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Dissent Under Socialism – Article by Sanford Ikeda

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Categories: Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Sanford Ikeda
August 26, 2014
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The Daily Mail reports that “France’s Socialist government provoked outrage … by becoming the first in the world to ban protests against Israeli action in Palestine.” The socialist interior minister justified the ban by citing the potential for violent clashes in Paris between opposing groups, which he deemed a “threat to public order.”

My object here is not to comment on any aspect of the conflict in the Middle East or on this ban, which may or may not be justified. What caught my eye in the story is the following quote:

Sylvie Perrot, another pro-Palestine activist from Paris, said: “Fascist states stop people demonstrating against wars—it is beyond belief that French Socialists are following their example.”

Au contraire! 

If you understand the nature of socialism, it’s quite believable.

Collectivism and dissent

Let me begin by defining “collectivism” as any economic system in which the State controls the principal means of production. Collectivism requires central planning of some kind over the resources the State controls. The particular brand of collectivism we’re talking about depends on the aims of the controllers. 

In theory, “socialism” aims to unite people around the world regardless of nationality toward a common internationalist goal, while in theory “fascism” aims to unite people of a particular nation toward a common nationalist goal. The ends differ but all forms of collectivism use the same means: State control (de facto or de jure) over the means of production. Given their common collectivist roots, then, it shouldn’t be surprising that fascism and socialism employ similar policies.

Even more than that, however, F. A. Hayek points out, in The Road to Serfdom:  

That socialism so long as it remains theoretical is internationalist, while as soon as it is put into practice … it becomes violently nationalist, is one of the reasons why “liberal socialism” as most people in the Western world imagine it is purely theoretical, while the practice of socialism is everywhere totalitarian.

I would recommend the chapters in The Road to Serfdom where Hayek explains why this is the case (especially “Individualism and Collectivism,” “Planning and Democracy,” “Planning and the Rule of Law,” and “The Socialist Roots of Naziism”), but here are two important points in that explanation.

First, to the degree that the State undertakes central planning of the resources it controls, it can’t allow any person to interfere with or oppose the plan. Or, as Hayek puts it, “If the state is precisely to foresee the incidence of its actions, it means that it can leave those affected no choice.”

Second, the more resources the State controls, the wider the scope and more detailed its planning necessarily becomes so that delay in any part of the system becomes intolerable. There is little room for unresponsiveness, let alone dissent. Hayek again:

If people are to support the common effort without hesitation, they must be convinced that not only the end aimed at but also the means chosen are the right ones. The official creed, to which adherence must be enforced, will therefore comprise all the views about facts on which the plan is based. Public criticism or even expressions of doubt must be suppressed because they tend to weaken public support. [emphasis added]

My point is that even if genuine socialism of some kind did exist in France (or anywhere else), the government there could not allow spontaneous political demonstrations, for the reasons Hayek outlines in The Road to Serfdom. Collective political ends must trump individual expression. 

That a socialist government would ban political demonstrations should then come as no surprise.

The problem is central planning 

Friends of mine have objected that these arguments are misplaced because genuine socialism doesn’t exist in France, and that political parties who brand themselves “socialist” aren’t really socialist at all, at least in the sense defined here. 

But Hayek’s point is that intolerance for dissent grows with the scope of central planning. Thus, the principle also applies in the case of a mixed economy, such as the United States, with more limited central planning. To the extent that the U.S. government tries to pursue collectivist ends—say, during times of war—the greater the pressure on public officials to quell open displays of protest.

Moreover, the more things the central government plans for, the less freedom—of expression, assembly, association—there can be. If the State controls all means of production and all resources are placed in the hands of the authorities, then in effect all forms of expression—in politics, science, religion, art—are political and any form of dissent from the official creed is intolerable and must be forbidden. That would lead, and has led, to the death of free inquiry, because dissent, rebellion, and radical criticism are essential to the growth of knowledge.

One of the political virtues of private property is that it establishes a sphere of autonomy in which we are safe from the threat of physical violence. In that sphere of autonomy, we can say or not say, or do or not do, anything we like, so long as we don’t initiate physical violence against others. Private property is the garage where we can form a band or invent the personal computer or paint protest signs. As private property disappears, not only do our economic liberties disappear, but so too do our political liberties.

What is not forbidden …

Indeed, taken to its logical conclusion, under pure collectivism no freedom at all would remain, and not only the freedom to peacefully assemble in protest against government activities. In a completely collectivist system, it’s not a stretch to say that what isn’t forbidden would in fact be mandatory.

From California, which at least for now is a ways off from pure collectivism, comes an even-nuttier though still-scary scenario:

A Southern California couple received a letter from Glendora city officials threatening to fine them $500 if they don’t get their sun-scorched brown lawn green again, reports AP. Which Laura Whitney and Michael Korte would gladly do, except for one thing: They could also be fined $500 if they water their lawn too much; they’re currently only watering twice a week.

Thus, what is mandatory may also be forbidden. Don’t forget, 1984 was 30 years ago.

Sanford Ikeda is an associate professor of economics at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of The Dynamics of the Mixed Economy: Toward a Theory of Interventionism.
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This article was originally published by The Foundation for Economic Education.

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Ferguson: The War Comes Home – Article by Ron Paul

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Categories: Justice, Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
August 26, 2014
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America’s attention recently turned away from the violence in Iraq and Gaza toward the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of Michael Brown. While all the facts surrounding the shooing have yet to come to light, the shock of seeing police using tear gas (a substance banned in warfare), and other military-style weapons against American citizens including journalists exercising their First Amendment rights, has started a much-needed debate on police militarization.The increasing use of military equipment by local police is a symptom of growing authoritarianism, not the cause. The cause is policies that encourage police to see Americans as enemies to subjugate, rather than as citizens to “protect and serve.” This attitude is on display not only in Ferguson, but in the police lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombing and in the Americans killed and injured in “no-knock” raids conducted by militarized SWAT teams.

One particularly tragic victim of police militarization and the war on drugs is “baby Bounkham.” This infant was severely burned and put in a coma by a flash-burn grenade thrown into his crib by a SWAT team member who burst into the infant’s room looking for methamphetamine.

As shocking as the case of baby Bounkham is, no one should be surprised that empowering police to stop consensual (though perhaps harmful and immoral) activities has led to a growth of authoritarian attitudes and behaviors among government officials and politicians. Those wondering why the local police increasingly look and act like an occupying military force should consider that the drug war was the justification for the Defense Department’s “1033 program,” which last year gave local police departments almost $450 million worth of “surplus” military equipment. This included armored vehicles and grenades like those that were used to maim baby Bounkham.

Today, the war on drugs has been eclipsed by the war on terror as an all-purpose excuse for expanding the police state. We are all familiar with how the federal government increased police power after September 11 via the PATRIOT Act, TSA, and other Homeland Security programs. Not as widely known is how the war on terror has been used to justify the increased militarization of local police departments to the detriment of our liberty. Since 2002, the Department of Homeland Security has provided over $35 billion in grants to local governments for the purchase of tactical gear, military-style armor, and mine-resistant vehicles.

The threat of terrorism is used to justify these grants. However, the small towns that receive tanks and other military weapons do not just put them into storage until a real terrorist threat emerges. Instead, the military equipment is used for routine law enforcement.

Politicians love this program because it allows them to brag to their local media about how they are keeping their constituents safe. Of course, the military-industrial complex’s new kid brother, the law enforcement-industrial complex, wields tremendous influence on Capitol Hill. Even many so-called progressives support police militarization to curry favor with police unions.

Reversing the dangerous trend of the militarization of local police can start with ending all federal involvement in local law enforcement. Fortunately, all that requires is for Congress to begin following the Constitution, which forbids the federal government from controlling or funding local law enforcement. There is also no justification for federal drug laws or for using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to treat all people as potential criminals. However, Congress will not restore constitutional government on its own; the American people must demand that Congress stop facilitating the growth of an authoritarian police state that threatens their liberty.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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March #11, Op. 60 (2009) – Musical Composition and Video by G. Stolyarov II

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The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
August 24, 2014
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This is a triumphal march – a monumental celebration of great victories and accomplishments. It employs three principal related themes, with each theme being accompanied by a variation immediately after it is presented. The majority of the march is composed for two pianos, a brass section, and timpani – although the second occurrence of the first two theme-variation blocks is orchestrated differently, with the brass section being replaced by an organ and a second part added for timpani.

This work was originally composed in 2009 and has been remastered using the Finale 2011 software.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Abstract Orderism Fractal XXII, available for download here and here.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

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Ontological Realism and Creating the One Real Future – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
August 23, 2014
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An ongoing debate in ontology concerns the question of whether ideas or the physical reality have primacy. Mr. Stolyarov addresses the implications of the primacy of the physical reality for human agency in the pursuit of life and individual flourishing. Transhumanism and life extension are in particular greatly aided by an ontological realist (and physicalist) framework of thought.

References

- “Ontological Realism and Creating the One Real Future” – Essay by G. Stolyarov II
- “Objective Reality” – Video by David Kelley
- A Rational Cosmology – Treatise by G. Stolyarov II
- “Putting Randomness in Its Place” – Essay by G. Stolyarov II
- “Putting Randomness in Its Place” – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Plot Holes in Fiction and in Life – Article by Sanford Ikeda

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Categories: Economics, Fiction, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Sanford Ikeda
August 23, 2014
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Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) have long been aware of a possible plot hole. The central narrative concerns the hero, Frodo Baggins, who must destroy a powerful ring by walking through forbidding terrain and defeating or eluding monstrous foes and throwing the ring into a live volcano. The journey takes many months and costs Frodo and his companions dearly.

Over the years, many readers have noticed a much easier and less dangerous solution. Why, they ask, didn’t Frodo just have Gandalf ask his friends the mighty eagles to fly him swiftly over enemy territory so he could then simply toss the ring into the volcano? I’ve run across this post on Facebook a few times, which cleverly patches that hole with only a slight change in the narrative. (Others argue that there’s really no hole to patch because the “eagle solution” itself has flaws. And so the debate continues.)

Anyway, it occurred to me that the kind of social theory that I and many Austrian economists engage in could usefully be framed in terms of plot holes.

What’s a plot hole?

I’ll define a plot hole as a failure of logic, a factual mistake, or an obvious solution to a critical problem central to a story. (Here’s a slightly different definition from Wikipedia.) Of course, any particular plot hole may involve more than one of these errors of fact, logic, or perception, and there may be more kinds of plot holes than these. But here are examples of each of the ones I’ve mentioned. They come from movies, but some of them, such as the plot hole in Lord of the Rings, have literary counterparts.

Factual hole: In the movie Independence Day, key characters survive a massive fireball by ducking into the open side-door of a tunnel just as the inferno blasts by. Anyone who knows about firestorms would tell you that the super-heated air alone would instantly kill anyone in that situation.

Logical hole: In Citizen Kane, miserable Charles Foster Kane dies alone. How then does anyone know that his last word was “Rosebud”? Keep in mind that it’s a reporter’s search for the meaning of that word that drives the story forward.

Perceptual hole: The LOTR problem mentioned above is an example of this. No one seems to realize that there may be a much safer and effective way to defeat the enemy.

I would think that one of the things that makes writing fiction difficult is that events and characters have to hang together. The writer needs always to keep in mind the rules of the universe she’s creating, to recall what her characters know and when they know it, and to make sure that these details all constrain every action and event.

Life is full of “plot holes”

In real life, we make mistakes all the time. I think it’s interesting that those mistakes appear to fit neatly into the three categories of plot holes I’ve identified.

Factual hole/error: A person who doesn’t know the difference between liters and gallons buys a 100-liter barrel to hold 100 gallons of rainwater. No explanation necessary.

Logical hole/error: Thinking that since you’ve made a string of bad investment decisions, your next decision is therefore more likely to be a good one. But it’s quite the contrary: If you’ve been consistently making bad decisions, it follows that if nothing else changes, your next decision will also be bad one. (See “gambler’s fallacy.”)

Perceptual hole/error: Selling your car for $15,000 when, unbeknownst to you, you could have sold it for $20,000. The better deal simply escapes your notice and, if you were ever to learn about it, you would feel regret.

Here’s the difference though: In fiction, a writer can get away with any of these three plot holes as long as no reader sees it. Even if you do notice one, but you otherwise enjoy the story, you might be willing to overlook it. But in real life, you can’t ignore factual or logical plot holes. If you try to, they will come back and bite you. It will be painfully obvious that you can’t put 100 gallons of water into a 100-liter barrel. And if you bet on your next investment being a winner because you’ve just had a bunch of losers, it’s very likely that you’ll be disappointed. These kinds of holes you’re bound to discover.

I wrote about errors in an earlier column, but the distinction comes from my great teacher Israel Kirzner. He identifies a class of errors that derive from “overoptimism.” The more optimistic you are, the more likely it is that you’ll deliberately pass up solid opportunities for gain and thus the more likely it is that you’ll be disappointed. That’s not to say that optimism is a bad thing. If you weren’t optimistic and so never acted on that optimism, you’d never know if that optimism were warranted or not. You would never learn.

The other kind of error, what Kirzner calls “overpessimism,” happens when you’re so pessimistic that you unwittingly pass up a realizable opportunity. And because you don’t take chances, you don’t learn. This type of error is akin to a perceptual hole. Thinking you can only get $15,000 for your car means not selling to someone who would in fact pay more. Here, it’s not inevitable that you will discover your error because, after all, someone does buy your car (for $15,000). But you could have done better if you’d been more alert.

So errors of overpessimism, what I’m calling perceptual holes, are very different from factual and logical holes in that they are much harder to detect.

Plot holes and social theory

For many Austrian economists like me, economics, as a branch of a social theory, accepts as a datum that people are prone to make mistakes. But given the right rules of the game—private property, free association—they can discover those mistakes and correct them via an entrepreneurial-competitive process. Unlike plot holes in fiction writing, then, plot holes in living social systems are a feature, not a bug.

So our challenge as flesh-and-blood people, and what makes our lives interesting, is to discover plot holes, especially perceptual ones, and to fill them in. The challenge of social theorists is to understand as much we can about how that happens. In novels it’s the people outside the story who discover holes; in society it’s the people living the story who do.

Plot holes in novels spell failure. Plot holes in real life mean opportunity.

Sanford Ikeda is an associate professor of economics at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of The Dynamics of the Mixed Economy: Toward a Theory of Interventionism.
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This article was originally published by The Foundation for Economic Education.

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Review of “The Transhumanist Wager” by Zoltan Istvan – Article by Kyrel Zantonavitch

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The New Renaissance Hat
Kyrel Zantonavitch
August 20, 2014
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The Transhumanist Wager by Zoltan Istvan is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

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This is the best novel I’ve read in over 30 years! I don’t ever expect to see its like again. Fascinating, amazing, and shocking to the point of numbness.

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It’s rather comparable to Atlas Shrugged — the earth-shaking epic and classic by Ayn Rand from 1957. It has Atlas Shrugged’s magisterial story sweep and stunning philosophical ambition. It has Rand’s quasi-god-like heroism too. And like the other novel, Zoltan Istvan’s book is looking to mercilessly conquer the world.

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Let’s hope!

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Mr. Istvan’s thunderous 300-page saga, The Transhumanist Wager, is a truly remarkable novel of ideas. It’s unique. It has no peers or rivals. And it’s completely unexpected and unprecedented.

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Like Atlas Shrugged, it offers many formidable intellectual challenges. One or two of these I’ve yet to work out. Like Rand’s lengthy magnum opus, The Transhumanist Wager is mesmerizingly philosophically bold and rich. And like Atlas, it’s rather repetitive in introducing these dynamic, new ideas to a silently dumbfounded world. But at least you clearly know where each novelist-philosopher stands on the issues, and what controversial and ferocious thing they each have to teach us.

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I find this to be an unapologetically extreme and revolutionary book. A true tour de force and deep-thinking book which comes at all of us from out of the blue. If you don’t read it, you’re fatuously and tragically missing out. Wager is a historical game-changer, and likely to spark a new era in mankind’s evolution. Humans will never be the same.

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It seems a shame and crime to give away virtually anything in the plot, so I’ll keep it very light. The hero of the story seeks a truly astounding level of personal growth and, simultaneously, human evolutionary ascent. He effectively threatens to dethrone Zeus himself. Whether Jethro Knights — the alter ego of Zoltan Istvan – actually achieves this is something the high-intelligence, high-virtue reader will have to find out for himself.

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This book is jaw-droppingly ambitious and powerful. It’s also massively persuasive. The novel is filled with energy, zealotry, ferocity, honesty, courage, and heedless impetuosity. A visionary and fundamentalist book of gigantic and fearless integrity which is almost utterly loyal to its own monumental and yet somewhat narrow beliefs. But make no mistake: these ideas and beliefs are world-rocking.

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Ultimately, Mr. Istvan is a slightly but significantly limited philosopher. He’s not an Objectivist, and isn’t that familiar with Ayn Rand’s intellectual beliefs and theories, evidently. Still, I consider Zoltan Istvan to be an immensely powerful neoliberal thinker and a formidable cultural warrior. He fights for the Good Guys; and he aims to capture a great deal of the future. Amazingly, Mr. Istvan may have come to these ultra-high-level theories and points of view without having had much help from today’s leading neoliberals: the economic Austrians, the political libertarians, and the philosophical Objectivists. Maybe Zoltan Istvan just used his own exceptionally high virtue and Herculean fearlessness to derive his “transhumanist” philosophy from the classics of human literature and intellectualism, especially the Greeks, Romans, Renaissance, and Enlightenment thinkers. Astonishing, if true!

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And yet…Mr. Istvan isn’t that strong a neoliberal. He, his hero, and this novel don’t entirely believe in the epistemology of reason, the ethics of individualism, and the politics of liberty.

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Still, what a dynamo and hero this Zoltan character is! What a vivacious, ferocious, and catastrophic cultural warrior! Mr. Istvan is a one-man wrecking crew of contemporary culture and evidently a magnificent being of immense and singular stature. Or at least his alter ego in the story is.

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Altho’ the ideas inside somewhat overwhelm it, The Transhumanist Wager is a genuine novel which tells a dramatic, wonderous, and wide-ranging tale. The plot is exciting, involving, and enthralling. The characters are generally believable, often archetypal, and sometimes indelible. This is a heroic epic which transverses the entire planet and overwhelmingly impacts all of mankind.

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I also found this book to be a hugely enjoyable, winding, and suspenseful yarn. It’s great fun to read, and even more fun to think about.

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Overall I consider Zoltan Istvan’s The Transhumanist Wager to be outstanding as a novel, and even better as a book of theoretical and practical philosophy, regarding the shooting-star ascent of man, and our soon-to-be superhuman future.

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Kyrel Zantonavitch is the founder of The Liberal Institute  (http://www.liberalinstitute.com/) and a writer for Rebirth of Reason (http://www.rebirthofreason.com). He can be contacted at zantonavitch@gmail.com.

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MILE Activist Contest II Entry: Life-Extension Game Developers’ Matching Fund – Post by G. Stolyarov II

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The New Renaissance Hat
Gennady Stolyarov II
August 18, 2014
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This is Mr. Stolyarov’s entry into the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE) Activist Contest II.

Computer games are a powerful way to spread the message of indefinite life extension to a new demographic. By engaging the players through art, concepts, and gameplay elements expressing the feasibility and desirability of indefinite lifespans, computer games can attract interest in life-extension activism that will be perceived as leisure and entertainment by those who engage in it.

If I had $5,000 to devote to raising awareness about people, projects, and organizations wording toward indefinite life extension, I would create a matching fund for fundraising projects pertaining to life-extension-themed computer games currently in development. This Life-Extension Game Developers’ Matching Fund (LEGDMF) would match, dollar for dollar, the funds raised via Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and other crowdfunding platforms by game developers whose works would meet the following criteria:

(i) The game should promote and express the message of indefinite life extension in a favorable way.

(ii) The game should enable the player to find out about some of the people, projects, and organizations working toward indefinite life extension.

(iii) An alpha, beta, or demo version of the game should exist and be playable by the general public.

(iv) The game developers must be willing to publicly disclose the amount of funds raised, either through a fundraising platform or through information they post directly on a publicly viewable website.

A great example of a life-extension-themed game, whose gameplay also deeply integrates the pursuit of longevity escape velocity, is LEV: The Game , which is currently in the midst of an Indiegogo fundraiser. (For more details, read my recent article about LEV: The Game.) LEV: The Game would be one of the efforts, but not necessarily the only effort, which could be greatly aided by the LEGDMF.

The purpose of a matching fund is to bring in additional resources by enabling any donor to leverage the impact of his or her contribution. Instead of selecting eligible games through a contest where a panel of judges or the contest organizer(s) would decide upon the winning entries, a matching fund enables donors from the general public to vote with their money and helps these votes to matter more in influencing real-world outcomes. The LEGDMF would continue to match contributions to eligible game-development projects, dollar for dollar, until the $5,000 fund is exhausted.

An advantageous feature of the LEGDMF would be that all the money could be given directly to eligible game-development projects. Fundraising platforms would collect fees ranging from 4% to 9% of the funds donated, and payment platforms – such as PayPal or payment processors employed by banks – would collect additional fees. However, it would be unlikely that the total fees would exceed 15% of the funds contributed, meaning that more than $4,250 (85% of $5,000) would substantively benefit game developers in their efforts to create engaging, immersive, and entertaining portrayals of the life-extension message.

Success for the LEGDMF would be measured by the ability to successfully fund the creation of a life-extension-themed game (or even multiple games) and, ultimately, by the release of such a game to the general public and the amount of engagement (number of plays or number of downloads) that the game would receive. A nearer-term measure of success would be the ability to attract sufficient interest in life-extension-themed games as to raise $5,000 in independent contributions from the general public, which would exhaust the LEGDMF through matching donations – leading to a total of $10,000 in funds invested in this worthwhile goal of informing new demographics about life extension through an exciting and innovative medium.

The demographics that could potentially be attracted by life-extension-themed computer games would include anybody who plays computer games for entertainment. Gamers come in all ages, but there are many children and teenagers among them, who could become vital members of the next generation of scientists, technologists, philosophers, and activists working in pursuit of indefinite longevity. These individuals would discover the life-extension-games once they are released on various online sites. Depending on the game, these could be flash-game sites that allow the games to be played for free, or these could be sites offering files for download. While no game can guarantee a specific number of players, games that are designed well and have an innovative premise would attract a large user base through the appeal of the gameplay itself. A game that catches on and achieves a steady following could even revolutionize the public perception of indefinite life extension and bring the idea of pursuit indefinite lifespans into the cultural mainstream.

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Liberation, Op. 20 (2003) – Musical Composition and Video by G. Stolyarov II

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The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
August 17, 2014
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This 2003 composition by Mr. Stolyarov, written in a mid-19th-century style, reveals the true nature of liberty as experienced by the creative mind, not free from all order, but free to create and relish an order of one’s own.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Abstract Orderism Fractal XVI, available for download here and here.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

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What Have We Accomplished in Iraq? – Article by Ron Paul

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The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
August 17, 2014
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We have been at war with Iraq for 24 years, starting with Operations Desert Shield and Storm in 1990. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait that year, the propaganda machine began agitating for a US attack on Iraq. We all remember the appearance before Congress of a young Kuwaiti woman claiming that the Iraqis were ripping Kuwaiti babies from incubators. The woman turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and the story was false, but it was enough to turn US opposition in favor of an attack.
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This month, yet another US president – the fifth in a row – began bombing Iraq. He is also placing in US troops on the ground despite promising not to do so.

The second Iraq war in 2003 cost the US some two trillion dollars. According to estimates, more than one million deaths have occurred as a result of that war. Millions of tons of US bombs have fallen in Iraq almost steadily since 1991.

What have we accomplished? Where are we now, 24 years later? We are back where we started, at war in Iraq!

The US overthrew Saddam Hussein in the second Iraq war and put into place a puppet, Nouri al-Maliki. But after eight years, last week the US engineered a coup against Maliki to put in place yet another puppet. The US accused Maliki of misrule and divisiveness, but what really irritated the US government was his 2011 refusal to grant immunity to the thousands of US troops that Obama wanted to keep in the country.

Early this year, a radical Islamist group, ISIS, began taking over territory in Iraq, starting with Fallujah. The organization had been operating in Syria, strengthened by US support for the overthrow of the Syrian government. ISIS obtained a broad array of sophisticated US weapons in Syria, very often capturing them from other US-approved opposition groups. Some claim that lax screening criteria allowed some ISIS fighters to even participate in secret CIA training camps in Jordan and Turkey.

This month, ISIS became the target of a new US bombing campaign in Iraq. The pretext for the latest US attack was the plight of a religious minority in the Kurdish region currently under ISIS attack. The US government and media warned that up to 100,000 from this group, including some 40,000 stranded on a mountain, could be slaughtered if the US did not intervene at once. Americans unfortunately once again fell for this propaganda and US bombs began to fall. Last week, however, it was determined that only about 2,000 were on the mountain and many of them had been living there for years! They didn’t want to be rescued!

This is not to say that the plight of many of these people is not tragic, but why is it that the US government did not say a word when three out of four Christians were forced out of Iraq during the ten year US occupation? Why has the US said nothing about the Christians slaughtered by its allies in Syria? What about all the Palestinians killed in Gaza or the ethnic Russians killed in east Ukraine?

The humanitarian situation was cynically manipulated by the Obama administration —  and echoed by the US media — to provide a reason for the president to attack Iraq again. This time it was about yet another regime change, breaking Kurdistan away from Iraq and protection of the rich oil reserves there, and acceptance of a new US military presence on the ground in the country.

President Obama has started another war in Iraq and Congress is completely silent. No declaration, no authorization, not even a debate. After 24 years we are back where we started. Isn’t it about time to re-think this failed interventionist policy? Isn’t it time to stop trusting the US federal government and its war propaganda? Isn’t it time to leave Iraq alone?

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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“La muerte está mal” – Spanish Translation of “Death is Wrong” – Translated by Néstor Duno – Post by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Announcements, Art, Education, Philosophy, Science, Technology, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
August 16, 2014
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The Spanish translation of Death is Wrong – La muerte está mal – generously translated by Néstor Duno – is now available via The Rational Argumentator, Amazon, and Createspace.

A paperback version can be obtained from Createspace for $9.13 here.

Amazon has begun to carry the paperback version for $8.67 here.

The Kindle version is available for $0.99 (the lowest price Amazon permits) here.

Also, a free PDF version is available here.

You have my permission to spread the electronic version of the book to Spanish-speaking audiences as widely as possible, with no strings attached.

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