Guest Post: Welcome To Year Five In The Crazy House
Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,
For four long years, the financial and political Status Quo has masked pervasive structural decay with artifice, pretense and lies. It's like we're living in a rotting mansion run by delusional megalomaniacs.
For four long years, the power-drunk Status Quo Elites have piled on pretense and illusion at the expense of truth. Welcome to the Crazy House. The entire rotten edifice of global financialization was visibly crumbling by early 2008, and yet here we are, four long years later, still under the jackboots of artifice and lies. Instead of the cruel illusions of TARP, now we have HAMP, LTRO, The Troika, and assorted other acronyms and inanities passing for policy.
Welcome to the Crazy House, a rotting McMansion ruled by power-drunk megalomaniacs suffering from delusions of invulnerability and god-like powers. Why are we here, you ask? Because the drunks who run the household make it so darned easy: just keep quiet, listen politely to their ravings, and you get subsidized meals, free rent, a houseful of techno-gadgetry and nonstop entertainment--and that's not even counting the amusement value of their delusional, sloppy-drunk ramblings out by the rust-stained pool.
It takes a while to habituate to the Crazy House; at first, all the artifice, illusions, delusions and lies are disorienting. The dysfunctional "family" that runs the place acts like the money is endless, as if borrowing money was the same as actually producing something of value.
Meanwhile, you hear whispers that everything's paid with credit, and some of the vendors are threatening to cut the mansion's credit. That would be curtains for the whole charade, of course, but the "leaders" pontificate about the magnificence of the rotting mansion as if still having credit was the same as having productive wealth.
It doesn't take long before you start noticing the whole mansion is actually falling apart. The surface grandeur is totally illusory: the handrails are held together with duct tape, painted to match the background; the dry-rotted steps have been patched with putty and covered with fresh paint (step on the rotted parts and they crumble); the roof leaks are masked by pans placed in the attic, and the foundation is buckling.
Once you see enough of this decay covered by slipshod repairs, you wonder how much longer the mansion can last before it simply collapses under its own rotting weight.
From a distance, the expansive pool looks inviting, but that's also illusion; the power-drunk "leaders" and their Elite guests have dropped so many wine glasses on the deck that the bottom of the pool is now littered with shards of essentially invisible glass. At first you wonder why nobody ever goes in the pool, and then a whispered explanation fills you in on the sordid truth.
The truth must be whispered, lest the "family" overhear some shred of truth; any challenge to their account of limitless, god-like powers sends them into a spittle-flecked rage. Rage, denial and fear rule the household: fear of the truth, fear of vulnerability, fear of having to face the real world.
Residents' meetings are bizarre, for the "facts" presented about the mansion's upkeep are so blatantly false that you wonder how anyone present can even keep a straight face. Yet they all do; eventually you get used to the complete disconnect between the "official reports" and reality, and you just shrug it off and seek out other more engaging distractions.
It takes much longer to learn how to stomach the "lectures" by the "family leaders," as the subject matter is once again totally disconnected from reality. The "lectures" always extol the glorious wealth the "family" controls, its equally glorious past, and all the "innovations" that are currently increasing the mansion's already immense wealth and reach.
Yet there is no sign of any meaningful innovation being put in place; there are only endless surface repairs and paint jobs to mask the underlying rot, and a front yard that is maintained specifically to display a completely artificial veneer of wealth and solidity.
Will we ever get sick enough of the lies to leave the security offered by the Crazy House? Probably not, because it's too easy to stay: the food is greasy and sugary but tasty, the rent is basically free, and there's plenty of meds, booze and drugs to fix whatever "healthcare" issues you might have. Of course none of the meds actually restores your health; they only treat the symptoms of ill-health and ruin.
The sad thing about living in the Crazy House for four years is how living a life of illusory security saps the will and perhaps even the ability to function in the real world. The grease-soaked sugar bomb food they serve has left everyone obese and malnourished, and all the electronic toys and entertainment has rendered them mentally and physically unfit and terminally distracted.
They know the reassurances of the "leaders" are false, and that beneath the surface, everything in the mansion is either squalid and falling apart or ripe with the rot of corruption and lies. But leaving opens a Pandora's Box of uncertainty and sacrifice; it's easier to stay and listen to the absurd claims of godhood and endless wealth, and phony exhortations of the mansion's mythical "can-do" spirit.
As long as the vendors keep letting the mansion's delusional megalomaniacs run up their credit tab, then it's easier to passively stay put than to face the challenges of truth and reality outside the rotting palace of illusion and lies.
If this recession strikes you as different from previous downturns, you might be interested in my new book An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times (print edition) or Kindle ebook format. You can read the ebook on any computer, smart phone, iPad, etc. Click here for links to Kindle apps and Chapter One. The solution in one word: Localism.
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