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Friday, February 22, 2013

Umberto Eco on the death of the dream of Europe

I like and admire Umberto Eco for many reasons, but I firmly believe that the great humanist is absolutely on the wrong side of history with regards to the great post-WWII neo-fascist enterprise of the European Union.  And so, it is very satisfying indeed to read of the increasing despair of the bien-pensant intellectuals, and to hear the cri-de-coeur of an elite that is increasingly conscious of its failure concerning an endeavor where, for one brief shining moment around the turn of the millenium, it believed it had succeeded.

These are hard times for those who believe in the European Union: from Cameron, who calls his compatriots to decide if they still want it (or if they never had the will), from Berlusconi who one day declares himself a Europeist but the next, if he doesn't make a visceral connection to the old Fascists, says returning to the lira would be better, to the Lega Nord and its hyperprovincialism. In summary, one can say that – at a distance of more than fifty years – the bones of the founding fathers of Europe United are turning in their graves.

Nevertheless everyone should know that in the course of the Second World War 41 million Europeans died, (I say only Europeans, not including the Americans and the Asians), massacred one after the other, and afterwards, saving the tragic Balkan episode, Europe has known 68 years of peace.  If one recounts to the young, (who maybe would appreciate it more if they spent a year working in another country on the continent with the Erasmus program, and perhaps at the end of this experience would find a twin spirit with those who speak another language than their own), that the French might today defend the Maginot line to resist the Germans, that the Italians would want to expand their borders to incorporate Greece, that Belgium could be invaded, that English airplanes could bombard Milan, these youth would believe we were inventing a science fiction novel. It is only the adults who understand that instead of crossing borders without passports, their fathers and their grandfathers vacationed with rifles in hand.

But is it really true that the idea of Europe is unsuccessful in attracting the Europeans? Bernard-Henri Lévy recently released a passionate manifesto in defense of a European identity. “Europe or Chaos” begins with a disturbing threat. “Europe is not in crisis, it is dying. Not Europe as in the territory, naturally. But Europe, the Idea. The Europe that is a dream and a project.” The manifesto was signed by António Lobo Antunes, Vassilis Alexakis, Juan Luis Cebrián, Fernando Savater, Peter Schneider, Hans Christoph Buch, Julia Kristeva, Claudio Magris, Gÿorgy Konrád and Salman Rushdie (who is not European but has found in Europe his primary refuge from the start of his persecution. I also signed it with some other co-signers, a few days ago, when I was at the Théâtre du Rond-Point in Paris for a little debate. One of the themes that quickly emerged, one that I found amply consequential, is that there exists a consciousness of a European identity. It occurred to me to cite the pages of Remembrance of Things Past by Proust when, in Paris during the time of the bombardment by the German Zeppelins, the intellectuals continue to speak and to write of Goethe or of Schiller as an integrated part of their culture.

But this sense of a European identity, certainly very strong among the elite intellectuals, is it also among the common people? It occurred to me to reflect on the fact that even today, in every European country, they celebrate (in school and in their public festivals), real heroes, who are all men who have valorously slain other Europeans, from the part of that Arminius who exterminated the legions of Varo, to Joan of Arc, the Cid, (because the Muslims against whom he fought were of the European centuries), to various Italian and Hungarian heroes of the Risogimento, who fell against the Austrian enemy. Is there no European hero of whom we can speak? Did none ever exist? What about Byron and Santorre di Santarosa, who advanced and fought for the cause of Greek liberty, to say nothing of the not-insignificant numbers of little Schindlers, who saved the lives of thousands of Jews without concern for what nation they belonged to. What about the non-martial heroes, such as De Gasperi, Monnet, Schuman, Adenuauer, Spinelli? And could not searching into the recesses of history expose others, of whom we could speak to the children, (and to the adults)? Is it truly possible that we cannot find a European Asterix of whom we can speak about the Europe of tomorrow?
The fall of the fraud-imposed European Union will be difficult and painful for many, just as the collapse of its force-imposed American counterpart will cause considerable chaos and suffering.  But in both cases, the pain will be a relatively small price to pay, because the alternative is the material imposition of Orwell's metaphorical boot-on-the-human-face forever. 

The answer to his question is no.  There can never be a European Asterix.  Asterix is a hero to millions of Europeans because he represents the independent human spirit resisting the force of Empire.  And as such, the new Asterixes of the future will be those who courageously resisted the bureaucratic stormtroopers of the failing Union, not those who marched in their ranks.  The EU is in the imperial tradition of Augustus, Napoleon, and Hitler, and as such, it can never command the loyalty of an Asterix.

The intellectual elite always loves Empire.  They are its parasites, its remoras.  And how they hate that it is so often those men who stand against them and their will to rule that are loved and lionized by generation after generation of the common people.

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146 Comments:

Anonymous Feh February 22, 2013 5:26 AM  

The EU is communist, not neo-fascist.

the Cid, (because the Muslims against whom he fought were of the European centuries),

Ha. The "Europeanist" who bemoans the death of Europe does not even recognize that Muslims invaders were (and are) NOT European and were (and are) killing Europe.

Blogger redlegben February 22, 2013 5:30 AM  

The truth then remains. Asterix was one of my favorite comics in my youth. He did represent the independent spirit. My experience with Europeans is not reflective of their politicians. It is awe and appreciation of the individualist spirit of the cowboy American male. If the US gives up its post as world police, I have little doubt that the Europeans will fill the gap and it won't be pleasant for non-Aryans. The lack of financial ability of America to do anything will lead to a nasty cleansing that will make people long for the suffering they had under the US.

Anonymous TheExpat February 22, 2013 5:37 AM  

The EU is communist, not neo-fascist.

You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to, it's all just another flavor of statism.

Freedom, Tyranny, or Chaos... pick one.

Anonymous ericcs February 22, 2013 5:44 AM  

redlegben: "The lack of financial ability of America to do anything will lead to a nasty cleansing that will make people long for the suffering they had under the US."

Although a little off-topic, I suspect the same will be said of Southeast Asians once the US runs offstage and China really starts pushing its agenda down their throats.

Anonymous Toby Temple February 22, 2013 5:51 AM  

Freedom, Tyranny, or Chaos... pick one

I pick Chaos!!!

Blogger tz February 22, 2013 5:52 AM  

It used to be the holy roman empire.

But the elite literally want an unholy alliance.

They recently had the third Reich.

They will need it for the Anti-Christ to rule, but right now the numbers are off. However with a few secessions...

Blogger redlegben February 22, 2013 6:05 AM  

The SE Asians don't promote an environment of independence. They don't have the leadership necessary to form an impressive army. America's greatest generals were not well liked by the general consensus early in their careers. In other countries, those men are executed or imprisoned. Milosevic will be celebrated and have his own holiday in Europe. The ethnic cleansing bell is about to go off in Europe. It will be ugly. They are smarter and more vicious than their competition.

A bloodbath is inevitable. Americans will be spectators in this one. We have no money.

Blogger tz February 22, 2013 6:06 AM  

A European Asterix? Whom would he fight for or against? Would he even be european? IIRC, he is fighting against the forces of unification. For independence. Right now, the closest model are the muslim immigrants that have more solidarity across european borders than within. Be careful what you wish for. Unifying europe might only happen by removing those pesky europeans first, but that is happening.

It would be like Santa Anna or Montezuma here. Aztlan-terix?

Anonymous Roundtine February 22, 2013 6:07 AM  

Well, they could go with the heroes of the Battle of Vienna, but then that's very Christian and anti-Muslim.

Anonymous Mudz February 22, 2013 6:17 AM  

Ah, history, how well I wish I knew thee. Alas, I am stoopid.

Anonymous CrisisEraDynamo February 22, 2013 6:34 AM  

Not so fast, Vox. There may be some life in the old dog yet, and this doozy is global:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/01/02/the_convergence_of_civilizations?page=full

Anonymous Robert in Arabia February 22, 2013 6:54 AM  

Umberto Eco, leftist scribbler.

Blogger Doom February 22, 2013 7:22 AM  

European intellectuals still signing consensus papers? *yawn* First they need to go after the muslims, next they need to go after the intellectuals. Actually, either first would be fine. No pain, no pain. I do think they are almost... ready.

Better to be broke and free than in debt AND a slave, somehow. Damn bankers always did like using intellectuals to get their lessors to agree to being screwed like pooches, and distractions like muslims to keep focus off their doings. Morphine and chocolate as substitutes?

Anonymous DJF February 22, 2013 7:28 AM  

One huge problem among many for the supporters of the EU is that to have an "us" there has to be a "them".

But the EU is run by globalists, sure they are step by step globalists, first Europe and then the World types but to the EU types there is no "us" when it comes to Europe. So they are in favor of open borders and who ever wanders in are welcome. No one is to be excluded, certainly not by nationality, or ethnicity, or religion, nor race, nor belief, political, economic or otherwise.

How can you create a Europe if there is no difference between a European, a African, a Asian, etc, even when they are born and live outside of Europe. They are given the same status as everyone in Europe. There is no loyalty to Europe because those in charge of the “project” as they call it are themselves not loyal to Europe, its just a stepping stone to the great and glorious globalist future.

Anonymous Stilicho February 22, 2013 7:35 AM  

How can you create a Europe if there is no difference between a European, a African, a Asian, etc, even when they are born and live outside of Europe. They are given the same status as everyone in Europe. There is no loyalty to Europe because those in charge of the “project” as they call it are themselves not loyal to Europe, its just a stepping stone to the great and glorious globalist future.

Indeed. This is a fundamental flaw in their plan.

Anonymous Feh February 22, 2013 8:07 AM  

You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to, it's all just another flavor of statism.

Communism is not just another version of statism. It is more dangerous than Fascism because it appealed to First World elites and the Third World rabble in a way that Nazism and Italian Fascism never could. To this day, even when one would think Soviet Communism was completely discredited, the USSR and Communism have their supporters and apologists in respectable, high-status positions; in contrast, supporters and apologists for Nazism are typically the lowest dregs of society. Support for Nazi ideas gets you fired, support for Commie ideas gets you tenure.

Anonymous Athor Pel February 22, 2013 8:29 AM  

At least the EU cheerleaders have succeeded in undermining the sovereignty of many national governments. I mean, if you've got to have an accomplishment to show for your effort at least they have that.

They would have been better off with genocide and colonization after deciding which nation was going to do the killing and colonizing. Assuming they wanted something to last. But now that I think about the history of colonization, I don't think that would work either. The colonies usually rebel sooner or later.

It's like these EU guys don't read any history.

It always boils down to us, here and now, versus them, there and then. We know we're human, them, not so much. We don't know Them.


Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids. Silly eurocrat, peace belongs to the free.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 8:51 AM  

The answer to his question is no. There can never be a European Asterix. Asterix is a hero to millions of Europeans because he represents the independent human spirit resisting the force of Empire. And as such, the new Asterixes of the future will be those who courageously resisted the bureaucratic stormtroopers of the failing Union, not those who marched in their ranks. The EU is in the imperial tradition of Augustus, Napoleon, and Hitler, and as such, it can never command the loyalty of an Asterix.

Sorry, I am not very fluent in my French history, but is this the same Asterix from the comic books?

Anonymous TheExpat February 22, 2013 8:57 AM  

Communism is not just another version of statism.

hahahahahahaha *wipes eyes*

Anonymous Anonymous February 22, 2013 9:01 AM  

The demise of the EU also benefits from their refusal to recognize nationalistic tendencies as being part of human nature. Not only does this create a disconnect between the populace and the leadership, but it has made Europe a delightful mess of antagonizing policies. The English resent the French agricultural subsidies, the Poles resent the size of the German voting bloc, and everyone cheats the rules in favor of their home team And instead of recognizing that this was guaranteed to happen and incorporating it into the system – especially among populations that have viewed one another as rivals at best and irreconcilable enemies at worst – they went along with the idea that the average man in the street could be convinced he really was no different than the next Spaniard or German or Greek.

So it’s amusing to see them finally figure what the rest of us have understood since the EU’s inception, and collectively what has been known to mankind the day Ug and Derp threatened each other with clubs if the other stood on the wrong side of the rock.

- Alexander

PS. Yes, dh, the same one.

Blogger IM2L844 February 22, 2013 9:20 AM  

Indeed. This is a fundamental flaw in their plan.

Yet, your typical liberal mindset is that, with the global homogeneity of all races and classes as the ultimate goal, it is a feature rather than a bug. Once society gets past the initial chunky stage and the cultural/economic blender gets up to speed we will end up with a universally tolerable global smoothie.

The problem for the liberal ideal, of course, is that it requires an absolutely altruistic ruling class. Never gonna happen.

Similarly, doctrinaire libertarianism and Imatiger's naïve dialectic synthesis process requires everyone to rise above human nature and resist temptations to lie, cheat and game the system. Never gonna happen. Despite the liberal's desire to believe that human nature is evolving, gratuitous self interest is the unchanging natural state of mankind and governments/administrations/bureaucracies are run by individuals who are all subject to that fundamental human nature.

Anonymous JartStar February 22, 2013 9:21 AM  

Take a look at Spain if you want to see what's coming for much of the West over the next decade when the can kicking comes to an end and the EU member states suffer under the euro.

Many US states will go broke like California and then look like Spain and Greece.

Anonymous Stilicho February 22, 2013 9:34 AM  

Support for Nazi ideas gets you fired, support for Commie ideas gets you tenure.

Sure, but it is still no more than a Coke/Pepsi debate between the two. And outright support for fascist policies (the politics that dare not speak its name) gets you promoted in the crony capitalist world.

Blogger Crowhill February 22, 2013 9:36 AM  

VD -- What does "on the wrong side of history" mean? Are you simply making a prediction, or are you speaking about what ought to be?

I usually find the phrase to be pretentious.

Anonymous Stilicho February 22, 2013 9:41 AM  

Yet, your typical liberal mindset is that, with the global homogeneity of all races and classes as the ultimate goal, it is a feature rather than a bug.

Sure, but the floppy-eared Eurocrats in Brussels will simply find themselves out-grouped by more cohesive warrens with upright ears.

Anonymous Papapete February 22, 2013 9:54 AM  

Fascism is nationalist, Communism is internationalist, both are statist socialist (at least nominally. Stalin went right back to "Mother Russia" to whip up patriotism when the Nazis came a-calling). Fascism will be reborn under other names when it comes time for fighting. Us vs Them is too universal when lives are on the line.

Blogger IM2L844 February 22, 2013 9:55 AM  

You folks don't understand the United States.

Tad, most of us are looking further down the road than your liberal myopia permits.

Anonymous Daniel February 22, 2013 9:57 AM  

Your timing is impeccable. I was going to ask for a translation. I very much appreciate you doing this. Thanks!

Semi-related (language, not political): I would be very interested in your interpretation of Il cimitero di Praga, someday. I'd be very interested to see where it diverges with the English translation.

Anonymous Stephen J. February 22, 2013 9:58 AM  

Is there any way to maintain a common, peaceful civilization on a large scale that is not "Empire"? How large and heterogeneous can any society get before it must inevitably draw upon Imperial techniques to maintain itself?

And "Empire" need not be a wholly bad thing. The cultural homogeneities imposed by Alexander and then Rome upon the Mediterranean realms, or upon China by the Dynasties, were a large part of why those civilizations were so comparatively successful against their competitors; and even the subjugated peoples of Empire could point to the benefits of formal law, maintained roads and common language.

Of course, the builders of those Empires had no moral qualms about using force and law to establish and maintain a particular culture as supreme, and openly admitting to doing so. Is the criticism here that the EU is attempting to build an Empire while pretending it's not Imperial?

I am not as optimistic as Tad about current social prospects, but I do believe that unexpected reversals for the good happen with fair frequency too, and that one should never underestimate the human ability to apathetically muddle through rather than settle things for good one way or the other in great spasms.

Anonymous Anonymous February 22, 2013 10:01 AM  

Tad -

California benefits from the fact that its discontents can very easily move to other states. A Spaniard cannot so easily leave (yes, I know that the EU has a free movement policy, but surely even you will admit that it's not quite so easy to change to a new culture, language, domestic legal system, etc. etc.).

If all the Californians who have left California had found themselves unable to do so, do you believe that things would still be peaceful?

- Alexander

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 10:04 AM  

"So where are the protests in CA, like in Spain and Greece?"

The protests happened in Wisconsin. Remember? Public unions and all that? There will be plenty more.

The trouble tad is you time scale is off. Vox doesn't expect major changes to happen in the next few years. He figures the big effects wont be seen till the late 2020s to early 2030s.

I on the other hand favor math. Which says the money runs out sometime in late 2014 at the soonest... most likely sometime in mid 2015.

Anonymous Daniel February 22, 2013 10:10 AM  

Sic semper Europa.

Hitler was the closest they've gotten to Eco's dream in a while. He was beloved by an impressive minority of both Brits and Italians and many points in between.

I'm sure the next "Asterix with An Asterisk" will be a bit more efficient. Eco could have just as easily titled this: A Call for the Antichrist.

Anonymous Tad versus Reality February 22, 2013 10:11 AM  

Tad: AS places like CA and the U.S. in general continue to recover from the recession ....

Reality:

Under the current [poverty ranking] system, which is reflected in the CFED report, the state [California] ranks 29th in poverty rate at 14.6 percent, but under the proposed new [federal ranking] system, which takes into account living costs and other factors, the state would have the nation’s highest poverty rate.

And:

The detailed section of the report on California cites as major factors in the state’s low economic security ranking its high level of average credit card debt ($13,825; ranked 48th) and its high bankruptcy rate, 6.2 per 1,000 residents, nearly 50 percent higher than the national rate (ranked 45th).
The state also ranks 49th in home ownership and the same level in the percentage of household income devoted to rent or house payments. Meanwhile, the Census Bureau also released a new report on home ownership, confirming that California has one of the nation’s lowest levels of living in owner-occupied homes and revealing that the state’s large population of foreign-born residents are less likely than those in other states to own homes.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 10:11 AM  

Tad
There are protests in Greece because the people have had austerity measures forced on them. Its either screw the banks... or screw the people.

Now given that the US's debt to income ratio is actually WORSE than that of Greece...

Do you suppose the US Government will side with the People? Or the Banks?

Anonymous Agent Asper February 22, 2013 10:16 AM  

I think perhaps Tad has been smoking the "green shoots".

Blogger James Dixon February 22, 2013 10:19 AM  

> Do you suppose the US Government will side with the People? Or the Banks?

You're asking Tad? For him, the banks are the people.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 10:23 AM  

"You're asking Tad? For him, the banks are the people."

that's right... my bad. I keep forgetting he really is a capital F fascist... in the literal ideology sense.

Anonymous Daniel February 22, 2013 10:23 AM  

Robert in Arabia
Umberto Eco, leftist scribbler.

Yeah, but the very best one alive. He's also a semiotic rifler. The sort that our political masters would like to see banned (in the voluntary style, of course, a la Fahrenheit 451), you know, for our protection.

That's why he's important.

Anonymous The other skeptic February 22, 2013 10:28 AM  

I on the other hand favor math. Which says the money runs out sometime in late 2014 at the soonest... most likely sometime in mid 2015.

And this guy says sometime around 2020

He seems to have more impressive math on his side. However, he does say, essentially, that when the money runs out, empire is in trouble, and he might have underestimated how quickly the money is running out.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 10:29 AM  

The trouble tad is you time scale is off. Vox doesn't expect major changes to happen in the next few years. He figures the big effects wont be seen till the late 2020s to early 2030s.

I on the other hand favor math. Which says the money runs out sometime in late 2014 at the soonest... most likely sometime in mid 2015.


Right, so we call get to hear the hand wringing and predictions, and in 2029 or 2030 the time frame will start to lengthen, and then the excuses will start coming out.

Anonymous Daniel February 22, 2013 10:32 AM  

And yes, Asterix the Gaul is who they are talking about. This is always the Imperial dream: to see Darth Vader as beloved as Han Solo.

It really is that wide of a gulf.

I mean, look at that picture: a goofy little barbarian brawler taking a shot at Europa herself. And that is who Eco believes Europa needs at its psychological, spiritual helm to save it.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 10:38 AM  

Tad
There are protests in Greece because the people have had austerity measures forced on them. Its either screw the banks... or screw the people.

Now given that the US's debt to income ratio is actually WORSE than that of Greece...

Do you suppose the US Government will side with the People? Or the Banks?


For the US, unlike Greece, there is another option, which is to screw the bond holders. And that's what we are doing. Through steady drips of inflation, which reduces the value of future debt repayments.

Blogger IM2L844 February 22, 2013 10:38 AM  

one should never underestimate the human ability to apathetically muddle through rather than [try to] settle things for good one way or the other in great spasms.

I'm assuming the "try to" here.

This only holds true in the short term. Historical precedents indicate it is not a reliably sustainable expectation. A couple hundred years of apathetic muddling through may be possible, but usually sooner rather than later someone or something comes along and puts an end to it. History is replete with semi-regular great spasms.

Blogger Beefy Levinson February 22, 2013 10:40 AM  

Eco understates the reports of Europe's death. It's not just the Idea that's dying, the civilizations of Europe are dying too. Everywhere the churches are being converted into museums or mosques. It won't be long before Muslims are a significantly large enough minority to begin imposing their religious and cultural preferences on the Continent, more so than they do already.

And the people of Europe will just nervously laugh like in the USDA indoctrination video Vox posted the other day.

Anonymous Stephen J. February 22, 2013 10:45 AM  

"This only holds true in the short term. ...A couple hundred years of apathetic muddling through may be possible, but usually sooner rather than later someone or something comes along and puts an end to it. History is replete with semi-regular great spasms."

Granted; but there's a difference between saying such a spasm is almost certain sometime in the next fifty years, and saying it's almost certain sometime in the next five. Predicting that cataclysm will happen is easy; correctly predicting when it will happen and why is a lot harder to get right.

In his novel A Matter for Men, one of David Gerrold's characters had a less specific but more practical way of putting it; he always ensured he had someplace remote and stocked to go to ground to if necessary, because "no matter where and when you look in human history, it's really, really hard to find seventy peaceful years in a row anywhere."

Blogger IM2L844 February 22, 2013 10:54 AM  

"no matter where and when you look in human history, it's really, really hard to find seventy peaceful years in a row anywhere."

I'll take wisdom where I find it.

Anonymous Anonymous February 22, 2013 10:55 AM  

You folks don't understand the United States.

Tad, most of us are looking further down the road than your liberal myopia permits.
------

Tad doesn't understand Detroit, East St. Louis, etc...

- 'boo

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 11:04 AM  

"For the US, unlike Greece, there is another option, which is to screw the bond holders. And that's what we are doing. Through steady drips of inflation, which reduces the value of future debt repayments."

Good!!!

You're following along and you're a bright lad. Now what happens when the bond holders decide they don't want to get screwed anymore? (by the way this is where I got the year 2015)

Blogger Gray Falcon February 22, 2013 11:14 AM  

Well, this helps explain why Asterix never got much traction in the US...

Anonymous Anonymous February 22, 2013 11:15 AM  

I'm not 'anonymous' Tad, I clearly signed my post with Alexander.

But you got me hear. Secession and riots (regular and race) have never played a part in American history. Thank you for educating me on this matter.

I am curious though as to why you think that if people who wanted to leave the state had been unable to do so - had their only choice had been to stay in a place they did not want to be and that was increasingly antagonistic to their interests... why you think this would not have been at the very least more susceptible to violence.

Can you explain this to me without resorting to a propaganda bulletin?

Regards, Alexander (not Anonymous)

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2013 11:17 AM  

Vox may be using the date at which it will no longer be possible for the government to pay the interest on the debt as the collapse date. Last time I ran this exercise I extrapolated that this would happen around 2032, assuming interest rates eventually rise back to around 5% and that there is little or no real economic growth or inflation over that interval. (While the assumption of no inflation probably isn't realistic, inflation should tend to increase government deficits while reducing the impact of the outstanding debt -- I didn't prepare a complete econometric model, just some quick figures. Things get complicated quickly.)

However, it seems unlikely that bondholders will sit idly by as the debt approaches a level that cannot possibly be repaid.

Anonymous rycamor February 22, 2013 11:20 AM  

Daniel February 22, 2013 10:32 AM

And yes, Asterix the Gaul is who they are talking about. This is always the Imperial dream: to see Darth Vader as beloved as Han Solo.

It really is that wide of a gulf.

I mean, look at that picture: a goofy little barbarian brawler taking a shot at Europa herself. And that is who Eco believes Europa needs at its psychological, spiritual helm to save it.


It's an important psychological point for libertarian individualists to understand: leftist intellectual elites *always* see themselves as the spunky little guy fighting for justice, no matter how much empire and bureaucracy they amass for their ends. You can portray them for the fascist socialists that they are to those outside their milieu, but they literally cannot see your point. How to reach those people with an understanding that they are the very thing they claim to hate? That is the classic "camel passing through the eye of a needle" problem.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 11:22 AM  

"Vox may be using the date at which it will no longer be possible for the government to pay the interest on the debt as the collapse date"

Vox is using the historical analysis with a tweak or two.

I am using the point where the interest payments on the debt are over 50% of the income... at which point no one will be willing to lend the US money anymore... and thus the US will be forced default, or forced to pretty much cut ALL entitlements.

Blogger James Dixon February 22, 2013 11:29 AM  

> Right, so we call get to hear the hand wringing and predictions, and in 2029 or 2030 the time frame will start to lengthen, and then the excuses will start coming out.

So what's your prediction, dh? That we'll just muddle through somehow with $1T deficits as far as the eye can see?

Anonymous Porky February 22, 2013 11:33 AM  

Can I get a "Poo-tee-weet"?

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 11:33 AM  

"There was buckling down, doing what was necessary, partaking in the political process, retooling and moving on to the next thing....that's what American's have always done."

That's so cute!

so.. when the drunk in the trailer loses his job and lives off credit cards for 6 months... he can tell everyone he was buckling down, retooling and moving on to the next thing.

Blogger IM2L844 February 22, 2013 11:36 AM  

Those of you predicting secessions, riots, (even race riots) chaos...Don't understand America.

Tad, once again you are obstinately focusing on a very narrow window of time. Most of us have never predicted any of those things as being necessarily immanent in the immediate future and for you, knowingly and disingenuously, to keep regurgitating the same nonsensical rhetoric is particularly telling about your fundamental character.

Blogger James Dixon February 22, 2013 11:43 AM  

> For the US, unlike Greece, there is another option, which is to screw the bond holders.

Which only works as long as the bond holders are content to keep lending or you don't need to borrow. Neither of which seems likely. Though I see Nate has already made that point in his own inimitable fashion.

> Those of you predicting secessions, riots, (even race riots) chaos...Don't understand America.

And Tad doesn't understand the dozen or so Gadsden flags decorating the various cubicles at my work location.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 11:47 AM  

"And Tad doesn't understand the dozen or so Gadsden flags decorating the various cubicles at my work location."

Pattern recognition isn't a strength of the homosexual community.

obviously.

Anonymous rycamor February 22, 2013 11:54 AM  

Nate February 22, 2013 11:22 AM

I am using the point where the interest payments on the debt are over 50% of the income... at which point no one will be willing to lend the US money anymore... and thus the US will be forced default, or forced to pretty much cut ALL entitlements.


As I said on another blog, when those EBT cards stop working, there will be a massive shuddering in the earth.

The beast that gets loosed next will be unlike anything ever seen in this country. It dwarfs any previous financial chaos, and we've never had such a large part of the populace so completely unable to fend for themselves.

Blogger IM2L844 February 22, 2013 11:57 AM  

Pattern recognition isn't a strength of the homosexual community.

Oh, I don't know. They seem to have a natural affinity for interior design and knowing which pair of shoes goes with which gown.

Anonymous zen0 February 22, 2013 12:02 PM  

The beast that gets loosed next will be unlike anything ever seen in this country. It dwarfs any previous financial chaos, and we've never had such a large part of the populace so completely unable to fend for themselves.

We've already had small examples of that recently.

Gee, I hope some disgruntled loonie doesn't hack the system.

Blogger JDC February 22, 2013 12:03 PM  

Yes. The rumblings are starting. We get around 10-30 people each month coming to the church to seek assistance. They must fill out paperwork, show I.D., proof of debt (e.g. propane bill, utilities, rent, etc), then receive a bit of spiritual counseling. Although admittedly a microcosm, I am noticing a growing desperation, and a gradual diminishing of anything resembling an ordered society. We had to call the police last week after a gentlemen was refused assistance for his cell phone bill, and would not leave the office (we don't do cell phones). He demanded we give him a check. Why? I can only guess because in his brain he is entitled to having his cell phone paid for. If the government won't, then the churches will, if the churches won't...well - what's next? Perhaps going to the nearest, financially stable community and demanding it there is the next logical step.

Anonymous George of the Hole February 22, 2013 12:07 PM  

Tad: You folks don't understand the United States.

I call this "homoparochialism".

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 12:18 PM  

You're following along and you're a bright lad. Now what happens when the bond holders decide they don't want to get screwed anymore? (by the way this is where I got the year 2015)

Nate, I know you think this is useful, but it's not a winning case. Foreign investment in US debt is already low. It's the Fed that's buying most debt as it is.

It's turtles all the way down.

If there is no one left to buy T-Bills, the Fed will simply inflate our way to tax/spending balance. (Which as we know, it simply a backdoor tax).

Anonymous George of the Hole February 22, 2013 12:28 PM  

Vox: The intellectual elite always loves Empire.

And they are usually the first to be purged.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 12:30 PM  

JD--

Which only works as long as the bond holders are content to keep lending or you don't need to borrow. Neither of which seems likely. Though I see Nate has already made that point in his own inimitable fashion.

#1 - Of course don't know when foreign investors will stop seeking US dollars. That is the true measure I suppose.

#2 - The "worst case scenario" is that the US simply stops paying bonds, and lives hand-to-mouth. Is that really so bad? We can almost meet current obligations given our actual cash revenue (i.e., if not for past debt, we would be close to balance right now).

And Tad doesn't understand the dozen or so Gadsden flags decorating the various cubicles at my work location.

I actually agree strongly with Tad. You and your fellow flag flyers are grossly insulted over everything government presently does. It's nothing but griping and complaining, and your less astute ideological compatriots are the types who want to "keep government out of my Medicare". The gist of what is posted here is that the government has already gone far to far.

But, the bottom line is, that the most ardent and dedicated activists on your ideological side have had the net effect of electing a handful of "Tea Party" candidates, a few local or state level politicans. They have acheived nothing of substance.

And, along the way, a good chunk of the fervor has been co-opted by con men and splitters. And now the potency of the biggest ideological revolt in decades has been diluted, and smells substantially like failure.

And yet, despite all this, the shooting has not started, you have not gone galt, and you have done nothing at all of substance. Flag flying, of course, not withstanding.

So you'll forgive us skeptics and not believing that the keyboard rebel patriots are anything more than windbags. And, despite my affection for VD, his work, the dread ilk, and the amazing intellectual promiscuity you all tolerate, it is telling and definitive that perhaps the most devoted and ardent of anyone - VD himself - has chosen to leave his homeland rather than confront that which is repeatedly described to be as intolerable.

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2013 12:31 PM  

"...the Fed will simply inflate our way to tax/spending balance."

Good one. Although the Fed may use this approach, this is not a long term solution, and the Fed knows that. The more inflation they create, the more the deficits skyrocket. This never leads to tax/spending balance, only to hyperinflation. And high levels of inflation greatly reduce levels of economic activity because long term contracting becomes impossible. This affects literally everything.

The only way out, as Weimar Germany discovered, is to reduce government expenditures and balance the government's budget.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 12:33 PM  

"It's turtles all the way down.

If there is no one left to buy T-Bills, the Fed will simply inflate our way to tax/spending balance. (Which as we know, it simply a backdoor tax)."

Very good. You ARE a bright one. That's not sarcasm by the way I mean it. Most liberal's eyes roll back in their heads around the time the word bond enters the conversation.

Now...

The Fed holds and auction... and no one shows up. So the fed steps up and does it all. This devalues the currency in a huge way.

Now what do you do with a stock in your portfolio that is dropping like a rock and shows no hope of returning?

You sell it right?


And what happens when all those countries holding all those dollars... dump them onto the market?


Right.


Congratulations. You're the only liberal Hyper-inflationista on the planet. Welcome to the family!

Blogger Giraffe February 22, 2013 12:35 PM  

If there is no one left to buy T-Bills, the Fed will simply inflate our way to tax/spending balance.

That worked well in Zimbabwe.

Anonymous Porky February 22, 2013 12:41 PM  

That worked well in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe had a corrupt government. Our government is made up of concerned, duly elected men and women who faithfully represent the interests of their consituents; the workers of America.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 12:42 PM  

"#2 - The "worst case scenario" is that the US simply stops paying bonds, and lives hand-to-mouth. Is that really so bad? We can almost meet current obligations given our actual cash revenue (i.e., if not for past debt, we would be close to balance right now)."

Yes. Yes it is that bad. Imagine greece... except with way more guns... and a much greater history of violence.

Anonymous Porky? February 22, 2013 12:43 PM  

Nate: "You sell it right?"

What makes you think they will allow you to sell?

Blogger Giraffe February 22, 2013 12:45 PM  

Zimbabwe had a corrupt government. Our government is made up of concerned, duly elected men and women who faithfully represent the interests of their consituents; the workers of America.

Good one. You had me going till you said they represented the workers.

Blogger ajw308 February 22, 2013 12:48 PM  

And what happens when all those countries holding all those dollars... dump them onto the market?
I don't think the global economy will fail when the income can no longer pay the dept, nor will it fail at the 50% interest/income point, it'll fail when the first state blinks and tries to beat everyone else in what they know is coming.

Anonymous Josh February 22, 2013 12:52 PM  

You know, if we just cut spending down to pre 9/11 levels, we'd be just fine. Of course, that would require us to abandon our overseas military adventures, medicare part d, no child left behind/race to the top, and our massive national security apparatus (dhs/tsa/etc).

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 12:53 PM  

"But, the bottom line is, that the most ardent and dedicated activists on your ideological side have had the net effect of electing a handful of "Tea Party" candidates, a few local or state level politicans. They have acheived nothing of substance."

Yes. You're entirely correct. As you've said before... both sides have to own their morons.. and the fact is.. the Tea Party was full of people that were bitching about single payer aspects of Obamacare while lamenting any changes to medicare. /facepalm

Never the less. Its always easy to disregard the bitching and complaining... until the bitching and complaining turns to shooting.

The fact is it WILL turn to shooting in America. America's history... is shooting. It was formed and transformed... by guns. It will be so again.

I make no predictions on what the outcome will be.

I am just saying it will be violent.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 1:07 PM  

"What makes you think they will allow you to sell?"

I wasn't talking about stocks literally. It was an analogy for foreign governments holding dollars.

They will sell because no one can stop them from selling.

Blogger Nate February 22, 2013 1:07 PM  

"Zimbabwe had a corrupt government. Our government is made up of concerned, duly elected men and women who faithfully represent the interests of their consituents; the workers of America."

The internet needs a sarcasm font.

Real bad.

Anonymous Stilicho February 22, 2013 1:09 PM  

I am using the point where the interest payments on the debt are over 50% of the income... at which point no one will be willing to lend the US money anymore... and thus the US will be forced default, or forced to pretty much cut ALL entitlements.

How are you calculating the interest rate? Current rate? Historical avg? Or what you expect it to be circa 2015?

Anonymous Porky February 22, 2013 1:10 PM  

And by "the workers" I mean "entrenched financial entities"...

Blogger Joshua_D February 22, 2013 1:10 PM  

Porky February 22, 2013 12:41 PM
That worked well in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe had a corrupt government. Our government is made up of concerned, duly elected men and women who faithfully represent the interests of their consituents; the workers of America.


Exactly, comrade.

Anonymous Josh February 22, 2013 1:14 PM  

Useful proxy for future trouble areas: the number and ratio of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch in the school district.

Anonymous VD February 22, 2013 1:16 PM  

You and your fellow flag flyers are grossly insulted over everything government presently does. It's nothing but griping and complaining, and your less astute ideological compatriots are the types who want to "keep government out of my Medicare". The gist of what is posted here is that the government has already gone far to far.

Certainly.

But, the bottom line is, that the most ardent and dedicated activists on your ideological side have had the net effect of electing a handful of "Tea Party" candidates, a few local or state level politicans. They have acheived nothing of substance.

There is no point in election-focused activity. But there is also no reason to imminentize the political eschaton. The collapse will come. It is inevitable. I left because I saw that it was already too late and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The only question is when and what form it will take.

Anonymous Dan in Tx February 22, 2013 1:16 PM  

dh: " And yet, despite all this, the shooting has not started, you have not gone galt, and you have done nothing at all of substance. Flag flying, of course, not withstanding."

I still don't get how one concludes that "the shooting hasn't started" = "the shooting will never happen". No the shooting hasn't started but ammo isn't flying off the shelf as soon as it comes in because people are anticipating good and peaceful times ahead.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 1:27 PM  

There is no point in election-focused activity. But there is also no reason to imminentize the political eschaton. The collapse will come. It is inevitable. I left because I saw that it was already too late and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The only question is when and what form it will take.

I don't think anyone is arguing that at some point in the future the US will 'collapse' in some sense - economically, politically, etc. I would stipulate that this is true, and it is universally true.

The question is only about causation. You cannot claim that the sunset will set, and then say that it was caused by unicorn breezes when it sets.

If in 50 years something happens that causes the US to collapse I fully expect your bedridden, over aged, happy Italian self to raise up a bony finger and say "I told you so!"

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 1:28 PM  

The Fed holds and auction... and no one shows up. So the fed steps up and does it all. This devalues the currency in a huge way.

THEY'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR SEVERAL YEARS.

Where is the hyper inflation?

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 1:32 PM  

Good one. Although the Fed may use this approach, this is not a long term solution, and the Fed knows that. The more inflation they create, the more the deficits skyrocket. This never leads to tax/spending balance, only to hyperinflation. And high levels of inflation greatly reduce levels of economic activity because long term contracting becomes impossible. This affects literally everything.

The only way out, as Weimar Germany discovered, is to reduce government expenditures and balance the government's budget.


I agree that this is true. However, the worst case scenario is simply that the US abandons it's international obligations, and would remove the largest line-item of spending - debt service. Doing so would bring the cash outlays vs. cash inlays number to near balance. A few other adjustments would simply balance it on a cash basis, and this is my point. The Fed inflating away the entire deficit isn't desirable or possible. However, inflating away a $100B a year is (and has been done) possible and relatively easily.

Anonymous Luke February 22, 2013 1:35 PM  

Re the "peace" of the past ~70 years in Europe (post-Greek Civil War of 1948) that the European Union wishes to claim (as, apparently, its only lasting postive achievement), I would make these counterarguments:

1) The threat of the USSR combined with the stabilizing effect of the U.S. military's ground garrisons had LOTS more to do with that peace.

2) Hungary in 1956 and Rumania in 1989 were hardly peaceful. Yes, they occurred in the Communist-run part of Europe. But, isn't living as a slave under Communism hardly "peace"? It's no more secure from the threat of unprovoked physical attack (everyone here HAS heard of the KGB and the Gulag, yes?) that is conventional war, just as it is no more economically prosperous.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 1:36 PM  

I still don't get how one concludes that "the shooting hasn't started" = "the shooting will never happen". No the shooting hasn't started but ammo isn't flying off the shelf as soon as it comes in because people are anticipating good and peaceful times ahead.

Ammo and gun demand has increased rapidly because more people than ever are engaged in recreational gun play. It's a huge growth sector in the US. For example see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/us/las-vegas-gun-range-offers-new-way-to-let-loose.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

It's chic.

If you believe the average person out there right now EVERYTHING the Federal government is already doing is intolerable. All of it. Virtually the entire thing is wrong. It didn't happen overnight.

If people TRULY believed that Obamacare was a government take-over, that it would implement death-panels on them, that it rations care, etc et all, then where is the shooting?

If people TRULY believed FEMA was preparing for massive internment or protection of government elites, and was stockpiling weapons and ammo for that purpose, why hasn't haven't the keyboard rebel patriots acted?

The evidence strongly suggests that there is no provocation that would be met with widespread resistance.

Anonymous Edjamacator February 22, 2013 1:41 PM  

Ammo and gun demand has increased rapidly because more people than ever are engaged in recreational gun play. It's a huge growth sector in the US.

That's rich. And using the NYT to verify it!

So people just suddenly, all at the same time, are practice shooting?

Gee, I wonder WHY they are practicing more all of a sudden.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick February 22, 2013 1:44 PM  

I left because I saw that it was already too late and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Rational but unheroic.

Blogger IM2L844 February 22, 2013 1:47 PM  

If in 50 years something happens that causes the US to collapse I fully expect your bedridden, over aged, happy Italian self to raise up a bony finger and say "I told you so!"

Maybe it will be 50 years down the road. Maybe not, but to deny that we are politically and culturally trending in a direction that is socially polarizing and destabilizing with a growing potential for some kind of explosive consequence is to ignore reality (and the news). Of course, it will take something more significant than we have seen so far to cause any large section of society to simultaneously feel disenfranchised and desperate enough to really lash out en masse.

It's easy for people, drawing on their limited lifetime of experiences, to imagine things will continue on for the next 50 years pretty much the same way they have for the last 50 years, but to think that the proverbial final straw can never possibly arrive in your lifetime is incredibly naïve.

I expect the trigger for the inevitable domino effect will not even begin in the United States. The dominoes will, however, eventually begin to fall somewhere and when they do it will create an incredible amount of societal pressure. When that happens, I expect, out of a disproportionate sense of desperation, the blame games will get out of hand.

Anonymous Edjamacator February 22, 2013 1:48 PM  

Say what you mean, Nate. You don't mean simply shooting. You mean rebellion against duly elected and authorized government of the people. You mean insurrection.

You say that like it's a bad thing. I guess you think we should still be under the crown, don't you?

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 1:49 PM  

Gee, I wonder WHY they are practicing more all of a sudden.

"I primarily go to shooting ranges with co-workers and friends, but occasionally with family as well," says Jonna Thomas, 30, who works in food research and development in Hollister, Calif. "Our favorite shooting range to go to is at Laguna Seca Raceway, because they have both a pistol and rifle range, and it is a central location for all of our group." The public range is run by Monterey County Parks and is open four days a week.

Shooting range instructor Julianna Crowder (second from right) has dinner with fellow members of the shooting league A Girl and A Gun, in Leander, Texas.

Each of her friends has a favorite type of gun, Thomas says. Hers is a .357 Magnum. "I enjoy improving my accuracy with that gun and learning how to handle the other types of guns," she says. She also says she doesn't plan to use the gun "in reality," but she enjoys the "high level of hand-eye coordination" that it takes to shoot well.

Usually the group goes out for a few hours in the late morning. They compare scores and swap guns with one another. "We have one co-worker who is a true collector," Thomas says.

While some fire off a few rounds, others hang out and chat together at picnic tables in the sun, Thomas says. "We go out to pizza for lunch."


Don't you get it? It's trendy. It's the new IT thing for young people with disposable cash.

If you think that Jonna Thomas, 30, is the next rebel patriot and is going to be the one who starts the next revolution, I suspect you will be wrong (unless it fits into her Friends re-run schedule, and she can find someone to feed her cat).

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 1:53 PM  

Of course, it will take something more significant than we have seen so far to cause any large section of society to simultaneously feel disenfranchised and desperate enough to really lash out en masse.

Right.. something would have to change from how things are now to get to that point. Which means, by definition, we are not at the point of this massive reaction, the conditions are not right.

Your argument, by the way, is why many liberals such as myself have a hard time taking the "disinterested observers" serious.

It is much more likely that the poor underclass will over throw the status quo in reaction to having the welfare-state curtailed than to imagine a race war. And when, of course, the disinterested observers actively seek to curtail that welfare state, it's hard to judge that as anything other than a desire to accelerate a violent conflagration.

Anonymous Agent Asper February 22, 2013 1:56 PM  

"If you think that Jonna Thomas, 30, is the next rebel patriot and is going to be the one who starts the next revolution, I suspect you will be wrong. - dh"

The most common ammo types are up 100-300%. Gun are very hard to get right now (semiauto rifles, pistols, and double-action revolvers being the most in demand).

If you think Jonna Thomas types are the ones buying every single gun and round off the shelves, I suspect you will be wrong.

Anonymous VD February 22, 2013 1:58 PM  

The question is only about causation. You cannot claim that the sunset will set, and then say that it was caused by unicorn breezes when it sets.
If in 50 years something happens that causes the US to collapse I fully expect your bedridden, over aged, happy Italian self to raise up a bony finger and say "I told you so!"


I identified 2030-2033 as my target timeframe and explained why at least eight years ago. It's hardly my fault that you haven't been following along since the beginning. But it's a bit obnoxious to claim that I haven't done what I have already done on several occasions.

You don't think I should keep repeating myself over and over for the benefit of those who haven't been following along.

Anonymous Edjamacator February 22, 2013 2:03 PM  

Don't you get it? It's trendy. It's the new IT thing for young people with disposable cash.

Hardly. The timing is just too convenient and the NYT is giving you anecdotal "evidence" to make it sound like people aren't arming up to protect against Adolph Obama. It's been pointed out hundreds of times that Obama is the greatest gun salesman ever.

However, while I do believe people are arming up for something, I don't believe anything will ever be done. In Colorado the gun owners are taking about "punishing the Dems at the ballot box." As if that will accomplish anything once their guns are seized. I don't see any new violent American uprising, or it wouldn't be incompetent enough to allow Obama and the Dems to continue consolidating their power without having done something to nip in the bud BEFORE it's too late. I have to wonder when the Founders would have acted, and something tells me it wouldn't have taken this long.

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2013 2:05 PM  

"However, inflating away a $100B a year is (and has been done) possible and relatively easily."

It is possible, but what you're ignoring is the necessity for balanced budgets. The Fed alone cannot resolve this through inflation. As they inflate, they increase costs, which increases deficits. Despite the Fed's continuous attempts at inflation, national debt as a percentage of GDP is steadily increasing, with (at most) a few brief periods in the last 40 years when the debt/GDP ratio actually declined.

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2013 2:26 PM  

"Right.. something would have to change from how things are now to get to that point. Which means, by definition, we are not at the point of this massive reaction, the conditions are not right."

dh, by your logic, virtually no conflict in the history of mankind would ever have occurred. Clearly you're missing something. By your expressed reasoning, you reveal a blindness to historical patterns and a thorough lack of appreciation for the complex and often irrational manner with which men conduct their affairs.

In Colorado the gun owners are taking about "punishing the Dems at the ballot box." As if that will accomplish anything once their guns are seized.

Sane people do not want war. It is a last resort.

Anonymous Scintan February 22, 2013 2:34 PM  

If you think that Jonna Thomas, 30, is the next rebel patriot and is going to be the one who starts the next revolution, I suspect you will be wrong (unless it fits into her Friends re-run schedule, and she can find someone to feed her cat).

Jonna doesn't need to start the revolution. She just needs to stand up when the time comes. There's a big difference. A movement needs many followers, but it only needs one leader.

Anonymous Dan in Tx February 22, 2013 2:35 PM  

The "average person" is not a single entity. Point being, everyone has their own personal line that they will not tolerate the government crossing. There is no hidden rebel army just waiting for the day to take up arms against the federal government. The shooting part of this will occur on a case by case basis starting with those on the fringes, as their threshold of intolerable acts will be set much lower than everyone else's. Myself for instance: I hate this government, I believe a benevolent dictator would be an improvement over the corrupt monstrosity we have now. However for the most part they are still allowing me to live my life from day to day as I choose. They have not kicked my door in or shot my dog. However make no mistake, if they were to say, kill a family member for whatever foolish overreaching reason, I would make war on them. Would I be able to topple them? Of course not but I guarantee I could send many to hell before they even figured out who I was. As it stands now, as long as they continue to pretty much leave me alone, I will go on about my life, raising my son and going about my business.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 2:41 PM  

Jonna doesn't need to start the revolution. She just needs to stand up when the time comes. There's a big difference. A movement needs many followers, but it only needs one leader.

True. But I suspect if you are expecting Jonna to do anything that doesn't involve the mall, or her Volkswagen Beatle, than you will be disappointed.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 2:42 PM  

Despite the Fed's continuous attempts at inflation, national debt as a percentage of GDP is steadily increasing, with (at most) a few brief periods in the last 40 years when the debt/GDP ratio actually declined.

The #1 reason has been the ability to borrow more.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 2:51 PM  

I identified 2030-2033 as my target timeframe and explained why at least eight years ago. It's hardly my fault that you haven't been following along since the beginning. But it's a bit obnoxious to claim that I haven't done what I have already done on several occasions.

You don't think I should keep repeating myself over and over for the benefit of those who haven't been following along.


That is a fair point. Obviously time will tell.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 2:53 PM  

By your expressed reasoning, you reveal a blindness to historical patterns and a thorough lack of appreciation for the complex and often irrational manner with which men conduct their affairs.

I think the more fair assessment is that it is surprising there haven't been MORE wars and violent conflicts.

I view the polarization of civil society in the US as more akin to sports teams than real important matters.

I mean, the low-information idiots on all sides don't believe the stuff they are saying. It's basically more of "Yankees suck" and debates about who is the best whatever, ever.

Blogger IM2L844 February 22, 2013 2:58 PM  

And when, of course, the disinterested observers actively seek to curtail that welfare state, it's hard to judge that as anything other than a desire to accelerate a violent conflagration.

I would hardly call someone who wants to keep what should rightfully belong to them a disinterested observer.

Anonymous Scintan February 22, 2013 3:13 PM  

True. But I suspect if you are expecting Jonna to do anything that doesn't involve the mall, or her Volkswagen Beatle, than you will be disappointed.

The question isn't whether this particular Jonna will join. The question is just how many Jonna's will join. There will be many. The question is if it will be enough.

Anonymous Imatiger February 22, 2013 3:19 PM  

@ VD

Why did you pick Italy to go to? I confess I have very little knowledge or understanding of Italy, other than stories told by my 2nd generation Italian friends.

@ IM2L844

To be clear, I don't subscribe to Hegelian dialetics as the only or even preferable way to deconstruct all problems. I am a pragmatist above all else. If it doesn't work, it gets discarded. Much of the reason why I find this blog interesting.

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 3:22 PM  

The question isn't whether this particular Jonna will join. The question is just how many Jonna's will join. There will be many. The question is if it will be enough.

It is much more likely it will be a number very close to zero.

Compare the intellect and dedication of someone like VD, to Jonna. If VD, someone with a vast knowledge of history, military conflict, armed conflicts, tactics, strategy, warefare and personal arms is not willing to join, what makes you think that ANY of the happy-gun toting suburban hipsters are going to join?

Let's be really honest here. It's all a pipe dream.

I've read the first-hand and second-hand accounts of a few dozen Syrian's who are fighting their government. It's been, what, close to a year and there isn't any indicating it will end soon. These are people who are dealing with serious armed resistance, privation, retaliation killings, and collective punishment. Inside the country there isn't any really side of the conflict that's blameless - choatic and messy is probably fair.

There is nothing to suggest current Americans are going to put up with this.

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2013 3:25 PM  

"The #1 reason has been the ability to borrow more."

It stretches the limits of imagination to continue to call our government's deficit spending "borrowing." The Fed creates new money, the government spends it, and the Fed pretends to hold something of value. The Fed is buying the majority of new Treasury debt already.

Anonymous Imatiger February 22, 2013 3:26 PM  

@ dh

I doubt most Americans would put up with it. That's why I think you would have regional strongmen popping up, herding people into de facto camps. Me, I plan to go down shooting near the start.

Anonymous RedJack February 22, 2013 3:29 PM  

February 22, 2013 10:10 AM Sic semper Europa.

Hitler was the closest they've gotten to Eco's dream in a while. He was beloved by an impressive minority of both Brits and Italians and many points in between


Hitler just was the current dream of a Unites States of Europe. Just like Napoleon.
What is interesting is that they both are viewed as anti Christs. I wonder when the next one will enter the stage.

Anonymous . February 22, 2013 3:36 PM  

Point being, everyone has their own personal line that they will not tolerate the government crossing.

Yeah, but I woulda thought that "gummint agents fondling me, my woman and my children" would have been a red line for more people than it obviously was. If the vast majority of people will put up with that, what won't they put up with?

Anonymous dh February 22, 2013 3:45 PM  

As it stands now, as long as they continue to pretty much leave me alone, I will go on about my life, raising my son and going about my business.

This is very honest, thanks for posting it. It is essentially the Gasden Flag, in practice.

And an admission that most of what the keyboard rebel patriot forces write online isn't true.

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2013 3:54 PM  

"If you think that Jonna Thomas, 30, is the next rebel patriot and is going to be the one who starts the next revolution, I suspect you will be wrong (unless it fits into her Friends re-run schedule, and she can find someone to feed her cat)."

Cherry picking much? You're talking about a woman from a New York Times article. Do you believe for a second they a "news" organization that won't mention Fast & Furious would write a story about someone who made a well thought out case for revolution?

"There is nothing to suggest current Americans are going to put up with this."

What suggested that the Syrians would endure the sort of hardships they are currently experiencing? Why did they suddenly revolt when they had already lived under a dictatorship for so long?

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2013 3:57 PM  

"And an admission that most of what the keyboard rebel patriot forces write online isn't true."

Hardly. I believe that being left alone is all that the very most "radical" among us want.

Anonymous RedJack February 22, 2013 4:01 PM  

dh February 22, 2013 2:41 PM Jonna doesn't need to start the revolution. She just needs to stand up when the time comes. There's a big difference. A movement needs many followers, but it only needs one leader.

True. But I suspect if you are expecting Jonna to do anything that doesn't involve the mall, or her Volkswagen Beatle, than you will be disappointed.



dh,
First of all, the mythical "Jonna" may or may not be a composite of a number of interviews done by the editor. But assuming that she is as she says she is, you do have a point.
But what happens when the VW bug is stolen, the mall is gone, and she has few, if any, choices to continue her current lifestyle. In such situations, many die, but a number of nice quiet people become very dangerous and very capable. Look back into history of the aftermath of economic collapse and failed government. Syria wasn't all that bad not to long ago. A large number of the Christians in Iraq went to Syria for that reason. Yet they are now acting a low budget Stalingrad. Why? What happened? And more in importantly, why do they stay?
Jonna may only be buying a gun because it is a fad now. I have tutored a number of people, many liberal, who had that same view. But when things start to turn, she may turn with it.
Don't bet on the status quo prior to the black swan event.

If my spelling is off, this is from my phone.

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2013 4:05 PM  

"True. But I suspect if you are expecting Jonna to do anything that doesn't involve the mall, or her Volkswagen Beatle, than you will be disappointed."

Ever seen a Volkswagen Beetle with a ma-deuce mounted up top? Kewtness!

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2013 4:19 PM  

dh, historically, civil conflicts tend to erupt when there is an overwhelming sense by a significant portion of the population (not necessarily a majority) that there is immediate danger, their hand is being forced, or that they have nothing left to lose. Basically, there is widespread feeling that the only alternative to fighting is death at the hands of an oppressor. Needless to say, this belief does not need to be correct.

Blogger tz February 22, 2013 4:40 PM  

George of the Hole February 22, 2013 12:28 PM

Vox: The intellectual elite always loves Empire.

And they are usually the first to be purged.


"Loves" in the sense of what Tad engages in?

Anonymous Athor Pel February 22, 2013 4:59 PM  

"dh February 22, 2013 3:45 PM
...
And an admission that most of what the keyboard rebel patriot forces write online isn't true."



I'm coming to believe you're a paid agent and not a real person with a genuine opinion.

But just in case you are a real person and not a sock puppet,

Your disdain for those in fly over country practically drips from your fingers. It permeates everything you say on this subject. You just can't let it go. Every dig you can get in must be thrown.

In your eyes everyone in the big middle of the country is either too stupid, or too ignorant, or too inept, or too overweight, or too consumed with televised sports or celebrity news to make any kind of significant impression on the world.

You'll probably continue to say that right up to the time one of those now naked fatties comes to eat your face after their debit card stops spending, they run out of Zoloft and the stuff they steal to take the edge off doesn't quite work like they planned.


Just because you're a coward doesn't mean other folks won't actively resist unto death if they get pushed one step too far. You really need to stop projecting.


But here's the point you seem to be missing, a storm is coming. The signs are all there. You're just ignoring them, writing them off. The rules are about to change. The world you now know will stop and a new world will take its place. You will not like the new world. Neither you or me will be truly welcome there. The folks everyone knew were "really nice people" will stop being so nice. They will stop being nice because all the rules will have changed.

Revolutionaries and radicals aren't born, they are made.

Anonymous Dan in Tx February 22, 2013 5:01 PM  

. said: "Yeah, but I woulda thought that "gummint agents fondling me, my woman and my children" would have been a red line for more people than it obviously was. If the vast majority of people will put up with that, what won't they put up with?"

Again, folks like me don't put up with it we make a conscious decision to not fly. Should I have to do that? No but deciding to take up arms and actually kill other human beings is not something to be taken lightly and will always be the option of last resort to anyone of rational and sane thought.

Anonymous Col. Bunny February 22, 2013 5:15 PM  

Outstanding comment!!

Anonymous DonReynolds February 22, 2013 5:30 PM  

There is an expression in Europe, that the Russian is a perfectly delightful fellow until he tucks his shirt in his pants. This is not the traditional look for Russians and when the Russian tries to be a European, it seems awkward, obtuse, maybe even comical. The same can be said for all the other nationalities that make up Europe. A Greek is a colorful character and it is difficult for him to convince other Europeans, that he is one too. In order to become a European, he must stop being a Greek. The same can be said of the Irish, or the French, or the Germans, the Spanish, or the Italians. They are not one people, they are many peoples. I have yet to meet a European who thinks of himself or herself as a European when I have visited there. If you were to ask them what a European might be, mostly what you will get is confused stares.

The modern EU began originally as the coal and steel union, a deliberate attempt to make future war impossible by denying any one country the independent ability to produce steel. The coal and steel union was a plan to make every major nation completely dependent on the trade and goodwill of their neighbors, thus the forlorn hope that future wars would be impossible. No one pretended (until recently) that European man even existed. If anything, it was an artificial construct that created a critical dependency on the members of the coal and steel union....specifically recognizing that yet another repeat of the fratricidal wars was likely BECAUSE the European man did not exist. This was a forced welding of people who did not meet at eye level, having no intention of meaningful integration, and would not compromise or pretend to compromise any of the things that made them different and distinct. E pluribus unum is the American motto, not a European one.

The EU is an attempt to restore the Holy Roman Empire, which had almost nothing to do with the ancient Romans. As such, it is a political device and further attempts to put the EU masters in control of the economy will likely fail. While the Holy Roman Empire had the Roman Catholic Church for cement, there is nothing to bond the EU together, not even the common currency (Euro), which the UK does not even use. When the Americans significantly reduce their presence in European nations, it will not make the Europeans suddenly appreciate each other. More likely, it will be similar to removing the referees from the soccer match.

Anonymous Stephen J. February 22, 2013 5:39 PM  

VD: "The collapse is coming. It is inevitable."

Well, yes. But this goes back to the point I made above, which I will repeat now: When will it come? Over a long enough timespan collapse of any system is inevitable; you only sell off your oceanfront property when you expect the tidal wave within the year, not sometime in the next 20 to 50 years.

Actually, let's make that a thought exercise: If you believe that a significant social collapse, involving at least 1,000 deaths and the use of organized military force, has a reasonable (let's say at least 1 in 6) chance of occurring in the next five to ten years in either Europe or the USA, tell us the year you think it's most likely to happen, where it's likeliest to kick off, and why. Ballpark guesses are fine, and no wagers demanded; I just always like to see brass tacks on the table.

Anonymous Stephen J. February 22, 2013 5:43 PM  

To put my money where my mouth is, I'll take the simplest option: I think it's a reasonable chance that within five to ten years, there will be riots in Greece of such ferocity that the army will be called in to put them down and everything the nation owes the EU will more or less have to be written off. The ripple effects of that are beyond my expertise, but I can't think they would be casually dismissable.

Anonymous allyn71 February 22, 2013 5:44 PM  

"And an admission that most of what the keyboard rebel patriot forces write online isn't true." -dh February 22, 2013 3:45 PM


What is your metric for claiming that what they state their actions to be isn't true? Because their isn't a hot war where people are shooting yet?

As has been repeatedly pointed out armed conflict isn't what sane and rational people want but that doesn't mean that it won't happen at some point. It also doesn't mean that what folks are saying they will do is false when and if that time comes.

Everyone that is watching knows that things won't go hot as long as the bread and circuses are being maintained. It will only be when the dance can no longer go on and the transfer payments can no longer be kept up that the chaos will begin.

The .gov knows it and is preparing, the "patriot force" know and are preparing. Just because an event it isn't occuring on your self-determined timeline doesn't mean that it isn't gonna happen.

Your the kid in the back of the car asking "Are we there yet?" and stating "We are never gonna get there" while seemingly ingnorant of the fact that you are going down the road at 65 mph.

Anonymous Noah B. February 22, 2013 5:51 PM  

Your the kid in the back of the car asking "Are we there yet?" and stating "We are never gonna get there" while seemingly ingnorant of the fact that you are going down the road at 65 mph.

That's a very fitting analogy.

Anonymous JartStar February 22, 2013 7:55 PM  

Well, yes. But this goes back to the point I made above, which I will repeat now: When will it come?

As he said in this very post, ~2033 for the USA. That's so far off though it is of limited use as there are so many things that could happen between now and then, but assuming there's no major intercontinental war or such it is reasonable to think that's how long it will take before truly reshapes the country we know.

Anonymous GreyS February 22, 2013 9:12 PM  

Spain integrates Sharia Law into legal code regarding adoptions:

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3595/spain-adoption-islam

Anonymous Col. Bunny February 22, 2013 9:16 PM  

Nothing provokes Americans. Decades of open borders, contumacious Muslims, a constitutionally-unqualified "president," Waco, Ruby Ridge, a runaway Supreme Court? It's all good.

Blogger James Dixon February 22, 2013 11:58 PM  

> The "worst case scenario" is that the US simply stops paying bonds, and lives hand-to-mouth. Is that really so bad?

Actually, I consider that the best case scenario.

> You and your fellow flag flyers...

Did I say I had a flag, dh?

> And yet, despite all this, the shooting has not started, you have not gone galt, and you have done nothing at all of substance.

If you're so certain you've won, dh, why haven't you taken all the guns already and rounded all of us up? That's traditionally the next step.

> Sane people do not want war. It is a last resort.

This has been explained to him several times already. He doesn't listen.

Anonymous TangoMan February 22, 2013 11:58 PM  

Nothing provokes Americans.

Lots of things provoke Americans, including many of the issue that you list. What's not happening is that provocation doesn't lead to reaction because the cost of reacting would disrupt normality and the IMMEDIATE benefit gained from reacting wouldn't outweigh the immediate benefit of just living life.

Anonymous dh February 23, 2013 12:54 AM  

> Sane people do not want war. It is a last resort.

This has been explained to him several times already. He doesn't listen.


It's not that I won't listen, it's that your position makes no sense.

If you're so certain you've won, dh, why haven't you taken all the guns already and rounded all of us up? That's traditionally the next step.

And that's where you are wrong. History is a great predictor of things to come, for sure, but it's not the only predictor. And it's not always right. An increased level of gun control does not mean confiscation in itself (though there are those arguing for it).

But you are right about one thing. The evidence is clear the 2nd amendment is failure - the liberals have won. All the guns in America haven't slowed the growth of the Federal government. There is no check on Federal power provided by the 2nd amendment. The government has doubled, and doubled, and then doubled again in size in just a few decades. The fact that the shooting hasn't started despite hundreds of intolerable acts shows that whatever protection the spectre of the 2nd amendment provides is simply futile.

Anonymous allyn71 February 23, 2013 1:08 AM  

Once again dh you are basing your assumptions on your own personal timelines.

Should all out war with all that it entails be enacted at the first sign of injustice? I will go back to the anology I made earlier, we are going down a road at 65 mph. Just because we aren't to the destination when you thought we should be doesn't mean we are not gonna get there. (And for my 2 cents I pray that we don't although I am not sure it can be avoided now)

People will put up with much until they decide they won't. I doubt very few that gathered on Lexington green that day thought they would be the spark that started a war.

Just because an event hasn't happened yet when you think it should have doesn't mean it won't. If a river doesn't flood this year or next does it mean the river will never again have another 100yr flood?

Anonymous Another Anon February 23, 2013 1:45 AM  

The reasons the US hasn't had a civil uprising are many but one that is overlooked is the fact that the bulk of the people who want change are Conservative. Conservatives are certainly capable of violence but they are a whole lot less likely to start something that will almost certainly end in a massive bloodbath. Its hard to conserve when you've just unleashed hell and its really hard to conserve if the hell you just unleashed destroyed the union you are trying to protect.

As for numbers, it doesn't require large numbers to make violent change and mass movements are not required. They may happen, certainly the foundations are being laid but a nation of atomized hyper individualists will find its own new way.

A last bit, one issue that never comes up is legitimacy. Assuming the balloon went up and all that, how exactly would the Right govern? The other half the population who are not Conservatives or willing to be governed in that ,old are not going to be happy, Neither would the Right be willing to be governed by any remnant of the other group. Can you really blame anyone especially a sane Right thinking person for eschewing such a choice,.

Anonymous Tad February 23, 2013 2:53 AM  

@dh

The government has doubled, and doubled, and then doubled again in size in just a few decades. The fact that the shooting hasn't started despite hundreds of intolerable acts shows that whatever protection the spectre of the 2nd amendment provides is simply futile.

This also demonstrates something else, similar, but different: a larger Government size isn't the kind of thing that gets American's up in arms, let alone shooting. In fact, it's entirely reasonable to assume that most 21st century Americans recognize that the nature of global relations as well as the growing size of the country requires larger government to mitigate the various issue that arise with an interdependent world and larger population.

Consider the implications of only one development: intercontinental ballistic missiles and a nuclear payload. Prior to this development, Americans were literally protected by two seas. Despite the attack by Japan, that kind of aggression could not be sustained by the Japanese. It was graphic and audacious display of power, but it's not something that you had to worry about happening at any time. With easily deliverable payloads carrying massive destruction and launched without the use of any power, all of a sudden the world becomes many times smaller. That kind of threat requires a more active government.

This is just one example of how changes in technology, trade, economics, energy and other fields might indeed justify a kind of larger government that didn't offend Americans.

Blogger James Dixon February 23, 2013 7:25 AM  

> ...it's that your position makes no sense.

Not particularly wanting to kill people if you can avoid it makes no sense? OK.

Blogger Rantor February 23, 2013 8:19 AM  

The European dream is dying... Sorry late to the party but just wanted to say: That's a good thing!

Why do I hear Devo in my head...

Anonymous Edjamacator February 23, 2013 9:30 PM  

Oh, gee, Tad, did you not answer yet another question that displayed your idiocy and hypocrisy? Go figure.

Anonymous The CronoLink February 24, 2013 2:21 AM  

"That kind of threat requires a more active government."

A threat that was caused by an active government requires an active government to be solved.

GENIUS

Anonymous Chromoly Man February 24, 2013 3:44 AM  

"The EU is in the imperial tradition of Augustus, Napoleon, and Hitler, and as such, it can never command the loyalty of an Asterix."
-
Augustus never brought any nearer a Europe like The Camp of the Saints, but that is the EU's whole business.

The Augustean agenda - no more civil wars, military demobilization and Rome rebuilt in marble - was a good one. But even if it hadn't been, the option was there to submit to it and suffer no permanent, genetic harm.

With the EU, signed up as it is for the white Western elite's adopted agenda of mass immigration and forced integration, there is no such option.

When the empire imports millions of Muslims into Gaul, and requires the Gauls to assimilate with them (while leaving the Muslim hordes free to play "us vs. them" games), then either Asterix opposes the empire or there are no more Asterixes.

What the multiculturalists want is a fake hero, a Judas goat, to lead the entire European race into a blood-reeking building from which it will never emerge alive.

Anonymous dh February 25, 2013 12:20 AM  

Not particularly wanting to kill people if you can avoid it makes no sense? OK.

Right, in the context of everything else, this irrational. IF believe that all regulations happening now are the "bricks in the wall" of future totalitarian moves, then the only rational action is to oppose, at all costs, the next "brick in the wall", and any others that have happened before you realized they were bricks in the wall.

This is self-evident because, you never know when the next brick may be the brick which renders you *unable* to resist in any meaningful way. Specifically, right now is the only time you are guaranteed to have at least your present level of ability to resist. Each additional brick reduces your ability to resist. The *best* chance for victory is now.

Yet, given this logically sound information, nothing happens.

This is pretty conclusive logical evidence that:

1. The "brick theory" isn't true, or rather, isn't necessarily true.

OR

2. The people claiming grievance to the maximum are actually more or less content with the status quo. People who are already on the edge of being radicalized do not need a big push.

OR

3. Most of the would be keyboard patriot rebels are actually idiots who are about to be outflanked by some more intelligent force.

Blogger James Dixon February 25, 2013 8:29 PM  

> 3. Most of the would be keyboard patriot rebels are actually idiots who are about to be outflanked by some more intelligent force.

Oh, so you are planning on confiscating the guns and rounding us up after all. Thanks for confirming that. Not that I ever doubted it.

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