Tag Archives: State

Coronavirus Conundrum: The futility of ethics by means of mathematics

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, there is a scene where Spock tells Kirk, who is struggling with an ethical dilemma, that “Logic dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”.

For many years this never sat well with me, for reasons that I could not quite articulate. I was unsettled. I had a suspicion that the claim was not logical at all. I mean, I suppose it was logical mathematically, but still something seemed off.

Years later I realized the specific problem. Spock is confusing ethical consistency with mathematical logic. Ethics are not mathematics, and the logic which governs the premises and conclusions of the two isn’t necessarily interchangeable. Philosophical logic, or what is better termed “rational consistency”, or “reason”, does not assert mathematical logic as axiomatic. This is because mathematics is wholly abstract, where philosophy is meta, incorporating both the abstract and the concrete. Philosophy, of which ethics is a major category, concerns the nature of existence, itself, not merely the abstract measurement and categorization of it.

Since the dilemma facing Kirk is an ethical one, and ethics are not mathematics, Spock’s claim that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one” is entirely meaningless with respect to the problem at hand. It was a pointless and decidedly ILLOGICAL waste of time and breath. Ethically, the needs of the many DO NOT outweigh the needs of the few or the one. This is because there is no rational ethical comparison between “many” and “one” when considering individual human beings. Each person is an utterly singular observer. There is no such thing as deriving an objective “us” or “we” or “many” from an absolutely singular conscious agent. There is SELF, and there is OTHER, where both are singular agents, fundamentally, but the combination of SElf and OTHER into “we” or “us” or “many” is an entirely abstract notion. “We” does not exist, fundamentally, at all. “We” is an abstract concept which combines individuals for purely practical, mutable purposes, never for root ETHICAL ones. Therefore, it is a failure of reason to claim that it is somehow better for, say, one to die than one million. The individual, at the level of SELF, is absolute…he or she IS THE OBSERVER, and he or she is CONSTANT. This is why the individual is so ineluctably necessary to existence and reality. Axiomatically, absent the frame of reference of one’s singular and constant absolute SELF, no claim can be made about anything…nothing known, nothing claimed, nothing verified, and thus nothing can exist, because an existence which cannot be known and thus cannot be valued and thus serve no purpose is a categorically IRRELEVANT existence. And irrelevant existence cannot actually exist, because it can never meaningfully DO anything, including EXIST.

So, that in mind, Spock is really attempting to assert that the needs of the many ABSOLUTES outweigh the needs of a few or one ABSOLUTE. Do you see the paucity of logic here? Spock implies that the death of one person is better than the death of a million, but there is no such thing as a comparison between a single Absolute, and a million Absolutes. “A million absolutes” is no more a quantity of absolutes than a single absolute. There is no AMOUNT of absolute SELF. There is ONLY SELF. Any quantification of individuals then is purely abstract. It is of practical use, but NOT of ethical use. When God says “thou shalt not kill” he doesn’t qualify that command by quantifying it. One death is as equally tragic as a million.

Moving on to the cornonvirus. Today I saw a Vox headline from April 1 which read “The Coronavirus is NOT the FLu. It’s Worse.” I didn’t read the article, because I didn’t have to. The title alone told me that reading the article would be a waste of time, because as far as I was concerned, this isn’t and never has been the issue. Comparisons between the coronavirus and the flu are not the fundamental point anyone should be making.

First of all, the title itself is massively subjective, as “worse” can be defined in multiple ways, and easily manipulated to bolster one’s own personal opinion, no matter what that opinion is. And even if we go with the ostensible meaning of the word—that by “worse” we mean “more dangerous, and with a higher mortality rate”—a month later from when the article was written, incidence testing around the world has proved that the coronavirus is NOT worse than the flu, and may in fact be LESS dangerous.

But who cares about this…this is incidental to anything involving the coronavirus insofar as society and public health is concerned. It’s not about how dangerous the coronavirus is or is not relative to the flu, or any other virus. We live in a context where, under the auspices of State Authority, we exist first and foremost as members of a collective. This makes any crisis, even a pandemic, not an ethical problem, but an examination of probability, and this implies the enumeration of the people. The people become numbers, and these numbers are then plugged into a much larger and more fundamental equation, which is this: What course of action best promotes and preserves the position and power of the State? And this is why government can react so differently to similar crises (eg swine flu vs coronavirus), and why its methods and actions are often so incongruent with emprical data (eg the ongoing lockdown despite evidence that the coronavirus is not a significant threat to the nation). The crises are similar, but the policies which best promote State power can widely vary from situation to situation.

And it is here were we get to the root of it all.

The biggest mistake we who are suspicious and critical of government interference make with respect to interpreting government response to crisis is that we confuse government, which is an institution of object violence, with an ethical entity…and more precisely, a MORALLY ethical entity. It is not. Its only purpose is to compel the collective masses into a particular abstract ideological standard that it alone legitimizes, no matter what appeals are made to individual rights or freedom, etc. Government, itself, not you or me or our neighbors, our businesses, our money, our health, our jobs…nothing matters besides that which affirms the State, and promotes the collective Ideal which legitimizes it (in the case of the US, where I am, this Ideal is the very nebulous “the People”). The government IS the nation…to save the government IS to save YOU and ME, so the “logic” goes. We are the State, the State is us. There is no individual to consider in the equation, and THIS is why the coronavirus is not a true ethical dilemma.

Those who are decrying the government’s draconian measures to control the virus are citing the numbers in an attempt to win the ethical debate. They are claiming that many, many more people will die in the long run from the severe economic catastrophe that the unconstitutional lockdown orders are inflicting. I, myself, have asserted this, and will continue to do so. After all the truth is the truth—if you look at the data gathered by highly competent and established epidemiologists and virologists there is simply no way a rational person can conclude that this virus is paticularly dangerous for the VAST majority of human beings, And if you look at the economic data, there is no way a rational person can deny that the measures taken to control the pandemic will kill many more people than the virus ever will. However, as this is not a specifically ethical argument, it will fail thus when employed as one. ETHICALLY, those who would rather doom a billion people via the government’s orders to lockdown society in order to save a few thousand people who might otherwise die from the virus are NOT wrong. It is NOT ETHICALLY (specifically, it is not not morally) wrong to suggest that the smaller number of lives saved by government are EQUALLY and possibly MORE important than the billions who will be destroyed by the ongoing lockdown. Why? Because, as I said, this is NOT an ethical dillema. You cannot make an ethical comparison of the importance of one life over another, so to persist in the fallacious idea that you can possess moral and rational superiority by simply appealing to the math is ludicrous. IF the government wants to kill a billion in order to save a few thousand, an ethical argument about the value of this many lives versus that many is NOT an effective argument because the situational context has nothing to do with the value of individual life.

But, you might say, why not then simply appeal to the mathematical logic? You might say that it doesn’t make sense, numerically, for the governemnt to doom a billion to save a few thousand. Surely it is in the best interest of the State to rule over many than a few, right?

The answer, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, is: not necessarily. It might, but it might not. The bottom line is that IF the State feels that it is in its best interest to destroy the many in order to save the few then this is the course of action it WILL pursue. If you think that the power and position of those in goverment are not the supreme consideration in dealing with any and all issues related to a nation, be it a pandemic or any other thing, then you simply do not understand the true and root nature of the State and the nature of your position under its authority. And there is no ethical argument you can bring to bear which will alter the course of government action. You can quote numbers all day long, and conflate mathematics with ethics all day long, but it will do you no good. It is an exercise in futility and will only serve to exasperate, frustrate, and disappoint you. The only way you will ever get the State to change its course is to somehow convince it, or hope that it will at some point be convinced, that it is in ITS, not YOUR, best interest to choose a different direction.

And here we DO actually get a glimps of the ethics of government. What is “good” for the State is technically an ethical question. Yet we must make a distinction between MORAL ethics and LEGAL ethics. In this article, for semantic’s sake, I used “ethical” as a synonym for “moral”, which I’m sure you understood. After all, any discussion of ethics as it involves human beings may typically be seen as a discussion of morality. But moral ethics are not the same as legal ethics, and I have several articles on this blog where I deal specifically with the difference, so I will not do that here. The point I want to make is that in order to convince the government to change its course, one must convince it that such a change is first and foremost GOOD for the STATE. What is good for the person, for you and me, for the individual, for the human being, is entirely irrelevant, and will never prove efficacious in persuading the government to do anything.

END

Why Government is Infallible: The Narcissism of the State

There is no such thing as a governmental solution to the “problems” of government. This is because government, according to the philosophical premises which underwrite it, cannot possibly have any actual problems in the first place.

The State is Authority, and Authority is Force. And the underwriting philosophy tells us that this force is how and why humanity is able to exist at all. It is the cure for humanity’s natural existential inadequacy—man’s “sin nature”, if you will. Man is the problem, government is the solution. Man, if allowed to exercise his unfettered and ungoverned individual will, must inexorably, by nature, devour his neighbor and eventually destroy himself due to his endemic and insatiable appetite for selfishness. Unless his behavior is fundamentally dictated by a supremely violent coercive Authority comprised of a small number of divinely enlightened and appointed philosopher kings, humanity shall be banished from reality, itself, never to be again.

Since the clairvoyance of those charged with saving humanity from itself cannot possibly be apprehended by the barbarian masses, nor can it ever truly be understood by those who are called to rule—because it transcends man’s utterly finite intellectual and rational capacity and therefore extends immeasurably beyond the inadequate confines of human language—there are no problems with the State as far as any human being is concerned. For even if the State somehow actually had a problem, not a one of us, neither the ruler or the ruled, could ultimately understand or articulate it. The terms by which the government is established emanate from a Supreme Being—God, or some other Ideal (The People; We the People; The Worker’s Utopia; Racial or Social Justice; The Master Race, etc.)—who calls rulers and enlightens them in spite of their natural human existential insufficiency. What the ruler knows, he just knows…somehow. What government is exactly at root and how it got there is not for him to say, and he couldn’t say it anyway because this knowledge, though residing in him is infinitely distinct from him qua him. The ruler, you see, occupies a strange and pradoxical existential position, as he is both God and man. He is perfect, because he is the State, and yet he is not perfect because the State exists in spite of him. But this contradiction never actually matters because as he is called to rule by God, and his position of Authority is absolute, he can never consider himself in error about anything. He may be determined to be in error by those who for some reason have more power than himself, but in that context he is merely another barbarian like you or me; if he is disciplined for error by those who have power over him punishment will be forced upon him like it is forced upon the rest of us. And if a ruler does somehow humble himself and admit some kind of mistake, he can never concede that he failed as a function of his judgement as a ruler, only as a function of his judgement as a human.

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As the perfect knowledge and power given to those called to rule, and which serves as the philosophical underpinnings for this rule, is a direct function of the Supreme Being which is thus and therefore perfect, the State can never, ever possibly be in error about anything at all. In other words, the State is a direct function of God, however we wish to define Him or It, therefore the State can never be the problem…whatever problem happens to be in question. The problem must always be people. Humanity, apart from the perfect, transcendent, and all powerful Creator—because humanity is “fallen” and infinitely wicked and existentially in error—is the only reason anything ever goes wrong, anywhere, all the time. Period. Full stop.

Government, being an extension of God necessitated by the infinite evil of man’s life, is always right; inerrant; infallible. It can do no wrong; it is perfection qua perfection. And even if it wasn’t, neither you nor I could ever be in a position to tell the difference. We are the barbarian masses…the ignorant unwashed. Government supersedes us in existence, and transcends us in wisdom and goodness, which is why it is in the position of Lawgiver and Enforcer. It alone has been tasked to exist as the earthly incarnation of the Supreme Being (however that is defined). It alone has the right to determine what Ethics shall be established (outside of man) and to use legalized violence to compel the rest of humanity (within its geopolitical sphere of influence, which it is always seeking to expand) into “correct” thought and behavior.

In short, government is the perfect iteration of narcissism. It is narcissism institutionalized—narcisssim established as the bedrock of civilization. If you have ever asked yourself why our culture is becoming more and more narcissistic, with a sort of pathological devotion to imperious, irrational self-indulgence on a mass scale, even arrantly and proudly hedonistic, it is because the culture reflects the mannerisms, principles, and virtues of the State, not the other way around.

Government can never and will never fundamentally accept responsibility for any failure, or admit that it is even possible for it to commit fault or error, because its root existential purpose—to remediate humanity’s “original sin”—makes doing so a completely self-nullifying proposition. Government can no more represent a fundamental failure to any endeavor than a square can also be a circle, or a baby can also be a man. It simply has no frame of reference for its own failure (though occasionally to assuage or manipulate the “barbarian masses”  it might pay some mildly-convincing lip-service to its “mistakes”), because it exists for the sole purpose of atoning for the absolute existential inadequacy of man. In other words, in the same way that man, according to the collectivist metaphysics which underwrite all governemnts, is perfectly inadequate to his own existence—metaphysically, epistemologically, and ethically —government is the perfect solution. The Divine solution. As much as man is perfectly inadequate, government is perfectly adequate to satisfy the natural failure of man. It is the perfect solution to the to the root metaphysical problems of man because it is the only solution. It is the only option man has for the survival of the species, both in body and in spirit. Government is the Authority which must force man into proper and moral and efficacious existence, and so it cannot make a mistake because a mistake necessarily represents a contradiction to its very natural essence. In other words, because government is the only possible fundamental solution to the fundamental problems of the world caused fundamentally by the failure of man’s birth to prepare him for existence, any error the government might theoretically make could only be remediated by government anyway.

Man is the problem, government is the solution. And those two states of being are absolute and immutable. This is 99% of what you need to know.

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Government is the fundamental solution to all the errors in the world because all errors in the world are a fundamental product of man’s existence, which is a failure in and of itself.  To be more specific, the natural failure of man is precisely his individual sense of his absolute Self, which categorically infects his mind, choices, and behavior. Man is naturally given to calling himself “I”, but the collectivist metaphysics of the State demand that the only way he can survive is if he is subordinated to the metaphysical primary of “we”—“We the People”; “We the Nation”; “We the Church”, “We the Race”; “We the Chosen”; “We the Oppressed”; “We the Non-White”; “We the Workers”. And ths is precisely what government does. It transfers ethics from morality, which is fundamentally individualistic, to legality, which is fundamentally collectivistic, and the uses legally sanctioned violence to force the individual to submit to the Collective Ideal which it represents as the Ideal’s functional and practical incarnation on earth. The individual shall not consider Government as distinct from God, you could say, because there is simply no way to metaphysically make any such distinction in the first place.

In summary, we should remember that like the narcissist, any mistakes the government makes are always and entirely the fault of others…of you and of me. Which is simply another way of saying that government doesn’t make mistakes. And this is why, in spite of all the reasoned arguments and objective evidence as to its catastrophical incompetence, government inexorably grows massive, assumes ever-increasing power, becomes more reckless, less tolerant of criiticism, more resistant to real change, more violent, more corrupt, more blind, more deaf, less sympathetic, heartless, incompetent,  bloodthirsty, and beastly.

And yet, it concordantly becomes that much more adored.

END

The Confederate Flag Fiasco, and Why it’s a Win For Collectivist Authoritarianism

Ignoring the usual specious messages concerning the Confederate battle flag, let’s look at this another way.

Since ostensibly our government is a representative one, we can make the claim that public property–the government land subsidized by the citizens–is property belonging to the PUBLIC (setting aside for the moment the fact that collectively-owned property is an impossibility, which makes the whole argument about what should or shouldn’t be displayed upon it thus irrelevant). This being the case, any private citizen should be able to petition the government to display his or her works upon public property; that is, if we want to consistently apply the idea of public property–property owned by the people, which is (theoretically) the very definition.

There can be no rational and therefore no moral reason to deny any such petition other than if the display is in service to an expressed intent to violate the life or property of another citizen. (For example, if someone wanted to display a swastika on public grounds to openly express his or her desire to kill all the Jews, this would make such a display immoral, and thus it should be denied.)

Since symbols are subjective, one cannot deny such a petition on the grounds that the symbol ITSELF is offensive, or means this or that…because again this is an attempt to invoke the logically impossible argument that symbols have objective meaning. To claim a symbol means something to EVERYONE is clearly overstepping one’s own epistemology, since it is impossible for you to know what something MEANS to someone else unless they concede YOUR definition of it.

The only other alternative is to ban, in a rank display of contradiction, ALL symbols from the private citizen upon public grounds. But this of course would need to include ALL monuments and flags pertaining to the State itself, since (again, ostensibly) the government represents an extension of the people; thus, there can be no such thing as purely a “governmental” or “national” symbol.

You see, what those calling for the arbitrary removal of the confederate flag from all state grounds are doing is attempting to reconcile two mutual exclusivities. The symbols of the Central Authority (the government) AS BEING and AS REPRESENTING the symbols of the private citizen, thus making government or national symbols acceptable but private symbols illegal. Insofar as it is impossible to make that which is COLLECTIVE a symbol of and for he or she who is INDIVIDUAL, it is impossible to declare the moral and legal display of national symbols while declaring the display of private symbols upon government grounds immoral and illegal. As soon as you appeal to the right of the nation to display ITS symbols on public grounds, you MUST appeal to the right of the individual to do the same, since the first CANNOT exist without the second. That is, if you mean to be rational. Which is only an assumption, of course. Looking at the nature of the predominant philosophies in circulation today, one might just as easily assume the collective eschewing of rationality.

Anyway…

Nevertheless this is the argument being made, and that we are being asked to swallow; and those rationally minded among us simply cannot concede that it is ever a good idea to exchange reason for madness simply because not doing so is “offensive”–whatever that means.

The idea that the government has the right to display its symbols and monuments upon public property but the individual does not, due to the risk of “offense” , is merely conceding the right of the State to subordinate the citizen to itself. Which is PRECISELY what this flag nonsense is all about. Nothing more nor less. This is a fight not for the rights of the oppressed minority, but an attempt to spread oppression to ALL people because it is now commonly accepted–either consciously or tacitly–that the only moral individual is one who is being sacrificed to the Group; and ALL Groups derive their just meaning and purpose from the State .

In other words, the only good individual is a dead individual.