Posted by: John Vandivier | October 4, 2013

American Spectator: The Pope They’ve Been Waiting For

[From John: As students of the role of morality and worldview in the process of making decisions, it is important to keep tabs on important events in the world of religious thought. The new Pope Francis is a remarkable change in direction for the Roman Catholic church. His change seems to be clearly toward the political left. I would argue that the change is for the worse, but whether or not the change is for the worse the fact that such a large change has occurred is interesting itself.]

Source – The American Spectator – George Neumayr – 10/2/13

Last week we learned from Pope Francis that the Church is too preoccupied with the killing of unborn children and the destruction of the family. This raised the obvious question: If those issues don’t deserve top billing, which ones do? Pope Francis supplied the answer this week in an interview with an Italian atheist, Eugenio Scalfari:

The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don’t even look for them any more. They have been crushed by the present. You tell me: can you live crushed under the weight of the present? Without a memory of the past and without the desire to look ahead to the future by building something, a future, a family? Can you go on like this? This, to me, is the most urgent problem that the Church is facing.

No, this is not an Onion parody. This is the Catholic Church, circa 2013, under the hope-and-change pontificate of Francis — the one Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, and Jane Fonda have been waiting for. They had long pined for an enlightened pope and now they have found him in a Latin American Jesuit so loose, so cool, so “spiritual”(celebrities always like a dash of “mysticism” in their liberalism) that he doesn’t fret over such fuddy-duddy anxieties as the killing of the elderly and the corruption of children (last week he reminded us that we shouldn’t see our culture as depraved) but rather their isolation and joblessness.

“Pope Frank,” as sites like Gawker now call him fondly, wowed his atheistic questioner, who burbled to the press afterwards that “the most surprising thing he told me was: ‘God is not Catholic.’”

God, it turns out, isn’t all that religious. But he is spiritual! In a passage that will make moral and religious relativists do somersaults, Pope Francis informed Scalfari that he needn’t trouble himself with the “solemn nonsense” of traditionalists who insist that he enter by the narrow gate. That’s all so pre-Vatican II. Salvation comes not by union with God but by union with self: “Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good.”

“Your Holiness, you wrote that in your letter to me. The conscience is autonomous, you said, and everyone must obey his conscience. I think that’s one of the most courageous steps taken by a Pope,” said Scalfari. Yes, what could be more brave than telling modern man to follow his malformed conscience? How would he have known to do that otherwise? This, too, is evidently one of the fruits of the spirit of Vatican II: popes who have the guts to praise Jane Fonda’s conscience.

Pope Francis appeared to warm to this review of his courage: “And I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”

Pope Francis let it be known that he is eager to run the ball into the end zone for team spirit-of-Vatican II, and now that small-minded, rule-bound restorationists like John Paul II and Benedict XVI aren’t around anymore to tackle him he has an open-field run. Listen to the implicit rebuke of his two predecessors in this paragraph:

I believe I have already said that our goal is not to proselytize but to listen to needs, desires and disappointments, despair, hope. We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace. Vatican II, inspired by Pope Paul VI and John, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to be open to modern culture. The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers.But afterwards very little was done in that direction. [Italics added] I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.

Under spirit-of-Vatican-II-style attitudinizing, the world enlightens the Church, not the Church the world. Anyone who is familiar with the cocky clichés of lightweight, dilettantish modern Jesuits will understand the import of this interview and hear all of its dog whistles: the praising of the late heterodox Jesuit Carlo Maria Martini, the politically correct sniffing at St. Augustine (“He also had harsh words for the Jews, which I never shared”), the condescension to saints of the past as products of their unenlightened times (as if Francis is not a product of his liberal times and liberal religious order; self-awareness is evidently not part of his “humility and ambition”), the Teilhard de Chardin-style jargon (“Transcendence remains because that light, all in everything, transcends the universe and the species it inhabits at that stage…”).

Were St. Ignatius of Loyola alive today, he wouldn’t recognize Francis as a Jesuit. He might not even recognize him as a Catholic. For all of his chirpy talk about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Francis speaks like a subjectivist, for whom religion is not something received from the triune God but something created from within, which is the hallmark of modernism, from which the spirit of Vatican II sprung. How else to explain a pope who tells an atheist to seek salvation by following what he considers “the Good”?

Source: http://spectator.org/archives/2013/10/02/the-pope-theyve-been-waiting-f

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Posted by: John Vandivier | October 3, 2013

France 24: French lawmakers on both sides unite to spear Amazon

Source – France 24 – Joseph Bamat

[From John: This article shows the absurdity of leftist economics, and it also demonstrates the consequences of having political power exceed economic power in a society. As scary as it may seem to have an open relationship between business and government, think for a moment how much scarier things would look if government was opposed to business, as demonstrated here.]

In a rare show of unity, French lawmakers from the ruling Socialist Party and the opposition conservative UMP party jointly approved a law on Thursday to protect independent book stores from online retailers like Amazon.

Accused of unfair competition in France, Amazon.com and other online book retailers were on Thursday the target of both left- and right-wing lawmakers.

In an extremely rare show of unity, MPs from both the ruling Socialist Party and the main oppositionUMP party approved a law barring e-shops from shipping bargain books for free.

Traditional book sellers in France, including small independent shops, have complained that Amazon’s combined practices of offering books at a 5% discount and dispatching them to customers at no additional charge undermine their already struggling business.

MPs on Thursday unanimously voted to add an amendment to a law from 1981, known in France as the Lang Law, after then culture minister Jack Lang, which sets the value of new books at fixed prices.

All retailers can only lower books’ set price by 5%, in an effort to regulate competition between booksellers and to promote reading. The Lang Law does not apply to used or second-hand books, or other items that can be bought at a book shop, such as music.

The new amendment bars retailers from offering free shipping on a new book sold at a discounted price.

Book sales dropped by 4.5% in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to the latest government figures. Data also showed that 17% of all book purchases in France were now online, and that figure was growing.

While the “anti-Amazon” amendment sailed through the National Assembly, it threatened to spark legal battles down the line.

France has been challenged in the past for its fixed-book-price policy by groups claiming it is protectionist and breaches the European Union’s common-market accords.

The law is also unlikely to be the last of Amazon’s woes in France. Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti has blasted the online retail giant for dodging most taxes by basing its French operations in neighboring Luxembourg.

Source: http://www.france24.com/en/20131003-national-assembly-amazon-book-law-free-shipping-competition-ump-socialist-lang

Posted by: John Vandivier | October 3, 2013

Psychopaths, Sociopaths, Politicians and Businessmen

This article covers an application of psychology to economics and politics.

Politicians and certain kinds of economists, investors or businessmen are often cast as cold-hearted psychopaths or sociopaths, but is that fair and accurate?

I think it is and isn’t to some degree. This article can help us understand precisely what degree. The article makes the case that the brain of a psychopath does not register empathetic suffering. This applies both to economics and politics.

In economics I think psychopathy relates more to theft and information corruption than to financial investment. Theft would be a great opportunity for economic benefit if it weren’t for the fact that it hurt someone else. Information manipulation can be used to inflate the perceived value of a good or service beyond the true value by a salesperson or marketer, resulting in an extra benefit at the cost of misinformation to someone else. We should expect to see psychopaths engaging in theft and information manipulation more often than others.

In politics the finding on psychopaths lends itself to polarization and factions. A psychopath would adopt a very “us vs them” mindset because hurting “them” doesn’t register empathy pain. On the other hand, a normal person would “feel the pain” through empathy with the others who may be hurt by a proposal, even someone else very different from him or herself.

In both political and economic situations such as trade, psychopathy can be seen as antithetical to teamwork and cooperation. Given the current political climate of gridlock and partisanship, one might wonder whether there is a predisposition by psychopaths toward pursuit of political power. Maybe the common perception is not too far off.

Posted by: John Vandivier | October 3, 2013

There is Not a Government Shutdown

The government has undergone a procedure that has taken a media label which is also a misnomer. The procedure has been labeled a “government shutdown.”

The media is calling an apple an orange. There is no government shutdown. In reality about 80% of government employees went to work the day after the more accurately termed slight government slowdown.

Not sure where the 98% figure came from on this Facebook meme, but the principle stands.

This article reports that the NSA domestic surveillance program, TSA searches, domestic use of drones and the police are all fully operational. Thought you might get away with a little highway speeding while the government is shutdown, or at least not have your phone conversations tapped and recorded without due process? Not in this kind of a government shutdown.

Paul Watson confirms the other report with his own article, adding that the NSA is moving ahead with the opening of a new $2 billion USD spy center despite the so-called lack of funding.

Despite the government supposedly shutting down they still managed to kick the bitcoin economy in the teeth today by arresting DPR and shutting down the Silk Road, a gigantic digital black market which comprises a large portion of the cryptocurrency economy. I’m talking the really dark stuff. If you had bitcoin, last week the world’s hardest drugs were as accessible as check out counter candy through that site. DPR even solicited murder there.

That’s a pretty crazy and interesting story on its own but it is only meant in this context as another example of the fact that no, the government is not shutdown.

Posted by: John Vandivier | October 1, 2013

J Warner Wallace On Hell

This article will cover some theology and apologetics on hell. This article is my summary of and commentary on a recent podcast series from J Warner Wallace.

J Warner Wallace recently released a podcast series called, “Answering Common Objections to the Notion of Hell.” Part 1 was released a week ago and part 2 was released today. You can certainly listen to both podcasts, but there is quite a bit of fat in both and Wallace reviews the first podcast in the second podcast anyway. For that reason I will simply be summarizing and making notes on the second podcast, along with some of my personal points. Another good reason to watch the first podcast is if you are looking for specific scriptures to back up Wallace’s various points.

Notes on Part 2:

  • Why would a loving and merciful God send people to hell?
  • Because mercy, love and so on are meaningless if justice does not exist.
  • Because God would not be loving if he forced everyone to go do heaven. He would eliminate free will and the value and meaning that comes from choice.
  • I would make the point that people equate eternal punishment with a punishment of infinite magnitude, however this is not necessarily the case. Anyone who has taken calculus understands that a function can occur over an infinite amount of time and produce only a finite product. For example, a function may converge to 0 without ever reaching 0, implying a function of infinite length which sometimes has a finite result.
  • The punishment is set by the court. It doesn’t matter whether the criminal thinks his punishment is fair.
  • A fair time scale of punishment does not reflect the time scale of the crime, it represents the degree of the offense. An accounting scheme can take years to execute while a brutal murder can take seconds.
  • I would point out that many people think of sin as an offense of some finite magnitude which is being unfairly paired to an eternal punishment, but it may be the case that denial of God is an infinitely offensive crime.
  • Wallace argues that the Bible says “torment” which is very different from “torture.” Torture implies physical pain while torment can indicate mental suffering. Wallace suggests that this mental suffering need not be inflicted by God. For example, it could be a result of regret. There is a huge difference between self-inflicted torment and active involuntary torture inflicted by someone else.
  • I would point out that the term translated torment can also be translated punishment or destruction, leading to alternative translations of hell which involve even less suffering of any form. The bottom line, however, is that hell is negative to some indeterminate degree while heaven is positive to some degree. Regardless of those degrees it is still logical to pursue heaven.
  • Why would a good God sent good people to hell?
  • Wallace says good isn’t good enough. God only accepts perfection and no person is perfect besides Jesus. Therefore we have to ask for Jesus to take our place in judgement.
  • I would argue that God doesn’t send good people to hell. The problem, I would argue, is that people don’t understand what is good. Because of a wrong idea of goodness some people think that good people are sent to hell.
  • What about people who never hear the Gospel? How is it fair to judge them?
  • Wallace makes an argument based on a theological concept called “middle knowledge.” Some theologians claim that God has “middle knowledge” which means that not only is he omnipotent in the classical sense of knowing all truth and reality, but it also holds that God knows every possible or potential truth or reality. From this point of view God can still judge a person who may never have heard the gospel because he knows what that person would have done if they had heard the gospel.
  • In 2 Samuel a baby dies before understanding the gospel but goes to heaven.
Posted by: John Vandivier | October 1, 2013

Why We Need Economic Education

Economics affects everyone in both personal and collective ways. Understanding economics can help you increase your income, decrease your spending and improve your quality of life all at the same time. Moreover, it can allow a society as a whole to do the same thing. These are some of the reasons people need an education in economics.

Economics is not half as difficult as the snobby self-proclaimed experts try to make it seem. Most economic theory can be demonstrated in simple algebra! Despite the beneficial potential and low barrier to entry for education in economics, this article makes it clear that US education policy does not emphasize economics education. No wonder it’s so easy to continually spoon feed the public bad economic policy.

Economics for the twenty-first century

Economics for the twenty-first century (Photo credit: chinadialogue.net)

Here are some facts from the article:

  • In 2005 a standardized test of economics was administered to adults and high school students. The students averaged 53% and the adults averaged 70%. The questions and further analysis are available here. I looked at the questions. These questions hardly even constitute a fraction of what is learned in even an entry level college class or the Khan Academy videos on economics.
  • Fewer than half of the states required an economics class be taken in high school as of 2011.
  • In 2012, only about 5.1% of colleges or universities require an economics course be taken.

The article concludes by recommending that we go check out Learn Liberty. I second that notion and add that Khan Academy and Degreed are other free and quality starting points as well.

Posted by: John Vandivier | October 1, 2013

10 Step Background Check

This article will cover 10 steps to a well done background check. I also have a 20 step method, but that is a bit of a secret for now. This is a solid basic method.

  1. Conduct a brute search on a search engine such as Google. You will need a search phrase which should usually simply be the person’s first and last name in quotation marks. A brute search means you look at every search result to exhaustion.
  2. Keep a record of the useful sites and information you encounter. Spreadsheets are very helpful here because you can quickly group related information using sort functions.
  3. You may decide to conduct additional searches identifying key phrases turned up from the initial search. For example, a person may have an alternate name or a corporation may have parent, daughter, or other closely related organizations.
  4. Construct a working biography based on the search results. The working biography will help to identify missing gaps of critical information. This should include specific information such as birthday, places of education and the appropriate time frames, places of education and the appropriate time frames, career information and information on relationships to other organizations and key people.
  5. Look through related social media.
  6. Check property, court and criminal records. Court records are usually done through the Court Clerk on a county basis. Sometimes arrest or citation records from a local police office are easier to get than criminal records. You can use the term “records check” instead of referencing a particular kind of record and this will make them more likely to give you at least something. Property records are usually handled by the County Assessor. You may have to actually call phone numbers here, although in many cases online searches are available.
  7. When constructing employment history, beware of false claims of military service. A surprisingly large number of people use false claims of service to get a wide variety of benefits, or just to impress people. This article explains how to correctly check past and present service as well as veteran status. For other professions, be sure to keep an eye out for certifications, registrations, licenses and so on.
  8. Perform a media and influence analysis. Look for mentions in the media and consider the topic of the mention, the positive or negative impact of the mention and the frequency of observations of the mention. Keep track of whether the person is usually being talked about (media analysis) or if they seem to be a member of the media who is doing the talking (influence analysis). Sometimes you might like to do both. For example, a person who is not a member of the media but has still managed to garner a significant social media presence such as a celebrity should have both done. Keep an eye out for fake social media influence as shown by fake followers, likes and so on.
  9. Perform a worldview analysis. Look for political and religious affiliations as well as all manner of personal information such as gender, race, area of residence, social network membership and other information. Keep in mind the difference between espoused values (what the person claims to be) and underlying assumptions (the kind of person he or she behaves like).
  10. Write an overview of the research you have conducted including a title page, table of contents, executive summary, biography, media and influence analysis overview, worldview analysis overview, and conclusion. The summary will be a condensed version of the conclusion. Ideally the executive summary should be a page. Longer than 3 pages is exceptionally long. They are called executive summaries because executives read them and they don’t have time to waste. The conclusion can provide more context while still generally summing up the issue (why the research is being conducted), the findings and the recommended actions if there are any.
Posted by: John Vandivier | September 24, 2013

Rubio Nails it On Big Government

[From John: I don’t really consider myself a fan of Rubio, but man does he nail it here on the problem of Big Government and Obamacare.]

Source – Rubio.senate.gov [Excerpt from an interview on “The Sean Hannity Show.”] – 9/20/13

“Big government sells itself as the defender of the middle class, the helper of the poor. The problem with big government is that if you’re a big corporation or you’re a big labor union or you’re a wealthy billionaire, you can afford to hire the best lawyers in America to navigate all this stuff. If you really want to, you can hire the best lobbyist in Washington to change it for you. What about the guy who’s trying to start a business out of the spare bedroom of his home? What about the single mom trying to raise two kids, barely making it by? They can’t hire a lobbyist or a lawyer to navigate all this. Their voice will never be heard. Big government ignores them. It ends up actually hurting the very people it claims to help. ObamaCare is an example of that, and I think this is an example of what’s wrong with big government in general.”

Source: http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=e8671a25-6947-43bb-a508-7814db3e88e7

Posted by: John Vandivier | September 22, 2013

1 Essential Aspect of Budgeting

This article covers one essential aspect of an efficient budget.

“A Clean Slate”

An efficient budget needs to start with a clean slate. This can be done through an inventory wipe or through discount accounting.

A clean slate means that you adjust your budget to account for what you already have on hand. Let me give you two examples of why this is important. I will also show two ways to do this accounting through these examples.

Inventory Wipe

Let’s say you run some numbers on how much food people eat at your house and you find that it costs $50 per week to feed everyone. This does not necessarily imply that you should budget $50 per week because you may already have food on hand. This can also be called inventory if you are a business. If you do not account for this food you already have on hand there will be several possible inefficient outcomes. The least inefficient outcome is that at the end of the week you have a little money left over. The most inefficient outcome is that you go ahead and buy all of the food ahead of time and by the end of the week it has still not been used. It spoils and you just burned some money.

Some people would say that having a little extra cash at the end of the week isn’t so bad. I agree that it’s not really bad, but think about the opportunity cost. Think about what you could have done with that little bit of money if you knew ahead of time that it would be extra. Maybe you could have avoided paying some extra interest or late fees on a credit card. Maybe you could have bought slightly higher quality food. Usually there is something better you could have done and that is why this is important. In particular it gets important when we are dealing with businesses, but I use the household analogy to keep it simple.

The inventory wipe is the first way to take care of this problem. What you do with this solution is you simply ensure that there is no food on hand at the time you budget! For me and my wife this would mean that if we are doing a budget on Monday, today is Saturday and we still have food on hand for two days, we simply make sure that for the next two days we eat the food at the house. No going out this weekend or whatever. Ideally there will not even be a slice of bread left on Monday at the time we budget. That would be a perfect inventory wipe.

Discount Accounting

Russia's budget for 2006-2007

Russia’s budget for 2006-2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes an inventory wipe is not possible. Maybe it’s not Saturday when me and Tina have two days of food left, maybe it’s Sunday. Maybe we aren’t dealing with food. We could be talking about gas in your car. You aren’t going to literally use every last drop of gas. That’s not a problem! What we would do is simply evaluate the inventory on hand and reduce the budgeted amount by that much. This is called discounting the budget.

When we discount our budget we have to use what are called real terms. In other words I need to look in the fridge and figure out how many meals the food there will make, not how much was paid for the food there. The number of meals is the amount in real terms while the price of that food is the amount in nominal terms.

After I figure out how many meals I have on hand I need to look at my budget. Now we need to turn this into nominal terms because budgets are made in nominal terms. It doesn’t matter what I paid for the food in the fridge in the past, what matters is what I was planning to pay for food in the budget. If I budgeted $5 per meal and I have a couple meals in the fridge I should reduce my budget by $10, eat those two meals before they spoil and then start using my budget money. I only reduce the budget by $10 even if I bought that food for $100. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, it matters what’s in the budget.

For the gas example I would need to figure out how much gas I have on hand, figure out how much that is worth and deduct that from my budget. My car is kind of cool because it tells me on a digital display how many miles per gallon I am getting and how many gallons I have left until empty. Some people aren’t so lucky because there are many cars that only have the needle tick display. The reason I bring that up is because sometimes you’re going to have to get creative about how you measure these things and it’s going to involve some estimating with what is sometimes a large degree of possible error.

This brings up my last point and it is one which is very important. It is better to be safe than sorry! While you might be a tough guy that can rough it and skip a meal if you didn’t budget enough for food, I’m not sure you’re a tough guy who wants to rough it and push your car a few miles to the nearest gas station if you didn’t budget properly for gas.

Hope these tips helped!

Posted by: John Vandivier | September 22, 2013

How To Improve Mainstream Science and the Tom Steyer Effect

This article deals with ways to improve certain weaknesses in the way mainstream science is usually practiced these days.

The way mainstream science works in many fields these days lends itself to the generation and perpetuation of scientific cronyism. First I will give a thumbnail sketch of how I see it working, then I will explain what I mean by scientific cronyism and lastly I will give several ways on how we can either improve or remove this system.

The peer review system is central to the way mainstream science works these days. If you want to publish a paper in a peer reviewed journal you must go through years of indoctrination into the mainstream mindset in order to get a PhD from an education system which everyone from Google to myself have widely documented is a piece of garbage.

As you might suppose, that process does not usually lend itself to genuinely innovative and outside the box thinkers. The few who make it through are combated through several other measures. Editors of journals lean highly toward the mainstream line of thinking and the need for peers to approve a paper increase the likelihood that only mainstream views get through. The end result is two more powerful filters against innovation and toward the status quo. Here’s one of a multitude of articles which supports my statements.

Then there is the big one. One of the biggest reasons for all of this manipulation is power, most significantly money and political power. The large driver of scientific work is without question research grant money. It comes in public and private flavors and it can either go directly to research organizations or it can flow through the journals. There is a useful leakage of a small portion of this money into genuinely useful technological research, but that is hardly the true intent of these people. You can’t do most substantial research without substantial funding, and even if you could you still need the journals and related resources to get the research out to consumers.

People like billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer. Steyer lived a stereotypical corrupt elitist life. As a young man he attended Phillips Exeter Academy, then he went to Yale and Stanford. He is supposedly an expert in politics and economics and of course he is a Democrat. He likes to think his specialty is in energy. That’s why he personally supported Obama, Obama’s stimulus policy and his alternative energy plan including the likes of Solyndra.

Steyer was married by a Presbyterian minister and a Jewish Rabbi and his wife, also a Harvard graduate and so on, sits on the President’s Council for the United Religions Initiative.

You don’t become a billionaire by being a moron. Steyer graduated Summa Cum Laude from a top school in economics in political science. I don’t know why he would do this kind of thing, it seems he might owe it to some kind of twisted religious worldview, but I am convinced that he knows the kind of policies he is pushing will centralize and empower the government and destroy the economy. I am also convinced that he knows he is spreading the most blatant kind of politically motivated and misleading science when he becomes co-founder and leading donor of millions of dollars to NextGen Climate Action Committee which produces this kind of garbage:

Leading to this even more misleading website. Have some limits man! Even for a corrupt liberal elitist that is absolute garbage. This climate change science is the perfect example of the mainstream, crony funded and flat out false science I am talking about. Al Gore is another guy like Steyer on this front. As Al Gore accepted his prize in 2007, he predicted, based on this crony science, that the arctic ice sheet could be completely melted by 2013. The area of the ice sheet has actually increased in size. Quite dramatically in fact. He was off by over 920,000 square miles:

As I said before, you don’t become a billionaire by being a moron. You also don’t become as politically powerful as Gore by being a moron, despite the really striking evidence he seems to repeatedly present. Gore has tried to leverage this issue into justification for carbon regulation legislation such as cap and trade or simple taxes. Thankfully, it seems not to have worked so far in the US.

Virtually every policy from economic to security to immigration to everything has some kind of research supporting it. As much as you might like to think this is because the benevolent elites create policy wherever the inquisitive academics lead us, the reality is quite the other way around. The mainstream academic and scientific classes have been corrupted by the motivations offered by the elites. The education system, the scientific community, the fancy institutions, the lauded journals and the interesting myriad of official sounding government agencies are in large part all rubber stamp sham shops who simply do what they are paid.

The good news is that this is a problem which will soon be solved and there are things we can do to make this soon even sooner. I already mentioned that some of the money creates a beneficial leakage into actually useful technologies. The technology which results from this relatively small leak does a jaw-dropping job of leveling the playing field. Consider how the internet has empowered the average person to become really educated or how bitcoin has the power to free people entirely from the various corrupted economic systems of the entire world. It’s actually a bit hard for me to get my head around. While in the past the elites held real leverage over the common person the situation is rapidly changing. One day soon the average Joe will not be significantly less educated or wealthy than the class we now call the elites. I am forecasting a long run insignificant difference in wealth on real terms for you economics geeks out there, not income and not nominal values.

So we can wait for technology to do the trick or we can also get involved in the technology sector and try to do things that way. We can also realize that journals and peer-reviewed articles and books don’t matter nearly as much as accurate journals and books. We have the ability to simply and arbitrarily change our preferences as consumers. By changing popular demand we have the ability to really reduce the importance of modern mainstream science. We can ask our congresspeople to stop funding science and education. I know that sounds odd to some of the more politically moderate or leftist readers here, but the data shows that a combination of charity based education for the very poor and private and homeschooling for the lower middle to rich classes works better than public education. As for science, it is the private research and development done by private companies and universities not beholden to the politicians which create the best bang for the buck research. A further plus is that those groups usually aren’t interested in things like new weapons research. While we are waiting for public schools to shut down entirely, in the mean time we can get involved and try to engage in some curriculum and other kinds of reform.

Last of all we can spread the word. When I was a kid I was taught that readers are leaders but I have grown to realize that readers are much more like followers. To lead a change we have to be proactive and to that end I encourage everyone to read until you feel like you understand what’s going on, but to then go out there and write, talk and share your ideas. Just don’t bother pitching your new ideas to a peer-reviewed journal.

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