Posts Tagged ‘doom’

Predicting collapse

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

I am a prophet of doom.  There tends to be an oversupply of prophets of doom, and the proportion who turn out correct is quite small.

Equally, there are also a large number of prophets of non doom, for example the numerous prophets of complacency during the fall of the Roman Empire in the west, who assume that everything will continue as today, often even when spectacular collapse is under way, they assume that everything has now stabilized, or will very shortly stabilize.

So, I reach for the mantle of an accurate prophet:  Ayn Rand in her science fiction novel Atlas Shrugged accurately predicted the condition of today’s Detroit, though her book was published when Detroit had the highest standard of living in America. (more…)

Preparing for Civil War Two

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Many reactionaries compare today’s America to the latter days of the Roman Republic, reflect on the excellence of the early Roman empire, and hope for a military coup that ends the corrupt and decadent American republic, replacing it with disciplined imperium.

The reigns of the five good Roman emperors illustrate that the reign of stationary bandit, an absolute dictator secure in his power, fearing neither votes nor coups nor riot nor military insurrection, is a pretty good system.  He has an incentive to shear the sheep, but not flay them, while other forms of government tend to flaying.  Observe that taxes on the rich are everywhere far above the Laffer limit, and in many places, such as Greece, taxes on the working poor are far above the Laffer limit.

Unfortunately such a tranquil transition seems improbable, for every officer above company grade in the US army is selected not only for political correctness, but, more importantly, for lack of military competence.  The Cathedral fears losing a war with the US military far more than it fears the US military losing a war with some external enemy.  A successful coup requires a leader who commands a reasonable level of respect from the junior officers. Being such a potential coup maker absolutely disqualifies officers for promotion above company grade.

Nor could the US military provide order after such a transition, for order requires legitimacy, and such a tranquil transition would leave the new imperator illegitimate.  Coercive power is insufficient to enable a government to govern. (more…)

Civilization: Hold back the darkness

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

It is often said, and is true, that progressivism is in revolt against nature, but it is only true because progressivism is in revolt against the past and past knowledge, and a large part of our accumulated wisdom is knowledge of the nature of man, what humans naturally are.  Progressives are not only in revolt against nature, but revolt against civilization. (more…)

The Flaw in Moldbug’s proposed dictatorship.

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Obviously democracy is not working, is failing catastrophically.  The productive are outvoted by the gimmedats, in large part non asian minorities and white sluts. Moldbug’s solution is simple:  Dictatorship, evolving into Monarchy.  The dictator, he hopes and expects, will fire all government employees, except for military, police, and some tax collectors.  What use are all the rest of them to a strong dictator?

A good government is a stationary bandit, since a stationary bandit has an incentive to shear the sheep, rather than flay them.  A bad government is a mobile bandit, and the government service in democracies increasingly approximate mobile bandits.  Each bureaucrat seeks to increase his power and wealth, even if the total burden is well above the Laffer limit.

The trouble is that a dictator is not necessarily a stationary bandit:  A secure dictator, for example a martial and charismatic monarch of a long established dynasty, is a stationary bandit.   Unfortunately, not only are long established dynasties in short supply, but when you have one, the legitimate heir to the throne is seldom martial and charismatic. (more…)


Saturday, June 16th, 2012

If we believe the official inflation figures, supposedly living standards in the US are rising: Yet the proportion of people with cars is falling, the proportion of households with a car is falling faster, and the amount of meat people are eating is falling – consistent with a cpi rising at about the rate that shadowstats claims, about six to ten percent (more…)

The end of the road to serfdom

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Hayek, in “The Road to Serfdom” predicted the welfare regulatory state must inevitably become the totalitarian terror state.

Observe:  We have arrived. America is now a totalitarian terror state.

In 1992 I visited Cuba.  Thereafter, I argued it was a totalitarian state, because when I asked certain questions some people fled, fearing that merely hearing the question would result in them being punished for the thoughts it might elicit, and others answered furtively.

Yesterday, I asked someone very close to me a question apt to have a politically incorrect answer (I cannot identify him further, for he swore me to secrecy)

He looked around furtively.  We were on top of a hill overlooking the Coral Sea in a semi rural area, the other side of the world from his workplace.  He lowered his voice.  He then proceeded to utter a series of politically correct platitudes, with gestures and grimaces reversing their meaning, his grimaces implying the opposite of the ostensible meaning, the same sort of communication coded against possible eavesdroppers and hidden microphones that I encountered in Cuba, where they would swear loyalty to communism, while making a gesture of their throats being cut.

Like Havel’s green grocer, the truth would destroy his career.

This is the behavior that in 1992 I saw in Cuba and thereafter used as evidence that Cuba was a totalitarian state, a state of omnipresent fear.

So if Cuba was totalitarian in 1992, America is totalitarian in 2010.   We have arrived at the end of Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”.

In America, unlike Soviet Russia, we don’t send dissidents to Alaska, and although lots of American psychiatrists are eager to diagnose political deviation as mental illness and treat it with electroshock and lobotomy as they do in Cuba, government has as yet declined to employ them in this capacity.  But what government does do is ensure that political deviation blights your career.  If a company knowingly employs political deviants, it is apt to be sued by quasi governmental organization for a “hostile work environment”, in which lawsuit, no evidence will be presented of anyone saying unkind things to those for which the work environment was supposedly hostile, but evidence will be presented that employees had subversive thoughts – often evidence that they expressed subversive thoughts far from their workplace, as perhaps on a hill overlooking the Coral sea the other side of the world from his workplace – so the company will be punished, for failure to punish subversive thoughts.

Hayek, in “The Road to Serfdom”, argued that regulatory welfare state must inevitably become totalitarian.  Lo and behold, totalitarianism has arrived.  Most people, everyone with some position in society, everyone with something that could be taken away from them, are very, very frightened.

And what is totalitarianism?  Hayek’s totalitarianism seems to be pretty much Havel’s totalitarianism, and here is Havel on totalitarianism:

The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!”

Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment’s thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?

I think I can safely assume that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and the carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be.

If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life “in harmony with society,” as they say.

Obviously the greengrocer is indifferent to the semantic content of the slogan on exhibit; he does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone.

The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: “I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.”

This message, of course, has an addressee: it is directed above, to the greengrocer’s superior, and at the same time is a shield that protects the greengrocer from potential informers. The slogan’s real meaning, therefore, is rooted firmly in the greengrocer’s existence. It reflects his vital interests. But what are those vital interests?

Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan ‘I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,’ he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth.

The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?”

Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the façade of something high. And that something is ideology.

As Bruce Charlton points out:

If you go into an institutional environment – a government office, a school or college, a hospital or doctor’s surgery, a museum, public transportation – and you observe posters adorning the walls on politically-correct topics such as diversity, fair trade, global warming, approved victim groups, third world aid – remember Havel’s essay, and that the correct translation of such posters is as follows:

“I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient”

Such posters are a coded admission of submission to ideology – except in the rare instance where they advertise genuine corruption by ideology.

The frequency of such posters nowadays, compared with a generation ago, is a quantitative measure of the progress of totalitarian government.

Britain goes totalitarian

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Sean Gabb, speaking very carefully to avoid saying things he could be arrested for, tell us:

Without thinking very hard, I can remember how Nick Griffin of the British National Party stood trial for having called Islam “a wicked vicious faith”. I can remember how a drunken student was arrested and fined for telling a policeman that his horse looked “gay”. I can remember how a man was arrested and charged and fined for standing beside the Cenotaph and reading out the names of the British war dead in Iraq. I remember a case from this year where a pacifist unfurled a banner outside an army cadet training base. “Stop training murderers”, it said. His home was promptly raided by police with dogs, while a helicopter hovered overhead.He was arrested and cautioned. If I started mentioning the cases where Christian street preachers have been arrested for quoting the Bible, or where Moslems have set the police on people for alleged words or displays, or if I even alluded to the Public Order Act or the various racial and sexual hate speech laws, this article would swell immensely. It is enough to say that anything said in public is now illegal if someone complains to the police, or if the police themselves take against it. And, when something is not illegal, we are all getting used to the idea – second nature in most other countries – that we should “watch ourselves”. Even I find that, if I discuss politics in a coffee bar, I sometimes drop my voice. A few weeks ago, I found myself looking round to see who might be within earshot.


Monday, November 8th, 2010

Officially, America has near zero inflation and a mere ten percent official unemployment.  Odd that it has a mere ten percent unemployment when the proportion of young adult males with jobs has dropped a lot more than ten percent.

As with third world and Marxist countries, the government’s reaction to bad news is to declare a new era of prosperity.  The recession is officially over.  With an unprecedented proportion of the workforce on the government payroll, productivity has officially risen to amazing heights and somehow, despite the big increase in the proportion of people on the government payroll, public spending has officially not risen much.

Unofficial inflation, however, is starting to look quite frightening:

Market Ticker tells us:

I just got back from the grocery store.  Eggs, which were $1.60 two weeks ago, are now $1.99/dz.  Butter?  Two boxes for $6 – on sale.  The same two boxes were $4.50 a couple months ago.  Land-O-Lakes Brand?  $4.89 – each.
Cheese?  8oz bricks were commonly 3/$5 as recently as September.  Now?  $3.50 – for one.
But there’s no inflation, you see.
Oh, and on the way home I passed the gas station.  It was $2.59 for regular a couple of weeks ago.  Now?  $2.89.  30 cents in about 2 weeks, a 12% increase.

This is consistent with inflation rates of thirty to fifty percent per year, early hyperinflation rates.

Sarah Palin is, as usual, on the ball, while ruling class is floating away in La La Land, sincerely puzzled that the peasants are failing to eat cake.

This is the decisive test of Keynesianism.  Of course, we already had a decisive test of Keynesianism:  The Japanese crisis.  Keynesianism failed dismally, to which the Keynesians replied that Japan’s troubles were the result of not applying Keynesianism vigorously enough.    This time, however, it has been applied vigorously enough.  The results should be apparent by around 2012-2016.  The fat lady has not yet sung, but so far, things are not looking good for Keynesianism.

Money is a matter of functions four,
a medium, a measure, a standard, a store.

There is a conflict between the use of money as a store and the use of money as a standard, since if everyone wants to store value at the same time, the value of money is apt to rise, and if everyone wants to use their store at the same time, the value is apt to fall.  Keynesianism therefore addresses a real problem, but its proposed solution tells the ruling class what they want to hear – that they can buy votes with money they do not have, that they can eat their cake and have it to, which is of course not true, and not a solution to the problem.  Keynesianism addresses a real problem, but is not a real solution.

It seems to me that a sounder solution would be to target the long run value of money.  If people had confidence that in the long run, the value of money would be constant, that inflation would run for a few years to be followed by deflation, and deflation would run for a few years to followed by inflation, that what goes up must come down, then I doubt that natural fluctuations would be large or damaging.   Fluctuations are large and damaging because there is no telling what the future value of money is likely to be, because Keynesianism makes money dangerously ineffectual as either a standard or as a store.  This large uncertainty destabilizes the economy.  The objective of monetary policy should be to give people confidence that the value of money will be the same in twenty or thirty years, even if it fluctuates a bit from year to year.

Of course, I am prescribing what an honest issuer of fiat money should do, if he cares about the long term, and wants everyone to continue using the fiat money he issues.  Since issuers of fiat money sooner or later find themselves in a situation where the major question is whether the political leadership will survive another week, such advice is unlikely to be heeded.  Keynesianism will continue to be believed, not because it is true, but because issuers of fiat money are compelled to act as if it was true.

Faking global warming

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

I have often mentioned before that the those impressive graphs of rising surface temperatures are faked, as if everyone knew, and everyone agreed, inadvertently imitating the mock consensus style of the warmists, without giving a citation.  Here is the article that exposed the fakery for the US weather stations

The method is simple:  The raw and adjusted data is available from the United States Historical Climatology Network Monthly Temperature and Precipitation Data though in not very readable form. When converted to readable form, the unadjusted data shows no global warming, the adjusted data looks like any doomster graph from GISS.

In his other articles, Michael Hammer analyzes the adjustments.

The crisis explained

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

I have been seeing a lot of references to “a speculative bubble”

Nope. They were not speculating.

The crisis consisted of people, mostly members of protected minorities with nothing to lose, buying houses they could not afford with borrowed money in the expectation that they would go up, and if they went down, it was the bank’s problem.

So the people who bought houses were taking no risk, since mostly they bought them with 100% loans, had no credit rating and no assets to lose.

So were the banks making the loans taking a risk?

No, because it was not the bank’s problem, because the loans were for the most part guaranteed by Freddy, or Fannie, or AIG – all of which had implicit government guarantees, and all of which had an AAA rating.

So why did AIG and the rest have an AAA rating?

AIG and the rest were issuing naked puts greatly exceeding their total capitalization, which pretty much guaranteed that sooner or later they would go broke in a big way. So why AAA?

Moody’s, who issued the ratings, was tweaked on this, and replied that it was unthinkable that the government would allow these institutions to fail. So it was not true that nobody knew what was happening. All the insiders knew what was happening, the regulators knew what was happening: they knew that businesses were taking big risks for big money in the expectation that if they won, they won, and if they lost, the government would take care of them. It was government policy. People have been complaining about this for years.

The fundamental cause of this crisis is government regulation: Governments cannot be trusted with money. They think only of short term political gain, so dispense money to the loudest pressure group, in this case those represented by ACORN, rather than to people who are likely to repay it with interest. In this case, the regulators decided that “traditional” standards of credit worthiness were racist and discriminatory, because too many Jews, and not enough Blacks, met “traditional” standards.