Category Archives: History

Doug Casey on the Dangerous Trend of “Psychiatric Repression”

Beware those who claim to be masters of the mind. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

Psychiatry and government

International Man: The Soviet Union used the diagnosis of mental illness as a tool to silence political dissenters. It was a practice known as “psychiatric repression.”

Dissidents who spoke out against the government were often declared insane and forcibly institutionalized in psychiatric hospitals, where the government subjected them to inhumane treatment and abuses.

The diagnoses were often based on political rather than medical criteria and were used as a means of punishment and control.

What is your take on this practice?

Doug Casey: Well, before we get into what happened in the Soviet Union, and what seems to now be happening in the US, we really have to address the validity of psychiatry as a science to start with, and mental illness as being a real illness.

Dr. Thomas Szasz, who died some years ago, made the case that mental illness is not a medical concept and does not have a biological basis. He believed that what people commonly refer to as “mental illness” is actually a label used to describe deviant behavior, emotions, and thoughts that do not conform to social norms. He argued that mental illnesses are not diseases in the traditional sense, as they cannot be objectively measured or diagnosed like physical conditions such as cancer or arteriosclerosis. He wrote numerous books debunking psychiatry; I highly recommend them.

My own view is that people have always had psychological problems, worries, and aberrations. These things were once dealt with by talking to friends, counselors, or religious figures. Since the time of Sigmund Freud, however, “treating” mental conditions has been turned into the business of psychiatry.

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Let’s talk about nuclear war, by Ruben Bauer Naveira

Is the world sliding inexorably towards nuclear war? From Ruben Bauer Naveira at thesaker.is:

The United States and Russia – the two greatest nuclear powers on the planet – have embarked on a wide-ranging “indirect war”. All that now remains is for them to engage in direct warfare, which will end up happening sooner or later. If later, it will be exactly because both powers are aware that any direct war between them will inevitably escalate into nuclear war, with a good chance of devastating them both.

How we reached this point will not be examined in depth here. Very briefly, both parties regard this as a struggle for existence – Russia, in order to continue to exist as a nation (in Putin’s words, “there is no compromise, a country is either sovereign or a colony”), and the United States, to continue to exist as the nation with hegemony over the rest (the US economy has become so reliant on that hegemony that its end would entail the country’s collapse).

Accordingly, both are willing to take the conflict to its ultimate consequences in order to prevail, and thus nuclear war becomes more inevitable with every passing day.

Among those responsible for a nuclear war that will be the downfall of all Humankind, there can be no “good guy”. However, when one side is fighting to subsist with autonomy, while the other is fighting in order to dominate the rest, it is not difficult to discern which is most the “bad guy”. Also, if it is still possible, after the hecatomb, to bring the culprits to some kind of justice, it will make all the difference to distinguish who “pressed the button” first (that is, who deliberately chose for millions of people to die) from whoever operated their buttons in retaliation to the incoming attack.

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Russia’s Strategic Aims – In Consequence to a Collapsing U.S. Empire, by Alastair Crooke

Does Russia strategic objectives grow more ambitions as it captures more territory in the Ukraine? From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Weak leadership has lifted the lid on the European Pandora’s box, Alastair Crooke writes.

Things are getting psychotic. As you listen to EU leaders, all parroting identical ‘good news’ speaking points, they nonetheless radiate basal disquietude – presumably a reflection of the psychic stress from, on the one hand, repeating ‘Ukraine is winning: Russia’s defeat is coming’, when, on the other, they know the exact opposite to be true: That ‘no way’ can Europe defeat a large Russian army on the landmass of Eurasia.

Even the colossus of Washington confines the use of American military power to conflicts that Americans could afford to lose – wars lost to weak opponents that no one could gainsay whether the outcome was no loss, but somehow ‘victory’.

Yet, war with Russia (whether financial or military) is substantially different from fighting small poorly equipped and dispersed insurgent movements, or collapsing the economies of fragile states, such as Lebanon.

Initial U.S. braggadocio has imploded. Russia neither collapsed internally to Washington’s financial assault, nor fell into chaotic regime change as predicted by western officials. Washington underestimated Russia’s societal cohesion, its latent military potential, and its relative immunity to Western economic sanctions.

The question worrying the West is what the Russians now will do next: Continue to attrit the Ukrainian army, whilst simultaneously de-stocking NATO’s weapons inventory? Or roll out the gathering Russian offensive forces across Ukraine?

The point, simply put, is that the very ambiguity between the threat of the offensive and implementation is part of the Russian strategy to keep the West off-balance and second-guessing. These are the psychological warfare tactics for which General Gerasimov is renown. Will it come; from whence, and where will it go? We do not know.

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The Political Became Very Personal, by Michael Senger

Yeah, when they close your business, take your job, lock you down, make you wear masks and take a jab, it does get personal. From Michael Senger at brownstone.org:

political became personal

The scars that have been left on all of us by the response to COVID are incomprehensibly varied and deep. For most, there hasn’t been enough time to mentally process the significance of the initial lockdowns, let alone the years-long slog of mandates, terror, propaganda, social stigmatization and censorship that followed. And this psychological trauma affects us in myriad ways that leave us wondering what it is about life that just feels so off versus how it felt in 2019.

For those who were following the real data, the statistics were always horrifying. Trillions of dollars rapidly transferred from the world’s poorest to the richest. Hundreds of millions hungry. Countless years of educational attainment lost. An entire generation of children and adolescents robbed of some of their brightest years. A mental health crisis affecting more than a quarter of the population. Drug overdoses. Hospital abuse. Elder abuse. Domestic abuse. Millions of excess deaths among young people which couldn’t be attributed to the virus.

But underneath these statistics lie billions of individual human stories, each unique in its details and perspectives. These individual stories and anecdotes are only just beginning to surface, and I believe that hearing them is a vital step in processing everything that we’ve experienced over the past three years.

I recently sent out a query on Twitter as to how people had been affected by the response to COVID at an individual level. The conversation that emerged is a luminating and haunting reflection of what each of us experienced over the past three years. Below is a tiny selection of the responses that I found especially powerful.

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Human Sacrifice, Then and Now, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

When it comes to human sacrifice, we can say to those ancient civilizations that practiced it: Hold my beer! From Jeffrey A. Tucker at brownstone.org:

I’ve spent the last three days in awe of the temples of Teotihuacan, Mexico, which are beyond description in size and scale, challenging even the pyramids of Egypt for inclusion in wonders of the world. They are all the more impressive because we can observe their geographic context as part of a large and once-thriving community, including the ruins of roads and housing complexes.

The age of the temples date from the 1st century and before, even long before, and the town itself was a massive cultural and commercial center until about the 8th century, when the population migrated elsewhere.

We like to find connections between our lives and theirs and we find it in the everyday ways of the people, who, like us, had families to feed, water to find and keep, and life struggles to overcome with the assistance of trading relationships, folkways, tools, community leaders, and traditions. It’s all very beautiful and remarkable, and also rather elusive at some level simply because the written history of these people and this period are sparse.

Of course, one terrible reality hangs over the entire apparatus: human sacrifice. That was the purpose of the temples, the very ones we admire and adore. It’s a truth we know and yet don’t like to think about it much and are not encouraged to do so. We would rather look at these pyramids as mighty achievements of a developed pre-modern civilization, which they are in many ways.

The grim horror of these religious rituals are impossible to deny as historical facts. It was 500 years ago. It’s long over. Surely today we can rescue the beautiful parts of a faith and history without obsessing constantly on the bad with unrelenting severity.

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Will U.S. ‘Interests’ Become Sacrificed on Altar of New Indo-Pacific Strategy? By Matthew Ehret

Will the U.S. do any better with its Indo-Pacific strategy than its done with its Eurasian strategy? The question almost answers itself. From Matthew Ehret at strategic-culture.org:

The Anglo-American foreign policy hawks imagine that the world is yearning to be liberated from Beijing’s nefarious agenda to end poverty

As the trans-Atlantic world is pulled into the vortex of a McCarthyite nightmare with a renewed wave of anti-Russian and now anti-China hysterics, a wave of new “Asia Pacific” doctrines have emerged across captured states… I mean “member” states throughout NATO.

Starting with the February 2022 American ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’, similar anti-China programs have popped up left and right with one principled target in mind: eliminate the threat of China through every tool available.

By early June 2022, the UK announced its own branding of the Asia Pivot remixed into the oddly named ‘Indo-Pacific Tilt’ which focuses less on the liberal eco-friendly language of the EU and devotes itself entirely to vastly increasing its military presence in China’s backyard.

After NATO’s June 2022 Madrid Summit officially designated China as ‘a systemic rival’, Canada’s foreign ministry announced its own Indo-Pacific Strategy in November 2022 followed by an absurd 26 page program published in January 10, 2023 outlining the details of Canada’s new role in the Pacific (which will be the subject of a subsequent report).

On January 25, 2023 NATO’s ironically named ‘Science for Peace and Security Program’ launched a new ‘cooperative initiative on the Indo-Pacific, followed by a January 30, 2023 Atlantic Council Indo-Pacific Security Initiative focused on dealing with “China’s growing threat to the international order”. The same day the Atlantic Council unveiled this new doctrine, an American intelligence spook named Markus Garlauskas was named the program’s new director.

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Seven Points on Investing in Treacherous Waters, by Charles Hugh Smith

There are very few good investors. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

What’s truly valuable has no price and cannot be bought.

If all investments are being cast into Treacherous Waters, our investment strategy must adapt accordingly. Once we set aside denial and magical thinking as strategies and accept that we’re in treacherous waters, a prudent starting point is to discern the most consequential contexts of all decisions about where and how we invest our time, energy and capital.

The most consequential global context is to first and foremost “invest in yourself”: invest in forms of capital that cannot lose value (for example, integrity, skills and experience) and assets that are not dependent on fluctuations in valuations for their utility. This is the essence of Self-Reliance.

For example, tools retain their utility regardless of their current market value, and so does a house as shelter and yard to grow food. Whether the value drops to $1,000 or soars to $1 million, the property provides the same utility of shelter and sustenance.

In other words, the mindset of speculation–buy low and sell high to accumulate as much money as possible–is not the only context to consider.

A second global context is that speculative winners–assets that rise sharply in value–will increasingly be targets for “windfall” and/or wealth taxes, as well as capital controls, such as limits on selling. If you log a 500% gain, then paying a wealth tax is a small price to pay for such a handsome gain. But such enormous gains will very likely be far more scarce going forward as speculative bets become net drains on capital and speculators exit because their gambling chips are gone or they realize they better conserve what capital is still left.

Meanwhile, back on the Government Ranch, the crying need for more tax revenues will become increasingly dire. As speculative bubbles pop, capital gains will dry up and blow away, and this rich source of tax revenues will have to be replaced with higher taxes and junk fees on whatever income and assets are available for “revenue enhancement,” ahem.

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A tale of two worlds, by Alasdair Macleod

One world is based on debt and fiat currencies, the other world is moving towards production and gold. Which shall prevail? From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

In the war between the western alliance and the Asian axis, the media focus is on the Ukrainian battlefield. The real war is in currencies, with Russia capable of destroying the dollar.

So far, Putin’s actions have been relatively passive. But already, both Russia and China have accumulated enough gold to implement gold standards. It is now overwhelmingly in their interests to do so.

From Sergey Glazyev’s recent article in a Russian business newspaper, it is clear that settlement of trade balances between members, dialog partners, and associate members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) optionally will be in gold. Furthermore, the Russian economy would benefit enormously from a decline in borrowing rates from current levels of over 13% to a level more consistent with sound money.

To understand the consequences, in this article the comparison is made between the western alliance’s fiat currency and deficit spending regime and the Russian-Chinese axis’s planned industrial revolution for some 3.8 billion people in the SCO family. China has a remarkable savings rate, which will underscore the investment capital for a rapid increase in Asian industrialisation, without inflationary consequences.

With a new round of military action in Ukraine shortly to kick off, it will be in Putin’s interest to move from passivity to financial aggression. It will not take much for him to undermine the entire western fiat currency system — a danger barely recognised by a gung-ho NATO military complex.

Introduction

In the geopolitical tussle between the old and new hegemons, we see the best of strategies and the worst of strategies, where belief is pitted against credulity. It is the season of light and the season of darkness, the spring of hope and the winter of despair…

Recalling some of Charles Dickens’ famous opening lines from his Tale of Two Cities to describe the current state of global politics sums up the potential of a new industrial revolution throughout Asia and much of the rest of the under-developed world (the best of times), compared with the western alliance abetted by its military arm, NATO, which is determined to suppress the plans for the new hegemons at its own peoples’ expense (the worst of times). Ironically, the nations which will benefit most from the western alliance’s proxy war are those which align themselves with its enemies. 

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The End of Monetary Hedonism, by Jeff Deist

One day Wall Street and Washington will discover—as countless regimes have discovered—that nothing real comes from fake money. From Jeff Deist at mises.org:

Does cheap money and credit make us richer? Does more money and credit create more stuff, or better stuff? Do they make us happier and more productive? Or do these twin forces actually distort the economy, misallocate resources, and degrade us as people?

These are fundamental questions in an age of monetary hedonism. It is time we began to ask and answer them. Millions of people across the West increasingly recognize the limits of monetary policy, understanding that more money and credit in society do not magically create more goods and services. Production precedes consumption. Capital accumulation is made possible only through profit, which is generated by higher productivity, thanks to earlier capital investment. At the heart of all of it is hard work and human ingenuity. We don’t get rich by legislative edict.

How we lost sight of these simple truths is complex. But we can begin to understand it by listening to someone smarter! The great financial writer James Grant probably knows more about interest rates than anyone on the planet. So we should pay attention when he suggests America’s four-decade experiment in rates that only go down, down, and down appears to be over.

The striking thing about the bond market and interest rates is that they tend to rise and fall in generation-length intervals. No other financial security that I know of exhibits that same characteristic. But interest rates have done that going back to the Civil War period, when they fell persistently from 1865 to 1900. They then rose from 1900 to 1920, fell from 1920 or so to 1946, and then rose from 1946 to 1981—and did they ever rise in the last five or 10 years of that 35-year period. Then they fell again from 1981 to 2019–20.

So each of these cycles was very long-lived. This current one has been, let’s say, 40 years. That’s one-and-a-half successful Wall Street careers. You could be working in this business for a long time and never have seen a bear market in bonds. And I think that that muscle memory has deadened the perception of financial forces that would conspire to lead to higher rates.

—James Grant, speaking to the Octavian Report

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Decline of Empire: Parallels Between the U.S. and Rome, Part V, by Doug Casey

Doug Casey makes the case that history is repeating itself. From Casey at internationalman.com:

rome

Despite all our similarities with Rome, and even equipped with our understanding of why Rome collapsed, we can’t avoid Rome’s fate just by trying to avoid Rome’s mistakes. Yes, we have an analogue of early Christianity chewing away at our civilization’s foundations. And yes, we have a virtual barbarian invasion to contend with. But there’s another factor, I think, that worked against the Romans and is working against us… one Gibbon didn’t consider.

We can’t evade the second law of thermodynamics, which holds that entropy conquers everything and that over time all systems degrade and wind down. And that the more complex a system becomes, the more energy it takes to maintain it. The larger and more complex, interconnected, and interdependent it becomes, the more prone it is to breakdown and catastrophic failure. That includes countries and civilizations.

The Romans reached their physical limits within the confines of their scientific, engineering, economic, and other areas of knowledge. And the moral values of their civilization, their founding philosophies, were washed away by a new religion. We may reach our technological limits. And our founding values are certainly being washed away.

Our scientific knowledge is still compounding rapidly—because more scientists and engineers are alive today than have lived in the previous history of mankind put together. That statement has been true for at least the last 200 years—and it’s been a gigantic advantage we’ve had over the Romans. But it may stop being true in the next few generations as the population levels off and then declines, as is happening in Japan, Europe, China, and most of the developed world. It’s compounded by the fact that U.S. universities aren’t graduating Ph.D.s in engineering, mathematics, and physics so much as in gender studies, sociology, English, and J.D.s in law. As it degrades, the U.S. will not only draw in fewer enterprising foreigners, it will export its more competent natives.

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