Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tolerance: A One Way Street?

The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism. ~Karl Marx

Many ideals are intolerant of others. Islam, Christianity, communism, monarchies, & just about any political movement. Islam has at it's core the drive to convert the infidels. Christianity, too. Jesus claimed himself 'the way, the truth, & the life..' He is the exclusive way to god. Kings & dictators do not entertain competing ideals in their courts. Even america is not tolerant of statist overreach.. amendments & limits were put in place to prevent that. Of course, those things have been ignored in the name of progress & tolerance, but we have lost the ideal along the way.

A true idealist can be tolerant of other people.. they can 'live & let live' with differing views, but they are not idealistically tolerant. They can vehemently criticize opposing ideals, yet have acceptance for the people. I think that differentiation is often overlooked. I routinely blast statism & govt overreaches, while promoting the ideals of individual freedom. The statist left says this is intolerant. But the two ideologies are incompatible. You cannot have statist domination AND individual freedom, so one must give. Individualism has been doing all the giving for the last 50 yrs or so. It's time for us to stand firm in our ideals & demand they give some.. the state never relinquishes power voluntarily. It must be taken.

I'm fine with letting people have differing views on philosophy, religion, & even personal preferences. But if their 'preferences' include taking my choices in life, they cross the line. Their call for 'tolerance' is a mask for oppression.

In america we can live with differing religious views.. we can live with differing views of state powers, too, as long as it follows the limits within the constitution, or is changed by the process we have in place. But the statists have been worming their changes in by stealth & deception, not open changes in amendments. They sing the virtues of tolerance, but do not listen to their own music. They vilify & demonize any opposition, not addressing the core issues, but deflecting with nazis & the klan.

Just about every debate or discussion i've had with a statist/leftist ends with either hitler or racism being drawn. Those are their trump cards.  It is most ironic that both nazis & the klan are statist systems needing strong state power to promote their agendas, but they ignore the irony.  Their calls for 'tolerance' are hypocritical smoke screens, to mask their own intolerance. They do not debate with reason & facts, but use deceptive tactics to generate an illusion. They are masters of propaganda.. truth or logic has no meaning to them, just how can things be spun to appear, in an emotional way. I have zero tolerance for these tactics, which i find despicable. I see their basic agenda is to deceive, not enlighten, so any sympathy i might have with their reasoning is lost with their scheming. If & when these tactics are employed, or when lies are presented as truth, or madness is portrayed as wisdom, i become very intolerant. I do not attack the person, but the ideals & tactics being presented are fair game, & i'll not mince words.

'Tolerance' is a way to disarm the opposition, if used correctly. Individualists & libertarians have been losing ground to the statists for years, all in the name of 'tolerance'. It is time to demand some tolerance from the state.. to be intolerant to their power grabs. They act like they take the high road, with their talk of tolerance, but it is a one way street.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Deceptive Government numbers

We pay the govt to compile statistics, which they are too eager to do, to show us how great they are at managing the economy.  The GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is one of them.  It is prominently displayed as an indicator of economic growth, but it is a sham.. a deliberate deception to portray a false reality.

They double count taxes, include deficit spending, wars, & disaster relief.

Let's say the citizens of a nation make $1T. They pay 20% in taxes.. ~ $200B. The govt takes that money & passes it around, adding it to the gdp. That should not be added to the 'product' since it was already counted. Next, they borrow another $500B, & pass that around, adding it to the gdp number. So we've gone from a nation that made $1T, to one that made $1.7T without any more actual production. That is why it is a misleading number, & is used to convey a false perception of reality. True production has gone down in the us.. for many years, now. Yet the gdp has stayed high. Look at manufacturing jobs. Look at exports & trade balance. These are better indicators of the health of the economy, not the amount of money that can be printed & shuffled around, with every banker & politician skimming off a bit to add to the gdp.

And, in a circular reasoning or ponzi style of accounting, they use the gdp number they have manipulated to justify printing MORE money. They print money, add it to the gdp, loudly proclaim, 'look how great our gdp is!' & print some more to dump into the number. Of course it would look good. But it is a meaningless number, used only to deceive.. the essence of propaganda.

The GDP is used to deceive, not enlighten. It is not a measure of production, but includes spending by govt. It is too easy to make the gdp numbers look good by number juggling. If you took out all the disaster relief, all the war costs, all the govt expansion.. the actual 'product' of the nation is down. But they parade this number around to prove we're doing great! If i could add $17T to my balance sheet, i could look good too. But they don't include debt.. only spending, which makes it a propaganda tool.

Everyone knows manufacturing is down.. we are exporting our jobs to china. The big banks siphon off a bunch of cash with every QE, & that is included in the gdp! Really?!? Print a bunch of money, toss it into the economy, enriching the big moneyed elite & shady politicians, then add it into the gdp. Then use that gdp 'growth' to justify printing more money & flooding the economy. Rinse. Repeat. It is more like a ponzi scheme, this current monetary policy.

Look how great the economy is doing! Look at all the people getting rich & trickling down their wealth to the rest of us! We've got plenty of basis for our fiat money, all the increase proves it! It is circular accounting reasoning. If a company did this, they would be put in jail or shut down by the sec. Instead, the govt does it, & uses it to prove a false premise.

With the GDP, the govt gives a false view of 'production' by including non production, double counting, & deficit spending. Actual production can decline, & the number won't show it.

Let's put it on a smaller scale to illustrate.

Your town has farmers & some manufacturing in it. They are the main employers. The total income for the town is $1M (small town). That includes the mayor, the police chief, the firemen, the street sweeper.. everything.. even the mayor's baby sitter. The taxes are small, & they have no debt. Let's put the taxes at 10%.. $100,000 was the tax revenue for the town. Taxes are counted twice, since they are taken from those who worked & produced, originally, then they are counted again when paid out to the public sector. The total gdp for the town is $1.1M.

Then one of the farms is sold or traded to the forest service. It becomes unproductive. A business shuts down. The town suffers a 20% loss in income. They are making $800k, now. The people that work at these are laid off, & go on welfare. The town decides to raise taxes to 20%. That puts revenues at $160k, to help support those who lost their jobs. That puts their gdp at $960k.

But the added tax burden causes another business to fail. Now they are at 30% reduction & are making $700k. The city fathers decide they cannot keep raising taxes, so they begin to borrow. Their revenues are at $140k, but there are more people on welfare, & more govt employees are hired. So they borrow $100k to supplement the revenues. That puts their total gdp at $940k.

But this is just feeding a downward spiral. More businesses fold, & more revenue is needed as the town increases it's governmental footprint. They borrow $300k the next year, with revenues of $120k. The private sector is making $600k, now, but the total gdp is at $1M. Productivity is down, but the gdp makes it look the same. It is an illusion, as the downward spiral continues. The state takes more & more, & borrows more & more, yet the producers of the nation are producing less.

The current US govt is borrowing 1/3 of it's budget costs. If true production decreases by 1/3, you would not know by the gdp, because it shows all the deficit spending, borrowing, & expansion of govt as 'production'. Want good gdp numbers? Start a war, or borrow & spend $1T every year, or both!

Existence: What is the point?

It is the philosophical question of the ages.  Yet in all this time, we have not arrived at a definitive answer, or even a consensus.
Our instincts are pretty basic:
1. Survival.
2. Reproduction.
3. Play.

These 3 things are the central motivations in most of the things we do. least they are the first things we attend to.  If we're hungry, wet, or cold, we tend to address those things, first.  After that, we engage in other things that do not necessarily fit into the first two basic goals.  We can call it play, or amusements, or hobbies.. some are physical things, some mental.  Many of us have hobbies that are simply extensions of the base instincts.  Hunting, fishing, & cooking are big hobbies for humans.  We do not do them simply for survival, but for fun.  Then there are the house hobbies.. decorating, setting up a 'nest', home remodeling..  i suppose clothes & fashion hobbies are in the same vein, though they also cross over into the other 'hobby' of reproduction.

Reproduction is the base instinct, but sex is also a hobby or pastime.. it also becomes something we do for play & amusement.  Obviously, we do not procreate every time we pursue or engage in sex.. many times, if not most, we want to avoid that aspect of it.  But interaction with the opposite sex is a major motivation for much of our lives.

Then there are the other things we do that do not directly relate to either survival or reproduction.  Travel, games, reading, mental or physical challenges, sports & competition.. these kinds of things we do for fun.

But some times in our lives, we stop & ask ourselves:  Is this it?  Is that all there is?

That question usually brings up more philosophical reasons for our existence.  And this usually includes the question of a supreme being.  Is there a god?  Is there something or someone beyond our sensory realm?  It is very ironic that this most basic question for our existence remains in such dispute.  But it brings up an observation that should be evident:

If there is a god, he has hidden himself so as to remain a  mystery.

Humans have argued for millennia over his nature, traits, & even existence.  The main reason we search for god is we want to know if our existence here is all there is, or is there an afterlife?  The survival instinct is great, & the prospect of eternal death & non-existence is unsettling.  We want to live.  So then the question arises:

Is there a god, or have we 'created' him in response to our fear of death?

We cannot empirically prove there is a god, nor can we disprove him.  Some people have claimed contact with god, but those are personal anecdotes & are not empirically verifiable by the rest of us.  Logically, we do not know.  Subjectively, based on our life experiences, background, & information we've received, we might have a belief.  Many others will share & corroborate that belief.  But it is a logical conclusion & simple observation that we do not know.  There is not even a consensus, even if truth depended on that, which it does not.

Now, from their philosophical basis, people have concluded duties or purposes for their lives, beyond the basics.  Some have concluded that helping other people.. giving of their labor to meet other's basic needs is something 'good'.  Most people give from their abundance, if they have enough to share, but some give altruistically, even sacrificing their own basic needs to help others.  Some have concluded that others can be exploited for personal ambition or their pursuit of 'more'.  They don't mind taking advantage or others, or using them to meet or even exceed their basic needs.  Generally, we call this 'bad'.  While there are extremes, most people fall in the middle somewhere.  They give & help others, but they will also take advantage at times.  Few, if any, are all one or the other.  Somewhere in the middle is also the instinct to coexist with others.. a herd instinct for mutual survival & preservation.

I hope no one is expecting me to answer this question, or to provide deep insight into the meaning of life.  I'm only providing a perspective.. an overview of our existence.  I also think our instincts AND beliefs motivate us more than we realize.  I am a deist.  I believe in God.  But i cannot prove him to others.

Think about your life.. your thoughts & actions.  What are your basic motivations for the things you do, say, & even think?  Why do you believe the way you do, & how much do those beliefs provide the basis for your thoughts & actions?

FDR speech excerpt from October 31, 1936

 From Franklin Roosevelt, October 31, 1936

What was our hope in 1932? Above all other things the American people wanted peace. They wanted peace of mind instead of gnawing fear.
First, they sought escape from the personal terror which had stalked them for three years. They wanted the peace that comes from security in their homes: safety for their savings, permanence in their jobs, a fair profit from their enterprise.
Next, they wanted peace in the community, the peace that springs from the ability to meet the needs of community life: schools, playgrounds, parks, sanitation, highways--those things which are expected of solvent local government. They sought escape from disintegration and bankruptcy in local and state affairs.
They also sought peace within the Nation: protection of their currency, fairer wages, the ending of long hours of toil, the abolition of child labor, the elimination of wild-cat speculation, the safety of their children from kidnappers.
And, finally, they sought peace with other Nations--peace in a world of unrest. The Nation knows that I hate war, and I know that the Nation hates war.

..nothing wrong with any of this.. all politicians promise this. This is a very good example & concise summary of the basic desires of people and what they want from their government.

1. Labor laws to protect the worker.
2. Infrastructure for the good of the country.. 'those things which are expected of solvent local government'
3. Financial regulations to end wild-cat speculation.. securities watchdog
4. Fair profit from enterprise.. fair business regulations & a level playing field
5. Protection of the currency.
6. peace with other nations

This is not the formula for a nanny state. This is not an outline for a socialist agenda. These are fair, reasonable duties for a government of the people.   Lincoln or Jefferson could have said this. This is all the government we need.

We let the politicians divide us over insignificant details.. things we can work out in our leisure. They plunder & corrupt the entire system, & hand out candy to distract us. We need to narrow our focus on what we want from govt. I hope that we can see the nanny state as impossible.. it is bankrupting us. The currency will collapse. But unfortunately, too many voters think they can still profit from the govt ponzi scheme. They know it cannot last, & many at the end will be left holding the bag, they just hope it will last a few more years while they get theirs. This is not a responsible, protective view of loyal citizens of a nation. We should want good things for the country for our children & grandchildren. We should not want to bring it to ruin, just so we can live on easy street for a while.