Transcript of Currents 004: Michael Vassar on Passive-Aggressive Revolution

The following is a rough transcript which has not been revised by The Jim Rutt Show or by Michael Vassar. Please check with us before using any quotations from this transcript. Thank you.

Jim: Today’s currents episode has as our guest Michael Vasser, a long time friend of mine and a very astute independent thinker. The scene of this episode basically came from a phone call or conversation of some sort we had a few weeks ago. I think I was proclaiming in my usual immodest matter that this was not the revolutionary moment that the COVID, and this was COVID-19 prior to the George Floyd event. And I said this is not the revolutionary moment and Michael said, “I think you’re wrong. I think this is a revolutionary moment. But this is the passive aggressive revolutionary moment.” And I said to him, “Say no more, Michael, this will make a great podcast episode. Things have happened since then. First, what did you mean when you said passive aggressive revolutionary moment, and what do you think that all means now?

Michael: Let’s imagine that there was a moment of prayer across the country, across a large range of religious denominations. It’d be pretty hard to get the Mormons in for this, but I think practically every one else could potentially be enlisted, at least for a few centerpiece churches or any other sort of religious affiliation.

Michael: Now let’s say there was some sort of attack by American soldiers or police against protestors who were behaving fairly peacefully. There was fairly good video evidence of this, and there was a nationwide moment of prayer for the defeat of the American military by the American people. That would be a great example of a passive aggressive revolutionary moment.

Michael: We have good enough communication now in a way that has never existed before during a war, to make opinions known in a different way, including making known on the battle ground that you do not have the support of the troops at home. There couldn’t be surprises, like with troops coming back from Vietnam and having things thrown at them. If people simply knew that in every office building, in every supermarket, in every manufacturing center there were people who were going to church and praying for their defeat, and those were the people who were making their weapons. Those were the people that they were hoping to come home to after the war. You know, they might not actually resist, but they wouldn’t exactly fight either for the most part. A few psychopaths would, but it wouldn’t be much of a war. It would just be creating an homage that nope, we don’t love you, we’re not going to help, your lives don’t mean anything if your deaths don’t mean anything. They mean less than nothing. And that’s all it takes.

Michael: Only the American people can defeat the American people. We’re the most powerful army the world has ever known, but we’re also the best [inaudible 00:03:36] system the world has ever known. And they already mostly exist as support for our marketing system. The marketing system in a one-to-one fight, I think it can win.

Jim: Interesting. I think that’s an interesting concept. What about other actions that might work in a kind of passive aggressive fashion which is things like rent strikes or failure to pay your taxes or I don’t know what, refusal to send your kids to school or the school system loses their $15,000 a year worth of state funding, et cetera.

Michael: Or lowering the bond rating on Goldman Sachs.

Jim: Yeah, exactly, right?

Michael: There are a huge number of places where when you are fighting your own system, it’s actually very easy to fight just by not trying very hard. You don’t need to be as dedicated as at least the fictional [inaudible 00:04:35] Schindler, the fictional version who was determined to make sure that his factories didn’t make good ammunition. In the second world war, even with lots of good propaganda we had factories making bad ammunition. We had torpedoes that didn’t work three quarters of the time. Having torpedoes that didn’t work 100% of the time if you already have torpedoes that don’t work three quarters of the time, having guns that jammed, having [inaudible 00:04:57] that explode, just having the lights go out in Washington D.C. because a lot of accountable technical errors that are no more outrageous than the technical errors that led to the [inaudible 00:05:08] disaster in India. I don’t know if you’ve read the documentary about it, but just if you don’t like your job and your job is any sort of information work, we’ve never actually managed these sort of [inaudible 00:05:22] that [inaudible 00:05:22] talks about. [inaudible 00:05:26], everything is always fundamentally dependent on people believing in what they [inaudible 00:05:30]. That’s why people get paid more in some countries than others to work identical jobs with identical manufacturing systems, for instance.

Jim: Interesting. I guess the other parallel, this is kind of a baby version of the anarchist’s old tactic of the general strike. It’s a partial general strike, not even working too hard at the general strike, but just sort of generally being uncooperative.

Michael: Yep. Unenthusiastic, uncooperative, a little bit late. You know how the Chin dynasty fell, right?

Jim: No.

Michael: What’s the penalty for lateness? Death. What’s the penalty for revolution? Death. Well then. The reason you get into that situation is because you can create a revolution through lateness. If you have a complicated imperial bureaucracy as large as America or as large as the Chin dynasty, impractical paperwork delays, minor logistical snafus. It takes a lot of people actually trying to get an army from point A to point B a thousand miles away. Even with modern technology it takes quite a few people kind of trying.

Jim: So I think you’ve convinced me that the tactics of passive aggressive could be used to instantiate a revolution. Any sign to your mind that we’re actually seeing that manifesting now? I think that was more my point that a few weeks ago before the George Floyd situation I wasn’t seeing this as the predicate yet for a revolution, whether passive aggressive or aggressive. But I would buy that a passive aggressive revolution is possible. Is this a moment where we are seeing it? Of course what we’re seeing in the streets isn’t really passive aggressive, it’s more good old fashioned aggressive aggressive. Talk about that a little bit if you would.

Michael: All right, we are seeing a lot of aggressive aggressive behavior in the streets, but it seems like there are so many provocateurs and false flags, it’s kind of meaningless with the current information infrastructure to even try to decide who is starting things at any given instant. But we pretty much know that in a very important sense, George Floyd did not start things by passing along a potentially counterfeit $20 bill. That’s a natural starting point, because it took until I think today or yesterday for the police who stood by while he was murdered to be arrested. And if it is in fact empirically known that a fairly high level of social dysfunction and violence is required to get that arrest to happen, then it’s fairly generally known that there is some sort of a force that is the initiator of violence here, some sort of more than local provocateurs breaking the windows of auto shops.

Michael: We have a provocative police forces that have given up any plausible claim to serving and protecting the people. And we have these not just in Minneapolis, because otherwise other police forces would have made efforts to distance themselves we have to conclude that we have this all throughout the country. Not meaning every police force. But when people say there are a few bad cops doesn’t mean there are no good cops, yeah but there’s an upper bound to how good you can be and not be a whistleblower in any given organization. And this depends somewhat on what your situation is with dependence, et cetera. But I think it’s fair to say that when you release the Pentagon papers, Daniel [Ellisberg 00:09:21] established the upper bound on how decent a person you could be and be a top level US military advisor. And when Chelsea Manning released her videos of Americans murdering Iraqis, she established an upper bound on how decent a person you could be and be even a relatively low level US military officer.

Michael: Snowden established an upper boundary for how decent a person you could be and be someone who does contracting with the US with a high security clearance. So there’s this progressive decay of what plausible moral motivations one can attribute to a certain group of people. And at some point, [inaudible 00:10:06] people as enemy combatants, and therefore not entitled to trial. If we’ve established a situation where cops believe that black people aren’t entitled to trial, then we’ve sort of established a situation where no reasonable person could think cops were entitled to a trial. And that doesn’t mean it’s anyone’s obligation to fight enemy combatants. There’s no army that they’re obligated to do that under. There’s no legitimate regime that could possibly command them to, and it would be dangerous and stupid.

Michael: I think if I was a parent right now, I would be very worried about my kids if I thought they were involved in burning down police precincts, and I would encourage them not to do so. But it would not be at all motivated by the moral sense that it was not virtuous to burn down police precincts. When [inaudible 00:10:55] said it was virtuous to burn down police precincts, and no qualms that as a parent it’s my job to protect my children from getting carried away with virtuous but dangerous, somewhat performative behaviors.

Jim: That’s an interesting perspective. I must say, I am considerably more sympathetic to the police, and of course part of that is it’s just personal history, I come from a police family. My father was a Washington D.C. policeman for his career, then had a second career as federal law enforcement. My brother is federal law enforcement, one of my closest first cousins was local law enforcement. And two of my best friends just retired after 30 years as police officers in Washington D.C. and I know a lot of cops and I know a lot about cop culture. And the vast preponderance of cops are solid, decent, actually wonderful people with great willingness to put their own lives on the line for all of us. Keep in mind there are 700,000 policemen in the United States. 700,000. If you had 1% bad, which would be a remarkably low number in any bureaucracy I ever worked in, that would be 7,000 bad cops. And it’s probably bigger than that.

Jim: With humans dealing with life or death situations, high pressure and I’m going to tell you another little secret, most cops aren’t too bright. The average IQ of a cop is 105. A little-

Michael: Still better than a school teacher.

Jim: Yeah, not too good. But maybe better than a school teacher, I don’t know. I don’t know that number. Anyway, here we have people of slightly above average intelligence, some of them obviously below average because we talk about distribution. Inevitably some number of bad apples get through the screening process. In my mind to say that one clearly depraved event should signify that it’s okay to burn down police stations strikes me as grossly excessive.

Michael: I want to say a few things. First of all, I’m not saying it’s okay to burn down police officers, and I’m not saying it’s okay to burn down police stations, I’m saying it’s virtuous but stupid to burn down police stations. Your parents should drown you.

Jim: You said it was morally okay though, that’s what I would object-

Michael: No, it’s morally weakly imperative. But many things are morally weakly imperative. Like not eating factory farmed meat. You don’t want to blame people for eating factory farmed meat, you don’t want to blame people for burning down police stations. You probably don’t even want to blame people for, as people, lynching a black man slowly on camera in the sense that they weren’t arrested for several days afterwards. And you don’t want to blame people as people for fighting for the Nazi regime in the same way. You don’t want to blame people as people for participating in a system that regards what they were doing as normal and okay, even when it’s murderous. But you want to get them therapy for their trauma, take them out of their job, relocate them to different states with felony convictions but no jail time, and give them a good $2000 a month basic income. I think that’s kind of the right sort of starting place.

Michael: You said you’ve never come to a bureaucracy with only 1% bad people, and I agree. The real problem is bureaucracies, not cops. To some degree I think this situation creates a potential foot in the door to deal with bureaucracies. So a lot of people are talking about defunding police departments right now, and I think that’s kind of an overkill strategy, but it’s also not under kill strategy.

Michael: What I think we really need is equal rights between citizens and the police force. You could have an amendment where whatever your local rules are for police, they have to wear body cams, you have to wear body cams, they have to get a warrant, you have to get a warrant. The warrants are applied for in a blind matter so you don’t know whether the … the people issuing it don’t know whether you’re a cop or not. You can be an independent, you could be working for an MGO, you could be a private investigator, and you should have exactly the same investigative powers as a detective and exactly the same constraints as a police detective. That seems like an appropriate way of dealing with the situation, and maybe private individuals aren’t entitled to quite the same level of benefit of the doubt as police for you were in a stressful situation, you were exposed to a destructive environment, we need to regard you as not a particularly bad egg, but a damaged traumatized person who needs to be taken care of but should never be allowed to have a gun again. You know? Or a private investigator who injures someone in the street, maybe we just want to shoot him immediately and not even really think about a trial.

Michael: But for the most part, the real problem seems to be that private individuals haven’t been able to investigate the police. The guy who actually killed George Floyd had previously killed someone. Had his hands up, he was a Native American. He had 16 complaints on his previous record. This isn’t a problem of a bad guy, it’s a problem of a bad system that empowers bad guys at the very least.

Jim: Yeah, unfortunately there are some really bad structural problems around police unions protecting police officers. In fact those of us who know something about the inside baseball about policing know that it was very significant that the officers were fired. And the reason was they were no longer protected by the union. And the unions have got these very strong contracts which could literally forestall the prosecutors from talking to the accused for several days, let alone arresting them. So it was a very smart inside baseball move by the mayor of Minneapolis to fire the police officers so they could be dealt with by a law enforcement more expeditiously.

Jim: It strikes me that misconduct of a criminal sort should not be … defense against that should not be baked into a union contract. There’s also a Supreme Court decision that has a … I forget the name. Damn, I wish I could remember the name. But gives police a significant amount of presumptive clearance for their actions so they’re presumed at a higher standard to be innocent than a normal citizen. And I think that should also be changed by legislation if necessary. Yes, the cops have a tough job and things will happen, but they should be held to exactly the same level of accountability for actual criminal behavior.

Michael: Do you see the other side of that where private citizens should have the exact same level of opportunity for actual investigative and prosecutary behavior?

Jim: It’s interesting in Virginia, it’s rare, very few states do this, but Virginia allows private criminal prosecutions. Any individual, any citizen in the state of Virginia can bring a criminal prosecution against anybody else in Virginia and has the full, the same power of subpoena, et cetera, as a prosecutor. We do have that in a limited capacity in Virginia. Whether you should have police powers, I don’t know. I’d have to think about that one. It’s an interesting idea, it’s an interesting idea. It’s a little bit analogous to David Brinn’s interesting idea that every government agency should have citizen observers who can go to absolutely any meeting no matter what the security clearance level is, et cetera. And while they’re not allowed to blow the whistle, they are allowed to blow the whistle at the cost of a heavy misdemeanor conviction and one year in jail, which is kind of an interesting trade-off. If you hear something sufficiently horrifying that you’re willing to spend a year in jail, then you can blow the whistle. I thought that was extraordinarily interesting concept on how to police the powers that be. So you don’t have bad faith actors, because no one wants to spend a year in jail. But on the other hand if you know about consciously plotted-

Michael: Extermination of the Chinese population if there’s ever a conflict between the US and Russia at a time when the Chinese do not have either nuclear weapons or delivery mechanisms or anything? Something like that?

Jim: Yeah, or frankly even the level of Snowden stuff, of massive illegal surveillance of the citizenry. Would Snowden have been willing or someone sitting at Snowden’s shoulders been willing to spend a year in jail to blow the whistle? Probably so. But unfortunately our laws are way too Draconian. Snowden faces 30 years to life. He’s really smart not to come back for 30 years to life. Go back for a year in the local lock up, fuck yeah, why not? And be a hero when you came out.

Michael: Right, the problem is a lot of the law are both draconian and capricious and extremely amorphous. The problem is that the laws aren’t rules, they’re norms. And fundamentally no one expects them to be rules, but they need to maintain something like plausible deniability about that in order for the laws not to just be a baseboard. So when they lose plausible deniability, it actually ends up being just a race war.

Michael: Hopefully we can have peace now that we’ve arrested these officers, we’ve reestablished some level of plausible deniability. We can have new legislation to investigate these things. But you know, having done this, it’s not clear that it’s still moral to burn down Minneapolis police departments now that they’ve been arrested. That seems like a personal take. There can be some disagreement about that. The army is still out on the street, police are still shooting journalists in the throat with rubber bullets, arresting journalists without cause, trampling people with horses, hitting people with windows of cars or doors of cars as they drive by, trapping them on bridges and beating them up as they try to escape. Police are still doing a lot of major things, but the things they’re doing are plausibly explainable. Some of them are plausibly explainable as responses to high stress situations, and the rest are plausibly explainable as assault, not murder. And one can’t really expect that all of these people, police, who were caught on camera by journalists shooting journalists, et cetera, are going to face charges for assault.

Michael: The idea of facing charges is a problem because of these [inaudible 00:21:43] draconian. We actually don’t have a court system anymore, we don’t have rules anymore, and we don’t have anything like a consistent system of punishment anymore. We have way too many people in prison and we don’t want to lock up the cops anymore than we want to lock up the crooks or the innocent people in prison or the people who did things that shouldn’t be illegal in prison, or the things that should sort of be illegal in a sense like tax evasion, but where the laws have to be draconian as a deterrent. There are a lot of types of people who we wouldn’t want to punish, but we’re really bad at morality as a species. And we get worse at it as we get deeper into imperial decay.

Jim: Yeah, and we’re in a late decay system right now. Now you mentioned a number of what I’d call middle into moderate level bad actions which have occurred here, but you didn’t mention the worst to my mind. And this is the worst thing that’s happened in the United States in my lifetime, and I’m an old fucker. I’m 66 years old, I’ve seen a lot. I was around for the ’68 assassinations and riots and police riot in Chicago, et cetera.

Michael: Fred Hampton? Fred Hampton was pretty bad.

Jim: Yep, there’s a whole bunch of bad things. Here’s something that even though it didn’t involve death I think was a moral culpability, the worst thing I have ever seen inside the borders of the United States, and that was Trump ordering the use of military force on American territory to clear out peaceful demonstrators in front of the Episcopal Church across Lafayette Park from the White House for the sole purpose of him going over there and having a photo op holding a Bible backwards. Right? This is so unconstitutional on so many levels, and so dangerous. I have not been in the club that I thought Trump was an evil, stupid, vile human being until late recently I figured we’d survive until January and get his fucking ass out of there. But now crossing those thresholds, I’m willing to buy into the Trump equals Hitler theory a little bit more than I did previously. The level of outrage against our way of life, our constitutional norms and every single thing we expect of a president was just so violated by that action. That would be enough to get me to participate in a passive aggressive revolution.

Michael: I can see that as the most disgusting thing that was done. That was awfully disgusting. It was the thing that most clearly needs to be established as not acceptable for the future generations, other than the murder with impunity of citizens, which obviously is sort of first. But I see … personally I feel something like past a certain point when people take symbolic evil actions, that’s like a good thing because it clarifies moral science.

Michael: And the problem is almost in conflict in general, you might say there are people who are good at building things but reluctant to start violent conflicts, and you have people who are bad at building things but eager to start violent conflicts. And this pattern happens over and over throughout history, it seems to me, whether it’s the union and the confederacy or England and Germany. There’s a lot of historical incidents. And Athens and Sparta, where that basic pattern holds. And usually the good guys win because the people who are bad at building things and eager to start violent conflicts are so eager and so shameless that they eventually provoke a response before they’ve infiltrated all of the institutions and made defense hopeless. I have been scared about that.

Michael: I feel much safer as an American with Trump having defiled everything our country has ever meant and everything Christianity has ever meant in the most unambiguous way possible, as well as telling the people to drink bleach. That seems like the sort of country where I’m really glad Trump was elected instead of Hillary, because she wouldn’t have made it so clear that there was a very large demographic actively opposed to everything [inaudible 00:26:30]. I don’t at all believe Trump equals Hitler. But Mussolini, sure. I totally believe Trump equals Mussolini. Trump voters equal Hitler voters? Sure. I totally believe people who voted for Trump would have also voted for Hitler. A lot of people who wouldn’t have voted for Trump would have also voted for Hitler. Hitler was a much more charismatic monster. It’s really weird that someone as uncharismatic as Trump could have won an election independent of, but I guess people just want a clown.

Jim: Yep.

Michael: That’s the thing, he’s more like [inaudible 00:27:02]. Caligulum is really just a mascot, a clown. No one took him seriously, but they were willing to put up with a moderate amount of murder and a high level of [inaudible 00:27:10] for entertainment. That’s what you do when you’ve given up on trying to be a civilized republic.

Jim: Yeah, and I will say for the longest time I put Trump principally in the clown box, depraved clown, evil clown, but clown, right? And his incompetence is so astounding. For instance, if he actually were a Hitler or a Napoleon or even a Mousselini, the obvious play when the COVID-19 epidemic came on would just go listen to a few radio broadcasts and channel FDR for three months and be guaranteed a reelection.

Jim: In a crisis, people gravitate towards the daddy party, the republicans. It’s always been that way. And if he had acted even a little bit like FDR or Churchill and been a mature adult and gave the bad news but gave hope, all the things that any reasonable leader would have done, any president we’ve had ever would have done even, Warren G Harding, if he did a tolerable imitation of Warren G Harding he probably would have won reelection. But no, he’s incapable of it. He is such an obviously demented character with his all-galactic scale narcissism and god knows what other serious mental illnesses, he couldn’t even pull off a simple acting job for three months to get himself reelected. That shows me that he’s capable of pretty much anything, so long as it feeds his narcicisstic personality disorder, and that could include going further down the road than I thought he might, and that this recent depraved event at the Episcopal church, demonstrated that he’s willing to cross lines that nobody’s ever crossed before.

Michael: At some point I want to move back from Trump to the Trump voters, and as I said the many Hitler voters who would have also voted for Hitler. And from the police towards the bureaucracies. Because that’s where I do think the real problem is. And that’s why I’m particularly excited about this particular proposal I’ve been making of just full police powers for everyone.

Michael: We can limit police powers as much as we want. But the ability to investigate Wall Street privately as an individual and bring criminal charges against Wall Street when the stock market is up during the worst economic disaster of all time actually, definitely worse than the Great Depression at this point. It seems kind of weird for the stock market to be way up. There’s a lot of market manipulation going on.

Michael: The last thing I wanted to try to say about Trump, although I don’t want to try to get the last word, so you can go back, is he seems to have always been not saying there’s going to be hard times but we’re going to make through it. Instead he seems to have insisted and driven in a very hard way from the top down in a way that strongly pressured all of his advisors to go along with bullshit that there was only going to be 60,000 casualties, back when everyone knew that couldn’t be possible and everyone knew that that couldn’t remain secret for even a couple weeks. I think an interesting thing is the only way I can make sense of that is basically market manipulation. It seemed like there’s this giant market around me, there’s vast amounts of funds that are dumping into the market, all of the insiders are pulling out into cash, and all of the semi-insiders are going into the least valuable assets in the market. It basically makes me think that our economy is much, much, much more centrally controlled than I had any reason to believe growing up. Not that much less centrally controlled than the Soviet Union was.

Michael: The Jeffrey Epstein thing makes me think our media is not that much less centrally controlled than the Soviet Union was. These sorts of things seem like the things that we need to root out. Or if we can’t root them out, just come to clarity about them. If we could just recognize that the stock market is like a lottery for real, it is for stupid people, it is just for taking their money. Buying gold is also for stupid people. Nobody ever made money by betting against Berkshire and Hathaway until now, but it’s a dang good bet that betting against Berkshire and Hathaway is a great idea in the next couple years. That sort of thing.

Jim: Yep. And again, those stacks and bricks up to your original theme that if we stack these bricks and bring them to the public attention, maybe it motivates enough people to move their needle into passive aggressive revolution. As you pointed out, the threshold of passive aggressive revolution is a lot lower than going out on the street, throwing Maltov cocktails and taking the risk of a rubber bullet in the throat or possibly worse. I think that is actually the most interesting aspect of this idea of passive aggressive revolution is for the individual agents, and think of it from an agent based modeling perspective, the risk to the agents is pretty low. And yet if there were indeed collective action, the result could be pretty high. And stacking these outrages, one on top of the other may at some point reach a critical mass where the agents are able to switch their state from just being ordinary Joe’s following their nose through life to now aligning to the passive aggressive revolution.

Michael: Right. There’s that whole [inaudible 00:32:48] document on how to sabotage a bureaucracy just by calling for too many meetings. You’ve seen that, right?

Jim: I have not.

Michael: It’s the same as the [inaudible 00:32:57] thing. There’s a lot of material like that.

Jim: I’ve actually done it though, just by native skill. I know how to do it.

Michael: Oh tell me about that, weather up some good stories.

Jim: No, we won’t tell those stories, they take too long. We only got a few minutes anyway.

Michael: All right, let’s deal with the voters. People who voted for Trump wanted to burn the country down.

Jim: Well no, let’s stop. I know a lot of Trump voters. I live in an electoral district where 75% of the people voted for Trump. 75%. And that’s a district that normally goes about 67, 68% republican.

Michael: Mr. Robot is a story glamorizing terrorism, promoting [inaudible 00:33:43] terrorism, even. Unifying with Chinese and American domestic terrorism to destroy the American system. And this was mainstream family television in America. I think a lot more than 75% of the people in this country want to burn it all down. They just don’t really know what’s the most effective way of doing it.

Jim: But no, I was saying I know these Trump voters and they’re a complete mixed bag. I would say maybe 10% at the most are not so much burn it all down as disgusted at all political … all politicians, and they saw this as an opportunity to stick a metal rod in the spokes of the bicycle of politics. Part of them are what I call economic left behinds who are more or less legitimately, at least from their own perspective, appalled by the impact on them and their community and their opportunities for their children of globalism, of hyper finance, hyper globalism, and I think another chunk were sincerely fundamental or at least fundamental is probably an overstatement, but strong traditional religious backgrounds who are appalled at their vision of the public morality of urban democrats, essentially.

Michael: I don’t believe that. Trump is an urban democrat, an exceptionally public [inaudible 00:35:15]. I don’t believe they’re voting for him for that reason.

Jim: I know these people, right? How many people mentioned the North Carolina transgender bathroom issue? Quite a few. I think you’re probably over-stereotyping the Trump voter. Everything happens at the margin. One of the things we know in both political science and economics is everything happens at the margins. The Trump voters are not ready, most of them, to vote for Hitler. Maybe 5% or 10% might vote for Hitler. But they were certainly willing to vote for Trump.

Jim: On the other hand-

Michael: I don’t think there’s the slightest chance for that. The German voters who voted for Hitler were not voting for Hitler because they wanted genocide or because they wanted moral conquest. They were voting for Hitler because they were desperate. They didn’t have any idea and they were scared, and he seemed like a thug, and thugs are what people who have been traumatized turn to when they’re scared.

Jim: That may be good, that’s an interesting analysis. People, especially the ones who’ve been traumatized by globalization and hyper-financialization said, “Okay this guy sort of sounds like he’s on our side, and he sort of seems like a thug. Hey, let’s hire our own thug to go kick the butts of the globalists.” That might be a third of the Trump voters.

Jim: Then here’s the most interesting is the most dangerous, and this is of course talking about [inaudible 00:36:37] again or Hitler, I love to call him [inaudible 00:36:38] just because it drove him crazy. That was his father’s name before his father changed his name at the age of 40. Could you imagine hail [inaudible 00:36:49], it would not have worked too well. Apparently it sounds very humorous in German. [inaudible 00:36:57]. Would never have flown.

Michael: German last names at that time were often based on your class origins. Because at some point they implemented last names, I believe, and people liked to buy them. And more classy sounding last names cost more.

Jim: Interesting. But yeah, his father was a government bureaucrat, a customs officer of middle rank. He was not poor, and he changed his name about the age of 40. Anyway, as I was saying, the other interesting and dangerous and interesting parallel is in my view about a third of Trump voters are cynacle people who actually saw through Trump and realized in reality he would just be a monkey’s paw for the financial interests, as demonstrated by the tax cut. That damn thing was the greatest shoveling of money into the wealthy peoples pockets of all time, probably.

Michael: I think Hillary would have also been a tool of the financial interests. In the long-term, the financial interests would have definitely made more money with democratic regime that collapsed 10 years later than with the republican regime that collapses 10 years earlier, don’t you think?

Jim: These aren’t of course the money people. Money people actually were opposed to Trump. Wall Street put their contributions about five to one, four to one against Trump. But these are people who of upper middle class, successful business people, net worth of a few million and they say, “Oh, Trump will cut my taxes. Oh, and by the way probably Trump will be good for the stock market,” and he did both, right? Stock market soared.

Michael: I will say those guys with a net worth of a few million, that’s not 13% of the voting public, it’s much less than that.

Jim: The ones who are on the road to that also, so including the small business people who when they retire will have a net worth of $2 million. There’s a fair number of those.

Michael: The elephant in the room I feel that we haven’t mentioned for Trump voters is the white nationalists. Especially when we’re talking about Hitler, that seems like a natural thing to bring up. This country was explicitly half white nationalist or a third white nationalist much more recently, within living memory. While Germany was not Nazi, within living memory. And it transitioned without a [inaudible 00:39:06] program or anything equivalent to that. It transitioned in a messy way that people still felt morally validated, but felt like they had to shut up.

Michael: It doesn’t really make a lot of sense to imagine that all of the people who changed their stories about what they believed back in the ’60s and ’70s changed in a deep way in how they were disposed to behaving. They became self-white nationalists who were ashamed of it in some way, but also angry that they were ashamed of it and wanted to inflict shame on other people.

Michael: That sort of a pattern, it’s way too many people to reasonably blame. It’s a culture, it’s a bad culture, and there’s not that much that can obviously be done about a bad culture except being clear that it’s out there and that people actually have to take fairly large steps to protect themselves from it because they can’t be protected by a system of policing and punishment. Because the system of policing and punishment doesn’t have non-draconian measures and doesn’t have the ability to apply draconian measures against the number of people who are engaged in these [inaudible 00:40:14].

Michael: I think about what would have happened if a Jewish person had been lynched in Germany in public on video while four cops watched and one cop did it. And I think that everyone would be unified against the world saying that okay, Germany needs to do a total overhaul and re implement de-Nazification. And I don’t really see why this situation is different. And we’ve got some historical precedent for somewhat effective truth and reconciliation issues around white nationalism.

Michael: Another passive aggressive thing that I can imagine calling for, and let’s say I am calling for it, is for South Africa to call for the anti-apartheid sanctions to be implemented against the United States with all the stringency with which they were implemented against South Africa until it pays them a $10 billion consulting contract to advise them on truth and reconciliation. That should be in everyone’s interests I think. Actually everyone’s, because even in the interest of the white nationalists, because truth and reconciliation is helpful. People need understanding that they actually literally don’t know how to get over the indoctrination and culture that they were raised in. They don’t know how not to hate. Hatred doesn’t feel like I want to hate people, it feels like something natural and desirable from the inside. It feels like the thing you have to do that could be meaningful. How did those cops feel while they were watching someone lynch a person in front of them? I’m sure they felt anxious and terrible and confused, but in some perverse way I wouldn’t say felt like they were doing the right thing, but felt like they were doing the thing they had to do.

Jim: Two out of the four were persons of color, right? One was Hmong and the other was I think part East Asian. The thing is even more fucked up than we think, right? That it’s not as simple as that. Not unfortunately. Actually the solution to the legacy white supremacy America is just the calendar, right? If you look at the gallop poles in 1960, 85% of Americans believed if someone near to them married someone of another race, they would be upset. The current number is 8% and declining. And you’re right, there are some people that are so [inaudible 00:42:50] that won’t tell even an anonymous poster that. But it’s all on an age gradient. And of course to your hypothesis, that’s why, one of the reasons, Trump way stronger than he is with old people than he is with young people.

Jim: The white supremacy thing, the calendar will take care of it. There’s no constituency at all for white supremacy in young people other than a few fringe nut jobs.

Michael: I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that. I think that the bro culture is a white supremacist culture. It’s very hard to communicate what bro culture is. And it’s a weird sort of rainbow coalition white supremacist culture where it’s happy to accept African Americans who are able to conform extremely well to its norms. It’s happy to accept Jews if they’re able to conform very well to its norms, but it’s not happy to accept something like proportional people and it demands a higher level of conformity to norms. And it’s willing to commit unlimited violence against people who are not part of those norms without feeling at all guilty about it.

Jim: I don’t know anything about bro culture, I’ve got to tell you. I fortunately retired before that became a thing. As far as I could tell, that didn’t become a thing until about 2000, 2001. I was out of the business world at that point, so I never had to deal with any of them mother fuckers. Alrighty, I think we’re here at our stop point. Any final thoughts before we sign off? This has been interesting and a curious tour of various ideas and possibilities.

Michael: You’ve been involved in chaos theory for a long time, and you’re in an unusually good place to give a scientific opinion about whether a unified day of prayer against the American military would have affects on its effects. Is this a great place to demonstrate the power of prayer and establish it for all time as a scientific fact?

Jim: Let me think about that one. It depends on … like so many things in complex systems, it depends on many different dimensions of analysis. To pray against the military, let’s say pray against the military in World War II, not going to work too well, right? Because you’re going to assume it’s just a number of cranks. If the military were actually called out and were slaughtering people in the inner cities, then I think it probably would work pretty well, because the cops, the police or the military would know they’re doing wrong, so they would be accessible to the message. Far more people would be willing to participate in such a prayer. It is entirely context dependent.

Michael: How about for the stock market decline? How well would that work?

Jim: If your theory that its all manipulated is correct, not at all.

Michael: Good point. I feel that’s a [inaudible 00:45:39]. Thank you.

Jim: All right, good time talking with you.

Production services and audio editing by Jared Janes Consulting. Music by Tom Muller