Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Things To Come: Orwell And Understanding Our Times, The Everything Bubble Is Ready To Pop

Revisiting Orwell to Understand our Times

Just two or three generations ago, most Americans understood that George Orwell’s classics Animal Farm and 1984 were written to explain how freedom is lost to totalitarianism and the intolerance that accompanies it. Big Brother, a term that many people still casually use to describe an all-knowing governing authority, comes right out of 1984. In the society that Orwell describes, all citizens are continually reminded that “Big Brother is watching you,” by way of a constant surveillance through the pervasive use of “telescreens” by the ruling class.

Orwell’s warnings about totalitarianism written in novel form in Animal Farm and 1984 came shortly after Freidrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom was published at the end of World War II. But it took the shocking revelations from books on Nazism and Soviet Communism, by scholars like William Shirer and Robert Conquest in the 1960s to really make Orwell relevant to the masses educated in American public schools.  And it was not just an academic exercise, insofar as Stalin was at that time brutally crushing all resistance, enforcing the Soviet model of totalitarian control on East European countries that became satellite states of Moscow.

Reading Orwell, it was thought, would help American students appreciate their freedoms and gain perspective and critical faculties so as to understand socialist totalitarianism and its defining features: 1) the institutionalization of propaganda designed to warp and destroy people’s grasp on reality, and 2) the fostering of group think, conformity and collectivism designed to eliminate critical and independent thinking. These two features would protect and perpetuate a one party system by making the press subservient to the state and preventing the rise of an opposition movement or party.

Orwell described the scope of the totalitarian enterprise, noting in one section of 1984, that “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, and every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

The concepts of “newspeak” and “doublethink” in Orwell’s 1984 are manifest in what we experience now as political correctness.

 Newspeak is the distorted reality accomplished by manipulating the meaning of language and words, while double think is the conditioned mental attitude to ignore reality and common sense and substitute and embrace a distorted or false narrative to the exclusion of other views. 

As Orwell notes, “the whole aim of Newspeak and Doublethink is to narrow the range of thought.” This is the goal of political correctness, and it explains why its adherents tend to be so intolerant—even convinced for instance, that people with opposing views on climate change or gay marriage, ought to be silenced, fined or even arrested.

Orwell’s concept of “Big Brother” watching the people has certainly become a reality

It wasn’t always this way. We never used to get a giant, speculative bubble every 7–8 years. We really didn’t.
In 2000, we had the dot-com bubble.

In 2007, we had the housing bubble.

In 2017, we have the everything bubble.
I did not coin the term “the everything bubble.” I do not know who did. Apologies (and much respect) to the person I stole it from.
Why do we call it the everything bubble? Well, there is a bubble in a bunch of asset classes simultaneously.
And the infographic below that my colleagues at Mauldin Economics created paints the picture best.

On his nationally syndicated radio talk show Tuesday, host Mark Levin defended comments he made concerning the Obama administration’s surveillance of then presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying, “[O]ur media, for the most part, it’s really no different from the media in any dictatorship or any communist regime.”

“You see, ladies and gentlemen, our media, for the most part, it’s really no different from the media in any dictatorship or any communist regime,” stated Mark Levin. “It’s groupthink. It’s a gang attack. It’s a propaganda enterprise.”

Levin’s comments came after CNN reported that “US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election,” something Mark Levin had already revealedusing “eight ‘exhibits’ – quotes from news reports – to make the case that the Obama administration spied on Trump” back on March 5 of this year.

“You see, ladies and gentlemen, our media, for the most part, it’s really no different from the media in any dictatorship or any communist regime. It’s groupthink. It’s a gang attack. It’s a propaganda enterprise.
“Almost none of these people actually know me, and yet, look at the terms used to describe me: a radical conspiracy theorist, conspiracy theorist – I’m just looking – conspiracy-loving, right-wing talk show host, rabid right-wing talk show host – that, of course, is from the Morning Shmoe, Mr. Deliverance. Nothing here at all that describes who I am and what I actually am because they’re never going to do that. Never.
“The fact of the matter is – and I’m not going to sit here and give you my resume; you know my resume; you can Google it very, very easily – this is what they do to people who dare to stand up to them. This is what they do to people, in many cases, who speak the truth.

Hungary is set to launch another state "national consultation" about US financier and philanthropist George Soros, the government said Tuesday, six months before expected general elections.
The campaign would be to investigate public views on the "Soros plan", and would likely be launched next month, government spokesman Bence Tuzson told public radio, without giving further details.
Last week a top official in the ruling Fidesz party, Lajos Kosa, said that this "Soros plan" includes Europe accepting a million migrants per year and the demolition of Hungary's anti-migrant border fences.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban has regularly attacked the Hungarian-born Soros in the last year, calling him a "public enemy" for his alleged backing of uncontrolled mass immigration.
A national consultation earlier this year also focused on Soros, seen as a liberal bogeyman by Budapest who funds a raft of civil society groups in central and eastern Europe.
An image of the 87-year-old laughing adorned billboard posters alongside a message urging Hungarians "not to let Soros have the last laugh".
The posters, some of which were daubed with anti-Semitic graffiti, were widely condemned including by Soros himself and Hungary's main Jewish organisation, which called them "poisonous".

A STRONG 6.4-magnitude earthquake has struck Erromango island, Vanuatu’s fourth largest, at 8:09 pm (UTC; 7.09am local time) on Sept. 20.
The quake hit the centre of the 2000-people island, with an epicenter situated at 200km, which dampened its effect.
The Vanuatu archipelago is in the so-called Ring of Fire and is prone to earthquakes. This BIG ONE earthquake comes some 4 hours after Japan was hit by a powerful M6.1 earthquake just 300km away from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, some 19 hours after a M6.1 quake struck New Zealand and 24 hours after the deadly M7.1 earthquake in Mexico.

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