Category Archives: General

Third U.S. Presidential debate in Madrid

In Madrid today took place the public screening of the third U.S. presidential debate. It was originally scheduled for last Thursday, October 16, to be followed by a local debate between Madrid-based democrats and republicans. The screening was later moved to October 18 (today).

When I got there I noticed fewer people than at the first screening. Then Ms. Deborah Luhrman, of Democrats Abroad, made an announcement before the screening begun: there would be no republican representatives present for the after-screening local debate. She explained that this resulted from the change of date, which made it impossible for the republican Representatives (she didn’t name who) to participate in a debate today. She complained that the republicans could not find or appoint another person to come to the debate, after which she expressed satisfaction for the absence of republicans in the screening, and uttered: “to hell with them“.

That’s certainly very democratic of democrats, isn’t it?

Ms. Luhrman then announced details about the election night party of the democrats in Madrid on November 4th, which will apparently include a Sarah Palin look-alike contest. As usual, the left treats their political opponents as their entertainers, and as mere objects for mockery.

(This post was not to comment on the presidential debate itself, but about the local screening of it)

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In capitalism's defence.

There are plenty of anti-capitalism opinions reflected in print, the media and on the Internet. When I read such material, I feel the need to reply in the form of an article in this blog, but I can rarely find the time.

Recently, however, I came across another such article in the blog of a friend of mine (the English text is a Google translation from the Spanish original), which has motivated me to write back.

The above-linked article presents capitalism as the source of corruption, slavery, drug trafficking, real state speculation, and several more calamities and misfortunes. It also describes capitalism as a system consisting of robbery, oppression of people, exploitation of workers, all for the benefit of just a few people (the capitalists). It even defines it as a system created by humans to cause hatred of some humans against others.

On the contrary, capitalism is not the source of evil because evil does exist independent of capitalism and independent of any other social or economic system. I will argue here that both capitalism and evil are nothing but reflections of the human being, and neither is the consequence of the other.

Capitalism is defined as:

    an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

Ownership

The essence of the human being does not differ one bit from the other living creatures: Humans need to feed to survive, and they need a space to live in. From prehistoric times human beings needed to obtain food for themselves, and their “family” (I’ll use this term to refer to those other human beings he or she had to feed). The very action of “obtaining” the food represented an amount of effort and work employed by an individual. The investment of time and effort in obtaining that food already grants that individual ownership over that food.

The concept of ownership is linked to the existence of other human beings, who may be very willing to simply take the food that their neighbour obtained after employing time and effort. In other words, it is necessary to create the concept of private property (ownership) to provide the hunter humans some guarantee that they are not wasting their time and effort in chasing animals down to get food. In the absence of other humans around, private property is meaningless. However, as soon as other humans are around, protection is needed from stealing. Private property becomes a necessary concept that must be acknowledged by a community of human beings in recognition of the effort, time or resources that one individual has employed to obtain something else. Everything has a value for an individual, and it has a value for others, who would find it far easier to steal what other humans obtained or produced rather than employing effort of their own. This is a key difference between humans and most other animals: humans can see the value of the work done by others, and can plan to take advantage of the effort of others, while other animals cannot. Other animals taking food from humans are moved by the availability of that food, or its being easier to grab than other food available in the environment. Moreover, humans recognize value in items other than food: tools, materials, and other goods can also be sought after by other humans (who did not produce them). Therefore, the concept of “property” is need by humans only in relation with other humans, not in relation with other living beings.

Because the human being is a social being, living in communities with other humans, “ownership” is an absolutely necessary concept to take into account to study or define human relationships.

Economy

Another natural trait of humans is their tendency towards simplifying tasks. If someone employed their time in producing rice crops and others in fishing, wouldn’t it be easier for both to exchange some of each other’s production rather than both becoming farmer and fisherman?. Barter emerged as a natural way of obtaining a variety of types of food, hard to obtain otherwise due to lack of time, resources or skill. Land, production tools and other items would be equally exchanged in the same manner. One problem of bartering was the perceived value of goods. With time, this system evolved to eliminate differences in value perception of different goods, and a common token of exchange would be adopted, to represent equal value to all users of the token system: one token might represent two packs of rice, or one fish. These tokens are nothing but money: a single coin that has a value agreed by all its users. Trading of rice for fish came to an end, and trade of coins for fish, or coins for rice became the norm. Thus the birth of money, as a natural evolution of bartering.

Money is a mere token of value, common to all people who produce and consume different types of goods. Money is a reflection of human nature, since it represents trade of goods among humans.

Whether we are considering rice-for-fish trading or monetary transactions, it is all an economic system. From the Greek roots of the word, “economy” means village (or household) management. That is: management of the community, of one’s house in terms of the resources needed to keep the village or household running. Such resources are the food needed to feed people, the tools need to produce or catch food, the materials to build shelters, etc..

I.e., an “economy” is also a concept inherent to human nature. By mixing the use of money (common token system instead of barter), the economic system based on money only makes the management of one’s household more convenient, as it greatly reduces complexity to obtain needed or wanted goods. Nature’s tendency towards simplification can also be seen in this evolution and creation of economy based on the common token system.

Capitalism

Therefore, from the very human nature emanate two basic facts that have since ruled human societies:

  1. On the one hand, the recognition of an individual’s work and its products is a must. Hence, private property and ownership.
  2. On the other hand, the economic system emerges as the natural way to cooperate in the production and exchange of goods among humans.

Capitalism derives from these two basic facts: Private property of goods and means of production of goods, and an economic system that permits the management of wealth for individuals and organizations. In a typical capitalist system nowadays the means of production and exchange of wealth are in private hands, in the exact same way as with humans in the stone age.

Current capitalist structures, far more complex than the structures required to cover the human’s initial basic feeding needs, are nothing but the natural evolution of a system made of human beings, due to the nature of those very human beings. The system experienced an increase in complexity by several orders of magnitude over thousands of years, due to several factors including population increases, improvements of tools and techniques, production increases, trade, communication with other peoples, etc…

So far I have established that capitalism derives from human nature. This fact is neither good nor bad in itself. It is a fact, and I believe that the fact that capitalism is in effect in most of the world goes to show that nature cannot be fought. Non-capitalist systems are anti-natural because they clash in one way or another with the nature of the individual elements that make up the system, the human beings. Sooner or later, any system that attempts to impose customs which conflict with its elements’ nature, will collapse.

Evil

The evil that some like to ascribe to capitalism effuses from humans, not from capitalist systems or structures.

Another trait of human nature is its capacity for goodness, greed, kindness, envy, self-improvement or advantage-taking. These forces drive human actions, and human societies are shaped by the supply of each of these forces which can be found in the group. These forces are always present, regardless or the system or organization that relates humans among each other.

Let us take for example communism, which imposes an artificial rule stating that all people must have equal wealth, with the goal of ensuring that all people can see their needs satisfied: food, shelter, education, etc… In such a system no one is allowed to do work or produce as much as they please, but rather must conform with the established “quota” of work and goods allocated for all people. This is unnatural because on the one hand restricts and negates people’s desires for improvement (self or group), while on the other hand forces upon people the load of supporting the living of crooks taking advantage of society. Other anti-natural systems have ceased to exist as well, like feudalism, for it also restricted people’s freedoms.

Capitalism vs. others

These economic systems have truly used slavery (feudalism), have blatantly experienced corruption and robbery (communism), and above all have oppressed people, restricting their ability to pursue their own well-being, while failing spectacularly in defending the well-being of the general public.

Capitalism, on the other hand, is the natural expression of human interactions. It does suffer from the bad qualities of humans, like any other system, but its lack of anti-natural laws makes it the system with the least flaws and the best suited to play well with its components: humans.

Language, communication and freedom

Language is often considered to be an aspect of culture. I dissent. First and foremost, language is a means of communication, but the diversity of languages certainly makes humans associate a particular language with a particular group of people. Humans feel identified with other human beings who speak the same language, while feeling more distant from those speaking a different tongue.

Culture or not, language is essentially what allows humans to communicate with other humans and it is therefore a catalyst for growth of the human spirit as language permits access to knowledge and to interaction and relation with other people. The use of language should therefore not be limited nor restricted in any way. This apparently elemental assertion has rarely been true throughout the history of mankind. The fact that different peoples speak different languages has been used as a perfect weapon to divide and hurt people as opposed to the enriching potential of multilingualism.

In “The Prince“, Machiavelli describes how the different tongue spoken in another state can be a hurdle to conquer that territory. Time and again we have seen how leaders have imposed the use of a particular language on people, in order to gain control over them and their lands, usually accompanied by oppression of another language that may represent a threat to achieving control of the people. This practice might have been thought to be proper of war time, dictators and other freedom-lacking situations and regimes.

Nothing further from the truth: Spain, despite being a Democratic state, is a prime example of language oppression and curbing of freedoms. I’ve been meaning to write yet another public condemnation of the practices of several regional governments in Spain, which have been implementing policies and practices to put down the use of the Spanish language (despite it being an official language on those regions) while also imposing the use of their local language (despite it being equally official).

Common practices nowadays in Spain include: favoring knowledge of the local language over medical skills to access doctor positions in the public health care system, fines on businesses which do not label their stores and products in the local language, forcing students to speak the local language during school recess, indicating parents and teachers they are not to use Spanish when speaking in front of children in school, teaching Spanish in school as a foreign language, conducting publicity campaigns depicting Spanish-speaking locals as inferior to local-language-speaking locals, among other preposterous praxes.

Many of those policies are targeted on the education system. What best way to indoctrinate on local and regional identity and differentiation from other people (i.e., the rest of Spain) than to stress the differences by imposing the use of the local language while putting down the use of Spanish?

With their obsession on collective regionalism, those local governments are infusing hatred among people, but most importantly, they are depriving people from the ability to communicate and access more and more knowledge, produced in languages other than their regional tongue.

The use of one or another language ought to be purely a matter of choice of the individual. At school age, when children are still uncontaminated by political maneuvers, parents should have a choice as to whether their children ought to be be taught in one or more language, or whether they should be taught in Spanish as well as the local language, or even in foreign languages.

By undermining the capability of people to choose the language they use for communication, and for schooling of their children, these regional governments are dumbing down the population. The general public is subject to the manipulatory wishes of these regional leaders who are depriving and isolating people of opportunities for their future, in the name of localism and glorification of their local identity.

A foreign (non-Spanish) friend of mine in Catalonia (one of the regions in Spain most active in promoting collective localism) finally opted to migrate to another European country, because the school system in Barcelona offered no possibility to study in Spanish. Only Catalan (the local co-official language) was an option. Spanish would be taught to his children as a foreign language, like English or French.

Limiting exposure to other languages is a crime against people, for it limits their capability to acquire knowledge, liberty and self-growth, and to help in the growth of the individual’s community. People and businesses should claim their right to use and think in whichever language they please, free of limitations from governments.

The latest episode in this battle was staged recently by the Balearic region of Spain and the German airline Air Berlin, which operates flights between several German cities and several Spanish cities (among other countries). The Balearic local regional government’s “Language Policy” director sent a letter to Air Berlin, asking them to use Catalan in their communications with their customers in the Balearic islands. Here’s an example of meddling by a public institution (local government) in private affairs of an airline. Who do they think they are to tell an Airline what language they should speak? I support the Airline if they choose to communicate to their customers in whichever language they decide to, Catalan included, but this should be purely their own decision. If they have not chosen to use Catalan so far, they probably have their own reasons, more than likely related to balancing the need to communicate with non German speaking customers and the need to streamline the Airline’s business. It is no business of anyone else to tell them which language to use.

The reaction of Air Berlin’s director, Mr. Joachim Hunold, was perfectly correct. He wrote in the airline’s own magazine a note denouncing the inference from the Balearic government, saying that “Spanish is no longer an official language. The partition of Spain into regional nationalisms is returning Spain to medieval mini-states. I used to think that we lived in a Europe without borders”.

Mr. is absolutely correct. Of course, regional leaders in Spain have tried to accuse Air Berlin of attacking Catalan. The president of Catalonia, Montilla, has even dared to tell the Airline how they should conduct their business, hinting that the Airline should not adopt an ideology. Apparently, for Montilla it is fine that a Government can impose an ideology on people, but individuals cannot comment on it. This is certainly not a surprise, since Montilla and similar local leaders are known for persecuting freedom of speech.

Certainly the airline incident is far less serious than other practices; it was just the latest in a chain of nonsense coming from these regional leaders.

It is outrageous that the Catalonian government fines producers for not using Catalan in their product labels, or when they’ve fined shop owners for using only Spanish on their shop banners. People should be free to label using whichever language they want. Most certainly businesses will choose a language that helps them sell their product. If they want to use Catalan, they will, but this should not be forced upon them.

It is also outrageous that children are manipulated through television advertisements that teach them to put Spanish-speaking people down.

People’s own opportunities for prosperity and liberty are being killed by these leaders obsessed with regional and local identity, and with differentiation from the rest of humans. Language is their best vehicle to control people. Let us not allow them to succeed.

Who you are, what you are

Geraldine Ferraro, campaign adviser to Hillary Clinton, has resigned in the face of accusations of racism from the other democratic candidate, Barak Obama.

Ferraro‘s comment in dispute was that part of the support that Obama has is due to the fact he is black.

This is not racism. This is a fact. It is entirely true that many people do base their vote on issues absolutely unrelated to the political program of the candidate they are voting. If the candidate is too short, too fat or too bald, he/she will be at a disadvantage over a candidate who is taller, slimmer and has hair. The same goes for other factors, such as the sex or race of the candidate.

If someone is voted because they are taller than the competing candidate, that is wrong, but it happens.

Likewise, if someone is voted because of their race, it is also wrong, but it happens as well, in the same way it would be wrong to be in favour of a particular candidate only because she would be a woman rather than a man, or vice versa.

Any consideration about who the candidate is, as opposed to what they say or do, is wrong. To point out that humans do take who you are into account, and to point out that such behaviour is benefiting someone in particular, is not wrong.

I do know people in Spain who wish that Obama be the next president of the United States, because they would like to see a black president in the USA. This train of thought does reveal racism. On the other hand, to say that such thought is present in some or many people’s head is not racism.

Barak Obama was not right to criticize Geraldine Ferraro, who should not have resigned.

Obama‘s accusation of racism on the part of the campaign of his opponent is mere opportunism. Accusing others of racism is a good way to earn votes.

Climate Change, Inc.

What’s hip and cool on the outside, but a blushing lie on the inside? Man-made climate change. It’s the talk of the world. It’s the politically correct thing to say, and it’s also the politically incorrect thing to deny.

Lots of people have jumped on the bandwagon to declare that we are experiencing unusual global warming, and it’s caused by human activity on Earth.

It is worth putting things into perspective. The Earth is a some 4.5 billion year old system, and is far bigger and more complex than any man-made system or artifact. Humans have inhabited this planet for the past 130,000 years only. Human machinery and industrialization began some 200 years ago, at most. Human-produced CO2 emissions (widely regarded as a main cause for climate change) have begun some 100 years ago.

Could small humans (however in large numbers), in a mere 100 years, have impacted a 4 billion year old planet’s climate system? Who do humans think they are? To believe that a big system like Earth can be affected by such proportionally small beings and their crazy inventions, is to dwell in dreams of grandeur on the small beings’ part.

Some (or many) of humans’ activities are detrimental for nature, and there is plenty of room for improvement on how man relates to nature. To go further and claim that human activity affects climate is a different story.

In order to debunk the man-made climate change theory, a few questions are in order:

  1. Is there climate change?

    Within the lifespan of a person, a change in climate can seem substantial and strange, but it may be perfectly normal for the lifespan of Earth.

  2. If indeed there is change, is it caused by human activity?

    I strongly believe it is very hard for humans to have an effect on the Earth’s climate. However, two interesting documentaries attempt to show the opposing views in this debate.

    • The first is former US vice president Al Gore’s documentary “An inconvenient truth”, which tries to demonstrate that there is climate change, that it is having devastating effects on Earth, and that is is caused by humans.

      It succeeds in convincing the viewer that lots of changes are happening around the planet.
      It fails, however, to even show how those events are related to human activity.
      (You may easily find this documentary for rental or sale on video stores)

    • The second is a TV documentary titled “The great global warming swindle”. It explains that CO2 may not be the cause of rises in temperature. It also theorizes that there are plenty of economic interests in making people believe that humans have caused a change in climate.
      (Copies of the TV broadcast are easily found on peer-to-peer networks on the Internet. Official sites are here and here).
  3. Are humans the only possible factor affecting climate?

    It would be quite foolish to think so. Although Earth is populated by a few billion of humans, Earth is part of a much bigger system, with far greater power than humans. The Solar system, and in particular the Sun have a far greater impact on Earth than humans do.

The Sun
Let us just look in the direction of the source of heat for Earth and all its life (humans included): the Sun. The main responsible party in making Earth hot is the Sun. Stars, like the Sun, are born and die. Our Sun is currently alive, but one day it will die, turning off Earth’s source of heat, and causing Earth to freeze, quite likely. If Earth can freeze due to a change in the life of the Sun, couldn’t the Sun also rise the Earth’s temperature?

Humans do not know what the Sun is doing everyday, and we cannot claim that we would know if the Sun was the cause of a climate change. Once again, it would be pretentious and foolish to think we know all about the Sun. Earth is greatly affected by the Solar system it lives in, far outweighing the impact humans may have on Earth.

Or… how about the Moon? It has a role in tides, for instance, but does it affect something else? Other candidates? We do not know. Likewise, we do not know whether the Sun may be affecting Earth’s climate But we can be pretty sure that man has very little to do with changes in climate.

Propaganda
Many governments worldwide are part of the propaganda machine, using climate change as an excuse for all sorts of decisions: politically-motivated subsidies for specific industries, economic and/or political pressure on other governments, controlling masses in their own countries, controlling markets (forcing or limiting the export (or import) to (or from) certain countries), etc…

There are far bigger interests in making everyone believe that climate change is real, and is man-made, than the interests of some industries in denying that man is to blame for climate change.

There are those who argue that thousands of scientists worldwide support the theory of man-made climate change, and therefore it must be true (because scientists have found evidence and they should be listened to). They also like to accuse big corporations (in the energy sector, usually) of funding those other researchers and studies that deny the man-made climate change theory.

The problem is that those thousands of scientists are also paid to do their research, mainly by the Governments who want to promote the climate-change propaganda or their political agendas. Government-funded research is necessarily doomed to produce Government-sought results. Therefore, the credibility of those studies can only be taken with a grain of salt.

There are other theories about climate change which stand a far greater chance of being true, like the Sun-induced climate change, for instance.

The man-made climate change theory is not true. It is mere propaganda. Do not let Al Gore and his friends confuse you.

Yet another blog is born…

In a time when web pages were only static, when web buzzwords did not exist, a web page was born… and it was named Everything is wrong. It enjoyed little updating, and did not last for long.

Now, in a new era of php, database-backed web pages, that old page comes to life again, with the same philosophy as its predecessor, and with the hope to last a little longer (at least), under the name of megaspora. May the reading be of your interest.