Tuesday, July 02, 2019

The Death of the Liberal Idea

Last week’s G20 gathering in Osaka was a signal event: it signaled how much the world has changed. The centerpieces of the new configuration are China, Russia and India, with the EU and Japan as eager adjuncts, and with Eurasian integration as the overarching priority. The agenda was clearly being set by Xi and Putin. May, Macron and Merkel—the European leaders not quite deserving of that title—were clearly being relegated to the outskirts; two of the three are on their way out while the one keeping his seat (for now) is looking more and more like a toyboy. The Europeans wasted their time haggling over who should head the European Commission, only to face open rebellion over their choice the moment they arrived back home.

And then there was Trump, let loose now that the Robert Mueller farce has come to its inevitable conclusion. He was running around trying to figure out which of America’s “partners” can still be thrown under the bus before the roof comes down on Pax Americana. It’s a stretch goal because he is out of ammo. He has already threatened all-out war—twice, once against North Korea, once against Iran, but, given the disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, sanity caused him to keep his military Humpty-Dumpty safely seated on the wall.

Trump hasn’t completely given up on trade war yet, but here too he is encountering problems and is being forced to backtrack: Huawei is being recalled from the sanctions doghouse. Trump must knock out another major player—either China, Russia or the EU—before Eurasia becomes cemented together via land trade routes controlled by China, Russia and Iran instead of sea routes patrolled by the US Navy; if he doesn’t succeed, then the US is out of the game, its military might and the US dollar both rendered irrelevant. Of these, the EU seems like the softest target, but even the Europeans somehow managed launch the mechanism that allows them to circumvent US sanctions against Iran. Trump is definitely in a tough spot. What is the author of “The Art of the Deal” to do when nobody wants to negotiate any more deals with the US, now knowing full well that the US always finds ways to renege on its obligations?

And then comes the bombshell announcement. In an interview with Financial Times Putin declares that “the liberal idea... has finally outlived its usefulness” because it no longer serves the needs of the majority of the peoples. Not “people,” mind you, but “peoples”—all different, but all the viable ones united in their steadfast adherence to the principle that family and nation (from the Latin verb nasci—to be born) are über alles. Some might perceive hints of fascism in this train of thought, but that would be akin to arguing that since fascists are known to use toothbrushes, then ipso facto toothbrushes are fascist implements to be outlawed and everyone must go back to cleaning their teeth with twigs and sticks. That Putin was able to utter words to the effect that the liberal idea is dead—something no Western leader would dare say—shows how much the world has changed.

Not that some Western leaders wouldn’t say it, if they only could. “Our Western partners,” Putin said, “have conceded that some elements of the liberal idea are simply not realistic… such as multiculturalism. Many of them conceded that yes, unfortunately it doesn’t work (LOL) and that we must remember the interests of the native population.” Not that Russia doesn’t have its share of problems related to migrants, due to its open border policy with certain former Soviet republics, but it works to resolve them by demanding competency in Russian and respect for Russian culture and traditions, while “the liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done, that migrants can rob, rape, steal, but that we must defend their rights… What rights? You broke a rule—you are punished!”

The migrant crisis is a perfect example of how liberalism has outlived its usefulness. Liberalism offers two ways forward, both of which are fatal to it. One approach is distinctly illiberal: halt the influx of migrants by any means necessary; insist that the migrants already in the country either conform to a strict set of requirements, including demonstrated competency in the nation’s language, detailed knowledge of its laws and administrative systems, strict obedience to its laws and demonstrated preference and respect for the customs and culture of the native population—or be not so much deported as expelled. The other approach is liberal at first: allow the influx to continue, do not hinder the formation of foreign ghettos and enclaves which native citizens and officials dare not enter, and eventually surrender to Sharia law or other forms of foreign dictate—guaranteeing the eventual death of the liberal idea along with much of the native population. Thus, the choice is between killing the liberal idea but saving the native population or letting the liberal idea die willy-nilly, taking the native population along with it. It offers no solution at all.

“We all live in a world based on traditional Biblical values,” quoth Putin. “We don’t have to demonstrate them every day… but must have them in our hearts and our souls. In this way, traditional values are more stable and more important to millions of people than this liberal idea which, in my view, is ceasing to exist.” This is true not just of the believers—be they Christian, Moslem or Jewish—but of the atheists as well. To put it in terms that may shock and astound some of you, you don’t have to believe in God (although it helps if you do—to avoid cognitive dissonance) but if you aspire to any sort of social adequacy in a traditional society you have no choice but to sincerely think and act as if God exists, and that He is the God of the Bible—be He Yahweh, Elohim, Jesus and the Holy Trinity or Allah (that's the Arabic word for “God”).

Putin capped off his argument by ever so gently and politely putting the boot in. He said that he has no clue about any of this “transformer-trans... whatever” stuff. How many genders are there? He has lost count. Not that he is against letting consenting adult members of various minority sexual groups do whatever they want among themselves—“Let everyone be happy!”—but they have no right to dictate to the rest. Specifically, Russian law makes homosexual propaganda among those who are under age illegal. Hollywood’s pro-LGBT mavens must be displeased: their choice is either to redact LGBT propaganda from the script, or to redact it from the finished film prior to its release in Russia (and China).

Here Putin is tapping into something that is fast becoming a political trend everywhere, including that former bastion of liberalism—the West. It is in the nature of democracies that previously repressed minorities tend to clamor for more and more rights up to and often well beyond the point where they begin to impinge on the rights of the majority; but at some point the majority starts pushing back. By now it can be stated with some certainty that in the view of the majority the LGBT movement has gone too far. Opinion surveys attest to this fact: LGBT support crested at well over 50% but has been dropping by roughly 10% per year for several years now.

How far beyond that point has the LGBT movement gone? In some Western countries children as young as three are subjected to “gender reassignment” that follows a sequence of indoctrination, chemical castration and physical castration, even against the wishes of their parents, resulting in a sterile individual. Pray tell, why should any sane parent agree to having their offspring sterilized, thus ending their bloodline? The vast majority of Earth’s population finds such practices appalling, and this is starting to include the home of the now dead liberal idea—the West itself. As a first, timid step of the overwhelming pushback that seems likely ensue, a “heterosexual pride parade” is scheduled to be held in Boston.

Note that the item in question is not “gender” but “sex.” The word “gender” does exist, but the sense in which LGBT activists and feminists use it is an instance of overloading—of linguistic violence. The only sense in which the term is valid is as grammatical gender, which is a feature of most Indo-European languages. In these languages, all nouns are assigned to one of exactly three genders—male, female and neuter—in English identified by the pronouns “he,” “she” and “it” while in Russian they are “on” “oná” and “onó” and, quite typically, “he” (“on”) is the default or unmarked gender while the other two require gender-specific endings (“-a”, “-o”). Male and female nouns and pronouns can denote either animate or inanimate objects, which answer either to “Who?” or to “What?” while neuter nouns and pronouns can only denote inanimate objects, which answer to “What?” (except in poetry, as permitted by poetic license). By the way, this clears away the confusion over alternative “gender-specific” pronouns, be they “ze,” “hir” or “ququuuxx”: in order to function grammatically, they must still make a choice between masculine and feminine, or they indicate that someone is an inanimate being—a “what” rather than a “who.”

The grammatical use of the term “gender” is justified; all others are fanciful efforts to overload the term in a way that does not comport with physical reality. And the reality is this: tissue samples of any specimen of the human species allow the specimen to be readily sexed by looking for an XX or an XY chromosome pair and assigning a corresponding “F” or “M” symbol. In the vast majority of cases, the specimen itself can be sexed by visual inspection, just like a chicken but far more easily—by examining the genitals. Crucially for the survival of the species, an “F” specimen should generally be capable of giving birth after mating with an “M” specimen. There are various abnormalities and pathologies that lie outside this basic scheme, but they are sufficiently rare as to be considered “in the noise” for most purposes.

The outliers certainly deserve the liberty to engage in any hanky-panky that tickles their fancy, but pretending that they belong to a rainbow of fictional “genders” does not help the rest of us at all. Perhaps referring to them all as “pidor,” as the Russians often do, oversimplifies matters a bit. (The word is short for “pederast” which is from the ancient Greeks, who were famous for pederasty, and which literally means “boy-love.”) On the other hand, with most Russians it would probably be a mistake to try to explain to them the difference between Q1 and Q2 in LGBTQ1Q2 because to them this question is sooo interesting! (Italicized phrase is to be read with a groan, a slack-jawed face and an eye-roll.)

That said, you can certainly go on believing in a rainbow of genders, or in elves, or unicorns, for that matter, and those who are kind and polite will tiptoe around your liberal shibboleths while those who are rude and uncouth will laugh in your face or even shove and slap you around a bit in a vain effort to knock some sense into your head. But we should be kind and polite and, as Putin said, “Let everyone be happy.” In turn, we should probably try to avoid being shoved and slapped around by people whose heads are full of outdated, wooly notions. Some of these heads—notably those belonging to snowflakes, who seem congenitally unable to brook any disagreement—will explode on their own.

Most importantly, we should deny these people any and all access to our children. Here, Putin issued a clarion call that should resound around the entire planet: “Leave the children alone!” His call should resonate with the vast majority of humans, of all ethnicities, cultures and faiths, who take the divine exhortation to “be fruitful and multiply” quite literally and wish for their progeny to do the same. When conditions turn for the worse, as they often do, they drop like flies in autumn, but then death is an essential part of life, and they regenerate and live to swarm again once conditions improve.

As an aside, now that liberalism is dead, those who feel that the planet is overpopulated only have the right to speak for themselves. That is, it may very well be the case that Earth is overpopulated with you, but that, of course, is for you alone to decide. If you feel sufficiently strongly about this matter, you should perhaps take charge and rid the planet of your good self, but please allow the rest of us wait to depart this world in some other, more naturalistic and less ideologically motivated manner. In the meantime, the rest of us should be able to have as many children as local conditions warrant. Putin had nothing to say on this question; he is the president of Russia, Russia is not overpopulated, and the rest of the planet didn’t elect him. Likewise, now that liberalism is dead, your opinion on Russia’s demographics matters not at all—unless you happen to be Russian, that is.

There is much more to say about the death of the liberal idea, and this is only the first installment—clearing the decks by throwing some useless baggage overboard, if you will. Far more important is the question of what will replace the liberal idea now that it is dead. Free market capitalism is also dead (just look at all of the financial shenanigans, the sanctions and the tariffs!) and Western free-market conservatives and libertarians should note that ideologically they are still liberals and that their ideology is also now dead.

But what is there to replace liberalism? It seems that the choice is between artificially resuscitated Marxism-Leninism (with Leon Trotsky lurking menacingly and Pol Pot sitting Buddha-like atop a pile of rotting corpses) and shiny, high-tech modern Stalinism (with distinctive Chinese characteristics). Intelligent boys and girls, when offered a false choice by being asked “Do you want an apple or a banana” usually respond “No!” I would like to do the same. But then what other choices are there?


Tosha said...

Regarding the choice between Marxism-Leninism and high-tech Stalinism I would quote Stalin and say that both are worse.
But I don't think these have to be the only choices. Global ideologies are inherently bad because we are all different people(s). But moving to local Solzhenytsin style ethno-centric ideologies is much more viable(who by the way figured out liberalism was dead in 1978 after living in the West for only a few years, and announced it in a somewhat embarrassing, to liberalism of course, speech in Harvard). In Russia you will get Russian ideology, in China a Chinese one, in Germany you could soon enjoy Sharia law. Whatever fits the local people will work best for them.
So hopefully the ideology of global ideologies would die along with liberalism.

Dmitry Orlov said...

Tosha—what you propose is an exquisitely bad idea. Without a common set of rules there can be no international relations (that are peaceful) and no international commerce without which millions will die from a wide variety of causes. Working out a new set of rules (since the previous set of rules, where the US gets to decide) is now defunct. This is what is being worked out at the highest level, at meetings such as G20. Most of the efforts have been bilateral, although SCO and other regional organizations, and BRICS+, which is rather amorphous but still useful, are playing a part.

Mark said...

The U.S. falls pray to every kind of cultural virus because the U.S. does not have a culture, other than consumerism. It was not necessarily always so, but it has been so for my entire life, and I'm 72. There will be no choice in the future, whatsoever, for Americans to "choose" asa path. It will be chosen for us, happen to us, regardless of what we think, want, or intend.

The Seer said...

"But then what other choices are there?"

Anarchism in the form of radical de-centralization and local self-governance. It may seem far-fetched today as we live in an age of unprecedented technocracy with the marriage of state power and hi-tech, but one can always dream.

Freddie said...

I like that you castigate the arrogant people who think we need to reduce world population.

"Take one for the team!" is my refrain to people who say that.

Moshe said...

I chose Stalinism with Chinese characteristics.

Per said...

What other choices are there? After the end of cheap fossil fuels, the Zapatista way of life looks good.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

There will always be a dynamic tension between the aspirations of the individual and the needs of the community. Ideally both are honoured and efforts are made to find balance. I agree that the pendulum has swung way too far in the direction of the individual, especially in the USA. The psychology industrial complex has much to account for. I have seen perfectly tolerable marriages crumble under the onslaught of so called counselors inciting people to demand endlessly exalted amounts of happiness. In recent years sheer necessity is recreating some balance. I see more three generation families happening.

However, I shudder at the invocation of patriarchal order under whatever name. Handmaid’s tale anyone?
Hell no, we won’t go! In the name of the Mother, the Daughter and the Holy Crone.

Also, agreed this “sexual dysphoria” trans thing has gotten too much attention lately. Agreed with the astute observation on minorities. I call the phenomenon “sproinking.” Energy suppressed is like a coil with a lid on top, such as a Jack in the Box. You know what happens when you take the lid off, right? SPROINK! Don’t stand too close, it will hit you in the face. Will some kids suffer because they are forced to wait till after puberty to fully express their sexual nature? Probably, and so what? Life involves struggle. Being a minority is not the same as being an oppressed minority. Learn the difference.

However, the notion that there is a queer (the alphabeth soup term drives me nuts) agenda to make kids queer is just plain ridiculous. Conversion does not work in any direction. Gay kids are constantly exposed to heterosexual teachers and it does not stop them from being attracted to their own sex. Likewise, a gay teacher would not stop a regular kid from being attracted to the opposite sex. I would be perfectly happy with a queer teacher as long as (s)he is a good teacher.

As for overpopulation, Nature will have the last word. She always does.

Arius said...

Orlov: Take a look at The Fourth Political Theory.

Veronica said...

Always appreciate your point of view, Dmitry, especially when I tend to disagree, as you give me something solid to chew on, and clarify and modify my own thinking on these subjects. I do think that the planet is overpopulated for it's natural carrying capacity, at least within the parameters of what we have come to consider normal, and am saddened at the loss of liveable space for so many species, leaving gaps in the current ecological order which will have as yet unknown knock-on effects. Perhaps the effects will not be systemically destructive, we don't know, it's all a vast experiment. Your point of view seems tacitly to accept that large chunks of humanity will die off, either from environmental degradation, or the wars, famine and pestilence that accrue from it. And, barring some miraculous techno-fix in which I have no faith, that will probably happen. In which case, breed on, because the old order will die, probably sooner than it imagines. In the meantime, the only practical action is for each country to look after it's own balance of nature and live within it, not demanding that others do what they are not prepared to.
Empathy is a mixed blessing - without it much that is beautiful and valuable in human society is lost, but carried to extremes it is paralytic, both emotionally and practically. And it is such a useful lever for anyone wanting to manipulate a population into some direction against their best interests, but profitable for the manipulator.
I don't imagine that liberal ideas are indeed "dead", any more than that conservative ones have "won". These things go in cycles. Any way of thinking that excludes consideration of other points of view will lose effectiveness until it is taken over by some compensating trend. Liberalism, especially neo-liberalism as a political form, seems certainly to have entered that ossified stage, as exampled in the massive confusion about gender and the push by some to force this confusion onto the population as a whole, especially children. "Let everyone be happy" is a fair enough statement, but much more so is "leave the children alone".
But let's at least agree that the tendency to force one's own preferences onto society as a whole has not started with this period in history. With a few notable and short-lived exceptions, we've been battering away at each other in every society that there's a record of, since records began.
Btw, on a different note, we had a perfectly lovely visit to Russia this spring. Just Moscow to St. Petersburg, which is a tiny part of the whole, but everything about it was a pleasure and a privilege. The whole impression was of a spacious, gracious, and welcoming place. The pace and outstanding quality of the rebuilding since the 90s is breathtaking. We hope to come again.

jal said...

What social/economic system will we have?

Not one kind but may kind.
We have many kinds existing all over the world.
We will still have many kinds in the future.

Yes, the N.Korea examples, the Cuban examples and the capitalist examples, etc., will still be there in the future.

edmund said...

My alternative - Confucianism plus X. If you look at Vietnam, the Koreas, Japan and China, this is what they all have in common besides being East Asian countries, and they are for now, relative well off. I think Confucianism plus X will be able to resuscitate liberal democracy as well. China's secret is not high tech Stalinism, it is the buried strain of Confucianism that underpins the culture, which is why Vietnam has also benefitted from the US China trade war.

Matthew C Smallwood said...

Our third alternative will be The Third Rome: Russia is poised to become the bridge between East and West, and the holder of what remains of the imperium. "Empire migrates Westward", until it comes full circle back in Russia. All of the interesting work in hard science and also spirituality, is either being done or is likely to be done in Russia. China sold its soul, Russia did not. The West ruined its body, Russia did not. I think we are going to be living in the beginnings of a Russian millennium. Russia itself is consciously aware, in the figure of Putin, and others, of what is happening, and is cautiously feeling its way forward. Their role will be all the more secure, in as much as they do not actively desire it.

Bruno said...

The problem is not overpopulation, but more precisely overpopulation of elderlies.
Living Africa aside, the representation of the world population looks more and more like a pyramid... siting on its top!
While techno-medical advances have made possible to prolong old age by a few decades (what's the point?), consumerism financed with debt has led parents to save on children, by not having them!
This in itself is proof of a very sick society trapped in a sick system.
Our society, from top to bottom, has become obsessed with money, and the economy is all that matters.
The fact that there are so many preoccupations with the economy is proof of a failed economic system, and more generally proof that a sane society cannot thrive by putting the economy, and money, first (idealy, we shouldn't even think about it, like the air we breathe).

Putin is seeing the writing on the wall, and doing his best to avoid Russia, and a few others, to sink with the Western Titanic, whose captain(s) is no better than the one at the helm of the original ship.

Amazed! said...

Even the Dalai Lama says - Immigrants, go home!

"In a speech last year he said that refugees to the European Union should ultimately return home, adding that "Europe is for Europeans"

"A limited number is OK, but the whole of Europe [will] eventually become Muslim country, African country - impossible," he said


the blame-e said...

In his latest interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the liberals are "eating themselves." Truer words have never been spoken, even if they do come from some "Commie Russian Pinko." [sarcasm]

The il-liberal Progressive Socialist Democrats are so desperate for power that they will destroy the country (in every way), in order to take control of it. One sign of a failing empire is how its citizens lose faith in its institutions. I can think of no better example of this than with the "New York Times." As a former beacon of all that was once good about this country, no other newspaper better represents the death a the free press, the death of the Fourth Estate; how to be the "Enemy of the People" and an "Enemy of the State" than the "New York Times."

The "New York Times" use to be the "newspaper of record." Not anymore. The "New York Times was famous for its daily paper, its Sunday paper, its book review, and perhaps most of all, its best selling author book list. No more. These have all fallen and fallen badly.

The "New York Times once famous book list is now not pushing books but authors. They make the list not on how many books they sell, but on how much the NYT and the author share Progressive Social Democrat "values" and "beliefs." Truth, honesty, integrity, and character have nothing to do with anything anymore.

Jim Acosta just made the NYT Best Seller list. The problem there is his book didn't even make Amazon's top 500 list, selling some where in the neighborhood of 8,000 copies to-date. So, fake news "New York Times" has a fake list about a fake book by a fake journalist. Makes sense.

Unknown said...

I supported the early Gay Rights Movement as it was called then. As a straight. However, what we have now, at least in the west is a population so corrupted by toxic medicine, the environment and fake food that people do not have a stable neuro hormonal chemistry. We are making fake chemical people and so a population of hormonally uncertain yet bizzare make up. So, what's left of still stable population will have to impose some order to prevent social disintegration.

By the way I much prefer the Trotsky option. Stand firm for something clean.

Compound F said...

do you defend 7X carrying capacity?

then what?

Robert Callaghan said...

I watched Peter Carter and Paul Beckwith on YT yesterday.

It's floods one year, drought the next, no more normal weather.

The only thing normal now is runaway emissions and mass extinction.

Beckwith 30 min: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0TNUNu1P-w

Carter 24 min: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV3S4v5yTdA&t=936s

Paul was saying, there is no normal, normal is gone -- it's floods one year, and drought the next. Peter clearly demonstrated that annual emission jumps are breaking records, especially in the Spring of each year. Alaska is turning into a melted ice cream cake. Methane variables are not yet in large climate models.

Mass extinction is ignored. Green energy is a fraud, and the seriousness of our situation is a gigantic lie. Natalie Shakova released a new paper hitting hard at her critics about methane.

We are ten seconds from war with the whole world. Kids are dying in Yemen while we fight about who oppresses whom. Wireless urban life is mutating our offspring and converting all vertebrate males into emasculated infertile females. Our video displays are toxic, and mal adapts young brains. while wirelessly cooking them. Too much youthful screen time causes myopia. Every single year, children's bones are withering away.

Our online culture fosters ideological addiction and mental illness. All our girls are depressed, and mental illness from social media is epidemic. 20 more years of living this way will turn us all into circus freaks.

Our food is so poisoned it kills the soil, and all the bugs, birds and fish within miles of it. We add nano-particles, synthetic DNA, micro/nano plastics and petrochemicals to our food that literally destroy your guts and brains. Petrochemical use is growing 7X faster than the human population. We don't burn oil anymore, we turn it into plastic.

We are starting a civil war and entering near term poverty and hunger, and the only food and water we got is poisoned. It's not climate change affecting our minds, it's everything. This is due to a lack of meaning in our lives except for selfishness.

Mass extinction normally follows runaway hothouse climate change. This time it's different, mass extinction is happening before climate change.

We live isolated from reality because increasing food prices here means starvation somewhere else. We are massively unprepared for food and energy price hikes. We have not faced mass hunger in America and Europe since the 1930s, nearly 100 years ago. Our socialist/capitalist binary is 100 years old and will not solve runaway mass extinction and hothouse earth in 10 years.

100 million Indians in 20 cities will run out of groundwater next year. The warning about running out of soil in 60 years is already 10 years old. Hard rains, droughts and floods are washing soil away faster than ever before.

Australia's wheat belt has moved south of the continent into the Antarctic ocean. They had to import wheat from Canada this year. Two brand new condos there had to be evacuated so far this year because of sub-standard concrete. Nobody knows how many new condos will only last 20 years, or less.

China shipped all their defective solar panels to Australia, and now up to 30% of them only last a few years when exposed to moisture. China is building highways, train tracks, coal and nuclear plants all over the planet, faster than anything in human history. China has destroyed our regulatory framework. It's China's way or the Huawei.

If you are 15 years old, emissions went up 30% in your lifetime. If you are 30 years old, emissions went up 60% in your lifetime. Emissions must go down 50% in 10 years and 100% in 20 years for humanity to survive. Economists who say we got 40 years are lying.

The Republican/Democrat binary is a dysfunctional billion dollar fraud that resulted in Trump and Clinton, both of whom are an insult to democracy and freedom. It's too bad the scope of discussion is so limited.

Bruno said...

What a rant from Robert G.
To sum things up, maybe for the first time in human history, it is today better to be old than young... because of what's to come, I wouldn't want to be 20 these days...

This is the result of a few decades of unabatted "progress" during which we have managed to destroy much more than our predecessors since the emergence of homo sapiens... all that without even having to go to war, of the military kind.

Climate change will probably be the cherry on the cake, after most of us will have been poisoned to death by plastic, fertilizers, insecticides, toxic emissions of all kinds, junk food and so on... the list of our achievements is long...

Robin Morrison said...

"Alaska is turning into a melted ice cream cake."

I adore a good metaphor.

the blame-e said...

To Robert Callaghan. Nice little rant. [honest]. Here's some fuel for your fire, and mine, and plenty of other concerned Americans.

T.E. Lawrence once said: "Big things have small beginnings." Check this out. In June, toothpaste went down in size from 6.0 ounces at $2.49 to 5.1 ounces at $3.99.

That's a buck-fifty increase in price for almost 1-ounce less of toothpaste. In just one (1) month. In just ONE (1) month. That puts the inflation rate for toothpaste at 60-percent.

This is happening everywhere -- EVERYWHERE -- where inflation is and is not measured officially. Wish my paycheck would go up 60-percent in one month. Prices are over-heated. We are seeing this across the board. Typically, if the old narrative still applied, (or even still existed), you would see rate increases to cool things down. A rate cut would only feed runaway inflation. However, with nobody apparently minding the store, I kind of doubt that is going to happen.

With inflation at 60-percent rates would be over 12-percent. That's four (4x) what the government could handle. Something else is going on here.

Speculation use to be that "all this" would come to a crashing halt (literally), once rates rose above 3-percent. The government would not be able to service the interest on the debt let alone the debt itself. But that would require some modicum of sanity, honesty, honor, and character from the FED, the central banks, and all these professional politicians. That was all part of the old narrative. Since the Crash of 2008 - 09 you can just kiss all that goodbye.

Something else is going on here. Nobody is this nuts. [sarcasm]

Mister Roboto said...

As somebody who has supported LGBT rights since 1981, I really do think that what most of us wanted back in those early days was mostly just some "live and let live" combined with legal protection from blatant discrimination in employment and housing. And even those modest goals were all but unimaginable when I was born in 1967. Now that we have all that and more than we would have dared asked for in 1981 (depending on where in the USA you live, I should say), the demanding deep-end off of which the social-justice crowd is currently careening runs the risk of jeopardizing those precious gains by turning ordinary people against the LGBT rights movement in the very way you outlined in this post. I couldn't help but find it a terrible tragedy should attitudes towards homosexuality go back to what they were in 1967 because of this trend.

And if Russia as a society is predisposed to be rather less tolerant towards homosexuals and transgender people than Canada and America, I probably shouldn't even need to say that we shouldn't arrogantly expect Russia to be more like us, any more than Russia should expect us to be more like them.

Rob said...

Liberalism is part of cultural collapse, as is shiny high-tech modern Stalinism, or other forms of pseudo-fascism. We are nearing the end of a cycle. My prediction is that new cycle will begin with a natural and vital cultural reformation, from which new social, political, economic and financial arrangements will be established. Culture and spirituality are closely aligned. Liberalism is not spiritual. It does not fall into line with laws of nature and the Cosmos, and there is no sense of the sacred, or the rightful place of struggle, sacrifice or humility in the face of a higher order of things. Archaic pre-modern religious doctrines, which are rooted in a time and a place for people of the past, and modern new-age spirituality, which has taken the truths of esoteric lineages and intermingled them with Liberalism, lack the credentials to underpin a cultural reformation. I believe something new will come to fill the void. The Ancient Greeks, the Gnostics, The Egyptian Magis, the secret orders of Christianity that brought light and vigour to the Renaissance, the Sufi mystics that were the heart of the grand period of Islamic culture, the Rosicrucian Masons that guided the founding fathers of the United States. These have been the agents of cultural change, and the agents for the arrangement of order based on moral rectitude and strength. A new order of clean living to supersede the selfishness, greed and fear that is spawned from modern capitalism, and the degenerate codes of behaviour towards each other and our environment that it has produced, is the way of the future!

RB Seymour said...

It is not at all clear to me that we are going to have a choice.....

All roads lead to the City of London.

Hank Rearden said...

Who is john Galt...

John Merryman said...

A large part of the problem does go to that western monist idealism. That somehow, everything does boil down to one state, when what we experience is more a polarity, tension and friction of opposites.
The primary would be the dichotomy of energy and form/information. Energy radiates out, as form coalesces in. Look at galaxies.
People, as mobile organisms, have the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems, processing the energy driving us on, along with a central nervous system to sort through the forms precipitating out, as well as referee the emotions and impulses bubbling up.
Societies are the tension between the organic energies bubbling up, manifesting as factions and identities, while civil and cultural forms coalesce in, giving structure and focus to the community. Liberals and conservatives. Youth and age.
It is because we have this idealist monism, that each side thinks they are on the path to nirvana, while those going the other way are misbegotten fools. So rather than cycling and fluctuating between the poles, we have these all out culture wars. Nature insists on coming around and kicking us in the butt, but we will never learn otherwise.
The ideal is not the absolute. An absolute would be an essence, from which we rise, not an ideal from which we fell. For instance, a spiritual absolute would be the essence of sentience, from which we rise, not an ideal of wisdom and judgement, from which we fell. More the new born than the wise old man. Consciousness seeking knowledge, than any form or brand of it. The light shining through the film, than the images on it.
Treating the ideal as absolute leads to seeing one's culture as universal, rather than unique.
Good and bad are not a cosmic conflict between the forces of righteousness and evil, but the basic biological binary of beneficial and detrimental. What is good for the fox, is bad for the chicken and there is no middle ground, other than the energy of the chicken becoming a fleeting moment of the fox.
So our cultural forms build out stable structures, as the energies push through every weakness and crack, constantly testing them. One end of the spectrum is anarchy and at the other end is totalitarianism. Consequently we should fluctuate somewhere in the middle.
Not every acorn gets to be an oak tree, but without acorns, there are no oak trees.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

@John Merryman, AMEN. Dynamic tension between opposites, and there is no perfect end state.

Unknown said...

Well, is the liberal idea dead? Which liberal idea? Classic one? Or the hijacked and modified one? It is obvious that the classic one is alive and well and starting to shed the stinky garbage it was unwillingly dressed in by various ideological idiots for their own purposes.

Unknown said...

What other choices are there? Already in the 1917 -1922 Rudolf Steiner put forwards the ideas of a Three Fold Social Order or Drei-Gliederung des Sozialen Organismus. These ideas far outreach all the outdated and now endlessly destructive socialistic and capitalistic experiments through realisation of the fact that, just as the human organism is clearly divided into three distinct and independent subsystems of nervous system, rhythmical system and metabolic/limb system, so also our societies need to establish these clear and distinctive subsystems in order to begin to flourish and not to continue to degenerate in the self destructive manner which all political systems still in existence on the earth are now doing. The three subsystems in the social organism need to emerge out of the ashes of the modern "unified Governments" where the cultural/artistic/religious sphere, the judicial sphere, and the economic and production sphere are unrecognisably merged together in a conglomerate of non-distinguishable entities.
Each society or nation that begins to lend and promote true freedom within the cultural sphere, equality for all its peoples within the judicial sphere and to cultivate brotherhood amongst all members of society within the economic sphere of their country will begin to flourish again and the rest will continue to slide at the already accelerated speed into utter moral and economic decadence and destitution.
This choice has been available already for one-hundred years and humanity has blindly been ignoring it. Perhaps now there is another chance for a gendered interest in the ideas brought forth between two world wars, when mankind was equally destitute and devoid of vision as our societies and political systems of today seem to be.

John Merryman said...


Keep in mind that finance and banking function as the value circulation mechanism of society, essentially the heart and arteries.
Econ 101 tells us that money is a medium of exchange, store of value and price setting mechanism. Yet is it wise to confuse a medium, which is dynamic, with a store, which is static?
For instance, in the body, blood is the medium and fat is the store. Would a doctor treat them as the same? For cars, roads are the medium and parking lots are the store. People become frustrated when they are not distinct.
Basically money functions as a contract between the individual and the community, with one side an asset and the other a debt, yet we have come to see it as a commodity to mine from society.
The problem is that as individuals, we experience it as quantified, abstracted hope, so we want as much as possible, especially in our linear, goal oriented paradigm.
When this mostly involved burying coins, that enabled the issuers to stamp more, without worrying too much about inflation/dilution of value. Consequently this blurred the relationship between the asset and the debt.
Then when banking came along and paid out some modicum of interest for holding it, the impression was created that it should also increase in value, merely by holding onto it.
Since banking evolved along with serious economic expansion and colonialism, there was always some venture to finance and so the feedback loop worked quite well.
Yet what happens when investment opportunities dry up? Then the money has to chase decreasing, even negative returns. One possible way to alleviate this is for the public, in the form of the government, to borrow up this surplus and spend it in ways private investors wouldn't. Consider the US deficit really started with Roosevelt and the New Deal. Not only was he putting unemployed labor back to work, but unemployed capital, as well. The war then channeled this borrowing into the military and there was no shutting it off. Basically we blow up other countries, as a way to convince the public to go into debt, in order to support private wealth.
Where would those trillions go otherwise? Derivatives? Buying more Apple stock?
Not that government should have control total over the money supply, as politicians live and die on the hope they inspire, so printing money is a cheap high. Like blood, it has to be carefully regulated, otherwise it goes metastatic and we have the situation where the financial system becomes parasitic. Banking is having its Marie Antionette moment. It's like the heart telling the hands and feet they don't need so much blood and should work harder for what they do get.
Here is an essay I wrote, covering it a little further;

Helix said...

The fact that "Liberalism is dead" has been around for two generations now shows that it is still very much alive. It s one of the mainsprings of western political and social discourse (the other being conservatism), and I contend that both are now and will continue to be key factors in the evolution of our political system and social mores. Things like transgenderism are merely one of the current foci of liberal thinking, which at present revolves around "diversity and inclusion". But this is merely a present focus of liberalism, not liberalism itself. At some point, one would hope that liberalism in the US will shift its focus to issues that concern mainstream Americans. The situation of minorities is well-understood here, and there is only so much that legislation con do about that.

I keep coming back to two things -- energy and debt. These are both crucial to the functioning of the economy, and like it or not, the economy underpins the material welfare of the populace, as well as the sad spectacle of the US throwing its weight around with impunity abroad. In my view, both are going to take a hit, as the world slides down the back side of Hubbard' curve. This won't be all bad -- local communities may once again thrive and the obesity epidemic will go into reverse. But it's going to be a tough transition as Americans in particular and the world in general are going to learn that a lot of activities that people thought they were above once again become a part of daily life.

And the US will find itself once again merely one of several world powers that must negotiate with those of equivalent or superior strength to establish the ongoing world order. At least let's hope that that's the route taken. The other route will solve the "overpopulation problem" decisively.

Dmitry Orlov said...

Helix — in the US, conservatism is liberal and liberalism is liberal. There is nothing else. Once liberalism does, all there will be is vacuum.

John Merryman said...

Isn't that mostly a function of the US, having ridden the wave of the industrial and technical booms, hasn't had to circle back and develop deep cultural roots, so that to the extent it has a conservative center, it is largely a function of wealth and entitlement?
Our God is Mammon.

Robin Morrison said...

John Merryman's summation wins today's internet! Free memes on the house!