Category Archives: Social & Political Commentary

A Few Stray Thoughts on Current Events and the Knee-Jerk Impulse for Gun Control

With the spate of “mass shootings”, whether or not officially designated as terrorism, I can see by this site’s traffic counter, that concern for self-defense (and gun control) is once again on the rise. I’m not altogether certain that my “spin” on these issues will change anyone’s mind – most being staunchly in one camp or another. But, for the mere sake of veritas, I’m inclined to add these few nuggets for consideration.

1. Mass shootings (and suicide by gun) notwithstanding, the vast majority of gun crime in the US is related to gang/drug cartel activity. Remove these statistics and the USA compares favorably with the rest of the world’s gun violence stats.

2. Suicide stats (by gun or other method) is not, so far as I know, appreciably higher in the US, some places higher or lower. We’re in the upper middle of the pack and it would be hard to consider that our “gun culture” has facilitated our position, above any other consideration, such as general values and/or mental health.

3. Mass shootings, in my opinion, whether associated with intentional “terrorism” or not, are indicative of rather deep moral/mental psychosis. The popular culture in the US can, in my opinion, be expected to facilitate such derangement, to the extent that we’ve progressively abandoned the traditional values that, more often than not, keep hopelessness and despair in abeyance. Any exchange of such values for the selfish, childish, value-neutral popular culture can, with reasonable precision, foster – on the margin – a rising percentage of psychopaths, some of whom will act out, sometimes aided by their medications. That guns are reasonably available here, will, of course, make such events more likely and *spectacular*.

4. Terrorism is part and parcel of the above-noted derangement syndrome, even when associated with Islam. Values matter, ideas matter. Pick yours with care.

5. Political solutions, i.e. those offered by *politicians*, are guaranteed to give folks a false sense of security. The Federal government should have, as it’s core mission, dealing with *existential* threats, ahhh, be they “foreign or domestic“. In a world in which FDR or JFK would appear conservative, I hold very little hope. As oft stated here, the progressive mindset is, for us, a singular example of the derangement culture. It doesn’t stay the same, it progresses.

6. You and yours are on your own. Do with that what you will.

HT

Negative Liberty

What a concept. Perhaps, over the past several years, you’ve heard of ZIRP. Lately, this is (quickly) evolving toward NIRP, which might be expected to definitely shift monetary policy tools from the carrot to the stick, (or hammer, as the case might be).

It is in such concepts that the full and over-arching Orwellian mind might be considered. We might start with, Keynes’ own quote on the notion of the “zero interest bound” (as he called it in – possibly – the most cherished of progressive scriptures) To wit:

Thus it is to our best advantage to reduce the rate of interest to that point relatively to the schedule of the marginal efficiency of capital at which there is full employment. There can be no doubt that this criterion will lead to a much lower rate of interest than has ruled hitherto; and, so far as one can guess at the schedules of the marginal efficiency of capital corresponding to increasing amounts of capital, the rate of interest is likely to fall steadily, if it should be practicable to maintain conditions of more or less continuous full employment—unless, indeed, there is an excessive change in the aggregate propensity to consume (including the State)…. Now, though this state of affairs would be quite compatible with some measure of individualism (emphasis mine), yet it would mean the euthanasia of the rentier, and, consequently, the euthanasia of the cumulative oppressive power of the capitalist to exploit the scarcity-value of capital.

The point being, perhaps for the sake of discussion only, that the price (as a measure of value) of anything depends on both its scarcity and its utility. As we move steadily from a condition in which the price of capital (for those with proximal access to the printing press) is, in effect, negligible, to one in which it is a curse held in abeyance of prescribed consumption, we might imagine the consequences. Keynes euphemism – euthanasia of the rentier – is merely one, albeit one whereby the free market mechanisms that motivate and reward most constructive economic behavior are quietly “put down”. How this state of affairs might be the least bit compatible with “some measure of individualism” escapes me.

Orwellian – (From Wikipedia) Orwellian” is an adjective describing the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It connotes an attitude and a brutal policy of draconian control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past….as practiced by modern repressive governments.

So, as it happens, negative liberty, roundabout, is antithetical to negative interest. As noted by Hobbes: “a free man is he that in those things which by his strength and wit he is able to do is not hindered to do what he hath the will to do.” Negative liberty, you see, is – simply enough – merely the freedom to be left alone. It is, I’m convinced, the last refuge of moral agency. Were it cherished by the political forces at work in our nation as the equal to the Arctic Wildlife refuge, any attempts to blot the slightest part of it would meet rather ardent opposition.

Those who care to study the matter should, I would hope, come to discover the true root of both economic and political inequality. It is, simply enough, the degree to which we exercise the will to punish the most basic human desire for self-determination, to choose to be useful, or productive, or charitable, understanding full-well the natural and likely consequences of alternative choices. To reward bad behavior is but one step on the path towards compelling bad behavior.

It has become the seductive, and now rote, belief of the modern collectivist that individualism is inherently dangerous, leading as it might, to acts of selfishness and greed. Rather, we’ve simply substituted, in neat Orwellian fashion, the manner and power by which selfishness and greed is expressed. With the wholesale manipulation of entire classes of people, of course, those few who might rise to the very pinnacle of power have waning restraint against their own avarice. More the pity, those manipulated classes, have less still, having lost all means of self-determination.

One more from the Keynesian bible: “Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”

HT

A Reasonable Life – Reprise

To A Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!
 
I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!
 
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave ‘S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!
 
Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!
 
Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ wast,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.
 
That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald.
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!
 
But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
 
Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
 
Robert Burns 

A Message To The ‘Left’ From A ‘Right Wing Extremist’

By Brandon Smith, reposted from alt-market.com

Some discoveries are exciting, joyful, and exhilarating, while others can be quite painful.  Stumbling upon the fact that you do not necessarily have a competent grasp of reality, that you have in fact been duped for most of your life, is not a pleasant experience.  While it may be a living nightmare to realize that part of one’s life was, perhaps, wasted on the false ideas of others, enlightenment often requires that the worldview that we were indoctrinated with be completely destroyed before we can finally resurrect a tangible identity and belief system.  To have rebirth, something must first die…

In 2004, I found myself at such a crossroads.  At that time I was a dedicated Democrat, and I thought I had it all figured out.  The Republican Party was to me a perfect sort of monster.  They had everything!  Corporate puppet masters.  Warmongering zealots.  Fake Christians.  Orwellian social policies.  The Bush years were a special kind of horror.  It was cinematic.  Shakespearean.  If I was to tell a story of absolute villainy, I would merely describe the mass insanity and bloodlust days of doom and dread wrought by the Neo-Con ilk in the early years of the new millennium.

But, of course, I was partly naïve… Continue reading

The Fake Sound of Progress

Somebody told me that I’d always have to bow
if that was true I would have fallen apart by now
The more you think, the less you act their way
So can you hear this, the fake sound of progress?

Never reason with a fool, but is that unkind?
looks like I’ve lost my mind once again
I know it all sounds so contrived, but it’s got to me
you know I’ve got to be more than this
don’t frown, don’t scorn, cause I walk a different street to you
You look so worn, i bet that life has got you blown
but it will never get to me
Somebody told me that I’d always have to bow
if that was true I would have fallen apart by now
the more you think, the less you act their ways
So can you hear this, the fake sound of progress?
and I feel the way you hold, hold me back from this
Chances that I’ve missed, now they’re gone
Apathy is all I sense, the feeling’s too intense
Sitting on a fence and can’t decide
don’t frown, don’t scorn, cause I walk a different street to you
you look so worn, i bet that life is has got you blown
no body will ever get to me
somebody told me that I always have to bow
if that was true I would have fallen apart by now
the more you think, the less you act their ways
So can you hear this, the fake sound of progress?

All these words that I accounted for, never fear another day
always charged but I need more, make me take away
tell me now, can you hear the sound
of all these people falling down
growing back into the ground let me smile again…
SWING IT

Tell me now can you hear the sound, of the record spinning
round and round, for on and on it sounds like the same old
song that I keep singing, it sounds like

dah dah dah dah (yeahyeah sounds like) dah dah dah dah
(all these words that I accounted for, I’ll never fear another day always charged and I want more, make me take away, all these words that I accounted for, I’ll never fear another day, it makes, me, take, away)

somebody told me that I’d always have to bow
if that was true I would have fallen apart by now
the more you think, the less you act their ways
So can you hear this, the fake sound of progress?

yeah yeah yeah progress

make me smile again
(the fake sound of progress)