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Bitcoin works exceptionally well as collateral; far better than anything else I can think of. And I have a feeling that’s about to matter.

The fact is that collateral has been tremendously abused in the financial systems of the West. Most people ignore this, of course, including professionals who should know better. They’ve been relying upon the Fed Put, which is the implied guarantee that the Fed will never allow the S&P to drop very far… that if it starts to collapse, they’ll flood the markets with liquidity, push their associates to buy, or will simply buy shares themselves in “market operations.”

With ever-rising prices, questions about collateral rarely come into play. As a result, some really bizarre games are being played with it.

The Present State of Collateral

Only those who work in the guts of the financial system have a real handle on the state of collateral, but it is clearly a train wreck. I say that for several reasons, but none more telling than a very strange thing called re-hypothecation.

Re-hypothecation is one of those things that, upon first hearing of it, you think, “that can’t be true.” Stated very simply, re-hypothecation works like this:

  • I use several US Treasury bonds as collateral for a loan from my stockbroker.
  • Then, my stockbroker takes a loan from Bank A, pledging my bonds as their collateral.
  • Then, my stockbroker takes a loan from Bank B, again pledging my bonds as their collateral.

Believe it or not, this is fully legal, and it’s done all the time. In the US this is capped at 140% of the original collateral. In England there is no limit.

Can you see why there is a fundamental problem with collateral these days?

It Doesn’t Matter Until It Matters

As crazy as this situation may be, so long as prices never go down, the game can continue; no consequences will arise.

Except that every once in a while – even with a supposedly omnipotent Fed – things do go wrong. This is what happened with Lehman Brothers in 2008. And covering all that insufficient collateral cost US taxpayers some $700 billion. At one point the Treasury Secretary rushed to an emergency meeting at the White House and told the president that if the “troubled asset relief” plan wasn’t provided, the entire financial system would collapse. (Or so it was reported.)

Things are not essentially better now than they were then, and if prices fall significantly there simply isn’t enough good collateral in the system to cover the debts of banks and shadow banks.

This stands to become a life-threatening issue to hedge funds, which tend to be highly leveraged.

Why Bitcoin Is Better

With Bitcoin, collateral is certain. First of all, it can’t be diluted by the creation of new dollars, Euros and Yen. Only 21 million bitcoins will ever exist, and almost 90% of those are already in circulation.

More than that, Bitcoin can be used with multiple signatures (a simple process called multi-sig) so it can’t be spent more than once without the permission and knowledge of the original parties.

On top of that, securing collateral with Bitcoin is easy, provided you have just one competent IT person on staff. More than that, it’s fast: You don’t need to wait for escrow agents, lawyers and God knows who else to sign off on it. The tech guy either has the keys or he doesn’t. That’s it.

Bitcoin may be the most perfect and reliable collateral the world has ever known. And whenever it is that things get serious, informed players will demand it. Given the legality and prevalence of re-hypothecation and other money games, this may be the only way to be sure.

Bitcoin’s Built-In Leverage

The saving virtue of this from the hedge fund side is that Bitcoin has been escalating in value from the beginning, and will likely continue to do so for a long time. What that means for the financial player is a scenario like this:

  • My hedge fund borrows $50 million from a big bank, pledging 240 bitcoins as collateral. This is protected with a multi-sig system, so neither of us can cheat on it. So long as two plus two equals four, that bitcoin is secure.

  • The dollar price of bitcoin, however, triples over the next year or two. Now, I can triple my loan to $150 million. Either that or reclaim 160 bitcoins

So, my hedge fund got the loan it wanted because it had provably good collateral, then tripled the loan on that same collateral. For a lot of funds – especially once the regime of the never-falling price cracks – this can make the difference between survival and failure.

**

Paul Rosenberg

freemansperspective.com

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The Necessity of Baby Worship

In 1901, G.K. Chesterton published a book called The Defendant. In it was a chapter entitled A Defence of Baby-Worship. Today I’d like to take that one step further, and make a case for the necessity of baby worship… that without it, a civilization is ultimately doomed.

Bear in mind that I’m not just restating the obvious fact that without procreation our culture, civilization and species will cease to exist. My point is something different, and is actually a two-sided thing:

Without a sufficient number of babies and young children in our lives, we tend to lose our vigor, our energy, our movement forward. Conversely, when we lose our sense of purpose and value, we stop having babies.

This doesn’t mean that everyone has to have babies, of course. Some of us don’t want to, some of us can’t, and some of us have yet to find a suitable partner. But all of us, or nearly all of us, need to be near small children from time to time. Being a caring aunt or uncle is probably enough, but that level or something approximating it is almost a necessity for a vigorous human life.

I can’t exactly prove that, you understand, and I’m probably mis-stating it in some significant way, but it’s mainly true all the same. Babies are good for us, and are in some deep way necessary to us.

And before I go on, let me give you a feel from Chesterton’s piece by quoting one of the first passages:

We ought always primarily to remember that within every one of these [new minds] there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea.

That brings up a third point, of course: That new minds and new views of the world are essential to keep a self-enamored older generation from running headlong over some ridiculous cliff. That’s valid too, but we’ll skip past it today.

Declining Civilizations And Declining Birth Rates

There’s a particular type of problem that confronts all of us who read a lot of history: You see the same thing happening over and over, in places far removed from one another… then you develop a feeling that there’s an underlying reason, but can’t find definitive proof for it.

So it has been with the depopulation of declining civilizations. Readers of history see it over and over, but no solid explanation has endured. Mainly the trend de jour is thrown at it. (Claiming an environmental cause gets you attention these days.) But I think I know the reason for it. Again, I can’t exactly prove it, but I’m pretty well convinced, with the usual caveats. And it is this:

Civilizations and cultures that lose their sense of purpose, their sense of direction, their moral confidence… those cultures cease to produce babies… or at least enough babies.

And here’s a passage from Chesterton (in another book called Heretics) that makes more or less the same point:

What is the good of begetting a man until we have settled what is the good of being a man?

Why should people go through the extreme difficulties associated with parenthood if they see no purpose to it? If they’re not sure they can even recognize the good (as modern education so often insists), what’s the point? Why work double-hard if there is no purpose to life except for “democracy”?

The West, you see, has lost its sense of purpose. Aside from a residue that remains from the old days and a rising wave amongst Bitcoiners and a few other types of heretics, the West has no purpose and no cultural confidence. From the middle of the Enlightenment onward, “man as a noble being” has been beaten out of us by a dogmatic sect of misanthropes enthroned in institutions.

The young heretics (regardless of their youthful errors) are really the West’s greatest hope. And, tellingly, they very often do have babies.

The Dimming of Love

Babies pull love out of us in specific ways. Not only parents, but grandparents, aunts, uncles and even more distant observers see babies as objects of love. Whether it be their innocence, the hope of the humanity’s continuance, or whatever, we latch onto them as vessels we can and should to pour the best of our love into.

And to be clear about it, I define love this way: Love is a hunger to bless. And that is precisely what babies draw out of us. And this, perhaps above all others, is a terribly healthful thing to feel.

It also happens that experiencing this hunger to bless in one situation helps us to feel it in others. To put it simply, babies help us to function as benevolent beings. And it is they who can help us back to a sense of purpose, of direction, and of moral certainty

**

Paul Rosenberg

freemansperspective.com

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Wellness Consciousness

I don’t often write about health, but today I have something to add to the conversation. What I’d like you to understand is that being free of sickness is not some distant dream. It is, in fact, something that real human beings are presently enjoying, even for decades at a time.

I’m not claiming a perfect prescription for long-term health, you understand. I’m just passing along things I’ve come to know. Every person is different and every circumstance is different. And, of course, luck does play some role in this, even if it comes down to inheriting a healthy set of genes.

Still, I am certain that if people were to give this some attention, many more people would be sickness-free, and for long periods of time at that.

What Chuck Heston Reluctantly Admitted

I’d like you to take a look at this clip of Charlton Heston, taken from a long-format interview with Dick Cavett. As the clip begins, Cavett and Michael Crichton had been discussing the problems of medical practice and hospitals. And then, as you’ll see, Cavett turns and asks Heston if he fears hospitals.

What you’ll learn then is that Heston – 46 years old at this time – had never really been sick. To me, he seems a bit reluctant to get into the subject, and I think I know why: So many people get sick so often – seemingly everyone – that he feels a need to pull back from the subject. His admission is the kind of thing that can generate negative comparisons, and thus envy, which can be a real danger.

Most people, of course, focus tremendously on sickness. To some extent that’s understandable; sickness kills, after all. But a focus on sickness also primes us for it, as I’ll explain a bit further below. You can even hear people talking about how sick they’ve been as a badge of honor.

And before anyone treats Heston as merely a freak of good luck, I’d like to add that I’ve know other people, less famous, who’ve also been sickness-free for long periods.

One of these people was a doctor my parents knew. One of my dad’s best friends in life was a doctor, and this man’s partner in practice came to the belief that sickness was primarily mental. And so he trained himself to fight it mentally. As of 1972 or so, he hadn’t been sick in twenty years. I don’t know what happened to him after that, but he was about 50 years old at the time.

I know another gentleman who has been sickness-free for quite a bit more than twenty years. He’ll have the occasional runny nose or weariness from overwork, but almost nothing more. And he doesn’t talk about it.

I further suspect that there are a significant number of others who enjoy long-term health, but avoid talking about it very much. Since many people are so accepting of getting sick as a norm and so terribly status-conscious, talking about such a thing is a recipe for making others feel bad.

How Does It Work?

Here again I’ll tell you what I know, and you can make up your own mind and/or pursue it as you see fit.

The first step seems to be this: Just stop expecting to get sick. If that sounds trivial, please try to do it. Between big pharma’s endless TV advertisements, the annual winter fear-fest and the sickness-is-the-norm expectations of those around you, it’s a lot harder than you’d think.

Expectations are immensely powerful, and while the ties between what we expect and what we get can be murky, they are often quite real. People who train themselves not to be sick – energetically fighting the expectation of “I’m getting sick,” among other things – very often do not get sick.

Another useful piece of the wellness puzzle came to us from the study of cellular receptors and neuropeptides. Here’s how I explained the basics of this in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men:

Emotions are not just a mental thing. When you experience almost any strong emotion, special molecules called neuropeptides pour into your bloodstream. These molecules bind with receptors on your cells… and cells can have thousands, or even a million receptors each. In this way, your emotions are transmitted all through your body.

This is pretty well established science, by the way, beginning with the discovery of the opium receptor by Candace Pert in 1978.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that expecting to get sick might prime our bodies to get sick… and that expecting to be well might prime our bodies to be well.

I can’t prove this scientifically, of course. I have neither the time nor a crew of loyal medical researchers. But it is measurable.

All That Said…

All that said, I am convinced of two things:

  1. By expecting themselves to get sick… even to gain some sort of status or acceptance from it… millions of people are sick far more often than they need to be.

  2. That by cultivating a wellness frame of mind – of obstinately rejecting sickness – a large number of us can enjoy long-term wellness.

These things I have seen repetitively, and I think they are deserving of both study and effort. Moving from a sickness consciousness to a wellness consciousness offers immense benefits. Please try it.

**

Paul Rosenberg

freemansperspective.com

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Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 2

(Continued from part one)

I cracked open the door to the hallway and stuck my head out. Seeing no one, I moved quickly to the stairway and then from the 9th floor to the 1st. I emerged from the stairwell into the commercial lobby on the north end of the hotel and took a few seconds to orient myself, but I needed to keep moving; if Reynolds was to walk by he might recognize his clothes.

And so I took a couple of deep breaths, pulled up my collar and stepped through the doorway into a bitterly cold day. It was well below zero Fahrenheit, with harsh winds. So cold that my face hurt.

Out of raw instinct, I started running. I made it across the street, around the corner and onto Wabash Avenue, then ran as hard as I could safely (there were patches of ice and snow on the sidewalk) until I found a carry-out restaurant. I shuffled in and tried to warm up. But the people behind the counter would be asking me for my order pretty soon, and so I re-gathered my courage, curled back toward the door as slowly as I could and ran back into one of the bitter winters that engulfed Chicago between 1975 and 1983.

I made it to the next corner and into Garrett’s Popcorn, where I was able to mill about without attracting attention. After five minutes of appreciating their various caramel corns I was warm enough to consider my assault on the next block, which would take me to Marshall Field’s, a place that I knew very well… a place I could get lost in for hours. And in that race against the elements I got lucky: The wind was mostly at my back and the traffic light was with me.

I was something in-between sweating and shivering as I walked into Field’s, but I had made it intact. I headed slowly downstairs to the cafeteria for some hot coffee, taking in the displays and products. Unlike the things I saw in 1963, I precisely remembered nearly all these things. I never would have thought of them otherwise, but seeing them instantly refreshed my memories.

* * * * *

I didn’t remember the price of coffee in this era, but I knew it would be well under a dollar for a “bottomless cup.” And so I sat down at the counter in Fields’ basement and turned up the cup that was sitting in front of me.

Forty cents is what the lady charged me, saying nothing about the fact that I was the only customer without an overcoat. I asked if she had a newspaper laying around. A minute later she returned with a copy of the Sun Times. It was dated Wednesday, February 8th, 1978.

And so here I was, back in a frigid winter with no coat, all but broke, and with no clear direction. But it was most definitely an adventure, and that cheered me. I felt the coffee warming me from the inside and I found myself smiling. Even in the worst case I wasn’t going to freeze, and I knew what was about to happen in the world. I had lived through 1978 as a young adult, after all.

And so I sat, smiling at my waitress, going through three cups of coffee, feeling fully warmed, and reading a newspaper. As in 1963, I was taken with how trivial and boring current events were, once you weren’t caught up in them. The story of the day was that some US Senate hearings were being broadcast on the radio. Big whoop, as they use to say.

I started running scenarios through my mind. What I needed was room and board. My best option seemed clear: To find my old boss, Jack, then convince him to hire me for a pittance and let me sleep in the back of the shop. The Madison bus would get me to within half a block of his office, and knowing him as well as I did, I was pretty sure I could pull it off((I worked for Jack through the early 1980s and had a strong grasp of what he’d respond to.)). More than that, I had enough time to get back to Field’s if I failed. At closing time the cops would cart me away to some charity place.

But as I sat at the counter, considering how best to convince Jack and gathering my resolve to head back outside, I had one of those strange feelings… that I should go to the subway entrance at the back of Fields’ basement. In another situation I would have questioned the feeling more strenuously, but given that this one appeared in the midst of a truly otherworldly experience, I let myself follow the hunch. Beside, how much trouble could I get into, just walking across a store?

And so I thanked my waitress, left her two quarters and another few stray coins, and walked to the subway.

The closer I got, the more certain I was that something was afoot. I turned into the steep little stairway between Field’s and the subway, and there, at the base of the stairway and out of everyone’s view but mine, was a 30ish man who looked the same kind of sick as my previous companion.

“Here, take this,” he said, tossing me a plastic store bag then stepping to the first set of doors and gesturing for me to take his spot.

I glanced briefly into the bag and saw packets of money in it. Then I glanced at him… he was carrying a bright red bag, seemingly with money in it as well.

“I’m your friend’s parallel,” he said.

I thought I understood his meaning. “Parallel… you mean like husband, or mate?”

“Yes,” he said, “though things change a bit over a century or two.” Then he pointed at the bag he had given me. “There’s a note in there explaining things,” he said while hurriedly looking up the stairway. 

I nodded my understanding and appreciation, then waited for him to continue.

“I got here the same way you did and I robbed a bank for you, the one with the lion.” That made it the Harris Bank, a Chicago institution. “We don’t have time,” he said, as I heard the sound of police sirens pouring down the stairway on the other side of the doors. “You take the train out of here and I’ll get myself caught. Then I’ll die with the enforcers as they take me away. Reasonable?”

I found it hard to tell someone to die, but given that this was a time-critical situation I was able to respond with “Reasonable” almost instantly.

He walked through the doors, headed up the stairs and into a police chase. But before the doors closed he slowed for a second and said, “I wish I could have spent time with you. Now hurry.”

“Me too,” I said, hustling into the subway, where I paid my fare and jogged down to the Howard-Englewood train. Northbound.

All of Book Two on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082GGSTS6/

Book One on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KDQSBGZ

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

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The Serfdom State of Mind

Serfdom was… and is… a state of mind far more than an economic or social position.

The Serfdom State of Mind focuses on the desire for safety and security… of remaining clear of blame… to the detriment of self-reliance and living as a free and independent moral agent.

Everyone enjoys safety, of course, but to place placidity above life itself is a grave error, and lies at the root of serfdom.

 

Listen on Google Play Music Listen on iTunes Listen on stitcher Listen on TuneIn

 

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Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 1

My second set of extraordinary adventures was not at all what I had expected. My first adventure prepared me for them in some ways, but in other ways not at all.

Furthermore, I suspect that the engagements you’ll find recounted here will prove to be unique. My feeling is that they were intended for the sake of my development, and perhaps as test flights. The people who brought me into these adventures, after all, were no more experienced than I was. Yes, some of them are considerably more advanced than we are, but we’ve all been figuring it out as we go.

The most important thing about these adventures, in my estimation, is to gain the perspectives of advanced people. These people have imparted learning to me (which I hope I’m passing along as clearly as possible), but the crucial part of these lessons – and the part I’m certain they saw as essential – was the frame of mind that matches these lessons.

That is, they were not trying to simply give me facts, but rather to open my mind to the perspective from which these insights would be self-evident. Said different, they were not trying to cure my stupidity, but rather to help me see through a better set of assumptions about myself and the world.

Our real problem, you see, is not a lack of mental power, but a sea of obstacles that blocks our view, and thus our understanding. My advanced friend wanted to elevate me, so I could see past the thorns and brambles that gum-up so much of the thinking that occurs on this planet. That accomplished, the lessons would be utterly obvious to me and I’d find them on my own.

And so, what I’d really like from these books – for you and for myself (I read these more than you might guess, for my own edification) – is to see the world, at least partly, as my advanced friends see it. And I honestly think that has the capacity to change the world dramatically.

I am as sure as I can be that there will be more of these excursions, and I most certainly hope there will be. They are sometimes difficult for me personally, and are always intense, but they are eminently worth it.

I wish you all the best.

– PR

* * * * *

It was months following my experience of October of 2016 before I began to feel like myself. Odd and sometimes powerful feelings kept striking me: For starters, I went through bouts of feeling like it didn’t really happen… convincing bouts of “it didn’t really happen.” And then there were repeats of the “How could you be such a special person?” issue that I dealt with while I was still in 1963.

But those weren’t the big things. The big things were the attitudes of my space friends. The ways they looked at our world were different, but different in a way I couldn’t really define, which made them very strange things to wrestle with. I wish I had a better way to describe this, but I haven’t come up with anything so far. Their attitudes were simple yet foreign, if that makes any sense.

In any event, their attitudes, while seemingly comprehensible, didn’t fit very well into our present world, and that made me unsettled in a pre-verbal sort of way. (Again, if that makes any sense.)

Nonetheless, within two months or so those things had sifted themselves inside me and I was feeling normal… or at least normalish. About a month after that, I began considering the possibility of another trip to a past world. The advanced men I had met along the way, Robert and Jim, seemed to think it was an interesting experiment. Being that they were more advanced than me, it was hard to be sure they weren’t holding something back, but these were exceptionally open and honest people.

I was somewhat less sure about the lady who initiated the adventure to 1963. She was sick the whole time she was there and willingly died to escape it. And so I had to wonder about the chances of it happening again.

My other concern was whether the lady would pull me back to another virtual world but not come herself. I lost sleep imagining “solo entry” scenarios. Having been through the process once, going and returning didn’t very much concern me, but would this woman, as fine a person as she seemed to be, really understand the intricacies of plopping me down into, say, ancient Rome? Naked and with minimal Latin, I could find myself shoved into the role of a slave. Granted, my knowledge would almost certainly get back out, but who wants to be a slave for even a few days? And some Roman slaves were chained.

Such were the thoughts that ran through my mind many nights, though not on the night between April 30th and May 1st, 2018, when my next adventure began. I’m not sure what time it was, but it came as I was shifting positions in the middle of my night’s sleep. Again I felt a surge of what we used to call “the power of the spirit” and opened my eyes somewhere else.

* * * * *

It was dark, but I seemed to be in a hotel room. I was definitely laying on a made bed. There was a sliver of light from behind the curtains on the room’s lone window. Turning my eyes, then my head, I saw enough to conclude I was in a reasonable place. Everything I could see said it was a hotel in an older American city; if not Chicago, then Boston, Philly, New York or maybe Milwaukee.

The radiator in the room had told me it was a northern city. The big box of a television and the old-style telephone made it clear that I was somewhere… somewhen… between about 1975 and 1990.

Confident that I was basically okay and seeing no sign of my lady friend, I got about my business and rifled through the drawers, dressing myself in someone else’s clothes. They were too large, but they did the essential job. Quickly, however, I found myself becoming uncomfortable. With each new article of clothing, and especially as I pulled a few dollars in loose change from the top drawer and shoved it into my pocket, the damage I was doing became clearer to me. Last time we started by stealing from a big car dealership; this time it was from an individual. This was direct damage to a single person, not the muted and dispersed damage of thieving from a business.

Pulling on his shoes made things worse. There were old. This guy wasn’t terribly well off. And so I went back to the top drawer and pulled out some scraps of paper I had seen there. One of them was the hotel’s check-in receipt. It was from the Palmer House Hotel, an old Chicago hotel I knew very well. That finished locating me, at least.

The receipt said I was stealing from a Mr. Hugh Reynolds of Tomah, Wisconsin. I stepped to the writing desk and found a pad of paper and a pen. I wrote Mr. Reynolds a short note, apologizing for taking his clothes, adding that I did it only because of extreme circumstances, and promising to make it up to him. I left the note on his pillow.

As I placed the note, however, I got a view of the city, and I could see that it was deep winter. I knew there was nothing in the closet more useful that a well-worn sport coat, and so I scoured the drawers again, finding a thin sweater. Not a lot of help, but better than nothing. And so I dressed myself as quickly as I could, eager to be out of the room before Mr. Reynolds returned. 

All of Book Two on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082GGSTS6/

Book One on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KDQSBGZ

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

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Social Media Is A Polarization Machine

Sure, we’ve all seen this in practice and people have developed catchy terms for it, like echo chamber, but the polarization effect of social media has been demonstrated scientifically. In fact, some of us were warning about it more than a decade ago. And while I can no longer find my original documentation on the subject, I can tell you precisely how it works.

The One-Room Phenomenon

What researchers discovered about twenty years ago was that putting people of the same opinion into a single room had a striking effect: The opinion in the room moved, inevitably, to the extreme. And this effect was the same no matter what the original opinion may have been.

So, then:

  • If you put a bunch of right-wingers in a room, the shared opinion in the room will become stridently right-wing.

  • If you put a bunch of left-wingers in a room, the shared opinion in the room will become stridently left-wing.

  • If you put a bunch of save-the-planet advocates in a room, their opinion will become all the more adamantly save-the-planet.

  • If you put in a bunch of the-planet-is-just-fine advocates, their opinion will become all the more adamantly the-planet-is-just-fine.

This happens because of human insecurity and status-seeking: Anyone taking a contrary opinion (advocating “right-wing” economics in the left-wing room, for example) is instantly branded as a traitor and suffers heavy shaming within the group.

Gaining social status in the closed room, however, is simple and obvious: You just adopt a stronger, more polarized, version of the original opinion.

Because of this, the opinion in a closed group becomes more and more severe. That is, it becomes increasingly polarized.

Yeah, They Know

Like I said at the open, if you’ve observed people at all, you’ve seen them polarized by Facebook. They climb into their groups, block discordant voices, and end up in a (partly) self-created echo chamber.

I say “partly” self-created because Facebook knows all too well what they’re doing. They want people who are emotionally tied to their groups. It’s called addiction, and it’s what makes Facebook rich.

Being polarized also makes people cold and cruel. Anyone who’s on the other side of what their group thinks is not just wrong, but evil. And whoever fails to agree with them is their opponent… an object of disgust.  

In that condition, people will advocate all sorts of stupid and even abominable positions, assured that the members of their group will support them tooth and nail. It’s now common, after all, for such groups to lump ten million people together and slap a negative verdict on them all. If you’re the wrong skin color, or too old, or too young, or a dozen other things, you’re “privileged,” or “don’t get it,” or something else. That is, you are declared evil. After that, whoever hurts you is a hero.

This serves Facebook, you understand. Once your opinions are polarized, you are dependent on your group and you’ll be unable to leave.

This addiction is also crucial for political causes. Facebook provides hard believers: addicts with claims to righteousness. And that means that politicians need Facebook, and deeply. Politicians get ahead by making their opponents into monsters, after all, and social media may be the best tool ever for creating polar opposites. (Or at least the illusion thereof.)

The Awakening Has Begun

Little by little, people are waking up to the evils of group dynamics and the devolutionary effects they generate((Twitter, in my opinion, is the least bad of the centralized social media platforms, and will hopefully be decentralizing at some point. They have, at least, a team working on that.)).

There are decentralized social media experiments coming along, and I hope they succeed, but the closed group problem will remain, even if it isn’t stoked to the limit by political and financial mercenaries((I was ready to write “whores,” rather than “mercenaries,” but I can’t equate sex workers, even metaphorically, with willful and purposeful abusers of mankind.)).

Thoughtful, observant and intelligent people are noticing that social media makes humans hateful, as well as lonely, insecure and miserable. I hope that knowledge spreads. I further hope that people will realize the past ten years of their life have been polluted by social media.

No, there’s nothing wrong with talking to friends and sharing ideas, but Facebook and other social media companies have weaponized this. They are intentionally abusing human instincts.

So, don’t get angry and hateful in response; just stop rewarding them. People who addict and polarize you are precisely the wrong ones to empower.

Social media is a polarization machine. Separating from it would be a very good idea.

**

If you’d like to learn more, see:

FMP issue #80

Parallel Society issue #2

A Lodging of Wayfaring Men

The Breaking Dawn

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

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The Mos Maioram And The Barbarians

The mos maiorum, or “way of the old ones” were the traditional principles and practices of public life in ancient Rome. These customs included:

  • Good faith
  • Respectfulness
  • Self-discipline
  • Virtue
  • Dignity

I won’t go through a history lesson, but Rome, which had no written constitution, began to degrade as the mos maioram, the ancient ways, were abandoned piece by piece. That’s what was involved in the breakdown of the republic, and it increased until the Western empire was a wreck.

I bring this up because what we’re seeing right now is a breakdown in the mos maioram of Western civilization, and certainly on the ruling level. This will have consequences.

I’m not saying those consequences will be terrible for you and me – I think it will be to the contrary – but to those who still believe in the system and its operators the consequences may be painful.

Politics And Barbarism

Politics is barbaric by nature; at the end of every political process stands a binary choice to either obey or be punished. And that punishment involves violence. Pick whatever law you like and consider what happens if you persistently disobey. At the end of the line stand men armed with clubs, chains and bullets.

Political barbarism, however, used to be cloaked in “statesmanship,” which was simply a version of mos maioram. American and English politicians, among others, were expected to dress well, speak well, and to behave with decorum. In my youth, people looked up to such men and respected them, even when they disagreed. My corner of the world featured Paul Simon and Adlai Stevenson on the left and Everett McKinley Dirksen on the right. Everyone disagreed with one or more of them, but they respected them all.

The last vestiges of that were washed away in 2016. They had been torn and tattered long before, of course, but there was some dignity remaining, at least in some quarters.

Since 2016, we’ve had Mr. Trump on the right, with his crude Twitter rants and schoolyard insults.

On the left, we’ve had a variety of astonishingly bizarre and deranged democrats.

On top of that, we’ve had intelligence agencies simply making things up to “get” the man they hated, along with the FBI trashing its reputation almost completely. People may fear them, but that’s not the same as respect.

Mos maioram, then, has departed, and I don’t see it coming back any time soon. The path to political victory has become “stirring up the base,” and that strategy, combined with social media, is on a direct path to Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate.

Plenty of the same has been going on in the UK, surrounding the Brexit drama. And likewise, British leaders of the past, who labored for dignity and reasonableness, would be horrified.

That said, I’ll stick with the American craziness for today. And today’s craziness is impeachment. But rather than punishing you with the details, I’ll simply refer those of you who are interested to Tom Luongo’s article on the subject and move on to the solution.

The New Opportunities

I’ve said this before, but I think spending time and effort on politics is almost a full waste. And if ever this statement was anything less than true, it is certainly true now: Politics is barbarism.

The system doesn’t deserve our sweat and strain.

I’d rather that we engage in building a better world. The model of the new era is decentralization, and just about everything new and uplifting either supports that model or thrives within it.

Decentralized education (aka, homeschooling and its variants) calls out for advocates and implementations. Decentralized science is a desperate need. Decentralized money is already present and is not only a screaming success but a major opportunity. And I could go on to decentralized communications, decentralized defense and more.

Mos maioram is dead and gone. Rather than pretending otherwise, we should build a better way.

**

If you want a deeper understanding of these issues, see:

FMP issue #84

FMP issue #75

A Lodging of Wayfaring Men

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

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Consumption Doesn’t Make Us Happy

We live in a culture that presents consumption as the ultimate end: Party with the pretty people drinking the good beer, get your husband to give you a car with a huge ribbon on it for Christmas, prove your love with a diamond, and so on without end. And it’s been going on for so long that most Westerners don’t see much else.

Consumption, however, doesn’t make us happy((You can, of course, debate definitions of happiness.)). Or, to be more precise, it imparts no real satisfaction: It’s all ephemeral, fleeting, temporary… if and when it’s even obtained. 

What keeps people eternally seeking more consumption is not the feeling they’ll get from the good beer and sleeping with the hot girl/guy, but the hope of claiming the prize… the imagination that they’ll find magic when they get the girl-ring-car-house-job-jet-whatever.

I Know Because I’ve Seen

One of the great strokes of luck in my life was falling in with a fascinating group of older men at 15 years old. Here’s how I described it in issue #45 of our subscription letter:

As a very young man, I got to know mobsters and politicians, geniuses and maniacs, doctors and bus drivers, millionaires and bust-outs. And these guys let it all hang out in the workout room: business problems, family problems, girlfriends, booze, drugs, people who had cheated them, political scams, bribery… all of it. It was an education that I couldn’t have obtained anywhere else, for any price.

A wild businessman (whose briefcase sported marijuana, cocaine, and booze) took me to sporting events… although I had to call my mom first, to get permission! A professional football player became my friend. Millionaires told me their troubles. I experienced all of this, and much more, while I was in high school.

So, please believe me that the dream babe, the dream house and so on will not make you happy. They will for a moment, but not for long. I’ve watched that game play out over and over. More than that, I’ve had a few of the “dream” things myself. Some of them are nice enough, but they will not satisfy you over time. They simply aren’t the right vehicles for satisfaction… they can produce it no better than an apple tree can produce onions.

And here’s a quote from Neal Cassady, who had to be the number one party guy of the 20th century. He was the hero of On The Road, idol to multiple rock bands, and much more:

Twenty years of fast living—there’s just not much left, and my kids are all screwed up. Don’t do what I have done.

So, please don’t imagine that the advertised image will satisfy you. It won’t.

The Illusion Is As Bad As Cocaine

Actually, the illusion is a lot like cocaine. Do you remember the famous rat experiment, where they give the rat a shot of cocaine if it pushes a lever… and then the rat starves to death because it will do nothing except push the lever? Well, substitute modern man for the rat and the hope of consumption for the cocaine and the model holds.

The cocaine is not actual consumption, mind you, but the hope of consumption. And in that hope millions of humans spend their lives, chasing images and dreams that will never satisfy them for more than a moment… presuming they reach them at all.

The entire model – from the advertising complex to the hijacking of youthful hormones to dreams of status – it’s all an addiction, and the people selling it are “pushers.”

The supermodel will not make you happy.

The billionaire will not make you happy.

The mansion will not make you happy

The Ferrari will not make you happy.

They can not.

Some of these may give you a short burst of excitement and perhaps a feeling of triumph, but all are fleeting.

What Does Satisfy

What actually satisfies is knowing that you are a good and beneficial being. Not by hoping (“I’ll be made good someday”) or implying (“I keep the rules, so I must be good”), but by doing good and beneficial things… by having, as a few old preachers used to say, a conscious sense of righteousness.

In practice, this feeling – this recognition – comes from production: Knowing, based upon concrete actions, that you are a beneficial being.

The satisfaction generated by accomplishment endures through all of life, and they needn’t be gigantic accomplishments. Hang out with an old carpenter or bricklayer some time; take a drive through their home town. Invariably they’ll point out the stores, houses and factories they built. And each time they do they’ll feel satisfaction… that they created things that served and blessed the world. And that satisfaction will remain in them through the end of their days.

The same goes for raising good children, and other real accomplishments.

Why This Is Important Just Now

This is especially important just now because nearly all the fixes that come from the powers that be involve consumption: Reinvigorate your town with coffee shops and diners. More production is seldom even considered.

There are reasons for this (we covered them in FMP #103), but they are misguided and destructive. Consumption will never deliver what production does.

Without being productive, we degrade. Consumption isn’t remotely enough.

**

If you want a deeper understanding of these issues, see:

FMP issue #45

FMP issue #103

Parallel Society issue #2

Production Versus Plunder

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

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Lèse-Majesté And The Necessity of Idolatry

Lèse-Majesté, an offense against the dignity of a ruler, is a little-used but very important concept. And it is the central crime that cannot be tolerated by the ruler.

Lèse-Majesté stands against the concept of free speech, of course, but when push comes to shove, necessities stand above the law, and lèse-Majesté is a necessity to rulers.

As we examine in this podcast, lèse-Majesté is crucial for the legitimacy of the ruler (without legitimacy the whole structure of rulership would fail), and is crucial to what I call “applied idolatry” in our world.

 

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