Saturday, December 19, 2009

Barko & Sarko Capitalism - Socialism With a Twist

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4226

From Meccania to Atlantis - Part 13 (2): Harpo, Gekko, Barko, Sarko


Chapter 2: Barko = Fundamental Transformation 2 + 3 = 5.03820

By Takuan Seiyo

The Brussels Journal

12/18/09

There was a time, before every car had a bumper sticker that read, “Even my llama voted for Obama,” when Americans preferred to affirm in this manner some essential and incontrovertible truth, like “S**t happens.” Swayed by their ruling elites and boob tube to take out reverse mortgage loans to buy swamp vacations condos and 3-ton SUVs with all the desert options for driving to MacDonald’s, they lost their mind. Their political and opinion-making leaders, all graduates of elite universities, all counseled by PhD’s from even more elite universities -- they too had forgotten the simple truths one used to learn in kindergarten.


But the Chinese have not forgotten, and they are quoting Benjamin Franklin to the American fools. “He who goes borrowing, goes sorrowing,” admonishes Cheng Siwei, ex-vice-chairman of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party. Beijing University students laugh at U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner when he reassures them with the transparent fib that his government believes in a “strong dollar.” And Americans swindled by their own government unto the nth generation, take solace in lampooning their Loon in Chief -- here being told by “Hu Jintao”, ”I am noticing that each of your plans to save money involves spending even more money."


To construct an economy whose survival depends on the ability of both government and citizens to borrow money and spend it on mad social engineering programs and redundant imported junk is the stuff of retarded children’s fancy. After that house of cards has collapsed, for America’s government to borrow and print additional trillions of dollars, and to sprinkle that onto failed, mismanaged corporations, corrupt Communist labor unions, cesspool banks, and racial extortion racket like ACORN, is nothing short of terminal lunacy. Or something more sinister.

In 2002, the U.S. national debt was close to $6 trillion. By November 2009, it had doubled to nearly $12 trillion. The debt is running so fast that it’s expected to pass $18.6 trillion in 2014. But that too is a lie – Snatcher State (1) is founded on lies. For to measure the true national debt of the American Leviathan, one would have to add other U.S. obligations that with respect to unfunded pension and health-care liabilities alone run over $99 trillion.

The true measure of the United States’ insolvency in November 2009 was $111 trillion, or 5.038 to the power of 20. Leviathan says, “Sorry, our forecast was 5, but it turned out to be 5.038.” Pundits then comment on the debt overrun at 5.038 and find that it’s no big deal. But Leviathan has neglected to mention the tiny superscript mark next to 5.038 that makes it $111 trillion. Maybe if Orwell’s 1984 were called 2009, Winston would have been tortured by the state for writing, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus three is five, not 111 trillion.”

Generations of American politicians and bureaucratic barons have defined the government’s liabilities in such a way as to exclude unfunded retirement and health care obligations. Try this creative accounting with your espresso cart business, and see how long you can stay out of prison.

What’s $111 trillion? It’s one of those things that, to grasp, one has to stack up Eiffel Towers all the way to Pluto, or to count seconds backwards until a few months before the Big Bang. It’s an obscene number. It’s nothing compared to the $1.4 quadrillion value of outstanding derivatives, but one insane balloon does not excuse another.

Gordon Gekko was made into a symbol of greed only because a brain-altered leftie, Oliver Stone, made the film. The banksters are indefensible, that’s true. But they are merely little covetous geckos compared to the rapacity of whore politicians and government pashas who lust for power, permanence of power, perks of power, and the buttered money crumbs that fall their way from the table de luxe where the really smart guys dine.

The Club of Crooks and Loons thrives by beggaring the middle class to fund programs that keep enough voters happy to get the Club re-elected. It raises the funds by direct wealth transfer through “progressive” (double meaning) taxation, and by borrowing and printing, i.e. creating money out of nothing. The latter is a form of stealth progressive taxation. And the purpose is always the same: reckless spending.

Manifestly, this “stimulates” the economy with plentiful credit and cheap money. But over time, this robs the middle class by diluting its savings and fixed income through inflation and stealth devaluation. It undermines society as profoundly as the profligate expenditures of the latter Caesars did Rome, financed as they were by shaving the diameter and falsifying the silver and gold content of the coins of the realm.


But the Club doesn’t care. The Crooks know that it’s in their re-election interest to conjure and spend vast sums of money. For the same reason they are keen on replacing the white, largely self-reliant majority with a more “diverse,” imported electorate, inured to government handouts robbed from the dispossessed middle class. And the Loons are happy that such spendin’ and diversifyin’ furthers their pet causes of social justice, equality, peace, and penance for whitey. Each one of these words and concepts is a hypocritical euphemism worthy of Molière.

There has been much media chatter that the current travails of financial capitalism are a crisis of the “free market” system. In a recent BBC poll of 29,000 people in 27 countries, only 11% opined that free-market capitalism works well. 23% saw capitalism as fatally flawed. In 15 of the 27 countries, majorities wanted their government to increase its direct ownership of the main industries. Although only 11 of the 23 sampled countries were of Euro-origin, the pervasive ignorance embedded in these opinions was evinced in this comment by Doug Miller, chairman of the company that conducted the survey: “It appears that the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 may not have been the crushing victory for free-market capitalism that it seemed at the time.

“Free-market” capitalism? In a system where the government has a monopoly on the price and quantity of money, which it misprices and misprints as a rule? In a system where the government has just bailed out the crooks and the fools from the free market’s judgment, and charged the costs to the productive and prudent?

Greedy financial capitalism has exploited and exploded the credit bubble. But every bubble of the last 20 years has been inflated by the constant expansion of cheap credit by central banks, particularly the U.S. Fed. Had (Federal Reserve Chairmen) Greenspan and Bernanke not flooded with “liquidity,” the Gekkos would not have had the practically limitless free money to play speculative games with.

This is the second systemic sabotage of free market economy even in the freest country of all – the United States. The first one is the government’s persistent failure to exercise its legislative and enforcement powers to restrain fraud, graft, market manipulation and excessive risk taking with other people’s money. A big part of the Crooks and Loons’ scam is that they leave free what they ought to control, i.e. the borders, Islamic infiltration, criminal gangs, bank reserve ratios, derivatives, speculation on margin -- but they control what they ought to leave free, i.e. interest rates, gender and race-blind meritocracy, the people’s right to armed self-defense, and more.
To compound the disaster, after their bubble imploded, the Keynesian monetary drones threw $23.7 trillion’s-worth of moneta (i.e. coins) -- in the U.S. alone! -- to extinguish a conflagration of debt with more debt. None of them saw the advance warning signs of the biggest financial crash in history, but all of them now know how to cure it.




The economy is an organic entity. It gets irrationally exuberant and drunk on cheap money, if there is a misguided central bank providing it. But if the economy gets a chance to sleep through the hangover, fast for a year or two on bread and water, the toxins – what “Austrian” economists call malinvestments -- are flushed out of the system and the patient wakes up full of vigor to start a new day afresh.

If instead of leaving it alone, the government plies the economy with the very drug that has caused its crash, it produces a jolt of activity today, and a bigger crash tomorrow. It’s like pumping a heroin addict full of opium, to cure the addiction. It’s obvious therefore that if the Monkey Business (2) clowns continue “stimulating” the economy they already destroyed through two decades of overstimulation, they must have either a mental deficiency, or a hidden agenda, or both.

Barko, spender


Barko is Barack Hussein Obama -- Great Leader, The One We Have Been Waiting For or, in implanted childrens’ devotionals, “Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama.” Mr. Obama’s unique historical significance is as a “community organizer” brought to the levers of supreme power by a stroke of good fortune and able, therefore, to accelerate the Gramscian Long March beyond the wildest dreams of any American socialist radical who ever lived.


Barko is also a phenomenon that extends beyond Mr. Obama himself. It includes what is known as the Obama-Chicago Machine-Pelosi-Reid political axis, its crypto-socialist billionaire backers and upper class “progressive” acolytes, the pierced-and-tattooed slackers, militant labor and civil service unions, socialist NGOs, and the tens of millions of non-white minorities for whom the Barko coalition is a ticket to bounty requisitioned from others.


The Left’s strategy has not changed much since the 1930s. They push government spending ever higher, and then define budget deficits as the problem. When fiscal conservatives point out that the overspending causes the deficits, the Left labels that as extremist, supporting slavery and homicidal. When in power, the Left ratchets up the spending on its clients and picks the pockets of the productive citizens out of a faked concern for the “deficit gap.”


The one rule is that expenditures are never reduced, except as a strategic ploy. If an emergency forces a reduction, what’s reduced is the police, the garbage pick-up, the libraries, but never the budget-busting public workers’ pension programs, or the legions of $150,000-a-year deputies of bureaucrat deputies, hired and retained through thick and thin to fulfill the Holy Grail of Body Snatcher creed: “balance” between competent straight white males and quadriplegic black Muslim lesbians.


But there comes a time when the spending is no longer an exercise in cynical egotism or delusional ‘social justice,’ but a deliberate battering ram with which to fell a nation and steal its future. There is no precedent in history to the reckless magnitude and speed of the Obama–Pelosi regime’s spending. It’s impossible to capture concisely all the details of the confetti curtain of $100 bills streaming day and night from ten million Bernanke helicopters, but a few mileposts are worth mentioning:


The Senate of the most indebted nation in history, a country staggering under mountains of debt that it has no viable way of repaying, continues to pass Titanic spending bills that just in the first nine months of 2009 included:

$350 billion Wall Street bailout extension
$787 billion “stimulus” package
$400 billion, earmark-infested omnibus spending bill
$6 billion to federalize charities and pay volunteers
$109 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund
$3 billion for “Cash for Clunkers”
$400 million in corporate welfare to the tourism industry
$4 billion bailout of the Postal Service


In what the New York Post called “a stimulus without the stim", the federal government has spent a half-billion dollars on ten large government stimulus contracts in New York City and Long Island that created 54 jobs. That comes to $9 million per job.


Overall, the government has spent $246,436 per each of the 640,329 jobs it claims to have saved or created so far. That's a pretty costly stimulus, a government Ponzi scheme of printing money and so robbing those who hold previously printed money, then flinging the new money about in order to cover up the sorry effects of the government’s own prior malfeasance and stupidity.


Each buyer of the 690,000 vehicles that were sold during the “Cash for Clunkers program” (gov. propaganda here) received a government subsidy of $3,500 - $4,500, at a total cost to the taxpayer of $3 billion. But since the majority of these beneficiaries would have bought their cars anyway, the 125,000 who were actually induced by the government to buy cost the taxpayer $24,000 each.


Fraud in the “$8000 ‘stimulus’ to each new home buyer” program is currently assessed at $500 million. Thousands of such $8,000 tax credits have been issued to illegal aliens, children, and people who had not bought a house – the latter including at least 53 IRS [Income Tax Bureau] employees. That’s what happens when a government rather than the free market mechanism dispenses money.

Obama has announced a plan to send 78 million American seniors a check for $250 each. That’s a paltry 19.5 billion dollars. In Detroit, thousands line up for “Obama money,” that they believe is a personal gift from The One. In Tampa Bay, millions are wasted to subsidize beauty school tuition for beauticians for whom there are no jobs. Maybe that’s the ultimate Monkey Business haircut.


As if this weren’t enough, the lunatics in the House of Representatives write a 2000+ page bill that nobody has read and pass it at 23:00 on a Saturday night. They propose to spend another $1.2 trillion on health care for the 12.5% of Mexico’s population (3) that prefers free American doctors, in a reform that would actually worsen everything that’s already bad in the American healthcare system (4), explode U.S. debt, increases taxes, and kill jobs. Two Saturdays later, the Senate gives its stamp of approval, in a wheeling-dealing process that involves buying one senator’s vote with a $300 million bribe to Louisiana, twenty times the amount of the original Louisiana Purchase.

And since this is being too niggardly with the taxpayer’s money, Democrat Snatchers in the Senate push through a Climate Change bill that will cost at least $3.6 trillion, such estimates always proven 20 years later to have been too hopeful by a factor of eight.

But they are just getting warmed up. “After flurry of stimulus spending, questionable projects pile up,” reports the Washington Examiner. The “projects” range from $300,000 for a GPS-equipped helicopter to hunt for radioactive rabbit excrement, to $800,000 for the John Murtha Airport in Johnstown, Pa. that serves 20 passengers a day. Democratic Congressman Murtha deserves his name on an airport because he is a crook of such staggering proportions that even The Huffington Post – no foe of Democrats – gives him his own Web page.


While all this is going on, in a brave experiment to disprove the unfashionable “guns–or-butter” maxim , the U.S. wastes $2.6 billion a day to build the unbuildable nations of Iraq and Afghanistan [total wasted in Iraq alone: $53 billion, so far], promises to double its foreign aid to $50 billion, to initiate hush money to Third World kleptocracies at [a big part of] $100 billion per year, and generally does everything that the speed of its Bureau of Engraving and Printing presses -- 8,000 sheets of paper money per hour – makes possible.


This is madness for the ages, stuff for future historians of civilizational collapse. And it’s not economic ignoramuses who are doing this. Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, was a professor of Economics at Princeton University. Timothy Geithner, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, has an M.A. in economics. Paul Krugman, who habitually criticizes these two for not spending enough, is the 2008 Nobel laureate in economics. Even President George W. Bush, who started this insanity in earnest, has an MBA from Harvard.


The unfolding disaster is tied in part to false economic models of credentialed “experts,” full of the particular arrogance of people who have read 10,000 books but never milked a cow. Like the medieval alchemists, the Greenspan-Bernankes serving Snatcher State still look for the philosopher’s stone – and find it in John Maynard Keynes’s theory that government meddling and deficit spending is not the leaden hobble that a 9-year-old with a piggy bank would recognize, but pure gold.


Pure gold it is. Since gold is an insurance against the government’s follies and depredations, in the first 10 months of the Obama presidency the price of gold went up by 37%.


The fatal conceit of learned socialist bunglers is personified in Dr. – in history, of all things -- Gordon Brown. As the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, between 1999 and 2002 Brown sold 60% of Great Britain’s gold reserves at an average price of $276 an ounce. He had actually managed to drive the price to its lowest in 25 years, still called "Brown Bottom," by announcing his intentions in advance.

By 1 December 2009, gold had risen by 335% and stood at $1200 an ounce. And Dr. Brown, having managed to trash Great Britain in many other ways since, is now its Prime Minister. Full of grandiose ideas to redeem whitey and uplift the world, among Brown’s other flashes of brilliance has been his effort to get the West’s then-solvent countries to give away much of their gold, via the IMF, to relieve Third World debt. Since this particular outflow to the Third World did not work out, Brown with other Labour leaders have since done their best to destroy Great Britain via a demographic inflow from the Third World.


The gross mismanagement of the West’s real assets by big business leaders has been far exceeded by the gross mismanagement of the West’s economies and societies by political leaders and bureaucrats. This starts with their Keynesian conviction that they know how to manage the economy. Friedrich von Hayek called it “the fatal conceit." The scope of this term ought to be enlarged to include also social capital, i.e. common ethnic roots, cultural consensus, shared norms of behavior and the resulting social trust – for these invaluable social assets have been similarly destroyed by the fatally mad ruling elites.


The 1st Great Depression was not a failure of capitalism but a failure of the leftists elites to understand the nature of both capitalism and their own limitations (5). History’s reproach to the foolish government tinkerers may be deduced by comparing the “Panic of 1920” with the “Panic of 1929.” The first one subsided quickly after President Harding’s government left things alone except for cutting taxes and spending. But the Panic of 1929, followed by much government fiddling, tampering and burning huge sums of money, lasted for the better part of two decades and stopped only because of World War 2.


Government meddling, bailing out and “stimulating” is pulling the world straight into the second Great Depression through a fake, “stimulated recovery,” as though there is no lesson to be drawn from the first one. However, the government’s essential incompetence is a Harpo clown issue, and we have covered that already. But Barko and Sarko, the one a sinister destroyer, the other a Body Snatcher lunatic, are stacked on top of the Harpo bumbler.


Barko, waster


It takes the two meanings of “to waste” to describe what the leftoid American regime is doing to the country it loves to hate. For it’s a wipeout, a gigantic destruction by profligate mega-squandering.


What separates the wasting of the Barko socialists from that of the faux Sarko conservatives (like Nicolas Sarkozy) is speed, quantity, and intent.


The Barkos wreak accelerated destruction with intelligent purposefulness in order to collapse Western society. Their playbook has been authored by Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse, Saul Alinsky, even a convicted thief, Robert Creamer, a darling of Chicago-style “gangsta-progressives.” Barkos even have a conspiratorial script, the Cloward – Piven Strategy.

The Sarkos, on the other hand, destroy incrementally, with benign intent -- a mixture of bleeding heart liberalism and stupidity. They hew to John Maynard Keynes, Big Business, and lefto-Christian dhimmo-bishops like Nick Baines or Godfried Danneels. There are conspiracies attributed to this side also, such as the “Bilderbergs” and other names given to a behind-the-curtain group of powerful string-pulling bankers.

In the United States, George W. Bush was the last Sarko in the White House, and there are Republican Sarkos serving now in the U.S. Congress. But as the country is struggling with its biggest crisis since World War 2, it is firmly in the grip of Barack and the Barko Party.

As if some of the finest financial minds of the United States (e.g. James Grant, here ) have not warned of courting disaster, as though millions have not voiced their outrage in thousands of Tea Parties, Barko, like a windup thieving magpie, goes forth. As of 8 December, there are new Obama plans to “spend our way out of this recession."

Even as voices of warning and dire prediction intensify, the Fed’s Ben Bernanke and U.S. Treasury’s Tim Geithner are intensifying their actions that ignore and defy the warnings. Even as lone Congressmen sound the alarm about the evil circus they witness daily on the job, a new 2500-page Omnibus spending bill is making its way through the Capitol like a tasty rat through a python’s practiced colon. The bill, putting the match to the paltry sum of $446 billion, includes 5,200 earmarks for things like a $17 million gift to Ireland and $3 million for bike racks in Washington DC.

And the Senate is hard at work to “clear away” a Republican filibuster of a $1.1 trillion end-of-year spending bill rewarding most federal agencies with generous budget boosts and funding such Barko staples as abortions and hard-drug needles. As well, the barking mad party in Congress under Barko’s baton is pulling out all stops to ram through what will be one of the main anchors of Socialist America: the health care “reform” with its grossly underestimated price tag of $1.2 trillion.

The same government that wants to mismanage the $2.3 trillion (annual spending) healthcare industry, also drives hard to control the carbon emissions of the American economy – which means, really, to control the American economy. This, after having taken over much of the American auto, banking and insurance industries already. And that’s the government that has just agreed to pay $3.4 Billion to settle a lawsuit relative to its mismanagement of the revenue in the American Indian trust fund.

Not by coincidence, the same crazed Leviathian that has just driven the U.S. mortgage market and the world’s economy with it to implosion, continues to subsidize mortgages for people who do not qualify for loans by prudent banking criteria. U.S. Federal Housing Administration has guaranteed 37 % of all residential mortgage loans in 2009. At least 20% of this $725 billion mortgage portfolio will end up in default and another bailout by the U.S. taxpayer.

7.2 million jobs have been lost in America since recession began. The official unemployment rate, at 10.2%, is the highest in 26 years. But even the government admits that the true unemployment rate, including workers who have given up looking for work, is 17.5%. 22% is the truthful rate, per Shadow Government Statistics.

The only area where employment is booming is Washington, DC. At 6.2%, it has the lowest unemployment rate of all large American cities. The two million federal employees, including 25,000 new hires just since December 2008, have recently gotten a 2% wage increase. Over 10,000 of them -- an increase of 450% in just two years -- make more than $170,000 per year.
In this sense, the Barko regime has mounted a coup d'état in which the état is the instigator and beneficiary of the coup. But there is far more to it. It shows in the urgency and simultaneity of the unprecedented spending on very large society-transforming projects, any one of which alone would be perilous to America’s finances and social viability.

All of the spending iterated above has been initiated by the government of a country amidst the greatest economic crisis in 70 years, while fighting two hot wars and three cold ones, reeling at home from a shattered social and cultural consensus, and crippled by the breakdown of such bedrock institutions as public education that educates, and civil service that serves.

It’s this time that the Barko regime has chosen for smashing and rebuilding the largest sector of the American economy, healthcare. It’s this time they have chosen for closing Guantanamo and holding trials for Al Qaeda jihadis in New York. The idea is not just to burn another quarter billion for the trials and the attendant security, but also to destroy, through the judicial discovery process, the clandestine capabilities of America’s security apparatus.

It’s this time too, early next year, that they have chosen to ram through Amnesty for 15 -20 million illegal immigrants. 60% of those are semi-literate Mestizos and 5% are jihadis-in-waiting. And 15 million translates into at least 60 million through gradual “family reunification” over just 20 years. It’s this kind of strength in diversity that America is wanting so much.

All Body Snatchers who have access to a microphone crow about this coming epiphany, but the most instructive gloating comes from Janet Napolitano. In a typical inverse reality mode of Snatcher State, Ms. Napolitano is in charge of domestic security for the United States, tasked among others with protecting its borders and enforcing its immigration laws. “Timing is everything in the arts of war or politics”, said Ms. Napolitano in her speech on the blessings of busting the United States for good with a demographic bomb too, on top of all the other heavy petards.

The art of war – if only the foggy “conservatives” had a clue.

It’s within the same time bracket that the Barko people chose to unleash the Cap-and-Trade economic catastrophe on their country, under the risible pretext that their failure to do so would lead to a catastrophe. It’s in this time bracket that Mr. Obama chose to appoint an Afrocentric Black Communist, Van Jones, as “Green Jobs” Czar, and a Socialist International operative, Carol Browner, as “Energy and Climate Change” Czar. And that confluence of Third-worldism, socialism and climate change hokum provides the clue as to what the monetary bonfire of hokum stimulus is about too.

Mikhail Gorbachev, no stranger to Trotskyite thinking, has reportedly said that the threat of environmental crisis will be the “international disaster key” that will unlock the ‘New World Order’ (6). But even without Gorbachev’s decryption, that key is on plain view every day during the United Nations-staged Copenhagen climate commedia dell'arte.

The idea is to transfer wealth from the rich to the poor – on a scale undreamt of even by Karl Marx himself. All in the name of equality. No longer the equality of a German coal-mine owner and a German coal miner, but the equality of a German surgeon and a Gambian porter. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need, globally. Or, to paraphrase Charles Krauthammer, taxing hard-working citizens of Western democracies in order to fill the treasuries of Third World kleptocracies.

This is the biggest heist in the history of the world, and the Holy Grail of socialists everywhere, not the least at Socialist International. And the United States is the one obstreperous territory that has stood athwart the road to this progressive progress, starting with George W. Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

That’s why the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize went to Barack Hussein Obama. Thorbjørn Jagland, who presided over this travesty, had been, among his other socialist posts, a vice president of the Socialist International. And Barko with his crew steer America’s ship now, with an intention that presidential candidate Obama hinted to the knowing so vividly.



[Thorbjørn Jagland "has been one of several vice presidents of the Socialist International...He has stated that the left wing in Norway does not use Socialist International enough." See: Thorbjørn Jagland, Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorbj%C3%B8rn_Jagland . See also Dan Calabrese, Who is Thorbjorn Jagland? Obama’s Nobel patron is a long-time leader of Socialist International, The North Star National, (Oct. 10, 2009), at: http://www.northstarnational.com/2009/10/10/thorbjorn-jagland-obamas-nobel-patron-long-time-leader-socialist-international (reproduced below)].


America’s backbone is its middle class of mainly white, Christian anti-socialists. The last such backbone remaining in the world, with the possible exception of Australia. Crush it, and you have shattered the last obstacle standing before The New World Order. Break it, and you have changed the course of history as profoundly as the French Revolution has, in the same Jacobin direction.

That’s what the spending has been all about, and that’s why they stuffed so many back-breaking projects into the same impossible time frame. That’s why Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s majordomo, said that no serious crisis should go to waste.

And that’s why the next chapter in our contrarian cogitations will bear the title Requiescat in pace. The key to ending this nightmare is not in putting one’s electoral faith in a Sarko to replace a Barko while Harpo is running around in the background, but in recognizing that the whole enterprise is a mad circus decayed beyond redemption. The only true choice left is to get up and walk out of the circus tent.

Previous articles in this series can be found here.
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(1) The basic analogy reverts to Part 1, where we cited the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In the film, alien “Body Snatchers” produce giant legume Pods that replace living people while appearing to be identical to them. From the Pods develop the new Body Snatchers who cultivate further Pods etc. Snatcher State, per this central metaphor, is a state governed by an elite that seems to be so crazed and indifferent to Earthly reality as if it had come from outside our galaxy.
(2) Monkey Business is the metaphor used in Part 13(1) and taken from the Marx Brothers film, “Monkey Business,” including its “haircut” scene.
(3) See map.

(4) See assessment by the Dean of Harvard Medical School.

(5) Space does not permit for summarizing the proof here, but it may be found, among others, in Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960, Princeton University Press, 1963 (more here) and in Amity Shlaes, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. And Prof. Walter Williams has made the point that until the 1st Great Depression, all financial crises since 1787 had subsided quickly due to no governmental intervention in the economy.
(6) Quoted in Marilyn Brannan, “A Special Report: The Wildlands Project Unleashes Its War On Mankind,” Monetary & Economic Review, 1996, p. 5.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Wall Street Journal Finally Recognizes Threat Posed to Science By European & Obama Administration-Endorsed Precautionary Principle: It's About Time!!

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/12/03/science_is_on_the_credibility_bubble_99388.html
Science is on the Credibility Bubble

By Daniel Henninger

(Wall Street Journal Deputy Editor)

Real Clear Politics

December 3, 2009


Surely there must have been serious men and women in the hard sciences who at some point worried that their colleagues in the global warming movement were putting at risk the credibility of everyone in science. The nature of that risk has been twofold: First, that the claims of the climate scientists might buckle beneath the weight of their breathtaking complexity. Second, that the crudeness of modern politics, once in motion, would trample the traditions and culture of science to achieve its own policy goals. With the scandal at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, both have happened at once.



I don't think most scientists appreciate what has hit them. This isn't only about the credibility of global warming. For years, global warming and its advocates have been the public face of hard science. Most people could not name three other subjects they would associate with the work of serious scientists. This was it. The public was told repeatedly that something called "the scientific community" had affirmed the science beneath this inquiry. A Nobel Prize was bestowed (on a politician).


Global warming enlisted the collective reputation of science. Because "science" said so, all the world was about to undertake a vast reordering of human behavior at almost unimaginable financial cost. Not every day does the work of scientists lead to galactic events simply called Kyoto or Copenhagen. At least not since the Manhattan Project.



What is happening at East Anglia is an epochal event. As the hard sciences-physics, biology, chemistry, electrical engineering-came to dominate intellectual life in the last century, some academics in the humanities devised the theory of postmodernism, which liberated them from their colleagues in the sciences. Postmodernism, a self-consciously "unprovable" theory, replaced formal structures with subjectivity. With the revelations of East Anglia, this slippery and variable intellectual world has crossed into the hard sciences.



This has harsh implications for the credibility of science generally. Hard science, alongside medicine, was one of the few things left accorded automatic stature and respect by most untrained lay persons. But the average person reading accounts of the East Anglia emails will conclude that hard science has become just another faction, as politicized and "messy" as, say, gender studies. The New England Journal of Medicine has turned into a weird weekly amalgam of straight medical-research and propaganda for the Obama redesign of U.S. medicine.



The East Anglians' mistreatment of scientists who challenged global warming's claims-plotting to shut them up and shut down their ability to publish-evokes the attempt to silence Galileo. The exchanges between Penn State's Michael Mann and East Anglia CRU director Phil Jones sound like Father Firenzuola, the Commissary-General of the Inquisition.



For three centuries Galileo has symbolized dissent in science. In our time, most scientists outside this circle have kept silent as their climatologist fellows, helped by the cardinals of the press, mocked and ostracized scientists who questioned this grand theory of global doom. Even a doubter as eminent as Princeton's Freeman Dyson was dismissed as an aging crank.



Beneath this dispute is a relatively new, very postmodern environmental idea known as "the precautionary principle." As defined by one official version: "When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically." The global-warming establishment says we know "enough" to impose new rules on the world's use of carbon fuels. The dissenters say this demotes science's traditional standards of evidence.



The Environmental Protection Agency's dramatic Endangerment Finding in April that greenhouse gas emissions qualify as an air pollutant-with implications for a vast new regulatory regime-used what the agency called a precautionary approach. The EPA admitted "varying degrees of uncertainty across many of these scientific issues." Again, this puts hard science in the new position of saying, close enough is good enough. One hopes civil engineers never build bridges under this theory.


The Obama administration's new head of policy at EPA, Lisa Heinzerling, is an advocate of turning precaution into standard policy. In a law-review article titled "Law and Economics for a Warming World," Ms. Heinzerling wrote, "Policy formation based on prediction and calculation of expected harm is no longer relevant; the only coherent response to a situation of chaotically worsening outcomes is a precautionary policy. . . ."


If the new ethos is that "close-enough" science is now sufficient to achieve political goals, serious scientists should be under no illusion that politicians will press-gang them into service for future agendas. Everyone working in science, no matter their politics, has an stake in cleaning up the mess revealed by the East Anglia emails. Science is on the credibility bubble. If it pops, centuries of what we understand to be the role of science go with it.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Eureka!! British Media Finally Realizes Seriousness of Threat Posed to Freedom by Green Socialists and Green Fascists

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6725471.ece

Blunt warning about greens under the bed


Once the lure of communism seduced the idealistic. Today’s environmental ideologues risk becoming just as dangerous







Britain is, thankfully, an ideologically barren land. The split between Right and Left is no longer ideological, but tribal. Are you a nice social liberal who believes in markets, or a nasty social liberal who believes in markets? Anthony Blunt’s memoirs, published this week, reveal a different age, one in which fascism and communism were locked in a seemingly definitive battle for souls.


Blunt talks of “the religious quality” of the enthusiasm for the Left among the students of Cambridge. There is only one ideology in today’s developed world that exercises a similar grip. If Blunt were young today, he would not be red; he would be green.


His band of angry young men would find Gore where once they found Marx. Blunt evokes a febrile atmosphere in which each student felt his own decision had the power to shape the future. Where once they raged about the fleecing of the

proletariat and quaked at the march of fascism, Blunt and his circle, transposed to today’s college bar, would rage about the fleecing of the planet and quake at its imminent destruction. If you squint, red and green look disarmingly similar.


Both identify an end utopia that is difficult to dispute. The diktat “from each according to his ability, to each according to his means” sounds lovely on paper. Greens promise a world in which we actually survive a coming ecological apocalypse. A desirable outcome, undoubtedly.


But the means to these ends seem similarly insurmountable. Both routes demand an immediate suspension of human nature.



[ACTUALLY, IT SOUNDS EERILY SIMILAR TO THE UNITED NATIONS CONCEPT OF ENVIRONMENT-CENTRIC SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT!! - "DEVELOPMENT THAT MEETS THE NEEDS OF THE PRESENT WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE ABILITY OF FUTURE GENERATIONS TO MEET THEIR OWN NEEDS". See: Sustainable Development, Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_development ; Framing Sustainable Development; The Brundtland Report – 20 Years On, United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development at p. 1, at: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd15/media/backgrounder_brundtland.pdf ].



Ideologies often credit man with either more nobility or more venality than he deserves. In reality he is a mundane creature. He wants a home for himself and those he loves, stocked with food. And he wants to have the right to control his own destiny, own his own stuff, and to acquire more if he can without interference or fear of imminent death. Such low-level acquisitive desires support high concepts: property rights and the rule of law, without which there would be no foundation for democracy.



My desire to live a free, mundane life is a fundamental cog in our messy, glorious, capitalist democracy. It is built on millions of such small entrenched postitions. Red-filtered, my desires are despicable and bourgeois and must be beaten out of me with indoctrination or force. Green-filtered, my small desires are despicable acts of ecological vandalism. My house is a carbon factory. My desire to travel, to own stuff, to eat meat, to procreate, to heat my house, to shower for a really, really long time; all are evil.



The word evil is used advisedly. Both the green and red positions are infused with overpowering religiosity. Dissenters from the consensus are shunned apostates. Professor Ian Pilmer, the Australian geologist and climate change sceptic, could not find a publisher for his book Heaven and Earth, which questions the orthodoxy about global warming. He is the subject of hate mail and demonstrations. It is entirely immaterial whether he is right or wrong. An environment that stifles his right to a voice is worse than one that is overheating.



Even within the convinced camp, dissent from certain party lines is frowned upon. Nuclear power is the cheapest, greenest alternative to fossil fuels that we possess, yet it is anathema to advocate its proliferation at the expense of wind and sun. Fans of nuclear are the Trotskys of the movement, subject to batterings by verbal ice pick.



The great ecological time bomb is population growth. By 2050 the United Nations’ demographers expect the world’s population to reach 9.2 billion, compared with 6.8 billion today. That’s 2.4 billion extra carbon footprints. Half measures seem futile. We all hope for some new technology to rescue us. But what if it never materialises? The logical position is to be a cheerleader for swine flu, but not in my backyard. Do we have to pray for swine flu to ravage foreign children, to save our own from frying in the future?



We are at the early stage of the green movement. A time akin to pre-Bolshevik socialism, when all believed in the destruction of the capitalist system, but were still relatively moderate about the means of getting there. We are at the stage of naive dreamers and fantasists. Russia was home to the late 19th-century Narodnik movement, in which rich sons of the aristocracy headed into the countryside to tell the peasants it was their moral imperative to become a revolutionary class. They retreated, baffled, to their riches when the patronised peasants didn’t want to revolt. Zac Goldsmith and Prince Charles look like modern Narodniks, talking glib green from the safety of their gilded lives.



Indulge me in some historical determinism. We, the peasants, are failing to rise up and embrace the need to change. We will not choose to give up modern life, with all its polluting seductions. Our intransigent refusal to choose green will be met by a new militancy from those who believe we must be saved from ourselves. Ultra-green states cannot arise without some form of forced switch to autocracy; the dictatorship of the environmentalists.



The old two-cow analogy is a useful one. You have two cows. The communist steals both your cows, and may give you some milk, if you’re not bourgeois scum. The fascist lets you keep the cows but seizes the milk and sells it back to you. Today’s Green says you can keep the cows, but should choose to give them up as their methane-rich farts will unleash hell at some unspecified point in the future. You say, sod it, I’ll keep my cows thanks. Tomorrow’s green, the Bolshevik green, shoots the cows and makes you forage for nuts.



If the choice is between ecological meltdown, or a more immediate curtailment of our freedom, where do those of us who are neither red nor green, but a recalcitrant grey, turn? Back to those small desires, and a blinkered hope that the choice never becomes so stark. If it does, I’ll take my chances with Armageddon.


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http://socialistresistance.org/?p=573 .



Planned for Saturday September 12, Climate and Cap

italism is the first seminar organised jointly by Green Left and Socialist Resistance, the ecosocialist currents in two of Britain’s left parties, the Greens and Respect. This energetic and open day of discussion will bring experts, campaigners, radical activists and others together. The event will be in the Friends’ Meeting House, London, NW1 (at Euston).



The plan for the day



After registration at 10, the opening plenary will addressed by Romayne Phoenix, from Green Left, and Ian Angus, editor of “The global fight for climate justice”, a new book being launched next month. Romayne is a Green councillor: Ian is one of the Socialist Resistance advisory board.



Before lunch, at least three workshops will be held, all with plenty of time for questions and discussions, to give the context for the combined economic and ecological crises. Amongst those planned are:



1. Crisis and the response: with Sean Thompson, author of new pamphlet on the Green New Deal, and the Scottish Socialist Party’s Raphie de Santos, co-author of ‘Socialists and the Capitalist Recession’


2. Gender, ecology and ecosocialism: with Sheila Malone, co-editor of ‘Ecosocialism or Barbarism’


3. Alternatives to the market: with a panel invited including Derek Wall, former principal speaker of the Green Party



The interaction and sharing of experience will deepen in the afternoon, where participants in major struggles for climate and social justice will be speaking. The discussions will include:


1. Voices from the Global South: facilitated by Ian Angus


2. Direct action and prefiguration; with speakers from British direct action campaigns


3. Sustainable cities; with invited experts including the Campaign for Free Public Transport


4. Alternative production: with speakers from the Swedish and British trade union movement struggles for sustainable manufacturing.



The closing plenary will provide an opportunity to see how anti-capitalists in Respect, the Green party and elsewhere on the left can deepen their co-operation - both in the run up to the Copenhagen demonstrations at the end of this year, and next year’s general election. ‘Socialist Resistance’ editor Liam MacUaid will discuss strategies for uniting reds and greens while Green Left’s Andy Hewett will discuss the tasks going forward to Copenhagen. The event will close at 5.30pm.


How to register


You can register in advance and make two savings: get one-third off the price of your ticket, and a further two pounds on the cost of the book being launched at the conference. Tickets cost 6 pounds unwaged (4 in advance) and 12 pounds waged (8 in advance). To register, make your cheque payable to ‘Resistance’ and post it to PO Box 62732 London SW2 9GQ.


Find out more


Visit http://ecosocialism.org for updates on the event. You can register on that site for updates, and to take part in the preparations of the event. If you have any questions or comments send an email to seminar at ecosocialism dot org.

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http://www.greensocialist.org.uk/ags/umbrella


The Alliance for Green Socialism is a political organisation devoted to the building of a peaceful, environmentally safe and socially responsible world. A world in which diversity is both respected and celebrated. A world in which relations are based on mutual understanding and not force, where rights and a decent life are available for all, not just the rich. The AGS believes this can come about by the development of a democratic, socialist and environmentally conscious society. Our two basic principles are summed up in our name.


Green is for a world where the serious issues of pollution and global warming are properly dealt with. This means tackling the oil-driven system of big business, which drives us into successive wars and conflicts.


Socialism is the opposite of such a system in which the needs of the people take priority and the power of big business is curbed. A key element in this being an expansion of various forms of public ownership, from taking the railways back into the state sector to an expansion of cooperatives.


Linking these two indivisible themes is a commitment to openness and democracy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Is Economic Freedom a Positive Byproduct of America's Immigrant Roots?

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/11/magazine/11ideas_section2-7.html


[Readers should take note that during the early 20th Century "between 1935 and 1942", risk-taking "European refugees brought more than $5 billion to the U.S..." See Adrian Wooldridge, The Evolution of Wealth: Discerning a distinctly American style of affluence, Book Review of Larry Samuel, Rich - The Rise and Fall of American Wealth Culture, Wall Street Journal (July 31, 2009) at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204619004574318431042373224.html?mod=djemPJ ].


The Hypomanic American


By Emily Bazelon


New York Times Book Review


December 11, 2005


For centuries, scholars have tried to explain the American character: is it the product of the frontier experience, or of the heritage of dissenting Protestantism, or of the absence of feudalism? This year, two professors of psychiatry each published books attributing American exceptionalism to a new and hitherto unsuspected source: American DNA. They argue that the United States is full of energetic risk-takers because it's full of immigrants, who as a group may carry a genetic marker that expresses itself as restless curiosity, exuberance and competitive self-promotion - a combination known as hypomania.



Peter C. Whybrow of U.C.L.A. and John D. Gartner of Johns Hopkins University Medical School make their cases for an immigrant-specific genotype in their respective books, "American Mania" and "The Hypomanic Edge." Even when times are hard, Whybrow points out, most people don't leave their homelands. The 2 percent or so who do are a self-selecting group. What distinguishes them, he suggests, might be the genetic makeup of their dopamine-receptor system - the pathway in the brain that figures centrally in boldness and novelty seeking.



The genetic variation that gets neurons firing along the dopamine circuits seems to have been disproportionately prevalent in the kinship groups that over generations walked the farthest 10,000 to 20,000 years ago, from Asia across the Bering Strait into the Americas. This genetic makeup, Whybrow argues, may also be present to a high degree among the 98 percent of Americans who were either born in another country or into families that came to this country in the last three centuries. If the genetic marker cuts across immigrants of all origins, it's not about where you come from, it's that you came at all.



Why aren't Canada and Australia, where many immigrants and their descendants also live, as hypomanic as the United States? Whybrow answers that behavior is always a function of genetics and environment - nature with an overlay of nurture. "Here you have the genes and the completely unrestricted marketplace," he says - with the anything-goes rules of American capitalism also reflecting immigrant genetics. "That's what gives us our peculiar edge."


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http://www.hypomanicedge.com/reviews/bostonglobe/b-globe.htm

The Hypomanic American


By Annie Murphy Paul


Feb. 27, 2 005


Boston Globe Book Review


A psychologist argues that America is rich because a lot of us are a little bit nuts.


THE PEOPLE WHO come to see Alden Cass, a therapist with a practice in Manhattan, make their living from the market: bankers, brokers, traders, financial advisers. They're a special breed. ''These guys love risk,'' says Cass. ''They eat it for breakfast.'' His clients think, talk, and act fast. They need just a few hours' sleep. They're prone to reckless behavior, sexual promiscuity, extravagant spending. They exhibit all the signs, that is, of what psychologists call ''hypomania'': an energetic, ebullient state that is a milder form of the mania associated with bipolar illness.



Cass claims that the majority of his patients are hypomanic, and though he treats them for the problems that hypomania can produce - depression, burnout, substance abuse, wrecked relationships - he also recognizes its advantages. ''These people have a boldness and a self-confidence that sets them apart from the average citizen,'' Cass asserts. ''Hypomania is great for business.''



John D. Gartner, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, agrees. In his new book ''The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (A Little) Craziness And (A Lot of) Success In America'' (Simon & Schuster), Gartner contends not only that most of today's successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople are hypomanic, but that many of our history's leading figures, such as Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Carnegie, and Henry Ford, had the condition as well. The United States has more hypomanics than other countries, Gartner claims, and these people are largely responsible for the nation's power and prosperity.



''Energy, drive, cockeyed optimism, entrepreneurial and religious zeal, Yankee ingenuity, messianism, and arrogance - these traits have long been attributed to an 'American character,''' Gartner writes. ''But given how closely they overlap with the hypomanic profile, they might be better understood as expressions of an American temperament, shaped in large part by our rich concentration of hypomanic genes.''



Might - or might not. Gartner himself allows that his book rests largely on unproven assumptions, but doesn't back away from his conviction that they're correct. Hypomania, he proclaims, ''has made us what we are.''



The most striking element of hypomania, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is a wildly elevated and expansive mood. Such episodes last at least a week, and during them hypomanics feel like masters of the universe. Buoyed by a sense of their own importance, they are restless and excitable, throwing themselves with abandon into work or pleasurable activities like shopping or sex.



This state closely resembles the initial stages of full-blown manic depression, or bipolar disorder. But instead of spiraling into debilitating manias and then into a paralyzing depression, hypomanics generally experience only the invigorating effects of the onset of mania and usually emerge from it without professional help (though sometimes a period of mild depression follows).



''If you ask most hypomanics, they don't experience the condition as a problem,'' comments Gartner, who says he is himself hypomanic. ''When they're experiencing hypomania, they feel vital, alive, energized. Their best self, their healthiest self, is their hypomanic self.''



Indeed, while hypomania has been the subject of relatively little research and clinical attention, there are a handful of studies indicating that people in a hypomanic state are more flexible and creative in their thinking, are more motivated and productive, and have more positive expectations for the future. And while there is a large speculative literature on the connection between manic depression and artistic creativity, Gartner claims that ''until now, there has never been a serious suggestion that the talent for being an entrepreneur and mania, the genetically based psychiatric disorder, are actually linked.''



''American entrepreneurs are largely hypomanic,'' Gartner declares, but the story doesn't begin and end with today's would-be Donald Trumps. The United States is a land of immigrants, he observes, populated by those whose ancestors were energetic and optimistic enough to leave a familiar homeland for strange shores. This self-selected group, Gartner surmises, likely included many hypomanics. In addition, studies have found that immigrants generally have higher rates of bipolar disorder. Because there is a genetic link between the disorder and hypomania - the relatives of manic-depressives are more likely to be hypomanic - America's long history of immigration, Gartner concludes, has made it a ''hypomanic nation.''



Some mental health experts endorse many of his ideas. Psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison ends her recent book, ''Exuberance'' (Knopf), with musings about the influence of immigration on Americans' characteristically exuberant temperament. ''Individuals who sought the new, who took risks that others would not, or who rebelled against repressive social systems may have been more likely to immigrate to America and, once there, to succeed,'' she writes.



But Jamison, who recorded her own struggles with manic depression in ''An Unquiet Mind'' (1995), thinks that Gartner may take his ideas too far. ''Certainly there have been studies, long before his book, suggesting that there is a disproportionate rate of bipolar illness in immigrant populations, which is not surprising, really, when you think about the energy and the optimism and impulsiveness that drives people to immigrate,'' she said in a recent telephone interview. ''Now, does that mean that most Americans are hypomanic? No, that means - at least from my point of view - that a very real minority may be hypomanic, though perhaps a very important minority.''



Others in the field are less receptive to Gartner's conjectures. ''Gartner is trying to use a few fascinating cases to explain an entire country's economic behavior, and that's a bit of a stretch,'' says Jon McClellan, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington in Seattle who has written about the dangers of overdiagnosing bipolar illness. Besides, he adds, ''I'm really bothered by this notion that we're genetically superior to people from other countries. That's an argument that's been used for all sorts of bad things, and we should be very careful about making it.''



What's more, McClellan notes, Gartner's claims go beyond what the rather meager research on hypomania can support. (For example, estimates on the prevalence of the condition range from as low as .1 percent to as high as 10 percent.) ''Scientifically,'' he says, ''the evidence just isn't there.''



Peter C. Whybrow, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at UCLA, agrees - though he has his own theory about how Americans' genes make them different. He has just published a book, ''American Mania: When More is Not Enough'' (W.W. Norton), that he describes as ''the flip side'' of Gartner's cheerful depiction of a country full of enterprising entrepreneurs. But, Whybrow explains, ''I use the word 'mania' metaphorically, not literally.'' In contrast to Gartner's largely upbeat assessment of American culture, Whybrow's book warns that our innate desire for all that's new and exciting has spun out of control, leading to rising levels of anxiety, depression, and obesity.



In the book, Whybrow traces the unique character of the United States - what he calls ''America's astonishing appetite for life'' - not to hypomania but to a genetic variation, found more frequently among Americans than among other peoples, that inclines individuals who have it toward taking risks.



''We don't know enough about the genetics of hypomania to say that it's what drives the American temperament,'' says Whybrow (himself an immigrant from Britain). ''But we do know that in the American population you find a much higher prevalence of the D4-7 allele, which is the risk-taking gene. I think the factor that distinguishes the inhabitants of the United States is much more likely to be a novelty-seeking gene than some form of manic-depressive illness.''



Gartner concedes that his book is partly ''speculative.'' While he points to studies suggesting that the United States (along with Canada and New Zealand) has the world's highest incidence of manic depression, he acknowledges that there is no data available on countries' relative rates of hypomania. And he admits that his ''pilot study'' - in which he diagnosed as hypomanic all 10 Internet CEOs who responded to ads he placed on various websites - is far from conclusive.



''What I'm doing is putting certain things together, drawing an inference,'' he says. ''I'm saying: 'Look, isn't it interesting that the countries that have been havens for immigrants also have the highest rates of bipolar disorder? And isn't it interesting that those are the countries that have the highest rates of new company creation?' Yes, it could be coincidental - but in science, we say that the simplest explanation is usually the right one.''



But as controversial as Gartner's book is among scientists, it is likely to find even less of a sympathetic hearing among historians. ''The Hypomanic Edge'' offers case studies of well-known Americans who Gartner believes to be hypomanic. Some of them are contemporary, like Craig Venter, the brash scientist whose company won the race to decode the human genome. ''My self-diagnosis: I probably have a very mild case of manic depression,'' he is quoted as telling the author. Others died centuries ago.



Gartner makes his most vigorous case for a posthumous diagnosis of hypomania on behalf of Alexander Hamilton, the founding father and immigrant from the West Indies. Unable to conduct an interview with the man himself, Gartner turned to five of Hamilton's biographers, who he claims recognized typical hypomanic characteristics - ''restless and impatient''; ''unusually active at work and other pursuits''; ''supremely confident of success'' - while declining to identify them as signs of pathology.



One of these biographers was Richard Brookhiser, author of ''Alexander Hamilton, American'' (1999), who Gartner reports was ''cool to the idea of diagnosing'' his subject. But Brookhiser said in a recent telephone interview that he simply doubts the usefulness of such diagnoses.



As a student of American history, he said, ''you have to be willing to use anything that comes to hand if it looks promising or if it's going to teach you something or take you further into the minds of these fascinating people. You just have to be careful about imposing psychiatric terminology from the 21st century on people who will never be able to answer back.''


Annie Murphy Paul is a writer living in Cambridge. Her book ''The Cult of Personality'' was published last September.