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Good News, Bad News . . .

                                           A Broadside.
(c) Copyright 1988, Robert J. Hustwit
------------------------- The bad news is that capitalism will not work. That's right, this most elegant, most rational of human interaction systems will not work. It cannot work. Of course, no system of any kind will work over time, when it tries to function within a more dominant system which is irrational. There's even more bad news: at this time there is no rational system in which capitalism can grow. Yet more bad news. There is no fundamental, epistemological base generally known upon which a rational system can be built. Even though almost all of our ability to survive can be traced to basically capitalistic concepts, the so-called principles of capitalism, (or free enterprise, or the free market, or laissez-faire "let it be" economics ) have never triumphed in the marketplace of ideas when challenged by political action. I define political action as offensively pointing a gun (or spear, or club) at you to get you to do something you would not otherwise do--it is always irrational. (There is a difference in principle between offensive and defensive force.) Although the voluntary barter system predates recorded history, it is only within the last 400 years or so that the so-called principles of capitalism have been developed and used. To the extent these ideas were left alone, they were successful in attempting to create better, freer social structures, but as soon as any government, monarch, or dictator moved in-- with the advent of any irrational system--the society and the culture began to decay, and along with its so-called capitalistic principles, it ultimately collapsed. Now don't get me wrong, the so-called opposite of capitalism has fared even worse. Communism has never worked anywhere--it cannot work. But as an ideology, it observably keeps winning out over capitalism whenever the two come into conflict. Why is it that capitalistic principles can be postulated and can be tried, but cannot withstand the onslaught of political action? Why is it that in fewer than two hundred years, all the worst characteristics of Communism seem to have fatally infected every attempt at capitalism? Why does capitalism seem to have no defense? Simple. Those things that have been called the principles of capitalism have been largely mis-identified; most of them are not principles at all, they are merely the natural effects of right action.* These effects do not have the power and force of principles, and therefore the system is destined to fail, ultimately to lose every battle. There is no question that in local enclaves for relatively short periods of time, aping these effects, aping these right actions, produces positive results. Whatever positive production there is, however, inexorably attracts the attention of the political system within which these so-called principles are being practiced. If there is no political system, one is spawned by the confusion over how to tell right and wrong. This parasitic political system promulgates a cruel hoax. Under the guise of symbiosis ("We need each other."), mouthing synergistic non-truths ("Together, we can do far more than each of us apart."), the political system asserts that it is the necessary base of operations upon which right principles of human interaction can grow. However, this political system is incapable of sustaining itself, and, like any parasite, must have a host upon which to feed. Just like a cancer, the political system devours first the positive production generated by those using right action (so-called capitalistic principles) and then it devours the very people who are generating the positive production--giving new credence and meaning to the fable of The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg. This phenomenon has already been pointed out with extraordinary insight by Ayn Rand, in Atlas Shrugged, and elsewhere by others. The correct solution, however, has not been put forth. The solution is not to abandon right action; not to deprive oneself of the benefits of society by withdrawing; not to use the political system for your own right ends (in the final analysis, it can't be done). Rather, the entire solution is to create a new rational base for right human interaction. Believe it or not, human nature will do the rest. For the good news, turn the page. ------------- * "...that [is right] which, if done by every member of the species, would result in the continued survival of the species..." Reprinted from The Ultimate Criterion, published by System Of Life Institute. The Good News . . . The good news is that The Ultimate Criterion will work. The fundamental base I will disclose is astonishingly simple and at the same time incredibly powerful. My disclosure here and subsequent amplification in lectures and writings, puts in the hands of the individual a basic method to judge his/her actions for rightness that must, by any objective standard, be considered the final, the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong. Since I contend that most people will try to do what they believe to be right most of the time, the effect of this method (called The Ultimate Criterion) over time, will be dramatic. The Ultimate Criterion is the fundamental basis for a right social system. Here it is; In order to determine if his/her actions are right, the individual asks one (count it, one) simple question: "If everyone on earth were to do this under similar circumstances, would the species tend to survive or not?"* That's it. It's as simple as that. That is right which, if done by everyone under similar circumstances would tend to promote the survival of the species; that is wrong which would tend to promote the death of the species. If it appears that there would be no appreciable effect one way or the other, then rightness or wrongness isn't the issue, and the question can comfortably be left to personal preference. As far as individual actions are concerned, each of us can use the new method immediately to bring consistency, self confidence, and tranquillity to our lives, at least regarding our own actions. To see the benefits of extending this criteria to society in general, simply ask the following questions: "What would be the tendency, over time, of a system that used the survival of the species as the ultimate arbiter for implementing all laws, all rules." "Would the tendency over time be toward a simpler, more understandable code of social conduct?" "Would codes of conduct in diverse places tend over time to be similar, thus providing an easier method of interacting with the rest of the world?" "Would the world, over time, be a better place?" I think the answer to all of these questions is a firm, "Yes!" The phrase, "over time," is crucial to an understanding of why and how this idea can change the world. Over the years, there has been no real evolution in the social sphere regarding the way we deal with each other. We are, socially speaking, not very far removed from the earliest tribal cave dwellers. In contrast, the advances in technology have been stupendous, beginning with the introduction of the seminal scientific method by Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon in the 1200's, through the scientific work of today. As difficult as it may be to believe, social evolution has been stymied at every turn simply because of the individual's inability to determine what constitutes right and wrong action. The reigning political system always claims that it knows how to tell right and wrong, it always claims to have the method that will work ("Don't worry," it says, "we'll solve your problems, we'll protect you."). But since the political system is irrational, it can only provide a social system with a base of shifting principles, a foundation of expediency, doomed to ruin. Each time a right social idea has been introduced, a parasitic political system has come along to feed on it. Before cumulative selection+ can come into play, before the good effects of a right social idea can be put into the mainstream, the idea is evaluated by the prevailing political system according to that system's own current needs. The new idea is then modified to suit the political system, regardless of what it does to the ability of the idea to produce species-wide, long-term benefit. The idea falls, defeated. In the absence of an individual criterion for right and wrong, most of us, like sheep, blindly follow whatever the system says is in our best interest. We have no way of knowing for sure that the system is wrong. But in the pit of our stomachs, the hollow feeling warns us. Somewhere deep in the recesses of our mind, an alarm mechanism from our distant past is trying to tell us that our ever-precarious survival is at stake. If, however, we use the Ultimate Criterion, we will know for ourselves what is right and what is wrong, we will have the chance to try a different, more productive, more rational course. Personal freedom, rationality, and human nature will at last have a base upon which to flourish. Around the world, we no longer command the political machines we create out of fear and ignorance; those machines have minds of their own...and everywhere they are insane. Like Frankenstein's crazed monster, they threaten all of us with havoc and mayhem. It is difficult to accept emotionally, but we must realize that it is impossible to prevent wars through political action. Since almost everyone on the planet considers that one form of political action or another is the only way for man to live in a society, it seems as if we are doomed. Remember that in a grand, final holocaust there is no survival. The only way for the species to survive is to prevent the war itself. One thing and one thing only will prevent final destruction. One thing and one thing only will save the species. One thing and one thing only will free us forever from the affliction of political action. That one thing is a right-based social order. The Ultimate Criterion provides the first real tool with the potential, if there is time, to make the worldwide system of political action obsolete. It provides the first real tool to endow us with the exalted base from which we can begin to fulfill our promise as rational beings, a base from which we can finally deserve the name we gave ourselves: homo sapiens. ------------- * From The Ultimate Criterion, published by System Of Life Institute. + The ability over time to build upon the successes of the past, discarding the mistakes. Loosely taken from Richard Dawkins The Blind Watchmaker [Chapter 3: Accumulating Small Change] * ". . . that [is right] which, if done by every member of the species, would result in the continued survival of the species . . ." Reprinted from The Ultimate Criterion, published by System Of Life Institute. (C) Copyright 1988; Robert J. Hustwit, Published by System Of Life Institute, 41 La Gaviota, Pismo Beach, CA 93449 (805) 481-9777.
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