History of the Free Market Democracy
I. Initial conditions: Everyone has fairly equal amounts of currency. Everyone is involved in one of the "menial" professions - shelter construction, food and energy production. Everyone in these professions can produce slightly more than he needs. [Why? The fact that other societies have artists, politicians, scientists, salesmen, etc... none of which are involved in the "menial" professions... shows that this is possible.] Let's say each person is able to produce enough for the survival of 1.7 people.
II. An inventor creates something everyone wants and is rewarded with more currency that he can ever use (if he lives like everyone else). He stops working. His real production value is now 0. A slight inflation, but hardly noticeable.
III. The rich man can now afford to pay for the livelihoods of other people. So he hires people away from the "menial" professions. Real production drops, inflation goes up. But the rich man and his employees both have more than they did before. The employees become lawyers, philosophers, politicians, soldiers. Other "menial" workers stop their work and become salesmen, to convince the rich man that there are other things he wants, and thus get rich off the rich... just like stockbrokers.
IV. Laws are passed by the rich man's lawyers, enforced by the rich man's soldiers. Eventually the "menial" workers become the poorest in the land. Some sell out to the rich man. Others work the rich man's land as hirelings. Others go into debt to try to keep production up.
V. How has civilization survived so long? What is the balancing mechanism? Revolution. After the revolution, the cycle starts over at step I. If the rich have hired enough soldiers, revolution fails to happen on a large scale. Instead, there is petty crime.
VI. When democracy was invented, revolution became part of the system. No ruler could rule for more than 8 years. However, because rulers are either rich themselves or are funded by the rich to run their campaigns, very little is done. And so the voters tell themselves, "Well, better luck next election."
VII. When the corporation was invented, a new kind of rich being came into existance. This rich being has even more currency than rich individuals (though loans, stock, earnings, etc). It hires more people away from the "menial" professions to be patent lawyers, to make office equipment and office furniture, to build skyscrapers, to try to create greed through advertising, to print company newsletters. Short-term gain for the employees followed by long-term inflation of the goods produced by the "menial" professions.
VIII. Maynard, Karl, Ayn, and Alan each have 100 g.p. (that's gold pieces for you non-dungeons&dragons economists). Maynard and Karl put their gold in First Bank, while Ayn and Alan put their gold in National Bank. First Bank has 200 g.p. and can now give a 50 g.p. loan to Alan. Alan now has 150 g.p. in his bank account. When Maynard and Karl check their bank accounts, they still say 100 g.p. each. National Bank now has 250 g.p. and makes a 100 g.p. loan to Maynard, who (according to his bank) now has 200 g.p. in his bank account. Back and forth it goes. Money magically appears without a single paper bill being printed. It can't be helped. The question isn't whether money should be created out of thin air, the question is what those people are being paid to do. Producing skyscrapers? Producing palaces? And then Malthusians wonder why there are so many people but not enough food or basic shelter to go around.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. For I have prisons to fill and corrections officers who need jobs."
The Currency Strike
11.5.4 19:15 Office software 11.5.4 20:05 Less efficient 11.5.4 22:38 Economic structure 12.5.4 Pride and recognition 13.5.4 18:38 At leisure 13.5.4 19:02 Cause more harm 13.5.4 19:34 Same people 14.5.4 18:20 Employee controlled 14.5.4 18:46 The situation has become From: CJohnYu.firstname.lastname@example.org Newsgroups: sci.econ,alt.politics.democrats,alt.politics.republicans,alt.anarchism.syndicalist,alt.society.labor-unions Subject: Re: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Class Warfare Date: 14 May 2004 19:10:14 -0700 "Socialism is a Mental Disease" root@localhost. wrote in message news:email@example.com... > On Thu, 13 May 2004 19:34:39 -0400, "M. Luther" >
wrote: > >There's an unproven assertion if I ever saw one. Since I'm not > >advocating the dismantling of the market, market forces would still > >apply. > In that case, let the market decide who's better, co-ops or > corporations. So far, corporations are winning. You seem to be confusing the ends and the means. I am not advocating democratically-run companies as an end in itself. It is a means to achieving a more balanced level of spending power in the market. Without this balance, the market simply fails at deciding what is best to produce and what is not. The greater the spending disparity, the less the market is able to provide for the participants in that economy. That's why you have a world in which great high-rises exist shoulder-to-shoulder with the extremes of poverty. The market's ability to decide what best to produce has failed because the wealthy (be they individuals or corporations) have hired away all the best labor and raw materials. > >If employees would all automatically vote themselves > >higher salaries by increasing prices, why is it that democracies > >don't just vote themselves 0 taxes? They're the same people > >after all. > Actually, they try to do exactly that every single time. They fail > because their representatives know better. Those are mostly the Republicans and Libertarians - aren't they the ones who scream the loudest about taxes? I hope you're not saying that those who vote for tax-and-spend Democrats are the ones who know better, because that would give me a heart-attack.
From: "M. Luther" CJohnYu.firstname.lastname@example.org Newsgroups: sci.econ,alt.politics.democrats,alt.politics.republicans,alt.anarchism.syndicalist Subject: Re: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Class Warfare Date: Fri, 14 May 2004 18:46:15 -0400 "Socialism is a Mental Disease" root@localhost. wrote in message news:email@example.com... > >The problem with rewarding them with money is that their spending > >then ruins market pricing because of their greater purchasing power. > Every time I buy a piece of Microsoft software, I am rewarding Bill > Gates. I have no problem with that. We both benefit from the > transaction. And it's no one else'e business what I do with my own > money. Well, you're rewarding Microsoft anyway. Yes, that's called a market economy and I have no problem with your transaction. It is this kind of activity that helps determine what goods and services should be produced in an economy and what should not. But how does Microsoft then decide what to do with the revenue it gets? Is that democratically decided or autocratically decided? And what effect does the decision have on others? If by concentrating wealth in the hands of a few, you get an economy concentrated on producing for a few, then it's everyone's problem. The Microsoft example brings up another point. Most of Microsoft's revenue comes from selling software to corporations, not individuals. This is because today's corporations have more money to spend than most individuals. Wealth concentrated in a few hands leads to industries popping up that serve those few. The result is more and more people that are employed doing relatively useless things. This show's how bad the situation has become - one of the richest people in the world gets his money not by directly serving consumers, but by selling to corporations. > >Theft is whatever the laws of the land decide it is. > No, theft is to take away what is rightfully owned by others. Property > rights, or any kind of right for that matter, don't depend on the > existence of Governments. It depends entirely on the existence of governments. If the employees at a company simply decide they will assume control of the company, who do you think has to make the decision whether to allow that or to take up arms and prevent that? If the capitalist himself were to do it, it would be one against thousands and he would stand no chance. It is the government that has final say over property, unless they are unable to defeat the employees...
From: "M. Luther" CJohnYu.firstname.lastname@example.org Newsgroups: sci.econ,alt.politics.republicans,alt.politics.democrats,alt.anarchism.syndicalist,alt.society.labor-unions Subject: Re: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Class Warfare Date: Fri, 14 May 2004 18:20:56 -0400 email@example.com wrote in message news:firstname.lastname@example.org... > > There are many ways to equalize income. Taxation is one of them. > > I personally would prefer allowing employees to democratically > > control their corporations. > The problem with this, of course, is that employees do not _own_ companies > but rather the shareholders do. Ah, but that is only where the law is concerned. Laws can change. In a democracy, if the general population decides that democratically-run companies are the best way to make sure economic resources are producing enough for everyone, then employees will own companies. > The biggest case of an employee-owned company I can think of is UAL, > the parent of United Airlines. We can all see how well that worked out. > What if the employees "choose" compensation that is bad for the business? > Think of the mechanics union of United refusing to cut their own wages > in order to stave off Chapter 11. How employee controlled was United Airlines? Were all managers democratically elected? Did some people have far more votes than others? In any case, United Airlines is just one company. There are countless examples of autocratic companies that have failed. That's just a part of business. Some will succeed, some will fail. The difference is that if all companies were democratically run, the disparity of spending ability in the economic system would probably be much less, leading to more goods and services being produced for everyone.
From: "M. Luther" CJohnYu.email@example.com Newsgroups: sci.econ,alt.politics.democrats,alt.politics.republicans,alt.anarchism.syndicalist Subject: Re: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Class Warfare Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 19:34:39 -0400 "Socialism is a Mental Disease" root@localhost. wrote in message news:firstname.lastname@example.org... > >If employees democratically controlled corporate salaries, there > >could still be some who are paid more than others. > Employees would increase their own salaries until the company simply > goes bankrupt. Employees are generally stupid. Just like yourself. There's an unproven assertion if I ever saw one. Since I'm not advocating the dismantling of the market, market forces would still apply. Those companies in which employees vote themselves too much money would simply fail and be replaced by employee controlled companies that mix a good balance of salaries and investments. If employees would all automatically vote themselves higher salaries by increasing prices, why is it that democracies don't just vote themselves 0 taxes? They're the same people after all. There is no difference between democratically run companies and autocratically run companies when it comes to good and bad decisions. Some will decide wisely and succeed, some will not. The only difference is that the salary structure in democratically run companies would probably be much more balanced, allowing market pricing to work the way it was intended.
From: CJohnYu.email@example.com Newsgroups: sci.econ,alt.politics.democrats,alt.politics.republicans,alt.anarchism.syndicalist Subject: Re: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Class Warfare Date: 13 May 2004 19:02:44 -0700 "Socialism is a Mental Disease" root@localhost. wrote in message news:firstname.lastname@example.org... > >This means the greater the wealth disparity, the more resources are > >devoted to producing for the wealthy and large corporation and the less > >resources are devoted to producing for the average person. > So what? Should the rich be punished for being successful? Let's assume your ideal world in which the rich only get rich because they benefit society more than others (which is a doubtful assertion, but one I'll make for the sake of argument). The problem with rewarding them with money is that their spending then ruins market pricing because of their greater purchasing power. I'm not saying they should be punished, but rather they should be rewarded with different, and less dangerous things. After all, just because someone invents a cure for cancer doesn't mean he should be rewarded with weapons of mass destruction. Rewards should be chosen such that they don't cause more harm. > >The result is an economy that is less and less able to provide goods > >and services for everyone - thus, an inefficient economy. > Bullshit! It is in socialist countries were choice is limited. You > have it backwards. If you don't believe me, go to your nearest > supermarket and see how many brands of toilet paper there is. Just because employees control their companies doesn't mean we suddenly have Soviet style socialism. In fact, it would be the exact opposite of Soviet style socialism because Soviet officials and policy were not democratically decided in the Soviet Union. Democratically run companies would not mean any fewer companies than there are now. Only their structure would be different. > >If by handing ownership/control over to employees can produce the > >kind of economy in which more goods and services becomes available > >for the average person, then that's the type of economic structure that > >should be established. > That is called theft in my book. Theft is whatever the laws of the land decide it is. In a democracy, theft is defined by the people living in it. The people who make up the government are free to choose any type of economy that they feel will best provide for the general welfare.
From: "M. Luther" CJohnYu.email@example.com Newsgroups: sci.econ,alt.politics.democrats,alt.politics.republicans,alt.anarchism.syndicalist,alt.society.labor-unions Subject: Re: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Class Warfare Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 18:38:58 -0400 "Robert J. Kolker" firstname.lastname@example.org wrote in message news:kPmoc.76643$kh4.4398343@attbi_s52... > > Well then, employees should own their corporations. A nation > > establishes the kind of economic system that can best provide for > > the people living in that nation. If by handing ownership/control > > over to employees can produce the kind of economy in which > > more goods and services becomes available for the average person, > > then that's the type of economic structure that should be established. > Be careful what you wish for. During the 1960's, we in the U.S., had to > drive cars made by labor unions. It was a disaster. If the labor unions > ever take over construction, roads will by built by many, many workers > wielding table spoons and the proles would work only on Wednsday, but > they would collect full pay. If companies were owned by labor unions, the roads would still be built by the same people that build them today. The only thing that changes would be the command-structure. It seems you think that market discipline would not still be in effect. I have nothing against the market - it is a good way to determine the value of goods and services provided that wealth disparity does not throw market pricing out of whack. So if companies were democratically run with market economics still in force, the market will still reward construction companies that perform well. But in an economy that is no longer wasting its resources producing for the wealthy, there could indeed be a lot of "lazy" workers. When there's enough basic goods for the average person, instead of having more unemployment, people could simply take turns working and spend more time at leisure.
From: "M. Luther" CJohnYu.email@example.com Newsgroups: sci.econ,alt.politics.democrats,alt.politics.republicans,alt.anarchism.syndicalist Subject: Re: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Class Warfare Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 18:31:15 -0400 "Brandon Berg" firstname.lastname@example.org wrote in message news:6Nroc.34021$536.6225246@attbi_s03... > In fact, the opposite is true. The wealthy tend to use disproportionately > large portions of their incomes in ways that benefit others. They tend to > save and invest larger portions of their income (the poor, almost by > definition, are not big savers), and investment serves to make the rest of > us more productive. As early adopters of expensive technologies, they drive > down costs for the rest of us. They donate more to charity. Also, even their > "consumption" is often less consumptive than most peoples'. Collecting fine > art or rare coins may be expensive for the collector, but it doesn't put > much of a strain on an economy's productive capacity. I have nothing against investments or charity - indeed, if the wealthy did nothing but that, then the economy wouldn't be bad at all. However, they do spend their money on other things. When the poor spend, they are supporting professions that are more likely needed by everybody. When the wealthy spend, they are supporting professions that are less likely to be necessary for the general population. Your example of art collection is a good one. Because the wealthy can afford to pay so much for art, they are funding an entire industry of artists, auctioneers, curators, etc. There's nothing particularly evil about those professions, but in an economy where people are going hungry, homeless, or lack health insurance there have to be priorities. Having around economic agents that can far outspend everyone else means the priorities of economy fall out of whack. You may think your high salary for being a rich man's butler or writing software used by large corporations means you're more valuable to the general population than a poor farmer who is only growing food, but that is not the case. Your salary is only high because someone (or something) with too much money on their hands can afford to pay that much. The result is an economy that rewards people for doing less than useful things. > Furthermore, you seem to be assuming that people would continue to engage in > the productive behavior required to accumulate wealth in a free society even > if there is no possibility of actually becoming wealthy. It depends on your definition of wealthy. If employees democratically controlled corporate salaries, there could still be some who are paid more than others. If that's the way they find best motivates people, then they can still choose to. However, because they'll probably keep in mind the effect that large spending disparities have on the economy, they may choose to find alternative ways to motivate one another, such as through pride and recognition. While Olympic medals and Academy Awards don't directly affect a person's spending ability, they still motivate - in many cases, peer recognition is considered much more valuable to a person than financial rewards. Pride is a great motivator - after all, isn't what prevents people from admitting they're wrong?
From: "M. Luther" CJohnYu.email@example.com Newsgroups: sci.econ,alt.politics.democrats,alt.politics.republicans,alt.anarchism.syndicalist Subject: Re: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Class Warfare Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 22:38:18 -0400 "Socialism is a Mental Disease" root@localhost. wrote in message news:firstname.lastname@example.org... > >A bit too obvious that the rich can outbid the poor? Perhaps. But it > >points to a problem with the claim that capitalism is the most efficient > >form of economic production. > >The problem is that it produces too much for the wealthy (and for > >corporations) and not enough for the average person. The greater > >the wealth disparity, the less efficient the economy becomes at > >being able to provide for its economic participants. > It doesn't produce too much of anything, it produces exactly what > people are willing and able to buy. "Able" to buy is the key. The wealthy (and large corporations) have far more ability to buy than the average person. This means the greater the wealth disparity, the more resources are devoted to producing for the wealthy and large corporation and the less resources are devoted to producing for the average person. The result is an economy that is less and less able to provide goods and services for everyone - thus, an inefficient economy. > >I personally would prefer allowing employees to democratically > >control their corporations. > You get to control the corporations you own. If you don't own them, > you don't have the right to control anything. Well then, employees should own their corporations. A nation establishes the kind of economic system that can best provide for the people living in that nation. If by handing ownership/control over to employees can produce the kind of economy in which more goods and services becomes available for the average person, then that's the type of economic structure that should be established.
From: CJohnYu.email@example.com Newsgroups: sci.econ,alt.politics.democrats,alt.politics.republicans,alt.anarchism.syndicalist Subject: Re: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Class Warfare Date: 11 May 2004 20:05:51 -0700 "Robert J. Kolker"
wrote in message news:G_foc.15990$UQ.871889@attbi_s51... > > Then problem with large class divisions is that those who have more > > money are able to hire others at higher wages. This causes an > > imbalance in the economy in which a disproportionate amount of > > the economic resources available are being used to serve the wealthy. > > The result is scarcity of the goods and services available for the > > average person. > You mean the Rich can actually outbid the less well off? Oh the Horror! > The Horror! Tell me honestly, do you long, in your heart of hearts to > equalize income? A bit too obvious that the rich can outbid the poor? Perhaps. But it points to a problem with the claim that capitalism is the most efficient form of economic production. The problem is that it produces too much for the wealthy (and for corporations) and not enough for the average person. The greater the wealth disparity, the less efficient the economy becomes at being able to provide for its economic participants. There are many ways to equalize income. Taxation is one of them. I personally would prefer allowing employees to democratically control their corporations. Employees can choose how much to award each other based on whatever they choose. Though some companies would choose to award some employees more than others, if employees were in control, the differences in income would probably be much less than it is today.
From: "M. Luther" CJohnYu.firstname.lastname@example.org Newsgroups: sci.econ,alt.politics.democrats,alt.politics.republicans Subject: Re: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Class Warfare Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 19:15:48 -0400 "Albert" email@example.com wrote in message news:firstname.lastname@example.org... > How about defining "class" limits as orders of magnitude of the minimum > wage. Then, under a properly functioning capitalist system, everyone > could/should be middle class. No human being is worth $5000/hr and no > human being is worth less than $5/hr. Then problem with large class divisions is that those who have more money are able to hire others at higher wages. This causes an imbalance in the economy in which a disproportionate amount of the economic resources available are being used to serve the wealthy. The result is scarcity of the goods and services available for the average person. If class differences were much smaller, less money would be available to hire away resources from being used to produce for the average person, resulting in more goods and services available for the middle class. Today, it's not just wealthy individuals that are throwing the economy out of balance, but corporations are now so wealthy that they are hiring away a disproportionate amount of resources used to produce for humans to produce things for corporations themselves, like office buildings and office equipment. Bill Gates, after all, makes most of his money by serving corporations through office software rather than through the production of consumer software.
From: CJohnYu.email@example.com Newsgroups: alt.politics.democrats,alt.politics.republicans,alt.politics.usa.republican,talk.politics.theory,alt.politics.socialism Subject: Re: Another attempt to take our 2nd amendment right Date: 9 May 2004 21:20:13 -0700 firstname.lastname@example.org wrote in message news:05zmc.3315$nL.email@example.com... > This struggle is akin to a religous dispute. These leftists actually > believe that if all firearms were banned, the human race would be a > wonderful species, murder a thing of the past. This of course, is also more > leftist foolishness. > Now, all we have to do is explain that to these airheaded, overemotional > leftists who are absolutely certain they already know everything!(:-) Actually, as a left-winger, I support gun-rights. How else are workers going to be able to defend themselves from the hired guns of capitalists when they decide to assume control over their places of work? Guns unfortunately are what governments are made up of. If you want a government by the people, then the people should have control over the guns.
From: CJohnYu.firstname.lastname@example.org Newsgroups: alt.politics.economics,alt.politics.socialism,talk.politics.theory,alt.politics.democrat,alt.politics.republican Subject: Re: corporation'ism = fascism Date: 9 May 2004 12:40:59 -0700 "Theorem" Theorem@Axiometric.NOSPAMPLEASE.org wrote in message news:email@example.com... > Communism is socialism run amok. The leading mistake of Marx was the > notion of a classless society, with the means of production owned by > the workers. By the existence of workers and managers, you have a > class division. So Communism is self-contradictory, which is why it > was destined to fail eventually of its own accord. Only capitalism > provides a way (stock ownership) for workers to own the means of > production. What happened in China and the Soviet Union wasn't really the means of production owned by the workers. "Ownership" implies some kind of control. The control in this case was given to unelected government officials. If, on the other hand, managers were elected by employees (or if you go one step further and have managers replaced by direct democracy), that would be true ownership of the means of production. The capitalist style of ownership still leaves far too much control in the hands of the wealthy. The votes of a few people usually far outnumber the votes of any employees who happen to be stockholders. The result is an economy controlled by a few rather than the many (though it's not quite as bad as in a command-economy).
12.11.1 Shell of a belief structure. Subject: RE: OUR STRENGTH OUR WEAKNESS Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 16:37:32 -0800 From: "John Yu" firstname.lastname@example.org To: "Patrick Gunning" email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org CC: email@example.com Patrick Gunning wrote: > I learned non-Euclidean geometry but I do not think that > this geometry was instrumental in the belief system I now > have. It is, however, a component of my knowledge about how > to achieve my goals. The same is true of economics, as I > define it. It's good that you mention goals, because in many cases, goals replace axioms in determining a person's logic. Where one may traditionally disprove a statement by pointing out errors in the proof's axioms, the same can be done by questioning whether some of the person's goals are really valid in light of other goals the person may feel are more important. I would say a great many beliefs are constructed from transference, card stacking, and band wagon logic (#3, #6, and #7 from http://csf.colorado.edu/mail/ipe/2001/msg00774.html) - each alone may not make for much of a belief structure, but taken together they build up what a person considers to be a "preponderence" of evidence for believing whatever it is he or she believes. Each of these propaganda tactics do in fact have some basis in axiomatic proofs, for example: Band Wagon 1. The more widespread a belief is among some group of people, the more likely it is something that works. (This is somewhat like empirical evidence.) 2. Belief X is very widespread. 3. Belief X is likely something that works. Fallacy: Belief X is something that works because a lot of people believe it. Transference 1. The more often someone has been proven to be correct, the more likely they will be correct in other instances. 2. Person Y is very often correct. 3. Person Y says statement X is true. 4. Statement X is likely to be correct. Fallacy: Statement X is correct because the well-respected and trusted person Y says so. Card Stacking 1. The more evidence there is for something, the more likely it is true. 2. I've seen a preponderence of evidence for belief X. 3. Belief X is likely true, provided no other evidence turns up disproving it. Fallacy: Belief X is true because all the evidence I've seen suggests it. What makes certain types of card stacking propaganda effective is that not only does it provide one-sided arguements in favor of something, but that it includes straw man arguments supporting the other side(s). As a result, the "victim" thinks he is hearing all sides of an argument, when in fact, the cards have been stacked against the straw man side. When a person only hangs out with believers in realpolitik, communism, or whatever, the things he hears will likely consist of only statements that make the believers of that group feel comfortable - statements that avoid cognitive dissonance - statements that feed their egos because many people base their self-esteem on the correctness of their controversial beliefs. Fortunately for us, open forums like this one (at least I'm hoping it's open) are a cure for card stacking. But in order to cure it in the "real world" media reporting has to be truly pluralistic. Unfortunately, many reporters are as human as the rest of us, and tend to omit statements that make them feel cognitive dissonance - they simply don't like to hear it. Let's say side A has full control of their media and refuses to allow any pluralism. Let's say side B starts its own pirate media to counter what side A is saying. Is this effective? Two sides stacking their evidence does not necessarily mean that evidence for all sides is suddenly available. The world is more than just the supporters of Bush and Bin Laden (or the supporters of Arafat and Sharon). Ismail Lagardien wrote: > How on earth did you get to the assumption that the > "human mind" operates on "physical laws" just like the > rest of the universe Well, we can certainly get into a discussion of spirituality, consciousness, free will, causality, determinism, and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle here, but I'd prefer not to. It is applaudable however that you are questioning one of the axioms of my previous post - that is how true depth of belief (or disbelief) is established. Whether the human mind is entirely deterministic is not important to the discussion of what tactics are being used (with great effectiveness in many cases I might add) in modern propaganda. Politics is built on beliefs after all, and various propaganda tools are employed by those engaged in politics to achieve whatever goal it is that they happen to be trying to achieve. If you don't think the human mind acts according to causality, you certainly have the right to claim that none of these propaganda techniques work - feel free to ask the various governments of the world to stop wasting their time trying to make use of them.
Subject: RE: OUR STRENGTH OUR WEAKNESS Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 10:20:52 -0800 From: "John Yu" firstname.lastname@example.org To: "Patrick Gunning" email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org > They are the products of propaganda and indoctrination and are almost > entirely unable to make an unbiased judgment of the facts, even if > they knew all the ones that are relevant. I find this statement quite amusing because I think we witness such behavior from numerous people right on this list. I would caution against falling into the same kind of defeatism that the original poster was talking about. Just because one person can't think of any ways to defeat "propaganda and indoctrination" doesn't mean it isn't possible for other people to do so. Let's start with the assumption that the human mind operates on physical laws just like the rest of the universe. As a result, it is a logical machine - it is this same property that makes it susceptible to both propaganda and counter-propaganda. Here are two ways to build up beliefs: 1) Proof from axioms 2) Propaganda. http://csf.colorado.edu/mail/ipe/2001/msg00774.html contains something of a recipe for the second method of building up beliefs - the most effective probably being #3 and #6: transference of authority and card stacking of arguments that support only your own side of the argument. This happens in all nations - including your own, no matter where you happen to be reading this. However, the problem with the second type of belief structure is that it is a shell of a belief structure. There isn't the same underlying support holding up the person's logic as there is in the first case: proof from axioms. During the Korean War, certain people in the intelligence community were amazed by the fact that captured American soldiers were "brainwashed" so much that even when they returned to the U.S. they continued to spout communist propaganda. I think we can honestly admit that the soldiers in almost any military organization are indoctrinated (simply because it is easier to do so), not by proof from axioms, but by a thin shell of propaganda tricks like transference and card stacking. This is weak. The counter-propaganda tricks used on the captured soldiers probably didn't have to dig very deep before the soldiers' own logical thinking process started to kick in. Granted, card stacking of arguments from the opposing side was probably still used. However, even if the deeper axioms the soldiers agreed to were not very deep, it still serves as a firmer foundation to counter the more superficial methods used in traditional propaganda. -----Original Message----- From: Patrick Gunning [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2001 1:09 AM Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: OUR STRENGTH OUR WEAKNESS I am not sure whether it is wise to respond to someone who calls himself the village idiot, but I'll risk it. It is indeed a war of ideas. But there is no way to immediately get the upper hand. There is a very large per cent of world's population who are dictated to by ruling elites and who are completely unaware of the great mutual benefits of the world trading system and of its peace dividend. The adults in this population have not been encouraged to find truth and, in far too many cases, have not even been permitted to seek truth. They are the products of propaganda and indoctrination and are almost entirely unable to make an unbiased judgment of the facts, even if they knew all the ones that are relevant. The extremists of this group are willing to commit suicide in order to achieve what they have been led to believe will be eternal bliss in heaven. The process of influencing the ideas of the children of such adults and of changing the institutions that give rise to people like their parents will be long and painstaking. What can be done at the moment is to recognize one of the two pillars of the creed of the _old_ liberals: free minds. (The other pillar is free markets.) The power of extremists who block people from learning history and from learning how to study history scientifically (i.e., with a minimum of bias and preconception) must be taken away. I don't know any other way to start achieving this than through the use of force. And, given the recent destruction and and increase in transactions costs imposed on the peaceful, trading peoples of the world; the sooner the better. The ultimate goal of winning the "war of ideas" will have to wait must be secondary for the moment, although it is certainly the ultimate goal. See Ludwig von Mises's _Liberalism_: http://mises.org/liberal.asp pairunoyd2000@YAHOO.COM wrote: >There seems to be a currency of defeatism being vigorously traded in the >marketplace of ideas. This defeatism is coined in this saying, "Our >strength is now our weakness." >How do we challenge this commonly held belief and is it indeed vunerable >to our challenge? Is there truth in it? >Obviously, our freedom has enabled us to produce the worlds greatest >arsenal of self-defense, but does that freedom expose us to a malevolent >twin brother? >It seems the liberals are really beginning to utilize this defeatists >attitude of our freedom being our weakness in order to subdue our freedoms. >Of course, they don't frame it as such but rather they pawn it off as >dealing with reality. >This is a war of ideas that we need to immediately gain the upperhand on >before their intravenous surge of deception strengthens it to a formidable >foe. >R. L. WHITE, VILLAGE IDIOT