How long can an empire last? What brings down once mighty civilizations? The idea has intrigued me for years because by studying the historic decline of great civilizations, perhaps we can see patterns in our current world that may or may not exist. I have been working on the Decline of America in 12 arguments and that work has lead me to a deeper dive into historic declines of great civilizations of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Many had long runs, most were pushed out of existence because of wars but wars were always a part of history. The wars that finally ended civilizations like Greece at the hands of the Romans or the Romans at the hands of the Barbarians were symptoms of a bigger decay. Historically, societies fall when they lose sight of what made them great.
Here are a few of the selected notes I found on the net. For the full spreadsheet – HERE
Decline of A Great Society
When you look at the decline of other great societies there are historic clues that don’t always line up perfectly with the arguments I put forth in this book but there are definitely patterns that should scare you and make you take notice. Alexander Fraser Tytler, a European historian published The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic. In his analysis, Tytler concluded that from his research that the following stages of societal growth and decline are clear guideposts that great societies follow:
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loss of fiscal responsibility, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world’s great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith,
From spiritual faith to great courage,
From courage to liberty,
From liberty to abundance,
From abundance to selfishness,
From selfishness to complacency,
From complacency to apathy,
From apathy to dependency,
From dependency back again to bondage.”
The American experience, at just shy of 240 years old, is following Tytler’s stages. From our Countries foundation and the pushback against tyranny at the hands of the British empire to the roaring 20’s, industrial revolution, post WWII economic booms on through to the rise of the counterculture, hippies, free love and into the rise of illicit drug use through the cocaine and crack 80’s and 90’s. The final stages we are now living include lack of trust in our governmental institutions from Congress to your local school district, the rise of the entitlement state and the ‘selfie generation’ who ask ‘what is my government going to do for me?’
A Study of History – Tonybee
Historian Arnold Toynbee wrote a 12 part series in 1961 called A Study of History. Toynbe argued that civilizations travel through many distinct stages;
Toynbee believed that a civilization declines not by external influences brought on by environmental concerns or attacks from invaders. Tonybee’s research showed societies become very focused at problem-solving but are not able to adapt to new, more sophisticated problems caused by advancement. Over time, societies have created too many layers, and empires overdeveloped their problem-solving structures and can’t adapt. The Rise of the Bureaucratic State is one of the chapters that will delve into this theory at greater length.
Tonybee studied the role of the “Dominant Minority” that forces the majority to obey. The “Creative Minority” which once was the source of new ideas, adaptations and the ability of the minority to influence the majority continues to bask in the glory days of the past and loses their ability to challenge and push society into a new direction.
He argues that the ultimate sign of a civilization has broken down is when the dominant minority forms a large centralized ruling system, a central government or a Proletariat, which stifles political creativity. He states:
First the Dominant Minority attempts to hold by force – against all right and reason – a position of inherited privilege which it has ceased to merit; and then the Proletariat repays injustice with resentment, fear with hate, and violence with violence when it executes its acts of secession. Yet the whole movement ends in positive acts of creation – and this on the part of all the actors in the tragedy of disintegration. The Dominant Minority creates a universal state, the Internal Proletariat a universal church, and the External Proletariat a bevy of barbarian war-bands.
Tonybee argues that, as civilizations decay, they form an “Internal Proletariat” and an “External Proletariat.” The Internal proletariat is held in subjugation by the dominant minority inside the civilization, and grows bitter; the external proletariat exists outside the civilization in poverty and chaos and grows envious. He argues that as civilizations decay, there is a “schism in the body social,” where groups are pitted against each other. Instead of virtue and community, the people in the society become jealous and envious.
When short-term gain for the ruling majority is bypassed for the long-term gain of what is best for the society, cracks emerge in the societal fabric. We will dig in deeply to the political structure, bureaucracy and once trusted institutions that are now corrupted or incompetent to deliver on their mission. America is moving towards an ‘every man for themselves’ philosophy and this shift is not only counter to what made this Country great but could spell the end of this great experiment envisioned 240 years ago.
Here’s a few of the once mighty societies that are now gone;
|-Heavy taxes were paid by the provinces to support the luxury of Rome; the conquered people began to resent this.|
|-Conflict and social unrest was created by the wide gap between the rich and the poor.|
|-Slavery eroded the economy by taking work away from the plebeians.|
|-The spread of Christianity divided the Empire and caused many people under Roman rule to reject traditional Roman culture.|
|-The society was weakened by its materialism and focus on luxury, especially in the ruling classes.|
|-Trade was constantly disrupted because of wars; the economy suffered because goods could not be freely bought and sold.|
|-The Empire became too large and the borders were too long to defend.|
|-Rome’s army became too large; the hired soldiers (mercenaries) in Roman armies were not Romans and not loyal to Rome.|
|-Eventually, the Empire became a dictatorship and the people were less involved in government.|
|-The neighboring states were increasing in power and were more unified than the city-states of Greece.|
|-According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 BC by twin brothers Romulus and Remus after escaping the Trojan War. Archeological evidence supports this date as the founding of Rome. This earliest period lasts until 510 BC when the king, Tarquin the Proud was ousted from power. So it lasted roughly 140 years.|
|-The Roman Republic begins in 510 BC with the ouster of King Tarquin the proud and the establishment of a republic based on a constitution. The republic lasted until 44 BC when Julius Caesar was assassinated. It lasted for roughly 450 years.|
|-The Roman Empire begins in 44 BC when Augustus takes absolute power. Romes starts to greatly decline in power around 330 AD when Constantine made Constantinople the new capital of Rome. In 410 AD, the Visigoths successfully destroyed much of Rome. The empire formally ends in 476 AD with the abdication of the last emperor Romulus Augustus to the Germanic chief Odoacer. So, it lasted for roughly 520 years.|
|-Those morals and values that kept together the Roman legions and thus the empire could not be maintained towards the end of the empire. The dramatic increase of divorce undermined the institution of the family. Crimes of violence made the streets of the larger cities unsafe. Even during PaxRomana there were 32,000 prostitutes in Rome. Emperors like Nero and Caligula became infamous for wasting money on lavish parties where guests ate and drank until they became ill.|
|-The most popular amusement was watching the gladiatorial combats in the Coliseum. These were attended by the poor, the rich, and frequently the emperor himself. As gladiators fought, vicious cries and curses were heard from the audience. One contest after another was staged in the course of a single day. Should the ground become too soaked with blood, it was covered over with a fresh layer of sand and the performance went on. The drive for personal pleasure had become very intense, even to the point of obsession. Gibbons noted that, at the very end, sports had become more exciting and brutal.|
|-Gradually, the Praetorian Guard gained complete authority to choose the new emperor, who rewarded the guard who then became more influential, perpetuating the cycle. Then in 186 A. D. the army strangled the new emperor, the practice began of selling the throne to the highest bidder. During the next 100 years, Rome had 37 different emperors – 25 of whom were removed from office by assassination. This contributed to the overall weaknesses of the empire. Hidden conspirators were working within the government to secretly destroy it. They worked quietly, invisibly and deceitfully; during the entire time they were secretly dismantling the government of the Roman Empire, they publicly proclaimed their unswerving support of it. People lost their faith, both religiously and in their government. The efficient Roman Government gave way to chaos and disintegration.|
|-During the latter years of the empire farming was done on large estates called latifundia that were owned by wealthy men who used slave labor. A farmer who had to pay workmen could not produce goods as cheaply. Many farmers could not compete with these low prices and lost or sold their farms. This not only undermined the citizen farmer who passed his values to his family, but also filled the cities with unemployed people. At one time, the emperor was importing grain to feed more than 100,000 people in Rome alone. These people were not only a burden but also had little to do but cause trouble and contribute to an ever-increasing crime rate|
|-The imposition of higher taxes undermined the economic stability and vitality of the Empire. Taxes were raised to pay for deficit government spending, to pay for food for all in society and to pay for government-sponsored activities of diversion, such as circuses and sports. Interestingly, as the time of the final collapse drew closer, greater emphasis was placed on sports, to divert the attention of the public from the distressing news of massive trouble within the Empire.|
|-The Roman economy suffered from inflation (an increase in prices) beginning after the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Once the Romans stopped conquering new lands, the flow of gold into the Roman economy decreased. Yet much gold was being spent by the Romans to pay for luxury items. This meant that there was less gold to use in coins. As the amount of gold used in coins decreased, the coins became less valuable. To make up for this loss in value, merchants raised the prices on the goods they sold. Many people stopped using coins and began to barter to get what they needed.|
|-But since the Romans relied so much on human and animal labor, they failed to invent many new machines or find new technology to produce goods more efficiently. They could not provide enough goods for their growing population. They were no longer conquering other civilizations and adapting their technology, they were actually losing territory they could not longer maintain with their legions.|
|-Maintaining an army to defend the border of the Empire from barbarian attacks was a constant drain on the government. Military spending left few resources for other vital activities, such as providing public housing and maintaining quality roads and aqueducts. Frustrated Romans lost their desire to defend the Empire. The empire had to begin hiring soldiers recruited from the unemployed city mobs or worse from foreign counties. Such an army was not only unreliable but very expensive. The emperors were forced to raise taxes frequently which in turn led again to increased inflation.|
|-An important factor in the decline was the increasing lack of ability and power of the sultans themselves. Süleyman tired of the campaigns and arduous duties of administration and withdrew more and more from public affairs to devote himself to the pleasures of his harem.|
|-corruption and nepotism took hold at all levels of administration. In addition, with the challenge of the notables gone, the devşirme class itself broke into countless factions and parties, each working for its own advantage by supporting the candidacy of a particular imperial prince and forming close alliances with corresponding palace factions led by the mothers, sisters, and wives of each prince.|
|-Holders of the timars and tax farms started using them as sources of revenue to be exploited as rapidly as possible, rather than as long-term holdings whose prosperity had to be maintained to provide for the future.|
|-Political influence and corruption also enabled them to transform those holdings into private property, either as life holdings (malikâne) or religious endowments (vakif), without any further obligations to the state.|
|-Inflation also weakened the traditional industries and trades. Functioning under strict price regulations, the guilds were unable to provide quality goods at prices low enough to compete with the cheap European manufactured goods that entered the empire without restriction because of the Capitulations agreements|
|-Landless and jobless peasants fled off the land, as did cultivators subjected to confiscatory taxation at the hands of timariots and tax farmers, thus reducing food supplies even more|
|-The central government became weaker, and as more peasants joined rebel bands they were able to take over large parts of the empire, keeping all the remaining tax revenues for themselves and often cutting off the regular food supplies to the cities and the Ottoman armies still guarding the frontiers.|
|-Many peasants fled to the cities, exacerbating the food shortage, and reacted against their troubles by rising against the established order|
|-It was a post World War 2 act of peaceful implosion, the world had changed and the Imperial era had less and less relevance, Britain began the slide towards Europe and a continental future.|
|-India, ‘The Jewel in the Crown’, was Britain’s most famous and most fruitful possession. Winston Churchill never tired of saying that giving up India would be fatal to the Empire. They ruled India for 200 years and when that rule ended in 1947 the empire soon followed.|
|-After the war it became clear to the British that ruling India and the colonies will not be acceptable to world opinion. Moreover India was becoming ungovernable and they could not expect much profit from ruling India. Britain thought it wise to leave and they did so with dignity.|
|-The main cause for the dissolution of colonialism after World War II was the change in people’s attitude to ruling over other people against their wishes. Even the people of countries that ruled the colonies thought so. Mahatma Gandhi was largely responsible for that change of attitude and Adolf Hitler for causing the upheaval that allowed world order to be reset.|
|-The Old Assyrian Empire begins with the founding of Ashur. The Old Assyrian Empire lasted from 2000 BC to 1759 BC. The Old Empire fell to Hammurabi’s forces. The Old Assyrian Empire lasted roughly 340 years.|
|-The Middle Assyrian Empire begins with the rise of Ashur-uballit to the thrown of Assyria around 1360 BC and ends around 1047 BC. The main cities were Ashur, Ninevah, and Nimrud with Ashur still the capital. The empire declined around 1047 BC after the reign by Tiglath-Pileser I. So, the middle period lasted rougly 315 years.|
|-The Neo-Assyrian Empire lasted from 934-609 BC. Some historians have claimed that the Neo-Assyrian Empire was the first “real” empire in human history. The Neo-Assyrian empire ended in 612 BC with the fall of its capital city Ninevah to invasions by the Chaldean Dynasty. The empire lasted roughly 330 years.|
|-The Zhou Dynasty began in 1122 BC with the suicide of Shang Zhou. The Zhou Dynasty begins with Ji. Its capital city is Hao. This is the time of Confucius, Lao Tzi, the founder of Daoism. The dynasty changes significantly in 771 BC when King You decides to leave his queen and marry a concubine. This first period is called the Western Zhou period.|
|-In 771 BC, a war is fought between King You and the family of his former queen. The queen’s son Ji Yijiu becomes king and the capital is moved to Luoyang. This period is called the Eastern Zhou period. It ends around 441 BC when the feudal lords rise in power and are able to eclipse the power of the Zhou family. This first half of the Eastern Zhou period is called the Spring and Autumn Period.|
|-The last half of the Eastern Zhou period is called the Warring States Period. It lasts from 771 BC until around 260 BC. In this period, the Zhou ruling family are primarily figureheads. This is the time when Sun Tzu wrote the Art of War. The state of Qin becomes very powerful and in 316 BC, it takes over the Shu area. In 260 BC at the battle of Changping, the Qin win a decisive victory.|
|-The first building of the Teotihuacans was built around 200 BC. The Pyramid of the Sun was finished in 100 AD. It is believed that their culture came to an end around 535 AD as the result of climatic changes including droughts and internal unrest.|
|-This dynasty lasted from 230 BC to around 220 AD. The Satavahanas took power after the death of Ashoka. Around 200 AD, the central state was losing power to local authorities. The end of Satavahana Dynasty occurs as small dynasties divide up the territory. The dynasty lasted roughly 450 years.|
Young, good-looking, small kids, Navy Seal, out of the blue Governor of a solid midwestern state….what’s not to love about Eric Greitens? I learned about Greitens from a podcast I listen to, The Art of Manliness. Episode #355, Leadership and Public Service with Gov. Eric Greitens had me hooked. Greitens was Classically educated, studied history and had a new book out on perseverance. I enjoyed the interview so much that I sent it over to my friend with the comment that there is hope for our country as long as we have people like Greitens rising up the ranks.
I guess infidelity happens.
When it takes someone down from the heights of a rising political star like Greiten it’s just sad. Like a Shakespeare tragedy, the story is rife with irony, sadness. More than anything proves my argument that the 7 Deadly Sins are in all of us. Right when we think we have it all figured out, Pride, or Lust or Wrath, or Slot, or Greed is there to derail you.
Michigan State University has settled hundreds of lawsuits filed against it by the survivors of Larry Nassar’s sexual assaults, according to multiple sources with knowledge.
The settlement will cost the school at least $500 million. Attorney Jamie White, who represented dozens of women who sued the university, confirmed the settlement. He said $425 million is to be paid now and $75 million will be held in reserve. White said this is a chance for the women to begin to move forward.
“I don’t think they can ever be made whole, but this is a step in the right direction,” he said.
The settlement will be formally announced Wednesday following two days of closed-door mediation sessions between lawyers for the university and the survivors. MSU is facing roughly 300 victims, according to figures in court records. Penn State University paid out $109 million to 35 victims in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
With a $3b endowment, I guess it’s a cost of doing business. The taxpayers of Michigan and currently enrolled students will end up paying.
WaPo – The impact of the scandal on the university, which has about 39,000 undergraduate students, has been substantial, including the resignations of president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis in January, and may extend beyond the financial. The settlement surpasses the more than $109 million paid by Penn State University to settle claims by at least 35 people who accused assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse.
The money will have to come from some combination of insurance, state funding and student tuition revenue, said Thomas L. Harnisch, director of state relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
“They’ll likely have to use reserve funds and borrow money,” Harnisch said.
State funding covers about $280 million a year of the school’s overall budget of about $1.4 billion, according to Robert Kelchen, assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, who also speculated Michigan State will need to take out loans to cover the settlement, as state lawmakers will likely balk at permitting public funds to be used, and the state limits how much colleges can raise tuition. Michigan State also could draw from its endowment, although much of that money is typically restricted.
“They may have to borrow some of the money, at a higher interest rate than before the scandal because their credit rating got lowered,” Kelchen said.
Higher-Education Enrollment Is On the Decline National Review
Students complaining of official inaction in the face of racial bigotry joined forces with a graduate student on a hunger strike. Within weeks, with the aid of the football team, they had forced the university system president and the campus chancellor to resign.
It was a moment of triumph for the protesting students. But it has been a disaster for the university.
Freshman enrollment at the Columbia campus, the system’s flagship, has fallen by more than 35 percent in the two years since.
The university administration acknowledges that the main reason is a backlash from the events of 2015, as the campus has been shunned by students and families put off by, depending on their viewpoint, a culture of racism or one where protesters run amok.
Before the protests, the university, fondly known as Mizzou, was experiencing steady growth and building new dormitories. Now, with budget cuts due to lost tuition and a decline in state funding, the university is temporarily closing seven dormitories and cutting more than 400 positions, including those of some nontenured faculty members, through layoffs and by leaving open jobs unfilled.
What’s The Cost-Benefit Of A College Degree Today?
A friend of mine, Frank Antenori weighs in;
Elitists, crybabies and junky degrees
Antenori said many young people would be better off attending more affordable two-year community colleges that teach useful skills and turn out firefighters, electricians and others. Obama promoted that same idea, launching new efforts to boost community college and workplace training. But Antenori said he believes Obama pushed young people too hard toward four-year degrees.
“The establishment has created this thing that if you don’t go to college, you’re somehow not equal to someone else who did,” Antenori said, sitting with his wife, Lesley, at the dining room table in their modest one-story ranch house.
Antenori said when he was in high school in the 1980s, students were directed toward college or vocational training depending on their abilities.
“The mind-set now is that everybody is going to be a doctor,” he said. “Instead of telling a kid whose art sucks, ‘You’re a crappy artist,’ they say, ‘Go follow your dream.’ ”
The Antenoris did not steer their two sons, 23 and 22, toward college, and neither went. One helps at home on the ranch, and the other is enlisted in the Army.
Antenori is just as happy his sons aren’t hanging out with the “weirdos” he reads about on Campus Reform, a conservative website with a network of college reporters whose stated mission is to expose “liberal bias and abuse on America’s campuses.”
In a sign of the intensely partisan climate on campus, its recent headlines include: “Prof wants ‘body size’ added to diversity curricula,” “Students cover free speech wall with vulgar anti-Trump graffiti” and “College Dems leader resigns after declaring hatred of white men.”
The federal government spends $30 billion a year on Pell grants, which help lower-income students, including a large number of minorities, attend college. But studies show that half of Pell grant recipients drop out before earning a degree.
The overall college dropout rate is also high. Only 59 percent of students who start at four-year institutions graduate within six years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That leaves millions with debt but no degree.
More than 44 million Americans are paying off student loans, including a growing number of people over 60, according to the Federal Reserve. The average student loan debt of a 2016 college graduate was $37,000. At $1.4 trillion, U.S. student loan debt is now larger than credit card debt.
Antenori said taxpayers should help pay only for degrees, such as those in engineering, medicine or law, that lead directly to jobs. If a student wants to study art or get a “junky” degree in “diversity studies or culture studies,” they should go to a private school, he said.
And he said dropouts who have received government aid should pay it back: “That would be awesome,” he said, flashing a big smile.
“You want to create someone who’s going to be a contributor, not a moocher,” Antenori said. “Go out and generate revenue; that’s what it’s all about.”
‘Americans are Being Held Hostage and Terrorized by the Fringes’
An exit interview with the American Enterprise Institute’s Arthur Brooks.
……PM: But isn’t the problem more that the fringe used to be called “the fringe” for a reason—and today the fringe represents a broader chunk of both politicians and voters?
Brooks: They always do in this cycle. It’s always the case that when you get into a time of really big political polarization, that people are manipulated by people who are at the fringe. It’s only in retrospect that people go, “Whoa, man, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that we were putting up with that.” We need a kind of an ethical populism. What basically happened is that political establishment was a little bit too reticent. It was not paying attention, and the result was that the fringe picked up the football and ran off with it. But there’s going to be a backlash. If I have anything to say about it, there’s going to be a backlash of people who say that your radical, hateful views, and I’m no liberal, but I don’t hate liberals. I refuse to hate liberals. Refuse. I think there’s a lot of Americans that want to join me in that.
PM: How do you think we got to this point?
Brooks: The two things to read are Reinhart and Rogoff’s book, This Time Is Different. It came out in 2010—the single best book ever on financial cycles and financial crisis. The second is an article that was written in the European Economic Review in early 2017 by three German economists that looks at the knock-on political effect of financial crises—not a regular recession, but a big overhang of assets that becomes a bubble and then pops, which typically happens a couple times a century. So it’s silver and the railroads in 1894 and 1896, or it’s the stock market in 1929, or it’s the real estate market in ’08. The most interesting thing for me is that in the decade after a financial crisis, the knock-on effect over 10 years is not low growth, it’s uneven growth. The big thing that happens for 10 years is that you have asymmetric economic growth where 80 percent of the income distribution gets none of the rewards of the growth after the recession. Of course you get populism after that. It’s natural. It’s just the way it works.
PM: But populism is not inherently a bad thing.
Brooks: Bernie Sanders is a populist. Bernie Sanders’ populism is all about scapegoating. It’s rich people, it’s bankers, it’s Republicans—it’s all these people who got your stuff. That’s the kind of populism that we frequently see as opposed to a kind of ethical populism, which basically says we have good values, let’s go share. Let’s make sure that our values are ascendant to save our country. Right? Wouldn’t that be great? But it turns out it’s easier in the political process when people are suffering a lot to say somebody came and got your stuff. Whether it’s immigrants or whether it’s trading partners or whether it’s bankers or whatever.
What did he know and when did he know it?
In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier — described as “the Christopher Steele information” — was “added” as an “appendix to the ICA draft,” and that consideration of that appendix was “part of the overall ICA review/approval process.”
His skepticism of the dossier may explain why the NSA parted company with other intelligence agencies and cast doubt on one of its crucial conclusions: that Vladimir Putin personally ordered a cyberattack on Hillary Clinton’s campaign to help Donald Trump win the White House.
Rogers has testified that while he was sure the Russians wanted to hurt Clinton, he wasn’t as confident as CIA and FBI officials that their actions were designed to help Trump, explaining that such as assessment “didn’t have the same level of sourcing and the same level of multiple sources.”
…..Except that the ICA did not reflect the consensus of the intelligence community. Clapper broke with tradition and decided not to put the assessment out to all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies for review. Instead, he limited input to a couple dozen chosen analysts from just three agencies — the CIA, NSA and FBI. Agencies with relevant expertise on Russia, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department’s intelligence bureau, were excluded from the process.
…… Less than a month after Trump won the election, Obama directed Brennan to conduct a review of all intelligence relating to Russian involvement in the 2016 election and produce a single, comprehensive assessment. Obama was briefed on the findings, along with President-elect Trump, in early January.
“Brennan put some of the dossier material into the PDB [presidential daily briefing] for Obama and described it as coming from a ‘credible source,’ which is how they viewed Steele,” said the source familiar with the House investigation. “But they never corroborated his sources.”
“To be a philosopher,” said Thoreau, “is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live, according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.”
“Seek ye first the good things of the mind,” Bacon admonishes us, “and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt.”
Truth will not make us rich, but it will make us free.
I’m reading and collecting the Will Durant series on history. Durant and his wife built out a series of books on the history of Western Civilization. From 1926 with, The Story of Philosophy (where these quotes are from), to his series on the Story of Civilization which ran up to the mid 1960’s the Durants attempted to capture all of history.
Literally, all of history. I stumbled on one volume, the Fall of Rome in a used book store. As if by fate, more volumes appeared in my life until I found them all. The hunt was half the fun.
In my spare time, I’m hoping to dig into all of them. Mark them up, leave notes in the edges and help make sense of where we’ve been….so I can understand…..where we are going.
With regards to the 7 Deadly Sins and my ongoing series of identifying the manifestation of the sins in the news, nothing is more intriguing to me (for the moment) than the Denny Hastert story.
Hastert started out as a high school teacher and wrestling coach and rose to become one of the longest serving speakers of the House of Representatives. He also has the historical place of being the highest-ranking member of US government to go to prison. As a teacher and coach, he was coach of the year in 1976 and lead Boy Scout troops. All the while, we find out almost 30 years later that Hastert was abusing boys. At least three boys came forward and what actually got him in trouble was he was withdrawing structured cash transactions from a bank to pay bribes to one of his accusers.
He hailed from Illinois, who is known for their shifty politicians. (HERE)
How does someone go from teacher to multi-millionaire? Politics. Lobbying contracts, land purchases that coincided with highway contracts and more. The irony in it all is, a man let’s lust overtake him and he abuses his position of authority as a teacher/coach and abuses kids. He then rises to the heights of power, enriches himself on the position he is given by the voters of Illinois and is then arrested for taking his own money out of his own bank in increments that he thought went undetected by federal banking laws.
National Review – It wasn’t long after that the Sunlight Foundation reported on just how much Hastert thought himself qualified to steer earmarks back home. The foundation found that Hastert had used a secret trust to join with others and invest in farm land near the proposed route of a new road called the Prairie Parkway. He then helped secure a $207 million earmark for the road. The land, approximately 138 acres, was bought for about $2.1 million in 2004 and later sold for almost $5 million, or a profit of 140 percent. Local land records and congressional disclosure forms never identified Hastert as the co-owner of any of the land in the trust. Hastert turned a $1.3 million investment (his portion of the land holdings) into a $1.8 million profit in less than two years.
Hastert claimed at the time that the land deals had nothing to do with the federal earmark he had secured. “I owned land and I sold it, like millions of people do every day,” he told the Washington Post. Or, as George Washington Plunkitt, the former Tammany Hall leader in New York, once said of someone who made a killing in local land that later became part of a lucrative subway development: “He saw his opportunities and he took ’em.” Plunkitt called such “opportunities” a form of “honest graft.”
The structured payments
On May 29, 2015, after Hastert had been indicted for illicitly “structuring” financial transactions (see below), two people briefed on the evidence from the case stated that “Individual A”—the man to whom Hastert was making payments—had been sexually abused by Hastert during Hastert’s time as a teacher and coach at Yorkville High School, and that Hastert had paid $1.7 million out of the total $3.5 million in promised payment. On the same day, the Los Angeles Times reported that investigators had spoken with a second former student (not the person who was receiving payments from Hastert), who made similar allegations that corroborated what the first student said. He admitted to sexual abuse during sentencing on unrelated crimes.
On June 5, 2015, ABC News‘ Good Morning America aired an interview with Jolene Reinboldt Burdge, the sister of Steve Reinboldt, who was the student equipment manager of the wrestling team at Yorkville High School when Hastert was the wrestling coach.
Hastert also ran an Explorers group of which Steve Reinboldt was a member, and led the group on a diving trip to the Bahamas. In the interview, Burdge stated that in 1979 (eight years after Reinboldt’s high school graduation in 1971), her brother had told her that he had been sexually abused by Hastert throughout his four years of high school. Burdge said that she was “stunned” by this news and that her brother said that he had never told anyone before, because he did not think he would be believed. A message from Hastert appears in Steve Reinboldt’s 1970 high school yearbook. In the interview, Burdge said that she believes the abuse stopped when her brother moved away after graduation. Jolene said that Hastert “damaged Steve I think more than any of us will ever know.”
Mr. Hastert, 75, the longest-serving Republican House speaker in history and once one of the country’s most powerful politicians, pleaded guilty in 2015 to withdrawing $952,000 from his accounts at four banks in at least 106 separate transactions that were small enough to allow him to evade reporting requirements.
Government for sale. Trading power and influence for money is one a sign of a rotting system. It’s commonplace. It’s happening on both sides of the aisle and we aren’t better off because of it.
Forbes – The media’s focus on Trump’s Russian connections ignores the much more extensive and lucrative business relationships of top Democrats with Kremlin-associated oligarchs and companies. Thanks to the Panama Papers, we know that the Podesta Group (founded by John Podesta’s brother, Tony) lobbied for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. “Sberbank is the Kremlin, they don’t do anything major without Putin’s go-ahead, and they don’t tell him ‘no’ either,” explained a retired senior U.S. intelligence official. According to a Reuters report, Tony Podesta was “among the high-profile lobbyists registered to represent organizations backing Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.” Among these was the European Center, which paid Podesta $900,000 for his lobbying.
That’s not all: The busy Podesta Group also represented Uranium One, a uranium company acquired by the Russian government which received approval from Hillary Clinton’s State Department to mine for uranium in the U.S. and gave Russia twenty percent control of US uranium. The New York Times reported Uranium One’s chairman, Frank Guistra, made significant donations to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for one speech from a Russian investment bank that has “links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.” Notably, Frank Giustra, the Clinton Foundation’s largest and most controversial donor, does not appear anywhere in Clinton’s “non-private” emails. It is possible that the emails of such key donors were automatically scrubbed to protect the Clinton Foundation.
Let’s not leave out fugitive Ukrainian oligarch, Dymtro Firtash. He is represented by Democratic heavyweight lawyer, Lanny Davis, who accused Trump of “inviting Putin to commit espionage” (Trump’s quip: If Putin has Hillary’s emails, release them) but denies all wrongdoing by Hillary….
Lobbying for Russia is a bi-partisan activity. Gazprombank GPB, a subsidiary of Russia’s third largest bank, Gazprombank, is represented by former Sen. John Breaux, (D., La.), and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R., Miss.), as main lobbyists on “banking laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions.” The Breaux-Lott client is currently in the Treasury Department list of Russian firms prohibited from debt financing with U.S. banks.
In his February 16 press conference, President Trump declared in response to the intensifying media drumbeat on his Russian connections: “I haven’t done anything for Russia.” K-Street lobbyists, on the other hand, have done a lot to help Russia. They greased the skids for a strategic deal (that required the Secretary of State’s approval) that multiplied the Kremlin’s command of world uranium supplies. They likely prevented the shipment of strategic weapons needed by Ukraine to repulse well-armed pro-Russian forces. A fugitive billionaire who robbed the Ukrainian people of billions is represented by one of the establishment’s most connected lawyers.
Gazprombank GPB hired Breux and Lott to gain repeal of sanctions. That’s perfectly fine in Washington; they are playing according established “swamp rules” in their tailored suits and fine D.C. restaurants. General Flynn lost his job when the subject of sanctions was mentioned by the Russian ambassador in their telephone conversation, but that’s the way the media and Washington play.
No wonder that Trump’s’ “drain the swamp” and anti-media messages resonate so well with mainstream America.
I covered this story as it rolled out while I was on the air. I remember drawing parallels to the Watergate scandal that took down the Nixon Presidency. Here were the parallels I drew:
- Nixon hired ex-government ‘plumbers’ to spy on his Democratic opponent – The FBI/NSA tapped into Trump headquarters communications prior to the election of 2016
- Nixon got caught – Trump caught the NSA – FBI early, declared it, took heat for it as a conspiracy nut and was proven correct. (HERE)
- “What did the President know and when did he know it?’ Nixon’s guilt hinged on this question – Did the Obama administration and possibly the President himself know? (HERE)
- The FBI weaponized the NSA to eavesdrop on a political opponent of the part in power based on weak spy intelligence from a former British spy. The Christopher Steele, the source of the Russian/Trump connection, shopped the intelligence to opposition research teams first in the Republican party than to the Clinton campaign. Eventually, the dossier made it to the FBI and strategic leaks prior to the 2016 elections started to occur. The foundation for the FISA authorization apparently hinges on the dossier from Steele. (HERE)
- A deep dive into how the got started is HERE.
WSJ – The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.
This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.
Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?
And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.
We also know that among the Justice Department’s stated reasons for not complying with the Nunes subpoena was its worry that to do so might damage international relationships. This suggests the “source” may be overseas, have ties to foreign intelligence, or both. That’s notable, given the highly suspicious role foreigners have played in this escapade. It was an Australian diplomat who reported the Papadopoulos conversation. Dossier author Christopher Steele is British, used to work for MI6, and retains ties to that spy agency as well as to a network of former spooks. It was a former British diplomat who tipped off Sen. John McCain to the dossier. How this “top secret” source fits into this puzzle could matter deeply.
Reminds me of a quote:
“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security.
They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom.
When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility,
then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”
– Edward Gibbon, Epitaph for the People of Ancient Athens
I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it. But what is clear is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the FBI’s 2016 behavior, and the country will never get the straight story until President Trump moves to declassify everything possible. It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid.
Worth A Listen
EconoTalk by Russ Roberts is one of my go-to podcasts. In this interview with Jonah Goldberg, the two cover Goldberg’s new book, Suicide of the West. Goldberg’s arguments put forth in the book discuss the slide of politics from policy to entertainment, the tribalism that is inherent in human beings and the magic of the American experiment.
Roberts and Goldberg’s discussion of the root cause of our troubles is of particular interest to me. Towards the end of the discussion, both men agree that the decay of the family and weakening of education in America have helped to deliver us to where we are. They don’t cover the impact of social media on our youth and the fact that Generation Z will visit 5 screens in a day as a contributing factor, but I’ve covered it many times. I particularly like the parallel between the decline of religion and the rise of mass entertainment.
Here’s an exert from the interview regarding the importance of family on capitalism.
Jonah Goldberg: And, cooperation is much more a hands-on, grass-roots, close live-around[?] thing. We get meaning in our lives from the people around us, the institutions that we’re part of. And capitalism–capitalism can provide opportunities for that. But capitalism itself can’t. There’s nothing in it that, you know, fills the holes in one’s soul. What fills the holes in your soul are family, faith, friends, experience, making a meaningful contribution–this notion of earned success. Those are the things that make you feel like you had a life well lived. Capitalism is great because it provides, or can provide, more opportunities to find that niche in the ecosystem that gives you meaning than other systems can. But the capitalism itself isn’t doing it. It’s these other things. And, as people retreat from those things, they start looking to create political systems that they think will be substitutes for that. And, the problem is that it’s Fool’s Gold. Socialism can’t do that. Communism can’t do that. Capitalism can’t do that. The only things that can fill the hole in your soul are basically in the microcosm, not in the macrocosm.
Russ Roberts: So, the Left’s response, I think, to that, one of the responses they would say, is that: ‘Oh, you are romanticizing capitalism. In fact, it’s a dreary system that grinds down the worker. It grinds down the poor. It enables the wealthy and powerful to lead pleasant lives at the expense of others by exploiting them.’ So, they would argue it’s not upstream of capitalism: Capitalism is the problem. How would you respond to that?
Jonah Goldberg: Ahhh, I mean, a lot of different ways. At least some of the same ways I think you would. One is, is that–
Russ Roberts: As the host, I get to ask the questions. I don’t know the answer to them. It’s a fantastic gig.
Jonah Goldberg: Heh, huh, hmm. Well, first of all, if capitalism–first of all, there’s all sorts of empirical ways to answer it, which is, you know, insofar as if capitalism is inherently exploitative or exploiting of people, why has the amount of leisure time that everybody enjoys continually risen? You know: Why are child labor laws lagging rather than leading indicators about the end of child labor? Why has it, why was it in capitalist countries that we saw everything from the end of slavery to the rise of civil rights, the rise of feminism, and all these kinds of things? Capitalism allows for all of that kind of stuff. It also just simply allows people more options to choose the kind of life that they want to live. The problem is, is that, you still need other–you know, other mediating institutions. To fill the void. And this is where Schumpeter, I think, plays an important role. Capitalism–capitalism is a problem, at least in the sense, in Schumpeter’s telling, that capitalism is relentlessly rational. And it provides no–what he calls, no extra meaning or substance. That has to come from someplace else. And the family plays an enormously important role in that, that gives–family is the first institution of civilization because it’s the one that explains to children their place in the universe. You know, Hannah Arendt has this great line where she says: ‘Every generation, Western civilization is invaded barbarians. We call them “children.”‘ And, that’s true. And, families are the first line of defense against the barbarian invasion. They civilize babies into human beings, and then citizens. And then, schools play that function. And local community organizations play that function. And if they fail, the state can’t fix them. And neither can capitalism. And one of the things that those kids who are not properly socialized–and this goes for rich people, too; I mean, rich people are a bigger part of the problem in my telling than poor people in terms of antipathy to capitalism–they will be filled with a sense of ingratitude about what came before them. And, they will start making arguments, you know, in the McCloskey sense: They will start marshaling words. This is something that Schumpeter got from Nietzsche in the Genealogy of Morals, is this idea that basically the priests will come forward; and the priests had no real power in olden days. But they had words. And they had arguments. And, what they would do, is they would make all those things that were once considered virtuous into vices. And that’s what a lot of the sort of idea-merchants of today do, where they say getting rich is evil. Where they say democracy is a problem. Where they say freedom is a problem. Where they say that the story of America is a problem–that we shouldn’t be proud of America; we should reject it. That’s why you get identity politics the way that we do. And to a large extent, that’s why the Right is surrendering to identity politics, which breaks my heart. And, this is–and the only solution to these problems, or to those arguments, is to come back with better arguments. And not just at the level of college debates, but in your own family. And in your own communities. Explain to people why they should be grateful that they are born in this age. I mean, I have my problems with the Veil of Ignorance, the–
Russ Roberts: That’s John Rawls–
Jonah Goldberg: The Rawls. I have some problems with it. But, as Barack Obama–and again, I find it strange I’m agreeing with Barack Obama a lot on this–but, you know, Barack Obama basically used a Rawlsian argument; said that: If you were going to pick any time in all of human history to be born–you didn’t know if you were going to be black or white, or gay or straight, or male or female, or rich or poor, you would want to be born right now. And you’d probably want to be born in America. And, I think that’s true. We don’t teachpeople that. We don’t teach them to be grateful for the moment they are born in. And we don’t teach them to be grateful for the sacrifices that created this glorious country and this glorious way of life, in the first place. Instead, we have an entire industry dedicated to resenting what we have. And I think that’s the real threat.
I’m compiling a theory on the decline of America and put forth 12 arguments or trends that I believe are eroding the fabric of the American experiment. Of all these 12 arguments, I believe the root cause of much of our decay is the decline of the family unit. Below are the 12 arguments;
Healthcare – A Unique American Style Mess
Education In America – What’s Wrong and How To Fix It
Banking and Debt – The Big Tsunami Coming
Flight To Cities – Pension Crisis and Election Consequences
Crony Capitalism – The All Too Cozy Business of Government
States Rights – A Great Idea Whose Time Has Passed
Family Unit Decline – As The Family Goes, So Does America
Military – The Expensive Police Force For The World
Demographics Is Destiny – An Advanced Economy Problem
Religion – It’s Decline and Why We Aren’t Better For It
Polarized Parties Are Tearing America Apart
Some of the notes and charts I’m compiling to make my arguments about the root cause of the Decline of The Family Unit are below;
Back in the dreadful ’60s the largest cultural contributor to the Liberalization of America was in the realm of advertising. Madison Ave. was more responsible for our rapid acceptance of things that were considered unacceptable than any other entity. Why? Because they were capitalists, not ideologues. They didn’t care what they were selling as long as it made money and baby boomers had lots to spend. I think the Kochs should start a mega ad agency and sell conservative libertarianism using a subtle but amusing put-down of all things progressive as over-the-hill and hopelessly unglamorous coupled with a serious but unsentimental view of traditional values.
I guess I am one of the very few here…so…here it is… our generation was the first generation to get left by both of our parents. Our fathers worked, our mothers worked. We were raised by the schools and our tvs. Our parents divorced, they dated and married others with kids. Our parents were selfish (honestly, for the most part, from my experience).
Eric Holder called the nation “cowards” for not holding a national conversation on race. But Holder did not wish a freewheeling discussion about the break-up of the black family, the epidemic of violence and drug use, the cult of the macho male, the baleful role of anti-police rhetoric and rap music — in addition to current racism, a sluggish economy, and the wages of past apartheid. Instead, the ground rules of racial discussion were again to be anti-Enlightenment to the core. One must not cite the extraordinary disproportionate crime rate of inner-city black males, or the lack of inspired black leadership at the national level. One most certainly does not suggest that other minority groups either do not promote leaders like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or do not seem to have a need for national collective spokespeople at all. http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/?p=8469
TV Time – Mass Media And Decay
Over the past decade the amount of time Americans spend watching television has continued to increase. In 1965, the average American spent about 10 hours per week watching television, an amount that increased to about 15 hours per week in the 1970s and 1980s—an increase from about one and one-half hours per day to slightly more than two hours per day (Robinson & Godbey, 2010). In 2003, the average American spent about two hours and 34 minutes per day watching television; by 2013 this had increased to two hours and 46 minutes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical American spends a majority of her leisure time watching television. Meanwhile, over the past decade the amount of time Americans report “socializing and communicating” has fallen by about 10 percent from 47 minutes per day to about 42 minutes per day (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2004)(Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014). This increase in television viewing was driven entirely by an increase in viewing by the over-35 population; television viewing by the under-35 population is lower and declined slightly over the decade. While they spend less time watching television, younger Americans are spending more time connected to the growing panoply of electronic media (including music, handheld devices, video games, and the Internet). After adjusting for multi-tasking, the number of hours eight to 18 year olds spent with all forms of media increased by a full hour per day from six hours and 19 minutes in 1999 to seven hours and 38 minutes in 2009 (Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010). Television sets and video have proliferated. More children have television sets of their own, or can watch video on personal, hand-held devices.
Fragmentation of Media Arguably, our shared stock of cultural and current events that reinforce our sense of connection and commonality is smaller. In the 1960s, most Americans got their television news from either Walter Cronkite or Huntley and Brinkley. In the late 1970s, the three major national broadcast networks accounted for about 90 percent of the television viewing of Americans (Webster, 2005). Other data suggest that the market share of the top-selling pop-music album is smaller today, relative to population, than in decades past. The proliferation of personal music players, cloud storage, and Internet radio stations enables more variety in music consumption, with a by-product being less widely “shared” musical memories. In addition, a smaller and smaller share of the American population is reading daily newspapers. Since 1999, newspaper readership has fallen among all age groups. Less than a quarter of 25 to 34-year-olds read daily newspapers, down from more than 40 percent a decade ago. Readership among those 65 and older has declined from more than 70 percent to less than 60 percent (Mitchell & Rosenstiel, 2012). With our separate, personal audioscapes and an increasingly fragmented media world, it may be more difficult today to have shared, collective experiences that provide a common meaning (or narrative) and strengthen our sense of attachment to “place” and each other.
Social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Meetup and other social media enable people to connect more easily and quickly—at least virtually— than was heretofore possible. There is some evidence to suggest that the advent of these social media have reduced the amount of time that people spend watching television (a generally passive, often individual activity)—and young adults do watch less television than older Americans. Some video viewing is social—for example, people share videos on YouTube or Facebook, using commenting features to jointly discuss content. Social media allows us to connect better to people who are far away (since it’s easier to talk to them online) and local (through locational checkin tools, rating features, etc.). At the same time, too, social media facilitate connections among like-minded people, especially those who may be in disparate locations. Social media let us find people or things that reflect our interests; we can see if our Facebook friends like the same bands, restaurants, etc. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and blogs let us follow and jointly discuss or comment on the accounts of people, businesses, and organizations whose interests align with ours
The Missing Father
Moynihan’s claim that growing up in a fatherless family reduced a child’s chances of educational and economic success was furiously denounced when the report appeared in 1965, with many critics calling Moynihan a racist. For the next two decades few scholars chose to investigate the effects of father absence, lest they too be demonized if their findings supported Moynihan’s argument. Fortunately, America’s best-known black sociologist, William Julius Wilson, broke this taboo in 1987, providing a candid assessment of the black family and its problems in The Truly Disadvantaged. Since then, social scientists have accumulated a lot more evidence on the effects of family structure.
Moynihan’s 1965 argument can be broken down into two parts: a claim that family structure was in the process of shifting dramatically, and a claim that this change was injurious to the life prospects of children. The first claim has copious support. The second claim is harder to demonstrate, because disentangling cause and effect is always tricky, but McLanahan and Jencks point to the recent evidence suggesting that it probably holds true as well.
We find strong evidence that father absence negatively affects children’s social-emotional development, particularly by increasing externalizing behavior. These effects may be more pronounced if father absence occurs during early childhood than during middle childhood, and they may be more pronounced for boys than for girls. There is weaker evidence of an effect of father absence on children’s cognitive ability.
Effects on social-emotional development persist into adolescence, for which we find strong evidence that father absence increases adolescents’ risky behavior, such as smoking or early
HERE’S THE REAL LOW-DOWN:
Males today are in exactly the same position as males always have been in this and every society, in this and at every point in history: a minority are successful and the majority are not. This is always a big deal because it is the function of the male across biology — in all species — to mutually compete to express genetic quality in order to be selected or (usually) not by females; this serving to deal with the accumulated gene-replication error of the whole reproductive group.
Over 72% of black children are born to single mothers compared to 29% of non-hispanic whites and 17% of Asian/Pacific Islanders. Outcomes for the children of single mothers are not good – they are more likely to live in poverty, have social/emotional problems, be less educated, etc. If this single issue was addressed by community leaders rather than the red herrings like the “epidemic” of black males being killed by police, they would be much better served. But it’s much easier to blame someone else for your problems rather than looking in the mirror and changing yourself.
Here’s your Pill – Now Go Play Video Games
We may never know quite what drives some people to kill. But it seems that in young Dylann Storm Roof, we have further evidence of a trend that should worry us all. I’m talking about his dependence on prescription drugs: suboxone, to be precise.
Roof is just the latest in a long line of young men who have committed appalling crimes after a lifetime on psychotropic drugs. If you don’t believe me, consider some of the most notorious young male shooters in American history.
Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza? Lexapro and Celexa. Red-headed Aurora killer James Holmes? Clonazepam and sertraline. Virginia Tech mass murderer Seung-Hui Cho?Prozac. Charles Whitman, the “Texas Tower Sniper”? Dexedrine. Columbine executioners Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? Zoloft and Luvox.
You get the idea. These young men were all on prescribed medication. Feminism helped to get them there. In particular, female teachers who either dislike men or are completely ignorant of healthy behaviour norms for boys are creating a generation of emotionally stunted, drugged up young men.
Millions of young American men are prescribed powerful drugs after being diagnosed with the phantom condition “ADHD,” better known as a mixture of natural boisterousness and poor parental discipline. The mere fact of being male has become pathologised.
When they get into their teens and early twenties, they graduate onto drugs like Zoloft and Prozac, drugs that can produce a powerfully dissociative effect in the mind, muddying the distinctions between reality and fantasy. All this, because boys are now treated as though they are defective girls.
I once clumsily wrote that video games helped to “shape the fantasies” of Isla Vista gunman Elliot Rodgers. I intended not to incriminate video games in his spiral into madness and murder but rather to point out that young men who lose grip on the real world often retreat into imaginary ones, which can then have a stylistic effect, if you like, on their crimes.