20130425 Meaning of war as applied to the Ideological Movement (to win – disable guy with the finger and microphone)
It is getting quite boring to hear about war on terror from people who have no idea what war means and familiar with terror mainly in contexts of their relationships with spouses, bosses, and doctors. I think that it is a high time to clarify meaning of what we are dealing with so I would like to offer my own understanding of situation, actions that would resolve it, and expected consequences of not resolving it.
First of all I’ve got to repeat something that many people keep saying ever since 9/11/01 – terror is just one tool of war among many and making war on terror makes no more sense than it would make for United States to declare war against air carriers after Perl Harbor, simultaneously trying to maintain peace with Empire of Japan because Japanese are very nice people and have very ancient history. Technically it could be done and any attack against Japanese battleships, leave alone industry and cities would be considered illegitimate. The only small catch is, I think, that in this case we would still be continuing war with Japan waiting in fear while they completing building their next air carrier and discussing if it would be legal to attack it before it wiped out another American city. On other hand if American leaders of 1941 were as soft minded as American leaders now, we would probably don’t even know by now that once was such a country as America before the great Japan took over the world around Pacific ocean and started the great racial fight with the great Germany which took over world around Atlantic ocean.
So who attacked us, and whom we should be making war on? It is simple – Islamic Dominance Ideological Movement (IDIM) attacked us, and we have to make war on people who belong to this movement until they surrender, will be taken prisoners, or killed. The complete victory will be achieved when the number of individual belonging to Islamic Dominance Ideological Movement is close to 0.
As form of human cooperation and congregation Ideological Movements are somewhat different from nation-states, mainly spatially and by type of inclusion. Spatially nation-states are based on geography and control of territory, while Ideological movements are thinly distributed around the multiple geographical regions and do not have control over territory until they took over some nation-state as it happened with Communist Ideological movement which took control of Russia in 1917 or National Socialist Ideological movement which took control of Germany in 1933.The type of inclusion of individual into Ideological movement is mainly voluntary, while inclusion of individual into Nation state usually based on residence of individual on territory under control of nation-state. Consequently key to power of Nation-state is control over territory while key to power of Ideological movement is control over minds.
Therefore the war against nation-state includes taking over territory from nation-state until individuals in control of nation-state has no place to go, and either surrender and become POW or just killed. Correspondingly the war against Ideological movement includes convincing individuals who capable to change their mind to leave this Ideological movement, while making people who are not capable to change their mind either POW or dead. Nation-state as collective is controlled by political and bureaucratic hierarchy therefore to win the individuals in control of hierarchy should be targeted. Ideologues and propagandists control ideological movements, therefore individuals who are the most influential ideologues and propagandists should be targeted.
Practically right now a serious war against Islamic Dominance Ideological Movement would include attempts to discourage, capture, or kill all people who attach themselves to this movement. It is not really that difficult to identify such people because they advertise their attachment every way they can. They do it because they have support of many individuals in control of nation states with significant Muslim population and sympathy of many people in control of democratic nation states. The reason for this is that both groups of individuals in control belong to intelligentsia, that is people brought up and educated on abstract notions of multiculturalism and collectivism. However my intention in this post is not to discuss reason of what is, but rather suggest what could have been done if (counterfactual assumption) leaders of democratic states, especially USA were serious about defending security of their citizens against attacks by members of IDIM.
Let’s ignore all previous attacks including 9/11 and assume that it started with Boston bombing. The facts are simple – 2 young foreign-born residents of USA voluntary become members of IDIM and in accordance with main ideas of this movement exploded bomb that killed Americans. These two young men did not invent IDIM, but rather learned about its ideas from multiple propagandists with prominent role in this case belonging to Australian Islamic cleric Sheik Feiz Mohammed. Let’s see what action could be taken by individuals currently in control of American nation-state, which would lead to speedy destruction of IDMI.
First and foremost according to the constitution President could ask for declaration of war against this movement. That would lead to clearly identified mission for the state to convince all individuals identified as belonging to this movement to change their mind, if not possible to capture them as POW, and if this also not possible to kill them. In process all nation states that provide cover for such individuals could be identified as allies of IDIM and therefore put under the thread if war.
With war declared, USA could publish names of all individual it consider members of IDIM and demand them publicly reject this ideology with clear understanding that this rejection will not be revocable. If refused, they should be invited to surrender as POW and moved to POW camp in some remote place were they would be kept in humane conditions, but without access to communication tools until the end of movement. All nation states that refuse apprehend such individuals who refuse to surrender could be subject of traditional military action. If this war conducted decisively it would cut off all propagandist facilities of IDIM. Without propagandist facilities any movement dies out in short order.
Back to the real world – none of this will be done and consequently IDIM will continue its existence and quite probably expansion. It is already taking over some significant nation states and most probably will be able to achieve the level of success of communism and national-socialism ideological movements of XX century. I do not foresee a serious chance of victory for IDMI mainly because nation states that they are capable to take over do not have such advance military capability as Germany, Japan, and Soviet Union had in XX century, but terrorists will kill thousands in Western world in future years. And there is no doubt that millions of people in the Muslim word will have their life completely screwed the same way as lives of people in Russia and Germany were screwed. Eventually it will be defeated, but at much higher cost then it could have been.
20130415 Is it really nobody in charge?
This book is a very interesting view at the world from seemingly special point of view of neuroscientist. Generally speaking it describes works of human brain as it is understood now based on significant amount of research and experimentation with people whose brains were impacted either by lesions or necessary surgeries that either took out some parts of brain or cut out some connections between parts of brain.
The picture that emerges from this research shows human being not as one defined and whole entity as we usually perceive ourselves, but rather as totality of multiple neurosystems that pretty much independently control not only unconscious functions, but also a lot of what we consider conscious thinking. Especially interesting are multiple experiments with people whose right and left hemispheres of brain are separated and cannot communicate. Since our receptors are independently connected to left and right hemispheres such people react completely differently to the same stimuli depending on whether they presented to left analytical part of the brain or to the right sensitive part.
The experiments with “interpreter”, that is the part of left brain which makes sense out of inputs, shows that our “making sense” has really shaky relation to reality while having a huge costs for the organism which spends 20% of energy on supporting such a huge brain. It has to be good evolutionary explanation and in my view such explanation comes from survival advantages provided by long term planning. I think that such planning even if based on incorrect assumption allows for much better outcomes of intentional acting comparing to just plain reaction to environment. Obviously if planning occasionally gets to be based on right assumptions, the result would be spectacular improvement in survivability; the great example would be agriculture which is completely based on long term planning.
Another interesting philosophical take out would be understanding that even our own personality is not really one strictly hierarchical command and control system that we believe it to be. If even one brain of one person is really a complex combination of multiple autonomous and semiautonomous systems which act pretty much on its own and interact with each other via communications based on the strengths and volume of signals which often make us act even before we consciously decided to act, then we deprived of one and only example of effective work of command and control system.
That puts all philosophical structure of superiority of top down command and control systems build in XIX century in precarious position of being based on plainly incorrect understanding of reality. If even a brain of one person is really not a top down system, but rather neurological market where different parts of brain exchange signals and producing actions as outcome of self-organizing activities, then what reason do we have to believe that other complex systems like human society could be efficiently organized in such way? The answer is – none, and without such reason the whole philosophical foundation of communism, socialism, and such just goes down the drain.
20130413 Social Conquests of Earth and Human Nature
Every time when I read a new book, even if it is by author I know, I cannot say upfront if it worth of my time or not. Not so with E.Q. Wilson who’s every book that I read so far brings something new to think about. This time these are 2 very big ideas that do not come naturally.
The first one is that human species is not alone conquerors of Earth. Other species that we do not think about that much are actually as successful as we are. It turns out that ants and bees are as good as we are in adjusting to environment and changing environment to meet their own needs. As humans they build accommodation for millions of individuals, practice agriculture and to some extent manufacturing. Contrary to humans who are still in process of completing their expansion, these insects slowly co-evolve with environment and therefore achieved sustainable levels of existence millions of years ago.
According to estimates their biomass is approximately equal to biomass of 7 billion currently living humans, so as of now we have two types of species with eusociality sharing earth between them. One (insects) with complete subordination of individual to collective or, based on the fact of genetic sameness of all individuals in ants or bees colony, rather expansion of one individual into multiple clones adjusted by environment to fulfill different functions. (Oh boy it really sounds like socialist / communist dream). Another one (humans) with more complex relationship between individual and group based on relative independence of individual from the group and genetic diversity between individuals.
Here is where the second main idea kicks in – human evolution occurred in two dimensions. It is combination of individual selection and group selection. This duality explains a lot in human genetics and human behavior. The individual cannot survive on his/her own, but any sacrifice of own genetic fitness to the group leads to evolutionary disadvantage. So this is where duality of humans is coming from – constant tension and interplay between individual and collective interest.
The only thing is I do not think there is such a thing as collective interest, so it should be formulated as tension between individuals who are not in control of the group and individuals who are in control of the group. The individuals in control obtain it by building group identity whether as tribe or state or nation or religion or whatever. If successful, it kicks in genetically imbedded need to belong to the group and support group competition against other groups especially when this competition comes in the form of war. If needed, this support could get to the level of self-sacrifice especially in young and well-indoctrinated individuals. Somehow older age and family often switch individual’s effort from achieving group ideals to obtaining benefits for his/her family.
What is really differentiate humans from insects is that any group successfully winning competition against other groups tends to have individuals in control overreaching in identification of their own individual interests with the group so they direct resources to satisfy these interests at the expense of individuals not in control. The typical outcome is internal revolution in the group sometime partial when only individuals in control are changed, but sometimes complete when the whole group identity is changed – for instance individuals accept a different religion or much more often drastic modification of old.
The great invention of democracy is that it provides procedure for orderly and peaceful change of individuals in control. Depending on severity of unhappiness the change could be small something like between similar political parties or it could be big something like coming to power of new political force with ideas drastically different from the ones that dominated before.
Such big changes happened several times in American history – the last time it was triumph of Progressivism in both dominant political parties over period from late XIX century to the mid XX century. The continuing degradation of progressive / socialist / communist / collectivist ideas to the level of rusty junk car that we can observe now created the general unhappiness of individuals not in control that will probably lead to another radical, while peaceful change in USA and consequently in the world within next 30 to 50 years.
20130407 Ben Carson’s talented hands and a wonderful intellect
Ben Carson’s story narrated in his memoir would be trivial if written by the son of Jewish or Asian immigrants. Start at the bottom of society in poor family without father and growing up to be a top notch professional in his field represents nothing unusual for people belonging to these groups.
Written by the black man it is inspiring story that implies a great future for America because it clearly shows the way out of racial dead end it was pushed in by leftist intellectuals and rent seekers of all skin colors who built their careers and well being on suffering of minorities.
Carson clearly demonstrated that color of skin is irrelevant to success, but culture is definitive cause and reason for positive or negative outcome. And it seems to be just a set of simple cultural rules that in his case were transferred to him and enforced until they become self-sustainable by his semi-literate single mother.
This set of rules is very simple and includes:
Find what is one’s talent that could be developed to the high level and define goal consistent with this talent.
Set up realistic goals – for example to be a doctor when there is a great need in thousands of doctors even if it is not easy to become one. The opposite would be a goal to become a basketball star even if one does not possess superior athletic genes
Have discipline to do what needs to be done to achieve this goal – to study, do tests, and avoid distractions like TV shows
Learn to enjoy something that is not exciting initially, but had to be done in order to achieve the goal like reading and listening to classic music in the case of Carson.
Right now Ben Carson seems to be trying to find out if it is feasible for him to win American presidency. I think it is not such a bad idea even if it is far from being a trivial. Americans are fed up with both parties which quite possibly can open a huge opportunity for outsider with skills, financial support, and big and attractive for majority ideas. During next 2-3 years we’ll see if this ultimate achievement will be within Ben Carson’s grasp.
20130407 Coolidge – the last president of limited government
It is quite interesting that the author of eyes opening book about malignant mutation of American society into big government society during the Great depression (The Forgotten Man) decided to write book about Calvin Coolidge – the last American President who presided over a mostly limited federal government. I think it is a very important book because it brings to light results of amazingly successful experiment in limited government, especially in tax policies of low rates of taxation and economical policies of doing nothing and allowing market to resolve problems created by economic cycle without throwing in monkey wrench of government intervention.
It is especially interesting because the successful experiment was conducted just before tsunami of XX century big government was about to engulf United States denying its people for generations many opportunities of private enterprise despite the fact of even the big American government being relative benign especially if compared with big governments of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Communist Soviet Union, or China.
I have no doubt that Coolidge would be quite amazed if somebody told him that he is conducting experiment. He would be vehemently denying it and insist that he is just conducting regular conservative policies of not interfering in complex things that one does not understand. He would probably concede that his tax rate decrease policy is somewhat experimental, but would insist that it based on scientific taxation ideas of Andrew Melon which are not really that experimental, but rather follow accumulated business knowledge of human economic behavior. The resulting increase in tax revenues confirmed that this knowledge was correct.
Few people know that American economy had a pretty big dive in the beginning of 1920s with Harding and Coolidge doing nothing. Consequently economy moved into roaring 20s fixing itself without government intervention resulting in tremendous increases in productivity and volume. The after Coolidge activist government of Hoover and then triple activist government of FDR coincided with pain and suffering of great depression.
Certainly coincidence does not mean cause, but activist government in economy always reminds me my childhood experiences with poorly manufactured Soviet TV – when it stopped working a few fist hits on the side would make it come back to life. It would work for a while, but then stop again and after a number of iterations would completely die.
The lesson is that if one deals with more or less complex things that one does not completely understand, the proposition of using fist or hummer or stimulus maybe not be a very good idea especially when this thing is complex self-adjusting market economy rather then simple TV of 1960s design. Calvin Coolidge understood this, but his intellectually inferior, but supremely arrogant successors did not and still do not.