Wednesday, September 9, 2020

The Case for Optimism

Michael Rozeff has an important piece out at LRC today, The War Against Antifa/BLM, he explains how utterly insane the Antifa/BLM movement is.

He concludes:

The antifa/BLM thinking and agenda are so far out as to appear psychotic or mad, and they are. No one in his right mind who understands what antifa and BLM are aiming for can possibly support them. What is the current society supposed to be replaced by? Communism? An equally bad social democracy? Nonetheless, for various reasons, antifa/BLM is receiving support and backing, and we are in for a war of sorts to suppress their criminal rampages and violations of decent people and decent order.

This is a big challenge, but it will be met because most Americans have the good sense to know that antifa/BLM means them no good whatsoever.

I consider this the optimistic case.  

In the land, we are starting to see resistance develop to the madness. Leaders are starting to emerge. Indeed, I highlighted one of them just the other day in Carlos Zapata

There are others. Indeed, I suspect that some youth that were touched by the Ron Paul presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012 may emerge soon. Not many, perhaps a half-dozen or maybe a dozen that heard Dr. Paul in their late teens or twenties and have been absorbing libertarian writings ever since and are born leaders. They have absorbed enough to take the next step and it is not a day too soon.

But periods like this are extremely complex and it is not clear how things will turn out.

The economist G.L. S. Shackle used to write about what he called kalidescopic periods. He wrote in Epistemics & Economics: A critique of economic doctrines (1991) P76:

 It will be a kaleidic society, interspersing its moments or intervals of order assurance and beauty with sudden disintegration and a cascade into a new pattern. Such an account of the politico-economic process may at various epochs or in the course of various historical ages appear less or more suggestive and illuminating.

We are currently in this type of kalidescopic period. Austrian school economists understand the difficulty of forecasting the future at any time. The economist Walter Block says that economists forecasting the future proves they have a sense of humor.

But sometimes we can get general trends right. I discussed this point with Murray Rothbard once and he agreed but the specifics are impossible.

And when you have a point like the present, it is impossible. There are much too many moving parts. The kaleidoscope is spinning, what the pieces look like when it stops is impossible to tell.

Here is what we could have seen already.

Rozeff quotes the Daily Caller:

From the very start of the Trump administration, far-left actors declared their intention to use massive demonstrations to disrupt the American political process as much as possible.

This should not have come as a surprise. I wrote 48 hours after Trump was elected: 

Heading into the election, I felt that for strategic reasons Hillary Clinton was the best alternative for libertarians. Not because she is good on many issues, she is not, but because she would come with a ready-made opposition that would listen to libertarian arguments against her.

It would have been a great opportunity to reach out to Trump supporters and spread the libertarian message. That opportunity is now gone with the Trump victory. Trump supporters are rabid, they will likely follow him down almost any hell hole.

These people are not going to listen to our arguments for smaller government. Their man is in power.

There will be opposition to Trump but it will be coming from the left, not the Trump right.

The left is all about expanding the state. Thus, it will be very difficult to reach out to these people and present state shrinking anti-Trump ideas. They are a perfect target for the socialists.

Indeed, the protest that occurred in New York City last night, where thousands turned out, was launched by a socialist group, the Socialist Alternative. The socialists are going to experience a boom in followers under Trump.

That these radical lefty anarchists are around should also not come as a surprise either, I wrote, 6 years ago, in 2014:

It is instructive to understand, who is taking part in these protests. The overwhelming majority are generally outraged over the police killings. This group includes students from nearby colleges, aging hippies and assorted northern California lefties.

However, there are two other groups that infiltrate these protests, who do not necessarily share the same outrage as the majority of protesters. One group can best be described as opportunists. They mix in with the crowd and appear to have identified in advance stores that they want to loot for the goods in them.They use the crowds as cover to get their dirty work done...

But in addition to these opportunists, there is another group that infiltrates the protests, anarchists.

These are not Rothbardian anarcho-capitalists, who see problems with governments, banksters and the ruling elite, but see no problem with corporations operating in the private sector (who are not part of the elite). These are full-fledged anarchists, who believe the entire structure of society must be torn down, including,corporations who operate in the private sector and have no strong ties to the government. 

A friend familiar with their thinking tells me that they believe that once the entire structure is torn down, out of the ashes, phoenix-like, a new wonderful society will emerge. Thus, they see their current role as being one of wreaking havoc to advance the collapse. And Oakland is a hotbed for these anarchists.

I ran these photos in 2014 with the story. It shows the combination of lefty useful idiots in Oakland and those who want to destroy society (Yes, despite the masks these are 2014 photos): 

Here is the problem. The radical Marxists who want to destroy society are very, very sophisticated in terms of strategy and tactics. They have studied Lenin. They know they have to form alliances with useful idiots because their group, in and of itself is too small. 

In addition to older lefties, they pretty much can move the young to advance their goals--after the years of government financing of postmodern and Critical Theory teaching in colleges and universities. The young have been dumbed down to think central planning is the way to go.

The radical Marxists understand this and they are opportunists. 

They are using the death of mostly black thugs at the hands of police to their advantage.

I have discussed in a podcast dread risk fear,  early on having pictures flashed of how COVID-19 was being treated in China and Italy spooked many Americans, it caused the COVID-19 panic in the US. That panic was dread risk fear. It wasn't logical, it was the beaming of the images that did it.

Something of the same has happened with the anti-police movement.

We saw the pictures of the copper with his knee on George Floyd. Those who react on emotion reacted immediately. It was a type of dread risk fear and then the accomplice mainstream press flooded the airwaves of other cop killings without context, solidifying the great copper dread risk fear. 

As Gerd Gigerenzer, former head of the Max Planck Institute, writes it is pretty much impossible to talk logic to those who have been impacted by such fear, only a greater fear will change their minds. 

So maybe the radical left's attack on restaurants and looting will knock some out of their anti-cop trance (which is really an anti-civilization)  but I suspect that this is what the Marxists behind the curtain want. They want the people to be fearful, so that Trump is re-elected to "fix things." The Marxists know a Trump victory will continue the recruiting of socialists to the cause.

Police I am talking to tell me that they are preparing for a straight 30 days of riots if Trump is elected.

With an election victory behind him, Trump would likely declare a national emergency and order the cracking heads on the streets to begin. How that would turn out is anybody's guess. Right now coppers tell me that it is a period like none they have ever seen. They see hate displayed toward them everywhere. "It's visceral," one copper told me. 

The kaleidoscope is turning. How the pieces look when it stops spinning, I have no idea. There is an optimistic scenario that things do get back to normal but there are other potential scenarios where things end up far from good. 



  1. But...but wait!...CNN is now reporting that "White Supremacy" is the most imminent and lethal threat to the entire country! [ ]

  2. Another great post RW. While I agree there are numerous scenarios that may result from covid-19 panic and that no one can predict the future with certainty, I do believe we can eliminate the one where things "get back to normal." Based on the fact that millions of people in politics, government and bureaucracy are incented by the power motive and Dr. Robert Higgs' historical research on the "ratchet effect" it is unlikely that the recent "normal" will ever be seen again.

  3. When C-19 first hit the LD stage I was trying to be optimistic. Saying that maybe the tyrants will go too far so that more of the ignorant are made aware of the sociopathic nature of the political/elite/central planner class. This is definitely happening but, I am unable to quantify the extent based on social media – which I spent zero time on before C-19 and a whole lot of time on after C-19.

    I have been seeking out those that are supporters of the anti-social new abnormal C-19 measures, supporters of antifa and blm and the rest of the useful idiots falling for and or advocating for the Great Reset. Almost all that respond do not concede to my augments, even in the cases that there are many exchanges. But some do, the ones that are at least honest with themselves.

    I have “won” every augment. I am not saying that to brag but, to let you know that we have the arguments that they cannot defend against. They may not come out and say, “you are correct,” they will just stop responding. The responses stop because our logic and reason based on evidence and data covers all the bases that their ignorance and propaganda cannot.

    This lack of response likely means they have hit a wall in their argument. At that point no matter what their future actions, they know they are wrong. They may not admit it to anyone or even themselves but they know. What I fear and suspect is that they will not change their actions. They will dig deeper into their cognitive dissonance rather than deal with reality.

    I don’t know how much good I am doing but, the rest of our lives and the lives the next generations may be shaped by just a few more people realizing what is happening now. There are a lot of people that just need direction. I hope RW is realizing more traffic from my linking to his sites. Pointing out what is obvious to us to someone that is generally freedom oriented or is open minded but has not thought through and developed a good foundational philosophy can start a flood of understanding. I know I have helped this happen. A few have actually thanked me and some have asked me where to get more info.

    People’s perception of the turning kaleidoscope will determine what we see when it stops spinning.