Saturday, April 29, 2017

Associations

Nobody asked but ...

We can only create one association at a time.  Each is voluntary, each is individual.  Why waste time and effort building opponent associations?

-- Kilgore Forelle

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Voluntaryist Completes the Proust Questionnaire

For the sake of brevity and expedition, I have previously published the answers to the first half of the questionnaire. The first 18 questions are answered at this link. I now return to complete the set.

Remember the premise, to wit: This would be a good architecture for an interview with a very objective voluntaryist. So I have put myself into the personification of a scholarly, principled, individualist voluntaryist to imagine how honest answers to these questions might look.

On we go:

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
In the time period immediately following the 9/11/2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, I began my conversion to formal non-statist principles and philosophy. I knew I had been sorely disappointed in the choices presented to Americans on national election days, I knew our country was in the direst of straits, and I was discouraged with the shallowness of public discourse. I was thrashing around for a new concept, but I became gradually aware of a strong streak of individualism that ran in my veins. I knew that we could not return to the lack of direction of the prior administration, but I was disgusted with the dogged determination to go in the wrong direction by the then current administration. I read both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, before the end of the year. Then I became aware of Sheldon Richman, Robert Higgs, Frédéric Bastiat, Harry Browne, and Ron Paul. By the time we had begun raining shock and awe on Iraq, I was a full-fledged anarcho-capitalist. My development continued until 2013, when I began writing for EVC, wherein I learned the higher reaches of my path, Voluntaryism.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I am not sure that I could continue to live in the confusion that plagues humanity about how to be free. I would need to simplify. At this writing, the life that appeals to me is that of the migratory water fowl. I would hope to keep, on an elemental level, a memory of how treacherous and deadly are homo sapiens.

21. Where would you most like to live?
I would move to New Zealand immediately, if the ones who are there had not clamped down on newcomers. This is the conundrum. Places that are free need to resort to statist coercion to remain small enough to be free, thus being less free.

I would also like to live in Ireland in the day of the Tuatha. But my lack of access to a time machine is problematic here. Ireland poses a hard truth -- any place that has already reached a zenith is currently on another reach of its trajectory.

Perhaps it is best to grow where one is planted, to attain freedom in the spirit, wherever you are.

22. What is your most treasured possession?
Myself. My individuality. My space and time in the Universe.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
War is the most devastating Horseman of the Apocalypse.

24. What is your favorite occupation?
If one is lucky, one cannot tell the difference between one's vocation and one's avocation. Therefore, the best occupation is living your unique life. You can share this unique experience with any 1-to-1 relationship you devise. Don't be a leader, and don't be a follower. If your story influences others, so it may. But don't recruit. Don't intervene.

25. What is your most marked characteristic?
I am an individualist -- so, not only am I unique, I am made up of a unique set of experiences. One is all of the stations in space-time one has ever filled. One is all the dynamic action you have ever done.  If you have lived in a dozen places, you are made up of those places. If you have visited a thousand places, your qualities draw character from those places. Whatever unique combination of music you have ever listened to, you wear it as a badge. If you begin to list experiences you have had, ask the people in the room to hold up a hand if they too have had that experience. You will see many hands with each telling. But if you ask them to hold up a hand on the first case, but ask them to lower that hand as soon as you name a case that they do not share, at some point you will be the only person in the room who has shared all of the experiences. You are 1-of-a-kind.

26. What do you most value in your friends?
I find value in a friend who has befriended me voluntarily, not to become a parasite on some other association I have cultivated. I am more than happy to introduce friends to my other associations, but they should accept me and the association as voluntary acquisitions.

27. Who are your favorite writers?
In the fiction world, Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Albert Camus, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Heinlein, Ross Macdonald, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Lewis CarrollCormac McCarthyand Michael Connelly. For nonfiction, I love John McPhee, Bill Bryson, Frédéric Bastiat, David Hume, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, H. L. Mencken, Lysander Spooner, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Robert Higgs. In poetry, I admire Homer, William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Donne, T. S. Eliot, and William Butler Yeats. This is to name but too few.

28. Who is your hero of fiction?
Heroes began to acquire clay feet in the 60s. I will have to refer here to protagonists. Jack Burns in Lonely are the Brave, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Cool Hand Luke, in the book and movie of the same name. If the thread among these characters is not apparent, let me just say that each made a difficult choice, and suffered for it, in the face of the status quo.

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I often identify those who were villains of history. They far outweigh the admirable figures. It takes principle and good luck to make it through a fulsome life with nothing to go awry. Those who came closest might be Gandhi, Blaise Pascal, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, John Harrison, John von Neumann, Jesus, and Lao Tzu. This list contains no politicians, officeholders, conquerors, or rulers.

30. Who are your heroes in real life?
Ted Williams, the baseball nonpareil who stood apart as the greatest hitter in the game, without compromising his stellar individualism, would be first. Others would be Andrew Carnegie, Larry McMurtry, Mark Twain, James B. Eads, Theodore Judah, Socrates, and Plato. This list contains no politicians, officeholders, conquerors, or rulers.

31. What are your favorite names?
Alphonse and Gaston, Punch and Judy, Frick and Frack, Dog and Pony, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Joe and Frank Hardy, Rockford, Hannibal Lecter, Edmund Dantes, Dashiell Hammett, Sam Spade, Atticus Finch, Chicago, Auckland, Boston, Great Lakes, Torremolinas, Kentucky, Waddy, Derby, Porkpie, Ploughman, Private Eye, Yeats, Shakespeare, Donne, Robert Frost, Zoroaster, Laugharne, Knobs (controls, hills, door handles), Dorothy Parker, Emily Dickinson, Sherlock Holmes, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Jacques Tati, Hector Berlioz, Olympics, Liechtensteinerklamme, Lamborghini, Hupmobile, Gran Prix, ...

32. What is it that you most dislike?
Short lists are objectionable because they imply that there are only a few choices, when 7 billion are available.

33. What is your greatest regret?
I quit having regrets when I became a voluntaryist. I keep only the regret of not becoming a voluntaryist sooner.

34. How would you like to die?
I would not like to die. I want to live at least long enough to upload the vastness that has been my life to a data store. I have no illusions that everybody would like my life, but there could be some who draw something from it.

35. What is your motto?
He can't even run his own life, I'll be damned if he'll run mine. -- Jonathan Edwards
-- or --
Always do right. This Will Gratify Some People and Astonish the Rest. -- Mark Twain
-- or --
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken
-- or --
Ockham's Razor: the simplest explanation that fits all of the facts is usually the correct one.
-- or --
Therefore, send not to know. For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee. -- John Donne

Two Peas in a Pod -- Part B

Nobody asked but ...

How are FDR and DJT alike, let me list more ways:
-- Rich
-- Bigoted
-- Elitist
-- Tax leviers
-- Pugnacious
-- Nepotists
-- Liars
-- Dilettant
-- Silver spoon
-- Fearmonger
-- Hypocritical Fearmonger
  ... to be continued

-- Kilgore Forelle

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Two Peas in a Pod

Nobody asked but ...

How are FDR and DJT alike, let me list the ways:
-- POTUS's ego is the highest entry on the agenda
-- Nothing is stable.  The ground trembles beneath our feet.
-- Daily chats.
-- Sucks up to the military.
-- Puts the judicial branch on its back foot.
-- New Yorkers
-- Arrogance.
-- Populist via xenophobia.
-- Warmonger.
-- Hypocritical warmonger.
  ... to be continued

-- Kilgore Forelle

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Words Poorly Used #84 -- Scientist

Once again we've see this too-broad-by-multiples word, scientist, asked to carry far more straw than would break a camel's back.  If we look at its etymology, we can see the truth that it was not meant to tote all the baggage attached to it today.  The Online Etymology Encyclopedia describes the oldest usage as "scientist (n.) 1834, a hybrid coined from Latin scientia (see science) by the Rev. William Whewell (1794-1866), English polymath, by analogy with artist, in the same paragraph in which he coined physicist (q.v.)."  This directs us to "science," the entry for which reads "(12c.), from Latin scientia "knowledge, a knowing; expertness," from sciens (genitive scientis) "intelligent, skilled," present participle of scire "to know," probably originally "to separate one thing from another, to distinguish ... "  I like that.  That is "to separate one thing from another, to distinguish."  You can see that there is nothing there that pins us down very hard.  The upshot is that scientists call themselves scientists because they give themselves permission to call themselves scientists.  This renders absurd the sentence, "X % of scientists agree that A is true."  There is no definite denominator for the percentage calculation, nor is there a stable numerator.  Caveat Emptor!   Labels call for the very greatest caution.  Consider this Zen Koan:
Shuzan held out his short staff and said, “If you call this a short staff, you oppose its reality. If you do not call it a short staff, you ignore the fact. Now what do you wish to call this?” -- The Buddhaful Tao, Some Great Koans
Let me paraphrase this, if you call this wooden object a thing only related to its current use then you have to ignore all the other truths about its multilayered reality.  But if you don't call it a name by way of recognizing its current use, you forget why it exists, at present in its current form.  So, when we refer to science we refer to some vast field of endeavor with multitudinous and separate rule bases, not a static entity.  If we refuse to label a scientist as such, we ignore the right of any human being to label herself as such.  And we expose ourselves to the risk that this "scientist" may in fact know enough to state a truth that might change our lives profoundly.  I myself am a scientist, a computer scientist.  But does that mean I am fluent in marine biology?  It should only mean that I am conversant with Bayesian logic operations, combinatorics, numerical analysis, conversion of digital code to decimal code,  hexidecimal code,octal code, structured programming, and directly related fields.  Do I know how to set up my family members' home computers?  No, probably.  Furthermore, by virtue of being a scientist to I get to join a consensus in any other or all fields scientific?  No, definitely

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Science March III

Nobody asked but ...

Why wouldn't economists march for Science?  Why do science supporters believe they must insist that economics is a pseudoscience to validate that the so-called hard sciences are precise or predictive.  Neither of these are the objectives of science.  The objectives of science are to increase the discovery of fact and to use fact to gauge probability.  Surprise!  These are the objectives of economics.  Isn't observing and recording X dollars every bit as precise as observing Y degrees of temperature?  Making science a separate class of behavior was very useful in the days of Newton and Descartes.  But why do we today insist on making it separate and abstract today?  The need is for critical thinking, not silos.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Science March II

Nobody asked but ...

What good is science if it doesn't take its place among the arts?  Science has become an enemy to both the ignorant and those knowledgeable enough to know that it takes more than science?  Art has its root meaning in making do.  The Online Etymology Encyclopedia says,
"art" (noun) -- early 13c., "skill as a result of learning or practice," from Old French art (10c.), from Latin artem (nominative ars) "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft," from PIE *ar(ə)-ti- (source also of Sanskrit rtih "manner, mode;" Greek artizein "to prepare"), suffixed form of root *ar- "to fit together." Etymologically akin to Latin arma "weapons."
In Middle English usually with a sense of "skill in scholarship and learning" (c. 1300), especially in the seven sciences, or liberal arts. This sense remains in Bachelor of Arts, etc. Meaning "human workmanship" (as opposed to nature) is from late 14c. Meaning "system of rules and traditions for performing certain actions" is from late 15c. Sense of "skill in cunning and trickery" first attested late 16c. (the sense in artful, artless). Meaning "skill in creative arts" is first recorded 1610s; especially of painting, sculpture, etc., from 1660s.
Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truths, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned. The revolt of individualism came because the tradition had become degraded, or rather because a spurious copy had been accepted in its stead. [William Butler Yeats]Expression art for art's sake (1824) translates French l'art pour l'art. First record of art critic is from 1847. Arts and crafts "decorative design and handcraft" first attested in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in London, 1888.
I take "art" in its earlier senses to mean the putting into effect of the knowledge gained from experience and inspiration.

So if an art cannot be applied to concrete effect, what good is it?  If the art of science is not about solving human problems, what good is it.  Just as thought must be mixed with behavior to have a practical effect.  Science must be made into a synthetic that works in the real world.  That synthetic must involve economics, else the result is not of this world and of  no practical use in this world.

 -- Kilgore Forelle