“Ceteris paribus” by Balint Somkuti



Ceteris paribus is an economical term meaning we examine a system with all variables fixed except one. I use it in a sense describing the contemporary official, and public opinion, or espirit du temps, which has a deep and commonly shared conviction that nothing changes and even if it does the change is gradual or negligible and no significant unforeseeable variations are present or even imaginable. The above is especially true in international relations, brexit notwithstanding. A recent exchange of comments here in this blog gave me the idea to write about this serious conceptional flaw. But to really examine it we have dig a bit deeper.


They say history is like a giant stream. It goes on her own way, it is very difficult to influence it, and has some nasty surprises even for those who claim to know her. But giant streams do not pop up out of nowhere. They have a point of origin, they collect the water of many smaller rivers even subterranean creeks, and while everybody can see where they flow tracing back where they really come from is much more difficult. Same is true for history. You cannot really predict what is going to happen since many (most) factors are unmeasurable, invisible. Of course those who scientify everything might claim otherwise, but Nate Silver's magic works only with the most simple binary variable. (democrat or republican, 0 or 1).


It is very convenient to think that nothing really changes since it has not really changed in the last 70 years, not to mention the last 25. The last major quake -the collapse of the USSR- happened with no serious consequences to the western world so business is as usual ever since. The feeling, perception -call it whatever you would like to- is deeply rooted in the minds of the western-European and American elite is that the supremacy of their neoliberal culture is universal, timeless and progressive. To challenge that notion  is heresy, betrayal and treason. Every single opinion is to be tolerated to the most extreme except the one which questions the 'end of history'. Those who dare to deviate from the official, but flexibly and ambiguously put ideology are to be excommunicated, and labeled as criminals. Who dares to speak against the widespread and sophisticated homosexual propaganda is labeled homophobic meaning a hater. Those who dare to raise the issue of migration are labeled racists. This non-sense goes as far as one of my friends -who works for a giant German company as deputy chief of security tasked with securing the uninterrupted production (preparing for the unforeseeable that is)- was called in many occasions paranoid by his superiors for doing his job he is paid for!


Even though the majority digs his/her head in the sand 'facts are stubborn things' to quote John Adams. Those who care to look see the gigantic shift coming. According to Didier Sornier as the central banks' efforts will prove to be ineffective to cover the huge gap between the real and financial sector by the mid 2020's latest. The crisis which has been boiling since 1980 when the developed world spent significantly more for the first time in history than it has earned. As other similar system level crises raise their ugly heads they will come together to form a perfect storm in around ten to fifteen years.


Like their American counterpart the Borg the Eurocrats are unable to change, or even see the necessity of change. Even if Trump does not win in November 2016 the factors leading to his rise will only be intensified by the Borg Queen's rule, creating a granted victorious second coming for him or a person with similar charisma and/or personality. If this does not happen in 2020 or latest 2024 American Civil War v2.0 is almost sure to erupt. But by that time there won't be an EU either. Even if there probably wont be a Grexit, Auxit, or a Huxit the EU cannot remain the same as the recent Visegrad 4 meeting has demonstrated. The  pacifist Germans -while conveniently blaming all international fiascos they have been involved in on the Americans- wont be able to continue building their Fourth Reich in the disguise of the EU. Even though the Fourth's ideology is the complete opposite of the attempted Third Reich's yet it is still carried out with the tempo, the unforgiveness, the arrogance and the iron hand of its predecessor. On the other hand our American friends wont be able to continue to siphon off the cream of other countries' work through the globalized, but firmly american controlled financial system, and the dollar. How convenient that a regulation free international environment favors mostly, almost exclusively the monopolistic giant American multinational companies? Don't get me wrong I would not like to see a third German attempt on a forceful European unification, nor a chaotic international order with no rules and no number one player. But we are about to see a sea of change, this or that way. A change which is incomprehensible for most westerners.


With the decay of the last existing ideological heir of the French Revolution – liberalism, the other two being nationalism and communism- we are left with no ideological base. As the hypocrisy, the hollowness, and the aggression of '(neo)liberalism' becomes more and more apparent the search for a new ideology begins, or has already begun. With all values relativized, all knowledge questioned, all groundbreaking scientific findings twisted to achieve insignificant political or financial gains there is little left. These are superstition, and religion. Both of which is outside the realm of the mind, and therefore that of reason. Let me ask the rhetorical question what was before the Age of Reason?


If you start to compare the features of the late roman age, say late 4th, early 5th century AD, with the symptoms of the contemporary world you will see remarkable similarities. Slow but visible crackdown of the financial system. Gradual disappearance of (central) control over territory, business processes and beliefs. Emerging civilian disobedience for various reasons. Lack of commonly accepted values. 'Barbarians' on, and within the borders in the old and the new meaning alike (barbaros originally meant 'not one of us'). Still superior, but dwindling efficiency of the armed forces (see socii, auxiliarii, numeri, foederati). Emerging competing powers capable of achieving parity. And the list goes on.


We only can hope that the next Dark Ages will not last for hundreds of years, before a new system emerges. 


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61 Responses to “Ceteris paribus” by Balint Somkuti

  1. David Lentini says:

    Many good points. But since when is religion outside of reason? As Mr. Somkuti points out, our “rational” society isn’t looking so robust these days. Perhaps our abandonment of religion, at least Christian religion, wasn’t so productive—and therefore not rational—after all.
    Indeed, since all of Western culture: music, art, literature, and even science, are derived in no small part from Christian thought, our current predicament only shows the foolishness of the so-called Enlightenment, which elbowed out God by taking credit for the very civilization raised by the Church out of the ashes of the Roman Empire, a civilization that lasted far longer than our “scientific” age.

  2. VietnamVet says:

    Balint Somkuti
    Excellent Article.
    The 2003 Iraq Invasion started the whirlpool. The regime change campaigns in Libya and Syria sped it up. But, the Ukraine Maidan Coup and the start of the Cold War 2.0 is spinning things apart. The desperation of the ruling class to keep control of Europe and North America in the face of spreading inequality, wars, refugees and austerity is smashing through the propaganda. The Western Alliance is splintering. The only way to halt the breakup is to overthrow the ruling neo-liberal ideology of free movement of people, goods and capital. Restore the rule of law by sovereign democratic states for the good of the people. The alternative is the continuing return of the Global Losers to their tribal roots for safety and meaning; a New Dark Age.

  3. As George Orwell, who’d lived though one, observed of declining empires, “Their tragedy is that they can only hire people who deny that the empire is declining”.

  4. michael brenner says:

    The old saying is: plus ca change,….That’s to say, things must appear the same so that the necessary constants remain in place. In the United States, and across the Western World to a less acute extent, we have experienced the opposite. Everything appears to stay the same: democratic institutions, mechanism and procedures. Yet, we are evolving quite rapidly into a de facto plutocracy. In the process, we are undoing the great socio-economic achievements of the post-war era which brought unprecedented domestic peace and prosperity – as well as peace among those states so constituted. Our dedication to undoing that historic accomplishment calls into question all of that. It also raises the questions as to whether there are any limits to human stupidity.

  5. Nightsticker says:

    A very good article.
    Someone asked me recently “what was the most
    provocative, interesting question posed
    to you at university”?
    I answered that in a 1st year Philosophy class
    test I was asked “how would an educated gentlemen
    in 450 AD in Europe know that a Dark Age was coming”?
    I can’t remember my answer but I have pondered it
    ever since.
    USMC 65-72
    FBI 72-96

  6. PeterHug says:

    Thanks for an interesting analysis!
    What makes me truly worried, is that the developments you project (and I agree with most of what you suggest) will not happen against a neutral backdrop – it’s very likely that Global Warming and a number of fundamental resource limitations will combine to make things a good deal worse, a good deal faster than most people expect.
    The disruptions of the past that have happened since the rise of Civilization, have taken place against a relatively constant climate background (a few exceptions such as the Mayan collapse are educational in themselves).
    I know I sound like a nut when I say this – but I would not automatically assume the continued existence of a global commercial civilization in any plan that extends past 2035 or so.

  7. Wonduk says:

    Great article! But there’s no clear telling whether we’re in a 260 or 450 like situation. Diocletian, somewhere someone?

  8. divadab says:

    @Peterhug- excellent point! I agree in general but I think the unwinding of the energy feast will take a good deal longer and in a patchier way than you propose. Never underestimate the forces of order! While Bangladeshis (for example) and other people who live 100 feet or less above sea level will have to move, and this will be chaotic and violent and terrible, much dying, most people in the less over-populated world will make out, albeit at a much lower material standard of living.
    Our great-grandchildren may well be homesteading on Baffin Island.
    That the political class is completely avoiding the ramifications of climate change is unsurprising, devoted as they are to the status quo. Nonetheless if we continue to elect as leaders the stupidest least offensive most attractive pleasers with their hands in our pockets and their eyes on the main chance we deserve to go extinct.

  9. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Agree that changes sometimes seem to come suddenly, at least to those who have not been paying attention.
    Perhaps my perspective is somewhat unconventional, but it seems quite likely that the problems of the late Roman Empire were significantly affected by soil depletion, which resulted in diminished food quality. If interested, google ‘late Roman empire soil depletion’ for a quick overview of a topic that is endlessly fascinating. It was first brought to my attention by a professor of Roman History, whose emphasis was Roman military history.
    Soil depletion (particularly deficiencies in iron and B12) would have affected the nutritional quality of the food supply for both plants and animals. Those nutritional deficiencies then impacted the health and fighting ability of the Roman legions.
    We currently live in a land awash in endless varieties of potato chips, Fritos, Doritos, and fizzy sugared drinks; meanwhile, billions are spent in the US (and globally) on medicines for diabetes and related health problems that probably originate in large part from overconsumption of ‘junk foods’. Those of us who ‘pay extra’ for organic foods are, in part, seeking higher nutrient content from foods grown and grazed on healthier soils.
    Soil health may seem a boring topic, but it has enormous implications for the health of a population. Food quality (and quantity) is also likely to affect the resilience of the population during times of stress and change.
    As for the central banks having lost control, we seem to be on the brink of such a ‘crisis’.
    Given the potential chaos ahead, we should all be tucking into plates full of fresh veggies, and nice thick steaks, to sustain us. The problem will be finding the correct currency to pay for it all.
    One of the changes that I see emerging is related to people’s personal health: farmer’s markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), and locally raised meats and eggs are well established in my region. Agriculture and the food supply are already showing signs of change, and these changes are directly related to personal health.
    Another change that I see in my area is the increased membership in credit unions, and people closing out accounts in banks; these shifts are significant and happening across all age groups.
    IOW, it appears that many people are open to change, due to concerns that present methods are not healthy, nor sustainable. People seem increasingly curious about where their food comes from, and where their money is — both shifts seem to be part of some very quiet, interesting social changes that are already under way.

  10. Balint Somkuti says:

    Mr Lentini
    Being a religious person myself I think faith is irrational. I can not rationally justify my belief in God. It is an axiom. How can we comprehend omnipontence?
    I see the pre-Reason age as controlled mostly by blind faith in the Holy Scripts (btw creationists and islam are still in that phase in my opinion). The prority of science on faith is just as foolish IMO, as the opposite. We are talking about two different things with very little connection. Even if I dont believe in gravity the apple will fall from the tree eventually.
    You say that our culture is derived from christian thought. Yes indeed. But the incorporation of the antique greek (and later roman) thought has made christianity what it is. I believe it was the work of the Holy Spirit and not a coincidence. But this does not change the facts e.g 25 December was a pagan feast (Sol Invictus).
    It is the arrogance of modern times to think that we can be equal to God. But wait isn’t it the story of Adam and the Eviction from Paradise?

  11. Balint Somkuti says:

    Question is can these democratic sovereign states learn from history and not start wars again for a better good of their own people at the expense of other sovereign states’ people?

  12. Swerv21 says:

    Without reason or functional institutions you will have to return to the family unit. I would imagine the next stage if this analysis is correct is something like corporate feudalism. For an analagous situation one would only need to look at the structures of power operative in the Levant- power and privelege in the hands of families and structures derived to fill the vacuum of in the wake of institutional collapse.
    In our own history, it would be a bit like the America depicted in ‘There Will Be Blood’ Except turbocharged, and with even less compassion.

  13. Balint Somkuti says:

    I see the reemergence of the need for transcendency. A notion almost forgotten by most and almost banned, but definitely ridiculed by the science worshippers. But humans need transcendent experiences. Right now most people find it in drugs, or in odd, obscure or outright bizarre cults. In my opinion the return to patient, and tolerant faith and the search for spirituality can be the next ideology.
    What are your experiences and thoughts?

  14. Balint Somkuti says:

    There is an excellent train of thought along that line in Robert Graves’ Count Belisarius where an aristocrat living in IIRC Thracia in the 6th century AD laments the collapse of Rome (and calling himself somewhat funnily a roman) reciting the battle of Adrianople in 378 AD.
    Oswald Spengler was right when he wrote about the collapse of the western world in 1914. A hundred years later we see he was right, but that process was hidden by the mundane joys bought by the developing economy. Westerners lived better but much shallowly consuming the foundations of the future.

  15. johnf says:

    I notice you make an exception of Brexit. I know Brexit was a result of Britain’s arcane and labyrinthine political system, difficult to copy in other countries, but it does present a way of facing or setting the Borg against itself.
    Essentially Brexit decisively switched the nation’s centre of political and economic gravity from London and its elite to the provinces and us great unwashed. Any would-be Borg leader of the future knows that if they are going to gain power, they are going to have to do it through the route of the long-ignored provinces. Above all, by providing meaningful and long-term jobs to the deep pools of unemployment and poverty which scar our country. Manufacturing industry is going to have to pre-dominate over the dark satanic mills of the City of London.
    We have a new Prime Minister (and thank God for our obsolete political system which has always been able to change leaders so swiftly) who obviously recognizes the new realities. As I’ve noted in another recent post, Theresa May’s domestic policies are likely to be dominated by the Tory/Socialist policies of Joseph Chamberlain, her foreign policies are likely to be far more “realist”. (I know she has, for political reasons, kept neo-cons in her cabinet like Liam Fox (who is already re-miring himself in scandal) and the buffoon Boris Johnson (she has a particular contempt for Bullingdon Tories and will keep him on a very short leash)).
    But she is not going to be able to just perform a few crude pro-Brexit gestures and then revert to her inner Borgism. What isn’t realised is that her position is equally as precarious as her Labour opponent Corbyn. Half of her backbench MPs are fanatical Brexiteers. She is going to have to seriously serve the Brexit voters – through curbing immigration and increasing provincial manufacturing jobs longterm, if she hopes to survive.
    The Labour opposition is likewise split – between, in their case, Borgists and socialists (while, ironically, Theresa May nicks Corbyn’s socialist policies). The Borgist rebel Labour MPs cannot rely on any popular support, and are instead relying on the Borgist media to spread wild lies about Corbyn. Outrages are continuously concocted about the vegetarian pacifist Corbyn being a raping, homophobic, woman hating anti-semite. (Its getting just as bad as the Syrian coverage, where, if the rebels are losing badly, you know there’ll be reports of a new gas attack). But no one believes the lies any longer.
    There is one difference between some intelligent bloke in the C4th watching boatloads of Anglo Saxons row over the horizon and now. We live in democracies (however debased). The arrival of Trump and Le Pen (and as a socialist I say thaT with difficulty) and Orlov and Steinmeyer and others are a sign of health. Grassroots health. A grasssroots prepared to fight for its jobs and fight for its democracy. And who have a very clear idea of who their enemies are (not Putin or Assad). In democracies things are not written in stone. Neville Chamberlain did not last forever (it just seemed as though he did).

  16. Balint Somkuti,
    On problems with the way that ‘liberalism’ has developed, three pieces which might be of interest to you and others, if you have not seem them already:
    One is a piece published in the ‘Atlantic’ back in May 1995 by Benjamin Schwarz, under the title ‘The Diversity Myth’. The sub-heading: ‘The hortatory version of our history, in which America has long been a land of ethnic tolerance and multicultural harmony, leaves us with nothing useful to say to the failed states and riven polities of the post-Cold War world.’
    (http://www.theatlantic.com/past/politics/foreign/divers.htm .)
    The subject Schwarz was trying to open up was that the American (and increasingly Western ‘myth’) is based on the premise that ‘peaceful coexistence’ between cultures is somehow a natural state. As he argues, this rests on a very shallow reading both of American and European history.
    Another is a piece on a – quite interesting – British site called ‘Spiked-Online’ by Peter Ungar, who apparently is a ‘Green’ councillor in Budapest, entitled ‘In Defence of Borders’. In it he quotes a remark by the anti-Zionist Jewish scholar Tony Judt:
    ‘It is not by chance that social democracy and welfare states have worked best in small, homogeneous countries, where issues of mistrust and mutual suspicion do not arise so acutely. A willingness to pay for other people’s services and benefits rests upon the understanding that they in turn will do likewise for you and your children: because they are like you and see the world as you do.’
    So, as elsewhere, one sees distinctions between ‘left’ and ‘right’ not necessarily helping to get issues into clear focus.
    (See http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/in-defence-of-borders-hungary-immigration-eu/18606#.V6GjPvnyv6o .)
    The third is a review by William Anthony Hay, on the ‘Kirk Center’ site, of a recently published study entitled ‘The Habsburg Empire: A Reconsideration’ by Pieter M. Judson.
    (See http://www.kirkcenter.org/index.php/bookman/article/the-habsburgs-a-reconsideration/ .)
    Commenting on the situation left by the Empire’s collapse, Hay concludes:
    ‘Having rejected the idea of a multinational state with independence, the postwar world lacked a framework to manage diversity. The pressures of total war – along with the miscalculations of feckless generals – shattered the structure that had provided a cohesion that could not now be recovered. Not surprisingly the Habsburg Empire came to look much better by contrast with what followed. Reconsidering its history from a fresh perspective does much to explain why.’
    A key point, of course, being that to create ‘small homogenous countries’ out of the territories of the vast multinational empires which traditionally dominated Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and the Middle East was simply impossible, without massive amounts of violence.
    The violence resumes today in the ‘borderlands’ between the old empires, notably Ukraine, and throughout the Middle East: with Western ‘élites’ fuelling the fires.
    How to find different kinds of ‘framework to manage diversity’, to replace traditional ones, remains a key modern problem.
    It is symptomatic of the intellectual bankruptcy of these Western ‘élites’ that, not only do they have no useful answers to it – in general, they have not even got so far as acknowledging the problem. In Syria, and Ukraine, the story that they want to tell is one of unitary ‘peoples’ striving for ‘freedom’ against tyrants.
    And Benjamin Schwarz left the ‘Atlantic’ for the ‘American Conservative’, where, it seems, the idea of a serious journalist is Jeffrey Goldberg (LOL!)

  17. Laguerre says:

    “Like their American counterpart the Borg the Eurocrats are unable to change, or even see the necessity of change.”
    This is fatuous. The Borg may not be ready for change, but the EU definitely is. Major changes, already prefigured, are coming in the next decade.
    All you can see is the Brexit propaganda of a fossilised dictatorial EU. Well, if that’s the way Hungary looks at it, I’d say fine, leave. It was only Tony Blair who wanted Eastern Europe in the EU, anyway.

  18. JJackson says:

    I rather think the point is that religions are matters of faith and are consequently not subject to refutation by logic or reason. While religion may predate science I am fairly sure Christianity does not. Humanity has been building up its scientific and technological knowledge by gradual accretion at least since the beginning of recorded history – and probably long before that.

  19. LondonBob says:

    I’ve always been struck with how accurate Rear Admiral Chris Parry’s projections have proven to be.
    Unfortunately I think Francois Hollande’s France will be the new normal for the West. The elite needs to change direction, and quickly, as I agree with Nicholas Nassim Taleb ‘My prediction, particularly for Europe. Eventually, violence never stays 1-way.’

  20. jld says:

    The “God premise” is plainly a scam, it doesn’t “explain” anything:
    Where does God comes from?
    What/who “created” God?
    It is just replacing a “mystery” with another one of a more paranoid flavor (Big God is watching you) while OTOH:
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
    Philip K. Dick,

  21. jld says:

    I have had many “experiences” with shamanic, spiritual practices and so-called entheogens ( https://erowid.org/entheogens/ ) and my conclusions are that most of it is just delusional.
    It is true, indeed, that current “Western Rationality” fails to properly account for a LOT of what’s currently happening in the world but the “spiritual approaches” are not any better and likely even more misleading, they just point at our inadequacies at describing the world we live in.
    As I said above the “spiritual experiences” are mostly delusional but not entirely in that they point at missing elements in our image of the world, but indulging in comforting beliefs about “purposes and meanings” is not a proper attitude, this is (only as an example) what brings the Jihadi’s ideology.

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In the East of Diocletian Line, you could infer that the Dark Ages of Un-Reason had started when Christian fanatics destroyed the Academy in Alexandria.
    A few centuries later an analogous process among Muslims did the same thing in Muslim Civilization.
    In the West of Diocletian Line, I do not think there were any Dark Ages.

  23. Fred says:

    To quote Heinlein:
    “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
    This is known as “bad luck.”

  24. Fred says:

    I agree. My experience in the US is that religious faith is at best tolerated but mostly ignored and often despised, especially in or near colleges and universities. I believe Theodore Dalrymple captured the essence of decline in his book “Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline”

  25. That’s a great quotation! Do you know which of Orwell’s writings it came from?

  26. The only change I ever hear Brussels floating is the idea of ‘ever closer union’, which is precisely what the overwhelming majority of Europeans (not just ‘Euroskeptics’) don’t want. If there’s any plan to democratize the EU, scrap the euro or end austerity, I haven’t heard it.

  27. “Even though the Fourth’s ideology is the complete opposite of the attempted Third Reich’s yet it is still carried out with the tempo, the unforgiveness, the arrogance and the iron hand of its predecessor.”
    This is what so many Germans refuse to understand. They are taught to believe that Hitler’s cardinal sin was nationalism rather than imperialism. Consequently, they think that by declaring themselves to be ‘anti-Deutsch’ and phasing out the German nation that they are finally getting rid of the problem, and with it, all of their war-guilt. But the real problem, since 1871, has always been the rapacious and expansive German corporate-state. Getting rid of the German nation will simply remove another obstacle in its path. The description the EU as an economic Fourth Reich is therefore quite apt.

  28. LeaNder says:

    Yes, as other’s said, some things never change:
    “The pacifist Germans -while conveniently blaming all international fiascos they have been involved in on the Americans- wont be able to continue building their Fourth Reich in the disguise of the EU. Even though the Fourth’s ideology is the complete opposite of the attempted Third Reich’s yet it is still carried out with the tempo, the unforgiveness, the arrogance and the iron hand of its predecessor. On the other hand our American friends wont be able to continue to siphon off the cream of other countries’ work through the globalized, but firmly american controlled financial system, and the dollar. How convenient that a regulation free international environment favors mostly, almost exclusively the monopolistic giant American multinational companies? Don’t get me wrong I would not like to see a third German attempt on a forceful European unification, nor a chaotic international order with no rules and no number one player. ”
    Balint, I appreciate that you so perfectly recognize the real German (Nazi) character beneath its “pacifist” mask.
    But, would you care to elaborate on the first sentence/statement. What exactly do we collectively and incorrectly blame the US for? The collapse of the housing bubble with its shadow banking system? Was the Deutsche Bank really behind it all?
    And when exactly did we start to create the Fourth Reich?
    βάρβαρος bárbaros, βάρβαροι, bárbaroi, the one that utters indistinguishable br-br-br sounds.

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    A “Liberal” political order or dispensation, in my opinion, squarely rests of some sort of implicit or explicit consensus on what is Possible (as opposed to being merely Desirable in someone’s feverish fantasy life) within a political economy.
    Conservative & Liberal parties in the Western Diocletian states operate and bicker, forever, on just about the right amount of socialism in the body politic.
    Had the Hungarian experiment not been crushed by USSR, I should think that there would have been an analogous situation in Hungary; with a Conservative (Stalinist) Communist Party and Liberal (Goulash) Communist party; forever bickering about just the right amount of capitalism to have in the political economy.
    But the evolution of such a consensus for a middle ground is not pre-ordained. It clearly does not exist in much of the world where people and populations are dealing with immediate problems of food and shelter or are, alternatively, are fired up by dreams of a Utopia which does not immediately make itself conducive to the acceptance of any middle ground.
    “Wishy-washy”, as an adjective, is still a negative in much of the world – I should think.

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Hitler actually said that: “Europe can only be unified under Germany.”
    He went about it the wrong way, he should have setup an Inter-European Monetary Fund, a European Bank, a Bank of International Settlement.

  31. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not agree.
    From the time of Aristotle and his “Prime Mover” we have been able to infer the existence of God.
    What we have not been able to infer is that God cares about Man – or indeed the entire Creation.
    That is where faith comes in, which is not Irrational rather, non-Rational.
    The Irrational are those who go against the Supreme Rationalist – Baruch Spinoza.

  32. Balint Somkuti says:

    Since the decline is not obvious yet. Rome has not been directly attacked the army is still unbeaten I would say 270ish. Only the peripheries are in real danger. The core only suffers from the consequences of his own hedonism.

  33. Balint Somkuti says:

    Yes. Corporate feudalism. Excellent summary. I see jobs become hereditary titles. Like dux or even imperator. Imagine his highness CEO Smith or her highness general manager Johnson.

  34. Balint Somkuti says:

    In my opinion they have the same exceptionalism problem as most americans. And drew the wrong conclusions from two defeats.
    Like you said.

  35. Balint Somkuti says:

    Yes 2008 crisis military blunders flow of migrants you name it. They have som truth but selfreflection an humbleness is sorely lacking from them. They behave in my region like the french in their colonies and the anglosaxons everywhere in the world.

  36. Balint Somkuti says:

    One more thing. Most of them treat us like we were some kind of barbaric natives who just came down from the tree. Same was under the nazis. But the nazis had a good excuse. They did what they promised contrary to the present ilk who despise and lecture you un the name of tolerance. But it is not only the germans. The french the austrians and especially the nowegians and the swedes recenzlx.

  37. Balint Somkuti says:

    I disagree. If I may. If not please crucify me in the name of tolerance.

  38. Balint Somkuti says:

    You trumped me on that. Philosophy is not mx strength.

  39. Balint Somkuti says:

    Are you sure all of your senses work 100%? Reality is only a perception.
    Do you know what is the generic definition of truth? Truth is what most people accept as truth.
    We are limited to the 4 dimensions we know. But can you tell me what is outside?

  40. Balint Somkuti says:

    Well those suffering the feudal anarchy the incessant fighting (you know Treuga Dei) the collapse of the antique high culture and alike would beg to differ.

  41. Balint Somkuti says:

    Thank for raising my attention.

  42. Balint Somkuti says:

    Thank you for the excellent quotes.

  43. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Antique High Culture died because it lost its vitality; it was abandoned in favor of Christianity.

  44. LeaNder says:

    My dear, it’s getting quite funny around here:
    “If not please crucify me in the name of tolerance.”
    Hmmm? crucify?

  45. PeterHug says:

    You’re already seeing that – I’ve worked with some fairly large (and publicly traded) companies where a few families control significant fractions of the top jobs.
    I’m also seeing (i) much reduced mobility in general, and (ii) a strong tendency for families to specialize in particular fields (e.g., all the kids are engineers, mostly because one of their parents is one).
    I don’t really know if this is an increasing trend, or I’m just beginning to wake up to the way the world truly is.

  46. PeterHug says:

    One explanation of the British political establishment’s actions since that vote is that they intend to make the Brexit process and consequences as painful as possible, with an eye towards re-entering the EU at some point in ten years or so.
    I’m not currently in the UK, so I’m on the outside looking in, but that’s just a thought I had…they’re certainly capable of it.

  47. PeterHug says:

    I expect he was speaking metaphorically.

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I am not sure this would be any consolation to you as a European but they behaved the same way towards Iran and Iranians.
    However, after a while, their belief in their own moral superiority became amusing; like clueless children in damp dark forest – with the right path appearing not anywhere.

  49. Balint Somkuti says:

    Crucifying was a common execution method in Rome. I meant to be ironic not disrepectful.

  50. rjj says:

    Most of them treat us like we were some kind of barbaric natives who just came down from the tree. ….
    when that happens, wind them up: just pretend you think they are from Poland and persist in this error. (it changes focus and balance)

  51. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to LeaNder 03 August 2016 at 01:07 PM
    Can we take it that appreciating irony from others is not your strong point?
    As you wade through the search results that google presents I urge you strongly to ignore any page that claims “irony” means “tasting somewhat of iron”.

  52. michael brenner says:

    Who figures in your pantheon of a tiny elite: Jaime Dimon, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, Justin Beiber, the Kochs, the chiefs of Volksvagen?
    Or, did you have in mind Fulton, Edison, Fleming, plus Lincoln, Roosevelt, and the European statesmen who build the unique and unprecedented well-being we have enjoyed for 70 years?
    If the former – and their ilk – all disappeared from the face of the earth tomorrow, we’d be considerably better off. if the latter had never existed, we’d truly and literally still be in the Dark Ages. So please clarify your selection?

  53. jld says:

    Are you sure all of your senses work 100%?

    Definitely not!
    Nobody has, had or ever will ever have “perfect information”.
    So I am returning you the question:
    Are you sure all of YOUR senses work 100%?
    Because you seem to think that it is “good practice” to try to fill the gaps with whimsical fantasies WHICH CANNOT BE CHECKED in any way, whatsoever.

    Reality is only a perception.

    Not quite, this the very, very old BS harking back to Zhuang Zhou who pretended that he could not make any difference between dreaming and awakening:
    You don’t just “perceive” reality at any given instant you also check and compare the present with remembrances of similar situations.
    Granted, that’s not an entirely fool proof guarantee either.

    Truth is what most people accept as truth.

    So you are a post-modernist?
    There is no truth and that you can claim anything you like by properly “deconstructing” other people words?
    Indeed, there is no such thing as absolute truth but there certainly is absolute balderdash, if you act according to wrong beliefs you eventually lose and “reality” will rub your nose in this fact even if you cannot figure how and why you ended up there.

    But can you tell me what is outside?

    No, but you cannot either and I won’t take sh*t from anyone.

  54. Fred says:

    “Jaime Dimon, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, Justin Beiber, the Kochs, the chiefs of Volksvagen?” All the above. I also include most of our consultants and lobbyists too.
    “Fulton, Edison, Fleming, plus Lincoln, Roosevelt, and the European statesmen who build the unique and unprecedented well-being we have enjoyed for 70 years?”
    Fulton, etc did not labor under the current regulatory climate. The “unique and unprecedented well-being” requires an understanding of the work to create and maintain that civilization. We have been eroding that for one special interest group or another since at least the 1960s.
    Richard Sale referenced Ortega’s book “The Revolt of the Masses ” on the Athenaeum not long ago. I believe what Ortega was writing about then is very applicable today. The”vertical rise of the barbarians”, which is I believe how he phrased it, is having an erosive impact on our society. These would be both the citizens and non-citizen residents who demand the benefits of our civilization and its high standard of living but do not understand (nor are willing to support) the underlying mechanics of how it came into being nor how it must be maintained. As Heinlein put it this is “bad luck”.

  55. Fred says:

    “…the present ilk who despise and lecture you un the name of tolerance.”
    That is happening on this side of the Atlantic also.

  56. Balint Somkuti says:

    IT is assaulting to call someone beliefs ‘shit’.
    Humbleness is the mark of great cultures. Those who forget about it are quick to disappear.

  57. LeaNder says:

    I love irony and humor, maybe not as much if it is linked to a victim narrative by the speaker?
    In other words I sense: a modification of the PC-terrorism-narrative and its unfortunate and suffering victims. In this case the speaker. Laguerre_a-PC-tolerance-terrorist? BS: “I disagree. If I may. If not please crucify me in the name of tolerance.”
    Beyond: Which ever way you like it or simply: As you like it.

  58. michael brenner says:

    “one special interest group or another since at least the 1960s.”
    I presume you are referring to Wall Street, the Industrial-Military Complex, the Intelligence Empire, and the Silicon valley scammers.

  59. michael brenner says:

    Your professor picked the wrong date. Rome’s population by 450 already had been more than halved and most of the Western Empire overrun by destruction barbarians. He should have used 350 or 375.

  60. jld says:

    I am not a “culture” and given my age I do expect to disappear quite soon.

  61. Balint Somkuti says:

    No, Sir u r not a culture. But what u represent is one. And it is to be disappear soon.
    Thank God.

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