Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Culture of Self-Censorship

The writer Simon Louvish once told the story of a group of Soviets touring the United States before the age of glasnost. After reading the newspapers and watching TV, they were amazed to find that, on the big issues, all the opinions were the same. "In our country," they said, "to get that result we have a dictatorship, we imprison people, we tear out their fingernails. Here you have none of that. So what's your secret? How do you do it?" (Quoted, John Pilger, Tell Me No Lies, Random House, 2004, p.9)
I have an ongoing suspicion that America is not really a free society anymore, but that our rulers find it useful for us to believe that it is. We work harder, and fight harder, for the system if we believe it is giving us "freedom". If we tried to actually do anything which would seriously challenge the system, we learn that the "rights" we thought we had were only there until we tried to use them.

In my home state of Arkansas for example, we have the right to run for public office as independents. It is still on the books that we can and for minor offices we do. But one year eleven of us filed for seats in the state legislature as independents. The result was a flurry of legislation which moved the goal-posts and made it harder to qualify for the ballot that way. The system likes people to access the ballot for offices that matter via large centrally directed organizations- that they can watch/bribe/capture/threaten.

We are still in court over one law they made in 2013 that had already been ruled unconstitutional four times previously. If we "win" the lawsuit it is very likely that all they will have to do is change the law back until the next time federal judges are not looking. In the meantime, they have taken other measures to tamp down unauthorized liberty. You have certain rights under the law- unless you have the effrontery to try and actually exercise them. They are there to make you think you are free, not so you can actually exercise that freedom.

I guess I am not too far on this one from songwriter Frank Zappa who once said...

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
It is an uncomfortable thought that we are not really free. That is one reason why most of us avoid trying to test those limits, even if we are unhappy with the system as it is. But I am not just talking about civil politics.  For example, I was in an amenable discussion with a young lady who works in immunology. She thinks that it has been proven that vaccines (during pregnancy or in the first 26 months) do not contribute to autism. I am convinced that for people with a certain genetic predisposition, it can. During the discussion I mentioned the story of a CDC whistle blower- a Dr. Thompson.

Thompson said when their data showed a link between vaccines and autism for certain groups they brought a trash can to the meeting room and put it in the middle of the room. Then they threw away all their papers with the inconvenient data on it. He kept some on the sly. You can read Thompson's quote in a Forbes article here, though the rest of the article is on spin over-drive trying to explain it away.

When I quoted that event she strongly denied that there was any pressure on them to alter their findings and that they had the freedom to study any question that they could show had merit. I could tell the insinuation made her indignant so I changed tack. But notice that Dr. Thompson did not say that they were pressured from above either. They did not have to be. They self-censored. They knew what acceptable results were supposed to look like, they knew what the "respectable" position in their sub-culture was on the vaccine-autism link. When the data put them in the position of discovering something on the wrong side of that line they felt the pressure to destroy the evidence- at least what they could- and become "respectable" again.

The people running this theater do not have to pull anyone's fingernails out anymore. I think they will if it comes to that, after all our government has shed a lot of blood lately, but they don't have to. All they have to do is encourage group identity rather than individual confidence and integrity. Then they use various means including the media to let members of the sub-culture know what the "correct" opinions are for their groups. Insecure people want to fit into their chosen group, so they jump over each other to confirm what are supposed to be the group biases. Their sense of self-worth is (improperly) tied into membership in these groups.

So for example, people at CNN did not have to be threatened in order to talk up Obama and Clinton and bad-mouth Donald Trump. The folks at FOX did not have to be threatened to say bad things about Hillary Clinton. Members of those sub-cultures can indignantly protest that no one is censoring their "news" coverage. But that is part of the illusion, No one has to censor them to do those things because the cultural expectations have been set and they will censor themselves to ingratiate themselves to that culture.

To start back on the road to real freedom we need to begin within ourselves. We need to have self-worth and integrity derived from our love of the truth rather than our membership in some group. We need confidence and integrity in the face of a society full of manipulated sub-cultures. We need to have a love of real freedom over slavery which is disguised as freedom to keep the slaves invested in the very system which controls them. Not by pulling their fingernails out, but by methods which are less direct and thus more effective.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Early Genesis, The Revealed Cosmology

If anybody has wondered why my blogging pace has slowed down, it is because my book-writing pace was picking up! The result is the most important book I have ever written, or could ever hope to write. The two books on localism as a political philosophy only have the potential to change the world. Genesis, the Revealed Cosmology has the potential to change people's view of God.

Print Version.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Guaranteed Basic Income vs. Guaranteed Basic Capital

Throughout human history people have earned income in two ways. One way was selling their labor. The other way was working, or hiring someone else to work, their capital.

In past ages capital was scarce. It was also more dependent on labor as a co-factor necessary to make it productive. You might have shovels, but without men to dig more than one was not of much use to you. Then came tractors. One operator and one mechanic could dig more than one hundred men with shovels.  So what happened there was that once the capital equipment was built the owner of the capital could substitute capital for labor. They no longer needed one-hundred men with shovels, they only needed an operator and a mechanic. The catch was that a tractor with back-hoe was more capital intensive than buying 100 shovels. Two skilled workers and an increase in capital replaced 100 less skilled workers.

For the last two-hundred years or so that did not matter because our capital increases increased overall wealth so much and there were plenty of other things that those freed-up hands could do. Instead of digging that ditch to bring water to the crops, two guys on a tractor could do it while the other ninety-eight worked on an assembly line making products that either never existed before or were very difficult to make in prior generations. In other words, society as a whole got richer by the increasing capital component of production. Those who survived by selling their labor did pretty well in the advanced economies. There was still a need for labor to work capital and the resulting boom of production from labor + capital working together was so enriching to the culture that everything became less expensive (measured in constant dollars) due to productivity gains.

Despite some complaints from those at the bottom, overall if you were a hard worker and a responsible person, you could do OK for yourself, maybe even well. Sure, those who started out with a big pile of capital did even better, but there was opportunity out there for those willing to take advantage of it. Then things started changing.

The number one thing that changed was the monetary system. After 1913, and in particular once those at the top of our financial system freed themselves of the gold standard, we had a financial system divided into two classes- the connected few who had access to vast amounts of money at very little or no cost and the unconnected many who had extremely limited access to capital for which they had to pay a lot in interest.It is easy to see that when you have that division in your economy, over time those with access to vast amounts of cheap money will wind up owning everything and those without it will wind up owning nothing.

We see how this played out in the bank bailouts of 2008. If some generation of your family messes up, they lose the family land forever. If one of these multi-generational global banks messes up, the system does whatever it has to so that they keep their stuff. Those on top use the system to stay on top. Again, it is easy to see what is going to happen over time. Eventually, someone in your family line will blow it and lose your family's accumulated capital. No bail outs for people like us. When Goldman Sacs blows it, the rules get changed so that they get to keep theirs. Again, the result of this system must be that over time the big corporations and governments own everything and the rest of us own nothing.

So one thing that happened was that capital was concentrated not by production, but by being connected to the system. The result has been that instead of most people owning substantial capital, only a few did and everyone else had to exist by selling labor into a market which is increasingly shifting away from labor and into capital.

The second thing that happened was the increasing globalization of labor, not just for blue collar jobs but also white collar jobs like construction drawings. In the recent past, bids for labor were more localized so that pockets of labor could still command high prices even if the overall price for labor was low. Now the labor pool is much more globalized. Capital can go to wherever labor is priced lowest. One may view this as a good thing or a bad thing (as I do in the case where the lowest price labor is slave labor from a nation with a captive labor force), but the overall effect of freedom of movement for capital is to put more downward pressure on labor prices.

Now technology is reaching the point where it is filling in so many jobs that there is an excess supply of labor overall. It is not just a question of the labor having the wrong skills, there is less and less place for any labor to go. It is easy to see the day coming when the "Family Doctor", a skilled position, is replaced by a hologram connected to an app which asks you certain questions and gives a diagnosis based on your answers and test results. The same thing is happening on the low end for the few jobs that can't be outsourced, like a cashier at a fast-food restaurant. An attempt to demand higher wages results in being replaced by an automated system. I can see the day coming when workers will be faux-AI robots made by other robots!

Those at the top of the economic heap make their money by working their capital, so they are all for
this change.  Robots complain less than people anyway. For the rest of us, we are being turned into what the harsher and more Social Darwinist members of the ruling class would call "useless eaters". Even if we are healthy people willing to work at a traditional job, there may be few to none to be had at a wage that would make it worthwhile to work. Going forward, we won't just be competing with Chinese neo-slaves, we will be competing with robots.

The shooting-for-pseudo-godhood members of the ruling class have a bit less harsh plan for the rest of us once technology produces a world where mankind has accumulated so much capital that none of us will ever have to work by selling our labor again. We can all live off of worked capital. What is this plan you say? Is it dividing up the massive accumulated capital to each individual so we can all just make a living managing capital rather than selling our labor? Uhhh. No. They and their controlled institutions like the state will hold onto all the capital. After all, how can they be our new gods if the basis of their godhood is diluted by other people having it too? No, their plan is called a "Guaranteed Basic Income" or "Living Wage."

Under this plan, every person would get a fixed income from the government. If they wanted to work in order to supplement this income, and were able to find work, then that would be OK (so long as they paid taxes) but the amount of the Guaranteed Income would be enough to support a person at a low level even if they never worked. Obviously government welfare would be universalized so that welfare programs per se could be abolished.

That sounds very tempting to a lot of people living on the edge in low-paying jobs that they hate (and even those are going away). Get paid by the government for doing nothing, and there is not even any stigma because everyone is getting a check, what is not to love? Everything. It is tempting, as sin often is, but its not the answer. For one thing, it would make us into utterly dependent slaves of the state. They would control whether your family eats or not, even as they want to control your healthcare now. What chance would a population have of resisting such rulers? It would not be "money for nothing". Supplicants would be beholden to the system. And more so each generation as more and more people lost the means and drive to take care of themselves and their own affairs. Ask yourself what its done for third generation welfare families if you think its such a good idea for everyone.

But the imbalance between the value of capital vs. the value of human labor is bound to continue. Its a real issue that ought to be addressed. The localist solution, indeed the solution of any person who wants to remain free rather than be worse than a slave because at least slaves had value to their masters and were therefore not easily expendable, is to guarantee basic capital rather than basic income. After all, the reason for the imbalance in the first place is that those who live by working capital have an increasing advantage over those who live by selling their labor. So its not income that needs to be guaranteed, but capital. Instead of all capital being owned by a few giant global corporations and governments and individuals being left with next to nothing, capital should be re-distributed. Not in ways which would use government force to take from one private person and give to another, but redistributed nevertheless.

For example, the United States government owns a significant amount of land, including vast portions of western states, and buildings and real estate all over the nation. States own mineral rights on public lands, and take property for back taxes that is now being scooped up by those few with access to our financial system's magic money machine for the connected. In other cases, favored corporations get special deals, such as tax credits or relief from certain taxes to operate from a given location. Why not have every citizen partake in the access to state-affected capital which is now available only to the few? Rights to property and rights to freedom from taxes for certain capital or businesses operated from a given location can become a family inheritance. In addition, as with the Basic Income Plan, money now spent on welfare can be re-directed. It can purchase capital assets for the program. Ultimately, when capital is built up enough, that money would not be necessary.

In the Old Testament, there was such land that could be rented out but not be sold. In the fiftieth year it would revert back to the heirs of the original family. Thus one bad generation could not lose the family heritage for all time, only for their own time. All debts were also cancelled. It was called the "Jubilee". Such a system assured that capital would always stay somewhat distributed and it would be impossible for the financial sector to dominate the whole economy. In other words, it would avoid the mess we find ourselves in today.

But it would also have another advantage- even if robots replaced workers no one would have to be destitute. Every family would have capital to work. They could all make some kind of living working their capital instead of just selling their labor. And in this system people would not be beholden to the government for that monthly check. Some would work their capital themselves and become wealthy, others might lease their capital out to someone else to work and go play video games and smoke pot. They would be relatively poor. But in each case, it would be their own choice, but a generationally revocable one.

"Basic Income" is like giving a man a fish. In a world where teaching them to fish is pointless because robots can fish more tirelessly and all the fishing holes are owned by the government and global corporations. It will be a tempting option. But its soul-destroying. Its the opposite of empowerment, it will give the government total control of the citizens. A better answer is for every family to have their own fishing hole. If all else fails, they can rent the rights to fish it to someone who has a robot.

I call for a society in which some capital assets are the irrevocable possessions of families. It should not be a federal program but the unnecessary assets of the Federal Government should be transferred over time to states and counties and from there to individual families which are "family corporations" with their own procedures and rules separate from standard incorporation. These assets should be kept on a perpetual trust basis so long as a family has heirs remaining. Should a line die without issue then the assets could only be purchased by other family trusts, or awarded to new trusts on the basis of another family becoming new citizens in good standing. The rules of society should be reversed from their present biases in which the property of real persons and families is subtly stripped away over time and transferred to artificial persons known as "corporations" and government entities. Instead, the rules should be reversed so that property and capital accrues to individuals and families.

The problem of shifting value between selling labor and working capital is not going to go away. Central statists have their "solution"- a guaranteed minimum income which would leave the masses wholly at the mercy of a merciless state. They will be in a worse position than slaves while those at the top will imagine themselves gods. The localist answer makes every man a lord.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Ideas Versus The Man

Some ideas are good in themselves, and others are bad in themselves. Most ideas though are neither good nor bad in themselves, but rather a means to an end. The end can be either good or bad. This class of ideas are rather like tools. Tools are morally neutral. They may be wielded for good purposes or for evil ones. In either case the outcome is not due to the tool, but rather to the person who uses the tool. The tool is not responsible for how it is used, but rather the man should be responsible for how he uses it.

Donald Trump is now the President-elect of the United States. I will pray for him, as I prayed for Barack Obama, though I voted for neither man (why do Americans continue to vote for candidates from the two DC-run, globally funded parties which have done so much to bankrupt the nation both morally and fiscally?).

Though he changes his story so often that it is hard to say exactly what his real policies will actually be, during the campaign he suggested many ideas which a localist should support. He expressed a desire to leave or re-negotiate trade deals which undermined our national sovereignty. He supported de-escalation of tensions with Russia which have come about by the actions of prior administrations acting as self-appointed "world police." He wants secure national borders. He has suggested that tariffs are a viable option for cheating trade "partners". He expressed support for the idea that even our political elites should be prosecuted if they have committed crimes- instead of our current situation where we have a ruling class which is effectively above the law. He said he was opposed to Common Core. He grumbled (vaguely) about the Federal Reserve system. He has declared that many controversial issues should be left to the states.

It really is an agenda that a localist could get behind even though the media has not called it by that name. They are stuck on calling him a "nationalist" even though some of his positions- like leaving many issues to the states and fuming about the federal reserve, actually indicate a man who wants much of government pushed below the national level. A nationalist is the second worst type of political outlook to have - next to a globalist. But Trump is not even pure nationalist. There is some bit of decentralization in his campaign rhetoric. Nationalism is better than globalism. True federalism is better than nationalism, and localism is best of all. At least this side of heaven where government is necessary.

In spite of this I did not support him. This is because I looked beyond the tools the man was proposing to use and firstly considered the character of the man who would be using them. Donald Trump is not a just man. He has never made justice a goal of his walk in life and it is highly unlikely that he will start now. Because the man is not virtuous, his use of the tools that I agree should be used will not be virtuous either. If he follows through on his campaign promises at all, which is very much an open question with him, I fear he will put the proper tools to an improper use. I fear he will give the tools themselves a bad name by his poor use of them. If so, for decades hence the thoughtless masses will not give a fair hearing to the idea that those tools should be used, but used properly. Instead of a real argument, the detractors will say "that sounds like Trump" and sound proposals will be unsoundly dismissed.

For example, tariffs are properly used as a firewall between an unjust economy and your own. It is just and like paying insurance premiums to protect your own economy from going down when the unjust one inevitably collapses. If an economy has a captive labor force for example, a tariff could  make the cost of doing business with them more like a true free market transaction if they actually had a free economy. That is a proper use of tariffs. Another just use of tariffs is when substituted for an even worse tax- like individual income taxes. This is with the understanding that government has to be funded somehow and tariffs are bad but not so bad as what they would replace.

I don't think that is how President Trump would use tariffs. I think he would protect specific industries, not specific just values. I think whoever was good to him would get a break and whoever was not would not. Tariffs are a policy tool, There is just and an unjust way to use them. He is not the man to lean on for a just use of tariffs, or anything else. His complaints about the federal reserve for example, could be turned into a demand for more reckless spending without financial consequences (until the imbalances caused by that become so great that even the fed loses control and the dollar crashes). Every idea he has that I like can be used in a way that I don't like.

I want the tools which he was proposing in his campaign. I probably favor them more than he does. We will see how many of them he was just saying to get elected (which shows how popular these anti-globalist tools are) and how many he is really committed to. But because I do favor these tools, I don't want to see their use discredited. The tools are not to blame for the use which they are put to by the unjust. Rather, the workman who used them poorly is to blame- him and the ones who handed him those tools to being with.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Tech Guru Discovers Appeal of Localism in Wake of Trump Victory

The Wall Street Journal had a piece up recently entitled "New Populism and Silicon Valley on Collision Course." Basically, left-leaning globally orientated techies are in shock that the nationalist Trump won the election. When Barack Obama was holding the gun, they didn't seem to mind so much. After all, they largely agreed with him. Since it was pointed at those loathsome heartland rednecks it was perfectly understandable that there should be only one set of rules for the whole nation- and that the central government should enforce those rules on the backwards hinterland whether the inhabitants liked it or not.

But it turns out there was a whole lot more folks in those backwoods than the tech gurus thought. Now Donald J. Trump is about to hold the gun, make the court appointments, and what have you. Suddenly, centralization doesn't seem so attractive. Now it occurs to them that maybe the entire continent wide nation of 320 million people should not be forced to adhere to the same rules about everything under the sun.

Silicon Valley tech guru (and CEO of Century 21 Bitcoin) Balaji Srinivasan had this to say:
“My Stanford network connects to Harvard and Beijing more than [California’s] Central Valley,” says Mr. Srinivasan. Eventually, he argues, “there will be a recognition that if we don’t have control of the nation state, we should reduce the nation state’s power over us.”
Silicon Valley gurus are talking about how they do not want to live under rules made by people they have nothing in common with. That is exactly the point that the heartland has made about the two coasts for some time. Both are right. Localism provides a framework by which we might all get along. 

If government is necessary, then we can either have a decentralized government or a centralized one. Right now we increasingly have a centralized one. Decisions for the whole nation are increasingly being made by the residents of one city. The nation itself is divided and every four years one side of the divide must live in terror because the other side wrests control of the gun away. Rather than endure this struggle which guarantees that half of our society will always be unhappy, why not let localities make the rules as they see fit, and make it a lot less important who the President is? 

Localism is for people who can sleep well at night even though people they don't know in a city they have never been to are doing things that they don't approve of. In other words, it is for mentally healthy people who are not controlled by the unattainable fantasy that someday the government in Washington is going to force everyone to live just the way they think people ought to live. Sadly, our society has been conditioned to make snap judgments based on emotional outrage on situations from afar where we hear only one side from a news report. Its not healthy, either for the individual or for the society since it produces an environment were demagogic strongmen can thrive for a while.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The New Silk Road Shows Loss of National Sovereignty Not Necessary for Trade

One of the tenants of localism is that nations should never enter into trade agreements in which compliance is adjudicated by some trans-national body. Lateral trade agreements, preferably bi-lateral, are the only type of agreement a national government should be constitutionally permitted to enter into in a localist society. That is to say, only agreements where each participant is a partner who determines for themselves when to enter or leave, and how to administer, said agreements.

The ruling class in the west have been pushing the idea that the inevitable way forward economically is to create supra-national trade zones which give binding authority to some sort of commission to adjudicate disputes as to when one nation or the other is abiding by its terms. This turns self-government into a farce, since any laws your legislature makes which run afoul of this un-elected commission of foreigners can be ruled null and void. This is not a condition which can honestly be called freedom.

There is a competing model though. It is one which is compatible with the ideas of localism, and thus true-self government and freedom. It has taken shape in the new Silk Road. It came together as a network, not a hierarchy. Every nations is participating in a voluntary manner to do something which benefits all of them- without the need for an extra-national body to enforce corporate rule. This Forbes article described it like this....
"There was no clear power structure, no defining architecture, no overarching legal regime. It wasn’t a trade pact, it wasn’t a treaty organization, and it wasn’t a customs zone. It was basically a loosely adjoined, multifaceted array of bilateral and multilateral partnerships interlinking the EU, the Eurasian Economic Union, Eastern Europe, the lower Caucasus states, Iran, and ASEAN with China that would be held together by a newly enhanced transportation and energy grid. It was just a network...." 
It is just a network. But a network is all you need if it is truly in the best interests of each participant in the network. The compulsory aspects of what is often today dishonestly called a "free trade zone" are only needed if pushback from the population of one or more participant nations can be expected. The way the west is conducting international trade is creeping toward global corporations hijacking national governments and using treaties as an end-run around self-government.

Don't let them tell you that such agreements are "necessary" or "inevitable". Another model has spontaneously emerged in the New Silk Road. Its not a new model either. It is simply the way trade has always happened until corporations got so big that they realized they could capture entire governments and pushed a contrived model of trade as part of that plan.

If you are opposed to corporate governance, then you should support the ideas in localism that would prevent it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

God Save Us from the Virtues of the New Civil Religion

"The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered…it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful."- G.K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy” (1908)

Chesterton was a giant, Even more so in insight than in stature. Though he wrote those words over a century ago, and we have largely transitioned from a modern to a post-modern world, they are still profoundly true today. Humanity does not just need to be saved from our sins, we need to be saved from our virtues. It is our out-of-balance virtues which allow us to self-justify the sins which spring from what our run-away virtues improperly de-emphasize. 

Some examples of these imbalanced virtues: It is good to follow scientific truth as such, but Social Darwinism gives a scientific veneer of truth for the idea that our upper class should forsake charity to our lower class. It is good to be a conscientious steward of the environment. But it becomes a flaw when the young can disregard the often difficult requirement to love their actual and flawed parents so long as they "love the planet." Regard for the feelings of someone whose sexuality is deviant is not wrong, its good. But not at the expense of truth. It becomes a snare if it prompts one to lash out in anger and hatred at people who speak the truth in love about what should be repented of rather than celebrated. 

Today's godless post-modern society is not immoral or without virtue. Rather, it is self-constructing its own false morality and its own contrived lists of sins and virtues to go along with it. The State, in partnership with big business and big religion, is building up a new civil religion which has its own code. This is why those of us who hold to the original Christian morality upon which Western Civilization was built don't understand the self-righteous certainty with which adherents of the new religion revile us. What we see as sin, they see as virtue. It is not that they are lacking virtue, it is that they have redefined virtue un-moored to underlying truth. In their view of things, traditionalists are the sinners. 

Men have gorged themselves with forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Sustained by that fruit they have become "like God", determining for themselves what is good and what is evil. We can not settle the question of which of us is sinning until we answer the question of which of us is operating from a foundation of truth. The question is whether there is a God-ordained moral order to the universe which applies regardless of human desires or whether we can construct our own morality which is as valid as any can be. A morality built on the foundation of the feelings of collective humanity.

The church today cannot speak repentance to the youth because the youth are offended at the idea that they have done anything for which repentance needed. The state controlled media is providing them with a new works-based system of "righteousness". All they have to do is hold the correct viewpoints on whatever issues the popular culture is pushing at the moment and radiate indignation toward those who don't hold them. In the new civil religion that counts for "righteousness." Backed by mass media reassurances, so certain are they of the rightness of their cause that dialogue is weakness. Dissent is disease. Neither is something they are the least bit interested in, other than in shouting them down as a moral good.

But support for their view is not just a PR campaign. They can point to evidence that some things really are getting better. Violent crime is down. Robbery is down. Rape is down. Education is up. Life span is up. People with some kind of health care coverage is up. There is a lot of evidence they can point to which indicates that things are getting better. The new civil religion is, in their view, working. It is building a tomorrow which is better than the past build on the old morality. The new civil religion is "saving" collective mankind.

This is where I must go back to Chesterton. He said that vices are indeed let loose, and they cause damage. But the virtues wrongly applied can cause more damage. It may be that we are less rowdy than we once were, but more venal. Sin has not been eliminated, but rather society has become better at covering up the costs and harm of sin. Has prostitution and rape gone down? Yes, but its not because there is less sexual sin and aggression. We just have access to torrents of pornography now. Objectification of women in our lives may be less because we now have much more access to digital women objectifying themselves. So there is not less sin, but the costs of sin are deflected into areas where the harm is for a time less visible. This will continue to appear to work, until it doesn't.

In the same way, even while we have rejected a view of the poor as created in God's image we have created new ways to care for the poor which masks our growing lack of compassion. We have EBT cards now, so no one has to see soup lines as they did in the Great Depression, We have programs to deal with "those people" now. Just support the programs, and you can consider yourself "moral" even if you have no real affection for any of the real people "served" by them.

Those programs are not even being paid for by ourselves. Instead, we create debt which we pass to the next generation to fund these programs. So we feel no pain in giving. The cost of our "giving" is not felt by us. So things seem to get better, for a time. Someday though, our ability to fund welfare through government debt will vanish. Then we will see how compassionate people are when they actually have to pay for it rather than simply radiate self-righteous indignation at those who challenge the costs and the methods of these programs. Yet as with the other, it will continue to appear to work. Until it doesn't.

Once the professional thief had to go out and take risks to steal. He had to see that he was taking real stuff from real people who were hurt by the loss. The social welfare thief today is not forced to confront any of those risks, and the immorality of his actions is lost in abstraction. He is getting his check from "the government" and they seem to always have money. Or at worst, from "the rich" whom he never has to see as real individual people. Indeed, even if he were to meet a wealthy person in his community which he liked personally, he would not ever have to make the connection that this is who he is stealing from. Voting for the government to rob your neighbor "legally" is a lot less risky, and easier on the decayed conscience, than the old style of theft. It is no wonder the officially measured rates of "theft" have gone down. But this is not because greed, envy, or covetousness has decreased in the least amount. Those things may be worse than ever. But the form of modern society has covered and concealed those sins by interjecting itself between the sinful heart and those hurt by it.

Notice how in all of the examples above the actual condition of the human heart can grow worse while the outward behavior of the human has a less noticeable social impact. It does so because these "solutions" actually weaken our ties to each other and increases our connections to some abstract intermediary such as the state. So we bother each other less because we have less connection to each other, not because our hearts have been made better. Everything in the drive to separate sexuality from commitment and family to separating the generosity of the giver and the gratitude of the receiver does this. And this is not limited to those examples. I sense a repeating pattern in this regard. The new civil religion consistently isolates us from one another so that traditional sin is more effectively covered up rather than repudiated.

For a while, it is going to seem like they have succeeded. Succeeded in building a morality and religion without God. One that reduces outward misconduct compared to the past and produces wealth. But it is all being done on false accounting, even as the pillars of this faith are themselves built on falsehood. Rapidly advancing technology should make life better and produce economic gains. Those advantages are not the results of this new religion, but rather the new religion is garnering credit for momentum built up before it was ascendant.

In the same way the illusion of prosperity is maintained by writing a trillion dollars worth of hot checks on the accounts of the next generation- something past ages of people were less willing to do to the innocent. The present Masters of the World have not invented a system so perfect that no one needs to be good anymore. All they have done is found a way to hide for a time the outward costs of human evil. But the truth will out, and time will tell, what happens to souls and to societies, which are built on the shifting sand of collective consensus rather than the solid rock of transcendent moral truth.