Lecture #20, Peace, Prosperity, and Freedom in Perpetuity

Human Action Principles
March 26th, 1995
Lecture Number Twenty

Good evening ladies and gentleman and welcome to this final session of Human Action Principles. I congratulate all of you for having the stamina and good sense to stay with us.

Five weeks ago, in the first session, in the first lecture, I identified the seven most significant and critical problems of our time:

One – international war

Two – world starvation

Three – wide-spread poverty

Four – economic depression

Five – monetary inflation

Six – epidemic crime

Seven – failing education.

The methods of science have been applied in this seminar to reach the conclusion that these seven problems do not have a dozen separate and distinct causes that we have to identify.

It is not even two or three fundamental causes that we have to understand. Optimization theory demonstrates there is only one fundamental cause. The cause is not complex, which means it is not the derivative of many actions. The cause is simplex, and therefore it is a derivative of just one action. That one cause, that one action, has been previously and precisely defined as interventionism. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that no matter what form interventionism takes, it always generates regressive domino effects. The ultimate regressive domino effect of interventionism is war.

Every student of history knows that humans have coexisted with war for thousands of years, and we could have lived with the ravages of war forever, except for one change. In the 17th Century, following the leadership of Galileo and Newton, we learned how to build a science that has had an amazing success at identifying the cause of physical actions and physical phenomena. Through no fault of these scientific leaders, the political leaders have used this new understanding of physical causality to impose new levels of interventionism throughout the world. One of the regressive domino effects of this political interventionism was World War II, a scene is shown here.

WWII – D-Day, June 6, 1944, Omaha Beach, Normandy

During that war, if we could have frozen the level of our destructive technology to that of mere blockbuster bombs charged with TNT, the politicians could have staged any number of follow-on wars. They could have unleashed World War III or World War IV and World War V. World War XXV could have been the silver anniversary of World Wars. The Franklin Mint could have issued sterling silver medallions to commemorate the conclusion of that great war and the signing of a Treaty of Peace. 10,000 stone masons, engravers, and craftsmen could have been hired to build a commemorative wall from Chicago, Illinois to Washington, DC to carefully record the names of each of the 12 million American servicemen and women who died in World War XXV.

This could have been done. It could have been the greatest event in wall-building since The Great Wall of China, which you may recall was 2,000 miles long, and which was completed in the 3rd Century BC. But with the advent of nuclear weapons and the city buster bomb, like it or not, we are forced to give up our glorious wars in favor of lasting peace, or perish. So by accident of birth, we were born during mankind’s ultimate social crisis. It may be that it takes a social crisis of this magnitude to grab our attention. This world crisis has the attention at least of some of us, but what can we do about it? Well, let’s look at five things you can do.

One, of course, is we can do nothing, which is what almost everyone else is doing. Good people do nothing because they think there is nothing they can do. What is the expression? What can you do? Have you ever heard that one? What can you do? What can we do? It’s human nature. It’s human nature. What can we do? Broken record. But people don’t know what they’re talking about. The super problems appear overwhelming to most people because they don’t know what causes them, and they don’t know how to cure them.

Two, we can give our support to the old ideas of political and bureaucratic interventionism, which include military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, and bilateral peace treaties. What’s a peace treaty? Did they explain that in school? No. They didn’t, because there was no science to explain it. You need science to understand. Without understanding, you’ve got nothing. What is a peace treaty? Now you can understand it because you have a scientific foundation to understand it. It is this, the political bosses of Nation A and Nation B agree to only make war against their own people but not against each other.

A peace treaty. That’s what it is. But as you know, much of the history of peace treaties is the history of broken promises and broken treaties. What else can we do? Well, we can ask for supernatural intersession to bring about peace, but there is no evidence to show that divine intervention has been an effective means to peace. I presume you’ve noticed.

Four, we can take part in a pro-peace or anti-war movement. Historically, the pro-peace advocates have been striving for peace without understanding the causes of peace. And the anti-war advocates have been opposing war without understanding the causes of war. For example, nearly all of the pro-peace activists in the world are avid pro-interventionists, and nearly all the anti-war activities are eager advocates of interventionism. Their failure is the failure to understand causality. To be pro-interventionist is to be pro-war. In a like manner, nearly all the advocates of non-violence are pro-interventionists. To be pro-interventionist is to be pro-violence. You can’t have it any other way.

Well, finally we can try something different, but what? We’re now in a position similar to Walter Reed in 1900. Reed had tried everything he could think of to solve the problem of yellow fever. His failure had a cause. He didn’t understand the cause of yellow fever. In his search for a solution, the one thing Reid had not investigated was Carlos Finlay’s explanation of causality. Finlay said, “Yellow fever is carried from old victim to new victim by the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito.” Like Walter Reed, we are running out of time. As we approach the end of this 20th century, the experts and authorities have tried everything to end the seven social crises, but the “everything they have tried” involves just more forms of political and bureaucratic interventionism.

All of this interventionism involves our fellow tribesmen being sacrificed on some political altar. If we examine the political arena from a scientific perspective, what do we see? We see four universal political issues built not on a foundation of science but on a foundation of superstition. Should the nine elders dance around the giant tree clockwise or counterclockwise? How many think it should be clockwise? How about counterclockwise? Who isn’t sure?

We’ll do it both ways to make sure we cover all the bases. How about this? Should the sacrifice be at sunrise or at sunset? How many think sunset is the best time? How about sunrise? How many aren’t sure?

Do you see, my friends, that that is the totality of the rationality that surrounds the entire domain of political action? With regard to the seven crisis problems, there’s only one approach to the problem and solution we have never tried. There’s only one society we’ve never tried. We’ve never tried a win-win society, which is a free society, which is a non-interventionist society, which is a non-violent society.

Once we can determine, through science, that it is desirable to expand the win-win society, this gives us a new concept of who our tribal enemies are. The real enemy is not Russians or Chinese or Germans or any other national group. Here are, at least in a metaphorical sense, the real enemy of humans, the 13 Bad Ideas.

The 13 Bad Ideas are the ideas that maintain and preserve servitude throughout Russia, China, France, England, the United States. All of these people in all of these nations are in a state of involuntary servitude. They are forced to serve others without their consent, and it’s backed up with a gun. As long as the educated, intelligent, successful people throughout the world believe that what I call the 13 Bad Ideas are 13 good ideas, as I’ve said, society will continue to maintain a system of servitude. The maintenance mechanism is always the same, political and bureaucratic interventionism. Please note that any effort by some to limit the confiscatory power of the government will at best only have limited and temporary success as long as the 13 Bad Ideas are embraced by good people as good ideas.

You know, a popular anti-confiscatory movement that springs up from time to time and has been going off and on for thousands and thousands of years is called tax rebellion. There have been tax rebellions for thousands and thousands of years, ever since the first tax. There was somebody who thought “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

However, these rebellions have been, almost always, not rebellions against taxation, but rebellions against too much taxation or the kind of taxation. The tax rebels have usually said to the authorities, “We recognize your right to tax us and to kill us if we refuse to pay the tax, but we are paying too much tax. Enough is enough.” That’s the source of the rebellion.

Well, here’s a good question for you. Why have these anti-confiscatory movements failed in the long run to eliminate the confiscation? Why have all anti-confiscatory movements failed to eliminate the confiscation?

Here’s the answer. They are attempting to eliminate unwanted effects without eliminating the fundamental causes of those unwanted effects. It’s like trying to protect your workers from yellow fever by disinfecting everything in sight when you should be doing what? You should be screening the windows, spraying the swamps. My friends, the anti-tax movements will not protect the people from tax confiscation any more than the anti-war movements will protect the people from war confiscation. In order to defeat any enemy, you must first know who the enemy is. If the disease is yellow fever, the enemy is the mosquito. If the disease is war, the enemy is interventionism. If the disease is currency inflation, economic depression, the enemy, again, is interventionism.

Interventionism has always been mankind’s greatest enemy, but it’s taken us a long time to understand this and to identify the specific cause of the interventionism. You’ll find that almost all modern interventionism starts with this bad idea in people’s heads, a simple idea, interventionism will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. You can restate this idea with even more precise language. These are all logical equivalents. The violent confiscation of individual choice will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, or the ultimate bad idea, the violent confiscation of individual choice will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. There are many ways you can restate the ultimate bad idea. Another one is this, the violent confiscation of freedom will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number.

Those are all corollaries of the ultimate bad idea. Now if during this course, which is a seminar, you’ve come to an understanding of just how bad this bad idea really is, what can you do about it? Who can you tell about it? Do you remember when I made you a member of the tribe that lives in the great forest, and you were seated as a part of a great circle surrounding a giant tree, and you were witness to the ceremony of the dance of the axes? A ceremony that would climax with a sacrifice of the 12 most beautiful maidens in the tribe. It would have been just another sacrificial ceremony, except you suddenly acquired all of the knowledge that you have now on causality. With all the knowledge you have now, you’re sitting there, and the elders are ready to begin the dance of the axes, and the lives of the 12 maidens are about to be snuffed out.

What will you do? Well, you couldn’t just sit there and watch the tragedy unfold, could you? You ran toward the tree to protect the young maidens. You got everyone’s attention. You made a brilliant speech in defense of these maidens, but something went wrong. Your fellow tribesmen were overwhelmed by their what? Their ideological immune systems. The tribal chief even accused you, of all people, of blasphemy.

This entire seminar is designed to give you a rapid and dramatic increase in your understanding of causality relative to the social domain, but what will you do now with this highly advanced understanding of causation? What will you do? I don’t know. When you were a member of the tribe you risked your life to save those 12 maidens. Remember that?

During your brilliant speech, you prove, with rational arguments that the human sacrifice that was about to take place is not a means to tribal security and the greatest good for the greatest number of tribesmen. Even though your proposal to end this superstitious ritual was scientifically sound, you were also proposing an ideological revolution. But now you should understand that if a new idea is truly revolutionary, no matter how scientifically sound it may be, upon first exposure most people will be overwhelmed by their ideological immune system. As I’ve demonstrated, the tribal leaders of your very own American tribe still practice the superstitious ritual of sacrifice on the political altar.

As you know, in ancient times, an altar was a raised platform upon which both animals and humans were ritually slaughtered as a sacrifice to the gods. Today, the sacrifices still take place, except the religious altar has been replaced with a political altar. That’s all. They’ve just swapped altars. And instead of the victims being sacrificed for the benefit of the gods, they are now sacrificed for the benefit of whom? The greatest good for the greatest number. I’ve just swapped gods.

My friends, all imposed sacrifices in ancient times or modern times are the consequence of man’s superstitious ideologies. Again, what is superstition? Webster says “Superstition is a belief or practice resulting from a false conception of causation.” In other words, it’s a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary. As you know, most people do not take well to any of their superstitious beliefs ever being challenged. You can challenge almost any belief that a person has, except those that are the supremely superstitious beliefs. Those are the ones that will be defended with the greatest vigor and vitriol.

Even where man’s superstitions are set in concrete, some of that concrete can be etched away. Where a man’s ideological immune system may block out acceptance of a revolutionary change, the same ideological immune system may not block out acceptance of an evolutionary change. Did you catch the distinction there? The difference between a revolution and an evolution, with regard to the way I’m using these terms, at least, is the rate of change. Both revolution and evolution involve a change, except an evolution is a more gradual change. But if the evolution from war to peace and from slavery to freedom takes too long, we’re in big trouble. Therefore, we have to accelerate the evolution from war to peace, from slavery to freedom.

One of the main points I stressed earlier in this seminar on ideology is that there will be no solution to all these problems outside of an ideological solution. We must reach educated, intelligent, successful people and cause really only one thing. All we have to do is cause the attenuation of their belief in the 13 Bad Ideas as being 13 good ideas. That’s all we have to do. We have to give them some new beliefs, and not beliefs based on superstition or blind acceptance of some new doctrine. We have to give them, these good people, a new scientific belief. But if it’s a scientific belief then it’s a belief that does not have to be accepted on faith. To accept a belief on faith means to accept it without scientific proof. If you understand the science in this seminar, I’ll share with you a scientific belief that I hope you are ready to accept.

It’s a belief that can be stated in just 13 words. It’s a 13 word alternative to the common belief in the 13 Bad Ideas. It is this. I believe that non-interventionism will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. This belief at this junction, if you’ve been with me, does not have to be accepted on faith. Like any scientific belief, we must continue to test it over and over again for its scientific consistency. This has been and always will be the approach to true science. You never stop testing your scientific premises or your scientific conclusions. This is the approach to the physical sciences, biological sciences, and social sciences, if it’s a scientific approach. I believe this 13 word generalization, the one I’ve just given you. The reason I believe that I can prove it. If you understand this science, that means you have become a human action scientist, and that means you can prove it too.

You can restate this belief with another 13 word generalization. You can say “I believe that non-violence will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number.” And here’s another 13 word corollary. It is this. I believe that freedom will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. If you can acquire this belief in the 30 hours of this seminar, you will have acquired what I call an accelerated intellectual evolution. Again, accelerate means to bring about at an earlier time than otherwise. Intellectual means understanding through science and rationality rather than through emotions and feelings. Evolution means a change in direction from the execution of regressive social actions to progressive social actions. And when you and a few other individuals gain a significant increase in your correct understanding of causality, where the subject is social action, this adds to the propulsion of a profound evolutionary trend.

There is a social evolution from poverty to prosperity. There is a social evolution from biological competition to free market competition. There is a social evolution from war to peace. And so, the intellectual understanding of social causality on the part of educated, intelligent, successful people will gradually evolve to a level at which one of the effects will be the ultimate realization of perpetual prosperity and perpetual peace. In other words, as our understanding of what the hell is going on gradually improves, perpetual peace and prosperity are the inevitable and unavoidable consequences. The only unknown factor concerning all of this is the inevitable question of how long will this take? It could take a thousand years. In a thousand years, I’m fully convinced that the overwhelming majority of educated, intelligent, and successful people will share one popular belief.

It is this. They will share the belief that non-interventionism, non-violence, freedom will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. That intellectual and ideological progression will ensure world peace and prosperity. But the problem all of you are sensitive to is that we cannot afford the risk of waiting a thousand years for this societal evolution. Even though the United States and Russia may not be going to war in the near future, nevertheless, we are on the threshold of the war of wars, the high technology war. They’re doing warm-ups for that now. Just the other day in Japan, you heard how a half dozen people or more got killed by poison gas that was sprayed onto a commuter train. With a little knowledge of chemistry, you can make this poison gas in your garage, which is what they were doing in their own little rooms.

How long do we have? Perhaps we could reach the necessary level of understanding to prevent a catastrophe in 300 years. The knowledge of how to do it is available. I’ve explained it to you in this short seminar. Now the only other question is how long will it take to go from war to peace? One of the points I’m making is that if I do nothing, if we never give this seminar at all, in 1,000 years I believe we will have enough knowledge to build perpetual peace and perpetual freedom.

In other words, you can’t hide the principles forever. You can’t hide a principle anyhow, and certainly not forever. And eventually, perhaps in 1,000 years, we’ll get this all figured out. The problem is we don’t have that long. So if we could get a greater number of people to understand causality more rapidly, maybe we could go from war to peace in only 300 years. Maybe if more people understand this we could reach permanent peace in maybe only 100 years from today. Well, if it takes 100 years to get enough knowledge to build permanent peace, to optimize peace, prosperity, and freedom using the language of this seminar, if it takes 100 years, is this a problem? Is it a serious problem?

During the very first session of this seminar, all of you said that if you saw someone’s home starting to burn, you would personally get involved. You would attempt to save the situation by at least telephoning the fire department on your cellular phone, which you carry with you as you jog. That’s not so unusual, is it? My wife takes her cellular phone when she goes bicycling along the Pacific Ocean, where we live, and I said, “If anything happens to you, you’ve got the phone with you.” In a much larger sense, all of us are confronted with a problem that is not just a neighbor’s home that’s on fire in the middle of the block, but it’s a man’s entire world home that is on fire. And there are not merely 200,000 pounds of gunpowder stored in the basement of our world home, as was the case of the church at San Nazaro in Brescia.

I guess one of the main reasons to go to Brescia, the next time you’re in Italy, it’s not too far from Venice, which you most certainly will want to visit. And Brescia’s not far from Venice. You might want to visit where the church was just for historical interest. Anyhow, it’s not like there’s 200,000 pounds of gunpowder stored in the church, but we have two hundred thousand zillion megatons of hydrogen and nuclear weapons that can go off at any time just by pressing buttons. How do most people react to this? It’s a real crisis. How do most people react to it? Primarily by not thinking about it at all because to think about it they would have to leave their comfort zone, and we all want to be comfortable.

The few who think about it propose all of the false means that Douglas MacArthur warned us about, e.g. leagues of nations, balances of power, military alliances. What is it that people propose as a means to peace? They propose one or another form of interventionism. This is analogous, you know, to somebody calling the fire department to put out the fire and nobody can figure out why the fire gets hotter and hotter as the firefighters pump more and more gasoline on the fire. What’s going on here? It seems to be getting hotter. Pump faster. Pump harder. My friend, there is only one cure for war. It’s an ideological cure. This means we have to get a lot smarter a lot faster. In other words, more of the educated people have to understand causality, and we probably have do this in fewer than 50 years, and maybe fewer than 25 years. That simply means that we’re truly out of time. We have to accelerate the societal evolution from war to peace, and that simply means we have to reach more people more quickly.

So we have to get good people to replace their bad ideas with good ideas. That’s all we have to do. Remember, the most dangerous thing is a lot of good people believing a lot of bad ideas. That’s the worst disaster you can ever have. Those are all your friends. Good people with a lot of bad ideas. The question is will you have the influence to get their attention? I don’t know. Time will tell. But as I say, I can’t do it by myself, and I don’t have a lot of leverage because for me to talk about my own seminar, well, that doesn’t carry any weight at all. That’s how it goes in sales, you know? You can’t toot your own horn. It just falls on deaf ears.

And so, when you reach the conclusion that only non-interventionism will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, that becomes a measure of your acquisition of an accelerated intellectual evolution.

The Law of Human Action does not state that people act to attain greater good but greater satisfaction.

If you believe this, it’s a powerful belief, but how powerful? Powerful enough to attenuate the belief among intelligent, educated, successful people that the thirteen bad ideas are good ideas? Your belief in this ideological reversal begins the process of attenuating the popular support for the preservation of the thirteen bad ideas and the preservation of slavery. Of course, your belief in these scientific conclusions is not enough to prevent a catastrophe. We do have to reach other people.

At this point in time one effective method of expanding the demand for a free society, which means expanding the demand for non-violent solutions to our social problems is for you to play a role in the expansion of that demand. You’re acquainted with many people who would gain a great deal of value from participation in this seminar. The only means they have of finding out about the Principles of Human Action Seminar is through you. In this age of electronic communication, the marketing of products through word-of-mouth is still very effective. In fact, word-of-mouth advertising remains the only effective method we’ve found for marketing this seminar, these ideas.

Maybe there’s a way to give an effective introduction, i.e. sales pitch, for this seminar. If there is, I don’t know what that is. Maybe it has to be somebody other than me giving it. I don’t know how to do it. Most, nearly all, the consumer bosses say “This is a crock. I don’t want anything to do with it,” or maybe the response is just “I’m not really interested.” In general, that’s the response from most people. In other words, they didn’t like, or won’t accept, the offer.

And even though I’ve made a standing offer to every college student in the world, “if you’re majoring in any of the social sciences and you have the courage to take this seminar, and you don’t think this seminar is more valuable to you than every course you’ve taken in college, I’ll write you a check for the tuition.” I’ve never had a single college student accept that offer. It’s a standing offer. Any college student anywhere in the world who’s majoring in economics or business or sociology or political science or any of these so-called social sciences, if they don’t think this seminar is more valuable than everything they’ve taken in college, and they attend all the sessions, I’ll write them a check for the full amount of the tuition. We’ve never had anyone accept it because they’ve all bought into the system.

The first question they ask is, “Hey, that sounds interesting, Mr. Snelson. Will I get credit for your course?” What does that tell me? They’ve bought into the system. They can’t get an education. They’re in the game of school. They’ve learned to tell the professor what he wants to hear. It makes indoctrination a foregone conclusion, and then it’s damn difficult when that person is an adult for me to penetrate their consciousness. And then he’s afraid he’s going to get indoctrinated if they take my seminar. That guy’s really been sold. He’s really bought it hook, line, and sinker.

I want to illustrate the approach we take in optimization theory to solve the super problems.

When Major William Gorgas entered Havana with the aim of defeating the dreaded yellow fever in that city, what was his primary weapon?

William Gorgas (1854 – 1920)

There he is, one of the great men in history. His contributions are so large you probably either have never heard of him at all or you just vaguely kind of heard of him. When William Gorgas entered Havana with the aim of defeating yellow fever, what was his primary weapon? Even though he was a major in the united states army, he did not use cannon and sword because these weapons would have been useless against yellow fever. What are we going to do, shoot mosquitos? Blow them up with cannons? His weapon was intangible. It was an ideological weapon. His weapon was an idea, namely a correct understanding of causality.

The idea was discovered by his new friend, Dr. Carlos Finley of Havana, and the idea was confirmed through the experimentation of Major Walter Reed. All of these men were physicians. They were all medical doctors. The idea was elegant and simplex. Yellow fever is not a communicable disease. It is not contagious. It cannot be spread through the air like smallpox. It cannot be caught by touching the victim. This was a revolution in our understanding of disease transmission. Instead, the disease is transmitted by one means. It’s carried from old victim to new victim by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. If Gorgas had used any weapon other than the correct ideological weapon, he would have been defeated. His weapon was a practical panacea, the cure-all for yellow fever.

One of the most fascinating stories I know of in history is how Gorgas pulled this thing off in Havana. The metaphor is this. If cannon and sword are useless weapons against the cause of yellow fever, namely the mosquito, then so are cannon and sword useless weapons against the cause of war, namely interventionism. During the thirty hours of this seminar, you’ve been shown the most powerful weapons available today to win a final victory over international war. Like the weapons of Gorgas and Jenner, these weapons are practical panaceas. The English physician Edward Jenner, 1749-1823, was the pioneer of the smallpox vaccine, the world’s first vaccine. He is often called the father of immunology.

The same ideological weapons can also win a victory over the local wars waged by robbers, burglars, thugs against their peace-loving neighbors. They can win a victory over monetary inflation. They can win a victory over mass unemployment and business depression. They can win a victory over hunger and poverty. They can defeat the seven crisis problems we set forth in the first lecture. Optimization theory presents you with a greater understanding of social causality. You may want to make this knowledge available to a friend, a relative, an associate, an acquaintance, but I will warn you now. If you try to teach the scientific conclusions of this seminar to somebody else, you will fail. For all the reasons I’ve explained, their ideological immune systems will likely defeat you. Remember, your ideological immune system rejects your acceptance of any new basic ideas that would overturn any of your old basic ideas.

Well, if your friends perceive themselves to be educated or intelligent or successful then you face this problem in trying to teach them this optimization theory one-on-one, it is the Locke, Planck, Mises problem. Educated, intelligent, successful adults hardly ever, ever, ever, rarely ever, anywhere at any time, hardly ever any of them change their most fundamental premises. They just die. They will not change.

One of the most basic old ideas shared by good people, which includes your friends and associates, is this old firmly established idea of the win-lose mentality, the win-lose paradigm, for me to gain, you must be forced to lose. This classic idea is also called the Montaigne Dogma. No man can profit except through the loss of another.

Each person will have a different idea of where the win-lose mentality applies. The bad man who specializes in bank robbery believes his Social Security comes when he walks out of the bank a winner with the bank’s money in his pocket while the banker is a loser. In contrast, the good person who would never think of robbing a bank or any other business may believe that his Social Security will come from his Social Security check drawn upon the US Treasury. When he walks out of the bank with the funds from the Society Security check in their pocket, he’s a winner, but who is the loser? Does the tax collector collect donations from the people or taxes? Are the taxes voluntary, or are they exacted and extracted at gunpoint? Everyone whose property is confiscated at gunpoint is a loser. Do I blame or condemn the fellow on Social Security for accepting this bootie?

No, I don’t. He has been indoctrinated to believe in the virtue of the old idea of the win-lose mentality, for me to win, you must lose. He doesn’t likely see the Social Security system as a system that owes its existence, literally, to armed robbery. He’s been indoctrinated to believe that the Social Security is a right, and he has a right to it. Any social system that proclaims the idea that you have a right to your neighbor’s property is a social system based upon the win-lose mentality. All social systems built upon the win-lose mentality, win-lose paradigm, are based upon false doctrines. This is not a scientific premise, but rather it is a scientific conclusion. You can’t start here. That’s a conclusion. It’s taken us four days to get there.

You can’t educate your friends by giving them scientific conclusions that are divorced from their scientific premises. And if you try to give them the premises, they will say “So what?” You must have wasted your time down there for four days. Even if they’re impressed with the scientific foundation, which would be unusual because the foundations of science are never glamorous or impressive to the uninitiated, and even if you have the knowledge of the science to teach it they will not sit still for the more than thirty hours necessary to explain it. That’s one of the great challenges I have. I’m—I have to tell you this, is can I get you to sit still for thirty hours listening to abstractions when you may have never done this in your life?

That’s hard to do, to stay intellectually alert for thirty hours when you have no experience at doing this. That’s a tough one to do. On the other hand, if you can use your influence to motivate a friend, a relative, an associate to attend this seminar, this is the proper and most efficient setting in which to achieve what is called in optimization theory an accelerated intellectual evolution. If in this seminar your friends are not overwhelmed by their ideological immune systems then they can go around the Locke, Planck, Mises problem, and they can reach a scientific conclusion, for example, that non-interventionism will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number then their correct understanding of social causality will have been accelerated through their exposure to a science and theory on the qualitative analysis of social doctrines, which is what this is all about. But if you try to tell somebody about this they couldn’t care less.

“What? Qualitative analysis and social doctrines? What the hell is that and who cares?” And yet that’s probably the most important subject there is. Without that, you will never know what’s going on all the time on all subjects. All you can ever get is an indoctrination, indoctrination, indoctrination from teacher to student, father to son, for 100,000 years. That’s what we’ve been doing. There is no How to Think Independently 1A for the college freshman.

And so there will be progressive domino effects from their greater understanding of causality, if they get it. The only way in which we can diminish the scope and magnitude of world interventionism is by increasing the number of good people who believe that non-interventionism, a simplex concept, will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number.

Doesn’t sound sexy or glamorous or exciting, but if you understand it, it is. As the progressive domino effects of increasing the number of good people per capita who understand causality continues, there’s a parallel transition from slavery to freedom. By increasing the number of educated adults who have a scientific understanding of social causality there’s a parallel transition from social poverty to social prosperity.

It’s been shown that where there is poverty there is also social conflict due to what kind of competition? Biological competition. The progressive domino effects continue through a greater understanding of social causality. There’s a parallel evolution from social conflict to social harmony. As poverty is replaced by prosperity, biological competition is replaced with free market competition, which is always competition without violence. There are even more progressive domino effects to be gained by improving our understanding of social causality. There’s a societal evolution from social disorder to social order. All of these are going on in parallel simply by improving the average fellow’s understanding of causation, especially if he’s educated. You have got to reach these folks. To achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, we must optimize order through voluntary exchange and attenuate disorder through involuntary violence or the threat of violence.

In an un-free society or a concentration camp or prison camp, order is maintained, as you know, at gunpoint. In a free society where all exchanges are mutually voluntary there is social order, but the order is maintained through mutual cooperation. When A and B agree to cooperate with each other to attain certain goals that are only possible through cooperation, the terms of cooperation or the terms of the agreement to cooperate, is called what? Contract. Order exists where there is structure. Voluntary structure is a natural consequence of the expansion of the free market economy. Where there is a free market economy, there is a free society. Where there is a free society, there is a non-interventionist, non-violent order. Without order, you fall into total disintegration.

In a free society, order is maintained when people cooperate with one another. Cooperation is maintained where agreements, contracts are designed wherein it is highly profitable for all parties to contract, to honor the terms of the contract, and to agree to follow the terms of the contract, and you also engineer contracts that make it highly unprofitable to dishonor the terms of the contract. So it’s highly profitable to honor the terms, highly unprofitable to dishonor them. Guess what most people do? When you engineer those kinds of contracts, it’s called contract technology. You do it in advance. In other words the way, in a free society that you deal with disputes is you contract in such a way that there aren’t any disputes, and the few that there are, are quickly resolved without violence and without acrimony. This requires that you know what you’re doing before the fact, not after the fact.

One of the main things they should be teaching in what is called a business school is how to construct contracts. In a free society those who honor their agreements are rewarded with greatest respect and greatest prosperity. Where there is a transition from mis-education to education, we reap still another progressive domino effect, the societal transition from war to peace. There is no end to the progressive domino effects of attenuating interventionism and building entrepreneurial ventures, because we have to do that too. It’s not enough just to terminate interventionism. You must build something better in its place, an entrepreneurial venture wherein super humanitarians can optimize humanitarianism. By merely improving our understanding of social causality we can make the transition from societal hatred to societal love.

Dear friends, and I mentioned this earlier, imagine if you will, imagine all of the love that will generate more love when war has finally evolved into peace. Think about it. That staggers the imagination. Well, these metaphorical concepts are designed to show you the human action necessary to bring about all of these desirable affects. The action is simplex. There’s only one action we have to take, improve our understanding of causation. This incredible chain of progressive domino effects begins when you’re successful in expanding the size of a market for freedom. We’ve been taught to believe that a man who is an impoverished prisoner in a concentration camp is a man of strong character when he disdains his captors and longs for freedom, but, you know, almost every man in chains will long to be free.

Such a man does make himself emminent when he dreams of freedom. In contrast, the man who is not in chains who enjoys the relative prosperity available to him and that he has created and at least the liberty to come and go pretty much as he pleases, when this man or woman dreams of freedom and prosperity for all mankind, and more importantly understands how to implement a theory of freedom, a theory of prosperity, and executes the correct means, well, then that person is a person who has elevated himself to the attainment of an exclusive plain of eminence. You know, my friends, one of the very smartest things that you could have done if the opportunity could have been opened to you would have been to have chosen our time and our place in which to live. You really don’t want to live at any earlier time, unless your ancestors were among the few members there were of the aristocracy, and they were most probably serfs, which means your ancestors were servants of the aristocracy, and hence you were a slave.

For most of us, our ancestors were slaves. But since the time of the Middle Ages, we have gradually improved our understanding of causality. With that improvement has come a societal evolution. This evolution of society has transformed the common man of the Middle Ages, who was a slave of the aristocracy, into the common man of the modern age, who is a slave of the bureaucracy. We are all servants of the bureaucracy. If anyone should question this then go ahead and withdraw your service. You will quickly discover your service is involuntary, hence, it is involuntary servitude. It is slavery, and you cannot withdraw it. But in spite of this, the societal evolution has taken us farther away from slavery and closer to freedom.

In spite of this, the societal evolution has taken us farther away from slavery and closer to freedom, and, even as slaves of the bureaucracy, we are closer to freedom than were our serf ancestors who were slaves of the aristocracy. The magnitude of your opportunity to achieve something for yourself eclipses that of any serf. Both the aristocracy of the Middle Ages and the bureaucracy of the modern age are simply manifestations of man’s societal adolescence. Until now, we simply weren’t smart enough to build a free society, a win-win society, which represents the entrance to societal maturity.

It is pointless to blame ourselves, or others, before us for not being smarter sooner. Well, now that we are smart enough to expand this magnificent human action concept of the free society, I hope that some of you find the prospect of your opportunity to play some role in this achievement exciting. Earlier I gave you the last public words spoken by the American educator and politician Horace Mann, who more than any other person, is the founder of America’s communist or public school system, socialist school system. Horace Mann was also a politician. He was a congressman in Massachusetts in addition to being an educator. Horace Mann’s parting words to the graduating class of 1859. This is 100 years later from when I graduated from UCLA. I’m not apologizing for that. I went to UCLA. I didn’t know what I was doing.

If I knew what I knew now I wouldn’t have gone there, but I graduated from UCLA in 1959, which was exactly 100 years after the year that Horace Mann gave this quotation, which I quoted earlier. Two weeks later he was dead. He said “My friends, be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” Be ashamed to die. I like that. How can you not like that? It’s a marvelous concept. But the question is, and I brought it up earlier, what constitutes a victory for humanity? Is it done with interventionism and violence, or is it done with non-violence?

You’ve been presented with the essential knowledge to pursue a victory over mankind’s great enemy, the 13 Bad Ideas. The one essential component of your ultimate success that I’ve not directly discussed is your motivation. What is the source of and the magnitude of your motivation? For all of us, either we develop our motivation to achieve something in life internally, or we acquire the motivation externally. One of the main reasons to study, for example, the lives of the great super humanitarians is because they provide us with a rich source of inspiration. I’ve told you some of the story of that remarkable super humanitarian Helen Keller, a woman for whom I have supreme respect. And I recognize her as one of my great teachers. What learning advantages do you have over Helen Keller? Can you name one?

You can see. That’s one. What’s another one? You can hear. Have you ever found the time to get excited over the fact that you can both see and hear? One might think what’s so exciting about being able to see and hear? Almost anybody can do that. Unless you’re deaf or you’re blind, almost anybody can do that. Have you ever stopped to contemplate how few things there are in this awesomely vast universe that can both see and hear? Have you ever thought about that? You know, there may not be many places in the universe where there is even so much as a lowly virus, and we still don’t know that there are any viruses outside of the earth. We haven’t found any on the moon. There’s no evidence that they’re on any of the planets other than our own, and we’re a long way from determining if they’re in some other star system.

The closest being four light years away, and light travels at 186,000 miles in a second. We don’t even know if there’s a virus outside of our own earth, a single virus. But something that can see, hear, speak, and think, if you think about it, friends, that is absolutely astounding to say the least. Let me ask you this question. Who’s willing to admit that he is impressed with the significance and importance of computer technology? Anyone? All right. Most of you. Some of you not sure. Well, that includes me. I’m impressed, but I believe, dear friend, that man will not likely ever build a computer that will rival the mechanism of your own human brain. I could be wrong, but I question it.

Professor Roger Penrose, who is a leading expert on that most fascinating subject in astronomy, the black hole, speaking about computer technology says quote, “Despite their incredible speed, computers are unbelievably stupid objects, totally lacking in common sense. They don’t understand what they are doing,” unquote. Well, friend, your magnificent human brain is more advanced and sophisticated than any computer probably ever can be. You know, if you ask the computer this question, “Hey, computer, you stupid machine, you moron. Do you know what you’re doing?” Ask your computer that. “Do you know what you’re doing?” Any of you who have computers, ask it that question.

Your computer is not even smart enough to understand the question, let alone give you an answer. Do you realize that? The computer can’t understand the question. The computer cannot understand anything about anything. Understanding is not available to any computer, and probably never will be. The computer isn’t even smart enough to know it has been insulted by your abusive language. You can’t insult a computer. Nevertheless, a computer is a derivative of human action. Only a human actor is capable of knowing what he’s doing. One of the paramount questions, of course, of this seminar is, do you know what you are doing? And in the precise language of this science, we keep asking this question, “Can the means employed achieve the ends sought. Only a human actor can even know this?”

Remember that man is still looking for evidence, as I said, over the first virus beyond the surface of the earth. This means that what we know about the universe today, you, sir or ma’am, man or woman, you are an absolutely astounding creature. Furthermore, if you were to get into a learning race with Helen Keller, with your ability to both see and hear, you would have an astounding, which means overwhelming, advantage over her. But Helen Keller possessed a magnificent advantage that probably not one person in this room possesses, including myself, could even come close to matching. What did Helen Keller have that none of us probably have? Certainly I don’t.

Exactly. The magnitude of this little girl’s motivation. After Anne Sullivan got her attention, in that order. Don’t forget the teacher. After Anne Sullivan got her attention, the magnitude of this little girl’s motivation was absolutely awesome. One is compelled, in other words, to be awed by it. Since we were all children they’ve been telling us, “Well, you know, you gotta get motivated.” What does this motivation they keep talking about all the time? What is this motivation? Well, motivation is that inner urge that moves a person to take action. Thomas H. Huxley, Darwin’s friend and the advertiser of Darwinian Evolution, Huxley gives us this bit of advice, “The great end of life is not knowledge but action.” If all you accumulate is knowledge, and it’s not followed by action, I call this high-quality self-indulgence.

But Huxley’s quote, like most good quotes, is inadequate. What’s missing? A quality of a man’s actions can be no greater than the quality of the knowledge that is the foundation of those actions. How can we evaluate the quality of human action? For that, you need a science. What you’ve been involved with in this seminar for a day of your life is an entire science, as I said, on the qualitative analysis of human action. During the lecture on education, I said there was something that transcends education. I call that wisdom. Wisdom is the measure of the successful integration of the individual’s education with his human actions. I’ve given you a scientific foundation for the acquisition of wisdom. A science of education begins with the definition of education. That encompasses any increase of the individual’s correct understanding of the cause of any effect.

In the very beginning, this seminar dealt with one subject, understanding causality. My goal has been to present you with a rapid acceleration of your understanding of causality. Once you’ve acquired this accelerated intellectual evolution, which in street language means you’ve gotten a lot smarter a lot faster, then if you can understand the intellectual content of this seminar. You started this seminar approximately a little over a month ago. If you’ve attended all the sessions, we’ve been here for a little over a day.

How much intellectual growth have you acquired here in one day? And the next question is how much have you added to your knowledge of causality, your correct understanding of causality? If you entered this seminar sharing the popular views of educated, intelligent, successful peers of yours, and you started out accepting maybe not all but a large number of the 13 Bad Ideas, some people come in accepting all of the 13 Bad Ideas, believing they’re good ideas.

Even if you still believe that some of these 13 Bad Ideas are good ideas, if through the seminar, you’ve reached conclusions that others of the 13 Bad Ideas are not such good ideas after all then, from my perspective, you have evolved ideologically toward the direction that we have to go to evolve from war to peace. If you still believe in the maintenance and preservation of slavery, I’m certain that it’s only because you sincerely believe that slavery, that servitude, will attain the greatest good for the greatest number, or you wouldn’t believe this. If you advocate slavery, you haven’t even been admonished here. I haven’t even scolded you. I haven’t told you this is the wrong or immoral thing to do.

Even if your goal is to be a slave master, I’ve given you a science of slavery that will show you the means to the optimization of slavery. If your goal is slavery, the problem you must solve is how to impose interventionism upon your fellow man. If slavery is your ultimate goal, you should still know what you’re doing. If you believe interventionism will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, then you believe violence and slavery will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. There can be no interventionism without violence and slavery. Once you’ve chosen interventionism as the means then you have two main options or means to execute slavery.

One, here’s what you must do. Whenever a fellow human is taking some human action you dislike, you go to them and say, “If you don’t stop that, I’ll kill you.” And if he doesn’t stop, you kill the SOB, or, two, there’s only one other thing you can do. You can appoint an agent, and if your fellow human doesn’t stop doing what you don’t like then you have your agent kill the SOB. That’s it. There is no other option. Those who secretly appoint their agents to impose violence upon their fellow men are said to be responsible citizens of the community. Those who refuse to participate in such secret appointments are said to be what? Irresponsible citizens. So it is said. So it is written. This is the wisdom of whom? The ancient elders.

On the other hand, if you are not proposing any arguments for the maintenance of slavery, if you still can say “I believe that non-interventionism will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number,” then you’ve acquired your own personal accelerated intellectual evolution, which means that if you’ve understood this seminar, that is all that’s necessary to optimize peace, prosperity, and freedom throughout the world. We just have to get a few more people to get it. That’s all. You only have to get a few more people to get it. More than get it today.

With your help, if we can find a few more people like you, then the societal evolution from war to peace can be accelerated. We can accomplish an accelerated societal evolution. In other words, the grand aggregate of all of these individual accelerated intellectual evolutions, which includes you at this junction, will result in this accelerated societal evolution from war to peace. You can make waves with the knowledge you’ve gained here, except it’s progressive domino effects. And so, ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to join us in this great adventure of expanding the free society, the win-win society, and in so doing, you are playing an active role in the transformation of poverty into prosperity, social conflict into social harmony, economic depression into economic growth, monetary inflation into monetary stability, moral conflict into world peace, slavery into freedom, and even malice into cooperation and love.

This concludes the formal presentation of this seminar. I wish each and every one of you great success and great prosperity.

– Jay Stuart Snelson, March 1995

May 22, 2017

Sustainable Civilization Institute, LLC

Principal Editor:
David Carroll Woodward

Editing team:
Nancy Rhyme Snelson
Carole A. Woodward
Anthony J. Woodward
Nancy Pedersen

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Jay Stuart Snelson

For more than half a century Jay Stuart Snelson studied, thought, lectured, and wrote about freedom; personal, individual freedom.

Snelson envisioned a viable solution to build a sustainable society based on win-win interaction: In order for one party to win, the other must win. This is diametrically opposed to the way it has always been done.

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