Herd Intuition

Many moons ago, I went to a day/night event at Madison Square Garden in NYC. As the crowd filtered in, it would have been impossible for even the most oblivious observer to not see that that was an ugly environment. Drugs were sold openly, the language from the street folk was vile and confrontational, it smelled like an open sewer… And all in open daylight. Anyway, we got there, and as always, the show was over-hyped. Thankfully, the gala finally came to an end, but then there was that little issue of getting back to the car safely in the darkness. What were nasty streets at 4pm were downright dangerous at 10pm. But as the crowds left the arena something strange happened. Without any coordination or a spoken word, we immediately formed packs – groups of strangers sensing harm coalesced shoulder to shoulder. Each herd moved to its own parking area, and then broke up and left. It was a sort of collective consciousness at work.

I’m getting that same weird karma now about our country and our culture as it interacts with this new reality.

  • Every other commercial on TV bellows the importance of gold as an investment, as if American paper money is reaching the end of days.
  • The Toob has changed… Long gone are the days of the Sci Fi Channel running cheesy movies about giant mosquitoes – instead they’ve been replaced with “end of the world” stuff involving mega twisters, mega volcanoes, and mega earth faults. The History Channel has taken on the chant of “Hotel Ground Zero”;  “Clash of the Gods”; and probably most emblematic, “Life After People”.
  • Video games are… well… frightening. And at this point, we don’t even talk about them. Others might, but we don’t.
  • There’s no doubt that Iran will get a nuke while our elected geniuses bandy words with fanatics. (See link below.)
  • Just heard tonight that Syria has its own uranium enrichment program going on. (Hell, why not? They’ve got so much conventional WMDs that they might as well join the Armageddon party…) Very little fanfare on the American homeland front though. Do you even know about this, or did you just take it for granted?
  • Our economy over the next ten years?
  • North Korea…
  • Pakistan…
  • What’s another car bomb in Iraq or another home-grown terrorist right here?
  • Gun sales in the U.S.?
  • Gee, Glenn Beck seems a little alarmed too, but who listens to him?

And it goes on and on and on… Lest you think I’m a complete nut (and the facts above don’t make you bristle just a little…) In 1913 (roughly a year before the start of World War I) psychologist Carl Jung dreamt of “rivers of blood”. And British politician Edward Grey had the same premonition of doom.

I can’t put my finger on it, but nonetheless, unless I miss my read, there’s a feeling in our collective gut (just like that night outside Madison Square Garden) that something’s brewing – that something very wicked this way comes. Be honest… Does your “Herd Intuition” tell you otherwise?

Alan Speakman

13 Responses to Herd Intuition

  1. Doug says:

    The herd instinct was witnessed in the estimated 1.7 million tea party protesters in D.C. It’s important to remember that this crowd was not comprised of serial protesters.

    The multitude was folks who normally stay home and stay quiet. What has them scared enough to take to the streets?

    Could it be an understanding of basic political philosophy combined with knowledge of history?

    That’s what does it for me. If you don’t think that the country is being led down the path to socialism, or worse, you need to step away from the kool aid.

    History tells us that the only viable vehicle for the ‘equitable re-distribution of wealth” is a large central government.

    We can already see the beginnings of attacks on the first amendment. Panels of czars and shady appointees are meeting to discuss the “problem” of conservative talk radio.

    Our foreign policy is shoving our friends away and appeasing enemies. The French have criticized us for not taking a firm enough stance FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

    Inflation caused by runaway spending and the fed simply printing money to pay for it has already started and will only get worse.

    Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better because of our historic election. Too many elements of society are throwing around charges of racism at any criticism of our president and in some circles, anything non W.A.S.P. .

    Yet in the midst of all this, I find myself feeling like Ronald Reagan in that last letter he wrote to America. Filled with hope and optimism.

    Those of us who live with faith believe that the human spirit does not die with the body. Neither will the spirit of Freedom die with a decaying society.

    My faith, hope, and optimism is entirely re-enforced by the “herd” instinct discussed in this rant.

    We will find each other, and without a word being spoken we will stand shoulder to shoulder.

    No matter how hard the road, at the end of it those who love what is right with America will prevail over those who choose to hate what is wrong.

    There is an old joke along the lines that a liberal is a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet.

    Make sure to leave room in our ranks for all those liberals who voted for Obama, but are not ready ( as a blogger whose name escapes me wrote) to give up their jobs, hondas, and ipods.

    One of my dear friends is a rabid anti-republican democrat who voted for Obama. Since she lives in a nursing home with multiple health issues, she is now questioning her choice. A potential neo-conservative?

    She’s not the only one.

    In my humble, uninformed, and uneducated opinion, it’s time to drop personal attacks on the left. We need to take the high road in the rhetoric and let the other guys be wrong.

    We need to stay on message. The left is already finding out that ‘those guys suck’ is a strategy with some flaws.

    This will make it easier for the newly mugged to join our ranks. That makes it harder for the progressive socialists to “fundamentally transform” America.

  2. Josie says:

    Well, Doug, the ‘herd’ is pretty thin where I live – (happens to be near Alan.) I have a free shoulder, having only one friend who feels as I do on most political issues! I try to keep a few optimistic thoughts, but without any verbal, (only reading,) reinforcement it’s difficult. I think you are quite correct in your recommended behavior – don’t act as ‘they’ do!

  3. Doug says:

    Josie,

    You are not lost! Cut off and surrounded maybe but not lost.

    Keep the faith, and faith will keep you.

  4. Tom Folkes says:

    Doug
    With all respect, your writing is very strong, and I find myself in intellectual kinship with most of what you say, but a couple of things: there is the nagging perception that “hope and optimism”,and the “need to take the high road”, and “keep the faith”, and “Make sure to leave room in our ranks” is all just a tad too passive for the times. These people have been hard at work for the better part of my 67 years to get to this point of having virtually complete power with full on fanatics at the point of their movement. Do you really think that “staying on message” is an effective strategy?
    Second thing: your “humble, uninformed, and uneducated opinion”? The content of your writing and your fluid use of factual history, interlaced with personal anecdotes belies such self effacement. Makes me wonder if “humble” is what we need at this moment. As Gerry might add, “I’m just sayin'”.

    • Doug says:

      Points well taken Tom,

      I don’t have the benefit of 67 years, about 19 years short so it’s safe to say that different life experience ( because I wasn’t around to experience things you did) may produce different values.

      I don’t feel passive about challenging socialism, that’s serious work. My opinion is that the work is diminished by personal attacks on opponents.

      Marc “the animal” MacYoung wrote a series of books about street fighting. One of the best chapters was on the value of De-escalation.

      In my work as a S.P.O in Washington D.C. and right down route 1 as a registered S.O. in Virginia I had plenty of experience dealing with gangs from neighborhood crews in D.C. to supergangs like MS13 and others in Hybla Valley on route 1.

      Escalation vis a vis personal rancor is a great way to “set it off” and initiate confrontation. It is a very hard way to communicate unless you manage to paralyze your opponent with fear.

      De- escalating is often an effective tool for accomplishing your goal, which in the context of wearing a badge is usually keeping the peace.

      If your goal is not to be “peaceful” de escalation still works to put your adversary off guard before attacking.

      In the case of the fight against progressive madness de escalation gives us a better chance of our message being heard.

      If you tell an Obama supporter or Pelosi fan that they are an ignorant, shallow, subversive, godless piece of crap they may be less receptive to what you have to say.

      When you insult somebody’s hero they tend to take it as a personal affront.

      America loves the underdog. You may push somebody off the fence by attacking the messengers instead of their message.

      Ever had a car salesman earn your business by telling you that the car you arrived in was a P.O.S. without any redeeming features?

      I find it more productive to point out that my pen pals in the U.K. are envious of our health care than to tell the democratic party members in my midst that all of Obama’s appointees are marxist America hating jackasses.

      I don’t see any other strategy than staying on message. That is, to tell the truth about what’s going down and let others draw their own conclusion about our politicians. Find their own enlightenment so to speak.

      To put it another way, you might win a case in court by screaming over and over “This guy is a dirty S.O.B.”. More cases are won by laying out the evidence and proving the elements of the case.

      We will make it more inviting for followers of the left to cross decks if we have not made them feel as if they have been personally attacked.

      My “humble, uninformed, uneducated opinion” ( yes, that is sarcasm) is that most who voted for President Obama were simply doing what their televisions told them to do.

      Had I not been in the midst of situations that made headlines, I might still believe the media as my countrymenandwomen do.

      This is the case with the lady in the nursing home cited in my post. Her views on former President George W. Bush seem to come entirely from “The View”. Word for word.

      To me it’s not passive. It’s turning Japanese, to paraphrase the iconic musical group DEVO.

      Using the momentum of the opponent to slam them bodily to the ground as in Judo. Breaking a choke hold by raising your hands as if in prayer…

      If the left keeps using personal attacks and slander, while we use reason and facts the tide will turn. Initially they may incite more emotion, but we will prevail.

      The cause of liberty already has folks like Rush who are master entertainers. Let the hucksters be the bomb throwers. They need ratings to make zillions.

      I need a country for my son to raise children and grow old in. I need to wake folks up and help them see the truth.

      I get further discussing ideals when I don’t attack my audience or opponents. Perhaps because in my situation it’s not often that I am preaching to the choir.

      As long as we have freedom of the press and the ability to vote I’ll keep to the high road and remain optimistic and hopeful.

      Faith is essential to success. If you believe that you are on the side of right faith should not be too hard to keep.

      I used to tell rookie officers working on our housing contracts ” Start off nice, you can always whip out the giant rectum mask if you need it. On the other hand, if you start off being an A-hole you have just painted yourself into a corner and you better like the scenery. Because you ain’t going nowhere.”

      Let the opposition call us knuckle dragging slobs, racists, violence inciters, whatever. Ride hard, shoot straight, tell the truth. Wasn’t that a book?

  5. Solana2012 says:

    One step at a time; one person at a time.
    My son, 22, got married in May to a 21-year-old. She voted for Obama because of the “free health care plan and that he promised no one would pay higher taxes except the very, very rich who won’t be hurt by the tiny amount of their increase”.
    Then came the corporate bail-outs (she actually didn’t think that was fair since her father owns a business and her in-laws, us, own two businesses and none of us got anything).
    Then came cap and trade (they pay utilities, too….)
    The big one, though, is the new guy up on the block –
    sugar tax. Since they are not addicted to coffee like me, they like the juice drinks, and soda, especially Mountain Dew. She’s now pi**ed. This will really hit her own pocket.
    They were at my house a few days ago. Of course, we were talking politics. She said, “Obama lied.” She literally was incredulous. In her youth and naivete, she hadn’t understood that ALL politicians make promises they don’t plan on keeping just to get elected.
    She’s now watching FOX News instead of CNN and telling her other, like-minded, young friends of her revelation.
    One person at a time; one voice at a time.

  6. Solana2012 says:

    Alan, I’d like to comment on your quote above:

    “I can’t put my finger on it, but nonetheless, unless I miss my read, there’s a feeling in our collective gut (just like that night outside Madison Square Garden) that something’s brewing – that something very wicked this way comes. Be honest… Does your “Herd Intuition” tell you otherwise?”

    Have you ever heard of “the hundredth monkey”?

    I’m not a “prophet of doom”; I’m not saying the big asteroid is coming, etc.
    But I think you’re right. It’s there, and we who are awake can feel it.
    Something “big” is coming.

    • Doug says:

      I think that something big is already here. Are things going to get a whole lot worse? I think they may very well do that.

      We already have an executive branch filled with folks that hate democracy, free speech, and free markets. We have a legislative branch controlled by folks who think that socialism has never worked because the right people have never been in charge.

      Schools are indoctrinating our children instead of teaching them. Debate is being short circuited with outrageous charges of hate mongering, inciting violence, and racism.

      For me that’s big, and it only leads to worse. That’s why this patriot finds it imperative to stick to the issues and reach out to as many non believers as possible.

  7. Tom Folkes says:

    Doug and Solana, you are both very persuasive, and I appreciate your comments. Doug’s law enforcement background and the wisdom gained gives him a certain gravitas with his admonition to de-escalate. Solana’s “one person at a time, one voice at a time” is likewise mature and considered. From my perspective, however, it is not the conservative minded who are escalating the discussion. It is almost difficult to imagine more escalation than that which has been already interjected by the left, with their denouncing almost everything that I hold dear, the trampling of our Constitution, the intervention into major areas of our economy, and threatening to go even farther down the socialist road than even I could have imagined. The coronation of the “Messiah”, and his non-stop anti-American and anti-capitalist blather, the cuddling up to the worst actors on the world stage, the crushing of the dollar, giving in to the demands of the very groups who represent those that we are currently fighting, every day seeing even more unlawful, unconstitutional, immoral, corrupt and corrupting things being done…. it seems to me that the escalation has already happened far beyond the realm of talking and staying on message, far beyond being nice, far beyond can’t-we-all-just-get-along. I don’t want to get along with abortionists any more. We’ve done that for 37 years or so. Where are we? They get a great deal of their funding from OUR tax money! I don’t want to talk to liberals, socialists, marxists, communists, or statists any more. We’ve done that for longer than I’ve been alive. Where are we? They gave it up in Russia, but it is alive and well in the good ol’ USA, AND THEY ARE RUNNING THE SHOW!!! Some of us are tired of the talking. Probably more of us than you might think. Some of us are now to the point of writing another declaration, and following the lead of our founders. That is the something big that is coming. Why must it come to that, you may ask? Because we’ve never seen these kinds of people, the totalitarians, the despots, the dictators, just put down their reins of power peacefully, just because the people speak to them. They always go too far. Always.
    On a brighter note, military enlistments are at a record pace. I thought to myself the other day, that in this economy, that is a good place for a lot of people to find work….. then I thought that maybe, just maybe, it is because a lot of people want to get in on the action, that they (as I would be so inclined if I were young enough) might want to be a part of excising the cancer from our national body. He knows that is a real problem for him, hence the call for a civilian defense force “equal” to the military. It’s going to be big alright. So big, it will rock the world, because sides will be taken. Other despots will see opportunities, and try them. The results will bring in country after country, because we’re all tied so inextricably together. And it will be horrible, as they all have been in the past.
    Or, we can all just convert and capitulate. That takes far less courage on the part of far more people, so that’s what will probably happen. We can all just “hope” that the Imams will soften their stance and “change” their ways, tolerating our infidel presence in their Islamic nation after the statists muck it up so badly that the Muslims take control without a shot. That’s probably what our grand children have to look forward to. Where will God be during all this? Patiently waiting for us to return Him and His commandments back to our lives and our affairs, I’d guess.
    I apologize for my sarcasm and pessimism. I come by it honestly. I am ashamed to say that I am a citizen of this once great nation. The actions and words of our political representatives bring shame on us all. My father died in WWII, my stepfather fought in WWII and Korea, and I am a Vietnam veteran. One could rightly wonder why any of us bothered.

    • Solana2012 says:

      Tom,
      I am tired of the talking.
      I agree it’s time to act.
      I believe we should refuse to pay income tax. Right now. I believe that we should withhold any more funding to our gov’t. I believe our constitution should be reinstated. I believe all gov’t grants/loans/benefits/spending should cease today. Put responsibility back into the hands of the people and get the gov’t out of it.
      I believe that by doing “nothing” (in the form of stopping our payments to the gov’t) we will have taken our first step to accomplish our goal of getting everything back on track.
      I also believe that by doing this, we will cause a huge mess … and we need to be prepared for that mess.
      Cutting off welfare recipients will cause rioting/looting/theft/assault. Cutting off big corporations will cause prices to skyrocket. It’s a big, domino-effect mess coming.
      We (my family and friends) are preparing for this. I will not strike the first ‘blow’, but I’m damned sure gonna defend and protect myself and mine after someone else throws the first punch.
      The first hard part is getting everyone on board to cut off our current administration.
      The second hard part is fighting to protect ourselves from their retaliation.
      The third hard part is starting over.

  8. Tom Folkes says:

    Solana,
    Actually, your tax revolt plan might have some merit. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of us, we have our taxes withheld by our employers. To change our status to minimum or less withholding would require filing new W4’s, which in huge numbers would be a tip-off to the feds. Although, if the current mortgage meltdown is any indication, they wouldn’t have the resources to do much about it, at least not quickly. Example, the son of a friend is upside down on his home, consulted a real estate lawyer who advised him to stop making payments eight months ago. Has yet to hear a peep from the bank. Assumption: overload. It probably wouldn’t take much to get millions to sign on to the boycott.
    As for the “hard parts” you enumerated, we do have a very good template to follow for that third one, just after Civil War version 2.0

    • Solana2012 says:

      Hi, Tom,
      I brought up withholding taxes in a previous post under another topic. That should be done now. Then, no filing in April.
      I call it my New World Two Order,(N W-2 O). Revising your W-2’s to tax-exempt or 20 dependents. Sure, it will raise a red flag with the gov’t…duh on them; it’s not like we haven’t been complaining or warning them. I told my son that, of course, you’d have to pull all your money out of the banks first (because the IRS can access your accounts for delinquent amounts “owed” to them).
      They can seize your property; home/car/etc., but they can’t seize everyone’s, especially all at once.
      We have to cut off their funding to make them revise all their crap to ‘something’ fair and livable. I’m sick of supporting people who make bad decisions. I’m sick of supporting people who are lazy. I’m sick of supporting people who are lining their pockets with my hard-earned money while I’m doing without my own luxuries.
      If we all work together, if we all stop the funding now, it can work.
      The gov’t has forced me to try to budget on an unknowable gross income. Sure, you get your pay with the standard taxes deducted (fica/state/city taxes). Then you pay your other defined taxes; property and personal property. Okay. Then, you have to try to figure out how much you’re going to pay for sales tax over the year. Buying a car? Figure those taxes in. Insurance rates go up. You switch companies for the lower rate, then those go up. The law is that I have to carry uninsured and underinsured moterist coverage for those who choose to break the law and not have the coverage I’m required to have to not break the law. My head’s spinning. The gov’t has me running in circles, jumping through hoops. It’s wearing me down. They protect and support those they control with the welfare benefits they hand out using my money. The ‘poor person’ couldn’t afford insurance so they get a slap on the hand, free handouts (Katrina victims), and my rates go up. I’d rather not pay the uninsured motorist coverage and pay for the damage out of my pocket and have the law-breaker sit in jail (where they don’t get to watch TV, take college courses, or eat better than our children in the public school cafeterias).
      I’ve had enough. I’ll do it. Anyone wanna join me?

  9. Birdseed anarchist says:

    Alan,
    I am in constant touch with various conservatives across a good portion of this country and, yes, we can all sense it. We are at the edge of the precipice and there is no stopping it. All it’s gonna take is one News outlet to start the financial panic. My “gut” tells me this is going to happen soon.We are way past bankrupt as a nation.
    You said,”Something wicked this way comes”. Unfortunately, I believe that to be an understatement.
    I would have much more to say about all this tonight but alas, I am dog tired from working all day.
    God help us. God help the USA.

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