08 Apr 2022

New Episodes of BMS and LMS

All Posts 53 Comments

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:

53 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:


    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.


          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.


            • 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:

            • skylien says:

              wow, that is tough story to stomach!

              • random person says:

                That’s true, it really is.

                There are a lot of stories within the category of “trauma” that are tough to stomach. Trauma doesn’t tend to produce good results. Even when you look at the statics for relatively mild traumas… like, it’s not good.

                I think to become more enlightened, people need to have less trauma in their lives.

              • skylien says:

                I think you are right with this for sure.

                All those behaviours are a way for those people suffering those trauma to cope. Unfortunately it drives them to do bad things.

                I would like to believe that I would be able to cope such trauma without being destructive especially to others but also to myself.

                However easy to think when you grew up in a happy family environment like me… It’s like Tyson said: All have a plan, until they are hit in the face!

              • skylien says:

                And especially as a child, when you have no references yet, no time to think about things, no good self awereness, and then you get “hit in the face” like that… so effing brutal…

              • random person says:

                I mean, there is some component of free will… though I guess there’s some debate about that in terms of the more extreme forms of trauma. Some forms of torture seem to have a near 100% success rate, from the torturer’s perspective, of breaking people. Perhaps the degree of free will lost is proportionate to the degree of trauma, but it’s hard to measure, especially when you consider that children are generally more psychologically fragile than adults.

                But anyway, many forms of trauma can produce a wide range of bad results. A lot of women who were abused as girls will grow up with the belief ingrained in their head that the abuse, and warning signs of the abuse, is normal, which tends to lead to them falling into abusive romantic relationships. (This can also happen to men who were abused as boys, but it seems to happen disproportionately to women abused as girls.) A lot of this is subconscious, so even if she reads a lot of feminist anti-domestic abuse stuff saying that it’s not normal… it’s hard for that reading to seep it’s way into the subconscious. And a lot of the time, abuse will start as very mild, so it is easy for someone who has been through much worse to make up excuses for it, like, “This isn’t so bad, comparatively speaking. Not worth complaining about.” But then the mild abuse can escalate drastically over time, in some cases becoming life-threatening. And if she has a child or children with the abuser, this impacts them too.

                So, even if a person, who was abused as a child, manages not to become personally violent or otherwise abusive themselves, it can still lead them to become much more tolerant of other people’s abusive behavior, and this creates problems.

                Some people who were abused as children )and/or as adults) try to numb the pain with drugs. Sometimes they do this legally, and get psychiatric drugs, and sometimes they do it illegally, and get illegal drugs. (I’ve heard marijuana actually works better than many of the legal drugs, but anyway.)

                However, just because someone is doing drugs (especially psychiatric drugs), doesn’t mean they want to. There are a lot of psychiatrists who prey on vulnerable people, deny their experiences, and forcibly give them drugs, and sometimes do worse things, like kidnap them (aka “involuntary commitment”), torture them with electroshock, etc. Psychiatrists basically have a legal license to kidnap and torture, and many of their favorite victims are people who were abused as children. So, even if a person who was abused as a child isn’t drawn into an abusive relationship (like… not on purpose, but, by mistake, making choices that lead to that), they may still be targeted by abusive predators who want to abuse adults, and seem to prefer victims who were abused as children.

                Frequently there are long term physical health effects of abuse. Sometimes, this may be the direct result of injuries inflicted by the abuser, many many long term physical health effects are traumagenic. That is, the trauma manifests physically as physical health problems. According to Harvard, “Research shows that these [traumatic] events can trigger emotional and even physical reactions that can make you more prone to a number of different health conditions, including heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.” Part of this seems to be because people with trauma may engage in riskier, more self-destructive behaviors such as eating unhealthy comfort foods or using drugs. However, even if they don’t do those things, the anxiety associated with PTSD can be damaging to health in and of itself. (It has something to do with the sympathetic and parasympathetic responses being thrown out of balance.)

                health [dot] harvard [dot] edu/diseases-and-conditions/past-trauma-may-haunt-your-future-health

                verywellmind [dot] com/ptsd-and-physical-health-2797522

                Some people with trauma do go on to commit acts of interpersonal violence. A high proportion of the people in prison for violent crimes, as well as for non-violent crimes, were abused as children. This isn’t inevitable. There is some free will component, and although it’s hard to find statistics, I would suppose that the vast majority of child abuse victims do not go on to commit acts of interpersonal violence, but it is a risk factor.

                See for example, “Early Childhood Victimization Among Incarcerated Adult Male Felons”

                According to this one, a history of child abuse will double the chance of someone committing various types of crime.

                nber [dot] org/digest/jan07/does-child-abuse-cause-crime

                Also see, “It also parallels the findings of a survey of New York State prison inmates (Auburn), which reports that 95 percent of the inmates incarcerated for violent crimes had been abused as children.”

                ojp [dot] gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/influence-school-corporal-punishments-crime

                Sometimes, there are more mild reactions… for example, a person with a history of child abuse may frequently lose their temper verbally, but have enough self-control to resist becoming physically violent.

                Or they might commit more minor crimes, such as shoplifting.

                Child abuse is also linked to an increased risk of unemployment and an increased risk of impoverishment.

                cbexpress [dot] acf [dot] hhs [dot] gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=70&sectionid=5&articleid=2171

                There are a variety of reasons for this:
                1. People who are physically, sexually, or emotionally abused are often also financially abused. One way a person can be financially abused is if the abuser prohibits them from being employed, or sabotages their employment, perhaps by showing up to their workplace to cause problems, or perhaps by prohibiting them from going to work, and also prohibiting them from calling in, as a sort of punishment, leading to them being fired. The abuser may also steal the abusee’s paycheck, which results in decreased motivation.
                2. People with a history of child abuse may lack the references and connections that would otherwise help them get employment.
                3. The would-be employer may interpret signs of trauma as evidence of poor attitude on the part of the would-be employee, and not want to hire them.
                4. The workplace may contain PTSD triggers that make the would-be worker not want to work there.
                5. Childhood abuse impacts education, since an abused child may devote more of their brain power to coping with the abuse, and less of it to acquiring the sort of education that enhances chances at employment.
                6. Other stuff I’m not thinking of at the moment.

                Interestingly, child abuse may also make someone more inclined to become an entrepreneur. (Forbes uses the term “dysfunctional families”, but I think that might be a right-wing code term for child abuse, by people who are hesitant to use the term “child abuse”. It may also simply be a broader term that includes both child abuse, as well as lesser forms of traumatic childhood experiences.) Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to cancel out the above statistics, perhaps because US culture (tons of regulations making it harder to start businesses) makes it much more difficult to become an entrepreneur compared to say, Indian culture. Further research on the cultural effects of entrepreneurial opportunity on long term outcomes of child abuse victims is recommended.

                forbes [dot] com/sites/melodywilding/2016/09/19/why-dysfunctional-families-create-great-entrepreneurs/?sh=33fd961e51df

                One noteworthy person with a history of child abuse who grew up into an entrepreneur is Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton was sent to a number of child abuse facilities as a child, including a child torture facility in Utah. But even though she was successful at making money, she still experiences terrible nightmares and bad romantic relationships as a result of her adverse childhood experiences.

                youtube [dot] com/watch?v=937Y75ZMuxs

                Some of history’s most evil people have a history of child abuse. Hitler was known to be beaten and humiliated daily as a child.

                nytimes [dot] com/1986/09/25/theater/the-stage-hitler-s-childhood.html

                King Leopold II was neglected as a child. As a child, he had to apply for an audience in order to see his own father. The future King Leopold II was given military training from the age of 10. I do not know if this was voluntary or not, but it’s worth noting that forced military recruitment, especially of children, is classified as a form of military sl*very. King Leopold II was also subjected to an arranged marriage, probably a forced one, given that he and his bride apparently hated each other. (Forced marriage is classified as a form of sl*very under international law.) He then grew up to commit a genocide (by means of an extremely brutal forced labor regime) that killed an estimated 10 million Congolese during his lifetime and the immediate aftermath. (And even more in the long run… the long term outcome of King Leopold’s actions includes the globalization of HIV/AIDS, so basically, his ghost is still killing people to this day.) For further info, so “King Leopold’s Ghost” by Adam Hochschild.

                Mobutu was forcibly recruited into the Belgian colonial army, known as the Force Publique, as a child (this is classified as “military sl*very”), and then later grew up to be a brutal dictator. (I remember reading about Mobutu’s experience of being forcibly recruited in “Mobutu: Dignity for Africa – Interviews with Jean-Louis Remilleux.”)

                Even relatively mild forms of childhood trauma produce terrible results. For example, many people in the United States do not consider spanking to be a form of child abuse. However, it produces many of the same effects as child abuse, which suggests that it is indeed a form of child abuse, regardless of whether or not people believe that it is.

                “[The costs of spanking] include weakening the tie between children and parents and increasing the probability that the child will hit other children and their parents, and as adults, hit a dating or marital partner. Spanking also slows down mental development and lowers the probability of a child doing well in school”

                sciencedaily [dot] com/releases/2013/12/131211103958.htm

                In conclusion, considering the diverse negative long term effects of child abuse, in order to create a better world for future generations, it is essential to take measures to reduce child abuse, and also to find ways of helping people to heal from the trauma of child abuse, so that people have the opportunity to grow up to become more enlightened people.

              • random person says:

                Here is another article on the correlation between spanking and adverse outcomes.


                “The results show that spanking is associated with an increase in subsequent misbehavior, which is the opposite of what almost everyone believes. These results are consistent with a large number of high quality peer-reviewed studies,” Straus said.

                Straus looked at criminality trends of university students in 15 countries using nine measures of criminality. The measures are criminal beliefs, antisocial personality, father assaulted by child in previous year, mother assaulted by child in previous year, physical assault of partner in previous year, severe physical assault of partner in previous year, physically injured partner in previous year, attacked someone intending to seriously injure them, and stolen money from anyone, including family.

                The 15 countries are Hong Kong, Taiwan, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Israel, Canada, and the United States. Straus took into account the influence of such factors as parental education, misbehavior as a child, loving and positive approach to correcting misbehavior, student gender, student age, and nation. One of the most interesting findings was related to the effect of parents who took a loving and positive approach but who also spanked their children.

                “So many parents and child psychologists believe that if spanking is done by loving and helpful parents, it has no harmful effect,” Straus said. “This study and only one other study I know of that empirically investigated this belief found that it is not true. Spanking seems to be associated with an increased probability of subsequent child behavior problems regardless of culture and, regardless of whether it done by loving and helpful parents.”

                “Children need lots guidance and correction, but not by being physically attacked under the euphemism of ‘spanking,’ ” Straus said.

                Straus found that positive parenting decreased the probability of subsequent crime but mainly for nonfamily crime. And even though positive parenting was associated with less crime by students, the relation of spanking to crime remained for all nine aspects of crime.

                “Most people will find these results hard to understand because parents spank to correct misbehavior and to teach the child to be law-abiding citizens,” Straus said.

              • random person says:

                This article discusses how spanking girls in particular essentially trains girls to submit to future male violence, increasing their probability of being victimized by domestic violence in the future. (Note: This could happen to a boy to… reactions are not clearly divided along gender lines. However, statistically at least, girls and boy tend to process the trauma in different ways.)


                “When a girl is spanked by her father or paddled by a male school teacher, she is being trained to submit,” says Jordan Riak, a retired school teacher and the executive director of Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education, a California-based nonprofit group dedicated to getting corporal punishment banned in U.S. schools.

                “When a school district permits teachers to paddle girls, it is setting those girls up to be victims of future male authority figures, whether it be a boyfriend, husband or employer,” Riak claims.

                One woman writes of her experience with paddling at a Florida high school in a letter posted on the Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education Web site. She describes how she was made to bend over a male administrator’s desk while wearing a miniskirt and was ordered to spread her legs further apart. While another male administrator watched, the paddler first caressed her buttocks with the paddle, then delivered three stinging whacks.

                “I only know that this experience was the closest thing to a rape as I can imagine, and I pray that the time will soon come when no one will have to suffer this form of punishment-masked sadism again,” wrote the woman, who requested anonymity. The letter can be read in its entirety on the Web site.

                “There are definite sexual implications for a male teacher to paddle a girl,” he says. “The nerve endings that go to the genitalia also go to the buttocks.”

                Hyman says spanking by parents also has negative emotional consequences for girls. “The intention of spanking is to cause pain and the causing of pain to girls and then saying ‘I love you’ is not healthy.”

                Of the cases he has seen during 40 years in his private practice, Hyman says, “Kids who have been spanked severely react as if they’ve been raped.”

                Part of it could be that, because children are more psychologically vulnerable than adults, a child who has been severely spanked might be reacting like and *adult” who has been raped. (I should thing that, all else being equal, including the age of the victim, being raped would be much worse… but if one is comparing a child victim of a severe spanking to an adult victim of rape, it might be comparable.)

              • random person says:

                Also, society frequently punishes children who attempt to defend themselves.

                See for example:

                Within the psychiatric industry, supposedly violent patients may merely be attempting to defend themselves against abusive psychiatrists and other staff. I mean, yes, self-defense is technically a form of violence, but it should not be put in the same category as non-defensive violence.

                Please note that I am not arguing that self-defense is enlightened behavior. I don’t think it’s “what Jesus would do”, so to speak. But it is even less enlightened to ignore the circumstances in which self-defense occurs, pretend that it is not self-defense, and to continuing punishing the person who defending themselves as if they had committed non-defensive violence.

                This happens outside the psychiatric industry too. I remember, when I was younger, perhaps 15 or so, there was this man who was attempting to drag me off someplace. I was very afraid, and hit him to try to break free, and he screamed at me that hitting people was wrong. Which was hugely hypocritical, given that he was attempting to kidnap me. But this sort of hypocrisy towards children is normalized in US culture. Children are expected to just be passive and not fight back when physically assaulted by adults. Anyway, I don’t want to tell the rest of that story.

                Websites like “Empowering Parents” are actually empowering child abusers. For example, they have a page that discusses how children sometimes engage in what the website calls verbal abuse or outright physical assault against parents.

                However, no where on the page does “Empowering Parents” (aka Empowering Child Abusers) discuss how children who engage in activities that are often labelled as verbal or physical abuse against parents are often defending themselves against violent parents.

                For example, from the testimony by Jennifer Higgins that I linked above, Jennifer describes how after many years of physical abuse, she eventually snapped and fought back,

                When I was 14, my grandfather came at me screaming and raised his hand to hit me. It was like something snapped. This incredible rush of energy went through me. I had a flicker of a thought: He’s going to hurt me no matter what. I might as well put up a fight.

                I did put up a fight. I flew at him, hitting and scratching. He was much bigger than me. He was a military man, only recently retired, over six feet tall and muscular. I was 14, five foot three, and all of ninety pounds. He had me on the ground within less than a minute. He threw me onto the floor and kicked me over and over, in my sides, in my back, in my head.

                I recovered quickly, more quickly than I ever had. Something had broken loose in me. I wasn’t going to just take the treatment anymore. I was going to be noisy. I was going to scream and carry on about the injustice of it all. I was filled with adrenaline and fear and a sense of liberation. I destroyed the entire house. I put holes in walls and screamed and cried hysterically. I kicked a mirror and sent glass everywhere. I ripped open every stuffed animal I could get my hands on.

                However, on Empowering Parents (aka Empowering Child Abusers) it says,
                “If your child or teen is harming you physically, you are being abused. It’s that plain and simple.”

                Per the definition on Empowering Parents (aka Empowering Child Abusers), if a sexual abuser or other physical abuser of children attacks a child, and the child physically harms the abuser by fighting back, then, according to Empowering Parents (aka Empowering Child Abusers), the child is abusing the sexual or other physical abuser “plain and simple”.

                Note that Empowering Parents does not even acknowledge the possibility that the child might be fighting back against sexual and/or physical abuse, they simply say, “Remember: we can try to understand what’s going on in any situation, but there is no excuse or rationale for abusive behavior.”

                In other words, according to Empowering Parents (aka Empowering Child Abusers), fighting back against severe sexual or physical abuse is not an excuse for fighting back. The child fighting back is abusive (according to them). However, because they don’t want to look bad by saying that directly, they simply say “there is no excuse” without even going into what the so-called “excuse” might be.

                There is a lawyer, named Paul Mones, who’s life work is apparently fighting back against the notion that children should not be allowed to defend themselves. His clients are exclusively children who have committed parricide — something that nearly always occurs as a response to long term, severe abuse, and the perception that there is no other way out.

                nytimes [dot] com/1992/02/14/news/when-child-kills-parent-it-s-sometimes-to-survive.html

                Thus ended the life of Glenn Wisener, the 49-year-old truck driver of whom the jury in Tyler, Tex., had been given a posthumous portrait the prior few days. Mr. Wisener’s wife, Mamie, testified that her husband was the type to throw oak logs at her or Donna Marie when either displeased him, or smash a plate containing his fried eggs if they were not sufficiently runny. He beat his stepson with branches, belts, ropes, hoes and fists — in a worse way, one witness recalled, than he would ever have “whupped” his own livestock.

                Miss Wisener offered her own grotesque version of life with father: He had once broken two switches on her buttocks. Other times, he handcuffed her to a chair for his amusement or, when her report card was unsatisfactory, beat her unconscious. In more affectionate moments, he gave her “rub downs” and sent her sexually suggestive Valentines.

                The jury was able to hear these chilling stories because of a new Texas law that permits a person accused of killing any family member to introduce evidence of prior abuse, as well as expert testimony on the peculiar psychology of victims of battering, including abused children. Five other states also allow such evidence, but only with respect to battered women.

                It’s disturbing that it was illegal for so long to even present such testimony to juries, and, as of the time that article was written (1992), was still only legal in Texas. Juries can’t function properly if they aren’t allowed to see all the evidence.

                I don’t know why Texas. Texas doesn’t seem like the sort of place that would be the first to change law in a progressive way in any area. But I guess sometimes progress comes from unlikely places. Or maybe the places we think are unlikely are actually likely, because if a place has had a lot of problems for a long time, it encourages resistance to form in response to those problems.

                Statistically, Paul Mones estimates that over 90% of parents who kill their parents have been abused by them. (And these tend to be severe cases of child abuse, not mild or moderate ones. The vast majority of abused children don’t kill their parents.

                books [dot] google [dot] com/books?id=GJQ5DQAAQBAJ&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=paul+mones+%22over+90+percent+of+youths+who+kill+their%22&source=bl&ots=YlCdDo73a7&sig=ACfU3U1BeC5BibWjarVQvxvwTHNVJPGvPQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjI7YWGqPv3AhXToI4IHRW1CW4Q6AF6BAgDEAM#v=onepage&q=paul%20mones%20%22over%2090%20percent%20of%20youths%20who%20kill%20their%22&f=false

                The other less than 10 percent of children who kill their parents are generally suffering from severe hallucinations, delusions, and stuff of that nature.

                Anyway, if those statistics also hold for lesser forms of attacks against parents, it would mean that over 90% of children who hit their parents are doing so in self-defense. And, if that estimate is anywhere close to correct, it demonstrates how “Empowering Parents” is acting with extreme irresponsibility, to the point of condoning massive amounts of child abuse, when they simply argue that there is “no excuse” for children to hit parents, and don’t even discuss the most-common so-called “excuse” – defense against child abuse. That is why I think the website would be more accurately named, “Empowering Child Abusers”.

              • random person says:

                Also… based on the evidence given in this Quora page, I would say that spanking boys should also be considered a form of sexual abuse.


              • skylien says:

                You really dig into this topic. Are you working in this field?

                And don’t get me wrong, thanks for all the information, and I agree with basically everything you say. However I feel it is a bit excessive what you write to me. As I am not responding with the same effort, I want to make clear that I do not wish to seem impolite.

                As we are on an economics blog, which is to say it is about humans who need to get out the most with scarce resources, I need to ask: Are you sure your energy isn’t wasted here on me? As I think it is quite likely that I am the only one reading this (and maybe Tel).

              • random person says:

                Skylien wrote,

                You really dig into this topic. Are you working in this field?

                No, I am not working in this field. I wish I were, but I’m not. I never went to college, and unfortunately, we live in a world where a psychiatrist with a college degree, who goes around telling children who have suffered sexual abuse that their experiences are impossible because “old men don’t have libidos”, is taken more seriously that someone without a college degree who listens to people with trauma and has some degree of personal experience in the matter.
                But maybe it’s just as well that I didn’t go to college, since if I had gone to college, I probably would have learned many wrong things, like that psychiatrist I just mentioned.

                No. I make digital art and I sell in on Redbubble (a print-on-demand website where you can buy t-shirts and coffee mugs and stickers and stuff with artwork on them). Sometimes I also sell things on Facebook Marketplace. And I gamble professionally on kucoin, which basically means I spend hours and hours staring at chats with Heikin Ashi candles and all sorts of technical indicators on tradingview dot com. Sometimes the candles move very slowly and this gives time to read and write stuff.

                Maybe if I make enough money, I will give lots of it to Free the Sl*ves and other NGOs that help traumatized people. I’ve read there are some very good anti-poverty programs that involve giving people around the world goats, cows, etc. But for now, I can only give a few dollars here and there, which is apparently more than a lot of wealthier people think they can afford to give. I wish I could give more, but people say things like, “You have to save yourself before you can save others,” or, “You can’t pour from an empty glass” for a reason.

                I have a book titled, “Technical Analysis for teh Trading Professional: Strategies and Techniques for Today’s Turbulent Financial Markets” by Constance Brown, that I have recently started reading in the hopes of improving my gambling skills.

                Skylien wrote,

                And don’t get me wrong, thanks for all the information, and I agree with basically everything you say. However I feel it is a bit excessive what you write to me. As I am not responding with the same effort, I want to make clear that I do not wish to seem impolite.

                It’s okay. Maybe it will help you someday, if you ever meet someone who is obviously traumatized and are trying to think of something nice to day.

                Skylien wrote,

                As we are on an economics blog, which is to say it is about humans who need to get out the most with scarce resources, I need to ask: Are you sure your energy isn’t wasted here on me? As I think it is quite likely that I am the only one reading this (and maybe Tel).

                I mean, it’s okay, I think. The charts on Trading View have been mostly red lately, though you can still find some green on shorter timeframes. Basically, it’s a time for only very conservative gambling.

                I don’t think very many people will listen to me on any website. There have been times when I tried to submit articles to major publications, but nothing much ever came of that. I think I need to get money so I can buy a voice. It worked for Paris Hilton. Although, I don’t really want to make a documentary about my life, like she did. But it would be nice to be able to afford to fund documentaries about important topics like modern sl*very, child abuse, other types of trauma, and so on.

              • random person says:

                Speaking of which, I recently saw what appear to me to be buy indicators on one of the 4-hour charts I watch. (4 hour in the sense that each candlestick represents 4 hours of data.) Of course, I am not always correct about these things, but it looks hopeful.

                Go, Zcash, go!

              • skylien says:

                Well, interesting. Yeah I can imagine it is tough, if you have done a lot to get knowledge in this field but no way in to actually apply it somewhere, where you can really help people.

                I am currently reading the book “Selbst Schuld” (= It’s your own fault) by the psychologist Raphael M Bonelli (You find him also on Youtube).

                And I think he is one of the good ones. He clearly describes in this book how psychologists quite often absolve people of all the issues they have, and that there is nothing that they can do about it.

                That is obviously wrong. And sure it is not your own fault all the time, there are plenty of things people aren’t responsible for. But it is crucial being able to differentiate what is your own fault and what is not, and also how to handle things that are not your own fault.

                Yeah sure I hope your information also will help me help others some time down the roard, so thanks for that.

              • skylien says:

                uhh… trading cryptos sounds super dangerous. Hope you know what you are doing! 😉

              • random person says:

                Skylien wrote,

                And I think he is one of the good ones. He clearly describes in this book how psychologists quite often absolve people of all the issues they have, and that there is nothing that they can do about it.

                Psychiatrists do this more often than psychologists. I mean… a lot of ideas get shared from psychiatry to psychology, so psychologists do it too, but, so far as I can tell, the idea is centered in psychiatry, though the history of the concept goes back to eugenics and scientific racism, which in turn go back to older forms of racism and other bigotry.

                Essentially, a lot of psychiatrists (and a number of psychologists) believe in something called the biogenetic view of mental health. (The people who believe this frequently also believe it for physical health.) Essentially, they believe that your mental health is predetermined by your biology and genetics, and the only thing you can do about it is take the pills they give you.

                Blaming all kinds of problems on genetics goes back to theories of scientific racism. These same theories were also responsible for a lot of ableism. The “scientific” part of scientific racism probably belongs in air quotes, since this was ideology masquerading as science, not solid, dependable science. Scientific racism, as well as older forms of racism, were used to justify chattel sl*very and other forms of oppression against black people, and also sometimes other non-white people, and even some groups of white people (e.g. the Irish). If you read some of the older racist ideology, they didn’t necessarily use the same terms and arguments that are popular among more modern racists. Some of the older racists, from centuries ago, considered groups of people whom today would be considered different nationalities, to be completely separate races, so this is part of why these ideas were sometimes used against Irish, Sicilians, etc.

                Anyway, so the sl*veholders and their allies kept saying that black people were congenitally (meaning, born that way) lazy, stupid, etc., as a way of justifying what they were doing. Note that even as sl*veholders argued that ensl*ved people were lazy, their own records of profits, harvests, etc, often showed that ensl*ved people were working very hard. And records from some places, especially the sugar regions, showed that ensl*ved people were being worked to death. Only about 4% of the translatlantic sl*ve trade went to the United States, and the other 96% went to the sugar regions, because in the sugar regions, large numbers of sl*ves were worked to death, and the system was only able to be sustained for so long by importing massive numbers of replacements. So, anyway, when sl*veholders were arguing that black people were born lazy, stupid, etc., these were rationalizations for sl*very, not actual facts.

                There’s a video here that discusses sugar and sl*very.

                And there’s a book titled, “Sl*very’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development”, edited by Sven Beckert & Seth Rockman, that discusses, among other things, a number of the records of profits, etc., kept by the sl*veholders, overseers, etc. Like… there was bookkeeping, that was done.

                And you can read about a variety of pro-sl*very arguments, including long quotes from pro-sl*very thinkers, here. Pages 397 to 400 have some examples of what I am talking about, that is, of a pro-sl*very writer who argued that black people were lazy by nature. It’s disturbing to read, but an insight into the minds of evil people.

                “Cotton is king, and pro-sl*very arguments: comprising the writings of Hammond, Harper, Christy, Stringfellow, Hodge, Bledsoe, and Cartwright, on this important subject”
                gilderlehrman [dot] org/sites/default/files/inline-pdfs/Cotton%20is%20King.pdf

                And, sometimes this sort of thing would be done to other oppressed groups as well, not only black people. And these ideas evolved into theories that blamed many ills plaguing individuals and society on genetics. A lot of racism sort of evolved into ableism too, as even disabled white people were seen as “defective” whites, not whites as whites were supposed to be according to theories of scientific racism. (Of note, one Holocaust survivor described the Nazi’s persecution of disabled people by saying, “They were so racist, they were even racist against their own race.”)

                Interestingly, the development of racist thoughts took a different course in Brazil than in the United States, perhaps because many Brazillian sl*veholders moved to Brazil without bringing wives with them from Portugal or whereever, and were thus more open to the idea of intermarriage and/or having children of mixed race. Racism still happened, but it happened differently. Anyway, that’s mostly outside the scope of what I’m talking about here.

                Scientific racism also lead to a lot of extreme classism in the sense of considering poor people to be genetically defective. Like, rather than blaming the social structure of capitalism (or whatever economic system), or land theft, or trauma issues, or lack of opportunities, or bad luck, or lack of education / bad education, or bad government, or taxes, or diet, or various health factors like hookworms (a sort of parasite that feeds off of blood, causing anemia and related side effects, and is apparently common in certain parts of the United States), or even just bad choices, or any number of possibly contributing factors, they argued that poor people had bad genes.

                On a personal note, one thing about scientific racism, is that it is such a stunningly backwards, evil philosphy, that I find that many other philosophies which seem backwards, in my personal view, look enlightened when compared to scientific racism.

                And this scientific racism evolved into the eugenics movement, which is where a lot of laws against “miscegenation” (two people of different races marrying and/or having a child or children together) came from, along with a lot of forced sterilizations, encouraging people with supposedly good genes to marry other people with supposedly good genes, and so on.

                Anyway, the eugenics movement travelled across the Atlantic from the United States to Germany and inspired the Holocaust. It most likely inspired other genocides as well. (Also, it may not have originated in the United States. I have read that it may have originated in Britain. But in any case, the movement became very popular in the United States.)

                The Guardian has an article here describing how the eugenics movement travelled from the United States to Germany

                “Hitler’s debt to America: The Nazis’ extermination programme was carried out in the name of eugenics – but they were by no means the only advocates of racial purification. In this extract from his extraordinary new book, Edwin Black describes how Adolf Hitler’s race hatred was underpinned by the work of American eugenicists”
                theguardian [dot] com/uk/2004/feb/06/race.usa

                Most of all, American raceologists were proud to have inspired the strictly eugenic state the Nazis were constructing. In those early years of the Third Reich, Hitler and his race hygienists carefully crafted eugenic legislation modelled on laws already introduced across America and upheld by the supreme court. Nazi doctors, and even Hitler himself, regularly communicated with American eugenicists from New York to California, ensuring that Germany would scrupulously follow the path blazed by the US. American eugenicists were eager to assist.

                This was particularly true of California’s eugenicists, who led the nation in sterilisation and provided the most scientific support for Hitler’s regime. In 1934, as Germany’s sterilisations were accelerating beyond 5,000 per month, the California eugenic leader and immigration activist CM Goethe was ebullient in congratulating ES Gosney of the San Diego-based Human Betterment Foundation for his impact on Hitler’s work. Upon his return in 1934 from a eugenic fact-finding mission in Germany, Goethe wrote Gosney a letter of praise. The foundation was so proud of Goethe’s letter that they reprinted it in their 1935 annual report.

                There’s also a long article here about scientific racism and the eugenics movement in the United States.

                “Miscegenation, Eugenics, and Racism: Historical Footnotes to Loving v. Virginia”
                by Paul A. Lombardo

                readingroom [dot] law [dot] gsu [dot] edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1967&context=faculty_pub

                But even before the science of genetics gave racism a veneer of scientific rationalization, people had still found other ways to be racist and bigoted in previous centuries. Some of these ideas can be traced back as far as the Spanish Inquisition and other witch-hunting time periods, and perhaps even further, when they were deeply mixed up with misogyny and religious ideas. (Not blaming all religion here, many of the victims were themselves quite religious, but there were specific schools of religious thought that went pretty far astray from good moral thinking.) Many victims of the Spanish Inquisition and other witch hunts would be classified as “mentally ill” from the perspective of modern psychiatrists. And even before that, there are documents from the Romans classifying enl*ved people from different regions as being more or less useful for different things. And even before that, you can find Aristotle arguing that certain people were naturally suited to sl*very, and others to being masters. I believe Aristotle thought non-Greek people should be ensl*ved, so this was like, an ancient form of racism.

                A lot of science that seriously disputed scientific racism was repressed, which is part of why the dental industry is so terrible to this day. There are things that are possible with dentistry, like healing cavities with diet, that most dentists will tell you are impossible. And yet, it was proven that you can in fact heal cavities with diet by Weston A Price, and before him, by many indigenous people around the world. A significant amount of his research was basically studying non-industrialized (often indigenous) peoples and comparing their dental health to people on industrialized diets. I guess you could say he was a sort of dental anthropologist. He was able to use what he learned to heal cavities in children on industrialized diets, by means of supplementing their diets. Weston Price also made some vague notes about the impact of diet on intellectual health — nothing detailed, since it was outside his area of expertise, but enough to establish some kind of a link. Significantly, he also uncovered evidence that many problems being blamed on miscegenation were actually caused by diet. Since the scientific racists were in power at the time, this is probably why you most likely never heard of him, and why the United States is still suffering from bad dentistry to this day.

                However, thanks to the internet, you can read his book online:
                “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects”

                Anyway, these ideas from scientific racism of blaming everything on genetics unfortunately never died out, even after the Holocaust. The diagnosis of “Asperger’s”, for example, has a Nazi origin. The person who invented the diagnosis was a Nazi… like, not a member of the party, but one of the people involved in deciding which children were going to be killed under the Nazi regime. (Someone else added it to the DSM manual, but the idea came from the Nazi person.)

                nytimes [dot] com/2018/03/31/opinion/sunday/nazi-history-asperger.html

                And a bunch of Nazi scientists were secretly brought to the United States after World War II as part of something called “Operation Paperclip”. Some of them may have been psychiatrists. I think some were, but this article doesn’t give enough detail to say for sure if I recall correctly.

                npr [dot] org/2014/02/15/275877755/the-secret-operation-to-bring-nazi-scientists-to-america

                So anyway, these incredibly evil ideas flowed back and forth across the Atlantic, never dying out. I mean, I dunno, maybe I shouldn’t call ideas evil, just the violent actions resulting from those ideas, but psychiatry is a violent industry, and much of that violence comes from these sorts of ideas.

                That’s not to say there aren’t legitimate questions about how far free will goes, and about how much free will someone has after being subjected to various forms of torture, forced drugging, and other types of trauma. But the people who think you have no free will at all generally have a biogenetic view of mental health, which is a view with a really dark history.

              • random person says:

                There’s a document here which discusses mind control experimentation known as “Project Bluebird”, involving the deliberate creation of multiple personalities (now known as dissociative identities) in the subjects of the experiments, and other history related to this. It ties into the Operation Paperclip that I mentioned above.


              • random person says:

                Also, I did try to look up Raphael M Bonelli, but I do not know more than a few words of German, unfortunately, and there appears to be very little about him written in English.

              • skylien says:

                Wow, that was a ton of Info again. Very interesting. And I agree, sounds reasonable how this all this relates to each other, regarding eugenics.

                I have to look into some of your links at some point, I bookmarked them.

                Regarding diet I agree as well, there definitely is a lot that is tied into it not yet acknowledged. I am struggling with my diet since about 15 years, and basically I am quite carnivore already by now, because nothing else works for me. And believe me I have tried…

              • skylien says:

                Regarding Bonelli,

                First I am sorry he is a psychiatrist not psychologist…

                And yes I think there is little in english from him. I find him very based and logical. And he makes clear that yes we are heaviliy influenced by our genes, and environment, but ultimately it is us deciding what to make of it.

            • random person says:

              Corrected link: Still look for answer by Jeff Kirkendoll-Chapman.


              (Sometimes Quora shows answers to related questions, but I guess those don’t necessarily stay put.)

          • random person says:

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


          • 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.”


          • 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:

              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?


                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:

                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.


                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.

            • random person says:

              Yeah… the psychology of evil is a very important, and yet also very disturbing, topic. And since a lot of evil people lie a lot, it makes the works of people like Machiavelli who explain why they lie that much more valuable.

              • skylien says:

                Totally agree!

  3. Tel says:

    Interest Rates.


    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.


    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.”


    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.


      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.


      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).

      • random person says:


        The poor never pay high taxes … because the poor don’t have the ability to pay.

        Short answer: If people are being taxed to such a degree that they are starving to death in large numbers, but would not be starving if it weren’t for the taxes, those are high taxes. And the people are poor by virtue of the fact that they are starving to death.

        In some cases, the taxes may be the reason people are poor. Poverty tends to be calculated post-tax, not pre-tax, for obvious reasons. (The money or other resources that you spend in taxes are not available for you to spend making your life better.)

        Longer answer:
        A 60% tax (the level of taxation charged by the East India Company in Bengal as people were starving in mass number during 1771) is a higher than a 15% tax.

        To a certain extent, “high taxes” versus “low taxes” are relative terms. For someone who is of the opinion that all taxes are exploitation (leftist terminology), or that all taxes are theft (same basic concept, but right-wing people tend to prefer the term theft over the term exploitation), arguably, all taxes are “high” in the sense of being “higher than they should be”, but some taxes are substantially higher than others.

        One way to measure these relative differences in how high different taxes are is to measure their impact on the ability of the people to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. So if for a given person, taxes make the difference between being able to afford a large mansion and 10 private boats, versus being able to afford the same large mansion but only 9 private boats, we can say that the person is being taxed at a low rate, by this measure. On the other hand, if taxes make the difference between a farmer being able to feed his family and his trading partners (the potter, the blacksmith, the shoemaker, etc), and still have some food left over for storage for years of crop failure, versus the farmer, his family, and his trading partners all starving, then we can say that the taxes are very high, by this measure.

        “Ability to pay” is also a relative term. Are we talking about someone’s “ability to pay, without suffering serious adverse events like starvation”, or someone’s “absolute ability to pay, even if paying leaves them starving to death”? When rulers ignore the former and focus on the latter, levying taxes without regard to how many people are killed by them, we can safely say that the taxes are high, in the sense of “high enough to be lethal”. We can even get specific and specify how lethal, e.g. “high enough to kill 10 million people”.

        You sort of but not exactly address this argument here,

        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?

        The answer is that it’s not just a subjective measurement. I mean, yes, there are subjective things I can’t measure, but there are also things that aren’t subjective that are quite measurable. If I can say, “This tax killed approximately 10 million people during a 4 year time span, killing an average of 2.5 million people per year during that time span,” that’s a measurement, and not a subjective one. Maybe I can’t put a dollar value on murder, but I can count the number of murders. If a tax killed that many people, it likely inflicted a lot of suffering on those who managed to survive. There might be some ways to attempt to quantify said suffering, even if there’s also a subjective aspect that I can’t measure. For example, if I had access to an adequate amount of data, I might try to measure average amount of bodyweight lost by survivors, the average drop in caloric intake, and so on. Using more advanced methods, I might try to assign a numerical number to the nutritional value of said calories, and try to estimate the impact of taxes on said nutritional value. And there’s other things… at one point, the Belgian colonial government kept records of the numbers of whippings they inflicted in certain mines where they had forced labor.

        Another measure is the amount of time someone spends paying their taxes. For example, if someone spends 3,240 hours per year paying their taxes, that’s more than if they only spend 720 hours per year paying their taxes. Attempts might also be made to measure the intensity of the labor, perhaps by collecting statistics on the health effects of how hard people are working. (Note that regimes that require taxpayers to spend a greater number of labor hours paying the taxes, tend to be more deadly than regimes that require a smaller number of labor hours.)

        Tel wrote,

        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?

        I mean, considering the fractional reserve banking system, and inflation, a dollar is apparently not a dollar. Plus, if one person earns a dollar doing something more or less moral, like farming some apples, and another person acquires a dollar doing something immoral, like selling bombs to the US government, I really don’t think those two dollars are equal.

        Also, see above note about measuring taxes in terms of hours spent. One person might acquire $22,500 per minute, and another person might acquire only $2 in a whole day (and, let’s say, 12 hours labor in that day, so $1 per 6 hours). If a dollar were always a dollar, would that mean that an hour is not always an hour? An hour is a fraction of someone’s life. How big a faction depends on how long they live, but in any case, it is a fraction of someone’s life. Without knowing how long it takes someone to acquire a dollar, there’s no way of knowing how much of their life it represents.

        Also, a dollar is not a dollar when the government, a sl*veholder, or some other oppressive entity is controlling the prices. This point is particularly relevant to the Belgian Congo, where people were forced to work to earn say, collecting palm fruit, in order to pay head taxes, but had no control over the prices of the palm fruit, so that when the prices of the palm fruit dropped, and the head taxes were raised, the result was that they had to put in many more labor hours to pay the tax. The palm fruit prices were not natural, i.e., they weren’t what they would have needed to be to encourage people to sell palm fruit voluntarily. They were artificial prices, imposed by the government and the sl*vers. So, basically, Belgian Francs were not Belgian Francs.

        Also… the US dollar… like, it’s really messed up. Here’s a quote from Robert T. Kiyosaki in “Unfair Advantage: The Power of Financial Education”, page 124: “As you know, after 1971, money stopped being money and became debt.” Kiyosaki self-identifies as a capitalist, but he sounds more like a capitalist in the Machiavellian sense (that is, he keeps going over many of the problems with the economy, and then saying something along the lines of, here’s how to make it work for you, but he doesn’t really make much of a moral defense of capitalism.)

        On page 169, same book, Kiyosaki writes, “Because money is no longer money.”

        Tel wrote,

        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.

        You cite examples where people had sufficient power to be able to resist. Although, in the case of the French Revolution, high taxes persisted for centuries before the people gained enough power to make the French Revolution happen.

        But, there are a lot of examples where poor people did not have the ability to resist, at least for a long time. (Although, like the French, the may have eventually figured out to resist, but possibly only after millions of people died.) King Leopold II’s Congo, and the Belgian Congo (right after King Leopold II). India and Bengal under British rule. Ireland under British rule. Many subjects of the Roman empire.

        Those are some of the examples I’m more familiar with, but if you look at A World History of Tax Rebellions, by David F. Burg, it’s basically a long list of leftist tax rebellions, spanning from 2350 BC to 1903 AD. Poor people revolting against high taxes (by my definition), throughout history. Not all of of the rebellions have been successful. Some have been brutally repressed.

        Tel wrote,

        The American situation

        One thing to note about the US tax situation, historically, is that the name of the person on the tax bill isn’t necessarily the name of the person actually paying the taxes. The most obvious example is under chattel sl*very, before the Civil War, as well as with more recent forms of sl*very, such as convict leasing, some types of sharecropping (those where the sharecroppers were not allowed to leave, often under threat of being convict leased), prison labor (including by non-violent criminals), and illegal human trafficking. When a sl*ve-holder turns over tax money to the government… like, their name might be on the tax form, but they aren’t actually paying it with their own labor. They are extracting the labor used to pay the taxes out of other people, and then turning over a share of the profits to the government.

        In many cases, it might be indirect, e.g. someone unknowingly investing in a company that uses sl*ve labor. If they acquire money on that investment, that’s not morally legitimate income, so they aren’t really “paying” taxes on that income, in the sense that it’s not really (ethically) theirs to pay.

        There are also less obvious, and also less morally loaded, examples.

        A less morally loaded example would be land taxes. Now, when someone rents, the land taxes are included in the rent, along with other expenses, plus some profit for the landlord. The landlord’s name might be on the tax form, but the tenant is the one ultimately paying those taxes. (Unless the tenant has a scheme to get someone else to pay the taxes… but you get the idea.) The landlord is just collecting the taxes and passing them on to the government.

        The following is not an example from the United States, but it shows just how incredibly high land taxes are. In Mumbai, there is a homegrown neighborhood (aka a slum) known as Dharavi. In Dharavi, rent is like $4 a month. In parts of Mumbai with legal housing, rent starts at around $500 a month. (Part of this might also be due to building codes, not just taxes, I’m not sure.) So, based on this example, we can estimate that the combination of taxes and building codes makes housing 125x more expensive than it would otherwise be. That’s a huge difference, and strongly suggests that land taxes are probably the most exploitative tax in the United States, assuming they have a similar impact on housing prices here as they do in Dharavi / Mumbai. (It’s hard to find a US example for comparison, because the United States is aggressive about homegrown neighborhood clearance aka slum clearance.)

        Here’s the video where I got the Dharavi / Mumbai rental numbers from:

        Anyway, this also shows how a dollar is not a dollar. Dollars apparently go further in homegrown neighborhoods than they do in places with lots of taxes.

        Tel wrote,

        heritage [dot] 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.

        There’s a legal trick here. Remember that words often don’t mean the same in Legalese as they do in Plain English.

        Not all income is classified by the IRS as “earned income”.

        This is from page 71 of Kiyosaki’s book that I mentioned earlier:

        “There are three types of taxes for the following three types of income:
        1. Earned income (or ordinary income): highest-taxed income
        2. Portfolio income: second highest-taxed income.
        3. Passive income: lowest-taxed income, possibly zero.”

        Remember what matters here is the Legalese, that is, how the IRS categorizes the income, not necessarily how you think it should be categorized.

        Apparently, portfolio income is also known as capital gains, and passive income is also known as cash flow. Kiyosaki mentions that he and his wife invest 90% of the time for cash flow, aka passive income, or in other words, the least taxed type of income. A few pages later, on pages 74 and 74, Kiyosaki describes how he was able to generate a million dollars of cash flow income from some real estate deals in Arizona, and not have to pay taxes on it, thanks to his understanding of how taxes and real estate work, and some help from a tax expert.

        So, an important thing to note here, is that someone who generates $500k in earned income (as defined with the IRS), will probably pay more in income taxes than someone who generates $1 million in passive income (as defined by the IRS), particularly if the latter generates that passive income in some tax-advantaged activity. (There are tax advantages for specific forms of income earning.)

        Tel wrote,

        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 British *colonizers*. Not necessarily the British bakers back in England…. I believe I focused on the East India Company specifically.

        But anyway, that’s fair. Whichever regime is in power at the time should be blamed for the famines that occur on its watch. I’ve never seen a famine that occurred without a political cause.

        Tel wrote,

        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.

        Famine has never been defeated. According to this website, 9 million people per year die from hunger and hunger-related diseases. I’m sure the exact number is disputed, but basically, we’re talking about millions per year.

        War, sl*very, and oppressive regimes are major causes of famines. I don’t think I’ve ever read about a famine that didn’t have a political cause. Without wars, bandits, sl*vers, and oppressive tax collectors, farming communities seem perfectly capable of saving and adapting to avoid being destroyed by a crop failure from time to time.

        theworldcounts [dot] com/challenges/people-and-poverty/hunger-and-obesity/how-many-people-die-from-hunger-each-year/story

        Tel wrote,

        would argue that the British contributed a fraction more towards that technological improvement than the Hindus did

        Okay, let’s break down “the British”. There were “the British colonizers” and there were “other British people, not directly involved in colonialism”. The other British people, not directly involved in colonialism, may have contributed to positive, life-affirming technological improvements. I’m sure some specific British individuals indeed did so. But the British colonizers caused massive amounts of starvation and death.

        • random person says:

          To expand on Kiyosaki’s point that the different income categories (as categorized by the IRS) are taxed differently, another legal ProPublica (as cited by CBPP) mentions that another way wealthy people can avoid taxes on their capital gains, while still getting spendable money, is to borrow against their assets, rather than selling them.

          They can borrow large sums against their holdings (i.e., their unrealized capital gains) without generating “taxable” income. Larry Ellison, Oracle’s chief executive officer and one of the world’s richest people, pledged part of his Oracle stock as collateral for a $10 billion credit line.[18] Similarly, ProPublica noted, “last year Tesla reported that [Elon] Musk had pledged some 92 million shares, which were worth about $57.7 billion as of May 29, 2021, as collateral for personal loans.”[19] And the Wall Street Journal recently reported, “Banks say their wealthy clients are borrowing more than ever before, often using loans backed by their portfolios of stocks and bonds.” As one financial advisor quoted in the story said, “[t]he tax benefits are stunning.”[20]


          Nexo is one place that you can do this with crypto. I mean, I don’t know if the tax benefits are comparable in Australia. But, Nexo will let you hold crypto there, and take out loans against the crypto, for whatever tax benefits that does or does not give you.

          • random person says:

            Basically, the concept is that capital gains are only taxed when the asset is sold. If the wealthy person takes a loan against the capital gains, instead of selling them, that’s tax-free.

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