Federal Government

Taught To Reveal

Growing up in the early 2000s, I was naturally privy to the tide of screeching concern over mass surveillance and the Bush-approved “police state.” Being at least nominally Republican, I felt predisposed to the apologetics typical of the time. We needed these tools to defeat the terrorists, even if those stopped were seldom ever showcased to the public. Opposition to them was suspect, indicating potential sympathies with the vile forces aligned against American democratic freedom, and “all that stuff.”

With age I outgrew those assumptions, perhaps sooner than others who were plugged into the happy ecstasy as Obama entered office, when liberals suddenly believed fighting terrorism was a glorious cause. Nevertheless, it has stuck in my mind to this day that we are in small ways encouraged to extend compliance towards such policies from a young age. If you came from a family like mine, there was precious little room for privacy, regardless of its desirous status. What you did, who you spoke with, where you went, every last bit would be relayed back to the head honchos, and only after an upward dissemination to each branch. The same was true regardless of how clearly something was designated as private. Journals or diaries were all fair game, because family.

That lack of genuine refuge can certainly lead a person to become insular, trying to preserve what limited autonomy they possess before it is grab-bagged away. On the flip side, it may merely create a conditioning where one feels almost obligated to report broad swaths of their life in order to stay within the bounds of “appropriate” behavior. Failing to do so feels almost criminal, and unless you’re a rap fan, probably not ideal.

Rather than being restricted to youth however, it begins to metastasize outwards into everyday life. Social media shifts from a silly hobby to a duty of sorts, reminding whatever handful of denizens are viewing the profile that you exist, and are acting accordingly. After all, one cannot fulfill his expected objectives as a human being by showing life to random strangers in the park, or whichever acquaintances he comes across on an average day. The internet must be informed, or else it’s somehow less legitimate.

The State is quite plainly the culmination of this youthful trend. If the family, the community, the church, coworkers, and social media sycophants are all definite targets for news delivery, then how can good behavior not also be transmitted to the government authorities? No doubt they will appreciate seeing proud citizens observing their gallant goober role in the open realm. A spirit doing it in private is likely anti-social, with secrets that are lies. Likely to be guilty of untoward attitudes regarding the democratic-mandating syndicate in Washington, D.C., London, or Beijing. Worthy of skepticism and close study.

But the programmed revealers? They aren’t worried, because they, “have nothing to hide.” Nothing. Not a scratch or second-guess. Only the sounding signal of an honest life.

crypto · Economic History · Federal Government

Deficits and Myth

Economic orthodoxy has a habit of permeating. Whether Left or Right, the political spectrum generally falls around some common first principles regarding how folks perceive public money and its relation to the taxpayer. As conventional wisdom holds it, we taxpayers fund the government, which then goes about its business in a variety of convoluted (and often reckless ways). Dissenters complain about how funds are spent, but they typically fall in line to avoid IRS sanction. The process continues from time immemorial until the state collapses, or otherwise changes shape.

Some would beg to differ, however. A strident example is Stephanie Kelton, author of the fascinating and eminently controversial Deficit Myth book. Kelton prevails as a stalwart promoter of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), which manages to simultaneously irritate both conservative economists and their compatriots in the Keynesian column. At stake is MMT’s core implication that the state is not in fact reliant on our tax dollars, but rather independent of the stereotypical “family budget” analogy pushed by politicians. In reality, the government simply wills itself into existence by virtue of an inherent capacity to print money.

Now, some might pose an immediate counterpoint: will this not lead to runaway inflation? Well, MMT proponents have a rather clever way of squirreling out of the problem: they make a distinction between weaker economies deprived of reserve currency status and even Euro-utilizing nations tied to the European Central Bank, which prohibits them from deficit spending (borrowing and printing) their way out of the hole using former national currencies. The United States need not worry about this concern, or at least not to the same restrictive degree.

The purpose of citizen revenue is notably separate from the traditional view as well. According to Kelton, the reason why the Uncle Sam collects taxes involves three separate logical angles. First, it provides something of a check on inflation. Money taken out of circulation based upon paycheck confiscation or other state-mandated fees prevents an overabundance of cash in the system and limits the serenade hysteria of those on the Plural Right, or at least appears to do so. As to what level taxes must be, or what point spending may indeed be excessive, the MMT brigade is not terribly specific.

A following dynamic to taxation is its role in giving the dollar more value by creating a sense of scarcity among the citizenry. Consider the implications if people received their entire compensation without any current or future deductions; would there not be a potential motivation to work less, due to the availability of that additional dough? Over the course of a consumer-worker’s lifespan, it’s a lot of lost productivity on the overall market front. Many people would forgo second jobs, overtime hours, and bridging loans to simply enjoy the freedom of being off. True, there is the possibility of them becoming greater consumers with the extra funds, but whether it would make up the difference is questionable. Such conditions would also lend themselves to individuals having more time to educate themselves and question the state, hardly a positive aspect from the standpoint of the watchers.

This brings us to a third factor relating to legitimacy of the state. By collecting taxes under threat of serious penalties for failure to pay, the government puts up a credible stance versus the liberty-minded activist who conjures some idealistic claim that income tax is unconstitutional. Sure, you can hold that opinion, but the courts will see otherwise. This helps explain why even the most ardent libertarians are sure to file away by April 15th, conscious of their futility in resistance to a behemoth of entrenched administrative power.

Naturally following is the reality that tax protests would be unlikely to effect any major change on the government. The HHS and DHS will not cease to exist simply because a few hundred thousand refuse to pay into the IRS what they are expected to surrender. For one, monies are already deducted automatically from a paycheck if you are not self-employed, and even so, the government would just print or borrow more dollars. We already see this in the aftermath of major tax cuts like Trump’s TCJA; the federal state did indeed lose revenue and expand the deficit, but no crushing blow brought the Treasury to its knees. Business merely continued as usual, albeit with grimmer figures on the leader board.

Does this make us all conservative and libertarian coping clowns? Perhaps, unless the collapse becomes realer than your friendly neighborhood podcast suggests.

Culturalism · Uncategorized

Looking In

In the course of my routine stroll through literary fields, I typically stay within the bounds of a few genres, mainly history or political theory. On occasion however, I may allow myself the vague impulse snag and pick a subject far outside the traditional realm. This presents something of a danger for me, as books can range from short and tolerable to long and brutal, or even those curt varieties which seem to endure past the life of a thousand generations. Still, there are times when I stumble across a perplexing title that, in its bizarre fashion, turns out to be wildly endearing,

The latest iteration on this front is Punch Me Up To The Gods, a memoir by the author Brian Broome. Even compared to others, the text is an odd choice, in that the author is gay, black, and a recovering cocaine user. Not exactly my go-to content creator profile, but strangely enough, beyond all its lurid degeneracy, the story was relatable on a level completely unexpected. As it turns out, Broome’s perspective during his childhood reminded me of my own, particularly in regards to the way he viewed the idealized American family structure on television.

Whereas Broome’s own home was a warzone of violence, alcoholism, and hatred, the flickering box offered a different angle. He watched shows where husbands loved their wives, and wives adored their husbands. Children were the light and joy of their parents, who never seemed to lack an ability to express love towards their offspring. Grandma was there to make cookies and be sweet at all times, while money seemed to never be a matter of concern. In short, Broome associated goodness and love with white people, similar to the author of I Love Yous Are For White People.

If only they were right. Though I can’t lay claim to the same degree of instability and abuse experienced by Brian (apart from much shouting), the visage of television provided a suggestive model that I looked at with some curious longing at the same age. In my family, “I love you” was a rare, almost endangered, utterance. It was more often replaced by positive actions, themselves welcome, but still distant from the speech dropped so readily on screen. Those other families. The ones who seemed to get it, for whom fitting in was a matter of natural course.

And then there was the grandma persona. Kind, open, ready to bake up batches of gingerbread and provide a reassuring voice. Never harsh, always gentle. A stark contrast with what I knew. My grandmother, for the time she was around, maintained a stalwart crabbiness and judging personality that would cause you to walk on eggshells around her. What you ate or said (or the manner of speaking), or even the way you smiled. Everything was grounds for scrutiny and condemnation.

In fairness, such behavior came from her own difficult childhood, imbued with poverty and struggle. So it felt wrong to wholly judge her back, though I admit to at many times deliberately avoiding her presence out of a desire to not call down the wrath of the “good old rage days” upon my head. This defensive strategy worked for the most part, but of course you never saw it on T.V. Again, normal people didn’t do that, because they had normal grandmothers.

I suppose my experiences growing up have prevailed to some degree and influenced the present day. My usual inclination is to be relaxed about what others think or do with their own lives, yet I cannot deny that at times I look back to the serialized family or current Instagram-styled behavior and just wonder. Are they not living the right way, like a better version of the Truman Show, whilst my own reality is a pale substitution, just “looking in” on harmonious perfection?

Perspective, always perspective. 

Economic History · Federal Government

Compulsory Liberalism

Over the last several years, as COVID lockdowns, mandates, and forced injections became the rage, there was an accompanying (and loud) blaring of voices calling out the “hypocrisy of the Left.” These banshees fixated on the tactic perhaps because they felt it would go a long way in de-legitimizing the standing of opponents as defenders of freedom, though in fact little more than randomized ranting ever occurred. Their failure can be ascribed to a fundamental understanding of liberalism itself, and what measures are sustained to preserve it.

For starters, the issue is not one of liberalism gone awry. It is common for Intellectual Dark Web types to present such narratives, lamenting the distraction from a genuine freedom order wherein differences might be hashed out using the court of public opinion or through elections. Truthfully, a system built almost entirely on enfranchising and uplifting the commoner’s aspirations without any serious application of responsibility is bound for swift degeneration. Even if certain values are upheld or safeguarded, they are unlikely to stand much chance against the churning and insatiable drive of each generation’s ego and inability to check personal impulses over the short run. This was ably described in The Conservative Mind as follows:

“There is no perversion of liberalism, but simply its natural progression. Liberalism (fortunately) has always been a secondary state, living on like a saprophyte on the tissue of the previous age, inheriting its monuments, feelings, and social hierarchy.”

The reference to subsisting on the grounds of predecessors helps explain the muscular liberalism of Macron, Trudeau, and Biden. As stewards of a schizophrenic and paranoid ideology, said public actors cannot afford to actually endorse a continuation or renewal of liberty and freedom for the masses; to do so might call out liberalism’s own internal contradictions and flaws, perhaps leading to another philosophy gaining appeal. The central belief and all associated indoctrination efforts must be kept outside the cold, and only forceful demands on the populace at-large will be acceptable. Of course the consequence might still be steering folks towards alternative ideas, but at least liberalism can die with dignity as that process unfolds.

Let us recognize that there can be no correction of the problem under existing terms. The Rand Pauls of our world frequently offer up amendments and speeches imploring for government officials to “give back” their power and “restore the Constitution.” To do these things would mean undermining the very essence of liberalism’s primacy, which dictates its moral justification in utilizing tyrannical means to protect legitimacy and the system as a whole vis-à-vis other tyrannical elements. Any significant lessening of effective state abilities is therefore counterproductive, and not credible suggestion to a liberal actor. All the dissident can do is sneer and outflank liberals verbally, while being thoroughly ignored when actual policy questions arise.

So, rather than indicting liberalism for the crime of useful hypocrisies, it may be time to go out and create your own.   

Culturalism · Economic History

Hillary 2024

The interwebs have been aflutter lately with murmurings of a potential comeback run by Hillary Clinton in 2024. At first glance the idea sounds rather nonsensical; after all, she is set to be 76 years old by that election, and still is not exactly the most popular person in the room. Surely the Democrats have someone better waiting in the cloakroom, or at least a state capitol eons away. There should be no need to stoop as low as a twice-rejected figure who represents genuine presidential corruption, right?

Not necessarily. Ms. Clinton carries with her a cavalcade of unmentionable factors, yet she could weirdly end up being one of the stronger prospects that Democrats possess as they seek to retain the White House in 2024. Let’s think about it for a moment. Biden has been in office for eleven months, and still cannot persuade the public he is mentally able to serve an additional three years, let alone four more. He weirdly seems to have settled into the ceremonial role I predicted earlier, and may not actually seek a second term. If this happens, a crisis vacuum will presently become obvious.

Under normal circumstances, Kamala Harris would dash to the rescue, using her position as vice president to easily capture the Democratic nomination. Our girl Kamala suffers however from the excesses of woke perfection. According to the expectations set by leftist narratives, right now she should be riding high on the swill of diversity wunderkind, inspiring no less admiration than her predecessor, Barack the Booty Obama. This is clearly not happening. Harris is embroiled in steady conflict with the White House and lacks any broad public support. Matters are in such a tailspin that rumors of her elevation to the Supreme Court have stirred in the political soup. Just get her out somehow, the whisper proceeds.

In one sense, the move could be beneficial. Kamala is forgotten, paving the way for Pettucini Barolo to ascend as second fiddler and have more national credibility than he currently does as mayor and transsec. Conversely, a 50-50 Senate is not the breeding ground for smooth confirmation of someone like Harris, and Republicans would certainly create a political circus. Even if she was successful, they would still be left with Buttigieg as the Democratic standard-bearer, which is a very sobering prospect indeed. Boy Wonder he may be, but a figure who has mediocre qualifications is going to look weak when the incumbent president made so much of his own experience. Here Biden messed up majorly by not appointing Pettucini to DoD or at least the UN; in those roles a Bush Senior rise might have been more possible.

With Harris toxic and Buttigieg still unremarkable, Clinton might see her sliver of a path to victory. She could potentially distance herself from direct responsibility for inflation and play up the outside insider who can take the fight to Santo Ronaldino and the Big Tanned Orange in a way few other Democrats can. Her Russiaphobia might actually be a boon, especially if Putin further advances in Ukraine against the “strong condemn” and “will not be tolerated” complaints of EU paper-pushers and their soy armies. Perhaps a joint run with Liz Cheney could be in the cards, sloganeered as “Unity Through Bombs.” So many possibilities await.

Of course she might elect to sit it out, but the call of life is strong. This is Hillary’s last realistic chance. Question is, CAN she turn it down?

Culturalism · Economic History

What Will You Defend?

Over the last weekend I went through Rod Dreher’s recent book, Live Not By Lies: A Manual For Christian Dissidents. What really stood out to me early on in the text was his reference to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, the modern conception of religion practiced by many in the West. Under its tenets, spiritual teachings must be aligned with liberal capitalist consumerism and its focus on psychological well-being. Thus messages should always be regarding love and happiness, not the burdens of resistance to a corrupt and dying world. Don’t worry, by happy, is the outbound pennant.

But this brings into question the very purpose of faith itself. If so-called “believers” can only do so successfully in times of plenty and luxury, then what will become of them once they are called to the world docket? I think we have gained a pretty good idea with reactions to the injection campaign. Whether the vaccine is safe or not really doesn’t factor in here; most people knew at some level the mandate was wrong in principle, as evidenced by their initial reactions. Nevertheless, it took only minimal pressure and the threat of lost employment to get compliance.

I’ve noted before that I understand folks taking the shot if they have a family to provide for, but even that raises some concerns. Having to relinquish one’s employment is rarely desirable in the status-conscious and consumerist United States, but if one cannot make the sacrifice, then how much faith do they actually have? Folding over a fiat paycheck is hardly preparation to resist should it come down to conversion or the sword. Maybe this is why Kierkegaard describes the “Admirer” phenotype of believers:

“The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he praises Christ, he renounces nothing, will not reconstruct his life, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires. Not so for the follower. No, no. The follower aspires with all his strength to be what he admires. And then, remarkably enough, even though he is living amongst a ‘Christian people,’ he incurs the same peril as he did when it was dangerous to openly confess Christ.”

How many of us are members of the first group, and know it? Still more, how many are part and completely unaware?

Uncategorized

If You’re Stuck

Been a bit languid as far as producing content here is concerned. That may or may not change depending on how things proceed in the next couple months. In any case, I want to drop the following information for those of you who are hesitant but have no realistic option of turning down the insertion. Whether they actually work is still up for debate, but at least some of the people advancing such possibilities appear to know their stuff.

Other things that have been thrown around are Pine Needle tea, Dandelion Extract, and Nettle Leaf Extract. Make sure to look into each one in detail and consult with nutritionist or doctor before going ahead with them.

Culturalism

Carnivorous Logic

A diet which has recently gained popularity on the internet is the carnivore option. Those following its precepts argue that animal parts provide higher levels of protein and other nutrients than the conventional suggestions of a balanced intake incorporating vegetables and some grains. Often their claims come into conflict with the equally vocal vegan or vegetarian coalitions, both pioneers of alternative approaches regarding human health outcomes. Almost as freely as they do battle over what to eat, their predictable alignment with Right or Left politics adds a whole layer of intrigue to the interaction.

I have no intention of trying to debate diet advice or political feelings in this post, however. Said topics better fit the long scrolls of forum comments and YouTube videos already in existence, with many more sure to arrive in future. Instead, let us address a very common method the carnivore dieters use to square their culinary motivations: an appeal to tradition. Hardly anything wrong with that, yet the astute among us have reason to pause, because an element of clarity is missing. To better appreciate the picture, a closer look at their verbal framing is needed. The typical justifying statement goes rather like this:

My ancestors didn’t eat many vegetables, only meat. That means we are evolved to eat animals and should reject the starvation diets of serfs in favor of the king’s cuisine.”  

Laying aside the question of how precisely enough animals could be hunted to supply food for much of the world outside of factory farms, the preceding ratonalization lacks perspective. Yes, cavemen probably did consume animal products in large quantities, unless separated from ample livestock supplies like the Aztecs were. What’s left out of this realization is obviously the lifestyle entailed by living with those ancestors. While meat is nutritious, it would need to be caught, a fairly involving process for the average person. Our friend Thag had to set out with a crude bow or spear and track the animal first, which could take a few hours. Next, Thag would move in close, making sure not to upset foliage and trigger an alarmed state in the beast. At last he could strike, but even assuming a critical hit, the animal might run for a spell before keeling over. So Thag would go in pursuit, following the trail of blood. Once he managed to catch up with it a few miles down the woodland trail, the beast would then be dragged back a long distance, hopefully absent harassment from other hungry creatures.

Put simply, Thag was expelling a lot of energy and burning quite the calorie count simply trying to get his dinner. Even at home he had to clean the animal carcass in preparation for a meal, or to fashion some warm clothes. Time was of essence too, because salting and the fridge were still thousands of years into the future. But Thag had no choice, because to feed his active routine, food could be nothing less than robust.

And he’s not alone. American Indians were renowned for consuming large amounts of buffalo and deer meat, depending on the tribe. Keeping in mind that they were often nomads who moved frequently and went to war or hunted based on necessity, these people would certainly need a way to replenish their individual energies in time for the next physically exhausting event. The Apache for example were reported to march at times 70-100 miles in a twenty-four period, far surpassing most physical activity pursued in the gym by modern carnivore advocates. The Indians did this while wearing simple moccasins and without the advantages of central air and indoor plumbing because it was part of their social model for life. Yes, they ate heartily of the mammal race, but only with the contingency that great physical exertion would be expected.

The lowdown is that context matters. If you are seeking to follow a diet based on the practices of olden times, don’t ignore other conditions and locations during that period which might have influenced outcomes. We are not only what we eat, but also where we live.  

Culturalism

The False Stoic Man

As a child, I had the tendency to become very emotional over certain matters. I never fully understood this assembly of feelings, but quickly learned it must be kept under guard. After all, men should be strong and silent. So I started tightening up, refused to showcase what I felt, and started being typecast as “stoic.” Not much was improved, but the word had a distinct comfort to it. Gone were the moments of frustration or embarrassment, in their place the unquestioning image forged by one who could simply absorb what he experienced and let the river pass without becoming too much involved. Peace, I suppose.

If only. What society likes to describe as the male stoic ideal remains far from those actual principles ingrained within classical philosophical texts like Meditations. Our present model is merely a way to force men into distracting themselves, both from any underlying nature, and their own capacity to develop emotionally.

While there is little benefit to mucking about in tears all day, binding up feelings within a sack to save face merely creates issues that flare out in other regards. Some have tried to explain away the predominance of the stoic concept in human cultures by arguing it can be a check on male propensity for violence. Of course suppression hardly helps the situation; guys are more inclined to “snap” rather than channel that drive in combat sports or just warfare. In addition, males who crack down on what they feel in response to the loss of a loved one or experiencing a tragedy are only leaving countless sensations unexplained and worsening their mental state.

Even public expressions of speech by men must be carefully curdled. We like to mock male leaders from the 1930s for shrill orations in front of mesmerized throngs, because they demonstrate a lack of control and balance. The preference is for the liberal professor stereotype of Barack Obama, or perhaps some old clown who isn’t aware of the current year. Consequence of deviation from the norm means the Howard Dean Effect, where becoming emotional and hoarse means the end of a national campaign.

Our regimented defense of this cordon sanitaire against male emotion can hardly be seen as a success. Scholars usually conclude women have a higher emotional intelligence and are better-adapted to the modern service economy precisely due to their ease with human expression. There is comparatively little social insistence on females to hide what they feel, hence the apparent advantage, because they grow up better understanding the sentiments of others. Furthermore, browbeating boys to shelter what they have inside cringes in the shadow of an extremely high suicide rate. Are the two connected? Can they somehow not be?

No other hill should be the start of a movement for social change. If we are to continue embracing modernity and techno-futurism, the archaic treatment of male emotions must cease. Lives do indeed depend upon it.