Saturday, January 29, 2011

Israel and Lebanon were once allies

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If you ever were unsure about who is the enemy in the Middle East, and wanted a good summary of how matters have come to pass, this is the video for you. This speech is very good. There are some errors. She blames Arab governments for mounting a great deal of propaganda against Israel. I would suggest that it was the liberals in the West whom are to be blamed for this folly. It ought to be as plain as day that even moderate Arabs are morally ambivalent or too scared to speak out against the actions of Muslim extremists. What the world needs is some courageous, honest Muslims to speak out against the Arab collectivists. In most Western countries there is a tendency for Arabs not to speak out. I can recall only one. This is not surprising. The Arab world is among the most collectivist countries in the world. It is even less likely to find an Arab who is critical of Fundamentalist Muslims than it is to find a Japanese national who thinks the US was entitled to bomb Hiroshima.

There is a series of these videos so I hope you go through the series. For the record, I repudiate all religion - Christianity and Islam included because they are a repudiation of rationality, egoism and individualism.
Andrew Sheldon

Middle East instability good for commodities

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The West has long championed democracy. They want it for the West, and they want it for the Arab world. Careful what you wish for. The reality is that the Arab world is not ready for any form of moral political regime which will serve them. Anything they hatch will be a coercive system. There is the very real threat that any revolution in the Middle East will simply turn into a civil war, from which a jihad will be pursued by some populist with shallow ideals.
More importantly for the West....what about the oil? If there is any hint at all that further Arab nations are going to fall prey to revolution, then we are going to see gold and oil prices skyrocket. The US will be in the very awkward position of no longer being able to prop up a dictator, and also in the position of defeating a 'democratic shift' for these countries. Might it even resort to propping up the existing regimes?
The other possibility is that the US and Britain seek to protect their Middle East oil interests. We must remember that the US and British oil interests in the region were nationalised in the 1960s. Might they decide to belatedly seize them back, whether for their own sakes, or to act as a form of trustee for foreign and Arab interests, i.e. Savings scheme for Arabs.
These are very interesting times, and the prospects for political instability has escalated considerably... so this is a critical time to hold commodities such as gold and oil stocks. There are a number of reasons in fact:
1. Regional war in the Middle East - on many fronts as Iran is very unstable as well
2. North Korean threat - probably less of a concern
3. Financing issues for the West - there always seems to be trauma when the West has a financial crisis. Might the US monetary policy be causing 'cost-of-living' inflation problems for Egyptians?
Andrew Sheldon

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is the next Chinese leader Evil?

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What might we come to expect from China's new government? Apparently they have already selected the next appointee - Xi Jinping, China’s current vice president. This leaves us wondering what type of China can we expect.
In this post I want to use some NY Times media article as the basis for my moral criticism of this new appointee. We might also ask why is the media so reluctant to engage in moral judgement...or is the problem that media journalists are just bad at it. I want to comment on some excerpts I have taken from this article:
“Nor was Mr. Xi untainted by corruption scandals. One party investigation into bribe-taking in Ningde and Fuzhou, publicized years after he left Fujian, toppled two former city leaders whom Mr. Xi had promoted”.
We therefore know that there is a strong correlation between this new appointee and corruption. Critics might argue that China has always had a great deal of corruption. The issue remains though that such a 'strong candidate' might be a particularly risky candidate from this perspective. Might it also pose a problem in terms of aiding his capacity to centralising power. We might also expect his style to herald a different approach. I would not be surprised to see a tempering of the political power (welcomed by the West), but also an escalation in the financial expropriation of corrupt government.
“Since joining the inner sanctum in Beijing, Mr. Xi has reinforced his longstanding posture as a team player. As president of the Central Party School, Mr. Xi recently made a priority of teaching political morality based on Marxist-Leninist and Maoist ideals, a resurgent trend in the bureaucracy”.
This quote suggests that there is still some sympathy for he is no advocate of capitalism. He has not simply preserved the status quo; he has reinforced the collectivist creed, regardless of whether its communism or fascism, its collectivism at heart. This highlights that China is veering in the wrong direction.
“He once told the American ambassador to China over dinner that he enjoyed Hollywood films about World War II because of the American sense of good and evil, according to diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks. He took a swipe at Zhang Yimou, the renowned Chinese director, saying some Chinese filmmakers neglect values they should promote”.
This is interesting because it invalidates his pragmatism, so he has a manipulative nature. He also expresses a strong coercive desire for power over people's values. This would of course be tempered by his pragmatism, however that is just a question of strategy. The implication is that the Chinese executive is supportive of a leader who is going to centralise power in coming years. He is also recognised as a very charismatic style of leader. Take note that his wife is a popular folk singer in China. So he is the style of leader who, unlike Putin, does not need to be taught charm, he has been faking it for years already.

This particular NY Times journalist suggests:
“His [Xi's] views of the West remain difficult to define”.
I don't think so. His style and values expressed by these comments suggest that he is a very dangerous and undesirable style of collectivist who is destined to centralise and affirm collectivist power in the Chinese executive. He displays signs of nationalism with racist overtones. There is not much evidence, but it is all consistently EVIL! Compare him to the former Japanese Prime Minister, Juniichi Koizumi, who also liked Hollywood movies. He I think liked the romance and charm of Hollywood movies, but this 'pragmatist' likes the schemes of 'good and evil'. He is a very dangerous man...and he chooses collectivism..That's evil. Anyway, he is probably going to bring civil war to China....but in all probability not for 2 decades for a financial crisis ib China. It is some time off yet. The greatest fear though is that he will escalate nationalism and thus racial prejudice. Watch for those schemes. More importantly, the United States could actually play into his hands if it starts attacking China's policy over exchange rate regimes (i.e. calling for its deregulation) or if it engages in a trade war. This would of course allow the Chinese leader to deflect hostilities outwards. It is better to sell benefits behind the scenes.
If the United States escalated tensions with moral condemnation, where would China go? Probably nowhere. In fact, I think China would be worried about offending too many countries. Most particularly it will allow the leader to consolidate power and to simply be more corrupt than it already is. It will be power for the sake of money. I tend to think militarism is just a symbolic gesture these days. The nuclear age has pretty well placed major wars behind us.
The next question is whether he is an ardent nationalist. He made his remark:
“Some foreigners with full bellies and nothing better to do engage in finger-pointing at us”.
This comment is not a compelling indicator of his nationalist values because it is in response to criticism. Certainly he is a collectivist, so we would expect a high level of national pride. It is a popular myth in China I would suggest that Westerners are indulgent, glutenous and decadent. Oh, who am I kidding...its all true for a great many of the Chinese will be when they make a great deal of money.
He then makes the statement:
“First, China does not export revolution; second, it does not export famine and poverty; and third, it does not mess around with you. So what else is there to say?”
We must however remember that he has a pragmatic, collectivist "ideology", so what is true today need not be true tomorrow. That is what defines a pragmatist - 'flexibility of ideals' - not a lack of ideals, which you might consider an 'indulgence' in itself.. hehe. Well, Chinese philosophy was never very good. Just a lot of coercive, pragmatic, Buddhist/Taoist crap. Give it time, Western 'scientific' reasoning will take hold. Hopefully it will be a better version that the crap accepted as scientific reasoning today in the West, with its emphasis on empiricism.
Can we take some comfort in the acknowledgement by Hu that China could improve its human rights record". This statement from NZ Herald:
"Hu delighted Obama with an admission that China's human rights need improvement".
This is as good as empty rhetoric because few Chinese people are going to hear it; anyone on the home turf is going to be oppressed if they act upon it, and ultimately they only need to maintain a gradual trend towards rights to attain some legitimacy from the West. More problematic is that the West does not have a good track record. Everyone celebrates human rights in the West, but what good are political rights if you have no economic rights. i.e. The tax office can seize money from your bank account....for the same reasons China does, i.e. for the 'common good'...for the same reasons that Hitler did.

In conclusion, I would suggest that the West should not push policy on China, however it should continue to maximise the integration of Western and Eastern values. Ultimately if Chinese power is going to be tempered, it is going to be by internal dissent. I would also suggest that the greatest influence upon China is going to be Western values on the future Chinese leadership. It is indeed a positive step then that the future leader's children are studying at Harvard. So long as the West continues to occupy a 'vacuous space of moral scepticism', we weaken the prospect of China choosing the 'right path', that being an objective path consonant with human nature, i.e. The facts of reality. i.e. Based on a correspondence and coherence test of truth. More concerning to me is that we are becoming more collectivist (i.e. moving towards China) by allowing the trumping of common law by arbitrary statutory law.
Andrew Sheldon
Resource Rent Tax
Applied Critical Thinking |

Monday, January 24, 2011

Caution - democracy can kill you

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Many would argue that democracy has served us well. They would argue that democracy has delivered hundreds of years of peace to many countries. I however question that assertion. I would instead argue that its folly to think as much because...contradictions do not exist...except in the minds of individuals. The problem with democracy is that, like fascism and any other form of collectivist power, it does not solve problems or conflict, it subjugates them. It says the majority is right, stuff the minorities.
The implication of the 'no contradictions' model is that when people cannot get access to principle, they accept that they do not have political power. It does not dispel their personal frustrations, it does not clarify the nature of their contradiction if they have one. It does not give them any recourse if they are right. What it does is shift their protest from a political context to a 'inner protest'. When a government repudiates our right to be heard; our right to a resolution on any grievance, then it causes us to repress conflicts. We can of course resolve our mistakes. But people are not inclined to do that. Why would they? Our entire system of public organisation is based on faking reality, i.e. perceptions, so why would we expect people to resolve issues inwardly? Why would we expect people to have such mental clarity when they are products of our education system?
Democracy is an assault on your mental health...but it is more than that. It is an attack upon science, and it is potentially very dangerous. The implications can be huge. Consider the current climate change issue. There are a great many scientists saying there is a human cause, then their are a minority of other scientists saying its just natural processes or cyclical variation.
These ideas have important political implications. But lets assume instead that the issue was more dire. i.e. Say we were dealing with a viral infection that could wipe out the human population? Or an imminent meteorite impact. Scientists were called upon to render an opinion. Would we want to sanction a 'popularity contest' in order to settle the matter? Well, this is how our science is being evaluated in our contemporary political landscape. Dubious scientists are being validated and applauded whilst the minority are being ridiculed for having a different perspective. There is no attempt to reconcile or resolve the issue by politicians. There is no attempt to pool these people. Instead they are allowed or encouraged to separate into 'schools of thought' and to lobby the government for a sanction. The government of course goes with the politically correct view, which is that humanity is a loathsome species who must renounce their greedy values and comply with government legislation.
In the case of global warming, this can cost a community a great deal of money....but it has deeper ramifications in terms of its impact upon lives. The way these decisions are handled will change the way people view science. Science will cease to be about causation, and it will be again be based on correlation..just as it was in the 'Dark Ages'. That is after all the distinction between Modern and Ancient Man...the propensity to strive for causation. Science is quickly descending into an era where 'animal values' will decide the fate of humanity.
This is not a new phenomenon. Read the 'History of Science' by John Gribbin. He documents numerous cases of scientists self-righteously retaining ridiculous positions....mostly because they were so impressed by the body of work of people like Newton. This is what prevented the advance of science for 100 years in one instance.
So I suggest eventually a plague or meteorite will eventually wipe us out....because we are not getting smarter. We will continue to stumble upon scientific 'wisdom' but we will lose our capacity to anticipate problems...which is a threat to our existence. It could kill more than you.
Andrew Sheldon

India's democracy is corrupt - change the system!

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An Indian man was killed by local government official after he used the very powerful Right to Information provisions in the law to challenge their right to exploit his land for limestone. The man was shot in a drive-by killing after writing a letter to the local newspaper. Death is a potential risk where corruption is involved.
"India may be the world’s largest democracy, but it remains dogged by the twin legacies of feudalism and colonialism, which have often meant that citizens are treated like subjects. Officials who are meant to serve them often act more like feudal lords than representatives of the people".
The problem however is that there is no such thing as representation as long as:
1. You do not have the opportunity to renounce your sanction. i.e. The requirement to wait for years until the next election is not good enough.
2. You do not have an effective choice when you are obliged to choose between parties. Worse still that you only are able to choose among several people you do not even know to any great depth because news media give you know analysis of their character.
3. Your sanction is collectivised through the electoral system, which is supposed to conjure up some fantasiful notion of 'the common good'. Where is the common good? If there is any such notion, it does not lie in a 'collective consciousness', since there is only a collection of specific individual consciousnesses. What plausibly could anyone person represent but an idea or a principle? But that is not the foundation of democracy. Democracy does not deal in ideas (i.e. debates). Not really. There is the facade of parliamentary question time. The real debates are not about ideas; they are not about education or learning, or persausion. They are about extortion. Numbers, whether votes or money. That is the nature of our democracy. That is why people get killed. You cannot kill an idea when ideas are respected. It only takes one person to raise an idea, it takes a majority to give ascension and credence to a good idea in a democracy. And yet you sanction this system in your name. You allow the government to show that you sanction this facade by voting for it each year. That is the true purpose of sanction stability, allowing all manner of indiscretions to occur whilst you 'passively' think you are being represented. If you thought for a moment how fantasiful that notion is, you would realise it never works. Simply look at how many people vote in shareholder meetings, if not democratic elections...they don't because they know the process does not work for them. The only people to participate are either misguided idealists (and there are a few) and those for whom the system works. Change the system!
But be careful what you wish for. Accountability is not the issue. Accountability to what?
"The law was intended to be a much-needed leveler between the governors and the governed. In many ways it has worked, giving citizens the power to demand a measure of accountability from bureaucrats and politicians".
The law is not a rational standard of value. Over the last 900 years common law, which is our most logical law, has been displaced by arbitrary statutory law. The arbitrariness of statutory law is the reason why it cannot be trusted as a source of law. It has engendered all manner of loopholes which will allow the politician to escape accountability. You will be holding him to a standard which he constructed to serve him. After all, extortion (i.e. taxation) is legal under statutory law for politicians, but strangely it is illegal under common law. There are plenty of double standards like this under statutory law, which are intended to protect politicians from accounting. Their folly is that they don't realise that they ultimately can be held accountable to the standard which they invented, but which can change. Sadly, it might be some lynch mob...but they were the role models for such a system. My interest however is an objective standard. These politicians are a product of our education system...change the system from the top!

Mr. Socha, an environmental activist, said:
“Our hearts are broken after his death...You cannot fix the system. Everybody is getting money. If I give my life, what is the point?".
The system can be changed if people think. Encourage people to think. Email your friends this story. This is a very powerful example of the systematic flaw in our democracy. It starts with one person....and it builds. Cynicism and moral scepticism is as much the problem as is a form of corruption.
You might think this is just ‘extreme’ Indian politics…it’s not…its Western democracy when the stakes are high. In Australia, a minority politician spent 3 months in jail because of the political pull of the major parties…before a judge overturned the decision. That is all it took to retain power for the main parties. They did not need to kill her, they just needed to discredit her…job accomplished. If killing is necessary, powerful interests will often do that.
Andrew Sheldon

The philosophy of lawyers needs rewriting

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Reading this article “Iraq inquiry: we have every right to know why we went to war” by Michael Mansfield, QC in the Sunday Times, it is immediately apparent how naive lawyers are, and how much they need a conceptual grasp of law – call it ‘a philosophy of law’ This is just some of the damage caused by statutory law.

Michael Mansfield wrote ‘Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer’, published by Bloomsbury in Sept 2009. His argument is that

Mansfield asks: “How it was that a sophisticated, multifaceted parliamentary democracy failed to detect, let alone prevent, such a misconceived and costly military adventure? On this, there has been a singular lack of scrutiny and accountability”.

The answer is simply that our democratic, parliamentary system is none of those things. Our democracy is a fraud; a pretence of justice and leadership. The intent of parliament is to quash and placate your conflicts for the greater good of stability, and not to reconcile or resolve your conflicting values. The war was part of that charade. It was not a exactly served their purposes. The public’s needs were never a consideration...neither were facts. The reason for people’s naivety on these issues is that they still possess some romantic notions of democracy, just as their parents held romantic notions about imperialism. People are struggling to recognise that all such follies are forms of collectivism. The contemporary democracy is leading us towards fascism and civil discontent, which stands a good chance of leading to civil war.

Mansfield writes: “The public, servicemen and women and thousands of dead, injured and displaced Iraqi citizens have a right to know, with a full public explanation and protocols for change”.

The reality is that they don’t have rights; they have only the pretence of them. Consider their political rights. What is the value of rights if the law is arbitrary? What is the point of political rights if you have no economic rights? Is it ok that the government can give you notional political rights, but at the same time plunder your wealth? There is no dichotomy between mind and body. If you have no economic rights; a right to retain your wealth; then you have no effective political rights.

It therefore does not surprise me that:

“ ...the Government has already imposed nine protocols for non-disclosure and secrecy”.

People however do not need to know whether there is some concrete evidence to justify war...the process by which all decisions are made is flawed. This system will not achieve’s just that people don’t grasp the nature of our political system. Why seek to persecute the politicians of the day, and then leave the system to exist as it is. Why live another day under such a bad system. The problem is not any person...its an idea. Unless people start thinking like humans – using causation – and not like animals – with correlation – we are simply going to make the same mistake...and fail to reform the system.

“The Iraq inquiry has resumed this week, promising crucial witnesses — Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Lord Goldsmith and possibly Gordon Brown. We have been told repeatedly what it is not: a trial, an inquest, an inquisition, a court, a statutory inquiry”.

There is a question of accountability; but are you going to hold politicians accountable for a system of ideas which they did not invent. Reform will go nowhere if there is any element of blame because the flaw does not lie with any one person; it is systematic and deeply embedded. We were all lied to as children; and our parents were lied to. They were not liars so much as products of their worse nature. Humanity had to discover what it means to be authentic, and it has been a challenge to change the system because we are corrupted to our core by entrenched subjectivism in our core political and educational institutions.

One of the problems is that too many people are going through life without questioning their most basic premises. They are living routines which they did not consciously choose, but which was subtly accepted in their cultural context. We need to challenge our most basic ideas if we are to progress. If a counterparty repudiates our ideas, we need to be open to all possibilities, with intelligibility or rationality and raw experiences as our only standard of value. We cannot allow any assumptions because they are a legacy of that era of collective delusion and self-righteousness.

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple but without it lessons will not be learnt, let alone remembered. This inquiry must ensure with all the means at its disposal that the truth is sought and found”.

What truth? That the existence of weapons of mass destruction was a fabrication? It would not be surprising...but that is not the message...that some ministers’ are flawed...the system is flawed. Irrespective of the reasons; it was moral for Britain to invade Iraq. The problem is the system which sabotages broader decision-making. This is not a crime scene...there is the prospect of a broader revolution in thinking and action. Education, crime, justice, health...these are all pertinent issues sabotaged by our system of government...which sabotages people’s thinking.

Andrew Sheldon

India a leader in putting laws to song

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People really are not aware of India's role in reforming global democracy. This place is a hot-house of injustice simply because its more unstable than most other democracies. We have witnessed the capacity of democracy to whether all types of storms.
So far in India, we have seen judicial activism compel governments to reform. This has resulted in the judiciary taking a more active role in law making. People might spurn the idea of judges 'making the law' as opposed to 'interpreting' it, however the reality is that the dichotomy is a misconception. Interpreting law is making the law; its just making less fundamental law, as well as reconciling fundamental laws, as is often the case with High Court decisions.
Chief Justices don't argue this point for some reason. It is a pity...Good if we didn't have morally ambivalent Chief Justices.
So judicial activism is very a big undercurrent in India...but the other one is 'Bundarro'.
What the **@@@?? I have no idea what this is about, but it seems to be a grassroots political activism which places the laws of the nation into song. Can someone interpret this song for me. Anyway, I think its a great idea. Karaoke justice! Let's not fight wars; let's just dance. Problem is I guess - the Indians were never leaders in rhythm. If this gets to the ghettos - watch out!

Andrew Sheldon

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The path to global discontent

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We might wonder what are the chances of a civil war or unrest in the West world. I believe there are strong prospects for it. The problem grasping the risk is that people repress what makes them anxious. Of course we can look at the escalation in medication for anxiety, depression and other mental conditions; we can look at the number of injustices, murders (actually on the decrease) and civil disturbances and take these as a better indicator.
There does however have to be a trigger. There is hard to imagine any trigger in Australia and New Zealand. Rising unemployment in the USA might be a possible trigger. More probably violence will escalate in Europe. We might expect issues in Tunisia to spread to other parts of Africa, and this will probably result in a growing influx of refugees into Europe, and this could be expected to result in a reactionary backlash by nationalists in Europe. Expect an escalation of violence, and a broadening of the crisis.
Still these events are somewhat remote from the concerns of Australians and New Zealanders. I am more inclined to think that Australia and NZ will be more impacted by events in the USA. The USA is the country which has the strongest sense of individualism, and perhaps the worst 'disconnect' in terms of national pride vs social reality. The Tea Party campaign is just the start...political dissension will escalate there. Political concessions will need to be made. Sadly this is not how it usually plays out. Usually governments adopt 'emergency privisions' and plays hard-ball, and this leads to a loss of legitimacy for the government
Andrew Sheldon

Socialism a winner in most civil uprisings

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Western governments around the world are in for a surprise. They think that the events in Tunisia are confined, if not to Tunisia, then to the Arab world. This is the democracy that the Arab world right? The problem is two issues:
1. Democracy has not been so appealing in the Western world
2. Democracy would merely be a form of moral or political relativism for Tunisia since we ought not be happy with it.

Western governments will not reflect on these events so critically. They will conclude that the events in Tunisia are compartmentalised; that there is no prospect of political instability in the West. There are reasons to think again:
1. Democracy is a fragile beast because it represses personal aspirations
2. Repression, incompetent government, farcical process, widespread injustice, extortion are all reasons to hold the current system and political parties in disdain
3. People who are repressed eventually break out of it - that is the oppression which makes their repression necessary. People repress for different reasons; but political coercion is the big one because it is systematised, and it also has the 'legitimacy' of being sanction by the majority...whatever that means.
4. People are inclined to get very angry when they realise that
5. In times like these politicians start to feel a little more vulnerable. In the USA, we had one near assassination of a US Senator, and more will likely come around the world. There is no need to assassinate people. Repudiates of contemporary politics need only stop paying taxes. Extortionists can only operate if they are funded and if they retain legitimacy. They can only place so many people in prisons. And to what effect if they are extorting wealth. What judge would enable government to do what is illegal under common law for all citizens. Someone merely has to render a good logical argument.
6. Western politicians will compromise of course. They will do a deal with the powers which emerge. The question is who will emerge.

This is the sad reality about revolutions and political upheaval. It tends to lead to socialist revolution. i.e. The socialist thugs in the unions who are supported by pseudo-intellectuals in academia, government and the 'all-to-common' bureaucracy' are the people who you have to fear most. Well, as in all revolutions, their modus operandi is to blame capitalism for all the irksome issues in the world. If you listen to their slogans, you would conclude that capitalists are selfish, self-serving pigs only interested in themselves, only interested in extorting wealth from the 'battler', 'hard working folk like you or I'. Most people are already morally and economically morally ambivalent. The problem is in times of crisis, people flock to the concrete-bound, men-of-action like the socialist brutes because they instill fear, they promise everything and account for nothing, and their rhetoric (which for years you considered delusional ideolism) suddenly looks compatible with the state of the world. In any respect, any group which proposes to extort wealth from the wealthy is going to have the majority's vote right (aka Western-style nationalism). We thought those things only happened in Venezuela, or Germany? Or what about America. In the 1990s there were the Rodney King riots in LA. This is a case of blacks breaking out of their repression.
The longer that people stay in a state of repression - the greater the release when they finally break out. The Rodney King riots were a very isolated or compartmentalised issue. In the era of the internet, those frustrations can spread globally very quickly. They might even be a compelling reason for 'emergency' legal provisions to shut down Julian Assange's WikiLeaks.

At this point I simply want to warm people that socialists are going to use any political stability to grab power. They will appeal to fear, they will appeal to your base vulnerabilities in order to win power. Sadly business offers a very weak intellectual argument. They have always relied on money to achieve what they want. Socialists are master manipulators. They are very good at associating themselves with every 'moral cause' and denouncing capitalism for everything that goes wrong. For instance, the Pike Creek disaster in NZ. They are the first to get in there to protest the greedy capitalists, etc. They are the first to raise money. It is all a public relations exercise. Most of what they say is utter smear; and a great deal is mere rhetoric. But they are more committed than most people. They are in there for the long term.
Andrew Sheldon

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Its not guns stupid!

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It is not just politicians who are missing the bigger picture, it is the moral relativists, who think the attempted assassination of Senator Giffords was just a madman running around with a gun he should not have. The reality is that there are people who are sensitive about their rights, and there are among those, some who are morally ambivalent about how to express their rights...or to recoup them, where they sense they are lost. We go to war to reclaim rights lost; for some, killing a senator might be a logical extension of that principle. i.e. Those who spurn rights cannot then persecute a person for not acknowledging theirs. Frankly, I don't think his actions are going to help anyone. Even political uprisings in Tunisia are not going to shine a light on the lack of freedom in the West. Most people are living under the delusion that political rights mean something when you lack economic rights (i.e. freedom from tax expropriation). Its funny how globally governments passed up the opportunity to recognise that right. Instead they went the other way and abused it, with the 'New Deal' of Roosevelt in the post-WWII era. Apparently there is still a global reconstruction emergency going on because government spending seldom goes south for the winter.
Andrew Sheldon

"Taxation Without Representation" in question

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The principle of "Taxation Without Representation" has been a popular notion in US political history. The problem with this concept is that it is a misconception. Firstly the idea that we have, or could possibility have representation without engaging in some personal contractual relationship with the government, and without having the right to suspend that support is nonsense. Therefore, I do not willingly allow my wealth to be expropriated by those who would set up a fallacious system of representation.
The objection is that we cannot all realistically have personal representation. This is not entirely true for several reasons:
1. People only need 'personal' representation when any assembly of agents or representatives fail to perform their role. This is unlikely if there is a large pool of competitors.
2. Pools of representation can be based upon issues rather than party 'pools of issues'
3. The basis or standard of value need not be votes, but a meritocratic 'superior argument', which is after all the same basis which our courts are expected to function. The difference is that courts are not entirely effective because of the structure they function under. The implication is that we need political reform to ensure reason is the standard of value.

Without real and effective representation, you get no taxation!
Andrew Sheldon

US Congress evades justification for assassination

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The US Congress is engaging in political game-play by engaging in empty symbolism and painting the notion that Loughner was mentally ill. I have not seen any evidence to suggest that he was mentally ill. On the contrary, he strikes me as a person who was 'morally ambivalent' and 'disempowered' by a political system which gave him no real or effective participation, and more importantly, a system which does not offer a say to people who have more to contribute that these 'symbolic idiots' in parliament. This is what happens when you push people in a corner; they get violent. Just look at Tunisia. Their lack of rights is no less real than ours. We have a government which totally disregards the interests of its citizens, and so do they. The only difference is that they have nothing to lose, and many of them have a more deeply collectivist value system which makes suicidal gestures noble. That is not crazy, its just poor decision-making. But you can expect that in a country where a great many people are utter collectivists.
“We believe in discourse in America. We believe in strenuous discourse. We don’t sweep differences under the rug".
I would not be surprised if this is the next target of some 'crazy man'. The guy is in utter denial. Does he imagine that his politics are having no impact on real people? It is blatant evasion and probably dishonesty to suggest that such actions - as the assassination attempt by Loughner - was nothing more than the actions of a madman....easily resolved by revision to some mental health act. Reading on, you realise that they just don't get it. They are akin to other public servants like academics who do not realise how detached from reality they are:
“Tom and I have real differences. But we can do it civilly. I will say, to Tom’s credit, we have disagreed on a whole lot of stuff, but he’s always been civil, he’s always been a gentleman. And that’s an example that people should follow — politicians and the media.”
It is not that you disagree. It is the fact that your policies and parliamentary antics have no depth, no philosophy. You deal in 'numbers' not 'ideas'. You deal in extortion, and not the principles or rights which protect people. Who wants servility? Politics is about conflict, but it is the nature of your conflict. It does not make a difference. It is like negotiating a home rental contract which takes a year because the lawyers are concerned by incidental details, knowing that whatever happens they will be supported as 'middlemen' by the process. You are destined to find that contempt for lawyers and politicians is likely to fester. That is what happens if people are so deluded and indifferent to the suffering of others. There attempts to minimise their responsibility is only evasion which is only going to result in political instability. Anyway instability is brings about change...and the loss of lives is probably necessary. We go to war for freedom...why not civil uprising? There is an important distinction to be made between rights which impose on others and those which are a protection. The distinction is not clear for most people because we live in a highly coercive society where there is no clear boundaries between your entitlement and your neighbour's let me make the distinction...your rights end when you initiate the use of force against others. Taxation is a good example. That does not however justify killing people. Why? Killing a person will not achieve your ends. There is no education, there is no prospect of change. You have to serve your legitimate objectives, and not engage in mindless 'venting of anger'.
Andrew Sheldon

Monday, January 17, 2011

What I think of NZ tax system

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Read here what I think about the NZ tax system. The NZ government is currently revising its tax policy. Feel free to render your parliamentary submissions here.

There is a blatant contradiction in the legislation. There are numerous flaws which need to be addressed:
1. "Voluntary compliance" is a contradiction in terms. The tax system is not voluntary. It is enforced at the point of a gun. In fact since people do not volunteer, but rather the government accepts and facilitates the means by which govt officers extort wealth from NZ taxpayers, this makes members of parliament extortionists, as well as any officer who facilitates the process.
So how does a legislator achieve this rationalisation? Do they imagine that 'voluntary compliance' is like 'self discipline'? Do they imagine that people actually choose taxation, and would not appreciate some discretion? Do they imagine that the will of the majority justifies extortion? Be it real or a facade arising from the lack of real impact or 'participation' that any one voter has. It is the ultimate sham that results in not merely the plundering of taxpayer wealth, but also the psychological injury to all voters in the form of psychological repression.
2. Voluntary participation - The notion that morality is social is a contradiction in terms. There is no collective consciousness, which is ultimately the point of issue when it comes to psychological repression. It is natural for a consciousness to want to evade tax, and yet you subjugate people to this arbitrary statutory legal system which makes a 'necessity' or 'virtue' out of extortion, knowing full well that it entails the initiation of force, and that it is a breach of the far more logical common law.

Our politicians are destroying the minds of individuals, their capacity to think critically, their respect for objectivity, undermining any prospect of objective justice. Perhasp the most concerning aspect is the compartmentalising of people's minds....sadly a consequence affirmed by the market's specialisation of labour.

Democracy was never freedom - it was a transition from divine tyranny of priests and monarchs to the tyranny of the majority, which was only ever a pretense for those who would presume to represent them. How exactly does a representative embody the contradictions of 60,000 odd voters? Would such a member countenance rationality in a system where 'numbers' and financial support for one's future candidacy are the standards of value. Where is the sincere desire to represent and educate people of the facts. I've never seen any respect for objectivity among politicians. Why does the electorate have as much represent for electorated officials as they have for 2nd hand car salespeople and loan sharks. Because they are middlemen.

I can't even say that you are acting in your interests, as politicians. On some basic level, you are deriving a lifetime pension, a sense of power and attention. The problem is, you are engaged in a very boring, farcical process, governing a lot of idiots (thanks to your notion of governance), and as a result showing your own ineptitude, safety and lack of efficacy. Why would anyone want to appeal to the worst in people, i.e. Their cynical indifference to their participation, and their fear of non-compliance. This is your reality as politicians. Their is no self- respect in this form of governance. Rulers are of course the most insecure people because compliance is unconditional.
Andrew Sheldon

Building submission in NZ

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I decided to make a submission to the NZ government on the NZ Building Code. You can also make a submission at the following site.

The Building Code which curtails the capacity of people to perform handyman work on their homes and facilities, is the greatest obstacle to competition in the marketplace. Notwithstanding the very real safety concerns, anyone performing work is levied with 'punitive' fines and charges which relate to no objective value, or an inclination to adopt arbitrary, dogmatic rules (divorced from context). This is a form of extortion of fascism....but of course its well-meaning.
The implications
1. Community members are compelled to break laws which ought not the process inciting lawlessness
2. Hardwares offer 30-50% discount to builders and other tradespeople (at the expense of the homeowner who actually initiates the work performed), adds a huge mark-up, and then after having extorted this wealth from homeowners, uses the proceeds to subsidise an extravagant life of recreation, whilst just working 3 days a week.
3. Members of the community are inclined to avoid home improvements, which reduces justifiable spending
4. NZ home infrastructure goes underfunded in terms of improvement.
5. The govt, which reverses cause & effect, recognising the underspending on improvements, then in its infinite wisdom, then subsidises home improvement schemes like insulation and energy-rated wood burners, which again allow manufacturers and imstallers to extort money from buyers, who think they are getting a bargain (i.e. subsidy). e.g. A $3-5,000 heat pump is the same technology as a refrigerator (cost $800-1200), so that is the extent to which the govt is extorting taxpayers. Why? To placate a group of uncritical thinking scientists with no respect for objectivity who run a campaign of 'global warming' by humanity. These collectivists renounce the mind in favour of scare campaigns. Correlation is not causation....its all too easy to drop the context. A huge waste of money is occurring thanks to government, which is another false economy, whereby politicians extort wealth from taxpayers...some happily (repressors and parasites alike) under a collectivist creed of 'might makes right'. Ultimately the politicians are not accountable because they define the rules by which they will be judged. Under common law, extortion is illegal...under your arbitrary rule, anything becomes possible.
Yes, you preside over a complete shambles of a collectivist state. Democracy provides you with the "legitimacy" to launch your rationalised political spin....knowing all too well that the passive, powerless voter has no effective choice in a two-party electoral system. I do not even pretend that this submission will make a difference. Reason is not the standard of value...not in legislature...and most critically, not in the judiciary....though implicitly judges hear evidence...its a process of rationalisation when the extortionary opinions of parliamentary majorities moved by 'number blocs' rather than reasons and arguments, are the standard of value. There is no real or effective debate.
Andrew Sheldon

Julian Assange morally inept and thus dangerous

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One of the reasons why I am against Julian Assange is that he is morally inept. That is not to say that I do not appreciate his campaign to achieve greater accountability from government; indeed everyone ought to be accountable, including himself. The problem though is that in his latest release of information, he is targeting taxpayers. His disclosure is flawed for two reasons:
1. The old problem of private records
2. The problem of 'no act of immorality'
He thinks that its hypocritical that people are hiding money in Swiss bank accounts. That is true insofar as politicians or business people who have benefited financially from coercion, i.e. Corruption, fraud, etc. But what of investors who do not support government taxation? What if you are a person, such as myself, who regards taxation as immoral, and that it ought never have been legal to steal from thy keeper. They are not hypocrites, they just have a different value system. If under the threat of a gun you do not tell the truth, that does not make you a hypocrite, it makes you practical. Ought these people fight against government and taxation? Well, I do. But that is their call. The problem is that these people are not so sure how to deal with the problem since most business and wealthy people are as morally bankrupt as Julian Assange.

If there are any people who are going to be hunted down as a result of Julian Assange; I offer you an olive branch. A moral defense of your rights to keep your wealth. It might not guarantee your protection, but it will offer greater protection that what you have now. I would happily assist in any class action against government if its a High Court action which will challenge the constitution of any Western government.

The implication is that Julian Assange has betrayed something greater than accountability....and that is freedom from tyranny. He is acting in the same moral shortsightedness as the guy who fights for Adolf Hitler because Hitler wrote the law. This is a strange 'hypocritical' approach from Assange because he is breaking laws with his misuse of information, as well as his efforts to escape legal sanction. He might claim to be acting legally (in certain jurisdictions). The reality is that he is avoiding court action - that is the opportunity to be accountable. I understand why. He might be persecuted in the United States....and yet he is prepared to expose tax evaders to the same standard - that is political persecution.
Perhaps he thinks taxation is moral and therefore that it is reasonable that these people be exposed for not being 'good slaves' who comply with taxation law. He ought therefore to reflect on why he needs to 'keep government accountable' and why they are able to so readily escape it. It is because government has too much power. The reason they have too much power is because they have a free hand with coercion. Reason is not the standard...extortion is. They have a legal sanction to coerce anyone into anything...subject to a very weak form of accountability in the form of electoral referendums every few years. The lack of positive participation is enough to make every voter passive, and the lack of real choice in representation is another part of the problem. This is the moral sanction that he wants to expose others to, whilst he hides from such sanctions himself. This is of course moral why does he not grant these tax offenders their moral relativism if he sanctions it. are a hypocrite mate! Don't stop what you are doing.....but please acquire some standards of moral integrity.
Andrew Sheldon

At least murder counts for something - Part 2

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The problem with this article is that it fails to identify the cause of the problem. This is ultimately why society just packs up and moves on....because it has no answer. It instead finds problems it can solve. This is ultimately why society is repressed and distracted by materialism. Both 'solutions' are intended to distract you from the real problems besetting society. In part 1 of this post I raised the spectre of a society which is inclined to dwell on problems, then move on like they never occurred. So let's get to the real problem - the journalists response:
For the sake of this discussion, let’s stipulate that Loughner was a “lone nutjob” who had never listened to Glenn Beck or been a card-carrying member of either the Tea or Communist parties. Let’s also face another tragedy: The only two civic reforms that might have actually stopped him — tighter gun control and an effective mental health safety net — won’t materialize even now".
He erects straw men, and then he asserts his own solution. This is another form of 'materialism'; the idea that the cause of the murder was always a very practical and concrete solution. i.e. If people would only be more careful. If only there were fewer guns. If only someone had seen his deteriorating psychological state of mind. The problem is more fundamental and systematic. Nothing other than a change in the nature of governance will overt more problems of this nature.
This will not stop journalists and bystanders clutching 'concrete' straw answers to problems.
Why was Loughner a 'nut job'? What is a nut-job anyway? Certainly not a psychological concept....but then it was always a throw-away assertion anyway. There is a great deal of interest in his reading list. Are we surprised that Americans actually read books? Are we going to regulate content now? We already do unsuccessfully. i.e. No porn.
So we have journalists rendering psychological diagnosis based on no knowledge whatsoever. His first 'reaction' is renouncement, just like Hitler. Let's renounce rights. The individual is a danger to himself. For the collective good, we need to regulate people. No doubt this journalist has a long-bend frustration with gun shootings. Why do we need guns anyway? Well, none if government was not the greatest threat posed to mankind. Government destroys many lives in one foul swoop, and that includes 'kind governments' as well.
But the author does compel us to not be petty hypocrites. He offers a litany of examples like the following:
On “Meet the Press” last Sunday [Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona] implored us to “treat each other as fellow children of God” without acknowledging (or being questioned about) his 2009 diatribe branding Obama as “an enemy of humanity.”
That ship has of course sailed, but the issue is why? Why are we searching for such concrete solutions to problems. The answer is that it was never a mental process that stretched beyond the concrete. The reason there is no abstract solutions; the reason we are concrete bound; is because our system of government does not allow us to be anything but because if you think, you are condemning yourself to a life of impracticality. You don't convince people that you are right by giving them abstract answers; you convince them you are right by flaunting your money in front of them, or by giving some of it to them. The other way of course is to simply coerce them; but first you need to do the former in order to get elected. That is the paradigm that needs to be challenged. The way we think is a product of the way we are governed. When thinking becomes practical, you will be surprised just how minds can shine; and how quickly problems disappear.
Andrew Sheldon

At least murder counts for something - Part 1

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When I read the following excerpt from a NY Times editorial I thought I was going to get some insightful commentary...
“Of the many truths in President Obama’s powerful Tucson speech, none was more indisputable than his statement that no one can know what is in a killer’s mind. So why have we spent so much time debating exactly that?
The answer is classic American denial. It was easier to endlessly parse Jared Lee Loughner’s lunatic library — did he favor “The Communist Manifesto” or Ayn Rand? — than confront the larger and harsher snapshot of our current landscape that emerged after his massacre. A week on, that denial is becoming even more entrenched. As soon as the president left the podium Wednesday night, we started shifting into our familiar spin-dry post-tragedy cycle of the modern era — speedy “closure,” followed by a return to business as usual, followed by national amnesia”.
But instead I got a pile of drivel to suggest that he had no insights either. This is despite making the following statement:
"If we learn nothing from this tragedy, we are back where we started".
We might ask why do we have to get to a place where people are being killed before we start questioning social discourse. It's gratifying that its just 9 people killed. Well done society! Well done. This is actually an improvement because in the last decade it took the takeover of Poland by the Nazis before people started thinking. The problem then, as now, is that the social discourse is destined to be uncritical and a 'democratic takeover' of legitimacy, so its destined not to be different. So what did we learn from WWI? Absolutely nothing. Far from repudiating fascism....we went into overdrive and greatly expanded the powers of the state. We had a post-war reconstruction like Hitler's emergency provisions. The state rolled out a series of 'national imperatives. Roosevelt abolished the Gold Standard, commencing an era of 'ultra-easy' monetary policy and evaporating accountability, and this of course financed 'The New Deal', a free least we thought.
Here is more evidence. The graves in the local cemetery in my town have words to sum up the values which those World War II veterans were fighting says:
"Service before self"
Let me place that in the context of Hitler's propaganda:
"You are nothing, your nation is everything"
Before you tell me that they are different; that there is at least 'self' in the 'collective good', I impel you to identify it and differentiate your good from his. If you do, you will realise that you will be left in a place of conflict. This is why you repress because you don't want to acknowledge that the cake is actually shrinking because some people are not making cake, but rather tanning on the beach; whilst others seem to have lost their enthusiasm for work because their rights meant more than your 'collective good', but they could not find the intellectual ammunition to debate you. And given that the democratic political system scarcely recognises their thoughts, and gives them only a small and meaningless vote in political charade called an 'election', they have effectively and cynically resigned themselves to psychological repression.

In actual fact we did not need these murders to have a debate. We could have had a debate before guns were even sold. I am sure there was a debate; I am sure the implications of that debate would not have been fully understood. I am also sure that we do not now know the implications of our current political system. I am sure I know more than most people. This is only because I am more honest, because I recognise the mental efficacy that arises from constant debate and learning, critical thinking and a respect for facts. A preparedness to never place a pretense about the facts. It takes a mind that goes looking for problems; as opposed to a mind that shrieks and dives for cover when they find one.
There is nothing hard about finding truth. There is a very small percentage of the population who in fact know the truth of the matter. The problem is that they are encased in fear of the senseless majority who make the decisions; who have the power to extort; who have the 'power to be stupid or not', and who renounce their minds, and disregard all manner of objective standards of responsibility, and instead offers a relativist standard in the form of the justice system and our statutory law making. Today, we have shifting goal posts, and we wonder why the world is not fair. We wonder why those 'arbitrary' goal posts are not the same width. Why that team gets to play 10minutes longer than your team. Don't know what I mean? That is alright. You don't even need to know the rules; you just need to 'comply'. Hitler would have used the word 'obey', but it does not matter. Ignorance is as good as fear for all concerned. You were never supposed to know the rules....because it was never about you. There was always a bigger collectivist goal in mind. i.e. Its kind of like being forced to attend the football. You think they built that stadium for your enjoyment, but after each week of attendance, you realise it was never about your enjoyment because you are forced to go. It is simply about the money they make. You stopped being important when:
1. You became indifferent to the quality of your life experience, i.e. You stopped thinking and dropped your expectations or standards
2. You stopped being free, i.e. Life became a social obligation with consequences of some punitive action.
That is not to say that there should not be standards, or that you should not be responsible for your actions. The issue is that those standards (i.e. laws) should not be arbitrary, and they ought to be open to your reproach. i.e. Those laws should not be enacted on the basis of collective extortion, nor free of any form of objective accountability. There is a reason why Loughner killed Gabrielle Giffords in the United States. It is certain that he killed because he was not just young, but he was frustrated. Not just by the nature of society, but that by the fact that he could not identify the nature of society's problem, and he was clearly sure that no one else had the answers either; because if they did we would all seek it reverently.

So what do I mean when I say "At least murder counts for something". I mean that its better to die fighting for something than being one of the living dead. Our democratic system was designed to silence debate, to achieve stability, rather than to resolve the problem. Look at is about backyard deals and extortion on the basis of representation that does not even mean anything. It is an utter pretense in order to achieve legitimacy rather than anything real. Until we start debating again, and ideas start to matter, we will have no freedom, and no escape from cynicism.
Andrew Sheldon

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NZ tycoons selfish? Who cares?

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This story really conveys how screwed up people's ethics are. We have a NZ failed tycoon living it up on the Gold Coast on anywhere between $1000 and $6700 per week. We have the wife proclaiming that she is not selfish; that she feels for the investors who lost money, that she cares about her family, etc.
Who cares? What matters to people is that a company which managed people's wealth lost most of it. How? I care little if they are selfish or not, because any such proclamations are going to be moral pride or delusions. What I care about is whether they are competent or not. Why? Because if they are competent:
1. They would have made money
2. There would not be any suffering.....unless...
You subscribe to the idea that selfishness is looting others, gaining at others expense. In this case, everyone lost....except the government. The regulators who stuffed up...not once but with 8 failed finance schemes in NZ escaped all criticism, yet the media has focused entirely on the executives 'living the high life'. Typical liberals.
Mind you, there is an important ethical question here. Should you live selfishly or selflessly. I say, it depends on how you define the term. If you think values are arbitrary dogma or subjectively defined, then it would be safer if you renounced all personal value, because you will not hurt anyone. If you think values are objective or rational, that you accept and embrace them for reasons, and those reasons ought to be coherent and consonant with the facts of reality, and that you possess the discipline and respect for facts to live by such a creed; then it is indeed safe for you to be selfish. But rest assured, that if you are regulated by the government, and expect them to spare you from making mistakes, then you are sadly mistaken because government is entirely the problem as it is structured upon the creed of altruism. Acknowledge that when govt increase tax burden to raise money, it matters not if that money does any good, its a question of spending more. More sacrifice, more altruism is how we access the moral rectitude of these actions. Do you ever wonder why society is so stuffed up?
Am I the only one who speaks like this?
Andrew Sheldon

Monday, January 10, 2011

Decline in global morality

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I am expecting global politics to descend into a terrible state of affairs in coming years, and far from adopting the right policies, we can expect the decline in morality to justify a swag of oppressive policies. I will refer to just two issues in the media - one in Britain and the other in the USA. It would be fair to say that it is not that morality has declined in the last year, but rather than people's intolerances for government will seemingly blow out of proportion. The reality is that a lot of people will be invalidated for their views, and this will make them just more alienated and violent.
The first issue is the senseless condemnation of Labour MP Jack Straw for commenting on some people in the Pakistani community.
The former Home Secretary was accused of trying to "stereotype a whole community" after he suggested that some Pakistani men in Britain saw white girls as "easy meat".
The reality is that this is how in fact a significant number of young Pakistanis treat western women. The flaw in Straw's condemnation was that he restricted his attack to Pakistani men. It would have been more (politically) correct to say youth members of collectivist countries like Pakistan who prejudicial views of the West. This is not a fact confined to Britain. In Australia, several groups of young Muslims have 'gang banged' Western women; usually for some ceremonious reason. I am not a fan of politicians, but it seems he is being criticised for making a legitimate, even if not strictly correct statement about 'ethnic values'. The problem is that he is attacking a conservative, self-righteous, insecure, proud people who are very sensitive about Western criticism, and who seem never to acknowledge any of their flaws. One of the problems with these issues is the tendency for people to define themselves or attach themselves to some collective identify, and then feeled compelled to defend the values they have assumed.

The second incident was the actions of a lone gunman who shot 18 people in Tucson, Arizona, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. This was clearly a politically-motivated killing. The House Speaker John Boehner stated:
"An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society".
This is a rather romantic notion 'public service' that does not always hold true. The reality is that public service can facilitate a harmonious society, or it can undermine civility if not done well. Clearly the gunman is unsatisfied with his 'elected officials'. There are of course those who argue 'Tough luck', but others believe they ought to have some control over their lives, and that their interests should not be dictated by 'public servants' who have no relationship to them, and no particular or specific interest or knowledge of them. Clearly some of these people are morally ambivalent, others feel powerless, and still others are at a loss as to how to deal with this dilemma. What we can know however is that 'lone' people get frustrated and feel compelled to act. Acts of 'shocking violence' in a democracy is the only action that a person can take to 'get attention'. Unfortunately, its not useful attention. Reasons don't matter, arguments don't matter. This gunman could have lodged a submission to the government on its gross violations of human rights and he would be ignored. His interests don't matter. Is he not entitled in this case to assume:
1. "If I don't matter, neither do you"
2. "If I have no rights, neither do you"
The rage that compels a gunman to shoot 18 people is clearly an over-reaction, and it achieves no end. But such is the senselessness of concrete action, that we should hope for better from our political discourse. But its not better. Its the same. Politicians 'react' as this gunman acted. They are in fact role models for gunmen. They do not offer long range solutions. They don't because they are short range, non-conceptual fools.
"Some politicians expressed hope that the killing spree would serve as a wake-up call at a time when the political climate has become so emotionally charged".
A wake up call for whom? For politicians? It will not make a difference. There reaction was simply to beef up their security.
"The suspect's exact motivation was not clear, but a former classmate described Laugher as a pot-smoking loner who had rambling beliefs about the world".
It is clear to me. The 22yo youth is the product of our Western education system. He did not have a conceptual framework which integrated his values, so he was probably self-loathing, but there ought to be no question that he 'loathed' government. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was targeted because she was his closest 'reasonable target'. He effectively lashed out at her because she was the closest identifiable target. He shot 19 people, killing 6 other people (including US District Judge John Roll, Congresswoman Giffords' aide and a 9yo girl). They were just collateral damage to him. He was angry and this was the only way he could conceive to express himself by which he would express that anger. We are accustomed to people wanting to 'act out' in order to elicit some reaction. When we deny them validation of how they feel, they just raise the stakes.
There will be more killings like this. Sadly it will not lead to a better quality of political discourse. It will make no difference at all. People will say its a 'senseless crime', but was it really. There is logic to the most heinous crimes.
Andrew Sheldon

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Capitalism vs mixed economy

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Liberals and socialists alike convey a great deal of ignorance about economics, psychology and philosophy, and by implication they fall into some substantial rationalisations. I will analyse the following video to highlight their follies....everyone of them. If I miss sure to email me. I never leave them an inch.

The author argues that difficult economic times leads people to consider "more extreme" philosophers. Actually, problems tends to prompt people to look for solutions, so it in unsurprising that they would consider the two polar extremes - living for others (i.e. Because humanity can not given enough of itself) or living for oneself (i.e. Because who you were doing before was not really in your interests). It is noteworthy that it would actually be great if in future it was a question of Rand vs socialism. The reality is that it will in more probability be one form of collectivism vs another form of collectivism, say socialism vs fascism, because in times of emergency, people tend to use their brutal means rather than their minds. If they were not going to use their minds effectively in easy times, rest assured they will do worse when they are desperate.
The fact that Rand is getting more attention today is indeed positive news, and it does show that she is perceived as 'relevant'. It needs to be remembered however that she is not the end of the story. For those who don't dismiss her out of hand, she has some important things to say. I think her most important contribution is her theory of values. However people have moved on, and I am not going to blow her trumpet because there as aspects of her philosophy that I don't agree with. But in a sense I am a student of Rand, but moved on from her books.
The problem is always that people are shooting at 'straw men' when it comes to Rand, and I am sure it will be the case for me. Consider a quote from Stephen Colbert to highlight how little he understood about Rand. Such people are compelled to run off on some tangent to disprove her. It is a mark of dishonest.
Stephen Colbert: "The enlightened, modern person usually measures the progress of civilization by discerning how well its members look after their comrades".
The problem is the mixed economy and socialism do not actually treat people very well. This is a myth; it merely purports to. There are several reasons why it fails to:
1. It undermines people's capacity to care for others by destroying people's capacity to create an economic surplus, i.e. Less wealth, less to distribute.
2. It undermines people's motivation to give, i.e. What possible reason to you have for giving or doing anything if values are not rational or personal. Socialism renounces personal values, and a mixed economy just splits a person's mind and body, leaving them confused, and morally sceptic. Little surprise you can find few philosophers around who actually believe in themselves; never mind others who believe in them. They just go through the rationalisation of thinking to collect an income. It is the rare academic philosopher who contributes anything meaningful; its mostly regurgitation.
3. Mixed economies and socialism regard values as subjective, so coercion is practical. By implication it disregards others interests, so it can only "help others" by disregarding others. I say "help others" because you can never really help people by extending them 'unconditional values'. In such cases, they sustain life, not because of you, but because your help was incidental, i.e. They must have been worthy of it in the first place. You just pre-empted it with your altruistic self-righteousness. Wealthy, efficacious, selfish people are generous gives, but watch how quickly they withdrawal when you criticise them. They do not believe in sacrifice, and most would believe that their 'self-interest' does serve others, but it was never their primary aim, as utilitarians would have us accept.
The implication is - by all means measure the extent to which society gives and observe which society has the greatest culture. It is the United States, and you would see that more blatantly if welfare was removed from all nations. The EU, Russia, Middle East and Japan have one of the worst records for altruism, and yet these countries are among the most collectivist. Ask yourself why. The success of Japan was not because of its collectivism but because of its 'Western-style' conceptual organisation or structure. The value of its downfall was its 'theory of values'.
Well I got to the 4th line of Stephen's paper to find a gross error....but lets move on and make it three strikes. He argues:
"Altruism can fairly be described as an invention of human beings"
I will argue that altruism is merely a concept or 'facade' that humans engage in for unstated reasons, whether they are deferred practical/economic reasons (i.e. The hope of reciprocality) or deeper psychological reasons (i.e. The avoidance of guilt or a sense of moral righteousness....sadly by an unhealthy standard which can only diminish their self-esteem). It is self-interest by an objective standard, or it is any other action which is a repudiation of self-interest, i.e. An undermining of your capacity to live. That is the way to look at it....strike two! Incidentally, I disagree with Rand on this issue....but she is dead, so there is no counterargument from her.

And here is strike three! I didn't even get beyond Colbert's 1st paragraph:
"Christian axiom to "love thy neighbor as thyself" or the socialist dictum requiring "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need," altruism is widely considered the progressive, humane stance".
Actually to love thy neighbour as oneself would offer no moral guidance at fact it would lead you in moral confusion...lest for the rest of the bible which makes altruism a moral ideal....not consistently so though. The 2nd part is utilitarianism, which creates a mind-body dichotomy, since your ability diverges from your need. It gives one no moral or practical validation for your efforts. You might expect the 'appreciation' of others, but instead you get their resignation because you denied them the opportunity for validation. You have no interest in their disdain, so where does this lead. Like Rand said, its 'like exchanging unwanted Xmas presents', an ideal people would quickly tire of if they had to do it every day. The reason is that it is divorced from your values, and from a practical sense it encourages abuse since your support is morally 'unconditional'. This results in the burden growing, and so does your resignation to an ideal that you really can't accept, but neither can you come to repudiate it because you would have revise your whole value system. And this is what middle-roaders do. They see some value in Rand but them turn back when they see the conflict or the work they have to do to achieve integrity. You just have to ask yourself...if Rand's philosophy is so wrong....why is society not being overrun by Randian murderers. If selfishness was immoral, would you not expect a good many murderers to be objectivists (i.e. Rand hard core supporters). There must be 250,000 hardcore supporters of her around the world, plus another 10million odd sympathisers, and maybe another 50,000 like myself who are variants on her scheme. I searched Google and could find no murderers who were believers in her. I was even surprised by that. I'd have expected some 'wannabes' like the guy I knew when I was young. He was the owner of a construction company with 50 workers who was blacklisted by the unions for not accepting their extortion demands. He shot himself in the head after a time flirting with Randian philosophy. He never got it though. Very charismatic guy, but he just lacked a depth of intellectual thought or even interest. He was a 'man of action', like many business people and socialists. This is why Rand conflicted with business. They were not pro-mind...but rather pro-action. Goal-orientated repressors who place money before ideas, and often before their kids. Its not a question of altruism; its a question of respect for ideas. Parenting is an intellectual activity, but just look at who many parents turn off when they get to the 'hard part', i.e. When kids get to about 10 years old and start talking back. The parent starts turning off. Parents would rather be right than problem-solve, which means in the old days more discipline, but today you get arrested for that, so parents just disengage. They pour scorn on society, the education system, the child, and they just say 'its not worth it'. They simply define their jobs in simpler terms, and the result is a lot of kids on auto-pilot in a society of moral ambivalence because all the other kids are on auto-pilot as well.

Going back to the video, Stephen Colbert thinks most Americans would prefer to have a system of 'mixed economy' (i.e. a combination of society in which there are markets and government) in order to, as he states it 'curb the excesses' and 'help the poor'. This is actually a distortion of the facts for several reasons:
1. The excesses are caused by government distortion, whether its government-sponsored Fed intervention in the economy to keep the economy growing at unsustainable levels; the liberalisation of China (freedom from oppression) which caused a structural shift in wage levels across political boundaries, and thus some level of job losses for Americans. No system can stop a structural shift, but only capitalism can reverse or ameliorate it quicker. The problem is that we don't have 'pure capitalism', and it would be a generation of 'coherent philosophy' before people would probably function in what we might consider to be a 'capitalist way', or an objectivist way. Values are never transformed overnight, but it is amazing how quickly it occurs when society is structured with integrity, as opposed to the ambivalent values and conflicts that permeate 'modern society'. Whether it is religious vs markets, pornography vs selfless love. People are really being fed a succession of 'false alternatives' in the field of values. In this vein, Rand is not a serious contender...sadly. Most people are looking not towards (a philosophy of) capitalism to solve problems, they are looking towards government to solve problems, when they in fact caused them. i.e. The solution is being blamed as the problem. Not convinced? Read more of my blogs about education, the justice system and democracy.
They interview an economist who suggests (as a false dichotomy between Conservatives and Democrats) that we can regulate the supply and demand, and he argues 'give up a little bit of GDP growth'. The problem with these people is that they just don't see how much growth we are giving up. I would suggest that if we lived in a pure capitalist society, we would see economic growth of 10% per annum (much like China) than the 3% per annum we are accustomed to in the West. Government is not just the 30-50% of GDP it spends, it is the obstacles to effective justice, it is the bottlenecks it takes creating laws (highly centralised), it is the distortions to the economy, it is the welfare waste which rewards people for being ineffectual, it is the moral reinforcement of values which repudiate objectivity. Basically government is driving us to some variant of the 'Dark Ages' theme. How is that so? Well, basically human prosperity depends on an increasingly smaller number of people, a more specialised and less thinking groups of people. These people are compartmentalised thinkers, repressors acting for the good of government...contrary to the rhetoric of the government and its deluded supporters. Hitler once said "You are nothing, you nation of anything". When you accept that self-renunciation is moral, its not a stretch to end up serving government; helping it to preserve its lies. Just look at the hunt for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?