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Aug 7, 2011           

Crisis: "Yes, we can!"

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Two days ago I said - in effect - that the Western societies are still in crisis, about which I wrote rather a lot, mostly in Dutch, since september 2008, and wrote in fact this:

We're three years further and yesterday the stockmarket plummeted downwards again, while most that has happened the last three years seems to have involved (i) making the bankmanagers and the rich even richer (ii) make the middle class and the poor pay the debts the rich bankmanagers made, and while doing this "to save the economy" in fact destroying the welfare state, medicare and social security.

Also, the problems now are much larger than they were in 2008:

  • There is no money for another rescue operations if the stockmarket crashes again.
  • The US economy is a lot weaker than in 2008, and the dollar is a lot less strong.
  • In Europe, Greece, Portugal, Italy and Ireland - at least - are in very serious problems.
  • Those in charge, whether politicians, bankmanagers or state bureaucrats are mostly corrupt or incompetent (it tends to be the worst rather than the best who want to be politicians or bureaucrats, both in - nominal - democracies and in other political systems: The really competent run their own firms or are academics or artists).

I also gave two reasons for this dangerous state of affairs, namely that (1) men on average - not all, nor all always - are "prone to mischief, 'to every good work reprobate' ", and that (2) those in government are normally not the best but the worst: Those who lie, manipulate and deceive best, or those who are the willing executioners and proud servants of such men, and lack all individual conscience, while able to pretend they are driven by moral or religious or political ideas.

Let me note explicitly here that this is not only my personal rational, reasonable and atheist notion, but also is a Christian and indeed a Calvinist diagnosis of humankind, for which reason I personally insist on making it, since I am neither a Christian nor a Calvinist, though I agree with this diagnosis of ordinary men, and their leaders, on average, whilst I also live in a country that is formally still mostly Calvinist, but where nearly all ordinary men will insist that it is I who is "without respect" and who is inferior - "a fascist, a terrorist" - if I say or write such things, as e.g. (listen how awful!) that not all men are equivalents.

Indeed, I have been removed from the University of Amsterdam for refusing to agree that my father and grandfather must be the equivalents of Nazis like Dr. Mengele, which I did at a time and in a university were the most despicable decrepit and morally and intellectually inferior stalinist degenerate assholes imaginable (the true scum of Dutch society, mostly rising like shit in a latrine on their disgusting qualities, mostly from the local Labour and Communist parties) were making a personal career and securing their personal tenureship for life in a very soft and wellpaid university-job, and namely by insisting that "all men are equivalent, but women - feminism was fashionable - a bit more equivalent, and all morals are merely relative, though their own by far the best, and that everybody knows that truth does not exist, which they hold as their own article of faith, to fanatically deny all arguments that refute their absurdities", and that people like me, who say "no, that's not true: that all men are the equivalents of all men", must be ... fascists and terrorists. (*)

So... I hold that the best explanation I know for the reason that

History is little else but the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.
  -- Gibbon

is that generally human societies are led by the worst or mediocre rather than the best, who again recruit  the worst or mediocre to do their dirty work as bureaucrats or police, and who generally succeed by pirating some religious, political or moral ideals, and pretending they are aiming to realize these, and thus succeed in deceiving the great democratic majorities of the stupid, the ignorant and the average folks, while also all in almost any majority tend to be clueless and ignorant about the rationality and backgrounds of the beliefs they hold, and thus are easily deceived, the more so as they generally practice groupthinking and wishful thinking rather than rational scientific or logical principles.

For more on these lines see the references in Crisis: Quotations and crisis, and classical texts about politics: Aristotle, Machiavelli, De la Boétie, Tocqueville, Mosca, Weber, Burnham. (Yes, I know the democratic majority in this day and age is prone to calling anyone a fascist who points out the failings of ordinary men and ordinary leaders, for which reason I insisted that these failings of men are quite consistent with the Christian diagnosis of man's sinful nature.) 

Also, I ended the Nederlog of two days ago on this note:

For those who desire optimism or good cheer: it would surely help to see or have seen any honest and intelligent and competent politician or bureaucrat, these last 40 years, but I was not thus blessed.

And yes, I did think when writing this of President Obama, and others, as also did the folks at TYT (The Young Turks), probably for their own reasons:

As it says on TYT's site, under the video, the idea discussed in the video is this:
Progressive columnist David Sirota's recent piece considers the question of if president Obama is actually a Trojan Horse, i.e. he's not a weak liberal caving to conservatives, rather he's getting what he wants.
The people at TYT don't really think so: They believe he is weak rather than devious, while I had given him effectively up over a year ago, mostly but not only because of Guantanamo, that still has not been closed: Personally, I don't much care, except that Obama lied and postured far too much for my tastes, and that he also is neither as good a speaker, nor as good a debater, nor as good a writer as I thought he might be.

So... there may be a real crisis; realists expect a real crisis, not because it must happpen, but because those in power are engaged on a "March of Folly" and are themselves neither the best nor the brightest; one should not hope for it, because it will cost many lives, and probably usher in authoritarian regimes; and if it happens in Europe it will deliver the unarmed population of Europe into the hands of whatever rabid leftist or rightist populists that will profit from a crisis, just as happened in the 20th Century - Lenin, Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler, Mao - except that now authoritarianism may last for generations, since the bureaucrats of the state have far better technological means to subordinate populations than in all previous centuries.

Am I being overly pessimistic? I hope so - but I would not be as much inclined towards pessimism if I had seen the last 40 years any morally decent, intellectually competent and practically effective politician.

I have seen a few who were one of these things, and possibly one or two who were two of these things, but none who was all three, and the only one who would qualify if he had been a politician, namely dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was not a politician and was murdered for his efforts.

I have not many reasons to be optimistic, and one more reason is the average level of ordinary men, who in nominal democracies elect the leaders who mostly deceive them whatever their ideology or pretensions.

So let me end with another quotation I have used before, that is not yet part of the
Quotations, but should be:
(..) I am not so optimistic. I fear we live in a world in which war and racism are ubiquitous, in which the powers of government mobilization and legitimization are powerful and increasing, in which a sense of personal responsibility is increasingly attenuated by specialization and bureaucratization, and in which peer-group exerts tremendous pressures on behavior and sets moral norms. In such a world, I fear, modern governments that wish to commit mass murder will seldom fail in their efforts for being unable to induce "ordinary men" to become their "willing executioners." "
(Christopher R. Browning, "Ordinary men")

Then again, I am merely projecting the lessons of history.

Update: In fact, this was written on August 6, and since then I found two interesting references.

The first is on The Young Turks:

This discusses the present position of the rich, especially in the US, who seem to invest in weaponry, fighting dogs, militarily trained servants and indeed in buying computerized drones "for surveillance".

The hope of the rich may be that the modern world goes down the drain, but that those with a hundredweight in gold, such as their own excellent persons, may weather the social destruction, and then inherit the power in a world with much less population, and start their con game of exploiting and deceiving the poor, the dumb and the ignorant anew, repeating the pattern of human history as seen the last 2500 years.

The second is a series of blogs by anciendaze, one of the few writing on Phoenix Rising who really knows science and who writes the following series - it would seem - to try to face and explain the present economical crisis:

This is well done, although it seems anciendaze didn't read Keynes' "The Economical Consequences of Peace" (<- Wikipedia). I quote from the last link:

Keynes ended with this ominous warning.

"But who can say how much is endurable, or in what direction men will seek at last to escape from their misfortunes?"

The economic mess in Germany laid the foundation for the rise of Hitler.

Presently, the stock exchanges are down 10% in a few days, as in 2008, whilst Our Leaders are hanging on the phone to try to hold off imminent collapse.

I have just quoted a summary of the course of history the last time after a major economic crisis, that interestingly took four years - 1929-1933 - to fully mature, staring from the Wall Street crash of 2009.

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(*) At this point my readers may think of Dr. Wessely, whom I will return to in Nederlog, in no uncertain terms also. For now, I've cut my appreciation of this moral and intellectual degenerate from an earlier text. (Yes, I don't see why such a one as he evidently is should be free to discriminate, slander and denigrate millions, and these millions should accept his sick slander on the pretext that it is not he who is mad but it is they who are mad, and he should be free to denigrate and discriminate millions because he has the eminence of a shrink.

Sorry: I don't buy that, also not from some sort of freak who seems to function and look like the Beria of British military secret service, and to think like the pomo Ewen Cameron, who had part of Beria's role in the CIA.

Incidentally: There is interesting material on Ewen Cameron on line:

This was a BBC program about the man, who almost was not found out, because the head of the CIA in 1973 tried to destroy all relevant documents, but failed.)

P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.
-- Aug 8, 2011: Added a few qualifications; corrected a few typos.
-- Aug 10, 2011: Corrected a few more typos.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.   Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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