Monday, November 22, 2010

The Great Religion

I've spent much time in the thought about the nature of government, and how the whole concept needs a serious overhaul.  Over time, things were thought of, reasons weighed, and ideas discarded when they became workable, and I came across the root of the problem.

The government is a group of people.  However, so are the Salvation Army, Wal-Mart, and Slashdot.  It also applies to cliques, families, and even neighborhoods.  True, there's also infrastructure, but what difference is there between them?  The government claims to have justification to perform violence on others, and to be fair, it is designed for the purpose of preventing people from predating one another.  So, what separates the Government from a security company, or an arbitration agency?  Why are they given more latitude, and more power that the former two organizations.

The Law.

There is a strange sort of not-worship involving the Law.  People refuse to believe that they consider it a religion, but then they spout phrases like "Everyone's equal in the eyes of the Law," "Nobody is above the Law," and "You can't escape the long arm of the Law."  People evoke the power of the law as a sort of mantra, and then they determine right or wrong based on whether something is legal or illegal.  Then they give all members of the organization supposedly representing "The Law" with all the respect they would give angels or saints (or whatever exalted clergy they have in their respective religions).

This can have a nasty effect on the ego of people who are endowed with the awesome power of such reverence.  They realize there's a lot they can do, and they don't have to answer for it, or they'll have a free pass.  They have immense amounts of power over the actions of others with little need for effort, and fewer repercussions for their actions than a "non-law" person would have.  After all, the people they have to answer to are also people they spend a lot of time around, there's naturally going to be some bonding at this point, so they would begin to have the "Us vs. Them" mentality against everyone who has grievances against them.

This is not to say that police, judges, politicians, etc. can't be good people.  They can, and I have an inordinate amount of respect for those people who actually put effort into preventing the power from going to their heads.  But the fact that the only motivation to stay good is an inhuman level of self-control is in itself, a large source of the problems.

And if the government is the clergy and chapels to this "Church of Law," just who is the god?  Statistical superiority.  The god of Law is the largest number of people, so it is important to stay on that group's good side.  This is done by saying a little prayer in the form of a ballot once every so often, and then talking about it afterward in the vain hope that it would somehow affect the decision of the numerical superior.  Then, you need to obey the edicts handed down by this god, or its representatives in the clergy.

Any who disobey the "Law," regardless of just how morally just the law was in the first place, are immediately looked at as heretics, and persecuted by the above clergy.  They will be robbed, threatened, caged, paraded in a pretense of good faith, and in some cases, killed.  The last likelihood increases greatly depending on the moral disposition of the policeman and the willingness of the persecuted to defend himself.

All this, because the Law is given more importance than it should really have... a good idea that should be limited to protecting people from violence.  When it becomes more important than life, self-security, and freedom, then it is no longer a good idea.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Free Trade and the Corporation

When getting into a discussion about whether or not the free market is a good idea, one thing seems to find its way in, under the assumption that it exist in the free market: the actions of the corporations. In the standard argument, if a government didn't have anything to do with the market, then the corporations will cause all manner of problems for the independents and the consumers in order to get the most profit.

This argument falls on its face for two reasons.

The first reason is that the corporation is a fictional legal construct made by laws; it is only by a government's say-so that a corporation even exists. As such, it is absolutely impossible for a corporation to exist in a free market, because its existence is a direct result of government interference.

The other reason involves what gives a corporation its power, money. Money is a measure of value, and thanks to a whole string of laws dating back in the United States since 1913, it is the sole legal source of currency in the United States, which consists of papers that depend on the debt produced at the time of its delivery into the market. This debt is controlled by (surprise!) a corporation that has some oversight by the United States government, the Federal Reserve Bank.

Of course, there is merit to the idea that corporations can exist without law, because the government is a corporation, right? In this case, the corporation exists because you either go along with the fiction, or you will be extorted, robbed, beaten, thrown in a cage, or even killed, depending on how determined you are to ignore the fiction. And since the general public, afraid of the consequences, go along with the fiction to be allowed to continue living, they will look at you as a criminal for daring to ignore the "law."

So, keep in mind the next time you want to state that corporations take advantage of the "free market,"  just remember that they don't exist, and can't exist in a free market.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Question of Constitution

The founding principle of the United States used to be 'freedom.'  The problem is that people forget this is a principle, and start adding provisos and exceptions, with whole categories of 'except' and 'but,' with a whole honking hoard of 'unless' mixed in for good measure.

A principle is simple.  It cannot have exceptions.  If there are exceptions, then it's no longer a principle, and you should probably stop trying to claim you believe in it.

The Constitution was designed to safeguard the principle of freedom as best it could, but with time, the body of law and education superseded it with a whole lot of rhetoric.  Now you have a mess of prohibitions, regulations, and mandates that have nothing at all to do with protecting the freedom of its citizens, and the government, charged with enforcing the very law that limits it, gives said law the broadest definition it can so that it can get away with as much as it can.  After all, a lot of people (often with money) want these laws, and someone wants to be re-elected, right?  And of course, if you don't pass new laws, you're not doing your job as congressman/senator, are you?

Freedom is simple: "You are your own sole owner, and nobody but you has right or responsibility over you."  This implies two things: 'you can do whatever you want to yourself,' and 'you can't do whatever you want to someone else.'  Additionally, property is a combination of free will, effort and unowned natural resources, so, for the purposes of this principle, it qualifies that property is a part of self.  Consent is used to share right and responsibility, and to give property away, but it must be given willingly to be just.  If anything, life, actions, property, etc. is taken from a person by force, it cannot be just according to the principle of freedom.

This above principle fits every single form of violence you can name: theft, assault, rape, murder, slavery, kidnapping, torture, etc.  The above principle also defies the justness of any law that prevents, regulates, or enforces activities between two consenting individuals.

I commend the Founding Fathers for their attempts at maximizing liberty using the Constitutional Contract, but it's become apparent that it is no longer working, and that there's really not much point to constitutionality.  It was bound to fail as long as the government it created was allowed to define, refine, and interpret it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Church and State

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
- Thomas Jefferson

The separation of church and state is a point of pride to many American people.  However, were they to see the reality of the Law, they may not be so bold in their claims.

The American government is broken down into this design:
  • Representatives are decided upon by the largest group of people.
  • These representatives then decide what is right on behalf of the largest group of people.
  • Other representatives and their staff enforce the decision on not just the largest group of people, but on all people, punishing those who behave in a "wrong" way.
  • These representatives appoint men to a position to judge those who are claimed to behave in the wrong way.
  • The rules that govern these representatives are under these representatives' control.
So, what you have is a group of people who decide morality, judge people on that decision, punish people for being "wrong," and also have control over the rules that govern them.

Now, "the will of the whole people," what is this?  This is the belief that all people agreed to this in the first place.  Now, when was the last time, in all the history you remember, that a popular vote was unanimous?  Certainly not in all the time i've been alive.  So, if a vote was not unanimous, meaning that all voting individuals agreed to a single vote, how can "whole" be applied to people?

It can't.

The "will of the people" is an illusion, designed for rhetoric to give the listener the impression that everyone agrees, despite the fact that the unlucky fewer who were ignored and sidelined had disagreed.  This is never mentioned when speaking of "the will of the people."  However, the "will of the people" are used as a reason for new things to be determined good or bad, and therefore enforced.

So, in essence, it seems that government is one big religion, with "the will of the people" as a form of God, lawmakers and judges as their high priests, lawyers as clergy, and the police and military as the paladins and crusaders of the order.   And the law itself is scripted in the penal code, the order's bible.

Separation of church and state is thus impossible, as the state is a church.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Force Multipliers

Having been laid off, I certainly understand the fear one has about no longer having an income to sustain oneself, but I hear a lot of people talk about looking everywhere for work, and not finding it.  Of course, where I live is pretty well-populated, so while there's a lot of jobs available, there's also a lot of people around to fill them.

However, a lot of people seem to have the impression that they need to throw the fishing line in for each job in order to come up with something.  They play the numbers game in an additive way, putting in anywhere from 5-30 lines in the water at any given time.

Well, it is a numbers game.  The more lines in the water, the more the likelihood of catching a fish, possibly a big one.

The interesting thing about the numbers game is that many play it in an additive way, wearing themselves out in order to place so many lines in the water.  This can be an especially difficult situation if each line requires watching, and possibly maintenance.  This can result in a maximum number of lines at any given time, since any more would be unsustainable.

There is a military phrase that should be used in non-military applications far more often than it is.  "Force Multiplication."  Force multiplication improves the ability of each member of a group, thereby "multiplying" the ability of the group to accomplish the goal in question, and can also divide the necessary maintenance, thereby resulting in a massive net gain with little effort.

If you have 30 lines in the water, and you double each one's effectiveness, then you've got the equivalent of 60 lines in the water.  If you find a way to cause those lines to work together, say making them into a net, then you've essentially increased the effectiveness by an order of magnitude, and reduced the maintenance by a similar order of magnitude.

While the fishing metaphor isn't quite accurate (as I'm hardly a fisherman, and I know a 30-line net isn't going to catch much, sans lures), it does apply to many things outside of military lore.  The search for employment is one such thing.

Think about this: in a business, a project will consist of many different kinds of people.  Each person will have some specialty in a relevant piece of the project, and therefore, can accomplish that piece far better than an average person.  By combining these experts into one project, you've essentially multiplied the ability of the project to exceed demands.  This is not limited to "projects" of the corporate sense, but also can apply to personal or community projects.  In essence, the combination of experts can multiply the force of work towards a goal.

There are force-multipliers for the job market.  Temporary agencies and contract agencies essentially combine specialists and connected people into a group that can essentially handle the equivalent groundwork, in a day, to what a single person would need a whole week to accomplish.  By themselves, such agencies are a powerful force multiplier.

There are force-multipliers for the dating world.  You could go to nice places where you are likely to meet the people you want to spend time with, but, like the job market above, there is very little efficiency in the practice, especially given the limited information one has on any potential interest they encounter.  Many exes from hell are encountered in this way.  Granted, there's also stories of "dating site exes from hell" stories out there, but at least the field can be effectively narrowed a lot quicker and more effectively through such sites than it can in a bar or a library (or any other place you care to name).

There are force-multipliers for hobbies out there.  As previous posts have mentioned, I have a particular interest in making my own tools; custom-made tools means a hobby can be fined tuned to fit your needs, and with far less cost, and in less time than it can if you were to search out and buy all your tools.  With good scavenging skills (dumpster diving, curbside collection, etc.), you might not even need a lot of materials... never mind recycling materials like plastic and metal, or desoldering and collecting items like electronic components, from those things you might otherwise throw out. (Although I can't stress enough you MUST be careful about ensuring some high-voltage equipment like CRT displays are drained... there's no efficiency in dying a horrible, painful, and particularly gruesome death, or ending up a vegetable)

All these examples cover the exact same thing; applying something to your actions that multiply their effectiveness, rather than just working harder to add to your effectiveness.  As the saying goes, "Work smarter, not harder."  Whatever you do, take a few minutes, and actually look at the steps you are following.  See what you can do to multiply their effectiveness, whether it is to increase speed, decrease cost and/or effort, and possibly to do things in parallel.  You might just see a new way to accomplish your goals a lot faster than you would if you wore yourself out with hard work.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Keeping the Constitution on Trial

Remember this simple set of points in order to ensure that the constitutional arguments cannot be expelled in a court without making the judge look bad as a result. Just remember that this will work much better if the court is populated with neutral onlookers as well as biased visitors.

The first law in each state is the state constitution. This is the law that defines the positions of the state officials. The role for judges, legislators, and enforcement personnel are all defined by a constitution, whether it be city, state, or federal. In addition, their limits are also defined by the constitution. Without the constitution, the laws passed by legislators have no meaning, and the actions of police and judges have no authority.

In essence, if the constitution does not apply to a case, then there can be no case, because without a constitution, the court, jury, judge, and all police personnel have no authority, and the laws passed are not enforceable without severe loss of face.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Words of Cognitive Dissonance

I'm lying.

The above phrase was used by a Captain James T. Kirk in order to confuse a robot into a sort of mental paradox where two conflicting statements are simultaneously accepted as truth, even at the same time that they are rejected as lies. After all, if Jim was lying, then he was telling the truth. If he was telling the truth, then he was lying.

This is the basis of the more generalized concept known as "Cognitive Dissonance," where two conflicting facts vie to be accepted to a person's worldview. While it's not nearly as fatal to a human being, it does have a side effect; a person who suffers cognitive dissonance becomes uncomfortable with the topic, and either attempts to change the topic, or ignores anything that conflicts with it in the hope that it will go away.

Generally, the correct action to prevent cognitive dissonance is to reject the incorrect concept. However, when some evidence turns up to conflict with a deeply-held belief, rejecting a foundation of your combined sum of knowledge can make this a difficult process. The more deep the belief, the more dissonance you will need to experience before you can finally reject that deeply-held belief for something more realistic. Some can never release the incorrect belief, either because it was too deeply placed, or because there's too much fear of the alternative.

Before I continue, let's read an excerpt from The Golden Apple, by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea.

At this point, it would seem prudent to make a clearer distinction, and offer my own definition of the word fnord, as well as contra-fnord, which is actually what the word 'law' is.
  • Fnord: (n.) A word or concept that people are conditioned to feel discomfort and/or fear at its observation. Its absence results in comfort.
  • Contra-fnord: (n.) A word or concept that people are conditioned to feel comfort at its observation. Its absence results in discomfort and/or fear.
Fnords and contra-fnords differ from normal phobias and comforts in that they are intentionally laid down as conditioning, sometimes through some form of hypnosis, but more commonly through a longer-term, systemic process of repetition, such as the training one receives in schools.

Examples of fnords are 'illegal' and 'sin.' Anything associated with these words are generally feared by the general populace, and often laws are formed specifically to give a subset of this population, called 'law enforcers' the permission to attack those people associated with these words.

Examples of contra-fnords are 'legal,' 'sacred,' and 'mandatory.' Anything associated with these words are generally permitted by the general populace, and those who have/do anything associated with these words are generally safe from attack by the above 'law enforcers.'

Laws are considered the key tool to direct fnords and counter-fnords. Any time someone fears a specific thing, they can add that thing to the fnord association, thereby ensuring that future generations of people will consider that thing as positive or negative, and act accordingly.

Fnords and contra-fnords are most easily laid down during childhood, which the children do not know enough to counter the questionable claims. The above excerpt also mentioned hypnosis in passing, but such a step, while expedient, is not absolutely necessary if the conditioning begins early enough in life.

The purpose of a fnord is essentially to encourage people to avoid inconsistencies, rather than resolving them. It's much easier to say that marijuana is illegal than to explain why it's actually bad. It's much easier to claim national security as a reason to keep those Spanish-speaking people from coming to one's hometown, instead of actually explaining that one does not wish to speak Spanish. And it's MUCH easier to blame the breakdown of families on homosexuals than to think about the breakdown on individual responsibility.

This encouragement causes ignorance of contradiction and inconsistency. People who ignore contradiction and inconsistency are easier to control. Their lives become easier, because alternatives are safely kept away from them. They become slaves, while still believing they are free, and as a result, are much easier to fleece.

The worst happens, though, when the aware are no longer around. The fleecing will continue, but the masters will believe the very same story that the slaves do, and eventually, the lie becomes the master in place of the liar, and becomes a twisted dance of inconsistency and contradiction.

The examples are numerous: How do police "protect and serve?" By attacking and commanding. How is freedom maintained? By passing prohibitions, mandating behavior, and killing or locking in cages everyone who disagrees with one's definition of freedom. What are rights? Benefits mandated of the providers of goods and services. How is freedom spread? By committing mass-murder.

Those who can "see the fnords" will recognize the above as completely accurate, if negative in its display. Those who are conditioned by the fnords see the above as mischaracterization and possibly downright lies. After all, it's not locking in cages if it's arresting a person. And it's not mass-murder if war is declared, right? And police serve by attacking those who do not obey the law, right? Even if the law is nothing more than a list of commands.

If one is surrounded by illusions, they may very well get hurt by what's really there. This applies when one is walking about in darkness, or under a hallucination; when someone walks in an area that they cannot observe what's there, they may hit, step on, or trip over something, possibly hurting themselves in the process.

The same applies for life. The purpose of living is to maximize one's happiness while minimizing one's misery, and similarly preventing harm and death to oneself. One cannot live free if they cannot see life for what it is, they may act against their own health, survival, or happiness in the effort to comply to some rule that may benefit someone else at their own expense.

In order to escape this trap, cognitive dissonance must be recognized and used. Flawed ideas need to be rejected, and consistency retained. Discard the illusion, take the red pill, look at the fnords, and be free. Learn to live in the real world, no longer fettered by the fnords and contra-fnords in a system gone insane. And find what it truly means to be happy.