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By Luc Loranhe (2006)
This manifesto is freeware. I do not intend to derive any personal benefit from it, neither commercial nor intellectual. My agenda is entirely political. I would like to live in a different world, one that allows me, and others, a higher degree of personal freedom without compromising my safety.
Sometimes, total political change can happen within a few years. And they say that nothing is more powerful than an idea, the time of which has come. The odds may be against it, but there is, indeed, a distinct possibility that the publication of this manifesto will contribute to the advent of sexually truly liberated societies. The chance that I will have a better life in such a society is the only benefit I shall derive from this piece of work.
This manifesto is freeware. It can be copied freely, excerpted freely, and used freely in any other manner. There are no royalties for its use, and, while I am not afraid to have it attributed to me, nobody who uses it has to credit me for authorship. Anybody who wishes to do so, can claim to have written it himself.
All scientific evidence supports the assessment that there is no god, and that therefore, all religions are illusions. Yes, neither the existence nor the non-existence of a god can scientifically be proven. However, the probability that a non-existent entity leaves no traces is much higher than that an existent entity leaves no traces.
Thus, as there are no traces of the existence of a god (none that withstand scientific scrutiny), we can safely assume that there is no god.
The same reasoning can be applied to the question of whether there is a human afterlife, or whether, once we are dead, we are dead for good.
THE VALUE OF LIFE
As there is no god, no truth in religions, and no afterlife whatsoever, every possible human fulfillment can be redeemed only in this life.
Because nothing transcends from this life beyond it, there is no value in principle in life itself. It doesn't matter whether we die today or in 100 years. Measured by the infinity of time, our lifespan anyway is infinitively short.
Furthermore, it is obvious that every animal, including those of the species Homo sapiens sapiens, has much more capacity to suffer than to be happy. This is part of the genetic design of every animal, as it enhances its competitiveness.
Because our life-spans are infinitively short, and because nothing which could be of individual benefit to us transcends from our lives beyond our deaths, and because the likelihood that we suffer is much greater than the likelihood that we are happy, and because, furthermore, our suffering can be aggravated manifold, while all our happiness eventually ends in boredom, it makes sense to assume that it would be better to be dead than alive.
However, the genetic design of our emotional facilities effectively deters us from terminating our lives. Again, this is at the biological base of animal life itself, as it enhances the chances of a species' genes to propagate.
There is no point in lamenting our genetic make-up that prevents us from happily committing suicide because we have logically concluded that it would be better to be dead than alive. The immediate self-termination option is just not realistic as it contradicts our nature.
Instead, what we can realistically strive for, is, that when we die, we have a gentle death. The ultimate gentle death is, of course, to die unexpectedly in one's sleep.
Anything that enhances the likelihood for a considerable number of people to end their lives in such a manner shall be a concern on a political program in a more enlightened society.
Apart from experiencing a gentle death, the only other definite biological value in life is optimal sexual experience. For only during the moments we experience orgasm, we can genuinely forget the elementary senselessness of our existence.
Again, anything that would allow a larger number of people to live a sexually more fulfilled life shall be a legitimate political concern in more enlightened societies.
THE BASIS FOR HUMAN SOLIDARITY
People who are about to die together, and have accepted this prospect, naturally develop a sense of solidarity. If we are all to suffer the fate of execution (by nature) and subsequent non-existence, it doesn't feel good to aggravate each other's remaining days. It feels better to console each other. Thus, spreading knowledge about the basic parameters of human life, as outlined above, has a natural pacifying effect and contributes to the safety of human societies.
SECONDARY, SOCIAL VALUES
From the primary biological interests of every person, which are (1) a peaceful, gentle passage into non-existence and (2) before that, optimal sexual experience, can be derived two secondary, social values. The social values are secondary because their justification lies in the fact that for each individual member of a society, they facilitate the realization of the primary, biological values.
The two social values are safety and freedom. While each of these secondary values is cross-related to each of the primary values, safety relates more strongly to the gentle death value than to the optimal sexual experience value, and freedom more strongly to the optimal sexual experience value than to the gentle death value.
Furthermore, the two secondary, social values of safety and freedom are better suited than the principal philosophical values to form the ideological backbone of everyday political activism. Emphasizing social values instead of philosophical ones also is better suited for forming political united fronts. Everybody understands the values of safety and freedom, even those whose philosophical outlook is different from the one sketched above.
While many of us experience governments as unwelcome interferers into our personal freedom, governments, and their principle agents, the police and the military, will be needed probably forever. Only romantic dreamers advocate their dissolution.
The principal purpose of governments is to provide safety. And in order to provide a high degree of safety, governments must be strong. It's an illusionist idea that there would ever be peace without strong governments. The alternative would only be local mafias ruling it over more docile members of a society.
The concept outlined above, of course, is not new. It can be traced back to Thomas Hobbes, and even ancient Greek philosophy.
The limitations to human freedom which are effected by nature, are self-evident and do not need to be discussed here. Here we only focus on man-made restrictions of freedom (or liberty). And as Thomas Hobbes famously noted: "Liberty dependeth on the silence of the law."
(Please note that below, the term "state" is used in its international meaning, referring to the administrations and governments of independent countries; not in its US meaning, referring to the federal divisions of that country.)
In the current world, and in most political systems since mankind organized itself in states, people usually experience(d) restriction of their freedom as arising from the presence of states, either their own states or states that conquered their own states.
This has, unfortunately, lead many people into believing that the presence of states per se is detrimental to personal freedom. Anarchists believed that people could live together in peace and harmony by just organizing themselves in communities. In practice, however, the abolition of states, or even just the their scaling down, gives rise to local tyrants which rule much more arbitrarily, and interfere much more strongly, with the personal freedom of those ruled than distant national governments would. Thus, the approach of anarchists has landed on the junkyard for ideologies a long time ago.
Others arrived at the conclusion, also erroneously, that states would all the more provide a frame for personal freedom the more they were constituted as direct democracies. The fallacy of this approach is less evident when just theoretically contemplated, but it has been tried time and again, and we can learn from history.
In direct democracies, governments typically do not get elected because they promise a large number of people more freedom (though occasionally, and only occasionally, they do). In established democracies, governments typically get elected because they address not the logical thinking of the populace, but their deeper emotions of hatred and envy. Psychologically, people are much more likely to vote for what is bad for their enemies than for what is good for themselves. Thus, in modern democracies, those candidates that promise to regulate something that affects a smaller number of people but does not affect the larger number will usually have an edge.
The result of continuing direct (especially US-style) democracy in a state is likely to be ever more regulations, rather than an attempt to preserve the personal freedom of the state's citizens.
This assessment is well backed by modern history. The US, with the lead culture of direct democracy, has the world's largest body of regulations, and correspondingly, the world's largest percentage of a prison population. Furthermore, prison terms for any kind of offence are constantly prolonged.
And in countries with a short history of democracy, such as Iran, direct democracy has by no means resulted in more personal freedom for the country's population.
Direct democracy as practiced in both the US and Iran, and in many other countries as well, is not at all conducive to personal freedom. And if we look back for some 200 years, we can see that when a higher degree of personal freedom was implemented, it usually happened by way of a grant, and thus was imposed, not by an elected body but an enlightened ruler or a conquering nation (such as, ironically, the US, or in Europe by Emperor Napoleon).
I have stated initially that the primary, philosophical values in life are a gentle death (or, in more general terms, the absence of suffering) and optimal orgasms (or, in more general terms, sexual happiness). The second-tier values are safety and freedom.
That the institutions of a state or government have been established in a democratic fashion is neither a primary, nor a secondary value. It's a common fallacy to equate freedom with democracy. Democracy can often have profound anti-freedom consequences, as it did in Germany in 1933, when Hitler was elected in a democratic process, and on many other occasions in history.
I am concerned with personal safety and personal freedom. I don't care so much how a government is established: whether it has been elected in a democratic process, or whether it came into existence by taking power.
What I do care about, and wherein lies the ultimate legitimization of government, is whether it is good government, and yes, whether it provides safety and safeguards the personal freedom of the people which it rules.
On the other hand, I do have an opinion on what form of government is most likely to achieve both optimal safety and optimal personal freedom. Not a government elected in a US-style democratic process.
I would favor the rule by a single political party with a strong ideological base that includes a commitment to provide a country's citizens with the highest degree of personal freedom possible. For anyway we turn it, whether a country's citizens will enjoy a high degree of personal freedom depends largely on whether those in power favor such a setting.
Sure, such a political party can attain power either in a democratic process or through a revolution. In either way, if we assume that this political party is guided by an ideology that puts the greatest emphasis on realizing the highest possible degree of personal freedom for the people it rules, I am firmly against this party getting voted out of office, and, for example, being replaced by a party of religious lunatics.
For sometimes, if political leaders want to shape the world in accordance to an enlightened vision, they have to have the courage to do so even in opposition to a misguided majority.
While there is a potential danger that the above elaboration is used to exercise dictatorial power not for the benefit of those ruled but of those who rule, this threat could be minimized by making sure that (1) there is collective rule rather than rule by a single executive, and (2) through a system of indirect democracy (see my article on Better democracy).
THE SIZE OF GOVERNED COMMUNITIES
Just as the idea that direct democracy leads to freedom is a fallacy, the idea, too, that mankind should be split in numerous small countries is erroneous. 10, or even 100, small countries would be much easier to swallow by a reactionary superpower than one large country under the guidance of a party with an enlightened vision.
Furthermore, while local demagogues would often find it easy to get democratically elected in small countries by exploiting ethnicity-based hatred and envy, corresponding simplistic rhetoric is less likely to have the desired effect in a large country with less homogeneity. On the contrary, a single party with an explicit ideology and cadres of considerable intellectual capacity would have an advantage on such a turf.
And because there typically is less cultural divergence in small countries, there also is a tendency that such countries may become more restrictive of alternative uses of personal freedom.
In recent years, the example of Indonesia which, after Suharto implemented widespread regional and local autonomy, has shown that decentralization is counterproductive to personal freedom.
Both anarchistic illusionism ("as weak a government as possible") and democratic dogmatism ("free elections must be the basis for a society with the highest degree of personal freedom for its citizens") gets us nowhere, as history has shown that both paths do not result in societies in which people live in optimal safety with an optimal degree of personal freedom.
For these are the values we strive for. Not an abstract legitimacy of government.
CONTENTS OF PERSONAL FREEDOM: PRIVACY AND SECRECY
It is an illusion that a sexually better society would have to draw sexual conduct into the public arena. Humans have sexual conduct in privacy, and often in secrecy, for good reasons.
We are never emotionally indifferent towards the sexual conduct of other people. If confronted with the sexual conduct of others, we may react with jealousy, disgust, aggression, mental pain, hatred, or other strong, often negative, feelings. We are unlikely to be indifferent. The emotions we react with are not rational, and they may even be totally out of proportion. It is futile to attempt to change this pattern of reactions. We may be the masters of our intellect, but we are the slaves of our emotions.
For the aim of creating sexually better societies, we may discuss sexuality in public in general terms, and for the purpose of scientific or philosophical insight. Having sexual contact in public, or discussing the sexual conduct of certain people in public, or, even worse, reporting on the sex life of specific people in the media, all has adverse effects on the sexual experience of people. It promotes conflict over harmony, and tens to brutalize a society.
For this reason alone, a strong government ought to limit the right of the mass media to report on sex topics, and to exploit such topics solely for the purpose of generating sales, or publicity for advertisements.
Because having sexual contact in privacy and secrecy is a fundamental element of personal freedom, the extent to which governments police the sexual conduct of the members of a society, and to which governments try to impose certain moral standards, needs to be strongly limited indeed.
Because for each of us, whether male or female, the pursuit of optimal sexual experience is at the core of the only sensible personal value system, and because for each of us, optimal sexual experience can only be attained if we interact and experiment with different people, while at the same time, each of us easily reacts with negative emotions on the sexual conduct of others, especially those with whom we are in contact, the right to privacy and secrecy overrides the traditional moral imperative of honesty and faithfulness.
Just as media reporting on the sexual conduct of specific persons generates negative emotions in the public arena, honesty about multiple parallel sexual relationships, or multiple previous sexual relationships generates adverse emotions and easily leads to violent conflict.
For this reason, ethics in a sexually better society ought to emphasize that dishonesty about parallel or previous sexual contacts for the purpose of social harmony is a higher moral value than truthfulness.
Likewise, future ethics ought to educate that it is an element of the human nature to be sexually attracted to more than one person, and that the pursuit of sexual experience is at the core of the only sensible personal value system. A certain degree of secrecy in the pursuit of optimal sexual experience is necessary, and morally justified, as openness contradicts the high ethical value of tranquility in human societies.
Thus, a government dedicated to the personal freedom of a country’s citizens ought not to interfere in the sexual conduct of the people for the purpose of imposing certain (out-dated) moral standards (such as faithfulness). Multiple sexual relationships, not even in the case of married people, ought not to be an excuse for public interference for as long as no violence is involved in these sexual relationships. To keep sexual contacts private and secret, and to protect the privacy and secrecy of sexual contacts by not talking truthfully about them, and by willfully concealing them, are important elements of personal freedom, and apart of that conducive to the superior moral concern of social harmony.
THE BENEFITS OF RELATIVE POVERTY
A wise government, dedicated to providing people with a social environment in which they will achieve optimal sexual experience and after that, have a gentle death, will have to engineer relative poverty.
Engineering poverty? For the benefit of the people? Isn’t a good government one under which people prosper?
The point is that the benefits of wealth don’t develop linearly. From the perspective of dialectical materialism, the concept is familiar. Dialectical materialism doesn’t expect linear developments, but development to some kind of a conflict. But even those with no background in dialectical materialism (or, for that matter, in Hegelian dialectical idealism) can, when confronted with some simple examples, grasp easily that more is not always better.
Take food. Everybody who lives in a rich society is aware of the fact that eating more food, even if we can afford it financially, isn’t the path to better health, and not even to more happiness.
More food intake makes us fatter, and less healthy, and leads to “premature” death. To be mildly overweight may be manageable, and the impact may be limited, but if we are grossly overweight, our mobility will be severely restricted, and our self-esteem will be at the bottom of the scale. Because of being grossly overweight, we count little in our social environment. Not only is our sexual market value near nil; we are also considered to have a weak character. It is clear that more is not better. While less and less is also not the ideal (we should not be starving), the linearity from nothing to plenty is not matched by a linearity from worst to best. The ideal always involves moderation.
There is a parallelism to the manner in witch societies develop. Oswald Spengler (Der Untergang des Abendlandes, The Decline of the West, published 1918), and later Arnold Toynbee (A Study of History) have reasoned that societies develop like organisms, from spring (the nascent period) through summer (when a society, or empire, is at its full power) to fall (a period of prolonged decline, marked by decadence) and winter (when an old empire is conquered by a new, nascent one).
Just as being overweight is not conducive to individual health, and just as reaching the height of power draws an empire to its decline, we should understand that linearly increasing the wealth of a society will not make life better for its citizens.
When people are relatively poor, they have a clear vision in life. To manage the material basis of their lives, or, ideally, to become richer. After all, they can see that in poor societies, their rich neighbors have a splendid life.
But when all people in a society become richer, then people lack orientation. They no longer have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, and for those who are richer than the average (who are poor), the benefits of being richer vanish.
There are many facets to the problem of societies becoming too rich, just as there are many facets to the problem of people being overweight.
One, conspicuous consumption (Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class), is just like cancer.
But I want to concentrate on discussing how societies being overly wealthy relates negatively to the quality of the sexual experience attainable by those who live in such societies.
In economies of need, not only do we have a vision of a better life (and display positive character attributes such as being industrious and interested in education); we are also much more inclined towards romantic love. For both, the vision of a better life and an inclination towards romantic love, thrive on hope.
I have never been advocate of brainless promiscuity (quantity instead of quality), or sex without love. The point is: the sexual experience in a romantic relationship is so much better than the sexual experience in other settings. But romantic love needs to project into the future.
If we feel no necessity to hope for the future, because we don’t really know what to hope for, then we become disoriented, and feel empty.
One can easily observe the negative influence that affluence has on the young generations in rich countries.
In poor countries, young people often strive hard to acquire an education, and to find work, for noble causes, such as helping their poor parents. In rich countries, in which children do not experience their parents as struggling to get them through to adulthood, children are seldom committed to such ethical goals.
Worries about the welfare of their aging parents, or younger siblings, are displaced by concerns about the latest fashions, or what strange trends to follow in order to be “in”. Many of these trends (often associated with music genres) have a pronounced negative orientation, such as punk (no future), reggae (the music of Jamaican outcasts and Rastafariansim), or, lately, hip-hop (and rap, characterized by lyrics that worship violence).
Furthermore, during eons of our evolution, the females of the species have traded sexual gratification against protection and material benefits. This has left a mark on the way women function emotionally.
While for females who have achieved sufficient self-cognition, optimal sexual experience, followed by a gentle death, is the only sensible personal value system (just as it is for males), many females feel that they need a second reason to enter sexual relationships. And the second reason with which many females feel most comfortable are material benefits.
In poor traditional societies, young females want to marry rich. This doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t enjoy sexual conduct once they are initiated. In societies of affluence, those young females who are not involved with destructive protest subcultures typically postpone their sexual initiation, simply because they lack a compelling second reason. This is statistically most evident in the fact that they marry later and later.
Not that this would be doing them a favor. They waste years during which they could experience the pleasure of sexual contact, simply because they do not have an excuse for getting into it.
Another positive effect of non-affluent societies is that in such societies, the sexual market value of people is determined more by economic factors than by factors such as looks and youth.
Humans will always compete for sexual relationships. It’s part of seeking optimal sexual experience. However, the arena in which we compete may be more or less suitable for an optimal number of people achieving optimal sexual experience.
And, apostate and politically incorrect as it may sound, there are many good reasons why we may choose to engineer societies in which economic factors are a major aspect of sexual competition.
One is that when economic factors play a major role in competing for sexual relationships, then there will be less discrimination based on age. And this, again, is the same for men and women. Which is why not only rich men, but also rich women, have a much easier time achieving optimal sexual experience in poor societies, rather than in richer ones.
There is no way that weak governments in direct democracies could contemplate the issues raised above when deciding on the course, a country should take. Only a government formed by an intellectual elite (dedicated not just to let people become affluent, but to create suitable conditions for optimal sexual experience) could contemplate such issues, and come up with policies that circumvent the wealth trap.
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Copyright Luc Loranhe