Murdered by Barbarians

VIENNA – Real money must reflect the realities of the real economy. If it becomes detached from economic reality, like a clock that no longer tells the right time, it becomes a hazard to everyone.

 

Air FranceGrounded: Air France planes are idled by yet another strike.

Photo credit: Eric Piermont / AFP

 

Appointments are missed. Trains crash. You show up at the airport and find the plane left two hours ago! Air France is on strike. Our flight – with Austrian Airlines – left an hour late as a result.

“This is a mess,” we said to nobody in particular, as we waited for a plane this morning.

“Welcome to France,” said a voice behind us.

Puzzling out the secrets of money and interest rates was interrupted by the news – and nostalgia. The gruesome details: An 86-year-old French priest was forced to kneel in his church. Then his throat was cut.

“Murdered by Barbarians,” screamed a headline in the French newspaper Le Figaro.

“We must be pitiless,” said former president Nicolas Sarkozy. “It’s war.”

 

SarkozySarko the pitiless! Surely the Retro-Caliph in Raqqa is trembling.

Cartoon by Steve Bell

 

He may have picked up a few lines from Saint Bernard, rehearsed nearly 1,000 years ago. In the Burgundian town of Vézelay, on March 31, 1146, St. Bernard of Clairvaux delivered his famous oration on responding to the Muslim threat:

 

Will you allow the infidels to contemplate in peace the ravages they have committed on Christian people? […] Fly then to arms; let a holy rage animate you in the fight, and let the Christian world resound with these words of the prophet: “Cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood!”

 

Saint_BernardSt. Bernard de Clairvaux (a.k.a. Bernardo de Claraval) sees the light and decides a few swords need to be stained with blood in a spot of tit-for-tat ravaging.

Panting by François Vincent Latil

 

In France – as in the U.S. – saintly politicians compete to see who can most convincingly promise to “get tough.” Of course, getting tough is just what the so-called Islamic State (known in France by its Arabic acronym, Daesh) wants.

The strategy is ancient. More than 2,000 years ago, radical Jewish groups conducted a war of terror against their Roman masters, hoping to provoke a crackdown by the authorities… leading to the radicalization of the masses. Did it work?

Depends on how you look at it. The Jews got their crackdown. Vespasian and Titus put down their insurrection, leveled Jerusalem, destroyed The Temple and, according to Josephus, killed 1.1 million Jews.

 

Communists, Trotskyites, Maoists

We remember discussing the radicals’ strategy back in 1969. This is where the nostalgia comes in.  Last night, we stayed at a tiny hotel in Paris, near where we first got to know the city 43 years ago.

We had gone for a semester abroad, after discovering that the tuition at the University of Paris was only $80. That meant that even with airfare, it was cheaper to go to the Sorbonne than to the University of Maryland.

The semester turned into a lifelong relationship, marked by equal periods of affection and disgust. We didn’t speak French at the time, but we had had four years of it in high school. That seemed like plenty (although it later proved comically insufficient).

But we were adventurous back then. And penniless. So, we got ourselves to Paris and hung out at the bars around St.-Germain-des-Prés. It was a very different city in the 1960s. It was a world leader in fashion, technology, movies, food, and philosophy. But Paris had a problem back then, too.

 

paris68-03sPolice and radical students facing off in Paris in 1968. It is quite ironic that the protesters of 1968 have transmogrified into the biggest squares, warmongers and happy police state administrators of today.

Photo credit: Gökşin Sipahioğlu

 

Communists, Trotskyites, Maoists, anarchists, syndicalists, and students – in 1968, they rebelled, ripped up the streets to build barricades out of the paving stones (the streets were covered with asphalt soon after), and engaged with the police in pitched battles.

By the time we arrived a year later, skirmishes between gendarmes and radical groups were still going on. The organized rebels would race around a corner, throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police who formed up into protected phalanxes with their clear plastic shields.

Then the cops would suddenly charge the insurgents, swinging their billy clubs at anyone they could reach. Trained and practiced, the terrorists would retreat quickly. This left the police with nobody to rough up except innocent onlookers.

That is how your editor nearly got hospitalized. Walking down the street, he was mistaken for a radical… knocked to the ground and worked over by three policemen, who eagerly went about their work with happy cudgels.

 

french_student_riot_may_19681Paris, May 1968 – it is fair to say that the streets weren’t exactly safe.

Photo credit: n24.de

 

Revolutionary Strategy

Sitting in a café with a bandaged face, we discussed the revolutionaries’ strategy with a young French intellectual of Trotskyite tendencies. Even almost a half-century later, we recalled the conversation when we passed the café (still in business) where it took place.

“Oh, sorry to see you got beaten up,” he said. “But it’s just collateral damage. We’re making headway. The police don’t like it when we attack them. It’s a point of pride, more than anything else.

“So, they overreact. But the more they show on TV people like you getting beaten up by the cops, the more the working class comes over to our side. We’re going to win.”

 

Leon Trotsky 2Leon Trotsky, proponent of the “permanent revolution”, and an idol of many of the 1968 rebels. It is truly funny that his legacy seems to be the modern-day crony-socialist zombie economy!

Photo credit: Popperfoto / Getty Images

 

The revolutionaries did not win. They did not topple the Fifth Republic. But they eventually got much of what they wanted: Free schooling, free drugs and medical attention; a high-cost, zombified crony economy; a bureaucratized, tightly regulated society; even a 35-hour workweek.

And now look at it.

“Yes, it’s a mess…” repeated the voice behind us.

 

Image captions by PT

 

The above article originally appeared as “The Story of How We Were Worked Over by Policeat the Diary of a Rogue Economist, written for Bonner & Partners. Bill Bonner founded Agora, Inc in 1978. It has since grown into one of the largest independent newsletter publishing companies in the world. He has also written three New York Times bestselling books, Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets.

 

 

 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 


 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke

   
 

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • How to Survive the Winter
      A Flawless Flock of Scoundrels One of the fringe benefits of living in a country that’s in dire need of a political, financial, and cultural reset, is the twisted amusement that comes with bearing witness to its unraveling.  Day by day we’re greeted with escalating madness.  Indeed, the great fiasco must be taken lightly, so as not to be demoralized by its enormity.   Symphony grotesque in Washington [PT]   Of particular note is the present cast of characters. ...
  • The Strange Behavior of Gold Investors from Monday to Thursday
      Known and Unknown Anomalies Readers are undoubtedly aware of one or another stock market anomaly, such as e.g. the frequently observed weakness in stock markets in the summer months, which the well-known saying “sell in May and go away” refers to. Apart from such widely known anomalies, there are many others though, which most investors have never heard of. These anomalies can be particularly interesting and profitable for investors – and there are several in the precious metals...
  • Business Cycles and Inflation – Part I
      Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting Q4 2017 -  Special Guest Ben Hunt, Author and Editor of Epsilon Theory The quarterly meeting of the Incrementum Fund's Advisory Board took place on October 10 and we had the great pleasure to be joined by special guest Ben Hunt this time, who is probably known to many of our readers as the main author and editor of Epsilon Theory. He is also chief risk officer at investment management firm Salient Partners. As always, a transcript of the discussion is...
  • What President Trump and the West Can Learn from China
      Expensive Politics Instead of a demonstration of its overwhelming military might intended to intimidate tiny North Korea and pressure China to lean on its defiant communist neighbor, President Trump and the West should try to learn a few things from China.   President Trump meets President Xi. The POTUS reportedly had a very good time in China. [PT] Photo credit: AP   The President’s trip to the Far East came on the heels of the completion of China’s...
  • Business Cycles and Inflation, Part II
      Early Warning Signals in a Fragile System [ed note: here is Part 1; if you have missed it, best go there and start reading from the beginning] We recently received the following charts via email with a query whether they should worry stock market investors. They show two short term interest rates, namely the 2-year t-note yield and 3 month t-bill discount rate. Evidently the moves in short term rates over the past ~18 - 24 months were quite large, even if their absolute levels remain...
  • Is Fed Chair Nominee Jay Powell, Count Dracula?
      A Date with Dracula The gray hue of dawn quickly slipped to a bright clear sky as we set out last Saturday morning.  The season’s autumn tinge abounded around us as the distant mountain peaks, and their mighty rifts, grew closer.  The nighttime chill stubbornly lingered in the crisp air.   “Who lives in yonder castle?” Harker asked. “Pardon, Sire?” Up front in the driver's seat it was evidently hard to understand what was said over the racket made by the team of...
  • A Different Powelling - Precious Metals Supply and Demand Report
      New Chief Monetary Bureaucrat Goes from Good to Bad for Silver The prices of the metals ended all but unchanged last week, though they hit spike highs on Thursday. Particularly silver his $17.24 before falling back 43 cents, to close at $16.82.   Never drop silver carelessly, since it might land on your toes. If you are at loggerheads with gravity for some reason, only try to handle smaller-sized bars than the ones depicted above. The snapshot to the right shows the governor...
  • Heat Death of the Economic Universe
      Big Crunch or Big Chill Physicists say that the universe is expanding. However, they hotly debate (OK, pun intended as a foreshadowing device) if the rate of expansion is sufficient to overcome gravity—called escape velocity. It may seem like an arcane topic, but the consequences are dire either way.   OT – a little cosmology excursion from your editor: Observations so far suggest that the expansion of the universe is indeed accelerating – the “big crunch”, in...
  • Claudio Grass Interviews Mark Thornton
      Introduction Mark Thornton of the Mises Institute and our good friend Claudio Grass recently discussed a number of key issues, sharing their perspectives on important economic and geopolitical developments that are currently on the minds of many US and European citizens. A video of the interview can be found at the end of this post. Claudio provided us with a written summary of the interview which we present below – we have added a few remarks in brackets (we strongly recommend...
  • Inflation and Gold - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Reasons to Buy Gold The price of gold went up $19, and the price of silver 42 cents. The price action occurred on Monday, Wednesday and Friday though so far, only the first two price jumps reversed. We promise to take a look at the intraday action on Friday.   File under “reasons to buy gold”: A famous photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson of a rather unruly queue in front of a bank in Shanghai in 1949 in the final days of Kuomintang rule. When it dawned on people that the...
  • Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      A Different Vantage Point The prices of the metals were up slightly this week. But in between, there was some exciting price action. Monday morning (as reckoned in Arizona), the prices of the metals spiked up, taking silver from under $16.90 to over $17.25. Then, in a series of waves, the price came back down to within pennies of last Friday’s close. The biggest occurred on Friday.   Silver ended slightly up on the week after a somewhat bigger rally was rudely interrupted...
  • How Uncle Sam Inflates Away Your Life
      Economic Nirvana “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon,” economist and Nobel Prize recipient Milton Friedman once remarked.  He likely meant that inflation is the more rapid increase in the supply of money relative to the output of goods and services which money is traded for.   Famous Monetarist School representative Milton Friedman thought the US should adopt a constitutional amendment limiting monetary inflation to 3% – 5% per year, putting...

Support Acting Man

Top10BestPro
j9TJzzN

Austrian Theory and Investment

Archive

350x200

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com