I was going to write a nice piece on the situation in Greece, talking about why nothing that the Greek state is planning to do will solve any of their problems, but I’ve come to conclude that it’s not even worth commenting on. People who enjoy reading my articles already know that the “growth” policies will end in ruin. Of course, the communists will beg to differ, which is precisely what I would like to address instead.
The more I learn, the more I come to understand that continually dwelling on the actions of the central banks, and the machinations of politicians and political parties, does nothing but create a state of suffering within myself and others. Most people don’t want to hear about it, and the people who do want to hear about it are borderline masochists. It is unhealthy to walk around in a state of chronic worry, grief, and general suffering. It makes sense that most people would rather consume tabloid media than listen to a lecture on The Socialist Calculation Debate. Economics is called the dismal science for a reason.
If I were to write a million articles pointing out all the problems with money printing, bailouts, state spending, and all the economic distortions that will result from those actions, does anyone actually think I will change anyone’s mind on the subject whose mind has already been made up? If a person believes that printing money or redistributing money through taxes will result in “growth,” then there is little chance that any possible arguments could ever be made that would cause them to question their beliefs. From the viewpoint of a communist, property rights are immoral on their face. I’m immoral for suggesting that people be allowed to keep what they produce. I’m immoral for suggesting that voluntarism creates more prosperity than coercion. I’m immoral for suggesting that people are not entitled to the fruit of other people’s labor simply because they control the majority political party.
Trying to change those kinds of beliefs through argumentation is like trying to convince people to give up their religion. How successful do you think I would be in convincing you to become a Satanist? No matter what I might say, I suspect you aren’t going to be persuaded. Of course, I’m not a Satanist, but I think it proves my point quite well. People will believe what they want to believe until reality forces them to consider alternatives. Mere words on paper will not change beliefs unless a person is already predisposed to questioning them, in which case there is already plenty of information on communism, anarcho-capitalism, and all the rest for people to consume, if they are disposed to learning about them.
So here in lies the first point of this article: arguing using logic or morality is ineffective at convincing people to change their beliefs, because people’s morals are subjective and their beliefs are not founded in logic to begin with. Of course, everyone thinks their own morals are objective and their own logic is sound, which simply reinforces the point I’m trying to make here.
Now I would like to address why none of this matters anyways. Consider the case of the Soviet Union. The U.S. could have started a war to topple the Soviet regime under the guise of “bringing freedom” to Soviet states, but instead we left them alone (thanks to the threat of nuclear Armageddon). The end result being that the regime destroyed itself. As Ron Paul likes to say, we invaded Vietnam and accomplished nothing besides creating destruction and misery, yet afterwards, voluntary trade between our countries caused positive changes to occur. The lessons being that sociopolitical systems predicated on coercion will eventually destroy themselves; thus, they do not need any arguments against them to make them go away, and that kindness goes a lot farther in causing positive change than animosity.
A 2009 Newsweek poll on religion showed that only 9% of the U.S. population declared themselves to be neither spiritual nor religious. If that is the case, I have to wonder what kind of religion and what kind of spirituality the rest of them believe in. It seems to me that any side of a political argument always revolves around material things, and every political argument goes something like this: these people should have this, and those people should not be allowed to do that, and these people should be made to pay for it through force of arms, or those people should be left alone etc.. etc..
No one ever stops to question why they are here on this Earth in the first place; they are far too consumed with making sure their own lives are materially comfortable, because they think a new car will make them happy, or a new toaster, or a new skirt, or a new house, or “free” welfare for whatever material or physical problem they might be facing.
Consider that happiness is a state of mind. We all know people who are capable of being happy in practically any situation, and it is to those people to whom we should look for guidance. The simple dog is a great example of this that we can all relate to. The dog does not get bored. The dog does not demand anything of anyone. The dog earns its living by showing affection and love. The dog is happy with the simplest of pleasures, a fire hydrant, a petting, a discarded bone. Is it any wonder that most people feel more sympathy for abused animals than they do towards the people of Greece? I bet if I stood on a street corner with a sign asking for donations to support abused animals I would collect more money than if I stood with a sign asking for donations to bailout the Greek state or public worker pension funds.
Ask yourself how many material things you need before you reach a state of total happiness. Do you need the resources of a Buddhist monk before you are completely happy or do you require the resources of Bill Gates before you can achieve a state of total happiness? Imagine what your life would be like if you had unlimited resources to do with as you please, would you be happy then? What would your typical day consist of? Would you need to continually do things or spend money to maintain a state of happiness? Would you ever be happy just “being”?
How long can you sit in silence without talking to yourself in your own mind before you become uncomfortable? Try it for a moment. Notice the silence around you and observe what happens.
The first thing you will notice is that the mind becomes silent. In order to notice silence, the mind must be silent itself. The physical mind is incapable of recognizing silence, only the awareness of the soul has the profound ability to recognize silence. Recognizing silence instantly causes you to be present in “the now.”
Notice what happens in your mind and body as you try to maintain this state of mental silence. For most people, after just a few moments, the mind will begin to rebel. Notice what your mind begins to think about as it tries to rebel against your will. Does it dwell on past problems or problems you might face in the future? Does it think about things you could do or own in the future that would make you happier than you presently are? “If only I had this, or was doing this, or was relaxing here, or if this person loved me, or… I could be happy.”
The key to happiness is learning how to be happy in “the now”, no matter what condition the now might be presenting to you. Dwelling on the problems of the past or the future will result in your unnecessary suffering, and it will cause you to become hostile to those of differing political persuasions. Since we know that honey goes a lot further than vinegar, and since we know that bad political regimes will always eventually destroy themselves, and since we know that true happiness cannot be found in material things, it should become apparent that dwelling on political things is rather pointless.
The focus of life should be on doing those things which make you happy, and which create happiness for everyone else around you. And since material things are incapable of creating lasting happiness, your “doings” should be less about the material and more about helping yourself and others. If that is the focus of your life, you will be happy; and if everyone else also focused on themselves in such a manner, the entire world would free itself of fear and hate rather quickly.
If the world was free of fear and hate, there would be no politicians. If you live your life without fear and without hate, you will become that shining city on the hill.