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Can I stop taking off my shoes now?

May 2, 2011
Montevideo, Uruguay

Despite being one of the most cerebral societies in the history of the world, the Ancient Greeks condemned one of their greatest philosophers to death for asking too many inconvenient questions and pestering the status quo.

dav soc 300x195 Can I stop taking off my shoes now?

The Death of Socrates, Jacques-Louis David (1787)

Certain things, as it turns out, are sacrosanct and beyond debate.

Good citizens, whether in Ancient Greece or today, are expected to fall in line with what they’re told, and any measure of dissent or intellectual discourse is met with derision and public ridicule. Anyone who questions the nation’s hallowed truths is labeled as an enemy… or at least, accused of supporting the enemy.

If Socrates were alive today, though, he would be busier than ever.  As uncomfortable as it may be for many people, there are difficult questions that need to be asked.

Is it the nature of justice in America to order the assassination of someone located in another sovereign nation who has not been put on trial, no matter how evil he has been made out to be?

When a country spends 10-years and billions of dollars to chase a man around the world, only to find him ‘hiding in plain sight’ right next door to a country it has invaded, what does it say about its capability to keep the citizens safe?

As the mainstream media is presenting all the information passed along by the US government without questioning any of it, could there be another side to the story that is not being discussed?

In light of such an apparent ‘victory’, when will the civil liberties and financial privacies that have been taken so rapidly since 9/11 be reinstated?

Regardless of any short-term euphoria, is the country headed in the overall right direction? Moreover, has there been any change in the ability of the nation’s leaders to forge real solutions?

Understandably, it’s an easier course of action to celebrate in the streets right now than to ask questions. People are weary of war, and as they have now been told that a grotesque symbol of evil has been put down like a mangy dog, it is no doubt a cathartic moment for those who are emotionally invested.

Yet seeking the truth is not an act of sedition, but one of patriotism. When a society slanders independent thinkers and dismisses those who do not fall in line like chanting Zombies, they’re simply borrowing from the same playbook that the Soviet Union used.

In time, the exuberance will fade, and western nations will once again find themselves facing indelible challenges.  Most of them are already past the point of no return.

The dollar remains fundamentally weak. Commodities and precious metals did fall immediately following last night’s announcement (giving our partner Tim a tidy profit on the short silver position he wrote about last week), though the long-term trend on all tangibles remains bullish over fiat.

Even against other fiat currencies like the euro, yen, and Swiss franc, the dollar is weakening. Debt problems remain unaddressed. The Fed’s balance sheet remains inflated. And a tiny handful of men still controls the money system that has been wrecking the lives of ordinary people around the world.

Roughly 3,000 people died in the September 11th attacks. Tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians around the world have died in retaliatory conflicts since then. Millions of people have seen their lives change for the worse as a result of the consequent erosion in civil liberties. Billions of people are facing a critical pinch from rising food and fuel prices.

Yes, the boogeyman we have been told to hate for the last decade has been put to rest. But if we choose to ignore the real evils that remain in the world for the sake of short-term euphoria, we’re simply dancing in the streets while Rome burns.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Wealthmaker247

    Great blog…love it. I for one don’t buy the whole Osama thing at all. He has been dead since the early 2000′s. Conveniently his body was “buried at sea”.
    I have long ago quit believing all the bullshit coming out of Washington and its media lackies. My parents have taught me to think for myself, and it has served me well. That is why I always look forward to your daily Notes From the Field, because you say it like it is.
    Thanks for taking the time to speak the truth…it is indeed refreshing.

    Paul-Eugene Miller

  • Carlos

    Hi Simon,

    I am all for reasoned argument questioning the basis of anything you like but when you yourself close down such discussion about things you believe and what you say by denying certain comments being posted…well…you prove yourself to be nothing less than a hypocrite Simon.

    No better than the people in the U.S. you slamn.


    • Alan

      Yes Carlos, so far he has never once let one of my comments through. I’ll be surprised if this one does but hey…

  • Aaron A Day

    Excellent article! How do we unlock minds? It just amazes me that the masses are such sheeple. Just the drivers license being found amongst the crime scene on 9/11 should be enough to do it but the questions have such ugly possible answers that no-one wants to ask….

  • rdow

    Bravo? Eloquent and accurate.

  • TheresaLode

    Excellent post, Simon. You gave voice to my thoughts regarding the celebratory air over Bin Laden’s death.

  • GMT

    Great post! Excellent!

  • Diogenes_

    Question for the readers, what do all of these statements have in common? (except for the ones marked *)

    LBJ: Our ships were attacked in the gulf of tonkin by north Vietnam

    Reagan: I don’t remember dealing with the contras

    Clinton: I did not have sex with that woman

    Bush 1: Iraqi soldiers stole Kuwaiti incubators and killed the babies

    Bush 2: We know for a fact there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

    Various Bush 2 people: Saddam was behind 911

    CIA and others: bin Laden is a sick man and needs regular hospital treatment for dialysis and diabetes *

    Pakistani news: bin Laden died of kidney disease in late 2001 *

    Obama: I will remove US troops from Iraq by 2010

    Bernanke: tripling the money supply in 3 years didn’t cause inflation

    Obama: The oil companies made gas prices higher from their profits

    Obama: Troops killed bin Laden and we buried his body at sea

  • Richard Victor R.

    You do ask some strong questions that due deserve valid study and analysis. Alas, it’s hard to take the substantive material in your post seriously, when you seem to radiate contempt for the sheer happiness of retribution and closure for a murder of thousands, and for the people who lost so much on 9/11. You must be far from the American emotion to disregard that, as merely the “eas[y] course of action[.]”

    And as for the fundamental weakness of the dollar: Perhaps you should look at an inflation rate from the late 80′s until now. Inflation, a core input of the perceived strength of the dollar among other factors, (i.e. other currencies, commodity prices, etc) shows a different picture than fundamentally weak. (see the link for a Fed graph on PCE) – Although the wars and our fiscal policy weren’t ideal – I don’t think you could find a sane economist that would identify the American dollar as “fundamentally weak.”

    • Diogenes_

      Victor, you must be confusing this site with others who take seriously the fed’s claim that gas and food prices shouldn’t be part of the measure of inflation.

      Surely you don’t claim the dollar is ‘strong’ when the fed chairman held his first news conference in history last week?

      And don’t we get even a single photograph of bin Laden’s body before being required to have closure????

  • brian

    Sorry Simon, but I’m not following your logic. I was in New York City on 9/11, and I can fully celebrate the killing of Osama Bin Laden while not losing sight of the bigger picture. As for hiding in plain sight, it only means that the government cannot 100% keep its citizens safe, nor is its intelligence always perfect. As written by Neil Strauss, we could never have expected that anyway. That does not mean the government shouldn’t try. Moreover, I thought it was assumed Osama was hiding in Pakistan in the lawless border region and had been for some time. Really, the time it took is to do this is more of a reflection of Pakistan’s unwillingness to deal with its own problems than failures of the US. Also, since when has Bin Laden earned the benefit of the doubt? I don’t take the government’s word for his planning 9/11; I take his. Are you implying he didn’t plan and finance 9/11? Would a trial, with all of the security issues it would engender, (not to mention he himself said he was guilty repeatedly) really make you feel better? I don’t need to be told to hate him; he earned my emnity. The world is a better place with him at the bottom of the sea.

    As for the other questions, Osama’s death fixes none of them. The 9/11 attacks were used by those in power to change America for the worse. We still need to prepare ourselves for the difficulties ahead, and we still need to internationalize our lives to give us options. Our system is woefully out of balance. I wonder sometimes if these changes were always in the works, and those in power were looking for the right opportunity. None of that means that I cannot take a moment to salute our armed forces and thank them for removing this blight on the landscape.

  • amerikanka

    I was in NYC on 9/11 too, and lost 9 friends in the towers and among all 4 planes. At the time I remember thinking that the Trade Center buildings crumbled immediately, but that the real target was our banking system, which crashed 7 years later. But as long as we’re taking our shoes off to fly – and there is no left luggage at Grand Central station – I’d say the Terrorists have won!

  • Iamthecountry


    What are people celebrating? The death of a person made into a scapegoat? People take to the streets for this, but not to repeal the patriot act? Is it not more likely to die of a peanut allergy on a plane than a terrorist attack?

  • Silver watcher

    “Commodities and precious metals did fall immediately following last night’s announcement…”

    This statement in the Simon’s blog is simply not correct. Check the live trading charts. Silver’s price collapsed at least 5 hours BEFORE Obama’s announcement was made. Gold, and the other commodities quickly followed suit to a lesser extent. In fact, silver OPENED at the lower price, after the market was closed for the weekend. Clearly, some manipulation was going on.

  • observer

    Good points to consider, Mr Black. May I add one more:

    Bin Laden has been been dead since Dec 2001 from kidney failure, as reported by numerous intelligence agencies. Seen rense dot com.

    Also, even high ranking US gov’t officials have said 9/11 was NOT planned by Bin Laden et al.

    I have no sympathy for any corrupt leaders, be it Middle Eastern or Western, & there are both present & alive today.

    Like Obama’s laughably high school-level forgery birth certificate, this was theatre, to feed hungry sheep who are not following as they should.

    So there is legitimate uncertainty about Obama’s birth & Osama’s death…

    But like you said, it is certain that this Orwellian madness on our freedoms will persist.

  • Poiter

    One thing the good denizens of NYC in their celebratory fenzy appear to have overlooked, is the fact that not even the FBI could pin enough credible evidence on OBL to get a grand jury indictment implicating him as perpetrator of the 9/11 events. Sure, he was wanted by the FBI for the US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania circa 1998, but no mention of being complicit in 9/11. So instead we had a trial by media backed up by assurances from GWB that OBL was the man and that is all the proof we need – that is sufficient to warrant an international assasination? And to cap it off, we have Mr Obama telling us that OBL has been brought to justice? Pardon me, but my concept of justice entails the right to appear before your accusers to answer the claims brought against you with an independant arbiter to determine the validity of those accusations vs your defense against them. Reminds me of an old line in “Hogans Heroes”. “You will receive a fair trial, after which you be executed!” OBL didn’t even get that, in fact according to official reports, he was unarmed when shot. Does this sound like a reasonable attempt to bring a person to justice? Pray then, that some world (make that US) leader does not mention your name in connection to some sinister event lest you awaken to the sound of Blackhawks on your roof!

  • Mako

    Again, how are we going to know without any trial and evidence, that Osama had anything to do with 9/11? Bush could have named anyone else, it would be just the same, go get him, dispose of his body Chicago style, and consider that a closure? Doesn’t it matter that he might be not responsible at all, dead before or this weekend?

    If that’s the case, then we could have saved a lot of money and trouble, not to mention time, if we had just proclaimed Bernanke to be responsible for 9/11 (since, it seems anyone will do), and sent our armed forces to fight the Fed!

    Obama is so full of it. He maims and kills hundreds and thousands of civilians that are clearly had nothing to do with 9/11, but then he dumps the evidence that cost us so dearly, in the ocean, so as to not offend any muslims! Then he speaks about how this is not a war against Islam. Is Obama not offending muslims everywhere by suggesting that they wouldn’t care less about dead civilians, as long as we kill Osama without trial, but dispose of him properly?

  • Lfkpbyjf

    Emanuel Goldstien is on “be right back”.

  • Aristoteles

    Simon’s article is spot-on! True words of a wise man!
    The presidential sanctioning of a violation of foreign sovereignty and the killing (instead of arresting) of an unarmed suspect & unarmed bystanders – international law & due process be damned – and calling this “Bravery”, certainly won’t win the U.S. any friends. It only confirms again to the world that America simply does not have any of the “moral authority” its own misguided citizens so firmly believe to have.
    Simon’s vociferous attackers in the preceding articles just don’t get it. It’s beyond their comprehension. What are they doing here anyway? If I’m not mistaken, this is supposed to be a site for reasonably intelligent, open-minded libertarians – not one for dim-witted, steak & potato-eating ‘conservative’ red necks.

  • John Lloyd

    It’s interesting to see the great diversity in ideology on this site, everything from tea partying birthers to obama cheerleaders. I suppose it’s a good thing. However, isn’t the whole purpose of this site to be apolitical? Once you’ve internationalized you don’t need to worry about the political/economic issues in your home nation and that is what makes it so appealing. Anyone with half a brain can see the U.S and much of the western world is in rapid decline and neither the left wing, nor the right wing nor the centrists can solve these problems. Debt, gas prices, unemployment, etc…none of this is going to get any better with a few bills written by congress, if anything it will get worse. This isn’t pessimism, the macroeconomic fundamentals in the USA/the West are simply not sound. You can have blind faith in the system like Ferrox down below, or you can start looking out for yourself. There is a massive world out there full of opportunity. It would be close minded in the least to limit yourself to staying in the USA or wherever you may be from.

  • Frank

    Your comments are funny but you shouldn’t be so subtle. Some people might think you’re being serious.

  • dubld

    If you were in New York on 9/11 then you have experienced 1 day of fear. Now picture being an honest hardworking Iraqi with a family who has is doors busted in 3 days a week or guns pointed in his face at checkpoints going to work…for SEVEN YEARS. Imagine the enmity we have earned. Your view of the reality is very very one sided and childish. You (not really you, but a few guys much braver than you) got what you perceive to be ‘revenge’ and you want to gloat. Too bad you’re too juvenile to see that nobody has won here, nor what a slippery slope it is when all the newspapers proclaim “US Soldiers Murder Man in Home” and everyone cheers and waves flags. That is what THEY did. Why as their alleged moral superiors are we capable of no better, and ready with excuses for it? I think its all just pathetic. I’ll lose no sleep over bin Laden being gone if he is what they say he is. Who I worry about is the rest of us…

  • dubld

    Waaahhhh, I had one bad day on 9/11 so I want people to pay with their lives. That’s you.

    And how very mature of you to ignore the fact that US soldiers have been going into sovreign nations, kicking down the doors of innocent people, pointing guns at them, and generally interrupting every aspect of their daily lives going back to the Vietnam War in the 60′s. Yet when someone in another country has this same reaction, one that you spend the better part of your post justifying, you call them “terrorists” and congratulate their murderers. Their enmity is apparently unforgivable to you, even when it was forged under the guise of “keeping you safe”. For shame.

    Don’t get me wrong, I will lose no sleep over bin Laden if he was who they say he was (do YOU know for sure?). But I will never abide newspapers nationwide running headlines like “US Heroes Murder Man in His Home”, and people taking to the streets, cheering and waving AMERICAN flags.


    Are we capable of no better. Is this what the American flag stands for? And how long can we play this charade that our actions are justified because we are morally superior, then put on the same despicable display over the same shameful acts?

    NOBODY HAS WON HERE. It is juvenile thinking to think this is some sort of victory for freedom or anything else. The wars will not end. The assaults on OUR freedoms by OUR government won’t end. The only thing that will end is you having something to point to to justify our involvement in horrible, deplorable things that victimize innocents and make us more enemies. This is the truth and nobody can deny it. Obama, Clinton, et al have said themselves the war will go on. And with it naked scans, tapped phones, deficit spending and dead young American troops with more to offer than just their lives. Yet I don’t see a single person in the streets cheering for that. And the denial sickens me….

  • observer

    Well said, Dubld (below). Good points…the war won’t end. Americans in general have proven that their gullibility yet again. I wonder if any of the sheep celebrating will one day realise the very establishment they worshipped was the one making them suffer, by both overt means, & covert means (social degradation, mass immigration etc).

    And you’re correct in that Americans are better off than some, like say the Palestinians, whose genocide they are indirectly funding, in addition to their own.

    They are like sheep cheering their impending slaughter. But can we blame them? How many are fortunate to discover the truth….of ANYTHING? I suppose it’s up to the few of us who are aware (like Simon & the good folks here) to spread the truth -any truth- regardless of how vilified we become.

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