2017: the year in review

2017 was an amazing year–if not surreal–in terms of stock market and Bitcoin gains. It was like every week making thousands doing nothing. As mentioned earlier, I expect the stock market to continue its surge in 2018, but am less optimistic about Bitcoin and other currencies, and that’s why I sold some Bitcoin two weeks ago to put in the stock market. Bitcoin at these prices does not offer a good risk vs. return profile. Many of the people pumping Bitcoin and making these absurd price forecasts do not understand what a logistic growth curve is.

But like it or not, in invoking Hegel, the inexorable arc of history is for the rich to get richer. In knowing this, I’ve made good money over the past five years in stocks (in applying my HBD investing thesis) and Bitcoin. Meanwhile, sites such as Zero Hedge keep waiting for the recession, crisis, and bear market that will never come. In 2018, there won’t be crisis or anything like that, whether it’s Russia, China, Trump, North Korea, or the US economy. Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft will continue their dominance unabated.

It was, however, a bad year for the left, who in 2016 staked a lot of of their reputation in their belief that Trump would be a disaster for the US economy, diplomatic relations, and the stock market–and were wrong on all counts, as Trump surpassed even the most optimistic of forecasts in terms of being a competent president and the economy not falling apart. In fact, in 2017, the S&P 500 posted its second-strongest year since 1999, surpassed only by 2013. Evidently, Wall St. is much more optimistic about Trump than the useless, always-wrong media. My money is on Wall st. and Trump, too.

2017 was a year of contradictions and nothing-burgers: the media obsessing over every little piece of minutia they could find about the Trump administration as if it’s a crisis, yet meanwhile the VIX index (an indicator of fear) is at multi-year lows. People are probably wondering “North Korea and Trump are supposed to be a big deal, so why is the stock market so complacent?” Answer: they are not that big of a big deal, but the job of the media is to make you think it’s a big deal. Fear, outrage, division, and anger sells and is what gets people to click the ads embedded in the articles.

It was a big year for the alt-medium/middle, alt-lite, centrists, and the ‘rational middle’. Moderates such as Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Haidt, Dave Rubin, Bret Weinstein, Sam Harris, and Sargon of Akkad all saw a huge surge in popularity by championing ‘free speech’ causes and opposing the ‘regressive/SJW-left’. In early 2016, I predicted the rise of the rational middle as being a sort of ‘middle ground’ for classically-minded liberals who oppose far-leftism but don’t want to be associated with the alt-right either. Sites that cater to the rational-middle and the alt-middle, such as quillette.com, in 2017 saw huge growth and viralness. SJWs are an easy target and few seem to like them, so it’s not hard to build a sizable following by beating up on them. The biggest winner of 2017 was Jordan Peterson, and the biggest losers were Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein.

It was a huge year for waging ‘culture war’, with major stories such as the Washington D.C. Women’s March (in opposition to the election of Trump), the Trump ‘Muslim travel ban’, the #metoo sex scandals, and the ill-fated Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, all getting international coverage, but less important culture-war stories also saw considerable coverage, too, such as the resignation of Evergreen State College professor Bret Weinstein for refusing to participate in an anti-white ‘walk out’, James Damore who got fired from Google merely for writing a memo that purported the existence of gender differences, protests against Charles Murray and other campus speakers by the far-left, and lastly, the censure of Wilfrid Laurier University teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd for showing a Jordan Peterson video during class.

But, IMHO, it was not a great year for the far-right, alt-right, and NRx. Social Matter, an important NRx website, for undisclosed reasons lost a key writer and podcaster, and output for many NRx and alt-rights blogs has slowed noticeably. Nick Land stopped updating his blog and in December was sidetracked by a medical condition. Trump was supposed to infuse the far-right with enthusiasm and energy, and for a brief while after his win he did, but such energy, especially since mid-2017 so, has dissipated (except for the alt-lite, which keeps chugging along). The reason has less to do with in-fighting in the right, but more with the inertia and immovability of the status quo, that has proven to be more impervious than anticipated despite Trump being in power. Draining the swamp is not like the suction pump depicted in that Ben Garrison cartoon, but more like trying to drain it with a spoon.

But it’s not just the far-right which has slowed markedly, so have many non-political blogs and websites. It seems like everything and everyone is being gradually weighed-down spiritually and morally by an increasingly deterministic economy and society. Opportunity arises from fluctuations and inefficiencies, but an economy and society that is increasingly deterministic, efficient (like the efficient market hypothesis but applied to society as a whole, not just the stock market) and planned (like Stalin and Mao’s 5-year plans, except indefinitely) does not admit such spontaneity (except for Bitcoin and buying stocks, but there should be more to life than that).