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“Death is Wrong” Fundraiser Success – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 23, 2014
Recommend this page.
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A compounded victory! We have raised enough funds through Indiegogo to provide at least 1029 free paperback copies of Death is Wrong to children throughout the world.

Please watch my video announcement of the fundraiser’s success! (The number of available books has increased since I mentioned being able to provide 1024 books in the video.)

140 copies have been distributed; 159 are immediately ready to go upon request. Within 15 days, we will have the funds to distribute all of the remaining books to activists who ask for them.

Extensive thanks go to Bill Faloon of the Life Extension Foundation and Tonya Scholz, who persuaded Mr. Faloon to provide the Life Extension Foundation’s support. They have my eternal gratitude for their generous willingness to step in and get us the rest of the way to our goal. Thank you, also, to every single one of our 92 funders and hundreds of supporters throughout the world!

Earlier today I was interviewed by Tonya Scholz and Sandra Lopez on their Social Chats livestreamed radio program. We had a delightful conversation about Death is Wrong and the amazing reach it has had thus far. You can listen to the recording of the interview here.

Also, I am happy to announce that the five-day window for free downloads of the Kindle version has resulted in 318 downloads – an additional way in which the book has spread significantly!

Instructions for Longevity Activists to Request Copies of Death is Wrong

- Send an e-mail to gennadystolyarovii@gmail.com

- Provide your name, your mailing address, a statement of your support for indefinite life extension, and a brief description of your plan to spread the book to children in your local area. Remember that all copies received pursuant to this initiative would need to be offered to children free of charge (as gifts or reading opportunities) and may not be resold.

- Provide the number of copies of Death is Wrong that you are requesting.

- Preferably, provide an indication that you would be willing to send photographs of the books that have been delivered to you as well as events where you will be distributing the books.

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Mr. Stolyarov’s Article “Indefinite Lifespans Are Possible in Our Lifetimes” Published by Viral Global News

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The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 22, 2014
Recommend this page.
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I was pleased to contribute a guest article to Viral Global News, titled “Indefinite Lifespans Are Possible in Our Lifetimes”. The article discusses my illustrated children’s book Death is Wrong, my effort to spread 1000 paperback copies to children, free of cost to them, as well as the basics of Dr. Aubrey de Grey’s research program of SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), through whose realization the reversal of senescence and the achievement of indefinite longevity would be possible within the next several decades. Read the article here.

Here is the list of references accompanying my article. Please refer to these sources if you would like a more in-depth look at the topics I briefly discuss.

References

- Death is Wrong in paperback format on Amazon

- Death is Wrong in Kindle format on Amazon

- Indiegogo Campaign: Help Teach 1000 Kids That Death is Wrong

- “Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant” by Nick Bostrom

- “Life Span Extension Research and Public Debate: Societal Considerations”. Aubrey D.N.J. de Grey. Methuselah Foundation and SENS Research Foundation. 2007.

- “Negligible senescence” – Wikipedia

- “Turritopsis dohrnii” – Wikipedia

- “Transdifferentiation” – Wikipedia

- SENS Research Foundation

- Chart of types of aging-related damage in “A Reimagined Research Strategy for Aging” – SENS Research Foundation

- “Living to 1000: an interview with Aubrey de Grey”. Zander Redwood. 80,000 Hours. April 12, 2012.

- Genentech Alzheimer’s Prevention Trial

- “Progress Against Aging”. Campaign Against Aging. 2010.

- Aubrey de Grey’s video response to Gennady Stolyarov II’s question on how to make up lost progress in anti-aging research – in “Projects to accelerate radical healthy longevity” – Video by the London Futurists

- “How Google’s Calico aims to fight aging and ‘solve death’” – Arion McNicoll – CNN – October 3, 2013

- Human Longevity, Inc.

SENS Research on the seven types of damage constituting senescence:

- Cell Loss and Atrophy

- Dysfunctional/Senescent Cells

- Nuclear Mutations

- Mitochondrial Mutations

- Extracellular Junk

- Intracellular Junk

- Extracellular Crosslinks

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“Death is Wrong” Campaign Update – April 21, 2014 – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Mr. Stolyarov provides an update and call to action regarding his effort to Help Teach 1000 Kids That Death is Wrong.

Two days remain until the April 23, 2014, deadline for fundraising for the effort to spread 1000 paperback copies of Death is Wrong to children, free of cost to them. Contribute today to help broaden the reach of this culturally transformative illustrated children’s book on indefinite life extension.

As of April 21, 2014, $3,620 have been raised in this flexible-funding campaign, and $1,380 remain to reach the $5,000 target.

  • At least 725 books will be shipped in total.
  • 140 have been shipped already to longevity activists in the US, UK, Mexico, Poland, India, and Indonesia.
  • 133 books are ready to be shipped upon request.

The Kindle version of “Death is Wrong” is free to download through April 22, 2014. Get it here.

Get your copy today and refer as many children as you can to the link.

The impact of Death is Wrong is just beginning to occur!

References

BBC Future – “How to live forever” – Article by Frank Swain – April 21, 2014

Viral Global News – “Indefinite Lifespans Are Possible in Our Lifetimes” – Article by Gennady Stolyarov II -April 21, 2014

The Future And You – Discussion Between Stephen Euin Cobb and Gennady Stolyarov II
- Part 1 – http://traffic.libsyn.com/thefutureandyou/TFAY_2014_4_2.mp3
- Part 2 - http://traffic.libsyn.com/thefutureandyou/TFAY_2014_4_9.mp3

LongeCity Now – Justin Loew Interviews Gennady and Wendy Stolyarovhttp://www.longecity.org/media/LongeCityPodcast_Stolyarov2014_A01.mp3

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The Humility of Futurism – Article by Adam Alonzi

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The New Renaissance Hat
Adam Alonzi
April 20, 2014
Recommend this page.
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Civilization operates as if its troubles and their solutions will be as relevant tomorrow as they are today. Likely they were obsolete yesterday. How preposterous do the worries and aspirations of yesteryear seem now? What has not been refined since its conception? Our means of subsistence, entertainment, expression and enlightenment continue to change, although, at least unconsciously, they are accepted as stable. Change, once gradual, now quickens exponentially. Countless professions have been created and destroyed by advances; old orders have been destroyed, new ones have arisen; our world outlooks have been revolutionized by new discoveries over and over, although a sizable portion of the world is unwilling or unable to understand a man like Aubrey de Grey and an equally sizable portion of the population is still struggling with Copernicus. A Futurist accepts himself and his ideas as incomplete, therefore he actively works to improve upon them. Futurism is the first ideology that explicitly accepts the necessity and desirability of change.

It is a mistake to think we have reached the final stage of our journey. Plateaus are mirages conjured by the shortsighted; human evolution is a mountain without a peak. If a man has eyes, let him see all we have done and all we have yet to do. Let him gain the humility religion and liberalism have failed to inculcate into him and so many others. Each generation repeats this mistake. There is no evidence to suggest we are complete or are doomed now only to regress. Naysayers seem motivated to dismiss the triumphs of others out of fear they themselves will appear even less significant. Historically the distant future has received little attention compared to such pressing questions as the number of angels on the head of a pin or the labor theory of value. This may be thanks to a fondness for the apocalyptic, a fascination which certainly has not faded with time, but it is also attributable to the egotistical need to stand out. All epochs are transitions. The advances of this decade have failed to restore popular faith in progress, yet the very word is misleading. Faith does rest not upon an empirical foundation. There are scores of popular beliefs founded upon little or no evidence. Yet the proof of progress is all around us. Death wishes and earth-annihilating misanthropy aside, we can trace the modern disdain for the march forward to the fashionable nonsense of academia.


Speculations and prophecies, even conservative estimates based on careful analysis, are treated with derision by the public. To say one has faith in technology is misleading. To compare the singularity to the rapture is like comparing planetary motion to Santa Claus. One is rooted in scripture, the other in observation. The doomsayers, secular and religious alike, enjoy forecasting our demise. The essential corruption critics charge Western civilization with is common to all; it is called human nature. It is meant to be transcended, not through critiques of immaterial “cultural entities,” but by improving our bodies and our minds through bioengineering. No belief is needed here. We do not rely upon a outworn holy book or the absurd dialectic of the Marxists. We change and adapt because we must. This is a point of pride, not one of shame. We do not worship the past; we have shrugged it off. Compared to the ridiculous claims circulating in the cesspool collectively referred to as “the humanities” this is a sane position, yet it is treated with nothing by scorn by those who, wishing so ardently to distance themselves from Western civilization, bite the hands that feed them, clothes them, and shelters them. While they navigate by GPS, post their inane tangents on social media sites, and try with all their might to discredit the culture to which they owe their lives and livelihoods, others push forward. Self-proclaimed critics of Western civilization should consider trading their general practitioner for an Angolan witch doctor. It is hard to respect those who do not practice what they preach.

Postmodernism and cultural relativism, though they have pretensions of completeness and delusions of permanence, are but passing fads. Something devoid of usefulness or, for that matter, a coherent hypothesis, cannot last long when technology is generating so much benefit to so many people. A meme will continue to propagate itself long after it has served its purpose, to the detriment of competitors and to society at large. It is the duty of Futurists and Transhumanists to demolish the acceptability of rubbish in academia and in the media. The Luddites are more dangerous than the Creationists. Hubris is barely acceptable in the hard sciences, but in an absolutely unempirical discipline like philosophy, it is deplorable. Our first priority should not be political or religious; it should be scientific. To whom do we owe our prosperity, and to whom do we owe our future? To whom do we owe our lives and the lives of our children? How many of us would not be here today were it not for the men and women of modern medicine? This is not the end. Forget the weary and the overwhelmed; they are weak. Forget the ones who have no desire to climb higher; they are unfit. Cast aside the ones who pray fervently for the undoing of their own species; they are the most vile of all. This is not the end. This is our beginning.
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Adam Alonzi is the author of Praying for Death and A Plank in Reason. He is also a futurist, inventor, DIY enthusiast, biotechnologist, programmer, molecular gastronomist, consummate dilletante and columnist at The Indian Economist. Read his blog Cool Flickers.
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Help the next generation embrace a progress-filled vision of the future by supporting the illustrated children’s book Death is Wrong (free in Kindle format until April 22, 2014), and the campaign to distribute 1000 paperback copies to children, free of cost to them. The Indiegogo fundraising period ends on April 23, so please consider making a contribution today.
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“Death is Wrong” Kindle Version Available for Free on April 18-22, 2014

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The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 18, 2014
Recommend this page.
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Starting April 18 and continuing through April 22, the Kindle version of Death is Wrong will be available for free on Amazon. Those who have not yet read the book will be able to obtain it here. One does not need to own a Kindle in order to be able to read the Kindle e-books from Amazon.

Amazon allows a 5-day time window for free Kindle distribution at most, but this is another opportunity for the book to spread as widely as possible. If you obtain a free version and like what you read, please consider donating to our effort to spread 1000 paperback copies to children whose Internet access may not be as continuous and unfettered as ours. On the other hand, if you happen to know some children who do have sufficient Internet access to obtain the Kindle version, I ask that you link them to the Amazon page during the time the e-book is available for free.

Death is Wrong - by Gennady Stolyarov II, Illustrated by Wendy Stolyarov

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Multilateral Agreement on East Ukraine Situation Gives Peace a Chance – Post by G. Stolyarov II

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The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 17, 2014
Recommend this page.
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I am immensely relieved that a deal among the governments of Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union has been reached in an effort to avert violence and de-escalate the increasingly troubling crisis in East Ukraine. (See the Washington Post article by Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan, describing the deal. Also see this article from BBC News.) While the deal does not resolve all of the outstanding key issues of contention among the parties (the various territorial and policy disputes), it is a tremendous step in the right direction in denouncing the use of violence, rejecting bigoted mindsets such as anti-Semitism and exclusivist nationalism more generally, offering those who have not committed violence a chance to return to civilian life unscathed, and holding all sides to the promise to disarm and marginalize violent militants. I have written previously that war would be the worst option for Ukraine and the world in general. Any agreement that takes us even a small step away from war and toward a civilized, peaceful resolution is a welcome development in defense of a bright, cosmopolitan future of advancing technology and rising living standards for all – instead of meaningless carnage and destruction.

If Vladimir Putin’s regime was indeed behind the arming and organizing of the insurgents in the Donetsk region, then Russia’s accession to this deal can be expected to be followed by the disempowerment of the insurgency. If the havoc wreaked by the separatist uprising cannot last without Putin’s assistance, then withdrawal of that assistance would hopefully restore a semblance of peace and safety for civilians.

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Gennady and Wendy Stolyarov Interviewed by Justin Loew of LongeCity Regarding “Death is Wrong”

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The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 16, 2014
Recommend this page.
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Justin Loew of LongeCity recently interviewed me and my wife Wendy Stolyarov regarding our illustrated children’s book Death is Wrong and our Indiegogo campaign to spread this book to 1000 children, free of cost to them. The audio broadcast of our excellent conversation has been posted on this thread on the LongeCity forum. Here is a link to the MP3 file: http://www.longecity.org/media/LongeCityPodcast_Stolyarov2014_A01.mp3.

Gennady and Wendy Stolyarov

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Ludwig von Mises on War

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The New Renaissance Hat
Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)
April 15, 2014
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The following are quotations on war by Ludwig von Mises (1881– 1973), who was the leading economist of the Austrian School. This list was first published as an article on the Mises Institute website and subsequently published on Le Québécois Libre.
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History has witnessed the failure of many endeavors to impose peace by war, cooperation by coercion, unanimity by slaughtering dissidents……. A lasting order cannot be established by bayonets. (Omnipotent Government, p. 7)  
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War……is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds, war destroys. (Socialism, p. 59)

The market economy involves peaceful cooperation. It bursts asunder when the citizens turn into warriors and, instead of exchanging commodities and services, fight one another. (1st Ed. Human Action, p. 817 ; 3rd Ed. Human Action, p. 821)  
  
Economically considered, war and revolution are always bad business. (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 152) 
  
The market economy means peaceful cooperation and peaceful exchange of goods and services. It cannot persist when wholesale killing is the order of the day. (Interventionism: An Economic Analysis, p. 67)  
  
[A]ggressors cannot wage total war without introducing socialism. (Interventionism: an Economic Analysis, p. 70) 
  
War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. The earthquake means good business for construction workers, and cholera improves the business of physicians, pharmacists, and undertakers; but no one has for that reason yet sought to celebrate earthquakes and cholera as stimulators of the productive forces in the general interest. (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 154)  
  
War can really cause no economic boom, at least not directly, since an increase in wealth never does result from destruction of goods. (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 154) 
  
Whoever wishes peace among peoples must fight statism. (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 77) 
  
Modern society, based as it is on the division of labor, can be preserved only under conditions of lasting peace. (Liberalism, p. 44) 
  
Wars, foreign and domestic (revolutions, civil wars), are more likely to be avoided the closer the division of labor binds men. (Critique of Interventionism, p. 115) 
  
Modern war is not a war of royal armies. It is a war of the peoples, a total war. It is a war of states which do not leave to their subjects any private sphere; they consider the whole population a part of the armed forces. Whoever does not fight must work for the support and equipment of the army. Army and people are one and the same. The citizens passionately participate in the war. For it is their state, their God, who fights. (Omnipotent Government, p. 104)  
  
The existence of the armaments industries is a consequence of the warlike spirit, not its cause. (1st Ed. Human Action, p. 297; 3rd Ed. Human Action, p. 300)  
  
What basis for war could there still be, once all peoples had been set free? (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 34) 
  
The statement that one man’s boon is the other man’s damage is valid with regard to robbery, war, and booty. The robber’s plunder is the damage of the despoiled victim. But war and commerce are two different things. (1st Ed. Human Action, p. 662; 3rd Ed. Human Action, p. 666)  
  
It is certainly true that our age is full of conflicts which generate war. However, these conflicts do not spring from the operation of the unhampered market society. It may be permissible to call them economic conflicts because they concern that sphere of human life which is, in common speech, known as the sphere of economic activities. But it is a serious blunder to infer from this appellation that the source of these conflicts are conditions which develop within the frame of a market society. It is not capitalism that produces them, but precisely the anticapitalistic policies designed to check the functioning of capitalism. They are an outgrowth of the various governments’ interference with business, of trade and migration barriers and discrimination against foreign labor, foreign products, and foreign capital. (1st Ed. Human Action, p. 680; 3rd Ed. Human Action, p. 684)  
  
What has transformed the limited war between royal armies into total war, the clash between peoples, is not technicalities of military art, but the substitution of the welfare state for the laissez-faire state. (1st Ed. Human Action, p. 820; 3rd Ed. Human Action, p. 824) 

Under laissez-faire peaceful coexistence of a multitude of sovereign nations is possible. Under government control of business it is impossible. (1st Ed. Human Action, p. 820; 3rd Ed. Human Action, p. 824)  
  
Of course, in the long run war and the preservation of the market economy are incompatible. Capitalism is essentially a scheme for peaceful nations. (1st Ed. Human Action, p. 824; 3rd Ed. Human Action, p. 828)  
  
What the incompatibility of war and capitalism really means is that war and high civilization are incompatible. If the efficiency of capitalism is directed by governments toward the output of instruments of destruction, the ingenuity of private business turns out weapons which are powerful enough to destroy everything. What makes war and capitalism incompatible with one another is precisely the unparalleled efficiency of the capitalist mode of production. (1st Ed. Human Action, p. 824; 3rd Ed. Human Action, p. 828)  
  
Modern war is merciless, it does not spare pregnant women or infants; it is indiscriminate killing and destroying. It does not respect the rights of neutrals. Millions are killed, enslaved, or expelled from the dwelling places in which their ancestors lived for centuries. Nobody can foretell what will happen in the next chapter of this endless struggle. This has little to do with the atomic bomb. The root of the evil is not the construction of new, more dreadful weapons. It is the spirit of conquest. It is probable that scientists will discover some methods of defense against the atomic bomb. But this will not alter things, it will merely prolong for a short time the process of the complete destruction of civilization. (1st Ed. Human Action, p. 828; 3rd Ed. Human Action, p. 832)  
  
To defeat the aggressors is not enough to make peace durable. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates war. (1st Ed. Human Action, p. 828; 3rd Ed. Human Action, p. 832)  
  
Social development is always a collaboration for joint action; the social relationship always means peace, never war. Death-dealing actions and war are anti-social. All those theories which regard human progress as an outcome of conflicts between human groups have overlooked this truth. (Socialism, p. 279) 
  
But what is needed for a satisfactory solution of the burning problem of international relations is neither a new office with more committees, secretaries, commissioners, reports, and regulations, nor a new body of armed executioners, but the radical overthrow of mentalities and domestic policies which must result in conflict. (Omnipotent Government, p. 6) 
  
For only in peace can the economic system achieve its ends, the fullest satisfaction of human needs and wants. (Omnipotent Government, p. 50) 
  
If men do not now succeed in abolishing war, civilization and mankind are doomed. (Omnipotent Government, p. 122) 
  
If you want to abolish war, you must eliminate its causes. What is needed is to restrict government activities to the preservation of life, health, and private property, and thereby to safeguard the working of the market. Sovereignty must not be used for inflicting harm on anyone, whether citizen or foreigner. (Omnipotent Government, p. 138)  
  
Only one thing can conquer war – that liberal attitude of mind which can see nothing in war but destruction and annihilation, and which can never wish to bring about a war, because it regards war as injurious even to the victors. (Theory of Money and Credit, p. 433) 
  
The first condition for the establishment of perpetual peace is, of course, the general adoption of the principles of laissez-faire capitalism. (The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 137) 
  
He who wants to prepare a lasting peace must……be a free-trader and a democrat and work with decisiveness for the removal of all political rule over colonies by a mother country and fight for the full freedom of movements of persons and goods. (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 86) 
  
Liberalism rejects aggressive war not on philanthropic grounds but from the standpoint of utility. It rejects aggressive war because it regards victory as harmful, and it wants no conquests because it sees them as an unsuitable means for reaching the ultimate goals for which it strives. Not through war and victory but only through work can a nation create the preconditions for the well-being of its members. Conquering nations finally perish, either because they are annihilated by strong ones or because the ruling class is culturally overwhelmed by the subjugated. (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 87)  
  
Whoever on ethical grounds wants to maintain war permanently for its own sake as a feature of relations among peoples must clearly realize that this can happen only at the cost of the general welfare, since the economic development of the world would have to be turned back at least to the state of the year 1830 to realize this martial ideal even only to some extent. (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 151) 
  
The losses that the national economy suffers from war, apart from the disadvantages that exclusion from world trade entails, consist of the destruction of goods by military actions, of the consumption of war material of all kinds, and of the loss of productive labor that the persons drawn into military service would have rendered in their civilian activities. Further losses from loss of labor occur insofar as the number of workers is lastingly reduced by the number of the fallen and as the survivors become less fit in consequence of injuries suffered, hardships undergone, illnesses suffered, and worsened nutrition. (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 151 – 52)  
  
There are circumstances which make the consumption of capital unavoidable. A costly war cannot be financed without such a damaging measure….There may arise situations in which it may be unavoidable to burn down the house to keep from freezing, but those who do that should realize what it costs and what they will have to do without later on. (Interventionism: an Economic Analysis, p. 52) 
  
It is not the war profits of the entrepreneurs that are objectionable. War itself is objectionable! (Interventionism: an Economic Analysis, p. 74)

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War is the Worst Choice for Ukraine and the World – Article by G. Stolyarov II

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

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 14, 2014
Recommend this page.
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As I write this, people have already been killed in the confrontation between pro-Putin militants of the self-proclaimed “Republic of Donetsk” in Eastern Ukraine and the “anti-terrorist” forces sent by the interim Ukrainian government to suppress the insurgents. (Calling them “rebels”, “separatists”, “militants”, even “provocateurs” may be legitimate – but the use of the label “terrorist” here only further eviscerates any meaning that term once had in referring to people who deliberately kill civilians to make a political or ideological point.) It is not precisely clear what is happening on the ground – who is prevailing, and who is responsible for the initiation of force. What is clear, however, is that a deadly tragedy may be about to occur – unless reason, common sense, and every longing for peace and civilization are marshaled against it.

I have no love for Vladimir Putin or his regime. He is clearly an authoritarian despot, with little respect for the rights of his own people or those of others. He will pursue an agenda of personal power and aggrandizement through nationalistic rhetoric and attempts to rekindle the alleged glory of Imperial and Soviet Russia. Yet, despotic as he may be, one would hope that Putin is not suicidally stupid. It was one matter to seize control of Crimea, with its majority Russian-speaking population and popular support for annexation by Russia. Occupying the rest of Ukraine – in which even many ethnic Russians have no enthusiasm for union with Russia – is another matter entirely. A protracted occupation of Ukraine, amidst an unsympathetic populace – to say the least! – would bog down the Russian military and imperil an already precarious economic situation.  It would also risk the lives of many Russian soldiers in a prolonged partisan uprising, much like the one that the Soviet regime had to deal with for decades in Ukraine during the last century.  A reasonable person would hope that Putin recognizes this and does not stray from his characteristic modus operandi – which, however ruthless, is nonetheless marked by caution and pragmatic calculation.

Until the uprisings that led to the declaration of the “Republic of Donetsk”, it seemed to me that Putin’s conduct of “military training exercises” on Ukraine’s Eastern border was a strategic bluff. While the cover of military exercises affords Putin plausible deniability, he could also sincerely agree to withdraw the troops in subsequent negotiations, in exchange for the West’s recognition of the legitimacy of the Crimea annexation and a more loosely federated Ukraine. If Putin had pursued this approach, he would have likely gotten away with annexing Crimea after nothing worse than some griping and minor sanctions levied by Western governments.

Yet it is now unclear whether the separatist uprisings in the Donetsk region were orchestrated by provocateurs employed by Putin’s regime (as many in the Ukrainian government and foreign-policy hawks in the West allege), or whether they largely arose from local Russian nationalists who were inspired by the Crimea annexation and sought to repeat it in Eastern Ukraine (as many of the separatists do appear to be ordinary civilians). Nonetheless, Putin’s regime has officially endeavored to maintain plausible deniability – which means that an escalation of military force against the separatists by the Ukrainian government would give Putin exactly the pretext he would need to invade Eastern Ukraine, if that is indeed his goal.

The “anti-terrorist” operation by the Ukrainian government of President Oleksandr Turchynov and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk is – like any attempt by Putin to even consider an invasion of Eastern Ukraine – an act of suicidal folly. Not only do Turchynov and Yatseniuk undermine their own legitimacy in the eyes of Eastern Ukrainians by treating their own citizens as “terrorists” (), they also create the actual war that they accuse Putin of fomenting! Logic suggests only two possibilities: either the separatists are Russian provocateurs, or they are not. If they are indeed Russian provocateurs, then Turchynov and Yatseniuk have effectively initiated hostilities against Russian forces. If the separatists are not Russian provocateurs, then Turchynov and Yatseniuk are deploying military and “counter-terrorist” forces against their own people, instead of dealing with any insurgent or criminal behaviors via the police and the civilian justice system. Either way, the Ukrainian government is not doing itself any favors and is itself engaged in dangerous brinksmanship, which, unless restraint wins the day, could cost the lives of at least thousands of innocent Ukrainian civilians.

If this crisis were merely an episode of competing follies between two Eastern European regimes, I might have left the matter at that. Unfortunately, prominent neoconservative war hawks such as John McCain and certain NATO generals, such as Supreme Allied Commander Philip Breedlove, remain unable to transcend the insane era of the Cold War, when the civilized world was never far from nuclear annihilation due to the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. They continue to call for “harsh” and “forceful” measures to be taken against Putin’s regime – whatever that means. Economic sanctions would, of course, be wholly counterproductive and would further impoverish Russian civilians, driving more of them, in desperation, to further embrace Putin’s nationalistic agenda. But military action of any sort by NATO or the United States would be an absolute calamity for human civilization – risking not just another cold war, but World War III between the world’s two major nuclear powers. Such a war would paralyze the progress of humankind for decades and lead to the eradication of much of the infrastructure needed to make comfortable, prosperous lives possible.

The neoconservative and NATO hawks are the Western mirror image of Putin’s nationalistic aggrandizement. They warn of the United States’ weakening image in foreign policy, of a perceived softness of the Obama administration’s response. They fear, in essence, a loss of American “national honor” and “national pride” if the United States were to withdraw from its role as global policeman and global human-rights enforcer. But they overlook the essential question: Why should the United States government be involved in the situation in Ukraine? There is no danger to American citizens, to whom the United States government’s duty of protection is owed, even in the worst-case scenario of Putin’s troops occupying all of Ukraine (which, as explained earlier, will not happen unless Putin is suicidally stupid). There is no compelling “national security” rationale of any sort for military or even extensive policy intervention in an area of the world separated from the United States by an ocean and most of the European continent!

The United States government is drowning in runaway debt, and the country is only beginning to recover from disastrous decade-long occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of American troops have been killed in the prior interventions of this millennium; tens of thousands more have come home physically and mentally scarred forever.  And the hawks want them to fight in yet another part of the world which most Americans understand nothing about, for no tangible gain, in the name of the geopolitical posturing of regimes whose leaders care not at all about them and will not bear a single physical cost of the massive killings, tortures, property destruction, and other atrocities that war inevitably brings with it? War is always fought at the behest of and for the benefit of corrupt, power-hungry leaders, and all the costs are always borne by innocent civilians and by very young armed men who know not what they fight for and who kill one another senselessly, even though they could have been good friends in other circumstances.

As the Wikileaks revelations about the conduct of some American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan showed the world, the US military is not uniquely righteous or humanitarian; torture, sadism, and perversity in the conduct of war marred the US military record, too.

The description of the horrors of war and the immense beneficence and moral imperative of peace by the great Renaissance humanist thinker Desiderius Erasmus is just as true today as it was in the early 16th century when these words were written:

Peace is at once the mother and the nurse of all that is good for man; war, on a sudden and at one stroke, overwhelms, extinguishes, abolishes, whatever is cheerful, whatever is happy and beautiful, and pours a foul torrent of disasters on the life of mortals. Peace shines upon human affairs like the vernal sun. The fields are cultivated, the gardens bloom, the cattle are fed upon a thousand hills, new buildings arise, riches flow, pleasures smile, humanity and charity increase, arts and manufactures feel the genial warmth of encouragement, and the gains of the poor are more plentiful.

But no sooner does the storm of war begin to lower, than what a deluge of miseries and misfortune seizes, inundates, and overwhelms all things within the sphere of its action! The flocks are scattered, the harvest trampled, the husbandman butchered, villas and villages burnt, cities and states that have been ages rising to their flourishing state subverted by the fury of one tempest, the storm of war. So much easier is the task of doing harm than of doing good — of destroying than of building up!

As with the remarkable surge of grassroots opposition that prevented US intervention in Syria in 2013, it is time for the American public to vociferously denounce any military intervention in Ukraine. It is not surprising, as a recent Washington Post article highlighted, that “The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want to intervene”! Education of Americans, not the inflammation of their zeal, should be the priority. The conflict in Ukraine today is a clash between two extremely ugly nationalisms – and ignorant neoconservative jingoists would add their own third flavor of nationalism to the mix. It is time for civilized individuals everywhere to reject all nationalism and all war. All of us humans – in Ukraine, Russia, the West, and everywhere else – face a choice for the next several decades. If we pursue the path of peace and non-intervention, we can become a spacefaring, cosmopolitan civilization. We are on the verge of major breakthroughs in life extension, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanoscale manufacturing, and ubiquitous, affordable energy. If we pursue the path of war, then humankind will instead become suffocated in the muck of jingoistic tribalism, with a promising future washed away by rivers of blood and consumed by an inferno of bombs.  The next few weeks will indicate which of these futures we face.

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Norman Borlaug Saved a Billion Lives – Article by Bradley Doucet

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Categories: History, Science, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Bradley Doucet
April 13, 2014
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Wheat
A statue honouring Norman Borlaug was unveiled in DC earlier this week on what would have been the celebrated biologist’s 100th birthday. Borlaug’s work developing and promoting high-yield crop varieties is credited with averting the mass famines that were predicted in the 1960s and saving as many as a billion people in the developing world from starving to death. Yes, that’s “billion” with a “b.” In 1970, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his history-altering humanitarian efforts.
Born in Iowa in 1914, Borlaug lived through the Dust Bowl, whose effects he noticed were less severe where newer, high-yield farming methods were in use. In the 1940s, he went to work for the Rockefeller Foundation in Mexico, teaching Mexican farmers the latest agricultural techniques and leading a research effort to perfect a high-yield, disease-resistant strain of wheat. In the 1960s, he moved to Pakistan and India, where he also successfully promoted the use of modern farming and high-yield wheat.

Yet this Green Revolution, as it came to be called, met with serious resistance from environmentalists, who to this day bemoan the need for inorganic fertilizers and industrial irrigation. Many greens promote the preservation of, and indeed a return to, traditional subsistence farming, even though it requires more land to grow an equivalent amount of food. Realistically, the choice humanity faces is between a) modern farming, b) razing our forests to make room for traditional farming, or c) mass starvation. And actually, without modern farming methods, razing our forests probably would not be enough to prevent mass starvation.

Thanks in part to the well-meaning but ill-conceived opposition of greens, the Green Revolution has barely begun to reach sub-Saharan Africa, the one part of the world where dire poverty is not hastily retreating. Thanks to too many people romanticizing traditional farming and demonizing modern agriculture, millions continue to suffer and die needlessly. As Borlaug himself once said, “Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.”

Penn and Teller called Norman Borlaug “the greatest human that ever existed.” On his 100th birthday, let’s honour his unparalleled achievement by embracing agricultural technology and moving beyond simplistic and misleading fear-mongering. Let’s try to complete the glorious Green Revolution and spread prosperity across the globe—and save the world’s forests in the bargain.

Bradley Doucet is Le Québécois Libre‘s English Editor and the author of the blog Spark This: Musings on Reason, Liberty, and Joy. A writer living in Montreal, he has studied philosophy and economics, and is currently completing a novel on the pursuit of happiness. He also writes for The New Individualist, an Objectivist magazine published by The Atlas Society, and sings.
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