YOUGHAL, IRELAND – We warned readers. This week would require a little extra effort. We are challenging one of our most deeply held instincts – the drive to take sides.
As expected, many readers sided against your editor yesterday. They were generally in agreement that he is an SOB.
But they couldn’t agree on what kind of SOB he was. Red? Or Blue? Few could believe he was colorblind. (See below…)
Protect the Union
Catholic. Protestant. Yankee. Rebel. Anarchist. Statist. In the War Between the States, Americans got so fed up with each other, they started shooting.
South of the Potomac, there was hardly a young man in any Middlesex, village, or town who didn’t rush to suicide to protect his homeland from Yankee invaders.
So determined were they, that as many as a million people had died before they finally gave up.
But it was what happened next that was most astonishing. Who today signs up to protect the Union? Who flies the Stars and Stripes on the Fourth of July? Who calls themselves “patriots”? Southerners!
According to data from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), nearly half of all army enlistments come from the South, despite the region only having a third of the country’s population of young men.
The same thing had happened after Scotland had been crushed by the English in the 18th century. The Scots became the backbone of the British army.
And had the Germans won WWII, today, young men from Alabama might be angling for places in the Wehrmacht.
How is it possible? How can people be so sure that they are the side of right, justice, and truth, fighting against the Devil Himself, that they are willing to die for it… and then, later, join up with the Devil… who has somehow become a saint?
Us vs. Them
We don’t really have any way of knowing good from evil. Nor do we choose sides after careful thought and logical reflection. Instead, it is simply a matter of us vs. them. We back the home team.
It is very unlikely that the home team is always the best choice. It is merely the software we are born with.
You can easily see how this “software” evolved. Monkeys are protected from predators by trees. They scramble up at the first sign of danger.
But trees receded from what became the African savanna a long time ago, leaving proto-man on the ground. How could he protect himself?
The “us” back then was a small group of humans. The “them” were better hunters – faster, stronger, and more deadly – big cats, big dogs, jackals, hyenas, and other ferocious beasts.
In a small group, each guarding each other’s back, the bipeds could probably drive off the predators with sharpened sticks and stones. Alone, they were dead meat.
Then, too, the “us vs. them” instinct worked to protect the group from other tribes. Those groups that lacked the software – the instinct to stick together, unquestioningly, especially in times of danger – were probably killed off or taken over by more aggressive, more cohesive groups.
“My country, right or wrong,” is an expression that intellectuals hold in contempt. But almost no one has the cold-blooded courage to stand against his own kind.
How many Americans do you hear saying, “I’m with Iran!” Or, “I think Putin is right on this one.” Or, “terrorists aren’t bad people; they’re just fighting for freedom.”
You don’t hear it because few Americans are capable of thinking it. And they can’t think it because they’re programmed not to think it.
That is, they’re programmed to rally together, against the threat, whatever they imagine it to be. And they are programmed to think thoughts that develop, amplify, and justify the rightness of their cause and the evil of their enemies. That is the sense of practically every State of the Union (SOTU) address… and every campaign speech… ever given.
Even if they don’t really have a cause… Or enemies.
Red vs. Blue
Which brings us to the difference between Republicans and Democrats. The press acts as if the two were like lion and lamb – one ready to devour the other if it gets the chance.
Most of the public, too, feels that the future of the Republic hangs in the balance. “Four more years of Trump… and it will be the end of us…” they say. Or… “I hope those Democrats don’t get into office; did you see those taxes they’re proposing?”
We are programmed to see the world that way. It’s “us vs. them.” You just have to decide which “us” you’re part of.
But what if you’ve chosen the wrong “us”? What if neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will save the Republic?
What if, instead, they are like professional wrestlers, thrashing around on stage for the benefit of the groundlings… but working for the same company?
What if there is a larger “us vs. them” going on, in other words? What if the Republican-Democrat contest is really a feint and a distraction? What if it doesn’t really matter much who wins elections or which party has a majority in Congress?
There are only two things worth fighting for. You are either protecting your stuff or you are protecting yourself. But against whom?
Those devils in the Republican party? Or those SOBs, the Democrats?
The Democrats are vying with each other to see who can come up with a new tax, to take away our property; we surely don’t want them in charge.
But wait… the Republicans increased spending by some $500 billion over two years… and added $2 trillion to the federal debt. Where did they think that money would come from?
Where is the “us” worthy of support? Where is the “them” that should be annihilated?
As Groucho Marx might have put it, we’re deeply suspicious of any “us” that would allow us to join. As to those that wouldn’t, we hate their guts.
MARKET INSIGHT: SEMICONDUCTORS LEAD THE WAY
By Joe Withrow, Head of Research, Bonner & Partners
The semiconductor industry has been on a tear this year…
And that’s good news for near future economic conditions, according to our chief technology analyst, Jeff Brown.
Regular readers of these insights know we have urged caution during the ongoing snap-back rally in stocks.
… But Jeff sees it differently. He believes the best tech companies, and the broader economy, will do well over the coming year.
Why? Simple: Demand for semiconductors (computer chips) remains strong.
To illustrate this, today’s chart maps the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (SOXX) from the start of 2017 through today. SOXX tracks a basket of 30 semiconductor stocks to mirror the industry.
As you can see, SOXX has gained 25% since hitting a 16-month low on December 24, 2018. And the ETF is still up 41% since January of 2017.
Much of this rally has been driven by strong earnings announcements from individual companies. In fact, global semiconductor sales hit a record high of $469 billion in 2018. And more than one trillion semiconductors were shipped during the year, which was also a record high.
In an email last night, Jeff told us why semiconductors are a good indicator for economic health:
Watching the semiconductor industry can be a good indicator of near future economic conditions.
These companies sell components that go into things that consumers and businesses are purchasing. The rub is that the sale of a semiconductor will go into a product that will be produced several months in the future.
When I see companies rocketing higher and consistently putting in strong quarter after strong quarter, to me, this is an indication of healthy economic conditions. These companies serve a broad array of industries, not just one industry that is hot. And that’s why I expect to see strong performance from these companies in 2019.
– Joe Withrow
P.S. Semiconductors are the linchpins of several revolutionary technologies. Self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and 5G wireless devices all rely on specialized semiconductors to function. That’s why Jeff’s been positioning his readers in the right semiconductor plays before the rest of the market catches on.
Already, one of Jeff’s favorite companies has seen peak gains of 200% in 10 months. And his most recent recommendation is up nearly 12% in just two days. To see what explosive tech plays Jeff’s recommending to his readers, join him right here.
Farmers Are on the Brink…
The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has hit some industries harder than others. In America’s heartland, the suffering of farmers is particularly acute…
The Venezuelan Showdown
Venezuela is in crisis. President Nicolás Maduro is attempting to hold onto power. Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan National Assembly leader, has declared himself the rightful president of the country, and received backing from the U.S. The breaking point could very well take place at a small border town, where men with guns patrol a nearly-dry riverbed.
Why China Is Buying Gold Miners
China is on a spending spree. The country is snapping up gold miners as quickly as it can find them. Why? And what does it mean for you? Dave Forest, Casey Research’s resident commodities expert, has the story.
In the mailbag, it’s all “us vs. them”: Red vs. Blue… Trump vs. AOC… and, in some cases, dear readers vs. our “closet liberal” editor…
President Trump is the best president we have had. Those that can’t see it are blind.
– Dewitt K.
Trump is completely off base. He delivers a blah blah speech, but with no substance behind it. Can’t wait to get rid of him.
Bill Bonner, you can say what you want. But the economy is flourishing. We have the lowest unemployment across the board and attempting to rein in an immigration policy that is in the toilet.
Tell me, what did any other administration do to address these issues? How long have you been a closet liberal?!
– David V.
Our president is doing an awesome job. No other has done as much as this administration has in his short term. Trump is doing what Americans want. If you don’t think so, you’re on the wrong boat. Wake up and get on the right ship or you will be left behind!
– Joel M.
Your statement is also true with respect to you! You obviously don’t want Republicans among your members.
– Vicki T.
Dear Sir, I have enjoyed your articles for years. And I have written a few times to tell you so. But, I have to call out some disingenuousness comments on your part with regards to AOC and Donald J Trump. To say they have some kind of equivalency is breathtakingly absurd. AOC is a first-term representative. Just like some Republican House members who still believe the Earth is flat, her opinion gets press but she doesn’t have any power. Donald Trump is the president of the U.S. and the head of his party. There is hardly a limit on his power.
– Monica D.
I have been reading for years and agree with many of your thoughts about the Deep State and I believe that armed conflict (Civil War) is inevitable if the productive members of society are to stave off being overwhelmed by those who want something for nothing.
As a Libertarian, I have watched the never ending battle between the “Demonrats” and the Republicans. There is very little difference between the two (at least at the entrenched level of the federal government). However, at least the Republicans have some semblance of decency. The dems vilification and character assassination of Kavanaugh was the last straw for me and I will never vote for the “Demonrats” again. The perpetrators are scum!
I have come to the conclusion that the parliamentary system is superior to our own. If a party gets 5% of the vote, they get representation and the population has a chance to be heard. If I ever see a picture of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi again, I may find myself retching in the corner. Good job, Bill, for stirring the pot.
– Gary A.
The “us vs. them” psychosis has to be tempered down and the “we are in this together” mindset must prevail. Franklin D. Roosevelt was not liked by all in his party, plus the opposition and the marginalized citizens. He gave us hope in his fireside chats. Those chats and Shirley Temple were our energy shots.
This past two years have sent us down into the cesspool, not the hole of Alice in Wonderland. We need to pull back from America’s internal brink of dysfunction or we fall into a country-wide ruin that our many foes have tried to do externally with limited success. All political parties, business leaders, nongovernmental organizations, and citizenry must come together and prepare with resolute for a new slate of government in 2020. For now, there is a logjam of inertia… so we must muddle along.
There’s no other light out of the tunnel to resolve our national despair. Hope for the USA lies in less insanity, less doctrinaire extremism, more goodwill, and a willingness to act as family members who dispute and reconcile for and with each other. Too lofty or not lofty enough, end the hate and bring love into the resolution. God bless “we.” God bless America!
– Wendell H.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
This will be the biggest tech trend of the next 10 years…
That’s the message from Jeff Brown, Bill’s go-to tech expert.
Jeff says 99% of investors will miss out entirely on this opportunity. But for those paying attention, they stand to make a small fortune. Click here now.