RE: [Kudlow] In Praise of Economic Freedom.

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From: Adam Rifkin -4K (
Date: Tue Jan 18 2000 - 10:01:09 PST

By the way, since the hypermail archives are still not working, FoRK has
essentially become, for the first time in its four-plus year existence,
a closed community. No one but us can see what we're saying, and until
the archives are brought up to date and the program made Y2K-compliant,
it will continue that way. What's interesting is that no one's behavior
here has changed; FoRK acts the same way in a vacuum as it did when it
was under the microscope for everyone to watch in real time.

Now, regarding happiness Dan wrote:
> I think the richest king a thousand years ago (even 200 years ago)
> might trade his empire for conveniences we take for granted like the
> automobile, indoor plumbing, and penicillin.

Not to mention a decent 'Net feed. You know what baud rates were like
back in those days? :)

> See <> for an explanation.
> Be sure to see the subsequent article by Krugman as well, though, on
> why people are not necessarily much happier.

I believe that happiness isn't a basic human right... nor is it a basic
human need. Remember Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs: first
need-directed goals (physical survival), then outer-directed goals
(belonging, then self-esteem), then inner-directed goals
(self-actualization). Happiness is not a facilitator on ANY of these
levels; rather, happiness instills a self-sufficiency which in turn
instills in a person the desire to maintain, not the desire to change.
Who in the world ever did anything because s/he was happy? Rather,
dissatisfaction and misery beget the passions that motivate creation, or
destruction, or both. (And yes, I believe the passion for destruction
is a creative passion.)

Happiness prevents change because it incentivizes the status quo.
Unhappiness is therefore important to the evolution of us, both as
individuals and as a species. [Insert random Ken Wilbur reference here.]

> Here's what I want to do with my life, after I retire from telecoms in a
> couple years (seriously):

Good thing you're retiring from the telecom industry, because my one
goal before I die is to make communication a free, basic human right,
which means naturally that I'm going to have to destroy your industry as
we know it sometime in the next 30 years. If you join my side, I'll let
you live. :)

> 1) Understand why there are poor people (in an absolute, not relative
> sense, i.e. under some poverty level) and whether it will always be
> that way.

To get to the heart of why there are poor people you must first
understand why there are rich people.

> 2) Understand why rich people (again, in an absolute sense) are not
> happier.

According to The Book Of Harley, Chapter 42, Verse 69, thus spaketh the
prophet Leary:

| God.. "I'm just not happy. I'm just not happy. I'm just not happy
| because my life didn't turn out the way I thought it would." Hey! Join
| the fucking club, ok!? I thought I was going to be the starting center
| fielder for the Boston Red Sox. Life sucks, get a fucking helmet,
| allright?! "I'm not happy. I'm not happy." Nobody's happy, ok!?
| Happiness comes in small doses folks. It's a cigarette, or a chocolate
| cookie, or a five second orgasm. That's it, ok! You cum, you eat the
| cookie, you smoke the butt, you go to sleep, you get up in the morning
| and go to fucking work, ok!? That is it! End of fucking list! "I'm just
| not happy." Shut the fuck up, allright? That's the name of my new book,
| "Shut the Fuck Up, by Doctor Denis Leary. A revolutionary new form of
| therapy." I'm gonna have my patients come in. "Doctor, I.." "Shut the
| fuck up, next!" "I don't feel so.." "Shut the fuck up, next!" "He made
| me feel so much better about myself, you know? He just told me to shut
| the fuck up and nobody had ever told me that before. I feel so much
| better now." Whining fucking maggots.

More from this soon-to-be-sacred text is available at:

One more thought before I go to eBuilt. It occurs to me that if someone
is happy, his or her life becomes predictable (as in, "nothing bothers
me"). And once life becomes predictable, it ceases to be life. It's
just walking through a finite state machine like the Turing Test robots
we might one day become.

The ability to create something where once was nothing -- or the ability
to destroy something that once was there -- or better yet, the ability
to do both things at once -- is what gives life its flavor. I don't
think it's a coincidence that some of the most creative and destructive
people in history were so smart that happiness was never an option they
allowed to endorphinize their brains for more than 5 seconds at a time.


Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. -- Theodore Roosevelt

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