People often say I’m a doom and gloom merchant.
But it’s not just me. It’s a label attached to most contrarian investors. Or anyone who believes there’s something wrong with the state of the global economy.
Heck, one of the most famous contrarian investors, Dr Marc Faber, writes a monthly newsletter called the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report.
And every year my pals at the Daily Reckoning hold a Doomers’ Ball. That’s where economic realists can meet, chat, drink, and listen to the latest contrarian investment ideas.
(In true contrarian style, the Daily Reckoning guys have decided not to hold the annual event this year!)
So in a way I get it when the mainstream call us doom and gloomers.
But that could make you think my colleagues and I walk around with rain clouds over our heads. Or that we use a piece of string to hold up our trousers and mutter to ourselves through a beard.
The thing is that’s not true (although Dan Denning does occasionally sport a beard).
In fact, I’d argue that because we know the real story about the world economy and politics, we can prepare for it, and protect ourselves against the worst.
That’s why you should be far happier than the drones who won’t know what’s happening until it whacks them in the back of the head.
After the first issue of the Pursuit of Happiness, in which I covered the sociopathic and psychopathic war-tendencies of politicians, I’ll change tack slightly today. I’ll focus on how the government wants to restrict your pursuit of happiness.
Rather than trying to kill you by sending you to fight their live-ammo war games, they’re trying to kill your mind too.
Their aim is to create an obedient race of humans. They want drones. They want you to say and do whatever they tell you.
I call these control freaks the ‘Fun Police’. It sounds like a glib throw-away line, right? It is, but it hides a deeply serious side to government meddling…
You may have seen these two news stories over the weekend:
‘City of Glen Eira demands $120 permit for throwing a frisbee’ – Herald Sun
‘Industry revolts as federal health agency proposes ban on discount booze’ – News.com.au
The first story is just dumb. We won’t waste any time on it. It’s a classic example of Little Napoleons bossing people about. Once they’ve finished at the council level they’ll head to Spring Street or Canberra.
The second story covered a proposal by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA). It wants the government to set a minimum price for alcohol. This is all part of the ANPHA’s mandate to support:
‘…the development and implementation of evidence-based approaches to preventive health initiatives. Its initial focus, as requested by Health Ministers, is to target obesity (including physical inactivity), harmful alcohol consumption and tobacco.’
If like me you think it’s none of the government’s business how much you eat, drink, and smoke (or gamble), you should be concerned that the government looks set to introduce price controls on alcohol.
It would mean the end of cheap grog.
But where would Jimmy Barnes be today if he couldn’t sing about ‘cheap wine’? We can’t imagine changing the lyrics to ‘reasonably priced wine’, or ‘a not-inexpensively appraised vin ordinaire’.
Aside from the attack on freedom of choice, this is an attack on Jimmy Barnes. This must stop!
About Lungs and Livers
But seriously, as I see it the government has no legal or moral right to set a price for alcohol. Of course, whenever a government doesn’t have the legal right to do something it does what all governments do…it changes the law to make it legal.
It will argue that it’s only doing it to protect people from themselves. Whenever you hear that argument, beware. It’s the argument governments always use when it’s about to take away your freedom.
It used the same argument with tobacco advertising. It now forces companies to print warnings and unpleasant images on cigarette packets. But how’s that a limit on rights?
Well, it’s the right for smokers not to have the government preaching at them. It’s the right to not have to look at those images just because they decide to take part in the legal activity of smoking.
It would be the equivalent of forcing car companies to print pictures of hideous car accidents on the bonnet of your car…or forcing restaurants to put a photo on the top of every meal of fat people dying of obesity.
Maybe the next stage is plain packaging of beer and wine with pictures of a dead boozer’s liver on the side. [Publisher’s note: Kris, don’t give them ideas.]
While I’m on the subject of tobacco advertising, I prefer the US Appeals Court decision on the subject. The US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) planned to follow the Aussie lead by forcing tobacco companies to print graphic images on cigarette packs.
The Appeals Court wasn’t having any of it. The court noted:
‘The First Amendment requires the government not only to state a substantial interest justifying a regulation on commercial speech, but also to show that its regulation directly advances that goal. FDA failed to present any data — much less the substantial evidence required under the federal law — showing that enacting their proposed graphic warnings will accomplish the agency’s stated objective of reducing smoking rates. The rule thus cannot pass muster.’
If you want to smoke, then smoke. You don’t need the government preaching at you each time you take a puff.
Another area where the government uses the ‘protecting the public’ argument is the Internet…
Wear Red Underpants on Your Head
The government insists it has to know what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, when you’re doing it, and whom you’re doing it with. Just so it can protect you from the terrible harm you could do yourself.
But again, it’s not really about protecting you from yourself. It’s about taking freedom, power and control from you and putting it into the hands of the government’s Internet Tsar — Senator Stephen Conroy.
To show you what I mean, watch this video of Aussie communications minister Senator Conroy. I was stunned when I first saw this video. I can’t repeat hear some of the words I used…but I figure you can guess.
Senator Conroy was speaking at the Columbia Institute for TeleInformation, in New York:
If you can’t watch the video, here’s a transcript of what the Senator said:
‘I’m in charge of spectrum auctions. And if I say to you, everyone in this room, if you want to bid next week in our spectrum auctions you better wear red underpants on your head, I’ve got some news for you, you’ll be wearing them on your head. I have unfettered legal power.’
Had Senator Conroy been on the cheap grog before he gave that presentation? Of course not, he’s simply stating a fact about the power of the Aussie government to do as it wishes.
In another sign of Aussies getting their priorities wrong, this YouTube video has amassed just 4,488 viewers (as I write).
Contrast that with the video of Prime Minister, Julia Gillard speaking in support of the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives (a man who resigned a day later for sending sexists text messages). It has amassed over 137,000 views.
But back to Conroy. There’s something distasteful about someone drunk on their own power. Perhaps the ANPHA could add politicians to their list of concerns, and slap a ban on Senators saying stupid things.
That won’t happen, because it’s all part of the government’s plan to deny you and all Aussies of freedom. The more the government can control you and shape you, the move power they have. So I’m sure they were delighted by the following news in today’s Age:
‘One in eight Australians lives below the poverty line, according to a national analysis by a leading welfare group.
‘The unemployed, singles over 65, lone-parent families and households reliant on social security were among those most at risk, according to the Poverty in Australia report, released yesterday by the Australian Council of Social Service.’
The more people need government support, the more the government has power over them.
the Economy and Your Mind
But remember, Australia hasn’t had an official recession in over 20 years. Australia has had a 10-year resources boom that’s earned millions for investors…and yet one in eight Aussies lives in poverty. How can that be right?
Given the extent of government meddling in the economy it can only be because the government has planned it that way. It’s either that or because the government has meddled so much it has led to the distortions that create poverty.
The one thing we do know is that it’s not the fault of the free market, capitalism, or people trying to live their lives without government meddling.
So which is it? Is it a deliberate plan or a consequence of government stupidity? To be honest, it could be either, or a mix of both.
You know the government gains power by denying power to others, so what better way to deny power and exert control than by driving people into poverty and forcing them to accept welfare?
Put another way, it’s social engineering. Or you could say it’s the first step in the eugenics movement’s attempt to design the population in a way they find acceptable. That means separating the weak from the strong.
If you think I’m talking rubbish, just look at some of the biggest names behind the eugenics movement. As this note from Wikipedia says:
‘In the United Kingdom, eugenics never received significant state funding, but it was supported by many prominent figures of different political persuasions before World War I, including: Liberal economists William Beveridge and John Maynard Keynes; Fabian socialists such as Irish author George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells and Sidney Webb; and Conservatives such as the future Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Arthur Balfour. The influential economist John Maynard Keynes was a prominent supporter of Eugenics, serving as Director of the British Eugenics Society…’
Seeing as the world’s leaders have fallen over themselves to embrace Keynes’ economic theories, it isn’t a stretch to say they embrace his social theories too.
After all, this is a movement that answers the question, ‘Is there something inherently bad about having a low IQ?’ with the answer:
‘Yes! From the standpoint of our whole society, it’s very, very bad. I personally have known people with low IQs whom I loved and respected. But collectively, in terms of society, they constitute a tremendous liability. Low IQ people are much more likely to be criminals, chronically dependent on welfare, unemployed, illiterate — in fact, they’re way over-represented in every category of social problems. They cost taxpayers billions of dollars annually.’
This is the same movement that believes in forced sterilisation of women to ensure low IQ individuals don’t weaken the gene pool…for their own and society’s benefit of course.
I know what you’re thinking. This is a big leap from Frisbees and cheap grog to systematic social engineering and central planning. And you’re probably also wondering what happened to the ‘fun’ I mentioned at the start of this letter…
The point I’m making is that as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the US Declaration of Independence, natural human rights are about ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.
As an individual it’s your right to have the opportunity to achieve those things. It doesn’t mean you will achieve them, only that you have the right to try to achieve them.
The interference by government prevents this.
It stops you from keeping your earned wages. It makes it more expensive for you to smoke cigarettes or buy cheap booze. And it prevents you from watching or reading what you want on the Internet.
But despite everything the government does to prevent your pursuit of happiness, it shouldn’t stop you trying. And it doesn’t mean you have to walk around under a rain cloud either.
Keep reading newsletters like this, and our sibling publications, Money Morning and the Daily Reckoning. This will help make sure you’re up to speed on what’s going on in the world.
But do more than that. Broaden your reading so you can learn from history. (I suggest you buy a Kindle from Amazon.com, because from time to time I’ll give you tips on the books you should add to your ‘eLibrary’ or your physical library.)
But most of all don’t let people pigeon-hole you as a doom and gloomer, because you’re not. You’re simply someone who recognises what successive governments have done (and are still doing) to your freedom and wealth.
You shouldn’t feel guilty about fighting back and trying to do something about it. And if that means educating yourself, smoking cigarettes, drinking cheap wine or throwing a Frisbee in a park, then go for it.
And don’t let the government stop you…because they will if you let them.
Editor, The Pursuit of Happiness
Ed Note: This article first appeared in The Pursuit of Happiness – an eletter that’s all about helping you achieve your goal of living a happy, healthy and wealthy life.
You can subscribe now by clicking here.
From the Archives…
Still Bullish on China?
12-10-2012 – Greg Canavan
Global Economy Health Check
11-10-2012 – Satyajit Das
Super Clueless For Your Retirement
10-10-2012 – Nick Hubble
An Investment Strategy for the End of Australia’s Lucky Run
09-10-2012 – Dan Denning
How The Fed’s Forecast Fallacy Leads to Stagflation
08-10-2012 – Nick Hubble