I don’t mean to be self congratulatory as this is nothing to celebrate and, to be sure, even I am astounded at the speed and depth of how events are unfolding.
I am finding it both stupefying and incredible to witness events that I had reason to think might come to pass and that, three, four and five years down the line, are actually unfolding before our own very eyes.
I have come a long way in the past decade. Although I am one of a few lucky people to have had a father whom was fully aware of the realities of life, I can only imagine his chagrin at my inability to comprehend what he was trying to convey to me. Today, although belatedly, I am fully cognizant of what freedom is and I can only observe in helpless horror at the near term destiny of the men, women and children of the world.
Some of you will roll your eyes to the heavens but I defy any of you to dispute the realities on the ground. You may think that what is happening today with PFG Best, with LIBOR, with the ESM or the EFSM or with any number of innocuous sounding acronym foisted upon the masses may have nothing to do with you but, in fact, it touches the very core of your freedom.
If you can take a few minutes to rationalize your life, I hope you can see that the “freedom” we have been sold is not only carefully circumscribed but it is designed to gradually reel the individual into a web of dependency that is in every respect as deleterious as dependency on drugs may be and, in fact, very often leads to it.
Just the other day, I was yet again reminded of the absurdity of our predicament when a high level civil servant complained to me about feeling exploited, cheated and misunderstood by her colleagues, her superiors and by a system that she describes as wasteful, impersonal and self serving. To my suggestion that she should quit her job and find something more rewarding to do, her predictable reply was that she would if it were not for the loan she had to service and that she would find difficult to service if working in the slightly less gilded real world.
And that is the reality.
We have grown up in an environment where the education system, academia, the main stream press, chosen pundits and a select group of commercial entities convey selected ideas and half truths all the while telling us that we are free. When confronted by critics, the system is unanimous in pointing out our “freedoms” as opposed to the condition of societies in the former USSR for example. We are free to associate. We are free to chose where to go to school. We are free to chose what car to buy. We are free to seek employment either in the private or the public sectors. We are free to chose what we want to produce and sell. We are free to buy a house. We are free to sell our house. We are free to bring our grievances to a court of law and be judged by our peers… but in truth all of these freedoms are not only well circumscribed but they are arithmetically diminishing till they disappear.
Today, as the noose of our self imposed but thoroughly self serving ignorance tightens, we find ourselves at the vanishing point of our freedoms. What is happening today is not a freak accident that could not have been foreseen. What is happening today could have been inferred long ago and in fact it was. But if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to see it fall, does it make noise?
The freedom we have been sold is predicated on deliberately false premises. Our freedoms are predicated on debt.
I am reminded here of my time working in London where it was very fashionable amongst my colleagues to juggle credit card debt. The women in particular used to boast of their excessive use of credit cards and overdraft facilities to highlight their nonchalant ease at living life to the fullest cost what it may. Having a “cab hand” was considered very cool as they competed to see whom used a cab for the shortest trip.
Our freedom is inexorably tied to our currency; to our money. We may be free to chose the schools we send our children to or the companies we want to be associated with but crucially, the money we must inevitably make use of, gradually but inexorably draws us into a web of dependency till the point we are no longer free to act upon our ideals and stand for what we believe to be right against what we believe to be wrong, because doing so would deprive us of what we construe is our freedom. Today, few people are free to make the choices they would like to make or should make and this constraint renders them accomplices of a system that now shows clear signs of oligarchy be it bureaucratic or corporatist. They may still be able to go out to a restaurant or take a trip across county lines (for now) but the overarching direction of their life is dialed in. This would not be such an undesirable situation if it were not for the pesky condition known as the diminishing marginal utility of debt which ensures that our currency loses purchasing power over time. Thus, whereas a family could make do comfortably with one salary till the 50s, today, all members of a family must work and rely on credit as well as state hand-outs in order to make ends meet. Today the vast majority of people in the West are tied to a system that was designed to reel them in and tie them to the state; a state that, ironically, is growing larger, more demanding, more intrusive, more aggressive and more absolutist as a self declared necessity to safeguard our “freedoms”.
What the bankruptcies of MF Global and PFG Best finally uncover is what till the bankruptcy of Fannie Mae or General Motors the government was still able to hide. In observing the bankruptcies of PFG Best and MF Global it becomes clear that the authorities no longer even bother to try to dissimulate the malfeasance, the deliberate criminal fraud and the preferential legal treatment of certain entities over the rest of society. The price fixing scandal that is now breaking out over LIBOR finally confirms and exposes in its full tawdry and arrogant glory that there really is a malevolent entity devoted to the eventual destitution of society. We are no longer in the realm of conspiracy here. Today, we are faced with a reality so horrifying I am reminded of what someone “greater” than I said:
“the individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.”
–J. Edgar Hoover, 1956, speaking of communism
And since I am at it:
“Facts must be distorted, relevant circumstances concealed, and a picture presented which by its crude coloring will persuade the ignorant people that their Government is blameless, their cause is righteous, and that the indisputable wickedness of the enemy is beyond question.
A moment’s reflection would tell any reasonable person that such obvious bias cannot possibly represent the truth. But the moment’s reflection is not allowed; lies are circulated with great rapidity. The unthinking mass accept them and by their excitement sway the rest.
The amount of rubbish and humbug that pass under the name of patriotism in wartime in all countries is sufficient to make decent people blush when they are subsequently disillusioned.”
–Arthur Ponsonby, Falsehood in Wartime, 1928
“It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.”
“It is also important for the State to inculcate in its subjects an aversion to any “conspiracy theory of history;” for a search for “conspiracies” means a search for motives and an attribution of responsibility for historical misdeeds. If, however, any tyranny imposed by the State, or venality, or aggressive war, was caused not by the State rulers but by mysterious and arcane “social forces,” or by the imperfect state of the world or, if in some way, everyone was responsible (“We Are All Murderers,” proclaims one slogan), then there is no point to the people becoming indignant or rising up against such misdeeds. Furthermore, an attack on “conspiracy theories” means that the subjects will become more gullible in believing the “general welfare” reasons that are always put forth by the State for engaging in any of its despotic actions. A “conspiracy theory” can unsettle the system by causing the public to doubt the State’s ideological propaganda.”
–Murray N. Rothbard, in The Anatomy of the State
“The terrible thing about the quest for truth is that you find it.”
–Remy de Gourmont
And finally, from Jesse’s Cross Roads Cafe: The Political Continuum