Tuesday, March 28, 2017

AIDS and God

One of Pat Robertson's most ridiculous statements is that AIDS is God's way of controlling the homosexual population.

If that had been the case, then most people dying of AIDS would be gay men in San Francisco and not straight men and women in Africa.

If man is made in God's image, then it is logical that someone would construe God as being made in his. If you are an asshole, then you may be likely to construe God as being an asshole as well. I do not believe that such beliefs portray God rightfully. I do not think that God is an asshole. That does not mean that the same is not the case for Pat Robertson.

I, for myself, am not gay at all. I have been described as “fag bait” by a bisexual man. There have been many gay men who wanted me; but I did not reciprocate their attractions.

I once heard a Christian woman saying that nature is pure, as in nature there is no homosexuality. She clearly did not study her biology. Bonobos screw anything that moves and some things that do not.

I do not see for one moment why a loving deity would inflict something like AIDS on straight men and women in Africa and elsewhere in the world. I believe that God is not an asshole. And the people who are have no business claiming to speak for God.

To me, it means absolutely nothing how consenting adults behave sexually. It is not my business. I am straight, but that does not mean that I will demand that others be as well. No, AIDS is not God's way of controlling the homosexual population. It is a virus that has found its way to infect all sorts of people, some of them homosexual and some of them straight.

At this point, AIDS is under control among homosexual Americans. It continues to range in Africa, infecting man and woman alike regardless of orientation. God is too wise a deity to allow such things to happen. God is not made in Pat Robertson's image. He is a far better entity than that.

Monday, March 27, 2017

"Posers" and Choice

I have known many people describing others as “posers” or “trying to be what they are not.”

My question to these people is, What determines what a person is?

There are some things that we are not in control of. We do not determine our color of eyes or hair, nor do we determine the country in which we are born. There are however many other things that very much are under our control; and it is wrong that such things be getting attacked.

People have choice. People have will. That means that anyone can rise out of the accident of his upbringing and become whatever he wants to be. It is especially outrageous to hear such attitudes in America. America was built by people who rejected the accident of their upbringing and invented themselves, their companies, their lives and the greatest country in the history of the world.

Choice is the essence of freedom. To deny people the right to become what they choose to become is therefore a form of enslavement. It may not come from the government; it may not involve barb wired fences; but it is a form of enslavement regardless.

And things of that sort have no business happening in nations that are intended to be free.

The most fundamental freedom is one to choose what to be. When this is under attack, the claims of life and liberty no longer become credible. You are not limited to what you were when you were 3. You are what you choose to become. And people who militate against that must stand aside.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Humanity's Dysfunctional Relationship With God

Many people appear to have a dysfunctional relationship with God. When He is not there, they seek Him. When He is there, they can't wait to get rid of Him.

One quotation that I saw on the Internet was, “Our father, who art in Heaven... Stay there.” Then of course there are statements such as that God is dead or that God is a bad guy. God must be torn in different directions. There will be people wanting a piece of Him and there will be people wanting Him out of their lives. It is not likely to be easy to assuage both sides.

I suppose that having God in one's life can be a bit of a chore. He is quite demanding, and for Him nothing less than complete submission to His will would suffice. For this reason we see God all the time expressing displeasure in human beings. My question to God is, Did you know what you created? If you created man in your image – and you are a creator – then man's nature would be to create rather than to obey. And if you are the ruler of the universe – and man has been created in your image – then what would man naturally aspire to be?

So at one point or another one suchlike or another would want to do away with God altogether. Then of course people are left without divine guidance, and someone will always in such conditions try again to look for God. Usually he will be opposed very badly. People would think that he is stupid or that he is crazy or that he is weak. But as the Bible states, “the stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone.” It is up to God to decide whom to choose.

I am against both ignorance and bigotry masquerading as intelligence. The people who think that the logical person should not believe in anything have an inadequate understanding of logic. Logic is a tool, not an ideology. It is a method, not a worldview. There can be any number of perfectly logical arguments constructed in favor of Christianity. As someone who started out as an atheist, only to have all sorts of experiences of the transnatural, I vouch that it is not only possible to be both logical and theistic at the same time, but that it must be possible to be so.

I can say with full certainty that God has been present in my life. I do not care if you think that I'm nuts for saying this; I am used to it. Many people think that people are brainwashed into being Christians. This explains the transmission mechanism but not the source. Anything can be transmitted through generations in all sorts of ways. That does not explain why it is there. I was not raised in a Christian household, so these people's misconceptions do not apply to me.

I was not “brainwashed” into being a Christian. I had spiritual experiences – ones with less than a billionth chance of happening; and not one but many of them. I have the testimony of many others, including successful professors and entrepreneurs and people with very high education. When confronted with things that contradict one's worldview, the logical solution is to adjust the worldview. If instead the reaction is to attempt to deny the validity of the experience, then one is not being logical but rather absolutely dishonest.

So we have some people calling for God and other people wanting to be free from God. How does it become possible to satisfy all of the preceding? Well, I am sure that God can figure it out. He is God. But if I were in similar position, I would have no idea what to do.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Empiricism and Kant

The empiricist approach to discerning reality is making sense of evidence that has been gleaned from the senses. Some philosophers – such as Kant and Hume – challenged this approach. They stated such things as that senses are imprecise, and that (in Kant) they only see the appearance of things – the “phenomenal” - but fail to see the things in themselves – the “noumenal.”

I want to make sense of the whole thing.

Now the senses are actually not imprecise. Incomplete yes, but imprecise no. We do not see the radio waves or the infrared radiation; we see the visible light. However the information that I get from seeing the visible light is not an erroneous one. If I see you, I am fairly certain that I am actually seeing you – both the phenomenal you and the noumenal you. I can from this make an educated guess that you are not Adolf Hitler.

In many cases, the things as they appear are very much the things as they are. If I am beholding an apple, I can be sure that I am holding an apple and not a frog. In this case the noumenal and the phenomenal are the same thing; and senses very much are a valid guide to reality.

Where Kant and Hume do have a point is in understanding people. People are very different inside from how they are on the outside. What a person looks like through the visual sense says absolutely nothing about the person's character or predispositions. In case of people, the Kantian argument has quite a lot of validity even if it is not conclusively correct. To understand the person in-himself takes much different skills from discerning him in appearance. In this situation, the noumenal and the phenomenal very much differ from one another; and it takes different skills to understand each.

The empiricist view works with most of non-human reality. With human reality, Hume and Kant have a point. Do not discard physics or mathematics because of its empiricist origins. Do not judge what a person is on the inside from what he is on the outside. There is a place for both approaches, and it is instructive of all intelligence to recognize which – and where – to apply.

Humanitarianism and Evil

I've known many people with humanitarian tendencies, and many of them have lived a life of heartbreak. Humanity had disappointed them. Nothing murders humanitarianism more reliably than people being bastards, particularly the little guy – the person whom the humanitarian wants to help.

Many people with such tendencies blame all evil on the system. In fact the system is just one potential source of wrongdoing among many others. There are all sorts of places that are not the Western Civilization that are bad. And in the Western civilization itself, evil is in no way limited to the leaders. Gangsters, the mafia, and Jehovah's Witnesses do not run the Western civilization; but none of them begin to be benign.

Of course the system is capable of wrongdoing. But it is far from the only thing that is capable of wrongdoing. This is a lesson I've had to learn from life. There are plenty of “little guys” who are complete bastards. Whereas even within the system there are good-hearted individuals.

One of the last mistakes that you want to make is be blind to evil within your own ranks. I have a friend who is a businessman in Russia and Poland. When I talked to him about my former girlfriend having had a husband who was a businessman but behaved abominably toward her, he told me that if he really was a businessman then he was good. This is wrong – dead wrong. I've had to learn from experience that not everyone from my demographic is a good guy. It was a fairly expensive lesson, and I hope that my friend does not have it coming to him in a way that is that hard.

In fact we will find both good and evil everywhere. I used to worship the self-made people, until I had two of them over the Internet treating me like absolute dirt. I have even found evil among the creative people, who would be the last people from whom one would expect such a thing. Whereas I've also seen good in completely unexpected places, such as for example among the “rednecks.” These are the last people with whom one would expect me to get along; but I've found good in those people, and I think that others from my demographic should as well.

Humanitarianism becomes credible when people choose to act rightfully. It becomes non credible when people choose to behave like jerks. If foreign aid winds up in Swiss bank accounts, or if charity donations fund the BMWs of the executives, people will rightfully not want to contribute. Nor would they be willing to pay welfare checks that wind up funding crack. Nor would they be willing to fund situations that raise gangsters.

Generosity is too valuable a commodity to be abused. Nor do the rulers own evil. All sorts of people can be either good or bad. Do by all means confront the wrong in leaders. But do not fail to see the evil in your own ranks, whether you be a businessman, an intellectual or a politician.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Phenomenal and Noumenal

There have been any number of philosophers stating that senses are imprecise and thus are not a valid guide to discerning things as they are.

In fact that is a wrong argument. Senses are incomplete, but they are not imprecise. Certainly we see only the visible light and not the electromagnetic spectrum; but I can be reasonably sure that, if I am seeing a fox I am indeed seeing a fox.

Are senses imprecise? No. They are instead highly precise even if incomplete. It is valid to use the evidence that comes through the senses to conduct investigation and inquiry. The empiricist approach is a workable one and one that delivers all sorts of useful results.

Does such investigation, as Kant stated, only reveal the “phenomenal” rather than the “noumenal?” Well first of all what is noumenal? What is the essence of a peach? Is it not the same thing as the peach as it is discerned through the senses? What is the difference between the two?

Probably the place where Kant's approach is right is in understanding people. You see the person's appearance; you do not see what is in the person's heart. In this case there really is a disconnect between the phenomenal and the noumenal. It takes different skills to see either one. Senses give you the impression of the person, and sense gives you their essence as human beings.

In most cases, the phenomenal and the noumenal are the same thing. In situations in which they are not, the solution is not to damn reason or senses but wielding them in a competent way. Use your intelligence to figure out what is inside someone's heart. At the same time do not be blind to their appearance and their phenomenal way of representation. See both phenomenal and noumenal for what they are and treat them accordingly.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The West's Schizophrenic Relationship With Feelings

The Western civilization appears to have a schizophrenic relationship with feelings. First you are told that feelings are weak or unmanly. Then, when you no longer have feelings as a result of following such instructions, you are accused of being a sociopath.

We see some regarding feelings as an inferior function. We see others claiming that there are some people who have no feelings at all, and that they become all kinds of crooks. The civilization needs to make up its mind on the issue. Are feelings good? Are feelings bad? Or, as I believe, capable of either of the above or a mix?

I see no reason at all why any function would be superior or inferior. Nor do I see any reason at all to believe that any function could be good or bad. Anything human can be good, bad or a mix. It makes no sense to either extol or demonize feelings. They can go in any number of ways.

This conclusion is the case in both creationist and evolutionist models. If we have been created then everything in us is there for a reason. If we have evolved then everything in us has evolved for the benefit of the species. In either case, there is no better or worse function. All are there for a reason.

Of course, if our nature has been corrupted by original sin, then that does not begin to be limited to feelings. If that is the case then everything in people is bad. This is also the case with reason, with status, with economics, and everything else that is human.

In either case we see equality – either in mutual virtue or in mutual sin.

Attacking people for having feelings and then, once they conform to that, attacking them for not having feelings, is not an honest course of action. There will always be beliefs that would cater to this and any number of other forms of wrong. The solution is to see through all such attitudes, recognizing their dishonesty, and then living in situations that are free of such things.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Anger and Righteousness

I once heard someone say that there is no such thing as righteous anger, as the righteous do not get angry.

Obviously that person has not read the Bible. There very much is such a thing as righteous anger.

That does not however mean that all anger is righteous. It is legitimate to be angry at a man for beating his wife or raping his children. It is not legitimate to be angry at one's wife because she left a speck of dust on the floor.

Anger can be righteous, it can also be not righteous.

Probably the most famous example of righteous anger in all of history is Christ getting angry at the Pharisees. These people followed the Bibical law, but they did it for wrong reasons. They did it for status and social power rather than for the love of God. They took credit for their privilege and their peace of mind – both of which came from God rather than from them – while ignoring the people. There was every reason for Christ to be angry with them.

As Solomon said, there is time for everything. That also means that there is time for anger. By all means do away with non righteous anger. Do not however militate against righteous anger. If Christ got angry, then certainly righteous people get angry; and that is a reality that must be recognized.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Errors In Domestic Violence Research

An Australian professor once asked me how I combined my obvious commitment to ending domestic violence with my reluctance to engage with existing research into the subject.

My response is that this research has gone terribly, tragically wrong.

When I was at the university in 1990s, people were portraying me as the kind of person who would commit domestic violence. I have been for six years with a woman whom many described as a bitch, but I was never abusive or violent toward her. Clearly the research was very wrong.

I suggest that there has been a large bias in that research. A woman who is actually being abused is not likely to be in a position to take a survey; and if she is, she will be under intense pressure to protect her family or her community or her church from them damn libruls in the government. Which means that the most abused women are the least likely to get detected in the research.

Now if you are doing your research in a well-off liberal community, where domestic violence is against the social norms, then the people who would commit it would be the people who break social norms – who, by definition, possess personality disorders. Whereas if you are in Afghanistan, or in Kiev, or in the rural parts of Queensland, then violence is a social norm. Which means that in those places the average abuser is not a sociopath or a narcissist. In those places the average abuser is a regular Joe, or Igor, or Abdul who thinks that real men dominate women, or that love is for sissies, or that he owes it to other men or to God to keep women in their place.

I know a number of women who have been through serious domestic violence; and in most situations nobody believed that their husbands would do such a thing. To them they were the nicest guys that one could possibly meet. Whereas the males that were getting slandered all along were the men who were of passionate temperament – who, as such, both needed love the most and had the most of love to offer their partners. When a woman with whom I was in love got severely beaten by her boyfriend, she went to a police domestic violence service, and they were just as happy to yell at me as they had been happy to yell at him. Clearly they are either misguided or malevolent.

The professor of whom I speak does not come across to me as malevolent. He does however come across to me as being misguided. If you see me as being a part of the problem, then no, sorry, the problem is very much with you. He is a part of the gender war. The gender war is the problem not the solution. The gender war encourages everyone involved to be bastards. And that is bad for everyone – man, woman, child, what have you.

I am not partial to put trust in research that tried to portray me as a potential abuser or much worse. I will apply higher standards on people doing the research. If their research tries to portray me as the bad guy, then clearly that research is wrong. I will not engage with wrongful research. I will demand better research and one that actually sees the problem for what it is.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Naivete and Negativity

Life is a great leveler of worldviews. Someone who comes in with a naïve outlook believing that people are good gets taken advantage of and hurt all the time, which eventually results in such a person becoming more wary and cautious. Someone who comes in with a negative outlook believing that people are bad on the other hand is often in for a pleasant surprise when he starts to deal with people who are genuinely good.

The mistake that the naïve person makes is failing to see the wrongs of which people are capable. The mistake that the negative person makes is failing to see the good in people. Often such a person would look at ways to portray anything that people can do as one or another way to do evil. If someone practices good conduct, they want to see it as a sneakier way to do evil. Whatever one may do, such a person will look for ways to portray it as being bad. You are kind to them, it's because you want something from them or are desperate. You are interested in the truth, it's because you want power over other people or whatever other form of nonsense. You do good things, it's because you have guilt or fear in your consciousness. And further on along the same line.

Whereas the naïve person sees everything as good even if it is not such a thing.

The negative person frequently makes the error of mistaking her negativity for intelligence. In fact such people can be just as stupid as anyone naïve. Intelligence is not a function of attitude. It is a function of learning and thinking things through. This is not found either in naivite or negativity.

The rational approach is neither to be naïve nor to be negative. The rational approach is recognizing that anything human is capable of choice, and anything capable of choice can be good or bad.

As the Bible says, don't go to the left or to the right. Do not err either in the direction of naivite or in the direction of negativity. Neither attitude state is the right one. The rightful attitude is the rational one. See people for what they choose to do.

Now there are some people who promote positive thinking as a way to become a winner. In some pursuits, positive thinking does in fact pay. If you are a salesman, being positive will allow you to reach more customers than would being negative. But there are other pursuits where it completely fails to apply. If you are an engineer, you cannot think positive. You have to think critically. You have to anticipate problems. An engineer who thinks positive will design products that do not work.

The solution is not to be either naïve or negative. The solution is using your brain. See people for who they are, treat them accordingly, and share your life with people who are actually good.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

"The Final Secret"

E. E. Cummings said that the final secret is the man; but I believe that the final secret is the woman.

Men are not all that difficult to understand. Many of them are quite boring. Whereas the woman offers a lot more of a challenge, as well as having many qualities worth discovering.

There are many beautiful qualities with which women are more endowed naturally than are men. These qualities include such things as kindness, compassion and beauty. In attacking these qualities in women, the third wave feminists have done a vast disservice to womanhood. They have put women in a race with men in which they can only come second. Meanwhile they have destroyed the places in which the women come first.

One joke with valuable input on the matter is, “God makes Adam and says 'ugh.' Then he makes Eve and says, 'Practice makes perfect.'”

The problem with fixation on equality is that ignores absolutely everything else. Cats are being taught to be dogs and to suppress their feline qualities. For me, a good woman is not only an equal to the next man. She is in many ways his superior. And in their fixation on equality, the feminists have put women in a race in which they can only come second while destroying the place in which women are vastly better than men.

It is certainly rightful for women to seek better treatment in relationships and better social status. It is in no way rightful to claim that good feminine qualities are incompatible with that aim. I used to believe that women were better than men. My interactions with American feminists cured me of that error. I did not replace my stance with that of Eminem or Osama Bin Laden. I replaced it with the rational stance, namely that anything capable of choice can be good or bad. There are matters of nature and there are matters of choice; and both have a vast influence.

Naturally, there are many ways in which women are better than men. But if they become Third Wave feminists, they destroy these good qualities and become inferior to men. At which point the rational stance will be to reject them and support those – both men and women – whom these women stand to injure or to oppress.

If I – someone who's written three books of poetry for three different women – get portrayed as a misogynist, then something is very wrong with people's perceptions. Indeed their whole mentality reveals itself to be a lie. A person who cries wolf becomes not credible when a real wolf appears out of the woods. So now, after a whole bunch of women told a bunch of lies about all sorts of men, the real victims of domestic violence and incest become not credible. This is just one of the many toxic effects that Third Wave feminism has had on the world.

The Third Wave feminism has had a vast effect on my view of the world. It got me to examine my attitudes, which once again used to be universally in favor of women. These people were refutation by counterexample of an irrational worldview that I had. Here were women who were absolute jerks. One cannot credibly go on thinking that women are better than men if one has had dealings with the American Third Wave feminists.

As for the heroic women who have rejected the American Third Wave feminism: You have my admiration and you have my support. You have remained The Final Secret. Remain as good as you are and influence others toward nobler conduct. Make the world a better place by your presence in it. And show to others – both men and women – how good life can be when people act nobly.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Perfect Mirror

I've heard any number of people complaining about how this that and the other could see others clearly but could not see themselves.

I believe that there is a very good reason for that.

Can you see a picture when you are inside the picture? You cannot. You are part of the picture, and there is no way for you to see it unaided. You need a mirror. You need an external perspective so that you can see the picture and also yourself.

The problem with most mirrors is that they are convex. They do not reflect things clearly. They have a curvature to them that is a function of their character and prejudice. They see some things correctly and other things incorrectly. You will see in them their view of you, which may or may not be correct.

But there is a mirror that is not convex. It is God. God is perfect, and He sees things with absolute clarity. So if you want to see or understand yourself, place yourself in front of the perfect mirror.

Forget about psychological theories like personality psychology and self-esteem. Instead go to the wisest and most righteous entity in the universe. It says in the Bible that the world's wisdom is foolishness to God. Do not waste time with that foolishness. Go to the actual source of wisdom.

Now it is very rightful to want to know yourself. It is not rightful at all to do it according to beliefs that are untrue. When someone is pushing Freud or Adler or anything of the sort, they are wrong. Do not examine yourself according to things that are untrue. Examine yourself according to the truest thing in the Universe that is God.

So if you want to see yourself, use toward that effect the perfect mirror. See what you look in the eyes of God. That way you will have all the true self-knowledge. And then you will have as much self-esteem as you need to carry out God's will, to be the best person that you can be, and to do whatever it is that you need to do in the world.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Self-Esteem And God

There are a number of people who want me to work on my self-esteem. I have a very good reason to not follow the advice of these people. I believe the concept to be a lie.

First the person is given a code by which to esteem himself. Then he is told to take responsibility for his life as a function of abiding by this code. The result is inner colonization. The person is told what to be like. Then he is told to make that the meaning of his existence.

A person from former Soviet Union once stated that in the Soviet Union they controlled the body, whereas in the West they control the mind. Now I can think of various reasons that a government might demand of people that they work and follow the law. I can think of no legitimate reason why either the government or the society should control how the people think. The first tells people what to do; the second tells people what to want. There may very well be legitimate reasons why powers that be tell people what to do; but none that they tell people what to want.

Or what personality to have. Or what psychological structure to practice. Or anything along the same lines.

Really, what is a more profound form of enslavement: The one that tells you what to do or the one that tells you what to want? The first only controls the actions; the second also controls the mind. It is the one that controls the mind that leads to the most complete inner ensnarement.

Self-esteem is just one of the many phony beliefs that have been used toward that effect. It is of course not the only one. If I were to espouse a belief, I will do that with a belief that actually has some meaning, such as Christianity. I see no reason at all to espouse a fascist trend in psychology or anything along the same lines. If I am to believe in something, I will believe in God.

As for self-esteem, it is just another racket among many rackets that are out there. First you are told what to live up to; then you are told that doing so is your life. There have been many rackets through centuries, and this one is the one with whose ruinous effects we are dealing now.

Not only is self-esteem a racket; it also is a goose chase. There will always be someone out there to destroy whatever self-esteem you struggle to obtain. Much better to ignore the whole process and focus on things that are meaningful. Focus on God. Focus on your contributions to the world. Forget the whole self-esteem goose chase.

Self-esteem is a fairly recent concept, and one whose exponents see as being necessary for successful existence. If they had been right, then through most of history nobody would have been a winner at all. And of course there have been all sorts of successful people – and all sorts of good people – throughout history, including in places that did not encourage the concept. The claims of the self-esteem movement are refuted by history. And it is a sad state of affairs indeed if it takes someone like me to remind people of that.

I once knew someone who had a friend whom he admired because he thought that he had great self-esteem. His friend said, “No, I know myself through God.” I think that seeing one's reflection in a non-convex mirror is more valid than attempting to remold yourself without the help of mirrors. You cannot see the picture when you are inside the picture. You need a mirror. And there is no better mirror than God.

The problem with most mirrors out there is that they are convex. The person's perceptions are a function of all sorts of prejudices and are riddled with all sorts of errors. But if there is such a thing as a perfect, non-convex, mirror, then that is what it takes for the person inside the picture to see the picture – and of course as a part of that to also see himself.

Most of what has come out of the self-esteem movement is just wrong. Being a good person is not a function of how you esteem yourself; it is a function of how you esteem and treat other people. Romantic relationships are not about seeking external validation; they are about what you feel about the other person and not about what you feel about yourself. Bullying is not a result of low self-esteem; it is a result of aggressive attitudes. I see no reason at all why giving people strong self-esteem will make them better people. In fact I think that the opposite is the case. A person with higher standards will find it harder to feel good about herself than a person with lower standards. The person with lower standards will have higher self-esteem; the person with higher standards will be a better person.

Teaching a bully to have higher self-esteem is not the solution to bullying. They do not need to feel better about themselves, they need to have more respect for other people. With people who have been victimized, sometimes it is helpful to teach them to feel better about themselves. That however is a very slippery path. There will always be some potential bully out there to re-traumatize them.

I have a massive bullshit detector as a result of having lived in two countries with completely different ideologies. With self-esteem movement what we see is bullshit complete. It is a way to ensnare people and make them the tools of their own oppression. I do not even try to have self-esteem. I consider the concept to be a racket and say so overtly.

The position of the person who knows himself through God is a far more meritorious one than that of the person who esteems himself. He looks at himself in the perfect mirror and precisely sees himself. This gives the clarity that he needs to do the right thing and be the right person. Do not attempt to esteem the picture in which you are a part. See it – and yourself – with the help of a perfect mirror.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Is There Such A Thing As Social Progress?

The concept of progress has been applied to a number of issues. One is scientific and technological progress. The other is the social progress.

I take no issue with the concept of scientific and technological progress. Clearly that is a real thing, and it has done a lot to improve the lives of all sorts of people. My concern is with the concept of social progress. Frankly, I do not believe that such a thing exists. And I make this finding based on the study of world history.

Societies change all the time in all sorts of directions and for all sorts of reasons. Under the Tang Dynasty in 9th century AD, the social climate was very relaxed. The empires after that changed all that; and for a long time China has been a very authoritarian country.

In the Western civilization, the situation has varied greatly. The “decadence” of Rome was followed by the medieval era that was very repressive. The Middle Ages were followed by the Renaissance which was quite relaxed. That, in turn, was followed by the Reformation; which was followed by rationalism; which was followed by Romanticism; which was followed by the Victorian Era; which was followed by the bohemian period. Some of these had relaxed social values and some did not. At no point is there a linear trend toward one or the other outcome.

In 1960s and 1970s many people thought that liberalization of social attitudes was progress. In 1980s and 1990s people stopped believing in such things. Many people want to portray what happened in 1960s and 1970s as an aberration; a result of a bad crop. The life-affirming feminism of 1960s and 1970s was replaced by a vicious feminism that wanted to exterminate a whole section of the population – the people they saw as “sociopaths” and “perverts.” Certainly some of them thought that what they were doing the right thing. Many of them thought that they were affectuating social progress. They were not.

Once again, is there such a thing as social progress? I do not believe that there is. Social values change all the time in all sorts of directions and for different reasons. That something is consistent with Marxism does not make it progress. There are plenty of intelligent women who prefer the “traditional” role; and that does not make them reactionaries.

Just about everyone wants scientific and technological progress in the world. But on social issues people will disagree. Some will look to the Bible and the Quran and others will look toward feminism. Right now, I do not know which one is better than the other. People have lived well in both, and others suffered under both.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Narcissism and Parenting

According to a friend of mine – who at her request does not want to be named – her mother had the narcissistic personality disorder.

According to a site that she sent to me, the narcissistic parent sees the children as the extension of herself.

There have been any number of people who accused me of being a narcissist; but I do not treat my daughter in any such a way. She is very different from me, and most of these differences are positive ones. When I was a child I was very unhappy; she has always been very happy. When I was a child I hated taking baths and did not care what I looked like. She has been a fashion princess since she was 3 years old.

This leaves us with two possible outcomes. Either I am not a narcissist, or the narcissistic personality disorder is a lie to inflict upon the population.

I have a friend who is a professor, who told me once that the solution is not to have children of one's own but to influence other people's children. This is the reason why so many Americans hate the academia. The question he failed to ask is, Would people be happy with him influencing their children against them? Would they continue funding and supporting you? Or will they see you as a menace from which to protect their kids?

I have no interest at all in the battle between business and academic interests. Both can go right, and both can go very badly wrong. The real solution is for both to know their place. Academia is there to do research and to educate people. Business is there to produce prosperity.

I want to see a peaceful and mutually beneficial co-operation to take place with both. Neither the business nor the academia is good or bad. Both are capable of both. That is because anything that people have is based in choice. And anything capable of choice can do either right or wrong.

I do not believe that it will ever be possible to get rid of arrogance. It can however be confronted. We see arrogance in the academia when they decide that they understand all things and that nobody else does. We see arrogance in business when they decide that they create prosperity and that nobody else has had a role in creating their prosperity. We see arrogance in religious people who decide that they follow God and that nobody else does.

And we of course see arrogance as well in psychology when the people practicing it decide that they are the only sane people in the world.

Knowing what other people do not know may very well lead to arrogance. This is the case regardless of the beliefs that are being held. There are many religious people who believe that they are better than others because they are being true to God. There are many “skeptics” and suchlike who believe that they are better than other because they do not buy into religion or spirituality. In all of these cases we see arrogance; and I do not see one as being better than the other.

Certainly the children who are raised by people who care only about themselves can wind up in a bad situation. But then again this is not limited to such backgrounds. If someone cares about Islam or Nazism and about nothing else, then he will be a bad parent. This is in no way limited to narcissism. This happens all around the world.

If I, who have been portrayed as badly as I have been, can be a good parent, then so can any other parent, regardless of whether or not they have the narcissistic personality disorder. The real solution is to love the child and be completely dedicated to her well-being. This can be done by anyone, regardless of their psychology; and if I can do it then so can any other man.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Everything That's Wrong With Libertarianism

Libertarianism is an ideology that carries appeal. There are two very major things that I see wrong with libertarianism.

One is that the government is not the only – and in the West not the worst – source of wrongdoing. I have heard many horror stories in the former Soviet Union; however I have also heard horror stories in the United States. The difference was that while in the Soviet Union the perpetrator was the government, in America the perpetrators were private entities such as families, religious organizations, and corrupt networks in law and medicine.

The government in the West is official, elected, accountable, checked and balanced. These entities are not. This allows them to get away with greater abuses than are allowed the government.

Brutality and corruption did not end in Russia when the Soviet Union failed. Instead the totalitarian government was replaced by the mafia, which was in many respects worse. Does the fact that something is unofficial make it any less capable of abuses than an entity that is official? I think not. I think that any entity is capable of corrupt or tyrannical practices, and that that is in no way limited to the government. In fact a case can be made that in the West the governments are better than private entities of oppression and corruption. The governments in the West are subject to accountability, check and balance; which Texas Oil, the mafia, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Westboro Baptists and the corrupt doctor and lawyer networks are not.

Problem number two with libertarianism is that, if it is left to its own logic, it would not provide for the needs of the country. If responsibility is to be defined as financial self-interest, then everyone will want to become a yuppie. Nobody will want to become a teacher, a scientist or the military. This will starve the country of much of what it needs. People in these professions do not make very much money; but their contributions to prosperity are vast.

Not everyone involved in libertarianism is a bad person, but many are very much confused. They focus all their scrutiny on the government while failing to adequately scrutinize private entities. In fact in many cases we see precisely the wrong thing being done. Libertarians focus their scrutiny on entities in the government that try to scrutinize genuinely corrupt entities. This allows the genuinely corrupt to use the naivete of libertarians to put them in their service.

Once again, the fact that an entity is unofficial does not make it any less capable of corruption. There are plenty of non-government entities that are worse than the governments in the West. The governments are subject to accountability, check and balance; these entities are not subject to any such things whatsoever. This allows them to get away with worse abuses than are allowed the government. And that makes them, not the government, the primary perpetrator of wrong acts.

If libertarians really do stand for what they claim to stand for, they would be scrutinizing all sorts of non-government entities capable of tyranny and corruption. In the West it is these entities, not the government, that are guilty of greatest wrongs. Governments are capable of wrongdoing; but so are all sorts of entities that are not the government. Western democracies are subject to check and balances. Entities such as Jehovah's Witnesses are not subject to any such thing. This means that these entities can – and do – get away with greater abuses than are allowed the government.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Character and Leadership

One question that has been on my mind a lot is, “What is the relationship between the founders of the country and the country?”

America's founders included some amazing individuals. Whereas the founders of the Soviet Union were a bunch of pushy arrogant know-it-alls. By that standard it stands to reason that the character of the founders of the country is vastly influential as to what the country becomes.

There is also however evidence to the contrary. Julius Nyerere was a much better person than Mobutu Sese Seko; but that did not result in Tanzania becoming a better place than Zaire. Tanzania suffered a lot, and that was the case even though its independence leader was a good man.

In American politics we see that and more. Jimmy Carter was a good man but a bad president. Bill Clinton was a bad person but an excellent president. Under Clinton, America thrived and created 23 million private jobs while also getting rid of the deficit. Bill Clinton's character had nothing to do with it; his ideas and his policies did.

Is the character of the leader definitive of the path that the country takes? From what I have seen, it does not. There are people with excellent character who make bad leaders, and there are people with good character who make terrible leaders. Jimmy Carter was a much better man than Bill Clinton. But under Clinton America prospered, whereas under Carter it did not.

I do not see why the success of a leader is in any way dependent on his character. Some people with good character will be good leaders, and some people with good character will not. Same is the case with people with bad character, whether they be Bill Clinton or Mobutu Sese-Seko.

Does character determine one's worth as a leader? I think that it can work out in any number of ways. Sometimes the character will result in rightful actions. Sometimes it will not result in a rightful action. Respect by all means people with character; but do not think that it is the only thing that shapes the reality of their actions.

Arranged Marriages and Chosen Marriages

The jury remains out on whether the Western idea of people choosing their partners or the Hindu idea of arranged marriages is the preferable one.

Probably the most frequent argument made in favor of the Indian idea is that one's parents have life experience, whereas one oneself does not. My response to that is that while the parents certainly have more experience than does the child, they have experience being themselves and none being him. There are vast differences between people; and that someone has had more life experience does not mean that that person has more experience being oneself. I have more experience than does my daughter, but I have no experience being my daughter. Which means that my life experience does not always speak for her.

Now I have seen a number of arranged marriage situations that have worked out well. And yes, I have seen any number of choice situations that became a disaster. I have heard the arguments on all sides. I came up with a compromise. I have no ill will at all toward people who willingly choose the Indian scenario. But for myself I continue to insist on choosing my partner.

In case of my daughter, I would not dream of telling her whom she should marry or what life path she should take. The only two things I do not want her to be is a criminal or a punching bag. I would inform her enough about life so that she can make informed and rightful decisions; at which point she will be able to make informed and rightful decisions for herself.

As a responsible parent, I cannot accuse in this of being a brat or anything of the sort. I am looking at how to make things better for my daughter. I will not push her into marriage with someone I like while ignoring her own wishes on the subject. I will inform her about the world well enough that she can make more informed choices. And then she will be able to do the right thing without being pushed into something that people think to be right but isn't.