"Restore(s) a little sanity into current political debate" - Kenneth Minogue, TLS "Projects a more expansive and optimistic future for Americans than (the analysis of) Huntington" - James R. Kurth, National Interest "One of (the) most important books I have read in recent years" - Lexington Green
Chicago Boyz is an Amazon affiliate and earns money from any Amazon purchases you make after you click on an Amazon link on this blog.
Chicago Boyz is also a BlogAds affiliate and earns money from advertising placed on this blog through the BlogAds network.
Some Chicago Boyz advertisers may themselves be Amazon affiliates who earn money from any Amazon purchases you make after you click on an Amazon link on their ad on Chicago Boyz or on their own web sites.
Chicago Boyz will consider publishing advertisements for goods or services that in the opinion of Chicago Boyz management would benefit the readers of this blog. Please direct any inquires to
Chicago Boyz is a registered trademark of Chicago Boyz Media, LLC. All original content on the Chicago Boyz web site is copyright 2001-2014 by Chicago Boyz Media, LLC or the Chicago Boyz contributor who posted it. All rights reserved.
In our essay we discuss the anthropological underpinnings of modern societies, and reference the work of Alan Macfarlane and the family system analysis of Emmanuel Todd. We note the extremely long lasting character of culture, and describe thinkers who are aware of this, and build it into their analysis, as the “Continuity Model.” We suggest that European countries need to find a path toward liberal democracy that is consistent with their underlying cultures. We note the damage done by Marxist and Marxisant thinking. We condemn the European Union as a serious misstep for Europe, and suggest that it be dismantled or cut back massively.
I spoke about America 3.0 at the Oak Park Public Library last night.
The event went very well. We had about thirty people attending, including blog pals onparkstreet and Bruno Behrend. That’s considered a good turnout for one of these things, apparently. I spoke for about 40 minutes and we had at least 45 minutes of lively Q&A, with lots of further face to face discussions after I left the stage. OPPL has rating sheets they pass out after these author events, and all the ones that were handed in gave me 5 out of 5 stars. Nice.
After the event a bunch of us adjourned to the Friendly Tap, whose motto is: “You are a stranger here but once.” They had an open mic night going on. One of the musicians played a very nice version of Wichita Lineman. Another fellow told me he played Neil Young covers, but he did not know my favorite Neil Young song, Barstool Blues. I told him I expected him to know it next time!
Q: Why do you believe we are entering into a third phase of American life?
A: The United States went through a massive economic transition once already. We transformed ourselves from a primarily rural, agricultural country into an industrial country, in fact an industrial colossus. We call the America of the Founding Era, America 1.0. We call the Industrial Era, which is ending, America 2.0.
The new technology, of which the Internet is just the first step, will lead to economic change of even greater magnitude. We call the coming political and economic order America 3.0, to emphasize how massive this change really will be, at least as big as the biggest change we have previously experienced.
The interview is a nice, short synopsis of the book.
Finally, big thanks to Augie (pictured above) from the excellent Centuries and Sleuths bookstore for having copies of America 3.0 available for sale and autographing. I was happy to see he sold every copy he brought to the event. He’s on Madison in Forest Park. Check out his store if you are in the neighborhood.
The very last talk of the weekend was on the topic of America’s Future. It was in a “three chair” format. The moderator was Brian Calle. The other person in the interview was Prof. Charles R. Kesler.
Before the event I was able to read much of Charles Kesler’s recent book entitled I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism. The book is, mercifully, not entirely about our current president. It is instead a history of liberal and progressive politics in the last 100 years. Recommended.
The discussion went well, and was well received, I am told by reliable observers.
There were many good speakers over the weekend. Some standouts (from memory) were Catherine Engelbrecht, Caroline Glick, Bret Stephens, Congressman Louie Gohmert (who was much better than I expected). The entire event was beautifully run, and the facility, the Terranea Resort was very nice. Frankly, it was quite a bit more posh than I am used to. Being in California instead of Chicago for a few days, with a 25 degree temperature difference was also good.
My most heartfelt thanks to the David Horowitz Freedom Center for having me speak, to the many people who spoke to me about the America 3.0, and to the many people who bought the book.
Interview with Isaac Morehouse, co-founder of Praxis Institute, about their programs for (in my words) people who want to live in America 3.0. The interview is by Bill Freeza, Competitive Enterprise Institute, on Real Clear Radio. If you like America 3.0 you will think this is a great interview!
Somewhere, sometime, I read a bit of great investing advice. A guy listed ten things to do and not do over your investing life, and number one on the list of things to do was to read Warren Buffet’s shareholder letters. I finally found some time to read this years version, which recaps 2013. You can find them all here.
The letters are always entertaining to me, and I just love the way he uses “plain” English to describe his successes, operations, and failures.
One part really stuck out this year from page 6:
Indeed, who has ever benefited during the past 237 years by betting against America? If you compare our country’s present condition to that existing in 1776, you have to rub your eyes in wonder. And the dynamism embedded in our market economy will continue to work its magic. America’s best days lie ahead.
In the title of America 3.0, it says:
America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come
Yes, we will have some short term pain, but I have fully come around to thinking that indeed, we are eventually going to move forward at a rapid and profitable pace. And I won’t be betting against Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger any time soon.
The current plan is to have the lunch keynote discussion be on the topic of America’s Future. It will be a “three chair” format. The moderator will be Brian Calle, and the other person in the interview will be the distinguished Prof. Charles R. Kesler.
America as it exists today changed from something else to what it is now — and it will change from what it is now into something else again.
What the new something else is — is up to us.
Socialist ideas are wrong. Socialist policies fail to deliver. Socialist programs are value destroying. Socialist public bodies are wasteful and ruinous. Socialist promises are lies. Socialist politicians are fools or scoundrels. Socialist authority tries to coerce outcomes that it can never achieve.
Socialism cannot work.
Socialism always fails.
So as American gets more socialistic, it is simply that much closer to the exhaustion and disintegration of socialism, American style.
It is a matter of when and how, not if, a socialistically organized American public sector, or corporatist-public sector, will fail.
So, America as we conceived it is not only not done, it is going to be only alternative remaining when the people who benightedly or maliciously tried to “vote themselves rich” have imposed enough ruin on themselves.
Ronald Reagan was right about the Soviet Union, and everybody else, including me, was wrong. While earnest looking men in suits advised the President about that invincible Nemesis sprawled athwart Eurasia, Reagan would respond with a joke about how the elevators and toilets never work in Russia.
American style crony capitalism and political machine hackery will die a similar death for identical reasons.
We are having this discussion because even Rev. Sensing himself surely believes there is an America worth living in that we may yet succeed in creating — as hard as it will be to do that.
A while back I dissected the debt of Detroit, the classic America 2.0 case. By this, I mean a gigantic government presence, working with manufacturing and unions to push off obligations into the future with no clear plan of really what to do. In the end, of course, it all came crumbling down and yesterday we got a slight glimpse into just how bad it can get.
To review, here is the diagram I had to make after reading several sources on the subject, to help wrap my head around the calamity that was the city of Detroit’s books:
This looks crude, and it is, but it really helped me get my brain around the nightmare.
From everything I have been reading, Kevyn Orr is getting ready to propose that the general obligation and pensions get settled out at .25 on the dollar. That sounds a bit expensive to me, and as Lex Green said to me in an email certainly isn’t “fire sale” prices yet, but that is what the consensus seems to be saying.
In an odd bit of news, many private foundations have been trying to gather enough money to offset an auction of Detroit’s art collection, estimated by some to be worth up to a billion dollars. If I were Orr, that would have been the first thing I would have done is liquidate that stuff, but I am quite a bit less sensitive than I would need to be to ever consider a career being a politician.
All of this is subject to the whims of the BK judge, but if I were a retired Detroit fireman, I would certainly begin tightening the belt stat, if that wasn’t done already.
This may affect municipal investments, but honestly I imagine any fallout from it is already baked into the pie.
Is Chicago next? We shall soon see.
From a political standpoint, the Republilcans should make the Democrats own this just like they should own Zerocare ™ and the nightmare in Illinois/Chicago that is coming down the tracks. How easy can it get for a Republican? All they have to say is “look at that” and they should get easily elected in any of a number of districts in 2014.
(Disclosure – I have many different municipal investment vehicles in my portfolio).
Thanks to the Men’s Group at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church, in Western Springs, Illinois, for inviting me to speak to them about America 3.0 this Saturday. Two big cups of coffee put me in good trim. 40 minutes me talking, about 45 of lively and pointed questions and discussion. It was great to see the big turnout on a cold Saturday morning. Perhaps I even convinced one or more of them that America’s greatest days are yet to come! I hope so.
You should be. It is “John Robb’s open notebook on the future of the American Dream.” It is also the first draft of the book he is working on.
Mr. Robb’s analysis of the collapse of the Blue Model, 20th Century legacy government and economy is very similar to the arguments made by James C. Bennett and myself in our book America 3.0. He sees, as we do, that they are doomed. He sees, as we do, that a much better world is coming. Ah, but the transition period. That will be a challenge.
This is the quote of the day:
All layers of government — city, state, and federal — want the old, bureaucratic economy to continue, unchanged. They can’t imagine a world without plentiful flows of taxes levied on corporate profits and withholding from personal incomes.
Without this flow of tax income, the entire edifice of the current economy falls. It is the source of the financial life-support to the increasingly obsolete bureaucracies – from the civil bureaucracy to education to national security to banking to health care — that still offer traditional jobs. The rest is spent providing services, from health care to retirement income, in an attempt to keep the existing economic system alive.
People who tell me the the current corrupt model cannot be defeated have it backward. It cannot survive. The only question is how hard the transition to a better political and economic order will be. Not if, not even when, but how.
Happy Holidays from Chicago! And I want to give a special thanks for the writers of America 3.0, who are taking time out from their busy lives and mercantilistic duties in order to try to bring a positive set of recommendations for the future.
For our friends who are insomniacs or working third shift: Sunday, December 22st 1 AM to 4 AM CST — in other words, the wee hours TONIGHT — Mike Lotus and Jim Bennett will be interviewed on Coast to Coast Radio by John B. Wells, discussing America 3.0.
We look forward to our conversation with John (pictured here on his motorcycle) and his listeners, and we thank Coast to Coast radio for having us on.
I will circulate a link to any podcast when it becomes available.
There is a strong admonition on the excellent blog Cold War Warrior to read America 3.0 and to listen to the radio show during the wee hours tonight. The Cold War Warrior cites the great Frédéric Bastiat, about the perversion of our public life since the end of the Cold War:
The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.
Converting “plunder into a right” sounds very much like the cronyism which is ransacking our country under color of law. Cold War Warrior goes on to write:
There is a restlessness, an uneasiness among the population that is palpable. The federal government’s response has been one of fear. The government gets more abusive as it becomes increasingly fearful. The tide will change. The people will rebel at the ballot box and in the picket line but then what? What is the plan? Voices decry the current situation but few offer solutions. America 3.0 is the right idea presented at the right time. The John Wells interview is a long format so the ideas can be explored.
Jim Bennett and I are looking forward to this conversation.
For income growth to occur in a society, a large fraction of people must experience changes in the possible lives they imagine for themselves and their children, and these new visions of possible futures must have enough force to lead them to change the way they behave … and the hopes they invest in these children: the way they allocate their time. In the words of [V.S. Naipaul] economic development requires “a million mutinies.”
It is a pretty good ad. Zerocare has been a debacle, as we all expected it to be. It isn’t just a “broken website”. It is a classical 20th century big government scheme, completely unprepared and unable to deal with a 21st century economy – this is one of the main thrusts of America 3.0.
Every Republican (and the groups cheering for them) should just shut up about pretty much everything but this one issue. Make the Democrats own it. It is theirs. It passed by a straight party vote. Make them eat it in 2014.
The core of his thesis is this: It is the English-speaking world, the “Anglosphere” (UK, Ireland, India, USA, Canada, Australia, … ) that somehow came to view the law as an ally of freedom rather than an instrument of state control. It is that very elevation of the individual over the state, in the law, that has brought us freedom and prosperity. In America and Britain, says Hannan, that principle has been taken for granted so long that now we risk losing it.
Starting around 49:00 Mr. Hannan describes a technologically advanced future which is clearly based on America 3.0, though he does not mention the book by name. Mr. Hannan gave America 3.0 a rave review, so we know he liked it!