HONOLULU, December 10, 2012 ― Just what will become of the fiscal cliff negotiations and what does the future have in store for America? D.M.J. Aurini, author of the post-apocalyptic thriller As I Walk These Broken Roads and popular Canadian YouTube commentator, has some chilling forecasts for what will come next and told me in an frank interview that America should have listened to Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.
Aurini, whose new novel portrays a future destroyed by war and ravaged by rampant social degeneracy, warns that fiction may soon become fact as America’s leadership continues to trend towards cultural Marxism and consumes more and more tax dollars on poorly conceived mandates. What follows is a transcript, with light edits.
Danny de Gracia: You recently put out a new video on your YouTube channel which was fairly technical in scope discussing how to govern in a depression. I take it that you haven’t bought into the official line that we’re “in a recovery” now?
D.M.J. Aurini: Absolutely not. Ron Paul and Gary Johnson nailed it: All you need to do is to look at the numbers, or listen to your gut.
With the numbers we’re looking at a shell game. The Consumer Price Index, for instance: it’s supposed to be a measure of how much an average bundle of consumer goods costs for the average person – essentially a yardstick for inflation, showing you how far your dollar will go. In recent years they’ve changed which goods they use to determine its value – they’ve swapped out goods for a cheaper equivalent good, in the effort to prove that inflation isn’t a problem right now.
But what do we see when we’re at the grocery store? Common sense and the alleged numbers don’t add up. The same thing goes for the unemployment figures; they don’t match up to people’s day-to-day experience. The government claims we only have moderate unemployment, meanwhile we have people so desperate for work that they’ll hand over their Facebook passwords and consent to drug testing.
This isn’t a recovery. It’s quantitative easing. Free money for the banks. At best we’re only kicking the can down the road. This spend-through-the-nose behavior is going to catch up with us.
DDG: Why didn’t the “expert” economists see this coming, prior to the 2008 banking crisis?
Aurini: Have you ever met a gambling addict who has a system they swear by?
Gambling’s never been particularly attractive to me for the simple fact that I understand how probability works. Let’s take slot machines: If you play a slot machine once in your life you have a – let’s say – 1/20,000 chance of winning $10,000. Those are stupidly bad odds, of course, but it only gets worse from there. Most people don’t just play once; they’ll pull the arm hundreds of times in their life. And the longer you play, the more normalized to the curve you become and the worse your odds become. Even if you do win that $10,000 eventually, it’s only after having spent $9,000 on tokens.
And yet gambling addicts swear they have a system.
Sometimes the system is a misunderstanding of mathematics, other times it’s a personification of luck, but regardless of what it is there are two mental errors which support their system: One, they assign meaning to an apparent pattern, which is truly a result of random chance; and two, they are more likely to remember evidence which supports their theory than evidence which discredits it. A few chance wins early on, and they’ll continue to butt their head up against the wall for years.
This is precisely how most ‘expert’ economists think. The only difference is that four years at the School of Voodoo Economics allows them to make their ideas sound more sophisticated than they actually are. In the end what most of them are doing is nothing but high level rationalization.
DDG: As a political scientist I’ve seen this pattern before, albeit in textbooks. Government has a fairly unimaginative, standard operating procedure toolbox for dealing with an economic crisis: Print more money, generate revenue by making more things illegal and collecting fines, price fixation, currency debasement, confiscation of resources and of course as a last resort, martial law.
Along the way there’s always the hyping up of foreign mystique and the demonization of various groups against each other to keep the public upset and agitated at anyone but the actual people wrecking the economy. We saw this in the Weimar and almost every other state that went off the deep end. Not to be pessimistic, but do you really believe that the politicians can get their act together and ride out this depression in a way that doesn’t make the situation worse? I can’t actually think of one country - aside from maybe Iceland - that actually handled an economic crisis well. What do you think?
Aurini: I stay optimistic because of one simple fact: Pessimists don’t make history. Nothing’s over until the fat lady sings, after all, even if she does seem to be clearing her throat.
That said, after outlining some basic, simple, and effective steps a leader could take to get his people out of a depression, I was struck by a wave of despair. There’s no way that anything this sensible will ever be put into practice.
For one thing, fifty years of the so-called Great Society has created an enormous civil service who have a vested interest in the government doing more, even if what they’re doing is bad for society as a whole. They vote en masse for the programs they want and the rest of us remain rationally ignorant as to what’s going on.
But even worse is what welfare has done to the voters. By progressively increasing the scope and breadth of the welfare state, we’ve created a citizenry who are mostly ignorant of being self-reliant. They don’t see wealth as something that you tend to and grow like a garden, they see it as a zero sum game, either given through a paycheck, or stolen by the government. These are the people looking for a messianic figure to lead them into the future instead of rolling up their sleeves and building their own future. They’re the ultimate suckers for anyone who promises them bread and circuses.
That’s the funny thing about democracy: people wind up getting the government they deserve.
DDG: I won’t name names, but someone “high level” and very respected in policymaking circles had super sharp words for me the other day when I suggested that government’s monetary intervention can trigger artificial overconsumption bubbles and strip the productivity right out of an economy. They basically called me insane, stupid, the works. Were they right and was this “expert rebuke” of me well deserved or am I on to something here?
Aurini: When you get right down to it, Keynesian Economics is nothing but a giant divide-by-zero error. Right from the get go, they turn reality upside down: They declare that demand is the thing in short supply which drives the economy when it’s blatantly obvious to anyone who’s ever worked a day in their life that production is the limiting factor on civilization.
Imagine you’re trapped on a desert island: Who would you want to share it with? A farmer, a carpenter and an engineer? Or do you want to share it with a lazy fat man who “stimulates” you into working hard enough to feed his tremendous appetite?
Economic depressions are what happen when you waste all your money on non-productive bridges to nowhere. On the desert island it would be like using all your seeds to feed the fat man, instead of saving them for the next growing season – it will drive you back into poverty. And yet the Keynesians argue that spending money on stuff we don’t needs is the ‘cure’ for our economic woes: “Consumerism is Patriotic!”
I’ll tell you what’s actually patriotic: becoming an entrepreneur, raising a family, growing a business – that’s how we get out of a depression.
Printing trillions of dollars and handing them over to the very bankers who blew things up in the first place? That’s how you make a depression worse.
DDG: Bad economies have a tendency to result in war. Do you think that we are looking at an As I Walk These Broken Roads prologue here?
Aurini: Somebody really needs to compose a jazz dirge titled “Black Swans and Keynesians and Shattering Dreams.” Trying to predict the future is already hit-or-miss to begin with, but when you have maniacs trying to legislate the nature of reality … well, just ask any business owner: nothing is certain these days.
Last time we spoke I was explaining how this path is unsustainable, how we can only eat up the wealth of previous generations for so long before it runs out, which is true, but also wrong. I think I may have found a black swan. In this case a rather large one, trapped in shale and eminently extractable. This civilization needs a depression the same way a 21 year old coke fiend needs an eviction notice – but instead we’re going to get a massive inheritance.
If the material I’m reading is trustworthy, North America is about to have the largest oil boom in world history. All of this debt, all of these mismanaged companies, all of this public sector inefficiency, all of it’s going to disappear under the uplift of the boom. Not because it was smart, or right, or good – merely because we can now pay for the party lifestyle with energy we didn’t earn.
Expect to see Bernanke hailed as an economic savior, expect an expansion of Obamacare, expect to see more military drones patrolling the United States and expect more of Obama’s police actions throughout the Third World.
America’s had two oil booms in its past. With the first one you started the welfare state and got involved in a brutal European war which had nothing to do with you. The second one allowed Roosevelt to run roughshod over the Constitution, and send even more young men out to die.
Meanwhile, as this is all happening, China’s going to be dealing with an imbalanced sex ratio; their one child policy has resulted in an excess of single males and we all know what the standard solution to that is.
On the plus side, you Americans will be supplying them with liquid natural gas, so they’ll probably settle for regional hegemony. But with nuclear weapons in the arsenals … in other words, yes: This is starting to look way too much like my novel.
DDG: Do you think this depression we’re in is the beginning of the end of Western civilization as we know it?
Aurini: The progressives would describe this as the evolution of civilization.
Every form of Marxism that’s existed – whether it be economic/class warfare, gender warfare, or cultural warfare – has always been explicit about its need for conflict and destruction during the implementation phases of Communism. Societal pillars like the family, the church, and ethnic/national identity are barriers to creating the New Soviet Man. Before you get to him, you must create the Atomized Man. The Dependent Man. The Degenerate Man.
Our culture of individualism makes it more difficult for families to come together and help one another during economic times, driving them into the arms of the state. The mandated provision of healthcare by your employer results in you becoming dependent upon that corporation. Combine this with the 24/7 surveillance society, and the tendency of people to celebrate the very tyrants who enslave them…
This isn’t evolution; it’s cancer.
DDG: There are some people who claim this economic crisis is a result of a failure of Congress to submit to and advance President Obama’s economic agenda. What do you have to say to people who claim that?
Aurini: Utterly laughable. While I don’t keep up on the day-to-day details of Congress, it really boils down to this: Obama managed to pass legislation which forces you to purchase health insurance from a private company.
Let me say that again – from a private company.
When the government forces you to buy something, it’s no longer a private company; it’s public/private collusion which treats the citizen/consumer like a serf. And they’re trying to say that this President is being restrained by Congress?
I’d tenderly suggest that people start paying attention to what’s going on, and studying history – not the sanitized version taught by the schools and Hollywood, but what actually happened. Public/private collusion like this is nothing new, and as for the times its been tried before … well, to talk about that would violate Godwin’s Law. I’ll leave that to your readers. I’m sure they’re astute enough to put it together on their own.
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