Posts Tagged ‘Stupidity’

Against powerful stupidity, the most subtle intelligence contends in vain.  

March 23, 2019

Why so much blocking of the truth? Latest grotesque example: The New York Times just censored my observation that the right to exist of Israel came from its own long-term history, and that the destruction of Israel by the Romans had been illegal according to Roman law itself. … and that the Romans themselves found that out, and tried to correct it… (But fate, and red-hot fanatical imperial, tyrannical, lethal Catholicism intervened, re-establishing the horror… all the way to Auschwitz…)

The NYT is generally viewed as pro-Israel, pro-Jewish, etc. so, when someone provides them generously with a sophisticated, cogent and deep argument supporting their general somewhat Zionist position, one would guess they would be enthusiastic. Instead, they sent my long comment to Hades, as if it were a piece of Nazi propaganda. Stupidity has no bounds, even self-preservation doesn’t get in the way of reasoned idiocy. Better die content and stupid, than sad and smart, say the chicken and they cackle, self-admiring.

One is reminded of this happy period when prominent German Jews signed petitions to support the anti-Jewish policies of the German Chancellor cum President, the Guide, Adolf Hitler himself…. (Hannah Arendt fustigated the Judenraten, the Jewish Councils for that 20 years later, and was ostracized in turn. I don’t have a problem there as ostracism is a good thing for the wise to look for… As wisdom, and nothing but wisdom is plenty for a lover of wisdom, and stinging critters can get in the way, if one has to apply too much repellent)  

Friend John Michael Gartland intervened: “Stupidity seems to be contagious if you aren’t careful.

Patrice Ayme: Indeed. Stupidity is certainly contagious, because the most energy laden activity is creative thinking. Thus, the most efficient way to save energy is by thinking as the sheep does, that is by pure duplication: follow the leader, typically another sheep, or then a meat-eating sheperd. Not following the rest of the sheep is not just energy expensive, it is uncomfortable, scary and dangerous. Only fools or philosophers will engage in it. Paradoxically, those obsessed by self-care should opine that, to think like a sheep is superior. Superior thinking is often just about superiority, not care.

Polish NAZI salute,

AUSCHWITZ 

 … the ultimate insanity. These three blonde idiots, teenagers from Poland, don’t even know that, according to Nazi doctrine, they were (probably) subhuman Slavs, and that Auschwitz was actually initially created to mass destroy Poles. There was a deliberate Polish extermination program, launched as early as Fall 1939. The extermination of the Jews was launched much later (after the Fall of France). Thousands of dark-haired Nazis assassinated hundreds of thousands of blonde Slavs, French and Jews… Officially from their self-contradictory racism, but truly from their fully unhinged Darkest Side.

The official Polish government report on war damages prepared in 1947 put Poland’s war dead at 6,028,000; 3.0 million so-called ethnic Poles and 3.0 million Poles who happened to be Jewish too, not including losses of Polish citizens from the Ukrainian and Belarusian ethnic groups. (Depending upon chosen borders, some scholars put the numbers slightly lower now.)

Meanwhile, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum has just implored visitors to respect the memories of the 1.1 million people who were killed at the extermination camp — and not to balance on the train tracks, being pictured with beaming smile and two thumbs up at the entrance of the extermination camp, etc..

Decency and respect are in short supply nowadays. It’s as if these notions ceased to exist. Instead snowflakes cry as soon as the heat of critique shines upon them. Considering Nazism for what it was, a monstrous infamy, not a joke, is a duty, to be accomplished with thorough respect to the victims. Engaging in lack of respect for the victims is exactly repeating how the Nazis launched themselves, mimicking exactly what the Nazis did!

Stupidity by mimicking the herd doesn’t just economize effort. Stupidity is also selfish in other ways than plain brain economics. Stupidity by following the herd’s moods, emotions and ideas is also the key to power. Power sharing. One charging buffalo amounts to little; a herd of charging buffaloes is everything.

Thus a key to truly modern morality and probity is to refuse to follow the herd, as a matter of principle, in first approximation. Instead the mood of old fashion education has been the exact opposite, as youth is driven, like cattle, through a succession of rituals to pound into their thick skulls how they are supposed to behave, feel, and think.

Why? Old fashion education was made to support empire, empire the old fashion way, the gun boat style, or Kaiser style, or Lenin-Stalin way. Old fashion imperialism needed minds fit for that mission, minds all made in the same way. Minds who know how to go to the ball, get drunk, and don’t think too deep.

The requirements of civilization are now the exact opposite. The danger now is that as never before have the mental requirement been higher, because the Sixth Mass Extinction is fully engaged, and the thermonuclear gods are watching.

Young people should ask themselves why they are asked to do what they are asked to do. Starting with vaping, dating, celebrities, posing, prancing around, and believing goofing around in a socially acceptable way is the ultimate. Go to Auschwitz, you the naive and ignorant and learn that considering Hitler and his 80 million cretinous, vicious followers unbeknownst to themselves, is an excellent beginning of the conversation of humanity as it is, with itself.

Patrice Ayme

 

Space X: Greed Makes Stupid

September 4, 2016

One can be smart, without being really intelligent. A crocodile can be smart, but it is not really intelligent. And this true not just of individuals, but of civilizations.

We live in the age of stupid. A major freeway which I know all too well, has proclaimed itself “smart”, according to the giant, very bright LED panels along it. Those “smarts” involve red lights on access ramps. By smoothing the flow in, they are supposed to make traffic smoother. And they do. On the freeway. The freeway flows a tiny bit better, but traffic jams on the streets and roads leading to said access ramps extend now for miles, and the global gridlock is worse than ever, because those blockages in turn block streets and roads parallel to the giant freeway (those secondary thoroughfares used to carry traffic parallel to that of the freeway plus local traffic; now they are parking lots).

When Obama climbed on the throne, he proclaimed that everything would get “smart”, just like He is. Example: the “smart” electric grid (as if grids had not been maximally smart before). It is true that Obama became president with what, in retrospect, were smarts tricks… rather than substance (as the ongoing crash of Obamacare demonstrates… accompanied, as it is, with the crash of nearly anything Obama touched; OK, today China’s president Xi shamed Obama into signing the Paris climate accord, COP 21, so maybe I should say thank you for consenting to save the planet a bit).

The productivity in the US, (and other leading Western countries) keeps on going down. Why? Education has been going down. We enjoy the age of stupid. We wallop in stupidity. And it shows:

Space X Sept 1, 2016 explosion. Not an accident, a system where greed has replaced expertise..

Space X Sept 1, 2016 explosion. Not an accident, a system where greed has replaced expertise..

The age of stupid was inaugurated by Ronald Reagan, a remarkably stupid B movie actor whose first claim to fame had been to make the PUBLIC university of California, which had been specifically founded to provide FREE topmost education to the students of California, into an institution which only the rich could attend. Why? Because the stupid Reagan thought that was smart that only those who have money would have the keys of the world. (Then they would give careers to uneducated losers such as himself.) Reagan’s career started as a sport announcer on the radio: he was always owned by bosses full of money, and reacted to rich masters as dogs do, salivating, wagging his tail, barking in their defense.

Now, Reagan’s obscene mentality has conquered the world. It has become smart, hip, fashionable, to proclaim that Reagan was great. Even the French press views Reagan as a great president (for doing what he did not do, namely bringing the USSR down). And modest people, the non-rich, get as good an education as Reagan did, learning increasingly nothing, and most of what they learned, strictly by serving the rich.

Obama has proclaimed himself an admirer of Reagan, and a devout follower of the Financial Times. His presidency was under the sign of this doubled headed vulture.

Reagan, a creature whose fate barred him from higher mental pursuits, extolled instead the base notions of profit and greed. Profit and greed, said Reagan, were the highest, ultimate, most lofty, and most motivating pursuits of man. And a magnificently programmed Obama bleated faithfully behind. So Obama, smartly following orders, set-up Obamacare. Obamacare is characterized by insufficient spending control: so that healthcare vultures can prosper with ever more profits and greed. That, according to Reagan, Obama’s guru, will insure better health care, because greed and profit are much motivating than care (Reagan and company claimed). That’s all very smart, makes us all smart, because it is such a deeply flawed logic: greed and care do not apply to the same modes of brain operations. When one provides with care, one is not spurred by greed. These are antagonistic modes of mental operations.

Obama also decided to apply profit and greed to space: surely, that would be smart (his guru Reagan had said so). If there was profit and greed in space, space would open up, prosper, get smarter. Thus, instead of two private rocket launching companies contracting with NASA, the smart Obama fostered the creation of several others. Not understanding that the number of rocket scientists and technicians is limited.

This flurry of new space enterprises was the case of “private” companies, founded and funded… by the government. Bezos’ Blue Origins is government subsidized, because Bezos’ business, Amazon, does not pay taxes (a tax exempt status the worst of terrible men, Donald Trump, has proclaimed he would change, in his mental imbalance).

Space X, led by a self-taught engineer, Musk, smells even better: Obama gave him direct and indirect subsidies, and that was it.

Tall, telegenic Obama signed with tall, telegenic Musk a Space Act Agreement (SAA) “to develop and demonstrate commercial orbital transportation service“. (Notice the stupidity: with whom do you “commerce” in space? You set up space stations for plutocrats, thanks to their tax-exempt status?)

All this makes Musk very profitable. Penniless when Obama ascended the throne, Musk, propelled for years by billions of Obama dollars, was soon worth more than 12 billion dollars, all by himself. Let’s hope Musk is grateful and remembers who made him, after Obama retires.

In 2011, SpaceX estimated that Falcon 9 v1.0 rocket development costs were on the order of $300 million. Cheap. Investors were thrilled. Indeed, NASA evaluated that development costs would have been $3.6 billion if a traditional cost-plus contract approach had been used. (Indeed development of the new Ariane 6, which uses existing French military rockets for boosters and the existing Vulcain Hydrogen engine, will cost at least 4 billion Euros.)

Let’s stop here for a moment: Space X is supposed to be a private company. However, it develops rockets miraculously at 1/12 of their real cost, says NASA itself. Explanation? NASA has got to be making the difference (it’s helping Space X is in myriad ways). Obama invested 12 times more public money in Space X than the extremely wealthy private individuals who profit from it. Jesus turned the water into wine, Obama turned NASA into a cash cow for his friends. Mooo. Honni soit qui mal y pense.  

Can the USA do with four, five, or more rocket companies?

No.

Why not? Because launching chemical rockets is a flimsy business. In the Sixteenth Century, a Chinese inventor has been rumored to have strapped himself to a rocket propelled kite, and gaily went out in a puff of smoke. The fundamentals have not changed since: we still use chemical propulsion.

Space X uses primitive propulsion: RP1, rocket grade kerosene, basically the same as civilian jets. The more sophisticated US and European rockets use liquid hydrogen.

The flimsiness of space rockets and their engines presents the same problem as it did eight centuries ago: it requires minute attention to detail to make it work. If we had enormous power at our disposal, we could insure wide safety margins. But, for that, one would have to have more than chemical propulsion. Musk has claimed he could divide by ten the cost of launches with re-usable rockets. Experienced US companies, the Russians and Europeans aerospace engineers, beg to differ: they have long pondered the re-usability of flimsy rockets.

(Ariane Espace has now ‘project Adeline’ to recover the expensive parts of Ariane 6, mostly engine and electronics, using drone technology, in the long run; but that completely different method from recovering the entire fragile, heavy rocket would use only 1/17 of the fuel of Space X fuel stage recovery, with much fewer stresses…)

The Russians have launched more than 1,700 Soyuz, with a failure rate of 1/39. Ariane 5 has launched successfully more than 70 times in a row, putting a record 11 tons in GTO (Geostationary Orbit, 36,000 kilometers up) in August 2016.  Space X had two total losses out of 25 commercial launches… making it even worse than the notorious Space Shuttle.

Not all is bad about Space X. Musk’s notoriously bold technological spirit is refreshing, a bit like Donald Trump is refreshing. It is actually the sort of spirit which animated the Nazi engineers who developed the V2 (and then Saturn 5 in the US). There is little doubt that, to relatively little cost, one could fly heavy duty missions to Mars of Enceladus (a satellite of Saturn which has a huge ocean of water, and may harbor life, as the Cassini spacecraft, flying through plumes, found them laden with organics).

If anything, Space X forced Ariane Espace to decide cutting its launch cost by half (by scaring the French into developing Ariane 6, while forcing the Germans to give up on Ariane 5).

Yet, fundamentally, the ecology pushed by Obama of having many rocket companies cannot work. The serial explosions of Space X, in spite of its massive NASA support, demonstrate it.

At this point, rockets are too flimsy: they require great expertise from enough technicians and engineers. Say the total mass of these ‘rocket scientists’ is M. Obama decided to divide M by 6, on any specific rocket project. However, suppose one needs M/2 to operate one rocket project safely. Then Obama’s naive strategy of the more, the merrier, will lead to serial explosions, as observed. Obama, never an expert, does not seem to understand the notion of expert. Greed does not grow experts, education does.

Instead, one should go back to the strategy of the 1960s, as led by president Kennedy: big private-public projects, with clear state exploration goals. This actually built up on a strategy launched by president Roosevelt, and pursued by Eisenhower. Massive public spending on education, infrastructure, science, technology, and associated defense projects.

Efficient, large scale Space colonization, ultimately, will rest on new science, thus new education. Ultimately commuting to LEO (Low Earth Orbit) safely, efficiently, will require completely new propulsion and, or, material science (futuristic material science would allow to deploy enormous wings, and de-orbit softly, cooly and thus safely).

As I have long argued, i is clear that, to go to Mars, we need nuclear fission engines (because of radiation away from Earth’s magnetic shield, we cannot stay in space the 18 months it takes now; a nuclear fission engine could get to Mars in just 6 weeks). Space X cannot develop this: it does not have the expertise. Yet, the US has operated nuclear fission rocket engines before, and now NASA, following Russia, is warming up to the possibility again. Nuclear propulsion is what needs to be financed, instead the musky greed of eight century old technology.

The philosophy that greed does it all, is deeply flawed: otherwise crocodiles would have inherited the Earth. It is a philosophy by imbeciles, for imbeciles.

History shows that imbecility is what kills most civilizations. Imbecile leaders, though, favor imbecile followers, and an imbecile mental ecology. Nowadays, though, there is just one civilization, on one planet, and, if it dies, there is no replacement. That is why it is so important to deconstruct the planetary, Reagan-Thatcher inherited mood that greed can replace expertise.  

… While it keeps on festering, NASA’s internal watchdog, Paul Martin, called out his federal agency’s decision to allow Space X to lead the primary investigation of Space/Greed X explosion in 2015, observing it raised “questions about inherent conflicts of interest”. It is telling that the US administration, which has invested more in Space X than the private investors who stand to profit from it, is not interested by what happened to the public’s money.

Space X’s waste of taxpayer money similar to that of big banks. Both are protected by complexity so great, it escapes (according to plan) the understanding of the Commons. When the government gives your money to plutocrats, no question stands scrutiny. All the billions given to Space X, a dubious tech company, is as much money not given to fundamental research (where government is irreplaceable).

Our spaceship Earth, mismanaged by our stupid and greedy leadership, threatens to get completely out of control. All the ways out involve much more advanced technology (whether we opt for world war, or peace and concertation). Hence it is important to realize that the role of government is that of leader in matter of science and technology. And that the mood which shall lead cannot be just greed, but the most noble aspects of the human spirit.

It is the present oligarchic system which is the source of the present pandemic of stupidity. Because, given the same level of education, few brains think less well than many brains. For example, now in the US it’s down to just two minds: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both of whom have been associated to extremely unsavory characters over the years. Anyway, how come those two are supposed to think and debate for us all? Well, for the same reason that Space X got many billions of public money. Greed. Not the honor of the human spirit.

Patrice Ayme’

P/S: [Written January 30, 2018, as Space X prepares to launch another re-used rocket… which may well explodes, but that’s besides the point…]

I was long very skeptical and critical of Musk… and the massive support he got under Obama (through NASA; see above). However, I must recognize that I am changing my mind, in light of Musk’s exploits.
Musk seems to have won the re-usability gamble. Reusing the rockets changes everything to the cost of going to space. A back of the envelope computation shows that going to low Earth orbit with a one hundred metric tons load shouldn’t cost much more than a couple dozens transoceanic flights by jumbo jet. This changes everything. Going to methane as propellant (“Raptor” engine) will enable to make fuel on Mars (where there are colossal ice cliffs and lava tubes… both enabling colonization).

Only imbeciles don’t change opinion, in light of new facts contradicting previous opinion. Wisdom is not a faithful mistress.

[BTW, at the time of this writing, January 2018, a government commission just recommended NOT to allow Space X to launch humans, as long as the accident above is not thoroughly understood. Apparently it came from an oxygen leak into defects of a carbon fiber wrap… Followed by an extremely violent detonation…]

Why God Is Evil

March 24, 2015

The Victorian philosopher and mathematician W. K. Clifford’s following admonition is at the core of the moral call of the “New Atheists”, a few mini philosophers who make the Anglo-American divine plutocratic order tremble: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

An academic philosopher appropriately called “Ruse” concludes his article “Why God Is A Moral Issue” with: “[Clifford’s] universal claim may be too strong. But too often religious believers seem oblivious to Clifford’s admonition and accept things with way too little evidence. That I much suspect is what motivates the New Atheists and in fact expresses the deepest and most powerful moral objection to theism.”

Difference Between Us & Grizzlies? Not Much Greater Love, But Much Greater Smarts.

Difference Between Us & Grizzlies? Not Much Greater Love, But Much Greater Smarts.

[Smarts is what religions kill, and humanity with it, as I will pound below.]

Clifford was a great mathematician. He pushed further the idea of Riemann that force and curvature are roughly the same (this is the core intuition in the Theory of Gravitation commonly attributed to Einstein).

I agree with Clifford, sort of, but I am going to go much further.

Is it wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence?

Sure. However, it is unavoidable. And this is not really the problem with “isms” such as Christianism and Islamism.

The distinction between guessing and believing is, in general, not too clear, and insufficient evidence is more frequent that certainty (that’s called science).

But clearly believing something important with insufficient evidence can be a maximum moral wrong, when it is about life and death of entire populations.

What Superstition Based Religions Kill.

Some religions have actually orders, in their sacred texts, not just to tax, or punish, but even to kill various “unbelievers” if they are “culprit” of some behaviors. This is all over the Qur’an, as I generously documented in “Violence In The Holy Qur’an“. Yet the Qur’an was following the Old Testament by  11 centuries, and the new one (where Christ also recommends to kill unbelievers) by 6 centuries or so.

The nature and consequences of the evidence supporting a “belief” is of the utmost importance. If one believes that jumping from the fourth floor will have adverse consequences, it’s good, especially for passerby.

Yet, precisely, some religions have been organized so as to make one believe completely incredible feats (one son of god walked on water, came back from the dead, another “messenger” flew on the back of a winged horse from Mecca to Jerusalem, etc.).

These unbelievable details are not there by accident. They are there to dull the sense of critique people learn to exert in early childhood.

Learning to believe in unbelievable, absurd details is a preparation for the ultimate sin:

“It is the highest criminality always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything potentially capable of oppressing, exploiting, stealing, abusing, invading, threatening, torturing and killing millions for insufficient or flimsy reasons.”

Seven Jewish children just died in New York. It was Shabbat, a sort of Jewish sorcery day. The order then, from the god of the Jews, is that no work ought to be done. Including turning off the hot plate. So the hot plate, or god, whatever, set the house on fire. God is great! Alleluia!

(This sort, of we-shall-do-nothing, Inch Allah (god wills it), dieu-le-veut, led to millions killed, the latest major example in sight being the holocaust of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis: Jews did not resist as much as they could have, but, instead, the “Judenraten” collaborated with Hitler. The simplest way to stop Hitler was just to tell all Germans what the Nazis were truly doing, assassinating the Jews, and add that they were all responsible, and would be punished accordingly. That could have been done with little pieces of paper dropped from planes at the same time as the bombs.)

Both Islam and Christianity have in their sacred texts, “verses of the sword” where holly script recommend to “kill unbelievers”. (Yes, as already said many times, Christ too; one good enough reason for crucifixion!)

Once one has become so morally inferior as to be ready to do such terrible things to millions, for so little cause, one is ready for even much worse.

Religions based on knowing god, and giving their followers deadly recommendations on how to deal with “unbelievers” incite human beings to the ultimate inhumanity.

Not just because of the potential, theoretical, experimental, and historical mayhem they are prone to.

How could one do something worse than being willing to kill millions for little cause?

Not simply by transforming human beings into vicious human beings. But into even worse creatures.

How could that be?

It is as monstrous as it gets. What is the definition of the human species? Intelligence.

What does dulling human beings’ sense of critique to the point that one would kill for a drawing, or for looking at ancient art, or listening to music?

It is very simple: religions that extreme in light of the lethal consequences their beliefs may bring, makes human beings into stupid beasts.

In case you don’t believe me, look at Abraham tying up his son, so he can stab him.

See my “Follies That Bind.” Where you can see the great Judeo-Christiano-Muslim hero stabbing a child. (Hey, His boSS told him to! You know, you should always obey the boss, both the Qur’an, S 4, v 59, and its parrot, Hitler, said so.)

So Abraham stabs children, and Christians lick his toes. Precisely because he stabs children. Then Catholics and other mentality untalented sinkers, claim to be surprised that priests rape children and the like. Well, but, of course! Those good Judeo-Christo-Islamists are following Abraham, the most cruel, and thus adored beast in the known universe!

And that, willful beastly stupidity of the most criminal type, is the ultimate sin, because it is the ultimate denial of morality.

This is no coincidence: both Christianism and Islamism have been imposed by war chiefs (Constantine, Jovian, Theodosius and other emperors for Christianism; Muhammad and the four initial Caliphs). They had a vested interest to make the people they ruled over credulous, immoral, subdued, and not smart.

They were highly successful.

And this is why American plutocracy reintroduced god massively to the USA in the 1930s (as even the New York Times recently explained), and why then it made a pact with Ibn Saud to push the ideology of Islamism in the Middle East, in 1945 (See the “Great Bitter Lake Conspiracy“).

Not that this was an accident: the USA made deals with Egypt “Muslim Brotherhood” in the late 1940s, and Khomeini’s Shiites in Iran in 1953, to organize a coup against Parliamentary Democracy (and then proceeded to back stab both of them, of course). Same in Pakistan.

You reap what you sowed. Plutocracy sowed superstitious religion and stupidity, it is reaping the best plutocracy in a century. What could go wrong, when wrong has been defined as good, and, even, divine?

If it is good to kill your son, as Abraham and his robotic followers claim, how could things ever get worse? How dumber can one get?

Patrice Ayme’

Why Stupidity Is Loved, & Science Is Tribal

December 10, 2014

People love to be stupid, and not just because it is easier than being intelligent. Being stupid is lonely and embarrassing in individuals, so it is better practiced in groups. Not only is that smarter, but it provides with the joy and brainlessness of the collective.

Yes, group stupidity happens in science too. Entire fields of science, such as phrenology, studying the shape of a skull to elucidate the intelligence therein, were completely idiotic.

Yes group stupidity happens in philosophy too: see Immanuel Kant, and his grotesque assertion that to be moral is to obey authority.

Yes, group stupidity happens in much respected theology. The Dominican Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), dedicated, as Saint Dominic was, to the extirpation of heresy, and most specifically Albigensianism, argued that the Old Testament, and the New Testament (Romans, 13), were all for the death penalty.

Thus, in his Summa theologiae II-II, q. 11. a. 3, the Saintly Thomas of Aquinas writes: “Therefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.”

Heretic” is Greek for “exerted a choice”. If you exert mental choice, says Thomas, you should die.

Thomas made in writing this death threat, many times. The clincher? This, arguably, depraved maniac, is still viewed to this day, as a “philosopher”, a “thinker” of sort, and a moral authority. Is this stupid, or is it criminal?

The answer is that it is tribal.

The very monstrosity of Thomas of Aquinas binds the Catholic tribe together. To respect such a monster is an initiation rite, a high moral hurdle.

When the Nazis strove for power, they found enormous support among (a vast subgroup of) Nobel winning scientists and great mathematicians. Lenard (Physics Nobel 1905, and a collaborator of Einstein!) invented the notion of “Jewish science” (very bad, and all too relative).

That was crucial to demonstrate that the Nazi tribe had brains, and thus was respectable.

Human beings are nothing, if they don’t get mentors, themselves forming a connection to the supporting structure in a tribe. Thus, when individuals express an opinion, it’s actually a tribe which speaks.

No space to go in the details, but tribalism, in that case German tribalism, is why Einstein’s “miraculous” papers of 1905 were published without any reference, as if he had invented them all by himself; Planck saw to it. It totally backfired.

Viewing science as a tribal phenomenon is the fundamental revelation of the science of science. This explains why most papers in biology have been recently revealed to be false. Or why all theoretical physicists at Princeton are string theorists or supersymmetry artists of some sort. Neither strings, nor super-whatever have ever been observed, but the super stringy tribe was able to pull all the strings, and now it is in command of not just of this non-physical physics, but of the very definition of physics itself.

This errance of tribes following false prophets, explains why science can err so persistently, sometimes.

Witness: the Ptolemaic system (why would the much more gigantic sun rotate around the Earth at a frantic speed? It was easier to explain it all by a rotation of the Earth on itself, at a more sedate pace, as Aristarchus had proposed).

But not just this. Tribalism provides the pleasure and power of the group. As the case of the strident Nazi scientists and philosophers shows, thinkers are not insensitive to the basest rewards. Then a small, greedy minority can provide cover for the most criminal enterprises.

Some of the (rare) scientists claiming that there is no problem with increasing CO2 by 1% every single year, are generally revealed to be financed (directly or through institutions) by fossil fuels interests. Great geophysicists such as Allegre and Courtillot, heads of the very respected IPGP, are example of fossil fuel propelled loud deniers of the most basic of common sense.

Reading some of the preceding, Massimo of Scientia Salon objected that:

“Patrice, this very barely made it through my filter. Wasn’t there a way to express your thoughts without starting with “people love to be stupid”? Really? They *love* to?”

Yes, with all due respect, let me insist: yes, people do love to be stupid, just as they love initiation rites.

This is actually initiation rites are often quite stupid and demeaning: stupidity itself is what has to be achieved.

People love to not be smart, because lack of smarts is the ticket to tribe appurtenance. Lack of smarts is how the tribe is defined: that’s the central point of intellectual fascism. Indeed the tribe provides not just a refuge, but a space to blossom with lack of smarts. Even better: as it provides a definition for the tribe, lack of smarts provides a cover, a roof over the tribe.

This is the fundamental reason why people engage in drinking alcohol, and especially drinking it to excess. Same with smoking that poison lethal in the smallest quantities, nicotine. People know it’s bad, and not smart. Therefore it’s ideal for defining a tribe.

Hence telling drug addicts that what they are doing is not smart is not going to be effective: being silly is what they want to exhibit.

Indeed, people love to belong to a tribe. It does not really matter which tribe. The more not smart the definition of a tribe, the better defined it gets.

If some don’t believe me, I have a multiverse to sell them each time I spin an electron differently (unbelievably many theoretical physicists belong to that church of the multiverse). Call me the ultimate spin doctor. The multiverse tribe is very well defined, because short of wanting to kill one’s own son to satisfy a deity, it’s up there in the absurd, not-smart scale.

Wanting to kill one’s son for the deity is the definition of Abraham, the founder of the faith of most religious people today, or, at least, of the noisiest.

Let’s give more detail about what happened with Einstein:

Einstein famously wrote a paper “On The Electrodynamics Of Moving Bodies.” There was arguably nothing there which had not been published before. As the Dutch Lorentz, discoverer, with the Irish Larmor, of the “Lorentz transformations” of Relativity, and according to Henri Poincaré, of the “most ingenious” notion of local time, put it:

“Indeed, for some of the physical quantities which enter the formulas, I did not indicate the transformation which suits best. That was done by Poincaré and then by Mr. Einstein and Minkowski […] I did not succeed in obtaining the exact invariance of the equations […] Poincaré, on the contrary, obtained a perfect invariance of the equations of electrodynamics, and he formulated the “postulate of relativity”, terms which he was the first to employ. […] Let us add that by correcting the imperfections of my work he never reproached me for them.”

So why did Planck, editor of Annalen der Physik, allowed such a short-circuit, Einstein presenting himself as discoverer of Relativity? One can only suspect German nationalism, as all the physicists who elaborated Relativity before that were non-German (there was even an Italian whom Einstein knew personally, and a couple of Americans). It worked very well: to this day, Relativity is attributed to Einstein (although it’s Poincaré who discovered, demonstrated and published E= mc^2 in 1900…).

Planck, discoverer of the Quantum, not so subtly boosted the aura of Germany, by attributing to Einstein the Theory of Relativity. That was in 1905. Within nine years, the German Empire made an enormous attack on the French Republic, hoping to conquer all of Europe before Great Britain could join the war.

The main engine in this attack was German tribalism, the Prussian way (that is, very racist).

Tragically, Planck’s eldest son was killed in World War One, while his second son was made prisoner by the French. Then German tribalism went completely berserk. Planck went to see Hitler, and told him that Nazism was going too far, and destroying German science. His second son, to whom Planck was very close, opposed Hitler, and was assassinated by the Nazis in 1945.

Tribalism is fundamentally a war strategy, and thus nothing true intellects aiming to the full truth, ought to engage in.

The science of science, and the philosophy of philosophy have to become more aware of it. Tribalism needs to be broken, and direct democracy, direct thinking, is how to break it.

Patrice Ayme’

Foolish Parrots, Exploding Gas.

March 30, 2012

Abstract: Stupidity may be irresistible, but if avoidable, it it is always immoral.

 Are middle class supporters of Obaromcare so naïve, that they betray their own class? Or are they just from the Middle Ages?

 Are CO2 deniers traitors to their fatherland? What is sure is that gas exploitation at the most extreme depth gives an opportunity to the French oil giant Total, after a few quakes, to explode the North Sea. Playing with Pluto, the god of the underground, can be enlightening.

***

FEUDALCARE?

 The Supreme Court Of the U.S. (SCOTUS) asked quite a few question about the ill fated Obaromcare, the Trojan Horse of the health care plutocracy, the pseudo-naïve attempt, by Obama, to implement the Heritage Foundation’s  prescription for the rich to take care of the poor (that was previously installed by Romney, in the state that he governed).

 Basically we have president Obama in the Supreme Court desperately defending Romney’s health care system. Pseudo leftists do not seem to have noticed the irony. Why not vote for Romney directly? Is not Obama himself, saying that Romney knows best?

 The Supreme Court forgot to ask the main question: why do you want to bring back feudalism? Or maybe SCOTUS was careful to forget asking the obvious. The right wingers want money for their lords, so they could not ask. The left wingers want their direct suzerain, Obama of Hawai’i, and other “liberal” lords to be pleased with them, so they did not ask either. They all want feudalism to come back.

 When private people are forced into contract with private entities, that’s called Feudalism. Indeed.

 Why did the French revolution happen? Why was the inventor of chemistry, the gentleman who discovered and named oxygen decapitated? Because he was a Fermier General. Fermiers Generaux were private individuals in charge of taxation. They brought in taxes, paid themselves (handsomely) in passing, and gave the proceeds to the government. They became very wealthy. (Lavoisier used his wealth to found his expensive lab, a sort of private CERN of the 18th century.)

 In the case of Obaromcare, a health tax is raised, and then given directly to private individuals or organizations. So it’s not really a tax, and they don’t call it a tax. It’s not a tax, because taxes are public things. It’s more like a tribute. It goes from the people to the Fermiers Generaux, and stay there.

 In Europe, there are health care taxes. In France those health care taxes go directly to Assurance Maladie, the French Medicare For All, they don’t go to some of the richest people in the world. Taxes are fine: they come from the public, they go to the public.

 But Obaromcare taxes go directly to those American plutocrats Obaromcare was organized around.

 True, the Heritage Foundation wants the time of hyper wealthy lords to come back. Is that good enough a reason, oh people of the pseudo left?  

 Another point: some of the naive have said that, should the individual stop being forced to purchase private (health) insurance, the premiums would skyrocket. The health plutocrats, anxious to enjoy Obaromcare, ASAP, have threatened the populus with that notion, and caused great alarm to their parrots on the, pseudo-left.

 Do the right honorable totally naive people really believe that anything else, except a colossal rise of premiums would happen? Could they show me where in Obaromcare this is excluded?

 Visualize the naivety: if all pay the hyper rich, all will have health insurance, they say, and they contently bleat. Why? Do they really think those who don’t have insurance now can afford it, but prefer to do without it?

 Obama, the objective ally of the health care plutocracy was careful to NOT set-up a public health insurance system to compete with the private health care lords. If he had set-up a tax to force everybody to pay for Medicare, that would have been constitutional: a tax, from the public, to the public. Not a tribute, from the serfs, to their lords.

 Last, and not least: why are so many so called self declared “liberals” goose stepping behind the ultra right wing plutocratic Heritage Foundation?  Do they have only a spinal cord? Or is that a spinal choir?

 Obaromcare would have been constitutional in the Middle Ages. Now we have republics. Paying taxes to the wealthiest is unlawful, in a republic.

 One wishes Obama could have learned some correct history at Punahou. However, I learned from one of his classmates and closest friends that this prestigious private school (tuition more than eighteen thousand dollars), covered all of European history, from the Ancient Greeks to World War Two, in just a year. Obviously no time to explain the socio-economic organization of the European Middle Ages, when the hyper rich took care of the health of the poor.

 This may explain why Obama appears not to know that he re-invented feudalism.

***

 CO2 TERRORISM?

 OK, feudalism we know, nothing new, last time it lasted eight centuries or so. Just a question of time. If it pleases Americans or Saudis to prostrate themselves to great lords, so be it.

 However, the collapse of the biosphere that threatens everybody, is another matter entirely.

 There is grotesque propaganda by the oil plutocrats in the USA that stuffing the atmosphere and ocean exponentially with all sorts of greenhouse poisons does not matter. Most Americans are not inclined to disagree with their masters, so they approve with the drunken enthusiasm of those inclined to please the mighty.

 (Notice the analogy with the blind approval of the simple for Obaromcare, just decried. To please the master, the poodle barks enthusiastically. His force is their force, or so they feel, thus they bark.)

 A question the self described “climate skeptics” have is: how do you know for sure? All right, we are never sure of anything, so it’s a trick question. We all use faith, and that’s the truth. However the faith we use is more or less well founded.

 I am going to fly to Rome, I have faith that the plane is well taken care of, that the pilots are not crazy, and know whatever situation they may encounter.

 The naivety of CO2 deniers knows no bounds. Deliberate naivety is bad faith.

 And the proof of their bad faith? CO2 deniers have been told there was no proof that going from 280 ppm CO2 to 460 ppm of CO2 equivalent gases was certainly a problem. Just don’t eat fish: it’s full of mercury from coal burning. Right. We have the highest rate of CO2 equivalent in more than 30 million years, all of a sudden, and what? We worry?

 The truth about the threat of climate change? Various components of the American defense establishment have “climate change” departments, and have already warned “climate change” is a major security threat to the USA. CIA, Pentagon, name it, they talk not just about climate change, but about the coming wars it will bring. “Climate change” is obviously the greatest security threat.

 So I would dare to propose that CO2 deniers are actually traitors to the fatherland, not just dim witted parrots trained by their greedy plutocratic masters.

***

 WE EXPLODE, YOU BURN:

 Will Total explode (part of) the North Sea? Ten years ago, Total basked in its technological superiority. It succeeded to exploit a very deep and very hot reservoir of “natural gas”, that is methane, CH4, the famous greenhouse gas that burns spontaneously in swamps. The reservoir was below 5,300 meters (3.5 miles) of very complicated rock, at the bottom of the ocean.

 The gas was mixed with acidic CO2, Hydrogen Sulfide, H2S, and light petroleum. The temperature was hundreds of degrees Celsius, the pressure an unbelievable 1,100 bars (one thousand one hundred times atmospheric pressure). Trouble surfaced in recent years: as the gas was extracted, the field imploded slowly, under the enormous pressure of surrounding rock. Quakes struck on the margins of the field. Finally Total, a month ago, started to lose control of an adjoining, disused well.

 So now methane is escaping. The 200 workers abandoned the giant platform, worth 8 billion Euros (more than 10 billion dollars). Sea and air exclusion zones were put in place. So far a strong wind is blowing the heavy methane away. Did I say there was still a flame on top, far above the gas?

 Some people in Aberdeen, Scotland, more than 200 kilometers away, are worried of a fuel air explosion… At the limit, under condition ideal to Pluto, with no wind for a few days, one could imagine a nuclear bomb strength explosion…

 This comes after the Chevron leak off Brazil. There is plenty of fossil fuel. But it’s going to cost too much. First, in environmental damage. Go smell the gas.

***

Patrice Ayme

CLEVERLY STUPID

February 3, 2011

A VACUOUS MIND IS AN EASIER THING TO RULE:

In a few words: The dusk of plutocrats cannot come fast enough. Plutocrats paralyze minds with stupidity. Such is their venom, a neurotoxin. Witness the old, grossly obvious collusion between the USA and Salafism (= the religion of the old ones, fanatical Islamism; don’t forget bin Laden was a CIA employee for decades, and that the Shiite coup in Iran, in 1953, was organized by the CIA; and the USA messed up similarly with Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, etc.)

Nevertheless, if you evoke this blatant connection many average Americans, and many, not so average, will call you mad, a conspiracy theorist, anti-American, or, even worse, as I am often told, what is for them the ultimate insult, “French”.

Now to deny the collusion between the USA and Arab autocrats is really stupid. But this stupidity  has its uses, and of them we will talk. The coup against the democracy headed by Mossadegh, for example, is a well known case where the CIA instrumentalized the Shiites against secular democracy in Iran. Reagan did the same, instrumentalizing the Iranian Shiites, because he needed some conspiratorial cash to wage war in the name of plutocracy in the Americas. Arguably, Bush re-instrumentalized the Shiites again. And that’s just for the Shiites.

But many Americans, especially in the upper middle class, have made into a religion to be stupid. They think, or rather, have been imprinted to repeat like parrots, that it is very clever, to be very stupid. This essay will explain how come they sank so low.

A second apotheosis for plutocracy in the USA reached beyond the ridiculously corrupt in recent years (think Goldman Sachs). However, plutocracy seems to encounter its first serious trouble in the Middle East and Maghreb ever since Constantinople was oppressing everybody with its mad plutocracy disguised in religious fanaticism.

There is hope, at last, that the old core of civilization will regain its rightful place.

By the way, insurrection in the West’s pet Arab dictatorships demonstrates the stupidity of the “Clash Of Civilization” ignoramuses. Everybody wants democracy, it’s not just a right, it’s the nature, the ethology, of the genus Homo. To call some human beings “Muslim”, and then say they can do with reduced human rights, reduced human nature, that is good enough for them, is sheer racism.

Man is a theoretical animal. His main product is theories about everything. When the Dark Side, plutocracy, dominates man, it rules man’s theories, its logic, its sense of reason, its passions, even its appreciation for special entertainment. 

Capture of hearts, souls and beasts by the Dark Side, by plutocracy, is a madness of civilization. It is aggravated by its sympathy for a very deep instinct of ecological control, waste and devastation. However, this civilization is our last chance, it will not be refreshed by Armageddon.

So, as revolt rumbles in the distance, what about our Western plutocrats? Were they not the ones pulling the strings of nearly all the dictators in Arab speaking countries? Is not the Egyptian army, with its American tanks, long headed by Mubarak, an Air Force general, like Pinochet, paid by the USA?

True grit, in the West, will be shown when the fight against plutocracy will be joined, by asking for the departure of our own plutocrats (those pulling the strings of Western politicians) and the head of the snake is put back in its cage.

***

Abstract: AGAINST STUPIDITY, THE GODS THEMSELVES CONTEND IN VAIN, THEREFORE SO WILL DEMOCRATS. Imposing stupidity has proven to be the winning strategy of tyrants.

Thus tyrants, and their goons, support all and any mental habits and traditions which make people stupid.

Make the mind, and the heart, of the many, a collective that is a desert, make having no mind, and having no heart, but a cruel bend, indispensable, and even fashionable (as happened to the Greco-Romans), and tyranny can thrive, because the many have identified to those who lead them: vacuous, cruel, heartless, acultural.

Thus tyrannical regimes are not only stupid and heartless, but they rule by making their populations just the same, or even more so.

This desertification of the greatest mental characteristics of humanity was accomplished in the so called Muslim world, and it’s now being attempted in the West, (once again, and it’s not the first time!). It has been most successful in the USA.

Such is the fundamental deficit of America, a growing mental deficit, which has a lot to do with how Salafism made the parts where it reigned deficient in all sorts of ways. (This was long my opinion, now I observe with satisfaction that is shared by the courageous ElBaradei, see below.)

The stupidity they impose and reinforce, is why tyrants favor superstitions so much. “In God We Trust”, they smirk, and they reach for the Gold hiding behind God.

Superstition robs the mind of the ability to detect what is real, and what is not, an incapacity most useful to abusers. So tyrants force people to revere superstitions, calling them religions.

Thus tyrants replace other, more human, solidarities, which tie people again (re-ligare), with fiction standing above the world. The Internet has allowed to blossom old fashion human solidarities anew, hence the attempts to interdict it, say, by assassination threats against WikiLeaks, or by censorship, as in China, Egypt.

Hence tyrants love Christianity, Islam, the Aztec religion, Moloch, etc., all superstitions endowed with the worst punishments imaginable (once again a cruel stupidity most convenient to tyrants).

Imposing stupidity from the top, by autocrats, is how plutocracy is rendered stable. It’s the ultimate “extraordinary rendition”. One has to be pretty evil to impose one’s own (“auto”) rule (“kratos”). So autocratic, or tyrannical rule is all about the notion of “plutocracy” taken at face value: that is, more than the simple possession of wealth, the notion of the rule of hell, which is exactly what “plutocracy” means: the ancient Greeks had it that Hades, Satan, the dark, invisible side were indeed ruling, in a state of plutocracy. 

Imposing stupidity from the top is conflated with the rule of the One (autocracy again). One single individual rules, and thinks for all.

Ruling in the name of Jesus happened to the Occidental Part of the Greco-Roman civilization. That made the Occident incredibly stupid (because burning all other truth was part of the Jesus deal). The empire degenerated into immensely domains, separated and above society (the “curial” crisis), while bishops were left to rule the rest of society, that is, the poor.

That was Rome’s Reagan moment, a senile lapse, directed by, precisely, the Roman Senate (= the old ones, like Salafism). It lasted centuries, until nothing was left, but senility and Alzheimer’s disease, on a civilizational scale (don’t tell that to Obama he would cry, as Reagan was a feel good moment for him, an important notion for this abandoned child, to share among children of alcoholic fathers).

Imposing stupidity from the top happened in the “Oriental Part” of the Greco-Roman empire too, but the stupidity was different: it was even more fanatical, so much more fanatical that the dictatorial system stayed in place (and gave birth to Islam)… And preserved more books. Persia next door (and Islam!) had mitigating effects (this is an understatement: Persia came all out for preserving Western culture! and so did early Islam!)

Imposing stupidity from above has no better example than the Christian rampage of the Late Empire, and deserves its Fourth Century name well: the DARK AGES.

Enforcing stupidity works in symbiosis with imposing terror. Imposing stupidity from the top is the most obvious way to hijack civilization throughout history. Imposed stupidity explains many periods of mental stagnation. It is a wonderful thing, because it has immense inertia: centuries after the Christian fanatics burned the books, a rich would a library be, if it had 63 of them.

Destroying civilization with top down stupidity was made blatant with Salafism, which rendered, in the end, most regions infused with Islam stagnant in all ways (even Spain by the 12C). The Prophet would have been horrified. It also explains why the plutocracy of the USA has been so friendly to Salafism, and the tyrants incarnating it (Mohammed VI, Ben Ali, Mubarak, Saud, bin Laden for decades, various strong men of Pakistan, to just quote a few).

Western propaganda long pretended that what Arab speaking populations got, dictators justified by Islam, the old fashion way, was perfect for them, and ought to be respected.

That was the theme, the underlying hypothesis, of “The Clash Of Civilization”. It was a very stupid idea, and highly unethical. But that idea was highly profitable for the Western plutocrats who promoted that these Western sponsored dictatorships were good enough for Muslims (look at the USA paying, and guiding the Egyptian army, lately to replace Mubarak by his old intelligence chief). Stupid for all, profitable for some, such is the way of the weasel.

***

***

HELL ON EARTH MEANS PLUTOCRATS IN COMMAND:

Some have wondered why the American right is so stupid. They should not wonder; playing stupid is part of a very old strategy, the main strategy of exploitation of the many by the few.

As Mohamed Al Baradei put it, (Newsweek, February 7, 2011): “Historically speaking Islam has been hijacked 20 to 30 years after the Prophet, and interpreted in such a way that the ruler has absolute power and is accountable only to God.”

This is my main thesis on Islam, and how it caused civilization to degenerate in all places it came to control, as it made plutocracy the work of God (an idea which the Roman emperors toyed with for centuries, before emperor Constantine implemented it; the idea was implemented in turn, and anew, by a successor of The Prophet, 350 years after Constantine).

This thesis was not invented by al Baradei, or by myself. It was first suggested by those, 13 centuries ago, many of them from Muhammad’s family, who revolted against the autocrat who ordered his version of the Qur’an written…and all other versions destroyed.

It’s also why, when Obama sang the praises of Islam in Cairo, coalescing religion, people, “legitimate aspirations“, and his American man in Cairo, Mubarak, all the plutocrats, worldwide, were singing his praises. Standard Islam served the interest of the established order of the hyper wealthy… among Muslims for centuries…and in the West in more recent decades. (Of course dirt cheap oil also pleased the peoples of the West, so they were accomplices that way.)

Defining people by the superstitious religion imposed on them is the number one trick of the plutocrats. It is pretty stupid, but it works. It works because it is pretty stupid, because it forces people to become pretty stupid, because they have to conform (lest they want to be burned alive, a preferred method of Christo-Islamism, sufficiently disagreeable to cause people pause). Once people are stupid like sheep, they can be fleece like sheep, or even devoured like sheep, as the Aztecs had it (OK, they had no sheep), or made into hamburger, like sheep, on various battlefield.

Plutocrats like to flatter themselves, and to justify their rule, by evocating the exceptional worth that, according to them, characterize them. So they call themselves “the best” (aristos), or the few (oligoi). In the USA, they have succeeded, after decades of propaganda, to persuade the population that they, the hyper wealthy, and they alone, create employment and the economy (really a stupid idea, hence worthy, because it makes people more stupid when they start to believe it). American plutocrats evoke their rich autocratic partners, worldwide, and how they bring trade, oil, and other goodies, namely control, and call them factors of stability.

The very outrage of plutocratic exploitation denied  can be transformed into a tool to reach lower levels of stupidity. This is why American plutocrats, who give only 17% of their income in taxes (instead than the more than 50% European plutocrats have to pay… except, of course, in Greece) insist to be called “philanthropists”. And the Main Stream Media sing their praises every day.

Thus the leopard has spots, to appear as a play of lights and shadows. Many a philanthropist is just a plutocrat in disguise. Much of the public has learned not to see it: that makes them not just naïve, but stupid.

They learn to tolerate, even to welcome. and befriend, stupidity that way, and learn to be rewarded by it, when they meet their sponsors in special events (for the higher reaches), or just through the TV (for common folks). Some in the most educated public see through it: they see the plutocrat hiding behind the philanthropist. But they have learned to tolerate that outrage, they have learned not to be indignant: that, too, makes them stupid.

Those who stay cool when they contemplate infamy, teach stupidity to their hearts.

In truth most plutocrats just rule according to the Dark Side, that side which tends to view man itself, individually or in his multitudes, as the ultimate problem. That is why they are called plutocrats. Armed with this revelation (“apocalypsis” in Greek), plutocrats proceed to solve the problem by all means as their disposal.

This Will To Subjugate, Hurt And Destroy, is a deep human instinct. It is important, evolutionary speaking, because, for millions of years, it has kept Earth in balance. One way to lead people to subjugation or death is to make them so stupid that their world blows up.

The best example of imposition of apocalyptic stupidity by plutocrats, is the period known as the Dark Ages, that degeneracy that spread throughout the Greco-Roman empire, from Scotland to Iran, and Morocco to Armenia.

Thus the Dark Ages did not happen during what is usually called the “Middle Ages” proper, but well before that. Then the paroxysm of Roman fascism set in motion an apocalyptic Christian wave it tried to surf, with abominable results.

The Roman Catholic emperors destroyed books, libraries, philosophers, Jews, schools, academies, mental diversity, all variants of Christianism, and everybody who did not believe in them or whatever they had decided theology would be. The holocaust was fully on by 363 CE, after an attempted interruption by emperor Julian and his Parisian troops.

Yes, Parisian! Parisians made Julianus, Augustus. And Julianus was a philosopher, who had gone to Athens to study philosophy. Julianus was fully aware of the damage fanatical Christianism, or more exactly, the rule of fascism hiding behind Christianism, preparing for the second coming of the mythical boy Jesus, and his anti-intellectual violence was causing to civilization. But Julianus was promptly pierced by a lance (like “Jesus”). He was probably assassinated in a conspiracy (in Mesopotamia). The (Christian) conspirators covered their tracks well. 

The Dark Ages did not start out of the blue. The entire Greco-Roman empire was anti-intellectual. But it got worse, and worse. That’s how it came to be. So imposed stupidity is good at generating fascist empires with a theocratic bend (making emperors into gods happened right away, so Christianism and it’s all devouring mien was the fruit of a four century long evolution).

Marc-Anthony (Marcus Antonius) nailed Cicero’s hands on the door of the Senate (Cicero wrote too well, apparently). Emperor Domitian in the period 80-96 CE, would later kill entire families of philosophers (while sponsoring others; good thinking would make you rich, bad thinking would kill you; Christian theocracy was more of the same, crazy to death: the Christians did not invent anything, they just did it until they got themselves completely insane, as some bishops of Gaul admitted, shortly before surrendering, body and soul, to the Franks).

There was a repeat of the performance of imposed stupidity in the late Middle Ages, by the same suspect, the Catholic church, then, as now, the world’s oldest big institution. Again, European Jews were killed, books were burned, terror and stupidity reigned, civil wars rolled over the lands of Europe.

***

I CALL IT PLUTOCRACY, THE RULE OF HELL, BECAUSE SO IT IS:

The Nazis echoed these time honored bouts of Christian terror and stupor, during the lamentable abomination of their atrocious rule: burn books, burn Jews, burn anybody not thinking right, steal what’s left. The Nazis were also plutocrats. Both in the conventional sense (their sponsors were immensely rich, and they became even richer by stealing all they could), and in the sense of making hell’s reign come alive.

Thus I use “plutocracy” from the most general, conflated, meaning of the concept of “Pluto”. So for me, and it ought to be the same for everybody, Pluto is not just the “wealth giver”, the god of the underground, and its riches, equal, deep inside, to Zeus in heavens, but Pluto is also the god that could make itself invisible, and another name for Hades, the god most hateful to mortals (the references on this are Plato, and the oldest Western book, the Iliad; Iliad 9.158–159). The rule of Pluto means just that (amusingly it occurs at some point in the Book Of The Apocalypse of the Bible).

Thus in my definition, theocracy, because it is most hateful to mankind’s ethology, is a form of plutocracy. And so are corruptocracy, kleptocracy, military rule, and political fascisms (all and any “oligarchies” are forms of fascisms, by definition, and so is imperialism).

The present world financial system is thoroughly plutocratic, in all senses of the term: it is hidden, it is underground, it is hellish, and it provides its supporters with wealth.

Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia are part of the world plutocratic system, a hydra whose main head is Wall Street. The plutocratic hydra is all around the planet. Even countries such as Tanzania were made part of the world commodity speculative system of hedge funds. Local leaders, enticed by enough riches for themselves, were persuaded to deprive Tanzania of its subsistence economy. Global organizations at the order of plutocracy, such as IMF and World Bank helped along to do so, as does straight buying off. If enough countries do not have a subsistence agriculture, they depend upon international traders, and commodity speculators, and contribute to make these markets wilder, thus more profitable to the creeps who organize them.

SUBTLE IS PLUTO, AND VERY NASTY HE IS. (To apply some anti-thinking to Einstein’s famous saying finding everything right about “The Lord”.)

***

ENFORCING STUPIDITY IS HOW PLUTOCRACY REIGNS PRIMARILY.

Guns and terror are secondary to plutocratic rule. Ruling over sheep is more comfortable. sheep are cuddly, and they don’t think too hard.

The advantage for absolute rulers of making the populations stupid is demonstrated, in particular, in so called Muslim countries. There the local superstition has enforced, for centuries, a milder form of the Christian Dark Ages (they did not destroy nearly ALL books). Excluding women from a full participation in society has guaranteed that even children are not as smart as they could be. That is why the oilmen of the USA, and their agents in government (CIA ,etc.) have supported Muslim Fundamentalists, for generations.

Enforcing stupidity also occurs in the West. The West was visited by the most severe bout of enforced stupidity: the Roman Catholic Dark Ages.

And the West suffered several drastic bouts of related darkness (Crusades, Franco-English civil war, Inquisition, religious wars, the wars related to 1789, and 20 Century German fascism). Just as the plague can return in a milder epidemic, so did the Christian Dark Ages (it is no coincidence that the Nazis burned books, the SS were dressed in black and killed Jews, after making them wear distinctive clothing, but all this, and much else were deliberate mimicry of Christo-Islamism).

It can be easily be argued that the cognitive failure pertaining to the so called financial crisis of 2007-2008, is symptomatic of a new Dark Age. Unbelievably, the People of the West, who view themselves as the smartest, best educated, have been made to believe that the hyper rich, like Atlas, supports the world. Thus the emperors and kings of old were believed to interface with God. This is the essence of Reaganism (so it makes all the multimillionaires in the Bush and Obama administrations good people, most giving to the economy of the USA).

Meanwhile in Davos, elements of the world plutocratic government are plotting for all to see. Their world governance consists in promoting unfathomable stupidity to drown general cognition into abyssal lies. It works well for them: whereas, before, it was mostly those they had lent money to who were subjugated, now all taxpayers are toiling for the bankers and their private jets, fiscal heavens, and influences on governments. The bankers even told government they had enough to be criticized harshly, and would they please order the media to tone it down!

***

AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM MEANS TORTURERS ARE ABOVE THE LAW:

By manipulating cognition with skill, a tool such as the mind of the masses, can come to be, and can be perverted to accommodate a few on top. Many Americans know everything about obese football players stuffed with steroids, but nothing about where they get their oil from, and the terror network to support it (those who don’t think it’s terror can go visit Iraq, or the House of Saud). This is also a moral failure, somewhat reminiscent of that of Germans who did not want to know anything about where the wealth the Nazis distributed around came from. Nor did the Germans want to look carefully about the ethics involved (as they search for oil in Poland, Romania, the Caucasus).

A particular case of this moral failure is torture in connection of getting oil. Now of course, no Nazi ever claimed to billions of people that torture was a good thing, as G. W. Bush did for years, in his memoirs, or in multiple interviews, accompanied by uncountable smirks of the truly evil. even Hitler knew better. The fact that some most influential Americans have forgotten some basic ethical knowledge that even Hitler remembered, is a cause of worry. The failure of international instances to launch a warrant for Bush’s arrest is not a judicial blip, but a cognitive and logical lapse, which affects the entire nation of the USA, and the entire West.

Blips of Western officials cannot be overlooked. For example, the French media has been scrutinizing the friendliness of the French foreign minister with elements of the Tunisian plutocracy.

After all the West is at war in Afghanistan, and related places (such as Mauritania and the ex Twin Towers of the WTC). And that war, against Afghanistan, started even before 1979 (under Carter), and, since NATO is fighting there, allies have a right to interrogate the ethics of fellow officers in the military alliance. To be led by an official torturer ought to be a no-no, because it denies the very foundation of the ethical justification for war. NATO cannot be at war just to promote the oil and military oligarchies, and the usage of drugs and corruption, by implementing torture for all to see. at the end of WWII, an American general had the German population of a city visit the local extermination camp, which was in plain sight. The American generals wanted to force the Germans to see what they had refused to see. By the way, in WWII, fighting enormous evil, allies troops committed no war crimes for all to see (whereas the Nazis did against French and British troops during the Battle of France, in 1940, and later against American troops, there was at least one large scale massacre, in late 1944; the latter was prosecuted, but not the former, because the perpetrators were dead.).

Democracies where the powerful is above the law, for all to see, are assuredly exceptional. They don’t last very long. Maybe the USA claims to be exceptional that way?

The West has been promoting unsavory collaborators, such as Mubarak, and Ben Ali (and the Moroccan clown, etc.). That is part of the reason why Bush is protected. If one respects Bush, the promoter of torture, and Goldman Sachs, promoter of stealing taxpayers on an astronomical scale, then one can promote Mohammed VI and the Pakistani strong men and their nukes.

Not prosecuting Bush is saying that he law is not the same for all, a contradiction with equality against the law. The same is not happening in France, where the esteemed ex-president, Jacques Chirac, to everybody’s regret, will have to face judges in a trial on alleged favors he extended while he was Paris mayor (before he became president, and just after such alleged helps to collaborators became unlawful).

The contrast could not be any more striking: the French state prosecutes an ex-president for nothing much, on the ground of logical coherence, the absolute supremacy of law. The American state, in an extremely grave case which is an insult against Western civilization going back 25 centuries at least (not using torture against citizens), decides that his Guide Bush, grand son of an Auschwitz exploiter, is above the law. Why? Because the USA is “exceptional”, and so are its Guides.

The stupidification of the masses is obvious in the “exceptionalist” theory of the USA, and theories of the so called “republicans”. This is a particular case of nationalism, something which is justified only, well, exceptionally, when fighting barbarians (say).

American exceptionalism, and nationalism overall, generally prevents to understand the real history, and thus the real problems, as it concentrates the collective mind in irrational chants. This is particularly true as one tries to address the global plutocratic crisis (semantically morphed into other concepts such as “economic crisis”, or “financial crisis”, or “euro, or dollar crisis”.

***

AGAINST STUPIDITY, THE GODS THEMSELVES CONTEND IN VAIN, THEREFORE SO WILL DEMOCRATS.

Such is the strategy of the American billionaires who support the extreme pro-wealth party of the USA, whose extreme figureheads are the “mama grizzlies”, who play on their cuteness on TV, the best known of whom being governor Palin and representative Bachman. Stupidity is also the main force of the pro-wealth Main Stream Media (MSM). for example Fox news run a campaign against PROGRESS itself. Imagine; the most popular TV channel makes propaganda against anybody who is for “progress”. In the Fox registry of insults, “progressive’ is the highest of them all. whereas “French” attracts an amused smirk, “progressive” calls for a condemning frown. In the hands of tyrants, and tyrants-to-be, stupidity is a strategy. And one which is hard to defeat: how to fight and contradict idiocy?

Idiocy builds up brains, just as intelligence does. Al Jazeera an Arab channel based in Qatar, makes Arab minds different, more clever. An idiotic brain is wired differently from an intelligent one. Such is the plasticity of the human mind. In other words: how to teach philosophy to chimpanzees? Thus the prime goal of plutocrats is to foster stupidity, then to use it as a weapon that democrats will contend in vain against. Hence the war against knowledge, and the war against logic.

***

WHEN DECEREBRATION GETS DISHEARTENING:

Hitler held that lies, if they are big enough, are always believed because normal people lie only on a small scale, and thus do not know what a big lie is, and cannot conceive of it. Just as animals who have never seen man, or a predator do not fear him (a well known curiosity of isolated islands).

Lying misinform people, misshape their brains, on a case by case basis. Making them stupid, misshaping their brains globally, makes them unable to handle information on global basis. If all what makes them salivate is steroid football players, or men in uniform, marching in unison, they will have no brain for the higher mental functions. This mental devolution is well documented in the Greco-Roman empire; the usage of sports and food stamps to dull people’s minds was denounced by Juvenal, but was at its apogee four centuries later. (The USA will not have the luxury Rome had to dominate geopolitically as a super hyper power; the German invasions were consecutive to Roman internal policy choices; even the Huns were invited in! The first invasion which was not much of a choice was the Muslim one, post 632 CE; even then, Constantinople had not paid Arab nations in its employ, which then rebelled, and had cruelly imposed its version of slightly demented, triphasic Christianity.)

Making people stupid is a more advanced theory of lying than the one Hitler wrote about. (That does not mean Hitler did not practice stupidification: he did. Extensively. And that is why Hitler talked about lying so much, to divert attention from what he was really doing on the grandest scale, namely, stupidification! Hitler, like Bush, should never be underestimated.)

I have some family in Colorado, a part of “fly over country” (and it sure is, intellectually speaking). Although they belong to the higher society there, they mostly know nothing about everything, and all their passion is concentrated on the local shopping mall, and ridiculous football team derangement (doing sports for them consist mostly in watching steroid guys bang each other in public, in very tight second skins). They don’t know Egypt from Mongolia, or mental autonomy from pantomime, and they don’t mind. They don’t know culture from the local dog news.

In a further twist, they get afraid of depth, and when culture shows up, even culture of emotional depth that normal human beings operate under, they leave the room, as if they had seen the devil. So they don’t mind having no mind, but they are worried when others exhibit some. In one sense it’s philosophically instructive; it’s like seeing Nazi Germany live.

I have a little one now, a new soul to take care of, in all ways, rational, cognitive and emotional, and I discovered to my surprised dismay, that this decerebration in Colorado extended all the way down to the heart, making decerebration; literally, disheartening. The mind has really become a desert when the heart itself is arid.

To remove the heart of people, not just their brains, to make them afraid of other, slightly different minds, is part of the basics of dictatorship, as so many Tunisians and Egyptians are saying nowadays, and they point to the new “solidarities” they have built, and which allow them to conduct their revolution.

When one has no more heart, one does not care about one’s fellows. Thus, one cannot organize street fighting, and not even street protesting against the plutocrats in command. But not just that: not caring about one’s fellow is good training for not caring about one’s family, or even about oneself. Thus one can see those who do not care about the world lays on couches watching steroid players on the giant flat screen TV, their minds draining away into stupor.

A decerebration to the point observed in Colorado is no haphazard decerebration: enough stupidity prevents to envision even the mere possibility of other outcomes than those presented by the oligarchs.

This is particularly true in the ongoing economic crisis, where the political and cognitive authorities have been lying through their teeth, even about the very nature of the crisis. (Which is nothing new: for example the fascist leadership in Germany lied through its teeth, to the German people, about why it needed to attack and invade other countries, both in WWI and WWII. It was important to lie, otherwise the Germans may have showed less enthusiasm, or even refuse to go out and kill foreigners.)

***

JINGO DINGO:

Nationalism was Hitler’s main propellant. And the propellant of most mass and war criminals.

All really stupid regimes have presented themselves as exceptional. A particular case of this imposition of stupid, and stupidifying, nationalism is the theory of “American exceptionalism”.  American “exceptionalism” is therefore becoming ever more interesting, exceptional, indeed, historically speaking, but not in a good way.

An important component of American exceptionalism is deliberate ignorance of, and spite for, the rest of the world. an example: the USA is the only country not to use the metric system Americans have been conditioned to view that such weirdness is not an interesting subject of reflection. So it is not just the rest of the world which is dismissed, but reason, and even the attraction reason exerts on normally constituted human beings, which is dismissed as unworthy of interest. the way one reflects on the last cannibals.

Obama’s own State Of the Union was full of jingoistic silliness, nationalism gone mad (“only the USA cares about its children, nobody wants to live anywhere else, etc.”). Some were outright lies; the USA has the most productive workers, said Obama. (The last 4 or 5 the USA has?) That productivity claim is very far from true. Many European countries have higher productivity.

However many world statistic organizations, to satisfy the needs of American propaganda, massively belittle the GDP of European countries (one trick, the PPP trick, consists in putting the euro at parity with the dollar; that immediately lowers euro GDPs by at least 25%, demonstrating the superiority of the American way of life; then US economists affect concern, and, immediately after lowering, the euro, observe that the euro is weak; mental retardation, here we come!)

Obama’s nationalistic utterances of the wild, or erroneous type, made him instantaneously more popular. However encroaching stupidity is the greatest threat against the economy of the USA, or even the USA itself. And nationalistic stupidity is typically the dangerous crutch of decaying countries; they lean on it, until it breaks. And then they fall flat on their face.

On the good side, the president has stopped to order God to bless America. He has now introduce the subtlety: “May God bless the USA“. The president has learned it is not cool to present oneself as the one ordering god around. The critters in Egypt may then come to believe that the president of the USA orders Mubarak and its “intelligence” services around (does having “intelligence” services mean the rest of the population is stupid?)

Ryan, the republican answering Obama’s SOTU came out with a succession of descriptions of Europe which (even) Paul Krugman, our residential anti-EU skeptic, found ignorant. So Ryan is another mentally challenged arrogant ignoramus, probably with a Reagan voodoo shrine at home. On his knees he worships the emotion of feeling good, rather than the pleasure of thinking good. Obama himself pointed out that it was what was good about the Reagan cult, the feeling good aspect of it. Like a bit of “blow”, presumably, it feels good, indeed. That Reagan eyebrow gymnastics. The sincerity of a (B movie) clown (minus the chimp).

Today’s leaders of the USA know nothing about Europe, obviously. Even “The Economist” found that Obama confused NATO and Europe. But only one American out of five has a passport. whereas most Europeans have travelled to other countries (and, typically, with another language, as only one European out of eight is a native English speaker).

***

PLUTOCRATIC DAVOS:

In the posh ski resort of Davos the self described “highest worth” individuals, mix it up with their governmental servants and their top propagandists (Bono, etc.). The admission tickets to the grandly entitled “World Economic Forum” are at least $70,000 and sometimes more than $600,000. There are different levels of access, in Davos, the highest ones are called “strategic”. “Strategos”, in Greek meant general. To whom, are those generals making war? Certainly not on China. The next Chinese president’s daughter is, of course, enrolled at Harvard (for a more poetical perspective on Harvard see Polanski’s movie, “Ghost writer”; Harvard is writing a ghostly script onto the world, indeed). Plutocrats prefer to know who the next president is going to be, it’s more “strategic”.

The plutocrats pretend that they do not know what a forum is. A forum is a public place open to all, as public places are by definition, so that the public could meet and discuss, openly.

As rumbles of revolt are growling in the distance, throughout europe and the arab speaking world, the organizers of the forum suddenly claimed they would have 450 CEOs sending tweets and the like, to inform the masses of their grand schemes in 140 characters. What about sending the plots over/ And are not plots among the powerful against the law to start with?

Or, if the plutocrats are going to persist into calling that gathering of them a “forum”, does that mean that if you cannot spend $70,000 you don’t exist as a citizen, and have no say in world economy, to be determined solely by the filthy rich? Hey, you can’t even enter the forum about the world, so you have got to some sort of Untermensch, some sort of subhuman form. republic and democracy on the forum, but just for them plutocrats. Others are too stupid for input, or even contempt.

Could it be anything more blatant than the Davos plutocratic circus to tell us that we are dealing with a plutocratic gathering making war on the People, wherever they are ? Look at the 5 trillion dollars, or much more, given by the government of the USA, to privately managed banks in the USA alone, in the last 2 years.

Look at taxpayers throughout Europe having to pay much more so that the rich “generals” in Davos can stay rich and in command, making financial war to the planet, and the very notion of progress.

Throughout Africa, the Middle East regimes, and even Asia, immensely rich plutocrats have seized entire countries. The country the Saud family has modestly named after itself being the most well known example. But when the USA sells for 60 billion dollars of weapons to that plutocratic family, and the name is Saud, it shows its hand. its plutocratic hand. Plutocracy knows no bounds, and has organized the world accordingly. A boundless world, with unlimited opportunities for the few, the hyper rich, the strategic ones.

Many chuckle that the the Davos “World economic Forum”, held every year, did not see the 2007-2008 financial crisis come. Some think they are very clever to have noticed this. How naïve. Thus horses jumping off the cliff to escape prehistoric hunters felt very smart, but not for long.

The Davosians are the hunters. They were ready: they had all government officials eating in their hands, when they were not, like Mubarak, or the Moroccan, Libyan, Tunisian, Algerian, Pakistani, Afghani, those governments themselves. See the French foreign minister ride in private Tunisian plutocratic jet, while revolution was growling in Tunisia. Her defense? The Tunisian billionaire is her “friend” (truly her employer). Her husband, who was also in the same private jet, is also presently a French minister (Sarkozy has several major plutocrats among his closest “friends”, no wonder that all the French income tax is going to pay the national interest on the debt, in other words, to pay the plutocrats). These are French examples, different in scale from the American examples, but not in nature.

Who profited from the financial crisis of 2007-2008? Those who got to keep all the riches they amassed before 2007-2008, and when then were made whole by the governments, in the name of the People. When the People adulates the rich to the point that making the rich richer by making the rest of the population poorer, plutocracy has not just been achieved, it has become self sustaining.

And how did it do that? By depriving people of their intelligence to the point they have lost not just their dignity, but their sense of self. They identify with their captors, and they call for more punishment, to show their mettle. even beyond that, people have lost their critical sense; watch Obama saying that Sweden had “4 or 5 banks”. OK, I am in the pocket of plutocracy, so, when my little head comes out of the pocket, I shall scream:” Down with Sweden!”

***

SURRENDER CIVILIZATION TO SAVE THE EARTH? OR FIGHT BACK?

This pathetic surrender of the people, and their minds, to the plutocrats has often happened in history. It is probably an old instinct, akin to that of the prey which does not defend itself, lest it damages the predator, and instead surrenders, and lets itself being eaten alive, as it drowns in endorphins, and forgets reality, to only talk about team sports, food and health (as Krugman correctly points out in “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Goes Eating“… No doubt another old instinct, as one ought to build fat reserves when tough times loom).

That sort of abject surrender of the individual to fate, incarnated by the plutocratic demons of the Dark Side, protects the Earth, but it is fatal to civilization. If there are people no more, indeed, the biosphere has a chance. But it will not be our chance, nor that of our children. Peter singer may say it’s all for the good, but hitler led us down that road before, and we know war is better than to accept that.

However, we have one of those abject surrenders at hand here. Look at the dismal way the Irish are treated: the yoke, because investors played in Ireland, and lost (as I said, the Irish case is generic, it applies to German or French, or British, or American taxpayers, and also all the citizens of these countries, as public services get cut right and left).

Stupidity was imposed from the top by the (mostly) Western based plutocrats, and their lackeys, such as the plutocratic, dictatorial leaders of the Arabs (remember, even Hamas was a tool of Israel, initially).

Fortunately, there are indications of active, productive revolt. It is particularly encouraging that revolt is blowing throughout the Arab speaking world, after 13 centuries of plutocratic friendly Salafism, a religion imposed by a plutocratic dictator (who was assassinated for the horror he instigated, but the horror kept on going, as I pointed out for many years, and Al Baradei said above).

We have, we the human species, at this point of technological evolution, only one chance to keep civilization going, as we do not know enough yet to survive, but have exploited too much of the Earth to keep on going the same as we went before (Rome had a similar ecological problem, and some of the ecological recovery is not yet complete). We have exhausted the readily available resources, civilization will not be born again, lest we get rid of the plutocrats. Right now, the battlefront is in Cairo. The government of the USA, and those of the EU, have to walk their talk. Oh, by the way, that ought to lead to $300 per barrel oil (as the Arab speaking people get their due).

The plutocrats ought to regurgitate the thousands of billions they stole from the People, all over the place, and the money creation system they profit from, investing most of the money the West has in the derivative universe (that include the commodity system, thus food for the planet).

Godspeed to the democratic revolution, it’s going to need it, in the Arab world, after 66 years of American serving dictatorship, and 13 centuries of Salafism. And don’t forget to spread it to the West, that’s where the main vipers’ nest is to be found, a most enlightening revelation to come.

***

Patrice Ayme

Stupid Is Who Stupid Does.

March 19, 2010

Abstract: Just as the ultimate reason for democracy is intelligence, the ultimate tool of plutocratic control is stupidity. We explore many aspects of this, putting Obama, health care, the USA, Europe, Rome, and the Federal Reserve into the mix.

***

In brief: Comparing with comparable, namely Europe, American politics lags in professionalism, albeit leads in corruption (and both facts are related). Meanwhile, the USA leads in lack of perception of said corruption, as it should: bad stuff, has to be covered up, that’s how it gets really bad.

Corruption has been seen before, and was the cause of the slow stupidification, then morbidification of Rome, first as a republic, and then as an empire, and, finally, as a fascist theocracy of the worst type.

The corruption in question was not just financial, plutocratic corruption. It was also the deeper philosophical corruption of learning to submit higher mental human purposes to the baseness of greed and hubris. And, although the Roman elite was responsible of this, it was not the only one to partake in it. All of Roman society made this choice around 300 BCE. Attempts to revert it, under the Gracchi, 170 years later, came too late: by then the plutocrats had private armies, and used them to kill the Gracchi, and thousands of their supporters. (A later attempt was made by Caesar.)

There is evidence that Obama expected some of this philosophical corruption , and was ready to craftily out-maneuver it in health care, with a little Machiavellian plot of his own, using greed against itself (he basically said so as early as 2001).

So Obama made a show of being friends with greed, and even to claim it as a guide, as he set-up his subtle health care trap. But he was blindsided by the financial crisis that he, and most thinkers, had not anticipated, even conceptually. So, as he deployed his little health care trick, he was engulfed by his new found pseudo-friends, the financial conspirators, and got completely discombobulated, as they grossly showered themselves with all the gold they could find in the world, and taxpayers’ homes, besides.

Whereas as the president was still in his mood to please health care plutocracy while subtly using it against itself. Who can be defeated with subtlety, when they have already grabbed the world? Obama had overlooked that point.

That was pretty stupid. And no accident. Still, Obama has kept on plowing forwards with his health care plan. As he correctly said:"It’s a debate about the character of our country." Indeed, is that philosophical character going to kept on being corrupted by the greed of the few on top, or not?

Plutocracy governs best by making the people just stupid enough for domestication as a placid herd, but not so much that the herd becomes too mentally retarded to serve as needed. In the case of Rome, though, plutocracy overshot and the placid herd was made too dumb to serve as needed. Thus the republic, and then society itself, collapsed. It took many centuries. Evidence points out, though, that we now measure time in years, and that the USA’s "Novus ordo seclorum" (New Order of the Ages) is turning into more of the same morbidification at an accelerated pace.

***

Synopsis: Socrates used to rile against unprepared politicians, elected but unable to do anything well, because they had not been formed and trained enough to do their job. According to Socrates, democracy without technical competence of its leaders was a no-go. One can make a critique in a similar spirit, as one compare the leaderships of the contemporary USA and that of the EU.

However dismal European politicians are, they have been holding top positions in government for a long time, and have enough experience to, at least, do something when they get to the top. Putting in power untested and unprepared people in high positions, as is done in the USA, makes stupidity into dogma. (I will argue that this is no accident.)

An example was Schwarzenegger of California, an owner of a dozen Hummers or so, who, upon becoming governor, cancelled a tax on cars, thus saddling California with a budget gap that started an uncontrollable avalanche of problems in the Golden State. Reagan, another Californian actor, had the same facile mien to ease policy into long term disaster. So successful was Reagan at claiming that black was white, and white, black, that, to help his campaign, Obama sang his praises (OK, he is singing the praises of giant derivatives bankers too).

Still another example out of California is Proposition 13 and 58, which basically allowed big rich commercial property owners to pay basically no taxes… while still using full blast all the city services: schools, fire, police, for their businesses. Some of these people live in tax havens, far away, while they suck California dry (as often in USA plutocracy, their estates are basically transmitted tax free, and their taxes stay desperately low, through the trick of leasing what they own). That was pretty stupid of the people of California not to see what trick was played on them. But the plutocrats who pushed this sort of measures are expert at making people stupid, and, as soon as the school system just bring forth only stupid specialists, plutocrats can steal from the people as if they were babies. (Some people plutocrats steal from are poor, middle class, and even upper class: a owner of a multi-million dollar home in California get fleeced too… So the word "people" is all embracing, more than 99% of the population, once removed the crooks and flippers.)

Making matters worse, and contrarily to legend, the system of checks and balances of government is insufficiently developed in the USA. It’s actually less developed than in Europe. The abyss between self satisfied American plutocratic propaganda and reality is not just uncanny, it has become life threatening, for the entire society. And not just for the survival of the USA.

Everybody was waiting for Obama, the new messiah, to do something. But what if he can’t? What if both his hands, and his mind, are all tied up in plutocratic knots? The USA is all about leadership, American wisdom says all day long. But what happens when the leader can’t lead?

Europe does not depend on one messianic individual, real or imagined. Power in Europe is highly fragmented, and multi-cephalic. And not just that. It accentuates institutions, not individuals. (The institutional strategy was learned in the Middle Ages, and solves some of Socrates’ objections.)

When one arrives in an American city, such as San Francisco, the newly elected 38 year old mayor "welcomes" you, as if said city was his personal property. The message: America is led by its leaders, and they own the place. The USA is about being led by all mighty individuals… not so much institutions, or ideas.

In peacetime, true leadership is more about being led by ideas, than about being led by individuals. Such as the idea, and ideal, is the idea of Europe, as one polity, or the idea, and ideal, of economic sustainability, by contrast with bringing back Napoleon, or Lincoln to to bring the masses into submission, by killing millions, or Martin Luther King to dream loudly about the USA respecting its own Constitution and Human Rights.

If the idea of the Constitution and Human Rights had been foremost in Americans’ minds, as it ought to have been, Martin Luther King’s dreaming aloud would have been irrelevant. It was stupid for it to be otherwise. Hence the question: where does all this stupidity come from?

Nobel Laureate Stiglitz observed that the financial system in the USA is typical of a "CORRUPT" regime. But corruption feeds stupidification, and reciprocally. This is the key concept.

***

SOCRATES WAS NOT READY FOR GOLD MAN:

Nietzsche criticized Socrates a lot, he opined, "maybe because I am so close to him". Socrates, just as Nietzsche, were scathing about the societies they lived in. Athens for Socrates, Germany for Nietzsche (who then left for Suisse, Italy, and France).

Socrates criticized the electoral system of Athens, decrying it as idiotic, whereas Nietzsche had a much more general critique of the psychology of Germany, finding it racist, herd-like, stupid, and bound to bring forth enormous wars and holocausts in the following century. As it happened exactly (since the masses are not exactly intelligent, Nietzsche was then accused of what he had predicted and decried!)

The greatest private contributor to Obama’s campaign was Goldman Sachs, a plutocratic, predatory organization owning top politicians, worldwide.

How would Socrates have qualified that? How would he have approached the problem? There was no equivalent of Goldman Sachs to heap scorn on in Athens. Although massive amounts of money from the Persian dictatorship did corrupt Greece, this was beyond Socrates’ expertise. And that huge money from dictatorial plutocrats corrupted Sparta, not Athens.

The likes of Goldman Sachs have been careful to capture semantics claiming the exact opposite of what they are truly doing. Such a strategy of semantic camouflage is nothing new: the Nazis were "removing the Jews from Germany for their own protection". At least, so they claimed to the German population, which was all too happy to accept that explanation, since the riches left by the Jews were redistributed to "real Germans".

The likes of Goldman Sachs have been careful to vaccinate their discourse against the precise objections Socrates brought against politicians in his time and place. Thus the financial sector has to give itself predatory bonuses because it needs "talent" to further "innovation". The truth being that they are talented as the best highway robbers there ever were, and, not only they innovated nothing, besides new technology in highway robbery, but they starve real technological innovation of money, economic activity, and talent (because finance seduces, or more exactly corrupts, the most brainy youth, by making them offers they cannot refuse).

Hence now we have to fight a factor Socrates did not encounter: dissemblance, hypocrisy, and what Hitler called the "big lie technique". Thus politics is increasingly about neurophilosophy.

***

STUPIDITY TO CONTROL THE POPULUS:

I hold that mental retardation brought the Greco-Roman empire down. No, it was not caused by lead in pipes as it has been alleged (deposits of limestone covered the insides of the pipes quickly, whereas stupidity rose inexorably, generation of Romans after generation of Romans, and so did the corruption of the moral system).

Nor was the sinking of Rome a sudden failure, as Harvard historian Niall Ferguson just claimed. (An amazing claim, since, however one wants to look at it, the collapse of the Greco-Roman empire obviously took many generations, and it was in obvious big bad trouble as early as Marcus Aurelius, when the later sold the palace cutlery to pay the army, which was trying to turn the Germans around, as they threatened to pierce towards the core of the empire; the last Occidental emperor reigned a bit more than 300 years… later; thus Ferguson ought to review his conceptology.)

Roman stupidification was purely cultural phenomenon. And it was no accident. It had a precise cause.

An oligarchic plutocracy, such as the one that came to own the Roman republic, has interest to make the "Populus" stupid enough to be led by the nose… But not so stupid that the country would become dysfunctional. A fine line to follow, with an abyss on both sides. The situation in Germany between the creation of the "Second German Empire" and 1918 was exactly similar; an oligarchy reigned, and used stupidification and militarization, not to say fascism, to foster its rule. It became so stupid and aggressive that it came to believe that attacking the fully armed French republic sitting next door was a must.

Making people into stupid sheep, but not so stupid that their society can’t function: a fine balance, hard to maintain. It is a bit like maintaining near zero inflation: there is a danger to fall into deflation, something one cannot stop easily, with a great danger that it will turn to a depression. Falling into stupidity, especially cultural stupidity, stepping over that fine line, is similar, just worse. It also leads to mass depression (of the psychological type). Once a society is in that state, such as Oriental Rome, Constantinople under Justinian, at the time of the terrible fights between the "greens" and the "blues", there is no looking back.

A related fine balance is monarchy (= mono-rule, the rule of one). As long as it was Seneca, the philosopher, and personal teacher of Nero, who ruled Rome, perfection was achieved. It lasted five years, until Nero ordered Seneca to kill himself. In other words, when the ruler is perfect, monarchy is perfect. Similarly with oligarchy. But, in a long term autocracy, if the ruler, or the ruling oligarchy falters, the "Populus" cannot step in, because it has been rendered impotent and stupid.

Conversely, Chili was able to recover its democracy, after Pinochet’s horrendous dictatorship, because the latter did not last too long, and democracy had been solidly implanted in the century prior.

In the same vein, the French republic executed dozens of thousands of vicious traitors in 1944-45-46, because the vast majority of the  French population hated what had happened during the four years of occupation, and also held that the presence of many fascists in the French establishment contributed crucially to losing the Battle of France in May 1940, as the so called “fifth column”. In other words, the Chilean people, and, a fortiori the French people, were so attached to democracy that the later came back with a vengeance.

It’s better for democracy to come back with a vengeance, than with wishy-washy measures, complete with amnesty, as Athens did around 400 BCE. (Athens lost half of its population, though, which may explain the amnesty.) It is clever to make the civilizational point that democracy is worth, not just dying for, but also killing for.

Anybody in France, looking forward, knows that collusion and collaboration with murderous fascism will bring death. (Other European countries made the same point as France, albeit on a more modest scale, with the exception of the USSR, of course.)

***

 

OBAMA IS GOING TO DO SOMETHING:

“They are waiting for us to act,” Obama said on a Wednesday in March 2010 of the American people. “They are waiting for us to lead.” Actually, " they" have given up waiting. Some 80 percent of the population of the USA believes that “nothing can be accomplished”.

But one cannot act, if one has not thought first. Or then one is like G. W. Bush, fully acting, after only half thinking. Even then, Bush was not dumb enough to expand the war in Afghanistan. Even Bush was not dumb enough to see that there was no oil in Afghanistan.

What did Obama do in his first year? And how did we get there? Well, Obama mostly extended policies already in existence under Bush, and that Bush knew were wrong. Obama did that in financial, and military policies. These were the most important policies, in the sense that they are the ones which directly led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. They were also Bush’s most erroneous policies. Even Bush had some doubts about these errors, since he nationalized some financial firms, and refused to extend the war in Afghanistan. Obama did not have such hesitations: he went full speed ahead.

As the Romans used to say:"Erring is human, persevering, diabolical." Not all has been diabolical about Obama; some of the stimulus was good, especially the part about financing science much more.

The leadership shortfall we’ve witnessed during Obama’s yearlong health care death march "— typified by the missed deadlines, the foggy identification of his priorities, the sometimes abrupt shifts in political tone and strategy — won’t go away … As Frank Rich says in the NYT, Sunday March 6: [Some] frame [Obama’s] failures as an attempt to impose “socialism” on a conservative nation… Obama, who has expanded the war in Afghanistan and proved reluctant to reverse extra-constitutional Bush-Cheney jurisprudence, is a radical mainly to those who believe a conservative Republican senator like Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas is a closet commie

The problem is that … Obama prides himself on not being ideological or partisan — of following… a “pragmatic agenda.” But pragmatism is about process, not principle. Pragmatism is hardly a rallying cry for a nation in this much distress, and it’s not a credible or attainable goal in a Washington as dysfunctional as the one Americans watch in real time… Obama needs to articulate a substantive belief system that’s built from his bedrock convictions. His presidency cannot be about the cool equanimity and intellectual command of his management style."

***

I LEAD, THEREFORE I GREED:

What if Obama’s bedrock conviction is advancing himself? What if it were "just a little blow" as he put it? Under this hypothesis, as Obama reached the top, he ran out of ideas to serve, having served himself, the equivalent, for him, of heavens. Then now grabbing for the stars, and having no wings to carry his mind, he cannot get there.

History is full of leaders who wanted to go to the top just because it was there, and had nothing to do once up there, besides listening to sycophants, and themselves. Greco-Roman history, over 2,100 years, is replete with examples of some admirable, clever, knowledgeable leaders motivated by public service. But, among hundreds of leaders, it is also replete with the worst scoundrels, who turned out the exact opposite, in the briefest time, from what was expected from them. Emperors Caligula, Nero, and Justinian are famous example (the later by far the worst, because he reigned four decades, and was highly successful in accomplishing the Christian God’s evil purpose of spreading death and stupidity from Orient to Occident).

The three of them, Caligula, Nero, and Justinian, started as adulated youth, brought up in the very best conditions, and their inchoating reigns were full of hope, righteousness, and change for the best… in the beginning. They turned out in the exact opposite (although no doubt that Justinian is still venerated by the clueless: Constantinople is viewed as having reached its apex under him, and he and his wife are Saints of the Orthodox Church, which is troubling, since Justinian was a holocaust specialist: he did not implement just one holocaust, but several, from Anatolia to Italy!)

Far from being a liberal, by European standards, Obama is so much to the right, that Europeans, would they know what he truly says, could only expect him and his country to be fully dysfunctional.

Europe knows that only social democracy works: other regimes were tried, in the last two centuries, and failed. Ultimately it is the republican social democratic model that triumphed, and it is enshrined in the European Constitution. The last great experiment, trying to make Britain into a mini USA, with a full Wall Street, is failing as we speak (plutocrats will say that happened because the remnants of social democracy in Britain were too strong; but this is false, because it is the newish, unregulated "innovations" which are failing; the British health Service is not, in contrast with the health care system of the USA.)

But dysfunctionality does not stop with Obama being obsessed by being a "republican" (which, nowadays means being a far right ideologue, way to the right of the first Bush president, and little embarrassed by what obviously does not work).

***

FOR PLUTOCRACY, IGNORANT LEADERSHIP IS BEST:

Obama was also little prepared to political leadership at the highest level. Part of his undeniable charm, as far as plutocracy was concerned. Plutocrats love to be called "friend" by the president, something Obama, not knowing any better, did many times, and then sang the praises of his mentors (as I documented in previous essays). That Obama became president to tell us that wealth and power defined success, and that he was going to take heed from them was a symptom of him being unprepared for his job, which is to lead the city ("polis"), not take advice from its fat cats, especially not just after those broke the city. (By the way, this ethical incoherence is no coincidence: in case of enormous turmoil, ethics and law do not guide anymore; thus Vichy France collaborated with the enemy, the Nazis, and, as Athens started to lose her war with Sparta, chief generals turned into traitors, and back into trusted advisors. That Obama calls a health care profiteer such as Buffet his friend, while supposedly trying to fix health care in the name of justice is a typical turn coat affair, often found when history goes berserk.)

The lack of preparation of Obama can also be seen by comparing Obama to the leaders of Britain, France and Germany. These three European leaders have been at the highest command levers of government for more than a decade: they knew what governing at the federal level entailed, where the bodies are buried, and who dug their graves. They also knew what they wanted to do, and if they had what it took to implement it, and a taste for it.

President Sarkozy and Kanzler Merkel are conservative politicians, by European definition, they are the standard flag bearers of the right, long having been very close collaborators to Chirac and Kohl, respectively. However, viewed from the USA, they are far out leftists.

This is remarkable, because the USA and Europe ought not to be different universes. And they are not very different economically, and sociologically. Or, at least, they did not start out very different, if one puts the starting line in, say, 1980.

A difference has grown, and that difference is more about what rationality and knowledge have come to mean, and how they impact the very different sociologies. Moreover the evolution of this difference is recent.

It mostly has to do with the USA adopting the Reagan devolution, according to which GREED IS ALL YOU NEED. Greed displaces culture, and all other wants and emotions. Greed is where it’s at.

It is very telling to compare the backgrounds and advisers of Obama, Sarkozy, and Merkel. Merkel is a PhD physicist, thus trained to distinguish reality from fiction, and dreams one wants to believe in from change that is not happening.

Yes, I know, it is insulting to Americans, supposedly, to compare the great USA, which, recently, can’t get anything done, except invading other countries, to France, one of the major component of the European Union (if not it’s exact center, soul, and main driving force). And France just signed a contract to sell four gigantic, sort of aircraft carriers to Russia (which does not have the expertise to build them, and sorely missed having one to invade Georgia, a top Russian general explained).

This brings into question the old style NATO Alliance as an obedient American pet. Sarkozy explained why France was taking Russia under her wing: it is a strategic decision. As he put it, "one cannot ask in the morning the Russians to vote with us on the UN Security Council, and, in the afternoon, tell them one does not trust them."

But so it goes: if the USA can be compared in detail with one country, that country is France (a dreadful fact for plutocrats made in USA, since France is a counter example to most of their asinine theories.)

 

France has both the size and history to be the bedrock on which the USA stands (no doubt an infuriating notion for many an American patriot, but there is a full continuity between Rome, the Franks, Western Europe, and the USA: France is how the disease of Western superiority was transmitted to the USA, a very creation of that superiority disease, come to think of it).

Sarkozy and Merkel are fully trained federal politicians with long track records. Many in their public do not like them, but everybody knows very well where they stand, a bit like family members. UK’s Brown has also been one of the three most prominent labor politicians, for an entire generation. Although no sweet virgins, they are no dark horses.

Sarkozy was elected mayor (of Neuilly)at the age of 26. A lawyer by training, he was involved in a succession of top governmental jobs (finance minister, and interior minister). During a hostage crisis he exhibited amazing physical courage, confronting the "Human Bomb" to save dozens of children, after the experts did not know what to do. The Human Bomb got so distracted by having a top minister of the republic talking to him, snipers got an opening and killed him.

Sarkozy is surrounded by top experts as personal advisers (some philosophers, some economists, etc.). I am not talking about his cabinet here, and the official positions. I am talking about thoughtful people who can come on TV, and speak with authority, but informally, and in all liberty, from their position as presidential advisers, saying what they think (but they do not sit in cabinet meetings). Volcker has a bit this sort of role in a modest financial position (but he has an official position, and probably not the ear, and certainly not the brain of Obama).

Another thing is that in Europe in general, and France in particular, an enormous numbers of layers and center of powers counterbalance each other, while not neutralizing each other.

***

REAGAN DEVOLUTION, EUROPEAN EVOLUTION:

Some have said that Europe is politically ineffectual. But they forget that no decision is better than a bad decision. The USA has gambled that hundreds of thousands of armed men, send to the other side of the planet, was all the energy procurement policy it needed, forgetting that Britain administered India, for generations, with no more than 3,000 administrators (and sometimes, barely more than 1,000!).

They also forget that LEADERSHIP IS NOT JUST ABOUT INDIVIDUALS REIGNING, IT IS ABOUT PHILOSOPHIES, ENVISIONING.

The guiding philosophy in Europe is: "Never That Again" ("Plus jamais cela.") Namely, NEVER A EUROPEAN WAR AGAIN. This means unifying Europe for real, and this enrages the American plutocrats, because Europe, unified, is a much larger power than its ex-colony, the USA. Before the clowns at the Wall Street Journal editorial (disclosure: I have subscribed to the thing for all too many years) start to laugh, let me point out that Russia is a small part of it (with two-third of French GDP).

The plutocrats are enraged, because, if they lose control of Europe, the greater power, they may well lose all power next. Their rage makes them dangerous, and they have to be manipulated with care, like the nitroglycerin they are.

The USA is presently led by Reagan’s philosophy, which, if it has to be abstracted in one slogan is viewed as: GREED IS ALL YOU NEED. Greed displaces culture, and all other wants and emotions. Greed is where it’s at. Greed makes Wall street go around, and thus the world, since Wall Street created the world, ever since Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler and Franco, and got away with it, and a few Great Depressions in passing. In recent years, Larry Summers, now accompanied by his obedient, facts deprived Obama, as he used to be with faithful clueless Clinton, has even dismantled Roosevelt’s work of 1933. So maybe we ought to call it the Summers’ devolution, not the Reagan one. (Indeed the real Reagan could be pragmatic; faced with a scary deficit, he augmented taxes.)

The philosophical leadership provided by the metaprinciple of greed as a guide is inferior to the leadership provided by the metaprinciple of avoiding war, whatever it takes.

Avoiding war does not mean caving in, as in Munich. When Britain and France declared war to Hitler in 1939, it was way too late, actually 20 years too late; thus avoiding war in Europe means avoiding the sort of mess of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, where the USA interfered destructively, and the European problem of democratization and pacification was not solved; nowadays, this means bringing Russia into the fold, democratically and pacifically… a bit as Serbia was recently, but, hopefully in a much nicer way!

***

EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHICAL POWER:

There is power in Europe, but it is not just with politicians. As I said, it is in a philosophy of human rights reigning supreme. And this includes prominently the right to WORK, and the dignity of not being led by the nose as if one were cattle.

A number of Siemens upper managers were recently sequestered by other Siemens managers, for example, to extract concessions. As is usual in France, in case of sequestration of bosses, the police stood by, trying to calm everybody. And as often, the kidnappers got a lot of what they wanted.

A bit later a strike in refineries to save 350 jobs (yes three hundred fifty jobs), started to paralyze France. All Total refineries went on strike. Total SA, a French company, is the fourth largest oil giant in the world. The French presidency intervened. The refinery will still close, but a liquid natural gas facility will replace it, and the 350 jobs will be saved. That is a lot of power deployed to save 350 jobs. Intriguingly, the cause of the problem is that French society is so much efficient that the usage of gasoline has gone down a lot, and now US demand for gasoline has gone done too, because of the Great Recession. (Yes, the USA did not need to build refineries for decades, because French refineries made "American" gasoline: a small world we inhabit…)

European courts can be much more powerful than American courts. For example, they often block governmental action, and are keen to suggest explicit remedies. The French Constitutional Court, for example, blocked the Carbon Tax, three days before implementation, but told the government how to fix it.

An appeal court allowed lesbians to adopt, while telling the French National Assembly it had to… change the French National law. In other words, the court not only legislated from the bench, an ultimate no-no in the USA… but gave marching orders to the legislature. This can be done in Europe, because European law has primacy over national law. Another drastic European Constitutional advance.

Indeed, if the primary ethical principle is to avoid another European war, European law should dominate that of all nation-states. Thus, when a court, inside a nation-state, feels supported by European law, or by the spirit of European law, which is the spirit of the Declaration Of The Rights Of man And Citizen of 1789, it does not hesitate to contradict the democracy of the nation-state in which it sits.

***

The USA presidency, and congress, relative to all this European brain storm, is clearly quaint, obsolete, amateurish and … corrupt. Many American politicians right now in exercise would get serious entangled by various European laws.

A drastic example is the US central bank, the famous Federal Reserve, the celebrated Fed. The fed is in particular famous for its ‘independence". A refined joke. It is not just a question that the Fed chair is named by the president, like I am sure president Chavez would like to do in Venezuela.

By commonly accepted civilized standards, the Fed is corrupt, precisely because it is independent of democratic supervision.

An example of blatant corruption: Jamie Dimon, head of the super giant private bank JP Morgan-Chase, the president’s self celebrated "friend", and object of his man-love and admiration, sits on the board of the New York Federal reserve bank. This is the exact equivalent of a fox guarding the chicks. I remind you that, last year, the Wall Street foxes had eaten all the chicks, and they were sad, and very hungry. So taxpayers were requested to bring more chicks, otherwise Wall Street would devour them, taxpayers, instead. we had a happy outcome: taxpayers are still around, ready to be fleeced some more.

***

I SEE NO CORRUPTION, THEREFORE I AM NOT CORRUPT:

So Obama is in his big White House. A smart little boy without much experience, surrounded by arrivistes, plutocrats, and a second rate ex-journalist such as Mr. Axelrod. Some of these people cannot even know what corruption is; they always aspired to it, and lived by it. They find normal to sit on boards of hospitals, making ten times, or more, the US median income, although they have strictly no medical background to be there. (In France hospital administration is the object of rigorous training, examinations and the selection of the very best in double blind competitive entrance exams).

A boy with dreams he would like to believe in does not necessarily a good captain make. Caligula, Nero and Justinian, among many others, started as boys, very good, resplendent crowned boys, and hope reigned. But the very fact those boys did not earn their positions through a long hard slog made them vulnerable to hubris. Tripling the force and the losses in Afghanistan, as Obama did, while feeding the banksters, is hubris. Hubris is a corruption of judgment by the will to power, just as greed is a corruption of the heart by the same will to power.

***

CORRUPTION, STUPIDIFICATION, ANNIHILATION:

Civilizations have died from mental retardation. It is not just the Nazis who died that way. Rome is exhibit number one. By the Second Century (or even the First), it was obvious that stupidity and corruption, feeding on each other, were devouring Rome. (The occasional bout of brilliance such as the first five years of Nero, when Seneca was de facto emperor, or the first two Antonine emperors, or the short reigns of emperor-philosophers, such as Julian, notwithstanding.)

The point about Rome is that corruption preceded stupidification. The Romans of the republic were dangerously superior in the ethical realm.

Gaul was conquered by Caesar in the name of ethics. This was far from being false, and that is why Gaul, although very independent in spirit, never seriously rebelled later, and ended up out-Roming Rome herself, with the Imperium Francorum, the direct prolongation of the Imperium Romanorum, Pars Occidentalis. Gaul agreed that Rome brought multiple advances, including ethical ones (and that includes having outlawed the Celtic religion, which was discriminatory on the ground of heredity, and human sacrificing).

As Rome got corrupt enough, and stupid enough, she was unable to stop her slide to oblivion, except by ever more fascism. And on it went, ever more stupid, ever more fascist, until the imposition of imperial fascism from heavens ("Christianism"), and the calamitous reign of Justinian (Sixth Century Constantinople).

Now, of course, internet geniuses will check Wikipedia, and see that, under Justinian, the Roman empire reconquered the world (except for Francia). But actually Justinian did so by destroying the world. Pretty stupid. At some points the city of Rome changed hands seven times. In the end, only one man was left inside, it is said. And the aqueducts had been destroyed.

By the time Justinian’s uncle, an uncouth, but competent general, became emperor, the Franks and the Goths controlled the West ("Pars Occidentalis"), and used higher smarts to get some of the (Roman) state re-started. The Goths were destroyed by crazed superstitious enemies (Justinian destroyed the Ostrogoths in Italy, and the Muslims destroyed the Visigoths in Spain, 150 years later).

The more ferocious and crafty Franks destroyed those very same enemies (in a general counter-offensive, which lasted at least six centuries, and the Crusades were just a sample).

***

THE FISH ROTS BY THE HEAD (IF ANY):

Corruption was the initial problem of Rome, and it brought its final solution (not just the termination of Rome in the West by the Franks in 486, and in the Orient in 1204, but even, long term, through Christian amplified hatred, the final solution a la Hitler). Stupidity can go on and on…

Roman corruption was philosophical in nature, and deeply tied to the very rise of Rome. Maybe not its fundamental republican, and legal rise, the deepest reason for its superiority. But certainly it tied into Rome’s meteoric rise around 300 BCE; then Rome discovered the virtuous circle of military conquest, the slaves it brought, and the resulting power of it all.

Corruption is now the main problem of the USA. It is the sort of corruption that hides its nature by being naked in everybody’s face. It is so gross, everybody is in denial. Thus, it is a corruption in everybody’s mind. We saw that in Constantinople under Justinian (and throughout most of the late Roman empire). The financial sector has crowded minds out of more profitable mental pursuits (ironically).

Economy Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist at the World Bank, observed that if a country had applied for World Bank aid during his tenure, with a financial regulatory system similar to the Federal Reserve’s — in which regional Feds are partly governed by the very banks they’re supposed to police — it would have been refused.

"If we had seen a governance structure that corresponds to our Federal Reserve system, we would have been yelling and screaming and saying that country does not deserve any assistance, this is a corrupt governing structure," Stiglitz said during a conference on financial reform in New York. "It’s time for us to reflect on our own structure today, and to say there are parts that can be improved."

In other news, we are dying, and it’s time for us to rearrange the bed.

The USA will not have the luxury of the slow decay of Rome, because, differently from Rome, it is surrounded by other great powers, and it is not self sufficient: only eight years of oil production are left, at the present rate, inside the USA. Although the invasion of Iraq bought some time, it is little to go by, and it could well backfire.

And the general problem remains that we are facing many disasters in the making, which can only be avoided by maximum brain power. But the enticement of greed is not that of thought over matter, but the enticement of power on other people, quite a different drive. This is how corruption feeds stupidification.

The feeding can be more direct: Socrates spoke of the necessity of having politicians who were competent enough to make their jobs appropriately, and the question arises with Obama, since his team could get nothing major done, which did not involve adding steroids to policies already initiated under Bush. Initiation is harder than continuation. The Obama team may be so incompetent that it cannot initiate anything major (Bush initiated a few major programs and disasters).

Although Socrates had a point, the fact remains that, at the time the two largest class of problems Athens had were hubris and conspiracies and betrayal. of that, Socrates says nothing. But the various betrayals of Socrates’ lover Alcibiades (who had suggested and was supposed to lead the attack on Syracuse), played a calamitous role in Athens’ collapse. Even worse, deep down, was the enormous financing of Sparta by Persia (allowing Sparta to build a giant war fleet which brought Athens down, with half the population killed).

Common American wisdom, has it that conspiracies do not exist. This piece of pro-active propaganda all Americans in good standing know by rote. That is rendered possible by them not knowing much history. And having even the head of the best buried deep in the sand is not new, as the case of Socrates show.

But it is high time to not be that naïve. We are living in times when we will be superior minds, or we will cease to be.

In Polanski’s Franco-Germano-British movie, "Ghostwriter", an explanation is suggested on how and why (some) Anglo-Saxon leaders are actually CIA plants recruited by networks originating in universities such as Harvard. Of course, the poor CIA is much abused, and the financial enormity that just happened, and keeps on happening, the corrupt oligarchy ruining the world, for all to see, suggests, in turn that recourse to assassinations (such as in "Ghostwriter") is not necessary. After all, one does assassinate sheep: one takes care of them instead, especially of their tiny little minds.

Stupidity itself is the ultimate conspiracy. Shedding minds is more efficient than shedding blood.

***

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

***

Annex: Some will scoff: what can mind over matter do, which would be fast, clean and spectacular?

Well, nothing much nowadays, because the main mental universe ruling the stupid political class has become the universe of financial derivatives. As its name indicates a derivative, unreal universe. Thus a stagnation of technological progress. because the later is not located in a derivative universe, but in the real universe.

Lack of enough, necessary technological progress is the proximal reason that brought Rome down.

As ecological and military problems accumulated, Rome was defeated, because she could not unleash enough technological progress to solve said problems.

Instead Rome decided that the universe was not real, just derivative from the true God. OK, God was not explicitly a financial derivative, although it was invented by the biggest plutocrats ever observed, but the basic idea stayed the same: work your mind on a derivative, not the real thing. Instead, call the derivative the real thing. Thus Obama sing the praises of Dimon’s portfolio of 80 trillion dollars of derivatives.

Now the true God is not sitting in heavens, brandishing a sacred book. The true God now is Greed, and the derivatives are financial. But it is the same flight from reality.

***

Suppose there is a nuclear winter, and that the main oil field have been struck by nukes, making them radioactive, and that world trade has been smashed from lack of fuel, piracy, etc, while sea level is quickly rising… Could the West still have plenty of energy for building the necessary cyclopean levees and feed the people from underground hydroponics, while keeping them warm enough, and free of radiation?

Yes. We could for example stitch existing technology together and make fusion-fission nuclear plants (those would use normal uranium for the thermonuclear blanket, which would fission under fast thermonuclear neutrons).

Wall Street cannot master the universe, but the universe can master Wall Street.

***

DRILLING WARS.

August 9, 2008

HOW SOME DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING VERY HARD TO LOSE THE ELECTIONS (AN ONGOING SERIES).

***

Warning: The present author is as fanatically ecological as they come, and thinks that burning oil is super dumb. This being said, contrarily to appearances, there is no contradiction with the following. Some decry “Know Nothing Politics”, we go further, and decry “Know Not Enough Thinking”.

***

In a long editorial in the New York Times, Paul Krugman vents his increasingly impotent rage (“Know Nothing Politics”, August 7, 2008): “Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid… And I certainly don’t mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives. What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.””…

Somewhat illogically on the emotional level, Krugman brandishes von Schiller’s famous quote: “Against Stupidity Even the Gods Themselves Contend in Vain”.

The cause of Professor Krugman’s ire? Drilling. Let’s not guess that he never flies planes and don’t drive a car: that would be too stupid. Another thing that irritates Prof. Krugman: by evoking the “often frightening smarts” of republicans, he acknowledges that republicans play stupid on TV, whereas democrats play stupid for real.

It was even more frighteningly stupid to make drilling an issue. Not drilling was clearly a battle that could not be won. But never mind; as long as one democrat will be standing proud, guzzling oil, he will fight that pointless battle.

I disagreed on some points of Prof. Krugman’s editorial, and tried to express my technical point of views in three carefully reasoned and researched posts on his blog, and they were all rejected as dreadful heresies (who is stupid now?).

So never mind elaborated technical reasons. The simple question is this: if “Against Stupidity Even the Gods Themselves Contend in Vain”, then how come the democrats put themselves in a situation where stupidity could be used against them? Did they want to lose? That’s the question Professor Krugman’s logic irresistibly leads to.

Indeed the stupid ones are the ones who let drilling become an issue, when, in the present state of technology, everybody uses drilling. Democrats use drilling. Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi uses drilling in the fancy downhill ski resort she owns in California (most democratic operators are immensely wealthy, they play poor on TV).

Civilization would collapse completely without drilling. It’s immoral to incite only the Arabs to drill, while the USA patrols offshore with aircraft carriers, to make sure they keep on drilling enthusiastically. The democratic program in a nutshell: offshore patrolling with aircraft carriers in Arabia, thus no offshore drilling at home.

France produces less than a third of the emission of CO2 per person that the USA does (while achieving higher standards of living). France has long achieved Gore’s 2008 dream (producing in 2018 around 95% of US electricity from non carbon sources). Still, France is drilling as much as she can, and some of it next to Paris. In that extremely ecological country, drilling is not an issue (not even the worst, foaming at the mouth French ecologists seem to mind: they use oil too). Even the fanatically ecological Swiss are hoping there is lot of gas below their micro sea, Lac Leman, and are drilling it!

In Switzerland, houses are watched by helicopter to see if they leak heat more than is legal, and running an engine while a car is immobile is unlawful. But drilling offshore in the Leman, that pristine jewel, is correct. Nobody is protesting. Protesting hydrocarbon extraction would strike any European as supremely hypocritical. Natural gas is pretty ecological. It is as close to hydrogen as possible (see elaborated note on this elementary chemistry).

But then Speaker Nancy Pelosi, apparently an expert of not talking about what’s important by talking about what’s unimportant, was asked why she did not submit drilling to a vote in Congress, and she answered grandly: “I am trying to save the planet, I am trying to save the planet.” While looking like a deer in headlights, perhaps because she was struck by the enormity of her hypocrisy, explaining her saucer like eyes. Or maybe she was desperately busy with her next task, making up a story about why her ski resort is saving the planet too.

Saving the planet by not drilling off Nancy’s Northern Californian shore is a red herring. What the US needs is higher energy taxes, that will force efficiency and provide capital for investments. Speaking about the horror of offshore forever avoids the even greater horror of adressing the crisis with serious measures, such as taxes.

After the recent oil spike, France came up with a flurry of new taxes on energy, and gas guzzlers, that were passed into law quasi instantaneously, while increasing subsidies for the poor to compensate.  

Meanwhile Senator Barack Obama has made the concession of becoming intelligent about drilling (he is ready to allow drilling if the republicans themselves become intelligent, a condition the republicans may find intelligent not to satisfy, because they do not want to contend in vain).

DRILLING OFFSHORE MAY BECOME PLANET SAVING BY GETTING RID OF METHANE HYDRATES (Japan and China are already investing in that direction). And that we may have to do if the heating keeps on going.

Here is the long story short: paleontologists were mystified by episodes of extremely brutal overheating of the planet. Typically it was real hot, and then it became amazingly hot (some massive extinctions events seem to have followed). All sorts of fancy explanations were attempted. It seems these bouts of overheating were caused by methane eruptions. Methane has 60 times the greenhouse power of CO2 within 20 years, 21 times within a century.

It is true, and unsurprising, that against stupidity the democrats contend in vain. But these stupid issues they chose themselves. Other stupid issues include: not offering to Clinton the Vice Presidential candidate position (that should have been done long ago), and taxing the upper middle class to death while engineering a tax refuge for the hyper rich (the zero capital gain tax on Venture Capital Funds proposed by Obama at this point).

These issues will cost the Presidential election to the democrats. The drilling stupidity the democrats organized for themselves to lose is just a little warm up. The tax stupidity will be the killing blow. Republicans are just waiting until it’s too late, to spring the trap.

Why such stupidities are central to democratic strategy is explained by the apparent presence of double agents in the democratic party. Obama’s tax adviser from the University of Chicago economic department (a notorious center of right wing survival of the fittest, trickle down economics) delivers ambiguous discourses about “the future”, and doing away with “the past”. Apparently he means out with old tax loopholes for the hyper rich, in with the new. Warren Buffet, who made billions from maximizing his profits in US health “care”, is a trusted, and flaunted, adviser on the same tax subject, etc… I will momentarily refrain from mentioning previous great “socialist” leaders who had great US billionaires as trusted help (OK, if you insist: Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler…). Not that I compare anybody alive with those, I am just pointing out that the same mechanism is at work. We have been down that road before, the world knows what it means. The US population may even vaguely recognize the pattern, smell the fish. 

Of course the USA needs higher taxes, but on energy and consumption, and on the hyper rich. To compensate, give the poor  handsome subsidies (as France does). Capital flight (long occuring) could stop right away, because the European Union views the USA as the largest tax haven in the world, by far (which it is). The day the USA gives the word, all capital will come home to roost (because the Euros have already exerted considerable pressure that way; in general, when the US and the EU agree, nobody can stop them).

A related issue is that the USA does not save enough as a country, so it is an issue of national security to augment US savings and investments, instead of depending upon non democratic countries to provide capital for the USA (Arabic countries, China, etc., have been keeping the USA afloat financially).

As it is, proposing taxes on income and capital gains higher than in any socialist European country is an issue tailored to lose the presidency for the democrats. It’s plain too big to be just a stupidity.

The difference between progressives and conservatives is that the former are supposed to use intelligence the past did not have, making it less worth conserving. Some Republicans have used senseless arguments pro drilling, and many are old arguments from the past whose time has passed. So doing, the Republicans were doing their job, conserving what’s obsolete. Whereas, when democrats use erroneous arguments, they are serving neither intelligence, nor progress. True progressives, such as the present author, have then to point out those mistakes, and the earlier, the better… One would not want to finish like the erroneous French revolutionaries, post 1790, or the erroneous Soviet revolutionaries, post 1917. But it is how they started: by being obviously erroneous, and redefining for their own little comfort what “obvious” and “error” meant (in other words, being intellectually dishonest, as are those who refuse to publish posts that have more, and deeper facts).

****

Patrice Ayme.
More details on these subjects are found in https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/, especially “How Obama Could Lose” (June 29, 2008), and “Lousy Morality Leads to Lousy Economics” (July 2008).
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P/S: (1) Someone on Krugman blog called “BaldApe”, claimed that he “was happy not to be my chemistry professor”. Krugman posted him, but did not post my retort (Post wars!). Here it is. Mr. BaldApe did not understand that NATURAL GAS, METHANE, CH4, IS AS CLOSE TO HYDROGEN as we can get to right now (while minimizing greenhouse gases in industrial production; mass production of hydrogen at this point is very dirty). I mention this because it’s crucial to the energy debate (and central to Pickens’ proposals). The E.U. has opted for lots of natural gas (from North Africa and Russia).

One should not confuse MASS OF MOLECULES CREATED, and NUMBER OF MOLECULES CREATED. A molecule of methane (CH4) is made of ONE Carbon atom (C) and FOUR Hydrogen atoms (H). Burning it consists into having its constituents atoms establishing stronger chemical bonds with oxygen atoms. Now Carbon is tetravalent, and oxygen bivalent. So the Carbon atom, C, establishes two bivalent bonds with two oxygen atoms to fill up its chemical availability. The result is ONE molecule made of one Carbon, and two Oxygens: O=C=O, otherwise symbolized as CO2. Hydrogen is monovalent, so, to fill up the chemical availability of oxygen, two hydrogen atoms need to be used. Hence the four hydrogen atoms in the CH4 attach to two oxygen atoms, so we end up with H-O-H twice, in other symbols, two molecules of H2O.

The same mass can contain vastly different numbers of molecules. For example one molecule of water (H-O-H) has the same mass as nine molecules of Hydrogen (H-H). What counts for the greenhouse is how many molecules of the type that can absorb infrared radiation are around. The greater the infrared capture power of the gas, the more the greenhouse effect of that gas. It’s twenty-one CO2 for CH4, and rise to above 200 times for NO2 (in a 100 year span).

Long hydrocarbon chains, as in oil, contain a lot of atoms of Carbon, so, when they burn, create much more CO2 relative to H2O in comparison to methane.

For Quantum mechanical reasons, O2 and N2 are not greenhouse gases, but H2O is. 60% of the greenhouse is due to water vapor, 26% to CO2, and 8% to a mix of CH4, O3, and NO2.

(2). A Chinese philosophical reset. 2,500 years ago, disciple Kung asked: “Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?” Master Kung (Kung Fuzi, “Confucius”) replied: “What about ‘Shu’ [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?” [Analects XV.24].

Confucius would not have approved of Nancy’s loudly selfish tribe. If drilling is not good for the USA, it should not be good for Arabs either. Or is Arabia supposed to do the dirty work while North America wastes and pontificates?

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