Sunday 21st of July 2019

the virtues that hide greed, wars and highway robbery...

treasure at the end of...

In the ordinary picture above, Gus captured a messy electrical network that transmits energy, a spaghetti of cables designed to supply our entertaining artificial delusions (called NBN in Australia), a sign telling us not to do something (no parking), roofs that protect us from the weather and some now useless chimneys that were the old way to keep warm, until councils stopped the usage of wood or coal fireplaces, mostly to minimise pollution.. 

These items are (were) based on our needs to survive which were improved upon over the ages by various mechanisms of social trial and error, mostly through availability of materials to burn, merchandising of wants and coaxing to be on the grid. These are our interpretation of this survival into a bourgeois lifestyle, including beliefs, here represented by a natural happening — a rainbow — that we often interpret as “hope” at the end thereof… 

In an essay on our "flourishing human life", we are invited to see virtues in what we’ve done so far — and why we've failed these ideals. But one of the major problem of this dissertation is that it avoids the reality we all come from different views about how to acquire comfort.


We, the toiling dorks, are doing all we can to stay within the limits of virtuous decency while our rulers are often pliable to the demands of inventive entrepreneurs whose main aim is to make money — often using sociopathic techniques and payola under the furniture… Here we go:

Life’s primary colours: How humanity forgot the seven principal virtues
By Deirdre McCloskey

The case can be made that a flourishing human life must show seven principal virtues.

The case in favour of four of them ― the ‘pagan’ or ‘aristocratic’ or ‘political’ virtues of courage, justice, temperance and prudence ― was made by Plato, Aristotle and Cicero. In the early thirteenth century, St. Albert the Great summarized Cicero’s claim that every virtuous act has all four...

In sophisticated ruminations on the virtues until the eighteenth century, these four persisted ― as, for example, in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments.

The pagan four are the political virtues in many senses ― for example, in the ancient sense of contributing to the survival and flourishing of a polis containing political animals. A hoplite in the phalanx of the polis needed courage, prudence, temperance and justice ― all four. So did a politician speaking to the Athenian assembly. When Athens ignored any of them ― for instance, justice in its treatment of Melos or prudence in its expedition to Syracuse ― the results were distressing. Vices undermined Athenian flourishing, as they will do.

The other three virtues for a flourishing life ― adding up to the principal seven ― are faith, hope and love. These three so-called ‘theological’ virtues are not until the nineteenth century regarded as political. Before the Romantics and their nationalism and socialism, they were thought of as achieving the salvation of an individual soul, as achieving the City of God, not a city of humans. “The theological virtues are above the nature of man,” wrote St. Albert’s student, St. Thomas Aquinas around 1270 CE. “The intellectual and moral virtues perfect the human intellect and appetite in proportion to human nature, but the theological virtues do so supernaturally.”

Excellent… Hard to know when humanity forgot its virtuous colours: today, yesterday or a million years ago? And what has “supernaturality" got to with it?
So the Greek philosophers defined "courage, justice, temperance and prudence" as social virtues which would have been good moral drivers for individuals to believe in themselves, while their rulers were doing the shenanigans. These elevated civilisations bit the dust, often due to other less civilised people wanting to rob them, AND to individuals from within, robbing the others by giving up on the social virtues through greed.
 Faith, Love and Hope were also used as smokescreens by previous governments under various guises. The "divine right to rule, love thy king and hope we win the war" was the way Western societies were run — from the 5th Roman century onwards till about five minutes ago.. 

In between the nobility and the peasants, the bourgeois developed their comforts…:

Her latest scholarly book again from the University of Chicago Press, Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World (2016), was the final volume of the Bourgeois Era trilogy. It argues for an “ideational” explanation of the Great Enrichment of 3,000 percent per person 1800 to the present in places like Britain and Japan and Finland. The accidents of Reformation and Revolt in northwestern Europe 1517–1789 led to a new liberty and dignity for commoners—ideas called “liberalism” in the proper sense—which led in turn to an explosion of commercially tested betterment, “having a go.” The second book in the trilogy, Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World (2010), had shown that materialist explanations such as saving or exploitation, don’t have enough economic oomph or historical relevance to explain the Enrichment. The alleged explanations that do not focus on the new ideology of “innovism”—her name for the ill-named “capitalism”—are mistaken. And the Enrichment did not corrupt our immortal souls. The inaugural book in the trilogy, The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce (2006), had established that, contrary to the clamor since 1848 of the clerisy left and right, the bourgeoisie is pretty good, and that commercially tested betterment is not the worst of ethical schools. In short, the trilogy looks forward, if populism does not spoil the prospect, to a world of universal dignity and prosperity created by liberal innovism.

So what is innovism? Good question...

“What matters is human creativity liberated by liberalism,” McCloskey concludes. “Innovism, not tricky proposals for utilitarian nudging, should be the focus of economics. Economics should become ‘humanomics,’ that is, economics with the philosophy, history, literature left in… We need to honor scientifically, both in our hypotheses and our scientific practice, the liberal world of human creation.”

This is pure deception… unless McCloskey really believes in this shit. The last thing the bourgeoisie wants is equality.

In all of this, the author forgot three essential items that have “enriched the world” (the Western world): slavery, war and the destruction of nature, all driven by greed. 

The bourgeois virtues only work when there is a form of slavery or some exploitation of "other people” who of course are rarely seen since they are kept in the city sewers, in sweat shops or become “refugees” because their homelands have been raped — for resources and growth of the bourgeois virtues. Super-greed drives human nature, while the virtues are designed to hide or excuse this dangerous success.

The destruction of nature has unfortunately become an essential parameter to progress. And we’re going to pay for it in a big way unless we stop this innovism (capitalism) and replace it with sustainable innovations, which thus requires temperance and prudence. Back to the top — and forget faith, hope and do not love nature — unless you keep your air conditioning running for your killer cats.

War has been an important parameter of this growth and only economic professors tend to dismiss this important aspect of managing the glory of the quietly settled bourgeoisie. After many years of warring, presently the US admin places sanctions on other countries and forces other “friendly” nations to commit to the same shit. This is trade war...

There is nil virtue in this, but this is actually the engine room of the empire. The virtues as told by Deirdre McCloskey are the colourful paints that hide the real engines: greed, wars and highway robbery — including conning workers to do more for less, in a subform of slavery.

As well, most of the information channels (news outlets) also conspire to deliver a false narrative that suit the virtues, but are corrupt as all get out in order to glorify wars and sociopathic bullshit. That the system works is not because of the virtues, but because of the con tricks, such as credit, patriotism and insecurity (cultivated fear) that makes us tighten our butts and believe...

Gus Leonisky
Ordinary photographer of rainbows...

welcome to the future...

At 8.30 every morning, an announcement is piped though a speaker in the ceiling of Kim Jong-won’s apartment, barking the daily bulletin in a high-pitched voice. The disembodied broadcaster details new parking measures, issues with the pneumatic waste disposal chute and various building maintenance jobs to be carried out that day.

“There’s no way of turning it off,” sighs Kim’s wife, Jung-sim, as she prepares breakfast. “I hate technology but my husband is an early adopter. He has to have everything first.”

It was Kim’s love of the latest tech that prompted him move his family to the future, or the nearest thing to it – Songdo, South Korea’s self-styled “smart city”, built on a 600-hectare parcel of artificial land dredged from the Yellow Sea near Seoul’s Incheon airport. It is a place where the garbage is automatically sucked away through underground pipes, where lampposts are always watching you, and where your apartment block knows to send the elevator down to greet you when it detects the arrival of your car. Sensors in every street track traffic flow and send alerts to your phone when it’s going to snow, while you can monitor the children’s playground on TV from the comfort of your sofa.


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Meanwhile in Europe:



Seven French firefighters’ unions called for a strike this summer to denounce the difficult working conditions and lack of funding. 

The situation risks affecting not only extinguishing fires – firefighters in France also serve as paramedics. In 2017, firefighters respond to 400,000 more fires than in 2012 despite the fact their resources haven’t increased.

Sputnik discussed the French firefighters’ demands with Rémy Chabbouh, Secretary General of Sud Solidaires SPP, and Frédéric Perrin, President of SPASDIS-CFTC.

According to firefighters, they are victims of fiscal tightening, which has been applied for several years in France. “More operations, fewer staff, closing or merging barracks… The system is out of breath. All this leads to longer response times,” Rémy Chabbouh says.

“It’s all interlinked. Hospitals are closing everywhere; some areas lack doctors etc. All this concerns us. During flu season, people quite often call firefighters to help their coughing kids. This is de Noémie Syndrome (syndrome de Noémie), named after this girl who died last year after an ambulance (SAMU - Service d’Aide Médicale Urgente) didn’t respond to the emergency call. The scandal was so huge that everyone is afraid now. Today, you can call firefighters to help any child whose nose is running,” he adds.

According to Le Monde, the Ministry of the Interior is thinking about easing the workload of firefighters: “Working groups are thinking about ways to reduce pressure at the level of reception people in need. such as the reconciliation between the ARS (Regional Health Agencies, Agences Régionales de Santé) and the SDIS (Departmental Fire and Rescue Services, Services Départementaux d’Incendie et de Secours), or the reduction of firefighters’ waiting time in emergency departments.”

“We are on the right track. But a big problem still remains. Firefighters don’t decide where they will take the victim; it’s SAMU that decides. Thus, there’re absurd situations. For example, a pregnant woman calls the fire department at 2 a.m. because she is about to give birth. Imagine she lives near the clinic of Rieu, in the Lyon region. The hospital is perfectly capable of taking care of that woman. However, if she was examined at another hospital, a few dozen kilometres away, the firefighters will be forced to take her to that clinic. At times of digital patients’ clinical records, this still raises questions,” Rémy Chabbouh comments.

Frédéric Perrin agrees with Rémy Chabbouh:

“The Ministry of Health is playing alone. I’m totally against this situation, even though I am not here to hit on our colleagues, who are also striking. Still, I have been a trade unionist for 20 years; and for 20 years these health people have been doing what they want. Firefighters no longer want to be under the SAMU. We have never been able to objectively and specifically discuss these issues with them. The reality is that today we are doing the job we should not be doing. Beyond the vital emergency responses, we perform a number of tasks that are not our duties. For example, an isolated rural barracks has only one ambulance. Due to the lack of funds, the SAMU asks the firefighters to provide transportation for a person who is not in danger of death. While the firefighters take care of this person, another person suffers a cardiac arrest; but there’s no ambulance to take them to hospital.”


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they don't trust your virtues...

If you’re traveling outside the United States this summer you might want to rethink taking your electronics along. Government agents have been detaining American citizens without arrest, searching, and in some cases downloading the entire contents of phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices. And this all happens without a warrant or access to an attorney.

“The border has become a rights-free zone for Americans who have to travel,” Senator Ron Wyden said in a statement to TAC. “The founders never could have imagined that the government would be able to sift through your entire digital life, from pictures to emails and even where you’ve been, just because you decide to take a vacation or travel for work.”

Border searches of electronic devices have exploded at an exponential rate in recent years: in 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) searched over 33,295 smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices; up nine percent from fiscal year 2017 and over six times the number searched in 2012. And that’s just the statistics from CBP; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not maintain records of the number of electronic device searches it conducts.

“The government is accessing all your private data,” Sophia Cope, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), told TAC. These “deeply intrusive” searches of electronic devices “reveal a lot about you: your emails, contacts, bank history, internet searches, medical history, social media usage, and political beliefs.”


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a step towards the common good?...

Almost 16 years ago, my first piece for TAC chronicled a bad breakup then unfolding between conservatives and their libertarian allies over the Republican president of the United States.

To a great many libertarians, George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda” seemed like anything but: it consisted of the Patriot Act, increased spying on Americans, torture of foreigners, new deficit-funded federal spending on guns and butter alike, and above all a disastrous war in Iraq. Bush’s variant of conservatism exiled budget hawks and elevated national security hawks, threatening the fusionist project linking traditionalists and libertarians under the banner of the American Right. Libertarians saw no place for themselves in the “new fusionism” of neoconservatism and the Religious Right.

Bush’s dominance turned out to be short-lived and so was the crisis of the libertarian-conservative alliance. What came after in the form of the Tea Party brought together fiscal and social conservatives in defense of the Constitution, often aligned against the Bushies who brought us the Iraq war. At its peak, this new movement helped elect two important skeptics of military interventionism, Rand Paul and Justin Amash. With fellow traveler Mike Lee and such later additions as Thomas Massie, they outnumbered more hawkish newcomers like Marco Rubio, even if they remained a minority among congressional Republicans overall.

It looked like a free market populism could take hold of the GOP. Instead populism without the modifier took over via Donald Trump and Amash is now out of the party, declaring his own independence on the Fourth of July. While Amash’s frustration with partisan politics had been growing for years, it was his break with Trump that made this move seem inevitable. To some extent, we’re witnessing a fight between those who want conservative leaders to be good and those who want conservatism itself to be less individualistic and more oriented toward the common good.


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exposing the propaganda of greed, wars and highway robbery...



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