Roger Scruton: The Utopian Fallacy and The Planning Fallacy

Published on Sep 27, 2017

Sir Roger Vernon Scruton is an English philosopher and writer who specialises in aesthetics and political philosophy, particularly in the furtherance of traditionalist conservative views. In recent years he taught courses in Buckingham University, Oxford University and University of St. Andrews. In this clip he talks about two fallacies of organizing society: The Utopian Fallacy and The Planning Fallacy. Complete video quoted under fair use:… — This channel aims at extracting central points of presentations into short clips. The topics cover the problems of leftist ideology and the consequences for society.

White House Trade Lesson: “Determining Trade Balances”…

It is going to take a heck of a lot of deep-weed education to cut through the economic gaslighting of the multinational corporations, Wall Street and their purchased institutional media.  However, I give the White House team (Secretary Ross, Secretary Mnuchin, Ambassador Lighthizer and Adviser Peter Navarro) a measure of strong credit for beginning:

WHITE HOUSE:  Measurement of trade flows is usually an uncontroversial topic relegated to macroeconomic classrooms and government technocrats. Recent debates about trade policy have brought the topic out of the shadows, and we hope to clarify how economists measure trade.

Every day there are international transactions for tens of thousands of different products. Physical goods, interchangeably called merchandise, are what usually comes to mind first. However, an increasing share of international trade is in services that are not physically transported between countries—think about financial insurance, licensing of trademarks, or services like consulting.

To make the world a bit more complicated, goods and services are increasingly bundled together, such as when a manufacturer sells a piece of machinery along with an international maintenance contract. The machinery is a good, but the maintenance agreement is a service.

From a macroeconomic perspective, economists typically use the balance of payments (BOP) basis. The BOP captures flows of what we would normally think of as imports and exports of goods, but also includes a series of adjustments. This process better aligns trade data with national income accounts such as GDP. The BOP has the added advantage of being applicable to service transactions as well.

The International Monetary Fund defines BOP as “a statistical statement that systematically summarizes, for a specific time period, the economic transactions of an economy with the rest of the world.” BOP transactions are valued using BPM6 methodology that emphasizes using balance sheet analysis to understand international economic developments and to improve comparability with other countries.

In order to construct the BOP, start with the customs value of imports and exports. A frequently used U.S. government data source reports monthly “customs basis” for transactions. There are different methods of customs valuation.

The transaction value method is the price actually paid by the buyer for the imported goods and includes all payments made as a condition of sale. But the transaction may or may not occur at the border—some international shipments change ownership when loaded, others when unloaded, some even at a specified point in transit.

Recognizing this array of contracts, alternative methods that evaluate imports based on identical or similar goods, deductive value, or computed value are used in various situations. Government statistics are specific about where the customs value is reported, with common specifications including “free on board” (f.o.b.), “free alongside ship” (f.a.s.), or “customs, insurance, and freight” (c.i.f) to designate how much of shipping costs are included in the transaction value.

Starting from the customs value, a series of adjustments are made to arrive at BOP. These adjustments are typically fairly small, but they can be significant in aggregate. The current U.S. adjustments are:

In 2017, the aggregate difference between customs goods imports and BOP goods imports was $19.0 billion on a customs basis of $2.34 trillion. For goods exports, the correction was similar—a difference of $4.0 billion on a customs basis of $1.55 trillion.

Subtracting imports from exports gives the trade balance. Trade balances can be calculated for goods, for services, for goods and services, for one country, for a group of countries, or for the whole world.

The most inclusive measure of trade covers both goods and services. Some economists worry about the measurement of trade in services, which may be subject to inconsistencies, and so prefer to focus on trade in goods alone. After all, goods are tangible things that are easier to count.

Others prefer to focus on goods alone because on average all goods-producing industries have higher wages than all service-producing industries; in Q3 of 2017 average total compensation per hour worked in goods-producing industries was about 20 percent higher at $39.97 while the same measure for service-producing industries was $32.21.

Although BOP accounting is similar across nations, each country can interpret BOP methods slightly differently, which leads to differences in reported values of surpluses and deficits. These details are typically spelled out in exhaustive detail in government documents that could be prescribed as a cure for insomnia. For an example, see the Bureau of Economic Analysis document here.

To illustrate some of the concepts presented in this post, consider U.S. bilateral trade balances with Canada. In 2017, the U.S. goods and services balance was a surplus of $2.77 billion. The goods alone balance on a BOP basis was a U.S. deficit of $23.16 billion, but on a customs basis it was a deficit of $17.58 billion. Note that the difference between the BOP goods and services balance and the BOP goods alone balance implies a trade surplus in services of $25.93 billion.

In contrast, Canadian statistics report a goods and services trade surplus with the United States of $26.76 billion, using the Canadian BOP methodology. The goods alone balance is $40.50 billion on a BOP basis.

One important difference in BOP methodology between the Canadian and U.S. approaches is the treatment of re-exported goods. USTR raised a related issue, on the role of re-exports in Census-based bilateral trade balances, in its 2018 Annual Report.  (link)

President Trump Delivers Remarks at the Shamrock Bowl Presentation by Prime Minister Leo Varadkar…

Earlier today President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to the White House.  Part of the festivities included the presentation of a Shamrock Bowl by the Prime Minister to the American people.

What We Face Requires a Cyclical Perspective



To survive what we face clearly requires an open mind to understand that everything in nature moves through a cyclical pattern. The majority of people see the world only in a linear fashion. Politicians proclaim they can change the world and create perpetual prosperity and/or punish those that cause recessions. Naturally, there are no mirrors in government so the culprit must always exist outside of their shenanigans.

I often get the question WHAT IF everyone followed my work. The answer is simple. That is IMPOSSIBLE. That is like saying why can we all not just vote the same. There will never be a single political party that the people would vote for because there are differences of opinion. The majority of society ignores history because that is the past and somehow irrelevant because we are more sophisticated today and those people ran around in diapers chucking spears at each other. This merely ensures that history repeats because they are far too ignorant to comprehend that life is like a Shakespeare play. It has been performed for hundreds of years and the only thing that changes has been the actors.

Human society as a whole expects a linear life of happily ever after and when that fails, they advocate punishing the person responsible. They cannot dare investigate that just perhaps the world works in a far more complicated manner than just that.

Those who think only linear cannot avoid the crash and burn. Those who see the world cyclically understand there is a time and place for everything.

Cycles in Time – Origin of the Theory & Why It Was Ignored in Western Culture

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; Just about every culture outside of Christianity believed in the cyclical aspects of time and nature. Do you have any idea why Western Christian culture failed to incorporate cyclical theory?


ANSWER: If you actually read the Bible, you will find the very similar cyclical references and numbers. It just seems that the mainstream interpretation overlooked it post Dark Age. There is so much in there from the maxim that there is a time and place for everything to the Revelations that forecast the Devil will be cast into the abyss for 1,000 years and then it will begin again between the tribes of God and Magog. That describes a cycle. For some reason, the general religious teaching fails to point that aspect out. This seems to be rooted in the prejudice of the Dark Age for that is clearly a line of demarcation in every field of knowledge that was lost after the barbarian invasions.

Throughout the centuries, there has been an understanding of cycles that have come down to the present age through the corridors of time. There has been a knowledge that comes from the dim ages of past eras, that seems to emanate from all the races, as well as the different schools of thought. Just what is the origin of this basic understanding of cycles cannot be traced to some specific teaching by a single culture or person. There is unquestionably an unbroken direct line throughout the ages that extend further back than even the time of Greeks who the Romans viewed a knowledgeable. There are references to cycles that we find in many extracts that even go back to the ancient Egypt and Chaldea. These appear to have influenced the Pythagoras (about 500 bc) and Ancient Grecian arcane schools of philosophy. Where did they come from? The answer seems to stretch back to still more remote and arcane investigations of the universe and the heavens.

There are traces of cyclical theory in the arcane teachings in the records of Persia and Medea. The inspiration for the original philosophical teaching of Gautama, who was the founder of Buddhism, not religion, seems to originate from even older arcane sources. Traces are also to be found in the Hebrew teachings of the “Kabbalah” and the “Zohar.” The Greeks clearly relied upon the arcane teaching undoubtedly obtained directly from Egyptian sources through Pythagoras. The relation connection between the early Grecian teaching and philosophies with the even older school of ancient Egypt predating the Greeks by thousands of years. Pythagoras is known to have received instruction from Egyptian and Persian hierophants, who were priests in ancient that interpreted sacred mysteries or esoteric principles. Many believed that the origin was even yet an older understanding.

The origins of Western astronomy and astrology are interconnected and can be found in Mesopotamia. Here is a clay tablet from 164BC recording the observation of Haley’s Comet which moved through the heavens on a cyclical path. Cycles certainly were understood by merely observing the heavens. The Babylonians conducted a major investigation recording when events in the heavens took place, what were the effects on Earth. Obviously, Western efforts at the beginning of sciences are descendants in a direct line from the work of the late Babylonian astronomers, yet extend even further back to Sumerian astronomy. The earliest Babylonian star catalogues date back to about 1200 BC. Many star names appear in Sumerian, which implies that there is a continuity reaching into the Early Bronze Age.

Hipparchus of Nicaea (c. 190 – 120 bc) was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician who first discovered the cyclical nature of the universe being the Precession of the Equinoxes which is the journey of our solar system around the center of the universe taking 25,800 years. He is also known as the father of trigonometry, and he compiled a comprehensive star catalogue. He discovered the Precession of the Equinoxes by looking at the star charts of the Babylonians about 1,000 years before his time and noticed how the heavens had moved. The Maya also discovered the Precession of the Equinoxes and studied TIME, which I have written about – The Mayan Discovery of Time.

We have to understand that during the Dark Ages, there was a lot of superstition. Mathematics was seen as the work of pagans and thus the Devil. This meant that to guide a ship, a Christian could not engage in such calculations. This is why the Jews were captains of ships or navigators, as well as bankers. Fibonacci brought back math and numbers from the Arabs and this was acceptable for it was used in gambling. Much of the early mathematicians were clandestinely hired by royalty to win at gambling – the early card counters.

Bathing also was shunned in much of Europe during the  Middle Ages because Roman baths were generally public where mixed sexes attended and often they were frequented by prostitutes or frequent sex. During the 4th and 5th centuries, after the time of Constantine I the Great, Christian authorities allowed people to bathe for cleanliness and health. However, Christians routinely condemned attendance to public bathhouses for pleasure and condemned women going to bathhouses that had mixed facilities. Generally, over time, more restrictions appeared and finally, Christians were prohibited from bathing naked at all. The Church began to disapprove of any “excessive” indulgence in the habit of bathing. Over the course of time, this original association of a bathhouse with prostitution culminated in the Medieval Church authorities proclaiming that public bathing led to immorality, promiscuous sex, and diseases. You would never say you went to take a bath, it was implied you had sex.

Without question, knowledge evaporated during the Dark Ages and superstitions replaced much. Most of the old books had been lost by the invasions of various barbarian tribes. Much of the knowledge resurfaced from three primary sources. First, the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 saw the scholars fled to Rome and began opening up schools. Secondly, much of the sources of ancient books were preserved by the Arabs and made their way back to Europe. The third source, some have called it How the Irish Saved Civilization. It may be called the Italian Renaissance, but it was the century when ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts preserved in Irish monasteries were discovered and read and discussed once again thus paving the way for the Renaissance. This was the rebirth of antiquity which, in synthesis with Christianity, produced a unique new awakened civilization. By the time of the American Revolution, the Founders were mesmerized by the writings of ancient Rome and sought to overthrow the monarchy as they did and formed a Republic.

Therefore, it is of no surprise that Christianity failed to comprehend the cyclical aspect that ran through the veins of ancient knowledge. Throughout the Bible, there are numerous references to cycles and measuring things in seven or multiples of seven from creating the world in seven days to a woman’s menstrual cycle lasting 7 days. There are seven notes on a piano. We just have not bothered to look at the cyclical nature preserved with Christianity because of the prejudices formed during the Dark Ages. Any hint of using math was seen as the Devil’s work. This is why you also see so many ancient statues that are beheaded because they assumed any statue was a pagan god. The Dark Age was a period of true ignorance.

White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro Discusses Trade and Tariffs….

Terrific ‘big picture’ interview and discussion between National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro and CNBC’s Rick Santelli about President Trump’s trade policies, the threat of China, and the future of how our nation will deal with allies and trading partners.


A perpetual trade deficit is detrimental to our American economy because it is financed with debt. We can buy more than we make because we borrow from trading partners. The trade deficit simply means we purchase more foreign goods, and send more money overseas, than they purchase from us. We then turn around and borrow back the money we just paid.

Another broad concern revolves around national security. A perpetual trade deficit is a statement about the competitiveness of the U.S. economy itself. By purchasing manufactured goods overseas for a long enough period of time, U.S. companies lose the expertise and even the factories to make those products; ex: try finding a pair of shoes made in the America. As the United States loses manufacturing competitiveness, we outsource more jobs, and our total standard of living declines.

UniParty At Work – Paul Ryan SuperPac Campaigned to Elect Democrat Conor Lamb…

It’s well known that Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan doesn’t want to be in an actual leadership position; and it’s also well known -enhanced by the campaign, and victory, of Donald Trump- that Republicans did not want to win the majority position and face having to reveal their true UniParty agenda.

The evidence of this UniParty positioning has been staring the electorate in the face, repeatedly and brutally, since candidate Donald Trump actually campaigned on key tenets of the Republican party and found himself being openly opposed by GOP leadership.

Now, a stunning discovery surfaces of Paul Ryan’s Congressional Leadership SuperPAC,, actually campaigning for the Democrat, Conor Lamb, in the recent PA18 congressional race.

As evidenced by Big League Politics the Paul Ryan SuperPAC sent a mailer to Pennsylvania CD-18 voters touting Lamb’s favorable position on gun ownership rights:

(link to source)

Now, there will be some who think this is just a bone-headed move by Paul Ryan because the Democrats already held a +50,000 registration advantage in the district and the SuperPAC didn’t know this mailer would actually end up supporting Lamb.  However, as mentioned, there’s a history here that tells us “a mistake” is likely not the case.

The real motive, based on an honest review of history, is the professional UniParty apparatus knew that Democrat Conor Lamb needed a lift to offset the cross party voting that was reflected in the district voting (by over 20 points) for Donald Trump in 2016.

The DC Republican apparatus is quite comfortable losing their majority position so long as they are not forced to support Trump policies which are entirely against their financial interests.  [How Mitch McConnell Crushed The Tea-Party]

Even before candidate Trump entered the 2016 presidential race, the agenda was visible for anyone who was willing to admit it.  In 2014 the same Republican leadership paid Democrats to vote against the Republican primary winner of the Mississippi Senate race (Cochran -vs- McDaniel) simply because Mitch McConnell didn’t like the idea of having an actual Republican in the seat.

Remember, this is the GOP wing of the UniParty who operate on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce {DEEP DIVE} and support: comprehensive immigration reform to include amnesty; lax border security to allow cheap labor; Omnibus spending as reflected in their Obama budget-fulfillment votes; the retention of ObamaCare as mandated by the U.S. CoC; the expansion of federal common core education standards; the Wall Street trade agenda to include TPP.  All of these “DC-Republican” positions are opposed by the current Republican President and the majority of Republican voters.

Enhancing and emphasizing my argument that this mailer as a deliberate effort to elect a Democrat, I would remind everyone of a few brutally obvious points: ♦the Republican controlled senate voted unanimously to block any Trump recess appointments (summer 2017); ♦and also the reality that both the House and Senate had no legislative constructs prepared for a Trump victory in January/February 2017; ♦and top off the cake of duplicity with the fact it was Republican controlled House and Senate committees who willingly opened ridiculous investigations against their own elected president claiming a ‘Vast Planetary Russian Collusion Conspiracy’.

In short, both Republicans and Democrats want the threat of Donald Trump removed.

There is no desire on the part of Paul Ryan/Kevin McCarthy or Mitch McConnell/John Cornyn to actually win seats in 2018.  These GOP “leaders” would just as soon lose their majority position so they can go back to the comfortable indulgences of remaining in leadership in the minority status.

In the minority the leadership of the GOP are no longer threatened by President Trump and can hide behind the smokescreen of loyal opposition.

Substantively nothing changes, and the GOP leaders are just as well compensated in the minority by the lobbyist industry within DC.

The only threat to the financial interests of the GOP is President Donald Trump remaining in office and having to actually face carrying out a conservative Trump agenda in 2019 and 2020.  That Trump agenda is entirely against their “establishment republican” interests.

The Paul Ryan mailer to elect a Democrat is just another example of how corrupt the entire UniParty political apparatus is within Washington DC.

That truism is entirely why this MAGA graphic, from 2015, remains accurate:


Koch, Ryan, Koch, McConnell, Murdoch

{{snicker}} President Trump Hires Larry Kudlow To Head White House National Economic Council…

An accurate headline could also be: President Trump puts a beautiful potted plant into the unused meeting room of the National Economic Council, and Wall Street cheers.

According to media and White House confirmation President Trump has selected Larry Kudlow to chair the National Economic Council:

[…] “Larry Kudlow was offered, and accepted, the position of assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council,” Sanders said. “We will work to have an orderly transition and will keep everyone posted on the timing of him officially assuming the role.”  (link)

Kudlow is essentially adored by Wall Street (writ large), and as such all the nervous nellies will be back-slapping and high-fiving. As the stock market crowd cheers, what the insufferable dolts miss, thankfully miss and don’t appreciate, is the strategy of a master economic predator, Donald Trump. This Trumpian move is brilliant.

First, President Trump is immovable on his trade and economic agenda. Period; end of story. Ask Gary Cohn or any other member of the disassembled manufacturing council advisory board who quit last year because POTUS Trump just wouldn’t heed their duplicitous and high-minded advice. Do you remember candidate Trump mentioning the endless talking to nowhere that he has not time for? Yeah, that.

President Trump has a 30-year-developed plan and strategy for the U.S. to recapture economic power. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and key trade strategist Peter Navarro are carrying out that plan.

Cohn or Kudlow thinking they would somehow disrupt three decades of trade planning by POTUS Trump is too funny to give typeset space.

Secondly, Larry Kudlow has a well known history of drug addition and drug abuse. He will likely never pass the background security clearances. Even Maggie Haberman at the New York Times recognizes this issue.

So what gives? Why would Trump select him?

Again, don’t think about this appointment as an actual intent to ingest a trade policy perspective. That’s nonsense. Oh, he’ll listen; Trump’s a good listener.  But what POTUS is doing is giving the Wall Street crowd the appearance of influence; key word “appearance”. It’s a stock market appointment, nothing more. Nothing will change the intent of Trump to deliver on his already-in-the-works economic plan.

POTUS would cut off his own hand before he would change direction on his economic strategy.  Remember: “America First”.   Titan-minded Trump is the most committed economic influence agent in the history of American politics.

The National Economic Council (NEC) is an entity demanded by the traditions of the Office of the President. They assemble, meet, discuss, hold conferences, invite guests etc. However, for POTUS Trump it’s an exercise in formality run by professionals who benefit from the indulgences of membership.

The NEC has no more influence on Trump’s economic plan than any chosen Country Club has influence over his skills on the golf course.

But it looks good.

And that’s it.

Enjoy the stemware and cocktail party invites Larry.

Moving on…

Senate Votes To End Debate on Dodd Frank Reform Bill…

The Senate voted 67-31 to end debate on a reform bill to modify the Dodd Frank banking bill.  While overall the approach is needed and will likely find White House support, the Senate Bill -as constructed- doesn’t do enough to modify the control held by massive multinational financial institutions, who hold lobbying power over congress.  Unfortunately, the corruptocrat leadership in the Senate will not allow the house to modify the bill as needed.

The current reform bill sets the tiered definition for lowered regulation at $250 billion in assets and there are some domestic banking beneficiaries.  However, it doesn’t break up the investment division from influence over the commercial banking.  The argument against breaking up the system is that if divisional separation is required – the banks best interests would naturally put the investment division ahead of commercial lending and the liquid capital within the overall economy would shrink.

The Trump/Mnuchin approach toward a secondary deregulated but financially sound banking system focused on commercial lending and was constructed around Community Banks and Credit Unions with far less regulatory and compliance hurdles.

WASHINGTON – All Republicans and more than a dozen Democrats voted to move the bill toward a vote on final passage, which is scheduled for Wednesday evening.

The bill, long expected to pass the Senate, faces an uncertain future in the House, where conservatives are demanding stronger curbs to Dodd-Frank before pledging their support.

[…]  Banks with less than $250 billion in global assets would no longer be subject to yearly Fed stress tests or higher capital requirements meant to ensure risky firms could weather a lending crisis. Those banks would also be exempt from submitting for Fed approval a “living will” that outlines how the company could be liquidated upon failure without causing a widespread meltdown.

The threshold for tighter Fed regulation is currently set at $50 billion, and the increase would free several major regional banks, including SunTrust, BB&T, Citizens, Fifth Third, M&T and BMO Financial Corp., from those standards. Those banks all have at least $100 billion in assets, and among the bill’s biggest beneficiaries.

The bill also exempts banks that extend 500 or fewer mortgages a year from reporting some home loan data to federal regulators and broadens the definition of qualified mortgages. (read more)

President Trump meets with leadership of small banks and credit unions.

Back in July 2010 when Dodd-Frank banking regulation was passed into law, there were approximately 12 to 17 banks who fell under the definition of “too big to fail”.

Meaning 12 to 17 financial institutions could individually negatively impact the economy, and were going to force another TARP-type bailout if they failed in the future.  Dodd-Frank regulations were supposed to ensure financial security, and the elimination of risk via taxpayer bailouts, by placing mandatory minimums on how much secure capital was required to be held in order to operate “a bank”.

One large downside to Dodd-Frank was that in order to hold the required capital, all banks decreased lending to shore-up their liquid holdings and meet the regulatory minimums.

Without the ability to borrow funds, small businesses have a hard time raising money to create business.  Growth in the larger economy is hampered by the absence of capital.

Another downstream effect of banks needing to increase their liquid holdings was exponentially worse.  Less liquid large banks needed to purchase and absorb the financial assets of more liquid large banks in order to meet the regulatory requirements.

The four to six big banks (JP Morgan-Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, US BanCorp and Mellon) now control $9+ trillion (that’s “TRILLION).  Their size is so enormous this small group now controls most of the U.S. financial market.

Because they control so much of the financial market, instituting a Glass-Steagal firewall between commercial and investment divisions (in addition to the Dodd-Frank liquid holding requirements), would mean the capability of small and mid-size businesses to get the loans needed to expand or even keep their operations running would stop.

2010’s “Too few, too big to fail” became 2016’s “EVEN FEWER, EVEN BIGGER to fail”.

That’s the underlying problem for a Glass-Steagall type of regulation now.  The Democrats created Dodd-Frank which: #1 generated constraints on the economy (less lending), #2 made fewer banking options available (banks merged), #3 made top banks even bigger.

This problem is why President Trump and Secretary Mnuchin were working on a proposal to create a parallel banking system of community and credit union banks that are entirely external to Dodd Frank regulations and could act as the primary commercial banks for small to mid-sized businesses.

The goal of “Glass Steagal”, ie. Commercial division -vs- Investment division, would be created by generating an entirely new system of banks under different regulation.  The currently remaining ten U.S. “big banks” operate as “investment division banks” per se’, and the lesser regulated community banks/credit unions operate as would be the “Commercial Side”.

Instead of fire-walling an individual bank internally within its organization, the Trump/Mnuchin plan was presented to fire-wall the banking ‘system’ within the U.S. internally.  Hope that makes sense.

The Senate Dodd Frank reform bill does little to change this structural issue.

Justin from Canada Talks About His Confidence Defeating President Trump Over NAFTA…

Justin from Canada discusses his confidence at defeating U.S. President Donald Trump over concessions in NAFTA.  Essentially Sparkle Socks argument comes down to his view that women’s rights, climate change and globally progressive policies are more than enough to swat away the territorial annoyances of President Trump.