Week 16 of the Quarantine
Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day, minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.
– George Orwell
SAN MARTIN, ARGENTINA – Human societies seem to follow a set pattern – from freedom to glory… and when glory fades, to wealth… vice… corruption… and finally, barbarism.
In the U.S., we are well past the freedom stage. Glory probably peaked out in World War II, more than half a century ago.
And now, since 1999, our wealth, too, is in decline… as vice and corruption take over. More below…
Wall Street vs. Main Street
Two headlines tell the story. The first is from USA Today:
Dow notches best quarter since 1987, a rebound helped by low interest rates and government stimulus amid COVID-19
The second is from the Financial Times:
US companies file for bankruptcy at fastest pace since 2013
Wall Street soars. Main Street crumbles.
The Federal Reserve can pump up the financial sector. That’s easy – just give Wall Street trillions more fake dollars.
But it can’t pump up the real Main Street economy. Main Street needs real wealth. And that requires saving, investment, work, sweat, and training to produce valuable goods and services that people are willing and able to buy.
Fake money produces fake wealth; it can’t produce real wealth. And as the Fed pumps more and more money into the fake, financial economy… the real economy drowns in an ocean of debt and phony price signals.
So, not only can the Fed’s fake money not help the 90% of the people who depend on the real economy… it cannot help but harm them.
Real growth declines. Real earnings slip. Real jobs disappear. Vice and corruption increase, as the elite finagle the system to get richer.
A formula for success? Or for disaster? We’ll approach the question by picking up on yesterday’s discussion.
World Improvers at Work
The world improvers are at work… busily scrubbing the past of any lesson or fact that doesn’t match the latest TRUTH. Like the Cultural Revolution in China, 1966-1976, in which the “Four Olds” – old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas – were attacked, the idea is not to learn from the past, but to obliterate it.
In today’s news, for example, is more evidence of bygone glory. A Pentagon appropriations bill in Congress will rename military bases to remove traces of Confederate generals.
Fort Bragg, North Carolina – named after General Braxton Bragg, who fought for the U.S. Army in the Second Seminole War and in the Mexican-American War… and later, for the Confederate Army in the War Between the States – is to be rechristened, perhaps as Fort Harriet Tubman.
Along with taking down the monuments to the heroes of the past, practically every major company, museum, school, and charitable institution in America is getting on board with the new cultural revolution.
Netflix Inc. announced Tuesday an effort to grow economic opportunities for Black communities by allocating money to banks and other institutions that help provide financial support.
The company plans to put 2 percent of its cash holdings, or up to $100 million initially, toward financial institutions and other groups “that directly support Black communities in the U.S.”
Netflix argues in a blog post that such efforts can help close the “centuries-long financial gap between Black and white families” in the U.S.
The way to earn more money is well known. Get up early. Work hard. Learn. Save. Invest. Build businesses. That’s worked for every other group in America.
And it was working for Black Americans, too… until their cause was hijacked, beginning in the 1960s, by White activists and the Black elite. Now, the money is fake… the wealth is fake… and the progress, too, is fake.
And now, the two work hand-in-glove… White and Black predatory elites… one putting forward flimflam policies; the other taking them to the bank.
Confession, Redemption… and Flimflam
In China, wherein the death toll from the Cultural Revolution is estimated at 20 million, the process of improvement often began with a confession… a “struggle session” in which the person accused of practicing one of the “olds” was publicly humiliated and tortured to draw an admission of guilt.
In the U.S., under pressure from activists, typically, a company issues a confession. Usually, it follows the formula laid out in the Book of Common Prayer. You confess that you have erred in “thought, word, and deed,” by “what you have done,” and what you have “left undone.”
And then, you pledge to do better, perhaps agreeing to hire more Black people, use more Black contractors… or simply, give more to Black causes.
We have no problem with it. If the managers want to spend the shareholders’ money to make themselves feel good, why not?
Besides, race-based policies are as old as, well, the Old Testament. God not only favored His Chosen People… He told them to slaughter everyone else. Just read the Book of Joshua.
Then, Jesus came along and said that tribes no longer mattered. We were supposed to do unto others as we would have them do unto us – no matter what we thought of them… and no matter what race, party affiliation, or social standing they may have.
That idea was picked up by America’s founders. “All men are created equal,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in a leap of faith… later elaborated in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Equal Rights Amendment, and so forth.
Of course, Christians are not always nice to their neighbors… and Americans don’t always treat each other as equals. But the guiding insight embedded in these principles was the result of thousands of years of painful experience. The lesson: Pitting one group against another leads to barbarism.
Going back to the Chinese, the Cultural Revolution rapidly degenerated into almost unbelievable savagery. One researcher, Frank Diköotter at the University of Hong Kong, reports that not only were millions killed… but many were eaten.
Throughout 1967 but also 1968, there are factions in the countryside that start not just eliminating each other physically, but literally in a couple of small towns they start ritualistically eating each other. In other words, it is not enough to eliminate your class enemy. You have to eat his heart, so there are very well-documented cases of ritual cannibalism.
There was a hierarchy in the consumption of class enemies. Leaders feasted on the heart and liver, mixed with pork, while ordinary villagers were allowed only to peck at the victims’ arms and thighs.
It’s none of our business where Netflix invests its money. Or who hires whom. But in America today, claptrap and fakery weigh heavily on us all; we don’t need more of it.
The gist of the current fashion for mea culpas and reparations is that one group has gotten the short end of the stick. Now, to make up for it, we’ll turn the stick around.
The problem, they say, is “institutional racism.” They propose to combat it with more institutional racism – that is, by giving one race different treatment than the others. The presumed victims are supposed to get money they didn’t earn, jobs they couldn’t get on merit, and – like the banks – more of the Fed’s fake money.
In the case of moving money to Black-owned banks, the idea is to take away money from White elites and give it to Black elites.
The whole banking sector is already the beneficiary of trillions in giveaways from the Federal Reserve. Putting more of it on deposit in Black-owned banks will do nothing for the majority of Black people in the Main Street economy. But it will be a big bonus for Blacks in the upper 10%.
The whole thing is a scam, in other words. The Black elites pocket more money. The White elites show the world what nice folks they are.
And the flimflam goes on.
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