Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

Elevate The Games Of Thrones

May 23, 2016

Many people told me to watch “Game of Thrones”, that it was like my essays, full of gore and what not. Not to say: why not. A lot of why not. Why not, indeed? “Popular” “cultural” references to “Game of Thrones” are climbing up, I have to stay with the times, to engage in cultural combat.

So I watched Game of Thrones Season 1 and 2. It is indeed entertaining. Some elements of the Feudal moral code are well reproduced. The fact that explicit references to all too well-known world history (such as Christianism and Islamism) do not occur, is much appreciated.

On the other hand, so far, I see no references to religiously motivated human sacrifices, which were ubiquitous in all cults before the rise of writing (and even after, as in the Euro-Mediterranean case of Carthage and the Celts… and a tiny sprinkling of ancient Romans and Greeks).

“Games of Thrones” shows characters who seem to be significantly more complex than is usual in fiction. I read few novels, because I find usual fictional characters very low dimensional, and base, dealing with all too ordinary circumstances.(Although there are exceptions, most notably in sci-fi, of all places.) Reality always beat fiction to a fine pulp, and then burn it to a crisp:

Game of Thrones, The Old Fashion Way: Killing 300,000, to Save Millions. Hiroshima Uranium Bomb Left, Nagasaki, Plutonium Implosion Bomb, Right.

Game of Thrones, The Old Fashion Way: Killing 300,000, to Save Millions. Hiroshima Uranium Bomb Left, Nagasaki, Plutonium Implosion Bomb, Right.

Real history, on the other hand, is full of extremely complex characters, with very complex fates. Athenian history alone provides with many major characters with incredibly rich personalities, who moreover, had a tremendous impact on civilization through their actions: Draco, Solon, Themistocles, Pericles, Alcibiades, Socrates, Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle. The lives of these people were those of superheroes, their fates complex and contradictory. As soon as one digs a bit, one finds other influences (say of major philosophers, some female, on Pericles and Socrates).

“Games of Thrones” is an effort in that direction. Some of the bad guys doing very bad things are actually deep and subtle in their analysis of the world.

The real world is worse than “Games Of Thrones”. Brutus is an example. I confess I did not read Shakespeare about Brutus. Why would I? What did a playwright such as Shakespeare know? Five centuries ago? Not much, and certainly not much beyond what the government of Queen Elizabeth wanted to hear. Because, if that government heard something it did not like, horrible punishments were ready on a whim.

So, to know Brutus, I did not go along the route many of those who claim to be literate have followed. After all, Shakespeare was a mental puppet of Elizabeth government, thus, those who learn the world through Shakespeare, become parrots of the puppet whose string were pulled by more or less virgin tyrant. Learning such teaching by rote is assuredly far removed from mastery of reality.

Not that Elizabeth was a tyrant, for tyranny’s sake, only. Among other contrarieties, she was in a world war with Philippe II, the fascist Catholic emperor of Spain. Spain had conquered the entire world. There was only one problem left: the French army, which, not only defended France, but also the Netherlands.

Subjugating England was going to help. After trying marriage, the Spanish Catholic fundamentalist tyrants tried brute force. England did not have much of an army, especially when comparing to the famous “Spanish Squares”, and did not have much of a fleet. But Sir Francis Drake and his colleagues were skilled, and lucky: they repelled the Gran Armada.

So Elizabeth could not be mild. And Shakespeare respected the lines she drew. (Just as Game of Thrones does!) It is under Queen Elizabeth that the “West Country Men” came to dominate the system of mind that brought British supremacy, and Bush to invade Iraq, to grab the oil (since the Geneva Convention was “quaint”!)

The real history of (Marcus Junius) Brutus was fascinating enough. He was long suspected to be Caesar’s son. But there is worse, and much more telling: Brutus was corrupt. At some point he was governor in Anatolia (present day Turkey), and he filled up his coffers industrially, to the point that he had to be recalled. He also got the trust of Senate in Cyprus, and then abused it by lending money to it at the extortionate rate of 48 percent and by using force to exact its payments.

Thus, Brutus could hardly pose as the moral hero he is often depicted to be. Like his co-conspirator Cassius, greed was probably his main motivation in assassinating Caesar (followed by the moral code of plutocracy, which is that the plutocrats deserve the world, and We The People, the Populares Caesar headed, nothing. Or, let’s say, the fact he did, condemn him in the eyes of history. And, indeed, when the Populus Romanus learned that the leader of the Populares, Caesar, had been treacherously assassinated in the Senate, the entire city of Rome was gloomy.

Caesar was the last, and best hope of the Republic. Some will say: but was not he himself corrupt, and the Senate wanted to charge him with war crimes in Gaul, for waging an extravagant war there, even against historical allies of Rome?

Yes. However, corruption is not as much the problem as what one does with it. The Clintons wanted to be nice to the most aggressive “money changers”, so they could fill their own coffers. Caesar wanted to conquer more than Alexander. As it turned out, that was exactly what the Roman Republic needed at the time.

To launch a huge war to the East, in the Orient, and present day Russia, Caesar needed peace at home, so he needed the sort of reforms the Gracchi had tried to make.

Caesar, though, was naive: he did not anticipate the depth of corruption in the likes of Brutus, who were ready for anything, to keep being able to splurge at the through. This is probably why, after blocking several strikes, Caesar gave up the fight, when he saw Brutus armed with a dagger. Caesar was shattered psychologically, by the extent of the mental corruption in plain evidence.

Thus it is why, when we contemplate corruption, in say the European Union, led by the likes of Jean-Claude Juncker, we have to show no mercy: corruption starts with money, and often ends with murder. The early Obama’s administration “signature strikes” are an example of murder which the (secret) decision of Jimmy Carter, on July 3, 1979, led to. Leading astray can take a while (Obama had the head of the Taliban executed in a drone strike over the weekend: this was not a “signature strike”, but a precise strike against a determined enemy of civilization, perfectly appropriate.

Another perfectly appropriate strike was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima: in tandem with the nuclear strike against Nagasaki, it finished the Second World War in less than a week. Yes tens of thousands of innocent people and children died (plus 35 US prisoners, some butchered in reprisal). However, that was the price of peace. Not dropping the bombs would have extended the war for months, with many millions of all ethnicities killed all over Japan, Korea, China. It also told the Soviets slaves to Stalin that an attack in Europe would bring the annihilation of Russian cities.

The Japanese found themselves in a monstrous war that their own emperor, following the game of throne there, had engaged in. Today, US president Obama goes to Hiroshima. Let all those who feel otherwise, be reminded that the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima is entangled with the vicious war Japanese plutocracy engaged in, during the 1930s. That war itself was an enormous crime, which assassinated more than 30 million people outside of Japan (latest numbers). Few Japanese, relatively speaking, died: around two million soldiers, mostly through disease, and less than one million Japanese civilians (including the spectacular fire bombings of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Tokyo).

The nuclear bomb program was launched by the French in January 1938. And the goal was to nuclear bomb Nazi Germany. After a lot of James Bond like action, for real, from France to Norway, the bomb was not ready soon enough to smash Nazi impudence and violence against civilization. However, The Bomb snuffed the top Japanese military arrogance. The top Japanese General had written poems expressing his desire to see one hundred million Japanese lives cut like flowers in bloom. It did not happen because fissioning the atom went straight through Bushido, the art of the Samurai. The emperor on his throne finally had an excuse to brandish the futility of it all (once he was told he could keep… his throne). The top General tried a coup, which failed, and then seppuku, which worked.

Two moral atrocities, the nuclear bombings of Japan, were morally optimal., in the greater scheme of systems of minds. Polls actually support this view, worldwide, and even in Japan, atomic survivor want no apology. Those who should apologize are those who engineered the attack of Japan onto the world (in French Indochina alone, the Japanese military attack killed two millions). And those who support ideas and moods conducive to this sort of aggression. They are the ones who got all these children killed.

We need to change the nature of the game of thrones. Instead of having particular humans sitting on a throne, with considerable powers, after spending a huge amount of energy to get there, we need to learn to sit ideas on a throne, fight for those, and spend considerable energy debating them.

If you want peace, make ideas fight each other, until the best win, until the best win, in the fair fight which makes understanding grow.

Patrice Ayme’

Ideologies Lead, Leaders Follow

May 9, 2015

Officially naïve creatures such as Obama, bellow that there are leaders, so mighty, they decide of everything. (Obama even believe that “leaders” can lead, “from behind”.) Hitler said he understood the world, and how to better Germany. 12 years after he was voted in, Germany was in ruins, and 10% of Germans dead. And Hitler did not have one idea he could call his own. He was mostly an angry parrot.

That leaders lead is just smoke, disinformation. A clay pot is not made of iron, just because it’s black. Obama does not seem to have had a single significant idea he could call his own. His entire art, was to hide that from those who voted for him, while flaunting to those who financed him, that he got his ideas from the “Financial Times”. Black? Mostly from too much Wall Street’s smoke.

Plutocratic Butler With Gift Of Gab Is Passé

Plutocratic Butler With Gift Of Gab Is Passé

In truth, humanity’s trajectory is rarely inflected by individuals. Obama himself may as well have been a robot programmed by the haves; all he did, as president, was highly predictable, once one has situated him as an excellent Republican president, Reagan with a fresh coat of paint… From the Financial Times.

Instead, Humanity is guided by the logos, ideology, and the institutions it gives rise to. Rather than just by the individuals they inhabit.

Even Christianism understood this, and identified the Logos to God, in the first few lines of the New Testament!

This was not just the price Christianity had to pay, to be taken seriously by the Greeks. It was already an evidence at the time. Now we call the Logos “Apps”. And it is the path to riches.

That ideas truly lead, especially when organized as vast ideologies, is not the usual vision of history. In conventional history “Leaders” of flesh and blood, are supposed to be paramount. But the truth is different.

A famous example? After 10,000 Greek soldiers led by (philosopher) Xenophon succeeded to extricate themselves from the core of the Persian empire, in spite of having the entire Persian army after them (plus the Kurds), the idea became paramount among the Greeks that the Persian empire could be conquered. And the top plutocrat, Philip of Macedonia, prepared the assault. After his assassination, his son Alexander took the reigns of the planned invasion. Clearly Alexander was secondary, and the idea, that Greece could defeat Persia, was primary (all the more remarkable that most Greeks refused to help Alexander!)

If Alexander had never existed, some of other leader would have led a (real) Greek army across the heart of Persia. The idea of democracy had won over that of the empire of plutocracy.

What leads humanity, the real leaders, are ideologies. And thus, those who launched these ideologies (as Muhammad did), are paramount. Secondary are those who deflected existing ideologies. As the Third Caliph did, in the case of Islam (as I mentioned in the past).

Another example: modern science is a hyper-critical ideology which got launched in the Middle-Ages during the Twelfth Century, among the individuals around Abelard. (At least, so I claim.)

Abelard was crucial for erecting, for all to admire, the very way in which hyper-criticism was to overrule everything. Hence Abelard’s fight to death with Saint Bernard. In the fullness of time, Abelard won. Abelard launched, not just an ideology, but a mood of hyper-aggressivity towards the established mental order. In short order, this new attitude brought tremendous advances in science and technology.

Thus individuals can have tremendous influence… As long as they give rise to ideas… Or new attitudes.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Elect Ideas, Not Clowns

November 6, 2014

Obama Versus Brown. Obama’s  Inexistence Made Blatant. Last Twitches Coming?

Obama, the Resident of the White House, said something particularly deep and clever today:”… to the two-thirds of Americans who did not take part in the process yesterday, I hear you too!”

Which process is Obama alluding to? Voting. Two-thirds of eligible Americans did not vote. American citizens are voting out the conventional electoral process. Although I always voted, and although I spent two years, and a fortune, in effort and treasure, to get Obama elected, eight years ago, this time I did not vote.

Your humble servant, and We The People have had enough of electing little dictators.

Antares Rocket, One Of Obama's Pluto Pet, Goes The Way Of His Presidency

Antares Rocket, One Of Obama’s Pluto Pet, Goes The Way Of His Presidency

If one wants democracy, We The People has got to vote on (most) laws. Politicians ought not to be called “legislators”. Instead, they should be just in charge of the details.

In the meantime, refusing to vote is a king of sitting in the middle of the street.

Brown is Obama’s skin: it turned out that color of the skin did not bring change. Duh. Brown is also the name of the governor of California, re-elected in a triumph, for the FOURTH time.

Brown did two terms as California governor, three decade ago. When he was re-elected 4 years ago, the situation was abysmal. Several governors could do anything to the California deficit. To raise taxes required 2/3 majority (66% for).

What did Brown do? He said: ”I’m raising taxes on the rich. You better vote for it. If you, Californians do not vote at more than 66% for that, I will close all your state parks.”

Californians love their parks. They screamed, and then voted as told. Plutocrats had said they would flee California. Guess what? They found they had nowhere else to go.

(BTW, had a referendum about taxing the plutocrats been proposed, I would have gone to vote.)

Brown spent 4 years training as a Jesuit for priesthood, in silence, prayer, and Latin. Later he went to UCB, became a lawyer, and worked, and studied (including Zen) in many countries (including Mexico and Japan).

He was not born yesterday.

Obama looked condemned to me the day after he got elected, 6 years ago: he went to work at a hedge fund. Hedge Fund: money changers, as president Roosevelt called them contemptuously (and FDR was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and basically brought up by Teddy Roosevelt, himself president of the USA).

That Obama went to work at a hedge fund told me he had understood nothing. Or, rather, strong supporters such as me, had understood nothing: Obama was the plutocrats’ candidate.

(That Obama was facing the wealthy Senator McCain, who did not even know how many mansions he had, does not make him any less the plutocrats’ candidate. Passing remark: Seneca, the philosopher, and Nero’s teacher, chuckled that he had no idea how many giant agribusinesses and properties he had on the various continents. Those who partake in the Stoic Religion, worship Seneca. And that’s a basic problem with the (hypocrisy of) stoicism.)

The leader of the Republicans, McConnell, Senior Senator of Kentucky, just said the Senate needed to be fixed. “We have an obligation to change the Senate”. He said he was going to fix the Senate, making it work on Fridays, even at midnight, and also Saturday, if need be.

McConnell’s head is entirely white: he has been elected to the Senate continuously, for 30 years. Hardly not an insider.

Question: what happened to the Tea Party? Well, it never really existed. It was one of the tricks used by Obama’s political allies to do nothing.

McConnell was asked whether he was afraid of Obama’s veto. He smiled: “the president vetoed 2 little bills in 6 years. In the first 2 years, he loved everything he saw.”

And nothing happened.

(Obama would say Obamacare happened. Or, as he calls it, proudly, in a marked cognitive dissonance, Romneycare. Even November 4, 2014, Obama gave a whole lesson to the press corps on how much Obamacare was actually his “former opponent” creation. That Obamacare was actually Romneycare should have told progressives something. In truth, Obamacare is an excellent deal for health care plutocrats. Everybody else? Not that much: the deductible on my health insurance is something like $9,000. So my family has to spent $9,000 from our pockets, before reimbursements kick in. That means if I spend $9,000 in the next 7 weeks in a hospital, I have to pay the whole thing. The clock restarts January 1. That, by the way, is on an expensive plan, $1,500/month.)

Nothing could happen under Obama, because he was, whether he realized it, or not, an agent of Wall Street, and various other plutocrats. Same problem with the Clinton. The Clintons’ “Global Initiative” has offices a rock throw from Wall Street.

Obama showed this in a telling way, supporting short term tweak to existing and past technologies, calling this support for Research (support for private entrepreneurs to get to orbit, such as the Antares rocket which exploded a week ago, is exhibit number one; the government of the USA ought to support only fundamental research, such as for thermonuclear fusion, or through schools).

We are still waiting for the reform of the financial system. It was not difficult: president Roosevelt’s system had to be dismantled. But then that would have dismantled Clinton Global Financial Initiative (I’m ironical).

And this is not just a USA problem. The European Central Bank just mentioned hundreds of billions of “financial derivatives” that European banks hold. Well, that cancer which spread form Chicago ought to be unlawful: banks ought to invest in the real economy, not in a parallel universe.

In case you wonder why financial derivatives billionaires give multi-million dollar prices for the Multiverse in physics, I just gave you the reason.

Is there anything to save from this Obama shipwreck?

Well, and this is what the colossal abstention vote is suggesting, we have to change the Constitution (all over; not just the USA and France, or Britain). No need to scream in my face, as a very busy San Francisco’s architect once did, and pontificate that this is not serious, and nobody would take me seriously, if I persist with my folly. It is. The best way is to do as Switzerland is doing, that is sensibly, and insensibly.

The Swiss Constitution was not designed for direct democracy, it’s just growing into one, with ever more referenda of We The People, on all important issues.

Interestingly (one of the) the “votation” coming in three weeks has to do with limiting immigration. It will not pass, but it has furthered an even more sophisticated reflection on the subject (a Swiss referendum against immigration from (the rest of) the European Union passed last year; negotiations Swiss-EU on it are intense).

Referenda are healthy. In Great Britain, immigration is a burning hot subject (people hate it). But because We The British People cannot vote directly on the issue, they have made the European Union (which has little to do with it) into the scapegoat.

We have to ask more from politics. This starts by voting out the conventional electoral process.

Elect grand ideas, not clowns.

Patrice Ayme’

GDP: Gross Demonic Proclivity?

August 14, 2011

Why Was The USA Down Rated?

BETTER ECONOMY FROM BETTER IDEAS, OR NOT.

***

HOW TO GET OUT OF THE GATHERING ECONOMICOLOGICAL CRISIS?

Simple: superior ideas ruling. So:

1) Plutocracy is fundamentally anti-intellectual, thus anti-ideas. Crush plutocracy, drive it back underground, where it belongs, by definition.

2) Foster education and creativity in the West. This means free, and best education for all, as used to be the case in France or the USA in the past, for decades, when those countries were domineering. Yes, it means more government, more taxes, as it used to be in the past. Go teach that to Obama and his bipartisan wet dream, the Tea Party. The hard way: don’t give them a penny, heap contempt on them.

3) Price intellectual innovation correctly, worldwide. Declare economic war to those who refuse to go along.

Yes, it will be a bit delicate with drugs. But accords, government to government, can solve that: if India and China are doing so well economically, they can pay their way. By definition: we are just talking about balancing trade here. India cannot crow about its success in matters economic, buy major companies in the West, fire their workers, and then steal drugs, because it whines that it has no money. (I do not mean that drug companies are not thieves, especially in the USA, that is another subject.)

Allowing much superior ideas to rule is the solution, the only one, not just for saving the West, but for saving the planet.

Oh, what of that neologism: economicological? The words economy and ecology are closely related: eco means “house”. “Nomy” means “manage”, and “Logos”, even the Christians had to kneel to. Thus the distinctions between economy and ecology are artificial. And that point of view has drastic consequences; when coal burning is fully priced in full ecological context, its impact is clearly worse than nuclear energy, by orders of magnitude (especially when one considers that nuclear can be immensely improved, but not so for coal burning: there is just one way to burn fossils, there are many ways to go nuclear! Most of them undeveloped).

***

WHY WAS THE USA DOWN RATED?

It’s a bit the same question as why was Obama down rated. The questions are closely related, in many ways. It’s all about taxes.

By refusing to augment taxes on his “friends”, the hyper rich, Obama deliberately decided to down rate the USA, and he is still at it. He clearly became president, in a desperate situation, where clearly spending had to be lowered and taxes increased. He did the exact opposite.  To make matters worse, he spent all the money on useless wars and his plutocratic friends, especially the bankers.

Obama is a child of Reagan, economically speaking. A consensus was created, starting with Reagan: government is the problem, taxes are bad. Reagan himself, and his advisers, did not believe his own grossest propaganda, as the record shows, and his advisers are themselves saying today (as they disagree with the Obama-Tea Party economic line of less taxes, less government, less economic activity). A curious thing: Reagan’s old advisers sound like leftist, relative to Obama.

People like Obama, and children such as his “senior” adviser, the greedy child Plouffe, barely 40 years old, were not reached by the full reality of Reagan’s rule. They did not have the attention span for studying it carefully. They were not interested, anyway: they are all about themselves.

Obama’s autobiographical books are just fantasies about himself. There is clearly no further horizon than an imagined Obama (I know very well people who were intimate with Obama at the time, and his books are totally fanciful). There are no preoccupation about the big wide world, it’s all about the imagined hero, toughing it out in an imagined tough world.

In truth Obama lived in Indonesia with four lived-in domestics (according to the New York Times, 2011). It was not yet as many domestics as in the White House, but he was clearly on his way. Obama’s mother had married an Indonesian millionaire (he was there just so that a truly American company could claim to be Indonesian, according to evidence, and the NYT).

Then, of course, Obama went to the top private school in Hawai’i, starting at age ten (consider the expense until graduation!) So Obama was truly a child of privilege, something that counfounded me this year, when I realized it. I had believed in his books, sort of, and believed he had a really tough youth, brushing off the many dissonances along the way. No wonder that as president he made it so that hedge fund managers could keep paying a maximum 15% tax rate. (Some hedge fund managers take as much money as would pay for 150,000 teachers!)

Obama had obviously to do little thinking during his whole career: it was all about posing. And now he is posing in the White House, waiting for some more good things to come to him, the hero, and some people are getting angry, for some reason that he cannot understand, nor does he care to.

Instead of understanding the complexities of the world, or even of the Reagan administration, the Obama operators just heard the roughest outline of Reagan’s propaganda. So they deduced, with their tiny brains: taxes are bad. That is why Obama lowered taxes lower than Bush, and keeps on repeating like a deranged parrot that taxes have to be lowered further, “to put more money into people’s pockets“. He repeated that, even after having been slapped by the USA down rating, which has everything to do with taxes (or, rather, lack thereof!)

Well, we can see who is putting money in his pockets: conniving Obama’s men such as the plutocratically sleeping (literally!) Orzsag, who sent dozens of billions of taxpayer money before joining his present employer, Citiroup. (A behavior illegal in Great Britain: there Orzsag would have been put in jail!)

In a striking contrast, to the aggressive greedy naivety of the Obama crowd, the whole planet knows that American taxes have to be brought up. But the American consensus against taxes, and against government, has set the USA on a quick course to oblivion. It threatens both the deficit, and, paradoxically, economic growth (growth is the only way to get out of the deficit).

The USA was down rated,  because the prospect of rising taxes in the USA is nil. The USA will keep on doing the wrong thing, full power on, commands completely in the wrong position, just like the crew of that doomed Air France jet, whose crew did the wrong thing all the way into the ocean.

OK, the Air France crew had many excuses, such as alarms screaming when they did the right thing, and silent when they persisted with error. But the USA does not have any excuses: what ails the USA is very well understood, worldwide, and only the USA is dumb enough, or arrogant enough, to keep on claiming that it should be doing what nobody else is doing.

Whereas in the case of the Air France jet, everybody is culprit to some extent, not just Air France and Airbus (which are criminally prosecuted by the French government), but also world air safety authorities, which should have seen the problem coming, or even the American FAA, which insisted on wide pitot tubes for the A330 jets, causing the stuffing of these with ice!

Compare the USA with Italy. Italy increased taxes on the rich, bringing them up 10%, a week ago (as part of huge austerity package). And PM Berlusconi, a conservative, and a plutocrat, worth more than ten billion dollars, cannot be accused of naïve leftism. He is anything, but. He also had engaged himself to never rise taxes. But, as Berlusconi readily admits, the situation has completely changed.

So where is Obama? Somewhere way to the right of the  PM Cameron, a British conservative, who, differently from Obama, plays it, as he said he would. Trojan horses are fewer and far between, though. Trojan horses are all about posing.

***

WHAT DOES GERMANY HAVE TO TEACH?

Well, Germany is doing well right now, propped up, as it is, by precision machinery, best in the world, that it can sell at high price. How did Germany get there? Through more than a decade of austerity, starting in 1990s. Everybody was asked to take a cut, including the higher-ups, and including the unions. Many German companies took engagements to stay inside Germany.

Union representatives sit on the board of German companies, by law. Where does that German attitude comes from? Well, organized labor resisted Hitler, sort of: Hitler could not break it and thoroughly Nazify it.

Germany went down as a civilization because of plutocracy, the real force behind the crazed Prussian generals who attacked Europe in 1914, and behind the Nazis. Germany learned the lesson of the rule of Pluto the hardest way: more than 10% of the German population was killed, and German civilization went from the highest, to lower than beasts. 

In the former case, that of the Prussian attack in 1914, the plutocracy behind the generals was mostly German. In the latter case, that of Nazism, there was a big Anglo-Saxon component, carefully swept under the rug since (since it has contemporary consequences of the heaviest type).

For example Hitler was paid by Ford considerable money, $50,000 a year, maybe the equivalent of half a million today, as early as 1921. In exchange Hitler advertized Ford’s nefarious theories on the Jews, and gave Ford huge sway inside Germany, and orders from the Wehrmacht, once he was in command, 12 years later.

Many respected German intellectuals noticed this, and called attention to it. So Germany has been leery of plutocracy, and has respected its unions and fostered a common social bound, and co-responsibility. The same extends to France, to a great extend. If anything, today’s Germany learned from France that way.

In 1936, as Germany enjoyed Hitler, France was led by socialist Leon Blum, a Jew who introduced massive social reforms which are now the norm, throughout the West.

In 1914, French and German socialists tried to stop world War One with a strike. It failed, in part (at least) because the immensely charismatic, clever French socialist leader Jean Jaures, an intellectual, was assassinated by a crazed French hyper nationalist. Genuine German socialists and progressives could only watch with envy, as Blum introduced a new civilization, and Germany was sunk, deep into barbarity.  

So a higher lesson? That France and Germany have to do it together, keeping plutocracy underground.

Meanwhile,  the plutocratic component, a culture of privilege and its grandchildren of wealth, that component which fostered Hitler is what presently ails the USA. It came to believe it could get away with anything, exactly what German based plutocracy believed for a few generations. And it has been tempted by the military solution, just as German plutocracy was, and that is why it spends a trillion dollar a year on defense, with money it does not have.

***

Some Ideas Work, Some Don’t:

In all justice, German socializing tendencies were launched by Bismarck, a robust fascist, and his national health care system. The German socialists were very powerful, and a factor in panicking Prussian generals and plutocrats into war in 1914. Now, of course, the Germans had learned enormously from Napoleon and the French revolution he was riding. They learned in particular that Germany could be unified, and unified enthusiastically as an empire of comrades, ready to take on the world (under Napoleon a very bad typhus epidemic killed the Grande Armee, greatly made of German youth, as it invaded Russia).

Not all French ideas are good. The 35 hour work week is the law in France. It has been for a decade. The idea was that, by diminishing the number of hours people worked, companies would have to employ more people. That underestimated French ingenuity.

The 35 hour work week did not work in France. Not at all. It just lowered French GDP, and fostered a decrease of income per head, and thus of wealth per capita. Companies reacted by just augmenting productivity, not employment. It was basically rescinded under Sarko I, and will not be reinstated under the socialists, should they come to power again.

A much better idea is the present government line in France. It is to foster free university education at the highest world level, and build the highest value tech products in the world (so it is the same line as Germany, but for the top most technology, whereas Germany focuses a bit below). France borrowed for doing this (“Le Grand Emprunt”). A good usage of debt. And the socialists agree.

In truth, this strategy, of scientific and technical superiority, fostered by education, is the oldest French strategy: it was practiced by the French Third Republic, the French revolution, even the ancient regime, and characterized the Franks, as they harassed the Romans, shortly after appearing on the world scene, way back. 

***

GDP MENTALITY & INTERNET DEVOLUTION, AND HOW TO FIGHT THEM:

Prime Minister Cameron loved the Internet, as long as it caused havoc overseas. Now that organized bands are rising a sort of popular tax on the haves (people with devastated businesses will be mostly reimbursed, one way, or another), Cameron wants to shut down “social networks”. OK, true, much of the Internet is a vast devolution of the mind. Some people on Facebook, with thousands of followers, think it’s really important that they purchased a new guitar, or that the mocha at Denico is not all what it could be.

Human beings have propensities. Some desires were all the stronger, the less they could be satisfied in the wild. Well known examples are the cravings for sugar and fat. Sugar demanded to fight it off with untamed bees, it was nothing too readily enjoyed. but there much more subtle cravings, such as becoming the center of attention. Modern tech allows nobodys on Facebook to satisfy it, or Obama, or Hitler, or Stalin, to believe they are intellectually splendid. When artificial machinery allows to satisfy readily those hard-to-satisfy-in-the-wild cravings, things go out of (ecological) control, and there is a possibility that both individual minds and the society at large are in the process of self destroying, because those rare cravings are not meant to be abundantly satisfied; just look at Obama celebrating his 50th birthday in front of an ocean of American flags. Last European to do such a thing was Hitler. But, of course, there is a craving to take oneself for God: the tribe needs a very bold, slightly crazed leader believing in himself unrealistically to confront the lions, and persuade them that he is completely crazed, and thus too dangerous.

With the Internet, society has caught the information bug. Or is it just the gossip bug? In any case, much of the Internet is a form of diarrhea.

An article in the New York Times, the “Elusive Big Idea“, attracts attention to the fact that the very idea of idea is getting killed. Nietzsche, in his times, already attacked newspapers for fostering stupidity, baseness, devolution, the “last man”. Some will scoff, but less so, when they realized that out of German newspapers came the early twentieth century German mind, famous, among other things for the crimes against mankind, in 1914-1918 and 1939-1945, as Nietzsche had predicted with great vigor, and bellowing condemnations.

So how to get out of the present devolution? The NYT author says that information is killing thought. More exactly, idiotic information is killing deep thought. So is cut and paste. Obama’s electoral campaign was obviously a cut and paste job (from sites obviously including mine, which has left me deeply infuriated). Cut and paste artists cut and paste not just things they don’t understand, but things they can’t understand, and precisely because they can’t understand them. And the most notorious play one on TV, with the teleprompter, as Obama does.

So what is a possible remedy? One certainly has to go back to the great polemists of the past. Voltaire, Sade, Hugo, Nietzsche. They did not hesitate to use insults. Hugo called Napoleon III, an elected president who proclaimed himself “emperor”, after suspending the republican constitution, “Napoleon Le Petit“.

If civilization cannot use insults, who can? Certainly the established order does not hesitate to use whatever: the main opponent in Malaysia was accused of sodomy (a grave charge in that state where Muslims are judged according to Sharia inspired law); Sade was accused of madness by Napoleon. Sade’s crime? He had immense renown, as one of the main instigators of the French revolution, and one of his most courageous leaders, fighting to death to stop Robespierre’s terror. Sade opposed Napoleon’s wars and his despicable madness as a ruling gangster. So Napoleon caged Sade, thanks to his insults. Insults, like torpedoes, can work.

So how to protect civilization from the slide into mental superficiality favored by the Internet, in combination with the GDP mentality? Ah, what’s GDP mentality? GDP stands for Gross domestic Product, or, properly considered, GDP = GROSS DEMONIC PROCLIVITY.

GDP mentality says that products have price. No price, no product. In particular ideas, having no price, are not products. Anything which cannot be priced is unworthy. But a traffic jam, which costs a lot, as measured by the wasted gasoline, is worthy, and that is why the USA loves to produce so much of these, increasing its glory, at least in its mind.

Well, Obama would say that the bipartisan spirit, above the fray, is where the highest belong, and he has indeed to do nothing, while filling his pockets; it is just another form of the GDP mentality. In truth, civilizational Trojans have nothing to say: Thry are just rolled in by the naive, and regurgitate their deletrious contents in the middle of the night.

Verily, just the opposite is true. One opposes the fray, one does stand above it like a cloud. One opposes the fray, by going into the fray: “I welcome their hatred“, as FDR said.

Thus, what is needed is not the coolness of Obama, claiming implicitly that nothing untoward is happening. Quite the opposite: plenty of contempt is what is needed. Too many people are getting away with base, stupid, even racist comments. Which are not considered so, because of the stature of the offender. How is stature determined? Once again, from GDP. Extremely well paid pundits commanding high incomes are taken seriously because of this, and the power TV gives them.

There have been zillions of such examples since 9/11. For example, that bin Laden was a renegade CIA employee was systematically erased.

A prominent example, rich in dreadful consequence, was Obama laughing that Sweden nationalized its banks because it had “only 3 or 4 banks” [laughter]. That was a total lie. Sweden needed to nationalize just 2 mega banks, as the USA needed to nationalize just a handful.

Racism has its advantages that reason has not. After exuding spite on Sweden, and thus the Swedish idea of handling the property of the People right, Obama gave crooked bankers all the public money they wanted, without asking anything in return. Great man. Or maybe just great horse.

Telling it as is, and heaping spite on stupidity, and the worshipping of the basest instincts, is now a moral order. Respecting imbeciles, and imbecility, is evil. Because crime is never far removed from imbecility unbound.

Superiority is not arrogance, if it can be justified. Real superiority is what the best ideas are made of.

***

And why has education gone down, instead of going up, as needed?

Because education went down; watch Michelle Bachman, a neurologically smart, culturally idiotic, know nothing who won the republican sort of election in Iowa (to run for president, no less: dumb gets dumber!) OK, maybe she scored because she attacks Obama fiercely, as deserved! Thus dumb brings dumber.

The world is sick with a grave attack of global plutocracy. See how the plutocracy leveraged for its own profit the crisis of 2008, that it had itself created. Speaking of leverage, the fractional reserve system allows bankers to create money nearly as they wish, and, contrarily to pre-plutocratic times, they are allowed to keep the money to themselves. When did you see one of the supposedly left wing economists (Krugman, Reich, etc.) mention this?

Thus there is not enough money, in other words, capital, for most people and the institutions supporting people. Such as education.

But this is no coincidence: education sponsors revolution. Plutocracy fears only revolution.

The Chinese students who are so good in math profit from a superlative math teaching educational system. One of the last aspects where the People’s Republic justifies its name. Those opportunities are not available anymore in the USA. Why?

Because the plutocrats fear revolutions, and the best way to prevent such unhappy occurrence, from their evil perspective, is to bring up masses of young people who know nothing, and have lost even the notion of being elevated in their desires.

The plutocrats have been very successful that way. In the USA. “Cut & Paste” Obama is a case in point; his heart has not been educated, and he believes in nothing, as his ideas, short of making a billion dollars for himself, come too short to support lofty beliefs. Hence his dependence on the teleprompter, as even Michelle Bachman, the ever more popular cultural idiot who makes an asset to not believe in the biological theory of evolution, points out. Correctly.

In China, the plutocratically serving dictatorship maintains order with a firm hand, so the youth is allowed to gather some advanced technical knowledge. The dictatorship has it easy, as the condition of the Chinese People is increasing by leaps and bounds.
Whereas the West is slowly boiled by plutocracy, as happened to the Roman Republic, 22 centuries ago. Yes, time flies. The USA was down rated because it has too much Gross Demonic Proclivity to dig itself out of the hole it is busy deepening, from its domination by the basest instincts, and the passivity of its own population, which bleats, but does not flinch, as it is fleeced. Even  instruments of plutocracy such as rating agencies had to admit this, to keep a semblance of authority.

High time for a revolution.

***

Patrice Ayme

BIG AMERICAN MYTHS BITE DUST.

August 6, 2009

WHY NOT GET REAL SMART, AND DO AS IF OTHER PEOPLE HAD BRAINS TOO?

Abstract: The USA is encumbered with myths, which have serious impact on the economy and the sociology, not just of America, but of the entire planet. We destroy three of them. And we point out a more general truth: if the People of the USA want to progress, they ought to push their government to observe that the three dozen countries in Europe, and especially the biggest richest, and most democratic, have plenty of excellent ideas, and found ways to implement them.

Otherwise it will be more of the same, and the USA will keep falling out of the competition of ideas, with ever more deleterious effects, for all concerned, who happened to be the entire planet.

***

Myth 1: GREED IS GOOD, IT’S ALL AMERICAN:

Greed is good for what? For the economy? For life? For the economy, look at the 24,000 billion dollars potentially spent on the greedier of bankers (in the USA alone; Europe potentially doubles that). Straightforward nationalizations (followed by reselling ASAP), with prosecutions of the abusers, would have been way cheaper, morally clean and economically much more efficient (without considering the potential for a repeat, only worse next time, known as “moral hazard”). Instead, the abusers, not to say the thieves and conspirators, were given, or were backed up, by enough trillions so that they can abuse again, ASAP.

Not only is replenishing these abusers and thieves, these particular banksters (as Roosevelt put it), making fun of the law, and economics, but these greedy individuals keep on propagating and implementing their vision of human activity, which is that greed is the ultimate good. Making trains, cars, planes, computers or clean energy, growing food, providing care, health are not the ultimate good, but greed is, and it is rewarded by ultimate power on everybody.

Now for your health care, although the sums are relatively puny, make sure that you will have to pay every single dime. Besides, listen to Mr. Emanuel (yes, the brother of the chief of staff of the “liberal” president), and prepare for rationing.

For life, it turns out that too much greed is not just terrible, but lethal. Life expectancy had doubled in fifty years, because of the introduction of new drugs, nearly all of them isolated, or derived, from natural products. Now the introduction of new drugs from natural products, and thus the improvement of life expectancy, has slowed down dramatically. Why so? Greed. It is not I who just says so, but even Science Magazine.

Basically the leaders of pharmaceutical companies, instead of ordering research on new drugs, have been cashing their money to enjoy material luxury. Instead of doing research, yes. (The data behind this opinion is made explicit in Science, Vol 325, p 161, 10 July 2009.) This is a violation of fiduciary duty; patents, which are monopolies, are granted by governments to reward research, with the implicit message of trying to do more. Instead, an entire generation of greedsters is bringing research to a halt.

The doctrine of greed as virtue was invented by Bernard de Mandeville (who emigrated to England before Adam Smith was born). Mandeville embraced “Laissez Faire“, a French economic theory that had been fighting dirigisme there for already a century (see below). Yes, “Laissez Faire” was much talked about in France, 400 years ago, after the good king Henri IV (assassinated in 1610) had implemented successfully the politics of the “Poule Au Pot”, which was its exact opposite. According to Henri IV, every French family was supposed to be rich enough to cook a hen in a pot, once a week, and the French government made sure that it would be so. That king is loved to this day: “Le Bon Roi Henri IV”.

But, festering more than a century later, as the subtitle of Mandeville’s book shows: “Private Vices, Public Benefits, Mandeville, not content with just fighting “dirigisme”, went much further. Mandeville went where even the marquis de Sade would not dare thread later. Mandeville wrote that the disappearance of vice would lead to impoverishment, because such ‘vices’, particularly those associated with acquisitiveness and jealousy, were conducive to human activity. The allegation that many virtues were destructive of the good at which they aimed was not well received: in 1723 a grand jury of Middlesex, England, condemned the book as a nuisance.

Mandeville’s enthusiasm for vice reappears in Adam Smith’s celebration of the “invisible hand”. Why is it so “invisible”, that hand? Does that hand have something to hide? Is it the hand of the pickpocket? The invisible hand of the Gold Man who Sacks your job to China?

Greed is like water: enough is necessary for life, but too much, and you drown.

***

Myth 2: AMERICANS ARE RUGGED, SELF EMPLOYED INDIVIDUALISTS, EUROPEANS ARE DEPENDENT, COMMUNIST SHEEP:

An Interesting paper from Center for Economics and Policy Research concludes that: Despite our national self-image as a nation of small businesses and entrepreneurs, the United States small-business sector is proportionately not as large an employer as the small-business sectors in the rest of the world’s rich economies. One interpretation of these data is that self-employment and small-business employment may be a less important indicator of entrepreneurship than we have long thought. Another reading of the data, however, is that the United States has something to learn from the experience of other advanced economies, which appear to have had much better luck promoting and sustaining small-business employment.”

The CEPR then went through all sorts of statistics, and, on every single one, European countries, in particular supposedly socialist welfare France, handily crushed the USA in the percentage employed in smaller companies. (See notes.)

Paul Krugman (“Big business America“) suggests that: “A couple of possible explanations. One is our lack of national health insurance; I personally know a number of people who gave up jobs at small firms in order to get health coverage.

Another possibility, more favorable to the United States, is that in some European countries (Italy comes to mind) firms stay small to escape onerous regulations.

Either way, though, one more American myth bites the dust. We’re not independent free spirits; on the contrary, we’re more likely than Europeans to be cubicle rats working for big employers.

***

There is another reason which Paul Krugman did not insist upon, although he alludes to it, and which may be the most important reason, and it is truly horrible for American blind pride. Europeans are free spirits, and they bite, when ordered otherwise (so nobody tries).

In France, and that is well known, people do not hesitate to use violence to defend their jobs. The way they look at it, they have been attacked first. French bosses have to be really careful. Wealthy people adopt a low profile.

More generally, Europe has democracies, and people think on their own, because the power of money in elections is much less than in the USA. European politicians could never associate themselves to money the way “liberal” Obama can in the USA: it would be the kiss of death, even for a right wing extremist. Moreover, financial campaign reform was done long ago in Europe: politicians have equal time on TV, and partisanship is ardent. Europeans have escaped post partisan bliss, as they had in the Middle Ages, when all that talked was money.

So the result is independently minded people, who vote. And they tend to vote for themselves. France has been the theater of a battle between big business and small shop owners for decades, and the war is fought, shop by shop. (The French distributor Carrefour is second only to Wall Mart in worldwide revenue… although it allows unions; France arguably invented “grande distribution”; Carrefour has many French competitors. This to say that really big business is very French. The oldest French super capitalistic companies, such as the chemical giant Saint Gobain, are about 400 years old.)

An example of this conflict between large and small has festered 20 miles from Marseilles, at Bouc Bel Air. There is found a park of giant outlets which were allowed to open on Sunday, twenty years ago or so. That dominical mall was a first in France (outside of tourist areas). Small shop owners in the big city of Marseilles have tried whatever they could to get the park closed on Sundays. Not just voting and threatening, and demonstrating, but also suing. The French federal government has long agonized about it.

The idea, of course, was that if people shop in the big stores on Sunday, it is that much less business for small shop owners, the rest of the week. Small shop owners cannot compete, because they have few, or no employees, and they need to rest, and Sunday business would be maximum, if allowed, far from city centers (when people have time to go there: it is very slow to get in and out of Marseilles).

The issue is so explosive that only now, more than two and a half year in his presidency, Sarkozy has passed a timid plan for dominical work. The big business shopping center not far from Marseilles will stay, and there will be a few more throughout France.

European politics is a lot about jobs, jobs, jobs. Governments often surrender short term economic efficiency to employment. Of course, in the very long term, it may well be better economically.

Chains of pharmacies are forbidden in France. The “Order of Pharmacists”, a democratic institution, oversees the sale of any pharmacy (not only it can block it, but it selects the buyer among qualified candidates, themselves with a PhD in pharmacy). Nobody is allowed to own more than three pharmacies, PhD or not. the idea is to protect small business owners. And so on.

European workers are increasingly given paid time to learn new skills, especially when their small companies are in trouble.

It is laughable to listen to Americans with tremulous voices evoking small businesses in the USA… Instead, “Supply Side Economics” has been mainly a theory that the USA’s most valuable products would be a million millionaires or so. The rich became America’s main product.

So here is another busted American myth: not only do Americans think like Mr. Big told them to, but they are actually servants of Mr. Big. Want independence of mind and employ? Well, go to Europe.

***

Myth 3: FRENCH IDEAS ARE UNWORTHY, UNAMERICAN, INDUSTRIAL POLICY IS WORTHLESS:

In the last year, the government of the USA spent more than 65 billion dollars trying to save the American auto industry, which was led by corrupt plutocrats (that is exactly why it failed). Instead of going French, making a crafty industrial policy, the government just threw money at the problem (before calling FIAT in).

However, there was a better way: 10 crack down on the plutocrats who brought the auto industry down, 2) cash for clunkers. As the cash for clunkers program clicked in, it became fairly obvious that it could have saved GM (at least).
Cash for clunkers is an old FRENCH idea. It was used several times in France over the last decade, with great success. It’s used presently in France, with lots of variants (primes for very low CO2 emission cars, for cars more than 10 years old, etc…). The present French clunker program is supposed to expire at the end of 2009.
Cash for clunkers was long derided as typical French “Colbertism”, or “dirigisme” (Colbert was a famous French finance and industry minister of the 17th century; some of the capitalist firms he helped then are still around today, and profitable, such as the giant Saint Gobain). The idea of dirigisme may be a bit too brainy for post the post-Reagan USA.

Dirigisme motto is to:

TRUST THE VISIBLE BRAIN, INSTEAD OF THE “INVISIBLE HAND”.

Simply, the dirigiste government plans carefully what sectors of the economy ought to be encouraged. By the way, the government of the USA already does this. Simply it has not been boasting about it, because it has been giving too many subsidies for the greed of the plutocrats. A typical example: the 13 billion dollars gift from the public to its sadistic executioners at Goldman Sacks. For those who object to the adjective “sadistic”, let me remind them that it was one of the main points of the Marquis de Sade’s work: the powerful are not just wantonly abusive, they need abuse, for them it’s a drug, and they are hooked.

Reagan, an actor, said Americans do not need particularly good jobs, that all jobs were the same, valet of plutocrat, or engineer, and the USA did not need brains, just greed: that is why the USA lost most of its manufacturing jobs, to the great inner satisfaction of many a foreign land, as the “invisible hand” moved the economy of the USA overseas: manufacturing jobs went from 18 millions down to 12 millions from 1998 to 2008.

The German governments long despised the cash for clunkers idea, viewing it as a typical French crutch for inferior technology, and other Europeans tried to block it as unfair business practice. This year, though, Germany is led by a physicist (Merkel). With its car industry dying for good, Germany adopted “cash for clunkers” with flamboyance, splurging with enormous payments on every single vehicle. It was a resounding success: the German car industry is reviving.

***
CULTURE IS ALL ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S IDEAS:
This brings us to a more general point: why does not the government of the USA just study what is being done in Europe, on the other side of the pond, especially by the big countries? Actually, why wait for the mentally challenged, and somewhat insufferable American government, and why do not normal people hit the Internet a bit more, as if they were Iranians searching for the truth?
In Europe the big countries themselves spend a huge amount of effort trying to duplicate successful strategies of smaller countries. (France, Britain and Germany are handicapped by defense spending, and other expenses small gnats do not have, including paying for their development, back-biter Ireland being a prime example of an ungrateful mongrel living extravagantly on big countries’ taxes.)
There is no shame in using others’ solutions. There is shame in thinking that the USA has it all figured out, though. The USA could gather enormous inspiration, by just studying French society and government in detail (France, for a number of reasons, including the long republican and revolutionary traditions in common, without forgetting the French origin of England, in the realm of social organization, is the closest, more easily imitable model for the USA.)

***

Patrice Ayme

http://patriceayme.com/

http://tyranosopher.blogspot.com

 

***

Note from the CEPR’s “An International Comparison of Small Business Employment”:

“We use the most recently available, internationally comparable data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to measure the share of employment in small businesses in 22 rich democracies. The OECD data demonstrate that:

 

 

• The United States has the second lowest share of self-employed workers (7.2 percent) – only Luxembourg has a lower share (6.1 percent). France (9.0 percent), Sweden (10.6 percent),

Germany (12.0 percent) the United Kingdom (13.8 percent), Italy (26.4 percent) and 14 other rich countries all have higher proportions of self-employment.

 

 

• The United States has among the lowest shares of employment in small businesses in manufacturing. Only 11.1 percent of the U.S. manufacturing workforce is in enterprises with fewer than 20 employees. Eighteen other rich countries have a higher share of

manufacturing employment in enterprises of this size, including Germany (13.0 percent), Sweden (14.4 percent), France (18.0 percent), the United Kingdom (18.1 percent), and Italy (30.9 percent). Only Ireland (9.6 percent) and Luxembourg (8.5 percent) have a lower share of manufacturing employment in enterprises with fewer than 20 employees. (Raising the cutoff for a small business to fewer than 500 employees does not significantly alter the relative position of the United States.)

 

 

• U.S. small businesses have a much lower share of employment than the comparison economies do in the two high-tech fields for which the OECD publishes data: computer related services and research and development.

• The United States has the second lowest share of computer-related service employment in firms with fewer than 100 employees (32.0 percent). Only Spain had a lower share (27.0

percent), while 13 countries with available data had a higher proportion of employment in this sector in small businesses including France (44.7 percent), Germany (48.7 percent), Sweden (49.4 percent), the United Kingdom (67.5 percent), and Italy (73.2 percent).

 

 

• Similarly, the United States has the third lowest share of research and development related employment in firms with fewer than 100 employees (25.3 percent). Only the United Kingdom (22.5 percent) and the Netherlands (20.3 percent) had a lower share, while 9 countries with available data had a higher proportion of employment in this sector in small businesses including France (33.1 percent), Sweden (34.4 percent), Germany (35.0 percent), and Italy (74.8 percent).”

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