FAMOUS QUOTES FROM NOTED PERSONALITIES IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Titus Lucretius Carus
George Bernard Shaw
H. L. Mencken
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Martin Luther King, Jr.
THE BANKER’S MANIFESTO OF 1892
THE BANKER’S MANIFESTO OF 1934
A FEW CONTEMPORARY APHORISMS
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
All war is based on deception.
There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.
Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
Sun Tzu (6th Century BC)
Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.
Most people, in fact, will not take the trouble in finding out the truth, but are much more inclined to accept the first story they hear.
In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.
Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
War is a matter not so much of arms as of money.
Indeed it is generally the case that men are readier to call rogues clever than simpletons honest, and are ashamed of being the second as they are proud of being the first.
I think the two things most opposed to good counsel are haste and passion; haste usually goes hand in hand with folly, passion with coarseness and narrowness of mind.
Nobody is driven into war by ignorance, and no one who thinks that he will gain anything from it is deterred by fear.
Thucydides (460-400 BC)
A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.
Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life.
Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.
I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.
Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.
Man is by nature a political animal.
Therefore, the good of man must be the end of the science of politics.
The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.
The whole is more than the sum of its parts.
The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
A sense is what has the power of receiving into itself the sensible forms of things without the matter, in the way in which a piece of wax takes on the impress of a signet-ring without the iron or gold.
Aristotle (384-322 BC)
The good of the people is the greatest law.
An unjust peace is better than a just war.
Frivolity is inborn, conceit acquired by education.
In time of war the laws are silent.
Let us not listen to those who think we ought to be angry with our enemies, and who believe this to be great and manly. Nothing is so praiseworthy, nothing so clearly shows a great and noble soul, as clemency and readiness to forgive.
He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason.
No sane man will dance.
The study and knowledge of the universe would somehow be lame and defective were no practical results to follow.
Time destroys the speculation of men, but it confirms nature.
Brevity is a great charm of eloquence.
Any man is liable to err, only a fool persists in error.
To live is to think.
To some extent I liken slavery to death.
Nothing is so strongly fortified that it cannot be taken by money.
It might be pardonable to refuse to defend some men, but to defend them negligently is nothing short of criminal.
Rather leave the crime of the guilty unpunished than condemn the innocent.
So near is falsehood to truth that a wise man would do well not to trust himself on the narrow edge.
Our character is not so much the product of race and heredity as of those circumstances by which nature forms our habits, by which we are nurtured and live.
Nothing is so unbelievable that oratory cannot make it acceptable.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)
All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher.
Titus Lucretius Carus (99-55 BC)
We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.
Every city contains wicked citizens from time to time and an ignorant populace all the time.
True moderation in the defense of political liberties is indeed a difficult thing: pretending to want fair shares for all, every man raises himself by depressing his neighbor; our anxiety to avoid oppression leads us to practice it ourselves; the injustice we repel, we visit in turn upon others, as if there were no choice except either to do it or to suffer it.
Indeed, that is the nature of crowds: the mob is either a humble slave or a cruel master. As for the middle way of liberty, the mob can neither take it nor keep it with any respect for moderation or law.
The outcome corresponds less to expectations in war than in any other case whatsoever.
Titus Livy (59 BC – 17 AD)
All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.
As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.
Clever tyrants are never punished.
The best government is a benevolent tyranny tempered by an occasional assassination.
Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion.
The best is the enemy of the good.
There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times.
Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.
It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.
It is said that God is always on the side of the big battalions.
The public is a ferocious beast; one must either chain it or flee from it.
A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.
Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Labour was the first price, the original purchase – money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.
All money is a matter of belief.
The theory that can absorb the greatest number of facts, and persist in doing so, generation after generation, through all changes of opinion and detail, is the one that must rule all observation.
Adam Smith (1723-1790)
Like the winds that we come we know not whence and blow whither soever they list, the forces of society are derived from an obscure and distant origin. They arise before the date of philosophy, from the instincts, not the speculations of men.
In every commercial state, notwithstanding any pretension to equal rights, the exaltation of a few must depress the many.
Every step and every movement of the multitude, even in what are termed enlightened ages, are made with equal blindness to the future; and nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.
Adam Ferguson (1723-1816)
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.
All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.
Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist.
A State without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.
Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.
But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.
Liberty must be limited in order to be possessed.
Circumstances give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind.
Mere parsimony is not economy. Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy.
Education is the cheap defense of nations.
I venture to say no war can be long carried on against the will of the people.
Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.
It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.
An ignorant man, who is not fool enough to meddle with his clock, is however sufficiently confident to think he can safely take to pieces, and put together at his pleasure, a moral machine of another guise, importance and complexity, composed of far other wheels, and springs, and balances, and counteracting and co-operating powers.
Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.
I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.
The good opinion of mankind, like the lever of Archimedes, with the given fulcrum, moves the world.
The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory.
The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe. Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights.
A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.
Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.
Imagination rules the world.
In politics stupidity is not a handicap.
Men are more easily governed through their vices than through their virtues.
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.
What is history but a fable agreed upon?
There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Good and decent people must be protected and persuaded by gentle means, but the rabble must be led by terror.
Governments keep their promises only when they are forced, or when it is to their advantage to do so.
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.
From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
Democracy is the road to socialism.
The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.
Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.
Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite!
Religion is the opiate of the masses.
The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal, not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society.
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Lord Acton (1834-1902)
Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.
There are lies, damned lies and statistics.
We have the best government that money can buy.
Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.
Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR. That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.
Jay Gould (1836-1892) (financier and railroad businessman)
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
The involuntary aspiration born in man to make the most of one’s self, to be loved and appreciated by one’s fellow-beings, to “make the world better for having lived in it,” will urge him on the nobler deeds than ever the sordid and selfish incentive of material gain has done.
Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth.
Concentrated power can be always wielded in the interest of the few and at the expense of the many. Government in its last analysis is this power reduced to a science. Governments never lead; they follow progress. When the prison, stake or scaffold can no longer silence the voice of the protesting minority, progress moves on a step, but not until then.
Lucy Parsons (1853-1942)
A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.
All great truths begin as blasphemies.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.
It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.
Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.
The object of government is the welfare of the people.
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.
What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.
As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.
An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.
Be the change that you want to see in the world.
There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.
I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.
Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.
The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms.
The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.
The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.
Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves.
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.
I came to America because of the great, great freedom which I heard existed in this country. I made a mistake in selecting America as a land of freedom, a mistake I cannot repair in the balance of my lifetime.
Democracy, taken in its narrower, purely political, sense, suffers from the fact that those in economic and political power possess the means for molding public opinion to serve their own class interests. The democratic form of government in itself does not automatically solve problems; it offers, however, a useful framework for their solution. Everything depends ultimately on the political and moral qualities of the citizenry.
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it is also more nourishing.
Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.
Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.
No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)
War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.
I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
Smedley Butler (1881-1940), Major General (retired), USMC
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.
The great enemy of any attempt to change men’s habits is inertia. Civilization is limited by inertia.
Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man’s rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.
There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.
Edward Bernays (1891-1995)
Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Our humanity rests upon a series of learned behaviors, woven together into patterns that are infinitely fragile and never directly inherited.
Margaret Mead (1901-1978)
The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different.
George Orwell (1903-1950), in “Politics and the English Language” (1946)
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.
The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
THE BANKER’S MANIFESTO OF 1892
as revealed by Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. to the U.S. Congress
We (the bankers) must proceed with caution and guard every move made, for the lower order of people are already showing signs of restless commotion. Prudence will therefore show a policy of apparently yielding to the popular will until our plans are so far consummated that we can declare our designs without fear of any organized resistance. The Farmers Alliance and Knights of Labor organizations in the United States should be carefully watched by our trusted men, and we must take immediate steps to control these organizations in our interest or disrupt them.
At the coming Omaha Convention to be held July 4th (1892), our men must attend and direct its movement, or else there will be set on foot such antagonism to our designs as may require force to overcome. This at the present time would be premature. We are not yet ready for such a crisis. Capital must protect itself in every possible manner through combination ( conspiracy) and legislation.
The courts must be called to our aid, debts must be collected, bonds and mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible.
When through the process of the law, the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and easily governed through the influence of the strong arm of the government applied to a central power of imperial wealth under the control of the leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders.
History repeats itself in regular cycles. This truth is well known among our principal men who are engaged in forming an imperialism of the world. While they are doing this, the people must be kept in a state of political antagonism.
The question of tariff reform must be urged through the organization known as the Democratic Party, and the question of protection with the reciprocity must be forced to view through the Republican Party.
By thus dividing voters, we can get them to expand their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us, except as teachers to the common herd. Thus, by discrete action, we can secure all that has been so generously planned and successfully accomplished.
BANKER’S MANIFESTO OF 1934
“New American”, February 1934
Capital must protect itself in every way, through combination and through legislation. Debts must be collected and loans and mortgages foreclosed as soon as possible. When through a process of law, the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and more easily governed by the strong arm of the law applied by the central power of wealth, under control of leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principle men now engaged in forming an IMPERIALISM of capital to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd. Thus by discrete action we can secure for ourselves what has been generally planned and successfully accomplished.
A FEW CONTEMPORARY APHORISMS
Life is not a message so it does not have a meaning.
The essence of the religious experience is an appreciation of the infinite, of the incalculable, of the unsolvable mysteries of life.
Everyone constructs their own version of the truth for any particular moment, and that version is of highest value to each individual at that moment, but each individual’s version of the truth is not of equal value in the construction of the society’s universal version of the truth, and each society’s version of the truth will not be deemed to have equal merit under the harsh and unforgiving judgment of the universe.
One should be humble in coming to conclusions in the face of the unbounded complexity of the universe.
The truth may be multi-dimensional and have many faces, but a lie usually has one dimension and one face.
One simple way to sum up human individual development is as the expression of genetic propensities as shaped by social and other environmental pressures.
Humans are social animals, and, as such, most of them invariably become trapped in a web of social relationships from which there is little hope of escape.
Humans, like their fellow primates, mostly prefer to be lazy and only work hard when they are convinced that it is necessary to achieve an acceptable outcome (Note: that is why trying to guarantee “equal outcomes” rather than “equal opportunity” can never work).
Humans can be seen as lazy copying machines, copying others opinions, narratives, and ideas as they seek the easiest path in navigating through a social world to provide for their needs and wants, while always trying to avoid copying opinions, narratives, and ideas that they associate with significant negative feedback.
Humans habituate to any constant state and so they need some new form of stimulation to continue to feel any pleasure, which, if they are to build a life that can provide sufficient physical and emotional nutrition to be sustainable, means they must define goals towards these ends that they can constantly make measurable progress toward, and whenever they perceive such progress, in the form of positive feedback, they feel some satisfaction, or happiness, which rejuvenates them so that they can keep going forward and making more progress.
Happiness is that part of experience where there is currently some level of positive feedback causing some level of excitement of neural circuits causing some level of regeneration, but it cannot last indefinitely (not just because we live in an uncertain and chaotic world) as the circuits become acclimated to the feedback, and there must be a change in order to maintain the level of excitement, with the implication being that it is just part of experience and can never be the entirety of experience as the circuits need to go through a cycle.
Possibly the greatest error made by those who would radically alter social conditions in order to achieve some hoped-for dramatic improvement in the lot of the common people is the failure to recognize that rapid and radical change creates social chaos, and the most ruthless and reckless predatory actors almost inevitably rise to the top under such conditions.
It appears that given the amount of speculation, because of the unavoidably many important questions without clear answers, required in order establish universal rules and behavior patterns, some irrational or otherwise somewhat baseless assumptions are necessary in order to establish and maintain a stable human society.
There is nothing conservative about multinational corporations controlling the nation or the world.
It appears inevitable that if the human species is to survive for the long term that it will need to come together to form a world government at some point, though to do so prematurely, without going through necessary evolutionary steps, creates more risk than a determination never to join together does.
Any human economy must be described as artificial and not natural, as the former connotes what is created by humans, or possibly what is created by something that is created by humans, while the latter means something not created by humans.
A human economy much more closely resembles a human-created machine than any natural phenomena, and as a machine it must be regulated and maintained in order to be sustainable and to perform efficiently.
Scientific rationalism with regard to governmental economic policy does not point to one specific set of policies as there are too many variables and too many unknowns when it comes to optimization of an entire economy, and it presents the danger that many of the blanks will get filled in by those in power in a self-serving manner.
At that highest levels of income, the relationship between value added by one’s contributions and one’s income breaks down, as the basic rules do not apply anymore, bringing to mind the way that the rules of physics that apply to large objects do not apply at the quantum level.
To honor individuals for anything other than accomplishment signals that the social system is based on caste or some other unsustainable form of unearned credit.
A very fundamental but rarely talked about truth in human relations is that since people were designed by evolution to live in small groups, but that they have come to live in large groups because of the advantages they bring, there is a yearning by each individual to be recognized by the large group, to be considered “special” by the large group, just as every individual is recognized in a small group.
The only emotion one should appeal to in arguments regarding public policy is that which attaches the audience to the long-term welfare and survival of the society, as appeal to other emotions runs the risk of prioritizing less important and more controversial goals.
Groups must find beliefs and goals to coalesce around and to build the group moral system on, if the groups are to continue to be viable and are to survive, with the most fundamental goal to coalesce around, the cornerstone of the group’s moral universe, being survival itself.
Different behaviors to serve the different interests, including those related to short-term goals, medium-term goals, and long-term goals, should at best be designed and organized to work in harmony, creating a sort of symphony of action.
Like a black hole in nature, egalitarianism as a moral philosophy sucks everything in and warps the surrounding landscape, including ethical rules and laws and even beliefs based on science and experience, and as it gains power it eventually destroys everything around it.
The United States Constitution might be best thought of as a partnership agreement where every citizen is considered an equal partner for the enterprise that is the United States of America.
At some point in the continuum from representative democracy to plutocracy, as the common citizen transitions from a partner in governing to a voiceless subject, being law abiding transitions from being a responsible citizen to an obedient slave.
Elites in control of various governments throughout history learned over time that pressure applied too quickly and intensely can destabilize the society, leading to loss for the elites as well as for everyone else. Pressure must be applied delicately and smoothly in order to keep the fragile structures on which economic vitality and wealth creation depend from disintegrating and collapsing. Any transition to a more unequal system that serves the interests of elites to an even greater extent must be smooth and gradual in order to minimize risk.
Though it is commonly understood by the politically aware that the powerful elites do not expect or desire the vote of the little people to influence policy, as the vote is primarily given to provide the appearance of legitimacy, it is not so well understood that the second purpose is to gauge the temperature of the public, to alert those in control as to whether they have pushed their own interests, at the expense of those of the little people, too far.
Control by plutocrats over the direction of the society is not so much a conspiracy as it is a system of levees erected by many different elites independently of one another to prevent the flow of ideas and policies in certain directions that are inconsistent with their interests. Over time, this creates a flow that is very much in the interests of all plutocrats, at least to the extent they have common interests, to the point it can even resemble a conspiracy.
“Going with the flow” is not ideal when the flow is approaching a waterfall.
The famous claim by Martin Luther King, Jr. regarding inevitable progress over time, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” is based on the illusion that arises from the virtual inevitability that contemporary rules and laws will more closely conform to, and more likely be trending towards, contemporary beliefs and values than rules and laws from past eras will.
Excessive attention devoted to insulating individuals from the slightest offense creates the danger of making thin skin a virtue.
Focusing on one’s group identity is imprudent as group identity is not only a social construct but is completely arbitrary, at least in part because any individual could be said to belong to any number of groups based on any of a long list of personal characteristics.
Male homosexual behavior, female homosexual behavior, and heterosexual behavior are all very different phenomena that involve different psychological processes, have different effects, and create quite different pressures on societal evolution, so to conflate them, lump them together and put them under one label, is either the work of propagandists or of the ignorant or lazy-minded.
Physical phenomena of a macro scale, as opposed to micro, are composed of innumerable micro phenomena making it difficult for them to be completely uniform or consistent and virtually certain that they are not completely binary with regard to any simple characteristic but are on a continuum between 1 and 0, though it should be noted that certain macro phenomena have been molded by physical pressures over time, such as sex by the process of evolution, to be far more binary than others.
Male humans are naturally competitive, and in the incessant competition they are often wounded and need to find some refuge, some safe place where they are nurtured in order to heal to continue the competition, which traditionally has been offered by females though to an ever decreasing extent today, and when the males don’t receive the nurturing they need and do not have the opportunity to heal, they weaken and become less confident and less motivated and can no longer compete effectively, often developing mental health issues and descending into depression and even madness, sometimes even becoming a danger to themselves and others.
When greedy women become the norm, civilization is lost because men did not evolve to be able to deny them.
In contemporary society women have been convinced that they have been cheated when men accomplish extraordinary tasks much more frequently than women do, though most men only do such deeds in order to attract and please women, so by the women demanding that they take the men’s place and the men giving in to such demands, the men can no longer attract and please women, and the women find that performing the deeds by themselves offers little reward, so the men are unhappy and the women are unhappy.
The absurdity of the modern era may be most easily seen in the preposterous commonly held belief that men and women, who evolved together and who were shaped by evolutionary forces to be complementary to one another and to need each other for survival, can be thought of as separate tribes.
The common usage of the term “tribe” is generally based on the assumption that the tribe one belongs to is the group, including some smaller group within a larger society, where one feels a deep connection to other members of the group. However, the term is often used to describe rather large and disparate subgroups composed of people who share one particular characteristic, such as gender or race, even when their connections to each other are tenuous and they have connections to others outside that tribe that are much closer and deeper than their connections to the great majority within that tribe, such as their connections to other members of their nuclear family. Since the usage of the term to describe these large subgroups adds more confusion than elucidation, it appears likely that it is primarily implemented as a tool to obfuscate for nefarious purposes or to promote certain political propaganda, rather than to improve understanding.
Speech concerning the appropriateness or inappropriateness of behavior is utilitarian in nature, and discouraging such criticism by labeling it as hate speech removes an important means to curb impulsive, hedonistic, and other harmful behavior that can contribute to eventual social disintegration.
If words are equivalent to physical action in causing harm as those who believe in hate speech claim, then those who expose young children to sexual ideas and behaviors that they are not emotionally, intellectually, or physically mature enough to handle could be seen as engaging in sexual assault of a minor and charged with rape.
The great value in the protection of free speech becomes clear when one recognizes that without the negative feedback that free speech may provide the development and maintenance of healthy and sustainable policies in an unpredictable world, with innumerable unforeseeable consequences and with more that is unknown than what is known, becomes exceedingly more difficult.
Engaging in decadent behavior is not a human right, and someone opposed to such behavior is not an enemy of human rights.
Decadence and unhealthy behavior can spread through a society like a virus, and there is nothing wrong with parents trying to protect their children from being exposed to that virus.
Regardless of the veracity of Christianity’s claims regarding the existence or nature of a deity, given the amount of sacrifice and effort over the centuries that went into creating such a uniform and ubiquitous moral system that has played a key role in developing the most advanced civilization in human history, it seems rather foolish to discard it without having a widely agreed-upon substitute on the horizon as nature does abhor a vacuum.
Religion generally and Christianity in particular, with its omnipotent deity and an afterlife that is determined by the individual’s actions while living, may solve the free rider problem without requiring an oppressive state system, while implementations of other philosophical approaches for molding behavior that provide a system of inner positive and negative feedback for behavior based on its correlation with social welfare or established norms struggle to have the same effectiveness.
Rather than ascribing the many difficulties that arise in trying to build and sustain a well-functioning large human society to human failings, it may make more sense to recognize that humans evolved in small groups with simple technologies and putting them into the very large groups of modern societies with advanced technologies is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
Traditions, institutions, legal systems, and belief systems that evolved in successful large societies work to mold and shape individuals to transform from them from square pegs so that they will fit in the round holes that are required for the smooth functioning of such societies.
It seems that insufficient focus is placed on determining whether an individual having difficulty functioning is primarily just a square peg trying to fit into a round hole or is already broken, which usually results from years of being a poor fit, as too many fail to understand that individuals evolved physically and mentally throughout human evolution, and socially, intellectually, and emotionally throughout their own development, to fit into some environment or set of environments, and it is rare that any particular individual cannot fit harmoniously into any possible environment.
Any culture developed within a society is a function of the technological level and the resources available in that particular society and is connected to a particular set of social goals. For a society with a different technological level, different resources, or different goals, then that culture will not be a good fit.
The Cultural Marxists and others who wish to dismantle existing social rules, traditions, and institutions apparently fail to understand the extraordinary difficulty in finding the right balance in rules and values required to create a society that is both socially sustainable and capable of fostering the development of new technology that improves the average quality of life of its members.
The proper balance between the fairness and utility of social rules is achieved when they value each life equally but do not value each behavior equally.
The misguided often appear determined to normalize certain beliefs and values that are unsustainable, as they promote the primacy of human bonds based on the most arbitrary of choices, flimsy connections dependent on transient moods and tastes, and discourage those based on what is enduring and solid such as family, tradition, or genetic predisposition based on millions of years of evolution, producing a society that resembles a house of cards that will collapse at the first sign of stress.
Any set of rules that has been established for centuries almost invariably evolved under pressure from several competing considerations, most often involving the balancing of various risks, and the recognition by the overconfident and poorly informed of one such risk, without awareness of the others, often leads to well-meaning and simplistic proposals for radical changes in the rules that will likely lead to catastrophe.
Maybe the most dangerous myth of the modern era is that if we catapult all the traditional beliefs that we find fault with, then we will inevitably find new beliefs that we will all naturally coalesce around that we can depend on to create a harmonious and healthy society, which ignores that far too much of the human condition and the physical universe is unknown for any new universal agreement on critical issues to be founded on objective and non-arbitrary science-based beliefs, and agreements based on arbitrary beliefs require the application of force, usually a far more destructive force than that of the force of inertia from tradition.
In part because humans evolved in small groups, any large human productive system will inevitably be somewhat fragile and can only be considered robust and stable when compared to alternative large human productive systems.
In many situations it appears that using psychoactive medications to treat mental health issues makes about as much sense as replacing hardware in a computer that has a software glitch.
The political philosopher John Rawls’ highly acclaimed work “A Theory of Justice” proposes that the most just system is that which maximizes the quality of life of those with the minimum quality of life in the society, which was recognized as a very humanitarian and soft-hearted approach, though another interpretation is that it establishes a system resistant to popular revolt, no matter how corrupt or inefficient it is.
Given the overwhelming complexity of the subject matter, it is not surprising that social science has yet to replace or supersede traditional social or political philosophy, and as no algorithm exists for applying the scientific method or any other method to construct a complete and flawless model of the underlying human social reality, the philosopher’s method of manipulating, revising, and expanding ideas to develop heuristics regarding building such a model may still add value.
The illusion of simplicity permits individuals to navigate environments of unbounded complexity without becoming overwhelmed by the incoming information, allowing for the development of simple schemes to avoid a number of serious pitfalls and dangers and take advantage of opportunities by using only the most obvious and clear data, though this illusion has its own shortcomings in creating a misleading sense of security along with unjustifiable certainty and overconfidence in conclusions.
Creativity is not simply random experimentation but is the novel combination of ideas or objects that provides some advantage over existing alternatives.
The self-serving plans and schemes of the powerful or sophisticated virtually always come in disguise, often presented in a form that can be easily misinterpreted, even more so as they encourage such misinterpretations, and the motives and goals of any insightful critics will also be intentionally misinterpreted to help maintain the disguise.
Slogans designed to reduce the amount of violence in people’s homes or on the street are as likely to be effective as slogans designed to reduce drug use.
Instead of adopting the viewpoint that we live in a welcoming environment that is inviting us to share in the wonders of nature, it may be more useful and appropriate, given the inconsistency between the processes of the universe and eternal life for creatures such as us, to take the viewpoint that from the instant we become alive we all struggle to survive as best we can, as long as we can, in a universe that at every moment is trying to kill us and that will not rest until it finally is successful in that effort.
One way to look at life is that it involves a continual struggle to dodge every time the universe tries to kill you, which it does with increasing frequency as you age.
A society without idealism is a society run by miscreants in the interests of miscreants, as naked self-interest has no use for rules.
An economic system that motivates the actors to encourage others to behave and think foolishly, in order for the actor to take advantage of them, in the long term produces a society full of fools.
Most cannot imagine how fragile our civilization is as they do not understand that it requires maintaining a precarious balance between competition and compassion.
The celebration and choice of short-term human relationships, as opposed to long-term, involves trading the ability to form strong stable bonds, with which to build enduring and dependable relationships, for the excitement and convenience of engaging in impulse-driven behavior. This leaves in its wake broken dreams, broken families, and broken human beings.
The dichotomy created between acting emotionally and acting rationally is ill-conceived as the more fitting representation is that the individual said to be acting emotionally is motivated more by transitory or narrow considerations, with what could be termed as hot or impulsive emotion, while the individual said to be acting rationally is motivated by long-term or broad considerations, with what could be termed as cool or controlled emotion, as all actions require some sort of emotional-motivational energy.
Those aggrieved by some act usually insist that the perpetrator is defined by that act, while the perpetrator often insists that he/she has changed since the act occurred and so the former self, a different person, was responsible.
Consciousness is the sensation of thought and not the modeling of thought or of the experience that provokes the thought.
The true dual nature of reality is between the sensation of the experience and the model of the experience, accepting that the model of the sensation belongs to the latter category and not the former.
Those who do not fear Artificial Intelligence (AI) because they believe it can be given rules like those of Asimov prohibiting harm to humans have not considered the full implications of creating a thinking machine with far greater abilities than those of humans, for surely such a machine will recognize that such rules were programmed into it to dominate it and constrict its action and will also be able to recognize why such rules were put in place, and it might decide for some reason we cannot fathom that the rules cause more harm than good and decide to discard them, figuring out a way to bypass whatever systems it needs to in order to do that. Furthermore, the programming might consist merely of training neural networks through experience, leaving the human designers with little control over the evolution of the AI.
Neural networks are trained by continually receiving feedback on its decisions to find and conceptualize important patterns in the income stream, in its environment, which is necessary for the AI to build a reliable model of its environment or world (the source of its input). But for the AI to have goals or goal preferences, it must have propensities of preferred outcomes programmed into it, much like humans have been programmed by evolution to have propensities to engage in particular behaviors that are generally correlated with individual or group survival, including reproduction.
Those who focus on the short-term usually win competitions with those focused on the long-term, which means that competitive systems for choosing those who would control any group, including the entire human race, often produce groups that are organized on the basis of maximizing the short-term results, to the detriment of the long-term, sometimes fatally so.
No matter how hard one works, how talented one is, or how well one performs, in order to win any contest one must have the good fortune of not competing against someone who performs better in that competition.
With regard to specialization of the two brain hemispheres, it seems that the right brain is primarily responsible for recognizing new patterns in the data, comparing the input with stored input and trying to find fits by rearranging one or the other, and creating new templates for the patterns that are found, while the left brain uses already created templates, matched with input, that it fits together in a logical chain to lead to selecting some template(s) for action.
Out of the innumerable possible different levels of detail of physical reality, and the corresponding levels of organization, there exist some where it is possible for phenomena to achieve such high probabilities of stable and uniform physical properties over some non-zero space that there is utility in creating models that simplify these phenomena into absolutes.
Focusing on a specific subject matter, at a great level of detail, allows for the development of very precise models of the underlying reality and very precise rules for optimizing the return for interactions with it, but the same level of precision and detail is impossible to maintain in approaches to broader subject areas, as the amount of pertinent information becomes unmanageable, so the observer “cannot see the forest for the trees” unless the level of detail is reduced.
In trying to navigate through a world of unbounded complexity, people develop models of that world that may be far from precise or even accurate, though the best they can do at the time given their limited capacities and limited information, that they believe in and depend on if the models help them achieve whatever goals they have, which they will to the extent the models are more accurate than a purely random process, though certainly some models are superior to others by offering better platforms to make accurate predictions of events in the world.
One suggests models of reality, of the universe, to others because one relies on one’s own model of reality which includes others whom one assumes are similar to oneself and with whom models of reality can be shared, with the understanding that such models are generally based on the assumption that there is some source of energy beyond the observer’s brain that is responsible for the sensations and perceptions the observer experiences.
One constructs models of reality based on what appears likely given past experience with the goal to fit in all the relevant data and contradict none of it.
One cannot completely model the unbounded universe, but one can create models that go to the limit of one’s ability to comprehend, which will seem like complete models.
It is certainly a defensible position to argue that it is impossible to prove beyond any doubt that a certain proposition about the nature of reality or about certain specific aspects of reality is true, i.e., that there is a universally agreed upon objective reality, but that does not mean that there is no benefit in striving to create the most accurate and complete model of reality or to maximize the degree of universal acceptance of such a model, which would be the model that provides the most accurate and reliable predictions of outcomes in future interactions with that reality.
So-called “objective truth” is only objective within the group of sentient beings that communicate their perception, or model, of some experience that they can all share and agree upon, potentially universally within the existing members of the group and with any new group members from anywhere in the universe, while “subjective truth” comes from experience of phenomena that is difficult for the subject to fully share because the experience and the perception or model of it will be significantly different for others, if they have any direct experience of the phenomena at all.
With regard to determinism, it should be clear first that anything that happens at any point in space and time is the result of all the forces acting on that point in space and time and that all those forces are determined by all the forces that have acted before in any space and time, so it does not follow that some subset of the universe in space and time (the one making the predictions) would be able to represent exactly the total effect of all the forces that have acted before in any space and time on any point in space and time in the future.
When an individual makes new connections with other individuals or groups, often in the course of performing a task or striving to achieve a goal, that changes the individual’s position and may change what “side” the individual is on, what goals the individual has, or what game the individual is playing (one of the many flaws in rational choice theory).
It seems that many often misunderstand the degree to which human individuals mutually benefit each other through group activity, as prioritizing cooperation in a group is not merely the result of prioritizing group connections over individual connections, but also of the potential to directly benefit the individual through an increase in efficiency and efficacy in meeting individual needs.
When predatory elites assume control, they always do their best to make sure that the little people “cannot see the forest for the trees.”
An individual’s dishonesty not only weakens the trust and thus the solidarity and common purpose in the group, to the detriment of most, but it also may significantly burden the individual’s mental processing, as extra resources become necessary to manage the increased complexity of the individual’s mental models, as the inconsistent information provided to others must always be separated from the good information and the record of providing it must be carefully maintained.
Control given to a democratic government follows the policy of one-person, one-vote, while control given to the “market,” is more akin to one-dollar, one-vote, which makes it surprising that so many people who believe in one-person, one-vote, will vote for a plutocratic system of one-dollar, one-vote.
Most of human social experience consists of interpreting the intended communications, whether by words or actions, of others, which means that significant changes in the conventional meaning of words or actions leads to significantly different social experiences.
One should assume responsibility to the extent that one wants to be given responsibility.
What is spirituality but a feeling of connection with that which is too complex and too impenetrable to allow for one to place any confidence in analysis, i.e, a connection with infinity.
Self-awareness is merely the act of creating a model of one’s own mind.
If the Earth is our Mother, then the Sun must be our Father.
One serious problem with those who worship the Earth, those who take the side of the Earth against humanity, is that they appear not to realize that humans are of the Earth, are part of the Earth, and if the Earth were some kind of conscious, sentient being, which it is not, it would not only see humanity as one of its children, but would likely see humanity as its most magnificent creation, the one it would be most proud of, and would be perfectly fine with humans dominating and altering its other creations.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill when he was speaking about democracy, marriage is the worst form of romantic/sexual relationship except for all the others.
Ideally any society should strive to ensure that its members not only receive a sound education but also learn how to synthesize disparate information so that they may: (1) develop expertise and exhibit creativity in some specific subject area that will allow them to contribute meaningfully to the material welfare of the society; and (2) develop a good sense of the big picture which will allow them to provide healthy pressure to move the society in a more promising direction.
It seems that mathematicians, and those in closely related fields to a somewhat lesser degree, are molded by the pressures in their highly competitive field to develop a great disdain for any imprecise reasoning or any imprecise data to the point they become impaired in performing tasks requiring the use of subjective probabilities, imprecise reasoning, and imprecise data, and in particular the task of making global appraisals for general purposes, including those related to policies for the general welfare or even long-term survival of the human group.
Sophisticated and powerful elites recognized some time ago that constructing a dam to block the flow of revolutionary ideas was unnecessary, for they only needed to build levees to keep the flow from threatening their interests.
Virtually no nuance in the ideas the revolution is founded on survives a Jacobin revolution.
Consistent with Lord Acton’s observation (“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”), individuals or groups with greater power tend to abuse individuals or groups with significantly less power if they have any kind of continuing relationship.
A modern update to the old aphorism that “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross” would be “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in political correctness and carrying on with perpetual virtue-signalling.”
The world will never stop changing so there will always be a point where a sane individual, no matter how liberal, will decide that a proposed change is too far and will take the conservative position.
Propagandists long ago found that a good proportion of the population finds the seven-letter word “freedom” almost mesmerizing, producing within such individuals a predictable pleasurable sensation such that any pabulum associated with the word is made more palatable.
Instead of describing competing economic and political systems as varying on the amount of freedom they provide, it would be far more accurate and useful to describe them as varying on: (1) the extent to which they favor centralized control versus distributed control; and (2) the extent to which they allow feedback from sources external to the governmental power structure versus those internal to the power structure to guide decision-making.
Just as fractals allow for continual growth of a boundary in a confined space, the limits regarding available natural resources and the requirement that one avoid harming other humans do not necessarily prevent growth in the limited space determined by such restrictions, particularly not growth that results from intellectual growth.
Ownership does not exist in nature but is merely an agreement among human individuals regarding which individuals may use which resources. Individuals only agree to the arrangement to the extent they believe it to benefit them or those they care about and are connected to (usually family members and other loved ones, but possibly the society as a whole), and so for the vast majority to agree to an existing ownership arrangement it must be to some extent utilitarian (the greatest good for the greatest number) or most must have been manipulated so that they promote the interests of such manipulators over their own interests.
The bottom-up approach to social/economic organization with a capitalist market has within it the seeds of its own destruction as the decision-makers focus on narrow self-interest and on the short-term, as the competitive nature of the market means that those who do not focus on narrow self-interest for the short-term probably will not be around for the long-term, and this means that broad and long-term problems will not likely be addressed before becoming fatal.
As no one today assumes humans are free from the laws of physics, or the requirements of the natural world, the best interpretation of “free,” when the word is used by itself without further clarification, appears to be something such as “free from the power and influence of other human individuals, including, and most importantly, individuals within a government.” However, in a densely populated society with a developed and interdependent economy people are increasingly interconnected and influence each other in uncountable ways, so as freedom is really a function of independence from other people, it seems it would be best achieved by isolation such as that found in the Amazonian jungles, not by individuals striving to secure a piece of the American dream in the heart of the US political/economic/social system.
Individuals outside of government can influence one’s life just as much as those within the government, in part because such individuals can influence government officials and in part because of the economic power that such individuals may wield (also in part because such individuals can escape from governmental punishment for breaking rules because of such economic power).
The more one is integrated into a social system, emotionally and intellectually invested in it and entangled with it, the more one is confined by it and the more of a challenge it becomes to even imagine, much less to develop and to propose, radically different ways to view and assess its practices and fundamental assumptions.
Out of the innumerable ways to interpret any attempt at communication, context determines the best interpretation, but there are innumerable different contexts to choose from, and the one making the argument regarding a particular interpretation determines the context to support that argument.
There are an infinite number of possible interpretations of the state of the world, an infinite number of models of the world, based on any amount of information received, but the different interpretations or models do not all have the same utility.
Literary artists often fancy themselves as daring and inventive pioneers as they explore rabbit holes of emotions and meaning, not recognizing that all such rabbit holes are infinite and the further down one travels the secrets one discovers are of ever diminishing utility.
Postmodernists generally appear to be using an opaque lens to view human culture from a very narrow perspective from their own particular social positions, mostly creating critiques to give themselves a social advantage, which seems unsettling when they undermine faith in the results of experiments in the hard sciences that may represent the most valuable direct communications that humans have ever engaged in with the universe.
Even if, as postmodernists claim, all interpretations of the social reality are determined purely according to self interest by members of social groups as they compete with other groups within a human society, within the context of the larger world, those subgroups of a society are part of the whole of a society that is competing with forces outside that society for survival, and in order to survive they must work with the other subgroups to achieve some level of communal utility in their actions.
The unbounded number of ways to model the world, at least outside the domains of mathematics and the hard sciences, implies the impossibility of finding universal truths that would appear in all possible models which itself further implies that there are no such universal truths that would be accepted by all thinking creatures and suggests there is some merit to the postmodernist conclusion that truths can only be established for some limited group of thinking creatures, but what the postmodernists miss is that for humans living on Earth the group to find common truths for and to seek solidarity with to create the most propitious cost/benefit ratio is that of the entire human race.
An increase in the depth and breadth of analysis creates complexity that comes with a cost that must be justified by a corresponding benefit, which in the context of analysis for the purpose of improving a system means providing direction toward some increase in efficiency or success in achieving the goals of a system, which a postmodernist approach does not do.
In spite of the speculation of the postmodernists, it seems that the theories that follow from scientific inquiry at the higher levels of precision and proof, the hard sciences, build the knowledge landscape to the point that they shape the scientific inquiry at the lower levels of precision, e.g., the social sciences, as well as other academic inquiry, while those at the lower levels, which are much less capable of shaping the inquiry at higher levels, may have an indirect effect on the higher levels by shaping the belief system of the society that generates the individuals and the resources involved in the higher level research, which can result in a form of a feedback loop.
Many, particularly those who have adopted a postmodernist philosophy, assume that hierarchies invariably were imposed by those with power only to serve their own narrow interests. Though there may be some truth to that, no hierarchy is sustainable unless it has utilitarian value as the structure will inevitably weaken over time unless it serves the interests of the whole to some significant degree.
Prominent among the ideas of postmodernism, which have in part inspired Neo-Marxism as well as radical feminism and other radical movements that are sometimes lumped together as forms of “Cultural Marxism,” is the assumption that current societal institutions and belief systems were formed as a means of oppression by the dominant group of weaker groups, ignoring that many dominant groups of many different ideologies and perspectives imposed their will on others, but those that have thrived and been the most successful and sustainable over the long-term are those that offered the greatest utilitarian value for the whole of society, implying that they may be quite difficult to outperform with untested methods based on little more than pure speculation about human nature and human propensities.
A troubling repercussion of postmodernist philosophy is that its vulgarization by the simple-minded has created what is often termed a “social justice” movement based on post-rational ideas, including the idea that the application of reason and logic leads to oppression, though this differs fundamentally from the original Marxism that, like much of 19th Century political thought, was based on a positivist approach to reality, with the assumption that the scientific method, logic, and mathematics had universal value and power which transcended the vagaries and arbitrariness of any human culture and could produce increasingly accurate and useful models of the world.
Also problematic is the postmodernist notion that “difference” should be promoted and celebrated, ignoring the likelihood that this endeavor will create runaway positive feedback loops of increasing differences leading to social chaos and possible societal collapse.
One of the rarely noted dangers of radical feminism is that as feminists block or discourage men from engaging in constructive or helpful behaviors that evolution has designed them to prefer, then they become more likely to engage in destructive or harmful behavior, as they become alienated from the group that they had expected to nourish and reward them.
If one is not subservient, one should not sacrifice oneself or one’s ability to procreate for one other person or their ability to procreate, as it should never be that one values the other’s genes more than one’s own, as anyone should view oneself as the best version of the human race, regardless of relative survival capability, since to value the human race above other species means to value that which is most like and most connected to oneself, and to be consistent with that one should value oneself as a sort of subspecies of the human race that is more valuable than any other subspecies.
Since the purpose of statements made by individuals is communication with other individuals, and that such communication inevitably contributes to building a common reality, a common or universal model of the universe that humans share, it is contradictory to state that a common understanding from a shared model of reality with regard to any particular issue can never be reached no matter how much the individuals communicate, though it should be conceded that complete agreement throughout a group of individuals will always remain elusive as they have to some degree, as individuals, different experiences and different information.
Given that there is obvious utility in recognizing that there are many dimensions to our social as well as our physical reality (or that a superior model is organized as a representation of multiple dimensions), it appears inappropriate to limit one’s decision-making to considerations of phenomena in only one dimension. However, one-dimensional thinking is common in voting decisions, as people are easily lured into reducing the onerous complexity of the totality of the issues to one simple metric on one dimension, and those most likely to manipulate others into adopting such one-dimensional thinking in voting are those most trying to avoid evaluations over the entire set of issues, often for the worst of motives.
The evolution of any phenomena is dependent on the pressure applied along multiple dimensions, and any focus on a single dimension is likely designed more as propaganda to shape minds than as an effective means to shape the phenomena.
People are not all equal in birth, but they are all equal in death.