A bright and thoroughly mischievous reader of this blog has confronted me with some provocative questions about my ‘position’ on the political and economic spectrum. I suspect this benign provocateur knows full well where I stand…but I have risen to the bait nevertheless…because it raises an important issue…that of ‘fitting into a box’…or not. For those who don’t have much time, the short answer is this:
I don’t fit myself into a box because the only thing that really needs packaging is shit
For those with a bit more time for philosophical ramblings, here are some of the questions I have been pleasantly accosted with:
1. Why do I sometimes agree with the ‘left’, sometimes with the ‘right’?
Because ‘truth’ doesn’t belong to either. Because these distinctions prevent good people working together on issues that really matter. For example, Clinton & Sanders are on the ‘left’, McCain and Rand Paul are on the 'right'. However, Clinton and McCain are ‘spittle-showering’, warmongering neocons, whilst Sanders & Paul favour little or no foreign intervention. Intention is what matters…the empire builders seem to know this…it’s about time more of the ‘good guys’ woke up to this too...
(Note: Sanders & Paul were the only two Senators to vote against the increased sanctions on Russia)
2. Why do I read ‘lefty’ platforms like ‘Spiked’, & ‘righty’ platforms like the Mises Institute?
Because these folks challenge neo-conservative and neo-liberal bullshit, albeit sometimes on different subjects and from different angles. Because when push comes to shove, they both stand for liberty and free speech, and both push back against the mindless drivel of identity politics and political correctness.
3. On financial issues, how come I draw on ‘value investors’ like Tim Price, ‘traders’ like Martin Armstrong, ‘insiders’ like Jim Rickards, and ‘outsiders’ like Nassim Taleb?
Because these are all smart guys, looking at complex systems from alternative viewpoints. If you’re looking for ‘the right answer’ when it comes to investment, I suggest you keep your money of choice under your mattress. That way you’ll only have fire and burglary to worry about. Finding the right answer to life is even trickier of course – probably best to meditate and avoid daytime TV…
4. How come I have a very low opinion of well-respected British & American journalists, but still read them? Why do I favour 'rebels' including a noticeable number of Australian journalists such as John Pilger, Julian Assange, Caitlin Johnstone & Claire Connelly. What is it with Australian journalists?
I don’t read the mainstream media to discover what’s going on. I read it to find out what they want me to think is going on. Many of them have sold out to their address books, if they ever had any integrity in the first place. They don’t even write well, but that’s besides the point…what is valuable is this: it’s important to understand the bullshit they’re peddling...and why…qui bono?
I read people who speak truth to power because if we don’t challenge the system we’re screwed – those in power never give up control willingly. As regards the Aussies mentioned: Pilger is a legend, Assange puts his life on the line to expose powerful criminals, Johnstone is gutsy and incisive, and Connelly is young and brave. I don’t agree with them on everything and that’s absolutely fine. Why Australians? No idea…but they do seem to share my obsession with calling out bullshit. I also like the accent, but I don’t think that’s got much to do with it.
5. Why do I always roast economists, politicians, & bureaucrats?
How long have you got?
If I want to learn how to play football, I’ll go find someone who plays the game to teach me – they don’t have to be the best, but they have to play. Cookery – I’ll find a cook. You get the picture.
If I want someone to make decisions that affect the foundations of a healthy society: the level of justice, freedom, and respect for life…for the rule of law and the need to take personal responsibility for consequences…I’ll go find someone who has demonstrated those qualities in a career where people can vote with their feet and their wallets. I’ll go find someone who has run an ethical business, built it up with their own time and energy, looked after their employees, and kept a crowd of satisfied customers coming back over an extended period of time. I’ll look for a person who has learned that outcomes matter more than theories, someone who gets consequential feedback on their performance, someone who can’t hide behind excuses when things go wrong – maybe a doctor, a vet, a dentist or a fireman, someone who ‘smells’ like a responsible human being…again you get the picture.
I will not go looking for people who can’t do a damn thing other than tell other people how they should live their lives, who make excuses for everything that goes wrong, and never own their mistakes: fake scientists, professional busybodies & people who make rules without any experience of what happens in the real world.
When I look at the majority of the political and economic figures across the world…honestly, there may be one or two that I can imagine being in partnership with, but most of them I wouldn’t employ in any capacity, especially anything to do with customers or finance.
6. Which party do I really want in power? Come on now…really?
None of them…really. Our political/monetary system is corrupt - it is beyond repair. It needs a transformation, not a bit of tinkering from people focused on winning the next election. I have arrived at the conclusion that a system reset is not only necessary - it is unavoidable. When it happens it will be very messy…the establishment will fight tooth and claw to keep control, there may well be war…and when the dust settles we could end up with an oligarchy that makes the current crime scene look pleasant by comparison…or we could take the chance to build something healthy, something ethical, that represents the will of the people.
To those who think that a particular ‘ism’ will fix the world, I think you are hopelessly naïve. Humans created this mess – we will not fix it by pretending that we are socialistic saints, or that we should only concern ourselves with the survival of the fittest. We are individuals and we are social beings. We are not all the same, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
If you must know ‘what I am’ - this is as close as I can get - I’m a libertarian internationally, an old fashioned liberal domestically, and a socialist with my friends and family. Politically, I’m a Groucho Marxist…I’d never join any club that would have me as a member.
Boxes are not the solution; they are places where fools hide their ignorance.
Have a great weekend