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Guest Post: The Argument Industry - Hyping Controversy And Avoiding Solutions

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Argument Industry - Hyping Controversy And Avoiding Solutions

The mainstream media has always loved controversy and wars, military and cultural alike. Now we have an "Argument Industry" that thrives on keeping problems insoluble.

That much of the "news" is artifice and propaganda is a given. How can a society make good decisions about its future when the "facts" such as the unemployment rate are massaged and manipulated, and so many of the "reforms" are simulacra designed by the very wolves supposedly being tamed? Answer: it can't.

The same question can be asked of a society in which the "editorial" side of the mainstream media is dominated by an "Argument Industry" that pours gasoline on every conflict and avoids solutions like a vampire avoids the Cross and garlic.

Finding solutions would decimate the "Argument Industry" and slash profits.

That leaves us with the same question: How can a society make good decisions about its future when every challenge is conflated into extremes that cannot abide compromise or even recognize "outside the box" solutions? Answer: it can't.

Correspondent Kevin F. coined the term "Argument Industry" in this incisive commentary:

While pondering the gay marriage vote in North Carolina, I thought of how that is one among many issues we could solve once and for all in this country, but somehow we've decided not to. I wonder how much of the resistance to solutions* is caused (intentionally or subliminally) by the need for an "Argument Industry". For any hot-button issue, there is an ecosystem of lawyers, pundits, bloggers, journalists, lobbyists, community organizers, protesters and many others who feed off the issue. Each argument provides steady work for hundreds, if not thousands, of people, mainly in fields (political science, TV news, etc.) that would founder or collapse if the arguments didn't exist. Without gay marriage and abortion, half of all talking heads would be out of work.


It seems to me that the Argument Industry is one of the many consequences of the global shortage of legitimate work, a large pocket of the "make work" you described earlier this month. Conveniently, it also stirs people's passions, and drives them to rally around the politicians that argue the same way they do, encouraging loyalty in the system and the Status Quo.


* For "gay marriage", why not abolish the concept of marriage within government? Replace it with a "civil partnership" for everyone: you may select anyone as your partner, provided they are over 18 and also select you as their partner. Partners get all the rights previously afforded to holders of "marriage licenses", and all marriage licenses are converted to partnerships. Your religion (if any) may limit who you can marry (and pressure you to not make certain choices of partners), or limit when you can call yourself "married" (only after completing a special ceremony), but it's not the government's problem. Marriage wouldn't exist in the eyes of the government, only the concept that many people choose a partner and want them to have special rights and privileges.

Thank you, Kevin, for an insightful explication of the Argument Industry. It could be argued (heh) that I am part of the Industry that profits from maintaining ideological and cultural deadlocks and dead-ends, but my view is that adaptation requires transparent experimentation and dissent, in which the "better" ideas (i.e. the ideas that work better in the real world than the alternatives) out-compete the failed ideas of the past.

I see this blog and my books as efforts to honestly contextualize our situation and sketch out a practical framework for moving ahead.

For example, the various special interests and protected fiefdoms in financially troubled Vallejo, California, claimed without any shred of compromise or reason that bankruptcy would destroy the city, etc. They were flat-out wrong.

After a transition we might describe as "we only change when we absolutely have to", Vallejo, Calif., once bankrupt, is now a model for cities in an age of austerity (Washington Post).

The number of neighborhood watch groups jumped from 15 to 350. Citizen volunteers came together monthly to paint over graffiti and do other cleanup work.


And the city council struck an unusual deal with residents — if they agreed to a one-penny sales tax increase, projected to generate an additional $9.5 million in revenue, they could vote on how the money would be used. The experiment in participatory budgeting, which began in April, is the first in a North American city.

Solutions exist, but neither the vested interests profiting from the failed Status Quo nor the Argument Industry can abide practical solutions, because such solutions destroy both "profit centers."

Now that Vallejo is leading the way, it's dropped out of the news for the most part; this MSM article is a rare bit of solid reporting. Once the conflict and trauma could no longer be fanned by the Argument Industry, coverage evaporated.

One of the key take-aways is that solutions are local, not national. The Argument Industry loves to keep gay marriage front and center in a "national debate," where I see the solution is to let the issue be decided on a county level. People will move to counties that align with their own views, rather than have a "solution" shoved down their throats.

The same can be said of "drug wars," healthcare, etc.: solutions sought at the national level are already doomed by the bureaucratic costs and political corruption in Washington. Devolve the problems to the local level and let a thousand flowers of experimentation bloom. Those that work will quickly stand out and be copied by others seeking real solutions rather than clinging to a failed Status Quo.

Kevin offers an interesting solution to the heavily hyped "gay marriage" controversy. It's worth recalling that in rural Colonial America the government also had no role in controlling or officiating marriage. In rural America, churches and preachers were scarce, with many communities served by itinerant clergy.

To get married, a couple declared their marriage "in the eyes of God" and moved in together. When the preacher came round, they might, if they and their families chose to, conduct a church ceremony. If not, the marriage stood as declared and consummated. The local government (such as it was) might record the marriage as a census factoid much like ownership of a specific parcel of land, but it did not regulate what lay outside the boundaries of State control.

In Peak Government, the Central State seeks to control everything; there is nothing that is not within its purview and grasp. Perhaps that in itself is the "problem" that needs fixing.


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Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:28 | 2462444 TonyCoitus
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Fuck you Tyler, you're just causing trouble!

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:35 | 2462475 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

From day one in the US we are sold a bill of goods.

It started with "all men are created equal".

Tell that to the Blacks, Indians, Women and indentured servants.

I'm always stunned at the amazing stupidity of people assuming propaganda started yesterday.

Those people who think our freedom was suddenly eroded just didn't bother to pay any attention. Or read any unfiltered american history.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:39 | 2462498 john39
john39's picture

what i find interesting about Americans is that they believe its the "other guy" (other countries) who use and fall for propaganda... ie, the chinese, the russians etc.   but that everything they hear from the gov. or MSM in the U.S. is basically honest.   because we live in a free country, right?

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:46 | 2462525 LULZBank
LULZBank's picture

what i find interesting about Americans is that they believe its the "other guy" (other countries) who use and fall for propaganda... ie, the chinese, the russians etc.   but that everything they hear from the gov. or MSM in the U.S. is basically honest.   because we live in a free country, right?

Okay, but whats your argument here??!

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:47 | 2463299 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

My arguement is with industry...



Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:46 | 2462531 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

After the blatant non vetting of Barry, most people already figured out that the MSM is the propaganda wing of the Democrat party.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:52 | 2462568 john39
john39's picture

come on man, there is only THE PARTY.  the democratic wing and the republican wing just trade off taking turns to keep the masses distracted into believing that they have some say in how the country is run.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:10 | 2462668 12ToothAssassin
12ToothAssassin's picture


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:00 | 2462612 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

It could be your understanding of, "all men are created equal" is different from the founders. Blacks and indentured servants were not men of property, and thus had not rights. Indians were savages and women were, well, not men.

Your next mistake is to assume a chain of understanding exists between the Declaration of Independence, which was treatise that pointed out the differences between English law and Colonial law regarding men of property, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. There is no such chain.

Freedom existed for men of property, just as the merchantilists wanted it. They feared the passions of democracy and wrote the Constitution to insure they were mitigated. 


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:17 | 2463170 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Not in case of FFs. They left too many notes, comments and acts to allow that rationalization.

'US citizenism' did not part along property. It parted along human condition, sub and non human condition.

Cheap propaganda.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:31 | 2463226 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Same crap from same crapper.


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:39 | 2463251 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Impressive argumentation? Running away much?

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:48 | 2463306 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Made me laugh, especially coming from someone who offers mere assertions and fantasizes them to be argumentation.

Assertions are not arguments.


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:56 | 2463340 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Sure. Especially in this case, the assertion that I offer mere assertions and fantasizes them.

Might be good to apply the stuff to yourself first before thinking of applying it to others? Huh, no can do, US citizen nature at work.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 16:29 | 2463636 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Ah, yes, falling back on the tired old bromide of US citizen nature. Such a surprise. Totally unexpected.

Unfortunately, your assertions regarding "US citizenism" will always be imaginary constructs of your diseased mind.

Your error is in not recognizing that words have meaning. The term "US citizen" has a specific meaning to sane people who use the english language.

You like to define "US citizen" in a variety of different ways, none of which coincide with the way that sane people define the term. That may be fine in the fantasy world which you inhabit. Nobody else inhabits your fantasy world, though, and no matter how hard you wish it, you cannot redefine the term "US citizen" for everyone else.

People born in France are French citizens. Bear with it. People born in Germany are German citizens. Bear with it. People born in England are British citizens. Bear with it. People born in Holland are Dutch citizens. Bear with it. People born in Denmark are Danish citizens. Bear with it. People born in Ireland are Irish citizens. Bear with it. People born in Spain are Spanish citizens. Bear with it. People born in Greece are Greek citizens. Bear with it. People born in Mexico are Mexican citizens. Bear with it.

People born in the US are US citizens. Contrary to your previous assertions, this does not automatically make all people born in the US duplicitous, nazis, racists, extortionists, warmongers, glorifiers of theft, or supporters of slavery.

To claim that a person is a certain way or is not a certain way based solely on where they were born is an absurdity. You claim that my usage of the term "Chinese citizenism" is a fantasy. You are wrong. It is not a fantasy, it is a parody, a parody of the ridiculous absurdities you spout regarding "US citizenism".

I have nothing against people from China, or indeed people from any nation, because I understand that in any such arbitrary grouping of people you will have the same two basic types: people who just want to live their lives, and assholes. When I use the absurd and ridiculous term "Chinese citizenism", I am not criticizing Chinese people or Chinese culture; I am criticizing you and your "US citizenism" derangement.

You are the only person that cannot see that "Chinese citizenism" is a joke, because you cannot see that "US citizenism" is a joke.


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:38 | 2463250 AnAnonymouses
AnAnonymouses's picture

Man speak like confused screw puzzle!

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 15:29 | 2463460 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Well, I've read them. This is exactly the conclusion to come to. Try:


"An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States" and

"The First American Republic 1774-1789"

That should give you a start.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 15:52 | 2463516 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

I don't agree with anything you're saying but know one thing, "Freedom existed for men of property" is why you're buying PM's before TPTB fry your money.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:36 | 2462479 Dixie Rect
Dixie Rect's picture

Look, I came here for an argument



No you didn't

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:52 | 2462565 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Another Monty Python classic.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:54 | 2462584 DeadFred
DeadFred's picture

Ah, the one true advantage of schizophrenia, you always have someone to talk to.

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 02:59 | 2464735 StychoKiller
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"I know the voices aren't real, but they have some great ideas!"

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:29 | 2462448 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Who even pays attention or cares anymore about anything? After all, we've got an American Idol winner declared! Some guy with the same first and last name. Thats all that matters.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:36 | 2462477 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


What's American Idol and why are you aware of it's outcome?

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:29 | 2462449 El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

My sentiments for sure, but I was surprised to read in Gary Shillings book "The Age of Deleveraging" that he thought the CPI was pretty close.


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:32 | 2462458 Dan The Man
Dan The Man's picture

the age if distraction


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:54 | 2462581 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

The Lefts Art of Distraction.

Democrats cannot help themselves.  They've exhausted their ideas and now are falling all over themselves to distract America from three plus years of an ideology gone awry.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:12 | 2462680 12ToothAssassin
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Of course, because the right would never distract and obfuscate about anything. The left and the right are the two sides of a single coin.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:21 | 2462721 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

That's the Leftist argument used when they are about to lose an election.  Truth is, left and right are opposite sides of the same coin.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:31 | 2462774 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

You should go ahead and summarize "leftist" ideology so we can all see your ass.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:43 | 2462833 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Summary:  We are here to save you with our proper planning.

1st Exhibit: Europe.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:50 | 2462868 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture


Lose some weight, brah.  And pop those zits.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 13:10 | 2462946 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Good argument, I would'nt expect any better.  btw- wtf is brah? R u hawaiin or a south cal lib?

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 13:50 | 2463090 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

There's no argument to have here.  You're just not at all educated about what liberalism is.

You've confused it with authoritarianism, which is a common feature of what you'd probably call "the right" as well. 

I don't "argue" with idiots.  I just mock them.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:19 | 2463175 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

You must enjoy spending time with yourself.

Laughing is good.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:34 | 2463236 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


"Strictly anchored in reality human beings might exist but I am not one." - AnAnonymous


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:40 | 2463257 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

And? I am not a strictly anchored in reality human being and still enough to admit it. Where is the problem?

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:50 | 2463311 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Good for you. Admission is first step to recovery.


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:54 | 2463330 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Recovery from what?

Running away again? Unable to string one argumentation?

US citizen eternal nature at work.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 16:33 | 2463654 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Recovery from your deranged fantasy that you call US citizenism.


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:27 | 2463207 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

I know perfectly well what liberalism is, and I know perfectly well that modern "liberals" are not liberal at all.  They are progressive authoritarians.  So if you want to start a truly liberal party. I'm on board.  btw- It would look closer to what the modern tea party is.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:45 | 2463286 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

     So if you want to start a truly liberal party. I'm on board.

"A truly liberal PARTY"?

There's no political solution.  There never was.  It's a fairy-tale.  Grow up and take some responsibility of your own.

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 03:02 | 2464740 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

"Politics is ruled by passion and prejudice, otherwise we'd ALL go stark, staring sane!" -- R.A. Wilson

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:32 | 2462462 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

'Perhaps the Central Peak Govt's total control of everything down to taking a dump might be the problem that needs fixing'? GEE, ya think??

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:33 | 2462464 rehypothecator
rehypothecator's picture

Another reason for the conflict is the coercive nature of government-based decisions.  If government decides to do something one way as opposed to another, those who manage to sway the decision their way win, and the others lose.  Therefore, much is spent by both sides, and bitterness and vengence are guaranteed either way.  Should, instead, market freedom be permitted, the situation turns from a win-lose situation to a win-win, and far fewer resources are spent on the conflict itself to boot.  (Which can instead be spent on the differing solutions by each side.)  Then again, there are two groups of people in the world: those who want to be left alone, and those who can't leave others alone.  Conflict seems a given, and much will be squandered.  Pity, really. 

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:36 | 2462476 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture



The plan is 4 everyone to lie to one another until no one can ever tell what's the truth.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:39 | 2462497 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

The Big Ching-aso

Dude, all people lie all the time.


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:48 | 2462545 SubjectivObject
SubjectivObject's picture


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:42 | 2462504 greyghost
greyghost's picture

oh so right....the lies have been going on so long, they wouldn't know the truth if it slapped them up side the head with a baseball bat.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:42 | 2462508 bdc63
bdc63's picture

In 1984 they called it "The Ministry of Truth" ... we call it the "Bureau of Labor Statistics" ...

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:45 | 2462517 El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

Have you ever noticed the products on store shelves with Super Duper on the label?? They are the worst products. It's as if they lie hard enough it will make up for the lack of substance. And commercials on TV I guess they think if they turn up the volume loud enough it will make it past my mute button.  Whas up with that??

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:29 | 2462758 Jena
Jena's picture

"New and Improved Super Duper" may be even worse.  

Products (and people) that scream the loudest in any fashion, yeah.  They're to be observed but generally avoided.


Anyone remember "Crossfire" on CNN?  I used to find it fascinating when I was young because the outrage was generally so clearly fake but I liked watching the veins on everyone's foreheads distend as the program progressed.  

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 03:05 | 2464741 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Ever hear "Step Right Up" by Tom Waits?

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:34 | 2462469 fourchan
fourchan's picture

this is a great topic.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:43 | 2462512 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

No it's not :)

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:50 | 2462554 SubjectivObject
SubjectivObject's picture

Damn you it is too.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:55 | 2462588 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

You're not arguing you're just contradicting.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 23:05 | 2464431 Dixie Rect
Dixie Rect's picture

No he isn't

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:36 | 2462470 sojourner_man
sojourner_man's picture

Charles... it's simple:  stop listening.

I've programmed my brand new plasma TV with an FDU - Fox Detection Unit.  If it gets a 'verified positive' a self-destruct circuit initiates a 30-second countdown to 'meltdown'.  This is sufficient incentive (for me) to never again tune to these 'channels of chaos'.

Heidegger asks, "What is Called Thinking?"  This is where I spend my time and with the 'answers' arrived at I act accordingly.  No pundits required.  Suffice to say, many of these 'answers' are curiosly in line with many of yours...

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:35 | 2462473 WhyDoesItHurtWh...
WhyDoesItHurtWhen iPee's picture

The Argument Industry is a "Person" and very well funded, from many directions.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:35 | 2462474 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

OH and BTW if you happened to miss this, The Great One ObaMao's move to place the taxpayer as backstop to Wall St DERIVATIVES trading losses, not just the banks themselves, in effect making any Wall St loss at all 'TBTF'

But who gives a shit....we've got high hopes of another upcoming American Idol season.

Wall Street Journal says Comex has been classified as 'too big to fail' | Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:37 | 2462487 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


How the fuck is a corporatist puppet equated with Mao and communism?

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:46 | 2462528 greyghost
greyghost's picture

ALL THE GREAT KILLING MACHINES ARE BUILT WITH CORPORATE BACKING......mao, pol pot, stalin and hitler...can not survive without corporate monies.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:53 | 2462575 El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

Both are psychopaths.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:10 | 2462667 DeadFred
DeadFred's picture

If his words say 'Mao' and his actions say 'Mussolini' how are we to decide?

Besides, give SD1 some slack, anyone who likes American Idol instead of Dancing With the Stars probably has some kind of disability.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 13:02 | 2462917 memyselfiu
memyselfiu's picture


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:12 | 2462685 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

I blame the educational system and stupidity, in general.  Not in that order.

In 'Murka, people don't know a damn thing about Mao, but they know he was BAD.  So if you say someone else is like Mao, you're saying that someone is BAD.

That's about the limit of it.  Consider your own goals in such a discussion.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:33 | 2463235 Iwanttoknow
Iwanttoknow's picture

Bluderdog,bravo.great post.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:58 | 2463348 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

I blame the educational system and stupidity, in general.


There's no political solution. There never was. It's a fairy-tale. Grow up and take some responsibility of your own


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 16:54 | 2463703 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

You want a signature?  Five bucks.

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 03:11 | 2464750 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

"Politics is ruled by passion and prejudice, otherwise we'd ALL go stark, staring sane!" -- R.A. Wilson

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:36 | 2462482 marcfandetti
marcfandetti's picture

Starve the beast: cancel your cable service and get Apple TV; nobody's watching CNN anyway.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:54 | 2462577 greyghost
greyghost's picture

nobody's watching cnn anyway. exactly, so how do they stay on the air? how much of my "bundling" with the cable boys keeps hundreds of useless stations going?  i mean year after year after year. we have something like 250 stations and maybe watch 30-40 in some kind quanity. if my life depended on it i would pick maybe a dozen channels. how in the hell are the other 200 channels staying on the air? with so many channels how much does it cost to have your ad placed....i just don't get it. 

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:37 | 2462484 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Aha!  As noted in the example, the "solution" to the problem of gay marriage is obvious and simple.  It's not like Kevin F's idea is NEW. 

The fact that the idea hasn't even managed to penetrate everyone's consciousness suggests that there are powerful forces at work to maintain and reinforce that conflict among the citizenry.

Why might this be?

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 13:30 | 2463026 James-Morrison
James-Morrison's picture

The easier "solution" is to not give special rights to ANY household partnerships (same sex, opposite sex or unknown sex).  

Why is the government messing around with these issues anyway?

You want to shack up with someone, do it on your dime.  No tax breaks, no insurance breaks, no legal recognition at all -- just two or N number of individuals.  

A nation of individuals.

The "problem" is only manufactured for conflict. 

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 13:47 | 2463086 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

This would be fine too, but you're mistaken to suggest it's "easier."

It's not easy to undo the hundreds of years of laws and thousands of years of tradition without breaking a lot of stuff.

If you eliminate government involvement in anything resembling "marriage" you have to make enormous and wide-sweeping changes to millions of lines of code.  PITA.

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 03:10 | 2464747 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

"I am NOT the programming, I am NOT the programmed.  I am NOT the programmer, I am NOT the program." -- Dr. John Lily, "Center of the Cyclone"

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:37 | 2462485 Dixie Rect
Dixie Rect's picture

Oops, I'm sorry, this is getting hit on the head lessons.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:38 | 2462490 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

The argument industry is just another program in the matrix that serves for distraction.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:38 | 2462492 greyghost
greyghost's picture

damn charles finally a post i can agree with. yes the argument industry is going to kill my country. all this talk about gay rights, war on women and abortion are none of my concern, period. i don't care what you do...what you do is between god and you..not me. constant chatter about these issues while evil people are raping not just my country but all countries in one way shape or form. all this endless talk, all the while citizens are being looted day in and day out. have you been corzined today?

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:46 | 2462526 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

"I see our efforts as attempts to contextualize our situation"

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:46 | 2462527 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

It's simple, really.  Divide and conquer.  The only thing that really matters is that you keep people relatively equally divided.  That part isn't too difficult, really.  There are hundreds of levers that can be pulled.  Just get good polling data and pull a lever.  It's why we have a two party system.  It's why we have both fox and MSNBC... it's why the Tea Party movement needed the OWS movement.  The only challenge the elite face... making sure that these interests never recognize who their real enemy is.... so far so good.

The Tea Party and OWS are both have nots who blame each other, instead of the central banking oligarchs.  It's remarkable and sad to watch.  They see each other as the enemy.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:20 | 2462694 Dr. Kananga
Dr. Kananga's picture

Few seemed to notice this. When the TP first broke out, they were up in arms about the bailouts (like OWS.) Now, not a peep. Instead, they seem to have become the biggest defenders of Wall Street and "'Merican Values." Likewise, OWS came out hard and fast on Wall Street, and now they've morphed into this quasi hippie/commie thing with vague goals regarding "inequality."

I think both were quickly co-opted by the media and politicians and shoved into the right/left paradigm, which in turn drew in the usual collection of self-selecting useful idiots who were only too happy to parade their 'outsider' status for the cameras.

The interesting thing to consider: the environment which gave rise to the TP and OWS has not been addressed at all--if anything, it's only gotten worse. Which means there is more to come.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:33 | 2462782 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

bingo... of course we are each preaching to the each others choir.  I agree with the co-opted part.  I actually believe that both started out to be sincere (or at least had very sincere components)... and you are right, both had a strong anti-establishment, anti-Wall Street/Central banking slant.  The Tea Party is all but absorbed in the republican apparatus... and has morphed into what you describe as "merican values".  The OWS phenomenon was treated a bit differently... more of an attempt to marginalize that to co-opt... as I think the makeup of that group makes it slightly more difficult to co-opt.  The end result is the same, however... neither pose a threat to the establishment.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:39 | 2462809 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Every artist has passion and principle until he's offered a movie deal.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 13:22 | 2462994 Dr. Kananga
Dr. Kananga's picture

"marginalize" --yes. It's hard to see how the politicians on the 'left' could make use of the OWS movement in the way that the 'right' made use of the TP, so no soup for them (the money/astroturf apparatus.) I do believe however, that the method of marginalization came from within. There's a tendancy within popular movements toward infantilism and victimhood--David vs Goliath, which may be personally entertaining for the individual participant, but it has no legs. If people want to make changes, they have to organize and stay on task.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:22 | 2462726 unknownknowns
unknownknowns's picture



Divide et impera

Has been working for a while now.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:47 | 2462536 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

CHS has outed jamesCarville and maryM's unlimited partnership of camera command

tummy-tuck-man and radiation-is-good4U-adam's-apple must be shitting staples and bequerel-laden scarecrow straw...

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:50 | 2462551 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

It's intentional, partly for profit, partly to keep the masses pre-occupied and divided.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:04 | 2462641 Dr. Kananga
Dr. Kananga's picture

+1. My thoughts exactly.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:01 | 2462620 CuriousPasserby
CuriousPasserby's picture

What if 3 people want to have a partnership, or what if my sheep wants to be my partner? You haven't solved anything!

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:09 | 2462666 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Heh.  What you mention is just like the constant problem we have with sheep suing for driver's licenses.  It's costing us billions.

When is someone going to fix THAT shit?

That is my question to you, Mr. Passerby.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:06 | 2462627 Dr. Kananga
Dr. Kananga's picture

The argument industry has at least two goals--IMHO--on the narrow end, to draw in viewers/readers/listeners to support ad revenue, and on the larger end (and perhaps not quite as clearly) to try to keep the population evenly and viscously divided over social issues so that they have little chance of coming together and acknowledging and addressing the issues that really effect everyone (fiscal and monetary policy, etc.)

Some clever economist could probably work up a cost/benefit analysis showing that the 50/50 mark (50% of the population for a position or party vs 50% against) represents the maximum return on investment in the argument industry--if you stray too far (say 60/40 or 40/60 division) you're spending more than you need to in order to keep the population divided and ultimately inert.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:18 | 2462707 DeadFred
DeadFred's picture

The owners long ago realized that it was beneficial if the house slaves looked down on the field slaves.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:23 | 2462727 Dr. Kananga
Dr. Kananga's picture


If you want to beat a group of people, you don't have to take on all of them. Just get one half to voluntarily go after the other half. That's the most efficient and economical way to do things.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:10 | 2462670 CuriousPasserby
CuriousPasserby's picture

The global shortage of legitimate work got a brief mention but deserves a whole column. Years ago they predicted a 4-day or 3-day work week. But today lots of us are working 6 day weeks, and a large chunk of the population gets government checks. The free time isn't divided correctly. It's enough to make you want to go Galt.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:18 | 2462704 TruthBeforeAll
TruthBeforeAll's picture

There's more money in finding questions than there is in finding answers.

And, is it really a lie if people want to believe it?

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 13:52 | 2463098 blindman
blindman's picture

knowledge is finite but ignorance
is infinite. ignorance drives research
and the mind, not knowledge. hehe

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:20 | 2463178 blindman
blindman's picture

it takes a near infinite amount of
knowledge to perceive one's deep ignorance.
this is why we're all fucked.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:34 | 2462742 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Reminds me of consensus building and bipartisan cooperation where politicians from both sides agree to screw the public once again.

The argument industry is necessary for 15-30 second thought bites; God forbid anyone has to think longer than that about an issue.

Polarization allows one to be pigeonholed, identified, sorted, then marketed to accordingly.

This same desire for simplistic inputs/outputs shoots straight to the top of the dung-heap of the bureaucracy - CONgress must hold hearings and the Supine Court must have a ruling so no one has to think about it anymore.

Look at abortion - an entire industry and generation over pushing the most crucial life decisions away from the individual and onto the State organs (pun intended).


Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:43 | 2462836 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Fuck the poor = record bonuses.

Truth isnt profitable in fraud business. Msm is a fraud "business"

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 13:22 | 2462956 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

Nothing ever gets permanent closure, period! Congress and the Executive branch make laws to settle arguments using the populous as a metric? Unfortunately congress in the last half-century [perhaps since it's inception?] have done exactly the opposite of what the majority wants - but, rather what the minority wants,... alienating the whole. Bingo! Walla, what happens next - per clockwork - it's back to the Supreme's to rule [constitutionality of a progressive jurisprudence bench or the virtual antithesis of said rationale] that *the/[our] Party of Choice at present will strike down said construct, arbitrarily postulating a paradoxical Darwinism logistical paradign! Indeed, a quasi ambiguous concurrent 'law-of-the-land' redux. The power cycle [conservative v. progressive] continues,... only to be taken up again when the next Power Players of Congress & Executive challenge the 'stare decisis' dogmatic opinions of the previous Court!

Therefore, in short order... it is the Supreme Court - the law of the land overlords,... those unelected nine officialdom's, that now rule over America-- that on a whim, can over-turn laws seemingly forever, thus keeping the populous, as that of a "Vermont Pancake House" flipping the signature ala carte daily!

The FRB is of the same mimic de`meme!        jmo

Thankyou Excellent post

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 13:28 | 2463019 blindman
blindman's picture

the capture of the treasury is complete, now
counterfeiting is legal by appointment.
all legitimacy is now destroyed and you are
on your own among the many who have no idea
who they are, where they are or what is
happening. i suggest you make it your first
priority to educate those around you as to
what money is and how this first understanding
will determine the fate of billions of people,
us all.
ps. you see how the backing of the derivative
market by the "taxpayer" is just a license to
kill and steal? yes? turns fraud into an asset.
obviously this will lead to .....
much more fraud. then what?
25 May 2012
US to Backstop the Anglo-American Derivatives Exchanges with Fed Dollars - 'Too Big To Fail'

"It sounds like the principle of keeping AIG whole on its obligations so that it can pay off to the banks at 100 cents on the dollar. This should make Jamie feel a little better about his bad derivatives trades.
....." jca..
... on Money , pjb
"..So, "money' is now the integrity of the Banker hierarchy; and no longer the integrity of the individual and or the Nation State? And, as the integrity of our socio-economic ordering system is a Bankers system and this global Banking system is insolvent, bankrupt and criminally totally out-of-control, so be our civilization of today. We see that today, the Banks are the recipients of the full productivity (money, integrity, energy) two (x2) generations in advance of the Greater Unwashed, at the hand of the eagerly obedient cult of the "Economist" which wallows in the opines of hell." ..

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 13:52 | 2463100 Edelweiss
Edelweiss's picture

  This is unfortunately an old story.  The narrow focus of major media outlets is the reason I sought out sites like ZH.  Taking into account the traffic ZH gets (1 million+ hits a month per google's figures), I appear to be one of many.  The fact that it can generate numbers like that gives me some degree of confidence that more people are waking up, however slow it seems to be at times.  The last time I watched Fox news (over 2 years ago), I noticed they ran ads for JP Morgan.  It's unlikely they'll bite the hand(s) that feed them.  The argument machine quickly stops running without advertising dollars.  I don't think it's a conspiratorial relationship between Fox, MSNBC, etc., and advertizers like JPM.  It's a matter of money in pocket.  Not to mention the lucrative book deals, and merchandising (O'Reilly) quite a few "news" personalities get.  Integrity increasingly takes a back seat to profit.  MSM is to the world of information what a Yugo is to the auto industry.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:17 | 2463169 blindman
blindman's picture

speaking of old stories...
Lord’s Banker ousted: Vatican Bank chief fired in corruption row
Published: 25 May, 2012, 12:42
now for something argumentative. politics, money and
religion, the three winners.

not to change the subject but....
in the physical world there are no orbits
per se, the actual relative activity or motion
is like a swirling cork screw due to gravity
and falling to a moving target. the orbit
idea is just an illusion brought about by the
peculiarities of perspective and the time distortion
resulting from having one perspective.
where matter is captured by gravity into
ever increasing proximity mass is converted
into energies. the evolution of matter , its
dual nature manifests. the universe unfolds.
nothing can change the direction of these
ps. the jews worship the torah, the words,
the christians worship the son of god sacrificed
on the cross. i think they both worship satan or a devil
and attempt to cleans their souls or spirits by
rubbing up against each other, hoping to generate
some energy with prayers and words of contradiction
and impossible mind numbing metaphor.
i was at a funeral mass this morning. ...
the priest was relaying the communion origin passage
where jesus shocks his fellow jews by telling them they must
eat his flesh and drink his blood. apparently in his
day the reading of the torah was insufficient. the covenant
with god was evolving, some might say. now i understand
these things are metaphor and have been extensively
translated and edited for full effect but, how on earth did
this ever get off the ground as a sacred ceremony?
a literal digestion, matter conversion practice, from
the body to the spirit.
someone told me the jews were the first literate culture,
average people could read the torah, not just the priests,
and that is why they worship the torah and are so .....
influential. the catholics, through their interpretation and
editing of ancient texts are the first literalistic sect of judaism?
aka sheep.
not long ago i was at a bat mitzvah. they require you don the
cap, kippah, and the women cover their shoulders. here a link..
Jewish law.... wiki

A Jewish man from Chiºinãu wearing a kippa (1900)
There is considerable debate among the Halachic authorities as to whether or not wearing a Kippa is required by law.[1]
Jewish law dictates that a man is required to cover his head during prayer.[2] Originally, wearing a head covering outside of the synagogue for Orthodox males was a custom.
Today, according to some halacha authorities it has since taken on "the force of law" because it is an act of Kiddush Hashem.[3] The 17th-century authority David HaLevi Segal suggested that the reason was to distinguish Jews from their non-Jewish counterparts, especially while at prayer.
The Hid"a of Jerusalem (1724–1806) ruled that wearing a Kippa is not required by law but is instead as a "Midat Hasidut" (measure of piety), rather than a strict requirement.
Others, however, including the Taz (commentary to the Shulchan Aruch by Rabbi David Ben Shemuel Halevi, Poland, 1586–1667), held that nowadays wearing a Kippa is required according to the strict Halacha.[1]
Other halachic authorities like Ovadia Yosef rule that it should be worn to show affiliation with the observant community.[4]
so there you have it. it is a system of conformity and one upmanship in celebration
of endless or eternal arguing about style. ) hehe (.
but they are literate and not literalistic even if what they read is insane.
the cultural adherents tolerate the orthodox and look past the apparent
insanity and this is significant i think as in our current permutation we
all, mostly, look past the insanity to maintain standing in community,
stature and the designation as "good member" in standing. conditioned
to be wrong and belong! as you know , we are under the popular
delusion that if there is agreement then the truth can go fuck itself!
where did man get that idea? it must be symbolically mediated
and ubiquitous to have even a little bit of power.
symbolic mediation, the argument industry, exactly.
aka politics, religion and money. synthetic confusion
sets up to satisfy the problem, reaction, solution pay off.
aka control of the sheep mind. good day.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:42 | 2463269 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Great post.

NOw US citizens need studies to discover that in order to foster consumption, they have monetized every kind of conflict possible and as a consequence, the resolution of a conflict would mean lesser activity, lesser consumption, and less jobs.

Great discovery. Worth any cent invested in to find out.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:52 | 2463322 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Thank you, Kevin, for an insightful explication of the Argument Industry. It could be argued (heh) that I am part of the Industry that profits from maintaining ideological and cultural deadlocks and dead-ends, but my view is that adaptation requires transparent experimentation and dissent, in which the "better" ideas (i.e. the ideas that work better in the real world than the alternatives) out-compete the failed ideas of the past.


Well, funny part here. Self indiction is something in US citizenism. So better to claim to be different from the problem one is pointed at.

Best part: competition does not select the best solution. Competition selects the most competitive solution.
Another big, big discovery.

The goal of competition being to eliminate the concurrence, competition involves allocating resources to diminish the competitiveness of the concurrence. Which means that gathering a lot of resources gives way to allocate much resources to decrease the concurrence's competitiveness.

By pushing controversy and playing it both way, a media expands its base of resources collection as they pander to the pros and cons (same thing as a wrestler who leads people to buy seats to cheer and boo him, larger audience, see book by US citizen wrestling franchise owner erik bishop controversy brings cash. Meaning that it is a good way to get more resources and therefore being able to allocate more resources to destroy the concurrence.

Final word: once again, as shown here, US citizens see as a solution to the ailments of US citizenism, even more US citizenism. Kind of virtous circle.
And this US citizen author, as part of the biz, can not dissociate himself from it and keep calling for the same recipe that give an edge to controversy.

Mission accomplished. US citizenism is preserved.

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 21:32 | 2464268 Aquarius
Aquarius's picture

Speaking about irrationality:

Wikileaks ~250,000 disclosures - The White House forbids by penalty of Law, Americans to read them, particularly those in Government employ - but all these documents are pervasively available in Media and on TV, etc., and are therefore unbiquitous: this is totally consistent with Lenin's and Trotski's Bolshevik Party's Policies after they murdered the Romanovs in Russia.

Is Trotshi-ism running the USA?


Further reference: Paul Craig Roberts:



Is Clinto nuts? Are they all nuts? 

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 18:19 | 2466117 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

God Bless, Julian Assange!

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!