Saturday, October 8, 2011

Columbus Day

Click a biggun.

Imagine Christopher Columbus. Who would you compare him to? Steve Jobs? Galileo? Rousseau, Descartes, Hume, Locke, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Plato, Smith, Burke, Fermat, Aristotle, da Vinci, Marconi, Alexander Graham Bell, Salk, Curie, De Soto, William Penn, Archimedes, Leibnitz, Marcus Aurelius?

Who decides what constitutes legitimate authority?

The question comes up, since guys like Natan Scharansky asked it of the former Soviet Union. What is true?

For you and I, the answer is simple; I decide what is true. I have beliefs, based upon a rational belief system, and I have knowledge, based upon my God given senses. My senses don't lie, my mind is the forge where my beliefs are forged. And, in myself, I remain skeptical of that which I observe, unwilling to become a victim of my own prejudices. One of the first questions asked, in my Theory of Knowledge course, was, is it raining outside? I look to my window, I see droplets. Is it true, that it is raining outside? Not necessarily. What if, a man was standing on the roof with a water hose, spraying water over the side of the building? Was that rain?


My experience tells me it is raining outside. The truth is, there's a man on the roof spraying water. How do we know what is true? It isn't necessarily a "cappuccino moment."

Claims are one thing. Settled science is another. There exist a number of unproven postulates that are being taught. I have no beef with this. There is a certain utility with theorems that allow us to understand, even though, we do so with a certain codicil. Things can change.

We can choose to believe anything we wish to believe.The point is, what we choose to believe doesn't grant our belief the status of knowledge. Just as we looked out the window and "saw rain," we granted our perceptions a role that our minds wouldn't allow, when looked at critically. Here's another example of our seeing things that aren't true.

I've attempted to share, with friends, family and my employees, the value of expectations. Different people have different expectations. Why not? We are all different, aren't we? That is the plausible reason for people to adopt something we know of as, today, diversity, isn't it?

Let's go back to Columbus.

Click a biggun.

Chris Columbo decided that he had some kinda brilliant idea. Every person of reasonable intellect had decided that the World was Flat. It was, the Scientific Consensus of the day. It was the view of the intelligentsia, of scholars, or the body politic. It was the accepted truth.

One could make hay with this example, if one were willing to draw attention to the current discourse involving something called CO².

But I have no stake in the game of whether or not a naturally occurring gas is killing us, or the planet. My interest is in Chris Columbo, and his mad dash to the West.

It was mad. It ran counter to every consensus belief of "science" at the time. But, he had an understanding of how things worked, even if no one had ever tested that understanding before. (Remember Richard Feynman's advice.) But Columbus had one great idea, greater than the idea of his navigation; finding a venture capitalist.

The success of Columbus' adventure rang not from the bells tolled of community service, it rang from the risk a woman was willing to take, in order to find new sources of riches. The riches of the East were proven. Finding a path to the East that would require less time? Priceless. (We're going to, someday, give up credit card commercial analogies.)

The proven routes to the East required years of passage. The costs of trade were immense. And yet, given the time and cost of the investments of trade, that trade still occurred. Why? Because the benefits of trade were captured in the costs of the items being traded. Load up sixteen tons of silk, and your investment in cheap Chinese goods will be multiplied as the result of the demand for those products. Who benefits from these trades? The guys who are able to sell, in bulk, a product they can manufacture cheaply, to a market is willing to pay dear for the benefit of receiving those products. Columbus was not a man given to wild ideas about social justice. He was a guy who came to Isabella with a prospectus that offered a way to decrease the costs of trade to the benefit of the investor. He is, in a way, our first Entrepreneur. And Queen Isabella was the First Capitalist.

Imagine the trade routes that were discovered after his sailings.

Click a biggun.

What would have occurred, if, rather than an entrepreneur and a capitalist getting together to finance Chris' first voyage, it had been a team of government innovators?

It's obvious, that we would need to have this voyage as a part of an innovation plan. Legislation would be necessary to allow for the voyage. For the thousands of sailors and ships' owners that were crossing from  Seville to the East, Chris' plan would destroy them. An entire price/cost structure would have to be re-defined. We would need to protect the wages earned by seafaring men in the face of increased productivity, and decreased demand for seamen. The unions, which had been propping up increasingly unpopular administrations, would be advocating for limits on Columbus, in order to protect the workers on Columbus's ships, as well as to protect all workers from exploitation. Health effects of exploration would become a consideration, since we have no metric with which to judge the harm the voyage would impact the undiscovered oceans Columbus was declaring he would exploit, or on the workers who would find themselves in strange new oceans, with untold hazards that couldn't be demonstrated as having no negative impact on the workers themselves, or upon the environment that they were imposing upon. The potential impact on the sardine fishery would have to be investigated. What if the circumnavigation of the World resulted in a decreased sardine fishery? We need to know these things, in advance of our approving the activity. Or, any activity.

Furthermore, in order to protect the planet from the effects of human beings living on the planet, we are going to institute rules of voyage, in order to direct the investments put up by the entrepreneur Columbus, and his capital partner, Isabella.

In order to have the innovation necessary to approve this venture, we are going to direct all activities in finding this Green Technology Route to India, in the following ways.

First, since we all know that using traditional trade routes, that the direction of India is to the East, all movements by Columbus must be to the West. Secondly, since asking someone to do something he doesn't feel he wants to do is a form of imposition upon the diversity rights of that person, we need to make sure that any participant of the fleet described by Columbus is unionised, and has the right to call a work stoppage whenever a majority of labour feels necessary. Thirdly, since Columbus is an entrepreneur, it is unjust that he conduct his business as he feels is right and necessary. At any time that Columbus tries or attempts to exert his views upon others, he shall be found to have violated the rights of those persons, and shall be fined, and or prosecuted, for attempt to intimidate, or intimidation,

After great deliberation, it is determined, that after leaving Seville, the wheels of the Pinta, Nina and Santa Maria will be roped, in order to effect the innovative plans of the Progressives that have anointed this Green Investment. Likewise, since Progressives have staked out guarantees of human rights, living wages and diversity, sails will also be set in such as fashion as to forbid changes in their set. Now, these three vessels, set upon their paths by the rigours of Progressivism, will proceed to their destinations. And they will be successful, since, by Legislative Authority, we have determined the best course for our investments to take. The workers will determine the outcome of the venture, since, under the Labour Theory of Value, nothing has value without the contribution of the Worker.

The Eventual and Inevitable Rape of the West, as described by modern Progressives, imputes these values. "If only Columbus hadn't invaded the pre-Columbian World!" (Followed by feinting.)

If Progressives had ruled the World in the 15th Century, we'd still all be living in Europe. I have no idea what would have progressed in the Western Hemisphere, it would be all conjecture. If only we had held onto Settled Science five hundred years ago. Under the Progressive rules promulgated above, Columbus would have never found the New World. After a few years, a few decades, exploration of the West would have discontinued. Except for those renegades in the North. (You decadent Finns and Norwegians!) Anyway, let it be said, that Progressives did rule the European continent in the 15th century. Progressive is just another way of saying, "let me tell you what to do."

The miracle of Western Civilization isn't in the constraints imposed by modern, secular governments. The miracle of Western Civilization lies in those who weren't content to follow the established science, and were, instead, motivated by personal observations that disproved the theories and beliefs that had been established previously. The entire Enlightenment and the following period of empiricism was due to a break in what had been considered accepted science.

Had Columbus been constrained as we are, in energy exploration, science and technology, we would have never discovered the New World.

Click a biggun.

Look at the map.

Before Columbus' trip, we had no idea about the forces he would face, as he attempted his oceanic voyage. Left to himself, he was able to make changes in the trajectory of his voyage, just as modern entrepreneurs should be allowed to make changes and shifts in their voyage in discovering new sources of energy.  Had union rules existed on the three ships, they would have turned about. No man who sailed aboard these ships had any question as to who who make decisions affecting their lives; whether they would live or die. Minimum wages didn't exist. Yet, not only did Columbus exploit his men, he exploited himself. Few know of how Columbus died.

And the World benefited from Columbus.

Just as they benefited from men and women like Rousseau, Descartes, Hume, Locke, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Plato, Smith, Burke, Fermat, Aristotle, da Vinci, Marconi, Alexander Graham Bell, Salk, Curie, De Soto, William Penn, Archimedes, Leibnitz, Marcus Aurelius.

Why is Columbus Day such an important day for Americans? It's not the Italian thing. It's about a man, facing uncertainty, doing what in his heart was important. And it leads to riches. 

If we can kill the importance of Columbus Day for Americans, we can kill the American dream.

One man, facing an ocean of obstacles, succeeding.

No room for collectivism.

Happy Columbus Day!


MAX Redline said...

My senses don't lie,

Oh, but they do - and more often than not. Much of our world is not as we experience it; our experiences are based largely in cognitive inferences which may have no grounding in reality.

Thus, we have optical illusion, sonic and tactile illusion, 3-D movies, the ability to switch between stadium sound and auditorium sound at the push of a button.

The "eye-witness" is considered among the least reliable components in a trail of evidence.

These facts, however, serve merely to buttress the discussion of "settled science", as back in the day, anybody with an ass for an eye could see for himself that the world was flat, and that the sun revolved around the Earth. While the concept of illusion was known, it was more commonly attributed to witchcraft than to any inherent fallibility of our sensory systems.

After all, as Man was created in God's image, hard-wired fallibility was simply not possible, absent malevolent influence.

g said...

I can't help thinking about your reference to postulates and theorems and how global warming is now fact.

They completely skipped over the postulate and theory part of the equation(s).

So now we are left with a huge amount of the population that will wake up one day and figure out that the world really wasn't all that flat after all.

ZZMike said...

"What would have occurred, if, rather than an entrepreneur and a capitalist had gotten together to finance Chris' first voyage?"

I think you dropped a word there.

"My senses don't lie,
Oh, but they do ..."

That's why the ancient Greeks were so distrustful of experiment. They saw that what we see and hear and feel is not always the Truth. Usual case: there really isn't a lake out there in the desert on the horizon.

It also explains why eyewitnesses are not the most reliable fact-relaters.

Nowadays, even cameras lie.

Ten Mile Island said...

My cadre of crack editors. (Not that you're on crack, so much.)

Quick fixed. At least I think that was the point I was trying to make. Just that you need to recall that it was Columbo's idea, and Isa's cash that put the deal together. That she was a part of the monarchy is a simple statement of how modern techniques of capital formation are inherently more fair than the Monarchists.