Archive for February, 2009

Tools for Philosophy

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Dear Readers,

It seems to me that Philosophy is more that just looking into the big questions that we all wonder about. Like; What is the nature of life, Why are we here, What is Justice, What is the nature of the universe, etc… It is about achieving a means to find these answers.

Many times philosophy is stating that which we all know to be true yet don’t understand why. This is a means to understand why we as a human race believe to be true. Like Justice is good… Why is justice good, and if it is good, and we all believe that it is, do we not practice it? Cearneades argued that people are like animals and all of us seek our best interest over the interest of all others and that justice is just an expediency so that the powerful can more expeditiously take from the others. Mencius argued that men’s natures are naturally good and seek “justice” like water seeks low ground. The truth must lay somewhere between the two. Or are they both right?

When Kung Sung Lung argued successfully that a “A white horse is not a horse, but a black or a yellow horse is a horse.” He wasn’t arguing that a horse, is not a horse, if it is white, he was arguing that the language that allows a white horse is not a horse but a black or yellow horse is, is too imprecise a tool to actually carve out the answers to these questions.

So how can we hone the tools we have, or create new ones to actually probe these questions? Like scientists have created microscopes to probe the small and telescopes to probe the large we must develop better means to answer these questions. Modern philosophy is merely at the looking glass stage. We have yet to develop the magnifying glass.

Despite thousands of years of trying our philosophers have thought about things but no one has come up with a test. Many have tried. From Epicurus’s seek pleasure and avoid pain, to Nietzsche’s seek pain for in pain we grow. Our philosophers have made the cardinal sin of science. They have skewed the results to make the hypothesis look true. Bacon’s Idol of the theater.

The closest we have come is in the pragmatist philosophy of William James. He has given us the best means yet to test and measure our philosophies. His test is, what are the results of implementing this philosophy? If the results are bad it is a ad philosophy, if the results are good it is a good philosophy. This as far as I know is the best test yet to determine the validity of a theory of philosophy.

But it still is a crude measuring tool. I certainly am not as gifted as the men I quote, or ridicule. But if this question is known, how do we test and measure our philosophy, maybe some neo-Maxwell will emerge and align our philosophy with the next big technological evolution. They go hand in hand… technology and philosophy.

Last Word on This Newest Stimulus

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that the markets have not been reacting to these stimulus bills very well. Every mention of them from the first bailout bill to the present stimulus bill have driven the markets lower. Today February 15, 2009, the market is extremely low… the DOW is below 8000. The house and Senate have passed the latest one and it is going to President Obama’s desk for a signature.

Look at the reaction of the market after the President signs the bill into law. If the markets go up it will be a good sign. If the markets go down, however, it will be a very bad sign. With the markets at such a low point to drive them lower will be hard. But the pork pie of a stimulus bill I’m afraid is just the right poison.

Politics aside, the markets react by their guts. People may want one or the other side to be true, but when they react with their personal fortunes, they are much more pragmatic. That pragmatism is manifested in the ups and downs of the market.

We are being told that the markets need and crave this stimulus bill. I don’t believe it. If someone said every time I met them that they loved popcorn and wished that they had some right now to eat. But when I do have popcorn they retch and pull away covering their noses and say no thanks and shudder when I offer it. I don’t believe that they really like popcorn. Just as the past, and I suspect future, reactions of the markets will belie their true attitude towards the stimulus.

Which brings us to the conclusion that why doesn’t the markets like the proposed stimulus? As I have alluded to in a previous paragraph, the stimulus is nothing but pork. Any stimulation of the economy will be only as long as the gobs of money are being printed, borrowed, plundered and spent. With almost no long term improvement of our economy’s fundamentals. But we, and our children, will be saddled with a giant bill that will certainly come due. Just as the huge cost projections for Medicaid and Social Security come due. That the Elite have done this is mind boggling. The USA’s economy will come crashing down with the service on the debt of just these three parts of our government exceeds 30% of GDP. How are we going to fund the rest of the governmental services? How punitive will the tax rate have to be to service this debt?

Hopefully this isn’t inevitable. But I believe that we are on the fast track to economic Armageddon with this stimulus. I can’t put it any more bluntly than to say “This stimulus will throw our economy into a new depression. And more stimulus will only serve to exasperate the problem.”- Hopefully the Elite will realize their errors and change course…

Hope springs eternal…

Ignorance Is No Excuse Under Law

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that I was taught that “Ignorance is no excuse under the Law.” That is the standard that you and I are held to. If I break the law and say, “I’m sorry it was a mistake, I am incompetent.” The law will be applied to my situation regardless.

For example lets say that I didn’t report $100,000.00 of tax for several years. I have no expectation of being forgiven and allowed to simply pay the money, without punitive penalties and interest. That is how the law will be applied to you and I. But it appears that ignorance is a valid excuse under the law for the Elite.

Lately our noses have been rubbed into the fact over and over again. How does that make you feel? That you are held to a higher standard of personal conduct than the Elite who set that standard? It makes me feel like there is no justice. How can there be justice when the Elite can do what they want without repercussions. Yet you and I would be severely punished for far lesser crimes. That is the definition of injustice.

Bastiat had something to say at this point. In The Law, Bastiat said that “government is seen as a means to plunder.” That is why everyone so wants to control the apparatus of power. As a means to plunder the wealth of others and keep their wealth from being plundered. In this context then, what is the Stimulus package, a means to plunder the wealth of the working class to give to the cronies of the Elite. Notice who is getting the money. We are being pointed at some relatively small points to obscure the larger picture. That point is, that we are being robbed, to give to the rich.

So on some level we all know we are being lied to, stolen form, suppressed, and laughed at by the Elite. Some think that all they need to do is gain power and all that will change. Yea, they will be plunderers, and the rest of us…

The answer is to hold the Elite to the same standard as they hold us. Can you imagine being forgiven for owing the government $1000.00 let alone $10,000.00 or $100,000.00? You or I would go to jail. Armed FBI agents would surround our homes and besiege us. We would be made an example of. I can’t think of a better example to set than the Elite going to jail for not paying taxes.

Is the example they have set better or worse for our society?

War on Terror

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that now is the time for the new administration to follow an aggressive strategy in the war in Afghanistan. Not sit back and let the May elections be held back to August. As is related in the Taipei Times;

[Secretary of Defense Robert Gates last week warned of grandiose goals in Afghanistan, prescribing a single-minded strategy to prevent Afghanistan from being a terrorism launch pad tantalizingly close to Europe.

“Afghanistan is the fourth or fifth poorest country in the world and if we set ourselves the objective of creating some sort of Central Asian Valhalla over there, we will lose,” Gates said, referring to a haven of purity in Norse mythology. “Nobody in the world has that kind of time, patience or money, to be honest.”]

That is a loosing strategy for a war that was started essentially by 911. The USA must finish the job in Iraq and aggressively push for free and fair elections in Afghanistan. That is a winning strategy in the war on terror.

Even the Elite have to admit that the new elections in Iraq are a watershed. The country is stabilizing into a nation. With proper governance, as little as possible, Iraq will become an economic powerhouse. The people are industrious and motivated. If the government doesn’t get in the way trying to warp outcomes the Nation of Iraq will join the first world of nations. Too fast withdrawal of American troops from Iraq would create a power vacuum sucking in bad elements. A controlled and sensible withdrawal is prudent.

Afghanistan is another problem. Read the papers in Afghanistan on the Net. Kabul Press and Afghan News have the constant theme of corruption. Government corruption is rampant in Afghanistan. The people are swimming in the corruption. Bribes are the norm. This leads the people to be corrupt. This leads them to the Taliban. It is written in invisible ink on every page. The pivot point in Afghanistan is the corruption.

Delaying scheduled elections only serve to exasperate the people. They think the problem is the present Elite in Afghanistan are only hedging to game the election. Whether or not that is true it is the perception, magnified by the delay, of the people. A person’s perception is to him or her truth.

What is the answer to the epidemic of corruption in Afghanistan? The Numa. Here we have a perfect example of a country to implement this idea. If the guy at the DMV of Afghanistan asks for or even accepts a bribe he or she will be on video camera and prosecuted. When the corrupt politician plays both side of the war he or she will be caught on tape, video and voice, and punished to the extent the law allows. The corrupt politician who advocates stoning a woman who is visiting prostitutes will be caught and punished to the extent he or she advocates for others. Pit the government against itself. The people of Afghanistan will be the winners.

Without rooting the corruption form the government of Afghanistan no amount of military might will suffice. In a swamp the bulldozer always looses. Drain the swamp first. Then you don’t need the bulldozer.