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Good News, Bad News . . .
(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,
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
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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