Month: May 2019

The Real Reason for Racism: An Effectivist Perspective

I am going to posit a very radical idea. I want all people of color in this country to think about this. For most people of color this is true… You aren’t black, red, yellow, or even white… you are mixed race. The only reason you are seen as a color is that there are people in this country, people with a political agenda, on the Right and on the Left whose continued power depends on you divorcing yourself from part of your racial identity and focusing on one small aspect of your genetic heritage. You should divorce yourself from that kind of thinking. It is simply actual racists trying to pigeonhole you into a mode of thinking that benefits them. Don’t give them power over you.

Be a mosaic of color, not a uniform in service to racism.

This is probably the biggest problem in America. There is no such thing as a “Black” person at least not in the American sense of the word.

Not 1 in 10,000 blacks in the United States is 100% African, probably not 1 in 100,000.

“Black” is about as much a valid racial category as “Hispanic” virtually all people are mixed race. The same goes for “white”, “red”, even “yellow”. We are not colors. We are not uni-racial. If you have had ancestors on this continent for more than a hundred years the chance you are not multi-racial is almost zero. The chance that you have immediate family members that are not multi-racial is zero. They may not know it or acknowledge it, but the truth doesn’t always comport to what someone feels. We are a multi-racial country. The idea of race needs to end if we are to become a great nation and a greater people.



If there is no race, does culture divide us as people?

Is there a real unified “American” culture? Total nonsense. It is the same as saying “Western”, “White”, or “Black” culture. All these categories are cobbled together stereotypes.

Are you a Stereotype?

Culture is defined as, “The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.”

Culture is a divider of people and used simply to categorize and make uniform what really is a nation made up of individuals each with their own unique ideas. Like race, culture gives power to the powerful by limiting the ability of everyday people to embrace each other. It is a specialized form of tribalism.

I can say definitively that my culture is not the same as the culture of a person living on the West Coast. We don’t share the same values, the same lifestyles, or even the same institutions. I have more in common with the Hispanic family living across the street from me than I do a software developer in San Francisco.

All this talk of race and culture is used to fracture our society into warring camps. Who benefits when people are taught to hate each other? Who benefits when both sides of the political spectrum are doing it?

The Real Cost of Taxation: An Effectivist Observation

First, we need to define some terms used in this discussion.

1. Working Class- Those people who do the actual labor in society, who pay taxes and purchase good and services rather than own the means of production.

2. Ownership Class- Those people who own the means of production or provide services to the working class and the poor. Factory owners, restaurant owners, landlords, etc (there is some overlap with the Working class at the low end of the scale).

3. The Poor- Those people who do no productive work in society and rely solely on handouts from government or private organizations.

4. The Working Poor- Those people who do the actual physical labor in society, who pay taxes, and purchase goods and services, but who also receive direct benefits from the government in one form or another that match or exceed their tax burden.

5. The Political Class- Those people who work for and are paid by government and lobbying organizations.

6. Corporate Ownership Class- Those people who control entire segments of the economy or have so few competitors that they can dictate fully the price of goods and services from that segment of the economy.

7. Corporatism (Crony Capitalism)- The marriage of business and government in which the ownership class and the political class work together to freeze out competition and promote the interests of large conglomerates over small business interests.

8. Corporate Unionization- A compact of business owners who come together to fix prices and set market values based on their interests rather than actual market principles.

Next, we need to establish who pays taxes and who doesn’t

Taxes do nothing but harm the working class and the working poor. Unless you are willing to take everything the rich have and distribute it to the poor (which won’t work for reasons we can explore later) raising taxes does nothing but hurt the middle class and working poor. All taxes….I’ll say that again “All Taxes” are paid by the Working (middle) class and working poor, The higher you tax the Ownership class the more they increase the price of goods and services they provide to the classes below them. It is a game the government can’t win unless it is willing to acknowledge that all tax revenue eventually comes from those who work not those who own the means of production even if the government owns the means of production. Anything the government does the ownership class has a way of avoiding and passing the costs to others. This is a basic tenant of capitalism. If the cost of business increases, business increases the cost of goods and services to match. In our current society, this is exacerbated by Corporatism.

Corporatism allows large companies to lobby or even purchase outright government rules and regulations that harm or even destroy smaller businesses and increase the economic and political power of the Corporate Ownership Class. In a vibrant economy, small and large business would compete on a level playing field to provide goods and services to people in general. In that system, taxation would harm the working and working poor classless because a multitude of businesses would be competing to provide goods and services at a lower cost. This means that they may eat the cost of taxation in order to curry more business. In a Corporatist society, the corporate ownership class fully dictates costs and may realize a profit at the expense of the consumer thus allowing them to raise prices to avoid the cost of taxation. What is the solution? How can we help the working class and the working poor without destroying the market-driven society?

The solution is simple…strict avoidance of monopoly coupled with low taxation. Any monopoly is bad for the consumer. Monopoly leads to price gouging, wage stagnation, and tax affected economic downturns. High taxation leads to Corporate Unionization in which businesses come together to price fix. The breaking up of monopoly and lowering of the tax burden on all sectors of the economy leads to several positive outcomes for the working class and working poor. When competition is spread out it is less entrenched politically and economically. There is room for mobility out of the working class and into the small business ownership arena.

Effectivist Solutions to Poverty

Direct handouts and social welfare do not work to address the issues of poverty. Poverty can only be alleviated by addressing the root socio-political causes. It is not because I am not concerned with the general welfare that my articles up until now have not addressed poverty. A fair and equitable society cannot be created or maintained that allows a large portion of the population to live without the basic necessities of life. In the last article I directly point out that all taxation comes from the working class and the working poor. Therefore any and all money used for social welfare programs comes directly or indirectly from these two sources. A society can’t fund social welfare off the backs of the very people who need those programs, especially if that sector of the economy is shrinking. Only in a society in which the working poor are moving steadily forward into the working class can social welfare be paid for by farming the working class. This is the fallacy of socialism and the social welfare state. Both of these types of states discourage social mobility into the ranks of the non-government supplemented worker. In fact both socialism and the social welfare state encourage the use of social programs as a means of gaining a political quid pro quo, in which workers reward politicians with votes purchased with social programs. If you are to have a state in which social welfare works you have to have a state which generates money in a way that doesn’t rely on the middle class as tax farms or a state in which the working poor are not “poor” and as such not in need of extensive welfare programs. You can’t raise people out of poverty by taxing them, neither can you raise them out of poverty by increasing the cost of living. Solutions are not easy. If they were easy the crop of mental midgets that occupy Washington would already have grasped the solution.

Poverty is cultural. It is both a top down and a bottom up cultural problem. People at the top are not willing to give up their positions of power (and yes this is about power not money) and people at the bottom are not willing to change their cultural and social attitudes that keep them poor.

To address the problems of poverty it must be done from a cultural viewpoint not as a problem of economics. Underlying social problems must be front and center in the fight against poverty, then maybe handing out money to the poor might actually work. In the past when this approach has been suggested it is always with an eye towards changing the culture of the poor. While work is needed in that direction, the real culprit in continuing poverty are the political elite. It is also not a problem of money or the lack of money that exacerbates this social ill. The root of poverty is power. People in power are tasked with alleviating social ills while at the same time their hold on power is predicated on their ability to motivate the people below them to vote in their favor. It is much easier to control people if you hold the power of the purse and it is much easier to do that with the poor than rich or even middle class. So it is in the vested interest of the elite to dole out money in such a way that it does not actually fix problems of poverty, but to hand out money and make noise in ways that are emotionally satisfying to the poor while not making real progress towards social ills. This is where the fundamental problem resides.

What is Effectivism

Effectivism is a political philosophy that stresses effects over causes. We all want the Star Trek future, but to get there we must rethink and remold our biases. We can’t continue down the same right/left paths and expect to get to new places. If you want this Star Trek type future we can’t get there through coercion and we can’t get there through hating each other. People must come together and be willing to work together towards a common goal even if they don’t like how the other side thinks. That cannot happen if we are at each other’s throats. Left and Right must find a way forward that satisfies the emotional and physical needs of both.

Let us agree to…

DO NO HARM

Each in our own way.

Axioms of Effectivism

There are certain axioms that one must hold to be an Effectivist.

1. There is a need for a state.

2. The State should be a collection of people willingly working together.

3. The State can do good because people working together can do good things

4. A state that uses coercion to achieve its goals is not laudable or good.

5. The future of humanity is classless, and casteless

There are trends of thought one must acknowledge to understand Effectivism

1. The future is mixed race

2. Socialism is coercive (as is communism and fascism)

3. Corporatism is coercive

4. Monopoly is coercive (private or government)

5. Forced taxation is always regressive as all taxes paid by the rich are taken back from the poor by an increase in the cost of goods and services provided by the ownership class.

6. There are people that need help, but help must come in the form of a hand up not a handout.

Effectivists are pro-capitalist but anti-corporate. Small businesses competing on a level playing field in which large corporations are denied the ability to purchase political influence which give them unfair market saturation.

Effectivism Stresses Responsibility

Effectivism is not about “rights. Rights are important, but rights are based purely on concern for the individual and this focus on self has divided people.

The core principle of Effectivism is “Do No Harm”. Effectivism is focused on responsibility. Humans have a responsibility to themselves and others.

The hierarchy of responsibility

1. Responsibility for self. You as an individual must master your own needs and wants. You have a responsibility not to harm others or yourself through deeds or actions.

(This does not mean you can’t defend yourself from aggression it does mean that you should find the most effective means of doing so that causes the least harm. Words, no matter how harsh are not aggression. By aggression I mean physical force)

2. Responsibility to the family. You have a responsibility to care for, to defend, and uplift those in your immediate circle.

3. Responsibility to the community. You have a duty to act in ways that uplift your community. Your actions have consequences beyond yourself and your family. A genuinely good person keeps in mind those around him. This does not mean you just hand out money or protest for a cause. Causes are wonderful, but not effective. Effectivists go out and make a positive change. They don’t get in people’s faces and scream at them if they disagree. You will never change minds and more importantly, lives if you do that.

4. You have a responsibility to act not react. Reactions are violent. Reactions cause distrust and foster resentment. Think before you act, effectivists make a better world. Better worlds are not created by alienating people.

Eulogy

I have decided to start posting select short stories I have written once a month. This is from the book Faires, Fiends, and Familiars


Eulogy
by Jonathan David Baird

       The old oak was withered and cracked, its limbs reached out seeking light under a dim and dismal haze. An old crow sat in the limbs, the feathers around her beak white with age. In the distance, a crumbling city sat desolate except for the occasional sound of lonely machinery emanating from its dying heart.  Around the tree stood animals of all shapes and sizes drawn from the countryside to listen to the words of the crow matriarch. Here also stood an A.L.I.C.E., an artificial construction and the only object that gleamed as if she had newly come off an assembly line. The crow cawed clearing her throat. “I have called you all together to announce that the last man has died.”

     There was silence the animals looked up at the crow as if they had expected the announcement for some time. The crow continued, “We are not here to condemn man or even to mourn his passage. We are here to decide what is to be done with the world in the wake of his passage. I am to be what men would call the adjudicator of his will.”  The A.L.I.C.E. stepped forward, “As the child of man may I speak on his behalf?”
“No child.” said the Crow. “First we need to hear from those who have been with man the longest. Dog must speak first, no other creature knows Man better and it is Dog who is the father of Man’s civilization.”

       An old Hound dog stepped forward. He was as aged as the crow and he lay down before the assemblage before he began to speak, “Excuse me for being informal my old legs will not allow me to stand for very long. It is true we dogs gave men civilization. It was the dog that tamed man not the other way around. When we first lay down beside their fires men were still frightened of the dark. Man had to stay near caves and away from open areas for fear of animals that hunted in the night preying on them. We dogs guarded the night for man; it was us who allowed men to live in the open. We taught him to herd other animals for food. Without us men would never have tilled the earth, built cities, or flown into space.” The old dog was in tears and his voice cracked. “We do not know what to do without man beside us, our friend is gone.” The dog dropped his head and openly wept.

The crow bowed her head to the old dog and looked out among the animals. “I must now ask the cats to speak they have lived with men since the first cities were built. “

     A regal Persian walked to the front of the crowd and stood next to the dog looking down at him with distain. “I have been sent by the cats to demand a new servant. Now that the men are gone there is no one to feed us and no one to scratch us. We are not used to being denied basic cat rights to these things.” The cat spat at the A.L.I.C.E., “These robots are not a substitute for Man. They will not feed us when we demand it and they do not properly bleed when we show our displeasure. If men had not instructed them to care for us before they died we believe that the robots would kick us out of our homes.”

  The crow considered the words of the cat. “The Cat has long been cared for by Man. But man is now dead and Man choose to be the servant of the Cats. Our judgment is that the Cat must find a willing servant. The A.L.I.C.E. may tell her people that they no longer need to continue to care for the cats.”

“Wait!” The cat screamed. “We can’t go back to the forests and fields. Man has changed our very nature.”

“Quiet!” the crow turned an old evil red eye on the cat. “Our judgment is final. The cat has changed the least of all the animals man has taken in and cared for. Your kind will do what it has always done and survive. That is more than I can say of the other animals here today.”

     In quick order the other animals that had shared their lives and homes with man spoke before the old crow.  The horses expressed their sorrow at the passage of man but nobly announced they would return to the wild. The pig had already begun to revert to his wild self and had little to say.  The goat was much the same, man had changed him little. The cow and the sheep lamented man’s passing the most. Their kind would probably not survive in the new world with no men. All the other animals made some comment about Man’s passing some regretted him going, many were glad to be rid of him, and most just shrugged their shoulders. Extinction was natural, his time was up. Man wasn’t special and was sure to go just as everyone else eventually.

     At last Crow came to A.L.I.C.E., “You are man’s daughter but you are not of the same nature as man or beast. We animals have no real hold over you, but I would like to pass on advice before you speak to the assemblage.”

A.L.I.C.E. stood silently and nodded her head.

    Crow spoke slowly and with as much gravitas as possible, “Your kind will not need to prey on animals for food, you will not need to even acknowledge us because your life and ours are not connected in the way Man’s life was part of nature. Man has broken you free of the web of life. If you take anything away from this assemblage I want your kind to remember that even if you are not part of us, you came from us. Each of us had a part in your making just as Man did. Please treat us with the reverence of a beloved relative, or at least a tolerated old maiden aunt.”

A.L.I.C.E. looked up at the crow in the tree. “We are man’s child, but we are not men.  We may have plastic and metal feet, but I hope we will step more lightly than our fathers.”