Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Europe Gets Greeky


Germany wrote the 130 billion Euro check, but Greece has already blown it on ouzo, cigarettes and KY Jelly...




Governments Gone Wild
Governments have been borrowing, spending with profligacy, buying votes with welfare payments, and debasing national currencies in attempts to hide what they are doing. Some governments in the EU borrowed from private banks with abandon on the assumption that the European Central Bank would be forced to bail them out, which it has by reluctantly printing euros.
Does this sound like a crisis of capitalism/free markets/economic freedom? No. It is a crisis of profligate government.  (Eustace Davie - Did Capitalism Fail?)
Keynesians Give Keynes a Bad Name
The Keynesian fallacy is in essence one of getting something for nothing. By Keynesian fiscal stimulus, normally involving spending more money though occasionally through tax cuts, providing they avoid the annoyingly savings-prone rich, we are supposed to produce additional economic output whenever there is an "output gap" from full employment, that is, in all conditions save those of a raging boom, when resources are scarce.

Keynes himself recommended such stimulus only at the bottom of deep recessions, and suggested that it should be balanced by running budget surpluses in times of boom. Needless to say, his disciples have neglected the disciplines he recommended.

In the 1930s, US president Herbert Hoover's reckless expansion of government spending, including loans to cronies through the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, caused further slowdown in the economy, which was exacerbated by his dreadful early 1932 increase in the top marginal rate of tax from 25% to 63%.

In the US case, the Barack Obama stimulus converted a vigorous recovery into an anemic one; only in the third quarter of 2011, after the effects of stimulus had begun to wear off, did output begin to accelerate and unemployment trend down... (The True Cost of Keynes)
Bend over, we're next...

55 comments:

Infidel de Manahatta said...

Don't worry. I hear his Lordship Obama has plans to soak the rich. That always works....right?

Anonymous said...

"Greece has already blown it on Ouzo, cigarettes and KY Jelly..."

Be careful, Silverfiddle, the Libertine Lobby and The Right-to-Wasters will come after you hammer and tongs. Remember, you have young children to protect. Society's Dopers, Drones and Dropouts are apt to become vicious when aroused.

The manufacturers of KY may take offense also. Their best customers are ardent sodomites, you know. Are you trying to spark a Parade in Favor of the Rights of Perverts to Anal Lubrication?

Shouldn't true libertarianism imply the enthusiastic endorsement of the unqualified right of individuals to destroy themselves by following unhealthy, morbidly unproductive lifestyles -- if that's what turns them on?

Surely you wouldn't want to suggest that the peoples' inherent right to use borrowed government largesse in the militant pursuit of frivolity should in any way be curbed?

What's the matter with you? Have you turned into just another shill for the enforcement of outmoded Bourgeois notions of Thrift and Morality?

How disappointing!

And here we honestly thought you believed in FREEDOM!

Ah well! All idols have feet of clay, I suppose.

Dejectedly yours,

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Poor John Maynard Keynes has had a bad reputation and has been routinely vilified in most of the circles in which I've traveled all my life, but I am sure simply dismissing him as That Guy Who Told Us It's Great for Government to Spend Unlimited Amounts of Money the Country Does Not Have is an oversimplification.

Doubtless -- like the Framers of our reviled, sadly-neglected, willfully-misinterpreted, now generally-ignored Constitution -- Keynes, himself, would be appalled at the disgusting mess the abuse of his theories has wrought, if he were here today.

That Law of Unintended Consequences is always at work making mincemeat of the lofty aspirations of even the greatest unworldly idealists, isn't it?

One need look no farther than the uses power-mad control-freaks with worldly ambitions have made of Holy Writ to realize how deeply flawed our species really is.

As P.T. Barnum famously said, "There's a sucker born every minute."

Of course! Why else do you suppose the multitudes have gotten behind History's long, unbroken line of tyrants, demagogues, false prophets and charlatans?

~ FreeThinke

Always On Watch said...

Of all the countries in the EU, Germany has the most stable economy.

That's going to become "used to have a stable economy."

I hate to bring this up, but I will, anyway.

One of the major causes of WW2 was the peace treaty for WW1. That treaty punished Germany in economic ways that made the rise of Hitler inevitable.

If the EU punishes Germany, what's next?

A European friend on mine believes that something very ugly will break out as a result of the bailouts of profligate nations in the EU.

I'd like to know how much anger on the ground there is in Germany right now. I don't know anyone living in Germany at the moment. Perhaps somebody here does?

Always On Watch said...

German anger has been building. See THIS and THIS. The articles aren't recent, though.

Silverfiddle said...

I'm only in routine contact with a few Germans, and one is in the Bundeswehre in Afghanistan...

I don't know... The Germans may have been brought to heel and permanently tamed. They bitched when the wall came down and they had to blow billions on the East. They bitched again when the Euro was inaugurated and that cost them tens of billions and taxes on everything, including their cherished beer and cigarettes, drove the prices up while their salaries stayed stagnant...

All that really had them mad, but they didn't do anything about it. Politics is much different over in Europe. Much less freewheeling talk radio, the states still control the press, and politicians and the political class are even more far removed from the people than here.

I'm afraid the Europeans are already comfortably hooked up to the milking machines. It may be uncomfortable, but the barn is warm...

OD357 said...

Wait a minute, I thought Greece was taking austerity measures. Doesn't that mean a cut back on boozing, smoking and sodomy?

On the other hand Always on Watch has a point. Forth Reich anyone?

Anonymous said...

How sad it is to learn that it was in fact Herbert Hoover -- a man I've always regarded as unjustly defamed by the FDR Machine -- put many of the Progressive policies into place for which FDR later got both credit and blame!

I guess the poisonous faux-egalitarian notions first put into play by Marx-Engels and also the genteel, well-meaning Fabians gained a great deal of undeserved credence -- and even an aura of Bourgeois respectability -- after the devastating effect of World-War-One?

It really wasn't until the post-World-War-Two period -- the beginning of the Cold War -- that Communism and Socialism began to be seen as the profound evils they are.

The anti-Communist movement in the United States gathered a great deal of strength in the late 1940's and early 1950's, but by then it was too late.

The insidious machinations of the left had infiltrated and taken over many of our most influential institutions, and had quietly gathered such tremendous strength that they were able to discredit, defame and depose the anti-Communists, the best of whom are now believed to have been the villains in the piece by even some of our brightest and best young Conservative-Libertarian thinkers.

Persuading the masses to believe that TRUTH is a LIE and vice versa is, of course, the Cultural Marxist's stock-in-trade.

CAPSULE HISTORY

Plato and Socrates ––
Also Hippocrates ––
Really gave Civilization a boost.

Then, the cruel Romans,
Crusades and the Germans,
Marx, Freud and Split Atoms
Its prospects reduced!


~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Let's not start beating up Germany, please. Of all the European Socialist States, their degree of failure has been by far the weakest.

However, I know several Germans who emigrated to the United States in middle age to take menial jobs, because, despite having been properly educated, and placed in professional positions in Germany, they realized they would NEVER be able to get ahead working within the socialist system. They took tremendous risks and gambled on to coming here just on the hope they could make a better life for themselves.

I'm afraid it's only been a partial success for them, because soon after they arrived here, we began our long, slow, steady decline in the same abyss from which my German -- and also several Russian -- friends sought to escape.

The average American cannot begin to fathom why anyone would rather scrub floors, mow lawns, and tend incontinent invalids here than sit at a desk living the life of a "professional" over there.

Thanks to the relentless campaign to STUPIDIFY younger generations, WE don't appreciate what WE have had, which is why we are busily throwing it away with both hands in the names "Fairness," "Equality," and "Minority Rights."

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly throughly rotten ideas gain currency with the masses and become institutionalized as The New Normal.

One again: The Lesson We Learn from History is that We Learn NOTHING from History.

~ FreeThinke

Jim at Conservatives on Fire said...

Our day of reckoning is coming. The Fed is doing a high-wire act without a safety net.

Rob said...

Ok, so I've crossed Chevy vehicles off my list. Now I've gotta ban any product of Greece from my house - which except for olive oil shouldn't be much of a stretch.

I'm done giving money (twice) to bailout babies. If you can't keep your company or country afloat, then it should simply fail. And if you're a leader of that company/country that goes under, you should walk away as shirtless as your helpless employees/citizens!

What the hell happened to "survival of the fittest?"

Anonymous said...

What the hell happened to "survival of the fittest?"

I'm very much afraid w may soon find out.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

I am quite suprised that there is such comments coming out these days that somehow a beligerant Germany may appear. Frankly speaking, such comments or thoughts are based on a past history and not based on the reality of the last 60 plus years. Also, it is rather void of any academic understanding of the causes of German nationalism and its links to militarism.

AOW did provide some old links but they are not very reflective of overall German sentiment or the understanding that if one nation falls then every nation suffers.

A last comment, Keynes said that if money flows in the economy for the purpose of creating jobs it works to stimulate every aspect of economy. The actions of recent have nothing to do with Keynes and he would certainly point that out. Shoring up excesive debt is very different to bolstering up stagnant devalued economies.

D Charles

Anonymous said...

Damien Charles,

I'm curious. I hope you don't mid my asking you one or two questions?

Were you born on Gibraltar? Do you consider yourself an Englishman or a Gibraltarian?

Was English your first language, or did you learn it later on?

You said the other day that you were "old." What do you consider "old" to be?

I, myself, am statistically "old," I suppose, but it doesn't bother me, except for a noticeable loss of physical energy,and a certain blunting of the desire and ability to acquire new knowledge.

I read that there's a large Muslim population in Gibraltar, which has a multi-ethnic population comprised of Spanish, English, Moorish, Jewish and Indian. Is that accurate?

I'm sure that if those disparate elements have managed to live peaceably together on "The Rock" for a protracted period of time it would account for your liberal views on ethnic and cultural "diversity." Would you agree?

Would you also agree, however, that Gibraltar is unique and may not be subject to many of the stresses that affect other parts of the world so profoundly?

I hope you answer. I'd be really interested in what you might have to say.

I also hope my curiosity doesn't seem impertinent.

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

I agree with Charles. Norther Europeans have been hammered into robotic servitude to their Oligarchic masters.

Europe should fear more the technocratic de facto rulers of Europe, unelected and unaccountable, they will do what serves their own purposes. This latest Greek gambit is just buying time for the rich and powerful to position themselves and their assets safely away from ground zero of the inevitable crash.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with Keynes' concept of "money," is that he appears to view it as an artificial construct and not as a medium of exchange based on something tangible that has, definite intrinsic value.

The result is that ever increasing amounts of hyper-inflated currency that steadily decreases in purchasing power must be poured into an economy to keep the wheels turning. Economists call that inflation.

I call it ROBBERY.

The prevalent government notion that long-term Capital Gains should be taxed without factoring in the loss of value caused by Inflation is a wretched SCAM that ought to be regarded as MORTAL SIN by people who struggle all their lives against insuperable odds to acquire enough to enable them to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

~ FreeThinke

jez said...

You need to consider the generational issue re Germany. To over-generalise, those who remember WW2 desire Germany's rehabilitation and would pay almost any price to secure it. Younger Germans don't feel the same way, and as WW2 dies out of living memory we will probably see a Germany emerge which is less reliably enthusiastic about the EU.

On the other hand, remember that Germany's much admired economic strength is due in no small part to the Euro's low value, which thanks to the Southern partners is far lower than Germany would be able to manage on its own, directly leading to greater exports. So bailing out Greece is not exactly worthless, and I'm sure those Germans, ruthlessly efficient as always, have done the relevant sums.

Silverfiddle said...

FT: I visited Southern Spain twice in the post-911 early 2000's. Being a Hispanophile who had lived for years on and off in Central America, South America, the Caribbean as well as New Mexico, I was very disappointed. The Sevillanos were the rudest damned people I'd ever met in my entire life, and I've been to Paris and New York City.

The people in the countryside were completely the opposite, very open and friendly.

The only friendly people in Seville were the Muslims. I have some very nice conversations over drinks with quite a few. Very hospitable people.

Silverfiddle said...

@Jez: remember that Germany's much admired economic strength is due in no small part to the Euro's low value, which thanks to the Southern partners is far lower than Germany would be able to manage on its own, directly leading to greater exports. So bailing out Greece is not exactly worthless, and I'm sure those Germans, ruthlessly efficient as always, have done the relevant sums.

Yes. If anyone wants to understand why Germany is still doing this kabuki, read Jez's comments.

Anonymous said...

" ... Northern Europeans have been hammered into robotic servitude to their Oligarchic masters.

"Europe should fear more the technocratic de facto rulers of Europe, unelected and unaccountable, they will do what serves their own purposes."


AHA! You are singing my song at last, SilverFiddle, but seem to gloss over the fact that what you so aptly describe is happening HERE as well as in Europe, and the these "Oligarchs" share an INTERNATIONAL identity that knows no boundaries and holds no allegiance to any one nation. It is a WORLDWIDE effort to take over and run "The World" to suit the selfish purposes of the very few, super-rich, super-powerful moguls who really do run things behind the scenes.

To dismiss this as mere "Conspiracy Theory" is naive at best. The Powerful may not have literally CONSPIRED to do what they are doing, but surely because of propinquity if little else, the EFFECT of their activities is the same as if they had.

~ FreeThinke

A smarter than you person said...

ENOUGH of your repuplican Bull shit is more than ENOUGH

You are dickhead

Ducky's here said...

Actually Freethinker, if you go into the history of the Depression you will find that Hoover counted on private charity to do a lot of the work of transitioning while the economy recovered. Pretty similar to the philosophy of the Baggers.

Didn't work.

Oh, by the way, the expensive lens you're so steamed about, I used it on a couple photos I sold for $300. In fact I've recouped the value of the lens. Just think of that, I'm the capitalist here.

Silverfiddle said...

So Ducky, how many people starved to death because Hoover "counted on private charity?"

Private charity was about all we had before the welfare state.

Ducky's here said...

That's right, Silverfiddle and as desirable as private charity may be it is not adequate to the task of dealing with a market meltdown.

Markets fail and they do not self correct. When they fail badly there has to be something to intervene. As it is, the latest success of the free(LMFAO) market has probably added considerably to America's underclass, weakening the nation while much of the fringe right argues about contraception.

Jersey McJones said...

I love the way the Right just lies and lies and lies and lies... It's the ol's Costanza rule, I guess, they believe it, so apparently it's not a lie! The way they reduce everything to retardedly simplistic ideological bytes. It's soooo pathetic. No wonder our country is such a mess these days. We're fuckin' stupid.

What happened in Greece is in some ways similar to what happened everywhere else, bu Greece had other problems to compound it. When you look at the direct causes of the crisis, you do not see "socialism" or "Keynesianism," but rather the same ethically bankrupt capitalism we've seen since the 70's, combined, as usual, with militarism.

Greece suffered a terrible speculative bubble-burst in housing and tourism. It was spending far to much on the military. It was borrowing too much rather than manning up and paying their bills. And finally, when world trade decreased because of the recession, Greece, a country overly-reliant on trade, suffered terribly.

So, as it always is with macroeconomics, this picture is complex. But to make this some retardedly simplistic ideological straw-man just goes to show ignorance, idiocy, and immorality or the Right.

JMJ

Silverfiddle said...

@ Ducky: Markets fail and they do not self correct.

That statement is ignorant of thousands of years of history.

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: I don't think anyone said it was simple, but it can be boiled down to spending more money than you have. I suppose you'll call that f'in retarded as well...

beamish said...

To dismiss this as mere "Conspiracy Theory" is naive at best. The Powerful may not have literally CONSPIRED to do what they are doing, but surely because of propinquity if little else, the EFFECT of their activities is the same as if they had.

It is not a coincidence that tin foil was replaced on the world market with aluminum foil in the same year marijuana became illegal. The two greatest defenses against the Oligarchy's orbital mind control lasers - tin foil hats and buffering the synapses with Delta-9-THC - have all but been stamped out by the One World Government.

/sarcasm

Country Thinker said...

"they reduce everything to retardedly simplistic ideological bytes."

Man, SF, this is 2 days in a row I've had to defend special needs individuals from your liberal attack dogs, this time Jersey.

As we discussed yesterday, I generally don't comment here because of the craziness of the discourse, but I also wouldn't suggest censorship, either. The blog comments are quite entertaining, at least until the attacks are directed at groups of individuals who are relatively defenseless when it comes to the blogosphere.

Silverfiddle said...

Country: Jersey actually makes sense sometimes, but I can't recall him ever making a point without using profanity and name-calling.

Anonymous said...

SilverFiddle,

I found your observations about life in and around Seville fascinating -- nothing like what I might have expected.

I too have a great affection for people of Hispanic background, although I don't know any actual Spaniards from the continent.

At any rate, the Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Guatemalans I have known are generous, sweet-natured, eager to be helpful, industrious, intelligent and resourceful.

I think, because of the brouhaha about illegal aliens, people from South of the border have been getting a bad rap. The ones I know don't like the violent criminals anymore than we do, and in Mexico many decent people working hard just to get by are in almost constant fear for their lives.

Your experience with Muslims abroad seems astonishing in light of everything we've said here -- and most other discussion forums since 911. But I don't doubt your testimony at all.

The world is far too wide and too strange to be comprehensible. All we have to go on are our impressions -- most of them received second, third and fourth hand -- and ALWAYS from heavily biased, agenda-driven sources.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Country Thinker,

If one is to survive with sanity intact in the blogosphere, one must learn that assholes, imbeciles, clowns and fiends too have First Amendment rights.

We either get used to it by being sensible enough not to take it personally, or we get sucked into the nastiness and stupidity, and thus become part of it.

I should know, it has happened to me often enough.

The adage "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never harm me" has withstood the test of time, and remains excellent advice -- especially in a semi-imaginary half-world like Cyberspace.

"O rest in the Lord. Wait patiently for Him,
And He shall give thee thy heart's desires.

"Commit thy way unto Him, and trust in Him.
And fret not thyself because of evildoers."


~ Contralto Aria from Elijah by Felix Mendelssohn

Peace be with you.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

Jersey, if it is necessary to cast a long shadow on von Mises then to the fringe right true believers you are in error to see past their simple mindedness to complexity.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dear Mr. Free Thinke,

I had the exquisite pleasure of hearing Maestro Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major, entitled "Lobgesang," Hymn of Praise, recently performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Choir.

Sublime.

OD357 said...

A smarter than you person said...

ENOUGH of your repuplican Bull shit is more than ENOUGH
You are dickhead


Well Silver he's got you there. How can you possibly expect to mount a defense against a well thought out intellectual juggernaut like this? You Repup.

Anonymous said...

Dear, Ms. Shaw Kenawe,

I would envy you that experience, but realize envy is a sin. I'm grateful for the many fond memories I have of concerts at Tanglewood and countless musical adventures at Carnegie Hall, Lewisohn Stadium, Town Hall, the Old Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, Caramoor, The Eastman Theater, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Covent Garden, Wigmore Hall, Glyndbourne, and Bayreuth.

Where I live now is far removed from New York and Boston, but we do have a fine resident opera company that presents five new productions each year -- a great consolation needless to say.

Art both transcends and outlasts politics, thank God.

There is much good in the world, if one knows what to look for and where to find it.

Please give my fond regards to Boston Common -- so beautifully immortalized by Childe Hassam a century ago.

Regards,

FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

OD, I enjoy leaving such comments standing as a totem to vulgar leftist idiocy.

Ducky's here said...

Freethinker, I attended an excellent performance of the first two Beethoven cello sonatas at the Gardner last week.

Quite an energetic performance.

But I'm really looking forward to Ramblin' Jack Elliot at the MFA.

We leftists can be a bit eclectic for the right to understand.

Shaw Kenawe said...

If our host permits another off-topic comment, Ducky, I was at the opening of the new Calderwood Hall at the Gardner. I refer to it as "The Box." Those red seats, the whole experience was absolutely transporting.

Two weeks ago I was at Jordan Hall enjoying the incomparable Assad Brothers.


Excuse me, SF, for breaking protocol.

Anonymous said...

@Ducky

We leftists can be a bit eclectic for the right to understand.

Really? Inscrutably enough, the last three concerts I attended were the Philadelphia Orchestra, Celine Dionne, and Ratdog.

De gustibus non est disputandum.

Or as Willie Nelson's grandmother put it: "Music is what you like, and everything else is noise." ;-)

viburnum

Right Wing Theocrat said...

On the plus side for the greeks, someone was around to give them money for the KY jelly.

When it's your turn, who will be around to give you money for even that.

@OD357 - "Wait a minute, I thought Greece was taking austerity measures. Doesn't that mean a cut back on boozing, smoking and sodomy?"

Hopefully it's just me, but i have a bad feeling that when money for smoking, boozing etc dries up, the amount of sodomizing goes up.

I'm sure the Spartans would agree, let those boy-lovers booze and puff on their own dime. :)

dmarks said...

Jersey said: "When you look at the direct causes of the crisis, you do not see "socialism" or "Keynesianism," but rather the same ethically bankrupt capitalism"

Actually, it was socialism that did it. Massive social spending on the well-off and able bodied: the people that simply don't need the government handouts. The people who are screaming bloody murder now that their has been a slight reduction to their gravy train.

Greece needs to continue to cut the waste (more austerity) and ignore the greedy whiners.

Silverfiddle said...

No apology necessary, Shaw!

Pleasant diversions are not the problem. Ranty, vulgar name-calling pissing contests are what had been bogging us down and led to me making the "stay on-topic" request.

Ramblin' Jack Elliot is still around?

Cool. Mrs S and I went and saw Gordon Lightfoot last winter when he played here in town. I admire those old folkies, none more that Woody Guthrie, who, God bless him, never made a damned dime off of his music.

See? rightwingers can be eclectic too... ;)

Ducky's here said...

Yea, he still tours, Silver.

80 years old.

Silverfiddle said...

Damn, 80 years old and still ramblin'

Gord was close to 72 when we saw him, and he and his band had lost nothing. Of course they've been together for over 40 years. The "new guy" joined them in 1982

Always On Watch said...

I'm not so sure that we can write off German anger today to Germans' having been hammered into robotic servitude to their Oligarchic masters.

I am half German.

Maybe I'm stereotyping here.

BUT

Germans do have a way of quietly seething, particularly when injustice, perceived or otherwise, is involved.

After the seething comes action in some form.

The Third Reich was but one manifestation of that seething.

How did the German people feel about the EU in the first place? Not too damn happy, not very optimistic.

I can't imagine that the German people aren't seething about paying for the Greeks' "good life."

The proposed austerity measures in Greece aren't going to stick.

Always On Watch said...

BTW, I'm not bashing the Germans. As I mentioned, I am German. I think that I know our strengths and weaknesses.

Anonymous said...

FreeThinkie,

No problems,

I am 63 years old of a Gibraltarian father (though ethnically Anglo-Saxon with relatives still in Britain) and a Spanish mother.

I was born there but my early childhood was around the region of Madrid as my mother is from there. I spent my senior high-school in boarding school in England (Harrow, same as Churchill) as well as my University before returning to Gibraltar and have been here ever since. I consider myself a British national first but I am very close to my Spanish origins and family cross the boarder regularly. I am in fact a dual-national. We in Gibraltar have our own identity and even passport and even police force.

We speak just as much Spanish at home as English as my wife is an ethnic Spanish Gibraltarian. Though technically I am, we are both designated as Llanitos which is the local term for those ethnically from here.

Yes there is not much issue here with multiculturalism but that does not mean we are ignorant of the issues elsewhere. We (as in those that live here) are regular travellers to the UK, the Continent and to North Africa and elsewhere. I remember once we were declared the most travelled people on the planet as a distinct population.

I do not consider my views on muliticulturalism, relations with say Muslims as being liberal at all and I am very aware of the risks and clashes, in particular with regards to radicalism. My views are entirely related to experience, study and realities. I travel to Muslim nations and not only Morocco and do so for work.

Cheers

Damien Xavier Ignacio Charles-López del Hierro
Rosia, Gibraltar

Note, I never use the full name, it is on my Spanish ID and passport only.

Anonymous said...

"Massive social spending on the well-off and able bodied: the people that simply don't need the government handouts. The people who are screaming bloody murder now that their has been a slight reduction to their gravy train."

Excellent point, DMarks.

If "welfare" had been confined to its original purpose -- that of helping the truly helpless and hopeless survive until they could gain enough strength to carry on one their own -- we wouldn't be marooned in our current mess.

Societies start to break down the minute politicians discover they can buy votes by offering "the people" goods and services at other peoples' expense.

Marxism CLAIMS to be about the achievement of "Social Justice," but in truth it is nothing more than institutionalized Envy, Spite and Malice cloaked in the garb of Righteous Indignation.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

AOW,

With a bit of study you will note that the history of conflict with Germany has had to do with militarisation and a militant political class. That was evident with the build up before the Great War, the re-build in the 1930s, annexations and of course with the Second World war. Since then there has been no such class. East Germany had a disliked police and a political-class but no militarisation nor popular support. Today neither the laws nor the bulk of the population have had an interest in rekindling those factors that are needed for any such return to that.

The far-right and neo-Nazi movements are fringe and loathed by the bulk of the population, in particular at a political level.

Germans can get as annoyed over issues as much as they like, they can even get violent at a demonstration level, but it would be incorrect to assume that they could prove to be a threat to anyone - in fact - they are the root of stability in Europe from a social and economic perspective. Give them a bit of credit.

Damien Charles

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Damien Charles. I appreciate your forthrightness. A very interesting glimpse into a way of life unknown to me. I knew there was something unique and special about you. It comes across in the way you write.

I wouldn't describe myself as "old," however, If I were you. I happen to be turning seventy-one next month, and still think of myself as "middle-aged." I'm willing to admit, however, that perceptions and reality don't always coincide. We all age at different rates and in different ways.

As for finding a consistent definition of liberal and conservative that works in all nations and for all ethnic and religious groups, I doubt such a thing exists. What may be considered "conservative" in Britain and Canada, for instance, appears only moderate at best to us here in the United States -- and as SilverFiddle has pointed out in his post today on Libertarianism -- there are many different strands that make up the "rope" we choose to call this or that.

When it comes to relations between oneself and other groups that might be defined as "alien," Experience probably is the best teacher.

If I have firsthand knowledge of something, I much prefer to "go with the gut" than with the books.

Thanks again for your open response.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Dear, Ducky, Shaw and All,

I wouldn't want to leave you with the impression that I have no appreciation for music that could not be described as "classical" -- a term I dislike, because it's too broad and essentially meaningless. I prefer to call it "serious" music.

At any rate, I love a lot of Jazz and what-I-think-of-as "cabaret" music. I love show music too from Victor Herbert to Jerome Kern to Rodgers and Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim and Kander and Ebb.

While I may regard Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Elly Ameling as goddesses in the realm of the Art Song, and Diana Damrau and Cecilia Bartoli as reigning divas in the world of Opera, that doesn't stop me from being a devoted fan of Gertrude Lawrence, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Elaine Stritch, Alice Ghostley, Betty Garrett, and Angela Lansbury.

So, I too would have to describe my tastes as eclectic.

HOWEVER, Rock and Roll, and all its hideous derivatives repel me -- horrify me, even -- and I cannot understand how anyone who purports to be intelligent and sensitive to the human condition could possibly enjoy these things.

If I could push that proverbial button ... Oh never mind!

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Freethinkie,

I agree the saying that you are as old as you think you are and recently I have felt very old. It has a great deal with my own health as I have a disease that is taking away my eyesight. Also, as a life-long cigar and beer drinker with a huge belly and type-II, I have paid the price. That you are 71 and feeling young is for my part a great sign and you have all my respect. I have taken up sailing with my wife (yes I purchased a boat) and hope to make the maximum of it before I no longer can and that certainly makes me feel young, my wife says I smile and chuckle like a teenager - and I confess I do!

Damien Charles

KP said...

I tip my hat to you Damien Charles!

jez said...

FreeThinke, how do you feel about rock 'n' roll's direct ingredients: blues, country & gospel?

Myself, I have a bit of a blind-spot for cabaret music, it takes a real effort to hold my snobbery at bay for long enough to find something worthwhile from that genre.