The last time humanity went off the deep end (or at least – western civilization did) was at the end of the Roman era an signified the Dark Ages. While some deny the Dark Ages were not in any way particularly bad. Also, it may not be the ebb and flow of human civilization that was the cause of the dark ages. It may actually be that recurring (1,2, 3, 4) cycles of nature may have been the cause of (relatively speaking) certain cultural morbidities in human civilization.
We can’t say with any certainty we are in a period of actual morbidity right now, comparatively to other ones, but there are ominous signs in the bizarre Trump phenomenon, in the wholesale denial of climate change and science itself we see world wide, and in the Brexit disaster. The TYT people (which I watch daily) did a segment on this kind of thing happening., where for some reason or another people find reasons to completely dismiss reality as undesirable and collectively prefer to live in denial.
If we are to conclude progress is a desirable thing, progress happens when large numbers of people find themselves empowered as to temporarily embrace fact – largely because it helps their state in life. But it is by no means certain that acceptance of embrace of reality will always benefit the majority of people. For instance – A wellknown Neoconservative, Strauss (as well as Plato), insisted that for some societies to prosper, a certain set of “Noble Lies” may come in handy. This makes sense, albeit in a perverse manner. Various cultures of the human species might be going through cycles in development of respective world orders (expanding, consolidating, decadent, in decline) where in certain aspects of a cycle the denial of certain facts or truths would be generally deemed to be too negative as to be palatable. There may be a certain strength in unreasonable optimism, even if that optimism might be construed as deeply irrational or even self-destructive.
Take for instance our current situation world wide. We have now end up in a state where the world consumes so many resources that in effect a mass die off of the world’s animals – and with it ass catastrophic (premature) death of the majority of human beings would be plausible if not probable this century. Humans are clearly creating the pretext for existential risk, be it on account of catastrophic climate failure, or geothermal nuclear escalation. But a whole grocery list of dangers will do. In a perverse manner if humans were to accept this reality and act upon it, the outcome of “rational” policies might be far more horrific than just letting the chips fall where they may. In other words – to actually go and act on resource depletion, excessive human population growth rates and numbers, catastrophic climate change, nuclear proliferation (etc.) might compel us towards a very unpalatable and tyrannical world order – where we to accept the facts with utmost honesty. So maybe it pays to throw caution to the wind and barrel full steam ahead, because as some might argue “we have precious little to lose either way”, and maybe by maintaining progress and status quo and business as usual and all that, we might stumble ourselves ot of our imminent problems. Superficially it seems to me that this is the position of various Transhumanists, in particular Peter Diamandis. Many Extropians in particular seem to argue that there’s no benefit in curtailing the plausibly horrific and destructive trends because the actual act of curtailing those trends would in itself be worse medicine than the disease.
The jury is still out if we will we “go with a bang” and enter in to a new (and potentially quite gruesome) dark ages. This is (roughly) the position of the “Olduvai Gorge” crowd. They say that human modernity (industrialization and absurd population rates foremost) is a temporary fluke spurred on my consumption of a very constrained quantity of petrochemical energy sources. As soon as these people argue, the energy sources deplete, the population levels (and the sophistication of the civilization) resets to a more Pleistocene level. Or worse, humanity goes extinct, along with about 90% of all vertebrate and plant species on the planet.
So aside from the few caveats I could come up with, there is some reason to be utterly terrified of the urgency of certain minorities world-wide to have grown hostile to science, materialism, progress and technology. My first impulse is to regard such a position (or world view) to be deeply hypocritical and immoral since the people who advocate anti-science positions (or, more gently put – they have a radically different interpretation of science) do benefit to an absurd degree from the unmitigated blessings of the same scientific endowments. I mean, you can’t go around posting angry articles about science on the internets, while the internet itself is about as decadent a product of progress you can come up with.
There are a lot of diverse people who have taken it upon themselves to actively resist the established scientific world view – People who believe in UFO aliens visiting Earth frequently, people who insist the moon landing was a hoax, people who think the government is spreading toxins via “Chemtrails”, people who believe vaccinations cause autism, people who believe the world was created about 6 thousand years ago, people who believe our political leaders are some kind of lizard species, that sort of thing. And you don’t have to look far to come to viotrilic exchanges and disagreements. I am in part one of “those people”, since I absolutely do not buy in to the official narrative of the collapse of the world trade centers myself. So where does one draw the line in these debates? Even inside comparatively mild “conspiracy” or “denial” movements such as the “truther” movement you will find a range of less plausible, arguably plausible and arguably bonkers speculations. Each person makes an estimate of how likely or unlikely certain things are based on personal experiences and testimony of perceived authorities, and I can only state that based on my understanding of physics the collapse of WTC7 was utterly inexplicable and massively conflicts with the established US government narrative.
And that’s the problem – there is a grey area. There is no alternative than people relying on authorities, and a certain number of people then deciding, for whatever private reasons, that the established narrative can’t possibly be true. This often becomes a chessgame in terms of word views, and a lot of secondary considerations come in to play. Take for instance denial of the Holocaust – people who deny the Holocaust enter in to a realm where active antisemites make arguments based on viciously racist arguments, as well as people who claim to be historical authorities and then make claims that fly in the face of massive evidence to the contrary. It is often a matter of conscience, as well as what you believe about the world to be possible or true.
Still, we are witnessing a sharp decline in acceptance of the official narratives. In some cases these discussions are horrible and deeply inflammatory, as is the case with the debate around the 911 events, or “holocaust denial”, or the thesis that immunizations may cause autism. People on either side of such debates are likely to be extremely bitter about the arguments of the other side, and understandably so.
But whatever the case, there is an increasingly irrational movement whose positions (and respective support of positions by their preferred authority) are so grotesquely off the cuff and mainstream it is just shocking. I wouldn’t even include the minorities that actually do believe in biblical floods and the Earth being six thousand years old and that sort of LARP style intransigence. That’s just faith based reasoning, conducted in an understandable echo chamber of constant affirmation. It is where people in the relative mainstream, who are exposed to constant input of media come to positions that just …just… I duno what to say. Here’s an example that just .. just.. I have no words for it.
I am trying to … come up with ahm.. a position on this but… I am at a loss for words.
Yes right now in the year 2016 the stakes are so gargantuan high I can not emphasize how important it is we elect the most suitable leaders for office and I am not even debating the sheer surreal quality of today’s US elections. The situation in the US is absurd all the balls aren’t even in the general area of the pool table People in the US aren’t just entertaining a healthy side dish of non-orthodoxies, a significant majority of people in the US are willing to vote for absurd.
In most things counter-intuitive, money is the deciding factor. The easiest example is the organized process of attacking the idea of climate change. It has been in the active interests of petrochemical industries to actively deny the idea that human industrial activity can alter the climate. This is now a proven fact, and it has now come under investigation. It follows the same mechanism as we have seen in decades upon decades of organized denial that smoking has a very strong correlation with cancer. There were profits involved and by systematically denying the problem those involved were able to wring out a few measly more years of relative profits.
Another example is the rather remarkable alliance between the political right in the US and the evangelical voter base, primarily incentivized (or incensed) by the issue of abortion. As it now turns out abortion was pretty much created as a contrivance to actively mobilize certain religious minorities in support of the Republican party. In effect Evangelicals were recruited by means of a phony issue that was engineered to this effect. There clearly was a benefit to this, in the same manner than actively dumbing down the electorate, or actively lying to the electorate has a benefit.
A society that has a healthy denial of adversity may temporarily prosper, but a society that pervasively, consistently, frequently enters in to near-universal denial of reality is in trouble. Some might argue, serious trouble.
So what to do? Make “having unorthodox ideas” illegal? It is already illegal in Germany to “deny the holocaust”. I know I’d be in trouble if the law came after me for “actively doubting the official narrative of the 911 tragedy” because that’s what I see – I occasionally find myself in uncomfortable disagreement with established wisdom and orthodoxy. But clearly the people who actively benefited from decrying the idea that smoking causes cancer, or that unbridled emission leading to 400 ppm co2 levels in the atmosphere is a recipe for mass extinction on the planet may very well end up accountable, as the acts of organized dissent led to victims. It can be proven and quantified how many people died because tobacco product manufacturing industries were actively opposing health measures. And they still are and these industries still are in the business of killing people. That’s criminal intent.
There’s a lot of denial going around world wide. For instance people deny (or choose to ignore) the fact that most consumer articles consumed nin the western world are manufactured under conditions we’d classify as slavery. I wouldn’t go as far as dragging Beyonce in front of court for actively benefiting from this and arguably being a hypocrite about it but my point is that future generations, with the benefit of hindsight, might decide otherwise.
And there’s a very interesting caveat to this and that is life extension. Most people assume they will be dead in a few decades. It may very well be argued a lot of people are willing to accept immoral acts because there is next to no consequence for being a dick right now. Who cares if you contribute to climate change when you’ll almost certainly be dead in a few decades. It may sound to some as some kind of perverse version of Pascal’s wager, but one might very well argue in favor of moral behavior in the here and now. for reasons of distant future consequences. That does go both ways though – I might hav e considered my private behavior in terms of my gender transition in the light of a potential distant future where Sharia law governs over my country – in such a future the consequences of my current acts may be held in such disdain that in such a future I might end up immortalized by medical science and then summarily thrown of a large building because of me being transgender.
But aside from a range of remote possibilities, I do occasionally speculate about what damages we (me and you, the reader) might be inflicting upon people right now, or on people of a future generation by our wilfuil ignorance of reality, truth, science and facts. Or for that matter what damage we might be construed for as being liable for wilful abuse of animals this very day. What if a hundred years from now I still find myself alive and end up as co-defendant in a mass trial of Chimps-versus-Humanity, where uplifted intelligent animals would hold humanity accountable for mass violence againstv the same apes? This is no mean part of the movie Dawn of the planet of the Apes, where an artificially mate intelligent simian had intense and seething hatred for all humans, and with some good reasons I might add. If I were the viciously scarred Koba, I’d probably be similarly vindictive.
But what of people who are currently forced to work as indentured slaves or starve? There are literally hundreds of millions of people who might demand “repair payments” and they might be awarded them. Future generations might make a reasonable claim, for merely existing in a world ravaged by climate change, on people who lived in the era of mass CO2 emission, and demand fair damages.
And that’s pretty much the only reasonable ethical position I see here. Parents who disallow their children vaccinations already suffer the fallout and blowback of these choices., since there are real and quantifiable consequences to refusal of vaccination. Courts of law tend to be a lot more likely to affirm science, facts, reason, technology and truth and that allows us to create a more robust intersubjective realm of discourse. Granted it is a far from imperfect realm, but it does have its bright moments now and then. Sides in an argument must have fair means to settle claims and must rely on robust and mutually agreeable truth finding, and in that simple fact there is hope that negative consequences will one day end up taken in to account in making choices, with any Madman strategies taken in to account for good measure.
Brunhilde Pomsel worked at the heart of the Nazis’ propaganda machine. As a film about her life is released, she discusses her lack of remorse and the private side of her monstrous boss
It was rare for us to see him in the mornings,” says Brunhilde Pomsel, her eyes closed and chin in her hand as she recalls her former boss. “He’d walk up the steps from his little palace near the Brandenburg Gate, on to which his huge propaganda ministry was attached. He’d trip up the steps like a little duke, through his library into his beautiful office on Unter den Linden.”
She smiles at the image, noting how elegant the furniture was, the carefree atmosphere where she sat in an ante-chamber off Joseph Goebbels’ office with five other secretaries, how his nails were always neatly manicured.
“We always knew once he had arrived, but we didn’t normally see him until he left his office, coming through a door that led directly into our room, so we could ask him any questions we had, or let him know who had called. Sometimes, his children came to visit and were so excited to visit Daddy at his work. They would come with the family’s lovely Airedale. They were very polite and would curtsy and shake our hands.”
Pomsel is giving one of the first, and last, in-depth interviews of her life; at the age of 105, and having lost her sight last year, she says she is relieved that her days are numbered. “In the little time that’s left to me – and I hope it will be months rather than years – I just cling to the hope that the world doesn’t turn upside down again as it did then, though there have been some ghastly developments, haven’t there? I’m relieved I never had any children that I have to worry about.”
So what is the motivation for effectively breaking her silence only now, as probably the last living survivor from the Nazi leadership’s inner circle?
“It is absolutely not about clearing my conscience,” she says.
While she admits she was at the heart of the Nazi propaganda machine, with her tasks including massaging downwards statistics about fallen soldiers, as well as exaggerating the number of rapes of German women by the Red Army, she describes it, somewhat bizarrely, as “just another job”.
A German Life, compiled from 30 hours of conversation with her, was recently released at the Munich film festival. It is the reason why she is willing to “politely answer” my questions. “It is important for me, when I watch the film, to recognise that mirror image in which I can understand everything I’ve done wrong,” she says. “But really, I didn’t do anything other than type in Goebbels’ office.”
Often, end-of-life statements such as these are suffused with a sense of guilt. But Pomsel is unrepentant. As she holds court, gesticulating wildly, with a broad grin on her face, it seems as if she even takes something restorative from her insistence that she simply acted the same way as most other Germans.
“Those people nowadays who say they would have stood up against the Nazis – I believe they are sincere in meaning that, but believe me, most of them wouldn’t have.” After the rise of the Nazi party, “the whole country was as if under a kind of a spell,” she insists. “I could open myself up to the accusations that I wasn’t interested in politics but the truth is, the idealism of youth might easily have led to you having your neck broken.”
She recalls being handed the case file of the anti-Nazi activist and student Sophie Scholl, who was active in the White Rose resistance movement. Scholl was executed for high treason in February 1943 after distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich. “I was told by one of Goebbels’ special advisers to put it in the safe, and not to look at it. So I didn’t, and was quite pleased with myself that he trusted me, and that my keenness to honour that trust was stronger than my curiosity to open that file.”
Pomsel describes herself as a product of Prussian discipline, recalling a father who, when he returned from fighting in the first world war, when she was seven, banned chamber pots from the family bedrooms. “If we wanted to go to the toilet, we had to brave all the witches and evil spirits to get to the water closet.” She and her siblings were “spanked with the carpet beater” whenever they were disobedient. “That stayed with me, that Prussian something, that sense of duty.”
She was 31 and working for the state broadcaster as a well-paid secretary – a job she secured only after she became a paid-up member of the Nazi party – when someone recommended her for a transfer to the ministry of propaganda in 1942. “Only an infectious disease would have stopped me,” she insists. “I was flattered, because it was a reward for being the fastest typist at the radio station.”
She remembers her payslip, on which a range of tax-free allowances was listed, alongside the 275-mark salary – a small fortune compared with what most of her friends were earning.
She notes how life for her vivacious, red-haired Jewish friend, Eva Löwenthal, became increasingly difficult after Adolf Hitler came to power. Pomsel was also shocked by the arrest of a hugely popular announcer at the radio station, who was sent to a concentration camp as punishment for being gay. But she says that largely, she remained in a bubble, unaware of the destruction being meted out by the Nazi regime on its enemies, despite the fact she was at the physical heart of the system.
“I know no one ever believes us nowadays – everyone thinks we knew everything. We knew nothing, it was all kept well secret.” She refuses to admit she was naive in believing that Jews who had been “disappeared” – including her friend Eva – had been sent to villages in the Sudetenland on the grounds that those territories were in need of being repopulated. “We believed it – we swallowed it – it seemed entirely plausible,” she says.
When the flat she shared with her parents was destroyed in a bombing raid, Goebbels’ wife, Magda, helped to soften the blow by presenting her with a silk-lined suit of blue Cheviot wool. “I’ve never possessed anything as chic as that before or since,” she says. “They were both very nice to me.”
She recalls her boss as being “short but well kept”, of a “gentlemanly countenance”, who wore “suits of the best cloth, and always had a light tan”. “He had well-groomed hands – he probably had a manicure every day,” she says, laughing at the thought. “There was really nothing to criticise about him.” She even felt sorry for him because of the limp he had, “which he made up for by being a bit arrogant”. Only occasionally did she get a glimpse of the the man who turned lying into an art in pursuit of the Nazi’s murderous goals. She was terrified to see him on stage at Berlin’s sportpalast delivering his infamous “total war” speech in February 1943. She and another colleague had been given ringside seats, just behind Magda Goebbels. It was shortly after the battle of Stalingrad and, Goebbels hoped to get popular support to pull out all the stops to fight the threats facing Germany. “No actor could have been any better at the transformation from a civilised, serious person into a ranting, rowdy man … In the office he had a kind of noble elegance, and then to see him there like a raging midget – you just can’t imagine a greater contrast.”
The details Pomsel chooses to focus on may reflect the way she has edited her own story so that she feels more comfortable with it. But it is also conceivable that a combination of ignorance and awe, as well as the protection offered by the huge office complex in the government quarter really did shield her from much of reality.
It was the day after Hitler’s birthday in 1945 that her life as she knew it came to an abrupt halt. Goebbels and his entourage were ordered to join Hitler in his subterranean air raid shelter – the so-called Führerbunker – during the last days of the war. “It felt as if something inside me had died,” says Pomsel. “We tried to make sure we didn’t run out of alcohol. That was urgently needed in order to retain the numbness.” She lifts an index finger as she takes pains to tell events in their right order, recalling how Goebbels’ assistant Günther Schwägermann came with the news on 30 April that Hitler had killed himself, followed a day later by Goebbels. “We asked him: ‘And his wife as well?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And the children?’ ‘And the children too.’” She bows her head and shakes it as she adds: “We were dumbstruck.”
She and her fellow secretaries set about cutting up white food sacks and turning them into a large surrender flag to present to the Russians.
Discussing their strategy ahead of their inevitable arrest, Pomsel told her colleagues she would tell the truth, “That I had worked as a shorthand typist in Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda ministry.” She was sentenced to five years’ incarceration in various Russian prison camps in and around Berlin. “It was no bed of roses,” is all she will say about that time. It was only when she returned home that she became aware of the Holocaust, she insists, referring to it as “the matter of the Jews”.
She quickly resumed a life not dissimilar to the one she had had, when she found secretarial work at the state broadcaster once again, working her way up to become the executive secretary to its director of programmes and enjoying a privileged life of well-paid work and travel before retiring, aged 60, in 1971.
But it would take her a full six decades after the end of the war before she made any inquiries about her Jewish schoolfriend, Eva. When the Holocaust memorial was unveiled in 2005, she took a trip from her home in Munich to see it for herself. “I went into the information centre and told them I myself was missing someone, an Eva Löwenthal.” A man went through the records and soon tracked down her friend, who had been deported to Auschwitz in November 1943, and had been declared dead in 1945.
“The list of names on the machine on which we found her just kept on rolling non-stop down the screen,” she says, leaning her head back, the finger tips of one hand tracing the line of her necklace.
I have long worried about ideology, and ideology being consistent. It is very difficult to come up with a position regarding fellow human beings that takes most philosophical and political dilemma’s in to account. So I came up with a particular way to look at the world, mostly as an answer to Libertarianism, i.e. Planetism. I know there are other people out there already toting that term, but I’ve tried to put a unique slant on it, to make a point.
The world we live in can right now be assumed under a state of emergency. The population of the planet, all humans that live here, deserve a humane standard of living, and most human beings deserve much better. But we have too many people on the planet to make this a possibility with existing technology – in other words – we as a species are morally forced to radically constraint population growth of humans and radically improve technological options in order to allow for more shared comfort, quality of life and personal freedoms. Likewise the same humanity is massively overexploiting an thus degrading the biosphere by causing atmospheric warming, the mass eradication of lifestock and pollution. But not least of all is the simple fact that humans compete with one another for jobs, living space, scarce resources – and if this competition constitutes by itself often an explicitly violent war of all against all through ideology and military conflict, it is often a form, of economic competition that ruins lives and marginalized ever greater numbers.
Planetism is the idea that we have as a species entered a complete state of planetary emergency, and we must do whatever it takes to make sure as many people stay alive and have a dignified life, and we do not go extinct.
The idea of planetism doesn’t have any special authority or compelling character. I am not out to convince people to become “planetist”, and base their actions on that. I am however stating that a range of common ideologies – economy, capitalism, libertarianism, etc. conflict with the values set out above. Right now economists still state we need indefinite economic growth whereas any sane person can clearly see this is no longer possible in years, let alone decades. We are now coming in to an era of rationing, forcible compromise, obligatory collaboration. It is a state of emergency and any state of emergency enforces a strict set of behavioral constraints and imperatives.
The Earth is a constrained environment. Sure – we get a lot of energy and “entropy reduction” from the sun’s energy, but we are stuck in an atmosphere, an van Allen belt, a gravity well and there is no easy way to overcome planetary constraints. If we get lucky eventually we will, and when we have a substantial number of people living outside the gravity well, atmosphere and the protective envelope of the radiation belts we can start thinking about cancelling the aforementioned “state of emergency”. The solar system is full of resources and living space if we only developed the wherewithall to unlock these resources – but we at best decades away from doing so,
This is especially relevant to Libertarian thinking – Libertarians go by a “non-aggression” principle where they demand no one interferes with their freedoms. The problem clearly is that in a constrained environment people are no longer free to do as they please. If a single country decides to massively increase its CO2 emissions for personal gain (sea level rise, unlocking of permafrost tundra as farmland, etc.), then no doubt other countries would suffer considerable adverse effects of such unilaterialism. Right now we are still imprisoned in the self-destructive mindset that the planet is huge, and allows for great freedoms. But with the onset of petrochemical burning of fuel resources we came quickly to the limits of the planetary environment.
With the onset of thorium reactors, fusion, DNA re-sequencing, mass automation and soon – mass life extension treatments, we are well beyond the constraints posed to us by the planetary environment. We must now demand of unilateral thinking, zero sum acting groups, countries or ideologies to immediately cease and desist. You can’t demand your religion trumps any other. You no longer can’t claim your race is superior. You can no longer presuppose your nation has a manifest destiny. And you most certainly can’t demand you can procreate or mass-consume without any sane limit.
Planetism is a problem to be conquered. We need to unlock new material resources, news living environments and new energy sources to progress to a next stage, and we must do so urgently. Planetism is not a friendly, comfortable ideology – it is the ideology of coming to terms with things that are very hard to accept for a lot of people and that the only way to escape those maxims of survival and sustainability is to massively change our industrial systems, our societies, our human nature and our cultures.
Eventually we will hit new constraints – systemism, galaxism and even localgroupism (or lanikeaism) but that is a long way of by our human understanding today. Soon we wil be free again, as we find ourself empowered to do pretty much as we please in outer space. But for now, it is all hands on deck.
That’s what has usually happened whenever a large proportion of Americans have been upset with the distribution of their country’s wealth.
In one of the biggest moments of Hillary Clinton’s convention speech, the Democratic nominee promised that under her presidency, “Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.” The crowd went wild.
This idea, that the wealthiest Americans have been helped along financially by their ability to shortchange the tax system, is a popular view at a time when the divide between the richest and everyone else continues to grow. According to a Gallup poll, 63 percent of Americans say the distribution of money and wealth is unfair, and just over half favor higher taxes on the rich.
It’s clear that many people believe that it’s time to lessen inequality. But what’s the best way to proceed?
“I think it is high time for the U.S. to push up the top tax rate,” Emmanuel Saez, a Berkeley professor who is one of the country’s top experts on wealth accumulation, told me. After all, the top tax rate right now, 39.6 percent, is much lower than the 70 percent rate that existed through much of the period between the 1930s and 1970s, when wealth was more evenly distributed in the United States. This might suggest that if economic equality is truly the goal, perhaps tweaking the tax rate might help.
The trouble is, taxation remains one of the most contested issues in modern political conversation. There are plenty of people who would argue that raising taxes may do more harm than good to the economy. If the rich are taxed more, they may become even more motivated to move their money offshore or to accounts where it can’t be tracked. That could mean less revenue for the government and government services in the end. And if the wealthy aren’t making, or keeping as much money—some say—the result could be a reduction in economic activity, with less capital available for entrepreneurship, leading to lower rates of business formation and fewer jobs. If true, that would be bad for the entire economy, especially low-wage earners.
But there is historical evidence that suggests these fears may not be more conjecture than actual threat. The U.S. economy is becoming less entrepreneurial over time, suggesting that the wealthy aren’t creating new businesses with all that extra money that used to go to taxes. And in the past, raising top tax rates hasn’t actually depressed economic activity or caused people to stash more money offshore. History also suggests that increasing top tax rates reduces inequality.
Compare, for example, taxation in the United States and Denmark in the periods 1975 to 1979 and 2004 to 2008, as Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Stefanie Stantcheva did in a 2011 paper. In the United States of the 1970s, the top bracket was taxed at a rate of 70 percent, compared to 39.6 percent today. During the latter half of the 1970s, the top 1 percent of earners accounted for around 8 percent of Americans’ total income. Denmark taxed its top earnings similarly, at around 65 percent, and the top 1 percent of earners accounted for about 4 percent of total income. Fast-forward to the 2004 to 2008 period, when the tax rate of top earners in the U.S fell to 35 percent. The share of income accrued by the top 1 percent reached 18 percent. Denmark, which went through a similar period of economic activity and development, according to researchers, kept the tax rate of its highest earners at a comparatively high rate of nearly 60 percent. The result was that the top 1 percent of earners in Denmark still took in around 4 percent of total income by the year 2008.
Denmark isn’t the only evidence of this phenomenon. Among OECD members, as tax rates on upper-income earners fell—mostly in English speaking countries like the U.S. or Britain—the share of income accruing to the top 1 percent grew. Keeping tax rates high didn’t harm a country’s GDP either, the authors found, suggesting that high taxes didn’t lead productive earners to flee, and low tax rates didn’t motivate them to produce more. According to the paper, while there isn’t a lot of proof that high taxes result in economic slack, there’s a compelling link between low taxation and a growth in inequality. “No country experiences a significant increase in top income shares without implementing significant top rate tax cuts,” the authors write.
Besides the obvious fact that tax cuts put more money into high earners’ pockets, there are a number of reasons that lower tax rates result in more income becoming concentrated at the top, Saez told me. High tax rates make it harder for top executives to make the case for astronomical salaries; if a huge share of their pay is just going to go to taxes, corporate boards will be less likely to pay out high sums that are ultimately funneled back to the government. And when taxes are high, the wealthy can’t put as much into savings since so much of their income goes to the government.
Things haven’t always been the way they are now. Wealth concentration was high in the beginning of the 20th century, but then dropped from 1929 to around 1978, according to a recent paper by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman of Berkeley. It’s risen steadily since then.
Still, despite evidence that raising the top rates would lower inequality, it would be politically difficult to do so, especially in the current climate. But it’s been done before, says Marshall Steinbaum, a visiting fellow at the Roosevelt Institute who has studied the history of taxing the rich. In the 19th century, the United States was governed by the same type of free-market paradigm that rules the country today: Leave it to the market to sort everything out. But over the late 19th century and early 20th, the progressive movement gained steam, and there emerged a political argument that the laissez-faire attitude of the government was allowing too much inequality to grow. Enter the economist Edwin Seligman, a scion of a New York banking family, who published a paper in 1910 advocating for the introduction of an income tax in order to finance government functions. The Sixteenth Amendment, which allowed for an income tax to be levied, passed in 1913. Over time, an idea that had been advocated by mostly left-wing economists became mainstream, Steinbaum told me.
Raising the top brackets back to what they were in the periods of less inequality may still be seen as left-wing today. But that could evolve. There is precedence for the top rates being raised significantly, especially at times when public opinions about wealth were very similar to Americans’ today. I talked to David Zalewski, a professor of finance at Providence College who has studied the Revenue Act of 1932, under which the marginal tax rate jumped from 25 percent to 63 percent for top earners. Of course, 1932 was a very different time economically: Most importantly, the United States was on the gold standard and its economy was running a big budget deficit, so those in business were concerned that the country would start printing money to close the gap. This would devalue the dollar significantly, harming their ability to trade and buy and sell in dollars.
So President Hoover floated the idea of significantly raising taxes on the rich to close the budget hole instead. The wealthy didn’t hate the idea, Zalewski said. Paying higher taxes was better for them than having the dollar devalued so significantly that they couldn’t trade it for anything. “An unbalanced budget was the worst thing you could do in national policy during the gold standard era,” Zalewski told me. The Revenue Act of 1932 more than doubled tax rates on the rich—the largest peacetime tax increase in American history. And aside from big increases on the rich, the act included consumption taxes on gasoline and electricity, according to the Tax History Project, a collection of essays about financial history from the non-partisan nonprofit Tax Analysts.
The following year, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office. He took the country off the gold standard, but saw no reason to lower tax rates since he had a laundry list of social programs he wanted to fund. Instead, he passed the Revenue Act of 1935, which actually raised the top tax rate even higher, to 79 percent. Critics derided this as a “soak the rich” tax. But the country seemed to content to keep the trend going. Between 1935 and 1982, the top tax rate did not dip below 70 percent. Part of this was due to a belief among those in charge that the government had a role in combating extreme wealth. Roosevelt said this in a speech about raising taxes:
People know that vast personal incomes come not only through the effort or ability or luck of those who receive them, but also because of the opportunities for advantage which Government itself contributes. Therefore, the duty rests upon the Government to restrict such incomes by very high taxes.
And that wasn’t an extreme view. For a long time, says Saez, the idea that earning a ton of money was, in some ways vulgar or unfair dictated policy. During World War II, the government even controlled pay increases in the private sector. Even when those controls were lifted, income inequality stayed constant at low inequality. This is a period of income equality referred to by economists as the Great Compression.
It wasn’t until the Reagan era that the politicians in power started to talk up the benefits of wealth accumulation once again. Top tax rates fell, from 70 percent to 50 percent, in 1982, and then to 38.5 percent in 1987. At the same time, the top 0.1 percent of earners’ share of wealth has risen from 7 percent in 1978 to 22 percent in 2012, a level almost as high as in 1929, according to a May paper by Saez and Zucman that tracks wealth inequality in the United States since 1913.
The gap between the wealthiest and everyone else has grown so large that economic experts around the world have listed the issue of one of the main concerns facing the global economy. To reverse the extreme concentration of wealth that has characterized the last few decades, Saez says, changes to the top tax rates would have to be relatively large—bigger than the changes in the Clinton era, which saw the top tax rate grow from 31 percent to 39.6 percent, or those in the Obama era, which saw the top tax rate grow from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. And increases in the top tax rate would have to be accompanied by concrete changes in the tax system so that it’s not as easy for the rich to avoid paying taxes. Saez’s colleague Zucman estimates that 8 percent of the world’s financial wealth is held offshore, costing the US alone $36 billion a year.
Fixing a problem of that magnitude seems like a stretch. But it’s possible to prevent as much hiding of offshore wealth, Saez says, if governments want to work together to punish countries that allow capital to be hidden in their banks. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, passed in 2010, is a good start, he said. It required American expats to report assets held in foreign banks, and also required foreign banks to report significant assets held by Americans. A next step, Zucman suggests, could be slapping tariffs on goods imported from tax havens. Adding a 30 percent tariff to Swiss goods, for instance, would end up costing Switzerland more than the country earns for being a tax haven, which could be motivation for the country to comply with stricter reporting requirements.
“This is really a choice—if all the big countries, the U.S., countries in Europe—really wanted it to be done, they could do it,” Saez told me. This is the same for raising top tax rates, it seems. History suggests that doing so could help reduce income inequality and wealth concentration at the very top. But the U.S. must really want it to be done.
The US political system is in extreme and immediate danger and it simply does not understand how massive the danger is. Once this psychological dam bursts, there will be hell to pay, and it looks like it set to burst very very soon.
The most horrible betrayal is the betrayal of the vulnerable by someone in absolute power, who – even when confonted by the wickedness of his or her actions – simply does not stop. The worst betrayal in the human psyche is the betrayal by people who we are set to respect and trust, and who then rape us, even if we resist. This betrayal destroys trust and destroys the psyche of the betrayed.
Western democratic politics is quite often authority driven – the state is a caretaker, a curator, a protector. In the arrangement of parliamentary or constitutional democracy we surrender power to people who know better. This arrangement is eerily similar to the relationship between parent and child. The electorate surrenders both responsibility and full right to self-determination in order to cultivate a civil society of boundaries. In return a state takes responsibility – for dealing with matters deigned too complex for our tender souls, The proverbial “you can’t handle the truth” smacks of this parental authority imbued with our societal betters – policeman, uniformed military men, corporate executives, physicians, scientists, judges, psychiatrists, politicians (and of course priests). All this may be deep-seated indoctrination stemming from pervasive exertion of societal power – or maybe there is a genetic impediment, the result of millenia upon millenia of selective breeding by feudal lords and tyrants. Maybe we as a species have been domesticated by untold death and suffering, to follow symbolic representations of parental privilege. Maybe our understanding of ‘godhood’, that solemn patriarchal voice prickling at the back of our necks reminding us of duty, punishment, power, rewards and vested authority is merely our broken, docile, domesticated instinct.
Whatever the case, the process of neoteny – having characteristic childlike behavior and appearance – is a systemic prerequisite of domestication – submission if you will. Humans have an inctinct for this. As soon as a societal Silverback (or the female equivalent) exerts himself or herself, we lean forward, exposing our proverbial carotid artery to signal a complete suspension of ego and selfdeterminacy. This tends to happen in conflicts when the conquered submit to the victor, but not always, and nonsurrender or lack of compliance signals punishment, death, torture, genocide – either in the realm of law enforcement, or in war.
Being part of a lawful, ordered, just society implies this ageless pantomime. It is during tribal diversification that this set of symbols, conduct, implied rules and golden contract desintegrates. Humans diversify in to subsets, each with their own symbology and validation. This process of facturing and fragmentation and secession is common in culturally diffuse environments. That’s why so many conseravtives in society – any society – have so many problems with multiculturalism. To them they are constantly bombared with ambiguity in signals of supremacy or humility – are those foreign looking people in your neighborhood that clean your toilers to be trusted or are they secretly agents of ISIS sent out to topple the societal pyramid in favor of hostile, alien societal order.
And that’s where the danger is now clear and present. Both US presidental candidates stem from an old and largely defunct social order. In the eyes of the electorate they are people who desperately try to ascend the authority pyramid to become the chosen ones. Both Trump and Clinton assume that they follow the rules, and if they win those conquered are supposed to submit. But the iconography of ascendancy has become violated in a significant portion of the US electorate. A vast majority of US voters regards both as fundamentally untrustworthy, or worse.
We have seen what happens when age-old figures of power are toppled and come crashing down. The role of benefactors (good guys) becomes inverted and the most dark aspects of the power dynamic are constantly emphasized. Look at what happened with Catholicism – in most western countries Catholicism is dying. Only the old still cling to the same mechanism of power while the younger generations are constantly remined that Catholic priests are child molesters.
And that is what is happening right now with the ancient regime of US and EU politics. Once a venerated, respectable man loses the credibility of office, and is scorned widely and no longer believed, the populace abandons the child role, submission, respect for the rule of law and enters the ancient tribalist pantomime of renegotiation. Often this happens in a pervasive cultural shock and paradigm shift. Often those in the established power structure saw the signs a long time ago, and in cracking down became ever more disenchanted with society. Those in power become gradually more terrified of their own shadow, and start seeing the Jungian shadow everywhere, trans-positioning their own fears over the spreading vice, lawlessness, thuggery, untamed aggression, lack of morals, irreverence etc. etc. of the people.
That’s where we are now. Those in charge of respective democratic national congress as well as the republican national congress are sick and tired of the goddamn rabble. “They should know their place”. Troublemakers are supposed to fall in line since the rules and rituals have been observed and the status quo must be respected. Sanders bared his proverbial neck to the victor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and you just have to look at the imperious vitriol she projects at times (and at other times plain exhausted disillusionment) when faced with the electorate.
Trump is a little smarter in playing the base sentiments of the electorate, but he too personified the suited executive, the new symbolism of corporate effectiveness. He appeals to the angry mob, the free people, the irregulars of society, but he is just as detached as Clinton. Both have no idea that the set of symbols, semiotics, emotions and words they express are quickly becoming deconstructed and hollow phrases stinking of lies and deceit.
The electorate is angry. The rubicon has already been crossed. Like we saw with the Brexit, where British common vitriol overflowed and the reactionary guard chose to break with what they regarded as foreign, hostile, untrustworthy – the same is happening in the United States.
The betrayal of the loyalist is as deep and hurtful as betrayal of the child in us, and those in power do not realise that as their popularity ratings have sunk to below the respective popularity of cock roaches that the electorate is now reverting to a very angry child that no longer accepts this betrayal. The emotions aroused when the child rears up in insurrection are quite similar to a sexually molested child that suddenly takes this no more and smashes in the skull of his rapist.
We are there. The rape (perceived or not) is ending and a reckoning is coming one way or another.
Societal disparity is a hot button topic sure to arouse emotions. Those who currently have or make comparatively more money as always follow heir self-interest and stick to decennia old post cold war talking points best summarized as “anyone who works hard will eventually be successful”. This is clearly a self-validating and wealth consolidating statement and it’s completely understandable from a zero sum perspective. For the lucky few at the top of the economic food chain any compelling statement that “if most people who work hard in life will not be successful”, pretty much means that society is injust and is subject to renegotiation. And we have been at a collective consensus in western society for centuries now that for statistical majorities of the population – society must be just.
Let me phrase that in other words to absolutely impress the current relevance of this upon everyone who is reading this. Our society is both democratic and capitalist. If a significant section of the populace feels unable to escape poverty the singlemost important rationale of the mere existence of democracy (as opposed to fascism, feudalism, tyranny, stalinism etc.) is that those who feel hopeless gain hope in democracy.
If the rich feel reason to repeat over and over that material success (however you care to define it – generally it means money) must be attained through hard work, it is basically saying that under no circumstances if significant segments of the population of poor people do not work hard (we are talking percentages here, not single cases) should not be allowed to abuse democratic systems to become significantly less poor. Those who have money point to hard work as the sole reason for the poor to escape poverty.
For someone who has money, other people remaining poor by hard work is not necessarily a threat under capitalist ideology. For the rich it simply is being lazy, since from the perspective of the rich can not be fairly assumed that for large segments of the population the sole reason might conceivably be mere randomness, systemic bad luck or lack of talent. There are unreasonable people who will then go and make arguments that are not fair, such as racists who will claim certain variants in human skin pigmentation constitutes such distinctive a genetic series of traits that even with hard work “those people” are likelier to remain poor and that’s just how things are, get used to it.
Systems that reflect the desire to have significant elites remain affluent, and significant segments of the poor remain so (i.e. favoring heredetary stratification) are very likely to be racist, and if they are not, they tend to be one of the above four, i.e. feudalist, fascist, favoring some kind of necessary tyranny (in particular of the hobbesian kind, i.e. “we must have strict government for everything would dissolve in to chaos and civil war if we didn’t have strict government”) or some form of historical (and mostly extinct) stalinism. I’d argue that in all these cases the argument is just a figleaf and almost always one based on prejudice or racism, while making claims of meritocracy. Two good examples are South Africa and the UK, where stratification has become endemic and the maxims “the rich become richer and other races become poorer” seem to apply. In the UK the polished upper classes claim their British “stiff upper lip” superiority of the hardy anglosaxon protestant mindset as both racist as well as meritocratic argument in favor of continueing stratification. In South Africa the claims are even more so. But there are lots of countries that follow similar arguments.
The problem of course is that the world might very well be argued to be consolidated. In this particular context I mean that ‘consolidated’ equates that further industrial, technological and thus economic growth is very difficult to attain. In particular most types of conservatives in the international community make this claim, either implicitly or explicitly. Most conservatives tend to believe (and I’d go further – almost always believe) that we are at the pinnacle of society and western (white) liberal capitalist democracy is as far as you can go in making society good. To these people the world is the best world out of numerous possible worlds. Their moral opposites, i.e. progressives feel the world is still significantly injust and the singlemost important reason for the existence of a powerful state is (aside from acting as a insurance from over-predation of the commons, but that’s another story) is to redistribute the resources of the fortunate (i.e. capriciously lucky people) to less fortunate (i.e. people who through no fault of their own ended up poor).
This is a discourse and as discourses go it is a pretty solid one. I can easily add a few caveats, and as some one who is actively “technoprogressive” I will most certainly make the claim that technology carries with it the risk that if unchecked by a powerful state as powerful arbiter, current rates of technological progress carry with them the risk of making those who are currently poor so poor in the coming decades they might die, and those who are currently rich so rich that they can pretty much disband the whole concept of democracy altogether and be done with it. The fact that all the above is still a discourse stems back to the good old days where there still was an equilibrium of power amongst various factions in society, but I would argue that equilibrium existed only briefly at the end of the second world war and that equilibrium was actually permitted to exist mostly as a policy to secure society against the specter of spread of communism and socialist ideology. In other words – at the end of the Depression and even more so the end of World War 2 there was a serious risk that a lot of western democracies would ideologically and politically evolve to socialist and communist systems, and that would have shrunk the international power base of capitalist investors and stakeholders. Domino theory and all. For a brief few decades in human history there was actually a fair chance global society would have turned away from capitalism. It was fortunate it didn’t, since between the 1950s and 1980s the poor in most capitalist countries became significantly richer than the middle classes (i.e. the vast majority of people) in communist countries. Just the other day I stumbled across an illustrative example, namely
The Soviet Union allowed theaters to play The Grapes of Wrath because of its depiction of the plight of the poor under capitalism, but it was later withdrawn because Russian audiences were amazed that even the poorest Americans could afford a car.
So yeah I’d argue that in the face of a solid societal equilibrium between rich and poor, between investors and unions, between right and left political parties, etc. we had a most amenable distribution of the proverbial pie, for a few decades, but only in mostly white, predominantly capitalist, predominantly old world countries. With the possible caveat of a lot of asian countries as well.
The 1980s changed everything. I do not want to degenerate in to elaborate theories of gold standards, fiat currency, oil dictatorships, thatcherism and reagonomics, the end of the soviet bloc and let other people do that. But whatever the case may be somewhere in the 1980s things changed. A year years after Pickety I can safely say this has now become a bit of a cliche and the often quoted graph best illustrating said (sad) cliche is this one –
In other words, up until roughly the year 1980 the poor caught up somewhat amicably in terms of societal progress with rich people. Or were allowed to experience a semblance of catching up equally. Or something off-hand conspiratorial like that.
A major problem in the ensuring discourse these days is scarcity of natural resources. Right now a lot (let’s say all) of Europeans, Americans and other inhabitants in western (and various Asian) countries sure as hell do not want to become poorer. This was best summarized by the quote of then president George Bush 1 when he said in 1992
U.S. Lifestyle Is Not Up for Negotiation
– Dick Cheney
which pretty much meant – we will defend our quality of living, consumerism, privilege, power, wealth et.al. even if that means other people world wide will stay poor or have to become poorer. This ties in with both the scarcity of fossil fuels as well as the constraints of world society burning fossil fuels (primarily gas and oil). In 1992 the oil industries (and thus Bush) knew pretty damn well both were headed for constraints, and thus for some form of global rationing. As I am writing this article now in 2016 we are clearly seeing both constraints race up towards us with the insistence of a concrete wall. Scarcity of easily accessible oil and gas will force some people in the world to have less soon. NOT the same amount – LESS. And constraints of global CO2 emissions and the horrific risks posed thereby will quite soon force the global community of leaders to agree Period, no iff’s and butt’s and caveats and maybe’s. Let me illustrate that with a short bit from the excellent TV series newsroom.
In most common vernacular – nuff said, We must constrain global CO2 emissions or the world will face (and I say this in the sarcastic possible manner) a lot of rich, white people world wide will die. And that’s where the global balance of power rests – older (generally male) white men. Once those people will feel the pain, things change, without exception. It is tragic that current news and media outlets world wide suck so much that we need some fictional news TV series to illustrate the biblical levels of poignancy here. I mean how insistent can you get – “a person has already been born that will die of catastrophic failure of the planet”. That means “pretty soon” in my vocabulary. It also means in no uncertain terms – no matter how rich you are you can’t run from this problem. I’d go even one step further, and you can quote me on this, by stating “the first million rich people who will be lynched because they will then be held responsible for screwing up the planet have already been born”.
But there’s a new player on the block and that is technological unemployment. That topic is hip and trending, and I no doubt contributed my fair bit in to making it hip and trendy. I was loudly proclaiming this topic as the next big problem for humanity as early as the 1990s, and now it caught on it is making a lot of people nervous. And therein lies considerable necessity, even if global political universe does not always reflect the necessity. Historically we have always seen that a steady climb in under-representation of electoral majorities leads to violence, but the sad reality is that in our era we also see massive increases in policing, surveillance and judicial violence (especially in the US). One might wonder why.
Lately trhe effcets of climate change, resource depletion, globalism have made a lot of people angry, and we can easily make the mental leap between this anger and the rise of Trump and the UK vote on leaving the EU, but aforementioned have nothing on the more imminent risk of technological unemployment. Here’s a really impressive article that makes that argument splendidly. We see very illustrative signs that the imperative of western democracies (all of them sailing in the wake of US foreign policy) to maintain standards of living for a select category of people has been gradually eating up the food chain and has now started affecting white people, even inside the US. In other words, the proverbial rising tide will let an awful lot of people d(r)own.
In a vacuum where the urgent necessities of people start increasingly conflict with the perceived interests of special few minorities is
inadequately not reflected there is only one way of responding and that is violence. And when faced with the gradual increase in the odds and severity of violence happening is met with a policy of equally shoring up police, prisons, surveillance and repression, you are intentionally steering towards some kind of rock versus hard place confrontation.
There is a proverb which states that “society is only three meals from anarchy” applies. Globally we are creating the pretext for various degrees of revolution and not just in one space
– globally population levels keep going up and although western society has proactively conspired all key players to be armed to the teeth against relatively poorer groups we are steadily steering towards the point where the poorest 75% of humanity has no recourse other than desperation and violence;
– in most western countries we are equally steadily steering from disempowering majority votes from having any discernible influence on the electoral system and policy and
– in western countries, especially the US and the EU society is steadily dismantling income, purchase power, financial security and career prospects for the vast majority of its electorate to a point where this vast majority will find itself with no other recourse than desperation and violence.
It is particlarly hard then to come up with a punch line, a slogan, a conclusion that doesn’t tie in with the tawdry and tiresome rhetoric touted by so many preppers, doomsday cults, Alex Jones and the conspiracy crowd, Yes, people get tired of sounding the warning bells or crying wolf over and over and over and that is not what I am trying to achieve here. An article such as this one must have an upbeat conclusion, something that provides hope for people who need it. and provides a thorough understanding of the age we live in as well as a direction for parsing futurological analysis.
So what can I take away from all this that doesn’t make people’s eyes glaze over? Well, technology and unemployment are two major factors which offer us some semblance of hope. There is (yet another) an old proverb about idle hands that may be due for an update and that may be that people who have time on their hands tend to get creative. And there is even another proverb that says something about necessity is the mother of invention. And both tie in great with exponential technological change as well as a vast increase in
mass-unemployment irreversible mass-employability world wide. We are going to see technology take off very hard and leave a lot of people clueless about what to do next. Many of these of our fellow western world constituents (I mean, millions of North Koreans, Somalians, Nigerians, Uzbeki or Bolivians can protest to their hearts content, not much will come of it but their death) haven’t gotten the memo yet but it will involve mass technological unemployment and displacement. Sure, having suddenly less money is pretty awful for most people, but having no discernible perspective on improvement is quite often an existential shock. But I won’t use this polemic to yet again extol the theoretical virtues of basic income until some future date, year or decade where such has become simply an inescapable reality.
Some minorities respond with an almost horrific level of violence, as we can see in new recruits for ISIS but hopefully that kind of desperation is limited to the fringe of unreasonable people. The majority of people however will become creative and use increasing options of technological affordances to express their dissatisfaction or otherwise hack the system. Clay Shirky’s presentation a few years back still fills me with some optimism to that effect in that it strongly suggests that increase in media outlets allows for new forms of generating political capital and that might be enough. But if it isn’t enough, the alternative will prove predictably self-evident.
America has a major problem, as depicted in his video here.
An African American women was slammed to the ground and arrested by a police officer, and she asked him why everyone was afraid of black people. His answer was pretty shocking. Brett Erlich, Grace Baldridge, and Hasan Piker, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
“Dash cam footage surfaced Thursday of a white Austin, Texas, police officer violently arresting Breaion King, a blak elementary school teacher, in 2015. The video shows the officer, identified by the Austin American-Statesman as Bryan Richter, throwing King to the ground twice at a traffic stop.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, a second officer, who the Associated Press names as Officer Patrick Spradlin told her police are right to be distrustful of black people because of their “violent tendencies.”
“Why are so many people afraid of black people?” Spradlin asks King. “I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way — violent tendencies.”
Spradlin goes on to say that white people rightly fear black violence because some black people are “very intimidating.”
The Associated Press reported that both officers are on desk duty as the department further investigates the incident.”
So what is the problem here?
In my view this problem is genetic in nature. What is happening during this confrontation is that the white law enforcement officer is of pervasively white European descent and the black is primarily of black African descent. The white cop uses the symbolism of force and dominance – he feels he has to inflict violence to obtain compliance. Why is this?
White people were evolved mostly during an evolutionary bottleneck of feudalism. Europe knew more than two thousand years of mass repression in terms of feudalism. Everyone who didn’t comply with the ruling classes was culled. This has caused a level of domestication in white Europeans not seen much world wide. The only equivalent is found in Japan where similar processes took place. The result is that the vast majority of whites have become docile on a genetic level. When faced with a dominant actor in any engagement they make a calculation based on force symmetry and choose to flee, resist or (mostly) submit. The white cop has a genetic predisposition where he uses this symbolism – he violently impresses his dominance through a pantimime of feudal Shcok & Awe, and expects complete and unconditional surrender from those under his zone of control. The officer feels he has a responsibility to first instill obedience and after this has been established he might get around to his task of enforcing the law. Justice is the last consideration for him.
The problem is that people of primarily African descent (as the woman can ba argued to me) did not experience a history of feudalist racial culling. Many of these people did experience a few centuries of domintion during the era of slavery, but that can not be sufficient for the full blown Darwinian selection whites experienced for literal Millenia. The woman is of a genetic predisposition where she expects a relative level of human equality. She simply does not understand why the cop is acting as he does, and the cop in turn simply does not understand why the hell the African origin person does not completely submit to his Dominance pantomime.
Essentially both humans in the exchange are human beings. But being both genetically mostly identical does not mean their subtle behavioral urges are the same. Even minor degrees of genetic selection can quickly introduce behavioral differences. We are seeing a complete divergence in expectations here – white dominants expect full docile compliance, It doesn’t cross their mind that someone might resist. White submissives immediately respond to Dominance, since compliance has in an evolutionary context resulted in considerably greater odds for personal survival.
What I am stating heres a hypothesis. It would be difficult to (morally) find falsifiable evidence for such a difference in attitudes. I try not to judge – both subtle genetic variances in respectively white caucasians and black africans should be subtle. But unless we start to look at the hidden congenital factors involved in why people act in certain ways we can never hope to deal with the massive epidemic of violemce between various kinds of people. As things are both parties in the above exchange believe they are perfectly right in why they do what they do, but this may not be entirely true.
written by Gregory Gorelik (original article)
The link between sex and dominance is age-old and pervasive. From the works of the Marquis de Sade to Vladimir Nabokov, literature is suffused with its ecstasies and tortures. Its depictions in popular cinema and print, from 9½ Weeks to Fifty Shades of Grey, suggest that this inseparable link is more than a fringe fetish, and that its dark fantasies haunt even the dungeons of respectable minds. This popular fascination also suggests that the influence of sex on dominant political movements such as fascism deserves a closer examination.
The Sexual Origins of Fascism
Fascism is a political movement or form of government marked by the complete control of individuals and military and economic institutions by a single dominant leader or ruling party. Although totalitarian communist regimes often lack the nationalistic sentiments associated with fascist regimes, their reliance on dominance and complete control of personal and social life as a political strategy often make them indistinguishable from fascism. Steven Pinker suggests that even the philosophy of National Socialism is no different from Marxism save for its reliance on the theory of historical contests between racial groups as opposed to economic classes.1
A common misconception is that fascist regimes are sexually repressive. Such was the view even among Germans who grew up after WWII, a phenomenon discussed by Dagmar Herzog in Sex After Fascism.2 Herzog writes that, throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, the sexual libertinism of Nazism was effectively erased by the advent of religious conservatism in Germany. Thus, the sexual revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s was a rebellion of the youth against the sexually repressive specter of what they perceived was their parents’ fascism. In reality, the Nazis actually encouraged premarital sex, promiscuity, and sex within and outside of marriage in an effort to revive the nation and the Volk.
Of course, sexual ecstasies under fascism were solely the privilege of the Aryan elite, as Herzog notes. I believe, however, that this privilege was not merely a consequence of Nazi control of personal life, but also its cause. In other words, Nazi dominance may have been motivated by, among other influences, sexual pleasure. Herzog suggests as much with her observation that the sadomasochistic elements of post-war Nazi-themed erotica and pornography may have functioned as a connection to a buried truth ignored by the official narrative of a sexless Third Reich. Herzog writes:
[T]he persistent linkage of pornography and Nazism in literature and film and in the popular imagination actually captures some truths about the Third Reich that are too frequently suppressed in scholarly writing about the era; it is as if these cultural phantasms serve as the repository of intuitive insights that apparently could not be integrated into academic scholarship. (p. 14)
Pinker presents a more harrowing example of the link between Nazi domination and sexual pleasure by quoting a Holocaust survivor who describes the actions of a concentration camp official as follows:
The SS camp commander stood close to the whipping post throughout the flogging…. His whole face was already red with lascivious excitement. His hands were plunged deep in his trouser pockets, and it was quite clear that he was masturbating throughout…. On more than thirty occasions, I myself have witnessed SS camp commanders masturbating during floggings. (p. 551)
It is hard to deny that much of this commander’s cruelty was directly motivated by the pleasure of sexual sadism.
There are many personal and moral reasons as to why people join political movements, fascist movements no exception. And yet, fascism’s governing principle is political and social dominance. Do sexual rewards, at least in part, motivate fascism? Suggestively, you do not see the democratic equivalent of a “Nazi fetish” in pornography.3
The Biology of Sex and Dominance
The link between sex and dominance has a deep evolutionary history. The perennial battles between males over reproductive access to females fill the annals of natural history, and are explained by evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers’ concept of parental investment.4 According to this concept, the sex that invests most in reproduction (usually females) is more vigorously pursued by the sex that invests least (usually males), leading to more frequent dominance contests among the least investing sex.
Females exhibit a preference for dominant males who can bequeath impeccable genetic pedigrees and material resources to future offspring. As such, we should expect males to increase their sexual response following a victory over a rival in anticipation of increased sexual opportunities. Indeed, as suggested by my graduate research with David Bjorklund, men who are single (and, hence, men for whom the stakes of competition over women are highest) exhibit more sexual interest in women following a victory than a defeat.5 Physiologically, dominance and sex are linked by the male hormone testosterone, as suggested by studies showing higher testosterone levels in men who win than in men who lose, whether in sports6 or politics.7 This function of testosterone is supported by research showing that presidential and congressional elections in the US were followed by increases in pornography consumption in states whose citizens overwhelmingly voted for winning candidates.8 9All of this suggests that social dominance is a common antecedent to sexual behavior. But the influence also goes in the other direction, as is indicated by Imhoff and colleagues’ finding that exposure to sexual material leads to an increase in aggression among sexually narcissistic men.10
Dominance during Sex
In nature, nothing is for free. If a link between dominance and sex did evolve, its benefits must have outweighed its costs—otherwise, natural selection would never have preserved it in our species’ gene pool. It is easy enough to explain men’s psychological and behavioral dominance directed at reproductive rivals as an antecedent to sexual behavior, but what of dominance during sexual behavior?
One possibility is that our male ancestors sometimes relied on sexual coercion to gain reproductive access to women.11 12 Capturing the enemy’s women is a well documented motivation for warfare, as judged by its sanctioning in holy books,13 14 and its practice by traditional societies such as the Yanomamö,15 historical despots such as Genghis Khan,16 and today’s Islamic State combatants.17 Albeit still controversial, this hypothesis deserves more scientific scrutiny. Contrary to the feminist narrative that rape is about power and not sex,18 the fact that young, fertile women are the primary victims of sexual assault19 suggests that sex has at least something to do with it. But contrary to naïve evolutionary accounts,20 the desire for power and dominance might be the proximate, or more immediate, means of implementing sexual coercion as an evolved reproductive strategy.21
My colleagues and I have previously suggested that dominance and submissiveness may be aspects of consensual interaction during sex.22 According to the theory of sexual selection, sexually reproducing organisms choose mates based on various indicators of reproductive fitness, be it a long and colorful tail or the production of a resonant song. Humans likewise choose mates who exhibit a variety of physical and psychological fitness indicators.23 It is possible that role-play during sex may serve as an arena wherein humans evaluate each other’s fitness by how well each one plays his or her role, whether dominant or submissive. So, for example, a man’s attractiveness may depend on whether he has the subtlety and finesse to exhibit dominance, or even aggression, during a sexual encounter without crossing over into being coercive.
I am not aware of any studies actually examining this possibility, though a substantial minority of women report having “rape fantasies” during which they are sexually aroused by the prospect of being a victim of a coercive sexual encounter.24 This does not mean that these women actually want to be raped, which would obviously be a traumatic experience whose evolutionary costs would be substantial due to the undermining of a woman’s mate choice. But such fantasies may hint at women’s evolved propensity to select mates who are agile enough to exhibit dominance without being coercive or causing harm.
Making the Link
Explaining the evolution of a link between sex and dominance is only part of the story. This is what evolutionists refer to as an “ultimate” or “distal” explanation. In this section, I propose a hypothesis for how the link between sex and dominance may develop within the lifetime of an individual.
Let us envision the following scenario. A man engages in dominance contests with other men, be it with a wooden club or a stock portfolio. Assuming he wins, he can expect an increase in sexual opportunities. If sex is the reward for dominance, then we should expect sexual pleasure to reinforce his future dominance. If, across evolutionary time, dominance is more successful at bringing about mating opportunities than alternative strategies, natural selection may co-opt sexual pleasure to reward it. This may be more effective than relying on a haphazard reward schedule that might misfire and reward dominance not followed by sex or resource acquisition, which leads to sex.
Already, we can see why sexual practices involving dominance (e.g., BDSM, S&M, etc.) are so pervasive. Assuming that sex and dominance can be switched on simultaneously, individuals may enhance their sexual pleasure with the added pleasure associated with dominance. This further reinforces the use of dominance as a behavioral strategy, both inside and outside of the bedroom.
The Politicization of Sex
This may sound like a Freudian way of thinking, but being that sex is such an important part of evolution, its influence on personal and political behavior should not be discounted. Indeed, research suggests that sexual strategies may be driving much of politics and religion.25 26 If so, the link between sexual pleasure and political dominance may be more direct in fascism than in any other political movement. Political movements, including fascism, may harness dominance as a means to non-sexual political and moral ends, from the acquisition of resources and territory to the redress of nationalistic and racial grievances. But fascism’s reliance on dominance over other political tactics may be partly explained by the sexually rewarding undertones of dominant political action, especially for men.
Humans can formulate long-term goals and plan drawn-out courses of action to reach them.27 Therefore, it is possible for dominance-based political movements motivated by sexual pleasure to emerge. Such movements may be further developed and made more sophisticated by ideological, bureaucratic, and fashionable accoutrements, and may spread within and across generations as sexually dominant individuals are drawn to their appeal. Fascism may be one such political movement, though it is probably not the only one. Any movement whose long-term political strategy is marked by dominance may be driven, in part, by sex.
Biological accounts of personal and political life are on the rise, which is an inevitable and necessary trend. If we are to promote non-destructive political movements over harmful ones, we have to acknowledge the evolutionary and physiological roots of our behavior. However speculative, I believe that the preceding account of the sexual underpinnings of fascism deservers further scrutiny.
It is not easy to recognize the signs of a rising authoritarian movement, but focusing on how central dominance and sexuality are to individuals within a movement may help us to avoid its destructive and sadistic outcomes. This neglected approach is all the more pressing amid the rising shadows of right-wing and Islamic authoritarianism. We need not paint dominant or submissive sexual behavior as wrong or unnatural, however. Consenting adults should be free to engage in whatever sexual activities they find pleasurable. The problem is making sure that fascism does not escape the bedroom.
 Pinker, S. (2011). The better angels of our nature: The decline of violence in history and its causes. Penguin UK.
 Herzog, D. (2007). Sex after fascism: Memory and morality in twentieth-century Germany. Princeton University Press.
 Griffiths, M. (2015). The Reich Stuff: A brief look at Nazi fetishism.
 Trivers, R. L. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man, 1871-1971 (pp. 136-179). Chicago: Aldine-Atherton.
 Gorelik, G., & Bjorklund, D. F. (2015). The effect of competition on men’s self-reported sexual interest. Evolutionary Psychological Science. 1, 141-149.
 Bernhardt, P. C., Dabbs, J. M., Fielden, J. A., & Lutter, C. D. (1998). Testosterone changes during vicarious experiences of winning and losing among fans at sporting events. Physiology & Behavior, 65, 59-62.
 Stanton, S. J., Beehner, J. C., Saini, E. K., Kuhn, C. M., & LaBar, K. S. (2009). Dominance, politics, and physiology: Voters’ testosterone changes on the night of the 2008 United States presidential election. PLoS ONE, 4, 1-6.
 Markey, P. M., & Markey, C. N. (2010). Changes in pornography-seeking behaviors following political elections: An examination of the challenge hypothesis. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31, 442-446.
 Markey, P., & Markey, C. (2011). Pornography-seeking behaviors following midterm political elections in the United States: A replication of the challenge hypothesis. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1262-1264.
 Imhoff, R., Bergmann, X., Banse, R., & Schmidt, A. F. (2013). Exploring the automatic undercurrents of sexual narcissism: Individual differences in the sex-aggression link. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42(6), 1033-1041.
 Thornhill, R., & Palmer, C. T. (2000). A natural history of rape. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
 McKibbin, W. F., Shackelford, T. K., Goetz, A. T., & Starrat, V. G. (2008). Why do men rape? An evolutionary psychological perspective. Review of General Psychology, 12, 86-97.
 Deuteronomy 21: 10-14.
 Qur’an 33: 50.
 Chagnon, N. A. (2013). Noble savages: My life among two dangerous tribes—the Yanomamö and the anthropologists. Simon and Schuster.
 Derenko et al. (2007). Distribution of the male lineages of Genghis Khan’s descendants in Northen Eurasian populations. Russian Journal of Genetics. 43, 334-337.
 Callimachi, R. (2015). ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape. The New York Times.
 Filipovic, J. (2013). Rape is about power not sex. The Guardian.
 Felson, R. B., & Cundiff, P. R. (2012). Age and sexual assault during robberies. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33, 10-16.
 Felson, R., & Moran, R. (2016). To Rape is to Want Sex Not Power. Quillette.
 Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (2011). Evolutionary psychology and feminism. Sex Roles, 64(9-10), 768-787.
 Gorelik, G., Shackelford, T. K, & Weekes-Shackelford, V. A. (2012). Human violence and evolutionary consciousness. Review of General Psychology, 16, 343-356.
 Miller, G. F. (2000). The mating mind: How sexual choice shaped the evolution of human nature. London: Heinemann.
 Critelli, J. W., & Bivona, J. M. (2008). Women’s erotic rape fantasies: An evaluation of theory and research. Journal of Sex Research, 45, 57-70.
 Quintelier, K. J., Ishii, K., Weeden, J., Kurzban, R., & Braeckman, J. (2013). Individual differences in reproductive strategy are related to views about recreational drug use in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Japan. Human Nature.
 Weeden, J., & Kurzban, R. (2013). What predicts religiosity? A multinational analysis of reproductive and cooperative morals. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34, 440-445.
 Suddendorf, T., & Corballis, M. C. (2007). The evolution of foresight: What is mental time travel and is it unique to humans? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 30, 299-351.
Yesterday a man drove a truck in to a crowd and kep driving for kilometers during the Bastille day celebtrations om Nice. Since he is half french and half meghreb it seems safe to assume this was a terrorist attack by islamic (lower case) radicals.
Enough is enough.
I can’t and won’t make any threats here, but make of it what you will. I am going to make a prediction now – this act went too far. I understand how hatred of radicals work – the radicals work actively top dehumanize their targets, and to elevate this while wahabbi version of islam to some kind of apocalyptic status where it simply no longer matters who gets killed and how. But by any standard I care to associate with what I consider human, this attack went to far. Yes I know that many many attacks have gone to far for decades now in many islamic countries – iraq, syria, etc. but this was a strike against completely defenceless celebrating innocents So, carefully wording myself so I stay within the bounds of legal, I make a prediction from my years of futurological analysis.
Much sooner than we wish a group of people of clearly European or US descent will, without any visible government support, orchestrate an attack against comparably “soft” targets in the Islamic world. This will be a terror attack intended to kill as many muslims as possible and the attack will kill hundreds if not thousands. Most likely the attack will be directed against praying muslims, and may very well be directed against the crowds around the holiest of shrines of islam. It will be an attack on a scale that will horrify humanity and the islamic world to a degree where everyone will stop what they are doing. It will be a socalled definitive answer, The words “Nice” and “Brussels”, “New York” and “Paris” will be uttered out loud.
After that definitive answer everyone, literally every country in the world, will decide “this must go no further” and every country will enter a coalition and a series of treaties declaring the most unambiguous statement in terms of security state, policing, intelligence, military, politics to “terrorism”. Everyone will say – if this gets answered, it will escalate so badly that the next time millions could die.
Make of this what you will. But whatever the case the era of unconstrained terror attacks and soft targets world wide will now have ended. No more.
First there is technological unemployment. In the span of the next *few* decades most jobs will be replaced by machines, automation, new software suites and robots. This will be an extremely difficult transition, and the nett effect will b a substantial decrease in available work, especially low-skilled labor. The effect of this will be that the various countries of Europe will have trouble offering work for its own citizens. Whatever few jobs remain will be absolutely covered by a small remaining trickle of eastern Europeans. Migrants, most of whom have no discernible job skill, limited language skills, very limited cultural affinity or relevant work experience will have absolutely zero chance to get a job, and most these people will be left asking for welfare as a result. This will be deemed completely unacceptable to European voters. European voters will demand redistributive infrastructures – such as a basic income – and likewise they will most certainly not want “foreigners” to also get a basic income.
Second there will be a massive and very painful transition from fossil fuels to electrical energy grids. These involve systems that involve prefabricated parts and require very little and only highly trained engineering/construction labor. The nett effect on global (not merely EU) society will again be traumatic. All of the world will have less surplus affluence. The pie for many countries will shrink. This means that (aside form having less spending freedom for integrating and providing initial necessities for migrants and refugees) EU society will want to consume less goods. Lifestyles and expectations will have to wind down.
Third, and probably most important will be life extension. Life extension will be a certainty and biogerontologists are only bickering about the when. Many in the field are know very certain that life extension (most at first, statistical benefit of only months to years) will emerge very soon. From then on investments in this field will sharply increase and by the 2040s we can expect rejuvenative therapies. By 2100 almost no one will die of old age and all people in the EU (or US) you’d care to meet will have visibly young bodies.
THis will completely destroy whatever available jobs are left – as highly educated, experienced, healthy, youthful, optimistic seniors will enter the work force and scoop up all remaining jobs that are left. In such a society migrants will not stand a chance, and since a society with a massive surplus of working health physiques will be quite conservative, voters will demand stability, a strong respect for the rule of law – and that means less migrants. Europe will soon start having a much higher population growth rate, since less people will be dying pet year than in earlier decades.
Yes, people in europe are prejudiced and yes, people will assume migrants are first and foremost a challenge in terms of integration, education, health care, policing, etc. etc. and people will vote accordingly.
So no, the trends are Europe will stick with its choices and migration inwards will somewhere in the next few decades completely end, expect for a very few with scarce and high paying skills.
Observed galaxies in the cosmos nearly all contain a supermassive black hole. These SBH’s have masses closely tied in the hosting galaxy size, suggesting a strong correlation in formative history. Our galaxy’s SBH has a mass of over 3 million solar masses, crammed in to a region smaller than the orbit of Mercury around the sun, and the biggest galaxies can generate SBH’s up to several tens of billions of solar masses – our universe is not capable of producing bigger ones. These biggest ones have gargantuan event horizons, and we can safely assume anything orbiting closer than several hundred times the event horizon will be torn by tidal effects. In case of the theoretically biggest SBH at 50 billion solar masses this comes down to 1.4755948039186453 x10E14 meters. That is significantly bigger than the current solar system, including the outermost KBO objects. At those sizes stars can just fall in without generating an accretion disk. If they fall in at a very steep angle they might even survive as stars (with planetary systems included) until just at the edge of the event horizon, having been accelerated up to very close the speed of light.
This opens up an interesting vista, stemming back from the concept of kessler syndrome. This is a theory that stipulates that artificial satellites in orbit around Earth might start crashing, producing debris, and respective debris continuing to pulverize satellites until there is little left than debris. We have seen a similarly phenomenon with Saturn, and there’s a pretty good SF novel that explores the same mechanism to its most terrifying conclusion. In comparison with its rings Saturn is very big. Apparently in the universe there are planets with much bigger ring systems. It stands to reason to label these “dormant” accretion disks. Gradually some ring material will collide and degrade in respective orbits, but ring systems may theoretically last a long time. Saturns rings are estimated to last millions to billions of years.
With black holes the rings can move ‘very close’ to the black hole, to the point that shear and frame drag will produce friction/radiative heat, theoretically much hotter than the inside of a star. Such heat produces fusion. This radiation pressure will generate a push to orbiting ring material, evaporating some of this material and thrusting it outward with much the same mechanical effect as a sun generating clouds. If this ablated material is, say, iron, the material may move in discrete clouds pushed by radiation pressure from the black hole outward over and under the rings and rain down back on to the rings at a point where the emitted heat of the black hole drops below the heat required to keep the ablated material in a gaseous state.
As I quoted in a previous article, black holes are likely to come with intricate shapes, depending on the direction of rotation of the black hole versus angular momentum of the infalling material. But whatever the case these rings build up in cycles and I am pretty certain outer rings can last a long, long time. Inner rings will ablate because of occasional bursts of radiation (although I argue this ablation may re-condense outward in the system) and frame dragging and torque.
I just heard that the number of stellar remnants, in particular black holes, white dwarfs and neutron stars (et.al. – there will almost certainly be stellar artfacts there we haven’t even imagined yet with contemporary science), numbering in the many tens of thousands will be orbiting the region around Sagittarius A* in a proximity of mere light years. When I heard this I exclaimed something along the lines of holy shit.
To keep a TL;DR as short as possible, this will produce Kessler effect. The presence of a swarm of very dense objects produces a maelstrom of tidal torque. The violence of tidas will produce swarms of continuously infalling material, until all material in the area is stripped clean. The result will be a very big, very dark, very long lasting ring system around Sagittarius A*. There is likely to be some star formation in this ring system (shepherd stars? Shepherd black holes?) but I’ll assume these shepherding objects to not expand beyond the size of brown dwarfs. In fact I can imagine there to be white dwarfs accumulating material close to this singular ring system and exploding in respective type 1a supernovae intermittently.
Since I am not a professional astrophysicist I’d love to hear what the insiders think of this analysis.
In the next century there will be three categories of countries based on available energy. In most cases these leagues will determine relative wealth and rate of progress of respective countries, and global relevance. If you are in League one, your country will be dirt poor and unable to escape its respective energy state. You will be a low wage slave/debtor nation dependent on endless developmental aid. If you are in league three your citizens will be affluent and will be evolving fast along transhumanist lines.
Residual carbon-based fuels, a sparse amount of wood and coal that is allowed within global carbon markets. Some fracking of what’s left in the ground. Mostly growing wood and then burning it. A smattering of hydro, tidal and similar projects. Very limited economic capacity to boostrap large scale solar capture. No resources to collectively afford any variant of nuclear energy resources. Your country will be a colony or client state of a more powerful political entity. Barely several ten gigawattyear, if that.
Widespread solar and other sustainable energy resources. A smattering of proliferation-proof nuclear energy types, primarily Thorium. With considerable effort hundreds of gigawattyears.
Complete consolidation of solar resources, widespread thorium, potentially fusion reactors. The nation is part of an energy bloc or grid with interconnected DC transport of electrical power. This allows the country to evolve in to the development of Space Based Solar Power – and from then on the sky is the limit and energy growth become unconstrained and exponential – the more you invest, the more energy you get, the cheaper the energy becomes. Easily tens of terawattsyears.
Anyone who reads this, the time has come to start resisting, with any and all means you can muster. If peaceful resistance does not work to produce change, all means must be explored. It is time. You can no longer just sit around and wait until change comes.
History has an awful track record with the government medicalizing alternate lifestyles, religious activity or political activism. There is very little to say about the habits of hard-line regimes and political systems putting “troublemakers’ in psychiatric institutions solely for the purpose of punishment and deterrence. For political activists the soviet union was a nightmare, as the soviet union used psychiatric medication, harsh institutionalization and isolation as terrifying means to make people fall in line. Idealists of whatever kind tend to find prisons and torture more acceptable than being put in a madhouse. The stigma makes the victim of such treatments less credible. But even the United States was not above using these treatments to enforce societal conformity – the US and many countries in Europe sent gay people and communists to mental care facilities as recent as the 1970s.
Right now Neoliberalism has created a society world-wide where we euphemistically apply “community treatment”, which is an euphemism for not making institutional or intensive psychiatric support available. This is at a time when society produces major pathologies in most western world citizens. Disparate societies produce mentally unhinged people. Modern society has significantly high rates of schizophrenia that familiar and intimate tribal societies, to the point that some low-stress societies regard these symptoms as a form of acceptable and integrated ‘spiritual’ exaltation.
Nonetheless as a modern society we have a major problem with (both) radical religions, and I would include both extremes of Christianity and Islam. Right now we live in a pluriform society where the idea of treating the persistently religious as crazy people, in whatever degree, would widely be deemed as unacceptable and taboo. Religion is an inalienable part of most countries and many moderates in any faith, whether it is Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism or Judaism (or even Atheist?) tend to at least know or have relationships with people of more insistent religious convictions. The moderate and the fundamentalist in society tends to be interwoven.
But in a country with mixed religions we have a completely new situation. There are cases when radicals have started attacking even moderate religious figures in the same religious system, whereas inter-religious violence and irreconcilable hostility has become something we universally take for granted as some kind of new perverse “normal”.
For some reason we institutionalize and medicate people who frequentlt say “insane things” but we are not willing to apply the same metric when the person making the statements is religious. The measure for regarding societally maladjusted behavior is inconsistently high.
The basic tenet is that people should have a high degree of freedom of expression, within the historical context of particular countries. In the US this freedom is paramount, whereas in Germany it has been democratically decided you simply can not discuss or say certain things. So if (pardon me the example) a muslim in Germany publicly says and repeats religiously inspired concepts uttering gays to be lower than pigs, we somehow accept this as “just an opinion”, whereas making the same statement about Jews would be a particularly sensitive topic.
If something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck mostly it tends to be a duck. If a person says universally insane and particularly violent things, regardless of the context, we might as well start a debate about our standards of regarding such a person insane, and if we then conclude after long deliberation we are not prejudiced towards that person, we might as well start regarding these ideas as a form of insanity.
Clearly I am thinking of Islam here. I know it is an offensive idea in the current political climate, but what good is it to wait until utterly and irreconcilably desocialized and persistently violent minorities actually degenerate in their predispositions to actual violence before we act? And what good does it then do to put these people in a prison for a long stretch of time? Prisons are places that assume a certain amount of free will and ability to self-reflect on part of the convicted criminal. Prisons are part society meting out punishment, and part about rehabilitation through the most merciful available penalty – confinement and suspension of freedom. There is plenty reason to assume someone who is crazy actually fares badly in prison.
But there is another philosophical stance to be considered here – we must as a society be merciful when someone acts in a criminally insane manner. If someone is a rapist we are actually willing to consider the very idea such a person might not be accountable, and we might conclude a person with a predisposition to rape might be somehow mentally impaired.
So why don’t we start looking closely at people who consistently express their religion as a means to distance themselves from the rest of modern society, who consistently try to spread these predispositions to other people, who consistently urge their fellow predisposed towards objectively insane acts, violent acts and conceivably mass-murder. Can we fully hold religious or other extremists accountable? Why don’t we apply epidemiological standards and mercifully conclude we are treating with someone who is simply mad.
If we suddenly started to treat radical and violent Muslims as some sort of deranged minority, we might actually be acting mercifully. Maybe these people don’t really belong in prison, because they are in a mental state where they can’t fully understand the impact of their actions. Being crazy implies we regard the afflicted with mercy, and we don’t just dump such a person in a prison, or ferry him or her off to some kind of torture camp in whatever horrible place. I state that the time has come to start thinking of this particular flavor of religious radicalism as the kind of infectious mental disorder it is. I know similarly inclined religious groups, such as christians, won’t like this, because the same standards would then apply to their violent radicals as well, but where’s the problem in that?
In an extreme society we may conclude that there is a place for reasonable, nonviolent protest. In some cases there may even be a reason for violent protest in some cases of serious governmental negligence. In some cases we might even regard revolutions and prudent or sane.
But this is not the case for innately violent takfiri muslims, or innately violent wahhabi muslims, or innately violent salafists. These people were once reasonable and sane and thus morally accountable people. But as they were ensnared in an insular, cultist form of brainwashing they were made simply insane, and we as a society should not be ashamed to make this assessment.
* Lol, ragequit – ‘Kill the gays’ pastor has a pulpit-stomping meltdown after he’s booted from online fundraising
A lot of people in Europe and the UK will be utterly miserable about the vote yesterday. And with right – this was a particularly self-defeating choice for the Brits, and the whole UK will suffer far worse than the Brits now take for granted by being severed from a common European market. But most of all parliamentarians on all sides, bankers, investors, big business will be positively irate with the prospect of having to dismantle a whole infrastructure of free traffic and trade. You can bet your ass that Brits will be facing draconic (punitive) passport checks a few years from now, and that tourism to London will come to a standstill. In elite and government circles it will be sour grapes and petty taunts for a long time.
The young massively voted for staying in the union (but were too bothered to actually go and vote, mostly). The rich voted massively for staying in the union. Scotland and North ireland ditto – so why are the people that voted out? Older people, generally over 50. And people living away from the cities.
For these people pressing the “GetTheHellOut” button may seem intuitive, but it is a bad choice. These people did however suffer the brunt of EU rules, the brunt of decades of austerity, the brunt of globalism and free markets, the brunt of free migration. A certain category of mostly white, mostly lower income and mostly older people voted in favor of leaving. And I am personally convinced a certain degree of racism and a verifiable lower IQ must also be playing a big role here.
That creates uncomfortable reality that the political systems we have world wide are now experiencing a kind of protest vote with “make things great again” sentiments. We see the same with Wilders here in the Netherlands, with the crazy nationalism in France and Hungary – and of course the white trash insurrection of Trump in the US. There are major similarities at play everywhere, and if we look closely we see the same kind of people who fell of the wagon in the last few decades of very fast but very unequal progress. This is most self-evident in the US, where the people that gravitate towards being pro-Trump are also the same people who are prematurely dying of the results of neoliberal policies. It was long overdue for these people to mobilize behind the highly predictable populist rhetoric and lash out. And lashing out is what they do – we clearly see electoral choices that are not in their interest, but should be regarded as sabotage – a vote for Trump, for instance, is a vote for putting a lunatic in the white house that will “with very little doubt” wreck the system.
And that’s what I fear these people want – they rather crash the plane than continue on in the same manner.
We are seeing a lot more of this and if I am halfway correct I am positive we will also see the powers that be start paying very close attention. The era of unconstrained, blind austerity must end. Too long governments have been dumping negative consequences with a mostly passive, silent electorate. But that passive element is passive no more. And unless the politicians get of their ass, the next cycle we’ll see a far more vicious beast making far more destructive choices.
My opinion is evolving – I predict that England (sand northern Ireland and Schotland) will start renegotiations to return in to the EU before 2025. They will literally beg to get back in, this time as full member.
* The Brexit Vote Is a New Milestone in the Global War on Elites
* Central banks commit billions handle with Brexit fallout
* ELDERLY AND UNEDUCATED CONSPIRE TO CRIPPLE ECONOMY
* The Brexit crash will make all of you poorer – be warned
* The U.K.’s Old Decided for the Young in the Brexit Vote
* Post-Colonial Brexit Blues
* It’s Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses
Inside galaxies there tend to reside really big black holes. These things fascinate me to no end. They range on mass from millions to tens of billions of solar masses. Our milky way’s galactic core black hole is about “about” 3.61 million solar masses, which is only mediocre compared to bigger galaxies. Even so, its event horizon is big, about 44 million kilometers. Since it’s so heavy, a lot of objects are in wild hornet’s nest orbits around it. The closest star is called S2, and gets within 120 AU of the central mass. This means that closest proximity the star moves 5 thousand kilometer per second, or about 1/60th the speed of light. Literally thousands of stars orbit Sagitarrius, and we can assume this is indeed a cosmological kitchen blender, with white dwarf stars, brown dwarfs, rogue planets, unbridled swarms of gas and asteroids and a terrifying large number of larger (100s-1000s solar mass) black holes and equally numerous neutron stars.
I am not an astrophysicist, mind you. I am clueless on mathematics. What I do is tell stories. This is a story, nothing more. I will permutate on what I have read, in particular spurred on by a recent video pertaining to a recent ‘accident’.
The centers of Galaxies are from a human perspective terrifying. Stars orbit in particularly twisted orbits, and periodically stars drift closer, and their orbits become peturbed as to stray close to the black hole. I can see this evolve in to cycles, where stars lose angular momentum because of close tidal shearing, and many stars drift more tightly packed while some stars are violently ejected. Over time the “packing” results in a feeding frenzy of the black hole, where stars and attendant white dwarfs literally detonate because of the violent energy and gas outbursts from the central feeding black hole. We call this periodical feeding phase an “active galactic nucleus” or a “quasar” depending on how we view the black hole. Edge on (and this doesn’t mean we see the galaxy edge-on – it’s possible the black hole rotates at an angle relative to the galaxy) and we see primarily radio waves of the cooling and expanding cloud lobes above and below the plane of an accretion disk. The more we look in to the central maw, the brighter and more energetic the emissions. It’s like we can watch the actual mouth and esophagus of the feeding giant and what we see isn’t very pretty – a 90 degree polar-view of a feeding black hole is called a Blazar, and we can now see the bursts of X-ray photons cast sonar-like reflections on the surrounding gas.
What happens is that when large clumps of material stray close, these clumps get disrupted when they (a) are bigger (i.e. giant stars, particularly giant stars in the red giant phase) and (b) they just happen to stray very close. Any star moving very close to a black hole moves at ridiculous speeds, probably a bit faster than the above example of S2 star – so we can see stars plow very close to the black hole region, and get torn up by the tidal force, with about the same consideration as a jelly fish gets torn up by a passing ship’s propellor. The superheavy black holes themselves barely even ‘notice’ passing stars and the celestial fireworks happening around them – for the black hole a star torn to shreds is “an ephemeral phenomenon in their outer atmosphere”. But stars are big and heavy from human perspective, and all that material is hot, moves very fast and once captured the only way is down the funnel.
The first thing to realize is that super-massive black holes spin very fast, their “surfaces” being whipped up close to the speed of light. That’s very strange, since black holes are not really ‘objects’ in a sense that makes sense to humans. They are rips in time-space, but somehow they are still assumed to rotate. I am completely off the speculating end here, but what I understand is that black holes pack completely alien super-sub atomic particles very close together. This isn’t normal matter in two senses – first it’s frozen in time, and what’s “there” is essentially frozen in free fall. The insides of the black hole aren’t normal space, with objects along motions and with definitive locations and masses – the stuff that is inside there (and that’s using the term “inside” rather loosely) is probably some kind of “frozen in time” einstein-bose condensate condensate of otherwise impossible particles in quantum-super positions relative to each other, crammed together (again, this barely covers what will be actually happening) at something close to the planck length. There will be a kind of funhouse mirror residual pattern in there somewhere of the ball of generate matter and neutrons that were racing together when some progenitor super-heavy giant very early in the universe collapsed to black hole, but we have no idea what matter does when it is “frozen in time” by the mass of the object itself. As far as we know matter isn’t matter in a timeless continuum, compressed to such density, moving at such speeds, with so much energy somehow buried between all those very angry particles. Essentially the black hole is (aside from unknowable to scientists) one big super particle with only very simple qualities – most spins (or doesn’t spin), so they have an angular energy of sorts. They have mass. These qualities determine how they interact with their surroundings.
The spin of black holes causes objects at appreciable distances (about dozens to hundreds of times their event horizon’s measurable diameter) to be “dragged” a bit in the direction of rotation. This is because space itself twists along the plane of rotation of the black hole in question, and with superheavy black holes this dragging effect is considerable. That means that stuff that starts orbiting the black hole gets twisted like a pretzel. And here is where it gets wild.
What we see on web site and in youtube videos is generally a black hole in a discrete plane with an adjacent star that billows and stretches and then “boils over” (kinda like boiling milk flowing over the edge of the pot) and spills in to the black hole in a very tidy plane of rotation. This is not what actually happens, especially with these very big holes.
When a star rips, it’s well possible a sizeable portion of the star simply moves on and “only” the outer mass of the star is trimmed off by the hole’s tidal pull. That means some stars in the galactic core will be odd stars with very high metallicity, after having suffered a very tight shave during an early encounter with the hole. These stars will probably star close and may wander too close for comfort at a later encounter. These encounters are very violent, and observed from some light years distance you might only see a star move towards the blackness of space, twist around and then – it pops like a water balloon dropped from a high building and splashes material all over the place. Stars that get ripped expand. But what’s more relevant, they get ripped in an explosive fashion, often at a violent angle relative to the black hole. Yes, the inside of the vortex will exhibit the characteristic funnel, but do realize these funnels will be very big relative to the black hole. Yes the insides of these high friction environments will attain fusion heat, and will be like a hydrogen bomb detonation per kilometer of space per millisecond. Or something like that.
What I find so fascinating is that over large distances (hundred to thousands times the event horizon) material that orbits and falls in may flow in intricate and bewildering arcs. If a black hole has an adjecent black hole, it gets really weird. I am in love with these particular set of animations, which suggest very strongly that these systems may last quite a while (weeks? months? years? centuries? No idea) and that these systems may have outside regions of orbiting material where, in some distant future date, humans may have (heavily shielded) observatories that can actually survive long periods in the shadow plane of these accretion disks. At a healthy distance I assume these disks may be “cloudlike” and may have ring shape structures somewhat reminiscient of saturns rings.
But close to the black hole the material wants in, because of friction, and piles up in to a donut. The inside of the donut is hot, and material wants to move out because of explosive and radiative pressure. These regions I would describe as the “cauldron” of the black hole, as it comprizes a compressed region of outflow and containment. Again, the black hole itself could be barely visible “at safe distances”, a minute black fly in a hurricane, obscured by encapsulated clouds, electrical storms, plasma and a light so bright it would vaporize a massive structure of sheet metal within thousands of astronomical units distance in mere minutes.
For some reason the outflow of energy is most far-reaching along the polar axis of the black hole, and the spray of ions and particles and photons bursting from the north and south of a quasar is so energetic that the crazy firehouse spraying through an adjacent galaxy can rip the targeted galaxy visible to shreds. This shows how energetic these bursts are, how far they reach and how uncannily narrow they remain even at an absurd distance – tens of thousands of light years. Imagine that, a universe where “accidentally” a nearby quasar destroys billions of star systems (and almost certainly quite a bit of planets with higher organic life) and sterilizes them in to cosmological irrelevance.
Supermassive black holes don’t eat everything they are served – ‘they are very sloppy feeders’ is the most often used quote. Material that explodes out bursts up like a galactic geyser and rains back on to the plane of the galaxy, and may actually spur on star formation in a wide region.
What I would love to see in my life is an SF movie of stuff happening near the black hole at the center of a galaxy. With Star Trek style stellar cartography depicting the maelstrom of black holes, neutron stars, white dwarfs, supergiants (and no doubt cosmic objects we can’t even conceive of with today’s scientific understanding) churning around the center of gravity, a series of angled and overlapping accretion disks (plural) of an imminent quasar radiating out half a light year in 3 dimensional arcs and gas filaments. Imagine an interstellar war over an extremely scarce resource (say, these cauldrons are the only spot in the galaxy where large amounts of stable elements with atomic numbers far above 120 are formed) and where several factions war over access to these harvests. Imagine interstellar factions move around with intricate FTL vessels in such a hellish starscape, moving across deadly regions of space, interspersed with thousands of bottomless gravity wells. It would be a very interesting vision indeed.
Dizzy: My mother always told me that violence doesn’t solve anything.
Jean Rasczak: Really? I wonder what the city founders of Hiroshima would have to say about that.
Jean Rasczak: You.
Carmen: They wouldn’t say anything. Hiroshima was destroyed.
Jean Rasczak: Correct. Naked force has resolved more conflicts throughout history than any other factor. The contrary opinion, that violence doesn’t solve anything, is wishful thinking at its worst. People who forget that always die.
The Transhumanist, TechnoProgressive, Extropian (et.al.) communities may be deluding themselves. We might actually be in complete denial about the trends of the coming future.
Clearly there is nothing new to Utopianism spurring on potential and plausible denial of reality. We live in a world that is currently at extreme, almost ridiculous levels of denial of reality. Many parts of the world have come to positively loathe progress and what it brings. Great parts of Catholicism, the Orthodox Jewish faith, Islam have come to hate modernity, liberalism, progress, social change, technological advance and are not hiding their utter disdain. I recently attended a meeting of a Dutch author, by the name of Marcel Messing, and he argues in the most viotriolic terms, drawing comparisons to nazism and facsism when it comes to current levels of technological advances. But at the same time some of these people thing in harshly conspiratorial terms when it comes to what they preach against – you can’t have a conversation with the religious crowd without invocation of “the influence of demonic forces” (or in the illustrative case of Marcel Messing, mention of Bilderbergers, Illuminati, Serpent People, hostile aliens, Annunaki and “Archonts”). Religious thinking is too often the domain of utter ant-science and anti-technology thinking. This is reflected on the left by such bizarre movements as the anti-vaccers, and assorted leftist conspiracy movements that blindly flail about against things such as Morgellons, Chemtrails and much more.
But Transhumanists and assorted futurists themselves, despite making a consistent claim of dedication to Popperian falsifiability, scientific objectivism, rationality, materialism and “facts” may also be subject to equally unlikely assumptions. I always had trouble reasoning against the apparently rock solid arguments (and pervasive optimism) of people such as Hans Rosling or Peter Diamandis, but increasingly I find myself in disagreement the future does look all that rosy.
Now part of me, arguably, has a negative side. I get depressed. Transhumanism has allowed me to dream about and hope for (for instance) rapid advances in technologies such as Life Extension, even if rationally such hope should be at best fleeting. But still, Ray Kurzweil positively bombards my innermost with absolutely stunning vista’s of technological paradise.
Yet look at the world. I can’t say it any different. Just look at Climate Change (which is real, and may actually be much worse than originally anticipated), technological unemployment (which has now attracted traction with even the most hallowed right-wing circles of government), income and wealth disparity (which is now objectively, subjectively, economically, unambiguously and statistically worse than in ancient Rome, The Guilded Age, The age of medieval feudalism or even the Reign of the French “Sun King”). We see technologies of a degree of downright fascism and oligarchy in terms of mass-surveillance, electoral fraud in the US, complete lack of political representation, almost exhibitionistic corruption and arrogance with our electable leaders, targeted killings with drones (that primarily eradicate civilians), a complete lack of respect for the rule of law and absurd police violence. I can go on and on.
Many people have said it before me and I am saying it again, despite the crystalline objections of someone such as Peter Diamandis, every time in human history were even some of these issues were manifesting, it has always ended in mass-death (or purging) of the lower income/wealth half of the human species, in some cases quit premeditated. And now we don’t see just a few bad developments, we see all of them at the same time, over a miserable soup of rampant overpopulation and overconsumption.
The next decades will prove me 100% wrong or 100% right and I hate that uncertainty. There no longer is a middle ground. The species could literally elevate itself to a substantially better state, off the planet, in to paradise, in to radical life extension, and yet we clearly have set the table for imminent human gigadeath. Gigadeath, as in billions of human beings dying horrifically and prematurely somewhere in the next few decades.
What can I do? Other than write this extremely demotivating and depressing perspective. This kind of morose contemplation is what makes me a transhumanist to the bone. I believe in progress, and I believe in improvement and I can’t stand empty promises or lying or denying visible reality. But I don’t want things halfway and wishy-washy in terms of improvement. I mean, I like Utopian visions such as the Venus Project, but even that kind of idealism is for me not nearly enough. I want the whole package, the while spectrum of improvements. And last thing I can stand is things staying as they are.
But can we Transhumanists, TechnoProgressives, ZeroStaters, Extropians, whatever be absolutely certain things will certainly turn out better than worst case scenario? We no longer can, and that realization weighs heavily on me.
One of the biggest selling point of religion is (in particular in monotheistic, Abrahamic ones) the implied threat of being judged. In these mythological systems there is a sense of right and wrong, good and evil and hence sin. Sinners are punished, often in quite horrendous and everlasting sentences. This particular idea proved quite infectious. Catholics used this (as an example) by terrifying the young with gruesome tales of everlasting doom for even the most superficial of transgressions, and the young seem to be particularly impressionable, but that works both ways.
In the post-religious humanist era we are slowly evolving in to (at least in some countries) there is no longer the implied terror of everlasting hell, but that brings with it its own problems. Even though it can be assumed an atheist to be at least as capable as any particular flavor of ‘godist’ to adhere to moral or ethical guidelines, there are some arguments to say that some people might be inclined towards amoral behavior because it is now so widely believed that death means simply an absolute end to existence. There is no longer anything after death, and hence those who die can not be held accountable for whatever wrongs perpetrated in life. Even the most horrific murderer can go unpunished, as long as he gets away with it in life.
We are now graduating to a world where life extension has been, at some levels, attained. Between 1900 and 2010 life expectancy doubled, for a host of reasons. As we look at the following graph…
we see a very acute spike just starting in a particular period in history when technologies were developed that increased the average lifespan in “developed” nations to a current best (germany) of 80+ years. Even better, society at large could now afford these life extension benefits, a thing which would have seemed unacceptable, counter-intuitive and unthinkable just a century earlier. The funny thing is that the graph has gone 45 degrees up for a century, which may suggest this trend will continue despite the vehement denial of insurance companies, statisticians, governments, geriatric scientists and (mostly) people of faith. If the trend were true then a century from now people would be living 200 years, which contradictions with the most fundamental problems in aging. Currently the absolute human age is about 120, due to the mechanisms involved in aging. We don’t have treatments for these most fundamental deteriorative processes.
That isn’t to say we won’t have treatments. Many are now convinced we will have treatments and we will also be able to afford them, contingent on continued world-wide economic stability. We have no way of guessing how fast these benefits will accrue, but listening to experts in the narrow field of biogerontology we can conclude there are arguments that some people alive today will live well beyond 150 years of age.
This raises an interesting specter. Right now there are almost certainly a category of human beings that have very limited interest in some distant future (say, a century hence) because it doesn’t pertain to them. Many people might have an interest for vaguely aesthetic reasons to see a desirable future, or they might have a personal state for reasons of offspring or nationalism. But equally so there are a lot of people who don’t give a damn how the world will be in 100 years, and by and large this is because they will be dead by then. To a lesser degree we are all guilty to this form of cynicism – most people now have access to the public debate, scientific arguments and general common sense to conclude that (just as an example) the world’s current functioning and reasonable extrapolations forward of this functioning is damaging to the future standard of living of humans, if not the actual long term actual survivability of the planet. With the most severe models of climate change there could literally a mass extinctions of all life on the planet, and that would very well indeed include humans. This implies that certain actions today, or to refrain from taking certain actions today (or maybe even enabling others to take actions today) can be implicitly immoral or unethical, as measured by some pervasive future understanding.
This “wir haben es nicht gewusst” denouncement may be of very little interest to future generations. Furthermore, with advancing AI technologies it may very well be possible to not only to determine and measure the ability of anyone to know what kind of behavior would be good or bad, as well as to measure it according to objective metrics. That has quite significant implications. We may reasonably expect that in the future we may end up being judged and that such judgement will have consequences.
I can provide you with three clear actions or inactions that are common in today’s countries that may very well be regarded as grave and punishable criminal acts by the laws of some future world. (1) one example would of course be the excessive contribution to greenhouse emissions and the resulting damage to the habitability prospects of future humans on the planet. (2) People consuming products that have clearly been produced under inhuman conditions, such as Coltan slave labor, or any kind of intensely cruel modes of factory production in developing countries and last but not least (3) any of us expressing a vote for political parties that were likely to start unjust wars.
If we today discovered that certain German scientists working in death camps had developed a medical treatment that perpetuates their longevity by decades, and we would then discover a small cabal of several dozen of these gentlemen or ladies living in some remote location, then we would certainly enact punishment on these people. In fact Israel would almost certainly seek death penalties and would no doubt do so – in this highly theoretical case – for centuries to come.
I don’t expect to sway anyone towards some esoteric objective standard of conduct today, on account of the off chance that anyone might live considerably longer, but we may in fact be living in some kind of interglacial, where people’s behavior were not constrained on account of punishment in some “hereafter”. In the past people were deeply concerned about punishment in the long term, and in the future everyone alive might equally be living under the same cloud. And not just some theoretical and objective standard of conduct that may be a logical extension of morals and ethics “in vogue” in the here and now, but also particularly distasteful codes of being. We can, as an extreme example, not disallow for the possibility that if we will live centuries that at some time in the future we won’t be living under some draconic moral principle. And for instance – if you do things that sharply contradict with Islamic values today, you might one day live under Sharia law and be executed for these perceived transgressions (Link NSFW). The reverse is then also true – if a devout Muslim were to believe in the onset of transhuman technologies he or she might then also believe the onset of such technologies to be according to the will of Allah, and that being judged by some future generation for having been part of an extremist Jyhadi movement to be also according to the will of Allah.
For one, life extension and indefinite lifespans now implies very grave long-term consequences, in terms of what we should strive for in society and its respective values. If it can be reasonably argued that most people alive today will live centuries, then behavior today may have quite drastic consequences in some future date. Right now we may be living in some kind of very narrow horizon of finding ourselves accountable, but as our minds and moral compasses expand as we are, get more educated and grow more wise we should equally evolve the capacity for understanding various expressions of good and evil. It may even be as bad as to dissuade certain life extension advocates today from being too outspoken in their everyday conduct as in the above example sexual deviancy that is legal today (divorce, oral sex, sodomy, same gender sex, fetishism) would be punishable by death in a future sharia legislative context.
Luckily we have time to make sure the world is a pleasant place. I am not sure what kind of lesson there is (and hopefully it is a pelagian one where humanity will over time attribute some kind of half-life to even the most serious of contemporary sins) but anyone reading this who just happens to engage in particularly high consumption of natural resources – some future generation is at this stage quite likely to sue you for damages and (consequently) some kind of repair payments. If you are still alive by then there is now reason to assume they will make you pay, one way or another.