"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper which should have been gold, are a token of honor -- your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money." ~ Ayn Rand
The Arrogance of America
Mirror, mirror, on the wall: who's the most arrogant nation of all?
Is it that country where everybody thinks they own the world because they have 'perpetual' economic prosperity? Is it that place where people think war is just a cool video game on TV, dropping bombs on innocent civilians in an effort to 'rid the world of evil-doers'? Is it that enchanted land where 'deficits don't matter,' where anyone with a pulse can buy a big fancy house and two brand-new Lexus SUV's with cheap credit, and call himself 'rich' because of it?
Yeah . . . you guessed it, ladies and gentlemen. That's America the Beautiful: the Unsinkable Titanic and Invincible Mario of the world. It's the nation where the pungent stench of arrogance emanating from it has become so dense, you could stab it with a fork and eat green eggs & ham with it while all the jerks on Fox News are blaring at your face because the TV volume is up so loud.
In fact, if you step back in awe and get a good whiff of it, you'll notice three main scents of pure pompousness: cultural, political, and financial, which the U.S. emits voraciously with vigor and gusto.
Culturally, Americans seem to think the whole world should bow down to them, speak their language, practice their predominant religion, and worship their extravagant way of life. How else could Pat Buchanan have made a name for himself if it weren't for this widespread cultural-superiority complex?
In fact, I personally cannot count the number of times that someone cringed when I played pop music that's sung in a non-English language. 'What the hell are they saying?' I would hear in an angry and condescending voice. (Notice that people in other countries hear American pop music in English and sing along joyfully, even if they don't understand the language.) If you really want to catch a strong whiff of this American cultural snobbishness, just tell a bunch of U.S. citizens that you support the idea of open immigration, and you'll get a huge haughty hailstorm of fun!
Moving on, the next arrogant American stench comes from the political realm.
Let's face it: Most U.S. citizens today think of 'freedom' as the freedom of the government to do whatever it darn well pleases, and the freedom of 'society' to vote as a mob to increase the wealth of special interest groups by stealing from productive, prudent individuals through forcible redistribution. Furthermore, Americans also believe that an invisible guy in the sky has endowed them with the collective divine right to rule the world. Just ask Jerry Falwell if you don't believe me.
Not only are Americans a bunch of busybodies at home -- trying to tell everyone from coast to coast whom they can and can't marry, and using the power of the regime to stop people from consuming recreational drugs, but they also wish to dictate to the whole population of the world on how to live, too. Americans have deployed a million of their troops in more than 100 countries -- propping up dictators who support the economic special interests of politicians in Washington -- in a way that would make ancient Rome and the Mongol Empire envious. Somebody once bellowed at me, 'We are number one in the world! We've got to show everybody why we are number one! We've got to show the whole world with our military might that we are BAD ASSES who nobody messes around with!!!'
And then, Americans wonder why much of the global population hates them, and why terrorists threaten them more and more often. (Keep in mind that since 1782, the federal government either provoked every war that the U.S. has fought, or that Americans' individual liberty simply wasn't at stake to begin with.)
Finally, the third and most deadly scent of pure pompousness emanating from America is the financial form.
The U.S. inhabitants seem to think that their illustrious economic prosperity is permanent, and that they have a natural right to success in life, simply because they're Americans. They think the business world automatically owes them high-paying jobs and cheap goods and services, and that deficits don't matter because these have been occurring since the early 1980s with no ill effects. Americans keep asking, 'Where's my nice new house? Where's my brand-new SUV? Where's my new credit card with the cool design on it? Where's my big salary with the financial firm or defense contractor? And where's my multimillion-dollar retirement plan?'
Americans believe that they'll always have well-paying jobs (or a job, period), that a strong economic recovery will always follow every recession, that their paper assets and real estate will always increase in value, and that their government and central bank will always have the ability to bail them out when the nation is in financial trouble.
Never mind the fact that U.S. citizens have been enjoying these extravagant privileges because their legal-tender currency -- the U.S. dollar -- has been the world's 'official reserve currency' since 1944. The Federal Reserve can create an unlimited amount of inherently worthless fiat money -- backed by nothing but blind faith in bureaucrats -- by using its printing press or computers. Then, the central bank (and U.S. government) can ship this money to foreign countries in exchange for real goods & services! Americans as a result get to live in luxury while finding themselves increasingly unemployed. They also can pay lower taxes while living under the largest government enterprise in the world. And then they wonder why 'outsourcing' has become so popular in recent decades.
Why don't they follow their 'outsourced' jobs overseas? Or why don't they offer to match the lower wages that immigrants are willing to work for instead of just going on the welfare dole? They'll all say, 'It's because I'm an American and I deserve to live a better lifestyle than that.'
Excuse me, but no one owes you anything in life. If you possess specific things, it's because you've earned them. It's because others want to supply you with particular goods and services in exchange for what you are giving them. They aren't yours by birthright. Perhaps you could learn some new skills and offer people something that they're willing to pay you adequately for. But don't give everyone all this crap about being a 'victim' to outsourcing and immigration.
Anyway, because of all this financial arrogance, the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio is at its highest level in American history, and appears to be on the verge of collapse. (Click here for an ominous illustration.) The consumer savings rate is at an all-time low, real estate and the stock market are far overvalued by all historical standards, and the U.S. exhibits record trade deficits and government budget shortfalls. Another Great Depression appears to be written in stone -- no matter how the politicians and central bankers try to avoid it. And unlike the last one, which occurred during the 1930s and '40s, the U.S. dollar isn't backed by gold in any way whatsoever. And unlike Japan , there's no large trade surplus to keep the fiat currency afloat.
Most Americans have never thought through what would happen to their jobs, lifestyles, and retirement plans if foreigners altogether stopped funding U.S. debt and liquidated their U.S. dollar holdings, and the dollar lost its 'world reserve currency' status. What would happen if the dollar became practically worthless, as all fiat currencies did at some point in history?
'But we're Americans!' they say. 'We're endowed by God to lead this world, and that could never happen to us!'
Well, since we have now examined all three of these arrogant American stenches (cultural, political, and financial), let me pose a simple question that very few U.S. citizens seem to be asking themselves: Are you freer than you were 10, 30, and 50 years ago? Are you freer? For most people, the answer is a resounding 'No.'
America 's prosperity used to be the result of the high levels of individual liberty and the general respect for private property that U.S. inhabitants previously enjoyed. But with the government now involved in nearly every aspect of their lives, how much of their present wealth can actually be attributed to freedom, and what amount of their affluence can be ascribed instead to the unsustainable debt bubble? Americans won't like the answer.
Next, what if we were to travel around the world, and ask everyone else if they are freer than they were 10, 30, and 50 years ago? The majority of them would probably say, 'Yes,' especially those in East Asia . The United States used to be the undisputed freest country in the world, but today, that figure is probably much more ambiguous.
Why did Americans become so arrogant? First, we must understand what arrogance is. It actually has nothing to do with pride, which is healthy. Instead, arrogance is really a cover-up for psychological insecurity. Anxious people exhibit various ways of masking their insecurity, and a snobby attitude is one of those false behaviors.
So the real question is how did Americans become so insecure? Maybe they've forgotten how to enjoy the simple things in life, such as good music, interesting books and articles, the pleasant company of friends and family, and numerous inexpensive activities. Perhaps U.S. citizens are worried about their careers. Maybe they're apprehensive about slowly losing their individual freedoms during the past several decades (and especially since September 11, 2001 ), while much of the world is gaining ground on them. Who knows . . . .
As Americans look around and see the problems that are currently plaguing the country, they've all developed their own little scapegoats. Mainstream liberals (i.e., 'neoliberals') point their finger at 'selfishness' and 'greed.' But people have been selfish and greedy for millions of years. Mainstream conservatives (i.e., 'neoconservatives'), on the other hand, are a real hoot. They like to lay the blame on atheists, immigrants, gays and lesbians, and the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. To this laughable neoconservative nonsense, I must ask which is worse for children: reading Mark Twain and Carl Sagan, playing with pi'atas, listening to Elton John, and watching rap videos on MTV? Or observing their parents overload themselves with massive debt in an effort to keep up with the Joneses, while being told to pursue the College Education Bubble and to follow their parents' so-called 'conservative' examples?
Of course, the real problem is a leviathan regime that smothers everyone with draconian regulations and separates people from the consequences of their own actions through the forcible redistribution of wealth, but you'd never know it by listening to the claptraps in the mainstream media.
So ladies and gentlemen, if there is a time to be 'bearish' on America , that time is now. The arrogance of America will soon be headed straight down a nightmarish slippery slope of painful ruin and disgrace.
Figuratively speaking, the U.S. resembles Invincible Mario from the classic video game Super Mario Brothers. The Starman character, which gives Mario his invincibility, represents the 'official world reserve currency' status of the U.S. dollar. So many Americans seem to think they can have it all, that they can run all over the world with flashing colors, bumping into everything and wreaking havoc with impunity, while 'buying' fancy new houses and cars on cheap credit. Too many naive Americans believe that Invincible Mario can just do whatever he wants. But what if he falls down a bottomless pit? Or what if the time runs out? Likewise, what if foreigners decide to stop buying U.S. debt and start dumping their U.S. dollars, and what if the dollar becomes worthless?
As Richard Daughty (a.k.a., the Mogambo Guru) wrote several months ago in an article on 321gold.com, ' America is living on borrowed money, and therefore, borrowed time.' (Click this link to hear the memorable Mario sound warning illustrating this excellent point!)
Time has truly been running short on the U.S.A. these past few years. Now, the Mario game music has been playing faster (since the Y2K stock-market-top warning). The Federal Reserve's monetary printing press, along with the U.S. government budget and deficits, and military interventionism abroad have all sped up and are hyperdancing to this faster Mario beat in an effort to keep the system alive for a little longer!
But soon, Invincible Mario's haste will cause him to stumble and fall down a bottomless pit, or the time will expire. Either way, click here and listen to what will happen to Emperor U.S.A. Mario! America is like ancient Rome , and when the dollar crashes, the troops are comin' home (to an impoverished nation, I might add).
Well, let's move on. The good news for the Arabs (and other foreign U.S. loathers) is that they don't have to defeat America . America will defeat itself. The U.S. will fall on its own sword of monetary inflation and debt, and will suffocate on the super-dense smell of its own arrogance, just as every empire did throughout history. What goes up must come down...and the bigger they are, the harder they fall!
But if you think about it, America truly needs another Great Depression -- that's correct -- it needs one.
Americans need to learn some simple lessons in life. They need to learn that they cannot get away with taking more from life than what they put into life.
They need to learn that a person's financial net worth is not determined by the size of his or her mortgage or car loans, or credit-card debt.
Americans need to learn the virtue of saving, and the importance of not blindly following the crowd and mainstream press when investing.
Americans need to learn firsthand about the financial and cultural fallacies of big government -- especially when it starts to collapse in the coming years. This includes government-business partnerships, socialistic welfare handouts, draconian healthcare regulations, government-run schooling, and the insidious War on Drugs.
And finally, the U.S. military-industrial complex (i.e., the worst polluter, the most ridiculous waste of money, and biggest provoker of terrorism in the world) needs to go bankrupt in order to restore hope and dignity for the future of humankind.
Another Great Depression would negate the need for a libertarian revolution, since the corrupt government would simply collapse unto itself instead of the bloody alternative! Remember the U.S.S.R.'s demise in the 1980s? It, too, was a healthy and necessary event, wasn't it? In fact, the lyrics from the rock group Queen's 1984 hit song, 'Hammer to Fall,' could easily apply to the United States as well:
Here we stand or here we fall
History won't care at all Make the bed light the light Lady Mercy won't be home tonight yeah You don't waste no time at all Don't hear the bell but you answer the call It comes to you as to us all We're just waiting For the hammer to fall Oh every night and every day A little piece of you is falling away But lift your face the Western Way Build your muscles as your body decays yeah Toe your line and play their game yeah Let the anesthetic cover it all Till one day they call your name You know it's time for the hammer to fall
I am hopeful that someday, after Americans have had a chance to cleanse themselves of their stenches of arrogance and folly, the time will come to be 'bullish' on America once again -- possibly starting around the year 2020. After U.S. citizens have learned their lesson the hard way, and have rediscovered what freedom really is, and when America is once again the undisputed freest country in the world -- full of prudence, modesty, and peace -- will the U.S. be a great nation again.
In the meantime, the chips will fall where they may. Throughout history when a wealthy nation's economy collapses, its new technology usually gets dispersed to all the other nations -- especially the 'up and coming' ones. Asians and Latinos could very well be driving America 's repo'd vehicles in a few short years! Imagine that!
During the 'Greater' Depression, Americans could be watching their favorite Fox News show on world economic events, and will point at the TV screen and bellow at the top of their lungs, 'HEY!!! THAT'S MY FORD EXPEDITION WITH THE LITTLE DOOR DING!!! GET THE HELL OUT OF MY JEEP, YOU DAMN FOREIGNERS!!!'
Not to mention that this person would be sitting inside his repo'd house with a sign on the front lawn that says, 'FOR SALE BY YAO & YOSHIKI BANK,' along with most of his neighbors' homes, too.
The time has come for the United States of Arrogance to pay -- culturally, politically, and financially. Americans will be getting exactly what they deserve and I don't want to hear anyone whining about it.