Thursday, May 29, 2008

Experience: First Blood Part Deux

I tire of hearing the experience argument. I am not the first nor the last to be challenged with the question upon my experience. History is the study of man's past.
Ludwig von Mises in his great treatise, Human Action, sums it up:
If we speak of history, what we have in mind is only the history of human action, whose specific mental tool is understanding.[....] The subject matter of all historical sciences is the past. They cannot teach us anything which would be valid for all human actions, that is, for the future too. The study of history makes a man wise and judicious. But it does not by itself provide any knowledge and skill which could be utilized for handling concrete tasks. [...] The human mind is not a tabula rasa(blank slate) on which the external events write their own history. It is equipped with a set of tools for grasping reality. Man acquired these tools, i.e., the logical structure of his mind in the course of his evolution from an amoeba to his present state. But these tools are logically prior to any experience. [....] Experience merely directs our curiousity toward certain problems and diverts it from other problems. It tells us what we should explore, but it does not tell us how we could proceed in our search for knowledge. Moreover, it is not instances, it is necessary to investigate unrealizable hypothetical conditions in order to conceive what is going on in the real world.
In his book Theory and History, Mises opens with an introduction to dismantle the experience argument. He points that to have any understanding, man looks to history for regularity.
A stone is a thing that reacts in a definite way. Men react to the same stimuli in different ways, and the same man at different instants of time may react in ways different from his previous or later conduct. It is impossible to group men into classes whose members always react in the same way.[...] Experience is always experience of past happenings. It refers to what has been and is no longer, to events sunk forever in the flux of time. [...] The most experience can teach us is: in all cases observed in the past there was an ascertainable regularity. [...] Nobody says that stones thrown into the air at an angle of 45 degrees will frequently fall down to earth or that a human limb lost by an accident frequently does not grow again. All our thinking and all our actions are guided by the knowledge that in such cases we are not faced with frequent repetition of the same connection, but with regular repetition. [...] The apriori forms and categories of human thinking and reasoning cannot be traced back to something of which they would appear as the logically necessary conclusion. It is contradictory to expect that logic could be of any service in demonstrating the correctness or validity of the fundamental logical principles. All that can be said about them is that to deny their correctness or validity appears to the human mind nonsensical and that thinking, guided by them, has led to modes of successful acting.

The Call Out : Needing Experience

This post is for my father and my uncle who continuously drop the same line towards my arguments. "You weren't there" or "You have read books but don't have any experience."

Experience, to my father and my uncle it is experience which matters. All things that one can learn from logic is null and void. They would say, "Yes, I agree with what you say in theory, but in reality the world does not work this way. You need experience."

I will disprove this statement. It is simple as we only need to provide a definition to experience and view if all we know is because of experience.
Experience is a historical account of what has personally happened to oneself. Experience are those times that can be measured through our senses. A thought is not an experience for if a thought were an experience, logic learned through books would be held as true, but accordingly experience must be through our senses; To see, hear, smell, taste, or touch, these are what gives us experience. Do we all agree on this definition?

If so, then now we can disprove experience as a source of ultimate knowledge. The mind can not be sensed in any fashion. You can not see it, hold it, smell it, taste it, or hear it. How then do we know we have a mind? Logic. 1 + 1 = 2; 2 * 1 = 2; These simple mathematical equations are not known through experience. You can not sense 1 + 1 = 2 nor 2 * 1 = 2. They are understood through our logic. Time, space, mind, soul ... these are a few things that can not be proven through our senses and therefore can not be proven through experience by the above definition. Without our mind, time, or space there would be no such thing as the past, no such thing as experience. The mind, time, and space are known a priori, or before hand, so that we can comprehend our experience.

Thus, experience in itself can not teach you anything. Logic teaches that yes, the world does work this way. For experience can never teach mathematics, etc... Experience needs logic.
It is by applying logic that we truly comprehend the world.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

An Email about a Billion?!

This is from a chain letter email being sent around. I have not checked for any of the facts yet. I'll leave that to you.

How many zeros in a billion?

The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.

  • A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.
  • A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
  • A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
  • A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
  • A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
  • A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain...let's take a look at New Orleans… It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D) is presently asking Congress for 250 BILLION DOLLARS to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number...what does it mean?

Well... if you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans(every man, woman, and child) you each get $516,528.

Or... if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans, your home gets $1,329,787.

Or... if you are a family of four... your family gets $2,066,012.

Now… check out this list that we live with today and then really think about what it means in real dollars!

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago... and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt... We had the largest middle class in the world... and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. What the heck happened?

Monday, May 26, 2008

It is Memorial Day, but please don't thank me

Today is a day the government had called a holiday to celebrate those who serve and those who had served. It is always on these government declared days that the military is praised so thank you for your thanks, but you do not mean it. It is a thanks instituted by the government to make the nation thank its military, but if the citizens of this nation were truly thankful, there would not be a need for a special one day to thank.
I continuously repeat a line from Rambo First Blood part ii.
"I want what they want and what every other guy who came over here and spilt his guts and gave everything he had wants. For our country to love us, as we love it."

Sad news is that a country is not a being. A country can never love, nor can a government, but the citizens within can. If you want to thank the military then act like it, but you should know most did not join the military in order to do anything for anyone else but themselves and their families. I know I had no reason to enlist in the service. I would cry out that I would never fight an old man's war, and yet in 1999 before any terrorist attacks, I had joined the Marines. I had no reason other than I believed it to be the best opportunity for me. For whatever reason others have joined, I would bet that most are like me and had joined on their own interest. When I went to Iraq I did not cry out I am doing this for 'God, Country, Corp' as was preached unto me since boot camp. I knew that it was those things that I hold dear to my heart that would keep me alive in any situation. My cry "God, Family, Friends".
In boot camp, my thoughts were simple. The louder they cried "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" I would cry "Once a Dunois always a Dunois".

So no need to thank me. Words are cheap. If you really want to thank the military there are numerous ways. If you have a business, you can have military discounts year round like some companies do; not just a discount around Memorial Day.
Many enjoy Memorial Day for Rolling Thunder and love to watch them as they enter D.C., but Rolling Thunder has a message. They return each year not to celebrate but to bring awareness on those Missing in Action & Prisoners of War. Movies like Rambo part ii helps spread the message.
There are numerous other causes that you can help with by donating your time or money.
You can help military families or support a group that helps the military.
There are even numerous cases of former military personnel who have been wrongfully blamed.
For a recent venture look at a military war hero turned scape goat for a hazing incident. What can we do to help those who served and in need? Well that is up to you. Perhaps you may want to write letters to congressmen. Spread the news across the bloggersphere or perhaps find a way to create a fund to help those framed support their families even with a loss of paygrade and imprisoned.

Words are cheap. If you want to say thank you, there are numerous way to do it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Proposition for Mother's Day

  • Who had chosen this day to be Mother's Day?
  • Why should we all celebrate our mothers on the same day?
  • Why is it looked down upon when you don't?
  • Is it not better when the tradition is all your own such as wedding anniversaries?
  • Have to choose to love; if you are giving because it is expected then there is no love demonstrated in that moment, but if you are to give because you wanted to express yourself then there is a demonstration of love.
I propose that we change this. I will begin to celebrate Mother's Day on my birthday. I do not celebrate my birthday, and on the day that I had done nothing my Mother gave birth to me. It is a special day uniquely her own, and I will always know when to thank her each year.

In fact, why make birthdays uniquely a Mother's Day? Why not Father's Day too?
I think, I'll celebrate Parent's Day where I can celebrate the blessing my parents/family have bestowed upon me. Now I can get that reservation at the restaurant without a big wait, and show my love for them when I want to the way I like without any rules or restrictions. With the added bonus that I would never forget the day.

I can't wait for my birthday this year. I get to tell those who raised me

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Render Unto Caesar

For those that know me, they know I claim that economics helped me find faith. From social cooperation, entrepreneurship, to taxes... all are included in the Bible.

Well I have entered many arguments in justification of a smaller government, and in religious circles have always faced the same question. "What about 'Render unto Caesar'?"
Their take is that Jesus, being perfect, would not leave the words to be interpreted.
I see it as Jesus being perfect. The question of taxes was asked of Jesus in order to provoke him, and rather than answer against taxes, which would surely allow the state to arrest him. Jesus answers the question perfectly, 'render unto Caesar'. This does not mean that taxes are meant to be given; he referred to the coins that had the face of Caesar, but currency was not originally founded by government. In fact, the Roman empire needed taxes for their everyday regulatory society. If taxes are rightly the governments to have, then as are slaves.Roman coins with Caesar on it. Government's began to put their face on currency that cycled as to extend their control.

The Roman empire could not survive without its slaves, and yet we do not justify the slaves with the saying 'Render unto Caesar'.
No, I tell you, it is only the most perfect answer to the tricky question. It is like the middle school game where you ask your friend "Have you told your family you have AIDS?" If you answered yes you admit that you had AIDS. If you had answered no, you had admitted you had AIDS. It was a catch-22. While Jesus, so perfect, was able to overcome the Catch-22.
Taxes are an unlawful taking as we have no choice but to give and if we refuse we will be punished. As God gives us free will and does not restrict us from either choosing Him or against Him, why should we think He would restrict our choice towards government taxes.

So Render Unto Caesar What is Caesar's... Nothing.

This is a case of the Lydian Lion: Considered by some as the world's first coin.