Financialization

One of the things that ails us in the modern age is we have yet to adjust our thinking to the modern economy. The great political-economic thinkers lived in a time when money was either gold, backed by gold or a fiat currency. The result is our political and economic debates are based in the logic of a world that no longer exists. The modern global economy is not based on fiat money or hard money. It is based on credit money, which has a unique set of characteristics.

For instance, the US government is no longer able to print up greenbacks and sprinkle them on the economy. Instead, when they expand the money supply, they expand lending, both domestic and global. It’s not just any sort of lending either. The central bank can buy up long term notes in order to drive down long term lending rates, thus expanding lending for capital goods. Alternatively, they can buy up short term debt and increase the amount retail lending. The Federal Reserve holds close to 2 trillion in mortgages, for example.

There’s no question that this new form of currency arrangement has had benefits to the West. Libertarians and goldbugs will spend hours arguing against this sort of currency manipulation, claiming it will lead to a financial collapse, but so far, the opposite has been true. The mortgage meltdown of 2008 did not result in a global depression. The worst you can say of it is the result has been a long, localized recession. The rulers look at current asset values and see a ringing endorsement of credit money and central banks.

Putting that debate to one side, there are longer term problems that come with credit money. One is the slow eating away of the middle class by eating away at small and mid-sized business. The most obvious example is the collapse of retail. The old joke was that Amazon turned big box stores into their showroom. Consumers would go to Best Buy to look at electronics, get free advice and then go on-line to buy them. This can only last for so long and the mass closure of retail stores we see this year suggests the end is near.

The libertarian argument is that the more efficient business has displaced the less efficient business, and that’s not completely wrong, but it ignores the salient aspects of this phenomenon. A world in which everyone either works for or buys from a global company run by a Bond villain is not a world most people want for themselves or their progeny. There’s also the question as to whether it is economically sustainable. Business needs customers and customers need jobs in order to have money to be customers.

There’s also the fact that Amazon would not exist without credit money. In a world of real money, Amazon would have gone bankrupt long ago. This is true of the social media companies that now control public debate. None of them would have made it past the hobby stage if not for the financial system’s ability to conjure credit money. In effect, we now live in a world where the rulers can make their money more valuable and your money worthless, simply by manipulating the amount of credit money.

There’s another way in which the financilization via credit money erodes social stability by undermining the middle-class. Take the example of industrial supplies. This has always been a middle-class, local business. The “value” added was the owners willingness to invest in their location and facility in order to meet the needs of their local customers in the commercial trades. They were almost always family businesses with the wife running the office and the husband running the shop.

The miracle of credit money has allowed investors to back the acquisition and consolidation of these mom and pop businesses. The way it works is investors back one business buying up other shops in the area. This allows the new owner to replace the previous owners with low cost salary men. It also allows for the consolidation of accounting, IT, human resources, etc.. This makes the over all business more efficient, giving libertarian economist a tingle in all the wrong places.

This increase in efficiency does not mean lower prices to consumers. It often means the opposite. In some areas, there’s no longer competition so prices rise. The economic gains from efficiency show up in the returns to the investors. The lack of community investment, like sponsoring local little leagues and social organizations, is also stripped out and returned to investors. This is great for a Bain Capital, but it is terrible for the local communities. Instead of communities, we now have areas populated by strangers.

Another useful example is education. Just a generation ago, a college diploma had real value that exceeded the purchase price. The financialization of college has not only decreased the initial value of the diploma, it has stripped away much of its long term value through the student loan rackets. The only people benefitting from college today are the people running the colleges and the money men financing it. The school makes millions staging mock combat with retarded black men and your kid gets saddled with the debt.

Credit money has unleashed financial pirates on the American middle class, turning every small town and family business into a Lindisfarne, in the eyes of our financial class. A big reason why the economic data looks good, but the the people are revolting is the social capital that held together the American middle has been financialized and moved to the balance sheets of global financiers. Increasingly, the relationship in the modern American economy is not between buyers and sellers, but between predators and prey.

At least when the Vikings raided a village, they did not demand that the locals celebrate their ruination. It was a raid and the local authorities tried to prevent it. That’s the other aspect of this that is eating away at our civic life. It used to be that government worked to reign in the financial tricksters, not because they cared about the suckers, but because it was bad for politics. Today, if the political class has anything to say about it at all, it is usually a celebration. The Danegeld has now become an institution.

When Alfred the Great faced off against the Great Heathen Army, he quickly learned that adherence to old customs and old ways was a liability. The world had changed. In fact, it changed so much that he nearly lost his crown before he could adjust to the new realities presented by the Viking raids. The Norse played by a different set of rules and they had no respect for the Anglo-Saxon ways. In fact, they sought to exploit those ways to their advantage. To survive, Alfred had to embrace new tactics and new methods.

Eventually, Alfred resorted to guerilla tactics, something previously seen as dishonorable by the Anglo-Saxons, to weaken the Danes and maneuver them into the decisive battle at Edington. The point here is that those old economic arguments from the libertarians, like those constitutional arguments from the Buckley Right, are no longer relevant. In fact, they are now hindrances. The modern pirates have figured out how to turn our virtues into vices. That means we will need new virtues and new tactics.

American Alawites

I was googling around trying to remember the name of the funeral song for Pinochet and I found this video. The Chilean army uniforms got my attention. I could not recall anyone claiming that Pinochet was Hitler or even antisemitic. Out of curiosity I searched around for anything on his views regarding the Jews. I found this twenty year old article from the Jewish World Review. It turns out that the Jews thought The General was good for the Jews. This bit is what piqued my interest.

It is possible to say with a high degree of certainty that despite the prominent presence of Jews in Allende’s government, an important number of Jews welcomed Pinochet. Moreover, when Allende was elected president in 1970, 8,000 of Chilean’s 30,000 Jews fled the country, mostly to Israel, fearful of losing their property and assets to the socialist regime. Furthermore, when Pinochet took over three years later, many of those who had fled returned to Chile; however, other Jews fled the country.

The casual way in which a total lack of national loyalty is mentioned suggests it is just the way in which Jews view their relationship to the host country. Whether or not Allende was good or bad for Chile was inconsequential. What mattered was protecting their property and assets. There are other countries, after all. It is not the way most people would look at things. Your patriotic duty would require you to put nation ahead of personal gain, but more important, where would you go even if you threw in the towel on your country?

Jews have always been accused of having dual loyalties and the charge is not without some merit. It’s also not without good cause. After all, if you are a tiny minority living in lands where the host population is often less than welcoming, a high degree of clannishness is a necessary tool for survival. That loyalty to the group over all else naturally means a lack of loyalty to the host population. Both Jews and gypsies have managed to thrive as tiny minority groups, largely because of intense group loyalty.

Of course, clannishness is a bit easier when the host population is hostile. In America, the host population has always been indifferent to Jews. The first wave that came over in the 19th century largely blended in with the locals. In areas where they maintained a unique cultural identity, German Jews tended to conduct themselves like the WASP elite. Steve Sailer has done a bunch of stuff on Jewish golf club culture and the divide between the first wave German Jews and the second wave eastern Jews.

If hostility from the majority helps minorities maintain group loyalty, then the lack of hostility works against it. In modern America, there’s no such thing as Irish or Italian culture anymore. It has been commercialized and homogenized out of existence. It is why Jews work so hard to perpetuate the idea that they have faced terrible discrimination in America, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Maintaining the belief that the goyim are about to go full blown Nazi at any minute helps maintain group solidarity.

The thing is though, Jews are not a minority living on the fringes of American life. A scan of who controls the high ground in America shows that Jews are wildly over represented in the law, culture, media and finance. It really is quite incredible. Close to half of the owners of pro sports teams are Jewish. Roughly 85% of Jews attend college and 44% of Jewish households earn $100,000 or more. The statistics are rather incredible, when you consider that Jews are just 2% of the population.

American policy makers struggle to understand why Bashar al-Assad of Syria tenaciously hangs onto power. He has been offered a deal to leave Syria and live out his life in luxury somewhere in the West. Instead, he fights and his people fight, despite being outnumbered by the Sunnis. The Alawites are just 12% of the population, but they have been able to dominate Syria largely by remembering they used to be an oppressed minority. There was a time when Alawites had no legal rights. Righteous indignation is a powerful weapon.

This is relevant to Jews in America because they have manufactured a history of oppression in America as a way to maintain group loyalty and cohesion. This not only allows them to prosper, but it is a strong motivation to be wary of anything resembling group loyalty anywhere else. In a country that is becoming increasing fragmented, and headed for majority minority status, this will eventually be seen as hostility. Put another way, what has so far been good for the Jews could turn out to be really bad for the Jews.

Whether or not that’s how things unfold is hard to know. The appearance of “renegade Jews”, the term David Horowitz applied to Bill Kristol, could be a sign that Jewish identity and group loyalty is breaking apart. The whole neocon experiment looks increasing like a suicide cult. The folks at Commentary Magazine may be ready to close the books on mankind, but it is unlikely the rest of the Tribe is ready to join them. The paranoia over Chabad suggests group loyalty is not holding up.

The world is ruled by numbers. The Syrian Alawites have used cunning and ruthlessness to rule over the majority population. The American Alawites have used superior cognitive skills and the generosity of an open society to occupy the high ground in culture, politics, finance and the law. Maybe that’s enough and it is the natural order of things. The grinding war in Syria, however, suggests otherwise. But, Assad remains in power and the Sunni remain divided, so maybe numbers are not everything.

American Vendée

When we had schools, Americans learned about the French Revolution, mostly as a peasant uprising against the king. The storming of the Bastille is usually characterized as the riff-raff reaching their breaking point and taking control of a the dungeon the king used to imprison his political opponents.  While the fortress was a symbol of royal authority, it was hardly a tool of royal oppression. The Bastille, when it was stormed, had just seven prisoners. There were four forgers, two lunatics and one degenerate aristocrat inside.

The truth is, the French Revolution was a cosmopolitan affair, led by men who were educated and well off, relative to the peasantry. The Jacobin Club was not for hod carriers and sewer workers. It was lawyers and academics. These were the men who had internalized the ideas of the Enlightenment and began to think about the political framework that should spring from those ideas. Of course, it was centered in Paris, which was where the cognitive elites were centered. These were urban revolutionaries.

That does not mean the countryside had no role in things. It’s just that the waves of change radiated out from Paris.The key insight of the Jacobins was to send representatives out into the smaller towns and cities to organize radicals and incite rebellion. It was a stroke of genius that has been copied by radicals and revolutionaries ever since. Many rural peasants welcomed the revolution as it meant some degree of freedom and the redistribution of lands seized from the Church and aristocracy.

As is always the case with radicalism, they went too far and were soon alienating the people they claimed to champion. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was passed on July 12, 1790, requiring all clerics to swear allegiance to the French government. The radicals could get away with seizing Church lands, but when they seized the priesthood, the people in the countryside began to resist. The Church was the center of rural life and the foundation of French rural traditional. The radicals were now making war on this.

Imagine you’re living in a farming community and government officials show up and haul away your parish priest because he refuses to swear an oath to the state. Further, those government agents closed the local churches. It would be a lot like the state coming in and telling the Christian baker that they had to celebrate gay marriage and pay for their employee’s abortions. Imagine the government one day saying that your mother and father’s life is no different than two men sharing rent and a bed. Crazy.

The revolt in the Vendée region, on the west coast of France, began with the March 1793 conscription requiring Vendeans to fill their quota of 300,000 men for the army. The enraged populace took up arms and quickly formed a Catholic Army. What started as a demand for reopening the churches and getting their priests back, turned into a Royalist counter rebellion against the Republic. Initially, the Republicans were caught off-guard and the rebels enjoyed some success, even though their army was ill-equipped.

The Republic got its bearings and sent a 45,000 man army to suppress the rebellion and by the fall of that year the rebel army was defeated. The Committee for Public Safety decided that beating the army was not enough and opted for pacification. Whether or not the word “genocide” is appropriate is debatable. Some estimates put the death toll at 400,000 for a population of 800,000. Then there was the “scorched earth” policy of razing the homes of anyone suspected of being a rebel, which was anyone who owned a home.

The War in the Vendée is interesting for a number of reasons, but one important lesson is the fervor of those protecting their way of life is no match for the zeal of the Utopian fanatic building his paradise. The romantic rustics of the countryside were beaten by the savvy fanatics of Paris. It was not just the numbers or the resources. The people of the Vendée were people defending the limits of human conduct, while the Committee For Public Safety was limited only by its imagination. They would do anything to reach the promised land.

Another important lesson is the savagery of Louis Marie Turreau, the French officer sent by the Committee for Public Safety to pacify the region, was the result of righteous enthusiasm for his task. The radicals were murdering their enemies not as a means to end but as an end in itself. For the radical, murder becomes a sacrament. When Turreau inquired about the limits of what he could do to pacify the region, the answer from the committee was “eliminate the brigands to the last man, there is your duty.”

This is something to keep in mind when thinking about the present crisis. The revolt that put Trump in office is a revolt of the provincials. Plenty of Trump voters went to college or have office work. It’s not the old class divide. It is the new class divide. The revolution over the last 25 years has been led by a cosmopolitan elite, based in the coastal cities of America. These are the people dreaming up gay marriage and transgenders, not because they make any sense, but because they offend the sensible provincials out in the suburbs.

It’s comforting to think that the pendulum is swinging back toward normalcy, but it could simply be a rearguard action. The radicals running the American “republic” are no less bloodthirsty and malevolent than those who razed the Vendée. They may not unleash genocidal infernal columns on the suburbs, but they are plenty enthusiastic about importing hordes of foreign peasants to wreak havoc on the people. They are also smart and savvy, masters of the tools of power. But most of all, they have no sense of restraint.

Orks and Beakers

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland. If you look at a map, they are pretty much due north of what most people think of as England, roughly on the same latitude as Oslo Norway. Archaeologists think the first people to find their way to the islands were Mesolithic nomads about 8000-9000 years ago. The first people to set up camp, most likely, were Neolithic people about 5,000 years ago. Archaeologist have found and dated stone structures from that period so that’s the prevailing theory.

During the Roman invasion of Britain the “King of Orkney” was one of 11 British leaders who is said to have submitted to the Emperor Claudius in AD 43 at Colchester. Whether or not that’s true is hard to say, but it is a cool story. Somewhere in the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age, the islands were either incorporated into the Pictish kingdom or overrun by the Picts. It could simply be that the people thought of themselves as Picts all along and no movement of peoples occurred.

As the Picts faded from the scene, the Norse began to arrive. First as traders and then as raiders, the Norse made the Orkneys a base for their pirate activity, as it was a perfect place from which to launch raids on English coastal towns. Eventually, the Norse began to settle in large numbers. In the 9th century, towns and villages began to change from Orcadian names to Norse names. The assumption has always been that the Norse, given their reputation, either killed off the locals or killed the men and took their women.

Recent genetic data tells a different story. The current population is still about 65% Orcadian, with the rest being Norse. This is not just on the female line. It is on the male line as well, suggesting that the Norse just blended into the local population. The thing is, even though a relatively small number of Norse settled into the Orkneys, they did not assimilate into the local culture. Instead, it was the Norse who dominated. Their language, their customs and even their religious practices displaced the native Orcadian culture.

It is one example of how a small population can conqueror a larger population by imposing their culture on the vanquished people.  By the times the Norse arrived, Pictish culture was dying out. Celtic missionaries had started to arrive, beginning the process of Christianization. On the other hand, the Norse were bursting at the seems with cultural confidence. They were sailing forth to raid coastal cities in England and Europe and they were taking lands from old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The Vikings were on the rise.

The reason this is of any importance is the combination of a fading culture and the arrival of an ascendant one can result in the former being replaced quickly by the latter. People go with a winner, especially the women. When the Nazis occupied the Low Countries, they found plenty of local women willing to take German lovers. The same was true in France, despite the centuries long hostility between the French and German people. Women naturally look for security and that means picking men from the winning team.

This may seem obvious, but the flat-earth types who rule over us have been insisting for decades that culture is transportable. People are the same everywhere and when one group comes up with some new idea, it can easily be transported to other societies. The big example was Beaker culture. The archaeological record has their unique form of pottery all over Europe, but the further east you go, the older the examples. Put another way, the oldest stuff is found in central Europe, suggesting it as the origin.

This would suggest these people migrated West, but that would bring up things about the human condition our betters would prefer were not true so the official theory was that they lent their cultural habits to people across Europe. It is known as the “pots, not people” theory. For some mysterious reason, their unique pot making became the rage of Europe, like a pop song, and spread West. It’s funny, but a big part of official knowledge depends upon mysterious, unexplained forces driving natural processes.

Anyway, the cultural diffusion theory took a big hit when a new genetic study was recently published showing that the people in the West were related to the steppe people associated with the Beaker culture. It means that humans migrated West from the steppe and either conquered the people already in Europe or dominated them in the same way the Norse came to dominate the Orcadians. They moved in and imposed their ways on the local people or they wiped out the local people, if that was required.

The history of humanity is that humans have migrated from place to place since the first humans left Africa. When a group of humans encountered another group, they would at first be on good terms with the people they encountered, maybe conduct trade and adapt to local customs. But, when the numbers of the new arrivals reached a certain level, they went from migrants to invaders and then to conquerors. The progression has always been traders, raiders and then conquerors.

That’s why when our ruling lunatics howl about being nations of immigrants, what they are really saying, even though they are too fevered to know it, is that we are nations of conquerors. The tribes in place today, at some point pushed out or wiped out the tribes that were there yesterday. It’s not always the case. Some times the natives muster the will to thwart the raiders and discourage further incursion. Sometimes, like the Late Bronze Age Egyptians, they just had the will to resist the conquerors and maintain their culture.

But first you have to want it.

The Blinkered Class

Since the 1960’s, maybe earlier, the American academy has said that America is an anti-intellectual country. I first heard this said when I was a freshman in college. A professor said that America does not have academics or experts in politics like Europeans. Instead, intellectuals are kept locked up in the academy. This opinion appears to have formed in the post war years and became an article of faith in the 60’s. This was all before my time, but it strikes me as something the Boomers would have cooked up.

I always associate this attitude with the false worldliness that is common on the Left, particularly among Progressive politicians.The Clintons were two hayseeds from the Ozarks, but they carried on as if they were citizens of the world. Obama has a habit of pronouncing foreign words with the foreign accent associated with the word. He was raised abroad and never picked up the basics of another language, just the funny accents, like a bad comic from the 70’s.

Americans are anti-intellectual, but very much pro-expert. Foreigners often remark on this weird quirk, which is an English habit we inherited from the mother country. The Brits are nuts about experts. Have a problem around the house? Go find a man in a shed, who is a specialist at that particular problem. We have a bias against generalist and we have bias in favor of the practical application of knowledge. Learning a bunch of esoteric stuff just for the sake of learning it strikes most Americans as a bit pointless and dishonest.

When it comes to the topic of anti-intellectualism, the focus should be on the chattering classes, which in America operates as the megaphone for public policy experts. The vast managerial class that controls all aspects of society listens to these people. Most Americans, for example, don’t bother watching the chat shows and cable news channels, other than when something big happens. On the other hand, the managerial class, particularly the vast army of government bureaucrats, pay close attention.

It’s why the chattering skulls appear to live in a bubble, divorced from what is happening in America. Their lives are devoted to those who pay attention to them. They write and talk about what they know to people who live and work in politics. It’s why Charles Murray is treated like Marco Polo by the managerial class. He is one of the few to wander off campus and visit the country. His observations about Americans are read like Jonathan Swift, by the intended audience. Most probably think he is a fiction writer.

This obtuseness is everywhere in the chattering classes. This post I saw on NR reads like a parody. The guy who wrote it gives off a Rip Van Winkle vibe, as if he has been asleep for the last few decades. The PC terror campaigns waged in corporations and on social media are well documented. The people in the chattering classes, on the other hand, are just noticing. The article that is the subject of the post is worse. It reads like an essay for the Efficiency Society. Someone should send him Vox Day’s book.

This post, by the retired Marxist Ron Radosh, is another example of the insularity of the chattering classes. He is long past his expiry date so maybe he can be forgiven for not noticing that those “conservatives” are not conservative. They are Trotskyites just like him. They wandered over to the GOP because they feared the return of the Tsar, but otherwise, they retained all of their Progressive inclinations. The only people unaware of this are those in the chattering classes.

It is not just the B and C level talking heads. This post by big shot libertarian economist Tyler Cowen is a master work of juvenile vacuity. His great insight is that people don’t like paying for their own health care. He thinks Democrats are refusing to acknowledge this. Everything about the Democrat Party over the last century has been based on the free lunch, yet Cowen suspects they are trying to hide this from us. Cowen is a sheep in sheep’s clothing, by posing as an intellectual pretending to be an anti-intellectual.

Wu Zetian is credited with expanding and developing the imperial exam system during the Zhou dynasty. Wu could also be considered the first power-skirt, or perhaps the first power-gown. The exam system was used to recruit and train the best and brightest to work in the imperial administration. During the Song dynasty, the system was formalized throughout China. It was highly competitive, as it was the only way for an ambitious person to gain status in Chinese society. China became a land of scholar-bureaucrats.

The system also became increasing narrow, rewarding the memorization of select philosophical texts, to the exclusion of more practical knowledge. The result was a boiling off of the curious and critical. The one sure way to lose your place was to ask questions or be too curious. The system was great at promoting and enforcing conformity, but it resulted in a ruling class lacking the necessary technical skills to constructively address the world. It resulted in a ruling class that prized not noticing above all else.

A good example of how this warped the Chinese intellectual class, is the story of the first telescope brought to China by Western missionaries. The Chinese were duly impressed, but instead of using to understand the heavens, they wanted to use it for better fortune telling. This story is often cited as an example of how centuries of mandatory conformity can cripple an otherwise smart people. It is also often cited by modern population geneticist as an example of what is happening today with genetics.

Pulling the threads together, what seems to be happening in our chattering classes, and our academic classes as well, is a narrowing of thought to the point where the most prized ability is never looking up from the approved text. You cannot comment about the fly on your friend’s face if you never look at his face. In order to achieve unity and collegiality, our managerial class is adopting a monocular political ideology that screens out applicants at the college level, and boils off non-conformists, who slip by the gate keepers.

Again, it is ironic that the person credited with the imperial exam system was a woman, given that the modern exam system is increasingly dominated by women. It used to be that college was for men to acquire skills. Now it is a place for women to learn the rules and how to enforce them. It’s not a surprise that our intellectuals, the chattering classes, are increasingly blinkered. Rare is the scholar who possess anything resembling useful skills. Instead, they memorize the rules and how to cleverly restate them.

The imperial exam system served China well, but only after she conquered all of her neighbors and unified the Han people. The system was about locking in the gains of the past. What that says about the modern managerial class is open to debate. Perhaps they are solidifying control as globalism supersedes the nation state. Perhaps, like we see in modern business, the arrival of the SJW signals collapse. Regardless, we seem to be heading for anti-intellectualism, driven by the product of the managerial exam system.

Angels and Demons

The general consensus among physical anthropologists is that religion co-evolved with language. By religion, they mean belief, not the highly complex and abstract stuff we now think of as religion. Early humans probably started with supernatural ideas about the forces controlling the parts of the natural world they could see. Then maybe more abstract ideas about what happens to people when they die and the need to properly handle the dead. This is all speculation, but that’s where the evidence seems to point.

Whether or not belief is baked into our genes is debatable, mostly because we don’t know enough about the human genome. The news makes it sound like science has unraveled the mysteries of human DNA and we’re on the verge of creating super babies, but nothing could be further from the truth. There’s also the fact that people continue to insist that believing in Progressive mythology is rational while being a committed Christian is delusional. Once again, Progressive orthodoxy hinders science.

When religion is treated as a subset of mass movements, then the genetic argument for belief becomes more promising. The person who is always caught up in one cause or another is well known. It is not unusual for someone to start out in one thing and end up in its opposite. The Christian, who gets into radical politics and ends up as a spiritual gluten free vegan into hot yoga. Some people are highly prone to getting caught up into mass movements, while others are disinclined to join anything, even when they agree with it.

The true believer latches onto a cause, in part, because of a deep belief in magic or the super natural. The crazy cat lady into aroma therapy will have a long list of wacky reasons why certain smells have magical powers, but it’s still just magic. She does not know. She believes and she gets satisfaction, a psychic reward, by exercising that belief. Half of Iceland believes there are invisible elves on the island, even thought no one has seen an elf. They are invisible, after all. It just feels right to believe they exist.

The ruling class of America seems to be particularly prone to belief in the supernatural, despite their alleged love of science and reason. You see this in their obsession with racism. Our betters talk about racism as if it is a demon spirit. The anointed, invested with the spirit of good-think, are tasked with exhorting the rest of us to resist the Dark Lord of Racism. You see it in this post the other day by VD, regarding the hysteria at Duke Divinity School. Anathea Portier-Young sounds like she is organizing an exorcism.

“Racism is a fierce, ever-present, challenging force, one which has structured the thinking, behavior, and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of U.S. history. To understand racism and effectively begin dismantling it requires an equally fierce, consistent, and committed effort” (REI). Phase I provides foundational training in understanding historical and institutional racism. It helps individuals and organizations begin to “proactively understand and address racism, both in their organization and in the community where the organization is working.” It is the first step in a longer process.

Puritan ministers use to talk like that about Satan. Racism is no longer just normal clannishness based on race. Now it is a magical, almost indescribable, force that creeps up on little cat feet to possess the soul of those who are not vigilant. These seminars all have a revival quality to them. The participants are inducted into secret rights that allow them to resist the Dark Lord of Racism and all his works. The exhortation to go forth and preach against the temptations of racism is right out of 17th century Salem.

The late great Eric Hoffer observed that mass movements can get along without a god, but they must always have a devil. Modern Progressives have only a muddled sense of a deity, but they have a devil, as well as a list of lesser demons that do his bidding. Racism is the arch demon in the cosmology of the Left. It is why everything they don’t like is associated with racism. Trump, for example, is one of the least racist guys in public life, but they swear he is the soldier of the Dark Lord of Racism.

The ruins at Göbekli Tepe are interesting for a number of reasons, but one of them is what they suggest about the nature of man. It was assumed that human organization was either out of self-interest or out of a sense of cooperation. It was homo economicus or homo reciprocans. The fact that pre-settlement people came together to build what looks like a religious site, suggests that neither is true. A desire for purpose, beyond the material, may be the force that drives human cooperation beyond the bounds of kinship.

Our ruling class has the same desire for a purpose beyond their extravagant lifestyles as Cloud People. These are people who fully committed to the meritocratic, managerial system. They are true believers. Having abandoned Christianity long ago, the ruling class lurches from cause to cause, looking for a reason to cast themselves as on the side of angels, in the great moral struggle that is the human condition. Lacking a deity, a light to give them purpose, they settle for demons they can slay.

The Credit Monster

King Offa of Mercia is credited with being the first British king to use the mint as a political tool. He gained control of the mint and started striking his own coins under tight regulations. This meant that each coin had a fixed amount of metal and was clearly identified as having come from his mint. Forgers and coin clippers were killed and raw gold, silver and copper had to be sold to the mint in order to be used as a means of exchange. Offa profited from this through something called seigniorage.

It’s a good starting point when thinking about credit money. Imagine you were a shylock in this age and you lent 100 sceat to a local farmer. He agreed to pay you 110 sceat after the harvest. Now, let’s assume he had 100 sceat of his own, but needed your 100 to cover his costs until he could sell his crop. The harvest comes in and he sells his crop at a profit so he can pay you the original 100 plus the vig. Now, the two of you have 210 sceat. In effect, your lending just created 10 sceat out of thin air.

That’s always a hard thing for people to accept, as the number of sceat King Offa was minting did not change. The number of sceat in circulation therefore did not change. Where did the extra money come from? In a hard money world, the amount of currency is fixed or close to it. Credit activities therefore can only work if someone is now short ten sceat in order for you and your farmer client to have acquired the ten sceat in your transaction.The only other option is they magically appeared somewhere or were counterfeited.

This was and is the inherent problem of hard money. When the amount of currency is fixed, the economy can only grow at the expense of someone else. The boom town that is producing pottery is getting rich at the expense of some other town. The money in the latter is moving to the former. At some point, the flow of money into the boom town runs dry and that town goes bust, its money then flowing out to some other boom town, maybe even the bust towns that it had exploited in the boom times.

This may work fine if overall human productivity never changes. In the feudal age, human productivity did not change much and growth was glacial. When human ingenuity is high and we have a shift in technology, then hard money becomes unworkable. There has to be a way to increase the amount of money in circulation to reflect the increase in capital stocks as a result of increased productivity. The solution was fiat money backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing authority.

In theory, this solves a huge problem in human development. It removes the penalty for innovation, by allowing the money supply to grow as human ingenuity increases human productivity. It also discourages hoarding and encourages investing. Hiding gold under the barn does no one much good. Investing the gold in new ideas and projects increases the stock of capital. A cheap way to make bricks means more public works projects can be constructed, thus increasing overall wealth.

The problem, as the libertarians and gold bugs will tell you, is that government always resorts to debasing the currency, by printing up more of it when they over extend. The Romans debased their currency to the point of worthlessness. Medieval monarchs did the same thing during times of war. In the 30 Years War, Ferdinand II paid his armies with debased currency and when it came time for them to pay their taxes, they paid with the worthless currency, thus transferring the problem back to its source.

Fast forward to our time and we are in a age of credit money. Cars are bought on credit. Homes are bought on credit. Business relies on lines of credit. Of course, global finance is all about credit, especially complex credit like derivatives. It is so complex, in fact, that no one really know how much credit is out in the world. Put another way, the supply of money appears to grow itself as needed or at least as needed by the people with the right to grow it. How did Puerto Rico rack up $50 Billion in debt? It’s a mystery, but it happened.

It is too bad that all of the economic historians were killed, as it would be interesting to compare our current age with the Free Banking Era, which lasted from 1837 to 1864 in the US. It was a period of panics and short recessions. The Civil War brought with it the National Banking Act in ’63 and then the Long Depression, which lasted from 1873 to 1879. This was a period somewhat analogous to our own in that national banks functioned like the Federal Reserve, operating as the bank of last resort.

It’s not a perfect analogy, but something worth considering when thinking about where we are now and where we may be heading. Wildcat lending and money creation eventually led to government intervention, which ultimately led to a collapse now known as The Great Depression. The outcome of the Great Depression was the national government once again taking control of the money supply and the velocity of money through bank and security regulations. Maybe that’s the end of this cycle too.

A half dozen years ago, James Rickards wrote a highly readable book on the history of money and currency wars. In it he offered up one possible outcome of the inevitable currency war that may have already started. He suggested that a global currency based on a basket of energy products could become the reserve currency of the world. That makes some sense as the world runs on oil, gas and coal, but that sounds a lot like hard money. Every country will be tempted to flood the markets with oil, gas and coal.

Another possibility is a global central bank that functions like the Fed, but with a mandate limited to maintaining a steady money supply and regulating global banking. This idea has been kicking around for a while and relies on the expanded use of special drawing rights. This fits in neatly with the overall push for global governance, independent of popularly elected governments. That’s a clever way of saying it will be the financial hub of the post-democratic world.

It’s hard to know. People in the 19th century knew the system was broken, but getting the political class to fix it was hopeless until the world collapsed. Even then it took the leveling of Europe and Asia by the US to get a new system in place. That suggests we are headed to some sort of cataclysmic denouement to the credit money system. A global collapse followed by a world war with nukes, drones and space weapons probably puts us back to using colored beads in a barter economy, but maybe it will be for the best.

The End of Diversity

The other day, I was chatting with a business acquaintance in San Francisco. He was unburdening himself about a project that had lingered on for too long. Apparently the contractor he was using gave him what he asked for, but not what he wanted. He was going around and around with them, but they are located in Asia so it was a big hassle for him. He had to stay up late to talk with them because of the time difference and, of course, he had to go through the endless haggling that comes with using Asian firms.

He did not say it, but I suspected he had a cultural issue as well. I helpfully pointed out that Asian solutions are not American solutions. Anyone who has done business with the Chinese or Indians knows they have a very different way of looking at things. For South Asians, a solution is whatever meets the letter of the request or whatever gets you off the phone. The Chinese will tell you whatever you want to hear. It’s not lying as they don’t have enough respect for you to tell a lie. It’s dismissal through deception.

Anyway, I pointed out the cultural issue and the guy literally gasped. If he had pearls, he would have clutched them. He started sputtering about how he had “the same problem with” and then he would sputter again. He could not say the word “white” or “American” so I volunteered “white” just for kicks.The way he was carrying on, you would have thought I said “Hitler was right! Gas the Jews!” It was crazy to see someone having a physical reaction to my noticing diversity.

We have come full circle in the last 30 years. In my youth, the Boomer Progs preached tolerance to us. My first class in college, on the first day, I was harangued by a little French girl, telling all of us about how America was a racist and sexist society. Americans were intolerant! The Boomer Prog teacher nodded along until I foolishly pointed out that the word tolerance means to put up with something you don’t like. Therefore, the little French girl was telling me she did not like black people, but was willing to put up with them.

In my first adult job, I was sent off to what they called sensitivity training. Tolerance was now a bad-think word and sensitivity was the good-think word. My hunch was everyone figured out what I found to be obvious in college, with regards to tolerance. Even so, the implications of all the sensitivity talk was that anyone not a white male was prone to weird behavior and opinions. We had to be sensitive to this fact. It also meant treading lightly around them as they were easily offended and traumatized.

Eventually, of course, the Progs figured out that this was a loser so they moved onto celebrating diversity. Unlike tolerance or sensitivity, diversity has the benefit of putting everyone on the same level. One race is as good as another. Men and women can do all the same things. All cultures are the same. Modern life was going to be a celebration of the beauty and variety of life! Well, except the white parts. White people suck and they better keep their heads down, especially you, honky-man.

I suppose it is no surprise that the Progs are now freaking out about anyone noticing diversity. After all, the next stop on the train from celebrating differences is noticing differences, like the fact that South Asian engineers tend to have a strange narrowness that causes them to miss the big picture. Indian engineers will literally build a road off a cliff if that’s what the spec says to do. That’s why my acquaintance nearly had a stroke when I admitted to noticing this. Noticing is the gateway drug that leads to judging.

The internal incoherence of multiculturalism means that they will forever have to be dashing about in an effort to keep the plates spinning. One day we’re celebrating diversity and the next day we’re stoning a heretic for noting that people are different. The reason is there’s no getting around the fact that humans are just as susceptible to evolutionary pressure as every other creature. Human evolution was copious, recent and local, which means people in different places have different physical and cognitive traits.

It’s hard to know where they go from here. In Europe, even the most unhinged nutters in the ruling class have stopped celebrating diversity. In the US, a few crackpots like that dunce Elizabeth Warren will babble in public about the glories of diversity. All the signs point to them dropping this as their signature issue. At the same time, the new catchphrase “scientific racism” to describe the human sciences is ominous. It’s not hard to imagine mobs of Birkenstock-clad lunatics smashing up biology labs.

It would be ironic if Progressives meet their demise at the hand of science. After all, Progs have been using science as a weapon against Christianity and local customs for as long as anyone has been alive. It has been their go-to move in the culture war. Smug idiots on late night TV still smirk about how they are on the side of science, despite the fact they cannot count their balls twice and come up with the same number. It would be poetic if Progressivism crumpled and collapsed as it ran into the reality of biological science.

The Moron In Full

The readers who still cling to libertarianism have given me hell over my screed against their faith. I’m not without some sympathy for them. The core libertarian impulse to leave people alone in order to be left alone is admirable. If you are a libertarian, trying hard to live the non-aggression principle, it probably seems unfair that a hate thinker from the extreme Right is mocking your thing. I get that and I respect it to a point. That point is when I see something like this from the Pope of Modern Libertarianism.

It should be impossible to be this stupid. I suspect for most of human existence, idiots who said moronic things like this tried to hand feed bears or cuddle with large reptiles, thus eliminating themselves from the the system. There’s no other way to read this than Nick Gillespie believes some minor alterations to the French tax code will ameliorate this.

Now, does Nick Gillespie really think altering tax policy will magically transform low-IQ, inbred Muslims from the Maghreb into patriotic French republicans who work at Parisian software shops? It’s tempting to say it is just another pose, but the evidence is piling up in favor of the argument that Nick Gillespie is a stupid person. Anyone who truly believes altering tax policy will reverse a thousand generations of evolution is an idiot.

That’s the fundamental problem with modern libertarians. They believe this or they simply are incapable of mastering ground floor level biology. The reason the country of Niger is a basket case is that’s the way the people of Niger want it. It is full of Hausa. The reason Paris was Paris was that, up until recently, it was full of Parisians! Now that Paris is filling up with North Africans and Arabs, it is looking like Algeria with better plumbing.

What’s happened to libertarians is a form of what Vox Day calls convergence. It used to be that libertarians accepted the chain of causality. They worked backward in order to arrive, obliquely, at the first cause. If you wanted to have a nation of maximum freedom, you had to have a nation with rational laws and that meant a rational, Anglo-Saxon culture. The result was a libertarianism in one country model.

Then a new breed of libertarian showed up mouthing all the economic arguments of libertarians, often with the zeal of a fanatic, but embracing liberal cultural arguments, re-framing them in terms of personal liberty. The result is libertarians have almost fully converged now with the liberals. They have been assimilated into the Borg. Libertarianism, like most libertarians, is all about someone else paying for their ethic dining habits.

It’s why they are no longer of any use to the Right.

Poverty Porn From The Popinjay

I make no bones about that fact I don’t like Kevin Williamson, the house rumpswab at National Review. I have no tolerance for people who put on false fronts and Williamson’s quill pen act is as phony as a three dollar bill. George Will did the same thing for decades, but he at least had a first class education and did some time as a university instructor. He was a gold-plated phony, but at least he had some credentials. Williamson has none of that. He’s just a real life version of Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.

Gratuitously mocking fat guys is not a good look so I resist the temptation by doing what most everyone does and that’s avoid reading National Review. It’s not that hard as the only interesting thing about conservative commentary these days is the remarkable dullness of it. Even the most boring people are interesting on occasion. It takes special talent to be that ineffectual all the time. So, I was minding my own business scanning twitter and I see this tweet from Charles Murray:

It was in response to this tweet;

Naturally, I thought it was word that Williamson had got what he has been publicly wishing on normal Americans for the last few years. Instead it was more poverty porn aimed at the pseudo-academics, who populate think tanks and opinion sites in the Imperial Capital. It’s becoming a specialty for Williamson. He writes up a scene from lower class white America that portrays the people as benighted losers, who deserve the abuse heaped upon them by the good whites in his audience. It’s a ghetto tour as morality play.

The unconcealed contempt Williamson has for the subjects of his poverty porn is both ugly and bizarre, given his alleged background. He has invested a lot in creating a hillbilly back story for himself, which suggests it is probably fictional or highly exaggerated. Even if it is accurate, his contempt for the sorts of people he claims to have grown up around as a kid is pathological. It suggests that Kevin Michael Grace was right when he said in our chat a few weeks back that Williamson is filled with self-hatred.

Self-loathing fat guy is not an interesting area of inquiry. What is interesting is the audience. Charles Murray pimping this stuff suggests something about Murray and his view of the current crisis in American culture. Murray is a libertarian and like all famous libertarians, he is a ward of the state. AEI is a tax racket, like all of the so-called think tanks. Murray also makes big money charging taxpayers between $20,000 and $30,000 per speech at colleges and universities. That’s not working class wages.

Similarly, Arthur Brooks is cashing in on the college speaking rackets. He also gets between $20,000 and $30,000 per speech. Brooks also pays himself $700,000 per year out of AEI, plus expenses, of course. He also gets $100,000 a year for other work at AEI, but that’s not defined on the tax filing. He may not be a one-percenter, but he is close enough to see it from his perch in the Imperial Capital. Being a libertarian lion is a lot easier when you take home close to a million a year from a tax exempt foundation.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge these fat-cat grifters their money. It’s a crooked and corrupt system and they are simply working it to their advantage. I could do without the Randian lectures about small government and rugged individualism, but hypocrisy is a feature of the human condition, not a bug. What’s curious to me is why these people seem to take pleasure in the suffering of the white lower classes. The glee with which they praise these Williamson columns suggest they get some strange pleasure from it.

That’s thing. That column was mostly just sneering, but Williamson put a lot of effort into letting the reader know he took pleasure in not only evicting his wayward tenants, but also in observing the suffering of the poor people in housing court. I grew up dirt poor, so I have no illusions about poverty. Poor people are poor mostly because they have low-IQ’s and poor impulse control. Progressive efforts to romanticize poverty were always ridiculous, but that does not mean we should take pleasure in their suffering. That’s just sick.

Regular readers of this blog will know that my view of the Official Right and their slow-witted little brother, Official Libertarianism, is that they trail along behind the Progressives, as they flit from one fad to the next. Their contempt for the Dissident Right is not about ideology. It’s that they think the scruffy trouble makers to their Right make them look bad to their friends on the Left. It’s hard to make $30K from college speeches when the people running the college are blaming you for the alt-right hate-thinkers.

Maybe that’s why there is a market on the Official Right for the type of contemptuous poverty porn Williamson is peddling. The Left has made hatred of working class white people that shop at Walmart a centerpiece of their identity. Hillary Clinton ran for President on a platform of “White People Suck.” Perhaps the Official Right is just aping what they see, but with their own spin on it. “The Conservative Case for Hating Poor Whites” is probably in the works at National Review.