Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Fable from the Absolute Survivalist

Denninger had the whole piece posted.  I'll just provide the link because I want the guy who wrote it to get any hits that might come from here, and I want readers to look at the comments.

I'm a Dead Sandy Hook Teacher.

Those attacking the author are the poor demented and/or evil maroons we are up against.  They cannot grasp the point of a story if it isn't about sex, apparently.

Reading those commentators, I'm not sure I can pray for God to bless America.  I may just ask Him to have mercy on us.

Steel Away

Despite the fact that my grandfather was a pretty good blacksmith, I really know very little about various types of steel and which are best for different jobs.  The obvious thing is that stainless steel uses chromium to discourage corrosion.  More carbon forged into steel helps make it harder and more wear-resistant.  The A.G.Russell site gives some specifics on the make-up of some common steels.

For non-stainless steels, one of the more popular for a knife blade is 1095 which generally has a carbon content of between 0.90 and 1.03%.  While 1095 takes and retains an edge well, it can be more brittle than some of the other carbon steels commonly used for bigger blades.  Sword steel is often 1060 with a carbon content of 0.55-0.65%.  Both 1070 (carbon 0.65-0.75%) and 1055 (0.48-0.55%) are also used in machetes and swords.  1095 is typically in the Rockwell hardness range of 56-58, while something like 1055 is going to be softer, often tempered as spring steel to lessen the likelihood of breakage.

That’s really the key when thinking about steels.  It all depends on where and how a person intends to use a blade or tools.  I would say that 420J stainless, for instance, is not a good steel for retaining an edge.  It is cheap, has a low carbon content of around 0.15% and a typical hardness of around 50 on the Rockwell scale.  For decades, though, I have had a very inexpensive hardware-store, 6-inch fixed blade made of 420J or some similar steel.  I have used this knife as a yard and garden tool.  It is left laying out in the weather, used to clean grass out of the mower deck, dig out weeds and any other rough application you can think of.  It has shown no sign of rust or corrosion despite the abuse.  I can put a reasonable edge on it in a couple of minutes, hose it off, and it will function as a decent tool to prepare vegetables.  What can you say?  It works. 

Add a little more carbon to 420 stainless, making it what is called 420HC (0.40-0.50% carbon, along with some vanadium and molybdenum), and you get a decent factory knife blade with a typical hardness of 56-58.  This is the steel used by Buck in most of their blades. 

By way of comparison, one of the higher-end stainless steels often used in custom knives over the last forty years or so is 154CM.  It has a carbon content of 1.05% with 14% chromium and 4% vanadium.  Typical hardness of 154CM varies from 58 to 62.  To get a knife with a 154CM steel blade you’re going to have to pay a premium.  Is it worth it?  If your life depends on it, it probably is. 

However, you can get a blade in something like 440C (or the slightly tougher AUS-10), 8Cr13MoV, AUS-6 (similar to 440A), or AUS-8 (similar to 440B) for less money to serve much the same purpose and hold up, in most cases, quite well.  AUS-6 is what I have in my CRKT Crawford Kasper.  I am happy with the way it has sharpened up and with the way it holds up.  The Rockwell on AUS-6 is 55-57, carbon is 0.55-0.65%, manganese 1.0, chromium 13.0-14.5, nickel 0.49, and vanadium in the 0.1 to 0.25% range.  Like 440A is has good corrosion resistance, appears to be fairly resistant to breakage, and is relatively inexpensive.    It is easier to sharpen than some steels but, understandably, requires touching up more often. 

I see that SOG uses a lot of AUS-8 for their blades.  While the carbon percentage is higher than AUS-6, at 0.70-075, the only other difference is that AUS-8 and AUS-10 (0.95-1.10% carbon) add a little molybdenum to the mix.  Carbon makes a big difference in edge retention.  Lower carbon edges have more “give” – they bend, which is why they are inferior in terms of remaining sharp.  Conversely that means they are less brittle and less likely to chip than the higher carbon, more glass-like steels.  Ninety-five times out of a hundred breaking a piece out of the edge is not an issue, and the higher carbon percentage is preferable.  But there is nothing like hearing a grown man weep and curse when he knocks a crescent chip out of the edge of his $250 Benchmade. 

The three rules of choosing knife steel might be said to parallel the three rules of real estate:  application, application, application.

By the way, my CRKT Folts Minimalist has 8Cr13MoV – hardness 58-59, carbon 0.80, manganese 0.4, chromium 13.0, nickel 0.20, vanadium 0.10, and molybdenum 0.15%.  It is standing up very well and cut like a razor.  Some of that knife’s utility is blade geometry.  The straight Wharncliffe configuration on the version of the Minimalist I have works better at cutting cordage and tape or opening bags and boxes -- for example, than a blade with more curve might.  A blade with a belly is going to skin more readily than the Wharncliffe.  A longer, flatter grind is easier (for me) to sharpen and maintain, but it can also be weaker in some situations. 

It is important to look at all the factors, do your research and do not be swayed by review blurbs or by statements of so-called experts.   The knife that works for me may not be right for you.  Our environments may differ substantially.  We may use a knife differently with widely different expectations.  Sharpening a blade after use may not be a big consideration for me; it might be for someone else.  I may place a higher value on toughness and durability; someone else might want low maintenance.  

So, once more,  the type of steel in a blade is an important consideration, but a lot will depend on where and how you intend to use that tool.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why I Hate Public Sector Unions

The Economic Collapse talks about unions failing to save American jobs.  I tend to think unions have helped destroy American jobs.
I have never belonged to a union and never would so long as I had a choice. Unions might have had some use at some time. In the modern world they are simply a way for the least productive and most worthless workers to get the same wages and benefits as the best and most productive workers. Witness the situation at a Chrysler plant recently where workers dismissed for drinking on the job were reinstated under pressure from their union.

But the stupidity is even more egregious for public sector unions. Let's assume for a moment that unions in the private sector give oppressed workers clout against a ruthless corporate structure -- I don't believe that, but even if it were true -- who is it that the public sector unions are organizing against?  Public sector unions get their wages and benefits from the public treasury, tax money taken from the pocket and bank accounts of other citizens.  Government workers are struggling against "the Man"; they are the Man. 

The teachers' union protects good-for-nothing teachers, giving them money that should go to educate your children. The union pressure creates make-work, money-sponge positions like "middle school media coordinator" for dues-paying union members that require more and more public tax money to support. The unions lobby and support politicians who expand the federal and state education bureaucracy (more dues-paying SEIU members), sucking up more tax dollars and enhancing the reach and power of the unions.

This bureaucracy requires more paperwork and more overhead at your local school. In government, it's the reporting that counts, not the education. There is no "product" in government, only ever-increasing, ever-expanding cancerous growth in the ranks of the bureaucrats. They are the reason we are increasing our unsustainable debt on a daily basis.

And, of course, if you try to stand up against any of this crap, you must hate children and not care about education.  I oppose it because I do care about education.  I don't care if the shop steward can afford the payments on his Escalade.     

Add to that the fact that your tax dollars are providing lucrative pension and healthcare benefits negotiated by the unions for various public employees who retire in their fifties -- living off those pensions for decades. Yes, when the markets were doing well, those pension funds could count on growth to sustain them, but if they can't, the public is often legally required to increase taxes to fund extravagant obligations. Even if you can make the case in a few instances, such as police and firefighters, it is much more difficult to make it for some overpaid bureaucrat in the state capitol or in D.C.

Public sector unions are doing their best to destroy America. Open shops are the least we can do to thwart this effort. I would like to see them mostly abolished.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Foundation Follies

The Circle Bastiat wonders if much of Paul Krugman can be explained by his life-changing encounter with Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy.  Krugman gives his synopsis of Foundation and explains how it helped guide his life toward economics.  He then compares Hari Seldon’s successful mathematical model of “psychohistory” with the academically acceptable theories of modern economics and social sciences.  Krugman pats himself on the back by pointing out the “success” of current monetary policies against the predictions of “common sense” and Austrian economics.  From the Guardian article:

To take a not at all arbitrary example, a standard macroeconomic approach, the IS-LM model (don't ask) told us that under depression-type conditions like those we're experiencing, some of the usual rules would cease to apply: trillion-dollar budget deficits wouldn't drive up interest rates, huge increases in the money supply wouldn't cause runaway inflation. Economists who took that model seriously back in, say, early 2009 were ridiculed and lambasted for making such counterintuitive assertions. But their predictions came true. So yes, it's possible to have social science with the power to predict events and, maybe, to lead to a better future.

Not that I’m an expert, and I certainly would never think myself worthy to counter the genius of Nobel-winner Krugman, but would it be presumptuous to point out that there has been no recovery?  How about the fact that there are fewer people employed today than when the predictions were made?  Is that part of the Keynesian model?  Is it a good thing from the Foundation’s point of view that 600,000 people were added to the food stamp program in one month?  How about the fact that, as Denninger notes, "... there are only 143,549,000 people in the workforce -- that is, people earning a wage.  There are presently 47,710,324 people mooching off those 143,549,000 people..."?  Is that all part of the plan?  If it is, the plan is doomed to fail. 

But, as Krugman points out, the Foundation often succeeded by appearing to fail.  Asimov was a clever and very egocentric writer who believed in himself and believed that he had a greater reach in knowledge and understanding than most people.  I enjoyed Foundation myself -- at my sophomoric cynic stage, but I grew up.  Still, I subscribed for a number of years to Asimov’s science fiction magazine and appreciated his work as a writer and raconteur.  Krugman is also a clever egotist who thinks that “…self-knowledge – an understanding of how our own society works – can change history for the better”.  Neither Asimov nor Krugman believed or believe in individual freedom – for anyone other than the elite while numbering themselves among that group.  The rest of us are just ciphers.  Krugman does not appreciate Asimov sufficiently in this regard, remarking that the characters in Foundation are two-dimensional.   What else would you expect when individuals do not matter to the Plan?

There is clearly some truth to the power of mass psychological manipulation, to the power of propaganda and the grinding chaos of the world system.  Those people like Krugman who think that such a leviathan can be guided and controlled will eventually be devoured by it.  Both Krugman and Asimov were fortunate enough to live most of their lives in a relatively free world, a world their vision would eliminate.      


Friday, December 7, 2012

Imprudent Coffee Expenditures

Coffee beans are picked from elephant dung.  At $50 a cup. 

Think of the elephant as the animal kingdom's equivalent of a slow cooker. It takes between 15-30 hours to digest the beans, which stew together with bananas, sugar cane and other ingredients in the elephant's vegetarian diet to infuse unique earthy and fruity flavors, said the 42-year-old Canadian, who has a background in civet coffee.

"My theory is that a natural fermentation process takes place in the elephant's gut," said Dinkin. "That fermentation imparts flavors you wouldn't get from other coffees."

My theory is the process takes place in the coffee drinker's head.  Personally I would prefer to taste coffee as opposed to the slowly rotting contents of an elephant's gut.  But that's just me.  This is not to say that Mr. Dinkin is not a marketing genius.  He certainly knows how to part a fool from his money, more power to him.  

Still, just to remind us that we live in an upside down world, no elephants were harmed in the making of this coffee:

"My initial thought was about caffeine — won't the elephants get wired on it or addicted to coffee?" said John Roberts, director of elephants at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, a refuge for rescued elephants. It now earns 8 percent of the coffee's total sales, which go toward the herd's healthcare. "As far as we can tell there is definitely no harm to the elephants."

Before presenting his proposal to the foundation, Dinkin said he worked with a Canadian-based veterinarian that ran blood tests on zoo elephants showing they don't absorb any caffeine from eating raw coffee cherries.

Why am I picturing elephants in berets and black turtlenecks sipping expresso and clicking tusks at a coffeehouse poetry reading?  It's kind of sad that elephants can't absorb the caffeine.  They would get so much more done, stay up late and stuff.  On the other hand, if I'm going to drop a Grant on a cup of coffee, I'd like to get the buzz myself, thank you very much.  I don't know about elephants, but if you want to see something really scary, try giving me decaf.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Not Being Cynical Enough

We speak of prudence and wisdom.  Cynicism is a useful tool in the wise man's kit.  The problem is that we are apt not to use it as indiscriminately as we should.  We fail to be cynical about cynics, especially the one in the mirror.  If you peel cynicism down to its core, what you will find is a tendency to look for ulterior motives.  For example, my wife didn't like some of the brick work on our house so she called a couple of specialist contractors out to look it over.  They completely agreed with her assessment that expensive and extensive repairs were needed.  What's the problem?  The specialists were going to profit if we hired them to "fix" the work.  If a man stands to make money by telling you that something is wrong, a significant percentage will tell you something is wrong. 

The Circle Bastiat offers an excerpt about Scientism from Austin Hughes in the New Atlantis

The fundamental problem raised by the identification of “good science” with “institutional science” is that it assumes the practitioners of science to be inherently exempt, at least in the long term, from the corrupting influences that affect all other human practices and institutions. Ladyman, Ross, and Spurrett explicitly state that most human institutions, including “governments, political parties, churches, firms, NGOs, ethnic associations, families … are hardly epistemically reliable at all.” However, “our grounding assumption is that the specific institutional processes of science have inductively established peculiar epistemic reliability.” This assumption is at best na├»ve and at worst dangerous. If any human institution is held to be exempt from the petty, self-serving, and corrupting motivations that plague us all, the result will almost inevitably be the creation of a priestly caste demanding adulation and required to answer to no one but itself.
I have often suggested to various people who trust in Science! that Science! is hardly to be trusted because it often comes down to funding.  The usual rebuttal is that Science! -- unlike, say, religion, is self-correcting because there's money in that, too.  And that may be true on occasion.   But right now, for something like climate research, the money goes to the climate change advocates.  So everybody will find evidence of anthropogenic climate change and the disastrous impacts of it. 

Do you trust the police to police themselves?  Do you trust the Justice Department to arrest itself over Fast and Furious?  Do you trust the Obama Administration to accurately assess its mistakes and cover-ups in Benghazi?  If you do, you are not nearly cynical enough.  I would suggest the same is true within the realms of science.

DeMint Heads for the Hills (of Heritage)

I got an email from the Heritage Foundation earlier today announcing that Jim DeMint (R-SC) would be retiring from the Senate and taking over as head of Heritage.  I found it quite interesting.  South Carolina has a Republican governor (Nikki Haley) so DeMint causes no loss of a seat for the Republicans. 

My initial thought was that it was kind of an oddly timed move, if nothing else, but I thought DeMint might just be fed up with the establishment in the GOP. 

Denninger speculates that there is much more to it:  If you've followed Mr. DeMint over the years you know that he "gets it", and that when not on the floor he is rather blunt with his constituents and anyone else who cares to pay attention.

The comments on the post vary considerably as would be expected.  Everybody is a prophet. DeMint's own comments seem to reinforce the idea that he wants to be somewhere he can do more good, the Senate being a dead end at this point.  Predictions are usually wrong, especially with regard to timing.  The EU and the US, Japan and China, everything will continue as it has.  Until that is no longer possible.  We know it will happen, we just don't know when.  Denninger is taking DeMint's resignation as a sign that the big blow (if there is one) is imminent. 

Those damn Mayans.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Football, Guns, and Misplaced Sympathy

As every football fan and most everybody else knows, a tragedy occurred in Kansas City on Saturday morning.  At approximately 8:00am, Jovan Belcher murdered his live-in girlfriend, the mother of his 3-month-old daughter.  He brutally killed Kasandra Perkins as his own mother looked on.  What happened after he murdered the woman he had impregnated but was too selfish and self-centered to marry is, in my opinion, much less of a tragedy.  Belcher drove over to Arrowhead, thanked his coaches, and used the same gun to end his miserable, wasted life.  I applaud Belcher for saving the taxpayers of Missouri the expense of a pointless trial and a long incarceration.  I only hope that he saved his money and had a good insurance policy without a suicide exemption to support his orphaned, bastard daughter. 

The little girl is, of course, innocent, but she is technically a bastard.  Those are the harsh realities of life.  Her mother made a poor choice in hooking up with a professional athlete for the money and status.  I pray that her daughter makes better choices in life. 

So, we have all that and what does the NFL do?  For one thing, the Chiefs went on with their scheduled Sunday game against the Carolina Panthers and notched only their second win of the season.  It was, according the NFL, inspirational. 

I was less than inspired.  The game should have been cancelled.  If Belcher had died in an accident or from some previously unsuspected condition like the late Darryl Kile or trying to save a child from drowning then it would have been inspirational for the Chiefs to go out and win one for the Gipper.  In this case it was tawdry, sad, and sick.  Belcher was not a hero.  He was a reasonably skilled defensive linebacker making nearly two million dollars a year who also happened to be a narcissistic, arrogant thug unable think beyond the end of his johnson.   

To top that, in his commentary, Bob Costas suggested that if Belcher had not had easy access to a gun, both he and Ms. Perkins would still be alive.  No, Mr. Costas, if Jovan Belcher had a shred of common decency and self-restraint, he and Ms. Perkins would be alive.  How many guns did O.J. Simpson use in the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman?  I know, Simpson was a running back, so maybe that’s different. 

Until I was around 35 years old, the idea of having a firearm with me for self-defense rarely crossed my mind.  I did, once, going into a very touchy situation, stick a pistol down the back of pants, but most of the time I didn’t carry anything in the way of a weapon, except a traditional, non-tactical folder.  The reason was that, in my youth, I thought I could whip any three men that I met.  Looking back, I am equally sure today that I was wrong in that assessment, but confidence and no neck will evidently get you through a lot. 

Jovan Belcher was an athlete, an American football player at one of the toughest positions there is – defensive linebacker.  He was 6’2” and weighed around 230 pounds, all of it muscle.  He spent every Sunday in football season knocking down other big, muscular men, getting pancake-blocked by 350-pound offensive linemen, tackling quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends and wide receivers.  Belcher could have broken his girlfriend’s neck in an instant.  He did not shoot Kasandra Perkins because he was afraid of her or because he could not physically dominate her, he did it because he was a rage-fueled, mush-brained, emotionally undisciplined, man-child with too much money and too little humility. 

But what did Bob Costas focus on?  Not the ridiculous spectacle of professional athletics in America today, not the rampant, pervasive immorality among professional athletes, not exaltation of thug life-styles and the glorification of violence, degradation, permissiveness, and promiscuity.  No.  Costas focused on guns because it is so much better to place the blame for domestic violence, death, and destroyed lives on a will-less, inanimate object than on the real cause of Kasandra Perkin’s death.  That would be Jovan Belcher.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bear & Sons Carbon Steel Trapper

You know I like tactical folders and especially choppers and big blades, but I have to admit that these are not "pocketknives".  My nephew was complaining about his Buck 3-blade Stockman being made in China and having stainless steel blades.  Since the demise of the Schrade factory in New York back in '04, I think, there aren't that many traditional pocketknives being made in America.  Case is one company.  For Christmas last year, I bought my nephew a Case Trapper with dark red bone scales.  He likes it but won't carry it.

I can't say that I blame him.  I have a confession to make.  I do not own a single knife made by Case.  Never have.  Frankly I just never cared for their steel.  It's too shiny.  I'm sure it is good stuff, and they are good knives.  I just don't like them.  It's weird.

I happened to run across Bear & Sons Cutlery which makes knives down in Alabama.  Outside of Oklahoma, there is hardly a place in the world more American.  You can check out their line of "4th Generation" traditional folders right here.  I did not pay fifty bucks for my knife because I bought it from Smoky Mountain.  At the same time, I ordered a 4th Generation 3-blade Stockman for my nephew.  Both knives have carbon steel blades with good hardness and edge retention.  They are easier to sharpen than most stainless and seem to take and hold a better edge.  That's my experience anyway.  So far, my nephew agrees that they look like pretty good knives, and he will be carrying his Stockman as soon as he is happy with the edge.

The Trapper is 4 and 1/8 inches long when closed, while the Stockman measures 3 and 7/8 -- both knives are relatively slender width-wise and carry quite comfortably.  Both blades on my Trapper run about 3 and 7/8 inches.  The clip blade on the Stockman is 3" and the sheepsfoot and spey are both 2".  The picture was taken on my phone and is a little blurry.  The shield says "Carbon 4th Generation".  The base of the clip blade is stamped with "Bear & Sons  J'ville AL USA". 

So far my nephew's only complaint is my choice of yellow Delrin scales -- rather tongue-in-cheek, I think.  The scales are smooth and nicely fitted, as are the blades and bolsters.  I did notice one slight, smoothed-out grind flaw on the back of the bottom bolster.  It's too minor to feel but I can see the warp in the otherwise mirror finish.   This could be the reason that SMKW is selling the knives at a reduced price, though I did not notice any flaws on the Stockman.  Fine by me either way.  This is a knife that will "wear in" through pocket-carry, develop a patina and a personality like a knife is supposed to.    

The important part is the blade, and these were ground to suit me.  Mine arrived with a useable edge which I dressed and polished a bit to my own satisfaction.  The clip point is noticeably hollow-ground while the spey has a less pronounced, flatter profile.  There is no bevel to fight on either, which accounts for the ease with which I got them up to hair-popping, "scary" sharpness.  I did use my diamond stone initially, but I finished up with a regular old Arkansas fine oilstone.  I think that will probably suffice to maintain the edge going forward.

I am impressed with the quality and workmanship of these Bear & Sons knives.  If the blades hold up as well as they promise right now, I would highly recommend them as traditional knives, to be carried and used hard by the hard working.  It is good to see an American company producing such high-quality tools at a reasonable price.

Seeing the Unseen

I don't think I am completely insane.  Sometimes it seems I am surrounded by neurotics and others who have lost touch with the real world.  Or, you could say that I am the one who has lost touch. 

Bastiat talked about government jobs and services.  This argument has been going on a long time.  From That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen: 

There is one thing very certain, that when James B. counts out a hundred sous for the tax-gatherer, he receives nothing in return. Afterwards, when an official spends these hundred sous, and returns them to James B., it is for an equal value in corn or labour. The final result is a loss to James B. of five francs. [that's because there were 20 sous to the franc -- mush]

It is very true that often, perhaps very often, the official performs for James B. an equivalent service. In this case there is no loss on either side; there is merely an exchange. Therefore, my arguments do not at all apply to useful functionaries. All I say is,--if you wish to create an office, prove its utility. Show that its value to James B., by the services which it performs for him, is equal to what it costs him. But, apart from this intrinsic utility, do not bring forward as an argument the benefit which it confers upon the official, his family, and his providers; do not assert that it encourages labour.

When James B. gives a hundred sous to a Government officer for a really useful service, it is exactly the same as when he gives a hundred sous to a shoemaker for a pair of shoes.

But when James B. gives a hundred sous to a Government officer, and receives nothing for them unless it be annoyances, he might as well give them to a thief. It is nonsense to say that the Government officer will spend these hundred sous to the great profit of national labour; the thief would do the same; and so would James B., if he had not been stopped on the road by the extra-legal parasite, nor by the lawful sponger.

But our condition in the present world goes beyond this.  Government has for decades been operating out of deficits.  I am a great admirer of Ronald Reagan for using American economic power to bring down the old Soviet Union and, along with his allies, Thatcher and John Paul II, free Eastern Europe from that evil empire’s grasp.  Still, I think we would be better off today as Americans if Reagan would have compromised less with the free-spending Democrat Congress of the 1980s.  As it was, the federal government continued to spend extravagantly more than revenues increased.  Reagan wished to channel money into the military and improve our technological advantage.  We saw the results of this during the First Gulf War with smart bombs and the Patriot missile defense systems.  One could argue that it was money well-spent. 

At the same time, though, Congress clung to its vote-buying and pork-barrel spending on projects and programs, not merely useless and wasteful, but actually detrimental – more so because the spending continued to increase the debt and deficit.  During the 1990s, despite the so-called “peace dividend” from reduction in military spending, the “balanced budgets” and “surpluses” were not in general revenues but largely in accounting changes that included payroll taxes on the books. 

Meanwhile deficits have continued and monstrous debt has accumulated.  To balance the budget requires a 40% reduction in spending, increase in revenue or a combination of the two.  Unlike Bastiat’s scenario, though, this will not return the money to the pockets of taxpayers.  All of it is borrowed, not raised from existing money in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.  Not only that, but the GDP includes this deficit spending.  Therefore to cut the deficit means to drastically and dramatically cut GDP. 

The current “fiscal cliff” debate does not address this glaring dilemma.  It is only about whether or not to raise taxes across the board or only on the “rich”.  But deficit spending is the real cliff, and we have gone over it.  I seriously doubt that electing Romney instead of Obama would have changed the situation.  Bush certainly made it worse as did the Democrat-controlled Congress between 2007 and 2011.  Congress and the President have shown no restraint whatsoever and have no intention of doing so.  To rein in spending would absolutely throw the American economy into a clear and massive deflationary depression.  It would also require the shutting down of a wide swath of government bureaucracies, the elimination of thousands of government jobs at all levels, not to mention radically reducing or removing benefits for the Free $h1t Army – the primary Democrat voting bloc. 

In other words, it is not going to happen.  Even a rational Keynesian would understand that our current path will eventually result in a collapse of the entire economy if not the government itself.  Of course, there may not be any rational Keynesians if people like the idiot Krugman are representative.  Perhaps these professorial types do not care so long as they get their tenure and perks.  They have their ideal models of macro-level economic behavior and feel justified in dismissing the “simplistic” views of the Austrians and others. 

The fact is that people are always going to operate for their own self-interest on an individual basis.  Even the “tribal” mind-set of certain groups is a function of self-interest.  I do not dismiss altruism completely as someone like Rand might, but maximizing the benefits to one’s self, family, and immediate circle is of primary importance in making decisions.  This view changes only when an individual’s freedom of choice is removed and one is forced to accept the “greater good” alternative.  It is for this reason that socialist/fascist governments trend inevitably toward totalitarianism.  We have to be coerced into doing “the right thing”, from the elite’s point of view.     

Statism is necessary to support a centrally-controlled economic system – whether communist, socialist or fascist.  It doesn’t matter.  It is impossible for these systems to function and present even the appearance of success apart from the coercive power of the State.  Thus, as a nation moves toward socialism, it will seek to force its citizens to accept certain limitations on their economic activity, the rightful ownership of private property, and the uses of property and means of production.  Frankly, this statist path, along with the research money that it generates, is the reason for the ridiculous embrace and promotion of an obvious falsehood like anthropogenic climate change. 

War, terror, climate change – fear is a great motivator, making people easier to control and manipulate.  The promise of security will sway the emotional types, of which there are apparently a majority in the United States these days and as has long been the case in Europe.  It is sad and stupid, but it is understandable.  The barely educated, heavily indoctrinated masses are, as my father – a one-time sheepherder– used to say, dumber than sheep.