Thursday, July 29, 2010

A new political standard - DEMAND IT!

Andrew D Atkin

Take a look at this blog of mine. Here I am being entirely open with what I think and why I think it, including the controvercial bits. On this blog people are invited to respectfully oppose and maybe correct me, which is the way it should be. And this presentation (blog) is fairly easy for me to do.

So should every prospective politician do this? Should every politician first openly define themselves as an individual mind, using this new tool the Internet? (And should they develop that independent expression before signing up to a political organisation, for where they must then part-adopt a "gagging order" in the name of representing their political union's collective view?). In my view, in today's world, there is no excuse not to do this.

Hence, I believe this should be the new political standard that we (the public) should be demanding. Our first question to any prospective politician should essentially be: "Where is your blog?" This should be the standard before we even consider a new entrant to the political arena.

If they can't put their thinking on the table, nor put it on the table before joining up to a particular political organisation, then we have enough reason to assume that they are (or will be) nothing more than a career politician, or worse [worse = utopian zealot operating on ulterior motives].

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If people are in politics for the right reasons, then they should have no difficulty providing open content over the internet in time, like I have done. Any prospective politician who joins up with a political party without first having a good number of well-considered and independently derived views can and will almost certainly, at base, only be a political party hack.

I don't mean to appear contemptuous towards professionals like this, but they belong in the public service - not parliament. If they are only going to do as they are told, rather than provide a serious contribution, then again they might as well bypass parliament altogether and take a job within the public service.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Should we be eating meat?

Andrew D Atkin:



We can make a decisive argument for at least cutting back. In the western world we could cut back to about 20% of the meat that we eat today, and only achieve considerably better health for it.

Environmental argument:

By far the most inefficient way for humans to get their protein is through meat, or at least meat that comes from living animals. You can get about 10x the protein from vegetable matter (directly) out of a given land area farmed, as compared to meat. So meat is terribly expensive in environmental terms. It dictates a great deal of otherwise unnecessary deforestation, and possibly soil degradation.

Health argument:

The human digestive system is capable of digesting meat (and has evolved that way) but it is still overwhelmingly vegetarian in its structure. Our digestive system is virtually the same as that of comparable herbivores.

A carnivores digestive tract is about 3x shorter than that of a vegetarians, and a carnivores stomach acids are many more times as strong as that of a vegetarians. The difference is not discrete. Meat is very different to vegetable matter, and our digestive make-up recognises this.

So why this difference? Though meat is highly nutritious in itself, it needs to be processed quickly because it goes bad quickly. Rotting meat gives off all kinds of nasty toxins. When humans eat more meat than their body's can process and consume (and we don't use about 4/5th's of it, if you're an average westerner) then it literally rots in your vegetarian-type slow food-processing bowels, and likewise gives off toxins that hammer your digestive tract.

It is no accident that (typical) excessive meat eaters have higher incidents of bowel cancer than vegetarians. The toxins from meat must also, surely, affect other organs as they escape into the bloodstream as well.

The idea that most of us should cut back on meat by about 80% is beyond argument from a health perspective. Most of the meat we eat really does just sit in our bowels and rots - working against us, not for us.

We are quite able to go full vegetarian without any negative health impact, though as most of us know the move (if taken) needs to be done conscientiously. There have been champion bodybuilders, for example, who have been vegan (vegan = no animals products at all). That is testimony to the fact that we do not actually need meat to get the nutrients that our bodies require. Bodybuilding is one of if not the most nutritionally demanding activities that we can ever assign to our bodies.

Moral argument:

People often argue that it's ok to kill animals for food because that is what other animals do. This is an argument that claims: "If it's good enough for nature, then it should be good enough for us".

Well, Chimpanzees engage in periodic cannibalism, and so do humans when they are desperate enough for food. But obviously we do not consider cannibalism among humans to be moral, at least not if we don't have to do it to survive. And indeed, if you associate "law of the jungle" with moral acceptability by default, then you can ultimately justify (morally) absolutely anything you want.

My point is that the law-of-the-jungle argument should not be considered acceptable as the moral ideological base for a humanity that is neither desperate nor mindlessly enslaved to ancient instincts (like lower animals are).

The other key idea is that other animals are lower than us, and therefore we have a right to eat them because we are better than them.

Take this scenario: A super clever alien species comes down to earth and starts eating us because we taste a little better that their alternatives, and we don't matter to them because we are lower in terms of the evolutionary hierarchy. I am sure the reader would have a problem with that [hypothetical] alien morality, as I would. My point? Being an evolutionary notch above another species should not give us the right to use and abuse that other species as though their existence is worth nothing compared to our own.

Hence, finally, I do not believe it is moral to eat more meat than we need to eat for our survival and good health. How much meat is that? Usually none, though you could accept an individual substituting a small amount of red meat and fish into their diet for if they are concerned about their nutrition.

Conclusion:

Asking the world to go vegetarian is not realistic. Even if I'm completely right with respect to my moral argument, it's still just not going to happen. But what we can encourage is getting people to cut right back on the amount of meat they eat - this would be a big winner for both the individuals health and the environment as well.

I also think it is best to eat large, mature animals (not lamb) because they have been able to experience most of their lives, and you only need to farm and kill less of them because you get more meat out of each animal (less life taken and compromised).

I also like the idea of developing a kind of black pudding, which would be a vegetable protein base saturated in animal blood. Maybe we could surgically bleed animals (like milking) instead of killing them? Far more efficient, and you can still obtain much of the nutrients (and flavour) otherwise provided by meat. (Much of the flavour in meat comes from the blood that is naturally saturated in it). Also there is the possibility of growing meat in a lab, which is a developing technology.

Addition: 07-04-14:

How is it that so many Germans, as normal as you and me, could kill a few million Jews production-line style, and with a pragmatic and indifferent attitude? Because they didn't see Jews as people - they just saw vermin. Why did they see vermin? Because they saw reality through social suggestions, and not reality as it really was. We are all guilty of this, including myself, and so the trick is to front up to the dynamic and not let it get the better of ourselves. It doesn't matter if everybody is doing something or believing in something - it can still be incredibly wrong.




Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The value of a world government

Andrew D Atkin

It is understood that criminal gangs often use horrific violence to settle their disputes, because they cannot take their cases to a court of law. This is an example of what can obviously happen when we don't have the rule of law, and must therefore use other mechanisms to substitute.

Also take a look at America with its 50 states unified under a single law-making federal body. It has been hundreds of years now since any of the American states went to war with each other, and I would bet almost certainly that that would not have been the case if the states had not been unified under a federal government.

And now take a look at the world at large - still at war all over the place. Because, in part at least, we do not yet have an international federal body that empowers us to resolve our disputes via the rule of law, on the international level.

The reasoning for having a world governmental body is as sound as the reasoning for having a national governing body. Nationalism has generally achieved remarkable levels of internal (domestic) peace that today we take for granted. So is it so unreasonable to consider taking the principle of unification to the international level?

The problem is, I believe, that we aggressively promote nationalistic patriotism* and to a point where we lose track of the functional meaning of being a unified people. And that nationalistic indoctrination likewise stops us from thinking rationally about the value and meaning of forming an international government.

Yes it is true that an international government can be dangerous, but so can nation states be dangerous, especially when they are at war with each other. So which mode of operation will prove to be the lesser of the evils?

Because we are now a world awash with weapons of mass destruction--if not weapons of absolute destruction--I believe we would be wise to seriously consider developing some form of world government. We should do so for the sake of eliminating wars, poverty, defending human rights, and for global environmental protection. There would be problems with the development of such a thing, but those problems can be addressed.

The American "experiment" offers us an excellent example to work from. For the most part the American model is a good example of how a federal government should be (er, in its non-corrupted form). It operates with a separation of powers, and a strictly defined role with respect to its powers--roles that do not unduly interfere with the autonomy of the individual states.

However, a world government for today's age would need some modifications to its constitution, as compared to the American model.

Most critically we need to respect that we are now a vast 6+ billion and growing. Likewise, we need constitutional laws that can empower a future world government to balance population to resources; and this, in time, will probably require some active population control.
We also need to look at the possibility of employing some negative eugenics so as to maintain the genetic health of our species, long-term. And we also need to develop a constitution that protects the rights of children, and a part of that protection should relate to laws that empower us to stop children from being born to people who are simply too sick (mentally) to take care of them. All controversial stuff, I know. But all very rational and real in its importance.

The following is my main article on this topic:


*I think patriotism is an abstract value, established primarily to empower governments to recruit people into the military for defence. In my view most (if not all?) abstract values are originally derived from only pragmatic needs and ambitions. Unfortunately pragmatic needs can change faster than abstract indoctrinations.

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Nevermind the spooky music in the background; Mr Bush expresses my point. I wish some of the anti-NWO people could give the idea a chance too.



In my view the anti-NWO movement (sprawled all over the internet) is functioning as an unproductive distraction. The public political focus is "World government versus non-World government", when really we should be looking at discussing what kind of a world government we might want, and how it should function.

This ideal public debate is being suffocated by too-often childishly one-sided anti-world government sentiments, and highly emotive scaremongering of which "teaches" people that the very idea of a world government is their enemy - and without any sincere consideration for its core advantages.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Political correctness and indirect messages

Andrew D Atkin

Does political correctness promote racism, sexism and homophobia?

Indirectly, I think it often does. As follows:

The politically correct brigade seem to be trying to promote homosexuality as a "new normal". As it seems, they try to create the impression that the difference between being born either gay or straight is as natural and 'normal' as the difference between being born with either blond or red hair. This is ridiculous. Of course it's not "natural" to be either gay or straight; not in the same way that it is for typical differences in hair colour and the like.

Yes, homosexuality is natural - but a natural aberration. Homosexuality is natural in the same way that a congenital disorder or cancer is natural. No reasonable-minded person can suggest that homosexuality in humans is an innate part of our evolutionary destiny. Homosexuality is still something that happens when things don't happen the way they are "supposed to" happen.

So, what is the indirect message coming from all these PC-people who insist that we should accept homosexuality as a "new normal". Believe it or not, I think they (indirectly) reinforce the idea that homosexuality is unacceptable because they tell us "We cannot accept these people for who they are", and they do so, basically, by asking us to pretend that homosexuals are something that they are not.

So the PC-people give us the message "Accept gays - there is nothing wrong with them", but underneath that superficial message is still the more fundamental message "We do not accept people with sexual aberrations". As it seems, and curiously, we can only make homosexuality acceptable by [falsely] declassifying it from its aberration status.(?).

--So how about just being honest and realistic about what homosexuality is, and then from there maybe encourage people to accept it by having them understand that it is meaningless (if not cruel) to apply some kind of value-judgement on someone who has been exposed to either an environmental and/or genetic imperfection? It's curious that the PC-people are not interested in this sort of thinking.

Following from my example, the same kind of dynamic can be seen in the politically correct relationship that we have with gender and race. Why can't we speak freely about the differences between the sexes and races; that is, without too easily running the risk of being accused of the worst? What is wrong with differences? Is there supposed to be something to hide? You get my point...

I think political correctness leads to (and supports) indirect messages that serve to drive deeper-level values and assumptions that, in themselves, may not be rational and may ultimately only fuel the foundation of our irrational prejudice.

I think a good example for this can be seen in the way that we're not allowed to discuss the possibility of Blacks being less intelligent than Whites*. Ignoring the idea in itself, we can ask: "What is the indirect massage of this suppressed conversation?" I would say it is the idea that "Abstract intelligence defines the social (if not intrinsic) value of the man". And like my original example, the indirect message coming from our PC-relationship to gays is "We should not accept people who suffer from sexual aberrations".

Maybe it is so that the PC-movement is really just about defining our deeper-level values, and doing so on indirect levels of which are therefore protected from direct debate. Who knows...would the social engineers be that clever?

*For the record, this is not a view that I support.

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Addition: 18-10-10:

Inclusiveness or Indirect Racism?

Just today I was looking at a handbook. It had four cartoon hands drawn on the cover, all joined together in a collective handshake. One of the hands was distinctly coloured-in black, the other three hands were white.

On the face of it, it looked like an 'inclusive' ideal was being promoted. But the indirect message was actually the opposite, I believe. Rather than promoting inclusiveness it was bringing attention to difference. Though it was telling the viewer to include Black people, it was simultaneously telling them to identify Black people as specifically different.

The image was encouraging the viewers to form racially-based categories in their minds.

Non-prejudice: The non-prejudice position is to take people as you personally find them - as the individuals they are. For example, if Samantha Pickles is Black, then as you get to know her her ethnicity should disappear (from your) relevance. Over time you would barely even notice her ethnicity as such, you would just come to see Samantha as "Samantha".

Prejudice: A prejudice position is one where an individual forms categories, and in turn comes to perceives people through their categories, for even when they could (otherwise) get to know them as an individual. This means, for example, that if the statistics tell you that Black people are 4 times more likely to kill you than White people (as a generalised statistical finding) then this would colour the way you perceive [and in turn respond to] my Samantha Pickles, and again regardless of who she may be as an individual.

My point is, as I believe, that the basis of racism (and many other 'isms') is rooted in the "original sin" of perceiving people through categories*. So, the more the Politically Correct encourage us to categorise people as either Black or White (or whatever), the more they lay the foundation for functional racism.

*Note: Sometimes perceiving people through categories is a functional necessity. Insurance companies, for example, base their businesses models on it. But this kind of discrimination has nothing to do with prejudice as such, it is simply professional risk-management for when you are dealing with unknown variables. Again, a chance-based decision based on statistical findings has nothing to do with judgements.

Note 2: To say, I also think that categories help to make us blind. Prejudice people are the last to see either the saint or the psychopath, I believe.

Addition: 18-10-10: Propaganda identification:

So how do you recognise the 'effect' of indirect messages, or any form of (possible) propoganda? Easy!..

Use yourself as a guinea-pig - be your own "lab rat". Look carefully at your own "raw" responses to input (and in particular inputs-components that have nothing to do with objective reasoning), and understand that in so many ways us humans are all the same (like you).

By observing your own reactions, you can choose to not let those emotive and 'impressionistic' influences get the better of you. And likewise, you will be able develop a better understanding of what will (too often) be getting the better of others.