SoAMadDeathWish

Why Politics is Pointless

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. . . And the possibility of something occurring cannot have an effect on reality unless it actually happens.

For the past half century, the "possibility of [absolute political freedom]" has had "an effect on [the] reality" of my life.

The ideal may not "actually happen," but we will be motivated to advocate for the ideal by gaining rational conviction of the truth of the ideal. And, conviction of the desirability of harmony between theory and practice will motivate action toward the ideal.

See www.jstor.org/stable/41560402

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Greg, all of this is just magical thinking.

It's how I live.

There is nothing in the laws of physics or causality that says "do good things and bad things can't happen to you."

That's quite correct, because it is not a matter of physical law, but of moral law. And in terms of real world personal interaction, people attract their own kind.

The government does not care about the moral laws that I hold myself to. And if it did, it would inevitably be destroyed by a competitor who doesn't.

If that is the case, why would you need the government to care about you?

I sure don't. And because I don't, the government basically ignores me and I'm free to live as I see fit.

Also, I think you are misunderstanding Rand's "sanction of the victim". I do not think she ever meant to say that the perpetrator and the victim are both guilty, as you seem to imply.

I understand. You view yourself as a helpless innocent victim of unjust government oppression, while my view is quite the opposite. My view is that the only one who can oppress me is me... and only by my own failure to do what's right.

And note the difference between our two views. Yours is based upon blaming others (government, corporations, bankers, politicians, the rich, the powerful, and the like) for what happens to you. while my view is solely based upon assuming personal responsibility for my own life.

A rotten US government can only be created by rotten people in their own rotten image. So it's fitting moral justice that rotten people should fall victim of the consequences they deserve of the rotten values by which they chose to live. So it is what people are that gives the government they deserve their sanction to impinge upon their lives through their failure to order their own lives properly.

An immoral government has the right to prey upon anyone who is as immoral as it is... simply because it is the creation of their own immorality.

This kind of ethics is simply barbaric.

Just that statement of yours alone guarantees that your future will suck more than your present does now.

Rather, she said that the victims of force and fraud were too innocent, in that they believed, as you do, that everything will be ok so long as they don't rock the boat too much.

That is nowhere close to my belief... because I'm not even in the boat at all.

I got out long ago to pilot my own boat so I can rock it all I want! :smile:

And there is no such thing as "too innocent". It is impossible to defraud the truly innocent, because there is nothing within them for rotten people to appeal to.

Greg

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When thinking about the normative aspects of political theory, sure, opportunities may be more important than outcomes. However, this is not the case when you are trying to rationally explain what actually happens in reality. A rational explanation should not explain everything that can possibly happen, only the things that actually do. And the possibility of something occurring cannot have an effect on reality unless it actually happens.

That's not entirely accurate. Risk analysis, management, and mitigation planning are all about the possibilities of things occurring that may or may not ever actually happen. The fact that risks might happen impacts reality in that someone needs to take them into consideration, monitor their likelihood, make backup plans, etc. It's an important part of business analysis and project management.

Also, regarding a prior comment, you said that you didn't set out with this thread to describe reality but to explain why reality is the way it is. You can't explain why something is the way it is without at least an implied description of it. For instance, I can't explain why the sky is blue without first establishing what the sky is or what blue is. You implied what you think reality to be, whether you meant to or not.

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I don't know if it's clear from what I have been saying, but I'm not against rational thought at all. On the contrary, I believe much of what we think is rational thought is not. And that can become a problem.

It goes back to cognitive before normative, identify correctly in order to judge correctly. This includes looking at rational thought itself that way.

Using this system, what do you identify with? What do you judge with? Reason, of course. It didn't go anywhere. It's just not a core storyline or stuff absorbed from the surroundings running on autopilot but dressed up as reason.

Michael

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I just incorporated today!

I am picking up a full frame camera next week (Nikon D800 or a D800E) a tripod/Manfrotto head remote shutter and a Sigma 300-800mm(2month waiting list once I order the lens.)

No I don't expect to become rich but at least I can use the gear purchases for some much needed write offs for a hobby I would do for free anyways!

Plus I definitely like the idea of being able write off gas a portion of my truck and office space/computers etc.

If in the near future i am able to do it full time then all the better!

You are correct Greg in any successful business it takes integrity as well as hard work to maintain and grow those enterprises.

It takes individuals that are willing to take on risks to walk uphill and produce values for their customers. Luck has nothing to do with it. Those that believe in luck invariable receive nothing but "bad luck" and are unwilling to deal with reality and take true responsibilities for their actions.

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I just incorporated today!

I am picking up a full frame camera next week (Nikon D800 or a D800E) a tripod/Manfrotto head remote shutter and a Sigma 300-800mm(2month waiting list once I order the lens.)

No I don't expect to become rich but at least I can use the gear purchases for some much needed write offs for a hobby I would do for free anyways!

Plus I definitely like the idea of being able write off gas a portion of my truck and office space/computers etc.

If in the near future i am able to do it full time then all the better!

You are correct Greg in any successful business it takes integrity as well as hard work to maintain and grow those enterprises.

It takes individuals that are willing to take on risks to walk uphill and produce values for their customers. Luck has nothing to do with it. Those that believe in luck invariable receive nothing but "bad luck" and are unwilling to deal with reality and take true responsibilities for their actions.

Congratulations...

LLC, I hope.

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Yup!!

Smart.

Do not get clever, cute, or, creative. Stay within the lines.

A...

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Yes it will be just like winter driving, slow and steady the main goal being to "keep it between the ditches as you arrive at your destination.

Hey Adam I managed to get some nice captures of those Bohemian Waxwings you like the other day!

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Yes it will be just like winter driving, slow and steady the main goal being to "keep it between the ditches as you arrive at your destination.

Hey Adam I managed to get some nice captures of those Bohemian Waxwings you like the other day!

Yes it will be just like winter driving, slow and steady the main goal being to "keep it between the ditches as you arrive at your destination.

Hey Adam I managed to get some nice captures of those Bohemian Waxwings you like the other day!

Yes it will be just like winter driving, slow and steady the main goal being to "keep it between the ditches as you arrive at your destination.

Hey Adam I managed to get some nice captures of those Bohemian Waxwings you like the other day!

Nice.

Did you post them yet?

I sent your photos from the second site that you put up here to a few folks out West.

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I just incorporated today!

I am picking up a full frame camera next week (Nikon D800 or a D800E) a tripod/Manfrotto head remote shutter and a Sigma 300-800mm(2month waiting list once I order the lens.)

No I don't expect to become rich but at least I can use the gear purchases for some much needed write offs for a hobby I would do for free anyways!

Plus I definitely like the idea of being able write off gas a portion of my truck and office space/computers etc.

If in the near future i am able to do it full time then all the better!

You are correct Greg in any successful business it takes integrity as well as hard work to maintain and grow those enterprises.

It takes individuals that are willing to take on risks to walk uphill and produce values for their customers. Luck has nothing to do with it. Those that believe in luck invariable receive nothing but "bad luck" and are unwilling to deal with reality and take true responsibilities for their actions.

You said it, Jules. :smile:

I'd even rate integrity higher than hard work, because it is what you are that brings people who share your values to do business with you.

I've also been doing your idea with a different product. I call it microbusiness because it is everything that a regular business is, except on a very tiny scale. Right now it's still just a hobby I enjoy doing in my free time, but so far the sales have been able to pay off the design, prototype, testing, material, tooling, and production costs. So I'm happy just to break even.

It's essential to do something creative where you can manifest your own vision in the real world. We need it to live just like we need food. I'm happy for you and wish you well in your new business. Enjoy the adventure! :smile:

Greg

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Here you go.

I'm not sure I see why you think things "that happen in reality" would be different than--or contradictory to--the correct political theory. One of the great triumphs of Objectivism is the merger of the two. That's sort of the whole point.

I don't think I ever said that things that actually happen would be contradictory to the correct political theory.

Anyway, you asked me to get back to you after reading some of those essays. I think the most pertinent and interesting one was this one:

http://www.libertarianism.org/columns/rudolf-rocker-will-power-part-1

Unlike the author of the essay, I will not concern myself here with the history of libertarian ideas, but rather with Rocker's theory of history as it is presented in the essay.

Rocker categorically repudiates the standard Marxian approach to history, according to which historical events and institutions are strictly determined by economic factors—most notably, by the prevalent mode of production. Rocker rejects all attempts to reduce historical causation to one type of cause: “All social phenomena are the result of a series of various causes, in most cases so inwardly related that it is quite impossible clearly to separate one from the other.” Social events and institutions do not arise from mechanistic causes; they are not the “deterministic manifestations of a necessary course of events” but emerge from purposeful human actions. And since “every idea of purpose is a matter of belief which eludes scientific calculation,” social phenomena are contingent rather than necessary, a matter of probability rather than certainty. We cannot say of a particular social process that it must be so, but only, “It may be so, but it does not have to be so.” Social facts are explained by referring “to the beliefs of men.”

I also reject Marxian economic determinism, but I think Rocker sets up a false dichotomy between economic determinism and his own approach. My position is that social events and institutions do arise from mechanistic causes, but they are not reducible to a single aspect of society. Any aspects that feed into collective or distributive power may explain social phenomena, and this includes people's beliefs. However, only the most socially relevant beliefs will count, i.e., major religions and ideologies, as well as the beliefs of extremely powerful individuals.

Rocker cites the conquests of Alexander the Great to illustrate his contention that the will to power has played a more fundamental role throughout history than have purely economic factors.

There are historical events of the deepest significance for millions of men which cannot be explained by their purely economic aspects. Who would maintain, for instance, that the invasions of Alexander were caused by the conditions of production in his time? The very fact that the enormous empire Alexander cemented together with the blood of hundreds of thousands fell to ruin soon after his death proves that the military and political achievements of the Macedonian world were not historically determined by economic necessities. Just as little did they in any way advance the conditions of production of the time. When Alexander planned his wars, lust for power played a far more important part then economic necessity. The desire for world conquest had assumed actually pathological forms in the ambitious despot. His mad power obsession was a leading motive in his whole policy….

Here I think we have what is another false dichotomy. It is true that Alexander the Great was full of power lust. However, so were millions of other people, and yet there is only one Alexander the Great. The thing that distinguishes Alexander from all these others is that he was the son of Phillip II, the man who conquered Greece. After his father's assassination, he made himself King of all of Greece and Macedon, and had the support of an entire civilization in his conquests of Persia and Egypt. If Alexander was born just some poor peasant, he would have died in obscurity, regardless of how much power he wanted.

Rocker maintains that freedom and power are the two great forces that have shaped human history. Freedom is the creative engine of society—the sphere of spontaneous order in which individuals interact voluntarily. Power, in stark contrast, is the sphere of authoritarian control and governmental coercion in which some people attempt to control others through law or other threats of physical violence.

There are three major problems I see with these definitions.

The first is that freedom is essentially being defined as the absence of power. The requirement of "voluntary interaction" makes this pretty clear. Freedom, as a component of the theory, can be reduced entirely to power, the other component. Power, on the other hand, is too restrictively confined to coercion through violence and the threat of violence. Thus, Rocker's theory boils down to the idea that "Physical force (to the degree that it is present or absent) alone shapes human history." The problem with this is that it then effectively ignores every other relevant social force.

The second problem is that the definitions effectively serve to beg the question. The key phrase is: "Freedom is the creative engine of society". Since freedom can be reduced to the absence of power, we can conclude that Rocker believes that society prospers only when coercion is minimized.

The third problem is that freedom and power, as they are defined here, are not actually (always) in opposition. The basic premise of the theory is simply false. For example, one cannot have a powerful military without an advanced economy to support it. At the same time, one cannot have an advanced economy without the military might to defend it.

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There is only one power, and that's the power of each individual. 'Power of society' is an oxymoron.

Come at it any other way or reverse the order:

Individual freedom > economic freedom > military power-

-would entail/invoke mere jingoism or utilitarianism, both of which eventually defeat individual liberty.

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There is only one power, and that's the power of each individual. 'Power of society' is an oxymoron.

Come at it any other way or reverse the order:

Individual freedom > economic freedom > military power-

-would entail/invoke mere jingoism or utilitarianism, both of which eventually defeat individual liberty.

Be careful of gross, distorting reductionism. That society has power is merely economical shorthand for what's going on in its name or generally around you. This reductionism is valuable from time to time for clear understanding and thinking, but that's not where most discusions take place.

--Brant

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... only the most socially relevant beliefs will count, i.e., major religions and ideologies, as well as the beliefs of extremely powerful individuals.

This is a bit oversimplified. But there is some truth in it.

So the question is why. What makes the communication of these beliefs from one person to another within a culture so powerful that the beliefs themselves become socially relevant?

Here's a great question to go along with this.

How did Ayn Rand get onto the mainstream culture field and why won't she go away after all these years and some well-funded massive campaigns to discredit her ideas (and her) and promote the opposite? Including infiltration of the educational system?

What made her work start competing with "major religions and ideologies" or turn her into an "extremely powerful individual" (celebrity-wise)?

Is it all her nonfiction and technical epistemology?

Or is it the storytelling?

Here's a metaphor that explains things a little better. I mentioned earlier that the aware part of the human brain (where conscious rational thought resides) processes about 40 sensory inputs per second while the rest of the brain processes 11 to 20 million per second, depending on who you read.

That means that a person's will can be compared to a rider on a big-ass elephant, which is the rest of the brain. If the rider wants to go one way, but the elephant wants to go another, the elephant will win no matter what the rider does or how much he cusses and thrashes about. If the rider wants the elephant to go where he wants to go, he has to convince the elephant and make it want to, also.

If you, the reader, want some simple proof of this, just think about how many New Year's resolutions you have made and broken in your life. Your "rider" was convinced you needed to do these things, but your "elephant" wasn't having any of it. And the elephant won. The elephant has to want it to do it and make it stick.

How does that work in society? Easy. We learn how to convince this metaphorical elephant and all the rest follows. Power. Freedom. Slavery. Revolution. Complacency. Whatever you want.

Then if you want to use weird terms like "distributive power" and "collective power" and all that stuff, you're free to do so. But it's like the story of the six blind men trying to describe an elephant by feeling it with their hands. One says it's a rope, another a tree trunk, another a hose, another a fan, and so on. And they end up fighting each other over who is right.

If you look at major religions and ideologies, they are collections of stories that have been honed over countless retellings. Think about the telephone game where one person calls another to convey a message. That person calls another. And that person calls another. And so on. The message the last person receives is only similar to the original one. But if you can identify a part of the message that survives that is identical from beginning to end, you will have discovered the element that is universal to (and resonates with) all the callers.

That is the way the stories in religions, myths, ideologies, etc. work and why the same story patterns keep repeating throughout history. The process is countless retellings, and the result is honing and polishing of universals in a manner that can be communicated and have relevance from one person to the next.

That, universal story patterns and messages, is the language the elephant speaks. That is the only way to make the elephant want something different than it currently wants.

And if you can convince the rider to go along, too, you don't have to do anything else. (btw - The rider speaks reason, not elephant-talk. So getting both going in the same direction is far better than just getting the elephant to go.)

Ayn Rand spoke elephant language with her fiction despite all her themes of reason. She added the technical stuff for the rider later. That's why she won't go away in the culture. She talks to the elephant instead of just feeling it with her hands and declaring she is right while the other blind men are wrong. (She unfortunately ended up doing some of that, too, in her technical stuff, but her elephant-talk is what sells in gobs year after year.)

If you want to change power structures, change the stories in the culture and the power changes all by itself.

That bears repeating.

If you want to change power structures, change the stories in the culture and the power changes all by itself.

This is my biggest beef with depicting the Founding Fathers as villains (power-mongering white slave-owners as their true essence) and things like that. We need our heroes. They can have blemishes, but they still need to be heroes in the culture to work at keeping power structures in place--including checks and balances.

The left knows how to talk to the elephant. Radical Islamic people know how to talk to the elephant. Cult-leaders know how to talk to the elephant. Even tin-pot dictators know how to talk to the elephant (albeit they present themselves as lame-ass heroes, but it still works).

Freedom-loving people are just now starting to play catch-up ball and bring back the stories that caused things like the shot heard around the world.

And here's a great cause for whoever wants to promote it (I am starting to do so, myself):

Freedom Elephant Rising.

Michael

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Here's a great question to go along with this.

How did Ayn Rand get onto the mainstream culture field and why won't she go away after all these years and some well-funded massive campaigns to discredit her ideas (and her) and promote the opposite? Including infiltration of the educational system?

I believe that it was because she was able to put into words what it means to be a free man. She rung a bell that can never be unrung.

What made her work start competing with "major religions and ideologies" or turn her into an "extremely powerful individual" (celebrity-wise)?

There is nothing more powerful than people who live by principles which have been put into words. The words are just the means of communication. It's the higher purpose they serve in which resides all of the power.

Is it all her nonfiction and technical epistemology?

Or is it the storytelling?

Both.

There is no finer way to express knowledge than utilizing a story as its vessel, as it both protects its principles from damage while safely transporting it from generation to generation... one mind at a time.

Here's a metaphor that explains things a little better. I mentioned earlier that the aware part of the human brain (where conscious rational thought resides) processes about 40 sensory inputs per second while the rest of the brain processes 11 to 20 million per second, depending on who you read.

That means that a person's will can be compared to a rider on a big-ass elephant, which is the rest of the brain. If the rider wants to go one way, but the elephant wants to go another, the elephant will win no matter what the rider does or how much he cusses and thrashes about. If the rider wants the elephant to go where he wants to go, he has to convince the elephant and make it want to, also.

If you, the reader, want some simple proof of this, just think about how many New Year's resolutions you have made and broken in your life. Your "rider" was convinced you needed to do these things, but your "elephant" wasn't having any of it. And the elephant won. The elephant has to want it to do it and make it stick.

How does that work in society? Easy. We learn how to convince this metaphorical elephant and all the rest follows. Power. Freedom. Slavery. Revolution. Complacency. Whatever you want.

What you just described is possible because we are not our thoughts. We are that which silently chooses which thought we will act upon and which we will not.

If you want to change power structures, change the stories in the culture and the power changes all by itself.

There is also the other matching side to that principle. And it is people freely choosing to believe one story and not another.

That is the basic choice between good and evil each of us makes.

Greg

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There is only one power, and that's the power of each individual. 'Power of society' is an oxymoron.

Come at it any other way or reverse the order:

Individual freedom > economic freedom > military power-

-would entail/invoke mere jingoism or utilitarianism, both of which eventually defeat individual liberty.

You are so right, Tony.

Power is bottom up not top down.

When people make the choice to believe the lie that power comes from the top down, it includes the lie that they are helpless innocent victims of unjust oppression... when the truth is that they are the only ones who are guilty of oppressing themselves by their own choice to reject the truth to believe a lie.

Greg

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And it is people freely choosing to believe one story and not another.

Greg,

That's the rider's job, not the elephant's job.

(Both rider and elephant being in each individual.)

The rub is trying to convince the elephant that the new story is better than the one it already believes.

Michael

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And it is people freely choosing to believe one story and not another.

Greg,

That's the rider's job, not the elephant's job.

(Both rider and elephant being in each individual.)

The rub is trying to convince the elephant that the new story is better than the one it already believes.

Michael

That's because only reality has the power to convince both the elephant and the rider. :wink:

Greg

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.from #63

Thus, Rocker's theory boils down to the idea that "Physical force (to the degree that it is present or absent) alone shapes human history." The problem with this is that it then effectively ignores every other relevant social force.

I suspect freedom or lack of coersive force is the most powerful 'social' force and that most other forces are either not properly identified or are consequences of human action when coersion is less prevalent.

What are some examples of the social forces so ignored?

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the truncated paladin

180px-Richard_Boone_Paladin_1962.JPG
magnify-clip.png
Richard Boone in the 1962 episode, "Genesis," before becoming the famed "knight without armor," Paladin.

hgwt_card.gif

"A knight without armor in a savage land."

-from the theme song

Have_Gun%E2%80%93Will_Travel.jpg

Richard Boone as Paladin

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