“If you’re interested in the end of the world, you’re interested in New Zealand. If you’re interested in how our current cultural anxieties – climate catastrophe, decline of transatlantic political orders, resurgent nuclear terror – manifest themselves in apocalyptic visions, you’re interested in the place occupied by this distant archipelago of apparent peace and stability against the roiling unease of the day. If you’re interested in the end of the world, you would have been interested, soon after Donald Trump’s election as US president, to read a New York Times headline stating that Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, considered New Zealand to be “the Future”. Because if you are in any serious way concerned about the future, you’re also concerned about Thiel, a canary in capitalism’s coal mine who also happens to have profited lavishly from his stake in the mining concern itself.”
I WILL SAY THIS: IF GOD IS GOING TO POUR OUT HIS WRATH ON YOU, HE WILL FIND YOU NO MATTER WHERE YOU RUN. REPENT AND TURN TO JESUS! – Jeff Byerly
Picture this: A tribal leader from a distant country visits the US. He’s brought to a large apartment building in New York City. When he gets out of the car, he looks up at the great building and is quite impressed. A uniformed doorman exits the foyer and comes out on the sidewalk. The tribesman sees the gold braiding and brass buttons of his coat and immediately decides that this is a very important person. Again he looks up at the building and says to the doorman, “This is a very great home you have. You must be very important indeed.”
Of course, if we were present, we might chuckle at the tribesman’s naiveté. The owners of such a great building would never greet people at the entrance. They leave such trivial tasks to hired servants, whilst they run the real business without ever needing any direct contact with visitors as they enter the building. And, in addition, doormen come and go – they are, after all, disposable. The owners – those who control what happens in the building – retain their positions over the long term… and may remain anonymous, if they so choose.
We find this simple concept easy enough to understand, and yet we chronically have difficulty in understanding that, in most countries, the president, or prime minister, is not by any means the man who makes the big decisions in the running of the country.
SS: Trump’s rhetoric, his so-called ‘bloody nose’ pre-emptive strike on North Korea – it’s not very dangerous when you just hear that, but it could have some consequences, no?
WP: I think, first of all, it would be very dangerous to conduct a pre-emptive strike. I’m fully opposed to doing that. But I also think it’s somewhat dangerous to even threaten to do it, because if North Korea really believes we are about to conduct a pre-emptive strike, and this is going to be a significant and serious pre-emptive strike, they may be motivated to have their their own pre-emptive strike. So it’s very important to keep the rhetoric down. We have a very capable defensive military capability and we can be confident about that. We should not be threatening a military action that could lead to undesirable consequences.
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