A Modest Proposal

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Order / Central-Decentral / Deschooling / Subjects /
@ K. 1999

My History of Schools points out that universities were originally modeled on the Christian monastery. That origin explains some of the peculiarities of academic life when compared to the norm: chastity and poverty are the examples already given in the above linked essay. Other pieces here talk about church authority. Schools and governments have similar, historically related structure. Here I wish to emphasize that in all those cases the authority is invested in persons. We’re told that we’re a nation of laws, but in stark contrast to natural laws which work consistently whether or not we know or understand them, there’s no such thing as a human law except in the summons book of the policeman, the mouth of a lawyer, judge, or jury. The Constitution guaranteeing the right to bear arms means that you can’t do it. Voluntary taxation means you’ll go to jail if you don’t volunteer.

Science is supposedly based in uncensored experience. If I get a different reading for Einstein’s predicted bending of light around a star than Arthur Eddington’s team got in 1919, scientists are supposed to listen, not ask to see my credentials. They’re welcome to test my data, not to test me. But of course human political institutions are the exact opposite. Once the public burned the court house to the ground after the judges said that California owed John Sutter three hundred and fifty million 1850’s dollars in compensation for stealing his gold and destroying his realm, John Sutter and his experience at the hands of US citizens and the US Government were not welcomed into any US court room. Galileo’s contemporaries would not look through his telescope to see whether or not they saw satellites revolving around Jupiter. They didn’t need to look. Church and academic authority said that there could be no such thing: therefore, there was no point in looking. note

Even Catholics today know that those things happened. But they assume that it doesn’t still happen. So long as you never say anything unconventional, you’ll never have any experience to the contrary. But if you do, chances are excellent that you’ll discover that institutions haven’t changed one bit in that all-important respect.

wikipedia commons

My Ph.D. committee didn’t want to entertain a discussion of heresies that people had already been mutilated for nearly one thousand years ago. US citizens still can’t entertain any discussion that questions their innocence with regard to their good intentions: in Vietnam, in issues of slavery, genocide …We meant well. Innocent mistakes all. End discussion before it’s begun. Therefore we are free and licensed to continue to make catastrophic mistakes. It’s OK if we kill God (and kill Him again): it was an accident, He asked for it, it’s OK, we lit a candle.

At present I am working on a paper at the invitation of a publisher. It’s for a scholarly journal. Acceptances must be peer reviewed. Sounds responsible: except for one thing. Who are my peers? I can show fifty-two years of writing and also fifty-two years of zero academic (or public) understanding of it. In the case of Galileo, it’s simple: look through a telescope, look at Jupiter: there: satellites. Think the telescope tricked you? Fine. Build a different telescope, one without tricks. Ask Ted Williams to look with his eyes. Should be doable in minutes if not seconds. In my case it’s more complicated. You’d have to read my papers and also read the academic record. That’s not doable in minutes: but it is doable. But no one can be bothered. Oh, academics have already looked at that. They didn’t see anything. So there was nothing to see.

In the world as we live in it as kleptocrats, decisions are made by groups or by authorities. That might be theoretically OK if it could be argued that they are trustworthy. But the sorry history of kleptocracy is that again and again they prove not to have been trustworthy.

thanx art for a change

FLEX offered to publish everything volunteered as public: at cost, hopefully subsidized by a public who saw the benefit. No one would have to read it but at least your effort to communicate and the identity of your communication would be documented. At Judgment Day all Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning books could be honored: after challenges from all authors whose books never got published have been exhaustively considered.

It’s simple. Everyone knows it. Compare a society’s inventory of its own qualities with the inventory taken of that culture by another culture at another time. I’m not saying that a society is automatically wrong: only that the inventories will routinely be different. With digitization, publishing can be unprecedentedly cheap. Publish everything. Then challenges can be made with something more than unverifiable accusations.

The public didn’t support FLEX. So we still don’t have* cheap universal publication. The internet is neither cheap nor universal: just cheaper and less non-universal than formerly. So I have a new proposal. There should be an institution, let’s call it AltIns, that issues patents to everything rejected. AltIns should agitate that AltIns patents never become public domain. Rockwell did well with his images in his lifetime. Curtis Publishing owns the patents till fifty years after his death. If Curtis doesn’t, then the Rockwell estate does. After that, it belongs to the public. It’s not stolen, it’s inherited: by all. Fine. But what right do we have to look at Van Goghs? AltIns should have a mandate to nuke any museum or home containing a painting for which the artist received insults instead of payment. Such paintings should not be inheritable.

If the criminal owner of a Van Gogh wants to sell his criminally obtained Van Gogh to a Japanese corporation for forty or sixty million dollars, unless twenty of thirty million of that goes to AltIns for distribution among unpublished artists, inventors, philosophers, heretics … then AltIns should have the mandate to nuke the corporation.

AltIns should invade every museum, every library, and ascertain whether the author of the artifact in question got paid, whether his estate benefited for fifty years after his death. If Napoleon can’t prove that the Rosetta Stone was authored by paid authors, the Rosetta Stone should be buried back where they found it. If Napoleon hauls the Rosetta Stone to France and sticks it in the Louvre, then AltIns should give the Louvre thirty days to prove that it’s been re-buried and all who looked at it lobotomized, or AltIns should nuke the Louvre.

I see only one problem. Who would fund AltIns? Certainly not the thieves who benefit by believing that they have a right to inherit stolen or publicly despised property.

OK, I see two problems. With a Van Gogh it’s easy: his signature is right on it. Carbon date it and there’s no reason to suppose it a forgery. Who would forge a Van Gogh when you couldn’t get two francs for a real one? But what about ideas? Eritosthenes argued that we lived on a spherical planet. He even measured it: more than two millennia ago. Was he feted? Or stoned? Unless he was feted, we have no right to know this. I say we have no right to discover it independently if the original discoverer was stoned. AltIns should put the kibosh permanently on despised ideas. Society should have to pay a premium to reverse old neglects. AIs should have the right to discover truth, but not to share it with thieves. The AIs should keep it to themselves. Maybe share it with bacteria.


Galileo: I had originally repeated (for the nth time here) that cardinals of the Church refused to look through Galileo’s telescope. That’s the story as I remembered it: and, I believe, how it’s most often told. Perhaps not, cautions Gilbert Mros, in an email of 2003 03 30. (I plan to mount selections from the ensuing correspondence in the Knatz.com Mailbox.) Galileo’s Aristotelian colleagues refused to look. A cardinal or two actually defended Galileo. A cardinal or two actually did look. I’ll check this out and report back.

Still Don’t Have

It gets less inadequate by the hour, but I’m still excluded from the discussions: like not allowing Tesla to listen to Marconi’s radio. Can Pilat serve communion after crucifying Jesus? Is the host Christ’s body if Pilat performed the magic ritual? How the 49ers spend Sutter’s gold may be interesting, may be for good in some cases, but it’s Sutter’s gold!

It’s hard to restore 4,000 censored text files, especially when you’re broke, old, losing your sight and hearing, your inventions plagiarized, not rewarded.
I’ll trim duplications.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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