We Have Undervalued Ourselves

undervaluedGrowing up, I heard lots of complaints from parents and teachers about children being conceited, proud, and arrogant. Looking back, it seems to me that most of these complaints were related to a failure to obey. We did have one or two kids who were arrogant jerks, but the rest of us received the same comments they did.

But whatever motivated the adults of my youth, they were mostly wrong – it’s not our overvaluation of ourselves that is the real problem; it’s our undervaluation.

Here is a passage from G.K. Chesterton’s The Defendant that makes this argument:

There runs a strange law through the length of human history — that men are continually tending to undervalue their environment, to undervalue their happiness, to undervalue themselves. The great sin of mankind, the sin typified by the fall of Adam, is the tendency, not towards pride, but towards this weird and horrible humility.

I think Chesterton was entirely correct, and I think we have all been surrounded by, and influenced by, a “weird and horrible humility.”

Most of us, most of the time, fear making errors, think about our failures and deficits, and live in a sea of guilt. Not only is this dark self-image unnecessary, but it degrades us and is built upon falsehoods.

We are, since childhood, trained to view ourselves as dangerous creatures, teetering on the edge of error and harm. We absorb these ideas through what currently passes as “law” and by parts of modern religion… particularly the doctrine of “original sin.”

Even the definition of “good” is held to be “selflessness,” which clearly maintains that “self” is bad.

Bear in mind that I’m not saying all humans are good. Clearly, some of them are violent and vile. But these are a small minority, and we should not lump normal people in with them.

The System as It Is

The world system we were all raised in is built on the assumptions noted above: that people are dangerous, need to be controlled, and must be held in a permanent fear of punishment.

Furthermore, the system requires us to feel inferior, uncertain, and flawed:

  • Free, confident people don’t just obey because someone in a particular costume tells them to; they require a reason.
  • People who think on their own easily understand that when they are told, “The law requires this,” it really means, “Do this or we’ll hurt you.” And they also grasp that such statements are orders backed by violence, not reason.
  • People who are free from guilt do not feel inferior and do not automatically comply with authority.

Whenever it is that a significant number of people develop healthy psyches, modern systems of rulership, including “law and order,” will fail. These systems assume that they will always enjoy instant and unreasoned obedience. Once that changes, they will be ill-suited to survive.

Under the modern scenario of rulership, a truly healthy person is the proverbial “square peg,” and ruling institutions are the proverbial “round hole.” The two do not fit together naturally.

Other Views of Humanity

While my disapproval of doctrines such as “original sin” stands, it’s worth noting (for believers and nonbelievers alike) that this low opinion of mankind is not really a biblical thing. Consider these passages:

You are gods. All of you are children of the most high. (This was first spoken by David, then repeated by Jesus.)

You have crowned him (man) with glory and honor, and set him above all the works of your hands.

The noted psychologist Abraham Maslow found the same thing as Chesterton, by the way. He writes,

Human history is a record of the ways in which human nature has been sold short. The highest possibilities of human nature have practically always been underrated.

And as Maslow went about to study the healthiest and best people, he ran into another problem:

Even when ’good specimens,’ the saints and sages and great leaders of history, have been available for study, the temptation too often has been to consider them not human but supernaturally endowed.

In other words, human nature has been depreciated, and when a clearly good case comes along, it is promptly identified as being something other than human.

It has been an imperative that “human” must equal “broken and untrustworthy.” This is a false, degrading, and cruel sentiment; yet our current world systems rest fully upon it.

Last thoughts

In another passage in The Defendant, Chesterton writes,

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.

If we could drop the dark images we hold of ourselves and accept credit for the good things we do, we would partake of pleasure without guilt, and we would have a greater capacity to experience beauty, awe, and wonder in our everyday lives.

Whenever it is that we come to understand ourselves and the true nature of the world, doing the right thing will cease being a burden. We will do the right thing simply because any other action would be stupid.

Give this some thought of your own, please.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

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

Yes, You Are Being Manipulated by Your Government

governments manipulateThe truth that government agents are influencing people online has been visible for some time to those who were looking. For example, in 2011, we got proof that military contractors and the US Air Force were doing this. (See here and here.) There were other facts as well, including the publicly-stated wishes of Cass Sunstein.

Most people didn’t see those stories, of course, and those who mentioned them were thought to be crazy. “If it was true, we’d have heard about it!”

In early February, however, we got serious proof, courtesy of Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald. Honestly, I expected this to be a big story, like many of the previous Snowden leaks. Instead, the story went almost nowhere. The “news” simply refused to cover it. And while the story did run on a few websites, I don’t know of it running in any major newspaper or on any TV news, except perhaps RT, the Russian 24/7 English-language news channel. (NBC did run a prior and less troubling story.)

But, we have the slides, and we now know what the NSA and its British partner, GCHQ, are doing to us.

The Manipulations You Pay For

Let’s start with this direct quote from the GCHQ on two tactics of their JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group) program:

(1)  to inject all sorts of false material onto the Internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and

(2)  to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.

Here’s their slide for training agents how to discredit people:

governments manipulate

These are their tactics for discrediting companies:

governments manipulate

Here’s just one more, listing the tricks they use to manipulate people:

governments manipulate

So…

So, this is where we are. All the Anglosphere governments are – RIGHT NOW – building systems to manipulate us 24/7.

Please understand that it is far, far easier and cheaper for computers to do this work than to have actual humans at keyboards. And thousands of amoral engineers and psychologists are currently selling us out for mere paychecks, by programming computers to do just that.

If there is one message that I’d like to get across on this subject, it is this:

Your rulers are immoral, rapacious, and unrestrained. They are building a hell for you and your children right now.

I’m sorry if that seems strong, but speaking the truth leaves me no option.

Big Brother did not come with elections and clear choices; it came riding on the usual human weaknesses: fear, greed, and servility.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Where the *Bleep* Is Germany’s Gold?

Germany's goldYou may have heard something about this story, but I think it’s important to take a few minutes to restate the facts clearly. In the modern news environment, stories come and go so fast – and in so many parts – that it’s very easy to get lost along the way.

So, here’s what we know so far:

  • In 2012, the Bundesbank (the central bank of Germany) asked to visit the vault of the Federal Reserve in New York, to view the 1,536 tons of gold they have stored there.
  • The Federal Reserve told them no. They were not allowed to see their gold.
  • In response, Germany said that they wanted 300 tons of their gold back.
  • The Federal Reserve said that they’d need seven years to get the gold back to Germany. (Something that should take them seven weeks, tops.)
  • One year later, the Fed has returned only 5 tons of gold to Germany. At this rate, it will take 60 years for the Germans to get less than one fifth of their gold back.

Though I don’t know precisely what, it is very clear that something strange is going on here… something that the prestigious central bankers want to keep away from the light of day.

Shipping 300 tons of metal is hardly a new and difficult technical challenge. Companies involved in metal trading do this all the time. Sure, gold requires extra security, but security is also something that lots of people know how to provide.

Give me half a percent as a premium, and I’ll have it arranged by next week!

The German Responses

The initial German response was the one mentioned above: Give us back our gold. But that happened over a year ago, after they weren’t allowed to see their gold. There have been further responses, following the very lame delivery of five tons.

These responses have come in just the past month or so:

The president of Germany’s top financial regulations group said that manipulation of gold and silver “is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal.” (The Libor scandal was and is a big deal, and lots of lawsuits are underway over it.) That’s a big accusation.

Then, Deutsche Bank, the biggest German bank, dropped out of the London gold fixing pool; the group of bankers that set the official price of gold. This is also related to the investigations by European regulators into the suspected manipulation of precious metals prices by banks. Again, this is a very significant event.

Germany does not seem happy about what the Fed is doing to them. These responses may seem timid, compared to what you or I might do if someone refused to give us back our gold, but they very clearly show that the German banks are objecting. (What’s going on behind the scenes remains unknown to us.)

In addition to this, the Financial Times ran an article advising investors to demand physical delivery of their gold. Bloomberg published an article on gold price manipulation. Whether they were pushed to do this by the Germans remains an open question.

What’s Really Going On?

So, given what we know, the obvious question becomes, “What’s really going on?”

The first answer is that we simply do not know, but even that deserves a short comment:

We don’t know because central banks are above scrutiny. They operate in secret, insulated by governments.

In any honest business, we could learn something about what’s going on, but central banking is different. Its operators not only control the world’s money, but they do it secretly.

So, we can only guess as to what’s happening.

Most likely, however, is that all of Germany’s gold has been lent out and/or used as loan collateral multiple times and that the Fed is having a very hard time unwinding all those loans. If they just give the gold back, the collateral for hundreds (maybe thousands) of international loans goes away.

And when I say “lent out multiple times,” I am not speaking loosely. There is a financial trick called rehypothecation that allows bankers to use the same stack of gold as the collateral for simultaneous loans… over and over and over.

So, in order to pull Germany’s gold out of the lending game (and central banks do loan out gold), lots and lots of loans would have to be rehypothecated to other piles of gold, and that requires a lot of office work. Each bar of Germany’s gold could be involved in a dozen loans, each of which must be re-arranged.

This would account for the slowness of the Fed returning the gold back to where it belongs.

Of course, there are other possibilities. Maybe the Fed is just trying to punish Germany for some reason (they’ve messed with them in the past), or that the gold is simply no longer there – that the Fed or its friends sold it.

The Bottom Line

It would be wonderful to figure out what will happen next, but we’d have to base that on what’s really going on now, and we don’t know even that. As mentioned, central banks never have to tell.

The one thing we can be sure of is that the Federal Reserve and the Bundesbank are at odds. What will come from that is unknown, but this is a very significant problem between giants, and it is already producing consequences.

Maybe this problem will go away. But if it doesn’t, it could become very, very significant.

And how that will affect each of us – well, that’s a very good question.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

I’m sorry

student loanDear young people of America,

I’m sorry. You’re entering a world that has condemned you to slavery before you were even born. No, not the full-blown, work-in-the-fields slavery you learned about in school, but something that has most of the same effects but looks far better: they take half of your life and expect you to thank them for it.

There are actually several parts to your slavery. Today I am speaking of the part you may know best: inescapable student loans.

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone calls student loan programs “a shameful and oppressive outrage that for years now has been systematically perpetrated against a generation of young adults.”

Taibbi is right, of course, but I think he’s being mild. So, let me be more blunt:

Millions of young Americans have been forced into debt slavery.

Please understand that I am writing for accuracy here, not flamboyance. If you are in student loan debt, you were pushed and you are being held and it is slavery.

Yes, it’s true that you shouldn’t have signed those papers and spent that money, but – and please understand that I speak as a hard core advocate of personal responsibility – the guilt is mostly not yours.

Here’s why I say that:

Setup #1: Something is wrong with you if you don’t

Answer this question: How many times, between kindergarten and the end of high school were you told that you should or must go to college?

Hundreds maybe? And how many times was it simply implied than any decent kid (you in particular) would certainly go to college. Maybe hundreds more?

Setup #2: You’ll live a second-rate life if you don’t

It was clearly and repetitively implied that without a college degree, you’d be left to a second-rate job, a second-rate life and a second-rate spouse. No, they may not have said that explicitly (or they might have), but isn’t that what you were made to feel?

Think about it:

  1. You were conditioned to believe that getting the best girl/guy required you to go to a university.
  2. You were forced to make this choice at 17 years old, just as a flood of hormones had entered your life (making clear decisions much, much harder).
  3. College costs a fortune, but by merely signing a piece of paper, you got all the free money you needed and a clear shot at the mate of your dreams (not to mention lots of wild parties).

Setup #3: “Sign here and it’s all yours”

Here’s how it went:

  • They made you believe that you needed a degree in order to succeed in life.
  • They passed laws that forbade you from getting a good job without an authorized certificate.
  • They made sure that you could only get the certificates through them.

Then, of course, they raised their prices, offered you loans, made sure you could never escape those loans, and pushed you into a decision. You could either sign for the loan – before the deadline – or accept a second-rate life.

That’s called manipulation. In fact, it’s heavy-handed manipulation. A business contract signed under those conditions would be negated by any reasonable judge or jury.

“They Couldn’t Have Done It All On Purpose”

Yeah, they could have, and they did. I know that’s a horrifying thought, but take a look at these quotes from the founding of government schooling in America:

Here’s what Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the founding father of public education, said in his book “The General Nature of the New Education”:

If you want to influence him [the student] at all, you must do more than merely talk to him; you must fashion him, and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than you wish him to will.

And here’s what William Torrey Harris, former United States Commissioner of Education, wrote in 1906:

Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata [i.e. robots], careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.

Just to show that I’m not picking aberrant statements, here’s one more, from Edward A. Ross, who, I am told, was a favorite of President Teddy Roosevelt:

The role of the public official, and in particular of the public school teacher, is to collect little plastic lumps of human dough from private households and shape them on the social kneadingboard.

Make no mistake: you were conditioned by professionals – 6 hours per day, 5 days per week, 40 weeks per year, between the ages of 5 and 18.

No, Mrs. Jones, your wonderful 6th grade teacher wasn’t out to manipulate you, but the people who built the system that controlled both of you were. She just did her best within that system. (And you should be thankful for her.)

Who Did This to You

It’s amazing to realize just how often the people who abuse you are the ones you’ve been taught to respect. And that’s certainly the case here. Your abusers are the majesties of the age:

The education system: We’ve already explained the conditioning of the K-12 system, and the abuses of “higher education” are pretty obvious. Who really thinks that a single class is worth a thousand dollars, or even five hundred? (I’ll ignore the arrogance and abuse of tenured professors for now.)

Higher education is designed to bleed you and your family dry. They have the magic piece of paper that makes or breaks your life, and you’ll do anything to get it.

Politicians: It’s ridiculous to blame parties on this: Blue and Red both play by the same book.

Both political parties have sold you down the river, and they’d do it again. Who do you think wrote and passed the law that you can’t get rid of a student loan even in bankruptcy?

Think about what that means: The loan stays with you for life. And when you die, the banker holding the debt gets first crack at your estate. This is truly a form of debtor’s prison.

The big banks: When you accept a loan from a bank, they don’t take money from someone else’s savings account – they merely write the number on the line and hit Enter – the money is created right there and then. (There’s too much to explain in detail, but that’s the essence of it.)

So, if they created your loan money with the stroke of an Enter key, how is it that they should make you work like a dog to keep up with the payments, make you worry every day for decades, and then take whatever remains from your children when you die?

Look it up if you’re not sure I’m being fair on this point: Get a copy of The Creature From Jekyll Island and read it.

You’ve been abused, my young friends. Sure, walking away from those loan papers would have been a good idea, but your entire life set you up to fold when you were squeezed into that situation.

And make no mistake: the people who conditioned you and wrote the laws and who now squeeze you for money… they knew what they were doing. The situation is confusing from the perspective of the 18 year old, but it isn’t from the perspective of the 55 year old.

These people may have sold you out to maintain their position, to make more money, or merely to keep their bosses happy. But they did sell you out.

What to Do?

First of all, forgive yourself. Yes, you could have done better – and you should never do anything like that again – but you were an 18 or 20 year old kid, facing off against 40, 50, and 60 year old specialists.

Secondly, don’t accept what was done to you as anything but abuse. Call it abuse and don’t back down. There’s nothing communistic or anti-market about that. Manipulation and fraud are not ‘capitalist’ things – they are crimes.

Don’t give the people who did this to you the benefit of the doubt. Once they release you from your financial prison you can think about it, but not until. They did NOT have good intentions, and it WASN’T okay.

Finally, it’s time for you to stop complaining and start doing. Find ways around the abuse; build new systems; act in some productive direction; then adapt as better choices appear.

You have as much intelligence and resourcefulness as any generation that came before you. Use it!

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

The Triumph of The Manipulators: The Entire “First World” Financial System is Manipulated

The Triumph of The Manipulators - The Financial System is ManipulatedThe entire “first world” financial system is manipulated. This is no secret – the manipulators not only admit it, but are proud of it. And yes, I am referring to central banks: manipulation is what they do. I really don’t have any inside information on this, except that I’ve heard a lot of confidential stories from Comex traders. (Don’t trust Comex for a second.)

So, manipulation is a given. What I’m referring to is the fact that the manipulators are succeeding beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Joe Average knows in his gut that everything is smoke and mirrors, but he is unwilling to look. He prays that the manipulators can keep the game going until he is dead, when he can no longer be held accountable.

The success of the manipulators has reached such levels that their victims are unwilling to complain. In fact, their victims defend them! It’s a type of Stockholm Syndrome, spread over continents.

I got an email two days ago, from a friend who happens to be one of the world’s great investment analysts. He was at wit’s end over the markets. Not because of price moves – his charts predicted those – but because people no longer cared about reality.

Here’s what I wrote back to my friend:

They are winning. There is no question about it. They are printing like mad with minimal inflation, stealing from millions at once with no riots, stoking raging bull markets based on no reason whatsoever, creating paper silver and gold without limit and without consequences, while keeping all the foreigners in line and obedient.

This is the ultimate, screaming triumph of the political and banking elite – their highest high in the history of civilization. And yet, no matter how badly they abuse the world, they enjoy complete obedience.

To quote a scientist from the early 1980s, upon seeing a photo of braided rings around Saturn: “It’s stark, raving mad, but it’s there.”

We are living through a moment of madness that future historians will write about: Black is white, down is up, rehypothecation is prudence, naked shorting is benevolent, abuse is love, theft is mercy. And all the while, humanity just sits and accepts their abuse. Following is courage, thinking is threat, and no one dares a sideways glance at the insanity, for fear that it will break.

All cling to a system that grinds them up and all walk together into the sea as they are told, singing hymns to governments and central banks as they go.

It’s sick; it’s evil; it’s disgusting; but for now it is also true.

And the rest of the world is allowing it. You’d think that the Russians or the Chinese, at least, would make some self-interested moves, but they don’t.

Either something breaks, or humanity tires of this insanity, or it continues until all the world is North Korea, worshiping photos of a vile little man, never lifting their eyes and thanking the vile little man for the deaths of themselves and their children.

And if something does ever break, they’ll need a war – a big, nasty war – the kind that really scares people – not tanks rolling through a desert.

That’s the world as it stands today. Perhaps everything will change tomorrow, but for now, the manipulators are at peak success.

“The madness of crowds” is here. If, somewhere, there is a successor to Charles Mackay (who wrote the classic book of that title), he must be a very busy boy.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com