Thursday, November 21, 2019

Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America

A good general audience book to check out for anyone who wants to forgive the news is the new book Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America. The book sort of makes this blog obsolete since it makes the same basic points I try to make. I like books where to dislike the book is to prove the authors' point and Loserthink fits that bill.

Here is an excerpt from a review that gives some examples of loserthink:

  • Mind reading (Assuming you know what other people’s thoughts/intentions are...the current very boring impeachment show is grounded in mind reading.
  • Slippery slopes (It's a logical fallacy since eventually a counter-force stops the slipping.) 
  • History “repeating itself” (Which history? When does it repeat? If you can’t use this information to predict reliably it doesn’t mean anything.) 
  • One variable projections (If everything remains equal, climate change will kill us all! Everything won’t remain equal, technology and circumstances will change that few people can predict.)
  • Etc.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Forgiving the Fake News Formula

This was a very interesting little segment because it exposed the formula for what the establishment media so often tries to pass off as news. The formula isn't usually this obvious. But the way Rev. Owens kept responding to Don Lemon of CNN made it obvious.

Here is the formula and it exists in both left wing and right wing fake news.

1) State the hallucination you want to believe and want your viewers to believe.
2) Ask the guest to agree with your hallucination.
3) If the guest disagrees, attack the guest's character.
4) Ask the guest to agree with your hallucination again.
5) If the guest disagrees, attack the guest's character again.
6) Repeat until the guest agrees with your hallucination or time runs out.

And that's what passes for news. The beauty of it all is that once you accept that it is fake, not only in the big picture but also in the little picture, it is easy to forgive. Don't make it real, accept that it is fake. News is editorial hallucination.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Forgiving Capitalism versus Socialism

I wrote this post to have something to go back to and look at and refine for years to come, since forgiving capitalism versus socialism is likely to remain a point of contention in society for a long time. First off, we will look at forgiving capitalism and socialism in their pure forms. Then we'll get into forgiving the two in their more "real" world manifestations.

Capitalism versus Socialism Basics

The main difference between capitalism and socialism is who owns what. Capitalism is about private ownership. Socialism is about collective ownership. Private ownership stems from the necessities of physical bodily survival. If one is not presumed to own his or her own body, then there is no inherent drive to keep the body from being exploited by other bodies. Exploitation by other bodies is a recipe for death. The collective ownership of socialism is at odds with self-ownership since obviously collective ownership means the self is beholden to the collective. But socialism in practice tends to make concessions for allowing certain kinds of private property.

More specifically, capitalism means private ownership of the means of production and land. Socialism means collective ownership of the means of production and land. If you don't believe in collective ownership of the means of production and land, you really don't believe in socialism. And if you don't believe in private ownership of the means of production and land, you really don't believe in capitalism.

In the contemporary world, the terms socialism and capitalism mean many different things to many different people. In general, people who project innocence on socialism tend to call everything they don't like capitalism. And people who project innocence on capitalism tend to call everything they don't like socialism. If you asked most people what they really believe about capitalism and socialism you'd find a contradictory hodgepodge that advocates some of what socialism has to offer and some of what capitalism has to offer. The term "democratic socialism" embodies that contradictory hodgepodge. The term "democratic capitalism" would do the same.

The fact is that once government comes into existence, you get some level of socialism, because government entails at minimum collective ownership of land. Even though you can own your own land in government systems, you are still beholden to a government that claims some level of collective ownership of that land. In that sense, land is merely rented from the government to varying degrees. Even if certain land is not directly taxed through things like property tax, that land is still subject to the laws of the government.

Beyond just collective land control, governments also tend to get into the business of police, firefighting, schools, military, roads and many other things. Government involvement in all of those things is socialistic. None of those things have to be socialistic since all those things could be done privately instead of collectively. However, when government does those things they become socialistic. The more the government does the more socialistic things get. The more socialistic things get, the more decisions are made centrally rather than individually. In capitalism, decisions are made by individuals operating in a market. In socialism, decisions are made collectively. That collective decision making makes it centralized. And centralized decisions are the fatal flaw of socialism in all its forms. Even if a population of people could suppress their egoic self-interests in favor of collective interests (which is itself a pipe-dream), socialism still fails due to its centralized decisions leading to the economic calculation problem.

The Economic (Socialist) Calculation Problem

In his 1920 article "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth," economist Ludwig von Mises introduced the world to the fatal flaw of socialism. Many attempts at socialism in many forms have come and gone since 1920. All of those attempts have confirmed to varying degrees the flaw Ludwig von Mises identified.

The gist of the economic calculation problem (a.k.a. socialist calculation problem) is that since collective ownership leads to economic planning as a substitute for market-based allocation of the factors of production, socialism must always lack a reliable pricing system for allocating scarce resources. Without reliable prices, inefficiencies thrive leading to eventual scarcity. Unfortunately, many people have never gotten the memo about the fatal flaw of socialism, so people continue to pursue socialism. However, contemporary pursuits of socialism tend not to be pure socialism. Contemporary pursuits of socialism are simply socialism riding on the back of capitalism. Socialism mixed with capitalism still suffers from the economic calculation problem but only half way, as I will describe shortly.

(To fully understand the economic calculation problem, watch the video below, which describes the problem in relation to full socialism and contemporary socialism mixed with capitalism.)

People who don't understand the economic calculation problem often propose that historical attempts at socialism (such as Venezuela in recent history) failed because the socialism didn't go far enough or because corruption (separate from the initiation of force required to implement socialism) caused the failure. The reality is that socialism can only survive while sponging off capitalism. The more socialism the less capitalism and the quicker socialism fails. If the whole world went totally socialist, the whole world would fail instantly. The more capitalism, the more socialism can survive. As long as there is enough capitalism to do accurate economic calculation, there is usually enough excess wealth that the system can afford some of the inefficiencies brought by socialism.

It has become a habit of those who think they advocate socialism that they use places where there is above average socialism riding on the back of capitalism, like Sweden, as examples of successful socialism. Sweden is not socialist. Sweden is like most countries a mix of socialism riding on the back of capitalism. When socialism is mixed with capitalism, there is a pricing system that can be used by government to figure costs for socialistic things like police, firefighting, schools, military, and roads. But there is still no market-based revenue and profit feedback to measure the quality, efficiency, and demand of government provided goods and services. (That fact is explored in The Simpsons' episode Trash of the Titans, where Homer runs for office promising extraordinary garbage collection service without factoring in the cost.)

Even in the presence of capitalism, when things like police, firefighting, schools, military, and roads are done socialistically by government, those things suffer from lack of market-based feedback and so suffer from the economic calculation problem. The closest thing to feedback in government services usually comes through voting, which is an extremely low resolution form of feedback. When paying directly for things, if the quality to cost ratio is insufficient, people stop paying. But people mostly don't have the option to stop paying taxes. Since paying for government services usually isn't optional, those services tend to be monopolistic. Even when private businesses try to compete with government, people usually don't have the luxury to skip paying taxes and so end up paying for the superior private service on top of the inferior government service.

What would police, schools, firefighting, roads and so on look like without government? For instance, do you think private roads would have you sitting at traffic light after traffic light? Do you think kids would hate education if it was unhindered by government regulation and involvement? Regardless of the details, all that stuff would be more geared to what consumers wanted to pay for. When things are owned collectively, people are left with the lowest common denominator. So even when socialism rides on the back of capitalism, socialism still trends toward failure. If the fluctuating economy cannot keep up with the bloated price of socialism, the system fails. As a generic example, say a town does well feeding off the tax revenue of some big business, the business fails, the taxes die with it, and people move. But the town made future promises to pay for things like police, firefighter, and teacher pensions, so it can't just scale down. Perhaps then the state or federal government comes in and bails out the town. But if the federal level of government is in the same situation then the whole country fails. Capitalism can't always save the day because the weight of socialism is a drain on capitalism.

When capitalism isn't enough, socialism can survive for awhile on Ponzi schemes. For instance, socialized healthcare has a Ponzi advantage due to the fact that healthcare costs tend to increase with age. Therefore, as long as the youth population grows faster than the population of the elderly (through reproduction or immigration), there are enough healthy people to pay for the costs of the ill. And if a growing population isn't enough to pick up the cost, the cost can often be shifted to future generations through public debt.

No Initiation of Force

The Golden Rule is the essential formula for making anything work sustainably in human society. Don't do to others as you would not have them do unto you. Don't rob people if you don't want to be robbed. Don't kill people if you don't want to be killed. In other words, "no initiation of force." By initiating force you become subject to it due to the inevitability of defensive actions by others. Since people tend to not always have the discipline to do business by the Golden Rule, people tend to revert to giving power to an attempted monopoly on the initiation of force: government. But government doesn't really stop the force, it instead assures that certain kinds of force are made lawful and unavoidable. Voluntary capitalism and voluntary socialism are no problem because they actually work due to the feedback of economic calculation. Add force in any form and capitalism and socialism suffer from inaccurate economic calculation.

Force adds faulty data into economic calculation. When socialism is voluntary, those with wealth voluntarily choose to give it away. That choice is a form of economic calculation in the sense that people who give away wealth foolishly end up losing the wealth. So voluntary socialism is self-correcting. Forced socialism isn't self-correcting though. Force ruins economic calculation, because when people capitalize off of force (or lose because of force) that inputs bad data into the economic calculation; it's a form of cheating and sabotage.

There are many ways to capitalize off of government force. Here are some examples:
  • Work directly for government. Just being employed by government is a way of capitalizing off of forced socialism. 
  • Just buddy up with a bureaucrat and cash in.  You can sell things to the government and get payed by tax money, which is collected by force (threat of force). When things are payed by tax money, bureaucrats make economic decisions on behalf of groups of people, leaving a lot of room for inaccurate economic calculation. That inevitable misallocation of resources can be very profitable but is a drain on the taxpayers and capitalism as a whole. 
  • Get favorable laws passed. Instead of figuring out how to please customers, it can be more profitable and less risky to get laws passed that give you a competitive advantage and to sell things to bureaucrats spending tax money. 
  • Make pollution legal. Legal pollution is related to getting favorable laws passed. If you can do business without having to contain pollution to your own property you don't have to pay to stay clean. Socializing pollution improves the profit margin.
  • Force what is considered money. Government controlled monetary systems are socialistic rather than capitalistic. There is no real free market if the money is not free market. To learn more about the monetary system, read my piece on the free-range debt-slave plantation. Monetary inflation and public debt is the government's alternative to taxation.
Business in cahoots with government force gives capitalism a bad name. The US healthcare system is an example of a monstrosity made from capitalism in cahoots with forced socialism. Many people in the healthcare industry would be in jail if  15 U.S. Code Chapter 1 was applied to the healthcare industry. But it isn't since the healthcare industry is in cahoots with government.
Realistically, you can't blame businesses wanting to take advantage of the force of government. If society is dumb enough to let government collect tax money, pass laws, issue debt, print money and so on, people are going to take advantage of that. Government force makes various kinds of theft very easy. Profit in capitalism can come through work or risk or both. People tend to value work, but have less appreciation for risk. But both are required. Government force can reduce risk and so people naturally game government to reduce risk.

Capitalism in cahoots with government is not really capitalism but instead corporatism. Even corporatism requires real capitalism to sustain itself. Real capitalism is the backbone of any system. The more capitalism is restrained the more the system suffers. No bureaucrat with a bullhorn can consistently allocate resources anywhere near as well as a free market. Sure, free markets make plenty of mistakes, but without socialistic centralized intervention (like central banking) the mistakes are isolated and thus small scale and just part of the calculation system; capitalism learns by calculating mistakes and successes.

Since capitalism is centered around private ownership, it operates best when the people participating in the system respect private property. Respecting private property means no theft, fraud, murder, pollution, and so on. Private property means interaction must be voluntary. As force is allowed into the system through everything from taxation, to public property, to fraud, to pollution (laws violating private property rights), to war, the economic calculation suffers and so does capitalism.

Conversely, socialism suffers to the extent that people wish to maintain private property. If people wish to preserve the life of their own body over the benefit of the collective, socialism suffers.

Level Confusion

Socialism is a form of level confusion (confusing the ego universe with heaven). We all deep down know that heaven means oneness and equality. But in this universe, oneness and equality means death (maximal entropy). So when we pursue socialism, we actually pursue collective death... even though capitalism usually stops us well short of collective death. Socialism imposes all kinds of feedback mechanisms that don't treat the ego realistically. For instance, if you reward people to not work, you find out many will do just that. And when you penalize people who work, you find out many would rather not work (who is John Galt?).

Conversely, capitalism is an ego exploitation system. Capitalism exploits self-interest and competition so that people are motivated to please others. When we pursue capitalism, we pursue life as it exists in this universe. Capitalism leads to inequality which sorts out survival of the fittest. However, capitalism is a rising tide that lifts all boats... even if there is a large variety in the quality of boats. Many poor people living today have it better than the richest people in the world just hundreds of years ago. And that's because people pursuing profit figured out how to do things people wanted in an affordable way. You don't have to have much wealth to have things like a smart phone, air conditioning, and antibiotics. In 1820, 94% of the world's population lived in extreme poverty. In 1990, 34.8%, and in 2015, just 9.6% (source). The goal of economic calculation and thus the goal of capitalism is to provide abundance for as close to free as possible. Absent of force, no capitalist is safe from someone else doing something better and cheaper. Even though a capitalist loses on one level by being out-competed, that same capitalist benefits as a customer. Cheap abundance is the goal.

But cheap abundance isn't enough because what is cheap and abundant also needs to be what people want. The beauty of capitalism is that it requires no accurate model to work since it is itself a system of calculation. It's easy to calculate that people want food but impossible to calculate what all kinds of food people want and that people want things like comic books about ACIM and so on. That's the super power of capitalism; it gives people things they didn't even know they wanted ever better and or cheaper (minus inflation).

Dumb Einstein

Socialism appeals to people looking for heaven on earth and to people who are just not informed or smart enough to consider the economic calculation problem. If you've been suckered in by socialism, don't feel bad. Even Einstein was. Einstein was an example of a guy who was not smart enough to consider the economic calculation problem. Einstein let the elitist ego appeal of centralized planning lead him to advocating for socialism... despite his lack of knowledge about economics. Many scientists are funded by socialism and so tend to support the hand that feeds. Socialism is the opiate of the intellectual. (Listen to this video to learn more about Einstein's poor economic knowledge.)

Forgiving Force

My current conclusions about socialism versus capitalism are the result of many years of forgiveness. By forgiving socialism and capitalism, I was able to study them objectively enough to recognize what both accomplish as opposed to what they attempt to accomplish. I've forgiven socialism in the sense that I've accepted that it is level confusion. And I've accepted capitalism in the sense that even though it is very ego friendly in terms of its appeal to self-interest and that it devolves when force is allowed into the equation, it nonetheless exploits the ego for the good of the collective and so meets people where they actually are. Yes, I know socialism can work when sponging off capitalism and I know socialism can often beat corporatism (such as in healthcare). But the best most sustainable things come from freedom and the ego exploitation system of capitalism. Like, what would be a more popular business model for free market healthcare from the perspective of customers? People being paid to be healthy or paying to be sick? Figure out how to make that work and you would be well rewarded with customers.

A better name for true capitalism would be customerism since there is no capitalism without pleasing customers. But even though customers are the main people that need pleased, suppliers, employees, and neighbors need to be pleased too for it to all be voluntary (no force).

The more you have to offer people the more you are going to be valued under capitalism. Is that fair? If the universe is a dream it probably actually is fair since it is then all just a set-up anyway. And regardless, if you want things to actually progress you don't want progressivism (using force for imagined progress) you want capitalism as pure as you can get it. Since capitalism is a system of freedom, those who go against it break the Golden Rule. To break the Golden Rule is suicidal. In capitalism, those who have less to offer (less degrees of freedom) than others may not prosper. But that's why we have friends and family that value us far more than can be measured by money or barter. That's voluntary socialism, the kind that works. Pure capitalism means freedom and so no one to stop anyone pursuing other systems as long as the systems don't require force. People are free to shun capitalism if they want.

To anyone reading this who really isn't that well informed about socialism or capitalism, you'll have to do your own homework and forgiveness to come to my same conclusions. I studied capitalism (free market economics) before socialism, so I knew about the economic calculation problem before exploring socialism. Consequently, I never found socialism persuasive intellectually. I found socialism a little persuasive as a kid, but I was a know-nothing-idiot as a kid lol. I like voluntary socialism and practice it, but not forced socialism. I only advocate freedom, which is why I advocate capitalism without force and so without compulsory socialism. Forced socialism can work as a parasite on capitalism but force hurts capitalism and force hurts freedom. On a long enough timeline the survival rate of all forced socialism is zero.

Someone Else Pay

In general, people do not really want to pay for the costs and inefficiencies of socialism themselves, they want others to pay (like wealthy people, profitable businesses, and future generations through debt). When people have to pay up themselves, support for socialism diminishes quite fast. The appeal of socialism for most people is that they are going to get more out of socialism than they give. (Watch this video as an example of the common true psychology behind support of socialism, which is filled with self-delusion and cognitive dissonance.)

Since those who want socialism tend to not want to pay for it, people tend to not pursue large scale voluntary socialism even though they could. For instance, people in the United States who want socialized healthcare could build their own voluntary system without the government. Voluntary socialism is rarely pursued like that though since people don't want to pay for the cost of the socialism themselves, they want others to pay for it through force. Realistically, people like force; society too often makes it easier to steal than produce. The fatal cognitive dissonance in contemporary society is the near universal belief that, "force is bad but force is good when I control it or it is doing what I want." Being generous with other people's money is not a virtue.

 Beyond Force

You may be wondering, how would the world work without force (government)? That's the beauty of capitalistic freedom. No central planner has to figure that out. Capitalistic freedom calculates out a competence hierarchy in human society, which is the kind of hierarchy you want if you want things to actually work. For instance, I'd rather Bill Gates be free to spend his billions of dollars than him being forced to give it to politicians to spend. Because it is Bill Gates' money and he is likely to spend it competently. A fool and his money are soon parted; so when fools gain wealth through luck or socialism they don't hold onto it long. That's the beauty of capitalistic calculation. Absent of force (which is too often not the case in the current world) wealth flows to those who use it to allocate resources in ways that bring in more wealth. Everyone benefits from good economic calculation and those who do it best produce wealth. Wealth does not simply come from having things like ownership of land, wealth comes from productive capacity.

With capitalism, society just has to agree on "no offensive force" and the system calculates solutions automatically as people pursue voluntary profit. I don't see government or society giving up force to usher in unhindered capitalism anytime soon though. After all, we currently live in a world where many people view socialistic force as a form of compassion and as spiritually evolved due to rampant level confusion and economic incompetence. Nonetheless, I could imagine technology advancing so much that people become ungovernable and so pure free-market capitalism takes over by default. I could also imagine technology advancing so much that energy becomes essentially free, in which case there would be widespread voluntary socialism (the kind that can work). The goal of capitalism is ever-greater efficiency to meet all people's wants. So, it is not unrealistic to imagine that people could eventually have the basics so well taken care of by energy abundance that no extra capitalistic labor would be necessary. Just this blog post you are reading right now is a form of voluntary socialism. The cost for me to publish this online is so low that it is essentially free. In the old days, I would have at least had to pay for paper, printing, and distribution to get this post out to others.

My objective is awakening from the dream, so I don't really care about social systems. But that doesn't mean I won't object and say 3-2=1 when people tell me 3-2=4. Because it's not kind not to warn people about walking into traffic when you can see around the corner. Nor is it kind to just tell people what they want to hear. For example, "economist" Paul Krugman has made a career out of saying exactly what certain interests want to spread and what certain people want to believe. That's problematic since Krugman is consistently wrong. He's so wrong that there is a weekly show Contra Krugman dedicated to debunking Krugman.

Prophetic Nietzsche

Read these prophetic quotes by Nietzsche written before any large scale full-fledged socialist experiments were ever done:
"In the doctrine of socialism there is hidden, rather badly, a will to negate life; the human beings or races that think up such a doctrine must be bungled. Indeed, I should wish that a few great experiments might prove that in a socialist society life negates itself, cuts off its own roots. The earth is large enough and man still sufficiently unexhausted; hence such a practical instruction and demonstration ad absurdum would not strike me as undesirable, even if it were gained and paid for with a tremendous expenditure of human lives."
"You preachers of equality, the tyrannomania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality: your most secret ambitions to be tyrants thus shroud themselves in words of virtue. Aggrieved conceit, repressed envy--perhaps the conceit and envy of your fathers--erupt from you as a flame and as the frenzy of revenge."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spoke Zarathustra 1883
 Voluntary Socialism

Nietzsche was right, especially in regards to forced socialism. Nonetheless, there are some large scale forms of voluntary socialism that I would be interested in seeing tested because they might work. That's because voluntary socialism tends to be about equal opportunities rather than equal outcomes.  For instance, say that somehow private free-market cryptocurrencies replaced government currencies. And say one particular currency became the preferred currency by most people. Say that particular cryptocurrency increased the money supply monthly in proportion to economic growth in order to maintain the stability of the currency's purchasing power. Say that cryptocurrency was able to precisely calculate economic growth due to having a ledger of all transactions done with the cryptocurrency. Then say that somehow every person was given an amount of that currency supply growth... maybe all equally or maybe based on some formula that people found fair. I don't know how that would work to prevent cheating but say that there was a system to stop cheating. That would be a kind of voluntary universal basic income. And that voluntary UBI could act as a kind of useful economic feedback since some people who received that money would do things with it that grew wealth while some would just squander it. Such a system would set a fair starting point for everyone and the cost would be essentially free since it would be in proportion to keeping up with economic growth. I doubt the economy would ever shrink in a system with that kind of freedom, but if it did then that would just mean no UBI that month. And if some kind of better voluntary socialism came along, people would be free to pursue that instead.

Forgiveness Summary

In summary, here is the gist of what most people are in need of forgiving in terms of Capitalism versus Socialism.

Forgive that socialism can work some by riding on the back of capitalism or through Ponzi schemes. And also forgive that socialism usually requires force, that it trends toward failure due to the economic calculation problem, and that people like socialism less the more they actually have to pay for it rather than just reap the rewards.

Forgive that capitalism works even though it can be corrupted by force and works within the ego framework of competition and self-interest.

Forgive that heaven is nothing you'll ever find in a social system.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Forgiving Climate Change (Global Warming)

I wrote a forgiving climate change piece a few years ago. This replacement will cover some of the same content but focus less on details and more on the general idea of climate change in terms of psychology.

For anyone who has been living under a rock, climate change is the scientific hypothesis that humans adding certain gases to the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide (the gas you are exhaling right now from your lungs), but also much more powerful greenhouse gases like SF6, is changing the climate by making the planet generally warmer. Most of the emphasis for some reason is on CO2 released mostly from burning fossil fuels and so that will be the emphasis in this piece. (Note that "fossil" may not be an accurate term if abiotic oil theories are true.) The climate change hypothesis sometimes further claims that humans adding carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere will have disastrous effects if not stopped and reversed.

Now, of course, just like everything in this world, not everyone agrees upon how accurate that hypothesis is. Some claim the hypothesis is dead on. Others claim the hypothesis is dead wrong. And there are a lot of claims in between those two extremes. However, most people with the job title "climate scientist" do generally agree with the hypothesis.

When it comes to forgiving climate change, there are different groups of people who harbor different variations of unforgiveness on the topic.

Main types of Climate Change Unforgiveness
1) People are guilty in general for adding CO2 to the atmosphere.
2) The people who are not taking action to stop CO2 emissions are guilty.
3) The people who believe CO2 emissions are a problem are guilty.
4) The people who know CO2 is a problem but ignore it in the name of profits or convenience are guilty.
5) The people who know CO2 is not a big problem but present it as a big problem anyway are guilty.
6) The people who don't agree with my proposals of how to reduce CO2 emissions are guilty.
7) The people who think a warmer, higher CO2 world is bad are guilty.
8) The people who think CO2 is the main problem are guilty because they ignore other "greenhouse" gases, like Sulfur Hexafluoride which is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2) and has become more prevalent due to "green energy" requiring its use in more electrical switchgear. .

The earth is an extremely complex multi-variable system that cannot be fully modeled. Nor are there duplicated earths to use as controls to test the climate change CO2 hypothesis. So testing the CO2 hypothesis is a one trial real-time experiment that will leave plenty of room for doubt and premature confirmation for a long time to come. And a conclusion may never come if humans actually stop and reverse CO2 emissions, since that will stop the experiment.

Realistically, if it wasn't for the impending global doom aspect to the theory of CO2 fueled global warming, science would not feign such certainty about the topic. But there is an impending global doom aspect to the theory of CO2 fueled global warming. And the fear that comes with impending global doom has made CO2 fueled global warming into a kind of political religion rather than a calm, honest scientific inquiry into the effects of CO2 on climate.

Deep down, the psychological appeal of the theory of catastrophic CO2 fueled global warming is no different than that of conventional religions. As the global warming mythos goes:

Long ago the climate was perfect and humans were in harmony with nature. But then humans gave into temptation and sinned. Humans ate from the tree of knowledge to usher in the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution brought great advances as humans continued to eat from the tree of knowledge. But it all came at a cost: humans unleashed the devil in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2). Now, the devil of CO2 has taken over the world and is thus contributing to every bad and anomalous thing on earth. The earth is doomed to flood and become literal hell unless humans repent. Fortunately, there is a plan for salvation. In order to be saved from the hell of a heating earth, humans must first accept the blood of the warming earth and repent for the sin of CO2 emissions. Humans must then submit to and support the higher authority of a Global Governing Body who will tax and regulate CO2. By sacrificing money through taxation and sacrificing freedom through regulation, the sins of CO2 will be forgiven. 

As ridiculous as it is in its similarity to common religious beliefs, that is the current global warming mythos believed and promoted by devotees. And skeptics are the heretics that dare question any parts of that mythos.

Like a religion, the heretic scientists that vocally question CO2 fueled global warming alarmism become ostracized. For that reason, the scientists who most vocally question CO2 fueled global warming tend to be older tenured or retired scientists.

Anyone who has looked into the topic of climate change with an attempt at neutral eyes has found that in isolation each side has some credible sounding arguments. But then once one starts comparing those credible sounding arguments, all the arguments start to seem less credible. Overall, whether by logic or logic fallacy, for just about every piece of evidence that the CO2 fueled global warming promoters have, the skeptics have a rebuttal to cast doubt. In turn, for just about every rebuttal the skeptics have to cast doubt, the CO2 fueled global warming promoters have a rebuttal to cast doubt on the rebuttal.

As author/artist Scott Adams has noted, people who are older or experienced in business are naturally skeptical of certain types of claims. That's because certain types of claims are red flags for scams. Younger and less business savvy people (like most journalists) are more easily swayed by scam-type claims.

The promoters of climate change too often present their argument using a number of common scam tactics. Those tactics sway some people but turn off many others.

Five Scam Tactics in Climate Change Science

1) Exponential Growth Curves

A big advertising gimmick in the world of climate change promotion is the "Hockey Stick" chart. The chart is persuasive until one starts questioning the scaling used and the accuracy of the temperature data used to construct the chart. Because the margin of error in the temperature data used could easily be greater than the warming spike the chart shows. The accuracy of global temperature data collected today is very much open to debate, let alone data from the past. On top of that, it could just be an anomaly since correlation doesn't mean causation. For instance, there is a chart that shows that global warming only happens when the United States has a democrat president.

In most walks of life, if you are shown an exponential growth curve, you are being conned. You better check the scaling of the chart and better not expect it to indicate the trend of the future. Exponential growth curves do sometimes correspond with the physical world, but they always eventually start to level out or reverse. For example, a chart showing the user growth of Facebook was an exponential curve that then turned more linear. Facebook user growth will eventually level off and even decline.

Another example of an exponential growth curve is the US Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow over certain time periods has shown exponential growth in share prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (which is a managed and thus changing index of 30 top US publicly owned and traded companies) was at about $50 in 1932. That means the average share price of each stock in the index was $50. In 2019, the Dow is around $25,000. In less than 90 years it has gone up a lot... 500 times to be exact.  That is exponential growth. However, in all that time a lot of people still managed to lose a lot of money on Dow stocks since it fluctuated a lot in that time.

Furthermore, there was a lot of inflation (decreased purchasing power in the US dollar) during that time period. Inflation adjusted, the Dow has gone up from more like $1000 in 1932 to $25,000 today (x25)... still good but not nearly as impressive as the more exponential $50 to $25,000.

Then you also have to factor in the fact that if you owned the thirty stocks that made up the Dow in 1932 without selling them when the index added and subtracted stocks as old companies faltered and new companies arose, you would only own two of the stocks that make up the Dow in 2019, ExxonMobil (Standard Oil) and Procter and Gamble.

So the moral of the story is, don't trust exponential growth charts. They can be right but even then there is probably more to it. Expecting what could just be randomness to predict the future is related to what is known as the hot hand fallacy and leads into the next scam tactic in climate change.

(Update 8/24/2019 Mann's Hockey Stick fails in court.)

2) Prediction Models of Dynamic Nonlinear Systems 

The climate is very complex and composed of many variables; it is a dynamic nonlinear system. Dynamic nonlinear systems cannot be accurately modeled consistently because there are too many variables. Linear systems, such as when the next solar eclipse will occur, can be accurately modeled consistently. Despite the climate system being very nonlinear, scientists still use computer models to try to estimate the effects CO2 emissions will have on the climate. Scientists make many models and present the best performing models as supporting evidence.

Forecasting dynamic nonlinear systems is usually a calling card of a scam. There is hidden order in chaos that can make models of nonlinear systems perform better than random chance. But most attempts at modeling are unable to consistently find that hidden predictable order. Instead, models are cherry-picked and presented that support the agenda of whoever is trying to persuade about the future. One reason the future may be so hard to predict is because it is only partially deterministic. Partially deterministic means there is some real multiple choice, and those choices would be made by a decision maker: the minds perceiving/rendering the universe.

Regardless, prediction models of nonlinear systems can still be made to appear accurate by cherry-picking results. This is embodied in a classic scam often used in stock picking and sports betting services. An example of this scam would be if someone sent out a sports betting pick service advertisement giving away a few free sports betting picks. By varying the picks so that all possibilities were covered, a certain percentage of those who received the ad would notice that all the picks were winners. Of those people, a few would pay to join the service. And if an ad was sent again to those same people minus the ones who subscribed, a certain percentage of people would get two ads both times all winners leading to more subscribers.

3) Appeals to Majority Authority

Another big advertising gimmick in the world of climate change promotion is the 97% of climate scientists agree statistic. We're never shown the sausage production of how that stat was made but it makes it seem like everyone is in agreement. I don't know how many people go into the field of climate science who don't already agree with the CO2 climate change hypothesis. To try to carve a career out in that field while disagreeing with that hypothesis and trying to disprove it is a good way to be without a job.

How much meaning would a statistic have that says that 97% of ACIM teachers agree that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists? Not much since agreeing with that is part of accepting the authority of ACIM. The 3% that don't agree with that wouldn't really be ACIM teachers and so would be shunned by most in the ACIM community as people botching the course. The same dynamic is at play in any thought system, including climate science. Most people who go into a field accept the consensus of that field. To go against the consensus in any field where there is no way to do a full scale experiment to fully test contrary hypotheses and debunk established hypotheses usually means starting your own new field.

The main agreement about climate change is simply the fact that most "climate" scientists do think that accurate enough information about the earth's temperature has been gathered to conclude that earth has been experiencing some warming and that humans have had an impact. But there is a big variety in opinion as to all the details. For instance, some think that even if CO2 is causing warming, natural systems are in place that will kick in and eventually render it a non-problem in terms of climate. One such proposed natural system is Richard Lindzen’s “Iris effect,” which proposes that cloud shapes change with CO2 increases to neutralize the warming effect. Another proposed natural system is abundant nitrogen available for plants in bedrock. Previous estimates of nitrogen only took atmospheric nitrogen into account but vast quantities are in bedrock. More nitrogen means plants have a bigger capacity for filtering CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Quite frankly, if scientists were going around telling everyone that clearing land of trees or urban heat islands were the main thing causing global warming, I'd find that just as potentially believable as attributing it to CO2 from fossil fuels. I'd also find the idea that the earth contains natural feedback mechanisms for controlling CO2 in the atmosphere believable too. After all, the earth has survived a lot of variation though history and so must have some decent natural feedback mechanisms in place.

That's the problem with just trusting others to decide what you should believe as true. There is no guarantee an authority majority is right, especially in a field where full scientific testing isn't possible. People are people and simply choosing a career in science doesn't make people immune to the long list of human cognitive biases or immune to the limits of the scientific method for fully testable hypotheses.

4) Act Now! Urgency

Climate change promoters inject urgency into their sales pitch by predicting global doom if action is not taken immediately. Also, ardent promoters often try to tie every negative weather related event to climate change as a warning to scare people into political action. If you've ever watched an infomercial you know the gimmick. "Order now and get this unprecedentedly low price plus a bunch of bonuses or miss out!" The gimmick works because sometimes urgency really is warranted in life.

I remember when I was a kid and I watched infomercials, I was almost always sold on the product. (The infomercial aspect of climate hysteria works well on kids.) As I got older though, through experience, I learned to be more skeptical. Sometimes a sales pitch isn't an exaggerated lie. But most of the time it is a lie at least to some extent.

Being skeptical has saved me from plenty of scams, but it has also made me miss out on some legitimate things that looked scammy at first.

5) Force Is the Solution 

There is no bigger scam than having a gun stuck in your face and being forced to do something, or else. So anything resembling a gun in the face naturally triggers a sense of being scammed when on the wrong side of the gun. The biggest gun in the world is the coercive monopoly called government. And when science appeals to government guns, things get very scammy because then science devolves into power politics.

The main scientists promoting global warming are often indistinguishable from politicians or political pundits. That's because the main scientists promoting global warming naturally want political power to secure scientific funding and to force solutions to the perceived problem of CO2 emissions. It is delusion to believe that receiving funding for climate science through tax money from people who want to implement a CO2 tax (often called a "carbon tax "even though CO2 is not carbon) is any less filled with conflict of interest than receiving funding from the fossil fuel industry.

An example of the political scammyness surrounding global warming science and government force is the 2015 Grijalva investigation (witch-hunt) and the treatment of Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. Read about the ordeal in Dr. Roger Pielke's own words. The gist of the story is that Pielke's work in science and technology policy research led to him doing a study that concluded that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.” Instead, he found that the perceived increase in costs was a result of more people and more development leading to more and bigger targets for disasters than the past. Pielke was one of seven US academics investigated by US Representative Grijalva (D-AZ) who was the ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Grijalva was looking to find funding from the fossil fuel industry in scientists who came to conclusion sdifferent from what he wanted to believe. Instead, all Grijalva found was that honest science comes to different conclusion than what he wants to believe. Criticism from the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union eventually caused Grijalva to abandon the witch hunt. Pielke is an example of someone who, despite believing that the climate risks justify taking action against CO2 emissions, did science that came to politically undesirable conclusions and was made to pay for it. Pielke has since left the corrupt climate change policy sphere to instead concentrate on sports policy.

Most people, regardless of politics, are anti-pollution. Pollution is a simple property rights issue whereby people must contain their own pollution to their own property without harming the property of others, including the air over their property and the water under it. But if property rights are so disrespected that things like taxation are acceptable in society, it only makes sense that pollution should be difficult to control. That's cognitive dissonance at work. Seeing as CO2 is what we exhale when we breathe and is essential to life, it's a stretch for many people to see it as a legitimate pollutant. But even if CO2 were a legitimate pollutant, almost all people would be happy to do away with it if there was a convenient alternative. But there currently isn't a convenient alternative (?) other than perhaps to some extent Generation III and IV Nuclear. Gen-IV nuclear is safe from meltdown and uses nuclear waste as fuel. But old nuclear gave nuclear a bad name, partially because old nuclear was set-up to make nuclear material for military use rather than just make energy. So old biases against nuclear have kept nuclear as a legit solution mostly off the table... but that could be changing. Gen-IV is what Bill Gates sees as the only current realistic solution.

The lack of a clear convenient alternative is the main source of contention in the global warming issue. Because the lack of a clear solution leads to people turning to government force. Thus, what drives resistance to the theory of CO2 fueled global warming more than anything is the most often proposed solution, which is political. The currently proposed solution is mostly just a global government gun in everyone's face that says stop producing CO2 or pay. That's not a solution, that's a recipe for a scam. And it's doubly a recipe for a scam since not every country or group would concede to that gun in the face without putting up a fight and thus a war. And if you've read my previous piece on the free-range debt-slave plantation you should be able to see how convenient such a solution would be to making the debt-slave scam more globally centralized.

A real solution would be something like a new clean energy source that is as good or better at producing energy relative to cost as fossil fuels. Such a solution would be naturally and voluntarily accepted. Another solution would be some sort of cheap, efficient air scrubber that removes CO2 from the atmosphere.

All energy has to come from somewhere and when that energy is used the result is overall higher entropy. Even the sun's energy production produces entropy that pushes the sun ever closer to its inevitable death. It's easy to miscalculate just how clean any energy source is relative to any other energy. Because all energy use results in entropy. Entropy is often the same as pollution in the realm of energy production. Get rid of CO2 entropy and you better make sure the replacement entropy is less problematic and doesn't still result in CO2 or other worth greenhouse gases like SF6. Prices of things tend to represent the cost of energy input. If you move to an energy source that is 50% less polluting but it costs twice as much, then the amount of energy required to purchase that energy doubles. A doubled price leads to more energy consumption to pay for that extra cost and the net pollution ends up the same. The only difference would perhaps be in the type of pollution/entropy. Energy is tricky stuff and few people seem to appreciate the zero-sum game aspects of energy. Germany's failing attempt to go green on energy has been an example of this. Those who wait for technology and cost to catch up before going green will likely be big relative winners. A whole lot of polluting energy can be spent trying to go green in the wrong way.

Forgiving Believers, Non-Believers, and Skeptics

There are more scam aspects to the way climate change is presented, such as group-think bullying like name calling skeptics science-deniers, but those five aspects will suffice.

I can totally empathize with people who believe that human produced CO2 is a problem for the climate and that CO2 emissions should be stopped. Because if true, warming could be quite problematic if no action is taken. I'd be impressed if all those worried people were actively inventing new energy sources instead of pursuing political agendas. But very few are, which tells me a lot.

I can also totally empathize with climate change non-believers and skeptics. Because first off, the lack of the ability to do true reproducible full scale experiments with controls to test the human caused climate change hypothesis means the best evidence is merely what we can observe in real-time or model on computers. And without true duplicate earths to use as controls, we can easily come to inaccurate conclusion about what we think we are observing. Plus, anyone who has ever tried to measure the temperature of the air knows that temperature inaccuracies of accurate thermometers always skew higher rather than lower. There are many ways to get inaccurately high readings, such as direct sun exposure, surrounding colors and substances that absorb and reflect heat, and surrounding things that produce heat like AC compressors and vehicles. Then, on top of that, the general presentation for action against CO2 comes off as very scammy to scam savvy people. That doesn't mean the overall idea isn't perhaps correct. But since it is so often presented so much like a scam, many people, myself included, can't help but be skeptical.

It also doesn't help that in America post 3/22/2019 a lot of the same people that spent years breathlessly telling everyone Trump was a Russian puppet are the same ones telling everyone we should believe them about climate change. Some are even saying that we shouldn't believe the authoritative consensus that Russiagate was false. Okay, how about the authoritative climate consensus? I don't know about you but I pay attention to people who consistently get things right not wrong. I'm always looking for truth rather than just what I want to believe. Be careful about what you cry wolf over if you want people to believe you.

Regardless of the science, it's really just psychology that separates the climate change believers from the non-believers. And the psychology for most people is shaped by politics (tribalism). Fittingly, since I'm a political atheist, I don't believe or disbelieve the CO2 climate change theory one way or the other. I see no benefit in tying my ego to one side or the other. I'm not a climate scientist, not a politician, and am not working on new energy technology. So there is no point in me pretending to know anything one way or the other about climate change. To me, climate change science reveals more about the foibles of human thinking than it does the working of earth's climate

Once someone takes a stance one way or the other on the issue of global warming, confirmation bias sets in. Confirmation bias helps a person feel vindicated. A sense of vindication is important because being right allows a person to project guilt on those who are seemingly wrong. Once confirmation bias sets in, people see what they want to believe. So a drought, a hurricane, tidal flooding, or a chunk of melting ice becomes construed in the mind of a warmist as evidence for global warming. Conversely, a cold snap, newly frozen ice, or a quiet hurricane season becomes construed in the mind of a non-believer as evidence for lack of global warming. And someone looking for climate change instead of just global warming can see evidence for changing climate whenever anything is above or below average, which is most of the time since averages are generally the average of extremes one way or the other.

My personal prediction and hope is that real solutions, such as in the form of new, better, cheaper energy sources will come to market steadily enough to stop and even reverse human produced CO2 regardless of how potentially dangerous it is to climate. Conversely, my fear is that people will become so hysterical about CO2 that solutions will be implemented that will impoverish people, enslave people, facilitate centralized global tyranny, miscalculate and make the situation worse, or will over-adjust climate in the opposite direction and usher in destructive cooling.

If you really believe in catastrophic CO2 fueled global warming, forgive it by looking for a real solution, not by projecting guilt on those who don't share in your fears or forceful solutions. You're kind of being a cold tyrant if you can't empathize with people who don't trust solutions that just involve a gun in people's faces. A real solution won't require force and therefore won't require political action. Therefore, you won't have to worry about those who don't share your fears if you have a legit solution. A problem without a legit solution is just a recipe for guilt projection. And if you don't want to look for a real solution, just forgive yourself by admitting that you really don't care about global warming, you just like guilt projection lol.

Conversely, if you don't believe in catastrophic CO2 fueled global warming, forgive it by not projecting guilt on those who believe it, who are fearful, who think force is a solution, who hate fossil fuels despite using them, or who think they are saving humanity by simply holding onto a belief. And just in case your disbelief is incorrect, embrace any legitimate solutions proposed; you can still resist false solutions just not legitimate solutions. And if your disbelief in catastrophic CO2 fueled global warming is because you own an oil well or something, forgive by not resisting a legitimate replacement for the CO2 producing energy from which you profit.

It's all about being honest and getting out of the guilt projection trap. You can sit there and pretend to forgive all you want, but often you won't forgive until you're willing to sit down and rewrite the story in your mind that you wrote to justify your guilt projection.

Here's what the satellite temperature data show in terms of warming since measurements started in 1979 as well as global cyclone impact statistics since the satellite era started.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Turn off, tune out, drop out

For about two years I've been writing articles here about forgiving the news. At this point though, I've lost interest. Forgiving the news, as with most forgiving, revolves around the first law of chaos.

My favorite part of ACIM is the first law of chaos: the truth is different for everyone. I've long wondered why it is that two people rarely see eye to eye on any more than a few narrow subjects. And for the last few years I have been intensely studying the subject of human subjectivity and irrationality. I initially thought it might make a good subject for a book. But instead, my studies have helped make me pretty much lose interest in writing books. People aren't rational. Therefore, writing a book that puts forth a rational argument is not too useful. It turns out that rational arguments aren't very persuasive. Rational arguments are fine for firing up a choir. But to those outside the choir the arguments are irrational.

Few things are as straight forward and universally rational as simple math like 3-2=1. Most everything else is too complex for the human mind. It takes serious training to maintain any semblance of consistent rationality. And even with that training, irrationality still prevails. Just look at science as an example. Science is an enterprise designed to side-step human irrationality. But even scientists can't consistently live up to the standards of science.

As Scott Adams notes, "Smart, well-informed people disagree on nearly all major issues. So being smart and well-informed doesn’t help you grasp reality as much as you would hope. If it did, all of the smart, well-informed people would agree. They don’t. Humans decide first, then rationalize their irrational choices with cherry-picked data. You see this all the time with the people who disagree with your brilliance. Just remember that they see the same irrationality in you that you see in them."

The name of the game in human society is persuasion, not reason and evidence. So, the path to success in human society is not really truth, it is persuasion. Facts matter in terms of outcomes, but not in terms of persuasion. People are always out looking to cherry-pick data to rationalize their irrational choices. So it is bad business to produce data unless there are large groups of people looking for it to rationalize their irrational choices. To do otherwise is just a form of stubborn martyrdom.

As an example, news is ideally supposed to be about facts. But news is almost always warped by those who present the news to attract eyeballs and ears and to steer opinion. Therefore, news is a tool for persuasion. News is used to brainwash people into accepting certain opinions and positions as their own with cherry-picked data. News is an effective mode of persuasion because it uses the guise of reporting facts to persuade.

Science also uses the guise of dealing with facts to persuade. Even when facts are indeed facts, their meaning is usually open to multiple interpretations. And those interpretations are avenues of persuasion. Read this article if you don't believe me, Beware The Man Of One Study.

Anyway, I'm tired of the go-nowhere ideological warzone. Results/outcomes are all that matter. Everything else is just noise. That's why I'm turning off, tuning out, and dropping out. Going forward, I will be exploring more productive avenues. I will still maintain some forgiving the news posts on general topics that remain points of contention, but I'm going to skip fleeting events and issues.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Forgiving Democratic Slavery

November 6, 2018 is "government force rearrangement day" (election day) on the USSA plantation (earth is currently divided into 195 plantations). And so I decided to write a post about forgiving democratic slavery.

Despite the constant stream of guilt trips trying to bully me to vote, including from "spiritual teachers claiming to be listening to the Holy Spirit," I don't vote. Not because "it's pointless," or "rigged," or because "I don't care," but because voting is democratic slavery; it's a culturally conditioned ruse. Voting is an attempt at forcefully enslaving my neighbor to my own preferences, or often more accurately the preferences of my preferred masters (of which I personally prefer none). No one has that right, even if people imagine they do thanks to conditioning. The majority cannot give consent on behalf of an individual; doing so is a recipe for atrocity. We should strive for all human interaction to be voluntary, not forced. Until humans are ready to accept that simple rule (which most already do most of the time in day-to-day life but not when it comes to government/authority), they'll continue just fighting over force instead of ending it.

Democracy preserves status-quo government force; it's a pendulum that evens out so that the force a given individual wants and supports also comes with force he or she doesn't want. The acceptable midpoint of the pendulum swing varies by society and over time. Too much disequilibrium leads to splitting or forceful preservation of unification. Then the go-nowhere game of force just repeats.

I, of course, have no problem with government or anyone else acting as a defensive force against initiators of force. But since government's defensive force is predicated on illegitimate offensive force, I still don't approve of it. If you are forced to pay for cops or military, then their existence depends on initiation of force. On top of that, being forced to pay for something eliminates the feedback of voluntary transactions. Without people voluntarily paying for a good or service, feedback on pricing and quality disappears. So, for instance, when people are forced to pay for cops, people never really know what cops would be like if people paid for them voluntarily. We'd likely find that most people would only be willing to pay for cops under certain conditions and only if they actually prevented the initiation of force and not just pretend to try to track down people after the fact. All that kind of stuff is part of what is known as "the economic (or socialist) calculation problem." But very few people have much of a clue about economics, including people college educated in economics, since real economics debunks the force-dependent progressive agendas of the education system. But a mind able to grasp economics is alone enough to see through democratic slavery, even without factoring in the immorality and faulty ethics of government force.

Overall, voting reflects a random sampling of the preferences of statists. A random sampling of statists (supporters of government force) is not going to correspond with what I want. I want everyone to have what they want as long as what they want doesn't require initiating force and is thus voluntary. Therefore, what I want cannot be achieved through voting (at least not normal voting). Blue force, red force, green force, pink force...different denominations of the church of coercive monopoly have no appeal when you only support no initiation of force.

Just because most people don't have the creativity to imagine a world without attempted monopolies on the initiation of force in society (governments), that doesn't slow me down. I don't have to wait for other people's permission to be free and neither do you if you want. I personally arrange my life around being as free as possible... subject to as little government force as possible... and as free from supporting government force as possible. In that sense, I'm a kind of John Galt (for those who know who is John Galt). I'm on strike against the force perpetuators and perpetrators, making me poison for both the left and right lol. If it isn't voluntary, I won't support it. And that's one way I forgive that which I don't support. I don't get involved.

All forgiveness is really self forgiveness; the only thing to forgive is one's own projections of one's own guilt. Supporting force would make me feel consciously guilty, let alone unconsciously. So, I skip that whole landmine of guilt by not participating in that which is doomed to always fail: force.

The unconscious belief that we initiated force on God (oneness) to make our own universe, and in turn destroyed heaven (oneness), is the foundation of guilt. When you advocate government force, you inevitably tap into that unconscious guilt. And you won't forgive yourself for seemingly using force on God until you stop doubling down on force. That's why politics is such a mess of incessant guilt projection. The people who participate and believe in politics are doubling down on force instead of forgiving it. Government is an attempt at a man-made god of force: an idiot god.

Life in this dualistic universe is messy. You can't even breathe or take a walk without accidentally murdering things. Yet, on the level of human interaction we can realistically strive for a higher ideal than force. We are all seemingly here in this universe because we wanted to split off from our whole self and be different. The advantage to being different is that it allows one to project one's own unconscious guilt onto seemingly different others. Sometimes we see others as having something we are missing and want while other times we see others as having something we have but don't want and thus want to pawn off on another. Either way, when we fail to look at another human as a mirror and instead see another human as external, we get caught up in the ego trap of trying to change others (the world) instead of ourselves. That's the appeal of politics and the appeal of control of the force of government.

I'm not a fan of one size fits 100 people, let alone one size fits 320 million people. In this universe of special relationships, you want decentralization not fake oneness. Fake oneness is achieved by force and never lasts. Government is a tool for fake oneness and so countries are examples of fake oneness. Conversely, voluntary interaction is the closest thing to oneness in human society even though it is decentralized. For instance, even though a lot of people ignorantly project a lot of guilt on capitalism, it is actually a beautiful thing when two or more people come together, overcoming the first law of chaos, in a win-win voluntary transaction that satisfies the subjective preferences of each party. No martyrdom or force required, just win-win, like oneness. That doesn't mean that people don't still harbor guilt in voluntary transactions. For instance, you may agree to pay five dollars for something but you would have rather paid two. You paid five because you voluntarily complied with the wishes of another to close the deal and come together in a net win-win. It's still a far cry from heaven, but a reflection of unification nonetheless. Contrast that with passing a government law that steals money from people by the force of taxation to give it to other people and you start to see the difference between voluntary and forced interaction.

Force is a hotbed for projection and win-lose scenarios. And force inevitably leads to more force. For instance, the force that makes the welfare state and public property possible also makes the force of immigration control necessary. No need for immigration control if there is no public property to squat on uninvited, no free taxpayer funded stuff to attract moochers, and no government force to fight over for control (voting). The political right would love immigrants if they tended to vote right. Instead, they mostly vote left. Hence, the left loves leftist immigrants since they can help in their lust for controlling the coercive monopoly called government. Petty self interest in the form of selective compassion.

Just think, what if they had a war and no one showed up? There wouldn't be a war. Similarly, what if they had an election and no one showed up? That would mean people chose voluntary interaction instead of government force: freedom instead of masters. I don't see that happening anytime soon; too many forgiveness lessons yet to go collectively. You'd first likely see people become more decentralized and then minarchistic (minimal government) before they gave up on government force altogether. And quite frankly, I'd be perfectly satisfied with a society able to maintain minarchism. Nonetheless, going beyond government/force is bound to happen somewhere eventually, because it really isn't that radical...especially with the help of current technology. It would just require some societal reprogramming.

Anyway, I choose forgiveness and innocence. I can't stop people from supporting democratic slavery other than voluntarily. And since I choose forgiveness, people can sling all the guilt they want at me for refusing to participate in democratic slavery, but I'm not going to budge. Guilt trips only work on those who don't forgive. And people can hurl all the derogatory terms (like Nazi or Commie) they want on people who oppose their own preferred types of government force in favor of other kinds of force, but I'm still going to forgive and see the ultimate innocence in every miseducated supporter of force. And I'm going to continue to preserve my own innocence on the conscious level, let alone unconscious, by keeping my hands as clean of government force as I can.

If you want to better understand why I call voting democratic slavery, check this out:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Forgiving Cognitive Dissonance, Hysteria, and Trump

Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) has become a widespread mental health issue. TDS is the kind of thing you only notice if you aren't suffering from the syndrome yourself. What prompted me to write this post was some TDS displayed in the Course in Miracles community. I must speak up when I see people mixing ACIM with alienating about 63 million Americans lol and potentially feeding unforgiveness in about 67 million.

Although my sentiment on this matter is reflected in the above meme that I made to accompany this blog post, I'm going to take a stab at it anyway and play my role in the "forgiveness script." Since I'm a political atheist with no discernible ego attachment to partisan politics, I have the rare qualification of being able to look at politics much more objectively than most people. And my actions match my words. I've never voted and hope I never do. What I want is just about always so far from even an option that it's beneath my dignity to vote. Given the quality of voting options, if it ever reached the point where I felt like I should vote, I'd forget about voting and start packing. Because if things ever get that close to disaster, I'm not sticking around to see which way the pendulum swings.

I don't know what all goes on in people's personal lives that needs forgiving but I do know that most people have a lot of forgiveness work to do when it comes to politics. And that includes most A Course in Miracles people, both students and teachers. For example, most of the stuff I've seen from the course community on forgiving Trump has been so lame lol; it's been so tainted by ego commitment to partisanship that to any somewhat objective observer (above the political battlefield) the lack of self-awareness has often been stunning.

In my main books, The Universe Is a Dream and The Universe Is Virtual, I made it a point not to mention politics other than as a brief example of duality. And in the other books I've written I've only talked about politics to disarm politics and reveal the dualistic nonsense at the core of politics and government in general. Me not getting involved in partisan politics is easy since I'm a political atheist. Not only do I not believe in the different sides in politics, I don't accept the thing the sides are always fighting over: government force.

If you are a fan of my stuff and A Course in Miracles, you probably agree that the universe is a vast hallucination. Another way to put it is that the entire universe is nothing but a mass hysteria. (I am aware that some people project guilt on the word hysteria due to its etymology, but I trust that if you are reading this you are sane enough to not care since the normal definition doesn't have anything to do with the etymology.) A mass hysteria is a collective illusion of a threat, whether real or imaginary, spread through a population in society as a result of rumors and fear (memory acknowledgment). One famous mass hysteria was the Salem witch trials. But the universe is the most famous mass hysteria. It's just that few people have recognized the universe as the mass hysteria it is yet.

The rumor that oneness was destroyed and God was out to get us was projected outward as the hallucination we currently call the universe. The universe is the ultimate mass hysteria. The tricky thing about mass hysterias is that if you are in one and infected by one you don't realize it. People literally hallucinate whatever it takes to maintain the hysteria, which means hallucinating evidence for the hysteria. The whole universe is an hallucination set up to present a constant stream of false evidence to maintain the hallucination. Naturally (or technically unnaturally), since the universe is fractal (holographic), mass hysterias manifest at all levels and scales of the larger hysteria.

The seed of all scales of hysteria is the same: cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and thoughts. This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, or thoughts to reduce the discomfort and restore balance. Cognitive dissonance is the nature of dualistic thinking. A cognitive dissonance example is, God is love and God made the universe. Most ACIM people are well aware of the variety of religious craziness that has been invented to rationalize contradictions like that one. Religion is a treasure trove of cognitive dissonance and so is politics. That's why religion and politics are pretty much the two most dangerous subjects to talk about lol. Because when discussing such topics outside the bubble of those who share the same basic delusions, such discussions start exposing cognitive dissonance. In other words, egos become threatened.

Many are probably aware of Aesop's fable The Fox and the Grapes. That fable is about cognitive dissonance.

Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked "Oh, you aren't even ripe yet! I don't need any sour grapes." People who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves.

In that story, it is possible the grapes really were sour. And if the fox had got one grape and found it was sour then it would have been justifiable to leave the other grapes. But making up a story to dismiss the grapes as sour is cognitive dissonance at work. The fox wanted the grapes but the reality was that the fox could not get them. This is how the ego preserves itself. The ego hallucinates justifications to preserve the ego. For instance, treating oneness as unobtainable leads to all kinds of sour grapes dismissals of God.

The ego can't exist without cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance requires hallucinating a justification to maintain inner conflict. Ego is the essence of inner conflict. Therefore, ego preservation requires hallucinating a reality that does not exist. That's what this universe is after all. And that's also why no two people see the world the same. That's the first law of chaos, the truth is different for everyone. For us to all recognize that we are all the same we have to see the world objectively as it really is: illusory. To do that requires true forgiveness. Forgiveness is the ego eradicator because it is the cognitive dissonance eradicator.

Cognitive dissonance leads to confirmation bias and projection. Confirmation bias and projection are major tells for cognitive dissonance and general hysteria. If you look at A Course in Miracles with the concept of cognitive dissonance in mind, you will see how much of the course is about teaching people how to remedy cognitive dissonance. Although the word dissonance isn't in the course, look for words like contradiction, contrary, and contrast in the course sometime, they're almost everywhere.

"If Heaven exists there must be hell as well, for contradiction is the way we make what we perceive, and what we think is real." (W.138.1.3)

Now let me pause for a moment and ask you a question before I continue. Are you with me so far on this cognitive dissonance idea and how it relates to hysteria? If you are, pay close attention to what happens next in your mind. Because I know a good percentage of those who read this will have a lot of resistance and want to defend against what I say next as full ego preservation mode kicks in lol.

Currently, about half the United States and even people in other parts of the world are in a mass hysteria. This particular mass hysteria started with the 2016 United States presidential election cycle. But the mass hysteria didn't go into full force until November 8th of 2016.

For those who have been caught up in the current mass hysteria, I've consistently recommended following Dilbert comic creator Scott Adams to help forgive the hysteria away. Even though Adams doesn't seem to consciously realize it, he's helping teach people how to forgive in a round-about secular way. And so, rather than reinvent the wheel, I'm going to borrow some work Scott Adams already did and present it here in italics to progress my point.

On November 8th of 2016, a trigger event for cognitive dissonance occurred. Half the country learned that everything they believed to be both true and obvious turned out to be wrong. The people who thought Trump had no chance of winning were under the impression they were smart people who understood their country, and politics, and how things work in general. When Trump won, they learned they were wrong. They were so very wrong that they reflexively (because this is how all minds work) rewrote the scripts they were seeing in their minds until it all made sense again. The wrong-about-everything crowd decided that the only way their world made sense, with their EGOS intact, is that either the Russians helped Trump win or there are far more racists in the country than they imagined, and he is their king. Those were the seeds of the two mass hysterias we witness today: Russia and racists.

Trump supporters experienced no trigger event for cognitive dissonance when Trump won. Their worldview was confirmed by observed events. 

Nonetheless, a lot of the same people who didn't have cognitive dissonance when Trump was elected did have some when Obama was elected. In 2008, there was just enough evidence to make it seem like a Muslim Kenyan socialist was somehow elected. Trump himself even played a big role in trying to prove the Kenyan part. Remember when the Obama birth certificate was produced? The left said, "see, proof!" But the right said, "Photoshop forgery!" (Incidentally, Trump pulled the same birth certificate stunt on Ted Cruz during the 2016 primaries. That's an important thing to note for those who want to pretend that all attacks on Obama were race related instead of politics as usual.)

All sides in politics have their own hysterias. Politics is hysteria. The self-blindness required to get caught up in partisan politics to begin with requires a strong will for ego preservation. So, don't think that just because I'm picking on the left about the current hysteria that I am not well aware of plenty of hysteria from the right. These days hysteria can spread fast, far, and wide thanks to social media. But hysteria can also be squashed quicker than ever thanks to social media. Nonetheless, squashing the current left-wing hysteria has been nearly impossible since the mainstream media and the government has been fueling it to make it extra pervasive.

Those who are in the current mass hysteria have been constantly looking for evidence to support the two main defenses keeping the hysteria going: Russia and racists. Looking for evidence to tame cognitive dissonance is a recipe for confirmation bias. That's why ratings are up for news and shows that are feeding the mass hysteria with confirmation bias. Those in the hysteria are trying to preserve their egos after all. They'd rather be right than happy.

And conveniently for the ego, there has been enough evidence to feed plenty of confirmation bias. There is just enough Russia stuff to keep the Russia hysteria from dying out. And there is just enough racism around to keep the racism hysteria from dying out.

For example, one such piece of evidence to fuel the racism hysteria occurred over the summer in Charlottesville, Virginia. A handful of KKK and Nazi types from around the country got together with some mostly normal people who just like old decorations. The national media managed to capture great images showing the KKK and Nazi types carrying torches. The next day, opposing forces showed up. Some minor fighting ensued. Then after one person decided to snap and a person got killed, that was it.

Well, that was it until Trump bestowed a great gift from the ego gods by making a politically imprecise statement condemning both sides in the fighting. Those in the hysteria bubble immediately jumped on that statement as proof-positive Trump is a damned racist. Trump later clarified by condemning the racists, but to those in the hysteria it was meaningless words. This incident has become known as the "fine people" hoax. Yet, despite being a hoax, those who want to believe it still haven't gotten the memo.


The tricky part with the Charlottesville incident is that any interpretation of what happened could be confirmation bias. But ask yourself which one of these versions sounds less crazy:

1. A sitting president, who is a branding expert, thought it would be a good idea to go easy on murderous Nazis as a way to improve his popularity.
2. The country elected a racist leader who is winking (dog whistling) to the KKK and White Supremacists that they have a free pass to start a race war now. (Note that if you claim to be able to hear dog whistles you must be a dog yourself or are simply hallucinating.)
3. A mentally unstable racist clown with conman skills (mostly just lying) who is only filthy rich because he started out rich eviscerated the Republican primary field and won the presidency. He keeps doing crazy, impulsive racist stuff. But for some reason, the economy is going well, jobs are looking good, North Korea blinked, ISIS is on the ropes, and the Supreme Court got a qualified judge. It was mostly luck.
4. The guy who didn’t offer to be your moral leader didn’t offer any moral leadership, just law and order, applied equally. His critics cleverly and predictably framed it as being soft on Nazis.

I know what sounds most reasonable to me.

And just like with racism, there has been just enough evidence to keep the Russia hysteria alive too. Just in the last few weeks there have been major news blunders caused by people stuck in the Russia hysteria hallucinating evidence to support their guilt projection fantasies. There was the Brian Ross ABC fail. And the CNN "September 4" rather than 14 hallucination. After no good evidence of Russian collusion with Trump is found, it won't necessarily stop people who fell for the hysteria from doubling down on new theories on why they were still right. (Update: as off 3/22/2019 when Mueller released the report with no indictments, Russiagate was revealed as the deluded hysteria I saw it as from day one.)

One sign of a good mass hysteria is that it sounds bonkers to anyone who is not experiencing it. Imagine your neighbor telling you he thinks the other neighbor is a witch. Or imagine someone saying the local daycare provider is a satanic temple in disguise. Or imagine someone telling you tulip bulbs are more valuable than gold. Crazy stuff.

Compare that to the idea that our president is a Russian puppet. Or that the country accidentally elected a racist who thinks the KKK and Nazis are “fine people.” Or that the country "purposefully" elected a racist who thinks the KKK and Nazis are “fine people.” Crazy stuff.

If you think those examples don’t sound crazy — regardless of the reality — you are probably inside the mass hysteria bubble.

In recent history, I have made it a point to those close enough to listen that I won't waste my time discussing/debating with anyone who resorts to ad hominem attacks. Ad hominem attack is a fancy way of saying attacking the person instead of the person's arguments and position. The simplest and most common form of ad hominem is name calling. Legitimate debate is a logic game not a guilt projection game. Whenever anyone reverts to ad hominem with me I either end it right there without another word or explicitly say, "Ad hominem attack, you're disqualified, I win, the end!" Ad hominem is a symptom of cognitive dissonance, because it is really just plain old guilt projection. Guilt projection is a great persuasion technique but not a truth finding technique. And so, guilt projection is great for maintaining cognitive dissonance, hysteria, and ego.

When people have actual reasons for disagreeing with you, they offer those reasons without hesitation. Strangers on social media will cheerfully check your facts, your logic, and your assumptions. But when you start seeing ad hominem attacks that offer no reasons at all, that might be a sign that people in the mass hysteria bubble don’t understand what is wrong with your point of view except that it sounds more sensible than their own.

Now even though it's as clear as day to me that the left has been in a mass hysteria for over a year now, that doesn't mean there couldn't be something somewhat interesting that comes up with the Russia stuff (the stuff so far has been quite lame, just trumped up technicalities and set-ups). And that also doesn't mean that there aren't some racist people in the United States. But the passion and numbers of racists are quite low. And even though there is the persistent delusion that only whites can be racist, there is racism in all races. Other than Russia and racists, sure Trump might do something notably dumb, but as long as Trump is dropping attention getting tweets instead of things like attention getting bombs, I'm not too worried.

Incidentally, can you imagine how ridiculous it would all be if we could see how many of the people still ranting about things like slavery, which occurred over 150 years ago, were the very people who owned slaves and supported slavery in previous lives? The hypocrisy of partisan politics is ridiculous enough. Add past life hypocrisy and we'd clearly see what nonsense it all is. It really is the loony bin.

The main truth of why Trump was elected president is quite simple to those outside of the hysterias. The people on the receiving end of years of lefty guilt projection fantasies, being called racist, sexist, homophobe, backwards, dumb, and so on just for having different opinions than the left, wanted to find as big of a middle finger as they could find to stick up to the left. Trump is that middle finger and he basically even brands himself as such by constantly pushing the buttons of his opponents. That's the main reason Trump was elected. He's a big middle finger not only to the left but also the republican establishment. If you ever wondered what the alt-right really is, it's nothing more than a giant middle finger to the establishment. People in the hysterias keep on trying to define alt-right as something organized and sinister, but other than a middle finger, it has no coherent philosophy or agenda.

If the best thing the left has to win people over is to call them things like racists and sexists for not being on their team, then the middle finger won't end with Trump. Similarly, if the best thing the republican establishment has to win people over is to simply act as a big government weak opposition to the left (as it has for decades), then the middle finger won't end with Trump.

Without Trump being the perfect middle finger and without the media trashing Ben Carson over some inaccuracies in his book, Ben Carson could have been president today. And he could have won both the popular vote and electoral vote. That would have been two black presidents in a row and the republicans would have claimed victory as having the even blacker president lol. And it would have been hilarious watching the republicans constantly accusing democrats of being racist for criticizing Carson just as the democrats did to those who criticized Obama. Republicans love black people who share their culture and values. That's because few people are really racist but everyone is a culturist. Most perceived racism is simply cultural preferences that overlap with race. For instance, I'm a culturist in the sense that I have a preference for people who like ACIM and who speak the same language as me, English. That has nothing to do with racism although it's possible it could sometimes overlap with race. In that sense, if and when America starts to break apart, although it will seem to have some racial separation element, it will have more to do with ideological cultural separation.

Now let's take another pause. How are you doing? If you've stuck with me this far without having a total mental breakdown to preserve your political ego, there might be hope for you lol. The more persuasive I've been so far, the more crazy I've driven those suffering from acute cognitive dissonance.

Politics is a bunch of people fighting over control of the force of government so they can forcefully impose their subjective preferences on everyone else. In that sense, politics is the cognitive dissonance of force is bad but force is good when me and my team controls the force.

It is my current theory that there is a kind of political enlightenment that is inevitable for anyone who actually forgives politics. And for those who do forgive politics, their politics simply become the Golden Rule. That's why I decided long ago to become a Voluntaryist. Voluntaryism is the closest political stance to the Golden Rule that I have found. Like anything, you can find people in cognitive dissonance trying to trash voluntaryism and even the Golden Rule, but that's actually a good sign when looking for truth. You can find people in cognitive dissonance trying to trash ACIM too. The more persuasive something is the stronger the reaction from those in cognitive dissonance. Is voluntaryism idealistic? Sure, but without an ideal there's little hope to getting anywhere near it.

Voluntaryism is the belief that we should strive for all human interaction to be voluntary, never forced (non-aggression against non-aggressors). In other words, my political views are very simple: the Golden Rule, which ACIM itself says is the rule for appropriate behavior. The Golden Rule is self-enforcing because to violate it is to sow the seeds for one's own demise. If people were sane enough to adopt the Golden Rule as the supreme law of human life on the level of form, there would be no politics because government wouldn't even exist. But obviously, right now the simple Golden Rule world is not compatible with the ego script. That world would require mass political enlightenment. And so, I'm not concerned about changing any forms if the minds aren't ready.

When it comes to people's political ideas, I always just quickly run them through a simple formula. The formula asks:

Does this idea require using force and if so does that force come in the form of the initiation of force or the reaction to force? 

If the idea requires the initiation of force, I'm against it. If the idea requires the reaction to force (including threats of force), I might accept it. And if the idea requires no force, then I'm for it.

If an idea requires no force, it doesn't require government. If an idea requires only the reaction to force, then it may or may not require government.

To run the formula properly, you have to be honest enough to recognize the initiation of force. For instance, a lot of people would have a hard time accepting that taxation is a form of the initiation of force. But it clearly is if you want to stay out of political cognitive dissonance. Taxation is just a fancy form of theft. Now, even though ideally people would be sane enough to recognize that fact, I'd still be pleased if people at least sought more peaceful ways of organizing such theft. For example, a much more peaceful, efficient, and noninvasive way for the government to fund itself would be to spend new money into the system debt free (no interest) based on a percentage of GDP that would not be very inflationary. That still would not be perfect but it would be much less forceful than the current system. I have a pretty strong karmic link with the man who first popularized a variation of that idea, Jacob Coxey. Coxey was the inspiration for Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. And my great grandfather beat Coxey in a Mayor election in 1933.

Another form of force is pollution. Over the years, humans got into the bad habit of socializing pollution. But pollution is a simple property rights issue whereby people must contain their own pollution to their own property without harming the property of others, including the air over their property and the water under it. But if property rights are so disrespected that taxation is acceptable in society, it only makes sense that pollution would be difficult to control. That's cognitive dissonance at work.

In general, I can find some things advocated by the democrats and republicans that compute with my formula in a positive way. But the little differences in belief in force are nothing compared to the big similarities of accepting the initiation of force. And so, without being identified with either side, I'm able too see the equal, petty, cognitive-dissonance-fueled self-interests of both sides. Look at immigration as a prime example. The left wants mass immigration because immigrants tend to vote left (big government). On the other hand, the right only wants carefully vetted immigrants because those immigrants are more likely to vote right (smaller government). That's also why democrats want to make it so people can vote without identification, but republicans don't. In both cases, there is no saintly altruism or evil racist agenda, just the petty self-interest of the parties wanting votes.

Overall, a subject like immigration is tricky because there are many pros and cons not just for the countries receiving immigrants but for the countries losing people. It's not beneficial for other countries if America is a brain drain for them or a tax payer drain. Just as it isn't beneficial for America if it lets people take advantage of it, whether through welfare or something like the Mariel boatlift of 1980. With the Mariel boatlift, Castro took advantage of America being soft; he emptied Cuban prisons and mental institutes and cleared the streets of bums and prostitutes by sending them into South Florida. The problems in South Florida that resulted in the 1980s from that event inspired things like Miami Vice and the movie Scarface (sick movie lol).

When I think about a complex subject like immigration, I have an easy time concluding that I have no clue what is best for everyone on the level of form. And any semi-sane, honest person would admit the same. I have a hard enough time figuring out what is best for myself on the level of form, let alone everyone lol. There have been many times in my life when I thought I was helping someone but the results were not helpful and times when I thought I might be being too much of a jerk but the results proved helpful. Don't be deceived by form!

America is a melting pot and the melting pot works as long as the people that come in assimilate. The uncomfortable truth about America is that discrimination is a key part of what has made it work. It's very simple, whoever was the last off the boat was discriminated against. That encouraged each group to speak English to get a job and blend in. But in recent history, even cultural discrimination has become unacceptable and that has predictably grown the divide in America, not closed it. It may not be pretty or politically palatable but discriminate to assimilate works for social cohesion. It's assimilate or separate. When in Rome...

Common language is the most important thing in any society and even accents cause problems. For that reason, the European Union is vulnerable to disunion for as long as it is without common language. Technology may be able to bridge the language gap, but we''ll see. In America, people talk about being part different ethnicities. For instance, my body is mostly Transylvanian Hungarian, German, French, English, Irish, Greek, Italian. You don't quite get people talking about that kind of multi-ethnic lineage in Europe due to the different languages.

Common government preference is also important. The two main choices when it comes to government is smaller or bigger rather than right or left since right and left can both be pro big government like they are currently. The bigger the government the more divide between right and left because the more force there is available to fight over.

If finding political beliefs that don't lead to cognitive dissonance sounds good to you, then you are probably well on your way to forgiving politics. If not, your commitment to cognitive dissonance will keep you stuck. Politics really is complex stuff. Figuring out the results of actions forced upon large groups of people is essentially impossible. Such things make for very complex nonlinear systems. There are just way too many variables. People almost always disagree and argue about nonlinear systems but agree about linear systems. In nonlinear systems, the best guesses are probabilistic rather than deterministic. In linear systems, there is no guessing needed. It's like the difference between calculating the next solar eclipse versus calculating the effects of CO2 on the atmosphere. One is straight forward, the other is a lot of guessing.

Cognitive dissonance feeds on trying to preserve the ego. And understanding cognitive dissonance is very helpful in learning how to forgive more easily. A thing I've started to promote after years of my own experience with forgiveness is something I've been calling "Kindergarten Forgiveness." I've found over the years that you can pretend to forgive all you want but with most things the first step to success is a willingness to change the story you told yourself to justify your unforgiveness. In other words, you have to be willing to stop preserving your ego with cognitive dissonance. It's okay to admit you don't really know about any given thing and thus it is okay to be neutral about it. If you aren't willing to do that you probably aren't willing to forgive. It is very simple and it doesn't even require understanding any advanced metaphysics. All the abstract talk about sin not being real because it is all just a dream is next to worthless if you aren't even willing to admit that any specific story you told yourself to justify unforgiveness might be a deluded dream that needs some reworking. Because I assure you that any story you hold in your mind to justify guilt is a faulty story. And that is very evident when it comes to politics.

I've found it very fascinating over the last few years how Trump has been able to drive so many people into full ego-preservation-mode while they simultaneously condemn Trump's ego. To talk about forgiving Trump in any authentic way you have to actually do so. Trump is the supreme ego lol. Donald Trump's minister when he was a kid was Norman Vincent Peale. Peale was best known for the power of positive thinking and was one of the most successful self-help authors in American history. Trump's ego was built on positive thinking. The left denigrates Trump's positive thinking by labeling it with pessimistic terms like malignant narcissism. But positive thinking is Trump's super power. Trump is a master at thinking to success; that's why he exaggerates to the extent of lying so much. Trump rains optimism on himself and those he sees as his friends. Trump rains pessimism on those he sees as his enemies. Not only is his ego huge, but his ego has huge impacts on the egos of others because his special love is extra special and his special hate is extra special.

There are two U.S. presidents with which I have a known karmic link. One is William McKinley and the other is Trump. When I was in middle school I had a teacher for all three years named Roy. I call him Roy in my mind to this day instead of his formal teacher name because of an incident I instigated one day when a friend of mine said to him "Hello Roy." The angry reaction from Roy to my friend for calling him by his first name at school was so ridiculous that I can't help but only call him Roy to this day lol. Roy was friends with Trump when they both attended the New York Military Academy high school. Roy was pretty much the poorest kid in the school and Trump the richest. Trump was very good to Roy through school. Trump even picked up Roy's bill so he could vacation with him. When Roy was still in college, Trump gave Roy a surprise visit and offered him a role in the new company he was forming. Since the timing wasn't right, Roy turned down the offer (foolishly retrospectively). In the years that followed, Trump became a famous big shot. Trump was even parodied (inaccurately) in one of my favorite movies, the Back to the Future Trilogy. Despite the fame and fortune, Trump still found time for Roy whenever Roy asked.

Over the years, I've naturally ever since linked Trump with my teacher Roy. Like Trump, Roy was a law and order kind of guy and he demanded a lot from his students. But just because Roy wasn't a passive pushover didn't mean he wasn't still a good, caring guy. Since Roy instilled in me a first person assessment of Trump that painted him as a good guy, I've always since looked at Trump the public personality as mostly just an act of trumped up New York salesmanship. And I still just look at Trump as a salesmanship act, because I still haven't found any sort of coherent political philosophy or vision in him lol.

Roy has written a few little books over the years; here is a very Trump blurb Trump did for one of them: “I thoroughly enjoyed reading Roy’s Soldier Boy. He brings back many memories of The New York Military Academy, and has done a fine job. Roy was always a winner, and nothing has changed.”

That little karmic link I've had with Trump by way of one of his high school friends has given me a little forgiveness advantage with Trump. Nonetheless, being someone who is a political atheist who doesn't believe in the initiation of force has been an even bigger advantage. Those two advantages are like a little nod from Spirit in the script that says, "play your role."

As a guy whose income is purposefully not high, who purposefully owns little, and whose ancestors have been in America since as early as the opening of the Northwest Territory, the vicissitudes of politics rarely have much impact on me. I try to stay as detached from government as I can. Sure, I can empathize with people who benefit from and depend upon things like Obamacare or DACA, but playing with government is Russian roulette. If your advantage comes at someone else's disadvantage things aren't voluntary (voluntary means win-win or no deal) and thus you may find the force you covet turned against you.

So anyway, I could go on and write a whole book on this subject matter if I cared about it more. But, for now, stay vigilant for cognitive dissonance and don't fall for it in others. A willingness to develop a knack for seeing through ego tricks by way of self-honesty is essential in the forgiveness game.

And finally, as homework, the more you dislike Trump the more important it is for you to start letting the view-point of Scott Adams into your life. If you want to forgive Trump you'll start watching his Periscopes and reading his blog. If not, face the fact that being right is more important to you than being happy and forgiving. Scott Adams is a smart, rational guy who calls himself an ultra-liberal, and who finds the idea that we are living in a virtual simulated universe quite probable. I like him and trust him. And he's the go-to guy for help in forgiving Trump in a successful way.

Running list of notable Trump Derangement Syndrome hysterias since posting this December of 2017:

  • Fire and Fury book hysteria
  • Nuclear button hysteria
  • Shithole hysteria
  • Trump insane hysteria
  • FISA Memo Trump obstructing witch hunt hysteria
  • Cambridge Analytica Facebook hysteria
  • MS13 "animals" hysteria
  • Children in cages hysteria. (Not to be confused with separating border-crossing parents and children, which was a legitimate concern. But the cages stuff was based on hyperbole and three main photos, all of which were false evidence.)
  • Putin more credible than U.S. intelligence hysteria

  • Trump ordered Cohen to lie about Trump Tower Moscow hysteria
  • MAGA hat Catholic kids provoked & racially abused Native American hysteria
  • Smollett hate crime attacked by Trump supporters hoax hysteria
  • Mueller dud, but still make something out of nothing hysteria
  • Baltimore infested with rats hysteria
  • Biden/Son Ukraine impeachment hysteria