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February 19, 2010

JOE STACK & KARL MARX

 JOE STACK & KARL MARX

 

 

Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition. More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/  .

 

And read Jay Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones. More on the Policy Think

Site at http://www.jaygaskill.com/TourTheStrandedOnes.pdf  .

 

As Published On

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And

The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com 

All contents, unless otherwise indicated are

Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill

Permission to print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]

Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com 

 

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JOE STACK AND THE KARL MARX VIRUS

ALSO POSTED IN HTM FORMAT AT THIS LINK:
http://jaygaskill.com/TheMarxVirus.html 

 

Joe Stack, the suicidal idiot who achieved flaming notoriety by flying his plane into an IRS Building this week, erasing his tax liability and ending his life, is widely quoted on the WWW as having left a manifesto quoting and parodying Karl Marx.

 

In Stack's alleged suicide post, Marx's value couplet is correctly stated as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. This is followed by a parody of the capitalist ethos: “from each according to his duplicity, to each according to his greed”.

 

 

Let's unpack Marx a bit. As restated for clarity and honesty, the couplet reads:

 

Each must use his or her abilities as determined by the collective for need-based compensation as recognized by the collective.

 

 

The capitalist couplet, honestly stated, reads as follows:

 

 

From each as freely offered value, to each in voluntary exchange for actual value received.

 

 

The unstated Marxist corollary is the monster political mechanism it requires: a state with sufficient bureaucratic power to control all work and compensation, organized by ideologues to implement a utopia based on a couplet so vague that public slavery is justified.

 

 

The unstated capitalist corollary is the sophisticated justice system it requires: a judicial polity sufficiently robust to operate in a class-neutral, corruption free mode, designed to prevent fraud, assure transactional honesty, transparency and the just enforcement of contracts.

 

 

The Anglo-American judicial system, all flaws accounted for, with the concomitant financial system that it supports, is much closer to the Utopian ideal of a just society than any authoritarian bureaucratic state on the planet earth.

 

 

History's Utopian lesson is clear: BEWARE WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

 

 

JBG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 16, 2010

Moral Narcissists are living among us, and they are up to No Good

Moral Narcissists are living among us, and they are up to No Good

{corrected  version} 

Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition.  More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/ .

 

And read Jay Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones.  More on the Policy Think Site at   http://www.jaygaskill.com/TourTheStrandedOnes.pdf .

 

 

As Published On

→ The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

And

The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com

All contents, unless otherwise indicated are

Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill

Permission to print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]

Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

PERMISSION TO FORWARD LINKS TO THIS BLOG OR INDIVIDUAL ARTICLES IS HEREBY GIVEN

 

This essay is not about ideology, party or personality, but is sheds light on all three....

 

J

 

This article is also posted in htm format at this link:

http://jaygaskill.com/MoralNarcissistsAmongUs.htm

 

Moral Narcissists are living among us

And they are up to No Good

By

Jay B. Gaskill

 

Narcissism is life in a self validating bubble.

 

In its milder forms, narcissism is the infatuation with one’s own personal narrative as if it represents the very center of the universe.  For a narcissist, the chords that bind us to others are ignored. Here, I’m using the musical version of cords here to express the notion that we are bound to our fellow beings more by resonances than by restraints. 

 

Narcissists have cut the ‘humbilical’ chords that tie them to the larger human narrative, to the Moral Center its Creator.

 

For purposes of this discussion, narcissism is a chronic self absorption so profound that all relationships with others (and by extension all values) are measured by whether - or the extent to which - they represent or validate approval of the narcissistic individual in question. 

 

In the most extreme forms of narcissism, empathy is replaced in by the miming of empathy in order to gain – or validate – approval. 

 

An aside:  Solipsism is the delusion (or absurd philosophical position) that because our knowledge is personal, our personal experience is all there is.  Or put differently, solipsism is “(a) the world view that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified; (b) the world view that the self is the only reality” (typical dictionary definition).   Taken seriously and acted on in practice, solipsism is a form of profound mental derangement.

 

Narcissism is the solipsism of the soul, the world view that one’s self is the only value.  This is why the notorious achievements of others are resented and denied by the narcissistic mind.  If one’s separate self is the only value, and the approval of others is the only proper response, then the elevated status of others can never be truly merited or endured.  The very existence of the more successful, the more loved, the more ... (insert envied trait here) challenges the narcissist’s “if I’m not doing well, then it must be someone else’s fault” set of assumptions.  The successes and high status of others disparages and undercuts the narcissist’s personal narrative. 

 

Malignant narcissists are actually willing to destroy the successes of others as a twisted from of ‘therapy’. 

 

Real therapists observe this pathological behavior in a number of situations, particularly in the attitudes of addicts who try to co-opt others into their miserable state. 

 

The rest of us can readily recognize the same behavior writ large on the world stage:  Malignant narcissism is the psychological fuel that drives violent jihadists who are willing to die in flames in order to bring down Western civilization, the notorious material success of which is an extreme example of the “if we’re not OK it is someone else’s fault” mindset. 

 

For the doctrinaire, bloody-minded Marxists, the act of bringing others down to one’s level is seen as simple justice, as perverted as that notion seems to a healthy mind.  This is the base appeal of all such left-wing collective egalitarian “reparations” notions.  [Contrast individuated justice in which an actual thief is legally compelled to return the stolen item or otherwise ‘pay’ for an actual crime.]

 

Moral narcissists are an interesting, but poorly understood subset of the larger narcissistic cohort.  They include the groups and subcultures of narcissists who have adopted a camouflage strategy to escape the moral disapproval of others - after all, no one truly loves a blatant narcissist.  They accomplish this camouflage by cloaking their narcissism in the trappings of ‘social justice positioning’.  [Bumper stickers do the job quite well as does cocktail party banter.]

 

These are members of “club narcissist” who live in an unspoken social compact, the first tenet of which is “We are not narcissists because we care”.  The second tenet consists of a commitment to sign onto a shifting list of approved ‘humanitarian’ positions and stances with the unspoken understanding that these will require little more than gestures - bargain basement humanitarianism, of you will.

 

Thus the moral narcissists create an artificial a moral universe where ‘standing for’ is the equivalent of ‘doing for’.  These self-selecting cohorts have simply expanded their approval bubble to include those who share the same approval needs.  This explains more than other factor why actual charitable activity - as measured by deeds, treasure and sacrifice - is far higher in so called ‘backward conservative’ communities than in ‘enlightened progressive’ areas.  [Many sources support this finding.  One sample-   http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1222/p15s01-ussc.html ]

 

Caveat:  Obviously, not everyone living in a social justice approval bubble is a moral narcissist as I’ve defined the term here, but the very existence of the bubble, characterized by the non-critical acceptance of ‘positions” in lieu of concrete helpful actions, provides perfect cover.

 

We need to address moral narcissism as a serious social problem because it is so rampant among the comfortable, well off, and “well meaning” intelligentsia,   These include those  who purport to care about the victims of war while opposing the use of armed forces needed to maintain peace, who purport to care about educating the poor, while opposing vouchers for indigent families to send their children to safer private schools, and who purport to care about civil peace while opposing necessary police resources and authority.  

 

Moral narcissists are easily controlled and manipulated by political elites, ideologues, and corrupt political predators.  Moral narcissists are immune from the teaching effects of authentic dialogue.  Moral narcissism is the disease of the modern mind. 

 

We all live in an information bubble of some sort, a position imposed by our circumstances and our limited resources of attention. But many of us are at least able to know something of the boundaries and limitations of our separate concerns, and we are able to make an effort to engage with the world outside those boundaries and limitations.  Some of us are actually willing to listen to and learn from ‘the other side’.

 

That is, we are able to engage the world unless we are crippled by some form of solipsism.  Babies are born with a passion for life and an aboriginal solipsism/narcissism from which they/we are eventually charmed by the attentions of loving, but morally centered adults. 

 

Or not.

 

Modern moral narcissism resembles an attempt to return to an infantile state.

 

Solipsism, in its various forms, occupies a continuum.  One end is occupied by the pure solipsists. This is a rare condition only simulated by philosophers – “We can’t really know anything about the world.” If ever solipsism is actually taken seriously, the warped minds it captures tend to exist in a delusional state (“I am the world”) so profound that it belongs in the DMS IV’s catalog of clinically recognized mental disorders. [The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the agreed diagnostic catalog used by mental health professionals in the United States.] 

 

At the other end of the continuum, solipsism’s milder forms slide naturally into one of the contemporary versions of narcissism.  We might say that a narcissist is a recovering solipsist who has accommodated the world’s existence but not its independent value. 

 

Here are the takeaway points:

 

  1. For purposes of this discussion, narcissism is an inappropriate and chronic self absorption so profound that all forms of approval (and by extension all value) are measured by whether (or the extent to which) they represent approval of the narcissist. In its more extreme forms, empathy is replaced in the narcissistic mind by the miming of empathy in order to gain – or validate – approval for ‘being nice”.  Yet the authentic achievements of others are almost always resented by the narcissistic mind.
  2. A moral narcissist lives in a self-approval bubble shared by other moral narcissists who collectively have agreed that their cocoon of mutually agreed moral gestures and self congratulations will constitute a perfect and sufficient engagement with an imperfect world. In their morally empty minds, the notion of ahimsa (essentially, “do no harm”) easily mutates into “do nothing concrete or risky” to prevent harm. 
  3. Moral narcissists are prey in a world full of predators.

 

This is why moral narcissists are naturally drawn to ideologies based on the moral validation of envy, and why it is safer for them to “feel” empathy for the “victims” than for those who take risks and engage in dangerous struggles to protect them. 

 

JBG  

 

February 12, 2010

Haiti - Sneering at the Good Americans

SNEERING AT THE GOOD AMERICANS

 

Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition.  More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/ .

 

And read Jay Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones.  More on the Policy Think Site at   http://www.jaygaskill.com/TourTheStrandedOnes.pdf .

 

 

As Published On

→ The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

And

The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com

All contents, unless otherwise indicated are

Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill

Permission to print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]

Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

PERMISSION TO FORWARD LINKS TO THIS BLOG OR INDIVIDUAL ARTICLES IS HEREBY GIVEN

 

Also posted in htm format at -- http://jaygaskill.com/SneeringAtTheGoodAmericans.htm

 

SNEERING AT THE GOOD AMERICANS

Free the Idaho Ten, Part Two

 

“PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Ten U.S. missionaries arrested trying to leave earthquake-crippled Haiti with a busload of children may be spending the weekend in jail despite a judge recommending their provisional release.”

 

“...group leader Laura Silsby of Meridian, Idaho, told the AP the children were obtained either from orphanages or from distant relatives. She said only children who were found not to have living parents or relatives who could care for them might be put up for adoption.”

 

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5hoQp80v7-bk5Gp-2GTTe0PUyw80Q  ]

 

 

Even now, our media mavens continue to snipe at Ms. Silsby, the 40 year old woman who led the small cohort of Christians in a valiant effort to rescue orphans on scene in Haiti under conditions so chaotic and difficult that most of us would prefer to write a small check and go on with our comfortable lives.   

 

“The 40-year-old Idaho businesswoman convinced members of Idaho's Central Valley Baptist Church to follow her dream of building an orphanage in the Dominican Republic for Haitian children. But her other business and personal ventures reveal a checkered history.” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/05/world/main6178794.shtml

 

Far less critical attention was given Senator Edwards when he was running for the presidency.  

 

A Haitian judge is due to provisionally release the ten Christian women from small town USA, finding that they did not act with criminal intent when they tried to rescue and repatriate orphaned children from a cesspool.  This: after several weeks of incarceration without bail in a country unable to control real crime.  This: in a country where its own citizens have no constitutional right to leave.

 

http://www.indypressny.org/nycma/voices/350/editorials/editorials_1/

Legal status – My rights, my country

By Ilio Durandis, Haitian Times, 18 November 2008.

 

“Haiti is a country where the rules of law mean very little to people. We have books that contain the laws, but we don't have fair-minded people to apply them. Our leaders take greater pride in protecting their own power and interests instead of those they represent. Haiti is a failed state not simply because it is corrupt, but mainly because it cannot protect the rights of its citizens.”

 

Ten American citizens have been imprisoned for trying to save some children from a hellhole.  Why is there not more outrage?  Why do the media seem automatically drawn into “blame the victim” mode, picking on the group’s leader, Laura Silsby, for flaws routinely tolerated among our highest elected officials?

I suspect that these ten brave, well meaning women are being marginalized because our over-comfortable, somewhat decadent culture has lost touch with the value of direct, personal charitable action.  This is the variety of concrete kindness that always difficult, sometimes risky, but never less than the real deal.  No, it appears that, in the current culture, charitable acts should be reserved for governments, large agencies and the very wealthy and well-protected who can drop in like beneficent, mighty angels and exit the same way.  Does anyone doubt for a minute that a celebrity like, say, Angelina Jolie could have been detained for five hours, let alone five weeks, under similar circumstances?

 

Are we really a nation in which no ordinary good deed is immune from snarky second guessing?

 

JBG

February 08, 2010

Moral Default, Economic Default

 You can also read this piece at: http://jaygaskill.com/MoralDefaultEconomicDefault.html 

MORAL DEFAULT

ECONOMIC DEFAULT


Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition. More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/ .


And read Jay Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones. More on the Policy Think Site at http://www.jaygaskill.com/TourTheStrandedOnes.pdf .


Welcome to the Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com

As Posted On

The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3


All contents, unless otherwise indicated are --

Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill

Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed.

Forwarded links are welcomed.

Contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com



On one level, the current economic crisis is too complex for easy discussion. But on another level, that apparent complexity was the reason this crisis was able to metastasize in the first place.


I am now fully persuaded that the root cause of the ongoing economic collapse in the developed Western economies is a pervasive moral failure in the elite culture.


I'm also convinced that the path to economic recovery necessarily requires a strong measure of moral recovery.


Here is the fundamental operating moral principle:

Comfortable distance enables destructive immoral behavior.


The first time I tumbled to this simple truth was during a study of the Third Reich.


How could so many intelligent, 'cultivated' and superficially decent people been so thoroughly co-opted into a massively evil enterprise? Was it the complete absence of conscience? Or was it the presence of comfortable distance, the moral insulation provided by bureaucratic remove, the fairy tale denials and the recursive rationalizations of modern amoral functionaries? The pattern of toxic insulation went well beyond the janitors at Dachau. It included brilliant scientists, engineers and even physicians.


Albert Speer, the architect who became the Nazi defense minister, was by all accounts a 'cultivated 'man. As he later wrote from his prison cell in Spandau, “Basically, I exploited the phenomenon of the technician’s often blind devotion to his task. Because of what seems to be the moral neutrality of technology, these people were without scruples about their activities.” From Albert Speer's diary, “Inside The Third Reich.”


[A thoughtful essay about Speer's later moral insights is on the web at http://www.translucency.com/frede/speer.html ]


The great financial collapse of 08-09 was the consequence of a massive fraud (selling vapor assets disguised via 'bundling', borrowing on illusory or non-existent promises to repay.


The private sector fraud was fully mirrored in the public sector. [Read the brilliant piece, 'Civilization's lies' by Hoover scholar, Victor Davis Hanson at http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson020610.html.]


The widespread participation in this rampantly catastrophic fraud was enabled by the comfortable distance achieved through obscurantist complexity.


Otherwise reasonable bankers and financiers routinely sold 'packages' and 'products' the actual contents and value of which these men and women were clueless. The difference between their fraud and the blatant thefts of Bernie Madoff was exactly the same kind of comfortable distance that insulated certain physicians and medical researchers from full moral depravity of 'experiments' conducted on prisoners who just happened to be Jews.


This experience tells us that fundamental operating moral principle I stated earlier has two corollaries, one modern, one ancient, to wit:


  1. Where finance is concerned, large scale and individual transactions operate in exactly the same moral environment: Trust is the currency. Honesty, full disclosure and accountability are the indispensable ingredients.

  2. No algorithm, no matter how sophisticated, can be trusted to operate morally. If the transaction is too complicated to understand, it is too complicated to trust on any level.


The cooperating elites of faux liberal and faux conservative leaders who now uneasily occupy the chairs of power within the Beltway are deeply frightened of the Tea Party political insurgency.


Why fear the people? The angst of the Beltway elites stems not from the claims that this grassroots rebellion is 'uninformed' and 'immoral'. The reality is quite the opposite. They are so deeply frightened because this populist movement is all too well informed and far too moral for their elite tastes....


JBG

February 05, 2010

FREE THE IDAHO TEN!

Free The Idaho Ten

 

Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition.  More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/ .

 

And read Jay Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones.  More on the Policy Think Site at   http://www.jaygaskill.com/TourTheStrandedOnes.pdf .

 

 

As Published On

→ The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1

And

The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com

All contents, unless otherwise indicated are

Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill

Permission to print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]

Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

PERMISSION TO FORWARD LINKS TO THIS BLOG OR INDIVIDUAL ARTICLES IS HEREBY GIVEN

 

Link: http://jaygaskill.com/FreeTheIdahoTen.htm

 

Free the Idaho Ten!

 

By FRANK BAJAK

The Associated Press

 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti | Ten U.S. Baptist missionaries were charged Thursday with kidnapping for trying to take 33 children out of Haiti to a hastily arranged refuge.

Their arrests Jan. 30 came just as officials were trying to protect children from predators amid the chaos of the Jan. 12 earthquake.


[The missionaries] began buying used clothing and collecting donations from their Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho. In November, [their organizer] registered the New Life Children’s Refuge Inc., the nonprofit organization coordinating the rescue mission. … When the quake struck, [she] recruited other church members to help kick her plans into high gear. The 10 Americans rushed to Haiti and spent a week gathering children for the project. Most of the children came from the village of Callebas, where residents told The Associated Press that they handed over their children to the Americans because they were unable to feed or clothe them after the quake. They said the missionaries promised to educate the children and let relatives visit.



In Haiti it seems  that some good deeds are worth a show trial.  Think of it this way.  The corruption-riddled government of Haiti is the closest thing to a failed state among all Pac Rim countries.  That government, in the midst in the worst humanitarian crisis in recent memory, in the face of heroic efforts by outsiders to restore the shreds of civilized life to its citizens, at a time when the local government was impotent to restrain rioting by its own people, simply decided to assert its authority by prosecuting 10 Christians from a small Idaho town for trying to help some abandoned orphans.  Only a clique of embattled, small minded bureaucrats would seek to enforce the letter of the law over its spirit and larger purpose (to help Haiti’s children) as a belated show of petty authority.

 

It’s one thing to prevent the removal of children to a better place, quite another to criminally prosecute their would-be rescuers.   

 

Our Secretary of State has approached the matter with typical caution:

 

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it was ‘unfortunate’ that ‘this group of Americans took matters into their own hands’ by trying to take the children across the border without proper documentation. ‘We are engaged in discussions with the Haitian government and looking for the best way forward on this,’ she added.”

 

http://www.dispatch.co.za/article.aspx?id=378331

 

Sorry, that’s not good enough.  A single phone call from our new president is in order, “Free our citizens. Allow them to return to the USA now,” should do the trick.  Failing that, a second call to US military personnel is in order.

 

The bruised egos of shamefully incompetent, small minded government officials is a secondary consideration.

 

JBG

 


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