A couple of talking points today:
- Scale is going to require all of us to redefine how we think about life.
- Conservative philosophy no longer applies in an age of scale.
I'm going to walk you through both talking points today using the topic of charity.
Redefining how we think about charity.
Ever stop and ask yourself why and what we call "charity"? For example, I personally call my taxes charity. Taxes are charity. I give the money away and the money gets used to help people via Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.
But there is actually an even better reason to call taxes charity: effectiveness.
Aunt Winnie, whose story is preserved in the archives of the Historical Society of Washington, had been sent to an American institution that was by then some 300 years old and went by a variety of names: the county farm, the poor farm, the almshouse or, most often, simply the poorhouse. She would probably have been surprised to learn that more than a hundred years later, after the virtual eradication of elderly poverty, a powerful political movement would materialize with the mission of returning to the hands-off social policies that made the poorhouse the nation's only refuge for the jobless, the aged, the infirm and the disabled.
"Social Security is the most successful social program in the history of the world," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a closet New Dealer, said this year. Poverty statistics are unreliable before about 1960, when the elderly poverty rate was 35 percent, but that figure likely represents a steep decline from the day Social Security became law. Though there were no national measurements, in surveys taken between 1925 and 1932 in Connecticut, New York and Wisconsin, nearly half of elderly people lived on less than $25 per month, which survey administrators deemed "insufficient subsistence income." A third in Connecticut had no income at all. An attempt to quantify elderly poverty in 1939, deep into the depression, using census data, found the rate may have been close to 80 percent. Whatever the national numbers, by 1974 official elderly poverty had fallen below 15 percent and by 1995 it had dropped to ten.Social Security single-handedly wiped out poorhouses and did so in less than two decades. Poorhouses were an institution since the inception of the United States. Name a single charity that has helped the poor on the scale Social Security has.
Charity doesn't scale. In 2011 figures show that Americans gave a total $200 billion dollars in charity for the for year. That is all charity combined, both foreign and domestic. Forced taxation for charitable purposes in this country, what the conservatives demonize as welfare, runs about $2 trillion dollars per year. That's right $2 trillion dollars.
The moral of this story is that taxes are for more moral than charity. Voluntary giving is far inferior to forced taxation. When it comes to taking care of the elderly, the handicapped and the poor these folks are far better off with forced taxation.
Therefore I feel the same uplifting feelings when paying my taxes as I do when donating to charity. I know my taxes are doing far more good. The overall tax burden in this country when local, state and federal taxes are combined is around 50%. The rich on the whole have never given 50% of their salary to charity. Prior to the US there as no such thing in the entire world as a middle class, just the few rich and multitudes of poor. This rich/poor dichotomy had been all of human history and the elite in England belly-laughed at the naive Americans for thinking to even try to create life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all. And at the heart of the belly laugh is that charity by the rich never did anything to alleviate poverty. Not ever in history. Only Social Security wiped out the poorhouse.
The lie of religion is that 10% is enough. It is not. As the last century of the US has shown, the real number is 50%.
Charity has many characteristics in its definition:
- Voluntary giving of money
- Purpose of helping those less fortunate
- Improve ones mental health
Charity doesn't scale. It never has and it never will because it is not in human nature for us to voluntarily give 50%. We have all of human history before the United States to prove it.
Conservative philosophy no longer applies in an age of scale.In the previous section I proved that charity as a religious philosophy fails. Tithing 10% of ones income throughout all of history never solved a problem of poverty. Social Security under a forced taxation and overall tax burden of 50% did.
Charity is just an anecdote of why conservatism philosophy fails. The core principle one can wholeheartedly just dismiss conservative ideology outright is the nature of conservationism no longer applies today with a world scale of 7 billion people.
Conservatism, n: 1. the wisdom of stopping or slowing down social change due to knowing what is already working and the risk of the unknown.
I may sound like a conservative these last couple of posts when it comes to the police wearing body cameras but I am not. I am not saying the police should not wear body cameras. What I am saying is that we should not enact social changes without scientific experiments and a graduated scale.
If we roll out police cameras to all 630,000 police officers and 400,000 police reservists without science then the program may fail due to improper protocols and unforeseen consequences. In the age of scale science needs to be applied.
Traditionally conservatives would fulfil a venerable role of saying "whoa there young'un, hold your horses." Social conservatives stick to things that are known to work. That's the definition of conservative and traditionally conservatives acted as a check on progressives to keep the rate of social change manageable.
That traditional role for conservatives is immoral in the 21st century. The pace of technological advancement makes being conservative immoral. Technology has forced our hand to move fast with social changes. We cannot slow down the rate of social change, we need a fast-pace of social change to keep up with the iPhone and what not.
Conservationism is dead. So is religion. Time to admit reality and move on to Irreni World Scale!
Slowing Down at a Fast Pace
In the last couple of posts I have been promoting a contradiction: slowing down and speeding up. Slowing things down with Irreni World Scale has the aspect of conservatism by applying social brakes when demanding we do the science first over a long period of time. Contradictory, Irreni World Scale sets an unprecedented rapid pace of human change by demanding millions of experiments be implemented over the course of one-hundred years.
The future is coming!
Be sexy people!
Innovate at a rapid pace!
Slow speed ahead!
Well come! and well met!