Culture Versus Conscience

Culture has always been the antagonist of conscience.

Once we see ourselves as part of a larger entity – once we identify with it – we feel a necessity to conform to it. If we don’t, we begin to lose the existential crutch that larger entities offer us. And, partly as a result of living with that collective identification, most of us are emotionally unprepared to stand alone before the world.

You’ll notice, however, that more or less all our big steps forward have come from people who stepped out alone. Here’s just a brief listing of such people:

  • Abraham
  • Moses
  • Diogenes
  • Pythagoras
  • Sappho
  • Buddha
  • Jesus
  • Confucius
  • Peter Abelard
  • Thomas Paine

Cultures form naturally among people of similar opinions, but as they grow and continue, those opinions come to be treated as entities of themselves, which is how cultures turn to the dark side.

If we share ideas because we are individually persuaded that they are true, based upon concrete facts, we have a shared culture that does not restrict conscience.

If, however, we begin to see those who deviate from our ideas as opponents (casting our ideas as insulted entities), our culture has become a jealous god: Those who are in are great; those who are out are not; those who exit are traitors. Thus culture becomes the enemy of conscience, and thus the enemy of human progress and of human life.

The stronger the culture… the tighter the web of expectations it spins around us… the more it becomes the enemy of what is good and transcendent in us.

You can see a gut-level rage against this in George Carlin’s book, Brain Droppings:

No matter how you care to define it, I do not identify with the local group. Planet, species, race, nation, state, religion, party, union, club, association, neighborhood, improvement committee; I have no interest in any of it. I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.

You can see it in a more philosophical form in Simone Weil’s The Great Beast:

Conscience is deceived by the social.

You can see if from psychology, as in this passage from Victor Frankl:

Because of social pressure, individualism is rejected by most people in favor of conformity. Thus the individual relies mainly upon the actions of others and neglects the meaning of his own personal life. Hence he sees his own life as meaningless and falls into the “existential vacuum”…

You can see it drawn from hard experience by people like Charlie Chaplin:

Man as an individual is a genius. But men in the mass form a Headless Monster, a great, brutish idiot that goes where prodded.

You can find it from military men like Douglas MacArthur:

It’s the age-old struggle— the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other.

We see it from writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson (in Self-Reliance):

Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.

And certainly there are others. The truth is that as cultures and sub-cultures get thick over time, the people in them are increasingly “lived” by the culture’s expectations. Soon enough they see their culture-entity as inherently right, and all the more so as it becomes larger and more dominant. I think no one has described the effects of such development better than Jesus:

The time will come when whoever kills you will think he is doing God service.

To that we might add that the problem lies not only with the killers, but with those who cheer them on. And we’ve seen this over and over in human affairs, from the killing of Jesus’ followers to those who cheer the lynching of people like Julian Assange.

Sharing ideas with others is a pleasant thing. But if it turns into an us-versus-them impulse, your conscience is being enslaved, even though it feels like you’re being praised. In other words, it’s a trap. We are individuals and should see ourselves as individuals… fully as individuals.

And besides, patting ourselves on the back isn’t nearly as rewarding as enjoying mutual discoveries among people who accept no obligation.

* * * * *

As it turns out, history was never too hard to understand; they just told you the wrong story.

Comments from readers:

“This is the most amazing little book I have read on history in 36 years of reading history.”

“It will change the way you look at nearly everything.”

“I will flat out say that this is the best history book I have ever read… I am fairly well read, but I learned a tremendous amount that I hadn’t known before or hadn’t aligned so that it made sense.”

“This is the best and clearest description of the history of Western civilization I have ever read.”

“Packed with insights on every page concerning how the world came to be the way it is and what we might expect in the future.”

Get it at Amazon or on Kindle.

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

The Baby Boomers’ Cultural Prison

BabyBoomers

A few years ago I was struck by this comment by a reviewer named Michael Azerrad:

Walk around any urban center in the Western Hemisphere and you’ll eventually come upon someone dressed like a punk rocker. That look was codified as early as 1977, and yet 34 years later, kids still replicate it… But in 1977, did you see bohemian youth attired like bobby-soxers from the ’40s?

Azerrad was right. The popular culture of our era is old and stagnant… an unnatural development and one that I maintain is unhealthy.

The rock concert is unchanged since the 1960s, the products of the music industry come from the same old mold (many barely being “music” at all), movie studios roll out rehashes one after another, and modern art still pursues what Salvador Dali, in a moment of truthfulness, called “the cult of strange.” Once the entertainment corporations stumble upon a successful show, you can expect half a dozen copies.

To put it simply, we’re suffering through a cultural stasis. More than that, we’re living in a single flavor of cultural stasis, one dominated and maintained by baby boomers.

With small exceptions, the “social furniture” of the West, and especially in the US, has remained unchanged since the 1970s, enforced by baby boomers who’ve held power for the entire run. Generation X and the Millennials have been stuck in the same patterns; they were, in effect, baby boomer version 1.1 and baby boomer version 1.2.

Understand, please, that lots of business and political types are addicted to this model and very much do not wish for it to change. Generation X and the Millennials have been held in these patterns, when by nature they would likely have changed. (As I know many of them have wanted to.)

Before the enforcement of cultural stasis, the flappers of the 1920s gave way to goldfish swallowers in the 1930s, who gave way to bobby-soxers in the 1940s, who gave way to greasers and beatniks in the 1950s, who gave way to hippies and boomers in the 1960s and ’70s. It has been quite unnatural for a single model to hold for 40 or 50 years.

Two Reasons This Will Change

As I examined this, I’ve found two big reasons why this will soon enough change, regardless of the titanic corporate and political forces that need it to not change:

The first reason is very simple: The baby boomers are getting old.

The baby boomers are slowing down, relinquishing their control, and dying. The oldest baby boomers are hitting 72 this year. More and more of their icons and pillars will be checking out. The hands on the levers are growing weak, and a bunch of the most prominent cultural boomers have been exposed as creepy serial abusers.

And so, the cultural version of “science proceeds one funeral at a time” is now gathering steam. The iron grip on culture that prevailed for so long is weakening. What comes next will not only be different, but it will tend to look at itself as “other” to what went before. Already, studies are showing young people less likely to take drugs, among other examples. The old model is cracking and the search for new social furniture is under way.

The second reason is that the coming generation is too different from the baby boomers for the pattern to hold.

The generation now in puberty was born after 9/11 (9/11 being the major cultural wave after 2001). These young people have no more association with it than Richard Simmons and Stevie Nicks had to World War II. They don’t know what a modem was, and they’ve never really known the US to send people into space. Perhaps more directly, they’re watching politics descend into knee-jerk hatreds, they’ve never known a time when the US wasn’t running multiple wars, and their aunts and uncles are being ruined with debt serfdom.

Beyond that, most of them know about dark markets and cryptocurrency. They also know that their parents are enslaved to work through their smart phones, that college is for rich kids or those who are willing to accept debt slavery, that all the good jobs require the aforesaid rich parents or debt slavery, that the crypto-economy doesn’t require those things, and that politics is where people go to hate each other.

The coming generation, then, is going to be different from their grandparents’ and great-grandparents’… as it should be.

And so the extended cultural influence of the boomers will give way to something new, regardless of the stasis machine trying to hold everything in place. It appears to me that politics, media, and big advertising lack the manipulative voltage to force yet another generation into the mold of the baby boomers, and I certainly hope they don’t.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

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

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

6,000 Years on the Hamster Wheel

HamsterWheel

Modern man is trained to think in certain ways and to turn away from anything that differs… to give authority the benefit of every doubt, instinctively and forever.

Nearly all of us have been pushed (nay, shoved) in that direction, and we’ve instinctively feared to break our inertia: “But I’ll be poor.” “Girls (or boys) will think I’m weird and won’t want me.” “Only crazy people step off the path.”

That path, however, has no end and kills us by inches. It was paved by our abusers and it is, in effect, a hamster wheel we never leave.

Back to 4000 BC

Between 5400 BC and 3800 BC, the model of rulership we know formed in Mesopotamia, beginning in a city called Eridu. With a few sags, breaks, and occasional exceptions, the basic pattern has held ever since.

The pattern, as we well know, features one group of men dominating all other people. This small group orders the others around, takes a large share of their earnings, punishes them if they fail to obey, sends their children to kill people they’ve never met (or to be killed by them), and is held to be righteous while doing so.

There are other parts of the model, and they’ve been consistent over the millennia as well: mandatory accounting, state-aligned intellectuals, surveillance, monuments, and the glorification of order. (Fear has always played a major role, but mainly because it’s the best way to make people stupid.)

None of those parts are our subject for today, however. As ridiculous as they are – and as horrifying as it is that they’ve continued since the Early Bronze Age – today I want to focus on the more intimate aspects of our abuse.

Like the Sumerians Before Us

I’ve written before on the obsession with status: It’s irrational and devolutionary, but it’s encoded in human cultures and was clearly involved in the model from 4000 BC. The great assyriologist, Samuel Noah Kramer, held it to be a fundamental part of the rulership model and described it as an “ambitious, competitive… drive for pre-eminence and prestige.”

And why was it made a fundamental part of the system? Because it distracted people from the fact that they were repeatedly being robbed.

The cultivation of status was used to drive men, even as the fruits of their labors were stripped away. It trained them to strive for a cheap imitation of actual rewards.

This scam began for the Sumerians in the same way it does for us: in school. “May you rank the highest among the school graduates,” is found among Sumerian inscriptions, just as it is among ours. Kramer describes the situation:

[T]he drive for superiority and prestige deeply colored the Sumerian outlook on life and played an important role in their education, politics, and economics.

The bosses from 4000 BC built hierarchical structures, each level of which gave its occupants a certain level of status – status they fought for all their lives. They could never be as high as the ruler, but they could at least be higher than their neighbor… and they learned to trade that for actual prosperity and self-determinacy.

What This Means

This means that all the times we ignored the small group of men stealing from us… and all the times we scrambled to be better than our neighbors… we were being suckers. (Sorry, but that’s the truth.)

Sure, we were born into it and were trained in it all our lives, but no matter how much we excuse ourselves (and we can, to a large extent), we were still playing the role of the sucker.

Which is more sensible, to work endlessly to convince people that you’re better than the guy across the street or across the hill, or to actually make yourself better?

Think about this: It’s more work to appear better than the other guy than it is to simply be better. So why do it the hard way? Why care about the other guy so much? Why not care about you – what’s in you, what you can develop, what makes you happy – rather than what impresses other people?

The Truth of It…

The truth of this is that all the status crap we’ve been immersed in – that we see 24/7 on Facebook and TV – is a huge, old scam. It tears us away from creating actual benefit for ourselves and our families and focuses us on the mere opinions of others… opinions that are subject to change at any time.

To work for real, concrete benefits is not only more rational than life on the hamster wheel, but it’s a far more efficient way to live.

Still, the ramp down from the hamster wheel is marked off with bright red tape, saying, “If You Cross, Everyone Will Hate You.” That can be scary.

Getting off the hamster wheel requires us to transcend our fears and even to suffer the slanders of those who remain on the wheel. In other words, it requires us to be heretics.

But if becoming a heretic sounds frightening, remember that the other choice is to yield your very life to your abusers.

Living as a heretic strikes me as far better than living as a hamster on a wheel.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.

  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.

  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.

  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

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

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

If Your Culture Holds Grudges, It Needs to Be Fixed

cultureholds

Cultures don’t create us, we create them. Those who maintain otherwise seek to collect our sacrifices and use us as tools.

A culture is simply a group that passes a set of ideas through generations. Without people passing their ideas along, no culture could exist. So, should we pass ideas along blindly, or should we engage our minds and wills to make the next generation a little better than ours?

My opinion is that every adult with ability should labor to improve the people around them, and that will almost always involve a local culture.

So, let’s look at some cultural problems that could be remedied:

Problem #1: Enforcement

One problem with all cultures is that they become self-reinforcing; once you’re inside, other members will become offended if you stray from it. They feel that you’re making them worthless, even negating their existence.

The sad truth, however, is this: The ones who get really mad, not just irritated, are the ones whose weaknesses you are exposing. And that’s a general truism of life. The people who truly hate you will be those whose sins you’ve inadvertently exposed.

I’ll use one of the cultures I’m closest to for an example of this. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m targeting them. I’m really not; I’m targeting all cultures. If this column makes your culture look bad, that will be your problem to fix or evade, not mine.

So, to illustrate the enforcement feature of cultures, let’s take the example of Messianic Judaism. There are probably more Jews who believe Jesus was the Messiah than you’d suppose. And especially when their numbers were smaller, other Jews gave them a very hard time. I’m not personally aware of any violence, but Jewish believers in Jesus were widely treated as damaged, as deranged, as self-hating, as cowards trying to escape persecution, even as traitors. The story goes that in the old days, they sometimes held funerals for them.

And this happens with more or less every culture. Leave it or transgress its norms in any significant way, and you’re likely to be hated, possibly worse. “Thou shalt not step outside of our borders.”

How poorly must we think of our culture if we react so wildly to it being questioned. Don’t we believe its virtues will stand up to inspection? Or have we tied ourselves to something faulty, just because?

If we enforce the borders of our culture, we’re also saying that it’s too fragile to stand on its own. I think this is an issue we ought to address.

Problem #2: Dominance

A questionable idea transmitted by many cultures is dominance: We’re better than all the others. In some cases this dominance will be physical (enslavement being the most overt form), or considering themselves superior in some other way: artistically, intellectually, technically, spiritually, or whatever. In all of these cases, however – even in the rare case that it’s true – this dominance is both a poison and a tremendous waste. It causes us to think of others as adversaries and to compulsively compare positions.

Dominance automatically creates division and conflict. It’s built solely upon our standing relative to others. It can do nothing but put others down, and that’s not only cruel, it lies at the root of hatred, crime, and war.

Self-praise is not a virtue. It may glue a culture together, but that type of glue is toxic.

Problem #3: Grudges

One of the most overt ways that dominance displays its toxicity is in holding grudges, sometimes for centuries.

Let’s begin by pointing out that bitterness is poison; it twists whatever minds carry it. For that reason alone, holding grudges should be purged wherever it is found. Better to let it go and lose some property than to deform your character, the characters of your children, and the characters of their children. And that is what grudges do.

And the truth is that losses can be recovered. If we lose our piece of land in one place, we can find one somewhere else. Yes, there is a serious issue of justice in these cases – plunder and expulsion are despicable always – but putting things back the way they were, especially after any length of time, requires yet more plunder and expulsion.

So, we can either suffer a loss of property and preserve our souls, or we can poison our souls and fight to get some land back. The central factor in all of this is our estimation of our own abilities: Do we believe we have the ability to create what we want?

If we do, we don’t have to cling desperately to whatever we hold; we can gain more by our abilities. If, however, we grasp desperately to our holdings at the expense of our own souls, we judge our abilities as insufficient.

Please bear in mind that I’m not excusing plunder. What I’m saying is that our reaction to loss exposes our deep beliefs regarding ourselves… that those beliefs are what we should cultivate and defend.

Grudges are poison, they corrupt us in deeper ways than we’ve understood, and if we care about ourselves and our posterity – if we wish our posterity to be capable and potent – it behooves us to root them out.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.

  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.

  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.

  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

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

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

The Breaking Dawn: a book review by Jim Davidson

Many of the readers of this publication will remember Paul Rosenberg’s book A Lodging of Wayfaring Men with considerable fondness. Some may be aware that he co-authored, with Sean Hastings, a book titled God Wants You Dead. I don’t think very many people in our community are aware that Paul has also written extensive technical manuals on electricity and electronics. He’s quite prolific.

cover
The Breaking Dawn
by Paul Rosenberg
trade paperback or Kindle
ISBN-10: 0979987768
ISBN-13: 978-0979987762

Many of the readers of this publication will remember Paul Rosenberg’s book A Lodging of Wayfaring Men with considerable fondness. Some may be aware that he co-authored, with Sean Hastings, a book titled God Wants You Dead. I don’t think very many people in our community are aware that Paul has also written extensive technical manuals on electricity and electronics. He’s quite prolific.

His latest book is The Breaking Dawn. I think it is a very important book. Certainly it has a great deal to do with the very most formative ideas in Western culture.

Suppose you took all the books of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and attempted to understand them from today’s perspective. Take it as a given that the events described actually took place, and try to understand them from a contemporary, scientifically educated, human perspective. In doing so, look at exactly what is written, look at what is not written but has been imposed as doctrine by various religious groups, and try to understand how things might “work out” if we extrapolate both back into the past and on into the future.

The ideas are not all that different from various stories of interstellar and intergalactic human civilisations that have been written about by traditional science fiction authors such as Asimov (Foundation series) or Heinlein (Citizen of the Galaxy) to give some examples. One of the things Paul has done in his book (and I call him Paul in this review because he is a very good, very kind, and very wise friend of mine) is look at what the consequences are for people of all faiths in facing the kind of authoritarian future that is apparently the objective of Deep State agencies like the CIA, NSA, and DoD.

One of the things that most impresses me is that Paul sees the division between good and evil as I believe it really is: a division between how people choose to live and how they might choose to live if they were willing to completely amputate those aspects of their mind and heart which tell them what is wrong and what is right. The division between good people and evil people has mostly to do with the choices they take, and a little bit about their intentions in taking those choices, and nothing at all to do with what spirituality they were taught, or adopted, or converted to, or rejected.

Given the very large body of documentation about God, Jesus, the origins of our universe, the origins of our species, and the outcome of various conflicts over how people should be governed or govern themselves, as well as what is written about what to expect about the future, represented by the books of the Bible, you can see that Paul’s novel The Breaking Dawn has certain limitations on what directions might be taken. Within that framework, the novel is epic.

It tells the story of men and women who oppose authority, who resist the state’s encroachments, and it tells the story of men and women who acquiesce. The novel goes into considerable detail about how people are controlled by mass media, how they are being controlled by online media such as Facebook and Twitter, and how those in power seek to manipulate every waking moment, and perhaps even sleeping moments, of everyone. Moreover, Paul looks directly at the consequences of resisting tyranny and the consequences of acquiescing to it. To say that there is a lot of struggle and death is an understatement. But to say that there is no hope for mankind is to deny not only the title of the novel, not only the basic underlying message of possibility found in the Bible, but also to deny the fundamental nature of human beings.

Human beings have an amazing capacity for good. And, left to their own devices, they will do great things for one another, and for their world. Forced to obey, their minds will break down, and either become numb to nearly everything, or become broken. Many of those who try to acquiesce to authority end up having psychotic breaks, and that is true both in our real world and in the world of Paul’s novel.

The idea that there are other civilisations out in space is not a new one, and it is not one that Paul has any difficulty conveying. The idea that there is a connection between all things in the universe is one that is very consistent with current knowledge of quantum mechanics and other sciences. The idea that doing good things in your life is a good idea, that how you choose to act really matters, and that resisting evil is a fundamentally good idea, these are thoughts that permeate The Breaking Dawn.

I can say a great many more good things about this book. I think it is extremely well written, brilliantly conceived, and enormously important. You should read it.

Jim Davidson
Originally posted at The Libertarian Enterprise

* * * * *

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Peak Obedience

PeakObedienceWarnings about Peak Oil have circulated widely in recent years, and if accurate, they are important. Peak oil, however, pales in comparison to something that’s happening right in front of us… and something that is a good deal more dangerous: Peak Obedience.

If that concept strikes you as odd, I can understand why: We’ve all been living inside of an obedience cult. (And I choose these words carefully.)

In our typical “scary cult” stories, we find people who have given up their own functions of choice and who then do crazy things because they are told to by some authority. While inside their cult, however, it all makes sense; it’s all self-reinforcing.

So, inside a cult of obedience, obedience would seem proper; it would seem righteous; and more than anything else, it would seem normal. And I think that very well describes the Western status quo.

Obedience, however, should not seem normal to us. Obedience holds our minds in a “child” state, and that is not fitting for any healthy person past their first few years of life. It also presupposes that the people we obey have complete and final knowledge; and in fact, they do not: politicians, central bankers, and the other lords of the age have been wrong – obviously and publicly wrong – over and over.

So, obedience is not a logical position to take. But we all know why we take it; and that reason is fear. The mass of humanity obeys because they are afraid to do otherwise. All the “philosophy of governance” explanations are merely attempts to distract us from the truth: people believe they’ll be hurt if they don’t obey.

We are taught not to think in such stark terms, of course. Those “philosophy of governance” explanations give us reasons to believe that obedience is the good and heroic thing to do. Still, we know the truth.

But that truth about fear, even though important, is not the point I’d like you to take away from this article. My primary point is this:

When we obey, we make ourselves less conscious; we make ourselves less alive.

Why Obedience Is Peaking

I covered this in far more depth in issue #40 of my subscription letter, but I would like to provide a brief explanation here.

Over the past two centuries, authority has benefitted from a perfect storm of influences. There was never such a time previously, and there probably will never be another. Briefly, here’s what happened:

Morality was broken

For better or worse, Western civilization had a consistent set of moral standards from about the 10th century through the 17th or 18th century. Then, through the 20th century, those standards were broken.

Note that I did not say morality was changed. The cultural morality of the West was not replaced, but broken. The West has endured a moral void ever since.

Previously, people routinely compared authority’s decrees to a separate standard (most often the Bible), to see if they held up. But with Western morals broken, authority was freed from restraint.

Economies of scale

Factories made it much cheaper to produce large numbers of goods than the old way, in individual workshops. Economists call this an economy of scale. Thus a cult of size began, making “obedience to the large” seem normal.

Fiat currency

Fiat currency has allowed governments to spend money without consequences. It allowed politicians to wage war and to provide free food, free education, and free medicine… all without overtly raising taxes. Fiat currency made it seem that politics was magical.

Mass conditioning

Built on the factory model, massive government institutions undertook the education of the populace. And more important than their overt curriculum (math, reading, etc.) was their invisible curriculum: obedience to authority. Here, to illustrate, is a quote from the esteemed Bertrand Russell, who is himself quoting Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the founding father of public schooling:

Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished.

Mass media

Mass media turbocharged authority and obedience in the 20th century. It was authority’s dream technology.

All of these things, and others, created an unnatural peak for authority. But now, this perfect storm is receding.

Peak Obedience Is Brittle

Through the 20th century, the people of the West built up a very high compliance inertia. They complied with the demands of authority and taught their children to do the same, until it became automatic. People obeyed simply because they had obeyed in the past.

Authority quickly became addicted to this situation, basing their plans on receiving every benefit of the doubt.

Automatic obedience, however, is a brittle thing. Economies of scale are failing, the money cartel has been exposed, government schools have lost respect, mass media is fading away, and the game continues because the populace is distracted and afraid. And that will not last forever.

The ‘walls’ of reflexive compliance are growing thinner. Any serious break may ruin the structure.

And Then?

It has long been understood that complex systems breed more complexity, and eventually break themselves. As central authorities try to solve each problem they face, they inevitably create others. Eventually the system becomes so complex, and its costs so much, that new challenges cannot be solved. Then the system and its authority fail, as they did recently in the Soviet Union.

Sooner or later, this is going to happen here. (If that seems impossible to you, please reflect on the current state of the mighty Roman Empire.) But again, that’s not my primary point. Obedience matters to you right now: today and every other day.

Obedience turns the best parts of you off. It degrades and kills your creativity; it undercuts your effectiveness and especially your sense of satisfaction.

Don’t sign away your life, no matter how many others do. Live consciously.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

Why Obamacare Will Not Conquer American Culture

obamacareIt’s become quite obvious that, politically, Obamacare has conquered America. (It now has the power of law.) However, it will eventually fail. In fact, it’s failing already because of something that transcends politics – our ingrained culture.

I had a conversation yesterday with a very astute European friend. While discussing the differences between Europeans and Americans, he said:

On the scale of a whole society, Americans change slower, Europeans change faster. But individually, Americans change faster, and Europeans slower.

And he is quite right about this. Europeans change in groups, but Americans very seldom do. And even when they do, those changes seldom last.

He went on:

This gives Americans an advantage: they can try many more solutions before choosing. But if a society-wide change is imposed on them, it may never find mass adoption; the majority will resist it, and wait it out.

Obamacare is one of these society-wide European-style solutions, shoved down the throats of American culture. Confused by politics (which is, more or less, the purpose of politics), most Americans haven’t known what to think about it, so they are waiting to see what happens.

At the moment, what they see is very bad and while they may hope it works itself out, we know it won’t for one simple reason: Americans expect to choose, and to change their choice whenever they want.

Americans expect to choose a product this year, but to change to a different one next year, when something better comes along. This is deeper than the noise and clamor of politics – it is ingrained in our culture.

Obamacare transgresses the American cultural norms, and will therefore fail – sooner or later, in one way or another.

Why Obamacare Is Much Like A Viking Invasion

In the early Middle Ages, the Vikings wrought havoc on the British Isles. They plundered wherever they wished, extorted astonishing amounts of silver from the kings of England, and never suffered a serious defeat. They conquered, clearly and definitely.

But a funny thing happened to the Vikings over time – they became Englishmen.

The Vikings started as a wild band of pagan destroyers and thieves, and ended up, in a fairly short span, as Christian British farmers.

Why did they make this change? Because the English way of life – English culture – was far more attractive than a life of frozen oceans, killing, and drunkenness.

The Vikings conquered militarily, but they were defeated culturally.

The same thing is happening to Obamacare in America: It conquered politically, but it will fail culturally.

Culture trumps conquest, whether it be the conquest of arms or the conquest of politics.

Obamacare will fail because Americans expect to choose, and to change their choice when they want.

When Americans want a different doctor or hospital, they expect to get it. If they don’t, they’ll break the rules: either they’ll bribe people to get what they want, pay for political favors to get what they want, go to the black market to get what they want, or start taking over hospital administration offices. (I fear that there may be a few shootings too.)

American culture expects choices; it is built for individual changes, not collective changes. This is in the DNA of the culture, and no matter which political gang controls the levers of rulership, the culture will not simply follow.

Whether in one way or many, sooner or later, Obamacare will fail. American culture is not dead yet.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com