Embrace the differences

I was thinking about something just now – how do you know how good something is, and how to compare two different things, be it computers, cameras or political systems. You can’t really take someone’s word for it, because computer manufacturers will say that their computer is the greatest thing ever, and adherents of a political system will say theirs is the best ever. So how do you cut through the bullshit?

Well, I ask “what does it do?” If Intel CPU has the nominal clock of 4 GHz and 4 physical cores with 8 threads, and AMD CPU has the nominal clock of 4 GHz and 8 physical cores, do you say that 8 is more than 4 and AMD is better? You’d be wrong because if you benchmark the two, testing “what they do”, it turns out that Intel is significantly faster. Obviously, you can’t judge on nominal performance and you can’t use mere logic and common sense, because your common sense will make assumptions, like the one that 4GHz is 4GHz, and that’s not really so, because different CPU architectures can differ in how many instructions per clock they can execute, and AMD actually shares a FPU unit between two nominal cores, so those cores are not really the same as the Intel ones. Essentially, there are too many differences for you to be able to compare them on mere numbers, without actually testing them. What’s the lesson in this? Don’t trust the narrative. A political system can sound great on paper, but how many implicit unwarranted assumptions did you make? What did you miss, what was unknown, unsaid, and can influence the end result? You need to see the results. For instance, Marxism always sounds good on paper. People are equal, they have the same rights, and if some have more than others it’s injustice which needs to be remedied. Since the thieves will not willingly give up their privileges, the state must do something to redress injustices. If you fix injustices, you are a noble person. You are on moral high ground.

But what about those assumptions? You made the assumption that wealth is pre-existent and if someone has more than his fair share, which is the total amount of wealth divided by the number of people, it’s not right. However, what if all that is wrong? What if people aren’t equal? What if they have different abilities, and make different choices? What if those choices have different outcomes? You have a class of pupils in school, and some choose to play football while others learn. Those who learn get better grades. Is it social justice to give everyone the same grades just because you assume that all pupils are equal and therefore deserve getting equal grades? Oops.

So suddenly “fair” isn’t “everybody getting the equal share of everything”, but “everybody getting what they deserve according to the choices they made on an equal playing field”. Suddenly, Marxism lost its claimed moral high ground. If you’re not convinced, just substitute something else instead of money or resources, for instance beauty and sex. Marxism would claim that beautiful people grabbed more than their rightful share of sexual attractiveness, and that isn’t fair. They should be surgically altered to be made uglier, so that all would be equally unattractive, and women should be forced by the state to have sex with men who are so unattractive that nobody wants to fuck them.

So, how about that? Do you now understand why I think social justice is when there’s a reasonably equal playing field, on which all compete, they try different things and they have different outcomes, and it’s perfectly just for some to get better outcomes than the others? Of course, you might argue that some things, such as philosophy and art, need to have preferential treatment, because they serve the common good, and without some form of intervention they would not fare sufficiently well in the open market. “Bullshit”, I say. If a philosopher isn’t interesting enough to his followers that they would wish to give him financial contributions, why would anyone else finance him? If an artist isn’t interesting enough for people to buy his art, why would the state support him with tax money? It’s easy enough to find things that “should” be financed with public funding and places to intervene because the free market isn’t “just”, but just think about it: should we support Blackberry with tax money just because they “provide an interesting and valuable product”? If they were really that good and interesting, would their own customers really abandon them for Apple and Android? Things die off because they are deemed useless. Of course, sometimes good and useful things are allowed to die off because people were short-sighted enough to allow this, but this is why people should make more effort to support and protect things they personally deem valuable, and see that as their own personal responsibility. Imagine if there were no state, and you understood that it’s your personal responsibility to make sure that the things you see as good prosper, and that the things you see as bad are destroyed. Let’s say someone is poor and sick. Should “we” just let him die? My question is, who are “we”? Does that person have family, friends, neighbors, someone who cares about him and loves him? If so, then it’s their duty to take care of him. It’s their job to make sure that people they care about are taken care of. However, if someone has no friends, if he treated his family so poorly they don’t care whether he lives or dies, why would the state or society have to save that person, which obviously doesn’t deserve to be saved? Some things need to die. Some things need to be a warning to others, an example why it’s not a good thing to abuse your children and your spouse and to be a worthless person. And before you say it, that isn’t cruelty. That’s justice. A parent abusing his or her children throughout their childhood is cruelty. When those children leave never to turn back, and that parent finds himself/herself in shit creek without paddles, that’s justice. But should we not have mercy? Of course we should. We should have mercy for that person’s victims. We should feel sympathy for them and support them.

So, basically, while the concept of a social state sounds just and compassionate on paper, it is in fact the worst thing you could do, because it punishes those who did the right things by taking from them to give to those who did the wrong things. It discourages personal responsibility for things that happen around us. It saps motivation and creates apathy. It feeds the things that are supposed to die and kills things that would otherwise live, and it does all that by introducing guilt for being good and successful, and tries to make you believe that you are as good as that other person, who did nothing but read magazines in bed, beat up her children and shower her husband and kids with insults, because somehow it doesn’t matter that you made all the right choices and she made all the bad ones – somehow, all that matters is that she’s human. But is she, really? Is “human” what you are, or what you do? As someone who had such nominally human parents who drove me and my brother to the point of attempting suicide, I actually know what I’m talking about. People should be rewarded for being good, loving, caring individuals who acquire knowledge and skills that make world a better place. People should not be rewarded for being nominally human, and in some cases, compassion needs to be reined in. I’ve heard many “spiritual” theories according to which any compassion that doesn’t encompass everyone, including Satan, is somehow not the real thing, but let me tell you, those concepts are invalid. They were invented by people who never had the misfortune of meeting Satan. They never had to know true evil and see it for what it is. They think it’s like the movies with good guys wearing white hats and bad guys wearing black hats. It’s not. There are persons who find pleasure only in owning you and controlling you and destroying you and if you feel compassion for them, they will just use it to control you and destroy you more efficiently. So no, true spirituality isn’t about having compassion for Satan. It’s about having compassion for God, who had to watch those he loved betray him and embrace evil, and then proceed to blame Him for their suffering.

With computers, the true test is what they do in real applications. With political and economic concepts, the true test is what they do when they are applied to an actual society. With humans, the true test is what they do with their lives. There are always consequences.