Friday, June 30, 2017

In Memory Of My Grandmother

My grandmother lived until age 96 and passed away a few years ago. She was a strong-willed and ethical woman who was always loving to me. She taught me reading and counting when I was 3, and when I was in school in the former Soviet Union she was encouraging me to study and to learn all sorts of subjects.

She was born in 1917, the year of the Soviet Revolution. It was a horrible time in Russian history. Wars, famines, purges, you name it. You did not survive if you were not strong; and even among those who did not survive any number were strong enough. She sought to do things better than how they had been when she was raised. Like many others in her generation all around the world, she worked hard and raised her children with good values.

She got good at many different things. When she was young she did a lot of rugged travel in the countryside and achieved excellent physical form. She did PhD work, but did not get her degree because she was Jewish. She ended up working as a mathematics teacher and had involvement in politics. She also learned music, and I would often see her playing Chaupin's Polonez.

She chose for her husband a very gentle-hearted man. They both treated each other well, but she was the clear leader of the household. She and my mother did not get along. She was a Soviet Communist, and my mother wanted to immigrate to America. And when there are two strong-minded women who have mutually incompatible beliefs, the result typically is constant struggle between them.

Now many people have a very negative view of Communists, and in many cases their attitude is merited. My grandmother however was nowhere close to being evil. She was ethical, hard-working and family-oriented: The same virtues as are claimed by Western conservatives, especially ones who have been part of the World War II generation.

To the best of my knowledge, she never believed in God. That did not however keep her from acting in principled manner. She was dedicated to her work, and she was dedicated to her family. Her strong personality and intelligence made her respected both in Soviet Union and in America. During the time that I knew her she was both tough and kind; and that is a great combination.

In mid-1980s she went into a clinical depression and hypochondria, and by the time she came with my uncle to America in 1992 she was in an almost catatonic state. Americans however found her the right medication, and she perked up and lived in a high-functioning state for near two decades. When I visited her with my girlfriend in late 1990s, my girlfriend told me that she still had very noticeable traces of beauty.

My mother told me a little bit about her behavior when she was a parent. Apparently she had been authoritarian, but she was also nurturing and responsible. She had value for education and hard work and encouraged her children in both. Both of her children became professionally and personally successful. One of her grandsons became a doctor in America; another is a nanotechnology PhD working for Google; and one is married to a very successful and knowledgeable man who loves her. I was her favorite grandson, and I have done all sorts of interesting things with my life that have provided fuel for all sorts of poetry and insight.

She died at age 96. Shortly before that I visited her with my daughter, who was maybe 4 at the time. My grandmother was blind by then, but she hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. She probably knew that that was the last time that she would meet me in person. I have no idea if any part of her survived death. But her memory has survived death and lives through her children and her grandchildren. Бабушка, я тебя люблю. Grandmother, I love you.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Removing The Beam From Your Eye

One of Christ's most famous statements is, “Remove the beam from your eye before removing a speck from your brother's.”

A question that bears asking is, How can I remove something that's in my eye? If I have a beam in my eye, I would not be able to see it. It will become a part of my perspective – of how I see the world. I will see the world through that beam, and my view of the world will be a function of that beam.

One way in which this can sometimes be done, to some effect, is by looking at mirrors. You can see yourself in the eyes of others. Of course the eyes of others will also have a beam in them. Their perspectives will be a function of whatever errors and rackets are formative to their worldview. They will see you through whatever beam is in their eyes, and their view of you will be a function of this beam.

There is however a way to do this successfully. It is to see your reflection in a perfect mirror. God is the perfect mirror, and He will reflect you exactly as you are.

Another way to achieve this is the other part of the equation. It is to look at how you see God. God is a being that has no darkness in Him. If you look at God and you see any darkness, the darkness you see is the beam in your eye.

Thus, either by looking at yourself in the eyes of God or by looking at God, you will be able to see the beam in your eye enough to be able to remove it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Jocks And The Nerds

In high school, the nerd types are seen as boring and the jock types are seen as exciting. Over the long term that changes. The nerds do more by way of reading and thinking, which allows them to have all sorts of interesting things to say; whereas the jocks settle down into predictable conservative lives.

I was a nerd in school, and I've lived quite an interesting life ( So has another person who was a nerd in my class – a Korean man named Jae who has become quite a stud. Whereas the folks who were seen as cool have become fairly regular citizens; and while most of them have not had too much trouble, their lives were not nearly as interesting as mine.

Someone once talked to me about the sports games hiring mathematicians to use game theory to improve their teams' performances. I asked, “So the jocks decided to hire the nerds?” In school the jocks and the nerds tend to be at one another's throats. But there is a similarity. Both are good at something and not good at something else.

At times both learn in adulthood what they were not good at while in school. I was the shortest and weakest kid in class, but I am now in a better physical shape than most people my age, including people who had been good at sports in school. There were several students in class who were thought of as stupid, but they became quite intelligent and thoughtful people as adults. Someone who's been in Hollywood told me that the movie makers are people who could not get sex when they were in school. Similarly I have had a girlfriend who was unattractive while in school but became quite beautiful as an adult, and she stayed beautiful while the girls who had been attractive in school became fat.

I had a classmate named Chris who was a classical jock. Any number of people also saw him as a bully. In his adult life he has become a lot wiser; and he now comes across to me as a thoughtful and compassionate person. In the business world, the nerds and the jocks work together. The nerds design the product and the jocks market it. Working side by side allows the jocks and the nerds to put aside their mutual hatreds and act like members of the same team.

Chris told me that there was a lot in common between me and him, which was a surprise to me. The commonality appears to be the one stated above. Where nerds can go wrong is when they decide that what they do is important and that nothing else is. We see that attitude especially among engineers. Where jocks can go wrong is when they decide that academic intelligence is worthless, that all that matters in life is common sense and social skills, or that kids who take school seriously are arrogant know-it-all commie nerds. Each side is right to affirm the value of what it does and wrong to deny the value of the other. I have known parents who were jocks attacking their children who had bookish tendencies, and I have known parents who were nerds attacking their children who had macho tendencies. This is wrong. There is a need for both.

One thing that happens in adulthood is that one's classmates turn from competitors into brothers. The relationship changes, and people are no longer attacking each other and instead support one another. This is the case regardless of whether they were nerds of whether they were jocks. The things that were differences turn from object of hatred to object of collaboration. Sometimes the jocks and the nerds work together.

I no longer bear any ill will toward the jock types. There is in fact similarity between me and them. Any type can act like a jerk, and any type can act rightfully. There is a need both for academic intelligence and for personal intelligence. And that means both the jocks and the nerds.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Baby Boomers vs. Gen-Xers: Feeling vs. Thinking

A baby boomer lady once told me that the difference in outlook and behavior between her generation and Generation X is that the baby boomers have been taught to feel, and Gen-Xers had been taught to think. The first has a reputation for mindlessness, irresponsibility and self-absorption; the second has a reputation for cruelty.

What we see in both cases is a result of the modes of cognition taken to an extreme. We are seeing here the logical outcome of the method when left to its own devices. Rationalism postulates that truth is found through reason, and romanticism postulates that truth is found through feeling. The first produces things such as science and technology, and the second produces art and literature. Both do in fact create valuable things; but both produce garbage along the way. One creates mean-spirited, dry people; and the other produces people who live chaotic lives.

When the two modes work together, they check each other's capacity for producing garbage while working together to achieve valuable outcomes sooner and more reliably than through either acting alone.

I have known people on the sides of both modes of cognition who had a low view of the other. Many people who claim to espouse logic see feelings as an inferior function, and many people who espouse feeling think that people who rely on thought are psychopaths. But there are any number of places where the two work well enough together. Italians and French do not discourage feeling, and both countries are advanced scientifically and technologically. Russians, Jews and Greeks do not discourage thinking, and they are warm and loving people.

When people are taught both to think and to feel, the resulting synthesis is this: Emotional intelligence. And that is something that my generation especially has to offer the world.

I probably have a fairly low EQ; but my former classmates do not. While Gen-Xers excel at technical fields, people in my generation tend to excel in people fields; and a number of my former schoolmates became multi-millionaires. Teaching both thinking and feeling creates people who are more developed than either ones who only think or ones who only feel. They are more complete as people. They have use of two rather than one methods. They achieve wisdom faster and fuller than those who rely on either modality acting alone.

The two modes operate in the model of synthesis within the framework of check and balance. Thinking corrects the errors that are made by feelings, and feeling corrects the errors that are made by thought. Neither thinking nor feeling is good or bad; both are capable of both. With things that are capable of both good and bad outcomes, the solution is to maximize the benefits of each while minimizing the wrongs of each. At the bottom level the two modalities pose check and balance upon one another to correct each one's potential for wrong. At the top level the two modalities synthesize to achieve wisdom faster and fuller than through either acting alone.

When that is being done, the people tied to each side will shout bloody murder. One side, which sees thinking as bad, will regard a person using both modalities as cold or untrustworthy; and the other side, which sees feeling as bad, will regard a person using both modalities as deceptive or manipulative. In fact what we see here is intelligence and feeling working together to achieve understanding of human matters. Feeling allows one to experience life in a way that is felt by its participants. Thinking allows one to analyze it and observe it from without. The result is a full perspective: One that understands both the experience of the participants and its external effects.

I call this process Integrative Cognition. It is a methodology that has application in all sorts of pursuits, from journalism to business to politics. Experience something as it is experienced by its participants and observe it as it looks from without. The result is understanding of both the experience and its impact on others. The result is a full picture.

Every generation learns from the mistakes of its predecessors. Every generation then makes mistakes of its own. I have no idea what mistakes my generation will make, but I have seen the mistakes of both baby boomers and gen-Xers. The two generation are at one another's throats and have been for decades. My generation has a tendency to want to reconcile everyone. The process requires intelligence on emotional matters. That is afforded by thinking and feeling working together.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Jim Morrison, Eminem And Universal Human Reality

Jim Morrison wanted to kill his father and have sex with his mother, and Eminem wanted to kill his mother. The first thought that in his Oedipal ranting he had discovered the secret of human condition. This claim is refuted by the behavior of Eminem.

The real reason for the behavior of both is the way in which they – and their generations – were raised. Baby boomers were raised in households in which the mother was the nurturer and the man was the disciplinarian. Mothers were nice; fathers were mean. So the children liked their mothers and hated their fathers. Children will always like people who are nice to them better than they will like people who are mean to them, and there is nothing Oedipal about it.

The parents of Emimen's generation did things differently. Their mothers left men who were mean to them; and many became mean – or at least disciplinarian - themselves. So predictably the children hated their mothers.

In the first case the children hated the male parent for being mean; in the second case the children hated the female parent for being mean.

That is a much truer human reality than what we see in Jim Morrison's claims.

In my generation, women have been taught to be mean. It is known as Third Wave feminism, or political correctness. That is likely to create more Eminems down the road.

But then there have been many men in my generation who, in reaction against Third Wave feminism, adopted misogynistic beliefs. They listen to Eminem or follow Osama Bin Laden. This is likely to create more Jim Morrisons.

And then there is the possibility for children who are worse than either of the above: Children both of whose parents are mean to them and who hate both their fathers and their mothers.

What would a generation like that look like? I cannot predict. Maybe some of them will be motivated to figure out better ways to do things, and maybe some of them will achieve these ways. But then there is a strong possibility that such people will just be hateful, both to other people in their gender and to the other gender. Maybe they will want to kill both their fathers and their mothers; and maybe many of their fathers and their mothers would deserve such an attitude.

In my case at least none of these things are likely to happen. I have been very good to my daughter, and so has her mother. But many other children are not so lucky; and I shudder to think what would happen in a situation in which a Third Wave feminist gets together with someone like Eminem.

Both Jim Morrison and Eminem expressed a truth that was experienced by their generation. But in no way did either one express a universal human reality. There is one human reality underlying both of these men: That children will like parents who treat them well and dislike parents who treats them badly. That is the case regardless of the parent's gender. And this truth will continue being expressed through all of history.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Big Government Vs. Small Government

The big government vs. small government debate means to me absolutely nothing. The reason is that both the government and the private sector consist of people; and there is no reason to expect people inside the government or people outside the government to be better or worse than the other.

Thomas Hobbes, whose work has been highly influential in European politics, claimed that human existence was “nasty, brutish and short” and that the solution was a strong state. His error was failing to recognize that the state consisted of the same sinful people as did the rest of the world, and there was no reason to think that people within the state would behave better than people outside the state. There are any number of others who demonize the state and see it as the organ of tyranny and corruption. What they fail to recognize is that the private sector, which many of them glorify, consists of people as much as does the state, and there is no reason to think that people in private sector would behave better than people in the government.

Is government the sole organ of tyranny and corruption? There are tyrannical bosses; tyrannical parents; tyrannical religious sects. There are corrupt corporations, corrupt networks in law and medicine, corrupt communities that subvert police and social services to protect incest and family brutality. That the government is capable of wrongdoing is certainly correct. However in no way is it the only possible source of wrongdoing.

Stalin was horrible; but so is the Russian mafia. Oracle Corporation is great; but so was Theodore Roosevelt. Governments can be good or bad; but so can all sorts of entities that are not the government. In both cases we see entities composed of people. And anything composed of people can be good or bad.

The push to privatize everything has been misguided. When Mobutu Sese-Seko privatized different parts of the government, his country did not get better; it got worse. In Florida, where prisons have been privatized, the result has been a vast corruption. I know someone who went away for 2 years for a DUI and who found out that in prisons the police gave girls drugs in return for sex. When prisons are privatized, the police have an incentive to lock up as many people as they can. That does not improve the situation; it makes it much worse.

Really, who is worse: Russian mafia or Mikhail Gorbachev? Who is worse: Westboro Baptists or Bill Clinton? Government is neither Satan nor God. Governments consist of people; so do all sorts of other things. Neither the public sector nor the private sector are better or worse than the other. Both can be good or bad, and for the reason listed above: That both consist of people.

These entities are therefore equal – either in mutual virtue or mutual sin. Or, as is more reasonable to conclude, in capacity for both.

Wrong Thought On Relationships

Sigmund Freud's most famous error is his claim that children are in love with the parent of the opposite gender, and that love in adulthood is transference of that love. This idea is very easily refuted in contemporary society. At the time there were very few single parent households to study; now there are plenty of them. And what we find is that people raised in single parent households fall in love just as readily as do people raised in nuclear families.

Since they do not have a transference figure, their love cannot be transference.

Finally, since the feelings of the people raised in nuclear families are of the same character as theirs, their love cannot be transference either.

The two women with whom I've been for longer than a year were both raised without a man in the house. Yet both of them have been in love a number of times. Their relationships with the women who raised them differed, and in both cases the women raising them discouraged them from going with men. However both of them found men attractive, and both of them have been with any number of men. Neither one of them had an extensive relationship with the father, and one of them only met her father at age 24 and the other has decided that her father is a bad person and wants nothing to do with him.

Neither one had a male parent present; yet both have been in love more than once. This proves that love is not transference.

This idea has been far too big for its merits. In 2000 I was in love with a woman named Michele. She kept claiming that I saw her as a mother. In fact I saw her, if anything, as a sister figure, a fellow traveller. She was a poet; so was I. She had finished Caltech in three years; I had finished University of Virginia in two. Eventually she admitted that the reason she had espoused those kinds of beliefs was to soothe her for a previous situation in her life when she had a beautiful relationship with a young man, only for the man to leave her. Those beliefs may have helped some jilted lovers to soothe their feelings; but they have been very ruinous to society and to many, many people.

Then there is the claim that there is a pattern to people's relationships. That may be the case in some situations but not in others. Looking at the history of the two women with whom I have been for a long time, I do not find a pattern for their attractions. The first went for everyone from a gentle-hearted tattoo artist to an acerbic engineering student to a much older right-hand man of a Hindu swami. The second went for everyone from punks to a “nice guy” who did not turn out to be all that nice to an older musician and chef who is both strong-minded and kind. Some of their men were abusive and some were not abusive. Some of their men were jerks and some were not. Many in psychology would postulate a pattern; but I do not find any in either case.

Another claim frequently made is that people who are raised in bad households go for bad partners, whereas people who are raised in good households go for good partners. I know situations to contradict such a claim. The lady for whom I wrote my first poetry book “Poems to Julia” was raised in a very good family by a father who had been Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences; yet she was married for 15 years to an absolute brute. I know a lady on the Internet who was raised in a horrible setting, yet men in her adult life have treated her very well.

I know a lovely lady who used to work at a school for disturbed students. She said that when the students formed emotional bonds with each other, the teachers defused the situations by convincing them that because they were raised in bad backgrounds they would have bad relationship situations. My response to that kind of thinking is that people are not their parents but themselves; and that just because their parents behaved badly does not mean that they would as well.

They are however at a disadvantage. They have not been raised with good habits; they have been raised with bad ones. Many people who are raised in negative situations reject the way in which they've been raised, but they do not know any other way. If they start out with ideals about treating their partner better than one of their parents treated the other, often they do not know how to put these ideals into practice. Sometimes they encounter a situation that they do not know how to handle and slip back into the wrongful practices with which they were raised. This may get them accused of being – hypocrites, predators, whatever. In fact the real problem is that they have learned wrong habits – which they rightfully have rejected – but have no practice of any other way.

If the school wants to teach them these better habits, that is a rightful and noble endeavor. It does not mean however that they should keep them from forming relationships with one another.

Another frequent claim is that the partners that you attract are a result of your self-esteem or what is in your consciousness. I know any number of people who had both good and bad partners, and I do not see how what they attract had anything to do with their self-esteem. I know a lady who went in a short period of time from a violent Greek jerk to an excellent gentleman; and it is not likely that her self-esteem had gone from pits to tops in the short period of time between one and the other. Certainly being with a bad partner who tears you down can undermine your self-esteem. What we see is reverse causality. It is not bad self-esteem that has taken you into a bad situation. It is a bad situation that has undermined your self-esteem.

Finally there is a claim that men who love their mothers will treat their women well, and men who hate their mothers will treat their women poorly. There are many situations in which this is not the case. In African-American culture in particularly, men worship their mothers but treat their women like dirt. Sometimes mothers sabotage their sons' relationships with their women; and I am personally acquainted with a situation in which a young man from a country town in Australia went for a young woman who came from the city, only to have his Jehovah's Witnesses mother turn him against her; at which point he started acting like a bastard and is continuing to act like a bastard till the present day. My sister was married to a man in a similar situation; but she had good training from her mother and was able to leave the man before he could do anything truly ugly.

On the obverse, do men who hate their mothers treat their women badly? Eminem certainly does. To these people the correct response is that women – like men – differ from one another, and that their mothers are bad people does not mean that all women are bad people. Anything human is capable of choice; anything capable of choice can be good or bad. It is wrong to punish an innocent woman for the sins of a guilty woman. Similarly it is wrong for feminists in the academia to abuse young men nearest the liberal centers of learning and culture who, for the most part, are the least misogynistic men out there, just because any number of Muslim or conservative or inner-city men are misogynistic idiots.

All of the above ideas have many people espousing them, including intelligent people. Yet there are very obvious refutations for all of the above. I want to see thought on the subject improve. Most of these attitudes are wrong, and any number of them have been destructive. Thought on relationships must evolve past these errors and toward more rightful understanding of the subject.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

"The Truth Will Set You Free"

Man's project is creating a better world for the people. God's project is creating better people for the world. Both of these endeavors have merit.

In my walk with God I have found out the meaning of the Biblical statement “The truth will set you free.” God will find ways to overcome the errors, lies and traps that are used to hold you down. He also will work on you.

How will God work on you? By teaching you whatever is missing in your character, which in my case at least has been quite a lot. Then He will take whatever is right with you and put it into His service.

We see this for example with Paul. Paul started out killing Christians; then Jesus revealed Himself to him. Paul changed in many positive ways. At no point did he lose his brilliance, his courage and his moral certainty. He also learned love, temperance and humility and – having had to learn them consciously rather than unconsciously, allowing for greater insight – became an effective and intelligent exponent of these virtues.

I used to have a girlfriend with a lot of knowledge of psychology who kept claiming that I was avoiding clarity. My response to that is that clarity according to wrongful theories is not clarity but foolishness. As the Bible says, the world's wisdom is foolishness in the eyes of God; and this is what we see with most of these theories. Most of these theories – such as Freud, Adler, personality psychology and self-esteem psychology – I have found it possible to deconstruct rationally. But you do not deconstruct God.

There have been any number of people who wanted me to make many different kinds of changes. I rejected these demands because I could not be certain that the change that they wanted me to make was a good one. I have since then found out that in most cases the change that was demanded was not for the better but for the worse. Whether it be the mindset of Northern Virginia, or of the yuppie world, or of psychology, or of generation X, or of political correctness, or of materialist fundamentalism, it was a degradation and not an improvement upon my previous mindset. Whereas God works only the rightful change; and in the time I have been following God I went from being someone who was roundly denounced to someone whom most people I know see as a good person.

The true meaning of “the truth will set you free” is that it will set you free from sin – both your own and that of others as it impacts upon you. The more this is done, the more we see done in both directions – to create a better world for the people and better people for the world.

The Evil Concept Of Adequacy

A concept that has gotten far too big for its merits is Alfred Adler's concept of “adequacy” and “adequacy striving.” I seek to contend with this concept and show how wrongful it is.

Different people are endowed to different extents with different qualities. It is expected that they will use their strengths to compensate for their weaknesses. If someone has a weak body but a strong mind, it would make every bit of sense for him to trade on his mind. If someone is weak intellectually but has a strong will, a big heart or a rich imagination, it is expected that he will trade on these things as well. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I do not expect people to act in any other way.

Indeed this process is necessary for the civilization as we know it. No human being is an adequate physical match for a tiger; yet people are running the planet and tigers are an endangered species. For that matter Bill Gates is not an adequate match for an inner city gangster, yet Bill Gates is a billionaire and most gangsters are dead or behind bars.

To pathologize such a thing is to pathologize the civilization. Even worse, it is to pathologize humanity. We use our brains, in which we are superior, to overcome other species that are superior to us physically. Within humanity itself, people rely on what they are superior in and not on what they are inferior in. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone does this; everyone has always done this; everyone always will do this.

Ayn Rand hated Immanuel Kant with almost a personal hatred. She called him the most evil man that ever lived. Adler may not have been a horrible person, but his ideas are terrible. He would pathologize what has made possible the civilization as well as achievement within civilization. And that makes his ideas an evil influence.

So of course all sorts of confused or malevolent people have taken that concept and used it to claim all sorts of people to be inadequate. The question to ask is, Inadequate at what? I do not claim to be an adequate physical match for Mike Tyson, but I am quite adequate at a number of more meaningful things than beating people up. Most people get adequate at something or other, whether or not they started out that way. Even many of the least endowed people become effective human beings. They learn, they practice, they work hard, whatever. Many become more than adequate even if they did not start out that way.

But the people who have this attitude want to claim: Once “inadequate” always “inadequate.” This denies the central fact of human existence: The fact of choice and will. All sorts of people get to all sorts of places through effort and determination. The claim above is wrong absolutely. Anyone can achieve “adequacy”; many – even ones claimed to be inadequate – can, and do, achieve a lot more.

In short, what we are dealing with here is a completely wrongful mentality. Not only does this pathologize most of humanity's greatest contributors, but it pathologizes human civilization as such. It is expected that people would use their strengths to compensate for their weaknesses. It is expected that a species endowed with weak bodies but strong minds will use their minds against other, more physically adequate, species. And it is expected that humanity – and the civilization – would grow through that process and benefit from the efforts of all sorts of people who do just that.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Values And Abuses Of Values

Just about anything that has appeal to people can be used for wrong. This also includes things that have moral appeal.

Patriotism is a value that can be used for wrong. Through history there have been all sorts of leaders who exploited patriotism for all sorts of wrongdoing. Seeing this, some have decided that the problem is with patriotism and national pride. That is wrong. Patriotism is healthy. It is good for Americans to think that their country is great, and it is good for the French to love their country. The problem is when a positive thing that is patriotism gets used to wage needless wars, hate other countries or portray as cowards or traitors or posers anyone who has value for anything from abroad.

Altruism is a value that can be used for wrong. Communists appealed to the virtue of altruism to create a brutal totalitarian state. Seeing this, Ayn Rand decided that altruism leads to dictatorship. That is wrong. There is nothing dictatorial or totalitarian about Freemasons or Salvation Army. Stalin's appeal to altruism to do hideous things does not damn altruism; it damns Stalin.

Family is a value that can be used for wrong. There are all sorts of people who appeal to “family values” in order to justify incest or domestic violence. Seeing this, any number of people decided that something is wrong with family. I used to be one of these people; then I had a family of my own and realized how wrong that stance had been. Family is not the problem; incest and domestic violence are the problem. Family can – and should – be done better.

Logic is a value that can be used for wrong. People use logic – or appeal to logic – to practice emotional cruelty or materialistic bigotry. Seeing this, any number of people decided that logic is a bad thing. Logic is not a bad thing; emotional cruelty and materialistic bigotry are. Logic as such is a useful method, and one that is responsible for all sorts of valuable things.

Realism is a value that can be used for wrong. Many people are of the opinion that creative pursuits are unrealistic. They have an inadequate understanding of reality. The reality of human world is something that people shape with their actions; and if more people create a demand for the arts, then more people who are willing to supply the arts will be able to make ends meet. In 1920s especially, reality and creativity worked together. There was a great economic and technological boom; there was also a cultural bloom that included Harlem Renaissance, Picasso, Dali, Modigliani, T.S. Eliot, Dorothy Parker, Scott Fitzgerald and the Modernist and Art Deco styles. The two found ways to work together to create magnificent architecture such as the Chrysler Building and beautiful machinery such as the Packard. Seeing the abuses of the concept of realism, any number of people decide that the problem is with realism or even with reality. The problem is with an inadequate understanding of what reality is.

Morality is a value that can be used for wrong. Many people appeal to morality to justify brutal, cruel or oppressive behavior as well as abuses against creativity and beauty. Seeing this, some people decided that morality is bad. Morality is not bad; it is necessary. What is not necessary is brutal, cruel, oppressive behavior and abuses against creativity and beauty.

God is a value that can be used for wrong. People may decide that serving God means burning witches or killing infidel. Seeing this, many people decided that religion is a delusion or a form of control. The problem is not with God. It is with wrong things that people do for God without realizing that an omnipotent being does not need their help to kill anyone.

Humility is a value that can be used for wrong. Kids go around beating up on students who take school seriously, and others go around abusing beautiful and creative women. The claim in both cases is typically that the person is arrogant and thinks oneself better than everyone else. Of whatever arrogance such a person is guilty, the arrogance of the attackers – in claiming to speak for everyone – is far greater. Both intelligence and beauty create good things, whereas nothing good is owed to this attitude. Seeing that attitude some people – including myself – came at one point to the conclusion that humility is a bad thing to strive for. I found out that it is a good thing; but abuses in its name are not.

Strength is a value that can be used for wrong. People think that strength is about beating people up, or about being a bully, or about being a despot. Whether as gangsters or as dictators or as cowboys, these people inevitably become jerks and do stupid and destructive things. Seeing this, some people have decided that strength is a bad thing. It is in fact quite a good thing. It has to be wielded rightfully.

Beauty is a value that can be used for wrong. Bad parents and stupid teenagers attack girls who are not seen as attractive at home, and unscrupulous plastic surgeons exploit women's insecurities to keep them spending huge sums of money on unnecessary treatments. Seeing this, feminists have decided that beauty is the problem. It is in no way the problem. Beauty existed long before these abominations existed; it will continue existing long after they are gone. The problem is not with beauty but with abuses of beauty.

Politeness is a value that can be used for wrong. People may decide that it is rude or offensive to tell others their real opinions. They may equate this attitude with respect. That is wrong. If you truly respect the next person, you will tell them your honest opinion however offensive it may be. That way they know where you stand rather than being left guessing. What we get with this idea of politeness is not respect but insincerity. Seeing this, some people believe that politeness as such is a bad thing. Politeness is not a bad thing; insincerity is.

Achievement and success are values that can be used for wrong. People get put into what is known as a “rat race,” and they are prevailed upon to stay in that or else. Seeing this, any number of people have decided that achievement and success are manipulations. In fact there is nothing inherently wrong with such things. The problems happen when these things become compulsory, and people are not allowed to do anything else.

Money is a value that can be used for wrong. People sell others things that are bad for them or blindly plunder natural treasures that they have not created and cannot recreate. Seeing this, any number of people have decided that money is bad. Money is not bad. Unethical business practices and plunder of nature are.

Responsibility is a value that can be used for wrong. People may decide that responsibility means driving Hummers or having huge houses. They may decide to act in a vicious and cruel manner, making people choose between having medicine and having dinner or between taking care of the grandfather or sending the son to college. They may think that it is irresponsible to be in a pursuit that does not make much money for you but has vast benefit for many other people. Seeing this, some people have decided that responsibility is a wrong thing. It is not a wrong thing. Wrong ideas of what responsibility means are.

Freedom is a value that can be used for wrong. People decide that freedom means denying people Medicare, or people decide that freedom means smoking crack. Seeing this, some people decided that freedom is the problem. Freedom is not the problem. Abuses of the concept are.

Justice and fairness are values that can be used for wrong. People decide that justice means slaughtering the propertied class or relentlessly persecuting people they do not know. Seeing this and more, some people have decided that justice is really about vengeance and that vengeance is something that weak people want. In fact, as Plato said, fairness is necessary for harmonious perpetuation of life; and civilizations need to have one or another workable concept of justice and fairness to keep people from revolting or spending their lives in misery.

Peace is a value that can be used for wrong. People may decide that peace means keeping everybody oppressed, or people may decide that peace means branding with untreatable disorders the people who may not be happy with any given arrangement and claiming that these people are evil and can only be evil whatever they do. Seeing this, there are any number of people who have chosen trouble or violence. Peace however is a beautiful thing. The problem is when its enforcers do things that are wrong. And this is what we see both with the Soviet Communists who claimed that anyone who disagreed with Communism suffered from “sluggish schizophrenia” and with the folks in the West who want “sociopaths” and “narcissist” behind bars.

Love is a value that can be used for wrong. There are all sorts of seducers and players, and there are many situations in which loving relationships turn bad. Seeing this, any number of feminists have decided that love is a patriarchial racket. Love is not a racket; playing is. As for situations in which actual love turns bad, it is not the fault of love but can be a result of all sorts of things, some of which may be the fault of one or both partners and others may be the fault of third parties.

All of the above, and more, continue daily. The abuse of concepts in such a manner discredits the concepts themselves. Some people will be confused and mistakenly equate the value with its abuses, and others will exploit confusion to tell people all sorts of lies for their own gain. In either case it is necessary to clear up the distinction between the value and the abuses of the value. That way the value survives and imparts of its virtues, and those who turn good things into bad things have less power to do wrong.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Types Of Abusers

I have seen any number of abusive situations, and I have found five main types of abusers. They are:

Abusers for reason
Abusers for God
Abusers for character
Abusers for social norm
Abusers for gender.

All of the above misuse the above concepts for wrongdoing. In this they discredit these concepts and feed reaction against such things.

The abusers in the name of reason thinks that reason is the higher function and that the emotions are an inferior function. They go for emotional partners. They tear them apart mentally, eliciting emotional reactions that allow them to claim the partner to be irrational, crazy or weak. If the partner starts using her mind and seeing through the behavior, the abuser changes his tune. Suddenly she is manipulative, dangerous or psychopathic. She is crazy if she reacts emotionally; she is psychopathic if she reacts rationally.

I am reminded of the stance of some American conservatives. If you are a liberal and not making much money you are a loser; if you are a liberal and making good money you are a hypocrite and a dangerous person. Why are you dangerous? Because you are a refutation of the conservative's false worldview. These people want to believe that they own financial success, nevermind that the reason that they can make the money that they do is owed vastly to science and education – both majority-liberal endeavors. So if someone who is not a conservative makes lots of money, that contradicts the lie that they want to feed down everyone's throats. Similarly Hurricane Carter was seen as a dangerous person since his childhood, because he was a black person who was not a loser and who would not put up with being treated as one.

In a much similar manner, these people think that they own reason. They do not begin to own reason, and a person with true understanding of reason will call them on the irrationality – as well as the asininity – of their behavior.

Then there are abusers in the name of God, or of righteousness. In most cases they themselves are in sin, and a true Christian will likewise see that sin.

Their sin, in most cases, is either lust, hypocrisy or unrighteous anger.

Most of these men did not go after the woman for righteous reasons. They went after the woman because she was hot. If they start accusing her of being slutty or anything of the sort, it must be brought to bear that it was their lust that attracted them to the woman, and that they have no business accusing her of such things.

Hypocrisy is found in that situation, and in many others. The Bible gives the man the authority under the condition that he conduct himself in a loving and righteous manner. A man who is not willing to do such a thing has no business thumping the Bible.

But probably the worst of the sins in this situation is unrighteous anger. Now there are some deluded people who think that all anger is unrighteous; they are wrong. Even Jesus got angry at some people; for that matter even do Buddhist monks. The belief that all anger is bad does not create enlightened people, it creates hypocrites. There very much is such a thing as righteous anger.

However there is also such a thing as unrighteous anger; and this is what we see in the bulk of such situations. A man breaking his wife's skull is unrighteous anger. A man calling a seven-year-old child a loser and telling her that her mother is a bitch is unrighteous anger. A man giving his wife a black eye because the soup was too salty is unrighteous anger. A man coming back from the pub and beating his wife is unrighteous anger.

In all of the above cases the man is guilty of sin; and a true Christian will call him on it.

The abusers in the name of character have decided that the partner is a bad person. Whatever their reasons for coming up with this conclusion, their behavior is frequently much worse than that of the partner. They become nasty to the partner, whether the partner deserves it or not, and they themselves as a result become jerks, whether or not they started out as ones. They decide that the partner is a bad person, and they themselves become bad people – whether or not they were so originally – through their behavior toward their partner.

If you really think that your partner is a bad person, the rational thing to do is to leave them. Yet many people in this situation not only do not leave the partner, but they do everything in their power to keep the partner from leaving. This shows that they are getting something out of being with the partner; and their claim that the partner is a bad person is contradicted by their own behavior. If the partner truly was bad, then such a person could not wait to leave her. That they want to stay with the partner shows that they are getting something out of the partner – usually quite a lot out of the partner. And if you are getting something out of somebody, you are obligated to treat her rightfully, whether you think that she is a bad person or not.

The abusers in the name of social norm have decided that the partner is a social deviant – crazy, amoral, psychotic, whatever. Usually the people who do such a thing are hypocrites. I know a situation in which a man kept calling his girlfriend crazy and a slut; but he had paranoid schizophrenia, had threatened to kill a nurse and had had sex with a dying cow. There are others who are very badly wrong. For example there are many feminist women who claim that some men are sociopaths or narcissists and that these men can never be good. This contradicts most basic reason. Anything capable of choice can choose to be good or bad. That includes sociopaths. They may not have a functional heart, but they can use their minds to figure out what is rightful behavior. Anyone is capable of rightful behavior, and to damn people for life is not only cruel and mean but completely irrational.

If one is with a criminal, then the question to ask is, Why are you with this person? Are we not judged by the company we keep? As for the people with mental illness, reason demands a completely different approach. If someone really is sick, then that person needs help rather than bullying. And if someone is not mentally ill, then accusing them of such things is slander. In either case the attack is a wrongful one; and in all cases one is made a jerk by making such an attack.

Finally there are abusers in the name of gender. There are men who think that women are evil or inferior and should be beaten down; and there are women who think that men are destructive or that men are pigs. In most situations, both attack precisely the wrong people. The men brutally abuse women who, for the most part, are good human beings and ones nice enough to want to be with them. The women viciously attack men nearest the liberal centers of learning and culture who, for the most part, believe in women's rights. The first rarely touch the actually evil women, who usually find ways to avoid them; and the second have neither the guts nor the power to reach the real brutes and the real misogynists. In both cases, the worse people in each gender abuse the better people in the other gender. And this creates a destructive set of incentives upon society in which everyone – both men and women – are taught that being a jerk pays and that being kind gets you mistreated.

The rational response to such people is that neither gender is either good or bad. Anything capable of choice is capable of both right choice and wrong choice; and that means both men and women. And what people who believe such things do is prevail upon, respectively, men and women to make the worst choices possible and act in the worst manner that they can act. That makes both sets a parasitical and evil influence. It is not the matter of men vs. women. It is the matter of gender warriors against the rest of us.

All of these people completely discredit the concepts that they use. And that feeds all sorts of destructive directions. Abuse in the name of reason discredits reason, and that feeds anti-rational attitudes. Abuse in the name of God discredits religion, and that feeds atheism and other religions. Abuse in the name of character discredits the concept of character, and that feeds immoralist attitudes. Abuse in the name of social norm discredits social norms, and that feeds antisocial behavior. And abuse in the name of gender discredits one's gender, and that feeds hatred of one's gender.

All of the above people are engaged in behavior that is not only bad for their partners but bad for the world. And it is in the interests of everyone to confront or expose the people who do such things.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Credibility and Originality

There are many people who are of the opinion that, before someone's ideas can be credible, he must have personal credibility. This is a very wrong approach, and one that excludes many of the most meaningful contributors. In order to make an original contribution one must think in original ways; and someone who thinks differently from people around him will always see someone portraying him as a lunatic or worse.

A status quo – any status quo, whether good or bad – will have powerful vested interests defending it, that anyone seeking to change it, for good or for ill, will have to confront. Same is the case with any given mentality. A mentality – any mentality, whether good or bad – is there for a reason, and some of these reasons are better than others. It becomes necessary to understand the logic of the mentality, and it becomes necessary to understand the source of the mentality. And then it becomes possible to find out ways to either work with the mentality to influence it for the better, or to refute the mentality and show to others just how wrong it is.

From the position of the mentality – good one or bad one - anyone seeking to change it will be seen as a threat. So it must portray such people as dangerous individuals – sociopaths, narcissists, Parental Alienation Syndrome, what have you. Anyone capable of seeing things as they are has to be branded in this way. Demonize those who have the capacity to see you. Brand them with untreatable disorders. Make up fake research to show that they are evil and can only be evil whatever they do.

Does the status quo have a right to defend itself? It does, and it will be expected that it will defend itself. Out of this consideration, correct regulations need to be put into place to make sure that it does not do wrong in the process. It is rightful that the defenders of any given status quo explain to people the reasons for the status quo and its benefits and warn them against potential dangers of those who seek to change it – such as for example the Islamists and the Nazis. But when people – the same kind of people as had been responsible for the status quo in the first place – are demonized and targeted for extermination, then that is incompatible with the principles that the status quo claims. The defenders of the status quo must be checked when they take this course.

Once again, those who seek to defend the status quo have a right to do it. What they do not have a right to do is commit in the process vicious violations of human rights. Whether in Iran or in America or in Australia, it is not rightful that people who have the capacity to see what's wrong in the given state of affairs be treated viciously, corruptly or brutally. That is known as tyranny and corruption. And such have no business existing in nations that claim principle, ethics or liberty as their ideals.

Whether by branding as sociopaths or as narcissists anyone who is not happy with any given state of affairs, or by branding with Parental Alienation Syndrome any mother who does not want her child battered, or by branding as freaks and lunatics anyone capable of original thought, the defenders of the given status quo do great wrong. And that discredits the status quo, even if it is a good one. This then gives credibility to the actual enemies of one's country, who can then shout hypocrisy and claim that they have been right about America or the West all along. Even more destructively, it rids the country of its most original contributors and as such undermines its competitiveness. China or India or Russia get ahead when America decides that the people capable of original thought are all narcissists or sociopaths or know-it-all commie nerds.

Anyone with original ideas will therefore have someone wanting to portray him as a lunatic or worse. That, once again, is because he will think in different ways from those around him. That can of course be experienced as disruptive, and it will cause all sorts of problems in his life, which will undermine his personal credibility. However it is these people who make truly original contributions. And it is these people who have the most meaningful things to say.

Sociopaths And Common Sense

People with the “antisocial personality disorder,” also known as “sociopaths,” are known to be experts at manipulation. I have a good idea as to why that is.

These people do not have what is thought of as regular human emotions. If you do not have regular human emotions, then you will have to use your mind to figure out what everyone else takes for granted. And that will give you profound insight into the subject, that will then give you an ability to understand – and successfully manipulate - other people.

There have been many people with mental illness – such as Nietzsche, Blake, R.D. Laing, Dostoyevsky and Thomas Edison – who developed brilliant and original insight. They were not like other people, but they understood other people better than other people understood themselves. Similarly I, as a non-native English speaker, am frequently praised for my command of the English language. That is because I had to learn English consciously rather than unconsciously. And if you learn something consciously rather than unconsciously, then you will understand it better than someone whose learning has been unconscious.

I am not a sociopath; far from it. My score on the sociopath dimension of DSM has been less than that of an average person, and a woman with education in social work told me that I am “psychopath's jelly”: Someone naïve enough to fall for their gag and someone strange enough that they can blame me for it. But I take objection to the idea that sociopaths are evil and can only be evil whatever they do – as someone said on the Internet, they by definition cannot be good people. That idea is completely irrational. Anyone with a capacity for choice can choose to act rightfully, even if they are sociopaths. Yes, many of these people use their skills for wrong things. But they can also use them for ends that are rightful, and there are many sociopaths who become CEOs, surgeons, CIA agents and other highly contributing citizens.

Indeed I posit that many of these people, if they make an effort to choose to act rightfully, will not only be good people but be better people than people who are good-natured. There were many people in the Bible who started out as scoundrels but then came to God and became not only good but effective preachers of good. There are many alcoholics who join AA and learn in AA good values and moral character, and any number of them develop a better character than many non-alcoholics. The man who wrote “Amazing Grace” started out as a slave ship owner; then he educated a man in England who became a parliamentarian and ended England's use of slaves. If you have come from Point A to Point B, then you will understand what it means to be at Point B than someone who's always been there. A person who started out as bad and then became good will understand what it means to be good better than someone who's always been good.

On a related note, I have been accused all my life of lacking common sense. I do not want common sense; I want a real understanding. I do not want my perceptions to be based in some bigoted cultural mentality or some primitive adaptation. I want to see things clearly, and I want to see people clearly. I have investigated all sorts of things to that effect. Most of what I have seen had merit, although some (such as Alfred Adler and to a lesser degree Sigmund Freud) were wrong completely. I've written at great length about both of these authors, and I recommend to those who would be interested in looking at my thoughts on this subject.

In short, a person who has to learn something consciously will understand it better than someone whose learning has been unconscious. A person who does not have regular human emotions will develop a keener understanding of people than would a normal person, and this will allow him to either manipulate people for selfish ends or to understand people enough to do rightful and meaningful things. If someone is a sociopath, the correct solution is to give him a functional ethical structure. Then he will use his home-bred knowledge for ends that are rightful, and he could become not only a good person but also a major contributor to the world.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Self-Esteem And God-Esteem

The proponents of the self-esteem psychology claim that good self-esteem makes one a better person. I smelled a rat when I first heard that, and I found a rat – quite a big rat indeed.

The problem is as follows. This concept creates a reverse set of incentives. If you have high standards for yourself, you will find it harder to meet them than if you have low standards for yourself. The concept of self-esteem rewards low standards and punishes high standards. The result is people with low standards running the show and the people with higher standard left licking their boots. The bad people win and the good people lose. And that is the reverse of the above claim.

I had an acquaintance who talked about a friend of his. His friend was good at many different things, and my acquaintance developed a view that he had high self-esteem. His friend's response was, “No, I know myself through God.”

In fact it makes every bit of sense to seek to know yourself through God. How you see yourself – and how others see you – is functional to your – and their – perspective. That means that it is corrupted by whatever beam is in your or in their eye, and all of the above create a distorted picture of who you are – a picture that is a function of whatever convictions you or they hold, however wrong these convictions may be. Whereas God does not have a beam in His eye, and He is the perfect mirror that reflects to you what you are in full clarity.

I do not strive for self-esteem. I strive for righteousness in the eyes of God. And in the month and a half in which I have been doing that, I have grown more as a person than in the previous 27 years.

The most beautiful thing about this is that you achieve personal goodness that way regardless of your psychology. Even if you are a sociopath or a narcissist, striving for esteem in the eyes of God leads you toward rightful conduct. I have found psychological solutions to be tedious. Whereas with God you can rise above your psychology, however bad it may be, and become a better person.

Now I have been raised as an atheist, and even after I was no longer an atheist I still was militanty anti-Christian for a long time. I now realize how foolish that stance had been. I believe that I have had experiences of Jesus, and what I experienced has been the wisest, kindest and most honorable presence that I have ever known.

Forget self-esteem. Strive for esteem in the eyes of God. And this way become a genuinely good human being, whatever your background or your psychological makeup may be.

Nice vs. Good

I once knew a lovely couple from Illinois. They bonded when they were young over their ambitions as rockers, and they were in a band. Then they settled down, started a family and went into the corporate world. As they left behind their rock-and-roll past, their relationship went stale. The woman became unhappy and started looking in other places, one of which places was me.

The way the man handled the situation has inspired me for life. He was very determined to stay with the woman, and he went to great lengths to win her back. He again began playing guitar. When she said that she wanted to go to Sedona, he said that he would take her there. She made another connection; he temporarily kicked her out of the house; but then he continued to be kind to her and to love her. He regained that way her love and respect. Eventually she came back, and they moved to Savannah, where she has become an editor of a magazine and they continue to live happily.

His example has been instructive to me in my own marital situation. After my relationship with my former wife broke down, there were any number of women – including two with social work training - who made a determined effort to alienate me against her, and her ex attempted to enlist me in his crusade against her that has been ongoing since 2006. I however chose a different path. I maintained a good friendship with her, and when she married another man I was there at the wedding ceremony to lead her down the aisle. She and I remain on good terms, and I continue to love her. And my daughter has the attention of two loving parents.

Now there are some people who see her ex as a loser; but I do not see him that way. He has discipline, patience and keen understanding of people. Unfortunately he uses these things for wrongful ends.

He is someone who acts as a “nice guy.” I've been with three women whose previous partners were “nice guys,” and none of them was all that nice. The first kept viciously excoriating his girlfriend while leeching off of her economically. The second bankrupted his wife. As for this person, he was economically, physically and socially abusive, and he has succeeded in getting full custody of their son and has denied him contact with his mother.

The mistake that many women make is mistaking social front for goodness of character. Any salesman and any player who knows what he is doing knows how to put on a front. That does not mean that he is a good person. These people were seen as nice guys, but they were not good to their partners. Whereas I have been maligned by many people, yet I have been much better to my partners than either of these men.

Some people are better salesmen, and others have a better product. In many cases the people fall for the front of the salesmen and buy the inferior product, such as in 1990s when Microsoft became a global superpower and Apple became a footnote. All of these women were highly attractive, both physically and personally, and they could get any man that they wanted. Yet they fell for people who had the superior marketing but the inferior product. Both the first woman and my former wife have since then married men who were older than they were and who both appear to be good to them. Maybe these men make better partners than I did; and I wish them well.

As for the goodness of character, that is something that can be built. The gentleman from Illinois has shown me what it means to have goodness of character in relationships. Coming from Russia, where men tend not to be all that good to their women, I've had to learn better habits from elsewhere. I thank the gentleman from Illinois for his role. I am sure that my former wife does as well.

The distinction needs to be made between nice and good. The first is a mask; the second is a genuine quality. The first is a sales act, and the second is the quality product. Do not fall for the false front of salesmen and players. Look for someone who actually is willing to treat you well.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Solve America's medical mess. License more foreign doctors.

The President and the Congress are deliberating a bill to replace Obamacare with a market-based solution. I have such a solution. Relax the licensing requirements for foreign doctors to practice in America.

Russia for one has many doctors, many of them quite good. They come to America in large numbers, they will drive down the costs of medicine through competition. The result will be a much greater reduction in medical costs than can be done by any government-based bill.

According to a Soviet-born American economist named Mikhail Alexeyev, the real reason for the high costs of medicine in America is cartelization by AMA. It is very hard to become a doctor in America, and it is harder for a foreign doctor to be licensed to practice in America. If you have to have a 4.0 GPA to get into medical school, have to pay through the roof to finance your education, and do 18 hour days in residency, very few people will be able to become doctors. And limited supply will always meet high demand at an exceptionally high rate.

There is a solution to this problem. It is to increase the supply of doctors by licensing more foreign doctors. In Russia and China, there are many qualified doctors who do not get paid very well where they are. Many of them would be happy to come in America. These people are neither incompetent nor stupid. They are excellent at what they do, and they would do good job in America.

If Mr. Trump is serious about fixing America's medical mess, this is what he would look to do. There is no way that there will be enough doctors graduating in American medical schools to satisfy the rising demand as the baby boomers retire. But abroad there are millions of qualified professionals. They come to America in large numbers, they will fulfil this demand. And that will reduce the medical problem in this country.

Now Barack Obama did not appear to have the guts to take on the root of the problem as Mr. Alexeyev articulated it; but Donald Trump just might. If workable solutions cannot be achieved from within, then they can be incentivized from without. Increase the supply of doctors. Reduce medical costs through competition. Allow qualified doctors a chance at a better life. Positives all around.

This would be the true market-based medical solution. And that will reduce medical costs better than Obamacare or any other government-based action.

Holocaust Revisionism and Nazism

On the Internet, I keep seeing people involved in Holocaust denial. The central claim is that Holocaust is a hoax perpetrated by Jewish media.

I have a perfect refutation to that claim.

I spent the first 12 years of my life in the former Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, the media was not Jewish. Yet it carried extensive descriptions of the Holocaust, as well as of the Nazi invasion into the Soviet Union that cost 20 million Soviet lives.

I do not see why German people should want to have anything to do with Holocaust revisionism or Nazism. Germany is a legitimately proud country that is doing well now and has had many real achievements in its history. If they want to feel national pride, they can look back to Goethe, Bethoven, Wagner, Kant, Rilke and Nietzsche. They can look back to Otto Von Bismarck. They can look to the period after the Second World War when Germany was – and remains – the economic leader of Europe. They do not need to look back to something that not only brought Germany total ruin but gave German people a lasting reputation as the biggest jerks in the world.

Were there impressive accomplishments by Nazi scientists and engineers? Yes there were. But there were greater accomplishments by German scientists and engineers both before and after the Nazi era. The Panzers were an impressive piece of technology; but so is Mercedes Benz. The credit for these things do not belong with Nazis, but with the German people.

I have known a number of German people. They did not come across as especially friendly, but they were hard-working, strong, intelligent, articulate and in excellent physical shape. Germany has many things going for it, as do the German people. They do not need to get their pride from the worst thing that German people have ever done. They have much brighter spots in their history, one of which is now.

Outside of Germany, I see no reason why Nazism should have any appeal at all. Why would an American, an Englishman or a Russian want to have anything to do with Nazism? Nazis were their countries' enemies. Their grandparents died fighting against them. To side with the enemy of one's country is treason. I believe in the First Amendment and vocally oppose political correctness, and even the Nazis should not be censored or prosecuted. They should however be seen as a hostile force.

I do not say this only because I am of Jewish blood. I say this because I do not want stupid historical mistakes repeated. Nazism was a colossal stupidity that brought ruin to Germany and horrendous destruction to many other countries. There is no reason to bring back this stupidity. It is something that should be completely left in the past.

The most worrying situation about this is that not everyone I've known who bought into Holocaust revisionism was an obvious bastard or an obvious idiot. I know an intelligent and conscientious person who bought into it, and that means that it is something that can no longer be ignored. Instead it should be confronted, and people be alerted of just how wrong it is.

To people involved in Holocaust revisionism who aren't jerks: Cut your losses. Do something better with yourselves. Join a church, volunteer, start a family. Do something that matters. If you are not German, stop committing treason against your country. And if you are German, work to actually benefit your country instead of trying to bring back its darkest era.

To people involved in Holocaust revisionism who are jerks, I do not have any advice. The best way to deal with jerks is to steer others away from them. German people do not need to listen to the biggest jerks in their country, much less so the American or English or Russian people. What I do have to say to these jerks is this: I am on to you. As should be many, many others.

Deconstructing Gender War

I have been called a misogynist and I have been called a male feminist. I am neither. My stance is the rational one: That anything capable of choice can be good or bad regardless of gender. I want the choices made on both sides to be the right ones. I want men to be good to women, and I want women to be good to men.

I judge it wrong to take sides with one half of humanity against another half of humanity. Among both men and women there will be ones who choose to act rightfully and those who do not. It does not make sense to take the side of men against women, and it does not make sense to take side of women against men. It makes sense to take the side of men and women who choose to be good people against men and women who do not choose to be good people. It makes sense to reward rightful choice both by men and by women and to confront wrongful choice by both.

In recent times, we have seen the opposite on both sides. On one side of town, violent and truly misogynistic men brutally abuse women who, for the most part, have good will toward men and are willing to be good to their partners. On the other side of town, nasty women viciously attack men who, for the most part, have good will to women and believe in women's rights. In both cases ugly behavior gets rewarded and goodness gets punished. And this teaches everyone – both men and women – that it pays to be a jerk. The result is a worse world for everyone.

I have known a man in Tucson who went to jail for “beating up [his] wife's fist with [his] face.” I also know a woman in Kansas whose husband broke her skull so badly that she needed over 40 stitches and walked away with the child. Both the man in the first case – and the woman in the second case – were good people. They were the last people in the world who deserved such treatment. I would much rather see Eminem or Ayatollah or Michael Murphy in prison than the first man. As for the woman in the second situation, she was kind, hard-working and beautiful. But even if she had been Andrea Dworkin, she still would not have deserved either to get her skull broken or to lose her child.

When scoundrels win and good people lose, we see a wrongful set of incentives in society. People – both men and women – decide that being a jerk pays, and being good gets you abused. This makes everyone worse, both men and women. Men become violent and corrupt, women become vicious. Everyone becomes the worst thing that they can be.

I believe that we can do better. No; not can; must. We must do better than that. We must be better people than either the followers of Andrea Dworkin or the followers of Eminem. We must be better to our partners, and we must be better to those of the other gender with whom we interact outside the home. We must resolve to be loving and kind to our partners. And when some scumbag of either gender tells us that we owe it to our gender to either (in case of men) control women or (in case of women) be ugly to men, then we must have the strength and the courage to tell them to fuck off.

And if they press on, we can tell them that absolutely nothing is owed to a gender, and that rather things are owed to those who have been contributors to humanity in all aspects, whether they were female or whether they were male.

At the stake is nothing less than what kind of world our children inherit. Do you, as a man, want your daughter to be a punching bag for some idiot? Do you, as a woman, want your son to be maliciously abused by Dworkin - McKinnon feminists or falsely portrayed as a misogynist or a sociopath when he is not? Do you want your children to live in a world where these are the two possible options? Or are you – and your children – better than that?

In their single-minded push for equality, the leaders of feminism have denied women things that may in many cases be more important than mere equality, attacking such things as family, love and religion. In their psychological deconstruction of men, they have taught women who listened to them to suppress their best qualities and turn from kind and compassionate human beings into vicious monsters. For a long time they have denied women the right to family life even if the woman was choosing such willingly. And this was in many cases more oppressive to women than much of what we see done by men. If a woman wants to be an Amazon, fine, let her join the military or the police. But do not deny women the right to family life or beauty or romantic love or children or Christian religion if such be her deliberate inclinations.

As for the reaction against feminism – led by people such as Eminem, Osama Bin Laden and Michael Murphy – it has taught men to be brutal and corrupt. It has told men that real men beat women and then sneakily cover it up in court while subverting the police and the social services to maintain the deception. I can think of no more contemptible standpoint. It takes absolutely nothing for a man to beat up on a woman. It takes a lot more for a man to love her.

And I, as somebody who can do 200 fingertip pushups at age 41, am hardly weak for my age.

In both cases the bad guys won and the good guys lost. This is the case for both men and women.

The solution is not the gender war. The gender war is the problem. The gender war teaches everyone – both women and men – to be the worst thing that they can be. The worst choices are being taught and encouraged, and the better choices put people into ugly situations. And this sets up a dynamics by which everyone becomes the worst thing that they can be.

The solution to the gender war is the opposite. It is to inspire men and women to be good to one another, and to give them the courage to stand up to the scoundrels on both sides of the gender war who exploit people's failure and misery to advance a destructive agenda while making the world worse for everyone. It is to give men and women the courage to love one another and treat one another rightfully. And it is to respect and reward the men and the women who choose to do so while confronting the men and the women who choose to treat their partners – or people of the other gender in general – like dirt.

It makes sense to side neither with men nor with women. It makes sense to support the men and the women who are willing to treat the people of the other gender right. It makes sense to encourage, reward and support kindness toward one's partner and confront abusive behavior. It makes sense to support the better choices in both men and women. And it also makes sense for men from the first side of town to get together with women from the second side of town, resulting in matches in which each party will be treated better than it expects to be treated at home.

The last of this, I call the economic solution. A major theme in economics is that, when left to their own devices, people will seek what benefits them, and that competition among the producers rewards those who can deliver the best product at the best price. Here, people will naturally gravitate toward those who are willing to treat them rightfully. The men will go to women who are willing to be good to men, and the women will go to men who are willing to be good to women. This will reward rightful behavior by both men and women, resulting in more people choosing that rightful behavior.

And this will do more to correct both injustices of which I have spoken than either government-enforced feminist action or man-on-woman violence and court abuse.

So this is the solution. Reverse the incentives. Make it pay for men to be good to women and for women to be good to men. Create a large-scale flux between the side of town where nasty women abuse men who have goodwill toward women and the side of town where nasty men brutalize women who have goodwill toward men. Let men who are willing to be good to women get together with women who are willing to be good to men. Create better relationships for the participants. But more importantly, improve the incentives within society, rewarding good behavior and punishing ugly behavior both by women and by men.

The result of this will not only be better relationships. It will be a better world.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Capitalism and Environmentalism

Two thinkers who have had a vast effect on me were Ayn Rand and Ward Churchill. Ayn Rand championed logic, reason and capitalism and saw nature as there only as resources for human consumption. Ward Churchill, a Native American professor at University of Colorado, instead saw the Western civilization as psychopathic and championed the beliefs of Native Americans, who favored co-existence with nature and respectful treatment of the environment.

Neither one would have tolerated the other. Ayn Rand would have called Ward Churchill a savage, and Ward Churchill would have called Ayn Rand a psychopath. Both are part-right and part-wrong.

To Ward Churchill, I would say that if not for the Western civilization he would not be a professor at University of Colorado. And to Ayn Rand, I would say that she has not created nature and cannot re-create nature, and it is morally wrong to plunder what you cannot re-create.

But both also have a legitimate point. Both environment and the civilization should be treated with respect. In case of nature, whether it is a creation of God or a product of billions of years of evolution, it is something that people have not created, that possesses greater richness and complexity than anything that people have ever created, and that as such is a greater masterpiece than anything that people have ever been able to produce. And in case of the civilization, it has created all sorts of impressive achievements and conveniences and that, as such, likewise deserves to be treated with respect.

Both nature and civilization are great achievements; and both should be valued.

On this there are four different possible scenarios. The worst scenario is when people blindly plunder nature without contributing much to the civilization, such as when Berbers deforested Northern Africa or when Brazilian farmers burn down rainforest to make ranches that turn into wasteland. There are two medium scenarios – purely naturalistic lifestyle such as that of the Native Americans and the purely technological lifestyle such as what we see in many cities and suburbs of America.

The best scenario is when nature and civilization exist together, and where people fulfil their material needs and wants in a way that is not ruinous to nature.

I have seen this done to some extent in a number of places in contemporary world. These include San Francisco, Melbourne, Seattle, and some smaller places such as Boulder and the Magnetic Island. In these places, the people take care of the environment while also building advanced technological lifestyle where people live prosperously and comfortably. These people are often derided as hypocrites. No, they aren't. They have created livable situations in which people have the benefits of the civilization while taking care to tread lighter on treasures that they did not create.

Among the previous civilizations, the ones who did this best were the Incas. They had advanced architecture and engineering and agriculture more efficient than contemporary techniques. They also took the care to be minimally obtrusive to nature. They terraced the mountains in such a way as to prevent erosion. They also considered the environment in their design. While most suburban houses look completely out of synch with their environment, the Incan houses looked like extensions of the mountains on which they were built. Both the beauty of nature and intelligence of man found ways to exist symbiotically. They respected nature, and they also built a magnificent civilization.

I see no reason at all why the wisdom of the Incas should not be informative today.

The solution in such situations is to maximize the constructive potentials while minimizing the destructive potentials. It is to produce technologies that are more brain-intensive and less resource-intensive. It is to make the most of man as the creator, and make the most of nature as something that man has not created and cannot re-create. It is to tap into human intelligence. It is to do the most to advance the benefits of the civilization, that man has created, and do the least to destroy things that man had not.

Now there are many situations in which the people involved in capitalism and environmentalists clash. In fact, each represents exactly one-half the equation. The first represents the civilization and the second represents nature. Both are aspects of life – the first as created by human beings and the second as not created by human beings. There should be ways to advance both. There are.

The solution is neither to do away with civilization nor to blindly destroy nature. The solution is to use human intelligence to create better technologies that fulfil people's needs and wants in a less ruinous manner. Hydrogen energy, water-based engines, and similar technologies will do the task. This will serve life in man-made aspect without destroying life in non-man-made aspect. And that will make the most of both worlds.

Environmentalists and capitalists should be able to work together. Ultimately the goal of both is to advance life. In the first case the life that gets advanced is nature; in the second case the life that gets advanced is human civilization. The two in no way contradict one another. They can work together; they should work together; and it is the task of human intelligence to make that possible.