Musing during a presidential election year…

Disaster! Panic! Politics! Society! Government! Federal, State and Municipal Finances! Conservatives! Progressives! Libertarians! TeaParty! Occupiers! Obama-Biden! Romney-Ryan!   Truth-subverted!  Facts, obscured!

Its got to be a presidential election year!

Let’s start out with pointing some things out about some definitions:

  • Truth- Is always subjective, tied to the person assessing it and thus subject to that person’s knowledge and understanding of the facts , cultural background, personality, prior experiences, etc.
  • Lie- An untruth and subjective, what is clearly a ‘lie’ to one person may  equally clearly be‘ Truth’ to another.   There is no directionality to the words though it is often assumed, the one promulgating may know it is a lie and the person receiving could receive it as truth, or the opposite.
  • Fact- Is based on the physical world and physical record, is objective and concrete.
  • Fiction is as close as we come to the Lie equivalent to Fact.  But Truth vs Lie is not equivalent to Fact vs Fiction .  Fiction depends on lies (often willingly accepted) whereas Fact does not depend on Truth,  Truth depends on Fact .  Actually a lie can be tied to a fact as easily as truth the only way to distinguish is to analyse other facts about the first one more deeply
  • Accounting- Theoretically the objective, fact based ‘counting’ of sums and valuations.  It can be almost pure arithmetic but when the sums are in computers and the valuations are subjective and relativistic then it becomes something more about Truth than Fact.
  • Finance- Formulating, creating, ‘raising,’ distribution of and ‘payment or rental’ of the discretized units of valuation we call money.
  • Statistics- Numeric / mathematical analysis of distributions and relationships within and between groups of related measurements.

It’s obvious that the past was simpler, in the 19th century even up into the mid 20th century you had a certain number of tons of gold in various repositories around the world.  Finance and accounting were all about arithmetic tied back to those hillocks of gold stashed away under lock and key. We could count the number of ships in our fleets, measure the throw weight of their guns and the length of the coast or sea lane to be protected.  The number of Aristocrats, Plutocrats, Technocrats, Artisans, Storekeepers, Farmers, Workers, Farm Hands, etc and know they would reliably vote one way or another (if there was a vote at all.)   That world was chaotic in the eyes of those who lived in it, to us it looks like a pool of tranquility.

Today we have fiat money (its value is based on the credit of the person, corporation or government issuing it.)  And the money is not in the form of a fixed number of coins or even pieces of paper, its an approximate number based on accounting that is based upon assumptions and approximations of a hundred different variables.   While we know that the US has more firepower than the rest of the world combined we cannot really be sure that provides the level of assurance and protection we need, or if its vastly too much.  The population is far more diverse in what they do and how they perceive themselves in relationship to others now and the fragmentation makes it almost impossible to create a coherent platform for change.

Everything has become political (in the worst sense) because there is no agreed upon foundation of facts and truths.  The only time things get done effectively is when the (till the moment before, unseen) rocks of fact tear the guts out of the ship of state (the municipality goes bankrupt, etc.) So the guys who want to be in charge are always trying to predict the next disaster either to flog their favorite solution or to steer the ship away to keep it going for a few more weeks, months or years.  While most ‘politicians’ are men and women of good faith in their own minds, they also WANT to hear Truth from their own side and Lies from the opposition, and consequently do so.  Most are not able to unravel Facts from Fiction, Truth or Lies because of the complexity, (until the rocks start smashing in the planking.)

So…Panic! Disaster! Despair! Outrage! Fraud! Corruption! Cowardice! On and on, and on…..

So at the end of the day what?  View the recent past in light of what history has to say and pick your poison.  I see that regulation while important cannot run amuck and it is running amuck.  I see that no state can run a deficit forever, and we need to have a long term plan.  I see that there is only so much the state can take out of the pockets of the people and corporations without doing harm (or having to provide a substitute service of some kind) and we are at a decision point, and I do not want a government substitute.  I think that government can only get so large before it distorts the society and market network, and government is definitely at that point and must be reigned in before we become utterly dependent on it.  No government lasts forever, and when it collapses it pulls the society down with it, the US was designed so that ‘the government’ is always in a state of creative destruction, and we – society at large, are able to keep on going.  There are forces (I think emergent from historical and social movement rather than Dr. Big Brain)  at work in the US economy and political class to make the government – more and more rigid, this has to be stopped, and that means less government, less regulation, lighter taxes, and probably more personal risks, and I am ready to accept that trade-off, as are I think most citizens…

And that leads to one last definition:  A citizen is not a legal title in my usage, its an attitude/philosophy.  If you care about the future of the country and want what is best for ‘the country’ and other citizens, understanding that there is no free lunch, no equal outcomes or natural fairness in this world, you are probably a citizen of the US, not just someone who happened to be born lucky.

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