Sunday, May 4, 2008


As I've come to say a lot lately--a pessimist does not plant trees.

Actually, part and parcel of the vision I see for the future--with the collapse of affluent human society, climatic destruction, and a tend towards overt neo-feudalism--as part of this process SO many people are going to take such a beating that there is simply NO WAY that the cultural values now in place will survive. That trend is already occurring among the "newly maturing." Those under the age of 20 hold a radically different perspective towards their future than those of my age. They are, to my mind, best described as complacently hopeless, simply willing to take on without resistance the semi-feral future that awaits for them. Of course, this attitude is still an attitude born of relative affluence, as no one who has ever gone hungry is complacent ever again. . .but I certainly signal that as the beginning of what one might call "the revaluation of all values."

This will be uncharted territory, but by a quarter way through this century I'm certain that any semi-conscious semi-informed person alive will be unable to feel anything other than having been royally, thoroughly, ruggedly screwed over. They will feel that they've been lied to at every turn, insulted, manipulated, marketed, fucked over so completely that the sense of distrust towards any and all expert opinions or authority figures will be unprecedented. And of course this attitude will be completely justified. This will be a very dangerous time, as far as I can see, but ultimately Hobbesian ethics will prevail--and to avoid a life that is "nasty, brutish, and short" a sense of community will arise, if for no other reason than it will be impossible to survive without--but I tell you, people will really give the stink-eye to anyone who is remotely sketchy, unclear, or underhanded in their motives.


If there is anything I thoroughly despise about culture as it exists is the utter depraved dishonesty of it. The surest and fastest way to find alienation is to speak the truth: the fastest way to finding acclaim is to fake it. Don't you dare do anything on your own, for real. That makes others look stupid and they won't appreciate it. Be sure you demand nothing of anyone. Virtue has been turned on its head: the latin term "vertus" in its day meant nothing other than explicitly manly values--to speak the truth, to shoot well with arrows. Today, virtue is equated with effete, non-confrontational sentimentalism--good natured but harmless. It will be obvious that this has served no one.

One of the more interesting predictions I've heard so far, from Kunstler: "this will be the year that conspicuous consumption goes underground." I think he's a little bit ahead of the curve, but it's bound to happen at some point, as it's going to be far more likely to bring you a bullet than admiration.

Ah well, a little rave here waiting for the rain to clear so I can buck up a little more timber. The garden here is growing so fast I can actually see it. Thanks you guys for the robust camaraderie. Dennis especially, I enjoy that direct and straightforward unrepentant gun-toting liberalism. I wish we had more of a chance to shoot the shit before I moved out of Bellingham. Maybe October!

Friday, May 2, 2008

This is nuts. . .

Reading the financial news daily, mostly I read the macro finance stuff off of Bloomberg or Mish's link at the bottom of the page. Jesus. . .if you were going to diagnose the "mood of the markets" at this point you could only say that you were dealing with a undedicated manic/depressive paranoid schizophrenic with multiple personality disorder.

The Fed and the Treasury want to "restore investor confidence." You do, eh? Right.

If there is anything that wholly destroys investor confidence it is fucking around with financial policy. Once you start bailing out banks(bear sterns) that simply screwed up and should by rights fold at whatever cost, when congress starts talking about linking foreclosures with jail time, and all sorts of fiddling with the economy--while you screw with and devalue a nation's currency--you create an environment of utter uncertainty in which any informed investor will simply sit on the sidelines. Or invest in whiskey and ammunition. Uncertainty is not risk. Risk involves a calculated chance: with uncertainty you have no means of judging what's coming at you. And any prudent investor or businessman never takes chances with uncertainty. This alone will have a profound impact on the economy as a whole.

For those of us who have lived very prudent financial lives, we especially are very pissed off. Those of us who didn't speculatively borrow during the housing boom, as it was fucking obviously unsustainable, or elsewise, and didn't get ourselves in a hole, thinking perhaps we'll buy in when the bubble bust, as it did, will now look at a situation in which government policy is only interested in protecting bad speculative behavior and devaluing the cash some of us have saved. That isn't funny in the slightest, and it will take a while for most of us to forget it.

The policy is clear. Protect the kleptocratic banking system, and devalue the dollar to shed the vast amount of unrecoverable debt that the US now holds. Those with a lot of money will hide their assets in Dubai and the rest of us can all go to hell. 5 years down the road these guys will come back, and buy up the remaining country for pennies on the dollar.