Posts Tagged ‘rational maximiser’

Pragmatism, The American Philosophy

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, pragmatism is the quintessential American philosophy, it embodies everything our founders believed. The US founding was based on a market system… of ideas, economics, politics and philosophy. In a marketplace, ideas, products, and even philosophy are tested. Pragmatism as a method of thought and inquiry tests ideas and weighs them on an empirical scale. In a market, if a product gives value then it will be successful, if however, it is of no value, it fails. Marketing a product then can be said to require pragmatism, if it fails losses need to be cut, so the product is discontinued. Philosophy requires pragmatism to test its results, if the results are good then the philosophy can be said to be good, and if the results of it’s implementation are bad, then the philosophy itself can be said to be bad. In a marketplace, the measure of anything is how it sells, where there is no marketplace however, without pragmatic consideration, there is no viable test on the value of a product, idea, system or philosophy. Moreover, we see empirically that where pragmatism is used the standard of living improves and where pragmatism is eschewed, the standard of living declines. Your standard of living and that of your children is dependent on our leaders, teachers, executives and even ourselves, to be pragmatic and use pragmatism to weigh our decisions.

Pragmatism as a body of philosophy is normative, or in other words, it harmonizes that which we believe and think, with that which is real. People believe in all sorts of things, from communism to relativity, but how can we discern what beliefs are true and which are false? That is where normative philosophy comes in. Pragmatism tests the social theories, philosophical ideas and organizational attempts not strictly scientific questions, while science tests physical theories not complex ones. This is a mistake that many in the sciences have made, they seek to apply the scientific method to questions of society and social philosophy, (complex systems) because the scientific method has been so successful in discerning what water is, how fast a rock will fall, and other purely scientific problems. In complexity theory, strictly scientific questions would be called mount Fuji questions, where questions of society and social interaction are a changing landscape. Therefore, to apply the scientific method to questions of social philosophy, is like driving a nail with a screwdriver.

How pragmatism is used, is it observes the results of an action, then rates those results as good or bad. The rating is then used to predict the outcome of other similar actions. For example, if government puts a limit on the price of rental housing, for even the most noble of reasons, the result is a lack of housing. Pragmatically then, rent control has a negative outcome, even though the motivation might have been altruistic. Pragmatism looks at results not motivations. When the scientific method is used however, it always takes into account the motivation, like a chemical reaction, all the inputs need to be measured, quantified and the method of combining them weighed. In a chemical reaction this is necessary and fits the requirements well, but in complex systems this level of measure is impossible, and so the scientific method fails to predict the results… where pragmatism succeeds.

The founding fathers looked at the results of all the civilizations that came before them. They were very learned men who knew history. They weighed the results of all the governmental systems that had come before, and using pragmatism, they settled on a system of government that combined the best of what history had to offer and discarding the worst. In that way the very founding of the United States was based on pragmatism. The founders pragmatically looked at the results of various systems and if they produced good results, they were considered good and were incorporated, and if they produced bad results, they were considered bad and were discarded. The founders didn’t consider the motivations of the framers of past nations, civilizations and economic systems, they only looked at the results of those systems.

The United States was founded with limited government so those in power couldn’t contaminate the system. The founders had seen the results of powerful governments and so enacted limited government to protect their new nation from those results. While the leaders of powerful governments might be virtuous, have only the most noble of motivations and honest, the results always were and are the same. The system becomes more and more despotic until the tyranny is open for everyone to see. Once that happens the people understand they are victims and loose their perceived stake in that society and the society collapses. The founders recognized that it is the nature of government to seek ever more power over the people, and pragmatically tried to check that tendency, with pragmatic Constitutional limits on the power of government.

The US was founded as a market system because the market system had resulted in such a dramatic rise in the lot of humanity. Under a market system everyone is pragmatic. If you could make more money at another job you change jobs, if you can make more money building anther product or adding features to your existing product you do it, if it fails, you revert to what worked before. Everyone weights the results of their actions. Since we are pragmatic in our business dealings, as a matter of human nature, we apply pragmatism to other aspects of our lives. Our relationships, our housing situation, etc… our every decision is based on pragmatism. Pragmatism becomes ingrained.

Pragmatism therefore is the quintessential American philosophy. The US founding was based on pragmatism, the style of government is pragmatic, our market system is based on pragmatism, our people have been inculcated with pragmatism and our society itself is pragmatic. Tocqueville called attention to American pragmatism in his theory of self interest rightly understood. To be a rational maximizer is to be pragmatic. Everything about America and the American way is pragmatic. Unfortunately, today our leaders are not pragmatic but ideological, and seek to move us away from our founding, to a place that our founders looked at, weighed and rejected… for the results it produced. Our modern leaders care nothing about results and only consider motivations. They believe a system that has only resulted in human suffering on a massive scale, can be made to work, if only the “right” motivations are applied and the “right” people are in charge. Pragmatically speaking, their ideas can only fail, and fail big time, because they always have.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Self Interest or the Iron Fist

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Dear friends,

It seems to me, the invisible hand is much preferable to the iron fist. The new class however, believe just the opposite, that self interest can be replaced with the lash to motivate the people. Arguments can be made for both sides, the one that poor performers will become good performers, when motivated by physical pain, and the other that the human want to get ahead will drive people to perform well. The new class, being trained by academia who’s motivations, world view and personal history is outside the norm. As such the new class sees the world through a very different lens than those not in the new class. Of course, not all members of the new class have incorporated the propaganda into their psyche, but most have. That is why so many, especially economists, (who’s science was invented by Adam Smith and therefore get their authorization from him), consider Adam Smith’s invisible hand to be fiction, to the detriment of humanity as a whole.

Those in academia that train the new class live in a different world than the rest of humanity. Their ideas don’t have to be tested in the crucible of reality, they need not give actual value for their labor and they live in a cloistered world. The result has been an academic class who’s ideas have become ever more disconnected from reality. Up to ninety percent of academics are socialists and the top echelon are outright Marxists and anarchists. When confronted with the real world results of socialism, they respond in one of two ways, real Marxism has never been tried, or the wrong people were in charge. Their ideas need not comport with history, reality or even humanity, their ideas are based in the logic of ideas, which as Hegel said, in logic, if a pen is held in the air and let go, it need not drop… that past experience doesn’t necessarily predict future results.

So the new class, is inculcated with ideas that need not necessarily rely on past experience to predict the results of their actions, and so, given their position in society as the executives of our corporations, media moguls, Presidents, Legislators, judges, lawyers and doctors, in short the leaders of our society, their personal views differ from the common man’s. They seek to use human labor to their own ends, be it corporate profit, maintaining political power, enhancing their pay, or simply continuing the status quo. Since the advancement of the human condition, as they see it, is their bailiwick, the rest of us are merely here to serve their wants. As such they believe that whatever motivation to labor is used, all that counts is that the unproductive be forced to be productive. Given their world view, hubris and power, the iron fist is far more effective than self interest.

I, however, as I said in my first sentence, am of the opinion that all people benefit when self interest is the primary motivation for human endeavor. While the lash is a powerful incentive to labor, it creates a strong resentment to the person holding the whip. That resentment then causes the labor to be undermined by the laborer. While it is true, a slave can be forced to work him or herself to death by the lash, (as has been proven throughout history), they will not willingly help their master improve the efficiency of the process, lower the input cost or improve the product. The resentment that builds up when the lash is used prevents that. Human nature being what it is. Moreover, the iron fist discounts the very real probability of societal, economic, cultural or technological advancement originating from those not in the new class.

Economists should know this as a matter of course. After all, it was Adam Smith, the founder of the science of economics that explained this paradigm far better than I could, hundreds of years ago. Their authority is based on his work, but the science of economics has moved away from empirical reality to the desires of the new class. Marx, Rousseau, John Maynard Keynes, Veblen and others gave the new class a theory that fed their egos and hubris. They taught that self interest as a motivator of humanity is flawed and that the new class can plan an economy far better. The planned economy only requires as a motivator, the iron fist, to bring even the lowest producers into production. Of course they couldn’t tell labor their true intentions, labor would have rebelled aught, so they usurped the motivations of labor to enslave it. That is why those who seek to use the lash as a motivator of men and women, always talk about equality and fairness, to fool the average woman and man into believing theirs is the cause for which the statist is fighting.

Those wielding the whip never taste it’s bite, and so see no problem with it’s use, those who feel the sting however, understand the evil of it. The new class has no worry about the hoi polloi wielding the lash against them, the new class are the leaders and so only see the results second hand, in the labor that it inspires. The new class has no need of competition from the masses for their position in society, and the iron fist is the best means to both achieve good productivity from labor, while at the same time insuring their continued place. The new class seeks low cost, high efficiency and submission from those that work for them, while at the same time, high wages, power and prestige for themselves.

So there it is, one of the primary differences between a socialist and a capitalist, is the means to motivate people to work. The socialist believing the lash as the best motivator of people while the capitalist is of the opinion that self interest works best. Adam Smith, Mises, Hayak and many others fall into the latter category. Their philosophy however dis-empowers the new class, it teaches the planned economy itself is flawed, and therefore is an anathema to the new class. The new class is egoistically self interested, forswearing the good of mankind for their own narrow good, and so the iron fist is to them the ideal means to motivate people. What do you believe, is the iron fist the best motivator of people, or self interest? Your answer shows who you are.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

The Defective Products of Our Governments

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, a carpenter uses squares, levels and chalk lines to get satisfactory results, an accountant uses entries in a ledger to harmonize the income and outgo of a business’ expenses, and a CEO uses profit margins and return on investments to gauge their performance, those in politics however, have no such devices to insure the quality of their work, the effectiveness of their laws nor quantify the benefit of their actions. It would seem then, that the carpenter, accountant and executive is held to a higher standard than Senators, Congressmen, Judges or President of nations. The actions of a Judge has implications for the whole of the society, the economy balances on the laws passed by Senators and Congressmen, a President that refuses to equally administer the laws destroys civil society, yet there are no measures, gauges or regulations on them. The lack of which lowers, not only the quality of the work of government, but insures the sub par performance of everything government touches.

Imagine building a house without a level, square or chalk line. Such a house, no matter the expertise of the carpenter, would be shoddy. The walls wouldn’t be plumb, the floors wouldn’t be level and the framing wouldn’t be straight. Every part of that house would be terrible. Were a house built without the use of these tools it wouldn’t stand a year. If however, a house were built by an amateur, with the use of levels, squares and chalk line, even given the substantially lower skill level of the carpenter, it would be much better then a house built by an expert without the use of such quality enforcing tools. Quality work then requires the tools to ensure quality workmanship.

What if an accountant didn’t use ledgers to keep track of the expenditures of a business and instead kept all the figures in his head? That business would fail in short order. Money would be wasted, employees would get paid correctly, and inventory would be misallocated. No part of that business would function properly. No matter how intelligent or practiced the accountant, eschewing the use of books and ledgers would make her work terrible. Many businesses have no accountants at all however, but the owners themselves do the work with the use of ledgers and software t account for the expenditures and income and run just fine. It s obvious then that the use of ledgers are critical to running a business.

A CEO who didn’t allow the use of profit margins and return on investment would quickly find no one would buy shares of the company, and those who did would quickly loose their hard earned money. Such a corporation would be impossible to figure actual value, no one would know or could know, if it were profitable or not, or quantify the performance of the CEO. No matter how skilled in management that CEO was. The quality of his work could not be determined. Take an unskilled manager and let him used the tools of assessment of a company she runs however, and that company would be quantifiable, people would buy shares in it and the company would be able to function. If the company she runs is not profitable she will be replaced and if she does a good job the stock value will increase. The tools of return on investment and profitability are critical in running a corporation.

Politicians however have no tools to ensure the quality of their work, no tools to quantify the effect of their laws nor tools to understand the return to society of their regulations. Instead, government works in the dark, passing laws and regulations hither thither and yon. If a regulation backfires and makes the situation it was supposed to rectify worse, no problem, glom on another poorly thought out regulation. Which is like a carpenter not using a level to find plumb and so just nails on another board. If a law results in the lowering of a sector’s profitability, who can measure it, there are no ledgers to use to calculate the effect of a new law. If a decision of a judge has a pernicious incentive, who can evaluate it, there are no means of quantifying the societal impact of a judges ruling. Moreover, regulators, legislators, judges and presidents refuse to be bound by measures to improve the quality of their work, measure the effect of their labor or calculate the societal impact of their decisions.

What we have is a system where the person who labors with their hands produces high quality work, the person who accounts for the income and outgo of a business, calculates it to the penny, and the people running businesses performance is measured by the profitability of the enterprise, but our leaders have no such limits. Even the restraints of a Constitution are ignored and argued to the head of a pin. The result is that government, all governments, produce defective goods, deficient laws and inferior work. Such outcomes would be severely punished if a carpenter produced them, but they are accepted every day from our leaders. A Fourth Branch would provide the tools to measure, calculate the performance and quantify the societal effect of our leaders, unfortunately even the people most damaged by the defective products our government produces, recoil at the thought. Until we become as rational at gauging government, as we are about the quality of our homes, the profitability of our businesses and the return on our investments, we will continue to be damaged by the defective products of our governments.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Meritocracy… The Justice of Class Mobility.

Monday, October 12th, 2015

 
Dear Friends,

It seems to me, the real measure of justice in any society is the ability to get ahead, to move out of the social strata one is born into, and either up or down depending on the merit of the individual, and not because of their political favor. That used to be the case in the US for example, so much so that back in the late 19th century the lack of interest of Americans for socialism was explained by the socialist “economist” Thorstein Veblen, Americans don’t want to damage the interests of the rich, because every American knows he or she could become the rich, and no one wants to damage their own interests… Of course many did become rich and many more did not. Yet everyone understood the path was open for them. Opportunity has been the draw for people the world over to immigrate to the US. People would come so they could just have a chance to get ahead if they worked hard and were smart. Many did get rich and many did not but the opportunity was there. During that time, the standard of living of the American citizen rose in a way that has never been seen before, not only elevating the lot of Americans but spilling over into the rest of the world. Today that distinctly American dream, meritocracy, has been effectively crushed by our education system, regulations and cronyism.

Joseph Schumpeter said that as soon as someone becomes rich their first order of business is to close the door behind them, so no one else can come through that door and become rich. The reason is that the newly wealthy don’t want to have to face competition. Competition that lowers profits, makes one work harder for those lower profits and worst of all, creates the potential the wealthy could slide back into the middle class. The means at their disposal to close that door is regulations. Cronies use the straw dog of public safety to get regulations passed the create a barrier to entry. While an established company, with all the accouterments, can easily meet even draconian regulations, someone trying to get a business off the ground cannot. The door has effectively been closed.

Cronyism is an offshoot of closing the door. The wealthy have the money and connections to effect laws and regulations and so they use them to make easy profits. In his famous film series, Free To Choose… Milton Friedman said, if someone opens a business that sells it’s product at a lower price and has better quality, the old business owner has two options, they can lower their price and raise the quality of their product, or they could go to government and get the competitor shut down. The first option is out of the question as it requires hard work and smarts, while the second option is a no brainer. When they can they use government to ensure your profits and crush competition. Moreover, those same government connections that were formed by crushing competition can be used to get direct government money in the forms of grants and subsidies. What nation wants to loose it’s steel industry? Since every industry must corrode from within, whenever cronyism is used, it needs more and more “assistance” to stay in business, else that industry will be lost.

Regulations are the means to cronyism. Since regulations are made by unelected bureaucrats, they bypass the normal system for making laws, and can be wielded with impunity and with great effect. In addition, the cost to the economy and class mobility is irrelevant. A law is publicly debated and is subject to public scrutiny, but a regulation is passed in the dark of night, the only ones with input are the cronies who stand to gain or loose by that regulation. Examples abound, especially recently, like the new rules for the Internet, most of which are still secret, the new Pacific trade agreement, etc… the most pernicious effect of regulation however, is to limit the mobility of the population to rise above, or drop below the position they are born into. The intent and effect of regulations is to stifle class mobility.

The government monopoly education system limits our children, instead of teaching them anything is possible, it teaches them to be robots. Everyone needs to get the same education, go to the best college they can get into, take on so much debt they have to get a job and closes off both their motivation and ability to become entrepreneurs. Common core is the perfect example of this in action. Imagine trying to figure the yardage of concrete needed for a basement using common core math? It teaches the wonders of socialism where there is no possibility of class mobility, class under a socialist state is decided by political favor. The history of mankind is perverted to equate individual liberty with atrocities, when the direct opposite is true, overly powerful governments commit atrocities, while limited government is limited in it’s ability to commit atrocities. The education system has become a way for the state to remove the people’s belief in class mobility, and so make us willing to do damage to politically disfavored groups, because we have been taught… we can never become rich ourselves.

Class, caste, position, social strata, etc… are mere artificial constructs to pidgin hole people and limit them. It should be obvious to anyone with an open mind, therefore, in a society where you are stuck in the caste, class, position or social strata you are born into, regardless of your individual merits, is unjust. Justice by definition, is the equal treatment of people, where people are treated unequally, depending on some artificial construct of the elite, trapping people in the circumstances of their birth, is therefore by definition unjust. Those institutions that enforce class immobility then are damaging to the lot on mankind. Cronyism, regulations, personally limiting monopoly education system, unlimited government, socialism, etc… are by design, created to limit class mobility, and must be eliminated if we are to advance to a place where there is real justice, actual opportunity and a rising standard of living. You know in your heart this is true… speak the truth for others to hear, act so that others may follow and vote with your rightly understood interests at heart, and not out of envy or hate, and together we could restore opportunity to our kids.
Sincerely,

John Pepin

Human Heartedness

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, the Confucian ideal of Human Heartedness, is one we all should emulate. It has been translated into many English words and phrases, but I prefer human heartedness, because it sums up most all of what Confucius wanted to say, as evidenced by his teachings. Those who should emulate human heartedness the most are our leaders since Confucius had the most to say to them. Unfortunately, most people in the West, when they hear “Confucius…” they turn off. The name has been so diminished from it’s rightful stature, from Charlie Chan movies, where the name Confucius became a punch line. Others cannot fathom how anything someone said in 550 BC, could have any relevance to today. They turn their backs on ageless wisdom to their own and our detriment. The human condition and indeed humans themselves have changed very little since then. We still strive for pleasure and avoid pain, we still fall into traps and snares and it is egoistic self interest that baits those pitfalls. Yes, Confucius and his human heartedness have a great deal to say to us today, to ignore such wisdom is to see the pit and yet step into it anyway.

A large component of human heartedness is the Golden Rule… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Every one of us could benefit from following the golden rule. Better even to double down and hold others to a lower standard then we hold ourselves. It is in our animal nature to hold others to a much higher standard than we hold ourselves and in our civilized nature to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We would benefit by living in a civilization where there can be less laws, less draconian punishments and less government, because we control ourselves from within instead of needing to be controlled from without. Prosperity would increase, since regulations, laws and ordinances are friction to the economy, but become more and more needed the more barbaric the people become. We should all incorporate human heartedness, the golden rule, into our lives.

Human heartedness is all about compassion and empathy. The golden rule is also explicitly about empathy. As I wrote in my last article, compassion and empathy are paramount human attributes, that lead to civilization and away from barbarism. The barbarian has no compassion and no empathy. When an Italian city state was being attacked by the Gauls, Roman dignitaries were called to mediate. One of the Romans asked the Gaul general, “By what right do you lay siege to this city?” The Gaul answered back, “Natural law, that the strong must take from the weak, so the strong can survive and the weak die out…” But what the Gaul didn’t understand is that there are many forms of strength and a multitude of forms of weakness. His was marshal strength, a strength that always has it’s better, he lacked wisdom. We must have compassion and empathy else we become like the Gaul general, strong in might but weak in wisdom.

One of Confucius’ disciples asked, “Does the human hearted man love all?” I suppose referring to Mo Ti’s all embracing love. Confucius said, “No! The human hearted man loves the good and despises the bad.” Clearly Confucius didn’t want good men to turn their faces from evil and so allow it to grow. To be human hearted is to lift up that which is good, in other words… pragmatically benefits individuals, society and culture, while attacking the bad, that which lowers people, harms society and rots the culture. It is obvious that embracing evil as well as good gives evil a leg up, since the good will be fair and honest while evil will use good’s virtues against it. To have a prosperous society where crime is low we need to be human hearted and embrace good while fighting evil.

When talking about leaders Confucius liked to refer to the Sage Kings of “old.” The sage kings led, as Confucius would argue, “by force of personality,” or to put it in modern terms, they led by example. If they wanted the people to be more honest in their business dealings, they would be more honest themselves, and if they wanted the people to stop lusting after each others wives, he would forswear it himself. In that way the leaders of the great society would convince the people to be virtuous. The Duke of Lu asked Confucius one time, how he could get the people to stop lusting after ill gotten profits, women and luxury. Confucius told him to stop doing those things himself and the people would follow. Confucius had to flee Lu state shortly after. The leaders of society want the people to be virtuous, but can hold to the virtue the demand in another, for a single day. If we want our children to live in a safe, prosperous and civil country we must only elect human hearted leaders, who will lead by example.

When Confucius was asked what he would do if he were made emperor, Confucius replied, “I would rectify terms…” or put another way, he would set standards. Standards apply to everyone equally, they create systems where commerce can flourish and they level the playing field for everyone. Today standards are eschewed for regulations, ordinances and laws. Instead of everyone on the same level, regulations are specifically designed so some politically favored group, can get a leg up on an otherwise free exchange. Where a standard is what it is, no matter how politically favored a person is, application of a law is dependent on who the person is. Look at Hillary Clinton’s wiping a subpoenaed email server before turning it in. If you or I did that, what was on it would instantly become irrelevant and we would be charged with a felony, tampering with states evidence. She however was not. A standard is the antithesis of arbitrary rule. For any country to flourish the leaders have to be human hearted, setting and holding everyone, including themselves, to a standard.

There is no question, we are no different than the people who lived before us, oh we might drive cars, talk to people on the other side of the planet, and have put a man on the Moon, but essentially we are the same. We have the same desires, wants and needs. Therefore, wisdom that applied to human beings in 550BC still apply to us today, perhaps more so since we have grown arrogant, egoistic and self aggrandizing, not for our achievements, but for the achievements of those who have come before us. How many among us could create a gasoline engine, having never seen nor heard of one before, yet most of us take them for granted, and look down our noses at those who didn’t have them. Yes, our society, civilization and personal lives would benefit greatly from following the wisdom of Confucius, and becoming more human hearted.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Empathy, Compassion and Civilization

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, compassion and empathy are at least as important factors as intelligence and wisdom, in the ascension of Man to the place we are now, in technology, philosophy and our understanding of the universe. These under appreciated and overlooked attributes of humanity appear to be waning in the world today. Compassion and empathy have served us well through the ages. Throughout history, wars have come and gone, civilizations have risen and fallen, all based on their innate compassion and empathy, these two intimately and uniquely human attributes have waxed and waned, but never to the point they seem to be declining today. Compassion allows us to benefit each other and empathy create in us a sense of other, without either, the human condition must be one of violence, famine and want.

Neanderthals ruled Europe for over one hundred thousand years until they were supplanted by our ancestors. Consider how long one hundred thousand years is, all of recorded human history is a mere three thousand years, that is only three one hundredths of the time Neanderthals lived. Many scientists believe, that it was the domestication of dogs, that gave our ancestors the advantage to replace Neanderthals. Consider the attributes it would take to domesticate a wolf into a dog. One would have to have compassion for the puppy who’s pack you just killed, so you take that orphaned wolf in. It would take empathy to care for it and give it some of your hard earned food. All this must happen before there is any payback in the form of hunting advantage from the domesticated wolf. Therefore, compassion and empathy allowed modern man to replace Neanderthal man.

Most great civilizations all have one thing in common. At their start they were birthed out of compassion and empathy. The Roman Republic was founded out of empathy for all the citizens not just the powerful, Ancient China had the Sage Kings, ancient Greece on the equality of citizens and the US was founded on the liberty of the individual, which is to say compassion for the person. They grew in power and might until they lost their compassion and empathy, then in their decadence they fell in calamity, that was all too predictable in their lack of compassion and empathy. Civilization requires as a prerequisite compassion and empathy, once lost that civilization falls back into the sea of barbarity.

Even the term barbarism connotes a lack of empathy and compassion. A barbarian lacks compassion, a savage lacks empathy, while a civilized man has both. To be civil is to have empathy for another and to treat him or her as such. To be humane is to have compassion. The term human itself denotes compassion and empathy. No one would say the lack of either makes one human. To have humanity is to have compassion, to have empathy is to be human. One can be a genius, but if that person lacks compassion and empathy, no matter how smart they are, their industry will come to naught. A society is no different, no matter how smart, rich, or blessed with natural resources it is, that society will be violent, impoverished and despotic, that lacks compassion and empathy. Clearly, empathy and compassion are more important to the advancement of civilization than industry, intelligence, science or wealth.

All true religions teach as their highest goods, compassion and empathy, that is the basis for religion. Those who are atheists who claim that they have compassion and empathy outside religion, are fooling themselves. Were it not for religion, teaching compassion and empathy, there would be no foundation upon which they could learn doctrinal compassion. If there were no religion, systematic empathy would be unknown. Everyone has some compassion and empathy, except for psychopaths and sociopaths, but it is in religion that a system is created whereby compassion and empathy can be doctrinally established. Those who claim to be above mere religion, are indebted to it for the civilization they live in, even as they decry it, and have no compassion for it and no empathy for the adherents.

Poverty for a society comes from a lack of compassion and empathy. A market society is based as much on compassion and empathy as it is the profit motive. A market is an excellent system for a society to become wealthy, but that system needs certain foundations, one of the most important is compassion and empathy. How can someone discover a new business idea if one lacks empathy? If someone cannot put themselves in another’s shoes, then it becomes impossible to imagine what someone else needs, and meeting a need is the basis for wealth in a market system. Those business owners who lack compassion will ever be searching for employees, they will lament the lack of available good employees, yet will push away anyone who works for them, because no one will work long for someone who treats them as fodder. How can a business owner get customers who lacks empathy and compassion? Customers will quickly learn of a firm that rips off their customers and that firm will soon have no customers to rip off. Compassion and empathy are critical in a market system for it to function.

We must guard against false compassion and misplaced empathy however. They are the paths to ruin. Those who lack compassion will use our empathy and compassion against us, by tricking us to have empathy and compassion for fiends, and to act on compassion by empowering demons to act on our behalf, this can only result in monsters gaining power over us. That is how socialism gets started and why socialist countries quickly loose compassion and empathy. Once we are ruled by uncaring egoists their lack of compassion and empathy taints us. As we start to feel the pinch of hunger in our stomachs, the sting of tyranny over us and the hopelessness that despotism begets, we loose compassion and empathy, narrowing our focus for those who deserve our empathy and compassion, to an ever smaller and smaller group, until we have no compassion or empathy whatsoever. Once that happens poverty becomes rife, violence is endemic and hopelessness fills the land.

Moral relativism is all about a lack of compassion and empathy, those who say all cultures are equal, are peddling poison. What makes a culture great and what makes a culture evil is it’s empathy for people and it’s compassion for the downtrodden. Those cultures that lack empathy even for the least powerful are by definition evil and those that only have compassion for certain groups are villainous. They are not equal to a culture that has compassion, they are not the peers of a culture that has empathy for everyone. Love they neighbor as you love thyself. Moral relativism is an example of misplaced compassion and deranged empathy.

Today the lack of compassion and empathy is alarming. A recent poll showed that up to a third of Americans would not protect a Jew from the Nazis! One third of our fellows would turn in a Jew to go to the gas chambers knowing full well that is what would happen! Abortion is a case of misplaced compassion, it allows a great evil to be done in the name of compassion. Genocide is televised but people have become so calloused we could care less. Christians are returned to the Middle East where they will be slaughtered because of a lack of compassion and empathy. Yet we are excoriated if we lack empathy for those who would subjugate us, and return us to barbarism, by those very people who have no compassion for an unborn child, Christians facing certain death, a little girl being raped daily or the masses of people living under despots.

A story has been told of a rich man who once stepped over the leper Lazarus every day, when the rich man died, his lack of compassion and empathy caught up with him. The rich man looked up from his burning abode, and seeing the former leper relaxing in heaven, he begged God to have the leper dip one finger in water, so he could sip of it. God said no, the gulf was too great. The once rich man begged God to send the leper to his brothers to warn them. God replied, if his brothers had ignored all the prophets and wise men, they would ignore a leper as well… the rich man and his brothers had been taught of compassion and empathy but had ignored the teachings. Today we are no different than that rich man in our lack of compassion and empathy. Since civilization requires, as a prerequisite, compassion and empathy, the lack of can only result in the fall of civilization… no matter how smart the people are, how wealthy the society, how lofty their philosophy or how arrogant the people.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Our Replacements… Illegal Immigrants

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, the new class is unhappy with the way Americans and Europeans have voted, so they are replacing us with people they believe will vote correctly. You have heard the term undocumented democrats, well tat is pretty close to the whole truth, most illegal aliens are from nations that have no concept, or at best a perverted understanding, of capitalism, socialism, limited government, liberty, human heartedness and history. They mostly come from autocratic countries that have never had those things, yet the people fleeing from dictatorships are more than happy to establish tyranny here. Not that illegal immigrants are necessarily bad, nor that they are stupid, they simply are ignorant and so can be easily manipulated into voting against their own best interests. To put it in the new class/Marxist vernacular, “They are willing to take up their historic role in the revolution.” That is why the elite intellectuals so love illegal immigration from autocracies and forbid immigration from Western capitalist nations. The goal is to destroy every vestige of limited government, capitalism, liberty and human heartedness.

Alvin Gouldner put it this way, “Marx said, ‘Philosophy is the head of emancipation, and the proletariat is the heart.’ But it takes a great deal of fancy theoretical footwork—in short, of ideology and false consciousness—to assume that the head and heart of politics are always integrated and have identical interests. Indeed, much of the discussion among Marxists today, concerning the failure of the proletariat as an historical force thus far, is in effect a discussion about the possibility of a ‘heart transplant’; that is, of replacing the proletariat with another historical actor: e.g., students, blacks, third world forces, etc. Intellectuals are capable of being an autonomous political force and when one social group does not play the role they have assigned to it, when it fails in its ‘historical responsibility’, intellectuals will often shop around for another client group to ‘represent’. False consciousness is generated when the special, vested interests of intellectuals are deemed illegitimate and are therefore concealed, and when intellectuals feel they must pretend to be representatives of another group’s interests.” This is written in the new class language or code, and everyone knows a code is to keep the unwanted from understanding what is said and meant.

To unpack Gouldner’s thesis, in classical Marxism, the people, you and I, have a role to play, it is our “historical responsibility” to bring about a socialist revolution. In the US and Europe, the people have not done what Marx and his allies wanted, rise up calling for socialism, and so we must be replaced. In this way illegal immigration is the “heart transplant” he talks about. The intellectuals, college professors, out of work PHDs, Deans of universities, etc… the leaders of the new class, are more than happy to lead the revolution and overthrow the old order… of liberty, limited government, human heartedness and capitalism, but they can’t go it alone they need a large faction to back them. There is a reason Obama’s government has more intellectuals than any before him and indeed Obama himself is an intellectual.

What and why do they want to eliminate? Capitalism, because the new class are useless and unable to provide anything of real value, they cannot prosper by it but under socialism, they get the benefit. Who cares if the people suffer under socialism, the elite prosper. Limited government is obnoxious to the new class intellectual, since they are always the people who staff government, limiting their power over the people, economy and civilization, offends their egos. Liberty to the new class is something that should be reserved to them alone, those who are not willing to simply live and let live but want control, use justice as a tool to pry justice from the hands of the people. The new class hates human heartedness because there are things a human hearted man or woman will not do. The human hearted person is unwilling to “break some eggs for the greater good.” Human heartedness requires empathy, love of one’s fellow man, acceptance of their flaws and a deep desire to do no harm. How can any revolution get underway until the people are willing to slaughter whomever the elite tell them to?

So there you have it, the new class elite’s love of illegal immigration has nothing at all to do with improving anyone’s life, it is not about compassion or human heartedness, it is about exploiting the political system, for wealth, power and prestige. The new class believes itself to be our intellectual, and moral inferiors, why shouldn’t the rest of us lesser caliber people bow to them, give them our wealth and cow toe to their demands for us? After all, we don’t have PHDs, we are not their equals… we are their subordinates, and so since we are unwilling to accept our role in human affairs, as appointed to us by them, they have no choice but to replace us, with those who are willing to accept their role in the revolution. That my friends is why the new class elite defend and so love illegal immigration.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Planned Parenthood Controversy

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, if a fetus is not a human being, then you and I are not human beings. The concept that a fetus is not a human being, as purported by the anti lifers, is based on an age argument. That is, those who are not yet born are not human beings, because they are too young to be called such. Many would disagree and say the anti life argument is, they cannot live on their own outside the womb, but that argument is proven false by the approval of anti lifers for late term abortion, where the child is eminently capable of living outside the womb. Moreover, even if we accept the spurious argument a baby not yet born is not a human being, because they cannot live outside the womb, that is still at it’s core an age argument. The age argument if further bolstered by the fact that now there are anti life groups that claim a baby could be post birth aborted up to a year old. Therefore, they are arguing that age is the deciding factor of whether a human being, can be considered a human being, depending on age. The realization of this as their core argument should send a chill down the spine of every human being on the planet.

The logical extension of the age argument is, the definition of a person as human is age dependent, and a fetus is not human due to his or her age, and can be killed because they are not humans, ie, not old enough to be considered human. Moreover it follows that the older one gets the more human they must become. This is no different in kind then the outmoded claim that blacks are not fully human, due to the color of their skin being darker than others, so anyone who has lighter skin than another can by definition enslave that darker person. Therefore logically, any older person can kill any younger person, because the younger person is not as human. Both spurious arguments are based on a fictitious definition of what it means to be a human being.

So we have to ask ourselves, “what is humanness?” If we look at what are the defining characteristics of humanness, we can observe the extrinsic characteristics of humans, we are bipedal, we are largely hairless except for our heads and vestigial body hair, we have large brains, two arms ending in hands, two legs ending in feet, we have two sexes both of which are human beings, we sickle our young, we are mammals, we are sentient, we are omnivores, etc… But basically we know a human being when we see a human being. Nowhere in that list, or any other that you could come up with, is age a factor. That is like saying a white horse is not a horse.

Another factor that torpedoes the anti life definition of humanness is that they also seek to kill old people. They have dozens of nice sounding names, for the killing of old people like, death with dignity. So the anti lifers do not believe that age begets humanness, since people at both ends of the age range are subject to being killed. The anti lifers also have in the past, and advocate even today in some circles, for the killing of people who are mentally retarded, profoundly handicapped and insane. Therefore, we are left with one conclusion, that the anti lifers hold other human beings as less than deserving of their lives. Those that the anti lifers are offended by, for whatever reason, are subject to being killed, not because they are not human beings, but because human beings in their minds are not credited with any right to life.

The controversy surrounding the killing of a lion is indicative of the anti human mindset that pervades our culture today. For all the hullabaloo around the killing of Cecil the lion, ginned up by the media that calls itself unbiased, the fact remains, Cecil was an animal not a human being. Those that anthropomorphous a lion, claiming it has the same right to life as a fellow human being, are perverting the definition of human beings to suit their desires, in both directions. This is magnified by the fact, the media that calls itself unbiased, ignore the extermination of Christians from the Holy Land.

Now with the revelations, revelations that become more horrifying every new video that comes out, that Planned Parenthood is essentially torturing babies to death, so their body parts can be more profitable, the fact cannot be denied… they are anti human life. Not their own of course, they hold on to their own life with a white knuckled grip. They might call for the large scale systematic extermination of others, but they cherish their own lives like a miser cherishes gold. To be good is to follow the golden rule, do unto others as you would have others do unto you, to be a bad person, is to do unto others as you would not have done unto you. What can be said about someone who cherishes their own life, while at the same time are perfectly comfortable killing another? They are simply bad people.

In reality, a human being is a human being, no matter how old they are or deficient in any way, and so spurious arguments as whether someone is a human being, are mere hyperbole to defend the indefensible. Outrage over the killing of an animal, while at the same time ignoring a very real genocide of human beings of all ages, is to replace compassion for your fellow man with compassion for an animal. Replacing the empathy you should have for human beings for empathy for a mere animal is the means to justify a total lack of human heartedness. Those who force taxpayers to fund the systematic killing of human beings, are themselves anti life, lack compassion, empathy and human heartedness… and yet cherish their own lives, are by definition bad people… and neither deserve our votes nor their positions as leaders.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

The Addiction to Government Spending

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, a heroin addict will not willingly stop taking heroin, until he or she reaches rock bottom. It is a matter of human nature. When someone is addicted to something, no matter what it is, the craving is stronger than the will. We might know in our hearts we should stop, we might understand with our minds that the addiction is killing us, but as the Greek referendum shows, most cannot fight their own cravings. The will is weaker than the desire. It has been said that our intellect is like a rider, and our emotions are like an elephant, the rider has some control over the elephant, but if the elephant desires to go one way, no matter what the rider does they cannot force the elephant to change direction. Moreover, our logic can desire to get something done, but the power to do it lay in the elephant it is riding. As to Greece, they are addicted to government spending, they feel it’s cancer spreading through the body economic, they understand it is killing their wealth and hopes, but they just cannot give it up. The example of Greece is one everyone should heed.

Government spending is like a drug, it seems harmless at first, it makes life seem better and once started it quickly becomes a habit. Those who become dependent on it, government employees, people on the dole, rent seekers, bureaucrats, cronies and oligarchs… realize their lifestyle would come to a crashing halt if the government was to cut spending. Moreover, government spending must be increased in order to get the same results. Eventually, like a drug destroys a human being, the addiction to government spending must destroy a nation’s economy.

Raising taxes to “solve” the spending problem is like increasing the dosage of heroin. It is always much easier to raise the dosage then to quit the drug. Ask any drug counselor and she will tell you the solution to a drug problem is not to increase the dosage, or the availability of it, the only solution is to quit cold turkey. That solution is never acceptable to those in power who are both pushers and addicts. To them, the solution seems obvious, take more money to plug the deficit the addiction to spending creates. We all know however, raising taxes never result in a plugged deficit, that “solution” is the path to self destruction.

Like a drug addiction, lowering the intake, or in the case of government spending, does nothing to stop the addiction, it only makes the cravings harder to resist. If small measures are taken to cut spending, say, cut funding for science research, is like an alcoholic changing to drinking only wine. It does nothing to stem the addiction but it gives the addict an excuse to keep the addiction going. Small cuts in peripheral spending are only ways to absolve themselves.

The addict will rationalize their addiction by saying she had a bad upbringing, he lives in poverty and the world is too unkind. In the same way, governments, and the people who are addicted to government spending, rationalize their addiction by claiming they are “helping the downtrodden,” the poor are incapable of surviving without a handout, how can you begrudge a bureaucrat a good salary, if you are against their addiction it shows you are a hateful person… The rationalizations are a numerous as grains of sand on a beach and just as abrasive to the body politic as sand is in a car’s engine.

Every drug counselor will tell you an addiction to drugs makes the person do things she would otherwise never do. Up to and including prostituting herself to get more heroin. Government is no different, that addiction to government spending creates such a strong incentive to corruption cannot be denied, but the addict will deny it to their death bed. A government that is addicted to spending cannot control themselves, like a little girl who must have Oxycontin, else she feels her bones are breaking, and will do anything to get it. They both justify their corruption to themselves… because they have to.

Once a people have become addicted to corrupt government spending and living off the work of others, even if they have eschewed that lifestyle for a long time, once it is started again, they go back to the level of addiction they had in the past. Like an alcoholic, if he is on the wagon for ten years, then takes one drink, he takes up where they left off and go back to being a raging alcoholic. That is why so many once great peoples and nations never seem to be able to get back to being great. The addiction to out of control government spending is too great for their will’s to overcome. Examples are legion, Greece, the font of democracy, is just one.

The best policy, like heroin, is to never open that door to start with. Keep spending and the size of government as small as possible, limit the role and scope of government to standards, and keep government from creating regulations, set strict limits on the level of taxation and back them up with real penalties for a legislature, executive or judiciary that violets them. Force government to avoid taking that first puff from the crack pipe, and you will go a long way to protect you nation and people from that terrible addiction, and addiction that must end in ruination. All spending however, even limited spending, is an incentive for more, and so all governments must eventually become addicts. It is the nature of humanity to be thus.

That government spending is like a drug is obvious, once you think about it for even a moment, but those who are addicted, like a heroin addict, will argue they are not addicts and become enraged at the mere mention of quitting. Cutting spending a tiny fraction is only a rationalization, it does nothing to stop the addiction, but only makes the addict believe he can control it. The reasons for government spending are innumerable, just like the reasons a heroin addict has to rationalize their addiction, but in the end are mere sophistry. Sadly, once a great nation has become addicted to government spending, that nation and people will always be addicted, no matter how long they have been on the wagon. The only way to stop an addiction from ruining a human life is to stop cold turkey, the only way for a government to really solve the economic problems that an addiction to government spending creates, is to cut government to the bone. Unfortunately, no government once addicted, will do that until the economy comes crashing down. Like Argentina, once they get back on their feet, they put the needle back in their arm the first chance they get.

Sincerely,

John Pepin