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Political Cycle Model for Saeculum
#21
Quote:But why the start of those issues, and not a few years earlier, with Sputnik and the Cuban missile crisis, which were viewed as equally major events by Silents and older generations but seem to have had minimal to no impact on Boomers?  Or why not a few years later, since the Vietnam War was the real big issue of the 1960s.  Also, a tangent, but do you really remember the Vietnam war ending in the 1960s?  My memory is that it didn't end until the peace treaty of 1973, or maybe the boat lift of 1975.  Of course it ended with a loss, so that was also disempowering, but I wouldn't have thought its course in the 1960s would seem empowering either.  I'm interested in how it could be seen that way.

Where did I say the war ended in the 1960’s?   The empowering aspect of the war was on the part of protestors, who perceived that they had succeed in ending a war, which is empowering.

Generation imprinting occurs most rapidly with those aged late teens through mid-20’s, centered on age 22.  It is what people in that age group are experiencing that forms generations.  Things like the missile crisis and Sputnik are dramatic events, but no social or cultural trends involving youth stemmed from it.  On the other hand, things like the civil rights movement had by the early 1960’s involved idealistic youth in the North (like Bernie Sanders). This movement also succeeded when it delivered major de facto constitutional change: long-delayed enforcement of the 15
th Amendment.  When the black civil rights movement petered out and the war was over, there were new civil rights movements: Women’s, Chicano, Gay, and Environmental movements in which new cohorts of youth were involved and so imprinted into a dominant generation.  Also there were all the new religious groups and communes being formed as part of the on-going Awakening.

All this was forging a dominant, empowered, generation amongst Left-leaning youth. The same thing was happening on the Right: The young gunslingers on Wall Street learning how to profit from stocks with no earnings during the go-go years (1967-68), the sober youth appalled with the sex, drugs and bad behavior, who rallied to Nixon’s law and order ideology, or those who went to Reagan rallies in 1976 (lots of kids in my HS).  The experience of stagflation and the success of Volcker’s interest rate policy forged right-leaning youth of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s into “austerians”, who believe that “the tax cuts worked” as you said above. The 1973 Roe vs Wade decision sparked a pro-life moment amongst Catholics (this was a big thing at my Catholic school), which later moved to Protestants. The phenomenon of mega-churches got their start in the 1970’s and grew from there.  Fundamentalist and conservative Evangelical churches, who had withdrawn from involvement with secular politics during the last 4T re-entered the fray with organizations like the Moral Majority and Focus on the Family.  Although these were elder-initiated projects they did have an intent to help shape their youth, and so would initially have an imprinting effect, which would dissipate as the project became routine.

Imprinting would be expected to be somewhat different for conservatives, whose value systems are supposed to NOT embrace novel or radical ideas or practices (i.e. the sorts of things that make a social moment and imprint a dominant gen).   The imprinted effect comes from the reaction to some new cultural element.  Once the reaction is complete, the imprinting stops.  So social moments largely reflect the actions of progressives or leftists, which are why they correspond to the political eras Schlesinger deems liberal.

 
When the 1960’s birth cohorts started forming paradigms in the early 1980’s the battles were won (or lost) and the movements were over.  The energy of the 2T had been dissipated.  There were no new causes to embrace, larger narrative to follow, people accepted the paradigms created in the 2T and focused on their own lives.  In short, they were imprinted into a recessive generation (GenX) that was less idealistic, but more realistic in their expectations (or so they would maintain).

Imprinting requires a continuous or near continuous stream of events (a social moment) that gives rise to youth-involved movements or projects (e.g. fighting in wars) that keep imprinting new cohorts reaching the vicinity of age 22.  When the activity peters out (the social moment ends) imprinted stops., a dominant generation gives way to a recessive one.

Quote:For my theory - that the shift from Adaptive to Idealist is defined at an early age by the fact that Adaptives actually remember the crisis war and Idealists do not - this particular era transition doesn't need to be sharp, and can be caused by, rather than be the cause of, the transition from Adaptives to Idealists.

Well actually John’s theory J
 
Quote:But as I understand it, you reject that theory.

Yes, because of the Idealistic/Reactive split. One cannot invoke the crisis war here.  Instead a fair bit of hand-waving is required. 


Quote:The establishment getting its act together could definitely cause a sharp delineation, since leadership changes tend to be relatively sudden; this would also apply to nondemocratic states, which I consider important to the theory.  This generates a testable hypothesis:  the length of the Awakening period should be highly variable since it's somewhat random when a competent leader comes to power.

No the marker is not competent leadership, it is activity involving that informs ones opinions of the world works (paradigm).  I would hardly think those who managed WW II were incompetent. Yet imprinting continued all through the war and ended shortly after.  Why? Because the project that was imprinting youth ended. Before that it was the experience of the Depression that was on ongoing education that poverty can happen to people through no fault of their own.  Until it happened, it couldn’t teach this lesson, and once it and the war were over there were no more lessons to be taught and the cohorts arriving after 1945 simply adopted the 4T paradigm and became a recessive generation.
So the length of an Awakening/prophet imprinting period should equal the length of a social moment plus a “buffer” zone of a few years.

Quote:It would also mean that Idealists and Reactives aren't differentiated until the beginning of adulthood. 
Correct
 
Quote:I'm not sure whether I'm ready to believe that, since much has been made of alleged differences between Boomer and X childhoods.  I'll have to think about that.

Much has.  But it has the marks of a just so story. 
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#22
Quote:
Quote:But why the start of those issues, and not a few years earlier, with Sputnik and the Cuban missile crisis, which were viewed as equally major events by Silents and older generations but seem to have had minimal to no impact on Boomers?  Or why not a few years later, since the Vietnam War was the real big issue of the 1960s.  Also, a tangent, but do you really remember the Vietnam war ending in the 1960s?  My memory is that it didn't end until the peace treaty of 1973, or maybe the boat lift of 1975.  Of course it ended with a loss, so that was also disempowering, but I wouldn't have thought its course in the 1960s would seem empowering either.  I'm interested in how it could be seen that way.

Where did I say the war ended in the 1960’s?   The empowering aspect of the war was on the part of protestors, who perceived that they had succeed in ending a war, which is empowering.

You said this:

Quote:Early wave Boomers (like Eric and Dave) were imprinted in the sixties.  The events of this time: blacks gaining their long-denied 15th Amendment rights plus the right to live wherever they could afford, the Vietnam war ending, more sex, pollution getting cleaned up were seen as good things.  It was an empowering time.  [emphasis mine]

I interpreted that as saying all those things happened in the 1960s.  Perhaps you intended it differently?  Can you clarify?

Quote:Imprinting requires a continuous or near continuous stream of events (a social moment) that gives rise to youth-involved movements or projects (e.g. fighting in wars) that keep imprinting new cohorts reaching the vicinity of age 22.  When the activity peters out (the social moment ends) imprinted stops., a dominant generation gives way to a recessive one.

That just begs the question of how the social moment gets started and ends.  If it shapes the idealist generation, it can't be determined by the idealist generation, or at least the beginning of it can't.

Quote:
Quote:For my theory - that the shift from Adaptive to Idealist is defined at an early age by the fact that Adaptives actually remember the crisis war and Idealists do not - this particular era transition doesn't need to be sharp, and can be caused by, rather than be the cause of, the transition from Adaptives to Idealists.

Well actually John’s theory J

 I'll let him speak for himself; that particular conclusion I reached long before I heard of his theories.

Quote:
Quote:But as I understand it, you reject that theory.

Yes, because of the Idealistic/Reactive split. One cannot invoke the crisis war here.  Instead a fair bit of hand-waving is required. 

You're rejecting this theory on the Adaptive/Idealist split because one of the people who suggested it doesn't also have a good explanation for the Idealist/Reactive split?  It strikes me that generational transitions don't all have to work the same way, and people can be right about one thing without being right about everything.

Quote:
Quote:The establishment getting its act together could definitely cause a sharp delineation, since leadership changes tend to be relatively sudden; this would also apply to nondemocratic states, which I consider important to the theory.  This generates a testable hypothesis:  the length of the Awakening period should be highly variable since it's somewhat random when a competent leader comes to power.

No the marker is not competent leadership, it is activity involving that informs ones opinions of the world works (paradigm).

Then you lose an otherwise cogent explanation for a clean Idealist/Reactive split either, as far as I can tell.

Quote:I would hardly think those who managed WW II were incompetent.

The GIs were the footsoldiers in WWII, not the managers.  As long as the managers were in charge - Truman, then Eisenhower, from the Lost generation - leadership seemed to keep things under control; it was only when GIs took charge in the 1960s that, as your previous post put it, "momentous events"  such as "domestic turmoil on a scale far larger than anything seen since" started happening.
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#23
I see the issue with the war.  I was thinking of the "war-ending" as a process, in which youth took part, that ran over the late 1960's to early 1970's and ended with the war.  Eric and Dave were born in the late 1940’s and so would be imprinted in the earlier portion of this period, hence the reference to the sixties.  You are right that the war (and the protests continued into the 1970’s).  My bad, I was not clear.
Warren Dew Wrote:That just begs the question of how the social moment gets started and ends.  If it shapes the idealist generation, it can't be determined by the idealist generation, or at least the beginning of it can't.

What I have been speaking of is the mechanism through which history (social moments) creates (imprints) generations.  I haven’t yet discussed the opposite, how generations create history. You have already identified this mechanism:
Quote:The GIs were the foot soldiers in WWII, not the managers. As long as the managers were in charge - Truman, then Eisenhower, from the Lost generation - leadership seemed to keep things under control; it was only when GIs took charge in the 1960s that, as your previous post put it, "momentous events"  such as "domestic turmoil on a scale far larger than anything seen since" started happening.
To wit, history creates generations, which after they come to power, create history. There is a lag between generational imprinting at age 22 and history creation at AL (the average age of leaders).  I define AL as the average of the mean ages of governors, Congressmen, Senators, and Supreme Court Justices, all provided by Neil Howe’s database at this site. Therefore, the spacing between AL and 22 drives the spacing between social moments (or 2T/4Ts). 
 
Quote:You're rejecting this theory on the Adaptive/Idealist split because one of the people who suggested it doesn't also have a good explanation for the Idealist/Reactive split?  It strikes me that generational transitions don't all have to work the same way, and people can be right about one thing without being right about everything.

The concept of a crisis war is not part of the S&H theory.  It is an alternate model.  S&H used the constellation model, which I already explained does not work because with it social moments map into more than one generation, resulting in spreading that quickly damps out the cycle.  John developed the crisis war concept to provide a mechanism that works.  It involves a special kind of intense war that has the property of imprinting all living  person into generations based on the phase of life they occupy, as described by S&H.  John added a "ratchet effect," in which the propensity to fight a crisis war is inhibited by the presence of those who remember the last one.  When they leave the scene (i.e. their last cohort retires (enters elderhood), a new crisis war becomes possible. It won't necessarily happen right away,  but when the necessary spark appears it happens.  Hence the spacing between the end of a crisis war and the next is around three generations, or longer, so saecula are not necessarily fixed in length:

Crisis Wars   Spacing between midpoints

1066                    

1135-1154      79            

1204-1215      65              

1264-1282      64              

1337-1347      69              

1386-1409      56              

1455-1485      73              

1559-1588      104            

1638-1660      76              

1701-1714      59              

1789-1815      95              

1860-1871      64
1937-1945      76
              
           
These data are from 2003-4, John may have refined his dating since then. This is is my recording and interpretation of his crisis eras.  Any errors are mine.


Remember each generation comes from previous one and inherits all of its genetic, cultural, and material attributes.  A priori, there should be no discernable difference between generations. This, of course, is the null hypothesis, which is what most scholars believe (just as most economists do not believe there are economic long cycles).  The pro-generation argument to counter this is that the environment affects people’s worldviews, which affects how they will behave in the future.  People shaped by different historical experiences will behave differently (create different history).  For this idea, it seems to me that for history to create generations, it must make a powerful impression for generation idea to work.  The crisis war concept (a war that so intense, so all-encompassing, that John uses the term “genocidal energy" to characterize it) is such a strongly impressionistic form of history. 

The generations that take an active role in this war (Nomads and Heroes) get strongly imprinted into their roles. The Artists are simply those who missed out on the action (that creates a sharp divide between them and the Heroes) but who are, more the most part, too young to have their belief systems as adults forged.
  Prophets are just weaker Artists (i.e. increasingly less impacted by the crisis war and the stories from it).  There In John’s theory, the Crisis War does the heavy lifting.  2Ts can happen more or less as S&H describe in their Appendix, but they are not needed to play a role in causing history to repeat (i.e. a cycle), the CW does that.

S&H hold that both kinds of social moments play important roles in creating repeating history (cycles).
  I think that is right, they just don’t have the right mechanism for it.  Dave Krein showed that British generations played significant roles in British policies during the 19th century using a statistical analysis of voting patterns in the House of Commons.  This generational influence on government policy is explicitly “generations creating history”.  Combine this with the now-established concept of generational imprinting in political science and you have a mechanism for the S&H process.

Quote:Then you lose an otherwise cogent explanation for a clean Idealist/Reactive split either, as far as I can tell.

No I use the explanation you provided: it was only when GIs took charge in the 1960s that, as your previous post put it, momentous events started happening.  And what happened when they left power?  The momentous events stopped happening, and young people stopped getting imprinted into a dominant generation (Idealists) and started being imprinted into recessives (Reactives). GI’s stopped getting imprinted around 1945-6, when the 4T social moment was winding down.  In the early 1980’s AL was 56.  So the spacing between the end of social moment in 1945 and the end of the next social moment should be 34 years (=56-22).  Add this to 1945-6 and you get 1979-80.  So we should expect things to calm down around 1979-80 give a take a year or two--and it did.

What about the start of the 2T?
  Well the Great Depression became "great" in 1931 (before that is was not different than previous recessions, it had been less severe than 1920-21, for example).  AL was also 56 in the early 1960’s.  So adding 34 to 1931 gives 1965. So we would predict a 2T social moment over 1965-1980, which more or less corresponds to the 2T as observed. In the early 2000’s AL had risen to age 59 or 60, it varies from year to year.  This gives a spacing of 37-38 years which projects the start of the next social moment (the current 4T) in 2002-3.  There is no consensus about exactly which year this 4T began, but most would agree it is in the 2001-8 period.  We can “backcast” the start of the last 2T implied by a 2001-2008 start of this 4T by noting AL = 59 in 2001 and 61 in 2008, so we subtract 37 from 2001 and 39 from 2008 to get 1964-69.  Most would agree that the momentous events started happening sometime in this period. 
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#24
(05-06-2016, 04:53 AM)Mikebert Wrote: One of the reasons S&H do not get serious attention from scientifically-inclined social scientists might be because they gave little for scholars to work with. 

S&H never game an explicit cause for their cycle...
but why? To get answer this I turn the focus to politics, in which the formative events are political moments are the generations are political generations, that function very similarly to the core generation concept as we shall see.  I shift to politics for two reasons.  The first is a discussion I had with Marc Lamb, whom some of you remember as a troll.  He was that, but he was more and he and I had productive discussions in his early years over 2001-2003... Marc liked my economic stuff, but argued that politics, not economics was the key to the saeculum because all facets of the social world, economics, politics, religion, morals, in short, culture, are represented in one’s politics.

Ah, yes, I remember the discussions well. What an obnoxious, trolling Cassandra I was! How dare this right-wing nutcase proclaim no S&H 4T present following 9/11?

lol.

Many years pass... nearly twenty years later was the former Devil's Advocate woefully right, or trollingly [sic] wrong? But, for that matter, does it really even matter, here in 2019?
We now be 4t, officially ... finally!  Rolleyes
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#25
Not having been here at the time, what made you identify that 9/11 was not the start of the crisis period?  What do you regard as the start, and why?
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#26
(08-20-2019, 10:37 PM)Marc Lamb Wrote:
(05-06-2016, 04:53 AM)Mikebert Wrote: One of the reasons S&H do not get serious attention from scientifically-inclined social scientists might be because they gave little for scholars to work with. 

S&H never game an explicit cause for their cycle...
but why? To get answer this I turn the focus to politics, in which the formative events are political moments are the generations are political generations, that function very similarly to the core generation concept as we shall see.  I shift to politics for two reasons.  The first is a discussion I had with Marc Lamb, whom some of you remember as a troll.  He was that, but he was more and he and I had productive discussions in his early years over 2001-2003... Marc liked my economic stuff, but argued that politics, not economics was the key to the saeculum because all facets of the social world, economics, politics, religion, morals, in short, culture, are represented in one’s politics.

Ah, yes, I remember the discussions well. What an obnoxious, trolling Cassandra I was! How dare this right-wing nutcase proclaim no S&H 4T present following 9/11?

lol.

Many years pass... nearly twenty years later was the former Devil's Advocate woefully right, or trollingly [sic] wrong? But, for that matter, does it really even matter, here in 2019?

I always tied my thinking to politics too.  I say that, knowing that we couldn't be much further apart on the political spectrum, Donald Trump notwithstanding.

And welcome back … or here. Whichever.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#27
The language of politics is often deliberately vague (which contributes to the potential for deceit). Much of politics is deceit, and politics can get somewhat noble when people can no longer get away with fooling themselves. Contrast hard science in which the language allows for little ambiguity.

What people perceive as human nature changes with the cycle. People want much without making big sacrifices, and they make the big sacrifices (and accepting poverty in plain sight of blatant, ostentatious opulence is one such sacrifice at times) when they have little choice. People often reassure themselves with such bromides as "this too will pass". Well, everything passes -- but so do we.

So during a Crisis everyone not too young or too old must put the Crisis above all else. Just think of how horrible it would be to have the Wehrmacht, the Gestapo, the SA, and the SS around... The Crisis recedes, and people start seeking material comfort and parlaying their success into worthiness for responsible roles in life that allow good material lives. Controversy? Isn't that what created the Crisis? Then after people have feathered their nests a bit too plushly, the kids start taking for granted the work, thrift, conformity, and subordination that made it possible -- and start becoming self-righteous critics of their environment while recognizing neglect of people left behind. Then comes the 3T when most people want a bacchanal and get a celebrity circus. People quit thinking about the next things, and they figuratively dance upon a volcano because it is a little warmer than the chilly air... and the volcano is about to erupt.

Crises are never like the previous one. This one looks little like the past three for America, and obviously can't be. This time, Germany, Italy, and Japan are more firmly democratic than America -- and we need not fear the Wehrmacht, Gestapo, SA, or SS.Slavery has been abolished once and for all in America, and there is no division between the Northern commercial elite and the Southern agrarian elite; if anything, that they operate for the same political objectives is much of the current problem. We do not have to cast off a British yoke this time. Howe and Strauss did compare the Armada Crisis to World War II, with an ideological struggle between Catholic Spain and Protestant Britain similar to the struggle between Nazi Germany and liberal Britain.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#28
(08-20-2019, 10:37 PM)Marc Lamb Wrote:
(05-06-2016, 04:53 AM)Mikebert Wrote: One of the reasons S&H do not get serious attention from scientifically-inclined social scientists might be because they gave little for scholars to work with. 

S&H never game an explicit cause for their cycle...
but why? To get answer this I turn the focus to politics, in which the formative events are political moments are the generations are political generations, that function very similarly to the core generation concept as we shall see.  I shift to politics for two reasons.  The first is a discussion I had with Marc Lamb, whom some of you remember as a troll.  He was that, but he was more and he and I had productive discussions in his early years over 2001-2003... Marc liked my economic stuff, but argued that politics, not economics was the key to the saeculum because all facets of the social world, economics, politics, religion, morals, in short, culture, are represented in one’s politics.

Ah, yes, I remember the discussions well. What an obnoxious, trolling Cassandra I was! How dare this right-wing nutcase proclaim no S&H 4T present following 9/11?

lol.

Many years pass... nearly twenty years later was the former Devil's Advocate woefully right, or trollingly [sic] wrong?

You were right, yes. But why exactly did you think 9/11 "wasn't it"? We want to know.

(Thinking about it, since the Silent Cheney was the real brain in the WH, it explains why we got the complicated and expensive Homeland bureaucracy, but no real solution.)
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#29
(08-22-2019, 07:13 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: there is no division between the Northern commercial elite and the Southern agrarian elite; if anything, that they operate for the same political objectives is much of the current problem.

There is still competition - like between bureaucracy and entrepreneurs. Neither likes the other one...
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#30
I'll be posting a summary of my dusty old-approach to the generational cycle, post 9/11 soon. While I weed through the cobwebs, you can bookmark Mike's thread here, if curious, for a heads up.
We now be 4t, officially ... finally!  Rolleyes
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#31
(08-20-2019, 10:37 PM)Marc Lamb Wrote:
(05-06-2016, 04:53 AM)Mikebert Wrote: One of the reasons S&H do not get serious attention from scientifically-inclined social scientists might be because they gave little for scholars to work with. 

S&H never game an explicit cause for their cycle...
but why? To get answer this I turn the focus to politics, in which the formative events are political moments are the generations are political generations, that function very similarly to the core generation concept as we shall see.  I shift to politics for two reasons.  The first is a discussion I had with Marc Lamb, whom some of you remember as a troll.  He was that, but he was more and he and I had productive discussions in his early years over 2001-2003... Marc liked my economic stuff, but argued that politics, not economics was the key to the saeculum because all facets of the social world, economics, politics, religion, morals, in short, culture, are represented in one’s politics.

Ah, yes, I remember the discussions well. What an obnoxious, trolling Cassandra I was! How dare this right-wing nutcase proclaim no S&H 4T present following 9/11?

lol.

Many years pass... nearly twenty years later was the former Devil's Advocate woefully right, or trollingly [sic] wrong? But, for that matter, does it really even matter, here in 2019?

I saw 9/11 at first having characteristics of the Pearl Harbor attack or the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, bolts out of the blue with the potential to goad Americans into a Crisis-like response. Then I saw the President (Dubya) telling people to do things characteristically 3T (go shopping; do recreational travel) very different from what FDR told people to do after Pearl Harbor. I saw no celebrities and sport stars (other than Pat Tillman) giving up lucrative careers to serve their countries. I did not see celebrities going on tours to promote the sale of war bonds. I did not see posters warning people that if they drove without a companion they were riding with Hitler Osama bin Laden. There was no rationing. People were not urged to go to work in war plants.  

Instead we got a President pushing a speculative boom in real estate... the analogue of the Double-Zero decade was the Roaring Twenties, and not some part of the Depression-WWII Crisis, American Civil War, or Revolutionary Era.  We got George Babbitt as a hero, and not Audie Murphy. 

If people act as if they are still in a 3T, then it is a 3T.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#32
If you think about it -- Dubya was an awful leader, the sort that tells people to do exactly what they say that they want to do even if such is ultimately harmful and likely to precipitate the economic chaos that begins a Crisis Era. Think of Harding and Coolidge, and the 1929 Crash. The meltdown beginning in 2007 lasted a year and a half because the politicians used Keynesian economics to stop what might have been a full-blown depression. After a year and a half after the 2007 peak,  shares of common stock had generally lost about the same percentage of valuation as they did after a year and a half after the 1929 Crash. Obama was President, and he directed the Fed to back the banks and prevent the destructive runs that turned a nasty recession into a full-blown depression of the sort of the 1930's.

[Image: 7403da853a401885025b9885eed48f4d.png]
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#33
https://www.advisorperspectives.com/dsho...ays-market

I use that graph often to demonstrate

(1) how dangerous the Panic of 2008 was
(2) the economic consequences of doing the right thing (backing the banks and thus their depositors -- because the deposits include payrolls, the means of paying suppliers and taxes, and as a result the ability of the economy to avoid further meltdowns).

If hollow people who live only for corrupt gain find themselves ruined and jump out of windows when their paper profits vanish -- so what. The world can do well enough without them and their illusory but exploitative gain. When workers find themselves not getting paid because the payroll has disappeared during a bank run, commercial creditors find themselves unable to collect their receivables, and governments retrench because they can no longer collect taxes, then we all have big trouble. Most of us must satisfy ourselves with something other than getting showy gain that becomes public only when a speculative investor cashes out for a mansion, expensive vehicles, art, or jewelry.

Work (especially if it allows one to see tangible output or create human happiness), family life, some occasional hedonism... that is fine. Meaning in life rarely connects to the ownership of things. Not feeling oneself in gross need is a positive; poverty is misery for the shady compromises that it mandates. Driving a car with bald tires? Being stuck with unreliable or restrained services of phone and internet? Having to buy necessities on the never-never and paying only the minimum amount on the Master Card that becomes one's master? Putting off medical care for oneself or veterinary care for a beloved pet? Getting into heated arguments over money because one lacks it?

We have economic elites who believe that they have an entitlement to live like sultans yet impose poverty on everyone else, yet we have the means that can make poverty completely unnecessary. What Mohandas Gandhi said in a far poorer country and with far-less-sophisticated technology applies arguably even more in America today:

"Man can meet all human need, but cannot meet all human greed"

The means of producing what we need have themselves become far more efficient and effective. Our technologies have become far more sophisticated. Even so, "our" economic elites act as if poverty is just another means of creating a passive, compliant, and scared workforce that it can treat badly just to maximize profits. Monopolization, gouging, union-breaking, and corruption create maximal profits at the price of mass suffering. The economic elites do not want small-business competing with it; it wants small-scale competition ruined so that it can proletarize what has been a middle class characteristic of America at its best.

Add to this -- those elites use entertainment as a narcotic, a dubious commodity to dull the psychic pain of modern life and to destroy conscience while breaking any solidarity. 200 channels of bilge on cable TV is not worth the atomization of public life. I question whether the fellow who goes heavily in debt buying the latest marvels of technology as entertainment devices and their software or their streams of entertainment is really happier than the typical Old Order Amish kid of like age who has no such entertainments but lives in a culture that offers structure and meaning. (The world of the Old Order Amish is far from ideal for educated people, as Amish education ends at eighth grade and the mandatory age for the end of formal schooling, which is OK for an agrarian culture stuck in the 19th century but not for someone who loves book-learning and has a curiosity about a world other than the community in which he lives).

The economic elites who impose their will upon the rest of us are at best narcissistic -- as Christopher Lasch put it in The Culture of Narcissism, the bureaucratic-commercial organizations who now monopolize the economy and exploit the common man severely could not better and more exclusively fit narcissistic personalities -- if not promoting the sociopath as a hero so long as the sociopath does nothing too shameful (like the late Jeffrey Ep-swine did, flying underage girls on his "Lolita Express" for molestation in his mad pseudoscience in which they were to dedicate their wombs to bearing the children of 'genetic' leaders -- one of which was himself). I consider Donald Trump on the borderline between narcissism and sociopathy, much as influenza and double pneumonia.

Bad as the Great Depression was, it had its salubrious effects. It made people less materialistic; it promoted solidarity and community; it promoted small business as an alternative to entities that in 1929 were too big to fail yet did fail; it focused economic attention to meeting basic human needs of the masses instead of elite indulgence. Although securities prices long failed to recover in nominal, let alone real terms, most people were better off in 1939 than in 1929 -- at least if one thinks of such things as cars, telephones, radios, stoves, clothing, and refrigerators. People were making higher pay in shorter work hours. Teenagers were now being encouraged to attend and complete high school education, which itself paid off well in the soldiers and sailors necessary for dealing with the greatest menace that America and Americans ever faced -- the demonic Axis Powers.

...Could it be that Donald Trump is the Crisis of this time? We have never had a mad leader who sees nothing rightly restraining him -- not the Constitution, not religious values, not philosophical morality, not caution, not two centuries of precedent, and not even advice that can contradict his whim. Such is the way of the dictator or the despot, and not the Presidency as our Founding Fathers designed it.

[Image: trump-washington-photoshop-720x444.jpg]

It is a viral image. The Presidency was made for George Washington, who established what the Presidency is through his behavior. Donald Trump is a mockery.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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