Steven Meglitsch

Kolbotn, Norway

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Born i the US of A ... since the late 1960's as an expatiot Gringo in Europe... Have lived through the 50s, the 60s the 70s the 80s the 90s and the 00s - now working on the10s ... a so-called free spirit ... like many spirits, the taste improves with ageing. Retired in 2011, after some 30 years as a public servant in the Norwegian Government.

An idea worth spreading

7 billion homo sapiens, and countless numbers of some 20 million other species of living things share at present our common biosphere. At least five times in our geological history mass extinction events have decimated a similar biodiversity by as much as 90% of all existing species. How do we approach our future ... by wilfully contributing to a new mass extinction and opening for the next stage of evolution, or by searching for a sustainable future in which we are a part?

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Steven Meglitsch
Posted over 1 year ago
Government is/or soon will be outdated
Sorry I'm not going to bicker about who read how much of what. Read a lot of that stuff in the 1960's along with Marx, Engels and Lenin and Mao ... eventually I dismissed them all as paper tigers of human development, sorry. Keep reading, but for my money they all became obsolete two generations ago, even though we are still living with the consequences of attempt to implement their ideas. The development of third world poverty in the 20th century is the proof they were dead wrong.
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Steven Meglitsch
Posted over 1 year ago
Government is/or soon will be outdated
I wrote a paper years and years ago comparing (If I recall correctly) anarchist thinking of Proudhon, Bakunin, and Maréchal with Anarcho-capitalist thinking of Rothbard, Friedman (Milton, not David) and Hayek. Not a very good paper, I think, but I read them all - Menger too, I think ... don't recall Mises.
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Steven Meglitsch
Posted over 1 year ago
Government is/or soon will be outdated
Read them in depth, they are absolutely as much fiction writers as Rand. Anarchism, too, is a utopian fiction, just like communism ... look like tempting ideas on paper, but put them into pratice and they simply nurture the growth of despotism.
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Steven Meglitsch
Posted over 1 year ago
Government is/or soon will be outdated
I used Rand because she was a pure fiction author. Rand was, by the way, twenty years older than Rothbard. But right from J:B:Turbot and Adam Smith in the 18th century there has been an economic fiction that capitalism in an unregulated free market will lead to a better world. Well it didn't during the Quin dynasty in China, it didn't in 18th century USA or Europe, and it won't today. A capitalist system is inherently geared at only one thing, maximizing profits by controlling the market, and that means sidestepping competition by any means.
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Steven Meglitsch
Posted over 1 year ago
Government is/or soon will be outdated
Hi Zman. I couldn't dissagree with you more. The fiscal debacles of the last decade must be proof enough of that. I know it often seems as though the representatives we elect and the governance they provide us are flawed, but in a democracy that is mostly because we allow them to be. Your utopian idea that our lives would be better served by unfettered business than elected governent ... no way. I can't imagine any sillier principle for governance than profit. In fact, the worst aspect of the American system of government is that our elected representatives allow the interests of the rich to supercede the interests of people. The Ayn Rand theory (yours, Zman) is that no government is the best government. Business, economy, health and welfare will regulate themselves by some magical principle I have never been able to grasp. Now, let's look around the world and find a country that has virtually no government and see what it's like ... well, ... hmm ... In fact, I can't think of a single one in recent times. The last ungoverned societies must've been back in the paeleolithic era, before agriculture, before permanent settlement, when there were about a million people on Earth. That situation lasted for almost 100,000 years, and nothing much happened in terms of human development. Ever since agriculture and permanent settlements took over as the human way of living, about 10,000 years ago, there has been government, some good, some bad. As the human population increased, local communities merged into larger and more compex societies and governance, too, gradually became larger and more complex. All of our modern day technologies, knowledge, wealth etc. have grown out of this progression. From the million or so human beings that lived on Earth during the Paeleolithic we have now become seven billion. The thought that government will become obsolete as our societies and our lives get more and more complex is silly.
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Steven Meglitsch
Posted over 1 year ago
Will there still be humans on this planet a million years from now?
Your point about distinguishing between religion and spirituality is well taken, Bren. Although it's not directly related to the question in this thread, I have a suspicion that we aren't too far apart on the question of what mankind's place in the universe really is, but also that our definitions of terms are very different. Just looking at the very big universe we are a part of might seem to make us insignificant, But the big, old Universe does what it does and it seemingly does it everywhere and all the time. Which means that we, as a tiny component of it, somehow reflect the whole. Judging by the kind of consciousness and mentation humans (as well as most organic life forms) have, we appear to be hard wired to walk that tightrope between curiosity and skepticism that allows us to continually ask questions and continually challenge the answers. To me, that is a source of optimism ... if we look hard enough we can find the answers. I have come to look at our future as perpetual challenge to either find our place as a sustainable species in the natural universe or being relegated to the fossil record for some new species, perhaps, to ponder. I am not scientist myself, but was brought up to look upon the scientific method as an excellent (though not exclusive) framework to ask questions and find appropriate answers. As the universe is such a very big place and our brains are so very small by comparison, each seemingly good answer we find must constantly be open to re-questioning and re-examination, each new round bringing us, hopefully, a little closer to the truth (though perhaps never getting us there)
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Steven Meglitsch
Posted over 1 year ago
Will there still be humans on this planet a million years from now?
Thanks for your contribution, Bren, I see you find sustenance for your optimism in your religious convictions, and gather that you are Christian. Even through I am an agnostic, I find that conviction which leads us nearer the truth, is beneficial for humankind. I am skeptical to viewing religious scriptures as the “word of god” simply because the only thing we know as objective fact is that all religious scriptures were handed down from human to human, and that historically we find both the worst and the best sides of humanity framed in reference to deep faith in one set of scriptures or another. What gives me my greatest hope for the future is the tendency for humankind to continually pursue a greater understanding of the Universe and our place within it. What counteracts that optimism is the vast human conservative inertia that inhibits our ability to live in accordance with our expanding understanding. As I see it, you will just as often find religious conviction on either side of that equasion.
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Steven Meglitsch
Posted over 1 year ago
Will there still be humans on this planet a million years from now?
I am familiar with the 2 - 300 year time frame for synthetic evolution. Of course in your last sentence you say it all: "If we don't destroy ourselves first." At a guess, if we don't really screw things up within the next century, we will surely see a lot of new medical advancements, both in robotics and nanotechnology. Controlled evolution/mutation/cyborgization may or may not follow, depending on other things. One problem would be that if everybody has the chance, say, for life extension, what do we do about all the new babies being born? The only reason we don't already have an 8 digit population is that people die.
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Steven Meglitsch
Posted over 1 year ago
Are we capable of creating the global empathetic civilization?
Well, if what you're saying is right, Mitch, there would appear to be no point of trying to change things by creating grassroot organizations, political movements etc. because human mentality isn't capable of acting collectively by extending shared convictions like fairness, solidarity,.social justice, or other humanitarian, ideas to a global arena. In which case Ayn Rand and the Tea-Party people are right ... humans are made for societies in which egoism rather than empathy are the driving force. Wheras our capacity for egoisme is unlimited, our capacity for empathy is neurologically limited. I have problems accepting that to be fact.