Archive for February, 2008

Public Good

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Dear reader,

It seems to me that the goal of good government should be to; Raise the standard of living in every way, for every person under it’s dominion. The societal structure, as much as is possible, must be set up so that people have, low cost of food (as a percentage of household income), rising disposable income as compared to inflation, continually improving health, low unemployment, access to housing, freedom to practice religion, relative safety, good and improving infrastructure, availability of information to every person, protection of property rights, and most of all, the freedom to, enjoy them, or opt out of them, as the individual sees fit… If we all agree on this precept, we can get down to the fight over how we are going to achieve these results.

Some would argue that an efficient means would be to use the governmental laws and regulation to legislate happiness. When we are protected from ourselves, (helmet laws and seatbelt laws come to mind), by regulation, we hold with disdain the intrusion into our liberties. Some people will capitulate to the intrusion, others will openly flout the law. Neither method is effective at protecting people or our liberties. Those who flout the law are not protected in an accident and people who wear their seatbelts, as the law requires, willingly give up some of their sovereignty to the state. A better way would be through the use of public opinion and societal pressure. Government can wield these tools effectively, if it is used with good intent, and implemented by people above reproach.

To have the Elite above reproach is like jumping to the moon and back, naked. But, it is possible to travel to the moon, using technology. Man’s ability is leveraged by his manipulation of his world. Using the correct means could in effect make the Elite, jump to the moon and back, with the use of leverage. This leverage is a fourth branch of government, see the Manifesto, . Only an Elite set up to oversee other Elites will suffice. Elites have a way of always setting up systems in which they are their own overseers. We all know how well that works. A separate branch would elevate the power of the overseers to the same level as the Elite they are watching. Place the Fourth branch at odds with the other three, and you will have the beginnings of leverage.God gave man free will. If you don’t believe in God, then nature gave man free will. Either way, man’s free will, is the will of heaven or nature. Mencius said that ‘heaven gives good to all men equally, (regardless of who plants a seed it will grow), no matter their station in life, it follows then, that heaven is all encompassing love.’ The goods of production are not spread evenly throughout society, (due to mankind’s nature), but, free will is. Apparently, heaven believes that free will is more important than temporal good. It doesn’t follow then, that God gave man free will to take by force, the free will of another. Regardless of the perceived merit of the enterprise.

The ability to opt out of the system is the logical end to this argument. That isn’t to imply that others then owe the opt outers a living. To opt out is to opt out, society as a whole owes nothing to those who opt out of the society, except, their natural rights. Freedom of; thought, movement, speech, religion, gun ownership (self protection), property (real and chattel), and freedom from; unwarranted arrest, self incrimination, and harassment from the government.

Government has a monopoly on force. The concept of government having a monopoly on violence has been established since the Knights Revolution in the 1400’s. That makes government the final arbiter of every conflict within society.

When a Public Good is provided, it is widely recognized that, some force is needed to provide the largess for them. The argument of the ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ is relevant here, in that, an informed person intelligent and aware, acting in his own immediate self interest, can make decisions that lead to his own and society‘s not meeting their long term interest‘s. “If I don’t pay for the good someone else will,” when everyone thinks this way the good is not provided. Government having a monopoly on violence is the only member of society to be able to extract the funds uniformly from the public to provide the Public Good. Government must provide the funds for Public Goods.

When a person’s self interest is involved he, (no matter his virtue), cannot be trusted to be fair in his dealings. The provider of a Public Good should have an interest in providing that good only, and have a ’Final Arbiter’ to intercede for the consumer of that Public Good. If government provides a Public Good, there is no ’final arbiter’ of that service, except the government.

The best means to the end of providing a society that allows the goods, referred to in the first paragraph, to be most widely disseminated in society, is Capitalism. Government being a self interested party cannot be a really disinterested Final Arbiter. The Final Arbiter must be disinterested, else the service will be at best inefficient, and at worse corrupt.

The most significant problem of having firms provide Public Goods is that they will naturally seek monopoly. The method used to date has been to bribe officials in charge of allocating territories. The bribed officials then only give the franchise to that firm, (giving it a monopoly). To society’s detriment, in that, the members of society have to pay more than is the fair market rate for that good. The flexibility of supply is interrupted. We pay more than we need to for the service.

The Fourth Branch as I have inculcated in the Manifesto and elsewhere would counter this propensity. Corrupt officials would be ferreted out and prosecuted. When the light of justice is shone on government cockroaches will have no sanctuary. They will have to flee and find some other place, with more cover, to hide and corrupt. Allowing Public Goods to be delivered economically and fairly.

Isn’t that what we all want?

The Nature of Aristocracy

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Dear Reader,

It seems to me that what is the fundamental attribute of a member of an aristocracy is the willingness to do violence to have ones will met.

History certainly provides us with legion examples. The patrician boy whom Cyrus ordered to be seized and beaten is a perfect example. When Cyrus was a boy, and was still in the care of the sheep herder, he was playing ’king’ with some other boys. When it was Cyrus’s turn to be king, Cyrus ordered the boys to kneel and pay him homage. One boy refused, being of patrician blood, so Cyrus ordered the assembly of boys to seize and beat the offender.

The aristocrat’s son was incensed. Ran home to his father and wanted Cyrus and his entire family killed. The Father thought this a good idea, went to Croesus the king of Lydia, and asked to have Cyrus and his family executed. Croesus was incredulous at the thought that a sheep herder’s son would have the nerve to do this. He ordered Cyrus, and his sheep herder mother and father, to come before him.

When Cyrus entered the kings hall, there was shocked silence. Not a person was there who didn’t recognize the resemblance to the king, including the king. Croesus asked the story of Cyrus’s birth. The sheep herder initially lied and said that Cyrus was his own child. When Croesus put the sheep herders wife on the chopping block, however, the sheep herder caved and told Croesus the whole story about getting Cyrus.

Croesus was dumbfounded. Cyrus was indeed the grandson of Croesus. He had ordered Cyrus murdered when Cyrus was a baby. Now the boy stood before his grandfather, in perfect health and still a threat to the throne of Croesus. The king ran to the Magi and chastised them that Cyrus was still alive. The Magi said that the prophesy, as dreamt by Croesus, had been met. Cyrus had been made a ‘king’ and had seized the ‘world‘. Croesus was off the hook and could welcome Cyrus into his house.

Elated, Croesus called for a great celebration. Croesus asked his chief advisor, the man who Croesus had entrusted the murder of Cyrus, to send his oldest son to help prepare the meal. When the repast was over Croesus asked his advisor if he liked the meal, the mutton in particular. The advisor replied that, as was usual at the table of Croesus, the food was magnificent. At this Croesus motioned for a great silver tray with an ornate cover to be brought out and placed in from of his Chief advisor. When the lid was opened it revealed the head of the man’s son. Croesus informed the man that he had eaten his own son. The advisor bowed and recognized the wisdom of Croesus. Asked for the remains that were left to be returned to him to be buried. In an act of kindness, Croesus let him bury his son.

This is only one example of the nature of aristocracy. But, people are more civilized now…Right?

Gun Ownership

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Dear Reader,

It seems to me that.

The argument against gun ownership goes something like this. “Because guns are dangerous, and some people will use them to kill people, they should be made illegal.” The premise is that dangerous rights should be limited. It should follow then, that the more dangerous the right, the more limits that should be placed on it.

What then, is a more dangerous right, the right to keep and bear arms, or the right to free speech? History shows us that free speech is far more dangerous than the right to keep and bear arms. Marx and Engle’s Manifesto has been the philosophy that has led to the murder of millions. Mien Kampf, caused the German people to go insane, and visit the Second World War on mankind. Two modern examples of the danger of the right of free speech. These two event alone account for the deaths of 160 million people.

So taking the logic at face value, that the right to keep and bear arms must be limited, we must logically believe that the right to free speech must be curtailed as well.

To argue that the merit of free speech supersedes the negative possibilities of Genocide (Rwanda), Revolution, Wars of aggression and Religious friction, seems weak. Those are pretty negative side effects.

Free ownership of guns leaves no segment of society without the last resort of the Penultimate Right of Self Protection. The catastrophe in Rwanda would have not been possible if everyone had guns. The Hutu would have been able to begin the genocide, but would have been stymied at the use of guns for self protection. Unarmed victims are easier to murder then free citizens carrying guns.

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Saturday, February 16th, 2008

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Friday, February 15th, 2008

The basis of Constitutionalism is that, if the maximum limits of a government were written down, adhered to strictly, and difficult to change. The government would be free, fair, stable, and weak. As long as the government was acting in a way that didn’t contradict the constitution, the people had no complaint. If the government acted extra constitutionally, the people did have a legitimate gripe.

History had shown that governments become corrupt, and tyrannical over time. The political innovation of Constitutionalism was to be the fix for this tendency. Livy’s history of Rome is a good example of the rise and decline of a civilization, and the rise of the next. There are many other examples of this tendency. Gilgamesh’s dynasty in Ur, The Spartan civilization, The Warring States Period of Classical China, and the Mongols. It was obvious that some form of muzzle must be placed on government. I am amazed that the politicians willingly applied the muzzle of Constitutionalism to themselves.

The very strength of a constitution is it’s great moment. The amount of force needed to change it. Without this immutability, a constitution is not worth the paper it is/was written on. If the constitution can be changed easily the powerful will change it to suit themselves. It will be changed first to keep the Elite in power. Then in the name of safety it will be paired back to nothing.

To say that the constitution is a ‘living breathing document’ and that it can be ‘reinterpreted’ to ‘grow with the times’ is really to say that “the dammed thing means whatever the hell I say it does.” The first way is more expedient, the second more accurate. The problem with this reasoning, is that, if you agree with the changes made today, you may not agree with the changes made tomorrow. ‘Rights’ and ‘Power to regulate’ that can be read into a constitution, outside it’s original intent, can be just as easily read out, or enlarged.

Saint Augustine said, in the city of man, that “People get the government they deserve.” When people let their rights slip away, and let their constitution be changed by an oligarchy of five, they will deserve the tyranny that they visit upon themselves and unfortunately, their children.

In fact, we are seeing these very gouges taken out of the US Constitution. The First Amendment is there specifically to protect POLITICAL speech. Not pornography. That pornography is also protected is a side effect. We see that political advertising is now illegal. Saying something bad about a person who is in office before an election is now illegal, unless you are a special organization, 527k or some such. This requires reams of paperwork, a roadblock to individual participation at that level.

The government was not to make laws respecting religion and not establish a state religion. We do now have an official state religion, Atheism.

The Second Amendment is, we are now told, was put their to protect the government’s right to keep and bear arms. This is absurd, even taken at face value. Why would the framers give the government the right to keep and bear arms in an addendum to the actual constitution. An addendum there specifically to protect the rights of the people. An amendment that is redundant, in that the power of the government to keep a standing army is in the main document. The Federalist Papers, Number 10 Madison mentions that the people regularly have guns in their homes. We shall see what the Lawyer oligarchy says about the Second Amendment pretty soon.

The most ignored Amendment is number 10. Every possible avenue of human endeavor has been interpreted as interstate commerce. Apparently if you pick your nose it can be regulated by the Federal Government, due to the possibly of it’s being sold across state lines.

We are on a slippery slope. Meddling with the constitution as much as has been done in the twentieth century is foolish. The slope is getting steeper, and we are moving faster. I don’t see a bottom in site, do you?

Allergory of the Baton

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

It was a crisp autumn morning, he walked into the woods. The leaves crunched underfoot. Noticing his breath as he walked he happened upon an apple tree. The tree stood there gnarled and aged. The man noticed a branch that had broken off and was hanging. He reached up and tore the branch from the tree. The man look with a knowing eye at the branch. He knew that from the lobes and burls on the branch that it would have exquisite figure. Taking it home he carefully cut each end and then waxed them. He must not let the wood dry too fast, it would crack. Waiting two years, the man took down the now dry branch. He tested the moisture content. Perfect.

He then carefully sanded the branch on a lathe. Removing a little at a time, he lovingly worked the branch into something far more beautiful. When he finished working the branch on the lath, he took out the knives. With the precision of someone who had carved for a lifetime he scratched and whittled detail of the finest quality. Only a mixture of flaxseed oil and tung oil would do to finish this magnificent piece. He had fashioned a Baton, graceful and balanced.

Does the Baton then have the right to complain that it was not made an ax handle?


Friday, February 8th, 2008

Dear Reader,

It seems to me that many we all like to read that which agrees with our own ideas and prejudices. We love to see our thoughts echoed in literature, and in the news. Seeing our own wisdom “up close” and others “at a distance” we naturally believe that ours is the best and brightest ideas there are.

We love to point at examples of why we are correct and the “other” is wrong. I am no exception to this. I do believe however that it is incumbent on us to at least look at the world with the perspective of the “other.” When we exercise our minds in this way we open them up to many possibilities. Making our perspective more reasoned and insightful.

We must always however temper our ideas by history and with reason. In this way we don’t fall prey to Francis Bacon’s “Idols of the Theater.” When I hear a pundit argue that facts are not as important as theory, I know that he is guilty of this “mind trap.”

Examples of this type of thinking abounds. Socialists believe that they are right. If history repudiates their theory, it must be that egoists stood in the way, or that Socialism/Communism was poorly applied. If only the right people were put in charge it would work as well as the Socialist believes it will. Instead of changing their theory to fit the facts, it is the facts that must be changed to fit their theory. History should be rewritten to hide the truth so that the revolution can go on.

Other people argue that government is the key to solving the worlds and societies problems. No matter the weight of evidence that government always makes problems worse. The great society programs have led to the destruction of the family in some parts of American society, leading to more poverty and dependence on government largess. More government control of the schools has led to a lowering of test scores and real academic excellence. More war on drugs has led to an explosion of drug use among our teens, and now even children are experimenting with drugs. Taxes and red tape on our corporations has led to the off shoring of jobs. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

We are told that the government just needs a little more money and the problems will be legislated away. Some say that we should grow up and accept blatant corruption in our government, despite the fact that every third world country with a miserable standard of living is rife with corruption.

The Archbishop of Canterbury even said that Britain should institute Sharia Law for Muslims in Britain. Despite the atrocities that it has wreaked upon the world in general and on women in particular. Separate but equal has worked so well in the USA the Archbishop wants to institute it in Britain.

Are we so stupid that we cannot move beyond this paradigm? Perhaps we can open our minds to new possibilities and start trying some new methods of solving our problems. If we don’t, future generations will, they will have no choice.

Media Bias?

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Is there bias in the media, US, Canadian, European etc…? Many people wonder if there is some insidious bias undermining the credibility of the media. Being credulous to what we are told, is good for our society.

If you listen to the unbiased media, they will go on and on, why, they are above human nature. That even recognizing that there may, possibly, be a bias in their ranks is obnoxious to their appearance of neutrality. On The Media on NPR Sundays regularly confronts this issue. Amazingly, members of he unbiased media always conclude that they are not biased.

I find that to listen to the framing of a news story is one way t pick up bias. If the story is that something is bad, pointing to a problem in our society, that is obvious bias. Therefore I give the story less credence than one without a point of view. Another way I pick up bias is the words the media choose. If I am told that a Bill would affect “a woman’s right to choose” or “the murdering of unborn babies” I know there is a bias. Yet another way is to look for missing information. Often some important piece of information that seems to me to be very important to framing the story is missing. Comparing apples to oranges without a scalar to put the information into perspective.

No one is unbiased. No one. You, me, no one. We all have a perspective that is real to us. Francis Bacon’s Idols of the Cave. We see the world through the looking glass that is colored and distorted by our individual experiences. Those experiences, interacting with our epigenetic makeup, produce in us, who we are. Anyone who thinks that he/she is above this truth, is sadly deluding him/herself. With this in mind we again ask is he media unbiased. The obvious answer is yes. Since no one is unbiased.

The real question is does that mean we cannot trust what we hear, see or read in the media? Well, I have a Hammonds Standard Atlas of the World, published in 1938. In it there is a Illustrated Gazetteer of Principal Countries of the World. The description of the government of the Soviet Union says “All citizens-male and female- are guaranteed the right to work, to rest, to old age security, to education, freedom of religion and assembly, to free speech and correspondence. Freedom of the press is also guaranteed. The franchise [vote] is conferred on all citizens of both sexes at the age of 18, and all elections, for the first time in Russian history, will be held by direct and secret ballot.” This is how Reference material described the state of affairs in the Soviet Union. At the same time, Stalin was starving to death, 10-15 MILLION Ukrainians by taking their food and selling it on the world market, to industrialize the Soviet Union. Was persecuting Jews, Eastern Catholics, and anyone who wasn’t Atheist. Opium of the people and all that. We all know the history of the Soviet Union, and it’s failures in every aspect of good governance,  Liberty, Security, Economic and religious. The constitution, it is true, had these rights embodied within it, but the government failed to implement them. If the Constitution is ‘interpreted’ to change with the times by an Elite, instead of a document ‘cast in stone’ until it is changed by the means as layed forth by the Constitution, this kind of tyranny will inevitably result. That is another article however.

So, we see that even reference material can be suspect upon new information becoming discovered and disseminated. Personal bias is so subtle that we rarely recognize our own. If reference material is suspect what are we to believe? I think we must take everything that we hear as being suspect. Know that there is a bias of some sort behind it. Take this into account and adjust our perspective accordingly.

What we see, hear, and read now is subject to change in the future. As people trying to become civilized and enlightened, we must always retain our credulity.