“A Disease of the Public Mind”


That is the title of a book about the first US Civil War that resulted in the assassination of President Lincoln. The soldiers in the South hated those in the North and vice versa. Northern soldiers have since been credited with undeserved virtue while Southern rebels were labeled racist enemies of the state, a moniker that still survives in the present day. But neither side was fighting over the abolition of slavery.


Trump’s opponents claim he will re-institute Jim Crow oppression, put black people back in chains, end democracy and put people in Hitler’s concentration camps. The continuous character assassinations, legal persecutions, numerous impeachments, unfounded accusations and insinuation caused what has been called Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS), a disease of the public mind resulting in a recent assassination attempt.


Follow the Money
The Constitution the North and South agreed upon in 1788 enshrined the economic principles of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, fostering equality under the law, individual sovereignty and limited government. Slavery was still too contentious an issue to settle. Starting in the next century the British led a moral crusade to eliminate slavery globally. While politically virtuous, Britain could afford to pay off slave owners and generally didn’t face the the vexing question for US plantation owners of whether freed slaves could support themselves and, if not, whether this would lead to murderous riots as had happened elsewhere. Abolition was a contentious issue everywhere slavery was practiced, typically with long drawn out steps to complete. But the long simmering political dispute that came to a head in 1860 wasn’t about abolition, but money. The federal government relied almost exclusively on tariffs raised in Southern ports – most of which went to northern states – on imports financed with the fruits of slavery, cotton exports.


Since the Civil War, limited government has given way to big government. The Democratic Party has created many dependent constituencies whose continued prosperity depends upon continuing Democratic power and largess: the bureaucracy, the government at all levels, teachers, labor leaders, academic educators and administrators, trial lawyers, government contractors, social security recipients and what are still euphemistically called journalists, among many others. The current Civil War is also about money. Trump has been in both political parties, fits in neither. But ”you are fired” represents an existential threat to Party members.


For contemporary Democratic politicians, almost all trained as lawyers, money beyond what is available by taxing the rich exists in banks, especially the Federal Reserve Banks, to be distributed according to the spoils system. For Republican politicians (but not RINOs), mostly former businessmen, prosperity comes from productive work and from savings productively invested. For those businesses and workers who are not on the receiving end of the spoils system, whose taxes pay for political largess, limited government is the only solution. There is very little middle ground.

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What Happened to Serious Economic Policy Debates?

Economic policy determines whether economies, and hence citizen real income grows nationally and how that income is distributed. The invisible hand of a market economy guides investment to its most profitable, hence most productive uses. Not so for the heavy hand of the state. The Soviet Union saved and invested five to six times as much as the US, but productivity lagged and the economy eventually collapsed. Taxpayers have some control over “public” investment performance at, e.g., the small private level (condo, coop) but voter influence declines as the distance and size of the governing body increases. Making national investment policy even more difficult is the fact that even highly productive public investment may not pay off until well into the future. While rational economic policy would devolve decision-making and funding to the lowest possible level, the federal government’s lack of a hard budget constraint allows it to fund without accountability. The Constitution’s enumerated powers has proven an insufficient constraint on this perverse political incentive.


During President Trump’s term, pre-pandemic, real wages rose steadily at about 2% reflecting the steady real economic growth, but fell under Biden by over 2% due to inflation. Black unemployment and poverty fell under Trump, and continued to fall under Biden. While Trump proposed deep budget cuts, the Congress passed essentially the Democrats’ budget under both Ryan and Pelosi. Trump passed what in the ’60s under Kennedy was called a Keynesian tax cut, now called a “voodoo economics” supply-side tax cut for the rich to spur business investment, that worked essentially as planned.


Trump takes undue credit for the good performance during his term, for which the main stream media (MSM) accuse him of lying. Biden does the same, for which the MSM cheers. Independent voters favor Trump over Biden by 45% to 34% on the management of the economy. Numerous Democratic commentators have speculated that voter mistrust of Biden reflects FOX fake news popping up on TV sets uninvited to brainwash unsuspecting viewers.

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“… the final theme present… throughout the armed forces today is KAFCA, pronounced Kafca (since this is a military book I have made up an acronym.) KAFCA is Keeping the Able From Contributing to the Action. Inside the armed services, this problem is more politely referred to as “personnel mismanagement.” – Arthur T. Hadley in The Straw Giant

I recollected reading that book and nodding in sober agreement when it first came out, A lot of what Mr. Hadley wrote in it was congruent to what I experienced as a member of the military, beginning in the mid-1970s, when the military was just beginning to recover from the demoralization of the Vietnam era. I was reminded, though, of that particular expression upon reading these two links, posted at Bayou Renaissance Man; the first which outlined what happens when the competent operators at any given company or organization decide to walk away, and the second outlining how the unending quest for a properly diverse workforce at the expense of competence, task knowledge and skill.

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When Midwesterners Collide—A Challenge to Bill Quick

This is a lengthy response, and an implicit challenge to debate, prompted by Bill Quick’s “If Something Cannot Go On Forever, It Will Stop,” published on Thursday 27 April and duly Instalanched on Monday 8 May.

The first thing you need to do is read Bill’s essay; it’s ~4,200 words, reading time 10-20 minutes. I’ll be summarizing it below, but my (brief) summary will not only be explicitly theoretical but will be deliberately contrasted with my subsequent application-oriented response, so you will not get an altogether adequate notion of Bill’s thesis by reading this post alone.

That said, this will not be a mere fisking, and given what I believe is Bill’s current geography, only two states east of mine, a face-to-face debate is a real possibility, and one I hope to learn from.

Pi devan! (“Onward!”)

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Behind the Banking Crisis.

I want to recommend a good piece at Conservative Tree House, which I read every day.

It is this post which connects a few dots.

This is where we need to keep the BRICS -vs- WEF dynamic in mind and consider that ideologically there is a conflict between the current agenda of the ‘western financial system’ (climate change) and the traditional energy developers. This conflict has been playing out not only in the energy sector, but also the dynamic of support for Russia (an OPEC+ member) against the western sanction regime. Ultimately supporting Russia’s battle against NATO encroachments.

The war in Ukraine, which probably would not have begun if Trump was president, led to a war of economic interests. The western democracies have invested their future in “climate change,” which used to be “global warming” before the failure to warm made that slogan obsolete. Climate change has evolved into a war on energy production. The Biden regime now has even gone after gas stoves. Since I just bought one, I have an interest. Now, they seem to be going after washing machines. Ours has failed recently so I had better be quick to replace it.

The recent Credit Suisse bank crisis is complicated by the refusal of its largest shareholder, the Saudis, to help with a bail out. Why would this be ? This brings up the topic of BRICS. This is a new financial combination made up of Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa.

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