December 11, 2011

Everywhere We See the Pattern


1. The system is based on dependency, conformism, submission.
2. The system uses money to render its own processes and products “cheaper” than the “more expensive” age-old human ways of life, in food, manufacture, education, politics, culture, and many others.
3. The system ways are actually far more expensive than the human ways, but are temporarily rendered cheaper by shifting most of the costs to hidden taxes on the consumer, to various dispossessed groups, to the environment, and to the future. The system cheapness is nothing but accounting fraud.
4. For example, the system uses taxpayer money to subsidize its ways and render them cheaper. This has the dual effect of rendering the human way of life more expensive even as we’re forced to pay from our ever-diminishing financial base to subsidize the system which assaults us. 
5. To repeat, the fact that we have to look to our “finances” is a purely artificial state of affairs imposed upon us from the top down. Money is unnecessary and undesirable from any point of view other than that of the 1%. It’s part of a command economy.
6. So we must be clear that this government and the economic system it imposes comprise an artificial tyranny. It has no legitimacy, and on a practical level it never helps us, but only harms us. We’d be far better off without it.


  1. Russ, that is a wonderful summary. Thanks from a casually-turned-regular reader, hiatus or not.

    Comment by Frank — December 11, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    • You’re welcome, Frank.

      Comment by Russ — December 11, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  2. Instead of “money,” I’d say “debt” or “credit.” “The system uses credit to . . .” Since the debt/credit is subject to compounding interest, it actually is much more expensive. And it is credit/debt that is the control mechanism, not money per se.

    The real subsidies are not made through taxpayer money but through cheap/free access to the commons and/or massive tax breaks. The profits that many industries reap come from the fact that they are not paying their fair share for extracting the raw materials that we, the people, own.

    Comment by Tao Jonesing — December 11, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

    • True, direct conversion of taxation to corporate welfare is just a small part of the subsidy government bestows upon organized crime. It’s also true in theory that government doesn’t need to tax in order to spend as much as it wants. (Taxation is for social and economic control, which is another reason to fight to achieve No Taxation on the 99%.) But perhaps one way to undermine the money system is to strip away the psychological prop taxation gives to the currency.

      Then there’s the fact that if I’m forced to get and spend cash, and government steals some of the meager amount I have, that’s a more severe direct blow to my relocalization efforts than the money it prints to hand over to the corporate aggressors. That’s another reason we must reject all federal taxation. (I’ll leave local taxes for another discussion; I think a different strategic principle may apply there, as I’ve mentioned in my posts on jubilating in place.

      https://attempter.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/jubilate-mortgages-and-property/ )

      On the longer arc, the anthropological evidence is that money as a medium of exchange arose in order to formalize debt, while in other contexts it functioned at most (and perfectly well) as a unit of account without actually being exchanged or doing anything more than serving as the token of an ongoing economic exchange.

      We don’t need for money to ever do more than that, and we’re better off without its other, malign, functions.



      Comment by Russ — December 12, 2011 @ 4:50 am

  3. Thank you for the clarity. This syncs in nicely with this video I came across from reading another blog, zerohedge. The content is 100 hundred times better than the cartoon figures. Some graphics are helpful. It is also a bit long but needed.

    As a person who has worked for many corporations over the decades and seen the “dependency, conformism, [and] submission” first hand in many of its subtle and not so subtle forms, thinks Volatility is really onto something of great relevance. I feel lucky to have found this site.

    Comment by comtedartagnan — December 12, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    • Thanks, comte.

      Comment by Russ — December 13, 2011 @ 4:33 am

  4. I will take exception to 6. If not this, what? With enough social awareness, could not an expanded social conscious affect political change? I ill admit that it would be very tough, but is the only peaceful way to achieve the types of community you espouse on your blog? If not this government, what?

    The Fed is likely to implode already when Europe does? What will the intermediate local solution be when Big Brother goes away? What is set to replace it? Again, I think it is know your neighbor; well if you can. Grow your own garden. work out of the home if you can and work towards that, if you are still one the the lucky ones to still have a home to call your own. Get involved locally in your town politics. Anonymously, if need be.

    Comment by comtedartagnan — December 12, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

    • “If not this government, what?”

      Uhh.. really? You can’t conceive of any possible arrangement which might be superior to the current dispensation?

      Comment by paper mac — December 13, 2011 @ 2:27 am

    • It sounds like you already see some outlines toward a different, better way: Doing all we can to relocalize and live more democratically, toward that becoming the basis of the new society.

      One thing that’s crystal clear – there’s nothing we can’t do for ourselves (as democratic communities and truly federal confederations) far better than system elitism now does them to us. (Certainly not “for” us.)

      Comment by Russ — December 13, 2011 @ 4:35 am

  5. Russ,

    Similar to the hobbit home straw bale story I came across, I thought you might enjoy another gem of a story… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2072383/Eccentric-town-Todmorden-growing-ALL-veg.html

    Comment by Pete — December 12, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    • Great story! Thanks for the lead.

      Comment by comtedartagnan — December 12, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

    • Thanks Pete. That’s a good experiment. Just like lots of things, if it could spread it could make a real difference.

      Comment by Russ — December 13, 2011 @ 4:42 am

      • “‘If you take a grass verge that was used as a litter bin and a dog toilet and turn it into a place full of herbs and fruit trees, people won’t vandalise it. I think we are hard-wired not to damage food.’ And notice how people behave when all the artificial ‘property’ barriers are stripped away.

        Comment by Pete — December 13, 2011 @ 8:57 am

  6. Russ;

    Re: item #6:….”artificial”? tyranny. The inequitable (criminal) results produced by the current economic system are artificially arrived at, but the tyranny is quite real.

    Comment by jm51 — December 15, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

    • Artificial isn’t the antonym of “existing”. It’s the antonym of “natural” and “necessary”, two of the main Big Lies told about things like the finance sector, money, and formalized debt.

      Comment by Russ — December 15, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

  7. Tyranny ?
    Where do you currently feel tyranny in your personal, PRIVATE life ? I’m curious.
    Oddly enough, I have never felt freer…now that I am not working for filthy lucre.
    My husband is working to support me, but he is not selling his soul to do so either. We are living very very quiet, and peaceful lives. We have learned to enjoy living with.. less.
    That he is working to ensure my subsistance FREES ME to do activities that other people THEORETICALLY can not do.
    When somebody invites me to lunch, as happens rather often because many people feel guilty and sorry for me SINCE I AM NOT WORKING FOR FILTHY LUCRE, that.. gift…(which I am grateful for) frees me to invite somebody else to lunch who can really not afford to eat in a restaurant at all.
    That’s how economics works. In my opinion.
    This morning I picked up a branch on the road, casualty of our most recent storm.
    It will be my Christmas decoration.
    I think that “freedom” is essentially a state of mind.
    I wonder how free my great grandmother felt, slaving away on the land. THAT WAS HARD WORK, even if she still was part of a community, AS RECENTLY AS 1884 or so. Every day that passes, I take steps to move further towards the life my recent ancestors were living.
    That’s really not a long time ago, ACCORDING TO THE EARTH’S CALENDAR at any rate.
    Our collective and individual hubris is mind boggling…
    Many of our ancestors (especially Descartes…) imagined that being free meant escaping from a life of toil.
    Many of us now have that life free of toil..
    Do we feel freer ?
    I think.. not.
    A clear example of “the bear went over the mountain”, I fear.
    You would like Ivan Illich, if you haven’t read him yet.

    Comment by Debra — December 17, 2011 @ 6:07 am

    • If you look at a leaf closely enough, you won’t even realize it is part of a tree. And forget about seeing the forest!

      What you are describing is not freedom, Debra, but narcissism, and a particularly officious version of it. You would have been more effective if you’d just said “don’t worry, be happy.”

      That being said, there is a certain allure to just putting your head down, putting the blinders on, and reveling in your own fortunes. The problem is that your illusion of freedom (which is the freedom from toil enabled by living off of other people’s filthy lucre; how ironic, you sound like a banker) is in the midst of unwinding, evaporating. Whether you ascribe that unfolding reality to Peak Oil (which Russ tends towards) or Peak Credit (which I tend towards), we are in the midst of what will become known as the Greatest Depression, and the upheaval we will see will be tremendous. I am too busy protecting my family from this future to be revel in the fact that I am extremely fortunate.

      Comment by Tao Jonesing — December 17, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

      • Yes well, worrying about it will not make you any freeer, in my opinion.
        We do not have the same definitions of narcissism, I think.
        Narcissistic people do not do volunteer work, and other TINY THINGS that help individual people feel better in their day to day lives.
        They just care about themselves, and badly too, generally.
        Sorry Tao, but YOU sound like Ingmar’s Protestant pastor daddy in “Fanny and Alexander”.
        If you are interested, you can check out my last comment to Toby on Econosophy’s latest post.
        On why the Renaissance/Enlightenment paradigm is unraveling because we no longer believe in it enough to keep it going.
        Thank.. GOD for that, I say…

        Comment by Debra — December 17, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

      • Debra,

        You have your own definition for many terms. That can make it difficult to communicate with you at times.

        The definition of narcissism I was thinking of was “A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.” A similar definition: “an extreme interest in your own life and problems that prevents you from caring about other people.” Go to http://www.onelook.com

        Of course, you’ll find definitions more in line with your thinking.

        As for the Renaissance/Enlightenment paradigm unraveling, remember that the paradigm was created because the Catholic/feudal paradigm was unraveling. People no longer believed in it.

        This ought to tell you that you cannot take solace in the current paradigm being wiped away because the new one, the neoliberal authoritarian paradigm, is already waiting in the wings.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — December 18, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

      • And, by the way, Debra, what is failing is not the Renaissance/Enlightenment paradigm, which, like the Catholicism that predated it, made noises about caring about the common good. Rather, what is failing is the neoliberal paradigm that replaced the Renaissance/Enlightenment paradigm with a secular version of God (the market) and the divine right of kings.

        Yes, the neoliberal paradigm is just as obnoxiously rationalist as what immediately preceded it, but there are significant differences.

        What do you think the next paradigm will be, Debra? You strike me as somebody who likes authoritarianism.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — December 18, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

      • Hi Tao,
        I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but it sounds as though you are so busy preparing for disaster that you don’t enjoy life very much. I certainly understand your concern about the future, but I believe enjoying the present and our blessings/luck is also very important. About 4 years ago I went through a phase of paralyzing fear and resulting depression that stole a beautiful portion of my children’s lives from me. Before that, as a young person I suffered from obssesive thoughts and anxieties that took some of my most valuable years. I can never get that time back, and those fears and worries never came to fruition. At last I am finally learning to savor the moment and enjoy AND share my blessings while I have them.
        Though all you folks may mock me for this, I do believe at some point you have to trust in God. We cannot control everything, though we ought to do our best to look after ourselves and one another.
        Maybe I just haven’t suffered enough to discard these notions and become more cynical and bitter.

        In the meantime, Debra, I hope you continue to enjoy and share your enjoyment of life! Happy Holidays, whatever you celebrate:)

        Comment by DualPersonality — December 18, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

      • DualPersonality,

        I probably don’t enjoy life as well as I might, but I also don’t spend any time “preparing for disaster,” at least not in the sense you seem to mean. By “protecting my family,” I mean taking the time to understand how the world actually works and using that knowledge to our benefit. Advising me to give up that quest for knowledge and “to trust in God” is actually among the most cynical and bitter suggestions I can imagine (and I know you did not intend that).

        Do you understand the distinction between wanting to “control” the world and wanting to “understand” it? False certainty– whether provided by the secular religion known as “economics” and monotheistic religions of all stripes- is precisely the mechanism used by a tiny minority to control the masses. Ignorance is not bliss, and uncertainty is not its opposite. If I were cynical and bitter, I could not embrace uncertainty and constantly challenge what I think I already know. I greatly enjoy my current quest for knowledge, even though the fruit it bears is sometimes forbidden.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — December 19, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

  8. I hear Dual Personality’s perspective.
    I went through most of my life trying to control everything, and with several breakdowns. (But thank God I managed to avoid U.S. “treatments” of “mental illness” which I incidentally do not believe in. I allow myself the little luxury of NOT BELIEVING in American positivist definitions of mental illness, because I was very well trained in psychoanalysis in Europe…)
    If I responded rather snidely to you, Tao, it is because I get very very tired of having American positivist definitions of “mental illness” and other psychological concepts thrown at me. It obviously escapes most people that EVERYTHING IS POLITICS, and that includes science, and all of its ramifications (like medicine, at this time). “Science” did not come from nowhere, as I like to mention. It is not truth, in flashing capital neon letters.
    Looking at the other side of the Atlantic from here, I see rampant cynicism everywhere. Probably Christopher Lasche, who I haven’t read in a long time, can give you a good perspective on WHY AMERICAN CULTURE ITSELF IS EXCESSIVELY NARCISSISTIC (and cynical now).
    What is cynicism ? The incapacity to ENGAGE ONESELF based on a belief in something ? someone ? The incapacity to BELIEVE.
    I look at my younger brother who lives in the mother country, and see somebody who is very… SELF ENGAGED, to the extent that trying to protect yourself AND YOUR FAMILY can be considered very SELF preoccupied behavior. Because.. any shrink (or even the man in the street) can tell you that our children are a continuation OF OURSELVES. (yes, well, NOT JUST, we hope, but they are also that. Maybe I will go see Polanski’s most recent autopsy of our collective psyche, “Carnage”, is that the title in English ? About two middle class couples who tear their hair out by the roots over a very nasty fight that their two children have got involved in at school.)
    Tao, I do not give up on the idea, that maybe some day, you will begin to understand that there is not a bogeyman, or even a group of bogeymen who are trying to control “the masses” while exploiting “us”. (That was Adolf’s great… fantasy.)
    If that were true, it would be easier to wriggle out of our current predicament. We could just.. chop off their heads, like the French tried to do during the Revolution. Or bring them to trial, and lock them up in maximum security prisons, etc, etc, and then be happy for the rest of our lives, right ?
    When “the system” itself is in control, it is much, much harder to slip through the stranglehold of domination. That is why I keep coming back to voluntary servitude as an extremely important factor to consider.
    I am not really sure that there is that much difference between wanting to control the world, and wanting to understand it.
    Understanding.. IS CONTROL. We want to understand, because in our own minds, understanding IS control. Isn’t that true ?
    Haven’t we created an enormous OPPOSITION between “knowing” and “believing” ? Haven’t we totally disqualified “believing” at this time, in order to embrace the… ILLUSION of “knowing” ? (I think that a few top notch scientists at this time have gone beyond this populist position, but the general public is still stuck in a quagmire here.)
    (By the way, NOBODY has answered my question about tyranny. That was not a snide question, that was a REAL QUESTION. What is tyranny for you ? Where do you see it at work in your daily life ? Nobody wants to answer ?)
    Am I an authoritarian ?
    Another one of those.. POSITIVIST words, isn’t it ??
    Doesn’t it astonish you how incredibly reductionist American “debate” has become over the past thirty years ? A contest in name calling.
    It astonishes me, at any rate.
    Sad, very sad.
    Thanks, Dual Personality for your best holiday wishes. My husband’s family is driving 400 miles (two 85 year olds, one 78 year old…) to be with us over Christmas, as they have done for the past 30 years now. Nobody in my husband’s ANTICLERICAL FAMILY believes in God, but the Christmas spirit is definitely with us, and after all, isn’t Christmas basically the birthday of the HOLY FAMILY ?
    THAT, I can celebrate.. That POOR HOLY family, with mama, the baby, and a daddy who knows he ISN’T the daddy, but, well HE AT LEAST IS CHARITABLE ENOUGH to step in, and play the father.
    How many American men would be that charitable at this time ?? (And I can’t defend the French any better, and won’t try..After all, our crisis is a crisis of CIVILIZATION which goes beyond national boundaries.) In my opinion.

    Comment by Debra — December 21, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    • I hear Dual Personality’s perspective.

      Of course you do, Debra. For all we know you ARE DualPersonality.

      somebody who is very… SELF ENGAGED, to the extent that trying to protect yourself AND YOUR FAMILY can be considered very SELF preoccupied behavior.

      What tired, well-worn sophistry. No further response required.

      Tao, I do not give up on the idea, that maybe some day, you will begin to understand that there is not a bogeyman, or even a group of bogeymen who are trying to control “the masses” while exploiting “us”.

      Debra, what group do you think I am part of? The bogeymen or the masses? Both?

      Here is what I know: the rise of neoliberalism as a concerted effort to shape public opinion and, therefore, reality is well-documented and clear. It was also well-funded. All of this can be found in scholarly, peer-reviewed papers. The orthodoxy of the Roman Catholic Church was forged in much the same way.

      Understanding.. IS CONTROL

      More sophistry. Understanding something does not necessarily result in control of it. Even understanding human nature as I (and the other bogeymen) do does not allow you to control human nature. Yes, you can use your understanding of human nature to control human beings, but only for a time. Eventually, they will wake up to understand to realize that everything they thought was true was a lie. Economists typically refer to such moments as panics or depressions, but they are, in fact, moments of true sanity. Nihilists like you will applaud the terror that most humans feel when they come to this kind of realization, and it is the glee that you take from human misery that I find extremely distasteful.

      Did you like that. I named my issue with you without using an arguably psychological term.

      isn’t Christmas basically the birthday of the HOLY FAMILY ?

      No. I’m pretty sure it was a pagan holiday.

      Comment by Tao Jonesing — December 22, 2011 @ 12:12 am

      • I participated in a Solstice festival last night. It was fun and felt in line with the way I’ve been feeling lately (not that I’m about to become a Wiccan or something 🙂 ).

        Comment by Russ — December 22, 2011 @ 3:37 am

      • What got you so obviously infuriated in what I wrote, Tao ?
        I applaud your trying to protect your family. I thank my husband regularly for protecting me and OUR family. I express my gratefulness to him for doing that.
        But trying to protect your family is ALSO self interest.
        Was it THAT ?
        The reductionist division of a complex reality into 99% exploited, 1% exploiting is binary thinking. And that is what I am pinpointing here.
        On neoliberalism as “a concerted, well funded, scholarly effort to shape public opinion, and therefore reality”, well…I say… yes, and times change.
        The world changes. Our beliefs are constantly changing. Our words, and what they mean, too.
        I do not think that what you call “neoliberalism”, and what I call “liberalism” (I have already said that I do not think it necessary to mark an ideological RUPTURE in the term “liberalism”) are terms that have an absolute, once and for all meaning. “Liberalism” has a very very long history, and most of us, myself included, are not in a good position to closely follow the evolution of… freedom and what it means to/in our multifaceted civilization.
        I have noticed that many Americans on the blogs have almost… superstitious issues with the Catholic Church.
        My own mother had incredible prejudices (superstitions) about the Catholic Church (she was a devout Protestant.).
        But… they WERE prejudices. Because all that she knew about the Catholic Church was basically.. HEARSAY.
        She never took the time to study its history or anything. (And I have read a very little, but some, on this subject.) WITH AN OPEN MIND TO START WITH.
        I have noticed also that now that the (ideological) shit is once again hitting the fan, many people are once again dumping on the Catholic Church…
        But… if you are really at ease with not believing something, why attack it so furiously ?
        Could it be that… “we” are really not as at ease as we would like to believe ?
        On your paragraph about control, I think that you have hit the nail on the head, as we say.
        “Waking up to realize that everything they thought was true was a lie” is…. discovering that Santa Claus “does not exist”. (When you discover that Santa Claus does not exist, certain options are open to you… one is to go looking for ANOTHER Santa Claus. Another is to say that since Santa Claus does not exist, you will NEVER BELIEVE ANYBODY AGAIN, and yet another is to say… well, since Santa does not exist the way I thought he did, maybe he can exist another way if I PLAY SANTA CLAUS. Which is basically what you do FOR YOUR KIDS (well, many people do it, anyway). (You COULD do it for other people than your kids, too, and maybe not just at Christmas ? Possible, right ??)
        But I take exception to the idea of “waking up to realize that everything you thought was true” WAS A LIE.
        When you go to the theater, or watch a film, you “believe” what is going on, and when you walk out of the theater/cinema YOU DO NOT SAY THAT IT WAS A LIE.
        The binary thought problem originates with the BELIEF that we can separate out the world into “truth” and “lies”, like your last comment that Christmas WAS a pagan holiday.
        Christmas… IS a syncretic holiday that COMBINES Christian beliefs with ancient pagan beliefs.
        There is NO TRUE PURE ORIGIN that you, I, or anybody else can find. The (scientific) historians can research way, way back, but they will not give us.. THE TRUTH. Because “the truth” supposes that you can escape that sticky problem of point of view. I say.. YOU CAN’T.
        Accepting this opens the door to escaping binary thinking.
        Another thing : YOU CAN’T TOTALLY ESCAPE BINARY THINKING 100% of the time, so that means that I, you, all of us engage in binary thinking.
        It is also called “mirror thinking”.
        I think that it is probably very important in allowing us to recognize THE OTHER as being ALSO human, thus in creating empathy.
        But Internet and our dematerialized technologies are really exacerbating our binary thinking.
        Bad news for our capacity to reason.
        Tao…. above I said that I had broken down a few times. That means… that I have been in that place of sheer, unadulterated terror that you are talking about.
        That is what CRISIS is all about. It is about the capacity of facing that terror to the best of our ability. Of discovering that what we believed about ourselves, about the world, about our lives, our parents, well… WE DON’T SEE THE WORLD THAT WAY ANY MORE (and not “it was a lie”). We are offered a chance to change, to grow in a new direction.
        There is no nihilism there, and no glee in human misery either.
        But a country which prides itself on being stuffed chock full of “self made men” who are autonomous and SELF SUFFICIENT… well… none of us is autonomous and self sufficient.
        Refusing to acknowledge our INDIVIDUAL dependance is what has perhaps rendered possible so much COLLECTIVE dependance, to a Babelian degree…

        Comment by Debra — December 22, 2011 @ 9:55 am

      • The reductionist division of a complex reality into 99% exploited, 1% exploiting is binary thinking. And that is what I am pinpointing here.

        Nobody here ever reduced anything to that. There’s just one of your typical strawmen.

        Obviously the situation of the 99% in a Western “society” is more complicated than just being exploited. But its main characteristic is to be exploited, and now to be progressively liquidated. The only alternative is to replace this trend with a revolutionary trend.

        This blog doesn’t kowtow to cant and foolish-consistency hobgoblins like the dread allegation of “binary thinking”. In any case, the demand here is to first induce from empirical evidence, if that hasn’t yet been done, and then deduce from what that evidence record has proven. If the result proves the existence of a small parasite/predator class which can roughly be called the 1% which is steadily destroying the freedom and economic life of the other 99%, then that’s the fact, whether it can be tendentiously name-called “binary” or not.

        Comment by Russ — December 22, 2011 @ 10:08 am

      • Happy Holidays Tao!

        No, Debra is not DualPersonality. She is much better read than I, but apparently we both enjoy playing the piano! If you still think we are one and the same, ask Russ. He knows who I am.

        I think I shall just read everyone’s comments from now on and not join in the fray-I can’t hold my own here, plus I have no regular access to a computer. It would be fun to get all of us together in person.

        Would we be as tough on each other face to face, I wonder?

        Peace, Friends:-)

        Merry Christmas,Happy New Year, Happy Solstice Russ

        Comment by DualPersonality — December 25, 2011 @ 1:50 am

      • Thanks DP, and Happy Holidays to you as well.

        I’m sorry you think you should quit commenting. Well, I hope you’ll resume by the time I resume regular blogging.

        This place actually isn’t particularly tough, by internet standards, except for the rare times someone from the enemy comes on to troll. They seldom bother, so far; I’m still in the “first they ignore you” stage, unfortunately.

        Comment by Russ — December 25, 2011 @ 2:12 am

  9. For anyone who is interested.
    About a couple of weeks ago it came to me that I was not GRATEFUL enough in my daily life.
    Our ancestors used to SAY GRACE before digging into their meals. (We seem to consider that since we have EARNED the filthy lucre necessary to put the meat and potatoes on the table IT IS ENOUGH.)
    So.. now, before I go to sleep, I run my hands over my body, and direct my attention towards the billions of INDIVIDUALS who are IN SERVICE TO ME (are they slaves ??…), who seem to have my best interests at heart most of the time, and thank them for all that… “work” ? they are doing for me.
    Because I need to feel more grateful… And I call that a prayer.
    What about you ?

    Comment by Debra — December 21, 2011 @ 9:15 am

  10. Hi Russ,

    are you familiar with Foodfreedom already? As it’s not in your blogroll, I thought you might be interested – foodfreedom.wordpress.com. I, for one, found it very interesting.

    Comment by Frank — December 21, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

    • Thanks Frank. I do have Food Freedom in my blogroll, under Politics. I admit my blogroll is a mess.

      Yes, that’s an excellent anti-corporatist site.

      Comment by Russ — December 21, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

      • Alright, so I was carrying coals to Newcastle. Anyway, happy holidays & keep up the good work.

        Comment by Frank — December 23, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

  11. Debra,

    You did not infuriate me. I simply feel empowered to be as brutally honest with you as I am with my family. I named my issue with you, which has cropped up many times between us. That was worth something to us both.

    The attempt to equate altruism with self interest is tired sophistry. There actually is altruism in this world, and it has nothing to do with self interest. To reduce everything a human being does to selfishness is simply absurd. That is not how most (96%, actually) humans work.

    Comment by Tao Jonesing — December 24, 2011 @ 3:07 am

    • Question, Tao. When you say “it has NOTHING to do with self interest”, what exactly are you saying ? That altruism is the opposite of self interest ? To reduce EVERYTHING a human being does to selfishness, is that what I was doing ?
      I think not. (Look at the expression “self INTEREST”… There is that neat word “interest” in it… That word that has sent a lot of shit hitting the fan in the past 500 years or so..)
      Actually, there is nothing wrong with SELF INTEREST, in my opinion. It is NOT THE OPPOSITE of altruism.
      The world works best when we get AT THE SAME time we give, and can acknowledge it without feeling obscure guilt feelings, or accusing others.
      (The economy of sacrifice is a lethal one, in my opinion. It is one of the perversions we have made of our Christian heritage.)
      But now.. we are moving from one OPPOSITE TO ANOTHER.
      After the competition mantra, we will now swing over to the opposite side, the altruism one, and start enthusiastically promoting it EXCLUSIVELY with the same flame as competition was once embraced.
      A crazy world we live in…
      Please reconsider your decision not to comment any more, DualPersonality.
      I, for one, enjoyed hearing your more personal, less abstract contributions to this blog.
      For info, I do not think that any dialogue or discussion is possible if participants are convinced that they are being personally attacked when their arguments are examined.
      Nobody has YET answered my question as to what tyranny is, and since this blog is based on “empirical examination” of evidence, I am still waiting for the empirical examples of tyranny to be detailed, so we can discuss, and not just BANDY THEM THAR WORDS AROUND in this club, and get all warm and comfy thinking we are ALL speaking the same language. (Amazing how Internet was supposed to promote the possibility of discussion, but has not really done so, in my opinion…)
      The “facts” inevitably prove what we WANT them to prove… The 99%/1% paradigm was not created on this blog, BUT WHERE DO YOU THINK IT CAME FROM ? and how do you think that those particular figures popped up ? A conspiracy, you say ??
      i say…. there is a French saying that goes when you want to put your dog down, you diagnose him with rabies…
      I am currently reading Stefan Zweig, and he is wonderful. Highly recommended.

      Comment by Debra — December 26, 2011 @ 7:20 am

      • Nobody has YET answered my question as to what tyranny is, and since this blog is based on “empirical examination” of evidence, I am still waiting for the empirical examples of tyranny to be detailed

        You’re certainly joking. This entire blog, along with innumerable others, has discussed them in excruciating detail.

        But if you really need a refresher course, start here.


        And then go read all my posts about the Bailout. They’re categorized in the Categories list.

        Then check out the posts on food tyranny.


        That’s a start.

        The 99%/1% paradigm was not created on this blog, BUT WHERE DO YOU THINK IT CAME FROM ? and how do you think that those particular figures popped up ? A conspiracy, you say ??

        It came from the fact that since the 70s only 1% of the population has been getting exponentially richer, while almost the entire rest of the people have been gradually getting poorer, an increasing number at an increasing rate. (Technically a small portion below the 1% have continued getting richer, but at a declining rate. They’re gradually being flipped over into the liquidation mass.) Sorry that this fact is too mundane for you, so you need to cite “conspiracies”. But the only conspiracy is that of the kleptocracy of the 1%.

        Comment by Russ — December 26, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  12. Thanks Debra and Russ,

    That’s very kind of you. I honestly think you’re all way ahead of me on all these topics, and what’s the best thing to do when one is ignorant? Be quiet and listen, of course! Tao and you, Debra, seem to have a sort of ongoing debate which I thoughtlessly entered without really examining the discussion. So, from now on if I truly have something to add I will do so. Meanwhile, I will read the posts, and compliment the blogger:-).
    I’m so happy to see your subscribers increasing, Russ. Congratulations!
    Debra, I hope you had a great Christmas with your family and extended family.
    Tao, best wishes to you and your family in the New Year. I totally agree about trying to understand the world and acquire knowledge. I think it’s possible to still do that and trust in God, at least that’s what I am trying to do. Hopefully, my quest for spiritual peace and truth will not exclude the quest for knowledge;I think there are numerous examples of people who successfully combine the two.
    You’re right Russ-this comment thread is generally pretty civilized. I’m still becoming accustomed to the whole world of the Internet and the often disconcerting anonymity-induced bluntness.
    I am doubtful, however, that anyone changes their mind as a result of this sort of exchange. Isn’t it usually our physical personal interactions with people and our own experiences/observations in life that change our opinions?

    Comment by DualPersonality — December 26, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

    • Thanks DP.

      You’re right that in the long run it’ll be what we do in the physical world, face to face, that’ll be decisive. But in the meantime the blogosphere is the most intensive place yet to learn, to develop ideas, and hone arguments. Most of all it’s the most vibrant democracy humanity currently has (at least of which I’m aware), although if Occupy continues to build it’ll soon surpass anything online.

      Comment by Russ — December 26, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

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