The Fading Out of Objective Truth / Part III

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.                                                         — Winston Churchill

Hopefully even in the present United States education system, by middle school, students learn the old school lesson that the United States though called a democracy is not and was never intended to be a democracy — unless perhaps if by “democracy” one means its old school classical definition that includes a republic such as the Spartan and Roman Republics. What it was intended to be are open questions. The best description of the present reality of United States political culture and of its foreseeable future in Technological Society is to call it a “capitalist anarchy”. In United States Technological Society, the political culture consists of two systems: 1) the economic and technological system operated by CEOs, CFOs, other corporate officers, corporate boards, investment bankers, and their politicians, lawyers, propagandists, bankers, and academics using plantations of wage slaves through quantitative methods to generate monetary material power and then 2) there are a bunch of politicians and their technocrats, lawyers, propagandists, and academics that are jealous of the capitalist powers but too mathematically incompetent to join them so they achieve power by acting as overseers keeping peace between the capitalists and their wage slaves. This is analogous to Orwell’s distinction between the Inner and Outer Party and on a more practical level exemplifies Putt’s Law and Putt’s Corollary in action in Technological Society creating a distinction between technicians and the Powers and technocrats that rule them. The holistic whole of this capitalist anarchy is supposed to result in achieving the actual technical work of human physical survival while allowing for the qualitative human freedom to seek meaning in life. At present the politicians are in denial as to their purpose in Technological Society and are in anarchy with almost none of them having a clue as to what they are doing or supposed to be doing; they know only that they need to stay in power regardless of what they do with that power and thus are full-time running around trying to win elections from voters who have even less of a clue as to what they or the politicians are supposed to be doing or of the substantive results of their votes.  However, eventually, this anarchy among the politicians will smooth itself out and the two branches of the Party will learn to work together openly and explicitly — which is not good. An anarchic struggle that causes some difficulty for the Powers is better than no difficulty at all. How would my veils of ignorance work on trying to deal with this present political culture of capitalist anarchy in the United States “democracy”?

The nihilist has no reason to fear capitalism or anarchy. Their only fear or more accurately the only political hate of a nihilist toward capitalist anarchy would be a situation of no struggle between the capitalist and the political anarchy of present capitalist anarchy because the lack of struggle would negate the only check stopping absolute power for the Powers. Nihilism knows that struggle is life.  As I have written many times, there are plenty of concepts and techniques by which knowledgeable politicians can deal with capitalism so as to achieve a viable society that maximizes both material prosperity and individual freedom with capitalism or with any such technocratic system struggling to achieve quantitative power over reality. Examples of such concepts and techniques with some hidden in humor are: The Peter Principle, Parkinson’s Law; Negative Selection in Politics; The Dunning-Kruger Effect; and even the humorous concepts of systems engineering written in books such as The Systems Bible by John Gall. The problem of viability occurs when systems of social power are not in struggle with other equally powerful systems of power thus allowing for the Party’s ultimate secular religion of the law to become our god having a monopoly on violence to achieve power as an end in itself. Anarchy by its anarchic nature acts as a check upon the Powers of capitalism in a capitalist anarchy and thus acts as a means to maintain struggle among the Powers and this in turn allows us to struggle with them.  However, this anarchy will disappear as every normative system in Western Civilization either religious (including Christianity) or secular has surrendered itself to the secular religion that is the law and its Powers. We the workers need either anarchy on both sides of our capitalist anarchy — both capitalist and political — or both sides need to have a rational acknowledgment of their purpose to oppose and struggle with the other so as to allow our class struggle to continue with the Powers.

Because of the nature of capitalism, achieving anarchy on both aspects of our capitalist anarchy is not possible conceptually or practically. The Powers of capitalism do not seek normative evaluation or perspective goals as their primary means for power — these come later as a means to keep power. Their primary goals are quantitative: material wealth and power. They work together using orderly and quantitative techniques to achieve this wealth and power. Any flaws in their techniques do not lead to anarchy but the exact opposite: hierarchical rigidity. At this point, thanks supposedly to competition in a free market, competitors that are less rigid and hierarchical and more creative will take over the market and the cycle continues. Regardless of how practically true this conceptualization of capitalism may be, my point is that even if it is entirely wrong, the end result is not anarchy but a technocracy wasting capital on recycling stagnant projects for the benefit of a few corporations, trusts, or whatever legal entities come to legally dominant the worshiped “market”; if the so-called market does not give power to new competitors, the old remain permanent and we get not anarchy but tyranny.

Our only nihilist option for protecting individual freedom and class struggle in our present capitalist anarchy form of democracy is to try to get the political aspect of our capitalist anarchy out of anarchy and into becoming a formidable equal force and check upon the capitalist aspect in order to avoid their coming together eventually to create a world in their image eliminating class struggle. How would my two veils of ignorance original position technique work on this problem?
My proposed veils of ignorance as an original position for making normative decisions in a capitalist anarchy become an issue on various levels but none of them lead to anarchy in the capitalist aspect of capitalist anarchy. One can argue that present United States capitalism is a dishonest form of capitalism because it is controlled by too many large corporations distorting and controlling market forces. That may be true but, again, regardless, capitalist theory at least acknowledges the soundness and validity of my proposed veils of ignorance as a technique; that is, capitalist theory wants struggle in the form of competition and opposes restricting and distorting struggle for the benefit of a few to create a world in their image as an end in itself. The goal of capitalist theory is descriptive and quantitative: to make money by controlling reality. Thus, from my original position of ignorance, I can choose the options that make the most money and act upon them as a means to control reality for my individual life. It does not matter to the capitalist portion of my our capitalist anarchy nor to the capitalist me whether it or I are making money off of democracy, tyranny, anarchy, or whatever — unless there is evidence one has more economic opportunity for making money from one than the other, they are all equal options.

Such is not true of the political anarchy side of our capitalist anarchy. The goals and political choices marketed in our capitalist anarchy are normative not descriptive nor even quantitative: to foster and spread democracy and equality of opportunity for all — whatever that means. However, the reality of these human constructs and of the Heart of Darkness within all of us that controls these choices is that the real goal is to seek power for ourselves and for the Powers to seek power for themselves. Increasing power for those who seek power to foster and spread democracy in a capitalist anarchy will eventually always reduce and negate the fostering and spreading of democracy. Here, my proposed veil of ignorance would require we act counter to democratic beliefs. It is only by believing in what will achieve democratic power and then by taking the opposite action can we control the Powers that seek and have power even in a democracy solely as an end-in-itself endangering my individual meaning and power for life.

Thus, because at present the Powers advocate and we believe in our capitalist anarchy that in a democracy all voters ought to be equal; all ought to have universal suffrage; and all politicians ought to be elected by majority vote; then we ought to act to achieve the opposite. The opposite acts would be to have required qualifications for both voters and politicians (i.e., education or military service requirements); limit voting to certain classes of voters voting for certain classes of politicians ( i.e., Congress should have a certain number of physicists but only physicists can vote for them); and to have politicians elected based upon diverse voting methods varying from random picks to specifically required qualified politicians ( i.e., science degrees or other specific degrees as needed for the problems of the times at issue.)

The details need to be worked out. The bottomline is that the capitalist anarchy form of democracy we now have in which the only struggle in political culture is between an anarchy of clueless politicians whose only skill is getting elected and a disciplined culture of capitalists is destined to failure and will lead to no struggle and thus tyranny that will then eliminate class struggle. Based on an original position of two veils of ignorance, in order to save democracy, we must be non-democratic at some times. Eventually, the situation will reverse requiring us to go the opposite way. (A possible option is to consider adopting the old school concept of a jubilee year; every 50 years, all laws are abrogated and must be renewed or adopted again.) Nihilists must and can never be static if nihilism is to give meaning to life, it will always be a dynamic struggle.

The Fading Out Of Objective Truth / Part I

This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world.
— George Orwell, “Looking Back on the Spanish War”, p. 154        of “Facing Unpleasant Facts”, a collection of Orwell’s essays compiled by George Packer. Mariner Books: N.Y., N.Y. (2008).

 

What Orwell feared has occurred, the concept of objective truth has faded out of Technological Society. This disappearance does not result nor is it explained by any metaphysical “social construct” explanations but results solely from the practical reality that there is simply too much of it. Because of the power of Technological Society to measure, experience, and describe reality, our senses and minds are inundated with so much objective truth that it exceeds our individual ability to understand it either holistically or atomistically — irrespective of how one defines “truth’. For most working persons, we know the objective truth of only a small part of the reality with which we work but that is it. This is true of the work and life of everyone from the least educated service worker forced by the needs of reality to specialize in provision of detailed services to a specific clientele to the most educated of scientists forced by the vastness of their studies to specialize in either its theoretical, mathematical/theoretical, experimental, observational, forensic, or some other specific aspect of their science. To function in Technological Society, we must at some point reach Acceptance (acceptance of a statement as true) of the Storytelling stated to us by others about their esoteric corner of reality and weave it into our individual Storytelling and Acceptance of life so as to create a viable social interaction and society. The universal consolation of such fading away of objective truth is that the Other is just as ignorant of objective truth as we are.  So, why should we accept anything the Other says as true; why should they accept anything we say as true? In this cloud of ignorance, vagueness, and indeterminacy, how is Acceptance even possible except through propaganda and by the force of authority of those who control propaganda to seek the power of conning us into Acceptance of their truth as an end in itself? The first step in answering these questions is Acceptance without fear of this fading away of objective truth; unfortunately, we must reject Orwell on this issue. The next steps are not conceptual. This fading is a practical problem that requires practical solutions not more idealism nor conceptualization.

 
This new world lacking in objective truth can be contemplated even in the simplest of technical problems without getting anywhere close to any of the complicated and convoluted technical, philosophical, social, and even individual emotional happiness issues facing society. For example, this week I was faced with the question of replacing my car’s catalytic converter (CAT). This seems to be a straightforward question with a necessarily required answer: CAT gone back, so replace with new one at great expense. These are truths that demand Acceptance. Unfortunately, I am personally knowledgeable about the historical and technical process that lead to this Acceptance and thus am able to question it. Back in the day when most cars had carburetors, unless carburetors were well tuned and well tuned on a regular basis (such as weekly which no one except a few motorheads ever did), they were only fuel efficient in a narrow operating band thus there was always some excess fuel dumped into the exhaust system resulting in the smog you can see in photographs of most US cities in the 1960’s and 70’s. The catalytic converter was designed to chemically burn off that excess fuel and thus reduce smog: the carbon monoxide (CO) is converted to carbon dioxide (CO2); nitrogen oxides (NOx) are broken down into nitrogen gas (N2) and oxygen gas (O2); and hydrocarbons (HC) are converted into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). Sounds good and worked great with those smog filled photos of US cities disappearing by the late 80’s. However, at the same time there was technical progress occurring so that by the start of the 21st Century carburetors are rare even in the cheapest of cars and motorcycles most of which now have fuel injectors instead of carburetors. Fuel injectors controlled by computers can change the fuel/air mixture as often as 1/100th of second and are now the norm. In this type of reality, I and many knowledgeable engineers and scientists argue catalytic converters are a waste and do more harm than good in many ways including by the need for mining and refining of rare metals such as platinum for their manufacture. Now, not only can all the benefits of a CAT be achieved by proper tuning of fuel injected engines, such tuning would provide more power, more fuel efficiency, and more reliable engines with resulting cleaner air at far less expense for these better results. A humorous anecdote on this issue is the fact that at one point during this historical process fuel injection would not create the excess fuel and heat necessary to bring CATs up to their necessary operating temperatures, so “smog pumps” were added to engines to create higher temperature exhausts; that is, smog was created so that the CAT could remove it. As far as I am concerned, anyone who is truly morally concerned about clean air, the environment, supposed global warming, fuel efficiency, the reduction of overall pollution both air and land and so forth should remove their CAT from their fuel injected cars and do some cheap re-tuning so as to run without it. Problem is, such removal would be a criminal violation of the federal Clean Air Act and many state laws.

 
How do you know any of my statements about CATs are true? You do not. It took me years of experience working on cars and the necessary background education to reach these conclusions — or did it? Maybe I am just full of shit and bull-shitting you? Maybe all I care about is getting an extra 5% in horsepower by removing the CAT and could not care less about fuel efficiency or clean air? How would you resolve these questions? Spend the days if not weeks necessary to get the foundation education and experience that would allow you to personally inspect the detailed, convoluted, and complicated objective reality of CATs so as to make your own individual conclusion? Spend hours viewing the conflicting articles, blogs, opinions, and so-called expert analysis available on the internet for and against CATs to find some opinion you trust and can accept? Since CATs are required by law, maybe you should have the government resolve this dispute by holding hearings, examining and cross-examining all sides of the issue, and making objective findings? So, do you have the lobbying money necessary for spending on professional lobbyists to contact government officials to get them to question the Acceptance of CATS and begin the process for such hearings? Do you have the lobbying money necessary to cancel out the lobbying money that would be spent by those who profit off CATs to oppose you? Do you have the time and resources to do such lobbying yourself instead of hiring a professional? Even if your lobbying is successful and you get a hearing, who will make the final decision? A politician? A qualified engineer or scientist? Who will decide whether the engineer or scientist is qualified? Who will decide the politician is qualified to make the final decision on such a technical issue?

 
Most likely, unless you are a motorhead for whom the joy of engine horsepower cancels out the threat of violence from the monopoly on violence called the law, what you will do is just bite the bullet, accept the Acceptance of CAT, comply with the law, and spend money installing a new CAT. By default, the law is the final arbiter on this issue. As you should do; most people have more important problems to deal with in their lives than the morality of their CAT. As Camus complained, “[n]obody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” Being normal and surviving life by being normal is not a sin, it is usually the only option allowed for survival in Technological Society as anything close to being a free individual.

 
Now translate this CAT contemplation into the voluminous amount of bigger objective truth problems faced by Technological Society varying from questions of what the age requirements for voting in a democracy ought to be to the whether the use of zoos is a social good or an unethical treatment of animals and all the problems in between. How would you come to understand and epistemically synthesize the objective truths of reality available to you in all these questions to reach true answers? Will you spend the days, weeks, months, perhaps years necessary to get the foundation education and experience that would allow you to personally inspect the detailed, convoluted, and complicated objective reality of all of them so as to reach your own individual conclusions? Spend an similar amount of time viewing the conflicting articles, blogs, opinions, and so-called expert analysis available on the internet for and against all of them to find some opinion you trust and rely on it? Rely on the law and its Inner and Outer Party elites to decide for you? Trust a qualified politician? Trust a qualified engineer or scientist? Trust a qualified something else? Who will decide whether the politician, engineer, scientist, or whatever is qualified? If science cannot accurately predict the weather 10 days from now, why should you trust them to predict the weather 100 years from now for purpose of making “global warming” decisions? Perhaps, the best option is just to flip a coin and take your chances? Perhaps, just trust those you like and thus award charisma and supposed niceness as a person with Acceptance of their truth. “[F]or while every one well knows himself to be fallible, few think it necessary to take any precautions against their own fallibility or admit the supposition that any opinion of which they feel very certain may be one of the examples of the error to which they acknowledge themselves to be liable.” — John Stuart Mill, On Liberty at Chapter II “Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion” (1859).

 
This issue of trusting experts and of determining qualifications of experts for purposes of Acceptance is an especially important and pertinent issue in Technological Society because the objective reality for resolving of this issue involves the same complicated and convoluted mess of facts and states of affairs that results in the fading away of objective truth from the other aspects of objective reality. The problem gets worse when ruling class ideology — ethics that is — and morality get involved. Because “moral character and ethics matter more than science”, the University of Illinois disqualified James Watson, a Nobel laureate who in 1953 created the double-helix structure conceptualization of DNA, from speaking at the University of Illinois on DNA which is something about which he is undisputedly a qualified expert; according to University of Illinois associate professor Kate Clancy, Watson is or may be a racist and thus is disqualified from opining on any aspect of objective reality and anything he says is by definition not objective reality. Many including myself have ridiculed the University for this action but admittedly they do have a point though it is not the point they are making. Expertise, even undisputed expertise, in one aspect of objectively true reality does not make objectively true one’s other opinions in other areas nor one’s general opinions on reality and especially not one’s normative evaluative or perspective opinions on objective reality. Quite the opposite, usually expertise in one area because of the time and resources spend concentrating and specializing one’s knowledge in that one area leads to unfounded and outright delusional conclusions in other areas for which one lacks time to study. Historically, Martin Heidegger and even Adolf Hitler were well qualified geniuses in some areas of thought such as continental philosophy for the former and political and military strategy for the latter but they were racist Nazis much of whose other thought despite their intelligence was and is totally delusional and incompetent as any basis for Acceptance.

 
A more recent exemplification of this point is the power of genius intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault, and even a Jacques Derrida who arguably should be disqualified from giving any expert social and political commentary and opinion that results in discretionary power outside their specialties. These three truly are gods in their respective fields of linguistics and continental philosophy of language but this god complex makes them want to create a world in their image regardless of whether that image has anything to do with what reality is or may be — they are completely delusional once they leave the wordgame world they created to seek power over reality. Chomsky single-handedly created the wordgame of modern analytic linguistics with its generative and transformational grammar changing a simple sentence such as “the dog ate the bone” into something such as “[S [NP [D The ] [N dog ] ] [VP [V ate ] [NP [D the ] [N bone ] ] ] ]”; the complexity of these grammars when applied to any analysis of anything even remotely more complicated in language than a simple object/predicate sentence would confound even the most genius of physicists and mathematicians and their equally complicated grammars and syntax for the language of mathematics. Foucault and Derrida ingeniously created wordgames that treat the language for describing reality as if it were reality. As Wittgenstein pointed out in his writings on mathematics, the power of wordgames is that their rules bind even God: even for an omnipotent and omniscient being to understand what we mean for example by a simple phrase such as “the seventh digit of π”, this being would have to know the semantic and syntax rules of English and the mathematical rules for calculating π to seven digits and then would actually have to do the calculation — that is God would have to follow the rules of our social construct wordgames to understand them. No one can just know “the seventh digit of π”, it must be calculated; perhaps calculated outside of time and space by God but it must be calculated. In essence, God would have to become a Man to understand our social construct language — no doubt this conclusion makes Christians happy at least. Having the power to bind God through one’s wordgame creation understandably makes one a god. This is why persons such as Chomsky, Foucault, and Derrida and all worshipers of social construct language as reality are dangerous if given the power through a monopoly on violence to create a world in their image — think intellectual power joined with political power such as with a Lenin, Bukharin, Mao, or any of the many others whose thoughts were the foundation of the numerous communist genocides of the 20th Century responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions.

 
Luckily, the former three unlike the latter three are purely academic intellectuals and cowards who do not have the stomach to do their own killing. They prefer to act as prophets for those who are willing to do the killing; they are only competent outside of their created wordgames as preachers pontificating delusions to their worshipers — this is why I find them scary and would disqualify them from pontificating if I had the power to do so. Which is why I do not seek nor should be given such power; unlike them and their worshipers, I admit my temptations and act to avoid acting upon them.

 
For practical reasons based on the limited ability of the human mind to understand the vast quantity of objective truths available in reality through the sense experience provided by Technological Society, the concept of objective truth along with the hope of maintaining this concept through Acceptance of those in authority as qualified to provide us with objective reality have already or will soon fade away and rightly so. This fading away is the one objective truth remaining. Now what? The first step is the doing away of the fear felt by Orwell so as to gain Acceptance of this fading away in order to provide not conceptual replacement but practical solutions for this practical problem. Throughout history, practical inventions very often have preceded conceptual explanations for those inventions: from the ancient Greek aeolipile to Michael Faraday’s inventions of the transformer, the electric motor, and the electric dynamo or generator. It was Watt’s invention of the steam engine that led to the science of thermodynamics and not the other way around; it was Faraday’s inventions that created the need for the science of electromagnetism and not the around way around.

 

Because of the complexity of Technological Society, lone inventions by lone inventors may be a thing of the past but the realization and rejection of the fear of having lost objective truth is a something that requires Acceptance by the individual before it can proceed to social Acceptance. By such Acceptance, I do not mean the hypocritical and inconsistent acceptance preached by social justice theory and by most worshipers of science and law as religions by which they ridicule as subjective anything with which they disagree but accept and require everyone to accept under threat of violence their agreed truth as objectively true. Before we can leap to the next practical steps, there must be a nihilist Acceptance without fear not only “that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world” but also that this fading is a good thing allowing humanity to proceed to the next leap of faith in life.

To Be An Ethical Person Or To Be A Good Person, That Is The Question: Part IV

So, finally, what should a person do, be an ethical person or be a good person? At this point, the only solace I have is that I am not alone in not having an answer. The working class hero Albert Camus spent a serious part of his unfortunately short life asking various forms of this question in such writings as The Fallen, The Plague, and The Rebel, but even he was never able to answer it. In the end, all he could say was “The slave begins by demanding justice and ends by wanting to wear a crown.” The problem with the question is the subtlety of the problem that like the tip of an iceberg hides the enormity hidden beneath consisting of a defect in the human soul.

 
As I have written before, the power of law and the classism it maintains and enforces seems to be a necessity part of reality because of humanity’s inherent struggle for survival with the natural world trying to kill us. In this battle to exist with the universe, humanity needs to be organized in an efficient hierarchy in the same way any community involved in a battle would need to be organized to win. This need for efficiency is the foundation and source of all of our historical, material, and economic progress. This was Plato’s argument against state rule in the form of a democracy: it is simply too slow and cumbersome to work efficiently when democracies are confronted with tragic problems of survival, and thus democracy will eventually become anarchy and then tyranny. So far, history has not falsified his theoretic predictions for the path of democracies. Fine, so we will always have laws and a legal system to maintain the necessary injustice in life of social and economic classes regardless of whether it be a democracy or a tyranny or anything else. Thus, for workers the question of whether to be law-abiding or a law breaker is analogous to asking whether one should or should not comply with the orders of someone holding a gun to one’s head. It is a question of how suicidal your situation has become or of how lucky one feels. For workers and for everyone except for the minority at the top of any society’s class structure, it is an obvious problem with obvious options: work or go to jail.

 
With ethics, the problem begins with the first thought of it being a problem: questioning ethics implies you are a bad person, even when the ethics is simply a fabricated set of rules by a small group designed substantively only to maintain that small group’s power with little or no connection to any pragmatic reality except for maintenance of that power. Ethics is a religion that denies being a religion which makes it worse than a religion. At least with the major Western religions, a person can be virtuous and moral by good intentions though they do not act upon the knowledge or intent. “Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum” (Love the sinner but hate the sin). — St. Augustine, His Letter 211 at 424. This is not enough for ethics. Ethics is personal. It is a scarlet “E” placed upon sinners indicating to all one is unclean.

 
Ethics is a choice of work or no work that in some ways is worse than jail since individuals trying to be and to do good in life need either work ties or social ties to give meaning to their lives. Karl Marx saw work as a source of alienation for workers, however, being unemployed because one is “unethical” with no resources to strive, to contribute to society, or to enjoy one’s leisure time by some form of creativity is a mental prison for good persons as bad as imprisonment and worse than any alienation caused by work. Furthermore, ethics is enforced not by the hacks that visibly and directly make up the legal system and therefore are an enemy one can see and fight but by fellow workers — again just as is a community’s religion. It is a Western form of being made an outcaste only without a formal caste system and thus without the social support of other outcastes. Thomas Sowell’s book “The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy” calls this modern ethics based view on what should be pragmatic considerations a “vision of the anointed”; he calls it a cosmic view of virtue as a basis for policy decisions instead of using the reality of dealing and solving problems. He directs his accusations to the American liberal intelligentsia but it could just as easily be applied to the right except for the fact that the polemics of the right are at least honest about their cosmic visions of virtue being religious.

 
A simple answer would be to comply with any given rules of ethics, keep one’s job, and do not make trouble. Following orders and doing what one is told to do without question, there is an answer that has always worked out well for being a good and moral person — not.

 
My only answer is: empathy. Unlike the thousands of new laws enacted and enforced upon us anew each year in addition to the libraries of law already out there by the Inner Party and its Outer Party house servants, ethics is enforced by workers upon workers. In our modern Technological Society rule of law, the average person commits three felonies a day without even knowing it. (See generally, “Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent”, Encounter Books (June 7, 2011.)) Any time the law wants to get us, any of us, it can. We are all in the same unethical boat. Remember this next time you want to look with disdain about the “unethical” practices, conduct, views, or acts of fellow workers regardless what may be the employment, social, or political situation. More than ever, if we are to be judged by a secular religion called ethics, the religious advice “he who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone” is more important than ever.

To Be An Ethical Person Or To Be A Good Person, That Is The Question: Part III

Despite their inherent dishonest and fraudulent nature, the popularity and quantity of codes of ethics have grown during the last few decades seemingly exponentially. They are omnipresent everywhere in all aspects of government and private sector organizations of any type. Why? During these same decades, local, state, and federal agencies passed 5,000 to 6,000 new regulations a year with some years going as high as 13,000 to 16,000 new regulations in one year. With these new regulations, there have been added thousands of new government agencies, millions of additional government workers, and billions of dollars more spent on enforcement and prosecution of all these various versions of new laws. These legally enforced normative “ought” statements tell us what we “ought” to be doing in every conceivable area of human private and social conduct varying from age discrimination to zoo-keeping. Every moment of our waking and sleeping lives are directly or indirectly affected if not usually outright governed by numerous laws. The average person commits three felonies a day without even knowing it. So, what could possibly be the need and source of demand to add ethics “ought” codes — and thus ethics code interpretations — to this omnipresent and ever presence mess of “ought” rules by both government and private entities.

 
According to many historians, the ethics code fad in the United States started in the 1970’s with the Watergate scandal during which the Washington Post and then it seems everyone else in the United States and the world decided in the paraphrased words of Captain Renault from Casablanca, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that [dirty trickery] is going on in here” in the White House. They were shocked because apparently the Washington Post and the other powers-that-be involved had never bothered reading the history of past political dirty tricks, lying, bribery, perjury, fraud, destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice, and much more (such as trying to kill the opposition and actually killing the opposition as in the famous Burr-Hamilton duel) reported and contained in the Washington Post and its archives. Whatever, for reasons beyond the limitations of this essay, President Nixon’s dirty trips were considered unacceptable. To prevent it from ever happening again, the powers decided we must have ethics codes for all government officials and employees especially government lawyers and then this fad escalated into having ethics codes in all private sectors jobs and job training — to have ethics codes everywhere and anywhere.

 
Why would Watergate cause such a fad? President Nixon had to resign (first President in United States history to do so) and only avoided jail because his chosen successor gave him a full presidential pardon; he went from being considered historically one of our most intelligent and competent presidents both for domestic and international affairs to being considered a fool and demon. Everyone else involved suffered one to all of the following: prison, lost their jobs, divorce, lost their families, and loss their life ambitions and hopes. Their lives were completely ruined except for the few who were upper class enough to rebuild their lives once released from jail or who “found Christ” in jail and thus are out now lecturing us on what we ought to be doing. If these results and the risk of suffering such results did not, do not, or could not prevent a repetition of political dirty tricks, how can ethics codes do it? If the thousands of other laws, law enforcement personnel and agencies, and legal and political risks associated with “dirty tricks” do not stop them, how can it possibly be the case that ethics codes would stop them?

 
They will not and do not. There is no evidence nor any basis in all known human history to believe that whatever improvement has occurred in government and private honesty, ethics, or morality is in anyway due to dishonest and amoral (at best) ethics codes. Take away the technological and material progress of the last few decades and any remaining ethics codes (and even most of the laws passed during these times) would be as farcical as talking about the glory and honor of the Roman Senate and Emperor at the times the Praetorian Guard was selling the Empire and the emperor’s crown to the highest bidder.

 
Parenthetically, I doubt if there has been any substantive change in the honest, ethical, or moral nature of humanity and society since the 1960’s with or without ethics codes or anything else. As sociologists such as Jacques Ellul have pointed out in critiques of technological society, technology and material progress reduces the need and options for individual moral choice and thus society appears morally better since everyone must follow orders and not make waves to maintain and continue technological and material progress. Not having the opportunity to sin assures that one will not sin but does not make one any more or any less a sinner. The only substantive change has been in the sophistication and subtlety of political and private sector dishonesty and the degree of adverse or beneficial effects that any individual can make on society. Consider the following two examples.

 
These days, if my illiterate Dad were around and starting out in the same situation as he did in the 1960’s, it is true he would not need to bribe a government official to pass the drivers’ examination. He would be allowed to take it in his native language and pass it legally. However, other than further eroding the nature of the United States as a melting pot, such advantage would make little difference to my Dad and makes little difference to any modern lower class immigrants or working poor since now it is not worth getting a driver’s license because they could not afford to legally drive a car anyway. The costs of new sales taxes (one of the most regressive taxes), new inspection fees, mandatory insurance, more and higher registration fees, higher maintenance costs, and even simple costs such as parking tickets requiring a half-day of minimum wage work to pay off, all make legally owning and driving a car for the working poor practically impossible. (Raising fees sounds nicer to the powers than raising taxes despite the regressive adverse effects of such fees on those least able to afford them.) As a result, if they unavoidably must own and drive, they do so illegally. Such illegal use avoids having to prosecute a government official for bribery but the end result is the same. Criminal and thus unethical  behavior is still needed for survival and especially for improvement out of the poor and working classes into upper classes for all but a rare few.

 
John Dean, the supposed “master manipulator ” of the Watergate scandal and the upper class snitch who received immunity from prosecution in exchange for his cooperation on those who did the dirty work for him while he kept his hands clean, has kept his upper class audacity to tell others what they ought to be doing. In a statement to Solon.com on 3 October 2003, he gave a rare insight into the workings of our 1984 Outer and Inner Parties and of his class:

I thought I had seen political dirty tricks as foul as they could get, but I was wrong. In blowing the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame to take political revenge on her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for telling the truth, Bush’s people have out-Nixoned Nixon’s people. And my former colleagues were not amateurs by any means.

 

Thus, there is the appearance of progress in social ethics but really no substance to the progress. As always, all social and economic classes are relative to the times, but as the Good Book says at page 542, “the law given and the law taken away, as it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be.” Personally, I think we would have more success in controlling ethics between government officials and private powers if we went back to  allowing them to duel among themselves as in the days of Burr and Hamilton.

 
So, what could possibly be creating the demand and proliferation of dishonest, unethical, and amoral codes of ethics that serve no useful purpose? I could not answer this contemplation until I went back to my secular bible, George Orwell’s 1984. “Power is not a means it is an end. … The object of power is power.” How stupid of me. As usual in my working class naivete, I assume all work is toward a goal or a purpose. The powers-that-be by definition are those that can enforce what they think “ought” to be on the rest of humanity. Codes of ethics spitting out verbiage for no purpose other than to fraudulently talk about what “ought” to be are perfect wordgames to engage their time when not engaged in the wordgame of being the law.

Immigration and Historical Argument

As an immigrant to this country, it is extremely painful intellectually and emotionally to listen to present day argument on President Trump’s attempted immigration ban or on immigration overall. As contemplated in my previous “Classism and Democracy” submission, I see this argument as further proof of Plato’s and historical precedent’s prediction that democracy eventually becomes anarchy which then eventually becomes tyranny. The most painful part is listening to all parties make arguments from or based on history.

 
I love history. There is no reading more enjoyable then reading a detailed factual history written by a scholarly historian. I am not talking about popular histories that sacrifice factual detail in order to bring supposed important personalities or dogma to life such as those written by Howard Zinn or Doris Kearns Goodwin that are really polemics. I mean detailed factual histories in which the reader must use their life experience and imagination to bring the participants to life: regardless of whether it is a lone forever unknown soldier or sailor defending their post to the death or the general or admiral who put them there. It is really a beautiful thing to have come to life in my imagination some part of the generations of human lives dead now whose struggles have made my world what it is.

 
Regardless of this love, in the present I know history to be — maybe it always was — a fungible commodity to be changed, amended, altered, or outright lied about in order to support whatever the powers and their house servants (such as Ta-Nehisi Coates) believe the present ought to be or whatever they want to make of the future. They all do it. The Left argues that the Right’s arguments against feminism or transgender whatever are the same socially marginalizing arguments made against women and homosexuals in the past while ignoring that their arguments for a socialism-based system of morality based on government power are the same as used by every modern form of Western tyranny from communism to Nazism. The Right argues that the Left’s arguments for a socialism-based system of morality based on government power is the same as every modern form of Western tyranny from communism to Nazism while ignoring that their arguments for individual freedom and social responsibility for individual decision ignore the unavoidable reality that the majority of humans are not free to choose their economic, social, or religious positions in life.

 
Argument from history requires detailed historical knowledge and the ability to critically analyze historical details. One cannot do the latter without the former. The former takes work unless reading history is your version of having fun — humans in the latter category in my experience are few and far between. Unless you have a large stockpile of historical facts in your mind from all aspects and views of history there is nothing for your mind to critically analyze. As far as I can see, except for history scholars or nerds such as me who spend their free time reading history instead of having modern fun, few engage in the work required to critically analyze history to the point of allowing for honest argument based on history.

 
So, knock it off! We live in a complicated world. There are enough facts to learn and critically analyze in the present in order to use for argument on what the future ought to be or on what ought to be. If there is any hope of avoiding Plato’s prediction of anarchy and then tyranny, forget history and stick to knowing and analyzing the present. One lesson from reading history I have learned is that it does not repeat itself out of ignorance and it is not a straitjacket. If one pragmatically understands the present, one can change the future. When history does repeat itself, it does so out of destiny, fate, luck, or whatever one wants to call it, and there is nothing anyone can do about avoiding that repetition, either out of knowledge or ignorance.

Lilies of the Field

Why are you anxious about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.
They don’t toil, neither do they spin.

So says the bible. This saying along with the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard long ago convinced me that God hates the poor.

 
Before and during the Big Dig Project in Boston, there were two lilies in particular I remember. One was this old, twisted, dirty, broken, pear tree growing in some broken up gravel in a parking lot crevice between a fence and a concrete support left over from something but I never knew what. The other was some kind of yellow flower growing in a crack in the construction barriers between the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 93 that was an elevated highway at that time.

 
The pear tree had been growing in that same spot for so long that part of the parking lot fence was encased in its bark. It never grew to more than six or seven feet talk. Its bark was wrinkled with cuts and ridges, there was no smooth part anywhere on it. It probably tried to grow higher but could never make it, someone or something would always wind up breaking any branch that got too far from the trunk. I watched it for about four to five years come to life every Spring, put out skinny green leaves, and then some sad excuses for white blossoms. Then at some point in late Summer, it put out a small handful of the smallest yellow and black pears that I had ever seen. I had no idea how long it had been growing there. Given the fence encased in its bark, it must have been quite awhile. No one watered it, no one fertilized it, no one took care of it, and no one cared for it. Most definitely, no one talked to it and it never had a companion. Yet, regardless of Summer heat, Winter cold, flood, or drought, it lived. Almost every workday I saw it as I walked by; it seem to me to be one of the most beautiful of lilies. One night, the Big Dig decided to rip up the parking lot. Next day, I went to work and it was gone. Gone without a trace, as if it never had existed.

 
In crossing over Interstate 93 via a walkway that existed at one time, one year in the Spring I saw this big yellow flower growing in a crack next to one of the highway’s north-south lane barriers. Traffic on one side was traveling six inches to a foot away 24/7 at 65 mph on average during non rush hour. During rush-hour, I would guess thousands of cars crawled by it every hour. It was a big bright flower, I could see it clearly a good 50 – 60 feet away, but I never knew what kind it was. No one watered it, no one fertilized it, no one took care of it, and no one cared for it. Yet, regardless of the Summer heat and the Summer drought of that year in which it barely rained in July and August, it lived growing in concrete. Every workday I saw it live its solitary life either from my office window or walking by on the walkway; it also seem to me to one of the most beautiful of lilies of that Summer. One night in late Summer, the Big Dig closed that section of highway and ripped up the barriers during the night. Next morning, I went to work and it was gone without a trace, as if it never existed.

 

This is how God takes care of his lilies of the field. More accurately, this is how His lilies take care of themselves in spite of having Him as caretaker.

 

In the area where my beloved pear tree and highway flower once grew, there now are some gardens of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway maintained by the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. These Greenway gardens contain a wide variety of all types of flowers, including so-called “wild flowers”, in carefully manicured plots that are well maintained, well watered (usually with a sprinkler system), well fertilized, and above all maintained by design in an organic and “natural state”. Humanity’s “lilies of the field” consisting of idle rich Boston philanthropists and their chosen government agents, artists, and humanists who make up the Conservancy would not allow their wage workers to maintain their gardens in any other way. Often, the Conservancy has meetings in the gardens in which they discuss the beauty of the world they have created in their image to which they invite visiting “artists” whose “art” is a further topic of discussion. One year, artist Janet Echelman at a six-figure cost hung a big multicolored net between buildings above a portion of the Greenway gardens so that the Conservancy’s gods and lilies of the field could look up at it and experience the beauty of her art as if it were a sail moving in the wind — like the sails moving around for free in Boston Harbor just a couple of hundred feet away. The purpose of this expensive art was so that these gods and their lilies of the field while in their gardens could look up to their heaven and feel how exceptional they were for being able to appreciate such art instead of thinking it to be a complete waste of their trust fund money and of tax dollars as most hoi polloi would think.

 
Well, they can all go fuck themselves. Individually or in combination, the pear tree and highway flower in their struggles for life whether in concrete or in the farce called the natural world were more beautiful and have given me a collection of more beautiful and inspiring memories that are a further basis for both philosophical and pragmatic thought than anything the Conservancy, its demigods or lilies of the fields, or their self-centered delusion called art have ever done or will do.

 
On this presidential inauguration date, a few will celebrate their notoriety in history gained at the expense of millions of forever unknown souls. Most workers once they have some time to contemplate after work celebrate only “meet the new boss same as the old boss” instead of being followers who cry for or worship their old or new leaders. In memory of my parking lot pear tree and my highway yellow flower and the billions of God made not demigod made lilies of the field who have made this world and hopefully will make the future once they renew their will to power and fight the powers-that-be, I publish one of the few citations from a President’s inauguration speech that are worth knowing and repeating:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

Diversity Past and Future / Part I

The recent maiden speech by Australian Member of Parliament Linda Burney highlights the many inconsistencies and hypocrisies associated with the politically correct “diversity” movement omnipresent throughout Western Civilization at present. “Diversity” is marketed by the powers as meaning diversity of thought and ideas. In practice, “diversity” means the powers will accept you regardless of ethnicity, race, skin-color, sexual orientation, or whatever as long as you think and act like the rich and powerful people act or expect you to act. As discussed earlier, one reason we will always have classism is because once one makes it into a position of power, you think and act like the powers not like the powerless you left behind. The only real value of politically correct diversity is that it proves equality across all kinds of people by showing that people of any ethnicity, race, skin-color, sexual orientation, or whatever can all be equally lacking in creative and original substantive thought, equally lacking in historical knowledge and empathy, and equally motivated by a will for power as any other. How about real diversity of ideas and thought among the powers or even among working people living as one community, is that even possible?

 
MP Burney is lauded by the powers in the media and the internet as the first Australian indigenous or Aboriginal female to be elected to the Australian House of Representatives. So, in a world full of threats to whatever personal freedom there is, does she stand up in her maiden speech with words of gratitude to the long miserable history that got Western Civilization to a point in which there is at least some form of “houses of representatives” in all its nations; where small pox and other major killers of the past have been eliminated; where 80% of its people are literate and rising (instead of 80% illiterate as they were just a century ago); that has brought the world the scientific era; that is trying at least, perhaps unsuccessfully, but trying at least, to adopt the Christian Beatitudes into secular forms of government; and all sorts of other quantifiable improvements in life? No, she walks into Parliament with some other Aboriginals wearing kangaroo skin cloaks (where is PETA in these situations?) featuring their clan totems and personal totems stating “these lands are, always were, and always will be Aboriginal land” singing in their native language passed down through oral tradition — because Australian Aborigines never created a written language despite having 10,000 years to come up with one. This is the usual propaganda that duplicates the propaganda spit out by some present Americans who call themselves “Native American” though to a refugee emigrant such as myself they are no different from any other American born in the United States I have met.

 
According to all up-to-date historians and anthropologists that have studied Aboriginal way of life including eyewitness accounts from the 1830’s of orphan children and escaped convicts living for 20-30 years with the Aboriginals, they were a hunter-gather culture that had all of the mayhem, violence, and war of modern culture without any of the amenities or virtues of modern culture. Prior to Westerners arriving, Australia had about 300,000 hunter-gatherer Aboriginals living there separated into approximately 400-700 regional groups averaging about 500-600 in each group. There is no way to tell which of these groups were the “original” inhabitants of Australia, if any were, because there were multiple waves of immigration with each wave conquering or assimilating with whatever people were there before them. All of this is substantively and essentially true of so-called Native Americans.

 
As with Native Americans, there were constant cycles of plenty and famine. There was constant warfare among the groups for food, land, power, and for women. They had chattel slavery. In “Aboriginal land”, at puberty women became property, valuable property, but still property. They practiced infanticide especially of female babies in an attempt to control the cycles of feast and famine (The Aztecs in the Americas did not stop at infanticide, human sacrifice of all ages was their contribution to Native American culture.) Despite this, by the male age of maturity of 18 – 21 years, as was true of all societies until very recently and still true in most by age 25, the percentage of women in the groups outnumbered the men because so many men died hunting, working, in war, in accidents, and by homicides. Despite this slight surplus of women at maturity, there was still a shortage of wives because the more powerful males practiced polygamy with as many as ten wives. So, there were still raids by men on other groups to get wives that of course created a shortage there thereby resulting in other raids on other tribes. In some family groups, the homicide death rates including war casualties for mature Aboriginal (and also Native American) males, though small in number because the groups were small, was 20% of their population. This percentage of homicide/war deaths was the total for internal wars within family groups and external wars with other family groups before Westerners arrived. Even in our bloodiest war, the Civil War, we only hit 2% of the male population. In World War II, the only nation to come close to a 20% casualty rate was Poland, even Germany and Russia hovered around 10%. In World War I, the only nation to go above 10% was Serbia which hit the jackpot at 27%.

 
Is this the “Aboriginal land” that is the basis of MP Burney’s cultural pride? These are the people she wants now to own the land so she can go back to being valuable property over which men kill and start wars? These good-ole-days of Aboriginal culture were forcibly stopped by British and Australian imperialism. Is she talking about the world of this enforced peace between the family groups so they could all unite as “Aboriginals” and start complaining? Was this really a bad thing? Sure, it could have been handled better and more humanely than it was, but in order to have a humane assimilation between cultures, both sides must admit the need for assimilation. This hardly ever occurs in history. The powers-that-be of the Aboriginals with their ten wives saw no need to assimilate and did not care whom they sacrificed to maintain their power just as the Australian powers-that-be as always did not care about hoi polloi fighting among themselves despite pretending otherwise, and thus we have the misery that is history.

 
There was no genocide of Aboriginals just as there was no planned genocide of any Indians in the United States nor of any New World natives. Diseases such as small pox, measles, and flu brought by Westerners killed 90-95% of those dying when the cultures collided just as these diseases killed hundreds of millions more Westerners but disease was not intentionally brought to the New World — Mother Nature killed them not Westerners nor Western Culture. Since there was no agreed upon method of assimilation, it occurred the miserable old school way according to the demigod of evolution: those who could adapt did, those who could not adapt lived their lives and died out.

 
The point is to respect the dead by learning from their misery in order to build a better future, not by building false pride upon a miserable past. A delusional view of history does not respect the dead’s sacrifice. It is mocking it.

 
My Slavic ancestors are the reason we have the word “slave”. They suffered a millennium of slavery, first by the Western and Eastern Roman Empires and all the tribal migrations within them and then by the Islamic Empires. The World Wars and their aftermath did not improve their lives much until very recently and the Balkanization of Slavic culture by centuries old grudges is why we have the word “Balkanize” and the present mess in the Balkans. This is one reason why I object so strongly to Coates’ desires and plans to Balkanize racism in this country by using it as a means to create an original sin of white guilt and an excuse for failure in Black-American culture allowing both to be handed down through generations so as to “Balkanize” Americans for generations to come if it is not stopped now before it gets entrenched.

 
It would be as silly for me to talk about my part Slavic past with pride and as a basis to claim land (as some fools do) as it is for MP Burney to talk about her Aboriginal past with pride and to make a claim to still own the land for “Aboriginals” — a word created by Westerners in the same way that words such as Slavic and Asian are really just Western generalizations of a more convoluted cultural and social identity. The actual “Aboriginals” identified themselves by their family group or tribe in the same way that Slavic people actually see themselves as Croats, Slovens, Serbs, Slovaks, and many more, and “Asian” is a set made up of thousands of different cultural and social identities. We should look to the past with empathy, pity, and as a source of knowledge and lessons for the future. From the government perspective, the perspective a PM and anyone in our United States government should use, land should belong to the future not to any past.

 
Is diversity of thought and ideas really possible? We are quantitatively better, but is humanity qualitatively any better in the modern world? We do not have infanticide but do have abortion to the tune of a million a year just in the United States with the vast majority of those being abortions of poor unmarried women’s babies — is the latter in essence any better if not real genocide? At least the Aboriginals did their own killing of their own babies within their own family. We do not start wars over women but do so over pretty much everything else, and now we have machines do our killing for us. Is that in essence any better? It is important to decide if the emphasis on diversity is really just another struggle started by the powers so that they can watch from on-high hoi polloi waste energy fighting among themselves. For the first time in history, we have the science and technology to create separate-but-equal subcultures within our larger American culture. If it is the essence of humanity for individuals not to get along with individuals different from themselves, it is time to admit it and create a better future using this truth instead of continuing the misery of the past onto posterity by ignoring such truth for a nonsense dream of “diversity” achieving nothing but separation and fighting.