Monday, July 30, 2012

51st Century Stone Age Man

Many years ago a Jewish acquaintance informed me the reason Moses and his people wandered in the desert for 40 years was so that all the former slaves would die off. He didn’t explain further, because he didn’t have to. I knew what he meant.

There are two conflicting desires in people: the desire to be free, and the desire to be a slave. Some think the desire to be a slave is not actually that desire, but instead the desire for security, or the desire to submit to authority. No matter how you define it, it is still, to me, ultimately, the desire to be a slave. Would that we not be like this!

Dostoevsky, in his The Brothers Karamazov, wrote the most famous chapter in all of literary history – “The Grand Inquisitor” – about people’s desire to give up their freedom as fast as possible, in order to turn themselves into slaves.

He noted people want to form communities and then find a leader to worship. “So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship,” says the Inquisitor. “This craving for the community of worship is the chief misery of every man individually and for all of humanity since the beginning of time.”

If you want to see a frightening and almost perfect example of this “community of worship,” watch The Triumph of the Will, in which a crowd of people, blissfully smiling, salute Hitler as he drives by. Thousands of them, nearly all with looks of worship on their faces. And then there is Hitler, with a look of smugness and satisfaction on his, knowing these people “love” him.

I have seen no better example of a group worshipping its leader than this film.

Dostoevsky also wrote the way to manipulate people was through his famous trio of “miracle, mystery and authority.” He also wrote of the “base raptures of the slave…worship[ping]…deeds of witchcraft and sorcery….[who] will cast down temples and drench the earth with blood.” You can see all of this in “Triumph.”

In fact, whenever you see thousands of people smiling and worshipping their leader, seeing him as their Messiah, you can be sure the earth will be drenched with blood, because these people always have to find a scapegoat to blame their problems on, and their leader will tell them who it is.

Hitler was the authority that people worshipped (or: the sorcerer that the willing slaves were in thrall to); the flags and swastikas and the torches and bonfires created feelings of an almost religious awe (miracle and mystery), and the rest was catastrophic history.

When I imaginatively put myself in the minds of the people in that crowd, I understand what they felt. The awe, the worship of the leader, the Dionysian frenzy, the giving up of self-consciousness and self-responsibility, and of anxiety and fear and envy, and being told what good and evil is, and who is the cause of all your troubles, that warm herd seductive!

“Didst Thou forget that man prefers peace, and even death, to freedom of choice in the knowledge of good and evil?” asks the Inquisitor. Ultimately, many people want someone else to tell them who is good and who is evil. And the person they want to tell them what is good and what is evil, are their leaders.

Jacques Ellul, in his The Technological Society, wrote, “The suppression of the critical facility – man’s growing incapacity to distinguish truth from falsehood, the individual from the collectivity, action from talk, reality from statistics, and so on -- is one of the most evident results of the technical power of propaganda.”

Those herd feelings and the desire to worship exists in everyone, including me. And I know it would be wonderful – for a very short time. Then it leads to horrors – drenching the earth in blood. While individuals, in their daily lives, can often tell good from bad, the herd, unfortunately, never can, which is why it is so easy for leaders to lead it by its nose.

This worship of leaders – ugh. I’ve met people who referred to former President Bush as “my President.” I’ve pointed out to them that in 1938 they would have been saying “mein Fuhrer,” which they didn’t believe and outraged them, even though it’s true.

Look at the many supposedly rational people who voted for Barak Obama, and how at first they idealized, cheered and worshipped him, ignoring the fact he’s just another not very smart, corrupt Chicago/Cook County politician.

Among “libertarians,” notice how many have fallen for the delusions of Ayn Rand, some of them going so far as to worshipping Atlas Shrugged as a Bible to be consulted for the answers to nearly every problem in life.

I’m sure people were like this in 5000 B.C. and I’m sure they’re going to be like this in 5000 A.D. They certainly exist today, because I see them.

Some of them, the nationalists, tend to not be particularly thoughtful or reflective, although they think they are. They consider themselves patriotic and pro-military. They think God supports their country and no one else’s. Any country that opposes their country is evil. The opposite side of that coin is, of course, is that their country alone is good, indeed sacred.

One of the problems with the above line of thought is that some people in other countries are exactly the same, and think about us as some people here think about them. If this was not true, then “the Fatherland” in WWII would not have been fighting “the Motherland,” which, in the Battle of Stalingrad, culminated in over one million casualties, which is more than the U.S. has lost in all of its wars combined.

The people on both sides were of course “patriots” who thought God was on their side. Both sides were wrong. People in groups – herds -- can’t tell the difference between God and Satan, between good and evil.

As Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote, “’I’ is from God and ‘We’ is from the Devil.” Or, to use a more famous quote about some past lunatics, “My name is Legion, for there are many of us.”

Perhaps “Mass Man” is a better term than “groups.” Individuals can think: groups, Mass Man, cannot. Because Mass Man cannot think, he seeks a leader to worship and tell him what to do, to be his brains. Says Jules Monnerot, “There is no such thing as a collective critical facility.” .

I am reminded of the Borg, in which the individual members do not think, have no free will, no anxiety or fear or envy, are taken care of womb-to-tomb, and have abdicated everything in their lives to the Borg Queen -- whose most famous puzzled comment is, “Why do you resist us? We only wish to improve the quality of your lives.”

To hold the herd together, a scapegoat must always be found, so the herd can project all evil onto it. This is done through the propaganda of which I wrote, which in its simplest form tells people, “We are good, they are evil; because they are evil they are going to attack and destroy us, so we must destroy them first.”

And is not modern-day propaganda as close to witchcraft and sorcery as we have today? After all, has not “casting a spell” always meant the use of words?

Philosopher and theologian Rene Girard, author of Violence and the Sacred, and Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World, wrote that scapegoating and human sacrifice were endemic and casually accepted in the pagan world (which makes the “modern” world just as pagan).

Girard believed there were two functions to the scapegoat: social cohesion (holding the herd together), and the attempt to renew society by doing violence to the scapegoat. The theologian Walter Wink, author of The Powers That Be, called the second function "the Myth of Redemptive Violence." Both authors thought people, indeed entire societies, believed they could be made whole (a word with the same root as "healthy" and "hale") by projecting their own imperfections onto the scapegoat and eradicating it by violence

Mass Man, brainless sheeple that he always is, always falls for propaganda, and so marches off to war and then over a cliff. Or maybe a ditch, as in the Biblical story about the blind leading the blind. And all in the belief he will taken care of by those he worships, that his “enemies” will be eradicated, and that he and his society will be renewed by violence and war. And in their topsy-turvy world, they believe this slavery is really freedom.

After all, look how many Americans still think the State can renew Iraq and Afghanistan and impose “democracy” and “freedom” on them by killing hundreds of thousands of people.

To sum up: people in herds seek to give up their freedom to a leader they worship, because they don’t want to think and instead want to be taken care of and entertained – bread and circuses. They want to be relieved of the responsibility of thinking about good and evil and instead want to be told what it is. They can be easily manipulated through propaganda (“We are good and they are evil”) into thinking their leader can destroy their “enemies” and so save and renew their society.

It’s modern-day sorcery and witchcraft, and it works every time to ensorcel and then enslave the susceptible.

None of what I’ve written is new. Power-mad rulers have always known these things, sometimes instinctively. Hitler, half genius, half insane, was a master at it (he wrote, accurately, "To be a leader means to be able to move masses" and "How fortunate for leaders that men do not think").

The problem, always, is that Mass Man doesn’t know any of these things, and when someone tells him, he doesn’t believe any of what he’s told, or worst of all, unable to tell good from evil, he agrees with it.

James Holmes was a Lunatic, not Brainwashed

Whenever something bad happens the Conspiracist Crackpots immediately come out of the woodwork and start hallucinating. James Holmes was brainwashed. He had a chip in his head. It was a false flag operation.

It’s all bullshit. Brainwashing doesn’t exist, contrary to those with the vapors. There are no Zombie Robots who will murder on command.

The retired psychiatrist James Gilligan spent 35 years dealing with thousands of murderers, trying to find out what they did what they did. Every time what he heard was, “He dissed me [my wife, girlfriend, parents, friends, children] so I killed him.”

One day he realized what he was hearing was the story of Cain and Abel – a story thousands of years old that explained why people murdered other people. Cain murdered Abel because he was rejected, humiliated, insulted, shamed. He blamed it on his brother and murdered him.

People in the past were just as smart as we are. They figured out what causes murder thousands of years ago. Aristotle also figured it out, and St. Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas,and many others. Gilligan and other modern-day researchers just rediscovered ancient wisdom.

Murder is about the desire for revenge, to replace shame with pride.

Holmes was a complete loser with women. He was consistently rejected by them. I doubt he had even kissed a woman, just like the Korean shooter in Virginia who murdered some 30 people.

Holmes had been on a sex site trying to find women, and was rejected by every one of them. To use a Manosphere term, Holmes was an omega -  a complete loser with women, one who's not even in the game.

Additionally, he was mentally ill, apparently from schizophrenia. On TV I saw his eyes wandering. That’s a side effect of psychiatric drugs (I don’t call it medication) and one of the main side effects of these drugs is increases in murder/suicide.

I doubt Holmes even remembers what he did. There have been cases of people taking their first dose of psychiatric drugs and then waking up three days later with no idea of what they did.

A schizophrenic on murder/suicide “medication,” a socially inept loner/loser rejected by women, who was just kicked out of school…he was sending out red flags all over the place.

You want to reduce murder to the minimum? Replace it with meaning, purpose, importance and community. Get rid of humiliating, rejecting, bullying and abusing people.

Good luck with that

The Conspiracist Crackpots, because they are deluded, can’t see the truth in front of their eyes. Unfortunately, they’ll never change their minds. Believing in non-existent conspiracies is just too much fun.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Bumbling Brontosaur of School Bureaucracy

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy: "In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely."

When I was in sixth grade one of the teachers informed us of what we had to do in middle school. The girls, we were told, had to take Home Economics. The boys had to take Shop.

Being somewhat of a class clown (it was from boredom) I raised my hand and asked, “Do the boys have to take Home Economics?” The class roared, and the teacher smiled and said, “No, Bobby, the boys don’t have to take Home Economics.”

I had to take two classes in Shop in middle school. I would have rather taken Home Economics. I probably would have learned more. More than how to make a metal ashtray or a wooden candleholder, neither of which were very good. Actually, the candleholder didn’t work at all, since when I put a candle in it and lit it, the candleholder basically caught on fire.

The boys had to take Shop because the school administration assumed all of us were going to go to work at the local steel mill after we graduated. How they thought I was going to work there is beyond me. It was very good money, but occasionally guys got killed there by being electrocuted or squished by machinery. That didn’t particularly scare me, but the boredom of the work sure did. It scared me more than the idea of being killed.

Fortunately, things in my local schools have changed these days. They are catching up with the changing times, but they are still behind. Way behind. It’s still very slow going for them.

It’s bureaucracy, of course.

All “public” (real socialized) institutions end up ossified by bureaucracy. They’re nearly impossible to change. They’re like one of those dinosaurs that when it had a tyrannosaur chewing on its tail didn’t get the message to its brain until 20 years later.

The true purpose of school bureaucracy is to make sure school teachers have secure jobs even if they’re incompetent. Educating the students is secondary, maybe even tertiary. If schools were really interested in educating students, people with Ph.D.s in Mathematics could teach in the public schools – which they cannot, because they’re not “qualified” because they don’t have Education degrees.

It’s very hard to get an incompetent teacher fired. One of my friends saw a “master teacher” (that’s what she was called) write “cherrie’s” on the blackboard (he said it’s a memory he will never forget). A “teacher” like that shouldn’t be allowed in a school.

Competition is the only thing that will make schools better. The bad schools will go out of business and the good schools will get all the students.

I don’t even believe in Education degrees, which I consider worthless. I graduated from a university that was the biggest producer of teachers in a very populous state. I met only one smart Education major, and he ended up leaving the field after a few years. All the rest had IQs that should have kept them out of college.

The high school drop-out rate is 50%. The bureaucratic mindset says, “It’s not our fault. We need more money. It’s the parents’ fault. It’s somebody’s fault. Who, maybe we’re not exactly sure. But it’s not ours.”

Competition always makes things better, not worse. I once had a Chevy Cavalier that had 488,000 miles on it when I sent it to the junkyard. Competition with other car companies was what made that Cavalier such a great car.

But there is no competition among schools. Students are sent to the closest school, unless they’re unfortunate enough to fall into one of those desegregation programs where they’re bussed to some ghetto school five miles away.

If I had my way I’d close the public schools down and have everyone compete to open up schools. Anyone should be allowed up open a school. And Education degrees should be abolished.

Then you’d see some real education. And it wouldn’t include making ashtrays in Shop classes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Love and Envy and Gratitude

I should start with a definition of envy: that anger, resentment, and desire for revenge the dependent person feels at the power someone else has to make him or her happy or sad, to give life or take it away.

All of us are dependent, and in fact are enmeshed in an immense, indeed infinite, web of dependencies and relationships. “Independence” does not exist, starting not when we are born, but before we are born.

In a sense, our “self” does not exist, because it is created by the relationships with something or someone else. There can be no fathers or mothers without children, no lovers without each other, no wife without a husband or a husband without a wife, no friends without another friend.

In other words, there cannot be any envy or love or gratitude without other people.

Having written the above, I’ll now write about the first time I fell in love. I was 18 years old, and the girl involved, I had only gone out with her one time. I hadn’t been impressed by her.

A month or so after I had dated her that one time, I was at work one night, and when I thought of her, I was suddenly consumed with jealousy, which I had never felt before, but somehow knew exactly what it was. It was an awful feeling, in fact the worst I had ever felt.

She also worked nights, at a place about three blocks from me. That night, I did not know if she was at work or not. If she was not at work, I thought she might be out with a guy she occasionally dated.

I had a nearly overwhelming compulsion to leave work, go those three blocks, and find out if she was there or not. Or if she was out with that particular guy.

Just like that, I realized I was in love with this girl. Even though I had never felt love before, I knew what it was, just the way I knew was jealousy was as soon as I felt it.

Some years later, when I thought about it, I realized jealously always involved three people and so is always a triangle. I was jealous of this guy whom I thought she might be with. These days, I don’t even remember his name. In those days, I barely knew him.

I ended up having feelings for this girl for two years. Overall, it was not a bad thing, although I was puzzled for years why there was jealousy in love. Finding the answer never obsessed me; I knew that, sooner or later, I’d figure it out.

The next time I fell in love I had just turned 27. That time it was a different story. There was no jealousy. There was envy.

Envy is far, far worse than jealousy. The feeling is not just awful; it is horrendous. It is truly a base feeling and I see no good in it at all.

That feeling of envy was generated because the relationship with her did not work out. Unfortunately, my feelings for her were far more intense that hers were for me. In fact, she wasn’t serious at all. She had power over me, and I had none over her.

That relationship with her is when I realized that in love there is always envy. Love in fact is in large part based on the envy of the loved one.

People fall in love because they have certain things in common. Certain interests, certain similar traits. People who are intelligent, witty and knowledgeable tend to be attracted to others with the same traits.

At the same time, no one is completely ‘whole.’ Everyone has deficiencies, or holes, they need filled in them. These people tend to fall in love because the one person has something the other doesn’t. There is a hole one fills in the other. That’s what causes the envy.

I am not normally a jealous or envious person. It’s only activated in a relationship with a woman. I find that curious as to why this is so, not only for me but for many other people.

Since no one is perfect and everyone has holes in their characters, in any love relationship there will always be envy on both sides. And envy, unfortunately, is a species of hate. That’s why love and hate are so closely related. In fact, in another time, I could have killed the second girl, or beaten her. If I couldn’t have her, I wanted to destroy her.

It’s not so much love and hate; it’s love and envy. And while jealousy involves three people, envy always involves two. Add that third one and what you’ve got is jealousy. So I conclude that envy is the basis of jealousy, even if you don’t feel the envy.

I’ve always been intrigued by that original dysfunctional family: Adam and Eve and their two children Cain and Abel.

Adam blames his problems on Eve and Eve blames her problems on the serpent, which is a symbol of envy. They are two people. Worse, murder enters the world when Cain kills his brother out of his envy of him. Again, there are two people involved.

There is not a word in the story of the Garden of Eden about guilt, just shame for Adam and Even, and humiliation – which is a species of shame – for Cain. There is no hate involving Adam and Eve. Hate enters the picture with Cain. All the problems involved are caused by envy.

Blaming your problems on other people, envy, shame, humiliation, hate…all are related to each other. In fact, envy appears to be the basis of hate, shame, humiliation, rage, murder and revenge. If this was not so, the story of the Garden of Eden would not insist on envy being the cause of all four people’s problems.

There are those who claim our envious feelings ran back to when we are infants. That wouldn’t surprise me. I have for years thought for years Adam and Eve were about four years old, since they had no self-consciousness until they ate the fruit. And before that, they also had no shame, just the way babies and very young children have no self-consciousness and shame.

The second woman I was involved with, I hated her because I envied her. Even though intellectually I knew it was ridiculous because it was not true, emotionally I felt she was the cause of my problems. While we can control our behavior, and to some degree our thoughts, controlling our feelings is nearly impossible.

Now I will go back many years before I met the first girl.

A few months before I turned 12 years old I was friends with a girl I had met in the sixth grade. I used to go over to her house. She was, for want of a better description, my best friend.

One time when we were in her back yard she took my hand, simply because she wanted to hold it, and I remember looking at her with something I had never felt before. I couldn’t describe it at the time, being only 11, but I realize now it was gratitude – thankfulness — that I knew this girl. I also remember the feeling of amazement at how wonderful that feeling was.

There was no envy towards her. None. And even thought I was not in love with her, I realized decades later envy and gratitude cannot exist at the same time. While envy is not the basis of gratitude, gratitude is what overcomes envy.

In any relationship, each person has power over the other. There is no way around that. That power, it goes without saying, should never be abused, although very often it is.

The first defense all of us engage in is to blame our problems on other people — what psychologists call ‘projection.’ It’s generally known as ‘scapegoating.’ Scapegoating, based on envy, is the lesson of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel: “It’s your fault…you made me do it.” How often have all people heard that, especially from very young children?

So, of course, in any love relationship, because there is always envy involved, we are going to see the other person as holding our happiness in his or her hands. Our emotions are going to tell us they are the cause of our problems.

In times past nearly every child would have been taught the Seven Deadly Sins, with envy probably the worst, since it’s the basis of all the rest. It’s the sin of Satan, his envy of God. These days, on the other hand, envy is almost never mentioned, not in school, not by parents, and certainly no longer in church.

Neither are children taught about gratitude. Love, hate, envy, jealousy…these days you’re supposed to figure it out on your own. So people end up seeing semi-clueless therapists and swallowing anti-depressants, which are band-aids and not cures.

We are bound to hate the ones we love. I once had a woman I was involved with beat on me with the bottom of her fists – the way women hit  – because she thought I was seeing another woman – which I wasn’t. I remember her screaming, “I hate you!” And at that particular time, she did.

I see no way out of this mess inherent in us except through gratitude. And that involves humility and forgiveness and appreciation on both sides.

The benign form of envy is admiration, which means if you envy someone, you find something admirable in them. That means you want to emulate them, and that emulation is based on the ‘holes’ in our characters we want filled.

The one important thing that does not exist in the original story of the Garden of Eden is guilt, although Christianity later added guilt. Accepting the envy and the guilt, and the admiration and emulation, on both sides can allow the reestablishment of appreciation and gratitude.

Only when we own up to our own destructiveness and envy, and stop blaming them on the other person, can we accept the good in another, and learn to appreciate them and be grateful.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Feminism is Based on Envy

The modern feminist movement can, I believe, be said to have been built on an impersonal, generalized envy...Most women would say, I suspect, that not envy but a strong sense of injustice powered the feminist movement. They would not be wrong, but I would only add that envy and a sense of injustice are not always that easily distinguished, let alone extricated, one from the other.-Joseph Epstein

Feminism, being leftist, is based on envy, as all leftism is based on envy. It is based on the envy of both sexes, of both women and men.

And, like all leftism, it can only be imposed by the force of the State. Of course it will never work, not in the long run, because, as Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote in Leftism Revisited, "Leftists don't merely misunderstand human nature. They don't understand it at all."

Leftists, however, don't believe they are equal to others. Instead they believe they are intellectally and morally superior to the average person, and believe not only should they prescribe for them, but their prescriptions should have the force of law to back them up. Of course, these Anointed (as Thomas Sowell mocked them) don't believe they should follow their advice for others.

The original hard-care feminists were the oddest of oddballs: either man-hating lesbians or women who couldn't get (didn't want) husband, home and children. Therefore, they had to devalue women who wanted these things. And in many ways, it worked.

The also envied men, and since the main defense against envy is devaluation, they devalued men -- just as they had devalued women. For example, in the year 2011 I had two women tell me, "Men are responsible for all the problems in the world." (Neither of them had husband, home and children.)

Envy is the ugliest and most destructive emotion in history. It is the only one of the Seven Deadly Sins that isn't any fun. It is if anything an attack on goodness itself.

I've always been such a low-envy person it took me years to realize what a problem envy is. Now I realize it is the worst problem ever.

The destructiveness of envy has been noticed in one of the most well-known myths in the Western world -- the story of the Garden of Eden.

When Adam and Eve are caught breaking the rules, Adam immediately claims he is innocent and devalues Eve by saying, "She made me do it." Eve claims she is innocent and says the serpent made her do it.

The serpent is a symbol of envy, hate, anger and the desire for revenge, as John Milton well-noticed in Paradise Lost.

This myth tells us than when people claim they're innocent -- and are not -- their first defense is to blame their problems on someone else. That blame is usually based on envy.

Example: some months ago I was watching TV and saw three coeds from the University of Georgia savaging the men in college. They had nothing good to say about them (one said they showed up on dates "In a dirty t-shirt and holding a bag of condoms"). Of course, not one of them suggested women had a problem, too. Apparently it never even occured to them.

Why were they doing this? In their minds, right or wrong, men were denying them what they wanted: ambitious men, who wanted to make a lot of money, and of course, good-looking and taller than they are. And would marry them, be faithful, and somehow support their careers and want children, too.

Because men were denying them what they thought they wanted, they envied men's power to make them happy and so had to devalue them. "I'm innocent're the one with the problem." They project their problems on other people.

Never disturb the innocence of the self-righteous. You'll get nothing more than outrage.

In other words, what these three women on TV are doing is putting angel's wings on themselves and horns, a spaded tail and a pitchfork on men. That is not conducive to seeing things clearly.

This blaming others for your problems -- projection -- is the first defense people engage in. What parent has not heard every child at one time or another claim, "You/he/she made me do it!"

The psychiatrists Melanie Klein and Joan Riviere wrote this about projection, "The first and the most fundamental of our insurances or safety measures against feelings of pain, of being attacked, or of helplessness --one from which so many others spring -- is that device we call projection. All painful and unpleasant sensations and feelings in the mind are by this device automatically relegated outside oneself...[W]e blame them on someone else. [Insofar] as such destructive forces are recognized in ourselves we claim that they have come there arbitrarily and by some external agency...[P]rojection is the baby's first reaction to pain and it probably remains the most spontaneous reaction in all of us to any painful feeling throughout our lives."

Another name for projection is "scapegoating." The French philosopher and theologian Rene Girard, author of Violence and the Sacred and Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World, believes function of a scapegoat was to renew society, and another theologian, Walter Wink, agreed with him, calling it "the myth of redemptive violence," i.e., the world can be reborn through violence.

In other words, feminism believes society and women can be reborn by devaluing and scapegoating men. Ultimately, this means trying to turn men into women.

For the last several decades psychologists and other scholars who study envy have noticed there is a sequence: envy, followed by guilt, followed by reparations, followed by gratitude. And, as has been noticed for several hundred years, if not longer, without gratitude you cannot be happy.

One of the worst things about envy is that you want to destroy the people who make you happy, because of the power they have over you to make you happy ("biting the hand that feeds you"). That should ideally lead to guilt, which leads to reparations, which then leads to gratitude. To quote Meister Eckhart, "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice."

The Catholic church noticed several hundred years ago that people were absolved of their guilt by confession and penance (the word "atonement" reans "at-one-ment": to become one, i.e., whole again). In other words, guilt followed by reparation.

The ancient Greeks noticed it, too, which is why after Hercules went temporarily insane and slaughterd his family he had to do penance. That is, his twelve labors.

You can also see guilt followed by atonement in the movie, The Mission, where after Robert DeNiro murders his brother he has to drag his armor up a hill then devote his life to fighting the slavery he had until then supported.

Ideally, you get over your envy and instead are grateful to the person who can make you happy. As Carl Jung once said, you can have power or love, but not both.

In politics there are no shades of grey; everything is either black or white, good or bad. That is the nature of politics. So not only is it based on force, it is based on propaganda and setting people at each other's throats.

As John Mason Brown wrote, "Nowhere are prejudices more mistaken for truth, passion for reason, and invective for documentation than in politics. This is a realm, peopled only by villains or heroes, in which everything is black or white and gray is a forbidden color."

When everything is seen as all-good or all-bad, either innocent or guilty, envy and resentment is going to be ever-increasing, and as for gratitude and happiness, there will be less and less of it.

Enough is as Good as a Feast

”If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart.

Enough is as good as a feast…if you can enjoy every sandwich.

Warren Zevon, who was asked by David Letterman if he had any advice about his terminal lung cancer, said, “I enjoy every sandwich.” That saying has become so famous some people don’t even know Zevon said it. But everyone knows what it means: be grateful for everything you have. Enjoy all of it.

The best things in life are free. Enough is as good as a feast. These are clichés, but clichés wouldn’t be clichés if there wasn’t much truth to them.

There is too much envy in this world and not enough gratitude and appreciation. Actually, envy and gratitude are antithetical. Where there is envy, there is no gratitude, and where there is no gratitude there is no happiness.(As Cicero said, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.")

Envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Oddly enough, its opposite, gratitude, is not one of the Four Cardinal Virtues. Nor is it one of the Three Theological Virtues (faith, hope and charity).

Yet the fact that envy and gratitude are opposites has been noticed as far back as Aesop (“The Wolf and the Crane”), and I’m sure long before him.

There are entire political systems, such as socialism, which exist in an attempt to eliminate envy. There are no such systems to create gratitude (political and economic liberty are closest). In fact, I can’t imagine any political system based on force (which socialism is) that can generate gratitude. You can’t force people to be grateful.

The serpent in the story of the Garden of Eden has traditionally been a symbol of envy, hate, anger and the desire for revenge (John Milton understood this in his Paradise Lost). The serpent certainly isn’t a symbol of gratitude and appreciation.

People understand the feelings of envy (although no one wants to admit it), hate, anger, revenge, humiliation…but gratitude and appreciation? They’re in short supply.

The late psychoanalyst Melanie Klein wrote a seminal book, Envy and Gratitude. She found there is a sequence: envy, guilt, reparations, gratitude. (You can see this sequence is Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and to a lesser extent in the Robert DeNiro movie, The Mission).

In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov envies the old woman, murders her, finally confesses out of guilt, makes reparations by serving time, and though his love for Sonia feels gratitude. In The Mission Robert DiNiro’s character kills his brother out of jealousy (a form of envy), feels guilty and makes reparations by ceasing to be a slaver and devoting his life to protecting the Indians he had enslaved. There is no sign in the movie he was grateful…but he had found peace of mind.

I sometimes try to model my life on that of a dog (who’s going to be more gratitude to see you if you leave them in a car for half an hour – your spouse or your dog?). Several times I’ve seen people in parks with their dogs. They throw a ball; the dog chases it and brings it back, then drops the ball at the owners’ feet and barks for it to be thrown again. The dog is immensely enjoying this simple pleasure. Do the dogs feel gratitude and appreciation? Maybe I’m imagining the whole thing, but it sure seems like they do.

Perhaps only in some form of love can there be gratitude. That’s the message of Envy and Gratitude. And Crime and Punishment. And those dogs, too, And I suppose if you can enjoy every sandwich that, too, is a kind of love.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – G. K. Chesterton.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Post-Traumatic School Disorder

I have only one recurring nightmare, which I have about once a year, and have had since I graduated high school.

It is the last day of my senior year, and I suddenly realize there is a required class that I have not been to all year. Unless I take the final and pass it, I will have to go another year, while all my friends are away at college. I will be 18 years old, stuck for another year with a class of 17-year-olds. It gives me the exact same feeling as being a high school senior and being returned to first grade. "You have to repeat everything from first grade to high'll be 30 when you finally graduate high school." It's like being an adult and forced to sit at the kiddie table all your life during Christmas.

Usually, I can't find the class. Space and time are distorted. New hallways appear; when I turn around the ones behind me are gone. I feel like some of Lovecraft's Elder Gods are in charge of the universe and have especially targeted me for torment. I'm in a panic. The layout of the school is different. I'm disoriented, and spend what feels like hour after strange hour looking for the class. Sometimes I do find it. I don't recognize the teacher or any of the students. They look at me like I have waving antennae sprouting from my head. The teacher is a pudgy spinster with a faded sack-like dress and cat's-eye glasses. She looks like Miss Wormwood in the comic strip, “Calvin and Hobbes.” The test appears to be Corfu, or worse, calculus (I can never make out the numbers). I always fail and am condemned to another year in high school.

Occasionally I wake up and am so disoriented I've gone to the front door, opened it and stuck my head outside, because I feel like I'm suffocating. I tell people I have Post-Traumatic School Disorder. I should sue someone.

Some of my friends have the almost the exact same nightmare. How can that be? Is there a Nightmare Factory somewhere cranking out the same nightmares, and parceling them out when we're asleep? I don't have nightmares about college or any job I've had. It's always the last day of high school. I'll bet I could write a book, call it The Last Day of High School, and many people would buy it for the title.

I had some great times in high school, but it was on weekends. School was a sentence to be served – sit, march, sit, march, sit, march, walk on the right side of the staircase. We had an Up staircase, and a Down one, just like in Bel Kaufman's book about school, Up the Down Staircase. I was bored silly and sometimes fell asleep in class. It's a feat to fall asleep sitting up, but I managed it. Some other kids managed it, too. Some couldn't quite pull it off and instead looked like the almost-passed-out kids in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when Mr. Monotone himself (Ben Stein) was unwittingly torturing them with his lecture.

How did the schools turn out like this? From what I've been able to gather, the sit-march-sit structure of the public schools was originally to train students into being obedient little automatons for corporate businesses. A three-month summer vacation was intended for students to help with the harvest.

Talk about being over 100 years behind the times. Three months off for harvest? When's the last time that was necessary? 1910? And training students as automatons for corporate America? That certainly is not the way to create a nation of polymaths.

John Taylor Gatto, author of The Underground History of American Education, claims that modern public schools were inventions of people like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford and J.P. Morgan. Along with the help of "efficiency expert" Frederick W. Taylor, they designed the schools to create standardized employees and customers. The boredom and alienation was intentional, in order to produce good consumers. Learning and character were secondary. The purpose of the public schools, according to Gatto, was to serve the unholy marriage of corporate Big Business and the State (Mussolini called this “corporatism,” which he wrote was the correct definition of fascism).

I don't believe the structure to the schools these men wanted was any kind of evil conspiracy. I'm a believer in what Napoleon said: "Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity." These corporate businessmen apparently believed they were doing good. I'm sure they thought, "After all, we are trying to produce good workers and consumers. What is wrong with that?"

What is wrong with "that" is the schools are supposed to develop critical thinking skills, and create knowledgeable students with good characters. Not "good workers" and "good consumers." Being a good worker automatically comes from having a good character. It's not like you can have the first without the second.

Public schools have become so boring that kids are now drugged with Ritalin so they can sit still and pay attention. When I was in high school many of the kids used marijuana, which calmed them down. They didn't use booze, which oftentimes makes people combative.

I suppose Ritalin, an unnatural drug related to cocaine, is okay to place within children's brains because the State approves of it and has made it legal. Would parents approve if doctors prescribed coca leaves, which South American Indians have used for thousands of years with no ill effects? What's the difference, except one is legal and the other is not? Or that coca leaves are safer than Ritalin?

I'm sure that Rockefeller, et al didn't realize that the boredom and drudgery of public schools would ultimately lead to drug use – legal and illegal – so the kids could combat the ill effects of sitting and marching all day. There is also a massive drug problem in similar institutions, such as prisons and the military. Why can't the "experts" see these similarities? Maybe that old joke is true – "ex" means "has-been" and "spurt" means "drip." Most "experts" are a bunch of has-been drips.

I tell people I never learned a thing in between first grade and graduation day. I didn't, either. I think I may have brain damage. I could do math in the first grade. The ability disappeared soon after.

I blame most educational problems on the State's interference in schools. When the State gets involved, competition ceases. Without competition, the quality goes down. You can believe in that as a law of nature, just as you can believe the sun will always rise in the east.

I'm as free-market as they come, which means I believe in schools completely free of the State and corporations. Corporations are themselves creations of the State, since they have the legal status of persons. Remove that protection, and I suspect many of these gigantic multinationals would disappear. The free market would set the size of a business, not the State.

The public schools shove kids together who in life would have nothing to do with each other. The kids get around this by forming cliques. Sometimes the whole school turns into pool of piranhas. It wasn't for nothing that Stephen King's first novel, Carrie, was a best-seller, and turned into a hit movie. And what was it about? Public high school. And what did the survivors end up with? PTSD.

The tragic victim of King's novel, Carrie White, was a scapegoat and an outcast, just like most of the school shooters. Carrie not only destroyed the school and many of the students, she destroyed the town. "The artist is the antenna of the race," wrote Ezra Pound. All the chattering classes pontificating and scratching their brains about the school shootings would be better off paying attention to a horror writer instead of a bunch of doctorates in worthless fields such as psychology and education.

Want to see another movie about the boredom and alienation in public schools? Try the aforementioned Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's about a kid who has outsmarted the system and is free of it. And what does his nemesis – the high school principal – want more than anything else? To make sure Ferris doesn't graduate so he has to spend another year in school. My nightmare on film.

Unfortunately, for a lot of kids – especially the smarter ones – high school is about having your brains permanently warped. If that isn't true, then why so many nightmares for so many people? Nightmares that have even made it into well-known movies (try Donnie Darko for another one). The saddest part is that the nightmares – inside our heads and outside – can be avoided by preventing the State from meddling in something that is none of its business – education.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Romantic Relationships and Envy

Envy is the worst and most corrosive emotion in the world. And in the history of the world, for that matter.

Probably the best-known myth in the Western world is that of the Garden of Eden. And one of the things it is about is envy. Adam blames the woman for his transgression and Eve blames the serpent, which is a symbol of envy, hate, anger and revenge. The lesson is that they often blame their problems on other people out of envy.

Worse, envy brings murder in the world, as shown in the story of Cain and Abel -- Adam and Eve's children. They are the original dysfunctional family.

Cain murders Abel because he feels humiliated when God accepts Abel's sacrifice and rejects Cain's. That feeling of humiliation is based on his envy of Abel.

So, then, envy is apparently ubiquitous. Unfortunately, it may be ubiqitous in romantic relationships. And, just as unfortunatly, one of the defenses against envy is devaluation.

Here is an example: some months ago I watched on TV as three college girls, in their early 20s, were denigrating college men. One said they showed up on dates in dirty t-shirts "holding a bag of condoms."

Another said most wanted to take over their father's business (and what exactly is wrong with that?).

Not one of the three had one good thing to say about the men. They were denigrating and devaluing them. (As an aside, not one of them had a clue they're weren't marriage-material.)

Devaluing someone is one of the main defenses against envy. These girls envied men and therefore devalued them. And why did they devalue them?

Because the men weren't giving them wanted they wanted. I'm sure they wanted the men to be tall, good-looking, ambitious, make a lot of money, be loyal, etc. Because so few of the men were those things, they believe men had all the power to make them happy, and since they weren't making them happy, they devalued them.

So course, none of these girls had the self-awareness to ask themselves, "What do I have to offer in a relationship?"

I once knew a woman, 49 years old, unmarried, no children, no home -- just an apartment and a cat. She told me "men are responsible for all the problems in the world," that they all had baggage from past relationships, and they wouldn't accept her career.

Because men did not give her the things she wanted, and therefore envied what she perceived as their power to make her happy (which she thought they were withholding from her) she envied and therefore devalued them.

None of these women have any gratitude towards men, ignoring the fact men (specifically white men) have invented almost 100% of everything in the world. As Camile Paglia once so famously noted, without men, women would still be living in grass huts.

You cannot be happy unless you have gratitude. And certainly, when you envy and blame your problems on everyone else, you are never going to be happy. Those college girls who envy and blame their romantic problems on men are never going to be happy, and they are going to be shocked when all their relationships don't work out.

For that matter, no man in his right mind is going to get involved with a envious, ungrateful woman who tries to shame him and make him feel guilty and to disrepect and try to humiliate him. Not that any of these girls know they are ungrateful and envious and devalued men. If they were told what they are, they certainly wouldn't believe it.

Many men are mystified. They shouldn't be. As Helmet Schoeck write in his magisterial book, Envy, "It is astounding that countless benefactors allow themselves to be persuaded over and over that ingratitude with the resulting hatred is a rare and special case."

The defenses against men and women's envy of each other in romantic relationships have pretty much collapsed. It looks as if the defenses of women's envy of men are collapsed the worst, which is there is so much devaluation of men by women (the reverse is just a fraction).

I am as always curious as to how this will play out. There is one thing I do know: the psychiatrist James Gilligan, who studied violent inmates for 35 years, found humiliation and shame were the causes of violence and murder (again, the story of Cain and Abel).

I suspect things are going to get a worse before they get better. After all, as things stand now, 49% of the people in the U.S. are not married. And as bad as that is for men and women, the real losers are going to be the children, who are going to end up with single women as parents -- and there is no good to that at all.

Paul Krugman: a Cartoon, a Buffoon and a Poltroon

“When the facts change I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” – John Maynard Keynes

The people who have the least understanding of economics are Ph.D.s; those who don’t understand it at all are Ph.D.s out of Harvard, Yale and Princeton. One reason, among others, is that these inept economists are Keynesians, even though Keynes said his beliefs were only temporary measures to be given up when circumstances changed. Circumstances always change, and they changed not long after Keynes formulated his theories. That’s why he changed his mind when the facts changed.

Paul Krugman, who has a Ph.D. from Princeton, doesn’t understand economics. Worse, he does not know this. He is an example of what Aristotle called “double ignorance.” Some people are ignorant and know it; the doubly ignorant are those who are ignorant and don’t know it. Krugman is ignorant and doesn’t have a clue just how ignorant he is. He’s convinced himself he is the exact opposite of ignorant.

Krugman thinks he is so smart and moral, as compared to the unwashed masses, that he truly believes he can use his brain to run an economy of 300 million people. This is leftism (the political philosopher Michael Oakeshott called this delusion “rationalism,” a perversion of rationality). It’s a delusion of astonishing proportions. For all practical purposes it’s mental illness.

I do mean mental illness. Besides the double ignorance, Krugman also suffers from what the Greeks called hubris: believing you’re god-like. Anyone who thinks he has the ability to run an economy of some 300 million people, by the use of his own permanently limited and imperfect brain, thinks he’s a god, whether or not he admits it to himself.

The Greeks considered hubris to be a type of insanity, since Hubris was the god of arrogance, lack of restraint, insolence and wanton violence. “Ate” was the word the Greeks used to indicate the kind of insanity that invariably followed hubris. That is why Krugman can be considered insane. Not insane in the Stalin or Pol Pot sense, but still insane and deluded enough to be removed from his position and then completely ignored (he’s what the English call a “nutter”- the kind who stands on a soapbox in a park and rants and raves). I’m sure to be ignored – or ridiculed – would make him more demented that he already is.

Apparently Krugman’s looniness started at an early age. Perhaps he was born sick. Perhaps he’s just genetic garbage. A huge red flag illustrating his disturbed character is his belief he is Hari Seldon (Krugman said Hari Seldon was his hero and he decided to become an economist after reading Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation Trilogy).

Hari Seldon was one of the most important characters in The Foundation Trilogy, although he died in about the first chapter. I’ve read all three novels several times and enjoyed them immensely for two or three years. But then, when I first read them, I was 12, and after about 14, I stopped reading them.

Even at 12 I didn’t take the books seriously, no more than I took seriously Edgar Rice Burroughs’ wonderful but fantastically inaccurate Barsoom (Mars) novels. Apparently Krugman took Asimov’s trilogy very seriously. I suppose today there are people who think if they try hard enough they can be Harry Potter. At least we know such people are deluded. Some know Krugman is deluded, but not enough.

The Foundation Trilogy is set thousands of years in the future, when humanity has spread across the galaxy and is ruled by a galactic empire. For some reason unknown to me, Asimov didn’t see humanity being ruled by a galactic empire as a bad condition. In reality it would be a terrible thing. Only in fiction could it be good.

Asimov called Hari Seldon the first of the “psychohistorians.” Seldon is able to predict the future of the Galactic Empire, not just for a few years, but for 10,000 years. He uses a pocket calculator. See why I never took the novels seriously as much as I enjoyed them? Seldon could never exist, and neither could his discipline of “psychohistory.” It’d be psychobabble, not psychohistory, just the way mainstream economics is babble.

Seldon has figured out the Empire is going to collapse and will be followed by 10,000 years of barbarism. Though the application of the tenets of Psychohistory, Seldon claims, those 10,000 years of the Dark Ages can be reduced to a mere 1000 years. That’s pretty impressive to a 12-year-old, and doubly impressive to one who is permanently pre-adolescent.

In the trilogy all material, economic and moral advancement is because of the Empire. When it starts to collapse, all progress stops and civilization goes backward. In reality there wouldn’t be much advancement in everything, except perhaps weapons technology, with the Empire oppressing the entire galaxy and only when it collapsed would things progress. Progress is dependent on liberty, not on statism. And certainly not on the galaxy-wide statism of the Empire.

I can forgive Asimov his little gaff. He wrote the novels in the middle ‘50s and didn’t understand just how immensely destructive the State is. Today, there is no excuse not to know. Actually, there was no excuse in the ‘50s, not with the whole of history before Asimov, but I’ll still forgive him. He was a biochemist, not a historian.

For Krugman there can be no forgiveness. He has no excuses. He claims to be an economist and he should know history. He doesn’t. He is so deluded, and so corrupted with hubris, that he will never change his mind no matter how destructive are the applications of his Keynesian beliefs. When the facts change he doesn’t change his mind; he just double-downs on his blindness and arrogance. Like the Cowardly Lion of Oz he clamps his eyes shut and chants, “I believe, I believe.”

Krugman is part of the tsunami of amoral high-IQ idiots inundating the United States. They wouldn’t particularly matter except they have influence. They’re the blind leading the blind and heading the U.S. right into a ditch. As far as I’m concerned the Economics departments of all the major universities should be shut down, every Ph.D. fired, and banned for life from the field.

Krugman is one of those simple-minded nitwits who have One Big Idea they apply to everything, and they conveniently ignore facts that don’t fit. They’re like Procrustes, the Greek torturer who, when someone was too short, stretched them on a rack, and when they were too long, he chopped parts off. I’m sure Procrustes thought what he did was a good thing.

The purpose of science, whether hard or soft, is to push back the darkness by illuminating it with discoveries (Carl Sagan, in one of the few things he got right, called science “a candle in the dark”). It’s supposed to bring order out of chaos. Krugman thinks he is one of those candle-carriers but he’s not. He’s blowing out the candles and contributing to the chaos of a collapsed economy. He’s supporting the barbarians, but again, he doesn’t have a clue. And when that collapse happens, Krugman will blame it on everybody but himself.

Since the foolish and deluded don’t change their minds, what happens is that their generation dies off and a new generation takes over. That’s what will happen with Krugman and other the deluded Keynesian fools. Their generation will die off and a newer one will take over.

It’s too bad these doubly-ignorant “intellectuals” exist. They remind me of what Orwell said: “There are some ideas so absurd only an intellectual could believe them.” The inability of these people to change their minds means it will be a long time before the U.S. gets back on track.

I shouldn’t be, but am continually amazed how stupid, blind, arrogant and immoral the high-IQ idiots are. IQ doesn’t mean anything – and in fact is very dangerous – when there is a lack of character. That lack of character is what makes these people cartoons, buffoons and poltroons – and a danger to everything they touch.

Monday, July 16, 2012

There are No Experts

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. -  H. L. Mencken

I once read a definition of “expert” – “ex” meaning has-been; “spurt” meaning “a drip under pressure.” That’s an expert – a drip under pressure.

The predictions of “experts” have been uniformly wrong. So wrong, in fact, that they’re worthless. (Amusingly - to me at least - forturetellers and diviners were consigned to some of the lowest circles in Dante's Inferno). But why are these babblers almost always wrong?

Everyone has in their mind a model of how the world works. That model is not reality. “The map is not the territory,” Alfred Korzybski wrote. (He also argued that human knowledge of the world is limited both by the human nervous system and by the structure of language  both assertions of which I agree with.) The world is so complex that every mental map will describe it with always less-than-perfect accuracy.

Those maps do work quite well with the hard sciences, i.e. math, physics, chemistry. The “soft” sciences – the maps don’t work very well at all. Sometimes, not at all.

People should, ideally, continually refine their maps to make them more accurate. If someone had a completely accurate mental map, the future could be predicted. But reality is so complex, and our brains so limited, that almost all maps will never work that well.

Some people refuse to change their maps. They want certainty, even if they have to delude themselves. Paul Ehrlich comes to mind. In 1968 he wrote The Population Bomb, claiming humanity was going to starve. “The battle to feed humanity is over,” he wrote. “In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines – hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”

That starvation didn’t happen. Ehrlich has never admitted he was utterly wrong. He says he’s right, only his timetable was off. (I am reminded of what Orwell said: "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them").

Some people are so desperate for certainly they’ll delude themselves their entire lives. Truly intelligent people can tolerate ambiguity.

Philip Tetlock, a psychologist, did a long-term study of why so many experts are so wrong. He found experts’ predictions can be beaten by a “dart-throwing chimp.” He also found the problem was that almost all of them could not tolerate ambiguity (the people, not the chimp).

“Experts who did particularly badly,” writes Dan Gardner, summarizing Tetlock’s study, “…were not comfortable with complexity and uncertainty. They sought to ‘reduce the problem to some core theoretical scheme’…and they used that theme over and over, like a template, to stamp out predictions.”

Neil Stephenson, in his novel The Diamond Age, wrote this: "The difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people--and this is true whether or not they are well-educated--is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations--in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward."

People who have one core scheme that they use over and over are ideologues. Sometimes they’re fanatics unable to change their minds. Russell Kirk defined ideology this way: "Ideology means political fanaticism...[they] maintain that human nature and society may be perfected by mundane, secular means..."

These people also suffer from hubris, which the Greeks considered a type of insanity. The opposite of hubris is humility, which is correctly defined as knowing your limitations. Blowhards never know their limitations, and therefore are not humble.
Let’s use as an examples political and economic liberty. Those concepts, when applied to reality, work best for people and society. These days, those who believe in the minimum government – one that protects life, liberty and property – are called libertarians. Those who don’t believe in any government at all are called anarcho-capitalists. Each has a core scheme they believe applies universally.

Now here’s where both groups suffer cognitive dissonance: tariffs work. Both Japan and South Korea became wealthy by using tariffs to discourage imports and encourage exports. Both countries also supported developing industries.

Those two countries did what the United States did. At first the U.S. used tariffs to discourage imports, encourage imports, and to support infant industries. It allowed the free market inside the country to create wealth, but there was no international “free trade.”

These practices are not supposed to work. But they did. People who cannot admit these findings will go to desperate lengths to prove they didn’t work. They remind me of what Robert Heinlein wrote: people are not so much rational as rationalizing. Some people will rationalize anything rather than change their minds.

Ideologues even go so far as to create alternate realities: “If the United States had international free trade at the beginning it would have been even wealthier.” This, being an alternate reality, is a fantasy.

The free market does not exist in any country in the world. The West comes closest. What “libertarian” economists are trying to do is impose their map on the terrain, even though it doesn’t work. They are refusing to refine their mental maps and make them more accurate. They like the certainty of simplicity.

Writes Gardner: “Experts who did better than the average…had no template. Instead, they drew information and ideas from multiple sources and sought to synthesize it. They were self-critical, always questioning whether what they believed was really was really true. And when they were shown they had made mistakes, they didn’t try to minimize, hedge, or evade. They simply acknowledged they were wrong and adjusted their thinking accordingly. Most of all, these experts were comfortable seeing the world as complex and uncertain – so comfortable that they tended to doubt the ability of anyone to predict the future.”

I’ll give another example of cognitive dissonance among libertarians. They’ll spend weeks caressing the texts of Murray Rothbard, a good economist but a lousy historian. They think Ayn Rand, a lunatic, makes sense. But they know little of Thomas Jefferson, the smartest of the Founding Fathers.

Jefferson despised corporations, seeing how destructive they were. He founded the University of Virginia, believing in free college education. He thought the rich should pay more in taxes. He supported tariffs and protecting infant industries. He thought very litle should be left to children because he believed great wealth was always used to ultimately take over the government.

Whether Jefferson was right or wrong is not the point. The point is that when a “libertarian” encounters Jefferson their brains immediately shut down. Wrong, wrong, wrong! This is because such people cannot tolerate ambiguity.

People who cannot tolerate ambiguity are never experts. You can say that, mostly, they’re just drips.

“Show some fucking adaptability!” ― Bobby Shaftoe, Cryptonomicon

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Get Rid of Colleges…Mostly

When Woodrow Wilson was president of Princeton he was once asked how many students were there. “About ten percent,” he answered.

The story may be apocryphal but I doubt it. But it illustrates something I have believed for a long time: most college is a waste. Ninety percent of the people attending shouldn’t be there. As far as I’m concerned, anyone with an IQ of less than 120 shouldn’t be allowed to go to college.

Approximately ten percent of the people in the U.S. have IQs of 120 and above. That fact illuminates Wilson’s observation that only ten percent of the students at Princeton were motivated to learn. The rest were there for the same reasons most students go to college today: party and do the minimum work to pass and get a job. And what little they do learn flies right out of their heads when they pass the class.

I doubt anyone with an IQ less than 120 is, for some examples, going to be interested in the conflicts between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Or Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem.

They may, however, love cars. Or building houses (I knew a carpenter who when the house was finished stood back from it and said, with pride and satisfaction, “I built that.” He hated school so much he had dropped out of high school – although later he got his G.E.D.).

I graduated from the largest producers of teachers in a very populous state. I only met one smart education major, and he was a friend of mine. The rest of them were girls, and I never met a smart one. In fact, besides my friend I never met another male education major.

The fact I never met another male education major in my school was odd, since the high school I graduated from had quite a few men and a lot of them graduated from my university. But apparently, for some reason I know not, men aren’t going into education anymore – and certainly not below the middle school level.

But I digress a bit. But not much. If universities did not allow anyone with less than a 120 IQ to attend, the Education major would cease to exist, since Education majors have the lowest IQs/SATs/ACT scores of those attending college.

Education degrees are worthless anyway. BS, MA, Ed.D – all worthless. You can have a Ph.D. in Mathematics and teach at a university, but without a degree in Education you can’t even teach kindergarten. That’s bizarre, to say the least. It’s also stupid.

The second-lowest IQs belong to business majors. That’s another worthless degree. Bill Gates and Steven Jobs didn’t have college degrees. Neither did Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison. Both Gates and Jobs dropped out.

I’m not saying one education class or some business classes aren’t good. But the degrees themselves are not necessary and in fact worthless. They shouldn’t exist.

There are other worthless degrees. Sociology. Economics. Economics should be combined with Political Science and be called Political Economy. Psychology, Sociology and Social Psychology (I actually had a worthless teacher with a Ph.D. in Social Psychology) should be combined and given a new name.

And please don’t get me started on utterly worthless degrees such as Black Studies, Women’s Studies and other ethnic-oriented “degrees.” Anyone who gets such a degree is out of his/her mind and will never get a worthwhile job.

We should return to the past in some ways, as in the word “cub.” As in Jimmy Olsen, cub reporter, from the old Superman TV series. My father, who was a general contractor, started out as a cub carpenter. There aren’t “cub” anythings anymore, and there should be. People should start at the bottom and work their way up.

I’d trust a cub who worked his/her way up before I’d trust someone with an MBA (not only a worthless but a dangerous degree) who gets put in charge of a business they know nothing about. I’ve worked for MBAs from Harvard and Yale and I’ve only met one who knew what she was doing – and her MBA was from the University of Chicago. The rest didn’t have a clue and in fact drove businesses out of existence with their incompetence. I talked to these people long enough, and worked them long enough, to know they didn’t know what they were doing.

College degrees are filters, anyway, although they’re not very good ones. They’re supposed to filter out the people who wouldn’t make good employees. That hasn’t been my experience. Oftentimes they filter out good people and let the morons graduate. These days, a college degree is what a high school degree was 100 years ago – and a Master’s today is what a BA was a century ago.

My friend who got the Education degree finally got an MS in Economics and then a Ph.D. He tells me they’re worthless. Everything he needed to know he learned in six undergraduate classes. The rest of his “education” – a waste.

People who are motivated should be allowed to pass proficiency exams for a college degree. It’s better than daydreaming in class because of boredom. For four years. I took proficiency exams for three classes and would have preferred to take them for three years of my degree. One year in class would have suited me just fine.

Many people would be better off going to vocational school. That’s what a lot of kids are doing anyway. They take practical classes, get out fast and get a job. Who is their right mind wants to take a bunch of boring, impractical classes? I did it and regret all but half-dozen classes I took in college.

This is supposed to be a free country. That means you should be free from 13 of public schooling, from four years to get an undergraduate degree, and the four or more years to get “advanced” degrees – and all of it to get a “good job.” A lot of which don’t exist anymore. And it’s got to the point with the crushing load of “education” that it’s as bad as the Mandarins in ancient China.

Woodrow Wilson was at least right once in his life: 90% of the students in college shouldn’t be there.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Yay for Fido!

The year: 2084.

The place: any city in the USA.

Characters: Father, Daughter, Baby, Fido and a Few Shadowy Characters.

Father parks his 1986 Yugo at a curb and exits the vehicle with Daughter, Baby, and Fido the Chihuahua.

Police Officer (emerging from the shadows. He is a clone, as are all the police are in 2084. He has a narrow head and squinty lop-sided eyes and bears strong resemblance to George Bush): Hold it right there!

Father: What? What did I do?

Officer: I have to search all of you and the car for a bomb! It's a new Global UN law passed this morning.

Father: I haven't heard a thing about it.

Officer: That's not my problem. I have a job to do and orders to follow.

Father: Orders to follow, huh? (He places his left forefinger under his nose, shoots out his right arm at a 45% angle, and goosesteps in circles.) Sieg Heil! Actung! Verboten!

Officer: Huh?

Father: Hitler? Nazis? Stormtroopers?

Officer: Huh?

Father: Forget it. I'm a comedian practicing a comedy routine.

Officer: Whatever.

A police van screeches around a corner. It stops and four police officers jump out. They remove the tires from the Yugo, place the car on concrete blocks, put the tires in the van and screech away.

Father: What was that about?

Officer: We have to search your tires for bombs.

Father: Those are brand-new tires! They might even have rubber in them! It took me a year to save for them! The economy's been bad for 80 years, you know, what with the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and all those other places I can't remember! I think you guys just stole my tires!

Officer: Complain to the government.

Father: This is outrageous!

Officer: I'm just keeping the country safe. (He squints at Baby.) There could be a bomb in that baby!

Father: Right.

Officer: I have to check. (He grabs Baby and prys open its mouth.) You got a bomb in there?

Baby: Gaga googoo.

Officer (upending Baby and shaking it up and down): Cough it up!

Baby: Wah!

Officer: I guess you're okay. (Hands Baby back to Father.)

Baby (glaring at Officer): Pfffttt!

Father: Baby!

Baby: Gaga googoo!

Officer (squinting at Fido): There could be a bomb in that dog!

Father: It's a Chihuahua!

Officer: Plenty of room for a bomb. He needs a body-cavity search!

Fido: Yikes!

Father: You people are lunatics! You're all demented!

Daughter: Daddy!! Look at what the bad man is doing to Fido!

Father (placing his hands over Daughter's eyes): Don't look, honey!

Fido: (eyes bugging out like poached eggs) Yeow!!

Officer: Dang! (shakes hand) He's stuck!

Fido: (bouncing up and down like a Yo-Yo) Urk! Urk! Urk!

Officer (shaking hand harder) There he goes! (Fido does a somersault through the air and lands in Daughter's arms.)

Fido (glaring at the Officer): Grrr! GRRR! GRRR!!

A man walks by wearing a three-foot tall turban. There is a loud ticking sound coming from it.

Father: Did you see that? I think he's got a bomb in his turban!

Officer: Since when are you a trained police officer?

The man rounds the corner. Seconds later there is a gigantic explosion. An axle with two tires on it lands in the street.

Father: Look! Two tires! Can I have them?

Officer: Don't get smart.

Father: Can we go now?

Officer: I guess. You better watch yourself. And the dog, too. He better watch...or know what I mean.

Father, Daughter, Baby and Fido cross the street. Fido is walking upright on his front paws like a circus acrobat.

Fido: Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!

All step onto the curb across the street. An Officer appears from the shadows.

Officer: Stop right there!

Father: Now what?

Officer: I have to search all of you for bombs!

Father: The guy across the street just searched us!

Officer: He's Homeland Security for the south side of the street! I'm Homeland Security for the north side!

Father (putting hands on head): It's a madhouse!

Officer: Huh?

Father: Charleton Heston? Planet of the Apes?

Officer: Huh?

Father: Forget it. I'm a comedian practicing a comedy routine.

Officer: Whatever (squinting eyes). The dog's first!


Officer: What the -- yikes! Oh no! Wait, stop! Help! Mommy! Daddy! HELLLPPPP!!!!

Father: Wow! I didn't know he could do that!

Daughter: Yay for Fido!

Fido: Burp.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Myths as Power over Evil

I’ve read several stories and articles claiming that naming something gives you power over it. I never paid much attention to this contention because I never really understood it. Then a few years ago it dawned on me what it meant.

For example, this “naming of names” gives an identity to evil. And if you don’t know what evil is, how can you combat it? Naming something does give you some power over it.

Let’s use the Greek god of war, Ares, as an example. Ares is a lover of war, but incompetent and a coward. All the stories involving Ares say the same thing: all wars are always waged incompetently, and are generally started by cowards.

Ares would have never been created if the Greeks hadn’t noticed people and events that generated the internal presentation of “Ares” in their minds. The myths about Ares are just short stories that entertain and educate people about the universal truths of life.

Americans have experienced the same people and events that generate “Ares” in their minds, too. Only the name that some people have given him these days is “Chickenhawk.” Our modern-day Chickenhawks are the war-loving, cowardly incompetents who have generated “Chickenhawk” in Americans’ minds just as Ares was generated in the minds of the Greeks.

Same monster, just a different name. By naming the monster, people – at least some people – know who the monster is. Imagine what is would be like not to be able to identify your enemies!

Ares was married to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Now what could that possibly mean? Love and war?

There are people who love war. They don’t feel totally alive unless they are in a war zone. These are the kinds who become mercenaries, and fortunately there aren’t many of them.

Mercenaries aren’t the problem, though. Those who love war from a distance, and get their thrills from it, are a bit more of a problem. At their worst they are the nationalists who prattle about our “best-trained, best-equipped” military that is “the greatest force for good in the world today.”

The real problem is the Chickenhawks who rabidly support wars, start them, but have no intention whatsoever of making their way to the front. Or even the rear, to peel potatoes.

Some of these people have been so incensed about being called Chickenhawks they have claimed the word should be banned. This only shows how powerful the naming of names – identifying your enemies – really is.

As Rudyard Kipling so perceptively noted, “Words are the most powerful drug ever invented.”

These Chickenhawks show why Ares is married to Aphrodite – they love war. Chris Hedges, in his book, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, identified this as what the Bible warns against as “the lust of the eye.”

I think, more accurately, that Ares should be married to Lust, not Aphrodite. Chickenhawks are wedded to Lust. That’s a pretty good fit. Chickenhawks are wedded to the lust to start wars.

Standing against Ares is Athena, who is the goddess not only of wisdom, but war. In that way she overlaps with Ares, which is one of the reasons they were always at odds.

Ares and Athena show there are at least two ways to wage war – the mindless slaughter of Ares, or the wise way of Athena. That is, if you are going to go to war, it should be done wisely.

However, I can think of no time in the history of the world in which Athena was followed instead of Ares. We’re lucky enough if one combatant is tipped slightly more toward Athena than Ares.

Now here’s the rub: Americans have identified Ares and renamed him the Chickenhawk. But we still have not identified Aphrodite and Athena, and having not yet named them, our enemies still have power over us, because we have no defense, in the form of entertaining and educating stories, against them.

I’m going to repeat that in a different way: because we have not identified wisdom and love – again, more accurately, lust – we have no defense against war-mongers, since they always portray themselves as patriots, even though they are the exact opposite.

During the Bush administration these traitorous Chickenhawks were known as neocons, who were as gung-ho as possible about starting Holy World War I in the Middle East. Again, none of them had, and has, no intention whatsoever of risking their own miserable hides in combat.

Americans have fortunately identified another mythological archetype – that of the Sheeple, those sleep-walking, brain-dead zombies who follow leaders to their destruction in meaningless wars.

The easiest way to identify the Sheeple is that they follow Ares instead of Athena, and the fact they don’t recognize Ares as Ares, and instead think he’s Athena. Not that they know who Ares and Athena are.

It’s a good thing Americans have identified the Chickenhawk and the Sheeple. But it’s a bad thing we otherwise have not generated our own concise short stories – mythology -- as a defense against the Vladimir Harkonnens (who worshipped Ares) in our own nation.

At one time the Greek myths were taught in schools, since they had so greatly influenced Christianity. Those days are over and I doubt they ever come back.

Until we come up with some way to represent Athena and Aphrodite in our modern world, Ares is always going to work his way to the top of political heap.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Immigrants Should Pay to Live Here

Two thousand years ago Roman citizenship was a prized thing. St. Paul once escaped a flogging because he was born with it. The official troubling St. Paul (who had put him in chains and was horrified to learn he had done it to a Roman citizen) said he had to buy his Roman citizenship – and it cost “a large sum.”

The United States should follow the lead of Rome and make immigrants purchase their citizenship. Because currently it’s free for immigrants to live here, getting citizenship means nothing to many of them.

When we let immigrants into this country for free they’re not going to appreciate the favor we’re doing them. Often they respond not with thankfulness but instead with ingratitude – witness that one particular march a few years ago in which millions of Mexicans paraded in the U.S. while waving Mexican flags.

One way around such problems is to reduce the number of immigrants and raise their quality by making them purchase American citizenship.

It’s been noticed for ages that when benefactors do favors for “disadvantaged” people they’re often met with ingratitude. It happens because when the more fortunate do favors for the less fortunate (and “fortunate” and “unfortunate” are not objective definitions but matters of opinion), they become the shocked targets of envy and hate.

Unfortunately, many immigrants don’t admire the U.S. and instead envy and hate it, so doing them favors by letting them in without paying any price and instead giving them gifts – welfare – isn’t going to eliminate that envy. These people, many of whom want to destroy this country, have to be kept out or else removed.

One reason they’re allowed in is out of guilt because they’re supposed to be Third Worlders “exploited” by the West. They envy us, so we feel guilty about it and try to expiate that guilt by letting them migrate into this country. Instead of the expected “thank you” from them the response instead is ingratitude.

“It is astounding that countless benefactors allow themselves to be persuaded over and over that ingratitude with the resulting hatred is a rare and special case,” writes Helmet Schoeck in his magisterial book, Envy.

The feds have done an awful job containing that envy. As far as I can tell, most bureaucrats and politicians don’t have the slightest clue what is happening. Their incompetence only illustrates Friedrich Hayek’s observation that in politics (and this includes bureaucracies), the worst get on top.

A lot of immigrants today resent the United States because they think they have been abused and exploited by the West – and therefore feel sorry for themselves – and are convinced we owe them debts that can never be repaid. It’s not a stretch at all to say they immensely enjoy their resentment and hate.

Nietzsche understood that ressentiment. In A Genealogy of Morals he wrote, “…the fundamental notion of moral ‘guilt’ has its origin in the material idea of ‘debt’…whose origins [are] thoroughly saturated with blood. The act of making another suffer by way of compensation for a debt unpaid seems to have produced the highest kind of pleasure, as if it were a kind of festival and to have ended in a kind of disinterested malignity.”

The more fortunate and successful are envied, on some level feel guilty about it, think they owe a debt, and so try to do favors for the less fortunate to cancel that debt, which backfires and often creates violence. You need look no further than the French Revolution, in which the envious mutilated and murdered (in that order) the upper classes.

We can fix the problem by making immigrants buy their American citizenship. If they want to move here they should have to pay us to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Immigrants should be required to have certain valuable skills to get into the U.S., pay a hefty fee to move here, learn the language and culture, and give up their own. That automatically reduces the pool of unqualified immigrants and makes sure only the most valuable get in.

If every country was to sell its citizenship, supply-and-demand would rapidly establish which countries were really worth emigrating into. Ideally, this is predicated on each country being free-market (and I cannot stress this enough) with no welfare for immigrants.

There is an additional benefit to making immigrants pay for their citizenship. Some American companies – and shame on them for their treason – are replacing highly-paid American workers with cheaper foreign workers, say, replacing American software developers with those from India.

Now, if those Indians (or their companies) had to pay $500,000 for those Indians to become citizens (or even work in America), the economics of importing those workers would change in an instant.

Multiculturalism – letting immigrant groups maintain separate identities and not assimilating – is cultural suicide. There has never been a case in the past in which it worked. It doesn’t work in the U.S. currently, and it’s not going to work, ever.

Kierkegaard regarded envy and stupidity as the two greatest forces in society. He looks to be right to me. I have found operating on his two observations makes it a lot easier to understand just how asinine government policy is in dealing with ethnic groups – or, as I call them, tribes.

Make American citizenship a prized, valuable thing again, and the immigrants chosen to live here will admire us and be thankful for it. These days, because of our open borders, the envious and hate-filled flooding into this country hold it in contempt and spurn American citizenship as worthless.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Narcissism of Politics

“Nowhere are prejudices more mistaken for truth, passion for reason, and invective for documentation than in politics. This is a realm, peopled only by villains or heroes, in which everything is black or white and gray is a forbidden color.” ~ John Mason Brown, Through These Men (1956)

I sometimes entertain myself with a thought experiment in which people are evolved from dogs, with their sunny, goofy, manic natures. We couldn’t be any worse than the genocidal primates we are now.

Would intelligent dogs be as narcissistic as humans, splitting things into a non-existent pure good and pure evil? I don’t know. Would they believe in the force and fraud of politics? It’s impossible to tell, because there are no intelligent, self-aware dogs.

Would dogs have a “Garden of Eden” myth in which the first thing they felt when they became self-aware was shame because they were exposed? Would they have a “Cain and Abel” myth in which murder was bought into their world because of feelings of humiliation and the desire for revenge? Who knows? We can only imagine.

Still, I just can’t imagine dogs going to war. Cats are a different story, like the Kzin in Larry Niven’s “Ringworld” series. They might do it out of pure feline carnivore meanness.

Not only is politics based on force and fraud, it is also, as Brown pointed out, based on the belief in pure good and pure evil. It’s why so many of the people who supported a buffoon like George Bush and thought he was a great President were horrified that Obama was elected to office (“He’ll destroy the United States!”) and why those who supported Obama were shocked to discover he was just a continuation of Bush, only a little worse.

When it comes to politics, the mass of people never learn, because the mass of people cannot think, only feel; they don’t follow principles, only leaders. And they are always convinced their guy is Good and his opponent is Evil.

After splitting everything into pure good and pure evil, the next step is to see yourself (meaning your political party) as the Good Guys, meaning you have to project all badness onto the other party. It’s why I encountered people who said Bush was a psychopath, or evil, or stupid – and why I encountered people who said the same thing about Obama.

In reality there’s about a dime’s worth of difference between Bush and Obama. Neither is evil, just incompetent (I am reminded of what Napoleon said: “Never attribute to evil that which can be explained by incompetence”).

I don’t think it’s particularly hard to manipulate mobs of people. Tell them they’re under attack by evil people, tell them they’re good (the way Bush said the United States was attacked for its goodness by the Evil Ones), and watch them regress into simple-minded, narcissistic infants and then march off to war.

I see as incredibly dangerous any philosophy that defines the world as good versus evil – Nazism, Communism, or, among some libertarians, Objectivism.

It’d be a far better world if politics didn’t exist. But even the existence of politics isn’t the real problem. The real problem is the narcissism of human beings and their tendency to split everything into pure good and pure evil, with the result of projecting “evil” onto people and attempting to destroy them through force.

Why Science Fiction Writers Should Rule the World

I’m not a science fiction writer but I am a fan, and have been since a few months before I turned 12. So I’ve been familiar with the genre and the writers for a quite a while, and so have decided that science fiction writers should be in charge of the government. I’m not kidding about that, either.

I hold nearly all politicians in contempt and suspect most of them are intelligent psychopaths (dumb psychopaths end up in prison). There are some exceptions, of course. Ron Paul is one of them. But most politicians are self-aggrandizing liars, murderers and thieves. Oh, I forgot – they’re also drunks and sexual perverts.

Is there anything lower than a politician? A serial killer? A child molester? The damage they’ve done is a drop in the ocean compared to the millennia of wreckage left by politicians -- and most politicians happen to be lawyers, which is why lawyers should be forbidden permanently from holding any political office.

Government has killed more people in history than everything else put together. I’ve read estimates that in the 20th Century anywhere from 177 million to 200 million people were killed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – another name for the State.

All governments are based on force and fraud, without exception. Force and fraud, the two things that sent most people straight to Hell in Dante’s Inferno.

Why should science fiction writers rule? Because they are far more intelligent, sensitive, imaginative and empathic than politicians or the average joe. Most of them have libertarian sympathies, which is a prerequisite for good rulers.

Libertarianism – or classical liberalism – believes in the smallest necessary government (except for the anarchist libertarians, who are deluded leftists). If the purpose of government is to, as John Locke wrote, protect “life, health, liberty and possessions” then what automatically springs up is political liberty and the free market. And that maximizes the well-being of everyone.

Politicians always try to expand government, and for that matter, so does much of the Herd. The Herd, unfortunately, isn’t merely dim-witted. It has no brains at all.

This Blob-like growth of government is why it always collapses. It gets too big and destroys or absorbs everything in its path, like the Borg. There in fact hasn’t been a government that hasn’t collapsed.

The first science fiction novel I remember reading is Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Fighting Man of Mars. It’s not exactly a libertarian novel but the Bad Guys are the power-mad rulers who want to conquer the planet and the Good Guys want freedom for everyone. I can’t tell you the effect this novel, with its swordfights and “radium pistols” and flying ships, had on my 11-year-old sensibilities.

There were other stories. Eric Frank Russell’s "…and Then There Were None," (from his (The Great Explosion) a very funny story about a society that keeps its freedom by figuring out a fool-proof way to avoid being conquered: they just ignore their wannabe-be conquerors. In fact, they end up absorbing those who want to conquer them, just the way early America absorbed the Hessian mercenaries who wouldn’t go back to the Statist hell they came from.

There was A.E van Vogt’s The Weapon Shops of Isher, with its famous line: “The Right to Buy Weapons is the Right to be Free.” I still remember the frustration I felt that there were no Weapon Shop pistols, which threw up an impenetrable energy field about the owner and would not fire unless he was attacked. Imagine what that did for crime. Most especially, the crimes committed by the Empire, which, not surprisingly, hated and feared the Weapon Shops.

There are many others. James Hogan. Jerry Pournelle. L. Neil Smith. Neal Stephenson. I’m sure there are others I’ve never read, maybe even heard about.

When people are imaginative they have the ability to empathize with other people, to put themselves in their shoes. That’s why Stephen King is so popular: he can put himself in all of his character’s shoes.

I doubt a literal-minded person could easily sympathize with others, especially the more different those others are. I am reminded of something I read: the stupid don’t learn from their mistakes; the more intelligent do; and the smartest of all learn from other people’s mistakes. And you’ll certainly have a very difficult time learning from others unless you have some imaginative empathy.

Imagination, when united with reason and sympathy, is my definition of creativity. And creativity is what advances all societies. And no society can go anywhere unless it has small government.

And who else besides science fiction writers are imaginative, reasonable and libertarian?

The world has given other types of government its chance. Kings, constitutional monarchies, republics. They’ve all degraded. It’s time to try something different. Just don’t ask me what kind of government we should have, because I don’t know. I just know who should be in authority.

It’s too bad those damn Weapon Shop pistols don’t exist. We wouldn’t need anyone to rule.