Monday, October 24, 2011

Open Thread

Too much to do.

It occurs to me that Beatle George was the first person who got me interested in religion, what with his lifelong passion for the Vedanta. And come to think of it, his Taxman was my first exposure to classical economics.


Van said...

"... If they'd take less tax, they'd get more from me..."

Even the quiet one got it "so many years ago".

Open Trench said...

Harrison seems to have the distinctive coloration of a "Vibhuti."

So, the question arises, once again, "What is the best use of our time today?"

Will the answer be the same for all, or will it differ widely? If different, will there be some overlap, or will there be no convergence?

What do you consider "best use?"

Meditate on this 15 minutes while visualizing an amethyst crystal backlit by a candle, then report.

Thank you and good-bye.

John Lien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Lien said...

I think George Harrison had a better grasp of economics than the Vatican.

I think they should stick to saving souls and stay out of global banking recommendations.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican's Justice and Peace department, said:

"The people on Wall Street need to sit down and go through a process of discernment and see whether their role managing the finances of the world is actually serving the interests of humanity and the common good.

Typical lefty drivel.

Van said...

ot moaned "...Will the answer be the sa..."

Every answer you find will be just as satisfying as the last.

You might want to spend some time working on the question.

julie said...

Too much to do? I guess George will suffice. Have a good one, Bob.

btw, I've been meaning to ask, how is Mrs. G doing?

Mizz E said...

"I think George Harrison had a better grasp of economics than the Vatican."

Yep. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace released its economic statement today and it's apparently to the left of Pelosi and Obama. Read Sam Gregg's article at NRO.

julie said...

Mizz E - yes, William was wallowing in that over the weekend. As if it matters to him what the Pope thinks. From what I saw, there was nothing particularly surprising in it, and anyway while I respect the Vatican in matters spiritual, for advice economic I'd rather listen to Uncle Milty.

Gagdad Bob said...

Catholics for Keynes.

Not a good idea to get one's economics from theologians or one's theology from economists.

Mizz E said...

"Too much to do" explains why Bob linked to the same article I did.

RE: Theologians as economists....

“As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.”
— Joan Gussow

julie said...

Bob @ 10:50, indeed. Lest there was any confusion, when I said "Uncle Milty" I meant this one, not that one...

Mizz E said...

From the Front Porch:

"FPR readers will be interested in the Vatican’s new call for international authority over the financial institutions and policy. I understand the Pope’s beef with many contemporary capitalists and financial wizards. However, I wonder whether this call for international authority can even pass a basic prudence-test. Given the historic tendencies for monied interests to acquire significant influence over political authorities, there is very little guarantee that similar financial opportunists will not commandeer and “occupy” the levers of the new international authority that the papacy now calls for. This is what ultimately happened in America when economic control shifted from more local-levels to the national level. Big business just found a way to make their new more powerful national regulator their “own,” and regional attempts (e.g., the Granger Movement) to regulate business at the state level were overpowered by big business’ new friend, the Federal Government. Will not the same thing happen at the global level?"

John Lien said...

Hey MOTT book clubbers. How's it going? I'm getting the impression of parting the curtain and peeking out at the wide world from my 10x10 cell. What I was taught to dismiss as old nonsense in favor of a modern, materialistic world view is given serious discussion. UF tends to criticize science and technology a bit but I think his intention is to place it in the hierarchy of the cosmos. Anyhow, that's the n00b review from Page 82.

Open Trench said...

In a capitalist system, greed is good; without it nothing will happen.

People must want things and then buy them or wealth won't circulate.

A wealthy investor cannot drink more wine, listen to more music, or make more love than a pauper.

The occupiers of Wall Street mistakenly think wealth aids happiness a bucket-full, when in reality it's more like a teaspoon-full.

Being a capitalist is just another job, like being a math teacher. You manipulate abstract figures, then go home, have a Cosmopolitan, take a bubble bath, and call it a day.

A godly person can be greedy in the service of the people; therein lies the rub. If you have been contacted and recruited by God, as you all have, then you must look at consequences, because you are going to be held accountable.

That means you should be nice to the Trench I_________I

John Lien said...

Also, the section on a God of power versus a crucified God, that Bob discussed last week, is a real mind opener -for me at least.

Van said...

ot said "In a capitalist system, greed is good; without it nothing will happen."

You'd have to talk to marx about that, as he invented the capitalist system, and being the reverse image of morality which all things marxist and leftist are, that may be so. In that system.

However, while leftist's are free to misinterpret the Free Market as being 'capitalism', and indoctrinate that into the minds of unfortunate graduates of leftist institutions, such as Boesky presumably was, and while they might choose to behave as if greed is good (which might explain why college tuitions have risen far faster than healthcare and garnered no reform movements from congress (other than to make feeding it still more capital at the expense of their victims) or filthy virulent bums occupying wall street, but that's another comment); in the real world, a vice remains a vice, no matter your economic system. Greed is,

1. (n.) greed - excessive or rapacious desire, esp. for wealth or possessions; avarice; covetousness.

But neither ambition, nor the desire to improve your circumstances, are synonymous with 'greed', and the simple fact that you, for instance, invent something that millions of people want, resulting in your receiving more money than you know what to do with, does not in any way make you greedy. Neither does earning a sizable profit while arranging the financing of such an enterprise - it is earned.

The Free Market enables each person to serve the needs of another and profit from it monetarily as well. What a person does when they find themselves in possession of more material wealth than they know what to do with, is an interesting question and a potentially dangerous one at that, but it isn't produced by their economic system, it merely brings to the surface what might otherwise have remained hidden within them.

"That means you sh..."

There a couple of ways of dealing with an open trench, One way is to shovel as much crap and other refuse as is available, into it, thereby solving the problem of dealing with excess crap, and making the open trench disappear.

I like that method so much that I won't bother looking for a second one.

Gagdad Bob said...

Hard to know if William -- or any leftist -- is disingenuous or just dense. In any event, "The document doesn’t speak for the Pope, it doesn’t speak for 'the Vatican,' and it doesn’t speak for the Catholic Church."

ge said...

this GH album stayed on the turntable a good while...

mushroom said...

Didn't Harrison do an album with Ravi Shankar? I seem to remember hearing it in some hippie dope dealer's apartment back about '73 or '74. I always meant to find a copy and never did.

mushroom said...

Is "hippie dope dealer" redundant?

William said...

No, the Vatican statement had nothing to do with the Pope (even though the statement quoted the teachings of Popes over the last 40 years- including Benedict).

The document said the current global financial crisis has revealed "selfishness, collective greed" .... yea, that message has nothing to do with the OWS protests.

The Vatican document also trashed the conservative idea of trickle-down economics and deregulation... yea, nothing to do with todays protests...

The Catholic News Service said of the document:

"The current economic crisis, which has seen growing inequality between the rich and poor of the world, underlines the necessity to take concrete steps toward creating such an authority, it said."

Wait... that's not what the NRO said!! The Catholic News Service MUST be lying.

julie said...

Re. the document, heh.

I thought the fact that what was quoted had nothing to do with OWS was obvious, even yesterday, regardless of who wrote it. From the Vatican's perspective, what happens in front of the doors of Wall Street is unlikely to be a matter of much urgency, given that there are issues of real poverty and actual starvation in many other parts of the world which are far more pressing.

It's amusing and a little pathetic how the American Left - particularly the Anti-Catholic bigots who hate pretty much everything they think the Church stands for - are practically wetting themselves with excitement over the thought that the Pope gave them his benediction.

julie said...

John - re, MOTT, I am far behind in my reading again, alas, but I well remember that feeling of parting the curtain. It's a wonderful and humbling thing to regain that feeling of peering through the veil, to discover anew that the Mystery is. Most everybody does it naturally in childhood, but then all too often we end up, sooner or later, as blind as William, though of course each in his own way. MOTT is like cataract surgery for the third I.

I'm glad you're enjoying it. And of course, questions, observations and discussion are always welcome. For my part, it helps me to keep up with the Omwork :)

Gagdad Bob said...

Yeah I think I saw I saw the Pope hanging out here.

John Lien said...

@julie. "MOTT is like cataract surgery for the third I."

Very nice!

It is so densely packed. Sometimes I wonder if I should read it through fast and let sink in what sinks in or read, stop, and re-read. If I take the latter approach I may never finish.

The content is so unusual. I get this Raiders of the Lost Ark or European church catacomb vibe. Ancient and mysterious but not scary. There will be some deep theological point and a Biblical reference and then there will be talk of magic or the planets and their corresponding metals, all matter of fact. I try not to balk at the bizzare but just read it and see what soaks in.

Gagdad Bob said...

That there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world is a founding myth of the left. They have no idea how to create it, only appropriate and redistribute it. Which is the quickest way to end up with two classes.

julie said...

John - fast or slow, always a tough call. I took it slow the first time, because fast just wasn't happening. Like trying to eat a huge piece of the world's richest cake in one bite. It took me months. Worth every minute, though.

Fast can be good, too, though, because your subconscious has a chance to take it all in and work it through. Oddly, I tend to find that with the dense stuff, I read what I need, precisely when I need it (usually about five minutes to a day before I have any idea how relevant it is). All part of the Mystery.

julie said...

Re. fixed wealth, just so. How can anyone live in the modern world and not understand that wealth isn't simply a question of stockpiles of gold sitting locked in a vault somewhere? The wonder of any voluntary financial transaction is that both parties are made wealthier by exchanging whatever it is they have to offer each other. otherwise, why trade at all?

As to Oakland (or any of the other protests, they all sound equally virtuous in practice, from what I've heard), yes, I can just see the Pope taking a load off on someone's doorstep before lighting up a joint and calling for the deaths of capitalists. He'd totally be down with that if he was here; that's what the Church is all about.

Cond0010 said...

I think Bill sums up Wealth Creation quite well.

Wealth created out of thin air!

There was a time when people tried to be as self-sufficient as they possibly could.

Farming, Animal Husbandry, Canning, Hunting...

yes... people can live without 'money' - and just because you have no money doesn't mean you can't find things to do to survive.

I know a young lady who is doing just that - living up north off the grid with as little money as possible.

The only trouble is that it then requires _work_ on the individuals part to survive. Something an OWS liberal may not know anything about.

ge said...

GH & RS & Friends

ge said...


Open Trench said...

One idea would be to abolish private property and place government in control of the means of production.

Then everyone could work at what they liked and draw rations and so forth from a common fund.

This would eliminate class divisions and lead to a workers paradise of sorts.

Van said...

ot croaked "... abolish private property and place government in control ..."

Historically, govt's that have been given that control have filled their open trenches with heaps of corpses.

Fuck off ot.


John Lien said...

ot, Find me a historical example where the system you described has provided a better standard of living than the free market system and then we can talk about it.

Van is right. Such systems always end up with a lot of dead bodies.

Gagdad Bob said...

A perfect storm of chaos and disenslackment prevails this morning, so the open thread continues.

Van said...

... sounds like part of a nationwide weather pattern....

Van said...

wv would like me to extend a 'Yo!' to 'dose of you in California:

julie said...

Okay, I have to ask: I recognize most of the people you have quoted on your sidebar, but who the hell is William Harryman?

And damn it, how do you manage to make something disappear precisely at the moment I'm about to comment on it?

Open Trench said...

The day of the six verticals is coming soon. 11-11-11.

Here's another idea for social re-organization:

Wait until a large natural disaster hits, such as a megaquake.

Break out the stored food, medicine and munitions. Set your people up as lords of a piece of turf. Loot and pillage. Live large.

The Feds come in to restore "order." Deny any part of the uprising and point fingers at other people.

The other option is to help others and offer what you have to the less fortunate.

Oh wait; that option is available now.

How will you roll, Van? You gonna be a warlord or a wuss?

John Lien said...

I want to be a WARLORD! Can I? Please?

ot, you still haven't given me an example.

I'm giving you "down twinkles."

Van said...

ot squealed "How will you roll, Van?"

I'll just continue to go, with shovel in hand, to find the biggest, blackest holes, and ugly gashes in the ground... and fill them in, tamp 'em down, and make the landscape safe for kids to play on once again.

And should something really scary attempt to slither out? Well... shovels have other uses as well, just ask any snake.

John said "I'm giving you "down twinkles."


Open Trench said...


You may be a Warlord. Where is your turf? I claim the San Fernando valley.

As for the example: Van's private propert is abolished, but everyone else keeps theirs.

Except for the shovel. He's gonna need it.

julie said...

I can't help it, I find this hilarious.

John Lien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Lien said...

@julie. Agreed! That brought me great joy.

julie said...


Matthew Casey Smallwood said...

Van, what's your opinion of A. Rand?

BTW, I've read Novanglus, as well as the DiLorenzo-Jaffa debate, and I'll be getting back with you guys.

John Lien said...

A true story about entrepreneurs, governmental over-regulation, and a raccoon.

My friend, a fine, upstanding citizen of this county grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. His Daddy used to run a still in a nearby holler and my friend would help him with the family business.

In their town was a hardware store and in the display window of that store was a stuffed raccoon. Each morning as they went to work, my friend and his Daddy would drive past the store and check the display. If the raccoon was facing south it was OK to head to work. If the raccoon was facing north there were revenuers about and the prudent course of action was to turn around and head back home.

Gabe Ruth said...

OT, I'm not sure what you expected after bringing out cliched Marxisms, but since you were ganged up on for more benign offerings I think you deserve some slack. There is no shortage of places where you can learn why conservatives believe Marx was a crank, but on a blog that is heavily focused on the spiritual aspects of human experience, is that really necessary, considering his assumptions?

A link that goes back to some territory I wandered through a little while back:

What do you think? It seems to me that he's a little hard on the West, in that the truly wise do not really think their abstractions have "solved" divine mysteries. I found my way here from a commenter at Dr. Charlton's, but I'm not sure if he reads here. I'm not sure whether he would feel completely comfortable with Christian hermeticism.

Gabe Ruth said...

John, love that story. Let us pour out some of the good stuff for the old, weird America that is no more.

julie said...

Gabe, in re. the trench, "...since you were ganged up on for more benign offerings I think you deserve some slack."

Pity him if you must, but be advised he's been malingering here for years, under an array of monikers. He has the dishonor of being a large (though by no means the only) part of the reason anonymous commenting is disabled here, which is unfortunate because some of our best choose not to open a google account - and thus not to join the coonversation.

julie said...

Quote of the night:

"If there's one thing I wish everyone would understand, its this: you can't trust science like the word of God."

Van said...

Gabe, ot is only the most current nic for a troll that's been lurking around here for years, second only to... he who will not be named.

Van said...

Matthew "what's your opinion of A. Rand?"

Rand had some very good ideas, especially in her epistemology – I think her theory of concept formation is spot on. She admired Aristotle, but didn’t really understand him, and often misstated what he said (Her claim that he had a “Law of Identity – A is A” was one of my early clues that when it came to a grasp of history, the emperor… may have had clothes on, but they were at the very least see diaphanous).

Her basic metaphysics are good (if limited):
“Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.”
, she does believe that Truth is One, an unbreached and integrated Whole – whatever mistakes she makes, with that as a basis, they are correctable.

Her application of the ideas that follow from that, in politics and economics, are very good, in aesthetics, not bad.

Her ideas on how to operate and move about in life are on the whole, good – her ideas on how to live in your life, not so much. I’m dropping a lot of context here, but you can get the picture by looking at what she said the purpose of life was “Productive work”.

For someone with as good of an imagination as she had, she was awful at understanding poetics, and being the self-proclaimed champion of Reason, she considered Emotion to be nothing but an indicator of internal conditions… like oil, temp and fuel gauges on a dashboard, and in any other way, an opponent of Reason. She dismissed the possibility that they might have more of a role, or at the very least, indicate a wider range of possibilities than simple gauges and idiot lights.

Myth was beyond her grasp, poetry slipped through her fingers, and Religion could serve no more purpose in her mind than talking snake stories, told to evade reality or to control others.

On the other hand… I’ve read all her books, essays and articles, and as long you can remember to keep your head on your own shoulders, you can shrug off her errors and get a lot out of what she has to say.

"I've read Novanglus, as well as the DiLorenzo-Jaffa debate"

Novanglus is a goodie, don't overlook his history of republics (Novanglus is sometimes considered part of that, sometimes separate).

I've read DiLorenzo's articles, and picked up his Lincoln book, and will ugh my way through it. Jaffa I was bummed to find that our local B&N was out of, but have on my very next to buy list.

Open Trench said...

Gabe: Thanks for the kind comment, but Julie and Van are correct. I am a frequent-flyer troll.

I come here to be parented; RG, Julie and Van are a great comfort to me because they are authoratative, their convictions do not waver, and they verbally discipline me at times.

All of them are outstanding parents to their real children.

My strong desire to come here over-rides my conscience; I know I should stop but I'm sad and I need comfort.

Gagdad Bob said...

Feeling a little under the weather, so I won't be posting anything new until I feel superior to the weather. Carry on.

Van said...

Hope the weather improves soon... sorry I can only talk about it.

Like the new profile pic, Reepicheep might have been greatly improved as Reepicoon.

Magnus Itland said...

MOTT is indeed amazing, but I find it hard to resist the urge to blogviate at length over some small passage, in order to unpack the concentrated beam of Light to a level more fitting for my current praygrade.

julie said...

Why resist?

I see it as akin to receiving a compressed file; to grasp what's inside, you have to unzip it :)

Van said...

Julie said "to grasp what's inside, you have to unzip it :)"

Which could mean different things to different people, Bill Clinton for instance.

(Sorry, sometimes these things just pop u... er... come to... um... sheesh. It IS what it is)

Matthew Casey Smallwood said...

I'll detail more substance later, but my first reaction on getting into Novanglus was, why is Adams appealing to the charters when the colonies participated in the Glorious Revolution? And did he really believe his own rhetoric to the effect that Britain was treating them like Rome treated Carthage? Or was this merely prudential "politic"?

John Lien said...

Hey Magnus, throw out a MOTT topic for discussion if you like. If it is before Page 88 I may be able to join in on the conversation.

julie said...

Van - d'oh! I should have thought of that angle before mentioning zippers :)