Friday, July 28, 2017

"Positive Thinking" And Real Solutions

The biggest problem that I have seen with the New Age movement has been their belief that everything that happens to people is their doing. This is a belief that one may develop if he has lived all his life in a protected environment. However the 500,000 Americans who died during the Second World War do not have the luxury of such beliefs.

When I talk about such things as the Holocaust, the usual response is that the Jews had a victim consciousness. When I talk about the atrocities against the gypsies, the usual response is that they did not follow the rules of the societies in which they lived. However the 500,000 Americans and the 20 million Russians who died in that war did not suffer from either problem.

Now it is all fine and good to encourage such things as responsible choices. It is in no way fine and good to do away with compassion and principle. People's attitudes have all sorts of impact upon their lives, but they are in no way the only factor. There is a claim by many in the New Age that they are making people better. In many ways they are in fact making them worse. They are teaching people to have no ethics or compassion. And that is a terrible wrong to inflict upon humanity.

Most of these people started out from a similar position as did I. They saw what was wrong with the world. They tried to improve things; they were met with a greater force; at which point they became totally selfish and made a religion of the self. I am determined not to repeat their errors. I am determined to leave the world a better place than I have found it rather than a worse place than I have found it. And so far, the baby boomers are derided both by their parents and their children for leaving the world a worse place than they have found it.

At this point I will be accused of such things as being negative. My response to that is that for a problem to be solved it has to be seen; and if that means being negative then being negative is a part of the process. Sometimes you have to be negative. In Japan, where such ideas are commonplace, and people believe such things as that you get what you send out, people are not allowed to say or even to think anything negative. That does not lead to enlightenment; it leads to suffocating insincerity. When a nuclear reactor blows up you have to tell people what has actually happened. Doing anything else is not enlightenment; it is lying.

Being negative can very well spoil your mood. But leaving the world in a worse shape than you have found it is a far more real and far more lasting form of damage. You can say as much as you want to that I am being negative. I do not care. Real problems require real solutions; and “positive thinking” or anything of the sort does not begin to accomplish such a thing.

It is not my interest to either think positive or to think negative. It is my interest to think for real. Neither positive thinking nor negative thinking begins to be adequate for confronting the tasks with which we are being faced. A positive thinker would say that focusing on such things is being negative or not taking responsibility. A negative thinker would say that these problems are beyond our capacity to solve. Both will be dead wrong.

The real solutions come from facing the problems squarely and honestly. They do not come from acting like a grade school coach. They do not come from thinking positive. They come from thinking for real. I am not at all concerned as to whether I am feeling positive or negative. I am concerned about what world we are leaving behind for our children. If recognizing such things is being negative, then once again, being negative is a part of the process.

Once again, I do not advocate negative thinking either. Negative thinking can be deluded as well. A negative thinker would see anything good as yet another, sneakier attempt to do evil. I dealt with a number of such people, and I have come away with the conclusion that they are as full of crap as the people who think positive. They think that they are smarter; they are not. Critical thinking is a value; negative thinking is not a value. But neither, again, is positive thinking.

Thinking should not be based on the mood in which one finds himself. Thinking should not be either positive or negative. Thinking should be real thinking. Now maybe being positive can “win friends and influence people” if you are a businessman or a salesman; but in science or engineering or policy it does not begin to work. In all such cases, you cannot afford to think positive. You have to think analytically. You have to think things through, and you have to anticipate problems. A scientist or an engineer who thinks positive will design equipment that will blow up on use.

The solution with which these people came up – positive thinking – is completely wrong. Positive thinking will not solve global warming. Positive thinking will not solve the gender war. Real thinking and real solutions will solve these and other problems with which we are faced.

Does saying such things make me negative? No, it makes me concerned for the future of the world in which my daughter will be living. I am determined not to make the baby boomers' mistake. I am determined to leave the world in a better and not a worse shape than what I have found it. At which point there will be more, not less, for people to be actually positive about.

The belief that people are responsible for everything that happens to them is outrageous. The 500,000 Americans who died in the Second World War were neither negative nor weak. They did what was required at the time. Most of them were far stronger people than anyone in the New Age movement. Nor were they in any way irresponsible. And it is a complete insult to these people to claim that they had created their reality.

This kind of thinking does not create good people. Instead it creates scoundrels. It creates people who have no ethics or compassion. The people who went from 1960s idealists to New Agers did not become better; they became worse. They lost their compassion and ethics. Maybe some of them became successful; but then again so have many Mormons. If you have drive and intelligence, you stand a chance of succeeding in America whatever your beliefs happen to be.

Now in Russia, a positive person is usually regarded as an airhead. I do not agree with that either; some of these people are airheads and some are not. Russians, despite their negativity, won the Second World War, put the first man in space, produced amazing literature and music, and for four decades credibly rivalled America for leadership of the world. Whereas there are all sorts of positive thinkers who ended up in hideous situations because they misjudged the characters of the people with whom they have chosen to share their lives.

Yes, being positive can be appealing to other people. However being a neon balloon is not. As for the people whom these people see as negative thinkers, any number of them are more honest people than are they. Certainly not all of them; once again, negative thinking can be as deluded as positive thinking. And once again, neither begins to be adequate for solving the problems that we now face.

What is? Actual thinking, and putting it into place. Put the country to work putting into place viable smart energy solutions. Encourage a large cross-cultural flux for intermarriage to bring together men who are willing to be good to women with women who are willing to be good to men. Do away with anti-artistic attitudes and create a cultural renaissance at the level of 1920s America or Renaissance Italy. Leave the world a better place than you have found it.

At which point, once again, there will be more for people to be positive about. And that becomes the true definition of responsibility.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"Whining" And Analysis

There are many people who see the artistic type as whiney. In fact anyone is capable of being whiney if their expectations have been disappointed. I have known well-off Reagan conservatives who were very whiney when Clinton was President.

In some cases, what we are seeing is the behavior of people who have been disappointed. What they are good at is not valued in society, and that gives them a lot to whine about. In other cases we see as whining things that are not. One of the worst errors to that effect that I've seen has been portraying analysis – especially social analysis – as whining. It is no such thing. It is analysis. For a problem to be solved it first has to be seen; and if it is not seen then it has no chance of being solved.

To portray analysis as whining is therefore to prevent problems from being solved. And that makes the world worse for everyone, giving people still more to whine about for real.

The bottom line is that anyone can get whiney, including even the people who think themselves go-getters. That was the case for example for Republicans at the university that I attended in 1990s. They kept whining and whining. Then they went on claiming that whining is for liberal losers. Yet here they were supposedly tough and strong Republicans whining like a little bitch.

Are there many artistic types who are whiney? I am sure that they are; but they are not the only people who whine. And in any number of cases what they are actually doing is not whining but showing problems that need to be solved. Seeing a problem is the first step toward solving it. Portraying that process as whining prevents problems from being solved. And that is not a responsible or a rightful stance.

In my case, I do not whine at all. I know that my life has been a privileged one. I do however see all sorts of problems that need to be addressed. That is not whining, it is analysis. And analysis is necessary for all informed action.

So then there are some people who whine for justifiable reasons; and there are people who get painting as whining when they are in fact doing something far different. And then of course there are people who just whine. It is important to figure out who is doing what and for what reason. Then one can confront people who are doing the wrong thing and apply those who are doing the right thing for rightful ends.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why God Does Not Want To Be Known

In economics there is a concept that, once a pattern is recognized, it ceases to exist. The reason is that people cash in on the pattern and make it to disappear.

There appears to be a similar dynamic with God. Whenever people think that they have God figured out, God would throw a curve ball. It appears that God does not want to be known. The reason for that appears to be that, when people think that they have God figured out, they themselves want to become God. They of course do a lousy job of it. Whether it be Genghis Khan or Stalin or Kim Il Sung or anyone else, the person who tries to be God fails miserably and ends up doing all sorts of stupid things. That is because they are not God.

Alexander Pushkin, the greatest of Russian poets, had a poem about a fisherman. God asked the man what he wanted; and every day the man kept asking for more. God kept obliging until the man wanted to become God. At that point God took away everything that He had given the man and left him back as a fisherman.

There appears to be a good reason for such a thing. Whenever people find something out, they try to replicate it. By this logic it would follow that, if people were to understand God, they would attempt to construct another God. That of course may not sit well with God. So that is where we find ourselves now.

Now there are any number of people who see things such as genetic modification to be “playing God”; but most of these people are hypocrites. They see nothing wrong with destroying what they believe God to have created and everything wrong with creating something new. This is a very wrongful mentality. It is a mentality that accepts destructive potentials but suspects creative potentials. And the outcome of that mentality is humanity becoming completely destructive while failing to avail of the creative potentials that it has.

Once again, I see nothing wrong with finding out how living things work and even creating new ones. But when we try to understand God, the wrongful potentials are twofold. One is that of people acquiring over other people and over the world godlike powers and using them for all sorts of wrongdoing. And the other is that of people creating another God to compete with this one.

In the Transformers, there is the battle between two super-powerful robots: Optimus Prime and Magatron. If people were to create another God, the competition between the existing God and the created God would be far greater than anything in Transformers. We would see a situation that would make the Matrix scenario look like a walk in the park. So needless to say, it very much does appear that God does not want to be known to human intelligence, and for what seems to be a very good reason.

That does not however mean that God leaves us in the lurch. Solomon asked God for wisdom, and God obliged. But even more viable path is faith. Wisdom can be apprehended and used for wrong things, which means that God will not reveal all of it to us. Whereas faith is reliance on wisdom of God, and that cannot be used for wrong. So God will then give people the gift of faith and direct them according to His wisdom, which will in all cases be greater than ours.

Thus the method that many people associate with ignorance and stupidity – faith – in fact becomes the smartest path that is there. And it is a path that, unlike either knowledge or wisdom, cannot be used for wrong.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Self-Esteem" And "Law Of Attraction"

I have heard many claims that people attract attention based on how they feel about themselves. I do not believe that this is true. In fact I have seen many cases of the opposite. If you feel too good about yourself, other people will want to tear you down. If you feel too bad about yourself, other people will want to cheer you up.

A related claim is “The Law Of Attraction” - that like attracts like. I have also seen many cases to the contrary. There are many macho men who attract very feminine women. There are many kind people who attract very mean-spirited partners. There are many wise gurus who attract very stupid students. In none of these cases do we see like attracting the like.

So it goes that people believing such things are told to work on self-esteem and suchlike in order to improve what they are attracting. I have reasons to say that this approach is wrong. You do not attract people based on how you feel about yourself. You attract them based on what they think you to be. If others think that you are a jerk, they will not be good to you however you feel about yourself. If this is the case, the correct response is not working on your self-esteem but surrounding yourself with the kinds of people who value what you are. That way you will be surrounded by people who esteem you rightfully, whether or not you esteem yourself well. If you are a poet and you are surrounded by people who have no value for poetry, you will not be esteemed well regardless of how well you esteem yourself. You will be esteemed better however if you surround yourself with people who do have value for poetry.

Now I have been exposed to many people who have such ideas, and any number of them have made all sorts of negative claims about me. Quite simply I have a massive bullshit detector, and these are some of the forms of bullshit that I detect. There are many valid reasons to challenge these ideas. Especially with the issue of self-esteem, the idea has gotten far too big for its merits. Rewarding self-esteem does not make better people; it makes worse people. If you have high standards for yourself you will find it harder to feel good about yourself than if you have low standards for yourself. Rewarding self-esteem rewards low standards; and that means, worse people.

With the Law of Attraction, we see even worse things. If anything bad happens to you, you have caused it. So then, logically, if a witch who believes such a thing gets burned at the stake, she will have to say that she has brought it about. If a New Age community comes under attack from Islamists, they will have to say that they have caused it. This kind of thinking robs people of ethics and compassion. Which means that it is an evil set of beliefs.

As for the treatment that you attract, it is not based on how you feel about yourself. It is based on how others see you. Sometimes they would feel like you feel too good about yourself and will want to tear you down. At other times they would feel like you don't value yourself enough and will want to build you up. I have known some amazing people who felt badly about themselves. I did not treat them based on how they felt about themselves, but how I felt about them. I have also known jerks who thought of themselves too well. I likewise did not treat them based on how they felt about themselves, but how I felt about them.

In short, all of these attitudes have gotten far too big for their merits. And all of them are wrong, for reasons stated above. Not everyone who has bought into such things is an idiot, but even those who are not idiots are deluded. People's treatment of you is not a reflection of what you think about yourself but of what they think about you. Different people attract different things for all sorts of different reasons. And self-esteem is an absolute canard and a concept that degrades the character of mankind.

Justified Anger And Misuses Of Spirituality

I have seen a game played by any number of people who consider themselves spiritual. They would do something that would deliberately bring on an angry response. Then they would claim that the person is negative or evil or a neanderthal for getting angry. The person playing this game would then walk away feeling superior to the person whom he has played in this manner. The anger would be the proof of one's superiority and the inferiority of the other person.

The game is quite similar to a related game that is played by some people who consider themselves rational. These people would make some kind of a poisonous statement; that would bring on an emotional response; then they would walk away saying that the other person is irrational or crazy or neurotic.

Seeing such abuses, there have been any number of people deciding that there was something wrong with, respectively, spirituality or reason. That is wrong. The problem is that these things get used for wrongdoing. All sorts of things can be used for wrongdoing, including many things that are not at all bad in themselves. Money, intelligence, beauty and all sorts of moral values can be used for wrongdoing; but that does not make any of them bad. However the more they are used in this way, the more they become discredited, and the more credible becomes the case of the people who want to see them as something bad. And of these there are plenty.

So for example we have any number of people in the baby boom generation going around that the people younger than themselves are negative or neanderthals or evil because any number of them have negative or angry feelings. I am sorry, the conduct of any number of these people deserves angry responses. If you have left the world a worse place than you have found it, then anger at you is legitimate. These problems will not be solved by “positive thinking” or anything of the sort; they will be solved by informed and directed action. For a problem to be solved it has to be seen, and if you think that this is negative then being negative is part of the process. Failing to do so is not enlightenment or anything of the sort. It is lying to yourself and others. Many of these people started out seeking to do the right thing, then they did the wrong thing. So when someone else seeks to do the right thing, these people smugly claim that they have been in the same place and then moved beyond it to better places. They did not move to better places. They moved to a worse place. They started out caring about the world and its future and became short-sighted and careless. That is not an improvement, it is a degradation.

Of course many of these people have availed themselves of all sorts of spiritual knowledge, and not all of them have been using it for right things. If they are using it to aggravate people in order to make them look bad, or to make it look like legitimate anger at them is something wrong with the person who has it, then that is not rightful use of spiritual knowledge. Neither predatory behavior nor dishonest behavior counts as enlightenment. Misusing this knowledge in such a manner discredits spirituality as such. And that makes things bad even for people who are using spirituality for rightful purposes.

I have seen all sorts of misuses of just about everything that is there. Just about anything that is good can be made bad. This is the case with both spirituality and reason. Reason is a good thing, but it can be used for all sorts of wrong things. Spirituality is a good thing, and it can also be used for all sorts of wrong things. It is important that people who stand to be hurt by misuses of such things have the knowledge that they need not to fall for predatory conduct. Then they will be able to separate the value from the misuses of the value. They will be less likely to turn against the value itself, and the value will remain free to be used for rightful purposes. This is the case, once again, with spirituality and reason both.

As for anger, no, it is not always a wrong thing. There very much is such a thing as righteous anger. Once again, being angry at people who've left the world a worse place than they found it is righteous. You can get as positive as you want to get. That will not solve the problem. In such situations it is rightful to get angry or negative. Only by being recognized first will the problem stand a chance of being solved.

So the misuses of spirituality for wrongful ends have lead many people to conclude that spirituality as such is a bad thing. That is wrong as well. Once again, reason can also be used for all sorts of wrong things, but that does not make reason bad. Anything that is good can be used for wrong ends. Any value can be corrupted. That does not discredit the value; it discredits those who use it for wrong and make good things into bad things.

So no, being angry or negative is not always unjustifiable. There are many situations in which such responses are correct. When a nuclear reactor blows up you have to tell people what has happened. Failing to do so because doing so would be negative is not enlightenment; it is lying. When people are poisoning the planet and leave it a worse place for their children than they have found it, being angry at such a thing is right. Misusing metaphysical concepts to make it look like it is the other person's problem makes metaphysical concepts that much less credible, and it also makes you look like a jerk to anyone who has any insight into the matter.

The correct approach is to actually solve all these problems. The people who work on such real solutions deserve all the credit that they can. The people who misuse metaphysics or anything else to hide from or deny these problems are the true villains. It is rightful that they be seen in the negative light. And it is rightful that people go to work solving these problems head on so that the world that they leave behind for their children be a better place than they have found it, however "negative" anyone paints them to be for that reason.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

False Gods And False Satans

For a long time, political correctness had any number of people believe that the Western civilization was the root of all wrongs done against women. Then the Muslims invaded, and that claim could no longer be credibly made, as the Muslims are worse by standards of feminism than any place in the West. So now these people are having to decide whether to look like complete idiots and traitors and side with Muslims, or to admit their error and side with their own countries in which they have enough rights to make their ridiculous claims.

The politically correct created a false Satan. They decided that there was a single root of evil. Of course they were wrong. But also wrong had been the people who made the Western civilization their god. When you create a false god, it is only a time before somebody comes along and instead calls him Satan. False gods and false Satans create one another.

We see this with just about everything that is out there. Government. Corporate system. Men. Women. Jews. Reason. Faith. Feelings. Ego. Soul. Science. Capitalism. Whatever may be one's interests, if one is clever enough he could make it look like the definition of good. Then someone whose interests do not correspond with his own will then come along and say that it is the definition of evil.

Both will be dead wrong.

The Western civilization is neither God nor Satan. Neither is anything else listed above. All of these can have both positive and negative outcomes, usually a mix. Neither business nor labor are good or bad; both are capable of both. Neither men nor women are good or bad; both are capable of both. Neither government nor private sector are good or bad; both are capable of both. Same most certainly is the case for the Western civilization. Anything human can be good or bad. That is because anything capable of choice can choose to be good or bad, and is in just about all cases a mix of both.

So these people created a false Satan, and they are being met with a real-life refutation that they cannot deny. Muslims are more misogynistic than even the Western conservatives. A much uglier Satan is staring them straight in the face. They can no longer fool people as easily. Then these Muslim dudes come to places like Sydney and Oslo and gang-rape young women and teach young men in bad neighborhoods to be even worse to women than they had been before. So they have a choice: Either continue with their ever-more-obviously ridiculous standpoint, or recognize what is patently obvious and correct the bullshit that they are teaching the kids.

Are these people the only ones who pull tricks of this kind? Absolutely not. It is fashionable in many places to see the corporate mindset as “reality” and anyone who is not a part of it as not living in the real world. Now the corporate world is real enough; but it is ridiculous to say that it is reality. The Sun is reality. Planet Earth is reality. China and India are reality. The rainforest is reality. Corporate mindset is not reality, it is a mindset. You do not leave “reality” or “real world” when you think in other ways than how it wants you to think. What you are doing instead is acquiring a more complete view of reality. Then, if you go back to the corporate world, you do so with a more informed understanding of the world; and if you do not, you still have a more complete understanding of reality than you did when you were in it.

So now we see the corporate mindset being elevated to being a God; and – surprise surprise – what do we see is a rise in socialist agitation, where the corporate world is being painted as Satan. Once again, if you create a false God, it is only a matter of time before someone comes along and inverts it and says that it is Satan. The correct solution is to call things by their proper name. The corporate world, the government, the Western civilization, and anything else listed above, is neither Satan nor God. They are human phenomena which, like all human phenomena, can be good, evil, or a mix.

So Hobbes, then Communists, stated as much as that the state was God. Then the libertarians, anarchists and some conservatives stated instead that it is Satan. It is neither of the above. The state consists of people. So do all sorts of private entities. There is no reason to expect people within the state and people outside the state to be better or worse than one another. Governments can be good and governments can be bad. Private power can be good and private power can be bad. In Western democracies, where governments are elected, official, accountable, checked and balanced, while entities like Texas Oil and the Church of Scientology are not, there is adequate scrutiny of the government and not adequate scrutiny of private entities, allowing these private entities to get away with abuses that are not allowed the federal government.

With ego, we see some people seeing it as the source of all evil and others as the fountainhead of progress. Some people worship genius or risk-taking or love and others name such things narcissism. Some people worship the mind and others say that reason is cold or immoral. Some people say that unconditional obedience to whatever any given society wants is the definition of good and others say that any kind of conformity is evil. False gods beget false satans. In fact no human phenomenon deserves either deification or demonization. Everything listed above, and more, can go right or wrong.

So it is time that these fallacies be seen through. No human phenomenon is God. No human phenomenon is Satan. Call things by their proper names. Anything human can go right or wrong. And that is as much the case for the Western civilization as it is for all other things listed above.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Role Of Science In Prosperity

Margaret Thatcher said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.

She failed to ask the question that another great capitalist supporter Ayn Rand asked: What is the root of money?

Most of what business sells comes from science. Without science, capitalism would be nothing more than exchange of basic commodities at the level it was in Medieval Persia. What this means is that the money is owed in at least as great – if not greater – extent to science as it is owed to business.

It is also owed to teachers who educate both the businessman and the worker; the military and the police who protect national borders and enforce property rights; and of course the worker.

The role of science in economics is vast. That is the case both with the products being sold and the way in which they are being sold. Science is responsible for vehicles, TVs, phones, computers, domestic appliances, air conditioning and much more. It – in form of psychology - is also constantly being used in marketing, management and human relations. Advertising constantly uses psychology; so does management; so does market research. In short, science is responsible for most of what is sold and most of how it is sold.

There were many places that had the market system. Most of them were poor. The reason that we are more prosperous than Medieval Persia or Tsarist Russia, which likewise had market system, is technology; and technology comes from science.

So when Margaret Thatcher talked about other people's money, she was confused as to what was the source of other people's money. Business had a role in it – a large role - but in no way did it begin to deserve full credit. Scientists, teachers and many others had a vast role in it as well. As of course did the workers, union or non union. As did the military, the police and any number of others. At that time, nobody knew how to deal with her arguments. I do.

This brings me to a related subject – that of responsibility. Just about everyone speaks in favor of responsibility; but they have different ideas as to what responsibility is. Some – such as many in business - think that responsibility is about being financially well off. Others – such as scientists, teachers, military and others – think that responsibility is about contributing to, or serving, the country or the civilization. I have of course heard it from all sides, including that of Ayn Rand.

When the only form of responsibility that is encouraged is what some call personal responsibility, or financial self-interest, we will see all sorts of negative effects. Everyone will want to become a yuppie; nobody will want to become teachers, scientists, police, military, or social workers. These professions do not make very much money, and if responsibility is defined solely as monetary self-interest then very few people will go into these professions. This will starve the country of a lot of what it needs. I've been a yuppie myself, and I did not find the other yuppies I knew to be more responsible than scientists or teachers I've known. They made more money; but the money that they made came from the work of scientists, and the reason that they could be yuppies was owed to their teachers and college professors. Likewise the fact that they could do business at all was also owed to the police that protected their property rights and the military that protected their country.

Now to someone who defines responsibility as monetary self-interest, teachers and scientists would be considered irresponsible. Many of them would be seen as losers. And yet these people's work is vastly important, even to business; and without them there would be no prosperity, even to the businessman himself.

In the people who equate responsibility with monetary self-interest, we see all sorts of other irresponsible behaviors. We see people poisoning the oceans and the air. We see people burning the rainforest and destroying great treasures that they cannot conceivably recreate. We see people forcing reliance on destructive technologies while standing in the way of progress toward better technologies. Some of them genuinely think that they are being responsible. They are not.

Who is more responsible: Yuppies or scientists? I've had extensive interactions with both. Both claimed to be practicing responsibility; but they had different ideas as to what responsibility meant. One saw responsibility as being well-off financially, and the other saw responsibility as contributing to the civilization. I see a room for both concepts of responsibility, as I do for both business and science. Yuppies need scientists, teachers, military, police and many others. Scientists need funding.

I am in no way against business. I am however against ignorance, and claiming business to be the sole root of prosperity is ignorance. Prosperity is owed to an equal – or greater – extent to science. It is also owed to teachers, military, police, workers, and many others. To claim that business is the only root of money is ignorance. And ignorance does not qualify as responsibility by any definition.

I, myself, am not ignorant of these issues at all. I have an economics degree from a conservative American university. I use concepts from classical economics for all sorts of things, including on issues on which nobody uses it, such as gender relations. I have found classical economics incomplete on three fronts. One, as I have been saying, prosperity is owed as much to science as it is owed to business. Secondly, most consumption decisions are not based on rational interest but on psychology. Finally, the market does not inevitably select for the best product, and there are many situations in which an inferior product rises to market dominance through a superior marketing or business strategy.

Do we throw out classical economics or militate against capitalism? Not by any means at all. We correct the errors in their claims. We also correct what is obviously an incomplete definition of what is responsibility. A good teacher or scientist is at least as responsible as any yuppie and most businessmen; and if the only idea of responsibility that is encouraged is “personal responsibility” then the country will be starved of such people, resulting in many negative effects to business itself.

A responsible person would not be poisoning the planet, nor would he be defunding the academia and gutting education. Unfortunately the Reagan conservatives have done all of the above. I do not meet them with Communism or socialism; I meet them with the logical implications of what they themselves claim to be their values. If you value responsibility, you would not be doing things that are irresponsible, such as poisoning the planet. If you have family values or Christian values, you would not be leaving behind for your children a worse world than you have found. And if you value honesty and integrity, you would not be telling people a pack of lies.

Now I've known any number of businessmen – liberal and conservative – and in many cases I liked what I saw. But I also liked what I saw in scientists and teachers and social workers, in any number of laborers, and even in some in the military and the police. I see neither one as being superior or inferior to the other, nor do I see either's definition of responsibility as totally wrong. I see a room for both definitions of responsibility. As much as I do for both business and science.

So that while it may very well be valid to stand in defense of capitalism, let's not forget who actually deserves credit for prosperity. Business has a role in it, but in no way is it the only role. Prosperity also owes greatly to science, as well as to any number of other pursuits. Equating responsibility proper with financial self-interest disincentivizes professions that do not make much money but are vastly important. And that hurts the country and business itself.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cats, Dogs And Systemic Extermination

There are people who are like dogs, and there are people who are like cats. When dogs are in charge, they want to make the cats into dogs. That of course does not work. Cats are cats; dogs are dogs. No matter how much the cat tries to become a dog, that is never possible.

I was once with a magnificent visual artist named Julia. She was married to a severely violent Reagan conservative, and he kept saying such things as “why can't you be like other wives.” She was a Christian, and she was praying to God that she become normal. Of course God did not grant that prayer. That is because God does not want us to fit whatever is considered normal in any given time and place. God wants three things from us: To be our best, to be righteous and to treat one another well. This man was doing none of the above, and his misuse of the Christian authority over his wife for completely wrong purposes made him by far the bigger sinner.

Religion aside, there is the issue of what happens when a cat chances to be born among dogs. This is usually a bad experience both for the cat and the dogs. A cat will never be a normal dog. Not if you threaten it, not if you bully it, not if you medicate it, not if you psychoanalyze it, not if you preach hellfire and tarnation. And even if it tries to be a dog, it will never become one. Which means that, no matter how much the cat attempts to disfigure itself so as to be pleasing to dogs, it will never be anything close to enough.

Now of course cats can be bad to dogs as well. I knew a young man in Melbourne who was very macho and wanted to join the military; but his parents, who were Melbourne liberals, did everything that they could to keep him from doing so. That is wrong; anyone who wants to join the military should be able to do so, even if he has a criminal record, for as long as he is willing to serve. I knew of a man in Oregon who was raised by hippies. He was of the astrological sign Taurus, and the people around him kept going on about how Tauruses are greedy. In neither case do we see rightful behavior. Cats being bad to dogs is just as bad as dogs being bad to cats.

However most of the abuses have been done by dogs to cats, and not the other way around. Dogs keep waging extermination campaigns against cats. In 1930s and 1940s it was them damn Jews. In 1950s it was them damn pinkos. In 1990s it was them damn perverts and sociopaths. Now it is them damn narcissists. The biggest problem with the latter concept is that it would pathologize the world's most important contributors. If it is narcissistic to seek great success or to have original ideas, then everyone who's had great success and everyone who has original ideas is a narcissist; which means that the world owes vastly to people with this disorder.

Another claim that the dogs like to make about the cats is that they lack empathy. The question to ask is, for whom? If I am a cat and you are a dog, I will not empathize with you and you will not empathize with me. You will see me as some kind of monster. I will however empathize a lot better with another cat.

In recent times, we have seen cat types of men getting treated as criminals and cat types of women - who are usually very beautiful - becoming punching bags for one or another kind of jerk. Both were seen as dangerous, and concerted efforts were made to disempower both and exterminate those whom they could exterminate. Many people thought that the cat phenomenon was unique to “the sixties generation.” So that when I came along acting like a cat, that was disturbing to many people. Of course I endured many attempts to wipe me off the face of the planet, but I was gifted with nine lives, maybe even more.

So how can cats survive in a dog world? Mostly by looking after one another. Cats need to learn to recognize one another and stick with one another and fight back all the attempts by dogs to exterminate them. I told some folks who were of cat persuasion that I will go into the dog world and scratch the dogs who attack them. But it will take more than that to make the cat species great.