Saturday, April 21, 2012

sociopathy is running the u.s. - part two

zerohedge | If I'm correct in my assessment, it would imply that the prospects are dim for conventional investments – most stocks, bonds and real estate. Those things tend to do well when society is growing in prosperity. And prosperity is fostered by peace, low taxes, minimal regulation and a sound currency. It's also fostered by a cultural atmosphere where sociopaths are precluded from positions of power and intellectual and moral ideas promoting free minds and free markets rule. Unfortunately, it seems that doesn't describe the trend that the world at large and the US in particular are embarked upon.

In essence, we're headed towards economic and financial bankruptcy. But that's mostly because society has been largely intellectually and morally bankrupt for some time. I don't believe a society can rise to real prosperity without a sound intellectual and moral foundation – that's why the US was so uniquely prosperous for so long, because it had such a foundation. And it's also why societies like Saudi Arabia will collapse as soon as the exogenous things that support them are pulled away. It's why the USSR collapsed. It's the reason why countries everywhere across time reach a peak (if they ever do), then stagnate and decline.

This isn't a matter of academic contemplation, for the same reason that it doesn't matter much if you're in a first-class cabin when the ship it's in is taking on water.

Economics and Evil
When I was a sophomore in college, I asked my father – a worldly wise man but one of few words – some cosmic question, as sophomores are famous for doing. His answer was, "It's all a matter of economics." Some months later I asked him another, similar question. His answer: "It's all a matter of psychology." They were unsatisfactory to me at the time, but those simple answers stuck in my mind. And I've since come to the conclusion that they comprehend most of what drives human action.

Let's look at the "matter of economics" only briefly, because it's covered at length elsewhere and because it's not nearly as significant as the "matter of psychology."

One definition of economics is: The study of who gets what, and how, in the material world. Unfortunately, it's been distorted over the years into the study of who determines who gets what, and how, in the material world. In other words, economic power has gradually been transferred from producers to political allocators. This has had predictably bad results, including not only the bankruptcy of the US government but of large segments of US society.

But what's happening today is much more serious than an economic bankruptcy; you can recover from financial woes by cultivating better habits. We're talking about psychological and spiritual bankruptcy. The word psychology comes from psyche, which is Greek for soul. When you look at the word's origin, it's clear that psychology is about much more than mental peculiarities. It's not just about what a person has or what he does. It's about what he is. The real essence of a man, his soul, is revealed by his philosophy and his beliefs.

In any event, it's rare that anyone goes bankrupt because of a single bad decision. It takes many missteps, and consistently bad decisions aren't accidents. Consistently bad decisions are the product of a flawed moral philosophy. Moral philosophy guides you as to what is right or wrong. The prevailing moral philosophy has so degenerated that Americans think it's OK to invade other countries that not only haven't attacked it but can't even credibly threaten to attack it. I'm not talking just about Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya – pitiful non-entities on the other side of the world. They were preceded by even weaker prey, closer to home, like Granada, Panama, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Not only that, but they think coercion should be used to steal wealth from the people who produce it, and give it to those who've done absolutely nothing to deserve it.