February 29, 2016

In ten years, there will be no more jobs

Futurologists with their rosy utopian daydreams of where our world is headed constantly annoy me. Technotopia, Heaven on Earth, Democratic Destiny, it does not matter how they label it, if a person is predicting a perfect or near perfect golden future then they are lying. None of these promises is realistically possible because the human animal is naturally inclined to violence. If left to their own devices for too long, far too many of us turn to sadism as our favorite form of entertainment. One of the reasons I hate zombie movies and television shows is because it presupposes a small group of intelligent humans faced with massive numbers of mindless, violent enemies. The reality of all zombie entertainments is that if the world did evolve some kind of zombie infestation the zombies would die out all on their own inside a year, and possibly inside a month. At that point, the humans would turn on one another in the same way they have turned on one another for seven thousand years of recorded history. Far too many of us experience our greatest pleasure when directly inflicting pain on everyone around us.

The most important lesson we can learn from studying history is that under certain pressures everything we think we know about reality can completely reverse itself. Humanism burst forth as a preferred philosophy in response to a theocratic social order controlled from the shadows by an irredeemably corrupt Catholic Church. It was only after the Protestant Reformation forced the Catholic Church to purge itself of greed and political machination that the Catholic Church was able to become a genuine help to society that focused on caring for the poor, the orphan, the sick, and the elderly. Over the past century, the Catholic Church has once again begun sliding back into its old role of shadowy puppetmaster. It has become ever more focused on protecting its own corrupt priests while working to manipulate the political order into taking over more and more of its social responsibilities. Sensing the opportunity for power and influence, atheists, agnostics, politicians and pundits have all jumped onboard the social justice bandwagon. Government bureaucrats now seek to control our interpersonal communications, the quality of our foods, where we work, and how we play. Without even the pretense of spirituality to control them, they have become even more corrupt than the church. Now, thanks to the modern theologies of social justice and divine prosperity that have taken over the Protestant churches in just the past few decades, Protestantism, Catholicism, and Politics are all equally corrupt. Good people are few and far between in our modern world. Most have taken to living off the land in isolated small farm communities bordering federal lands with access to hunting and fishing. Not all, but most.

Into the midst of this corruption and malcontent has arisen a new technology that will very shortly render humans themselves obsolete and unnecessary. Robotics and computerization have spread like a zombie virus over the past three decades and now we stand on the threshold of a new era in which robots will serve in every occupation currently filled by people. There will be robot taxis, robot law enforcement, robot retailers, robot truck drivers, robot pilots, robot doctors, robot nurses, robot teachers, robots manufacturing robots, and even robot engineers designing new robots. I strongly doubt that we will see a robot revolution where the machines destroy their human overlords, but by the same token, we will not see a technotopia where robots serve our every whim and whimsy while the humans sip tropical drinks and admire the sunset. The richer someone is now, the richer that person will be ten years from now. New developments in genetic manipulation, 3D printed body parts, and flushing the body of the symptoms of aging are about to launch us into a world previously unimaginable. In ten years everyone who currently has access to wealth and resources will live for centuries doing absolutely nothing.

We are a single decade away from a world where the wealthy have perfect health while the poor cannot afford aspirin for a headache. Patent fees and royalties will keep the wealthy flush with cash generated by robotic workers while poor humans will struggle finding some way to acquire their daily food, clothe themselves, and provide shelter for their children. Do you understand the implications of this? We are literally one decade away from a utopian lifestyle for the wealthy and a dystopian lifestyle for everyone else!

Mayo Clinic News: Long-term benefits of "Senolytic Drugs"
The Atlantic: A World Without Work
Forbes: No Donor Required
Global Future 2045 Summit: Toward a New Strategy for Human Evolution
Minduploading.org: Realizing the Goal of Substrate Independent Minds

February 25, 2016

Firearms and Violent Crime

(As always, Hilary Clinton wants to have a "dialogue" about firearms in America. What she really means is she wants the rest of us to shut up and let her preach about how guns are evil and American people are too stupid to be trusted with owning them. Someone raised the issue on Facebook, again, and once again I wrote up a long defense of firearm ownership. The facts have not changed even a tiny bit, despite the recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernadino. Here is the text of the comment I posted to Facebook this morning along with the relevant links.)

Violent sadists have been part of us from the beginning. They will be part of us until the end.

At some point we have to recognize that we cannot allow social norms to be dictated by either the paranoid or the sadistic. In the United States there are about 20,000 pages of federal firearm laws and about 40,000 more pages of state firearm laws, not to mention municipal firearm laws. We have more than enough gun control laws.

Detroit and Chicago prosecutors routinely allow felons with a long history of violent convictions to avoid federal prosecution on firearm charges by acting as confidential informants or by turning in rival drug dealers and other felons. This must stop.

Mass shootings always make the headlines because they are horrific and sell advertising. In reality though, they are only a small percentage of violent crimes. The vast majority of violent crimes involving a firearm are either inter-gang turf wars or drug addicts feeding their habit. Two-thirds of firearm related deaths are neither crimes nor accidents, they are suicides. There are estimated to be around 300 million firearms in circulation in the United States. Only a small percentage wind up being used to kill someone. Why punish tens of millions of rational, non-violent, law-abiding gun owners by restricting their freedom to buy, sell, trade, target shoot, hunt, and train themselves in self-defense just because a few hundred violent sadists use firearms to kill people?

If anything, more good people need to be armed, trained, and willing to defend their lives and their property with deadly force. The first person on the scene of a violent crime is the victim. If the intended victims routinely respond with deadly force, the number of violent incidents will decline even faster and farther than they have been. It will never be zero. The human animal is too violent by nature, but with vigilance, training, and proper firearms in the right hands, there would be dramatically fewer.

According to both the FBI and the CDC, outside of Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh and Atlanta, violent crime has been steadily declining since 1960 and in many counties it is at an all time historical low. It is not a coincidence that the cities with the strictest firearm regulations have the highest incidence of violent crimes using a firearm. Criminals greatly prefer unarmed victims.

We don't need more dialogue and we don't need more gun control laws. The only thing we need to do is prosecute or kill the violent every time their raise their heads. Sadly, there is no other real world solution. The human animal is just too violent by nature.

Pew Research: Firearm Homicide Rate has drastically Declined
Mises Institute: Comparing US Murder Rates with other Developed Countries is Misleading
Gun Culture Blog: ASC Paper on UK Firearm Ban Results
FBI Uniform Crime Reports: FBI UCR Database
CDC NIOSH Database: NIOSH Database

February 24, 2016

Donald Trump and the end of Intellectualism

The 1960s were a critical decade for the modern western world. Young people born to those who had survived World War Two abandoned the assumptions of their parents en masse on a nearly global scale. Many of these young people were the first generation in their families to successfully acquire a college education. They launched into the world assuming that they held a generational imperative to reverse the mistakes of their parent's generation and create a new global society based on intimate emotional bonds that transcended national culture. Nearly every one of them believed they had a divine mandate to eradicate starvation, violence, environmental degradation, disease, and social isolation. A generation of teachers fed by the horror of the holocaust and the very real danger of global annihilation through nuclear war taught these children that it was their sacred duty to dream big. Television taught them that reality was merely a minor road bump on the way to the realization of anything they could imagine. They were taught to believe that their imagination was real and reality was a fiction created by violent, ignorant capitalists solely concerned with accumulating money.

At first, this generation honestly believed that by filling the world with music, recreational narcotics, and open sexual relations they could short-cut the hard road to utopia. Television, music lyrics, and academic leaders who had refused to fight in World War Two, all preached the secret to happiness could be found in good music, drug-induced ecstatic trance states, and the almighty orgasm. Woodstock, the Summer of Love, and the Age of Aquarius reinforced the dreams they encountered while stoned, the fantasies they enjoyed on television, and the utopian visions of their teachers. Communes sprang up all across North America and Europe. Young people flocked to these communes convinced they were working side by side with their peers to bring about a new age of peace and love. Inside the communes they found poor sanitation, disease, broken hearts, abusive relationships, and massive numbers of people unwilling to cook, clean, grow food, chop wood, and sew clothes. Many of these communes were eventually shut down for a wide variety of health violations, some were closed by massive police raids aimed at curbing illegal drug distribution, and some were simply abandoned as one by one the golden children of an enlightened age realized that in order to change the world they would have to join the world and work from the inside.

For half a century now, their influence has grown in leaps and bounds. These golden youth are now silver-haired politicians, bankers, business leaders, priests, prophets, and college professors. To their horror, the world is just as violent, just as polluted, just as sick, and just as poor as it has always been. The utopian age they have spent their entire lives working to bring about is no closer today than it was when Richie Havens opened the Woodstock Festival at 5:07 p.m. on Friday, August 15, 1969. Their generation has been an age of intellectualism like nothing that has come before it. Not even the great Enlightenment and Renaissance Age of the 12th Century had advanced this far in moving humanity out of ignorance and into utopia. Unfortunately, that is exactly the problem. For in order to bring about this great neo-Marxist utopia in which labor has finally overthrown the evil capitalist elites and ushered in a golden age of love and music, the old world had to be destroyed. The world their parents built, the world of hard work, courtesy, and an honest belief in the virtue of material accumulation, was seen by the golden children of the new age as something founded on hatred of non-white people and the subordination of women to men. The children did not understand that their parents diverse neuroses and apparent unhappiness derived from an undying sense of disenfranchisement left by the bloody battlefields of Europe, the horrors revealed in the Nuremberg Trials, and the impossible destruction witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hard work and material comfort was the best love they could provide to their children because their emotional lives had been destroyed by the violence of a war driven by two countries seeking global domination.

When 19 terrorists in four planes destroyed the World Trade Center and took out an entire wing of the Pentagon, the golden children of Woodstock came face to face with the same enemy their parents had been forced to face at Pearl Harbor. They did not recognize this enemy because they honestly believed their parents had completely destroyed it. When faced with an unrelenting fascism dedicated to replicating itself around the globe regardless of the cost in lives and treasure, the golden generation had no intellectual tools to combat this enemy. The intellectualism of the golden generation was based on the firm assumption that left to themselves, all people everywhere would seek out love and happiness. For any group of people to still harbor an assumption that violent destruction of another group of people was necessary to achieve personal happiness was completely unimaginable to the golden generation. They had been warned. Dissenters within their generation had preached long and hard that humans are essentially destructive, material success is not greed, and the only role of government is to limit the destructive capability of the human animal, but this was a completely irrational set of ideas to the children of Woodstock. These golden children had been taught by their teachers, by their televisions, and by their favorite musicians that everyone, everywhere wanted the same happiness and it was their job to make it happen. To see three thousand people dead in a single morning, killed simply for being different, was a shock to their system they could not absorb and for one brief moment, they let their parents old pragmatism sway their dream of utopia.

But now that the crisis has passed, the golden generation is once again focused on bringing about their neo-Marxist paradise where workers, managers, organizers, artists, and outcasts all share the same material comforts while they themselves, being the intellectual superiors of their ignorant, deprived brethren, enjoy a standard of living just a tiny bit above their lessers in recognition of their superior vision for a better world. This is why so many people express outrage and disbelief at the success of Donald Trump. "The Donald", as he is affectionately known by many of his supporters, represents material success on the basis of exploitation of the working class. In the minds of the golden generation, The Donald is the antithesis of everything that is good, right, and proper. To their enlightened minds, The Donald is a step backwards from their promised utopia into the crass, shallow materialism of their parents. It has not yet dawned on their befuddled gray heads that they themselves have now become the oppressors, enforcing their own fascist version of utopia on everyone else. The golden generation honestly believes that their utopia is better for everyone and that hard physical labor performed by their intellectual inferiors in order to bring about this utopia should be a reward in and of itself. After all, once utopia has been achieved, everyone's life will be better, so it is only rational for those who are less educated, less intelligent, and less visionary to conform to the future promised by the intellectual class; a future created through the hard work of those who are clearly inferior to the golden generation. A carefully educated and trained political class is necessary to organize, deploy, and reallocate the existing resources so that everyone else can be comfortable, right? To the golden generation it seems perfectly logical that their superior vision should inspire their inferiors, after all, they have the best interests of their inferiors well in hand. The only step remaining is to finally achieve the utopia they have spent their entire lives working toward.

Donald Trump is not succeeding because American voters have gone insane; nor is he succeeding because American voters are angry at the political class. What we are seeing is far more than the simple political revolution promised by Bernie Sanders. The movement that is still coalescing around Donald Trump has no name. This is not the "Moral Majority" that elected Ronald Reagan. This is not the "Age of Aquarius" that arose from the ashes of Camelot with the death of John F. Kennedy. This new movement is a complete and total rejection of the utopian vision and neo-Marxist thinking of the golden generation. It will keep growing, keep spreading, and keep gaining momentum because it is driven by real, pragmatic concerns of everyday people who have realized that the utopia promised by the golden generation will require them to abandon any hope they have of bettering their own lives on an individual basis. The average American's capitalist dream of material comfort has no place in the future promised by the golden generation and they know it. Instead, any slight material superiority has been reserved for those who adopt and perfectly mimic the neo-Marxist worldview of the golden generation and who share in their utopian dream. The golden generation has appointed specific individuals to carry on their dream. In order to achieve this, these new mentors are charged with organizing the rest of us into work bands who will build the golden generation's utopia with the sweat of our brows and the work of our hands. The Donald promises to return the average American to a world where they receive directly the rewards of their work. This movement is a wholesale rejection of the golden generation's expectation that everyone should be eager to work day and night in order to pass their wealth to the political class in order to allow the golden generations's appointed heirs to distribute that wealth to those who are deemed most needy.

The great utopia of the golden generation is based on this simple precept, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

The future being sought by those who support The Donald is based on a radically different precept, "to each according to his achievements gained through hard work and accomplished in accordance with his ability to learn from his failures."

The appointed heirs of the golden generation are promising a utopia where all men are equal. Those who are rallying behind The Donald are seeking a world where all men and women have an equal opportunity to succeed or fail based on their individual personal merits and reinforced by their ability to learn from their failures.

The Donald is succeeding beyond all expectations, but not because he is promising a different kind of utopia. His political success is far more subtle than the brusque tone of his speeches and the harsh language of his debates. American voters everywhere believe The Donald is promising to break the chains of utopia altogether. Their expectation is that once those chains are broken it will allow them the freedom to build their own individual life on their own individual terms. Whether or not he can follow through on those perceived promises is an entirely different question and one that will only be answered if he succeeds in winning his way to the White House.

As this grand drama continues to unfold, with the golden youth seeking to dismantle the world of their golden elders, the rest of us watch in horror, praying desperately for someone to come and save us from ourselves. I don't know if Donald Trump can save us, but I do know Hillary Clinton cannot.