Monday, October 06, 2008

Because everyone knows that Christian theocrats make the best libertarians

Remember Ron Paul?


Richard said...

Although you might not guess it from the time zone I seem to be operating in, I came across your site having asked myself late Friday, for the first time, "Who's blogging near here in Lewisham?"

I found a few of course but the mention of anti-semitism and then of Christian theocrats was bound to draw a click. And it turned out that this was all about Ron Paul. Now that is nice!

I still greatly admire Dr Paul. I'd noticed his endorsement of Chuck Baldwin last month but I knew nothing about the man endorsed or his party at that point. I still know very little. But Paul seems to me to have been truly prophetic and authentic in his attempts to save the US from the credit crunch, going back to what he said in Congress in 2002 or just last year.

I also admire, well, some people you probably do. I like some of Hitchens, for example. How about Irving Kristol? I admire him too. Unlike both those guys I've never for one day of my short life thought of myself as a socialist. But that doesn't seem much to matter.

Anyhow, your friend (or at least blogroll-link) Roland Dodds in Korea raises the issue of Baldwin and his answer to a 9/11 conspiracy question. And that's I think where things get really interesting. I'm just at the point I'd like to engage with some serious people on that in London. They don't have to be Jewish but in this instance I think it may help. (May help me think some of this through to a sensible conclusion, that is. Such people can decide if it's been helpful to them, if they choose to engage at all!)

Anyhow, thanks for blogging from Brockley. I hope we'll find something of mutual interest at some point.

bob said...

I haven't seen enough of what Ron Paul said about the credit crunch to really evaluate what you say, but I reserve the word "prophetic" for only a few examples. Certainly, a fair number of people have predicted the financial crisis. (If you read someone like David Harvey or Loren Goldner, for example, you get a pretty strong analysis developed over a long time period.)

I need to read more about his credit crunch prophecies first, but apart from that, I can't find many reasons to admire him.

By the way, I certainly do admire Hitchens. I admire Irving Kristol, though not enormously.

richard said...

Thanks, trust me to introduce myself just after you'd announced you were taking a break (read a few moments after pressing Post!)

I hadn't heard of David Harvey or Loren Goldner and I must admit I'm not about to google them today. That could limit my appreciation of their prophetic-ness (or otherwise) for now. But thanks for the pointer.

What I think is unique about Ron Paul is that on the floor of the house of Representatives he was proposing measures in 2002 to remove distortions in the mortgage market caused by various bits of pork-barrel politics accumulated since Carter's time but made much worse under Clinton. And he was complaining about the Federal Reserve of course, in person to Greenspan and Bernanke in the banking and finance committees (probably won't have got those names right). He always does. But in particular, given the fiat money, fractional reserve system we share, the fact that interest rates were being kept too low partly because calculations of inflation did not include asset inflation.

It's only if you think that these are the two primary causes of the problem now (in the US, but with impact right across the world) that you'd join me in admiring Dr Paul as much as I do I guess. Another reason I think anyone should admire him is that he clearly just isn't ever going to be bought by the money men of any kind.

Unlike Dr Paul I supported the Iraq invasion. Then in 2005 I started to read Jim Hoffman on why the destruction of the world trade center was impossible according to the laws of physics. Unless ... well, you know how that ends. I did maths at Cambridge and no doubt felt an affinity for Hoffman because he's a programmer for his day job, as I am. He convinced me on the physics. That creates all kinds of problems, as I'm sure you can see.

Crunch, collapses or something else - your choice where we might go from here.

bob said...

1. The crunch:

Personally, I think the primary causes of the credit crunch and financial crisis are not distortions in the mortgage market or the actions of the Federal Reserve. I think that these are close to the surface. Deeper down we find (a) the "structural greed" embedded in the finance sector, with highly paid finance workers making enormous personal bonuses by gambling on risks that they themselves didn't carry, operating in a culture in which nobody really understood the complex bundles of debt that were being traded; and (b) the sub-prime crisis brought on partly by unscrupulous banks bigger and bigger loans but mainly by the fall in real wages of most Americans, which meant that the calculations by which they worked out the size of the mortgage they could re-pay turned out to be out of whack.

Deeper still is the cyclical nature of capitalism, which periodically enters into crisis, for reasons that Karl Marx set out ("prophetically") 150 years ago, and which his followers, from Henryk Grossman and Paul Mattick to Loren Goldner and David Harvey continued to refine. I'd recommend (especially the second of) these two half hour lectures by Harvey, which do quite a good job of the explanation, in my opinion. In brief, the way capital got out of the last major crisis in the 1970s was a massive restructuring of the economy, effectively going global, based on enormous borrowing, which reached a tipping point.

2. The collapse:

I am afraid that I have no time for the 9/11 conspiracy theories of Chuck Baldwin, Jim Hoffman or the Ron Paulistas. Hoffman's seems more solid to me than many others, but to my mind they are all silly.

The "red flags" in the "alternative" stories of September 2001 are far bigger than any red flags in the "mainstream narrative".

It happened.

richard said...

Sure, the entrapment of the neocons happened. What isn't certain is whether worldwide persecution of the Jews, fulfilling the worst fears of Daniel Goldhagen, will happen on the back of it.

Still, facts are facts. And the science is irrefutable.

I've only been to one 'truther' presentation in London, because it included Gordon Ross, a civil engineer, whose writings on the web have gained the respect of Stephen Jones and crowd. And mine.

An old UK government scientist did the introduction. No hard-left conspiracist ranter, he would no doubt have been the other side of the barbed wire at Aldermaston or wherever in days gone by. He simply said "It is because of the way the buildings fell that we know that the official story of 9/11 is false."

What's extremely strange - and this is true in the testimonies of Jim Hoffman and Richard Gage, and my own - is that many scientifically-minded people accepted the official story despite the fact we had all seen videos of the three collapses (or explosions, or disintegrations, if only the voice-overs had called them such). Until the moment we came across someone questioning the physics. And then it took an extremely short time to verify that simple, conflicting scientific claim. (Richard Gage is explicit about this, about coming across David Ray Griffin on the radio in his car and realising pretty much right away that he was right, even though it had never entered his mind before. Was this in in the recent BBC production on WTC7?)

What's also striking is how few such people ever go back to their former view.

This is peculiar indeed. We are all meant to have a scientific background. Why does it happen this way?

I am very unhappy about the way the quite separate job of interpretation has been going in the so-called 9/11 truth movement, as I allude to above. Far from happy times. But there is still some time to think it through and prepare, if anyone wants to.

bob said...

I am not sure what you mean by "the entrapment of the neocons" means, nor what you mean when you talk about a "worldwide persecution of the Jews" on the back of this. It is a fact that casual antisemitic attitudes are declining in the population at large in what we can broadly call the western world. However, it is also a fact that incidents of violent antisemitism have risen in the current century to levels not seen for many decades. It is also the case that certain antisemitic memes have escaped from the zones of extremism and made it into fairly mainstream political discourse. In my view, the 9/11 "Truth" cult has been one of the vectors for this.

I am not qualified to comment on the science and engineering of 9/11, and am not interested in getting into a discussion of it. I have not, however, seen a convincing case for why the American government, the Elders of Zion or any other shadowy power would have any reason whatsoever to perpetrate or collude in the 9/11 attacks, attacks which were claimed by Al-Qaeda, which killed Jews, financiers and everyone else.

richard said...

In my view, the 9/11 "Truth" cult has been one of the vectors for this.

That was my point. Whether entrapment, traducement or out-and-out corruption of the neocons, it doesn't matter, this has been a deadly part of the resulting (and eminently foreseeable) protest movement, a meme that was sown in extremely early in that process. This then has got to have been part of the original intention. And the intendors have got to be more than Al-Qaeda, at least as normally conceived, not only because of the way the buildings fell but also the sophistication of the associated psyop. (Some circular reasoning here - what I'm trying to do is arrive at a consistent picture, not argue everything from scratch.)

I stayed away for a while partly because I didn't want this distasteful subject to pollute (or be seen to pollute) other good things on your blog. (Also because of an eighteen-year-old who's just been told she has terminal cancer - but that's not a story to be told here for now.)

I've been thinking though that there might be a helpful lesson to learn from old physician Michael Crichton, on his departure from the same disease on the day of Obama's triumph.

There is no evidence that I know of that in real life (in contrast to the novel State of Fear) Crichton bought into one of the big "conspiracy theories" trying to explain the existence of the anthropogenic global warming movement. But he certainly changed his mind on the science, as comes out well in the three and a half minute interview with Kirsty Wark I've only seen since his death. (And isn't that always the way? Sorry Michael, sorry Kirsty.)

I'm coming to think that it's very important to separate the two, in pretty much all cases.