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Envisioning the future

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Clayton Posted: Tue, Jul 17 2012 10:29 PM

I found this visually inspiring:

Content-wise, it's only so-so... it takes extreme AGW as gospel truth and focuses primarily on technological progress and gets some of that wrong, too. But I thought it would make a good lead for my post.

Politics

The major political unions (EU, American Union and the Asiatic and African) will not fall apart per se but will face increasingly uphill going as responsible countries tire of bailing out irresponsible countries and as marginally irresponsible countries learn that it pays to be really irresponsible. Formal political unification will continue to elude the globalists.

Social

The West continues trying to export its social ideas (women's rights, gay rights, abortion rights, children's rights, etc. etc.) onto an increasingly deaf global audience. A global backlash sees non-Western countries returning to "traditional/conservative" ideas from their part of the world. This deafness is being driven primarily by the worldwide resentment towards the US/UN global military stance.

Military

The US military is an obvious fiscal target. Either there will be war in 2013 or the US military's international footprint will be drastically scaled back. A general shift towards special forces continues to make regular armies and navies less and less relevant as the prospect of sweeping, territorial war - fought with the total economic output of nations - simply dwindles away.

Financial

Here, the Establishment will continue to make serious headway. Tax codes will continue to be unified and regularized with across-the-globe cooperation in catching "tax cheats" and shutting down "tax havens" continuing full force. Alternative currencies will continue to be subjugated by whatever means necessary as the dollar, Euro, Yen, etc. march into the future as the unified monies which are eventually supposed to bring about political union.

Privacy

Privacy will continue to decrease. The Establishment is absolutely on track to realize its dream of a global, fully digital financial system where the central financial authority has complete, instantaneous visibility of every transaction made anywhere in the world in any currency.

Drones, indiscriminate backscatter peeping, routine searches, etc. will only increase. There is little, if any, will in the general public to bring a halt to - or even slow - these developments.

Police

Police power will continue to gain ground in the short-run as the "diversification" of the United States continues to drive the desensitization in the US towards police brutality that is characteristic of the rest of the world. In the medium-run, this trend will abate and reverse (worldwide) as video-cellphones + Internet make "citizen journalism" documenting police brutality a new sport/challenge among young people all around the globe.

The drug war will continue to fracture at the seams as enforcement becomes increasingly militarized (the shock-front of militarization now being led by the war on terror) while popular support for stiff penalties for users and small-time dealers continues to weaken.

Medicine

New developments in regenerative medicine will make current, drug-based medicine as obsolete as the typerwriter after the invention of the Personal Computer. This will cause a massive shake-up in the nationalized health industries of the West as the drug giants find the rug pulled out from under their feet. The incubator-to-nursing-home model of bureaucratized health management will leave the old dinosaurs feeling exposed as individuals simply short-circuit the entire system by spending on gene therapy and regenerative procedures that permanently improve their quality of life without the use of drugs.

Technology

Computer technology will continue to improve rapidly with a shift from "office products" to mobile devices and personalization. In particular, flat-screens are going to give way to touch-screens just as CRTs (remember those?) gave way to flat-screens before them. This will fundamentally alter the graphical interface to the user (no more mouse). In addition, the keyboard is going to go away and highly-accurate voice-recognition software will directly take down dictation while a touch-screen keyboard will still be available for passwords or too-weird-to-pronounce words/names/symbols.

Biotech will continue to advance at an amazing pace. The shifts in regenerative medicine will turn out to be more disruptive in terms of their practical impact on human well-being than all advances since the Industrial Revolution combined.

Interest in space exploration will actually begin to dwindle as NASA and private space companies find, more and more, that space just doesn't make any sense economically. This prediction is hugely controversial but I believe that the next 3-4 decades will bear me out. I'll short your Ansari X-prize-based stocks in a heartbeat.

At some point, the Internet is going to shift from being "read-only" to being "read-write-and-execute". There are some fundamental shifts that have to occur before this takes place, but my prediction is this is the long-run direction.

IP

The RIAA/MPAA will continue dreaming up new and more shocking schemes to "take over the Internet" and they will continue to fail. At some point, they're going to ask the government to launch a "war on piracy" (or maybe they already have) but - unlike the war on drugs and war on terror - this one will be a complete flop and even the stupid American public won't put up with it.

This trend will begin driving a fracture in the entire media complex as IP-based industries begin to find that formerly reliable IP-enforcement mechanisms (copyright, patent, even NDAAs) begin to be flaunted even by brick-and-mortar companies that can be sued. The "but everybody else is doing it" defense will be trotted out in court and will win sometimes and lose other times with the net effect being a general collapse in traditional IP industries.

Liberty/Free markets

Liberty will continue to grow - the growth markets will turn out to not be the US or the West but the formerly communist and up-and-coming ex-3rd world countries whose citizens have stopped listening to Western preachiness and start asking themselves whether hard work and individual freedom really aren't the universal recipe to rapid economic success.

In the West, red-tape-fascism will only increase with no end in sight. Jaywalk-and-go-to-jail is the future here. This is one reason I think that translating liberty into languages other than English is crucial. There is no future for liberty in the English-speaking world, at least, not for a long time to come.

OK, that's it, I'm done channeling my inner Celente.

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the future will entail a bigger government and a second revolution of our time.

It is then that we may see liberty.

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
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Clayton replied on Wed, Jul 18 2012 12:13 AM

I desperately hope it can be bloodless this time around.

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Autolykos replied on Wed, Jul 18 2012 9:57 AM

Worst-case scenario: World War III is launched and it ends with the extinction of Homo sapiens in a nuclear holocaust.

Best-case scenario: a successful liberty-minded political/social revolution takes place over the whole world.

Unfortunately, I think the worst-case scenario is more likely than the best-case scenario.

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Jul 18 2012 3:49 PM

Idk, I prefer my analysis: things will be essentially the same for a long time. Some will be slightly better, some slightly worse. A new war here and there, but no major new global catastrophes unless the near and middle east surprise us with something drastic and the us and china take opposing sides.

The economy will be significantly better according to popular economic indicators in 2.5 years, inflation will be at 3.3% at that time, yet the housing market will not have rebounded very much.

A new, populist cause will arise in about 7-12 years for the left, and the right will continue drifting towards the left. The Ron Paul base, unless someone can harness it soon, will become tired and apathetic, perhaps laying dormant for someone principled to reawaken it in 15 years.

Enivornmental legislation will be pased but not anytime soon. In 5-7 years the government will continue more seriously restricting interactions with the environment and since all the regulations will be piecemeal and overseen by too many departments, they will create a heavier burden on business that will consolidate power into larger businesses. Eventually, possibly under the guise of increased efficiency, they will pass a larger bill gaining new power to regulate businss interaction with the environment. Maybe it will be a carbon tax, maybe tradeable pollution permits, maybe something related to the new populist cause mtioned above. In either case, expect a large new environmental bill at the latest in 15 - 20 years.

The Fed will continue to be controlled by loose monetary policy, though interparty bickering will always prevent "the necessary amount of deficit spending" as  seen by Keynesian thinkers. Steve Keen will not have gained significant influence in the US.

Unions will not gain new powers. In 5-9 years they might even see even more decrease in membership.

I was going to suggest that 9-11 alarmism would have to be replaced by some new threat from abroad so that the government would be able to gain new powrs to snoop around, but 9-11 seems to very much still be on people's minds, so they might hold off on that for another 6-11 years.

The government will maybe attempt to break up major telecommunications companies. I give it a 30% chance that they try. Google will continue to be a majorpowerhouse for at least 4-6 more years. I do not foresee my huge new competition against them. They would likely buy up any successful new technologies.

No major new changes in the politics of the music industry.

Th postal service will continue to hobble around for another 5-9 years, when they might finally realize their uselessness and be cut back by 20-40%. They might also get a revamped business model to offer some other related services. This could be in conjunction with the government beginning to offer Internet services to catch up to South Korea (unless private providers adequately bridge the gap themselves) - while this issue is merely mentioned now, some politicia could get it in his head that he could run a successful campaign off of this. A national high-speed rail project will be proposed 7-11 years from now. It might initially get rejected, but it would be taken up again 4 or 5 years later.

The UN will continue to be irrelevant.

The Greek crisis will turn into a prolonged recession. Top Euro countries will continue to do decently well. Eastern European countries will post moderate growth. The Arab Spring will simmer down. There will be no new developments in Africa lest some valuable new resources are discovered or some major philanthopic organization decides to work with some country to bring it a more stable free market.

Cina will continue to "grow" for another 7-13 years. If it implements more market reforms, they might continue for another 15-17 years. However, the miscalcuation and bubbles will come home to roost and there will be some major crisis in China.

Russia will remain Russia. For a long time. As in I don't foresee any major change. Do a linear extrapolation of its past 5 years into the future for another 20-25 years.

Private companies will be making space more accessible, but don't expect any major development until 5-8 years from now. After this, over a period of 10 years, there will be significant improvements in th field that will make going to spake much cheaper. Maybe a price reduction of about 20-30%. A country or two might, 9 - 14 years from now decide to start some exciting new space project. If successful, it will sadly restore faith in government and increase its power.

No flying cars anytime soon. Sorry.

Major discoveries in the treatment of AIDS 7-11 years from now. Major cancer breakthroughs 10-15 years from now. In the meantime, more bacteria become resistant. Maybe the government will grab more power not through a foreign threat as mentioned above but with a health scare - a virus which requires quaratines and mandatory vaccinations of adults. Yet this will not happen in the near future. Maybe 20-24 years from now.

Government overreach into healthcare will advance, but not without limit. We will not have a Canada style system. It will be just market-oriented enough to beble to blame inefficiencies of the free market.

Brazil's growth will be slowed by more regulations.

 

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Jargon replied on Wed, Jul 18 2012 11:01 PM

Wheylous:

The economy will be significantly better according to popular economic indicators in 2.5 years, inflation will be at 3.3% at that time, yet the housing market will not have rebounded very much.

Y'on crack?

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 12:24 AM

I second Jargon's inquiry. Pray tell, whence your inexplicable economic optimism??

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Wheylous replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 11:59 AM

Capitalism generally outpaces government. Except for hyperinflation and depressions, but in the long run it wins (for now).

Also, it seems like 2.5 years is enough time for GDP growth to pick up.

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 12:20 PM

I would like to share your optimism but I do believe that capitalism is under a systematic, organized assault from a large section of the Establishment and that we entered the most organized phase of this assault after 9/11 and the housing collapse. Their object (world taxing authority) seems to have eluded them but I'm far from having a rosy outlook. Each time they've failed to bring about a world government, their answer has been to launch another global war.

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 12:46 PM

Remember, central banking and the modern total warfare state reduced this:

To this:

But why? Why did this happen? There is actually a pattern to the destruction of Europe. The centers of middle class industrial growth were the hardest hit. This was by design. Remember the logic of total war? "We have to bomb the factories because that is where their bombers are being manufactured to bomb us." Dresden, Warsaw, Hamburg, Cologne - these were thriving metropolitan centers of middle class growth and it was smashed by indiscriminate bombing and fire-bombing.

This tells me that it is actually these which are the greatest weapons of mass destruction ever devised:

The people who wield these weapons are "scorched earth" mentality - if they can't own it, nobody can.

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 1:43 PM

Clayton:
This tells me that it is actually these which are the greatest weapons of mass destruction ever devised:

Just to clarify, you're talking about organized religion and central banking, correct?

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ricarpe replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 1:51 PM

Wheylous:

No flying cars anytime soon. Sorry.

 

Terrafugia, anyone?

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 2:01 PM

organized religion

The Vatican and the Fed, specifically. They are part of a much larger network and there are copycat systems but these are the Michael Jordans of economic devastation and war. Of course, the killers in the "defense" industries of each respective nation do the actual dirty work of applying millions of tons of explosives to hapless innocents but such mass murder would not even be thinkable without the machinations and legitimizations of the drab men of the cloth and their buddies, the money changers. I guess I shouldn't leave out the courts while we're at it, but they're virtual a department of the Vatican anyway.

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David B replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 2:25 PM

Love the thread, 

I'm highly pessimistic at this point about the future.  But in terms of using it to guide my daily financial decisions, I'm struggling to make those changes.  

Be that as it may, we all know that certain bubbles are forming in the system as the natural negative feedback loops (loan defaults at the private level) are prevented from having their natural effect, and those affects are amassed as sovereign debt.

But that's not all, we have aging stressed infrastructure in the US (power grid, roads, airlines, oil->gasoline industry, etc.).  We've built cities in locations where there's little room for error.  New Orleans gets flooded by a large scale hurricane.  A drought could potentially destroy the cities in the Southwestern US (Desert Areas) and the Midwest, because there's not enough naturally occuring water to meed demands.  

Now these are just a few of the natural and technological systems that are under stress.  Nevermind the social and economic stresses placed on us through various socialist initiatives.  Drug War, Immigration issues, Welfare, Government run health care, etc.

Nassim Taleb, coined the term anti-fragility as the opposite of fragile.  A fragile system is one where random disproportionate (improbable but not impossible) shocks to the system, called Black Swans, have a destructive effect.  A robust system, is one in which these same events have little or no effect on the system.  An anti-fragile system is one in which these same events have a positive effect on the system.

Now in nature and life, we have a lot of examples of anti-fragile systems.  But in our socio-economic institutions we've created an enourmous amount of fragility because we focus on the normal behavior of the systems, without adequately appreciating the improbable but possible large shocks.  Hurricane Katrina is one of those.  The current Drought in the midwest might be one of those.  

In addition to this idea, he pointed out something else, about the sheer impossibility of predicting (with any significant level of specificity) the future.  Partly because of these Black Swans.  But even more so, the sheer volume of data necessary to predict out into the future grows exponentially as you move farther and farther forward.

So, we may be able to predict for example, that the sovereign debt bubble will burst, but how and just how severe it will be remains to be seen.  When it happens and how it cascades is unknown.  The other huge unknown is how rapidly we will adjust and adapt to those changes.  

Here are some things to think about.  

How rapidly can we put an alternative currency in place (non-government based) when the dollar hyper-inflates?

If we have a cascading power failure in the US/Canada East Coast, how long would it take to bring everything back online?  How quickly will we run out of food and water?

What happens if the GPS system goes down due to the enormous sunspot activity coming out of the Sun over the next 1.5-2 years?

What happens if the drought raises the cost of bread/grain/corn/meat prices substantially this fall?

There is so much so fragile in our system right now.  We don't have enough redundancy in the underlying tech/processes currently in place for power, food, finances, communications.  And on top of it, we've created enormous bureaucratic red tape, that makes it hard for private individuals and companies to rapidly adapt to them.

Why am I pessimistic?  Cause all of our socio-economic macro systems are setup upside down, they're all fragile, so fragile they'll not just break, they'll shatter.

Why am I optimistic?  Because at the fundamental level, we all know and understand the basic mechanics of freedom and austrian economics (praxeology) because they're built into us.  At the micro-level, we're fundamentally (biologically) anti-fragile.  Stresses (within tolerances) cause us to get stronger, healthier, etc.  In our knowledge, logic and small-scale social interactions the same is true (for the majority of us, but not all).  The stresses we encounter in our local environment encourage adaptation and cooperation.  

So, what's going to happen?  We can't predict the weather 6 hours from now, with much certainty.  I've watched six hour radar maps every summer for the past 3 years whenever we expected afternoon thunderstorms locally.  We have no clue what the future holds.  

The only thing we can do, is try to build some level of resilience (anti-fragility) into our personal lives (micro) and continue to educate and advocate reductions in government which will allow the naturally anti-fragile market to continue to generate more and more anti-fragile solutions to our larger scale risks.

In the end, we're all on the Titanic.  I don't know what you're doing, but I need to quit playing shuffleboard and get back to my cabin and build that life-raft for my family of 4 out of the curtains and my mattress...  Why didn't I purchase a suite?!

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 2:36 PM

Clayton,

Why do you think that organized religion has any real power in the modern age? Central banks, most likely, or at least they're tools used in this war, but why religion except in how it directly relates to the state?

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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Jargon replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 2:36 PM

Wheylous:

Capitalism generally outpaces government.

But where is any to be found? In the US, home of the command-corporate economy?

Except for hyperinflation and depressions, but in the long run it wins (for now).

Exactly. Have you not noticed the central bank balance sheet expansion and the total reliance of stock markets on credit flows? I don't understand how you are an enthusiast of austrian economics yet somehow think we are out of the woods for immediate future.

Also, it seems like 2.5 years is enough time for GDP growth to pick up.

Maybe there are numbers out there suggesting growth. With all the credit creation used to sustain things it might not be surprising, though the Fed is quickly being backed into a corner by a faltering stock market. Then again, record numbers of BLS statistics and otherwise are being revised at record numbers. Example, courtesy of Zerohedge.

Where is Wheylous and what have you done with him? "Getting away with it" is not in the cards for us or the bankers.

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Mtn Dew replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 2:59 PM

LOLing @ the Vatican vilification. I didn't know Dan Browne posted here.

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 3:48 PM

Why do you think that organized religion has any real power in the modern age? Central banks, most likely, or at least they're tools used in this war, but why religion except in how it directly relates to the state?

Glad you asked. I'm coming to the view that religion (whether organized or otherwise) is actually the single most powerful attribute of the social order and this is why religion is the first thing that is monopolized by the State. Religion - considered as a complex of ideas/beliefs/attitudes - is the "cosmology" that ties everything else together. It is at once the memetic metabolism of the mind as well as the memetic immune system. It determines what gets believed and, just as important, what never even gets a hearing

Of course, I don't need to explain the role of monopolized religion in baptizing the murder of the State.

The power of religion is as real today as it ever was. What has changed is the stance of the State with respect to its need for religion. Namely, with the advent of the "secular/englightened" era, the State supposes that it no longer needs to monopolize religion and can, instead, subsist on its own manufactured moral legitimacy. The total state is attempting to monopolize everything else rather than simply monopolizing religion, law and the military as in the olden days. This is the Egyptian model of government.

Every feature of the social order is a reflection of some feature of the human being (most notably, the brain). We have cars because we can't run at 60 mph but our brains and hands can devise mechanisms (cars) that can. We have books because our brains can only hold a limited amount of symbolic information, while our hands (again) are capable of scrawling marks that "extend the memory" into inanimate objects. And so on. Religion, like any other feature of the social order, is a reflection of human nature. These features will never go away no matter how "enlightened" etc. we become. In the power struggle between our sacred and secular rulers that has been raging since at least the time of Martin Luther, the secular powers seem to have gotten the upper hand but - in the long run - they are destined to lose. The Vatican understands this and they can wait for as long as it takes for things to come around to their natural order.

In the meantime, we are being subverted by concocted religious bullshit. This is "made-up religion" - democracy is man's new Savior, the world's problems are the result of a deficiency of charitable donation, the State does not lie and has your best interests at heart, etc. In times past, people were extremely skeptical of made-up religion precisely because they understood that human nature is basically a constant - at least within the span of a human lifetime. But we have allowed the focus of our religious cosmology to be shifted away from the human being as the end of all cosmological study to the Universe instead. I believe this shift was made possible by the obsession of monotheists with the Absolute.

Combined with the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the truly remarkable strides that we have made in locomotive and informational technologies, this shift has resulted in a transformation of the memetic landscape with profound effects on the individual human being. This is most notable in the AGW debate - people are concerned about "the Earth" - not even as a vehicle of human life but for the Earth's sake. We need to save Earth for the Earth's sake. Try going back 500 or 600 years in time and explaining this to a medieval merchant in downtown Florence. In this contrast, you can see how the memetic structure for collectivism has been constructed piecewise - mostly haphazardly - over centuries to the point that it has deeply subverted human nature on such basic points as survival, use/alteration of the environment, and so on.

This goes back to my views on The Big Lie. The corrupt religion-mongers (not all within any religion are corrupt) have been very cynical in their application of The Big Lie to advance their interests and the interests of their religious organizations. When you look at the history of Christianity, you see it is filled to the brim with forgeries, redactions, intentional mistranslation, copy/paste errors, and historical whoppers of the grandest magnitude - children's fairy tales, cultural myths passed off as literal, historical events. Yet all delivered with a straight face and don't forget that God is watching you when the offering plate passes by. The secular powers have always been propagandists but theirs has always been of the more tactical variety - "we invaded Ruritania to prevent the evil mongrel horde of bloodthirsty Ruritanians from invading our Fatherland, burning our villages, raping our women, etc. etc." Lately, the secular rulers have seized on The Big Lie as their own modus operandi. The idea is that - by wielding The Big Lie themselves - they no longer have any need to share power with the sacred rulers. It's working so far.

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 3:54 PM

LOLing @ the Vatican vilification.

I don't get the joke -

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Wheylous replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 4:08 PM

Austrians have predicted hyperinflation for a while now without anything to show for it.

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David B replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 4:16 PM

I think this idea that somehow Capitalism will outpace government, is one of the MOST dangerous fallacies.  I'm going to throw out percentages that are complete bullshit, but I hope you get the idea.

Let's say that the level of productivity enabled by the technology of ancient greece allowed the government to get away with taxing(stealing from, living off of) the production of the private population at a rate of 10%.  It didn't start there, it started small and grew, to 11% and then it failed.  At that point it started to implode.  But it took a long time.

The level of productivity enabled by our current level of technology on the other hand combined with externalizing our debt, has allowed the Western economies to tax into the 50-70% range.  But there's no mystery, the productivity only allows a lower rate than that.  Technology is trying, very hard, to overwhelm the theft with sufficient productivity growth, but at this point the economic hurdles (regulation and crimiinalization) have grown so large and so inefficient, technology just can't keep up. And the implosion will be much larger and faster than it was in history's ancient empires.  Because our productivity has allowed us to build up a much larger amount of error that needs correction.

 

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 4:28 PM

Austrians have predicted hyperinflation for a while now without anything to show for it.

Who are you and what have you done with the real Wheylous?? First of all, I don't think any Austrian scholars have been predicting hyper-inflation, except in the very weak sense that it's inevitable (the crack-up boom during competitive devaluation which will come, some day). Marc Faber has been predicting hyper-inflation but he has also predicted that it would occur in combination with a war - the war hasn't started yet so neither has the hyper-inflation. Second, what the hell are you talking about, no hyper-inflation??? Sure, we're not yet in a crack-up boom but real inflation has been averaging around 10% for almost a decade! That's a rate of inflation that, if collected in taxes, would have caused a Second American Revolution just 100 years ago!! You've lost context, Whelous.

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Edit note: Corrected the hyper-inflation link...

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@Wheylous

While that is true, do consider how easy it could be to "push the first domino." Maybe some foreign nation begins to reject trade in US dollars. I think I read rumors that a few countries were considering trading for oil with gold, but that may have just been rumor. Or maybe a state would introduce an alternate currency. This may be seen as highly unlikely, but a few states and a few of their legislators have toyed with the idea. The point is, if one believes in the validity of the ABCT and Austrian economic principles, then one must believe there are two alternatives: a return to sound money and proper free markets; a continuation of the same policies. The second option leads to the further destruction of wealth and resources, which can lead us down two paths: warfare to attain resources from imperial conquests; hyperinflation.

TPTB know these things, and are playing their cards as carefully as possibly, while "table talking" with other nations with skin in the game, hoping to make it across the tightrope to where they would like to go, and that obviously isn't to sound economics. 

The only one worth following is the one who leads... not the one who pulls; for it is not the direction that condemns the puller, it is the rope that he holds.

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Jargon replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 6:23 PM

@ Wheylous

Significant money supply expansion has occurred but it is dammed up in the banks' reserves, meaning that the full impact of its creation on the price structure has not at all been enacted. One then wonders, why is it all dammed up in the banks' reserves? Maybe it's because they're desperately frightened of an unwind in the shadow banking sector that could be offset by one of money credit events looming on the horizion, such as european default, chinese bubble bursting, a failing bank here or there. The global economy right now is fragile.

All that said, there has been significant price inflation, but the BLS has revised their calculation methodology numerous times to lessen the impact of price movements on their indexes. See: Boskin Commission. It's difficult to say what kind of inflation, but it is obviously more than 3%, maybe 6 or 7%, but maybe not 11%. See: here

I presume that there were certain 'Austrians' (you mean Schiff right?) who predicted hyperinflation, because they didn't predict a global economy of fear and apprehension. The banks are afraid and investors are afraid. Notice how the stock markets correspond only to the press releases of the Fed and ECB. No new flows, then a dip, new flows, then a spike.

On recent indicators pointing towards the positive: see here, here, and here. Which indicators are you using? They're not very important imho because they're hard to trust. Mostly its investors who care, so there is that. But if you agree that the ABCT is correct, then you necessarily agree that there are certain consequences for a drastic expansion of credit, as has been happening in the form of QE, QE2, Twist, Twist2, ECB's modification of credit standards, LTRO1, LTRO2, not to mention the IMF's support of the ECB and the Fed's open currency swap lines. The flow isn't too heavy right now but it is there, and investors are playing their cards on what Benny will do.

So I don't understand your optimism. Are you joking?

 

@ Clayton

Could you say (movies or texts) specifically influenced your beliefs on the Vatican?

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It's funny how WWIII doesn't seem to have much of an impact in that video. Will we really be going to Mars during WWIII?

I'm interested to see what will happen to South America over the near future. I could see them becoming a more significant power.

 

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Wheylous replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 7:42 PM

I'm interested to see what will happen to South America over the near future. I could see them becoming a more significant power.

I'm interested in seeing what will happen if a lot of countries suddenly industrialize. Would the general price level jump? Maybe I just don't know enough economics to answer this question for myself.

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Would the general price level jump?

Come again??

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If by industrialize you mean update equipment and infrastructure to allow greater efficiency of production, no, prices would tend to fall, not only for the industrializing nations, but for all.

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jul 19 2012 9:21 PM

@Jargon: Well, my view is the result of fairly "open source" facts that are not even controversial. Here's my line of reasoning:

  • The Bible - particularly the New Testament - is a lot of forgeries, misattributions, intentional mistranslations, and hocus-pocus rationale for being called "the Word of God" (the history of canonization is a mind-numbing mess).
  • Those who were in charge of this process - primarily the church of Rome with a little input here and there from the Greek church (the church at Byzantium prior to being renamed to Constantinople) earlier on - could hardly have been unaware of the fact that it was a lot of fabricated nonsense as they were the ones actually performing a lot of the fabrication!
  • This is dishonest enough in itself, but combined with the systematic elimination of competing records (so-called "gnostic heresies") that would have given clues as to the exact nature of the forgeries - as well as a policy of hoarding virtually all bona fide writings (e.g. the Greek and Latin classics) within the church's custody - it amounted to nothing short of an all-out war on human knowledge and in this pattern is evinced the truly sinister nature of their intentions: to foist upon the entirety of Europe a monstrous lie, The Big Lie, a lie so big and so irrefutable that nobody in a position to challenge them would even dare to try.
  • This, in itself, would only be a crime of the "unseen" insofar as it would have merely "set us back" so many years in terms of the progress we could have made had we not been befuddled by a lot of counterfeit morality and history. But they didn't stop there, the whole monster morphed into a blood-thirsty, Saturnian consumer of human beings.
  • The role of the church of Rome in baptizing murder is prolific. The Crusades spring to mind as perhaps the most orgiastic expressions of this role but the Crusades are far from the only blot on their record - for the duration of the Holy Roman Empire they were virtually the kingmakers of Europe, deciding who would rise and who would fall and conferring their blessing upon the waging of internecine warfare between European powers. Needless to say, the Inquisitional model of rule-by-supernatural-terror was most effective. And contrary to popular belief, it really does still survive down to this day.

The power of Rome and the monarchs today is - among the vulgar masses - thought to be in eclipse and soon to perish. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it doesn't make the slightest bit of sense. Just like any other kind of evolution, the evolution of power results in steady improvement in the techniques and effectiveness of the rulers in maintaining power. Those that don't keep up with the state of the art are killed off and their territories annexed. I have no doubt that an understanding of the true nature of global power - that the Church, the monarchs and the ruling Elite families are very much at the pinnacle of power - is a Shibboleth in the upper crust of politics. Not knowing that the Queen really does rule England is a sure sign that you're not part of the club.

Of course, at this point, we enter the realm of an information vacuum because what we're talking about is essentially a Mafia - it is the system of legitimate organized crime called the State or whatever you want to label it as. It's not your Post Office, it's not your DMV, it's not even the President, it's the people who comprise the permanent network of title and privilege, regardless of whether it's organized on the British, European, Roman or some other model. It is a system of private power.

So what we're left with is praxeological deduction and imagination to paint the picture and fill in the details of the information vacuum. Today, the Vatican is a tourist destination but you really wouldn't want to stumble into the wrong room. Something like Kubrick depicted here might happen to you. What's going to happen, the Italian government is going to rip up the floors of the Cistine chapel looking for your missing body? Again, I'm painting in high contrast to get the point across but not that high contrast.

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Neodoxy replied on Fri, Jul 20 2012 12:42 AM

Clayton,

I still don't understand why you seem to indicate that the modern state and organized religion are tied together. While I think that it's correct to call the state itself an organized religion, this does not seem to be what you are arguing. Could you clarify what you believe that the modern state has to do with "traditional religion", from a non-historic viewpoint? Or are you only talking about it from a historical sense?

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Clayton replied on Fri, Jul 20 2012 1:27 AM

I still don't understand why you seem to indicate that the modern state and organized religion are tied together.

You keep inserting the word "organized" where I'm not using it - the organization (division-of-labor, specialization) of religion is of little consequence, in my view. It has the same effect as organization in any other line of production - increased quality and reduced price for the purpose of greater customer satisfaction.

When we look at the social order, it is a cohesive whole. There isn't actually such a thing as "religion" or "science" or "commerce"... the analysis of the social order into these different categories is slightly arbitrary and definitely very "fuzzy around the edges." But given the usual way of slicing up the social order into its various parts, what I'm pointing out is that not all aspects of the social order are equally influential and, in particular, that I believe religion is the single most influential aspect of the social order.

I have in mind especially the dogmatic aspect of religion (the part that pertains to belief), not the ritual or community aspects which are very important but in different ways. In this respect, religion is actually a kind of meta-meme - it is a meme that manufactures other memes and also filters out memes by preventing them from even arising in the consciousness of individuals in the first place. And as the manufacturer of other memes, it is the systematizing meme or worldview or meta-narrative that ties everything else together. Hence, I believe that the perfectly natural role of religion really is, to a certain, to control people's minds. This doesn't have to be a sinister kind of mind control and I think that most people have at least a rough idea that this is, in fact, what religious dogma does and I think they view it as a mostly benign sort of mind control.

But controlling minds is also the first order of business of the State; this is why monopolization of religion is crucial. If the State does not monopolize religion, then critical priests, elders and shamans will - correctly - teach their followers that the State is evil and does evil acts. These people will not be cooperative in their own enslavement and will be a permanent pain in the ass. The State can either wipe them out or subsume their religious instruction by getting their religious leaders to defect. I call this "religious imperialism" and it is particularly pronounced in the Roman cult.

Once a monopoly religion has been established, it then becomes an organ of the State itself and becomes a reliable conduit for State propaganda.

While I think that it's correct to call the state itself an organized religion, this does not seem to be what you are arguing. Could you clarify what you believe that the modern state has to do with "traditional religion", from a non-historic viewpoint? Or are you only talking about it from a historical sense?

A bit of both. I think it's a historical puzzle - why has religion always been the first thing the State monopolizes? Surely, monopolizing agriculture is a more "practical" sort of thing to do since all that economic output can then be put to use feeding your army, and so on. But I think that this is a modernistic bias that is the result of the fact that we've lost context as a result of the very distortion of the social order created by the State - under the State order, labor is cheap (people are expendable, fodder), brains are cheap. But in the natural order of things, the human brain is the most fantastically sophisticated and valuable technological device that exists or ever will exist.

Take your biggest super-computer and place it next to a person. Now ask the super computer and the person each to arrange an assortment of arbitrary objects into some arbitrary order and see who gets it done first. If the super-computer has already been programmed for this task, ask it to do any other ordinary task versus the live person. You get the idea. Religion - viewed as a mind-control technology - controls the most valuable asset of all: human brains. And when you have a millions of human brains all thinking the same way... that is truly the most destructive weapon ever devised and the technologies for bringing about this condition are the "gears and levers" that make it all possible.

So, brains - considered as producer goods - are more valuable than granaries and it makes sense from an analytical standpoint that the State would move to monopolize the means for controlling brains long before it ever got around to trying to monopolize granaries.

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*I think the impact of the community aspect of religion is vastly underestimated and I believe it actually plays a guiding role in the evolution of human beings... if you've ever been to a Christian rock concert and seen how the Christian girls respond to the band leader who - with handsome, sensitive features complemented by long, flowing hair and a rich beard - inexplicably resembles a portrait of Jesus, you will understand some of what I'm getting at

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Neodoxy replied on Fri, Jul 20 2012 1:59 AM

So are you indeed saying that it is the "faithful" part of the human psyche, the same one that religion targets, that is prone to control and manipulation by the state?

I also think that it's undeniable that in most areas religion and the state are inseparable. Gods must be used in order to justify the rule of kings that no one wants, and actions which are against every individual's self interest (even in instances where it is in the interest of the whole). In every culture pre-1700's the state was directly backed up by god. Churches and the state openly benefited one another in Medieval Europe, rulers were actual gods in the ancient Middle East, and even in China and Japan where organized religion has always been a rather iffy thing it wasn't a century ago that the Emperors were seldom mentioned in the absence of their alleged divinity and heavenly ordainment.

For this reason I think that it's inconceivable that religion isn't either the sister, or more likely mother of the state itself. With this said there has been an amazing reversal in trends over the past two centuries, and an amazingly thorough splitting of organized religion and the state.

Ideas are everything. Practically every system is theoretically possible and could be enacted if the ideological factors were exactly right. Irrationality, adaptation, conservatism, and assumption are part of the human soul, and for this reason people can adapt to almost any line of thinking and believe almost anything. In this way the literal replacement of secular religion with nationalism has occurred. I haven't had a good rant about nationalism in a long time (I'm planning to on another thread) but how emotional people get about the concept of their nation is absolutely ridiculous. Nationalism, especially in our day and age, is as meaningless as it is sacrosanct in the eyes of the masses, and the sort of action it inspires on an individual and societal scale is absolutely astounding.

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Clayton replied on Fri, Jul 20 2012 2:41 AM

So are you indeed saying that it is the "faithful" part of the human psyche, the same one that religion targets, that is prone to control and manipulation by the state?

I also think that it's undeniable that in most areas religion and the state are inseparable. Gods must be used in order to justify the rule of kings that no one wants, and actions which are against every individual's self interest (even in instances where it is in the interest of the whole). In every culture pre-1700's the state was directly backed up by god. Churches and the state openly benefited one another in Medieval Europe, rulers were actual gods in the ancient Middle East, and even in China and Japan where organized religion has always been a rather iffy thing it wasn't a century ago that the Emperors were seldom mentioned in the absence of their alleged divinity and heavenly ordainment.

For this reason I think that it's inconceivable that religion isn't either the sister, or more likely mother of the state itself.

No, I don't have that particular view. I'm aware of it but I think it doesn't hold up to scrutiny - I don't think that religion 'gave birth' to the State. The particularly rapine nature of the modern State is the result of the convergence of three key factors:

  1. The natural desire to want to live at others' expense; what I call the will-to-enslave
  2. The Agricultural Revolution; this fundamentally altered man's environment to such an extent that a great deal fo the hardwiring in the human brain is at best useless and, in many cases, counter-productive to man's ends (as expressed in the most general sense of "flourishing"). In particular, the Agricultural Revolution gave rise to grain stocks, cattle herds and other forms of early capital stocks. Following a slightly amended version of Say's Law, "Only what has already been produced can be consumed (by thieves)."
  3. The human capacity for culture, that is, the "programmable" part of the brain that is capable of rebalancing itself against wholly novel social factors. This is the basis for social cooperation enabled through social factors such as duties, norms and, ultimately, law. But it is also a basis for social conflict and parasitism, that is, it can grease the skids for point 1 above just as well as for peaceful, non-parasitic cooperation

With this said there has been an amazing reversal in trends over the past two centuries, and an amazingly thorough splitting of organized religion and the state.

Again, I am a skeptic on the view that religion has lost the State vs. religion battle. I think that the State made its bones only with the aid and cooperation of religion. After a time, I think the State has forgotten just how badly it needs religion and the "Enlightenment" was actually the first salvo in what is now more than a two-century long battle between the secular and sacred powers. There has always been tension but the very first serious shot came with Martin Luther but the battle really heated up later around the time of the French revolution. The "New World Order" concept of bringing about a "global religion" is precisely meant to obsolesce all the old religions.

In any case, in most countries, they are not as separate as they are in the US. And I would argue that, even in the US, we exaggerate just how separate they really are.

Ideas are everything. Practically every system is theoretically possible and could be enacted if the ideological factors were exactly right. Irrationality, adaptation, conservatism, and assumption are part of the human soul, and for this reason people can adapt to almost any line of thinking and believe almost anything.

Yes and no. People can certainly act like they believe almost anything but I think it's another thing to say that they can actually be made to believe almost anything. Evolutionary psychology tells us that a great deal of human nature is actually "hardwired" - this doesn't mean that behavior motivated from these hardwired circuits can't be helped but, rather, that the effects of that hardwiring cannot be eliminated through training or conditioning. For example, hunger pangs cannot be made to go away through wishing. There is no social conditioning which will ever succeed in eradicating hunger pangs. And so on.

I think that the most "plastic" part of the brain is actually the part associated with social relationships. We have this incredibly complex capacity to reason about other human beings in an automatic and intuitive way (probably because we have a lot of the exact same circuits in our brains that they have in their brains); including how they will react to our actions. It is my view that this calculation - how will others react to my actions and/or what sorts of spontaneous behavior can I predict in others? - is the basis of the malleability of the social order itself.

As ideas/fads/memes/whatever sweep through society, they fundamentally alter the predictable behavior of others. Britney Spears is out and Justin Bieber is in (this alters the valuation of clothing, records and associated paraphernalia of the respective pop stars). So, the behavior of people is continually changing over time and we have a "sociology module" in our brain that permits us to "track with" these changes over time and rebalance our own decision-making in such a way as to adjust to the ever-shifting status quo.

In this way the literal replacement of secular religion with nationalism has occurred. I haven't had a good rant about nationalism in a long time (I'm planning to on another thread) but how emotional people get about the concept of their nation is absolutely ridiculous. Nationalism, especially in our day and age, is as meaningless as it is sacrosanct in the eyes of the masses, and the sort of action it inspires on an individual and societal scale is absolutely astounding.

Indeed.

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When it comes to the most important thing: i.e., improved living standards for as many people as possible, I am a huge optimist about the future.

 

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Neodoxy replied on Fri, Jul 20 2012 3:30 AM

Clayton,

Despite all you have written I still do not understand exactly what you see the connection between religion and the state is. Could you either quote where you have done this most succinctly or write this out?

What your three points don't seem to answer is exactly what method was used in order to allow people to be dominated. I think that it's practically undeniable that people have a will to dominate, and the capability to be dominated, but this does not explain what initially caused them to submit to domination. There is no better guise than religion and I think that it's practically impossible to explain the seemingly eternal connection between the two after the establishment of the state, unless we believe that the two were linked. Hell, even in the Americas with absolutely zero connection to Eurasia and Africa the only large states which were established were those based off of religion.

I also don't understand why you seem to indicate that

1. The states in most countries in the west and in East Asia aren't almost totally separate of religious influence, especially since separation of church and state has been a staple of American government and the widespread belief/devoutness of people is shrinking before our eyes, in Western Europe Atheism is on par with those which who believe in an explicit god, and in East Asia religion never had much of a role to start with, and Taoism, Buddhism, and Shintoism sure as hell don't have anything to do with the People's Republic of China or Japan!

2. The state needs classical religion when democracy, nationalism, and the ideology of statism itself have all proved just as effective as explicit religion in justifying the cause of statism. Nothing was more totalitarian and centralized than the secular states of the USSR, Communist China, and Nazi Germany.

As for the video, wow. The professor nails it, and it's truly amazing how much the reporter simply shrugs off the question even though it's a totally valid and rational question which is, if anything, dumbed down in such a way that it might make sense in modern discourse, although even then it obviously failed. The fact that giving a reason to valuing the jobs of individuals in hundreds or thousands of miles away in one direction as opposed to another "isn't worth responding to" tells you everything you need to know. I'm honestly surprised that got on FOX... The U of R isn't an hour away from where I live, I might just pay that professor a visit.

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Although some may not care to read this, I just finished it and thought it was quite interesting and makes a great case for itself. It's titled "Jesus Is an Anarchist."

http://www.anti-state.com/redford/redford4.html

I thought it was relevant to the latest comments here. It demonstrates how easily the words of Christ can be twisted to be a means to the State's goal: enslavement (or absence of liberty). It shows how some of the words and actions of Christ and His disciples were done to deliberately mislead the State to allow them to continue preaching their message. And it all ties nicely together the notion that liberty is what we are called to (and how Christ's one law or directive, the Golden Rule, is remarkably similar to the NAP).

Just thought I would toss that out there in case anyone would like to read it and/or hadn't heard of it. The author, James Redford, is a poster here (I found the link in his signature).

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Autolykos replied on Fri, Jul 20 2012 8:29 AM

I think both religion and the state come from "the family" (i.e. kinship groups). Both were originally familial (tribal) in nature.

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Clayton replied on Fri, Jul 20 2012 2:45 PM

Despite all you have written I still do not understand exactly what you see the connection between religion and the state is. Could you either quote where you have done this most succinctly or write this out?

 

a) Religion is just one of many aspects of human society

b) The State is another aspect

c) There is no necessary interaction between these two aspects unless you appeal to the meaningless sense in which "everything is connected"; In this same sense, the grocery industry has a "necessary interaction" with the State

d) Throughout most of recorded history, religion has been monopolized by the State. But so has law, security finance and miscellaneous commercial industries, varying from place to place and time to time. What I'm arguing is that organized religion (religion + division-of-labor) is like any other line of production in that it is voluntary. So, all lines of product except the State stand in contrast to the State on the criterion of voluntariness. The State (and private crime) are the involuntary aspects of the social order, in contrast to all other aspects which are voluntary.

e) Questions of apparent involuntariness in culture (e.g. "mandatory" clothing customs, arranged marriages, etc.) miss the point that compliance in these aspects is achieved through means that, for all practical intents and purposes, are still voluntary by comparison to overt threats against life, limb and property.

What your three points don't seem to answer is exactly what method was used in order to allow people to be dominated. I think that it's practically undeniable that people have a will to dominate, and the capability to be dominated, but this does not explain what initially caused them to submit to domination.

I don't think method is that important. The hard question, as Hoppe identifies in many of his lectures, is why do people allow themselves to be dominated??

There is no better guise than religion and I think that it's practically impossible to explain the seemingly eternal connection between the two after the establishment of the state, unless we believe that the two were linked. Hell, even in the Americas with absolutely zero connection to Eurasia and Africa the only large states which were established were those based off of religion.

But that just pushes the question back one more step. "It's all a trick." OK, so why were people susceptible to this particular trick? It still doesn't answer the question.

I also don't understand why you seem to indicate that

1. The states in most countries in the west and in East Asia aren't almost totally separate of religious influence, especially since separation of church and state has been a staple of American government and the widespread belief/devoutness of people is shrinking before our eyes, in Western Europe Atheism is on par with those which who believe in an explicit god, and in East Asia religion never had much of a role to start with, and Taoism, Buddhism, and Shintoism sure as hell don't have anything to do with the People's Republic of China or Japan!

I think that this is a result of a very narrow definition of religion. Religion is a complex of ideas, attitudes and behaviors that - taken together - form a mystical cosmology that binds together the social, natural and psychological into a cohesive whole. In this sense, everyone is religious. You have a unifying cosmology, whether you acknowledge it or not.

I think when most modernists use the word "religion", they actually mean a certain subset of religion concerned with superstition. The role of superstition in religion is vastly exaggerated in the post-Enlightenment world. Superstitions are there but it's actually a bit of class snobbery to focus on superstition as the defining feature of religion because superstitions have tended to be the domain of the poor and ignorant.

Anyway, I just think it's ridiculous to say that Asian nations are examples of non-religious States. In Shintoism, they worship and pray to their ancestors - that's not religious?? In Buddhism, you meditate and you will ultimately be reincarnated. That's not religious?

2. The state needs classical religion when democracy, nationalism, and the ideology of statism itself have all proved just as effective as explicit religion in justifying the cause of statism. Nothing was more totalitarian and centralized than the secular states of the USSR, Communist China, and Nazi Germany.

 

The problem is that the State's quasi-religious narratives are much more transparently self-serving than the narratives employed by professional churchmen. And, frankly, the State are amateurs. They truly don't get it that you can't hit someone over the head and, at the very same time, expect that person to truly and deeply believe in your moral legitimacy. It just doesn't work. The State - acting as its own priest - is faced with an insurmountable moral legitimacy problem. Nationalism does not substitute for religion... it is just a particular expression of tribal loyalty.

Religious leadership is based on something more complex than tribal loyalty. It's about social goodness and purity that confer a worthiness of respect on the religious leader who maintains a following based on this distributed, uncoerced recognition of his spotless reputation. This true religious leadership is what is hijacked and ultimately counterfeited by the State's monopoly religion. But the State has grown too big for its breeches and imagines that it doesn't even need the blessing of priests to have moral legitimacy. It can just act the part. This is just like how it can operate a printing press responsibly without ever destroying the currency in an orgy of money-printing. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure.

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Jargon replied on Fri, Jul 20 2012 4:37 PM

A note on strategy for the future of libertarianism:

 

When things like ObamaCare get passed, don't weep for yourself but cheer for the ideas of libertarianism. People as society are accustomed to behaving in a manner similar to the Hegelian Dialectic. Example: 9/11. We get 'attacked', we react and attack random people. Gulf of Tonkin. Same deal. Banking crises to banking regulations. High housing costs to price ceilings and so on. Whether this pattern is imposed on humanity or it is genuine, it has been in place long enough that it's imposition is not so necessary to the social psyche for its effects to play out. It sounds ugly, but libertarianism is not going to win if people feel fine about the government.

I don't want the "Audit the Fed" bill to pass. You know they're not gonna find anything, because the Fed had too much time to clean up their desks. If anything it will be an excuse for pro-Fed partisans to say "See? Your kooky paranoid little fantasies are just that, now leave the business to the smart people." This isn't how progress is made. It isn't made by inching towards abolition within the political system, because that is easily monitored and affected by those whom it may concern. Progress is made by inching away from its legitimacy, without change from inside. Progress will be made when people are clamoring to burn the place down and congress continues to completely ignore them. Libertarians mustn't have a significant voice inside the political arena, now that Ron Paul has blown up so large. 'They' know that this is a problem for them, and libertarians in office gives them an opportunity. If there must be libertarians in office, it's best to do it at municipal or state levels where they can hopefully allow people to ignore federal stuff. For libertarianism to succeed, people have to lose hope in politics as they did in Soviet Russia, but this time with a knowledgeable and persistent libertarian influence coming up from beneath them.

The best thing that can happen for libertarianism is successive democrats getting elected into office, over and over. Then, all will be blamed on 'the government' no matter how corporatist the programs. Despite the fact that the Republican and Democrat positions are identical, Republicans in office would ever be pleading to 'let the free market work', thus further tarnishing its name.

I don't know if you've noticed, but Mitt Romney has been trying to pander to Ron Paul things. Libertarianism is becoming 'a thing' and they know it. Their only option is to try to co-opt it and morph it into something else like they did with conservatism. Grab the anti-drug, pro-gay, pro-abortion surface-skimming Johnsonians before they become a real problem and penetrate into the banking, industrial and military complexes. We're going to see the end to the drug war, and more Republican candidates trying to look libertarian. Likely this will result in some minor 'libertinean' shifts and perhaps some unfortunate cases of deregulation. By this I mean that not all deregulations are equal and some can be detrimental without the simultaneous removal of state-privilege. That can't happen. Big-Tent libertarianism will mean the end of the relevance of the truly important issues which are, I think you'll agree, money, might, and the corporate-state.

Libertarianism's only success can be from the spontaneous members who comprise the movement. If FoxNews gets too libertarianny then you know that we're about to lose the fight. So I say, please let Barack Obama be elected, please let the debt unwind while President: Blue is in office. The true growth of libertarianism will be a culmination of a couple things: the failure central economic models and world indebtedness in the foreseeable future, the wealth of accessible knowledge on the internet (as long as it stays open).

Land & Liberty

The Anarch is to the Anarchist what the Monarch is to the Monarchist. -Ernst Jünger

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Clayton replied on Fri, Jul 20 2012 5:20 PM

The best thing that can happen for libertarianism

The Russian expats I have met don't blame "the government" for everything. They still tend to view the problems they experienced in the Soviet Union as generally coming from "society", i.e. that they are inevitable in any social order.

What your'e suggesting sounds like the neocon BS before Bush got elected... "starve the beast" they said... the idea was to run up government revenues as high as possible, while holding taxes flat or maybe reducing them, thus forcing a "cutback" once the discrepancy became too large. What cutback? When has there been a cutback in government since 2001??? Don't hold your breath because there ain't any cutbacks coming. Which proves that that supposed neocon  gambit was just another ruse for increased government spending. By duping conservatives into believing the genius neocons had worked out some brilliant strategy to cut government by expanding it, they reduced resistance to government expansion. Mission accomplished.

Expansion of government is never good news and we should not wish for it. It will not hasten "the end" of government, though it might just hasten the end of whatever little civilization is left within America.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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