I’m not the only one who thinks you and your kids need to be prepared for a future that will be harsh and brutally-competitive. Here’s a documentary worth watching: Obsolete, on Amazon Video http://amzn.to/2kFn0qL If you have Amazon Prime, which is how I stumbled onto it, you can probably watch it for free. As of…
The news is full of scary stories and dire warnings. Some scientists claim that carbon dioxide emissions will turn the earth into a Venus-like inferno. There is evidence of comets and asteroids hitting the earth in the past, and every once in a while you read about another one getting really close. News articles warn that sooner or later a super-volcano like Yellowstone or Campi Flegrei will erupt, or a massive earthquake will hit one or more of the big urban centers on the west coast of the United States.
How are you supposed to respond to a warning about a problem that will happen some time in the indefinite future, described in very general terms?
The answer is that you don’t do anything about problems you can’t do anything about, and you do what you can to mitigate risks that you can do something about. You have some emergency supplies, you strap book-cases and other heavy furnishings with a high center of gravity to the wall, and then you go about life again.
There are some problems that we know approximately when they will strike, but nobody does anything about them, because they’re in the future, and a little too abstract for most people to be able to run an accurate simulation of what s likely to happen.
I wrote this article as a chapter in a book about a problem I anticipated decades ago, because I was part of the bleeding edge of the trend. Unfortunately at the time, I failed to come up with a good counterstrategy, because I was distracted by more immediate needs. Since then, the problem has transformed from a hypothetical risk to a clear and present danger, so lately I’ve been giving it more of my attention and problem-solving skill.
The mainstream media has been covering up some of the evidence, like rising real unemployment rates. Instead they report the official BLS unemployment statistics, which stop counting unemployed people as “unemployed” once they’ve been unemployed long enough, based on the rationale that they’ve “left the workforce”.
Presumably some of those people want to work; the most common problem is probably that they don’t have marketable skill sets, and don’t know where to get them or can’t afford the training. If someone wants to work, and can’t find a job, that’s a problem worth knowing about. Even worse is that the number of people who can’t find jobs is accumulating and has been for a long time. You can see it in the “Labor Force Participation Rate”, which is more-or-less the inverse of the unemployment rate, or in other words, the employment rate is trending DOWN:
Headlines from news specifically covering economic trends and forecasting shows that the rising unemployment rate is concentrated among young adults. They’re either not finding jobs at all, or are relatively under-employed compared to their potential. They’re not getting experience that will help them get or stay employed.
7 Out Of 10 Millennials Are “Disengaged” From Meaningful Employment
posted by “Tyler Durden”, Aug 31, 2016 6:35 PM, at Zero Hedge
Millennial College Graduates: Young, Educated, Jobless
“This spring, an estimated 2.8 million university graduates will enter the U.S. workforce with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees just as America’s unemployment rate hits its lowest level in nearly seven years. Cause for celebration, right? Not so fast.
The millennial generation is still lagging in the workplace, just as it did last year. It makes up about 40 percent of the unemployed in the U.S., says Anthony Carnevale, a director and research professor for Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.”
By Leah McGrath Goodman On 5/27/15 at 6:22 AM
“Now hiring class of 2016.”
Sign in front of a strip club in Harrison, Michigan
Americans have a tendency to maintain an optimistic sense of what is “normal”. If things go wrong, they expect things to eventually “get back to normal”. This is analogous to the situation of people sitting around the tables at a nightclub, sipping their drinks, while the room is filling up with smoke, because they have unreasonable expectations that their experiences should always be “normal”. This is a failure to notice or adapt to change. That’s how species end up going extinct.
To put this into perspective, unemployment is not the employer’s problem. No employer has a self-interested motive in hiring people because they need jobs; employers only hire when they can make enough additional profit from someone else’s labor to offset the cost. In fact, any relatively compassionate employer would go bankrupt trying to compete without making an effort to trim labor costs as much as the competition.
So employers are always trying to CUT labor costs, or in other words, they’re always looking for ways to REDUCE their hiring, even if they’re hiring at the moment.
Potential employers currrently have at least two alternatives to hiring you:
Labor costs tend to be cheaper in countries whose national currency is not a major global trading currency. The reasons are complicated to explain, so I’ll skip them, but you can empirically derive that it’s true just by noticing the differences in pay-scales between India and the USA. The bottom line is that your employer wants to fire you and replace you with someone in India, China, or wherever else they can find a cheaper replacement for you.
Another option your employer has is to fire you and hire a machine in your place. Computing systems and robotics are replacing humans for many tasks. The conventional wisdom is that “new technology creates more jobs in the long run”. There might be some truth to that, but I wouldn’t count on it being an invariate law of economics. The only thing that’s consistent is change! The problem at the moment is that technology is accumulating faster than people can be retrained for new jobs. They can’t even predict where the new jobs will be or how long they will last accurately enough to avoid jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
The government is even less of a friend than a private employer. The government’s goal is to maximize tax receipts. Some people assume that if more people have jobs, then the government’s take of taxes is greater, because more people would be paying income tax.
It’s true that most of the US federal government’s income comes from taxes related to wages, but in most comparable economies, income tax is a smaller percentage of total tax revenues. The US federal government could easily shift the tax burden.
According to the Tax Foundation, about 45% of adult Americans don’t pay income tax per se (but many of those do pay social security tax and medicare tax). And, because of progressive tax rates, high wage earners end up paying a disproportionate share of income tax–over half.
As a result, the federal government’s tax haul from low wage-earners is relatively negligible. Profits retained by keeping headcount low, particularly for low-wage earners, can generate more corporate tax receipts. The federal government therefor has no incentive to protect lower-paying jobs; instead, it has a perverse incentive to encourage more automation and offshoring.
In fact, it’s quite likely that the US government is INTENTIONALLY pursuing policies that increase unemployment, because they have incentives to do so:
- Profits retained by companies are likely to end up as taxable corporate income.
- The standard of living of unemployed people goes DOWN, thereby reducing the rate of resource depletion.
- Dependent people have an incentive to obey their governments
Now to put the problem into a historical perspective: until the Industrial Revolution, most people in Europe worked for members of the nobility as peasants or servants, or for the church, or were skilled laborers who worked for themselves. More to the point, nobody worked for private corporations until such things existed.
There was a time before the concept of private corporate employment. Given pace at which the economy is changing, it’s reasonable to conjecture that private corporate employment will dwindle down to a relatively minor source of employment opportunities.
We may very well be on the cusp of a post-employment economy.
I’m not the only one who thinks so.
The End of Employees
By Lauren Weber, Wall Street Jounal
…Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people. The outsourcing wave that moved apparel-making jobs to China and call-center operations to India is now just as likely to happen inside companies across the U.S. and in almost every industry.
Bill Gates: Yes, robots really are about to take your jobs
Brad Reed @bwreedbgr posted March 14th, 2014 at 2:04 PM on BGR tech and entertainment news
Elon Musk: Robots will take your jobs, government will have to pay your wage
Catherine Clifford posted Friday, 4 Nov 2016 | 2:19 PM ET on CNBC
I wouldn’t count on collecting. And it’s not really “wages” if you’re not working. That’s a euphemism for a government welfare program.
Robot Economy Could Cause Up To 75 Percent Unemployment
Max Nisen posted Jan. 28, 2013, 10:42 AM, Business Insider
We are entering a new phase in history – one characterized by the steady and inevitable decline of jobs. Just as the steam engine replaced slave labor in the 19th century, the new intelligent technologies of the IT, biotech, and nanotechnology revolutions are fast replacing mass wage labor in the 21st century. Worldwide unemployment is now at the highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The number of people underemployed or without work is rising sharply as millions of new entrants into the workforce find themselves marginalized by an extraordinary high-technology revolution. Sophisticated computers, robotics, telecommunications, and other cutting-edge technologies are fast replacing human beings in virtually every sector and industry. In the past seven years alone, 14% of all the manufacturing jobs in the world have disappeared, as more and more human labor has been replaced with intelligent, automated technology. Similar technology displacement is occurring in the white collar and service industries.
Many jobs are never coming back. Blue collar workers, secretaries, receptionists, clerical workers, sales clerks, bank tellers, telephone operators, librarians, wholesalers, and middle managers are just a few of the many occupations destined for virtual extinction. While some new jobs are being created, they are, for the most part, either highly conceptual, knowledge-based and boutique, or low paying, and generally temporary in duration. The world is fast polarizing into two potentially irreconcilable forces: on one side, an information elite that controls and manages the high-tech global economy; and on the other, the growing numbers of underemployed or permanently displaced workers, who have few prospects and little hope for meaningful employment in an increasingly automated world.
Jeremy Rifkin, author of The End of Work
Notice Mr. Rifkin’s comment about “boutique” jobs. My guess is that he means they are in specialized niches. That means there won’t be many of them, and they won’t last long. Notice what he didn’t say. He’s not trying to reassure you that all your kids need is to go to college, and they’ll be able to live the “American dream”. That advice was never good, and now it’s obsolete.
Regardless of whether robots, offshoring, and onshoring make it hard for your kids to find jobs after they grow up, the global economy is changing faster than most people will be able to adapt to it.
For one thing, it’s shrinking. We’re running out of natural resources. And, on top of that, as of this writing, the financial system that allocated resources is broken beyond repair. Even if your job weren’t offshored, onshored, or automated, it might cease to exist anyway when your employer goes bankrupt. If the “pie” is shrinking, then most people’s share decreases, and some people don’t get a piece at all.
One way or another, the future is going to be harsh and brutally-competitive.
The problems are all related. One reason for rushing to automate more and more jobs out of existence is to reduce the number of people needed to keep the economy running. My guess is that your descendants are less likely to be targeted for culling if they continue to be indispensable despite the possibly intentional effort to render them superfluous.
Subscribe to get access to premium content with tips and ideas for thriving in a brutally-competitive environment. It’s inexpensive and worth the price, but if you’re not ready to commit just yet, then you owe it to yourself to at least sign up for our FREE newsletter and receive a bonus report.
There’s been a lot of bad news for men about plunging testosterone levels. That’s the hormone that makes them manly, and gives them a healthy appetite for sexual activity.
Men’s testosterone levels declined in last 20 years
JANUARY 19, 2007 / 3:32 AM
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A new study has found a “substantial” drop in U.S. men’s testosterone levels since the 1980s, but the reasons for the decline remain unclear.
Modern life rough on men
August 18th, 2011 07:30 AM ET
(CNN Health) Didn’t men use to be more masculine? …studies show that testosterone levels in men have been on the decline for decades.
Today’s men are not nearly as strong as their dads were, researchers say
By Christopher Ingraham August 15, 2016
Why don’t Japanese men like having sex?
By Gareth May11:41AM GMT 22 Jan 2015
The Japan Family Planning Association interviewed 3,000 subjects about their sex lives (both men and women). The study revealed that nearly 50 per cent of those quizzed didn’t have sex in the month previous to the interview. 48.3 per cent of men had not had sex for a month (an increase in 5 per cent from 2012).
Most startling of all, however, was that 20 per cent of men aged between 25 and 29 – the period of a man’s life usually dedicated to the spreading of wild oats – expressed little interest in sex at all.
There is also the probably related problem of plunging male fertility. The same organs that produce most of a man’s testosterone also produce sperm.
Male Fertility Countdown
Dec 8th 2012
Yet another study suggests sperm numbers are falling in rich countries
The problem is so bad that that it may very well contribute to the demise of entire countries where birth-rates are already well below replacement level. It’s also causing pathological imbalances between the ying and yang of several cultures.
The problem has actually been going on for a long time, but it’s been getting worse at an accelerating pace in recent generations. My geeky personality is not one to let a problem go unsolved if I can help it, not if it might impact me, my sons, or anyone else I care about. So I decided to collect information, follow leads, and come up with a list of lifestyle changes to reduce exposure to the most common known and suspected endocrine disruptors.
Then I wrote up what I discovered into a report. Enter your name and email address, and an answer for the bot trap, and you’ll receive the report and a subscription to our newsletter. Don’t worry, there’s no catch, and no spam involved; the newsletter is just an occasional summary of recent articles from my online magazine. That way, you don’t have to keep visiting to find interesting articles to read; they’ll come to you by mail. If you decide it’s not for you, you can just unsubscribe.
- Discover how something you probably do every day might be damaging your man-parts (no, not that…).
- Learn about the class of endocrine disruptors known as phthalates, and what the biggest source of ingesting them is.
- Find out what to do about the endocrine disruptors in your food and possibly your drinking water.
Disclaimer: this report is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice. This report is about lifestyle changes designed to reduce environmental hormone disruption and promote natural hormone production. It’s not about diagnosing or treating any medical condition. Consult with a physician before starting a diet or exercise program.
Your free report should show up within an hour of submitting the form, as an attachment to an email.
Michael Snyder states the obvious for the benefit of people still in denial:
This was inevitable for many reasons. For one thing, the United States already has its productive infrastructure built-up. The powers-that-shouldn’t-be set their livestock loose on the continent and left them relatively alone (except when drafted for seizing land or resources in wars) to build up the infrastructure. Now that it’s built, they want to switch to a combination of Socialism and Fascism (also known as “corporate Socialism”) because that gives them more direct control over people and other resources.
So, the public and private school systems (including college and university) have been set up to indoctrinate for socialism for decades now. Propaganda disguised as commercial entertainment helps too.
Instead of the government directly managing the means of production itself, the government sets up partnerships with cronies in private corporations, which is Fascism, except that unlike classic Fascism, Sociofascism is hostile to small business and private property for the serfs, and it openly embraces big government. The cronies in private corporations affect a superficial “progressive identity”.
Oddly, the powers-that-shouldn’t-be regularly knock over socialist regimes overseas, like in Venezuela. I don’t have any insider insights, but my guess is that there is a rule that Socialism is for developed economies only; in countries with less infrastructure, they want more productivity first. Another issue might simply be that socialist economies are more vulnerable to trade embargoes; Iran, Syria, and Russia have withstood trade sanctions but Venezuela was an easy target. One factor is undoubtedly fear of seizure and nationalization of assets owned by US government cronies. If and when countries like Venezuela are absorbed into a super-state comparable to the EU, things might change, and if they do, the Venezuelans won’t have any choice!
I have no idea how to stop the tide; at this point my options appear to be to swim or drown. I don’t like the idea of throwing in the towel and joining the forces of evil, though the very wealthy, and in particular a lot of software company executives, have done exactly that. Aside from being the path of least resistance, which is how ruthless people end up on top, socialism helps to protect them from up-and-coming competitors.
Even if I were tempted, I don’t profile correctly to get past the gatekeepers. And the parasites have reached the point of saturation anyway.
In the mean time, you and I have a living to make. That will get harder and harder as the economy contracts, and more and more of the remaining jobs are with companies and government agencies that have hiring preferences for someone else.
Here’s what my plan is counting on: Socialism is Socialism, even when it comes packaged as progressive Fascism. It’s inefficient, and fails to adapt to change. Even to the extent that Socialism is imposed on the rest of us in the form of higher taxes and more regulation, the socialists have to tolerate at least a small sector of private businesses to take care of details they can’t. Even the Soviet Union winked at some black market activities. I don’t think it will be necessary to go black market except for a few services like medical—imagine going to see some guy who isn’t a doctor but knows how to set a broken arm, because you don’t rank high enough in the socialized medicine system to get to see a doctor within any kind of reasonable time-frame. Mostly it will be grey-market and tolerated as long as you don’t give someone in the system reason to come after you. Watch your back! Tolerances will be low and gatekeepers on the internet are already watching your every move.
Watch for my mailing list subscription, which is about ready for roll-out, then sign up for my newsletter so you can follow the discussion.
When the media want to express a potentially controversial opinion, they turn it into a question:
What the headline editor actually means is
Having a loving family is an unfair advantage.
This is an opinion piece published by ABC in Australia. Australia, like the rest of the Anglosphere, is culturally messed-up. It’s basically about how families should be abolished because they create “unfair” advantages for children growing up in nurturing families, as if it were the fault of good parents that some other parents can’t or don’t provide as many advantages to their own children.
For the record, abolition of the family has been tried several times. The Communists (you know, the biggest all-time mass murderers on the planet, in all of history) intentionally broke up at least some families in several countries, and the Zionists tried it on themselves on their Kibbutzim (agrarian or semi-agrarian collectives in Israel). Kibbutzim still exist, though collective child-rearing was apparently mostly phased out by the late 1980s. It is extremely taboo to criticize Kibbutzim in Israel, but apparently some people who grew up in one didn’t appreciate the “favor” and would rather have had a nice, normal family.
Back to the editorial:
Some still think the traditional family has a lot to answer for, but some plausible arguments remain in favour of it. Joe Gelonesi meets a philosopher with a rescue plan very much in tune with the times.
Beware of media references to anonymous authorities. Beware of people who tell you that they’re trying to save something from itself, especially if its none of their business! That’s typically a pretext for a controversial change, or getting rid of it altogether.
So many disputes in our liberal democratic society hinge on the tension between inequality and fairness: between groups, between sexes, between individuals, and increasingly between families.
The power of the family to tilt equality hasn’t gone unnoticed, and academics and public commentators have been blowing the whistle for some time. Now, philosophers Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse have felt compelled to conduct a cool reassessment.
‘One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.’
The editorial goes on with some kiss-off suggestions for “rescuing” the family as opposed to just abolishing it outright, that entail parents doing less for their own kids, and more for kids collectively, presumably through government institutions.
- Why should these people get to decide what’s best for the rest of us?! By what right?! Who died and left the philosophers God?!
- They claim to be motivated by a desire for equality. If that’s even true, which I doubt, so what? Equality isn’t a value. It doesn’t make the world a better place.
- People aren’t equal, and you can’t make them equal. Whoever has the power to take away from one and give to another is obviously above the peasants who don’t have that power. That’s presumably rather the point!
- More likely, they want to abolish families for the same reason that farmers don’t usually let their livestock raise their own broods anymore. This is an assault on your personal autonomy. Do not allow this!
- Aside from thinking of the rest of us as their livestock, the real reason the rich and powerful are open to ideas like these is that they don’t raise their own children anyway; nannies do. It sounds like a good idea to them because it’s similar to something they’re already doing.
- These philosophers want to take something away from you. The correct response is to defend what’s yours.
What would really happen if these philosophers got their way would be:
- The wealth gap would INCREASE, not decrease, because you wouldn’t be allowed to make choices for your own benefit.
- The winners would be cheaters and sociopaths, like in the former Soviet Union where a few high-ranking members of the Communist party ended up as billionaires through mafia activity, and everyone else was a peasant living in squalor.
- This scheme creates a backwards dependency chain. Quarks do not depend on electrons to maintain their integrity. Electrons do not depend on atoms to maintain their integrity. Atoms do not depend on cells to maintain their integrity. Individuals should not depend on collectives to maintain their integrity; that’s not sustainable. This scheme and others like it are already destroying the integrity of the system.
Obviously, don’t feel guilty giving your children every advantage that you have earned through your own effort!
Coming soon: tips for subscribers from a book about how to help your children, and yourself, survive in the post-employment economy. It’s full of ideas about how to learn marketable skills faster and cheaper than conventional ways.
Here are some easy ways to protect your privacy and security, by upgrading from Google products and services:
- Use https://duckduckgo.com for searching. Run it in Tor just to make sure. Duckduckgo is not smart enough to filter based on point-of-view, so it’s not censoring your search results like Google does. You can find banned research papers about taboo topics like gender differences between men and women, or global cooling due to an upcoming grand solar minimum, that you can’t find using Google.
- Browse using Firefox and Tor. Tor has security features already built in; add features like automatic cookie cleanup & always trying to connect via https; install similar features as plugins to Firefox.
- POSTSCRIPT: I’ve been using the Brave browser for a few weeks now–it’s SCREAMING fast!!
- WHY ON EARTH WOULD ANYONE USE GMAIL?! Why not just invite a voyeur to move in with you and follow you around and watch your most intimate moments? Use private email that you pay for, like https://startmail.com. If you seriously can’t afford to pay a small yearly fee, try https://fastmail.com
- Use https://Zoho.com’s office suite for collaborative projects.
Android sucks. My television’s internet box stopped working after self-upgrading (without asking me). Bricked itself. It’s time to investigate the feasibility of Linux on mobile devices. Then you won’t have to go through Google app store anymore.
Don’t beg the one who put the contract on your head to save you.
First let me express my grief for the deaths and grievous injuries of mostly young people at the concert in Manchester, UK. My heart is with their family and friends.
Remembering British victims of terrorism does not imply lack of sympathy for victims of terrorism elsewhere, which I have been and will continue to be vocal about, so please enough of the vindictive accusations and unhelpful virtue-signaling.
Now let me be frank: no amount of expressing your desire that your government “do something” about terrorism and immigrant crime is going to help. The British government is a known sponsor of ISIS/Daesh/Islamic State. This is the worst-kept secret in the world, so I’m not going to attempt to prove it; you either accept the plain fact or not.
Americans see warfare as a finite undertaking, but conflicts of this nature can go on for many years. …our jihadist foes see the struggle as one that began centuries ago and that will continue until Judgment Day. Some in the United States warn of an unending war.
Fifteen Years on, Where Are We in the ‘War on Terror’?
Brian Michael Jenkins, RAND Corp (the CIA’s think-tank)
The “war on terror” is an “unending war” because it’s part of a long-term plan to effect dramatic change in our culture, legal system, wealth pyramid, and demographics. It’s scripted history, not a spontaneous event.
Other known state sponsors of ISIS include Saudi Arabia (where the president of the United States was just paying his respects), Qatar, Israel (where it is openly-admitted they have treated ISIS wounded in their hospitals), Turkey (where their supply lines run), France, and the United States.
Some Brits are calling on the spirit of Margaret Thatcher. The same woman who sent secret messages to her counterparts in the Soviet Union telling them to ignore her public denunciations of the “Evil Empire”, and to maintain their iron grip on eastern Europe. That Margaret Thatcher.
She was also involved in a cover-up of a pedophile ring in her own party. THAT Margaret Thatcher. Corrupt and devious, just like the rest of them.
People in Europe and North America need to come to terms with the fact that their ruling classes don’t love them. They love their country estates, the services of their immigrant domestic staff, their jet-set lifestyles, their hookers, catamites, sex-slaves, and blow.
Stop looking to your governments to protect you; they’re the ones you need protection from!
- They secretly sponsor ISIS.
- They snuck ISIS cells into your country, using your own sympathy for “refugees” who aren’t really refugees and aren’t really from Syria.
- They’re eventually going to use ISIS against YOU.
- They’re actively supressing dissent against their policies.
You need to take responsibility for your own defense. Be your own hero.
- Obtain means of self-defense. Use your own good judgment to decide what that means.
- Get self-defense training, including situational awareness.
- Avoid discretionary travel through congested, high-visibility areas.
- Avoid likely targets
- START HAVING BABIES! How are you going to defend yourselves once you are hopelessly outnumbered?!
Unfortunately guns and ammo are no good against sneak bomb attacks, and they’re restricted in most of Europe and parts of the USA (to the police and military, who won’t defend you). Get gun training where guns are legal, and seek alternatives where they are not. I also suggest getting generic self-defense training. Just learning situational awareness can help especially in cases of one-on-one immigrant crime situations.
The second step is avoiding targeted places and events. Of course if you have to commute to work you can’t avoid buses and subways, but you can make a conscious decision to reduce discretionary travel especially through temptingly congested locations. Want to meet with your friends? Pick a low-key venue and get there on foot or by car.
Avoid big rock concerts. Why would anyone want to see Ariana Grande anyway? She has a potty mouth, says she hates Americans, and licks donuts she hasn’t paid for. As an aside, why doesn’t she just move to Venezuela? Why do America-haters think they can adopt the policies of a 3rd-world hellhole without the country turning into one?
I have a feeling it’s just a matter of time before sporting venues are hit. There’s already been a “credible threat” of an attack on a German soccer stadium. Sorry, but you’d better avoid big sporting events too.
No exotic vacations either, especially not to big cities in Europe and North America. One of the victims of the recent Times Square rampage was a young tourist from overseas.
I am well aware that the probability of dying in a terrorist attack is low. That’s not the point. The point is making a conscious choice to resist victimization. That brings up another sore point: right now our masters are encouraging us to go about as if nothing happened. That’s not resisting; that’s capitulation. Taking matters into your own hands gives you a feeling of control. The whole point of terrorism is to scare the sheep so that their emotions overwhelm their ability to think rationally and creatively.
Aside from safety issues, boycotting big-ticket discretionary spending will also keep more money in your own hands, and out of the hands of big business and big government, who are not your friends.
I’ll miss the sea, but a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.
Duke Leo Atreides, Dune
An emergency has been declared on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Apparently a train tunnel containing radioactive materials has collapsed.
HANFORD EMERGENCY INFORMATION
Event Summary 5/9/2017
HANFORD SITE ALERT
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Richland Operations Office activated the Hanford Emergency Operations Center at 8:26 a.m., after an alert was declared at the 200 East Area. There are concerns about subsidence in the soil covering railroad tunnels near a former chemical processing facility. The tunnels contain contaminated materials.
Actions taken to protect site employees include:
Facility personnel have been evacuated
As a precaution, workers in potentially affected areas of the Hanford Site have gone indoors
Access to the 200 East Area of the Hanford Site, which is located in the center of the Hanford Site, has been restricted to protect employees
The public can request information regarding the event by calling (509) 376-8116. The media may call (509) 376-3322.
No reports of injuries or fatalities, and I hope that is the case.
Hazardous infrastructure will get MORE hazardous over time, as it decays without enough engineers, or a healthy economy, to maintain it. When Hanford was built, politicians, managers, and engineers used to assume that in the future, people would figure out ways to solve problems & reduce risks. They projected an expending economy and more powerful technology into the future, forever. They didn’t even consider the possibility of temporary peaks followed by declines.
Someone I used to know used to work at Hanford. I thought of him as a friend, and only later realized that was not really the case.
More often than not, a man’s career is an integral part of his identity, or at least it used to be in those days. Nowadays, a lot of young men don’t have careers and don’t even seem to be interested in having one. Of course, they also don’t have families to support. When he was faced with the prospect of losing that job, he went off the deep end, and blamed me.
I had nothing to do with the situation, other than helping him find another one. The damage was done, and even before those hard feelings, he was holding other things against me I had no idea about. Part of it was my own problem; I had lots of potential but little to show for it. I was deemed unworthy. The coup de grace was him getting caught up in a hostile 3rd party’s elaborate deceptions. And aside from sacrificing me as a friend, he paid a horrible price getting tangled with someone with borderline personality disorder.
Despite how it ended, I count him as a positive influence in my life. Some of his better personality traits are now part of me. Ironically, being told that I wasn’t good enough to be his friend was the shock I needed to motivate me to take my life to the next level. It was an unlikely series of events that could only have happened the way they did. Sometimes dark clouds really do have silver linings.
I’m glad he ended up in a safer and better job.
That’s not a rhetorical question; I don’t know. I don’t even know the precise circumstances that lead up to the Bundys’ arrests and incarceration. The media has been sparse with coverage and specific details, which is one red flag. Private accounts on social media give wildly different accounts, but here’s the thing: one side has gone over-the-top with politically-motivated accusations that, as Stefan Molyneux would say, do not constitute an argument. Calling the Bundys “ecoterrorists” is a sign that one side does not have an argument. That’s another red flag.
Yet another is when people cite factors like their race, occupation as cattlemen, or use of BLM resources as reasons to execute them. Wanting someone dead because of a vaguely-defined belief about state control of the means of production is not a rational, reasonable, or ethical position to take. The social and legal orders in the western countries are breaking down fast, putting the legitimacy of this whole process into question.
When I heard that Ammon Bundy was in a jail in my quadrant of the country, I decided to “adopt” him as a humanitarian measure. The question is not what he did or didn’t do; the question was whether he might get “made an example of” out of proportion to anything he might have done, sacrificing his rights for the sake of a political agenda. To put this into perspective, he hasn’t killed or raped anybody, but he’s gotten harsher treatment than a great many defendants in high-profile cases who have.
I’ll explain more about the back-story another time; right now he, his brothers, his dad, and some friends need help.
Again, details are sparse, and all of them come from hearsay. All I know is what Ammon’s wife Lisa wrote me via social media, and what I read from his friends’ postings. They’re doing the best they can, but they don’t know what to do, and don’t have a lot of experience or resources available.
He’s been transferred to a prison in southern Nevada to face charges in Nevada over his first standoff with the feds.
From what I gather, he fell asleep on a shirt, probably having used it as a makeshift pillow, and a prison guard noticed. Reportedly, he got a beating that dislocated his shoulder.
Also, reportedly, he is spending a lot of time in solitary confinement, and is the target of a lot of harassment, such as daily strip searches.
His access to his commissary account has been taken away, as a result of which he can not buy paper, envelops, or stamps. He is probably incommunicado, at least most of the time. This is a dangerous situation.
Yet another red flag is that he’s not listed in the system set up for prison contacts, despite plenty of time to have gotten him into the system. I believe he is probably being held at Nevada Southern Detention Center in Pahrump, Nevada.
After his friends staged a demonstration around the prison, they said that prison visits were canceled for ALL prisoners, which might be a scheme to create resentment among the other prisoners against him.
I don’t know what to do either, but I’m taking some obvious steps. I have a letter ready to send him, which hopefully will lift his spirits and reassure him that he’s not forgotten. It will also let the prison staff know that there are people on the outside who care about him. I will also write letters to various prison bureaucrats and government officials. I realize that this is unlikely to have much effect, but I’d rather do something than nothing.
I’m spreading the word via this posting, but unfortunately since this is a new blog, I don’t have a lot of subscribers yet, so I need help. The more people who know, the higher the probability of finding someone who has a good idea what to do.
If you can help, contact @KalkinTrivedi on Twitter.
For various reasons including their own well-being, prisoners probably should be kept busy, but only under the conditions that they are guilty of a real crime, and that there is no punishment if they don’t work. According to the note, the prisoners get beatings. All transactions have to be by mutual consent, otherwise, there is a perverse incentive to abuse the captive party, potentially to the point of using entrapment or even bogus charges to round up more slaves, as the Soviet Union was doing, and has actually happened in my US state.
The most common form of slavery is where offers of employment come with a requirement for the prospective slave to repay transportation, housing, and food costs, then trapping them in a situation where they can’t possibly “repay” because their nominal “wages” are too low compared to the costs unilaterally imposed on them. But even older forms exist, without bothering with any pretext of fair exchange, where someone is a slave because their parents were slaves, or because a third-party sold them.
In a globalized economy, everybody in the world competes with everybody else in the world. Specifically, that means that if slavery exists anywhere in the world, then everyone else doing or willing to do the same jobs is competing with slave labor.
Slavery is fairly common worldwide. It is so common that it might be easier to document where it doesn’t occur than where it does. It even occurs in most of the “western” countries as the result of immigrants bringing their chattel with them!
Price competition effectively means that if one major market participant is selling slave-produced goods, then every market participant is faced with the prospect of either selling slave-produced goods, or going out of business. There is also the problem that with complex international supply chains, it would be hard to know if upstream goods were slave produced, assuming the merchant even wanted to know, which more likely than not, they don’t.
The globalists have done nothing to resolve the problem that they exacerbated when they offshored production, which is hardly surprising given that many if not most of them have ancestors who were human traffickers, merchants in slave-produced goods, or investors in slave plantations. These are the same people who harass other people about their “white privilege” over the descendants of their ancestors’ slaves, and who also stir up resentment against rivals who made their money fair-and-square, as “greedy capitalists”.
Contrary to popular opinion, Socialism is part of the problem, not the solution. You can’t simply legislate that a supposedly benevolent government is going to take care of everybody; that has never happened and never will. Instead, structural inefficiencies in the Socialist western countries result in ever more imported slave-produced goods, and ever more temptation to pretend not to notice.
“Better not be using slaves to make these cheap goods we’re buying from you.”
“Oh, no, we’d never do that.”
“OK, then, we’re good!”
The problem seems to be getting worse, not better.
I don’t have a solution. Just don’t contribute to the problem. Live simply. Avoid buying goods from merchants known to buy from slavers, or items that are commonly made by slaves, like hand-woven “oriental rugs”. The counter-argument that someone who has no qualms at all about buying slave-produced merchandise once told me is that if you don’t buy slave-produced goods, the slaves get no food and shelter at all. There’s probably a sliver of truth to that, although I would guess that in the balance, feeding the monster is worse than starving it. The person who gave me that excuse is a shady and rather mercenary character.
I also suggest aggressively defending your own freedom before you lose it. The world is full of people motivated to take it away from you. And contrary to American political propaganda, you don’t “fight” for freedom (war slavery), you avoid getting trapped in it through poverty and cancerous government.
May 1st, 2017
It’s COLD where I live. About 10F/5.6C degrees below average, which for a relatively stable climate is a lot. Before the commies appropriated it, May Day used to be the celebration of warmer weather come mid-Spring.
Much of central Europe and North America are getting crop damage from late frosts.
One data point does not make a trend, but the current cold weather at higher latitudes and elevations was predicted by numerous scientists in central and eastern Europe, based on the fact that a Grand Solar Minimum has begun.
You can read about it here.
The most important result will be reduced food supplies. Snow hitting the southern wheat belt just flattened the soft red winter wheat crop in Kansas.
According to a buddy of mine who grew up as a wheat farmer in Kansas, the damaged wheat plants will probably tiller out and make some smaller heads on shorter stalks. But the yield will be significantly reduced. That’s why wheat futures just shot up.
The effect of grand solar minima is not the same everywhere. The temperature decrease will be most noticeable above 45 degrees latitude (much of Europe!). Many parts of the world will turn drier, but a few, like mine, turn wetter. An overall colder and drier climate is harder to grow crops in.
I can’t grow a significant amount of food in my back-yard, but I do grow what I can so that I have fresh, viable seed on-hand that could be planted on more abundant ground elsewhere. This spring is so cold that I suspect that in future summers, it will be too cold for warm-season crops like corn and tomatoes to thrive. For that reason, I’m already switching to crops that have wide tolerances especially at the low end of the temperature scale.
One of them are potatoes that I am breeding for frost-tolerance. Potatoes are commonly grown as a summer crop at high latitudes, because they are quick to mature, and don’t mind cool summers. But normally they have no frost tolerance at all. Not surprising because, ironically, potatoes are actually native to the tropics. They come from the tropical Andes, below the frost zones of the high elevations. Some wild potatoes grow up higher, into the frost-zones, and these, when crossed to their domesticated cousins, can be bred into potatoes with frost resistance.
Not much; they only tolerate brief radiation frosts at night, but that’s enough to significantly reduce the risk of crop losses to spring or summer frosts.
I switched from warmer-growing Legumes to fava beans, which grow cooler than most “beans”.
More important than raising food is storing food. You can’t grow crops fast enough not to starve if you don’t have any food in storage.
I’m only endorsing the author’s statement of the problem, not his suggested political agendas. Politics is the problem, not the solution. The correct solution is to see to your own security; the government will not save you.
One of my adult sons got caught in a demonstration while trying to get to work the Saturday before May Day. He has to put in a lot of late nights and weekends, but the demonstrators have the day off. There was no immediate threat; he was just delayed getting to work. The demonstrations and riots are happening fairly regularly now, not just on special occasions.
My take is that George Soros still has plenty of money, and he still hates President Trump. The riots aren’t going away any time soon.
Accompanying the article is a photo of a man getting punched by an Antifa member. The man getting punched is wearing an American flag cape. I don’t know what it’s made from, but it is unwise to wear capes, or any costume at all, to a rumble, or something that might turn into a rumble. You don’t want a prop that someone could grab you by, especially if one end is attached to your throat. That’s a possible way of getting strangled.
I advise against participating in public demonstrations, counter-demonstrations, or rallies, because I don’t want you getting hurt. Demonstrations are pointless; they’re not effective ways of changing policies. It might seem as though they’re sometimes successful, but what’s really going on is that someone has ordered changes from behind the scenes, then funded a rent-a-mob to create the illusion that the changes are the result of popular demand. If the rent-a-mob turns violent, so much the better to “respond to” as a pretext for radical change. But the point is that the demonstration or riot didn’t really initiate the change; the real action was taking place behind the scenes and involved big money.
That said, if you’re going to express an opinion in public that might attract violent protesters or counter-protesters, at least be prepared for trouble.
- Do not provoke or initiate! (the biased news media will still claim you started it with your “violent rhetoric”, but don’t make it easy for them)
- Defend, but do not escalate!
- Don’t wear loose clothing—including t-shirts!—around your throat.
- Maintain a high degree of situational awareness.
- Don’t get cocky.
- Keep in mind some rioters have guns. Is your life insurance paid up?
- Respect the police! Let the other side bring the wrath of hell down on their heads instead of yours.
Here is a story I heard when I was a boy:
One Saturday morning, a young Meyer Lansky’s parents gave him money to take to synagogue. He took the money, but instead of heading to synagogue, he headed to a back-alley where he knew that gambling was going on. There he learned an important lesson about playing other people’s games that I will share with you.
He imagined that he was going to win some more money. Instead, he promptly lost it all!
But rather than getting too upset over it, Lansky decided to keep watching other boys play. He started noticing a pattern: often things would start out with the gamblers winning a few games, but then “luck” would turn against them, and they’d keep losing until they lost all their money.
Oddly enough, it’s the losses that trigger “gambler’s fever”: the gamblers convince themselves that they need to keep playing to “win it all back again”.
The gamblers assume that’s even a possibility. They get so wrapped up in greed and the excitement of the game that they fail to notice the pattern of early wins followed by losses, or to think about what might be causing that pattern to exist. It’s obviously not random, nor is it caused by the skill of the players, since they can’t control it.
I’ll have to bring this story up again in another context, because it teaches us something about investing money. In that context, the “House” is the investment bank that’s underwriting securitized “assets”. But the story also teaches us something about the winners and losers of history.
Something you need to know about the pundit class is that they can’t really predict the future. First of all, they’re not the geniuses they make themselves out to be; they’re paid talking-heads who spout whatever nonsense their bosses tell them to. Nassim Taleb calls them “Intellectual Yet Idiots”. Their bosses aren’t geniuses either; they’re billionaires who have geniuses working for them behind the scenes trying to make their ideas work. The “Machiavellian trait”, which refers to a habit of concealing true goals and motives behind elaborate deceptions, is often mistaken for genius by people who don’t realize what’s really going on. But even if they were geniuses, the natural unfolding of events is chaotic in the sense that small changes propagate into big differences in outcomes.
The way that the winners of history work around that problem is by recruiting huge numbers of dupes to unwittingly work towards the same goal. That reduces the effects of chaos through having billions of butterflies all trying to start the same hurricane!
The way that the winners of history recruit their dupes is by:
- Coming up with a narrative.
- Create a “counter-narrative” that leads to the same outcome as the narrative, in order to create the illusion of choice.
- On the rare occasions someone is smart enough to come up with a real alternative narrative that reaches a possible tipping point, capture it through bribes, threats, assassinations, and/or sabotage.
- Have pseudo-intellectuals on your payroll “predict” the official narrative and the counter-narrative in journals popular among influencers such as college instructors and media pundits.
- Commission books and movie and television scripts where the narrative shows up in the story-line in a slightly disguised, but “isomorphic”, form. A good example of this would be the original book and play “War of the Worlds”, which was designed to prime US and British audiences for WW2. The blood-drinking “Martians” were intended to trigger associations to WW1 posters depicting Germans as vampires. Later, once the target audience has internalized the narrative, it can show up in popular media without needing any disguise.
- Stage some events that seem to provide evidence of the narrative unfolding.
- Flood the news-stream with the narrative and the counter-narrative. Most people will now accept politicians acting on the narrative, even though it is completely artificial.
- Dupes will even start contributing to the narrative by acting in ways consistent with the narrative. For example, if the narrative is “Clash of Civilizations”, some Muslims will start cooperating by actually staging suicide bombings without even being paid. Of course, spontaneous suicide bombings are more unpredictable than the staged ones, but this isn’t necessarily that much of a problem if you’re not concerned about collateral damage.
An example of this phenomenon on a smaller scale was when black ops personnel from various parts of the former British Empire were caught staging terrorist attacks in Iraq, in order to manifest the predicted Sunni-Shi’a civil war. The point was not to predict a civil war in order to prevent it, but rather, to intentionally create a self-fulfilling prophesy, and help it along a little with the false-flag operations.
Winners of history don’t commit to either side of the controlled conflicts that they set up. The point of controlled conflicts is not that one side or the other wins, but that a 3rd party “with no skin in the game” (as Taleb would say) wins. They do favor one side or the other just because of asymmetric costs and benefits, but even if a miracle should happen and the “post-Christian, Modernist/Postmodernist Snowflake” side wins, we’d still end up kissing their asses just like our ancestors have been for the last few centuries, until they figure out a more effective way to rid themselves of us. What I’m saying is that no amount of ass-kissing will make them love you. ISIS doesn’t love you either. The only way to win this game is not to play by the rule-book someone else handed you.
Now let me explain one more phenomenon. Machiavellian personality types routinely conceal their motives, attitudes, and goals behind benevolent-sounding pretexts. When a politician states a position on any given “issue”, you can reasonably suspect that their “position” is a matter of opportunism, not a deeply-held conviction.
It’s important that you understand my meaning here. I am NOT talking about when the politician’s “real position” is the opposite of what they claim it is. That only happens when the costs and benefits are consistently one-sided, like when a greedy kleptocrat hides behind Socialist public positions. I’m saying that, more commonly, they don’t have any fixed position at all; how they respond in any particular case depends on context and opportunities.
If a politician claims to be for or against any given policy, that means nothing at all other than that their polling agency thinks they can win some points with that particular public position. If they can’t win enough points, then they will predictably avoid taking a public position, seed their press conferences with reporters who ask only pre-approved questions, and evade questions if the topic does come up. Inside the privacy of their own minds, their actual response to any given specific case depends on the political costs and benefits. That’s why they speak up loudly on one case, and are quiet about another. There’s no mystery here. Most people either don’t notice the pattern, or if they do, waste their time trying to score points by pointing out the other side’s hypocrisy, as if anyone who matters cares. “Consistency is the hobgobblin of small minds!”
As applied to the “clash of civilizations”, or any other conflict or war, it’s the same thing. As dupes have taken sides, lining up variously as Islamists, anti-Islamists, multiculturalists—whatever, doesn’t matter—all sides are being manipulated by the puppetmasters, and all “positions” or choices lead to the same outcomes: wholesale population replacement in Europe and North America, ethnic and religious cleansing in Syria, partitioning and annexation of Syrian lands, and a puppet government installed in Iran. It doesn’t matter which horse in the game you place your bets on; the game is rigged, and the House wins.
When people think that they’re opting out by jumping onto the bandwagon of an “opposition” political party, more likely, they are opting in to controlled opposition. Political parties are not allowed to exist if they represent a real alternative to the narrative: their leaders get assassinated, delegitimatized, bribed, threatened, and/or put in prison. No matter how far they get before being neutered, up to now they have all been either destroyed or captured. Even supposedly “radical” or “outlaw” parties tend to have goals that are functionally identical with those of the mainstream; they are simply framed differently. For example, the only nationalist parties tolerated in Europe are the ones that willingly help the globalists by advocating for programs of assimilation of immigrants. That helps the immigrants get jobs faster, which displaces more native workers, and frees up welfare budgets to accommodate still more immigrants.
There was an old saying in Monte Carlo: “Whether you bet on black or red, White always wins”. “White” referred to the owner of the casino, a man named Blanc (“white” in French).
Now for another story.
A man stumbled out of a gambling den, broke and a bit drunk. He spotted one of his friends standing outside, smoking, and struck up a conversation.
“Ya know, this house is run by crooks,” said his friend. “The games are rigged.”
“Then why do you play?” asked the other gambler.
The friend looked slightly scandalized and said “It’s the only game in town!”
Now to answer the question: which side should you be on? YOUR OWN, of course! Stop jumping on other people’s bandwagons. Stop trying to save Trigglypuff from xyrself, or for that matter, from ISIS. Play your own game, and come up with your own narrative that has a happier ending than the one someone else has planned for you.
By all means, recruit others onto YOUR bandwagon, but a tipping-point is not your goal. If you got close without getting quashed, you’d end up being captured. Instead, you’re just trying to survive into the next round, to fight another day.
- Don’t fall for “let’s you and him fight.”
- Don’t pick fights with Muslims, or for that matter, Snowflakes, or anyone else. Don’t pick fights.
- If someone picks a fight with you, defend yourself only proportional to the attack, then de-escalate. Bear in mind that they’re puppets, and the puppetmaster is your real enemy.
- Play your own game, and recruit others to your side.
- Focus your attention and resources to figuring out how to survive; ultimately it’s a war of attrition. You win by surviving.
Here is some suggested reading if you want to learn more about this game:
Do you know who ISIS really works for? This is one of the worst-kept secrets on the planet! And pretty obvious if you just think about the logistics of military operations in Iraq. But some folks still don’t know. If you’re one of them, find out. You’re being conned.
April 25th, 2017
Up until now, participants in Antifa activities have been armed mostly only with makeshift weapons like bicycle locks and bottles. Their battles with alt-Rightists have been mostly with fists.
Mac Slavo recently reported about discussions on Reddit encouraging Antifa to escalate to weapons, including guns, and combat training.
Here is a screenshot I took of a posting on Facebook by Seattle Antifa:
Some of the postings in that group are so over-the-top that I had to carefully consider whether it might be a parody account. I believe that it is in fact on the up-and-up.
Judging from the behaviors I have seen either on video, or in a few cases, live and in person, my take is that members of Antifa tend to be impulsive. If they bring weapons to a rumble, they’re going to use them. Don’t be the one they use them on. According to their own posts, they are targeting “Nazis” (alt-Right), Libertarians, and even “Liberals” (people who promote tolerance and free speech, which Antifa openly opposes).
Judging from some posts I read this evening, looks like the alt-Right is planning to escalate too.
Once guns come out, the police will be more actively involved, and perhaps even the feds. It appears that many municipal officials (and university administrators) are sympathetic to Antifa, and have standing orders to the police to stand down. But the police tend to respond aggressively whenever they feel threatened, and Antifa is the more likely side to attack them. I do not know how this will play out; I expect it to be chaotic in the sense of being hard to predict the outcome.
A trend continues until it exhausts itself. At the moment, the riots and street confrontations show every sign of escalating rather than abating. Even if you don’t intend to be involved, you might get involved anyway. Here are some dangers to be aware of:
- Sometimes bystanders stumble onto riots and are attacked by rioters, or get caught in the crossfire between opposing groups.
- Rioters sometimes attack non-participants just for not being part of their group; they are highly attuned to and hostile towards outsiders.
- Police escalate quickly if they are attacked. Sometimes bystanders get attacked. The police have also been known to specifically target people holding cameras or cell phones.
- Media are not a reliable source of information about riots.
The media tends to omit or distort events that do not conform to its narratives. If you are relying on the media for your source of information, you might be tricked into believing that a riot where Molotov cocktails were thrown at innocent bystanders was actually a peaceful demonstration where a young woman handed a cop a Pepsi. In one riot we had years ago, a man was murdered on camera. We can compare what we can see in the video still shot with the official account of events, and see that the official account is almost completely fictional. The US media routinely lies, and withholds information. Just expect that.
Because the media is not accurately reporting on the situation, and in fact I’m only hearing anything substantial from Twitter, I don’t know where all the confrontations and riots have occurred or are likely to occur. Urban areas are more likely to see riots and confrontations than suburban and rural areas, and some specific parts of the country (like the urban west coast) seem to have higher levels of agitation than others (the rural high plains and upper midwest are probably pretty quiet). If you’re in a quiet area, be aware of trouble in other parts of the country while traveling.
Within riot-prone cities, riots tend to be concentrated in specific neighborhoods. In my city, it’s the downtown core, one rough neighborhood, one counter-culture neighborhood, and one neighborhood with a major university. You can reduce your exposure by reducing your travel through those areas—assuming you don’t live in one, in which case you might want to move. Downtown business districts are problematic, since they are targets for rioters to harass people with business to take care of. For the sake of time and convenience, I try to do as much business as possible via the internet anyway.
Certain dates, like May 1st, are more likely to see trouble.
Here are some tips to improve your odds of staying out of harm’s way:
- Maintain situational awareness at all times.
- Learn self-defense techniques that include safety habits such as giving blind corners a wide berth when you turn around them, and peering into the back seat of a car before entering the vehicle, to avoid ambushes.
- Learn some basic riot-evasion techniques.
- Beware that police often react violently to cameras and cell phones. And don’t mouth off at them about your rights; you’re not in a position to defend them!
- Talk to your friends and family. Make sure they take their own personal safety seriously. Most of them probably don’t. Show them videos of citizen-reported mob attacks, that aren’t getting reported by the mainstream media.
- Offer to accompany family and friends for security in situations like “downtown, after business hours”, or “rough neighborhood”. This will help get them into the right frame of mind better than a lecture.
At a recent “Values and Vision” meeting of Maine Democrats, attendees were caught on videotape laughing when a speaker, Richard Fochtmann, expressed approval of rising rates of white male suicide.
The Democratic party of Maine declined to apologize for the incident, and instead expressed outrage that it had been videotaped and released to the public.
There’s already been plenty of commentary about the sentiments expressed in the video, so I’m going to write about how to help prevent your buddies from giving the Maine Democrats reasons to gloat. Survival is good revenge; success is even better.
The most common reason for suicide is depression. Symptoms of depression can vary a bit, but a common symptom is losing one’s will to live. It’s the result of mood-regulating hormones getting “stuck”. That in turn is usually triggered by stress, unhealthy lifestyle habits, illness, chronic pain, anxiety, or grief that have overwhelmed someone’s ability to resolve and release them.
There’s another cause of suicide that’s not as common, but it happens suddenly without much warning. That’s when someone commits suicide out of shame. It usually happens as the result of an incident that contradicts someone’s self-image. If someone thinks of himself as being respectable, but then gets exposed in a sex scandal, the shock might motivate him to commit suicide. Or if someone thought of himself as being a highly successful businessman, but suddenly went bankrupt, that might do it. Or someone who thinks of himself as being very intelligent, but flunked his final exams in college.
Here are some reasons men are vulnerable to suicide:
- Strong taboos on exposing vulnerabilities. Because they hide their vulnerabilities, their chums may have no idea what’s going on in his life, or how he’s taking it.
- White men tend to have few if any friends, for reasons I’ll comment on some other time. Time spent with friends tends to reduce depression.
- More overtime at work means less time for rest, relaxation, exercise, and other activities that reduce stress and anxiety.
Now here are some ways to reduce the risk of suicide among men you know:
- Be mindful of reasons for someone you know to be depressed. Start noticing, and caring about, stress and hardships in other people’s lives.
- Take action as if he is your best friend in the world, even if he isn’t. If he’s like most white males, he might very well not have any friends. When the stakes are high, treat casual relationships as important. Do the right thing and take action even if you don’t like him.
- You don’t need to solve his problems. And before you give bad advice, listen.
- If you know or reasonably suspect that he’s suicidal, ask him. Be frank and businesslike. If he admits that he is, or if he denies it but you have reason to suspect he’s lying, do not leave him alone. Make sure that someone is with him at all times until his suicidal feelings are resolved.
- Obtain a firm commitment from him not to kill himself. If you can’t get that, first of all assume that he is actively suicidal. Second, obtain a firm commitment from him to accept your help before he does anything rash.
- Assume that most men feel awkward talking about their feelings. Instead of asking him how he feels, make it easier on him by anticipating how he must feel. Tell him “I understand how you must feel about what happened”.
- Don’t allow your own feelings of “awkwardness” to inhibit you from engaging him. Feeling “awkward” is a sign that you are excessively concerned with what other people think about you. I have news for you: other people are not as obsessed with you as you are. Those are the kinds of thoughts and emotions that cause social anxiety and social incompetence. This is your opportunity to break through and become more self-confident and socially competent.
- You have, or would have, fraternal feelings of love for your buddies, your brothers, your dad, or your son, right? Then tell them so squarely, in private, whenever they need to hear it. What I have found is that their reaction has generally been to finally open the floodgates and release the emotions they’ve been bottling up. Often they cry.
- Respond to his emotions compassionately, not sympathetically. Do not allow yourself to get pulled into his bad mood; instead pull him into your good mood.
- Don’t leave him in a “bad place”. Make sure that his emotions are resolved, at least for the moment, before parting company. If you can’t get them that way, make sure that he is not left alone.
- Engage him. Talk to him. Do stuff with him. Play is great if you can both afford the time, but I have found that work is even better for male-bonding.
- Encourage him to spend time outdoors, spend time with friends and family, and get vigorous exercise daily. These are all activities that reduce depression.
I’ve done suicide vigils for a number of people, seemingly all when I was fresh out of the nest, as my present life-circumstances don’t put me in much up-close personal contact with a a lot of different people anymore.
The one I did for a gal resulted in some shouting and throwing of cups and saucers. She told me she had a right to kill herself and it was none of my business. But later she said she liked me being assertive and taking charge of the situation. I probably should have been more so, but all my experience in life up to that point was not the kind useful to prepare me to calmly assert myself. Good thing I am congenitally stubborn.
All of the guys I did a suicide vigil for agreed that I should stay with them while they were suicidal. Including and especially the one who was belligerent and verbally-abusive, who, ironically, took steps to physically prevent me from leaving, even though I had no intention of doing so, having resolved to just take the abuse because of the stakes involved. Aside from his ornery mood and being physically a lot stronger than me, he was also the boss’s boss’s boss, and did not respect me because I was not at his level in life. That was actually a good experience for me, because it challenged my ego and my mental and emotional toughness.
The rest were all easy, including the one who didn’t like me up until that point. One of them ordered pizza, which we ate while watching a movie. Then we talked about “stuff” until he was good and sleepy and drifted off.
Every one of the guys was suicidal over relationship problems compounded by feelings of failure. One was desperately lonely and didn’t think he could find a woman to love him because he felt like a “loser”; the rest had all been dumped. It’s important to understand this: they weren’t distraught because “I can’t live without her!”, even though some of them might have told themselves that. There are plenty of other fish in the sea. It was the blow to their egos that did it. “I wasn’t good enough!” Even, and especially, the guy 3 levels above me in life; abandonment shattered his self-image of being highly successful and physically (but not emotionally!) tough. Never allow your self-esteem to depend on someone else’s capricious behavior! More often than not it’s nothing personal—they just have different priorities than you do.
Not one of those incidents ever resulted in any deep, lasting friendships, though a few drifted in and out of my life several times. The one who didn’t like me at least discontinued the hostile behavior. The executive moved on quite abruptly once he got over the depression; we were not in the same league so from his point of view it was “inappropriate” for us to be friends. That’s fine; I do not set his approval as a precondition for my happiness. Appreciate the times you share with other people, and accept that they come and go like clouds.
In the same way, you have to accept it if for whatever reason—maybe not seeing it coming, or a ticking time-bomb situation involving severe, chronic depression—you don’t save someone from suicide. Survivor’s guilt won’t help.
The first mantra is: “I am here for you.”
The second mantra is: “I know you are there, and I am very happy.”
The third mantra: “I know you suffer, and that is why I am here for you.” The third mantra can help the other person suffer less right away.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Buddhist monk and teacher)