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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 20: Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter

As hard as I tried to defend these two I have failed. I can see no way to defend them. And because of that I must surrender to my "Defending the Wicked" series and complete it.

The two main themes of this series were the defense of the free market and the rejection of morality. I tried to make the case why the market should not be blamed for what we think is supposedly evil. But more importantly, and my main theme, was the rejection of morality in place of nihilism.

I want people to see how much more so your mind becomes less enslaved the moment you accept a nihilistic way of looking at the world. And that morality is only a tool of control that enslaves the mind into a way of thinking. One can still be humane and kind without being moral.

Do you think that my list of topics were chosen correctly from least severe to most severe, if not which ordering would you found to be correct?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 19: Killing Little Babies

This would be partially a response to why I am not a vegetarian (a continuation of the last post) and why I support abortion. My position is that I am fine with killing little babies if we need a way to abort them. So for me it is not whether it is in the first trimester or the second, or whatever other time period, but for me it is alright to dispose of a baby. Al fortiorti I am fine with abortion if I am fine with killing little babies. I connect this together with vegetarianism because I am okay with killing animals and I want to explain why I am, under certain specific circumstances, okay with killing people. To explain my position I will need to get off topic and talk about a seemingly irrelevant question.

Where do rights come from? When we say that people have natural inalienable rights what do we mean to say? Some people may think rights are God given, or if you are like Ayn Rand then you think you can derive them from objective morality (Objectivism), but for me, and other moral nihilists, rights are just a man made concept. I choose to recognize that people have certain natural rights (the principle of self-ownership) because they make sense, they lead to consistency, rejection of them leads to forms of contradiction in society, and they lead to a more just and humane society. I know that I probably have to explain each of these points but I am not going to because that would take me off topic. I just want to explain that my position on rights is not derived from anything mystical like religion or objective morality, but simply from recognizing their necessity.

Thus, when I ask the question, "what has rights?", I really mean to ask, "to whom or to what do we apply this idea of rights to?". Or to put it this way, I mean to ask, "who do I recognize as having rights". Because I decide to whom rights are applicable to, since they are man made after all, I need to have some standard to apply them to others. My standard is very simple, whoever posses an intellect and a consciousness, has rights.

Let us imagine this thought experiment. Suppose that there is a human. But this human has a very interesting property. He has no soul. Or if you prefer the less poetic version, he has no consciousness. Because he has no soul there is no observer within him that experiences his existence. Thus, if I was to brutally torture this human there is no inside observer from within the body that is capable of feeling pain. The human is not feeling anything! But to the outside observer, such as ourselves, when I torture him it appears that he is suffering. But in all actuality he is simply expressing a behavior associated with such a stimuli. My question is that do I consider it wrong to torture a person with no soul? No. Because there is no insider observer feeling anything.

Now let us imagine a different thought experiment. Suppose that there is a machine. But this machine has a very interesting property. It has a soul. Or if you prefer the less poetic version, it has artificial consciousness. Because it has a soul there is an insider observer within it that experiences its existence. Thus, if I was to pull and twist its circuits, and assuming it can feel pain, there would be an inside observer within the body that is experiencing all the terrible pain. But to the outside observer, such as ourselves, when I pull and twist on the circuits it appears that nothing is happening. But in all actuality it is feeling all the pain that I send through its circuitry. My question is that do I consider it wrong to torture a machine with a soul? Yes. Because there is an insider observer which can feel the pain.

Understand the point that was made above. It is not that it is wrong to torture living things but okay to torture non-living things but that whether or not we can torture is determined by whether or not there is a soul. The status of whether something is alive or not is irrelevant in this discussion. Apples are alive but they are not conscious thus we do not have to feel sad for them when we eat them. Bacteria are alive also but they are not conscious so we do not have to feel sad for them when we kill millions of them every day. But machines, which obviously do not exist yet, that have consciousness cannot be treated by our own wills, since they now have a consciousness we need to respect their feelings.

So far we have asked the question of "when do we have a right to do whatever we please to an object?". And we answered it by saying that as long as it has no consciousness then we can treat it and do with it whatever we wish. This means that animal torture is wrong. Because animals, even though they are some really dumb beasts, do have a consciousness. Of course, there is no way to know if they do, but they give signs that they do so it is reasonable for us to assume that they also have a consciousness. Since the consciousness is determined by the brain and probably the complexity of thought it is safe to assume that beasts have a very primitive consciousness. Nothing as developed as in human beings. But a consciousness nonetheless. It follows from what was said above that because there is an internal observer within a body of a cow that it is wrong to torture cows. Or any sufficiently developed animal in general (obviously we are excluding simplistic organisms like sponges).

But we never answered the question of, "when is there a right to kill/destroy a body?". There are two cases to consider. Either the body posses consciousness or else it does not. If it does not posses consciousness then we said that anything can be done to that body and so killing it is a right. But if it does posses consciousness then the question is more complicated. Why should I have a right to kill a cow, but not torture it, but not have a right to kill a person?

To answer the question of when I can kill, but not torture, a conscious body, we need to determine if it posses an intellect. People posses an intellect. They can think, imagine, plan ahead, think about the past, they are capable of introspection, they can invent new ideas, and so forth. To kill a person even humanely is to rob him of his future and all of these traits that hold for him in the present. This is why I do not consider it to be a right for people to kill people but a right for people to kill animals. Because animals have no intellect. They do not think, they do not imagine, they do not plan ahead, they do not live historically, they are incapable of introspection, and they cannot invent new ideas. They are just too primitive for these traits. An animal cannot even comprehend its relationship between itself and the farmer who is about to take an axe to its neck. It is too primitive. Sorry. But it does have a consciousness and so we should make sure not to torture it. Even though it is does not posses an intellect.

The moment you can find me an animal that does posses an intellect then I would consider it to have some rights and not acknowledge the right of other people to kill it. Let us say a dolphin, they are the most advanced animal. I am not sure how their intellect works. Obviously not very well because if it was good they would not be where they are for the past millions of years - they cannot evolve by their own standards. But they might have some intellect. I do not know. But if they have some intellect, and a consciousness, then perhaps they can be equated to a three year old child. And under those conditions I would consider it wrong to kill a dolphin.

So this should explain why I am not a vegetarian, but I do have respect for certain (non-radical) vegetarians. Now on to the issue of abortion.

The problem with the whole abortion issue is that the the arguments that are given by both sides miss the entire point. A typical conservative (I wonder how many conservatives like myself actually support abortion?) would say "abortion is murder". The typical liberal would say "abortion is not murder because it is not a person". The conservative would respond "but it is a person, it is just not developed enough". And then the entire debate would be about whether something is a person or not. For me this is an unnecessary debate. If a typical conservative was to tell me that "abortion is murder". I would tell him, "eating meat is murder". My point is that, who cares? Why should I care if something is murder or not? I explained in my above paragraphs under which cases is murder justified and since a fetus has no soul and no intellect I have no problem with killing it. I do not care if it is murder. So the typical conservative would try a different tactic. He would tell me that "you are killing a human being". Instead of jumping into the the error as a liberal would on this point I will simply say, "yes, I know, I have no problem with killing babies". At that point I will probably insult the conservative too much for him to speak with me. But let me explain that again. I have no problem with killing little babies because they either have no consciousness, or a super under developed consciousness, they definitely posses no intellect at all. I do not care if it is a person or not. I do not value a person because he is a person but because he has a consciousness and an intellect. Since a baby has no consciousness and no intellect I have no problem with killing a baby. Consider a baby that is doomed to grow up a life of terrible disease. Then we should kill it now when we still have a right to before it is too late so that it will now have to suffer when it grows up into an intelligent conscious entity. Babies are even less mentally developed then cows. If it is alright to kill cows under my reasoning then it is also alright to kill babies. I do not care about humans. That is irrelevant to me. All what is relevant is whether or not the entity posses an intellect and a consciousness.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 18: Cannibalism

My stance on cannibalism is really a reaction to vegetarianism. Vegetarianism says that it is cruel to eat animals therefore we must refrain from eating animals. Other, more respectable, versions of vegetarianism say that the way meat is collected today is through inhumane means therefore we must not support the meat industry.

My response to vegetarians is that I have no beef with eating meat. Including all kinds of meat. Even including human meat. I would be interested in eating human meat but it is just hard to get it legitimately. My problem with human consumption is not the consumption part but the non-consensual consumption of other people. Non-consensual cannibalism is better known as murder. It is the murder of other people that I have a problem with. I do not have the same issue with murdering animals - and I will explain exactly why this is so in my follow up post to this one, but not here because it will take me off topic.

Therefore, I respond to vegetarians that I have no problem with any kind of meat whatsoever. It can even be human meat. My position is not that "meat is wrong to eat" but rather the means that were used to acquire that meat. If the means to acquire human meat were legitimate, perhaps the person allowed his dead body to be used for consumption, then I have no problem with it. If however we enslaved the person, killed him, and then sold his meat then I would have a problem with that. I also would have a problem if an animal was skinned alive and tortured, because I do consider animals to have feelings and a consciousness. Thus, I do think it is wrong to eat human meat that we killed off a person without his consent, and I do think it is wrong to eat meat that we tortured off an animal. But if the human meat was acquired with permission of that person, and if the meat of the animal was collected in a humane manner then I do not have an issue with its consumption. So to stress again, it is not the consumption of any kind of particular meat that I have an issue with, but that means that were taken to acquire this meat.

Now I want to get into the historical aspects of cannibalism. Well, I should say, what I believe to be the history of cannibalism because everything I would say about cannibalism now is entirely made up by me. It is known that there were/are tribes that have consumed other human beings after they died. These tribes practiced cannibalism. Their reasons for doing so was because the tribes believed that when they eat their dead members they absorb them back into the tribe. But I believe there was more than just the religious belief of absorbing the dead into the tribe at work here. The reality of the situation of these tribes is that they are very poor. They did not have much food to eat. They did not eat other living members of their tribe because that was not economically sustainable so they had to wait till one of the members died to eat him. Thus, their religion was partially a justification for the post-fact that they needed something to eat. Dead people were a means to satisfy their hunger. When people stopped living in hunter-gather primitive tribes after they learned to farm during the agricultural revolution their standard of living improved so that it was not longer necessary for people to consume other people. And so people practiced in ceremonial burial rather than just eating their own members. The history of vegetarianism is similar to the history of cannibalism. People ate animals for the same reason. They were hungry so they needed a way to eat the animals. In modern ages, ever since the industrial revolution society became blessed with abundance of food. Animals were no longer necessary for the consumption of food. And so people found other means to satisfy their hunger. None of this was possible before the industrial revolution and it is only today in present days that vegetarianism is possible. Therefore, the history of all hitherto existing cannibalistic societies is the history of food struggles.

Cannibalism was practiced because it was necessary. And no person in those tribes had problems with it. It is only in our modern age with the abundance of food that we begin to look at the idea of eating other people as repulsive and wrong. In fact, some of us go so far as to be repulsed by the idea of eating animals. And I believe that if there were chemical alternatives for people to eat in abundance there would also develop people known as the "plant vegetarians", but that is a revolution for the future that did not happen yet.

To state my case in defense of cannibalism I want to say that not all cannibalism would be justified under my values, just like not all animal consumption would be justified under my values. For cannibalism to be justified it needs to be done with the consent of the other person. People are their self-owners. I own my own life and no one has an ownership on my life, it is my inherent natural right, and I hold this truth to be self-evident. Thus, it if is my own life then I can choose to do with it as I so desire. This means that if I no longer value it I can allow myself to be killed by someone else and eaten by him. All I have done is transferred my own property ownership to someone else. I can also, in the same manner, decide what can happen to my body after I die. If I do not believe in funerals or afterlives then I can choose to allow other people to consume me or dispose of my body as they please, even use me as a sex toy. But that is up to them because I have transferred over my property claim to someone else. And it is in this way that cannibalism is justified and defendable.

Defending the Wicked Part 17: Kiddie Porn

As if the pedophile cannot be bad enough, there comes kiddie porn. Porn that shows children either having sex or showing off their bodies. This post will really be a continuation of the last on of the pedophile.

Is porn, in general, bad for you? No. From what we know porn does not have any negative effects on people. It does not necessarily lead to a bad marriage. It may, but only if the wife is some authoritarian piece of garbage that objects to her husband enjoying himself. Other couples can enjoy in watching porn together. So it is not really so much of whether porn is good or bad for you but whether or not you have a positive view of porn or a negative view of porn. If you have a negative view of porn then it may lead to bad consequences, but that is not porn to blame, only your authoritarian views that need to be blamed here.

I know that porn is an issue that a lot of feminists obsess over about. They blame porn on that it represents women in a bad way. Some of them go so far as to argue that when men see shaved women in porn it will lead to kiddie porn because children have no hair. But those are the really crazy feminists who say that. Whether or not it really represents women in a bad way is a different topic that I do not want to discuss here, but all I can say is that these feminists have no idea what they are talking about because they have a negative view of porn to begin with and so they perceive it as bad from their own point of view.

From what I have heard porn actually reduces the incidents of rape. Of course, there is no humane way to possibly test this hypothesis but it makes sense. Because if rapists have access to porn then they will find ways to relieve themselves. And so they will have less of a desire to go after women. I know someone will counter me and say that what I said is really the other way around. Porn will induce rape because if rapists see porn they will have more of a desire to find women to rape. However, this argument does not make sense from introspection. Just consider yourself. If you stay away from porn and stay away from masturbation then your mind will be excessively focused on sex. If you are a guy you will be getting a lot more erections. It is only when you masturbate and watch porn does this desire go away (at least temporary). No one who masturbates will feel the need to go and have sex immediately after finishing. So from that observation it does not make sense to say that porn induces rape, only that it reduces the desire of rapists to hunt women.

So porn is actually good. It is good for the soul. It is good for couples. It can make you money. And it probably reduces crime. You can even enjoy in making your own porn. By the way, if you have your own porn tapes, send them to me, I be happy to see them, and then post them online.

So what about kiddie porn? The problem with kids is that they are not adults to enter into such porn agreements. It is not that I care about children. It is just that children are not really able to enter into contracts with adults because they have no idea what they are doing. So in that instance it is hard to defend to filming of kiddie porn. I believe that I can come up with cases under which filming kiddie porn would be defendable. For example, suppose the kid is so poor that he will die and the only way he has to get money is being in porn. Under that horrible instance I believe kiddie porn would be defendable because it is the best out of the bad choices. However, that would not be a defense of kiddie porn because I am only focusing on a specific kind of kiddie porn. I need to focus on kiddie porn in and of itself and so I do not see a way to defend kiddie porn.

But there is a kind of kiddie porn that can be defended. And that is animated kiddie porn. It could be computer animations of naked children and children having sex with other children. Or it could be animations of children being raped by a 60 year old guy. Or it could be animations of little Catholic boys being tortured through the act of sodomization with hot metal rods up their anus. Whatever, it is all fine. Really strange, but fine I guess. Because no one is actually being harmed. No child is being harmed. No person is being harmed. It is all make believe ... like God.

There can also be a market for kiddie porn. Maybe Google would start participating in making kiddie porn too. There would be magazines that pedophiles can buy that will present kiddie porn. Though this will most likely not happen because of bad perception of people and the fact that the demand for kiddie porn is really really low.

Furthermore, as explained, I believe that kiddie porn will reduce the number of child molestation cases. The pedophiles have nowhere to go to to enjoy in their pedophile ways. Because of that they are more likely to go after children. But if they had access to kiddie porn then I am sure it will reduce the number of cases of child molestation.

And yes that should be protected by freedom of speech. If you want to know what constitutes freedom of speech and what does not you can read what I wrote back here. There is also one more issue that needs to be addressed. If kiddie porn becomes illegal and it becomes illegal for people to have kiddie porn then we are legislating thought crimes. All what kiddie porn is, is a mental activity in your own head. To say it is illegal to have kiddie porn or watch kiddie porn is to say that it is illegal to reach certain mental states. And it is in that way that it is entire non-sense to ban kiddie porn. Thought cannot and should not be controlled.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 16: The Pedophile

There are concepts that cannot be criticized in every society under any generation. The Bible, for the longest time, was one such example. No one was allowed to criticize the Bible. Not just because it would probably lead to death of the critic but also because people had such a mentality to treat it as sacred. In our society there are similar such sacred concepts, I spoke about one, the civil rights act, back here. For some people the military and even in some cases, the police, are another sacred concepts that cannot be criticized. But there are also the reverse concepts, the concepts that cannot be defended under any circumstances in every society under any generation. Those are the purely evil concepts. In our society and in many societies around the world the Nazis are one such example. They are supposedly pure evil and we are not allowed to even try to understand them in the slightest. We simply say "they are purely evil" and we are happy with it, we make no attempt to understand their minds. We cannot accept that they are people and they are not different from us, many had friends and where good family men, intelligent people, but we cannot accept that. It makes us to inconvenient to know that we are not so different from them so we invent lies to delude ourselves, lies that make us feel better, lies that tell us that the Nazis were nothing but pure evil. This is why so frequently when people talk about Nazis descriptions such as "animals" are used, not because the person really felt he wanted to say that, but because he is enslaved under morality, under social norms, that told him to say what he did. In the Jewish world the Holocaust is another such example. Do not misunderstand me, there is nothing to defend about the Holocaust it was certainly an evil event in human history. But my question is why do we act so differently when he hear "Holocaust" over "Rome". Rome was also terrible to Jewish people. Why develop the feeling of pure evil over the Nazis but not over the Romans? In fact, Jewish people would not really mind if you told jokes regarding the Romans and the Jews. But they would certainly not feel the same if a Holocaust joke was used instead.

The Pedophile is the modern age example in all modern developed societies as the person who is pure evil. Just like with the Nazis we do not want to imagine him being human. We do not want to imagine that he has hobbies, interests, people he loves, and things that make him sad. We refuse to acknowledge that because we would realize that he is not different from us, so we invent the demonization of pedophiles. He is the wicked or all the wicked. And we condemn pedophilia as the evil of all evils. Indeed, a murderer is not seen anywhere as terrible as a pedophile for most people.

This such demonization of the pedophile happens because children become our sacred possessions. Anything regarding children must automatically be good. I even use the expression as the "what about the children?!" - argument. The "what about the children?! argument is an argument which automatically wins any debate. Let us suppose that "people should be able to smoke cigarettes in places where the owner allows". To counter what I said my opponent will just have to say, "what about the children? they have lungs that will get polluted if they inhale the smoke!". See what he did. He took my argument and added "what about the children?!", thereby implying that I am evil because I am against kids. This argument always works. Here is another example. Suppose I say, "there should be no laws regulating the usage of drugs". All you have to say is, "what about the children? they will start buying up drugs and ruin their lives". I will always keep George Carlin's response in mind when I think about children, as he said, "Fuck the children". And he is absolutely right. Children are nothing but underdeveloped people. The very same pathetic people that exist all around us in the world. The only difference between them and adults is that they are underdeveloped. I can guarantee you that they will grow up into the very same pathetic adult population. So there is no loss if your little Billy overdoses on heroin.

There are two problems with sacred concepts and purely evil concepts. The first one is that the moment we turn something into a purely evil concept (or sacred) then we prevent ourselves from trying to understand the truth. For instance, if we turn Nazis into purely evil Satanists then we no longer have an interest to understand them and their ideas and how those ideas can affect certain people to some degree today. But I already discussed that problem in earlier posts on this series. The other problem is that the moment we turn into a purely evil concept the people associated with that start to think that their must be something wrong with them. Let me make this clearer with an example. Let us return to pedophilia and child molestation. If we treat child molestation as the worst thing in the world and we demonize it then all the kids that were molested would think to themselves that there is something wrong with them. They will stop seeing themselves as unfortunate people who had a bad event happen in their life but they will see themselves as the medium through which the worst evil in the world channeled through. This would add so much more so to their depression. Consider child bullying. Bullying is similar to molestation, both physically and emotionally hurt the children. However, no one who was bullied sees himself as a medium from which the worst evil in the world channeled through. But with molestation they do. These children are then taught later in their life to put all of their life problems on this one single traumatic experience of their life. Thereby they develop a victim mentality. All of this happens precisely when we start to demonize child molestation. This same phenomenon can be said about rape victims. A woman who barely survived a beating from her husband suffered a lot more than a woman who was raped. However, the raped victim will feel a lot more emotional pain precisely because we demonize rape but not women beatings. Surly both are terrible things to do to women but one of them is not demonized, namely beatings. Beatings are just seen are something very wrong to do to a woman but not demonized like rape is. As a result, women who were raped think there is something wrong with them and develop a victim mentality.

Now let us consider the pedophile. A pedophile is someone who has a sexual attraction to little children. This does not mean that a pedophile is someone who actually goes after little children for sexual reasons. Men are attracted to women very few actually forcefully go out after women. The same with pedophilia. There are pedophiles that admit they are pedophiles but have never harmed another kid. They stood away from that their entire life. Because they realize it is wrong to harm children but they cannot help to control their desires. My question is that how can a pedophile be blamed for something he has no control over? We cannot blame a homo for being gay, and we cannot blame a straight guy for being straight, it is in their nature. We cannot blame furries who like to masturbate to animal-like human cartoons having sex with one another. It is what they desire. We cannot blame people who are turned on by animals, it is what they desire. Pedophiles have such a rare preference, they prefer little children. They find them sexually attractive. As long as they do not act on their desires and just realize it is their desires then no one can ever condemn a pedophile. He is human just like the rest of us and deserves the same respect and love as does every other person.

If we want to help molestation victims the best thing we can do is stop demonization of pedophiles and child molestation. Because that will remove from them the feeling of being a medium for evil. It will stop making them feel as if there is something wrong with them.

And by the way for all of those who are going to demonize me for my ideas know this. There are two people, who have been molested, that I know of, who agree with what I just said. One of them said so himself. And the other I presented me ideas to and he totally agreed with everything I had to say. So before you start condemning me, as I know will happen because this is after all a purely evil concept, know that I can connect with people who experienced this.

Here is a fantastic video relating what I just said: Here

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 15: Incest

This post will be similar to my previous post on bestiality. My argument with regard to bestiality was that bestiality has no objection to it but this supposed sin is so part of society that it is hard for people to get around this problem and examine bestiality rationally. Incest is not different from the same phenomenon. Our moral system is a good example in the case of incest and bestiality as a system that enslaves our minds. Our moral system teaches us how to stay away from bestiality and incest and we blindly follow with no reasons to back it up. This is just another example for why all of morals must be abandoned if we ever wish to free our minds from tyranny, not just religious mental tyranny but even secular tyranny which represents our morals.

Incest is something which is not commonly practiced because incest is an evolutionary disadvantage. There is not enough biodiversity when family members multiply among themselves. Thus, it is not a surprise why people are innately opposed to incest. However, some people, let us call them "rednecks", are not opposed to incest. Rednecks multiply with their own family members and are okay with it. It is almost universally accepted that the rednecks are doing something wrong but why is this so? What objection can there be to incest?

We will again ignore the whole natural argument. That is the terrible argument I addressed in my previous post on bestiality. Saying that "incest is not natural therefore it is wrong", is not just a non-sequitor but it also makes no sense to how something can even be unnatural. The Bible will also not be helpful here, even if we somehow strangely respected the moral code of the Bible. Because there is plenty of incest going on in the Bible, including many heroic figures.

Someone once told me that incest is contrary to evolution because people are made in a way to reproduce with non-family members. Therefore, if people practiced incest then the human race will be damaged in the future. This is true, but that is not a reasonable objection to incest. You know what else is an evolutionary disadvantage for people? Homosexuality. If people practiced homosexuality, not only would humanity be damaged (because the population would be smaller), as with incest, they would all be dead eventually. Is such an argument against homosexuality a respectable argument? No, it is used by many opponents of anti-gay marriage who say that if people practice homosexuality then the whole world would be dead. Their argument ignores the fact that a vast number of people are straight. In the same manner such an argument against incest ignores the vast number of people who do not get involved in incestual relationships.

So the above argument is not an objection to incest. What argument remains? There is just one last argument that can be used against incest and that is that incest might produce underdeveloped people. If people reproduce with incest then they run a risk of creating subhumans. The argument goes that it is unfair for the subhumans. They had no say in the incestual relations their parents did. Their parents therefore as hurting these subhumans when they grow up into adults. This argument has one problem with it. This argument assumes that incest must always be done for the sake of reproduction. Perhaps, incest is done for fun. It is sex after all. Most people who have sex have sex for fun. Thus, perhaps most people who engage in incest only do so because they have fun with it. Remember we are trying to argue why incest, in and of itself, is wrong, not why some various forms of incest. This argument does not address the nature of incest itself and so fails to object to why incest is wrong.

With lack of all arguments that classify incest as wrong we must take the default position. Which is that incest is not wrong.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 14: Bestiality

Bestiality, in case you do not know, is having sex with animals. Bestiality is almost universally treated as wrong. But I fail to see why it should be wrong. There is not a single argument against it that is worthy that I believe out of all the things I have considered bestiality is probably the easiest to defend. The only reason why it is so high on my list of supposedly wicked things is because of the people's perception of it.

Bestiality, in my experience, sometimes comes up in discussions regarding homosexuality. Those people who are in favor of homosexuality and gay marriage are targeted by their opponents who say, "today it is homosexuality and tomorrow it is bestiality". Of course this is nothing other than a slippery-slope argument. The whole issue of gay marriage is that homosexuals are people too and so can enter into contracts, if we respect the rights of people, then we should respect the homosexual's right to get married. What this has to do with bestiality I have no idea, so the objection to homosexual marriages because it will lead to bestiality is a stupid argument. But my typical response to this slippery-slope argument is generally different, I do not use my counter-response above, I simply ask "so what?". Obviously, I use such a response to shock these people some more for my own entertainment but it does have a point nonetheless.

What objection can there possibly be to bestiality? What I always hear is that "bestiality is morally wrong". But why? I never hear anyone explain why this is so. I want to hear a secular response to why it is wrong. I do not want to hear religious responses because religious responses can be made to be into whatever we choose them to be. I want to repeat again, what has been one of my main themes on this blog, that there are no objective morals. So really my question should be interpreted as, "under what system of secular values that you use for yourself does bestiality become wrong?".

I guess a popular response, that I hear but am unconvinced by, is that bestiality is unnatural. It seems the secular value system is that whatever is natural is good and what is unnatural is bad. But this is a stupid value system to begin with. First of all, what does "natural" even mean? How can something possibly be "unnatural"? If something already exists then it is part of nature so how can we call it "unnatural"? Second of all, ignoring this big hole in this system of values we have to arrive at the conclusion that vaccinations are wrong because vaccinations are man-made, and are therefore unnatural (at the moment we are ignoring the whole meaning of "unnatural" for sake of illustration). Third of all, some animals have sex with animals of the different kind, this happens in the animal kingdom, therefore by definition those animals are committing bestiality, thus, does it follow that bestiality is acceptable because it is natural? Whatever, I am done with this non-argument, it is a silly argument, moving on to something more interesting.

The only remaining argument against bestiality that I can think of is that bestiality is violence against animals, and therefore it is wrong. This system of values does consider animals to have value and causing them pain is treated as wrong. And I do share in this system of values. I do think it is wrong to cause suffering to animals because they are creatures that have some degree of consciousness and feelings. However, when someone commits bestiality with animals he is shoving his penis into them, not some hot iron rod up their anus. The penis is tiny when compared to, say, a horse's penis. A horse's penis is far larger than man's, if that kind of penis, when enters into a female horse, is not painful (even pleasant) to the female horse, then clearly the human penis cannot possibly cause any pain to the horse. Also remember that animals never ask each other for sex, the male horse just walks over and has sex with the female horse. There is no consensual agreement between animals. For those reasons, if we stay consistent, it is not wrong for a human to have sex with another animal.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 13: The Adulterer

Adultery is defined to be sex with a person who is not your spouse. Note this definition implies that you must be married. An unmarried person cannot commit adultery. They can do something which is known as "cheating", but it will not be called adultery, to commint adultery on someone, you must be married to that person. The Biblical punishment for adultery is death. This practice can still be found in the uncivilized Islamic countries today. Adultery clearly has some problems with it. If the husband commits adultery on his wife, and his wife founds out about it, it can lead to a breakdown of his entire family, which is obviously a problem. However, there are certain conditions under which adultery would be acceptable and in fact may even be a good idea.

Part of the problem of many relationships is that the husband wants to be involved with other women. This is natural and in male nature. Evolution designed men to want to be polygamous and spread their sperm to as many women as they can. When a male marries a woman and stays with her he is fighting against his nature. This male nature is part of many relationship problems. I believe that if we accept this condition of men as normal and find ways to incorporate it into relationships in a reasonable manner then it can lead to stronger relationships between the husband and the wife.

What the wife needs to understand is that her husband, if he fantasizes about other women, or watches porn, does not necessarily no longer love her anymore. Just because he wants someone else's pussy does not mean he wants to run away with a different woman. Understand that his desire for other women is purely lust based, he does not want to live with them, just sleep with them. Likewise, just because a guy still masturbates in a relationship does not necessarily imply that he no longer wants his wife or her pussy. It just meant that he wanted a way to relieve himself.

By the reasoning above it follows that if a wife catches her husband taking out another woman other to dinner she should be more concerned than if she catches him in bed with another woman. Because if she catches him in bed then she can assume it was only lustful for him. But if she catches him having dinner with another woman then she should be concerned that perhaps he wants to leave her with another woman.

The kind of adultery that would be justified is the kind in which the wife is fully aware of what her husband is doing. The husband would tell her that he has a temptation to sleep with another woman and his wife would understand. His wife would understand that for him sex with a different woman is just like masturbation for him. Just done out of lust. In that way the husband would be able to relieve himself with a different woman and still maintain a strong relationship with his wife.

The problem is when the wife refuses to accept this polygamous male nature. Then the husband knows that he cannot tell his desires to his wife. Because if he told his wife his desires of other women then she would get very angry and it may lead to an end of a relationship (just shows you how "love" is not so much about actual love, but I am getting off topic). But if his wife was open-minded and understood his dilemma, and furthermore did not stop him from engaging other women then his problem would be relieved and their relationship would stay the same. But in our current modern value system adultery is treated as always wrong, and so the husband must hide this from his wife. Which very often leads to a complete breakdown of the marriage.

Strong relationships are based on honesty and being open with the spouse. The desire to have sex with others is just another issue that should be explored between couples if they wish to maintain a strong relationship. I hope that the future of humanity will change their perception of adultery to allow for the scenario that I described. It should lead to improved marriage. And it is in this way that adultery can be an aid to protect marriages, not to destroy them.

I should be a marriage counselor, I have some strange ideas for couples.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 12: Usury

Usury is the act of charging excessively high interest rates, it is often characterized by being above the legal rate. The obvious position that most people take towards usury is that it is exploitation and stealing money from other people and so we need laws against interest being too high. I am going to defend usury and argue that the interest rates need to be set by the market rather than by some mandated artificial law. If through the market interest rates become excessively high then so be it, it must be left alone at this rate and not tampered with. Therefore, I will defend usury.

In the process of defending usury I will also defend a group of people who consistently went through difficult times because of usury. And those were the Jews. Throughout history the Jews have been accused of committing usury. When a country fell into economic problems they blamed the Jews for all the mess in the economy by saying that the usury of the Jews brought forth about the economic breakdown. Instead of seeing usury as the effect of a bad economy they saw it as the cause of their problems. Since Jews mostly worked as moneylenders they were usually the first people to get into lots of trouble. This is what lead to a lot of Jews being killed or banned from a country. Thus, not only am I defending usury I will in a way be defending the innocent Jews of past history that were either expelled or murdered by countries where they lived at.

Before we can defend usury we need to understand what interest rates represent. Where do interest rates cometh from? The answer to this question depends on whose point-of-view you are looking at it from. The answer will vary between the point-of-view of the creditor and the debtor. For the debtor, interest is the willingness to have money now than the future. The more desire the debtor has to have money at the moment the higher he would be willing to pay. This is fine except interest is always some percentage. If interest was just the willingness to pay for money now than the future then it can be purchased for a fixed given price, say $100 per loan. Why is it rather that interest is always in a form of a percentage? The answer is based on understanding interest from the point-of-view of the creditor. For him interest rates measure the risk involved in giving loans. Loans are always borrowed under risk. There is always some risk that the loan will not be paid back. If the lender simply gave away money with no interest then in the long run he would be running at a loss. The lender must charge an interest rate to repay off his inevitable losses. Here is an example. Suppose that the lender knows that there is a 20% chance that a borrower will not repay off his loan. How he knows that is not important here, we are just assuming he knows this figure. If it is 20% risk then the lender must charge an interest rate higher than 20%, say 25%. Consider the scenario of 5 borrowers all taking a $100 loan from the lender. Under this model one of the borrowers will not pay off the loans, so the lender losses $100. But at the same time he gains $25+$25+$25+$25=$100 from the other borrowers who paid of his loan, so he did not lose anything. This is the necessity of charging interest in terms of percentages rather than fixed payments. Because the percentages reflect the probability behind a loan at risk. Giving loans is therefore like a gamble. A casino does not operate in a way to never lose money, rather a casino operates in a way to win more money than it loses. It does so by calculating the correct probabilities in various games. Interest rates are likewise a gamble. The creditor does not operate to never lose his loans but operates in a way so that the amounts of money he gets from authentic debtors is sufficient to pay off his loses and furthermore earn him some profit.

Interest rates are therefore determined by the willingness of the borrowers and the risk involved in giving loans. It is important to understand this point. Be sure to understand that interest rates are not arbitrary decided upon by the creditors. This seems to be the whole confusion about the issue of usury. The way people look at the loanshark is some incredibly greedy person who makes his rates purposely so high to cause harm to other people. No. The loanshark is irrelevant here, the amount of value people have to immediate money over eventual money and the risk involved in giving a loan is what is important here. That is to say, there is something inherent to high interest rates, not some artificial decision of the loanshark.

But this alone does not determine the market interest rate. That is determined by supply and demand. The inherent nature of how much people want to have immediate money and the risk of a loan determines the demand and the supply respectively. Now it begins to make sense why interest rates become excessively large. If there is an economic disturbance in some country the people have more demand for having immediate money. But at the same time the risk is very high because lots of people would not be able to repay their loans. So the demand becomes high and the supply is limited because not many people are able to loan high risks. This causes the market interest rate to become very large.

The point of all of this is to emphasis that the loanshark is completely irrelevant. If he decides to charge excessively high interest rates that he artificially decided then his competitors would win over him. This means that loansharks set their interest rates roughly what the nominal interest rate is. Loansharks do not just pull a random high figure out of their anus and decide it to be their interest rates, there are forces of economics at work here that set the correct interest rates based on these factors.

If an airplane crashes it would be silly to blame the law of gravity for that. The laws of physics are entirely unconcerned about what happens with airplanes. In the exact same manner these economic laws are almost like the laws of physics. They are entirely unconcerned about people and what happens in the world, they do not judge, they just act. A loanshark is just a byproduct of the market, he is not relevant to it. He has no control over this issue. Thus, there are certain realities at work that decide upon the market interest rate. And it is foolish to condemn anyone for these laws working out the market rate. If a country is headed for tough times ahead then it is likely to see very high interest rates, those rates, if left untempered with, just correspond to certain economic realities that make them be what they are. No one is to blame here. It is the economic problems of a country that may cause high interest rates, not the high rates causing instability of the country, to confuse this is to confuse the effect for the cause. And therefore, the loanshark is not wicked, he is just providing loans for people at the appropriate market rates.

[Note, the above analysis of interest rates is entirely my own. I may be wrong in how I explain them. I know there is some difficulty in interpreting Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations chapter IX where he says that interests rates rise if there is more profit being made of stock. It seems that higher profits of stock implies that a country is in prosperous economic times. But if this is the case then what I describe is the exact opposite situation. I hope that Smith is wrong here, or perhaps I misunderstood him.]

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 11: The Unlicensed Doctor

The unlicensed doctor, as the name suggests, is a person who performs medical services without having a license. This guy is very much so hated by the masses, "how dare you operate as a doctor without a license!", they say. We often hear in the news about unlicensed doctors that were caught performing medical services and now are in a lot of legal trouble, possibly even prison. But what is surprisingly is that the unlicensed doctor is not only completely innocent in what he does but he is heroic in his actions.

The key issue in this whole discussion is the nature of a license. What is a license? A license is a document either directly issued from the state or a document from a private entity authorized by the state which gives you legal permission to do something that otherwise is treated as illegal. The most common example is a driver's license. It is a document issued by the DMV, which is a monopolistic state entity, which has the only legal right to issue a driver's license. Once you have a driver's license you are given permission to drive a vehicle, otherwise driving a vehicle is illegal without a license. Some licenses can be issued by a private entity. I believe, the license to be an accountant, CPA, is from a private entity (though I may be wrong, please correct, my accountant friend told me it is privately owned). However, one must have a license to be an accountant. So even though the license is from a private entity rather than from the state the state still requires the license. Thus, to summarize a license is a document that gives you legal permission to do something.

There are two objections to licensing. One objection is a philosophical objection and the other is an economic objection. I will first use the philosophical objection to licensing and then explain the economic objection.

The problem with licensing is that it negates liberty of the people. Liberty means that one can live his life as he so desires, and thus he can do so as he pleases provided he is not bothering the lives of anyone else. Licensing negates this statement. To see why this is so consider two people. One person is sick and another is a doctor, except he has no license. The sick person asks the doctor if he can treat his disease, the doctor agrees. Notice what just happened. The two people entered into a contract with one another. It is the sick patient's own life and his own right to decide which doctor he chooses, and the doctor has the right to agree with the patient and treat him. If the state busts down this contract by saying, "the doctor is not licensed", it has just violated the liberty of both the patient and the doctor. It is not anyone else's business what goes on between the doctor and the patient. Therefore, the state cannot be involved in this arrangement. However, the state will get involved in this arrangement between the doctor and the patient if they happen to find out about it. Thus, the state violates the liberty of the people on whom it declares licensing. The unlicensed doctor therefore cannot be trailed for anything, he is simply exercising his freedom. Thus, the unlicensed doctor should in actuality be innocent.

The economic problems of licensing includes a limit in the supply of doctors. Consider that there are 8 doctors per every 1000 people. If the state declares that all doctors get a license this number will have to drop to say 3 doctors per every 1000 people. And as a result there is a smaller supply of doctors. Which means the price for medical care will have to increase. Thus, doctor licensing causes increased prices of medical care. But there is another problem. Licensing is expensive, it requires doctors to put in a lot of time, money, and energy into obtaining a license. This means when they charge for medical care their prices will reflect the high costs that they put into their license. Therefore, we would expect to see higher prices in medical care than otherwise would have been without a license. These economic problems of licensing are actually part of the reasons why health care in the US is much more expensive than it otherwise needs to be.

Now consider the situation of medical care if there was no state mandated licensed doctors. The market would be extremely competitive. There would be all various kinds of doctors. Some doctors who do not even speak English, say they emigrated from a forgein country. Furthermore, there would be many different medical procedures, some cheap and some expensive. This great diversity of doctors and care would satisfy the demand of the people. And we would see much lower prices than are now. Consider this. Does it really cost $200 to get a filling in a dentist? No. It can be brought for $30 or even less. And this would certainly be possible in a highly competitive market if the state did not interfere with the market forces. It would be really easy for the public to gain access to medical care in such a system because it is left unmanaged and unlicensed.

But apparently these arguments against licensing are not good enough for most people. They still demand doctors to be licensed. They argue that if it was not for licensing there would be a lot of fraud doctors. There would be a lot more medical errors because the doctors are not as experienced, and so many more people would die. Licensing, as they claim, saves and protects the people.

We will refute this objection in favor of licensing again by first using a philosophical argument and then an economic argument.

Whose life is it? Is it your life to decide what the sick patient can choose or his own life? It is his life and so he is the only person in the entire universe who can decide which doctor he can choose for medical care. If he wishes to choose a doctor who is a higher risk for a medical error then so be it. It is his life after all. I am sure you would agree with me that people should have the right to commit suicide. Denying people suicide is an act of enslavement when we enslave them to this world. If they can choose suicide then al fortiorti they can certainly choose which kind of doctor they would like. Besides because the market would be so competitive there would be a myriad of different kind of doctors. Basic doctors who never got educated in any school and high ranked doctors who finished Columbia medical school. He would be able to choose the appropriate doctor that he desires that reflects the cost he is willing to pay. To ban unlicensed doctors is to steal from this patient the freedom of making the choices for himself.

It is just not true that if doctors were able to operate without a license then suddenly there would be chaos in the streets with fake doctors stealing all the money and killing patients by medical errors. There are jobs at the moment that do not require a license that can have the same scenario but it just does not happen. Consider computer repairmen. I do not believe these people have licenses. One can ask that perhaps if these computer repairmen have no licenses then they will scam their costumers by pretending they have the knowledge in computer repair. While secretly they will mess up the computer, pretend they fixed it, and get the money. I am sure this has happened a few times. But in nearly every case computer repairmen are legit and they do not scam their costumers. There are two reasons for that. First, the simple reason, is that it is illegal to break apart some one else's computer. If there were able to ruin some one's computer they would be sued for their damages. So they would not easily get away with it. Second, the market punishes bad repairmen. If a repairmen is a terrible repairmen very few people would want to hire him. Thus, the market by itself discriminates against inefficient repairmen over efficient ones. The market is what forces companies and entrepreneurs to be efficient. This is precisely why computer manufactures make good computers, not some messed up box with wires falling out, even though computer manufacturing is highly unregulated. The same situation would also be true with our unlicensed doctor. He would not be able to pretend to be a real doctor. If he was to mess up then he would be sued for doing so. Sued really badly, possibly put in jail if he killed another person. No fake doctor would have such an incentive. And secondly, the market will choose the better doctors from all available doctors. Here is one more example to consider. In New York City there is no license to be an architect. I am not sure if this is true anymore or not, but I remember watching a video series by Milton Friedman, which was about 20 years old, and Milty said that there are no licenses for architects in New York City. If we applied the same criticism to unlicensed doctors as to unlicensed architects then it would mean that their ought to be lots of building falling down in New York because they were build by incompetent architects, but this is far from the truth. Thus, the argument that licensing is what protects the patients is just not true based on this similar historical example and the reasons given above.

In absence of licensing there would exist other systems of ranking doctors. Doctor's would be able to advertise themselves based on which schools they went to. Doctor's would also gain a reputation from their services. People would choose to go to the high ranked doctors and pay more knowing that they found a good expert. So there will certainly be systems that function like a licensing system except this one is based on the market rather than being state mandated.

I speak from experience here. I have used the services of unlicensed doctors. I have been to a few unlicensed dentists. I am very happy with the job that they did. This was many years ago and their work still holds well to this day. Besides it was so cheap! I remember I paid $20 to get myself a filling done. Try getting that in a professional licensed dentist office. One time I had a filling fall out and they were nice enough to agree to put in a new one for free. So they were very nice people that definitely knew what they were doing. In fact, they even discouraged me from doing certain procedures because they said they were unnecessary. The very same procedures that Columbia told me I had to do. After several years the unlicensed dentists knew more about what they were talking about, as I can see the result now.

There is one more argument that needs to be made. The supporters of licensing say that licensing saves lives, but I disagree. I disagree because they are only focusing on what is seen, not what is unseen. Let me explain what I mean. Let us assume that licensed doctors have a .01 probability of killing a patient and that unlicensed doctors have a .02 probability of killing a patient. Of course, these numbers are made up and I am specifically working with the assumption that licensed doctors are more efficient than unlicensed ones - which in actuality I disagree with. Because the supply of licensed doctors is limited only a certain number of people would have access to their care, say 1 million. If we are to assume these 1 million where to die than under these assumption the licensed doctors would have saved 999,000 lives. Now consider the same situation with unlicensed doctors. With unlicensed doctors the supply is much greater and so many more people are treated, in this case say 1.5 million. Then the number of lives saved by the unlicensed doctors is 1,470,000. This is a lot more than the number of people saved by the licensed doctors. Thus, even if unlicensed doctors are less efficient (which does not appear to be the case) they will still end up saving more lives altogether than licensed doctors. In this manner the licensed doctor actually kill 480,000 in an "unseen fashion" i.e. by simply never treating these people.

So what is the real truth to licensing then if it is not to save lives and to improve efficiency? I have no idea, but I am going to make a guess, doctors want to secure their profits with licensing. Doctor after all have a strong profit motive to secure more profits. Thus, it seems reasonable why the AMA, the monopolistic entity responsible for granting licenses, would have an incentive to secure profits for doctors who happen to be members. Doctors are afraid of being undercut by amateur doctors and by forgein doctors who operate in the US. So they create an licensing scheme to legally get rid of these people and secure themselves the profits. This is what I believe to be the real reason behind licensing. It has nothing to do with saving lives or improving efficiency in the medical profession but everything to do with securing higher profits - remember it is a monopoly after all.

All of these arguments when taken together point to the conclusion that the unlicensed doctors are more beneficent to society, not to mention the only kind of doctors compatible with a free society. But what is so sad is that the state pursues these kind of people. An unlicensed doctor is healing another person for a much less fee than he otherwise pays to a licensed doctor. Why would we ever persecute such a person?! Why would we ever persecute another human being who is helping another human being at a cheaper price? It is so inhumane and cruel for us to go against these people. Unlicensed doctors help other humans at cheaper costs and they do all of this under constant fear of getting caught and possibly being enslaved into an iron cage known as prison. These people are nothing but heroic!

Defending the Wicked Part 10: The Polygamist

According to modern social values polygamy is seen as a step backwards in society. We see ourselves as higher and greater than people who have multiple partners in marriage. It is not a surprise then why polygamy is illegal in almost every modern place in the world. But why is this the case?

From my experience whenever social progress is taking place the arguments that the people use against this progress are essentially always the same in every generation. When blacks wanted to marry whites earlier in US history the arguments against interracial marriages back in those days overlap with the arguments that are used against gay marriage today. And when polygamists want to get married the arguments used against them are similar to the same arguments against homosexuals.

What is more surprising is that the people who are the first to jump and defend homosexuals getting married are often so negative towards polygamists. All the arguments that can be applied to homosexuals can be just as applied to polygamists but for some reason these arguments are all ignored, the voice of reason is killed off and we return to our traditional values. But let us consider the simplest of all the arguments used in favor of gay marriage, "it is not any of our business what happens between consenting adults in their own home". And this is a great argument. But why not apply the very same argument to polygamists? They are in the privacy of their own home and what they choose to do is up to them, none of our business. Who ever said that consent must always involve two people, it can involve more than two people anyway.

The whole issue of polygamy seems to me to revolve around the issue of love. Society does not recognize that polygamist partners love each other, rather that polygamy is an abusive relationship. I once was discussing polygamy with a liberal from the UK, and he told me he is against it because it against women. It appears from such a response that he does not look at polygamy as an example of love but as an example of the husband exercising his power over other women. This is what I think is the general attitude against polygamy. It is not love, but about exercising power and exploitation against women.

And this was true in the past. Men wanted to seek more power for themselves, so they suppressed women and had multiple wives. They would make their wives obedient to him and do exactly what his will was, so his wives were not so much of partners that he loved, but more like partners with whom he had sex with and commanded as slaves. This is exactly why men had multiple wives but a woman could not have multiple husbands. If she did, that would be adultery, and she would be punished, often by death. The Torah itself speaks of this. The Torah says that adultery is defined as a married woman having a relationship with another men. Such a definition immediately implies that she cannot have a second husband. The Torah is clearly sexist here against women.

But we no longer live in the past. Polygamy can have a very different message today. It does not have to be about obedience and servitude to the husband. It does not need to have one husband with many wives. It can be one wives with many husbands. It can even be gay polygamy with multiple husbands or multiple wives. We can even arrange bisexual polygamist (with which I identify with) relationships also. The variations are huge, whatever we choose them to be.

The concept of marriage has underwent many different meanings in history. It initially was about having a family and about the husband exercising power over the wive. Then later in history marriage was about just having a family, and to this date still carries this meaning. This meaning can still be found in more Orthodox Jewish weddings were marriage is really about having a family. Today the most common meaning behind marriage is love. Two people love each other, and regardless of whether or not they want to have a family they marry. Marriage is seen as a response to love in most modern places in the world today. But polygamy is sadly not recognized. And it can be recognized if we change our meaning of marriage and love. By today's standards it is considered to be wrong to love multiple people. But why? Why should it be wrong? It is time to change our attitude that love can only involve two people, it can involve more people, it is after all okay to have multiple friends, so why not several people that you love?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 9: The Owner of Endangered Species

If you happen to be part of an animal activist group such as PETA or whatever this supposed villain represents not only what is wrong with the entire world but possibly the whole universe. How dare someone own these poor little creatures, that is evil. But what is surprising and very counter-intuitive is that this wicked evil person turns out being the best means of protecting endangered species.

Why do animals go extinct? They go extinct because the rate of their death is greater than the rate of their birth consistently. Every day species go extinct and 99% of all species that have existed are now extinct; humans have contributed so little to extinction when all life history is properly considered that we might as well be excused from causing extinction. But when humans endanger a species they do so by what is known as the tragedy of the commons.

The tragedy of the commons is the result of everyone wanting more for themselves and being afraid that his neighbor is able to get his portion. Consider the following situation. Consider you are at a party and there is food for everybody on the table. You realize that if you do not have your food then someone else will take your portion, so you rush to eat everything as fast as possible. But not just you, everyone does that same rushed eating. This is an example of the tragedy of the commons. Everyone pursuing to eat as much as possible because of the fear that his neighbor will take his portion. This is the principle behind why humans endanger species of animals by hunting for them. The animals are out there in the open, everyone wants an animal for themselves, but we are afraid that if we do not kill animals someone else will kill our portion, so we kill more than what we even need based on this fear. Thus, we have the problem of killing animals at a faster rate than their birth rate. This leads to species endangerment and in rare cases extinction. This is exactly what happened with the buffalo.

Now consider a different scenario. Consider you come to a party and the food has name cards written on them. Every person is given a plate based on his identity. All of the sudden all the chaos that emerged in the serve-yourself scenario now becomes at peace. Nothing gets rushed. Because everyone has their own share and the shares of others are respected. The point of these two examples is to state an important lesson. Property is what created the peace and the lack of property is what created the chaos. In the first scenario the lack of property and the desire to get more for oneself at the fear of losing it to another is what lead to the tragedy of the commons. In the second scenario the concept of property, whose plate belongs to whom, creates peace, there is no more rushing for food.

The problem with the buffalo was not the ownership of the buffalo but the lack of ownership of the buffalo. There is no such endangerment problem with regard to chickens, pigs, or cows. Because we eat them and have farms that own them. Farmers make a profit of from their livestock. Thus, it is in the interest of the farmers to look out after their livestock. Not to kill them out at faster rates than they are able to give birth, for otherwise, the farmer will lose profit. The farmer also has an interest to provide healthcare for his livestock, to make sure they have food to eat, and promote a level of security so that his livestock are defended. Thus, the farmer, the owner of chickens, cows, and pigs, actually defends them from being extinct by properly taking care of them. The moment there are farms and farmers there is property defined, and property eliminates the problem of the commons.

If however chickens, cows, and pigs were out in the open, we would kill them out at much faster rates because we would be afraid someone else would get our share. If we had livestock unowned then they might face extinction problems. But luckily for us we have farmers who prevent this problem from happening.

The problems facing endangered species is precisely that they are unowned. If there were owners of various endangered species because of the value that can be derived either by their consumption or dead body value then these owners, by their interest, will make sure to defend the endangered species from going extinct because they make profits off of them. Thus, paradoxically the best way to save endangered species is to eat them.

There are owners of tigers and other big cats in Africa, and those people really make sure their big cats are well defended from hunters. If it were not for these owners these cats would have been already killed out by the human hunters. Therefore, the owner of endangered species is the best means of protecting endangered species. And for that his is heroic.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 8: The Non-Taxpayer

We finally reach a person such that most people both on the left and right would despise. That is the non-taxpayer, the citizen who lives in society and pays no taxes whatsoever. The non-taxpayer is accused of stealing money from the government, accused of living off the system, accused of not contributing for society, and called unpatriotic.

I wrote a while back about people (presumably Jews) who cheat on their taxes here. Based on my value system there is nothing wrong with cheating on taxes if the citizen wishes to disassociate himself from the government. If the person does not want to be part of the system then he does not have to, he can leave and agree not to receive any of the benefits that come along with being a member. So if he agrees not to collect Social Security, food stamps, and not to vote then it is okay, it is his money after all and his own choice to make such a decision. In that post I defend people who cheat on taxes for such a reason. The only ones that can be condemned are the ones who cheat and live off the system, but the ones who are willing to dissolve should be left alone and not condemned for doing so. As for the argument that non-taxpayers do not contribute anything to society, that argument uses the fallacy that society and government are synonymous. They are not. Just because a non-taxpayer does not contribute anything to the government does not imply he does not contribute anything to society. It is an old socialist fallacy to equate society and government as one and the same.

I will not repeat my arguments all over again to why non-taxpayers are not doing anything wrong for it is already explained in my older post. Thus, the non-taxpayer is at worst neutral. But I will go beyond on this issue here. I will argue why the non-taxpayer is actually heroic and in fact patriotic.

It is important to understand the mentality of such a non-taxpayer. Taxation is opposed to freedom because taxation happens without the consent of the people. The individual has no option to choose to pay taxes or not, by law. He must. And if he was to refuse to then he will suffer punishment. There are many cases of people who were enslaved into iron cages (known as prisons) for refusing to pay taxes. Taxation is therefore opposed to freedom, anyone who supports a free society cannot be in favor of mandatory taxation. This non-taxpayer does not pay taxes not because he has a problem giving a portion of his money to others, but rather because he sees taxation as an opposition to freedom. Thus, he practices civil disobedience and avoids paying taxes. And he does so under the fear that he may be caught for tax evasion and thrown into an iron cage for his disobedience. It is in this manner that the non-taxpayer is actually heroic and brave.

Because taxes are stolen from citizens against their will the money can be used for what the citizen does not agree with. The non-taxpayer may not agree with the war in the Middle East. He strongly objects to it and says that it is wrong that the US killed about 200,000 people and did so much property damage in that part of the world, they are not even dangerous for us. The money of the non-taxpayer are being used to fund murder. Murder he does not agree with. Why is it wrong for the non-taxpayer to hide that money from the government if that money is being used for evil?

At this point the non-taxpayer will be accused of being a non-voter. Other citizens will tell him, "if you disagree with the war then vote for people who represent you". But he cannot be condemned for being a non-voter, I already explained in what way the non-voter is heroic back here. Furthermore, what sense does it make to the non-taxpayer to vote for people against the war? If you are unhappy with your internet service provider you do not need to go through a long hassle, which typically lasts for years, of voting for representatives, you simply stop paying them, in the same way the non-taxpayer should be able to simply stop payment to a war which he finds evil.

The last point that needs to be made is that the non-taxpayer is extremely patriotic. He is not necessarily nationalistic, but who cares, nationalism sucks anyway. But he is patriotic. He represents the ideas behind what America is supposed to stand for. America was founded as a rebellion against taxes imposed by the English. The founding fathers were terrorists from the English point-of-view, but the founders saw themselves as freedom fighters who were rebelling against the tyrannical institution of taxation imposed by the English government. The Constitution itself never originally called for direct taxation. It was forbidden. There was no income tax. I am not exactly sure how the tax system worked in 1776, I know that part of it was based on collecting user fees. But it was not direct, direct taxation was most tyrannical and so it was seen as anti-American. The income tax was only put into place in 1913, that is why it is there in the Constitution, originally it was never there. In fact, the income tax was first put in as a voluntary tax at around 1%. Over the years it grow to extraordinary large percentages and became mandatory. And that was a step away from freedom. The non-taxpayer who rebels against mandatory taxation is actually the most patriotic of all Americans, he represents the old attitude of the American revolution and for that he cannot be called unpatriotic. He is heroic.

Let us hope for one day for all of us to become non-taxpayers so that this evil monopolistic institution which violates individual and property rights, which enslaves millions of people, and killed millions of people, known as the US government collapses because of lack of funds from the people to support it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 7: The Insurance Company

Insurance companies are often very much hated, especially health insurance companies. They are accused of taking advantage of sick people for their own profits and that this is the reason why healthcare is so expensive. I am not going to defend the insurance company as it is, because there is no much that I see in them that I can defend. Insurance companies favor closing interstate competition to secure their profits, imposing regulations on themselves to make it more difficult for competing companies to enter the market, and other tricks that they use for their own gain. Because of this I cannot defend insurance companies for how they operate. But I will defend insurance companies from the accusation that they are the problem of what is wrong with the United States healthcare system.

Let us first understand something very important. Insurance companies cannot dictate prices. An insurance company cannot say, "I will make prices extraordinarily large to gain large profits for myself". The reason why insurance companies cannot do that is precisely why you cannot make your pizza shop really expensive if you were to open it up, say 10$ a slice. Because if you were to do that people will simply go to other pizza shops and you will go out of business. Competition is what prevents you from increasing prices. The same concept is also true with insurance companies. They cannot raise their prices because their competitors will economically hurt them. One should remember that there are few insurance companies with regulations that protect them from more competition. Thus, one can ask that perhaps these insurance companies agree unanimously to raise their prices, in other words, collusion. They would probably be able to get away with such a practice because they are protected from heavy competition. But this is also false about insurance companies because anti-trust regulators will go after them for such practices. Therefore, we have a situation of insurance companies competing against themselves (though limited competition) and not being able to collude. All this means is that no one insurance company or a group of insurance companies can decide to raise their prices simply because they want even more profits.

The above point is very important. Insurance companies are sometimes blamed for keeping prices too high, however, this cannot be true as explained. Insurance companies are not in a position to dictate either by itself or among themselves what the price of insurance has to be. The insurance companies, therefore, are entirely not responsible for high prices. So if the insurance companies are not responsible for high prices, then what is? It is the cost of healthcare itself that drives the insurance costs even higher. Think about it. The nature of insurance companies is to provide money for people who need them and are unable to pay for it themselves (well actually the nature of insurance companies is to scam people and make as much money for themselves, so I guess it would have been more accurate to write "the function of insurance companies" instead). Thus, if the price insurance companies have to pay goes up then the prices they charge their members must go up also. Otherwise insurance companies would be running at a loss. This means high healthcare costs cause high health insurance prices. To confuse this issue and to say that high health insurance prices cause high healthcare costs is to confuse the cause for the effect.

Once an insurance company knows what the prices are for health and the probabilities of people getting sick it now calculates the necessary prices it needs to charge its members. That number is determined by the laws of probability and health costs. If the price is very high it means one of two things. Either the probability of a person being sick are too high or that health costs are very high. Blaming an insurance company for charging their prices based on these mathematical calculations is like blaming a plane crash on gravity.

Another important issue that insurance companies got blasted for is denying people with pre-existing conditions. But I do not understand why an insurance company can be blamed for doing this. Remember an insurance company uses the numbers it has in front of it to calculate the prices that they charge, it cannot dictate their own prices. Therefore, if a person is unfavorable then an insurance company will not allow him to join the plan. Insurance is a risk against yourself, and like all risks it is a gamble. Insurance companies gamble with people, but they do not lose money in the long run because they create their plans around probabilistic calculations. If, however, insurance companies started to accept people with large risks, against their probabilistic calculations, then they will in the long run begin to lose a lot of money and possibly go bankrupt. The decision insurance companies do is the economically responsible decision. One cannot blame them if they are simply following the numbers here. Insurance companies should be able to extend their plans to high risk people but charge them more money for their pre-existing conditions. However, I think, though I am not sure about this so correct me if I am wrong, that charging higher prices for people with pre-existing conditions would be a form of price discrimination and is illegal, so the insurance company can either deny the person or allow him to join the pool but charge all other members higher prices. As a result the health insurance prices must go up.

The actions of an insurance company are therefore understandable. We would do the same if we were in their situation. No house/fire insurance company would be successful if it did not discriminate against burning buildings. If my building was on fire and I called a house insurance company to be insured as my house was burning down and they accepted then such a insurance company would be out of the market very quickly. Discrimination and price discrimination is necessary for insurance companies to be in the market. Furthermore, insurance companies cannot be blamed for doing so, they did not actually harm the person, they are just following the probabilistic calculations.

I have been saying this in my posts already before but I will say so again - stop looking for scapegoats. It is very common for people to find scapegoats. All over history people blamed some scapegoats. Insurance companies are just another example of a scapegoat in present times. The problem with scapegoating is that it is usually wrong. As in our case with insurance companies. And the problem with wrong answers is that they prevent us from searching for real answers. Once we turn an insurance company into a scapegoat we no longer have the same drive to understand why health costs are so high. In fact, from what I can tell, there is no scapegoat at all. It is not the Republicans, it is not the Democrats, and it is not the president. None of these people can turned into scapegoats and blamed for the problems. The problem is the system as a whole and how it operates. No person, no one, but the operation of bad economics and inefficient programs that when they come together create problems. So instead of trying to blame scapegoats how about we try to understand the reasons to why problems occur?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 6: The Steroid Athlete

Something is wrong in a game only if we make up a rule in our game that it is wrong. It is considered to be wrong to use a computer to play chess with another player, that is cheating, because it is against the rules. However, if it is a match between a human and a machine then it is no longer considered to be wrong because this new game has its own set of rules. So all we have to do to stop making something wrong in a certain game is to change a rule so that it is acceptable. And this is exactly where the athlete on steroids lies in. The steroid athlete does something wrong only by the commonly established rules for sports. It is considered cheating to use steroids to improve your performance. However, if we were to get rid of that rule and say that athletes can use whatever means they desired to improve their performance then steroid athletes will no longer be doing anything wrong.

We need to remember that the technology that we use today was not available a hundred years ago. It is amazing to see the Olympic time for the marathon in 1894, which was about 3 hours reduced to about 2 hours at present. The people are still the same, so what changed? What changed was that better technique was developed, technology was developed to allow players to monitor their performance, and better sport clothing was made to improve the efficiency of the athletes. Every Olympic record that was set a hundred years ago can easily be smashed today by almost any average Olympic athlete in that sport. Just consider the world record for the mile. The fastest athletes ran the mile in about 4 minutes and 30 seconds. This was back in the 1850's. The record was set by Westhall in 1852 to 4 minutes and 28 seconds. Over the years this was all reduced to around 4 minutes and a few seconds by many athletes. It was believed to be impossible for a human to run a mile in under 4 minutes. This was finally shattered in 1952 by Bannister who did the mile in 3 minutes and 59 seconds. The myth was finally broken. The record for a mile run was still being lowered, to the point of the modern day where it is now at the totally surprising 3 minutes and 43 seconds. What happened? Was there a new superior race of runners? No, the people are still the same. The technology and equipment that athletes used improved and thereby their speed times got lower.

Why is it cheating to use steroids to improve your game but not cheating when you use your own specially designed running shoes that were unavailable a hundred years ago? I would be excited to see how far people can go if we did allow steroids and other substances for athletes to improve their game. Maybe on steroids the mile can be broken in 3 minutes and 30 seconds? Athletes have always been looking for the best possible methods to improve their performance, so why not let them use steroids or whatever other substances so that they can perform even better?

One might object and say that steroids are a health issue to the athletes. But whose life is it? Is it our life to decide what kind of activities athletes can engage in or their life to decide that for themselves? Besides the Olympic is one huge health issue itself. Olympic athletes do not live very long lives, especially marathon runners (the most gruesome of all sport events). Olympic athletes all push their bodies to their maximum point. This is true for runners, weightlifters, swimmers, gymnasts and so forth (with the exception of curlers). All of them push their bodies far. It is a health issue for athletes to push themselves so hard, but it is their own choice, and we respect their choice by not banning the Olympics because it is a health issue. So it is a little hypocritical to object to the usage of steroids on the grounds that it is a health issue.

Furthermore, perhaps steroids are only dangerous because it is illegal to be used in sports in the first place? If drug companies were able to produce performance improving substances then perhaps they would be a lot safer in order to motivate more athletes to use them to improve their game. It is just like drugs and prostitution. Both drugs and prostitution are considered to be unsafe, but that is only because it was made it illegal. There is no reason to assume why steroids and other substances would continue to be as dangerous as they are now if it were not for the competitive market of performance substances.

There also could be other side benefits for a market of steroids. What steroids and other substances really are, is a form of transhumanism. We improve the human body by inserting in it forgein bodies. I know there a lot of transhumanist lovers out there in the world. Well, we can make that dream into a reality by beginning with sports. These athletes would be stronger, faster, have more concentration, and have a lot more endurance. When it comes to physical strength these people would be the ubermensch.

Do not worry, if you are not a fan of steroids or other substances because you think it is unfair for people to modify their bodies in sports then you can have your own sports. There can be steroid baseball and steroid-free baseball (which I guess does not really exist). In steroid baseball the athletes can hit the ball out of the stadium while in steroid-free baseball the athletes stick to their original human bodies with no modifications. It is all up to how we make the rules. Some sports will stay steroid-free by keeping those rules, like the Olympics (because it would be really hard to have such an agreement from all countries of the world on allowing steroids). And some sports might start to have super-players which can do things that normal people cannot. Why settle on a single standard for sports? It is a lot more exciting to have different kind of sports with their own standards that we can watch and experiment on.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Defending the Wicked Part 5: The Rich Capitalist Pig

The rich capitalist pig is the member of society who is extraordinary wealthy. He has so much money that even if he uses it non-stop for his own consumption he will never run out of it. These rich capitalist pigs are often vilified by others, "no one needs to have that much money", they say. The capitalist pigs are also seen as the ultimate symbol of human greed. But the most serious of all accusations against the capitalist pigs is that they got their money at the expense of everyone else in society.

The first argument against the capitalist pig that he does not need this much money is an argument in favor of tyranny. The moment you propose that people are not allowed to own so much money you are implying that there will be an entity, in this case the state, that will rob these people at gunpoint of their money. The state will say, "it is wrong for people to own this much money therefore you must hand over it to us because we are allowed to own this much money". Not only is this proposal self-defeating it is tyrannical. The idea of stealing rich people's money by the argument "they have too much", is also entirely unAmerican. The Declaration says, "the right to pursue happiness". Perhaps these rich capitalist pigs are happy with this amount of wealth, if so, they are pursuing their own happiness. Suggesting a system which robs the rich under the excuse "they have too much money" is to violate the central ideas for what America is supposed to stand for.

The accusation that rich capitalist pigs are greedy is just ridiculous. Capitalist pigs are ordinary people, and ordinary people are either greedy or not. Some capitalist pigs are greedy but not all of them are. You cannot accuse capitalist pigs of greed if greed is not inherent in the nature of being a rich capitalist pig. Not all rich people are greedy, in fact many of them are very charitable. The most famous rich people would definitely include: John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet. All of whom were philanthropists. In fact, here is a larger list of billionaires who have have agreed to give away at least 1/2 of all their money to charitable causes either now or until their death, this list definitely includes Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who together gave about 45 billion dollars to charitable causes as of yet - probably more in the future. And as we are on the topic of greed I want to bust a myth about America. America has been accused by other countries, usually from Europe, of being greedy. I find that statement just laughable. If America is greedy then all the countries in the world must be misers compared to America. The amount of charity that leaves America far exceeds than all countries in the world. How dare one call America greedy? This figure is still true even if one looks at charity as a percentage of national wealth. In 2009 America has raised about 300 billion dollars in charitable causes not just for itself but also for around the world (see here). Whenever there is a natural disaster anywhere in the world America, accused for its greed because it has so much money, has always been the very first country to help. If you want to call America fat, go ahead, that is true, if you want to call America stupid, okay, maybe you are right their too, but the one thing you cannot accuse America of being is greedy, not when you compare it to all other countries. So this accusation about greedy capitalist pigs is not only an irrelevant argument non-inherent to the nature of capitalist pigs it is also factually incorrect.

What is more surprising, at first, is that even if the rich capitalist pigs are the most greedy people in the world they are the most productive members of society! There are two means to acquire wealth, the political and the economic means. The political way is theft, you take away money from one group of people to yourself. The economic means is selling a product or a service that people want. The rich capitalist pigs that many people hate acquire their wealth not through political means but through economic means. The way you become a billionaire, through economic means, is by coming up with something that people very much want. That means to acquire billions of dollars it must be the case that you brought billions of dollars of prosperity to the world. It is true that the greedy rich capitalist pig does not think of others but only thinks of himself but what is so counter-intuitive is that his own greed can promote so much prosperity for the rest of the world. Even if Bill Gates was not a charitable capitalist but was greedier than the greediest Jew he would still be more productive than almost anyone else in the world. Because to acquire all that wealth he must get that money from people. The only reason why people would give Bill their money is because he is able to satisfy their desires efficiently.

The last point mentioned above is the fundamental fallacy of economics. And that is that free trade is a zero-sum game. If Bill Gates is extraordinary rich then it must be that the people around him are poorer. No, that is not true. He made a product that people brought, he exchanged something for that wealth. It was his product that benefited the entire world in the billions. In this manner free trade is a positive-sum game, we benefit and Bill Gates benefits. The fact that Bill Gates is a rich capitalist pig does not imply that we are poorer as a result. We are richer too, our standard of living goes up because of his hard work. So yes, it is true, the rich get richer, but the poor get richer too because for the rich to continue to earn their money they must exchange something of value to the people for their money. This is however not true for thiefs and politicians who get rich from political means, with them it is true that their wealth implies our lose, because they have not given us anything of value, or less value, in return for it. Thus, even if rich capitalist pigs were greedy, which is not a good criticism for the above reasons, they would still be most productive members of society. And this is not even mentioning all the jobs that they have created through their entrepreneurship. Thus, the argument that rich capitalist pigs get their wealth at the expense of the poor is a terrible argument.

As we can see now the rich capitalist pig is not evil, there is nothing about him that suggests his nature to be evil. In fact, he is nothing but a prosperity and an economic bonus to any society. It is in this manner that the rich capitalist pig is actually a hero and not a villain - as many people make him out to be.