Guest Post: American Eulogy

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform and Before It's News

American Eulogy

The Founding Fathers described the kind of country they were shaping
on July 4, 1776 with the most well known sentence in the English

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
- Declaration of Independence

In 1776, America was an idea born of noble intentions. An idea that
every citizen had the opportunity to succeed, prosper and achieve based
upon their hard work and abilities. The government did not provide
advantages or a safety net for its citizens. People were free to succeed
or fail based upon their own merits. America had a frontier spirit
because it was still a frontier. Individual effort, intellect and
willingness to sweat allowed you to move up the socio-economic ladder.
The government provided a National Defense, and very little else. In
1794, the country had a population of 4.4 million and a GDP of $310
million. Government spending totaled $7.1 million, or 2.3% of GDP, and
was split between Defense and interest on the Revolutionary War debt.
Today, Federal Government spending totals $3.7 trillion, or 25% of GDP.

James Truslow Adams in his 1931 Epic of America described the America that once existed in reality, but only exists as a phantom today: 

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should
be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each
according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the
European upper classes to interpret adequately, also too many of us
ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of
motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which
each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature
of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what
they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or

“The American Dream that has lured tens of millions of all
nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of
material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has
been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as a man and
woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the
older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed
for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any
and every class.” -
James Truslow Adams - Epic of America

His assessment of the American Dream was made in 1931. He saw signs
that the American Dream had begun to die. He was right. The American
Dream began to develop a terminal illness in 1913 with the creation of
the Federal Reserve and the passage of the 16th Amendment to the
Constitution, creating a permanent income tax.

Song of the Century

Sing us a song of the century
It sings like American Eulogy
The dawn of my love and conspiracy
Forgotten hope and the class of 13
Tell me a story into that goodnight
Sing us a song for me - 
American Eulogy - Green Day


At the outset of the last century America was still a vital, free,
growing country on the rise. The song of the century began as a joyous
ballad and ended as a funeral dirge. The creation of a Central Bank,
which could create inflation on demand, and allowing politicians the
ability to buy votes through pork spending, paid for with ever
increasing taxation, have sucked the life out of the American Dream.
According to the Federal Reserve’s own website, their mandates were
clear. Below are those mandates and an assessment of their success.

Conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing
the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum
employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.

  •  Due to loose monetary policy in the 1920′s, the Federal Reserve
    created a stock bubble, a stock market crash of 89%, a decade long Great
    Depression, and unemployment of 25% in the 1930′s.
  • Due to loose monetary policies in the 1970′s, the Federal Reserve
    created raging inflation that reached 14% in the early 1980′s and needed
    to raise interest rates to 18% in order to break the back of inflation,
    resulting in unemployment surging to 9.7% in 1982.
  • Due to loose monetary policies in the early 2000′s, the Federal
    Reserve created the largest housing bubble in history, with the
    subsequent collapse bringing the financial system to within hours of
    collapse, and driving unemployment to 9.9% in 2009.
  • Due to the loosest monetary policy in history, today, inflation has
    begun to rage across the globe, leading to riots, protests and bloody
    revolutions, with more on the way.
  • The Federal Reserve has achieved their stable prices mandate by
    inflating away 96% of the purchasing power of the US dollar in less than
    100 years. The price of gold continues to soar, as faith in the US
    dollar diminishes by the minute. I guess stability is in the eye of the

Supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure
the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system
and to protect the credit rights of consumers.

Historical US Bank Failures thru 2010

  •  The Federal Reserve’s supervisory and regulatory expertise can be
    observed in the graph above. This graph doesn’t do the Fed justice, as
    it begins in 1934. Sixteen years after its origination, the Fed managed
    to let 10,000 out of 25,000 banks in the country fail between 1929 and
  • Their glorious history also includes residing over the failure of 2,800 banks during the 1980′s S&L crisis.
  • While protecting their mega-bank Wall Street masters, the Fed has
    allowed over 300 small banks to go under so far. There are 900 banks on
    the troubled list that will eventually meet their maker.  

Maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets.

  • Generally, maintaining the stability of the financial system and
    containing systematic risk doesn’t include allowing the worldwide
    financial system to come within hours of collapse as described by Rep.
    Paul Kanjorski:
  • “On Thursday [the 18th], at about 11 o’clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States to a tune of $550 billion being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two. The
    Treasury opened up its window to help. They pumped $105 billion into
    the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We
    were having an electronic run on the banks.

    They decided to close the operation, close down the money
    accounts, and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there
    wouldn’t be further panic and there. And that’s what actually happened.
    they had not done that their estimation was that by two o’clock that
    afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market
    system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed.

    Now we talked at that time about what would have happened if that happened. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.”

Providing financial services to depository institutions,
the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including
playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system.

  • It seems this is the only mandate the Federal Reserve has taken
    seriously is providing services to its owners, the banks. Did the
    bankers and politicians that met on Jekyll Island to mastermind this
    Central Bank envision that those services would include: buying $1.5
    trillion of toxic mortgages from the banks; allowing the mega-banks to
    borrow from the Fed at 0% and reinvest those funds at 2.5% risk free;
    pumping $600 billion directly into the stock market through their QE2
    scam; allowing banks to falsely overstate the value of their mortgage
    and commercial loans; and never ever enforcing basic risk management
  • While providing Wall Street banks with billions of unearned risk
    free profits, 0% interest rates further impoverish the savers and senior
    citizens of the country. The Federal Reserve has fulfilled their
    unstated mandate of enriching bankers at the expense of middle class

To strengthen U.S. standing in the world economy.

  • The Federal Reserve’s affect on the world economy is best revealed in a pictorial tribute to their policies:




The Federal Reserve has not been alone in killing the American Dream.
Politicians since 1913 have done their part in suffocating the dream.
The tax code consisted of 400 pages in 1913 and tax rates ranged from 1%
to 7%. In less than a century politicians of both parties have carved
out 70,000 pages of payoffs, entitlements, and bribes for their
contributors and constituents. Tax rates now range from 10% to 35%.
Those 70,000 pages of rules, regulations and tax breaks do not benefit
the average middle class American. They benefit those who had the money
and power to buy off a Congressman.

The Federal Reserve and the US Tax Code bastardized the American
Dream, created barriers to economic advancement, and supported the
accumulation of wealth and power by a select few. The ruling elite have
used their power and control over the media to convince the majority of
Americans that the American Dream is about accumulating material
possessions with debt. The American Dream no longer meant attaining the
fullest measure of your capabilities, but living in the biggest
McMansion, driving the nicest BMW, watching the biggest TV and wearing
the latest fashions, all acquired with debt. America is dying. 

Mass Hysteria

Red alert is the color of panic
Elevated to the point of static
Beating into the hearts of the fanatics
And the neighborhood’s a loaded gun
Idle thought lead to full-throttle screaming
And the welfare is asphyxiating
Mass confusion is all the new age and it’s creating a feeding ground for the bottom feeders of hysteria

Hysteria, mass hysteria!
Mass hysteria!
Mass hysteria!
Mass hysteria! -  American Eulogy - Green Day


Green Day captures the essence of America since the turn of the
century. The country has been in the throes of mass hysteria since 9/11.
The once independent, self sufficient individualists that populated
this country have become dependent, government reliant, quivering
shadows of the frontiersmen that created this country. In the name of
safety and security, the American people have allowed their government
to accumulate complete control over every aspect of our lives. Only a
country in the grip of mass hysteria would allow their leaders to run
the National Debt from $5.8 trillion to $14.1 trillion in less than 10
years. Only a country in the clutches of mass hysteria could believe
they could get rich by trading internet stocks and houses to a greater
fool. Only a country seized by mass hysteria would allow its leaders to
promote democracy at the point of a cruise missile as we continue to
fight $3 trillion wars in the Middle East, while nearly tripling the
amount spent on Defense to more than $1 trillion per year.

 Defense Budget Breakdown for 2011

Defense-related expenditure 2011 Budget request & Mandatory spending Calculation
DOD spending $721.3 billion Base budget + “Overseas Contingency Operations”
FBI counter-terrorism $2.7 billion At least one-third FBI budget.
International Affairs $10.1–$54.2 billion At minimum, foreign arms sales. At most, entire State budget
Energy Department, defense-related $20.9 billion  
Veterans Affairs $66.2 billion  
Homeland Security $54.7 billion  
NASA, satellites $3.4–$8.5 billion Between 20% and 50% of NASA’s total budget
Veterans pensions $58.4 billion  
Other defense-related mandatory spending $7.5 billion  
Interest on debt incurred in past wars $114.8–$454.2 billion Between 23% and 91% of total interest
Total Spending $1.060–$1.449 trillion  


If you had told someone on September 10, 2001 that ten years later
America would be running $1.5 trillion annual deficits, fighting two
wars of choice in countries that despise our presence, and had not only
not addressed the $100 billion of unfunded welfare liabilities but added
billions more with Medicare D and Obamacare, they would have thought
you were a crazy doomster predicting the end of the world. They would
have put you away in a padded cell if you had further predicted that
politicians would cut taxes three separate times, that the Wall Street
banks that leveraged themselves 40 to 1 and destroyed the financial
system were handed $2 trillion of taxpayer funds so they could pay
themselves multi-million dollar bonuses, and that the Federal Reserve
would triple its balance sheet to $2.45 trillion by running its printing
presses at hyper-speed and handing the money to those same Wall Street

What caused the mass hysteria that has destroyed the soul of America?
Was it just the madness of crowds? Or was it something more sinister? 

True sounds of maniacal laughter
And the deaf-mute is misleading the choir
The punch-line is a natural disaster
And it’s sung by the unemployed
Fight fire with a riot
The class war is hanging on a wire because the martyr is a compulsive liar
When he said “it’s just a bunch of niggers throwing gas into the ….” – American Eulogy - Green Day

Whenever an act doesn’t make sense and seems irrational, you need to
ask yourself, “who benefits?” Who has benefitted from the hysteria? The
answer is in plain sight. The moneyed interests benefitted. The military
industrial complex benefitted. The Federal Government bureaucracy
benefitted. Wall Street bankers benefitted. Mega-corporations and their
CEOs benefitted. The top 1% ruling elite gained more wealth and more
power. They created the mass hysteria with the assistance of their
corporate owned mainstream media and completed their pillaging of the
middle class with the cooperation of regulators, rating agencies and
their ultimate weapon, the privately owned Federal Reserve bank, that
has enriched its owners while impoverishing those whose only aspiration
was to do an honest day’s work, raise their families, and live in
relative comfort, safety, and happiness.

I Don’t Wanna Live In The Modern World

I don’t wanna live in the modern world!
I don’t wanna live in the modern world!
I don’t wanna live in the modern world!
I don’t wanna live in the modern world!

I am a nation without bureaucratic lies
Deny the allegation as it’s written (fucking lies!)

I want to take a ride to the great divide
Beyond the “up to date” and the neo-gentrified
The high definition for the low resident
Where the value of your mind is not held in contempt
I can hear the sound of a beating heart
That bleeds beyond a system that’s falling apart
With money to burn on a minimum wage
I don’t give a shit about the modern age – American Eulogy - Green Day


The modern world in no way resembles the world  James Truslow Adams
wrote so passionately about in 1931. Green Day’s version of bureaucratic
lies, high definition TVs for the poor, contempt for those who use
their minds, and a debt flooded system that is falling apart is an
accurate assessment of America today. The modern world is ruled by the
few with wealth and power, sustained by government. The misinformation
and propaganda dished out by the mainstream media creates a smokescreen
that obscures who wields the true power in this country. The corporate
mainstream media has done such a good job spreading the Big Lie that a
vast number of Americans actually admire and worship the ultra-rich.

Most Americans still believe the fairy tale of the American Dream,
that no matter how humble your beginnings, everyone has a fair chance to
become rich in America. The truth is that the wealthy ruling class owns
the country. The top 1% control 43% of the financial wealth of the
nation. The top 10% control 83% of the financial wealth of the nation.
There is a  misperception that the ultra-rich earn their wealth. The
facts show otherwise. In 2008, only 19% of the income reported by the
13,480 individuals or families making over $10 million came from wages
and salaries. Remember the financial crisis of 2008-2009 that wiped out 7
million jobs, cut the value of many homes in half, and required a
taxpayer bailout of Wall Street? According to research done by economist
Edward Wolff, ”there has been an “astounding” 36.1% drop in the wealth
(marketable assets) of the median household since the peak of the
housing bubble in 2007. By contrast, the wealth of the top 1% of
households dropped by far less: just 11.1%. So as of April 2010, it
looks like the wealth distribution is even more unequal than it was in

Source: William Domhoff

The bottom 90% own less than 19% of stocks and mutual funds in the
country. Reality is that the 10% richest Americans own the country. The
top 1% control 50% of the investment assets and only 5% of the total
debt in the country. The bottom 90% control 12% of the investment assets
and are burdened with 73% of the total debt. You can clearly see that
the Wall Street bailout and the current Federal Reserve QE2 plan to
boost stock prices have only benefitted the top 10% richest Americans.
What is good for Wall Street is  not good for Main Street. The American
middle class has been lured into debt by the purveyors of debt, the
ultra-rich elite who control the financial industry. The further into
debt the bottom 90% descend, the greater the enrichment of the ruling
class. This is why Wall Street shysters, political hacks and the
corporate mainstream media have urged Americans to whip out those credit
cards and “Save America” by spending money they don’t have, again. It
is reminiscent of President Bush’s heartfelt plea to the American public
to defeat terrorism by buying a GM car with 0% down.

The propaganda that is constantly pounded into the brains of
Americans about “death taxes” and the rich paying more than their fair
share of taxes is part of the Big Lie perpetrated by the powerful ruling
class. The “huge” issue of estate tax impacts only the few thousand
richest Americans.  According to a study published by the Federal
Reserve Bank of Cleveland, only 1.6% of Americans receive $100,000 or
more in inheritance. Another 1.1% receive $50,000 to $100,000. On the
other hand, 91.9% receive nothing (Kotlikoff & Gokhale, 2000). The
richest families in the country provide the funding for the mainstream
media propaganda needed to eliminate estate taxes.

 The lies about the ultra-rich paying more than their fair share of
taxes are refuted in the graph above. The top 1% actually pays a lower
percentage of their income than the next 9%. The tax code isn’t 70,000
pages for nothing. The ultra-rich have used their wealth to great
advantage by having loopholes and tax dodges inserted into the tax code
by their bought off congressmen. The average American can’t afford high
powered tax specialists and lawyers to help them stash their wealth in
off-shore tax havens in the Caribbean and Switzerland. The consistent
theme in America today is that the middle class gets screwed and the
ultra-rich ruling class accumulates more wealth and power.

The Death of America

“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts,
and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit
suicide.” –
John Adams

Two hundred and thirty five years ago, our Founding Fathers declared
that we all had the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness. These rights have been restricted and bastardized over two
centuries. Liberties have been severely restricted as your government
tracks you through your social security number, is able to monitor your
phone and internet communications, and regulates your education,
healthcare, business, and a thousand other daily activities. The right
to happiness was based upon James Treslow Adams’ view that we were free
to attain ”the fullest stature of which they are innately capable”.
The happiness of becoming a success through your individual exertion,
intelligence and efforts has been subverted by the happiness of material
goods acquired through the use of debt, peddled by the ruling class.

The American Dream where every person had the opportunity to live a
richer and fuller life began to die in 1913. Every generation born in
this country had an excellent chance to live a better life than their
parents. Relentless progress was the American way. I have three teenage
sons. Based on the actions of this country’s ruling oligarchy, I doubt
that my sons will live a richer and fuller life than myself. The debts
are too extreme, the military overreach too excessive, the looting by
the financial class too great, the political corruption too extensive,
and the opportunities too few. The dream of a social order where
everyone could rise to the highest level of their capabilities
regardless of their birth has been systematically squashed. With 66% of
households making less than $65,000 and college costs out of reach for
80% of Americans without incurring crushing levels of debt, the chances
for most Americans to climb the social ladder through educational
advancement are nil. Even if they do graduate from college, the CEOs in
corporate America, who “earn” 300 times the average worker, have
outsourced their jobs to China and India.

 The ruling class provides their children with private schooling and
necessary preparation to keep their place in the social order. Wealth
begets wealth. The elite send their kids to the elite Ivy League schools
and use their connections with their fellow ruling elite to get them
jobs on Wall Street, the prestigious connected corporations or
government jobs in Washington DC. The wealth of the few has erected
barriers to advancement of the many. America has progressively become a
stratified class oriented society that has begun to spiral downward as
the ruling class has gone too far. The revolutions flaring across the
globe are occurring because the ruling class went too far and took too
much. The ruling class in America should take note. They have shattered
the American Dream and the retribution from those who have been swindled
will be unexpected and violent.

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FOC 1183's picture

Bloomberg announces to the elite that they can now get full Professional Service BB on their IPads.  So, all is well.

Tyler Durden's picture

Does that mean Apple is about to launch a 4 screen expansion pack for overzealous Launchpads?

FOC 1183's picture

Yep.  'BLP' <Go> now offers enhancements that will help you track the progress of the peasants to your door

flavian's picture

Speaking of peasants...

Two hundred and thirty five years ago, our Founding Fathers declared that we all had the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That is only white male with property and money. No black peasant women included... :)

Boxed Merlot's picture

That is only white male with property and money. No black peasant women included... :)


However, the republic they had the foresight to establish did allow for the maturation of the structure to be ever more inclusive.  Very few if any other regimes can boast being more open the longer they exist.  This is not to say it occurs easily, but it does allow for periods of respite after bouts of intense struggling.


150 years ago, civil war.  Hard currency from the Comstock and Mother Lode defeated lesser capitalized Confederate forces.  Confederate Dollars default.


50 years later, Jekyll Islanders co-op US currency and back new (con)Federal Reserve Notes with the nebuloous "good faith and credit" of the US citizen-redifined now as a "tax-payer".


50 years later JFK issues order to print US dollars redeemable in intrinsically valuable metallic coinage.  JFK and Notes both short lived.


50 years later, well, that's now.  Interesting times indeed.

trav7777's picture

look over at Africa...they did.

Do you want your country run like that?

robobbob's picture

Article 1 Section 9

"The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person"

the founders were politicians, not superheros. they won an impossible war against a major super power and cut the best compromise they could while leaving door open in future

later that promise would be redeemed with 600,000 dead

think you could have done better?

Sudden Debt's picture



just immagine... a 4 screen expansion pack...

Pat Hand's picture

Can I get a lanyard for my b-unit at the Apple store?

kato's picture

a grand bit of self-puffery

Alcoholic Native American's picture

Sounds like Terrorist Talk!

gloomboomdoom's picture

Nothing But Hatred and Distrust for the Entire Human Race

Quixotic_Not's picture

Oh yeah, sick & twisted death heads have got the answers...


Listen, I understand you came from a dysfunctional family, but the whole human race isn't pond scum.

There are some truly loving, caring individuals out there, unfortunately they're getting crushed by sociopathic politicos and bankster racketeers, and also by self-immolating turds like the bastards in that "music" video.

Get help...from good people.

Quixotic_Not's picture

There is an answer...same as in 1776:

The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions...


Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience. ~ John Locke 1690

God isn't going to help us, we must help ourselves...

Gully Foyle's picture


"God isn't going to help us, we must help ourselves..."

Not really being religious but, the argument would be that God is helping by allowing you to help yourself. By nudging events into the proper pattern for people to capitalize on.

It is up to the individual to make the best of what God has offered.


DaveyJones's picture

so I guess God does believe in athiests

Gully Foyle's picture


"so I guess God does believe in athiests

Pascal's Wager (or Pascal's Gambit) is a suggestion posed by the French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal that, even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should wager as though God exists, because living life accordingly has everything to gain, and nothing to lose. Pascal formulated his suggestion uniquely on the God of Jesus Christ as implied by the greater context of his Pensées, a posthumously published collection of notes made by Pascal in his last years as he worked on a treatise on Christian apologetics. However, some argue that Pascal's Wager also applies to gods of other religions and belief systems.

Pascal states, however, that some do not have the ability to believe. In this case, he directs them to live as though they had faith, which may lead them to belief. The Wager was set out in note 233 of his Pensées.

Historically, Pascal's Wager was groundbreaking as it had charted new territory in probability theory, was one of the first attempts to make use of the concept of infinity, marked the first formal use of decision theory, and anticipated the future philosophies of pragmatism and voluntarism.[1]


The philosophy uses the following logic (excerpts from Pensées, part III, note 233):

  1. "God is, or He is not"
  2. A Game is being played... where heads or tails will turn up.
  3. According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
  4. You must wager. It is not optional.
  5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
  6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (...) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

The wager is described in Pensées this way:

“ If there is a god, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is....

..."God is, or He is not." But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.

Do not, then, reprove for error those who have made a choice; for you know nothing about it. "No, but I blame them for having made, not this choice, but a choice; for again both he who chooses heads and he who chooses tails are equally at fault, they are both in the wrong. The true course is not to wager at all."

Yes; but you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose. This is one point settled. But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.

"That is very fine. Yes, I must wager; but I may perhaps wager too much." Let us see. Since there is an equal risk of gain and of loss, if you had only to gain two lives, instead of one, you might still wager. But if there were three lives to gain, you would have to play (since you are under the necessity of playing), and you would be imprudent, when you are forced to play, not to chance your life to gain three at a game where there is an equal risk of loss and gain. But there is an eternity of life and happiness. And this being so, if there were an infinity of chances, of which one only would be for you, you would still be right in wagering one to win two, and you would act stupidly, being obliged to play, by refusing to stake one life against three at a game in which out of an infinity of chances there is one for you, if there were an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain. But there is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite.[9]

Pascal begins with the premise that the existence or non-existence of God is not provable by human reason, since the essence of God is "infinitely incomprehensible". Since reason cannot decide the question, one must "wager", either by guessing or making a leap of faith. Agnosticism on this point is not possible, in Pascal's view, for we are already "embarked", effectively living out our choice.

We only have two things to stake, our "reason" and our "happiness". Pascal considers that there is "equal risk of loss and gain", a coin toss, since human reason is powerless to address the question of God's existence. That being the case, we then must decide it according to our happiness... by weighing the gain and loss in believing that God exists. He contends the wise decision is to wager that God exists, since "If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing", meaning one can gain eternal life if God exists, but if not, one will be no worse off in death than if one had not believed.


DaveyJones's picture

"because living life accordingly has everything to gain, and nothing to lose - Pascal"

In Catholic School, in fifth grade, sister Mary Ernest was telling my class that we should all be good so we can go to heaven. That heaven is full of wonderful things and we should all work to get there. I raised my hand and said, sister, isn't that the wrong reason to be good? She gave me a look of scorn and disbelief then asked what I meant. I got nervous with the whole class looking at me and said well, we shouldn't be good just to go to heaven, that's kind of selfish. We should be good to be good, because helping people and doing good is what we should all do whether or not we get something for it. The class turned to Sister Mary and she thought for a second and then said "shut up Davey."      

Sean7k's picture

Stop making sense Davey- it puts Pascal to shame.

downrodeo's picture

If God is incomprehensible, how are we able to make judgements such as, 'he either is or is not'. Could a being that exists beyond human comprehension simultaneously fulfill both states of "is" and "is not", like Schrodinger's cat? I mean, at least until you look, and that action supposedly gave Moses white hair; I'm not looking to dive into that salt-n-pepper head look just yet, I'm still young!

twinshot's picture

Pascal was obviously a bit drunk when he thought all this through.

Two words for him and his followers: Opportunity Cost

Sean7k's picture

Pascal's Wager (or Pascal's Gambit) is a suggestion posed by the French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal that, even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should wager as though God exists, because living life accordingly has everything to gain, and nothing to lose. 

Thus the lie begins. It is a false choice. In order to accept this premise, you must then live your life in such a way as to take advantage of it. This will require that you modify your habits, you associate with a subset of the population and that you reject ideas based on the assumptions of others. 

You surrender your intellectual and social liberty for the possibility of heaven. A heaven, that as described is nonsensical. Just as hell is equally nonsensical. Streets of gold? Why would a spirit need a street? Why gold? Is this an attempt to appeal to our greed and avarice? A life of service to an elite? Parallels? 

Burn in hell? How does a spirit burn or know pain? Pain is the realm of the physical. An appeal to our fears? 

Pascal's gambit is the propaganda of the church couched in intellectual mumbo-jumbo.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

There's no such thing as spiritual pain? If you believe that then you are either an ass, or you have no soul.

Flakmeister's picture

 Actually based on what this troll has written, it is combination of both.

Sean7k's picture

I think you might be confusing "spiritual pain" with the concepts learned and used by your brain to control your behavior- a safety mechanism, if you will. They find expression in "sadness, tears, doubt, etc- hormonal responses that have physical manifestations. This pain would be governed by earthly, subjective values- again, the result of reactions to the mores taught by authority.

The spirit or soul is pure energy. Until someone can show that energy feels pain, I disagree with your opinion. 

If I have no soul, then I would not be alive. Thus either I'm an ass or you have never really considered this concept and have reduced yourself to tossing slurs to make your point.

You usually make more erudite comments. I am surprised.

Flakmeister's picture

  I guess I am having a bad day...

Without going into semantics and any assumption about spirituality, ultimately you are answerable to your conscience. Accept that and Pascal's observation is correct, no matter what faith you have or don't have. That is what I feel you missed in your diatribe against Pascal. 

Sean7k's picture

Then you missed the point of my "diatribe". There is much lost in accepting Pascal's observation. Pascal would have you believe you lose nothing and only have something to gain by having faith. 

This is much like the Bastiat's parable of the broken window. Pascal neglects to consider what is not seen. In order to accept faith, you must close your mind to other ideas that could contribute to your personal enlightenment. You must choose to disassociate with those people that are no longer acceptable within your beliefs. You fail to consider more persuasive philosophical constructs and thus cheat your life of the richness that comes from the exploration of ALL ideas. You would refuse to experience on the basis of faith.

Thus, you do you give up something. It is not a sum gain, it is a trade. You are trading the mythological richness of religion for the more practical richness of a life well lived. A bird in the hand for two in the bush.

Your conscience is manufactured by your environment. It is important to your survival socially and environmentally, but it a physical world construct and malleable by the society you are surrounded by. 

Flakmeister's picture

  You are correct re: Pascal, taken at face value, i.e. limiting yourself the definition of faith/god as was the norm of his era. One can be an athiest and realize the wisdom of what Pascal implied at a deeper level, not just the superficiality of Judeo-Christian salvation in return for limiting your mindset. I am only answerable to myself and those in my immediate life. My conscience arises from my life and a judgement of what is fair and just based on my experiences. Acquired Wisdom and critical self-reflection are tools.

Quixotic_Not's picture

I know the argument, at this point I'd have to see a god in person to buy it...

Not really gonna believe in the whole sight-unseen thingy, too much propaganda afoot.

Gully Foyle's picture


Here is the thing, you only need to live a "good" life.

Live by the Eightfold path, live as a Jain, just do "good" acts.

To a good man no evil comes.

downrodeo's picture

"To a good man no evil comes"

Gully, I don't think this is accurate.

A Nanny Moose's picture

The mother of all battles has been waged between collectives, for the soul of the individual. Each collective, claiming that the soul belongs to the collective.

Perhaps the next phase of human awareness accounts for the soul of the individual, actually belonging to the individual?

gloomboomdoom's picture

In the land of the blind... the one eyed man is a fool or a coward.

Seriously? What is wrong with my taste in music?

People at Metal shows are some of the friendlist people you will ever meet. Very friendly, outgoing, personable, intelligent and kind.

I know you people want to see it translated into a LIVE street fight... but that simply never happens.

Drunks at Football and Soccer (futbal) games is where your drunken violence can be found.

I'll see you in Chicago at the HOB on the 27th... Don't wear a clean shirt

Quixotic_Not's picture

In the land of the blind... the one eyed man is a fool or a coward.

Quite some fantastical bullshit there bucko - I betcha that a one eyed man would be a god in the land of the blind, that's what history teaches those willing to learn...

I've been a musician for 35 years and a producer for 15, and I'm well acquainted with Death/Black Metal and Grindcore players.

I have not met one yet that wasn't deeply disturbed and an anarchist.

Not to say that "Drunks at Football and Soccer (futbal) games" have much to offer humanity either - In fact, those are usually the progenitors of those that self-abuse to the extreme...

There is a better way, you're just not healthy enough to embrace it (yet).

gloomboomdoom's picture

fair enough. I am a Christian... not that it has any relevance to my taste in music.

I just like it heavy. Acacia is a serious band, but offstage it is all tongue-n-check. They mock hxc TOUGH guy bands that take the shit too seriously.

If you want to see skillz. here...

Rusty Shorts's picture

 ... why are so many "Christians" into Devil music?

downrodeo's picture

...because it's so damn sexy....

Quixotic_Not's picture

...because it's so damn sexy....

Have you seen the women (as in the few, the proud, the insane) that listen to Death/Black/Grindcore Metal? ROFL

Perhaps, you're talking about the men (gag!)...

downrodeo's picture

hahah, i thought we were talking about the music, not the people who play it. my mistake.


as far as the people go, different strokes for different folks. What you find sexy may be replusive to others. What I find sexy, is none of your business...

l1xx3r's picture

What is your problem with anarchist? Some people think we (as a race) are intelligent enough to live without some state violently forcing us to pay for their corruption. Unless you mean violent fools that run around destroying stuff, if that is the case please make it clear. Anarchist are people that think we do not need leaders. As far as everything else you said... I agree.

Quixotic_Not's picture

Anarchy is NOT part of this:

WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

I suggest you get on a plane to Egypt, if you really crave might be able to participate in some for a short time  ;-)

downrodeo's picture

it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation


Does this not require at least a brief episode of anarchy through the transitional period? The state needs anarchists and periodic anarchy to keep it from devolving into a totalitarian nightmare, which is always the tendency of government. For example, there is no such thing as an anti-terrorist attack that would cause the DHS to ease some of its security policies. It only goes one way.

downrodeo's picture

Anarchy = Absolute Freedom (and everything that comes with it)

Sean7k's picture

There is no chaos in anarchy. Anarchy is no formal government with police powers. The propaganda would have us believe differently. However, is your view of chaos include the destruction of law? Is not the workings of government on the behalf of the elites the destruction of law?  Is not foreclosuregate the destruction of law?

Chaos is the nature of life. It is the nature of the universe. Can a system based on chaos be successful? Is not our universe successful?

Anarchy is no more dangerous than government and perhaps, much safer. Are there any governments that have not resulted in debt slavery? Are there any governments that did not abuse their police powers? Are there any governments that did not function at the behest of the elites?

Anarchy is the gift of liberty and responsibility.