Alan Watts: God Complex

I would like to share with you a mind bending discussion from Taoist adept Alan Watts. In this, Watts discusses topics related to humanity’s perspective on god, truth, heresy and the divinity of the human being. This is sure to elevate your level of thought, feeling and awareness to new levels if you’ll allow it.

‎”Life itself is a disease with a very poor prognosis, it lingers on for years and invariably ends with death!”

–Carl Jung

Government Shakedowns: For the “Public Good”?

Statism utilizes the notion of the public good to supposedly justify the use of force on members of a population within the territory controlled by the particular state.  This is done through a territorial monopoly on the use of violence to coerce and expropriate wealth from the captive population of the particular state’s region of domination.

The goal of anarcho-capitalism, is to transition to a more free society with truly free markets, where goods and services are produced without the threat of force from government and government created monopolies.  The government, via its legislated advantages and monopolies, destroys the free market and creates countless advantages for giant corporations and well connected individuals.  This kind of corrupt, state centered system, helps to exacerbate the growing gap between rich and poor and impoverishes society as a whole by destroying the great wealth engine we call the free market.

The discussion in this video is between anarcho-capitalist activist Adam Kokesh and statist “Noah”, who is arguing for government force to create the so-called public good.  It’s interesting to note that Noah dusts off the old  free to leave argument, if we don’t want government to force its services upon us and of course the accompanying tax payment for those services.

That’s an interesting kind of society that our youth have been brought up to want, a society where the government makes many of your major decisions for you via corrupt politicians and an ignorant electorate.  Where in this statist utopia are the protections of the individual from having their rights voted away by the majority?

Adam Kokesh: I want, through grass roots, bottom up ways of coming together voluntarily.  I want to be able to create those things [services for the common good] in a society where people’s rights are respected, rather than in a system that’s top down, as you’re describing, where a system is decided on by a group of people by voting or electing representatives and forcing that system on the people.  I want those things and I want to find a way to create them while respecting other people’s rights.  I want to find a way to create all of those things without putting guns to people’s heads to make them pay for things that they don’t want.

Noah: I think the threat of force can be separated from violence.

Adam Kokesh: But is the threat of force any more morally acceptable.

Noah: Yes, I believe it can.

Adam Kokesh: So threatening force is okay; but actually carrying out force is not okay.

Noah: That depends on the context.

Adam Kokesh: So threatening force is okay if?

Noah: For example, if a crime were about to take place and I threatened force, and it prevented the crime from taking place, that would be a justification for the use of force.

Adam Kokesh: I’m an IRS agent and I’m threatening to put you in a cage if you don’t give me 30% of your income.  Is that a justified threat of force?

Noah: Yes

Adam Kokesh: That is a scary, anti-freedom, violent idea.

Noah: [leaves the conversation]

It’s a problem that is fundamentally rooted in using the initiation of force to get things done

Stefan Molyneux  | Free Domain Radio

“…Yes, of course the general population has been raped and pillaged by the financial sector; but what is astounding to me… they know that the government has been complicit in all of this stuff. They know that the government is dependent on the financial institutions for money to continue to bribe the general population into getting votes. They know that the government has started unjust wars and been responsible in America for the murder of hundreds of thousands of foreigners and tens of thousands of Americans. They know that the government kidnaps people and throws them in jail for non-crimes like having unpopular bits of vegetation in their pocket.

They know all of this about the government. What is their damn solution to the problem of financial corruption?

Let’s have the government do something about it. Let’s have the government put a tax on financial transactions. Let’s have the government repeal the repeal of glass steagle. Let’s have government swoop in and do all of this wonderful stuff because these financial institutions are like wayward children that have eaten too much candy and the government like a parent needs to come in and take away all the Halloween bags.

It’s completely insane. The government, of course, is fundamentally behind all of this. The financial corruptions that they’re protesting are a mere affect of the fundamental problem in society which is always and forever a moral problem. Not a problem of legal technicality. Not a problem of financial rejiggering. Not a problem of insufficient oversight.

My god, they passed over 50,000 pieces of additional regulation during Bush’s term, when he was supposed to be the big deregulation guy. It’s all madness. They’re out there camping as part of the way the system’s cancer grows, which is that they’re out there protesting against the affects of government power, which is financial corruption. What they want to solve the affects of government power is more government power and that is horrendous; they don’t know the degree to which they are contributing to the mess and creating even more disasters in the future…”

“…Whenever you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. When you have a government, almost nobody can think of any other solution than: pass a law, have more regulation, give the state more power and that’s going to solve everything. Well the state has been growing in power, fundamentally, ever since 1913, ever since the English gave them the ability to type whatever they want into their own banks accounts. The state has been growing like a cancer.

The state has more power now than any government in history has ever dreamed of having and the problem is getting worse and worse. The correlation of the problems getting worse and the state growing is very clear; because violence causes destruction. It’s like heroine, it gives you short term high and a long term catastrophe. So you need to stop asking the government to solve problems. Ask the government to start solving problems in the way you’re solving your problems which is peacefully, non violently without the opinion backed by a gun we call the law. Get the government to start putting down its guns, start controlling human beings in the way that you’re protesting.

Then you’ll be taking a genuine step forward, not just to solving these problems; but down the road to genuine human liberty. Until you are willing to stop asking people with guns to solve problems, you have no right to expect those problems to be solved…”

Violent Statists Occupy Washington D.C.

One of the driving forces that keeps statism going, is the fact that statists see violence from the state, as a solution to society’s problems. They are frequently calling on the state to utilize violence, coercion and theft, against various aspects of the population, to achieve their desired ends.

What these statists fail to realize, however, is that statism and violence, are the root causes of many of the problems in society. The big companies that statists often bemoan, are allowed to become so large and powerful, primarily due to regulations which keep competitors from competing for their market share. These regulations are enforced by government violence and coercion.

When statists call for more taxes and regulation, they are unknowingly enabling the already well connected corporations to maintain their strangle-hold on the market. They then see the side effects of these policies, which destroy the economy and the marketplace; they blame the free market and capitalism, then call for additional centralization of power in the hands of the state.

What you end up with is a self-reinforcing cycle which erodes the free market and replaces it with crony capitalism, where corporations and the state work closely to maintain the status quo.

The Federal Reserve Is Playing Defense

October 1, 2011
Gary North | LewRockwell.com

You probably missed any media coverage of the September 26 speech by Federal Reserve Board of Governors member Sarah Raskin. The media ignored it. You would be wise not to ignore it.

There were a few brief news reports about it. There was no detailed analysis. The media usually ignore speeches by any FED Board member other than Bernanke.

Raskin’s speech reveals what is slowly dawning on the public. The economy is getting worse, and the FED is powerless to stop it.

Her speech was an attempt to reassure her listeners that the FED really does know what it’s doing, contrary to the evidence. The Federal Reserve has spent 45 months trying to deal with the sagging U.S. economy. Nothing is working. It looks as though nothing will work. But she wants us to believe that it’s not the FED’s fault. She did not say whose fault it is.

I have offered a line-by-line analysis of her speech. If you have money in a retirement fund, you would be wise to read it. I have posted it here.

I do not expect many people to read it. People are too busy. Bernanke knows this. The other Board members know this. They give their speeches, which get little coverage. They receive little criticism. They receive little applause. They have little power.

The Federal Open Market Committee has the power. Every eight weeks, the FOMC makes decisions in closed-door sessions that affect a billion people.

Then why read speeches by members of the Board of Governors? Officially, they are the government’s only source of indirect control over the FOMC, which is made up of presidents of the regional Federal Reserve banks, who in turn are appointed by regional FED banks, which are privately owned.

Members of the Board are appointed by the President. Their organization’s Web address ends in .gov. Legally, the Board is in charge of the entire system. This is a convenient myth for public consumption. Operationally, the Board acts as the mouthpiece of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The New York FED is the most important private economic organization in the world.

Board members are apologists for the New York FED. When I say “apologists,” I mean this in the theological sense: “apologetics” – the defense of the faith. I do not mean it in the sense of offering an apology. The FED never says it is sorry for anything it has done. That would be perceived by Congress and the public a sign of weakness.

THE SYSTEM OF REPRESENTATION

The main spokesman for the FED is the Chairman of the Board of Governors: Bernanke. He is legally the agent of Congress. He is operationally the barrier between Congress and the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

This is how all government agencies work, and the Board of Governors is a government agency. The head of every cabinet-level department is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. He serves at the convenience of the President. He imposes the President’s wishes on the bureaucracy.

In a pig’s eye.

The Secretary of Education is close to impotent to change any major policy. There is only one way to change policy: stop all funding to every branch of the bureaucracy that implements the old policy. Fire them all. Sadly, this is illegal. They are protected by Civil Service law.

Well, then, just stop the funding the old policy. Shut down the departments. Move all employees to other departments.

Legally, this can be done. It is never done. There would have to be hearings before both houses of Congress. Endless hearings. The American Federation of Teachers would scream bloody murder, meaning the nearly permanent senior officers in the AFT would scream bloody murder. The hearings would go on for years. Then the President leaves office. His reform program ends.

The bureaucracy cannot be fired. The newly appointed Secretary of Whatever goes out on the hustings to give speeches to special-interest groups related to the Department of Whatever. He has little authority over the day-to-day operations of the department. His task is to defend the budget and the reputation of “his” department.

Officially, the departmental Secretary is the agent of the Administration. Operationally, he becomes the agent of the department he oversees for a few years. He will leave. The employees will remain. If you want to grasp this system in two minutes, watch this segment from Yes, Minister.

Members of the FED’s Board of Governors are appointed for 14-year terms. We read:

The full term of a Governor is 14 years; appointments are staggered so that one term expires on January 31 of each even-numbered year. A Governor who has served a full term may not be reappointed, but a Governor who was appointed to complete the balance of an unexpired term may be reappointed to a full 14-year term.

Once appointed, Governors may not be removed from office for their policy views. The lengthy terms and staggered appointments are intended to contribute to the insulation of the Board – and the Federal Reserve System as a whole – from day-to-day political pressures to which it might otherwise be subject.

There is no industry-related agency of the U.S. government that is more insulated from politics. Therefore, there is no agency that is more completely under the domination of the industry that it is supposed to control. (The CIA and the NSA are not representatives of industries. They are separate fiefdoms.)

If the United States Army were this insulated from politics, the USA would live in a militarized society. The Army would run the show. Its only major rivals would be the Air Force, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, and the Federal Reserve. To imagine that Congress would have any say in such a society would be naive. The defense industry would be the premier industry in the society.

Our society is a bankers’ society, meaning a handful of large banks. The supreme mark of this is the openly announced independence of the Federal Reserve from politics. No other agency of government has publicly claimed this degree of independence from politics, which means independence from the voters.

In every textbook on history or politics that mentions the FED, the author assures the readers that this utterly undemocratic arrangement is for the good of the people. The fact that the arrangement is a flagrant violation of the religion of democracy, which governs all tax-funded educational institutions, is never mentioned in polite circles.

So, our elected officials are not the operational agents of the voters in matters of banking. They are the operational agents of the big bank cartel.

Until the crash of 2008, most voters were unaware of this system of representation. But that crash changed the old climate of opinion. The reason was Ron Paul. His candidacy for the Republican nomination for President in the second half of 2007 got the message out. Then the crash and the bailouts confirmed his message.

This had not happened in the history of the Federal Reserve. The FED’s Board is now playing defensive politics. Yet, legally, it is not a political institution.

This is why people should pay more attention to speeches by members of the Board of Governors.

RASKIN’S SPEECH

I will only go over the highlights here. I have covered the speech in detail elsewhere.

Like all members of the Board, she is burdened by the inescapable reality of the sagging economy. Unemployment is over 9% two and a half years after the beginning of the recovery. This has never happened before.

Housing prices are still falling. The bubble that popped in 2006 is still in decline. There is no sign that we are close to the bottom.

Consumer spending is stalled. This is a mark of government and central bank policy failure for a Keynesian economist. The only worse mark is falling spending.

She praised the FED for falling interest rates. She claimed that the FED’s monetary policies have achieved this positive result. What she, Bernanke, and other Board members never mention is this: falling interest rates are the universal mark of a recession in progress. Investors buy bonds in order to lock in an interest rate. They see this as safe-haven investing.

Falling rates since 2007 have been the result of investors who have moved their capital to government bonds. But FED officials claim that FED policies achieved this. So, Mrs. Raskin said this.

Rather than reviewing the vast academic literature regarding the effect of conventional monetary policy, I will simply pose the counterfactual question: What would have happened to U.S. employment if monetary policy had failed to respond forcefully to the financial crisis and economic downturn? Economic models – the Fed’s and others – suggest that if the federal funds rate target had been held at a fixed level of 5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007 until now, rather than being reduced to its actual target range of 0 to 1/4 percent, then the unemployment rate would be several percentage points higher than it is today. In other words, by following our actual policy of keeping the target funds rate at its effective lower bound since late 2008, the Federal Reserve saved millions of jobs that would otherwise have been lost. Of course, substantial uncertainty surrounds various specific estimates, but there should be no doubt that the FOMC’s forceful actions helped mitigate the consequences of the crisis and thereby spared American families and businesses from even greater pain.

The FedFunds rate is the rate that applies to banks’ overnight lending to each other. Demand for this type of short-term funding collapsed in 2008. Banks have increased their holdings of excess reserves to $1.7 trillion. This is why we are not seeing hyperinflation. Bankers are afraid of another recession. They want money in the bank.

The FED can take credit for having given credit to big banks in the big bank bailout of October 2008, which was opposed by voters. The FED could argue along these lines.

It is true that interest rates fall in a recession. The last time in American history that we have seen rates this low was in 1933. But, because the Federal Reserve bought nearly worthless Fannie and Freddie bonds at face value from the government after Hank Paulson unilaterally nationalized the mortgage market in September of 2008, and because the FED swapped at face value its portfolio of highly liquid T-bills for illiquid toxic corporate bonds held by large banks, we are not in a depression. Which do you want: low interest rates with 9% unemployment or 12% unemployment. Those were our only choices in 2008 and 2009. Trust us.

But this is not the Party Line at the FED. The Party Line is that the FED’s increase of about $2 trillion in its portfolio was the source of bank stability, corporate survival, and an acceptable though unfortunate unemployment rate of 9.1%. The FED pushed down interest rates – rates that would have stayed high, contrary to all historical records of recessions. That saved the American economy and the world economy.

Raskin heaped great praise on the FED.

Given the magnitude of the global financial crisis and its aftermath, the Federal Reserve clearly needed to provide additional monetary accommodation beyond simply keeping short-term interest rates close to zero. Consequently, like a number of other major central banks around the world, the FOMC has been deploying unconventional policy tools to promote the economic recovery.

This is exactly what we would expect from one of five members of a government Board that governs monetary policy, and which is supposed to be held responsible for failure. But, as the video from “Yes, Minister” indicates, no one is ever supposed to be held responsible in a government agency. She thinks they deserve a round of applause.

My FOMC colleagues and I have recently been faced with complex decisions about the use of unconventional policy tools under extraordinary economic and financial conditions. And while we may not all agree with every decision, I believe that the public can have a very high degree of confidence in the fundamental integrity and soundness of our decisionmaking process.

My response is to give them a standing zen ovation: the sound of millions of one-handed people clapping.

CONCLUSION

Mrs. Raskin offered no evidence for hope of reduced unemployment, revived business investing, or increased consumer spending. She was remarkably silent on these issues. She reaffirmed the decision of the FOMC. It will be mid-2013 before the FED dares reverse its present policy of twisting.

In August, we decided to be more specific about the timing, and our two most recent meeting statements have indicated that “economic conditions – including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run – are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013.”

So, we are still in the swamp of low growth. We will remain in it for a long time, politically speaking. She has issued President Obama a challenge: run your campaign in a stagnating economy.

She offered no analysis of the labor market. Yet her speech was entitled “Monetary Policy and Job Creation.”

This was a defensive speech. It indicates that the FED has no plan to get the economy back on track.

Falling long-term interest rates are the preliminary sign of a looming recession.

What will the FED do when recession hits next year, as seems likely? What rabbits will they pull out of the monetary hat?

The FED is on the defensive. Investors should take heed.