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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Defending Rubashkin

This is an issue that was all over Jewish blogs from a half-year to a year ago. I am way too slow about it. I just figured that perhaps Chirstmas is an appropriate time of the year to discuss this, given that I never discussed this case before.

If in the situation you happen to be more news-retarded than me and do not know what the case is about I will briefly mention its contents. Some time ago, not sure when, a Rabbi (I guess he was a Rabbi) who was the head of a Jewish slaughterhouse (I assume that he is a Rabbi because by Jewish law you have to be a Rabbi to be involved in slaughtering) was busted for illegal practices. What where the illegal practices? He hired illegal immigrants (which from now on I will simply refer to as "Mexicans" because they probably were considering that those are the people who work illegally in the US, maybe I am wrong on the kind of people they were, but that is all irrelevant since it is the principles behind this case that is important not the specifics). And he probably (not sure about this but I figure he must have) has hired them in an illegal manner, that is, by not respecting labor laws. I will assume he paid them below minimum wage and other benefits that he suppressed from them. The story ends that this Rabbi got busted for his practices and now was send into jail.

It is pretty clear from above that I am not very knowledgeable on this topic. But that is because I find it as exciting to read about as tuning into an episode on the View. Though this is all irrelevant because we can still discuss the case even if the specifics are slightly mistaken.

From my impression that I seen on discussion forums and blogs nearly every Jew was against Rubaskin. He said that what he did was wrong and he belongs in jail. It even felt like I was in a middle of a two minute hate. Almost unanimously all the Jews hated this guy and wanted him to be in jail. This is very rare on comments sections because some Jews are religious, some are ex-religious, and they generally disagree with one another.

I am not surprised to see that the common response from ex-religious Jews to Rubaskin was hatred towards him and supporting the punishment that was placed upon him. Because for these ex-Jews this story is an example of what is wrong with Judaism. They do not support the morality of Judaism and so they reject its Rabbis. I am not surprised therefore seeing ex-Jews agreeing with the verdict.

The religious Jews also were anti-Rubaskin. But for different reasons. Some Jews felt that Rubaskin portrayed the Jewish world in a terrible manner (as he did) and for that he must pay. Other Jews also had a reason to bend over backwards. They wanted to show themselves and say in an implicit manner that even though they are Jewish they are not going to defend another Jewish guy.

These are just my psychological evaluations of ex-religious Jews and religious Jews. And these are just my evaluations based on a few comments that I have seen on this topic from Jews. I may end up being totally off here. Maybe there are lots of ex-Jews that do defend him and maybe there are lots of religious Jews that also defend him. But I did not really see this view on sites that I have went to.

Finally, you have the crazy insane nut-case Jews like myself who do end up rising up to this case and saying that not only is it wrong to put Rubaskin in jail, not only was it wrong to bust him for doing what he did, but that there was nothing wrong in his illegal practices whatsoever. Sadly, this is not a view I commonly hear anyone say.

Let us begin with the easiest topic, jail. I will not repeat my arguments again, which can be found here. My position with regard to jail is that jail should only exist for dangerous people (like those who want to blow up a bridge). That is the same argument I used when I defended Bernie Madoff from going to jail here. It follows from this concept that since Rubaskin is not a dangerous person he cannot be send into jail. He poses no threat for the world at all and so if he is found guilty of anything his only punishment would be to pay fees.

And maybe you agree with me. Maybe you do agree that sending him into jail was excessive. But you probably do not agree with what he did. You think what he did was morally wrong and that it is a good thing that he got busted down.

My reasons for defending the illegal practices that he was doing is based on very simple economics. If you have Mexicans that are willing to risk everything they have to cross over the border under the fear of getting caught and getting into trouble to come into the US there is one thing you can be sure of. Living in Mexico, for these Mexicans, sucks. It not only sucks it sucks a lot. It sucks so much that they are willing to take such a big task and risk of getting into the US. The fact that they choose to work in a slaughterhouse for whatever conditions he was offering them means that it was better for them than anything else available. In particular, it means that it was better for them than anything else available in Mexico. Otherwise, they would stay in Mexico and other Mexicans will not come over for such a job. The fact that Mexicans were accepting such a job is only a sign that it was better for them.

The job that these Mexicans had definitely sucked. But it sucked far less than anything they had in Mexico. The problem that a lot of people do is they judge the job these Mexicans had from their own preferences. Since we live richer and better lives we see this as a terrible job to have. But we must be wiser than that, we must judge and try to see this from the preferences of the Mexicans. They have poorer and worse lives than we do so they will see the jobs offered to them at Rubashkin differently from how we would see them. What is bad for us might be not so bad or maybe even good for them.

We conclude that Rubashkin improved the standard of living of these Mexicans. How can he therefore be called evil? How can he be called that he is exploiting the the Mexicans? After all they risked all they had to come and work for him. He must have been doing something correct.

Now some people might say that Rubashkin should have offered a minimum wage job with benefits that all workers in the US are supposed to have by law. There is a problem with proposing this. Why would Rubashkin go through the hassle of hiring illegal immigrants for whom he can be busted for if they give him no incentive over regular workers? If he treated the Mexicans with the same working regulations that would have treated a US citizen then what incentive does he have to hire them? None at all. Hence the Mexicans would have never recieved this job. A job that would have definitely made their lives better off.

Consider what happens now when Rubaskin is shut down. All those Mexicans that had a job to work for him lost their jobs. As a result their lives are much poorer. It is even possible that some of them were deported or unable to find a new job. When Rubashkin got shut down the Mexicans suffered as a result from that.

It is clear to any rational mind which does not think about this case with passions what the proper just course of action would be. That is to not interfere with the operation of the slaughterhouse. Busting down Rubashkin not only ends up throwing a harmless man into a cage for an incredibly long period of time but it also ruins the lives of the poor Mexicans that were working for him. The proper option would have left alone these Mexicans that they can continue to improve their lives and left Rubashkin alone for being able to enable the Mexicans to do that.

I would also like to remind that what Rubashkin did was exactly how American accepted immigrants. When the immigrants came to American in the past generations their lives sucked. But they were better than they were previously. These people worked in (what we would certainly find) bad jobs. But this work enabled their children to live a better life for themselves. What the Mexicans are doing is no different at all considering that what they did was not illegal in 1900. Mexicans just want to make their lives and the lives of their children better off. And the way they do this is by working from the bottom, this is after all the American way. Objecting to what Rubaskin did is to reject in principle what America is all supposed to be about.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Porn Censorship in UK

I am beginning to lose more and more respect for countries in Europe. I just mentioned a free speech violation in the UK just a little over two weeks ago here. I thought Europe was supposed to be enlightened and progressive? Europe might have a higher average intelligence than US, and it is more secularized, but it is definitely not enlightened nor progressive. Hearing how UK censors speech it does not approve repulses me. Hearing how France bans articles of clothing they do not approve repulses me. Hearing how Sweden goes after Julian, not because of WikiLeaks, no no, it had nothing to do with that, it had to do with rape, of course, it had nothing to do with trying to end WikiLeaks, also repulses me. Well, maybe Canada is better to look up to as a role model.

But this story is a brand new low for the UK. I found out about this when I was writing my previous post on Net Neutrality. The UK is considering to ban porn on ISP's. Anyone who wants access to porn will be required to confirm that to his ISP. You can see the video of this story here.

Basically what this new law wants to do is to ban ISP content that carries people over to porn sites. They say it is "for the children". Supporters of this law also claim it "is not a violation of free speech" and that it "is not censorship" because people can see porn provided they get permission to look at porn from the ISP that is under control by the government.

In my past post I wrote about various questions related to net neutrality here. One of my objections was that this gives government access to control the internet. Once they gain that it is just a matter of time that they will censor various information online. I justified myself why I am not walking on a slippery-slope when I make this statement, but this new report about porn suppression in UK confirms what I said even more. The UK is way way more open to sex than the US; including gay sex. And they are much less religions than we are. So if the UK can consider such a ban than al fortiorti does not not make you worried that the same can happen in the US?

This law did not get passed yet. But the fact that it is considered and the fact that it can get passed is embarrassing enough. It is just like the mosque building near the WTC. If you noticed I never made any comment about it on my blog. Because for me the whole issue was so trivial it did not even deserve a post. This law is falls into the same category. The fact that it is being considered is embarrassing enough.

I do think that most people will find this law completely ridiculous and outrageous. So it will hopefully not get passed. But the embarrassment is still there. That it was proposed. For a brief moment it could have become the law. So embarrassing.

This law demonstrates the danger of government control over the internet. Once they got the control they need to do controlling. There can be no such thing as free internet speech when there is a serpent that at any instant can cut that speech. The UK government already controls certain internet content. For example, they have control over kiddie porn sites. Those have been blocked. Which is, as repulsive as it is to most people, still free speech. There is very good reason to believe that more information will be blocked in the UK. I am guessing that at one point or another the WestBoro Baptist Church website, GodHatesFags, will eventually be blocked in the UK since the WestBoro Baptist Church has been banned from entering the UK.

I want you to look at the video I send you. The blonde woman (who I want to silence by sticking my penis into her mouth) is clearly tyrannical. She demonstrates a phenomenon I have expounded on this blog before.

Step 1: She uses the "what about the children argument?!". This is a popular argument to be used by any statist. If you want to get a law passed then just remind your opponent that it is for the children. Now I personally do not care the children, they can go fuck themselves, or a priest can go fuck them. Besides, children seeing porn, oh no!, how scary.

Step 2: Propose the tyrannical law after you made the "what about the children?!" argument.

Step 3: Spout an endless amount of statistics. Just keep on saying statistics. Ignore all principles, ignore all reasoning, ignore any derivations that can be drawn from what you say, just throw more and more statistics at your opponent. Because statistics make you sound smart. Who cares what the statistics imply, who cares if they are really true, who cares if what you propose will really address the problem, just keep on throwing statistics to prevent anyone from responding to you.

Step 4: Claim that if this law will not be passed then terrible things will happen. Notice how she talks about child violence. As if that has anything to do with porn. But she just brings it up. Because child violence is an emotional statement to use. So if you say that this law is to prevent violence against children and to prevent molestation against children then you blow a danger way out of proportion. You use this approach as part of the scare tactics to convert people over to your side.

Step 5: Explain how your law is not tyrannical and not a violation of freedom of speech. Say how you are "a strong supporter of freedom and free speech". Just keep on saying how this everything you say is really freedom. This is another point I discussed many times before on this blog, that is, fascists never call themselves fascists.

When I was watching this blonde woman talk, who should rather be staring in a porn movie, in my head I made predictions about what she was going to say. I was dead on in my accuracy. At first I figured she will talk about the children. I was right about that. Then I guessed she will throw an endless amount of statistics. I was right about that. Then I guessed how she will talk about child violence just to gain some scare points if this law is not put into effect. And throughout this discussion I guessed that she would be reminding everybody how this law is not a suppression of free speech. I was right on every of my predictions. Not bad.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Questions About Net Neutrality

I am rather ignorant of Net Neutrality but I have a rather good detector for figuring out what is non-sense and what is not. I immediately have three questions when anyone says their support for Net Neutrality.

Question 1: This is an economic question that I have. You claim that the danger of ISP's is that they can block your access to certain content. But why would they ever want to do that? ISP's care mostly about one and one thing only and that is to make money (not that there is anything wrong with that). Therefore, to make as much money as they can they must be able to satisfy the needs of as many people as they can. What sense does it make for an ISP to block all access to porn sites? They can do that, sure. Maybe there is a Christian internet service provider that blocks all your access to porn, but gives you all the access to kiddie porn. But such a Christian ISP is not going to make a lot of money. You might find a few priests that will pay into something like that but overall most people do not want that, and so it will not do well. Any ISP that wants to make a lot of money will provide the content that people want the most. Advocates of Net Neutrality say that without this bill your access to the internet will be constrained. But it does not make sense. Even if it is true that your content is not a shared interest as much as by other people then it would make a lot more sense to say that the ISP will just charge you more money for it. Why would they ever want to block something if they make money on it if they can just charge more? This is a question that makes me skeptical to what Net Neutrality claims.

Question 2: Do you not think that your position in support of Net Neutrality is nothing but scare tactics? The internet has been around for a while now. It is an excellent example of what the free market can achieve. The internet, in the United States, has been basically entirely unregulated. Did it fail? No. The recent years only show how much the internet has grown and expanded without the magical hand of government messing it up. Were there any serious problem with the internet before? Not that I know of. It was doing all fine and well. What is there to be scared of then? Perhaps you truly believe that Net Neutrality will improve the internet. Okay, believe that. Then can you at least admit that those who argue in defense of Net Neutrality as nothing but fear mongers? Perhaps you believe Net Neutrality will make the internet better but do you not see that many of your allies create a scary world to frighten people to support Net Neutrality? I have seem some of these people talk about Net Neutrality. Some of them attempt to scare you into thinking that without Net Neutrality it would be the end of the internet. Which is just foolish by just considering the history of the internet. So all I want to hear is you say, "you are right, there is no internet problem going around now, I just think Net Neutrality will make the internet even better". But if you say that then I have another question. Why "fix" something which is not broken?

Question 3: This is going to be my most relevent question. Why do you trust regulators of the internet to just stop with Net Neutrality? What supporters of Net Neutrality believe is that all this bill will do is enforce Net Neutrality, and that is it. Why do you believe that this will happen? Why do you believe what the politicians tell you? Why do you not think that Net Neutrality gives the government an excuse to interfere with the operation of the internet? I know that you claim it will not do that, but why do you believe in what the politicians tell you?

My question is legitimate, it is not an unreasonable question. In fact, it is unreasonable not to assume my question. Because every single bill that ever got passed always contained more stuff that it was not supposed to contain. Just consider the healthcare bill that got passed. Was it anything what the politicians were promising? No, it was basically a big giveaway to the insurance companies and a big middle finger staring into the faces of the American people. A bill is not just passed. No, there are lobbyists, who are better identified as "bribers" who practice lobbying, which is better identified as "bribery". I do not like the term "lobby", that is a euphemism for "bribery", so let us be open and direct with the words that we choose to use. When a bill is passed there are tons of bribers who bribe the politicians and government to add things to the bill. It always happens. This is why a bill that was supposed to be 100 pages can end up being 2000 pages. It is filled with more stuff that was not supposed to be in there than stuff that was supposed to be in there. So my question is rather very legitimate. What makes you possibly think that a Net Neutrality bill will only target net neutrality and not other external regulations concerning the internet?

My next question is related to what I asked above. Why do you trust the politicians? It is amazing to me how many people recognize that nearly all politicians are liars (except for Barack Obama because he is the son of Science) and further recognize that politicians were almost always liars but every election the very same fooled people continue to believe in what they say. It is amazing to see how people trusted politicians in 2008 and then two years later were fooled into seeing that they lied about a lot of what they said they were going to do but these very same fooled people end up still supporting new (or possibly the same) politicians who make even more promises just two years later in 2010. So my question is again a very reasonable question. A new topic comes up, Net Neutrality, and like always, as has been happening through much of the civilized world, people start to listen to politicians. The politicians tell them they all they will do is pass Net Neutrality to improve the internet and make it more "free". Why should I believe you that this instance is going to be any different? Why should I believe in what politicians tell me if they lost their credibility a thousand times over a thousand times? How can you possibly believe that a Net Neutrality bill will only target net neutrality when all the past history of politicians and bills suggest that it will do otherwise? This is why it is unreasonable to reject my skepticism on this question and unreasonable not to assume this question.

My next question is again something similar regarding what I asked above. Why do you not think that a Net Neutrality bill will open up a door for government regulation of the internet? Let me against justify why this is a reasonable question and why those people who do not assume this question are being unreasonable. The history of government regulation has one rule to it that always been true so far that I know of, government regulations always increases. Perhaps during certain terms government regulations can fade away, but just ever so slightly, perhaps under a tax cut, but overall, in general, all regulations increase. This is what has been happening in the United States from say 1880 to 2010. If you had a graph of all regulations that were enacted by the government you will see an increasing graph. It might not be a very smooth graph, I am not saying it will purely be on a strict increase, there might be years when regulations slightly go down, but overall it is on the increase. In other words, think of a stock that is increasing. It is not purely increasing, if you know what I mean. It has small bumps in it as it is increasing. A little there and a little here that make it drop ever so slightly, but in general it is on the increase. This is how the chart of all government regulations look like. They have sky rocketed since 100 years. Milton Friedman said that when the FDA was first put into place you can get a drug approved in about 70 pages of regulations. But now if you want to get a drug approved you would need thousands and thousands of pages, years and years of studies. I read somewhere that there are 20,000 pages regulating cabbage for farmers. That is insane. How many pages are there in the tax code of the United States? I have no idea, let us go to the Cato Institute and see what they say (oh my Science, the Cato Institute, run!, everybody knows it is a propaganda site for large business!) over here. They give a chart of the number of pages used in the tax code. Notice that the number of regulations are on the ever increasing side. Which is why I laugh at the term "deregulation", where exactly is the deregulation when compared to the size of regulations that are being used? Every piece of regulation started out simple, with just a few pages, or a few hundred if it was a bit more complex, but it exploded in exponential growth of insane number of regulations. So my question is the following. How can you possibly believe, give this over hundred year history of regulation, that the FCC will not ever increase regulations on the internet in the years to come? How can you possibly not believe that the FCC will impose regulations and operation of the content of ISP's? Why do not not think that Net Neutrality opens up a door for massive government regulation over the subsequent years?

Here is my next question. Why do you trust that the FCC will not censor the information that is on the internet? I am not talking about immediate censorship. When censorship happens it happens slowly over the years, one censorship at a time. Why do you trust that the FCC will not censor internet content? The FCC censors the radios and it censors the TV. The FCC was put into place historically not to censor put to deal with conflicting communicating radio signals (hence the name "communications commission"). The FCC licensed out permissions for radios so that they can be approved for radio broadcast over other conflicting signals. As a result, the FCC put various guidelines for radio communication (and TV also) because radio was not an open forum (such as the "fairness doctrine"). In this manner the FCC had control over the content that can send over the radios and television. Maybe you are one of the people who did support the FCC for its original purpose. I know that there are conservatives who supported the FCC for its original purpose. But now there is no point to the FCC anymore. It should be completely abolished. The radios should be free to broadcast what they want and TV should be free to broadcast what they want (including porn). But why has this not happened? Because as I said the history of regulation is always on the ever increasing list. Once the FCC was put into place it stays in place with more regulations now than ever before. Now it has no practical function anymore. Now it is just a big censorship block to radio and TV. A lot of people, including liberals, complain about the FCC and say how they should not control the content in TV and over the radios. But the FCC still does. Now my question is an obvious one. Given the terrible track record of radio and television control by the FCC and its negations of the first amendment how can you possibly trust this agency to do a good job with Net Neutrality? Why trust a federal agency that really has no credibility at all and in fact proven itself to be hostile to free speech?

Conclusion: So my basic objection to Net Neutrality is simply all the questions that I asked above. Even if it is true that the internet can be improved with net neutrality passing (which I doubt but that is a separate issue) it is not worth the risk. Consider the cost vs benefit. The benefit in ideal situations is that internet would be improved with neutrality (this is again assuming that it will be improved in the first place and assuming that the internet needs improving). But the cost, which is very likely based on past regulations of the government, is that the government will end up regulating the content of the internet over the years which will only get worst with each follow up year. The benefit is definitely not worth the cost. The success of the internet was spontaneous order in the market. And it is still successful. It is not worth the risk in the hope of making it better if you think net neutrality will make it better.

Motivations: I want to try to guess at the motivations behind Net Neutrality. I guess there got to be people out there who believe the government wants to censor and control everything. I do not share in this conspiracy because I do believe that government wants to do anything. It is way too inefficient and way too clumsy to plan a conspiracy. It cannot even run a public school for Science sake's. If it cannot do that it cannot come up with some national conspiracy to do anything. It is true that the nature of government is to grow, to kill, to steal liberty, and to regulate more and more. But not because it is some conscious entity that wants to do that. Rather it is just the corollary of the concentration of power. There is no conscious control on the part of the government at all here.

Just as the government does not actually care to control and censor and know everything (rather it is just the behavior of it) since it is not a conscious entity. So too the government does not care about defending the internet of the people for the very same reason. The government could not care less about anything bad or good happens to your internet. Instead, there is something else at work here that I am guessing is pushing for net neutrality.

That would be copyright. People do different things online. Some people manage their businesses. Some people research. Some people buy and wsll stuff on eBay. Some people, like me, spend 10 hours a day looking at gay furry porn (known as a "fur fag"). But a great deal of people use their internet for file sharing. People interchange information which is copyrighted. Almost everybody file shares, the incentive is huge to share. So much of the ISP is dominated by file sharing. If however the government says that all content on ISP should be equal with no preference for any content (in fancier euphemistic language "neutralize the ISP") then it would limit the amount of information which cannot be passed on file sharing. Thus, in effect Net Neutrality protects copyright for companies that have it in their interest to lower the amount of file sharing. But I cannot back this up with any good argument or evidence. It just made sense to me, but that could be because I am really ignorant about Net Neutrality.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Simplicity of SO(3)

I wanted to make a post about the simplicity of $\text{SO}(3)$, the group of orthogonal linear operators on $\mathbb{R}^3$. The proof is really beautiful, part of the beauty is how it is both topological and algebraic at the same time. The proof also mentions a lot of important mathematical ideas that are important in their own right. Ironically the proof that $\text{SO}(3)$ is simple is not simple.

This post will mostly be self-contained. But I cannot explain everything, otherwise it will be too long. So I will assume that the reader is familiar with the following mathematical concepts: group theory, linear algebra, quaternions, and point-set topology.

Group theory, linear algebra and point-set topology are standard mathematical subjects that math students should already be familiar with so I will not say anything about them. Quaternions are something that some math students probably never studied before. So I will mention a few basic facts about the quaternions. I will not prove anything. If you have any questions or want references please ask in the comment sections and I will hopefully expound on it.

The quaternions $\mathbb{H}$ are an extension of $\mathbb{C}$. I will not define them. That information can be found on Wikipedia. What I do want to say is that if $\alpha \in \mathbb{H}$ is a unit quaternion, i.e. $|\alpha|^2 = 1$ then we can write $\alpha = \cos \theta + u \sin \theta $ where $u$ is a unit quaternion in $\mathbb{R}i+\mathbb{R}j+\mathbb{R}k = \{ai+bj+ck|a,b,c\in \mathbb{R}\}$. Notice that $u$ satisfies the equation $u^2=-1$. So $u$ plays a role as a square root of $-1$. The relevance of this representation is that rotations in $\mathbb{R}^3$ can be represented in the form $\cos \theta + u\sin \theta$ in the following manner. A rotation in $\mathbb{R}^3$ (centered at the origin) is determined by the angle and the axis of rotation, called the "pole". We can choose a unit vector $(u_1,u_2,u_3)$ to represent this pole, and $\theta$ be the angle of rotation around this vector (the direction is determined by the right-thumb rule). Let $\alpha = \cos \theta + u\sin \theta$ where $u=u_1i+u_2j+u_3k$. Then the mapping $w \mapsto \alpha^{-1}w\alpha$ rotates $\mathbb{R}i+\mathbb{R}j+\mathbb{R}k$ around $u$ by angle $2\theta$. We can identity $\mathbb{R}^3$ with $\mathbb{R}i+\mathbb{R}j+\mathbb{R}k$ in a natural manner by the one-to-one correspondence $(x,y,z)\leftrightarrow xi+yj+zk$. In this manner if we have a pole in $\mathbb{R}^3$ and an angle of rotation we can find a corresponding quaternion of the form $\cos \frac{\theta}{2} + u\sin \frac{\theta}{2}$ which rotates $\mathbb{R}i+\mathbb{R}j+\mathbb{R}k$ around the corresponding axis by the desired such angle. This is the geometry that we need to understand about the quaternions. Again, I am sorry for not proving these results. It is just I want to start somewhere and save time. If you have questions just ask.

We will prove that $\text{SO}(3)$ is simple by rather working with a very similar group $\text{SU}(2)$, the special unitary group over $\mathbb{C}^2$. These are the special unitary linear operators on the space $\mathbb{C}^2$. The definition is the following:
$$\text{SU}(2) = \left\{ \alpha,\beta \in \mathbb{C} : \begin{bmatrix} \alpha & -\beta \\ \overline{\beta} & \overline{\alpha} \end{bmatrix} \right\}$$
If $M\in \text{SU}(2)$ then $1 = \det M = |\alpha|^2 + |\beta|^2$.

Write $\alpha = x_1+x_4i$ and $\beta = x_2+x_3i$ so that $\begin{bmatrix} \alpha & -\beta \\ \overline{\beta} & \overline{\alpha} \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} x_1+x_4i & -x_2-x_3i \\ x_2-x_3i &x_1-x_4i \end{bmatrix}$. Now define $U = \{ \omega \in \mathbb{H} : |\omega| = 1\}$, that is, $U$ is the subgroup of the quaternion multiplicative group of all unit quaternions. Notice that the one-to-one correspondence $\begin{bmatrix} x_1+x_4i & -x_2-x_3i \\ x_2-x_3i &x_1-x_4i \end{bmatrix} \leftrightarrow x_1+x_2i+x_3j+x_4k$ is an isomorphism between $\text{SU}(2)$ and $U$. The fact that this correspondence is a bijection is obvious, the only tricky part is to prove that it is a homomorphism, but that is also easy, just multiply out the matrix and notice that is preserves quaternion multiplication.

We have discovered that we can identify $\text{SU}(2)$ with $U$, the unit quaternions, in such a way that preserves the algebraic structure. But all $U$ is the collection of all quaternions $x_1+x_2i+x_3j+x_4k$ such that $x_1^2+x_2^2+x_3^2+x_4^2=1$. Thus, we can further identify $U$ with $\mathbb{S}^3$, the 3-sphere. We can therefore define a multiplication on $\mathbb{S}^3$ in such a way that it is compatible with the identification to $U$. That is, if $p,q$ are points on the 3-sphere which correspond to $\alpha \leftrightarrow p$ and $\beta \leftrightarrow q$ where $\alpha,\beta \in U$ then we define $pq$ to be the point on $\mathbb{S}^3$ which corresponds to $\alpha\beta$. With such a construction we have defined a group structure on the 3-sphere.

The point of all our work is that we can think of $\mathbb{S}^3$ as a group which is isomorphic to $\text{SU}(2)$ and as a topological space, the topology given by the 3-sphere topology. We will determine all the normal subgroups of $\mathbb{S}^3$ by working with its topology. This is a really wonderful and beautiful way to solve an algebraic problem.

The group structure on $\mathbb{S}^3$ that we obtain has a continuous group structure. In other words, if $g\in \mathbb{S}^3$ then the map defined by $w\mapsto gw$ is a continous function on $\mathbb{S}^3\to \mathbb{S}^3$. The reason for this is very simple. If $|w_1-w_2|<\delta$ (where the norm is the standard Euclidean norm) then $|gw_1-gw_2| = |g||w_1-w_2|=|w_1-w_2|<\delta$. The equality $|gw_1-gw_2| = |g||w_1-w_2|$ follows by our identification of $\mathbb{S}^3$ with $U$ and the fact that the norm on $U$ is multiplicative. Thus, given $\varepsilon>0$ if we choose $\delta = \varepsilon$ then for all $w_1,w_2\in \mathbb{S}^3$ which satisfy $|w_1-w_2|<\delta$ we have $|gw_1-gw_2|<\varepsilon$. This prove that $w\mapsto gw$ is (uniformly) continuous function $\mathbb{S}^3\to \mathbb{S}^3$. Actually, we proven something stronger we proved that left multiplication on the 3-sphere is Lipschitz's continuous, but that is besides the point, we do not need this result anywhere.

As a corollary we can easily show that $w\mapsto gw$ is a homeomorphism. Note that $w\mapsto g^{-1}w$ is continuous and the composition of both of these maps is the identity map on $\mathbb{S}^3$. Thus, $w\mapsto gw$ is a homeomorphism of $\mathbb{S}^3$. In particular, it is an open map. If $W\subseteq \mathbb{S}^3$ is an open subset then $gW = \{gw:w\in W\}$ will stay an open subset of $\mathbb{S}^3$.

Now it is time to get visual. We will visualize $\mathbb{S}^3$. Of course, we cannot do this because it is a three dimensional sphere embedded in four dimensional space. It is impossible to visualize it, sadly. However, that inconvenience is for mere mortals. We are mathematicias after all, we can visualize anything we imagine. For a point $(x_1,x_2,x_3,x_4)$ let us imagine the vertical axis (or the z-axis if that makes it more comfortable) to represent the axis for the first coordinate $x_1$. Then think of a 2-sphere with the vertical axis (z-axis) being $x_1$. Of course, this 2-sphere is a simplified visualization of the 3-sphere but for our purposes it will help motivate us in what is going on in what follows. Every point on this 3-sphere (which we simply think of as a 2-sphere) represents a matrix in $\text{SU}(2)$. The north pole, that is, $(1,0,0,0)$ is identified with $I$, the identify matrix (under the correspondence we defined earlier) and the south pole, that is, $(-1,0,0,0)$ is identified with $-I$.

If we set $x_1=c$, some constant $-1<.c<.1$, then $x_1^2+x_2^2+x_3^2+x_4^2=1$ will geometrically represent the lattitudes of $\mathbb{S}^3$ that are $c$ from the origin in the vertical direction. As we vary $c$ we will get different latitudes. At the extreme cases $c=\pm 1$ then the latitudes are not really latitudes, they are the north and south poles.

Let $M=\begin{bmatrix} c+x_4i & -x_2-x_3i \\ x_2-x_3i &c-x_4i \end{bmatrix}$ be a point (actually the point which identifies to the matrix in $\text{SU}(2)$) to a point on the lattitude. The charachteristic polynomial of this matrix is $\lambda^2 - 2c\lambda + 1$. If $\lambda_1,\lambda_2$ (counting multiplicities) are the roots of this polynomial then $\text{tr}(M) = \lambda_1+\lambda_2$. But the sum of the roots of a polynomial, from high-school algebra, is just the coefficient $2c$. Thus, all matrices on the lattitude $x_1=c$ have trace equal to $2c$. Since the trace of a matrix is preserved under conjugation it follows that all conjugate matrices have the same trace, that is, they lie on the same lattitude.

Now we prove the converse. That is if $A,B$ are two matrices in $\text{SU}(2)$ having the same lattitude on $\mathbb{S}^3$ i.e. $\text{tr}(A)=\text{tr}(B)$ then they are conjugate. Let the common trace have value $2c$ where $c$ is the lattitude length from the origin. Since the charachteristic polynomial (it is the same for conjugate matrices) is $\lambda^2 - 2c\lambda + 1$. Notice that this is a quadradic polynomial with real coefficients. Therefore, it has two roots (counting multiplicity) that are complex conjugates. Thus, we can call these roots $\lambda, \overline{\lambda}$. To prove that $A,B$ are conjugate to one another in $\text{SU}(2)$ it sufficies to prove $A$ and $B$ are both conjugate to the same matrix in $\text{SU}(2)$ since conjugacy is a transitive property. We will prove that both $A,B$ are conjugate to $\begin{bmatrix}\lambda & 0 \\ 0&\overline{\lambda} \end{bmatrix}$. Since $A$ is a special unitary operator it can be orthogonally diagnolized by the spectral theorem. Thus, there is a matrix $M\in \text{SU}(2)$ such that $MAM^*$ is diagnol, where $M^*$ denotes the Hermitian transpose. The diagnol entries of this matrix are the eigenvalues $\lambda,\overline{\lambda}$. Thus, $MAM^*$ is either the matrix $\begin{bmatrix} \lambda & 0 \\ 0& \overline{\lambda} \end{bmatrix}$ or $\begin{bmatrix} \overline{\lambda} & 0 \\ 0 & \lambda \end{bmatrix}$. In the first case we proved that $A$ is conjugate the the desired matrix. In the second case we can conjugate this matrix with the matrix $R=\begin{bmatrix} 0 & 1 \\ -1 & 0 \end{bmatrix}$ which will bring $(RM)A(RM)^*$ to the desired matrix form. Repeating the same argument for $B$ we can show that it can also be brought to the form $\begin{bmatrix} \lambda & 0 \\ 0 & \overline{\lambda}\end{bmatrix}$ by a conjugation in a matrix of $\text{SU}(2)$. Thus, we prove that two matrices are conjugate to one another if and only if they have the same trace (which geometrically means they lie on the same lattitude and all matrices on the lattitude are conjugate to one another).

We now have the machinery to determine all the normal subgroups of $\text{SU}(2)$. Clearly, the center $Z$ of $\text{SU}(2)$ is always a normal subgroup. The center is simply $Z = \{ \pm I \}$ (the proof is essentially the same that was given back here). Our argument will be that this is the only proper normal subgroup of $\text{SU}(2)$. To prove this let $N$ be a normal subgroup containing a matrix different from $\pm I$. If $M\in N$ is such a matrix it has to lie in one of the lattitudes, $x_1=c$, $|c|<1$, where $\text{tr}(M)=2c$. Now since $N$ is a normal subgroup it must contain all conjugates of $M$. But we determined that all the conjugates of $M$ is the entire lattitude $x_1=c$ on $\mathbb{S}^3$. Pick any matrix in this lattitude $M_0$ such that $M_0\not = M$. Let $f:[0,1]\to \mathbb{S}^3$ be a path such that $f(t)$ lies in the lattitude with $f(0)=M_0$ and $f(1)=M$, clearly there is such a path because the lattitude is path-connected. Now consider the function $g:[0,1]\to N$ defined by $g(t)=M_0^{-1}f(t)$. This function is well-defined i.e. $g(t)\in N$ because $N$ is a subgroup and it contains $M_0^{-1}$ and all $f(t)$ since they lie in the lattitude (conjugacy class). Furthermore, $g$ is a continous function because as we said left-multiplication in $\mathbb{S}^3$ is a continous group operation. Now define $h= \text{tr}(g)$, this is also a continous function $h:[0,1]\to \mathbb{R}$. Notice that $g(0)=I$ therefore $h(0)=2$ while $g(1)\not = I$ so $h(1)<2$. Now by the intermediate value theorem it follows that $h(t)$ takes on all values on the interval $(h(1),2]$. So $N$ contains a matrix with trace for all values on $(h(1),2]$. But $N$ is normal so it contains the entire lattitude for each trace. Thus, we have proven that $N$ contains the entire cap $x_1>h(1)$ on the sphere $\mathbb{S}^3$. This cap is clearly an open set in $\mathbb{S}^3$, let us call this open cap $W$. If $g\in \text{SU}(2)$ then by what we said above $gW$ is an open set. Consider the cosets $\text{SU}(2)/N$. Let $\{ g_sN| s\in S\}$ be a class of representatives for the cosets where $g_s\in \text{SU}(2)$. Notice that if $g,g_0$ lie in the same coset, represented by $g_s$ for some $s\in S$, then $gW,g_0W\subseteq g_sN$. If however $g,g_0$ lie in a different coset then $gW\subseteq gN$ and $g_0W\subseteq g_0N$ but $gN\cap g_0N=\emptyset$ so that $gW\cap g_0W=\emptyset$. For every $s\in S$ define $V_{g_s}$ be the union of all $gW$ where $g$ ranges over all $g$ in the same coset with $g_s$ (so it must be open since it is a union of open sets). It follows from what we said above that $V_{g_s}$ is a disjoint collection of open sets. Therefore, we can write $\text{SU}(2)$ as a disjoint union of open sets $V_{g_s}$ where $s$ ranges over $S$. The reason being is that every element of $g\in \text{SU}(2)$ lies in $gW$ and we already proved that they are all disjoint. But $\text{SU}(2)$ is a connected space, therefore, it is impossible to write $\text{SU}(2)$ as a disjoint union of non-empty proper open sets. Which means that $\text{SU}(2)/N$ consists of just a single coset. Which means that $N=\text{SU}(2)$.

Since $N=Z$ is the only proper non-trivial normal subgroup of $\text{SU}(2)$ it follows that $N=Z$ is a maximal normal subgroup. Therefore, $\text{SU}(2)/N$ must be a simple group. We would have finally proved that $\text{SO}(3)$ is simple if we can prove that $\text{SO}(3)$ is isomorphic to $\text{SU}(2)/N$. This is the last obstacle that stands in our way.

We will use the first isomorphism theorem which can be found here. We will define $\phi:\text{SU}(2)\to \text{SO}(3)$ in the following manner. If $\alpha \in \text{SU}(2)$ then we can identify it as a unit quaternion, and so write it as $\cos \theta + u\sin\theta$. Where $u=u_1i+u_2j+u_3k$ where $u_1^2+u_2^2+u_3^2=1$. Remember that conjugation by $\cos \theta + u\sin\theta$ is a rotation around $(u_1,u_2,u_3)$ by angle $2\theta$ (as we said above). Rotations are the special orthogonal operators of $\mathbb{R}^3$. So we can find a corresponding special linear operator $\phi (\alpha)$. This mapping is a homomorphism because conjugation is preserved. Notice that conjugating by $\alpha$ and then by $\beta$ is the same as conjugating by $\alpha\beta$ which corresponds to performing the corresponding rotation by $\alpha$ followed by the corresponding rotation by $\beta$. But this map is not one-to-one. It is easy to see that $\ker \phi = Z$ because the trivial rotations come from $\cos \theta + u \sin\theta$ where $2\theta $ is a multiple of $2\pi$ i.e. for $\theta = 0,\pi$, which corresponds to the matrices $\{\pm I\}=Z$. Thus, by the first isomorphism theorem it follows that $\text{SU}(2)/Z \simeq \text{SO}(3)$ and we have finally proven that $\text{SO}(3)$ is simple!

Remark: If you were careful you should have noticed that we proved that if a connected group has a continous group operator (as was with $\mathbb{S}^3$) then any proper subgroup must have empty interior.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Racism in Judaism?

This is an objection to a post written by Emes Ve-Emunah.

He does acknowledge that there is a correlation between religiosity and racism:

But it seems there is almost a direct correlation between racist attitudes and how religious one is – that is if you consider Charedim to be more religious than modern Orthodox Jews. Which is certainly how they think of themselves.
However, he does not think that Judaism is what teaches this racism because Judaism teaches that "man is created in the image of God" (ever realize how it is more likely that God was created in the image of man?, but that is beside the point). And so he argues that racism is contrary to Judaism, any Jewish racist is not a true Jew.

But he never explains where this correlation comes from. You cannot blame him for not doing so because he most likely explained where he thinks it comes from many times on his blog and does not want to explain it all over again. However, it is clear that his stance is that Judaism had nothing to do with teaching racism, rather it was some other external factor that created this racism (perhaps the separation the exists between Hasidim and non-Jews is what causes the racism).

I disagree with him. Judaism does teach racism, very much so. One of the reasons why I left Judaism was because I found it to be extremely racist. Consider for instance the stories of the Tanach. God commands the Israelites to smite the Moabites, smite the Amalekites, smite the Heshbonites, smite the Bashanites, smite the Caananites, and the list goes on, the smiting never seems to end. Why does God command this? Because the Israelites are God's nation, other nations are inferior to God, and so the Israelites have a commandment from God to carry out such a genocide.

If you teach young children these stories (thank Science these events never actually taken place) then you fill their heads with a nationalistic superiority complex. They believe that they are greater than the nations of the world because they are the Israelites while the other nations of the world are inferior to them.

This is just the beginning of the racism that is found in Judaism. Just as in an infomercial, "wait, there is more!". Consider what Rashi says about Haam in parshas Noach. I discussed this before here. Jewish children learn that black people originated because Noach cursed one of his sons who turned black. Black people originated as descendants from a cursed man, and Noach cursed him to be, "a slave of slaves you shall become".

How can you possibly say that God treats everybody equally if he allows such nationalism and racism? And furthermore, how can you possibly continue to say that Judaism does not teach racism when any child who learns such stories would most likely develop racist ideas.

This is why I do not agree with the statement that Judaism teaches equality, that is just pure deception. The poster seems to suggest in an implicit manner that racism in Hasidish communities is not from Judaism itself but from the isolation that they create around themselves from the external world. If you say this then ask the obvious question, why do Hasidim wish to isolate themselves from the rest of the world? From Judaism. It was Judaism that taught them they that they need to distance themselves from the world and not intermingle with the Goyim.

The last thing that I wanted to mention is that modern day Judaism is very different from conventional old day Judaism. Modern Jews are not racists because they learned those values as modern liberal values. This is why they are not racists. They had to learn that racism is a bad thing from modern values. It is not something they learned in Judaism. Indeed, old day Judaism was just as racist as most people were back then. If you really suggest that Judaism is against racism then it should have been a light unto the nations and taught about the evils of racism. But it never happened. Jews of old day Judaism were just as racist as most other people were back then. It was only in the modern age when recognizing racism as evil developed. Modern Jews picked up on it and now claim that Judaism always was against racism. Well, if it was against racism then why were there no clear stance against racism in more traditional Judaism?

Liberal Lunacy 6: Anti-Smoking

I am not a smoker. I do not smoke, I have no intention of smoking. But I have no problem with other people smoking. Just like drinking. And just like drugs. Do not do them and do not plan to do them. But I recognize that people can make their own choices in life. If I do not agree with what they do to enjoy themselves I will not prevent them from doing so and I expect them to return me the same favor and not interfere with me. Sadly this simple concept is so hard for certain people to understand.

Now I know what you will tell me. You will tell me, "but these liberals are not trying to ban smoking, smoking is not banned, you can smoke if you really want to". This is true, smoking is not banned. But these liberals would like to see it banned. It is true that smoking is not banned, but there are a whole lot of people out there that would love to see it banned, or at least reduced to the point of it almost being non-existent.

I just had this realization when I saw a cigarette block. On this cigarette block it was written, in extremely huge letters, "Smoking Kills". And on the other side of this cigarette block it was written, "Smoking may reduce the blood flow and causes impotence".

I was surprised. I really did not know this was written on cigarette blocks. I thought it just had a surgeon general's warning about how dangerous it is. The last time I saw a cigarette block before today was a while back and I do not remember it saying how smoking kills and how it causes impotence.

I finally figured out what is going on with the whole smoking situation in the US. There are these liberals who really hate smoking and they want to use scare tactics to stop people from smoking.

Why do I say this? Because it is obvious from the way these warnings are phrased on cigarette blocks. These people gave up rationality a long long time ago and are playing a fear game. They want to scare the smokers as much as possible.

If these liberals said that tobacco companies must carry a warning message about the known harms of smoking that would be reasonable. That is an understandable position. For example, a small message somewhere on the block which said, "smoking has been proven to increase risks of ... ". This is a reasonable message. It cautions the smoker to know the possible health harm that can come from smoking.

Consider alcohol bottles. There is also a surgeon general warning. The bottle does not have written all across it "Drinking kills", rather it has a message box at the end of the bottle that writes the possible dangers that can come from excessive drinking. This is a reasonable caution.

But what is this whole "Smoking kills" caution about? It is an unreasonable statement. When you make a statement "smoking kills" it implies that the smoker will die instantaneously from smoking. I will say "bullets kill" because that is true. A bullet will most certainly kill you if it hits you in a vital organ. But I would never say "smoking kills" because that is disingenuous.

I thought the entire point of the FDA was to scientifically study the dangers of food and drugs for consumer protection? How is it in any way scientific to blow the dangers of smoking out of proportion and write "smoking kills" on all cigarettes? If we really wanted to be scientific we should write in a reasonable sized manner, "smoking has been found to increase risk for ...". That is it. That is honest and that is scientific. But when you want to write "smoking kills" that is no longer being scientific. That is flat out fear mongering. Not to mention it is unscientific also, and hence cannot be written, by FDA standards, on cigarette blocks.

The statement "smoking kills" is unscientific. As I said it sounds as if the smoker will immediately die from smoking. While in fact it takes many many years of continuously smoking to increase the risks of death. And that is just a risk. It is not even always guaranteed to target all people. This is why "smoking kills" is nothing but fear mongering - especially when it is written big all the way across cigarette blocks.

But it gets even dumber with the second message, "smoking causes impotence". That is humorously dumb. It is funny to put such a message on a block. As if the message that smoking will kill you is not enough to get people's attention. Now you need to also tell them that guys will fail to get boners. Yes, because that will really prevent smoking. If guys would not care about dying then they would care about not getting boners? What good is a boner on a dead guy? It really is so pathetically funny.

And again this message that "smoking causes impotence" is written all the way across the block. For what reason? It is obvious what the intention is. To scare people from smoking. That is all. It has no goal to be scientific or fair. It just wants to stop people from smoking.

These liberals are not rational about the smoking situation at all. They are practicing pure fear mongering on people who do smoke. It is just like parents who tell their children that they cannot let strangers into their house because the strangers will kill them ("kill" is really a euphemism for molest that parents do not want to explain to their little kids). As Doug Stanhope said in a comedy routine, "nobody wants to fuck your kids". The number of molested kids every year is extremely low. Statistically speaking letting a stranger into your house is no reason to be scared that he will molest your children. But parents are not rational about this. They assume the worst. But more than assuming the worst they scare their kids. They exaggerate the dangers of letting strangers into their house to scare their kids into listening to them.

What about various medical drugs that are used? Sure they come with a big list of possible dangers that they have. Many of them are far more dangerous than smoking. But not a single one has a big sign across it that says "codeine kills", for example. They simply list the possible risks and dangers along with some warning. All of this is stated in a calm tone and explained in a clear manner with no fear mongering.

Or what about alcohol? Alcohol is more dangerous than smoking. Rush Limbaugh made a good point when he said, "alcohol kills you faster than smoking". I think back to Purim and how many dumb Jewish kids end up in hospitals because of excessive drinking. None of them end up there from cigarettes but from drinking. Drinking is far more dangerous to them than smoking up on Purim. But why are there no signs which say "Alcohol kills"? Or why are there no signs which say "excessive alcohol makes you unable to preform sex"?

For me it is obvious what is going on. These liberals hate smoking for whatever reasons. I am not exactly sure why but it is clear from their intentions. They want to ban it. But they cannot. The smokers still can smoke. These liberals do not like that. So they attempt to come up with whatever method that they can to limit smoking as much as possible. Since that is the next best thing to banning smoking.

First, they want to scare people. Having a reasonable warning sign is not enough. They want to scare them into making them think they will die from smoking. In addition to scaring them sexually. Once these fear tactics are used they want to push scary imagery on cigarette blocks to further frighten the smokers. But scare tactics are not enough, they realize it does not really work in eliminating smokers.

Second, once they used the scare tactics they go after various public places. They would love to see it outright banned, but it is too hard to do. So they go after public places. Like parks, for example. At this point they will remind you about the children. They will say, "think about the children who have to be exposed to all of this smoke". The "what about the children argument" never gets old.

Third, once they manage to get rid of it from various public places they go after restaurants (and casinos). But in this case it is not only the fault of these liberals. The war against restaurant smoking was waged also by anti-smoking restaurant competitors who were losing customers. There is a problem here, restaurants are private property. As private property they need to be respected as individual homes. If you do not want to be in a smoking area then do not go there, go to different restaurants that do not allow smoking. But it is not good enough for them. They want to see it gone even from private places too.

Fourth, tax cigarettes. The general rule of economics is that whatever you subsidize you get more of and whatever you tax you get less off. The first three tactics do not work as well as these liberals would like, so now they want to tax cigarettes to make them much more expensive for smokers to buy. That way, they hope, they can reduce the number of people who smoke who will simply not have the money to buy such expensive cigarettes. Sadly, they do not realize how they destroy tobacco businesses that end up losing out under such a tax to less-taxed tobacco businesses in other locations (as is happening in New York City).

These liberals who are anti-smoking obviously want to see it eliminated from their treatment of smoking. This is why I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that they would like to see it banned entirely if they can end up passing such a law.

The big irony behind of all of this is that as much as they hate smoking cigarettes they love smoking marijuana. Because marijuana, as they will tell you, is "natural". Wait, I thought tobacco was "natural" also? Why should they be free to smoke marijuana (which they should) but go after those who are free to smoke tobacco? End this double standard.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ex Post Facto Justifications

An ex post facto justification is a justification that is given after something happened. The term "ex post facto" is a legal term. It is a concept of law that determines judgement after some incident took place. But you can also apply this concept to belief systems.

An ex post factor justification (for a belief) is a justification given after a belief was formed. In other words, first a belief is formed and then a justification is given towards this belief. I consider this to be a terrible manner to form your beliefs for reasons that I will explain.

There are various methods to determine what is true and what is not. You can use the scientific method and work with evidence. Or you can use the philosophical method which mostly reasons something out. But whatever the method you choose to use you do not first form beliefs and then justify them.

When one looks at the evidence or when one reasons towards a conclusion he does not decide what the end result is going to be. The end result might be something positive and it can be something really dreadful, but the conclusion is never decided upon, it is discovered and accepted for what it is.

Most people that you will come across in your life have ex post facto beliefs. Those are beliefs that they attained either as a kid or by some other unreliable method and then in the course in their life found "justifications" (usually very terrible ones) to why their beliefs are true.

Religion is almost surly an ex post factor belief. In Judaism about 98% to 99% of all Juden did not become Juden out of their own will but rather because it was something they picked up from their parents. They had no reasons to practice and believe in Judaism. The 1% to 2% of Juden joined Judaism not from some rational approach towards it, but most likely because they were emotionally attracted to Judaism. They liked the ideas of Judaism and so they joined it.

Therefore, it is fair to say that religion (Judaism in particular) is almost surly an ex post factor belief system. I have never came across a Jude in my life that had no interest whatsoever in Judaism but came to accept it, regardless of what he felt, because the "arguments" for Judaism convinced him that it must be true.

Once Juden come to believe Judaism, either from child indoctrination or emotional acceptance, they need to form "justifications" to their beliefs (if even that, some people do not even look for justification, they are happy practicing what they were taught to practice with lack of justification). All of these justifications are ex post factor justifications. The Jude has a conclusion that he would like to reach. So he "reasons" and looks for "evidence" in such a manner to force this conclusion. His reasons and evidence often create double standards when it comes to matters outside of Judaism but he uses them nonetheless. For example, any normal person who discovered a book which claimed to be an autobiography and that it mentioned how the author died would immediately reject it as an autobiography because dead people cannot write about themselves. This is rather reasonable. But when it comes to Judaism the Jude rejects this simple concept because it challenges Judaism. The Torah speaks of how Moshe died, at this point reasonable people need to question whether Moshe can be its author, but the Jude ignores this point he says the Moshe had divine prophecy and was able to look into the future. Notice how they create a double standard to ignore to challenge their beliefs.

The problem with ex post facto beliefs is that they are almost always wrong. There are a about six billion people in the world and no two agree with one another. Billions and billions of beliefs and in all conflict. The chances that your beliefs are correct as very low since all these world beliefs cannot be correct simultaneously.

When it comes to mathematics all mathematicians agree with one another. To convince themselves all they have to do is give a proof to what they say and convince the other mathematician. When it comes to science all scientists nearly agree with one another. The standard of proof in science is not as pure as in mathematics. And also science is much much more difficult than mathematics. So it is understandable why there be a slight confusion in science. But even though they may have slight disagreement the disagreement is always within a certain context. You may find two scientists who differ on the specific details of the theory of evolution. You will never find a scientist who rejects the theory of evolution. Disagreement in science is the result of not knowing, but it is always within a certain context.

The reason why mathematicians comes to the same conclusions and scientists nearly come to the same conclusions is because they form their statements from bottom-up. The scientist nor the mathematician never decide what he would like to confirm. Rather they work with what they have towards a final conclusion. In such a manner there is unanimous agreement (or almost unanimous agreement) with everybody.

But ex post facto beliefs are different. The common masses do not proceed with such care in their beliefs and ideas. They stick to what they were either taught to believe as children or something they came to accept for foolish reasons. There is no high standard of justification with ex post factor beliefs. The standards of justification are twisted into double standards so that the person can rationalize what he believes.

The proper way to come to your beliefs is not by beginning with what you believe and coming up with double standards of proof to confirm it. But to begin, as much as possible, with an empty slate and start all over again. Most importantly one must decide what standards of proofs are allowable and not allowable in such a process before the beliefs are formed. Once these standards have been established then one can proceed towards a conclusion. If in honesty you do reach the same belief that you had then good for you, but if you do not then you must have the intellectual strength to give it up and accept the new belief.

Ex post facto beliefs are simply not reliable because of the high degree of chances that all ex post facto beliefs are wrong.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Martial Arts of Bullshido

Okay, okay, I admit it, I stole that name from BullShido.Net. It seems this is a skeptic forum against the supernatural/superhuman claims of martial arts. I just found out about it today. Anyway, I wanted to continue making fun of martial arts and how useless it is.

Here is the thing about martial arts that I really really hate. A lot of martial arts is build around this claim that if you train and study it long enough you will acquire superhuman and in some cases even supernatural strengths.

Multiple Orgasms Claim

Let me begin with the first superhuman claim. Most martial arts school (I would guess to say that almost every single one) teach, to advanced students, how to fight multiple opponents. You can see them give lessons and demonstrations about how these fights go. But the truth is that it is impossible to win a fight against two opponents not matter how good you are in whatever martial art you specialize at. Even if you know Sambo, which really teaches you how to fight, it is flat out impossible to win a fight against two opponents.

Okay, it is not impossible. If your two opponents include two retards then you will win. Or if your two opponents include two people who have no idea what they are doing you will win. But consider this situation. You are in the middle and one opponent is in front and one is behind you. Now people who do tae kwon do will claim that in a situation like that they can kick both in front of them and behind them - perhaps true, but that is irrelevant. Because who said that these two enemies will stand at a kicking distance from you? Imagine if the opponent in front rushes you, and forces you to wrestle with him. As you are wrestling with him, even if you are stronger than he is, you are entirely helpless against the opponent behind you. All that opponent has to do is repeatedly hit you on the back of your head until it is all over.

There is absolutely no way to surly win a two man fight. If you get lucky, just lucky, then maybe you have a minor chance to win. But if the fight goes as I described it, in a wrestling match, then it is impossible to win such a fight. You are entirely and completely helpless. Two men will always beat one man. And it does not matter who you are.

But if you watch martial art demonstration videos mostly in karate or tae kwon do then you will come across this stupidity. You will find one person in the center surrounded by three or four opponents. But it is not a real fight. It is a demonstration. It is a very fancy demonstration, I admit. They jump high, they make flying kicks, and flips. It looks like a fight scene from a movie. But it is just that - a demonstration. It is not a real technique. There is no technique against a two men opponent - you are doomed. If you ever face two guys, best chance is to run away or give your money.

Size Does not Matter Claim

Martial arts school are known for saying that anyone can do martial arts. Whether you are big or small you can learn martial arts. How good of a fighter you are depends not on your size but on your skill.

This is false. If you are 7 feet tall, weigh 450 pounds, and can give a good punch and a shove, then you can essentially beat up anyone in the world without ever learning martial arts. Size most certainly matters. This is precisely why women are not allowed to fight in MMA (men's) because it is purely unfair. Men are bigger than women, that is what makes it unfair. This is precisely why MMA is divided into weight classes. Because if it was really true that you can win by having skill alone then why there are no lightweights dominating heavyweights?

But if you watch the movies or watch martial art demonstration videos then that is not the impression you get. You get the impression that all there is to martial arts is skill. If you learn it and study it hard enough you will be so skillful that you will be able to take on anyone no matter what size they are. This is why you see in these demonstration videos a little guy taking on big guys.

The Death Touch Claim

The "death touch" or known as the "dim mak" is the legend that a skilled martial artist can kill an opponent by just touching him. Let me ask an obvious question. If it was true that these people really existed then why do you not see them in MMA? Where are these death touchers? If I knew how to kill someone, or at least knock him out, by just touching him you will see me in the MMA in no time. I will win every single match and become a champion.

People who claim they can do the dim mak try to be scientific by saying that they touch pressure points. It is true that people have pressure points but you will not kill people by simply touching those pressure points. Your neck is one big giant pressure point. It is not pleasant being hit in your neck. But you do not die from it unless it is a very hard strike. A touch does not do it.

The origin of the dim mak is a legend. It never been successfully done in control conditions. Indeed, if someone was able to do that he will most likely win the James Randi Challenge. Martial arts is build around legends. People who possessed superhuman or supernatural talents. The dim mak is just another such legend. It is a legend about how talented serious fighters can become.

Breaking Boards and Bricks

This is a favorite for people who do karate and tae kwon do. In karate, boards are usually broken with your fists and in tae kwon do it is usually done with your feet. In both situations the goal is to demonstrate how powerful a punch/kick a martial artist can throw.

Here is the truth about boards and bricks. They are trick boards and bricks. They are designed in such a way that they are breakable. Indeed, no martial artist, no matter how hard he can punch or kick, has the ability of breaking a piece of lumber that is cut down from a fresh tree. There is no way anyone can do this. It is superhuman strength that nobody can posses.

Let us talk some physics to find out why not. The strength of your punch is determined by the mass and the speed. The higher the mass and the speed in your punch the harder you will hit. My man, Mike Tyson, threw a deadly punch in ideal circumstances. I am not sure if Mike Tyson threw the strongest punch ever or not but it was tested to be up to something like 800 pounds of force. If you get hit with a fist that has 800 pounds of force, in your face, without Mike having gloves on, you will be dead. Mike can throw a harder punch, by far, than anyone in the MMA and in martial arts. But even Mike cannot break a piece of lumber. It is not humanly possible.

But many martial artists still think it is possible. Because they do not believe in physics. They believe in a mystical concept known as "chi". Chi is the magical life force within people. They claim that martial artists know how to break bricks and boards because they know how to channel their chi through them.

No Touch Knockout

As if the dim mak was not crazy enough there is something even crazier, and that is the no touch knockout. A few martial art experts claim they can knockout people without even touching them. How is this possible you might ask? Well, you see, people have this mystical life force in them that is the chi, if you can channel your chi through your body you can use it to knock out people without touching them.

Do I need to say anything more about this? All you have to do is go on YouTube and do a video search on this. You will find a few skeptics who show how non-sense this entire claim is. There is no chi and there is no no touch knockout.

One Inch Punch

This one really falls under kung fu and wing chun. The one inch punch is the claim that some masters of martial arts (usually wing chun) can put so much power into their fist that they can knock their opponent to the floor by barely moving their fist (hence the name "one inch punch").

The "reasoning" behind this is again the same bullshido. It is that the master can channel his chi into his fist and release it all out on impact. But basic physics tells us otherwise. The mass of the fist is still the same, but the speed is much lower. Hence, it is impossible to make a strong one inch punch. Certainly, it is possible to do a one inch punch, it will just be weak and will never knock anybody out.

Catching Arrows in Mid Air

You see this in movies. You see somebody shoot an arrow at a martial arts master and he catches the arrow with his hands, mid air, without the arrow killing him. There are real life demonstrations of this. I have seem some videos of this being done. But here is the thing. The arrows that are being caught are traveling much much slower than real arrows.

This was a myth that the MythBusters busted on their TV show. They hired a ninja who said he was able to catch arrows. He was able to catch some slower ones. But the arrow, at full speed, is impossible to catch. In fact, it travels so fast that it is humanely impossible to have the proper reaction time, and it is humanly impossible to close your fist fast enough. They made a robotic arm that was able to catch arrows at full speed. But that was because it was programmed electronically to close the fist precisely as the arrow is fired and it was programmed to be super human - it closed five times as fast as a human hand. Only then it was possible, and even under those conditions the super robo-arm only caught the end tip of the arrow. Which means that it is scientifically impossible for any person or ninja to have the skill to be able to catch arrows.


Martial arts is a mystical subject. It is like ESP. People believe in some crazy stuff. People believe it is possible to read minds, or that it is possible to talk to the dead. Martial arts is no different. Martial arts is based on a fantasy. People want to believe that it is possible for people to attain strengths and powers that humans do not posses by their physical limitations.

Keep in mind that martial arts originated in Asia. I do not know exactly when but I figure at least a thousand years old, I am guessing. Asia was a very religious part of the world as was the entire world. But they did not attach Christianity or Judaism to their beliefs, they had their own beliefs. They believed in Taoism. They believed in Buddhism. They believed in Shintoism. And various other beliefs. Some of these beliefs that did not have a diety in them (like Buddhism) but it still was a religion. And as religions they do have have crazy stuff in them (not as crazy as Judaism or Christianity or Islam). Part of what they strongly believed in was this mystical part of the human body known as the chi. What happened was these martial arts styles moved into the modern age and with it the mystical religious stupidity that came associated with martial arts.

Even if you are a reasonable martial artists who does not believe in all the martial art mysticism I mentioned in this post it still does not make martial arts bullshido. Because the main claim of martial arts is self-defense. That is what all martial arts claims. But they fail. They even fail at self-defense. My past two posts on martial arts was exactly in what ways it fails to provide good self-defense.

During the "Boxer Rebellion" in China you had some Chinese martial artists who believed they can withstand bullets. They truly believed that their martial arts can prevent them from feeling pain from bullets. And some believed they can out beat a bullet. Well, quickly they found out that that there are no bulletproof people and bullets hurt - a lot. They ended up learning their lesson. But why did they believe in such stupidity? Very simple, because martial arts is ultimately derived from mystical and supernatural beliefs.

Penn and Teller, who have a show on ShowTime, called "Bullshit!", did an episode on martial arts. You can see it here. Funny stuff. Those who believe absurdities will do funny stupid things (like forms demonstration in martial arts tournaments).

So all I can say is, fuck martial arts, long live ju-jitsu (and wrestling). Ju-jitsu, besides for being proven to be successful at beating people up, is also better than martial arts because they get to touch guys. Do you get to touch guys in martial arts? No. Do you get to go on cow girl on top of guys in martial arts? No, but in ju-jitsu you do. Ju-jitsu is sexy, martial arts is just plain gay.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Videos of How Martial Arts is Useless

In my past post I explained why all the martial arts styles such as: tae kwon do, karate, kung fu and so forth do not teach you how to fight for real. They only focus on ideal circumstances. My main argument is that once if your opponent is wild and charges into you, he will take you to the floor. At that point all your martial arts is useless.

There are fighting disciplines that actually do teach you how to properly fight, but I do not really think of that as martial arts. These include ju-jitsu, Sambo, Krav-Maga, wrestling and so forth (in a few circumstances even boxing). I do not think of them as martial arts simply because when people think of "martial arts" they stereotypically imagine flying kicks and back flips as in the movies.

In actuality real fights are messy and do not have ideal situations at all. If you know tae kwon do so that you prefer long distance fighting there is no reason to assume why a professional boxer would stay far away, he would most certainly turn the fight into a close distance fight, at this point tae kwon do is useless. And if the opponent is a wrestler he will charge in for a tackle to take the fight into ground and pound.

Those who still foolishly insist that tae kwon do or karate or kung fu (and so on) can stand a chance against something like Sambo or MMA then you need to explain how they can prevent a ground fight. That is what you must prove to me instead of just saying the martial artists know how to dodge such attacks.

Here I have a few videos on YouTube that nicely illustrate the failure of martial arts. And I know what some people would say. They will say "that is not fair, the MMA guy is more skilled". Even if that is true, this is not the point. My point is to show how all these fights, against practioners of MMA, turn into ground fights. Please take notice how martial artists try to avoid ground fights but they inevitably cannot avoid them.

First Video: I love this video, even though it is a little unfair. The tae kwon do fighter is smaller. But I like it because it illustrates why tae kwon do is utterly useless in a real fight. I also find it hilarous how the tae kwon do fighter begins with a flying diving kick as if that will do anything. It looks fancy and cool, but what does it actually accomplish. Watch here.

Second Video: This is a great video, this one is fair. And this seems to be a professional fighting competition. One of the fighters is an MMA fighter, the other is tae kwon do. It should be obvious which one is which. The tae kwon do fighter is the one throwing spinning kicks. The MMA fighter brings him, on three consistent occasions, to the floor. Notice how easily MMA dominates on the floor and hence the fight. The ending is really nice. It is rare to see a scissor choke. It seems the MMA fighter was going for everybody's favorite armbar but then realize he had an opportunity to do a scissor leg choke. Watch here.

Third Video: This is another good video. This features Royce Gracie, a famous MMA fighter. He was part of UFC from the very beginning, was champion from UFC 1 to UFC 4. Royce Gracie is a great fighter who specializes in ju-jitsu. His opponent practices kung-fu mystical garbage. Watch how it is entirely inevitable for Royce Garcie to force his opponent to go to the floor. Once the kung fu fighter is on the floor, it is all over. Just watch how easily Royce Gracie dominates the fight. You can sense the kung fu fighter is totally lost and has no idea what he is doing. Watch here.

Fourth Video: This one is kinda funny. This features karate vs ju jitsu. Karate fighter obviously trying to keep this fight on the feet. But quickly fails as the ju jitsu fighter takes him down to the floor. Once the fight is on the floor the ju jitsu fighter has complete domination over the fight. Notice how easily and nicely he catches the karate guy in an armbar for a quick tap out. Watch here.

Fifth Video: This one is really unfair, I think. It is hard to see the size of the kung fu fighter but he appears to be much smaller. But it is funny. It is funny how the fight, immediately, ends up on the ground. From that point on the MMA fighter has complete domination and makes the kung fu fighter tap out, which seems to be a kimura from the video. Watch here.

Sixth Video: This one is just Sambo vs Sambo, but I decided to post it because it shows that Sambo actually teaches stand fighting also. Not only boxing but also kick boxing. People who know Sambo also know how to fight standing. The same cannot be said with the useless kung fu and karate practioners. Watch here. Just for the sake of hit here is another video of a Sambo fight that ends up in a ground fight. Notice how both fighters are prepared in this fight. Both standing, wrestling, and on the ground. This even feels like an MMA fight, which makes sense, since Sambo is intended for purposes of being used in real fights. Watch here.

I hope this finally shows that I was correct about asserting how martial arts is useless. And even if you can find videos of tae kwon do or karate fighters beating up MMA or Sambo fighters (which I find hard to believe) pay attention that they probably ended up on the ground anyway. Which only proves my point. It does not matter if tae kwon do defeats MMA if it happens on the ground. Because it was not the tae kwon do that won the fight, but ground fighting (real fighting) that did.

And do not misunderstand me. I do not mean anything bad to karate or tae kwon do. They are sports. They are good for you. You learn a few things. But please do not confuse them for real fighting. Because they are not and never will be. Tae kwon do and karate takes more flexibility than MMA, and they are more artist and classy, but they are not real. Stop trying to pass it off as if tae kwon do represents a real fight.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Speech Suppresion in Britian

The US is known for being fat, ugly, and filled with creationist retards. But at least the US is probably the strongest country in the world when it comes to free speech issues (even Noam Chomsky admitted this). Europe might be in better shape, definitely is better looking (especially in Sweden, those people are gorgeous), rather secular but sadly pro-censorship. Especially our little brother - the UK (I guess there is a difference between saying UK and Britian, I always forget, they are same to me since I am a geographical ignorant stereotypical American).

The UK loves to ban speech that they do not approve of. This has been going on for years already. My favorite conservative radio host, Michael Savage, got banned from the UK about two years ago because he said stuff about homosexuals that deeply offended the UK. He is prohibited from entering that country. The entire country. He is on the UK ban list.

Michael Savage was not the first and certainly not the last person the UK banned for speech alone. This has been going on for a long enough time and it needs to end. The UK is practising nothing but speech suppresion. Of course, they will never admit that. You will never hear the UK admit "we do not believe in free speech". Rather they will tell you, "we have standards to how pwople have to conduct and speak, those who cannot fit those standars are not welcome into our country". Which is obviously just a euphemism for free speech suppresion.

Today, wow I am actually on top of my news, UK announced that they are going to ban Terry Jones. He is an anti-Muslim American preacher from Florida that announced that he will burn the Quran on 9/11 if the Muslim mosque is built in New York City.

And all these bans are being done by the anti-freedom, anti-speech, secretary Theresa May. The UK seems to believe it is a great idea to give one person the power to decide who and who cannot be let into the country by the decision of one person on what they say.

Black Belts are Worthless and Martial Arts Fails

Every once in a while I come across on TV about some tiny girl or boy and how they have a black belt in karate. I immediately think to myself how can someone like that beat somebody up? And then I remind myself there are hundreds of people who go to karate class once to two times a week and after a few years get a black belt. No big deal.

Here is the truth about martial arts, it is just a big scam. In karate two opponents fight with one another in a respectful manner. In tae kwon do two opponents fight using only their feet. But moreover these are sports. They are not real fighting lessons how to beat somebody up. If you want a workout and exercise and have some fun go and take some karate or tae kwon do. But do not expect to beat somebody up with those lessons.

Boxing does a lot more for you to learn how to beat people up. Because boxing is a sport about beating people up. Karate and tae kwon do are not, they include fighting. But that is often very protective fighting, limited fighting, and they do not concentrate so much on fighting. Wrestling is also a good thing to practice if you want to beat people up. People in real fights people do wrestle with one another.

But it is just non-sense to actually believe you learn how to fight by getting a black belt or taking a few tae kwon do lessons. A real fight is absolutely nothing what they teach you in these martial arts classes. Ever see are a real fight? In fact, what is so assuming to watch, and what illustrates my point, is that when two tae kwon do opponents get angry at one another and go after each other as in a real fight, they no longer use tae kwon do. They abandon all their fancy footwork and kicks, just jump at one another, wrestle, strange, box, and everything at once. This just goes to show that tae kwon do and karate and all the like martial arts are non-sense when it comes to a real fight.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying there are no courses that teach you how to fight. There are. But none of them are really martial arts. None of them have ridiculous uniforms. None of them have thousand year traditions. None of them have that ridiculous form demonstration. None of them have gay rainbow colored belts that you wear in progressive steps. None of them have these fancy looking moves and kicks that you find in martial arts. They get past all the non-sense and get to the point.

Boxing teaches you how to fight more appropriately, but I do not think of it as a martial art. Though boxing is limited. Boxing is only hand fighting. In a real fight there is a lot more to learn. Wrestling is also good to learn but it is just takedowns, which is really useful in a real fight but you need to learn how to use your hands too.

The military teaches hand-to-hand combat which is designed to be used for a real fight. Because the military understands that real fights are not some ideal fancy situation that martial arts conjures, but a mess. Sambo, for instance, is excellent to study if you want to learn how to beat up people. Because Sambo is from Soviet military training, it is designed to teach soldiers how to fight in real conditions.

If you want to learn to fight, for real, get past this karate and tae kwon do non-sense. Go and learn something that really is based on real fighting. But there you will not learn any fancy flying kicks.

Tae kwon do certainly looks fancy and cool. But ultimately it is non-sense. I seen lots of videos of people from tae kwon do being absolutely demolished by someone who knows a little bit about MMA (mixed-martial arts). Because the MMA practitioner does not stand there and exchange kicks back and forth with the guy from tae kwon do. He knows he is not as skilled with his legs. Rather he just charges into him, takes him down, then pounds him into submission on the floor.

I know that MMA is called martial-arts. But I when I say martial arts I refer to the traditional artistic fighting styles that people get their belts at. MMA has none of that. It is not fancy, there are no graceful moves. It is a real fight. It looks exactly what a real fight looks like.

This is why when I hear somebody say "I have a black belt from karate" or "I got a black belt in tae kwon do" I consider those meaningless statements that reveal how good they would be in a fight. If I heard somebody say "I learned some hand combat in the military" or "I been practicing my Sambo" then I would respect a statement like that.

If you really want to learn how to defend yourself be a good America and buy a gun.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jews on People's Court

As you all know how slow I am on the news, but I found out about a Jewish couple that appeared as plaintiffs on the People's Court. I found this out a few days ago and today I watched the video, here.

Before I say anything I want to say what I think of the People's Court. You know I do not have any respect for the "justice" system of the United States. So I cannot possibly have much respect for the People's Court.

But there is something special to People's Court that is not present on Judge Judy. Even though Judge Judy represents a "justice" system that I do not much respect to, I do like Judge Judy. People criticize Judy by saying that she is very tough with the litigants. Obviously, if she was plain with them there would be no TV show. But that is not a good criticism. Because I guess they know what they are signing up to when they go to be on her show. They know who she is and decide to go there. So these people do agree to be subject to her toughness.

Toughness is sometimes a great thing. The world definitely needs more toughness. When Judy tells the wife that she should leave her husband because her husband is a theif and a liar, a lot of people criticize that and say that is being impolite on them. But I am not bothered by that. The world needs more commentary about all the wrong decisions that we do. If someone is doing something really bad and you do not tell him "stop being stupid", then you are doing no favor. All this politeness is not a good thing.

The only thing should matter as a judge, is Judy a just judge (with respect to the "justice" system). From watching lots and lots of court cases I do get the impression that she is just. I seen her rule in favor of someone who was really making her angry. She does not over rule cases just because she does not like someone. I did not really see that happen.

But Judge Marilyn sucks. Absolutely sucks. She is an embarrassment of a judge. I seen so many cases of her on the People's Court when she ruled in favor of the other people because one of the litigants said something to her that she did not like. She is not just at all. She is usually just. But that is not good enough. She must be just all the time to be a good judge. And she fails at that. This is why she sucks as a judge. Any judge that ends the court case because she does not like someone is an embarrassment to any law system.

Now on to the case. Well there is nothing really to say about the case. It is a chilul Hashem as people are talking about. But for me "chilul Hashem" means something else. It is not profaning the name of God. For me a chilul Hashem is doing something in the public that gives the gentiles another excuse to hate the Jews.

Really I just have two things to say about this story. First, from what I see online (such as YouTube), when a Jewish person does something bad, an insane number of people catch on to that and talk about how the Jews control all the banks, only care about the money, and how they try to jew the Gentiles because they think the Gentiles are too stupid. It is very much true with the Jews. Most so, it seems, than with any other group of people. It is true that other groups of people something have this generalized labeling, but with Jews the numbers are the highest.

Second, it seems that only Jewish people are so caught up about what happens with other Jewish people. I am not sure whether to make of this as a good thing or a bad thing. If a black guy did something really bad on TV you would not see blacks going on YouTube and watching the story. If a Christian or Muslim did something like that I cannot imagine that this would happen. But the Juden, they are very much connected. A little story like that and everybody in the Jewish world knows what happened.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Answering Some Questions

Somebody asked a (convergent) series of questions in one of the comment sections. Since it would take a very long time to answer all of these questions I figured I might make a post answering these questions and explaining some of the positions in more detail. The full question can be found here.

I do want to begin by saying that I am probably the worst person you can ask. Because I am very ignorant on this subject at this moment. I have learned a lot this year, but there are other people that can do a much superior job answering these questions.

Question 1: That you do not want any individual or state to have any power or control whatsoever because power corrupts.

Answer 1: Okay, not really a question, but a statement I wanted to expound on. That is part of the reason. That is not the whole point. I have many reasons for opposing statism and that is just one of them. I am also against people owning other people. If you take the position, "people cannot own other people but themselves", and you apply this principle consistently then you will see how the state contradicts this principle constantly.

I want to make it clear that I do not think that if the state is eliminated the corruption will go away. The state does terrible things because it has a lot of power. But the same can also be said with non-state private organizations as well. The police as known to be corrupted, definitely in the United States. And certainly the largest mafia in all of history. But the corruption of power still exists in private guards also.

If you have an unpleasant encounter with cops you will find yourself in a situation where they will do something they cannot do. Because they are corrupted by their power to act in such a manner. But this does not stop private guards from acting in such a way also. Consider for example the casino. The casino got no cops. They have their own security guards. If the casino wants to kick you out for whatever reasons, and they send the security after you, the guards can be rather nasty also. I am not saying that this is bound to happen, I am just saying that the possibility of corruption and control exists in both these instances.

Basically, what I am saying is that it is not that the state is bad and private is good. I am saying that power is the source of the problem. Since the state is the ultimate concentration and monopolization of power, do not be surprised that it will be the most corrupted organization you will come across, do not be surprised that it will be capable of doing the greatest of all evils. Private can also have power, like security guards, and do bad things with it too. However, the more and more power is decentralized the less damage there can be done with it.

I do not actually believe that the corruption of power can ever be eliminated. Nor do I believe that private companies will not exercise their power if given an opportunity towards corruption. Because human being suck, and this flaw will always be present. But giving that power into an ultimate institution is the most irresponsible solution to this problem.

Question 2: What powers will be needed to put this into practice? What about law enforcement? What about human rights / civil liberties / drugs / medicines / education / police / military / defence etc etc etc?? What you are advocating would seem to me to be total anarchy and could surely only be brought about in the short term by bloody revolution.

Answer 2: Anarchy comes from the words "archon" and the pre-fix "a". Archon is a Greek word meaning "ruler". The pre-fix "a" denotes that "anarchy" means "no ruler". Therefore, what anarchy means is simply "no rulers present".

There is a very big difference between the teenage bad-boy notion of anarchy and the political movement (I guess, more precisely, lack of political movement) of anarchy. The rebellious teenager hates rules. He just wants to do what he wants, when he wants, with disregard to the law. Sadly, this is the common misrepresentation of anarchists.

What most people think of anarchy is a system (lack-of-system) of no rules and that people get to do whatever they want to do. This is not true. Anarchy does not mean "no rules", it simply means "no rulers".

What precisely is a "ruler"? The ruler here represents the state. In the past it were kings and despots, today it is various complicated arrangements in bureaucracy and democracy. Both are examples of a state.

It is important to define what the state is, so that it is clear what we are doing about. If you ask most people "what is the state?" or "what is the government?", they will probably (and foolishly) tell you this, "the government is us, it is society getting together to decide what needs to be done". The definition of state that I use is very specific. The state is a coercive monopoly over a region of land that claims ownership over this land and will use violence against anyone who disobeys its rule.

Examples of states are all over the world. Pick any place and the chance is that you would find a state. The United States is clearly a state. It satisfies all of these conditions. The United States is a coercive monopoly. It has all the arms. It is a monopoly because it would not allow competition with itself. If you were to try that, you will be send into jail or killed. It claims ownership over everything that goes on within its borders (and actually outside the borders too in some locations). If you disagree with this claim you will be send to jail or shot. So the United States is clearly a state.

Anarchism is opposition to the state. That is it. That is all. Anarchism is not against human communities forming and coming up with laws. Anarchists are not against having traffic laws. Anarchists are not against forming agencies that will act in the "public good" (whatever that even means). Anarchists do not believe in egoism. So the common misconceptions about anarchism are wrong.

Then you ask about law enforcement. Anarchism is not opposed to law enforcement. Law is necessary, and police are necessary. Anarchists simply dismiss the state as the means to provide these services. How police and law will emerge is a topic that will take far too long to explain and discuss. There are entire books written on these ideas. But the general idea is that law and police are necessities that people need. These services can be obtained through the market, just as any other service that people buy and sell. Since law and protection are valuable to people, people would buy these services from the market and hence would be the birth of a police force and law systems. A bad analogy is food. Food is a necessity that people need, but it is not provided by the state, it is provided through the market. Just as people purchase food because they need it, they would purchase protection and security because it is valuable.

Now I realize this does not answer everything. You will ask many more questions on that. But as I said this is a very long discussion that I do not want to get into. And also because I am like one of the worst people to ask. There are smarter people than me on this and they can answer you much better. I am just trying to give you a general idea.

So in this way law, security, defense, enforcement, are provided in absence of a state. Remember the state is characterized by being a concentrated power structure as defined more precisely above. This means that law and defense is not the defining property of the state. You can surly have a state that does not care about law or defending its citizens. It kills its own citizens and ignores its own laws. So the service of law and defense is not the defining property of a state. And in a converse manner law and defense do not have to be provided by a state.

What I described is partially seen by Beis-Din. The Beis-Din is a Jewish court that follows the Talmudic laws. Jews who rather wish to settle their disputes in Beis-Din and agree to settle their disputes there rather than a public court. In this manner Beis-Din functions as an example of a private court.

I think I read somewhere, do not really remember where, that certain businesses have their own courts that they use to settle their disputes because it is much easier to use them than public courts. In this way businesses are able to resolve their disagreements entirely outside the state.

The question of law and order is definitely by far the most complicated question. I will move on now to other questions that were raised. The next question is about, human rights, who would give them if not the state?

Here is thing about rights. Rights are never given. Rights are already there. Everybody has them. Everybody is born with them. What happens is that someone steals them away from people. My problem with most civil rights movements is that they forget this fundamental point. They see the state as the champion that gave them their rights. But that is the error. Rights cannot be given, only taken away. What happened in the past is that various people had their rights stolen from them. By who? The state. Consider for instance black rights in the United States. Blacks suffered because the state passed laws against them. The state treated blacks differently from how it treated whites. With the rise of the civil movements the rights of the blacks were never given to them. Rather what happened is that the state stopped taking those rights away from them. Or consider the homos. A lot of homos complain about the ban on gay marriage and say that they demand their rights from the government. But that is the problem right there. They cannot demand their rights. They always had their rights. If it was not for the state preventing them doing what they want to do they would have them.

The the issue of human rights is really a simple issue. The state is the main entity in history that has violated human rights. You cannot give praise to a state for being a champion of rights if it is the institution that almost surly violates them.

The next question that was asked was about civil liberties. You think the state gives liberty? Liberty, like rights, cannot be given, it is already there, it can only be taken away. If you look throughout history, the main institution that denied people their liberty was the state. Absence of a state is usually liberty. Therefore, this is not issue at all.

The next question was asked about drugs. I am not sure what drugs we are talking about? Medical drugs? Well medical drugs are created through the market and sold for people who need them. I guess he wanted to ask about drug regulation.

It entirely possible to regulate drugs in absence of a state. Regulation comes at a price. The more regulation is used the safer the drug will be, but the more expensive it will become. I do not believe in setting an absolute measure of regulation. I think that people can decide for themselves how much regulation they need. Regulation will be provided by companies that give their stamp of approval on the drugs. The drug companies have it in their interest to make people feel secure about the drugs, so the drug companies will look for regulators that will approve their drugs. Some people are not so crazy about safety, those people will buy drugs will little (or possible no) regulation. But those drugs would be cheaper. Some people are more concerned about safety, those people will buy drugs with a lot of regulation on them. Those drugs would be more expensive. In this manner people would be able to choose exactly how much regulation they want. Drug regulation is important but it is not the only important factor. Some people want cheaper drugs, some people want safer drugs; with more regulation newer drugs would be developed slower. Finding the right mix of these factors is what the market is there to sort out. Having a central regulating body decide the proper amount of regulation (which is always increasing) is not the correct way to deal with this problem.

The follow up question is similar is about doctors. Doctors come from the market. So I guess the question is about who will license the doctors? It is entirely similar to how regulatory agencies insure drugs for profit. It is only scary and outrageous to propose no mandate on licensing because it is not the world we are used to. So when we hear a different scenario we immediately assume the worst and think it would be chaos in the streets. Here is more about unlicensing.

The last question that was asked was about education. I am a very strong opponent of public education. I would like to see an end to it one day. Education, like any other service, can be provided through the market. I am not sure about Europe but in the United States there are a lot of private schools. I went to a private school myself. There is no reason to think why education has to be provided by the state. There are plenty of private schools, and were even more private schools back in the days of no public education. Just like drug regulation this is just another service which can be provided through the market. But state education, I would argue, is dangerous. Unlike drug regulation which is just not as efficient, state education can be used by the state to influence the next generation of children. This is actually quite dangerous to a free society. I seen a good series on YouTube about a push towards a more market-friendly education system which you can find here.

Question 3: Perhaps in the much longer term a more gradual, evolutionary, process will bring about some of the more positive changes you would like.

Answer 3: I do not want to get rid of everything suddenly at once. There are way too many people dependent on the state for their necessities. If that was to happen their entire lives would be ruined.

I do not support social-security but I do wish for it to immediately be eliminated and see the old struggle to live. I think it needs to be done gradually. A magical line needs to be drawn to who from this point on will see social security in their life and who will not. That will make a lot of younger people angry who will be paying into the system, but that is inevitable, that is how ponzi-schemes work. In that way a program is eliminated from the state. And the same should be done with other programs. Such as rent-control. Rent-control should be phased out. New buildings will stop being subject to rent-control laws and when the old buildings are gone there be no rent-control laws anymore. I support a gradual abolishment of all state programs.

If everything is entirely eliminated that would create chaos. This is the reason why anarchy is always identified with chaos. Historically, most of anarchy has resulted from a collapsed state. The state ran on terrible economics, it collapsed, and all of the people are now missing their necessities which came from the state. The people are angry and it leads to a lot of riots and chaos. This is basically what is happening in Greece. It collapsed and people became very angry that all their dependency is now missing.

The chaos that results from the collapsed state is not a proof that the state was necessary. Rather it is the immediate effect of dependency. As an analogy consider leaning against a wall. If I suddenly remove the wall, you shall fall. This is not proof that you are unable to stand by yourself, it rather shows that you had support on the wall. The chaos and disorder that results from the collapsed state is anarchy, but not because there is no state. Rather the chaos is the result from the missing dependency.

If all the social programs are immediately abolished then disorder and chaos would break out. And it will make people think that anarchy is a terrible situation when compared to statism. If instead there is gradual change then there would likely be market alternatives to the needs that people have, and so this chaos will never come to be.

Question 4: Suppose we in the West did nothing about the Taliban and other Islamic Fundamentalists for example? They would soon be taking over Europe and the US.

Answer 4: It seems there is a lot of fear that people put on Muslims. It is understandable because it is partially based on truth. Consider for example the following number. There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. If 1% of these Muslims are the dangerous kind that leaves you with 15 million people. This is a bigger number than the number of Jews in the world, including all Jews, both religious and non-religious. So it is still a big number. And it is true that these Muslims have a big giant-hard on for world domination. I know this because they say so themselves openly.

But I am not scared by Muslim immigration at all. If they want to come, let them come. I do agree that if Muslims start coming into your countries then crimes rates will increase. But only ever so slightly. Say the UK has 2 murders per 100,000 people. With a Muslim immigration that figure can raise to say 3 or 4 murders per 100,000 people. Oh my science, that is scary! Not really. Those numbers are still low. The crime rates do increase with Muslim immigration as the numbers seem to suggest. But it is not chaos and war zones in the middle of the streets.

People are fear-driven creatures. When they get scared of something they stop being so rational about what they are scared about. I saw on Penn and Teller's "Bullshit" series that the chances a child predator will kidnap your kids is three times less likely than being struck by lightning. Many parents have this terrible fear of sending their kids in the streets because for some irrational reason they assume that all strangers are sexual predators that want to have sex with their children. This is just not true. And if these parents stood consistent they should make their children wear lightning rods on top of their heads. But that is not how parents are. They see in the news a story of a kidnapped kid and they create this insane proposition that their kid is at risk.

There is this same fear with Muslims. I certainly agree that Islam is a pathetic evil religion (like others), it is special in that it gets the title as the most evil religion today. But the people who follow the religion are still people. People are not that bad. Most Muslims you would come across in your life are just like other people you would come across your life. Islam fills these people with dangerous ideas, but at the same time, these ideas are not that much acted out. So crime rates increase, but they do not explode astronomically.

Now you can make the argument that Muslims cannot be let into your country because they make it less safe and they increase crime. But I would not buy that argument because you should compare the benefits to the costs. The cost is an increase in crime and a few civil problems. But the benefit is much higher. In particular the benefits to the Muslims. As I said most Muslims are good because most people are good. These Muslims come to Europe and US because their life in the middle-east sucks. The Arab countries are primitive savages with low living standards. These Muslims immigrate to other countries so they can make their lives better off. Since the trouble and unrest is coming from a small minority of Muslims the benefit to the good Muslims is much higher than the costs. This is why I support Muslim immigration. Because I want the good Muslims to be able to improve their lives so that their kids would not have to deal with the non-sense they had to deal with.

The danger of Islam is not the immigration. But something else. The real threat are the fundamentalists taking over the state, or having an influence of the state. The real serious problems that go on in Europe are mainly the result of this. There are laws passed that protect Muslims differently how they protect other people. There is an attempt to push for Sharia law. There are laws passed that negate the freedom of speech of Europeans against Muslims because it is "hate-speech" or some non-sense like that. This is the real problem. The solution, again, is not the state. The state is a big deal of the problem that is in Europe.

Consider this. Christians, from about 500 years ago, where just as bad as these fundamentalist Muslims. But somehow this went away. Where did it go? Why did the Christians not take over the world, or at least Europe? Because the values of the Enlightenment were superior to fundamentalist Christian values. Liberal values are way better than what is found in the Bible. So people eventually, slowly, caught on to these values. If people have exposure to different values, that are superior, they will slowly incorporate those values into themselves. The Muslims never had an Enlightenment. I believe very strongly that Islam fears the values of the modern world. Because these are the same values that changed Christians into moderate Christians. These values do change Muslims into moderate Muslims. You can see it happening. I have seen it happening. I have seen lots of Muslims girls at college. They wear the hijab, but surprisingly they wear pants! There was a nice Muslim girl in one of my classes that told me she only wears a hijab because it is her father's request. I was also able to sense from her modern values. When she spoke it did not feel like she is some Muslim from the middle-east, but a Muslim living in a modern world. I known another such Muslim girl in my other class who used to speak with me. She wore hijab but with pants too. I very strongly believe that these changes are the result of being exposed to modern values in America. Since American and European values are far far superior (and we should be proud of that!) to Muslim values the Muslims are being influenced. Imagine what the next generation would be like? The signs indicate that there will be a big change in the Muslim religion. It will be split, like Judaism has. Into a really tiny portion known as Orthodox Judaism (which does not really do anything so crazy anymore) and other versions of liberal Judaism which are nicer.

Europe is not that big on immigration as America is. Europe consists of lots of natives that lived there for a very long time. Places like Sweden are filled with beautiful blonde white-skinned girls with blue eyes. You do not find that many black people in Russia. European population is more hereditary.

America is big on immigration. This is one of the things that made America great. Get on a train in New York City and you will find every kind of person in the world that you can imagine. White man is a minority when compared to all the immigrants. It makes a lot of people angry that this is the case (*cough* *cough* racist rednecks *cough*), but I like it. There are no natives of America. The Indians which used to be the natives were killed out in a genocide. Initially the American population consisted of European descent and blacks that were enslaved from Africa. So if you want to speak of the natives at the time of American then it were the people of English descent and the blacks. Over the years people immigrated into this country. The Chinese, the Irish, the Jewish, now the Mexicans, and the list goes on and on.

Every single time a new group of people immigrated into America the response was disapproval. There were lots of people who did not want to see immigration into America. And they came up with reasons why these people are "anti-America". They came up with excuses to why it is dangerous to have these people immigrate. Consider the Irish. The Irish were Catholic, and as Catholics they had their allegience to the Pope. When the Irish moved into America many of the people objected and said they are un-American because they do not care for America but they care for the Pope. Is there anyone today who wants to kick the Irish out, besides for kicking out Bill O'Reilly.

Being anti-immigration is the standard course of civilization. I always wondered how people justified wanting the Irish or the Chinese or the Jewish out of the country. I realized this with seeing how they treat Muslims. Every time it was based on certain half-truths. With the Irish it was true that they were Catholic who had allegience to the Pope. But the half-truth was the conclusion that they would make terrible Americans. Every time, many years later in history, when people look back at their stances on immigration they realize how foolish they were in being so anti-immigration. Today we see the Irish immigrating as a trivial issue, or the Jews immigrating as a trivial issue. Because that is a thing of the past and we can see how foolish those people were. But today we do not realize the same anti-immigration position that exists with regard to Muslims.

America has been described as a melting pot. Where all people's of the world come together and melt their ways of life together. This has been true with pretty much all people living in the US. There are still divisions and separations, but not much conflict at all. Because the people find ways to get along even though they are different, for they learned to melt their ways together. There is room in the pot for the Muslims too.

Question 5: These fundamentalists are taking advantage of our "freedom of speech" laws to spread their doctrines and when (and NOT if) they do so they will abolish ALL freedom of speech.

Answer 5: Having freedom of speech laws makes just as much sense as a hetrosexual gay guy or a Jewish Nazi. The entire point of freedom of speech is that there are no laws controlling speech. That is what freedom of speech means. You can read this if you want to know more. The fundamental concept behind freedom of speech is to speak against the state. If the state can control speech and decide laws on speech then it can also decide what can be said about it. In that case freedom of speech is pointless.

Fundamentalist Muslims has the right to say whatever they want to say. And you do not have the right to silence them. While at the same time you have the right to say whatever you want to say about them and they have no right to silence you. That is not abolishing freedom of speech, that is on the contrary a defense of freedom of speech. Because nice polite speech does not need protection, the majority does not need any kind of defense, it is the minority and the impolite and the offensive speech that needs protection.

Question 6: Your (and Wikileaks) unlimited / unrestrained / in my view totally irresponsible "freedom of speech" is a gift to them (which they see as our weakness) and not the ideological panacea to the world's problems that you both seem to imagine.

Answer 6: As I explained before the function of WikiLeaks is to expouse the state, which is part of the freedom of speech. In a free world truth cannot be silenced or hidden from the public. I wish there were thousands of WikiLeaks all over the world and over all the central banks. That way the citizens know exactly what is going on.

I cannot understand how you can possibly be against WikiLeaks? How can you be against the truth? You would rather live in a world that is based on deception and lies than live in a world where the truth have been expoused?

Question 7: On this planet there are many different worlds and I believe it is better to live in the real one and not some imaginary ideological Utopia with its illusionary benefits.

Answer 7: I get accused of that a lot. But what exactly is utopian about what I say? I do not say that the world would be great and wonderful without a state. I do not say that people will magically become wealthy if the state is eliminated. I do not say that conflicts would be eliminated without a state.

All these problems will still be there. That is not what my position is. My position is that with a state these problems are not solved. Rather they are magnified into worse problems.

To your surprise I consider statism to be utopian. I do not say anything contrary to the nature of people. You do. You think that if you create a big power structure with all the violence at hands that it will somehow actually care for its citizens, rather than seeking more power. Statism is what is wrong, and it is what is utopian. Statism is the idea of fixing the world through the use of the state. That is what is wrong, and that is what is utopian.

I think it were the communists who believed that they could change the nature of men so that he will act towards the state and the public rather than himself. They believed they can distance people away from their selfish desires. That is rather utopian. But mainstream statism is not so different, it is founded on the belief in that the people in the state can act differently and more virtuously/benevolently than common men. And that is where it is utopian.

Question 8: Somebody once said “I do not like what was said - but I will fight to the death for his right to say it!”. Very noble. Very high sounding – but totally impracticable, naive and unrealistic in many instances.

Answer 8: It was Voltaire who said that. And you condemn him for that? You condemn him for defending free speech?

You say it is "totally impracticable", how? His stance is more practical. Having a committe decide what can be said and what cannot be said is more impractical. Uncontrolled speech (which is really what free speech is) is as practical as it gets.

What does "unrealistic" mean? I hate that word. It is an empty word that does not mean anything. Its only function is to magically score some debate points. People just throw the word, "unrealistic/realistic", around without making an argument as if it immediately vindicates your argument. As I said, everybody thinks he is being realistic, and thinks those who disagree with him are being unrealistic, so it is in the end an empty statement that does not add anything of value to any argument.

Question 9: Is he being democratic? Far from it – democracy is all about people being allowed to express their opinion about something they believe. What he is doing is hanging-out other people’s “dirty washing” in public – not his own!

Answer 9: I do not care. I do not care about democracy. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner, liberty is a well-armed lamb. The American tradition is not to be a democracy. America is supposed to be a Republic not a Democracy. I do not see anything virtuous in a democracy. So the fact that WikiLeaks is being democratic or undemocratic does not concern me. I do not care.

Question 10: Is the world going to be a better place after all this “truth” has been revealed? Not one bit. Just further divided - in my humble opinion

Answer 10: So you would rather live in a world of lies than in a post-world were all the lies have been revealed? A divided world is a good world in this instance. Because the evils that were done have been brought to the light. It divided the world, but I see that as a good thing. Since now people have some idea what is going on in the world.

Why should the citizens be kept in the dark and lied to in order to maintain the illusion of unity? There is no actual unity in the world. It always was divided. And it will always be divided. With this information released people know exactly how much the world have been divided. WikiLeaks did not divide anything. The states and politicians involved in it are the ones that really caused the problems. Why do you not blame them? Why do you not blame the ones who caused the problem? Why do not not blame the ones who killed people? Why blame the messenger who simply shown to the world their evils?

Question 11: There is no government in Somalia – I do not imagine either of you will be moving there any time soon.

Answer 11: There was a government in Soviet Union and in Nazi Germany. You would not want to live under the Soviets or the Nazis. Therefore, statism is wrong.

Is that a good or bad argument? I know what you will say. You will say I am not being fair. I picked terrible representatives for statism. Well you are doing the same thing. You are picking a terrible representative for anarchism and using it as something which represents all anarchists.

Anarchists do not say "anarchism is preferrable to statism". That is not the argument. The argument has been, "if all is kept equal, anarchism is preferrable to statism". Therefore, if you want to compare countries you must compare like to like. Not unlike to like.

Comparing the United States which had hundreds of years to develop to a primitive country like Somalia, and saying "Aha, Somalia is terrible compared to a state" is a ridiculous argument. How is that any fair?

If you want to compare Somalia to anything then you should compare it to Somalia itself. More specifically, Somalia with a state to Somalia without a state. That is the only fair comparrison that you can make. Compare it to itself before it had a state to after it had a state.

Was Somalia better off with a state? No, not at all. It was way worse. It was much more terrible. The easiest way to see this is by seeing how the people voted with their feet. When the Somalia state collapsed there was a migration back into Somalia. Clearly, it was because under no state Somalia was preferrable to when it had a state.

There were a number of economists who studied how Somalia is doing under no state and they discovered that on nearly every measurement they are doing better with no state than when they did have a state. Somalia is even doing better on various measures than some of its African neighbors with states.

You have the impression that my position that if a state is eliminated then everything becomes great and wonderful. While all I say is that things will probably improve. And they have with Somalia. So Somalia is not a counter-example to what I say. Somalia is an empirical justification of what I said.

Somalia is also a bad example of what I stand for. Because I advocate an intellectual revolution of people who are pro-science, pro-reason, pro-skepticism, pro-liberty, pro-peace who recognize the state as being illegitamite and unnecessary. That way an anarchist society would certainly be preferrable to whatever exists now. But Somalia is something different. Somalia is a collapsed state. The Somali people did not come to anarchism in a philosophical and economicaly manner. They are primitive people (not that I mean them any bad) who had this event happen in their lives. And now they need to live under no state without being properly educated. But if the Somali people, as uneducated as they are on this issue, can make their lives better off with no state then does it not suggest that educated people would do it even better?