Curriculum Vitae

I haven’t updated my resumé much because I haven’t planned on applying for work anywhere for a few decades. I’m drawing Social Security now. I don’t plan to retire until I’m a centenarian though. I’m still as much of an entrepreneur “wannabe” as ever and I come with a background that deserves some explanation. So, I’ll offer a curriculum vitae, blended in with some explanatory detail, to help you make sense of it.

Before I start, I don’t want it to look like I’m too good to work a regular day job. I actually love hard work. The last three jobs I had were for trucking companies. I took a two year hiatus from obligations at home after my sister and brother died, and saw the country for the first time – from an eighteen wheeler. I got caught up on my bills at that time and had a good cry. I’ve had many jobs throughout my lifetime.

James Carvin
James Carvin, over 25,000 five star rides.

You may know that my wife, Lisa, stayed home while I was trucking. Thirteen years into our thirty plus years of marriage, she had a stroke that left her paralyzed in her left side. As her caregiver through the years, it wasn’t easy leaving home six weeks at a time, but my business plans weren’t working out and Uber and Lyft were wearing out my vehicles. I’d been seeking funding to get some apps I’d designed built -Vois Technologies. I was unable to pay the developers without funds. I was unable to obtain funds without developers. Click here to see the many Vois projects I have in store down the road.

I’ve pivoted a lot in my life. The “Ghost Machine” is an example of one of the projects I worked to get off the ground. Those were the years from 1998 through 2013. In the case of the Ghost Machine, I had some of my own money to begin it with at the turn of the Millennium, and again by 2013 but again, the project was never funded – not by any third party. Just me. And that wasn’t enough. Click here to read about the decades I spent working on the Ghost Machine and learn what it was.

As much as I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur all my days, I’ve had a few strikes against me. My education was in the wrong field. I didn’t have money. I didn’t have a team of helpers. I learned things the hard way, mostly as an adult. I had advantages when I was very young. My father was a wealthy business man. I was white. I was a man. I had privileges. My father encouraged me to be a musician and I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a music composition degree in 1980. That was right when he started to lose his money.

If Dad had lived longer and not gone bankrupt, he would have likely invested in my music studio. I wouldn’t have had to pay for and operate it by myself. I worked in banking a few years and then took a job at the Postal Service and invested in music and recording equipment with what I could save or get on credit. Dad encouraged me to become a Catholic priest. I enrolled at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary 1982-1986. He wanted me to write some beautiful new church music. I was up for that. But I had no orchestra to play it and no venue to earn from it, nor did the thought occur to me to profit from religion. So I led worship in some churches and groups for a while and that was about it. No major recordings ever came from my little back door studio, called Wisdom Studios. I thought maybe when I finally did retire, I could put some time into music again. I set my mind on retirement at a very young age for that reason.

I was serious about religion, enough to forge my own path. My mother wanted me to be Presbyterian, like her. My dad wanted me to be Catholic, like him. A girlfriend I had wanted me to be Hindu, like her. I read a lot about each. I learned to meditate, and then I learned to pray the Catholic way. And when I met another gal I liked, she taught me to be charismatic, like her. Then when I finally did get married in 1990, my wife wanted me to be Pentecostal, like her. I just kept reading, and wherever people seemed to be right, I grew. From 1991-1995 I completed my masters degree at St. Michael Academy of Eschatology. Their accreditation was with something like the Kentucky School of Accreditation. It was an Orthodox Seminary in a controversial jurisdiction, led by a controversial bishop. Not many people have masters degrees in eschatology, for whatever that’s worth. Neither do they have mission letters from bishops commanding them to preach the message of Elijah to Protestants.

How did that happen? I was very open-minded about Biblical interpretation. I asked questions and rarely condemned the other side in any setting. Perhaps I seemed too Protestant for my Orthodox bishop to consider me for a mission within Orthodoxy. If I had supported one institutional view or another, I might be able to use that degree to get a regular job. I was open to Biblical criticism. I was the kind of person that might give Bart Erhman and the documentary hypothesis a chance. The only place something like that would serve is in liberal academia. I also loved and taught first through third century Christian history as an adjunct professor at the seminary.

Whatever, the right interpretation of the Bible may be, or of other Scriptures, I had developed through the years a different approach to theology, which I came to call “Pamalogy.” Pamalogy is more of a philosophical system than a religion. It is based on logic, rather than text or tradition. Pamalogy is not to be confused with “Palmology” – which is the reading of palms. It has nothing to do with that. Pamalogy is the philosophy of awesomeness, or “awesomeology.” What would it mean to maximize awesomeness?

This is not a treatise on Pamalogy. I’ll simply say here that there are two sides to that question. On the one hand, it means doing the best we can with what we know we have. For instance, it would be good to have a world full of art, free of suffering, made sustainable for abundance, enjoyable, full of love, respect and justice and so on. On the other hand, it means something beyond what we do. It is the best of all possibilities. That type of maximized awesomeness is a God-sized aweseomeness. It is divine perfection. For perfection in the divine sense to be real, no good possibility can be lacking. No bad possibility can be part of it. It requires as many Universes as that takes – a multiverse. Nothing in reality adds to maximized awesomeness that maximized awesomeness does not possess of itself already. God contains a Multiverse.

James Carvin wearing a Pamalogy top hat surrounded by lanterns and moonlight.
James Carvin wearing a Pamalogist’s Thinking Cap

An astronomy is a Universe. A “Poly Astronomy” is a Multiverse. Pamalogy is short for “Poly Astronomically Maximized Awesomeology.” For awesomeness to be maximized in divine perfection, it has to be poly astronomical. Otherwise, every good possibility will not exist within it. Note that I did not say astrological. I said astronomical. Pamalogy is not astrology. Pamalogy is not palm reading. Neither one. It is the philosophy of awesomeness. It believes that for awesomeness to be maximized, in the divine sense, it has to be poly astronomical. Pamalogy is poly astronomically maximized awesomeology.

There a lot of people who think that perfection is possible without a Multiverse. A Pamalogist thinks a Multiverse is a necessary truth. I won’t explain what logic brings us to that conclusion right here. Suffice it to say for now that given the fact that I had developed a philosophical system, I put some thought into what I should do about it. To be realistic, who cares about philosophy nowadays? I risk losing a reader’s attention just telling you about it.

But there was something I discovered. I found Poly Astronomically Maximized Awesomeness to be much more than a thought exercise. It was a source of encouragement to live by and dwell on. It oriented my worship. It helped me confront my challenges. It helped me cope when considering loss. It gave me a sense of what I was and why I was here. And finally, after thinking on it at great length, it gave me a vision for the Pamalogy Society.

I have to keep this brief. The two sides of what it means to maximize awesomeness I call the metaphysical and the axiological. People tend to be set in their ways when it comes to metaphysics. They have their religion. They don’t care to hear the opinions of others. Maybe a few do. That’s all. That’s why providing details about Pamalogy as theology is a low priority. For now, my focus is on the axiological side. “Axiology” is the philosophy of what is worth doing or having. “Axios” is the Greek word for “worthy.” Philosophers break axiology down into ethics (what is right or wrong) and aesthetics (what is beautiful).

To maximize awesomeness in the sphere of axiology is to seek to maximize beauty and goodness in the world. How would anyone go about that? Well, I don’t know how you would answer that question, but I can tell you a bit more about my own journey and what I want to do in founding the Pamalogy Society but before I do, I need to take a step back.

In 1981, I took a job as a Savings Counselor at a savings bank. Musicians were supposed to be good at math and I was. But it was precisely because I was good at math, and because I was a creative person, that instead of appreciating the bank, I quickly realized it epitomized a certain inefficiency we have in our present economic system. We spend a great deal of time exchanging pieces of paper and altering balances in accounts, but none of that work at counting what we have and moving our accounts from place to place or instrument to instrument produces any direct value. It creates no music. It produces no album. You can’t eat it. You can’t drive it. You can’t wear it. It doesn’t give you a massage. It doesn’t build a house you can sleep in. It doesn’t deliver your groceries. All those things, including being served a quick burger and fries, would be direct products or services. Nothing at the bank is that.

Now you may be saying that the widgets and services you can buy with your money are a good thing to have more of, and that is true. If you can increase your money, then you can buy more of that stuff. But the money itself is not a direct value. There were ten people working at the branch office of the bank I spent forty hours a week working in. Combined, that was 400 hours of human work wasted every week, not creating any direct service or product. I then took an inventory of various types of businesses, counted their employees, separated types of jobs that did produce direct products or services from those that don’t, and estimated that less than 30% of workers in America directly produce any actual goods or services.

Well, this was interesting. My father was not only Catholic, he was a Ronald Reagan supporting conservative. He and I had some differences of opinion about all of this. I estimated that if there was no such thing called money, or anything else to exchange, if we simply gave our time to producing goods and services directly, we could increase our productivity by 230%. We could give everything away to whomever had need for free. We also wouldn’t have to worry about the federal deficit, because there would be no such thing as money. And we wouldn’t need banks. We could just cancel all debts.

Dad equated my idea with Communism. Dad’s world was very different than mine. The cold war was still going strong. Soviet expansionism seemed like a real threat. Dreams of a society without any form of currency or exchange always turned into tragedy. Property owners were violently overthrown. Socialist countries never enjoyed abundance.

Dad supported Ronald Reagan in 1976 and was instrumental in raising funds from Palm Beachers in 1980.
My father supporting Ronald Reagan in 1980.

I was never a Marxist. Apparently, Marx looked forward to the end of belief in God. Apparently, Russian and Chinese Communists thought that belief in God was a form of insanity. Marx had ruined my idea with a philosophy of revolution that called on the working class to hate the owner class. I couldn’t see, at that time, how we could peacefully transition to a money-free society the way the Soviets and their proteges were doing it. Dad also made the point that people need incentives to work, or they won’t. I wondered whether that might be offset by the 230% increase in productivity that would result, but the deal-breaker for me was the violence of Communist revolution. I wanted no part in it.

Then there was the bureaucracy. How do you determine what the people need? And the paper. We didn’t have computers to manage this back then. How would we manage it? Those were the days before the Internet. But when the Internet did come around, another idea formed in my head. It solved all of these problems. I called it the Human Availability and Needs Database System (HANDS).

Flow Chart for Privilege Building
How to build privilege with the HAND System in order to obtain property, goods and services. There is an elaborate system of checks and balances assuring a flourishing system.

The HANDS community members would join a web site. Then they would vote on what types of jobs that produce direct goods and services. Their vote would determine what was the most vital and in demand. They would just tell the system what they needed and what jobs they were capable of doing. The incentive to work at jobs that were in high demand would come from the desire for privileges – comparative luxuries. The members would consider types of products and services that might be considered luxuries and vote on what level of privilege should be required to have access to them. For instance, it would be a luxury to live in a rare property on the ocean. It would be a luxury to have three cars for a family of two. It would be a luxury to go to a fine restaurant every night. Luxuries are scaled from 1-100 by voters this way. Things that were hard to produce or limited in quantity, would be obtainable only to those who did work that was vital and in high demand. Together, the HANDS community would decide upon and create a many tiered system of privileges that could be earned by choosing specific types of work that produced direct goods or services. It might be considered an equal opportunity multi-class system.

It would all remain theoretical until the day came that there were enough members in the community to support an actual resource-based economy, where they could contribute their own means of production and resources and then they would sign an agreement of commitment to launch it on a certain date. The computer network and algorithms would eliminate the bureaucracy. Rights and privileges would be earned as determined by the people. Money would no longer be an object of stress for the many in lack. Resources would be managed sustainably.

Okay. So, who cares? Why, in sketching a Curriculum Vitae, am I telling you all this? Well, I think it is important for people who might consider doing business with me to know who I am. I might hold some conservative views but I’m not a libertarian. Just as my religious perspectives are unique to me, so are my economic and political ideas. Ready for the next item on my resumé? I ran for president of the United States in 2016 as a write-in candidate.

The Restoration Party Mascot

I didn’t get on the ballot, so none of the votes for me were officially counted, but I wasn’t trying to win. I was trying to bring attention to the Manifesto I wrote for a new political party, the Restoration Party, and I achieved that objective. I was featured in the Tallahassee Democrat as the Uber driver running for POTUS. I estimate I got about 200 votes from people fed up with the Democrat and Republican parties both getting us into endless wars, not getting the budget under control, and not dealing with a very dirty bureaucracy that was serving itself, and not we, the people. Donald Trump seems to have agreed with many of my ideas about political corruption and media corruption. He took a ride on the same massive populist movement that I sensed existed, but obviously, he is no supporter of a money-free economic system, like me. He might call that socialism.

Subsequently, a lot happened. Trump was accused of having ties to Russia. He was accused of being a racist. His supporters were accused of being white supremacists. These were interesting accusations. I noticed how politically charged the news had become. It was very emotional. People weren’t being reasonable. BLM and Antifa rose up. Fact-checkers started telling us what to think on Facebook. Twitter, YouTube and Google suppressed opinion that they opposed, claiming it was for public safety. Finally, Trump supporters insisted that the 2020 election was stolen while predictable media outlets insisted there was absolutely no truth to those kinds of allegations, culminating in the events of January 6th, 2021.

I began by asking about maximizing awesomeness. In the real world, we are dealing with a sick political system, one that needs to be repaired. If we are going to suppress news because it doesn’t square with fact-checks, what have we done to fact-check the fact-checkers to be sure that the fact-check organizations are not merely serving political agendas? What is to stop the Poynter Institute from corruption and government influence? Many of the fact-checks concern elections. If a majority of the American population has lost faith in the news, in fact-checking, and in electronic voting systems, then I am likely to see the very type of violence in the 2020s that I wanted to avoid in the 1980s. Violence is not awesome. The restoration of truth and trust – that would be awesome. A restoration to better journalism – that would be awesome.

For this reason, I think the first endeavor the Pamalogy Society should support is a fair way to fact-check, fact-checks. I’ve invented a platform for this called the CounterChecker and I’m seeking funding for it at this time. But to avoid the old problem of not having funds to develop my invention, this time I’m taking a different approach. This time, I will seek grants and donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to the Pamalogy Society for the development of the CounterChecker, as an incubator. The Pamalogy Society will continue to raise funds for worthy projects and its first target is the world of journalism.

Diagram of HAND System
The CounterChecker will serve as a plugin widget for numerous News Sources

There’s some method to all of this in terms of the maximization of awesomeness. Better journalism means the creation of platforms of communication for the Pamalogy Society itself as a founding sponsor. Founder level privileges on media platforms will serve to help future projects that the Pamalogy Society supports. I believe this method of raising funds and creating platforms of communication will be a good mix. I expect the Pamalogy Society to have its 501(c)(3) status very soon.

I am doing this while finishing up yet another degree. I’ve been attending Arizona State University and should have my degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in Organizational Leadership and Philosophy by December 2022, at the current pace. Last semester, I had my professor review the business plan I’d written for the CounterChecker for a directed study course for credit. I would love to Zoom with interested parties as I begin this endeavor, to share what I’m having the developers create. I’m looking for a diverse board of directors. I don’t want political agreement on the board.

Personally, some think I’m far to the left. Others think, because I’ve defended Donald Trump on some issues, that I’m far to the right. My personal political perspectives are as wide as the ocean, but that is irrelevant.

One of the unique features of the CounterChecker is that it will depend on disagreement to make it work. I may have had disagreements with my father growing up, but much of what he said was highly valuable to me and stays with me to this day. We need to surround ourselves with people who have very different views than our own. The CounterChecker itself works by posing ideologically different teams against one another. There’s no better critic than someone who is literally debating you. These will be deliberately oppositional teams of about ten to twelve countercheckers each – one team on the left and another on the right – fact-checking one another’s fact-checks and counter-checks. It will achieve a level of depth and comprehensiveness that fact-checking does not currently provide. It will restore trust in fact-checking as a whole through its thoroughly dialectical approach. I consider it vital to fixing a presently very broken system.


In this section, you will find out about my philosophical thinking. I will start with a summary of my academic history.

Academic Background

In 1980, I graduated with a degree in music composition from the University of South Carolina. Composition, invention, creativity, innovation and discipline are what I was trained in. Expect new ideas to mix with old ones in my philosophical views.

From 1982-1986, I studied theology part time at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. I learned a lot about what Catholics think. I considered the priesthood during that time, but in the end, I chose not to be Roman Catholic.

From 1991-1995, I studied theology at St. Michael Academy of Eschatology in West Palm Beach, where I received a Masters Degree in Christian Theology. The school has an untraditional accreditation, which is not accepted in many places. I was an adjunct professor there while earning my degree and in college in 2008 I was a Business Administrator and built the majority of their present web site and online curriculum.

The jurisdiction is controversial with the Orthodox Church. Expect me to have some familiarity with Orthodox politics and Church history as an insider, but please do not judge me by association. I was a helpful guy learning what I could. Eschatology is the study of the last things, including the return of Jesus as Lord. It is a subject I have considered more deeply than most.

Some might not consider me to be an Orthodox Christian despite having received the rite of chrismation at St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in 1996. Whether the Church would consider me a heretic should have more to do with how they might view my philosophical system than any association I may have had with the Metropolitan Xaralambos, who as far as I know, still believes himself to be one of the two last days witnesses the Bible describes. For the record, I did not hold that he was. I will simply state here that I understand Orthodox eschatology and not many do.

In 2019, I enrolled as a student of Interdisciplinary Studies at Arizona State University, with concentrations in Organizational Leadership and Philosophy. I expect to earn my degree there by 2022. There are many reasons I chose to go back to school. Among them, I wanted to start a Philosophical Society that would serve to discuss my philosohical system, which I call Pamalogy.


Pamalogy is short for “Poly Astronomically Maximized Awesomeology.” It has a metaphysical side and an axiological side. I should start with the axiological side. How does one maximize their awesomeness? What does it mean to maximize your awesomeness? The word, “axiology” comes from the Greek word “axios,” which means worthy. What is worthy? Awesomeness and worthiness might be considered synonyms. Generally, there categories of axiology – ethics and aesthetics. Aesthetics might ask what is beautiful. Ethics might ask what is good or bad.

One thing I think is awesome is practicing what we preach. I much prefer action to talk. Sure, I’ll leave some writing, but rather than trying to talk philosophy with anyone, my goal is to start a Pamalogy Center, where all sorts of worthy projects might be realized. A Pamalogy Center is an arts and tech guild. It would feature a music and video recording studio, co-working spaces, sound proof practice rooms, instrument and equipment rentals, art displays, an informal theater and a relaxing bar and lounge for members. It would focus on collaborative projects and royalty and equity sharing for lean start ups. It would encourage members to contribute to other member’s work to improve their own member status. Member status earns members the right to ask for more help from other members. Artists and inventors would see it as an incubator for their projects.

Pamalogy Discernment Chart
Pamalogy Discernment Chart

The metaphysical side of Pamalogy asks what maximized awesomeness would be in an absolute sense. It would suppose that no one can conceive of it. It is that than which there could be nothing better. It would compare maximized awesomeness to the concept of infinity. No one can count to infinity, yet we do understand the concept to mean that any number we can think of is always less than infinity. Maximized Awesomeness is like that. There is something greater and that thing does not exclude the goodness one might positively conceive of.

Pamalogical metaphysics would ask whether this abstract Maximized Awesomeness concept is part of reality. Does it exist? If so, why is life not always awesome to us? Why do bad things happen? Also, is it possible for Maximized Awesomeness to exist in just one Universe? I think the answer to that question is no. I think that for every good thing to be real, there must be many Universes – not just one. That is why I call it, “Poly Astronomical.” If Maximized Awesomeness is real, there are many astronomies, not just one.

New Words

Every now and then I’ll make up a word and start using it. Pamalogy is one such word. I have a reason for coining certain terms related to philosophy or theology. Usually, it has to do with the fact that there is no other single word I know of to describe something. It may have to do with wanting to be specific or to distinguish one idea from another similar idea. If I introduce a word that I’ve made up, I’ll spend some time defining it so we can both understand what that word means and start using it together. Afterwards, maybe it will become part of the English language. That would be cool but the vanity behind coining a term is not what drives me. It’s about precision.

Here you will find a menu list that will lead to some of my philosophy articles and web properties. This menu will use some of those new words. So, right here, I’ll explain their meaning up front and alphabetically.

Asynalagonomy – from the Greek root, συναλαγων (trade). The prefix “a” means not. “Nomy” means law. I’m using it here in the same way you would use it in the word “economy. ” Together it refers to an economic system, or set of laws, without trade – a tradeless economy. In general, a tradeless economy would fail. If anyone in such an economy were to own property, they would not be permitted to sell it or trade it. This would make it impossible to possess anything for any reason other than personal consumption. An economy would be frozen. No one could have a business. No one could work for money. Money itself is an exchange. A true asynalagonomy does not have money, or any other form of exchange. Fortunately, no such thing exists.

An incentivized asynalagonomy is something quite different. As a rule, there would be no trade but there would be incentives to work as determined by a system that managed the incentives. In such a system, workers earn privileges. Then in order to obtain goods and services they exercise the privileges they’ve earned. They don’t trade those privileges. They can only earn them, or fail to earn them, and thus lose them. A system of incentives can keep an economy moving because workers have reason to produce goods and services, which can then be consumed by those with sufficient privilege to them. I will have much to say about incentivized asynalagonomies because pamalonomies are a type of incentivized asynalagonomy. See pamalonomy.

Cosmostrophy – the way that a person reconciles their faith with their metaphysical view of the Universe – what it is, how it was formed, how old it is, ideas about time, matter and energy, whether there is a multiverse, whether there is a creator, etc. Each person has a cosmostrophy no matter what their religion. It is a general term like the word “metaphysics.” The suffix, “strophy” indicates harmony or pattern. How do you harmonize your faith with science?

Foundationism – Sometimes I think I’ve coined a term but actually haven’t. When I made up this word, I was unaware it was associated with Reneé Descartes. Like Descartes, I believe that derivative forms of certainty can be obtained by basing beliefs on what we already know we may be certain of. Unlike Descartes, I think there can be more known with certainty than the statement, “I think, therefore I am.” I don’t reject math or logic, for instance. Descartes supposed that an evil demon might be deceiving him even about math and logic. I don’t make that assumption. In fact, the entirety Pamalogical metaphysics is foundationist. When I first used the term, I had never studied epistemology. I was a theology student looking for a word to contrast with fundamentalism. I was referring to theology and eschatology that was logical. For instance, it is logical that if God is perfect, that there is no good thing that can be added to God that God does not already possess in either divine being or divine action. As such, God does not ever change. I don’t have to find the Bible verse that supports that idea. It stems from what Perfection means in the absolute sense often attributed to God. Therefore, it is a foundational principle that if God is perfect, God does not change.

Pamalogy – Poly Astronomically Maximized Awesomeology. See above.

Pamalonomy – a hybrid between socio-capitalism and incentivized asynalagonomy. It is a way of experimenting with incentivized asynalagonomies on a small scale within a broader socio-capitalist framework. A guild concept might be an example. In general, the guild does not own its creations. It fosters and helps manage them as an incubator. The members enjoy their own profits but work collaboratively to overcome the cost of starting enterprises without shared resources and talent.

Stromagesis – a method of interpretation that considers multiple perspectives without holding one perspective to be invalid when another seems to be valid. It holds that even if viewpoints may seem to be in conflict, both viewpoints may be true. The prefix is from the Greek στρομα, which means layer. Stromagesis can be compared to the more commonly known words, exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis holds the intended meaning of the author to be a valid interpretation. Eisegesis refers to the interpretation of the hearer or reader. It is often thought to be invalid if it does not account for the intended meaning of the writer or speaker.

Theogesis – refers to God’s intended meaning and purpose. I hold that this is more valid than exegesis and may incude stromagesis. See above. Notice that I have not referred to “Biblical” interpretation here, but to interpretation in general. You may be an epistle. How shall I interpret you? How does God interpret you?


As I gazed into my phone last night, it occurred to me that AI was tracking me in many ways. It happened while I was hearing the news. Tucker Carlson was telling us how the Democrats now want to de-program Trump supporters. We are being treated as seditionists. A Trump supporter vetted National Guard in Washington was a sign that I was now considered an enemy of the state.

After all, I hadn’t just voted for Trump, I’d disagreed with the election outcome and protested at the Florida state capitol. There are pictures of me on the Internet dressed like George Washington, standing in front of a yellow “Do Not Tread On Me” flag someone was waving.

I thought there had been sufficient evidence to show Trump won the election. I have looked at both the evidence from the hearings and read the fact checks and responses. I was not convinced by those fact checks and responses that the evidence was invalid or thoroughly debunked, as is often claimed. The matter was to be fought in court. Almost every court case had been refused on standing rather than on the merits of the case. The case was, for the most part, never heard. And I had seen compelling evidence.

My presence at a protest was intended to show I supported a legal fight. My understanding of the constitution was that if both a house member and senate member challenged a certification for a state, that a two hour debate would ensue. I was praying Trump would prevail. The Arizona certification was challenged first. I listened to some of the comments by senate and house members. I was disappointed that none of them presented the evidence I had seen, but chose to talk about sixty court cases rejecting Trump’s case, even though I knew almost none of those cases considered merits. I saw Lindsay Graham say things about the use of this constitutional provision that would have made that provision meaningless. No point in having the ritual if it has no purpose. Yet Democrats had challenged several certifications this same way in the past. No one accused them of an insurrection.

Protesting was my participation in 1776 with my hero, George Washington. January 6th was the last hope I had that justice would be served and America could be restored unstolen. It wasn’t. Political enemies turned the word “fight” into proof of an incitement to physical violence and lawlessness instead and proceeded not just to ratify the certifications but impeach Trump.

Then, just as they denied there was any evidence of massive voter fraud overturning the election, they just as vehemently denied that there were any propagandists pretending to be Trump supporters at the event, who had preplanned to uprising. I don’t know who they were. I have seen evidence of several. I have seen video of cops actually directing protesters into the capitol. I have seen a video of a CNN camera operator in the capitol having a gleeful moment on a hot recording talking about how “I told you.” They were very happy about the fact that, as they said, “we did it.”

I saw photos of police politely standing back for a photo of a man carrying a Confederate flag into the Capitol building rather than tackling and arresting him. It turns out he is a registered Democrat from Delaware. I don’t know who he voted for but I suspect he was there to make it appear that Trump supporters support white supremacy. If it is repeated often enough that this was planned entirely by Trump supporters and they are white supremacists, such contradictory footage and facts won’t matter. That part of the news can easily be suppressed by Google and Facebook algorithms. Twitter libs won’t see it either because the people they follow won’t have reason to bring it up.

So that is what I’m made out to be by supporting Trump and thinking Biden stole the election. They want everyone to think I’m a dangerous white supremacist. Neither am I dangerous nor am I a white supremacist. I’m just a person who thinks America won’t be able to help the rest of the world if it isn’t strong.

Anyone familiar with my blogs knows I’ve been concerned about America’s accumulating national debt. When I speak of strength, I am referring to our ability to pay off that debt. If I supported Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports it wasn’t because I thought Americans were better than Chinese. It was because I thought Americans were more likely to help the world than the Chinese were. I’m still very much a globalist at heart. My nationalism isn’t a matter of pride. It’a an acknowledgement that we need to rebuild or we won’t be any good to anyone. If we hurt, the rest of the world will feel our pain. If we are strong, the rest of the world will also flourish, including the Chinese. The tariffs simply leveled the playing field.

The Chinese Communist Party – the CCP – is our enemy. It is the world’s enemy. It is the enemy of its own people. The Chinese are not our enemy. They are among our best friends. It’s their government, the CCP, that is the enemy of us all.

And this is the startling thought I had as I looked at my phone last night. The Google and Facebook AI, especially, and that of other apps, allows governments to spy on us through our phones. The Democrats, right now, can accuse anyone they want of being a possible seditionist. We are all being put on lists just because we showed up at Trump rallies. To figure out whether we might be violent or plan something, the AI is being used to produce red flags against us. The Democrats now in power, have announced that they are actively engaged in identifying possible threats. The same people who brought in a Democrat to pose with a Confederate flag in the Capitol on January 6th and then accused Trump of inciting violence, are the ones who will be telling us whether or not I might be violent and dangerous or in need of re-education.

And something else occurred to me. The Democrats and the CIA and NSA and other three letter agencies that framed and spied on General Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, charing them falsely, are empowered to do the same to any Trump supporter they want. Google has had decades to perfect its search techniques. Spying and search go hand in hand. There is nothing about that phone I trust anymore. These people could be taking pictures of me from the other side. I have no reason to trust their intentions. Look at what they’ve already done and what they’ve declared they will do.

I don’t know to what extent they are actually capable of tracking us in live time. I know that tracking terrorist threats involves sophisticated technology. Patterns are discovered based on inquiries. Those inquiries can take place faster if they are automated. If the self-learning of the machine can create its own inquiries based on patterns it has already found. Maybe not a person or people, but a machine, is recording a remarkable number of things about me – not just film clips, but stats that predict what I might do next, that profile me, that identify me as either friendly or a threat.

Politically speaking, I’m a threat if I do nothing more than tell the truth about all this. I understand enough about how companies are using AI to know there is substance to this formerly paranoid sounding thought. I can see how those same companies are in bed with the Democrat Party. This is just a fact. Both money and algorithms and censored news, and promoted news prove this beyond dispute. Big tech helps Democrats. Democrats help big tech.

Trump supporters have to create their own big tech if they wan’t to circumvent this. I know that it is not an implausible conspiracy theory to think that my phone and laptop may be tracking me. My political commentary matters. If I say nothing to suggest that I may become violent (I have never even thought about hurting anyone), then hypothetically, stuff could still be made up. Someone can hack into my social media and start posting things I never said. They can upload photoshopped images on my timeline if they want. If I’m a pacifist in reality, reality matters not. They can create the evidence.

I don’t know what they will do, but they certainly have that power and have certainly stated plainly they intend to come after Trump supporters. The most efficient means of doing so is through the big tech that got them unfairly elected. That’s my phone.

And another thought occurred to me. Just as these demonic Democrats plan to start spying on Trump supporters this way, so also can the Chinese Communist Party gather up info from us. It is all data they are just as interested in as the Democrats are. The Democrats are, in fact, doing their work for them. So if the CCP is hacking the Democrats and the Democrats are spying on Trump supporters, that means the CCP is spying on Trump supporters, as well as on Democrats.

If the CCP then does what it does with the rest of its data on its own citizens, and what it is now starting to do as it provides the 5G infrastructure all around the world, then some of us, perhaps many of us will eventually be treated like the Uygher muslims in Xinjiang. There is a gulag archepelago waiting for us.

My Democrat friends, in their extreme TDS, were not satisfied to defeat Trump in the election. They are reversing his policies while talking about healing and unity. And they are literally declaring war on us. It isn’t the other way around. January 6th was our last hope until 2022. Whether the election results should have been certified or not, they were certified. We are a nation of laws. That makes Joe Biden a legitimate president for now. Trump and his supporters lost that fight. It’s sad but it’s law. You won’t hear me say Joe Biden is not my president. He is.

This blog is a warning. It is a warning about spying on citizens and treating people as political enemies just because of their voting decisions and their decision to post public blogs or offer their opinions on social media or to protest. For now it is Trump supporters being censored and abused. The CCP will, in turn, do the same to you. For now, they are letting you destroy the country from within. You’ve saved them the trouble by setting a precedent for fascist totalitarianism. But you don’t care. The power you have to do it is intoxicating. At this pace, you will be drunk with the blood of the saints in a matter of years, maybe days.

Inaugural Outlook

Time is ticking and it's time for a reality check.So this is the big week. This is the week that we decide whether we will have freedom, or we will be enslaved by the Chinese Communist Party.

To me it looks like the Chinese government is in control of just about the whole world at this point. I could be over-estimating. I’m not with CIA. But I do wonder who is. I think a very fair question for anyone to ask is: who is the CIA working for? Who does anyone in any three letter agency work for?

The American people have mixed views. Some say the CIA is enmeshed in a web of international pressure (to put it euphemistically). Collectively, we call them the “deep state.” Are they good cops or bad cops? Is a global mafia taking control of the mightiest army in the world? What bad person wouldn’t want to? What biggest baddest person wouldn’t be most familiar with the dark side and learn to control it? Isn’t the CIA the mob’s first and most important target?

Intelligence is a many splendored thing. Pressures, motivators, goals. What are the goals? Whose goals? Those of the president? Those of the American people? Who are they working for? It’s too easy to say they work for us. The only way to unravel the mystery is to dig in. We’d have to find out who profits by controlling them. Well, if you had a long standing crime syndicate, you would certainly profit by controlling both intelligence and the military.

So expect drugs, expect human trafficking, expect black market armaments to start the next school massacre, street gangs and wars. I don’t know who is in charge of the mob, but selling slavery, misery and death is very lucrative to them. We all have access to the stats. There’s a there there. If you’ve seen it already, then how do you think it happens if the deep state is so clean? It’s not clean.

Collectively, we call it “the swamp.” The agencies, the politicians, the big businesses profiting from it – they are anything but clean. It’s a gooey cobweb of blackmail, extortion, calumny, threats, abuses and suffering just waiting for a RICO trial.

And now control of the house, control of the senate, possible control of the judiciary are all there to make justice go away. Or do you suppose that it will finally come upon us, that it has been a long time waiting? Sam Cook is my man!

What’s the answer to that? As 2021 is on us, just ask yourself, who has been protecting whom? Who has been attacking whom? Democrats have thought themselves savvy for forwarding memes that count the number of arrests of Trump team versus previous presidents. Saint Obama has a scandal free eight years, you know.

Really? Well if that’s true, then either we have justice, or we don’t. Do we? Let’s consider quality versus quantity. But that’s for people who actually do research to do. As I consider our future, my anticipation of 2021 starts with seeing this power grab going on. It’s nothing simple. I sure can’t keep up with it.

Good grief, there’s only one reason I get involved with politics. I’m concerned – very deeply concerned. It’s not just the mob. It’s the mob boss. Who is the boss?

Well, what are the qualifications of a boss? If it’s the mob, it’s got to be the toughest, most ruthless, most well-respected candidate. You have to earn it Machiavelli style. Am I wrong? So who would that be? Who has proven they can be a boss of that magnitude? Donald Trump, you say? No. He just got swamped. Didn’t he?

It’s somebody else. Is it Biden? You know better. Biden made deals. Let me understate something: He did not have the upper hand. He is not the one in control of any deal. For Joe, he’s just trying to survive and protect his family. The presidency has its advantages.

Joe can even leave a legacy. Full control of the house and senate. A justice department that can be stacked if necessary, but already cooperative. Good for him.

There’s only one hitch. He’ll have to sell out the American people, us, while he appeases the deal makers who took this by force, not that he can’t sell at least some of us on the idea that we are getting what we want. It’s not like there won’t be a trickle down effect. You’ll still get stuff from time to time. You just won’t be the priority. That goes to the deal makers. They’re the bosses.

Again, what deal makers? Who is the head of this?

Well who’s most in power? Is it the people with the most money? Or is it the people with the most political control? If it’s the latter, then just hunt down the largest dictatorship you can find – the one with the biggest army and clearest government control. That’s the one who’s in control. Now that’s a boss. It isn’t the money. It’s the army.

Hmmmm. Thinnnnnnk.

If you said Russia, then you must watch CNN. I feel sorry for you. Google the answers. I’m not here to repeat what anyone can easily check out. The Chinese Communist Party is clearly the head boss in the world at this time, not Russia. The Chinese economy is expected to exceed America’s by 2030. A few more rounds of pandemic and it may even happen faster.

But it’s worse. They already have more power than us. Money, even money with armies, doesn’t buy us love. America is divided. Half of us think Joe Biden cheated to win. One friend compared Biden’s victory to Scar, from the Lion King. The hyenas now rule.

If CNN can be believed, 81% of Trump supporters still think he won despite all the “independent” fact checks and account suspensions you and they may have read. Time could tell who really won if the evidence wasn’t so quickly deleted and held away from transparency and accountability. To those 81% you will now never be able to convince, any way to double check the results seems to have disappeared. Accountability vanished along with 27 Mueller investigation phones, dozens of bleach bitted Blackberries, tens of thousands of emails, and the Seth Rich files. But all the indictments are on the Trump side. Justice has been pissed on once again.

Such transparency we have. And this is somehow going to heal the nation?

No. The Chinese have much more than us in terms of soon owning us, if they don’t already. They have n0 such division in their party. The Republican Party is perhaps permanently divided now. A third political party comprised of Trump supporters who feel Republicans betrayed them and sold out to the swamp, are angrier than they ever have been. How could they not be?

What fools these Anti-Trump Republicans are to think they’ll ever get elected again! They’ll lose their primaries. Well financed Democrats will easily defeat a house divided. I think it is safe to say that the Chinese government favored Joe Biden in the election and may have helped him directly. Research that too. There is no problem for their interests if the Democrats should be in power for the next generation. And it doesn’t matter. Any inquiry on Biden that would mirror Trump’s Russia collusion will be knocked down by a house and senate majority. Joe is unimpeachable.

Some say the Democrats are split, as well. They have their liberals and moderates doing some infighting, but I don’t think that will amount to anything. No significant third party is in the picture. The Green Party is no more than an annoyance. The radicals can seize power within it but the party isn’t going to split.

At this point, the Democrats will have millions of newly immunified immigrants on their voter rolls, as if they needed them when the competition is severely divided.

So that’s predictable. What I’m waiting for though, is for my African American friends to see something and start something. I shouldn’t have to preface this with a statement of how much my heart bleeds for the people I’ve heard about as I’ve watched the news through the years, and how much I wish I could somehow make things better. But know this. I’ve often wept when I’ve seen and heard about things. I get emotional that way. I didn’t support Trump because I was a racist. I supported Trump because I wanted to drain a swamp. America will never be great if it is run by the mob.

I’m not opposed to reparations. I don’t know how to make things right. But what I want you to know more than anything, is that if you work for a mob boss, you are at their mercy. Legally you may not be their property, but in effect, you just have to do whatever they tell you to do. If you don’t, you’re dead. That’s pretty much ownership. Will you allow me to use the word “slavery” to describe it? I in no way want to diminish the sacred horror and memory of that word. I just want to contrast slavery with freedom. I want you to understand that I abhor slavery and I do not wish to become anyone’s slave.

No matter the color of your skin, together we are confronted with a fact: the worlds largest slave force is the Chinese people. While it may well appear that the many are enjoying American freedoms and ownership as immigrants or visitors, or enjoying prosperity in their country, they only have those freedoms that the Chinese government grants them. They lack freedom there, and to some extent they lack it here. It’s how dictatorships are.

The owner of the grand forthcoming plantation is the Chinese Communist Party. They are the big boss. You must be aware of this. Russia is free in comparison to China. Across the sea, both countries have America, no longer strong, divided, hurting from an economy that just received its pandemic.

But the Chinese are the big boss of all, including the United States. They threaten everyone on the planet. They don’t have full control of it yet. You don’t see what they are doing to their own on the mainland. But they are getting better and better at achieving their ultimate goal, which is complete control over the entire world – worldwide enslavement, though they think of this in positive terms.

The Chinese government already threatens us in many ways. They gather information, they spy, on every citizen. They have accessed our most sensitive data centers. They own the majority of the world’s 5G communications infrastructure. Wherever they build it, they monitor it. Their eyes and ears are now on the whole world. Their AI is on it, learning about every move you make.

Think about that. If they didn’t like you, if they thought you might somehow be a threat to them or get in their way, you’d be the first they’d target to spy on and eliminate. Who would they think was a threat? You? Imagine having the technology to single out top political enemies with a software algorithm that could instantly view you typing or messaging through your phone or computer.

If you’ve been watching porn, they now have a record. Anything you’ve written is found and analyzed in a fraction of a second with the latest AI. In a way, it’s really cool. Too bad it can be used against you. And if they happen to find nothing to nail you with, don’t imagine you’ve escaped; if they want to, they’ll create it. They can and will destroy anyone they want. Owning the Internet and mass communications is essential in that and they can access anything we can access. And we can access just about anything.

Remember when Republicans were all upset that they were being singled out for tax audits under Obama? Wasn’t that a fun time? Expect more audits. Trump supporters will be at the top of the list. Who else is alarmed about the Chinese? Right now, just for being a Trumpster, you have a target on your back. The Chinese government will hide behind an American government it controls to bring you down. They’re teaming up and already working on it.

Let me ask you who voted for Biden: did you feel like Trump was going to work with the Federal agencies to come after you personally and destroy you in any way he could in 2016? Is that how evil you thought he was? Because that is how it feels being a Trump supporter right now. We have been literally threatened by people in power who have said they would be coming after us.

And that’s no good. But what I find far worse is the idea that the Chinese Communist Party is seeking to control them and there is much evidence that in many ways they already do.

I won’t clutter up my 2021 outl0ok with the details. You can read about it all if you do your own research. China has literally eight times the population of the US. The Chinese government does not value life. It tolerates a free economy for the sake of a long term strategy for world domination.

It’s that strategy and the result of it that I want us all to look at. In writing this, I’m writing especially to the Chinese themselves, whether to Chinese Americans, visitors, employees or CCP members. To the CCP, you know you’re winning. You know you have the advantage over the American and global swamp. I don’t have to tell you this. There is something else I want to tell you. I’ll save it for last. Really, this is my letter to you above all. I am going to issue a challenge for our future. First, let me address the others.

To the non-CCP members, and you alone know who you are, wherever you are, I think you are in the majority. I think you don’t want to be enslaved by the CCP. I think you know that, as well. I have a special request. I want to call on you, to reach out to my African American friends, to the Latinos, and to every new immigrant that thinks they should be a Democrat. Warn them about the CCP. Let them know that the final result of their game, their strategy, is to turn this world into one giant slave plantation. This is what the bosses’ bosses, who rule the deep state swamp from a close distance intend to establish.

It’s the bosses’ bosses in full control. This is why Joe Biden accepting $1.5 Billion from the CCP owned Bank of China through Hunter was a serious problem. This is why Google, Twitter and Facebook suppressed the news before the election. No misinformation labels were put on claims that the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation. They are obeying their Chinese Communist Party bosses. China needed Biden. Unlike Trump, he does what they ask. And what they are asking for is world domination. They want to be the boss of us and the whole world.

For the most part, these minority groups, the Latins and African Americans who voted for Biden, did not get that news before the election. Dear friends, you were told it was Russian disinformation by the same CIA propagandists that we rely on daily for our news. You chose to believe them because you were told and you believed that Donald Trump was a racist. You were told that his supporters were racists too. I don’t expect to change your mind about that. I just want to warn you about the Chinese Communist Party. Voting for Biden was a trap.

Some figured that even if Joe gets impeached or leaves due to senility, that Harris will make a fine president. I hope you’re right. I’d like to think nice things about her t0o. Unfortunately, I don’t think she’ll be the one in control. I think the Chinese Communist Party will be in control. I think they are already controlling those who got Biden elected. Harris would not be fixing this. She would most probably do their bidding. She probably already has been. God knows what they may have already threatened her with – or promised her.

So that is what I want the non-CCP members who read this to tell Democrats, beginning with my African American friends who voted for Joe Biden. Now let me get back to what I want to say to the CCP and Chairman Xi. This is the main point of this communication. It is about what Communism is and what the Communist goals are.

Letter to Chairman Xi

I know that you want the best for your people and for the world. You do what you do because you believe it will produce the best result. Communism is the hope you have for making this world better for everyone. Consider this a direct address to Chairman Xi Jinping and his successors in the CCP.

Dear Chairman Xi and CCP:

I once had a beautiful thought. I imagined a world in which there was no such thing as exchange. Each person simply worked for the common good and each person received from others who also worked so that each had what they needed. There was no monetary exchange. There was no barter. There was no debt. Anyone dwelling in a home had security. It was theirs to keep no matter what. If they needed food, clothing or anything else, they could pick it up at a market without cost. Their transportation would also be free.

I was working at a bank when I first had this thought. The constant exchange of money all day long day after day seemed like an enormous inefficiency. Money is an indirect good but the entirety of my time was being consumed by it. I was producing nothing tangible at the bank. This made me realize that I was doing nothing to improve the world.

While I was working there, I considered how many other workers like me produced no direct goods. We didn’t deliver anything. We made nothing. It occurred to me that I could measure this approximately just by counting how much office space there was in any city. People don’t make things in most offices. Things were made in factories. Things were served by those who distribute. The ratio of factory space and truck space and restaurants and entertainment venues to office space was a fair measure of the efficiency of an economy in terms of indirect to direct benefit.

I estimated that approximately 95% of American jobs produced no direct good. They were entirely comprised of indirect good by exchanging money, recording it, protecting it, leveraging it, or stimulating it through advertising, or accounting for it. My point is that if there was a system that eliminated the jobs that serviced only indirect goods, that those workers could be repurposed to jobs that produced direct goods. The result would be up to 2000% higher production of direct goods.

For this reason, I have been far more attracted to Communism than most other Americans, and certainly most other Trump supporters. However, there seemed to be drawbacks to both Communism and Capitalism. Capitalism may have been inefficient in terms of producing direct goods, but it managed supply and demand, it induced creativity, it kept people working and overall, particularly in America, in many ways it was working and seemed to be producing a level of abundance that no Communist country has been able to keep up with.

For many Americans, as you are aware, this has served as proof that Communism doesn’t work. I won’t try to assess the truth of this here. I will simply point out that where there is pure Communism, it is often difficult to motivate people to work. At the least there is a challenge. If all receive benefits without cost, then what will motivate them to work? Even with a 2000% more efficient system for producing direct goods and services, the problem of motivation is challenging. All a government can do is make threats. Fear is the motivator. Perhaps some intrinsic satisfaction in knowing we’ve done a good job, but not in enough workers.

No, it seems that Capitalism has been producing the majority of Chinese abundance, rather than Communism. We don’t have figures for this but no matter how you measure it, there is something to be learned. Namely, work dramatically increases for the production of direct goods and services when there are incentives to do so.

This said, I implore you to consider an alternative economic system. It would not have the raging injustices inherent in Capitalism. But it would provide the one advantage Capitalism has -sufficient motivators to inspire people to work. They are, in fact, pleasant motivators, rather than fear, like that of a slave fearing his or her master.

Dear Chairman, in this letter I am going to assume that the CCP will eventually gain complete control over the entire world. Clearly, you are succeeding. At that time, you will be able to hurt us, or bless us. No one will be able to stop you from killing us if you choose. I am asking that you consider implementing an incentivized economy so that you do not create a worldwide slave plantation or feel the need to destroy us, which you surely could do with impunity.

The incentivized economy I am speaking of begins with the elimination of all exchange. Each person has access to a central database. Using this database, they can find jobs to do. Using this database, they can request things that they need. I have spelled this out carefully in the “asynalagonomy” link on the menu at the top of this page. I have developed an elaborate system. It provides accountability, quality control, and checks and balances to keep people working at top efficiency.

Using this system, citizens will enjoy property rights. They will live right where they already are. No one can take their homes from them. All will have access to healthcare without cost. All will receive education without cost. There is no cost because there is no monetary system. Each citizen earns privileges based on the type and quality of work they do according to the needs expressed by all through the database.

Those who do excellent work, will be evaluated by quality control managers. Quality control managers are evaluated by others so that all report fairly. A formula of quality and type of work based on demand as reported by citizens to the database, then determines what level of privileges the citizen will have earned.

The result will be zero unemployment and no cost for anything. Limited resources and renewable resources are subject to control by Resource Managers, who also are held accountable by auditors. Incentives to reduce family size and other social concerns are largely determined by the vote of the citizens themselves as they express their needs in the database. An increase in privileges for males who voluntarily get vasectomies is the most humane way to keep population under control. Mandatory abortion is considered a violation of human rights.

Most Trump supporters are Libertarians. They will laugh at these suggestions. They will dismiss the value of this letter. I am writing to solve a problem. I do not want the world to be one giant slave plantation. I see that you are poised to control it. The decision does not belong to any Trump supporters. It does not belong to the Democratic Party. It belongs to you. You are poised to exercise your control over the swamp – that network in the world that is pressured by your intimate knowledge of its weaknesses, by blackmail, by extortion, by espionage. You know it. I know it. This letter is to you.

I don’t know why Karl Marx was so obsessed with the dynamic between the ownership class and workers. Capitalist industry does create that dynamic but it is not necessary to concern ourselves with it. Capitalism will die on the day that the global economy crashes. The gap between rich and poor will call for a total reset and the CCP will seize control at that time to implement a new economic system. It will seize the European and American military through the controls it has gained over their figureheads to harm or benefit them.

Those with alternate currencies at that time will try to survive but with the majority of the world in destitute poverty, their ownership will be meaningless. The great reset will entail a conversion by these same masses to this incentivized system. Or will it be to a global plantation?

Chairman Xi and CCP, this is up to you what it will be. Either you will make everyone miserable, by letting anarchy sort itself out with endless revolutions that never achieve a utopia, or you will implement a system that achieves maximum efficiency, one that uses positive incentives instead of fear and slavery.

This is up to you. It is my work to present you with a better alternative – one with none of the drawbacks but all of the benefits and ideals. Find out more by reading about incentivized asynalagonomy. It is in the menu link. Thank you for hearing me out.

Large Numbers

When you count by multiples of a thousand, you get some interesting names for numbers, but were you aware that the Europeans and the Brits call what Americans call a Trillion a Billion? Probably not. But if you’re like me, you aren’t satisfied with what comes after nine hundred ninety nine octillion nine hundred ninety nine septillion nine hundred ninety nine sextillion nine hundred ninety nine quintillion nine hundred ninety nine quadrillion nine hundred ninety nine trillion nine hundred ninety nine billion nine hundred ninety nine million nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine. You’ve spent a long time counting so you won’t be in the mood to argue with the a European numberphile. So here is the low down on the lingo …

Parallel Universe Epistemology Party

In a number of parallel Universes, some of the permutations of me have had the privilege of meeting together repeatedly with various versions of Richard Feldman, Alvin Goldman, Robert Nozick, Alvin Plantinga, and Dr. Jefferey Watson and others at a party in honor of Edmund Gettier hosted by Laurence Bonjour and Susan Haack. Feldman had arrived with his friends, A.J. Ayer, William Alston, Michael Clark and Keith Lehrer. Typically, the conversation will go something like this …

AJA: The standard view of knowledge is having the right to be sure. Tonight, I would like you to earn me that right be assuring me that this is so. If P is true and S is sure that P is true, and S has the right to be sure that p is true, then we can all agree that S has knowledge of p.

EG: Unfortunately, I can think of cases where that is not true. Think of Smith and Jones. The day he met, they were interviewing for the same job. Smith was sure Jones would get the job, as Jones bragged of knowing the owner, giving ten convincing reasons, one for each coin he had in his pocket, so Smith concluded the man who got the job would surely have ten coins in his pocket. This turned out to be true, but not because Jones got the job. To Smith’s surprise, he landed the job himself and hadn’t realized he had ten coins in his own pocket. P was thus true, S was sure that P was true, and S had the right to be sure that p was true, but S didn’t have knowledge of p. The same applied the time that Smith and Jones worked together and Jones kept bragging about his Ford. Smith quipped “Jones owns a Ford or Brown is in Barcelona.” Sure enough, Brown was in Barcelona but Jones didn’t own a Ford. It was just a rental. MC: S didn’t have the right to be sure that p in either of those cases, but he would have so long as all of S’s grounds for believing p were true. So just add this as a fourth condition and S knows that p.

RF: Just the explicit grounds, or a whole chain of grounds? What if one ground in a chain of grounds is false? What if some attain greater certainty? Do those with less certainty negate the grounds with greater certainty? Work on that.

KL: As I was discussing with my friend, Paxson, what you really need for S to know that p is no defeating arguments as your fourth condition. There is no true proposition t such that, if S were justified in believing t, that S would not be justified in believing p. (Feldman 34)

RF: Nice try, Keith. But don’t you remember the Radio that Smith knew was off but playing “Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon?” There was also that Tom and Tim Grabit case and their lying mother. Sight gets defeated by lies.  My own more modest proposal is to add that S’s justification for p does not essentially depend on any falsehood. Admittedly, this isn’t completely clear, but it’s clearer than Clark’s no false grounds idea, which I rather like otherwise. We have knowledge so long as each premise is sound. And there is always some epistemically basic belief that every piece of knowledge ultimately rests on,

LB: Either something shows you evidence for its truth somehow or it doesn’t. There are no epistemically basic beliefs that things rest on. Evidence is something that fits together like a web coherently with everything we know.

KL: I’m with Laurence. You say that “a basic statement must be self-justified and must not be justified by any non-basic belief. Second, a basic belief must either be irrefutable or, if refutable at all, it must only be refutable by other basic beliefs. Third, beliefs must be such that all other beliefs that are justified or refuted are justified or refuted by basic beliefs.” (Lehrer, Keith. Knowledge Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974. pp.76-77) (Huemer 408). And our friend, Fred Will, would add words like “infallible,” “indubitable” and “incorrigible” to this (Huemer 402). One’s sensation may be deceived in various ways.

WA: Maybe DesCartes wanted that level of certainty and that would be ideal, but I just want justification to be sufficient for belief. Mediately justified beliefs lead to immediately justified beliefs along branches. If not, then the premises of a belief are unsound. Looped and infinite chains or those that terminate in unjustified beliefs would fail to constitute sufficient grounds for belief. 

RF: I think we can all agree that a priori knowledge is too limited to be practical but we certainly need evidence for justification.

SH: How about foundherentism?

AG: Nothing wrong with evidence, but if you want to truly satisfy Gettier here, S truly has knowledge if and only if the fact of p is causally connected in an appropriate way with S’s believing in p. Here’s another case. Let’s say Gerald falls down the steps and hits his head, giving him amnesia and an assortment of strange beliefs, none of which are true, but included in that random set of beliefs is the notion that he has just fallen down the steps. His belief is justified because he has the memory and it is true. But the belief was not causally connected in the right way. Therefore, it would not be knowledge. Edmund would be honored. The same holds true if there is a more complex causal chain. Now if you see a tree in front of you, the cause is your eyesight. Or I might remember a tree, so the cause in my belief there was a tree would be my memory. Or there might be a more complex causal chain, such as Smith seeing sawdust and wood chips where there once was a tree, remembering the tree and a notice he saw from the city saying they would cut it down. You might see this as evidence for belief, but they are also causes for belief. How I come to believe matters more than why.

RF: Well and true, but how do you deal with generalizations? How, for instance, would you know that all men are mortal, if you have not seen every man, past present or future to cause such a belief? Also, what if you lack some information in a causal chain? If Edgar believes Allan Poe died and knew he’d taken a fatal dose of poison for which there is no antidote and some time passed so he believed he was dead, but Alaln actually died of a heart attack from worry rather than poison, Edgar would be wrong about the causal chain in Allan’s death even if he was right that he was dead. He would then be justified in believing Allan was dead and it would be true, but he would not possess an appropriate causal connection. 

AG:  True. You would call it knowledge. I wouldn’t if I didn’t consider that the instances from the generality are not still causally connected – there is something to be said for that. Or perhaps your standard of what constitutes knowledge is lower. than mine. 

RF: Well then consider the twins Trudy and Judy Smith met. Judy comes to him one day and he believes it’s Judy even though he knows about Judy’s twin sister Trudy. Without good evidence, Smith assumes Judy is talking to him, when it could have been Trudy. You would say Judy caused the belief. It would be true. It would not be justified.

AG: I agree, it would not be justified. I thought about this problem for over a decade and realized what was needed was a reliable process of belief formation. Just seeing someone and being rash about it would not count as a reliable process of belief formation. S’s belief in p at t is justified ‘if S’s belief in p at t results from a belief-independent process that is reliable, then S’s belief in p at t is justified’; And if S’s belief in p at t results from a belief-dependent process that is conditionally reliable, and the beliefs the process operates on are themselves justified.’ (Feldman 95). This, by the way, is why sensory experience is justified for believing – it is a highly reliable process. Calling it an epistemically basic belief is unnecessary.

RF: If you don’t have a body but are really a brain in a vat causing all sorts of beliefs, then what process applies? Or what if you only look at a broken clock at the right time by pure coincidence every time you look at it, unaware that it is broken? 

LB: I concur with Richard on this one. Consider Norman, the clairvoyant. He was always right. Suppose one day Norman believes the president is in New York City for no reason other than a hunch obtained by his clairvoyance, and he’s right. That belief would not be justified. I’ll admit it would be a reliable process, but it would fail to cohere with any evidence Norman would otherwise have.

RF: Yes, evidence. You’ll need to spell out the process better, Alvin. 

Just then David Hume enters the room. 

DH: The clairvoyant’s process is mere numerical inference. It only predicts that past. Backgammon anyone? (add Scotch accent)

AG: No thanks, Hume. Well I have made some distinctions, like the difference between a hasty scan and a detailed observation or the qualitative difference between seeing nearby objects and distant ones – process types.

RF: Not good enough. Each category still gets treated as though every token example has the same reliability as a process. 

JW: I don’t think Freedman gets it. These types need to be general to be all embracing.

AG:: We might say, “if s’s belief in p at t results from a belief-independent process token whose relevant type is reliable, then S’s belief in p at t is justified.” (Feldman 9Ish 8) How’s that?

RF: Consider an umpire at a baseball game. Some calls are easy. Others are tough. The process is the same. 

JC: No, it’s not. An umpire scrutinizing over a tough call involves more scrutiny than an easy call. He scrutinizes. That’s another process type.

RF: You people just think up examples to give you the results that you want. There’s no general theory here. This violates the Same Evidence Principle. Evaluation supervenes on evidence.

RN: I appreciate that you strive for high and consistent standards, Richard, but I have to agree that causal chains might improve over reasons alone for justification. Method certainly matters. So does process. And what you want is not just any process type, but something more reliably reliable. The only way to do this would be through a process that actually tracks the truth. I’ll admit you do need a good method, but that method also has to be used in the right way. You ought to be asking yourself if things had been different, would you still have known. You need to track counterfactuals. S only knows p if S believes p, p is true and S used method M to form the belief in p, and when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p.” Do this and you can’t go wrong.

RF: Huh?

RN: Consider the broken clock you mentioned, which you looked on only at lucky times, getting it right, but didn’t know. Why? Because the cause was right but the evidence was unjustified. The premise, you would argue, was that the clock worked, but it didn’t. So for you, as a foundationalist, there would be no knowledge, but Allan’s causal theory fails, as you said. But had Allan tracked the truth using the clock method, he would have learned within seconds that the clock was broken. He would then have found a different method more suitable for determining the correct time or simply confess he didn’t know what time it was and be correct in that belief instead. There are many examples like this – it could be a thermometer that was broken instead. Knowers are truth trackers. 

RF: Well, that would solve Edmund’s cases just as neatly as Alvin’s solution would. 

RN: Indeed, and there are many other such cases of lucky knowledge. For instance, Ms. Black, working in her office, getting up to stretch – she looks out the window – and just happens to see a mugging on the street and becomes a witness. Her method is luck. What kind of a reliable process is that? In fact, she has no method. Yet she certainly saw. And seeing was her process. She didn’t track the truth because she was looking for it over time. That’s why I said, “S used method M to form the belief in p, and when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p.” At that time, her method was seeing from a timely stretch but it wasn’t even what she intended to do. One might suppose she tracked it over the time she needed to – just that moment. But this is still not enough for knowledge, because what if things had been different? What if she had stretched at any other time? Then she would not have known. And I say that if you would not have known, then you aren’t tracking the truth. I raise the standard of what knowledge ought to mean in this way. I say this because truth matters. In many cases our lives may depend on it!

JC: I agree but I’m not sure I understand. You are introducing counterfactuals in saying that something is not knowledge unless they can say that if things had been different, then such and such would be true, and of course they would have to be right about that. Do you mean that they should be able to know both the truth or falsity under any condition?

Nozick goes to the chalk board.

RN: Yes. However, I would temper this by distance. Here we are talking about the responsibility toward truth that human beings ought to consider. So I’ll offer a third and fourth condition for knowledge as follows. (3) not-p →not-(S believes that p). This means that if p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe that p. And then (4) p → S believes that p and not-(S believes that no-p). This means that if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true. This is actually a step up from a fourth condition I previously had expressed, that if p were true, S would believe it – (iv) p → S believes that p. But, as I said, realizing that we, as human beings, are quite limited in our methods and knowledge, for a realistic aim at what one would use for saying that someone knew something, at least given a certain method, this would be the responsible way to treat whether one knows something or not.

JC: I’m confused. Can you give me an example of what you mean when you say, “when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p”?

RN: Certainly. Consider, the unattentive security guard who plays SODUKU all night long instead of attentively watching the monitors in his store. He gets lucky and catches a thief out of the corner of his eye as he thinks about something completely different. His assigned method is to watch. And indeed, he sees. But he is not tracking the truth by that method. Therefore, even though it could be said that he has knowledge of the thief, the standard of knowledge I am referring to has not been met. He was derelict in his duty, which was to track the truth by the method of watching the store monitors. Had he looked up at some other time, he would not have believed p or known p was true. Had p been untrue, he would not have known whether p were true or not either way. This is not a responsible way of knowing things. Tracking the truth is a responsibility. Using reliable processes for doing so goes along with this responsibility.

RF: I used that very same example to show why tracking was not necessary for knowledge. 

JC: Clearly, the difference is in what the standards are for the term.

Just then Saul Kripke walks in.

SK: I heard what you were saying, Nozick. Your truth tracking theory is hocus and I’ll prove it! You’ve heard about that town with fake barns, right? The town replaced their old barns and left a few standing but ran out of red paint, so they created a bunch of white barn facades to please the tourists. Smith drives through the town, sees a red barn and deduces that he sees a red barn. Now if Smith had tracked the truth, he would have known that all the white barns were fake. As it stands, he got lucky and properly identified a real barn, a red one, but since he didn’t track it, all he really knows is that he saw a red barn. However, he doesn’t know that he saw a barn because he wasn’t tracking the truth. See the problem?

JC: I’m not sure.

JW: According to Truth-Tracking theory, he saw a red barn, James, but he did not see a barn.  

JC: Goodness. I can see that! 

JW: Nozick’s theory is “half right.” … “Truth-Tracking is really getting at the counterfactual: would S have believed p if not -p? Objections are to the condition that S would have believed not-p if p. So a revised Truth-Tracking theory would be a causal theory.” (Dr. Watson Unit 4 Video Lectures 4.3 The Truth-Tracking Theory)

JC: Truth-tracking is confusing, Doc. What does he mean by “tempered by distance”? 

JW: He’s talking about how far fetched the alternate world of possibilities might be. It’s “in the neighborhood” if it’s relevant to tracking the truth about something specific using a specific method. He doesn’t mean every possibility., only the stuff directly related to tracking the facts.

JC: Oh. So he’s not saying we have to be Omniscient to have knowledge, then? I’m not so sure I agree with that. As long as we’re after high standards here, I think maybe we do. Look, there’s Keith DeRose. What do you think about standards for the word, “knowledge,” Keith?

KD: I think it depends on context, James. Nozick here is talking about standard every day knowledge and responsibility. Our standard of what we consider “knowledge” can change from moment to moment. Recall the time that Smith and his wife had to deposit some checks into the bank on a Friday night and the line was too long so Smith suggested waiting till Saturday since he knew they were open till noon on Saturdays. His wife had doubts about the wisdom of that, so she asked if he really knew that? So he says, “sure I know it. I was just deposited a check there two Saturdays ago.” But as it stands, she had a particularly large check to deposit and had a bill due early in the week so it was very important to get that check deposited by Saturday. So she informs him of all this and says, “do you know for sure?” What really is the difference between knowing and knowing for sure, James?

JC: Ask Nozick here. I think he’d want Smith to track the truth by checking the web site or stopping in.

KD: That’s right. If Smith was talking to Robert, he might not have said he knew the first time around, but in his routine, his memory was reliable enough, and the odds of the bank changing their rules weren’t all that great. Neither Smith nor his wife had seen any announcements in the news lately about banks closing on Saturdays in the area.

AG: Depends on subject factors and attributor factors.

JC: What? Do you have to have something to say about everything Alvin?

KD: He’s talking about relevant alternative theory, James. Not all of these are invariantists. Some are contextualists, like me. The key is the attribution factor. Smith would attribute knowledge to the idea the bank was open. Saturdays ordinarily, but when he circumstances changed, the content behind the word “knowledge” was different. The character of the word, “knowledge” may stay the same in all circumstances, but the content can change.

AG: Linguistic and psychological context are also very important, James. They are attributor factors. If you’re in a class with Descartes talking about an evil demon fooling you, the attribution of the word “knowledge” is affected. (Huemer 495)

KD: Precisely my point. When Smith’s wife puts pressure on him, he’s not saying he didn’t know before, he’s addressing a higher expectation.

RF: That’s just pragmatism. It’s not epistemic responsibility. Smith was wrong to deny he knew it the first time. His memory was sufficient. You’re throwing in the “Get the Evidence Principle” (Feldman 47). You can never have enough information. The evidence you have at a given time is a fair basis for whether you can believe something, and if it’s true it’s knowledge. Simple as that. The Get the Evidence Principle becomes irrational to satisfy. This shouldn’t be confused the fact that even though it’s highly improbable that I’m having a heart attack when I’m having chest pains after eating buffalo wings, I might msyelf go get my heart checked. Action and knowledge aren’t the same thing. Uncertainty does not mean lack of knowledge either. Truth, on the other hand, would affect the status of knowledge. If Smith was wrong, he wouldn’t have known. Knowledge, as the word ought to be used, does not require certainty. It just needs to be reasonable. Smith’s memory was reasonable. His belief was justified.

RN: Did you say “epistemic responsibility,” Richard? Where is the responsibility in not tracking the truth? Checking your heart was exactly that!

JC: Professor Feldman has a point. I can see going to the doctor just in case. Even when things are improbable, it depends on what’s at stake. Business people use an expected utility formula. I’m a probabilist myself. But how sure do you really need to be to track the truth? We’re just human beings? How often do you have to go to the web site to see if the bank is open? Every ten minutes? How would anyone know to check to see if barns were really facades? Who would care to do that but the locals in a town? And what if Smith’s wife knew her husband’s memory was unreliable from an onset of Alzheimers? And all that aside, who can really track the truth but God?

AP: If I may interject here … We are limited by proper function. The human brain was not designed with such great capacity to know all that might have happened. Proper Function is a reliable process for getting at the facts that respects epistemic virtue and responsibility. We are all here because truth matters but the various organs have different functions – the heart pumps blood, the liver cleanses it, and so on. We have many instincts and we don’t track the truth nearly as much as we ought.. Any appropriate method wold do, but we need to start with the knowledge of our own need for epistemic virtue.

RF: You must have spoken to my friend W.K. Clifford. He says it’s always wrong everywhere to “believe with insufficient evidence.” (Feldman 44)

AP: Quite. And not just evidence. There are many types of epistemic responsibilities we have, concerning which virtue is often lacking. We can do better, objectively, subjectively, in what we believe and especially in our general “disposition to have coherent beliefs.” We won’t evaluate evidence well without a proper disposition towards evidence. When do we know our evidence is adequate? What of our faculties? Are they themselves reliable? What is our “epistemic goal”? I have lots of beliefs and goals – not all of them are epistemic. “There are a thousand other epistemic virtues” besides these for determining whether a belief has warrant. 

RF: Could you reduce this all into something precise for us?

AP: Surely. “A belief has warrant for me only if (1) it has been produced in me by cognitive faculties that are working properly (functioning as they ought to, subject to no cognitive dysfunction) in a cognitive environment that is appropriate for my kinds of cognitive faculties, (2) the segment of the design plan governing the production of the belief is aimed at the production of true beliefs, and (3) there is a high statistical probability that a belief produced under those conditions will be true.” (Plantinga, Alvin. Warrant and Proper Function (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 59) (Feldman 100)  

JC: So … S knows or has warrant for believing that p if, (but not only if), you aren’t cognitively impaired by drinking, dreaming or in a brain in a vat hallucinating, or suffering from dementia, and in the right environment. Can you explain what a cognitive environment is?

AP: Well, your brain wasn’t meant to concentrate on an important matter when you are being distracted. If you were in a tub of worms and scorpions or high up in snowy mountains being chased by a yetti, you might not be able to score well on a test in philosophy. Your cognitive functions might work just fine, but your environment would not be conducive to its optimal operation. Your cognition might be just fine for the environment it was designed for. You might have just passed your exams at MIT, but if suddenly you were transported to a planet in Alpha Centuari where there were invisible elephants sending cosmic signals into your brain making it believe there was a trumpet playing, your belief would not be warranted. And even if there was indeed a trumpet playing, say a silent one in a nearby phone booth, your belief might be true, but it wouldn’t be warranted. Would it?

JC: I suppose not. That would seem more like belief than knowledge. Right Professor Goldman? And what is this “segment of the design plan?” 

AP: Well, your brain is designed with many functions – such as interpreting what you see, or signaling your finger to move, or giving you input as to what you’d like to eat, and such sensory knowledge functions for its purpose, but if you are tasked with determining the truth about a proposition, it might not be any of those segments of your cognitive functions that would be needed for determining that truth. It would be the segment that governs the production of the belief. And specifically, it would be that which aims at the truth. You, for instance, might believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Aiming at the truth without bias would require a level of objectivity you might not possess. You do, however, possess the capacity to be objective. You can, in fact, overcome biases and predispositions. So you might be asking questions like whether an empty tomb necessarily implied a resurrection, or whether a report that a tomb was empty was reliable, or truly given on the third day, how consistent the reports are, or whether various details were added to a story later. If you were biased, you might choose not to investigate for yourself. If you used that segment of your cognitive design plan that governed discernment of true beliefs with a high statistical reliability, your design plan would be segmented properly for the task.  A belief produced under those conditions is certainly warranted. As long as there was no cognitive dysfunction, you might be capable of knowledge.

JC: Can you give me an example?

to be continued …

Contextualized SuperFoundherentism

All I wanted to do was start the Pamalogy Society, I tell ya! Next thing ya know, I’m enrolled at Arizona State University taking philosophy courses, courses in organizational leadership and interdisciplinary studies. It follows that I’ll be writing some academic blogs in the coming years. And guess who they’ll be for? Me. I’m writing them to myself! Writing helps me remind myself of what I’ve learned. Why not put my notes online, where I can access them on other devices later? So this one is on an epistemological system that I’ve come up with as an untested solution to the still raging debate over the theory of knowledge. I call it “Contextualized SuperFoundherantism.” Catchy title. Huh?


Richard Feldman asked three questions based on the following two assertions of foundationalism: 

F1. There are justified basic beliefs. 
F2. All justified nonbasic beliefs are justified in virtue of their relation to justified basic beliefs. 

QF1. What are the kinds of things our justified basic beliefs are about? 
QF2. How are these basic beliefs justified? If they are not justified by other beliefs, how do they get justified? 
QF3. What sort of connection must a nonbasic belief have to basic beliefs in order to be justified? 

(Feldman 52)1 

After some review of Cartesian Foundationalism and Coherentism, and then offering his own more “Modest Foundationalism,” he answers these questions with the following: 

“MF1. Basic beliefs are spontaneously formed beliefs. Typically, beliefs about the external world, including beliefs about the kinds of objects experienced or their sensory qualities, are justified and basic. Beliefs about mental states can also be justified and basic.   

MF2b. A spontaneously formed belief is justified provided it is a proper response to experiences and it is not defeated by other evidence the believer has  

MF3. Nonbasic beliefs are justified when they are supported by strong inductive inferences – including enumerative induction and inference to the best explanation- from justified basic beliefs. 

(Feldman 75) 

Feldman defends his Modest Foundationalism against the Coherentist, Laurence Bonjour. Bonjour rejected Foundationalism’s concept of an epistemically basic belief, insisting that any basic a posteriori belief should have some quality indicating its truth. Feldman didn’t think that was necessary. Deductive processes in basic empirical beliefs like sensory perception were taken for granted and subconscious as they were happening at best.

Bonjour rejects Foundationalism for other reasons. For one thing, Coherentism is misunderstood as using circular premises, when the image is more like a web of belief, or as Susan Haack liked to compare it, a crossword puzzle. There is a practical matter in all of this – how many beliefs can we really have if we have to justify every premise. Alston uses the image of the roots of a tree. Each root has to terminate in an immediately justified belief or the whole argument is unsound. It’s a great theory but its a lot to expect. In a fast paced world, we form beliefs on the fly. The Coherentist’s concept doesn’t require us to think through the basis of our basis of our basis for every decision we make. We rely on an intuition that has a picture of what it knows coming into the situation, and processes propositions based on what it knows. If something doesn’t square up coherently with that set of pre-vetted beliefs, then it is rejected – unless something compelling about it is a deal breaker for some of the pre-existing assumptions, a defeater for our biases. Potentially, this can knock down everything we think we know. Bonjour adds an “Observation Requirement” to his coherentism, to skirt Feldman’s criticism that a coherentist need never learn anything new if it doesn’t fit their world view.

Seeing merit in the two divergent paradigms for evidential knowledge, Susan Haack proposed a blend of Foundationalism and Coherentism, which she called “Foundherentism.”2 I must admit that I found her work hard to follow on account of the terminology she used, such as “C-belief”  (the content of a belief) and an “S-belief,” (mental state someone is believing) (Huemer 420).  She then refers to things such as “S-reasons” and “A’s S-evidence.” (Huemer 421) Perhaps, if I read it a few more times…

Still … the general thought of blending the two paradigms seemed worthwhile to me. As I considered the differences between Foundationalism in several of its versions and Coherentism, I found their mutual objections and rebuttals to be quite reasonable. I also noticed that Feldman had omitted reference to logical inference and a priori knowledge. So I came up with a “Foundherentist” statement of my own in response to his answers to his three questions. The parts I added are italicized:

“MF1. Basic beliefs are spontaneously formed beliefs. Typically, beliefs about the external world, including beliefs about the kinds of objects experienced or their sensory qualities, are justified and basic. Beliefs about mental states can also be justified and basic. Logic and math are also basic. 

MF2b. Both empirically justified basic beliefs and non-basic beliefs are contextually reliable and fallible. A spontaneously formed belief is (gradiently) justified provided it is a proper response to experiences and it is not defeated by other evidence the believer has over time. Such a response entails the believer’s existing and changing mutually supportive network of beliefs as a totality of evidence, cross checking the experience and belief, such that prior beliefs withstand its incompatibility or are modified accordingly. 

MF3. Nonbasic beliefs are justified when they are supported either by deduction or by strong inductive inferences – including probabilistic enumerative induction and abduction – from justified basic beliefs foremost. Their justification also increases or decreases in relation to a vector of force encountered through the holistic network of beliefs that a subject has when a proposition is evaluated.   

The above, which originally aimed at a modest foundationalism, now presents a modest foundherentism (and some additional features). We still have something like epistemically basic beliefs that we ideally search for and find as we explore the premises our premises are based on, but we acknowledge the value of coherent systems of belief, while we’re at it. Coherentism isn’t just practical, since it processes faster than Foundationalism, but it makes sense epistemically in some ways too. When it’s looked at a crossword puzzle that has pieces fitting together, rather than as a circle loop of premises that provides no justification, it may just be the best thing we, as humans have, for ascertaining many types of truth. For one thing, Foundationalism has to be watered down just so sensory perception and experience can be seen as a generally epistemically basic belief. To do this, any sense of infallible certainty has to be removed. Deductive logic is great, but it doesn’t tell us things like – there is a car headed towards me. I must first believe there is a car and then I can infer that I should move, lest I lose my life. Coherentism tells me things like, “cars can be dangerous when they hit you” and “they can kill you” and “cars are things with four wheels that are sort of big and made of solid materials like missiles” and “Missiles kill.” All this adds up to decision making. Part of that decision is not, “prove to me that I’m not in the Matrix.”

Don’t get me wrong. Only a skeptic would take it to that level and Feldman is no skeptic. Feldman wants a practical every day knowledge. Unlikely defeaters are useless for Coherentists and Foundationalists alike. Both Bonjour and Feldman will get out of the way of moving traffic. A skeptic would too, and then the former would accuse the latter of hypocrisy.

Coherentism is something we actually practice. You. Yes you. You have a set of beliefs and what you believe has various reasons for making sense to you. Both Coherentism and Foundationalism are considered “evidentialist” theories of knowledge that are “traditional.” And Feldman contrasts these theories, which he seems to be less wont to accept, with evidentialism, calling them “non-evidentialist,” as he describes four new paradigms in chapter 5, (Feldman 81-107). This is how the student is introduced to Alvin Goldman’s Causal Connection theory, Robert Nozick’s Truth-Tracking theory, Goldman’s later Reliabilism Theory and finally Alvin Plantinga’s Proper Function theory.  I’ll be describing these theories in this blog post as I work to combine them into my singular master theory, which I’m calling “Contextualized SuperFoundherentism.” Are you ready?

Dismissing Skepticism 

I should start out by mentioning that the use of the term “knowledge” is contextual. I take this from Keith DeRose, so I am a bit ahead of myself. For a skeptic, such as Sextus Empericus, nothing can truly be known. That is why Descartes’ foundationalism could only say that something appeared to be such and such by his thought. If it weren’t for his ability to prove that a good God exists, Who wouldn’t allow such deception, he might allow that an evil demon might be making him believe incorrectly that 2+3=5. Even math and logic were, for Descartes, would be subject to doubt under those conditions.

Contextualism3 allows knowledge to have a different meaning depending on context. When talking to a skeptic, I might agree that technically it is possible that math and logic are untrue, and while such a proposition may be a logical possibility in a Universe with laws different than those which are assumed by the Universe which appears to exist, by the non-laws or different laws of logic in such a hypothetical Universe or Universes, neither can the skeptic prove his doubting is true. Or maybe he can, but since such a condition implodes logic on itself with nothing to go on but speculation in such a Universe, there is no point taking any of it seriously, unless, of course, speaking with such a skeptic or considering one of their arguments. For the whole, I will accept deductive inference and math as the soundest sort of knowledge. 

I think I mentioned I was a probabilist. What I mean by this is I believe things based on what I find most probable. I don’t sweat over the term “knowledge.” I just say why I believe something is probably true, though if you ask me whether I know something I may tell you that I do. Feldman talks about inference to the best alternative, a thing called abduction. I believe in calculating odds wherever possible. I uses Baye’s Theorem using rough estimates all day long. When I heard that a school closed down recently because one of the kindergarten kids tested positive for COVID, the firs question I asked was what was the rate of false positives? If the rate was 1% and there were 300 students, then there would normally be three positive tests for that group. The fact that there was a positive test ignores base rate info.

But I digress. My point is that skeptical arguments don’t bother me unless I’m talking about the word “knowledge.” For me, this term clearly has multiple meanings, just like many words in the dictionary do. The word “know” is like the word “tall.” I’m over six feet tall. I’m tall compared to the rest of my family and by most standards. But compared to Shaquille O’Neal, I’m not tall at all.

James Carvin goes for the tickle maneuver, rendering Shaq powerless to defeat him. But who is taller?

Going Super 

Clearly there are high and low standards of what people call knowledge. In one sense, I think that Omniscience is all that truly knows anything. I don’t know how many subjects S possess Omniscience. That’s an extremely high standard. To me there is nothing wrong with that, or for the skeptic to ask for absolute certainty before calling something “knowledge.” It is one thing to draw a line at doubting everything. It is another to search for truth, and suppose that a principle such as evidence being equal, evaluation should be equal ought to be questioned based on evaluative perspectives such as whether the cause of belief matters as much as the evidence itself, or whether we have a right to call something truth, if we failed to track that truth by considering the methods we used or failed to use in measuring something. And what methods would, in fact, have been most reliable for determining that truth. If those methods were not employed, do we have a better guarantee of knowledge of a fact? And what finally of our own cognitive processes as they may relate to such methods? The details of our evidence may remain the same throughout, but do any of these non-evidential factors weigh in on whether we have knowledge?  Does the fact that I checked in at 3am and there was no thief, add to any evidence that there was a thief on the monitor at 4am? Is there any sense in which my epistemic responsibility matters through good habits like that? Should a fact like that be considered part of the evidence?

Feldman would have us choose between evidentialist or non-evidentialist theories of knowledge, but just as Haack finds a blend for a foundationalist coherentism, so also I think the reality of knowledge blends evidence with questions of causal connections, tracking possibilities that didn’t happen, the importance of reliable methods and cognitive function unfettered by environments that might disable good discernment. I don’t think any of these so called “non-evidentialists” are actually non-evidentialists at all. They simply don’t follow the dogma that equal evidence merits equal rationale for belief.  They find, as well, a plethora of epistemological virtues and values that ought to be considered in the aim for truth. For this reason, I would not refer to any of these as ‘non-evidentialists.” To be fair, I would prefer to call them “super-evidentialists.” And furthermore, since the evidence is a given in any proper evaluation of the truth, even if that evidence must be weighed against defeating facts or ideas, I would call for a double-blend of all this, which I will call “SuperFoundherentism.”  

Yeah that’s right. I’m a rationalist, probabilist, fallibilist quasi-skeptical SuperFoundherentist.

I also think we have a bad approach when we seek to build toward a theory of knowledge from belief forward. We know that knowledge must be true. That is simple enough. We know that the truth can’t be known if someone doesn’t know it, in which case they would also believe it – also quite elementary. But after this, everyone starts disagreeing and the counterexamples, beginning with Edmund Gettier, keep calling for formulations of what constitutes knowledge that are debatable. While it might be expected that someone would eventually add to justification or cause some fourth condition that could prove incorrigible, and I do hope this happens, I am in the meantime satisfied with believing that knowledge stands on its own. Robert Nozick thinks that we should track the truth by knowing what things would have been like if things didn’t happen as they did. (Huemer 475-490) This might be restricted to proximate possible worlds. How far-fetched do the possibilities have to be before the responsibility to anticipate such things no longer burden us with further epistemic responsibility? Only the Imagination of Omniscience Itself has the capacity to consider the farthest-fetched possibilities and scenarios, exploring how truth might have been tracked had things proven otherwise. By this standard, once we arrive at the Imagination of Omniscience, and we also know the Discernment of Omniscience to distinguish between the actual and the possible, then and only then, do we have Knowledge.  This I think we can call the metaphysically highest possible standard for the term, “knowledge.” I’ll captitalize that one with a big “K” but its still got the same character as the word “knowledge’ used in any other way. The content of that knowledge is different. That’s all.

This isn’t just some sort of grand compromise. It is about the premise of knowledge itself, which is reality – a reality that can’t be fully known without this “big K” qualification. Seeing the big K as the only invariant Knowledge, if anyone is to speak of “invariantism,” is why I think we should build down toward belief when considering knowledge, rather than up toward knowledge from belief. It is a sort of Tower of Babel problem. If anyone wants to talk about knowledge, we need to contextualize the term. Whose knowledge? What knowledge? When speaking of that abstract or actual essence which both knows all imaginable and all that is actual, even the skeptic is defeated by its mere logical possibility. From there we build down toward mere Earthlings and other possible knowers, seeing each belief as a matter of sharing what has already been tracked in the grand set of “Knowledge” or “Truth.”  Berkeley and I have something in common here, I think.

Contextualized SuperFoundherentism 

The above consideration makes clear that there is a total set of possible knowledge and knowledge of what is actual that is quite different from a limited set of evidence for a proposition that any human being will typically encounter or cognitively embrace.  Not having awareness of all possible and actual truth, we experience a world that begins with belief and makes claims of having knowledge, when a supremely high standard would certainly discount even a true statement as constituting knowledge. Context matters. Descending from the top down rather than ascending from the bottom up puts belief into perspective. We may know more than amoebas, (not that we know the experience of an amoeba itself), but we don’t know what Knowledge Itself knows. Unless we somehow transcend ourselves into higher beings like butterflies, we merely share portions of It in places and times, and even then, our knowledge will be intermediate if it fails to contain all possibility and fact. 

The idea of knowing the experience of an amoeba is a helpful one. Human beings lack that knowledge, but the total set of knowledge of the possible and actual, if it is known, does not lack that knowledge. To know all things, requires also not knowing, lest the knowledge of what it is to be an amoeba be missing from the totality of Knowledge. Segmenting into context is intrinsic to Omniscience. It is thus, most accurate as lowly human beings to say merely that we know in part and to gladly join the skeptics in agreeing that we have no true knowledge. This does not mean, of course, that we should also surrender the idea that we can enjoy any degree of certainty concerning what we know in part.

If a possibility or context is offered in which we might be wrong, so be it, but under the presumption that such a context or possibility is untrue, then we would be right given whatever reasons, methods, skills, causes, tracking and cognitive functioning, including coherent prior beliefs reinforcing experience we possess at any time t statistically likely to be true in those environments and contexts. In this sense, we can speak of a “contextualized superfoundherentism.”

On the one hand, we require no high definition of “knowledge” as being limited to the notion of the Imagination of Omnipotence as a singular Knower of all that is actual and true or what could be. At the same time, we exclude possibilities such as being brains in vats. And on the other hand, we require no third, fourth or fifth condition for knowledge.  

Moving then, from the “traditional analysis of knowledge, which has … 
S knows that p iff: 
(i) S believes that p 
(ii) p is true 
(iii) p is justified 
(iv) some fourth condition that anticipates counterexamples 

What I have is more fundamental and only requires two conditions, where K is the total set of knowledge belonging to the imagination and knowledge of what is included in Omniscience, 

S knows that p iff: 
(i) K includes S in believing p 
(ii) p is true 

I’m not going to cop out with this though. There is another important possible aspect of context, which this reduced formula is not sufficient for determining. What of the context of someone who wants to know a particular fact or determine whether something or other is true? This, after all, is the typical context for which most of the formulations of us lowly human beings are designed. Until we’ve agreed upon a ground up architecture for superfoundherentism in more humble contexts, we haven’t offered the best we might have, given our limitations. For this we need a blended formula. 

I doubt any blended formula I can come up with will be perfect, especially as a first year philosophy student. When every other attempt has failed, my expectations are not great. But why not take a shot at it? What’s the harm? So the rest of this article is dedicated to doing just that. As a starting framework, I would propose adding Goldman’s causality to the traditional analysis of knowledge as a fourth condition, rather than replacing justification as one of the first three conditions for knowledge, as Goldman had it.   That would give us the following …

S knows that p iff: 
(i) S believes that p 
(ii) p is true 
(iii) p is justified 
(iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth. 

Feldman complains that causal connectedness fails to handle generalizations such as how one might know that all men are mortal. Goldman responds by pointing out that such a belief is connected to the fact that every known example of man is one in which humans have been mortal.”The fact that all men are mortal is logically related to its instances.” (Huemer 459) It is a fair generalization caused by the observation of known cases, or a belief in reports of such, which caused them. It is the truth which causes the connection.  

Feldman also rejects causal connectedness as a replacement for justification because sometimes true beliefs are formed from inaccurate assumptions. He calls this “overdetermination,” citing the example of Edgar, who knows Allan has taken a fatal dose of poison for which there is no known antidote. While Edgar runs off to get help and assumes correctly that Allan has died by the time that help arrives, futile as it would have been, Allan actually dies from a heart attack from the stress. If Edgar is incorrect about the real cause of Allan’s death, for Feldman, according to causal connectedness, it follows that Edgar did not really know that Allan died. (Feldman 85)

What here is the difference between knowing or not knowing? It is in the way we use the word “know.” In the context of expecting this word to mean that Edgar knows every detail about a cause or causes of his belief, Edgar only knows why he believes. In the context of expecting “know” simply to mean Edgar believes and is correct that Allan is dead, his belief is true and he is justified in believing. The causal connection needs to be as precise as the conversation we are having about it demands that we be. If we want absolute precision, then let us count the subatomic particles in the poison and produce their locations as they move, as an Omniscient mind might. But in the context of a far more humble human interaction, such an expectation is rarely in force.  

It seems fair to me that if we are not rejecting foundationalism because we can arrive at a more modest foundationalism, that we should be able to think in terms of more modest causal connectedness, as well. It all depends on what technically we are referring to when we use this word, “knowledge.” What is the context of our conversation? Who is having it? What are they expected to know? What are they attempting to prove or disprove?  

Feldman also complains that a cause can technically lack evidence. He uses the example of the twins, Trudy and Judy to make his point. Smith knows they are identical twins and one day sees Judy and is glad to see her. He had no evidence she is Judy. He just believes it. Judy caused his belief when he saw her. If we were to include causal connectedness as fourth condition, as I have it, then this leaves evidence for justification, or reasons why, as a condition for knowledge. His counterexample no longer works. Smith does not know he sees Judy. 

We might want to refine the words “causally connected” just as we might want to refine the word, “justified.” The more precise and specific we make it, the less inclusive it is likely to be. This is why formulas tend to be so all encompassing. They lose something from prose descriptions, which consider nuance and temper ideas. If we said “justified by evidence” then what “evidence” is there in the cube root of X1,800 is X1,797? The word “evidence” is better expressed as justification. Similarly, the word “connected” is very general. It solves certain counterexamples to the traditional analysis of knowledge. No definition is quite perfect for that which knows less than Omniscience. A formula is one context. An essay is another. A conversation with a skeptic raises standards for the term “knowledge.” A conversation with a politician can be nearly meaningless.  Again and again, context matters. 

The Fifth Element and a Sixth 

If we are satisfied that these four conditions are an improvement, then we might ask whether we should add a fifth condition to the four that we now have, such as no false grounds, as offered by Michael Clark, or no defeating arguments, as offered by Keith Lehrer and Thomas Paxson. We have to consider these one at a time. Feldman points out that the no false grounds condition may be too narrow or too broad. (Feldman 31-33) When it is too narrow, only the explicit steps of forming a belief are included. This skirts problematic false grounds in the background, leaving us with a better chance at saying we had knowledge. We can skip over inconvenient details and base our evidence on everything else. If we too broadly define false grounds, then almost any unfounded fact in the background can render a proposition as failing as knowledge. We wind up knowing very little. Again, I would say that it all depends on what one expects of the term, “knowledge.” To meet the most common expectations, we might say that it “lacks significant false grounds” or “there are no deal breaking false grounds.” We would then have something like (i) S believes that p; (ii) p is true; (iii) p is justified; (iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth, and (v) there are no significant false grounds for S’s belief in p.  

This would meet Feldman’s two objections. False premises would certainly undermine the concept of knowledge. Lehrer and Paxson would add that additional evidence defeating an argument should cast sufficient doubt on a belief, undermining knowledge. This would apply even with all of the above in place. I see no escape from including a provision, seeing that S believes at time t. If S fails to consider some new information that would defeat what they know, then it could only be bias or some other cognitive failure in that segment of the mind normally aimed at the truth that would sustain the belief. Knowledge disappears with belief, whether or not the facts behind that truth remain the same.  A defeater may turn out to be entirely unsound, but as it pertains to S believing, as facts are in the process of being gathered, calls for some suspension of belief, at the least, for as long as it takes to validate the chain of premises the defeating premise may be based on. The defeater itself, must however, be of significant weight to warrant such a suspension of belief. I see no choice but to add a sixth condition from this. “(vi) There is no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of S’s belief in p at time t.”  

Freedman has this argument as “There is no true proposition t such that, if S were justified in believing t, then S would not be justified in believing p.” (Freedman 34). This seems too strong for what the gist of the problem is. There may be plenty of justification for belief in a proposition, including its causal connection to belief, especially if there are no significant false grounds for that belief, but if there is some defeating information presented to S, S should not believe it. This, it seems, should be the thrust of the no defeater inclusion, not whether there are any such true and justified defeaters at all. Those defeaters have to both be true and justified, of course, but what matters is that their significance be to the point where S actually changes s’s mind and decides not to believe it on account of it. If S has no cognitive impairment toward the truth, S’s belief should correspond with what S knows in total. That is why I’ve fomulated (vi) as I have, in place of Feldman’s rendering of Lehrer and Paxson’s own more complex formulation. For their part, Lehrer and Paxson add a defeater defeater clause, which I must confess, as someone new to epistemology, I cannot comprehend. (Huemer 464-474) Feldman then addresses subjunctive conditionals – “sentences that say that if one thing were true, then another thing would be true.” (Feldman 35). He finds these confusing. They’ll get worse as I attempt to simplify and make good use of Nozick’s Truth-Tracking below, but presently, I would round out the foundationalist’s portion of the Contextualized SuperFoundherentism concept with the following stack: 

S knows that p at time t iff: 
(i) S believes that p at t. 
(ii) p is true at t. 
(iii) p is justified in believing p at .t 
(iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p at t. 
(v) There are no significant false grounds for S’s belief in p. 
(vi) There is no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of S’s belief in p at t. 

Adjusting for Coherentism 

The essence of foundationalism is the notion that for any true belief, there must be either an immediate justification of that belief so that the belief is epistemic, or a basis for that belief that is epistemically basic, or a chain of beliefs leading to an epistemically basic belief for each premise for each belief. William Alston ((Huemer 402-416) uses the paradigm of the roots of a tree, rather than of the foundation for building a house to describe this. The end of each root system terminates in an epistemically basic truth. If not, the proposition is unsound. Laurence Bonjour and those espousing coherentism reject sensory experience as epistemically basic on the ground that an experience must have some feature indicating truth. Feldman doesn’t see the need to distinguish between the inference at the point of perception that the perception is true. Bonjour responds to more modest foundationalism, while Will and Lehrer attack a more stringent form of it that demands infallibility, incorrigibility and certainty from basic beliefs. Feldman and Alston defend a more modest form of foundationalism, but Bonjour disagrees with something the modest foundationalists don’t counter adequately. We just don’t typically form beliefs by thinking through chains of premises to check whether everything is sound. We could all stand to test this. Next time you express an opinion with the words “I think that” explore the roots of your basis for that opinion.  Ask yourself, whether you checked each premise for each premise for each premise. Are there any loops? Is there anything unjustified? Is there anything that just keeps going deeper and deeper into more and more mediate beliefs? You might find you have to consider thousands of things just to justify your belief in one thing.  

As human beings, we hardly have the capacity to think through such things. We might not be able to survive if we verified every mediate belief consciously. We would be endlessly processing information. We are capable of thinking through things, at aiming at the truth, but we lack the cognitive ability that the imagination of Omniscience would have. Having a coherent system of beliefs is far more practical. We readily have an existing set of beliefs that we can check any new information with as we make split second decisions. As I previously noted, Bonjour adds an “Observation Requirement” to his coherentism theory (Huemer 396).  Coherentism fails if it isn’t open to change from new sensory input. This leads us to the question of what it takes to change sets of belief. Many ideas are dependent on other ideas. Remove one and a whole Jenga tower may fall. One observation might create a shift in the force.  

So be it. The force of coherent belief is real in human beings.  We may hold very different beliefs from one another. Our political leanings are obvious examples of this. Looking for information that would challenge our existing over-all opinion runs counter to the proper function of a cognitive system aimed at the truth. It is aimed instead at what I will call “coherency bias.” Coherency, is some part of “justification” in the formula for knowledge. Coherentism itself comes classified by today’s epistemologists as an “evidentialist” theory.  This fact calls for some precaution in the justification clause. When we say something is “justified,” what is it justified by? Our biases? Of course not. It needs to be justified by that rare breed of coherence that continually checks its own facts, not to determine whether they are right, but to disprove itself, that it might be free from the bondage of bias and readily aimed at the truth, whatever that may be. The previously considered facts and opinions, having already been subjected to this process, ought to be reliable measures for anything new. But so what if they aren’t? Let them fall as they may. The power of knowledge includes the power to walk away from our presuppositions. Foundherentism, then, merely requires a slight adjustment to the third condition: (iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained, cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t.  

Alvin Plantinga will have more to say about the proper function of a cognitive system than this, which we’ll talk about below, but I think that coherentism is not just about assembling many ideas together in a way that fits like a crossword puzzle. While this model seems more practical than foundationalism, the fact that not all people possess the same set of pre-existing beliefs, calls for what Plantinga provides with his Proper Function Theory.  Coherentism is a cognitive predisposition. As such, it is a bridge from evidentialism to super-evidentialism, rather than non-evidentialism. Before we move on to how each of these theories should fit in with our more inclusive formula blend, let’s just look at what we have so far … 

S knows that p at time t iff: 
(i) S believes that p at t. 
(ii) p is true at t. 
(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t. 
(iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p at t. 
(v) There are no significant false grounds for S’s belief in p. 
(vi) There is no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of S’s belief in p at t. 

Super-Evidentialist Contributions 

With this step in building up a blended theory of knowledge, we are ready to consider more carefully the Super-Evidentialist contributions that might help enhance this formula with something approximating something definitive. I’ve already brought Plantinga into this by relating coherentism to cognitive disposition, but there is more to consider.  

Feldman orders his introduction to the “non-evidentialists” with Causal Theory first, Truth-Tracking second, Reliabilism third, and Proper Function Theory fourth.  About twelve years after he introduced the Causal Connection Theory, Goldman offered a Reliabilism Theory, as well. Reliabilism focused on the method of belief formation. If the method or process was statistically reliable, this increased the fair basis for belief. Feldman’s fondness for foundationalism has him lauding Goldman’s distinction between conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable. Of course, only if both types in any chain of beliefs are reliable processes, can a belief be justified.  

For Feldman, justification by reliable process parallels his foundationalist dependency theory, but he favors evidence over process and knocks down process with a few objections we should consider. His first is the oft heard brain in a vat problem. This is similar to the Matrix, only instead of being a whole body hooked up to a computer simulation program, all that remains is the brain. To distinguish the brain from what the brain is being led to believe, Feldman gives each a name – Brain and Brian. Brain does not know Brain has no hands. Brian thinks he has a brain and does not know Brain exists. Brian has no other reliable process to go by than what works in Brian’s simulated world. So when Brian thinks he sees Brian’s hands, contextually, Brian is using a reliable process for determining that Brian has hands. Brain, by contrast, lives in the context of an actual, rather than simulated world, where Brain is a brain in a vat. Brain supposes that the process for determining that Brian has hands is the simulation Brain experiences as Brian, not knowing anything about any simulation any more than Brian does, but Brain is wrong about that process, as well. The simulation is, therefore, anything but reliable for determining the truth. Brain actually has no access for determining anything at all because Brain is unaware that it is in a vat. There is nothing that Brain can know, except what Decartes knew.  

So that’s Feldman’s objection to Goldman’s Reliabilism but here’s my tke. Whenever anyone turns to the brain in a vat argument, there is a chance there is a lack of more reasonable objections. How can it be unreasonable to ask that the methods for determining the truth be statistically reliable? This can only increase the chances that what we believe is true. While it may be entirely true that an argument like Brian and Brain can defeat them, these fall under the category of no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of our belief in the proposition – here the proposition being that statistically proven methods of discerning truth about beliefs are a reliable justification. That said, why would we hesitate to add Reliabilism to our formula?  

As for his part, Goldman doesn’t confront the brain in a vat argument that I’m aware of, but he does respond to the complaint of accidental or unknown reliability defeating his basic reliability condition. I’ll get to that in a minute. To put his basic reliabilism into some simpler words than his own: 

If the method or process is statistically reliable, this increases the fair basis for belief.  Only conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable in any chain of beliefs can produce justified beliefs. 

This is a rather rigid statement that should be rejected for reasons that I’ll discuss below so we can see where we are as we build our formula. We can see here that Goldman’s focus is on condition (iii), once again. We’ve already added to this condition so that it reads, “(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t.” We’ve also moved Goldman’s causal connection to condition (iv) “S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p at t.” We should add in his caviat – “in an appropriate way” to condition (iv), to cover such things as Smith’s inappropriate response to Trudy and Judy. This gives us (iv) “S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p in an appropriate way at t.” 

Next, we’d like to include a less rigid reliabilism statement as part of our formula, if we can come up with one. To reduce his verbiage, Goldman basically says, “Only conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable in any chain of beliefs can produce justified beliefs.” Since we have things like clairvoyants creating accidental reliabilism from time to time, (Feldman 95-96 per Bonjour) we need to soften the definition. Remember, we are including this with what we already have in condition three: 

(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t,  

We could perhaps change this to: 

(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t, using conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable. 

Goldman, seeing a problem with defeating arguments, also proposes the following condition: 

“If S’s belief in p at t results from a reliable cognitive process, and there is no reliable or conditionally reliable process available to S which, had it been used by S in addition to the process actually used, would have resulted in S’s no believing p at t, then S’s belief in p at t is justified.”  (Feldman 95)

Since we already have a no defeater clause in (vi), this is unnecessarily bulky. Let’s not include it. Feldman complains that Goldman fails to go into detail about process types. Goldman calls an individual process a token and a type is a general category of a process. A single token process may involve multiple types. I’ll ignore these differences because including them in a single formula that is meant to be all encompassing is like saying “any whole number.” It doesn’t have to specify every detail. If we are looking for a definition for knowledge that at least in certain contexts we can agree on, I would exclude the specifications.  

So so far this gives us … 

S knows that p at time t iff: 
(i) S believes that p at t. 
(ii) p is true at t. 
(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t, using conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable. 
(iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p in an appropriate way at t. 
(v) There are no significant false grounds for S’s belief in p. 
(vi) There is no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of S’s belief in p at t. 


I’ve saved the best and the worst for last and we’ve come full circle in this discussion. Robert Nozick wants to elevate the standard of truth to include things that could have been. It’s not an easy theory to understand, so I’ve broken it down into an imaginary conversation that I’ve had at a party with philosophers from all ages. This party conversation is something I might revise from time to time. Here is an excerpt of one of its earlier drafts. (RF is Richard Feldman, RN is Robert Nozick, JC is me, James Carvin, JW is Dr. Jeffery Watson, my epistemology professor) … 

RF: You people just think up examples to give you the results that you want. There’s no general theory here. This violates the Same Evidence Principle. Evaluation supervenes on evidence. 

RN: I appreciate that you strive for high and consistent standards, Richard, but I have to agree that causal chains might improve over reasons alone for justification. Method certainly matters. So does process. And what you want is not just any process type, but something more reliably reliable. The only way to do this would be through a process that actually tracks the truth. I’ll admit you do need a good method, but that method also has to be used in the right way. You ought to be asking yourself if things had been different, would you still have known. To be epistemically responsible, you need to track counterfactuals. S only knows p if S believes p, p is true and S used method M to form the belief in p, and when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p.” Do this and you can’t go wrong. 

RF: Huh? 

RN: Consider the broken clock you mentioned, which you looked on only at lucky times, getting it right, but didn’t know. Why? Because the cause was right but the evidence was unjustified. The premise, you would argue, was that the clock worked, but it didn’t. So for you, as a foundationalist, there would be no knowledge, but Allan’s causal theory fails, as you said. But had Allan tracked the truth using the clock method, he would have learned within seconds that the clock was broken. He would then have found a different method more suitable for determining the correct time or simply confess he didn’t know what time it was and be correct in that belief instead. There are many examples like this – it could be a thermometer that was broken instead. Knowers are truth trackers.  

RF: Well, that would solve Edmund’s cases just as neatly as Alvin’s solution would.  

RN: Indeed, and there are many other such cases of lucky knowledge. For instance, Ms. Black, working in her office, getting up to stretch – she looks out the window – and just happens to see a mugging on the street and becomes a witness. Her method is luck. What kind of a reliable process is that? In fact, she has no method. Yet she certainly saw. And seeing was her process. She didn’t track the truth because she was looking for it over time. That’s why I said, “S used method M to form the belief in p, and when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p.” At that time, her method was seeing from a timely stretch but it wasn’t even what she intended to do. One might suppose she tracked it over the time she needed to – just that moment. But this is still not enough for knowledge, because what if things had been different? What if she had stretched at any other time? Then she would not have known. And I say that if you would not have known, then you aren’t tracking the truth. I raise the standard of what knowledge ought to mean in this way. I say this because truth matters. In many cases our lives may depend on it! 

JC: I agree but I’m not sure I understand. You are introducing counterfactuals in saying that something is not knowledge unless they can say that if things had been different, then such and such would be true, and of course they would have to be right about that. Do you mean that they should be able to know both the truth or falsity under any condition? 

Nozick goes to the chalk board. 

RN: Yes. However, I would temper this by distance to be practical and we are only talking about the truth tracking method applied. Maybe an Omniscient being could know all possibilities but here we are talking about the responsibility toward truth that human beings ought to consider. So I’ll offer a third and fourth condition for knowledge as follows. (3) not-p →not-(S believes that p). This means that if p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe that p. And then (4) p → S believes that p and not-(S believes that no-p). This means that under any other nearby condition, if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true. This is actually a step up from a fourth condition I previously had expressed, that if p were true, S would believe it – (iv) p → S believes that p. But, as I said, realizing that we, as human beings, are quite limited in our methods and knowledge, for a realistic aim at what one would use for saying that someone knew something, at least given a certain method, this would be the responsible way to treat whether one knows something or not. 

JC: I think I’m starting to understand. Can you offer another example? 

RN: Certainly. Consider, the unattentive security guard who plays SODUKU all night long instead of responsibly watching the monitors in his store. He gets lucky and catches a thief out of the corner of his eye as he thinks about something completely different. His assigned method is to watch. And indeed, he sees. But he is not tracking the truth by that method. Therefore, even though it could be said that he has knowledge of the thief, the standard of knowledge I am referring to has not been met. He was derelict in his duty, which was to track the truth by the method of watching the store monitors. Had he looked up at some other time, he would not have believed p or known p was true. Had p been untrue, he would not have known whether p were true or not either way. This is not a responsible way of knowing things. Tracking the truth is a responsibility. Using reliable processes for doing so goes along with this responsibility. 

RF: I used that very same example to show why tracking was not necessary for knowledge.  

JC: Clearly, the difference is in what the standards are for the term. 

Just then Saul Kripke comes in saying, “truth tracking is hocus. You’ve heard about that town with fake barns, right? The town replaced their old barns and left a few standing but ran out of red paint, so they created a bunch of white barn facades to please the tourists. Smith drives through the town, sees a red barn and deduces that he sees a red barn. Now if Smith had tracked the truth, he would have known that all the white barns were fake. As it stands, he got lucky and properly identified a real barn, a red one, but since he didn’t track it, all he really knows is that he saw a red barn. However, he doesn’t know that he saw a barn because he wasn’t tracking the truth. See the problem?” 

JC: I’m not sure. 

JW: According to Truth-Tracking theory, he saw a red barn, James, but he did not see a barn.   You got this wrong on the quiz. Try again …
The Fake Barns case counts against the Truth Tracking theory because either Smith’s belief that he sees a red barn ________________, but yet _____________ … or else Smith’s belief that he sees a barn __________, but yet ___________.

JC: The choices were:

A) doesn’t track the truth; is knowledge… tracks the truth; isn’t knowledge   
B) tracks the truth; is knowledge… doesn’t track the truth; isn’t knowledge   
C) doesn’t track the truth; isn’t knowledge… tracks the truth; is knowledge   
D) tracks the truth; isn’t knowledge… doesn’t track the truth; is knowledge 

I chose B. I can see I was hasty on that. It’s D. Right?

JW: I won’t give away the answers, James. I’ll give you my opinion though. I think Nozick’s theory is “half right.” … “Truth-Tracking is really getting at the counterfactual: would S have believed p if not -p? Objections are to the condition that S would have believed not-p if p. So a revised Truth-Tracking theory would be a causal theory.” (Dr. Watson Unit 4 Video Lectures 4.3 The Truth-Tracking Theory) 

JC: Truth-tracking is confusing, Doc. What does he mean by “tempered by distance”?  

JW: He’s talking about how farfetched the alternate world of possibilities might be. It’s “in the neighborhood” if it’s relevant to tracking the truth about something specific using a specific method. He doesn’t mean every possibility, only the stuff directly related to tracking the facts. 

This ends the portion of the dialog. For the entirety of the conversation, see my blog, Parallel Universe Epistemology Party, from which this is an excerpt.  

I write this sort of thing to simplify the complex. Here, two very difficult formulations are explained. (3) not-p →not-(S believes that p). This means that if p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe that p. And then (4) p → S believes that p and not-(S believes that no-p). This means that if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true. For Nozick, (1) is p is true and (2)_ is S believes that p. So adding his third and fourth condition for S knows that p iff, in plain English, Nozick is saying (3) if p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe that p and (4) if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true. Again … 

(i) p is true 
(ii) S believes that p is true 
(iii) If p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe p 
(iv) if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true 

Of course, since we aren’t talking about the imagination of Omniscience here, not in this context anyway, as we search for ways that human beings might really know things, as we raise the standard for what we would consider knowledge to be, we might deny that something was knowledge, or somebody really knew something if they weren’t actually tracking it. The examples from the dialog at the party explain this.  

For this reason, I consider Nozick’s Truth-Tracking Theory to be somewhat optional depending on context. What context? Let’s say we are fighting hackers who really want to check our vulnerabilities and break into our National Treasury. Did we really check everything? We create redundant systems and then we monitor them. How often? What methods do we employ? We have to verify that everything is working and no thieves are entering continually. A certain level of importance warrants a higher standard of certainty than most other types of what we would consider knowledge. Lives depend on it. An airline pilot does routine checks we would not likely perform on our automobiles. We might say we knew our car was working because we checked our tires a week ago, or that we had a scheduled maintenance just yesterday. Does that mean it works? Really? Do we know that? How do we know someone didn’t just slash our tire? We don’t know. So is it knowledge even if we know we just paid for regular maintenance yesterday? How about if you have a compulsion to jump off a building because you think you can fly? Shouldn’t we be asking whether we are dreaming? What is our epistemic responsibility? You see that context matters. It’s sort of knowledge. It’s more knowledge-like when we’ve been checking, taking every precaution. This is what Nozick is getting at. It’s actually a fairly simple concept when its intent isn’t obscured by fancy word formulations, definitions and defeating counterexamples.  

It all brings me back to the imagination of Omniscience, the ultimate Truth-Tracker, who not only sees the neighborhood of possibilities, but every conceivable possibility. That is a context that matters for Pamalogy.   

A Contextualized Super- Foundherentist Formula 

We are now ready for a final definition of knowledge. I’m not so certain I agree with Dr. Watson about Truth-Tracking being half right. Certainly, the formula is confusing. I think Nozick meant well in adding more to it than he originally had. Maybe what he meant to say was, that in nearby conditions, if the truth had been different but true, I still would have known it, or if things had been different and p wasn’t true, I would have known that too. I might even add in that if the truth had been different, no matter what it was, I would have known it, whether a proposition was true or false. None of those formulations fail to make sense for someone who simply wants a higher standard of knowledge than what we typically employ. To say that someone doesn’t know something if all these conditions aren’t true, is not to say they have no justified true belief that something either is or is not true. It is simply to say that they haven’t met Nozick’s standard for truth-tracking. And since there are multiple standards, let’s see if we can offer a contextualizing option in the theory itself. So with those thoughts, I can add this as condition (vii):

S knows that p at time t iff: 
(i) S believes that p at t. 
(ii) p is true at t. 
(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system in an unimpairing environment that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t, using conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable. 
(iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p in an appropriate way at t. 
(v) There are no significant false grounds for S’s belief in p. 
(vi) There is no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of S’s belief in p at t. 
(vii) all of the above and only all of the above, unless truth tracking or some higher standard of a definition of knowledge is expected in context, in which case: 
   viia – in a condition that was monitored, If p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe p. 
   viib – if p were true in a condition that was monitored and wasn’t farfetched, S would believe that p                   and would not disbelieve that p were true. 

   viic – in the context of an even higher standard, whether p were true or not, in a superhuman condition, the truth of p or not-p would be believed and known by that superhuman entity, even if the counterfactual subjunctive conditions were farfetched, to the extent that it would be appropriate to the relative cognitive capacities and corresponding expectations toward those superhuman entities. 

The seventh condition thus scales up gradually in terms of the standard of knowledge as S changes context, both as to the environment of S and the increasingly capable cognitive types of entities S might be, as to how they might be designed with the capability of aiming at the truth. The scale of expectations for knowledge keep increasing until the expectations one might have toward an Omniscient being with the capacity to imagine all actual and imaginable possibilities is the subject, S.  

You can see, then, that I’ve dropped the Truth-Tracking expectation for human beings. We can say that a woman looking out the window at just the right time to see a mugging, just because she is stretching, not because she is monitoring, both does and does not know that a mugging has taken place. Her sensory perception is all that is required in one context for the meaning of knowledge, but not another. Further, her random seeing, is lucky, but her sight itself is not something lacking knowledge. Her method is seeing. And seeing is reliable. It doesn’t invalidate the formula with a counterfactual. Condemnation of the security guard for failure to watch more attentively is warranted. A higher expectation for watching regularly is expected as an epistemic responsibility. In this way, contextualized superfoundherentism trumps the counterexample of the inattentive security guard. 


General Note: What I call “Feldman,” refers to the author of the primary textbook for our Epistemology 330 course at ASU. There will be lots of references to it in this article. Rather than using the ibid. method, I’ll use an informal inline with page numbers source citation technique as I go. The plus is you won’t have to scroll up and down to see these footnotes. And since this is the web, there may be some papers, I’ll hook you up to directly. The other textbook we used I call “Huemer.” So where you see something like, (Huemer 487), what you are seeing is the page number for our primary source text. Huemer is an anthology of contemporary writings, so quotes from other authors will be found here with Huemer inline markings and page numbers. the first time they are introduced, I’ll put the reference to the article title in as a footnote.

  1. Feldman, Richard. Epistemology, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2003
  2. Haack, Susan. “A Foundherentist Theory of Empirical Justification” Epistemelogy: Contemporary Readings, ed. Huemer, Michael. Routledge London and New York, 2002, pp. 417-430.  
  3. We studied Contextualism in my Introduction to Philosophy Course with Prof. Nestor Pinillos and it struck a chord with me. Keith DeRose offered some potent examples, as I recall. “Contextualism” can be contrasted with “Invariantism.” Feldman has a few pages on it (Feldman 156-160), but we haven’t yet arrived at them in my Epistemology course at ASU with Dr. Watson. For those interested in digging deeper, here is a summary article on it in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2007, rev. 2016

The Visionary Party & BLM

Former instigator of the Ferguson riots, current associate leader in BLM, advocating the destruction of white supremacist Jesus’s in churches everywhere.

Today, I received in my feed a copy of a tweet by Shaun King, the leader of the Ferguson riots and a leader in BLM, who is now advocating the destruction of all stained glass depictions and icons of Jesus that are not black enough. Shaun’s own skin tone is white enough to have caused me to look closer to see whether he, himself, was white or black. Apparently he is mixed. And I wonder whether the actual skin tone of Jesus was more or less black than his. I don’t know.

Is the mid-tone Jesus sufficient to signify that Jesus died for all races? It’s darker than Shaun King.

If you think that destroying all European style Churches with Jesus tones below Shaun King’s own more white than black skin tone, you may be questioning whether the protests are headed in a direction we really want to take them. That’s too bad. BLM had so much good potential. With people like Shaun King at the helm, it only stands for destroying a country.

Because of the many people like Shaun King leading BLM, I am learning that the word “revolution” is not just a word describing a movement any more. It is not just a grass roots protest. It is more than a protest. It seriously violates the first amendment when it is not peaceable and it seriously violates the law, when it is not civil, when it destroys things and hurts people and when people loot. Worst of all, it creates the hatred that it claims it wants to eliminate. For those holding candles and praying, I pray with you that the light of discernment will shine in the hearts of black America, so they are no longer misled this way.

Given that there is no end to it until people like Shaun King have created a new anarchistic state in the name of the dignity of black lives, (which can and always will be held up as insufficient), it turns out that BLM is not a protest at all, though many thought that was what it was. It is a declaration of war. It is a permanent state of objection to the government itself and its rule of law in the name of overthrowing white rule. Black lives will always matter. Don’t get me wrong. Even if there was no more racism. But will the destruction ever end? No. Because Shaun King hasn’t destroyed all the churches and ended the Union yet.

If you’ve read my past blogs and peruse this web site, you will know that I am a solutions oriented person. I want to offer a better alternative. So here is an idea – let BLM become its own political party. It would win if it wasn’t led by anarchists. It has more popular support than either the Democratic or Republican Party right now. So d0 two things. First, divorce it from Antifa and the anarchists like Shaun King. Second, create a legitimate third political party. And I have a gift for BLM, because to me, black lives matter very much and I hate seeing what I’m seeing right now – as should you. Ready for the gift?

It just so happens that I have been thinking long and hard about an alternative political party for many years. Forgive me if I’m white in saying this, but I am a powerless caucasian, as white people go. I’ve never ruled over anyone and it has never been my intention to rule over that alternative political party. Even my wife and children seem to overrule me on a daily basis, so trust my sincerity in this. I am not self promoting. I am simply a visionary. I am looking for a diverse set of visionaries of all colors, ethnicities, religions, ages, genders, lifestyles and backgrounds to form a founding group.

I’ll cut to the chase. I’ve never held a political position, other than running for POTUS in 2016 against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to get what I called the Restoration Party started. What is important is not skin color or ethnicity, either mine or yours. What is important is vision. Other people need to be the operators of that vision. It’s my job to convey it. If you agree with the vision, you can have it. Let’s talk about the Restoration Party for a minute, which is the party I founded. And then I want to talk about the Visionary Party and why I gave the seven starred dolphin of the Restoration Party to the Visionary Party, to found that Visionary Party instead.

The dolphin with seven stars is now the Visionary Party mascot

You will find links on this web site to the Restoration Party Manifesto. You will see in those pages that my main concern, expressed in 2016, was corruption by the rich and powerful. I saw a deceitful military industrial , technological and media complex leading America to war after endless war. Beyond that, I saw the fundamental problem was that America was not a government of, for, and by the people. These were just fake words that politicians used to pull heart strings. I wanted this new political party to be real. I really wanted to restore government back to the people – hence the name “Restoration Party.” So, I identified several things that I thought were keeping a wealthy status quo of leaders (most of them white) in power, systemically. As I saw it, this system was leaving America as a plutocratic, oligarchical corporatocracy – long words for the fact that a few rich people (mostly white) and big corporations, have been running our government instead of we the people. It was a systemic problem that the current two party system was never going to overcome.

to Slay the Giant Monsters
Dolphins at the Florida state capitol. For we the people to slay the plutocratic, oligarchical corporatocracy, what we need is vision, and that vision will always be overrun if we attempt it through the current party system. A new political party with a better system of checks and balances is required.

I know what you are thinking. Third parties cause division and they never win elections. That is untrue. The Republican Party was created just before Abraham Lincoln was elected. The result was that over 200,000 white Americans gave their lives because they believed black lives mattered, alongside many black Americans in the Union army. Rest in peace, and may they never be forgotten. Over a million white people fought alongside them because they also believed that black lives mattered. And for Lincoln to win, a majority of white Americans must have believed that black lives mattered – enough to risk going to war over it.

To be sure, there were other reasons people fought – many soldiers were drafted and forced to fight under threat of treason, others fought because they wanted o keep the north and south united as one nation. That is why they were called the “Union” Army. This also is why voters supported the newly forming Republican Party, which simply had more power than the Abolition Party. It was a power question. A coalition was needed to win an election. Most abolitionists were aware of this, so they abandoned their own third party preference in favor of the Republican Party, which had more diverse interests.

Let’s compare this to the conditions we see right now. BLM support is greater than the support that existed for abolition. If it created a third party, it could de-politicize and define itself, choosing its alliances based on its actual values, the values of most black Americans. One of the greatest arguments for the continuation of slavery was the question of how freed slaves could survive after an emancipation. How would they get jobs? Where would they live? Who would pay them? Today, we are still struggling with these same questions but at least we don’t have a war to fight to overcome them. The remainder of the path is quite simple. Just set up the solutions in the vision, rather than continually fight for it, and then win in office. And the last battle, of course, is the end of racism. This will remain a core value of the Visionary Party I would like to bestow upon BLM activists to make this permanent, rather than a trending protest – one that doesn’t have to start burning down churches, as if that would end hate.

What is the goal of BLM? Fundamentally, the viewpoints of BLM supporters I have interviewed run in several directions. First, there are those who simply want racism to end so they are protesting. It is very straightforward. Second, there are those who want specific legal measures taken. There is a variety here. In this category, there is a strong movement to defund and even abolish the police. And in all of this there are several levels to the meaning of the word “systemic.” Clarifying meaning is important. I have explored this term in other blogs. I’ll quickly summarize here as I begin an introduction of the vision of the Visionary Party as a solution to the present dilemma.

Defining Systemic Racism

I have to preface by stating that it is other people who define what they mean by systemic racism. It isn’t me. All I can do is state what systemic racism means to the Visionary Party once the core group has worked to establish it. At that point, you will know exactly what the vision and goals of the Visionary Party are, and decide if you want to support it. My point of being concise here is to make the position of the party clear from the start so there isn’t any confusion about it later on. The initial party formation team, which will be diverse, will be in unanimous agreement about this vision. To begin the journey to a concise vision, let’s examine what it means to people when they use this term, “systemic racism.”

The first is the most simple but possibly the least concise. It is the idea that racism is built into society generally. The “system” is thought of the same same way as someone might use the term “world.” Yeah, that’s the way things are in this world. It’s a world system. It refers to the hearts and minds of people. It’s a system of sin. Racism is a sin. It’s part of the system of the devil. Racism is wired into a lot of people. We need to be aware of that. So let’s put up signs and get as much media attention as possible until people change and acknowledge that black lives matter. For many of those whose idea of “systemic racism” is simple like this, they are at a loss as to why anyone would disagree. Silence is violence. Anyone who doesn’t join BLM’s protests must be a racist. Non-participation means non-participants are the problem. It affirms itself. I talk to an average of forty people a day, mostly Afro Americans, as I drive people around the capitol building here in Tallahassee, Florida. I’ve had some great conversations with my passengers. I’ve encountered a number of protesters who’ve said this very thing as I’ve driven them to the protests.

But I digress. I need to add that this first way of thinking of systemic racism isn’t always couched in religious terms like “the world” and “satan.” Many BLM protesters are not religious. Many reject Western religion as part of the very system they oppose. That is why someone like Shaun King can actually reach many people favorably, black or white, as he suggests destroying churches. In the view of many, Western Christianity, in particular, is an oppressive product of white supremacy. Jesus is only white on stained glass because the artisans who created the stained glass did not value people of color, or the Jesus of color. It escapes their notice that the rich red, blue, green, purple and brown colors of clothes, mountains and land on the stained glass contrasted better with lighter skin complexions, or that this became an artistic genre, independent of any thought of domination by whites over blacks. But back to my point, the idea is just racism generally. Using the word “systemic” here is simply a blanket statement of fact. Racism exists.

The dolphin mascot with Rx is the prescription for America’s healing. Use the dolphin with or without the Rx to identify the Visionary Party.

The second use of this term “systemic racism” refers to institutions. If someone refers to “institutionalized racism,” this is usually synonymous with the idea of “systemic racism.” There may be an underlying feeling for the first definition above, but it generally refers to actual institutions – corporations, laws and policy.

I do believe that a Visionary Party that addresses “systemic racism” needs to make these distinctions and fully grasp what they are and then defeat them and form the proper political alliances necessary to actually make the change. This requires a win-win for all in the coalition. The current alliance is with the Democratic Party. If you took the black vote out of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party would presumably win instead. Although the Republicans have gained some of the black vote, the best bet for the majority black voice to be heard is through the Democratic Party in 2020. Not so much in 2024, if the Visionary Party rises up in that time and defeats both Democrats and Republicans. This very much can happen in the current climate, but it is never easy to beat an incumbent president. Before we discuss this, let’s look at the fundamental problems that would be classified as actually institutional.

First, there is the prison system. The prison system was privatized beginning in the Reagan years and the drug war was escalated at that time, creating a one-two punch to re-enslave black America through incarceration for possession of marijuana, various drug busts and street crimes. Some of this was violent because of gangs having territorial disputes – again, drug related. The result is many felonies. And the felonies, in turn, created a new system of second class citizenry. Trump’s “First Step” program aside, a felon still can’t vote, can’t get a job, can hardly have a family, can’t afford alimony or child support, and typically becomes a “dead beat Dad” to be despised. The word “Felon” is an “F” word similar to the “N” word. It is a denunciation of a class of people, that systemically, it is OK to hate. Fundamentally, institutionally, the prison system is a penal system rather than a remedial system. That needs to change.

Employment applications typical ask a question that will be a deal-breaker for getting a job. The classification of drug crimes as felonies has disproportionately affected minorities. The result is a type of Jim Crow second class citizenship for many black Americans. The prison system takes 70% back again.

It gets worse. When federal drug crimes occur, confiscation of property results in auctions of that property, which becomes money in law enforcement coffers. With or without the bribes that are probably reaching the corrupt city officials from prison system shareholders – city officials that are encouraging cops to have quotas, this is what is called a “system.” You can see how this is distinct from the general notion of racism and the human instinct to hate that I spoke of in definition one. And if we have two definitions, then confusion results when using the words “systemic racism.”

To separate the two definitions further, may I also point out that there is another systemic dimension – socioeconomics. When a culture is generally more poor, and has higher unemployment and is forced to live in a common community, what results is a poor neighborhood. A toxic mix of gang related territorial crime and language preferences and cultural bonding separates minority groups in poor neighborhoods. Several things happen at once here and all of it needs to be overcome. First, more robberies take place in these neighborhoods. Robberies are a form of violent crime. They often take place because when poor people are addicted to drugs, they have to steal, or suffer withdrawal. When more affluent people are addicted, they may steal also, after they’ve bottomed out as their addictions become unmanageable, but there is a greater lag. The result is that there is more violent crime in poor neighborhoods, usually drug related. This fact does not require a racist attitude to put a disproportionate number of cops into poor neighborhoods. There are several other factors – the residents are outside more often because they can’t afford central air and heat, they smoke their weed outdoors in the open so they reek. This makes discovery of crimes easier for police. Combine this with quotas for the cops to fill prison space because corrupt city officials are getting paid off, or boost budgets when confiscating goods, and whamo – it’s the perfect storm for what looks very much like racial bias on the part of police.

The whole formula for this socioeconomic condition that results in more arrests of black citizens is very much systemic under the second definition of systemic racism above. It may or may not fall under the first definition. The first definition is subjective. You have to get inside of people’s heads to verify it, especially since few people will admit to being a racist, unless they have a white hood over their head. Signs like people not protesting affirm the belief that racism exists in the minds of many and that it is rampant, so there is reason to keep protesting, reason to even justify the violence, the looting, the vandalism, maybe even a revolution in the traditional sense.

But where does all this lead us? To war? Is war what you want? Would war really help us? What are the alternatives to war? I told you, I am giving you a gift. I am offering you the Visionary Party. I am not offering it to BLM itself. I am offering it to those who see problems with BLM but wouldn’t consider withdrawing from it because of its downsides because they believe the good it accomplishes outweighs the problems it creates. These supporters recognize that violence tends to escalate, they know that somebody will have to pay for all of this damage, they understand that high unemployment will continue for blacks if businesses in black neighborhoods are afraid to open, lest there be more looting and vandalism.

When I offer the Visionary Party to BLM, I’m talking specifically about realistic supporters of BLM who understand that it has been hijacked by violent anarchists with a wider set of values that may be in conflict with their own, values they may strongly disagree with. They are advocating the destruction of churches now. Are we repeating the cultural Marxist revolution of Chairman Mao here? Karl Marx believed that religion was a mental disease. Vladimir Lenin called religion “the opium of the people.” Russian and Chinese prison systems were set up to declare anyone who was opposed to Marxist ideology was an enemy of the state. Over a hundred million people were killed. Were they all rebels against the state? Or were they merely opposed to having their churches burned down? Are you ready to support the destruction of churches that depict Jesus incorrectly? Are you ready to say that the congregants of those churches, who will most probably want to defend them and disagree with their destruction? Will you be agreeing that they are all white supremacists when some of them call on the police to protect them from vandalism, or when the National Guard has to do so? Will you blame them if some pick up guns? How would any of that heal anyone? How would it bring us closer together as a human family? If you don’t like what you see when you consider where that leads, then choose the Visionary Party. You can lead it. I’m offering it to you.

Twitter profile of Shaun King showing 1.1 Million followers. This is the man who is leading the charge to destroy churches in the name of black lives matter.
Shaun King’s Twitter profile. An anarchist who wants BLM members to start breaking stained glass windows in churches where Jesus is too white. Why do the violent dominate social influence? Is there another way? Should those who believe that black lives matter be led to the riots he organizes? The Visionary Party has been offered to the BLM movement to solve this problem. Black lives matter so much that we need to distance ourselves from the violent before we all have nothing but hate. Violence is cyclical and it escalates. The only way to succeed is through a separate political party that wins. Join us.

I would like the Visionary Party to be pragmatic and realistic. I want it to win elections. The opposite of pragmatism is “idealism.” Ideally, we could fully eradicate racism not just in our institutions, but even in our hearts and minds. Practically speaking, however, we all know this is not going to happen any time soon. In fact, if what I’m seeing in my newsfeed is any measure, racism seems to be on the increase rather than the decrease since the riots started. Worse, I think it could be reasonably argued that civil unrest is likely to piss people off. As I stated, this is starting to look more like civil war than a protest – a “revolution” in the traditional sense of that word. It is not rhetorical. And that means the government will weaponize. And its guns are bigger than those of the protesters. I strongly suspect that this is precisely what a person like Shaun King actually wants. He wants war. He may get it.

This brings me to a third type of “system.” It is the twin sister of systemic racism. It is the historical sociological system of systemic violence. Violence begets violence. Violence typically escalates. It’s like a pandemic. Fortunately, I have the antidote. In order to end violence, it is necessary to withdraw from battle at some point. But if there are those who profit from that violence, influencers like Shaun King, then that violence is guaranteed to continue, despite the cries of many saying “enough is enough” after the bloodshed of their friends, neighbors and family, hits home. How can this be confronted? By withdrawing from alliances with those influencers.

Who are those influencers? Well, unfortunately, it is certain members of the Democratic Party and the media who would like to see the American experiment end and turn into a Socialist experiment instead. There are many good reasons why they would want this. But at the heart of it, it is the fact that Marxist Communism and Socialism have long infiltrated and are now starting to dominate the ranks of the Democratic Party as it radicalizes. This is why people like Shaun King are in power over BLM. And he is not the only one. BLM is to some limited extent a pawn of Marxists, and to a larger extent of the Democratic Party. The Marxists want workers to take over the means of production, with America being altogether overthrown in an actual revolution. The Democrats just want to have their power back.

Fortunately, I have a gift to offer on this front too. Let’s talk not just about the Visionary Party, which I want to give to the right people in BLM, but about the HAND System. I want to give this away too. I think the HAND System should be part of the vision of the Visionary Party. It solves the problem of Marxism, Socialism and Capitalism. If you really think the problem is “systemic,” (I know I sure do), then let’s look at these prevailing systems and compare them with the HAND System, which is part of a vision that I outlined in the Restoration Party Manifesto, as I wrote it.

The HAND System

The HAND System is an acronym. It stands for Human Availability and Needs Database System. It is neither Communism, nor Socialism, nor Capitalism. It is an entirely different economic and socioeconomic paradigm and no revolution is required to get it started. It is a fairly elaborate system, with certain checks and balances that can be slowly introduced through a network of voluntary participants. It is vastly different than any other system. There are some new concepts here so it takes a little time to fully absorb it. I will describe how to transition into it peacefully below, as well, and how it would fit in with the Visionary Party over time, and why it is the only way to achieve free health care, free education, save the environment, end homelessness and hunger and solve a host of other problems we now face, not just systemic racism.

The HAND System has two main features – (1) a single database that handles voting, shopping, accounting and job hunting and (2) a unique currency that replaces all other currencies – privilege. Privilege is earned. These work together. Here’s how it works. First, you log into a computer and pick a job out of the database. You can do practically any type of work that you want and you are far more likely to be hired for that job if you are qualified than you would be searching for a job in the current Capitalist system. This is because the employer does not have to pay you in dollars. They pay you in privilege and they never run out of privilege to pay you with.

This leads to the question “where does privilege come from?” Privilege comes from you – the voter. Voters determine what products and services are in high demand by telling the system what they need and want. Supply and demand are determined by voter request into the system. If we need more hot dogs, we get more workers making and distributing hot dogs. Need more heart surgeons? We get more. But who wants to be a heart surgeon when they can be a hip hop artist? Everyone wants to be a hip hop artist full time. Right? Well, there is a thing called algorithms and quality control factors and variations, all of which is controlled by you, the voter. So not everyone becomes a hip hop artist and we get enough qualified heart surgeons.

Flow Chart for Prestige Building
The technical term for the HAND System is “incentivized asynalagonomy.” Since this is more than a mouthful, we can just call it the “HAND System” – you can see from this chart that the Human Availability and Needs Database is at the heart of it. This flow chart shows how to build prestige (privilege) in order to obtain property, goods and services. You can see that it factors in quality, longevity, demand and social security. This is a simplified version. It also cares for the disabled and infirm.

So let’s take these two examples. What is the actual demand for rappers? The actual demand is for great rappers, not just any old rapper. So the QC factor for rappers has a very wide setting. Anyone can be a rapper, but the general pay for a rapper is set to the bottom of the scale. A person who decides to be a rapper can try it out and they get paid one of the lower privilege rates on the job scale. Let’s say the scale is from 1-100 and a rapper gets a 2/100. The people vote to determine that the QC factor can go up to 80. That means a rapper could earn a privilege of up to 82, if they were absolutely the best among all rappers. If the voters thought great rappers deserved even more, then they could determine it.

Before getting into heart surgeons, let’s see how the currency of privilege works. It isn’t spent. Privilege is a right. It is exercised. There is only one type of “transaction” in the HAND System. It is all on the earning side. You trade the work you do for the privilege you get. After that, your privilege is your right to exercise. When you go to a store, you don’t give away your privilege in exchange for goods or services. You have a right to obtain things so long as your privilege factor qualifies for it. The voters determine what privilege factors qualify for which types of goods and services. Privilege earns you prestige. Prestige is an earned set of rights. The government is by, for and of the people, the voters, who determine what level of privileges ought to belong to the various levels of prestige that is earned.

The Human Availability & Needs Database System (HAND System) is more than a name. It is a superior socieconomic system. It is a better alternative than Capitalism, Socialism or Communism. When we speak of a systemic problem, the most fundamental systemic problem is the weakness of each of these other systems. The HAND System overcomes all of their weaknesses and brings none of their baggage. There is no better way to introduce it than through the Visionary Party right now.

As you might guess, a heart surgeon would be highly valued by voters and deserves a certain level of prestige and concurrent privileges. Heart surgeons would likely receive a bottom privilege rate that was very high, say 70, with a QC factor of something like a 10 or 15. The best heart surgeon and the best rapper could earn about the same amount of privilege if that was what the voters wanted. If you disagree, then you would be able to vote for something else. These are just examples. You can see, though, that both have an incentive to work and do a great job. The heart surgeon, will of course, need an education that the rapper would not need. More heart surgeons who got that education would succeed than rappers, who are mostly not that good, so they might choose other professions where they could earn more privilege and enjoy greater prestige.

Medical educators would therefore be highly valued in this too, because they would be vital. And as I said, education would be free. No privilege would be required to receive education. However, to be either a heart surgeon or an educator, one would have to pass various tests and could not have a history of malpractice. The educational system itself would still have prerequisites. The difference is there is no student debt or cost to any of it. All one needs is time. And if a person takes time to get an education, that is time they won’t be able to work and earn privilege. But the playing field is entirely even. Anyone can get an education who takes the time. No one has an advantage over anyone else because of their affluence.

I won’t go into great detail about the HAND System here. I have links about it on the menu of this web site. I do need to offer a brief picture though, and then describe how we would transition into it without violence or overthrow and how the HAND System fits into the Visionary Party vision, as I’m seeing it.

First, look at the sub-title of the Restoration Party Manifesto. It refers to “pre” and “post” apocalyptic alternatives. We can either develop the HAND System now, or we can try it later, after life is utterly miserable for everyone. It is easy to say that a system like this is impractical because it lacks popular support. Nobody knows about it yet. Of course. But look at how fast BLM came into prominence. It formed over several years. Igniting it required only a single video, making it go viral, and then everything changed. If the same BLM protesters took up the mantle of the Visionary Party and became a formidable permanent force, sans the violence, the HAND System could become a part of it just as rapidly. The right BLM protesters could embrace a larger vision that addressed not just the first definition of systemic racism, but also the types of institutional racism that I also identified under the second definition. I can’t help but seeing Capitalism itself, and its arch-nemesis, Socialism, as underlying the systemic problem as a whole. Take away the financial incentives for politicians, to confiscate property and to enslave prisoners, and only then are we free of the system.

Contrast this with the Marxist solution, which is to continually rely on class struggle for survival, pitting employers against employees, on the one hand, and race against race on the other, until war breaks out and whole governments can be overthrown. Marxists don’t want peace. Their goal is to overthrow a country. They need war to accomplish this, which begins with grass roots discontent boiling over into violence – much of what we are currently seeing. The HAND System, by contrast, is just a web site. Anyone who wants to participate, just registers on the site. When there are enough participants who’ve signed up to make a small economy work in any location, they opt out of the other monetary systems and form HAND System associations. So let’s talk about the transition to the HAND System for a moment.

How Transitions Work

One reason Marxism always means war is that the ownership class must be overthrown. Soft Marxism is Democratic Socialism. This may be voted in, but it always involves the resistance of the owner class to higher taxes, which essentially amounts to a confiscation of their property and assets. Whether large corporations or wealthy individuals who own shares in them, no one wants to lose their wealth. The result is war or struggle of some sort. Now multi-billionaires come in a variety of shapes and sizes here. Some are more progressive. Most progressive billionaires have found tax shelters and calculated how much higher taxes will affect them in the long and short term. None of them has voluntarily forfeited seventy percent of their wealth to the IRS because they believe the US government would better know how to spend their money than they would. Not even Bernie Sanders has done that. They would impose a tax rate like that on others only if they themselves were exempt. Take it to the bank. The struggle is real. There are no exceptions.

The HAND System transition plan does not involve overthrow. It involves invitation. And it allows wealthy people to keep everything they have. Nothing is ever confiscated from them. And when an entire state or nation decides to covert to the HAND System, they don’t even have to pay taxes any more because there is no longer such a thing as taxes. In lieu of contributing time and talent to the HAND System, a very wealthy person may choose to offer some of their property. This boosts the resource availability in the system, which is something the voters like and would want to reward.

You can see from the chart above that there are two types of resources – limited and renewable. Resource management is one very important job in the system. The job of those on resource management teams is to make sure that there is always enough stuff to meet demand and to identify non-renewable resources that need to be protected from consumption.

A coalition involves the combined interests of several different groups with differing perspectives, coming together and helping one another achieve complimentary goals. The Republicans were primarily interested in preserving the Republic. The Democrats wanted power to keep the slave trade active and were willing to divide the country , creating a confederation of states, so they could do it. The Abolition Party would not have succeeded if they had idealistically refused to join forces with the Republicans. Because most abolitionists joined the Republican Party, a successful third political party was formed. Successful third parties normally begin as coalitions.

The very wealthy may be extremely helpful to HAND System communities by offering vital resources. Wealthy people are therefore invited and grandfathered in. If they choose to work and earn more privilege, then they can, but if they are independently wealthy now, they would probably be independently wealthy as volunteers in the HAND System. In other words, they wouldn’t have to work if they didn’t want to. They don’t have to contribute their assets either and their assets are protected. Private property is a protected right in the HAND System. So the wealthy can just enjoy their property or they cab contribute portions of it if they choose not to work. Basically, their lives are unaffected, normally enriched by the HAND System. So … Marxist way – cease their assets, probably kill them or put them in jail in the process … HAND System way, invite them to participate peacefully and let them keep everything they have, land and all.

The only difference, is that the wealthy can’t trade their assets internally within HAND System communities. There is no trade in the HAND System except the one trade on the job – quality work for privilege. There may be trade outside of the HAND System, but not within it. Naturally, this means there must be protections in place to make sure that none of the goods and services received by those who have earned privilege, are sold outside of the community. Otherwise, the community will drain. To prevent this, any goods and services either contributed to the community or produced by them, cannot be traded. They can only be distributed to members who have qualifying levels of privilege. Violators loose privilege and may be jailed or banned.

To fully understand this, it is necessary to see how prestige works with privilege. Privilege is what is exercised. Prestige is akin to a class. Prestige is earned. Privilege is the exercise of that prestige. That is why the two words are somewhat interchangeable. As an example, a Prestige factor of 10, may allow a person to have one compact car, a cheap bicycle, and a small townhome in an inner city. Some people might be content with this. It probably won’t require much to earn a Prestige level of 10. That person would have the right to go to any 10 and below factor store and pick up 10 and below factor stuff. They can eat at 10 and below factor restaurants and pick up 10 and below factor fast food. They lack the earned Prestige to do more. They will be able to go to entertainment venues and vacations less frequently and in fewer places than people with 20 factors and so on. Laws exist against hoarding and against trade. Violators lose prestige, hence privilege, so you don’t want to break the law by hoarding or trading.

Really there is no need to hoard. You will always be able to go pick up what you need to live on. Why crowd your dwelling with stuff, when you can shop and pick up stuff as needed? As for trade, if there is nothing you can’t pick up at the store by exercising your rights, then trade is simply unnecessary. If you want more stuff than what you currently have, just earn a higher privilege. You can’t trade to get it but you can work to get it. Some things you can’t have at all. This is akin to not being able to buy things you can’t afford. If you do possess something that is greater than what your privilege level allows, then you must have acquired it prior to the transition. You can either keep it, or you can contribute it to the resource base. In doing so, this earns you prestige so you can exercise your privilege at a higher rate. In essence, you can trade to the system if you really want to trade the old Capitalist way. You just don’t conduct your trade directly with other members in the system because doing so is subversive to the social economy. If you want a nice house on the shore, shoreline properties are limited. You’ll have to either own that house before joining the HAND System or earn it through high prestige.

Why the HAND System Works Better

Now that I’ve described how the HAND System works in itself, I should take a moment to explain why this system works more effectively than our present Capitalist system and why it works better than any Socialist or Communist system.

It boils down to the difference between direct and indirect benefits. A direct benefit is something that you can enjoy directly – a hot bath, a juicy strawberry, a ride at a fair, a nice new sports coat. An indirect benefit is something that only serves as some potential for enjoying a direct benefit. Capitalism is filled with such things. Primarily this is money. We work to get money, not because money directly benefits us, but because indirectly, when we are ready to enjoy something, it allows us to have the privilege of enjoying whatever that money can buy. Similarly, let’s say we buy a ticket to a game. The ticket itself is not the enjoyment of the game. It is an indirect benefit. It is not direct. Watching the game is the direct benefit.

The reason the HAND System is superior to Capitalism is that 19 of 20 jobs provide indirect benefits rather than direct benefits. The HAND System repurposes human work to direct benefits, thereby making its economy 19 to 20 times more productive. You may wonder where I get these numbers. It comes from studying the square footage of office space in various cities. For the most part, offices do not produce direct benefits. Only restaurants, theaters, arenas and industrial plants, production studios and development firms do. And when it comes to software development, which can be done in offices, only entertainment is a direct benefit.

Other work like architecture can be done in offices too. Obviously, there are exceptions. We might consider social networking and news as direct benefits, but exclude things like money management. Some software development produces direct benefit and some software development doesn’t. The HAND System does not convert every single job to a direct benefit job. As software, it produces only an indirect benefit itself, except to the extent that it may be entertaining.

The HAND System is highly efficient though. And it solves our systemic problems – because it renders unnecessary industries like insurance, advertising, stock and bond trading, banking, accounting and so much more. Anyone who works in any of these industries, and most people do, can learn a new trade, producing something that is of direct benefit to consumers. In and of themselves, these types of jobs only benefit people if Capitalism is a reality. Capitalism is not a reality in HAND System communities. Almost every job produces direct tangible benefit to consumers by either making things or delivering them. That is why it works. And when automation kicks in, the replacement of human jobs is not a problem. We can have more stuff at that point without having to work so hard. Job replacement in a high tech age is a good thing rather than a threat. Imagine a life in which you never had to worry about losing the roof over your head, or wondering if you could keep the lights on, the water running and food in the refrigerator. Your car could never be repossessed and repairs and maintenance would come with it.

Transition in the Visionary Party

A Visionary Party does not have to incorporate the HAND System. Like many of my visionary ideas, the HAND System is way ahead of its time. What I’d like to do here, is begin to outline what the Visionary Party would be in terms of an initial landscape, given our current condition. I want to discuss the values of the party. And then talk about implementation. How far away are we?

When we speak of systemic problems such as a private prison industry and drug trade, I see no difference between how far away we may be from changing that than I do transitioning to the HAND System. None of these goals can be achieved immediately. All of these goals are worthy of inclusion in our vision. More importantly, there is literally no way to actually address the fundamental problem in systemic racism without addressing the fundamental problem with the system as a whole, which is Capitalism. There is a historical dialectic between Marxism and Capitalism that is continually manifesting itself in class struggle and oppression. No vision is worthy of pursuing that does not root out the most fundamental problem of all. Capitalism is flawed. Marxism is ruining it. The HAND System solves the problem. Plain and simple. We will not have a fixed systemic problem without it.

Still, we do have to take things one day at a time. This is why the HAND System is just a web site, hoping for enough people to sign up to put whole economies together with. The more participants, the more resources. It will happen when it happens. In the meantime, we should discuss all of the values, and the entirety of the vision. So far, I’ve only addressed systemic problems. I also spoke of the need for a coalition. What coalition?

Well, I don’t mean aligning with either the Democratic or Republican Party. I mean asking BLM members who don’t want violence to be part of their modus operandi to distance themselves from the Democratic Party and its Marxism, as well as from the Republican Party and its Libertarianism. The Visionary Party is not a middle ground. It is a place of peace and visionary value, where members can believe in things they all agree on and hold a common vision for a better future. It can be created in such a fashion that its goals are clear and it is internally protected from abuse through intelligently designed nomination processes that vet bad players. It can stop wolves from entering in sheep’s clothing the way we now see two party system doing, with its media partners and the giant war mongers, corporations and the plutocrats that they both sleep with to create a power structure that serves the few and uses the many. I believe that a well designed political party can put all the necessary preventative measures into place so that never happens. I think Visionary Party members can win an election the very same way that the Republican Party formed a new third political party and won the presidency under Abraham Lincoln. I think that the Visionary Party can become a lasting formidable party even as the Republican Party did, lasting centuries.

So where is all this today? It stands as an invitation. I have set aside the VisionParty.US domain to update the public on what we are doing. I have created a private Facebook Group for leaders to discuss that set of values before publishing that web site. Click the link above to join that group. That black lives matter is a certain part of its vision. That it disapproves of violent protest is a second part of it. That it sees systemic problems as standing in the path of justice, this also is a part of it. Civil rights generally for all identities will be part of it. We will create a Visionary Party mission statement and manifesto and will spell it all out. We will design a comprehensive program that addresses everything from Congressional term limits to voting reform, tax policy, lobbyist corruption, environmental policy, dovish yet ready national defense, protection of the right to opinion and freedom of speech and more. I offered many ideas in the Restoration Party Manifesto. Once we come to agreement as to all that the Visionary Party must stand for, we will go public with it and recruit supporters. A coalition means putting a diverse set of minds together. It is a Party. It is not an imposition of ideas. And I am not its leader. I am simply a person with ideas who cares. I am a visionary. I know the change I want to see. I know that it is achievable. I promise you that, although it involves much work, it is achievable.

The Essence of Coalitions

So that’s the idea. This is an open invitation. Come one. Come many. Second, let’s look at what we are doing and who all we’re inviting. The violent are not welcome. That’s for sure. And this is not the Democratic Party. Certainly, we are not climate change deniers seeking to sustain an antiquated fossil fuel industry. How tolerant and supportive of LBGQT concerns is the black community? Personally, I’m neither black nor LBGQT, but I care about people. I don’t see the Visionary Party as being specifically one religion or another. But many African Americans are fundamentalist Christians. Many are against abortion. How would a Visionary Party stand up for LBGQT rights?

Are there any areas where LBGQT activism goes too far? I haven’t seen it get violent. Some are worried about a slippery slope. They are concerned about people marrying animals, about polygamy and about pedophelia becoming a legal and protected right through organizations such as NAMBLA. Others are concerned about religious institutions being forced to accept values that they believe their Bibles and traditions are clear about. My own view, for what it is worth, is to live and let live, on the one hand, and protect religious liberty, on the other. You can’t tell me how I have to live. I can’t tell you what you have to believe. This means backing off, to some extent, on what constitutes “hate speech.” But what in comes to activities involving more than one person, this is where the line could be drawn. Therefore, rape is not a right. It violates the will of one of the people. Pedophelia is not a right. It violates the adult will of a child.

Maybe you can see where I’m going with this. It is possible to create well defined perimeters to what a political party allows and supports from the start. The Democratic Party has no such perimeter. If NAMBLA grows, it may well one day be advocating for child molestation rights as a lifestyle.

The abortion debate is also something that must be addressed as a party starts. Such things can’t be afterthoughts. I have many thoughts on this issue, including some creative ideas, that I won’t go into in this article. Suffice it to say here that, as I conceived of it, the Visionary Party would transcend progressivism and conservatism, on the one hand, and have a clear purpose and list of priorities, on the other. Women’s health and career challenges take on a very different flavor in HAND System communities. No one gets lost in a security net. There is little crisis in any pregnancy. Furthermore, there is no more profit in performing abortions. As a whole, I would suggest then that a variety of views on abortion would be acceptable in the Visionary Party. It will not aggressively pursue either the advocacy for further abortion rights, or against it. Neither does it look for a middle ground. Individual Visionary Party candidates can be either pro-choice or anti-abortion. This is actually a necessary condition of what the Visionary Party needs to be. It is a matter of fundamentals. Lobbies and industries are systems of influence. The Visionary Party can’t be controlled by them. It is our core function to root out systemic problems. The Visionary Party can’t have an organization like Planned Parenthood or a Gun Lobby, or an insurance industry or Google, Twitter and Facebook, funding us. We will not be anyone’s puppet.

Positioning on Issues

Seeing then that this is not a coalition with women’s rights advocates, nor with anti-abortion advocates, nor is it advocating a middle ground, what would we have left? And who will support us? What we have left is creative solutions to problems and win-win situations. This is not a moderate compromise solution. The left and right always appeal to the middle after their primaries. To position in the middle is suicide for a third political party because only real power is respected by voters in general elections in the current electoral system. However, when the value is the divorce from extremist lobbies, this becomes a tangible vision worth promoting in itself. It is something that neither Republicans nor Democrats can embrace in a general election. Furthermore, both political parties are thoroughly corrupt and aligned with specific media right now. We don’t have to do this because I have a solution for this too.

More gifts. Get ready!

The Visionary Party can BE the emerging media. I have already purchased a number of domains that were selected for this purpose. Facebook, Twitter and Google can all be replaced with our media. We can also buy satelites and broadcast with enough support. Being positioned away from lobbies would make our news genuinely independent. The nice thing about this is that coalition forming and overall goals can be quite sweetly positioned using the “Z Axis” as a more reliable fact checking system than what any of the present networks are offering. I wrote extensively about the Z Axis in The Restoration Party Manifesto. I will summarize briefly here.

The Z Axis as the Definitive Value Perimeter

I am personally no Libertarian. While, I generally support economic freedom and less regulation for a stronger economy so long as we are under Capitalism, Libertarianism, to me, is both socially and environmentally irresponsible because by intent, it is a self-defined slippery slope. There is a place for government control. The private prison system is an example of why Libertarianism fails. So is global warming. But one thing I do like about the Libertarians, is they invented something called the “Y Axis.” Here’s how it works.

The Libertarians have created tests that you can take online to see where you fall on the X axis and on the Y axis. The X axis is something you are probably already familiar with. On the left side of the spectrum, you have increasingly progressive values until you get to the radical extremism of militant Marxism and the type of anti-white supremacy of a Shaun King, who would obliterate all things even reminding him of a white dominant culture. He is the new Chairman Mao. On the right side of the X axis is conservative values. Free markets. Strong defense. Less welfare and government support for the underclass. Anti-abortion. Less restriction on guns. On the extreme right are conspiracy theorists, militias, gay bashers and the KKK. You might find some of these same extremists on the far left. They are not all Democrats or Republicans. They might be something else entirely. Good arguments can be made that fascism is as much a far left phenomenon as it is a far right phenomenon. I won’t go into it here. I just want you to know what the X axis is. Got it?

The Y axis is where Libertarianism kicks in. Libertarians can agree with Democrats or with Republicans. They find themselves always compromising. On moral issues, the Republicans want restrictions. On economic issues the Democrats want restrictions. What Libertarians want is no restrictions. They want freedom from regulation and freedom to engage in commerce and freedom to live as they want. On the negative side of the Y axis is restriction and government control. On the positive side is freedom. Wherever they may be on the X axis, a Libertarian is somewhere on the positive side of the Y axis. The higher up, the more extreme in their Libertarian attitudes. I don’t think there is any militant Libertarianism, but there is some idealistic Libertarianism at the extreme, which in its opposition to government, crosses the borderline into anarchism. Should people be free to tear down statues they don’t like and burn down churches? Should they be free to injure one another? A person doesn’t have to be a moderate to oppose extremism on either the X or the Y axis.

Then finally we come to the Z axis. The Z axis is about who is actually controlling things. On the negative side of the Z axis is who is currently running the show – very rich people, unelected government insiders using their positions as weapons against elected officials to control them, large corporations and their shareholders, the media, lobbies, huge tech companies, military and industrial profiteers destroying the environment and making sure we are always at war so they can sell their weapons to both sides, clean up companies like Halliburton, the mafia, drug dealers, especially pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, banks, traders and law firms representing their and other special interests, etc. Basically, this can be summed up with words like “plutocracy,” which is rule by the wealthy, “oligarchy,” which is rule by the few, and “corporatocracy,” which is rule by corporations. All of this, and all of the disgusting stench of corruption that goes with it, exists on the negative side of the Z axis. On the positive side of the Z axis is its opposite – rule by we the people.

Visionary Z Axis Media

I’m sure you will agree that the Z axis is a value that almost every American would agree with. The Democrat and Republican Parties have been promising forever that they would get rid of corruption. And their respective media, Fox on the right, and just about every other outlet on the left, have been attempting to portray the other side as corrupt. They want you to hate on their opponent so they slant the news to demonize any opposition in every way possible, 24 hours a day. Viewers, are expected to listen to both sides and decide for themselves and mostly wind up comforting themselves with the news sources they trust most. Now that you are attuned to what it is, you will see that the Z axis is at the top of the news almost on a daily basis. The problem is that it is skewed and it isn’t identified as such. When Donald Trump ran with the chant “drain the swamp” he was addressing the Z axis. Unfortunately, it looks like he merely sank into it.

Having a healthy start with an expressed set of values, as I am outlining in all of the above, the Visionary Party could be entirely unabashed about having its own media channels. Therefore, take a look at the “Bucket List” on the main page of this web site. This list includes several news web site names. All of them, and more, would be developed, draw large audiences, and be controlled by the Visionary Party, quite simply. These news sources, not being controlled either by Democrats or Republicans, not being controlled by lobby groups, offering fair fact checking that’s not skewed by these groups, ought to be considered fair and balanced and having the public’s true interest in mind as it reports because the Visionary Party has a simple mission, to make the world a better place for everyone – the very same mission that a good journalistic organization actually ought to have. There is every reason to believe, that if handled right, these sources would become the world’s new trusted news sources for that reason.

Timing and Implementation

I mentioned above that the 2020 election cycle will be missed. If a Democrat is elected in 2020, which I think is likely, this will put a Visionary Party on hold because I suspect that a lot of our supporters would be Democrats in a choose the worst of two evils choice. Strategically speaking, I think it is fair and practical to seek to place Visionary Party y candidates into local offices throughout the country by 2022. If we are well positioned with Visionary name by 2023 because of this, then in 2024, we might be positioned to dominate. It can happen that quickly, even faster.

Or it can happen more slowly. One thing is certain. It can happen and it should happen. If you want it to, you should share. I’m not going to suggest who you should vote for in 2020. There is only one political party I believe in – the Visionary Party. We need to get this party started.

Systemic Cause

Mutual Angelification

Solutions Mentality

If you have read Eden Road, then you know that I have always been a problem solver. This is an all too rare trait. The majority complain when they see problems. I might complain a little, but I don’t feel right about complaining without offering specific solutions. Maybe there is some merit to the “somebody do something” type of complaint. But for me, I have a long list of solutions that I’m working on already, so I know my own time is best spent not complaining about yet more problems, but on working on one or more of the solutions I’ve come up with. Does that not apply to you? Maybe it should. As a rule, I would like to execute each of my solutions but have only one lifetime, so I have to carefully choose which problems I try to solve.

One problem that has increasingly challenged me, is how to repair friendships that have been damaged over emotionally charged political issues in the age of social network communication. I have grave differences of opinion with many of the people that I love, even my own children and my wife. I’ve finally figured out a way to solve this problem so I think it is worth offering up a blog post about it, and then to ask you to share it, maybe put some advertising dollars under it. This is not a political post. It is a way to get your friends back, and maybe family members too. It will be worth your time to read it and theirs.

Stage One: Mutual Angelification

I will present this solution as a process tree. The first step is the practice of de-demonization. The opposite of a bad witch is a good witch. The opposite of a demon is an angel – a holy one. Now nobody is perfect, but we can all practice something simple – looking for the good in other people. And that would be a great daily practice, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about here is emotionally charged political issues that are dividing people. What I will call “Mutual Angelification” is to de-demonize any person you see specifically when you realize that they disagree with your solution to the world’s problems, or if you believe somehow that they don’t care about your cause. I am going to use the history of the Black Lives Matter experience and reactions to the murder of #GeorgeFloyd here as an example of how this works.

Let’s break up Mutual Angelification into three steps – Reflect, Mirror and Enter.

Step one in Mutual Angelification is to reflect. Picture someone in your mind that you have been very angry with because of a political issue, who disagrees with you. Now picture a world in which that same person agrees with you and works side by side with you to solve this problem the way that you think it should be solved. This is the first step in Mutual Angelification. You must be able to recapture some image in your mind in which that person is your friend again. Reflection brings hope of restoration. Picture them smiling in your mind with you. If you don’t take this step, you can’t complete this exercise. You need to give them a chance. So start with imagining them on your side of the issue. You would actually be very proud of them that way. Right? Now, truth is, that this issue is so important to you that you’ve been willing to give up your friendship with them. You’ve made a choice, maybe in a heated moment and it was a choice you regret. If only you could have kept your mouth shut, you think to yourself, but inwardly, that wouldn’t be fair. Expressing your opinion was important. You were not bad for losing your friend. You were justified because of the cause. Right? So sad, but it is part of the price you pay. It’s that important.

Step two in Mutual Angelification is to mirror. Notice I haven’t brought up any actual issues so far, other than to reference BLM. What I’ve said applies perfectly to both sides for those friends lost who either won’t support or do support BLM. So next, imagine how that friend feels about your lost relationship. You can’t imagine supporting their cause, but you know that you are not a demon any more than they are. Allow yourself to pretend for a moment, that they are actually just like you. The real demons in this world are those who create or maintain problems that divide people without any solutions. Wouldn’t you say? You imagine that they are creating or maintaining a problem, so you have demonized them, but if you care about restoring a friendship, you will have to allow yourself to picture them as just as regretful as you are about that nasty conversation you had with them before you blocked them from your feed. To mirror, is to realize that we have a lot in common as human beings. People are both bad and good inside. They are. You are. Picture their regret at the loss of your friendship. Picture them saying they are sorry. Picture yourself saying you are sorry. Look through that two-way mirror. That mirror allows you to love them again. Then when they look in that same mirror, they have allowed themselves to love you again too, and feel the same sorrow at the loss of your friendship, wishing they could have it back. To mirror is to realize that you have some seriously important traits in common. You want them to respect you. They want the same. Nobody likes losing friends or family. Don’t wait for their apology. Just imagine them being like you, caring about your friendship and having regrets. Apologies can come later. Can you believe they hurt for your lost relationship? Of course, you can!

Step Three in Mutual Angelification is to enter. Enter into a world that is different than your own. This will require active listening and it’s the hardest step because very few of us have the patience to practice it. The result of it is respectful and genuine understanding and mutual appreciation. It may not change your opinion about how to end systemic abuse but it will heal a torn relationship with a friend, child, parent, cousin, aunt, uncle, in-law, co-worker, etc., assuming this matters to you and would be worth the effort. Understand in this that I am not talking about entering into lengthy dialog with every one of these people. I am talking about seeking to better understand their perspective on the issue that divided you. I’ll explain below as breaking down active listening is the next block in this process tree. If we take something like BLM, which had the purpose of bringing attention to the need for real healing between people and the end of the systemic causes and what maintains the system needing change, then let me bring attention to this one critical part of the system – the fact that we need to change certain bad habits, particularly our failure to actively listen. The choice is clear. Let it be a shouting match, or start listening and being friends again through mutual respect. Your friends are not demons. They are angels, or they could be. You can help them become angels. This really is not impossible. I’m about to show you how.

Stage Two: Leadership Listening

It’s always easy to talk about listening. Doing it – not so much. We try the same old way and get the same old results all the time, so obviously, we need to try something different. So I came up with a new type of listening that I call “leadership listening.”

Leadership listening has several components. My analysis of great leaders, which I have learned through my courses in organizational leadership and integrative studies, helped me clarify these components. I’ll call them “components” rather than “steps” because there is a bit of a dance in this part of the process tree. And what you want to do is build up each component, like you would filling up your fuel tank.

The first component in the Leadership Listening stage is to assess. Assess first the value of your relationship itself. How much do you care about the person you’ve lost? A lot. Right? Sometimes you may feel ready to give up. Sometimes you may feel the issue is more important than the person. Assess this. What do you really want? Both your relationship and the issue are important. By assessing the value of your loved one, isolated from your assessment of the importance of the issue, you will conclude that both are equally valuable to you – not one or the other. And while there may be voices that tell you to get rid of the toxicity and negativity from your life, this person may not have to be toxic to you. In fact, they may be part of an intellectual and emotional growth spurt for you as you mature, if you learn and practice Leadership Listening. So give this a try. Assessment also involves your assessment of the nature of the problem itself. You need to enter into an information gathering stage before you can fully assess the area of disagreement you have. This second part of assessment may be the most difficult part for you because it will ask you to add some nuance to your strong position. You won’t have to change sides but you will have to gain a little wisdom. Are you up for that?

The second component in Leadership Listening is to dance. When I say “dance,” I mean pay attention to your partner. Lead and follow. Wait. Don’t step on toes. Sometimes in dancing, we have to back off and wait. Rhythm matters and it’s a two person dance. So what am I talking about? Leaders listen patiently. When your loved one fails to participate in listening, you go first. You lead. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that since they’re not listening you that you shouldn’t be expected to either. They won’t start listening until you show them how. Show them how to listen. That is what leaders do. Lead by example. It may take them months to follow, but if you value them, you need to lead for months if necessary. Lead the dance. There are two major pluses about this component. First, you don’t have to have all the answers to do it. So anybody can dance. You’re just listening and maybe learning something new. Second, it is the fastest path to restoring your relationship. Listening fosters respect. It doesn’t happen immediately. There may be grudges, resentments, unforgiveness, strong feelings on their side getting in the way. Be patient with your dance partner. Give it as much time as it takes – even years. Leadership Listening is unconditional. There is only one way it works. It’s you doing your part and not stopping. The dance does not stop. Go with it.

The third component in Leadership Listening is to repeat. You may already be familiar with this component. A person knows you are listening if you repeat back to them what they’ve said in your own words, asking if that is correct. Now if you still disagree with them after repeating back to them everything that they’ve said, clarifying their meaning along the way, what will that do to them? It will make them curious about why you still disagree. You might ask them whether there is more? In the case of BLM, a supporter might offer numerous examples of racist activity and discrimination by police and in work places, in stores and talk about arrests that were unfair and unnecessarily violent. That list of examples may be endless. Absorb it all. You are listening. Keep leading by asking more and more and repeating as much as you can so that your understanding includes everything they have to say. Can this do anything but make them feel understood, valued and respected? Won’t they appreciate that you genuinely care? You are regaining your friendship and your respect. Your genuine inquiry will disarm them – if it is genuine. Make it so. This is important. Even so, you totally do not have to agree with their position in doing this. Just listen – actively, clarifying and rewording what they’ve said, showing them you care about what they see. You are by their side. You are not in their face attempting to change their mind. It is not your goal to control. It is your goal to learn. Repeating what they say in your own words so they know you’ve listened, helps you learn, and restores faith.

The fourth component in Leadership Listening is to fragment. You want to break down the problem into small parts before working on the whole problem. They say the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. I”m a vegetarian and an animal lover so I hate this metaphor, but the point is that huge problems can be tackled if they are dealt with in tiny portions rather than as overwhelming wholes. I include this as a component of active listening and Leadership Listening because leaders don’t just complain about problems. They seek to solve them. And when you fragment, four things happen. First, you demonstrate your interest in the problem in minute detail. Second, you sort the problem out so that you can start to solve it. Third, your friend is likely to pick up on this fact, realize you genuinely care, and be happy to help you. And here I think you will find that because you are listening, they are likely to start listening too. Don’t hold your breath, but they may even join you in a solution that you come up with together to solve the problem. Don’t be disappointed if that doesn’t happen. Then fourth, by fragmenting, you ask even more questions. Fragmenting actually helps you as you clarify all that is being said. It is an extension of the third component. Fragmentation ultimately prepares you for stage three – problem solving.

Stage Three: Explore Solutions

You are likely to gain respect from your loved one if you seek to solve the problem rather than complain about it. In this stage, it will not be your objective to gain their respect, however. It will be to actually explore solutions to the problem. This may involve research. I’ll reduce this into three more steps – add perspectives, compare solutions and multiply wins. View these steps as part of a dance, where you will step forward and backward as needed. You will repeat them until the tune ends beautifully so long as you make the commitment to the process. Are you ready Leadership Listeners? – a one – a two – a three …

Step One in how you Explore Solutions is to add perspectives. One of the first things I learned in interdisciplinary studies was something called “perspective taking.” A problem solver would go to experts in separate fields to find out what their take was on a problem and ultimately, think of something that would take every possible perspective into consideration. The division over BLM should serve very nicely as an example here. So I’ll give examples of what I mean by “disciplines.”It isn’t just a branch of knowledge, like math or biology, though it could be. It could be anything. So for instance, there is the overall urban and ethnic education. It notes crime against citizens and has been a primary driver in the angst that has expressed itself in the form of the modern BLM movement. Urban education (street smarts) could be viewed as a discipline. It is a general framework of understanding that a large body of participants tends to embrace. A “discipline” in this broad sense excepts certain matters as axiomatic truth. It takes on a certain worldview. A person who then enters the police academy will encounter a very different world and worldview. Here, the chief concern is public safety, but there may be more to the system than that. Are superior officers rewarding their squads based on the number of arrests they make? Maybe that’s the problem. You are looking for systemic issues that might cause the inordinately high number of arrests and harassments of people of color. If the answer is “yes,” that arrests are encouraged, you might then ask why? Your exploration of the solution needs to add perspectives to these two – the street versus the police academy. How about the prison system? How about the economist? How about the politician? How about building and engineering? What are the real estate developers saying? Are there any industries that stand to lose or gain involved? Who might be impacted? You will learn by asking.

As an example, here is something that I found. We have a private prison system that has gradually replaced many public prisons. The economic model of the majority of private prisons is to build and staff facilities with private money and accept stipends for beds filled. So if the government would have paid $150 per night per prisoner in a public prison, that same money goes to the private prison, but if the private prison can trim its expenses, they can make money. They have been able to do so, and that is how they expand. The problem is that since they are a for profit system, they can scale up, increase prison space and profit more if there is more crime and more arrests. So who is profiting here? The shareholders of private prisons. You can see how this could be a key systemic problem. Therefore, if money is being given to the local sheriff or chief of police under the table to make more arrests to fill those beds, voila! We may just have found the real systemic cause. It is the corruption of city officials. And the solution would be obvious, vote out private prisons, or just bankrupt them by voting out corrupt law officers accepting their bribes, or other officials following the money trail. Sociologists might also be consulted. And what about biologists? The idea that an incentive to fill prison beds that keeps bribe money flowing still doesn’t explain why blacks are being picked on. You see? The problem goes deeper. What about the fact that blacks are easier targets than whites? A biologist would explain that a black person has one less layer of skin than a white person. They have six rather than seven layers of epidermis. As an ethnic group, they are more adept to hot weather than white people, who largely migrated to the far north and south regions of the world as they adapted through natural selection. A sociologist might have a different take. They might note that blacks tend to spend time outside out of cultural habit. They might also point out, with the help of economists, that use of single room air conditioners is more common among blacks because they can’t afford central air or heat. This makes convening on cool porches to socialize outdoors more common among blacks than whites. Sociologists might note that while drug problems are about the same among whites and blacks, that blacks are arrested more often, perhaps, not because they are hated, so much as because they are easier to discover and arrest, given that they are more often found outside. Then there is the legal side. Part of white privilege is the more likely ability to post bail and be less reliant on court appointed attorneys. Combining all of these facts might result in realizing that the source of the problem is complex, but that by taking a two-prong approach of legalizing drugs and abolishing private prisons, we might have found a solution to a systemic problem.

Step Two in how you Explore Solutions is to compare solutions. I hesitate to do this since I’ve hardly scratched the surface on perspective taking, but let’s go ahead anyway and jump into comparing the two inter-disciplinary solutions we just came up with to the existing solutions being proposed, and then we’ll bring back more disciplinary perspectives in step three. The current solution has two political groups pitted against one another. The one side assumes that the other side is racist because it won’t join. And the side that won’t join generally does not see itself as racist. It also tends not to believe that the police are really discriminating against minorities, particularly blacks, but instead just doing their job, which is a very difficult one. The non-protesters agree that black lives matter but see the Black Lives Matter movement as being politically motivated as an organization. They see it as destructive and generally causing more harm than good, actually creating race hatred rather than healing it. Those who don’t give into the pressure to kneel or join, have to live with being labeled racists, even though in reality they just don’t agree with the way of going about achieving justice and fairness for blacks, precisely because they do believe that black lives matter every bit as much as any other life. This viewpoint is only enforced when riots occur, when looting takes place and video footage exaggerates the destruction. And besides, you really can’t fix stupid. Can you? You can complain about racism, but how do you actually change people? Well, maybe one thing might be to stop provoking hatred. How can police be expected to profile less if blacks are specifically expressing their hostility towards them, while whites are not? Continually pitting these two very different mindsets against one another will result only in newer and greater cycles of violence. Many believe it will cause the problem it seeks to heal so they refuse to join. But now, because you have just discovered specific ways to actually address some of the systemic causes of the violence between the two world views with a third and very different set of solutions, you can work on those solutions together, and maybe even do so with your once lost loved one, even as you continue to disagree with each other on the net efficacy of BLM. On to step three.

Reactive politics sometimes fails to think through alternative solutions. Is a declaration of war on white neighborhoods where white privilege is likely to be found, the best solution for reducing racial division?

Step Three in how you Explore Solutions is to multiply wins. This step involves fine tuning your solutions with an eye to making each side look good, to develop a best positive net effect, and to see that each person is as happy as possible with the outcome. Compromise solutions are to be avoided. In compromise, everybody loses, they just lose less than if they’d won. Compromise is actually not a solution at all. What we are all after here is real solutions to our problems. And it’s actually in this final step that we really have to put our thinking caps on. What, for instance, are we going to do about legalizing drugs? We can see that this solution, while it addresses the systemic problem of disproportionate arrests of blacks, brings up the question of how to treat people hooked on drugs? Then there are the legal hurdles – so there is case law, constitutional law and much else that goes into the nuanced solution. There is also the matter of supply. Why is it that drugs are so expensive? What do we do about the fact that marijuana can still be obtained more affordably on the street than in the dispensary? Shall we legalize heroin? Can the black market be fully absorbed? What is the economic impact if we do that? And what about the prison system? Will the public sector be able to supply prisons without raising taxes? What is the tax base? So economists and city planners need to be consulted. Right? So my point in the search for solutions is that there is a lot of work to do. Fortunately, for you and your friend, you’ve already won just by listening. Plus, both sides on an issue like black lives mattering win when the systemic problems are actually resolved and both you and your estranged loved one are working together because you care, rather than against each other because you have a complex set of other political issues you still disagree on. It may take more than a lifetime to eat that whole elephant. You’ll multiply your wins as you keep looking though, maybe enjoying a big meal or two together. This much I can tell you. Complaining doesn’t fix things until it reaches a problem solver who cares enough to go through all of these stages, components and steps. Maybe our most fundamental systemic cause of problems is that we have the wrong ratio of complainers to problem solvers. Somebody do something could become somebody did something – that somebody could be you. Let’s do this.