The Best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.
It is envy that makes a Communist, Nazi, or Moslem Terrorist. It is the fear of being envied that makes a liberal.
Liberalism is not a political philosophy or coherent set of beliefs. It is a psychological strategy to avoid being envied.
You: an average American. You are deeply in debt and still continue to borrow every day to feed your habit. You walk into Wawa and, for a measly $2.99 coffee and breakfast sandwich, you rip out the credit card because you have no cash (that’s me behind you in line). The concept of buying only those things you can actually afford is foreign to you. You feel that a $500k home with a big screen TV and BMW in the driveway are entitlements you deserve … even though you never finished college and earn about $45k/year. Going back to school … improving your skills … these are also distasteful to you. Math was not your favorite subject and, when the mortgage brokers told you that you could borrow your way to riches, you bit hook, line and sinker. Your mortgage rate has reset …you’re on the verge of foreclosure, making minimum payments on your credit cards and the Yellow Pages book on your kitchen table is opened up to “Bankruptcy Attorneys”. Gas prices and utility bills are killing you. Your job is not as secure as you thought. You are panicked. You are desperate. And the liquidation of assets (toys) such as your Beemer, your Big Screen, your fancy electronic toys, your Sea Doo, that nice new diamond ring bought with home equity cash … is going to be necessary to buy food and heat.
Of course, it’s all someone else’s fault. That someone else is …
Me: I sold my home at in late 2002 knowing full well that this massive housing bubble was unsustainable (I was a math major – that geeky guy you hated and despised in high school). And, no, you can’t copy my test answers. I put over half a million in the bank (less than $100k in any one bank to have complete FDIC insurance coverage). I didn’t have a mortgage because I always spent less than I earned and aggressively paid off my mortgage in just 7 years. I also didn’t pay a Realtor commission when I sold – who needed a Realtor to sell ANYTHING in 2002. I could have sold an outhouse for $250k to you dopes back then. I am a renter and I rent a 3-bedroom home cheap because the landlord has no pricing power. Rents are going to get even cheaper as more housing supply comes on the market and desperate flippers will rent at almost any price to soften the negative cash flow a bit. While you were buying your McMansion, I paid cash for everything, have no debt whatsoever and SAVE almost $30k/year. I don’t own a big screen TV. I have never bought a new car and I never will (not an investment – a depreciating asset). I am clearly *NOT* doing my part to support the US economy and you can blame me all you want for not pulling my weight. I am going to be a homeowner again but not for a few years. Housing is going to take a 50%+ haircut no matter what “stimulus” Bush provides in the form of rebates and regardless of whether Bernanke cuts interest rates to ZERO. The bond market will negate any interest rate reduction in hours or minutes. That ¾ point cut last week was swallowed up by the bond market in just 3 hours. It won’t matter a whit as there is too much debt and leverage in play for this not to unwind very painfully. I am not in the stock market either as that haircut will be equally painful. In the meantime, I want to enjoy life so I’m in the market for a few toys; specifically *your* toys (I don’t pay retail for anything). At the right price, my son would love to watch sports on a nice big screen. I’m thinking of riding your jet skis this summer (cheap, of course). My wife and I get along splendidly. She and I are like-minded with regard to the above. So, she would not mind at all wearing that nice diamond ring even if it’s second hand (she’d probably come in her panties if she knew I got it for dimes on the dollar). My car still runs nice but your BMW would be a great addition to my driveway. I don’t care what you owe on it – I’m not paying that much. But I am paying CASH. What have you got?
WHEN BIG ENEMIES ENCOUNTER SMALL NOTHINGS
A serious man sees no danger in being clueless about sports, celebrities or fashion. At the same time, to be clueless about enemies, about those who are out to destroy you, is very dangerous indeed. Such ignorance, in fact, is shameful and no excuses will be excepted once cities have been bombed and whole regions devastated. If you think this is an exaggeration, then you haven’t read much history and have no idea of the precipice upon which civilization stands today. It is more convenient for the average fool to say that America – not Russia – threatens world peace. It is the lazy man's geopolitics to repeat the latest anti-American conspiracy theory; to say that America is the Big Bad Wolf and Bush is Hitler. How creative, how original today’s anti-Americanism has become. It reverberates from every side as bedrock truth. The indecent crowd passes this ideological poison as they pass germs. And so, in public discourse, we find ourselves face-to-face with the intellectual equivalent of the bubonic plague.
WHEN THE HERD PANICS
We live in the Age of the Herd. After all, people want to belong. They adopt ideologies, attitudes and poses from those around them. They invest money in the same way they adopt opinions. They draw conclusions without thinking. They make decisions without foundation. It is, after all, a reasonable shortcut to assume that someone else has thoroughly examined everything beforehand; that all the angles have been calculated, that a safe path has already been cut through the wilderness. Think of the work and study one must do in order to justify one’s own independent conclusions? Who could possibly afford the time, the effort and the humiliation of discovering that his peers are mainly interested in the more plausible ideas of the multitude? And so, for the most part, our self-advertised individualists are frauds; their individualism is a pose with which they fool themselves and others. The genuine individualist is rarely seen. He would rather avoid a public lynching, and keep alive by staying out of the way. Over a century ago, Friedrich Nietzsche noted “the inner enfeeblement, discouragement and self vexation” of Europe’s non-herd animals. He said that “the perpetual emphasizing of qualities of mediocrity as the most valuable” was progressively making the “strongly constituted” more gloomy.
LETTING GO OF OUR DEFENSES
There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose. Read whole article