Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » Gap Between Rich and Poor Rooted in Government Policy

Gap Between Rich and Poor Rooted in Government Policy

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Anyone who proclaims the American economy is recovering from the financial crisis of 2008 is either lying or not paying attention. The good people at the Economic Collapse Blog have aggregated 37 statistics that strongly indicate the economy continues to worsen under the financial leadership of President Obama and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. In particular, the figures indicate that it is the lower economic classes which have been most severely devastated by four years of reckless federal spending, bailouts for the well-connected, and artificially low interest rates.

For instance, since 2008, 15 million more Americans rely on food stamps. According to the Census Bureau, 146 million of us, nearly half of the U.S. population, are poor or low-income. The Civilian Employment/Population ratio, which is the broadest measure of employment in the country, is at its lowest level since the early 1980s. Median household income has retreated to its 1995 level. Lastly, the economy is not producing jobs for US college graduates; 53 percent of them under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed. Given that many graduated with huge college debt, what could the future hold for these folks?

But, don’t despair. Some in our society are doing quite well because of the federal largess thrown their way. Most of them just happen to be located around New York City and the District of Columbia. You see, the U.S. stock and bond markets are at, or near, all-time highs. Real estate in Manhattan and Washington, D.C. has bounced back nicely and both are at all-time highs. Even the Contemporary Art market in the Big Apple has seen sales skyrocket in spite of higher prices.

But, this is predictable, given that New York and the nation’s capital are where the Wall Street/Washington Axis of Financial Evil is headquartered. It is where that axis prints the new money and injects it into the economy through its well-connected surrogates: the “too big to fails”.

And it is all done in the name of stabilizing prices so the rest of us don’t suffer so much. How nice it is that the powers that be are looking out for us working folk!

Don’t be fooled, not even for a moment.

The financial establishment in this country, which includes the Federal Reserve and its “too big to fail” cronies, knew exactly what it was doing. Through monetizing federal debt, a series of quantitative easing schemes and holding interest rates below market prices, the banking establishment has succeeded in stabilizing the cost of living above market levels. Put another way, if left to its own devices, with no monetary easing from the Fed, the market would have rid itself of all the malinvestment built up from the previous Fed-induced false boom period (housing boom).

Consequently, housing prices would be lower, commodity prices would be lower; in fact general price inflation would be lower. The cost of hiring new workers would be lower, causing an employment recovery. Savers would have gotten a decent return on their money. In short, working class Americans would have seen an enhancement in their standard of living.

On the flip side, many rich folks would have been devastated. Their stock and bond portfolios would have been decimated. Many would have lost their jobs through bankruptcy and restructuring. The value of their homes wouldn’t have been restored on the backs of working men and women.

This is what should have happened. After all, they caused the crisis along with their accomplices in government. Didn’t they deserve the consequences of their actions? That is capitalism. That is the American way.

Powered by

About Kenn Jacobine

  • http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com/ Joanne Huspek

    You’re singing to the choir, Kenn. I’ve been saying the same thing for years. Recovery? Are you kidding me? Not in Detroit. Come on by and I’ll show you the wonderful ‘recovery’ – the one that doesn’t exist here. Kind of like Manti Te’o’s imaginary girlfriend. They think if they keep telling us things are better, we’ll believe it. However, from where I sit, things are NOT better and probably won’t be in my lifetime.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    A real recovery puts Americans to work.

  • Igor

    The gap is rooted in the Reagan policy of ‘privatization’ which is glued into official policy and has channeled the assets and profits to the very rich while saddling the poor with the risks and losses.

    “Gap Between Rich and Poor Rooted in Government Policy”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Come now – you know very well we’ve never left the era of Reaganomics. We’re still in the era of low taxes for all, keeping the government small enough to drown in a bathtub, and perpetual protection of corporations. The breakup of too-big-to-fail institutions (like we did with AT&T) is now politically impossible, especially given Citizens United.

    Yes, Kenn, welcome to capitalism unbound, a perverse cross of oligarchy and Mussolini-style fascism. And again, thanks to Citizens United – which now applies to state and local elections as well as federal – we will never be able to return to the days when government was strong enough to do what was necessary to maintain a level playing field in the American marketplace.

    And you know what? In a very real way, I hope we don’t see the days of the New Deal again. Know why? Because the only way we’ll be able to do so will require an upheaval at least as terrible as the Great Depression, something that will threaten the very fabric of this nation – and tear many millions of lives apart. The cure to our condition would likely be worse than the condition itself.

    Our new ‘tradition’ of Reaganomics, with its insistence that taxes must be ever lower, government must be ever weaker, and who gives a damn about the poor, all capped by Citizens United is here to stay. It’s a political knot of Gordian complexity…and we all know what it took to slice through that particularly knot of legend.

    But then, this is all given the electorate up till the most recent election. America’s electorate is changing and radically so, and it’s sending very real chills down the spines of conservatives. Twenty or thirty years from now, we might be able to right the economic ship of state…but until then, corporatism will rule.

  • Doug Hunter

    Oh great Glenn, we can be ruled by an electorate from south of the border (they’ve done such a fantastic job with their own countries). Maybe we can get Chavez Jr. in here to shake things up. Small enough to drown in a bathtub? You’ve got to be kidding, the government has grown like a cancer and is bigger and more powerful than it’s ever been. Look at DC, the military, the prisons, it’s size in relation to GDP and it’s presence and control of our lives… all through the roof as our leadership position in the world and standard of living has been eroded. Them be the facts, but those never got in the way of an authoritarian… More government, more taxes, more control is always better!!!

  • Igor

    A more likely improper rule by minority is being proposed across the USA in Statehouses controlled by the republicans (which in turn were facilitated by republican gerrymandering), to slant future presidential elections in favor of republicans.

    Here is what has just been proposed in Pennsylvania:

    PRINTER’S NO. 83

    THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

    HOUSE BILL
    No. 94
    Session of 2013

    INTRODUCED BY GODSHALL, GROVE, KAUFFMAN, C. HARRIS, BARRAR, EMRICK AND MOUL, JANUARY 14, 2013

    REFERRED TO COMMITEE ON STATE GOVERNMENT, JANUARY 14, 2013

    AN ACT

    1Amending the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), entitled
    2″An act concerning elections, including general, municipal,
    3special and primary elections, the nomination of candidates,
    4primary and election expenses and election contests; creating
    5and defining membership of county boards of elections;
    6imposing duties upon the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
    7courts, county boards of elections, county commissioners;
    8imposing penalties for violation of the act, and codifying,
    9revising and consolidating the laws relating thereto; and
    10repealing certain acts and parts of acts relating to
    11elections,” in electoral college, further providing for
    12election of presidential electors.
    13The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    14hereby enacts as follows:
    15Section 1. Section 1501 of the act of June 3, 1937
    16(P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election Code, is
    17amended to read:
    18Section 1501. Election of Presidential Electors.–(a) At
    19the general election to be held in the year 1940, and every
    20fourth year thereafter, there shall be elected by the qualified
    21electors of the Commonwealth, persons to be known as electors of
    22President and Vice-President of the United States, and referred
    23to in this act as presidential electors, equal in number to the
    20130HB0094PN0083 -1-

    1whole number of senators and representatives to which this State
    2may be entitled in the Congress of the United States.
    3(b) (1) Two of the presidential electors shall be elected
    4at large to represent the entire Commonwealth and shall cast
    5their ballots for the presidential and vice-presidential
    6candidates with the greatest number of votes Statewide.
    7(2) Each of the remaining presidential electors shall be
    8elected in the presidential elector’s congressional district and
    9shall cast a ballot for the presidential and vice-presidential
    10candidates with the greatest number of votes in the
    11congressional district.
    12Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
    20130HB0094PN0083 -2-

    Here’s where I got the citation:

    can you please sound the alarm about the GOP’s sneaky plan to rig every future presidential election that is taking place right now? This bill was just introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature. Long story short, the state would end up splitting its electoral votes based on the gerrymandering, so even though Obama won the state by a lot, he’d only get around 7 electoral votes while Romney would have gotten 13. And the plan, which is essentially the GOP gerrymandering plan where they bragged about keeping the House even though they lost the popular House vote by over a million votes, is supported by RNC chair Reince Priebus.

    Sullivan

  • Igor

    Here’s more on the trickery that republican politicians are using to usurp citizens votes to deny majority rule:

    Using Gerrymender trickery the republicans managed to reverse the effect of the popular vot.

    Republican REDMAP


    2012 REDMAP Summary Report
    Written by admin
    Friday, 4 January 2013 09:23
    REDMAP

    How a Strategy of Targeting State Legislative Races in 2010

    Led to a Republican U.S. House Majority in 2013

    On November 6, 2012, Barack Obama was reelected President of the United States by nearly a three-point margin, winning 332 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206 while garnering nearly 3.5 million more votes. Democrats also celebrated victories in 69 percent of U.S. Senate elections, winning 23 of 33 contests. Farther down-ballot, aggregated numbers show voters pulled the lever for Republicans only 49 percent of the time in congressional races, suggesting that 2012 could have been a repeat of 2008, when voters gave control of the White House and both chambers of Congress to Democrats.

    But, as we see today, that was not the case. Instead, Republicans enjoy a 33-seat margin in the U.S. House seated yesterday in the 113th Congress, having endured Democratic successes atop the ticket and over one million more votes cast for Democratic House candidates than Republicans. The only analogous election in recent political history in which this aberration has taken place was immediately after reapportionment in 1972, when Democrats held a 50 seat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives while losing the presidency and the popular congressional vote by 2.6 million votes.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    Okay, we’ll go point-by-point:

    Oh great Glenn, we can be ruled by an electorate from south of the border (they’ve done such a fantastic job with their own countries).

    Oh? You do realize, of course, that ALL those nations have what would be by first-world definition “small governments”. None of those governments are as large (proportionally speaking) as is the American government…and to most of the populations south of the border, a social safety net is just a distant dream.

    In other words, they sound more like the Republican paradise than anything we liberals would want.

    Maybe we can get Chavez Jr. in here to shake things up. Small enough to drown in a bathtub? You’ve got to be kidding, the government has grown like a cancer and is bigger and more powerful than it’s ever been.

    Never mind that under Obama, the government’s grown at a SLOWER pace than under any president since Eisenhower. Yep, that’s right, Doug – in conservative terms, Obama’s been the most fiscally-RESPONSIBLE president since Ike. But you never, ever hear that on Fox News, do you?

    Look at DC, the military, the prisons, it’s size in relation to GDP and it’s presence and control of our lives… all through the roof as our leadership position in the world and standard of living has been eroded.

    And who is it that’s refusing to even consider cuts to the military? Republicans. Who is it that’s most-loved by Correctional Corporation of America (who runs private prisons usually for a HIGHER price than government-run prisons and who pushes for ever-tougher laws (thereby keeping their prisons full))? Republicans. And who is it that says “Thou shalt not raise taxes on the wealthy” even though the Walton family literally has more money than the bottom 40% of ALL Americans? Yep – Republicans!

    Them be the facts, but those never got in the way of an authoritarian… More government, more taxes, more control is always better!!!

    And I’ll ask you the SAME question that I’ve asked scores of times, that NO conservative has even attempted to answer: Why is it that all First-World nations (other than oil-rich OPEC nations) are socialized democracies? Every single First-World nation is a socialized democracy, Doug. Every. Single. One.

    Why is that? If conservative dogma were right, then every single one of the First-World nations’ economies would have tanked long ago…but even now, even given the Great Recession, the First-World socialized democracies are still on top – and we’re on top by a LOOOOONG shot. Why is that, Doug? Why? Why? Why? WHY????

    And why is it that NONE – not a single friggin’ one – of the other nations that DO have small, weak governments have risen to First-World status? Why? But not a single one of them are even close. I mean, hey, Doug – according to conservative orthodoxy, small, weak governments are the way to national prosperity…but there’s precisely ZERO evidence of that ever happening! Why, Doug? Why? Why? Why? WHY????

    (P.S. – don’t even try to classify China as a first-world nation – they’re not even close)

    I really, really look forward to you trying to sensibly address this particular conundrum, because you can claim that the socialism that is part of a socialized democracy (like the U.S.) is a sure path to economic doom…but all the (non-OPEC) first-world nations are socialized democracies. You can claim that small, weak governments enable a strong business sector and lead to national prosperity, but there’s NO first-world nation that has a small, weak government.

    There’s a very good reason for the difference, Doug…but it’s a reason that no conservative will admit.

    But of course you can try to prove me wrong – your turn!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    It’s been shown that if REDMAP had been instituted before the 2012 election, Romney would have barely won the electoral college even though he lost the popular vote by 5 MILLION votes.

    If the Dems had won the electoral college but lost the popular vote by 5M votes, we’d be facing a popular armed revolt by the Republicans…but since it’s THEM that’s doing it, well, THAT makes it all okay, I guess….

  • Igor

    REDMAP is a huge danger to the American republic by undermining the legitimacy of our elections.

  • Doug Hunter

    #8

    To start naming countries: Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland… of course, in size and scale the US has few peers. The obvious one is the US itself who resisted government for a long time. We became the richest large country, the most powerful, leaders in technology, medicine, education, and much more… we were indeed exceptional. Now, we just want to be the EU lite… which is great, especially if there’s an exceptional country out there willing to pay for your military protection and actively researching and developing the future (which you can then copy and/or distribute to your citizens).

    Nothing wrong in itself with spending our national wealth on foodstamps, government housing, medical care, etc., but we have had a good run when we let the markets do their work, we created better medical treatments, better food supplies through the ‘green revolution’, more technology and gadgets, innovations in virtually every field… and this didn’t just benefit us, it benefitted the entire world. We were better creators, even if they were better distributors… their redistribution helped themselves, our creations helped the world.

    I think you’re right. I think American exceptionalism is over and agree that our future voting patterns will put our government in line with those of a decaying Europe. Progress will not stop, only slow. I believe the net effect on the world will be negative, but it’s endlessly debatable. I can no more tell you what those future losses would be than a person in 1965 could tell you why spending money on DARPA for useless computers (which would later become central to this very medium) was better than spending it on food stamps or unemployment.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    Again, the situation of nations throughout the world show that socialized democracies are stronger in almost every way – particularly when it comes to economic matters – than are nations with ‘small government’. Keep watching, and as the years go by, you’ll notice that this will not change, that any (non-OPEC) nation that DOES join the first-world community is one that adopts the societal and governmental principles of the rest of the non-OPEC first-world.

    You said:

    Nothing wrong in itself with spending our national wealth on foodstamps, government housing, medical care, etc., but we have had a good run when we let the markets do their work, we created better medical treatments, better food supplies through the ‘green revolution’, more technology and gadgets, innovations in virtually every field… and this didn’t just benefit us, it benefitted the entire world. We were better creators, even if they were better distributors… their redistribution helped themselves, our creations helped the world.

    What, you really don’t think we made much in the way of new tech and gadgets and contributions before Reaganomics came along? When it comes to computers, I think Igor could give you a bit of an education.

    And then there’s little pre-Reaganomics technological advances you may recognize, like:

    – the entire space program all the way from John Glenn to the moon landing to the space shuttle and the first Mars landing;

    – nuclear power

    – the interstate highway system

    You can well imagine that there’s much, much more – but the only really major transformational technological advance since the advent of Reaganomics to compare with any of the above is the internet and computer power in general. The world’s premier scientific facility is NOT in America – it’s at CERN on the French/Swiss (IIRC) frontier, and it was financed, built, and is operated by oh-so-financially-irresponsible socialists.

    That’s what y’all don’t get – the social safety net isn’t so much of a burden on American business as it is an enabler for people to have a better opportunity than what they’d have otherwise to climb out of the depths of poverty.

    THAT, sir, is the Really Short Version of why every single (non-OPEC) first-world nation is a socialized democracy…because most of us understand that the social safety net isn’t an unnecessary burden – it’s an investment in the most important infrastructure of any nation: its people.

  • Doug Hunter

    What does this have to do with Reagan? I see little change in the trajectory of government during his administration, he may have lowered tax rates but he didn’t shrink the government.

    You’re right though, many of our contributions are in the past… you know back when government (and the safety net was much smaller). Back then, the government provided jobs, now they just send a check for your vote. The government has grown 50% as a percentage of the economy since 1965, that’s back when we were spending our money exploring the solar system, creating darpanet, microwaves, and laying the foundation for transformational technology… foodstamps were basically nonexistent and yet no one starved then.

    You’re right again on CERN. I’d rather have a handful of those type facilities scattered across the US putting our educated population to work some place other than McDonald’s, but then again we can’t afford it because we’ve got to pay everyone’s medical care and retirement and food stamps and unemployment. Both are investments, one has a history of paying much higher dividends.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    Look at my comment #4 – that comment addressed Kenn’s article, and one of my main points was that we are still in the thrall of Reaganomics. You seemed to disagree with what I posted…and that’s why I keep mentioning Reaganomics, because we ARE still in the Reaganomics era of low taxes on individuals and corporations and to-hell-with-the-poor.

    Reagan didn’t shrink government, true – but he sure as heck shifted spending from the public sector to the military – it was then, you’ll recall, that funding for institutionalization for the insane got slashed, and we suddenly (and still do) have a lot more homeless sleeping in the cold. It was he who popularized the myth of the ‘welfare queen’ that so much the Right still believes today.

    One more thing – when Reagan slashed taxes, the income of the rich began to skyrocket…and the income of the middle class and poor have stayed largely stagnant (or, in the case of the poor, has fallen) since then – hence the ever-widening income gap we now see in America. Before Reagan, the income growth for all levels tracked fairly closely – but since Reaganomics, only the rich have seen significant income growth.

    It’s as if he intended to say, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and I’m going to make sure it stays that way.”

  • Clav

    Again, the situation of nations throughout the world show that socialized democracies are stronger in almost every way – particularly when it comes to economic matters – than are nations with ‘small government’.

    False equivalency, Glenn; apples to oranges. So what if the First Worlds are ahead now? The First World nations in Eu are bleeding themselves into impoverishment: it hasn’t come to a close yet, but if they don’t straighten out their budgets it will, and they will collapse, as will we, though we’ll last longer because we started out richer.

    And to both Glenn and Doug:

    Glenn asks: And why is it that NONE – not a single friggin’ one – of the other nations that DO have small, weak governments have risen to First-World status?

    Those which are in the Americas, South and Central, have languished because for the past two hundred years the Good Old USA, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, The Shining City on the Hill, has effed every country in this hemisphere (with the exception of Canada) over and over again to benefit itself. We have murdered Latin American leaders, crushed their resistance movements (The Marines in “the Halls of Montezuma), stolen at gunpoint their territories (ALL of the Southwestern US — ALL of it stolen from Mexico) (Panama). We have mined their minerals without paying market rates or paying nothing at all, ruined their crops by artificially depressing prices (sugar — still ongoing for the benefit principally of ONE FAMILY in Florida — who aren’t even birth Americans), halted their exports with everything from embargoes to ruinous tariffs and blockades, invaded them every time it suited us (Haiti, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Dominican Republic).

    Every nation in this hemisphere has been bullied by the USA, many more than once.

    “America, land of the Bullies, home of the exploiters.”

    At least in this hemisphere, the failure to thrive of the smaller nations is primarily due to misbehavior and domination by the the Colossus of the North and its citizens, los pinches gringos.

    A Mexican president, Porfirio Diaz, had it right when he famously said, “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States!”

  • Clav

    it was then, you’ll recall, that funding for institutionalization for the insane got slashed

    Absolutely wrong; that began in the fifties. From PBS Frontline:

    Deinstitutionalization began in 1955 with the widespread introduction of chlorpromazine, commonly known as Thorazine, the first effective antipsychotic medication, and received a major impetus 10 years later with the enactment of federal Medicaid and Medicare.

    And, again according to Frontline, the president who most supported and advanced the idea was:

    Deinstitutionalization was based on the principle that severe mental illness should be treated in the least restrictive setting. As further defined by President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on Mental Health, this ideology rested on “the objective of maintaining the greatest degree of freedom, self-determination, autonomy, dignity, and integrity of body, mind, and spirit for the individual while he or she participates in treatment or receives services.”8 This is a laudable goal and for many, perhaps for the majority of those who are deinstitutionalized, it has been at least partially realized.

    For a substantial minority, however, deinstitutionalization has been a psychiatric Titanic. Their lives are virtually devoid of “dignity” or “integrity of body, mind, and spirit.” “Self-determination” often means merely that the person has a choice of soup kitchens. The “least restrictive setting” frequently turns out to be a cardboard box, a jail cell, or a terror-filled existence plagued by both real and imaginary enemies.

    I’m pretty sure you and I discussed the timeline of deinstitutionalization once before, Glenn, and that time you acknowledged that it wasn’t Reagan’s idea. Did you forget that?

  • troll

    Kenn – while malinvestment in low level production inputs based on corrupted pricing might clear quickly in the proper political environment as you claim the same can’t be said for overinvestment in high level inputs such as labor and credit

  • Kenn Jacobine

    I never said there wouldn’t be pain. There would have been plenty of it in the aftermath of the last financial crisis. But it would have ended by now.

    Instead what we have is a re-inflated bubble that only the rich guys are enjoying. That too will burst when increased cost (interest rates) rise making the malinvestment encouraged by phony low rates unsustainable.

    The recession is not the problem. That is the needed consequence of the misguided policy. The problem is attempting to build an economy on price fixed interest rates and monetized government debt – i.e. the boom years.

    The more malinvestment incurred the harder the fall. That is why I keep insisting that the next downturn will be very large. Rates have been at zero for how long? The government has gone into debt how many more trillions?

  • troll

    I’ve seen no convincing argument that the pain due to the disruption of ‘capital structure’ would have ended by now…just wishful thinking

    what’s your reasoning here?

  • Igor

    In California it was Governor Reagan who created the homeless problem by closing our modest asylums and Homes for The Miserables. He sold the properties off for pennies on the dollar to his silk-suited pals from LA.

  • Clav

    In California it was Governor Reagan who created the homeless problem by closing our modest asylums and Homes for The Miserables.

    Wrong. It was a federal program, started in the 1950s, which grew exponentially under LBJ’s Great Society and the advent of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Reagan governed California from 1967 to 1971.

    As governor, Reagan did sign the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act in California. However, that act did not go into effect until 1972, after Reagan left office, and the bill had bipartisan support and was widely praised by the left as a civil rights masterpiece (as were the federal programs initiated during the Great Society). It was the ACLU that argued for the end of forced institutionalization of harmless insane people, not Ronald Reagan.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    We’ve had close to five years of borrow and spend and artificially low interest rates at zero! and yet we have more people unemployed now than when the crisis hit. It is the same thing that happened in the 1930s when government attempted to reinflate the bubble.

    Granted, it is not just the attempt to maintain an artificially high cost of living that has prevented job growth. It is also Obama policies in regards to taxing the rich and regulations – especially Obamacare. There is rumor that he will attempt to raise the minimum wage. At a time when unskilled African-American youth unemployment is at all time highs, this will only make the problem worse.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Yeah, I forgot. Thanks.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    You said:

    I never said there wouldn’t be pain. There would have been plenty of it in the aftermath of the last financial crisis. But it would have ended by now. I never said there wouldn’t be pain. There would have been plenty of it in the aftermath of the last financial crisis. But it would have ended by now.

    and

    We’ve had close to five years of borrow and spend and artificially low interest rates at zero! and yet we have more people unemployed now than when the crisis hit. It is the same thing that happened in the 1930s when government attempted to reinflate the bubble.

    Sorta reminds me of the story of the guy who was whistling on a street corner. Another guy asked him what he was doing, and the guy replied, “I’m keeping away the elephants.” The other guy said incredulously, “This is America – there aren’t any wild elephants here!” to which the first guy replied, “See, it works!”

    The story doesn’t fit exactly except in to point out the folly of insisting that something has or has not happened *just because* something was or was not done.

    But more to the point, Kenn, we’ve discussed the Depression before – and the reason we went back into the second dip of the Depression (as I pointed out and referenced before) was the austerity measures that the hard-line conservative Dixiecrats forced on FDR after he was elected in 1936…and austerity does NOT help an economy to grow, as England’s finding out right now as they’re about to go into the third dip of their recession.

    England’s been implementing austerity measures since the Great Recession hit…and where has it gotten them? On the other hand, France is going the opposite direction, and they’re not nearly in so much pain.

    Austerity doesn’t work, Kenn. That’s nothing more than a bugaboo fed to you by people who think a nation’s economy can be likened to a household economy when the two are so incredibly, radically different.

  • troll

    Kenn – here’s a short primer of sorts on modern ABCT(pdf) that might help get our terminology on the same page…(that I currently consider the theory fundamentally wrongheaded isn’t a factor here)

    based on it I suggest that the overinvestment leading into the crisis is as much of a factor in its duration as malinvestment or current policy and that there is no quick fix no matter how ‘correct’ the policy or painful the correction

    I agree with you that the next contraction likely will be severe

  • Clav

    troll, simply because I respect your opinion, your #25 scares me, especially with 100% of my savings in the Market.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Keynesians believe that recessions come when demand for goods and services dries up. He called that “animal spirits”. It just happens. That is hardly an explanation for a business cycle. The economy is more complicated than that.

    The article you offer is an appropriate description of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory. That is that price fixing of money by a central monetary authority sends the wrong signal to investors, borrowers, and consumers. This distortion causes all of the above to act in ways that they wouldn’t otherwise. It is like if something is priced below a market price level more people will demand it and there will be shortages. However, the market is allowed to fix itself by indicating to merchants to raise prices to lessen demand. Then a shortage is averted. But with the Fed, mortal man controls the price of money. People invest like crazy (i.e. houses). Way beyond the time it should have, the Fed finally adjusts rates up but by then it is too late. The boom is in full steam. Rates have to go higher to cool it down. Then the bubble pops because it is no longer sustainable at higher rates. All of that phony wealth built with artificially low rates during the boom begins to evaporate in the form of deflation. Then the Fed steps in and reinflates to prevent pain. The cycle begins all over again.

    Glenn, the depression you like to speak of in 1937, was caused in my view by rising taxes and spending cuts. Like today, government spending was the only thing supporting the economy in 1936. It was a phony recovery. The correction needed to happen. Just like today it will happen. When exactly? Nobody can call it precisely. Bernanke is still injecting 100s of billions of dollars into the economy indefinitely.

    Just my opinion.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Clavos, that’s an incredibly risky strategy. I admire your courage in being prepared to stake so much in a place when there is no real difference between the market and a casino game…

  • Kenn Jacobine

    I am not an investment advisor, but I do believe the stock market will be one of those bubbles that pops again. This is not meant to be an offer of investment advice.

  • Clav

    Nor is it taken as such, Kenn. I agree with you regarding the likelihood of a market “pop,” and although I said 100% of my savings is in the market, I also have annuities which provide me enough cash flow to survive comfortably in a crash — unless, of course, the holders of those annuities also go down in flames.

    In any case, I’ve been a risk taker all my life, but not blindly, and this time is no exception; were there to be a crash, I will, of course, not emerge unscathed, but I’m confident that I will nevertheless survive.

  • troll

    Clav – given the fragility of our modern capitalist production structure the scary thing would be a collapse of the subsistence fund leaving you little to buy with you annuity income

  • Cindy

    Hopefully the fish aren’t too contaminated in Miami.

  • Igor

    Economists have known for 200 years that the capitalist system is intrinsically unstable. That instability is the source of the problems. We SHOULD institute counter forces, negative feedback, that resist instability, but we don’t. In fact, we usually pile on more instability, in the form of positive feedback. Thus, Geo W Bush when confronted with the surpluses of the Clinton era, started trillion dollar wars, gave trillions to his rich friends, and a trillion or so to the Pharmas. All wrong. He should have banked some money, thus withdrawing it from the over-fed economy and saved it for a rainy day. That, incidentally is Keynesian counter-cyclical policy.

    The Austrian school is BS: they simply have no good way to respond to negative cycles. Thay always say “sit still. don’t move. wait for the system to cleanse itself”.

  • Clav

    Troll,

    My home is mobile and self-sufficient; it makes its own electricity, it makes its own water and it treats its sewage. In the wake of hurricanes down here, I want for nothing.

    But hurricane aftermath is, of course, relatively short term. For the longer term aftermath of what you describe, I do have to have access to diesel. Otherwise, I can get along pretty well on my own down in the islands, where, I suspect, diesel will,in fact be available, though certainly much more expensively than it is now.

    I also have barterable physical skills (mechanical, electrical, fiberglass and wood work), and the advantage of having grown up in a substantially primitive minimal economy heavily reliant on barter; I know how it works.

  • Clav

    …the capitalist system is intrinsically unstable…

    Which is its single most important element,and what, along with with opportunity, culminated, in this country becoming, at one time, the most wealthy and advanced nation in the world — until we began the rejection and dismantling process currently embraced by the progressives, and led by Obama.

    So, in a likely vain search for safety, stability and Disney World, we will instead sink into the mire of government control and denial of opportunity in the name of equality and “fairness,” upon which we’ve already embarked.

    Requiescat in Pace, America.

  • Igor

    Instability is good if you like rapid boom/bust cycles, but usually that’s only traders.

  • troll

    Clav #34 – glad to read that I needn’t worry excessively about you in the event of…one less thing you know

    as a troll with a refined pallet and a particular taste for rotting white meat and putrid fluids I should do fine as well

    I think I’ll go to the country and grow peaches……or maybe cherries

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    So, in a likely vain search for safety, stability and Disney World, we will instead sink into the mire of government control and denial of opportunity in the name of equality and “fairness,” upon which we’ve already embarked.

    Which is why the non-OPEC first-world nations are ALL social democracies with high levels of government control and equality, hm? But one has to ask – where is the standard of living for the people (not just the well-off or the filty rich, but of the PEOPLE) best? Is it in the third-world nations with low regulations and taxes and not much equality, or in the first-world nations with high regulations and equality and taxes?

    In other words, Clav, you’re working with the wrong paradigm. You’re ignoring the simple fact that life is better in first-world socialized democracies BECAUSE they are socialized democracies – and even outside the first-world, among the lesser nations, the socialized democracies generally do better than those who are not.

    Forget what you personally think OUGHT to work better…instead, you should be paying attention to what obviously DOES work better for the people as a whole. Time to change your paradigm, sir.

  • Doug Hunter

    Knowing folks in business, the market scares me a bit. Clavos has more cajones than I, virtually all my money is in my own businesses and low-middle income apartments I control. Businesses can go away in a heartbeat, but real estate is real estate (regardless of what a dollar is worth a building and land is still a building and land) and barring complete societal collapse it’s fairly safe bet people will need an affordable place to live.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    That’s a good business, Doug – you know better than I that it has its own risks too. But let me share with you a story I once read in my Uncle Frank’s furniture store – this isn’t word-for-word, but you’ll get the gist of it:

    Once upon a time there was a man who had a hot dog joint, and he made a good living with it. He bought his supplies, paid his people, and had a little bit of advertising. Life was good.

    One day his son came home from college and said, “Dad, what are you doing? Don’t you know there’s a recession on?”

    The man heard his son, so he cut back on his supplies, his personnel, and his advertising…and soon his business didn’t do so well, so he called up his son and said, “You know, you’re right – there is a recession going on!”

    =======================

    The point is, despite most problems in the world this side of war, natural disaster, or death, the savvy businessman can still make money if he has a good product and sticks to sensible practices…and having a metaphorical set of brass cojones helps. You’ve got a good product, so I think you’ll do just fine.

  • Igor

    Gee, I thought it was cash-out liquidators like Romney who favored the “rejection and dismantling process” as exemplified with the republicans interest in reneging on debts and cashing out US assets.

  • Igor

    @27-Kenn: where on earth did you get this idea? “Keynesians believe that recessions come when demand for goods and services dries up. He called that “animal spirits”. It just happens”

    Where did Keynes ascribe economic cycles to “animal spirits”?

  • Clav

    You’re ignoring the simple fact that life is better in first-world socialized democracies BECAUSE they are socialized democracies

    Perhaps it’s better for you; certainly it’s better for the underclasses, but I’m not convinced it would be better for me.

    I do not like being forced to lead my life according to the judgments of others (certainly not when those others are government bureaucrats). Just to reside in a country — any country — requires (to varying degrees) the individual to voluntarily relinquish portions of his freedom and control of his own circumstances, but I prefer to keep those compromises to a minimum and, to the extent I find possible, make my own choices, particularly personal choices; the argument that the dictated behavior is better for society as a whole is utterly meaningless to me.

    I renounced religion for the same reason, and yes, I can see myself moving back home (or elsewhere) in the foreseeable future if Obama is able to realize all his dreams for “bettering” America that he’s already announced. And since he’s circumventing the law and the structure of our government to implement his ideas, I’d say he stands a pretty good chance of thoroughly socializing this country, more’s the pity.

    But I’m sure all those illegal mexicans will be delighted (We legal ones, not so much), and will be solid, loyal Democratic voters for the rest of their lives as the government pays for their every need and want — oh wait, it won’t be the government paying for that, it’ll be the taxpayers — people like you and me, who’ll be paying for them. Well, you can do that if you want, no doubt it will give you a feeling of satisfaction, of noblesse oblige.

    Not I. One way or another, I won’t do that nor contribute to any of it.

  • Clav

    Doug,

    I too have rental property. I didn’t include it in my comments above because its liquidity is undeniably less than that of securities; particularly now. Nonetheless, I’ve found it to be most helpful, but ironically more on the side of tax reduction (primarily because of being able to depreciate), rather than cash flow, though the cash flow is usually at least enough to cover taxes, insurance, maintenance, property manager’s fees, etc. I usually recycle properties when their depreciation period is reaching its end.

  • Doug Hunter-

    #40 So true, their was no way looking at our books that you would know we were in a recession. Of course, I’m lucky to be in a location that wasn’t hard hit. At the same time people were losing jobs and struggling, other well qualified people were being denied home loans or moving on from foreclosures so there were still renters… in the end it all balanced out.

    One of the bigger risks in the lower income field is having to compete with government subsidized housing… hard to pit your money versus theirs when they have a printing press. We accept quite a few vouchers though(hence have government support), but no direct subsidies, seems like you’ve got to have good political connectiosn to get into that. The vouchers are a much better way IMO, not just because it benefits me but because it allows people to scatter and mix into the larger community rather than putting all the poor together in a dysfunctional group. There is also a built in incentive in some of the programs where they can pay a little extra to stay in a nicer place if they have the initiative as well.

    Also, when I throw out an opinion on the status, values, or motives of the poor and working poor on this site it from the insight I gained managing the first properties we bought while bootstrapping them up. I saw bank records, applications, and built relationships with lots of people in that class and saw firsthand how their lives and decisionmaking played out (or didn’t).

  • Doug Hunter-

    #44

    My current plan is acquire, acquire, acquire, and hold forever and let my kids reset the depreciation or trade up with 1031 exchanges (haven’t even been in it for 27.5 years yet) , I’m in an ideal market for rental real estate… far better than any others I’ve seen. Lots of projects, including new construction as most of mine are, that can generate great cashflow. If you’re willing to take the risk on leverage with the low rates you can generate 30% or more cash on cash returns with much of that covered by depreciation and still withstand 40-50% vacancy rates and that’s without even including the equity you pay down, the inflation hedge, etc.

  • Doug Hunter-

    That, or I live in my mother’s basement and am confusing Monopoly with real life. What I mean is I plan on buying Park Place and adding hotels… lol.

    All kidding aside, I realize sharing specific personal financial stuff is a little douchebaggy in a Politics comments section, I’ll try and refrain in the future… I’ll save it for the get rich quick scheme thread;)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Perhaps it’s better for you; certainly it’s better for the underclasses, but I’m not convinced it would be better for me.

    Perhaps you think it’s too altruistic to say the many are more important than the one…but a rising tide lifts all boats…

    …including your own.

  • Clavos

    Perhaps you think it’s too altruistic to say the many are more important than the one…but a rising tide lifts all boats…

    Perhaps so, Glenn.

  • troll

    realizing that arguing the point would be pointless I will only mention that recent work by the IMF -see Stiglitz’ ‘The Great Divide’ in the NYT and The Economist’s series last year – indicates that this cliché doesn’t reflect the economic reality of modern capitalism

  • troll

    links the system won’t accept:

    Stiglitz

    The Economist

  • Igor

    I believe this is the pertinent Stiglitz article: Stiglitz NYT

    I like to peruse the Economist podcasts, which are regular and interesting.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    this cliché doesn’t reflect the economic reality of modern capitalism

    Assuming you’re referring to the ‘boats’ cliché, that’s very true if we’re discussing deregulated capitalism with a weak or nonexistent social safety net. It’s as with almost all else – moderation in everything.

  • Igor

    If the rising tide is the aftermath of a tsunami and your boat is anchored to the bottom of the bay it will swamp.

  • Clav

    If the rising tide is the aftermath of a tsunami and your boat is anchored to the bottom of the bay it will swamp.

    It’s actually far more likely to pull the anchor out of the bottom.

  • trol

    …it looks like even the most egalitarian progressively redistributive social democracies haven’t been able to maintain historic levels of income equality in the face of the current trend toward concentrated capital and real wealth

    It’s as with almost all else – moderation in everything.

    I appreciate your moderate wording and application of this clich� leaving yourself room for immoderation in your partisan diatribes…and everyone else free to flame as well

  • troll

    (read ‘economic inequality’ for ‘income inequality’ in #56)

  • troll

    (economic equality…income equality – not my morning for coherent comments)

  • Dr Dreadful

    It’s actually far more likely to pull the anchor out of the bottom.

    Damn Chinese-made anchors…

  • Igor

    Damn my leaky chinese rowboat.

  • troll

    Clavos could fiberglass that sucker up for you in a jiffy

  • Cindy

    Poor Clav, reduced to reclaiming leaky chinese rowboats with fiberglass. Well, that’s capitalism for ya…promising the glamor will last forever.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    trol –

    …it looks like even the most egalitarian progressively redistributive social democracies haven’t been able to maintain historic levels of income equality in the face of the current trend toward concentrated capital and real wealth

    Really? Based on what data? Based on what national trends in which country? You can’t say it’s England, because they embraced austerity early on after the Recession hit, and because of it they’re about to hit their third dip.

    troll, the European nations did take more of a hit than we did…but we had the stimulus that most of them didn’t…and in every case I can think of, those nations who took the path of austerity were also the ones who have been the slowest to recover, while those who were most progressive, who did not institute austerity measures, are not doing badly at all.

    And then look at Canada – we’re by far their leading trading partner, yet despite their much higher degree of socialism, they were hardly touched by the Great Recession.

    And in ALL cases among the non-OPEC social democracies, America’s degree of income inequality has been the highest; indeed, the march of inequality has only accelerated since 2008. And if you’ll check, the Walton family has more wealth than the entire bottom 40% of American citizens combined, despite the fact that so many – perhaps even a majority – of their workers are forced to draw government assistance just to make ends meet! How the heck anyone can see that as a good thing is beyond me.

    I appreciate your moderate wording and application of this clich� leaving yourself room for immoderation in your partisan diatribes…and everyone else free to flame as well

    Then prove me wrong by pointing out solid examples (without cherry-picking) that refute what I say – that’s all I ask. After all, you are at least as intelligent as I am, so if I’m so wrong, then that should be a relatively simple challenge, right? And this challenge – as I have repeatedly shown by my actions in the past – is not made with sarcasm. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Prove me wrong and I’ll be grateful.

    Your turn.

  • Clavos

    Poor Clav, reduced to reclaiming leaky chinese rowboats with fiberglass.

    Don’t get ahead of me, Cindy. Actually, the worst boats are not Chinese, they’re mostly European, especially Italian. At the same time, many of the best boats are also European; particularly Dutch and German. The Aussies make good boats, though theirs do tend to veer off to the wrong side of the waterway. Stan (STM) can explain the whys and wherefores of that phenomenon to you. Ironically, the biggest motor boat builder also makes some of the worst, and they do it right here in the good ol’ USA…

    Doc: Scotland makes (in my opinion), the best anchors (CQR, aka “plow”) and even theirs would be pulled out of the bottom long before the boat sank; there’s an enormous amount of buoyancy in a modern hull, with its characteristically wide beam.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    theirs do tend to veer off to the wrong side of the waterway.

    That’s funny…

    …I drove for several days down in Tasmania, and after two or three hours of getting used to driving on the wrong side of the road, it really became little different from driving here. But those first few hours were, um, interesting….

  • Clavos

    How the heck anyone can see that as a good thing is beyond me.

    Good or bad; How the heck anyone can see that as a legitimate area for government interference is beyond me.

  • troll

    Glenn – I was referring to Canada and the Scandinavian countries based on the information in The Economist link in #51 where it is noted that even in these countries economic inequality is on the rise…the fact that the situation is worse in the US is not relevant to the point I was making [you might re-read my comment] though I understand its importance to your comparisons

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Good or bad; How the heck anyone can see that as a legitimate area for government interference is beyond me.

    You really think it’s good for a nation’s economy when ONE family has more money than 40% of that nation’s citizens? There’s a point, Clav, when there is too much freedom. Too much freedom – like too much of anything else – is a bad thing.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Troll –

    From your reference:

    Scandinavian countries have the smallest income disparities, with a Gini coefficient for disposable income of around 0.25. At the other end of the spectrum the world’s most unequal, such as South Africa, register Ginis of around 0.6.

    While the top one-percent’s share of the nation’s income is on the rise in most first-world nations, America is the worst by quite a bit, with England’s upward trend almost as bad.

    But if you’ll look at the chart that lists the U.S., England, France, Germany, and Sweden, the share of their national income held by their top one percent has either stayed stagnant or only risen somewhat.

    All economies are demand driven. When a very small segment of a nation holds too much of a nation’s money, it hurts the economy of that nation as a whole because the poor and middle-class do not have the funds to spend. The case of the Walton family is especially egregious since hundreds of thousands of their workers must depend on the public dole to make ends meet even though they already have a full-time job…which essentially means that the federal taxpayer is subsidizing Wal-Mart’s payroll.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Well, so much for my attempt to push the anchor metaphor to obscene limits…

  • troll

    Glenn – did I give you the impression that I missed that in the Economist piece?

    you don’t need to quote my sources to me or pontificate on the ‘demand driven economy’ narrative which I’m familiar with…what you might consider is paying attention to what is actually said by others in their comments

    this is an appropriate springboard for me to address the second part of #63:

    Then prove me wrong by pointing out solid examples (without cherry-picking) that refute what I say – that’s all I ask. After all, you are at least as intelligent as I am, so if I’m so wrong, then that should be a relatively simple challenge, right? And this challenge – as I have repeatedly shown by my actions in the past – is not made with sarcasm. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Prove me wrong and I’ll be grateful

    You have to understand that I don’t share your experience of you as a sincere reasonable debater…my experience of you has been as a cliché bitten immoderately perseverative dogmatically driven distortionist and contortionist – and all around swell guy

    so I figured out awhile ago that the only way for us interact productively is to work on reframing issues in an attempt to locate common ground

    in this spirit let me propose the following alternative approach to your initial question:

    folks are ‘doing better’ in the social democracies because the are positioned to enforce their economic interests militarily directly or through alliances

  • Clav

    …there’s a point, Clav, when there is too much freedom.

    Never, NEVER did I ever think I’d hear someone who professes to be an American make a statement like that!

    The country will not survive.

  • Irene Athena

    If “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,” then we may all be in store for a little too much freedom soon.

    And I realize that if 95% of my possessions were taken away, I’d still be wealthy by worldwide standards. I want to be generous, but I don’t like having my money taken away “to help the poor” or “to help the environment,” and instead it ends up going to subsidize ethanol producers, for instance, causing hardship domestically and severe corn shortages in other parts of the world.

    This rant raps up in a nutshell what bugs me about the “regressively progressive” mindset.

    Over the summer, the ethanol debate reached a new tipping point when the severe drought in the heartland destroyed much of the corn crop. At that point, even the obdurate knuckleheads in Washington began to wake up to the reality of the ethanol boondoggle. A bipartisan group of 156 representatives, 8 governors, and 25 senators petitioned the EPA to temporarily waive the ethanol mandate in the Renewable Fuels Standard until we recover from the drought. After dragging their feet for months, the EPA announced today that they have no intention on suspending the mandate for even one day.

    Folks, this is the regressiveness of the progressives on display for everyone to see. The same man who rails against tax cuts for those who pay the most in taxes, has no problem forcing all American consumers to subsidize a boondoggle for the rich. I have a novel idea, Mr. President. Let’s not steal money from the rich, but let’s not subsidize them either; let’s not subsidize the poor and working class, but let’s not create the need for the subsidy in the first place.

    Yah, yah, that rant was from RedState so there’s no mention of the fact that the push to turn corn into ethanol began during the Bush administration. The criticism of Obama for allowing it to continue is justified, but to write as if the scheme originated with Obama is just so …. RedState-ish.

    Hope for the hungry and the environment is going to come primarily from grassroots movements of well-informed, well-organized, and compassionate people, not from a monolithic and corrupt bureaucracy.

    This organization looks interesting. SlowFood.

  • Dr Dreadful

    @ #68, 72: Glenn, I have to side with Clav here. There really isn’t any such thing as “too much” freedom. It’s not a question of degree: you’re either free or you aren’t. On balance, I think Americans are free and there’s little likelihood of that going away in the foreseeable future. The question is how much encroachment on that freedom you are all willing to tolerate.

    As for Clav’s claim that Obama stands a good chance of instituting a socialist-like structure, that’s highly unlikely as well (even if that were his goal, which it isn’t) since he can’t manage to reach a compromise with Congress on even the most trivial things.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav and Doc Dreadful –

    Really? You don’t think there’s such a thing as too much freedom? Something tells me that neither of you know why I’ve said this many, many times.

    Want total freedom? Get rid of speed limits – there’s a lot of people who would vote for that! Get rid of stop signs, and get rid of the state laws that require drivers to be licensed and carry insurance! Get rid of seat belt laws, including the requirements that vehicles have seat belts to begin with! And while we’re at it, get rid of emissions controls and highway construction standards and traffic lanes! Get rid of every traffic control fixture, too – we can’t be totally free as long as there’s a single traffic law that’s enforced!

    Let’s not stop there! Who says our kids have to go to school or even be home schooled! If we want to put them to work age five, let’s do that! Almost all my friends are strongly conservative, but there’s one who told me quite seriously that he thinks kids should be allowed – hell, encouraged! – to bring guns to school…and it’s an encroachment on his freedom that his sons aren’t allowed to do so.

    And there’s certainly too little freedom in the marketplace, isn’t there – like since when should companies have to list what’s in their foods? If they want fill it all up with trans-fats and cancer-causing agents like red dye #5 and BHT and DDT and whatever other kind of filler they can think of, no problem – we can just watch the ‘magic of the marketplace’…which worked SO well in the days when Big Tobacco was paying doctors to tell us that cigarettes were GOOD for us! Why, it’s base tyranny that the government charges skyrocketing taxes on cigarettes and won’t allow them to be sold to our kids! How dare our government stop modern darwinism by trying to decrease the hundreds of thousands of Americans who die every friggin’ year from smoking-related diseases!

    And then there’s another national tyranny – our laws against littering – littering!!!! Who cares if we want to toss our trash in a public area – it’s our area, right? What about that eeeeevil EPA – don’t we miss the days when L.A. and many of our other metropoli were covered in smog? And acid rain was never a big deal either, and neither was Love Canal! Or Bhopal! Or Three-Mile Island! Or the Exxon Valdez! Or the BP Gulf oil spill! And let’s not even mention anthropogenic global warming, since every Real American knows what a hoax that is, that it’s just another guv’mint attempt to attack business.

    Clavos and Doc Dreadful, both of you can see that I can go on all day long like this. There IS such a thing as too much freedom – at its worst, it’s the purest libertarianism, the realization of Alistair Crowley’s prediction that “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”.

    That, sirs, is total freedom…and it’s every bit as bad, every bit as unworkable for building and maintaining a civilized society, as no freedom at all. Perhaps one or both of you are enamoured of Franklin’s maxim “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” Ol’ Ben would have been ridden out of town on a rail by today’s Real Conservatives, since he signed off on a treaty and an alliance with France, and for a while was the president of Pennsylvania (‘president’ was, for there at that time, their term for ‘governor’)…which means that he did seem to see a need for laws, for encroachments on our freedom.

    Whether either of you like it or not, both of you NEED regulation in your lives. You’ve just lived so close to it, become so used to it, that you don’t realize its existence. Every one of these regulations are encroachments on your freedom, but a safe life in a modern society would be flatly impossible without those regulations, those encroachments on your freedom.

    We all know about places in the world today and throughout history where there has been little or no freedom, and we rightly fear allowing our society to devolve into such…but we MUST have enough regulation in society – from business to health care to education to communication to whatever – in order for society to thrive.

    Neither too little freedom nor too much freedom – that, sirs, is the key, and the degree of regulation in our lives is rightly among the most serious of topics in any discussion of the proper role of government.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Glenn, where there are speed limits, compulsory education laws or littering ordinances, there are still people who speed, don’t send their kids to school and throw their trash on the ground.

    While we who live in the US and other free countries may not always be able to do these things with impunity, we do have a reasonable expectation that we won’t be tortured or killed for doing them.

    The other, more important difference is that in a free society we agree to abide by these laws. We can, if we so wish, abolish or amend them at any time.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    But it’s an encroachment on your freedom that if a cop sees you speed or litter, he’ll fine you, and you will pay. If you speed, you’ll also pay lots more in insurance, and if you refuse to have insurance, then you won’t legally drive in most states…and if a cop catches you driving illegally, he takes away your car and you walk. Is that freedom, or the lack thereof?

    If you don’t send your child to school and don’t homeschool them in accordance to state law, your child can (and will probably) be taken away from you. Is that freedom, or the lack thereof? Give me a choice between torture and having my child forcefully taken away from me…and I’ll choose torture.

    And no, we the people cannot abolish or amend laws at any time if we so desire, because there are many instances where the opinion of the minority is imposed upon the majority – the vast majority of Americans (and even a signficant majority of NRA members) support universal background checks AND universal firearm registration…but are these changes going to happen? No. Another example – a very significant majority want equal pay for women, but are we going to see that anytime soon? No. In other words, Doc, “we the people” only goes so far, and your “we can abolish or amend” remark is rather Pollyannish – the Orwellian success that Fox News has had of telling people what to think (and of telling politicians how to govern) should be proof enough that there’s a lot of people who don’t think for themselves.

    No, we do not agree to abide by our laws – not all of them, anyway, because you yourself can list offhand a bucketful of laws that you either ignore or wish you could ignore. Most of the time, we don’t even agree to submit to punishment for breaking these laws – we only submit to the punishment because we have no real choice in the matter. Think about that one for a while.

    Doc, don’t get me wrong – we are freer than many nations (and less free than some others), and I deeply appreciate the freedoms I do have. But the deeper purpose of all the rules and regulations – the restrictions on our freedoms – boils down to the old saying that “your freedom ends where mine begins”…and if your level of freedom is such that it encroaches upon my freedom, than you have too much freedom.

  • Cindy

    I wonder if we can take all the children away from the gov’t schools, which are clearly not educating them. Could it be as simple as calling the Division of Youth and Family Services.

    Thanks for the idea, Glenn. ;-)

  • Cindy

    Glenn,

    So, what happens if the gov’t is wrong? (Say it is doing less to educate children than it to damage them?

    Is there some reason to believe that the gov’t is right about the way it does things or that it does things better than what reasonable adults would be capable of doing on their own?

    (If you says all adults in this society are not reasonable, I would agree. But it is the society and its designs that result in such a condition in adults. (and in children as well)

    Gonna be hard to cure the problem with more of what’s creating it.

  • Cindy

    We are not independent of our environment. Give us a different environment if you want different results. Reasonable people are grown from reasonable circumstances.

  • Dr Dreadful

    No, we do not agree to abide by our laws – not all of them, anyway, because you yourself can list offhand a bucketful of laws that you either ignore or wish you could ignore.

    Which really just illustrates how fragile the whole system is. In the US and other free states, ultimate power is vested in the people. In authoritarian – non-free – states, it rests with the government.

    Laws in a free state are only effective if the populace freely agrees to abide by them, or at least accepts that they are legitimate and that there will be consequences if it doesn’t. It can potentially, at any time, decide not to do either of these things – the easy manipulability of the Foxnauts and their ilk notwithstanding.

    Try doing that in, say, China, and you end up directing traffic in Tiananmen Square.

    I suppose we’re having a semantic disagreement, Glenn. But think about this: why do you consider us to be acting less freely in collectively agreeing to be subject to laws than in not having laws, in having a bare minimum of them, or in disobeying them?

  • John Lake

    Possibly in Utopia, laws will be enforced by voluntary compliance, only. But until that post-Apocalyse world, enforcement is the key.
    If a majority of the populace feels a law should be changed, (special interests notwithstanding) change is an option.

  • Cindy

    Enforcement (a second cousin to domination) is the problem. A new paradigm based on cooperation is in order. It is likely that no one here litters and it is not likely that they do so because they fear being arrested.

    The catch is that one must allow more than the privileged to determine reality on the ground. That is what makes a new paradigm unlikely. This system is based on making sure that doesn’t happen. Its ethos, teachings, and myths forbid it.

  • John Lake

    As the administration secures the right to an education to anyone able to utilize it, and as education includes some savvy in dealing with society, making a few waves when necessary, the body of people is at least temporarily free from concern about rule by the rich. As I suggested in #82, a real concern is rule by special interests. Not to go off-topic, but just today the gun lobby is exerting itself, and the outcome should be interesting.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    You’re looking at overall systems of government, but you’re ignoring the regulations and laws that, while they do restrict us from certain freedoms every day of our lives, are absolutely necessary to maintain an orderly modern society…

    …and that’s my point – without those regulations and laws, we cannot enjoy the freedoms that we do have. Yes, there are many places that don’t enjoy the freedoms that we have, but even in the freest of democracies (which is not America) one is not free to do whatever one wishes – heck, by this measure there’s places in Africa (like Somalia) that are freer than America’s ever been! But that’s the freedom of anarchy – which isn’t freedom at all.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Somalia isn’t free: it’s ruled by a patchwork of authoritarian gangs and militias, each controlling its own little territory and/or segment of the population.

    Just because the country has no effective national government doesn’t mean it isn’t governed. It is – just not as Somalia.

  • John Lake

    As you may note in my recent article, these African gangs in many cases are extremist fanatics who murder women in the street for not wearing the proper veil. This is not governing, this is insanity. As I also said, the time has come when we can’t ignore the suffering in Africa. In this age of drones, we can take some control without undo expense.

  • troll

    But that’s the freedom of anarchy – which isn’t freedom at all.

    case in point: how can someone who has engaged in debate and come to an agreement about the possible if limited positive applications of anarchism in governance consider that to be a well-formed thought?

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    troll: I agree with your original remark but think you’re being a bit harsh on Glenn “not at all” Contrarian here.

    His comment was about something that is actually happening and your #88, if I follow you correctly, is about a different kind of consideration altogether.

    Instinctively I favour a more anarchic approach to life at almost all levels but in practice it seems to get more complex than that simple impulse might desire, particularly when larger numbers of people get involved.

    Until such time as people generally become more rational and less superstitious, ie less Glenn-like, on balance I am unfortunately left feeling more pessimistic than optimistic about the actual desirability of a more anarchic world.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn – #79

    Thanks Glenn, I was at a loss for my next blog post.

    What a ridiculous rant!

  • troll

    …if the people of Somalia were to kick off the yoke of Sharia with its insane applications and enter into a more anarchic (ie lawless) relationship I think life could improve for them –

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Yea, Somalians and Americans have a lot in common.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    All people would be in better situations without the cruel deceptions and impositions of the deity deception, troll. That’s as true for the USA as it is for Somalia.

    As per my previous comment, humanity needs to evolve and grow before anarchy will have a realistic chance of becoming a helpful modality on a large scale.

  • troll

    …agreed – which is the best reason to support and participate in experiments with anarchy where you can find them

  • troll

    (…not poison the river with old bourgeois clichés)

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I used to do that, troll, but always ended up one or more of bored, disillusioned or frustrated so now I tend not to bother.

  • Doug Hunter

    “All people would be in better situations without the cruel deceptions and impositions of the deity deception,”

    That’s most definitely not true… some would, some wouldn’t. It is very important for the purveyors of all powerful government to destroy alternative institutions of socialization such as churches and the family so their can be no alternate allegiance… that is why you have been trained to attack the religious. It’s interesting that many in ‘progressive states’ have been trained that religion is the cause of most of the world’s ills (based largely on the actions of middle eastern Muslims it seems). The facts of the matter are that the greatest horrors, the most devastating genocides have been committed by openly atheist and religious antagonists… from Stalin to Mao to Hitler… these were folks who despised organized religion (although Hitler to some extent tolerated it publicly so as not to upset the masses) for the same reasons you do… because they sought absolute power and religion was a threat as it provided an alternate moral foundation.

    The attack on the family is more subtle, Marx’s ideas about the state raising children was not within the Overton window, but government policy has just about eliminated the father from the picture (the government has deeper pockets, best let them be the provider), couple that with taking kids earlier and earlier to government run schools with pre-K’s and Head Start and they’ve just about got what they’ve always wanted… the ability to raise and program the children as they see fit… of course, it’s all for our own good. They know better, it’s best to just cede to your superiors and accept it!

  • troll

    Doug – I have little to say about beliefs in whatever (god or the necessity of the State) but condemn the systems of laws that have grown and calcified around them

    (ps as you know – Marx was no anarchist)

  • Dr Dreadful

    Doug, in general I respect your views a lot, but I think you’re way off beam here. Chris, like me, hails from the UK. He has also spent a significant portion of his life in Spain. I don’t see either country as a “progressive state” by any stretch of the imagination, not least because both nations have, at least in some respects, an official state-sanctioned religion.

    Chris can be highly opinionated (he is a Manchester United fan after all), but you’re insulting his intelligence with your implication that he must have been “trained” to dislike religion, rather than have arrived at that attitude as a product of his own independent thought.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Doug, that is totally mindless drivel!

    So many idiotic, lazy presumptions it’s hard to know where to start, so I’ll just work through your remark following its order.

    I’m not purveying anything, least of all “all powerful government”, nor did I or am I in any way interested in or suggesting the destruction of “alternative institutions of socialization such as … the family”.

    In a similar vein, I haven’t “been trained to attack the religious” – it is simply blatantly evident to anyone except the dogmatic that deism is false, so by definition it is a cruel deception.

    Moving on, Stalin, Mao and Hitler all had intense belief systems that they sought to impose on other people, pretty much exactly what the three strands of theism do. They are in no way synonomous with my views or those of most who see that there simply are no gods.

    It is simply laughable and not a little hysterical to accuse me of wanting “absolute power” and you only make yourself seem unusually absurd by making such an assertion.

    As for the rest, some bizarre ramble about Marx’s attack on the family, I’m simply going to ignore that as it has no relevance to anything I am talking about, only whatever is going on inside your own mind.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    case in point: how can someone who has engaged in debate and come to an agreement about the possible if limited positive applications of anarchism in governance consider that to be a well-formed thought?

    As Chris pointed out in so many words, you’re comparing apples to oranges – the debate about anarchism in government that I had (and lost) with Cindy (you and Roger were also involved, but she’s the one who won the debate) was about using certain anarchistic principles in government…but as was shown with the indigenous people in Mexico who have put these anarchistic principles into action, there’s still a government with rules and laws and regulations.

    But in Somalia’s case, there was no longer a true government of any type; this left that nature-abhorred power vacuum which local warlords rushed to fill.

    Nice try, though – I’ll give you that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    government policy has just about eliminated the father from the picture (the government has deeper pockets, best let them be the provider)

    Really? Care to expound upon this statement? Are you saying that women who have children but who are in unhappy (and often abusive) relationships must stay with the husband? And last I recall, it’s more often the case that she is deserted by the boyfriend or husband the moment he finds out she’s pregnant…and he leaves her the burden of bearing and raising that child all by herself. With the exception of military personnel being called to deploy (or the government deporting a parent who is an illegal alien), I fail to see how the government is the one “eliminating the father from the picture.”

    But to listen to you, this is all the government’s fault. It’s as if whenver there’s a problem, it must be the government’s fault, whatever that problem may be.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    Moving on, Stalin, Mao and Hitler all had intense belief systems that they sought to impose on other people, pretty much exactly what the three strands of theism do.

    Yeah, you’re pretty intense about your feelings towards those who don’t share your beliefs about atheism, too. Frankly, I’ve yet to see anyone on BC as forcefully opinionated (“anyone-who-doesn’t-think-as-I-do-is-an-idiot”) on the subject of religion or the lack thereof, as you are.

    Seems to me you might have rather enjoyed the position of Commissar.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Yea, Somalians and Americans have a lot in common.

    Yes, like lots of guns accessible by anyone with little or no regulation. But hey, that’s the only path to a “polite society”, right? Even if that “polite society” requires 10K people shot to death (and tens of thousands more wounded) every year just to celebrate that Second Amendment “right”.

    “Please excuse the blasts of the guns and the screams of terror and horror, for these are the sounds of FREEDOM!!!!”

  • troll

    Glenn #101 – …there was ineffective military rule in Chiapas an area considered the badlands – no true government – and now there is local civilian governance based on anarchist principles…that the war lords and Islamics with their plans for domination took over in Somalia before anarchists could do some good there is an historic tragedy and pity – but that doesn’t make the apples and oranges argument sound…in other words are you claiming that that Somalis are incapable of a positive anarchism?

    your continuing use of the cliché conflating anarchy with some kind of destructive chaos where freedom is no freedom – a long time tactic of apologists for the status quo – leads me to question your sincerity in that debate with Cindy (I don’t remember participating in it)…or is it your understanding?

    nice contortion though

  • Doug Hunter-

    #99

    Much like he insulted every religious person (I’m not one) on this site. I did forget the first law of not getting edited/running afoul of rules though. I agree I should not have said ‘you’ve been trained’ should have said ‘people are trained’, has the same effect but is not a direct insult.

    He calls religion a ‘cruel deception’ I call the anti-christian bias duly noted in reviews of the government run BBC (see here and here) as ‘training’… in insult for an insult (and the whole world will be blind, or something like that)

    As you can see in his response, he’s not above returning the favor either.

  • Doug Hunter-

    #100

    Anything that is false is not a ‘cruel deception’, the movie The Invention of Lying provides one person’s take. I have a 4 year old that is a study in truth. He told my wife he wanted a new, better mom, told my mother she was ugly because she was old, then proceeded to answer the door this very morning and announced ‘Dad, some fat guy’s here to see you’… all of which I assure you was truth to him as spoken (my mother looks quite nice and fit for her age as a matter of fact) Deception is a part of life whether it’s big things or small things. In fact, it’s total deception to believe anything we do in our short span on this rock amounts to much of anything, that’s one of the questions religion tries to put to bed.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, I’m outraged by people who try to present as rational when they are clearly magical thinkers.

    I’m outraged by people trying to present superstition as credible and respectable.

    I don’t have “beliefs” about atheism.

    I’ve no interest in being the commissar of anything.

    Doug, I didn’t say “anything that is false” is a cruel deception, I said theism is.

    Once again, you wander off arguing against points that weren’t made. Are you stupid or just wilfully obscure?

  • Doug Hunter.

    #102

    Probably true. I tend to be critical of government… with much power comes much responsibility. I believe by the same token you err on the side of overlooking the consequences of it’s actions. I’m not going to win the culture arguments of the 1960’s with you now. Before no fault divorce and welfare were instituted in the 60’s the critique was that they would weaken the traditional family and increase single parenthood, divorce, and dependency. All those things came to pass.

    The interplay between government and society is an interesting thing… I think often when the government addresses an issue whether it’s welfare or marriage or subprime loans it can provide a powerful tacit endorsement of that activity that penetrates into the society at large that is often underestimated. To move to the more recent example, clearly greedy lenders and the private sector caused the bulk of the mortgage meltdown. When that process was at it prime those same lenders were looking over at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and seeing them providing subprime loans and packaging securities out the back door at the same time politicians were preaching the benefits of homeownership and pressuring them to get everybody into a home. I don’t think you can underestimate that impact. Again, it goes back to a concept you understand well: more power, more responsibility.

  • Doug Hunter.

    “Doug, I didn’t say ‘anything that is false’ is a cruel deception, I said theism is.” -CR #108

    Hmmm. Then what am I to make of this statement?

    “deism is false, so by definition it is a cruel deception.” -CR #100

    Furthermore I didn’t solely argue that point, I pointed out a movie depicting how common deception is and provided a specific reason (among many) why we deceive ourselves with religion… our purpose for being here, what happens after we die, etc., etc.

    I know it’s exciting for you to come back and insult me, but don’t let that override your logical mind.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I call the anti-christian bias duly noted in reviews of the government run BBC (see here and here) as ‘training’

    First of all, the BBC is not government-run: it operates under a charter to provide a national, non-commercial broadcasting service, but it is fully independent and the government has no say whatsoever in the TV and radio programming it airs nor the web content it publishes.

    Second, the BBC is very far from being the only national broadcaster in the UK. There are also its main rival, ITV, Channels 4 and 5 television, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky, a large variety of independent radio networks and many others. These tend to receive a lot less scrutiny, even though they often outperform the Beeb in terms of viewers, listeners and quality of programming. Perhaps that’s because the BBC, being the oldest and original broadcasting network, is regarded as a national institution and therefore held to higher standards.

    Third, I note that the “review” of the BBC that you cite was in fact a public opinion survey – hardly a source of empirical truth – and also that many respondents felt that Christianity was the only religious faith not treated leniently by the BBC: hardly suggestive of a concerted effort to “train” people to hate all religions.

    Fourth and finally, as a British citizen of some years’ standing I feel that I must take up the altruistic mission of disabusing Americans of their charming yet persistent notion that the Daily Mail is a reliable source for, oh, anything whatsoever.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Brief UK news media primer for Americans:

    Take anything sourced from the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sun or the Daily Mirror with a 50-lb slab of pure unblanched rock salt. These publications are tabloids that possess the ethical values of a Satan-worshipping male chauvinist sociopathic warthog with a heroin problem.

    The “quality” dailies the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Guardian and the Financial Times by and large have journalistic integrity and may be confidently cited, although it should be borne in mind that each of them have their own political biases: left-wing in the case of the Independent and the Guardian, right-wing in the case of the other three.

  • Doug Hunter.

    #111

    Valid points aplenty. It’s difficult to break down the complex workings of society into a simple example. I’ll work on a better example of the conflict of religion and government (which functions in many ways like a religion without a deity), it’s off to enjoy the afternoon now.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Doug, you are really presenting as someone with either desperately poor comprehension skills or a hideously over-active imagination. Either way, your ability to misunderstand a simple sentence is as impressive as it is scary.

    The sentence “deism is false, so by definition it is a cruel deception” means exactly as much as it says and no more. If I meant more than that, I would have written more. Please try to follow the bouncing ball…

    Your off topic, baffling and poorly constructed remarks about a move I’ve never even heard did nothing but muddy my clear water. Please do try to refrain from talking utter trash in the future.

    You have no idea what is exciting for me, so please fuck off with your glib remarks, although clearly superficiality is your special friend.

    As the Doc said, taking the Daily Mail as a reliable source of anything except trash disguised as middle class old age rectitude and bitterness is a major mistake. He has, however, apparently spent so long in the country of the formerly free as to have mistaken the Daily Telegraph and The Times for quality newspapers rather than the fonts of right wing propaganda that they actually are.

    Finally, I look forward to watching you try to substantiate your amusing notion that government functions like a religion.

  • Doug Hunter.

    #114

    Thanks for the enlightening response. I’ve never really considered when someone showed a statement I made to be demonstrably false going into denial and throwing a verbal tantrum… so politician-like of you.

    Off topic, baffling, and poorly constructed remarks are my specialty btw. Mostly nonsense interspersed with the occasional nugget of something approaching reason. I’ll save the religion/government lecture for another day, although the fact that they’ve been merged and morphed together like some hideous power grubbing siamese twin in any number of ways throughout history should make it easy work.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Chris, you’ll note that I did put “quality” in quotation marks and added the caveat that the Times and Telegraph are politically biased. That said, they are still infinitely better newspapers than the Daily Fail.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Doug, repeatedly posting gibberish is doing nothing to get you out of the pit of stupid you’ve dived into.

    It’s actually depressing to see you gaily celebrating your own stupidity. Shame…

    Rob, I wouldn’t accept that The Guardian or The Independent are left wing, but would agree that both they and the FT are quality reading. The Times and The Telegraph are both corrupt as far as I am concerned.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    I believe by the same token you err on the side of overlooking the consequences of it’s actions. I’m not going to win the culture arguments of the 1960’s with you now. Before no fault divorce and welfare were instituted in the 60’s the critique was that they would weaken the traditional family and increase single parenthood, divorce, and dependency.

    I write quite often about life in the Philippines. Quite recently they were judged the most religious nation in the world…and abortion, birth control (except for condoms), and divorce are all quite illegal there…and there’s a LOT of single mothers there (I’ve got a few stories). Girls are pressured by their boyfriends/fiances into having unprotected sex, the girl gets pregnant, and the boy says bye-bye…and the government’s not strong enough there to enforce child-support laws.

    You refer to the ‘consequences of actions’ when it came to divorce…but the world has changed, Doug. Elementary-grade kids know often more about sex now than I did as a high-school graduate…and this is true anywhere that the common people have access to the internet – and that’s not even addressing how cell phones and social networking have changed the social fabric of our world both inside and outside of America. Our world is changing, becoming something none of us could have foreseen in our youth…and the only choice we have is to either join with the Luddites and resist it with all our strength, or to dive in and learn how to swim, and maybe even to surf.

    But you and I now have something in common – Chris has officially determined that you and I and everyone else who believes there’s something beyond the seen are ‘magical thinkers’. If his #108 is any indication, we’re all irrational…but I’d say we’re in pretty good company (Einstein, Newton, Galileo, etc.). But of course we must all bow before Chris’ superior intellectual rationality….

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, it never ceases to amaze me how superstitious muppets like you attempt to justify their wilful ignorance by appeals to authority by mentioning people like Einstein, Newton and Galileo. If only you could see how totally unconvincing that is, particularly as none of these scientists was clearly unambiguously faithist.

    Galileo, who died 371 years ago in yet far more ignorant and superstitious times than these, chose science over religion as a career and, in reading his biography on Wikipedia, there is nothing to suggest he maintained superstitious views, despite the terrible pressure he was under from the Catholic gang.

    Newton, who died 287 years ago, was a deeply religious person – although even then he was a non-conformist – which was common for those comparatively ignorant times. Even so, he was openly mocked by others for some of his sillier assertions.

    Finally, Einstein, who died 58 years ago in 1955, although raised a Jew actually proclaimed himself an agnostic. As recently as 1954, just over a year before he died, he wrote “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

    In his “Autobiographical Notes” he wrote “Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true.

    The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression.

    Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment — an attitude that has never again left me…

    Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. The contemplation of this world beckoned as a liberation, and I soon noticed that many a man whom I had learned to esteem and to admire had found inner freedom and security in its pursuit.

    The mental grasp of this extra-personal world within the frame of our capabilities presented itself to my mind, half consciously, half unconsciously, as a supreme goal. Similarly motivated men of the present and of the past, as well as the insights they had achieved, were the friends who could not be lost.

    The road to this paradise was not as comfortable and alluring as the road to the religious paradise; but it has shown itself reliable, and I have never regretted having chosen it.”

    Clearly, on the topic of faithism, Einstein had more in common with my views than yours whilst Galileo and Newton can hardly be claimed as enthusiastic champions of deism and, if alive today, would almost certainly have even less time for this charade.

  • troll

    Chris #96 – it helps with the disillusionment and frustration if you approach the whole thing with a sense of humor…thus I find the fact that everybody in the Occupy movement – except me of course – is an infiltrator pretty damned funny

    don’t know what to advise about boredom…I’ve long thought that it should be viewed as a disease category of its own and that the pharma cos should get to work developing some relief from this debilitating condition – it should be covered by government mandated company sick-leave policies as well

  • troll

    (…of course I myself am not afflicted but some of my friends suffer greatly)

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Humour only gets you so far, troll.

    There are loads of pharma solutions to boredom but unfortunately they are all illegal, lol!

  • Doug Hunter.

    #117

    And hurling repeated insults does nothing to address the fact that your original statement was poorly constructed and wrong. You can call me stupid, idiot and tell me to fuck off till you’re blue in the face it’s not going to change anything. I’m looking forward to seeing if you can one-up yourself on the insult meter yet again! (the ‘pit of stupid’ made me laugh, you’ve got some good ones)

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Doug: My original statement was not at all poorly constructed and is 100 per cent right; deism is a cruel deception. Fact!

    As to my remarks to you personally, they aren’t insults when they are true, simply facts you don’t care to accept, regardless of how stubborn about it you are…

  • troll

    …clearly a conspiracy #122 (I’ll refrain from using your name here for obvious reasons)

    I’d bet that that’s what those planes with their pretty exhaust trails are seeding the skies with – boredom germs

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    The reasons may be obvious to you, troll, but I don’t know what they might be…

    I think there actually is a tendency amongst certain people, which could be considered a conspiracy, to stop people enjoying themselves.

    In American politics it tends to express mostly through the Republican Party, which has been antagonistic to most social advances for two generations now, although there are lots of controlling minds on the left as well.

  • Doug Hunter.

    #124

    “deism is a cruel deception.”

    That is a properly edited version of your original statement, what you actually said was:

    “deism is false, so by definition it is cruel deception”

    Perhaps there’s some regional difference but in American English that means not only do you believe deism is false but that you deem all falsehoods as cruel deception and my response was completely in line with that.

    If you instead said “Mary down the street is a woman, so by definition she is a whore.” and I replied with “First of all, all women aren’t whores, and secondly I’ve only known Mary to date one guy” that would be a perfectly reasonable response. For some reason I can’t fathom why a similiar response in this case has set you off. In any case, you can have the last word if you will it’s beating a dead horse with the only excitement being the colorful insults.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Sigh…

    Wrong again, Doug.

    Your grasp of, or possibly wilful distortion of, language is poor.

    The sentences I wrote mean only what I wrote, not any extension of them. If I wanted to extend them I would. You are simply trying to undermine my entirely valid point by a seemingly deliberate distortion of what I wrote.

    My original sentence (which was actually “All people would be in better situations without the cruel deceptions and impositions of the deity deception”, not either of the truncated versions in your #127) is accurate because there is nothing to support the theory of the existence of any deity, so it follows logically that it is a cruel deception. I’m pretty sure that you know this but are trying to dispute it for some as yet unrevealed reason.

    Your “Mary” example is not in any way a reasonable comparison as it has both a different structure and no logic to it.

    Let me know if you’d like me to send you a ladder to get out of that pit you’re so determinedly digging…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    There are loads of pharma solutions to boredom but unfortunately they are all illegal, lol!

    Not here in Washington state, they’re not! Same thing in Colorado now, too.

    In my book – which is available on Kindle now – there’s a scene where the main character and one of his antagonists face off. One is a non-conformist Muslim (adheres to none of the organized sects thereof) and the other is an atheist. The atheist is blackmailing the Muslim into committing a terrible crime, and the Muslim is forced to comply in order to save his family.

    But the key point is how both think each other the fool for his opinion of religion or the lack thereof. I wrote that part long before I started writing for BC, but it does remind strongly me of the arguments between you and anyone who doesn’t think as you do.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    You’re wasting your breath. Chris is so determined to not allow himself to be wrong (regardless of how obvious it is to pretty much everyone here) that he’s just committed BC’s own version of “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’, is.”

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, I see your conceit extends to knowing which drugs I was referring to. There really is not limit to your inventive if inaccurate thinking.

    I don’t think people are foolish because they believe in religion, I think they are foolish because they can’t think straight, regardless of what the topic is. Religion and politics are just two of yours…

    As to your #130, can you actually show me how I’m wrong or are you just flapping your keyword pointlessly?

  • Doug Hunter.

    #130

    He is quite politician-like… 10 comments in and he won’t even agree on which of his statements we’re talking about, lol.

    I think you have me pegged wrong in your previous comment, I’m not a believer I’m somewhere between atheist and agnostic… would probably identify myself as an atheist except I tend to associate that with the sort of antagonism displayed on this thread.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Doug, you may not share Glenn’s faithist fantasy but you definitely share his preference for magical thinking, in which words mean whatever you want them to, rather than what was clearly expressed. Disappointed to find you indulging in such idiocy.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    pharma solutions to boredom

    Yeah, Chris, you’re right – I should never, ever have assumed that marijuana – medical or otherwise – could be on your personal list of what you personally consider to be a pharma solution to boredom.

    Chris, all of us on here have our own personal issues. Clav is too cynical by half, I’m too – um – pollyanish by at least the same amount, Warren was living in a different reality, Ruvy had anger issues, and Doc seems to be the only truly sane person here…but…dude, if your writing is any clue, you need a vacay to Disneyland – or perhaps to some particularly friendly places in Thailand – in the worst way.

    In my experience, the single greatest determinant of the level of a person’s happiness is that person’s ability to be grateful. The more honestly grateful a person is for things great or small, the happier that person will likely be. Other factors also affect the level of one’s happiness – money, health, family, love – but the greatest single factor is that of sincere gratitude. You don’t have to be a ‘faithist’ to learn to count your blesings.

    Without gratitude, you cannot appreciate those around you as you should. I give Clavos grief for being too cynical, but he’s still a generally happy person IMO. You, on the other hand, are not. You might think you are, but the frog in the pot thinks he’s just fine too until the water begins to boil.

    Yeah, you’re going to flame me for all this – and I can’t really blame you for doing so since I am by no means a trained psychoanalyst – but in this I am right. Hopefully, in the years to come you’ll think of this and try it…and slowly become a humbler, happier person.

  • troll

    hush children…the doctor is in on these various threads

    …congratulation Glenn – your comments today have at long last earned you the #10 spot in Troll World’s 10 most insulting BC characters of all times list

    your certificate of achievement and cookie are in the mail

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, I didn’t say anything at all about my own preferred pharmaceuticals, so once again your remark is as pointless as it is presumptuous.

    You clearly have no idea how weak I find your perception or how immature and half baked I find your thinking for, if you did, you wouldn’t waste your time giving me advice about anything.

    I don’t care what your experience has been about anything – except that it has clearly left you incapable of understanding anything – so whatever it has been, I’m not interested in learning anything you have to contribute. It would be like a race car driver taking advice from someone who did nothing but repeatedly crash and burn!

    You are doing nothing but listening to the vague echoes of your own dogmatically controlled shell of a life in your largely empty head and are not capable of perceiving my level of happiness about anything. I have read every single comment you have posted on this site and know for a fact that you are wrong about almost everything and are particularly poor at understanding both tone and people, so please stop projecting onto others and keep your worthless advice to your self.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    Make sure the certificate’s on faux sheepskin and the cookie’s an honest-to-questionable-goodness troll house cookie – otherwise, I’ll make completely accurate statements about your personality, too.

    Just remember that one of the things I enjoy the most about blogging is that my anonymity gives me the opportunity to say what I really, truly believe. Whatever I post, take it at face value, for that (unless I’m being plainly facetious like in the previous paragraph) is precisely how it’s meant.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    I have read every single comment you have posted on this site

    Like I said, you really need a vacay to Disneyland or a trip to some really, perhaps even overly friendly places in Thailand.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    As you don’t actually know when I was last on holiday or how frequently I take holidays, once again you are simply making stuff up and as a consequence talking utter nonsense.

  • troll

    Glenn – foolish boy – I’m in 4th place

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    As you don’t actually know when I was last on holiday or how frequently I take holidays, once again you are simply making stuff up and as a consequence talking utter nonsense.

    And yet you still don’t see the problem with having read every single comment I’ve posted on this site? Here’s somebody who would love to talk to you!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    Why, that’s the nicest thing anyone ever called me! Now I know I’m on a hill – I’m just trying to figure out if it’s a mountain or maybe just a mole hill.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, you dummy, I’m the Comments Editor of this site; it’s my responsibility to be on top of what goes on in the comments space and I take that seriously. Anybody with half an ounce of common sense would shut up right now but I guess that rules you out.

    As to Dr Phil, who I’d never previously heard of, I make it a rule not to pay attention to daytime TV trash or whenever possible people with facial hair, so he’s a two time loser as far as I am concerned.

  • Cindy

    Nice way to talk in front of an Italian woman.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Glenn, please don’t pull the pin out of that rose-colored hand grenade any more than you already have!!!

  • troll

    #142 – in keeping with #137 that would be a ‘troll hill’

  • troll

    Geeze Cindy – I’m sorry…I thought that we were talking behind your back

  • Cindy

    lol troll, I was only referring to Christopher Rose’s comment about not paying attention to people with facial hair. :-)

  • Cindy

    (can tell now that either troll’s wife is not Italian or she secrets herself away in the middle of the night for electrolysis)

  • troll

    …I feel so foolish

  • troll

    btw Glenn – you say Just remember that one of the things I enjoy the most about blogging is that my anonymity gives me the opportunity to say what I really, truly believe. Whatever I post, take it at face value, for that (unless I’m being plainly facetious like in the previous paragraph) is precisely how it’s meant.

    I say neither of us is anonymous and everything I say is a lie and shouldn’t be taken at face value…(it’s a religious thing)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    The hell you say!

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    who’s on your Top 10, troll?

  • Cindy

    troll,

    something i think you will like: Edible City: Grow the Revolution

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And troll –

    I say neither of us is anonymous

    I should have said relatively anonymous. Everything is relative, you know. Of course, where I come from, pretty much everyone is relative. Watch the dinner scene at what is almost the very end of Deliverance – that kind of scene was in all seriousness quite normal at our house. I guess you could call it the Deep South’s Theory of General Relativity…and don’t get me started on “Special Relativity” – we don’t talk about that side of the family….

  • troll

    gak…so much material to work with and so little time

    Glenn #152 – think of me as you would that weird blond guy with the expansive mouth and the pages flying around his head in Warlock raging: “I know Thy name”

    …and be afraid

    El Bicho – the list is available to subscribers to Troll World which is maintained behind a firewall by the good folks at j(e)stor.argh and can also be found in most fully accredited university libraries (one time 1/2 hour access available at an exorbitant price)…but I guess I won’t get in too much hot water boarding if I tell you that I was beat-out by the Diva the Raven and – much to my chagrin -the Kurtz

    it was an honor to be considered along with such luminaries as Shark Nalle JOM Carruthers the Con Ruvy Irv and the one-and-only Gonzo to name a but a few…that I was given 4th was a clear case of specious species bias I think

    the judges are always open to new nominees

    and finally: Cindy – recognizing cabin fever and pain pills when she sees them and wondering briefly about the status of her ancient curse – throws a handful of magically early dandelions a few paces from the beast’s feet who thus trapped in uffish thought unable to decide whether to go for the green or snatch the wench up and pluck her facial hairs out one by one with his grotesquely chipped and blacked teeth fails to notice as the fair lady slips across his bridge