About justice and mercy

There are a lot of people who think justice is a bad word, something associated with cruelty, formality, cold application of the rules without mercy. Mercy, however, is seen as a good thing, as something that corrects the merciless nature of justice.

How wrong you are.

Let’s first define justice, so that we know exactly what we are talking about. Justice is when good is victorious over evil. Justice is when good deeds are rewarded, exactly as much as they need to be. Justice is when evil deeds are punished, exactly as much as they need to be.

Justice is not only when a perpetrator of a crime is punished, and his victim is restituted. Justice is also when the power of God stands guard over the righteous ones, protecting them from evil, not allowing them to become victims in the first place. Justice is when one’s righteousness is a shield that protects him from all harm. Justice is when your evil deeds expose you to harm, in exact proportion with the gravity of the deed.

Justice is when one’s good and evil deeds are weighed separately, and the punishment for evil is such that it allows the good in the person to prevail and overcome evil, instead of destroying the good together with evil. Justice is also when trickery and deception are seen through, and the truth is known.

There is nothing more beautiful or merciful than God’s sword of justice. There is nothing I would like more, in this life or the next, than to be judged by this sword, without mercy.

Some people think that God, being the greatest and the most powerful, is somehow the most distant, inhuman, cold in his justice, not able to understand the human situation and view it with mercy, and so they seek the refuge of saints, the lesser holy beings, who are somehow closer to them and thus presumably better able to understand them and to forgive them.

But this is so wrong. God is not the greatest in the sense that he is most distant, bigger than the biggest object, more powerful than any weapon. No, God is the greatest because he is the underlying reality of all. God is the greatest not only because he’s above the galaxies of the Universe, but also because he’s between every two atoms that make up your mortal flesh. When your thoughts move, they do so in God. God knows you more intimately than you know yourself, and much better. He knows what you would ask if your mind were clear enough to do so and in knowledge of the greatest good you could possibly imagine, and beyond. The saints, they are the distant beings. You need to contact them, you need to call their attention, you need to explain things to them. They don’t know you, they are so far away, because they are more human, distinct from you, but God is already here. Your brain is made up within his thought, your feelings whirl the substance of his spirit, your most intimate desires and longings are known to him before you become aware that you have them. You think that your self is the closest to you, that you know yourself best, but God is closer, and knows you better. You cannot even imagine what it feels like, because you would probably instantly die of pure joy if you were to truly feel that.

That is why I would take his justice over anyone else’s mercy. You trust in mercy of human-like beings with human-like traits all you want, but I will stand to be judged by the perfect justice of the one who knows me better than I know myself.

By willing to be judged without mercy by the sword of perfect justice, I discover that I am the hand that wields it, and that it is the greatest mercy.

Democracy and its alternatives

Whenever democracy as a system of rule is questioned, I invariably see Winston Churchill quoted saying that “democracy is the worst system of government, except for all the others”.

I’ve been thinking about that, because I have an unnerving feeling that it’s one of those things that ring true, but only because of shared assumptions that might prove to be false.

First of all, excuse me if I don’t just take Churchill’s word for it, because a genius who engineered such a brilliant military feat as the invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli and personally presided over the demise of the British Empire might also be completely mistaken on other matters.

Let us first define what a system of government is, what democracy is, and what makes a good system of government. This is important because I want us to avoid conflating political and economic systems to the point where we can no longer separate their individual effects. Also, we need to separate the concept of general scientific and technological advancement from our estimates of political systems. Also, we need to separate the natural and circumstantial wealth from our equation. I will first explain why, so that you can follow my line of thinking more easily.

An example of separating the system of government from the economic system are the Asian technological giants, such as South Korea, Japan, Singapore and China. They all have very authoritarian social systems and systems of government, where democracy doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to them that it does to us. However, they all adopted some form of a capitalist, free market economy, and as soon as they did, their overall economic condition has improved significantly, to the point of transforming them into world powers. Why is it important to separate government from economy? Because we might feel tempted to ascribe the success of the economy to a system of government, and that would be a fallacy. Obviously, we can have successful economies regardless of whether the government is democratic or dictatorial, as long as it doesn’t meddle into the economy.

The reason why we need to separate the overall level of scientific and technological progress from the system of government is because those two things are also independent values, in a sense that you can have a technologically inferior democracy of ancient Greece, and technologically superior dictatorship of ancient Persia. You can also have a technologically inferior America and technologically superior Nazi Germany. Soviet Union was a communist dictatorship, and was technologically either the most advanced on Earth or on par with the most advanced. Essentially, technology and science are as separate from government as is economy, but of course government can significantly influence them both if it chooses to do so.

We also need to remove natural and circumstantial wealth from our equations. Circumstantial wealth is derived from one’s geography; for instance, a country like Croatia can have great natural beauty, which can be an useful source of income from tourism, but it says nothing about either the merit of its economic system, or its government. It’s simply the property of its geography. Some other country, like Singapore, can be located on a major trade route, and can derive a part of its economic success from that. Others, like the Arab countries, can have vast natural reserves of oil, which provide incredibly high income, independently from their economic or political system. A country can, therefore, derive substantial wealth from simply being at the right place at the right time. Before Rockefeller figured out what to do with oil, it was completely useless and didn’t provide any income to the Arab tribes who lived there, and value of their political and economic systems should be assessed on their pre-petroleum state.

So, the fact that some country is wealthy or technologically advanced doesn’t mean that its system of government is superior, because one can become wealthy due to robbery, and one can become technologically advanced because the militaristic regime invests resources in technology in order to be able to successfully attack other countries.

So, we now have quite a problem: we eliminated the vast majority of factors that would normally weigh into our assessment, and the question is, what remains there for us to use in order to compare various systems of government?

Let us first see what forms of government were actually in use throughout history.

We had tribal meritocratic democracy, as probably the first form of government over small populations. Essentially, you had elders who defined what should and shouldn’t be done, you had some shaman who was consulted on supernatural things, and you had the chief who made operational decisions when there wasn’t enough time for long deliberations. This is probably the optimal form of government for humans, and probably the only one that has been around so long it has the strong backing in human genetics; it is probably as old as the use of fire and tools, if not older. Essentially, it’s the pattern humans naturally recreate whenever possible, whether in tribes, religious communities or gangs.

This system has one major flaw: it doesn’t scale well for bigger communities, and was abandoned in favor of the oriental despotic system when agriculture needed to be organized on a large scale in order to provide food much more efficiently than was possible for smaller communities or their agglomerates. Essentially, in order to organize a big state, you couldn’t rely on letting people just naturally do whatever they felt like doing. You needed to order them around in some logical, efficient arrangement. You needed to organize irrigation, you needed to organize an army and defensive fortifications, essentially you needed a system where those who knew what had to be done would give the orders, and everybody else would obey them. This worked remarkably well, and is the second most stable form of government known to mankind. However, with mass feeding and mass living it also introduced mass murder, in form of wars. This is the first form of government that made possible the organization of large scale military expeditions, either for defense or conquest. It also made it possible to advance science, technology and architecture on levels not seen before. This form of government was independently invented on different continents, and is apparently a normal phase of development from tribalism into civilization.

One might now mention ancient Greece as an example of democracy, but I disagree. The Greeks were on the tribal, pre-civilized or proto-civilized stage of social development, and their civilization is more of a tribal agglomerate than anything else. They were no more or less democratic than the Lakota or the Cheyenne. Their polises were democratic compared to the Persian Empire, in the same way in which the North American native tribes were democratic compared to the Aztecs, but that doesn’t make them more advanced. It just means they were small enough to be able to manage their affairs efficiently in a tribal manner.

One of the most important social developments in tribal societies that grew to unusual size, but still not big enough to demand strict top-down management of the oriental despotisms, is formation of aristocracy, which is essentially a hierarchical layer of “more deserving” members of society, who wished to have more rights and privileges compared to others. This is a different, more defined form of hierarchy compared to the meritocracy present in the smaller communities, and was usually hereditary. Essentially, it enabled concentration of wealth and power within a small social circle which separated itself from the more “base” folk. What “democracy” usually meant in such communities was that this aristocracy made the decisions which the rest of the people had to obey. Greece and Rome are an excellent example of such social divisions.

The interesting thing with such social stratifications is that they lessen the requirement for broad popular support in the process of election of leadership. Essentially, in small social groups you have to govern by consent. As the community grows bigger, and as the society is stratified, the highest social stratum can elect leadership with little or no input from the lower strata. In some cases, when leadership becomes hereditary, the democratic input is reduced to zero. One can argue that the worst examples of leadership come from this category, because if one didn’t even have to convince the aristocracy of his society of his merit for leadership, and only had to be born in the right family, the probability of him having “the right stuff” for a leader is negligible. Even in Roman times it was common knowledge that the best emperors were in fact adopted, basically hand-picked as heirs to the throne, and the worst ones were born to the position. The few examples to the contrary, such as Titus, were the exceptions that made the rule. Essentially, what that means is that you can have a very good and effective system of government as long as the leader or the aristocracy has to pick the successor from the number of those who rose through the ranks and are therefore competent. But if leadership is hereditary, the probability of getting an idiot for a king is exceedingly high.

Also, while you can have a system of government which consists of a successful warlord and his henchmen who divide the country among themselves, the stability of such government is poor, because if the majority of people are treated as hardly more than cattle, the “nobility” is meritocratic only in a sense of rewarding help in times of war, and such war-based meritocracy is hardly conducive to the general advancement of society. This is why such primitive feudal societies are hardly more than an armed gang of thugs which exploits the population of illiterate peasants.

In order for a society to advance, it must be inclusive, in a sense that the general population has a stake in it, in a sense that it will be willing to defend its government, and not just move out of the way if a rival gang of thugs wishes to take over. Also, for the society to be stable the general population must willingly finance it, and not just be forced to pay taxes. Apparently, this is the real use of the entire show of democracy, in which the general population is allowed to pick one of the leadership candidates presented to them by the higher social strata. The end-result would be very similar if the aristocracy simply elected the president themselves, but then the general population would feel excluded and, in fact, would feel a certain degree of resentment toward the aristocracy, and this doesn’t allow for an effective government. If you want people to obey you, you basically have only two options. You can employ the pharaonic model, where the ruler is presented as someone who has the heavenly mandate and it is therefore a religious duty of all citizens to obey him as they would obey the gods. Alternatively, you can attempt to emulate the tribal meritocratic democracy, where the people elect their leader among the most effective social organizers, someone whom they feel as their own, and would obey him because they trust him. You can, of course, skip the requirement of popular support, and rule by naked force, but historically such rule lacks stability and is quickly deposed by some alternative militant fraction.

Essentially, what we can safely conclude is that real democracy works only in smaller tribal communities, which are small enough for all the members to know each other, to have a say in the choice of leadership, and to have the ability to depose leadership if it goes astray. As the community grows, it becomes impractical to elect the leadership directly, because you simply don’t know all the people directly and you are not aware of their qualifications directly, so the best you can do is divide the community into small sub-communities that elect their own delegates to represent them in a popular assembly, where the leadership of the entire nation is elected. It would actually be dangerous for the people to attempt to elect the leadership directly, because they don’t actually know the candidates directly and can only judge them on superficial impressions and propaganda. This, in fact, is the greatest drawback of today’s attempts at emulating democracy.

So, instead of trying to say whether Churchill was right saying that democracy was the best system of government, we would be better off asking a different set of questions – for instance, what methods did different systems of government historically use to assure broad popular support, and with what results? If we judge on the stability of a society, our current model of government can only be seen as a recent experiment which produced mostly disastrous results, from the slaughterhouse that was the French revolution, through American independence which meant buying slaves from African markets in order to grow cotton on land that was stolen from the native tribes, through colonialism, two world wars, eugenics, racism and genocide. Essentially, if you think we fare better than the pharaonic despotisms of antiquity, you are deluding yourselves. Our political system is very volatile and historically proved likely to result in bloody conflicts. What masks this reality is the huge advancement in science and technology, and a rather broad access to the benefits of modern technology, where a common citizen can enjoy functionality that used to be beyond the wildest dreams of kings. This, however, has nothing to do with democracy; Singapore is not a democracy in any conventional meaning of the word and is among the wealthiest countries. South Korea is at best an elitist hierarchical society, and has extremely advanced technology. Do we even need to mention China? Essentially, what makes a society work is some strange mixture of the popular support for the government, a sense of inclusion of the general population, a feeling of sharing the common goals with the leadership, a feeling that the laws of the society are just and fair, and a Darwinian meritocracy of economy and science. It needs to be democratic only in the broadest sense, that the general population identifies with the government and recognizes it as its own.

About diversity

Let’s talk about diversity. It’s touted as one of the most important positive things about the modern society. However, we need to see what it is, and if it is all it’s claimed to be.

A society is based on some basic principles. For instance, whether church is separated from the state, whether government is limited by constitution or dictatorial, whether all people are equal before the law or they are separated into castes. If you want a state to function at all, you can’t have diversity about those fundamental issues in your society, because if you do it will end in a civil war. You need to have a basic agreement on some fundamental concepts, and if someone opposes those concepts, he’s not really enriching your society, he’s striking a discordant note which might produce societal collapse.

For instance, if you have a society consisting of one group that promotes the concept of sanctity of life, and another group that promotes the concept of harvesting tissues from aborted fetuses in order to grow replacement organs for rich people, this is not the kind of diversity that will help. Also, if you have diversity where most religions agree that church should be separate from the state and that they should all peacefully coexist and preach their respective religious teachings, and one believes that this is a blasphemous concept, and that its religious laws should be the law of the land, and all non-believers should be either converted, killed or forced to pay a special religious tax, this is not the kind of diversity that will help the long term well-being of the state. What I want to say is, diversity cannot go so far as to oppose the basic precepts of one’s civilization, and the basic precepts of the state constitution. You can’t have a functional modern society if a significant portion of the population thinks it’s fine to eat babies.

People often think of diversity in terms of cuisine or clothing. It’s fine to eat Indian food one day, and Mexican the next. It’s actually something to be recommended. It’s also fine if people dress in different ways, because it is harmful to be stuck in fixed patterns and it’s great to see and experience some diversity. Also, people mention diversity in the context of race and sexual orientation. Again, I don’t see a problem there if you’re not dealing with harmful options. If someone’s sexual preference is to fuck babies or goats, that’s not diversity, that’s just fucked up; however, anything consensual that happens between adults is fine with me. Also, if you have people of different races but similar abilities, it’s all fine, nothing wrong with that. The problem is when you ignore the concept of actual value. Diversity is fine if it embraces different things of value, but if it forces us to accept things that are of no positive value, that actually degrade our life and experience, of what use is diversity then? For instance, if some African tribe has a custom of genitally mutilating little girls or owning slaves, should we embrace this as diversity? No, we should condemn this as primitive, and we should actually go so far as to eradicate the custom altogether, because this kind of “diversity” should be called “evil”, and evil needs to be fought.

One of the main advantages of nation-states is that those individual states can be organized according to specific civilizational and societal circumstances, instead of trying to force everyone to accept some common denominator, and those separate states can then compete to see which is best. If you have independent nation-states, people can choose to live somewhere where the basic rules agree with them. If they don’t like the rules, they can get the hell out. That, in my opinion, is real diversity, of the kind that was historically proven. Let people organize their respective societies according to their respective ideas, but when some of those fail, don’t whine about it, because that’s how evolution actually works in the real world. You try different things, and some work better than others. You have diversity, but most of those diverse options will prove to be failures.

The dark energy problem

While trying to wake up properly this morning I had an idea that I think might work towards solving the “dark energy” problem.

The summary: curvature of the empty-space manifold is negative.

Explanation: I personally subscribe to Einstein’s and Feynman’s explanation of gravity as a property of mass which curves space. It cannot be propagated by some kind of particle, among other things because the black holes would close themselves off at the event horizon. Gravity is simply a geometric property – as Feynman said, it wouldn’t confuse us if we used a different coordinate system. So, what gravity does is create a positive distortion of the spatial manifold. The simplest explanation as to why the Universe accelerates in its expansion is that empty space curvature is not zero, but a slight negative value. Even a small amount of mass is sufficient to cancel out this curvature, but in intergalactic space, the curvature of space becomes negative, which explains the structure of the Universe which seems to consist of “filaments” of galaxies that cluster together and then you have vast areas of empty space. This is consistent with my thesis because that’s exactly how the Universe would behave if empty space had a slight negative curvature.

As a disclaimer, I didn’t look all that much into physics recently so it’s quite possible that someone else solved the problem in the meantime, but I, at least, feel better having this explanation because the dark energy problem was a slight mental itch I couldn’t scratch.

Stop cursing the darkness

I’ve been trying to figure out the underlying reason of the total and utter pussification of the western civilization, and I came to an interesting observation.

It seems that we are all locked in the political aftermath of the end of the second world war, among other things because we define “good” as “opposite to Hitler and the Nazis”.

Essentially, people switched from trying to be like Jesus to trying be the opposite of Hitler. The problem is, defining good through a negative isn’t really the best idea – loving God is a much better idea for reaching perfection, than hating Satan, but since the winners of the WW2 included the Soviet communists, you can understand why any mention of a positive moral attractor was discouraged.

Since Hitler was defined as the origin of the new ethical coordinate system, people asked what exactly was the problem with him, in a sense of identifying the active compound that made him evil, and so they concluded that he was intolerant, and he violated human rights.

He was also against perversions in art, so perversions in art became the norm and something to strive towards, and classical art became extinct.

He was also for traditional family values, and so traditional family values became passe, something that stupid and backward people embrace.

He promoted the concept of difference between the races, so the concept of a difference between the races became a scientific and social tabu. Furthermore, any concept where something was better than something else became suspicious, especially when the white Europeans came on top of the comparison. Since Hitler said that the whites are superior and need to be promoted, it became politically correct to say that the whites are inferior, criminal, guilty for all sorts of things and they need to be repressed.

You’ll agree that I’m not all that far off the mark here. What’s my recommendation? It’s to let go of Hitler altogether, and adopt positive examples instead of negation of the negative ones. Nobody can be so negative that his negation would provide a truly valid positive example. It’s just not how things work. You don’t curse the darkness, you turn on the light. So, instead of trying to define good as the opposite of Hitler, let’s admire good people and their good deeds, let’s worship God from whom all goodness emanates, and let’s use the scientific method for figuring out what is better than what, and promote what is good and discourage what is bad.

It’s about time the second world war ended.