Olavo’s Aristotle: Plus Interview with Man in America

People get into this condition [i.e., ignorance] through their own fault, by the slackness of their lives; i.e., they make themselves unjust or licentious by behaving dishonestly or spending their time in drinking and other forms of dissipation; for in every sphere of conduct people develop qualities corresponding to the activities they pursue.”
Aristotle [i]

Plato and Aristotle were philosophers of Classical antiquity. Those who can read these ancient philosophers in the original Greek are better able to understand the fundamentals of art and science. To understand Plato and Aristotle is to hold a decisive intellectual advantage in all forms of discourse. The value of the ancients is hard to explain to the desiccated modern mind – which is often unable to place facts in their proper context. Modern life is very busy, very distracted. Modern man is trapped in the news cycle, unable to synthesize or unify his knowledge. The ancient science of seeing, weighing, and ordering has largely been lost to us. A modern thinker with access to the ancients, however, is like a man looking down from the top of a mountain. Those who know nothing of the ancients, having journalistic predilections, are only looking down from the foothills. It never occurs to them that there is a mountain to climb. Unlike his journalistic critics, Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho is someone who climbed that mountain.  

Olavo learned Greek. He studied Aristotle and Plato. When I met Olavo in person, several years ago, his originality, his skill as a thinker, was apparent from our first conversation. His insights were clarifying. His polemics were full of fun. His mind was always searching for answers. In future centuries his name will be remembered while the “well-foddered, famous wise ones”[ii] of our time will be forgotten. And now, after his book on Machiavelli was translated into English, and reviewed on this site a year ago under the title “Olavo’s Machiavelli,”[iii] another of Olavo’s books has been translated – Aristotle in a New Perspective: Introduction to the Theory of the Four Discourses. It is a book that contributes to our understanding of Aristotle’s theory of discourse as a process that brings unity out of diversity, informing all of Aristotle’s “logical, physical, metaphysical, and ethical speculations … [as] the unmistakable hallmark of his style of thinking.”

It is Olavo’s thesis that Aristotle’s poetics, rhetoric, dialectics, and analytics do not form four separate sciences; rather, these four subjects form what Olavo calls “a nesting doll,” or what others might call a system for understanding intellectual culture, placing reason and imagination in proper context, leading us to the pinnacle of philosophical reflection, the crown of culture, which is knowledge about knowledge. In Aristotle’s four discourses Olavo has also found a schema for tracking the evolution of culture through four stages corresponding to the four types of discourse: Poetics, Rhetoric, dialectic, and analytics.

For readers unfamiliar with Aristotle, a brief biographical note is in order. Aristotle was born in the Greek town of Stagira, in ancient Macedonia. His father was court physician to Macedonia’s king. The year of Aristotle’s birth was 384 BC, fifteen years after the death of the famous philosopher Socrates, who was tried and sentenced to drink a deadly concoction of hemlock because he had allegedly corrupted the youth of Athens, and for introducing strange gods to the city. Aristotle was the student of Plato, one of the youth Socrates had supposedly corrupted (though it may be argued that Plato corrupted Socrates by depicting him other than he was).[iv] When Aristotle was eighteen, he was sent to study at Plato’s Academy in Athens where he remained for twenty years, becoming a teacher of rhetoric and dialogue. When Plato died, and Aristotle was not given directorship of the Academy, he left Athens to do other work, including to serve as tutor to Alexander (later, Alexander the Great), son of King Philip II of Macedon. Aristotle returned to Athens in the wake of King Philip’s victory over Thebes and Athens at the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC). In 335 BC Aristotle set up his own school in Athens, the Lyceum, which rivaled Plato’s Academy. Aristotle’s philosophy differed from his master, Plato. He did not credit Plato’s theory of forms, neither did he like communistic aspects of Plato’s political philosophizing. When Alexander the Great died and the Athenians turned against Macedon, Aristotle was charged with impiety (due to his association with Alexander’s court). Rather than drinking the hemlock as Socrates had done, Aristotle fled Athens, “lest the Athenians sin twice against philosophy.” In the centuries that followed, Aristotle became the single most influential philosopher in history. His reputation came under attack in the seventeenth century, with early modern thinkers sometimes counting him as the enemy. 

In the ongoing battle of ideas, Olavo saw the importance of Aristotle because Aristotle held the keys to many subjects – from ethics and politics to poetry and rhetoric. Some readers may wonder what the value of an ancient philosopher might be when modernity has surpassed antiquity in its knowledge; yet, looking at the erosion of our discourse, and the nonsense that passes for “science” on every side, modernity has clearly taken a wrong turn. We have lost the very language of noble reasoning because we have taken too many shortcuts, piling error upon error (even as we call it “science”). Instead of a meditative ascent toward Noesis or philosophizing, modern academic science has been descending into trivial speculations that tell us more and more about less and less. As Ellis Sandoz put it, “reason is the ‘something’ in man that experiences shame in the recognition of his ignorance or that resists … the deformation of his own existence and that of other men by destructive forces in the social field.”[v] Man must address his ignorance or suffer deformation through false knowledge. Man must also seek a proper context to form the categories of his thought. To start with something small and work one’s way up to the brain of a gnat is to “gnatify” one’s mind and soul. Great questions must always be kept in view. Or, as Aristotle wrote at the beginning of his Metaphysics, “Art arises when … one universal judgment about a class of objects is produced.” To remain enmeshed in trivia is to have no universal point of departure; that is, to make oneself stupid.

If we become lost in trivia, we run the risk of intellectual demoralization. This tendency, so characteristic of our time, has led many to eschew intelligence in favor of plausible and convenient stupidities. In this context it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who famously discovered that stupidity is more dangerous than malice. Olavo made this discovery as well, famously opposing the intellectual demoralization and stupidity of his country, writing a bestselling book titled, o minimo que voce precisa saber para nao ser um idiota – which translates, “The least you need to know not to be an idiot.” In this book he touched on one particular type of idiot – the “useful idiot”:

The communist mentality … is so ignorant of freedom of thought, subjugates intelligence so heavily to party command, that it manages the subject’s ideology not by the intentions and values he professes, but by the simple hypothetical and ofttimes paranoid conjecture of the political or public benefit that [communist] parties … may derive from their words, albeit opportunistically….[vi]

Here is a glimpse at the stupidity of our time. It is the most dangerous stupidity in the history of the world. Olavo stood against the arrogant laziness and total lack of curiosity which made this stupidity into an almost irresistible power; a power that promises death and destruction even as these words are being written. Olavo believed, with Aristotle, that the remedy for dangerous stupidity was to be found in a higher truth – in the divine Nous or Ground out of which our existence has emerged. It was Aristotle who warned us “not to follow those who advise us to have human thoughts, since we are only men … but on the contrary, to … do our utmost to live in accordance with what is highest in us.”[vii] Eric Voegelin, a philosopher who shared Olavo’s appreciation for Aristotle, wrote:

The Classic, especially the Aristotelian, unrest is distinctly joyful because the [philosophic] questioning has direction; the unrest is experienced as the beginning of the theophanic event in which the nous reveals itself as the divine ordering force in … the cosmos at large; it is an invitation to pursue its meaning into the actualization of noetic consciousness.[viii]

Philosophy shows us that man is more than a mortal being. He is an unfinished being, as Voegelin noted, “moving from the imperfection of death in this life to the perfection of life in death.” Man participates in the divine through his thoughts – which may coincide with the divine mind by adhering to truth instead of embracing lies. It is lies, indeed, that deform man’s existence. As our thoughts form into discourse, we had best bring that discourse to truth.

All discourse, noted Olavo, is “the passing from one proposition to another.” Olavo then added, “The formal unity of any discourse depends on its propositional unity, that is, the arrangement of the various parts with a view towards obtaining the desired conclusions.” First, you have the premise and its presuppositions; then, you have the logical or analogically connected components of the argument, giving propositional unity to the whole; then, you must bring about a change in the opinion of those who listen to this argument (usually, by the striking nature of the argument); and then, of course, you have an acknowledgement of the argument’s credibility. Thus, discourse is a passage from the believed to the believable.

What we have, in today’s discourse, however, does not pass from the believed to the believable. It is, rather, a passage from nonsense to nonsense, leaving infected idiots in its wake. And this was borne out in the criticism Olavo’s work received from so-called “experts.” It was, of course, foolish for idiotas to match wits with Olavo on Aristotle; for Olavo knew Aristotle while his critics were clearly ignorant pretenders. The resulting black comedy, included in the English translation of Olavo’s book, is a joy to read. As one who understood the teachings of Aristotle, and had benefitted from those teachings, Olavo skewered his critics.  

Originally, Olavo’s essay on Aristotle was sent for publication to the Editorial Committee of Science Today magazine, run by the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science. Olavo reported, “When almost a year had passed without response, I felt at liberty to publish the article in a book. At the start of October 1994, I received the first impeccably rendered copies from the printers. That same day … I found an envelope on my doorstep … returning the originals with a rejection letter saying that, as the paper was on education in odontology … I would be better served placing it in a specialist publication.”

Odontology, of course, is the scientific study of diseases of the teeth. Puzzled by this bizarre explanation for the magazine’s rejection, Olavo wrote back to the Editorial Board, “neither I nor Aristotle ever suspected this hidden inclination towards dentistry in our speculations….” He offered that the Editorial Board had not read his essay on Aristotle, somehow mistaking it for an essay on dentistry. Low and behold, the Editorial Board responded to Olavo by saying their reference to “odontology” had been a typing error. They assured Olavo that experts had studied his essay and found it wanting. As proof they sent a two-and-a-half page handwritten “critical assessment” of Olavo’s essay. But it was even more dismaying than the “odontology” reference. The expert “critical assessment” contained, by Olavo’s count, three serious errors of historical inaccuracy, five errors deriving from a lack of familiarity with Aristotle’s works, eight crucial errors of interpretation of Aristotle’s writings, three fallacious arguments, two reversals of Olavo’s intended meaning, three spelling errors, and two other problems.

Olavo wrote, “the above is reason to bury one’s face in one’s hands, and wonder aloud: What in the Lord’s name is happening in this country?”

Olavo’s critique of the Editorial Committee’s “critical assessment” is a veritable Dunciad directed at those whose pretense to knowledge was a comedy of errors. How could Brazil’s leading society for the advancement of science send him such a shameful admission of ignorance and fraud? Ominously, 1990s Brazil was afflicted by that same slovenliness Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gassett attributed to Spanish university life shortly before the Spanish Civil War.

At this juncture it is useful to refer to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Theory of Stupidity,” composed on the tenth anniversary of Hitler’s accession to power:

Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed – in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious person. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.[ix]

Aristotle said that “every wicked man is in ignorance as to what he ought to do … and it is because of error … that men become unjust and, in a word, wicked.” Stupidity, in this sense, is responsible for the greatest evils of history. Aristotle explained in his writings on ethics that ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. Wanton stupidity resulting from wanton ignorance is a choice. Aristotle wrote, “People get into this condition through their own fault, by the slackness of their lives….” When Aristotle lists the circumstances necessary to committing a crime, he concludes, “Now nobody in his right mind could be ignorant of all these circumstances.”[x] Aristotle further asks the ultimate question, regarding the ignorant man’s culpability, “how can he fail to know himself?”

In his “Theory of Stupidity” Bonhoeffer said that people sometimes “allow themselves” to become stupid. They do so, it seems, because they want to belong to a crowd or a mob; for stupidity is characteristic of ochlocracy (rule by the mob). “Upon closer examination,” wrote Bonhoeffer, “it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or of a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity.”

The implications go to the heart of Olavo’s work. What Olavo was confronted with in Brazil, what Bonhoeffer was confronted with in Nazi Germany, was human beings who set aside their own humanity out of slovenliness. And this is a definite choice; for man is, as Aristotle showed, the “rational animal.” Yet here we have rational animals refusing rationality out of laziness. Thus, in the last analysis, humans are not human by mere biology. Having the gift of language, and the gift of the human mind, becoming a homo sapiens is nonetheless a disposition: to think or not to think. To be physically human, without deciding to think, is to prefer subhuman status and all that goes with it: abject servility, self-degradation, and moral decrepitude.

Bonhoeffer wrote:

It would even seem that this is virtually a sociological-psychological law. The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that … intellect, suddenly atrophies or fails. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence, and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with a person, but with slogans, catchwords and the like that have taken possession of him.

How do we avoid being stupid? How do we affirm our humanity? Olavo’s theory of Aristotle’s four discourses can help us discover the good. With reason in one hand and the good in another, we may also aspire to wisdom and that precarious thing called freedom. Philosophia – φιλοσοφία – signifies “love of wisdom.” Philosophical methods include poetics (depicting the good through imagination), rhetoric (persuading others of what is good), dialectic (finding the good through dialogue), and analytics (confirming the good through syllogism).

A little philosophy goes a long way.

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My latest interview with Man in America

Here is a link to my recent interview with Dr. Li-Meng Yan: https://www.americaoutloud.com/what-is-behind-strategic-deception-from-russia-communist-china-alliance/

Links and Notes

[i] Aristotle translated by J.A.K. Thomson, The Nicomachean Ethics (New York: Penguin Book, 1982), p. 123.

[ii] Nietzsche’s description of popular, well-paid intellectuals.

[iii] https://jrnyquist.blog/2021/12/04/olavos-machiavelli/

[iv] I believe that Plato’s Socratic dialogues have corrupted our image of Socrates. This.  is apparent where Plato underscores the intellectual superiority of Socrates over and above his sincerity, leaving us with “Socratic irony.” In an essay titled “Reconsidering Socratic Irony,” Melissa Lane wrote, “That Socrates is ironic is something that many people who know little else about Socrates believe. If this belief is rooted in ancient texts, they are likely to be thinking of Plato’s and Aristotle’s portraits of Socrates rather than those of Aristophanes and Xenophon….” Lane goes on to say that “neither Xenophon nor Aristophanes ever uses about Socrates the Greek word eirôneia, which is the only Greek term (sometimes) translatable as ‘irony.’ By contrast, Plato and Aristotle both use this word and its cognates about Socrates … and this has played a key part in the formation of the tradition of ‘Socratic irony.’” Lane quotes Aristotle’s text, which shows that by using the word eirôneia Aristotle (at least) did not mean “irony” in the modern sense. Aristotle wrote: “The way self-deprecating people [eirônes] understate themselves makes their character appear more attractive, since they seem to do it from a desire to avoid pompousness, and not for the sake of profit; most of all it is things that bring repute that these people too disclaim, as indeed Socrates used to do.” (From the Nicomachean Ethics, 1127b23-26, Rowe and Broadie translation.) Please note: Lane’s study shows that a nuanced misreading of the Greek language has here colored our understanding of Plato’s Socratic dialogues. We should also remember that Socrates was so poor that he often walked about barefooted. Socrates had to take care that his disagreeable questions were not interpreted as insults. This is what explains his self-deprecatory approach. The polite forms of address used by Socrates could hardly have been ironic. His interlocutors were not generally stupid and would have been insulted by irony. Socrates therefore relied on formally friendly and complimentary forms of address if only to demonstrate his respect and good intentions. Modern readers have difficulty seeing Socrates as he was. They see him as a great man rather than the poor son of a stonemason with a shrewish wife. Did Socrates’ wife take her husband to be “ironic”? For Socrates’ sake, we should hope not, for it would not have turned out well for him. And a man beaten down at home is going to carry his demeanor with him into the street. Socrates is, in fact, a humble and sincere man. He has no reason to brag about anything. Irony would have been insolence coming out of his mouth, and insolence belongs to arrogance (which is nowhere in evidence with this man). The philologist Eleanor Dickey discovered that in Plato’s dialogues Socrates was, in fact, using friendly terms of address to better obtain a hearing from his interlocutors. This approach was not patronizing. Socrates was not engaged in ironic put-downs. This is not to deny moments of irony in the dialogues of Socrates, as we find in his praise for Euthyphro and Hippias (who are, in fact, intellectual clowns). Lanes asked if Socrates’ praise for these smug individuals is truly ironical, however. She argues that Socrates was not ridiculing them; rather, he was attempting to draw a confession from them that would prove instructive to the other listeners. The outstanding characteristic of Socrates, then, was his sincerity in pursuing the truth. He never spoke cynically but always argued according to reason. It is, in fact, our cynicism that makes Socrates appear “ironic.” For those interested in Lane’s essay, see The Cambridge Companion to Socrates, pp. 239-41.

[v] Ellis Sandoz, The Voegelin Revolution: A biographical Introduction (New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2017), p. 211.

[vi] Olavo de Carvalho trans by google, The least you need to know not to be an idiot (Rio de Janeiro & Sau Paulo: Editoro Record, 2015), p. 589.

[vii] Ibid, p. 213, Aristotle paraphrased from Sandoz.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] http://southsidemessenger.com/bonhoeffer-on-stupidity-entire-quote/

[x] Aristotle translated by J.A.K. Thomson, The Nicomachean Ethics (New York: Penguin Book, 1982), p. 114. […]



TFB’s Photo Of The Day and here we are with one of the hottest pistol caliber carbines on the market, the B&T SPC9. Merging the best from the AR15 platform with the best from the H&K MP5 and the B&T APC9 together in one product, it’s probably as good as it gets for now. Until the suppressor was added, to increase the attraction further.
Here is the description, written by Schrombo:
Meet the Brügger & Thomet APC9 that wanted to be an AR15…This beauty is so much fun to shoot and puts a smile on the face of everybody that gets to fondle it for a while – the BT SPC9. Taking all the good things about the APC9 and combine it with the ergonomics of an AR15…It features an MP5 style charging handle plus an AR15 charging handle, an AR15 style lower receiver that actually takes AR15 parts, a PDW style collapsible stock and the hydraulic buffer of the APC9 that makes shooting this gun so pleasant.It is available in a version that accepts Glock mags, but I went for the version that uses the proprietary TP9 / APC9 mags, because my wife likes to shoot the TP9 and so we can use the same magazines. Pictured here is the 20rd magazine, but I have a ton of 30rd mags as well.But it wouldn’t be my gun, if I didn’t customize it at least a little bit. The factory pistol grip had to go and I installed a rubberized Magpul grip with a steeper grip angle that is more suitable for such a compact PDW. The factory Aimpoint mount was fine, but looked rather blocky, so I exchanged it for this LaRue QD mount. But my main gripe were the rather flimsy polymer backup sights. Due to their construction they could not be mounted at the front of the handguard or they would have blocked the MP5 charging handle. So if you look at promo pictures from B&T you’ll see that they mounted the front sight at the front of the upper receiver not at the front of the handguard, what makes for a pretty lousy sight radius. I choose steel sight from ERA-TAC that clear the charging handle when mounted and offer a much better sight picture.As a vertical foregrip I went with a B&T short QD grip that fits perfectly and makes handling this gun a dream!The barrel has a tri-lug interface and so I can use my trusted B&T MP5 QD suppressor to make this little fire breather very, very silent

Caption and picture by Schrombo […]


The Establishment Is Using An Ideological Monopoly In Big Tech To Maintain Control

The news surrounding Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and the political firestorm it has caused probably hasn’t escaped most people.  The platform which once represented the very root of leftist cancel culture and activist organization for attack mobs has suddenly been turned upside down.  Musk’s position appears to be a simple one:  Free speech within the bounds of the law.  He has so far made good on that promise, and the leftists are losing their collective hive mind because of it.In the process of coping with the loss of their prize, leftist activists and establishment elitists in Big Tech and government have been searching for a way to undermine or sabotage Twitter.  The bottom line?  If they can’t have it, they will try to burn it all down so that no one can have it.This mentality has led to a rather predictable outcome, which is for corporations and Big Tech companies to exert economic leverage against Musk.  Why?  On the face of it the explanation is simple:  They hate free speech.  Specifically, though, they hate conservative and liberty minded speech.  The average leftist on Twitter will never challenge the establishment narrative.  They are absolutely controlled and commonly regurgitate whatever claims the mainstream media makes on a daily basis without researching validity.  Some conservatives do this as well, but then there is the rogue element, the large percentage of conservatives/libertarians that question the narrative and are willing to make a stand based on principles rather than pure emotions and fear.  The idea that such people might have access to an open forum as vast as Twitter terrifies the powers that be.     The fascinating thing about the Twitter situation is that it reveals a much bigger underlying danger beyond the zealotry of the political left; massive collusion has been revealed between elements of government, corporations and the ideological mob.  It is hard to say how organized this collusion really is.  The average woke activist is a useful idiot more so than a competent agent of destruction.  But the system is clearly acting to protect itself from the thing it fears most – Fair debate and a level playing field.  In response, they are willing to expose their existing monopoly to stop the shift.This monopoly is partially economic, with only a small handful of companies in control of a large portion of the overall tech pie, but it is important to understand that it is more dangerous than other historic examples because this monopoly is an ideological monopoly.In the past companies were primarily motivated by profit and would not sacrifice profit by alienating consumers and users with political zealotry.  These day, however, all that has changed.  Now companies fully discriminate according to political beliefs and are willing to lose untold billions in profits if it means doing damage to people they disagree with.  Leftists argue that this is an example of the “free market” at work, but that is a lie.  It is in fact the the basis of control used within Marxist inspired societies – Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao all advocated for the use of denial of access to the economy and to society as a first line measure to control dissent.  Their reasoning?  If a person is in opposition to the foundations of the collective, then he is dangerous to the collective and therefore the collective must shun him to prevent him from causing harm.  And of course, the elites get to decide what is in the best interests of the collective.  In fact, Marxists/socialists tend to treat ideological dissent as far worse that any typical crime such as theft or murder, because political dissent “hurts all of society” rather than one person or a handful of people.   This is the core rationale for the reactions on display against conservatives in our era, and denial of access is a weapon they have now deemed acceptable.  They pretend as if it is nothing more than private businesses making independent decisions to not associate with certain types of people, but in truth it is a coordinated effort between ideological partners  and often governments.We saw this with the organized attack on the Parler social media platform and the use of Big Tech collusion as a means to remove them from app stores and from their own server.  Now, leftists are demanding that the tactics used against Parler also be used against Twitter, with companies like Apple threatening Twitter’s availability (according to Elon Musk) for download at their App Store.Apple and Google control almost all major internet access for online companies via their app stores.  Without download availability, social media companies stand to lose significant traffic and may even be put out of business over time.    In a move that was once unthinkable only a few years ago, Big Tech corporations are acting on partisan motives to subdue and destroy any social media outlet that presents a legitimate threat to the ideological monopoly.  And it won’t stop there – It is likely we will see the targeting of other websites and individuals in due course.  Internet server providers, search engines and even banks may act to completely cut off businesses run by conservatives.  We have seen some examples of this (gun manufacturers come to mind), but as the establishment becomes threatened by a balancing of political engagement we are liable to see far more discrimination.     Monopolies are illegal and they are anti-free market, but the definition of monopoly is too limited.  Economic monopolies are not the only threat to our freedom, now we must also worry about ideological monopolies within the corporate world and their power to limit free speech by extorting media sites and businesses into self censorship.  […]


How Inflation Changes Culture

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via DailyReckoning.com,The midterm elections are over (no Red Wave), but nothing has changed. In fact, the Biden regime will probably become even more emboldened to pursue destructive economic policies because it will interpret the lack of a Red Wave as some kind of mandate.Every day seems to be a day of spin, with every regime apologist assuring the public that inflation is getting better. Just look at the wonderful trend line! They point to the latest inflation numbers, which were down a bit from the month prior.The regime insists that yes, inflation will vex us for a bit more time but will settle down in a few months. Plus, the president is working to fix this! And we know the American people are on board with him since no Red Wave materialized.But in the footnotes, you’ll find the truth: it was a tiny drop and mostly for technical reasons and the main reason for the drop has already disappeared from the price trends.Has any political propaganda on this topic ever been this ineffective? It’s truly a joke.Where’s the Relief Coming From?The producer price index that came out recently paints a clearer picture. It’s grim. It reveals no softening at all. In fact, it shows that there are plenty of coming price increases. Here is the index by commodities from 2013 to the present.Remember how last year many people finally came to the conclusion that we had to learn to live with COVID? That was a smart choice because there was no way that the China-style suppression method could work.Well, here we are now with a preventable inflation pandemic and the realization that we have to learn to live with inflation. Soon we’ll realize that we have to live with recession at the same time.But what does this mean?The impact will be felt not just in terms of economics but in culture. Inflation causes a society-wide shortening of time horizons.True ProsperityLet’s review some basics. All societies are born desperately poor, fated to live off foraging and just getting by. Prosperity is built through the construction of capital, which is the institution that embodies forward thinking.To make capital requires the deferral of consumption: you have to give up some today in order to make tools that enable more consumption tomorrow. This means discipline and a future orientation. And it means, above all, savings that can be invested in productive projects. Only through that path can societies grow rich.A key component of this concerns the stability of the medium of exchange. And not just stability: a currency that rises in value over time incentivizes saving and thus investing for the long term.The late 19th century provided a good example of this. Under the gold standard, money grew more valuable over time, thus rewarding long-term thinking and instilling that outlook in the culture at large.Live for TodayInflation has the opposite effect. It punishes saving. It forces a penalty on economic behavior that is future-oriented. That means also discouraging investment in long-term projects, which is the whole key to building a complex division of labor and causing wealth to emerge from the muck of the state of nature. Every bit of inflation trims back that future orientation.Hyperinflation utterly wrecks it.Living for the day becomes the theme. Taking what you can get now is the method and the theme. Grasping and spending. You might as well because the money is only going down in value and goods are in ever shorter supply.Better to live hard and short and forget the future. Go into debt if possible. Let the devaluation itself pay the price.The Seeds of DestructionOnce this attitude becomes instilled in a prosperous society, what we call civilization gradually devolves. If inflation persists, this kind of short-term thinking can wreck everything.This is why inflation is not just about rising prices. It’s about declining prosperity, the punishing of thrift, the discouragement of financial responsibility, and a culture that gradually falls apart.Another factor in reducing time horizons is legal instability. This was my first concern when the lockdowns began. Why would anyone start a business if governments can just shut it down on a whim? Why plan for the future when that future can be wrecked by the stroke of a pen?Many people had assumed that this new path would be short-lived. Surely the politicians would wise up and stop the madness. Surely! Tragically, it got worse and worse. The spending and printing began and ramped up over time. It was a perfect storm of sheer madness, and now we are paying the highest possible price.The Hinge of HistoryWe need to speak frankly about what’s happening to the global economy. It’s not just about supply chain breakages. Those can be repaired. It’s not just about inflation affecting every country. We are living amidst a fundamental upheaval in the whole world.The most significant single danger to global prosperity now comes in the form of a devastating and deeply tragic wreckage of the country that was set to lead the world in finance and technology: China.The WSJ summarizes the current pain:China in 2021 accounted for 18.1% of global gross domestic product, according to International Monetary Fund data, behind the U.S. at 23.9% but ahead of the 27 members of the European Union at 17.8%. It accounts for almost a third of global manufacturing output, according to United Nations data from 2020. China’s economy expanded modestly at the beginning of the year but data for March and April point to a sharp slowdown.The trouble there traces to the top. When Xi Jinping locked down Wuhan, the world celebrated him for achieving what no other leader in history had achieved: the eradication of a virus in one country. Even now, he gets accolades for this.The rest of the world followed, and elites in all countries said that this path was the future.Going BackwardsNow the virus is on the loose all over the country, and the eradication methods are intensifying. This is crushing economic growth and now threatening genuine economic depression in the country that only a few years ago was seen as the greatest economic engine of the world.It’s truly the case that Xi Jinping has put his personal pride above the well-being of all people in China. The scientists in the country know that he is wrong about this but no one is in a position to tell him.We cannot really trust the data coming out of China but officially the rate of infection in that country is one of the lowest in the world. Billions more people need to get the bug and recover in order to have anything close to herd immunity. This means that lockdowns are the way for years to come so long as the present regime remains in power.American prosperity for decades has relied on: relatively low inflation, fairly stable rules of the game, and widening trade with the world and China in particular. All three are at an end. Yes, it is heartbreaking to watch it all unfold.I’m not defending China’s human rights abuses. Far from it. But the best way to end these abuses is through engagement, not estrangement.We all need hope right now but it’s very difficult to find, since we are on a course that is not likely to be fixed for a very long time. […]


A Weather Station For Whether It Rains or Shines

[Giovanni Aggiustatutto] creates a DIY weather station to measure rain fail, wind direction, humidity and temperature. [Giovanni] has been working on various parts of the weather station, including the rain gauge and anemometer, with the weather station build incorporating all these past projects and adding a few extra features for measurement and access.

For temperature and humidity, a DHT22 sensor is located in a 3D printed Stevensen screen, giving the sensor steady airflow while protecting the module from direct sunlight and rain. A mostly 3D printed wind vane is printed with the base attached to a ball bearing and magnet so that the four hall sensors positioned in a “plus” configuration at the base can detect direction. The 3D printed anemometer uses a hall sensor to detect the revolution speed of the device. The rain gauge uses a “tipping bucket” mechanism, with a magnet attached to it that triggers the hall sensor affixed to the frame. The rain gauge (or pluviometer if you’re fancy) needs extra calibration to adjust for how much water the buckets take on before tipping.
An ESP32, with additional level shifters and BMP180 atmospheric pressure sensor module, are placed in a junction box. The ESP32 is used to communicate with each of the sensors and allows for an external internet connection to a Home Assistant server to push collected data out.
[Giovanni] has done an excellent job of documenting each piece, including making the 3D STL files available. Weather stations are a favorite of ours with a lot of variety in what gets collected and how, from ultrasonic anemometers to solar powered weather stations, and it’s great to see [Giovanni]’s take.
Video after the break!

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FPC Files Lawsuit Challenging Oregon “Large Capacity” Magazine Ban as Unconstitutional

PORTLAND, OR (November 30, 2022) – Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced today that it has filed a new Second Amendment lawsuit challenging Oregon Measure 114’s ban on magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds and requested a temporary restraining order to prevent the ban from being enforced while the case continues. The complaint and motion in Fitz v. Rosenblum can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.“The State of Oregon has criminalized one of the most common and important means by which its citizens can exercise their fundamental right of self-defense,” argues the complaint. “By banning the manufacture, importation, possession, use, purchase, sale, or transfer of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds (‘standard capacity magazines’), the State has barred law-abiding residents from legally acquiring or possessing common ammunition magazines and deprived them of an effective means of self-defense.”
“Today’s filings are proof yet again that when statist idealogues attempt to unilaterally restrict the rights of peaceable people, FPC will step up and fight back,” said FPC Director of Legal Operations Bill Sack. “And the good people of Oregon should keep their eyes peeled for additional FPC responses to the incredibly flawed Ballot Measure 114.”
FPC is joined in this lawsuit by the Second Amendment Foundation.
Individuals who would like to Join the FPC Grassroots Army and support important pro-rights lawsuits and programs can sign up at JoinFPC.org. Individuals and organizations wanting to support charitable efforts in support of the restoration of Second Amendment and other natural rights can also make a tax-deductible donation to the FPC Action Foundation. For more on FPC’s lawsuits and other pro-Second Amendment initiatives, visit FPCLegal.org and follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. 
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. FPC’s efforts are focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and adjacent issues including freedom of speech, due process, unlawful searches and seizures, separation of powers, asset forfeitures, privacy, encryption, and limited government. The FPC team are next-generation advocates working to achieve the Organization’s strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs.
FPC Law (FPCLaw.org) is the nation’s first and largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the leader in the Second Amendment litigation and research space. […]

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New Orleans Man Pleads Guilty to Violating the Federal Gun Control Act

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JOHNNY WALSH, age 25, a resident of New Orleans, pleaded guilty yesterday to violating the Federal Gun Control Act before United States Senior District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle, announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.WALSH pleaded guilty to two different counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one from March 2022 and the other from August 2022. On the March 2022 charge, WALSH faces up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, plus a mandatory special assessment fee of $100. On the August 2022 charge, WALSH faces up to 15 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, plus a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

This case was investigated by the New Orleans Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney David Haller. […]

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Sixth Defendant Pleads Guilty in Large-Scale Sacramento Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking Conspiracies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Bobby Conner, 51, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty today to two counts of using a cellphone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.According to court documents, Conner is among the 15 federal defendants arrested in 2021 and charged in a 45-count indictment for trafficking narcotics as part of a DEA-led multi-agency operation targeting cocaine and heroin traffickers in North Sacramento. Conner was intercepted during a 30-day wiretap trafficking crack cocaine and powder cocaine.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sacramento Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cameron L. Desmond and Aaron D. Pennekamp are prosecuting the case.

Conner is scheduled to be sentenced on March 2, 2023, by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

On Sept. 29, 2022, Jason Tolbert, 45, of Sacramento, was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

On Nov. 17, 2022, Charles Carter, 36, of Sacramento, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine.

On Nov. 17, 2022, Arlington Caine, 48, of Rio Linda, and Andre Hellams, 40, of North Highlands, pleaded guilty to two counts of using a cellphone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense. Caine and Hellams are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 9, 2023.

On July 22, 2022, Michael Hampton, 57, of Vallejo, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine. Michael Hampton is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 8, 2022.

Charges are pending against the following defendants: Tyrone Anderson, 40, of Sacramento; Maurice Bryant, 51, of Antelope; Yovanny Ontiveros, 41, of Sacramento; Alex White, 61, of North Highlands; Steven Hampton, 61, of Sacramento; Wilmer Harden, 52, of Elk Grove; Jerome Adams, 54, of North Highlands; Dwight Haney, 49, of Sacramento; and Mark Martin, 62, of Sacramento. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This prosecution is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. The Sacramento Strike Force is a co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations. The specific mission of the Sacramento Strike Force is to identify, investigate, disrupt, and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) shipping narcotics, firearms, and money through the Eastern District of California, thereby reducing the flow of these criminal resources in California and the rest of the United States. The Sacramento Strike Force leads intelligence-driven investigations targeting the leadership and support elements of these DTOs and TCOs operating within the Eastern District of California, regardless of their geographic base of operations. […]

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Sacramento Man Pleads Guilty to Methamphetamine Distribution

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Francelino Mario Alves, 51, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to distribution of methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.According to court documents, on June 13, 2017, Alves sold a pound of methamphetamine to an undercover officer. On July 12, 2017, Alves sold another pound of methamphetamine to the undercover officer.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney David W. Spencer is prosecuting the case.

Alves is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on March 7, 2023. Alves faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results. […]