Please go the xfoolnature.org and see orwells boot there. In six months, I intend to have only this link:
http://www.xfoolnature.org, and in a year I intend to dump this site. I am not smart enough to use these tools correctly :-)
This paper lays out the ideas as to why I believe that the statement from George Orwell in his book 1984 is mostly accurate. This is probably a 30 minute read. I have had people say that this article is too long and should be chopped up, so If your attention span is more along the lines of a 3 min pop song, or a twit (tweet?), you probably will not make it through. To date, the only disagreements that I have had were either in the form of faith (people love freedom), or stupid --- calling me names. Name calling: The rhetorical technique used by those who have neither facts nor logic nor the brainpower to use either. If you have information that some of my axioms or information is wrong PLEASE send it. If you see flaws in my logic, please tell me. If you have ideas to make this better, more clear, less confusing. please let me know. Thank you very much. I would REALLY like to hear from those who can point out flaws in my observation. I am sure that, like me, none of you wish to see tyranny prevail. THANKS
"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."
Another way of saying this is, once cultures expand beyond small local tribes into large anonymous cultures such as exist today, then
Evolution must inevitably turn those cultures into some form of nation state run by and for stupid authoritarians. If you have not clicked on the links, please do so now, as I am not using the words stupid and authoritarian as a way to call names, but rather as narrowly defined terms. In my writing I will abjure the use of pejorative adjectives and name calling. As much as possible, I will attempt to describe things in a value free way. If I have an opinion, I will not state that something is good or bad, but that I like it or do not like it. Getting back to what evolution does: Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden, in their book Sex and War describe this process. Very briefly, one can say that, in general, when two cultures compete for resources, than in the short run, the hierarchical authoritarian tribe will usually win over a tribe without such a command structure. Depending on how you define vast majority (one or two standard deviations or something in between) of the normal distribution, that will be between 70% and 95% of the population. But clearly with at least 70% of any given population being stupid authoritarian it is fairly clear that, as our founding fathers feared, a government based on the votes of the governed will inevitably become a tyranny. Our founders based their judgments on their knowledge of history. They tried, with a written contract known as the constitution, to prevent this migration from democracy to tyranny from happening, and it worked for a couple of hundred years. Due to our much greater knowledge of psychology, evolution, anthropology and other related fields, we have enough evidence to justify our founders fears. Our founding fathers experiment is close to failing to work.As I will show below, it is not to surprising the the best efforts of these very smart people failed. Stupid and authoritarian in humans are simply variants of each other. I shall attempt to show that the logic and rules of evolution make it most likely that anonymous cultures will most likely become tyrannies.
Evolution distributes properties all over the spectrum of the possible so that there are some, but not many, people who are not stupid and not authoritarian. Unfortunately nature also gives us more than enough psychopaths to exploit the majority who are authoritarian. Of course most people do not think of themselves as either stupid or authoritarian. It is hard to say that you are not short. It is easy, even with an IQ of 90 to claim that you are not stupid. I am sure that the subjects of Stanley Milgram's experiment or of a similar experiment at Stanford did not think of themselves as obedient authoritarians willing to inflict pain and suffering at the word of their masters.
I may repeat this below, but all of us are also stupid in most things. For example I am unable to learn a language. I failed Berlitz. I am stupid in a different way when it comes to cooking. I have exactly zero interest in learning to cook. Unlike most people, in fact, unlike the vast majority, I am well aware of my limitations and seldom think that I actuall know anything beyond the basics. I also know how to do things. I can look up information. I can measure things. I know how to dress myself. I like to think, that since I have been a failure at a lot of things, that I have actually learned from those failures and am almost immune to the Dunning-krugger effect. This effect shows that the less competent a person has in a given area the more likely they are to be ignorant of their level of incompetence.
I will present evidence of how all this works below.
It may be possible to avoid the descent into tyranny, but I am fairly certain that unless people are aware of the nature of the problem, then George Orwell's prediction is inevitable, unless we take some specific steps to prevent it. This is true because as Sun Tzu said “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. Sun Tzu In this case the enemy is our basic human nature. Clearly if we do not know ourselves then we are doomed!
I do not know what the solution is, but I have some ideas.
I will try to show how I came to this conclusion by starting from first principles, clear and unambiguous definitions of terms, and some self evident axioms. From these, I will require just a few obvious steps to demonstrate the conclusion.
Please post constructive criticism and ideas
First we need to be clear and unambiguous about the meanings of words. If we are not then we are little more than animals grunting at each other with the one grunting the longest and loudest winning. Interestingly enough, most leaders became leaders because they, in fact, did just this. Here is a very recent example of a person, who by most objective measures does not know what he is doing and has been wrong a lot, using noise as a leadership tactic. "Even if you don't have the authorities -- and frankly I didn't have the authorities for anything -- if you take charge, people will follow," Paulson said in an interview. That would be Henry Paulson of the treasury. Here is the source. And here is another story http://www.janegoodall.org/janes-story.
Definitions: alphabetically.These definitions will, I hope, enable me to avoid a trap into which way to many people fall, that being the rhetorical technique of Humpty Dumpty from "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carol. I am sure that you recognize this technique from listening to politicians bloviate:“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master
Authoritarian: A hierarchical social structure. Peoples actions are governed by those above them in the hierarchy. People do not take responsibility for their actions since their actions are determined by their superiors. People do what they are told rather than what they think is best. They believe what they are told rather than in their own powers of observation. Power belongs to those who take it by whatever means they can.
Almost all cultures are authoritarian to one degree or another. Chances are that you are very much an authoritarian person. To put it another way, you tend to be obedient to authority. If you think that you are not, or if you are, like me, afraid that you may be, then I suggest that you read "Obedience to Authority" by Stanley Milgram or go here If you think that you are that special person who can resist authority, then I suggest you read this. for a much needed wake up call Here is another article on authoritarianism among other topics. Go to page 100 (may be page 14 or so on your reader) A key feature may be this reference to responsibilities. To Fromm, freedom is the essential right and responsibility of being human, but with the evolution of individualism came not more freedom but less as people rushed away from its responsibilities and challenges.
"Conversely, some argue that the psychopath tends to be extremely organized, secretive and manipulative. The outer personality is often charismatic and charming, hiding the real person beneath. Though psychopaths do not feel for others, they can mimic behaviours that make them appear normal. Upon meeting, one would have more of a tendency to trust a psychopath than a sociopath.
Both the psychopath and sociopath fail to feel remorse or guilt. They appear to lack a conscience and are completely self-serving. They routinely disregard rules, social mores and laws, unmindful of putting themselves or others at risk." Or from another similar description
Psychopaths, also known as sociopaths, are manipulative, deceitful, impulsive and inclined to take risks.While most people’s actions are guided by a number of factors, such as the desire to avoid hurting other people, the psychopath selects a course of action based on only one factor—what can he get out of it. This cold-blooded mode of reasoning enables the psychopath to commit acts that most people’s consciences would not allow.
Manipulative and Deceitful
Psychopaths lie easily and because they don’t feel anxious when doing so, many can pass lie detector tests.Here is a list of characteristics: So how many politicians (elected or not) do you know who do NOT posses most of these traits?
* glib and superficial charm
* grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
* need for stimulation
* pathological lying
* cunning and manipulativeness
* lack of remorse or guilt
* shallow affect(superficial emotional responsiveness)
* callousness and lack of empathy
* parasitic lifestyle
* poor behavioral controls
* sexual promiscuity
* early behavior problems
* lack of realistic long-term goals
* failure to accept responsibility for own actions
* many short-term marital relationships
* juvenile delinquency
* revocation of conditional release
* criminal versatility
Rank your favorite talking head / politician on a scale of 0 to 2.
I would give almost everyone in Washington, and senior management on wall street, a score of 1 or 2 on the first 9 and on items 11 and 16
This scale was designed for convicted criminals. We know that the upper classes have better lawyers, so lets remove the last three "symptoms" that reference explicit criminal behavior. I think it safe to assume that "early behavior problems", or number 12, is also hidden behind money. That leaves 16 symptoms. Whereas non criminals score around 5, your average politician is going to score around 20.
I, for example, see little if any difference between John Edwards, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh
Read more: "How Can Psychopaths Be Identified? Use of the PCL to Assess Antisocial Personality Suite and here is a nice description, in English, of a psychopath, and yet another article from Scientific American. I like this "solution" to the problem given in the SA article: When Murphy asked an Inuit (Eskimo) what the group would typically do with a kunlangeta, he replied, “Somebody would have pushed him off the ice when nobody else was looking.” And here is a similar observation from someone with much more real world experience than I have. That someone would be Jim Kouri, Jim Kouri, CPP, the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Here is a scientific study, albeit small one showing that social popularity is directly proportional to a persons ability to adapt to the situation. IE, the ability to lie convincingly. And really, what is an election other than a form of popularity contest? Let me add here that one can have some of these traits, and be a good person. For example, let us say that one is NOT a pathological liar, nor parasitic or impulsive or irresponsible. Those other traits would make for a good leader. Certainly being glib and manipulative as well as callous would help in organizing men and sending them to their deaths.
Stupid: Unwilling or unable to learn by critically examining the existing pool of information. Obviously their are degrees, from Einstein (my favorite example. See we are almost ALL stupid to one degree or another) down through your cult followers, to "special needs people", to bedridden idiots. If you resent being classified as stupid, then you may wish to think upon the following. Almost all marketing campaigns, election campaigns, most government regulations, and the vast majority of government bureaucracies and the people who labor in then work on the premise that the great majority of people are stupid. Those marketing campaigns are successful, as are about 1/2 the election campaigns. Lest you think that I am excluding myself from stupid, this is definitely not the case as I describe below referencing the amputation of my thumb with a power saw. I suspect that most of you have managed to refrain from such self mutilation. And this is perhaps the best description of how nature builds in stupid that I have ever seen
Now that the definitions are done, here are some basic
observations / axioms
1. Almost all human attributes are distributed throughout the population as a normal distribution with a most people residing within one standard deviation, and 95% residing are within two standard deviations from the mean/middle .
2. People are different, and the vast majority of people do not realize how different people are. Different is not good or bad in and of itself. However, peoples natural wiring leads them to view difference as a threat, ie as bad. Here is one study, but there are many.
3. It is natural for people to see themselves as the norm or standard. That is to say, while a person may think of himself as “special” in some way, he is not likely to see himself as a freak of nature. If you can do something, you just assume that everyone else could also “do it” if they just made a little effort. If you are a thief and a liar, you assume that everyone else is also, or that they are stupid, and that you are just better than they are at not getting caught. This perception of self as normal and an inability to see differences happens even among people who are trained to see differences and who should know better. For example people with PTSD or chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia were dismissed as hypochondriacs, or lazy or in some other way given a bad label and told that “it was all in their head, and that they should just get over it”
4. Humans, like almost all mobile organic systems, are pattern recognitions systems: That is how they work. Before they become obedient to authority they learn by recognizing patterns, and this learning takes place by trial and error. Mobile organic systems are more likely to be successful or survive in a competitive world by seeing patterns that are not there than by not seeing patterns that are there. Think fleeing from a perceived threat that is not there as opposed not fleeing from a real threat that is there.
Because the consequences of failing to perceive a threat are so much greater than failing to perceive an opportunity, humans are more likely to see non-existent threats than they are to see non-existent opportunities or to fail to see real threats. Suppose now that there is no real pattern. Suppose also that someone, a psychopath, tells you that he is the representative of an authority figure who says that what appears random to you is actually the work of that authority figure. How cool is that? Everything is OK now because that ultimate authority figure says so. People who can not tolerate ambiguity or randomness in the real world, who believe that everything happens for a reason are probably likely to obey someone who claims to speak for an authority who can explain everything. A similar, and possibly overlapping, group of people who are uncomfortable with randomness will also see conspiracies where none exist. Google patterns, random, and conspiracy and you get a lot of hits, of which this is just one. Psychopaths use this tendency to get followers (who donate money) of whatever conspiracy theory they want to use.
5. Almost all Humans do stupid things: This of course would include you!! The question is not "Do you do stupid things?", but how often do you do stupid things, and just how great would you or others rank the level of stupidity?. If you think that you do not do stupid things, then consider Albert Einstein: Look at the definition that I gave, and consider the following three items about Dr. Einstein:
I. He fathered an illegitimate child. Not exactly a smart move considering the attitudes of the early 20th century. II. He never believed in the implications of quantum mechanics despite all the evidence to the contrary, and once claimed that "God does not play dice with the universe" (As is so often the case with people quoting from authority to back up their positions --- see authoritarian above --- this quote is not correct. The correct quote, in a letter to Max Born December 4, 1926 is "Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the 'old one'. I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.") I believe that Dr. Born replied that not only does he throw the dice, but that he often throws them where they can not be found.
As another footnote, Google has 30 times as many hits for the wrong quote than for the correct one . Google often re-enforces stupid rather than fixing it.
III. We have one of his most famous misquoted statements
"Striving for peace and preparing for war are incompatible with each other, and in our time more so than ever."
~Einstein, speaking in U.N. radio interview, June 16, 1950, recorded in Einstein's home in Princeton, NJ.
This from a man who spent 18 years of his young adult life in a country that had the interesting distinction of being one of the most heavily armed countries in the world on a per capita basis, yet managed to remained neutral and at peace in the middle of armed conflicts for over 125 years when that statement was made.
These three examples show that even Einstein did not always learn from his experience.
I am not trying to mock you or others, but to let you know that, by nature, people often do stupid things. Lest you think that I am excluding myself in some way, that is not the case. I am sure that most of you have all of your body parts. I, on the other hand, failed to listen or learn from nature and her manifestation of physical law in the form of power tools. After two warnings about not paying attention, I cut off my thumb with a power tool. STUPID!! People do stupid things, and rather than think for themselves and act on those thoughts and their own observations, they obey authority. You can see the reasons for this if you consider how evolution works.
This is about the 4th time that I have mentioned authority, and now I wish to present evidence that
6. Nature Balances Her Books
This is an modification of the closing statement from Richard Feynman in his Minority Report on the Challenger failure. That statement was Nature can not be fooled. Well, she can be, but only for a brief period of time. The longer man succeeds in fooling her, and not working with her, the more painful the balancing of the books will be. A large part, if not all of our problems come from trying to fool nature. One of the ways that we attempt to fool nature is by thinking individuals can be independent of the group, or that the individual is in some sense supreme. I suspect that we do this because no group ever wrote a book, and those individuals who have tackled the problem from an philosophical point of view were successful individuals and completely unaware of how nature has constructed humans and their psyches. If they had any awareness of "primitive" cultures such as the pirahã I suspect that those authors looked down upon them.
7. Evolution favors authoritarian Tribes.
We, and almost all social animals, are wired to defer to or be obedient to authority. By ignoring our own observations and logic, and acting on the word of others we act according to the authoritarian paradigm and we are being stupid. When the amount of information flowing into a culture was slow compared to the life time of its members, this sometimes made a great deal of sense. It was in fact smart. The best source of information, and the fastest way to learn how to do something, was to learn from a member of the tribe who was already successful at doing something. The more difficult and complex a thing was, the better to learn from an “expert”. And as this link shows this wiring, this ability to learn from others, is very old
Consider two tribes, one tending to authoritarianism, and obedience, and another that tends more toward autonomy and self direction.
To begin with, no matter what the nature of the tribe, all members will tend to give weight to the words of those who have been around a long time and who have some authority. There will not exist a tribe where everyone figures everything out for themselves. In general, in the terms of the entire expanse of the time frame of human history, it has always been reasonable to assume that someone who got to be old did so because their judgment was more sound and accurate than someone who died young. Children who paid heed to their parents teachings were more likely to live to make more children than those who felt compelled to go off on their own and do things that they were advised against doing.
Until just a few generations ago, the trait of not listening to ones parents was not likely to get passed on to any descendants. So even in the most libertarian tribe there will still be strong tendencies to listen to ones parents / elders.
Lets get back to those two tribes that somehow happened to just be where they are wherever that is. One of them tends to be Authoritarian, and one tends to favor those who think more for themselves and to "question authority". If they come into conflict for whatever reason, then which one is more likely to survive?
I can not think of a single instance where, all other things like size and technology levels being about the same, where the authoritarian tribe will not end up destroying the non-authoritarian tribe. If you would like to see a detailed examination of this concept, then read Sex and War by Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden
I am sure that someone with the intellectual acuity of a radish will claim that the United Sates and Nazi Germany are a counter example to the above assertion. To which I respond with two salient points. The first is that only a radish would think that either nation was a tribe. The second point is that large nations have forms of specialization among its members. One of these forms is the armed forces which are --- no surprise here --- authoritarian in nature.
Listening to authority and using it as the only or major determinant of behaviour, as we are wired to do, is contrary to the idea of learning and making decisions by examining the existing pool of information. In other words, while that wiring made us smart when “things to know” were relatively simple, obvious, and did not change very much over time, now that important things to know are often complex, not obvious, and change relatively quickly, we are wired to be stupid. Please observe that I am not claiming that a person should pay no attention to an authority figure. But the pronouncements of elders, or authority figures, should always be considered as just another datum of evidence. When this datum conflicts with your own real world experience, then you should not simply discount either one out of hand, but should carefully examine both, try and reconcile the conflict, and then make your best guess as to which is more likely to be true. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of people tend to automatically defer to authority and ignore real world evidence.
Here is a good rule of thumb. When you say "Important person X said", or offer up the speeches of others as evidence rather than say "the evidence indicates that", or quote studies of evidence by others, then you are being as nature intended. You are believing things based on authority and you are being stupid.
There is an entire major segment of our culture dedicated to living by authority, and that is almost all forms of organized religion. There is no greater authority than God. Unfortunately the bible is, by definition, nothing more than written words from authority figures. People claim that the bible is the true word of God, but this is unlikely since there are no first editions. All bibles in existence are translations of translations, and many of these from cultures long dead. Knowing exactly the original meaning of a word, phrase or sentence is not possible. Just consider how the meaning of awful in the past 150 years. But people claim that they know because someone else told them what the words meant. Every true believer claims that their version of the translation of the translation is the one true word of God. Their one book is 100% accurate and all the rest are wrong. The Psychopaths that are our political leaders make very good use of this ultimate authority figure. Since there is no logical reason to keep Gays from marrying, our political figures just go back to authority and claim God says this is how it should be. The arguments are almost word for word the same as they used less than 50 years ago to keep Niggers from marrying good righteous white people. After all, if God did not want the races separate, then why did he separate them. And of course before that, there were all those quote from the bible about slavery, showing that slavery was a righteous institution, blessed in the bible by God himself. Here is a quote from a federal judge "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." Of course when speaking to "the base" a politician was no so polite as to use black. Nigger was the preferred term.
Some real life examples from my life:
I really do not like doctors as practitioners except in instances of trauma, or possibly to confirm something, or maybe point me in a direction. I have been having trouble on and off with a knee, and recently it was on. I went to the doctor who gave me the usual diagnosis but was more holistic than most, and at least did not prescribe pain medication. And then about a week after I visited him I remembered that I had run out of Glucosamine Chondroitin.
I got some, and after about two months my knee was pretty much back to normal
My mechanic said that our transmission was going out based on some vibrations. Two Thousand dollars to replace it. But from my limited knowledge of transmissions and my own experience, this did not feel or seem entirely correct. A second opinion at a different place revealed a misaligned CV axle. Cost $250.00
By paying attention to actual data and learning from it and not deferring to authority, I was able to save myself time, money and pain.
This is not of course to say that one should never listen to experts or authority. What I am saying is that each of us must always re-examine authority. While giving weight to the experience of those older, and/or wiser, and/or better trained, we must still pay attention to our own experience. Not learning from experience, and deferring to authority is stupid. But that is how we are wired.
8. Now let us look at the concept of competition. In any form of interaction, all other things being equal, the more competitive person will come out ahead. It is unfortunate that competition can include winning at all costs. Successful psychopaths are very competitive. As in "winning is not the most important thing, it is the only thing"
In addition to the above points there is the fact that any given group of people has members with a very wide range of brain functions. Musicians, sociopaths, hunters, craftsmen, storytellers. People who are generous, and people who are stingy. As any of you who have had children, and were involved with them from an early age know, your children have very definite personality traits from very early on. You can influence these traits, but you can not change them. If you have an oak tree, it you can make it a tall oak tree or a small oak tree, but there is no way that you can make it an elm tree.
My final basic axiom Number 9: Bad things tend to drive out good things. As in bad money drives out good money, bad people drive out good people. Consider a race for public office. You have a good competent person with a history of doing good things and who is honest and thoughtful. On the other side you have someone who has not actually been found guilty of a crime and who will use any method short of murder to win office. That person will lie, and cheat. He will accuse a person who lost limbs in combat of not being patriotic. He will start rumors that his opponent had affairs and fathered children with women who were not his wife. Why would any rational good person expose themselves to such things?
Remember that Nature does not care. She just keeps rolling the genetic dice. More competitive, less competitive, smarter dumber, more mirror neurons (empathy) fewer mirror neurons. Sometimes you get Mother Theresa, sometimes you get Bernie Madoff, and sometimes you get Ted Bundy. Sometimes you get Ted Kennedy and sometimes you get Bill Buckley. (Hint, see how many people had bad things to say about these two after they died) These are the outliers who reside on the extreme ends of bell shaped curves.
More towards the center of the curve, you have the majority of average people who just want to be left alone, be productive, have a sense of belonging, be loved etc. Drop into this mix of normal people a Snake in a Suit (Snakes in Suits by Paul Babiak and Robert Hare) otherwise known as a psychopath described above and all these normal people become no more than food for the psychopath. Otherwise known as our political leaders and wannabe leaders. Perhaps Hermann Goering said it best
In an insulated group the Peter principle applies. People get promoted to their level of incompetence, and then they just stay there. No one promotes them further since they are not competent where they are, but unless times get very rough, they are not demoted or fired. Now o to the next level. There is a good chance that that incompetent middle manager was promoted to his position by a person who is also incompetent. The larger and more insulated an organization is from the real world, the less actual competence competes with the Peter Principle. By competence I mean making the organization working better, producing a better less expensive product and keeping its customers happy.
In terms of insulation from the real world the four most insulated are, going from most to least, Government, Organized conservative religious institutions, educational institutions, and very large corporations. I think that it is not a coincidence that in the past 20 years, three of these four have been the source of the greatest social and financial calamities inflicted upon this society. In particular the more these four entities have been involved with each other, the more likely they were the source of a calamity.
The most heavily insulated culture in our society is government in all its forms. This is because the heads of all government entities are elected officials, and the only skill that they need is the ability to get elected. As supported by empirical evidence, that ability appears to correlate strongly with psychopathic personalities.
So, when I speak of leaders, I speak of leaders of organizations that are insulated from the real world. The greater the insulation the more my analysis applies.
If you lead a small company the market gives leadership very quick feedback that can be ignored only at the risk of the company quickly ceasing to exist. If you are the head of a very large company, for example General Motors, why then you can do what you damn well please, retire with a platinum parachute, and let your successors deal with the cesspool that you left behind.
Here is my thesis. And at this point, I was going to target the social conservative wing of the republican party, but upon further thought, I have concluded that what I have to say applies to almost everybody in a decision making capacity of government, especially to elected officials.
Given the Above Axioms and definitions summarized here:
Almost everybody is stupid, in that they are often unwilling or unable to learn from experience.
According to the work of Stanley Milgram at least 60% of people are authoritarian in that they defer to authority against their better judgment and core values. They will believe authority rather than their own experience. That is to say that they are stupid. That 60% is about one standard deviation from the middle.
Leaders are not smarter, they just talk longer, louder and faster and are more personable.
Sociopaths want power, and are very good at manipulating people.
Government is about one thing, and one thing only. Power. Everything else is secondary. Because of a kind of nit-picky comment by someone, I will change this to the following: Government is unique among social institutions in that it is sanctioned to use any and all force to compel compliance with its wishes. This includes killing you if you do not do what it wants, like pay taxes, or do what it does not want, like imbibe substances that you think are necessary for your survival. This force is power. There is nothing other than power that government does that other institutions do not do or can not do and often do better. (When you think defense, think letters of marque) It is this that makes government about power. Bad people tend to drive out good people. This is different from good people trying to keep out bad people. It is a different concept. My statement that when bad people get into an organization, they will tend to drive out the bad. The current military is an excellent example of this in progress. The best and brightest officers are leaving the military for civilian career at a record rate. This happens every so often in the military. Because the civilians run the military in this country, and because, even given their innate corruptness they realize the necessity of a competent military they take steps to fix the problem before it becomes to bad. This has happened before.
Most people --- think of them as the middle of the normal distribution as well as food/targets for those competitive psychopaths --- just want to be left alone and prefer not think for themselves. They are uncomfortable with an absence of patterns and will follow someone (an authority) who claims to see the patterns. Nature is continually dropping psychopaths into the mix of any given population.
thus, in the future, our written rules, to wit the constitution of the US, will eventually be completely trashed, and we will find ourselves under the rule of a despot as bad as any in history. I see nothing that will limit the size of government, nor do I see anything to prevent psychopaths from ending up running everything --- except maybe other psychopaths.
I now have three questions.
Which, if any, of my axioms are wrong, and how?
If they are not wrong, then why is my conclusion not correct?
Is there any way to change things? In general I think that there exist ideas that could be presented in such a way that people would eagerly agree to them. These ideas are about the way that government can be restructured and the rules of commerce re-written that almost everyone would agree are good.
Within a year this article was at the top of all search engines for the two words orwells boot. Also, I had been reading more, and thinking more on the subject. I am a little more optimistic. Please go to xfoolnature.org and see my long article at the Human TOE link. By long, I mean 37K words, or about the size of a small book.
I would like your input and your ideas about how this fundamental reshaping might be accomplished with the absolute minimum of central authority. Added 3/27/10 There is one core way that I think is necessary and perhaps sufficient to halt this slide to tyranny. Google and then read about bonobo chimps and Pan Troglodyte chimps. I think the solution is to make our culture more feminist. There is a fairly strong correlation between what most people would consider a successful culture and the amount of power women --- Real feminine women, not women in drag like Margaret Thatcher --- wield in the culture. Evidence would indicate that we are headed in that direction, but we need to speed up the process.
Another process that appears to be feminizing our culture is the opposite of the phenomena at the basis of the book by Leonard Shlain, "The Alphabet and the Goddess" In that book Dr. Shlain posits that as humans became alphabetically literate, they became more masculine and in fact misogynistic. As we have moved from radio to movies to TV, and not to a global internet, we have moved away from alphabetic communication to video and sound. Each technological change mentioned above was followed by a marked increase in the power of women in culture. This is mostly a good thing.
Any other feedback would also be appreciated. Here is an article that agrees with me
If you think this is not to terribly important, how about considering the possibility that Psychopaths may be the next step in evolution: At least that would be the logical conclusion from this tidbit Originally here but available herehere's a possibility: Insofar as consciousness means not just awareness, but awareness of awareness, then maybe its evolutionary explanation derives from what we might call the "Robert Burns phenomenon," namely the pay-off of being able to "see ourselves as others see us." And why might that be adaptive? Perhaps because it enables us to engage in a kind of Machiavellian sociality, adjusting our behavior so as to appear better, nicer, more worthwhile than we really are! In short, what if the evolutionary basis of one of our most cherished traits is, in fact, dishonesty and deception?
Some further articles of interest.