Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An answer to the Welfare case

In a previous post, I demonstrated the economic absurdity of the welfare state. I did this by proving that the transaction from the top to bottom created a landscape where more responsible individuals who invested their money in productive things had to yield some of that productivity to the wasteful and unfrugal welfare recipients. The overall productivity loss is aggravated by the wastefulness of the welfare distributors (aka the Government), and diverts money from the productive private sector to the counterproductive public one.

In another earlier post, I conclusively established that the welfare state is not an implication of the moral dictates of the Bible and Christianity, and that *Christian Socialists* don't know their theology very well.

But whenever I am successful in demolishing an interculocutor's argument, there is always a plea of desperation exhibited by the losing party. In this case, there still is another fallback position thrown by the petty libborg when they are desperate laying prone to bite my ankles. Unfortunately for them, just as my intellect outstrips theirs' by a few standard deviations, my ankles are immune to their critism. By their fallback position I mean their dissent from logical and economic reality to morality and justice - how the leftists arrive at such notions is beyond me, but then again, they aren't exactly known for their swell thinking abilities, the ivy leagues high I.Q's notwithstanding. Moreover, the idea that expropriation is in accordance to morality and justice reeks of a scary system of ethics.

They repeat their appeals of empathy for the poor and unfortunate. Implying that it is not so much the total economic output as it is the number of individuals under poverty, so while the welfare state may detract from the aggregate economy, it coushens the blow of poverty.

The moral motivation isn't all that unreasonable, but it argues on false premises. Because the reality is that welfare doesn't even help the poor. There are reasons why the welfare state is antithetical to the poverous. 1) receiving free money doesn't help one's morale by keeping them even more dependant 2) In a capitalist economy, where one gets rich by serving the consumers, one cannot seperate *aggregate* and *individual*, in a pure free-market economy, wealth is (almost) positive sum, and most importantly 3) the free market is already a system where wealth is distributed. Very like welfare with one distinct difference: the medium of distribution. In a socialist commonwealth, the State acts as the medium by instigating the process. In a free market system, production acts as the medium. In both cases, distribution occurs, in one case you have a house or a car leftover, with the hard worker doing paid off, in the other case you have wasted capital and human labor leftover, with the unproductive being paid off. This is why the more concentrated the welfare pill, the poorer that everyone, including the lower class, becomes.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

What a great Christmas. I got as many gifts as I can be grateful for, and my family and I have had a great Christmas vacation so far. I thank my Father, Mother, Grandfather, Grandmother, Oma, Uncle, and Aunt (I home I didn't miss any) for all of the amazing presents they gave me.

But what I am most thankful for is the gift, the Ultimate Gift, bestowed by our Creator through the coming of Jesus Christ into this world on that very first Christmas, who liberated us not from the harsh Roman rule, but from the even nastier rule of the spirit of evil in this world. It is because of that first Christmas, the Divine invasion, that we may live forever in peace and love.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My intellectual influences

Like everyone, I have had individuals that have influenced me and are part of the reason for how I got to be. This list below is an effort to document those intellectuals who have influenced my thinking in some way or another. The list intentionally leaves out my personal acquaintances whom I know. Their absence isn't to degrade their affect on me, but rather a focus on the historical figures whom I have drawn inspiration from. So here it is:

Jesus Christ

Leonardo Da Vinci

Vox Day


Benjamin Franklin

C.S Lewis

Isaac Newton

Isaac Asimov

Thomas Jefferson

Ludwig Von Mises

There are a host more figures that have influenced me, but those are the primary ones. It is my intention to make a series devoting each character one post in order to outline the specific ways these figures have inspired me.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It seems to be a vicious cycle, having government public schools influencing the public opinion, which in turn determines the votes....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mission Acomplished

Today marked the accomplishment of a goal that I set at the beginning of 2010 to read 30 books. Mid way through, I was a little dubious that I could fulfill it, but I persisted and it payed off. The 30 books are on the right. Next year the goal is 50.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Playing into the historical narrative

History is seldom as romantic as history books make us believe. In truth, it is a messy, unpredictable, and unbalanced narrative. Last night, I was surprised to read that Michaelango actively disliked leonardo da vinci and hated Raphael even more. So the trinity of the artistic Renascence moment were entrenched in contention? Even more significant was how bitter the relationships between some of America's Founding Father's were. Reading Founding Brothers has been a very enlightening exercise for me in this regard; it wasn't just a matter of Federalist versus Republican, John Adams despised Alexander Hamilton more than any the other members of the opposing party.

John Adams, in his embittered years as ex-president, 1800-1805, describes how the historical accounts of America's quest for independence and the events that occurred within the Continental congress were highly romanticized into one flowing and seemingly inevitable narrative, when this wasn't actually the case. Adam's insight, that there is an enormous discrepancy between witnessing history and viewing it through post-facto documentation, is key to understanding the significance of the American Revolution. According to Adam's account, Jefferson was a second rate player in the continental congress who could hardly find it within himself to utter 3 sentences. His ascendancy to fame was the result his fortuitous role in drafting the Declaration of Independence; Jefferson seemed to have perfect pitch when it came to playing what the historical accounts wanted to hear. While Adam's played a larger role, Jefferson got the credit. This is not to detract from Jefferson's voluminous accomplishments as a statesmen, which are justifiably well regarded, especially later in his career . Adam's was a great admirer of this Jeffersonian trait, realizing that that it was this ability that made Jefferson more memorable. And in truth, the volatility of the situation was such that the premises were built upon a plethora of contingencies that anything could happen. The seemingly momentous can turn out trivial and the seemingly trivial and turn out momentous. So contrary to what many of us think, the American revolution was not inevitable. The salient point was that history painted a true but misleadingly smooth picture.

This ties in quite nicely with Nassim Taleb's exellent book, The Black Swan, which unfortunately I have been remiss in reviewing. Talebs dubs this history-book way of perceiving "the narrative fallacy." And one in which we would do well not to engage in. Citing World War 1 as an example, he demonstrates that with the benefit of hindsight we retroactively attach an obviousness about the outcome which was wholly unknown to the actual players in the historical arena. Because the reality of it is, the real world is messy and wayward to our predictions; it is after the events that that it starts making sense, making us fall into a false sense of epistemic arrogance regarding the future, just because we can rationally explain the past into a smooth, sensible narrative.

This is not an attack on the profession of historians; it is important to make history fun, which it is, of course.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Vanfair Worldview

Part of the Vanfair worldview dictates that talent is more a result of nurture than nature. This is not to say that nature doesn't bestow on those fortunate individuals enviable talents, merely that nature seems to be play a submajor role in the talent equation. And that cultivation through deliberate practice is what truly brings the effective results.

The rapidly progressing state of neuroscience is confirming the Vanfair worldview. By way of example, the skill of drawing, often ascribed to be a result of God-given talent, can now be taught in an effective way that even the most artistically deficient individuals can learn and even excel.

I'm convinced that the talent-is-innate club is becoming more and more outdated and is a consequence of a childish mentality. Consider the following: when you were a youngster, didn't you believe that talent was more of a result of natural skill than deliberate cultivation? There is a reason why most of us believed that in our youth. The primary reason being that when you were younger, most of your colleagues were talent because of their genetics, given their very limited years of practice. But the older one gets the less relevant genetics become.

In my own experience, I always thought that ambidexterity was a matter of genetics. I am now convinced that anyone can use both hands proficiently. Being ambidextrous is one of my goals that I have amidst a framework of an ambitious Renascence Man program. So if I am able to fulfill that goal, then that will be another confirmation of the Vanfair worldview.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Interesting Connection

The elusive waitapi has some excellent posts about the evils that the feminist movement has wrought upon society. One article in particular does an excellent job in sketching a brief history of the ideological roots of feminism. Interestingly enough, he documents the historical link between marxism, as was envisioned by Karl Marx, and feminism. While I was aware of the relationship between historical fascism and feminism, particularly the declaration of universal suffrage in the fascist manifesto, I was blind to its relationship to communism. I should have known, as both marxism and feminism declare war on the nuclear family and traditional folkway. And since most feminists are active socialists by heart.

Many may object to the historical link, and I will kindly let the reader go to the original post and decide whether his analysis is accurate or not.

But what can not be so easily dissmissed, however, is the undeniable consequences brought by the ideas of maraget sanger and other leading lights. We may not be living in the soviet union, yet, but everyday confirms the fact the we are witnessing a matriarchal dystopia that is every bit as crippling and degenerating to our culture as communism was to the soviet economy.

I'm thinking about writing a series on this topic, as it demands far more consideration that a single blog post can provide.

Anyway, go read the article.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Don't be foolish, and don't fall for the neo-cons

It has been a regrettable pitfall of the modern conservative movement to base one's vote on the non-democrat. No positive traits are required, he just has to be the most popular - and thus has the best chance of winning - opposition to the democratic candidate, and that voting for a third party candidate is a "wasted vote," so we are told.

But while this may be sound from a tactical and short-term perspective, it only creates problems from a strategical and long-term one. As is becoming abundantly clear, voting for pseudo-conservatives only damages the republican party, setting up for a guaranteed democrat victory in the next election cycle. Moreover, it is a demonstrable fact that the republicans are every bit as pro-government and pro-bank as the are democrats are. If we are truly witnessing the end days of America, then we can be sure that the Republicans are as much to blame for it as are the democrats.

It is because of this profoundly un-principled mentality that Ron Paul, one of the greatest defenders of freedom and sound money of our time, was rejected by they republican party for the third-rate politician that is John McCain. Not only was this utter tomfoolery, but it doesn't even make sense from voting perspective. How on earth is a pro-war, pro-bank,and pro-amnesty candidate going to win when all of this positions go against views of the majority of Americans? That strategy will not work.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

On Epistemic arrogance

It is often said that the more you know, the more you realize how how little you really know. On the flipside, however, its contrapositive indicates that the less we know, and the more ignorant we are, the more delusional we are about the level of our knowledge. Hence:

Vanfair Maxim #57. Even the highest degree of intellectual humility is insufficient to subvert the natural human tendency to underestimate our own ignorance.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good to see it

I am generally picky about the writers that I like; I actively resist reading those that simply rehash talking points. So I was somewhat surprised reading Allen Keyes in his recent column 2012: a test for American leadership. In that article, he correctly argues the shortcomings of the two party system, producing an elite that our founding fathers were afraid of. Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for our current predicament by veering us off the path set by the wisdom of our founders. And for those pseudo conservatives that take offense to his bi-criticism, please note that it was a Republican that preceded Obama in passing a stimulus package, bailed out the banks, followed a lax immigration policy, and spent trillions of dollars overseas in foreign aid and military policy, all with the assent of the Republican majority in Congress. The GOP has abandoned its conservative roots ever since Reagan left office, and it is unlikely that it will ever return to them. The tea-party's mission is noble and should be lauded, but its goal of restoring the conservatism of the GOP is unlikely to succeed. It must create a third party to contravene our binary system by offering genuinely conservative and classical liberal candidates. While I believe that the tea-party is weak on some of the major issues we face, I must admit that it is a real positive force that has a potential to break our current binary political system that thrives on the exploitation of the voters.

Anyway, the article is very well-written, showcasing higher-level vocabulary that my intellect needs in order to keep on reading. And while I am unfamiliar with some of the views held by Mr. keyes, I have no doubt that he is an insightful writer, maybe even worthy of going on and reading him yourself.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A qualitative improvement

Over the last few months my father, brother, and I have been spending our leisurely free-time playing Blizzards StarCraft 2. We got the game because we were obsessed with the first one, and we like the 2nd one even better. Although when we initially started the 2nd one, we struggled. We kept on playing, but just could not win a game, almost to the point of demoralization. Around a month ago, however, we started winning games by elevating the level of our play through strategy and unit selection. The latter is particularly important, as the units seem to have a rock-paper-scissors relationship. Marines woop void rays, Collosy woop marines, etc.... We eventually got up to rank 8 in the bronze division. OK, maybe the bronze division is the worst out of Silver, Gold, Eagle, and Diamond, but its still pretty good, the players are no noobs and sometimes we beat guys from the Gold and Silver divisions. Tonight, however, we engaged in some trash-talking with some players, and we were infuriated that they won, quite quickly I may add.
Their strategy was to build as many of the basic units, such as marines and zealots, as possible early in the game, and not to worry about a long term strategy. And with those units they attacked us persistently, concentrating on eviscerating our resource gathering units so as to cripple our productive abilities. It was embarrassing.

But as the old adage goes, one learns more by losing than by winning, so we incorporated that strategy on the next few games. I built a hoard of marines while my Dad and Bro built zealots and then we eventually built Banshees and Void Rays respectively. The results were immediate, as we won our next 4 games, launching ourselves into rank 4. We even won one game where Taylor was rushed immediately by zerg and barely survived, which left my father and I the burden of shouldering the offensive against the 3 opponents.

I don't think you have to play for hours upon hours a day like some Koreans to become a top player, just deliberate practice through intelligence and feedback, just like we did today.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Society needs to upgrade its lexicon

Having an avid thirst to learn new words and expand one's vocabulary is the hallmark of a curious mind. Leonardo da Vinci, often consider the most curious man ever, recorded and defined some 9000 words in his notebooks during his lifetime. I am doing something similar by writing down a five word flash card every day and taking it around with me everywhere I go, as well as writing down every unknown word I come across in a notebook for a future look-up. Why? Because it is one of the most effective ways of accelerating one's intellect. Generally, one's vocabulary is a reasonably accurate metric for determining the concepts that an individual understands and is cognizant of, which is why it plays a significant role in aptitude tests. In the past year, 2010, I estimate that I have learned close to a thousand words. My scholastic abilities have sharpened as a result, particularly my writing and critical thinking.
Its interesting to see the importance that words play in an individual's life. And the same applies to a society as a whole: the collective public's awareness and perception of reality is defined by the depth of its lexicon.

It was George Orwell that observed that if a word is cut off from the standard dictionary, then the concept that that word expresses will soon either be forgotten or will become too vague to become meaningful.

The context of Orwell's observation was in a totalitarian state attempting to control the minds of the proletariat via the dictionary. So its somewhat surprising - well, to some people - that a similar process is occurring in real time, in fact, its always been happening. Currently there has been no deliberate dictionary modifications, although I have no doubt that some of our simpleton politicians in washington would have no trouble doing this if given the chance, but the vulgar masses have remained, like they always have, either ignorant of words or deceived as to what certain words mean. To give an example of the latter, the word "fascism" is being carelessly flung out to describe right-wing politics, as if a small and limited government is anything like what Mussolini envisioned in his manifesto. As to the former, there is no shortage of evidence for the inch wide vocabulary that cripples the masses. Just as the body needs a certain amount of oxygen and will suffocate if it doesn't, the people are suffering from an intellectual vacuum of creativity neurons and expressive cells. Even nominally educated adults have a shockingly shallow lexicon.

As I implied earlier, this is not a problem unique to our age. Quite the opposite in fact, as people probably know more than in any other era. But the aforementioned dearth still impairs our society. The schools are notorious for shutting down the curiosity in our youngsters that vitiates them for life. I myself do not have an answer to this, other than to work your own backside off, and cherish the ride that will be given to you for doing so.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Good Game

Yesterday, I played in one of the funnest b-ball games of my life. We were playing in the alpha omega tournament championships, we got there by crushing our opponents in the first two games. I was particularly motivated and pumped up for this game because of the audience that was there - I was actually on a campout that weekend and my scout friends took me to the game, so they watched.

We took the lead early on, 16 to 4 at one point, and maintained that lead up to the 4th quarter. But because their best player hit an NBA three at the 3rd quarter buzzer, the other teamed came out at the beginning of the fourth quarter sufficiently energetic to take the lead, which went back and fourth during that quarter. With around 2 minutes left, I was a little nervous when we were down by 3. But fortunately, one of our players hit a 3 pointer to tie the game. Going on, the game was tied with roughly 30 seconds left - the other team had the ball. We caused a turnover on their part, however, and had the ball with twenty seconds left, waiting to take the last shot. My teammate, Austin Hughey, had the ball and when there was 6 seconds left he decided to drive it in. But when doing so, he was cut off and picked up his dribble, so with three seconds left, he put up an off balanced 3 pointer from the wing. I was at the opposite baseline at the time, and while I was crashing in for the rebound I realized that it was going to be an air ball. So I ran as fast as I could to it, caught it in the air, and did a reverse layup at the buzzer to win the game. It all happened so quickly, and the championship was ours.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nassim book

Over the past few months, I kept on seeing and hearing about Nassim's book "the Black Swan." I was instantly intrigued by it, but never got around to actually reading it. Well, I picked it up at the library earlier today so I will being reading it within the next few weeks. What intrigues me about the book is that it has a combined philosophical and economic theme. It presumably demolishes the efficient market hypothesis and other assumptions that are the foundation for mainstream investment theory. Which, I just found out today, is very much in line with the Austrian school's position on the matter.

So expect a review or outline of the book in the near future.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Harder than expected

Earlier tonight my team played Westbury Christian JV. Our own JV absolutely demolished their freshman team the game before, that, and the fact that we had about 4 guys taller than their tallest guy, and none of them looked very impressive in the warmups made me a little cocky going into the game. Needless to say, that confidence was shattered in the opening minutes. We ended up loosing by 31.
The interesting part about the game was that the players on that team were not particularly talented; I would bet with a reasonable degree of confidence that I could beat each one of them one on one. The reason they whooped our panties was their defense and running, the fact that they were well coached, and our inability to stop the 3 point shot. Their in-your-face man to man defense - to the point of pushing and hacking - led to numerous turnovers on our part and an inability to get the ball inside without it getting slapped out of our hands. This well-executed defense led invariably to copious fast break points, which was what allowed them to secure victory.

Westbury is reputed with a solid and even fantastic basketball program. I was wrong to doubt it. And they won, fair and square. Congratulations to them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One more problem

In the previous post, I enumerated a brief list of why our current economic situation is far worse than the Great Depression; the fact that we are completely dependent on foreign manufacturing precludes the possibility of us recovering from our current economic predicament the way we did during the Great Depression. But despite that this was no small list, I was kicking myself because I didn't mention 1 particular thing, which happens to play a huge role in our ability to recover. And that is oil, just as we are industrially dependent, so are we energy dependent, big time. History suggests that economic hardship is met with increased conflict. If this is the case, then we can suspect that more contentions and wars will take place. If the middle east is not an ally, or even if our enemy wipes our oil pipe lines out, we are done for. But not only will oil scarcity and dependence have execrable ramifications for a war time economy, but in a peace time one has well. As oil gets scarcer, and the populations of the world increase, the price of oil will increase, very dramatically. This will EVISCERATE the economy. Ladies and Gentlemen, the seriousness of our situation cannot be overstated. The culmination of downturn factors is far too strong for anyone at this point to stop. Something unrealistically dramatic has to happen. Its a brave new world, folks. And the scope of our degeneration only underscores this.

Even if one is skeptical of our economy's Great Depression-like nature, one cannot credibly deny that it will be longer and a more drawn out recovery, given our current inability to refresh past growth levels.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

America's true problem

It has been my relishing hobby - not by sadism, but by my passion for cold analysis - to chronicle the various trends that indicate that we are presently witnessing the end days of America. Naturally when the day comes, baffled historians will attempt to put the pieces together in the effort to diagnosis what exactly happened, and why everything all went so horribly wrong. The death of Capitalism will be pronounced, and the communists will finally have their day when they can boast in triumph . These pronouncements will be wrong, of course, which is a topic for a later post. It is the purpose of this post to examine the fundamental flaw of our present Government system, and how this flaw is the ultimate causal factor of the decline, and the eventual fall, of the American Empire.

The flaw I am referring to is the enactment of universal suffrage in our representative democracy. The founding fathers had it right; the tyranny of the masses really can be as harsh as monarchy. The historical facts are actually relatively easy to find. Consider the following, for example, taken from Did Women's suffrage change the size and scope of the Government?

Giving women the right to vote significantly changed American politics from the very beginning. Despite claims to the contrary, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue, and these effects continued growing as more women took advantage of the franchise. Similar changes occurred at the federal level as female suffrage led to more liberal voting records for the state’s U.S. House and Senate delegations. In the Senate, suffrage changed voting behavior by an amount equal to almost 20 percent of the difference between Republican and Democratic senators. Suffrage also coincided with changes in the probability that prohibition would be enacted and changes in divorce laws. We were also able to deal with questions of causality by taking advantage of the fact that while some states voluntarily adopted suffrage, others where compelled to do so by the Nineteenth Amendment. The conclusion was that suffrage dramatically changed government in both cases. Accordingly, the effects of suffrage we estimate are not reflecting some other factor present in only states that adopted suffrage. [...]

Giving the Women the right to vote truly was bad news for America. As the correlation between women's suffrage and goverment spending and increased safety nets has been proven, it becomes increasingly difficult for liberty cherishing patriots to tolerate women's enfranchisement.

But it doesn't stop there, I will go so far as to assert that not only is it women who should have the voting rights taken away, but also the parasites of our country: welfare recipients. In fact, it seems only rational to enfranchise just the net tax payers. As revolutionary as this may sound to our sissy politically correct minds, it was actually the way of the world for most of human history, at least whenever they had a recognizable democracy. Before, it was only property owners would could vote; because the primary form of taxation was the property tax, it was only these individuals who had to pay it who could have a voice of where THEIR money went. This makes sense even when one looks from a wholly pragmatic perspective; If the parasites are given a voice, then the parasitical safety nets that they desperately hold on to will become the political norm and will be subject to constant expansion.

I always find it amusing when people are genuinely baffled about the poor selection of politicians our political parties give us when the explanation is quite simple: simpleton voters produce simpleton politicians. It is the fact that our politicians are a brainless lot of scumbags that we are in such a trainwreck of a situation. And by extention, it is the fact that we do not have the balls to "no" to the ignorant masses and beta-provider seeking women that we are doomed. Goodbye America. In your original form you were loved, and are still loved now, but the day will soon come when all of your previous mistakes will catch up to you. And remember, you are not immune to the fate of the Roman, Assyrian, Greek, and British empires.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Republicans and the Great Social waves

I wasn't surprised when the Republicans reclaimed the house a few days ago, although I did expect that the they were going to get more senates seats then they did. What we see happening is a reactive wave that was triggered by a decade-plus of corruption and anti-liberty policies conducted by the bi-factional ruling party. This reactive wave has taken into the form of the tea-party, which is an adjustment from complacency to social unrest.

The historically inclined reader will note that this turnaround in the election cycle was even more dramatic than the one that occurred in '94. The reason is that inertia can only be countered by a greater force. The pendulum really does swing back; the greater the wave, the stronger its counter wave. What are its implications?

Robert Prechtor has developed an intriguing field called socionomics, which analyzes the various waves of mass human behavior, very much similar to the concept of psychohistory as described in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. Prechtor has divided the waves into different categories, according to there strengths. They range from Positive mood bull waves to a Grand Supercycle Bear wave. It is Prechtor's contention that we are presently in the mist of a Grand Supercycle wave that was an order of magnitude worse than the supercycle wave that encompassed the Great Depression.

Prechtors conclusions have a certain political significance in that they inform us that no matter who we vote in, even Ron Paul, there will still be a drastic economic and cultural ills that cannot be fixed overnight, given how this is the result of literal decades of negative social inertia. Many republicans and tea partiers still have their hopes up that a conservative victory in the congress, and eventually in the presidency, can cure our societal and economic cancers, but I am afraid that these hopes are misplaced. While they certainly can ameliorate the situation, they cannot avert it.
Some insist that the worst is over and that we have only room for improvement, citing the march 2009 bull rally as evidence - although I find it highly amusing that no one worth his water has cited the hilarious post facto revisions that imply that the recession ended in june 2009. As much as I want to embrace their optimism, I cannot, for all cultural and economic indicators vouch otherwise. Not only is the level of malinvestment higher than the Great Depression, but the present U.S economy is far less amendable to correction and recovery; The U.S's manufacturing base is wiped out, debt is at unsustainable levels, security and health care programs are going bankrupt, the people are rapidly becoming fat and decadent, there are more parasitical government and government mandated workers, and more welfare recipients. The situation is far worse than what our present economic statistics lead us to believe.

As for the march 2009 bull rally, i'm particularly concerned because it is has lasted this long; it really will be a hard and fast fall once it is over, and it will not look pretty. The tea party is little more than a reactive movement to the wave that will ultimately ensure America's unraveling. A fool can see a crises when it hits, but it takes a wise man to spot it from a distance. The tea party was just a little late , I'm afraid, and while it can prevent the crises from being exacerbated, it cannot preclude its inevitable appearance. It will, however, be interesting to see how the republicans will act in washington. Will they take a stand for genuine freedom, unplugged safety nets, and the principles of our Nation's founding, or will they persist in the same, failed policies of the previous decades?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Aiming for a higher SAT score

When conversing with my fellow peers, champions of the teenage spirit, replete with the youthful hubris that their young age entails, I find myself astonished at the amount of indifference they have regarding to standardized tests such as the SAT. This would be remarkably surprising if one held to the rational view of mankind, which states that Man mostly acts in a way that can be recognized as rational within the context of his aspirations, given that SAT scores play a huge role in college admissions. But under the oft-confirmed model that humans seldom act rationally, this phenomenon makes perfect sense. But for the benefit of those who deviate from their brethren in taking these tests seriously, I will elect to spell out some useful tips for improving one's score. If applied properly these tips can yield you a bonus of at least 300 points.

Before I get into the meat of this post, it is first necessary for me to categorize the different areas that the SAT tests, and thus the areas that we should study to enhance our scores.

Reading: Reading speed, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and forensics, which is defined as "the art or study of argumentation and formal debate." I include the latter one because it is important to be able to "argue" for one answer in favor of another based on logical and documentary evidence.

Math: Algebra, Geometry, Statistics

Writing: Grammar, diction, writing.

I divide the different sections into various subsections because just like in every field or skill, focusing on specific goals is necessary for dramatic self-improvement. No generalization. While it may help to a certain extent, it is much less effective than concentrating on specific oriented goals.

That being said, let us proceed to the reading sections. Reading speed can be increased through many techniques, I suggest you get a book on it. But a few rudimentary tips are as follows: focus on the space above the words so you can glance at more than one word at a time, reading one word at a time can be useful for developing one's sense of the authors writing style and helps one's spelling, but it costs unnecessary time for the SAT; just read a lot, not only will this improve your overall reading speed but it will familiarize you with more information that could potentially be presented on the test, and thus making your reading easier. For example, one article I had to read was about dualism, and because I was already well-versed on the topic, I was able to blast right through it. Reading comprehension: Again, read a lot. Also, improve your ability to concentrate, this allows your mind to become more actively engaged in the material, which accelerates learning and growth. Vocabulary: This is one of the more straightforward ones. And like everything, diversifying your methods is the best way to develop. Ways to broaden your vocab: Read material that uses a broad vocabulary, look up any word that you are unfamiliar with and write it down along with its definition, making it subject to future reference; Get a SAT vocabulary book and carry it around with you at all times - in the car, bathroom,etc... - and study it. I got one that had 500 words on it and learned about 250 of them in a month in a half. Now I have one with 3000 words, and once I get through with it I will have a master vocabulary (not that I don't already, you see). Additionally, one can make note cards with, say, 5 words on it and focus on those 5 words all day; the next day have 5 more new words. I don't bother with flashcards but they are beneficial. If you can do at least 3 of the aforementioned 5 methods, your doing good.
As for forensics, read books and blogs that debate about topics and then joy a debate team yourself. Whats also beneficial is looking up all of the logical postulates and fallacies. Run a Wikipedia search on a logical fallacy, then on the bottom of the page they will have a huge list of them.

Math: The math section is perhaps the least coach-able of the three, but it can still be taught. Focus on your math textbooks, try to get to at least pre-calculus. Make sure that not only do you learn the relevant math lessons, but that you learn the reasoning behind it. Exposing yourself to its foundations is the best way to enhance and deepen your reasoning skills. Bonus: if you have the time, try different textbooks.

Writing: Pickup a grammar book, particularly one that focuses on SAT relevant grammar.

In fact, I would wholly recommend getting an SAT prep book. The best one in my opinion is Barrons "SAT 2400, aiming for the perfect score."

Benjamin Franklin

I am presently looking for a good biography on Benjamin Franklin. One that documents his ideas, actions, accomplishments, and character. I have already read several intermediate books about him, but that was a few years ago and I am looking to reimmerse myself in his life.

In my opinion, Benjamin Franklin is, perhaps only behind leonardo da vinci, the paragon example of a Renascence man. He constantly applied his voracious mind to almost every task in what lead to a seemingly endless list of accomplishments. He wrote insatiably, invented many practical devices as well as a musical instrument, he pioneered into the then-scientifically novel subject of electricity, he made a huge mark in every community that he inhabited, and was one of the most influential founding father of the greatest nation on earth. And yet this ever so lofty list hardly does justice to the scope of his achievements.

Man needs role models; Benjamin Franklin was one of mine a few years ago. After reading that Ben made an 8x8 magic square, I endeavored to do the same. I completed it in roughly 3 hours of mentally stimulating elbow grease, which unfortunately I misplaced somewhere. But for some reason, my interest in him faded for the last two years, looking more towards other renascence men such as da vinci to provide for a model.

This changed recently, however, as my inspiration derived from Franklin's legacy has been renewed. He truly was a great man, and as I read about his life and accomplishments in further detail, I will not fail to document the one's I see fit on this blog. In fact, I am even ruminating about writing a novel based on a mentor developing an uber renascence man. But that is a subject for a different post

Thursday, October 28, 2010

To young to befit

Studies confirm what has been obvious to everyone paying attention:

On average, kids at the ages 8-18 are devoting 7 hours a day to media devices, such as T.V, texting, video games, computer, etc.

Its true, based on my experience, if you go to a teenage rich environment, I can almost guarantee that 30+% of those kids are burying their heads in their metaphorical texting inbox. American kids are just not qualified for rebuilding our civilization. That's all there is to it. Circumstances are becoming as demanding as ever, and these kids won't be able to handle them. On top of that, our government has been winning its war against the nuclear family by including more single mothers into wealthfare, acting as their collective beta provider. In turn producing ever more ill-equipped children unable to handle their future responsibilities.

For those that took the PSAT in both 2008 and 2009 and noticed that overall scores were slightly less competitive in the latter year, your not alone - despite the fact that my math scores were the same, I was placed a percentage point better in 2009 than 2008. So not only are kids not becoming more motivated academically despite the turmoil of our times, they are less motivated. This speaks volumes about the short-sightedness of youth - and speaks encyclopedias about the culture that worships it.

I can't speak for anyone else, but the outside pressures of depression and degeneration are an impetus for me to bust backside. I still await my scores that I get for this years PSAT, but rest secure that I improved dramatically from last year.

But moving on, I can't see fit to complain, it just makes my job that much easier.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A new name for myself

Just as the differences between a public schooler and homeschooler are readily apparent, so are the differences between the different breeds of homeschoolers. There are two primary types:

1. Those that are homeschooled but follow a rigid curriculum and often times take many outside classes.

2. Those that are home, hardly take any outside courses, not many tests, no recognizable curriculum, and are motivated not by external rewards, such as grades, but for the sake of learning. Intrinsic versus extrinsic.

The majority happen to fallen under the first category, I on the other hand, fall into the second. Once these differences became apparent to me, I took upon myself to give the latter category a name: A freelance student.

So the next time someone asks me what I do for my schooling, I will now have a specific answer.

As should be obvious, the first category is much more akin to the publicschool system. Superior for certain, but its break from it is not a complete one. Most of the homeschoolers I know participate in many "co-op" classes, which in my opinion is just a repeat of the same mistakes the public school makes; the kids and the environment are better, but collective learning via a classroom is an outdated system of education. Granted that I take a chemistry course at a local community college - which is the only outside class I'm taking, by the way -, but that is a hard science that requires feedback and laboratory work. There are exceptions. But then again, taking English there wasn't exactly an educational marvel.

The main problem with the public school and some homeschool breeds is the same one that faces every centrally planned economy in a socialist commonwealth: coercion. Coercion butchers curiosity and the will to learn. It has been known for literal centuries that men tend to gravitate toward their own ideas as opposed to someone else's. Volition is a self-perpetuating machine that fosters in its victim a far stronger avidity than coercion ever can.

What I am proposing - and what human nature is testifying - is not that school should be a completely lawless activity, but rather one that fosters independence and a will to learn through one's own volition. This is not easy, it takes a whole more energy and intelligence than resorting to force. Remember, force is the refuge of the weak man who doesn't have the brains to handle a situation.

So the logic firmly holds water, but how about the empirical and anecdotal evidence? A quick study of the greatest inventors and innovators should suffice to demonstrate that it was not external rewards like fame and money that motivated geniuses, but the satisfaction of learning and creating for its own sake.
An an anecdotal level, I for example may be considered uneducated by a firm credentialist. And that may be true, but then again, I note with no little amusement that Wikipedia felt it important enough to mention that Ben Bernanke taught himself Calculus in the absence of school support, which of course is exactly what I am doing, as a Junior no less.

I also happen to know more about economics than over 90% of adults; conversation and this blog should suffice to prove this.

I am not apprising you of this because of I want to pronounce my egoism - in fact, I try to evaluate my knowledge on absolute instead of relative terms. But rather, I am spelling this out to provide you with a better understanding behind a better educational process.

But from now on, I am, and for the rest of my time in this world, a freelance student.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Talent is Overated"

A little over a week ago when I was at the Houston airport awaiting my flight to Baltimore, I picked up the book "Talent is overrated" by Geoff Colvin. I finished it last friday.
Before I start my review it must be noted that his definition of talent is what most people call "natural talent." So his thesis is not that ability and aptitude themselves are overrated, it is that the natural component of what makes talent is dramatized.
What I found interesting about this book is that his conclusions and his way of thinking are very similar the ones that I have been formulating since I have given the matter a thought.
For example, his categorization of the different models of talent are "sports model," "music model," and "business model," which is in accordance with my own thoughts.
His thesis about what really separates the truly talented with the mediocre too, bears a no small resemblance to my own formulations. He contends that it is not natural aptitude that determines greatness, but nor is it just plain old hard work; it is what he calls "deliberate practice." Practice that demands concentration, that is harder each time, that gets one out of his comfort zone, and is "not inherently enjoyable." Practice that incorporates specific, short term goals within a framework of a long term goal. Practice that is expertly designed and gives constant feedback.

Colver gives plenty of examples of what deliberate practice is and real life examples of how it was done, revealing that its the sort of practice that we seldom do.

The author places a special emphasis on the business stars, spelling out the stories of some of America's top C.E.O's.

After delving into the essence of deliberate practice, Colver then proceeds to outline how it can be applied to organizations in making the individuals and teams into a higher caliber. G.E, for example, spends millions of dollars and devotes thousands of work hours for employee development programs.

There is more to the book, of course, and with the conclusion of this review, I will gladly let the reader find out for himself.

America's Anomie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The implications of Free Trade

Sometimes there are just those moments when, whatever you are doing, you find yourself in awe of the shattered visage of what used to be your seemingly self-evident preconceptions. Whats obvious is not always right. In fact, it more often than not seems as if the two have an inverse relationship.
One such moment occurred after reading Vox Day's excellent post on the implications of free trade. The Austrian School of Economics, of which both Vox and I for the most part subscribe to, states that free trade is both necessary for economic liberty and economic prosperity. This seemed to be fairly reasonable, which is why it has remained largely unquestioned. But as the empirical evidence is being garnered, many have raised their voices in pronouncing their skepticism of the merits of free trade.
When the observable facts are in agreement with your assumptions, the logic behind those assumptions goes relatively unquestioned, but as the empirical world obliterates those rationales, then the reasoning behind those beliefs undergo a more rigorous examination. Not only has the empirical evidence gone against free trade theory, but its logical foundation in Ricardo's comparative advantage is flawed.

Moreover, it is not just economic prosperity that suffers from free-trade. Economic freedom takes a ruthless beating as well. Nationalism may have its flaws, but it is an absolutely necessary gambit for a country to preserve its freedom. What many do not understand is if free-trade is implemented in its most pure form, then labor and services can also be traded freely in and out of the Country. This is why traditional Libertarians have espoused open borders.
What Vox's post demonstrates is that not only is this economically unsound, it is disastrous for human freedom. Any student of history will know that immigration can transform a country, for the better or (more often) than worse. There are various reasons that immigration - or at least mass immigration - will usually inflict detrimental results to a country, but the primary reason is what I call the equilibrium principle. To illustrate, if a room has one side that is cold and the other side that is hot, over time heat will naturally flow into the colder areas until the temperature throughout the room is homogeneous. In like manner, the prosperous countries, like the USA, attracts foreigners who don't have it so well in their homeland like a donut shop attract a cop, and in doing so, brings his culture. A conflict ensues as the cultures clash, and the society is transformed, usually leaving less freedoms for the people.
So in keeping with libertarian principles, it makes perfect sense to direct a vigilant eye towards open immigration, and, by extension, free trade.
Over two hundred years ago, the founding fathers understood the importance of tariffs in maintaining a strong industrial base. Events have again confirmed their wisdom, as 50 years of Free Trade has eviscerated the America's manufacturing base. Leaving us and our freedoms more dependent and susceptible to other countries.
Free Trade definitely has its merits, and for some countries, particularly developing ones, it is a good economic policy. However, for a service driven economy such as the USA, it is not only an economic ill, but can be disastrous for human liberty. It has already been proven in real time that universal suffrage is directly incompatible with freedom, more often than not will free trade undergo a similar process. Whats obvious is not always correct.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Utopian Nightmare

Reading the various anti-utopian novels got me thinking about the similarities between those fictional stories and the cultural and societal trends that are occurring in western civilization, and which ones provide an accurate model for the future days of America and Europe. The relevant novels that I read were Orwell's 1984, Huxley's Brave New World, and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. There are also the books Anthem and Animal Farm, but since they were too brief to sketch a sufficiently complex utopia and overlapped to a great degree with the others, I have elected to exclude them in this post.

1984, Description: A world where societal and economic freedoms have been eradicated, a government that is never wrong, contradictions are intellectually viable whenever convenient, and the peoples' thought process are controlled by the limited vocabulary that is regulated by the state.
Verdict: Much of this is happening right now. While private property hasn't been completely been abolished, it is heavily regulated. In England, video cameras are constantly monitoring the streets, much like the telescreen concept expounded by Orwell. We have demagogues that take advantage of the hip words to move the masses, and the popular conception of words such as "fascism" have been completely reversed in meaning while relativism, cultural and moral, has divested the weak masses of all rational thought. As for the infallibility of the Government, the evidence tends to suggest that from their dodgy revisions of the GDP and U3/U6 unemployment numbers, they view themselves as definers of reality.
Virgil's prediction: Individual freedoms will continue to be stripped from the people. The negation of the constitutional right of free association will be expanded beyond the domains of race and sex will most surely happen, while the government will devise policies to create gender and racial parity in all things. Female equalists have already infected academia with their destructive agenda, and now they are setting their eyes on the scientific establishment.
Universal suffrage and third world immigration will no doubt also ensure the ascendancy of government power, and the ongoing economic depression will create the ashes from which a huge phoenix, most likely in the form of big government, will arise from. I don't think State power will rise quite to the degree in 1984, bit it is well within the realm of possibility that something similar, if less extreme, could happen. It has occurred in other countries, after all.

Brave New World Description: A sophisticated and technologically advanced form of eugenics, where instead of weeding the unfit from the population through genocidal means, the state actively modifies the genetic material of a pre-born fetus. It differs from classical eugenics in that it seeks to create different but necessary types of people, hence the alphas, gammas, epsilons etc, who play different roles in society, from the dust sweeper to the CEO. Whereas the classical variant endeavors to form a race where everyone is good and superior.
Because the state realizes that some jobs are hell, it fine tunes the genetics of the chosen individual to enjoy the activity that it has been predestined to do. For example, someone who has to work in the heat is designed to tolerate it, or even actively seeking it. Since the state manages the cultivation of every human being, in and out of the incubator, motherhood is an outdated concept.
Verdict: Eugenics, both positive and negative, has already occurred in abundant proportions. The urge for it has slowed down recently as its credibility was scathed in the 20th century, but unsustainable population levels have caused figures such as Bill Gates to reopen the discussion. And as Western Civilization de-Christianizes itself into embracing secular and pagan moralities, the ethical objection to eugenics that Christianity poses will swiftly fall into obscurity. This is not difficult, let alone impossible, to conceive given how religion and morality have been driven out of the ongoing euthanasia and abortion debates.
As for motherhood, Feminism has already declared war on it. Less and less kids are getting the maternal nurturing they need from their mothers because they are either in school or in day care, both sound strangely reminiscent of brave new world.
Virgil's prediction: Eugenics will again be taken seriously as the failure of its policies will be forgotten and the population will reach levels that the planet cannot sustain, although that problem may very easily be solve be either mass genocide, famine or war. Science and technology will continue to evolve that will make the eugenics more similar to brave new world, although I have my doubts that it will ever reach the point describe the aforementioned novel.
I also have my doubts that genetics and material environment can define Man in his entirety. Due to the Christian notion of the dualistic nature of Man, and also the supernatural beings that influence human behavior, and most importantly, the Fallen nature of Man, I am skeptical that material means can exert that much dominance on individual human beings. So label me dubious for theological reasons, if not practical ones. But overall, I believe that many of the books' aspects have some predictive utility. Mothers will always exist, but the growing feminist movement will ensure that fewer kids will be able be blessed with an active one.

Fahrenheit 451 Description: Information via books is not so much regulated as it is banned. Once the State realizes that you are in possession of a book, it immediately confiscates them to set it in flames. The government has to do this in order to maintain its power, for it cannot allow those pesky ideas of liberty and freedom to soak into the minds of the masses.
Verdict: This resembles more of ancient and medieval times than modern. I don't think its very plausible nowadays, particularly with the inception of the internet. Although, heavily regulated information is not only possible, but probable. We are already seeing figures such as Hillary Clinton pushing for a ban on talk radio, or a parity of opposing information outlets or whatever. So regardless of its impracticalities, tightly managed information will still be attempted by the state, and may even work.
Virgil's prediction: Leftists will try to eradicate the right of free speech for the same reason they have warred against other freedoms -- it hinders their agenda. It will work to some degree, but will be limited. However, they are already controlling most of peoples education through the public school system, which will continue to be a big part of their plan.

Much of these predictions are not meant to be long term ones. If you are appalled by my pessimism, rest secure in the knowledge that just like bad times have followed good ones, so will good times follow bad ones. Empires will rise and fall, and new ones will take their place.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, according to Newtons famous law. And once these predictions come true, so then will the seeds be sown for an even greater movement to counter act it. Revolutions will follow, and people will again appreciate their freedoms. But lets just hope that next time, the people will heed to the warnings laid out by these three books.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Canticle for Leibowitz -- A Review

Acquaintances of mine will recall that I was highly impressed with the classic science fiction novel A Canticle for Leibowitz. My Dad handed it to me as a recommendation, so I decided to give it a shot, and I am not disappointed that I did. There were many aspects of it that I appreciated. First, it was well written. The style was eminently enjoyable to read, and had enough high-level vocabulary words and intellectual concepts to keep me intrigued. Second, the conversations and the monkish atmosphere of the book was an interesting twist for a nominally Sci-Fi novel. And third, it contained several valuable messages that could shed some prophetic light.
The book consists of three parts, the first takes place 600 years after Civilization has destroyed itself via science, where brother Francis, a monk of an isolated abbey that is trying to recover the lost knowledge of advance civilization through textual criticism, stumbles across some remnants of the great Saint Leibowitz. This discovery, if valid, would have grand implications for the canonization of the Saint.
The second part, which takes place some 700 years after, centers around the confrontation between the abbey and one of the most brilliant secular thinkers, who is also attempting to salvage the knowledge that is still lost from 1300 years earlier. This part is my favorite out of the book, as I found the dialogue and plot compelling.
The third part, roughly 2000 years after the previous civilization's self destruction, is where the technology and knowledge base has returned to its historic levels, and thus threatening society in a similar manner. The third parts' primary concern is the abbey's conflict not with a secular scholar, but instead with the morality of the secular world, particularly its custom of euthanasia.
When bombs have been set off resulting in the death and injury of millions, the abbey becomes a place where the medical authorities use to take in the injured people. And because of the excruciating pain that the victims are going through, the medical team seeks to solve this through euthanasia. This is emphatically prohibited by the head monk on moral grounds, and a conflict subsequently followed.
Anyhow, out of the many books I have read this year, this one would certainly be on or near the top on my recommendation list.

Reading list: Semptember 2010- June 2010 Non-Fiction edition

After ripping through a whole bunch of Fiction during the summer, I decided that I needed to reorient myself in studying some more non-fiction, which has been somewhat lacking in the previous months. Here is my non-fiction reading list for this school year, in their respective categories:

The Federalist Papers -- Political Theory
The Road to Serfdom, F.A Hayek -- Economics
The Story of Philosophy, Will Durant -- Philosophy
The Story of Science vol. 1-3, Joy Hakim -- Science
After Tamerlane, John Darwin -- History
The Inferno, Dante -- Theology
The Art of War, Sun Tzu -- Warfare
The History of Warfare, John keegan -- Warfare

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The book.... its good

I finished Lord of flies earlier this afternoon. It took me longer to read than I initially anticipated, but it sure was one heck of a book. What I found to be be particularly interesting was its resemblance with the TV show Lost, and how the latter drew heavily from the former. There undoubtedly were differences in the two scenarios, but there were enough similarities so as to be noticeable, and more, I may I add, than just the obvious fact that both the cases concerned being stranded on an island. The fact that the two experienced divisions within their party and the subsequent in group/out group enmity that followed was in my opinion the most intriguing example.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

No better example

Jeffrey Sachs, known for his profoundly unscientific beliefs in Global Warming and the ability to end world poverty, has written his final and Faraway column for Scientific American. And in it, he puts digs himself into logical hole of epic proportions:

This goal was not even remotely achieved. Indeed, it was barely even noticed by Americans: The U.S signed the convention in 1992 but never ratified it.Ratification feel victim to the uniquely American delusion that virtually all of nature should be subdivided into parcels of private property, within which owners should have their own way.
What a pathetic, petty, little diatribe. Mr. Sachs, you desperately need to have a reality check. Private property as the American delusion? Try the American dream.
Poor Jeff simply doesn't understand what the previous century has demonstrated countless amount of times. Public property and its means of production is a trainwreck of an idea from an efficiency standpoint, a horror in the mass slaughters it has engaged in, and in the suppression of true manhood.
The most telling bit of his entire article however, is that it provides the perfect proof of the link between the Environmental Movement and Totalitarianism. Private property is the only -- the ONLY -- defense mechanism the people have against a ruthless totalitarian government that the twentieth century produced in no short order.
Sachs' rants would be amusing, if it weren't for the fact that so many people taking his musings seriously. I would say powned, but that may not even suffice to describe Sachs' intellectual downfall sufficiently.
In the beginning of the 1st Century, Jesus Christ had to suffer with many deluded fools. He did not treat them lightly, He chastised them, nor did He tolerate them. He repeatedly criticized the "wise" men of the world for their arrogant incompetence and misunderstandings. Our time is no different, and although we have 2000 more years of history upon which to draw, there is still as much folly running rampant in the intellectual air that we breath. For proof of this, one need look further than Jeffrey Sachs and others like him. And like our Lord and Savior, we should not tolerate it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The perfect Curriculum

It being the first day of school, I found myself thinking about what the most important aspects of education are, and how to obtain a solid knowledge base revolving around those aspects.
Now then, it is no secret that I loathe being lectured to; I asked my mother to pull me out of the school system when I was still in second grade because of the inevitable boredom that it wrought. Looking back at 17, I have to say that I do not regret that transition. Moreover, my conviction that one can obtain a superior education by self-learning is as strong as it has ever been. It was always obvious on a theoretical level, but now, at least for myself, it has proven to be empirically undeniable. What these years of self-education has also taught me is that while textbooks are necessary for some subjects, such as math and science, they are demonstrably not as useful has many books and blogs written by ordinary authors. One can reliably obtain the appropriate knowledge of politics, economics, social behavior, game theory, polemic argumentation, and all the big ideas that moved the world by reading Dale Carnegie, Vox Day, Roissy, and the Mises Intstitute.
Much this knowledge, useful knowledge, is seldom taught in the school system, public or private -- I very much doubt that one could go to a local high school, or even college, and find someone that knows what either Social Game Theory or Austrian economics are.
The problem with writing is easily solved: open a blog just like this one. Write about the books you read. And because you not drooling on your desk listening to a teacher for 7 hours a day, you will have sufficient time to read plenty of books.
People are starting to recognize the benefits. The ongoing Homeschool revolution, and the superior tests scores by homeschoolers, are merely providing empirical support from what was always obvious on a theoretical level. And that is to put the responsibility of your education into your own - and your parents'- hands.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The childish problem of evil

You know that there is not a single valid atheist argument out there when you hear infidels regurgitating the silly and irrelevant problem of evil, especially when they apply it to the Christian God.
But when we look at the world around us, we find prevalent instances of apparently gratuitous evil—pointless evils from which no greater good seems to result. According to proponents, the existence of apparently gratuitous evil provides strong evidence that God (as traditionally defined) does not exist (e.g., William Rowe)
By far, the problem of evil is the most ignorant, childish, and irrelevant argument against the Christians religion. And while many theologians have concocted their various complex theodicies on how the evil that exists in this world in all part of God's plan, the answer is actually much more simple. Christianity requires the existence of evil, it is predicated on it, for both logical and documentary reasons. Without evil, Man is not fallen, there is no need for a Savior, and the Christian worldview would be demolished. For if there is one single person, man or women, that leads a life devoid of evil, then you can dismiss Christianity once and for all.
Moreover, this avoids the Biblically-supported doctrine that the significant ruler of this world, at least for the time being, is a malicious being seeking the damnation of every soul. The Bible refers to him has lucifer, or satan. When God created the earth, He gave the race of Man dominion over it. But Man foolishly gave it away when Adam and Eve gave into the temptation to eat the apple, because they "wanted to be like gods". This in turn, allowed satan to usurp Man's dominion over this world into his own hands. This explains why Paul refers to him as “the god of this age” and how satan was able to tempt Jesus Christ by giving him the entire world if He were only to worship him.
It is clear that while the so-called problem of evil is convincing to the atheist who seeks to rationalize his disbelief, it is not so convincing to anyone who has even a basic understanding of the Bible and the orthodox interpretations of it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some thoughts this Summer

Its been a little quiet here at the alpha anomaly lately as I spent two weeks up in Canada and New York in July. That, and admittedly, my writing faculties have been suffering a stroke of laziness that sweeps through once and a while. What I have not been lazy in, however, is my reading. My reading has picked up this summer, and I am going at the fastest reading rate in my all of my 17 years of existence. I am currently reading A Canticle for Leibowitz, one heck of a book by the way, one in which I will surely be writing a book review once I finish it in its entirety. Additionally, I have been contemplating an idea that I could use to write my first novel. It is my intention to place the setting in a dark age, where leftist ideology has dominated all aspects of life, the engines that drive the world are absent, and where the knowledge of those engines have been completely stamped out. Its not total ignorance of the people, its just all Marx, Freud, Darwin, and Keynes. There is no freedom of thought or speech, and there are none that know the secrets of capitalism and the scientific method. Until one day....
Well, lets just say that I don't have the story completely mapped out, but I hope to add some interesting aspects to it that I hope will make it somewhat original .

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The problem with Washington

Many have expressed their dismay with regards to the behavior of the politicians in Washington. This of course is a perfectly justifiable position; most politicians are frauds, their inability to understand basic principles of economics and human nature is laughable, and they seldom act within the general public interest.
There are several reasons why the folks at Washington are such a hapless bunch. First, most politicians are not the selfless, humble servants determined to advance the common welfare of the people that they make themselves out to be, but rather egotistical individuals that are motivated by extreme personal ambition. They are motivated by Power and Position, and of course, the perks that come with it. However, since we live in a democracy, or more specifically, a quasi- representative democratic republic, one must make a good public impression if one wishes to maintain their position. This invariably leads to actions that seek to rack up numbers in the voting polls. This explains the contradictory and hypocritical actions of politicians, which of course, was obvious to anyone who has half the wit to figure out that not everyone tells the truth, and that there is sometimes a monster behind that sweet talking young demagogue .
Second, is that they are human beings, and are just as corrupted by power as anyone else, arguably even more so. Since most of them do not view the people as individual human beings, but rather as a mass sea of faces, they tend to put their personal interests ahead of the people. They ease their consciousness that tells them they are in the wrong by concocting rationalizations for their corrupt behavior. Many academic disciplines are literally ruined because politicians only hear the theories that their ears want to hear.
The reason why Keynes general economic theory became such a widely held paradigm was not because of its intellectual veracity, but because it informed the politicians that their wasteful government programs and corrupt behavior was not only harmless, but beneficial to the economy. The general acceptance of the Global Warming fraud had a similar story.
The third reason is that politicians, like most everyone else, fall into functional idiocy. They may have P.H.D's from all the elite schools, but if they haven't bothered to use their intelligence to analyze many of their assumptions, then you will find even the most "educated" minds believing what the thinking man knows to be fairytales.
I don't believe that this explains all of the mysteries and idiosycracies of the Washington elite, but I hope that it will clear up some confusions with regards to the egregious blunders made by the people that run this country.
P.S It may appear by my terminology that I am lumping up every single politician together, even though this is not my intention. I recognize that are many good politicians, however the problem is that most of them demonstrably are not, these are the ones I was critiquing in my post.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To find the right balance

There are two primary methods of argumentation; one is to make use of the observable and empirical facts, which is called empiricism, the other is to solely rely on ontological reasoning and a priori logic, which is what I will call Medieval logic, because that was the method that the philosophers and theologians of the Medieval ages used. To give an example of each of these methods being utilized, I will present a hypothesis and will support it with just empiricism and then with just ontological reasoning.
My Hypothesis is this: Creating the Federal Reserve, contrary to its initial purposes, has created more monetary instability and inflation than would otherwise be the case if it were never established. Now then, if I were to take an empirical approach in demonstrating my case, I would make use of the facts and inflation statistics since its establishment in 1913, which show tremendous inflation and several boom-bust cycles, then I would juxtapose that data with what happened at a time where there was no central bank. If the observable facts show that there was more inflation with a central bank than there was with a gold standard, for example, then my argument is sound from an empirical approach.
But if I were to try to prove my hypothesis through logical means, then I would say that that is exactly what a central bank does, it prints money, and that if money is not connected to gold or silver or whatever, then inflation is bound to happen.
As it happens, both approaches lead to the same conclusion. But sometimes it is not always that simple. To give a recent example, conservatives rightly concluded the Obama stimulus package failed because it didn't bring unemployment down to its intended levels. Paul Krugman, however, has not let the observable facts get in the way with his philosophical pre-conceptions, as he has invariably stated that the stimulus package was "too small" and wasn't "applied properly," which is why it didn't work. This is why Murray Rothbard has argued that only logic can reliably test an economic theory, which explains the Austrian distaste for empiricism and emphasis on arguing by first principles and fundamental axioms (more on that later).
But sometimes just relying on philosophical reasoning can also lead to wrong conclusions. This is especially true with regards to human behavior. Because human action is seldom rational, and thus not easily predictable, taking a logical approach is bound to produce wildly inaccurate results.
For these reasons, it is shaky to solely base an argument on one or the other. And that the most effective argument is the one that utilizes both methods.
A perfect example is the case against Socialism. In 1922, Ludwig von Mises published a paper in which he argued that Socialism precluded rational economic calculation. Capitalism solves this through a price point, which is determined by supply and demand. But where the government owns the means of production, there can be no price point, and thus no room for economic calculation. This was a sound philosophical thesis, but it was only when the mass of observable failures in the countries where Socialism was enacted was the theory largely abandoned.
So while it is true that the proper balance between philosophical reasoning and empiricism differs from field to field, it is almost surely wise to be makes of both methods; to cite the relevant facts and then explain logically why this should be the case.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Find a better lexicon

During my various internet skirmishes, I have had the great fortune of finding some very talented and rigorous writers. But they are rare, as I have also come across more writers that really need to sharpen their debating skills. Or, more specifically, there ability to use the right words in the proper context. Consider the following statement by a Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman:
First, Hayek was as bad on the Depression as I thought. The claim that “many of the troubles of the world at the present time are due to imprudent borrowing and spending on the part of the public authorities” — in 1932! — is bizarre.

Mr. Krugman, you desperately need to find a better word than *bad*. There are two possible explanations for why he is unable to come up with a better term.
1. His vocabulary just doesn't stretch that far. He uses the word *bad* because there is no other word contained in his cranium. Kind of like that 4th grader that I ran into yesterday.
2. Krugman uses the word *bad* because he wants to convey the weakness of Hayek's theory about the Great Depression, but doesn't know WHY or HOW it is weak, so he unspecifically says that it is bad.

Now then, for all the flack that I would like to give Krugman for how willfully obtuse he is , there is plenty of evidence that he has a vocabulary that surpasses a fourth grader. So the second explanation seems to be the likely one, and that he really has no idea how to correctly describe the flaws in Hayek's argument because he doesn't he can't identify them.
Let me elaborate further; if I were to describe an opponents argument, I wouldn't simply say it is *bad*, I would use terms that specifically relate to why exactly the argument is wrong. For example, I would describe the secular argument that the founding fathers were mostly influenced by the enlightenment as demonstrably false that relies on many factual inaccuracies, because that is why argument is bad. Additionally, I would describe the Euthyphro dilemma as logically invalid, Keynesian economics to be intrinsically flawed, and Marx's labor theory of value as outdated.
All of these terms have different meanings; they are not different words to describe the same thing. It is readily apparent that the reason Krugman says that Hayek's hypothesis is bad is because he doesn't know why it is bad. Is it empirically false? Contradictory? Specious? Outdated? Circular?
In the same vein, P.Z Myers, in a recent email exchange I had with him, calls Vox Day's book The Irrational Atheist *awful*. So P.Z, in what way is the book awful? To this P.Z has nothing to say because he doesn't know. The problem is not that he can't back up his assertions, it is that he cannot even properly characterize an argument beyond simply calling it *awful*. Dear Paul and P.Z, you guys truly need to step up your lexicon and intellectual rigor if you really want to be taken seriously; because dismissing an argument as *bad* or *awful* simply will not fly. The only purpose that that serves is to demonstrate your complete inability to discern the mistakes of you opponents as well as discrediting your intellectual honesty because it shows how you dismiss arguments that you don't like out of hand.
I ask you, dear skeptical reader, would you really takes theses writers' poorly constructed cliches at face value? I cannot say that this is a universal law, but it has proven to be a rather useful B.S filter when examining an authors writing ability.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to argue like a champion

In my experience with internet and blogospheric debate, I have picked up some rather useful advice in constructing a coherent and convincing argument. I hope you will receive these tips of wisdom in the manner that I humbly present them.

1. Always share with others your personal stories and preferences, they don't even have to relate to the specific case you are making, because everyone is so interested in what you happen to think about the matter. You define reality, not observe it.

2. To add on to that, do make sure that you provide personal anecdotes in lieu of actual statistical data. Because a micro exception always trumps the macro rule.

3. Once you have demonstrated that a certain authority is in accordance with your views, openly declare the debate to be settled because the authorities are never, ever, wrong. Their pratfall performance regarding the issues of global warming, Socialism, Keynesianism, and String theory notwithstanding.

4. When examining the arguments of your opponent, the best way to refute him is by looking at his motives. If there are any signs that he may have any biases, promptly proclaim that his arguments don't merit discussion because he is [insert derogatory term here]

5. Openly declare that you will present a rebuttal to a certain book/article/speech before you actually dive into it and know what it actually says. You know, because you're so open-minded that regardless of what happens to be in those articles of information, you won't change your mind.

6. Regard any accusation of racism or sexism as an immediate victory on your part. Because any view conflicting with the egalitarian aspects of mankind is evil of the worst sort.

7. If somebody makes a factual inaccuracy that is only tangentially related to the argument and not the foundation of it, concentrate solely on that inaccuracy while completely ignoring the larger and more important part of the argument that is actually relevant to its validity. Example: "Our national debt is 12 trillion, we need to stop government spending." Rebuttal: "No! Our national debt is 11 trillion, therefore we need to keep spending!"

There you go. With those precious gems of wisdom, you will forever be an unbeatable debate champion.

Fearless violaters of logic

Lest you have any doubts about the total economic ignorance that pervades the internet, this should remove any doubts. Consider the following comments that were made by several brilliant men on a certain internet thread.

Still, it's pretty hard to argue with the fact that a wartime command economy putting people back to work like crazy was one of the most instructive case for keynesianism.

I'm a liberal and I'm fairly certain WWII is what got us out of the Depression. Because a whole bunch of jobs opened up all of a sudden, and the unemployed and the technically-not-unemployed ( or did labor stats back then include 'sick of expending effort looking for jobs that either aren't out there or won't hire me'?) became the employed. If we could duplicate that without putting a bunch of people in uniform to go shoot people, we might be getting somewhere.

"The war" was massive government spending, public employment, and even industrial control boards, hardly an indictment of government interventionism.

There you have it, words of wisdom from the intellectually super powered. Now all we have to do is get everyone to dig holes and then fill them up again and we'll get ourselves out of our present economic predicament! I don't have a PHD in economics or anything, but something tells me that that is not how a real economy actually functions.

What these illiterate morons have trouble grasping is that employment is not synonymous with wealth. The two are not totally unrelated, but they are far from the same. Employing millions of people to fire darts at a target purposelessly doesn't improve the economy, it impoverishes it. Government stimulus -- war is a so called stimulus -- is a parasite that diverts resources and human capital away from productive sectors to useless ones. War is an extreme form of parasitism, it only builds to destroy.

Ironically, however, is that even though their reasoning is laughably baseless, their conclusion regarding the historical remedy of the Great Depression is nevertheless sound.

WW2 really did get the U.s economy going, though for an entirely different reason than these clowns would have it. It wasn't the fact that the government employed millions of people during the war time that stimulated the U.S economy, it was the fact that we wiped out the industrial base of Europe and Japan. Our manufacturing industry grew exponentially during the post-war years because we rebuilt Europe's infrastructure for them.

Now that wasn't so hard, was it?