Saturday, March 9, 2019

Pretenses To Ignorance

     On many an occasion when someone says “I don’t know why...” or “I’m not sure why...” and concludes with some unpleasant observation, it’s equivalent to saying “I don’t want to know.” When the unpleasant observation pertains to a person or a group thereof, the speaker’s agony can be very nearly visible.

     There are many things we’d rather not know. Why there is evil. Why the things we value are inherently scarce. Why the speed of light is a limiting condition. Why the observance of so many holidays is now on Monday, such that garbage collection is canceled. But we do know the reasons for those things, and pretending that we don’t, or that we’re uncertain about them, is a hindrance to analysis and planning.

     Less than a month back I noted Andrew Cuomo’s plaint to President Trump about the recent limitation on the federal deductibility of state and local taxes:

     New York Governor Andrew Cuomo requested a meeting with President Trump over tax reform that he claims is hurting his state’s revenue. He went whining about New Yorkers leaving for Florida where taxes are cheaper. Cuomo could, of course, lower taxes and stop giving free everything to foreigners in the country illegally. His meeting turned into a lecture on fracking and late-term abortion, and he came back empty-handed.

     The leftist Democrat went to discuss a $10,000 cap on the on federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT). Cuomo is citing the provision for a drop in over $2 billion in tax revenue.


     “I told the president myself today: SALT repeal is hurting us. And if you hurt New York, you’re harming the economic engine of the nation,” he bragged after the meeting.

     New York State is losing tax revenue because high earners are leaving the state. Mind you, New York State has been losing population for quite some time. The major reasons are high taxes, an unfriendly business environment, and young New Yorkers seeking out less expensive climes. Cuomo knows that the “SALT repeal” is a marginal factor, as it’s been in force for only one year. President Trump, a lifelong New Yorker whose business is operated from a Manhattan headquarters, knows it too.

     But for political reasons Cuomo must pretend otherwise. It chafes him that President Trump refuses to play along. Trump has never been one to let others save face by shifting the blame for their choices onto his shoulders. Cuomo knows that too, or should have.

     Are you in any real doubt about the Left’s agenda for the United States? I’m not. Their sole priority is power. They’ll sacrifice anyone and any value to gain and increase their power. It couldn’t be simpler. But a lot of highly placed Republicans in Congress pretend that they can’t understand their adversaries’ behavior. Who gains from the pretense?

     Anthropological and sociological verities are similar. Why are black-heavy neighborhoods crime-ridden and impoverished compared to nearby white enclaves? Blacks are more predisposed to aggression than whites, and aggression makes it difficult and dangerous to run a business where they predominate. But maintaining the pretense that “we’re all exactly alike” is more important to a lot of people than acknowledging the well-confirmed facts and acting on them.

     Then there’s economics. Great God in heaven, economics! The pretenses there are beyond enumeration. We know that no good or service can be free of cost. We know there’s no reliable relationship between the price of a good and its cost of production. We know that beyond a certain magnitude of intrusion upon the freedom to produce and trade, businesses will haul stakes. We know that rewarding a behavior will elicit more of it, while penalizing that behavior will cause it to decrease. But politicians pretend otherwise; their antisocial occupation requires it.

     Pretenses such as the above can be mortally harmful to a society. Ours is tottering. But those who maintain the pretenses are indisposed to relinquish them, at least publicly.

     Allow me to quote you the concluding passage from a book: Dreams Come Due, first edition, by “John Galt:”

     The future (of what is left of freedom) depends upon the producers’ changing the direction of America, while they still outnumber the parasites who live from their efforts.
     In closing I would like to wish you:
     which will depend on your giving up illusions of justice in law, taxes, regulation and monetary affairs, and reality in government;
     which will depend on your refusal to buy any bond or other form of debt instrument denominated in currency as opposed to money, and a personal dedication to reality at all times;
     which will unfortunately depend on successful speculation and exchanging your currency for precious metals (money) to protect you against empty government promises of stopping inflation; and most important;
     which is waiting to be reclaimed by its rightful owner (you) if you will take personal responsibility in helping to control government (and envy) by cutting its supply of your currency and credit, and limiting its power to the legitimate functions for which it was originally formed.

     That’s the vision of a capable analyst whose eyes are unclouded by pretense. It’s the attitude of a man who knows what’s what: that force cannot create, but only destroy; that the differences among persons and classes of persons are real and cannot be papered over; and that by allowing the federal government to ignore our Constitution we have permitted exactly the sort of tragedy the Founding Fathers composed it to forestall. Realism with a capital R.

     It’s time for that, I think.

1 comment:

Linda Fox said...

I'm not so certain about Galt's advice.

If the S truly HTF, so-called precious metals are of little use. Access to food and shelter are more useful.

Setting up home in a populated place has pros and cons, but for ultimate fallback, nothing beats a cabin in a woods, near a source of fresh water.

We're in a tough place - not sure just how bad it will all get. Not able to predict the future, and may be wasting some money on guns and other things that may not be worth the expense (my dad had guns, and lived in a city. The ammo is worthless now, and the guns of little value (22's). Compare to the initial price, not too bad, but - at todays' prices, such a scenario would be a waste.

Storage of food is OK - but not that powdered stuff - quite unappetizing. Regular rotation of canned/frozen goods is mandatory. All of the food storage is wasted if you have to hightail it out in a hurry.

The one prep practice that is generally NOT wasted is knowledge. It's most useful when passed along. The other thing that is useful, both in good and bad times, is friends and family.