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I like Arthur's conclusion here:

[I]t cannot be overemphasized that peaceful non-cooperation can be enormously effective against even the most vicious of totalitarian regimes: see here and here for some astonishing and inspiring examples of that effectiveness from fairly recent history. From the first of those links, carefully note this: "[I]n the end almost all Danish Jews escaped unharmed." The power of "No" is far, far greater than most people ever permit themselves to understand.

Agreed. And you can start saying no today, easily. Go on a rent strike!

1. No rent for the teebee. (Yes, read books instead!)

2. No rent to a Big Bank. (Yes, use a local bank, or, better, a credit union.)

3. No rent on the plastic. (Yes, to cash, and anything that keeps the "rent" the banksters want to charge you in your pocket. Hat tip BDBlue and nihil obstet.)

4. No rent for processed or factory food. (Yes, buy local where possible, and learn to cook (a lot better).)

5. No rent on a car. (Yes to walking, public transportation, and biking. I know this is not possible for everyone, and I've been lucky enough to live in cities and small towns all my life, so I've never needed a car, even for the commute. But people could think about sharing their cars, no? Even in the burbs?)

6. No legacy party involvement.

Stop paying rent, and I guarantee you'll be happier and healthier. And since the rent they suck from your flesh is the life blood of our parasitical elites, you'll be hurting your worst enemies in the worst possible way.

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Submitted by jawbone on

which is about the banality of Douthat and the NYTimes op-ed page, The Monstrousness Is Now Our Life.

The second, a chilling little sleep tight story, A Story for the Children: Making Friends with Evil.

How do we make our NO!'s to Obama's assassination proclamation known? Heard? I wrote about it on the "survey" cum fund raising letter the DNC sent me. Who will read it? I put in on the outside of the envelope, and someone will have to open it.

Unless they have means of telling there's no check inside....

Stunning silence in the MSM about Obama's new power.

Submitted by lambert on

... and I know this is quietist, you can't make your voice heard, at least to the elite. That's the lesson of 2000-2010. Under the rubric of "exit, voice, and loyalty," voice is gone. Ditto, for most to the readers here, for loyalty. That leaves exit; internal expatriation, one might call it. The list of No's above is a formula for that. Deny the elite their rents, and they'll die or at least suffer, just like any parasite you deny your blood. And you'll be happier, and more resilient, too.

That would be my answer, which is a quietist one, but I'd also be interested to hear what younger people like GQM would say.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

If you are saving for retirement, invest locally, or failing that, in Treasury bills or CD's. Yes, they are guvmint, but they have a fixed rate of return which is better than just stuffing cash in a mattress and if you have a 401K from your work, you have that option. DO NOT let your 401k be parked in stocks, bonds, money markets, mutual funds, et. al.. Starve the Wall Street beast. Sadly, if you have a job with a pension plan, you have no choice. Well, you could start a campaign to have those funds pulled out of the "professional" plan managers hands and just put into fixed rate of return instruments.

Wow. Now THAT would be a revolution! No more "institutional investors"=no more Wall Street.

Submitted by Lex on

Who would have thought that Nancy Reagan got it right...if about the wrong thing?

Oddly enough, the list of suggestions feels perfectly natural to me. To some degree five years abroad helped the process; i got used to living without what most Americans consider normal.

I've now got the mortgage, but it is from a local bank and it is better than renting in a college town. I prefer my vehicles to be from the era before airbags on general, jalopnik principle...though we try to keep one of the two cars we own capable of easily making the 7 hour drive to see family. (My '87 Toyota truck would do it, but nobody inside the thing would be happy about it.) I recently fended off an attack by the cable company offering for us to pay $10 less every month if we added TV to our internet service...fuck 'em. I'll pay the $120/year to be free of television if that's what it takes.

Garden's not producing yet (welcome to the far north), but CSA pickups start Saturday! And there's no way that i can fill a brown paper grocery bag with fresh produce for $13.25/week (or just over $6/person). Next up a chest freezer and maybe a hunting license this fall to go along with my CSA supplier's meat.

My tagline, i think, says the same thing that Arthur's saying.

Hookfan's picture
Submitted by Hookfan on

I find it interesting, following the development of your expressed views on Quietist withdrawal and the apparent correlation with the historical unfolding of the strategies and tactics developed and implemented by the followers of Meno Simons (with some notable differences also) as well as the broader Anabaptist movement.
Hopefully we won't suffer the same fate as many Anabaptists who were waterboarded (yes dunked multiple times until dead while being mocked for their belief in second baptism)! But who knows when one begins to threaten the lifeblood of the cultural overlords?
I suspect that we will find that taxation will be utilized as a means of obtaining the rents for the favored corporate entities as our quietist withdrawal becomes more successful. Consider the results of the health insurance deform debacle. We are required by law to purchase the favored corporate offering or pay a penalty (tax). How do we fight that use of taxation? Go to jail in protest by tax refusal? Sounds radically right wing-- a truly small government approach. And probably ineffective in the long run.
Why ineffective? I suspect the government will utilize its limitless capacity to supply funds to the ailing parasite of choice who will invest it for their own benefit. So in the end the result of any damage inflicted by us will only work to their advantage 'till we fuck off and die. The corporations control the government, and their is no way to starve the beast-- it has an endless capacity to create its own food.

Walter Wit Man's picture
Submitted by Walter Wit Man on

One could always become Amish to avoid paying social security taxes. :)

Other than that the government will win. It's easy for the government to collect its money (or its hard to stay off the radar so the government can't get the money you owe it).

That's why the Obamacare tax will be so pernicious. What follows is my lengthy napkin-level analysis of Obamacare that I've been looking to do and thought I would plug it in here:

Currently, say you can't afford to buy health insurance and Obamacare won't help (say you're an individual making $50,000 a year--so no real subsidy to help with premiums). Let's assume the individual also has $50,000 in savings for retirement. Well, our individual, being 40, tries to go the next 10 years simply paying the fine (assuming it's $1,000--don't know where they ended up on that for reals) instead of paying the premiums which we will assume are $8,000 a year and which our individual can't afford because he's got the bills of a typical American (see here for an up to date snapshot of the typical American's balance sheet). So he's paying his Obamacare fine, not paying for insurance, and not adding to his savings because he was putting away only about $1,000 a year anyway.

Well, at 49 the individual gets cancer and has 2 years to live. He's not covered under an insurance policy but gets care. His two years of care cost $250,000. He's already paid or owes the government $10,000 over the last 10 years. And since he has $50,000 saved he can't go on Medicare (have to be in poverty), and he has to declare bankruptcy. He would be able to keep probably half of the money through bankruptcy--say keep $25,000. But he's got care and was able to live a little more "extravagantly" over the last 10 years because he didn't have to come up with outrageous premiums (and probably dip into that savings and worse, take out credit cards).

This scenario is worse than the status quo for this individual. Under the status quo this individual would do all the above except pay $10,000 to the government. He'd be bankrupt and have cancer but not have to pay the government.

Under Obamacare he gets the two worst options. Say he chooses to pay for the crappy insurance. He stretches really hard and pays $80,000 over the coarse of the decade, his 40s, to the insurance companies. Then, his insurance only covers $150,000 of his $250,000 bill for care when he gets cancer. He's on the hook for $100,000 but only has $50,000 saved up (and likely he had to dip into this to afford the premiums).

He's still bankrupt, even under Obamacare. In fact, he would be much better off under the status quo. They all end up at the same place. Bankrupt and cancer at 52. But under Obamacare they shook him down for as much as they could before he died.

I would love to see someone quibble with the numbers . . . but I bet the basic analysis holds.

Submitted by lambert on

If you want the numbers tested, and that's a very, very good idea, that's the way to bring attention to it from commenters. Here, it's buried. Just use the "Post to my blog" link at top right.

Walter Wit Man's picture
Submitted by Walter Wit Man on

Just did. My first post!

But have some real life business to attend to and will check back in later.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

In a nutshell, Lambert, my thought is simple: Lifestyle changes are hard over large groups of people, young people included. I'm generally a Rawlsian and I also understand that in voluntary arrangements there will always be "cheaters", those that will rely on other people doing the "right" thing so that they can do the "wrong" thing so getting everyone to change is impossible and that knowledge makes getting significant numbers of people to change hard as well. I believe real change needs to come from legislation or structural changes. I don't have time to dig up some of the stuff I wrote on young people's politics but I think there was great opportunities to reduce rent that young people supported, at least before Obama came and made paying rent and ass kissing the corporate theives' asses "cool". (Part of the reason I opposed Obama so vigorously is because he significantly altered the trajectory of young people's politics for the much, much worse.) I'll try to make time for that.

Here are some quick thoughts on what you recommend. It should also be pointed out that though I'm a "cusp Millenial" (e.g. ~30) I've grown accustomed of saying that I'm too young to sound like crusty old Gore Vidal. But its where I am these days. that said:

1. You're not get "kids" to give up their smartphones. not gonna happen. These days telecom includes TV and internet and often wireless so just getting rid of the TV won't change anything. The rent will still be taken. I don't have cable TV but I use cable internet so I'm feeding the beast and don't see myself changing anytime soon.

4, 5. If you live in the suburbs not having a car is a complete nonstarter. Not having a car really is only feasible with a decent public transportation. I don't have a car, but I'm privileged in where I live and that that is consistent with my urban lifestyle. I don't blame people for needing a car. Additionally, young people work and socialize a lot so their time to cook isn't that much. (Social networking sites are a small part of the socialization.) They will cook more to save money and I do see that happening more and more. Its important to keep in mind the young folk rarely have places big enough to grow their own food. I have a 5th story "balcony" that isn't conducive to growing anything. I do cook all the time and shop local, but I live 5 minutes from Pike Place Market and not a whole lot of people have that luxury. In the suburbs its hard to find local grocers, etc. That's an unfortunate fact.

6. More young people affiliate with "independent" and they generally don't get into party politics until they are older anyway. Volunteers are always older. I spent a long time trying to get younger people involved so I feel confident that this is a minimal concern.

The biggest opportunities is 2 and 3 if there is a decent informational campaign. Most people don't know that the banksters take a cut of every transaction. Its almost second nature to use a card for everything but if you let them know that the small coffee shop downstairs has to pay the banksters for your latte, they feel guilty enough for me to think there could be change here. Local banks as well. There are a lot of sweet "deals" the big banks offer to drag people in, but once you explain to them that local banks offer better returns, invest locally, etc. they are open to doing it. But this information is in no way common knowledge. I mention it to everyone as often as possible. Knowledge is power.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Many people do need them. I live in a relatively urban area and I need one. However, we did not need two and recently jettisoned the second car. You can greatly cut down on the rents to Wall Street by either not financing or by financing through a credit union or local bank.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

That's my new mantra. My local credit union even has a way to bypass paypal by letting you transfer money to other folks via text or email. Good to help out a friend/relative in need quickly. It seems like the credit unions also have better interest rates on many loans as well. Hard to go wrong with a credit union.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Varying schedules, rotating child care, not having immediate transportation would be a nightmare.

But I don't finance, buy all my cars cash, unless I absolutely have no choice.

Submitted by lambert on

This is thought-provoking. In fact, RL is calling me and I can't respond adequately. Maybe think of a snappy headline, and make it a post?