Ending the dominion of pain and death.


Literal Slavery, Original Debt, and the Reality of Choice


Some have argued that slavery is defined by the ability of a slave owner to steal and sell children and that therefore wage slavery is a whiny emo term because McDonald’s can’t sell their employees children to Wendy’s. But the fact is the 1% DO buy and sell (y)our children because it saddles them with original debt and gives them a false choice every bit as loaded as the choice a slave faces: Suffer profitably for us, suffer punitively, or die.


I for example, having ethics and will power, decided while still a virgin to never have children until I could afford to have them as a free person. That means not being dependent on the whim of an employer or a public school system with regard to how that child develops. This is a freedom that actually only the very rich in today’s world have.

Virtually no one in the developed world has that freedom. And the few that potentially might, have been brain wiped by that same education system and media such that they think indenturing their children to this system is not only wise, but morally urgent. Many of the rich are keen to indoctrinate their larva, saddling them with a different kind of original debt.

Original debt is the original sin of the modern world’s church.

Children are born non-people (as proved by the facts that they can’t vote and they can legally be whipped at will virtually anywhere on earth) and they even if considered citizens would still be considered worthless because by default they are “uneducated.” Which as Frank Zappa and Ray Bradbury will tell you, just means mostly unburdened by student loan debt.

People of the bootlicking variety are keen to point out how awesome compulsory education is simply because it’s costly to impose but free for the victim. But that’s the first step of original debt. It’s the collective version of the cliche abusive guardian railing about how hard it is to feed/cloth a child, therefore they should be grateful and obedient.

Which would make sense to some degree if it was an actual choice for the ward. That lack of choice is the essence of slavery.

This concept of owing a debt to your owners flies in the face of any objective non-arbitrary definition of human rights because it attaches a price tag to being born as if it was a choice.

In a sense a pet literally has more choice because a dog or a cat actually can choose to leave and the result doesn’t necessarily mean torture and death, though for a pet deep in human controlled territory or a harsh setting it could mean that.

Put simply, I didn’t ask to be born. There are two ways generally you can parse that. You can either kill me when I don’t comply. (Amusingly acknowledged with the cliche threat, I brought you into this world I can take you out.) Or you can recognize that my being alive is a debt to be paid by someone other than me. In my case the debt is paid by my parents but this isn’t fair for several reasons. Firstly, all three of us live under government rule. They ultimately have authority over every aspect of our lives. I am not allowed to so much as build a fire in my front yard or dig a well without a permit. (They have literally gone so far as to demand I paint my house a certain color.) Thus I have been utterly stripped of any real ability to provide for myself independently.

Both for ethical reasons and for diversity reasons participation in the “job” market needs to be a real choice between two or more viable alternatives.

It is morally urgent for society to accept responsibility and allow for the choice to opt out. Anything else is by definition true slavery. I should as a human by default own a share of the planet’s value equal to it’s total value divided by it’s population. “The per capita PPP GWP was approximately US$12,400.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_world_product

If I were given that by default in exchange for playing by the rules, then we could talk about employment being a choice. We could then talk about capitalism in Horatio Alger pluck and determination terms. All the self improvement and ambition rhetoric would apply.

But it doesn’t so long as the choice is dental torture and slow starvation, or being a wage/debt slave.

If my “choice” is choose an owner, be it corporate, clerical, or government, or be homeless, excommunicated, or imprisoned, then I had about as much choice as the slave who could at best choose who caused their death, or which form of torture to endure.

Until it’s actually possible for someone to live in society at the expense of society as a kind of collective inheritance, then “citizens” are nothing but slaves, with varying degrees of perks.


The Final Underclass


On this father’s day, I’d like to take a moment to briefly challenge the world and to make my position clear for peer (and not so peer) review.

Put simply I think the civil rights division of children and adults needs to be in spirit abolished.

There is a false dichotomy implicit in the assumption that children must be treated as property or allowed to destroy themselves and society with complete freedom.

I believe that a person should be born a full and complete citizen of the species with all the default human rights and liberties. Not as an infant, property of parents and the state for some arbitrary time.

So what is the alternative?

Simply treat them exactly as we treat newly awakened coma patients with good prognosis.

Think about what a coma patient is. A blank adult. An adult in need of orientation and (re)education.

Functionally and qualitatively I can see no substantive difference between such an adult and a child. The legal frame work is already in place.

There are guardians with enhanced temporary authority, but ultimately the patient in question is still a person. No one has the right to beat them, or arbitrarily control them. Their treatment must always take into consideration their default rights as human beings.

This is exactly how children should be treated because that is exactly what a child is.

A coma patient isn’t assigned a religion, or a social role, they are given empowerment and choice. They are protected from themselves but that protection ends not on an arbitrary date, but based on objective criteria of development and ability.

Explain to me if you can how the current treatment is ethically or functionally superior.

We don’t need schools, we need habilitation facilities and libraries. The term for this in one case is particularly brilliant.

The Awakening Unit of the St John the Baptist Hospital, Rome, Italy. Which opened in 1997, has the usual radiology and diagnostic equipment for assessing patients with head and brain injuries, and those in a coma. But also the medical staff specialize in rehabilitation, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, aimed at helping patients to recover from their injuries.

Instead of raising children, we should Awaken them.

The future could be so wonderful. If only I could make you see.

I’ll spare you the links you wouldn’t click anyway. :)

West Wing Children’s Suffrage (pro-vote) Segment. (Edited for continuity and focus.) from Brandon Sergent on Vimeo.

Libertarianism is Camouflage for Republicans

See also: https://falkvinge.net/2014/07/05/how-newspeak-makes-libertarian-thought-impossible-in-the-us/

Libertarians have more in common with religious conservatives than they would care to admit.

Everyone in the real world knew that already.

That’s why the vast majority of “libertarians” most closely identify with the republican party. Even back when I was hoping for Ron Paul as president I lamented the collective libertarian choice of linking with the right instead of the left.

Imagine if instead libertarians had infiltrated the democratic party (which incidentally plays by it’s own rules more often and thus would have offered up Ron Paul had he won the internal primary) instead of the republican party?

And don’t give me that shit about smaller government. Everyone with half a brain cell knows that the right wing is owned by people that want a global monopolist corporate autocracy which is every bit functionally a one world government. So then why?

Because intelligent republicans of the earlier era saw the current situation coming. They saw how a massive right wing failure was in-bound and sought to be republican without having to admit to being republican. (I on the other hand simply pushed for the one real opportunity for change that I saw.)

If libertarians were collectively what they claimed to be and not closeted neocons at best, they would infiltrate the left, and force them via internal politics and simple logic to abandon gun control as an issue, at which point enough one issue voters could switch sides and make social policy the priority that it should be without the fear of being black bagged as a distraction. (Which is really what guns are about preventing, and I think that’s a fair fear given the rise of the security state and the NSA/whistleblower/drone/etc crap.)


But that’ll never happen because the fact is that 99% of libertarians want to be George Bush when they grow up, at best. They just know that the current crop of republicans are in the long term politically doomed, and they don’t want to be caught in the open being a party to the pantheon of ethical degeneracies that is what it means to be right wing in the united states.

Can you blame them?

What did you expect?

We make irrational demands and reject anyone that tells us what we don’t want to hear, thus we are stuck with alpha liars.

Sure, the government is a captured 1% puppet now, but we allowed it to get that way. And until we start making rational demands we’ll keep getting irrational representatives. And I’m not talking about a new round of punish thy enemy. I’m not talking about tough love for other people but magically you’re just fine.

I’m talking about giving up some shit you’re straight up addicted to.

The right in particular rose to power by telling people what they wanted to hear no matter how incorrect or cruel or narcissistic it was, and it still is that way. How many assholes get elected basically saying “I’ll make sure you can do whatever you want and force only other people to change/suffer.” All of them as far as I can tell. Right and left. Like the man said, you can always hire half the poor to kill the other half.

“Tough on crime” for example still gets votes. It’s basically just socially sanctioned sadism/racism/etc. The organized conflation of crime with criminals so that you can jerk off to all the modern equivalents of public flogging. (Crime shows and court TV much?)

What do we expect when we vote for those people? Unconditional compassion, patience, tolerance, these things are hard and require helping people we don’t always like. When you demand someone else have less freedom/compassion, don’t get all bitchy when suddenly yours gets taken away.

We love prison because we can imagine our enemies being beaten and raped. Then we get a police state.

We love school because we imagine our children turning out EXACTLY like we want them. Then we get teen pregnancy, school shootings, and bullying unto suicide.

We love “defense” spending because we imagine a death machine enforcing that will on all who disagree. Then we get drone wars and the NSA reading this post as I type it.

We love ignorant energy policy because we think windmills and solar panels are fashionable and we’re terrified of the dark magic of radiation. Then we get pipelines and coal inspired lung cancer.

We love the hope of patenting the letter E and dying a multi-billionaire and so we get the TPP and walmart on track to owning half of everything and Monsanto being handed a food monopoly.

We love marriage law because we damn sure want our ex girl/boyfriend fiscally and socially punished for breaking our hearts and we can’t possibly learn to share. Then we get domestic violence, atrocious music, sexual objectification, and the all too common homicide in a desperate attempt to avoid a costly divorce.

Bottom line, 99% of people are hypocrites and are merely experiencing the natural and logical consequences of their demands.

When you want to play with fire in the living room, sometimes the house goes up. Is it really the fault of the fire marshal with the nice smile you elected to tell you it was ok to do? Or was it your vault for handing power to someone who told you what you wanted to hear?


“They could be shown the mastery of their minds and bodies, so that they could achieve the full expression of their powers, not spend their lives like ineffectual ghosts trapped in a marvelous machine beyond their skill to operate. They could break the domination of pain, so that it became a sentinel and not a tyrant, sending messages which the rational mind could accept or ignore as it pleased. Above all, they could choose to die only when they wished; they would be shown the many paths that led beyond the grave, and the price that must be paid for immortality in all its forms. A vista of infinite time would open up before them, with all its terror and promise. Some minds could face this, some could not; here was the dividing line between those who would inherit the universe, and those who were only quick-witted animals.” ~Arthur C Clarke

I am a creature of words.

I picked up reading and writing very quickly, though my pedantic instructors were more hung up on my spelling skill and handwriting than my writing style and fidelity of expression. Like modern math instructors are irrationally focused on arithmetic (raw number crunching) over mathematics (interaction and theory).Put simply, in my opinion, writing is better than talking and becomes a form of action. What I do with writing is something that I do, not something that I say. It is the building and perfecting of something. Not merely the discussion of it. School did it’s very best to hide this fact from me, because school is about making little industrial revolution era robots, not enriching the lives of new people.

On the subject of broken education, it’s amazing how they are sneaking us towards a more stratified and classist society, almost caste oriented even. The real top players of our culture were almost universally born into it, and not just by inheritance, but my parental choice. Tiger Woods didn’t choose golf, his parents did. Basing training on early aptitude is one of the advantages indirectly acquired by self directed learning and unschooling.

I’m always trying to step back and see the big picture so that I can find the weakest root problem to attack but a large enough frame of reference can become paralyzing, so while I am open minded, I am also clear about my current conclusions and I try to always have a solution proposal attached to any complaint.

I realized in grade school when I thought about how I was being treated by my peers and the faculty that there was something wrong here, something pervasive, and I tried to find out what. The only people who were ever nice to me were the lunch room people and the custodial people and while I knew they outranked me by whole worlds being “adults” I also knew they were treated like machines by all the other adults. That was the beginning of my social exploration from an investigative/scientific/macroscopic standpoint.

Before I continue I’d like to say that I suspect things are going to get slowly better for awhile as reform is championed and there after things will get suddenly, drastically, better as a result of key disruptive technologies.

The real achievements of humanity are and were subjective and organizational. And those are the areas where our most recent achievements are most obvious. The smart phone for example is just an insanely efficient connectivity tool, a synapse converting each human brain into a wildly complicated neuron, interconnecting them to form a more advanced higher order mind, the culture itself.

Put simply, charisma and people management are more important than any technical skill unless that skill directly leads to a disruptive technology for the craftsman/technician/whatever. Economy of scale assures this. I’ve wasted my life mastering logical debate and objective policy evaluation type skills under the mistaken impression that people are persuaded to change their actions based on these things, when they aren’t.


Nothing taught me this lesson harder than when NO ONE whom I personally know would listen to me about bitcoin back when it was 5$ a coin. No my family not my best friends not people who called me a genius otherwise. Facts. Don’t. Matter.

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” ~Max Planck

Those best able to create the impression that wealth is a reward for ability in the minds of their peers are the ones that became leaders over others who were more fit to lead but “chose” not to. Think about it. Who gets the better deal? The best fighter who is constantly having to prove it or the best liar who convinces everyone he’s the best fighter without even having to fight?

these new leaders set those terms in the first place, or were able to set terms based on what they could meet. Like a squad of Trek fans convincing people that the best way to assert fitness is though a kirk vs picard debate. Cultural rules gain emphasis as members of the culture allocate command based on them. Which is why seemingly absurd things persisted long past their contextual significance relevant to objective reality. The caste system is a good example. Religion as well. Cultural inertia.

Social alphas do not earn their status. They are born into it. People have always been (thus far) the real height of technology. Specialists. But now the culture is the technology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room In a sense it knows more than we do, especially as the number of people within the system act with little to no understanding of (or interest in) the the larger picture. We are as ignorant by and large as the individual neuron is.

The dawn of agriculture had the impact it did because it allowed human beings to behave like cells in an organism and differentiate to the point of inability to survive outside said organism.

The impact of this cannot be overstated. It’s like going from 175 pounds of homogeneous algae to a human being. Allowing for a diversity of cells that could be deployed in concert despite individual weaknesses created a whole new order of qualitative difference. (Compare the cells in my hand vs the cells in my brain or liver.)

The industrial revolution had hardware, but all the software was in the brain of whoever operated the machine. To a degree skill could be built into the machine and process but it would be many decades before that really started to reach its true potential. (Ford, McDonald’s)

Some believe that notions of intelligence and education are biased as they are towards mechanistic black and white thinking out of ignorance of any alternative, and seek to correct this problem by cleverly relaying facts in an attempt to cure this ignorance.

I see a more conspiratorial and exploitative option. The system was set up for, by, and directed at, these mechanistic bookish fact obsessed people because they aren’t a threat expressly because of their obsession with facts. They can be handled like livestock from above without their awareness more easily. That’s why science has never ruled society, yet technology has always been the most directly powerful thing in society. Even I took decades to see this and I’ve basically spent my life studying it. (I’m expected to try and sell this information instead I’m asking for donations. No doubt you’ll indirectly punish me for this.)

Specialists need protection and support from outside to allow them time to focus. Also as the focus on the smaller scale deepens, oblivity to the larger scale proportionally grows. Males in particular when they specialize and focus lose the opportunity and the inclination to examine the bigger picture.


One could easily argue that understanding this larger picture is itself a kind of specialty. Which is where, in my opinion, familial autocrats come from. A good king needed to be trained from childhood for the job. (Like what it took to make tiger woods a golf master. Or the Spartans. The best specialists aren’t trained, they are grown.)

The mythical golden age of our rapidly evolving past ended from our perspective because around the end of that time the advancements slipped outside the default human cognitive spectrum, like the pitch of a sound rising beyond the ability for the human ear to detect. At that point the only real evidence the average person had of advancement was the word of specialists and the technology they eventually produced.

The vast bulk of new words added to the human language between then and now are scientific and technical specialist terms not used outside labs, scholarly journals, and industry publications.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emx92kBKads (Yes it’s dated, but that’s part of the point. In less than 6 years it comes to look ancient. In a sense, humanity’s greatest asset is the speed at which is becomes accustomed to what in the past would have been, if not actually was, astonishing. This is also why the profit motive is bullshit. People don’t need to be forced to do the needed things. They will do them out of sheer boredom if nothing else.)

The support for a kitchen sink method of education supported by the vast majority of the west’s inhabitants and their resulting puppet cultures is a symptom of top heavy governments not knowing how to deploy the option of focused education and attempting to take all of them to hedge the (lack of a) bet. A kind of institutional argument from moderation. Which is a mistake ultimately because it pushes us back towards that algae-like homogenization. In attempting to empower the first wave of educated people with a “well rounded” (read as, indecisive, unfocused) education they damaged diversity, which is specialization, which is that thing that means the difference between roaches and termites, algae and people, solitary wasps and a planet spanning ant supercolony.

Indeed, but the conflict is between, as it always has been, altruism and psychopathy. Homogeneity and diversity.

People in power are often educated but correlation does not denote causation. They have degrees because they are in power, not power because they have degrees. A rich kid is best served by college because of it’s networking value and because it is a place for them to deploy the real advantages they were born with by being surrounded by a bunch of children under the delusion that class mobility is open to them if only they work hard.


But those middle class children never had a chance. The curse of middle management. All responsibility, no authority to make strategic changes. Again, as above, we’re getting too top heavy. The middle is shrinking, the top is getting more dense, and the bottom is getting more voluminous. It’s going to either collapse or fall over unless technology changes the game, which I believe it will again, as it did when the press was invented, and when the plow was invented, etc.

The problems are those which impede the flow of information and criminalize the deployment of technology. Everyone has an opinion about how to “fix” education. Don’t confuse incompetence with a covert agenda. Don’t project your assumption of agenda onto a snake with no head. It is a system run by psychopaths, who have at best a fragmentary and transient awareness of the larger scale, and then only parsed as a threat/opportunity matrix. A stimulus response machine. A human with a lizard or insect mind. A philosophical zombie.

Assuming the point of an organization is to solve a problem, as opposed to create one for the profit of a different system is often a mistake. Think about the example of a jobs program being deployed to fix municipal plumbing. Is the point to fix plumbing? Create jobs? Or get candidate X more votes than candidate Y? Or any other number or combination of goal and meta goal?

When it fails is is due to ineptitude? Or is it as I said, that they simply lack the strategic authority? That’s what I do. Point out strategic solutions that obviate entire swathes of other secondary problems. (Like how libertarians, gays, and atheists could band together and kick the state out of the religion enforcement business, solving many of the secondary issues they all care about by attacking the root problem.) My goal has been to mine down to the axiomatic ethical bedrock and from there trace upwards to the deepest social problem. (And I have.)

We must choose. Do we want slavery or don’t we? If we don’t we must act as I suggest in the link above. There really is no middle ground that can work in the long term so long as humans are as they are physically/neurologically.

Again, don’t confuse incompetence for agenda. No one wants to hear the truth it seems because the truth, carried to the end of the logic chain means that their entire life’s work make be futile, or worse.

Also don’t assume class mobility or any kind of broken meritocracy. The people at the top didn’t work their way up or “earn” it. They are there because of options their ancestors exploited which now no longer exist. Options that may have however only been exploitable by certain groups. As an example, how many currently wealthy families are so because of shrewd use of the depression?

In any case, the issue in this context is how society allocates command authority and scope. Of which religion, finance, and government are subsets. A dollar after all is just an order of strength proportional to the market context. 100$ will buy me a hamburger crafted to my most exacting specifications, but will buy me an oven that might well kill me.

I believe humanity is and always has been ruled, since the invention of culture which permits ruling by definition, by those with only one real skill, the skill to manipulate.

As culture grew and became more peaceful, the emphasis of advantage shifted away from altruism and towards psychopathy. In epochs past this would mean a period of fragmentation during and after which altruism would be revalued.

“Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary.” ~Edward Osborne Wilson, (The Father of Sociobiology.)

Suppose you asked “How does selfishness confer advantage in groups?” My response is that a cooperative group is defined by denial or at least delay of fulfillment of individual need in favor of group needs.

A good example is planting seeds instead of eating them. If I’m given the town’s supply of grain to plant but instead I make bread for myself I thrive and everyone else starves.

It seems to be an intrinsic facet of the universe that exploitative behavior is inherently profitable in certain contexts. (Which is why capitalism ultimately will need leg braces in the from of a UBI and a wealth cap.)

Think about 3 kids growing up alone in the woods. One kid is selfish, one kid is apathetic, one kid is generous.

As they grow the generous kid will give away more of his food, the selfish kid will steal/take, and the apathetic kid will have his food stolen but also get free food from the generous kid. The selfish kid being better fed will get bigger leading to superiority in those contexts while the other two would wither or remain average.

The selfish kid dominates within the group.

Now imagine another group of 3 but these kids act as a team. Economy of scale grants these kids an effective food supply of 4 or 5 kids so that each of them is larger than the average of the first group. The groups collide. The 3 coordinated kids beat the larger leader of the first group and absorb the other two kids, if not the bested leader as well.

The sharing culture beat the selfish culture, but only when the cultures had the opportunity to clash.

Because game theory:


Because selfishness:


This story has a happy ending. There is a required fragmentation of the larger group (world wars) that brings value back to altruism by creating groups to compete with each other. However, the context of the fragmentation can, and I believe will, be rendered non-violent in future iterations. (Anti-trust laws and the organized splintering of large organizations foreshadows this truth.) Indeed world wars have already been replaced by what previous generations would have called mere skirmishes. The great powers don’t wage all out body depleting physical war really anymore. In a sense we killed world war when we (humanity) detonated the first atomic bomb. The next great war was a cold one fought on an entirely different battleground. That’s no coincidence.

You’ll notice the USSR experienced its re-fragmentation event, and is now starting to move past us in altruistic areas. The USA and the west generally avoided this breakup by A “winning” the cold war and B strengthening the homogeneity of euro union member states. But now both of them are falling behind in human rights issues and care for the poor because as altruism pays off less and less, psychopathy comes to dominate the allocation command authority more and more. Also notice how each of the major powers dance on the edge of fragmentation and unification. United States, China and it’s many provinces that were once nations, the EU… While the ones that commit to either a hard core fragmentation or a hyper focused unity fail in some critical way to acquire power.

I think in the vast majority of cases where leadership incompetence appears to be the case, the reality is that the leadership placeholder is merely a psychopath and rather than incompetent, simply doesn’t care about the long term issues and is doing whatever is required to stay in power or acquire more power.

The idea that authority comes from ability is a myth created by people in power to keep it by giving workers something to feel superior about as opposed to revolt/reform.

Authority comes from the ability to convince the group that you deserve it. Granted as stated above, it is technologically possible to dominate the entire group, but never for long. Use of a technology on a population, or the delegation of its use to others always means its eventual escape or acquisition by the group at which point the question shifts back to the basic diversity/homogeneity domain.

I’ve spent my life trying to share and refine these truths. But I lack the funding (command authority) to invest in greater command authority. In short, no one gives a damn what I have to say because of who and what I’m not backed by. (No degree, no status, no power, no wealth, no group identity, etc.) And therefor I lack funding entirely.

I’ve studied this my whole life. If you can, trust me. Odds are very much in our favor that we’ll be fine as a group. I’ll see a martian colony in my lifetime. That alone doubles our chances for survival.

It will be the people best able to manage the chaotic mob that rules. The guy that can found a town, not rebuild its water supply. Even if none of the survivors can do anything, a competent public relations man can direct and select people to learn the required skills. (See Lost, Walking dead, any other group vs disaster movie.)

I don’t have the ability to make them feel as they need to before they’ll listen. They must feel it before they can think it. I can only speak to the facts and logic. I gambled and lost :/ I did write a book. I unpublished it because no one listens.

I believe I see what needs seeing, but I’m open to seeing more always. I tried to write two books so far. No dice. And as I grow more and more poor and old, I’m in no position to try again.

But despite this I feel the need to share my findings, despite knowing they will be ignored. The solution, as with avoiding the problems of a command economy, is to let those people themselves determine their usefulness.However, psychopaths do rise to the top precisely because they are unencumbered by ethics and can thus manage people without having to rely on reality for backing. (Kind of like how the most successful currency on earth is based on a lie.)There are three camps that matter here, two, depending on where you place the zero. Camp one, are those who axiomatically believe that life and joy are the ultimate good things. Camp two believes that death and pain are ultimate good things. (Religion, social Darwinism, self serving sadism, etc.) And camp three, the ones who don’t have any ethical axioms at all because they lack ethics entirely. For camp three, ethics are merely something that must be faked where being caught and punished are an issue. (Pol pot for example and other proponents of positive liberty schemes by any means necessary up to and including mass extermination and wholesale torture.)


I could go on forever.

No Experience Required

Many brilliant and well meaning people seem to think they if they can only make those that inflict suffering and injustice, experience suffering and injustice, they will reform.

But caught up in their righteous fury, they never critically examine history or humanity to test that assumption. Sadly, it isn’t that easy. If it were, war and punishment would be ethical and effective. They are objectively neither. Threats, fear, and torture have no place in an ethical world.

I’m proof that specific experience is not required to champion reform and the causes of those who suffer. I’ve never been homeless, nor have I ever had to suffer many of the worst consequences of the various injustices I try to combat as best I can. Indeed, like Siddhartha’s discovery of suffering outside his father’s walled garden, the very fact that I haven’t experienced it makes me more aware of it’s wrongness.

Relying on personal experience is a double edged sword. Police for example are often required to have been tazed before they are authorized to carry tazers. They believe that because they have experienced it they now have the moral authority to inflict it on others.

Pain and suffering are not just wrong, they are universally wrong. (Pain sought, like scratching an itch isn’t really pain, by pain I mean like being struck or having a tooth ache or a headache.)

“They could be shown the mastery of their minds and bodies, so that they could achieve the full expression of their powers, not spend their lives like ineffectual ghosts trapped in a marvelous machine beyond their skill to operate. They could break the domination of pain, so that it became a sentinel and not a tyrant, sending messages which the rational mind could accept or ignore as it pleased. Above all, they could choose to die only when they wished; they would be shown the many paths that led beyond the grave, and the price that must be paid for immortality in all its forms. A vista of infinite time would open up before them, with all its terror and promise. Some minds could face this, some could not; here was the dividing line between those who would inherit the universe, and those who were only quick-witted animals.” ~Arthur C Clarke

The logic of “that’ll teach’em” is broken for the exact same reasons revenge logic is broken. Just as a wrong cannot be undone with punishment, enduring punishment doesn’t give you the right to do wrong. Though both can feel that way because of the nature of the evolved primate mind. Desires can be as misleading and misplaced as pain and suffering. You may want to bully (or starve) the bully, but that’s just as wrong. No one deserves it. That’s the point of compassion. It isn’t selective. It can’t be. Selective compassion is just favoritism and kin selection. It’s racism or nationalism. Etc.

We recognize this in the context of some criminals, when a life of philanthropy can be undone by one murder or one rape. The net balance of pleasure in that context doesn’t matter.

It’s also like hazing rituals, where more senior figures abuse more junior figures and justify it because they experienced it. A distressingly high percentage (over half at least, though time and reform is slowly killing them off) of American parents it seems are this brand of stupid and ethically bankrupt. (At an emotional level I would be quite pleased to be able to personally murder people who scare or hit children but I don’t/won’t.) And once again, I don’t have to have children to know hitting them is wrong any more than I have to have been a Jew or a Nazi to know Nazism is wrong.

The personal experience card is usually just special pleading. A way to try and guilt opponents from the field and to above yourself of the rules by which everyone else has to deliberate.

I don’t have to have been prison raped or raped at all to strenuously oppose prison on that ground alone, yet I do oppose it. To the point where I’d advocate destroying prisons non-lethally from the outside. (Like say driving a remote control van full of cement bags through prison walls until they run out of money to build them or it starts looking cheaper to enact needed reform.)


Experience can just as easily make someone callous and abusive as it can make them compassionate. That’s one of the many reasons authoritarian reform (and training) efforts are doomed to fail at inspiring universal (in both senses of the word, among students and the scope of) compassion.

It’s also the flaw of right wing thinking. The Ted Nugent belief that you can make people (or children, since I have to mention them additionally because they don’t really count as “people” in our culture yet) better simply by hurting them.

People who come through suffering as better people did so despite the suffering, not because of it.



Underlore © 2013