusiastically support, will seek to get in and siphon off some of his support.

    Also, unlike all the other guys, according to insiders, the transactional politics that pervades our capital is uniquely absent in his hill office. That in and of itself is something.

    To me he’s a win-win-win.

  2. LorenzoStDuBois permalink
    January 3, 2012

    Also, Ian, I think enough has happened since your last Nostradamus post for you to make another set of predictions. I’m starting to get impatient….

  3. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 3, 2012

    I think the outlines are pretty obvious. The timing is less so, to me. Still thinking on it. Part of the problem is that one of the key areas is China.

  4. private citizen permalink
    January 3, 2012

    Yes, let’s call our political advisories “insane.” In fact, we might just institutionalize them as the Soviets did back in the day. Anyone must be insane to disagree with you.

    Let’s sling unsupported claims like, “Paul’s economic policies will cause worse-than Great Depression.” No. The fact is we are on the power-climb end of an exponential debt curve, with $trillion+ deficits as far as the eye can see. The worst is eminent without drastic action.

    Tax our way out of the mess? Confiscating bill Gates’ entire fortune would only feed the deficit (much the $16 trillion debt or the $60 trillion unfunded liabilities) for about 5 days. How many Bill Gates must we eat to fund 365 days, just to balance the budget once?

    Okay, keep living in a Keynesian Socialist dreamland and pretend the debit will never bite.

    Let’s instead trumpet our single-issue moral superiority over those insane “pro-lifers.” If you object to abortion 5 minutes before a baby would be naturally born, then you have your own “pro-life” drawn somewhere. Do you really know when life begins?? If you are wrong, then 50 million killings since 1970 are on your conscience.

    Disagree with Paul, but admit that his stand is every bit as principled and consistent as yours.

  5. Cloud permalink
    January 3, 2012

    At this point, a fracking and shale oil boom/bubble worries me more than anything.

    There is no question that industrial civilization cannot survive indefinitely. The biosphere cannot physically support it. The question is how much devastation it will work in its attempt to keep the good times rolling.

  6. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 3, 2012

    It’s all just Kabuki Theater at this point, and piss poor Kabuki, at that. Do you really think that someone who holds some of the views Ron Paul holds would actually be allowed to determine the destinies of some of the most powerful people the planet has ever witnessed? Seriously? Come on, this is insane. You’re not going to elect your way out of this. There’s only one way out, if you want out, aside from suicide. We all know what it is, and its likelihood is improbable as witnessed by people still believing they’re somehow represented in elections.

    I’m not lending legitimacy to this charade. I hardly follow it anymore, except for occasional amusement. Some people never stop believing in Santa….they just replace him with their favorite candidate when they reach a certain age.

    None of that is aimed at you, per se, Ian, but rather at the spectacle itself and how everyone gets caught up in it.

  7. Jeff Wegerson permalink
    January 3, 2012

    So if Paul is against the drug war, I wonder how would he approach a significant black market in abortion drugs?

  8. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 3, 2012

    There’s that….meaning what I just mentioned, but as a causal observer who believes as Ian does, that the “thing” is coming, one way, or another, there’s this……because…..well, because it’s interesting, that’s why.

    Hmmmm….this is weird, the AFM, an organization I didn’t even know existed, is endorsing Ron Paul. Of course, the site could be an extremely dry joke, in fact, I wouldn’t doubt it, but hell, if it’s not, it supports my contention that in this time of the Singularity, satire, and the reality from which it is derived, are now indistinguishable and seemingly one and the same. The convergence is complete. Hanna-Barbera is now non-fiction.

    http://www.americanfascistmovement.com/news.html

    The Paul bus is an interesting one. You never know who might be sitting next to you. It’s a Magic Bus that’s drafting the Crazy Train.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl9bvuAV-Ao

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MLp7YNTznE

  9. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 3, 2012

    Paul isn’t going to be the nominee, no. But what is interesting about him is what he reveals about other people.

  10. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 3, 2012

    I agree, Ian. For Obama supporters to pillory Paul is the height of hypocrisy….well, the current height. I think their hypocrisy can go much much higher, though, and will. I think what they’re doing is called projection.

  11. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 3, 2012

    It’s always good to have someone like PC come along.

    Grow the economy, increase tax rates, go to single payor and cut the military. There’s most of your deficit, and you don’t want the government in surplus anyway. (I’d say deficits should run about 5% of GDP, consistently.)

    You can’t slash your way out of the current problem. You have to grow out of it. Austerity will just make it worse. People who think that kitchen counter economics apply to national economics are, at best, deeply and dangerously misinformed.

    Getting rid of the central bank and slashing the government to the extent Ron Paul wants to will cause an economic apocalypse. It’s not going to happen because he isn’t going to be President and if President wouldn’t be allowed to, but it would be apocalyptic if he somehow managed it.

    I don’t hate Paul. I won’t endorse him if he’s the Pub candidate, but I wouldn’t be more bothered by his victory than I would be by Obama’s.

  12. tBoy permalink
    January 3, 2012

    If Paul somehow got elected inauguration would take place near a grassy knoll.

    BTW Ian – you nailed it on this one.

  13. Gtash permalink
    January 3, 2012

    By the way Ian, what did you think of Numerian’s piece?

  14. Bolo permalink
    January 3, 2012

    Grow the economy, increase tax rates, go to single payor and cut the military. There’s most of your deficit, and you don’t want the government in surplus anyway. (I’d say deficits should run about 5% of GDP, consistently.)

    You can’t slash your way out of the current problem. You have to grow out of it. Austerity will just make it worse. People who think that kitchen counter economics apply to national economics are, at best, deeply and dangerously misinformed.

    Getting rid of the central bank and slashing the government to the extent Ron Paul wants to will cause an economic apocalypse. It’s not going to happen because he isn’t going to be President and if President wouldn’t be allowed to, but it would be apocalyptic if he somehow managed it.

    It’s difficult to express how much I agree with you on this.

    It’s amazing that almost no one else I either personally know or read online understands it either–and that’s why you’re probably right that we’re going to face a catastrophe. Almost everyone wants to avoid a crash, but we’re not doing anything to stop it. Instead we’re gunning right for it thinking its actually a recovery and a return to normalcy.

  15. Kyle Michel Sullivan permalink
    January 3, 2012

    You have got to be joking, Ian. Ron Paul believes in letting states like Texas make gay relationships illegal, force you to obey a particular version of the Christian religion, decide that women will bear the children of their fathers and/or rapists, and refuse Latino and black citizens the right to vote. And you think breaking up the military/industrial complex outweighs that? Seriously? I don’t have to decide whether dead Afghans are more or less valuable than aborted fetuses. The slaughter of innocent civilians is horrific, but us just upping and leaving Iraq hasn’t stopped that. It’s only gotten worse in the last few weeks. All Ron Paul will do is destroy this country, and to call me a hypocrite because I think he’s a lying snake who doesn’t even begin to honestly believe in his so-called Libertarian utopia just shows you haven’t the slightest idea of what the damned word means. I despise Ron Paul because he is diseased, disgusting, depraved and indifferent to the suffering he would happily cause. And how much I despise the military-industrial complex or the illegal wars we’re fighting or the manner in which we’ve allowed the rich to loot the treasury has nothing to do with it. Obama may be a two-faced version of a rich man’s lapdog, but at least he can be made to do something for the poor, albeit not much. Ron Paul’s philosophy would be, “Let them eat grass.” How would starvation be any more desirable than bombs in the marketplace of Baghdad?

    You missed it on this one, Ian. Granted, you admit Ron Paul would be a disaster, but at least the ass-kissing of the GOP by Obama will give the American public time to go around the stink in Washington and force at least enough change to matter on those who’d spit on us. The Supreme Court of Montana ruling that corporations may not spend excessive amounts of money in an election isn’t even the first salvo in this new civil war. OWS confronting the Iowa caucuses isn’t even the tenth salvo. Change will come if progressives are given enough time and half a chance, but not if Ron Paul is anywhere near the White House. He’ll crush it and set us back to the dark ages. That you even begin to think this is acceptable is breathtaking.

  16. January 3, 2012

    The problem is that the issues that some people consider to be secondary issues aren’t abstract to some other people, and these are issues on which, despite various capitulations, the Democrats and the Republicans actually *are* still different. Here’s a post by Echidne of the Snakes which is a sort counterpoint to Ian’s post.

    Who gets thrown under the bus first?

    Obama vs. Paul is highly unlikely to be in the cards. But preferring Obama to Paul reveals much less than you seem to be inferring, Ian.

  17. LaughingCat permalink
    January 3, 2012

    @Kyle Sullivvan

    He didn’t miss this one, and you’re being overly hysterical, like most Ron Paul detractors. Would he be disaster economic wise? Yup.

    “I despise Ron Paul because he is diseased, disgusting, depraved and indifferent to the suffering he would happily cause.” LOL, right here, you’ve crossed a line. Diseased? Indifferent to the suffering he would happily cause? You think FUCKING BUSH OR OBAMA GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE SUFFERING THEY CAUSE?”

    It really is as simple as Ian described it. Ron Paul makes you uncomfortable because he offers you civil liberties the way it should be, he offers an end to wars including the war on drugs, an end to the death penalty, and the federal reserve. It really is a choice between values, and you know it.

    (Ian – edited out the worst ad-homs. My apologies to LC, but I believe the argument has been retained.)

  18. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 3, 2012

    The question is what issues you consider secondary. Blowing brown people into a fine red mist is secondary to many people, and not to others.

    But perhaps instead the issue is this: Ron Paul makes you decide between priorities which aren’t secondary. Blowing brown people into a fine red mist is bad. Losing abortion rights is bad. The federal war on drugs is bad. (Yes, he won’t force the states to legalize marijuana, but without the Feds breathing down their necks and massively funding it, there will be a huge difference).

  19. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 3, 2012

    Kyle: progressives aren’t going to get change before the collapse. Sorry, that ship has sailed, it’s done. Modern progressivism failed.

  20. beowulf permalink
    January 4, 2012

    One point in Ron Paul’s favor is that the things he wants to do that are damn crazy (fiscal policy, going back to gold standard) can’t be done without both houses of Congress approving, while the things he wants to do that are damn sensible (nonintervention foreign policy, ending the policy of assassinating Americans) can indeed be done unilaterally by executive order of the President.

  21. Slayer permalink
    January 4, 2012

    Ron Paul regularly gets endorsements from most of the white supremacist groups. He also has in the past refused to return money donated to him by neo-nazi’s. You can easily find pictures of him with the stormfront founders.

    In 2007 Bill White the head of the american nazi party, came out and claimed that he and other leaders of the white supremacist movement met regularly with Ron Paul at the Tara Thai restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. What is interesting to me is that Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, shows disbursements to the Tara Thai restaurant.

    See: http://tinyurl.com/yqwxnr

  22. January 4, 2012

    But perhaps instead the issue is this: Ron Paul makes you decide between priorities which aren’t secondary. Blowing brown people into a fine red mist is bad. Losing abortion rights is bad. The federal war on drugs is bad.

    But more importantly, and hopefully, it makes us think about why there is a dichotomy here, since there’s no prima facie reason why we should have to choose between abortion rights and anti-war, for example.

  23. January 4, 2012

    I find the idea of a white supremacist meeting at a mid-price Thai restaurant good for at least a little bit of an ironic chuckle, especially since Tara Thai is not bad—they had reasonably good taste.

  24. January 4, 2012

    Paul won’t split the left. If anything, he will send “moderate” conservatives over to vote for Obama, just like they did last time around when faced with the prospect of Hillary or McCain. The “split” you are talking about is some meaningless anxiety and a little bit of name calling (which reminds me of the “puma” insults). I *will* vote for Paul in the Republican primaries. Nothing wrong with that. And I just might vote for him or *waste* my vote on a write in for the general election (which I know very few liberals will do, and I’ll get slammed for it, but really if everyone who is dissatisfied with Obama did the same, it will not counteract the effect of conservatives reluctantly voting for Obama. So unbunch your panties, folks).

  25. M.InTheCity permalink
    January 4, 2012

    Something I noted to my husband a couple of days ago about Paul – whilst Paul is obviously a white supremacist, he would have less racist policies than our current President who is black. And by less racist, I mean end of the imperial wars and end of the war on drugs. That’s a lot less dead or imprisoned brown and black people right there. Obama actively suports racist imperial and domestic policies. Can someone please name big policy change that will help black people that Obama has actively backed? And this hysteria over states instituting racist policies again. As if they don’t have racist policies now (just dressed up to be all soothing to middle class whites)!

    And all Paul’s economic polices really do just move the end date up. Yes, he wants to end Social Security – so does Obama! He’s the one with the Catfood Commission, after all. Domestically it’s the difference between slowly being boiled to death (Obama) or just getting shot in the head (Paul). I prefer my chances with Paul, as people survive getting shot in the head…

  26. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 4, 2012

    But perhaps instead the issue is this: Ron Paul makes you decide between priorities which aren’t secondary.

    Ron Paul is a message, in my opinion, and he may not even realize it. The message is rather clear and transparent, and it’s intended for a small audience that is by no means a majority. The message is if that’s what you want, this is what you’ll get. In otherwords, you can not have your cake and eat it, too. The message is that one way, or another, we’re going to metaphorically sodomize you. The message is that you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave. The message is “let’s see what you’ve got…because we believe you’ve got nothing, and you’re going to keep on taking what we dish out straight up.”

  27. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 4, 2012

    The message is;

    ________________

    That sums it up pretty well, IMO…

  28. Mike permalink
    January 4, 2012

    If what you say is true, then isn’t Gary Johnson the perfect candidate? He is as fiscally conservative as they get, without all that crazy social conservativism.

  29. tom allen permalink
    January 4, 2012

    What about Stewart Alexander (Socialist Party USA)? Don’t know much about him yet, but on first inspection, he looks decent.

  30. Jean Paul Marat permalink
    January 4, 2012

    Sharpen the blades, erect the scaffolds; too many debts, too few assets and all pledged in perpetuity with a growing hungry population.

  31. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 4, 2012

    The problem with growing yourself out of this economic decline is that unlimited growth is no longer possible. I agree that it’s the answer to the problem considering the current operating System…..meaning this System is predicated upon growth….it cannot exist without it. However, whereas there may be starts and stops on this path of decline, meaning there may be some periods of growth, overall, it will be retraction from here on out until a sustainable equilibrium is reached. That’s being optimistic, though. It unjustifiably precludes a sudden and catastrophic collapse which will look very much like a cliff on that growth graph, and I don’t believe such an outcome is implausible, and in fact, as each day passes, appears more and more likely.

    Mike, the reason we haven’t heard about Gary Johnson, and instead have been offered Ron Paul, meaning he’s getting the press and coverage that Johnson’s not, serves to further support my point that there is a message involved.

  32. Nancy Perkinson permalink
    January 4, 2012

    just what i feel

  33. beowulf permalink
    January 4, 2012

    More points in Paul’s favor:
    1. He opposes free trade agreements (along with his stalwart ally Walter Jones R-NC)
    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/12/09/ron-paul-walter-jones-write-letter-opposing-obamas-nafta-style-korea-free-trade-deal/

    2. He sponsored a bill with Alan Grayson that would have cut off Afghanistan war funding and used it to cut taxes from the bottom up (the $150B in unspent war funding would be used to fund exempting the first $35k/$70k of individual/family earnings from the income tax)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-alan-grayson/the-war-is-making-you-poo_b_585343.html

    3. His healthcare reform bill was damn clever. Of course his “private option” plan called for HSA accounts and private insurance, but all healthcare expenses (including HSA contributions) would be given a 100% tax credit against income and FICA taxes. Now surely more would have to be done for the chronically ill who don’t qualify for coverage and those at lower incomes (namely, making the tax credit refundable). However, since one huge hurdle to a Medicare for All system is financing (unlike war spending, healthcare spending is expected to be “paid for”), a system that puts healthcare expenses onto general revenue (in this case by a 100% tax credit) would be bigger step towards a single payer plan than anything Obama has done. Once the principle is established that the govt is the single payer of healthcare, then the debate shifts to the most cost-effective means to achieve it.
    http://www.ronpaul.com/2010-05-27/ron-paul-introduces-the-private-option-health-care-act/

    Not saying I’d vote for Paul (I would vote for Romney) but as the British used to say, he’s certainly a man of parts.

  34. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 4, 2012

    In these trying times that are fast approaching, it’s important to know what we are and what has shaped us, collectively. The following is an interesting read, and an interesting historical take. What of all those abandoned daycare babies wet-nursed on cold and impersonal electronic gadgetry? When the time comes, will the necessary empathy be available, or will there be a withdrawal and isolation of the self. It’s thought provoking, to say the least.

    http://www.psychohistory.com/originsofwar/06_childhoodOrigins.html

  35. Bolo permalink
    January 4, 2012

    I agree that it’s the answer to the problem considering the current operating System…..meaning this System is predicated upon growth….it cannot exist without it. However, whereas there may be starts and stops on this path of decline, meaning there may be some periods of growth, overall, it will be retraction from here on out until a sustainable equilibrium is reached.

    I’m going to attack this argument, but I’m not sure if I’m being entirely fair in what I’m about to say–a lot of my argument depends on how you define “growth” and “sustainable.” Those words often cover very divergent ideas.

    Sustainable equilibria do not exist in human society beyond perhaps a few hundred years, and its arguable whether they last even that long–there are multiple, small to moderate system shifts within the larger trajectories of human civilizations. The system is always shifting, always moving, always out of equilibrium, even (especially) in the long run. That’s why we need to work to constantly build, re-build, repair, innovate, etc. Any given period of human history is only stable and sustainable given certain underlying conditions are met–generally concerning energy, food, and political and climatic stability.

    If the current global society collapses, I don’t think we will have reached some stable, sustainable equilibrium. If it slowly deflates, we also won’t have reached a sustainable equilibrium–because what is “sustainable” changes over time due to both human activity and climatic changes. There is no sustainable equilibrium, there is only a succession of different equilibria over time that are better or worse for overall human welfare.

    Look at the pattern of past ice ages. Its a cyclical pattern–a limit cycle–that the Earth system slipped into a couple million years ago. The onset of each ice age sees a dramatic reduction in the amount of biological mass on the planet, since the climate cools so much and ice covers more of the Earth’s surface. What is “sustainable” changes during these events. Even if we could enter some form of equilibrium with the surrounding biosphere, it would eventually change on us. We live on an indifferent planet in an indifferent universe. We will never settle into a sustainable, stable pattern. There will always be impulses both from the outside environment and from within our societies that will push us onto other trajectories.

  36. January 4, 2012

    Wow, Morocco, that’s a fascinating link. It will also give me nightmares.

    @Bolo – I think MB was referring to the specific idea of economic expansion, which has relied heavily on the injection of cheap and abundant energy in modern times. Those days are clearly numbered. Perhaps “equilibrium” was merely a poor choice of words.

  37. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 4, 2012

    You’re right, Petro, it was a poor use of words. I will expand on it in a post this evening. I agree with you bolo about sustainable steady state and equilibrium being incompatible partners.

  38. January 4, 2012

    Meh, Ron Paul. He ‘s just the latest shiny object in the usual tired dance. On some things I agree with him and on some others not but, at the end of the day, he’s been a Repub. Congressman from Texas for what, 25 years? and I’m supposed to think he’s going to change things? Nah……

  39. wjbill49 permalink
    January 4, 2012

    Disregarding the rights of women (even those in Afghanistan) does not justify a benign nod to Ron Paul being “ok”. Ditto for the disregard for his opinion on people of color. I see this laziness at the Progressive Populist also …… trading away rights for this or that because the ends justify the means is the wrong approach to democracy.

  40. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 4, 2012

    You just lost your habeas corpus rights.

    there is no “keep all your rights” choice. That’s not on the menu.

  41. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 4, 2012

    Morocco Bama PERMALINK
    January 4, 2012
    _______________

    My god! What a disturbing/fascinating/frightening read that was. All new to me; thanks, I think…

  42. January 5, 2012

    so yeah, it sounds like we’re going in the soup pot (or whatever–see also http://www.viruscomix.com/page435.html) a little sooner with Paul. that’s time i’d rather spend not in it.

  43. January 5, 2012

    And I just might vote for him or *waste* my vote on a write in for the general election (which I know very few liberals will do, and I’ll get slammed for it, but really if everyone who is dissatisfied with Obama did the same, it will not counteract the effect of conservatives reluctantly voting for Obama. So unbunch your panties, folks).

    guest, I’m also going to write in a candidate. I was going to write in my cat Bennie, but lately I’ve been reconsidering. I think I’ll write in Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders. Or maybe Alan Grayson.

  44. groo permalink
    January 5, 2012

    Morocco Bama & Celsius

    I started to read into this Lloyd deMause-chapter.
    Embarrassing.
    And sounding profoundly wrong to me in its assessment.
    As a Southern German I hopefully am a bit nearer to the action.

    This is a highly contended issue. (see Philipe Aries contra DeMause)
    I am basically very sympathetic to the psychohistorian approach, but one has to get it right.

    See eg Pestalozzi around 1800 on child-rearing.
    There are even earlier Southern-German thinkers/educators on proper child-rearing, going back at least to Paracelsus in the early 1500s.

    An antidote maybe Dickens
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Child%27s_History_of_England

    And isn’t it the US-Evangelicals today who propagate child-beating as an act of -ahem- ‘christian love’?
    Around my place those brutes would find themselves isolated or even in jail. Definitely in Sweden and Northern Europe in general.


    Next a rant on Rand Paul and Libertarians, with some strange connections I make.

  45. groo permalink
    January 5, 2012

    2nd

    Libertarians and their inner contradictions on child-rearing.

    here I simply cite the good mtraven on libertarianism and childrearing:
    http://libertardian.posterous.com/licensed-to-procreate

    here are mtraven’s rants on libertarianism in general.
    http://omniorthogonal.blogspot.com/search/label/libertarianism

    The take-home-message is, that libertarianism is a defunct mode of organizing a society, and Rand Paul is no exception.

    He is a block-head (maybe the term is wrong, but anyhow) with a dangerous disorder.
    He splits, like an axe, progressive sensible thinking.
    Take one side, give one side.

    And this is truly dangerous!

  46. January 5, 2012

    MB, I checked out that American Fascist Movement link. Do you think it’s for real? Hard to tell. I mean, I know there are neo-Nazis, neo-Fascists, etc. in the U.S. A group of them even adopted a highway in Delaware:
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/11/delaware-oks-neo-nazi-group-in-adopt-a-highway-program/1

    But I’m wondering if that particular website was set up to discredit Ron Paul? They link to him left and right, and his picture is splattered all over the place. I don’t know.

  47. groo permalink
    January 5, 2012

    3rd and last.

    (This is only insofar an issue for me, as I feel challenged by that as an involuntarily involved global citizen, ok?)

    Imagine that RP, unlike the Messiah of phony ‘Change’, Obama, who sounded like an agent of universal change for the ‘Positive’, comes up with another message:

    You get
    –Demilitarisation
    –Abolishment of the FED
    …other goodies
    BUT
    You have to take
    –responsibility for yourself (whatever that means)
    –no big solutions. Take care for yourself.
    –etc

    ———
    NOW:
    In case he is elected,
    You ONLY get the bitter parts, and NONE of the sweet ones.

    US-progressives seem to assume that they get the sweet ones, but only have to swallow some of the bitter ones as a compensation.

    This is the deal.

    Juast imagine:
    What sweet deals would pass Congress/Senate?
    What bitter deals?

    You guess!

    Idiots never learn.

    Thats why they are so good business partners.

  48. groo permalink
    January 5, 2012

    Lisa,
    not sure that I understand You correctly


    McBride, 24, and his wife, Katelyn McManus, 23, are the group’s ONLY members in Sussex County, but BELIEVE they have 45 members statewide. After McBride’s bids were turned down, McManus applied for the “Freedom Party” designation using their same address, the newspaper says.
    … (emphasis mine)

    So why is it reported?

    Those are nuts, amplified by the medial echo chamber.
    Right?

    Which poses the question: “What is important?”

  49. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 5, 2012

    To continue my response to Bolo, and after an evening and partial morning of consideration, I don’t think sustainable equilibrium is a poor choice of words, it’s just wasn’t the ideal choice to make my point. This isn’t to disagree with you, bolo, because I agree that equilibriums are tentative, fleeting and ever-changing, but some equilibriums have longer time frames of relative steady state than others. Take our atmosphere, for example. Yes, over the history of planet earth, the atmosphere has had many equilibriums, meaning identifiable default ranges of an aggregation of various elements. Yes, these default ranges have changed over time to what is now the default range that supports life, and more importantly, complex life. We, us humans, and many other species and organisms, need the atmosphere to maintain this default range, within its tolerable limits, for us to continue to thrive and propagate. Once that changes, we either evolve, or perish, but as we have seen, that can change rather quickly, and in all likelihood, much too quickly for most organisms, especially the more complex ones, to evolve in time to survive in the new default range. Pursuant to that, it’s important to note that there are studies out there that are showing that the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere is in decline. There is disagreement about the rate of decline, and the amount of decline thus far, but the trending is fairly indisputable. It’s also strongly suggested that the activities of industrial man have created this trend. Therefore, the growth of our economy, which requires the transformation of finite raw materials, using finite, polluting energy sources to power that transformation, cannot be indefinite, not only because of finite resource restrictions, but also because it threatens to alter the default range equilibrium of the biosphere that allows life, and complex life, to survive and thrive. Of course, even without human precipitated altering of the current default equilbrium, other factors outside of human control, will eventually preside and alter it, so we know that unless we evolve into something less vulnerable, something not so biologically fragile (see the documentary Technocalyps), our species will eventually go extinct. When and how is a matter of conjecture. But, such an eventuality shouldn’t serve as an excuse to continue to foul our nest by saying “oh well, our time here on earth as a species has been relatively short and will be relatively short in comparison to earth’s history, so don’t sweat it.” That’s sophistry.

    All that being said, and I’m sure there will be disagreement with it, I provide this link that shows the absurdity of growth…..even limited growth, and this individual was being optimistic in their portrayal.

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/07/galactic-scale-energy/

  50. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 5, 2012

    But I’m wondering if that particular website was set up to discredit Ron Paul? They link to him left and right, and his picture is splattered all over the place. I don’t know.

    Yes, I think that is a strong possibility, and that’s why I presented it with the caveat. However, there is some credence to the fact that he does attract racist bigots. I hate linking to anything that uses the NYT as a source, but I also can’t throw out the babies in otherwise soiled bathwater….unlike those German and Austrian mothers (:-) sorry, Groo, I couldn’t help it.). So, there’s this, of which you are probably already aware.

    I can’t speak for this blog, because I just ran across it, so I’m not sure if it has an agenda. It does, I’m sure, as most blogs do have one, but nonetheless, it raises some interesting points…namely who and what makes up Ron Paul’s support, or at least part of that support.

    http://www.dialoginternational.com/dialog_international/2011/12/ron-paul-and-the-neo-fascists.html

    But the editors of eigentümlich frei fail to point out who many of these enthusiastic supporters for Ron Paul really are. The New York Times published an excellent article on support for the Paul campaign from white supremacist groups in the US who were enthusiastic subscribers to Ron Paul’s racist newsletters in the 1990s.

    The TImes piece, however, is incomplete in that it fails to explore Ron Paul’s contacts with prominent neo-fascist groups both in the US and abroad. For example, in November of this year Ron Paul met with Marine LePen, leader of the French neo-fascist Front National (FN) and a serious opponent of Sarkozy. In Germany, the völkisch-national weekly Junge Freiheit has written extensively – and admiringly – about Ron Paul as the father of the Tea Party movement, which the editors Junge Freiheit would love to replicate in Germany as the vanguard of a neo-fascist movement. A reporter for Junge Freiheit – Kristof Berking – even traveled to the US to attend a Ron Paul “Rally for the Republic”. Berking has compiled a useful “Internet Guide the Ron Paul Revolution” and also writes about Paul for eigentümlich frei – demonstrating the close links between libertarianism and neo-fascism. Junge Freiheit’s American Cousin – the “intellectual” white supremacist site Alternative Right has written approvingly of Ron Paul’s racist newsletters and the site’s senior editor – Professor Paul Gottfried – has endorsed Ron Paul.

    The NYTimes piece points out that Ron Paul was heavily influenced by the Libertarian thinker Murray Rothbard, who tried to build a Libertarian political movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Rothbard’s most famous disciple is the German-born Libertarian anarcho-fascist thinker Hans Hermann Hoppe (also, incidentally, a contributor to Junge Freiheit) who, in his 2001 book Democracy: The God That Failed advocates a new feudalism centered on a cult of private property where enemies of the “natural order” – Gays, Lesbians, Democrats, etc. – would be forcibly expelled or detained:

    “There can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They-the advocates of alternative, non-family-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism-will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.” -Hans Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God That Failed

    Now, I have to say that I find it hard to swallow that the New York Times could possibly produce an excellent piece. Obviously, the NYT wants to smear Paul, and we know the reasons why, but that doesn’t necessarily give Paul a clean bill of health.

  51. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 5, 2012

    guest, I’m also going to write in a candidate.

    Same here….and I’m going a step further. I have the adoption papers already prepared.

    Those in power don’t have to justify anything at this point. With a population so critically dumbed down and their collective heads so far up their i-asses, you could put this in the chair, and the course would be exactly the same. In fact, that’s what I think I will do. I will adopt an eggplant and vote for it. I think that sends an even better message. It says to those in power, “shove it up your asses, ya jerks, we’re not playing your little game anymore.” And then, make some baba ghannouj.

  52. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 5, 2012

    NOW:
    In case he is elected,
    You ONLY get the bitter parts, and NONE of the sweet ones.

    US-progressives seem to assume that they get the sweet ones, but only have to swallow some of the bitter ones as a compensation.

    This is the deal.

    Juast imagine:
    What sweet deals would pass Congress/Senate?
    What bitter deals?

    You guess!

    Idiots never learn.

    Thats why they are so good business partners.

    Three thumbs up for that one, Groo. It’s so Groo….errr, I mean troo.

  53. January 5, 2012

    MB,

    I admit I only skimmed that essay you linked called “The Childhood Origins of World War II and the Holocaust.” Too much else to do today. But it raises some red flags for me. I think it’s too easy to attribute the rise of fascism to such things. I think fascism can arise anywhere, depending on the social, political, cultural environment at a particular time.

    Fear leads people to do and acquiesce to all sorts of irrational things, and fear is easily stoked. The post 9/11 hysteria and paranoia of this country are still going strong. It helps that fear is a profitable industry in addition to being an effective way to keep the sheeple in line. There’s money to be made, big money.

    I just finished reading “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis. Published in 1935, just as relevant today.

    I’m also reminded of the movie “The White Ribbon” by Austrian director Michael Haneke. Of course that’s a film, not a treatise, so it’s open to many different interpretations. It sparked quite a bit of controversy.

  54. groo permalink
    January 5, 2012

    Libertarians and their inner contradictions on child-rearing.

    here I simply cite the good mtraven on libertarianism and childrearing:
    http://libertardian.posterous.com/licensed-to-procreate

    here are mtravens rants on libertarianism in general.
    http://omniorthogonal.blogspot.com/search/label/libertarianism

    The take-home-message is, that libertarianism is defunct mode of organizing a society, and Rand Paul is no exception.
    He is a block-head (maybe the term is wrong, but anyhow) with a dangerous disorder.
    He splits like an axe progressive sensible thinking.
    Take one side, give one side.

    And this is truly dangerous!

    ###############

    Third and last.
    (This only insofar an issue for me, as I feel challenged ba that as an involuntary global citizen, ok?)

    Imagine that RP, unlike the Messiah of phony change, ‘Obama’, which sounded like universal change for the ‘Positive’, comes up with another message:
    You get
    –Demilitarisation
    –Abolishment of the FED

    BUT
    You have to take
    –responsibility for yourself (wahtever that means)
    –no big solutions. Take care for yourself.
    –etc

    ———
    NOW:
    In case he is elected, You only get the bitter parts, and NONE of the sweet ones.

    US-progressives seem to assume that they get the sweet ones, but only have to swallow some of the bitter ones as a compensation.

    Is this not hopelessly naive?
    Fool me once… ya know.
    Just change the color of the pill and we will fool You again.

    Thinking through that, and reflecting on what has happened through the years, this seems to be the culmination of a strategy to finally defeat any progressive impulse by pure mental capitulation.

    Look at this:
    Huxley talking about the society of the future in 1958.

    http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/multimedia/video/2008/wallace/huxley_aldous.html

    #############
    I was doing more research on a seemingly peripheral issue.

    I.e. the relationship between child-rearing and the state of affairs.
    I definitely thing there is an important link, and indirectly to the libertarian RonPaul-issue.

    As being emabarrassed -as a German- by putting the blame concerning world affairs on German habits of child-rearing, I feel multiply challenged.

    It is not.
    There are wrongdoers all around.
    Why ist there the conception of ‘Kindergarden’?

    Because Germans are moral underlings, beating and mistreating their children?
    NO.
    See this:

    The ‘spiritual motherhood’ of the first half of the 19th century placed much emphasis upon the significance of child welfare, and the need for women to turn their attention to the moral upbringing of the younger generation. Froebel’s discourse was inspiration, and thus, the Froebelian movement came to be of such importance.

    look at this:
    http://www.friedrichfroebel.com/

    DeMause had quite something right. But not here.

    Count me angry!

  55. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 5, 2012

    Lisa, I agree that the entire cause of WWII and the various Holocausts that ensued from that cannot be pin-pointed to one thing, per se. But, I don’t think it’s a sound argument to discount what is covered in that treatise, because although it’s not the sole cause, the ultimate causes have their respective roots in it….meaning it helped provide the fertile soil in which the abomination that was WWII flourished.

  56. January 5, 2012

    Lisa, et al, it encourages me to see others who do not consider a write in vote to be “wasted.” We are the ones who know what a vote actually is. It is MY CHOICE. It is not participating in some sort of contest, it is not picking sides, it is an expression of my wishes for how I want my country to be run.

  57. Klassy! permalink
    January 5, 2012

    Just when I thought there was nothing new to add to this debate I read He’s a different kind of lesser evil.
    Wow.
    That sums it up perfectly. We have lesser evil that will chink away at the welfare state more slowly. A lesser evil that will destroy public with more nuance. A lesser evil that will pay lip service to protecting the environment (rather than outright attack environmental regulations) and we have a lesser evil that is completely wrong on some issues but is completely right on others (and spare me the “but his convictions come from the long place” argument. First, I don’t believe this as it pertains to our endless wars. He is the only candidate discussing the concept of blowback. And second, If you live in a war zone I don’t think you’re concerned with such esoteric matters.)

  58. January 5, 2012

    @groo:

    And isn’t it the US-Evangelicals today who propagate child-beating as an act of -ahem- ‘christian love’?

    To be fair – DeMause makes this very point in this interview:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgtRAYfroTQ

    That said – he does come off as sort of flaky, especially in the interview. He seems to be overly in-the-tank with his thesis. I smell some historical exaggeration – but I have to admit that from what I know about child abuse (my mom was a counselor for juvenile sex offenders), much of what he says regarding cause-and-effect rings pretty true for me.

  59. Emocrat permalink
    January 5, 2012

    Ian, this is the single most accurate piece I’ve seen on this Ron Paul kerfuffle thus far. Kudos.

    If “mainstream liberals” had any sense, they’d stop obsessing over the idiotic rantings of the Thug du Jour and start concerning themselves with Democratic Party demagoguery instead. Paul won’t win the nomination. That’s already been promised to Willard, whose own campaign is so genuinely incompetent he actually makes me laugh on occasion.

    This is why I agree with you that the “left” won’t have a chance to make change until after the collapse. Ed Schultz’ viewers are apparently upset with him saying Rick Santorum is a good public speaker. He wasn’t sufficiently demagogic, so they are thrashing him with insipid emails. It’s rather difficult in that context for “mainstream liberals” to actually make demands of the very people they put in office in 2008. Must. Froth. Over. Insipid Righties! Must. Ignore. Crass Democratic Leadership!!

    It would seem RW Authoritarianism isn’t just for Republicans anymore. They want their two minutes of hate, galdarnit!

    As for Paul himself, this guy is a remarkable anachronism of the good, old-fashioned tent revival variety: paranoid, spiteful, conspiratorial and possessing a kind of charm most sentient beings can not understand or even relate to. I don’t know why anyone takes him seriously. But he is at least splitting off some Republicans. I don’t expect him to split “mainstream liberals” very much, for all the reasons cited above. But if he can convince some Thugs to cast doubt on the wars and the war on some people who do drugs, it’s a worthwhile piece of entertainment, if not for the faint hearted.

    If he proves to be more successful than his prior vanity campaigns, it will only be because that number of Republicans are just as fed up with their own party as Democrats increasingly are with theirs. That said, he has a better shot at winning Miss Kyrgyzstan than being elected POTUS and he bloody well knows it.

  60. groo permalink
    January 5, 2012

    lookup Montessori, Steiner

    What exactly is the Anglosaxian equivalent?

    As far as I know, Morocco Bama should have a special relationship to this.

    And how does this relate to DeMausse’s smear?

    I’m frustrated.
    Sorry.

    This is an important issue, nevertheless.
    And connects to the issue of Libertarianism.
    Besides feeling personally offended. (least important)

  61. groo permalink
    January 5, 2012

    One year ago I was scratching my head wheter there is a ‘Libertarian’ in Continental Europe.
    Well, there is one: August von Finck, called ‘Dhengis Kahn’ — German Billionaire, living in beautiful Switzerland, paying no taxes.

    And possibly Swedish Ingvar Feodor Kamprad, founder of Ikea.
    Paying no taxes either.
    …Funktionär der faschistischen Partei Svensk Socialistisk Samling (SSS) …
    I spare you the translation.
    Should be self-explanatory.

    Any similarity to the Koch brothers and other beacons of humanity?

    Amen.

  62. January 5, 2012

    groo, you said earlier that you “started to read” MB’s link. Were you put off before proceeding to his indictment of Japanese, British, American, Russian & Eastern European cultures as well? (He also digs in hard on Africa in the interview.)

    Just addressing the personal offense issue… we all have our skeletons and, besides, this is more about historical time than geographical place.

  63. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 5, 2012

    You beat me to it, Petro, I was about to say the same thing. And yes, Groo, it is a very special relationship with me. My wife and I decided several years prior that the best thing we could do for the future of Humanity was to focus our efforts on the next generation, and so we have embarked on a journey that hopefully will allow us to open our own Montessori School in the next year, or two, and ultimately a string of them. We look at it this way. It is our goal that the children that come through our program are like seeds scattered to the winds. Some of those seeds are going to take root and flourish. If enough of them do, they will only encourage the production of further seeds and more flourishing…until, perhaps, maybe, just maybe, a Rainforest develops……metaphorical nurturing biosphere of critical thought, empathy, compassion , and creativity. It’s a wonderful methodology….and Maria’s philosophy speaks very much to deMause’s revelations. Take this, for example.

    http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/montessori/method/method.html

    From a biological point of view, the concept of liberty in the education of the child in his earliest years must be understood as demanding those conditions adapted to the most favourable development of his entire individuality. So, from the physiological side as well as from the mental side, this includes the free development of the brain. The educator must be as one inspired by a deep worship of life, and must, through this reverence, respect, while he observes with human interest, the development of the child life. Now, child life is not an abstraction; it is the life of individual children. There exists only one real biological manifestation: the living individual; and toward single individuals, one by one observed, education must direct itself. By education must be understood the active help given to the normal expansion of the life of the child. The child is a body which grows, and a soul which de- develops,–these two forms, physiological and psychic, have one eternal font, life itself. We must neither mar [Page 105] nor stifle the mysterious powers which lie within these two forms of growth, but we must await from them the manifestations which we know will succeed one another.

    My wife and I know that we will long be dead and gone before the fruits of our efforts truly take hold, if ever they do, but that’s alright, because when the day comes that we take our last breath, we will know that ultimately, our lives were not in vain.

  64. January 5, 2012

    Good on you and your wife, MB. My “mentor” of sorts, Krishnamurti, would concur (he also began a system of schools bearing his name with the a similar philosophical approach, stressing such liberty.)

  65. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 6, 2012

    Petro PERMALINK
    January 5, 2012

    _______________

    Krishnamurti and Gurdjieff have been my life long mentors; nice to see Krishnamurti mentioned.

  66. January 6, 2012

    Good points Emocrat regarding the matter at hand. Your “tent revival” comment about Paul was particularly apt.

    In terms of psychohistory, I think its dubious overall, but it’s an occasionally interesting read.

  67. Kyle Michel Sullivan permalink
    January 6, 2012

    @laughing cat

    “You think FUCKING BUSH OR OBAMA GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE SUFFERING THEY CAUSE?” Your rebuttal is, “They did it too!”? Seriously. How old are you? Twelve?

    “It really is as simple as Ian described it.” (You may like it to be that way, but no, it isn’t.)

    “Ron Paul makes you uncomfortable because he offers you civil liberties the way it should be…”(WRONG, he makes me uncomfortable because he’d crush hundreds of years of human progress.)

    “… he offers an end to wars including the war on drugs…” (no, he doesn’t; he offers an end to the Federal war on drugs, only, and leaves the rest up to the states; that is not an end, that is a shifting of responsibility.)

    “… an end to the death penalty…” (see my reponse on the war on drugs.)

    “… and the federal reserve.” (and you think this is good? Why?).

    “It really is a choice between values, and you know it.”

    On your last sentence I agree — this is a choice between right and wrong, between good and evil. You and Ian come down on the side of letting evil happen just to get it over with. To me, that is so totally wrong, lazy, short-sighted, and inhuman, I honestly have no idea how to respond to such depraved thinking.

  68. Cedar permalink
    January 6, 2012

    http://www.psychohistory.com/originsofwar/06_childhoodOrigins.html

    First we have…

    As siblings watched their mothers bury the newborn, they like the Germans imagined it was because they were weak “bad babies,” embedded this fear in their alters, and revived the fear of being killed by enemies when their society was changing so fast during their industrial and cultural expansion. Despite the fact that Japan had grown economically three times as fast as the U.S. during the interwar period, they claimed before attacking Pearl Harbor that the attack was necessary because “Japan is getting weaker [and] the enemy is getting strong…we won’t be able to survive” unless we attack. Even though no nation was threatening to conquer Japan in 1941, their amygdalan fearful alter memory of watching their mothers commit infanticide by the millions told them, as they put it, “the very existence” of weak little Japan [was now] a matter of life and death” and they were about to be “strangled.”

    And then a few pages later we get…

    We will not list all these faked provocations here; any textbook about WWII can provide many examples. But the most important faked provocation in starting the war was Franklin Roosevelt’s provocations to encourage Japan “to strike first” with the hidden self-destructive goal that U.S. forces would be tied down in the Pacific rather than available to fight in Europe. Since Japan was already fighting a war with China, it was true that, as Admiral Nomura said in 1940, “There are few Japanese who want war with the United States.” Therefore, FDR had to take hidden actions to provoke Japan into attacking the U.S. There are by now over 40 excellent scholarly books detailing how Roosevelt chose a group of advisers who created an eight-step program to bring about the so-called “unprovoked attack” on Pearl Harbor.166 FDR’s program included embargoing oil trade to Japan—which got 80 percent of its oil from the U.S., and was about to run out in months—carrying out “pop-up” cruises in the territorial waters of Japan—which he said would “keep the Japs guessing” if the U.S. was about to attack—leaving the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor despite complaints from the U.S. fleet commander that it would leave them unprotected, hiding the fact that Japanese codes had been broken so the attack would appear as a “surprise,” and other faked provocations. It is no wonder that the Japanese openly spoke of “suicide” when they finally attacked Pearl Harbor, saying that it was “better to jump off Kiyomizu Temple” and “commit suicide” than be “starved to death” by the U.S. FDR and his White House advisers literally cheered when they heard their provocations had worked and the Japanese had been provoked to attack.

    So just how can the same assessment be both irrational and well-founded at the same time?

    Or is he trying to say that widespread infanticide makes people into better strategists?

    Seriously, what the hell?!

  69. Cedar permalink
    January 6, 2012

    Ian: I twice tried posting a comment and neither attempt got through.

  70. groo permalink
    January 6, 2012

    Morocco Bama,

    I took some time out for some thinking.

    The Alpian region had some very harsh conditions for children and young adults until the 1930s or so.
    Basically being slaves.

    Comparing this with the Dickens (or Anglosaxian in general) case, I cannot see much of a difference.

    The first cure to prevent war is to prohibit ANY violence against children.

    Rightwingers argue, that punishment makes children strong.

    Which, in a perverse sense, is even correct.
    In the sense that quarterly earnings beat long-term assessments.
    Discounting the future and such.

    Softness works on another timescale than rudeness.

    The eternal riddle.

    Btw, I am very happy that the fundamental questions are coming into the foreground, and not candidate this or that.

    See nakedcapitalism and such:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/01/the-reactionary-mind-%E2%80%93-the-truth-about-conservatism-an-interview-with-corey-robin-part-ii.html#comment-589777

  71. alyosha permalink
    January 6, 2012

    @groo – great interview at NakedCapitalism – that book caught my eye, too. Thanks!

    @MB – good luck with the Montessori school. I see that I’m not alone on this thread, thinking about doing something similar. Hope you are able to take it beyond the dreaming stage.

  72. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 6, 2012

    “You and Ian come down on the side of letting evil happen just to get it over with. ”

    That, of course, is a lie and contradicted by the text of the blog post I put up, in which I note that if collapse is inevitable (and I believe it is) then there are good reasons to get it over with sooner rather than later.

    Leaving the immediate text aside, by taking longer you are making things worse. People are dying now, losing their houses now. The longer you put off recovery and rebuilding, which can only happen after collapse because only in collapse will the power of the rich be broken, the more suffering you are creating. You add the suffering of a collapse which will happen anyway to the incremental suffering by putting it off. You privilege the present over the future, and the old over the young.

    If you want to talk about depraved, what is depraved about the first world is how they constantly fuck over their young, while pretending to love them. A few more years of this shitty economy are not worth the destruction they are causing. Thinking it is, is depraved.

    People like you, who want it to keep going at any cost, are enabling the fracking boom to come, which will do immense damage to present and future generations. Every wife being beaten by a man who lost his job, who would not have been beaten otherwise, and so on.

    If you think the collapse isn’t inevitable, great. I think you’re wrong, but it is at least a coherent argument. For people like me who think the collapse is inevitable, however, the depraved position is the “do whatever it takes to hang on for a just a few more years” position.

    Hell, even if you believe in the long decline, a la the Archdruid report, I’m not sure the incremental deaths aren’t greater than a collapse and a rebuild.

  73. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 7, 2012

    @MB – good luck with the Montessori school. I see that I’m not alone on this thread, thinking about doing something similar. Hope you are able to take it beyond the dreaming stage.

    I hope so, too, Al, although considering my wife’s latest dream, I may never see this dream come to fruition. Of course, I don’t want to overplay the significance of this, because it probably isn’t anything more than a bad dream, and I’m not an important person, by any means, so there are much bigger fish to fry…..errr….detain, beat, torture and eventually murder, but still, it’s worth mentioning, because I do believe in the years ahead, what happened to Lisa at NPR will be considered substantially benign, comparatively.

    My wife had a nightmare several nights prior in which I was tied up and blindfolded whilst being brutally beaten and tortured. She explained that it was as though it was real. She woke up visibly shaken and could not sleep the rest of the night. Considering the latest draconian legislation passed in regards to detention of U.S. citizens, the apparatus is increasingly in place to disappear any and all dissidents very much like the South American and Latin American model used extensively throughout the 20th century. I told her if I ever did disappear, to contact this forum and a few others with the news so that all of you knew that the time had come, and that the legislation was not for show, but was the real deal, and it was currently in force.

    Aside from that, the tough part will be securing the capital to get the school off its feet. We’re looking into loans, but they may not be flexible enough in regards to payment terms to accommodate a ramping revenue schedule….meaning we could end up buried with interest payments before generating enough revenue to cover it. However, tapping into private equity capital has its pitfalls, as well. Generally, you have to pay a higher return and often the private equity concern(s) want(s) some control in the collateral, which we are not willing to hand over. Yes, private equity can be more flexible in regard to the timing of payments, but the question is, is it worth giving up that control and paying a higher premium?

  74. groo permalink
    January 7, 2012

    Cedar,

    after reading a bit more into DeMause, I must say that he more and more sounds to me like an ideologue and shabby pseudoscientist.

    A lot of his socalled ‘facts’ are simply wrong, i.e. contrary to all I know from a close distance.

    So I would be forced into sort of a Marx-brothers position:
    “Do You believe what I say or Your lying eyes?”

    Well.

    If there is such a discipline as ‘psychohistory’, well, as psychoanalysis in general, it has quite its share of crazies.
    Maybe more than average.

    See eg Bruno Bettelheim:
    ( Famous author of books about the emotional life of children, and their need for love and compassion)

    After Bettelheim’s suicide in 1990, detractors claimed that Bettelheim had a dark side. They alleged that he exploded in screaming anger at students, and went beyond firm treatment to corporal punishment or child abuse. Three former patients questioned his work and characterized him as a cruel tyrant.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruno_Bettelheim#Personal_controversy

    Bettelheim most probably was an emotionally challenged person, to say it mildly.

    DeMause seems to be a similar case.
    Just a suspicion.

  75. alyosha permalink
    January 7, 2012

    …If you want to talk about depraved, what is depraved about the first world is how they constantly fuck over their young, while pretending to love them. A few more years of this shitty economy are not worth the destruction they are causing. Thinking it is, is depraved.

    People like you, who want it to keep going at any cost, are enabling the fracking boom to come, which will do immense damage to present and future generations.

    This raises an important subject, and is where it gets totally personal, where the rubber really meets the road. Those who are well heeled or well positioned are much more able and inclined to say “bring it on, now”. The other extreme is those who are barely hanging on, and as such, are doing everything they can to work the ossified political system (better Democrats please, and yay Obama!) to maintain what’s left of the status quo and some dwindling hope of a return to The Good Old Days (good luck with that).

    In my own very personal and very selfish case – I hope collapse can be held off for a few years, because I am simply not ready. If it happened next week, I know I’d get crushed. So yeah, even though I agree with your argument about when the collapse point occurs versus amount of damage/horror, in my own case – and I suspect for a great many others, certainly for those who have no clue as to what’s going on – the desired collapse point has everything to do with how prepared one is, and for most of us that means put off the day of reckoning as long as possible, and damn the consequences. Sad but true.

  76. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 7, 2012

    After Bettelheim’s suicide in 1990, detractors claimed that Bettelheim had a dark side. They alleged that he exploded in screaming anger at students, and went beyond firm treatment to corporal punishment or child abuse. Three former patients questioned his work and characterized him as a cruel tyrant.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruno_Bettelheim#Personal_controversy

    Bettelheim most probably was an emotionally challenged person, to say it mildly.

    DeMause seems to be a similar case.
    Just a suspicion.

    What does any of that have to do with what he wrote about? Once again, I will use this term, because it is crucial, and that is don’t throw the babies out with the bathwater.

    Did you know that Benito Mussolini was at one time close to Maria Montessori (for a decade) and that he at one time was the President of the Montessori Society?

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/1552

    Using your logic, that would mean that all of Maria’s work in developing a timeless and proven method for constructive, unencumbered child development is now discredited and should be discarded because of her naive and misguided affiliation.

    Considering that, we should discredit and discard everything for which the Fascists had a penchant. For example, I’m sure many of them adored Pasta Pomodoro. Well, if you’re fond of that dish, as many are, you’re now a Fascist, or a Fascist sympathizer. Same goes for Volkswagon. If you’re driving a Volkswagon, you’re a Fascist, or a Fascist sympathizer….and on it goes.

    Jesus….just take a look at some of these photos and tell me with a straight face that these people weren’t a bit wacko? Not that we’re not wacko today, in our own right.

    http://creepyoldphoto.com/

  77. groo permalink
    January 7, 2012

    alyosha,

    I think I understand you.
    And I also do not want to argue Ians position on the outcome.
    Possible, but not sure.

    I watched the collapse-thinkers for some 10years now–
    Jay Hansons dieoff, theoildrum discussions, Olduvai, the Archdruid, Tainter, etc.
    Hanson is/was exceptionally brilliant, living in the outskirts of Hawaii, having his ship, as far as I know, and basically has given up since 5 years or so. I admire his intellect, but his moral stance not so.
    Similar to Schopenhauer he paints the mirror black, maybe in the hope that people get reasonably frightened.
    Has been depressing at times. Anyway.

    I want to report as short as possible what I have learned:

    I) nobody knows exactly, where we are on the complexity-risk trajectory.
    II) we are definitely worse off than 60years ago
    III) studying real cases helps
    —a) Katrina
    —b) bombing of cities (eg Munich in WWII, >50% destruction within months)
    —c) what happens with 20-50% daily availability of electricity ( eg now in Georgia or Bagdad,Iraq)
    —d) what happens in case of supply-chain disruptions in global just-in-time-supply-chains (eg harddisks/Thailand as an easy case.)
    note: GB eg is about 60% self-sufficient in food.

    IV) separate sudden collapse(olduvai) from slow descent(archdruid)
    those are different possible processes.
    —a) interestingly enough there are governmental studies on that
    —a1 a British one: “Preparing for High-impact, Low-probability Events” (2012)
    —a2) a German one (2011)

    The basic message from the German one is, that there is a predictable gradient from mobile communication services breakdown(15min), food-supply and health-service/hospitals (2weeks), to emergency operation –amateur radio and such (>4weeks)
    —a3) visibility above 4weeks is difficult to impossible
    until then society has to reorganize on a much lower level, or it perishes

    V) living in a functioning community, where cooperation trumps competition (!!!) is a big help.

    VI) have a basic survival-food-kit for about 4 weeks

    VII) decomplexify/simplify your life wherever possible

    Hope this helps, and is not too depressing.
    I think I have identified the villains, which keeps me alive.
    I am not depressed at all.
    Just angry.

  78. January 8, 2012

    Hilarious!

    Oh Canada For President: Beating Us In Lumberjack Fashion, Barley Production, and Human Kindness

    http://www.commondreams.org/further/2012/01/06-4

  79. Bernard permalink
    January 8, 2012

    the last few comments remind of the story about slowly turning up the heat on the frog in the pot on the stove. the frog won’t “get” it until he is cooked.

    the slow demise of our economy, versus a big crash.

    i just somehow think more will survive a big crash, then the gradual and imperceptable drib drab of a slow bleeding.

    talk about humane. i wonder if a quick death is more “humane” than the slow bleeding preferred by some. i know i would rather see my dog die quickly than see them go through a slow writhing pain filled death. i have no doubts that a quick death is better for me to witness. wouldn’t go there ever ever again.

  80. January 8, 2012

    This raises an important subject, and is where it gets totally personal, where the rubber really meets the road. Those who are well heeled or well positioned are much more able and inclined to say “bring it on, now”. The other extreme is those who are barely hanging on, and as such, are doing everything they can to work the ossified political system (better Democrats please, and yay Obama!) to maintain what’s left of the status quo and some dwindling hope of a return to The Good Old Days (good luck with that).

    Yes, that’s the point. It’s not just a matter of privileging the old over the young. People are first and foremost interested in the welfare of their own children, and if their actions are depraved it is only to the extent that their concern is depraved. Many people believe they are just hanging on and if they just have one more chance, they may give their own children a better chance above other people’s children.

    It’s not an abstract game, where they are consuming now and depriving some abstract future generation. Many people’s “frivolous” consumption is partly based on a perhaps misguided evaluation of the benefit to their own children now, that they can see and evaluate in immediate terms. For example, much of the suburban flight is based on that belief, despite the fact that suburbia has proven to be a disaster at a larger scale.

    The question of whether collapse now is better than incremental decline is an empirical question, and not an easy one to answer. Better for whom? Not for many people I know; perhaps for many people I do not, but I don’t know that… That is why I can simultaneously admit that Obama is a right-wing git AND cast a jaundiced eye on people who spend a lot of electrons condemning “Obots”.

  81. groo permalink
    January 8, 2012

    Bernard,

    the ‘boiling frog’ is an urban myth.
    Frogs are not so dumb.

    Re slow-fast:
    FAST: think Fukushima. The humanely manageable cases of catastrophe are errors of planning, in a technical sense. Same New Orleans/Katrina.

    The SLOW cases are similar, but have another colouring:
    resource depletion,
    global warming,
    the growth imperative.

    It is about deep restructuring of a now global system.

    Here we are actually dumber than any frog ever being alive.
    We simply seem to not be capable to live up to the conditions WE construct!
    It is OUR own mess, and not somebody else’s (eg God).

    What is ‘humane’?
    Obviously it depends on the situation one is in.
    And this would be planning and foresight in the first case.
    In a technical sense.
    I do not suggest that this is the solution. Far from ist.

    If both is lacking, well, then ‘shooting the dog’ is probably the ‘humane’ thing to do.

    Having hindsight and foresight and roundsight and such would prevent us from having to shoot the dog for ‘humane’ reasons.
    Right?

  82. beowulf permalink
    January 8, 2012

    Rick Santorum makes a point that is as astute, farsighted, broad-minded and wise. :o )

    “9:36 AM: From a Republican perspective, Santorum’s point is actually a good one. Paul’s economic agenda he’d have no ability to push through; his foreign policy he could get to work on on day one.”
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/01/the_hangover_debate_live-blogging_1.php?ref=fpblg

    beowulf
    January 4, 2012
    One point in Ron Paul’s favor is that the things he wants to do that are damn crazy (fiscal policy, going back to gold standard) can’t be done without both houses of Congress approving, while the things he wants to do that are damn sensible (nonintervention foreign policy, ending the policy of assassinating Americans) can indeed be done unilaterally by executive order of the President.

  83. groo permalink
    January 8, 2012

    beowulf,

    …can do…
    …wants to do…

    RP seems to be for me just another type of Manchurian candidate.

    Want/propagandize (candidate): A(good) + B(bad)

    Get (electorate): B(bad) –everything else blocked by Congress/Senate.

    Post-election comment:
    “You got half of the deal, why do You protest?”

    Nice strategy after the propagandist of ‘Hope’.

    After the next round, dear Americans, you will be completely out in the woods.

    Don’t know wheter this is a deliberate strategy.
    To choose between
    a) the Propagandist in charge (Obama)

    b) someone who promises something good and simultaneously something bad (R Paul) and gives You just the bad part.
    Complain?
    You got half of the deal, You voted for!
    So please shut up!

    c) a bunch of complete idiots. Sort of Jokers , who deliver anything the PTB tell them.

    Difficult choice indeed.

    (Disclaimer: as a Foreigner I formally am not entiteled to comment on that. But on the other hand, this has a global impact, and therefore I claim a voice! )

  84. groo permalink
    January 8, 2012

    Howe effective the US-propaganda machine nowadys works, one can see with the Nobel Price to Obama.

    Sure, Obama is not the first case of utter failure of the committee, but an especially significant one.

    Unlike maybe Kissinger, Obama stands for a system of control, Kissinger et al never dreamed of.

    Obama is the Archetype of Orwellianism.

    To award him a Nobel Price is sort of an ultimate entry into the brave new world of double speak.

    Amen.

  85. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 9, 2012

    Having hindsight and foresight and roundsight and such would prevent us from having to shoot the dog for ‘humane’ reasons.
    Right?

    Of course, right, who could disagree…except there is no “us”, and since their isn’t, the rest is rather irrelevant.

    Speaking of Euthanasia, I’m all for it so long as the state, which is corruptible and corrupted, has no part in the administration of it. That would be laying the ground for genocidal depopulation which, imo, would not be beyond the psychopaths who walk the halls of power when the zeitgeist presents itself.

    PBS, before it was fully taken over by the Mockingbirds, did an excellent expose on voluntary Euthanasia, on their Frontline program. Here’s a link. It’s a beautiful, humane and dignified way to pass, you have to admit.

    http://video.pbs.org/video/1430431984/

  86. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 9, 2012

    Santorum doesn’t even have that correct. The executive is run by a super committee supported by technical analysts and is highly influenced by sycophantic representatives, who we call lobbyists, who are in the ears and pockets of all involved in the process. The President is chosen by this apparatus to be the mouth and face…..the veneer. Other than that, the individual, if you could even call this person an individual any longer, has no say or influence.

    To imply that a Ron Paul could just waltz in and retract the largest military the planet has ever witnessed from all corners of the globe, is delusional. As delusional as believing in Santa Claus. It’s simply no longer possible to the extent it ever was.

  87. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 9, 2012

    I find the above comments interesting in a perverse sort of way:
    They seem to pre-suppose there is actually a candidate out there to run against Obama; not from where I sit (14,000km. away).
    Good luck with that…

  88. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 9, 2012

    And now, for another addition of Everyone Can Have a Pony, we bring you Southlake, Texas. Ensure the collapse. Get your pony while you can. This is the pinnacle of human progress. It will be a shame to lose it all.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNe4C_syAH0

    Look how happy all those people are. Don’t rain on their parade….be part of it.

  89. January 9, 2012

    groo
    January 8, 2012
    Howe effective the US-propaganda machine nowadys works, one can see with the Nobel Price to Obama.
    Sure, Obama is not the first case of utter failure of the committee, but an especially significant one.
    Unlike maybe Kissinger, Obama stands for a system of control, Kissinger et al never dreamed of.
    Obama is the Archetype of Orwellianism.
    To award him a Nobel Price is sort of an ultimate entry into the brave new world of double speak.
    Amen.

    “Obama is the Archetype of Orwellianism.
    To award him a Nobel Price is sort of an ultimate entry into the brave new world of double speak.”

    If there were a way to Double-Amen, I’d do it.

  90. Morocco Bama permalink
    January 9, 2012

    Pursuant to Ian’s comments about the fracking apocaplyps at our doorstep. Well, it knocked and the door is now open, and the nasty guest is entering as we speak. There are no safe rooms that can keep this perpetrator away from you. It’s going to be brutal.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-09/shale-bubble-inflates-on-near-record-prices-for-untested-fields.html

    The world’s largest energy producers, including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), are revisiting onshore U.S. prospects passed by in recent decades in favor of deep-water finds in West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. New drilling techniques developed in the Barnett shale of north Texas have enabled companies to crack previously-impervious formations.

    Overseas explorers such as China Petrochemical Corp. and Total SA (FP) want to learn from U.S. partners so they can exploit vast shale resources in Europe and Asia, said Mark Hanson, an analyst at Morningstar LLC in Chicago.

    The U.S. holds an estimated 2,543 trillion cubic feet of gas, enough to meet domestic demand for more than a century at current rates of consumption, according to the Energy Department in Washington. Shale accounts for 862 trillion of that total, or 34 percent. In China, shale formations hold an estimated 1,275 trillion cubic feet of gas, 12 times as much as the nation’s so- called conventional fields.

  91. Jumpjet permalink
    January 9, 2012

    One thing I have not seen enough of for my tastes is a proper definition of ‘collapse.’ You all speak of it with such conviction, but I may have missed the exegesis at some point.

  92. January 9, 2012

    Ian, my co-blogger Phoenix Woman and I are working on an analysis of Ron Paul’s ideology. He has clear connections to the very conspiratorial John Birch Society. Therefore, what he says and what he means could have very different implications.

    One example that I raise is the question of whether the US under a Ron Paul mandate would maintain its claimed national interests while withdrawing its armies. The result could be a revival of nuclear first-use even against non-nuclear states, which was so popular among elements of the right like Curtis LeMay. Now, to be clear, Paul does not say that. He says that nuclear weapons are bad things. So, it’s a question.

    I think it’s this gap between Paul’s association with extremists and his mainstream-sounding ideas that causes me to be afraid. If he is lying about who he is and what he represents, which wouldn’t exactly be a novelty among politicians, he could represent the very most radical part of the right.

    If he’s going to become the nominee, the questions need to be asked. As for hysteria, there’s no time for panicking like the present, since when there is reason to panic, we’ll all be preoccupied in trying to stay alive.

  93. alyosha permalink
    January 9, 2012

    @Jumpjet – collapse is not any one thing, but rather a confluence, or even a stream of events, that feed into each other. My own understanding, which has been gleaned mostly from reading sites like this one, and maybe a couple books, and a lot of reflection goes like this.

    I see three main themes (think of them like themes in a symphony), peaking roughly in this order:

    - Peak Credit
    - Peak Oil
    - Climate Change – which really portends agricultural disruption, food shortages

    Each theme has specific events that occur or will occur within them. For example, Peak Credit really began to exercise its effects as the housing bubble popped a few years ago, and major financial institutions either went down (Lehman Bros) or morphed into too-big-to-fail mega institutions. There are many related events that cascade out of this, including Depression-like unemployment levels, foreclosures, bank and business failures, and so on. A final , Peak Credit crescendo event that I am looking for down the road, is the unavoidable acknowledgement by all parties that the USA is bankrupt, which will lead to a repudiation of the US dollar, with many horrible domestic and international consequences.

    Peak Oil is still gathering momentum – to crest some time in the future. Gas is still reasonably priced, stores in the USA are still well-stocked (with goods and foodstuffs completely dependent on an uninterruped supply of cheap energy), and America’s entire oil-intensive urban/suburban way of life still dominates, with very few people thinking “this is crazy”. And yet there are ominous signs: foreign policy completely driven by our addiction to oil. Fracking and dangerous off-shore drilling schemes are hailed as necessary and patriotic solutions, instead of crazy schemes. The willingness to go to war over oil. These are all just signs pointing to what’s ahead – when oil finally gets so expensive that the current way of life collapses for a critical mass of people.

    Climate change (and ecological collapse) is being felt now, but like Peak Oil, peoples’ daily lives so far have been unimpacted (I wish some of Ian’s Australian readers would speak up here – because Oz – with its extreme droughts and floods has experienced Climate change most dramatically of any developed country, IMO). As far as homo sapiens is concerned (setting aside Arctic wildlife for now), the main crescendo event is when agriculture becomes seriously impacted by climate change, and this has yet to happen in a big way.

    A key point is that these three themes feed on each other. Peak Oil acts as an economic throttle on our economy – as economic activity increases, this drives up the price of oil, which throttles recovery. And so Peak Debt events accelerate. As more resources are focused on extracting every last bit of petroleum, this puts off the day when we have to move to another energy regime, and also accelerates Climate change. There are many other interrelationships between these themes, these are just a couple of the better known ones.

    This is just my Rough Guide to the Collapse. Others I’m certain have an even clearer picture than I, and of course a lot of it is just speculation, given that our knowledge and foresigt are imperfect. We just don’t know exactly when one event from one particular theme is going to appear, how big it will be, and which shift the dynamic of the whole mix.

    What’s really exasperating is that much of this could’ve been avoided had we started working on it way earlier. Two signal events come to mind: Ronald Reagan taking down Jimmy Carter’s solar collectors on the White House (just think if we had had a serious Manhattan style project to really get off of oil, starting in 1980), and our second chance: Bush v Gore in 2000. Arguably, our system was too corrupted for even Al Gore to save us, but GWB represents ten years and trillions lost, and I would argue a sealed fate.

  94. Jumpjet permalink
    January 9, 2012

    I recognize the causes of collapse well enough, though that’s a nice summation of them. I don’t consider Peak Credit on the same scale of Climate Change or Peak Oil because credit exists only within human society and can therefore be modified as we desire- if we desire.

    But those are the causes of collapse. What does collapse itself mean? Is this a Mad Max scenario? Is it closer to The Road? Or is it something more nuanced? There’s a whole plethora of post-apocalyptic scenarios that have been expounded on in fiction, and I want to know what exactly you all have in mind.

  95. groo permalink
    January 9, 2012

    maybe I repeat myself.

    Anyway.
    looking at this from a geographical distance and consulting my inner strategist,
    I see three types of candidates
    1) Obama (Orwellian)
    2) Ron Paul (sort of a split mind)
    3) a mixed bag of complete nutcase candidates

    from a strategist point in the Karl Rovian sense of view this is a triple win-win-win.

    It is just a matter of degree.

    Reading most of the comments from the likes of Greenwald, Raimondo (the paleolibertarian) and such, I somehow miss my own -ahem- conspiracy.

    It goes like this:
    The game is basically won from the elite point of view in all cases.

    –Obama is BAU.
    —The nutcases are basically free play for the real decisionmakers.

    –Ron Paul, the bipolar extremist is the interesting case:
    a) all his positively appealing propositions are easily blocked and will never materialize.
    b) his appalling propositions can easily be passed through Congress and Senate, and would accelerate conditions in the US downhill (from a liberal perspective, ofcourse) considerably.

    I ask You:
    What is wrong with this reasoning?
    Hope that there is something terribly wrong.

    If not, I interpret this as sort of a Kabuki, whose essence is, to test out the state of the American mind.

    It is not a matter of essence, but of proper speed.

    Sure, this sounds like a (hopefully cultivated) conspiracy, but I am increasingly incapable of understanding American politics in rational categories.
    Maybe as the rationality of the sociopath.

  96. alyosha permalink
    January 9, 2012

    @jumpjet – I think you’re going to see everything under the sun. From mass starvation and a return to de facto slavery, to feudal, oligarchic barons living in opulence. And everything in between. If you think todays’ world is diverse, just wait.

    A useful, if a bit unhinged way to look at it, is to think in terms of cycles. We’ve unfortunately come to the end of a cycle of liberalization that began in the Middle Ages, with science and reason – everything that came out of the Enlightment – peaking my lifetime, with a full blown regression underway, back to those days when powerful authoritarian individuals and superstition held sway. It’s only slightly funny that many of the Republican candidates want to take us back not to 1984, but to 1384.

    What people today call “high end” is redolent of a Middle Ages feudal lord and his castle. That is coming back, big time. When you think of Brad Pitt and his estate on some island off Dubai, think of a castle from the Middle Ages.

    It’s going to be a real mix, and wild time, because they didn’t have the internet or other space-collapsing technologies 500 years ago. A lot of interesting opportunities, for those who understand what’s going on, let us say that were inconceivable during the last cycle.

    And so if you can position yourself to steer clear of mass starvations, plagues, revolutions, and slavery, it could be good :-)

  97. groo permalink
    January 9, 2012

    btw,
    there is an old treatise with the title

    ‘Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens in der modernen Demokratie’

    Rough Translation:
    ‘Sociology of the Party System and modern Democracy’
    by some Robert Michels.

    The first edition is from 1911(!) and developed the argument, that democracy by logical necessity devolves into Oligarchy.

    This is BEFORE there even has been a real democracy eg in Germany.
    The second edition is from 1925, in the midst of the Weimar Republic..

    Not that somebody says: Hoocodanode.
    The inner logic of societal construction and its problems are known for along time, going back to Aristoteles at least.

    This inner logic has always been in plain sight for a long time.

    see eg
    “A Brief History of Plutocracy ”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51qTb2O6eYM

    There seem to be some nerds who are not outright autists.

  98. groo permalink
    January 9, 2012

    Anglosaxians often cite this silly Churchill quote:

    “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

    Besides Churchill being a British Artistocrat, one has to ask, why he said this, and what he meant by ‘democracy’?

    Well.
    ‘Democracy’ is not something monolithic.
    Churchill probably had a diffuse idea what it could mean, but we should not perpetually repeat stereotypic memes, what he could have meant -being the Aristocrat he was-, and stick to those constraints.

    ‘Democracy’ is a story, which we fill with meaning.

  99. January 9, 2012

    Paul is hopey change from the right. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Comments are closed.