Square Pegs, Round Holes

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The financial crack-up and the ensuing slide into economic fascism have, without a doubt, separated the wheat from the chaff. I listen carefully to learn how people view the problem, the causes, and the cure. I look for signs that there is a hint of skepticism, or better yet, critical thinking from those who are willing to stand solo and state their case in an intelligent manner that doesn’t mimic the blarney disgorged on the orthodox news programs. Unfortunately, I seem to run into chaff all day long, leaving me to believe that the wheat is gone with the wind.

Outside of the intelligent people on the Internet, and all the great writers and bloggers — in my daily life, I can’t even listen to peoples’ opinion on this subject. I cannot stomach their uninformed babble, milquetoast pleadings, cupcake kowtowing, and their ceaseless demands for safeguards. All I hear is “the government needs to do something about…” [drop in anything here] The conversations I hear, the comments I get from people — all of it centers on what the government needs to do to fix the financial mess. There’s gotta be a law, any law, as long as it makes someone stop doing whatever it is they don’t want to be done. They plead for security, and they can’t even define liberty. Liberty, in this we’re-all-equal, democratic age, has come to mean a recurring paycheck (never mind the taxes that are never seen); a doable mortgage payment (because they have a right to a home); generous, ongoing credit lines; and enough toys — especially the plasma TV and 157 channels — to keep the kids quiet and make the adults momentarily blissful.

People, in general, are statist, parasitical, clueless, and gutless — they beg for government to do something. Of course, “something” is never clarified, but it means that the government is not doing nothing, which gives them great pleasure. My father, who was noticing the universal decline back in the 70s and 80s, always commented on the move toward high time preferences (he called it “screwed-up priorities”), general helplessness, and passivity in terms of government intervention in our lives. He told me that this wimpified generation — generally speaking — would not be able to withstand a severe Depression, nor would they hang onto their individual rights when they could trade those in exchange for “government-provided security” on the spot. In fact, reflect on the video footage we saw from Hurricane Katrina — grown men, standing on the roofs of their house with their families, standing there and doing nothing, or cowering, just waiting and hoping for someone to come and do something to help them. People stood there like deer in the headlights, completely helpless. This is our times, our generation.

The current financial unrest is producing the same result: please do something, anything, so that I don’t have to give up the Fed-induced bread and circuses that I have come to rely upon. I need my bread and circuses, and you can have anything you want, appropriate anything that pleases you, if only I can continue on, as is, in my world of contrived prosperity.

A reader, Steve Vaughn, sent me a favorite quote from his mother Marie: “The problem with being unique is that you have to do it all by yourself.” This quote reminds me that the problem with the majority of people today is that they can’t be unique because they don’t know how to do much of anything by themselves. They have been collectively brainwashed, dumbed down, and indoctrinated with feel-good claptrap that keeps them occupied and compliant, and unlikely to defy further encroachment into their lives. They’ll drag their re-usable grocery bags all over the place to save the earth, because it makes them feel good, and because someone told them it was the right thing to do. But they won’t question why it is that they are being looted and lorded over so that wealthy Wall Street executives and 29-year-old traders driving Maseratis can continue their ways with the aid of policy prescriptions, subsidies, and outright nationalization of the financial system.

These types of people are willing to take all kinds of time to organize or participate in an awareness event for suicide, breast cancer, autism, diversity, mental health, landmines, depression, rape, eating disorders, domestic violence, anti-racism, second-hand smoke, and even genital integrity. Awareness of such feeble matters is trouble-free and convenient. Being a round peg is painless, and you get to be a part of a group. You can all feel good together, and you don’t have to bear the painful burden of thinking. You’ll never see people striking up an awareness event for protesting the Federal Reserve, central planning, economic nationalization, imperial wars, police state militarism, lifestyle fascism, inflation, stock market engineering, or the security state. Oh, these people will gently protest gas prices, but that’s because they need cheap gas to engage their daily bread and circus regimen.

I have received hundreds of emails from people this week in response to my recent articles and blogs: so many skeptical, self-educated, critically thinking, discerning, resilient people. It gives me hope to know that people like this exist. However, they do not represent the majority that I deal with each day of my life. I fear that people like us — the bold skeptics, resistors, and dissenters — are spread mighty thin, and this is why the whole move toward the nationalization of our economy and our lives is happening with only small pockets of resistance.

I had a hunch that we would end up here, in this predicament, with sweeping fascist policies domestically and world central planners meeting to discuss how they can seize every last bit of human liberty in existence. In spite of the merciless scorn and relentless adversity, we need to continue to be square pegs in round holes. We need to maintain our resistance to the propaganda, and indeed, refute it. In fact, some of us wouldn’t know how to embrace collective thinking, even at gunpoint. We can only hope that along the way we will open up a few minds that are taking a break from shopping or reality TV shows. It’s not easy, but someone has to do it.

Karen De Coster [send her mail] is a Certified Public Accountant, has an MA in Economics, and works in finance and accounting in the securities industry. See her website and her blog.

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