Missed Point

There are surely more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. If not, it’s a pretty sorry world.

We report what we see… what we think… and our guesses about what it means and where it leads. Sometimes right. Sometimes wrong. Always in doubt.

Today, we write about something that was hidden in our new book, Hormegeddon. Something hidden from the author, that is.

When you write a book you are supposed to be the master of your subject. That is especially true when you’ve practically invented the subject. But then, along comes someone who says:

“Don’t you see? You missed the most important point.”



Pssst …

(Image credit: McMillan Digital Art / Getty Images)


Secret? What Secret?

When our colleague Porter Stansberry first wrote about the “secret” of the book, and how it was the secret to success, we were puzzled. We didn’t know what he was talking about. Secret? What secret?

We had merely noticed that public policies – pursued too ambitiously – were subject to a particularly nasty phenomenon, which we called “hormegeddon.” (A portmanteau word we came up with that blends the word “hormesis” – which describes when a small dose of an otherwise harmful substance has a beneficial effect – and the word “Armageddon.”)

We were so focused on this we failed to notice an even bigger and more important phenomenon – one that describes an important secret to success in individual lives and careers… and one that works in business and investing.

It is also the secret to civilization. Without it, civilization falls apart.

This secret was in plain view. But the book’s author – yours truly – had not noticed it. It took a clever reader to drag it out of the shadows and expose it to the light of day. But now that the secret has been put on display, let’s examine it more closely. Let us prod it with a stick, turn it over on its back… and see what kind of beast it is.


A Preposterous Theory

Our knowledge of human life in prehistoric times is sketchy. We have a limited archeological record. We also have legends and stories. And we have inferences we can make from studying primitive tribes in remote areas of the globe, before civilization got hold of them.

What they tell us is that philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a fool. When Ralph Waldo Emerson visited Europe, he had to be practically dragged to the home of Rousseau, whom he considered unworthy of homage.

In our book, we mention that Rousseau’s “social contract” theory of government is preposterous. You can’t have a contract with an unwilling, uninformed and unwitting counterparty.

Contracts are made between relative equals, not between rulers and the ruled. You can’t make a valid contract with someone while you hold a gun to his head. Nor can you reserve the right to change the terms whenever you want.

But an even bigger imbecility is Rousseau’s theme of the noble savage. There was nothing noble about uncivilized man. He may have had some fine qualities, but he was also ignorant, murderous and cruel.

This is not to say that civilized human beings are not also ignorant, murderous and cruel. The difference is that civilized people aim to be better than that; often, they succeed.

If you read the accounts of early explorers, you get a glimpse into what life was like before civilization emerged. For example, in the 18th century, an Englishman spent time with tribes people in what is today Canada.

He noted they would go on raiding parties, attacking other tribes. The idea was to kill the men (and take their scalps as proof) and to capture the women. The captured women were raped repeatedly over several weeks, dragged to another tribe and sold. Today, these sorts of things still happen, but they are the work of mental defectives, sociopaths or hardened criminals. Back then it was normal.

In another story, recounted briefly in Hormegeddon, a tribe of “native Americans” hiked for weeks through the forests of Quebec, taking along with them the aforementioned English explorer.

Finally, the group arrived at the shores of Hudson Bay, where they found an encampment of Inuit. The hunting party went right to work. To the surprise and horror of their companion, they killed every man, woman and child in camp… and then returned to their own territory. This was apparently a routine summer activity.

Trappers and explorers also tell about how men captured from other tribes might be treated. Sometimes they were summarily killed. Sometimes they were tortured, with the entire tribe – especially the women – taking part in the entertainment.

Today’s civilizations still have people who still like torturing other people, but these practices are outlawed. Those who partake in these dark pleasures do so rarely and surreptitiously.



Rousseau – abominable statist and admirer of savages in personal union. Emerson was right not to want to meet him.

(Image via Getty Images)


Civilization changed behavior. More important, it changed what people thought their behavior should be. That was the real meaning of the Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from the mountain. These were the new rules of a civilized people. They were well adapted to the new phase of human life.

Later, Jesus of Nazareth squeezed the rules to get at their essential oil: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That was the message of civilization. And you didn’t have to be a Christian to get it.

Hillel the Elder, a Jewish religious leader who lived around the same time as Christ, said the same thing in a different way: “What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else.”

This new code – although oft ignored, oft transgressed and oft forgotten – flourished because it made civilization possible. And civilization made material progress possible. If you are going to have civilization you can’t kill people just because they’re not of the same tribe.

And you have to be ready to buy and sell with them. You have to respect their property. And they have to respect yours. Transactions in this new world had to be win-win deals. Otherwise, people wouldn’t want to do business with you.

More on The Secret … tomorrow …


Hillel the Elder-8x6[1]Hillel the Elder had good advice regarding civilized behavior. Not a big fan of savages, evidently.

(Image via juedisches-recht.de)


The above article is from Diary of a Rogue Economist originally written for Bonner & Partners. Bill Bonner founded Agora, Inc in 1978. It has since grown into one of the largest independent newsletter publishing companies in the world. He has also written three New York Times bestselling books, Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets.




Emigrate While You Can... Learn More




Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.


Bitcoin address: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA


Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • The Gold Debate – Where Do Things Stand in the Gold Market?
      A Recurring Pattern When the gold price recently spiked up to approach the resistance area even Aunt Hilda, Freddy the town drunk, and his blind dog know about by now, a recurring pattern played out. The move toward resistance fanned excitement among gold bugs (which was conspicuously lacking previously). This proved immediately self-defeating - prices pulled back right away, as they have done almost every time when the slightest bit of enthusiasm emerged in the sector in recent...
  • Monetary U-Turn: When Will the Fed Start Easing Again? Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting Q1 2019
      Special Guest Trey Reik and Board Member Jim Rickards Discuss Fed Policy On occasion of its Q1 meeting in late January, the Incrementum Advisory Board was joined by special guest Trey Reik, the lead portfolio manager of the Sprott Institutional Gold & Precious Metal Strategy at Sprott USA since 2015 [ed note: as always, a PDF of the complete transcript can be downloaded further below].   Trey Reik of Sprott USA.   Also at the meeting, Jim Rickards, who is inter...
  • Watch Europe - Free Pass for the Elliott Wave European Financial Forecast
      Europe at an Important Juncture European economic fundamentals have deteriorated rather noticeably over the past year - essentially ever since the German DAX Index topped out in January 2018. Now, European stock markets have reached an important juncture from a technical perspective. Consider the charts of the Euro-Stoxx 50 Index and the DAX shown below:   The Euro-Stoxx 50 Index already peaked in early November 2017, the DAX followed suit in January 2018 – such divergent peaks...
  • Why Warren Buffett Should Buy Gold
      Riding the Tailwinds of Fiat Money Inflation to Fame and Fortune Warren Buffett bought his first shares of stock when he was 11 years old.  He saved up $114.75 and “went all in,” purchasing three shares of Cities Service preferred stock.  The day was March 11, 1942 – nearly 77 years ago.  Buffett recently reminisced about this purchase in his annual letter to shareholders:   “I had become a capitalist, and it felt good.”   The Oracle of Omaha – he was...
  • Fake Money’s Face Value Deceit
      Not the Brightest Tool in the Shed Shane Anthony Mele stumbled off the straight and narrow path many years ago.  One bad decision here.  Another there.  And he was neck deep in the smelly stuff. These missteps compounded over the years and also magnified his natural shortcomings.  Namely, that he’s a thief and – to be polite – a moron.   Over-educated he ain't: Shane Anthony Mele, whose expressive mug was captured by a Florida police photographer first in...
  • Rise of the Zombies - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Rise of the Zombies - Precious Metals Supply and Demand Last week, the prices of gold and silver fell $35 and ¢70, respectively. But what does that mean (other than woe unto anyone who owned silver futures with leverage)? The S&P 500 index and the euro was up a bit, though the yuan was flat and copper was down. Most notably, the spread between Treasury and junk yields fell. If the central banks can lower the risk of default premium, they can make everything unicorns and...
  • Bitcoin Bottom Building
      Defending 3,800 and a Swing Trade Play For one week, bulls have been defending the 3,800 USD value area with success. But on March 4th they had to give way to the constant pressure. Prices fell quickly to the 3,700 USD level. These extended times of range bound trading are typical for Bitcoin Bottom Building in sideways ranges. This 60 minute chart of Bitcoin shows (represented by the yellow candlestick wicks) how the bulls defended 3,800 USD :   BTCUSDT 60 minute chart...
  • The Magic Doesn't Always Work - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      The Week Ends with a Surprise The weekly closing prices of the precious metals were up +$5 and +¢11. But this does not tell the full story of the trading action. Prices were dropping until Friday. More precisely, Friday 8am in New York, or 1pm in London.   Gold and silver - back in demand on Friday... [PT]   At that moment, a light cabal conspiring to jack the price struck traders began buying. The end result was the prices, especially of silver, rose on the day...
  • Intraweek Profit Opportunities
      In 6 of 10 Countries a Single Day Outperforms the Entire Week! In the Seasonal Insights issue of 13 February 2019 I presented a study illustrating the power of intraweek effects. The article was entitled “S&P 500 Index: A Single Day Beats the Entire Week!” The result of the study: if one had been invested exclusively during a single day of the week since 2000  – namely on Tuesday – one would have outperformed a buy and hold strategy, beating the broad market. Moreover,...

Support Acting Man

Item Guides

Austrian Theory and Investment


The Review Insider


Dog Blow


THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts


Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]



Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]



Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]



Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]



USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]


Mish Talk

Buy Silver Now!
Buy Gold Now!