Posts Tagged ‘Survival’

Survival Trumps Tolerance

February 1, 2015

Ideas give birth to moods, and moods lead to ideas, but ideas and moods are not interchangeable. If one wants to find out why people think the way they do, the distinction has to be kept in mind.

“Mike71” commenting on “No Taxation Without Decision” objects that: “Patrice, the one value, so little discussed above, is that of tolerance, allowing each individual to believe in any faith of their choice, or none at all… In the Libertarian ethic and tradition, becoming more widespread in the U.S., as well as abroad, the concept is that one should be able to do what they may, to the extent that it does not interfere with the rights of others.”

I have never said anything else. Moreover, making an ideology of “Liberty” (“Libertas” in Latin) is not new. Ever heard of: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité?

National Motto of France: Liberty First.

National Motto of France: Liberty First.

Notice that Liberté comes first, indeed. Including the liberty to caricature.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 defined Liberty in Article 4 as follows:

“Liberty consists of being able to do anything that does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every man or woman has no bounds other than those that guarantee other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights.”

Discours sur l’organisation des gardes nationales, Article XVI.

“On their chests will be engraved these words: FRENCH PEOPLE, & below: LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY. The same words are inscribed on flags which bear the three colors of the nation.”

(French: XVI. Elles porteront sur leur poitrine ces mots gravés : LE PEUPLE FRANÇAIS, & au-dessous : LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ. Les mêmes mots seront inscrits sur leurs drapeaux, qui porteront les trois couleurs de la nation.)

Liberty Or Death: Original Motto of France, 1793

Liberty Or Death: Original Motto of France, 1793

[In 1792 and 1793, all plutocrats of Europe, and that means all other regimes of Europe, had attacked The French Republic in a giant coalition; internally, it caused the “Terror”; so “Ou La Mort” was dropped later, as it reminded The People of the Terror.]

Rome, the Roman Republic, was more “libertarian” for centuries than any regime since (except for the slaves, oops; there were private companies catching slaves, as in the Nineteenth Century USA, but even some that tortured and executed slaves for those who had the means to purchase their services).

Actually the Franks took control, and re-founded the decaying Roman State, starting in 400CE. “Frank” means “Free”. The main ideological effort of the Franks was to augment Freedom. Freedom fries did not start in 2003. Under the theocratic, Christian fanatical, fascist and plutocratic late Roman empire, Libertas was getting squeezed in all ways: individuals, Catholics or not, could be killed legally relatively easily, if they committed “blasphemy” against “Catholicism”, professions and social status tended to be inherited very rigidly, local democracy had disappeared, banditry and terror ruled (in part because the Catholics who ruled had replaced Roman law by Christian law)

The Franks threw the whole thing overboard: it was freedom everything… Except in military matters, where Roman military law was imposed ferociously (replacing the German anything-goes, we are all partners in crime). This is embodied by the famous story of the Vase de Soissons.

The rule of Liberty means the rule of tolerance. In particular, religious tolerance. The Franks re-established the rights of the Jews in the Sixth Century. In 1789 CE, 12 centuries later, the French Revolutionaries re-established again the rights of the Jews (which had been confiscated in the meantime by blood drenched monsters such as the fanatical “Saint” Louis).

Saint Louis was the first to claim he was tolerant, and good to the little guy. He just wanted to kill so bad miscreants such as Jews and the vaguely defined “Unbelievers” (“Incroyants”).

So, yes, of course, everybody worships “tolerance”, and “respect”. Actually that’s one of the preferred lines of Islamist fanatics, who always insist that Islam is all about “respect” and “tolerance” (they can find quotes to support that, in the Sacred texts, of course). But you see, “tolerance” is not a system of thoughts. It is a mood.

Systems of Thoughts, such as Christianism, Islamism, Stalinism, Maoism, erroneously named so-called “Liberalism”, “Capitalism” (whatever that means), Representative Democracy, etc. can all be criticized specifically.

In faulty systems of thoughts, one can point at specific lies. Lies by counterfactualism (outright lying), or by profound omission, or outright ignorance.

With system of moods, it’s a different matter entirely. How to criticize specifically an emotion? Take so-called “Islamophobia”: fear of Islam. How could such a mood be found to be faulty on a single statement? Moods are pretty impervious to logic. Phobias, when too acute, are just medical conditions.

Nobody, really is against “tolerance”. Nobody is against “democracy”, either. The Nazis used to joke they had “total democracy”. Don’t laugh: Hitler won referenda.

In the real world, there is force. Force is what rules reality. It’s a matter of physics, not history or wishful thinking. Physics is mostly about the description of forces in action.

Take an example: Israel. Israel and the context around it, is a ticking time bomb. A lot of potential energy is accumulated, getting ready to be unleashed with great force.

Israel knows well that some of its enemies will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons against Israel. Half a dozen thermonuclear warheads well targeted (one on Haifa, three on the greater Tel Aviv, one on Jerusalem) would annihilate Israel, killing more Jews than the Nazis did.

And guess what? The Israelis have to take this into account. What to do? Wait placidly like sheep for extermination? It was tried last time, with the Nazis. It did not work too well: most European Jews were exterminated.

So the Israelis may well strike first.

Potentially, one is talking about tens of million killed, if not hundreds of millions.

In light of such realities, the realities of force, “tolerance” is deeply irrelevant.

(This is how Putin has always reasoned, force, and it has worked for him, as far as he is concerned. Similarly Obama used the force of deception to get where he is, and, just like Putin, he is happy like a clam.)

A mood such as tolerance is little in comparison to the moods the survivalist instinct leads to.

Freedom in the service of survival means to be free to annihilate the enemy. And tolerance means, in that vital context, to be ready to tolerate the infliction of evil. On others.

Dream states and wishful thinking are refreshing. However, when in action in the defense of one’s dear life, the brain switches to a completely different mode.

I have been there.

Once I was crossing a near vertical ice gully in flimsy rock climbing shoes. The belay was in the gully itself, protected by a rock. The anchors were not good, but the best I could do. As I was past the middle of the pitch, digging steps cautiously, I saw a giant rock avalanche coming. I ran (first impossible feat).

The some rocks hit the ropes, I was yanked off, and started to fall down the kilometer high gully. It was certain death. However, unbelievably, I was able to wedge myself between rock and ice. If I were into superstition, I would believe god personally intervened.

More prosaically, I believe that all my motor neurons got simultaneously activated, and inhuman strength was deployed with inhuman precision.

The brain, pushed into survival mode, is capable of unbelievable feats. And the first unbelievable feat, is how easily conventional morality, so-called humanism, ceases to be a factor.

Humanity exists, because of love. Otherwise there would be no children. And humanity also exists, because of its Dark Side. That is why humanity is so special. Humanity’s violent, omnipotent side: the Jewish god is in its image.

Are we ready to fight Putin to death? Or are we ready to live under the system of thoughts and moods the Russian dictator is generating, day after day? This is the sort of question, and the answers it led to, that have shaped human ethology for millions of years.

Want Liberty? Sell weapons to Ukraine. Do not repeat what was done in 1936, when France promised weapons to the Spanish Republic, and then backed-of, under British and American pressure.

The rest of the story? Mayhem in Spain, millions assassinated. Mayhem in Europe, 70 millions killed, most of them assassinated.

Liberty, or Death: that is not just the lesson of 1789, but also the lesson of Auschwitz.

Patrice Ayme’

Economic Tech Wreck

July 25, 2013

Paul Krugman: “Both Steve Benen and Ed Kilgore get annoyed at fellow journalists complaining that there aren’t any “new ideas” in Obama’s latest. But why should there be?

It was clear early on that this was a crisis very much in the mold of previous financial crises.”

Well, sort of, but not really. True, the USA population had filled up to the rim in subprime mortgages, and could not afford anymore. True, the USA population ignore both mathematics and the fact that big bankers can conspire, big time (in jacking up interest rates after mortgages had been acquired: ARMs; or through securitization, selling lies to the unawares; or by hyper leveraging themselves against all of society through financial derivatives). Result? A Great Depression, probably the greatest of them all.

Comparing Two Great Depressions

Comparing Two Great Depressions

What triggered the crisis, though was a spectacular rise in the price of oil. People suddenly had to choose between paying for the house, or fueling the car. As the USA is car dependent, it was not really a choice: without a functioning car, there is no getting to work, or even food, let alone school.

Moreover, ever since, in spite of frantic fracking, the price of oil has stayed high in the USA, depression or not. California gets most of its oil from Texas now. It’s back to the past. Except for one important detail: all of this oil is fracked oil.

Now please observe that the world economy, and world food production, let alone trade, is completely oil dependent. Without oil, the world population would quickly collapse by 90%.

We do not have an acceptable mass energy replacement. We are in the situation of Europe (and Japan!) in 1300 CE: dependent upon a waning asset (then, wood, which was used for everything; although England switched to coal then).

So what’s the idea? The big idea is always missing from the loud economists who dominate the USA, and, thus, the world in general: they view the economy as just about money flow. According to them, if money flows, everything is fine (never mind all the money goes to the .1%!).

This was basically the reasoning Roman emperors wanted their economists to believe, and advocate, too. So I sent the following to Krugman who published it right away:

“What is new in present day economics is the possibilities new technologies offer that were not within reach before, and the problems old technologies are causing, as they become waning assets.

We are living in a science-fiction world, highly dependent on technology. Not to realize this is a lethal condition.”

To this, John from Hartford replied:

“I’m not sure this is true. If you look at the period in the 20’s and 30’s when people like Keynes were evolving their theories the world was being flooded with new technologies like radio, mass ownership of automobiles, silent/sound movies, aircraft, proto computers, etc. etc. which were probably greater in their affects than those were currently undergoing. What was much more important was that it was a period of intense global economic disruption which essentially provided real life laboratories for examining and testing economic hypotheses. And back then the consequences of economic mismanagement really were lethal on a scale we’ve never experienced since.”

In turn I answered to this very conventional reply with more of my advanced details (a condensed version of which was published by the NYT):

John: I do not dispute that the flood of new technologies getting in everyday life in the 1930s was not higher. Right now such a flood is very high in China. Yet, the technological flow has been deliberately slowed down in the West by a plutocratic conspiracy (as happened in Rome, when the government consciously paid inventors to NOT develop their inventions).

As I have explained in the past, plutocrats hate disruptive technologies. New technology introduces new ideas (witness the so called “Arab Spring”). It’s only natural to apply the “new ideas” mood to the established (plutocratic) order, as plutocrats and plutophiles, correctly, fear.

An example of technology not deployed is single payer health care in the USA (Germany introduced one more than 150 years ago!). Instead Obama introduced a new technology, Obamacare, friendly to plutocrats like the old one, but with even more subsidies from taxpayers. (For what the word “technology” means, see the comments.)

I just said the possibilities of higher technological disruption exists now… and that’s a good thing. And that proper economics, well done, would look into disrupting for the best the established economic order. At the governmental level (and not, as is done now, just at the Bill Gates level!… Bill Gates is financing new nuclear technologies.).

To claim, as Hartford John does, that “the consequences of economic mismanagement really were lethal on a scale we’ve never experienced since” is saying that devastating the entire machinery of the biosphere on a planetary scale is not “economic mismanagement”.

As I have long argued, we are in much more global danger now than in the 1930s. Fascism in Europe and Japan in the 1930s was a man-made disaster. Now we have much greater disasters waiting in the wings, driven not by human maniacs, but by physics, such a methane belch (that could turn overnight global warming into global heating!). ‘Massive methane eruptions’ is not a question of “if”, but WHEN.

Massive methane belching is actually already happening, in my not so humble opinion. How else to explain that the North Siberian sea route (“North East Passage”) is already now open for business? The topography makes it possible for much more methane to erupt there than in the North West passage… as observed!

(An interesting aside is that Total is investing many billions in a gas liquefaction  plant along the Siberian shore, obviously expecting the melting of the ice to accelerate! The idea is to send the liquefied… methane to China; Putin said it was OK with him, and he would remove the Gazprom monopoly…)

More prosaically, the ROI (Return On Investment) of fossil fuels is going badly, and the search for new mass energy is reaching emergency levels (however new energy technologies cannot be invented from one decade to the next!)

Europe knew a comparable situation twice: in the Late Roman empire, and then around 1300 CE. In the former case, civilization nearly crashed. In the latter case, European governments took successful, but drastic, measures (yet population collapsed by 2/3).

The only obvious new, potentially massive, technology we have is nuclear energy. By “nuclear energy” I mean all imaginable fission (there are about 100 of these) and fusion technologies. some will scoff. Yet, by 1330 CE, England had switched to coal to such an extent that Edward III’s government had to pass laws against coal, to limit the pollution of London.

This energy independence may help to explain that ‘England” was winning the war against “France” (for want of a better word) for a century… (Until the southern French developed the world’s first field artillery.) The abundance of coal with high ROI certainly explains the economic ascendency of England for the next six centuries… Until the age of oil. Oil with high ROI was in the USA, Arabia, and Mesopotamia.

Right now, many of the conventional, ignorant ecologists are certainly culprit not just of the impending ecological collapse, but also of the present depression. Jim Hansen, the ex-NASA scientist who did more than anybody else to provide the world with catastrophic insight on the degradation of the biosphere, shares this opinion:

“Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy…

I think the only hope we have of phasing down emissions and getting to the middle of the century with a much lower level of fossil fuel emissions — which is what we will have to do if we want young people to have a future — we’re going to have to have alternatives and at this time nuclear seems to be the best candidate.”

Screaming against first generation, 1950s nuclear reactors, as those in Japan is entirely justified. The Japanese reactors use French-made recycled MOX for fuel. But for that, they are time-wraps. Let alone carefully installed in the way of a 30 meters (100′) tsunami… that had already happened 12 centuries before.

By now Fourth and Fifth, super-safe, super-efficient fission reactors should have been massively deployed. But the research was carefully not funded, because the reigning political class is fossil fuel fueled.

Survival, not just the economy, is all about energy.  

Patrice Ayme.