Archive for November, 2015

AnCap vs. Conservatism

November 18, 2015

I am intrigued by AnCap (Anarcho-Capitalism). The philosophy seems robust: Just let people choose their own government, vote with their dollars, etc…

The thinking behind AnCap goes something like this. If we had no government, then people would contract out security services which would represent them, the customer. These security services would work together to come to some sort of amicable resolution in disputes, since fighting is more costly than peaceful negotiations. Thus, everyone can have the “government” the choose, at a price they seem is fair.

I honestly wonder where AnCappers think government came from in the first place. It’s pretty clear in the history of England how governments emerge and grow.

At first, there were tribes and villages, each independent. They got along more or less ok, since there was a sort of truce between them. Since most people were just interested in farming, raising livestock, and raising families, there was little reason to fight each other. When fights did arise, they would either duke it out or resolve the disputes among themselves. This kind of arrangement isn’t uncommon in the world. In fact, where these arrangements exist, laws are eventually agreed upon and sometimes even people are appointed to execute on those laws.

When foreign powers came to invade England, the tribes would unite, usually electing a temporary king, and thus come to each other’s defense. This worked out great, more or less, until the raids and invasions became so common that it made sense to have a permanent king who commanded the militia and could summon them at will.

Having a permanent king worked even better. Now the king could do things like ensure people had the right kinds of equipment and training, and he could quickly organize them into a command structure and even wage war in different parts of the country at the same time.

It worked great, that is, until they faced a greater foreign threat than they had the resources to fight. Or rather, the king was too weak to call up a large enough army and next thing you know, the French are running England. Had the king had even more power, perhaps England would’ve been able to face the French properly. Regardless, that kind of government was now present in England, whether they voted for it or not.

This is every AnCapper’s nightmare: What happens when a bunch of people get together and decide that they want your stuff, and they aren’t willing to trade? If you can’t muster a large enough army to protect it, your best bet is to accept whatever crumbs they offer you. Perhaps the chains of slavery and servitude will rest lightly on your wrists.

This is why most anarchist philosophies fail. If we lived in a world where people didn’t raise large armies and try to invade each other, anarchy would be a completely reasonable solution. But people *do* decide to do that, they have and they forever will. Unless I’m missing something about human nature, I’m pretty sure that we carry the same genes that Hitler and Napoleon had, and I’m pretty sure any of our kids could grow up to be just like them.

Conservatism has, at its core, an acceptance of the way things actually are. We live in the world we live in. Things are pretty bad when you consider the human condition. None of us can call themselves good. All of us have flaws. We can’t trust any of us to be an absolute leader, lest they abuse that power and harm us. On this, we agree with anarchists: people make terrible rulers, and we should seriously think of ways to get rid of government.

Conservatives also believe that in addition to the material world, there are things like “rights”, “justice”, and “good”. Conservatives believe that we have a duty to secure these things, by force, if necessary. That means, we are willing to kill people who disagree with us in certain ways. IE, if you think it’s ok to murder someone, we’re going to kill you. If you think you can use military force to abuse the rights of people, we’re going to kill you. If you try to make a slave, we’ll kill you.

Obviously, we don’t like to kill, and it is good to give people a chance to change their ways, and we don’t have the power to figure out who exactly needs to be killed nor have all the power to execute them, but ultimately, conservatives are willing to pick up a gun and kill someone when absolutely necessary.

I think this is where we really diverge from AnCappers. An AnCapper, seeing someone enslaved to someone else, might say, “Well, that’s unfortunate. They shouldn’t have let themselves be enslaved. And the slaveowner should really consider if they are getting the maximum value out of the slave by keeping him as a slave. Wouldn’t you both make more money if you entered into a voluntary agreement?”

A conservative would use force to free the slave, even killing the slave owner if necessary.

Or, in the case of a murder in progress, an AnCapper might say, “Gee, they should’ve spent more money on their security detail. I’m sure they would be willing to trade all of their material wealth for their life at this point! They should’ve thought of that before this situation arose.” All the while, they would carefully consider the economic benefit of intervening to protect the victim.

A conservative would kill the murderer.

Because of the nature of the material world, governments exist. Even AnCappers agree that there is an economic benefit to combining capital to form security companies, which are just governments, albeit weak and limited ones.

In the business of making governments, conservatives know that things always go wrong. So we believe in the principles of the Constitution, which is a really good attempt to get all the good bits of the different kinds of government, and keep all the bad bits in check. We know that government is the ideal home for evil people. Therefore, we put these checks in to keep government under control. And then conservatives use the power of the constitution to keep things under control, treating each violation of the fundamental principles as a gross infringement on all of them.

AnCappers suppose that economic forces will keep their security companies under control. They suppose that if one security company becomes more popular than all the others, they would never, ever consider using violence to subjugate the customers of another security company, nor would they exploit their own customers. I mean, if the big security company decided that they were going to raise rates, and if you disagreed or wanted to leave, then they would take all of your assets and force you to continue to subscribe–I mean, why would any company ever choose to do such a thing? I mean, never has any entity that uses force ever used its force to do things in its own self-interest at the cost of others, right? (That’s sarcasm. Entities which use force often use that force to harm others in their own self-interest, frustrating the economic win-win of voluntary trade.)

AnCappers would do well to contemplate what sort of government we should have rather than contemplate what life would be like without government. I value their contributions in pointing out how when choices boil down to simple economics, rational people will make decisions that not only benefit themselves, but as a completely unintended side effect, benefit others. But they do not consider what irrational people will do if given the same freedom that the rational deserve.

In other words, evil is real, and it requires violence to keep it contained. Conservatives are willing to use that violence, and AnCappers hope it would just go away.

My Perspective on France

November 16, 2015

The destruction in France is horrible. It doesn’t matter if it’s one life or thousands. It doesn’t matter if it’s French lives or Syrian lives, it’s horrible. We have a wake-up call in France. What happened in France has been happening in Syria and Iraq for some time.

In our world, we cannot tolerate murder, even a little bit. We must be vigilant in bringing murderers to justice and taking threats of murder very seriously and responding to them with force.

I believe that people have a God-given right to live. They should live as long as they can on this earth. This implies that people that try to prematurely end life need to be killed. It is not enough to contain them. Threats of murder must be faced with killing those who so threaten.

ISIS is an organization that has threatened and continues to threaten murder. As a civilized society, we must take their threats seriously and respond by killing them and destroying their organization.

The nature of ISIS and other Islamic terrorists makes it incumbent on every able-bodied male to keep and bear arms. We must take responsibility for our own security and not rely on government to do everything for us. Government is useful for organizing large-scale responses such as war. They are not so effective in securing individual homes and places of business.

Whenever a country is exporting refugees, we must consider first that our responsibility is not to shelter the refugees permanently. We may shelter them temporarily, but we do not need to integrate them into our society. Our attention should be focused on ending the problems in their home country that causes them to flee in the first place.

There is a difference between someone who is moving from one country to do business or find a better life, and people who are fleeing their country because of war.

Like it or not, as the sole superpower, the United States has a responsibility for the overall security of the nations. That doesn’t mean we should go it alone, but it does mean we are who everyone looks to when there is a world problem. I propose that we abandon the United Nations and establish the United States as the meeting ground where countries come to discuss their problems. When there is a world-wide issue, we should assume leadership and organize the countries of the world to address the problem. Not commanding them to do one thing or another, but soliciting their opinion, ensuring that everyone gets a chance to state their piece. Then we decide what to do, and if that involves working with other like-minded nations, we take leadership and delegate responsibilities appropriately. If there is going to be a large-scale operation involving many nations, we are the ones who need to establish how much each country should donate.

One thing we must encourage is for advanced nations to build and maintain an effective military that they can use to respond to international events. They may need to respond to immediate threats unilaterally, and we (as a world) may need to call on their help to respond to larger, more on-going issues.

In terms of what we should expect as minimum behavior from any state is the following.

  • Sending and receiving ambassadors to the United States and other countries.
  • Respecting borders, cultures, and political differences by securing their own country against threats and preventing their country from exporting things such as terrorism.
  • A basic respect for the most fundamental rights, such as life, liberty, and self-determination.

When a country acts in bad faith, making threats to its neighbors and supporting terrorists, then is the time we need to act, and we need to act decisively. The action would be to depose the government and hold free and fair elections. For as long as the people elect leaders who act in bad faith, we will continue to occupy their country. When they elect governments who respect other countries, then they are put on probation. After a certain time period, we can safely withdraw our coalition military forces and count the country as one of the advanced ones.

There are those who complain that we (and other countries) shouldn’t pay to clean up countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. They must remember that there is a cost to not doing so, and I believe the cost of not doing so outweighs the cost of doing so, both in terms of human life and capital.

We can and should work towards building a world where people can travel freely between the countries, where we can safely assume that anyone we meet is not going to try to kill us, and where different cultures and religions can be respected. We can and should use force when those ideals are not met.

Let me give an example on how the world can respond to North Korea. As of today, North Korea has shown itself to be belligerent and murderous. South Korea has tried to deal with this problem, but Japan and China are also interested. China has been, historically, a protector of North Korea. However, pressure applied from the international community can perhaps persuade China to support some basic reforms in North Korea, particularly reforms regarding belligerence. If North Korea doesn’t respond to these reforms, then is the time I think we are justified to use military force, with whatever allied nations are in agreement, invade North Korea and dismantle their military. While we are up there, we can hold free and fair elections where the people of North Korea can decide who should be their new government and what their constitution should be. We would remain in North Korea for fifty years or more, enough to ensure that North Korea’s government would be perpetually peaceful.

China would resist, particularly because China doesn’t believe in free and fair elections. Thus, it would be in China’s interests to convince North Korea to cease its belligerence to prevent an invasion and consequent elections. China’s best move would be to choose peace. As long as a country is peaceful with its neighbors, and respects (more or less) basic human rights, we have no cause to invade.

In Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the solution is obvious. We should be leading a coalition force to secure the country. Since Assad has been, more or less, peaceful, we could restore his control. However, we would remain in Syria for 50 years or more, until we could be assured that something like ISIS never happens again.

It is inarguable that Obama’s foreign policy has been anything but a disaster. Rather than dwell on past mistakes, it’s time we asserted ourselves and stood for basic, common-sense foreign policy. We should not be scared of resorting to war, especially in this day and age when our military capability plus the military capability of peaceful nations dwarfs theirs. We should use the threat of war to bring belligerent nations and entities to the discussion table, and exchange peace for peace.

Sacred Cow Tipping

November 12, 2015

There are certain sacred cows in our society that we seem even to forbid ourselves the thought of tipping them. I’ll start with the most inflammatory ones and move on from there. The point is in the last paragraph, not that anyone who is offended by anything I think will ever read it.

Let’s start with these. Gender is encoded in every cell of everyone’s body, and it affects how people function physically, mentally, and spiritually. Thus, there are no transgender people, only crazy people who need to be convinced that their body is not trying to tell them they are something they are not.

A healthy society requires that men and women behave certain ways. Men should behave a certain way. Women should behave a certain way. That doesn’t make men better or worse than women. In fact, those who think men “get to” behave a certain way and are thus superior to women are actually saying that men are better than women, not the other way around. A true feminist would focus their efforts in exemplifying what women are actually better at, not trying to make women into men. A true feminist would find no quarrel with a true masculinist. Both would be trying to make their sexes better. Having better men and better women is not a bad idea!

Homosexuality is an abomination and gross perversion. Our bodies are simply not built for it, and it is physically harmful. There are no benefits to it, and no one should ever engage in it. I look forward to the day when people who engage in it are rightfully labelled as sick and they can get treatment for their illness.

Speaking of sex, sexual relations are only appropriate inside the marriage bond between male and female. Everywhere else, it is a perversion and brings all sorts of problems, not the least of which is out-of-wedlock child birth, AKA **** children. Yes, it’s a word so evil that it is censored in polite society, but it is that way because it is a horrible, horrible thing that polite people don’t even like to think about. But really, if that were the only evil, it wouldn’t be so bad. Sexual relations cause certain emotions to appear, and when people violate those emotions, it hurts very deeply. This hurt goes way beyond the two individuals who violated each other, and extends across generations. A very possible reason you are sad is because you took sexual relations too lightly, and you didn’t bother to try and mate for life with one individual.

People who try to make sexual relations outside of marriage look anything but wrong are actually sick, perverted people. Think about it: grown men telling young women that it’s perfectly normal and good to have sexual relations before marriage — what would you call that? If a man told my daughter that, I’d kick him out of the house and tell everyone that he is a perverted freak who should be locked up. That is, if I could restrain myself from killing the man. And yet, when the TV or movies teach that, what is our reaction? Frankly, any TV show or movie that says it is OK to have extra-marital sexual relations is perverted and has no business being shown to anyone, let alone my family. It’s quite a different experience not being force-fed the message that sex doesn’t matter, that homosexuals are perfectly normal, etc… Cutting the cable was the best thing I have ever done.

I think it’s fairly obvious why people are so insistent that sexual liberty be preached from every corner, and sane sexual relationships be villified and mocked: It’s because they are perverted. They are sick and broken, and need professional help. We shouldn’t be elevating them to positions of honor and recognition.

I think it’s fairly obvious that these perverted freaks have lead us down a path of sorrow and broken homes, and its time we stopped listening to them. I think we can safely blame at least 90% of society’s problems on out-of-wedlock sexual relations. The remedy is to keep your pants on until you get married, and being very careful about how you approach marriage. If we’re going to get there, it’s going to be by pointing out perversions when they present themselves and demonstrating a better way with our own lives. It’s going to require we re-program our culture. It’s going to require we take back our media and stop shoving fistfuls of dollars at those who are trying to pervert us.

Here’s another sacred cow: No one owes you anything. You don’t deserve a single red cent from government or anyone else. If you want something, you have to earn it, just like everyone else. If you think you deserve something, you’re a spoiled brat, and have no business telling anyone what to do. If someone promises you something, collect as soon as possible. Government is the least reliable in fulfilling their promises, so you should ask for a check up-front rather than a lifetime pension.

And another: You owe everything you are and have to society in general and God in particular. How have you been showing gratitude for your gifts? The very fact that you can trade your goods and services with others is because society has made that possible. No one owes you anything, but you owe everyone else everything. If more people thought like this, we wouldn’t have most of our problems.

I think this is really tied to the sexual relationship bit above. I mean, those who think that because they have an animalistic urge to exercise their procreative powers entitles them to executing upon it are the same as those who claim everyone owes them something but they owe nothing. The way you treat your sexual urges says a lot about how you feel about others. Are you selfish, insistent that only your feelings matter, or do you see it is a tool that, when properly used, can bring great joy to the world? If you’re the former, you really don’t belong in polite society. If the latter, we should build statues to you.

This cow irks me a lot, but it’s low down on the priority list: You really don’t need government. If you simply lived your life the right way, thinking of others as yourself (AKA the Golden Rule), then you wouldn’t need government telling you what to do. On the other hand, people who do need government because they can’t comprehend the Golden Rule won’t be fixed by government. That is, government really isn’t the answer to anything. On the one hand, it’s unnecessary. And on the other hand, it’s insufficient. Government, at best, can only be a small part of society, and then, only if it is given its proper, subservient role to other institutions.

What other institutions? Why, the only institution that can tell a man how to think and act: churches. You need to participate in your church. I don’t mean showing up every Sunday, though that is a good start. I mean taking upon yourself a leadership role, even if that is just living the teachings of your church to the best of your ability. In your family, we need mothers and fathers who are religiously educated and capable of explaining how to live one’s life and turn lives around without using government force. Without this, we have nothing.

Speaking of religion, those who see religion as oppressive miss the entire point. Religion teaches individuals how to act so that government is unnecessary. When religious people misbehave, they need more religion, not less. If you think religions aren’t doing a good job of keeping people well-behaved, have you thought that perhaps you’re part of the problem, since you’re not actually following any of the religions? What would a society without any religion look like? What would tell someone they should do one thing versus another? What would tell them that someone is watching when no one else is? What would tell them how to change and improve themselves?

Government? Really? You want us to worship government as a god?

Speaking of misbehavior in a religious context, AKA, sin, the point of Christianity is not that we all need to be perfect. Every religion teaches that. The point of Christianity is how to reconcile the fact that we aren’t perfect with the fact that we have to be. The core of Christianity is this: It’s going to be OK. As long as we focus on the perfect being Jesus Christ, as long as we try our best to follow him (even though we usually do a pretty bad job at it), as long as we keep turning back to him, it works out. Some people focus on the inward forgiveness and reconciliation they feel in Christianity, but really, it’s all about people actually changing their behavior, not just through force of will (all religions teach that), but through the miracle of learning how to forgive each other and forgive one’s self.

So the sacred cow I’m looking at here is the one that lumps Christianity in with all the other religions, or rather, unfairly lumps any two religions together improperly. The saying goes you can’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Christ taught that you can’t judge a man unless you judge perfectly, and only he knows how to do that, so don’t be silly.

Another sacred cow: Science is not about what we know to be true; it’s about what we know to be false. The record of science is the heap of failed theories and the experiments that disproved them. That’s where we learn not only how wrong we are as human beings but how we figured out how wrong we were. Running around telling people that science proves something or other to be true is doing a disservice to the word science. You can’t prove anything to be true with experiment; you can only prove things to be false.

The final sacred cow is that we’re living in a society where we are taught to hate people who we disagree with. This is not civility or tolerance or compassion. It is the exact opposite. We can only learn by listening to those with new ideas. New ideas are different than the ideas we already have. Knowledge comes from understanding those we disagree with.

Are there any other sacred cows I missed?

Materialism is Logically Inconsistent

November 9, 2015

Materialism is the philosophy that nothing but the material exists. Since the philosophy “nothing but the material exists” is immaterial, it doesn’t exist according to materialism. Therefore, materialism is logically inconsistent.

Also, logic is immaterial, so it doesn’t exist according to materialism. So why are we even arguing using logic?

All Scientists Must Be Christian (and Vice-Versa)

November 9, 2015

Another inflammatory title, to teach what should be a commonly understood point. The reason why it is inflammatory is both Christians and Scientists misunderstand what it is they and their counterparts stand for.

In another forum, I had a discussion with an evolutionist of my faith. It boiled down to a fundamental question: If a theory is correct, should it agree with reality? That is, should experiments contradict the predictions of the theory?

It may surprise you that I, the creationist, took the side that yes, theories should agree with experiment. If experiments contradict the predictions of the theory, then the theory is wrong. The evolutionist took the side that theories are mere suggestions, and it really doesn’t matter what reality has to say about it.

What a world science would be in if we hailed back to the era of Roman gods, capricious and untrustworthy! Let it not be so!

Now let me explain why Christians should be scientists, and scientists Christian.

First, some history. It wasn’t until people like Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon began to write about their ideas about a subject called philosophy (what we might call physics today) that we could definitively say that modern science began. Up until that point, what the intelligentsia was doing wasn’t much different than what witch doctors were doing, with roughly equivalent results. Sure, we had engineering marvels, but to those who were not deeply entrenched in Christian thought, these were mere curiosities, aberrations, not descriptive of the universe as a whole.

The definitive attributes of people like Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton was their attitudes toward Christianity. Or rather, their sincere and devout faith in it. Before you dismiss this as the illusions of a crippled mind, let me propose to you that perhaps there was something about their particular brand of faith that was different than all the millions of very intelligent people before them. There was some aspect of their faith that translated into microchips and airplanes, while the beliefs and actions of all who went before merely rendered the most simple chemistry and mathematics.

That aspect, I believe, was their fundamental belief that truth was very real.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” When you ponder this statement, a statement that no other philosopher or religionist has ever said with any degree of authority until Jesus, you begin to see the foundation of modern science.

  • “I am the way” — meaning, there is only one way to do things, and Jesus is that way.
  • “I am the truth” — meaning, there is only one truth, and Jesus is that truth.
  • “I am the life” — meaning, there is only one life, and Jesus is that life.

The verse continues: “No man cometh unto the Father except through me.”

To the religious who believe in God, God is the possessor of all truth. If we want truth, we need to go communicate with God to receive it. Jesus in this verse is explaining, “You can’t have the truth unless you do things my way.” What is his way? Truth. Sin. Faith. Forgiveness. Compassion.

(This is also why no one should accept Jesus as a mere philosopher. Either he was the most lunatic man to walk the earth, or he was the Son of God. You can’t have a serious philosopher make pronouncements such as the above.)

These principles that Jesus embodied were the scientific method. Or rather, attitudes and practices that allowed the scientific method to exist.

Let me walk through them.

Truth: Jesus never lied, and he lived the truth, even when it made his life difficult. Scientists should also be unceasingly interested in the truth, and ready to sacrifice everything for it, even their political power or standing. As scientists, we cannot compromise on the truth anymore than Jesus can. Just like Jesus taught us to be perfect, we as scientists should teach others to seek absolute truth.

Sin. In science, we know that people make mistakes. It’s very easy to forget something or to misinterpret something. Scientists do not put their faith in experts or opinion, but in scientific results. Likewise, to a Christian, we know that all of us are fallen and in no way worthy of the blessings God would like to bestow on us. We cannot put our faith and hope in humanity, but in God.

Faith: Faith merely means “trust”. As scientists, we need to trust in the scientific method. We need to trust reality above our own ideas. If what we think conflicts with reality, it is our thoughts that are wrong, not reality. As Christians, our faith is in Jesus Christ. If our ideas conflict with his, we should adjust our thinking, not his. The second part of faith is active: Once you trust, you do. As scientists, we perform experiments and compare the results with what we believe. As Christians, we should be doing the same, putting Christian principles into practice and seeing if the results line up with what we believe. As Christ said, “If any man will do his will, he will know of his doctrine.” Meaning, you cannot know until you try.

Forgiveness. In science, failure is not the end. It is, in fact, a new beginning, a rebirth. It is upon the failed theories that science grows and progresses. It is because we know that failure is not hell, but the opportunity for starting anew, just like Christians. When someone sins, they are in a bad place, but merely accepting Christ, repenting, and moving forward despite the failure is enough to overcome any sin.

Compassion. Christians believe that all mankind are the sons and daughters of God, and that all possess the power to become like God through Christ. So too, scientists believe that truth is universal, and anyone can try their hand at experiments, and anyone could be the person who proposes the next theory that will be the prevailing thought for some time.

Scientists and Christians are not at all unlike. Science is a natural branch of Christianity. There is no war between science and Christianity, and there never was.