08 Apr 2022

New Episodes of BMS and LMS

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Bob Murphy Show ep. 235 is my Part 5 on Klaus Schwab.

Ep. 82 of the Lara-Murphy Show features a revisitation of our “How to Weather the Coming Financial Storms” presentation.

And here’s a short video I made for a college panel on Austrian economics:

29 Responses to “New Episodes of BMS and LMS”

  1. skylien says:

    Hey Bob,

    Some offtopic question that might be something for your podcast. Now there is this clip going viral from Megan Fox about drinking each others blood as a ritual, which lets some people I highly respect to say something like this:

    “Totally not Satanic. Nothing to see here” with link to Megan Fox’s interview:

    https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1519352123762348040

    Now I think those people usually get it right. However first of all, yes something like this is super weird, also telling it so casually. So I am not saying this is normal or something like that… In any case I know you are Christian now and I have seen you say things about people doing Satan’s will in this world as well. However I also think you are one of those who really try to be very generous in interpreting what other people say, do and mean. So also I am sure that you would say that yes I think there really are people actually doing Satan’s bidding in this world, however there also are confused minds doing just stupid stuff.

    For context I watched the whole interview on Glamour Magazine:
    Link 1 below.

    And also this additional couples interview together with MGK on GQ:
    Link 2 below

    Both do not appear to hold back. They seem to me to be utterly truthful. Not something real Satanists would do. I would rather guess real Satanists would hide their rituals and try to paint themselves relatable and smooth as silk, so to get influence. Both some really outworldly and not relatable at all to me or to the average Joe. Megan is clearly also talking about God and being good. To me it looks like she, or both actually are just troubled souls on the look for some answers and meaning, and maybe going “off the rails” at times to reach that. MGK is clearly a comic fan, and his favourite character is Lucifer from a comic I do not know… Nevertheless they do not appear to me to be “evil” people being actual Satanists trying to actually harm people. So can I ask you: What is your take on this?

  2. skylien says:

    BTW: Your series on the WEF is great! Also loved that you had Keith Weiner on, I would love if you two could hash out some differences you for sure have on the theory of money, real bills etc..

    • random person says:

      Yeah, I was listening to those, and Bob really did a great job conveying the creepiness of the WEF. Something Machiavellian going on there. (In the sense of Machiavelli’s writings in “The Prince”.)

      • skylien says:

        What makes Machiavelli’s book so creepy in my view is that it is written like: Not saying you should do this or that it is right, but if you wanted to maximize your power … then do…

        • random person says:

          Machiavelli was a torture survivor, and most likely experiencing some form of dissociative identities. (What psychologists call “dissociative identity disorder”, although I think “dissociative identity coping strategy” might be a more accurate description, since the dissociation often helps people to cope with extreme psychological stressors, such as torture or child sexual abuse.)

          If you want details on how he was tortured, just look up “Machiavelli strappado” on Google. Note that it is rather gruesome.

          Anyway, Machiavelli described how he wrote the Prince is a letter to Francesco Vettori, dated 13th December 1513. I believe it to be a fairly clear description of a rather potent manifestation of dissociative identities. It seems that the experience brought him great comfort from the troubles of his life, which reinforces my belief that it is a coping strategy.

          The evening being come, I return home and go to my study; at the entrance I pull off my peasant-clothes, covered with dust and dirt, and put on my noble court dress, and thus becomingly re-clothed I pass into the ancient courts of the men of old, where, being lovingly received by them, I am fed with that food which is mine alone; where I do not hesitate to speak with them, and to ask for the reason of their actions, and they in their benignity answer me; and for four hours I feel no weariness, I forget every trouble, poverty does not dismay, death does not terrify me; I am possessed entirely by those great men. And because Dante says:

          “Knowledge doth come of learning well retained,
          Unfruitful else,”

          I have noted down what I have gained from their conversation, and have composed a small work on ‘Principalities,’ where I pour myself out as fully as I can in meditation on the subject, discussing what a principality is, what kinds there are, how they can be acquired, how they can be kept, why they are lost: and if any of my fancies ever pleased you, this ought not to displease you: and to a prince, especially to a new one, it should be welcome: therefore I dedicate it to his Magnificence Giuliano. Filippo Casavecchio has seen it; he will be able to tell you what is in it, and of the discourses I have had with him; nevertheless, I am still enriching and polishing it.

          https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1232/1232-h/1232-h.htm

          It makes sense that a torture survivor would use dissociative identities as a coping strategy. (Perhaps Machiavelli had experienced dissociative identities even before being tortured. He might have been abused as a child, for all I know.) But in any case, regardless of when he experienced it, it makes psychological sense. Someone who is being tortured or otherwised abused is likely to become obsessed with studying the psychology of their torturers and/or abusers. This is a strategic decision; in order to figure out how to protect oneself form the torture and/or abuse, it make sense to study the psychology of the perpetrators. In the course of this study, a voice which essentially mimics the torture or abuser may take up residence inside the head of the person experiencing dissociative identities. This can be unpleasant, but it allows the person experiencing dissociative identities to perform psychological experiments within the relative safety of their own head. Alternatively, it may not be the voice of the actual torturer or abuser, but of someone similar enough to help explain the actions of the torturer or abuser.

          Additionally, torture and/or abuse can be a very lonely experience. In the absence of real friends to help one through the extreme psychological stress, a person may use dissociative identities to essentially construct artificial friends within one’s own head.

          When Machiavelli talks of being “lovingly received” by the voices in his head, kindly treated by them, and of them answering his questions about the reasons for their actions, it appears that he is using dissociative identities to do both of the things I just described: to perform psychological experiments within the relative safety of his own had, and to have artificial friends who comfort him through his psychological distress. It makes total sense that someone with a history of being on the receiving end of severe torture and/or abuse would cope in this manner.

          Dissociative identities can have other uses. A person might construct an identity to attempt to persuade the torturer or abuser to stop (e.g. by conforming to the wishes of that person), another identity to suffer the torture or abuse, and so on.

          But having dissociative identities can have side effects. It can be difficult to maintain one’s sense of self when experiencing dissociative identities. When you have many voices in your head, it can be hard to keep track of which one is the real you. You may also experience that, at various times, one voice or another takes the “dominant” role. This would explain many of the inconsistencies in Machiavelli’s writing. (E.g., many have noted that he sounded like a different person in “The Prince” than in his Discourses on Livy.) It’s very likely that his writings were the result of the collaborative efforts of multiple identities within him, and, as those identities did not agree on everything, this resulted in inconsistencies in his writings.

          In short, yes, Machiavelli’s the Prince is very creepy. But it’s also a remarkable insight into the minds of evil people. And, given Machiavelli’s history of being tortured, it makes perfect psychological sense that he would have that insight.

          • random person says:

            Maybe I shouldn’t say potent. Some people with dissociative identities experience blackouts when a different identity takes over. (It’s possible Machiavelli experienced that too, but didn’t write about it in the quote I selected. I don’t know.) Having conversations within your own head… it’s similar, I think it’s part of the same basic underlying condition, but it’s also not quite the same as when you simply don’t remember events that occurred when a different identity was dominant.

            For a modern account of experiencing dissociative identities, from someone who experienced the blackout effect, see the testimony on Qora by Jeff Kirkendoll-Chapman. Please note that the testimony contains disturbing descriptions of extreme child abuse.

            https://www.quora.com/Can-a-person-have-a-multiple-personality-disorder-that-they-arent-aware-of-but-the-people-around-them-are

            • random person says:

              Also, even if you don’t want to click on the Quora link (which I would understand, it’s a painful story to read), I would like to point out that, near the end of it, Jeff states,

              “I have come to believe that those states were ME, saying or doing whatever needed to get done, to save me.”

              He states this, in spite of describing numerous side effects of the dissociative identities. Almost like, it’s a life-saving medicine with a lot of painful side effects.

              And we see a parallel in Machiavelli’s The Prince, Chapter XV,

              But, it being my intention to write a thing which shall be useful to him who apprehends it, it appears to me more appropriate to follow up the real truth of the matter than the imagination of it; for many have pictured republics and principalities which in fact have never been known or seen, because how one lives is so far distant from how one ought to live, that he who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation; for a man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.

              People who suffer extreme abuse or torture often do things which may be considered socially unacceptable, or even downright evil, in order to survive the extreme abuse or torture. It’s part of the way of the world. Machiavelli points out the a person who attempts to be perfectly virtuous will soon be destroyed in such an evil world. Jeff also realizes that much of his behavior was considered socially unacceptable (although in some ways, this says more about our broken society than it does about him), but notes that (at least in some instances, not all of the instances) it was “needed to get done, to save me”.

              Given that we live in a world where things like torture and child abuse are routinely legalized and normalized, a world where statues are constructed honoring sl*ver-holders and child rapists, a world where forced child marriage (and, subsequently, child rape) is still legal throughout most of the United States, the most militarily powerful country of the world, I believe Machiavelli is correct. A perfectly virtuous person could not survive in this world.

              Info on legalized forced child marriage / child rape in the United States:
              https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-childmarriage-reform/child-brides-call-on-u-s-states-to-end-legal-rape-idUSKCN1MZ024

            • skylien says:

              wow, that is tough story to stomach!

          • random person says:

            And also, for example of dissociative identities manifesting as conversations within one’s head, please see Quora.

            https://www.quora.com/As-someone-with-dissociative-identity-disorder-what-do-the-voices-say-Do-you-have-an-example-Do-they-sound-like-your-own-voice-or-not

          • random person says:

            Also of interest:

            Jeni says her MPD saved her life and saved her soul. But the same condition, and her underlying trauma, have also resulted in great hardship.

            She has spent her life studying, getting a masters and PhD in legal studies and philosophy but she has struggled to manage full-time work. She lives with her mother, both of them reliant on their welfare pensions to get by.

            In Jeni’s victim impact statement, she said she and her personalities “spend our lives being wary, constantly on guard. We have to hide our multiplicity and strive for a consistency in behaviour, attitude, conversation and beliefs which is often impossible. Having 2,500 different voices, opinions and attitudes is extremely hard to manage”.

            “I should not have to live like this. Make no mistake, my dad caused my Multiple Personality Disorder.”

            https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-49589160

          • Tel says:

            There’s an episode of James Delingpole where he talks about the little man with green eyes wearing a black top hat, sitting on the end of his cigarette and trying to tempt him to do things.

            I found it kind of interesting, from a skeptical viewpoint of course … the episode was about the “shadow people”, who they are, what they want, etc. The guest on the podcast tells Delingpole not to worry because you only have a serious problem when you see one with red eyes. Well … isn’t that a relief?

            If you are curious, and can’t find it by searching then I will try and dig up the link.

            • random person says:

              That is interesting.

              I believe when people hear voices coming from outside their head, it is classified as a separate condition, than when people hear voices coming from inside their head. I have very little faith in the DSM manual, but, even ignoring the DSM, people who experience internal voices do seem to have very different experiences from those who experience external voices.

              I found a link to the video you were talking about. Or at least, I presume this is probably the video you were talking about:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64uyYw2jywA

              He mentions crystal meth. And that’s a very interesting topic, but also, completely different from dissociative identities.

              Based on what people know about dissociative identities, it seems the condition forms in early childhood, before a single, unified identity has a chance to form, as a result of trauma. Many people believe it is impossible to develop later in life, although perhaps something (e.g. torture) might aggravate it in someone who previously had only a mild case. (I’m not convinced that it’s “impossible” to develop later in life, but it’s not as if it’s possible to do ethical experiments to resolve the question, considering that, regardless of questions of timing, practically everyone agrees that the condition is caused by trauma.) The various identities basically are the person, but like, splintered, not a whole, unified personality. I guess, even when people have unified personalities, you still feel like a complex person, right? You might still experience “mixed feelings” about things? Dissociative identities is like, a more drastic version of that complexity, of those mixed feelings.

              External voices are a different problem. People who experience external voices generally do not perceive those voices as being actual parts of them, although I have heard at time of such people feeling “possessed”. External voices do often seem to have something to do with mind-altering drugs, and especially, crystal meth.

              These shadow men of which James Delingpole speaks, I believe I’ve heard of them before, but people called them other things, like “meth entities”. Or sometimes people don’t even use a word for them, they just describe sensations, experiences, and so on, that sound very scary.

              Meth does something to people, that I have not observed with any other drug. There are stories of parents killing their children in horrific ways, while under the influence of meth. If you look up “Unspeakable Methamphetamine Crimes” on Google, you can find out more details.

              On a personal level, about 2 years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night to discover someone was throwing hot coals and metal objects at my head. Not understanding at first what was going on, I asked if everything was okay, and he told me that everything was fine, but he just needed to kill me, because (according to him) I was a b*tch. (This was at a camp I stayed at briefly after the lockdowns made a trainwreck out of my life.) Anyway, someone else pepper sprayed him, and I got my things and got out of there, and was fine (other than not having gotten much sleep). When I asked around, people told me he was on meth. It was really weird, because just hours before that had happened, he had been quite nice. It was like, whatever the meth did to him, caused his personality to completely change. Like he was possessed.

              People with spiritual / religious beliefs sometimes allege that “meth entities” or whatever they’re called are worse than demons. Like, allegedly, demons are evil, but they at least belong in our universe and the cosmic balance we have between good and evil. Meth entities, allegedly, are invaders from another universe. Please note that I am not stating whether this view has any truth or not, I am just trying to describe the viewpoint. True or not, it says something about how weird and scary meth is that people believe these things about it.

              I don’t even know how to process the ethics of all that. When I was younger, I heard, on the one side, people arguing that it’s your body, your choice, and therefore, people should have the right to do drugs. On the other side of the argument, I heard paternalistic arguments that it was okay to ban dangerous drugs “for your own good”. Between those two sets of arguments, the former sounded more persuasive.

              But those two sets of arguments don’t take into account all the variables. Like, with meth in particular, meth users are committing violent crime, and people who have not consented to do meth are being hurt by those crimes. And it seems to happen often enough to be more than a random coincidence. I think it the question were to go to court, a lawyer could persuasively arguing that someone who chooses to do meth is recklessly endangering the other people around him or her.

              But even though a lawyer could make that argument persuasively, I also think the prison system in the United States is effed up. Like, either it needs to be abolished, or at least they need to drastically reduce the prison population to include only the most violent offenders. And I don’t really think “reckless endangerment” is sufficient cause to throw someone in prison, although it is cause for other interventions.

              Like, I don’t know, even if meth is super dangerous, not just for the meth user, but for the people in the meth user’s life… how do you solve that problem safely? Drug treatment programs in the United States don’t seem to have particularly high success rates.

              Searching Google for a story about someone with success quitting meth reveals this:
              bbc [dot] com/news/blogs-trending-37085012

              So apparently, she locked herself in a hotel room for a weak for the initial detox. Then she gave away nearly all her belongings, except a small bag, and went hitchhiking for a year, along with a dog and a boyfriend. And somehow that helped.

              • Tel says:

                That is indeed the video I remembered, good job searching.

                He mentions crystal meth. And that’s a very interesting topic, but also, completely different from dissociative identities.

                I would put it to you that although these two are not the same … they are not as far different as you indicate. Take note that part of the video is about a discussion of crystal meth, but other parts are about dealing with various people who have had difficult backgrounds and meet these strange entities … not all of them were meth users.

                Meth does something to people, that I have not observed with any other drug.

                The biological effects have been extensively studied: it boosts noradrenaline, and a bit of serotonin, and it is an agonist for the sigma-1 receptor, and it supresses the GABA system.

                Let’s break that down and go through these: the adrenaline system is what biologists call “fight or flight” response, but perhaps from an economist point of view it’s more of a thing that shifts from long-term strategy to short term strategy. That is to say, under high adrenaline the brain/body looks for short term solutions … solve the problem NOW, don’t plan, don’t prepare, there’s no time for that, just take action immediately.

                Serotonin suppresses appetite, which is the biological way of saying this is not a good time to stop for a snack. Most animals (and most humans) are attracted to tasty food, but there are times where food is not the primary concern.

                The GABA system is what makes us relax, get sleepy, take a rest. Shutting down the GABA system supresses the need to sleep.

                What does the Sigma-1 receptor do? There’s some argument over that … but it has some relation to pain … when they tested modified mice, missing the sigma-1 receptor gene, these mice had great resilience to pain. It is known to be connected to opiate addiction and cocaine addiction. One of the common reactions by people trying to quit opiate addiction, is that they find they describe constant pain without access to their drug.

                Putting those pieces back together (my interpretation) we have a chemical that tells the body:
                * you are in great danger, must respond immediately;
                * you don’t have time to eat or sleep because the danger is too much;
                * this involves a great deal of pain, either right now, or in the immediate future.

                In other words, crystal meth runs an internal chemical simulation of a severe traumatic experience, without any actual physical trauma.

                One might argue that it’s the bodily equivalent of government seizing “emergency powers” on errrr you know, a temporary basis. Heh Heh.

                Normally in the case of real physical trauma, the victim has a good idea of the cause … but with crystal meth there is no tangible physical cause, it’s a chemical thing. This person might mistakenly latch onto some nearby thing and come to a decision that this must be destroyed in order to stop the internal trauma. I would guess that happened to you … although it’s a guess obviously I wasn’t there.

                Sorry to hear about your difficulties during lockdown … it has not been fun for any of us, but perhaps it’s better to wait for some years to pass and keep certain things in private. Let’s hope for better times where we look back and laugh about this … in the meantime do our best to do the right thing.

                Anyhow, variations of the amphetamine theme have been used in warfare … during WWII the Wehrmacht deployed “Tank Chocolate” … this is a combination of sugar, fat (i.e. energy sources) with coca (gives a feeling of satisfaction) and laced with Pervitin (keeps them awake and alert). There were reports of some extremely ruthless (but efficient) atrocities during the invasion of France, committed by people who had not slept in several days. The Germans eventually found that the longer term side effects were more of a setback, than the short term advantages of the drug.

                During the Vietnam War the USA issued Dexedrine as a performance enhancer … they ran into much the same problems that the Germans had. It tends not to get talked about much.

                In the Middle East they use Captagon … from the same family of chemicals but not quite as harsh. It’s banned in Western countries, and rarely used.

                My personal position on various drugs is that the naturally grown plants (e.g. Indian hemp, coca leaves, opium poppies, etc) should be legal for personal use if you grow it yourself on your own land, in small quantities that would be insufficient for commercial operation.

                I’m not an open-ended “legalize all drugs” type of guy, when you consider what things like meth and PCP can do. Working along an incremental policy of allowing a little bit and then a little bit more, would be the right approach. There’s a lot of other things to legalize before considering the amphetamine family. These matters should be decided at the local (city) level, because they generally involve the local community … not a whole nation.

              • random person says:

                Tel wrote,

                I would put it to you that although these two are not the same … they are not as far different as you indicate. Take note that part of the video is about a discussion of crystal meth, but other parts are about dealing with various people who have had difficult backgrounds and meet these strange entities … not all of them were meth users.

                He also mentioned schizophrenia and psychosis. Which still aren’t the same as dissociative identities (regardless of whether you choose to go by official diagnostic criteria, or simply by the testimonies of people who have experienced these conditions and self-identify as having them).

                This is a recent message left on a Reddit for people with dissociative identities,

                Mary my child altar drew this really cool design on my wrist. I liked it alot but i had to erase it because my parents would have lectured me. I erased it but now she wont talk to me. What should I do?

                https://www.reddit.com/r/AskDID/comments/ungzps/help_with_child_altar/

                So, in this case, the voice is a child altar who likes drawing. Not a shadowy figure with green or red eyes trying to tempt the person to do evil. Totally different sort of voice.

                Or if you look at the testimony by Jeff Kirkendoll-Chapman I linked earlier,

                quora [dot] com/Can-a-person-have-a-multiple-personality-disorder-that-they-arent-aware-of-but-the-people-around-them-are

                he describes that at one point, he went into the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and screamed “Touch me again and I will stab you Mother F**ker. You are never touching me again!” He does not actually remember doing this, as he was blacked out during the incident, but he remembers being scolded by his mother for doing it after the fact. But, the person he pulled the knife on and screamed at was a child rapist who had raped him many times in the past, and who had just engaged in physical violence prior to the incident.

                Pulling a knife on a brutal child rapist is a very different thing from throwing hot coals and metal objects against some random person who happens to be sleeping at the same campsite as you.

                Pulling a knife on a child rapist, particularly one who is actively engaging in physical violence, is an act of defense. (Self-defense, in the incident in question.) We could argue about the ethics of self-defense, of course. Jesus might say to turn the other cheek, rather than to defend oneself. But I’m not going to shed any tears for a child rapist who brutalizes someone who turns out to be less enlightened than Jesus Christ and not at all the cheek-turning type. If nothing else, defending oneself under those sort of circumstances is natural. Child rapists who get attacked by their victims are experiencing a bit of karma.

                There’s nothing demonic about self-defense; it may not be super duper enlightened, but it is natural. If the person didn’t have dissociative identities, we might simply say that his fight/flight/freeze instinct (fight, in this case) took over. Within the context of dissociative identities, it appears that at least the fight part of his fight/flight/freeze instinct has splintered off into a separate personality… but it’s still him, just like, a splintered fragment of him.

                Tel wrote,

                In other words, crystal meth runs an internal chemical simulation of a severe traumatic experience, without any actual physical trauma.

                I mean… sure, if there’s an internal chemical simulation of a traumatic experience, then I guess you may have found a link, but even so, the symptoms are so different.

                From what I have read, the main way people differentiate between dissociative voices, and psychotic/schizophrenic voices, is that dissociative ones come from inside your head (and are most likely splintered fragments of yourself), and psychotic/schizophrenic voices come from outside your head (and are most likely not part of you at all).

                I guess the things people see / hear while on meth fall into the psychotic / schizophrenic category of voices, and, while I haven’t researched the matter extensively, I haven’t met anyone who admitted to having a psychosis or schizophrenia diagnosis who seemed anywhere near as scary to be around as someone on meth.

                Tel wrote,

                Normally in the case of real physical trauma, the victim has a good idea of the cause … but with crystal meth there is no tangible physical cause, it’s a chemical thing. This person might mistakenly latch onto some nearby thing and come to a decision that this must be destroyed in order to stop the internal trauma. I would guess that happened to you … although it’s a guess obviously I wasn’t there.

                It’s as good a guess as any.

                Even though I was physically present… like, I don’t get what happened inside that guys head. But I can tell you that his whole personality underwent such a radical change in a period of just a few hours, it was like he was possessed. I’m not saying he was possessed. I mean, maybe he was, or maybe it’s just a metaphor to describe the radical change I saw.

                I’m not an open-ended “legalize all drugs” type of guy, when you consider what things like meth and PCP can do. Working along an incremental policy of allowing a little bit and then a little bit more, would be the right approach. There’s a lot of other things to legalize before considering the amphetamine family. These matters should be decided at the local (city) level, because they generally involve the local community … not a whole nation.

                I’m not entirely sure how I feel. Like, on the one hand, I don’t think there should be a bunch of people locked in prison because of marijuana. On the other hand, I don’t think meth users are committing a victimless crime. I think meth usage is, if nothing else, reckless endangerment.

                I think saying, “It is immoral to do meth, because you might go crazy and hurt other people,” is a much stronger argument than, “It is immoral to do pot, because you might hurt yourself.” Perhaps it isn’t moral for people to self-harm, but that’s far more of a moral grey zone than the question of recklessly endangering other people.

                But also, I don’t think just locking people in prison is much of a solution, even if they are acting immorally. Even if it is sort of a solution, like, when someone is really violent, and there’s no apparent way of stopping them from claiming more victims besides locking them up… that only applies to a tiny minority of people currently in prison.

                From one Australian news article,

                Justice Wayne Martin said 95 per cent of armed robberies and up to half of all murders could be attributed to people taking methamphetamine, also known as ice or crystal meth.

                abc [dot] net [dot] au/news/2015-02-25/wa-chief-justice-says-ice-problem-truly-frightening/6261310

                and furthermore,

                “And the levels of violence we are seeing – levels of utterly irrational violence we are seeing – are quite extraordinary.

                “People do bizarre things they wouldn’t do if they weren’t using meth … people say they can’t explain why they did what they did.”

              • random person says:

                Tel wrote,

                Sorry to hear about your difficulties during lockdown … it has not been fun for any of us, but perhaps it’s better to wait for some years to pass and keep certain things in private. Let’s hope for better times where we look back and laugh about this … in the meantime do our best to do the right thing.

                I know I am not the only one who’s had trouble with the lockdowns. And I understand the inclination to “keep certain things in private”. The pro-lockdowners tend to shame and silence anyone who doesn’t go along with the lockdowns, even for reasons like poverty and/or domestic violence. And most of the wealthier anti-lockdowners (the ones wealthy enough to have any voice in politics) I have met do quite a lot of poor-shaming too, and would rather talk about how lockdowns hurt businesses than about how they cause hunger, loss of housing, and domestic violence. (Granted, there is some overlap. Someone might lose their business, and then become hungry and/or lose their housing and/or experience domestic violence. But the wealthier anti-lockdowners I have listed to don’t seem to like talking about that. Perhaps because the people most likely to become hungry and/or lose housing if their businesses fail are the people running informal businesses, not the people running respected licensed businesses that Republicans seem to champion.)

                It’s weird, because every time the US goes to war, and it’s supported by both the Democrats and Republicans, I’m reminded that neither of the two main political parties in the United States are leftist. They’re both far right wing. (Going to war against poor people in poor countries is clearly a far right action.) But at least some of the third parties generally oppose the wars.

                But the lockdowns have really shown that, at least in the United States, there simply are no leftist groups with any significant degree of organization. What happened to me back in 2020 is not that uncommon – lots of people lost their housing because of lockdown-induced economic pressures and/or domestic violence. But there was extremely little discussion of it from any of the political parties, including the smaller political parties.

                Many of the pro-lockdowners want to be seen as champions of the poor, without having to actually do the work of being champions to the poor. Many of them are the sort of people who will like, donate old clothing they don’t want anymore to Salvation Army or Goodwill or whatever, conclude that they’ve done their good deed for the day, and then go on supporting lockdowns and slum clearances and other policies that cause houselessness. When it’s pointed out to them that the policies they support cause people to lose housing / have a difficult time finding housing, it damages their self-image as a generous supporter of the poor, and they tend to respond by flying into a rage and using every tool at their disposal to silence you.

                On the other hand, most of the wealthier anti-lockdowners… many of them never even pretended to care about houseless people, or did so only for religious reasons. These are generally the sort of people who will scream “Get a job!” at someone who technically already has a job, because they don’t realize that things like busking, selling jewelry, and carving little sculptures are actually jobs in the sense of self-employment. What they mean, of course, is “Give up your business and go get permission from someone else to earn at least minimum wage. Even though I think minimum wage should be either lowered or abolished.”

                These are stereotypes, of course, but it’s amazing how often they seem to be accurate.

                You can find actual leftists in the United States, but they tend to be living on the margins of society and fail to form organized political groups of any significant size. But if you want to find large groups of leftists who are actually organized, I’m guessing you probably have to go to Africa, or Latin America, or maybe someplace like India.

              • random person says:

                Relating to your hypothesis that schizophrenia and related conditions (such as meth side effect) are at least somewhat related to dissociative identities.

                This would seem to support your hypothesis:
                https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2005.00634.x

                Apparently, there is a correlation between child sexual abuse and schizophrenia. Enough of a correlation to suggest a dose-effect causal relationship.

                Still different symptoms than dissociative identities. Although, I was reading that schizophrenia is sufficiently vaguely defined, that perhaps the particular sorts of cases being discussed (hearing voices from outside, not inside, the head) are not representative of all the people diagnosed. In any case, perhaps the mind can break in many different ways in response to trauma.

              • random person says:

                Alright, so, earlier, what I did with the Delingpole / Marzinsky video was, I searched the Youtube transcript to find the part of the video you were talking about with the shadow people, and the shadow person sitting on the cigarette.

                But I just had time to listen to the entire thing, beginning to end. And it reminded me of some of my encounters with certain violent people who have been in my life at various times.

                For example, there was one who kept insisting that I was a witch who had somehow magically caused his neighbor’s plumber to disconnect his phoneline, and his gas company to disconnect his gas meter, at a time when I wasn’t even in his neighborhood. And I’d actually helped this guy discover a mild gas leak in his home, that had probably been slowly poisoning him for some time, so he really should have known better than to think I was a witch determined to hurt him.

                And there was another, who would hit me and tell me that “you’re crazy, everyone says you’re crazy”. He never actually specified who “everyone” was. At the time, I assumed “everyone” was a bunch of his misogynistic friends, but maybe he was listening to these schizophrenia voices? I dunno, when Marzinsky said that the schizophrenia voices would tell the sufferers that he was crazy and stupid, when he tried to tell them that the voices were parasites, it reminded me of that guy and certain other violent people from my past.

                And there was this other guy… he never actually did anything violent in my presence, but he sounded like the sort of person who was going to become a serial killer someday. He would describe walking past houses and “just knowing” that the woman who lived inside was practicing child sacrifice. He said he wanted to kill the women to punish them for the child sacrifice. However, he presented absolutely no evidence that any of the accused was practicing child sacrifice, other than his alleged psychic knowledge. So, basically, he was saying he wanted to kill people based on his alleged psychic knowledge, without conducting any sort of investigation to discover if his alleged psychic knowledge was accurate.

                It does seem like a lot of violent people have really weird beliefs. Maybe they do come from the schizophrenia voices or demons or whatever they are.

              • Tel says:

                There’s nothing demonic about self-defense; it may not be super duper enlightened, but it is natural. If the person didn’t have dissociative identities, we might simply say that his fight/flight/freeze instinct (fight, in this case) took over.

                I agree … and yet in order to make it through everyday life we must pretend to other people that all is well, even when it isn’t. Therefore it makes a lot of sense to put aside one set of long-term problems, in order to deal with the short-term here and now.

                A possibly optimal strategy is to behave friendly and gentle in certain circumstances and then brutal and violent in others, depending on surroundings … as you say, nothing demonic about it … natural self defense. How to keep two very different behaviour patterns available for deployment withing the one person? Isolate them from each other, of course.

              • random person says:

                Tel wrote,

                I agree … and yet in order to make it through everyday life we must pretend to other people that all is well, even when it isn’t. Therefore it makes a lot of sense to put aside one set of long-term problems, in order to deal with the short-term here and now.

                A possibly optimal strategy is to behave friendly and gentle in certain circumstances and then brutal and violent in others, depending on surroundings … as you say, nothing demonic about it … natural self defense. How to keep two very different behaviour patterns available for deployment withing the one person? Isolate them from each other, of course.

                Yes, I believe we understand each other. Although “optimal” should be understood as “strategically optimal” or “optimal from a Machiavellian perspective”. Not necessarily “morally optimal”. But, as I said, it’s not reasonable to expect abused children, nor most adults for that matter, to be operating on a Jesus-level of moral enlightenment.

              • Tel says:

                In terms of people hearing voices, and whether those voices are positive or negative … there has been some research on that.

                https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/tops.12158

                Supposedly culture has an influence on the nature of the voices that people hear.

                I often wonder equally as much about the sort of people who do this research as I do about the people they find to talk to. That said, it’s kind of interesting.

          • skylien says:

            Sorry for late replys, but I needed to make time to go through those answer. And I totally agree. Machiavelli is a must read! You need to know how evil people think.

  3. Tel says:

    Interest Rates.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/fredgraph.png?g=PnOG

    Big uptick across the board, and note that these have increased far more than the official “cash rate” that they quote all the time and which only saw a tiny half percent rate rise.

    Most of the different rates have gained approx 2% in the past 6 months … in round figures.

    That’s a big jump for the economy (i.e. people) to deal with.

  4. Tel says:

    Off topic Bob, but your buddy is up to his old tricks again.

    https://freebeacon.com/media/krugman-tax-cuts-buffalo/

    The strategy works like this:
    * Art Laffer is always wrong, so terribly wrong.
    * Therefore lower tax rates cause people to become racist.
    * Buffalo shooter! Tucker Carlson! Fox News! Oooga Booga!
    * Anything that goes wrong under Biden must be someone else’s fault.

    He sure ain’t trying as hard as he used to.

  5. random person says:

    The closest I found in Krugman article to “Therefore lower tax rates cause people to become racist,” was this,

    Who was attracted to this movement? Many were careerists: people happy to serve as apparatchiks, following whatever the party line happened to be at the moment. They may have signed up to promote low taxes and a weaker safety net, but most of the party immediately went MAGA when the winds shifted.

    So, from the sounds of it, the argument is more that ideology of low taxes leading them to associate with people who eventually cause them to become racist (or more racist), rather than the low taxes themselves. And it’s not just *any* ideology of low taxes. For example, both Republicans and Marxists (and other philosophical groups) have criticized high taxes, but in very different ways.

    Republicans (specifically, modern US Republicans) tend to criticize taxation against the rich more than taxation against the poor, and, if anything, seem to be happy to raise taxes on the poor in order to fund tax cuts for the rich. They also tend to want to cut social programs without any analysis about how social programs might help mitigate the effects of high taxes on the poor.

    A more Marxist analysis, on the other hand, would put a greater emphasis on how taxes exploit poor people (and cause poverty, for that matter), and also make comparisons to systems of exploitation that are similar to taxation, but called by some other name.

    For an example of how one Republican, Larry Elder, ignores how social programs might help mitigate the effects of high taxes on the poor, see this:

    “Grandfather everyone currently on Medicaid, and then admit no more people and end the program at the federal level,” he wrote. “Charity is not allowed by the Constitution, and it should be left to the states — even better, left to the private and nonprofit sectors.”

    For people concerned about what would happen to Americans who might need Medicaid, Elder predicted that “needs of the needy will be handled by the states and/or by the unparalleled generosity of the American people.”

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/larry-elder-abolish-medicaid_n_61293d45e4b0231e369bb1a7

    Please note that while Larry Elder’s views on this subject are probably more extreme than most Republicans, it’s not unusual (at least in my personal experience) for Republicans to refer to recipients with words like “needy” (or, sometimes, ruder words, like “lazy” or “malingering”) and to suggest that Medicaid spending should probably be cut. (Note that I haven’t actually conducted a poll on the topic, I’m just summarizing the sorts of attitudes I’ve heard from people I’ve met who told me they voted Republican or identified as Republican or whatever.)

    Okay, so by framing Medicaid as a form of “charity”, he’s ignoring that the vast majority of people on Medicaid have either a) paid plenty of taxes and/or b) been injured by someone who has paid plenty of taxes. (In the case of B, consider, for example, a victim of child sexual abuse, who is now houseless, but who was abused by someone who paid plenty of taxes.) So in the case of people who have paid plenty of taxes, Medicaid is a sort of conditional tax refund to people with health problems, but only if they go get government-approved treatments for those health problems from service providers who accept Medicaid. In the case of people injured by those who have plenty of taxes, Medicaid is a sort of indirect, conditional, limited form of reparations, in so far as the money flows from the perpetrator (who owes reparations, at least morally even if not legally), to the government, and then to the victim, but with a bunch of strings attached limiting how it can be spent, in the form of Medicaid. In either case, this should not properly be called “charity”, which implies helping someone when you have no moral obligation to do so, not giving them back their own money, nor paying reparations.

    It’s also worth pointing out, that even in cases where A or B might not apply, we could also add C) has at least one person who has paid plenty of taxes, who cares enough about them to want to support them financially. Consider a 5-year-old child, for example, who probably hasn’t paid taxes yet, but his or her parents probably have. Money that goes towards taxes might otherwise go towards supporting the child.

    Note that there are also times when Medicaid is used to fund torture and abuse, including child torture, without the consent of the so-called “patients”. When I typed “abolish Medicaid” into Google, I was honestly hoping I’d find something written by someone so sick of seeing Medicaid used to fund non-consensual so-called “treatments” (up to and including child torture), that they were calling for the whole broken thing to be abolished. I had no such luck. Instead, I found Larry Elder basically poor-shaming people who actually want the Medicaid. For further info on how Medicaid sometimes funds torture, see:
    books [dot] google [dot] co [dot] uk/books?id=oqDDfQ3tLCEC&pg=PA54&lpg=PA54&dq=medicaid+funding+torture#v=onepage&q=medicaid%20funding%20torture&f=false

    Now, I realize that, if all taxes were abolished, there would be no need of tax refunds. (There would still be need of reparations, but there are probably other ways of going about reparations, without using the tax treasury as an intermediary). Additionally, if all taxes were abolished, people who wish to spend their money charitably would be more able to do so. But I don’t think Larry Elder is advocating for the abolition of all taxes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find his views on military spending. In general, Republicans seem to favor increased military spending, which implies that cuts to things like Medicaid would be spent, not on tax cuts, but on military increases. I realize that’s not unanimous. Every now and then some anti-war person gets elected on a Republican platform, but typically, Republicans seem to favor increased military spending.

    However, the history of Bengal is illustrative of the difference between *cutting taxes* and *cutting welfare*.

    See for example,
    yourstory [dot] com/2014/08/bengal-famine-genocide/amp
    (Please forgive the author for their unfortunate choice of title. I don’t think anyone should be presuming to claim which genocide in history was the “worst”. However, every genocide is so horrific, that a researcher studying any particular genocide is likely to become so horrified, that he or she assumes whichever genocide he or she happens to be studying must be the worst in history. Not because he or she has actually made a comprehensive comparison, but because his or her faith in human nature leads him to conclude that what he or she is learning about must be so far outside of the normal range of human behavior, that nothing as terrible could have happened before or since.)

    Essentially, pre-British colonialism, Bengal had low taxes (10-15 percent of the harvest), but it also had a sort of welfare system, whereby taxes from previous years, when harvests were better, would be used to fund help for people at risk of famine. In essence, it functioned as a sort of mandatory crop failure insurance system, though the rulers no doubt skimmed some profit for themselves.

    With British colonialism, the East India company raised the tax rate to 50% (so, basically, a three to five fold increase in taxation), and eliminated the welfare system, providing no assistance when the people were at risk of famine. In fact, they did the opposite, and raised the tax rate to 60% as people were dying of famine.

    Between 1969 and 1973, this taxation-induced famine killed an estimated 10 million people in Bengal.

    I think, part of what makes a lot of Republicans kinda racist, is this historical ignorance, where they just don’t seem to be aware of historical events such as the famines in Bengal that show the deadly effects of high taxes *without* a welfare system to give funds back to the taxpayers.

    Taxation, for obvious reasons, inhibits people’s ability to support themselves, and save for their futures. Because of this, as long as a taxation system is in place, it will be less deadly if there is some sort of welfare system to “give back” to the taxpayers during times of need. Thus the question of “should we have taxes, and if so, how much” is separate from, “as long as we have taxes anyway, should we have mechanisms to give money back to taxpayers during times of need?” (And then there’s also the question, “if we have a mechanism to give money back to taxpayers during times of need, how do we prevent funds from being misspent on things like torture and abuse?”)

    • random person says:

      Also, note that plenty of Democrats seem to suffer from historical ignorance and associated racism as well. The problem is not unique to Republicans. For example, if you engage with Democrats in discussion about topics related to Africa, it often doesn’t take long for them to say something that displays an ignorance of Africa, and is kinda racist. (To be fair, even if you spend thousands of hours studying Africa, there will still be a lot you don’t know.)

      But, as an example of the racism of the Democrat party,

      US officials knew that Museveni was not honouring his promise to court martial RPF leaders. The US was monitoring Ugandan weapons shipments to the RPF in 1992, but instead of punishing Museveni, western donors including the US doubled aid to his government and allowed his defence spending to balloon to 48% of Uganda’s budget, compared with 13% for education and 5% for health, even as Aids was ravaging the country. In 1991, Uganda purchased 10 times more US weapons than in the preceding 40 years combined.

      https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/sep/12/americas-secret-role-in-the-rwandan-genocide

      1992 was the year Clinton was elected, and, so far as I can tell, he didn’t fix this. I believe Clinton has apologize for “not Intervening” in the Rwandan genocide, but what the United States did was worse than not intervene… apparently, the US sent quote-on-quote “aid” to Uguanda which flowed across the border to the Rwandan genocidaires.

      But, as far as regular Democrats that you might meet on the street… it’s not uncommon for them to speak of stuff like the Rwandan genocide as “Africans killing each other.” (Admittedly, plenty of Republicans say that to.) Imagine if someone summed up the Holocaust by calling it “Europeans killing each other”. Like… the lack of nuance is just startling.

      Or another thing is, sometimes Democrats will talk about racism, but they’ll have a very US-centric view of what racism is, but still speak as if they are talking about all racism, and not racism in the US. For example, a lot of Democrats will tell you that there is no such thing as reverse racism. They won’t merely say, “Reverse racism isn’t a serious problem, in the United States, because white people are still in power.” They’ll say it’s impossible, as if it isn’t something that could ever happen anywhere in the world, at any time in history? But what happened in Rwanda? The Tutsis were formerly a privileged class, relative to the Hutus. This is because during colonialism, a bunch of European scientists who believed in “scientific racism” came over, declared that the Tutsis were superior to the Hutus, and this belief was reflected in colonial policy. In essence, many Tutsis were privileged collaborators with the colonial regime. This left a lot of resentment, which manifested in racist ways. (Note that this animosity was not there before colonialism. Prior to colonialism, there wasn’t all that much distinction between Tutsis and Hutus.) Now, if the claim that reverse racism were impossible was true, then the Hutus who felt resentment shouldn’t have been able to do much about it. But that’s not what happened. The genocide was perpetrated primarily against the Tutsis, a formerly privileged class.

      So, basically, by failing to integrate how people experience racism in places like Rwanda into their view of how racism works, a lot of Democrats are being racist. Even if they don’t mean to. If they included appropriate qualifiers, such as saying “racism in the United States” as opposed to simply “racism”, to make it clear they did not intend to speak about how people might experience racism elsewhere in the world, then it would be less frustrating. But, as it stands, it’s basically part-to-whole fallacy. People studying how racism works in the United States, and presuming that’s how it works everywhere.

    • Tel says:

      The poor never pay high taxes … because the poor don’t have the ability to pay. Rulers have tried at various times to extract money from the poor, but it always fails, often leaving everyone worse off … both the American Revolution and also the French Revolution started because of tax hikes imposed to pay for earlier wars. Even when you don’t have a revolution, you have situations like Thatcher’s poll tax … which wasn’t even all that high, but failed anyway.

      Thus, states turn towards taxes on commerce instead, because at least someone doing business must necessarily have resource worthwhile taxing. These end up being taxes on shipments (e.g. import duties), or taxes on income (i.e. profits), either at the individual level or the corporate level, or both.

      The American situation (regarding federal taxation) has been drawn up in nice graphical charts many times, and since income tax is the main revenue source for Washington you can see it here.

      https://www.heritage.org/taxes/commentary/1-chart-how-much-the-rich-pay-taxes

      The top 1% of income earners, earn 21% of the total income and pay 40% of the total tax.

      The bottom 50% of income earners, earn 12% of the total income and pay merely 3% of the total tax. You can’t give tax cuts to the poor, because they don’t pay sufficient tax to make any significant cut into. There’s a percentage, something like the bottom 40% but the exact number varies, of the poorest Americans who pay no federal income tax at all.

      Sure, there is more than just income tax, there’s Social Security which is not supposedly a tax, the theory is it works like a kind of whole life insurance scheme and you pay in but get money back at the end. The people at the bottom end of that scheme typically get back more than they put in … so it’s really a wealth transfer scheme in favour of the poor … but perhaps long term it might collapse depending on whether government can find anyone willing to keep paying in.

      Now I suppose you want to argue that “high” is a personal perspective, and the fact that Elon Musk paid approx $8 billion in tax for 2021 (the largest single year individual tax payment in US history) makes no difference at all to a poor person required to pay a few thousand, when Musk is still wealthy after the payment, and the poor person is going to struggle to cover even the few thousand. Well, the trouble with subjective measurements like that is you end up discussing nothing because they aren’t really measurements at all. Once you say that a dollar is not a dollar and smaller to one person might really mean bigger to another person, what ground do you have left to stand on? It’s equally valid to then argue that in some strange subjective consciousness Elon Musk isn’t rich at all.

      Strictly speaking, in Austrian theory, only individual ordinal preferences exist … however, it’s difficult to make any statement about the world without breaking from that, and if you look closely even the Austrian economists don’t stay strict to their own principles. There’s no such thing as a Pareto Optimization in any real world scenario … it’s a completely theoretical construct that never really happen. It sounds great, but always, always gets followed up with a sleight of hand.

      There’s also state and local tax, which vary from place to place. Sales taxed tend to effect everyone in proportion to how much they purchase … and rich people purchase more than poor people. There’s various land taxes, which again effect everyone, with rich people usually paying more because they own more land. You can get into nitty gritty such as licensing fees, or environmental levees imposed on electricity, fuel taxes and toll roads. I don’t think there’s any good analysis on these, they tend to still hit wealthier people, because those people consume more electricity, fuel, etc (either directly or indirectly in the products they buy). There’s Capital Gains Tax (CGT) which is the way that rich people end up paying for monetary inflation … and there’s higher prices at the supermarket (price inflation) also an offshoot of monetary inflation, and everyone ends up paying for that.

      Perhaps you argue that all poor people should always pay zero tax … but that’s effectively impossible when it comes to sales tax, or any indirect taxation. If they buy anything at all they will pay some tax, probably not much, but something. Besides that ,,, it’s a healthy thing for all people to at least be cognizant that government is taxing them. Even a small tax is sufficient to keep them thinking about what their vote means, and how the system works.

      Now there’s this business of how the British are always blamed for famines in India. I think it’s important to point out that it you want to compare the previous Mughal rulers who forcibly converted the Bengali people to Islam in a very bloody invasion, there were famines under those rulers as well. There were also famines after the British left India.

      The bad famine during WWII (1943) was blamed on Churchill … but people ignore the Imperial Japanese Army was in the process of sweeping across the land and driving the British back. Since the British did not want to aid the Japanese, they burned those crops that were indefensible … forcing the Japanese to slow their advance, in order to bring more food for their own troops. As the British retreated, many locals abandoned their houses, having no crops and considering the terrible reputation that preceded the Japanese Army regarding their treatment of prisoners. This flood of refugees put strain on other parts of India. At the same time Germany occupied most of Western Europe, and a good chunk of Eastern Europe, had extensively bombed much of England, and was in the midst of the Battle of Stalingrad. Japan occupied all of Korea, part of China, most of the South Pacific, was bombing Darwin and fighting in the Pacific against the US Navy, and some nasty jungle warfare against the Australian Army in New Guinea. It was not a great time for the British … and that was the time the Hindus were forced to select which side they were on, they opportunistically chose to be on their own side and work against the British … the “Quit India” movement sabotaged rail lines to obstruct the movement of people and goods in the middle of the war.

      Ignoring the worst circumstances during warfare, the simple mechanism is that although in some years their crops are highly productive, those regions have a mix of drought and floods (just like Australia) and it’s somewhat cyclic but also a bit random … nothing to do with any kind of Global Warming … it’s simply the chaotic forces of weather. Two technologies can defeat famine: food storage and food transport, both of these are subject to external predation. The farmer who puts additional resources into building grain storage facilities and who saves a fraction of the crop for future years becomes a vulnerable target when people nearby discover that this farmer has available resources to be taken by force. Same problem with the merchant caravan trying to move valuable goods over long distance, who becomes an immediate target for bandits. Libertarians like to imagine that all people should respect private property, but many people simply don’t.

      As a consequence, it tends to be only militarily powerful groups who can achieve storage and transport … because a certain number of guards are required to protect those resources from robbery. The British brought long distance transport to India, in the form of the railways, which where all imported British engineering. They also brought security, and a broad rule of law. Modern “Hindu Nationalist” India is based upon the British model with regard to both military and legal structure … in some ways they are now more British, from a traditional standpoint than the present day UK which has shifted a significant distance away from its roots. If that was such a bad model, why are the Hindus still using it three generations after the British have gone?

      Ultimately, it is modern technology that defeated famine (at least for the time being) with far better storage options, vastly improved transport options, a global shipping network as well as roads, rail and air travel. I would argue that the British contributed a fraction more towards that technological improvement than the Hindus did, although it’s fair to say that advancement came from many places: the ancient Greeks, the Chinese, the Persians, the Arabs, the French, the Germans and there’s been some advanced Hindu mathematicians (we use their number system). However, the great age of Science and Engineering was mostly European, and then after WWII it shifted to the USA and perhaps now is shifting more towards Asia (yet to be determined).

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