“Does not caring about politics make me a bad person?” No, it does not.

A friend asked me “does not caring about politics make me a bad person, in your opinion?” I said no, for several reasons.

First let us look at Rousseau, in the ‘Social Contract’:
“If the sovereign (meaning the people) is free to oppose them and does not do so, we must take universal silence as evidence of popular consent”

But this only applies insofar as we take a bourgeois republic seriously, as the will of the people and not as the will of the bourgeoisie. Which any serious look at politics in the U.S. or Europe shows that these republics represent the will of the 1%, to put this in terms that most people can understand.

Plato once said that “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men”. But we are still ignoring one of the key facets of modern politics: it is intentionally alienating.

Lenin once said in ‘The State and Revolution’ that “A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of this very best shell (through the Palchinskys, Chernovs, Tseretelis and Co.), it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-­democratic republic can shake it.”

Naturally it follows from this that the proletariat is alienated from politics. Why? Because as Lenin said, the bourgeoisie establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-­democratic republic can shake it.

So why should anyone be interested in whether Clinton or Trump is elected? The fundamentally exploitative social system we live under will not change, the bombs will not stop falling from the skies, the proletariat will gain no meaningful concessions from the ruling class. Politics is designed to be this way. What difference will it make to someone working 50 hours a week and still living in poverty? Or someone who is unemployed? Why should they vote for a party that won’t even give the working class 15$ an hour?

On that age old question of existence, part 2

The formless static from which being emerges is called nothingness. The creation of nothingness separated by time (+1 and -1) is called being. The coming into being is called the birth of reality. The collision of +1 and -1 is called annihilation, or the end of being. 
Within the virtual particles, with their endless coming into being and annihilation without actually creating anything that adds up to more or less that zero, is the secret rational answer to that age old question: why does anything exist instead of nothing? For in fact, mathematically nothing does, or can exist. Everything adds up to nothing.

On existence, an answer to the question of “Why does something exist instead of nothing?”

What is said to be that which cannot be, yet is? It is existence, it is being, it is not however, nothingness. Why? There is no why, there simply is. Nothingness cannot simply be, it can only be the static from which being arises. How? Can something be created out of nothing? In principle, no, in actuality, yes. +1 and -1 can come into being simultaneously, and so long as they are separated by some variable (such as time), they can exist for a “time”. +1 and -1 can only come into being because they add up to zero, to nothingness. But time and space are relative. So, within +1 or -1, time can be infinite. +1 and -1 can infinitely approach one another without ever joining together and annihilating. It could be said that “the” universe undergoes endless cycles of deaths and rebirths, but insofar as time as relative, our universe can in essence be eternal. Does “time” exist in the void in which these infinite variables of equal but opposite values arise? In principle yes, in actuality no. Such is the answer to the grand question “Why does anything exist instead of nothing?” For nothing does exist, everything adds up to nothing! This is the answer which my existential crisis has brought me to.

Briefly, In Praise of Lenin

Lenin made some mistakes, as I will be the first to admit. But that man dedicated his entire life to the total freedom and liberation of the human race from every possible form of oppression and exploitation. People like Lenin come around once every few centuries, if we are lucky. People today often falsely equate Leninism with Stalinism, but such grievances are of the historically illiterate.
 
Anyone who has read ‘The State and Revolution’ can tell you that the society that Lenin believed in could not have possibly came about in backwards Russia, and that it was the epitome of democracy. The society Lenin was fighting for could not possibly have more personal liberty or virtue.
 
The story of Leninism in the 20th century is a tragedy, it was a beautiful flower that tried to bloom far before it was ready, in bad soil. Marx believed that successful socialist revolutions would first happen in the most ADVANCED capitalist countries, at the END of capitalist development. Instead, due to the conditions of imperialism, the first socialist revolution happened in Russia in 1917, a semi-feudal country, one of the poorest in the world, that also JUST HAD a capitalist revolution. Despite these major setbacks and limitations, for the first time in human history, under Lenin’s leadership, all political power was in the hands of the workers and peasants- to the exclusion of the exploiting, property owning classes.
 
Compare THAT form of democracy with the Greek and American democracies. In Greece and early America, only white, male, property/ slave owners could vote- to the exclusion of the oppressed and exploited masses. Today our American “democracy” is de facto owned and controlled by wall street and big business- by the property owning class, and 9/10 of our public representatives are capitalists, or rich men. Contrary to popular belief, you will not find one mention of a one-party state in the works of Marx, Engels, or Lenin. It is purely a vestige of Stalinism. So we should perhaps, rethink the way we view Lenin. He was a champion of liberty and democracy, not of tyranny.

Socialism, Capitalist Exploitation, and Innovation Under Socialism

“How could we ask our poor bourgeois to pay more taxes to help out the wage laborers that produced his wealth in the first place?” Obviously by the logic of the capitalist system, if you produce something, it doesn’t belong to you. So if you produce ~30$ in an hour and receive only 15$ in return, or, if you produce 200$ in an hour, and receive only 50$ in return, then by the natural laws of the capitalist system, you are owed nothing but a wage, even if that wage is so low that you are impoverished, hungry, can’t afford rent, healthcare, etc. Under the guise of “free contract” many may find this appealing. But this is but the tip of the iceberg of the capitalist mode of production, even if this fact is exploitative by nature.
 
On the other hand, the bourgeois can, and occasionally we find that he does, do absolutely no work of his own, being a non-acting board member or owner, who votes once every few months if that, and collects a check for millions of dollars- containing the leftover surplus produced by hundreds of thousands of working people whose poverty is the source of their bourgeois wealth. This is, of course, an extreme example. But I have met people who happen to be on the boards of very large companies who do just that.
 
He can, and often does, also vote to take the surplus (after necessary expenditures and investments for the enterprise) and give it to one of the TWO political parties in this country to systematically protect and maintain this exploitative social system. We would call such a thing a Super-PAC, and it’s almost the exclusive funding of most politicians today. In a word, he lives off of the labor of others, off of those who own no property of their own, and are compelled to either sell their labor at a fraction of its value, off of the proletarian class which constitutes 95% of our society.
 
“We cry shame on the feudal baron who forbade the peasant to turn a clod of earth unless he surrendered to his lord a fourth of his crop. We called those the barbarous times. But if the forms have changed, the relations have remained the same, and the worker is forced, under the name of free contract, to accept feudal obligations. For, turn where he will, he can find no better conditions. Everything has become private property, and he must accept, or die of hunger.” -Pytor Kropotkin. The statement still applies, of course, but due to the revolutionized condition of the productive forces since then, we could say that the worker today gives up half of what he produces to the capitalist class, and not a fourth as the feudal peasant would be obliged to give.
 
The bourgeois may, and more often than not does, do non-productive (but still essential) work to manage the affairs of the enterprise, but because of private property, he is “entitled” to oftentimes 5000x more per hour than his workers produced, that 5000x, mind you, along with all other profits, having been produced by the workers themselves.
 
I am not saying that innovators and inventors should NOT be compensated, indeed they absolutely should be. A study funded by the Federal Reserve Bank by Daniel Pink (a capitalist organization if there ever was one), found that MODERATE compensation was best to encourage further innovation from a creative individual. Meaning that it would be better for, say, Bill Gates, to have received a 150,000$ salary for his invention, than a 5 Billion dollar one. The study found that LOW and HIGH financial compensation had almost identical results in promoting further innovation. This study only furthers the evidence that capitalism, while it socialized the productive forces which made rapid innovation and expansion possible, is not the best mode of production if innovation is the concern. On the contrary, socialism, and communism would be.
 
Under a socialist system, or a market socialist system as would be the first step towards the complete socialist mode of production (which, mind you, has never been established in an advanced capitalist country as Marx believed it would have to be as a prerequisite to socialism, can elaborate further if asked), the board of directors which determine WHAT is produced, how much is produced, etc. would be DEMOCRATICALLY elected by the workers themselves and the general public, would receive NO MORE THAN A WORKMAN’S WAGE (not millions), and subject to immediate recall at anytime. The surplus produced by ALL THE WORKERS, would be democratically distributed BACK TO ALL THE WORKERS, instead of going into the pockets of a few. The workers themselves would decide what to do with the surplus they collectively produced. If it was the STATE deciding what was produced, then that would be state-capitalism, not socialism, and certainly not communism as communism requires the absence of the state altogether.
 
Also, I can provide a feasible example of how innovation would even increase under socialism. My friends and I, given a year or two, could program and create a computer program in which orders for a restaurant could be spoken directly to the computer and inputed (using the various incorrect terms and sayings that customers use). This could and would negate the need for cashiers altogether even though would vastly increase net profits for an enterprise and speed up production speed. HOWEVER, if we DID create such a thing, we would no doubt lose our jobs. Under a socialist system, such an innovation would mean increased profits not for a capitalist at the top, but for the workers as a whole. Automation would mean vacations, not lay-offs. Workers would be inspired to innovate because they know that said innovation would benefit them, and not someone at the top. Not to mention that the workers would no doubt decide to appropriate a larger wage to those innovators from the surplus that they collectively produced.

Briefly, On the Sacred Nature of Literature : Books Are Thought Traps!

Long ago when someone wanted to preserve a message, they carved it on stone in the form of a picture. Today we have written language and books, allowing us to send complicated messages, thoughts, and ideas into the indefinite future. Books are thought traps! That is the essence of my appreciation of literature. You can collaborate on a project with Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, etc. without ever having met said person. When you read something, your thoughts become their thoughts, even if for just a moment. You quite literally hear the thoughts of dead geniuses in your own head, for you to freely contemplate, listen to patiently, and build off of. The thoughts of those long gone, still echo off the bookshelf. I cannot emphasize the miraculous nature of such a phenomenon enough.

Literature, and written language are the SOLE reason for human progress today. As Isaac Newton himself said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by having stood on the shoulders of giants.” This is a direct reference to the written literature of brilliant minds who had long ceased to be when Newton took up their torch. Human endeavor is a collaborative effort, stretching across both time and space. Next time you read a book, remember that whoever wrote it decided to preserve that thought, idea, or story in time indefinitely, to exist for hundreds if not thousands of years after their physical mind ceased to be. Appreciate literature, it is sacred.