Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Survival of the fittest.. 4 ways to do it

1. work
2. theft
3. dependence
4. luck

If you are to survive in this world, you need one of these methods to do it. I can think of no other way within the bounds of possibility. Only these things can provide the necessities of life, which are sustenance & protection. Under sustenance, i put air, food, water, sleep, etc.. the things we need to live, biologically. Under protection, i put clothing, shelter, medical care, police, military.. those things that protect us from the elements or other aggressors, human or animal. Nothing else is essential for our survival.

You can work & produce these things yourself, or you can take them from someone else, hire a thug to do it for you, depend on someone else who works or steals, or get lucky & win the lottery or find some diamonds. That's it. There are no other means to get the necessities of life. BTW, working to steal from others, or con them out of their labors is NOT work.. it is still theft.

Most babies start out dependent, but as they grow up, they are able to work & pay their own way. If they set some of the fruits of their labors aside, they can provide for themselves in their old age, when they are no longer productive workers. But someone who has worked for their savings or investments is still living off of past labors. Some people become dependent on their children, or parents, or the rest of society, but a culture with a strong work ethic promotes individual responsibility, so the rest of society is not overburdened with dependents.

The conclusions on this reality should also be obvious, but for some reason, there is a mindset of entitlement that thinks it is a person's 'right' to be provided the necessities of life. Their existence is reason enough for them to expect full care for all their physical & emotional needs. If this mindset becomes too prominent, it destroys the culture, as there is not enough productive workers to support the growing dependent class.

It will be up to the producers to correct this faulty thinking, by applying 'tough love' & not enabling this delusional thinking. This applies not only to deadbeats who don't want to work, but also the proliferation of govt leeches.. bureaucrats, contractors, elected officials... any who do no productive work themselves, but leech on the producers.

I'm a home builder.. well, i was in my working years.. now i'm a glorified handyman. But to build a structure, you start with the foundation. This is about the foundation of life.. survival. How we do it reveals our character & view of ourselves & mankind.

No one uses just one of these means their whole life. Most of us use different ones or all of them throughout our lives. A baby is born helpless.. they are completely dependent on someone else for their survival. A person grows, & gets a govt grant, or scholarship, or food stamps in their youth. This is survival by theft. I'm sticking with my labels for simplicity, and i know they are charged words, which are useful to make a point. But any govt program is funded by theft. Taxpayers do not voluntarily give their taxes, they are taken by force. Most of the time, we understand that this is part of the way society works, & we will tolerate a little 'theft' from our govt. But it is good to see it for what it really is: Theft. This is how radical libertarians & anarchists define it, so we'll use this definition.

Ok, so you've used both dependency & theft to survive for some of your life. Now, you begin to work. You get a job making widgets in a factory, or use that degree in french poetry to sell timeshares. We would have to follow the money for a while to determine if the job income comes from real production, or if it is just part of theft shuffled around to launder it. If you land a job working for the post office, you are providing a useful communication & marketing service that society has deemed to be important & has levied taxes to fund. The source of your money is theft, but you are working for it, now, & giving a return to the taxpayers, who pay your salary. So while this is a bit fuzzy, i'm putting you in the 'work' heading for this part.

Then one day, you drop into the casino & put a a dollar in the slot. Jackpot! You won a million dollars! So you quit your stupid post office job, since you were very near going postal, & buy a house & car & live it up for a while. This was just dumb luck. It can be argued that the gambling industry relies on theft, but it is not forced. It is voluntary. So i would call it stupidity, rather than theft. The odds are bad for winning, & the hordes of people working, the buildings & entertainment are funded by the gamblers. There is nothing useful being produced.. it is a ponzi style operation, that requires the constant infusion of funds from stupid losers to operate. But that is an aside.

Soon you realize that a million dollars doesn't go that far. You've still got your house & car, but the parties have depleted your winnings. So you decide to start a business. You remember how to make those widgets when you worked at the factory in the summers while in college, so you rent some floor space, hire a few people, & begin to make your own widgets. They sell like hotcakes! Your widgets are better quality, & have some innovations that you thought of while working at the factory. You expand. You hire a sales force, & buy your own building. You hire more employees, & pay them well for their work. You learn from the mistakes of previous employers, & try to make a positive working environment. Your widgets are wildly successful, & you get a cover story in forbes magazine. Your spouse & children adore you, & you die peacefully in your sleep at a ripe old age.

So you covered all of the list, but you are mostly defined by work.. dependency, theft, & luck were short lived, & you relied on hard work to sustain you most of your life. Now lets look at some stereotypes.

1. rich kid. Your parents were rich, & left you a fat trust fun. You went to college, but just played at it. You never took any govt assistance, but didn't work summers, either. You went to europe every couple of years, & partied with rock stars & other rich kids. Again, we'd have to follow the money to see if its source was from work, luck, or theft, but in this case, your money was luck. You were born rich, & just lucky, if we consider riches to be something to aspire to. Some rich kids squander their inheritance in lavish living, others invest & work it & become richer. If you contribute to some politicians elections, & get some increase from those connections, at least some of your riches are from theft, or 'lawful plunder' as bastiat puts it. Or if it is from a solyndra type venture, it is all theft. If you're just playing the market, that is a lot of luck.. some educated guesses, but you still need a little luck. Overall, luck was the driving force behind your survival.

2. welfare queen. You got pregnant as a teen, moved into the projects, got food stamps & adc. Your boyfriends would bring over some weed, & you'd party at the house when the kid was asleep. Soon, you had more kids, & made more money. You always had plenty of food around, & could even trade some for a bit of crack if you wanted. Men were always around giving attention, & occasionally you'd have one stick around for a few years. He'd have to duck out the back when the social worker came around, but you got good at playing the game. The boys began to hang out with gang bangers, but since they were your social network, that's what boys do. Your older daughter got pregnant, & moved to her own place. But she got into crack & lost the kids. You took them, which helped your income a bit until you could get on disability from being obese. Since most of your life was from dependency on govt, which relies on theft, theft is the driving force behind your survival.

3. Rugged individualist. You were raised by wolves, & began to come into human society when you started school. You caught all your own food, & even made the pencils you needed at school. By high school, you already owned a couple of businesses that made widgets for the aerospace industry. You majored in engineering in college, paid your own way, & developed some new patents while working on your thesis. You made your own car from scratch, & built a treehouse in the woods to live in. No one gave you anything, & you never took anything from anyone. You overcame every obstacle by hard work & determination. Work was your main means of survival.

There are a lot more, but this is getting long & silly, so i'll stop. But there are corporate cogs, ponzi scheme promoters, minimum wage dead ends, lottery winners, & myriads of other stereotypes we could include. No one is a stereotype, though, & most of us are composites of many of these. The serious question to ask is this:

What means of survival defines your life?

The next serious question is this: What is a widget?

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