Unabomber and the Technocracy Design

All of Ted’s political writings were in code, a code that was never properly cracked by police – but later finding codesheets like this one gave the necessary instructions for decoding.

Ted Kaczynskib
Known infamously as The Unabomber, Ted was a gifted child. Finding a love for mathematics at a very young age, he went on to get a PhD at Michigan – his thesis on boundary functions was commented on by a member of his dissertation committee saying: “I would guess that maybe 10 or 12 men in the country understood or appreciated it.”, his publications caught the eye of Berkley where he went on to teach. But this great academic life ran parrallel to a social inability, introverted, Ted found solace in himself. As a child he was distant and cold. The only other thing to catch Ted was nature and being outdoors, this would be the basis of his philosophy – personified later when he adopted a survivalist lifestyle in the woods outside of Montana. During his times at Universities he stayed out of all the activism happening at the time showing no signs of strong feelings towards politics.
But then came the attacks and the infamous manifesto…

Kaczynskib believed in a sort of anarcho-primitivism, living for yourself with no technology, and no money. Without a price-system (economy) his view can’t be put into the left-right wing spectrum, but interestingly another system without an economy advocates the opposite – extensive technology use in a collectivist manner:

The Technocracy Technate Design
In short, it is the social movement from the 1930’s related to energy accounting. It’s founders, Howard Scott (engineer) and Marion King Hubbert (geoscientist) created the Technical Alliance which did a range of research projects in energy accounting accross North America. They later founded Technocracy Inc which was where the idea came to fruition. It was popular with the scientifically inclined and thus it’s not suprising that it interested Albeirt Einstien, who met with Technocrats a few times to learn more.

Technocracy, assessing humans as energy consumption machines, aims to balance resources used with the energy cost of making those resources – creating abundance. Also using technology to free the people of the majority of labour and social stresses of competition in a monetary system. So while socialism and free market can be seen as two sides of the same coin, these two can be seen as two sides of the same cog.

Here are a few interesting differences:

Unabomber Manifesto Technocracy Study Course
“There is no way of reforming or modifying the system so as to prevent it from depriving people of dignity and autonomy.” Government “All philosophic concepts of human equality, democracy, and political economy have upon examination been found totally lacking and unable to contribute any factors of design for a Continental technological control.”
“The system does not and cannot exist to satisfy human needs. Instead, it is human behavior that has to be modified to fit the needs of the system. This has nothing to do with the political or social ideology that may pretend to guide the technological system. It is the fault of technology, because the system is guided not by ideology but by technical necessity.” Technology (On the rate of production): “While this trend has advanced further in some industries than in others, it is present in all industries, including even the most  backwards of them–agriculture. Since the cause for this development, namely, technological improvements, still exists in full force, there can be no doubt that this trend will be continued into the future.”
“Freedom is restricted in part by psychological control of which people are unconscious, and moreover many people’s ideas of what constitutes freedom are governed more by social convention than by their real needs.” Freedom “It APPEARS to be little realized by those who prate about human liberty that social freedom of action is to a much greater extent determined by the industrial system in which the individual finds himself than by all the legalistic restrictions combined.”

Equality?

I make a clear distinction between ‘equality’ and ‘equalising’ – the idea of equality, at least how I see it, derives from meritocracy. Judging people purely on nothing other than their ability relative to the situation. Equalising on the other hand is attempting to make everyone equal instead of treating people equal. Quotas, for example, create inequality by forcing employers to pick from a specific section of the applicants and thus not judging everyone on the same terms.

Libertarian philosopher John Locke put forward the idea of everyone being equal at birth because they come into the world knowing nothing (clean slate). This is ofcourse not the case, genes for example bring nature into the equation alongside nurture, but given free access to education at least any monetary inequalities are negated. Physical differences are harder to overcome although again, free healthcare is the obvious way to try and bring those worse off onto the playing field. Meritocratically if someone has no legs and is great at programming – he would get a programming job without any issue.

In attempts to help those in need generalisations are made and applied across a broad spectrum , this social application of the law of large numbers creates a sort of legislative segregation of people. As in it creates the mindset of sex/gender/race/religion when they shouldn’t factor in anyway. Ofcourse treating every case individually would be a bureaucratic nightmare – but with free knowledge and health, and in the future transhumanism, the situations wouldn’t have to be assessed, they would assess themselves.

Meritocracy: Equality by Proxy

House of Meritocracy: Lords Reform

Note: In an attempt to stop skewing the idea of the Technocracy Movement or the North American Technate plans, I am going to refer to my House of Lords reform as meritocratic as oppossed to technocratic.

The House of Lords (Upper Chamber)When the news of the Higgs finding hit the media it was up to Libdem MP Julian Huppert as a former scientist to explain the field on a show called The Daily Politics (link here). It was nice to see science being enjoyed by the political class but it was a sharpe reminder of the severe lack of specific knowledge in the House of Commons. It was a shame to see him talk for the Lords Reform as it looks to decimate a lot of the expertise existing in Parliament.

House of Lords
As it stands the upper chamber contains 775 members consisting of appointed life peers  and the last remaining hereditary peers (92) – these types are called Lords Temporal, it also contains 26 Bishops which are referred to as Lords Spiritual. The house itself acts as a proof reading for legislation but doesn’t hold definitive power over actioning bills.

For a start, the non-elected members are appointed after half a lifetime of doing excellent work in their field – they have not spent time and money winning votes and making promises. Another fantastic element is that it has people of real expertise being able to give valuable opinions on areas in their subject. This respect for knowledge and decrease in partisan politics is intrinsic to the true nature of the House of Lords (but still needs a lot of improvement).

The Libdem reforms propose to make the upper chamber much smaller and have it 80% elected and 20% appointed. The 80% will be elected by a different voting system, proportional representation, and will serve 15 year terms without chance of re-election. The idea is an ideological one of moving closer to true democracy – but that is exactly what it isn’t doing. 15 years is just too long for any sense of democratic accountability, if they are awful – you’re stuck with them for the long hall. Alongside this the one term per person means if they are good – you can’t keep them. Worst of both worlds.

Previously the Labour Party actioned some fantastic reforms to the House of Lords that got rid of hereditary peers (in the sense that they became life peers) and in increasing the presence of Crossbenchers (Publicly non-partisan Lords). These are the types of reform that work with the function of the upper chamber, not against it.

Alternative Reform – A Secular & Meritocratic House

Singapore’s world renowned education system prides itself on a pillar of meritocracy.

Alastair Campbell spoke about an idea he had of a unicameral system (just the House of Commons) that takes advice from a sort of upper house existing in the EU, shared by all other European members. Now although this is radically different to my idea, it did speak to me, the idea of everyone taking the same advice without tribal investments is clearly a good thing – but alas, as regions differ so do social issues, making this a faulty idea.

My ideas are for a secular, fully appointed house of field specialists. The function of the house has always been to scrutinise legislation. The advice of a second meritocratic house does not in, any way, take away from the democracy of the system. I have writen about these ideas and stronger reforms in greater details in the following posts:

The meritocratic approach taken by Labour on Lords and the Conservatives on Education is clearly the only direction for a rational nation to move in. These need to continue and develop further.

Technocratic Thoughts

Often when I talk about political ideas I am really just talking about more science in government and a more knowledgeable public. Today I found an interview with Vern Ehlers (Republican Congressman) talking about just this. It can be found here and is worth a listen. He was the first physicist to be elected to Congress and in the interview talks about meeting many people who don’t know basic science and could do with more scientists in politics (what I would call technocrats) to help educate them all!

Economist appointed by the EU ≠ technocrat.

Now I call myself a technocrat, but is that really what I am? The media portrays technocrats as government bureaucrats, which is not what a technocrat is. One definition is someone with knowledge, expertise or skills in science, engineering or technology. Another is someone who believes in Technocracy. Is there another word for the opinions and beliefs I have?

Scientism
Scientism is a belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints (Routledge, 1994). Now this sounds like the technocracy I signed up for! A lot of Technocracy’s more radical ideologies such as thermoeconomics and it’s complete lack of democracy are out of my scope but this scientism, this love for truth and rationality, is not only applicable but also very needed!

Going back to my post on a Constitutional Technocracy a fantastic point was put forward by LiberalConservativeThought, he talks about regular question sessions “where the democratically elected ministers from the government answer technical questions on their policies from the members of the upper house who have expertise in that area” – this alone gives a technocratic second chamber a fundamental reason for existing, especially if it was given important media time like Prime Minister’s Questions.

This almost Logical Positivism approach can be applied in many other ways, for example when the public sector is hiring it has to adhire to multiple negative regulation such as “do not discriminate against race, religion, disability, etc” but why not simply apply one positive regulation and say “Only hire people on the basis of merit” – In such a system meritocracy would, by it’s very nature, create true equality. But ofcourse the important implementation for this is to regulate old and new policies.

Democracy should answer to Science and Reason.

Civil Writes

See what I did there? I know, I’m a genius..
This post will be on two people who put pen to paper during incarceration. The post isn’t culminating towards a point, it is just that in light of the many different recent protests, I thought I would write about some past ones that are interesting to me.

Click here for a song by Christy Moore.

Bobby Sands, MP
The year is 1976 and Provisional IRA member Bobby Sands is in prison for a second time, previously on possession of fire arms, now for implications in a bombing. The Labour Party, in power at the time, attempted to tame the activism in Northern Ireland by receding on a previously agreed law envoking Special Category Status. Republicans did not see themselves as criminals, after all they were fighting a political battle as much as a physical one.

This began the Blanket Protests. Oppossing the criminal uniform, protesters served time naked with just a blanket. During this time inmates were often attacked whilst slopping out, which escolated into the Dirty Protests where inmates refused to wash and smeared cell walls with faeces. In 1980 seven prisoners attempted a hunger strike, which ended 53 days later.

During this time Bobby had been a poet and journalist (books on Amazon). Writing on toilet paper with biro and consealing it within himself, he wrote eloquently and revolutionarily. Sands was well respected by this point and organised a new hunger strike where the inmates would strike in cannon instead of at the same time. During the strike Sands was elected as a Member of Parliament and alongside nine other prisoners, Bobby Sands died.

– The year is 1981 –

Click here for a song by KRS-One.

Mumia Abu Jamal
From the death of one Irish Catholic to another: On December 9th in Philadelphia, Officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed in a gunfight that escolated from a traffic stop. Mumia was accross the road when he saw a dispute between an officer and his younger brother William Cook so he ran over. At the traffic stop, there was an exchange of fire. Both Officer Faulkner and Abu-Jamal were wounded, and Faulkner died.

As a former Black Panther Party member, Mumia was no stranger to activism, but after being convicted of first degree murder, he has spent the past 30 years on death row. Retaining the statement that he is innocent – Mumia often writes about prison, justice and civil rights (books on Amazon), Mumia became the face of many anti-death penalty protests and an icon for the injustice of the system. Before prison, during his broadcasting career, his high-profile interviews included Julius Erving, Bob Marley, and Alex Haley, and he was elected president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. This quality shows in the interviews he gives and talks he makes through Prison Radio.

To be noted:

  • Earlier this year Mumia Abu-Jamal’s sentenced was reduced (BBC link) to life imprisonment without parole.
  • Bobby Sands’ funeral was attended by over 100,000 people and it re-ignited republican activism giving the Sinn Féin a much larger following.

Marrying Democracy and Technocracy

Hopefully in this post, much like the Guzzle Puzzle Helpline, I will find the right words to explain my idea. The idea is something that I tackled before but since then my views have evolved somewhat. The idea – finding a middle ground between representative democracy and technocracy.

Constitutional Monarchy
For over 900 years, the British unitary parliamentary democracy-constitutional monarchy system has held as a steady form of government. The Queen acts as head of state and whilst still retaining certain powers (calling elections, dissolving parlement, etc) must adhire to the law. This is called Rule of Law and it governs every single person, parlement and military, everyone.

Senate of Rome
Surviving the Kingdon, Republic and Empire of Rome, the senate is another clearly stable political structure of over 900 years. At it’s core the senate was always a collection of ‘wise men’ giving advice (senatus consultum) to those in power. During republic domain the senate was at it’s most influencial and although their advice had no real authority, it was usually obeyed.

The Idea (Constitutional Technocracy)
To take the three-tier structure of British Parliament, or more directly, Canadian Parliament, change the nature of the House of Lords (Senate) and increase their influence:

  1. Head of State (Monarch)
  2. Senate (Technocrats)
  3. House of Commons (Democrats)

The Senate is voted in by anyone with a PhD, those standing for position (representives of fields) must submit their papers and works. This is because, although technocrats have been burocratically designated like in Greece and Italy, real technocrats should be subject to peer review – just like good science. Putting technocrats in influential positions will encourage an intellectual community, bringing foreign science to us. Our science is already on the up-and-up but it would increase enthusiasm in knowledge and reason.
One out there idea is to give control to the Senate in states of emergancy – be it medical (epidemic), military (assassination), economic (crash), etc..

As for the House of Commons, anyone over the age of 18 can vote as long as they pass a standardised political party test. This test is on the policies of parties running in their area. One of the issues I see with democracy is missguided votes squewing the ballot, this precaution would help voters understand the bigger picture. Originally I concieved an Academocracy, but as the comments suggested a large problem with it was disfranchising people. Although again I’m saying not everyone should vote – what I’m really saying is everyone should know why they are voting and what they are voting for. Which is surely reasonable? Hopefully it will also cut down on the tribalism of chosing who your parents or friends vote for, because you will know if you correlate with the party you choose.

House of Lords Reform
My above idea is basically making the House of Lords [seem] more important. The reason I came back to thinking about this issue is a recent proposal in British politics to elect members of the House of Lords democratically. I oppose this notion because of how useful an outside view is, when someone doesn’t have to please constituents or try to stay in power, they are more likely to give an actual view without tribalism.

“The great strength of the Lords is that it contains not just a bunch of experienced retired MPs but a whole raft of individuals with specialist knowledge and experience from the worlds of commerce, medicine, the services, the civil service, academia, the unions – the list is endless – none of whom would be likely to be available to stand for election.”
– Lord Steel, former Alliance leader

Nuclear, it’s pronounced New-Clear

This post will be about nuclear power and is complimentary to a recent article by LiberalConservativeThought, of whom I often discuss ideas with (including Academocracy and Lords Scientific).

Fission
Nuclear fission works by firing neutrons at an atomic nucleus making it unstable then  decaying. As the nucleus decays it releases energy and more neutrons – which in turn hits other nuclei near them creating a chain reaction. This only works with certain isotopes called fissle isotopes: Plutonium-239, Plutonium-241, Urainium-233 and Uranium-235.

Canada: Avril Lavigne, Wolverine & pressurized heavy water reactors.

U-235 occurs in natural uranium (0.72%) and enriched uranium (2.5-5%), these are the two main fuels used in nuclear power plants. Usually natural isn’t enough on it’s own and it has to be enriched, but in the Canada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) pressurised heavy water reactor only natural is needed.

The UK and France also developed reactors capable of this (UK: Magnox, AGR | France: UNGG, PWR).

Weapons-grade Plutonium
Weapons-grade plutonium has over 93% of the fissile isotope, Pu-239, and can be used, like reactor-grade Plutonium, in fuel for electricity production via:

  • Fabrication with uranium oxide as a MOX fuel for burning in existing reactors,
  • Fabrication with thorium as a fuel for existing Russian reactors,
  • Fuelling fast-neutron reactors.

Fast neutron reactors produce about 60 times as much energy as the normal reactors, but are very expensive. As of now China (1), India (1), Japan (2) and Russia (1) have the only active ones. The USA and UK have stopped all research and development into fast reactors and the only work being carried out is related to decommissioning them.

Thorium and even safer reactors
At about three times the amount of naturally occuring uranium, thorium is quite abundant. Although thorium isn’t fissle, after absorbing slow neutrons and decaying twice, Th-232 will produce U-233. At the moment CANDU reactors can use thorium as a fuel, but The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) gets the most out of thorium because it uses a molten salt reactors which aren’t pressurised so cannot explode and it cannot have a meltdown because the fuel is already in a molten state. Unbelievably almost all of the thorium is used up in the thorium-cycle and the excess consists of less than 0.1% transuranic elements.

Although nuclear power is portrayed in the media as basically kicking a nuke, it is reasonably safe. Infact given the technological advancements in the industry, it could well be safer than (and definitely greener than) the coal and oil industries. Even so, nuclear scientists are looking for safer more efficient ways to generate power and the LFTR looks like the new clear way of generating nuclear power.

I was delighted to find the House of Lords discussing thorium pros and cons so reasonably and was glad to hear mention of the zero fatalities from Fukushima.