Chomsky Crazy

Yes, he was always nuts but this is simply shameful. This is also a very typical Russian propaganda device: the US is imperfect, and that justifies everything that Russia does.

Easy Money

In Albania half of the population of the country lost all their savings in Ponzi schemes, and that triggered a civil war.

Pyramid schemes were massively popular in all post-socialist countries. Albania was by far the worst case but the phenomenon existed everywhere else. N lost some money in the Russian most famous Ponzi scheme called MMM. He’s smart, so he realized immediately that the money was gone. But thousands of people hoped that the author of the MMM Ponzi scheme was going to give them their imaginary high earnings if only the conditions were right. They protested, demonstrated, and elected him member of Parliament to protect him from going to jail on criminal charges. The guy went on starting fresh Ponzi schemes in Russia and Africa for the next twenty years until he finally died.

My mother participated in an unofficial Ponzi scheme started by a neighbor who was emigrating to Israel and wanted to raise cash for his new life there. He promised the neighbors gigantic returns on any cash they gave him, and the poor fools gave them all their savings.

I remember my mother making endless calculations of the fabulous riches that her $200 were going to turn into. I tried to explain to her that the idea was nuts but it was useless. The neighbor left for Israel with his neighbors’ money, and nobody heard from him again.

The frustrated love of easy money is the main reason why Eastern Europeans are in a pout. Everything was done in socialism to make sure that people hated working. The concept of work was profanated and perverted. People no longer saw the possibility of working hard, enjoying what you do, and deriving emotional and financial satisfaction from the process. Work was to be avoided, and money had to appear from other sources.

This is what many people don’t get about socialism. It’s not simply an economic system that doesn’t work. It messes with your head. If half a country’s population simultaneously gets involved in a pyramid scheme and then starts murdering each other when it collapses, there’s a deep dysfunction here, way beyond the economic.

Yes, there are Ponzi schemes everywhere. Believe me, I’ve watched documentaries about every single one of them in the US because N loves them, so I know. But it’s the scale, the persistence, and the consequences of these schemes in places like Albania that is different. Most importantly, it’s the reaction that is scary. N’s “ha ha, I was young, I was so dumb but now at least I’ve got a funny story to tell about it” is rare. Mostly, the reaction is what you see in Lea Ypi’s memoir. It’s deep hatred towards the West for not immediately providing enormous wealth to everybody. That hatred has already erupted in the largest European war since 1945. It’s not going to go away no matter how much we pretend it isn’t there.

Lea Ypi’s Free: Coming of Age at the End of History

You’d think that the number of pouty Eastern Europeans upset that the West didn’t make them all instantly rich in 1991 would diminish with time. But it’s not true. Those who were small and barely remember socialism and those who were born after 1991 and don’t remember it at all are just as angry as 70-year-old babushkas.

Obviously, I’m not talking about all Eastern Europeans. Many are not like that. I’m not like that. But enough are. Enough to start wars that will go on and on because you don’t need to have a memory of socialism to feel nostalgic for it.

Capitalism actually did make Lea Ypi rich. The property expropriated from her family before Albania became Stalinist was returned to her. She became a professor at a fancy place. Her life is that of extraordinary luxury. Capitalism gave her everything. Compared to the terror and misery of her socialist childhood in a repressed family of political undesirables, she’s living in paradise.

Yet Ypi is as angry as any unemployed pro-Putin drunk somewhere in Kaluga. She became an ultra-woke professor of Marxism and teaches about “capitalist oppressions.” She’s a fanatic of open borders, an idea she says she discovered at a Soros class in Albania in the early 1990s. My personal hatred of Soros dates back to that time because he was doing this in every formerly socialist country. He was poisoning the minds of these stupid teenagers or even pre-teens. They had no place to go, and the Soros organizations would bribe them with fun activities and food. Then they’d be brainwashed. And now they are bombing Ukrainians at worst or advancing the woke revolution at best.

We are in for a lot of upheaval brought to us by the pouty Eastern Europeans like Ypi. This is the second book in as many weeks that I randomly come across where an ultra privileged woman from Eastern Europe throws a tantrum about “bad capitalism.” Both books are very popular. Ypi’s collected every award imaginable because the endless repetition of the word “Marxism” soothes the sore brains of award committees.

Still, I recommend the book because you can find out a lot about the horror show that socialist Albania was. Ypi learned nothing from her experience there but we can. Most importantly, we can prepare ourselves for the future designed for us by the hordes of angry, rich Ypis.

The Next War

Russia is already planning the second Russian-Ukrainian war. It’s scheduled for around 2027. The plan is to learn from the mistakes that caused Russia to lose the current war, regroup, and try again.

When will they stop trying?


If Putin dies and there’s a regime change to some pro-democracy leadership, the next war might be postponed to 2037. But it will still happen.

We need to be realistic about the future.

Bray Instead

Ah, these people are clueless. The quoted script wasn’t written or disseminated by Trump. Trump is accidental to it, and can be easily swapped out at any time.

It’s shocking how incurious many people are. You see these narratives people of different social classes and geographic areas are repeating verbatim. Don’t you wonder where they came from? Who wrote the script? What institution that person represents?

Nah, who cares about all that when you can bray “Truuuuuuump!” like an aroused donkey.

Post-socialist Women and Men

When the Soviet bloc collapsed, men massively became depressed, planted themselves on their couches, and pouted about the injustice done to them. Women, on the other hand, got over it fast, picked up extra jobs, put food on the table, and ploughed on.

My family was exceptional in that my father started a business three seconds after it became allowed and my mother quit her job. Every friend I had in high school would ask, “wait, you said your Dad works? And your Mom doesn’t? How weird.”

I’m talking about normal people, not bandits, of course. Those had very traditional gender roles always.

The families that emigrated went through the same process. An unemployed, resentful Dad on the couch in an eternal tracksuit that was never used for working out and a Mom working three jobs. Many are still at it 30 years later, even when they are retired.

I have no explanation for this. This was a generation of men who never experienced any purges, genocide, wars, or any repression different from that of the women. So you can’t say that they were traumatized by that and gave up when the upheaval of capitalism came.

I thought it was a post-Soviet phenomenon but I’m seeing the same dynamic described in Lea Ypi’s memoir about life in post-1991 Albania. Her parents both suffered during socialism because of having a bad family history. But once capitalism came, Lea’s Dad became an unemployed pouter in a tracksuit moaning about his nostalgia for socialism and her Mom became a pro-capitalist politician.

More Levels

The next level is when people figure out that their problems come from the inside.

Instead of “I don’t want to go back to work because I’m scared of COVID”, they have the intellectual sophistication to say, “Hah, it looks like I’m sick of my job and need a break from going in every day.”

Or instead of saying, “I don’t want to have children because of global warming” they say “I don’t want to have children because I had early bonding problems / I’m immature / I lack energy, etc.”

At this level, people start beating themselves up for the problem they identified within themselves. “I’m lazy, I’m no good, etc.”

At the next level, they start keeping the problem in check by self-control, discipline, stoicism, etc. It’s a more advanced level of development but the problem is that this self-control slips during moments of hardship. For instance, a person quits drinking and stays sober. Then, a bad moment comes. A tragedy, a personal loss. So he says, “I’ll just have one shot of tequila to relax ” and then he sucks down a whole bottle and passes out. The next day, he has to start erecting the whole edifice of self-control all over again.

At the level after this one, the person discovers a powerful source of energy precisely in those difficult moments. He plugs into them like a charger into an electrical outlet.

And then on the level beyond that, he learns how to stay connected to the charger permanently. He lights up from the inside and glows even when he sleeps. And the people around him get some of that energy for themselves.

There are more levels but very few people reach that far, so it’s unnecessary to discuss them.

Film Studies Fail

Contrary to the opinion widely held by professors of film studies, moviegoers aren’t sexist and seem to detest the idea of looking at young, pretty women (or men):

I wouldn’t go to see any of these people because they are all shit actors. OK, except Morgan Freeman. But the rest, I have no idea why anybody wants to stare at their frozen, Botoxed faces.

Levels of Human Development

There are several levels of human development. On the first and most primitive level, people are besieged with anxiety. The world is complicated and scary. They don’t know what to make of it and lack intellectual capacity to come up with an explanation. All they can do is feel anxious and periodically lash out in anger. They move from anxiety to rage to despair and then do the same all over again.

On the second level, we have people who intuit that this is no way to live. They find an idea, a system of belief that exists in the world and get completely invested into it. This idea becomes their bulwark against anxiety. An example is those health-obsessed folks who are constantly at the gym, posting endless videos of their workouts, their bicep measurements, and the recipes for their protein smoothies. They are happier than the first-level folks because they don’t feel as much anxiety and rage (unless somebody criticizes their hobby horse). Of course, they pay a price for the relief they achieve. Their whole life becomes dedicated to this single obsession. Like those Bitcoin fanatics who bark “buy Bitcoin!” whenever anything anxiety-producing is discussed. Still, it’s better to be into workouts or Bitcoin than simply sit there, feeling scared and angry all the time.

On the third level, we have people who have some capacity for abstract thought, which is even rarer. They try to come up with an explanation for why they feel scared. It’s going to be a more complicated system of belief that is based on the idea that something is wrong with how the world works. If that defect were removed, so would their anxiety. These are the people who attribute their anxiety to climate change, structural racism, the gender binary, etc. The problems they choose as an explanation for the terror they feel are unsolvable on purpose. If these problems were solved, the people in question would find that the anxiety is still there. And then what would they do?

The good news is that there are more levels and I’ll describe them soon.