Archive for May, 2016

Why you cannot trust your own sense of morality

May 26, 2016

I have often heard people say something to the effect of, “Why should I trust what some dead guy from 2,000 years ago has said?”

This is obviously an ad hominem attack. It introduces the irrelevant fact that someone is very, very old and dead. And then it implies that such people are not trustworthy because they are old and dead.

Well, I think it’s poppycock. We should take the message for what it is, whether it is spoken by a famous, respected man or a beggar, a modern man or one who has long since passed away. The message can only be evaluated on its own merits.

So let me propose to you why we should trust 2,000 year old dead people in tuning our moral compass.

First, despite people’s deeply held beliefs about evolution, I do not believe we are fundamentally different than our ancient ancestors. It doesn’t take very much study of history to reveal that their problems are our problems today. We still are cursed with human nature. We still have limited information. We are still bombarded with popular ideas that are plain wrong. We still think we are smarter than everyone else. The first generation that readily admits these things will be the first that might be able to move past those things.

Second, people’s moral compasses change over time. What was perfectly acceptable ten years ago no longer is, and what is accepted today would have been heresy yesterday. The only way to remove this time-dependence factor is to compare our morality with the morality of the ancients and those in between. Certain elements will prove to pass the test of time, a sort of universal moral value that will transcend time or generation. These moral values should be discovered, acknowledged, and accepted.

Third, we exist today partly as a product of the moral behavior of our ancestors. This is sort of like trusting your boss to know best to run the company because he’s done a pretty good job at it so far. I mean, you still have a job, right?

Someone once said that before you change something, you should at least understand why it is that way. If you cannot find a reasonable explanation of why something is the way it is, then that means you don’t understand it and you shouldn’t change it. Granted, some of the things we do are stupid, but honestly, that is more a sign of our incapability of understanding what is good and smart vs. what is bad and stupid.

Finally, I want to explain to you a process we used to do experiments in physics. We would keep everything the same, and change only one thing. By doing this, we can expose what effect that one thing has on the process. If we’ve changed each thing one at a time and still don’t see a change, then we might change two things at once to see if that has an effect.

If you don’t understand, then tradition is a very, very good default. “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it” is a good reason to keep doing things the same way. And that’s why you should study the ancient philosophers and default to trust ancient morality. At the very least, understand before change.

Stop the Scaremongering

May 26, 2016

Watch the video below. Pay close attention to the logic and reasoning behind their arguments. Also, try to uncover the facts as far as you can see them.

Now, if you’re like pretty much any human on planet earth, you’re thinking you’ll never visit another pool. But let me try to explain how to disarm such scare tactics.

When someone presents a risk, it is important to consider it in context.

Yes, going to a pool might expose you to feces. But so does going to a public restroom. Or your own restroom. Or any other number of things. The fact is we are not as clean as we wish we were. That’s why we have an immune system. And we have found through experience that being exposed to certain pathogens makes us resilient to them. So being exposed to dirtiness isn’t even really that bad of a thing. I’m not saying we should seek out feces, I’m saying that we should acknowledge that we are already exposed to it in our environment, even if we are sanitary.

Also, it is disturbing that so many pools were shut down or even found in violation of basic standards. However, I’d like to remind you that many pools were found clean and not shut down. If someone inspected my pool, and found it to be clean, I would be happy, not sad because my neighbor’s pool was found to be dirty. This is the age-old logical fallacy of grouping things together and judging the group based on the actions of a few individuals. Granted, our limited experience and faculty for evaluating ever scenario means that we are going to apply some prejudice, but let it work both ways. A good fraction of the black community may be felons, but a much larger percentage is not. That means, when you meet a black person, your reaction should be, “This man is likely not a felon.”

It is important to think of people as biased and irrational. When someone tells you something, the first instinct should be distrust. You should try to parse from their message what are facts and verify them. Then parse what is reason and verify it. And then throw the rest away, and keep the only conclusions based on facts and evidence.

How I wish that was what we taught in our public schools, but alas, why would the government want that to be taught to its citizens? After all, they might start questioning what the government told them, and that would lead to all sorts of … problems.


Why I oppose “Fair Trade”

May 24, 2016

Economics is not a simple subject. Well, it really is, it’s just counterintuitive. That’s pretty much the story of math as well: very simple subject, very surprising results. Same goes for physics.

It’s not that the subjects are hard, it’s that those subjects contradict what we think is right before we investigate further. When we carefully consider the facts and the logic, we come to realize that our first impressions were the wrong impression.

Take the idea of “Fair Trade”. The idea works like this. Today, Americans who have more money than they know what to do with are buying the cheapest of cheap goods from countries who “exploit” their people for practically slave wages. This must be a bad thing, people think, and so let’s try to convince people to spend more money and buy more expensive things so that we don’t feel so bad for exploiting so much.

Like many things that liberals advocate (or is it all things?) this is pure nonsense. Careful investigation reveals why.

First, why are people working for slave wages? The liberals want you to believe that you are “exploiting” them, the same way a rapist exploits a rape victim, or something like that. They think that going to the furthest corners of the world with the least developed economies and spending our money there is a really, really bad thing. They think that we should instead send our money to more advanced countries, and let the poorest countries be damned.

The truth is actually shockingly simple: The reason why people work for slave wages is because that’s the best opportunity that exists in the entire world. And it is a billion times better than the next best opportunity. The rules of comparative advantage explain why “exploiting” such people is not just benefiting us, but benefiting them, to the maximum extent possible.

Second, what is “fair trade?” It sounds an awfully lot like “free trade”, but if it were just free trade, we’d call it that. No, it is the exact opposite of free trade. “Fair trade” says that there is a guy down the street who is willing to sell his Pokemon cards for pennies, but instead we’re going to force our kids to buy the Pokemon cards from our friends who want to charge dollars. Why would we do this? Looking at it this way, it’s obvious there is some corruption going on here. There’s a reason why you’d force someone to not use the lowest bidder, and it goes way beyond quality arguments. The reason is because the people making such an argument have a lot to benefit from it all. In truth, “Fair Trade” does the exact opposite of what it claims: it exploits the lowest bidders and it exploits us.

If you care about the poor, then you will remove every economic barrier. You will make it possible for them to do practically anything they want with their money. Let me give you some examples of things that will give the poor an actual opportunity to get ahead in life:

  • Zero minimum wage.
  • Minimal regulation. (IE, only for safety, only for things that really matter.)
  • Minimal or zero taxes. (If you make less than this much money, don’t worry about paying any taxes at all.)
  • Zero import or export restrictions (except for safety. See “Minimal regulations” above.)

These things will give the poor every opportunity the rich have to get ahead. See, the rich don’t care about the minimum wage because they are going to get paid much more than it anyway. They don’t care about regulation because they can hire armies of lawyers to figure out how to comply and how to wiggle out of any punishment. And if there is a punishment, they can just pay it and move on with their economic lives. And the rich can hire armies of accountants to manage their taxes as well.

Why would we burden the poor with the same “burdens” we put on the rich and expect them to benefit from it? Those burdens are crushing them.

Now, imagine you are a poor dirt farmer in some forgotten corner of the world. Your family has known meager crops and famine for the past umpteen generations. What can you do to get ahead? You can keep trying the same things your ancestors tried, and you’ll get the same result. Or, you can try something new. Suppose an American walks on to your farm and says, “I will give you as much food as you can eat, if you’ll show up to my factory and work from dawn until dusk making shoes for me.” Wouldn’t you jump at the chance? I know I would! What an opportunity! What does it matter to you whether the American is going to become a millionaire or a billionaire — for the first time in your family’s history, you no longer have to worry about food, and your kids no longer have to slave away on a farm. You can even sock away a few pennies here and there, and before you know it, you’ve got some real money that can be used to get ahead in life.

Better yet, your kids will get pretty good at working in that factory, and maybe one of them will become supervisor or even manager. If they are smart and learn English, they can even get a job in the port city negotiating trade deals.

Do you see why going with the lowest bidder worldwide is the way we elevate people out of poverty? With a little bit of wealth, and trust me, a few dollars is a fortune for these people, with a little bit of wealth, they can stop worrying about their next meal for a few moments and make some plans for their future. They can tell their kid to go to school. They can figure out how to get ahead in life by learning a valuable skill.

The truth is that developing countries eventually run out of runway. One day, they realize that they are no longer the cheapest country in the world, and they learn that they have to adapt to the modern economy because their factories aren’t going to feed them forever.

And the truth is, one day, there won’t be anymore poor people left to exploit. When that happens, and it can only happen with freedom, what a world we will live in!

Why Marxism is Evil

May 19, 2016

Steven Crowder released a video rebutting a seemingly innocent look into Marxism. I suggest you watch it.

Let me explain some things from my viewpoint. First, here is why Marxism is not only wrong, but evil.

  • Marxism treats people like machines. It doesn’t account for the fact that people have free will and can choose for themselves. It assumes that all people are alike, or react similarly, or are equally hopeless or whatnot. If you believe in diversity, then you cannot believe in Marxism. If you believe in freewill, then you cannot believe in Marxism. If you were to believe in Marxism, then you could not believe in freewill. This alone makes Marxism evil.
  • Marxism assigns people to roles in society, and then judges them not based on their actions, but on their roles. This entirely absolved people of guilt and reduces them down to labels. That is, whether I do good or not is irrelevant in Marxism. Only my role or label matters. This is completely contradictory to pretty much everyone’s understanding of morality, and if you think of it this way, exposes why Marxism is evil. For instance, it never gives anyone a chance to change or redeem themselves.
  • Marxism builds a wall between people in different roles rather than bringing them together. For instance, it pits business owners against employees as if they were locked in mortal combat or eternal enemies. The truth is that neither would enter into an agreement if they did not feel they were getting some benefit out of it. While Marxism focuses on the gains that business owners get out of hiring people to work for them, it does not explain the gains that employees get from working for an employer, and it does not compare the alternatives, which employees obviously find less beneficial. Marxism, in short, sets people up as enemies and does not show why they are really working together. Marxism causes war and fighting and discord, and so it is evil.
  • Marxism sponges off of the success of capitalism, but does not restore what it takes. It’s a nice idea that people can own their own work, or that some central actor can plan things out, but in no case does Marxism provide any material benefit over capitalism. Marx does not propose that his reforms will make people wealthier. Instead, it says quite the opposite: it intends to eliminates one of the “evils” of capitalism: surplus wealth.
  • Marxism labels the act of creating wealth as stealing. That is, when someone creates wealth out of practically nothing, it calls such a person a thief. If I went out into the middle of nowhere and built a successful farm, then Marxism would label me a thief. Profit is, in short, every good that ever was in the world. Even Jesus himself in the parable of the talents explains that we must turn a profit, meaning, we must take what we have and double it or more. If we do not profit, in Jesus’ eyes, then we will have what little we have taken from us and given to those who profit the most. Marxism calls good evil and so it is evil.
  • Marxism labels the act of theft as good and desirable. That is, taking something you did not create by force and living off of it, which in any other context is obviously robbery and banditry and thievery of the worst sort, is the ultimate ideal of Marxism. This also makes it evil.
  • Marxism cannot work without government to force people to comply, often involving things like emotional, mental or physical abuse, torture, imprisonment, enslavement, or murder. This is also obviously evil.

It isn’t very hard to see the evil within Marxism, even when people try to dress it up. It is obvious to those who value freedom why Marxism is evil, as well as obvious to those who have at least a rudimentary understanding of basic moral issues and rights.

Because of the way Marxists argue, I cannot attack Marxism without defending capitalism. I don’t know why this is; perhaps they feel that Marxism is less than or equal to the evil of capitalism. But let me defend the morality of capitalism.

  • Capitalism is freedom. You own what you own, and you do with it whatever you think is right. No one can force you to do things you don’t want to do with your things. Some argue that capitalism forces you to go to market to get things you want, but this simply isn’t the case. You are free to obtain those things however you wish, as long as it doesn’t involve taking it from someone else without their permission.
  • Capitalism has a proven track record of producing real wealth. Capitalism has given us every modern invention and lifted us out of poverty into insane wealth. Capitalism is so successful everywhere it is tried that the only complaint people have is people get too rich or have too much surplus. Since capitalism produces things that people need, even to excess, it cannot be considered evil.
  • Capitalism empowers people. At the heart of every transaction in capitalism is free will on every side of the transaction. You are free to barter away your things, but you don’t have to and no one will force you to. Instead, you are free to find those transactions that will benefit you. Indeed, if people act in their own self-interest, then every transaction will be mutually beneficial. IE, the baseball bat manufacturers will trade their bats for the baseball manufacturer’s balls, so everyone can play baseball.
  • Capitalism is the only real solution to poverty. Poverty is caused by people being incapable of producing enough to sustain themselves and to prosper. Capitalism says people get what they make and what they trade for. This may seem to unfairly advantage people who are better than others at producing the things people want, but in reality, comparative advantage means that it is in everyone’s best interests to give work to those that are best at doing that thing, no matter how unproductive they are compared to everyone else. That is, everyone, no matter how unfit for productive labor, has a use in a capitalist society. As long as they do those things they are best at and that are most productive for themselves, everyone benefits maximally. Again: The poor, the lame, the blind, the deaf, the disabled, everyone who has every advantage, no matter how severe, will be productive under capitalism because of comparative advantage.
  • Capitalism doesn’t preclude any other form of economic interaction, provided that it relies on free will and not coercion. If you want to form a charity and spend all your hard-earned money on helping the less-advantaged, capitalism says “Cool!” Indeed, because capitalism is so wildly productive, people do have surplus that they can either use to make ever more stuff, or they can spend on charity.
  • Under capitalism, everyone can be insanely wealthy. For instance, take a look at the poorest of the poor here in America. They have access to things that simply didn’t exist a few hundred years ago, making them wealthier, by far, than anyone living in that era. A hundred years from now, if we continue with capitalism, the poorest of the poor will be far wealthier than the wealthiest among us. We might complain about the fact that one person has a billion times more stuff than someone else, but we cannot deny that the poorest among us have much more than our ancestors ever could dream of having.

I don’t know what the “ideal” economic system will look like. However, I do know a few things:

  • Forcing people to do things they don’t want to do is wrong.
  • Forcing people to not do things that won’t hurt themselves is wrong.
  • Calling people evil because they belong to a group is wrong.
  • Calling people evil because they create wealth is wrong.
  • Allowing people to choose their own life is right.

That said, the next complaint I can already hear is: “What about the poor?” To those who have ignored everything else I wrote, let me call this out specifically.

  • Under capitalism, there is a lot of surplus wealth that can be donated for the benefit of the poor. Under Marxism, there is no surplus wealth to use to help the poor.
  • Under capitalism, even the poorest among us has some economic use due to comparative advantage. Because they have use, they get paid. Under Marxism, they have no freedom to find the thing they are best at and so don’t necessarily benefit others. Indeed, it is in Marxist systems that people talk about eliminating the undesirables.
  • Under capitalism, the poor are free to invest and save their wealth. Those who start out poor don’t end up that way. Under Marxism, there is no hope of ever becoming wealthy. The wealthy are considered evil.

One more note: Families and such. Under capitalism, people have a self-interest to get married, raise their kids properly, save for the future, and do other “boring” stuff that makes society a nice place to live in for all involved. Even the greedy and selfish find that there are powerful economic and personal reasons to join themselves together. Under Marxism, there is no such motivation. I think this is why we find that hard-core Marxists have no moral compass and seem to be involved in all sorts of perversions and don’t seem very interested in raising the next generation.

Methanol Plants Don’t Explode

May 17, 2016

There are some ignoramuses (that’s a fancy word for people who don’t know very much) standing at the corner, holding a sign asking if you are in the blast zone. It’s a message that they don’t want the methanol plant.

I googled “methanol plant explosions” and I got no hits. That’s because methanol plants don’t explode. They can’t explode. It’s simply not possible.

Now, there are cases of empty methanol tanks exploding, and people getting hurt or killed, but these are the tanks that hold methanol. Any fuel can explode if you mix in air and provide some heat. That’s why when you do something like weld a methanol tank, you empty the tank, wash it out with water, and then work on it. See, methanol is extremely attracted to water. If you want to neutralize it, all you need is plain old water. And methanol in water is basically harmless and totally non-flammable.

Let’s talk very briefly about how a methanol plant works. Basically, natural gas is heated up and put through a process to break it down. Then, sealed off from air, it is further processed with such dangerous chemicals like water. In the end, you get nearly pure ethanol, which you store in tanks. Provided you never mix air in there (which you can’t, otherwise you won’t get methanol, you’ll just get flames) then the methanol can’t explode. It can’t ignite. There is nothing to burn it. You could drop a lit match into the tank of hot methanol and exactly nothing would happen, except for a few flames near the opening where you dropped the match in. Well, something would happen — the match would be smothered.

Anyway, I shouted out the open window “Methanol plants have never exploded and they can’t!” And the friendly lady said, “It’s not the methanol, it’s the natural gas.” By that measure, we should stop using natural gas altogether.

The methanol plant will bring in countless jobs and opportunities. It will bring in tax revenue. It is far, far cleaner to make it here than anywhere else in the world, so we will actually reduce pollution in places like China by making it here. And what pollutants will it make? Basically, nothing, except carbon dioxide, which is plant food, which will make our area even greener. Since there is no correlation between global temperature and carbon dioxide, but there is a correlation between plant life and carbon dioxide, I think it’s a good trade.

Anyway, don’t let ignoramuses make your decisions for you. Building the plant here is the right thing to do. It will make us a ton of money, reduce the pollution in China, and make our environment even better.

Our Christian Duty

May 16, 2016

Netflix released the Finger of God recently, which I watched.

Thoughts: Yes, miracles are happening in the name of Jesus. However, and the narrator points this out, miracles are not enough. We need to believe in Jesus and use his saving power in every aspect of our life, not just our physical or mental health. And that belief can only come when we feel his love, and the only way we are going to feel his love is through Christians who feel his love.

The Christian duty can thus be summed up as to Love God and Love Mankind.

Two other thoughts: (1) Repentance is not a bad word. Think of it as “Positive Change”. (2) When we have faith in Christ, that means we no longer trust ourselves. Salvation is a gift. We only choose whether to accept that gift or not. Our actions after we receive that gift either glorify God and convince others to do the same, or do something else. Choose to be good because you love Jesus.

Finally, our city, state, country, and world cannot be healed through any means available to us except Christ. Pray for everyone. Pray for your enemies and your friends. Love and serve everyone, no matter who they are. Speak the truth in love. That will fix everything.

Why Democracy Doesn’t Work

May 12, 2016

I work as an engineer. Well, a software developer, rather. But there are some aspects of it that are like engineering.

For instance, I build things. I give project estimates. I give my honest evaluations. Managers and leaders ask me hard questions, and I try to give them the best, most accurate answer I can so that they can make the wisest decisions.

I know what happens to companies that ignore the engineers. I am glad that all companies are structured like autocracies. That means I know who is going to make the decision, and who I need to send my report and analyses to. I don’t have to convince a large group of people of anything. I just have to convince one person.

The truth of politics is this. The vast majority of us have little idea on what is best for themselves. There are a few who have a better idea. This is the truth.

Now, when it comes to individual decisions, decisions that affect only one person or the people very close to that person, I let nature run its course. You make a bad decision, you pay. You make a good decision, you reap the rewards. There is a huge incentive for people to seek out good information and make good decisions.

However, there are some decisions that affect a very large number of people. And it isn’t hard to find cases where a cursory examination of the issue will give bad advice. In such a case, you don’t want “majority rules”. You want a small group of people to study the issue, and render a report with their analyses. Then you want an individual or small group of people to carefully weigh the decision and make the best possible choice. Putting the issue up for a democratic vote does neither of these things.

In the tragedy of the commons, it is explained how shared resources can be ruined by selfish action. The solution is not to eliminate greed and selfishness. (If we could do that, we could create a utopia!) The solution is to put a check and a balance on that greed and selfishness. For instance, assign ownership to the property in question, such that the cost of any action on the property is properly weighed by the benefit. Thus, you have one individual’s greed acting in opposition to another’s greed.

Democracy is a tragedy of the commons. We all “own” the vote. But only some of us will spend the necessary time to research the best decision. And only some of us will actually vote. There is no incentive to spend the requisite time and energy to find the best solution and to vote. And so people don’t put in the effort to make a good decision, and we’re left with sub-optimal decisions.

Don’t get me wrong. When it comes to big issues where many people have studied it and have a strong opinion, democracy works fine. But when it comes to small or intermediate issues, democracy is horrible. It’s even worse when you have to vote every few months.

I think the great enemy of America today is democracy. Democracy is an evil form of government just like oligarchy, aristocracy, plutocracy, theocracy, monarchy and autocracy. Read the history books if you don’t know why. (Hint: Why isn’t Athens a super-power today?)

The Founding Fathers despised democracy. They understood what I just explained to you above. They used democracy for making really, really big decisions (like whether to adopt the constitution), but they only allowed it in a very, very small role in the government: who do you want to represent you? And even then, only one representative was voted on, not the senators, and not the president.

Imagine, for a moment, what that would look like in today’s world. You would get a ballot every 2 years. On it would be the following questions:

  • Who would you like for your congressional representative?
  • Who would you like for your state representative?
  • Who would you like for your county representative?
  • Who would you like for your city representative?

That would be it. All other decisions would be made by people elected to one of those positions.

For instance, the state legislatures would choose the electors to send to the electoral college. There, they would debate and decide on who should be the next president and vice-president. Even though they would only have one day to make that decision, that would be more time than most people spend before they cast their vote. The types of people sent would likely be experienced office holders who have their own state’s interests at heart. The senate would be composed of people elected by the state legislatures, and act as agents of the state. They would be a sort of stabilizing force against the tides of the tyranny of democracy.

Our American history is spotted with various movements that wanted to bring in more democracy. I want to share with you what I think of people who advocate democracy. I’ll do it with a little bit of modern history. Venezuela democratically elected Hugo Chavez, a communist, as its leader. It wasn’t long until democracy seemed to be an afterthought. Now that the country is in ruins, we can blame the people, but really, we should’ve known all along what the natural result of democracy will always be.

You may complain and moan that my anti-democratic sentiment is depriving you of some “right” to vote. I ask you: Why do you think you have a right to vote? And do you have the right to vote to deprive the rights of yourself or others? The answer is: Of course not. You have no right to vote to deprive rights anymore than I have the right to deprive you of your rights. A government that cannot protect its people from democratic votes that deprive people of their rights is no government worth protecting.


On Manhood and Marriage

May 9, 2016

Now that I am more than four decades old, I think I am entitled to make observations and report them.

Observation #1: The man who lives to serve others is always happy. The man who lives only in his own self-interest is never happy.

There seems to be a sort of weird divide in this country and Western European culture in general. On the one hand, you have men who think they are the source of all evil. They have bought into the feminist misogynist and misandrist tripe. Feminists are simply misanthropes. For those who don’t know what those words mean, feminists hate men for being men, women for being women, and people for being people.

This is obviously wrong. Men are not the source of evil. Evil is the source of evil. Men can choose, like anyone else, whether to be good or evil. When they choose good, they can be a tremendously powerful force for good. When they are evil, they can be a tremendously powerful force for evil. The choice is within each of us. None of us are born good or evil. We choose the path we will walk.

On the other hand, there is this new movement that sometimes goes by the name of MGTOW (men going their own way). I’m not entirely clear on what this philosophy is but it appears to be a resolution among men that they will not kowtow to women. They will choose their own path, and that path often involves anything but marriage, which they view as a sort of servitude.

They are right about one thing. Marriage is a sort of servitude. But they are wrong about another. The point of men is the same point as the point of women, and that is to serve mankind. You are supposed to sacrifice your life for the good of the people around you out of your own free will. That is the maximum good a man can do.

It seems that between these two warring factions no one bothers to see the truth. For those who still don’t get it, the truth is this. We, men and women alike, exist to serve each other, to devote our lives to each other, to sacrifice everything for the good of each other. This is the only way we will ever find any sort of happiness. All other roads lead to misery.

What lies ahead for those who choose self-sacrifice? I can tell you that it is not easy, and more often than not, your sacrifices are unnoticed and unrewarded. However, as one who has chosen this path for myself, I tell you that there is no greater joy than what I have experienced, especially when my acts have gone unnoticed and unrewarded. I sleep quietly at night knowing that I made someone else’s life a little better. I wake up eager to greet a new day because I know I will find some way to be of service to someone else.

Men! Grow up. Pass through childhood into adulthood. Stop looking for self-interest, and devote yourself to others instead. Do this voluntarily. Do it because you have within your heart a modicum of love and concern for your neighbors and humanity in general.

And when you have decided this for yourself, live it, each day, each week, each year. And when you have found true joy and happiness, find a woman who has a similar mind, marry her, and never, ever look back. Raise as many kids as you possible can afford to raise, and give them the lessons you have learned through service to others.

This is the only road to happiness. Do not deceive yourself. There is no other.

Finally, let me make one thing clear. The man who has devoted himself to doing good is not so foolish as to believe that doing what other people want is always in their best interests. Sometimes, no, oftentimes, you need to stand up and say “No”, even if it is to your wife or your children. Stand firm in your conviction, and make certain that your only concern is for their safety and welfare. Make sure that they know it, too. There is no kowtowing in real manhood.

How to Help the Poor

May 7, 2016

Talking with a long-time friend, she expressed to me how desperate the needs of the poor are.

For those of you reading this that are from Western Europe or the United States or Canada, let me tell you who she was talking about.

She wasn’t talking about the people I meet every day, the poor who can’t make ends meet and struggle with finding a good job. She was talking about the people in South America who have spent their entire lives in poverty so misunderstood that I don’t even know how to explain it. These people struggle with finding enough food, finding food with nutrients their bodies need just to survive, and diseases that you’ve never heard of but are easily managed with medications and treatments that cost pennies. These people have no idea what clean water really is, and they don’t have the first clue about what hygiene means nor have any means to learn.

The United States, along with the Western Powers, are doing a great disservice to the world. If you understood the conditions they are in, and their true cause, we would behave very much different. Since the United States is so democratic (the political philosophy, not the party), we have become blind to it because the people are ignorant of conditions they are not familiar with.

Let me explain, for a moment, what causes poverty and how to remedy it.

The first cause is ignorance. People are poor because they really have no idea that life can be any better. When they catch the first glimpse that it can be better, they have no idea how to obtain it. These people need training in the most basic of things, things we take for granted every day. There is no way that they can receive this training if they don’t live with people who already have it. If we’re going to be an agent of change for the poor, we must first live among them and interact with them regularly.

Once education is out of the way, really, there are no barriers left to overcome. That is, there are barriers, but with proper education, overcoming the barriers is a matter left as an exercise to the student. However, there are certain things that are done that can limit the progress of people climbing out of poverty.

The first is government interference. The government, in its “noble” quest to make life better for everyone, is often the cause of problems. On the one hand, telling people that the government can help you turns their attention away from themselves and their own means, which are more than enough to lift them out of poverty. On the other hand, when government starts “helping”, it can only do so by hurting. This is because of all the organizations that exist in the world, governments are the only organization that is allowed to use coercion rather than persuasion to accomplish its ends.

The solution is obvious. Stop telling people to look to the government for help. End government charity, post-haste.

Just because I am opposed to the government doing something does not mean I am opposed to it being done. On the contrary, it is those who deliberately involve the government that prevent the thing from being done. Imagine I wanted to build a sandcastle on the beach. Think of how hard it would be for me to do it without government intervention vs. with government intervention. Just because I don’t want the government to help me build a sand castle doesn’t mean I don’t want to build sandcastles. It means the exact opposite. If I wanted to prevent someone from building sandcastles, I would simply get the government involved and that would be the end of that.

Let’s take a step back for a moment and talk once more about education. Remember how I said you give poor people education? That’s right: You have to live with them and show them a better way. Did I say we need government programs and budgets and expenditures? No, I did not. When you have middle class and lower class people living and working together, the lower class people take upon themselves the upper class people’s attributes. That’s why you have machinists who have children who are professors. The machinist lived and worked with people who could produce professors, and the machinist took upon himself and his family some of their attributes.

Now, we have our formula. But will it really work?

Consider trade between nations. Let’s suppose you have two countries, A and B. A is super-wealthy. They enforce, strictly, free trade among themselves. B is not wealthy, because they have strict government controls but also an ignorant population who doesn’t know how to become wealthy. What is the right trade policy for A?

A could setup high tariffs and such. That’s because B is willing to do menial jobs for much less than anyone who lives in A. To the people who live in A this looks almost like slave labor. We call them “sweatshops”. But more importantly: A just wants to protect its own jobs. The effect of such a policy is very limited trade between A and B. A and B become enemies, and since hardly anyone from A knows anyone from B, it’s going to stay that way for a long time.

A could also remove all import tariffs. The obvious effect would be many companies in A moving to B. They want the cheap labor that B has an abundance of. But also, A starts importing a lot of goods from B and sending cash to B. B now has more money than it ever had before, money which they can use to make bigger factories. Along with that economic growth comes money to spend on children’s education, basic sanitation projects and infrastructure, and eventually, electricity and clean running water in every home. After about 50 years, the employees won’t be cheap anymore.


Which trade policy helps the poor? That’s right: free trade. If nothing else, embrace free trade because it helps the poor in other countries.

I can talk at length about all the benefits we’ll get for shipping our jobs overseas. But I’ll save that for another day.

Why Conservatism Offends

May 5, 2016

I suppose now that we don’t have a conservative candidate for nomination in any party, it’s time to explain a little more about conservatism, especially why so many people find it so offensive.

The first principle of conservatism is truth. The truth hurts everyone. We don’t like the way the world is and we all wish we could change it. But conservatives know that is impossible. And we’ll tell you why. And that hurts.

So conservatives are like a guy who goes to Disneyland and says, “You know, you’re going to die one day.”

We tell women, “You are a woman, and that’s all you’ll ever be.” We tell men, “You are a man, and that’s all you’ll ever be.” We tell homosexuals, “Your sexual unions will never produce offspring.” We tell liars, “You’re lying.” We tell everyone the truth as far as we can see it. And the truth is offensive.

The second principle of conservatism is faith. This is a difficult concept for people to understand, so let me try to explain it this way. Faith means trust. Really, they’re very similar to each other. The question of faith is, “What is worthy of your trust?” Conservatives reject all people as faithless. Conservatives don’t put their trust in anyone. That’s because we’ve accepted the truth: All of us are mortal and fallible, and when you get right down to it, reprehensible in one way or the other.

What then to put your faith in? Simply put, God. Or rather, the principles that God puts his trust in, which are the attributes of his character, which are timeless, eternal, and inarguably good.

So conservatism offends because we tell people, “Don’t trust that guy.” And we tell people, “The only things you can actually trust are timeless principles that do not change.” And those timeless principles, those ideals, are simply unobtainable by any mere mortal.

The third principle is the concept of rights. Rights are not freedoms. We are all free to choose whether we will murder or lie or steal, but we have no right to do so. Rights are so-named because they are the opposite of wrongs. Rights are things that morally, we should do. Rights say, “I should do X, so get out of my way.” Example: Kings of England stood up and said, “I have a right to be king, because God said so.” So they became king.

On the opposite side of the coin called rights is duty. The king of England who does not exercise his rights to protect his people and secure their liberties no longer has the right to be king. By the same token, people who do not exercise their rights to the benefit of themselves and mankind do not deserve their rights. Remember, rights are there for a purpose. If you have a hard time understanding this, consider the fact that if I believe someone to have the right to freely speak (because saying the truth, though offensive, is good), then that means I have to defend their right to freely speak and prevent those who would stop them from speaking. If I did not do that, then they would not be able to exercise their right.

Rights are offensive because the truth is offensive. It’s hard to hear someone stand up and say, “You were wrong”, but we all need to hear it. Rights are also offensive because it demands action from people. On the one hand, blessed with the freedom to exercise our rights, we should do so, nay, we must do so. And on the other hand, if we believe others have rights, then we need to take positive action to defend them. When it comes to rights, there are no lazy people.

The final principle I’ll discuss is government. It has come to our attention, mankind, that we seem to have this obsessive need for someone to tell us what to do. Throughout history, mankind has regularly and repeatedly bowed to authority. Given the fact that, one way or the other, we will adopt a government of some sort to rule over us, let us consider what the best form of government is, or rather, the least bad.

In contemplating this fact, we have discovered certain truths. Among them are:

  1. There should be limits to what government can do.
  2. Local government is better government.
  3. People should participate in government.
  4. People should not trust their government.

There is, of course, so much more to conservatism, but I suppose the above should give you a broad perspective on what we’re all about. I could write endlessly about truths that we ignore or deceive ourselves against. I could expound upon every good virtue and how best it should be practiced. I could also write endlessly of all the myriad of rights we have, and how far they go, and when action is required or when it is optional. And I could write pages upon pages of every aspect of government, and explain how some policies hurt and others help. And I could talk endlessly about the economy (but really, that belongs under rights.) And I am sure that you would like to know more about what it is conservatives intend to do about the poor and how they plan to do it (because the poor is the convenient scapegoat statists use to broaden government powers.) Or education, or medicine, or any of the other myriad realms that are used to distract us from the fact that they want to deprive us of our sacred rights.

But I won’t, not here, not now.

Just know that the truth hurts, and the truth is that you are wrong. That is the message of conservatism.