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Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Silverfiddle Rant!
Joel Kotkin casts a weather eye on California governor Gavin Newsom outsourcing his state's economic recovery to a task force of high tech robber barons:

When Steyer and other members of the task force—one can’t help but compare them to the crime commission run in New York City by Charles “Lucky” Luciano—decide to open the economy, they will no doubt claim, as with their climate pieties, that they are acting purely on the basis of “science”—as long as it agrees with their conclusions.

Meanwhile, the world's billionaire plutocrats continue to be targeted by the victims of globalism. This could get good:

Most people want billionaires to pitch in to aid poverty and inequality
NEW YORK, April 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Eight out of 10 people think billionaires should help end poverty, inequality and a host of global ills, a poll showed on Wednesday, as funding shortages and the new coronavirus stymied hopes of meeting the United Nations' development goals for 2030.
Around the world, there are more than 2,000 billionaires worth a combined $10 trillion, said Martijn Lampert, research director of Glocalities.
"People see that billionaires have a moral obligation to contribute," he said. "This crisis shows the huge inequalities there are, and in the end I think every billionaire has to show his or her true color."
"We will need to tax high-net worth, especially after the current disaster," said Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a U.N. initiative, who was involved in the study.
Those billionaires are smart people who have an uncanny ability to read a poker table and decide when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em (RIP, Kenny Rogers!) They know how to negotiate and come out on top. They won't go down easy, but they have sown the seeds for the bitter fruit people are pelting them with.

They’ve all been talking socialistic crap for years, while sluicing trickles of their vast fortunes smartly and efficiently:  Dodging taxation that hands money to inefficient governments and wasteful NGOs. Instead, they have maximized their bang for the buck by forming their own global philanthropic organizations to feed and inoculate the poor and address global ills.

Look for billionaires to defend this model as they ramp up doling out billions, publicly and loudly, even as people clamor for more. As government models continue to reveal their inherent weaknesses, we could end up witnessing a new global feudalism where the billionaire world controllers eclipse and marginalize hapless government and exercise direct power and influence over a reshaped hierarchy of lords, vassals and peasants.

Think it will happen?  Maybe not.  I take comfort in the notion--brilliantly articulated by Puckish Canadian David Warren-- that The World Cannot be Fixed.


  1. Replies
    1. I was a big fan of his years ago, lost track of him, and just rediscovered him. I enjoy his unique style.

    2. Xi Jingping Batflu is an apt name for the virus, and I loved this line:

      "China should have remained in isolation, until the demonic Maoist regime had collapsed."

  2. The American public has adopted the policy of wanting others to fix problems which they are unwilling to fix for themselves.

    Just one example. Streets in San Diego are in very bad need of repaving. Voters are unwilling to pass a sales tax or increase property tax to provide funding for the purpose of repaving streets. They keep trying to pass a bill to impose a surcharge on hotel rooms so that visitors to San Diego will pay to repave our streets.

    The bill fails because the surcharge also expands the convention center and houses the homeless and we don't think that we benefit from either of those things, so we don't want to do them.

    1. In my mind, the issue isn't revenue collection in California; it is revenue spending. Apparently, the California legislature has yet to consider that the legal residents of their state deserve the greatest share of the money pie than illegals and homeless, neither of whom contribute anything to California's prosperity.

    2. I won't dispute your point, Mustang, but it isn't a case of either/or. Both problems are endemic. The "bleeding heart" giveaway programs are mostly advocated by those who want someone else to pay for them. "Tax the rich" is another popular refrain heard from those who want to "house the homeless."

  3. If the people living in a community cannot fix their local problems, what makes them think they can fix the world? I suspect that the entertainment industry, also known as 24/7 news, has everyone so frustrated with national and international events ... or at least the media's own slant on them ... that people have long ignored the cancers growing in their own back yards. What is the saying? Get your own house in order before trying to meddle in other people's mess. Voting election after election for the same people who've broken our communities is not getting one's own house in order. Should the light bulb ever come on and we actually do fix our communities, then (and only then) can we concentrate on the mess in our state capitals. At least, that's how I see it.

    1. I do believe you made a good point. The ASCE gives us failing grades on every aspect of out infrastructure, and the organizations which administer elections give us a failing grade as to democracy due to the influence of money in elections. (And we yak about corruption in Ukraine.)

  4. Steyer should hire out his Russian 'bot army defense system to work for the citizens of California....

    Naaaaah. That would leave us open to direct rule by Putin and his ignoble surrogate. DJT!

  5. Vive the billionaires.
    Like tRump who inherited wealth and proceeded to do worse than he would have simply investing in an index fund(with several bankruptcies along the way).He never contributed much other than to himself.

    Look up The Gates Foundation in The Nation and get a definition of self serving. Billionaires deserve the same analysis as politicians. Maybe more since conservatives tend to worship them as gods.

  6. Today's billionaires are nothing more than inflated versions of the millionaires of Yesteryear.

    Wait now for the emergence of the TRILLIONAIRES as the purhasing power of the dollar diminishes steadily with each passing year.

  7. At realistic inflation rates (3-5%), it takes 150-200 years or so for prices to increase by a factor of 1000. Clearly something other than inflation is happening here. There are a handful of people with around $100B. Inflation alone would predict the first trillianaire to appear in around 50-60 years, but I'd bet a million on that happening sooner.

    I don't have any moral expectations of billionaires above or below the general population. I don't think they necessarily did anything bad to become rich. But I do think it's a poorly set-up economy that generates and sustins inequality on this order of magnitude. I like capitalism, and I think some people should be many hundreds or thousnds of times wealthier than others. But 10s or 100s of millions times wealthier? This is a latter-day aristocracy, surely? Is the billionaire really motivated by money at that point? Is the poor guy in the underclass given a legitimate incentive if he perceives his options to be limited to squalor, or squalor but with cable tv? I'm just not sure this is the outcome I should expect to see if the system were working the way it's supposed to.

    1. I give almost no thought to millionaires or billionaires. I am not one of these, of course. What I do think about is how blessed I am to be where I am financially, with having people to love, who love me in return, and at least so far, a long and healthy life. As for the underclasses (a demeaning word that I’ve never cared for), none of us controlled the circumstances of our birth, we don’t get to choose rich vs. poor parents (mine were poor), but whether we remain poor is up to us as individuals. We either avail ourselves to educational opportunities, or we do not. When we’re young, we either give some thought to our future, where we want to be at the end of our lives, or we don’t. We either go with the flow, or we make our own mark. We choose either chicken shit or chicken salad. Whether someone born poor transformed their life into a success story makes no matter to me ... it’s their life, their story. Similarly, if someone chooses to remain in the under belly of society, if they are content with their decisions not to avail themselves of opportunities for education, or walk through doors of opportunity, such is/was their decision, not mine. So, I agree with the sentiments expressed earlier. First, we need to get ourselves in order ... only then can we begin to fix the things in our world that do need our attention. Unlike the communists who frequently comment here, I do not hate those who have succeeded financially. Most of the wealthy, I believe, do a lot of good with their money —but even if that were not true, it is their money. It is wrong to punish them through taxes for working hard, being just a bit smarter than everyone else, lucky or ruthless (you decide), only to take that confiscated money and give it to someone who lacks ambition. For the record, there is probably no people on this earth who “give” more than the Americans and British people, and this would appear to invalidate any argument one might make about either of these being greedy capitalist societies.

    2. A great deal of misery is created by the envious focus on what other have. As Mustang so eloquently points out, when I have more than enough to meet all of my needs and an adequacy of my wants and am complaining that others have more than I do, something is wrong with me.

    3. @mustang: "...but whether we remain poor is up to us as individuals"

      that's the theory! My satisfaction with our political system approximately equal to the degree to which this statement is true.

      @jayhawk: I'm not envious, and neither was my comment.

    4. So, then, Jez ... do you believe that your success in life must depend on your prime minister and his or her cabinet, their policies and regulations?

    5. I think we're constrained somewhat by politics, sure. Don't you? Presumably you oppose left wing parties because you think their policies would constrain you?

    6. @ Jez

      We are who we are. I vote according to who I am. I do not adore any one political party. I view myself as a classic liberal, which means that I support the founding (enlightened) philosophies. I oppose left wing policies because they do not even remotely resemble the intentions of our founding fathers. There was a time when I could support a Democrat ... but that time has long passed, since the Democratic Party transformed itself into neo-progressive, Marxist/Leninist institution that stands in opposition to classic liberalism. I am an independent voter, an independent thinker, and an individualist. Some government is necessary, yes. But I want limited government interference in my life and in my finances. Less government, more freedom. This would NOT be a problem if government would confine itself to the enumerated powers accorded it by the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Any more than that, then I am anti-government.

    7. @Mustang
      I am sorry if you took my comment to imply that, as my intent was to imply precisely the opposite. I read your comment as the embodiment of, "What I do think about is how blessed I am to be where I am financially..."

    8. @ Jayhawk. I think you are addressing Jez' comment, not mine.

  8. I have an article today at American Thinker, if anyone wants to check it out.

    I recommend the other articles as well, especially weaponizing science.

    1. SF,
      Thank you for posting that link.

      I was going to do so, but then got all caught up in end-of-school-term responsibilities.

      Oh, and an EXCELLENT essay, my friend!

    2. My conception of freedom. -- The value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it -- what it costs us. I shall give an example. Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. Their effects are known well enough: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic -- every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization.

      These same institutions produce quite different effects while they are still being fought for; then they really promote freedom in a powerful way. On closer inspection it is war that produces these effects, the war for liberal institutions, which, as a war, permits illiberal instincts to continue. And war educates for freedom. For what is freedom? That one has the will to assume responsibility for oneself. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one's cause, not excluding oneself. Freedom means that the manly instincts which delight in war and victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over those of "pleasure."

      The human being who has become free -- and how much more the spirit who has become free -- spits on the contemptible type of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a warrior.

      How is freedom measured in individuals and peoples? According to the resistance which must be overcome, according to the exertion required, to remain on top. The highest type of free men should be sought where the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of servitude. This is true psychologically if by "tyrants" are meant inexorable and fearful instincts that provoke the maximum of authority and discipline against themselves; most beautiful type: Julius Caesar. This is true politically too; one need only go through history.

      The peoples who had some value, who attained some value, never attained it under liberal institutions: it was great danger that made something of them that merits respect. Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces us to be strong.

      First principle: one must need to be strong -- otherwise one will never become strong.

      Those large hothouses for the strong -- for the strongest kind of human being that has so far been known -- the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in which I understand it: as something one has and does not have, something one wants, something one conquers.

      - Friedrich Nietzsche, "Twilight of the Idols (38)"


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