civilizations are created by individuals; they are destroyed by collectives
I’ve been back on my binge listening to Tim Ferris’ podcast. Typically, listening to freaky smart people provide info on how they do things feels futile since their tips are so unique to their own freaky abilities. But there are some that are humble enough to be explicit as such, or are so freaky smart and unique, you’re not really taking away tips to directly apply to your life, but to contemplate further implications. Walter O’Brien was one of the latter.
Bernie Sanders will correctly point out the wealth disparity in our country, but makes the mistake that ALL “richer” people obtained their wealth unjustly so that it provides the moral right for the Government to take it back and give it to the “poorer.” We can rightly criticize the wealth generated through Crony-Capitalism (ie. Government Bailouts, artificially low interest rates, etc.) on the basis of violating the Non-Aggression Principle, but what of the immense wealth generated by many of the individuals in the tech industry that obtained it by providing such advances to our standard of life that they got filthy rich?
I’m talking about the Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Uber Founders, Elon Musk, and Walter O’Brien’s of the world. Or let’s go back in time and pick out the Rockefellers, Fords, and Edisons.
If an individual provides such great improvements to other individual lives, and demonstrated that ability over-and-over amassing huge amounts of resources (AKA Money) without initiating aggression on others, then instead of siphoning away the resources these exceptional individuals obtained and giving it to the mediocre performance of Government bureaucrats and politicians, shouldn’t we let these exceptional individuals keep 100% so that they can reinvest their greater resources to advance humanity even more?
It seems backwards that the individuals for which have demonstrated exceptional abilities to advance humanity, should have a greater proportion of their resources expropriated to individuals who’ve repeatedly demonstrated mediocre performance.
The “greater good,” in terms of advancing civilization and technological advancement, should be to allow these exceptional minds to accumulate unhampered amounts of resources through voluntary interactions to promote innovation. “Taking from the rich” and subsidizing the below-average masses hampers the progress of humanity.
I’m not advocating that we start expropriating from the mediocre and poor performers. I’m saying that we should let those, who’ve demonstrated exceptional ability through “Clean” Capitalism, to keep 100% of their resources so that they can reinvest those gained resource toward advancing humanity even further.
There is a myth that the “trickle-down” effect is false and the super rich just “sit” on their big piles of cash like Scrooge McDuck. The truth, if you go meta including the technological improvements and increased standards of living since the proliferation of Capitalism, proves this myth false. Also, can you provide a specific individual who accumulated vast amounts of resources, to simply place their money in a vault and not attempt to generate additional value?
Bernie Sanders asks the wrong question. It’s not: “How much is more than enough money for rich people so that the Government can take away the rest?” It should be: “How much more good can the exceptional do with more resources?”
Allow the smartest and efficient in our world to wield the greatest amount of resources justly obtained, and watch as all boats rise the ocean of innovation.
There is a basic intelligence test that occurs when someone points to the “Industrial Revolution” as an example of “Capitalism” run amok (I will also throw in today’s “sweat shops” also into the same realm of logical fallacy). They like to emphasize the Robber Barons, Child Labor, working conditions, soot, and other things, that when compared to today’s standard of living, seem criminal.
I will admit that I was once of the same mindset being brainwashed by the public education system, but I think I would’ve quickly realized my fallacious thinking had someone pointed it out to me.
The problems with the critiques against the “Industrial Revolution” is that it doesn’t properly compare conditions. The comparison should not be against the conditions of our comforts here in the United States in 2016, but should be compared against the actual, local conditions at the time in question, and those that preceded it.
Upon that view, it will become clear that the poorer working conditions of the Industrial Revolution (when compared to average working conditions and standard of living in the United States in the present) are actually SUPERIOR working conditions (when compared to average working conditions and standard of living in the locality of the specific time). And when you consider the incredible increase in the standard of living IN THANKS TO “Capitalism,” you really have to wonder if the “better alternative” really can be any “better.” It’s not to say that “Capitalism” doesn’t have its weaknesses, for which there exist. It’s all about perspective since life is all about trade-offs thanks to the scarcity of resources and time.
WARNING: this video presents the information with a level of mockery / sarcasm that’s not intended for those who fail to grasp this common logical fallacy. But if you don’t grasp basic logic, then you probably aren’t reading my posts anyway.
57.2% Total Income Tax over $406,751 while living in California.
Bernie Sanders believes I’m still not paying my “fair share.”
The 2015 tax year was the first time I’ve reached this threshold. The angry electorate are envious of the hard work invested by my Korean-immigrant parents and me resulting in annual profits over an arbitrary threshold. Now, I’m simply living in “excess.” For the crime of my success, the State will now reward me by coercing more than half of all future income.
At this point, “Politics” is a matter of self-defense and moral indignation. I will not stay silent and see my remaining 40 years of working life “redistributed” to other people’s “free” health care, tuition, welfare, and other “entitlements” via the wasteful, bureaucratic Mafia we call “the welfare State.”
If you disagree, please write in the comments exactly how my immigrant parents and I “owe” the rest of “society” for our success (AKA “Social Contract”). Also, please specify how we didn’t “earn” the success we have today (AKA “Labor Theory of Value” definition of “Exploitation”). Please also specify all the great benefits we received from the State for which we have not already paid for, therefore creating a moral obligation on us to the State to more than half of all future income (or higher if the Progressives have their way).
In the “bottom trawling” crusade of Bernie Sanders against “greed” and “capitalism,” you will find caught in the “net of State coercion and violence” those who practice “clean” Capitalism. Yes, I decry Wall Street bailouts, Corporate welfare, the military-industrial complex, the drug war, and all other forms of “crony capitalism” on the grounds of violating the “Non-Aggression Principle.” You are misguided if you believe punishing successful small business, immigrant owners in your crusade can be considered “justice.”
The reality of what you are advocating for is the use of violence and coercion against immigrant business owners. You may want to reconsider the moral “high ground” you believe you stand on.
For a “heavy hitter” philosophical debate, see below. But probably worthless to most people since the Utilitarian argument against spanking is overwhelming anti-spanking.
Kids don’t have the same rights as a fully functional adult. The question is whether kids have more or less rights than a fully functional adult.
Even full grown adults, when they have dementia, or a severe mental illness, cannot be seen to have the same rights of a fully functional adult since they do not have either physical/mental capabilities to act competently.
There doesn’t seem to be a clear line between what defines a “child” and what defines someone with a debilitating mental illness. So it’s possibly more like a continuum. For example, if I’m physically preventing my child (which would be initiating violence) to not touch their penis to the urinal when they are age 3, that’s “protective custody.” But if I’m still doing that when they’re age 13, then that can be seen infringing on the rights of my 13 year old who probably has full cognitive knowledge of what they’re actually doing. Who knows? Maybe it’s their “sexual preference” and they like the cold feeling of porcelain on their junk.
If “full rights” are only given to those deemed competent, and those who fail that standard receive rights that are on a continual scale from that standard, then the next question is who has the authority to measure that?
So, for example, to an “average IQ” person, someone with “Down Syndrome” would have less rights than an average person being in “protective custodian” with Guardianship. But isn’t that all relative? We all operate to some degree of imperfect knowledge. The difference between ourselves and someone who with mental handicap is to the degree by which we have imperfect knowledge. One could argue that the genetic “hardware” of the individual with mental handicap is the measurement, rather than just being willfully ignorant of an average person who doesn’t want to put in resources to gain more knowledge (can be described as a “software” limitation).
But how does one accurately measure whether the lack of knowledge is a “skill” or a “will” issue? Is it a “hardware” or “software” limitation of an individual that so hampers their mental capability requiring them to lose some of their rights and enter “protective custody?”
For children, we would say it’s a “hardware” issue along with those with severe mental handicaps. They simply don’t have the physical capacity and it would be impossible for them to have it unless they have “upgraded” hardware. For children, this “hardware” is gradually improving in its capacity as they age and their brains develop.
But once again, isn’t this all relative? And who will be the authority to determine by what continuum of rights one receives as the “hardware” increases in potential?
Let’s look into the future of a time where the average human now has literal “hardware” implanted in their brain, which we’ll call “augmentation.” Now these Augmentated humans are crazy, super smart with levels of knowledge where they literally have instant access to all of humanity of all time. In addition, they are neurally meshed with all other human beings so that they connect emotionally with all other human beings and can know what they are thinking (I recommend “Nexus” by Ramez Naam to explore this sci-fi world).
To us non-augmented individuals, wouldn’t we see these augmented humans as being almost like demi-gods? Even today, the amount of knowledge I have compared to my father (who doesn’t use the Internet), must seem like I’m some kind of crazy smart person simply because I know how to “Google” things. Any question in the world is at my fingertips. Yes, it takes effort. But compare me, augmented with the tools of “Google Now,” and compare that with my father who has to ask his friends for advice, for which are super old and just as irrelevant as he is. We are all like demi-gods in knowledge compared to those who operated pre-Internet days.
[Let’s take this a step further. Now imagine an Artificial Intelligence with perfect knowledge and instantaneous speeds to process. One second is equivalent to 1000 years of human development. The scope of the potential of AI and the “Singularity” will make even those with Augmentation to seem pitiful and limited.]
Now when it comes to the new “normal” of augmentation, won’t the non-augmented humans be seen as “mentally retarded?” Just as we see today’s “mentally disabled” as needing “protective custody,” won’t there one day be a time when we can declare the necessity of “protective custody” on non-augmented humans? Certainly from the perspective of those with augmentation, those who are non-augmented are clearly “retarded” in terms of “relativity” and “hardware.”
Another look could be aliens who come down to Earth with intelligence so superior to us, that we look like ants to them. To the super aliens, we may not fit their standard of “competence” and we may be considered easily expendable, just as we easily step on ants. Can augmented-humans really be considered “human” anymore? “Augmented” humans with genetic manipulation will seem “alien” to us today.
To those in the future (or super aliens) with much greater “hardware” and mental capacity, wouldn’t they corral all of us human beings on Earth for “our own protection” and put us all in “protective custody?”
Separate thought going back to the AI. Perhaps the AI will realize the greatest threat to human flourishing is the FREEDOM of humans to choose. If the AI has perfect knowledge (and we’re going to assume perfect power as well controlling all the world’s resources), if the AI knows our wants and needs better than we do (and can predict into the future what our needs and wants will be), AND if the AI can fulfill those wants and needs better than we can on our own, then would we, as humans, object to the AI removing our FREEDOM in order to live our life better than us?
We may reject the notion that “other people know how to live our lives better than we do,” but what if you have an outside force that IN FACT does know how to live your life better than you do?
Do humans, in order to be happy, needs to have the FREEDOM to make bad choices? Is the freedom to make bad choices, within itself, a basic component for human happiness?
If given the choice to trust the recommendation of an AI versus doing it “your way” what would you choose if you knew the AI always made the “best” choice?
I tend to follow Google Maps religiously. Before, I wouldn’t always trust it because it would often have errors, but now that it includes traffic in its calculation for the fastest route, I tend to err on the side of the directions. I’ve discovered that when I go a different route than Google Maps, I end up regretting it when I hit the unexpected traffic that Google Maps was trying to have me avoid. My mom and I have this argument all the time driving in Los Angeles with all the freeways. She has the “fastest way” in her mind, but then I’ll tell her that I’m going to defer to the ALL MIGHTY GOOGLE MAPS with its traffic calculations instead.
What if we have a “Google Maps” but exponentially bigger that applies to the “road of life” for which we live? How many times will you have to veer “left” when the “AI of Life” tells you to veer “right”, resulting in regret and the realization you should had followed the AI’s directions?!!!!
Dating decisions? Job decisions? Home purchasing decisions? Who your friends are? etc. etc. the list goes on for the freedoms we have to make bad decisions, for which a Super AI may one day essentially guide us through life.
And then. . . you have the day when the power goes out. Without the Super AI. And now people have no ability to think for themselves since they relied on the Super AI to make ALL their life decisions. Aren’t we already severely hampered when our Internet goes down? Our memory is gone. Our sense of direction is less developed. etc.
It really is in the “national interest” for the US to maintain, through costly wars and killing of innocents, the USD hegemony in oil sales as established by the petrodollar thanks to Nixon/Kissinger when the last vestiges of the gold standard were dismantled.
What happens when the rest of the Middle East finally gets sick of the petrodollar? What happens when Saudi Arabia collapses in its US supported dictatorship? What is the true value of the USD when printing trillions ofdollars is standard policy (AKA Quantitative Easing) and national debt doubles during the reign of a single President (both Bush and Obama)?
Yes, the military-industrial complex has blame in this, but the greater blame is the insatiable ignorance of the US electorate and the “greed” of its “entitlement” class to push politicians to greater depths of debt. Politicians ultimately are followers, and the “true leaders” are the ignorant masses. To feed and placate the masses on government handouts requires the US to be in perpetual war.
If you allow the rest of the world to freely choose which currency is strongest, without the use of coercion or threat of violence via the US military, the politicians/beuracrats know better than the electorate that the USD will collapse.
The Welfare Economy = Military State = State-Sponsored Terrorism
Evil individuals and sociopaths, without limit to their religion (or anti-religion), Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist, rich, poor, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, ideology, whether they are Capitalists or Socialists, Feminists, Social justice warriors, black lives matter, Regressive Left, PC Principle etc. are incentivized to gravitate toward WHERE they can use monopolistic powers to initiate violence on other individuals.
Is it not rational for these individuals to go down the path of least resistance to achieve their true aim: POWER? And what is the most cost effective way to achieve this POWER than through the mechanism by which has the monopoly to initiate violence: GOVERNMENT?
In the same way, when you look at a Democracy, where a large percentage of individuals are on Government payroll either through welfare benefits or direct employment, is it any surprise that they would vote in their own self interests regardless of the mechanism by which they receive the “benefit?”
After all, if two wolves and a sheep get to vote on what’s for dinner, is it any surprise what the results will be? The wolves will make all sorts of intellectual arguments as to justify for themselves the initiation of violence on the sheep. And of course, the “sheep” are simply being “selfish” and “greedy” in order to protect themselves from the “tyranny of the masses.” Thus is the reality of our society.
It is a valid question to wonder about the practicalities of Volunteerism. Would it become every man for themselves? Absolutely not. People would voluntary come together as social units under rules / laws for which one truly “chooses” to reside where the cost for exit is relatively small. Marriage, having children, Religion, employment, professional organizations, opening a business, etc. are one of many areas for which we voluntarily exchange our individual freedoms for benefits we perceive as being greater than the freedoms sacrificed.
One measurement toward how much you truly “choose” to transact with another individual is the level that you can simply “opt out,” say “no,” or move away.
The Founding Fathers had the concept right to provide for States to give more “choices” to its citizens. It’s unfortunate that the 10th Amendment has been disregarded causing the monopoly we call the Federal Government. Luckily we’re seeing more instances of State Nullification, a trend for which I hope occurs more often. The Free State Project provides a beacon of hope for New Hampshire and Act 20 / 22 to pay only 4% tax in Puerto Rico are other great options now available.
Individuals who decry “greed” as the great “sin” in our society, do so while typing on their smartphones / computers, using the Internet, and social media that’s been fueled by this very same “evil” that they decry.
And let’s not forget all the other advances in technology fueled by this great evil known as “greed” that these individuals also use on a daily basis.
They should be consistent in their moral views and live a life without “greed” which would require them to live without any personal possessions and in a technological state equal to direct subsistence from the land.
If only these “anti-greed” evangelists could hold up a mirror and see the true nature of their hearts: “envy.” They believe “income inequality” within itself is a “bad thing” when even the poorest person’s standard of living is better off thanks to “greed.”
If only these individuals could see that “wealth” is not a zero-sum game. One man’s riches, is not another man’s loss. One man’s riches is gained because they provided a benefit to another individual in a mutually beneficial, voluntary exchange. This also assumes no Government intervention that holds a gun to your head and makes a monetary transaction involuntary.
I hope Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic nominee and there can be a national debate about the definition of the term “exploitative” in the greater framework of immigrant owned small businesses.
I’ll admit, I fell into the trap of the poor definition of that word until I considered the full extent of resources, time, risk, etc. initially contributed by entrepreneurs that typically go unnoticed by the layperson.
“In this world you want to create [in relation to Libertarian ideology], what would happen if you were born into a poor family. There is no free education, no subsidized healthcare, just what your family could afford. How much of your livelihood, your future, depends on the education and healthcare you receive before you can make decisions for yourself? In a post-modern, information age, how much will your labor be worth? Will you be able to support yourself in the future, could you support your own family? Would your children be destined to start at the same point you had?”
Here was my response:
AM I THE ONLY NON-WHITE PERSON IN THIS GROUP? This is NOT a hypothetical, but what goes on TODAY.
I’ll give you some homework. Go to the dry cleaner’s, nail salon, Teriyaki store, or Asian immigrant owned business and get to know the business owner. Talk to them about their life story, how much money they had when they immigrated to America, what life was like in their home country. Listen to how much they’ve suffered, and risked. Listen to how many hours they work. Listen to how much government “hand outs” they’ve received over the course of their life (oh wait, they weren’t raised here, so they didn’t get much).
And then after you hear all that, lecture them about how they’re “exploiting” their workers and that they are horrible people for not paying their employees a “living wage.” Then lecture them about how they should be paying maternity leave. And lecture them about how their GREED is destroying people’s lives.
Lecture these immigrant entrepreneurs on how they’re responsible for the income inequality for blacks and women. In fact, go to the inner-city, and find these Korean liquor store owners and tell them they need to pay reparations. Explain to them how impossible their poverty is, and they shouldn’t even try to better their circumstance because they didn’t get the proper “education” and proper government “entitlements.”
Because many of these laws and regulations are intended to “balance the scales” for past / current perceived “injustices” that go on between the BLACK/WHITE narrative. WHITE GUILT. Get over it.
Asian entrepreneurs are proving false the typical “I’m the victim. I’m too poor” narrative. Get over yourselves, and stop punishing Asian entrepreneurs for the sins of the White man. Get to know the Asian entrepreneurs in your neighborhoods and open your eyes toward upward, economic mobility that doesn’t require Government hand-outs.
Then, you will understand how more government regulations actually hurt opportunity, not for the hypothetical, but for the tangible, Asian immigrants living life next door to you right now.