Free Will, Modernized

October 22, 2014

Converted Canadian Muslims crush, and shoot Canadians. Hey, they read it in a magazine! Do those killers have free will? Or are they just Qur’an programmed machines? This is the sort of quandary which advances in neurology show the ancient debate on Free Will ought to be about. Here is a tiny refresher about the Qur’an:

Quran (2:216)Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

Quran (3:56)“As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

Quran (3:151)“Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”.  This speaks directly of polytheists, thus including Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (Muhammad incorrectly believed that Christians had ‘joining companions to Allah’… as his mentor was a relative, a Coptic monk!).

Quran (4:74)“Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”

Quran (8:12)“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

Quran (8:39)“And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah”

OK, I stop here with Qur’an machine’s quotes, because this essay is not about Islam, but about Free Will. The preceding makes it clear that whoever really believes textually and literally in what’s written in the Qur’an ought to march into the Parliament in Ottawa, and destroy the disbelief there, to gather the vast reward.

And the question is: do these people have Free Will?

The modern debate about Free Will has not been about that. It has been, for centuries, about “gratuitous acts” [actes gratuits]. This has been an entirely stupid debate, the provinces of lost philosophers; any bear or lion hunter knows free will exists, not just in humans, but in the minds of ferocious beasts (thus making them hard to predict; once I found myself weaponless, 10 years old, and facing the largest lion I ever saw; I carefully paid my respects, and backed off slowly as I anybody in such circumstances ought to do, acknowledging the splendor of the king of beasts, making Him feel very good about Himself, and thus making my on-going existence something which, however minute and unworthy, represented an element of satisfaction for the Lord of Africa).

Modern brain scanning techniques have brought a twist on that: the launching of an act is preceded by unconscious brain preparations, several tenths of second prior.

That is totally unsurprising. The brain is like an immense, giant machine, with millions of programs and preparations running simultaneously. Consciousness looks, and can only look, at very few of them.

At least, we know this now.

For example the latest Nobel in Biology was attributed for the discovery of tiny hexagonal networks of neurons which act like microscopic Geostationary Positioning Systems. Such circuitry is active continuously, to provide a sense of place. It influences consciousness, and thus Free Will.

(Say: if the internal GPS indicates we are falling off, the Free Will debate will be shut-down. Instantaneously.)

The free will debate is thousands of years old. It became acute after Constantine’s terrorizing dictatorship imposed as state religion an omnipotent, omniscient god. How can be free, if god is everything?

That had the pleasant consequence that intellectuals, instead of worrying about the dictators, conducted 17 centuries of sterile debates about whether god allowed them to be free (in truth it’s Constantine and his tyrannical successors who did not allow them to be free).

When a bell rings, Pavlov discovered that the dog’s digestive system sprang to attention. The free will is the one who rings the bell. But what if it was not an individual ringing the bell, but history itself? Would we be conscious of it?

Of course the phenomenon of springing to attention is familiar to macho men seeing a beautiful woman in the distance. Conditioned reflexes are all over. But could it be that the exaggerated masculinity of those who spring to attention when seeing a woman, be itself a conditioned neural, glial, and neurohormonal system of sorts?

It is well known that people learn to fake emotions and behaviors: homosexuals living in the closet have long done this. But not just them. I claim it’s all over the place. Even in the fascination with wine. So some will reach happiness only when they can drink a bit of alcohol, etc. This conditioning is cultural: Bacchus has been celebrated, and associated to wine, for millennia. A fundamental sensation, happiness has been subjugated to a cultural notion.

Each nation has its crazes, its conditioned reflexes, its own notion of free will. Most of the minds are made from the outside, complete from ideas to emotions, to what to say in most situations encountered. And so it is, all over.

But then what happens to fee will? Is it all about conditioned reflexes from elaborated systems of mood and thoughts, many of them culturally given?

When called to exert free will, all what is happening is a cocktail of conditioned reflexes of long, and subconsciously established, systems of thoughts, emotions and moods. In other words, most people are just puppets from the genealogy of ideas, morals, moods, emotions, and conditioned reflexes.

What’s Free Will?

I started with Qur’an programmed robots. But then the Anglo-Saxon enslaving West is not a place exempt from the most absurd, obnoxious and criminal programmation.

I recently partook in an exchange on Free Will on an interesting and open minded philosophical site. The author had extolled the “philosopher” David Hume as the “first psychologist” Let’s roll a quote from that great Anglo-Saxon genius. Here is David Hume, enthusiastically buttressing the Anglo-Saxon slave masters’ system:

“I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the Whites, such as the ancient Germans, the present Tartars, have still something eminent about them, in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of whom none ever discovered the symptoms of ingenuity; though low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In Jamaica, indeed, they talk of one Negro as a man of parts and learning; but it is likely he is admired for slender accomplishments, like a parrot who speaks a few words plainly.”

This grossly racist quote is from whom some Anglo-Saxons searching for respect call the “first psychologist”, David Hume. It brings the same question about Free Will.

Notice that Hume does not just imprint with offensive notions about “negroes”, but also offensive emotions about them. And by “offensive” I mean just that, inducing an offensive, that is, an attack.

That anti-human Hume’ notion of sub-humanity sprang from the greed of gross exploitation: having armies of slaves overseas made many a plutocrat in Western Europe extremely wealthy.

In this, it does not differ from the Qur’an’s main axis of attack. We know from the Hadith (a book gathering all what was said about the life of Muhammad by direct witnesses) that the context of the very first (2; 216) quote is that Muhammad the Prophet, then Master of Medina, was trying to convince his followers to go attack and raid some caravans.

It’s an axis of attack, but also an axis of imprinting, of making people into assault machines, enslaving, killing, “striking off their heads and striking off every fingertip of them”. As seen on TV.

So what’s Free Will if we are just machines programmed, emotionally and logically, from the outside? Even for the most inhuman tasks?

If any, Free Will has to incorporate the impact, the struggle, one is having feeding one’s brain with seriously, strenuously examined data. It is exactly what parrots do not have.

One cannot decide when to decide. One can only decide to examine with an open mind, what one’s deciding structures will be constructed with. At best.

Patrice Ayme’

DeKanting Philosophy:

October 21, 2014

Writing this essay made me sad. I had come across a group of self-assured philosophers, singing the praises of Kant. That was a moment of solitude. Sheep praising the wolf. When I brought up objections, pointing at the enormous connection between Kant and Nazism, I was haughtily told “We, in philosophy, do not judge thinkers on one sentence”.

This depicts how followers of Kant behaved in Nazi occupied Europe:

Dog Philosophy: Obey, Always To Obey The Mighty. Confucius, To Kant

Dog Philosophy: Obey, Always To Obey The Mighty. Confucius, To Kant

One Sentence, One Idea Can Move The World, And Not For The Best:

In the Twelfth Century, Saint Bernard (de Clairvaux; Abelard’s, and humanity’s, enemy) was asked how he, the saintliest and most influential Christian (he told Pope Urban II what to do), could defend homicide.

Saint Bernard haughtily replied: ”It is not homicide, but malecide, the killing of evil.” Bernard, one of the known universe’ most evil men, then launched the Second Crusade, the Cistercian order, the Knights Templars, the Inquisition, and the killing of millions, for centuries to come.

People who are viewed as philosophers, by a large following, have much more influence than is generally attributed to them.

Some are anti-philosophers, those who give guidance, honor and cover to the satanic minds who grab power and lead civilization to the abyss, driven only by the greedy instinct of the self-destructive predator.

Locke helped slavery. Rousseau, Kant, Herder etched in the stone of (pseudo) philosophy the erroneous systems of moods and thoughts which brought Nazism. Yet, they still have lots of cognitively impaired followers. Truly these guys are not philosophers, but plutocratic puppets. That makes them all the more dangerous.

How does one subjugate people? By making them feel wrong. Then it is easy to make them think wrong. In the end they believe it is smart to engage in whatever will and up oppressing, or even, could destroy them.

In the philosophy of the predator, destruction, whether means, or end, is an intrinsic good.

The archetype modern example here is Prussia, and the fascist, racist, anti-Judaic Nazi Germany it ended up creating… bringing the annihilation of Prussia.

The Germans, under the influence of a triumphing Prussia in the Eighteen, and Nineteenth Centuries Century, were led to believe it was smart to dislike, despise, hate, oppress, subjugate, exploit, dehumanize, Poles, Slavs and Jews. Superficially, it worked. Until September 10, 1914, when the all devouring Frankenstein of Prussian racial fascism had to beat a hasty retreat on the battlefield.

(Indeed, in parallel, and to be able to enforce all this oppression, subjugation, contempt, dehumanization, maximal force, that is, military force, had to be used. Thus, in Prussia and its admirers, militarism was inseparable with racism. Prussia had an army comparable in size to France, in the Seventeenth Century, with a tenth of the population. This militarization paid off handsomely: after coming close to total annihilation, under the gay aggressor Frederick II, Prussia grabbed immensely rich Silesia, its mines and industry, from Austria.)

Instead Of Reading Hitler, Read Kant, It Does Just As Well:

Thus a mood of exploitative racism and hungry military aggression was created by Prussia’s masters. All they needed were parrots to sing their praises. And they were many, the most prominent of these birds repeating songs of evil was Kant. Now for some comic relief. It turns out that Kant is still much admired, 70 years after his followers exterminated tens of millions of innocent civilians (they wanted to do more, but they were rudely interrupted by carpet bombing).

How was the mood created? In no small part by making people admire a pseudo-philosopher, Kant. Kant was racist, militarist, mechanical. A perfect philosopher for a racist militaristic regime.

“The reason a people has a duty to put up with even what is held to be an unbearable abuse of supreme authority is that its resistance to the highest legislator can never be regarded as other than contrary to law, and indeed as abolishing the entire legal constitution.” –Kant

In other words: dictators (=”highest legislators”) rule, disobeying them is immoral. That could only please Kant’s paymaster, the hereditary dictator of Prussia. Remark: This, that resisting the dictator is immoral, nothing new: I call that the Qur’an Fascist Principle (Sura IV, Verse 59).

“O Ye Who Believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and OBEY THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE IN POWER.

This is the essence of Hitler’s Fuhrer Prinzip. Kant was just a guy who heard about the Qur’an. This makes Kant vastly inferior to Voltaire. Voltaire read the Qur’an, and dragged the emperor of Mecca, Muhammad his name, it in the mud, to the point that the Politically Correct censored him, in the Twenty-First Century (!) Voltaire was right, so he gets censored, Kant is a Nazi, so he gets lauded. In a world where human values are inverted, a plutocratic world, in other words, this all makes sense.

Not only Kant was a fanatical Jihadist of the worst type, but Kant was a racist, and could be said to have invented the (false) theory of scientific racism. Sometimes the idiocy gets even funny: Kant thinks Africans smell bad. But it’s all scientific. Says the pseudo-philosopher:

“We know now, for example, that human blood turns black (as is to be seen in blood coagulum) …. Now the strong body odor of the Negroes, not be avoided by any degree of cleanliness, gives reason to suppose that their skin absorbs a very large amount of phlogiston from the blood, and that nature must so have designed this skin that in them the blood can dephlogisticate …”

Negroes are of course born idiots, and in this Kant follows another of the Prussiano-Anglo-Saxon pantheon of evil philosophy, Hume:

“The Negroes of Africa have by nature no feeling that rises above the trifling. Mr. Hume challenges anyone to cite a single example in which a Negro has shown talents... So fundamental is the difference between these two races of man, and it appears to be as great in regard to mental capacities as in color.” -Kant

Kant is the first author of no racial mixing (later implemented by the Nazis). A new concept in Europe:

The mingling of stocks (due to great conquests), little by little erodes the character and it is not good for the human race in spite of any so-called philanthropy.”

For comparison, Rome had African (Libya), and Arab emperors (or “Augusta”). Rome happily mixed all races.

That racist principle was used by Kant with lots of direct impact. The Spanish Crown was encouraging a policy of interbreeding and had ordered the Mexican governor to comply. The governor had, however, opposed the order. Kant encouraged him (in contradiction to making obedience the highest principle; Kant acted as if racism was an even higher principle than obedience). In a letter to the governor of Mexico, Kant wrote:

“[Of the idea that] nature would develop new and better races of produce them through the commingling of two races there is little ground for hope in as much as nature has long since exhausted the forms appropriate to soil and climate, whilst cross-breeding (for example of the American with the European or of these with the Negro) has debased the good without raising proportionately the level of the worse — hence the governor of Mexico wisely rejected the order of the Spanish Court to encourage interbreeding.”

Heil Kant!

Kant’s account of race also includes the superiority of the white race and that the others will become extinct. For details, see Wulf D. Hund’s “The Racisms of Immanuel Kant,” a book which begins and ends with this quote from Kant:

“All races will become exterminated … except for the whites.”

Kant’s insults against Jews are too numerous to count. The Jews are by nature “sharp dealers” who are “bound together by superstition.” Their “immoral and vile” behavior in commerce shows that they “do not aspire to civic virtue,” for “the spirit of usury holds sway amongst them.” They are “a nation of swindlers” who benefit only “from deceiving their host’s culture.” Nicht so klar? Here it is, for the brin impaired. Kant: “THE EUTHANASIA OF JUDAISM IS THE PURE MORAL RELIGION.”

Johann Herder (1744-1803) quoted Kant’s lectures on practical philosophy: “Every coward is a liar; Jews, for example, not only in business, but also in common life.”… Nazis made a “hideous misinterpretation of Kant”? Or is it that some people are just hideous stupid?

So why is Kant still popular? Adolf Eichmann, on trial in Jerusalem, found the explanation:

“Now that I look back, I realize that a life predicated on being obedient and taking orders is a very comfortable life indeed. Living in such a way reduces to a minimum one’s need to think.”

In other words, Kant is the perfect philosopher for weak-willed idiots. All the more as he invented a weird, pseudoscientific jargon which appeals to those who find too difficult to learn true science, the uneducated and unintelligent. Hence said jargon became wildly popular with philosophically inclined half-wits.

Tolerating Kant, is tolerating Nazism. Adulating Kant, is adulating the essence of Nazism. Time to get acquainted with those facts.

In other news, one of the world’s most powerful men died when his jet got flipped by a snow plough. In Moscow. He had just been plotting with one of the world’s dictators. Interesting how plutocrats live on the edge. (More on this later.)

Indeed, plutocrats do not have much too fear, besides snow storms, as long as those who view themselves as “philosophers” drink the cool Kant aid.

Patrice Ayme’

 

 

 

Plutocracy’s Tentacles All Over Physics

October 19, 2014

There is a lot of politics in theoretical physics. Why? Because physics makes people dream, and tells them how to think. Thus, if one wants to make people in advanced countries dream and think wrong, one has to start with physics. Also there is an increasing gap between what technology allows and what legislation forbids, as tech goes ever faster. The crooks work the gap hard. See the Bitcoin story (and the hate mail that goes with it).

That’s how the drug trade was made possible: ultimately all the money has to be laundered. And only the banks can do this. But there were no laws sending bankers to slammers for that, plus lax enforcement. So, in the end a criminal activity, drugs, was rendered possible by another branch of government, banking (dim wits say banks are not part of government).

What lessons can be learned from the presentation of the gravitational-waves story? Ponders Nature (October 14, 2014).

Well, much: the much publicized discovery of Cosmic Inflation was scientific fraud, and it has bit the dust. Yet, it keeps on going. It’s even more than scientific fraud, it’s tax payer fraud: most advanced science, including the prizes (such as Milner prize, see below) is financed by the public (directly or not; so are the plutocratic universities).

Says Nature: “The (welcome) rise of the science blogger has fuelled this navel-gazing. Some bloggers seem to spend most of their time criticizing other science writers, or at least debunking examples of what they regard as inferior science writing. But they do lots of good stuff too. Although traditionalists lament the decline of science coverage in the mainstream press, a terrific amount of analysis and comment, much of it very technical, is happening online under their noses.”

Make no mistakes: it’s not because there are no equations, that it is not technical. An equation, after all, is just a sentence saying that two things that look different are actually the same.

I am notoriously against the Cosmic Inflation Theory (that the universe blew up at 10^10 the speed of light, or so; that is ten billion times faster than c, or more). My reasons are solidly scientifico-philosophical, and have been detailed in many essays previously.

As the evidence for Cosmic Inflation bit the dust, as I had expected, my comments were censored on Quanta Magazine. Silly comments were allowed, so it’s not like the standards are too high.

So I enquired about this bias. I found a possible source quickly. Quanta is financed by the Simons Foundation. (Of course Quanta says they are independent; just like the hand which feeds the pigeon is independent of the pigeon, I guess.)

Jim Simons is a multibillionaire mathematician who built a more than 100 BILLION (yes, with a B, as in billion) dollars business in high frequency trading. Basically Simons has the fastest computers, and employs the brightest mathematicians and physicists. When one has faster computers, and programs, one can make sure money.

This what the best and brightest do these days. Stealing from others, and the faster, the better. A case of degenerating civilization.

It is difficult to explain what the high frequency trading crooks do: their job is exploiting all the loopholes between technique and ethics. They can leverage tremendously some derivative trades (say in the futures market). They can also simultaneously take direct positions extremely fast. The combination is sure profits, by leading the markets where they want them to go, beyond the sight of legislators (who are very happy to be fed caviar by high frequency traders).

In other words, high frequency trading and related derivative activities make the world’s most lucrative organized crime. Except it’s not officially a crime.

The whole thing ought to be unlawful. Just as slavery is unlawful, and for the same reason (because it puts too much power in the hands of too few, making them increasingly vicious, until people really own people as if they were bananas).

Only now, in 2014, American legislators are starting to smell the roses (Simons is a major donor to the Democratic Party). (See note.)

Similarly, the “Double Irish” so many enormous plutocratic corporations use to avoid taxation all together is not an official crime, just a real one.

Simons also worked with his adviser Chern who also created ST Yau. (Together they worked on the Chern-Simons Class; BTW, I also knew Chern.)

It will be interesting to see if I keep on being systematically censored there. The age of computers is also that of unethical behavior rendered particularly easy to implement (see how Mr. Simons made his fortune, although he probably envision himself as a saint, because he gave money to some scientists, tax deductible, of course).

So who is this Natalie W who censored me?

Could she be a chick paid by plutocrats in more ways than one? (As one way is clearly established, through Jim Simons, much respected in scientific circles, because he has trop beaucoup bucks; if you want to be hated and despised in scientific circle, criticize Jim Simons).

Could there be a conspiracy? I quickly found this:

People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say

By Natalie Wolchover, Life’s Little Mysteries Staff Writer, February 28, 2012.

Natalie says: “The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.

The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.

As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, “very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries.”

The most incompetent among us serve as canaries in the coal mine signifying a larger quandary in the concept of democracy; truly ignorant people may be the worst judges of candidates and ideas, Dunning said, but we all suffer from a degree of blindness from our own personal lack of expertise.”

Otherwise said, only plutocrats know who the experts are.

This argument was already used by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Aristotle thought his friends, lovers and executors, Antipater and Craterus were the best and brightest, they established literal plutocracy in Athens.

Natalie writes nice articles. She knows who is smart. Certainly not those who esteem democracy. Conspirare is breathing together, no need for a plot: conspiracy is better, because impossible to prove (she sat with some of my comments for weeks before rejecting them, no doubt consulting with higher-ups).

A few years back, a Silicon Valley multibillionaire of Russian oligarchic origin, Yuri Milner, funded a three million dollar prize for crazy pseudo-physics, the “Fundamental Physics Prize”. Pseudo-physics has become most of what the public knows as physics. (The Nobel committee revolted against this by giving the prize to a very practical and real invention, blue LEDs.)

“Physics” means “Nature”, and Milner has his own notion of nature. The more un-natural, the better (as one would expect from someone who made his fortune under Yeltsin, after a stint at the World Bank; Milner, like Simons, but not as much, is also a scientist, physics).

Most of the recipients of the Milner prize did not discover anything, they are just experts at self-advertising, and the “discoveries” they made (Cosmic Inflation, The Multiverse, String Theory, all sorts of weird and obscure mathematical, or pseudo-mathematical techniques) actually, well, did not happen indeed. At least not in natural nature.

When Einstein (helped to) elaborate a slightly more sophisticated theory of gravitation than the one co-discovered by Newton, at least he started from a fact of nature: the advance of the perihelion of Mercury, which the “Newtonian” theory could not explain at all (the advance comes from the fact time runs slow next to the Sun).

Most of Milner’s prize “discoveries” are not yet discoveries, and probably never will be.

I am certain though that fabulous prizes were attributed in the Roman Empire for the epicycles theory.

Why am I so sure? The richest intellectuals ever, lived in the Second Century of the fascist plutocracy known as the Roman empire. They were, at best, all mediocre thinkers. Plutocracy can survive only if mediocre thinking triumphs, because plutocracy is mediocre thinking personified.

During plutocracy, a degree of magical and superstitious thinking is entertained. Much modern physics, such as String Theory, Cosmic Inflation, is complete superstition: it stands totally above the world, there is no proof for it whatsoever, it stretches reason beyond words, and it’s not even the first thing to think of in fundamental physics.

Thus it is perfect, because pseudo-physics is a killing field for reason. And that’s why plutocrats love it.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Note on American legislators discovering fraud from Simons and the like: Both Milner (Russia) and Simons are politically connected (& Simons worked for NSA). On July 22, 2014, Simons was condemned by the U.S. Senate for the use of complex barrier options to disguise short term trading (subject to higher ordinary income tax rates) as long-term capital gains. “Renaissance Technologies was able to avoid paying more than $6 billion in taxes by disguising its day-to-day stock trades as long term investments,” said Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), the committee’s ranking Republican, in his opening statement. “Two banks and a handful of hedge funds developed a complex financial structure to engage in highly profitable trades while claiming an unjustified lower tax rate and avoiding limits on trading with borrowed money,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) in his prepared remarks. Nice wake-up, guys! Were you playing sleeping beauty before?

Is Simons going to jail for stealing 6 billion dollars? Don’t hold your breath. Just expect my scientific comments to Quanta to keep on being censored.

AUSTERE BONDAGE TO PLUTOCRACY

October 18, 2014

GOVERNMENT IS BANK, EMPLOYER, ENTREPRENEUR OF LAST RESORT. No Need To Beg The Rich For Money, Work, Or Anything.

The will to austerity is justified by the on-going financing of governments with the selling of bonds. No economist disagrees with this dark scheme. I propose to turn on its head that Conventional Wisdom, and propose instead that both austerity and bonds are entangled plutocratic conspiracies. They form one of the ways enabling present governance to betray We The People (while hoping to share the spoils, as the Majors, Schroeders, Blairs, and Clintons did).

There is no need to beg the rich for work: if We The People were in command, we could just elect to work on whatever we deem worthy to work on. By just making it so.

RIGGING BONDS FOR PLUTOS, THE INCREDIBLE HEIST:

In the present financial system, governments borrow from those who have money. Then governments turn around and pay back those who have money, making them even richer. This was tried before. At least one Republic came and went that way:

Superb Warning Against Plutocracy: Florence's Republic Collapse. Basilica (Built 1294-1436) World's Largest Dome Until Then

Superb Warning Against Plutocracy: Florence’s Republic Collapse. Basilica (Built 1294-1436) World’s Largest Dome Until Then

All economists, politicians, and opinion makers find borrowing from the rich to make them even richer, entirely normal. They are that despicable, ill-informed, on the take, or astoundingly ignorant and not very smart. Paying interest to the world’s richest men is a sort of inverted tax, the world upside down… until one realizes that this is a marker for plutocracy, and that was is an abyss for democracy, is a summit of achievement in the inverted value world of plutocracy.

In democracy, the richest gets taxed enough so that they won’t become too rich, in plutocracy, the richest, are never rich enough, and the government makes it so.

In other words, Western governments have an official, in-your-face program to make the rich richer. And its name is austerity, and low deficits.

Why low deficits? Because they insure the value of bonds the rich bought in the past.

Do we need this program of borrowing from the rich? No, as it makes the rich richer. Quickly.

Filthy Wealth Is On Its Way Back, Thanks To Rotten Governance

Filthy Wealth Is On Its Way Back, Thanks To Rotten Governance

[France has the best statistics. Similar graphs hold for other major Western powers. In the case of the USA, hyper wealth was about half of that of the Europeans in the 19C. See note below on this wealth graph. Plus a quote from Piketty’s "Capital in the 21st Century" where it comes from.]

Are there historical precedents of this financing of the state by the richest? Plenty. Bankers became all powerful, when they financed Francois I and Charles Quint’s war with each other. Francois I’s hotel bills went directly to his bankers, as he went around France and Italy.

Similarly with the Rothschilds when they financed both sides of a whole slew of wars in the decades around 1800.

An even more striking example is the Republic of Florence. Florence, founded by Iulius Caesar, was formally a subset of the Imperium Romanum (Roman Empire; the term “Sacrum”, holy, was introduced later). Florence was one of the many states which, during the Middle Ages, tried to re-establish a Roman style republic.

To defend herself, Florence financed its army with bonds. However that made the rich ever richer, and, after centuries of this, Florence ended as a total plutocracy. Between the revolution that established the Florentine Republic in 1115 CE and the de-establishment of the Republic and appointment of a Duke by the Pope to rule it, in 1532 CE, 417 years elapsed. Nearly twice as long as the USA: view this as a warning.

How come we tolerate this government bond based system to make the rich ever richer? Where are the youth, when a revolution is needed? Oh, sorry, I forgot they were too busy borrowing from their rich masters to finance their own studies: revolution is the first thing they learn they cannot afford.

ALL WE NEED IS WORK

We need work. We need infrastructure. We need massive, cheaper, more ecologically correct housing. We need a new energy system. We need more research in biology (as the thoroughly avoidable Ebola epidemics shows), physics (no replacement for the present, unacceptable base load energy system, worldwide). We need more investment in mass, free education (as was the case in the 40s, 50s, 60s).

We need the government to organize all this employment. To compensate the newly employed citizens, the government could, in exchange, give them money. How? “Print”!

No need to tax. No need to ask plutocrats for money. Because that’s all what the “government bond” system is: begging plutocrats and money managers for money. Begging them some more is not needed. They have been paid enough. Actually, one should stop paying them, in this emergency situation, as soon as they have been compensated for their initial lending: default on the interest.

The entire “austerity” machine consists into claiming that those-who-have-money should be well compensated by governments. It is mission number one.

It is high time to break this vicious circle. Italy should default. France should plan for a 6% deficit.

Instead France is asking the European Commission to plan a 4.5% deficit each year for the next two years. Or do Merkel and the European Commission want to send an air force they don’t have in half a dozen war theaters in Africa and the Middle East?

A study of the German Air Force showed that Germany does not have more than 45 (forty-five) combat aircraft which could be flown (France has hundreds, battle tested over Africa and the Middle East, in the last few decades of uninterrupted warfare). War, and the Military-Industrial complex to support it, is expensive. The weaker one gets, the more the miscreants, imperialists, and the like, will be ready to pounce.

The entire aerospace domain, in countries such as France, Britain and the USA, is the object of more or less obvious subsidies. Why? World War One and Two are the answer. Air supremacy (by France in 1918, the USA and UK in 1945) brought victory.

When people get on a plane, the engines are not made in China, Russia, or North Korea. They are made by French, American and British industry. Exclusively. By itself the Franco-American company CFM International sold 27,000 CFM56 engines (found on more than ten thousand jumbo jets).

After he came to power, President Roosevelt ordered the construction of 24 fleet aircraft carriers. Having devalued the dollar by 33%, he had plenty of money. Just made it so. (The 24 carriers came in handy in 1941; Japan had only 10.)

Now we are engaged in a much worse war, one to save the biosphere, and try to prevent the planet to go Jurassic. Thus governments ought to be supporting not just aerospace, but new energy systems (see preceding essay), positive energy housing, efficient high speed trains, etc.

As populations age in the West, medical science to mitigate, or even reverse, aging, ought to be pushed (advances from 2014 show this should be possible).

How to do all this? How to do all what needs to be done? All what could be done?

Just make it so. Governments by We The People, for We The People, have just to support whatever enterprise is worthy… By financing it. No need to beg the rich.

Independent powers such as North America and Europe could live as complete autocracies (certainly the USA does not need anybody). Then money can be created by the government, and directed at whichever activity the government deems worthy. This strategy was the core of Marxism-Leninism, and in complete opposition to free market capitalism (not that the latter ever existed!).

The Nazis thought that was impossible. Rich plutocrats had financed Hitler. However, in December 1941, the Nazis reached, with difficulty, a subway station in Moscow. In the distance, they could view the gold cupolas of the Kremlin that Napoleon had brought down.

Facing the Nazis was the Soviet system, which just decided to create money, and work, out of thin air, without begging the rich. In this case the Soviet system was churning thousands of the very efficient T34 tanks. With horror, the Nazis discovered that their best tank, the Panzer IV, could only destroy the T34 at close range, from behind, hitting its engine.

Extraordinary industrial achievements by the USSR command economy were replacing the staggering losses suffered over the summer of 1941 (up to 21,000 Soviet aircraft had been destroyed).

In front of Moscow, 1.4 million Soviet soldiers counter-attacked 2 million Nazi soldiers. Losses and casualties were up to 1.7 million.

The USSR won. Decisively. Governmentalism won, decisively.

Definitively, it was proven that the command economy of a government could crush a for-profit, rich plutocrat system.

What was next? After Tojo and Hitler declared war to the USA, Roosevelt duplicated the Soviet machine, the Soviet way of organizing the economy, in the USA (in truth he had started in 1933). To organize the economy according to the diktat of the state, he named a young, but towering, Canadian economist as Czar, John Kenneth Galbraith.

We are in those sorts of times again.

The economists who put us up the (dry) creek of the present disaster will scoff that the so-called “free market” has proven superior. Not so. It’s not the free market which won World War Two, but putting We The People, massively, to work. In the USSR, the USA, the UK.

By the time the Nazis understood that plutocracy was not their friend, but rather their drug, and the free market was a bad joke played on them, not a machine, it was too late. The Nazis produced one tank when their adversaries produced one hundred, and one barrel of extremely expensive oil, when their enemies produced one thousand.

The truth about Nazism is that it was a puppet government; plutocrats were pulling the strings. Even with those strings attached, that government was weak.

It is time to understand that there is no strong economy without a strong government. It is time to understand that asking the plutocrats to pull the strings of the bond markets, while they require us to be on a diet, when not outright dying from ebola, makes for a weak government, and a weak economy.

Patrice Ayme’

Notes on the graph: Thomas Piketty, in his book “Capital in the 21st Century” stated the obvious:

“Whenever the rate of return on capital is significantly and durably higher than the growth rate of the economy, it is all but inevitable that inheritance (of fortunes accumulated in the past) predominates over saving (wealth accumulated in the present)…. Wealth originating in the past automatically grows more rapidly, even without labour, than wealth stemming from work, which can be saved.”

Yet, I doubt Piketty points out that the governmental bond system is rigged to insure that wealth grows faster than GDP: that could compromise his cute little career of official thinker.

The wealth graph above, if it were extended to earlier times would show roughly the same level. In other words, we are quickly going back to Medieval inequality of wealth. We are bringing back the world of serfs and lords. That world was characterized by injustice and stagnation. We don’t need it. The rich are too rich already; we need to make the rich poorer.

 

(Thermo)Nuclear Base Load Energy Soon?

October 16, 2014

As you unwittingly wait to board Ebola Air, let me distract you with a more palatable, albeit philosophically related, subject.

Sustainable energy means wind and PV (Photo Voltaic). Other possibilities don’t work enough to make a global dent. (At least not yet, by a long shot.)

Except maybe for tidal and current power, used in Europe since the Middle Ages (exploitation of sea currents is tested on a grand scale in Europe presently; a related possibility would be to use thermal differences in the ocean; but barnacles are a problem).

Solar thermal is controversial: it occupies so much space, zap birds, insects, etc.. Its one advantage is that the energy, heat, can be stored overnight. Geothermal works only in very few, small places (elsewhere it generates earthquakes for reasons similar to fracking).

Hydroelectric is sustainable only in conjunction with nuclear (to refill the reservoirs… Although don’t tell that to California’s empty dams).

The riddle of wind and PV, is that they work only occasionally: one needs base load power. When the sky is black grey with little wind, and it’s very cold, and it lasts for weeks, in a typical Euro weather in winter, a marais barometrique, one needs power. This is the so called “base power” (it’s supposed to be around 40% of peak demand).

Dishonest pseudo-ecologists have, in practice, pushed for fossil fuels base power (because they hate “nuclear energy”… not that they know what it is). All too many (pseudo) ecologists claim one can fight the CO2 built-up catastrophe, while having a fossil fuel base load.

That cannot work: any fossil fuel infrastructure added to the grid cost a fortune, billions of Euros and, or Dollars, for just one plant (typically with a cost around 3 billion). So one cannot add such a plant to not use it. Once built, it will be used (especially if a third of the grid capacity is made of them!)

And there is no, nor can there be, for theoretical reasons, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). CCS is another lie. Herds of noisy pseudo-ecologists have been lying about the coming of CCS. (CCS works only in half a dozen very special places: it’s typically re-injected right away where it came from, a gas field.)

Real ecologists such as yours truly, know that there is just one ecologically correct possibility for base load energy that can be imagined at this point: nuclear power, new nuclear power. That’s what has to be developed to replace fossil fuel base energy. As I said many times, second (or the identical third) generation nuclear power plants were, are, military in disguise (they produce Plutonium, crucial for bombs). So, just on non-military-nuclear-proliferation grounds, they should be shut down.

There are plenty of fission techs that could be made safe and fruitful (including some burning nuclear waste).

And then there is thermonuclear fusion.

In nuclear fusion, light atoms combine into stable forms (mostly Helium 4) and release excess energy. There no nasty waste (as this comes from heavy nuclei). However 80% of the power is as a neutron flux. In the 1920s, it was guessed that fusion generated the power of stars.

In the 1950s, tricks were found to use the X ray light of a plutonium bomb to compress thermonuclear fuel, and heat it up to get a short, but mighty fusion: the H bomb. The first one was much more powerful than expected.

The old joke is that controlled, sustainable thermonuclear fusion has always been, and always will be, the energy of the future. However, we generate roughly 10,000 times more fusion (per unit of fuel) as we did in the 1950s (this is roughly as good a progress as the famous “Moore Law” of the doubling of the power of computer chips, every two years, but at a tiny fraction of the cost: it cost trillions to develop computer chips).

Table top sustainable thermonuclear reactors are for sale. Nuclei are accelerated, using electric attraction, collide, and fuse. Those reactors generate neutrons (neutron beams can be used for all sorts of application, including medical). At this point the efficiency of these reactors is insufficient for gainful power generation (but it’s imaginable that tweaks  to this tech could generate much more energy than it uses).

Numerous fusion concepts are being developed (although not enough). The giant ITER uses the safest technology, where a thermonuclear fuel plasma is confined by exterior magnetism. But numerous alternatives are studied.

The University of Washington, and others, claim to have made a breakthrough: computers studies would show that one can tweak the geometry of the thermonuclear fuel plasma chamber in such a way that the plasma itself would generate the magnetic field bottling it away from the walls.

That does not mean that ITER is useless. Just the opposite: ITER is developing new materials to resist the mighty thermonuclear fire… which all thermonuclear reactors will have to use.

Even the famous Skunk Works of Lockheed Martin is working in the aptly named “Revolutionary Technology Programs unit” on what it calls the compact fusion reactor (CFR). At this point, it’s a containment vessel the size of a business-jet engine.

Lockheed believes it will be small and practical enough for interplanetary spaceships, transoceanic ships and city power stations… Or even fusion power aircraft (fission nuclear-powered aircraft were tested 50 years ago). It speaks of a very quick development program, with a new proto-reactor type every year.

The world economy is faltering, in great part because the global Return On Investment (ROI) of fossil fuels is quickly getting worse.

The subsidies for fossil fuels are enormous: up to a trillion dollars, worldwide, each year.

Ecologists should push to have a small fraction of this directed towards clean, safe nuclear energy. There is no doubt that a crash program on Thorium could give efficient plants within ten years (China will have a plant next year; the problem with Thorium is not whether it can work, but simply a question of regulation and ROI; understandably private industry is leery to launch itself without governmental support).

It increasingly looks that thermonuclear fusion is a plausible alternative for base load energy, sooner than one expected even six months ago.

And now please immediately board Ebola Air. Although it does not look like it, the same mindset that will help fix Ebola, is the exact same one which calls for thermonuclear fusion. The virus, indeed, has probably mutated, to become more easily transmissible. That is pure selection of the fittest (virus) at work.

In the matter of Ebola, as in all the big issues regarding civilization, there is only one optimal way out, the same as for the European Union construction: think, solve, progress, up, up and away!

Patrice Ayme’

Religion, tribalism, Extermination

October 15, 2014

Ce sont des Mots Qui Vont Tres Bien Ensemble

This is a follow-up on the essay I wrote on the debauch of demons in Christo-Islamism. One of the reasons for which I do not like novels much, is that the human psychology therein represented is all too often a caricature, something all too simple. Why so trite? Because a novelist wants to sell books. Those who are successful, that is the most read, are most read precisely because they are familiar, and flattering, to the masses.

The Politically Correct (PC) is not just most followed, it’s what sells (and reciprocally). Nietzsche sold only a few hundred books when he was conscious.

A real philosopher does not caress, but stings the masses. Nietzsche sold books only after several famous intellectuals sang his praises.

I had a most curious upbringing, mostly, but not exclusively, in Africa. Although (it turned out) in “Muslim” lands, I was unaware of Islam. I grew up under the vast umbrella of what is called “Sufi” Islam.

In some ways that “Sufi” Islam was more secular and progressive than secularism in, say, Europe. (“Sufi” is a label which covers many completely different religions; yet they all tend to be less sexist: Kurdish females have been dying as soldiers in combat in Kobani).

Many of the religiously obsessed claim that elaborate religious rituals are innocent, because they represent a long tradition. The Jews, in particular, are prone to make this reasoning. That’s rather incongruous, after centuries of pogroms: any practice which brings lots of death to the practitioners ought to be viewed, clearly, as not innocent!

Others identify religion and civilization. For example they talk of the “Islamic” civilization. Really? As there is more than one hundred types of Shia “Islam”, does that mean there is more than a hundred Islamic civilizations?

How do the simplistic theory: Islam = Civilization… survives the war in Kobani? There, in a few miles, three versions of “Islam” are in an extermination fight: Wahhabis against Kurds against Turks. Clearly both non-Kurdish Turks, and Wahhabis want to exterminate the Kurds.

About 25% of the population of Turkey is Kurdish (but many are in hiding). That the government hates them is nothing special: in a full blown plutocracy, the 1% hate the 99% (aristocracy, in France’s old regime was 2% of the population).

I know Turks who hate Erdogan and his ilk: the ancestors of those “Turks” were Armenian (thus Christian), or Kurds (and some of the Turks I know are mixed Armenian-Kurdish). To save their children, they had to bring them up as the kind of Muslim Turks who are kosher in Ankara. So now they feel that their children are not really their children anymore. That’s the Australian method of genocide (bring up the children of Bushmen without their parents, or their culture).

Kurdistan is about 3,000 years old, and Armenia was the first Christian land. Saladin was a Kurd.

Too much respect for tradition is an error. Tradition to a great extent, is in opposition to “secular” (which means of the age). Hence tradition is a religion.

This meditation is about religion, it can only hurt those who feel it is right, it is their right, to feel very strongly about the metaphysics they believe in. But metaphysics is never innocent. After all, it’s about the foundations of minds one talks about. One can’t get more intimate than that. Or more penetrating and violating, should one get into metaphysics, that is, other people’s minds. Potentially.

Religions tie people together. (Re-ligare.) This is what religious means.

Religion does not have to have a metaphysical element. Some people practice an art or a sport, as if it were a religion. It is a religion. Many young people get tied together again by activities such as being soccer supporters… And only by them. And they seem ready to die for it.

Zen, Taoism, forms of Yoga, nationalism, tribalism, are all religious in character. After all, these bounds are often so strong, people are ready to die for them. The SS had: “Gott Mit Uns!” on their belts buckles (“God With Us”; that inspired the American Congress to follow suit and adopt a variant of that slogan for the entire USA.)

Yes, any nation worth its salt, is, to some extent, a religion.

In other words: Religions generate tribes. That’s what they do. It’s very important, because human beings are nothing, in nearly all ways, if not in a tribe. (Or then they are philosophers.) The religious instinct cannot be distinguished from the tribal instinct.

Nice tribes, or nasty tribes, that is the question. Inclusive tribes, and inclusive religions, are nice. (To conclude the “Social War”, Rome learn to become inclusive, and so are its descendant regimes.)

Religions, nations who exclude are nasty, and bring blood. Exclusivity, alienation, is always (ethologically perceived as) an aggression. That has been observed in chimpanzees.

Tribes are not just about being strong together, they are about group selection. Thus, so are religions. Deadly aggression, even war, was found to be “adaptive” in chimpanzees:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140917131816.htm

Religion is war according to the most fundamental means. The deepest ways of the minds. Maladaptive religions get exterminated: Rome and its descendant regimes annihilated all human sacrifices religions (starting with Rome’s, Carthage’s and then the Celts’).

It’s not a good sign, when a religion is full of demons (as Christianity and Wahhabi Islam are). Or when it’s so nasty, it needs a god of evil (Hades, Satan, etc.)

Another dichotomy is between rational religions, and irrational ones. That one is roughly equivalent to that between religions which are organized around superstition, and the supernatural, and those which are not.

Nasty has to do not just be about mistreating others directly, but how they lead others to react.

Often tribes get dressed in black, claiming to be somehow elected by god. Example: Catholic “men in black”, those monks of the Fourth Century destroying books and intellectuals. Jesuits followed suite (and suits!), a millennium later, and then, Orthodox Jews, themselves copied in more ways than one, by the Hugo Boss black tailored SS, etc… The alienation was deliberate: it became a hatred multiplier, and hatred was the goal.

Another way to alienate is by advertising wildly irrational beliefs, constituting a religion, defining a tribe. The more irrational, the more flaunted, the more alienating to other groups, the more it leads to hatred in reply, and the more hatred one is submitted to, the tighter the tribe that creates the alienation will be.

It’s this advanced calculus of hatred, fear and alienation which is at the root of all too many religions and their associated tribalizations.

Ever since men have roamed, religions have clashed. And the better ones have won. Time for the best, the most ethologically correct religion, the one ultimately granted by 50 million years of evolution: direct democracy.

Patrice Ayme’

Depression’s Causes: Righteousness & Viciousness

October 14, 2014

TODAY’S GREATER DEPRESSION HAS MANY DEEP CAUSES

Slowly rising consensus: in some important ways (evolution of relative GDP; employment rate; public investment; education’s relative performance), the economies of the leading countries are doing worse than during the “Great Depression” of the 1930s.

That’s why I prefer the expression “Greater Depression” to “Great Recession”.

And we have seen nothing yet: the cause of the “Greater Depression” of the 1930s was a chain of errors, which were easy to avoid.

(First a splurging in the 1920s, especially in the USA and Britain, and its unavoidable attending crash compounded by the American Senate’s arrogance that the international economy could be tweaked through tariffs, to profit only the USA, the whole thing followed by collapse of international trade and then by “liquidating everything” (as was said at the time).)

Thus, the roots of Depression of the 1930s were shallow, easy to avoid next time: avoid splurging, keep international trade going, use public money to avoid 9,000 bank failures (in the USA alone), and institute a FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Europe’s “Banking Union” is trying to mimic that).

There are serious problems now, much more serious than in the 1930s. Including a lack of seriousness.

Serious reasons for collapse caused the long decline of the Roman Empire, or struck shortly after 1300 CE, when entangled ecological, climate, demographic, and plutocratic crises, with an attending plague, combined to kill half of Europe, and brought five centuries of war.

Indications are that the world economy, having not really recovered from the 2008 crisis, is stumbling. Especially Europe. Population: more than 750 million (EU + Russia, etc.).

Why? Why not?

In the 1930s, the government of the USA, first under Hoover, and then much more spectacularly under Roosevelt, starting in 1933, made Herculean efforts (in public spending, and legislation). Nowadays, it’s quite the opposite.

Paul Krugman suggests that righteousness is the cause of this decline: see the obstinate Merkel, and the refusal to do away with high debt levels.

In “Revenge of the Unforgiven. How Righteousness Killed the World Economy”, Krugman observes that:”…now [world] growth is stalling, and the specter of deflation looms.

If this story sounds familiar, it should; it has played out repeatedly since 2008. As in previous episodes, the worst news is coming from Europe, but this time there is also a clear slowdown in emerging markets — and there are even warning signs in the United States, despite pretty good job growth at the moment.

Why does this keep happening? After all, the events that brought on the Great Recession — the housing bust, the banking crisis — took place a long time ago. Why can’t we escape their legacy?

The proximate answer lies in a series of policy mistakes: Austerity when economies needed stimulus, paranoia about inflation when the real risk is deflation, and so on. But why do governments keep making these mistakes? In particular, why do they keep making the same mistakes, year after year?

The answer, I’d suggest, is an excess of virtue. Righteousness is killing the world economy.”

Notice that brandishing righteousness diverts attention away from full blown viciousness (which I believe is dominant). Then Krugman presents a small fraction of the problem, affecting to believe naively that high debt is the cause of everything:

“What, after all, is our fundamental economic problem? A simplified but broadly correct account of what went wrong goes like this: In the years leading up to the Great Recession, we had an explosion of credit (mainly to the private sector). Old notions of prudence, for both lenders and borrowers, were cast aside; debt levels that would once have been considered deeply unsound became the norm.

Then the music stopped, the money stopped flowing, and everyone began trying to “deleverage,” to reduce the level of debt. For each individual, this was prudent. But my spending is your income and your spending is my income, so when everyone tries to pay down debt at the same time, you get a depressed economy.

So what can be done? Historically, the solution to high levels of debt has often involved writing off and forgiving much of that debt.”

This is a solution I have advocated since 2008. See “Reforming World Finance”, from November 2008, when I naively still hoped my friend Obama would grab the bull by the horns, as if he were courageous, or something. None of these obvious reforms was implemented, but at least now an economy Nobel was given roughly in this direction (see yesterday’s essay).

The 2011 version is: “To Save The World, Please Default (And Grab Capital From the Conniving Plutocrats)

Iceland and Greece did write-off some debt. They had no choice.

However, debt forgiveness is only part of the problem (Oh, by the way, full disclosure: I have zero debt, so if I were biased, it would be the other way!)

The nature of the old debt, and the nature of the new debt are the core problems.

Debt because housing prices are through the roof comes from lack of building. Debt because of enormous leverage by public-private banks and companies involved in financial horror to steal We The People, is still something else.

The erroneous nature of the debt has misaligned the entire economy. We live in a world where there are master sommeliers. And where millions of people are tickled pink by the idea of being waited by a master sommelier, somebody who can look through a bottle thanks to the light of a candle, he expertly lighted, to stop exactly before the deposit at the bottom gets into the clear wine.

But then there was not enough money, or interest, to invent an ebola vaccine. Civilization is drunk, Bacchus is god, and Death invited to the party.

The entire debt machinery is stuck. Banks have lent to financial conspirators for decades, and are still doing it ever more. This sort of debt ought not to exist. (Bankers have been conspiring to steal on the currency markets, the administration of the USA claims to have just discovered, hinting that this time some bankers may be prosecuted personally. Maybe. Perhaps. We will see… But that sort of outright criminal activity is different from stealing by giving money only to one’s friends and co-conspirators.) What is needed for civilization to survive, is debt that brings new high Return On Investment for We The People. That could be new tech, or new housing, new, sustainable energy sources (my eye being on thermonuclear fusion, a field where power is growing according to its own “Moore Law”, that means, exponentially; to provide clean BASE energy). Plutocracy naturally is not interested by We The People flourishing. Just the opposite: Pluto thrives on misery. That’s the part of the economy which no one very serious, and part of the oligarchy, wants to see.

Even normal people do not want to see it: it’s too depressing, and they don’t know what to do.

Moreover plutocracy is entangled with a more far-out explanation of the present economic distress: the world is getting old, as the Romans used to say. The Romans needed to transit from the old economy, to a new one. As we do. Paralyzed, mesmerized and occupied by plutocracy, the Romans could not even conceive of the notion (all the more as some zones of the empire, especially in the Orient saw their GDP climbing all the way until the barbarians invaded, archeology shows). Roman mines got exhausted, regions which used to produce lots of food became poor, Return on Investment of many activities collapsed,. there were not enough slaves, nor small farmers to support production, or the army, the economy and security organized until then by the state faltered, from too small tax revenues, and finally the middle class and local government (the “curiales”) were destroyed by taxation, while plutocrats went on a rampage, grabbing most powers. Romans had to make transitions (new tech, no more slavery, less plutocracy!) They didn’t. We are in a similar crisis. ROI is collapsing, so is the biosphere. Robots are threatening to destroy much employment all together. The notion of productive activity, thus productive debt, has to change, forgiven or not.

Krugman himself concludes that the debt crisis will not abate. He does not say why. I will: it’s not just out of mental inertia, it’s out of viciousness.

Some will say I exaggerate. Not so. Look at Italy. The government debt is around 145% of GDP, and pays more than 3% interest. So it augments at the clip of around 5.5% a year. To diminish that debt, nominal Italian GDP ought to grow at more than 5.5% a year. But guess what? Not only is Italy not growing, but Italian GDP is smaller now than 14 years ago (with a larger population).

There is only one way out: default. That is tell the plutocrats that they can forget their money, or, more exactly, treating We The People as if we were indentured servants, or serfs. I rest my case.

Patrice Ayme’

Anti-plutocratic Tirolean to Common Sense?

October 13, 2014

Is this site attributing the Nobels?

It sure looks like it: I approve strongly of three Nobels in a row. Amazing. On Friday, the Nobel was attributed to a French writer who worries a lot about Nazism, Modiano. Then there was the anti-sexist, anti-Islamist Peace Prize to Malala.

Today professor Tirole, a French economist at the public university in Toulouse, got the Nobel in economics. Mr. Tirole pondered the best regulations so that large, powerful firms in industries such as banking and communications would act in society’s interest. that’s one of my familiar themes, and I go much further.

It’s the first Nobel in economy in 10 years who is not a citizen of the USA. Are we in an increasingly terrible socio-economic situation just from that monopoly? Tirole is the most American of French economists: a “polytechnicien”, he got an economy PhD from MIT.

He is depicted as “liberal” (right wing pro-capitalist in French parlance), because he believes in share holders’ rights, and that corporations should just worry about profits. As an extreme left wing progressive nut, I, paradoxically, agree with both points.

However how do I reconcile this with what I call “governmentalism”? Well, they go hand in hand.

According to governmentalism, the main actor in economics is the government. That’s pretty much obvious and was even true on Caribbean islands ruled by pirates: pirates, too, had government, and it ruled their economy (and that’s true to this day, except the pirates use finance instead of swords).

Much of what passes today for the free market is little more than global monopolies, organized crime and deregulated madness.

Jean Tirole, defending the real owners, the shareholders, has done important work exposing executive overcompensation, what I call the CEO class, and over-greedy corporate hegemony.

Here is the introduction of Roland Bénabou and Jean Tirole’s “working” paper on the “Bonus Culture: Competitive Pay, Screening, and Multitasking”. (Executive overcompensation, etc.):

“Recent years have seen a literal explosion of pay, both in levels and in di¤erentials, at the top echelons of many occupations. Large bonuses and salaries are needed, it is typically said, to retain “talent” and “top performers” in finance, corporations, medicine, academia, as well as to incentivize them to perform to the best of their high abilities. Paradoxically, this trend has been accompanied by mounting revelations of poor actual performance, severe moral hazard and even outright fraud in those same sectors. Oftentimes these behaviors impose negative spillovers on the rest of society (e.g., bank bailouts), but even when not, the firms involved themselves ultimately suffer: large trading losses, declines in stock value, loss of reputation and consumer goodwill, regulatory fines and legal liabilities, or even bankruptcy.

This paper proposes a resolution of the puzzle, by showing how competition for the most productive workers can interact with the incentive structure inside firms to undermine work ethics–the extent to which agents “do the right thing” beyond what their material self-interest commands. More generally, the underlying idea is that highly competitive labor markets make it difficult for employers to strike the proper balance between the benefits and costs of high-powered incentives. The result is a “bonus culture” that takes over the workplace, generating distorted decisions and significant efficiency losses, particularly in the long run. To make this point we develop a model that combines multitasking, screening and imperfect competition, thus making a methodological contribution in the process.”

Philosophically it can be explained and said much more simply: a culture of greed has taken over.

One should even say a MOOD of greed takes over. Considering recent discoveries in ethology and epigenetics, hell itself is the bottom of that abyss.

Indeed. Just like some fishes, according to circumstances, modify their genetics, and females turn into males, and some males even in “super males”, the top officers of today’s society turned into predators predating onto the rest of society.

It was high time that some authorities (and the Nobel committee is a small sort of authority) recognizes something in that direction. The work of reflection is just beginning.

The philosophy of banking has not been mulled enough. Nor that, more generally, of mighty corporations.

Those are gigantic institutions with a para-governmental role. They are big enough to influence governments, society, law enforcement, and the law itself. The immensely rich heads of major corporations are received by heads of states, as if they were other heads of state.

Yet, officially, banks and corporations are not led by the social good, and other higher principles, but by greed. Just greed. When those greedsters are celebrated as if they were statesmen, “philanthropists”, or even philosophers or “geniuses”, greed is recognized as philanthropic, and genial.

The less we regulate those giant corporations, the more powerful they get, and the more they can change the mind of civilization itself, towards greed. For example executives of Google were loud, clear, and acknowledged by the British government itself, to be of great influence in deciding educational programs: they are credited for making coding mandatory at age 5 in all schools.

Are Britons to become all little googlers? Ogling the mighty founders of Google, who travel the world in their personal jumbo jets, while paying no significant taxes, and being received by heads of states on their knees, another proof of their genius?

Yet Google siphons its multi-billion Euros profits in Europe through Ireland, to lower its tax bill, and then send said profits to paradise islands with no taxation whatsoever. In other words, Google seems to be an organized crime corporation, as it avoids paying tax nearly entirely. Mafias, and other crime syndicates can only admire such brazen arrogance, and no doubt envy Google after tax profit margins.

European regulators condemned Google for cheating with its search engine, to bring itself even more profits, and now say that Google is ignoring their pleas. Yet, we are putting the fate of youngsters under Google’s maniacal guidance.

This is just Google, the Do Evil company.

All other mighty corporations are applying similar tricks. GE, the oldest company in the Dow Jones, paid no tax for years. Disneyland France, the number one entertainment center in Europe, claimed giant losses, and had to be rescued by Disney (while forgetting to say said losses were from paying giant fees to Disney itself, probably re-routed through some tax heaven).

The situation with the banking system is even worse. As Marx noticed, banks have a monopoly. He left it at that. Now we need to talk.

A monopoly of what? Banks create most of the money. Thanks to the states.

So here we have people, the bankers, unelected and unsupervised, who do not have to justify themselves, operating in secrecy, who, through credit, give most of the money which exists in the world, to whoever they like. It turns out, they love themselves.

And, officially, all the motivation that this sort of secret government, by corporations, for corporations, has, is greed.

Time to ask them question, observe, study, and regulate them.

Economy does not need any more equation to burnish its reputation as a pseudo-science. Economy needs a thorough rethinking, of a philosophical nature.

Otherwise the employment situation, which Tirole, after getting his prize, just described as “catastrophic” will only get worse.

Employment is, of course, a crucial pillar of democracy: no employment, no democracy. The economy is more now about plutocracy than anything else: Tirole and company have lifted just a little bit of the veil.

Patrice Ayme’

Gluten, Poisons, Insuring the Stupidity of Crowds

October 12, 2014

I believe laws ought to be decided by We The People. The present governmental system with its oligarchic legislate and executive ought to be transitioned out of, and restricted to the details. (This is what Switzerland has been doing in the last 25 years, to immense social and economic success.)

When I propose this, skeptics often object that people are brazenly ignorant, turgidly stupid, and prone to fashionable madness. So my proposition would be worse than what we have now, they sneer.

There is some truth in all this. I will roll out an example: gluten. And explain why We The People indulge in this sort of hare-brained obsession. It’s actually a basic manipulation they are neutralized with, like a mouse by a piece of cheese deep in a trap.

This point of view, that the demos cannot be trusted, is nothing new, and why Aristotle proposed to the best to rule (Aristo-crat). In practice, he defined as the best were his personal buddies, and everybody who was seriously rich.

I will explain why We The People tend to be ignorant, stupid, and mad. Mostly, when People are treated as children, they compensate by leading with gusto where they can lead: in nowhere land, for nowhere men.

They are engaged in the mental equivalent of captive animals pacing back and forth in too small a cage.

The obsession with gluten, sodium benzoate all over foods, profits in foods, all help build a mental box in which to cage We The People.

It is fashionable to avoid gluten, a protein in wheat, rice, barley which makes them chewy. Many people claim that gluten makes them sick. The for-profit corporations created a non-gluten movement. They tend to replace gluten, a protein, by sugar(s). Never mind the well-established fact that those sugars make people sick with an impressive array of diseases.

Some studies claimed that gluten caused intestinal distress in some patients who did not truly have celiac disease.

The same scientists who suggested gluten sensitivity first, followed up with more rigorous studies… In which they found that non-celiac gluten sensitivity doesn’t exist.

Yet, 30% of people want to eat less gluten (they have been so persuaded by industry). Sales of gluten-free products are projected to be $15 billion by 2016. Only 1% of Americans suffer from celiac disease, yet 18% of adults now buy gluten-free foods. (No wonder, it’s full of sugars, and obese Americans need all the sugar they can get, so they have enough fuel to move!)

In several follow-ups, some by the same authors who had found the apparent gluten sensitivity, subjects cycled through high-gluten, low-gluten, and no-gluten (placebo) diets, without knowing which diet plan they were on. In the end, all of the diets — even the placebo diet — caused pain, bloating, nausea, and gas to a similar degree. Thus there are problematic foods, but it didn’t matter if the diet contained gluten. Gluten sensitivity was found NOT to exist.

In contrast to our first study … we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten,” lead scientist Gibson wrote in his first follow-up paper. A third, larger study published this month has confirmed the findings.

However detailed studies found great sensitivity to FODMAPs.

So why people don’t worry about these? Because “Gluten-free” is an industry, and a new one, bringing new profits, whereas FODMAP avoidance would be a problem for industry.

I just saw one Monarch Butterfly. I used to see thousands, in just one day, on the same hill. Those Monarchs don’t go to Mexico, they migrate within the USA, from the Rockies, to California, back and forth. Why did they disappear? Insecticides, and, in particular those made from nicotine (a deadly poison in minute doses), or neonicotinoids. They are the same poisons which kill bees.

There again, this was scientifically established, but it’s ignored in the popular knowledge base, as it stands in the way of our masters.

In general one may wonder why poisons such as the mighty carcinogen benzene are deliberately introduced in food. My daughter has a very strong allergy to Sodium Benzoate, so she can be used as a Sodium Benzoate detector. When she turns all red, it means she was poisoned by the authorities.

Authorities? Well, after all, the FDA allows industrialists to put benzene in food, to kill the little beasties who would be otherwise found there. So, if you do not eat as much of that food as the little beasties, you will survive long enough to buy more, and more, and more, so it’s OK, with the FDA.

And it does not disrupt the Masters in the least, as they eat fresh food prepared by their chefs in their private jumbo jets, far above the minnows, while paying no tax, as the Google guys.

Why are people so gullible? Because the Masters made them gullible. Putin, a Master, made his population so stupid that it interprets its difficulties as caused by the West, and thus, the more Putin attacks, the more popular he gets (86% approval for Putin in Russia, latest polls).

This phenomenon has been seen before: after he killed millions of Ukrainians and Soviets, in obscure “purges”, Stalin was loved (especially by Western pseudo-intellectuals). Later Hitler became most popular as Germany met the apocalypse.

Conflict wakes up the fascist instinct, all becoming of one mind behind the leader. Uncertain, feeble Masters know this, so they create conflicts to get a following (whereas, as Ibn Khaldun pointed out, strong empires know peace inside).

Direct democracy would force We The People to become deciders, instead of stupidified followers in need of all-knowing leaders to make, or, rather, eschew, all the big decisions. Instead of believing obvious stupidities, We The People would examine them.

What we have now is an unexamined polis. Socrates famously, and stupidly, said that an unexamined life was not worth having (it’s stupid, as crocodiles, politicians and bankers demonstrate every day). What he should have said is that an unexamined polis is best not having.

If We The People was examining foods, it would find the following: the food industry uses massive, unsustainable amounts of antibiotics, pesticides, fungicides, poisons, and chemical fertilizers. They no doubt correlate with the multiplication of the occurrence of brain tumors by four since 1950. Parts of France, who supported agriculture for more than three millennia, are now so polluted, that the European Commission’s threatened sanctions have been approved by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

And why is that general poisoning going-on? Simple: the profiteers want to maximize profits. The food budget of We The People is a fixed amount. Beyond that we would be back in the pre-revolutionary mood of France (when a free market reform under Louis XIV’s PM Turgot allowed the price of bread to jump up).

So, to maximize profit margins, the profiteers have to reduce their costs, hence all the poisons, chemicals, etc. And gluten in all that? A red herring, a bone, the stupidified People can gnaw on, while augmenting the profiteers’ profits (there are state subventions for sugar). Their outrage and interest is carefully entertained: it’s a more sophisticated version of the panem et circenses (bread and circus) of the Romans.

All the silliness would disappear if We the People learned about the world enough to pretend to decide about its fate. Learning that the largest corporations avoid taxes, often completely, and that banks, which are truly agents of the state, are a state within the state, and a criminal one at that., would help to forget about imaginary celiac disease, or the one caused by too much sugars (FODMAPs).

And that’s exactly why the plutocrats will try their best to make sure this will not happen, by occupying the minds with the dumbest obsessions evil minds can find.

That was done for centuries in the Roman Empire, until all the mental energy of the Demos went to charioteers, culminating in the Nika Riots, an aborted revolution, in 532 CE, which burned half of Constantinople. The reason the Nika Riots were not a successful revolution is that We The People had become too dumb to understand what was truly happening. This is where we are headed now.

Patrice Ayme’

Why Christianism Fosters Demons

October 11, 2014

The Christo-Islamist god does not do with just Satan, but a whole army of demons, fallen angels, or “djinns”. This is not an accident, but its core strategy.

An excellent essay in Scientia Salon: an official guide for demon hunters with a helpful advice from philosophers and witch hunters illustrates this. History is how philosophy ought to be done. No history, no philosophy.

Why? Because philosophy is about the deepest reasons. The deepest reasons have to be hunted down in history always. (Yes, even in science, see note.)

I will explain why the extreme cruelty and terror found in several famous religions are not accidental by-products, but essential to the core of these superstitious systems.

Notre Dame Gargoyles Watch Over Paris To Make Sure Of Extirpating Whatever Needs Extirpation

Notre Dame Gargoyles Watch Over Paris To Make Sure Of Extirpating Whatever Needs Extirpation

Some have the religion of religions. They worship the idea. The idea of religion. Of course, they have an agenda; it could be Tibetan Buddhism (with its demons), or the Christo-Islamist god, who absolutely needs a fig leaf. And the name of that fig leaf was Satan (or Shatan, namely Hades, Pluto, or Ba’al, refurbished, with a fresh Dark Side coat).

There is a funny passage in the Qur’an where Allah (Arabic word for the Christo-Islamist Jewish god) warns about asking him questions about his business with Shatan and Djinns. He hints darkly that those who ask too many question will end in the fire (where they will be burned until their skin falls off; then their skin will grow back, and they will be thrown in the fire again; apparently the Qur’an anticipated stem cell treatments yet to come!)

There are religions, and religions. Generally, when talking to some primitive about religion, she or he assumes, naturally, that one talks about her, or his religion. But maybe 10,000 religions are known. 99.99% of them grossly violate human rights, and are criminal systems of thoughts and mood. Once again, that’s no accident: religion is all about plutocracy, and plutocracy all about the demonic side of man.

When religious people talk about “religion”, and request respect, they don’t mean that we should respect the Aztecs’ religion: they never heard of it. Or, if they did, they don’t realize what it means.

Religion’s idea comes from the Latin “religio”, itself contained in re-ligare: to bind together again. We The People, bound again together. To what? To whom? To us again?

Religions basically come under two variants: those which bind to rationality, and those which bind to irrationality, that is, to madness.

By “madness” here, I mean any altered state of consciousness. I am a mountaineer and a mountain runner. I have run very long, say in Iran, at 10,000 feet, in a one way solitary run I had to complete to save myself. The heat was great, blood was seeping through my running shoes. I felt nothing. This sort of altered state of consciousness, evolution given stoicism, is routine for tough mountain climbers, who are familiar with slipping out of cracks from blood seeping out of their bodies, while keeping a happy smirk on their faces.

Why would one bind to rationality? Because, without rationality, there is no survival. Homo has been mostly selected for increasing rational performance over the last 5 million years.

Civilization blossomed this in the idea of democracy. The republic is the fundamental religion, as it effectively was for the Romans, for centuries (in co-existence with superstitious cults, such as the original Roman one).

Why would one bind to irrationality? Because, once We The People has become irrational, in other words, dumb, it can easily be manipulated into subservience.

Hence superstition. “Superstitio” was used derisively by the Christians against Pagans as early as the Fourth Century. However, the concept is “what stands above”… the world. In other words, what cannot be objective.

Superstitious religions are there to terrify people, and force them into abject subjugation, so they all have demons, as the Punic religion did, or the Aztecs.

The Aztecs, thanks to tearing the hearts of their live prisoners out, had kept the nations around them in a state of fear of these “flower wars”.

Just as Islam is about peace, Christianity about love, the Aztecs’ gods were about… flowers. (Once, to inaugurate the greatest temple so far, they tore 80,000 hearts out, in five days, a remarkable pre-industrial feat.)

The Aztecs were horrified by the torture of the Christians. As far as they were concerned, Christianity was a torture religion, perfectly symbolized by the torture instrument the Christians brandished, the cross. Christians will be surprised to learn this. Of course. Gods, imagination, and machinations go very well together.

Christian minds have been well engineered together into the herd instinct.

Terrified people obey their masters well. And if that is not enough, the Christians, later imitated by the Muslims, would exert what (“Saint”) Augustine referred approvingly as “great violence”. By the time Augustine recommended “great violence”, the executions of those-who-had-chosen (= “heretics”) were routine.

This is how the Christians took an empire which was mostly Pagan and Neo-Platonic by storm: by killing millions. And this is also why, ever since, they speak of the persecutions they suffered before that: because the later were relatively puny: only 6 Christians were executed under Marcus Aurelius. Some emperors may have been closet Christians, well before Galerius executed 3,000 Christians, in the worst persecution, around 306 CE (which he rescinded later)..

Christianity and its parrot, Islam, have killed tens of millions, in their names.

Now they don’t want their names to be their names, a bit like homosexuals don’t want to not be called gays, otherwise they would be rather sad.

That’s why their sacred texts enshrine the power of ultimate violence, when they do not call to exert it, outright. That’s why they are, under the guise of fearing them, a cult of demons.

The Cathars said nothing else. So the Christians exterminated them, millions of them, down to the last one. And also all those who lived in the same cities, just to make sure:

Dieu reconnaitra les siens!”: kill them all, God will recognize his own, the commander of the Crusade is alleged to have ordered. This most ferocious of all Crusades happened on French soil. Don’t expect the masters to remember that. Although not respected as much as Islamism, Christianism is still up there in the pantheon of values in the West (go ask people what they think of Saint Louis or Luther: they will express reverence for these master thinkers of Hitler.)

Superstitions such as Christianism and Islamism, who include divinely mighty demons are demoniac, it’s a fact. And that’s why Allah does not want to talk about it, lest we ponder his bloody hand, and the company he keeps.

We have seen demons. They helped the Caliphs kill those who did not believe. They helped emperors love the church demoniacally.

You don’t want demons? Bring back reason.

But not any reason. Before he decided to invade Ukraine, Putin’s approval rating was 65%. Now it’s 86%: Russia has become mad with war frenzy. One of the reasons why religions full of demons are popular, is that demonic behavior itself is popular: people with nothing better to do, will get on the warpath. Not just for the spoils (material riches, eternal life) but also because that’s the way people are.

All the way to viewing irrationality as a right. Right as a vacation from the human condition.

Patrice Ayme’

***

Note about history and philosophy: Many problems more or less scientifically solved recently have their roots in Ancient Philosophy, which first brandished them. An example is the incompleteness theorems in logic (they grew from the Cretan Liar paradox, as I have explained in the past). Zeno’s paradox is another. Or even Archimedes’ infinitesimal method.

I could make here a digression in physics. Physics, ultimately, is about history. The lab tests what has been determined, historically, as important. Roughly all of the physics system of thought, articulated around equations, superficially observed, is actually historical: even the axioms of Quantum physics have their ultimate justification in history, not experimentation as all too many naïve physicists… believe. Yes, believe, as a Jihadist believes: closing one’s mind is not the exclusive province of superstitious fanatics.

Tribes is where the power lays, and not just in the Middle East. Those who are viewed as brandishing the right ideas climb up the hierarchy of power.

 


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