Assaults on Reason: Test One, Teach Others

It’s been a while since I’ve noted down any assaults on Reason that I’ve seen out in the world. This is a particularly nasty one in which the perpetrator sets up a false, impossible, or just easy to lie about “test” for one target person, and then teaches others that the target person is evil, and that their underlying motives must be evil, without putting any of the targets that are being taught through anything like the same test.

This is an ancient method to accumulate power and influence by simultaneously destroying one’s enemy while discouraging some behavior amongst one’s followers. Even if people realize that it is just manipulation, they are still taught what happens to the perpetrator’s enemies.

For instance, suppose an employee speaks ill of a supervisor. The supervisor tells the manager that the employee is a traitor and proposes a test of loyalty be performed, and before the test, the supervisor tells the employee that the top manager has ordered the employee to do endless unpleasant things. So, when the test is performed, and the manager is listening, the supervisor easily solicits curses of the manager from the employee. The employee is terminated, the supervisor earns the trust of the manager, and the manager discourages dissension, but the people being taught not to dissent were not subjected to the same treatment as the dissenter, and by and large would not have the same opinion if they were.

A second example of the same type of thing would be for a top manager to dress down an employee in front of a supervisor, regarding some matter that the supervisor knows nothing about, as a “test” of the supervisor. If the supervisor does nothing, then the manager declares him to have failed the test for not caring about the employees. If the supervisor investigates, the manager declares him to have failed the test for being disloyal. Either way, the manager slanders the supervisor, and teaches others that whatever the supervisor did or didn’t do was wrong.

A modification of this is endlessly testing one until some failure, then teach others. Basically, little effort is put into constructing legitimate tests with the goal being to make the target’s life miserable and intolerable, thus encouraging some kind of ethical or moral breach. In the end, only the failed test is ever recorded, and the target becomes the example to be taught of what happens when that bad behavior occurs, regardless of how it came about.

The sure cure and prevention of this evil, is something I have stated before, which is that testing of characteristics must be done with full knowledge of the testee, or simply cannot be trusted.

Assaults on Reason: Principles Without an Objective Epistemology

Principles are common, and it is easy to state a commitment to adherence to principles. However, people that state commitments to various principles are frequently found to have acted in violation of them. This is most frequently because of one of two reasons: The first is the one that incites public ire and is loudly denounced by everyone that claims to have principles. It is the hypocritical violation, in which the violation occurs because the person that claimed to be principled was not and had simply lied about being principled. The second is more common, but is typically forgiven regardless of the consequences. It is the “someone lied to me” violation. This violation occurs when a self-proclaimed principled individual takes some action based upon facts that they received second hand, and it is later discovered that those facts were false. This violation is usually considered to be a leader’s privilege, or in the most corrupt cases the whole process may be intentionally acted out specifically to obtain consequences of the vioation without harm to the conspirators. However, this forgiveness for the powerful can result in the violation of the rights of one or more individuals in such a way that it was not a consequence of a violation of the rights of thers by them. Therefore, this practice is Nietzschean and evil and should be shunned in all instances.

This conclusion will likely be argued against on the grounds that the leadership of certain big organizations and states must rely on trusted sources rather than first hand observations as a matter of practicality, simply because they have a limited amount of time and attention that they can devote to direct observation, and therefore that the privilege must exist in order for such organizations to exist and remain competitive with other organizations of similar size. This is not the case. There are methods by which leaders can improve the reliability of the facts that they choose to act upon, especially for the cases in which they know that there actions based on those facts will violate the rights of others if those facts are false. Such methods include having multiple (truely) independent sources consisting of both human and automated observers. For example, the president of the united states will never have to decide whether or not to launch nukes at Iran because of what Dale from the Treasury heard in the break room. Or more accurately, the president of the united states should always choose to ignore Dale in favor of more reliable sources in regards to firing missiles, but may choose to launch no harm investigations if Dale is otherwise trustworthy. The point is that an effective leader can always avoid violating people’s rights unnecesarily by the proper application of reason, and therefore it is an assault upon reason for such violations to be forgiven. This is not just limited to leaders, however. It applies to all individuals that wish to be considered to be principled. The correct conclusion to draw about a self-proclaimed principled person that frequently makes the second type of violation of their own principles is that they are not principled because they lack the requisite objective epistemology in order to be principled.

Assaults On Reason: Requiring References In Regulated Industries

Many industries are presently regulated to disallow some people from entering the industry. These regulated industries require some form of professional license in order to practice (such as medical doctors, dentists, engineers, pharmacists) and require two things from a potential licensee.

1. Industry specific knowledge.

2. Objective reasoning ability.

For instance a doctor must be able to gather real information about a patient and then use their knowledge to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment, or an engineer must be able to gather real information about a system in order to determine how it can be upgraded without causing instability.

What is not required of any of these professionals is good relationships with other professionals in their industry. One could argue that by consulting colleagues, a doctor or engineer can objectively improve their service to the patient or client, but this is an optional improvement rather than a requirement.

One of the problems with the present regulatory systems are that they require a set of professional references in order to obtain licensure. This unnecesary requirement was intended as a supplement to objective testing to insure that the two requirements listed above are met, however, in practice it is applied for an entirely different purpose. Existing professionals use this requirement for references whenever possible to limit potential competition by refusing to supply references to any individual that isn’t subservient to them. This limitation on competition artificially reduces the supply of professionals and therefore drives up the salaries of the existing professionals. So the existing professionals can gain doubly by not providing references to people that are not in some way beholden onto them. Unfortunately, by selecting new professionals in this way, only kantian subjectivists and Nietzscheans will be able pass through. The Kantian Subjectivists will be inherently less competent due to defects in their ability to think objectively, and the Nietzscheans will be competent but destructive in their works rather than creative.

Eliminating the need for professional references and compensating by making the objective testing process more stringent and comprehensive will increase the supply of professionals and therefore drive down costs to companies, clients, and patients; and the industry may be able to have professionals that think objectively and independently, but are not necessarily Nietzscheans.

#writing #Nonfiction
Copyright © 2017 Jonathan Hart

Assaults On Reason: Minimum Wage

There are many types of employment markets which exist at present.

1) Fungible work can be done by any person with a very low replacement cost.

2) Skilled work can be done by most people but there is a high cost to entry for new skiled workers. Replacement cost of a skilled worker with an already skilled worker is low.

3) Regulated work can be done by many people but there is a very high cost to entry for new workers. Replacement cost of a regulated worker with an exisitng regulated worker is low.

The current minimum wage directly affects businesses and employees which participate in the fungible work market or which employ trainees for skilled or regulated work. The effect of the minimum wage is to increase the cost to businesses of hiring workers that perform fungible work and to increase the cost of hiring workers to train for skilled or regulated work. The only way that a business can exist is if it is profitable so any affected business will have to try to increase the price of its products and/or services. If the products and services are offered in a competitve market with competitors that do not have to pay a minimum wage, then demand for the products and services provided by the business will fall as the price increases and the business will have to cut production which will commonly include eliminating some of the fungible work jobs. If the products and services are offered in a market in which all of the participants are affected by the minimum wage, then the cost of the products and services will raise everywhere in the market. If these products and services are unnecessary, then demand will fall when the price increases and businesses will have to cut production and therefore workers. If these products and services are necessary (like food and shelter) then the demand will not fall, but the purchasing power of the currency used to pay the minimum wage will fall. Thus the effects of a minimum wage will be the following two things:

1) Production will be decreased and fungible work or training jobs will be eliminated.

2) The cost of necessities produced by fungible work will raise and thus the purchasing power of the currency will decrease.

These effects may initially benefit the minimum wage employees that happen to get to keep their jobs, but harms every single other person in the market. The worse off are the employees whose jobs are eliminated, because they lose their income and inflation increases the prices for all necessities. Workers in the skilled and regulated markets are hurt to a small degree by having to pay more for their necessities.

However, even the benefit to the minimum wage employee also is questionable. Businesses have to try to maximize profits, and have to be able to predict future profits. The businesses that produce basic manufactured goods like lumber and steel have a low profit margins to begin with and must operate at the highest efficiency. These businesses, when hit with something like a minimum wage increase (sometimes combined with a clean air act and other regulations) will decide and largely have decided to move their operations to different labor markets in other countries. This has destroyed thousands of jobs and has ruined many urban centers of the US. In all of these cases, the minimum wage workers expected to get the benefit, but instead got the worse consequence of a minimum wage hike: Increased inflation and loss of income.

In addition to companies packing up and moving to another country, there is the alternative of automation. An automated process replaces one or more fungible workers with machines. In order to automate a process, a business must pay a high initial cost and then a reasonable periodic maintenance cost. Thus the “wage” of a machine is the loan payments for the installation cost plus the periodic maintenance cost. If this “wage” is less than the minimum wage of the employees that would be replaced, then the business would be sacrificing profit if it did not install the automation. In a market without minimum wage, the wages for fungible workers would be at their lowest level, and thus the job eliminating replacement with automation would be delayed until the cost of the automation decreases or until workers are no longer willing to accept the low wages.

Thus, the minimum wage provides only a small benefit (increased income but decreased purchasing power) to some workers in the fungible work market, but eliminates many of those same jobs by forcing a decrease in production, encouraging outsourcing, and encouraging automation. In a sense, the minimum wage for the workers is like a bunch of steers fenced in a small area being given a required minimum feed by ranchers. As the required minimum feed is increased, the ranchers have to shovel more, which makes them hungrier. A higher required minimum feed thus benefits the steers little and causes some of the steers to disappear to the butcher. Smart steers thus wouldn’t want increased feed, smart steers would want lowered fences.

#writing #nonFiction
Copyright © 2017 Jonathan Hart

 

Assaults on Reason: Mandated Keating-ism

Many modern corporations have been formed by or taken over by irrational egoists similar to Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead character Gail Wynand. These Nietzschean thugs think objectively, but in contrast to an objectivist rational egoist, they believe that it is right for them to do anything that they can get away with as long as it advances their interests. In others words, for these thugs, it is fine to lie, cheat, steal, and murder as long as no one believes that they lie, cheat, steal, and murder. It is because of the existence of these irrational egoists that egoism, individualism, and capitalism all get an unjustly bad reputation.

In order to secure themselves in their positions despite occassionally revealing their nature to certain people out of necessity, these Nietzschean thugs put rules in place which insure that these few witnesses will be easy to discredit or otherwise destroy. The most common form of corporate rules which are used ro accomplish this are those which require employees to be Kantian subjectivists like Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead character Peter Keating. Examples of these sorts of rules include: “The customer is always right,” “Employees must maintain good relationships with coworkers and clients,” “Employees must trust the intentions of other employees,” “Employees shall accept and agree with the ideas of the majority.”

In every case, these rules force employees to either act against their own best interest by complying with the rules to the letter or otherwise be guilty of misconduct for not complying with the rules. In either case, the employee is discredited. If the majority of employees comply with these rules, then any employee that switches to acting in their own best interest above those of the company can be fired for misconduct and thus be discredited among the other employees. If the majority of employees do not comply with these rules, but are able to keep their jobs by forming cliches and mutually concealing eachother’s misconduct, then any employee that starts to act in their own best interest above those of the cliche will be disavowed by the cliche and thier past misconduct will be reavealed allowing the company to fire them and thus discrediting them among the other employees.

With all of their employees thus discreditable, the “Gail Wynand”‘s can run amok with little or no fear of repercussions as long as they can avoid creating any hard evidence of their evils.

#writing #nonFiction
Copyright © 2017 Jonathan Hart

Assaults On Reason: False Incompetence

A common belief among subjectivists is that it is wrong for anyone to speak the actual truth about them. This belief arises in them in response to the fear they feel that their denials of reality will be exposed and they will be brought down to where they feel they should be. They believe that anything that makes them afraid must be a wrong, even though their fear would not exist if they had not denied reality in the first place. This is unreasonable. If a man murders a random man, he should not be permitted to murder the random man’s family and friends out of fear of retaliation for the original murder.

Because of this unreasonable belief arising from self created fear, subjectivists develop and employ many tools by which they can attack people that they cannot convince to join them in denying reality. One such tool is False Incompetence, and it is employed to ruin the credibility of the target. To understand the operation of the False Incompetence attack, one must look at the social dependencies that motivate the subjectivist. In order for a subjectivist to exist as such, they depend on key people to join them in their denial of reality. It is paramount for the subjectivist that these key people should continue to be willing to deny reality with them, and therefore, if the subjectivist has not enslaved their key people by some physical means, the subjectivist will endeavor to prevent these key people from getting any cause to stop denying reality for them. Therefore, if someone should provide a cause for others to stop denying reality for the subjectivist, the subjectivist will decide that this person must be discredited in the eyes of the key people, so that the cause is negated. One of the tools for this is False Incompetence. The subjectivist will go to the target that refuses to fake reality, and will try to turn their honesty against them. The subjectivist will allow or force the target to witness the subjectivist doing something incompetently for which the subjectivist is otherwise known to be an expert. The subjectivist then counts on the target telling the truth about the incident of incompetence to others, and then the subjectivist strikes back by demonstrating their clear competence in the matter and thus discrediting the target in the eyes of their key people.

The key weakness of the attack is that the subjectivist relies upon the target telling other people about the incident of False Incompetence that they witnessed. In order to combat the attack, the target must be independently minded enough to not have to tell other people everything that they see. If the target does have to recount the incident, in pursuit of there own values or in accordance with their principles, then they must do so without any accompanying unreasoned extrapolations or illogical conclusions.

Example:

Joey and Jane are coworkers. Joey, Jane, their boss, and many of their coworkers are alumni of Exampleton University. Joey, their boss, and many of their coworkers are not very talented, but they expouse the greatness of Exampleton U alumni and frequently talk about how necessary it is that they all look out for each other. One of the things about Exampleton U that they like to talk about is the univerity’s progressive anti-rape culture program. While Joey and Jane are in private, Joey grabs hold of Jane and kissses her. Jane tears away and expresses her lack of interest in Joey. Joey starts to think that Jane might tell everyone about the incident, and that if his boss believes Jane, then his boss will think that Joey is pro-rape culture and thus would be someone that they don’t all have to look out for. So Joey starts to talk to his boss about how worried he is about Jane’s opinion of him, not mentioning the stolen kiss, but rather saying that Jane acts all cold and serious and doesn’t like him for no apparent reason. Joey insinuates to his boss, that Jane might just hate men and tells a story about another woman he knew that hated men and filed false complaints against men. Joey isn’t satisfied with his boss’s reaction to his story and decides that something more is required. Where only Jane is within earshot, Joey pretends to make a call to an important client of the company and pretends to get into a heated, profanity laden argument with the client. Jane, knowing that the company is dependent on the client, informs her boss about the call she overheard. Her boss calls in Joey, and Joey denies the whole thing and insists that the boss call the client and confirm immediately. The boss calls the client and confirms that there was no argument, and fires Jane for making a false complaint.

That is a harsh example, because it doesn’t turn out well for Jane, even though her actions were all perfectly reasonable. The reason that Jane could not repel the attack was because of the subjective nature of the company. Firstly, there was the tribalist policy for Exampleton University alumni and second there was the company’s dependence upon that one client. Those two fundamental denials of reality are what allowed Joey to succeed in his further faking of reality.

#writing #nonfiction
Copyright © 2017 Jonathan Hart