Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Feminism and Character

For a long time feminism has focused on mickey-mouse issues such as date rape while disregarding real problems such as domestic violence.
Domestic violence is a much greater violation than date rape. Yet a man goes to jail for date rape but gets away with breaking his wife's skull. Dater rape is a single event; domestic violence is ongoing.
Well, do you want your daughter getting date raped? Of course not. But unlike domestic violence, date rape is easy to avoid. Simply don't go to parties with frat boys. The women who get raped are women who fall in with the wrong crowd. Whereas domestic violence can happen to anyone.
An argument that some make is that a woman who gets date raped has not chosen it, whereas a woman with an abusive partner has chosen her partner. This kind of thinking needs to be challenged. Is a man who deceives you into buying a defective product morally superior to the man who steals your wallet? Does the fact that someone has pulled a successful con job make him better than someone who's operated in blatant violation of the law? I've known highly intelligent women in situations of domestic violence, and in no way were they dumber or weaker than the women who get date raped.
Similarly, we see separation in people's minds between incest and pedophilia. Everyone howls for the blood of a man who rapes other people's children; however that is not where the bulk of sexual abuse takes place. Most sexual violation of children is done by relatives; and these usually find ways to keep it within the family. The children grow up with that trauma and see themselves as unworthy and unclean, resulting in self-sabotaging behavior. The person who inflicts this lifelong scar on the child walks clean and in many cases retains authority over the child's life.
A certain time ago on the Internet, there were people going on about "wolves in sheep's clothing" as men who sought relationships with women who have been through one or another kind of abuse. I have a better explanation. In those situations, the man was raised in a situation of abuse. He hated that state of affairs, but he knew no other way. This would lead him to go for women who likewise have been abused, in many cases having genuine compassion for them and feeling toward them a genuine closeness - as a result of similar experiences. However he would have no knowledge of any other way to have relationships. In many cases the man would slip back into bad old habits, whatever his intentions had been.
On the part of the women who make such claims, the behavior is that of the cowardly bully. They hate men; but while it is hard for them to confront men who are actual abusers, many of whom are adroit at social manipulation, it is a lot easier to attack men who wish women well. It is similar to the foolish behavior of inner city blacks who attack white city liberals while having no guts to fight real racists in the countryside. The men who are most predisposed to seek women's well-being, they attack the most viciously. This drives away potential allies. It also makes the actual misogynists credible in society. If goodwill toward women gets rewarded with viciousness, ill will toward women becomes more credible. The victims of this are of course the women who are suffering enough already - women in right-wing, Muslim or inner city communities. Women act like jerks, and that makes credible to men - and many women - the claims that women are weak and stupid and should be robbed of their rights.
If a man has compassion for an attractive woman, he is therefore seen as a predator. I do not limit my compassion to attractive women. When I was at Kramer Books in DC, I started a conversation with a kind-looking professor. A very mean-looking woman came over glaring at me - obviously his wife. I am a straight man. I was in no way attracted to the professor. But at that point I wanted to help him to get away from his wife. I hate to see good people getting mistreated by bad people. That also is the case with men and women for whom I bear no lust.
 Then there is the claim that positive feelings are good and negative feelings are bad. In fact there are many situations in which one leads to the other. If you have compassion for someone, you will be angry at someone who has hurt her. If you have love for someone, you may very well have hatred for people who've treated her horribly. Positive feelings and negative feelings are not mutually exclusive. There are many situations in which they rightfully coexist.
The claim that being angry or hateful is incompatible with being loving or enlightened does not feed love or enlightenment, it feeds insincerity. People pretend to love you but actually hate your guts. In fact a sincere person will be just as sincere about being angry as he would about being loving. I would take genuine anger over fake enlightenment any day. Very little of any kind of good comes from insincerity. And when people are not allowed "negative feelings," that is exactly what we see.
Another source of hypocrisy and confusion is what people regard to be character. Apparently everyone chooses his character, and apparently nobody's character ever changes. These statements are mutually contradictory. If you chcose your character then you can change your character; and if you cannot change your character then it is not a choice.
Pursuant this we have seen one of the worst hysterias in America's history. People accused of possessing sociopathic, narcissistic and borderline personality disorders are being demonized. Meanwhile America owes most of its original ideas, scientific inventions and economic innovation to its narcissists; its political and military might to its sociopaths; and its entertainment to its histrionics. And now there is a narcissist in the White House who has commissioned America's most beautiful buildings and at least two of whose predecessors - Bill Clinton and Barack Obama - were accused of being narcissists as well.
If it is narcissistic to want great success or to have original ideas, then everyone who's had great success or original ideas is a narcissist. If it is sociopathic to object to whatever social dynamics exist around you, then everyone in immigrant-shaped countries descends from sociopaths, who had the incredible hubris and coldness not to accept their place in England or Ireland or Germany or Sweden or Poland and leave their homes and their countries to seek a better way of life in the United States. If it is histrionic to call attention to yourself, then every star, every priest, every teacher, every media personality, every politician, is a histrionic. If it is schizoid to have spiritual experiences, then the world owes its moral instruction and the bulk of its wisdom to its schizoids. If it is borderline to have conflicting feelings, then everyone who's been exposed to more than one influence is a borderline.
There is more to this - much more. When someone possesses a passionate and affectionate temperament, he is seen as either unmanly, weak or obsessive. Then the cold, mean-spirited people who pull this trick decide that they are the good people with real feelings and that he is a "sociopath" - an unhuman monster without feeling or conscience. You are demonized if you have feelings, you are demonized if you don't have feelings. I have not seen a greater racket, and I've lived under Communism.

Serenity and Change

I know people who have attended Alcoholics Anonymous, and I’ve seen a curious trait in many of them. They appear to have a kind of peace – or, as they say, serenity. They believe that the world is in the right hands – the hands of God of their understanding; so they can focus on their own lives and not worry about the direction of the world.
I do worry. I worry enough to have blown my life over it. I used to have a very comfortable life. However I was seeing terrible things all around, and I got so intensely involved in it that I could not even concentrate on my work. People thought all sorts of terrible things about me and the choices that I was making. The real situation was that I was so focused on addressing – and confronting – what was happening that I had no energy left for my own life.
Now many people regard that as mental illness. Quite simply, I disagree with their idea of what is mental health. If it is narcissistic to seek great success or to have original ideas, then everyone who’s had great success and everyone who’s had original idea is a narcissist, which means that the world owes most of what it has to narcissists. And if it is schizophrenic to be in touch with spiritual powers or to take religion seriously, then the world owes its moral instruction to schizophrenics.
Have there been bad boys among such people? Of course there have been. But there are plenty of perfectly normal people who do terrible things as well. The Spanish colonialists were for the most part normal, but they were more cruel than even the Nazis. The ghetto gangsters and Russian mafiosis are for the most part perfectly normal, but they do many terrible things. Most crooks do not have a mental illness. Whereas there are plenty of people with one or another diagnosis who do nothing wrong.
Should one strive for an AA kind of serenity? I don’t know. I believe that most things can be changed. I do not agree with “living life on life’s terms” because I do not believe that life has terms. Countries have terms, and they differ vastly among one another. When they talk about facing reality I do not believe that it is reality that they are facing. They fail to consider the reality of the sun, the planet Earth and other societies. I am partial to the idea that God has terms for us. I will not however make the error of mistaking the society of Queensland, or Tennessee, or Izhevsk, or Hyderabad, or Tibet, for reality, or the terms by which such societies operate for terms of life, or their idea of what is normal for mental health. Nor do I recommend that others make the same error.

A Republican candidate had it written on his website, “I no longer accept what I cannot change. I change what I cannot accept.” In many cases the people who lose themselves in alcohol do so because they feel powerless. The idea that a good power is in charge of the universe puts them at peace. However the problems that we see all around us are not the doing of God; they are the doing of people. And most of these things can, and should, be changed.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Power and Adequacy

Some people have accused me of being power-hungry. The real issues are a lot deeper.
Growing up, I was exposed to good ideas and good values. That was especially the case with people who had interest in literature and the arts. I saw these values a people who had them get stomped upon in society. They ended up finding themselves in powerless positions in which their values counted for nothing. I decided that this was wrong. Instead I have been looking for ways that these values can matter – and people who have them can have better lives.
I am not looking for power for myself. I am looking for influence of good values.
One time that I’d had it with the lack of value for poetry, arts and philosophy was high school. I began very aggressively challenging the way that people thought, at one point introducing annoying cognitions such as “You don’t exist.” At a more mature age I have been scrutinizing all sorts of issues from gender relations to different cultural practices to economics. I’ve found that it’s not enough to reach art history majors. I also have to reach people otherwise would not care.
Is it a power thing? Possibly in a way, but not quite as conceptualized. I myself do not want to rule anyone. I want good values to matter. And that means confronting the things that stand in their way.
Another claim that I’ve heard is that I’m driven by a sense of inadequacy. The intellectual influence behind this is Alfred Adler, who claimed that people were driven by “adequacy striving” and that everything else was compensation for inadequacy real or perceived. There is a problem with that – a big problem. This would pathologize everything that has taken humanity from caveman to man on the moon. No man is an adequate match for a tiger, nor should he strive to be an adequate match for a tiger. He outsmarts the tiger using superior methodology and in so doing advances the lot of humankind.
Occasionally the monkey-minded people will come in possession of human brain arguments and use them to advance the monkey agenda. We most certainly see that in action on both the left and the right. If someone is driven by adequacy striving, that is his business. It does not have to be my problem or that of anyone else. To hell with the atavistic concept of adequacy. Let ghetto thugs be adequate with one another and instead produce something that’s worthy of having been produced – in business, in science, in art, what have you.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Role Of The Thinker

Some people have been claiming that it is selfish of me to be preoccupied with ideas.

My response is that everything that we have started as somebody’s idea and that without such supposedly selfish people we would not have much of anything at all.

A lawyer once told me, “Well, these are just your thoughts.” Well yes,  that they are. Thoughts are also at the basis of your political and economic system that made it possible for you to be a lawyer. Without thoughts you would have nothing. Everything that we have started as a thought.

Well aren’t these just YOUR thoughts? That they are, but the thoughts at the basis of your system were also once somebody’s. Were John Locke and Adam Smith selfish to have made the intellectual basis for capitalism and democracy?

So why would I be selfish to propose ideas such as integrative cognition and make original philosophical arguments such as distinction between valued and non-valued dualities?

Different people make different kinds of contributions. If someone wants to be a lawyer or an engineer that is his right. But there is very much a role for a thinker as well. I do not believe that this role will ever go away. There will always be need for people to analyse and make sense of things.

The people who think that business makes possible the intellectual have it confused. It was intellectuals such as Locke, Smith and Ayn Rand that laid the intellectual foundation for capitalism. The people involved in the economy need the intellectuals, and it is time that such be respected.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Intellect, Common Sense, Wisdom and Faith

I have found four different ways of discerning reality: Intellect, common sense, wisdom and faith.

Each has its shortcomings that gives way for the next step in the cycle.

Intellect, by itself, loses touch with reality and with ethics. This leads to it being replaced by common sense.

Common sense, by itself, leads to meanness, coldness and lack of compassion. It is then replaced by wisdom.

Wisdom, by itself, becomes arrogant and self-satisfied. It is then replaced by faith in a power greater than one’s own that does not become that way.

Faith, by itself, becomes strangulating and superstitious. It is then replaced by intellect.

This cycle repeats through ages and times.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Inner Beauty And Outer Beauty

In “Beauty And The Beast,” an enchantress says that beauty is within. In “Liar Liar,” Jim Carrey says to his son, when he says this, “That’s just something that ugly people say.”

Both are wrong.

We are dealing here with two completely different and completely unrelated things. On one side we see physical attractiveness. On the other side we see goodness of character. I see no reason why the two should relate to one another at all. Some people will have both, some people will have one or the other, and some will have neither.

We see many claim such things as that physical beauty is somehow incompatible with spirituality or intelligence or personal strength. They obviously haven’t met many Russian women. The people who have such beliefs have no business claiming to be spiritual or intelligent. They are driven by greed and hatred. And their effect on society is poisonous.

I have loved a number of women who were both beautiful and good people. I stick up for them as a labour of love. Their concerns become my concerns, and their battles become my battles.

When I was writing in defense of beauty I was told that I was thinking with my penis and that I was a sham. I have no sexual feelings for women in my family, but they are all beautiful. They are also good people. Most of them are also spiritually developed. They, like many women from Russia, are a refutation by counterexample of this claim.

If the point is that people should pay more attention to people’s character, then that claim is correct. If the claim is that there is something incompatible between inner beauty and outer beauty, then that claim is completely wrong. I see no reason why the two should have a relationship, either a positive one or a negative one. We are dealing with two completely different things. See both for what they are and act accordingly.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Education vs. Business

My grandmother was a teacher, and I was a good student as well as the favorite of a number of teachers. When I came to America, my classmates told me that academic knowledge counted for nothing, and that the only thing that mattered in life was social skills and common sense.

We appear to have a conflict of values between the business world and education establishments. Both can find all sorts of ways to be jerks. I have a former classmate in Russia who reports vicious abuse against her by the teachers. I also know a number of talented people who got treated very badly either in the business world or by businessman spouses. I have seen abuses on both sides, with greater abuses in the Soviet Union on the part of educators and greater abuses in America on the part of business.

Since education is identified with the government - and America is full of anti-government sentiment - teachers in America are at a great disadvantage and find it difficult to do their jobs. The student in America who takes school seriously gets attacked for it by other students. Meanwhile the parents drive around with bumper stickers that say "My son beat up your honor student" and keep howling about them damn liberal elites in the academia and them damn Commie know-it-all nerds.

Since teaching - and academic world - do not pay very much, the people driven by monetary interest avoid the professions. This means that the bulk of people in these fields are liberals. Conservatives rarely venture into these fields, so they do the next best thing: howl about them damn liberals and damn commies in the schools and the academia brainwashing their children. This blame-placing behavior contradicts the stated values of conservatism. There will always be need for education. If they want greater influence in education, they will motivate more conservatives to seek employment in the field.

When Pat Robertson goes on about universities teaching the students hostile ideologies instead of Christian values, he is lying. The university is precisely the place to find out about other cultures and other ways of life. These students will be dealing with people from other countries in their business careers, and if they know about their ways of life they will be able to deal with them more competently. Nor is there anything anti-Christian about these universities. Every major university has a theology department, and a student who wants to expand his understanding of Christianity can take a theology class. It is however much easier to howl about liberal elites than it is to produce knowledge; and this is what we see from such people.

Should the business world and the education world remain at loggerheads with each other? I do not see why this should be necessary. Use academic intelligence to explain and advance business, and use business money to advance science, learning and culture. And in this arrive at an arrangement that makes the best of both worlds. Seek what Steven Covey calls 3rd alternative: Synergy. And achieve the greatest benefit of both business and education.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Government Corruption and Private Corruption

That the government is capable of corrupt and tyrannical practices, everybody knows. It is however in no way the only entity capable of such practices.

There is the Church of Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses. There is the mafia and the inner city gangs. There are corrupt networks in law and medicine. There are the Enron and the Exxon. There are the men who like to beat their wives and rape their children.

I have heard horrors stories from people both in Russia and in America. The difference was that, while in case of the Soviets the perpetrator was the government, in case of Americans the perpetrators were private. Now I see no reason to see one as better or worse than the other. What difference does it make to you if the person violating you is public or private? In either case the wrong gets done.

Who really was worse, Mikhail Gorbachev or the Russian mafia? Who really is worse, EPA or Jehovah's Witnesses? I have a friend in America, an MD who had three of her relatives murdered in the US medical system. Corrupt doctors enlisted corrupt lawyers and corrupt coroners to bury the case. I know a woman in Australia whose husband got put away in a nursing home and murdered, and the body was cremated before an autopsy could be performed. I know a man in America who had every bone in his body broken when he was a child; a man in America whose father murdered his brother and kept anally raping him since he was 3; a woman in America whose father beat her to clinical death when she was 9. Are any of these perpetrators really better than the American government?

Should there be opposition to government tyranny? Of course. But do not deny the same scrutiny to private power. That something is unofficial does not make it any less real. In America and Australia at least, public power is elected, official, accountable, checked and balanced. Whereas private power in these countries is unelected, unofficial, unaccountable, unbalanced and unchecked. And this allows such power to get away with greater abuses than what we see done by official government in these countries.

The villains are very rarely where you expect to find them. Indeed many of them have a way of getting people to look for villains in precisely the wrong places. So that when the federal government makes an effort to fight incest, the people who like to commit incest get people to see the government as the oppressor that is invading their private family lives.

Governments are most certainly capable of corrupt and tyrannical practices. However so are all sorts of things that are not the government. Libertarians: Apply to private power the same scrutiny as you afford the government, and then you will have earned the right to call yourselves the defenders of freedom.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Logic Of The Curve

There are many people who consider themselves rational or logical. Many of them have an incomplete understanding of what logic and rationality means.

If you think in straight lines, you will think that a curve is illogical. In fact the logic of the curve is more advanced than the logic of the line. If you advance your understanding of mathematical logic, you will know that a curve can be approximated by infinitesimally smaller lines. There is logic to such things as feeling and spirituality, although it may differ from one’s own logic. There is vastly profound logic in nature, and it is a higher logic than anything that the merely logical mind knows how to devise. The complexity of a tree or a brain is astonishing, and a mind that holds such things in contempt is a mind that has either an inadequate knowledge or inadequate cognitive faculties.

I can reason well enough. I also know that there is more to life and to reality than what is believed by the merely rational. Rationalism of one form or another will always be followed by romanticism of one form or another. The mind has contempt for such things as nature and feeling until it has studied them enough to find in them greater logic than anything that it has itself known how to devise. At that point contempt gives way to respect and even awe. And the lack of such respect is a mark of either inadequate cognition or inadequate knowledge.

The proponents of this inadequate linear thinking keep making a habit of portraying anyone with any affinity for curvature as a loon. It is seen as drugs, mental illness, what have you. They are wrong – absolutely wrong. There are all sorts of things running by all sorts of logic. A curve has at its root as much, if not more, logic, than a line. And in seeing such things as illogical, the linear mind blindly and ignorantly stomps on things more complex and intricate than itself and denies the world the benefit of what such things have to offer.

That something runs by a logic different than oneself does not make it illogical. It makes it run by a different logic. The logical stance is to figure out the logic by which the thing in itself runs. To call it illogical is an illogic in itself. The logic is a method, not an ideology. And the true task of the rational mind is to understand the underlying logic and work with it to accomplish genuinely beneficial results.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Win-Win Scenarios And Greater Strength

Great business psychologist Steven Covey has written in favour of what he calls synergy, or win-win scenarios. In a win-win scenario, the parties to the deal negotiate a solution that works to the benefit of both sides. Instead of seeking only their own interest – or their interest at the expense of the other side – he advocates the parties putting their brains together to achieve an outcome that works for the benefit of both.

Win-win scenarios are definitely a desirable outcome. And whenever possible, they should in fact be sought. There are however situations in which win-win scenarios are impossible – such as when dealing with one’s implacable enemies.

Clinton sought win-win scenarios in both domestic and foreign policy, and his policies worked very well. America got its greatest ever period of peace and prosperity. Bush on the other hand pursued an aggressive, bullying policy that alienated even the president of Mexico – a former CEO who was partial to the United States. There was however one situation in which Bush’s approach was correct. That was in dealing with Muslim militants. There is no such thing as a win-win scenario with people who want to kill you. A compromise with someone who wants you dead leaves you half-dead; and a win-win scenario with someone who wants you dead means both people dying.

Win-win scenarios should be sought whenever possible. Where it is impossible, is the place for the use of greater strength.

The approach to take in dealing with any party is therefore to work with whatever is its actual character. There are no panaceas, and there are no universal solutions. You treat France on the basis of what is France, and you treat ISIS on the basis of what is ISIS. France is a quarrelsome ally that dislikes some things about America but does not want to destroy America. ISIS is a real enemy that does seek to destroy America.

It is possible to seek win-win scenarios with France. For that matter it is also possible to seek win-win scenarios with most places in the world. The only situation in which it cannot be done is with people who want to kill us; and with those people the solution is to use greater strength.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Art and Realism

One claim constantly made about artistically inclined people is that they lack realism. My response to that is that reality of human world is what people make of it; and such things are only unrealistic if people choose to make them so.

If something is not in demand, then those who are willing to supply it either go starving or have to do something else. The problem is not with those who are willing to form the supply, but with those who undermine the demand. I se no reason at all why America, with 300 million people and per capita GDP of $50,000 a year, should have less good art than Renaissance Italy, with 3 million people and per capita GDP of $1,500 a year. The problem is not with realism or lack of realism. The problem is one of values. Clearly there have been times in history in which it was completely realistic to produce and distribute art. And the times and places where that was the case are the times and places to which we continue to look back now.

So now we’ve come to a completely ridiculous point: Seeing artistic interest as psychopathology. You might as well say that it’s pathological to want to make money or to worship God. Treating such things as a psychopathology takes more resources than it would take to allow such people to be artists, and it does not produce any kind of benefit.

There have been times in American history when that was not the attitude. In 1920s there was a magnificent artistic blossoming even at the same time as there was a great economic boom. Economic prosperity and artistic blossoming coexisted. They worked together with one another. And it was in this time – one that combined economic prosperity with artistic excellence – that America became the greatest country in the world.

This means the following. Not only is it completely realistic to produce – and consume – art, but doing so is fully consistent with America’s values and America’s greatness. It is not for “snobs” or “liberal elites” or “pretentious Europeans.” It is something that has been done by patriotic Americans at the time that America rose to its greatest glory. It is fully realistic, as well as completely American, to produce and to consume art. The problem is lack of demand. The solution is increasing the demand while also producing supply of good art that people want to buy.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Synthesis And Checks-And-Balances

Whenever I had any kind of success, any number of people thought that that was unfair.

This is funny. This is funny because many people all over the world have told me that it is unfair that Americans have what they do because they themselves work harder, study harder and put more effort into their personal development than do the Americans. To see the same sentiment expressed by people in America about a Russian immigrant is very ironic indeed.

This brings me to a much more important subject than my own experience. And that is, Can Russia and America get along? I believe that this is possible, but it will require mature behavior on both sides. We can't have hooligans in Moscow beating up American tourists. We can't have American men marrying Russian women and treating them like dirt. In both cases we see major nuclear powers. It becomes incumbent on both Trump and Putin to tell their followers to behave responsibly.

I have loyalties both in Russia and in America. I seek the best for both countries. I have seen great qualities on the part of people both in Russia and in America. I have also seen jerks in both countries. I want the best both for Russia and for America.

The model for solving this and any number of other debates is that of synthesis within the framework of checks and balances. At the bottom level, each side checks the other's capacity for wrongdoing by affirming its legitimate prerogatives. At the top level, they synthesize with one another to achieve what neither can accomplish by itself. The first recognizes - and corrects - the real capacity that people have for wrongdoing. The second recognizes - and vitalizes - the capacity that people have for doing things that are right. This recognizes and works with both the destructive and the constructive potentials in people. All people are capable of doing right. All people are capable of doing wrong. The workable solution is to correct the destructive potentials - once again, by each side affirming its rightful prerogatives - and vitalize the capacity for constructive, productive and mutually beneficial action by working together to address common concerns and achieve mutual benefit.

Both the concept of checks-and-balances and the concept of synthesis have been used to create global superpowers. Both however are capable of wrongdoing. Checks and balances by itself leads to gridlock; synthesis by itself leads to totalitarianism. The two correct each other's destructive potentials. Checks and balances, with each side affirming its rightful prerogatives, keeps the two sides from walking all over each other. And synthesis makes it possible to achieve mutual benefit and accomplish win-win scenarios.

Now the concept of synthesis is associated with Communism. However it is not limited to Pol Pot. Steven Covey, an American business psychologist, advocates something that he calls synergy: The parties to any given deal putting their heads together to achieve what neither can by itself, that benefits both parties to the deal. This can happen in all interactions. However it is also necessary to put into place mechanisms to prevent wrongdoing. Hence the logic of combining synthesis with checks and balances.

The biggest argument against idealistic schemes is that we are living in a world of sinners. Certainly people are capable of all sorts of wrong; but they are capable of doing good as well. It is necessary to understand both and it is necessary to work with both. Checks and balances corrects capacity for wrongdoing. Synthesis makes it possible to achieve beneficial results.

The error of Communists - and that of Hobbes before that - was failing to see the destructive potentials in the state, resulting in a series of horrible governments. The libertarian error is that of seeing these potentials only in the government and not in business, families, communities, tribes and religions. In fact both people affiliated with governments and people not affiliated with governments are capable of all sorts of destructive behavior. However that is not the only thing of which people are capable. People are also capable of doing all sorts of good; and that is as much the case for people who join governments as it is for people who are not affiliated with a government.

If people are sinners then that is equally true of people who are in the government and people who are not in the government. And if people are good then that is likewise true of both. I see no reason to see the government-affiliated people as being better or worse than non-government-affiliated people; both are people, both are capable of both right and wrong.

This human reality - toward both destructive and constructive potentials - must be acknowledged in political and economic policies. The government is neither God nor Satan. Both government-affiliated people and non-government-affiliated people are capable of both rightful and wrongful behavior. The Russian mafia is not better than Gorbachev. The Church of Scientology is not better than the EPA. All people, whether part of government or not, are capable of both right and wrong.

This reality is dealt with in the methodology of synthesis within the framework of check and balance.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Spiral Of The Civilization

There is the logic of the line – create the fastest route between Point A and Point B. There is also the logic of the circle – that of tracing a distance from the center to all all points at that distance from the center. Combining the two is the spiral that repeats cyclically around X and Y dimensions while trending upwards along the Z dimension.

The civilization can be seen to reflect the spiral. The natural cycles of life – birth, youth, adulthood, old age and death – and all the social concerns associated with the preceding, keep repeating cyclically. Whereas scientifically and economically the civilization builts on itself, using the linear logical mind to realize an ongoing improvement. Technological progress is therefore linear. Whereas socially, what we appear to see is cyclical, with each generation fulfilling the needs particular to its age and then morphing into the needs of the next age, to be replaced eventually with the next generation.

Progress is seen therefore as being both technological and social. I do not believe that there is such a thing as social progress. Societies change all the time in all sorts of ways and for all sorts of reasons. There are natural and social dynamics that we see expressed at the natural and social level (dimensions X and Y) and there are man-made dynamics that are expressed in science and technology (dimension Z). The first is cyclical, the second is linear. Together they form the spiral of civilization.

The social situation is frequently the function of whatever age group is dominant. We see this especially with the baby boomers – the generation around which the world has revolved for over half a century. When they were young, the social attitudes were very relaxed, and many believed that what was happening was progress toward greater freedom and women’s equality. When they became parents themselves, they created a much more striated climate – either to protect or to control their children. This is not an anomaly, and the same thing happened in 19th century with transition from Romanticism to Victorianism and in early 20th century with transition from Bohemian period to 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Every generation makes its cyclical progression through the ages; and every age has its own needs.

At the same time, each generation possesses its own character. The World War II generation lived under many different ideologies, but everywhere it possessed the same character – hard-working, family oriented and nationalistic. The baby boom generation has been seen as a bunch of selfish brats both in America and in the former Soviet Union. There are reasons for this, that I am not going to go into at this time. However we all see different character in different generations.

Each generation raises its children the way that it wanted itself to be raised. It rarely works, as their children are not them. The World War II generation, growing up in a depression and a war, wanted to provide its children peace and prosperity; but their children wanted freedom. The hippies gave their children freedom, but their children wanted stability and structure. Each saw its ways as an improvement upon the preceding and, in some cases, as progress. It was no such thing; in all cases it was a fad.

Social conditions are therefore cyclical in nature. Whereas economic and technological progress is in fact linear. We are both creatures of lines and creatures of circles, and together they form a spiral.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Christianity and Sociopaths

A common claim about serious Christians is that they are uneducated or stupid. The correct response to that is that the less educated tend to identify more fully with their country’s dominant ideology than the more educated. That is because they’ve had one influence instead of a variety of influences, and they will believe what they believe much more thoroughly.

In America, where the dominant religion is Christianity, the less educated will therefore be more likely to be serious Christians. Similarly in the Soviet Union, where the dominant ideology was Communism, the less educated were more likely to be Communist hardliners. Thus in 1996 the less educated voters in Russia voted for Communist hardliner Gennady Zyuganov, who was a complete pig.

The reason for what we see is not that Christianity is for stupid people. The reason is the same as what we see with Russia and Communism. The less educated, having had one influence instead of a variety of influences, will be more steeped in their embrace of the dominant ideology than the more educated. That was the case with Russia and Communism; it also is the case with America and Christianity.

Indeed, in the present social climate, Christianity is a force for freedom. When psychology manufactures hysterias claiming that “sociopaths” are evil and can only be evil whatever they do, Christianity has the rightful response. Christianity says that anyone can choose to act rightfully; and that possessing one or another condition – real or imagined – does not damn one for life.

I have never been diagnosed as a sociopath. I am however against witch hunts and persecution campaigns, and that is what we see here. This is the case whether or not they affect me personally. When one or another group in the civilization is being targeted for extinction, it takes someone who cares about such things as life and liberty to stand in the way of such a campaign.

One positive direction toward that effect I found in a church in Virginia, where the preacher said that we must be “dangerous people for God.” For over two decades we have been breathing manure gases about this that and the other being dangerous individuals. This has especially affected the people who thought in original ways – meaning, the people of the kind that are responsible for greatest contributions. This has effectively vitiated the constitutional intent for life and liberty. It also resulted in reduced competitiveness. Christianity gives back life and liberty to a population that has been robbed of both.

Many identify Christianity with sheepish conformity. Yet we see conformity pressures everywhere, including in Communism, feminism and Eastern religion. An ideology that equates non-conformism with sociopathy and narcissism is more viciously conformist than is Christianity. An ideology that states that anyone can choose to act rightfully is far more affirming of liberty than is an ideology that says that some people are evil and can only be evil whatever they do. It does not damn people; it offers redemption. And that makes it far more liberty-affirming than personality psychology or Third Wave feminism.

The idea that some people are incurably evil is in violation of most basic rationality. If people choose their actions then anyone can choose to act rightfully; and if some people cannot do that then their actions are not a choice. Christianity gives back to people choice – the choice of which personality psychology has robbed them. And that makes it a force for liberty – as well as a far more progressive ideology than the fascist entities that have taken over the movements that once held the promise of liberty and progress.

In 1990s, after the Soviet Union fell, a large section of the population joined the mafia. This included all sorts of people who otherwise would have never considered a criminal lifestyle. Under Putin, as conditions improved, many of these people went legit and continue as contributing citizens.

According to the concept of the criminal personality – “sociopaths” – these people are all incurably evil. And yet they have been able to leave behind their criminal pasts.

When I wrote on the Internet that some teenagers broke into my place and stole my wallet, someone said that they were a danger to society. Now this person was a conservative. Conservatives believe – in the words of Margaret Thatcher – that there is no such thing as society, only individuals. According to conservatives, talk of society is Communism or an attempt at tyranny or a theft. So how can conservatives be credible when they describe such-and-such as a danger to society?

The idea of someone being a danger to society is a Communist concept. It does not belong in conservatism, and it does not belong in the free world. In case of the Russians, here were millions of people whom such a person would describe as being a danger to society, who now are perfectly good citizens. The correct response is that anyone can be dangerous. The further response is that anyone – dangerous or not – can do the right thing.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Is Government Incompetent? Is Business Soulless?

Two claims I've heard one time too many are that the government is incompetent or suffocating and that business is ruthless or soulless. I've had dealings with both the public and private sectors, and I found no such thing.

Many people who responded to President Kennedy's call for public service were creative-minded, idealistic people. Many of the people who bought into 1980s Reagan's championship of entrepreneurial capitalism were also people with good intentions and good values. I've seen competent people in government, and I've seen good people in business.

Certainly governments can be incompetent, and certainly businesses can be unethical. When my mother told an INS employee that she came from USSR, the INS employee asked, "There is such a country?" When I was involved with Amway, they were teaching people about how to evade questions that people had. However the businesses for which I worked were all transparent, and the government people with whom I've had dealings were all competent.

Is government suffocating or incompetent? I have not found that in Australia, nor did I find that in America after Clinton's overhaul of the government. Governments can be run inefficiently, they can also be run efficiently. Governments do not have to be incompetent. They can be as competent as any private enterprise if they implement correct management practices.

Similarly businesses do not have to act like jerks. I've worked for companies both large and small that treated their employees right. They learned their historical lesson from the worker's revolts of earlier decades and do not behave in a ruthless or unethical manner.

Idealism and pragmatism do not have to be things hostile to one another. There are practical ways to achieve idealistic outcomes, and it is also possible to inform the ideal to be consistent with practical reality. Both government and business can conduct themselves rightfully; and I've seen the examples of both in America and Australia.

Monday, May 01, 2017

The Fooled Generation

My generation can be called the Fooled Generation. Every sentiment that is natural to young people had been steered into precisely the wrong direction when I was young.

The anti-establishment sentiment has been steered into attacks against the Clinton Administration and against "statism" and "socialism." There is no statism in America. Soviet Union had statism; America does not. The real offenders in America are not public, they are private. Groups like the Church of Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses; corrupt networks in law and medicine; corporate criminals - whether overt criminals like Enron or corrupt oil companies that tell people a load of lies in order to keep them hooked on destructive technologies; gangs and the organized crime; and the men who like to rape their children and beat their wives; are the true offenders in this country. The government is elected, official, accountable, checked and balanced. These entities are no such thing. And this allows them to get away with greater abuses than what is allowed the American government.

The radical anti-Western civilization sentiment was also steered into precisely the wrong direction. It was turned into attacks on the Western Romantic literary and intellectual tradition. In this was attacked the greatest artwork and literature that has come out of the Western civilization. Also attacked were the best relationships. My generation through this was denied the experience of its youth.

The feminist sentiment was steered into attacks on beauty and love. A claim was made that such things were patriarchial, degrading to women or destructive toward their self-esteem.  There are many reasons why this is wrong. First, women are more naturally gifted with beauty than are men, and denying them the right to beauty destroys an area of their superiority, putting them at a disadvantage. Secondly, there are many things - such as money and intelligence - that can be used to destroy people's self-esteem that are in no way bad themselves. That some people get D's does not mean that nobody can get A's, and that some people are poor does not mean that nobody can be wealthy. Anything with appeal to people will see some people using it for wrong. This does not damn what has the appeal; it damns the people who use it for wrong. Further, many of the people who championed beauty and love - both in the West and elsewhere - were women, and not stupid or weak ones either. We see this with everyone from Sappho to Murabai to Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Dorothy Parker to Anna Akhmatova to Ayn Rand. Finally, women being robbed of beauty is more, not less, oppressive to women than women being encouraged to be beautiful. There are plenty of independent-minded people - especially in places like Sweden, where feminism is more advanced than it is in the United States - who willfully choose to be attractive - and not out of any kind of insecurity or patriarchy but out of good taste and as an expression of who they are as women.

The anti-religious sentiment has been steered into an abomination known as skepticisim: Malicious attacks against anyone reporting spiritual experiences or taking part in spiritual practice. According to these people, the bulk of humanity is stupid or insane. I have news for these people. There are many people much smarter than they are, who are neither on drugs nor schizophrenic, who have had real spiritual experiences; and there are many others who have very good reasons for believing what they believe. The skeptics think that they are the only sane and intelligent people on the planet. Some even regard spirituality and religion to be narcissism. I can think of no more narcissistic, arrogant or - yes - stupid stance than their own.

And of course the anti-older people sentiment has been steered into attacks on "the 60s generation" - the generation that started out seeing what was wrong with the world and sought to correct these wrongs.

My generation has been the Fooled Generation. And while many are perfectly comfortable with that state of affairs, I for one am not.