Phase Change

There are a number of different cults in the financial world where I earn my bread and butter. One is the school of technical analysis, whose sectarians are called “Chartists” on the Street. The Chartists try to discern patterns in the curves of recent market indices that resemble other such patterns evident in economic history, and then predict what will happen next on the basis of what followed a previous instance of the recent shape. This is exquisitely bass-ackward, because the recent shape of the curve of a broad market index like the S&P 500 is a derivate of the recent changes in investor expectations about the future course of corporate profits, which are a proxy for changes in overall economic wealth, which are derivates of changes in general economic activity, which are in turn derivates of trillions of discrete economic decisions by actual human agents, that result in physical work. What moves the economy is the work triggered by those decisions; like your decision about whether to enjoy the marginal beer as you read this fascinating blog, or not. For everyone but the Chartists themselves, the patterns in the recent shape of the curve of an index don’t factor into their quotidian decisions. What do thus factor, for most people, are quite concrete moral and aesthetic considerations – like, “Boy, I sure could use a beer; but, these pants are too tight, lately, so …” The Goodness and Beauty, the Economic Value, of society, are produced by the moral and aesthetic decisions of human agents.

Technical analysis, then, is not only risibly reductionist, but it reduces economic activity, not in the wrong way, but in a wrongheaded way, a way that can’t even be wrong; as if physicists were to attribute the behavior of the physical systems under their study to their tables of measurements of such systems.

Sheesh.

So, anyway, I’m not a Chartist. Charting is interesting, in rather the way that finding shapes in clouds is interesting. But I myself am of the High Church of Efficient Markets; my cult’s regard for the Chartists in rather like that of Episcopalians for Pentecostal snake-handlers. As an investment technique, I think technical analysis is bogus. Understand, this is a terribly courageous thing for me to say, because Chartists are rather like Randians: you do NOT want to be heard questioning their creed, or they will be all over you. Such at least is their rep on the Street. I don’t believe I’ve ever actually meet a Chartist in real life, or a snake-handler either, for that matter.

Do I sound like I’m sneering? I don’t mean to; for there is more to the story. Consider that, just because a man is handling snakes in church, and so putting God to the test, that does not mean the Holy Spirit is not at work in him, or in the snakes. Likewise, just because the curves on charts don’t move the markets of which they are mere artifacts, that doesn’t mean that the curves contain no information at all. Indeed, if the world is intelligible, as indeed we find that it is, then charts of any aspect of its behavior must be informative, if we but look at them rightly. Put another way: waves simply could not appear in honest, accurate charts of the behavior of physical systems, such as human society, unless they were veridical representations of actual waves in the behavior of actual entities. The waves on the charts don’t produce the waves in the actual world, but the actual waves are indeed really there to be charted. If we had a way to understand all the waves of activity in the world that are factors of market indices – which is just to say, if we had a way to understand all the waves of activity in the world – then, in principle, we really could predict the future of the world, and therefore of markets, on the basis of those curves. But we have no such way, and Gödel has shown that we can’t have such a way. There is no such thing as a complete description or measurement of the world, no Theory of Everything, that can be expressed within the logical system of the world. This, in the final analysis, is why there will always be impenetrable theological mysteries.

So: there really are these waves in the activity of the actual world, and we have no reason not to think there are not a very great number of them, all superposed, operating in human societies. We are nowhere near understanding them, yet; we are, rather, at the very beginnings of assembling our natural history of these waves. And the project is an intellectual backwater, perhaps because there is so much lower-hanging fruit available – like, climatology, right?

Do you detect a snicker? Well, perhaps this time you do …

Backwater it may be, but it is busy with all manner of amateur scholars. I am not such a one. I know about S curves and Kondratieff cycles, but … well, the doctrine of the Trinity is hanging there, right in front of me, so …

Nevertheless – sorry about all this preamble – I have begun to wonder recently whether we might not have arrived at one of those points in history when lots of different social waves (which I myself have no hope of understanding, or even specifying) are constructively superposed in such a way as to provide an opportunity for a phase change, in which great stress on social systems catalyzes social liquefaction. At such points in history, everything seems suddenly up for grabs, susceptible of reinvention. All that is solid melts into air, the world is turned upside down. The societies that emerge from such periods are often quite different than their predecessors. The last time we went through such a change was in the decade or so beginning in about 1968; before that, it was the decade or so beginning in about 1918.

Such phase changes needn’t be all that violent, as human violence goes. They are convulsions more of weltanschauung than of physical bodies. In such periods, people simply begin to look at things in a novel way. Under these new perspectives, people evaluate their experiences differently; and these evaluations are then realized in their moral decisions, in the works they then perform, and so in the concrete economy. Over the subsequent years, the new perspectives – and their logical implications[1] – slowly permeate the fabric of society, affecting customs, laws, language, liturgy, institutional arrangements, economic valuations, and the built environment.[2]

I’m not so much interested in all the curves as in the possibility that we are involved in a phase change. Consider all the huge convulsions – mostly non-violent, or violent on a relatively trivial scale by recent historical comparison – that have been underway over the last four years:

  1. Financial Panic.
  2. The first black President.
  3. The first avowedly Radical and anti-American President.
  4. Apogee of Social Democratic policy in the US (with Obamacare, etc. ad nauseam)(feeds back into #1).
  5. Collapse of Social Democratic policy in Europe (feeds back into #1).
  6. Debt crises – EU debt, US federal and municipal debt, unfunded pension liabilities as far as the eye can see, etc. – leading to hyperinflation (now in the works)(feeds back into #1).
  7. Accelerating collapse of marriage, sex roles, the family, sexual morality, religious faith and practice; leading more and more obviously to social breakdown, disease, chaos, personal failure and misery, violence, anomie.
  8. The renascence of aggressive Islam.
  9. Collapse of the Main Stream Media and their control over Western discourse.
  10. First stirrings of Radical popular resistance to the Liberal Establishment’s relentless promotion of immorality and ugliness.

I could go on. Any of us could. The net effect of all of this is that the Established system of liberalism now institutionalized throughout the civilized world is strained everywhere to the breaking point, and beyond. The financial crisis is an artifact of this crisis in our concrete social arrangements. And as more and more people are beginning to see, there just isn’t enough money in the world to keep things going as they have been. There will be no more real bailouts. Such bailouts as may be concocted henceforth will be merely notional. There will be – no, there is already underway – a terrible, terrible marking to market. Many, many institutions will likely fail.

This doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a huge long depression, or riots, or a total breakdown of social order. These things could happen, of course. But in the Panic of 1819, unemployment in Philadelphia was at 75%; three years later, everyone was back at work again. If the marking to market is allowed to run its course, quickly, the period of suffering – i.e., of reforming our lives so that they agree with reality – can be relatively short.

If the marking to market is frustrated and delayed, as in the EU right now, it will take much longer and will be far more destructive to basic social order, which – like markets – is a derivate of personal morality. A sustained period of economic insanity, such as the Russians endured, can demolish personal morality. This happens because in an insane system it is not possible, in the final analysis, to behave in a way that makes real sense. Morality, being the proper adjustment of behavior to reality, is simply and only the sensible, intelligent, rational way to behave. The Natural moral Law makes itself felt first in common sense. Survival in an insane system depends on violating common sense, on behaving insanely. It depends on enacting a concrete repudiation of common sense, again and again, as a condition of merely getting along from one day to the next. When a whole people has been trained away from common sense by consistent practice of moral insanity, and is no longer very capable of teaching practical wisdom to their children, it can take many generations to recover it, and then to learn the habits of virtue.

Such a perdurant moral desert need not happen in the West. A time of economic crisis is ipso facto a time of moral crisis; and a moral crisis is at root an intellectual crisis. When in our course through life we stumble at a comeuppance of some sort, we naturally begin to wonder what we have misunderstood, and how we ought to change our policies. Discomfort attracts attention, triggers deliberation, learning, neural reorganization. And people can adapt their behavior to a new situation very quickly, once they apprehend it.[3] I rather think that, once Westerners see the handwriting on the wall, as increasingly they do, they will be ready to turn on a dime. The whole ridiculous edifice of liberalism could then disappear almost overnight. We’ve seen it happen before, to peoples far more oppressed by it than we have ever been.

A wicked, insane system can vanish in a week; can become suddenly so totally irrelevant that everyone just drops it. We must remember that liberalism, being a tissue of falsehoods, is terribly weak, and vulnerable to the merest breeze of contradiction, whether it issues from cogent argumentation or the accidents of history. This is why liberals instantly revert to enraged ad hominem spluttering when they encounter difficulties, and begin to look about for a sacrificial victim, even if only among their own. The Revolution always devours its young; Obama may be about to find himself on Moloch’s menu, the latest scapegoat for the slow-motion liberal train wreck.

More than anything else, what has made me wonder whether Something might be Happening (we don’t know what it is; we *can’t* know what it is, until it has happened) is that the children have begun to insist that the Emperor is Naked. Once the children begin to insist such things, the scales soon fall from the eyes of their seniors. And when that happens, it can be like waking from a bad dream to bright solid day, with the cheerful smell of strong coffee wafting up the stairs. Anything can then happen. On such a morning, humble folks can find themselves setting forth on a Quest.


[1] Viz., the generalization of the civil rights movement of the sixties from blacks all the way to sexual perverts.

[2] Interestingly, it is in changes to the built environment that such changes of perspective are often first evident. A case could be made that the Restoration movement that began in the 70’s – a phenomenon of folk architecture, driven by homeowners, developers and town fathers rather than by the nihilist architectural academy – was the first hint of a cultural turn to the traditional and humane, and away from the brutality and nihilism so apparent in Modern and Post-Modern architecture. A similar wave of Restoration swept England at the time of the Oxford Movement.

[3] The apprehension is key; it is generated by discomforts generated by intellectual errors, which can be masked for a long time by great prosperity.

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35 thoughts on “Phase Change

  1. We should be careful when discussing the fall of communism. The people of the Eastern bloc wanted a cut of the decadence of the West. Their notion of “freedom” was the same as that spoken of here in the West by liberals and libertarians.

    Rest assure those few Eastern Countries that are somewhat traditional will be forced to acquiesce. ESPECIALLY if they are seen as anti-Israel. After all the Bible sayz something about Magog.

    • We should be careful when discussing the fall of communism. The people of the Eastern bloc wanted a cut of the decadence of the West. Their notion of “freedom” was the same as that spoken of here in the West by liberals and libertarians.

      I know that our current state is depressing, but to reinterprete every past historical event in a depressing view is not realistic. People in the Eastern bloc were not looking for decadence, they were looking for freedom from the opression of Comunism and for the economic development and freedom of Capitalism. Because of geopolitical considerations they had to align with the USA for protection against a possible soviet crack down, so they had to immitate the USA system, but this was for practical self-defence purposes, not at all for wanting the negative side of the USA. Remember that the Soviet Union fell in 1989, so people that were 20 years old at that time are already 43 now! And I assure you that people 43+ in eastern countries are staunchly conservative. OK, many have conservatism mixed with classic liberal ideas, but they are absolutely not the radical liberals what form the core of the decadence in the west. Radical liberals are all very young in eastern Europe.

  2. I know this has very little to do with the point of your post, most of which is way over my head, but I agree that fundamental analysis seems more sound than technical analysis. However, I also have talked to one of my friend’s dad and he makes big bucks day trading exclusively using charts. So I’m not sure what this says about the stock market, but it seems to work for him.

  3. … my cult’s regard for the Chartists in rather like that of Episcopalians for Pentecostal snake-handlers

    I was raised Pentecostal … back before even the Catholics became “charismatics” … and let me tell you, the Pentecostals have no use for snake-handlers.

  4. Aside:

    “If we had a way to understand all the waves of activity in the world that are factors of market indices – which is just to say, if we had a way to understand all the waves of activity in the world [...] But we have no such way, and Gödel has shown that we can’t have such a way. There is no such thing as a complete description or measurement of the world, no Theory of Everything, that can be expressed within the logical system of the world.”

    I habitually and intuitively object to most invocations of Gödel outside mathematical domains, and in this case I think you’re equivocating somewhere along the way, either on “waves of activity” or “the world”. Consider the spare compact disc, containing a backup of an old game I no longer play, lying on my computer desk. If I move it to the left to make room for my glass of milk, how is this part of a wave of activity that is a factor in market indices?

    I can imagine a hypothetical conjunction where I spill the milk on the disc and I become interested in the game again and a friend of mine would also like to play the game at the same time and neither of us can find a downloadable torrent of the game and my computer’s copying facility has broken down, thus resulting in my influencing the market by one of us purchasing a new copy of the game – but it’s not on the market any more, so we’d need even more terms – and a game company starts producing the game and selling it again, et cetera. Suffice to say, such conjunctions are unlikely enough, and items like the compact disc common enough, that I expect at least some of them to not factor into market indices.

    But then, if “the world” refers to those items that are factoring into market indices and the waves of behavior thereof, then Gödel’s proof doesn’t come into it, because we have a logical system outside the world: the world plus my compact disc. And similarly, we could theoretically describe the past of the world in the present of the world, because the present of the world does not factor into the past of the world, and so a complete description of the past could be expressed in the present.

    (And of course there is the pragmatic objection: That Gödel’s proof is irrelevant because a complete description is not necessary for the Chartists, only a description good enough to profit from.)

    • Thanks, Erik, for a percipient comment. I think the set of waves that influence Earth and the set of waves that influence the market really are coterminous. To take your video game example: say you decide to get rid of the game altogether, without replacing it. If you re-use the CD, you reduce the aggregate demand for fresh CDs. If you throw away the CD, you increase the aggregate demand for landfill. If you just leave the CD on your desk, you use up some of your available desk space, perhaps increasing your demand for hard drive space or space in the cloud. Sure, the marginal delta to any of these demand curves is negligible, but nevertheless it is real; as real as the effect on the aggregate demand for beer of the marginal beer you drink while thinking over this reply to your comment.

      What about waves in Earthly events that never reach human consciousness, like the movements of a few molecules in the stratosphere? See the butterfly effect. In a coherent universe, an entity cannot exist without causally affecting other entities. We might not be able to measure the effect of the movements of those air molecules on the price of tea in China, but they do have such an effect. If they didn’t, then the causal coherence of the cosmos would be broken, and then we’d be headed for a disaster of biblical proportions, real wrath of God type stuff: fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria. ; -)

      Now as to how large the set of waves that influence Earth might be, it is quite clear that it is at least coterminous with all the waves in the light cone of a given moment in Earth’s career. And that’s just considering physical information. If we were to consider immaterial information of Earth as well, we would have to include all the influences upon each moment of Earth’s career from the mind of God. If God exists, it follows inescapably that the whole mind of God influences everything. Note then that because God knows everything, including those events that happen outside any particular light cone, the influences from God upon any particular event include information from all other events whatsoever.

      I totally grant, of course, that if the causal effects of an entity on the market are negligible, then we may properly neglect them, without leading ourselves astray. They may all be subsumed under the error term. But an underestimation of the magnitude of the error term goeth before a fall.

  5. What do you mean by liberalism? Do you mean the “enlightenment project”? Would you include the declaration of indpendence and the consitution among the products of that project? Are these part of the liberalism you denounce? Was abolitionism part of the liberalism you denounce? Was Abraham Lincoln a liberal? Was the elimination of slavery “liberal”? Was the attack on racial segregation “liberal”? Are all aspects of the welfare state by definition “liberal” and hence worthy of elimination? I’ve read quite a bit of your discssions of what you call “liberalism” and I honestly do not yet know quite what you mean by the term. Perhaps I’m missing something. I would be interested in your answers to the questions I pose. And as you know I pose these questions while still agreeing with some of the major points you make in criticism of what you call “liberalism.” And as I have also said before, I do not believe there is any such thing as “liberalism” or “conservativism” as you seem to posit them. By which I mean, a single self consistent way of viewing the world that somehow dominates a particular society at a particular time. At most if not all times and places, there are all sorts of competing currents of thought and competing material interests which involve all sorts of contradictions even within a single person. So I think what you are calling “liberalism” is something of a chimera. A final question which I have posed before: you have all sorts of criticisms of our present day society (many though not all of which I agree with as you know), And now you are perhaps looking forward to a massive shift toward, possibly, something better. Well, what would that better society look like? I am interested in the specifics.

    • Jeremy, I don’t know the details. I don’t think it easy to tease apart the virtuous bits of the last 400 years from the vicious, because so much of the virtuous – the Constitution, say – represents a virtuous attempt to cope with a basically vicious situation. Which is always the case, no? Pre-Enlightenment civilization did not suffer from the characteristic defects of the Enlightenment. It had its own characteristic defects (slavery, misogyny, anti-intellectualism, ignorance, and superstition were not among them). The same could be said of any Orthospherically optimal society I might limn. So I am loath to get involved in sketching out ideal constitutions. I would go so far as to say only that a proper society would be:

      * Christian
      * Truthful (e.g., honest currency, not pc)
      * Humble (not Babelonian in its arrogance, but devolving power and control as far as is practicable under a doctrine of subsidiarity)
      * Charitable – providing room for the family, the town, the church, and the firm to flourish.

      A society that sought to obey the Ten Commandments would probably be just fine.

      • Another point: you say, “there just isn’t enough money in the world to….” You speak of “enough money in the world” as if this were some sort of absolute, some sort of set in stone “reality” that everyone just has to “respond” to. But this is completely absurd. “how much money there is” is inseparable from “how much money who is willing to spend upon what” and “who has how much money.” None of these factors is a “hard reality” in the sense in which you seem to be using the term. Resources available does have some material element–and in that sense represents the “hard reality of nature” which is beyond human control. But what is done with resources–such as what the industrial revolution accomplished in terms of the “growing pie” depends upon human ingenuity, human effort, and the willingness of groups to accept technical and scientific innovations. All of these factors also involve human choice. And then, the sorts of goods and services that are produced also represent human choice. All societies also involve power differentials. Why do some societies have the particular configuration of power differentials than others? Here again, human choice is a factor–although the way the choices of multitudes coalesce–either in terms of a cohesive elite or the loyalty or knuckling under of a multitude–while invovling choice, also involves the way choices interact to create group consensus, which itself involves an element of chance. Why are some groups or classes more powerful than others? Why do some groups and individuals have just this much more than others? The conservative fallacy is that this is a matter of justice. I’ve heard you say that is because the elite is “better” which comes down to more competent, intelligent, and prudent. But I challenge you to answer this question: does competence, intelligence, and prudence imply moral virtue? I assert that it absolutely does not. The particular configuration of power and wealth in a society has something to do with competence, and even, to an extent, with distrubutive justice, but also, always, has something to do with intimidation and force. Of course in a general sense it is just for valuable work to be rewarded well. But I assert that while this is true, there is no reason to suppose that the particular rewards that accrue, because they accrue, somehow as the result of some natural process in society, are therefore just. People do not want what they deserve. They want as much as they can possibly get. No matter how intelligent and prudent and competent they may be. This is all preamble to my main point in opposition to your idea that “the amount of money” that exists is a “reality” in the sense you seem to believe it is. Those who have greater resources have a choice about how they will use those resources. Modern industrialized societies have vast wealth, which is also highly concentrated in a minority. That does not mean that the wealth can accomplish anything or is infinite. But “how much money there is” really means, to a great extent, simply “the way those who control wealth are willing to employ that wealth.” This is not a “hard reality” of economics or nature. It is a human choice.

      • Sure, it’s a human choice. All economics is. But human choices impose hard realities. We chould choose to confiscate all the wealth of the top 5% of Americans, and use it to run the Federal government for something like 4 months, in the process nationalizing the majority of the assets in the country and putting them under the control and supervision of people who, compared to the top 5% of Americans, are, if not relatively foolish, at least less able to manage assets (if they weren’t, they’d be in the 5% themselves). In the process, then, we’d destroy the economy, and put ourselves in the same league as Soviet Russia. This is what I mean when I say that there is not enough money in the world to tax our way out of this.

        If by taxes you reduce the return on the marginal unit of entrepreneurial labor, ceteris paribus you get less such labor, and thus less creation of wealth. It’s a basic tenet of economics, and it works with all factors of production. And there is no escape from it, no exemption or exception.

        The tax lever, like the monetary lever, is all used up. If we push the tax lever any further, we reduce revenues; if we push the monetary lever any further, we reduce employment. The only lever left to us is the one that hasn’t been pushed at all: reducing spending.

      • “If we push the tax lever any further, we reduce revenues.” Ok. How do you know that? Is it really true that the “amount” of “entrepreneurial labor” is strictly determined by the exact level of profit? That our system as a whole functions by rewarding innovation, entrepreneurship, risk, etc. is obvious. But it is far from obvious that there exists some sort of strict determinism relating exact level of profit to exact level of “output.” For two reasons–it seems obvious that the connection between the two cannot be strictly deterministic, and also, it seems obvious that there is really no way to exactly quanitify “entrepreneurial output.” The effectiveness of a business leader has an irreducibly qualitative aspect. That said, in general it is obviously true that taxation beyond a certain point might well reduce productivity. But here again HOW do you know that we are at that tipping point right now?

      • I didn’t say that I *knew* in any a priori, Platonic sense that tax revenues would fall if you raised rates. That’s just my opinion. But it is not just my opinion that entrepreneurial behavior would be reduced by higher taxes, ceteris paribus. It’s a fact of economics: reduce the price of a good by taxing it, and as night follows day the economy will produce less of it than if you hadn’t (again, NB, ceteris paribus) – especially if the something in question has high elasticity of supply, like labor. Raise taxes on x, and you’ll get less of it. Is this difficult to see?

        What is the basis for my opinion that increasing tax rates will cause revenues to fall? The fact that unemployment and growth are both still in the toilet, four years into this recession, despite vast, historically unprecedented, truly terrific monetary easing. Businessmen are refraining from adding new full-time employees, because they worry that the marginal employee won’t be profitable net of expenses and taxes. Not only are businesses not hiring, they are sitting on trillions of dollars of cash (despite the risk of looming hyper-inflation caused by the easing), which under normal economic conditions they’d be with child to put to work on capital investments in plant and equipment, so as to increase productivity and profits (and, ergo, wages). Corporate balance sheets are healthier than they have been in decades, because firms have been paying down debt with all their might, and retaining profits against a rainy day (this might account for the relatively high valuations they enjoy from the markets).

        Businesses are on the lookout for a reason not to invest. Increasing tax rates will give them a good one. It will push the marginal enterprises, the ones that are now just barely profitable, into the red. They’ll close up shop, firing their employees, who will stop paying taxes and start collecting unemployment, welfare, and Medicaid.

      • “reduce the price of a good by taxing it, and as night follows day the economy will produce less of it than if you hadn’t (again, NB, ceteris paribus) – especially if the something in question has high elasticity of supply, like labor. Raise taxes on x, and you’ll get less of it. Is this difficult to see?” I think you meant “increase the price…” Interesting. Is the good you are referring to “entrepreneurial labor”? Entrepreneurs will work less hard if there is less profit to be made? So here you are connecting two at least slightly different things: wages and profit. Well, do other workers work less hard if they are paid less? I’m trying to understand this (I mean it.. I’m not being sarcastic this time.) I guess what I’m trying to express is that it just doesn’t seem to me that entrepreneurial labor is a “good” in the sense you are using it. Don’t entrepreneurs just keep working their butts off to profit as much as possible–always in the face of uncertainty? Isn’t that one of the central factors that keeps our economy running? Maybe I am missing something here.

        Also a note on “necessity”: there are different kinds. E.g. there is death and there is taxes. Taxes are a necessity in the sense that because of law and custom, you “have to” pay your taxes. That is obviously a constraint the individual cannot evade. But law and custom are human creations. Don’t we all bear some measure of responsibility for the shape of the society we live in? The economic constraints–such as what businesses are willing or likely to do in the face of higher taxes–in a sense are like “taxes” in the example above. But human societies are human creations and what is taken for granted as a necessity in one society may not be so in another–even when “other” means the past or possible future of the “same” society.

        By the way, speaking of synchronicity–look at the front page of the Wall Street Journal today in the article about CEO’s and taxes!

      • Sorry, you are right, I misspoke. I meant to say, “reduce the profit on a good by taxing it, and as night follows day …”

        Yes, of course entrepreneurial labor is a good. Everything that is any good to anyone is a good. And no, entrepreneurs don’t just keep working their butts off no matter what. They aren’t robots who can do nothing but work. If they’ve done OK so far, the marginal dollar is far less valuable to them than the marginal minute. They want to do other things with their time than working. If you reduce their profit per minute of work, they’ll shift their attention to other more rewarding things, like blogging or something. And they are very flexible in deciding from one moment to the next how they shall spend their time. So the amount of entrepreneurial labor supplied to the economy is extremely sensitive to tax rates on the marginal dollar of earnings.

        And other workers behave the same, albeit less flexibly. Reduce the rewards of any sort of work and you’ll get less of it. Wages are not profit to the worker, but revenue; the worker’s profit is the excess of his revenues (wages, or salary, or whatever) over his total cost of working – including the cost of his time.

        You ask, “Isn’t [the willingness of entrepreneurs to keep working] one of the central factors that keeps our economy running?” Yes. But it is a mistake to think that entrepreneurs, or anyone, will just keep working, in rather the way that the sun comes up every day, no matter how meager their reward for doing so. Liberals reliably err in thinking that anything provided by humans is free. Nothing is free. When you tax any activity, or otherwise reduce the profit thereof (by, say, increasing the cost in man-hours of compliance with regulations), you get less of it than you otherwise would. Liberals don’t get this basic, basic ontological notion. It’s the Law of Compensation. There’s no free lunch.

      • A deeper objection I have to what seems to be your whole way of thinking may be this: I think it’s a mistake to apply the term “ontological” to characteristics of human societies. That’s the whole tenor of the objection I am trying to formulate as I try to understand where you are coming from. How societies “are” is extremely contingent, and highly dependent on free human choice (I don’t mean absolutely free). There is no such thing as an iron law of society–including what seems to be what you are calling an iron law of “compensation” I want to say that I don’t entirely understand what you mean by that and I am struggling to. This thought is in process but what bothers me is that it seems to me that you tend to conflate “nature” with “society” and/or talk about them in the same terms and it seems to me that this is probably a very fundamental error.

        But to return to the concrete in terms of which all of this must be understood: Your description of human work just does not seem to me to be accurate. For example–well, don’t people who are interested in building a business have to be…patient? Isn’t it just common sense that in order to build anything, delayed gratification is necessary? Is all business planning made in terms of IMMEDIATE profit? How immediate? Perhaps things are getting this way–but if so, isn’t that a very unhealthy and economically unsound way of operating? I’m not talking about a free lunch…I’m talking about delayed gratification.

        Here’s another thought, perhaps not well enough formed right now, but here goes: it sounds to me that you are saying that businessmen are, on principle, constantly threatening to go on strike! We won’t contribute unless we are compensated at exactly the level we demand! this is a good argument for the moral necessity of the labor movement (gasp!).

        And seriously, it really comes down to the question of how much is reward is “required” for what work? It seems to me that you have lost sight of how totally culturally relative this question is. This is not a question of ontology. It’s a question of custom. Having spent quite a bit of time studying the history of Africa, it strikes me again and again how strange all this talk of “crisis” and of “disaster” etc is when it comes to advanced industrial economies. On the whole, over the past 200 years, industrial capitalism has been stupendously successful in creating vast wealth that in fact is far more equitably shared than wealth ever had been for thousands of years. Is there reason to believe that Europe or America is in any danger of sinking to a third world level? Is the comparison between Europe and America anything at all in those terms? Of course not. And not only that: in fact, is it merely industrial capitalism that has created this widespread wealth and prosperity–which really does represent a revolution even greater than the Neolithic one–? In fact, this widespread prosperity emerged in the mixed systems that in fact developed in Europe and the U.S.–and that involved the labor movement as well. To say that “pure” capitalism would have done better is a historical counterfactual which in principle is very difficult to argue for but of course that doesn’t automatically make it false. And I think there is plenty of historical evidence that the strength of the western industrial world in fact does rest not simply on private enterprise but on a complicated and in fact highly successful integration of business, labor, and government. Also–I don’t feel I know enough about this and am very interested in your view because of what you have been intimately involved with for so many years.

      • I think it’s a mistake to apply the term “ontological” to characteristics of human societies. How societies “are” is extremely contingent, and highly dependent on free human choice (I don’t mean absolutely free). There is no such thing as an iron law of society–including what seems to be what you are calling an iron law of “compensation.” … it seems to me that you tend to conflate “nature” with “society” and/or talk about them in the same terms and it seems to me that this is probably a very fundamental error.

        The Law of Compensation is beautifully explicated in Emerson’s Compensation. Charles Williams called it the Law of Exchange, albeit he was interested to emphasize different aspects of it than Emerson. In physics, it is expressed in the conservation laws: you can’t get energy for free; it can only be obtained through an exchange of energy. It is indeed an iron, ontological law. Even God is subject to this Law – or rather, properly speaking, this Law is an aspect of God’s eternal Nature – for even God cannot do one thing without foregoing the option of doing such things as are not compossible thereto. When God decides to do x, he cannot also do –x (we might equivalently say, “God cannot lie”). In human affairs, the Law is expressed in such humble, profoundly and obviously true statements as, “you can’t get something for nothing,” “there is no free lunch,” “you can’t have your cake and eat it too,” and so forth.

        Societies cannot contravene the laws of Nature, including the Law of Exchange. There is a cost to everything, and all creaturely budgets are finite. Thus while it is true to say that the forms and acts of society are contingent, there is nothing that any society can do to make cake, or labor, or entrepreneurship, or any good whatsoever, costless. Somehow or other, absolutely every good that society enjoys must, and will, be paid for, in full, and by real human beings. There is no escape from this principle. All that people can do is decide what costs they are willing to bear in order to obtain the things that they have decided are important to obtain. It is up to them to judge whether or not they are getting a good deal from the exchange, and thus whether or not the deal is worth doing. Most human discourse concerns itself with such questions.

        So, you can’t both be a nomad and an agriculturalist; you can’t be both an entrepreneur and a layabout. Your time is limited, and you must decide what to do with it.

        … don’t people who are interested in building a business have to be … patient? Isn’t it just common sense that in order to build anything, delayed gratification is necessary? Is all business planning made in terms of IMMEDIATE profit?

        No; entrepreneurship does indeed require patience. But business must, certainly (if it is to be a sane undertaking), be planned with a view to its profitability over *some period or other.* And the time horizon for such calculations cannot be infinite, or the math won’t work. To discount a projected cash flow so as to determine if its return is good enough to make it worth the trouble entailed in undertaking it, you have to have an ending value for the assets involved at a definite point in time. The time horizon makes a huge difference. If the return on investment is low enough, it falls below the hedonic return on consumption. E.g., if it will take you 100 years to earn 5% on $5, you will be better off if you spend the money on a nice cool glass of acrid, hoppy ale, or indeed almost anything. At that rate of return, you’d probably be better off burning the $5 for the fun of it, than saving it.

        Now, if you are a successful – i.e., fairly wealthy – entrepreneur, you have all the money you need to live on, but you have no more time in the day than anyone else. So when it comes to spending time, you’ll economize. You’ll spend your time budget only on stuff that is really rewarding to you. Sure, you could spend the marginal hour on building a business that over 25 years will end up making you a lot of money. But you already have plenty of money, whereas you only have a few more decades of life. See how this works? You do the same thing – everyone does – when you decide how to spend the marginal moment of life (e.g., if the likelihood that you’ll ever make a tolerable sound with a violin is 0.01%, it probably won’t make sense to you to spend time practicing). It’s just that the marginal dollar is worth more to you than it is to the successful entrepreneur. Notice then that one consequence of this fact is that, because he is not so motivated to earn the marginal dollar as soon as possible, the entrepreneur is in a better position than you to decide what allocations of resources are most rational for society as a whole, over the long run.

        … it sounds to me that you are saying that businessmen are, on principle, constantly threatening to go on strike! We won’t contribute unless we are compensated at exactly the level we demand! This is a good argument for the moral necessity of the labor movement (gasp!).

        I have no problem with strikes. I have a problem only with preventing the person with whom in striking you are refusing to do business from doing business elsewhere, if he so chooses. Anyone who wants to stop working can do so at any time, provided he is willing to forego the compensation his work would have earned.

      • I wonder if this is going on too long but it is really interesting. I think you are saying that an increase in taxes discourages investment. But how much increase when discourages investment how much? Isn’t that pretty contingent? I don’t see any iron law here. Or, for example, various different modern industrial societies tax at various different rates and provide various different levels of social services. The way modern industrial economies work has to do with determining a level of taxation that is compatible with productivity. Without underlying economic productivity there is nothing to tax to provide social services. Yes. But the great thing about industrial capitalism is that it produces much more than people need. There is more than enough to go around. That is just a fact. Of course it is also true that “wealth” is not a mere object but only exists to the extent that people are able to use it wisely. That’s why you couldn’t just simply “redistribute” wealth to end poverty. But if there were a moral consensus in a society (in agreement with Martin Luther King) that, for example, it is God’s will that no one go without adequate health care, food, and shelter, it wouldn’t be that much of an issue to make that happen (as I think another blogger points out below). But given that there is no such moral consensus, “there isn’t enough” to make it happen. That’s my point. Both the right and the left are unwilling, it seems to me, to recognize the moral dimension of economic problems. Our whole society (not just the rich) has a certain attitude toward profit and “making it.” That is a fact that constrains any action. But it is contingent social fact. This attitude has an underlying current of self-justifying selfishness that is fundamentally unchristian. (As I pointed out, the fundmental principle of Christian ethics is love of neighbor whereas the principle of capitalism is profit for self. This doesn’t mean capitalism is per se unchristian, but rather that it cannot provide its own moral justification.) This is the moral dimension of econmics that the rightists don’t want to see. The leftists don’t want to see that poverty too has a moral dimension. They don’t want to see that the moral laxity introduced in the sixities has a great deal to due with the breakdown of families and hence with poverty.

      • Liberals commonly err in thinking that the only way to implement a moral consensus that no one ought to be denied the basics of life is to provide those basics via confiscatory taxation and transfer payments from the state. It isn’t so. Before Henry VIII closed the monasteries and appropriated their lands, the monks and nuns provided charity to anyone who needed it. They ran hostels and hospitals, and so forth. They were also employers of last resort. If you couldn’t get a job with a farmer, you could get a job at a monastic farm or factory, in return for food, shelter, and attendance at services. Once the monasteries were closed, Henry found he needed to do something about all these poor folk wandering the countryside and starving to death, so he started up workhouses. Our modern welfare policies are descendents of that move. But there is no reason we couldn’t go back to doing it the old-fashioned way. Before there were Christian monastics to provide these charitable services, the only option for the destitute was slavery. It was with the rise of the monastic institutions – gigantic enterprises, many of them, that amassed fantastic wealth – that slavery died out in Northern Europe in the High Middle Ages. It came back in from Iberia, which had been under Muslim influence.

        Is capitalism anti-Christian, as you contend? I don’t think so; not inherently. A society of capitalists who are Christians is going to evaluate things as Christians do. Christians, being motivated by the command of God Almighty to love and serve the poor, are going to want to love and serve the poor. Their free economic decisions, taken in service of what they understand to be right, and proper, and therefore legitimately pleasant and rewarding, are going to take account of the poor. If your values are Christian, then you will find charity to the poor valuable, and you will engage in it.

        If a people are not Christian, on the other hand, they are not going to act like Christians, and their society will be brutal, heartless, selfish. And this will be so, no matter what the outward form of their economic order.

        This is all brilliantly illustrated in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. When Scrooge comes to his senses and realizes that love is the sine qua non of society, his response is, not to lobby Parliament for more taxation and welfare spending, but to go buy some food and give it directly to the poor, and with them to break the bread of Christ’s Mass – of the Incarnation of God in the soma of the created order. He does what the monks would have done, had they still been around in 19th Century Britain.

      • Hooray! You’ve said something I haven’t heard before from anyone! I’m not being sarcastic, I really mean that this is what a real dialogue can accomplish.
        A few minor points: How many conservatives–by which I mean simply people who would call themselves conservative–think as you do? I’m sure that a great many of them do not–though they might say they endorse a similar practical approach. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not all that impressed by whatever it is that generally motivates liberals either. There is a great deal of selfishness and vanity at play everywhere.
        I wonder what in fact Dickens did believe about the role of government. The nineteenth century did in fact see the beginnings of the welfare state in England. This is just an empirical question regarding Dickens’ biography.
        Third, from a Christian point of view, one should in fact say that government action is not enough, and without the right motivation and without the right cultural or civil-societal support won’t be very effective. But that still leaves open the question of what a Christian social ethics would say about the role of government in relationship to poverty. I have challenged an assumption that you seem to be making, for example when you use the world “confiscatory” in relation to taxation: namely, that people inherently deserve the rewards they happen to get, even for their hard work. That work be rewarded is justice, but the particular level of reward in any given situation is contingent–and there is no necessary relation at all between the actual level of reward and what a just reward would be. In fact, I think it is in principle impossible and perhaps meaningless to define “just reward” in such specific terms for each specific case.
        Finally, I didn’t mean to say that capitalism is inherently anti Christian. What I mean is this: the principle of captialism is the pursuit of self interest. All societies need to depend upon their members’ pursuit of self interest. Capitalism does that in a particularly effective way. It tends to inflame selfishness–but it also at the same time harnesses it and restrains it. From the viewpoint of the common good it seems to me that Christianity is bound to take, it seems to me that capitalism can in fact be justified as an effective way to motivate productivity in a society. But from the viewpoint of Christianity “self interest” cannot be the fundamental principle of ethics. If we view “capitalism” as not just a socioeconomic system, but also as a comprehensive and fundamental ideology, it could be called antiChristian but only if we regard its fundamental principle as the pursuit of self interest. If we regard “capitalism” simply as a socioeconomic system, then we, as Christians, may, I believe, say that it can be justified since it has proven itself by creating widespread prosperity of kind unheard of before in human history. However, what is its future? Marx predicted that it would lead to greater and greater wealth concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and along with that, the impoverishment of the majority. That did not in fact happen. Will it happen after all, eventually? I don’t know. But if should after all turn out that way, then capitalism as a socioeconomic system will have failed in terms of the one crucial factor that can justify it in terms of Christian moral theology.
        But I think we’ve been over this ground. Thank you Kris for sticking with me on this. I appreciate it.

    • I will try to give my view on this:

      What do you mean by liberalism? Do you mean the “enlightenment project”?

      Yes, the enlightenment is the first form of liberalism. To judge any political idea we need to at the very least ask ourselves 2 questions:

      1> Is this idea a threat to our physical survival or that of our descendents?
      2> Is this idea a threat to the survival of Christianism?

      And for the enlightenment in it’s very early stage the answer seamed to be no for both, but we already know that liberalism if given enough time will necessarely decay into the radical leftism that we have today. So then we get a yes on both questions. So it is necessary to reject classic liberalism, because it is a threat to our survival. We all know that liberalism brought the record low birth numbers in the west and the mass immigration, which amounts to a similar scenario to that of the indians in the Americas, or the subjulgation of the original inhabitants of Anatolia by the turks, or the destruction of the Khoisan peoples in Africa by the Bantus, etc, etc, etc.

      And being on the loosing side means death, and it is our right to survive, so we should do everything necessary to survive.

      All nice things about classic liberalism can be obtained from Christian ideas like moderation anyway, so liberalism is not necessary for anything. It is just a poison which is killing us.

      Would you include the declaration of indpendence and the consitution among the products of that project?

      A declaration of independence in itself is not liberalism. Consider the historical precedent of the independence of Portugal. The Count of Portugal declared independence from Castilla and won an independency war. Than he went forward and won many battles against the muslims and by being a good Christian he got recognition from the pope and a peace treaty with Castille. So simply independence cannot be viewed as anti-conservative in this aspect. It might sometimes be a correct course, like it was for Portugal.

      The constitution of the USA on the other hand is clearly a product of “classic liberalism”. It makes the deadly error of presupposing an orderly society of christian europeans without making any kind of attempt to keep the society european or to keep it Christian! I think that they never imagined at that time that the society could no longer be european or no longer Christian, but we now have this knowledge so a true constitution of any western land must guarantee those 2 things. And the country executive power must therefore do everything necessary to guarantee those 2 things.

      Was abolitionism part of the liberalism you denounce?

      Slavery is a stupid idea, it always ends badly. In Haiti it ended with a revolt at which the blacks killed the french living there. So ending slavery was a good thing. But the error was not shipping all blacks back to Africa after that.

      Was Abraham Lincoln a liberal?

      I’m not sure, but for sure he was an enemy of the europeans if we created a war that killed 100.000s of europeans only to empower blacks, and if he was still living and I had power he would be executed for that.

      Was the attack on racial segregation “liberal”?

      Yes. On the other hand, Apartheit-like segregation does not work, it has been proven, because it leads to liberal attacking it and then it leads into the genocide of whites like in South Africa after reintegration.

      The true solution is the Israel solution: 2 states. Split out, and build a strong wall to enforce the separation. It was the plan for South Africa all along, but the liberal opressors prevented that.

      Are all aspects of the welfare state by definition “liberal” and hence worthy of elimination?

      No, if the society consists only of europeans and allies of europeans (like many indian tribes were, also the japanese, koreans, etc), then some (but not too much) welfare state can be good.

      Well, what would that better society look like? I am interested in the specifics.

      I think that nearly anything is better then the masoquistic and suicidal european post-modernity. Examples:

      *Franco’s Spain
      *Any Christian land in Europe or the Americas from 350 to 1792
      *South America before the redemocratization in the 1990s which lead to the left taking power was also quite OK

      From my list I guess that democracy favours leftism if we look historically.

      Many orthos think that monarchy is the solution, but I find it not realistic. Do we have any real example of monarchy defeating liberalism? I haven’t heard of that … Also historically kings sometimes were great (like queen Isabela from Spain), but many times they were disastrous (think about Nero, Commodus, etc)…

      I think that a single party rule with a rather moderate nationalistic christian party would be ideal. This kind of system has been proven to defeat liberalism for extended amounts of time. I do am talking about Fascism. I guess that’s why liberals atack Fascism all the time in movies, trying to make it the same as the genocidal Nazism. They know that Fascism could defeat them.

      • Slavery is a stupid idea, it always ends badly.

        You are a member of a stone age tribe. You just fought and won a pitched battle against a neighboring tribe which was trying to exterminate you. You have captives. What to do?

        Sadly, you can’t turn them over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague because, well, it won’t exist for 10,000 years. You could let them go. Then they will attack you again at a time and place of their choosing. You could kill them all. You could imprison them. Reluctantly, you choose this. Unfortunately, your tribe is not wealthy enough to be able to support them all. So, they have to work as part of their imprisonment. There is a special name for people who are imprisoned and forced to work for their captors: slaves.

        Obviously, slavery outlived its justification, but what you are saying above is way too strong. “Always” is hyperbole. Slavery was just and prudent in its time, which time is now in the past.

    • Down with the Revolution!

      Down with the Declaration of Independence!

      Down with the Constitution of the United States!

      Down with those scurvy, vile, self-serving, honorless traitors who were the authors of them all!

      At most if not all times and places, there are all sorts of competing currents of thought and competing material interests which involve all sorts of contradictions even within a single person.

      Every snowflake is unique; therefore, there is no such thing as snowflakes. Are you always this much of a splitter?

  6. Jeremy,

    I would include the enlightenment project in liberalism. We have followed Roseau’s lie about the noble savage to its’ logical conclusion.

    The push back is not going to be back to 1950s liberalism or 1930s Falangism. (is that a word?). It is going to be going somewhere else.

    The demise of the social democratic or fabian socialist idea of the state as the final insurer will (if things go well) lead to a renaissance of communtarainism. The Knights of Columbus and the Orange Order will again spend time serving their neighbours — and may find themselves working together to do this.

    If things go badly, the USA will become the new Argentina.

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  8. Excellent stuff.

    I agree with your analysis in broad brush terms; and would add in the long term (post industrial revolution) trend towards Christian apostasy as a major factor; plus the vast demographic changes in the world with huge differentials in population growth/ decline and enormous and rapid movements and migrations: this has led to an unprecedentedly aged population in the West, and unprecedentedly youthful populations in other places.

    I am much more pessimistic than you about the likelihood of a good outcome, because I think the amount of good in the world is less than it was (as was prophesied), and evil more dominant; not in the sense of social indices but in the sense of Christians being turned to God as good, and turned away from God as evil; and in the sense of the scale of influence of personalized purposive evil.

    *

    In that sense I worry that we lack the resources for good outcomes. For instance, we lack leaders.

    More specifically (as I have often argued) I do not see hope in the rise of common sense analysis of the insanity of Leftism unless it is built upon repentance – and the phase of repentance must (swiftly) lead to a Christian Awakening.

    Positive change cannot come from grievance, from resentment – *even when* that grievance is reasonable.

    Without foundations on repentance and renewal, new common sense political movements will simply lead to civil wars over power and resources.

    *

    Nonetheless, you major point stands that it certainly feels and seems like we are in one of those times.

    Rather than trying to predict or influence the future, we should be firmer than ever in our resolve to do the right thing in everything – no matter how apparently small.

    Because everything matters and nothing is truly small.

    *

    Because of the way in which consequences amplify and ramify; it may be some tiny, apparently trivial, almost unnoticed and unrecorded act by one of us that tips the balance one way or the other.

    (The Lord of the Rings explains, with multiple examples, how this works.)

    • Yes. Note that one thing I did not say was that the society that issues from a phase change would be better than ours in absolute terms. It is likely to be better in some ways, to be sure, in that it will probably correct for our most egregious defects. But it will be evil in its own characteristic ways. There is no escape in this sublunary coil from the Law of Compensation.

      Untouched in this post is the possibility of another Great Awakening. It is real. It could happen, in connection with a phase change. Anything could happen. I think of it this way: the more evil things get, the greater the chance that Nature’s customary reversion to the mean will pull them back toward the Good.

      I do not even mention the eschaton. Soon may our King return.

  9. The points (9) and (10) are sheer wishful thinking.

    Regarding point (9), I see no indication whatsoever that the mainstream media’s grip over public discourse is weakening. At the same time, the acceptable boundaries of mainstream discourse are constantly shifting leftwards, so if anything, the ideological hegemony of leftism is getting ever more securely and firmly established. The idea that the internet will somehow undermine this hegemony has always struck me as extremely naive — realistically, the internet offers no fundamental advantage over traditional forms of pamphleteering and samizdat.

    This leads to the point (10). Popular resistance to the liberal establishment’s relentless promotion of immorality and ugliness has always existed, and a generation ago (let alone two!) it was enormously stronger than nowadays. However, with the liberal establishment in control of the mainstream discourse, any organized attempt at such resistance will be defeated. Popular resistance has never accomplished anything in human history except insofar as it has been used as a tool in struggles between different factions of the elite.

  10. Today, I’m more with Vladimir. What are the big threats to the present liberal order? I don’t see them. For example, when people point to the allegedly terriible problems the US gov faces, I just don’t understand what they are talking about.

    USG has enormous lattitude for action, still. USG could cancel (or inflate away) its debt tomorrow: that alleged problem solved. US taxes are low by OECD standards: USG could collect way more than it currently does with no real problems. USG could slash defense spending by an order of magnitude with no problem. Even the dreaded health care cost crisis is really not that big a deal. Huge savings could be had just by squeezing health care worker’s incomes—the US could get down to Canadian levels of spending this way pretty much overnight. In an actual crisis, these things become politically feasible, no?

    The longer term stuff looks similar. US demographics are gradually going to come to look more like Brazil’s. And? So? Growth will be slower, the government will be both bigger and less effectual. How is that going to cause collapse?

    On the death of MSM, again I agree with Vladimir. In the forseeable future, you are not going to be able to make money running a newspaper or its equivalent. You are not going to be able to make money on TV news or its equivalent. The internet is going to kill these businesses (probably).

    But, then what? Is there going to be no news media? Of course not. News media are going to go not-for-profit. George Soros or someone like him will fund a news network. The NRA, amusingly enough, started down this path a few years ago. I don’t know what became of their radio network. But, it looks to me as if the new MSM will be controlled by people with the money to fund non-profit newsgathering outfits, think-tanks, and the like. So, the exact same kind of people who are in charge of the MSM now will be in charge of it then, no?

    But Americans won’t take higher taxes, more re-distribution, slower growth, etc! They will rebel! Why beleive that? It’s only whites who will be getting shafted. Felipe mentions South Africa upthread. That place evinces a bottomless well of white masochism. Is that what is poised to change? Are American whites all of a sudden going to get all loud-and-proud race conscious?

    As Kristor’s link alludes to, this is perhaps the thing which could be a big threat to modern liberalism. Is this why liberals are so hysterical about it? Lots of American whites are angry, and some unknown proportion of them are angry self-consciously as whites. Enough to do anything? And what will set them off?

    • Excellent points from Vladimir and Bill. Re the media, I totally agree that the usual suspects are going to try to gain control of the discourse through the internet. There are, and will be, MSM websites. But the thing about the internet that is new is that it makes global propagation of samizdat essentially free. This means that unless there is internet censorship by governments, there is no way that MSM sites could gain control of the discourse. Case in point: both Bill and Vladimir read and responded to my post. This could never have happened before the internet. The almost total elimination of search costs that it makes possible is historically unprecedented. It’s not going to fix anything, that’s for sure. It’s just another aspect of things spiralling out of control of the Establishment.

      Re whether Americans want to kill the golden goose: I guess we’ll see. The human capacity for foolishness never ceases to amaze me.

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  12. The portion of Technical Analysis relating to levels of support and resistance is valid and valuable. The portion relating to wave counts, “Cup and Saucer” and the like is, IMO mostly snake oil.

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