Politics Is Poison

poison

Let’s be honest about something we see nonstop but seldom appreciate: Politics makes life ugly. Politics turns people you disagree with into twisted, cartoon images of what they really are, and it pushes you into degrading and hating them. In short, it’s vile, corrosive, and hate-filled.

These things are not “necessary evils”; they’re just evil.

We’ve been programmed to believe that politics is how we rule ourselves… that politics is what saves us from tyranny… that our political system is the necessary and ultimate end of human civilization.

All of that is false, and future generations will either laugh at such thoughts, shake their heads in disbelief, or perhaps cry. As they should. All of it is propaganda, benefitting an abusive elite. Whether or not we learned it from beloved parents or even taught it to our children, it was false and it led us toward darkness.

Politics functions on the fearful, the dangerous, and the negative. When it says, “We’re great,” it means, “We’re above everyone else.” Everything is win-lose, everything is dominance and submission, everything revolves around base instincts. Politics erodes our character.

I’m here to tell you that we can do better… much better.

Turning Away from the Good

I was hard struck by these lines from G.K. Chesterton when I first read them, and I’m convinced there’s something very important in them:

Every one of the great revolutionists, from Isaiah to Shelley, have been optimists. They have been indignant, not about the badness of existence, but about the slowness of men in realizing its goodness.

“Yeah, yeah,” go the responses to such thoughts. “Nice sentiments, but I’m looking at a cold, dangerous world.”

No… you’re looking at the world through politically colored glasses. All you can see through them are dark, ominous, and threatening things. A thousand decent and peaceful people cross your field of view every day. But you don’t see them; you see only the handful who act stupidly.

Chesterton was right; Isaiah was right; Shelley was right: Life can be so much better than it is now. And getting there would involve an easier path than the one we’re currently trudging. But we have to look for it.

Understand, please: We never think of building life around good things. Rather, modern life – political life – is built entirely around cultivated fears. The Russians might bomb us, terrorists might blow up the Sears Tower, China may overtake us, the roads are crumbling, and so on… with never an end.

Not only is this degrading, but it drags us away from what’s good and beautiful. We have limited time, after all.

We crawl out of bed in the morning and most of us will very shortly turn on a TV (where the worst things that happened overnight will be displayed), turn on a radio (where the other side’s political stupidity will be examined at length), or run to Facebook (where our friends will be making fun of the degenerates who disagree with us).

And so begin our days. When we’re not busy with work, we’ll worry about our kids (after all, there are a hundred million predators out there), or we’ll worry about money (everyone else seems to have more), or we’ll worry about getting sick (a terrifying new disease is promoted each year). And we’ll finish our day with more of the same.

All is dark, all is frightful, all is threat… because that’s what works to squeeze more out of us… every day until we die. It keeps our minds ever focused on evil, spending almost no time on the good. In fact, good things are to be avoided. They might pull us away from the obligatory stream of threats… and whether real or imaginary makes no difference.

Life Can Be Beautiful

The vast majority of people don’t think life can be beautiful or at least can’t be beautiful unless they have a huge pile of money to go along with it. And so, they never expect life to be wonderful and never even try to see it. But if they did ever try, they’d find out that life can be beautiful.

Perfectly beautiful? No, of course not. But being less than 100% doesn’t make it zero… unless you’re fixated on making it zero.

And why wouldn’t we want life to be beautiful? Is hanging on to our dismal mindscape really that important?

People have lived non-political, peaceful, and happy lives; we have it, clearly, in the archaeological record. Were they all supermen? Were they all saints? No, of course not. But they weren’t fixated on the dreadful, the ugly, and the hateful.

We could do the same – and certainly much more – if we stopped drinking the poison of politics.

Is it entirely that simple? No, it’s not, but that accounts for a whole lot of it… and we’ll never get to the rest if we can’t put down the bottle.

* * * * *

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

United We Fall

UnitedWeFall

Like you, I’ve heard “united we stand, divided we fall” hundreds of times, probably thousands. If fact, we’ve heard it so many times that by now it triggers emotions in us: All together we can’t be stopped! And so on.

Except that it’s mainly a trap. Unity is the downward path – the road to decline.

In fact, being united has value in very few areas of life. If you want a mass of bodies to charge another mass of bodies on the other side of a battlefield – then unity matters. But when you want honesty, intelligence, compassion, innovation, and evolution, unity is your enemy.

Unity works for body-power, but it works against all the higher and better aspects of our nature. And to be blunt, that’s why the sacrifice collectors of mankind love unity – they want obedient bodies, not self-determinant minds.

Spiritual Unity?

The really pernicious thing about unity is that it’s sold as some kind of spiritual ideal: We each sacrifice our ourselves, then we somehow become magical, collective superheroes.

Again, this is false. The high and good – the truly spiritual – forms only in individuals. As I’ll illustrate below, the more united our minds are, the farther they sink to an animal level. The more individual our minds are, the more they rise toward the good and the ultimate.

Unity in the religious sense is a spiritualized dream of a free fix. By embracing unity, people hope to solve their personal deficits by magic. Unification calls the magic down from heaven, and boom! we’re all fixed… no work required… it’s “spiritual,” after all.

The truth is this: Where individuality has had the upper hand, prosperity, growth, and invention have defined the times. Where collective ideals (like melting into one) have had the upper hand, humanity has sunk toward an animal level of existence.

You Want Proof?

Let’s start with this: Every mass tragedy since 1900 has not only featured unity, but has been built with unity as its central component. This becomes utterly obvious with the use of just one word: collectivism.

Collectivism is unity by definition, and it stood at the heart of Mao’s China, Lenin and Stalin’s USSR, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and the various Kims’ North Korea. As a first approximation, these unity traps killed 100 million people.

Then we can add Hitler and Mussolini, who enforced unity; nonconformists were imprisoned or killed. We have more tens of millions dead here.

This fact hasn’t been lost on observers. Here are just two quotes:

[A]n individual immersed for some length of time in a crowd soon finds himself – either in consequence of magnetic influence given out by the crowd or from some other cause of which we are ignorant – in a special state, which much resembles the state of fascination in which the hypnotized individual finds himself in the hands of the hypnotizer.
– Gustave Le Bon

Man as an individual is a genius. But men in the mass form a headless monster, a great, brutish idiot that goes where prodded.
– Charles Chaplin

And yes, our abusers know this too. Here’s a quote from Edward Bernays, who made a living teaching people to manipulate the masses:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

Want More Proof?

Here are some thoughts from people who knew something about creativity, discovery, and creating a better world:

[E]verything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.
– Albert Einstein

Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind independent of the one prevalent among the crowd and in opposition to it… the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.
– Albert Schweitzer

[T]his I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.
– John Steinbeck

The Power of Numbers

Every leader of a movement – or wannabe leader of a movement – stresses the necessity of numbers: “Every one of us needs to show up and make them take notice!” That, I hasten to tell you, is a fatal error. It’s wonderful for the wannabe leader – he gets to be “the great one” – but it destroys the followers.

When you have a mass movement following a “noble leadership,” individual-level virtues are squeezed out and actual improvement along with it. Like this:

  • Listening to the leader displaces self-judgment.

  • Following the leader displaces self-motivation.

  • Lauding the courage of the leader displaces the courage to act alone.

  • Quoting the words of the leader displaces self-responsibility.

If we want real and enduring progress in the world, we must each make our own decisions, we must each take full responsibility for our lives, and we must each muster the courage to act alone. Until we can do that, we won’t move the world forward by any appreciable amount.

Mass movements and leaders always drag us in the wrong direction.

So…

So, if you need a pile of bodies to knock down other bodies, unity’s your ticket. If you want a large number of people to turn off their minds and obey you, unity’s also your ticket, especially if you mix in some fear.

But if you want, thinking, creative, upright, beneficial human beings, ditch unity and call for self-will.

As individuals we rise.

United we fall.

* * * * *

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You may never look at life the same way again.

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

50 Years of Failure

Politics

Several decades ago, Saul Bellow wrote this:

For the first time in history, the human species as a whole has gone into politics. Everyone is in the act, and there is no telling what may come of it.

At this point, however, we can say what has come of it: failure. Politics has failed to deliver on nearly every promise it has made since the 1960s, and I think it’s time to hold it to account.

50 Years In

I was still a child in 1966, but I remember it fairly well. And I remember a good deal of the politics of the era, because my mom was involved with it. In fact, she helped to rewrite the Illinois State Constitution during those years. (Adoption came in 1970, but there were several years of work preceding it.)

So, I know what people in that time were hoping to get out of politics… what they firmly believed they would get out of politics. Here’s the list:

  • A solution to the race problem.
  • An end to a pointless war.
  • A solution to the Middle East problem.
  • To improve education.
  • A solution to the problems of poverty and welfare.
  • An elimination of police brutality.

Bear in mind that the people who were seeking these things were decent, well-meaning people. They truly wanted the world to be better, and they believed politics would make it happen.

And to their credit, they worked to make it happen. Not only that, but their children and grandchildren have kept the faith and continued the fight. We now live in a world of all politics, all the time. And so, half a century in, I think we need to take a hard look at the results, which are these:

The race problem

Race problems have shifted over the past 50 years, but they are still very much with us. And when I say “shifted,” I mean this: If you go to the towns of the American South that were considered the cores of racism (in those days it was called “bigotry”), you’ll find that black and white people generally get along pretty well; far better than they did in the 1960s.

Where racial tension survives and thrives these days is in the realm of the political and because of political actions. The typical white hater of the ’60s derided Negroes as being bad by nature. The “angry white men” of modern times are upset that their money, jobs, and opportunities are stolen via politics and handed to other people. (There is of course a residue of just plain hate.)

The bottom line here is that politics is keeping racism alive. And if the truth is to be honestly faced, this is because a large number of political operatives would have no job if racial prejudice evaporated. It behooves them to keep it going.

Verdict: Fail.

Pointless war

Vietnam goes, Iraq and Afghanistan come, and Syria may be next; ho hum, just another season in the long march of the military-industrial complex.

Verdict: Fail.

The Middle East problem

Israel, the Arabs, bombs, terrorists, dictators… which decade’s headlines are these?

Verdict: Fail.

Education

Test scores since the 1960s have steadily fallen; teachers’ unions have become ever-more rapacious and arrogant, colleges ever-more expensive. Metal detectors now adorn school buildings, teachers are forbidden to adapt the curriculum to the students, etc.

Verdict: Fail.

Poverty and welfare

More people are on more welfare programs than ever before… and in the face of ever-declining scarcity in the world. And again, armies of political operatives would lose their jobs if these problems ever went away.

Verdict: Fail.

Police brutality

Eric Garner, intensely violent and overly used SWAT teams, and an ever-increasing list of innocent victims.

At the same time, every evening’s television shows laud “law enforcement” as our true and great saviors. Police departments are laden with bigger, deadlier tools and massive budgets. All of this while Acton’s dictum (“Power corrupts…”) remains.

Verdict: Fail.

We See, but Can We Perceive?

There’s nothing secret about the facts itemized above. We’ve all seen them. The question is this: How many of us are able to accept them?

Most people hate the reality that forces them to change their opinions. They fight it, cleverly and persistently. If the first reason to reject reality doesn’t work, it’s followed by a second, third, and fourth. And if excuses fail, anger, accusations, and wild displays may follow.

Still, reality is what it is. And this particular slice of reality is that politics has failed. Profoundly.

We may have leapt into politics with the best of intentions, but our efforts have failed to produce beneficial results… save of course that they allowed us to feel righteous. As far as changing the world, we’d have been better off gardening; that, at least, would have provided good food for people we cared about.

We can either face reality or fight against it. But if we really care about the state of the world, we need to face the truth: Politics has failed miserably.

* * * * *

If you’ve enjoyed Free-Man’s Perspective or A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, you’re going to love Paul Rosenberg’s new novel, The Breaking Dawn.

It begins with an attack that crashes the investment markets, brings down economic systems, and divides the world. One part is dominated by mass surveillance and massive data systems: clean cities and empty minds… where everything is assured and everything is ordered. The other part is abandoned, without services, with limited communications, and shoved 50 years behind the times… but where human minds are left to find their own bearings.

You may never look at life the same way again.

Get it now at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

* * * * *

TheBreakingDawn

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

What an Actual Leader Would Say

acrualleaderIn the current deluge of wannabe leaders clamoring for attention and trying to convince us that they are the boss who should be applying rules to us, it strikes me that all of them are looking backward and none are looking forward. (I do not consider “My administration will give you more bennies” to be seriously forward-looking.)

So, since none of this crowd is going to venture anywhere outside of their hermetically sealed status quo, I’d like to give you an example of something a real leader might say.

Late summer 2015, Anytown, USA: A small platform stands at the edge of a cornfield. A very average-looking person steps up to a microphone and speaks:

Friends,

I stand here, not to praise you, but to acquaint you with reality, at least as well as I am able. Perhaps that means I should be killed or at least run out of town. But if that’s so, then so be it. I am tired of living a life other than my own – the pre-scripted, advertiser-generated life that is shoved before my eyes day by day. And I suspect that some of you are tired of it as well.

Please allow me to begin by pointing out that all the fights from all the platforms this election cycle will concern trivialities – Team Red versus Team Blue – and competing varieties of fears – terrorists versus outlawed unions versus less free stuff versus whatever works in your little corner of the world. At most, these are fights over personalities – He’s an arrogant ass, she’s a conniving witch, and so on  – all of which really come down to, “My opponent is scarier than I am.”

None of these bobbleheads will ask the questions that matter: Who are we? What do we want? Where should we be headed?

You see, once we get past all the publicized fears – some real, but most imaginary – the dialog we’re having, if we care to admit it, is mostly self-praise. We laud our great “democracy,” even though not one in a thousand can define it. Or we brag about our wonderful “freedom” but avoid defining it, knowing that our definition wouldn’t stand up to the test. Freedom is “what we have,” and further questions are evidence of stupidity, bordering on treason.

The truth is that we’ve trained ourselves to evade reality. Praising ourselves is so much easier: Team America!

By doing this, my friends, we’ve been blind to the greatest opportunity that has ever stood before a human generation: If we wanted to, we could quickly and easily step into a golden age. In fact, we’ve been doing just that, half by accident, for a long time. If we bothered to work at it, even halfheartedly, we’d go down in history as the generation that transformed humanity forever.

But perhaps most of us wouldn’t like that. And if so, that’s our choice to make. My objection is that no one bothers to talk about it.

I’d like for you, for just a few seconds, to take a look at two graphs, which I pulled out of Julian Simon’s The State of Humanity. The first graph shows how much wheat is not grown, because our production capacity is so much greater than our demand for wheat.

graph1

This second one shows the price of wheat measured in wages.

graph2

And I have others like this, for other commodities.

There is one message that comes screaming through here, and it’s one that I know can be deeply troubling. Nonetheless, that message is true: Scarcity on planet Earth is dying.

I’ll pause to allow you a small freakout over that, to let all those prerecorded messages run screaming through your mind.

You see, our ruling systems have been built on the assumption of scarcity, and the idea that scarcity may be failing throws us into crisis.

Isn’t it odd that good news should upset us?

Scarcity, sadly, became more than a sad fact to us; it became a psychological necessity. But what if we no longer need to fight over resources? Is that a concept that we should rush to eliminate?

And in actual fact, there are fewer and fewer starving people all the time, and most of those are starving because of political distortions, not because of insufficient production technology.

All of this reminds me of a comment from Buckminster Fuller that I like to condense:

I decided man was operating on a fundamental fallacy: that he was destined to be a failure. I decided that man was, in fact, designed to be an extraordinary success. His characteristics were magnificent; what he needed was to discover the comprehensive patterns operating in the universe.

So, what if humanity is designed to be an extraordinary success? Why should this thought repel us, even before we honestly consider it?

You see, these are things we need to discuss.

We are, whether we like it or not, stepping out of scarcity, and it seems to me that we should decide whether or not that’s a good thing.

Our problem – our real problem, if we can muster the courage to admit it – is that we’re living with space-age technology and bronze-age rulership. But we can get past this problem if we wish, and we can easily meet all of humanity’s basic needs… if we wish.

But perhaps we don’t want to. Maybe it’s more important to us that we should be the biggest dog in town and that everyone else should be a little yap-yap dog.

And if that’s the case, we need to admit it to ourselves. Perhaps we’ll decide that what we really need is to be the dominant dog, and that all the morality stuff we talk about – golden rules and loving our neighbors – was all juvenile blather; that what we really want is to dominate everyone else.

And if that’s the case, we should get busy rebuilding our civilization in the form of the Roman Empire. We should get serious about beating the hell out of everyone else… at least until a new Christ comes along (or perhaps just people who remember the old one) and convinces our subjects that there’s a better way to live.

But in the meantime, we could kick the crap out of a billion brown people for a century or two, minimum. That’s our choice to make, of course, I’m only suggesting that we be forthright about it.

So, my friends, let me conclude by saying this:

If what we really want is to be the big dog, to feast on the fact that we’re able to kick all the smaller dogs around, then let’s do it. Let’s go full-Caesar on ’em. Let’s conquer everything, steal what we like, and live it up.

Or, if that’s not what we really want, then let’s get the golden age started; let’s dump the hierarchies that steal half our earnings and labor to keep fear alive. Let’s build and plant and thrive; and let’s welcome others to thrive with us.

Thank you for not shooting me.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

It’s 460 AD in Rome: This Won’t Be Fixed

RomeAnother American election cycle is upon us, and large numbers of people are lining up to pour their time and money into the sewer of politics, to be lost forever.

This system will not be fixed. Period. This is Rome in 460 AD. The rulers, as in Rome, are liars, mad, or drunk (these days, drugged)… or all three.

The “fall of Rome” of course was far more complex than we learned in school, but through all the many years of its decline, Rome was full of well-meaning people trying to reform and save it. And by the way, among the people who tried the hardest to keep the Roman game going were the Goths. They tried hard to keep Rome operational… and they failed too.

Let me be clear on this: Once ruling hierarchies get beyond a certain point, they cannot be reformed. And I am sure that the modern West is beyond that point.

  • Do we really believe that central bankers will just lay down their monopolies?

  • Can we seriously expect a hundred trillion dollars of debt to be liquidated without any consequences?

  • Do we actually believe that politicians will walk away from their power and apologize for abusing us?

  • Do we really think that the corporations who own Congress will just give up the game that is enriching them?

  • Does anyone seriously believe that the NSA is going to say, “Gee, that Fourth Amendment really is kind of clear, and everything we do violates it… so, everyone here is fired and the last person out will please turn off the lights”?

  • And does anyone believe that the military-industrial complex will stop encouraging war, or that corporate media will stop worshiping the state, or that your local sheriff will apologize for training his cops to be vicious beasts?

  • Do we really believe that public school systems will ever stop lauding the state that pays all its bills?

I could go on, but I think my point is made: This system will never allow itself to be seriously reformed. Trying to fix this is like trying to revive a long-dead corpse.

The systems that rule the West will fail.

Whether the wider Western civilization fails is up to us: Do we have civilization inside of us? Or was it all just a pattern that we followed?

A Few Bits of Support

I think an honest look around is all we really need to assess this situation – and I’m really not trying to play the “doomer” here – but a few bits of support seem to be in order. So, I’ll start with a quote from a man named Salvian, who lived in the Roman Empire a bit before 460 AD:

Nobody thought of the state’s expenses, nobody thought of the state’s losses, because the cost was not felt. The state itself sought how it might squander what it was already scarcely able to acquire. The heaping up of wealth which had already exceeded its limit was overflowing even into trifling matters.

Does this sound vaguely familiar? Salvian continues:

But what can be said of the present-day situation? That old abundances have gone from us. The resources of former times have gone. We are already poverty-stricken, yet we do not cease to be spendthrift.

Here’s another from Salvian:

The state has fallen upon such evil days that a man cannot be safe unless he is wicked.

With this last passage in mind, please consider Jon Corzine, Lois Lerner, and Hillary Clinton.

Then think about Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning.

Who among these six told the truth? And who among them lied? Which have suffered for their actions? Which have not?

And what of the British elites who seem devoted to chasing underage girls? When do they go to jail?

Shall we really keep pretending that these systems have anything to do with righteousness? At some point, doesn’t that become embarrassing?

As I’ve written before, back in the 1960s I was surrounded by well-meaning people who tried very hard to reform the system and to make life better. And now, the very same problems they were devoted to solving are the problems de jour: war, poverty, welfare, racism, and police brutality – the very same list!

50 years of their efforts were fully wasted. Shall we really continue the waste? At some point, doesn’t patting ourselves on the back for accomplishing nothing become ridiculous?

Even If…

I think it’s very important to make this last point clearly:

Even if this system doesn’t crash for another century, everything done within it is a waste.

The decent people of Earth deserve better than this barbarity… much better.

Not long ago, with these ideas in mind, I wrote this to a friend:

It is fully corrupt, from top to bottom, and I don’t believe there are any “good guys” inside, waiting for “the right time.” It is OVER.

I withdraw. I forsake them. I refuse to waste my energy on their politics. Humanity deserves better and I aim to do my part in building it.

I will shed no tears when this system finally collapses – it will be a liberation.

From here on, I’ll build new things and will have nothing to do with the old.

My friend – a good man – agreed.

The good and productive people of this world deserve something better than the abusive dominators that seek to control their every move, and we are more than capable of building it. But we have to stop waiting for permission from the lords of the status quo – they will never give us permission to bypass their domination.

We have to make our own decisions and simply start building something better. We are able, and this system is unworthy of our efforts.

Now would be a very good time to start.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

There Will Never Be Enough Good Jobs Again

goodjobIt’s over. Except for a short moment or a wild and self-exhausting governmental mandate (both of which are doubtful), there will never again be enough “good jobs” to go around. That model is gone and we need to root it out of our imaginations.

Sure, there will be some good jobs, but nowhere near enough.

About half of the Western world is already on the dole in one form or another. 93 million Americans lack a decent job and have no real hope of getting one. And so long as the current hierarchies remain, things won’t get substantially better.

I’m sorry to dump that on you, but it’s better to face it directly.

But please bear in mind that I’m a confirmed optimist. Just because there are no “good jobs” doesn’t mean that we’ll all languish in a meaningless existence. Far from it. Once we get over our addictions to status, hierarchy, and dominance, a glorious future awaits us.

Why It Won’t Get Better

The standard response to what I’ve noted above is to call it “the Luddite fallacy.” That line of argument says that in the past, innovation has not wiped out jobs, that new types of jobs were created and filled the gaps fairly well.

And that statement is true. Individual jobs were wiped out, but new jobs came along and (more or less) picked up the slack.

However, that is not happening this time, and for a very simple reason: Adaptation is now against the law. Previous rises in technology occurred while adaptation was still semi-legal.

Please take a look at this graph and remember a simple truth: Regulation forbids adaptation.

The US government is currently spending $60 billion, every year, to restrain business activity. (And the EU is worse.) On top of that, reasonable estimates show that US government regulations cost businesses nearly $2 trillion per year.

And let’s be honest about this: The primary purpose of regulation is to give the friends of congressmen a business advantage. Why else would they pay millions of dollars to lobbyists?

So, the new jobs that should be spawned, will not be. Mega-corps own Congress and they get the laws they pay for. And mega-corps do not like competition.

Furthermore, the political-corporate-bureaucratic complex will bite and claw to retain every scrap of power they have, and small businesses will be their first victims. (They already are.)

Trapped Between Hammer and Anvil

So, the people who are hoping and waiting for a “good job” to pop up are trapped between hammer and anvil. Robots are starting to roll into the workplace while the job creators (small entrepreneurs) are in regulatory and economic chains. They can’t come to the rescue.

In the 19th century, all sorts of possibilities were open to entrepreneurs. This remained at least partly true, even into the 1970s, when I watched the business heroes of my youth having a gas while making piles of money.

It used to be that a clever person could get ahead, independently, and have a ball doing so.

Those days, alas, are over.

These days, to get rich, one needs to take government as a partner. If one does not, regulation and legislation are likely to destroy your business. At this point, many of us (myself included) have had businesses – good businesses that benefited everyone involved – crushed by legislation.

To avoid being crushed these days, you have to be smarter and fleeter of foot than everyone else. Not many of us can survive in that situation, and as regulations continue to rise, even that number grows smaller and smaller.

For the generation before of mine, independent success required ambition, but it was reachable. For my generation, only those of us blessed with unusual talent had a chance at controlling our economic destinies. For the young generation of today, it’s nearly impossible. These days, if you want to jump ahead, you need to be part of something big… and you need to start as a sycophant.

So…

So, if you’re looking for the proverbial good job, stop waiting for “The Hierarchy That Is” to sort things out and get everything back to normal. Good jobs get fewer and fewer every year, and those that are lost won’t be coming back.

But… if and when you’re ready to change your thinking – to seriously change your thinking – this is good news too: You can reclaim the parts of yourself that you were ready to sacrifice to the “good job.”

You see, the “good job” was nearly as much a curse as it was a blessing. Yes, I know, steady wages and benefits are a very comfortable thing, but they also play right into a ridiculous, predatory script.

You know the one: where you struggle to display your status to all the other worker-bees. You feel like you have to do what the ads tell you: Get the new car, the bigger truck, the video player in the back seat, the gigantic TV, the most “amazing” holiday parties, the expensive shoes, the designer bags, the organic veggies, etc., etc., etc.

I would like you, please, to consider this quote from the boss of Lehman Brothers, just as the World War I production surge was failing:

We must shift America from a needs, to a desires culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old had been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.

Would you agree that their plan worked?

As long as you follow their script, you’ll remain in a permanent deficit mentality. No matter how much you have, you’ll always feel like you need more. It’s life on a shiny gerbil wheel. The “good job” kept us from knowing ourselves; it allowed us to sleep-walk through life. We got a “good job” and never developed ourselves any further. Work, retire, die, ho hum.

Then What?

So, if we forget about having a “good job,” what happens?

Well, it might very well mean that you do what you’re already doing, but you stop feeling bad about it. It means that you get over the endless grasping after status… of letting ridiculous ads define what “success” looks like… of letting other people define your self-opinion.

Letting go of the “good job” delusion means that you stop pining for the days when you could blow a third of your money on status crap. It means that you start taking pleasure in growing your own food, developing new ventures, and improving yourself.

It means that rather than begging politicians to ride in on a white horse and fix your world, you ignore them and start paying attention to your actual life.

Fundamentally, this means that we start using our own initiative, without seeking permission, and start building better things.

Rather than going on, I’ll leave you with two quotes, both from Erich Fromm. I think they are worth close consideration:

Our society is run by a managerial bureaucracy, by professional politicians; people are motivated by mass suggestion, their aim is producing more and consuming more, as purposes in themselves. All activities are subordinated to economic goals, means have become ends; man is an automaton – well fed, well clad, but without any ultimate concern for that which is his peculiarly human quality and function.

The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Please Do NOT Support a Candidate

candidateANY candidate.

Here’s something I wrote in my subscription newsletter a few months back:

I’ve watched people work for political progress since the 1960s. Back then, I saw decent, well-meaning people struggling to eliminate war, financial insecurity, welfare, racial animus, and police brutality.

Fifty years later, their children and grandchildren are spending oceans of energy fighting… war, financial insecurity, welfare, racial animus, and police brutality.

I take no pleasure in saying that all those people wasted their time – my own family and friends are included in that group – but the truth is that they did waste their time. Those people had good intentions, but their efforts were of no significant effect. They would have been better off gardening.

I’m dead serious about this.

Instead of sending money to politicians… instead of spending endless hours arguing about Candidates A, B, C, D, and E… tend a garden or plant a couple of fruit trees… these things will supply your family with good food, probably with some left over for friends and neighbors. Learn a skill. Teach a skill. Read good books. Bless the world and the good people in it.

By doing any of these things, you’ll be far better off than you would be after blowing your time and money on filthy politics. (Don’t we all complain that these people are liars and thieves?)

A new American Presidential Circus is rising up from the netherworld as I write this. It will be the 13th that I can remember in detail, running back to 1968. And they’ve all been the same: lots of propaganda, lots of fear, ‘gotcha’ debating games, flashing TV ads, loud radio ads, and so on. And what has it all changed? Almost nothing. Consider:

  • In ’68 we had an ugly war that half the country thought was God’s Will. Now, we’ve had the privilege of watching two wars that accomplished nothing, with half the country even more convinced that it was all God’s Will.

  • Then there were racial problems; now there are racial problems.

  • Then there was police brutality; now it’s probably worse.

  • Then there were economic problems; now they’re definitely worse.

It was all useless. All the magic candidates have fallen flat, just to be followed by other magic candidates, who assure us that they will – really, really, really, they pinky swear – finally do all they promise.

Seriously, it’s time to accept the obvious: It’s all been a cruel farce.

“But if We Don’t Get Involved, It Will Get Worse!”

Friends, that’s just naked fear. Don’t feed it. Don’t pass it along.

We are intelligent men and women; we shouldn’t be reduced to acting like terrorized children, tossed about by every shiny suit with a scary story to tell. We need to do better than that.

The truth is that the rulership we’ve been living under is long past its expiration date. It’s holding us back from a better future.

The Relic from 5000 BC

Almost nothing in human life remains as it was in 5000 BC. We drive cars; we live in automatically heated and cooled homes; we eat foods from around the world; when we need to travel long distances, we fly; and we can cure most diseases. Nothing we do is the same way they did it in 5000 BC… except for one thing:

Morally deficient men still rule over everyone else, just as they did 7,000 years ago.

And that’s just the way it is, stated clearly.

And it’s the way it has been, through all the monarchies, theocracies, principates, democracies, republics, and hybrids. Through them all, the same relationship between ruler and ruled has been maintained. (And is it any comfort that we’ve added morally deficient women to the mix?)

By about 5000 BC, the perpetual suite of governance was taking shape, built on these pillars:

  • Order

  • Tax accounting

  • A state-aligned intellectual class

  • Surveillance

  • Fear

  • Government buildings and monuments

  • Competition and prestige

  • Reassurance mechanisms

  • Collective identity

And all of these things remain as daily functions of governance, just as they did for the Romans, the Greeks, the Sumerians, the Babylonians, and a hundred others.

It’s an old, old game that goes nowhere. Right now, we’re living with space-age technology under bronze-age domination. It’s all but insane.

So…

So, please do not support a candidate. It’s primitive, it’s barbaric, it’s useless, it’s self-enslaving.

Instead, send the money to some kind person from your past. Spend time tutoring the neighbor kid. Plant a tree. Nurse the sick. Mow an old guy’s lawn. Repair your aged aunt’s car. Do something that blesses the world.

But please, do not pour your time and money down the filthy sewer called politics. It only prolongs the bronze-age barbarity. The game ends if we stop playing it… and it really needs to end. 7,000 years of this has been way, way too much.

I’ll close with a quote from Buckminster Fuller. It’s worth taking to heart:

The Dark Ages still reign over all humanity, and the depth and persistence of this domination are only now becoming clear… We are powerfully imprisoned in these Dark Ages simply by the terms in which we have been conditioned to think.

It’s time to start thinking differently.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Why I Stopped Spending My Time on Politics… And Why I Think You Should Too

TimeonPolitics

Many of my friends vote; people I love and respect vote; but I’ve given it up. That horrifies many people, but—truth be faced—it bothers them mostly because it calls their choices into question.

That’s very unfortunate, because I quite understand why they vote. And I don’t look down on them for it; I did it plenty of times myself. I just wish they’d stop punishing themselves with politics and be happy instead.

Politics is a type of slow-rolling torment. I don’t want people I love to suffer through it.

Yes, I know that my opinion seems crazy to many people, but again, it’s mostly because it differs so starkly from theirs. If my opinion is right, they’ve been wasting their time, and almost no one likes to consider that sort of thing. We fight such possibilities reflexively.

So, if you like your politics, you can keep your politics. I’m not trying to take it away from you. I’m just saying that I wish good people wouldn’t pour their time and energy down that particular drain—I don’t think it benefits them.

Now, since so many people will object, I’ll explain why I think this is so.

Then Bad People Will Win! Things Will Get Worse!”

This is the first argument I usually hear, to which I usually respond: “It’s already bad, it’s getting worse, and none of the past ten elections have changed it.”

To that I get a lot of “Yeah, but” responses.

The truth is that repressive regimes steamroll right through politics. There were armies of politicians and endless elections in the Soviet republics, after all, and their constitution had some very attractive stuff in it. For example:

The rights of authors, inventors, and innovators are protected by the state.

The privacy of citizens, and of their correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications is protected by law.

Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed inviolability of the home. No one may, without lawful grounds, enter a home against the will of those residing in it.

Respect for the individual and protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens are the duty of all state bodies, public organisations, and officials.

Obviously, politicians and political documents didn’t help the people of the USSR very much.

Repressive regimes, however, cannot steamroll through mid-level and lower-level operatives who fail to execute their orders. If those people fail to obey—or if the people who pump their gas or fix their heating systems stop complying—their rule ends, and quickly.

So, in real life, a repressive regime isn’t restrained by politics; it’s restrained by disobedience.

In the end, rulers can go only as far as the obedience of their subjects. If they go too far… if their subjects stop obeying… they’re done.

Power—including political power—always corrupts, and it will always expand to the limit of its subjects’ obedience. I’m not alone in saying this, you understand. Frederick Douglass said the same thing long before I did:

Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them … The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

The worst problem with politics is that it increases the obedience of the populace. The Blues always blame the Reds, the Reds forever blame the Blues, and everyone keeps right on obeying. After all, their team may win the next election, and then things might finally go their way!

So, not only is politics a drain on our lives, but it makes people more likely to robotically obey. And that is truly dangerous.

No Matter Whom You Vote for, the Government Gets Elected

When people think of the US government, they usually think of about 600 people in Washington, DC. The actual government, however, is composed of millions of employees, many of whom are almost impossible to fire. To make it worse, oceans of money are moving through this operation on a daily basis. This arrangement fosters the abuse of power, and it always will. It’s a structural issue, not “a few bad apples.”

Your government structure is corrupt and abusive, and it will stay that way until the structure itself changes.

Politics keeps us believing that things can improve anyway… once we defeat that horrible enemy party, of course. But regardless of our hopes, we always end up with something that might be called “practical rulership.” In other words, not much changes, even when the televised faces do.

Politics Relies on Superstition

Embedded in the practice of politics is a superstition, which is this:

If we complain enough, and in the right ways, we’ll get what we want without having to take any risks at all.

In other words, we want to believe that politics provides us an easy way out… that our complaints invoke magic.

But if we want things to be different, we must act to make them different. Politics shuts that down by making people think that talking is magic and passivity is a virtue.

So, we have millions of decent and capable people who are more than able to solve their own problems but who never consider acting on their own, because they’re intimidated and because they think that they can get what they want without risk, by talking correctly.

Politics has given them an attractive lie to believe in: Change your world: no pain, no strain, no risk.

Not only is this promise a rank superstition, but it also sidetracks people from actually changing their world. Why spend your blood, sweat, and tears when mere complaining will work the same or better?

Politics Is Prehistoric

Being that I study the ancient past, I can trace men ruling over men back to about 6400 BC. I can trace rulership that resembles ours back to about 5000 BC. I can trace bicameral assemblies (like our House of Representatives and Senate) back to about 2500 BC.

Most of that is what we commonly call the “prehistoric” era.

So, here’s my question: What else from before the Egyptian pyramids still rules the lives of women and men?

Men no longer pull plows. They no longer start fires with flint. Nor do they pull sleds or wooden-wheeled carts or rely upon animals for power. We have learned to write, to invent, to navigate, to cover immense distances, to drive, to fly, and to reach into the heavens. And yet…

And yet, this one relic of our primitive past remains. If there’s one area of life in which humans have failed to evolve, it’s politics.

So…

So, I’ve made my case, and you can make of it what you will. But I’ve become happier and more productive by walking away from politics, and I’d like that for you too.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

This article was originally published by Casey Research.

They We Just Don’t Get It

chessI got an email from a reader a few days ago, asking about something we’ve all faced. Here’s a snip:

It gets a little lonely sometimes. At times I feel a little resentful, sometimes just plain angry that so few people know or care to know about economics and/or philosophy when they are so important.

I’m sympathetic, of course, having felt similarly more than once. But, as I often say, perspective is key. We’ve all complained about people who “just don’t get it,” but the real problem is that we just haven’t gotten it.

We have grossly underestimated the kind of fight we’re in. We thought it was about economics and politics, but it’s much more than that. What we’re really fighting is idolatry. If that doesn’t make sense to you initially, I can’t blame you, but allow me to explain.

All Idolatry Shares a Single Root

We’ve all heard slogans like this one:

Why shouldn’t we take money from a billionaire who doesn’t need it, to feed a starving child?

After that, it’s almost impossible to make any argument without appearing heartless. And there’s a good reason for that: The slogan conveys a “first position” that is deceptive and manipulative… idolatrous, really.

This argument starts with an unspoken assumption that the state is beyond question and that any failures must be attributed to someone else. If there are starving kids, it could never be that the state was hurting them. Such a thought wouldn’t register.

Embedded in these questions (and in the minds that form them) is a complete certainty that the state always functions as the agent of good.

This is idolatry, the same as ancient people worshipping their city gods or medieval people holding their Holy Church above all question. In the same way, states are idols to modern people. The lines of thought are identical; the only changes involve the names of the idols – the entities that are given every benefit of the doubt at all times.

The state, our modern idol, steals half of what every working person makes. That means that people are stripped bare for trying to do the right thing. But there is no compassion for them.

And why is there no compassion for these people? Because it’s the state that is stripping them bare, and the state may never be accused; it may only be the agent of good!

It really comes down to this:

Whatever you esteem more highly than reality is your god.

In our time, the thing that is held above reality is the state. One may critique its parts, but the state as a whole is only questioned by crazy, dangerous people. In other words, by heretics.

What we are fighting is a different flavor of the dogma that kept medieval minds in chains. It may even be worse now.

Our Enemies Have Understood Better Than We Have

We’ve all seen people who are embedded in the state system fly into a rage upon hearing our ideas. We thought we were just talking about economics, but they acted as if we were trying to destroy everything they loved.

In other words, our enemies thought our ideas were more powerful than we did. And they were right; we haven’t appreciated what we have.

Governments are necessarily against human will. If they can’t make us feel that our desires and judgments are shameful, their entire operation stands in danger of collapse. Their game requires Joe Average to feel insecure and flawed. Our message rips that game wide open.

Our enemies were right to freak out, and we should start accepting the fact that our ideas are huge.

Big Battles Are Slow

We’ve been looking for a “revolution,” which means that we’ve been hoping for fast change, and have been disappointed when we didn’t get it. But those hopes were wrong – we’re not going to get fast change; we’re going to get slow change. If we don’t adjust our minds to that fact, we’ll remain miserable.

Our ideas are big, and our enemies have deep positions in the minds of our friends and neighbors. That means that most of them won’t change their minds overnight. I don’t like that any better than you do, but that’s the way it is. This is going to be slow.

But in this slow battle, we hold the winning hand, and our winning strategy is to work and to persevere. Forget about a fast win; that was a false dream. We must build, and keep building.

What to Do

Here are a few specific suggestions for dealing with people:

  • Rather than arguing words, show them what you’ve built.
  • Give people time to work through their issues. Plant a seed, walk away, and reengage later.
  • Don’t get into fights. If they ambush you, simply tell them that you won’t accept their tactics. Then walk away.
  • People close to you may be there for good reason. Give them time.
  • Remember that most people are confused and insecure most of the time. Offer them things that help, not hurt.
  • Find others who share at least some of your perspective, and work with them. If there’s no one nearby, join an online group.

Keep planting seeds and watering them whenever you can. For us, perseverance is the path to victory.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Get Ready for the Next Terror

terrifying eventIf I had to bet, I think I’d put my money on some type of “cyberwar” event coming in the not-too-distant future. But whether it’s that or something else, a new terror will be coming. That much is more or less inevitable.

The reason is easy: We have people with control-biased minds in positions to create such events, or at least to make the most of them when they do occur.

The Problem

Put bluntly, our problem is that our current world systems place people with dominator minds into power over everyone else. We can call this the “alpha gorilla” model. These people need power over others. They get comfort and/or a thrill from dominance. And they certainly get rewards from it.

To illustrate, here’s an image I pulled from the newsfeed just this morning:

terrifying event

The faces and the slogans change, but the need to dominate drives such people into positions of power, whether it be in national governments, police enforcement, or bureaucracies that control other people’s movements. As Robert Heinlein wrote:

Political tags, such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth, are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

Those who desire to control others, however, have a problem: In order to accomplish their “great ends,” they need the peaceful people – those who have no desire to dominate others – to obey them and to pay for their plans.

The problem with humans, however, is that they can think. Such beings don’t follow orders from random people; they must be convinced. And convincing free people to be subservient is hard. In order to dominate them, their ability to think must be overcome.

Once you have them obeying you, they’ll keep it up, no matter how silly, for a shockingly long period of time. But to get them to give up autonomy in the first place, or in some new way, is hard. Something that bypasses reason is required.

That thing, as you may have guessed, is fear.

We all saw this very clearly in 2001: Terrified people let the alpha gorillas take away their rights in the name of saving them from crazies. Some people objected, but not enough to sway events. Fear was in the air, the dominators promised safety, and most people either agreed or were too confused to object.

So, the structures of dominance became bigger and reached farther than ever before. This would not have happened without fear. Fear works.

The Great Enemy

Fear stands above all the other tools of human domination, even above legitimacy. That’s because fear overrides reason. Fear focuses our thoughts only on the object of terror. Then the alpha gorillas step in and promise to protect us, if only we will _____________ (fill-in the blank).

This game has been running for thousands of years, and it will be used again soon enough. There’s always a need for people to suspend thought and acquiesce to domination. And so long as life on Earth features structures of dominance, alpha-gorilla types will use them.

Even in daily life, the imposition of fear upon us is thick. Robert Ringer, commenting on getting ahead financially, correctly hit on this point when he said:

The results you produce in life are inversely proportional to the degree to which you are intimidated.

The Bible tells us that people are “all their lifetimes subject to bondage” because of fear.

Our great enemy is fear, and, unfortunately, systems for harnessing fear currently dominate life on this planet.

What Will Happen?

I don’t know which terrifying event will take place next, and whether this event will be staged or authentic matters very little. All that matters is that people are terrified, which gets their reasoning out of the way and gives the dominator types what they crave.

The antidote for this is for people to understand the con and to overcome their fear. Then to act rationally.

This might be a good thing to discuss with your neighbors, before the next terror hits… because it will.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com