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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Golden Stupidity

Gold will come onto your radar, if it hasn't already.  As our fiat currency continues to lose value, the hard money arguments sound increasingly logical.  Let's analyze the fiat currency argument:  "Let's have a central bank (the FED in the US), print pieces of paper, or create zeroes on a screen, and call that money.  We'll then use that as a medium of exchange for things of value."

Here's the hard money argument: "Gold and silver have been used throughout history as money and a medium of exchange, they still have value, and are recognizable to humanity.  Also, you can't print gold or silver, so you put a brake on centralized power and put control into regular people's hands, instead of Big Bank's".

I'm simplifying things, but the hard money argument clearly obliterates the fiat currency argument.  Every single fiat currency has failed.  Every single one.  There are no exceptions.  The people who love printed fiat currency are the ones who benefit - the holders and controllers of Centralized Power.  Gold and silver benefit you, which is why you learned nothing about them in school, and you're propagandized against them currently.  This brings us to this agonizingly stupid article in the Economist - an establishment organ of the Big Bank.  This piece is good to practice using the Trivium, to spot asinine arguments, logical fallacies, and economic crackpottery.  It is apparently the work of a simian brain.

Let's take a short look.  Here are some of the 'arguments' from the upper crust, establishment Economist: "The clips I've found of this discussion on the CNBC website feature commentators appropriately noting that the idea is "ludicrous". But in the sequence I was watching on TV that didn't get picked up by the website, one of the channel's regulars said the attention was misplaced. The gold standard is "never going to happen", he said; it's "incredibly deflationary", the American government is never going to try to return to it, and the whole exploratory committee is just political tomfoolery we should all ignore in order to focus on real issues."

There is no argument present.  Here is what passes for print worthy 'argument' these days in the hallowed halls of The Economist": 'ludicrous', 'never going to happen', 'incredibly deflationary', 'American gov't is never going to return to it' and 'tomfoolery'.  This is why a gold standard is 'bad' and you'd better just not ask any more questions, citizen - you don't want to be accused of peddling tomfoolery.  I can understand that the Establishment House Organs want you to continue to be a wage slave, have your wealth confiscated through the invisible tax known as inflation, and would rather you remain in eternal darkness, but at least they could come up with some semi palatable reasoning or at least sophistry to try to pull the wool over our eyes.

Bafflingly, this article then gets worse.  It tries to besmirch the Austrian school economists, who have been right about everything, and would love to see your economic freedom within a free market.  This defies description.  I'd love to come up with a snarky put down, but I simply cannot
: "Austrian-style growth-through-austerity policies are a poor idea that has failed throughout Europe and Britain, but going a step further and bringing back the gold standard is just ridiculous, antediluvian, superstitious nonsense."

I'll work in reverse.  The Gold Standard is 'ridiculous', 'antediluvian' and 'superstitious'.  This is an ad hominem argument.  Calling someone or something bad names is not an argument.  Not only that, the Byzantine Empire lasted 900 years because they adhered to  a strict Gold Standard.  I'm not sure where 'superstitious' came from, but the troglodyte who wrote this probably doesn't either.  Here's the best part.  At no time, in any country, in the history of the modern west, has a government come close to 'Austrian style growth through austerity'.  This attributes a non existent policy, then claims that it has 'failed throughout Europe and Britain'.  This is called a 'straw man fallacy'.  It holds up Austrian economics, then says it has failed.  Austerity?  Where?  The last I checked 'Europe and Britain' have deficits the size of small planets are are spending and printing like mad.  Austrian economics does not permit fiat currency of any kind - the school of economics that this writer has held up as a 'failure'.  Not only that, where were the Austrian School Economists in charge, or having any influence at all?

I thought about titling this piece "Why Blogs Matter", because here you have an accepted, snooty, establishment entity in The Economist, and it is feeding you pure economic trash.  There are countless blogs, personal websites and reports where one can find great insight and solid thought.  The Economist, needless to say, needs you to continue with the status quo of printing money, reckless spending, and sheepledom forever.  IT certainly benefits from that.  You don't.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

How to learn - using The Trivium


The Trivium, or ‘how to learn’

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Our top down system of education works something like filling up a barrel.  Your head is the barrel, and your teacher’s job is to fill it up with the required material to pass the Big Test at the end of the year.  How one is supposed to learn this material is never the issue.  The system is such that the material is to be presented to the students, they’ll retain it or memorize it, and then they’ll get a grade over 65 and “pass”.   Collect enough grades over 65 and you’ll pass the requirements, and you’ll get a diploma and be somewhat ‘educated’.  Each subject is to be learned in this manner, and the higher the grade, the more you’ve learned.
This is not how learning was done for thousands of years, and with good reason.  It patently ignores HOW to learn a subject.  This system is a comparatively new one, and if the learned people of the past saw our school system, I think they would be shocked not necessarily at how poor it is, but at the system itself.  Having information or facts thrown at you for 180 days and then regurgitating the information for a grade has shown to be ineffective.  The Trivium is a method of how to learn, not what to learn.  The basic idea behind it is that once one learns how to learn, he can become conversant and knowledgeable about a great many things.  I wish I had been exposed to this at a much younger age.  Let’s do a short overview.
The Trivium is made up of three parts: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric – in that order.
General Grammar – Answers the question of the Who, What, Where, and the When of a subject. Discovering and ordering facts of reality comprises basic, systematic Knowledge.  General grammar is knowing what the words mean in the sentences you are reading.  If the meanings are unclear to you, or vague, then you aren’t totally clear about what is being stated.  Nailing down the definitions, stripping away vagueness and connotations become the path to clearly and solidly understanding the written or spoken word.  
Formal Logic - Answers the Why of a subject. Developing the faculty of reason in establishing valid [i.e., non-contradictory] relationships among facts, systematic Understanding.  The order of the words in a work relate in a certain way.  Aristotelian logic follows a pattern, and as one reads or listens, if words are used incorrectly, or illogically, or assumptions are made, one is able so see falsehoods or sophistry (complex words used with intent to confuse) in action.
Classic Rhetoric - Provides the How of a subject. Applying knowledge and understanding expressively comprises Wisdom or, in other words, it is systematically useable knowledge and understanding.  This is where one is able to share one’s wisdom with others through either the spoken word or through writing.  Now you are able to see and edit your own rhetorical shortcomings, improve your production, and create a body of work that is knowledgeable and logical.  
Following these three steps can enable you to become able to learn any subject you wish.  Learning the vernacular of the topic, going through and improving your dexterity with the topic, then sharing it with others is a method that allows you to really learn subjects from a molecular level – from the ground up.
Knowledge –> Understanding –> Wisdom.
Many thanks go out to the work of Jan Irvin at www.triviumeducation.com
Reprinted with permission from marolla.wordpress.com