Saturday, June 27, 2020

Toppling the Statue of Liberty

In recent weeks a number of public statues throughout the US (and quite a few in Europe) have been defaced and toppled. Historical figures that have been used to define America are being erased from public memory. Statues of Christopher Columbus (a.k.a. Cristobal Colón) have been toppled in Boston, Richmond and St. Paul. Statues of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were toppled in Oregon. In New York, officials have granted approval for the removal of a statue of Teddy Roosevelt, who was a brilliant man, a most impressive figure and the most popular US president of all time. All of these historical figures are being accused of various sins, foremost among them that of being white males, and therefore by definition racist and misogynist—an accusation that is, in and of itself, purely racist and sexist.

It is contended that there exist two types of racism/sexism. The one of which white males are accused is an abomination while the one practiced by the supposed victims of white male racism/sexism is good and proper. There is clearly a double standard being applied, and the enforcement of a double standard is automatically an injustice that must be remedied. That is a principle which, if sacrificed for the sake of political expediency, inevitably leads to political collapse and civil war.

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Friday, June 19, 2020

Post-Collapse Administration

I have noticed a marked tendency to think that once the coronavirus blows over everything will go back to the way it was before—or even better, because of Elon Musk’s electric flying cars and fly-thru sex change clinics or what have you. A simple explanation for this tendency is that it is what people want to think: everyone just wants to go back to what they are used to, picking up where they left off and tickling their wild fancies any way they wish. A slightly more nuanced explanation is that the new, post-collapse reality is a mysterious, unfamiliar realm and that for many people thinking about it is too uncomfortable (if done right) or downright pointless (if it consists of cobbling together stereotypes from movies such as Mad Max and Waterworld or other such post-apocalyptic theme park attractions).

Those who wish to think that what’s happening is just a hiccough caused by a not particularly deadly virus and that this will all blow over soon enough are sure to be disappointed. Taking the US as an example, the crisis clearly started before the virus hit, as evidenced by the steady and quite noticeable slowing of the physical economy since 2018, evidenced by such boring statistics as the lack of sales of new long-haul trucks. But that was before all hell broke loose.

Since February 2020 the US lost 46 million full-time jobs, which is over a third of the overall workforce. Bloomberg forecasts that these jobs will come back no sooner than in six years—and only if in the meantime there is steady economic growth. But then the Congressional Budget Office predicts a GDP decrease of 5.6% and 10 years for it to recover (assuming that the worst is already over) so steady economic growth seems like a bit of a pipe dream. In fact, the Federal Reserve is predicting a second quarter GDP decrease of 52.8%, and so the CBO prediction is only plausible to believers in a V-shaped recovery that doesn’t seem to be happening. I, on the other hand, believe that this recession/depression/collapse has been brought to you by the letter L and the number 0.

A more reasonable expectation is that with the economy already shrunk by half another 20% of full-time jobs will need to be lost in the coming months in a wave of bankruptcies that have so far been held back by various emergency measures such as temporary unemployment benefits, moratoria on evictions and foreclosures, delays in student loan repayment, three-month tax holidays, etc. To keep the financial house of cards from pancaking the US federal debt had to go from $21 trillion to $28 trillion in a rather short period of time, and how much longer this can go on is anyone’s guess, but there seems to be consensus that it can’t go on forever. Meanwhile, data from May 2020 indicates that 26% of Americans could not feed themselves independently, and as this number continues to go up it will become increasingly impossible to ignore the fact that the cupboard is indeed bare and that the once wealthiest nation in the world is now a nation of beggars.

Once a solid majority of the population becomes destitute, what will become of the world’s greatest superpower, the indispensable nation, that shining beacon of freedom and democracy and embodiment of the can-do spirit with liberty and justice for all? On the ground, there are sure to be lots of dumpsters on fire, lots of shops looted, boarded up and out of business, various sections of downtowns becoming police no-go zones (if police are still to be found anywhere) presided over by heavily armed thugs. After all the statues of white imperialist exploiters and oppressors of yore are toppled and all the white people forced to kneel before some very nice people who hail from the ghetto, there is sure to come a moment (at least for those who at that point are still capable of some semblance of rational thought) to ask an obvious question: What, if anything, comes next?

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Repent&Pay™ Considered Harmful

The entire world watches in dismay as the whites in the US genuflect in supplication before the putative descendants of African slaves, accepting their collective guilt and their collective punishment.

Throughout history, tribute has been considered a more civilized, less violent and more reliable end efficient alternative to occupation, rapine and plunder. Vanquished races were often quite happy to pay their conquerers an annual share of their wealth for the sake of being left unmolested and perhaps even protected from other invaders, and being allowed to keep some semblance of their former dignity intact. Relationships based on tribute sometimes improved over time. A famous example is the Golden Horde, which ruled Russia for a few centuries. It started with rapine and plunder, proceeded to relations based on tribute and eventually developed into a relatively copacetic arrangement based on mutual recognition and respect, where Genghis Khan’s descendants ruling from the capital of the Golden Horde on the Volga near the Caspian Sea issued writs (called “yaklyk”) which legitimized the rule of Russian princes over their various domains, including the Great Prince, which with Ivan the Terrible became the Czar and with Peter the Great the Emperor. Mongol rule protected Russia from the predations of the Catholics and, consequently, spared it the agonies of the Reformation, allowing it to develop into a separate Christian Orthodox civilization which abides to this day.

Tribute still plays a major role in today’s world, but it is uncertain for how much longer. Countries which use the US dollar in international and sometimes also in domestic trade implicitly acquiesce to the authority of the United States. They know full well that should they transgress against their masters in Washington their access to the US dollar will be cut off and their economies will languish. The US dollar remains for now as a relict of former neocolonial times (while just about everybody is ready to conclude that the US empire is in an advanced state of decay and is rapidly nearing its end). Meanwhile, a related but diametrically opposed phenomenon has been on the ascent: the demand for the payment of reparations based on the admission of collective guilt based on a system I will call Repent&Pay™.

Let’s ask some purely rhetorical and completely ridiculous questions. Where the Mongols guilty of invading Russia, and, if so, should Mongolia admit its historical guilt and Repent&Pay™ for the hundreds of years of oppression its ancestors visited on Russia? But wait, they weren’t the only ones to invade Russia. Poland needs to repent and pay for their invasion of Moscow which ended in 1612. And the French are guilty of invading Russia just 200 years later, in 1812. There were other foreign interventionists, including the US, during Russia’s civil war following the revolution of 2017. Finally, there was the German invasion of 1941-1945; shouldn’t the Germans (and their collaborators in other nations) Repent&Pay™ for it too? But wait, we are only getting started…

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Monday, June 08, 2020

Dances with Guns

Those who consider the protests and looting that have been occurring in the US, and in US-aligned countries over the past week or so have been frustrated in their effort to come up with a convincing rationale for them. The quest for justice spurred on by a particularly picturesque heart attack death of a certain violent criminal and drug dealer after being choked out by a policeman is certainly one, but it doesn’t motivate the subsequent violence or the looting. The theory that the Democrats and the Deep State are fomenting unrest in order to prevent Trump from winning a second term is a nice one, but what’s missing is any cogent explanation of why an economically devastated country would be more likely to vote for senile old Biden than for an amusingly random yet implacably forthright Trump, who called for the restoration of law and order by any means necessary including the introduction of Iraqi occupation-style military patrols but was thwarted by liberal Democratic governors, congressmen and even the Pentagon. By the time the election rolls around, many people would perhaps be ready to concede that the restoration of law and order by any means necessary is just the thing to vote for.

As with the coronavirus hysteria, where virtually every developed and semi-developed nation imposed arbitrary travel restrictions, ruinous business shutdowns and various futile quarantines and safety-themed public masquerades in response to a new respiratory virus that is less lethal than some recent seasonal influenzas and is selective in killing only those very old or very sick, who would soon die in any case, the reasons for taking these actions were in each instance quite different from those that were publicly stated. Specifically, the rationale that shutdowns and lockdowns would save lives is hollow given the number of lives lost because of ruined livelihoods, the various pathologies caused or exacerbated by the lockdowns and the social isolation and loss of access to regular medical care as hospitals scrambled to battle the new phantom menace.

More defensible rationales can be offered for the steps taken by various countries. As I had explained here, China, then Russia took this crisis as an opportunity to mobilize against a US bioterror attack (all those biowarfare labs the Pentagon has built all over the planet couldn’t be for nothing at all) thereby making such an attack less likely to be effective against their own populations and more likely to boomerang on the Americans themselves. In the US, the extreme, economically destructive measures could be rationalized as partisan attempts to dethrone Trump by making him appear indecisive and feckless in the face of a dire threat. Other indecisive and feckless national leaders could be said to have meekly followed the advice of the World Health Organization, which is mostly owned by the vaccine mogul Bill Gates, formerly of Microsoft, who was very interested in locking down the entire planet and making everyone buy an expensive and unnecessary vaccine—against a virus that happens to be a reasonably safe and effective inoculant against itself. This plan doesn’t appear to be working. A few days ago, as I watched the evening news on Russia’s Channel 1, I was startled to see a 10-second clip of Bill Gates, spliced in à propos of nothing, in which he appeared to be podcasting from his lair aboard Starship Microclusterfuck while blasting off toward Andromeda, during which he glowered and croaked out the news that of course his new (nonexistent) coronavirus vaccine would have to be made available to everyone.

But what is the single explanation for all of these different responses? I believe that the coronavirus hysteria was a crisis response unleashed by the technosphere, which I define as a global emergent machine-like intelligence composed of unwitting human moving parts that mindlessly pursues an abstract teleology of total control. In this instance it is being forced to confront the immanent demise of the fracking industry in the US, the consequent looming global energy shortage and the definitive end of global economic growth which is, in turn, required in order for global capitalism to function. In response, it attempted to salvage what it could of the global economy by splitting it up into separate technological zones, some of which could then be cut off from energy flows and allowed to wither. In desperation, it latched onto the coronavirus scare as a means to lock down national borders, disrupt supply chains and to force nations and groups of nations to self-isolate from each other and within themselves.

And what is the single explanation for the protests, riots and looting currently happening all across the US? I believe I can offer one here as well. Most surprisingly, it is, of all things, a matter of theatrical genre.

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