Category Archives: Harry Tuttle

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

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What’s in Your EDC?

Some “prepper” I turn out to be.  Until this morning, I had no clue what an “EDC” was.  Well, I was familiar with the concept, just not this particular acronym.  The following hilarious video (h/t to our dear Mr. White) prompted an inquiry into the subject (aka “googled it).

Note:  Do check out this guy’s other videos.  Too much fun.   I’ll probably feature a few more in the future.

Anyone who’s spent a lot of time outdoors or on the trail already should be familiar with “the 10 essentials“.  Still, I quite like the somewhat more generic and adaptable concept of the EDC or “Every Day Carry“.

What’s in my EDC?  Well, as noted above, the concept is or, perhaps, should be adaptable to your circumstances.  My core items tend to include:  1) My trusty Kershaw damascus spring assisted scallion knife (always, everywhere except on an airplane these days), 2) money, 3) hat, 4) jacket, 5) gloves, 6) food, 7) lighter, 8) good shoes/boots, 9) glasses – reading and/or sun, 10) phone, more rarely, 11) LED flashlight.

All, as needed or dictated by weather and circumstance.  I often don’t carry a phone, for instance, when I’m close to home.  No pistola?  Sort of depends, again on circumstance.  Also, I really need to find a good replacement for my old PPK, then we’ll see.

So, what’s in your EDC?

HT

PS – here are a couple of EDC related websites

http://everydaycarryblog.com/

http://everyday-carry.com/

Clowns to the Left of Me…

Jokers to the right.

And, what remains for any of us to do about it?  Really.  How many plates and chain saws can you juggle?  Oh, and could you dance a jig too?

Personally, I’m just having a hard enough time figuring out how to make a free and honest living, put real food on the table, and heat my little house in ways that aren’t all utterly controlled by the very same geniuses who, apparently, seem think they can and should make us do anything that pops into their tiny little brains.

Work permits?  Obamacare?  Fiscal Cliff?  Mountains of Debt? A Thousand Million Different Taxes and Regulations?  Too Big To Fail?  Drone Kill Lists?  Unremitting Surveillance?  Library Watch Lists?  Shoe Bomb Checks?   No-Fly Lists?  Terrorists Everywhere?  Carbon Taxes?  Fat Taxes?  Negative Taxes?  Negative Interest Rates?  Gun Control?  Lightbulb Control?  Soda Control?

Where does it end?  I mean, come on now, does anyone really believe that ANY of this is doing anything but making us dance faster and harder?

Are you ready for Travel Permits?  Loyalty Oaths?  Mandatory Mental Health Checks?  Good Citizen Tax Credits?   Approved Reading Lists?  Approved Church Lists?  Personal Diet Plans?  Gardening Permits?  Minimum Home Occupancy Requirements?  Car Ownership Permits?  Asset Taxes?  Hate Taxes?  Re-Education “Opportunities”?  Permanent Employment Camps anyone?

HT

Kyle Bass on the Central Banker’s Potemkin Village

As one might expect, there are lots to choose from here.  Here are a few favorite excerpts, including several that echo sentiments I’ve expressed here in the past:

  • Central banks have become the great enablers of fiscal profligacy.  They have removed the proverbial policemen from the bond market highway.  (A point I’ve made here repeatedly – HT)
  • Given the enormity of the existing government debt stock, it will not be possible to control the very inflation that the market is currently hoping for…the US simply cannot afford for another Paul Volcker to raise rates and contain inflation once it begins. (And, if it cannot be afforded – and, I agree that it now cannot – they will do what they must with increasingly desperate attempts to suppress rates. – HT
  • Again the world will not end, but the social fabric of the profligate nations will be stretched  and in some cases torn.  Sadly looking back through economic history, all to often war is the manifestation of simple economic entropy played to its logical conclusion.
  • Let’s just clear this up.  The ECB is going to buy bonds of bankrupt banks just so the banks can buy more bonds from bankrupt governments.  Meanwhile, just to prop this up the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) will borrow money from bankrupt governments to buy the very bonds of those bankrupt governments. (That sort of sums up the MMT/central banking model as it exists today. – HT)

Read the whole document….

Meanwhile, Post-Election Americans Continue to Demonstrate Their Priorities

What Has Been Let Out of the Box…

“…can not easily be put back. “

These are the closing words of this reasonably well-considered article about the escalating crisis in Gaza, written by Peter Beaumont at The Guardian.  Despite it’s rather unfortunate (and clearly editorial) headline, the article is as “well-considered” as seems possible in the mainstream media these days and makes a number of pertinent observations, and not just about Israel’s “logic of escalation”.

Among the more useful points, Beaumont opens with:  “Military operations have their own logic. A point is reached where circumstances, political and military, drive the dynamic and can overwhelm the original intention of the combatants.”

True enough.  Fairly, this logic is applied to most of the parties, great and small, who are directly or indirectly involved in the conflict.  And, though Beaumont doesn’t belabor Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “prickly relations” with US President Obama,  we might do well to wonder just what his (Obama’s) intentions are too.

The article takes pains, after all, to ponder the apparently confused messages that have been conveyed by Netanyahu’s inner circle.  I might, then, be inclined to ponder whether or not this apparent “confusion” is, more-or-less, a direct result of having a particularly unreliable ally in Washington.

Is it, I might add, yet another example of what it looks like when people under fire are asking for help while this administration considers whether or not they can s/pin it on another YouTube video?  Confused?  I’ll bet Ambassador Stevens was just a bit confused too.

As I’ve been prone to observe, Israel doesn’t really have much choice.  Rhetoric accomplishes very little in an actual war, especially when you’ve been so effectively isolated from vital support.  Whether intentional or not, that can’t help but embolden Israel’s enemies.

But, as President Obama has himself reminded us, “elections have consequences”.  Uhuh.  Sometimes they open a box.

HT