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Western Civilization’s Last Stand

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  1. First of all, thanks for exposing the libertarian community to MMT, understanding how money works has been a blind spot for freedom-loving people - especially when it comes to government money. I enjoyed your Mosler interview - I did not know how government currency is issued (spent into existence and taxed out of it), I only knew about credit money creation. Also the part how taxation (alongside with laws requiring people to accept legal tender) creates the demand for currency blew my mind - so simple yet so counterintuitive. That said, here's my critique of your latest video about MMT - it's mostly just practical critique. In the beginning Nima explains how the government causes the problem of unemployment: Since everyone has to get tax tokens but getting a job is punished by taxation, private sector cannot offer as many jobs as without this intervention. As a solution he offers a Federal job guarantee program. i) At 13 minutes he points out how the program "should not compete with private sector jobs". This is impossible. Since you get the resources to pay for these jobs by spending tax tokens into existence and robbing everyone else by inflation (which might just be lower deflation (well, since we don't have a free currency system, we don't know how inflationary the free system would be - maybe rate of inflation would be naturally something as high as 5 %)), you already compete with everyone else who is forced to use your money system. ii) At 14 mins: "These would be jobs where you have to show up etc." Government employees have all the economic incentives to work as little as possible and get paid as much as possible - getting fired would be nearly impossible if government actually guarantees a job. There's no way of making this happen unless you start using direct force. How else will these workers show up when there's a federal job guarantee? iii) At 16 mins: "It would be important to pay less for these jobs than in the private sector in order not to compete with the private sector": Wishful thinking. All the practical evidence points in the other direction. iv) 22 mins: Local government jobs paid by issuing tax tokens will supposedly create so much more new money, that net private savings go up and private sector starts hiring new people, thus balancing the new money creation to private sector's needs. Not necessarily - people tend to take mortgages and perhaps even take a loan to buy a sail boat once their income increases. This creates a massive amount of credit money, which might more make up for the decrease in government money creation. v) 25 mins: "How can giving people gov jobs be worse than paying them for not doing anything?" Easily, make them work for harmful projects like building roads to nowhere (Japan), go to war or build 10's of GW's of wind power (Germany). vi) 26 mins: Nima explains how this program will not cause inflation as long as you have underutilized capacity. Technically this would be correct, if increase in money supply (let's assume for simplicity that v(money) = constant) matches increases in production then no inflation would happen. But the most important component of that underutilized capacity is the human mind. For example, in programming, one talented developer can be 10^6 more valuable than an average one. And a bad developer is harming more than helping, perhaps only top 5-10 % of people can even work in the field. This is true even for other fields too, with different numeric values (which I just guesstimated). Given that 16 % of population has an IQ of 85 or lower (sd = 15) in the Western countries, even having a cleaning job might be challenging for these people. If they get guaranteed government jobs, it'll take more resources to support them at their jobs than they will ever create -> more tax tokens are used, but overall resources diminish or at best maybe stay the same -> more inflation. So why not concentrate on cutting taxes to the abs. minimum while simultaneously not bothering about the deficits and supporting crypto developers by spreading general knowledge about MMT to them? It's only a matter of time when cryptos take over the monetary system, so if they don't figure their system - well government just might "help" them... and take over some coins in the process.
  2. Hello from Finland

    Tervetuloa! Radio vapaavyöhyke - olet ystävien seurassa. And gongrats, technically you're one in a million. We do have a small group which you may want to join, can I make the bold assumption you too reside in the South? Anyway, I'm very glad to see some new members from the great white North (don't worry, I'm referring to snow).
  3. A weekly skype-call

    Friends... Philosophy... personal development... sanity... This and much more awaits you at Philosophy Europe Call in Google+; every Saturday and Sunday at 19:00 CET. Here's the link to join the community: https://plus.google.com/communities/105784012586757265988 And most importantly, the marketing picture:
  4. Tervehdys! Even though I'm not in Taipei I'm pleased to see a fellow native here (yes, I know nation is pure fiction). If you ever visit Finland you're welcome to our meetup group! How did you become voluntarist? What do you mean by saying that you're an outsider where ever you go now; do you refer to you being a voluntarist or the tendency for people from other countries to put a national label on you even if you don't really feel Finnish at all? I understand you'd feel that way in Taiwan but surely it is not given you would be seen as much of an outsider in London for example? I usually talk more about psychology and economics (femto and macro econ) than philosophy. What pisses me off? Hmm, mainly my limited success of applying philosophy so far. Irrational people don't actually irritate me anymore since I've cut ties with them. I get happy when I can be my authentic self in other people's company without getting ignored and/or attacked - this has been a new experience for me. I use FDR's and different (other) self help communities' GPS for navigation. Ultimately you still have to calculate the new coordinates and directions yourself however. Anyway, if you want to talk to me you can find me on G+ and Skype (look at your private messages (edit: Apparently you cannot use the messaging system, so in Skype my name is unsurprisingly Huboten)). Also, there's the famous "Philosophy Europe Call" community - the only downside for you about that is the timing, if you think you're able to wake up extremely early (2-5 AM) on Sunday (or stay up very late) you can give it a shot. Welcome to... your new life?
  5. What are some of your favorite novels?

    Here are a couple of novels which greatly influenced me (some of these were already mentioned in the thread, but I think they're worth repeating): Konrad - Heart of Darkness, Nostromo Marquez - The Autumn of the Patriarch Kafka - The Trial, Metamorphosis Hesse - Steppenwolf, Glasperlenspiel, Siddharta Solzhenitsyn - Cancer Ward, One Day in the Life of Ivan D Don de Lillo - Cosmopolis Waltari - The Etruscan, The Egyptian Per Olov Enquist - The Visit of the King's Physician, Captain Nemo's Library The creator of this thread already knows the following author: Bulgakov - Master and Margarita
  6. Interstellar Movie - Parenting Quote

    I think you're right, the film is mainly about the bond (or lack thereof) between parent and child (father and daughter more specifically). I recently watched the film and it moved me couple of light years. You essentially summarized the film in the quote. Here's my own interpretation: Film starts with a slightly atypical dysfunctional family, a former alcoholic (I'll offer the proof later) father as the single parent somewhere in Redneckistan. Mother has either just left or is really dead because of drug abuse. The home environment is increasingly toxic and stifling (dust) for the children. Cooper can't really handle the dullness of being a father and working a low paying shitty job to provide for his family, he wants to take a trip out there (better life through chemistry). After a while the grandfather will be the only parent left, since Cooper needs to go to rehab (or to a hospital for the mentally ill). The chief psychiatrist, prof. Brand, relies heavily on the chemical solutions in treating patients. For the actual trip to the space I have two different explanations: 1. Cooper gets “treated” for his mental illness with a cocktail of chemicals, he'll get drugged out his mind. 2. Cooper escapes the rehab and starts using again (alcohol, meds, meth) and never becomes sober again, the space trip takes him to the outer limit of human existence. Murph wants to make sense of all this, she ends up taking a job at the same facility. She wants to heal her wounds by trying to cure the patients from addiction/”mental illness”. This offers also an escape from putting the responsibility of her shitty childhood on her father. She comes back to the scene where her father left her, she wants to understand it and tries to find some sign of hope in the scene, sign of parental love in her memories (=book shelf). In the meantime, her father takes his last trip with his user “friends”. His “friends” include even an equally irresponsible woman, prof. Brand's daughter who's also an addict. Brand (the female one) sleeps around with a dozen of different men, she goes on bad trips with them. Usually these trips ultimately end in death for the men. Once she goes on a trip with Cooper himself, Cooper never recovers after this last high, he can't get out of the black hole ever again. In his last breath, he regrets leaving his family, but it's way too late to do anything about it anymore. From this moment on Cooper only lives in the memories of other people, in a n-dimensional library (n>4) where you can easily travel back and forth in time (and space). After years of introspection she recognizes the source of the stifling dust in her childhood home: it was her family all along. Consequently prof. Brand is exposed as a liar; he wants to escape his own responsibility of making her own daughter a drug addict - he only offers complex medical causes for the addiction instead of looking at the more obvious causes at home. Now it all makes sense, she cracks the code of her early experiences and with this new-found confidence she tries to spread the truth even to her brother. But her brother chooses not to listen and chooses to repeat the family pattern in his own behavior. In the end scene the father returns to Murph, Murph is dying and she's the second last person who still harbors Cooper as a memory. He is luckily completely foreign to Murph's own family, and the memory of him and his legacy fades away in Murph's own family tree. The only person left in the world who still remembers him is the addict daughter of prof. Brand. This is the last place where Cooper now goes to die.
  7. Neglectful Family?

    Good question, I totally agree that this kind of discussion has not happened enough in this forum – for obvious reasons, it's easier to see violence than lack of nurturing. And I'm very sorry for what you had to go through in your childhood, hopefully me rambling about my own experiences will offer some help and/or perspective. If you can, you could get some kind of data of how much you spent time with your parents and how much with someone else who was close to you. Then compare how many positive memories you have about your parents and how many about that someone else – or maybe compare your parents, if one of them was significantly more emotionally available than the other you'll probably remember him/her better (and more importantly in more positive manner) even though he/she might have spent much less time with you. For example, I remember my authoritarian father much more positively and better than my mother, even though I spent 5-10 times more time with my mom. In fact I have more early childhood memories of the day-care workers than of my parents. If you were neglected in your early childhood you'll surely remember something about it, no matter how small it might seem at first. For me it was for ex. showing my “treasures” which I had found in the forest to my mother - who remained utterly non-responsive or at times just unwelcoming and irritated. I'm sure you have explored this kind of stuff through therapy/journaling/dream analysis. Another way to test it is of course to see how your parents react to you now and what kind of feelings you experience around them. Chances are they are still uninterested about you and in denial about it. But this is something you'll have to test to know for sure. Try talking to them openly about these things and see how they react (or maybe you already have enough data points), you'll know soon enough what kind of persons they are. Ask yourself, would you allow your friends behaving the same way towards you as your parents do/did? If you then decide to deFOO and it turns out your parents were really neglectful, you won't have to worry about them trying to contact you too often (unless they have fundamentally changed, it's rare but it can happen too). You've probably already read about the manifestations of early childhood negligence in adult life, but I'll post one wiki-link anyway. It's about attachment styles in adults, I mostly recognize myself in the third and fourth group (=dismissive-avoidant and fearful-avoidant... and obv. I'm in the process of changing this). The third group would roughly correlate with having experienced negligence in early childhood. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_in_adults
  8. Vegetarian/Vegan Questions?

    Answers to the questions: A. Evidence (allthough still weak) that vegan diet is not healthy. Firstly I have to state that direct, strict evidence of vegan diet being unhealthy does not exist. No double blind experiments or even epidemiological comparing vegan diet to say primal have been made so far. The only studies about vegan diet compare it to typical western diets (which are extremely unhealthy). Meat consumption is usually lumped in the same group in these studies regardless if it is grass-fed bison meat or fried, industrially manufactured chicken meat. So obviously vegan diets will deliver better results than Joe Average's supersizing food choices. However, I see five big problems with the vegan diet: 1. Too much carbohydrates causes type II diabetes. Gross, Lee S., et al. "Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United States: an ecologic assessment." The American journal of clinical nutrition 79.5 (2004): 774-779. 2. Some evidence suggests lectins (in plants and especially in grains, nuts and beans) may lead to autoimmune disease. This is not yet very well researched. Freed, David LJ. "Do dietary lectins cause disease?: The evidence is suggestive—and raises interesting possibilities for treatment." BMJ: British Medical Journal 318.7190 (1999): 1023. Jordinson, Mark, Raymond J. Playford, and John Calam. "Effects of a panel of dietary lectins on cholecystokinin release in rats." American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 273.4 (1997): G946-G950. Cordain, Loren, et al. "Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis." British Journal of Nutrition 83.03 (2000): 207-217. 3. Vegans not getting enough DHA, which is crucial for our brain. Rosell, Magdalena S., et al. "Long-chain n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in plasma in British meat-eating, vegetarian, and vegan men." The American journal of clinical nutrition 82.2 (2005): 327-334. 4. Vegans not getting enough B12 and/or the cofactors. Obersby, Derek, et al. "Plasma total homocysteine status of vegetarians compared with omnivores: a systematic review and meta-analysis." British Journal of Nutrition 109.05 (2013): 785-794. Woo, Kam S., Timothy CY Kwok, and David S. Celermajer. "Vegan Diet, Subnormal Vitamin B-12 Status and Cardiovascular Health." Nutrients 6.8 (2014): 3259-3273. 5. Vegans not getting enough D3. Crowe, Francesca L., et al. "Plasma concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans: results from the EPIC–Oxford study." Public health nutrition 14.02 (2011): 340-346. B. Second question was about evidence for paleo diet being optimal for human beings. Unfortunately no one has done any double blind studies here either. The only evidence we have is epidemiological at best and prehistorical (based on for ex. bone structures of fossiles) at worst. 1. Constrains carbohydrate consumption to safe levels preventing diabetes II. Jönsson, Tommy, et al. "Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study." Cardiovasc Diabetol 8.35 (2009): 1-14. 2. Prevents crosslinking of sugars and protein for the same reason. Brownlee, MD, Michael. "Advanced protein glycosylation in diabetes and aging." Annual review of medicine 46.1 (1995): 223-234. 3. Prevents metabolic syndrome. Frassetto, Lynda A., et al. "Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet." European journal of clinical nutrition 63.8 (2009): 947-955. 4. Removes most of the common food allergens from the diet (like gluten and casein). Here is some evidence that those compounds are more dangerous than we've thought. Wildner, Gerhild, and Maria Diedrichs‐Möhring. "Autoimmune uveitis induced by molecular mimicry of peptides from rotavirus, bovine casein and retinal S‐antigen." European journal of immunology 33.9 (2003): 2577-2587. Kamiński, Stanisław, Anna Cieślińska, and Elżbieta Kostyra. "Polymorphism of bovine beta-casein and its potential effect on human health." Journal of applied genetics 48.3 (2007): 189-198. Catassi, Carlo, et al. "Non-Celiac Gluten sensitivity: the new frontier of gluten related disorders." Nutrients 5.10 (2013): 3839-3853. 5. Delivers you the nutrients in a very bioavailable way, only some supplements are needed (See points 3-5 in my vegan answer). More articles (I have read only couple of them) about the benefits of paleo at http://thepaleodiet.com/research/ At this point I have to mention that I'm not expert on these issues - I have no medical/biochemical/biology background so feel free to point out the mistakes in the articles. They should all be available as pdf with a simple google Scholar search.
  9. Vegetarian/Vegan Questions?

    Hello fellow voluntarists! I wanted to make this post a long time ago so without further ado I'll cut to the chase. This post is for all those persons who want to improve their health through diet and exercise. We have surely all heard the phrase “Eat less and exercise more and you'll get in shape”. Sadly, this is a crude oversimplification that doesn't help too many people. Calories are not equivalent for humans in a sense that 1 k cal sugar would be the same as 1 k cal fat (because they have very different biochemical responses) and neither does exercise make you thinner easily. So why am I posting this in the vegan thread? Well, mainly because I want to help the sufferers of the vegetarian and other health myths (regarding for example cholesterol, ketosis or fat ). Posting this in the paleo threads would just result in one more voice in the echo chamber of “primalism”. So what do I have against veganism? Simply put it is likely to make you sick. Yes, I know we humans are omnivores but that doesn't mean all diets would be equally healthy to us. It is critically important to optimize it in order to thrive. Second issue I have with the vegan claims is that it doesn't hurt animals. This is untrue because harvesting, pesticides, and ploughing do kill a lot of animals. And what happened to all the animals who used to live in the forest/prairie that is agricultural land now? It is possible that meat consumers kill more animals than vegans by their eating habits but the score certainly isn't 100-0. My recommendation for you would be to test the so called paleo/primal lifestyle. The basic idea behind it is to mimic the diet (and some other habits like natural movement etc.) that humans had before agriculture. The diet consists of a lot of green leafy vegetables, tubers, good meat, fish and fats. It includes almost no processed foods (some supplements like Mg, Zn or D3 are needed), sugar and only moderate amount of fruits and berries. Although not scientifically proven (i.e. no double blind studies are done about this) the anecdotal evidence and epidemiological studies suggest that it works well. My own N=1 -experiment basically gave me my life back so understandably I can't take this stuff very unenthusiastically. In my opinion one of the best podcast series about paleo diet is Robb Wolfs “The Paleo Solution” -podcast. It delves into paleo basics, answers listener questions and interviews many doctors, biochemists and paleo pioneers. Another pretty good series about health is Chris Kresser's podcast and Dave Asprey's “Bulletproof Diet” (Bulletproof lifestyle includes also Dual N Back -training which is a brain exercise for masochists). If you want to be more thorough, then those same guys have more detailed blogs as well. Also blogs like “Nephropal”, “Cooling Inflammation” and Cordain's “The Paleo Diet” contain a lot of useful information. P.S. This post is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Consult a doctor before making any drastic changes in your life and always do your own research.
  10. Sunshine by Danny Boyle

    Well thank you! I thought the new captain might be the therapist, counselor or maybe even some inspirational radio host. Someone or something that makes clear for him which thoughts and preferences are truly his and which aren't. I haven't actually gone through every character and tried to figure out who he/she might represent in Capa's life except for Pinbacker (that being said maybe Cassie could be his mother figure or even girl friend). I found it interesting how the crew (especially the new captain Kaneda) tries to make sense of the old video messages from Pinbacker. In other words the therapist is trying to make sense of Capa's past life. Then it would make sense that Icarus I is Capa's childhood experiences; the character(s) a more primal and there exists an overwhelming fear and anxiety around the old ship. Once they board the ship everything gets less controllable when strong concealed feelings/emotions come to light. This is not the only explanation of the film that I came up with. The more pessimistic one would be translate the film into collectivist propaganda: The dying Sun represents the coming “ecological doomsday” and therefore every human being must sacrifice all they can to rescue our planet. Only socialism can save us from the “judgement day”.
  11. Black old sun and so forth... namely the visually stunning film “Sunshine” by Danny Boyle from 2007. As in almost all SciFi -films the plot is basically just rubbish (spoiler alert): The sun is losing power and to restart it again a team of scientist with fissile material is sent to orbit our star in a giant space ship, Icarus II (lol). Icarus I was lost a few years before. Our protagonist, physicist Capa, is accompanied by other scientists in different fields. Due to a small error in calculations the spaceship gets progressively more damaged and Capa's fellow crew members start to die in the process. Then by a miracle the crew finds Icarus I intact nearby. They board the ship hoping to get more resources but unfortunately they also get a new crew member hiding in the ship... the captain of the former Icarus I -mission, who has become completely mad in years of isolation. He goes on a killing spree eliminating the crew members one by one. At this point it has already become clear that no one aboard will return to Earth and even the mission to rescue the Sun is in danger. In the end the crazy old captain tries to attack Capa but fails. Capa succeeds to manually start the fission bomb which then also restarts the Sun. So here's what I think the film is about: It's simply about a journey in our “core self” through therapy, journaling, etc. All of Capa's fellow scientists are a “mecosystem” of himself. In other words, they are different simulations of other very influential (for him) persons in his life (especially in his early life). As he get's closer to his core self (=the Sun) he can let go of them. The most difficult one to confront is his abusive father (the crazy captain). After all, it was he who had sabotaged the former approach (Icarus II) to reach the truth about himself and his family. Once Capa reaches his core self his false self dies in 10^10 Kelvin flaming explosion. The process also sets free an enormous amount of “life force” as material (inner potential) becomes energy (real life actions). What do you think, am I just rambling here and trying to fit everything in one theory that I like? Or am I perhaps just talking about myself and about my narcissistic “Sun King”- fantasies? Anyway, it would be nice to hear if any of you have seen the film and your thoughts of it.

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