Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Roots of "Public Opinion"

Almost everything that is "accepted" as "public opinion" is, in reality, carefully crafted propaganda.

Take Bacon and Eggs for breakfast. One would think that this is a cultural thing since antiquity. Edward Bernays, the "father of Public Relations", came up with a campaign showing survey results of doctors recommending hearty breakfasts, and came up with publicity touting bacon and eggs. This was to promote the sales of bacon.

Bernays wrote the book "Propaganda", wherein he wrote:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
From the customer reviews in the Amazon link:
During World War I, he was an integral part of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda apparatus that was mobilized to package, advertise and sell the war to the American people as one that would "Make the World Safe for Democracy." The CPI would become the blueprint in which marketing strategies for future wars would be based upon.

Bernays applied the techniques he had learned in the CPI and, incorporating some of the ideas of Walter Lipmann, became an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a tool for democratic and corporate manipulation of the population. His 1928 bombshell Propaganda lays out his eerily prescient vision for using propaganda to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science and education. To read this book today is to frightfully comprehend what our contemporary institutions of government and business have become in regards to organized manipulation of the masses.

Sound familiar?

The book Trust Us We're Experts outlines the way by which media-touted "experts" push the agenda of the corporations that hire them:
Fearless investigative journalists Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber (Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! and Mad Cow U.S.A.) are back with a gripping exposé of the public relations industry and the scientists who back their business-funded, anti-consumer-safety agendas. There are two kinds of "experts" in question--the PR spin doctors behind the scenes and the "independent" experts paraded before the public, scientists who have been hand-selected, cultivated, and paid handsomely to promote the views of corporations involved in controversial actions. Lively writing on controversial topics such as dioxin, bovine growth hormone, and genetically modified food makes this a real page-turner, shocking in its portrayal of the real and potential dangers in each of these technological innovations and of the "media pseudo-environment" created to obfuscate the risks. By financing and publicizing views that support the goals of corporate sponsors, PR campaigns have, over the course of the century, managed to suppress the dangers of lead poisoning for decades, silence the scientist who discovered that rats fed on genetically modified corn had significant organ abnormalities, squelch television and newspaper stories about the risks of bovine growth hormone, and place enough confusion and doubt in the public's mind about global warming to suppress any mobilization for action. Rampton and Stauber introduce the movers and shakers of the PR industry, from the "risk communicators" (whose job is to downplay all risks) and "outrage managers" (with their four strategies--deflect, defer, dismiss, or defeat) to those who specialize in "public policy intelligence" (spying on opponents). Evidently, these elaborate PR campaigns are created for our own good. According to public relations philosophers, the public reacts emotionally to topics related to health and safety and is incapable of holding rational discourse. Needless to say, Rampton and Stauber find these views rather antidemocratic and intend to pull back the curtain to reveal the real wizard in Oz. This is one wake-up call that's hard to resist.

From Publishers Weekly
Recent surveys show that "national experts" are the third most trusted type of public figure (after Supreme Court justices and schoolteachers). Hard-hitting investigative journalists Rampton and Stauber (Toxic Sludge Is Good for You!) ask whether that trust is misplaced. They assert that, with highly technical issues like environmental pollution and bioengineered foodstuffs, "people are encouraged to suspend their own judgment and abandon responsibility to the experts." The authors examine the opinions of many so-called experts to show how their opinions are often marred by conflicts of interest. Peering behind the curtain of decision making, they catch more than a few with blood money on their hands. From spin doctors with dubious credentials to think tanks that do everything but think and scientists who work backwards to engineer desired experimental results, Rampton and Stauber present an astonishing compendium of alleged abuses of the public's willingness to believe. Particularly sobering is their summary of the historical use of "experts" by the tobacco and mining industries, which, they reveal, have suppressed and manipulated information in order to slow industrial reform. Their allegation that industry flaks may be purposely clouding the current debates swirling around "junk science" and global warming issues should provoke readers to reexamine these matters. Rampton and Stauber's impassioned call for skepticism goes beyond rhetoricAthey also offer practical guidelines for separating propaganda from useful information. Agent, Tom Grady.
A review on
Over the past decade, corporations and public-relations firms have seized upon a remarkable new way of influencing opinion called the "third-party technique." The method is simple-just put your words into the mouth of someone who appears impartial, such as a doctor, professor, watchdog group, or an "expert" of some kind. Written with biting humor and penetrating insight, Trust Us, We're Experts! exposes the current and very effective methods of opinion manipulation practiced by the corporate powers that be.

This webpage has an interesting set of videos:
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The first of four videos, "One: Happiness Machines":
The story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays. Bernays invented the public relations profession in the 1920s and was the first person to take Freud's ideas to manipulate the masses. He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn't need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.

Bernays was one of the main architects of the modern techniques of mass-consumer persuasion, using every trick in the book, from celebrity endorsement and outrageous PR stunts, to eroticising the motorcar.

His most notorious coup was breaking the taboo on women smoking by persuading them that cigarettes were a symbol of independence and freedom. But Bernays was convinced that this was more than just a way of selling consumer goods. It was a new political idea of how to control the masses. By satisfying the inner irrational desires that his uncle had identified, people could be made happy and thus docile.

It was the start of the all-consuming self which has come to dominate today's world.
Video #4 of this series is called "Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering". It is about how politicians have used propaganda to appeal to the masses.

I believe all this is the root of
today's consumerism which I've written about before. I also wrote that the real purpose of public education is to produce good little consumers.

Friday, January 25, 2008

More on the Compound Interest Paradox, and why Corporations are Obsessed About Growth

I found a great article:

"Is This the Beginning of a Worldwide Depression?"
by Paul Rye,

The coming economic crisis is "due to the nature of our monetary and banking system and Government’s relation with it", and is completely foreseeable.

I wrote that because of the Compound Interest Paradox, the money supply is gradually being replaced by debt - IOW the money in circulation is owed to the banks. He says that only 3% is NOT owed. 97% of the money in circulation is OWED TO BANKS. Think about it. How many middle class people do you know have more assets than debt?
"The crux of the problem is that mathematically, credit-based money is lent into existence at interest by a fractional reserve banking system that does not create the money needed to pay the interest. All debts cannot be repaid, because not enough money is lent into existence to repay both the principal and interest. Therefore, the interest must come from the existing pool of money. No matter what the quality of the participants, there must be losers."
He touches on something I'd wanted to blog about - how the Paradox drives corporations to be obsessed about growth.
"The pressure on the losers to pay their debts makes the economy unnaturally competitive and growth-oriented, leading to excessive exploitation of natural and human resources. And, the only way to avoid an excessive number of losers is to keep increasing the total amount of debt, continually pumping more money (credit) into the system. Therefore, monetary inflation is necessary and endless.
If you do not want to be a debt slave for the rest of your life, if you do not want to see generations of people in the U.S. and the third world be debt slaves for the rest of their lives, if you do not want to see the human and natural resources of this planet squandered simply to pay interest on loans that are not even necessary to create a workable monetary system, then you need to learn about how the existing system works, who perpetuates it, and how the whole system could be re-thought and re-designed.

The article is excellent and well worth reading.

I think the word is spreading on the lies of the monetary system.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Public Schools and Propaganda

I have blogged about this before. The public school system does not teach critical thinking, and produces dumbed down masses that are "good little consumers".

John Lott in his book Freedomnomics, has a subchapter titled "Government Control of Information: From Public Schools to Television".
Public Education was actually designed to spread government-approved values. In totalitarian countries, in order to instill the proper adherence to the ruling ideology, totalitarian leaders must attach the most common locus for spreading oppositional values - the family. To weaken parental influence, the soviet union during the 1920's and again in the 1950's experimented with raising children in communal children's houses that would decrease the importance of the individual household.

This is not limited to totalitarian countries.

Take the creation of Sweden's extensive nursery school system. Declaring that "school is the spearhead of socialism", Ingvar Carlsson, Sweden's education minister from 1969 to 1973 (and later prime minister), insisted that removing children from the home through "pre-school training is essential to eliminate the social heritage of undesirable, reactionary parental views. Swedish education theorists even advocated tax and government employment policies that would "get both parents out of the home, so that children are forced out as well".

By abolishing the very concept of the family, totalitarian governments hope to create a government monopoly on the transmission of social values. The main avenue [being] the educational system. By instilling in young students the idea that the regime is legitimate and acts fairly, totalitarian governments seek to reduce potential opposition to their rule. They invest enormous resources in these endeavors for a very rational reason - evidence shows that government provided schooling reduces political opposition and predisposes students to support the government when they get older.
While the degree of indoctrination in American schools never reached totalitarian levels, an brief history of the evolution of American public schooling reveals that public schools, in fact, did develop specifically as a method to inculcate values supported by the government.
So what are these government values spread in the educational system? Teaching the young to believe that government policies can effectively solve problems. Teachers have a natural incentive to teach this axiom. Public high school teachers face the same incentives. They have a personal interest in perpetuating the growth of government, which is the source of their own livelihood.

Government spending on education is widely views as a positive endeavor. But public schools have been aimed at instilling government values. Thus it should not be too surprising to learn that totalitarian nations on average spend twice as much on education per student as do free countries with the same total income.

This isn't because totalitarian countries care more about their children. Totalitarian states have spent less on health care than freer countries.

It's interesting to note that countries with socialized medical care usually allow much more competition between government hospitals or doctors than they allow between schools. If patients can pay to travel a long distance to see a certain doctor, they're typically allowed to do so. Students, however, can't so easily choose which public school to attend. While competition between hospitals or doctors produces better health care, competition between government schools reduces the effectiveness of government indoctrination efforts.
Ingvar Carlsson, the Swedish education minister who said "school is the spearhead of socialism", is a member of the Trilateral Commission, which is a sister group to the CFR, and a major player in the UN. The CFR and TC are pushing socialism and one world government. The UN was the world power elite's 2nd attempt at a supra-national body (the first being the League of Nations)

Aaron Russo, the Hollywood director of "Trading Places" fame, made the movie "Freedom to Fascism".

In an interview, Aaron Russo recounted his conversations with Nick Rockefeller:
"After his popular video Mad As Hell was released and he began his campaign to become Governor of Nevada, Russo was noticed by Rockefeller and introduced to him by a female attorney. Seeing Russo's passion and ability to affect change, Rockefeller set about on a subtle mission to recruit Russo into the elite.

During one conversation, Rockefeller asked Russo if he was interested in joining the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) but Russo rejected the invitation, saying he had no interest in "enslaving the people" to which Rockefeller coldly questioned why he cared about the "serfs."

In a later conversation, Rockefeller asked Russo what he thought women's liberation was about. Russo's response that he thought it was about the right to work and receive equal pay as men, just as they had won the right to vote, caused Rockefeller to laughingly retort, "You're an idiot! Let me tell you what that was about, we the Rockefeller's funded that, we funded women's lib, we're the one's who got all of the newspapers and television - the Rockefeller Foundation."

Rockefeller told Russo of two primary reasons why the elite bankrolled women's lib, one because before women's lib the bankers couldn't tax half the population and two because it allowed them to get children in school at an earlier age, enabling them to be indoctrinated into accepting the state as the primary family, breaking up the traditional family model.

This revelation dovetails previous admissions on behalf of feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem (pictured) that the CIA bankrolled Ms. Magazine as part of the same agenda of breaking up traditional family models."

The book Educating for the New World Order discusses a woman's fight with the educational system:

Copying from one of the book's Amazon reviews:

"This is the story of how Anita Hoge investigated and uncovered how the state of Pennsylvania was implementing a psychological test to measure the students' beliefs, yet calling it "educational testing" to unsuspecting students and parents. Those with the "wrong" opinion receive extra "treatment" and the field of education turned away from teaching the basics (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic). Anita stood up to the education establishment and forced it to obey the law."

I read this book in 1992. When I told my friends and relatives what was coming in education (teaching homosexuality and bestiality, global citizenship, etc.), they thought I was a kook. They're not laughing now! All American schools are now obliged to teach kids how to be a multi-cultural, non-judgmental, citizen of the world. I also recommend her book, "Cloning of the American Mind." Her books are long on details, and not real entertaining, so you're going to have to work at them -- but it's worth it. --

The educational system is responsible for the spread of "liberalism" aka socialism, and "political correctness". More on this in another blog.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Pyramids, Food Production, and Economic Inefficiency

5,000 years ago the civilization of ancient Egypt had signs of wealth... in their pyramids, the temples, the medicine they practiced.

Civilizations arose in areas of the world where agriculture allowed farmers to feed a large number of people, freeing others to specialize in other areas such as development of technology and philosophy. Egypt for example occupied the fertile banks of the Nile river.

Jared Diamond is an evolutionary biologist with a theory of how civilizations came about and how it is that modern civilization sprung up in Eurasia. Eurasia had a combination of plant and animal life that was very conducive to agriculture.

The following is a summary of his book Guns, Germs and Steel. It is fascinating and well worth reading:

One question that comes to mind is, how much more efficiently can we produce food, as compared to ancient civilizations such as Egypt? It stands to reason that if we can produce food 5x as efficiently as the Ancient Egyptians, we would need to work 1/5th as much for the essentials, if cost of the other essentials such as housing were reduced the same amount.

This webpage says 129 people, today, working 8 hours a day. (In 1960, it was 25.)

That would suggest that if one's economic output were roughly equivalent to a farmer, one would need to spend less than 1% of their time (if working 8 hours a day), working in order to pay for food. That number probably does not include the cost of a farmer's machines and land; let's just pretend for a very rough calculation that the cost of a farmer's labor in food production is 30%; that would still suggest that 3% of a person's economic output would be needed to pay for food.

Let's look at the other essentials - shelter and clothing.

It took one guy 9 weeks to build a 1200 sq ft log home:
Out of 40 weeks per year and 40 years, that's not even 1% of a person's economic output. Let's just assume that that cost is doubled by the cost of tool rental. That's still less than 2%.

Clothing is probably less expensive than food and shelter.

So if food is 3%, housing is 2%, and clothing is say 1%, that brings the total to 6%. Let's just say medical care will cost the same as food, and energy, the same as housing. The total is 11%. This pie in the sky calculation says that the basic necessities of life can be purchased by working less than an hour a day. Let's pretend there is a taxation rate of 50% in a socialistic society. That's still only 2 hours a day. Or, put another way, with today's technology, we should be able to get the basic necessities just working 60 days a year. Anything over that should just be fluff.

Let's say the Ancient Egyptians worked 8 hours a day 300 days a year. Today the average worker works 8 hours a day, something like 220 - 240 days a year. Has 5,000 years of technology only allowed us to work 25% less??? Or, why have we not benefited from technology in the form of reduced workloads?

The answer I believe is incredible economic inefficiency today. There is much waste. Think of all the people in industries that really are parasites on society. Everyone's favorite example is lawyers. Think of nuisance lawsuits. Think of how much economic output is wasted not only by lawyer's fees, but also by the time spent by jurors. Another example are the tax accountants. They are being paid to do a job simply because the tax code is onerous and byzantine.

In many ways, wealth is destroyed simply by wasting people's time that could have been spent being productive - basically when people have to take time off from work in order to do things such as going to court for a traffic ticket.

The largest wastage of economic productivity is government. In the example above I used a tax rate of 50%. However, taxes are probably much higher. The average Federal income tax rate is 25%, but Social Security and Medicare is another 15%, and in some states, the state income tax is 5%. Then there is regulatory compliance cost of 16% of GDP. That brings the total to 66%. Some may say "but those costs are for some necessary services". Government is incredibly inefficient at spending money to provide services. They simply have no motivation to spend money wisely, unlike the free market. FSK has said that the resulting total tax is even greater than 66%.

There is another parasite that is living off of the middle class. These are the beneficiaries of the corrupt monetary system. The tax they foist on the middle class is in the form of interest payments on debt, and inflation because of the central banking system. Note also that the income tax pays for interest on the loans made by central banks to government, using money created out of nothing.

Even if my calculations are off, the reasoning stands. A heck of a lot of wealth is confiscated or destroyed by government and by debt.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Psychopaths, Corporations, and Government

In the book "Snakes in Suits", the authors claim that the corporate world attracts psychopaths because the corporate structure rewards ruthless behavior. 1% of the general population are psychopaths. It is mostly genetic, like dyslexia.

Contrary to popular belief, most psychopaths don't become serial killers, as they don't necessarily enjoy killing.

[Psychopaths are not] burdened by conscience. Psychopaths have a profound lack of empathy. They use other people callously and remorselessly for their own ends. They seduce victims with a hypnotic charm that masks their true nature as pathological liars, master con artists, and heartless manipulators. Easily bored, they crave constant stimulation, so they seek thrills from real-life "games" they can win -- and take pleasure from their power over other people.
This is where you're likely to find such people as Ebbers, Fastow, ImClone CEO Sam Waksal, and hotelier Leona Helmsley. We put several big-name CEOs through the checklist, and they scored as "moderately psychopathic"
There are certainly more people in the business world who would score high in the psychopathic dimension than in the general population. You'll find them in any organization where, by the nature of one's position, you have power and control over other people and the opportunity to get something."
Indeed the 2003 documentary The Corporation, corporations are "sociopathic" (a synonym for "psychopathic") because they ruthlessly seek their own selfish interests -- "shareholder value" -- without regard for the harms they cause to others, such as environmental damage.

Psychopaths succeed in conventional society in large measure because few of us grasp that they are fundamentally different from ourselves. We assume that they, too, care about other people's feelings. This makes it easier for them to "play" us.
If corporations attract psychopaths, then by extension government attracts psychopaths.

When one rises above a certain level in a large corporation, one rubs elbows with government and enter the "revolving door" between the corporate world and government.

One of the ways people "debunk" a conspiracy theory is, "why would these people want more money and power than they already have?" Well, there's the answer, they are psychopaths.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"What About the Children?!!"

One of the easiest ways to influence people is to appeal to emotion. I mentioned fear in my previous post "The Ministry of Fear":
and I mentioned this book:
The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things

But the most effective emotional appeal is "What about the children?!" It combines fear and concern for children; to be afraid for the little ones.

American parents show slavish devotion to children:

"..many people don't understand how kiddie-centric America has become. To me, this is one of the central givens of contempo American life. It seems so blazingly evident to me that I tend to assert it as established fact, and am amazed to encounter people who dispute it.

What's my proof? .. impressions, really. .. what has jumped out at me most during my times abroad is the way that other cultures don't organize themselves around children to the same extent that the U.S. does.

I spent a school year in Rennes, Brittany in the early 1970s. Here are a few examples of how their attitudes towards kids differed from ours.

  • They never took vacations for the kids -- .. the idea of devoting a few weeks of one's treasured time-off to a kiddie destination would have been found laughable. Vacations were to be spent where the parents could enjoy their well-earned leisure.
  • Days and weeks weren't organized around the kiddies' obligations and plans: playdates, music lessons, soccer games, SAT-coaching appointments, etc. Life was organized around the parents' rhythms.
  • Grownups didn't choose neighborhoods to live in strictly for the sake of the kids. They might (or might not) move someplace because they knew the schools there to be better. But that was rare. And, in any case, parents certainly wouldn't sacrifice anything in the way of their own dignity and pleasure for the sake of, say, a big backyard."

Given how crazy parents are about their children, appealing to that emotion is very effective.

It's a standard media propaganda trick. If the day ever comes that the Internet will be censored, it will have started because of child porn or to "protect" children from porn. That will be the nose of the camel in the tent. Indeed, mandatory child porn filters are now required in Australia:

When smearing Ron Paul, the media often used the fact that he wants to get rid of the Department of Education. It of course elicits the reaction "What about the children?!" In the sound bite, of course the media doesn't explain Ron Paul's stand, that the parents in a community should decide how a school is run, not some bureaucrat in Washington. After all, local property taxes pay for schools, not the Federal income tax.

Many stupid laws, regulations, and even behavior, are about "What about the children?!" Sometimes in the morning I drive by a school. Traffic always backs up at the crosswalk, and it's the crossing guards' fault. Instead of making the vehicles and the children take turns, the crossing guards immediately stop the cars when even a single child approaches, so that the child doesn't even break stride, nor even look to see if cars have stopped. . The guards do this even if there is a large group of children 10 seconds behind the lone one, where he could have stopped the one child in order to continue to let cars pass until the large group arrived. The ridiculousness of this situation is so obvious to me, that I yell my displeasure at the crossing guard, who then of course yells back at the impatient ogre who just wants to mow down little children.

Not only does this system force everyone else to waste time and be slaves to the little children's whims, but it does not teach them the individual responsibility of watching out for their own safety to check the street for oncoming cars. People are so busy child-proofing the world, that they forget the more important task of world-proofing the child!

A friend was a juror in a child abuse case. The defendant was accused of abusing his girlfriend's child. The child had fallen and hit his head while the mother was away, so the worried defendant took the child to a doctor. The doctor said the kid was fine, but noted minor bruising on the kid's arms. The doctor was required by law to report this to Child Protective Services. And so the circus began.

All the witnesses said they never thought the defendant would hurt the child. The cops who had seen the child did not think so either. The only person accusing the defendant was an employee of Child Protective Services who filed suit based on pictures that the cops took. She had never even seen the child. After several days of testimony, the big day finally came where the incriminating photos would be shown to the jury. Squinting at the blurry, badly exposed polaroids, the jurors all shook their heads and could barely see any bruising.

The defendant had explained that the kid liked to rough-house, which explains the slight bruising on his arms. The jurors thought there was no way this guy was guilty. Then suddenly, surprise! The defendant accepted a plea bargain! In exchange for pleading guilty and paying for expensive "child rearing seminars", the charges would be dropped. My friend was so shocked he approached the defendant's lawyer and told him "why did you not wait for a verdict, we were gonna find him not guilty". The lawyer shushed him and explained "we're never sure which way the jury goes".

So much for justice. All in the name of "What about the children". Part of the deal too was that the guy move at least 300 miles away. All this could have been prevented if the law did not require a doctor to report all cases of bruising to Child Protective Services, but instead relied on a doctor's or cop's common sense to make the decision whether to report it or not.

Read this story about how young children can have false memories implanted by a child psychologist, leading to convictions of child molestation. It starts with a fascinating experiment where a false story of a mousetrap accident is implanted in a child, about 40% of the way down the page:

On this page about 1/3rd of the way down is a chapter entitled "Child Sexual Abuse"

..rape and sexual harassment pattern — expanding definitions, rapidly increasing accusations, intensely politicized publicity campaigns, and significantly high percentages of false allegations — has also appeared in still another arena, the agencies which deal with the sexual molestation of children.
We are now learning that children can be manipulated into supplying dramatic testimony of sexual abuse and that in most cases the accusation originates not with the child but with the mother.

Allegations of child abuse, both divorce related and in general, are flying out so frequently that those who believe themselves victimized by false charges have organized a nationwide support group, VOCAL (Victims Of Child Abuse Laws), ... In 1989, its summary of relevant statistics cited 23 studies ... the lowest assessment of false allegation was 35%, the highest 82%, averaging at 66%.

Recovered Memories

Those joining VOCAL are finding that an even more dramatic form of child abuse allegation is now sweeping the country. It originates with a "recovered memory" of sexual atrocity, often involving incest or satanic ritual abuse, usually made by an adult daughter against her father, and almost always discovered in therapy. This form of allegation made the headlines when celebrities such as Roseanne Arnold, La Toya Jackson, and Suzanne Sommers declared they had suddenly remembered a long repressed victimization.

Other sources suggest that the kind of child abuse caused by satanic ritual cults is almost totally a myth. There may be a satan and he may have followers but, contrary to widely held belief in the mid-eighties, they did not surface all over middle America. Where accusations actually led to trials, as in Jordan, Minnesota and in Los Angeles in the McMartin Preschool Case, prosecutors suffered embarrassing defeats.

A strong phalanx of professional opinion has raised significant doubts about the veracity of long repressed memories even within a carefully disciplined therapeutic context.

The media's overhyping of child molestation has created a fear of being accused of child molestation. The reaction is that people who work with children don't touch children anymore. This may have a tragic side effect:

In a cross-cultural study of affection and aggression done at McDonald's playgrounds, pre-schoolers in France playfully touched each other twice as much US children did, but while the French children acted aggressively only 1 percent of the time, the US youth did so 29 percent of the time. Anthropologists have long known that cultures that shower physical affection on young children have little adult violence, dating back to Margaret Mead's studies in New Guinea."There's got to be some relationship between a lack of touching and violence," said Tiffany Field, MD of the University of Miami Medical School, who conducted the study at the McDonald's playgrounds especially since international statistics have consistently shown that France has the lowest homicide rate of developed nations, while the United States has the highest. Dr. Field said she fears there will be even less physical affection toward children in our society as a result of teachers and day care providers worrying about accusations of sexual abuse.

All of this I believe, is part of creeping statism, and the death of common sense.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Attack on the Free Market

There has been a constant attack on the Free Market since the turn of the last century, just as there has been a constant attack on Individual Freedom. The crash of the stock market in '29 and the ensuing Great Depression have been blamed on "excessive capitalism". These are myths.

Every incidence of so-called "excessive capitalism" is actually Corporatism. Corporatism is when big business and government collude so the latter will pass laws that benefit the former. (Think lobbyists.) Most government regulation is a result of this. A free market system is not the only system susceptible to government corruption. A socialist system is just as susceptible. The bigger the government, the worse it would be; because a socialist system requires a big government, it would be worse with respect to corruption.

I've written about the history of government regulation. The meat packing and steel industries at around 1900 got government to write regulation whose real purpose was to erect artificial barriers to startup competition. Free market competition is the best "trust buster". Whenever a cartel starts to form, outsiders will find it attractive to start a competing business because of unusually high profits, and they will bring prices down, to the benefit of the consumers.

The problem with letting the government write regulations in the free market, is that government is corruptible. The bigger government is, the more a corrupt government will impinge on our daily lives and distort the free market, to the detriment of the consumer. The bigger and more centralized the government, the easier it is for the lobbyists to go to a central place to push their agenda. The smaller the government, the less likely government will corrupt the free market. Agorists of course, would say that zero government means zero free market distortion.

The crash of '29 was caused by the biggest banks of the time, calling in all their margin accounts at once. The margin account was invented during the roaring 20's. A margin brokerage account is where you can borrow money from the brokerage in order to buy stocks with. If the brokerage suddenly calls the loan in, you will have to sell stocks to repay them. So the big banks calling in their loans all at once had the intended effect of causing a huge stock selloff, at a time when the stock market bubble was inflated by nearly a decade of low interest rates. Voila, stock market crash. The racketeers then of course made immense profits after buying up stock at rock bottom prices.

The Federal Reserve was created in 1913, ostensibly to prevent boom and bust cycles. However, the greatest bust happened right after their creation... the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Fed itself was the result of government regulation. President Woodrow Wilson and several senators were bribed to create a banking cartel. The Federal Reserve Act itself was drafted by a group of bankers, both local and international, at Jekyll Island in Georgia.

The income tax was implemented the same year as the Fed, as a means to pay the interest on the money loaned by the Fed to the government, which they create out of nothing. Colonel Edward House, a known Marxist, and Woodrow Wilson's best buddy and top adviser, pushed the idea to him, and got the idea of a graduated income tax from Karl Marx. The top tax bracket in the beginning was 3%; today the average bracket is something like 25% (edit: FSK pointed out I did not include 15% for Social Security and Medicare, bringing the total to 40%). This of course effectively enslaves the middle class, effectively re-directing 25% of their economic output directly to the financial industry. People are slowly being boiled like the proverbial frog in a pot. Colonel House would go on to found the Council on Foreign Relations. House had 4 pet projects: the UN, a graduated income tax, a central bank, and the CIA. He was also a member of the Cecil Rhodes Round Table Group, which is extensively discussed by Carroll Quigley.

The Great Depression itself should not have happened after the '29 stock market crash. There should have just been a short, shallow recession. The Depression was caused by the Federal Reserve shrinking the money supply by raising interest rates. Even Greenspan has said "misguided policies" extended the Depression. The money supply is readily shrunk when the Fed lowers interest rates - it's part of the Compound Interest Paradox. The net effect is a massive subsidy on the entire financial industry, in the form of the income tax and inflation.

Milton Friedman the Nobel prize winning economist, has shown that every recession has been accompanied by a shrinkage of the money supply, and vice versa. The 2 go hand in hand; you don't get one without the other.

The Great Depression was deepened and lengthened by the anti-free-market policies of Hoover and FDR:

If you want to study more about the lie that the Fed is, here are 2 books:
  1. The Creature from Jekyll Island:
  2. The Case Against the Fed:

Today government meddling in the free market is so endemic that:

Finally, philosophically, the Establishment does not like Capitalism, because Capitalism gives power to the individual. This is the antithesis of the Collectivism that they want. It gives people the power, literally, to vote with their wallets:

"Why People Hate Capitalism"
"Capitalism is the most democratic economic system there is, for every time you spend a dollar, or refrain from spending a dollar, you are casting a vote. That is why so many people hate capitalism, because, with capitalism, the world people live in is the sum total result of each of their individual actions. In other words, capitalism makes people responsible for their own actions, whether they like it or not.
But most people are too lazy and/or selfish to properly exercise this incredible power. Most people feel that they can and should be able to do whatever they want and that it is up to others to make sure that all is possible and no harm is done. This attitude is continually reinforced by our media, educational systems, and our legal system, particularly the US tort judgments.
Before I end this post I will leave you these thoughts, also from the above link:

"If you don't like Microsoft or think Mr. Gates is too rich, then quit using Microsoft products. .. If you think professional athletes (or movie stars, or rock stars, or whoever you're presently jealous of) make too much money, then quit supporting them by attending their events, watching their shows on television, and buying their products and those they endorse.

Whatever there is in this world that you think needs to be changed, first honestly examine your own life to see if and how you are contributing to the very problem you are condemning. Once you clean up your life to minimize your contribution to the problem, then you can ask others to make a similar change in their lives."

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Assault on the Individual

Woman spills coffee on herself, wins millions from McDonald's.

Child gets sick right after vaccination; tests show strain of disease is different from vaccine; court orders vaccine maker to pay millions anyway.

Man dives off a cliff despite a sign "No diving", gets paralyzed, and sues the town; he wins because the sign didn't underscore the danger by saying "Danger: no diving".

Drunk woman backs into a lake and couldn't unlatch her seatbelt and drowned; her companion got out. Court orders Honda to pay dead woman's family for designing a seatbelt that couldn't be operated underwater by a drunk woman.

Sound familiar?

In all of the above cases, people pass on the costs of their stupidity or misfortune onto others, for their profit. In the vaccine case, the court took pity on the child and decided "someone must pay for the poor child's misfortune, and it may as well be the company with its deep pockets".

What they are forgetting is that now, the company that makes the vaccine, needs to cover the cost of the lawsuit and future lawsuits, by increasing the price of its vaccine. Ironically the increased price of the vaccine means that now there will be a number of children who will not receive the vaccine because of the increased price, increasing the number of children who will catch the disease that made them take pity on the child in the first place.

They are symptoms of the erosion of personal responsibility.

Raising the drinking age to 21 is another example of erosion of personal responsibility. "We don't serve teenagers" say signs at bars. Society doesn't seem to want teenagers to learn to drink responsibly. (Aside: 18 year old males are called "men" in the military recruitment posters.)

Why is there such an erosion of individual responsibility? Probably for the same reason there is an erosion of individual liberty.

Individual responsibility and individual liberty are two sides of the same coin.

You can't have one without the other.

The above frivolous lawsuits are a means of wealth redistribution - wealth moves from the public who pay for the products and the town's taxes, to the few who were stupid or unfortunate; and to the lawyers involved in the case. The cost is passed on to the collective. The collective is responsible for the individual. It is part of the march towards collectivism. Collectivism is the opposite of individual liberty.

Individual liberty has been attacked for a long time now. A progressive income tax is an attack on individual liberty. The direct tax of 45% of your wages means that 45% of your economic output is taken from you and used in ways you may not agree with. It means that from January to May you are enslaved by the government. This 45% figure is conservative; it doesn't include the fact that part of your income is stolen by inflation, and interest payments on any debt.

The Patriot Act tramples on the 4th amendment.

Likewise the 5th amendment was recently trampled on.

There is a pattern to all this:

Bigger, more powerful government, less individual liberty.

The societal trend towards reduced individual responsibility is part of the big picture of attacking individual liberty, and creeping statism.

Even the entertainment industry fills our heads with "group identity". Cliched images of urban hip hoppers, rap artists, drug dealers, nerdy teenagers, skateboarders, executives, and white suburban housewives come to mind. The obsession with group identity is inherently collectivist.

Who benefits from bigger government and reduced individual liberty? The corporatocracy which virtually runs the government. Who are these people who form the corporatocracy? The people who run the biggest corporations, which include Big Oil, Mass Media, Big Defense, Big Finance, the Federal Reserve banks, and the Entertainment Industry. Some of these people also go in and out corporations and government.

By owning the Mass Media and the Entertainment Industry, they could have huge control over "public opinion" and popular culture.

Indeed, writers like Ken Adachi, John Coleman, Byron Weeks, and Thomas Dye have said that "public opinion" is carefully molded propaganda.