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Monday, August 27, 2007

Very Disturbing

Sorry for not writing over the weekend, but I was very busy, and I also was brooding about a series of posts at Shrinkwrapped. He has written about moderate Muslims and moderate Muslim culture, and every time he does, commenters show up at his blog advocating extreme views. They claim there are no moderate Muslims, and/or that all Muslims should be deported. Their arguments, as elaborated, make no sense to me. It's even more disturbing to see the blog of such a humanistic man haunted by this sort of unthinking fanaticism.

It disturbs me very much to see those writing in the West, who are in very little danger, making such extreme and illogical arguments. It appears that individuals are willing to throw out the Constitution and the history of it without a second thought.

History shows patterns of economic distress in human populations which produce social distress, upheaval and often a targeting of foreign groups within a country. The irrationalism of Communist and other forms of "right-thinking" are reemerging in the right and conservative groups now. This is not a favorable social development, because the US is moving into bad economic times and certainly will continue to deal with problems and attacks from radical Muslims.

I argued over there, but I see very little positive developing in our own culture. We all should think about Obama's idea that we should pull out of Iraq and attack Pakistan; we're fools if we allow ourselves to be dehumanized by pure fear of raving religious nutcases. The truth is that any culture which assigns worth and rights to individuals based not on what they do but on their membership in some sort of group cannot harbor and nurture the humanistic principles of the west.

We had better all be looking in the mirror before it's too late.

Amen.unfortunately the enlightenment's roots are a bit shallow here in the USA.Intolerance seems to be linked to fear and a sense of helplessness regardless of education or social class.I have no use for it,and having been called an "N-lover" and a "Honkie Mo-FO" on the same afternoon I realize that the rewards of right action are internal,and not always rewarded by society.BTW,I followed you over from CR because your approach to our socio-economic problems is both reality based,and kind.
Kindness infused with the recognition of reality is basically what works.

Yes, I am figuring out your point about the enlightenment. It's not a pleasant revelation. What I cannot figure out is how people think that tossing out the Constitution is going to lead to anything good?
When you consider how much political nuttiness is already floating around, I shudder to think about what might happen if the economy gets really bad.

There seem to be a lot of people who are incapable of considering policy issues in terms of the overall society rather than in terms of a Hobbesian war of group against group. I've probably seen 50 comments on blogs to the effect that recent Bernanke actions are for the benefit of "the rich" or the "big boys" or some such. The actions may or may not have been wise, but I see no reason to doubt that man's good faith.

From BizWeek, which should know better:
It doesn't help matters that the recent moves by the Federal Reserve will largely benefit big institutions sucha s CFC. "I've been watching my 401(k) and wondering if I'll have anything left," laments (a 49-year-old paralegal..
What does this BW writer think 401K money is invested in? Mostly in the stock of "large institutions," of course. These institutions do not own themselves.
David - that pretty much sums up my fears!

It's just as noticeable, or perhaps even more noticeable, among intelligent and educated people. Over and over again one reads nonsense averred and accepted as fact. Things like blaming this all on Greenspan, when in fact the asset bubble is global. The man was powerful, but not powerful enough to change property values in Singapore, Moscow, Sydney and Bangladesh. People who are writing this stuff should know better.

I think the hunt for a victim within our reach is on.

The two pillars of the west have been the development of reliable banking systems, which allow for rapid shifts of capital to fund innovation and movement between what were traditionally considered classes, and the legal theory that people should be judged for their actions and not by group membership. A long process of trial and error brought us here, and now we have forgotten all about these truths.

The reason why I have been writing about economics so much is that this was highly predictable, and we need to understand what happened or we will act like other societies under stress and become irrational.

The reality is that CFC can't do well unless its borrowers can pay them. That is why we do need a system of unified regulation. We had to impose it for banks to make that work well, and now that the non-banks have gotten into this field we find once again that non-regulated becomes short-sighted and destructive.

If people understand it, they will fix it. If they don't understand it, they will pursue some unrelated victim.
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