Archive for December, 2013

Plutocracy Rising, Demos Sinking

December 13, 2013

Oligarchy: the rule of the few. What we have.  Democracy: the rule of the People. What Switzerland has, legislatively speaking.

Civilization is first rendered possible only by another type of organization. Civilization is an increasingly complex machine, that works only because of the nature of a sophisticated hierarchy of laws. This was known by the time of Babylon’s Hammurabi, 37 centuries ago. Thus the state of law is a necessary pre-condition for civilization. However, to have a state of law, one needs a state. That’s shrinking in the USA… just when it should be expanding:

If the USA Government Shrinks Enough, So Will Law

If the USA Government Shrinks Enough, So Will Law

[This covers all governmental spending as percentage of GDP: local, state, federal.]

In a related development, Obama’s own Food & Drug Administration, just woke up, and decided to do something about the feeding day in, day out, of all meat animals in the USA with enormous amounts of antibiotics, as I had requested, with my usual subtlety of crashing asteroid. See: “Fish Rots By The Head”

One has to explain the graph above a bit. The strong peak of spending at the time Obama took power (so to speak) was related by the failure of corporations, such as General Motors. Saving General Motors cost 50 billion dollars at the time, but saved 1.2 million jobs (because of all the car parts makers). Final cost was ten billions. The rescue of AIG cost 180 billion, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs 60 billion each, and so on. All these programs were started under GW Bush, Obama extended them.

Thus Bush was not just the self-described “decider”, but also the rescuer. (This emergency spending is not in the graph, by the way.)

To be taken ever more seriously, Krugman makes a point of lauding Obama always. However he says:” You can see that there was a brief, modest spurt in spending associated with the Obama stimulus — but it has long since been outweighed and swamped by a collapse in spending without precedent in the past half century.”

Krugman in :”Unprecedented Austerity” then draws the inescapable conclusion: “a strange thing has happened on the fiscal policy front. Intellectually, the case for austerity has pretty much collapsed, having been reduced at this point to the Three Stooges Theory: we’re supposed to consider austerity a success because it feels good when you stop, or at least let up. At the same time, however, austerity policies continue to be imposed, on both sides of the Atlantic.

And amid the punditizing over the latest budget deal, it’s worth considering just how unprecedented US austerity has been….to do this when the private sector is still deleveraging and interest rates are at the zero lower bound is just awesomely destructive.”

[Notice that this is the very respectable, very serious Krugman saying this, not the horrendous Tyranosopher.] What is going on? The Three Stooges?

No. The Wolf and the Lamb is the fable that depicts our times best.

An example of wolf-lamb interaction is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). As Prof Krugman points out, the GDP impact of the TPP shall be infinitesimal. So why bother to negotiate it?

A hint about the TPP’s true purpose is that the Trans Pacific Partnership is negotiated secretly. This habit, secrecy, is not compatible with democracy. So the TPP negotiation is another trick to weaken democracy.

This is confirmed by the fact the corporations have 600 lobbyists negotiating the TPP, whereas each state has only three (3!) negotiators.

In other good news, the democrats, to make a budget deal, negotiated the cutting of unemployment subsidies to millions. The more rags dress the rabble, the greater the lords. Austerity for the rabble, is what the Wolves of our ages, our Lords, want. However, we are in a nominal “democracy”, where the “Demos” redistribute quite a bit of the Lords’ money, to itself. A way to stop that redistributive non sense is by imposing austerity to the government, that is, to The People (who theoretically rule in democracy). The hyper rich have never paid fewer taxes (relatively to their global income), on this side of the Middle-Ages. And that’s directly related to this will to shrink the government.

Why are the rich reducing government spending? Superficially, because it enables them to pay fewer taxes.

The fewer taxes the hyper rich pay, the more their wealth grow, and the more they can eat their way through representative “democracy” by buying influence among the few elected officials who are deciding our destiny.

It’s a vicious circle.

But, even deeper than this circle, the plutocrats want to return society to the law of the jungle. The more they transform society into a jungle, the more they justify their demonic tendencies, that is, themselves. Those who are vicious can only feel welcome in a vicious world.

It provides them with satanic social security.

It’s an even more vicious circle. Dante’s Inferno revisited. And down we go. In America, and in Europe.

Patrice Aymé

***

Note: A country cannot be a democracy without first being a state of law, an état de droit a Rechtsstaat. Athens tried it, and crashed. The USA and Great Britain before it, both following the orders of ther West Country Men, tried to do without, and it worked great so far (that’s why South Africa, the USA, Canada and Australia all developed Apartheid, under the guise of multiculturalism…).

In truth, the common ideology in the Anglo universe, revised by the West Country Men,  was relentless exploitation, of whatever could be exploited.

That’s why the USA Supreme Court is not really a Constitutional Court (see Bush versus Gore), and Britain added only a Supreme Court thanks to liar Blair.

The Wolf & The Lamb

December 12, 2013

A FABLE FOR OUR PLUTOCRATIC AGE.

My translation, direct from Jean de La Fontaine, complete with the most important parts emboldened and underlined:

The logic of the strongest is always the best

We will show this presently

A lamb was quenching his thirst

In the flow of a pure wave

A fasting wolf, looking for some adventure, shows up,

Attracted to these surroundings by hunger 

Who emboldened you so much that you disturbed my drink?

Said this animal full of rage:

You will be punished for your temerity.

Sire, responded the lamb, would it be that Your Majesty

Would not get angry;

But rather that She considers

That I am quenching my thirst

In the flow,

More than 20 paces below Her,

And thus consequently, in no way whatsoever,

Could I trouble Her drink.

You trouble it, retorted this cruel beast,

And I know that of me you spoke ill last year.

-How could I have done this, as I was not yet born?

Answered the Lamb, I am still at my mother’s breast.

-If it was not you, it was therefore your brother.

-I do not have any.

-It’s one of yours:

Because you do not spare me much,

You, your sheperds, and your dogs.

One has told me so: I must avenge myself.

Thereupon, in the depth of the forests

The Wolf carries him, and then devours him.

Without any other form of justice.

***

This fable captures the essence of the demonic mind. The desire to have one’s way is strong, even overwhelming, as it elevates to the sky the poisonous tendrils of the most perverse logic, while justice is flat and uninteresting.

The Wolf wants the Lamb, his desire itself is justice. The more the desire is denied, the more insistent it gets. Cruelty and rage ease the way of the Wolf’s desire. The tendency of making our want what universal justice enables is the ugliest, most irresistible device at the heart of man. The Lamb represents justice, it gets devoured.

So do not ask what plutocracy wants. It wants you. Bathing in gastric acid. Object in vain. It’s only justice.

***

Patrice Ayme

Mandela, Algeria, Zizek, Truth

December 9, 2013

ALGERIA’S DISASTER, SOUTH AFRICA’S SURVIVAL:

I wrote an essay celebrating Mandela using truth as hammer with which to pulverize hatred. This was Mandela’ s primary mission, and it succeeded.

That was not obvious. Look at Algeria. In 1960, Algeria was richer per capita than South Africa, and enjoyed (on paper) more freedom (apartheid, although practically observed in Algeria, was not imposed with the force and arrogance it was in South Africa; the first universal suffrage vote happened in (French administered) Algeria a third of a century earlier than in South Africa.

At first sight, it should have been easier to make Algeria into a democratic commonwealth in 1951 than to achieve this in South Africa in 1991 (the year Mandela was released from detention). However:

War Slashes Souls

War Slashes Souls

The weight of the past can be overwhelmed, though. Mandela showed that. So why did it not happen in Algeria? Intellectual failure. All over.

The situation in Algeria turned out catastrophic, because no man, no leader, spiritual or political, in France, or Algeria had the philosophical, and political stature of Mandela (Camus did not reach Mandela’s philosophical understanding). As I pointed out, Mandela understood something that was not understood, or proclaimed, before: the Will to Truth can overwhelm the Will To Power.

The problem with the Franco-Algerian civil war, was not just that there was no Mandela. But that the whole political and intellectuals landscape was full of short sighted hateful dwarves, full of racism, on the left or the right, on one side of the sea, as on the other (yes, I include De Gaulle, the OAS, the FNL, and all Franco-Algerian intellectuals, Camus excepted, in this global condemnation).

The vicious Franco-Algerian war had hardened hearts, and left only draconian mentalities in power (Draco gloated that most offenses were worthy of the death penalty, 2,615 years ago in Athens).

Mandela avoided this. He avoided vicious war, the type that feeds mostly hatred. As Mandela talked, in his jail cell, with South Africa’s top (white) general, he told him:“General, in this war, you and me are both generals. Whatever happens, at the end of this, we will have to meet, and negotiate. How we treat each other then, depends upon how we treat each other, now.”

In the early 1990s, 19% of South Africa was “white”. Nowadays it’s 9% (the poor tend to reproduce like rabbits, everywhere).

In Algeria, upon so called “independence” 15% of the population fled (including lots of Jews, whose ancestors had arrived in the area 2,100 years before, 8 centuries before Arabs and Muslims invaded by the sword). Many of the Jews ended in Israel, as the French Republic had been, naturally enough, Israel’s main sponsor.

It was independence from Paris, but not from hatred and other vicious habits many of them learned there (such as the pseudo-leftism clamored by hypocrites such as Jean-Paul Sartre, the pseudo-philosopher, and his ilk of ill disguised collaborators).

In the full light of history, one may wonder if Africa and Numidia (in the Roman geographical sense) will ever recover from democratic Carthage’s monstrous demise, and the just as monstrous Arab-Muslim conquest of the Maghreb (647-709 CE)

***

SILLY ZIZEK:

I mentioned that, ideally, Mandela would have told a few truths that needed to be told, and, first of all, that wisdom pays, and only wisdom does. Long term.

Second, that wisdom arises from a wealth of knowledge, and only from that: Mandela, a king, was also a lawyer, a boxer, and someone who learned Afrikaner as an adult.

The average salary of an employed black man is eight times less than that of a white employee. But Mandela would have shrugged:”Do you have anything better to propose?” Zizek thinks so, but he is just posing:

Slavoj Zizek, the famous European (Slovenian) philosopher, psychoanalyst and social theorist at the Birkbeck School of Law, University of London, wrote an incisive essay for the New York times”Mandela’s Socialist Failure“. The essay is transverse to my “Mandela, Truth Philosopher”. I do not disagree with its spirit. Just the details, where the most pernicious devils lurk.

Zizek says: “South Africa in this respect is just one version of the recurrent story of the contemporary left. A leader or party is elected with universal enthusiasm, promising a “new world” — but, then, sooner or later, they stumble upon the key dilemma: does one dare to touch the capitalist mechanisms, or does one decide to “play the game”? If one disturbs these mechanisms, one is very swiftly “punished”If we want to remain faithful to Mandela’s legacy, we should thus forget about celebratory crocodile tears and focus on the unfulfilled promises his leadership gave rise to. We can safely surmise that, on account of his doubtless moral and political greatness, he was at the end of his life also a bitter, old man, well aware how his very political triumph and his elevation into a universal hero was the mask of a bitter defeat. His universal glory is also a sign that he really didn’t disturb the global order of power.”

Amen to this. Zizek ought to realize though that Franklin D. Roosevelt (from plutocratic background) and Eisenhower (Republican president) were conducting policies way left than anything proposed by the democratic party of the USA, or any “left”, “socialist’, or “labor” party in the West in the last 40 years.

Those who are serious about debt reduction ought to follow Republican president Eisenhower’s drastic remedy: bring up the highest margin tax rate to 93%.

In general, most of today’s economic and social ills would disappear if one returned to the conservative fiscal methods of the 1950s. Those would allow to keep in good functioning order the welfare state established in the period 1933-1965.

Roosevelt and Eisenhower would have certainly presented themselves as free market liberals, pro-capitalists. And they were. So, Zizek, it’s not about “capitalist mechanisms”.

It’s about having forgotten the wisdom of the past. And it’s about intellectuals who, like Zizek, do not go inside the machinery enough to make a cogent critique of what went wrong.

Mandela did not do such a mistake: he had the Algerian disaster in full view, and tried to avoid it. This, Zizek does not see.

And it’s going wrong all over, in newer ways: witness the suicidal rise of fossil fuel companies’ influence, in the last 15 years. Something never seen before, and that no socialists of the past could have envisioned, in their worst nightmares.

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Note: 1) Millions died or fled from the Algerian War. Nearly all the population of Algeria suffered, and the suffering extends to this day.

2) The accusation of racism against De Gaulle is amply documented. Through many statements. On 5 Mars 1959, he confessed the following to Alain Peyrefitte : « Si nous faisions l’intégration, si tous les Arabes et Berbères d’Algérie étaient considérés comme Français, comment les empêcher de venir s’installer en métropole, alors que le niveau de vie y est tellement plus élevé ? Mon village ne s’appellerait plus Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, mais Colombey-les-Deux-Mosquées ! »

Translation: France is so rich, all Algerians want to come here. So we will not do integration. Down with Mosques.

Go Ogle You

December 8, 2013

Mandela claimed he was mean and tough, and no saint. That self knowledge was put to excellent use in a spotless, civilization improving career.

Hitler used to say he was a man of peace, a rescuer of minorities. As we all know, he was the exact opposite. Gandhi presented himself as a saint, an Hindu saint, hater of the British to the point he presented himself as Hitler’s friend. Gandhi’s erroneous trains of moods and thoughts wrecked the Indian Raj, cutting it in two, and this started precisely because of Hitler (Indian Muslims were keen to make war to Hitler)… and now we are waiting for the other, nuclear, shoe to drop on the Indian subcontinent.

Generally, the more people speak one way, the more it is to hide the fact they act the opposite.

Don't Be Evil, I Want To Eat You

Don’t Be Evil, Keep Still, I Want To Eat You

That’s why, when Google chose as motto, “DON’T BE EVIL“, it was clear it practiced the exact opposite.

The tech giant has been long walloped in hypocrisy: his founders would make a loud show of driving hybrid cars, to save the planet, while discreetly ordering, not just normal corporate jets, but outright private jumbo jets, to travel in great CO2 style.

So how come two young guys have suddenly dozens of billions of dollars at their command? Just by practicing “don’t be evil“? Christ would have told us the opposite was most likely (remember Christ said a camel was more likely to go through the eye of a needle, than the rich to heavens).

So it’s no surprise that Google is funding groups advancing the agenda of the Koch brothers. Only the naive ought to be surprised.

How could it be otherwise?

Who founded Google and launched it big? The usual suspects. Sequoia capital, Morgan-Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and the usual operators of the Dark Plutocracy  (Summers, Clinton administration, his pet Sheryl Sandberg, etc.). The algorithm was invented by Stanford University (from which it is still leased for around 100 million dollars  a year).

Two Stanford students activated the algorithm, and became “Google founders“. There had been other search engines before, and since.

Nothing special about Google, except who was behind it. As we know now, and I long suspected, and wrote about, the USA’s plutocracy’ intelligence organizations, sucking on the juiciest parts of the world, were a big part of it.

So here you have two young nobodies, one from Russia, and they are given riches beyond comprehension. Why? Just to show Russians that, when you obey the USA, and conform, you will own the world?

No, not just that. But also because absolute money, so absolute power, corrupts absolutely.

The plutocracy that heads the USA needed a tech giant led by the absolutely corrupt. That’s why colossal amounts of money are directed at the gullible with vicious morals.

Vicious morals? We now know that Google acts viciously (it cooperates with the Chinese dictatorship’s censorship, not just the NSA). But the stealthy will-to-viciousness should have been obvious, from the motto alone.

I have been involved in more than one start-up in Silicon Valley, and i have met with several venture capitalists. I can imagine the scene from her: Of, do those two algorithm guys look hungry enough? Could they do whatever, so they can own the big private jet?

On the founders of Google: check for all this. So we fund, and organize that for profit intelligence organization, complete with “backdoors“. Go-ogle.

Organizations that received “substantial” funding from Google for the first time over the past year include Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union (best known for its CPAC conference) and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation that led the charge to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act: Heritage Action.

In 2013, Google also funded the corporate lobby group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, although that group is not listed as receiving “substantial” funding in the list published by Google.

Google is preparing for what it is helping to bring, a Tea Party controlled USA (Obamacare was part of the plan). So it’s bringing in Republican coordinators. “A brassy, well-connected New York Republican who served seven years in the House, Ms. Susan Molinari is paid handsomely” as Google’s chief Washington lobbyist, said the New York Times. She should be: she was used as cute blonde bimbo talking head by CBS, before.

Says the New York Times: “based on comparisons with trade group lobbyists, Ms. Molinari is probably paid into seven figures in salary and stock. Representatives of the pharmaceutical and cable industries, for example, which each spent close to Google’s $18 million in lobbying in 2012, earned salaries of $2 million to $3 million…Her father is Guy Molinari, the former Staten Island borough president and a former five-term member of Congress, and her husband is Bill Paxon, also a former member of Congress and now a lobbyist.”

Such is the plutocratic web in the USA: thoroughly corrupt politicians enabling the powers that be. Just in the last year, Google funded for the first time ten right wing fanatical groups. Google spent a record $18.2 million on lobbying in 2012 in Washington alone.

As usual with the plutocratic organizations and celebrities who lead the USA, Google has a distinctively progressive image.

Propaganda works.

To Be Evil, first claim you are not. “Don’t Be evil”. Then persuade your prey it ought not to be evil, either, making it unable to even suspect it has to defend itself. Then Go Ogle everybody.

***

Patrice Ayme

Lies Tie Tribes Together Well

December 7, 2013

SHARED ERRORS BIND BETTER THAN TRUTH (Or how faith feeds intellectual fascism of the tribal type).

Aside from loving those who loved me, my life has been centered on a search for the ultimate nature of reality. That included history, to find out the errors one makes, and psychology, to find where those errors came from. I found out about Quantum theory. It entangled what is going on in the small with new, mysterious notions.

I expected thorough dedication to truth among serious thinkers. And who could be more detached than physicists? Yet, I became disturbed by the great gap between how certain some scientists were that their theories were right, and the evidence they had. Sometimes it felt as if they had no evidence, or even the opposite, and as if error united men better than truth. How could that be? How come the tribal arose from the illogical, or even, from error? Was error a mean to tribalism?

That puts the tribal in conflict with the Republic. The Republic is united by justice, and justice is truth, force:

Roman Fascism: People Bound By The Axe of Justice

Roman Fascism: People Bound By The Axe of Justice

[One of the two man-sized bronze fasces flanking the Speaker’s Rostrum, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington. Just as with the French Republic, fasces are all over the symbols of the Republic of the USA .]

Verily, fasces were the fundamental symbol of the Roman republic, and from there on, the Franks and the French and American republics.

(Call that fascism at its best; suggestion: add fasces to the United Nations Security Council! After all, United Nations without force is no union of justice… the UNSC just voted unanimously to unleash the French army to reestablish justice in the Central African Republic.)

Fascism is how weak social animals bind themselves together to make an irresistible mass. Fascism is how social animals drink and dine, without becoming dinner. It’s an old method, honed by hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Or why social animals exist.

( The earliest public latrines, 240 million years old, were just discovered.)

The power of fascism, like the axe surrounded by the fasces, can be used for good or for bad.

In this essay, we will explore a related phenomenon, the POWER OF ERROR, and how intellectual fascism binds a tribe around an error rather than a truth, by making special brains.

Instead of finding an example in politics or history, or the usual suspects (Jihadists!)I will exhibit an example from what ought to be the most intellectually rigorous subject.

In the fundamental treaty on Quantum Mechanics by the great physicist Paul Dirac, a claim was made about the nature of reality that was not just poorly supported theoretically, but experimentally contradicted.

Dirac had said that “photons interfere only with themselves”. Anybody with 2 lasers could check that was wrong. Yet, to this day, strong belief that this error does not matter persists. Why? I claim it stays a convenient cement that unites many mangy physicists.

It’s not just because the photons-interfere-only-with-themselves makes for cheap thinking. It’s also because it provides with tribal, even mystical, and certainly neurological identification, precisely because it’s obviously false.

Of course, for someone such as me, who puts the search for reality above tribal considerations, it’s most important to know if photons do, or do not, interfere with themselves. And as they do, it’s most important to find out how they do it.

(Photon to photon “non linear optics” happens in QED, through matter-antimatter virtual processes, a completely different effect.)

Quantum theory is subjacent to Elementary Particle Physics. The latter was uncovered by “high energy” experiments, in which particles collided into each other. Weirdly, though, all the obvious experiments to uncover Quantum theory had not been made! Somehow, particle theorists had persuaded themselves that Quantum theory was fully known and consistent.

Yet, evidence that Quantum theory was not as understood as possible were abundant (the list was long of fundamental experiments that had not even been tried: Bohm-Aharanov, 1958; one photon-at a time 2-slit, independent lasers 2-slits; numerous EPR style, interaction-at-a-distance experiments, Popper experiment… tried for the first time in 1999, 65 years after it was proposed; etc.).

Fundamental physicists were in denial of this lack of thoroughness on their part. It was a major epistemological, even ethical breach.

An obvious explanation was that governments were more interested to fund high energy physics than really fundamental search for reality. Clearly, high energy physics could lead to death rays, Star Wars, etc. And it did. U.S. Navy ships using combat lasers are being deployed on the battle field.

Present proposed high energy accelerators are of obvious military interest (as they would muster tremendously energetic particle beams over very short distances).

Physicists, after all, are primates, and they find interesting what gives them bananas.

Yet, there was strong evidence that these supposedly arcane minds behaved more like tribal monkeys than inquiring minds. Could it be possible that error united them?

As I would find later in life, nothing is more conducive to building an exploitative community of minds than an error, also known as a faith. A faith that those erroneous minds share. And the more outrageous the faith, the better.

Why?

Recent studies have shown that it takes longer to lie than to tell the truth. The brain has to work harder. Although, well trained liars learn to reduce that delay.

I believe that ideas correspond to brain structures. This idea about ideas has far ranging consequences, from the duplication of thinking by computers, to ethics, to imagination.

Mental structures determined by truth and reality are going to be common to everybody (that’s what is called “common sense”). For the tribally minded, that presents a major drawback: if one shares the same mental structures with everybody, one cannot distinguish the group one wants to belong to.

The only way to distinguish a group is by teaching brains all the same, but differently from all other brains. This way one creates a common architecture of the mind, not found in any other group. The best way to do this is by teaching an error.

The principle of deliberately committing errors, so that people can be tribally, religiously, hatefully, or oligarchically, bound together, with their special brains, rules… That’s why racism is so popular!

It rules, because it has not been recognized. If it comes on the radar of the Enlightenment, that will change.

Don’t ask the tribal minded what errors they made, because therein their identity. They will become aggressive, as you start to poke around their brains. Instead reject errors from all and any part. That will hinder the formation of hateful or exploitative groups.

***

Patrice Ayme

Mandela, Truth Philosopher

December 6, 2013

Mandela IS An Example to All. He will live on as a shining beacon forever. Not less because he brought to the fore, and showed that both the Dark Side, in combination with Truth, was how to make wisdom triumph. This is a lesson that had escaped Socrates himself.

In his entire life, Mandela did only one thing really wrong: he served a single five year presidential term, instead of two. He could have used the second one to say a few uncomfortable truths he had the stature to present, defend and implement the remedies they called for.

Human Rights: True, Thus Strong

Human Rights: True, Thus Strong

Told, when president, that some youth protested about the absence of enough social change, Mandela lashed out that they should go to school instead. Mandela had a temper. But he knew how to use it for the best. As a ram to tell the truth.

It’s because Mandela could call onto the Dark Side, as needed, that he was able to do all he did. Mandela was a master, not a slave. He preferred to take a chance and die fighting than thrive on his knees.

From kingly lineage, he became a lawyer, and struggled against the racial terror system in South Africa. Then the Apartheid plutocrats resorted to extermination, Mandela responded to the escalation in the only way, the only appropriate way. He brought a bigger  mob to handle the guys with the bigger guns. Mandela switched to physical violence and high explosives.

That, dear pacifists of the morbid type, is how one handles Nazi-like characters. Not by turning the other cheek, but by turning to violence that wins them over. As nothing else will.

That was the inescapable power logic of France’s attack against Hitler, and of the nuclear bombings over Japan: confronted to ultimate violence, only a fiercer violence can dominate… for the better.

Mandela’s armed struggle was the one and only correct decision: only confrontation can beat infamy, submission is collaboration.

Arrested, Mandela risked the death penalty. But the satanic servants of horrors opted for a wiser course, and that’s why 9% of the population of South Africa is still “white”.

It was a tentative des-escalation on their part. And a very wise one: as it turned out, Mandela was the one and only who could reconcile all. And that’s why 9% of the population of South Africa is still “white”.

(Although there was more mixing than generally admitted: the eyes of the otherwise very “black” Desmond Tutu, another Nobel Peace prize who deserved his prize, are… blue. Winnie Mandela’s skin looks also rather white these days, to the point I could not recognize her…)

Things could have still evolved for the worst, as they did, say, in Algeria. But Mandela, once again found the perfect dosage of Enlightenment and Dark Side to knead and transform his jailers’ previously rigid minds.

Mandela refused to call his jailers “boss”. But he learned their language, Afrikaner. He refused to be freed, until his conditions were met.

Mandela knew how much he owed to the Dark Side. He insisted he was not a good man, but real tough and mean. To prove this, he rolled out, a few years ago, that he had beaten his first wife. He insisted, too, that he was no Gandhi.

Gandhi was a pacifist, Mandela was not. Gandhi played saint, Mandela was one. Gandhi played the saint so much, he came down to believe in his all encompassing goodness. He could do not wrong, he thought.

Just as a pilot who thinks he cannot do wrong, and he had just to fly straight ahead, Gandhi crashed into a mountain. A mountain that he had erected himself, by being too much of an Hindu nationalist: the division of the subcontinent along religious lines, in a blood bath that killed millions, several times, and could cause a nuclear war. Relative to this, what he fought against was nothing. Gandhi turned something that was easy to do, and was going to happen anyway, into a disaster.

Mandela did the opposite: he turned something that was nearly impossible to do, into a total success.

Mandela knew people could cause mass mayhem, just by making mistakes, and thus that, in the situation he and De Klerk were, it was crucial to avoid the smallest mistake. And he said so, pointing out De Klerk’s “mistakes”, strenuously, firmly, but, deep down, kindly.

Mandela set-up the Truth & Reconciliation Commission: in exchange for the truth, the worst of the worst were forgiven, and reconciled. This stays a model, a new solution for political situations of this type, where either both sides have been very wrong, or when plutocrats give up power and are forgiven in exchange for explaining how their satanic powers were exerted (the latter revelation automatically disarms them, not just tactically, politically, but also, and most importantly, philosophically).

This is indeed exactly what Socrates failed to implement; big time philosophy in action, for the better, in a war, and racist context.

The Truth and Reconciliation strategy was a gigantic progress, philosophically speaking. Mandela’s contribution to philosophy may have been greater than any made by, say, Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle.

Mandela implemented the highest and most important principle: truth is more important than anything else. Horror, first of all, is enabled by lies.

Truth as the ultimate exercise of power: something for all to meditate, and implement.

***

Patrice Ayme

INFLATION GOOD, STAGNATION BAD

December 5, 2013

INFLATION FEEDS SELF EXAMINATION, EMPLOYMENT, FUTURISM.

Moderate Inflation Optimizes Consumption, Self Examination, A Questioning Attitude, Full Employment, New Economy, Technology & Science, Enough Money For What’s Needed.

Why?

1) Inflation advantages the implementation of more advanced technology, because inflation forces people to a continual reevaluation of their old habits.

2) Inflation stirs the economic soup and advantages workers relatively to rentiers. (A rentier, by definition works from a rent; rentiers’ existence is less active than that of workers, they have to do less. Advantaging them is advantaging laziness. Activity ought to be more encouraged by a better income than the one received by doing nothing; it’s harder to negotiate the augmentation of a rent than that of a salary.)

3) Inflation insures that those who want to work, in particular with the future, have enough money to do so.

Inflation creates, de facto, negative interest rates. With inflation turned on, the very rich and corporations could not sit on the money, or lend it to each other through “dark pools“. The money would have to be invested profitably in the real economy.

Putting inflation back in gear is ONLY PART of the return to the winning recipe of the 1950s. But a master piece. It fights economic stagnation.

Conventional economic theory has it that people look for the cheapest products, or for better products, or a mix of these characteristics. Right. That fantasy is called the “market”. As in a real market, people are supposed to go down the alleys, and pick up what they deem to be the best.

In the imagination of vulgar economists, the “market” is supposed to solve everything (including health care in Obama’s Financial Times addicted mind). Let’s leave aside for now the problem that what they call a market is rather a jungle.

Before comparing products, people have to want to bother to look at them. Comparing is tiring, risky, and involves training (be it of a slightly new taste). Be it to buy sushi, a car, a new TV, or a vacation. In a steady state economy, with always the same prices, why would people want to look?

And what about, not just comparing old products, but looking at completely new products? Say you always bought apples and never looked at oranges? Why would people want to look at those? Curiosity? What about adding necessity to curiosity? Inflation insures the latter, because inflation introduces an element of discomfort with one’s old world. 

Inflation forces people to look and make comparisons, not just between the products that are offered, but between the habits they themselves hold (and that, left unchanged, would lead them to yesterday’s products). Continually rising sticker shocks spur a more demanding demand that questions one’s old demands.

Socrates said that the unexamined life was not worth living. Inflation says that one cannot afford the unexamined life.

Verily, conventional economic theory had forgotten that detail: if consumers don’t need to bother, they will not bother. MENTAL INERTIA RULES, and turns into generalized economic inertia. Inflation is a spur that forces economic participants to reconsider their relationship with the economy, and all values, and makes actually the entire public into savvy , even philosophical, economic participants, lest they drown in rising prices, and an unaffordable past.

Having more demanding consumers (that nominal price inflation creates), in turn incites would be suppliers to offer new products, as they know consumers are continually examining not just the products offered, but examining if the habits they have make life as worthy as possible.

Indeed, old habits depend upon old values, and old consumption patterns. When inflation permeates the economy, all prices rise, and force a dynamic ecology, by changing continually the environment, forcing speciation of new technology, that serve new habits.

It is similar to what happens when speciation in biology is forced by environmental changes.

Increasing prices force people to continually look afresh at whether their old habits are WORTH IT. People see the costs and prices of what they used to like, go up, and they ask themselves: why not to try something better?

Inflation continually swirls the economy, for higher performance. It creates an ever changing world, never boring, always valuing work

It’s no coincidence that the period of the 30 years of gloriously expanding economy after World War Two was characterized with significant inflation. Nor is it a coincidence that a depression is characterized by years of deflation.

As one can see today, or one has seen in Japan, deflation is hard to fight. Work programs in infrastructure financed by the government in Japan, over two decades, resulted with a government debt to GDP basically the highest in the world (more than 200%). And still Japan is stuck. Maybe what’s lacking in Japan, are animal spirits.

How is inflation controlled? By not expanding the money supply too much. What does that mean? Those who have the money keep it, others can wait for the grave. In other words no inflation profits first the established order.

Some will say: oh no, you don’t understand, with 4% inflation, the rich will get richer. Question: how come did the rich not become richer during the post war forceful expansion? High margin tax rates (93% under that well known Marxist, President Eisenhower). Just reinstitute those and redistribute to the indigent (including victims of inflation).

The “market” has been the paradigm of economics, and it’s made possible by the fractional reserve private-public money creating banking system. The latter has been ignored by most thinkers (except for president FDR and his men, who regulated it cleanly… and which the Clinton and his weasels destroyed). 

Of course the FDR reforms ought to be reestablished (this is what the inchoating “Banking Union” is about in Europe, and the various fines given to EU & USA banks in recent weeks… although jail sentences would have been better).

But more generally, the very image of the free economy as a “free market” is meek.  And irrelevant.

There is no “free market”. Most of the impulsion for new technologies was given by governments (even cans and microwaves were initially military programs; actually the question ought to be inverted: which new technologies were started as non-governmental programs, or not governmentally supported? Good luck to find any!) 

Through the (mostly private) bankers, the (plutocracy captured) government regulates the money supply, and has opted to restrict the new flow to old money.

A better picture of reality than the “free market” is the jungle. The genus Homo evolved through war, in the jungle. It’s hypocrisy and obfuscation to pretend that it’s otherwise in today’s economy. Once one has admitted this, and only then, can one mitigate this efficiently. Let’s bring some light to that obscure and tragic reality.

And let’s bring fresh money, enough money to employ youth well and irrigate the future. That is, allow enough inflation to insure this.

Could that create problems? Sure. And it did, in the roaring post-WWII expansion. However, corrective mechanisms were then applied: help to first time home buyers, construction programs, free universal health care and education, anti-plutocratic taxation.

One ought to argue that inflation is progressive, as it forced the implementation of these progressive measures (otherwise society would have exploded in rage; whereas now its put to sleep in the torpor of stagnating plutocratization).

Last, but not least: in the unprecedented confrontation between human technology and the biosphere, stagnation is not an option. Missing out on inflation, and the reality of the jungle it makes obvious, and the progressive answers it requires, maybe missing out on the animal spirits we need to survive.

***

Patrice Ayme

Hating Dylan Charged In France

December 3, 2013

Dylan Honored, Then Charged in France:

In November, the French Minister of culture, a political authority, gave Bob Dylan the Legion d’Honneur.

Meanwhile French JUDICIAL authorities filed preliminary charges against Bob Dylan over a 2012 interview in Rolling Stone magazine. In it the singer briskly compared Croatians to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

If Your Thinking Equals Your Singing, You'll Be The Phoenix Of The Hosts Of These Woods...

If Your Thinking Equals Your Singing, You’ll Be The Phoenix Of The Hosts Of These Woods…

[Dylan proudly exhibiting his Legion d’ Honneur below les ors de la République. Culture minister Aurélie Filippetti, an author, on the right.]

Here is the quote, in context:

“Rolling Stone: Do you see any parallels between the 1860s and present-day America?
Mmm, I don’t know how to put it. It’s like . . . the United States burned and destroyed itself for the sake of slavery. The USA wouldn’t give it up. It had to be grinded out. The whole system had to be ripped out with force. A lot of killing. What, like, 500,000 people? A lot of destruction to end slavery. And that’s what it really was all about.

This country is just too fucked up about color. It’s a distraction. People at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color. It’s the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn’t want to give up slavery – that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can’t pretend they don’t know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the SERBS CAN SENSE CROATIAN BLOOD.

It’s doubtful that America’s ever going to get rid of that stigmatization. It’s a country founded on the backs of slaves. You know what I mean? Because it goes way back. It’s the root cause. If slavery had been given up in a more peaceful way, America would be far ahead today. Whoever invented the idea “lost cause . . . .” There’s nothing heroic about any lost cause. No such thing, though there are people who still believe it.”

What’s up with the “blood” thing, Bob? You can “sense the blood”?

Paris prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said Tuesday the charges of public insult and inciting hate were filed.

I approve.

This is an excellent occasion to teach people about insidious, nefarious tribalism. Of the bloody type.

What Dylan was saying is that long term hatred ought to be respected and used as a justification for trans generational hostility from some  human groups against other human groups. This is the essence of tribal hatred. (Also known as “racism”.)

Implicitly, Dylan approves of it. I don’t. Nor does, rightly, the French Republic.

That’s one of the reasons I am careful to apply the denomination “Nazi” (say), when many would just write “German”. Confusing Nazis and Germans is insufferable: the present German Republic would have been the best ally of the French republic against the Nazis in 1940 (if you will forgive the chronological mishmash).

The charges stemmed from a lawsuit by a Croatian community group in France. A lawyer for the Council of Croats in France (CRICCF), Ivan Jurasinovic, said they are not seeking monetary damages but only want the legendary singer to apologize to the Croatian people.

I would also insist that Dylan recognizes the error of his tribal ways.

“We have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer,” CRICCF spokesperson Vlatko Maric told the Guardian. “[But] you cannot equate Croatian [war] criminals with all Croats.”

One reason why the case was filed in France: the French Republic has ferocious laws punishing hate speech and racist remarks. Other countries (including the USA) have been slowly following suit.

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Notes: 1) Dylan condemns the racist ‘insanity’ (about ‘colour’), indeed, & then he engages in it. That’s classical. That’s always how racism happens. But he’ll repent, once what he did will have been explained to him slowly enough, and with enough authority, so that he can understand the full extent of the horror he engaged in.

2) This psycho behavior not only can happen, but is the main source of racism. After all, the Nazis themselves justified they exterminationist ways, by posing like victims of racial discrimination (from their victims!) that they vigorously condemned.

P/S: Dylan was finally exonerated from the charges in June 2014. No doubt he learned his lesson. This being said, the French Justice system can go bananas, and has gone bananas, about stories of bananas and monkeys, precisely. In France, in a blatant show of discrimination, it is against the law to insult a “ministre en exercice“. That turns those civil servants into masters. See:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/dont-monkey-around-french-tyrants/

Future Economics Was Seen Before

December 1, 2013

Paul Krugman says in “New Thinking…”: “We’ve had a couple of centuries of economic thought at this point, and quite a few smart people doing the thinking.”

Excuse me: economics was named and conceptualized by Xenophon, 24 centuries ago. Differently from physics, that was practiced only partly and primitively, economics was already highly advanced, 25 centuries ago.

For example, the 200 trireme Athenian Navy that later defeated the monster Persian plutocracy was built, at huge ecological cost, with a public-private partnership system.

Adam Smith himself went to learn his stuff at the feet of French “physiocrats” who flourished 240 years ago (the head of that school was the top surgeon in France).

As I have argued, the sort of public-private government sponsored technologically progressing economy we need today was fully, and self-consciously, in command of France in 1600. Hence Henri IV’s slogan “workers ought to have a chicken in every pot”. A cursory inspection of history show that, from dams in Yemen, thousands of years ago, to the Roman army building roads, to Caesar’ draining the swamps to the construction of China or Europe’s canal systems in the Middle Ages, the biggest picture, in economics, is from the government.

At this point there is plenty of evidence that, in the USA, government disfunctionality is bringing the real economy down.

The main actors and agents in today’s economics originated in government. Look at, say lasers. They were made possible by Kastler’s discovery of Optical Pumping in the Normale Sup lab 100% financed by the French government.

More recently, the same lab, still funded 100% by the French government, found how to count photons, without destroying them (that was also rewarded with a Nobel). Nothing that interests private, for profit entrepreneurs, today, but, no doubt, one of the pillars of the future sci-fi economy.

Economics will continue to be dismal as long as we don’t focus on the scientific understanding of growth and innovation.

Imperial Rome went down because of a deliberate effort against elite innovation; leaving the field to be dominated by simple generals such as Diocletian… Instead of the top-notch intellectuals the best regimes throughout history surrounded themselves with.

In physics one studies, to start with, friction-less trains of mass zero, to teach basic dynamics. Similarly fans of economic theory as taught in USA schools say that economics is like other sciences: economics starts with simplified, basic formulas.

They opine that basic market theory assumes that goods are available as needed to be purchased by consumers with “perfect knowledge.” As one advances to higher-level classes, one learns the corrections for effect of advertising, imperfect knowledge, and externalities such as polluting air and water.

Nice. And that’s indeed what is taught as “economics” in the USA and all and any organization that advocates the economic system thriving in the USA (complete with a for-profit, “marketplace“, Obamacare).

But this is all wrong.

Reducing economics to the market’s inner guts, assumes a plutophile vision of economics. It assumes that economics is all about, and only about, the “free market”. But there is no such a thing. A market is never “free”. What looks “free” is actually government regulated. Even ‘deregulation’ is government regulated.

What looked like financial deregulation under Clinton was actually the regulation of providing the largest financial actors with a number of advantages on smaller actors and over the rest of the socioeconomy.  

Even more fundamentally, giant economies, such as the Inca empire, or (a large part of) Late Rome did without free market, and thrived. Economically (that Rome thrive economically until overrun by savages is a recent and surprising discovery in 21 C archeology).

Stalin’s “free-market”-free economy thrived enough to vanquish Hitler. Nazi economists were so sure of the superiority of their free market, they thought there was no way it would not take more than a few months to destroy the “command and control” USSR. That illusion did not survive contact with Soviet made and conceived T34 tanks. To add injury to insult, the Soviets were then able to out-produce the Nazi style free market.

The UK and the USA used a command and control economic model similar to the one used by the Soviets to out-produce the Nazis. Mass production concentrated on very few types, decided from above. The USA effort was headed by a young Canadian economist, Galbraith.

Nowadays, the People’s Republic of China’s economy, which uses a lot of command and control of the economy, has been persistently doing much better economically than the “free market” West.

So “economics” is a much larger subject than just what American economists call the “free market”.

That the biggest picture, in economics, is from the government is the perspective that eludes persistently American economists. In economy, God is not the market. God is the (hopefully democratic) government.

If the government is democratic, most people will profit from the economy beyond mere subsistence, and so more minds will partake in the society, making the civilization smarter. A virtuous circle of involvement.

And what economic science ought to guide the government? Not the free market, assuredly, as this is the creature of the government. The government needs to be guided by real, all-encompassing economic science.

What could be a proper foundation for the whole science of economics? Energy. Just as in physics. Just as what is desperately in need of regulation now. See fracking, and the just uncovered fact it’s about 50% of USA greenhouse emissions right now.

Of course that will tell Obama nothing: he is not really the guy governing right now. It’s rather the creature down below that is governing, a magma of a few thousands plutocrats with crocodilian aspirations. They govern the jungle that feed them, complete with economists perched on the highest branches, eying the scraps left by the kills they gorge on. 

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Henri IV used the word “laboureurs” (from the Roman word, laborare, to work). That, of course gave the English “laborers”, and “labor”. So, three centuries before Henry Ford, Henri argued that workers ought to be paid enough to be well fed. Something denied to 50 million citizens of the USA (many of them working, see preceding essay). Today.


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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

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Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

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an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

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in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

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Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

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