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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Century of the Self

Go to school, get good grades, go to college, get good grades, get a job that pays well.  While you're following this (flawed) plan, buy ridiculous amounts of stuff you don't need, but that you want.  Follow the herd, the trend, the style - starting about age 5.  Your parents will see to it that you are following the latest trends in toys / clothes / books.  Make sure you consume many things, as you've been taught that it is consumption that drives the economy.  You're doing your part, right?

If you live on Park Ave. in Manhattan, buy a huge Land Rover or a Hummer for the rustic 'feel'.  If you live in the 'hood, buy throwback jerseys because you saw Sean Combs and Shaquille O'Neal wearing them at the Video Music Awards. Everyone else is watching Reality TV?  You should too.  Buying a home? - I hope so, it's your duty as an American.  Everyone knows renting is for suckers.   iPhone 4 not good enough? Get the 4S.  Get the latest brands, the latest styles, the things that make you feel wealthy, powerful, rich, famous - you deserve it and you feel better.  Most of all, get up at the crack of dawn and make sure to spend your money on Black Friday!

This 'brave new world' society is ours.  How did it get that way?  How did we go from a libertarian, independent, self reliant and hyper literate society to a bunch of consuming drones?  Why do people follow the crowd?  This nearly four hour BBC documentary looks into the fascinating world of the nascent behavioral psychology movement of the early 1900's, and follows it to the end of the century.  I have always wondered how George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World,  Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and H.G. Wells' The Time Machine were able to correctly and chillingly predict the future.  It turns out the "switch" was much closer in their rear view mirrors than it is in ours.  Regardless of the aforementioned authors disparate political beliefs, they were able to see how the people were becoming sheeple, and they wrote novels reflecting this massive and destructive trend.

Edward Bernays is the focus of the first episode, which shows the move from a society that spent and consumed according to need only, and moved to one that was convinced it should have the things that it wants.  How do you alter the minds of millions?  Bernays can show you how, sometimes with exceedingly destructive results.  Bernays had a direct influence on the move to make smoking acceptable for women, as well as influence on the Nazi propaganda machine.

Quick note:  The more I read and research, the more parallels I see between the works of Gatto, Garrett, Sutton, Iserbyt, Griffin and Rothbard.  I can see now how the educational aspect of America had to be attacked first by the Power Elite - starting in the 1840's.  None of these shifts could have been done with an educated, headstrong and independent populace.  It also lends credence to Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

For a 1938 essay on this phenomenon, see Garet Garrett's "The Revolution Was".

 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

On OWS

I've been getting many requests from current and former students about the Occupy Wall St. (OWS) movement.  There seem to be a few things going on with OWS: hypocrisy, planning and cognitive dissonance.

The hypocrisy is almost off the charts.  Much of the protesters seem to be against "big corporations".  However, Apple Computer and Google don't seem to 'count'.  Many of the protesters have iPhones, and use them to record the events at the protests.  The videos get uploaded to YouTube (owned by Google), and are seen by many.  One has to wonder why AAPL and GOOG don't seem to count as "big corporations".  I have a good friend, Mr. Topgun Technologist himself, who works at the Apple Store.  I've asked him many times over the past few weeks if there have been any protests in front of the Apple Store, but there have been none.  If Wall St. is the epicenter of Big Corporate, then why do some corporations get a pass?  And what about the people who make the criminal decisions within the corporation?  Why are they not named?  How about the people who make the horrid decisions getting prosecuted?  Treating the corporation as a monolithic entity rife with evil is childish and ignorant.  The people at the top of these companies don't work on Wall St. anyway - they work remotely or from their homes.  How about we have an "Occupy Greenwich, Connecticut"?

There seems to be a bit of planning here.  There are simply too many coincidences.  The medieval monk style of chanting that the OWS uses in ALL of the protests is simply too much to take.  This type of repetitious babble went out of style in the 1200's.  To have it reincarnated now in 2011 - all over the world is simply too fantastic to take seriously.  They ALL decide to use the same form of chant?  Really?  All of the major Democratic politicians are also endorsing the OWS movement.  The independent journalists (please ignore the MSM) who have followed the money with regard to OWS have all come to the same conclusion.  To think that this is an 'organic' movement, a spontaneous event that 'happened' is the product of a limited intellect.

My main issue with this is the cognitive dissonance inherent in the supporters of OWS.  Many of the supporters and participants are left leaning statists who look to the government for healthcare, education, security, and retirement.  Now that the police have gone into places like Zuccotti Park and forcibly removed the protesters and their paraphernalia, people are accusing the NYPD of police brutality.  What did they expect from The State?  The government does everything by force: taxes, compulsory schooling, speed limits, TSA grope - why would this be different?  We've gotten to the PFC Santiago part of this debate. If you look to the government for all things, why are you surprised when it uses its enforcement arm against you?  You simply cannot have it both ways.

I guess this is the part that is most surprising to me, that the people do not realize what The State is.  They shouldn't be surprised.  Perhaps they are less naive now that their master has put them in their place.  If you take the government's nickel, you also take its noose.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

4th Amendment

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."


Not today.  Not anymore.  You are guilty until proven innocent. You have no 4th amendment rights. You pay 35% of your wages to oafs in DC. Your lives are controlled in almost every way. You believe politicians depending upon whether they have a "D" or an "R" after their name. Your education, health, legal, media and financial systems are rigged against you and corrupt to the core. You don't look at facts or take the extra time to read to determine if you believe what you do because you want to, or because you were taught to. The efforts to keep you sick, stupid, broke and afraid are staring you in the face.

Jesse isn't having it anymore. I don't blame him.