Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Russian Rudeness and Russian History

The Russian people are known as being rude, violent and authoritarian. While I do not yet understand the historical origin of Russian rudeness, a case can be made that rudeness is actually more respectful and honorable than politeness. When you are rude, people know exactly where you stand; whereas when you are polite they are left guessing. I have heard it say by an American lady that sometimes nice people are worse than mean ones. And I have also known any number of salesmen and player types in both America and Australia who put on a nice and polite front while wooing a lady but turned into monsters when the woman was theirs.

In the Japanese culture – and in some parts of the America - it is considered wrongful to say, even to think, anything negative. This turns into absolute dishonesty. After the Fukashima disaster, the Japanese politicians following their customs did not tell people the reality of the gravity of what had taken place, and people lacked the knowledge that they needed to protect their lives and their health.

Some of the reasons for these attitudes are the Buddhist law of cause and effect and the Pagan law of attraction: That like begets like and that you get what you send out. A traditional Russian would look at people who believe such things and say, “What a bunch of airheads.” They in return would look back at him and say, “What a loser.”

Both of the above have a point. It may be valid to be a positive person; it is most certainly valid to see in people their positive qualities; but it is in no way valid to be either blind or insincere.

Where does the trademark Russian negativity come from? Probably the idea in Orthodox Christianity that the world is evil. That would of course create a negative outlook on life. It does not however necessarily translate into failure. Russians have had all sorts of disasters; they also put the first man in space, won the Second World War, produced brilliant inventions, created some of the world's greatest music and literature, and for several decades credibly rivalled America for leadership of the world.

Where rudeness fails is when it turns into an actual disrespect. This leads to closed-mindedness that keeps the person from seeing other people's positive qualities or learning the things that they need to know. One thing I've learned from American businessmen is that you never know when someone will have something useful to say or have something useful to offer, and unpleasantness can deter useful input and alienate potential friends. There are many Russian people who need to hear that and correct such behaviors, as they are hurting mostly themselves. But at no point do they need to go the way of the Japanese or the players or Southern belles and become actually insincere.

One place that does stand to benefit from a healthy dose of traditional Russian rudeness is the politically correct cultures in America. These places want to stop any speech that anyone can consider to be offensive. This prevents from being said anything controversial – meaning, anything meaningful. That vitiates the First Amendment as well as the democratic intent. Bad beliefs in a democracy are not meant to be censored; they are meant to be met with rational refutation.

As for the Russian violence and authoritarianism, this is due to Russian history. They have learned again and again that violence and authoritarianism pay. They had very nice cities at once, that were conquered by Mongols and subdued for 300 years. There was another situation when there were two competing Russian governments – the Tsar in Moscow and a democracy in Novgorod – and Moscow conquered Novgorod. Trotsky was far less brutal than Stalin, but Stalin rose to great power and Trotsky wound up getting shot. Under the Soviet rule, Russia became a superpower; but it was laid as low as dirt under the humanitarian Gorbachev and the democratic Yeltsin.

In a recent poll of Russian people, 30% said that they wanted democracy, 30% said that they wanted authoritarianism, and 30% said that they did not know. Their own historical lessons favor authoritarianism, but they also know about democracy in the West. This creates conflict between those who look at Russian traditional history and those who look to the West; and this conflict has been ongoing since 17th century.

One thing that make the former credible at this time has been the failure of the hopes of many. Many Russian people looked up to the West, but many now believe that West has betrayed them. This has created a very dangerous situation. It has reinforced the traditional authoritarian attitudes and discredited those who looked to the West. Putin remains highly popular, even despite the sanctions; and I am of the opinion that the sanctions are also working to reinforce these attitudes.

What we are dealing with here is a very volatile mix, and one that has all sorts of destructive potentials. We are seeing the better people being discredited, and we are seeing the worse people becoming more credible. Wrong lessons learned from history are being reinforced, and reinforced with them are also bad cultural habits. The West needs to reach out to Russia in the same way that Russian people reached out to the West. Only then will the better habits become more credible. And only then will wrong lessons that have been learned from history finally be unlearned.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pat Robertson, James Randi, and the New Age

Christian evangelicals have been a major force the world over, especially the United States. The main intellectual reason has been that Pat Robertson used the arguments of postmodernism to create an intellectual basis for fundamentalist Christianity. I do not see why he would not. If postmodernism can be used to bring in Hare Krishna or paganism, I see no reason why it cannot be used to bring in Christianity as well. It was a brilliant move, and Pat Robertson used it to become a leader of a very powerful spiritual and political movement.

As for James Randi, the leader of the so-called “skeptic” movement, he is a fool. Why on earth would God or Ganesh or the Tao want to be studied by people who do not believe in them? It says in the Bible, “Do not put the Lord your God to test”; and Buddha explicitly forbade his followers the use of miracles as means of persuasion. The Christian's powers are not under conscious control; they come either from Christ or from Christians with either spiritual knowledge or very strong faith – in many cases people who have converted to Christianity from paganism or New Age while retaining what they have learned. As for the people whose powers are under conscious control, very few of them can reliably reproduce a one in a million result, and those who can either do not want to call attention to themselves or else they either do not need or do not want a million dollars.

With the New Age movement, we see both good things and bad things. I see absolutely nothing wrong with teaching people Reiki or yoga or Zen, or bringing into the West the wisdom of Native Americans or Australian Aborigines. Astrology is something that I once had dismissed, but it has been shown to me by people who are not stupid in any way to make very precise descriptions of both individual and generational character. I see none of these things as being unethical or destructive. There is however something that's very wrong with the New Age movement.

One of the central claims of the New Age movement is that people are responsible for everything that happens to them. I find this to be morally wrong. This attitude can be used to excuse any atrocity under the sun under the claim that those at the receiving end of the atrocity have brought it about.

It also is a claim that is very easy to stand on its head. All that one needs to do is negatively impact the other person – as people of course do all the time – and then the person will have to blame herself. A witch who gets burned at the stake will have to say that she did it and not the Grand Inquisitor. A woman who gets beaten to death by her husband will have to say that she caused it and not the man. And if a New Age community comes under barbaric attack from Muslim or Christian fundamentalists, they will also have to say that they did it to themselves.

Probably the one thing that makes people such as James Randi credible to some is the fact that the main religion of the place – Christianity – has put a damper upon magick, spiritism, shamanism and similar pursuits. This has destroyed the evidence for spiritual activity in Christian-influenced societies, leading many to think that such things are hogwash. I do not have the option of such beliefs; I know what I have experienced, and I also have a testimony of many others, including distinguished scientists, successful entrepreneurs and highly educated, highly successful professionals. A person who has not seen evidence for such activity and is skeptical of it is making an honest, innocent mistake. A person who has had such experiences and either repressed or denied them is in no way honest or innocent.

The same is the case for many in the academia, who have seen any number of scientific studies that demonstrate spiritual activity but have censored them or dismissed them with a likewise dishonest claim that “an extraordinary claim requires an extraordinary level of proof.” I see absolutely nothing extraordinary about something that the bulk of humanity believes in. A far more extraordinary claim is that the bulk of humanity are lunatics and that the only sane people are ones partaking of academic groupthink.

Pat Robertson has disgraced himself by making claims that were obviously false. If AIDS had been God's way of controlling the homosexual population, then the bulk of people dying of AIDS would be homosexuals in San Francisco and not straight men and women in Africa. And if 9-11 had been God's punishment for America for the feminists and liberals living in America, then it would have happened not in 2001 but in 1960s and 1970s when there were far more feminists and liberals in America than there were the last decade. This impugns Pat Robertson and brands him America's biggest conman, which of course he has been all along. It does not however impugn either Christianity or spirituality.

It is valid to use reason; not valid to believe that the bulk of humanity are loonies. It is valid to have faith; not valid to use it to deny one's children an adequate education or to militate against science and mathematics. It is valid to have spiritual experience; not valid to believe that if I were to rape you and kill you it would be your fault rather than mine or that the 50 million people who perished in the Gulag had it coming to them or that if a truck runs over a 4-year-old child it is her fault.

There are any number of folks on the ground with all sorts of knowledge, and they have been taking it in all sorts of directions. I know of a Jehovah's Witnesses family in Australia that has taken extensive interest in psychology and the occult and has been using that knowledge to further the Jehovah's Witnesses agenda. I know of a number of Christians in both Australia and America who came to Christ after having been part of the consciousness movement, Hare Krishna or the New Age and have likewise been using what they had learned to promote Christianity. The people who have no use for such things think that they are smart, but whom they are fooling really is themselves. As one of the leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous said of such people, “I feel sorry for you.”

One useful observation of the spiritual and social conflicts of recent decades has been made by a fellow from Louisiana. He has told me that nobody has won the conflict; instead everyone has gotten better at what they did. Probably the major reason for this is that all parties have learned from one another. It is inevitable in a democracy that different parties will influence other parties; as of course they do all the time. Not political correctness, not closed-mindedness and blind faith, not blinkered ignorant rationalism and dishonest psychological brainwashing, can avoid this outcome.

So now I know of any number of people who either left Jehovah's Witnesses or attempted to do so in order to join “the world.” And I know of a psychic lady in America whose son was co-opted by the Jehovah's Witnesses, whom she has not seen in years. There are Jews and Muslims converting to Christianity, Christians becoming atheists, atheists becoming occultists or Buddhists or pagans, and on and on and on. I see no resolution to this in sight. My solution is to learn from all sides by both experiencing them from within and assaying them from without in order to create what I call an integrative understanding of them all.

An understanding that combines the perspective of observation with the perspective of experience, making it possible to know both how a phenomenon is experienced by its participants and the effects that it has on the rest of the world.

Scott Lasch said that my generation was “at sea”; so I respond, “Learn to swim with the mermaids.” There is a reason for the phenomenon that he has seen. It is called democracy. In a democracy we will see all sorts of people influencing one another in all sorts of directions both for good and for ill. I offer my generation a practical way to use this situation for rightful ends. Learn from all sides and create a more informed worldview than what we see practiced by any given side. In the process, teach all the sides what they need to know from one another and correct their errors. Create a more informed worldview for yourself and for everyone with whom you work.

I have found useful things in everything that I have studied and experienced. I have also found wrong things in each. I learn what I need to learn, and I correct the wrongs that I see.

When I see someone practicing an obviously wrong belief – such as that women or Jews are evil, or that AIDS is God's way of controlling the homosexual population, or that business is the only root of prosperity and scientific knowledge isn't, or that men are by nature destructive, or that the Western civilization is the root of oppression of women, or that “sociopaths” and “narcissists” are evil and can only be evil whatever they do, however hard they work and whatever work they do on themselves - I correct them with reason.

When I see an illegitimate power grab, such as Catherine McKinnon and Eminem claiming to speak for 50% of humanity without these 50% of humanity having voted for them to do so, and in the process dictating to their gender the worst possible behavior, I correct them with political science.

When I see libertarians expending all their scrutiny on the federal government without adequately scrutinizing private religious, communitarian and economic power to allow the same to get away with horrendous abuses, I correct them by informing them of these abuses.

When I see gender warriors creating a wrongful set of incentives within society to encourage and reward horrific behavior in each gender, I correct them with economic concepts and an economic solution: To bring together women and men from around the globe who are willing to be good to one another and as such to create rightful incentives on both genders that reward good behavior and good will.

When I see wrong historical lessons learned or cultures having been shaped by bad influences, I correct them with psychological analysis.

When I see someone pushing on people an unethical and cruel belief structure, I correct them with Christ.

John Keats said that the way toward intelligence is to make one's mind a thoroughway for all thoughts. John Keats produced some of the greatest writing in history. Many people believe that romanticism has been discredited, but then for a long time many people thought that so was Christianity. I find the concepts from Romantic poets to be as useful as I am finding Christianity. And I am applying them toward highly rational – and highly principled - ends.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Besting Conservatives At Their Game

Joan of Arc was an admirable woman. She bested men at their own game of war. Largely as a result of her legacy, French women get more respect than do women just about anywhere else.

This is not the only time in history in which someone bested the other at their own game. After the South was conquered, the South copied the ways of the North while appropriating for itself American patriotism. The South became very powerful and influential in America as a result.

Another such situation has been the computer industry. The conservatives thought for a long time that they owned business. But as they defunded the academia, many liberal-minded people who otherwise would have been scientists went into the private sector and created the computer industry boom of 1990s. Many of these became more successful at business than most conservatives. They bested the conservatives at their own game.

There have been women who bested men at their own games of business and politics. There have been men who bested women at their own game of emotional manipulation. These people have learned from the other side and then used that knowledge to empower themselves and the people with whom they were allied.

The Japanese did not invent the automobile; but they bested the West at producing them. The people in Dubai did not invent the skyscraper; but they bested America at building ones. Similarly we are seeing China, India and Africa copying the Western economic systems and rising to prosperity and influence in the world.

For a long time, conservatives thought that they owned prosperity and said such things as, “America: Love it or leave it.” As more Jewish and liberal people achieved business success, they changed their tune. So now supposedly there is a Satanic New World Order Conspiracy taking over the planet and America is supposedly run by them damn commies and them damn Jews. They had been bested at their own game – the game that they thought they owned. And in defense of which game they had committed completely unjustifiable actions such as gutting America's educational system and defunding its science – to result, once again, in there being greater presence of liberals and Jews in private industry.

These people believe that “money talks, bullshit walks”; then the attack the so-called “limousine liberals.” The “limousine liberals” are in no way hypocritical; instead I see many of them as heroic. These are people with good values who made do in a very hostile climate and achieved economic success. If money talks, then these people should be talking. Whereas it is completely hypocritical to claim to believe in money and financial prosperity while attacking people of a different ideology who have achieved the same.

According to conservatives, if you are liberal and not doing well you are a loser; if you are liberal and doing well you are a hypocrite. They think such things because they believe themselves to be a winner's club that owns winning habits. When somebody else – liberal, Jewish, French, Chinese, Hindu, or anywhere else in the world – likewise becomes a winner, this contradicts their worldview. So then the sky is falling and the world is Satan's and the Jews are in control and them damn commies are taking over the world. This is hypocrisy and foolishness at their worst – hypocrisy and foolishness entirely unbecoming the people who claim to have moral values and real-world intelligence.

There is now adequate liberal, Jewish and foreign presence in business to correct the errors of those conservatives who claim to own business as such. I would also like to see more liberal, black, Jewish and female presence in the military. The liberals are improving the business culture, and they should also improve the military culture. That way, the conservatives will not be able to get away with claiming to own either business or the military and will have to treat people who are unlike themselves with greater respect.

Of course, the more this is done the more the conservatives will decide that America is Satanic. At which point they will no longer be able to claim the platform of American patriotism. In this situation, it will become advisable for liberals to claim American patriotism and espouse it to the same extent as has been done by the South after the Civil War. At which point liberals, not conservatives, will be able to speak for American values. And a mentality that has been once thought vanquished will rise to its rightful place in the world.

Correcting Errors in Classical Economics

I have an education in economics from University of Virginia. I have found economic concepts to be useful in many areas besides economics, and I have been applying them to such matters as how to create rightful incentives within society on gender relations. Upon further reflection, I have also seen any number of ways in which classical economics is incomplete.

One major problem with classical economics is that it fails to acknowledge the role of science in producing business prosperity. Most of what business sells comes from science. The scientist does not make much money from the knowledge that he produces; but business makes tons of money from that knowledge. The scientist is not properly compensated for the work that he does; the businessman gets far more than his fair share. What this means at the political level is that prosperity is owed as much to the scientist as it is owed to the businessman, and while business certainly has a vast role in creating prosperity the same is owed to an equal or greater extent to science.

Another problem is the belief that people's consumption decisions are driven by rational self-interest. While some consumption decisions are in fact driven by that, there are any number of others that are not rational at all. We see people gorging themselves on bad food until they get diabetes. We see people gambling away their savings or using all the money they have to buy drugs. We see already-beautiful women paying huge sums of money to keep coming back for plastic surgery treatments. None of these behaviors are remotely rational.

There are other consumer behaviors not as obviously extreme that are irrational as well. It is irrational to spend lots of money on clothes because they are in fashion when one can get good enough clothes for one tenth the price. It is irrational for people in a supposedly free country to wear the same clothes, buy the same brand of car or live in the same kind of house as one's neighbors in order to conform to their expectations. It is irrational to buy a huge house and spend all one's life paying it off just because it is a status symbol. These behaviors may be understandable, but they are not rational. They are driven by psychology.

And from what I have seen, at least as many consumption behaviors – if not more – are due to psychology rather than rational self-interest.

Finally, there is the claim that market mechanisms select for the best product. That likewise is not always the case. There have been many situations in which the inferior product dominated the marketplace. We see that with fast food chains vs. Mom and Pop shops; with VHS vs. Beta; with Microsoft vs. Borland. In all these cases, an inferior product rose to market dominance by virtue of either superior marketing or a smarter business strategy.

This reinforces – again – the role of psychology in economics. Psychology is used extensively in marketing and market research. Psychology is a science as well; which adds more to the observation as to just how much business owes to science.

And then there is of course the role of government Interstate system and government protection of property rights.

Should we throw out classical economics entirely? No, merely show just how easily it can be taken into a wrong direction. The people who claim to defend economic opportunity and prosperity in the same sentence as they attack “liberal academia” are either conmen or else they have been conned themselves. The people who use classical economics to justify using psychological manipulation to push on people an inferior product are violating the central claim of classical economics. And the people who use people's fears and insecurities to sell them things that are bad for them and make tons of money in the process have no business claiming to speak for Christian or American values.

Capitalism is a human phenomenon, and any human phenomenon is capable of producing both good and bad results. It does not deserve to be either deified or demonized. It should be encouraged when it produces beneficial results, and it should be corrected when it is used for wrong ends. Perhaps the best way to accomplish the latter without involving large-scale government action is to steer people who are vulnerable to being conned away from the control of the people who want to con them. And it is to inform people enough about both economics and psychology so that they can avoid being prey of unscrupulous people who use classical economics to justify destructive behavior.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sheep and Wolves: Good Cop and Bad Cop

There have been some people who referred to me as a "wolf in a sheep's clothing." In fact I am not - nor do I pretend to be - either a sheep or a wolf. There are far too many of both, and my interest is in other species.

There are in fact many people who are "wolves in a sheep's clothing." They are called salesmen and players. These people pretend to be nice and to be your friend; but what they want is your money or else they want you for a trophy wife. I have known any number of women who fell for the false fronts of salesmen or players, mistaking them for goodness of character. The results have been disastrous for them and for their children.

From the perspective of everyone else in the world - whether they be Hindus, Asians, Africans, Native Americans, Australian aborigines or the Siberian tribes - the sheep and the wolves work together. The sheep tame the wolves and send them to kill off other species and take their land so that they can go there and multiply. At which point the wolves, sensing that they've been exploited, start tearing up the sheep and think that they are doing their country a favor.

In one case we see soft power; in the other case we see hard power. These two play good cop and bad cop. One wants to convince the other species to adopt the ways of the sheep and the wolves; the other exterminates anyone who does not agree. And then of course the two fight among one another. Both species need one another, yet both have anger at one another as well. I see no reason to pick the side of either party.

I want neither a sheep nor a wolf. I want a gazelle. I like artistic women. These women, being gazelles, are frequently attacked by both the sheep and the wolves. And I of course have been attacked by both.

So I see no reason why people should be limited to being either sheep or wolves. There are many other far more beautiful species. And many of them have been either driven into extinction or forced to adopt the ways of the sheep and the wolves, depriving the world of much beauty and vast wisdom.

Facing world run over by the sheep and the wolves, it is understandable - as well as rightful - to seek alternatives to both. The person who does so preserves vastly more beautiful species and gives them a chance to preserve their legacy. And that enriches the world as a whole and also whatever country which he does this.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Player Hell

When I was on an internet group called alt.romance, there were young men there who called themselves “nice guys.” These people would befriend and counsel young ladies, only to watch them pass over them in relationships and go with men whom they saw as being “jerks.” I watched these young men become more and more aggressively misogynistic as they went from “women only go with jerks” to “women make irresponsible choices in relationships” to “women are stupid and evil” to “women should be played, controlled and abused.”

Now leaving the issue of whether or not they were actually nice – their behavior obviously shows to the contrary – there is something here with much greater implications. While being a player can work in getting casual sex, in long-term relationships it is a complete disaster.

The relationship starts with a lie. What can a lie not handle? Either truth or any other competing fallacy. The process of defending a relationship that starts with a lie involves an ever-more-elaborate, an ever-more-oppressive, and an ever-more-transparently-ridiculous web of deceit. This creates a hell for everyone involved, including the man who does this. Either the woman or the children – or both – eventually learn to see through the deception; and one winds up either with a hateful wife or with rebellious kids.

At this point the man responsible for the con job starts using moral or religious arguments. He has the right to neither; he is a con man. He had no ethical considerations in going for the woman; he went for her because she was hot. He deceived her and built a relationship based on deception. Neither of these are the actions of an ethical man.

So when we see young men being encouraged to play women, what we are seeing is encouragement of a highly unethical behavior – behavior that ends up being totally self-defeating. The man does not love the woman; he has played the woman. And that is a completely rotten foundation for a relationship and an even worse foundation for family life.

Now there have been any number of women in feminist movement who have taken the experience of their parents and used it to claim that love is a patriarchial racket. Love is not a patriarchial racket; playing is. Love – even love at first sight – worked for many women in the World War II generation; and their daughters who likewise believed in love did not believe anything irrational or unrealistic. Their problem has been that they kept mistaking false fronts of salesmen for goodness of character. They were being played, and women who have been played wind up in a marital hell – for the reasons stated above.

Playing and misogyny therefore work very well together. The player uses misogynistic attitudes to justify himself in playing women; and when the woman starts hating him or tries to leave him he uses that conduct to claim that women are bad. I have seen this done extensively in player cultures; and I seek to correct this state of affairs.

Particularly, I want to see women who are vulnerable to this behavior to see through it.

I was not born yesterday, and I know that women are just as capable as men of dishonest and malicious behavior. I seek to empower both the men and the women who are vulnerable to such behavior, whether it be done by women or by men. Neither men nor women are either evil or good; both are capable of both. That is because people have the capacity of choice. And anything that has the capacity of choice regardless of gender is capable of both right choices and wrong choices.

For this reason I refuse to take sides in the gender war; the leaders of both are equally disgusting. Each has been teaching the rest of their gender the worst possible behavior. They have also made a completely illegitimate power grab, with each claiming to speak for 50% of humanity without the 50% of humanity having given them the right to do so. Rather I seek to empower the women who are vulnerable to player and misogynistic behavior against their batterers and deceivers. And I also seek to empower men who are vulnerable to misandrist behavior to get together with better women than what we see fighting the gender war.

Of course I have had very vicious attacks from both sides in this matter; and that is because I am confronting on both sides a very wrongful behavior. I do not want the gender war to go either to women or to men. I want it to go to men who are willing to be good to women and to women who are willing to be good to men. Eminem does not speak for me, and Catherine McKinnon does not speak for my sister. Both are exploiters of people's failure and misery who have used it to advance themselves while sowing ugliness and confusion to make the world worse for everyone.

Love is not the same thing as playing, and it is wrong that women's experience of falling for fronts of players be used to impugn love. Similarly it is wrong that the behavior of women fleeing such things be used to foster misogyny. If you have pulled a con job, be ready that the next person see through the con job; and there is nothing in this that justifies slanders against women as such.

So that while playing can work for a one-night stand, it is a completely inadequate basis for a long-term relationship. That especially is the case if there are children involved. They will see you and they will judge you even if your wife does not.

What is a valid basis for a relationship? There are any number of them. Even if you have no use for romantic love, you can still found viable situations based on such things as similarities of values and interests. Even such relationships can turn sour; but they are less likely to explode in hatred and violence. Go for a woman whom you actually value and create something better than an inevitable player hell.

Wrong Helping Approaches

The leading approach for helping women who have been victims of domestic violence or sexual exploitation has been to teach them to be strong in themselves and to have a high self-esteem.

I believe that this approach is wrong.

The main reason is that the self is not the only, nor the best, source of strength. My grandmother was a very strong person. She was not strong in herself; she was strong in Communism.

I know any number of very strong people among serious Christians. They are not strong in themselves either; they are strong in Christ.

There are many people of both genders who have found strength in Hinduism or Islam. There are many businessmen and engineers who have found strength in Reagan conservatism. There are many scientists and artists who find strength in their ideal of service to humanity. There are many military people who find strength in national patriotism. There are many people who find strength in family and in parenting. None of these people are weak.

Whereas many people who believe that they are strong in themselves think that they are the only strong people out there. They are not. There are many ways to be strong, and being strong in oneself is only one possible form of strength – and, given what I have seen in intercultural comparisons, not the best one either.

As for self-esteem, I have found it to be a Sisyphean labor. There will always be somebody to destroy whatever self-esteem you struggle to obtain. The proponents of the concept see it as being a pre-requisite for successful existence. They are demonstrably wrong. There have been any number of highly successful people who either thought of themselves poorly or not at all. Vladimir Vysotsky, a Soviet bard who has been one of the most highly successful musicians in all of history, wrote, “I have no trust in fate, in myself even less faith.” According to this ideology, he should have been a complete loser. But he became vastly more successful than any self-esteeming American yuppie. His source of strength was the feelings of Russian people, on which he was picking up and to which he was giving voice. And that was a vastly greater source of strength than one's self – a source of strength that made him one of the most successful and highly regarded singers and songwriters of all time.

An even greater error is the idea that having a high-self esteem is a prerequisite to being a good person. Absolutely wrong. There are many good people who think badly of themselves, and there are many jerks who think of themselves highly. According to most traditional attitudes, self-esteem is a sin. And there have been good people in all of the world's cultures, including ones that have this attitude.

A related claim is the idea that sex industry is the main source of disrespectful treatment of women. Still more error. Women are treated far worse in places where there is no sex industry than in places where there is. Afghanistan, Congo and Bosnia during the civil war did not have a sex industry. But there have been vast amounts of brutal rapes and murders of women in all three countries. Yes, men who see women as “sex objects” and only that can be jerks. But so can men with Puritanical attitudes. The American Puritans made laws about the size of the stick with which one can beat one's wife. Whereas women in Sweden, Netherlands and San Francisco have more rights and, for the most part, a much better existence.

Are women in the sex industry being exploited? Certainly many are, and they deserve all the help that they can get. But there are any number of others who know exactly what they are doing, and it is wrong to patronize them by claiming that they are being exploited.

Returning to the original subject. Can being strong in oneself and having a high self-esteem be a source of strength? Yes. But it is in no way the only possible way to be a strong or a good person. There are strong and good Marxists. There are strong and good Christians. There are strong and good Hindus, Muslims, conservatives, patriots, humanitarians, feminists, empaths, and further down the line. Many of these people are far stronger individuals than most people whose only source of strength is themselves. And teaching strength in self and self-esteem at the expense of such things can in many situations be a completely counter-productive approach.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Israel, Europe, Australia: Undoing Wrong Historical Lessons

Israel, Europe and Australia all have gone wrong in different directions. The reason is not that either population is evil; the reason is either bad influences or legitimate lessons having been learned too well.

Both Jews and Europeans learned their lessons from the Second World War too well. The Jews, previously pacifistic, learned that they were not safe in the world, so they created a super-militaristic state that uses the military for all sorts of things that can be better solved through trade and diplomacy. And the Europeans, previously nationalistic and militaristic, learned that war and nationalism were evil, so they became pacifistic to the point of accommodating all sorts of regimes that should not be accommodated.

In both cases, a very legitimate sentiment was taken too far.

How to confront these undesirable manifestations? Probably by telling both Jews and Europeans how self-defeating their attitudes are.

Israelis need to be told that their overly militaristic policy makes the Jews look like scoundrels, which feeds anti-semitic sentiment around the globe that makes the Jews – and the Israelis - less safe. And the Europeans need to be told that their accommodation of barbaric regimes and cultures that have none of their scruples or good intentions abets barbarism, resulting in barbarism rather than pacifism becoming the driving force in the world.

There have been of course people telling such things to both populations. The great Yitzhak Rabin tried to tell that to the Israelis; he got shot. Dan Fortuyne, a Dutch politician, tried to tell this to the Europeans; he got shot also. I do not live either in Israel or in Europe. Which means that me saying such things is not very likely to get me shot.

In Australia, where I do live, the biggest problem is how men treat women. There are many good things about Australia – as there are about both Europe and Israel – but this is a national disgrace. The Australian men have an international reputation for abusive treatment of women; and that makes Australian men look like creeps.

Why is this so? Most likely because the first white people in Australia were violent criminals, and violent criminals aren't known for being gentlemen. And what Australian men need to be told is this:

Do you really want violent criminals telling you what it means to be a man? Do you really want violent criminals shaping your way of life? Do you really believe that violent criminals deserve to define your country and speak for you?

I have of course been saying just that. And – surprise surprise – there are any number of Australian men howling for my blood and that of the Australian woman who married me.

I want to change the behavior of Australian men. I want to teach them a better way to have man-woman relationships. Since my daughter is growing up here, I owe it to her as much as I owe it to any number of good Australian women I have known.

Particularly, I want them to reduce in their culture the influence of violent criminals and influence it toward better behavior and better values.

Well what about your home country – Russia? I militantly rejected the “traditional” Russian brutality and misogyny ever since I was a little child. Instead I took after the better Russian influences – the poets, writers and intellectuals who also fought this “tradition.” I have nothing to do with the barbaric behavior of “traditional” Russian men; I have fought it. And I am now fighting similar behavior by many men in Australia.

Nor am I responsible for American “political correctness.” I likewise fought it ever since I knew what it was. The women I do respect – smart, strong, successful women both in Russia and in America – have all rejected “political correctness” and said that feminism in America has gone too far.

Whereas in Australia, it has not gone far enough, and we see a culture of horrible abuse of women.

I do not only preach these better ways. I also practice them. When my former wife left me to be with another man, I did not threaten to kill her, nor did I try to take away my daughter. Instead I have maintained a good relationship with her. And now my daughter benefits from the attention of two loving parents.

Australian men think that they have guts; and many do. They need to have the guts to undo wrong influences in their culture. They need to have the guts to break from the habits of violent criminals who have been formative to their culture and cultivate wiser ways. They need to have the guts to reject the “tradition” of violent criminals. And they need to have the guts to stand strong in face of people whose attitudes have been shaped by violent criminals and affirm and practice gentlemanly behavior.

This will solve the biggest thing that is wrong with Australia – which country, in other respects, is the best place in the world. It will improve the lot of Australian women, and it will improve the character of Australian men. It will make Australian men look better in the eyes of the world and earn international respect. It will create better family existence for their children. And it will allow the people of Australia to break free from the ways of violent criminals and create a wiser and nobler culture.

"Posers," "Pretentions" and Cultural Growth

I once knew a former hippie woman whose son was into Jim Morrison, had long hair, and was having all sorts of adventures. I heard her call him a poser.

My response is that if someone is doing something when it is not a part of a trend, then he must really want it; which means that he is more the genuine article than someone who does it when it is part of a trend.

There are some in America who do not want to have immigrants coming over from France. These people are not thinking straight. In France, the media culture is very anti-American, and people are relatively well-off. This means that a regular French person would never think of coming to America. A French person who does come to America must really want it. Such a person is more likely to be patriotic than would a person from a place such as Nigeria, where sentiment is highly pro-American and many regular people want to come to the United States.

I had a girlfriend from Portland, Oregon, who found the “European pretentions” of Portland yuppies to be annoying. She was not looking at why they had these “pretentions.” These people wanted to have in their lives some kind of style; and if they were going for that to Europe or to Japan, it was simply because these places were better at doing style than was Portland.

Were they “pretentious” or “posers” or “snobs”? No. In fact these people improve their country by bringing into it something from another place that has value. The Europeans are better at culture and style than Americans, and that has a legitimate appeal to people in America. By bringing something good into one's country from another place, one improves one's country.

The person from India or China or Russia who looks up to American political or economic systems is likewise not a “poser” or a “snob.” He is someone who sees something that Americans do better than do the folks at home. And he improves his country by bringing that influence into it.

Similarly people improve other countries by bringing into them worthwhile things from abroad. A Russian immigrant to America brings education and culture that exerts a positive effect on America. And a man from American feminist culture immigrating to Australia brings better ideas of how to treat women, likewise improving the country to which he comes.

Countries grow that way; cultures grow that way. In all cases, there are people loyal to bad habits and wrong ideas who object to this – such as people in Portland seeing yuppies as “pretentious” or “snobs,” or folks in Australia posting slander against me. That is because they want to maintain their inferior habits and are threatened through introduction of better ways. These people think that they are loyal citizens, but actually they exert a destructive influence on their home society. They oppose introduction of better ways into their country and keep their country from benefiting through introduction of these ways.

America benefits through introduction of style from Europe or Japan; and Australia benefits through introduction of more gentlemanly attitudes. Similarly Russia benefits through introduction of American or Australian ideas of how to do politics and economics. The people who oppose any of the above in the name of patriotism or “their way of life” are either deluded or lying. Countries grow through introduction of good ideas from abroad. And that is the case with every country.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Originality and Improvement

I once knew a man from North Carolina who told me that Russians were a bunch of copycats. As he put it, “They are probably saying that the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bellinski.”

The Russians put the first man in space. So clearly they lead in something. Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky, Mendeleev, Pavlov, Vygotsky, Lermontov, Tsvetayeva, Mandelshtam, Pasternak, Rakhmaninoff, Stravinsky and any number of others were not copycats either; they were highly original.

There were other situations in which Russians took the idea from somewhere else and developed it further. They took the idea of ballet from Europe and created the world's best ballet. They took the idea of poetry from other places and created the world's best poetry. Hermitage has the same idea as the Louvre, but it is a much bigger and much more impressive place. There were some situations where they lead; there were others where they improved on concepts from other places.

I do not see how it is wrong or being a “copycat” to take someone else's ideas and build on them. We see this done around the world all the time. The Japanese did not invent the car or the robot, but they have the world's best cars and a huge number of its robots. The folks in Dubai did not invent the skyscraper, but they have the tallest skyscraper in the world. As for Americans, they got the idea for their successful political system from English and French intellectuals, the Greek democracy and the Iroquois Confederacy. The world owes both to people who come up with original ideas and the people who build on them.

Both Russia and America have had many examples of both.

In fact, the Soviet scientists and engineers were exceptionally inventive. The problem was that the system in which they were doing their work was very corrupt and strangulating, and most of their brilliant inventions never saw the light of the day. If business knows what is good for it – and of course it does – it will look into hiring more Russian scientists, engineers and programmers and do more to explore Russia for useful inventions that Soviet scientists and engineers have made.

Some Russian inventions have seen the light of the day. The world's most respected anti-virus program – the Kaspersky – was developed in Russia. The Baikonur cosmodrome has been launching a lot of Western satellites. The Ural truck is used extensively in Alaska. And the Russian-designed Marussia is an excellent super-car.

Of course it is also possible to take an idea – good or bad – from another place and either take it into a bad direction or to degrade on it. Lenin took the idea for Communism from Marx and created a brutal order that even Marx would have condemned. And we are seeing now many folks in places such as Australia and American inner city taking the Muslim idea of how to treat women and use them to be even worse to their women than they had been before.

There is a place both for original ideas and for improvement on other people's ideas. Both should be encouraged, and both should be respected when they produce good results. The world owes vastly to both of the preceding; and it is important that both be given the respect that they deserve.

Actual Reasons for Cultural Stereotypes

One constant refrain I hear from partially educated people is that one should avoid stereotypes and generalizations. They may find it unbelievable, but I actually have an informed response to this claim. When something exists at a rate greater than chance, there is going to be a reason for it; although it may be a completely different reason from what you would expect.

Most stereotypes and generalizations have roots in reality. The explanations that are given however are typically wrong. Instead of addressing these wrong explanations, the academia seeks to shame them; which then reinforces the claim by conservatives that the academia is forcing a party line down people's throats instead of giving them actual education.

These, then, having seen their wrong explanations not refuted but censored or shamed, return to them and teach them to other people. On one side we see bigotry; on the other side we see artificial blindness. The two reinforce and strengthen one another.

The solution is not doing away with “stereotypes” or “generalizations.” The solution is finding out the actual reasons for these things. Once again: If something exists at a rate greater than chance, there will be a reason for it; and the academics should not dismiss such things but use them as grounds for more research.

Has Africa been, as many people claim, a mess? Yes. The reason is not racial inferiority but history. These countries had been governed by alien powers for centuries, and they did not know how to govern themselves. They are getting better at it, and the world's highest rates of economic growth in the last decade and a half have been recorded by African countries.

Is Israel, as many people claim, full of fascists? Yes. The reason is not that the Jews are evil but that they have learned their lessons from Second World War too well. If you have had your ancestors espouse liberal pacifism and work hard and peacefully to better other countries only to wind up in gas chambers, you would want your own country as well, and you would want to make sure that nobody can destroy it. They have taken a legitimate sentiment too far, to the point that they use the military for all sorts of things that can be better solved through trade or diplomacy. The reason is not any kind of an ethnic evil but a legitimate sentiment taken too far.

Is Europe, as many people claim, full of gutless people? Yes. The reason once again is a lesson from Second World War being learned too well. If you've had your continent run over by a bunch of hyper-nationalistic homicidal maniacs, you would hate war and nationalism as well. The Europeans became pacifistic – for a legitimate reason – to the point of being accommodating to regimes that should not be accommodated. The reason is not moral corruption on the part of the Europeans; the reason, again, is a lesson learned too well.

Is the Muslim world full of wife-beaters? Yes. That is because Mohammed tells them to be wife-beaters.

Is Russia full of rude, drunken, violent men? Yes. I do not know why that is; it appears to have been the Russian way for as long as anyone can remember.

In all of these places, there are people who take objection to the main thrust of their cultures, or try to. These people find themselves in the middle of a war. They rightfully see the wrong in their cultures, but they have no knowledge or experience of any other way. This sets them up for failure. If they fail in any manner, it reinforces the claim by everyone around them that their way is the right way. And if they succeed, they are seen by the people around them as infidels, traitors or dangerous antisocial individuals.

The solution is neither false bigoted explanations nor deliberate blindness. The solution is finding the correct cause.

If the academia seeks greater credibility in society, it will not teach artificial blindness. It will look for real explanations for social phenomena. These will solve two complementary problems – bigoted beliefs and artificial blindness posing as intelligence and education – at the same time.

It will also return the academia to its original purpose: As a place where people learn thinking habits and knowledge, not a place where they are being taught a party line. Conservatives are right to regard political correctness as fascism masquerading as tolerance. In a democracy, wrong ideas are meant to be met with better ideas and rational refutation rather than with censorship.

But the academics and the intellectuals have become lazy. They have decided to teach artificial blindness instead of thinking skills. This has vastly reduced their credibility. The American anti-intellectual climate is not only a result of demagoguery. It is a result of the fact that the folks in the academia are failing to speak to them.

There is in fact a legitimate task for the contemporary intellectuals and academics. It is to confront wrong explanations with right ones. It is to explain rightfully why some things exist at a greater rate than chance, that beget correct stereotypes but not correct explanations.

That will get rid of bigotry for real. And it will restore the academics and intellectuals to their rightful standing in society.

Marx and Reagan

Marx was wrong on most of his central contentions. There is no such thing as a historical inevitability; people's choices have taken different parts of the world into any number of places at any number of times. The businessman is not a thief; he is someone who gets things done. And religion is not “the opium for the masses.”

Why am I saying this? Because the world's major religions, with the exception of Buddhism, were started not by economic or political leaders but by the hoi polloi. Both Christ and Mohammad were anti-establishment radicals with no experience of economic or political power; and while Mohammad became politically powerful in his lifetime as a result of inventing Islam, Christ died on the cross.

We see the same thing in contemporary religious movements. Christian fundamentalism was not invented on Wall Street or in DC and militates against both. The New Age movement was started by academic dropouts who militated against the academic and medical establishments. Taliban was begun by politically and economically powerless students in Pakistani madrasas. Not Luther, not Cromwell, not any number of other influential leaders of Protestant Christianity, were part of political or economic “elites” prior to starting their activities.

Why do these religions carry the appeal that they do to the less well-off? Probably because they were started by people who were not part of “the ruling class” but became far more powerful than any of these “ruling classes.” Whether through force, miracle or persuasion, these people's beliefs then were adopted by people with economic and political power as much as they were by the hoi polloi. They were claimed by the kings and nobles; then they were claimed by the colonists and the bourgeoisie. So that when Marx saw an order of exploitation, he impugned the religions that were possessed by both the exploiters and the exploited alike and saw them as being part of the problem.

Marxists claim to speak for the working classes, but so do Christian and Islamic fundamentalists. In America, we see a phenomenon that inverts the claims of Karl Marx. There are more Marxists among the “elites” than there are among the “masses”; and there are more conservative people among the “masses” than there are among the “elites.”

Seeing all this, Reagan appropriated the Marxist and hippie rhetoric and took it into the opposite direction. He said that the “liberal elites,” “liberal establishment” and “big liberal government” failed to represent the values of the American people and that they were dictating to them a foreign totalitarian order that was against their beliefs. His message resonated with many people, and he became an exceptionally powerful president. He inverted the Marxian rhetoric and turned it into its opposite. The result was a very effective political force that continues to exert a vast influence – both for right and for wrong – to the present day.

So that while Marx militated against one set of elites, Reagan conservatives militate against another set of elites. Both have followers among the so-called “masses.” And then of course there are people among these “masses” who claim that both sets of “elites” are jerks and do not represent their interests or their values. Marx claimed to champion “the working class,” but his message has carried greatest appeal in the West to the well-off students and academics. And Reagan claimed to run against the government, and now there is a huge government building near the White House with his name on it.

Both the founders of America – Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin – and the founder of the Soviet Union – Vladimir Lenin – came from privilege. The first two championed democracy, social mobility and opportunity for all men, and the last claimed to champion the proletariat. In both cases, we see people coming from the “elites” who took an anti-elitist stance. Both countries became global superpowers. And in both countries there was – and remains – a strong anti-elitist sentiment that can be taken, and has been taken, into any number of opposite directions. Some militate against economic “elites”; others militate against ones in media and academia. The first fail to realize and respect the role of entrepreneurship in creating prosperity. The second fail to realize and respect how much prosperity and democracy owe to science, journalism, education and the arts.
When the Soviet Union fell, the first two things that came back were consumerism and religion. A huge McDonald's was built near the Red Square, and the vast Christ the Savior Cathedral was rebuilt with a billion dollars of private donations. Both appear to have great appeal both to the more educated and the less educated; and Marx was obviously wrong to see both as an artifact of exploitation of working people by the propertied class.

Whereas Reagan was also wrong on a number of fronts. He was wrong about the environment; people have not created nature and cannot re-create nature, and blindly plundering it for gain that can be much better realized through smarter technologies leaves the world a worse place than one has found it. He was wrong about government being the source of oppression and corruption; there are many private religious, communitarian and economic entities that commit hideous violations against people, and unlike the government in a democracy they are unelected, unbalanced and unchecked. And his anti-academic policy has proven to be a disaster. When higher education is unaffordable and the primary educational system is weak, the bulk of the population lacks the knowledge that it needs to make informed political and personal decisions.

Both have been vastly influential, and I expect both to remain vastly influential. Which means that it is necessary to confront the people claiming the legacy of both where they were wrong. Marx was wrong about religion, business and historical inevitability, and Reagan was wrong on education, environment and the preference of unelected private power over elected public power. Both have claimed to champion the people against the elites, and both have many followers among the elites. It remains up to us - both ones coming from elites and ones not coming from elites - to make sense of both influences and refute them where they have gone wrong.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dialectic and History

Hegel articulated a manner of thought called the dialectic. In the dialectic, two opposing forces – a thesis and an antithesis – battle each other to create a synthesis: A mix of the two. This synthesis begets another opposing force – an antithesis – which then battles it to create another synthesis. According to Hegel, this process lead to the betterment of humanity.

Hegel was clearly a brilliant men, and dialectic is a useful concept. However it does not always work out that way. There are some situations in which one force battles the other into extinction and either destroys or oppresses it. There are other situations – such as with Israel and Palestine – where we see an ongoing conflict with no resolution. And then of course there are situations in which the two forces destroy one another or when the two mix to create an outcome that combines the worst in each side.

Marx took the Hegelian concept and used it to create Communism. But while Hegel thought that history through its dialectics was working toward the spiritual betterment of humanity, Marx thought that history through its dialectics was working toward the material betterment of humanity. He simply should have studied history better. When Roman Empire was destroyed by the Vandals, the result was not any kind of progress. The result was an effective extinction of civilization and the Dark Ages that lasted for a thousand years.

The concept of the dialectic has application in all sorts of pursuits. When someone fanatically believes in something that is either untrue or incompletely true, it is worthwhile to introduce an opposing opinion. When one or another group in society does wrong, it is rightful that it be met with its opposite. We see this with both women and men; with both business and labor; with both public power and private power; with both environmentalism and economics; with both science and spirituality. All of the above are capable of both right and wrong; and when either side decides that it is universally right and that the other side is universally wrong, it is rightful that this error be corrected through introduction of the opposite force and its defense of its views and its interests. In such situations, the dialectic really does work for the better.

Whereas there have been many situations in history where the clash of interests resulted either in destruction and enslavement or in a destructive synthesis. No dialectic was accomplished when the Spanish destroyed the Moorean, Aztec and Incan civilizations or when the English colonists decimated the Native Americans and the Australian aborigines. No dialectic was accomplished when Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot – exponents of Marxism - slaughtered the propertied class.

In clashes of cultures, we see potential both for the constructive dialectic that works for good and the destructive synthesis that works for evil. When the English colonized India, they gave India knowledge of democracy and economics, whereas India gave England vast wisdom and beautiful literature. Whereas in the current clash between the Middle East and the West, the results on both sides so far have been deleterious, with the Muslim men teaching Western men to abuse women and the Western women teaching Muslim women to be mean.

Dialectic is a useful concept, and it has always been a useful concept. It does not however describe all of reality. Sometimes clashes of opposite forces work for the better; sometimes for the worse; and sometimes for the extinction of either or both. There is positive synthesis; there is negative synthesis; there is also destruction or mutual destruction. History has had plenty of examples of all of the above, and it is important that it be viewed from that standpoint.

Resurrection of Love

I have known a number of American and Australian baby boom-generation women who've lived through 1980s. Many of them were being abused by their husbands, who appeared to be of the view that their wives were “commies” and “sluts” and that they owed it to their country and to God to beat them into submission. Coming from that perspective, it is understandable why the Reaganism of 1980s was followed by the militant feminism of 1990s.

I say understandable. I do not say right. As is usually the case in such situations, the sentiment was legitimate; the solution was wrong.

The solution of course was to prevail upon women to see all men as scoundrels and to encourage viciousness both to men and to women who liked men. These women abused the men near the centers of learning and media who, for the most part, believed in women's rights, but they had neither the guts nor the power to reach the real perpetrators. These remained comfortable where they were and used these women's malicious behavior to claim that they had been right about women all along.

These, in turn, likewise had neither the guts nor the power to reach people like Andrea Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon, who also remained comfortable where they were. Instead they took it out on women who liked them enough to be with them. At which point of course the misandrists used these men's abusive behavior to likewise claim that they had been right about men and that smart women should avoid romantic relationships and family life.

In both cases, good will – on the part of both women and men – was punished, and ill will rewarded.

This created a perverse set of incentives upon society to influence both genders to be the worst thing that they could be and behave in the worst way that they could behave.

It is time to change all that.

My solution is to side neither with Eminem nor with Catherine McKinnon. Both are exploiters and usurpers. Each have exploited people's failure and misery to advance themselves while making the world worse for everyone, and neither begins to deserve to speak for the 50% of humanity that they wrongfully claim to represent. Instead it is to give inspiration, courage and guidance to people – both women and men – to create loving relationships with one another. And it is also to create a rightful set of incentives within society to reward good will and disincentivize violence, viciousness, destructive behavior, and both misandry and misogyny.

What am I talking about?

I am talking about a solution inspired by my education in economics. An economist looks at how to combine inputs in such a way as to make the best output. And my solution is this: Bring men who are willing to be good to women together with women who are willing to be good to men.

Create a large-scale cross-cultural flux for intermarriage.

Let men from feminist cultures get together with women from patriarchial cultures, both of whom are willing to be good to the other gender but who, in their home cultures, get mistreated by the other gender.

Solve two complementary injustices at the same time.

Let people who are willing to be good to one another create good relationships.

Strike a body blow to the control of usurpers of people's power and exploiters of failure and misery.

Free people from control by these usurpers and exploiters.

And create a rightful set of incentives upon society.

A very useful concept from economics is that there are practical ways to achieve idealistic outcomes. My ideal is of course love. Baby boomers dreamt about love, but they did not know how to achieve it. When they believed in love they also believed in Communism and had no knowledge of psychology or economics. They did not know how to make their dreams reality, and most of them failed. Many wound up believing as a result that their dreams were childish or unrealistic. Misandrists, misogynists, predatory lawyers and predatory cults all cashed in on this sentiment, improving their lot while spreading ugliness and confusion and making the world worse for everyone. Here is a realistic, practical way to achieve these people's rightful ideals.

I do not want either women or men to win the gender war. I want women who are willing to be good to men and men who are willing to be good to women to win the gender war. I want love to win the gender war.

There will always be one or another set of scoundrels to exploit people's failure and misery. Neither deserves power, neither deserves to speak for a whole gender, neither deserves to dictate to a whole gender, and neither deserves to win. Both men and women deserve to be free of control by each set of scoundrels.

And both men and women deserve to be free to get together with one another and create loving relationships.

It is time that love arise like a Phoenix from its ashes, out of the ruin of recent decades and into an international blossoming. And show the people deluded by wrong lessons learned and exploiters of failure and misery a better way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Feminism and the Western Civilization

There are many in the feminist movement who see the Western civilization as the root of oppression of women. They are full of crap. The Western civilization has had the influence of all sorts of people who took an oppositional stance to brutality and misogyny. India and the Middle East have had much fewer of such influences. Which results in women in India and the Middle East being subjected to far greater nastiness than women in the West.

The Western civilization has had the Enlightenment movement and the Romantic movement. Both fought the “traditional” culture of misogyny and brutality. The first championed reason; the second championed love. The feminists reject both movements; which means that they reject both reason and love. In fact the Western women owe vastly to both.

A man who champions reason will realize that anything with a brain is capable of rationality, and he will be in favor of women having education, careers and political power. And a man who champions love will be far less likely to be ugly to his woman than a man who thinks that real men beat women or that women are of the Satan.

So they attack love; then they attack reason. And guess what comes back but traditional Eminem-style misogyny.

These women can be very well described as a bunch of ungrateful brats. They owe vastly both to Enlightenment and to Romanticism. Yet they attack both; which means that they attack what gave them their right to have their careers, express their opinions, and avoid being someone's punching bag in the first place.

Is reason patriarchial? Absolutely not. A rational man will be far more likely to be in favor of women's careers than a “traditional” man who thinks that the woman's place is at home. There were many female participants in the Enlightenment movement, and there are many women in science and mathematics. Whereas we do not see many women among Islamic imams or Hindu swamis.

Is love patriarchial? Absolutely not. Among its champions were many women, and not stupid or weak ones either. Women are far more oppressed in Muslim and Hindu cultures where marriages are arranged than they are in places where love is allowed. And a man who believes in loving women will be far less abusive than a man who blames women for the world's suffering or thinks that he owes it to God or to other men to oppress women.

Both reason and love favor women. And the woman who attacks both, or either, undermines what made her position possible in the first place.

Is Western civilization all good? Of course not. But in attacking its better influences – reason and love – feminists exert a destructive effect that falls squarely on the shoulders of Western women. These are the influences that have done the most to fight “traditional” misogyny and brutality. And in attacking such things, these women are bringing the Western society back to its bad old habits.

Which means that their activities are utterly self-defeating. And it is Western women who suffer the most as a result.

Is feminism, as some Christians say, evil? No; there have been good things that came out of feminism. But nothing positive is accomplished by attacking the Western civilization and its better influences. In India, Middle East or pre-Enlightenment Europe, these women would be killed. Instead they are free to spread their propaganda, thanks to both Western Enlightenment and Western Romanticism.

When they are taking the side of Islam against the West, what we see is not only treason but also absolute foolishness. A Muslim would beat such women to death and think that he's doing Allah a favor. A woman who really believes in women's rights and empowerment will support the influences of reason and love; and a woman who opposes these things is attacking the influences that have made it possible for her to avoid a similar fate.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Europeans and Jews: Trading Places

In much of the world, the Europeans are known as wimps and the Israelis are known as fascists. The reason is not any kind of corruption in either population. The reason is lessons from the Second World War being learned too well.

The Europeans learned that war and nationalism is evil. So they became pacifistic, to the point of accommodating all sorts of regimes that should not be accommodated. And the Jews learned that they were not safe in the world; so they created a super-militaristic state that uses the military for all sorts of things that should be better handled through trade or diplomacy.

In both cases, we see a lesson being learned too well.

In many respects the Europeans and the Jews traded places since the Second World War. The first went from being militaristic to being pacifistic, and the second went from being pacifistic to being militaristic. At first the Europeans were seen as brutes and the Jews as cowards; now it is the other way around.

There can be things said in defense of the choice made by both populations. If you have had your people work hard in other countries only to wind up in gas chambers, you would want your own country as well, and you would want to make sure that nobody can destroy it. And if you've had your continent run over by a bunch of homicidal maniacs, you would want peace as well. The sentiment in both cases is valid. The solutions leave much to be desired.

Other places also either learned the wrong lesson from the Second World War or learned their lesson too well. America learned that it was the greatest, so it made Americans arrogant to the point that they were imposing their will upon the rest of the world while destroying all sorts of lifestyles, both inside America and outside America. And Russia's lesson – that because they were able to defeat a major Western power they would be able to defeat the West proper – was wrong.

Neither the Jews nor the Europeans are evil. But both would benefit from re-examining the lessons that they have learned and their effects on their policies. Israel needs to pursue a less militaristic policy, and Europe needs to take a tougher stand against terrorists and despots. Peace is a rightful thing to strive for, and so is the safety of one's people. But neither accommodation of brutal regimes or militaristic fascism are right.

Public Power and Private Power

A question that has been on my mind, as someone who has written in favor of non-conformism, is, “Can conformity pressures ever be for good?”

I respond to it with a slightly different question. Can government totalitarianism ever be for good?

There are some people who think that it can be. They are called Communists. My grandmother was a Communist, but she possessed qualities claimed by American conservatives: The qualities of strong ethics, responsibility, hard work and family values. She, like them, was also heavy-handed and authoritarian. The ideology was different; the character was the same.

My personal experience of the Soviet Union was not a bad one, but I've also heard many horror stories. I've also heard horror stories from people from Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Kansas, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Australia and DC. The difference is that while in one case the perpetrator was the government, in the other case the perpetrators were fathers, husbands, neighbors, religious organizations, KKK, gangsters, mafia, or corrupt professionals in law and medicine.

I ask this: Is either one better – or worse – than the other?

In one case we have official power; in the other case we have unofficial power. Is either one better or worse?

Certainly nothing compares to Stalin's atrocities. But the Russian Mafia is not much better, and Stalin's legacy was rejected even by Soviet hardliners in the end.

To hear some Christians say it, the human nature has been corrupted by the “original sin” and ugliness in the world is a given. I refuse to believe this; I have seen excellent personal qualities in many people who did not name Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. When I, as a student at a Christian school in America, was talking to my mother about “common human nature,” she said that I was wrong and that she herself never wanted to hurt anyone. I realized that she was right. We are going to have people with all sorts of different natures; and some would be better than others.

To go back to the original question. Which one is better or worse: Official power or unofficial power? In America, official power is visible, elected, accountable, checked and balanced. Jehovah's Witnesses, Russian and Italian mafia, KKK, gangs, corrupt networks in law and medicine, Texas Oil and Westboro Baptists are not. This gives them license to violate people to a far greater extent than is allowed the federal government. In Soviet Union the government was the abuser; in America these – and a number of other - private entities are.

There are different problems in different places, and in each place the villains are different and for different reasons.

In both America and the Soviet Union, the baby boomers saw the wrongs in each place and rebelled against it. Americans misguidedly flocked to Communism, and Soviets wanted to immigrate to the United States. Both were regarded by their parents as traitors, narcissists and spoiled children. I have had extensive dealings with baby boomers from both countries. From my experience I can't tell if either one is better or worse than the other characterologically; I have seen the good and the bad in each.

When facing wrongs and excesses of government power, it is understandable to want to move to a place with less government. And when facing wrongs and excesses of private economic, religious or communitarian power, it is understandable to seek a “big liberal government” as a counter-balance. The position of the baby boomers in both countries is understandable, and neither deserve the labels that they have been given of narcissism or worse.

One thing is for sure: The people who compare American liberalism or Dutch democratic socialism to Lenin and Stalin do not know what they are talking about. Neither one has built labor camps or imprisoned millions of people for their political views. Indeed, in America, I see government as a counter-balance to abuses of unofficial power; and if I were to choose between the Obama government and Russian mafia, Texas Oil or Jehovah's Witnesses, I would choose the Obama government any day.

Is government totalitarianism the solution? No. But neither is totalitarianism of the Texas Oil. The American government is elected, official, accountable, checked and balanced; private power isn't. And if libertarians and conservatives really espouse the ideal of liberty, they will be fighting corruption and tyranny by private entities as readily as they are willing to do with politicians and bureaucrats in DC.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Synthesis and Checks And Balances

Ayn Rand said that “each issue has a right side and a wrong side, but the middle is always evil.” She was wrong.

There are two kinds of conflicts that play out at the political level: The conflicts of values and the conflicts of interests. While a case can be made that it is evil to compromise on values, seeking a middle ground between conflicting interests is true good. I do not just mean any middle ground, as the middle can be found in all sorts of undesirable places. I mean what I call a positive middle path. A path that sees what's right in each side and combines them while doing away with what's wrong in each.

In conflicts between business and labor, between men and women, between public power and private power, neither side is good and neither side is bad. Both are capable of both.

Business can create opportunity and prosperity; it can also poison the air and the water, treat its employees like garbage, and destroy priceless natural treasures that it cannot conceivably recreate. Labor can provide the brains and the brawns to make possible business prosperity; it can also demand ridiculous things from its bosses, advocate for murderous totalitarian orders, and destroy ambition and academic intelligence in its youth.

Men can mean anything from Thomas Jefferson to Osama Bin Laden. Women can mean anything from Mother Theresa and Marie Curie to Catherine McKinnon and Phyllis Schaffly.

Public power can mean anything from John Kennedy to Joseph Stalin. Private power can mean anything from the Freemasons, Medicins Sans Frontieres and the Oracle Corporation to Russian mafia, John Birch Society, Westboro Baptists, corrupt networks in law and medicine, and the Texas Oil.

Neither side is good, and neither side is bad. Both are capable of both.

In matters involving powers that are capable of both rightful and wrongful behavior, the solution is not to take either side. Doing that supports one side in wrongdoing while oppressing the other side even in its capacity to produce beneficial results. Instead the rational way to deal with such entities is to see where they can do right; see where they can do wrong; and empower the first while confronting the second.

The model of checks and balances has been successfully used to create the most benign governments in the history of humanity. Whereas probably the most useful idea to have come out of post-Aristotelian Western philosophy was the concept of synthesis. This model has been echoed in the business community by Steven Covey, who advocated “win-win scenarios” in which both sides to the deal negotiated solutions that worked for both.

I combine the two to create a model that combines the two: A model of synthesis within the framework of check-and-balance. At the bottom level, each side affirms its rightful prerogatives and checks the other in its capacity for wrongdoing. And at the top level, the two work together to achieve outcomes that neither can accomplish by itself.

There are rightful checks and balances on the government's capacity for tyranny and corruption; there should be similar checks and balances on private power. There should be checks in society on both men's capacity for incest and brutality and women's capacity for deception and viciousness. And business should be checked when it destroys what it cannot recreate, poisons the water or treats workers like garbage – in the same way as labor should be checked when it makes unreasonable demands, sabotages the minds of its children, or advocates for a slaughter of the propertied class.

Whereas all of the above should be supported and respected when they are doing the right thing.

And at the top level, each pair of interests should synthesize with each other to produce win-win scenarios.

That would mean business and labor negotiating solutions in which they are working constructively and fairly together. That would mean men and women creating beautiful, loving relationships and a wholesome family life. That would mean government and the private sector working together to create prosperity for the country and its citizens, combining government science, infrastructure and law enforcement with business opportunity, with the first providing the second the knowledge, the infrastructure and the law enforcement it needs to create prosperity – and the second adequately funding the first to make such things possible.

Ideal and pragmatism do not have to be things hostile to one another. There are practical ways to make possible idealistic outcomes. In conflicts between interests that are each capable of both rightful and wrongful behavior, the practical way to deal with them is the model of synthesis within the framework of check-and-balance. The second allows the interests to stop each other in their capacity for wrongdoing. The first allows them to work together to achieve beneficial results.

This idea has applications in economics, government and society. I believe that this is an idea whose time has come.