Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why justifying Capitalism on religious grounds fails (and how to actually justify it)

Capitalism is based on the recognition of man's right to live for his own sake - to be the beneficiary of his own actions.

Jesus was the most extreme example of altruism you would ever see, the exact opposite of self-interest: He sacrificed his life so that sinners may live. The message it sends is "The moral is to live for others".

Every political system is based on ethics. Capitalism is based on rational-self interest. Socialism, communism and fascism are based on altruism, which is the message of Christianity.
Socialism is justified on the grounds of the moral duty of one man to care for another. Capitalism is based on the idea that a man lives primarily for himself, and that he is moral in pursuing HIS life and HIS happiness.

Let us not forget what was going on during the dark ages and what kind of actions were justified by the church.
This is because the message of the bible is inconclusive. One can mold it to whatever fits one's goals.
It is not a coincidence that 5 Rabies reading the bible cannot agree on the interpretation of a single paragraph. It's not that some of them are wrong and one is right - it is that the bible is inherently unclear in meaning and can be interpreted one way or another.

The real defense of Capitalism is reality-based. Facts-based.

We start by looking at the requirements of life for an individual man, the principles and values required for him to live and be happy (which is a successful state of living).
We recognize that man must act to bring and create the things he requires to survive and enjoy his life.

Capitalism is the system that allows a man, every individual, to be free to pursue his life and happiness as would be on a desert island: productivity uninterrupted by other men.
It is only by allowing every individual man this basic requirement for life that a political system actually serves man's life.

One cannot start by asking what is good for a group of people. Such question only makes sense if the intent is to talk about what is good for every individual man in the group. But then that reduces the question back to what is good for a single man.

One cannot claim, that by stealing from one man and giving it to another in the group that one is serving the "good of the group". Why is the good of the group the good of one man, but not of the other?
Yet the good of the "group" is the standard most use to judge political systems.

The only defense of Capitalism that "works" - because it is the real basis for Capitalism, is reality; rational ethics recognizing the requirements of life of a single human being.

Look at reality, not at the "word of god".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Does he really deserve that salary?" - Faulty concept of "deserving"

"Do you really deserve to live?"

-- How is it my business to decide, right?
Anyone who would ponder about this question seriously, as if what they had to say on the subject was to justly be executed in reality would be considered a despicable freak in our society.
Yet we don't seem to have the same approach to money. "Do you really deserve the money that you have?" "Do you really deserve such a nice apartment?"

Now if I were Santa Claus considering how many gifts to bring you this year, this question might have made sense. But as a human being that has no involvement in your life - it does not.

So what is the error in these sort of questions? why do they seem plausible on one hand, yet non-sensible on the other?

The answer is a mis-generalization of the concept of "deserving".

Let's get down to the root of what it means to "deserve".

Let us observe the following: to "deserve" means an interaction between at least 2 people. If one man deserves something, he always deserves it from someone else. Mother nature cannot consider if someone "deserves" something, it does not decide to give you things. You cannot "deserve" an apple from an apple tree. So "deserve" only makes sense as an interaction between two or more people.

One cannot "deserve" something from no other man, but simply to "deserve" it. I cannot "deserve" a new computer, healthcare or a car from no entity, but just to "deserve" it. What would such thing even mean?
When you tell your boss you deserve a raise, it has the practical use of having more money in your bank account.
When you say that you "deserve" a car to thin air, it has no practical meaning or consequence.
One might say, as a joke, "Damn it, I deserve to have this machine working" after hours of time and effort trying to fix it - but all it is, is a joke. The machine, the air, cannot grant you anything. An apple tree is not just or generous by growing apples for you to eat - it is simply an apple tree doing what apple trees do.

Next observe that the two (or more) people must indeed interact for 'deserving' to make sense. I cannot possibly deserve the meal an Eskimo from Antarctica is cooking at the moment, half way across the world. I might deserve it if I were the one catching the fish he is cooking.

Sometimes a man deserves to serve time in prison - it appears to be a one man situation, but in fact it is not. What is hidden behind the scenes is the society in which this man lives. This man deserves the retribution he is given from other people in his society for whatever it is he has done. They may not be the ones to physically give it to him, but the ones they have delegated to do it do so in their name.

To summarize: "deserve" implies deserving from someone, and someone with which you interact over the product in question.

"Deserve" also implies that you did something to earn whatever you "deserve", and that whatever you did benefited someone else from whom you deserve something.
(Unless you deserve to be punished by them, in which case you still acted to earn a negative payback).

But in any case You either "do the crime and pay the time", or "pay the bill and get to chill".

When you hear someone saying that they deserve healthcare, or deserve a house, simply by being born, they are using a wrong concept of what it means to "deserve".
they want to deserve from no one in particular, deserve without being involved with anyone else, and deserve without "paying the bill".

What makes the difference between deserving healthcare from your insurance company, vs. "deserving" it from society (AKA "the government"):
In the insurance company, you do something to earn it from them, benefiting them by paying for your policy. You deserve medical treatment to the extent that you paid for what was agreed in your contract. "Deserving" is a trade.

"Deserving" medical treatment "from society", however, involves no trade. One is paying no price, there is no need to earn and no benefit in exchange for the service. It involves no agreement. In fact it involves only a single person, which was born into reality butt naked, "deserving" something from "the world" ("a god given right").

Notice in how many ways this concept of "deserve" is breaking the actual meaning of what it is to "deserve".

What about people who question whether some people deserve their high salaries?
Those people mis-use the concept "deserve" as well. How do they go about judging what salary those people deserve?
To the company owner, the standard is clear: The contribution the worker has for the success of the company (leaving aside other factors like the budget). But how can someone outside the company decide if an employee deserves his money?

One might, as a hypothetical, put oneself in the shoes of the company owner and consider the contribution of the worker vs. his salary - but realizing that this is only possible as an opinion on what should the worker deserve from the company owner (not from them, because it's not their money to give).

What they actually try to judge, however, is what the worker deserves from them, or from society, or from reality. "How much does a human being deserve to have?".
As you can see, they are using an empty concept. Its only appearance of a meaning is stolen from the legitimate concept of "deserving".
But they try to judge what a man deserves without specifying anyone in particular, without taking under account any interaction between that man and anyone else, without asking who is earning from his work.

They take the company owner out of the equation and then try to decide how his money should be spent.

THAT, is the fallacy in their thinking. That they think of "deserve" in fuzzy terms. It is a relationship between god and the worker when it comes to taking his salary away, but becomes a relationship between that man and society when they decide society deserves it better.

So next time you hear someone using a fuzzy concept of "deserve", make sure they stand corrected.
The future of our society leans on whether or not people are left free to live their life, and is destroyed by people who try to decide with their fuzzy concept who "deserves" to make money, own property, or live.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The significance of work

A job is very important in life. It gives your life meaning and purpose, it gives you self esteem and happiness.

I'm a painter (ifatart.com), and I can't tell you how painting is central and important to me and how much it gives me. Not that it is easy - I have to work hard to improve my skills and many times it is frustrating and hard work - but it is worth it, it allows me to be happy and proud of myself.
A feeling of moving toward something, of increasing satisfaction and achievement.
Nothing can give you this kind of feeling except a job you devote yourself to.

I'm not talking about a 9-to-5 job at McDonalds - I'm talking about a goal in life - a productive goal in life of something you want to do and can do well.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"You can't do it"

"At some point in your life everybody will tell you "you can't do it". Many people are gonna tell you "you can't do it". The trick is not to listen to them. I always tell people; whatever it is you want to do, talk to people who succeeded at it, don't talk to the failures because they're bitter about it, they're gonna tell you that you can't make it either because they don't really want you to make it. But everybody is told they can't do it. The difference is that there are a lot of people that just don't listen to that. And go out and do what they do as well as they can because they love it. And that's all that matters". -- Rush Limbaugh

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A reply to the accusation: "you are selfish!"

Don't let people make you apologize for wanting to keep your property. People who preach altruism are only interested in being on the recipient side.

They push a blaming finger: "How dare you not care for other people's well being?" All they care about is that you shut up, give up your property and pay their bills.

So don't give in to the extortion! Be proud of being self-interested. Selfishness (rational self-interest) is a virtue, not a vice.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Why is it hard to form a correct concept of "human nature"?

The general problem here is the relation between an abstraction to concretes. In case of oranges, there is no problem. All oranges need water, all of them are orange when ripe, etc'. But humans beings have free will - that is their basic nature, so some are "orange" and some are "green" and even within a single human being there is a mixture of good and evil. This makes the abstraction by essentials much more difficult than abstracting the concept "orange".

Are human beings good by nature or evil? If one observes 500 oranges, the conclusion of what an orange is, is easy. Not so with human beings. One can observe 500 or 500 million and still find some good some bad and a lot mixed.

Inability to separate human beings - the concept from any individual human being (good or bad) is a potential reason for "tolerance" in honest people - it is a result of a benevolent spirit with appreciation of human life failing to make the distinction between the proper approach to human beings as a concept (the potential of a human being, and all the good that they can be, if they decide to be that) and an actual one, which may be good or bad.

So even when they meet a bad person they apply the "human being" label to him which grants him the status (or belief) in his good nature, leading to a benevolent pacifistic approach, disarming the honest person from fighting against whatever bad thing the person may do.

This can also work the other way around - by thinking that all people are bad. One meets many people who evade, only look at what is comfortable for them to see (which is not rare to find) and even lie, and one concludes that this is human nature. The result is that when someone confesses to them about a good motive they immediately suspect self-deception or corruption.

Both points of view come from a wrong generalization about the human nature by failing to see human beings' ability to choose as central to human nature.

When one attempts to look at human beings as in the same category of oranges, it is inevitable to make a generalization one way or another - usually, the generalization is that all men are mixed, and so all can be good, but are deemed to be bad by their nature.

How can the organs of an organism cooperate so well?

I had an interesting thought about living things. We tend to think of living things as a single entity composed of "parts", each ...