Another great site

Om du gillar min blogg, då kommer du antagligen att gilla den här sajten - http://www.aynrand.org/ .



Om du tycker att mina åsikter är tankeväckande, och undrar var du kan djupare utforska dem rekommenderar jag att du läser Ayn Rands idéroman, Och världen skälvde. Du kan köpa denna roman här - http://www.adlibris.com/se/product.aspx?isbn=9175665565 .

Kolla min ezine - www.radikalen.se .

Friday, February 27, 2009

Moralen i krigsföringen

Apropå kriget mot den islamistiska terrorismen - anta att en pacifist eller en kommunist ställer dig frågan "Är det rätt eller fel att döda andra människor?". Vad ska du då svara?

Du ska förstås svara att det beror på huvuvida det är fråga om att döda någon med angreppsvåld eller med försvarsvåld. T.ex. gör en bankrånare helt fel om han skjuter ihjäl en kassör för att få tag på pengarna. Ty då är det fråga om angreppsvåld. Däremot gör en polisman helt rätt om han skjuter ihjäl bankrånaren i syfte att hindra honom från att komma undan med sitt brott. Ty då är det fråga om försvarsvåld.

Anta då att en pacifist eller en kommunist ställer dig den lite svårare frågan "Är det rätt eller fel att döda civila i ett krig?" Vad ska du då svara?

Du ska förstås svara att det beror på huruvida det är fråga om att döda civila med angreppsvåld eller med försvarsvåld. Om ett gäng islamistiska terrorister dödar tretusen civila genom att flyga ett par kapade flygplan in i två skyskrapor är det ett brott. Ty då är det fråga om angreppsvåld. Däremot är det inte ett brott om amerikanska militärer råkar döda tretusen civila, eller rentav tre miljoner civila, under jakten på terroristernas ledare i Mellanöstern. Ty då är det fråga om försvarsvåld.

Det går inte att endast döda fiendens militärer i ett krig, och samtidigt skona samtliga civila. Civila kommer emellanåt i vägen för kulorna i alla krig - utan undantag. Den sortens regimer som inte drar sig för att orsaka krig, t.ex. genom att sponsra terroristers mord på oskyldiga amerikaner eller israeler - de drar sig inte heller för att använda sin egen civilbefolkning som levande sköldar. Om USA eller Israel skulle avstå från att skjuta närhelst fiendens soldater gömmer sig bakom de egna civila - då skulle USA och Israel därmed inte kunna försvara sig överhuvudtaget. Att aldrig döda några som helst av fiendens civila skulle vara därför utgöra självmord för de oskyldiga amerikanerna och israelerna!

Den rationella principen bakom allt detta är att det moraliska ansvaret för att civila dör i ett krig alltid ligger helt och hållet på den regim som orsakar kriget - d.v.s. på angriparen. Länder som försvarar sig har en moralisk rätt att döda hur många som helst av fiendens civila som det är nödvändigt att göra för att vinna kriget. Länder som försvarar sig ska kriga på ett sådant sätt att så få av de egna soldaterna och civila som möjligt dör. Oavsett hur stora förluster detta förfarande orsakar fienden och dess civilbefolkning.

Vi svenskar borde därför inte klandra USA eller Israel för att dessa länder dödar civila medan de försvarar sig mot islamisterna.

I synnerhet inte med tanke på att islamisterna vill döda eller förslava samtliga av världens icke-muslimer - vi svenskar ej undantagna!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fri invandring utgör inget hot

Sverigedemokraterna och fackföreningarna har fel. Fri invandring är inte något hot mot vare sig den fulla sysselsättningen eller mot reallönerna. Och eftersom det är omoraliskt närhelst staten tar på sig att bestämma var människor ska få lov att bo och/eller få lov att arbeta bör Sverige införa fri invandring.

Låt oss ta dessa första två frågor i tur och ordning.

1) Sysselsättningen och lönerna


Det finns ett behov av hur mycken produktion som helst. Människors behov och smak för varor och tjänster är i princip obegränsad. När människor får tillräckligt med mat börjar de genast vilja köpa mera kläder. När de får tillräckligt med kläder vill de genast ha större och bättre bostäder. Sedan vill de ha kylskåp, bilar, TV-apparater, persondatorer, mobiltelefoner, utbildning, sjukvård, hemtjänster o.s.v. Och om någon människa till äventyrs får nog av ”prylar” - då kan hon alltid efterfråga mera fritid. D.v.s. hon kan välja att jobba en kortare arbetsdag.

Men medan människors behov är oändliga, är arbetsköpares förmåga att betala löner inte det. I varje givet ögonblick har landets arbetsköpare en viss mängd pengar som de kan använda till att köpa lönearbete. Hur många lönearbetare de pengarna räcker till för att anställa beror på hur mycket varje enskild lönearbetare kostar. Om landets arbetsköpare t.ex. har 1,5 tusen miljarder kronor som de kan använda till att betala löner med under ett år, och varje lönearbetare kräver att få 300.000 kronor i lönekostnad per år betalt - då kan arbetsköparna anställa 5 miljoner årsarbetare. Om arbetarna istället kräver 330.000 kronor om året - då kan arbetsköparna bara anställa drygt 4,55 miljoner årsarbetare. Om arbetarna nöjer sig med 250.000 kronor om året - då kan arbetsköparna istället anställa hela 6 miljoner årsarbetare. O.s.v.

Så om det kommer en massa invandrare till Sverige och söker jobb går det alltid att skapa tillräckligt många jobb. Det gäller bara att marknadsanpassa löneanspråken! Om det kommer väldigt många invandrare hit krävs det bara att lönearbetarna accepterar väldigt stora sänkningar av sina löner, räknat i kronor och ören, för att den fulla sysselsättningen ska bestå.

Men om det sistnämnda sker - innebär inte det att reallönerna och levnadsstandarden sjunker för svenskarna?

Nej, ingalunda! Om ett riktigt stort antal invandrare kommer till Sverige - och om de bara tillåts att arbeta istället för att tvingas leva på A-kassa och bidrag - ökar ju produktionen kraftigt. När många flera arbetar i landet -produceras det ju mycket mera i landet! Och om produktionen ökar lika mycket som befolkningsmängden, tack vare att massinvandringen ökar, då räcker ju det som produceras till precis samma höga levnadsstandard per capita som gällde förut.

Men om fackföreningarna hindrar lönerna från att sjunka när massinvandringen inträffar, (och bara då) sjunker reallönerna och levnadsstandarden! Därför att då blir åtminstone en del av invandrarna arbetslösa - och då drabbas ju de svenskar som fortfarande har jobb av bördan av att försörja en armé av arbetslösa! Det produceras nämligen då inte tillräckligt mycket mera varor och tjänster i landet än förut, eftersom fackföreningarna inte har tillåtit antalet människor i arbete att öka i takt med invandringen - samtidigt som antalet människor i landet som ska ”dela” på den produktionen har ju p.g.a. massinvandringen ökat en hel del.

Att man, i ett läge då den totala vuxna befolkningen ökar, endast kan rädda reallönerna genom att sänka lönerna räknat i kronor och ören kan verka ”konstigt” vid första påseendet.

Men tänk!

Låt oss ta ett extremt exempel för att driva hem läxan på starkaste möjliga sätt.

Säg att det i utgångsläget arbetar fem miljoner människor i Sverige. Sedan införs fri invandring och fem miljoner fattiga människor, barn och gamla ej inräknat, invandrar till Sverige från Tredje världen. Eftersom dubbelt så många människor nu vill arbeta måste lönerna, räknat i kronor och ören, halveras för att alla ska kunna få jobb (förutsatt att staten inte späder på penningmängden, d.v.s. förutsatt att staten inte skapar någon välfärdsförstörande inflation). Då får varje svensk exakt hälften så många kronor i lön att köpa saker med. Men samtidigt fördubblas produktionen! Nu är det ju dubbelt så många människor som arbetar och producerar saker i landet. När företagen ska försöka sälja dubbelt så många varor och tjänster till landets invånare, men mängden pengar i landet inte har ökat, då måste företagen ju halvera priserna för att pengarna ska räcka till att köpa alla dessa varor och tjänster. Det ökade utbudet trycker ju ner priserna.

Men då går väl företagen i konkurs - om de sänker priserna med 50%? Nej, ingalunda. Kom ihåg att företagen har sänkt lönerna med 50% också! Så deras vinstmarginaler kommer att bli i stort sett oförändrade! Lönesänkningarna och prissänkningarna tar ut varandra. Levnadsstandarden blir därför som förut.

Så slutresultatet av massinvandringen i detta exempel, blir att antalet medborgare som behöver varor och tjänster fördubblas - men att produktionen fördubblas också. Så den genomsnittliga levnadsstandarden för svenskarna blir så gott som oförändrad. Eller för att uttrycka det på ett annat sätt:

Varje enskild lönearbetares lön, räknat i kronor och ören, har sänkts med 50%. Men priserna har sänkts med 50% också - så varje lönearbetare kan köpa precis lika mycket med sin lön som förut - trots att det nu är dubbelt så många lönearbetare i landet tack vare den fria invandringen. Men om det produceras dubbelt så många bilar, TV-apparater, skor, o.s.v. i landet som förut -  hur ska då företagen kunna sälja dem alla? Enkelt. Kom ihåg att det nu lever dubbelt så många människor i landet, tack vare massinvandringen, dubbelt så manga människor som vill ha bilar, TV-apparater, skor o.s.v. Och dessa nya svenskar har också råd att köpa dessa saker de vill ha - eftersom de tillåts att jobba till hälften av lönerna som rådde i landet förut, samtidigt som priserna också har sänkts till hälften. Det hela går ihop!

Visst är världen vi lever i ett härligt ställe - där alla kan vinna och ingen behöver förlora - om bara vi tillämpar vårt förnuft och därför tillåter en marknadsanpassning av lönerna?

2) Individens rättigheter


Individens rättigheter skall vara lika för alla - oavsett sådana ovidkommande faktorer som vilket land hon råkar födas i. Och ett av individens rättigheter är den att hon ska själv få välja var hon ska arbeta och bo - närhelst hon klarar av att skaffa sig bostaden och jobbet ifråga med egna krafter.

- jag föddes i Stockholm och jag bor i Stockholm. Men jag har likväl en rätt att flytta till Göteborg och börja jobba där närhelst jag vill och kan - utan att jag ska behöva söka och få något tillstånd från svenska staten. Ingen apartheid-politik i Sverige, tack!

Och eftersom individens rättigheter ska vara lika för alla - oavsett vilket land de råkar födas i - ska en människa som råkar ha fötts i, säg, Mumbai eller Djakarta eller Rio de Janeiro också ha rätt att flytta till Göteborg och ta ett jobb där, närhelst hon vill och kan. Utan att behöva med mössan i hand ansöka om uppehållstillstånd och arbetstillstånd från svenska staten. Rättigheterna ska ju vara lika för alla - annars vore det ju fråga om rasism i politiken - eller hur?

Slutsatsen av detta resonemang är uppenbar. Ingen - oavsett vilket land hon bor i och vilket land hon råkar ha fötts i - ska behöva söka och få tillstånd av svenska staten att få bosätta sig i och arbeta varsomhelst i Sverige. Fri invandring är det enda moraliskt anständiga. All reglering och begränsning av invandringen, bortsett ifrån grundläggande upprätthållande av lag och ordning, liknar en transnationell variant av apartheid-politik!

3) Avslutning och sammanfattning:


I stort sett allt som behövs för att alla människor som regel ska gagna varandra, istället för att skada varandra, är att frihet införs i landet. Och konsekvent frihet inbegriper fri invandring och fri lönebildning.

Men: "Facket står i vägen!" som en berömd svensk fackföreningsman (det kanske var Stig Malm) uttryckte det.

Varför jag hatar facket

Jag hatar fackföreningar. Varför?

Framförallt p.g.a. idéerna som fackföreningarna företräder. Det finns många dåliga idéer som de svenska fackföreningarna företräder. En speciellt osmaklig idé (eller attityd) som är utbredd inom fackföreningarna i Sverige är invandringsfientligheten.

Jag upplevde det på ett mycket konkret sätt för bara drygt en månad sedan [Jag skrev ursprungligen denna essä på hösten av år 2008], när jag åt lunch tillsammans med några arbetskamrater (jag jobbar på ett verkstadsföretag i Stockholmsförorten Skarpnäck, Qualitrol AKM, som tillverkar mätinstrument). En arbetskamrat till mig, som var mycket aktiv i facket, snackade om invandringen. Så sade han ”De borde skicka tillbaka flera av de där passlösa invandrarna till sina hemländer”. Detta sade han utan att visa några som helst tecken på att skämmas. Han tyckte tydligen att det var en okontroversiell åsikt som han uttryckte.

Jag yttrade mig och sade att stater inte hade någon rätt att bestämma var människor ska bo eller inte bo, och att vi borde införa fri invandring. Då bara skrattade denna fackföreningsman och frågade ”Ja, men vad ska vi göra när alla dessa invandrare tar våra jobb?”. Jag försökte förklara för honom att det blir flera jobb, om bara de nominella lönerna (d.v.s. lönerna räknade i kronor och ören) sänks, så att arbetsköparna får råd att anställa flera. Då kom fackföreningsmannen med den där gamla Keynesianska käpphästen ”Men vad ska då alla dessa nya arbetare producera? Det behövs inte hur många prylar som helst?”. Jag försökte påpeka för honom att människornas behov av varor och tjänster är oändliga - när de får nog med mat, kläder, bilar, TV-apparater o.s.v. kommer de att efterfråga andra sorters produkter utöver dem de redan har. Och om de till äventyrs inte vill ha flera ”prylar” - då kommer de istället att efterfråga mera fritid, d.v.s. de kommer att arbeta kortare arbetsdagar. Så ingen behöver någonsin bli arbetslös - så länge samhället de lever i är fritt (d.v.s. kapitalistisk).

Men det hjälpte inte. Den här fackföreningsmannen var fast i sin övertygelse att flera invandrare borde ”skickas tillbaka”.

Det värsta med denna fackföreningsmans attityd var inte att han låg på gränsen till att vara rasist - fast det var illa nog. Det värsta var hans häpnadsväckande likgiltighet för mänskligt lidande! Denna fackföreningsman läste tidningarna. Det hade jag själv sett honom göra på rasterna på jobbet. Han kunde därför inte ha varit omedveten om att majoriteten av människorna i Tredje världen levde i fattigdom och armod. Och han måste ha kunnat räknat ut med a-t att många av de invandrare och flyktingar som ”skickades tillbaka”, ifall han fick som han ville, skulle ha fått leva i misär efter hemkomsten. Men det bekymrade honom tydligen inte! Han var fullständigt känslolös när det gällde människor som råkade komma från andra länder än Sverige. Det som denna fackföreningsman gjorde, d.v.s. att ge sig på hjälplösa invandrare, det var ett exempel på det som brukar kallas för ”förakt för svaghet”.

Denna fackligt aktiva arbetskamrat till mig var inte ensam inom facket om att vara invandringsfientlig. Massor av fackföreningsmän vill idag att staten ska ”skydda” de svenska jobbarna mot en ”massinvandring” som, heter det, skulle medföra att utlänningar ”tog jobben” från svenskarna och (stön!)”dumpade lönerna”. Många fackföreningsmän har samma inställning som den Göran Persson blottade när han förklarade att en ökad invandring skulle vara ett ont därför att den skulle medföra ”social dumpning”.

Det är faktiskt fullkomligt naturligt att det n svenska modellen skulle sluta med att svenska fackföreningsmän avskyr tanken på en fri invandring. Fackföreningsmännen (de allra flesta av dem är ju gubbar) är ju sossar! Och sossar tycker ju, för att använda Tage Erlanders bevingade ord, att ”det är fördelningen som är det viktiga”. Sossar inbillar sig att välfärden är som en kaka vars storlek är given - och att hur bra var och en i Sverige får det beror på hur staten ”fördelar” denna gemensamma kaka. Nå, de som tror på denna idé kan ju räkna ut med a-let att om individens välfärd beror på hur en kaka av en given storlek fördelas - då blir det givetvis mindre av den där välfärden till var och en ju flera det är som ska dela på den där kakan! Närhelst tårtan ska skäras up i flera bitar blir ju varje enskild bit mindre.

Så det är naturligt att sossar ser invandrarna som ett hot mot välfärden. Ju flera i landet det blir som ska dela på den ”svenska” välfärden - desto mindre välfärd blir det för varje enskild svensk resonerar sossarna - logiskt nog.

Så det är den naturligaste saken i världen att fackföreningsmännen, som för det mesta är sossar, tenderar att vara invandringsfientliga.

Och denna teoretiska insikt bekräftas av opinionsundersökningarnas empiri!

Väljarmätningarna har visat gång på gång att de invandringsfientliga Sverigedemokraterna får en större andel av arbetarrösterna än vad de får av tjänstemannarösterna och akademikerrösterna. Och väljarmätningarna visar också att det är Socialdemokraterna, i ännu högre grad än Moderaterna, som utgör de främsta rekryteringsbaserna för Sverigedemokraterna. Sverigedemokraterna generar ju, och retar upp, sossarna när de (Sverigedemokraterna) skryter om detta för sossarna obehagliga förhållande.

Det finns många andra idéer som de svenska fackföreningarna står för som jag också starkt ogillar. Men jag tycker att invandringsfientligheten hör till de allra värsta. Och jag står faktiskt inte ut med fackföreningsfolk som är likgiltiga för mänskligt lidande! Och som föraktar svaghet!

Facket suger lika mycket som Sverigedemokraterna!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Objectivism and my Recovery From Schizophrenia

The philosophy called Objectivism helped me to rebuild my life after my recovery from a case of schizophrenia. This is my tale.

I began recovering from my schizophrenia when I was in a Swedish mental hospital in 1973. I continued to recover and to rebuild my life during the rest of the 1970s. I believe that there were two essential factors behind my recovery – the medications that I was given, specifically chlorpromazine, and my own free will. These two factors were probably equally essential.

The essential choice that I made was, basically, to begin thinking again about things in the external world. The first small step that I made was to begin listening many, many hours a day to music, instead of merely devoting all my time to fantasizing. I did still spin fantasies in my mind as I listened to the music - but at least a part of my attention was directed towards something out there in the external world.

I was especially obsessed with the music of the heavy metal group Blue Öyster Cult. I would listen many hours each day to the three LPs which they had issued at the time, which was the summer of the year 1974. I learned all of their songs by heart and I would hum or sing along with the songs as I played their three LPs. I believe that I experienced said activity as a pleasurable mental exercise - it was like a "light cognitive workout".

My next step was to decide to learn how to invest in stocks. My father worked for a bank at the time. Every week he would borrow the latest issue of Sweden´s leading business magazine, Affaersvaerlden, from the bank´s library. He would bring it home and he encouraged me to read it. At first I was only mildly curious. But after I had read a few issues, in the spring of 1974, I began to become fascinated by the world of business and investing. I decided that I must myself learn the art of stock investing and invest my own modest savings in publicly quoted stocks of my own choice.

I only had about 3.000 dollars in savings at the time (the currency was, of course, worth a lot more then than now), but in the summer of 1974 I invested that money in five different Swedish industrial companies of my own choice. I enjoyed making my own choices in a matter which would have an impact on my own future welfare. And analyzing stocks was good mental gymnastics for my mind.

As I concentrated on reading magazine articles about business conditions and stocks, a “feedback” of a kind developed. The more effort I put into concentrating on the external world, the easier it became for me to do so. So my ability to concentrate on things in the external world, instead of just wasting my time lost in my entertaining but useless fantasies, improved as time went by. It was a cumulative process.

My next step was to take a stand against the welfare state and the worship of helplessness. I decided that I was a supporter of the principle of liberty and that I was opposed to the welfare state. I began voting against the Social Democrats - who of course were the main defenders of the welfare state in Sweden at the time. In 1976 I voted for the Liberals (who actually were quite leftist - they were virtually socialistic in all but name). In 1979 I voted for the Conservatives - the most “right-wing” major party at the time. By 1982 I had discovered the philosophy of Objectivism and so I voted “none of the above” in the election of 1982 . I continued to vote “none of the above” during the elections which followed. At some point during the 1990s I actually began voting for the Social Democrats - since I decided that the Conservatives, whenever they were in power, only discredited capitalism and thereby made the Swedish Objectivists´ struggle for freedom still harder.

Back in the early 1970s I also made the conscious decision that I would do all I could to avoid becoming dependent on government handouts myself. So in 1975, when I began earning enough money by working so as to be able to save, I made it a habit to spend as little money as possible on my own consumption. Instead I saved as much money every month as I possibly could. During the latter half of the 1970s I saved between 40% and 60% of my after-tax wage every month. I invested the money in stocks. I felt proud of myself, and I felt that I was making progress in my life every time that I made a new investment and my store of savings therefore grew still a little bit larger. It was a very pleasurable way of living my life long-range.

I also decided that I would attempt to get the highest-paying job that was open do me. I decided to try to enter the steel foundry industry and to develop a career as a foundry worker. I reasoned that I could not get the kind of job that was paid well due to said job being intellectually difficult. I was aware that I had no education to speak of and that my ability to concentrate was severely limited. I reasoned that foundry workers, however, would be relatively well paid due to the fact that the work was physically demanding and dirty. I managed to get jobs in iron and steel foundries twice in 1976. But I had to move out of Stockholm to get the latter one of those two jobs. And my parents managed to persuade me to return to live with them again in the suburb of Stockholm called Lidingoe after a half year at the foundry. I then began working as a machine tender in a margarine factory instead.

That job was pretty well paid. I worked all of the overtime that I was offered and permitted, in order to earn as much money as possible. I earned about 1.000 dollars per month and saved about 600 dollars of that on the average. I invested the money in stocks.

Back in 1974 I had made an important decision. I knew that I was a supporter of the principle of freedom but I did not really know why. I was aware in some terms that freedom needed an intellectual defense. I decided that in order to fight for freedom I needed to find out what the intellectual case for freedom was.

In 1975 I asked my parents if they knew the names of any intellectuals who had written important books defending freedom. My father recommended "The Road to Serfdom" by Friedrich Hayek and so he borrowed a copy of it for me from a library. The newspapers were in 1976 writing a lot about Milton Friedman, who had just won the Nobel prize in economics - so I also purchased a copy of "Freedom and Capitalism". I finished reading those two books during 1977. But they did not really satisfy me. So I decided to continue to look for a good defense of freedom.

I found that defense in 1979, when I discovered Objectivism.

The first time that I ever heard of Ayn Rand, that I can remember, was an incident that occurred when I was about 9 years old in America. I saw a copy of a humorous book titled "Have You Read a Good Book Lately?" It was a little book with jokes that consisted of a series of photos of well-known books in situations that were supposed to be funny, given the books´ titles. There was, for example, a photo of a man looking into an opened copy of the book "The Naked Society" with a very embarrassed look on his face. I remember that when I happened to find a copy of that book in our house at around the age of 9 or 10, it contained an image of a book with a photo of the Atlas sculpture at Rockefeller center, montaged onto the dust jacket of "Atlas Shrugged". Ayn Rand´s name was visible on the dust jacket. Of course, I had no inkling of the meaning or significance of Atlas Shrugged at the time. But for some reason I still remembered that incident all those years later.

The second time that I came into contact with Objectivism was in the spring of 1979. Since I wanted to promote freedom, I had attempted to write a “political” novel. It was a dystopia inspired by 1984. I called the novel “The Democratization of Nils”. The novel took place in an imaginary future Sweden, which had become fully democratic. Each and very decision was made by majority vote - what work the individual should devote himself to, whom the individual should marry, even what everybody would eat for dinner in the communal dining hall. My intention was to show that life in the genuinely democratic society which the Social Democrats were always pining for (in their rhetoric at least) would be sheer hell if it was ever actualized. My novel was supposed to trash the name of the phony political ideal which is democracy by means of reductio ad absurdum!

The novel was badly written, among other reasons because I for the most part “told” the reader my message instead of “showing” him the message. But I sent the novel, which was written in English, to a publisher in the U.S.A anyway. The publisher sent me a reply, in which they politely declined to publish my novel. But they made the comment that my novel reminded them of the works of Ayn Rand!

I should have pricked up my ears and immediately done something to find out what Ayn Rand had to say - but unfortunately I didn´t. I guess that I was just lazy.

In the fall of 1979 I became engaged in the organization Amnesty International (AI). I was idealistic, and I wanted something meaningful to do on my spare time. I did not just want to spend my evenings watching television or something trivial like that. I reasoned that the work that I did in AI would promote freedom. AI´s main activity was to work for the release of political prisoners in other countries and to protect all prisoners, and especially political prisoners, against torture and execution (I am, of course, no longer opposed to capital punishment on moral grounds). I thought that if people all around the world could work to improve their countries´ politics - without having to be afraid of being imprisoned, tortured or executed - then they would come to possess a greater opportunity to bring about freedom.

AI´s most important defect was that it was anti-ideological and concrete-bound on principle. AI had as a fundamental principle that it would never take a stand for or against any political ideology/philosophy. It would only work for the very narrow, concrete-bound goals in its founding charter - to oppose political imprisonment, torture and capital punishment. Many of the members of AI itself were socialists, some were even in many cases Communists. So AI had some important attributes in common with the Libertarian movement. AI tried to create a "broad front for human rights" just as the Libertarians try to create a "broad front for `freedom´".

So the time and money that I “invested” in AI was wasted. For a period of four years, beginning in the fall of 1979 AI was my main occupation on my spare time.

The reason that I was so enthusiastic about AI was the partly the fact that I was an idealist. And it was partly that I felt an acute need for a concrete purpose in my life - i.e. something that I could focus on. I yearned for an important purpose. I longed to do something important with my life. A few months after I became involved in AI, the second of the three most fortunate events which ever happened to me in my life occurred.

I discovered Objectivism.

I happened to read an article in a newspaper about the intellectuals who were supposedly behind the “swing to the right” which was spreading throughout the world at the time. The article mentioned something like a couple of dozen intellectuals. One of them was Ayn Rand. The article stated that Ayn Rand had created a philosophic case for capitalism.

I was intrigued. So I went to a large bookstore in Stockholm and found several books by Ayn Rand (in English) on its shelves. I purchased The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal, mainly because I was intrigued by those two books´ titles. I read the Virtue of Selfishness first.

Although I came to the book with a belief in the moral code of altruism I did not recoil in horror when I read the book. Instead I was elated. I felt that I had “hit the jackpot”, because Ayn Rand explained her ideas so clearly and those ideas were so rational.

So, although I was initially on the premise of altruism, I was immediately strongly attracted to Objectivism due to the fact that I valued reason. However, it was difficult for me to read the two books that I had purchased. It took me about half a year, reading on and off. The reason for that was my schizophrenia. I would read one or two paragraphs, then my mind would begin to wander and I would become lost in my fantasies. Then after a few minutes of dreaming I would focus on the book again and read another paragraph or two. And so forth.

And as I was already committed to spending a large portion of my spare time on AI´s activities, I did not have much time available to spend on reading. I finished reading The Virtue of Selfishness around the time of Christmas in 1979. I finished reading the second book, Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal, during my summer vacation in 1980. Then a year went by during which I did nothing at all to pursue my interest in Objectivism. All my energy was devoted to AI.

In the spring of 1981 I purchased one copy each of two more nonfiction books by Ayn Rand of The Romantic Manifesto and The New Left: the Anti-Industrial Revolution. And I got around to reading those two books in the summer of 1981.

In the early fall of 1981, I consciously decided that I just had to read all of the rest of the books which Ayn Rand had written. So I purchased close to all of her fiction and non-fiction in bookstores in Stockholm. I read those books over the course of the following year.

In the early winter of 1982 I decided that I wanted to try to get into touch with Ayn Rand. I did not know anything about who she was, apart from the brief information on the book covers. I had no inkling of the fact that there existed an Objectivist movement. I wrote a short letter addressed to Ayn Rand, and mailed it to her book publisher in America. Unfortunately, I asked the question about whether Ayn Rand was still alive, in awkward language. Then, a couple of weeks after I put the letter in the mail, my father showed me the latest issue of Time Magazine. In the obituary section they said that Ayn Rand had just died.

A month or so later, I received a letter from Dr. Peikoff (Ayn Rand´s legal and intellectual heir). Ayn Rand´s book publisher (I believe it was Signet) had forwarded my letter to him. It was clear from his letter that he was a bit disturbed by my awkwardly worded question about whether Ayn Rand was still alive. But he was not angry at me, due to the distance. Dr. Peikoff enclosed information about such things as Palo Alto Books, The Objectivist Forum and his own taped lecture courses. I was thrilled to learn that there evidently existed an entire Objectivist movement based in America.

I immediately placed a big order for books from Palo Alto Books, amounting to several hundred dollars. And I promptly got myself a subscription to The Objectivist Forum.

I wrote a letter to dr. Peikoff´s assistant, Walter Huebscher, in which I stated that I thought that I was not competent yet to run Dr. Peikoff´s courses, being so new to Objectivism - and in which I inquired if there was any possibility that I might purchase Dr. Peikoff´s taped courses. Walter replied emphatically that the courses were not available for purchase, but could only be leased. I replied that I would in that case attempt to run one of Dr. Peikoff´s courses in Stockholm during the fall.

During the summer of 1982 I finished reading Ayn Rand´s paperbacks. In the early fall of 1982 it dawned on me that Objectivism was much more important than AI. I decided that I could improve the state of the world much more if I devoted myself to studying and spreading Objectivism instead of devoting myself to the AI movement. And I realized that I also would become much happier personally if I did so. Since intellectual activism for Objectivism was enormously much more intellectually stimulating than AI´s concrete-bound activities (I was really becoming bored by the drudgery of churning out concrete-bound letter after concrete-bound letter in AI).

So I told my friends in AI that I wanted to quit and devote myself to “ideological” activities instead. They persuaded me to stay in AI another half-year, so that they would have time to find someone to replace me (I had by that time advanced to a somewhat prominent position in the Swedish AI movement, since I worked hard). So in the fall of 1982 I began running Dr. Peikoff´s lecture courses in Stockholm, at the same time that I also continued to spend spare time in AI. It was a pretty hectic time for me for the next half-year. In the spring of 1983 I finally left AI and began devoting my spare time to Objectivism exclusively (apart from personal recreation of course, I did not literally spend all of my spare time studying and spreading Objectivism).

I was very optimistic about my own future now. I felt that I now had just about everything important that I could wish for in life. I had a job which I enjoyed and that paid well (I was working in a factory that manufactured measuring instruments by now), I had a small private fortune (due to the boom in the Swedish stock market I now had a stock portfolio worth roughly 120.000 dollars) and I had an important purpose in my life. Which latter fact gave me the feeling that my life had meaning. From that time on Objectivism made my life much happier, and it helped me to become more successful in life than I otherwise would have become.

Objectivism has benefited me by increasing the amount of the values of reason, purpose and self-esteem that I have been able to enjoy in my life.

Objectivism showed me that reason is both moral and practical. By showing how identity is an inescapable axiom, it almost certainly guaranteed that I would never again become acutely schizophrenic. So Objectivism cemented the place of reason in my life and it secured my mental health.

Objectivism provided me with what has been the central, long-range, integrating purpose in my life. Back in 1982 I consciously decided that I would become one of the individuals who brought Objectivism into the Swedish culture (Objectivism was almost unknown in Sweden at the time). Purpose was the central value that was most lacking in my life previously. So this was an invaluable service which Objectivism did for me, in a certain sense (Of course, I was myself the active agent in acquiring a purpose, Objectivism did not literally do it for me).

Objectivism radically increased my level of self-esteem - or to be more precise, Objectivism made it easier for me to increase my self-esteem by my own efforts. Before I discovered Objectivism, I was plagued with feelings of guilt for my “failures” earlier in life. Before I discovered Objectivism there was a nagging suspicion in my mind that maybe it was my own fault after all that I had become a high-school dropout and a schizophrenic when I was younger. And I felt some guilt also, because of the fact that I still accepted the moral code of altruism and could not practice it with complete consistency (No one can!). I also had a major element of a malevolent sense-of-life before I discovered Objectivism.

Objectivism showed me that it was not my own fault that I had “failed” earlier in life. After reading essays such as The Comprachicos I realized that, in a sense, it had been a healthy reaction on my part to “give up” rather than to “give in”. And I realized for the first time that my school-teachers had actually been (unwittingly) working to bring about that destruction of my mind which occurred when I was a teen-ager. I also realized that I was not wrong to hate my parents. They were abject second-handers who had betrayed me, their own child, in order to not cause a frown on random strangers´ faces and in order to evade the effort of thinking.

So, for the first time since grade school, I became completely free from guilt a few years after I discovered Objectivism. That, of course, was of incalculable importance for my happiness. Objectivism showed me exactly where I went wrong during my childhood and how to repair that damage now that I was an adult.

I did choose to work hard to learn and then spread the philosophy of Objectivism. So I earned my happiness. Some of the major things that I did were to:

1) Run Dr. Peikoff´s lecture courses. At first I ran the courses at least two times a year in Stockholm, starting in 1982. I continued doing so until Dr. Peikoff discontinued the leasing of the courses in the early 1990s. After I had run the courses a few years in Stockholm, I was entrusted with the responsibility of administering the leasing of Dr. Peikoff´s courses in all of Scandinavia for several years.

2) I tried to influence the general public by writing a copious number of letters and debate articles to Swedish newspapers and magazines during the 1980s and the 1990s. I no longer write debate pieces to Swedish newspapers since they rarely get published nowadays. I have gotten the impression that, especially, some of the largest, national Swedish newspapers have a deliberate policy of refusing to publish pieces that advocate Objectivist viewpoints - or that, for example, contain quotes from Ayn Rand.

3) During 1983 through 1986 I cooperated with a Swedish think tank called Timbro, on a project to get a Swedish translation of Atlas Shrugged published. Timbro is and was at least partly Libertarian. I did not at the time realize yet that Libertarianism was evil. I invested about 45.000 dollars of my own money in the project. I lost about half of that money, after tax. The translation, titled Och vaerlden skaelvde (“And the Earth Shook”), was published in hardback in 1986 but was initially a flop. However, the book is still in print. Later, Timbro published an inexpensive paperback copy of Och vaerlden skaelvde, which at least a few years ago was selling steadily and was available in many bookstores. Timbro also used to sell an inexpensive paperback copy of the Swedish translation of The Fountainhead, titled Urkaellan.

4) Starting in 1987, I published the very first Objectivist periodical in Sweden, Objektivistisk skriftserie, together with Per-Olof Samuelsson (Per-Olof Samuelsson was the first Objectivist in Sweden, having discovered it way back in 1972 - and to the best of my knowledge I was probably the second Swedish Objectivist. We were best friends for many years). This periodical, of which four or five issues were published each year from 1987 through 1996, consisted of translations into Swedish of essays by Ayn Rand and on occasion by other leading Objectivist philosophers, plus material written by Per-Olof and me.

Per-Olof was the chief editor and did almost all the work involved in publishing Objectivistisk skriftserie (OS), I was the owner and I financed the project, which never became profitable. When it was at its peak, OS only had about 95 subscribers. Still, it was an influential publication.

5) In 1987 I began selling Objectivist literature in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland) by mail order. I purchased Objectivist books in round lots from Second Renaissance Books and resold them at a slightly higher price to persons in the Nordic countries who were interested in Objectivism. I am no longer running my mail order book service due to private economic difficulties. Over the years I sold something like 2.000 books to several hundred different customers.

6) In 1996 I published a Swedish translation of Anthem, titled Lovsaang, through my own publishing house - which was called Foerlaget Egoisten (“The Egoist Publisher”). I had 3.200 copies printed. I believe that to date roughly 1.500 of those copies have been sold to individual customers. I sold the leftover copies of the book to a half dozen Swedish Objectivists roughly ten years ago (the time of writing this is 2015). They will store the books for me, so that I do not have to destroy them. Hopefully, I will eventually get a chance to begin selling them again.

7) During most of the 1990s I ran a study organization for Objectivism in Stockholm. We had regular meetings for several years, at which a few interested individuals would listen to taped lectures on Objectivism for free, and we would discuss philosophical questions. The study organization is now defunct.

8) I was been a regular donor to the Ayn Rand Institute since its inception 1985 up until 2008 (I ran into private financial difficulties that year).

9) I have attended the yearly Objectivist conferences in America four times, 1985, 1989, 1993 and 1998. I have also attended several Objectivist conferences in Europe. I would have attended more of the conferences in the U.S.A. if only I could have afforded it. But I have always had the option of purchasing most of the lectures given at the conferences afterwards anyway, on tape or dvd.

10) Recently I began publishing an Objectivist periodical on the Internet, “Radikalen”, together with my best friend Filip Bjoerner, and three other Swedish Objectivists. The first issue was published at the end of September (2008). We planned to publish more issues. We were planning to publish an extra issue soon after on the theme of the finance crisis. But the project failed after the first issue due to Filip´s health problems.

11) I have been “lying low” for a few years, in regard to spreading Objectivism, since the newspapers usually do not publish my debate pieces (probably because my pieces are “too good”), and since I have run low on economic resources for certain reasons.

12) I am now working on my most ambitious project yet. I have written a book, "Bad Philosophy as a Cause of Psychosis", which presents my hypothesis that the influence of bad, fallacious philosophical ideas can give rise to psychoses. This book was prompted by Dr. Peikoff´s essay "Madness and Modernism", and is based on my own personal experience with schizophrenia. I now feel re-energized due to the thinking which the writing of this book necessitated. I am currently trying to find an academic publisher for my book, which is written in the English language.

I feel a great deal of satisfaction with my life now. Looking back, I see that I have done a good job of rebuilding my life after my psychosis. I know for a fact that I have made a difference in the development of the Swedish society and culture since the beginning of the 1980s. At least something like fifty or one hundred Swedish Objectivists originally came into contact with Objectivism thanks partly to my efforts.

So I will be happy when I die. I am 54 years old now at the time of writing this essay (the year 2008) so hopefully I have many years left.

I doubt that many former psychotics have led an equally productive a life as I have. Objectivism has enabled me to develop the psychological attribute of ambition and has given me the tools to achieve my high ambitions.

I am afraid that I would have become quite unhappy if I had not discovered Objectivism. I might very well have got stuck in a “career” in Amnesty International. And as a result I might have developed a malevolent sense-of-life. I might also have fallen prey to the philosophical corruption which is widespread in AI. And of course, I would not have achieved much in the way of improving the world if I had stayed in AI - so my life would have been wasted.

The one important thing that I have missed out on so far in my life, is romance. At the time of writing (2008) I am still unmarried and without a girlfriend.

But Objectivism has greatly increased my “failure tolerance”. I know that there is nothing that I can do now to undo the elements of failure in my past life, such as my schizophrenia or my dropping out of high school or my many years of loneliness, etc. So I do not worry my head about those things. They are metaphysically given, now that they are in the past and therefore cannot be undone.

I believe that all persons who suffer from mental illnesses would benefit from a knowledge of Objectivism. My own experience indicates that irrational philosophy is one significant cause of psychosis - and that rational philosophy is a major part of the cure.

It would be of inestimable benefit to psychotics, if the world´s psychiatrists and psychologists were to become aware of the role played by philosophy in mental health. In particular, the mental health professionals need to be “cured” of the fallacy that people are determined by either nature or nurture. Mental health professionals need to realize that ideas - which always are chosen by the individual himselfare the key determinant of men´s respective psychologies.

I sincerely believe that a knowledge of Objectivism would enable psychiatrists and psychologists to better help their patients, including psychotics, to recover from their illnesses and achieve happiness.

Objectivism should be made a part of the education of all psychiatrists and psychologists!

The Causes of my Schizophrenia

I believe that philosophy plays a key role in forming men´s psychologies, and in extreme cases, even in causing psychoses. I am convinced that the psychosis which I myself suffered from when I was a teenager, was brought about largely by the influence of certain irrational philosophic ideas which I was taught by my schoolteachers and by my parents. I believe that most psychologists and psychiatrists today do not have any inkling of the role of philosophy in forming men´s psychologies, and I believe that said fact is unfortunate. I believe that psychologists and psychiatrists would be better able to help their patients if they were made aware of the role of philosophic ideas in psychology. The two essays on this subject which I have written in English, and which are published here on my blog, are an attempt to enlighten the members of the mental health profession.

The first essay presents my current view on why and how I became schizophrenic. This essay is lengthy and contains a lot of details of my personal life. I believe that I should include those details, despite the fact that they make the essay  long, since the biographical facts help to set the context for my analysis of how philosophical factors caused my illness.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MY SCHIZOPHRENIA

I was born in Stockholm, Sweden on April 10, 1954. My parents were both Swedish. My father was a bank clerk at the time, and my mother became a housewife when I was born.

In August of 1959 one of the three most fortunate events in my life occurred. My father got a job in the U.S.A., and our family moved to America (the second one of the two most fortunate events in my life was my discovery of Objectivism in 1979, at the age of 25 - and the third of my most fortunate events was my marriage to Cuc Thi Tran in 2009, at the age of 55). Thanks to this fortunate event I received the benefit of growing up in the freest and most rational society at the time. My father worked in an office in Manhattan, as a laison between Swedish industrial companies and various American companies that they dealt with. We lived in suburbs of New York City and he commuted.

I was extremely happy during my first years in America. As I now remember it, the public grade schools which I attended were probably mostly “Aristotelian” in nature. The teachers tried hard to connect the knowledge they were teaching with perceptual reality. Already in grade school I had a profound respect for logic, science and other aspects of reason - although I was not yet philosophically mature enough to develop the explicit concept of reason. I was a straight A student in grade school. Already in fourth grade I began to dream of becoming a scientist when I grew up.

As a result of my high grades in public school my parents decided, when I was in 7th grade, to send me to a private boarding school. They assumed that I would get a better education in such a school. Unfortunately, they sent me to a very “liberal” boarding school just outside of Boston. I began attending this private school, Milton Academy, in 8th grade.

The environment in that school was, I realize now, essentially “Kantian” - whereas previously my environment had been more “Aristotelian”. That is to say, the boarding school bombarded me with the ideas and the view of life which are consistent with Kantian philosophy - ideas such as, for example: subjectivism, skepticism, altruism, egalitarianism, socialism and so forth. The worst thing about Milton Academy was probably the fact that, especially the English course in the school, subjected me to the “modern” sense-of-life. The English course required me to read such novels as The Harvester in the Rye, The Plague, A Separate Peace and so forth. I absolutely hated, loathed and despised those books. For example, I was depressed by the idea that, if and when I got a girlfriend, it might turn out to be as sordid an affair as the one in The Harvester in the Rye. And I was depressed by the portrayal of some teen-age boys as being moral monsters in A Separate Peace.

Since I had an implicit respect for the school and the teachers, at least initially - and since I was not completely independent yet (intellectually, not only existentially) - I assumed that the books that I was required to read in English portrayed life as it really was. I did not have any inkling of the real purpose of the school´s requiring of me to read those books - that is to say, to sabotage my mind and to destroy my previously benevolent sense-of-life.

Soon after my arrival at the boarding school I began to become chronically depressed and bored. One factor that contributed to this was that I did not make any friends. Another was the fact that the school was a boy-only school - so I had no contact to speak of with girls. But I think that the most important factor causing my unhappiness was the irrational ideas and the negative sense-of-life which I was indoctrinated with at the school. My parents were teaching me the same basic ideas as well when I was at home - especially skepticism, altruism, duty ethics and intrinsic value.

Especially my mother taught me skepticism. When I told her, I believe it was during the year before I first attended the boarding school, that I wanted to concentrate on studying science, mathematics and German (since I had heard that German was, after English, the leading language in science) - because I wanted to become a scientist when I grew up - she replied that I could not know what I should study, She asserted that I was too young to know what I wanted to do with my life. She told me that I should trust the authorities in the education establishment to know ("somehow") what was best for me to study.

I asked her “How can they know what is best for me to study?”. My mother replied (and these were her exact words, I remember them very clearly) with a tone of desperation in her voice  “They just know!”. How did they know? Somehow!

So my mother was an abject second-hander (I realize now) who did not have the courage to think for herself. And she was urging me to be like her, to develop her type of epistemology and psycho-epistemology. She was trying hard to turn me into a second-hander! For she felt that second-handedness was the safe policy.

I remember another time that I argued with my mother about my wanting to concentrate on studying the subjects which would facilitate my becoming a scientist. At one point I insisted that I really wanted to study the subjects science, mathematics and German, rather than other subjects. She exclaimed (and these were her exact words) “You don´t know!”. So she was preaching skepticism to me -  in the strongest possible language

Unfortunately, when my mother told me that I could not know anything about what I should study in school, I did not stand my ground. I thought that it was true that teenagers did not know as much about life as adults - so maybe there was some truth to what my mother was saying, I thought to myself. And so I agreed to go to Milton Academy, despite the fact that I would be forced to spend several years studying the five subjects English (essentially literature), French, Latin, science and mathematics. Of which subjects I had no interest whatsoever in the first three: English, French and Latin. And I would not be permitted to study German at all during my first two years at the school.

So I had at this point already begun to doubt the power and validity of my mind.

Since I began giving credence to the idea of skepticism, I eventually began to feel chronic anxiety. If I could not know anything about reality for certain, then I could not deal with reality. I could not know what to value, how to go about seeking any values, how to act – and so I became paralyzed by doubt.

At the same time that my partial acceptance of skepticism was making me feel chronic anxiety, my whole-hearted acceptance of the altruist ethics made me feel chronic guilt. When I was at the boarding school I took altruism seriously. And, in contradistinction to my schoolmates, I worked out in my mind what the logical implications of the altruist ethics were. That was why I could not just live with the altruist ethics with equanimity, as my non-thinking schoolmates did.

I remember that I felt contempt for all the people around me at the boarding school because I thought that they were such utter hypocrites. They preached the morality of altruism - but I could see that they were not practicing it consistently. I thought to myself that, in order to really live according to the altruist ethics, then as long as there was poverty in the world the more fortunate among humanity - such as all the wealthy Americans - should voluntarily live at the subsistence minimum level and give away about 90% or so of their income to the poor. After all, we did not really need all those luxuries that we were enjoying. And, according to altruism, those who had more than they needed had a moral duty to give to those who didn´t. I was, however, not a sufficiently logically fastidious thinker to realize that a truly consistent altruist would give away literally every value that he possessed and would then proceed to starve to death.

However, I did not myself give away 90% or so of everything that I had and live on the minimum subsistence level. So I was a hypocrite also according to my own thinking. I ate good food, I wore fine clothes, I got an expensive education and so forth. So I felt guilty all the time for not being strong enough to practice the code of ethics which I myself preached.

I believe it stands to reason that the chronic anxiety and guilt caused by the ideas of skepticism and altruism respectively, if felt intensively enough, would lead to a suicidal depression.

The ideas of duty ethics and intrinsic value also contributed to my suicidal depression.

When my parents raised me, they did not motivate their admonitions to me with rational arguments. They probably just did not know how to. So when they wanted me to do something, such as to do my homework, they would typically just tell me to “just do it”. And my mother taught me duty ethics explicitly in one respect. When she wanted me to work hard in school, she would say to me “You have a good mind, so use it!”. My mother regarded it as being essentially mere good luck that I did well in school. She thought that I had just been fortunate to have been born with a “good brain”. And she taught that idea to me as well. And, moreover, she taught me the idea that since I had been so fortunate so as to (according the her) just happened to have been born with an above-average intelligence - for that reason I somehow had a moral duty to “make something of myself” - to pay back my debt to the world, so to speak.

So my mother taught me that I should do various things, merely because I had a duty to do them, not because they were a means to pursue my own happiness in my own life. (My mother was, incidentally, a very unhappy person herself. I believe that she regarded herself as a pathetic failure - and she hoped that I, her son, would make up for that failure by means of becoming a big success.) So as I grew older and older, I became less and less happy.

The idea of intrinsic value was, of course, closely related to the idea of duty ethics. When I argued with my mother about concentrating on studying science, she told me that the “authorities” in the educational establishment somehow knew best what was appropriate for me to study. So if they thought that I should concentrate on studying English, Latin and French then I should just do so. The implication was that some things - such as English, Latin and French - were just intrinsically “good”. And my personal choices consequently were irrelevant.

Since I realized that teenagers in fact usually do not know equally much about life as adults do, my mother´s argument - the one that the adult “authorities” knew better than me - seemed plausible. So, unfortunately, I went along with her urgings instead of standing my ground. I agreed to go along with her idea, that I should concentrate on studying English, Latin and French for "just a few years". And so I put the making of my own choices in the matter on hold. Her idea was that when I was older, I would "somehow" know better what I should do in school and with my life.

But as I spent several years studying subjects which bored me to death, I lost my spark and my desire to expend effort in order to become a scientist. By the time I reached 10th grade and at long last got the opportunity to start concentrating on studying science, mathematics and German I no longer felt motivated. I felt that I had already wasted some of the best years of my life. And I was depressed by that thought!

(A digression: Later in life I reflected on the experience above, and vowed that I would never again make the error of letting other people substitute their judgment for mine. This had the effect of making me a “contrarian” investor, when I later developed an interest in private investing. It also predisposed me to going against the crowd in politics and philosophy, when I saw with my own mind that the crowd was wrong.)

MY PROBLEMS COME TO A HEAD

Things came to a crisis in the fall of 10th Grade, when I was fifteen years old. In my math class we began studying something which, as far as I can recall, was akin to symbolic logic. The classes consisted of the teacher scribbling some symbols on the blackboard, and then asking us kids questions about what the logical implications of the combination of symbols were. For example: “If r is a function of p, and s is a function of r, then is s a function of p?”. The questions were something like that. And the teacher made no attempt whatsoever to explain what connection the symbols, and our manipulation of them, had to perceptual reality. It was pure “floating abstractions”.

I was lost! Completely. I did not have a clue what the teacher was talking about. And I blamed myself for that fact. I did not have any inkling of the fact that my reaction to the arbitrary manipulation of the arbitrary symbols was actually healthy! I thought that there must be something wrong with me! I thought that maybe I had not been concentrating enough in class, or that somehow I had not been trying hard enough - and that therefore it was my own fault that I did not understand what was going on. I thought that I should understand what was going on - since my classmates all seemed to be "getting it". And since my mother had indoctrinated me with duty ethics, I thought that I had committed a moral sin by not fulfilling my duty to fulfill my intellectual potential. So I began to develop still more acute feelings of guilt. And I also felt still more anxiety - since I felt literally “lost” and unable to understand what was going on.

So I became deeply depressed. Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday in 10:th Grade, I ran away from the boarding school. I took a plane from Boston back to New York City and I returned to my parents´ home in a suburb in New Jersey. The day after I got home I felt so depressed by the mess I found myself in, and by my apparent failure in life, that I attempted to commit suicide by swallowing several jars of medicines which I found in my mother´s bedroom.

I was discovered in time by my mother, rushed to a hospital, and my stomach was pumped. So I survived. Then I was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward in New York City for several weeks. When I was released I began living in my parents´ home again, and began studying in the local public high school. I was still depressed however, and after a month or two I made still another suicide attempt. I have no memory of what happened during that suicide attempt because in the hospital afterwards I was given electric current therapy, which caused a blank spot in my memory.

I was diagnosed as schizophrenic. I suspect that said diagnosis was in error. I believe nowadays that I did not in fact develop schizophrenia until roughly two and a half years later. More on that below.

The psychiatrist who treated me after my second suicide attempt, tried to convince me that it was wrong per se to commit suicide. I did not agree with him and I entered into arguments with him. Unfortunately, I based my arguments for the principle that I had a right to decide for myself whether to commit suicide, on the premise of skepticism. I told the psychiatrist that I could not know for certain that there was a better life after death, but neither could he know for certain that there wasn´t a better life after death. So, I argued, his opinion in the matter was no better than mine. So therefore, I argued, I had a right to decide for myself whether or not to commit suicide. I was not aware that I was committing a fallacy by granting credence to an arbitrary hypothesis (the one that there might be a better life after death).

Actually, I do not think that I seriously believed that there might be a life after death at all. I was probably just rationalizing my suicide attempt. The real reason that I tried to commit suicide was probably that I was convinced that I faced the prospect of a life without happiness. And I did not consider a life without happiness to be worth living. I preferred a quick death to a long, drawn-out living death.

When the psychiatrist finally released me from the mental ward, I still had not given in and agreed with his view that it was wrong of me to try to commit suicide. During the conversation we had in my final meeting with him I stood my ground. The psychiatrist slammed the flat of his hand onto his desk and exclaimed in an angry voice “You are the most stubborn patient that I have ever had!”. I felt immensely proud of myself then! My attempt to commit suicide had been an act of independence. It had constituted my rejection, in action, of the duty ethics which my parents and my schoolteachers had been trying to inculcate in me. I refused to give in and endure an unhappy life out of a sense of duty.

Ever since the time that I was treated by that psychiatrist, I have felt a deep resentment and even hate, towards him for having preached the ideas of intrinsic value and duty ethics to me, and for having attempted to deny me the right to make my own decisions. I believe nowadays that it was an error on my part to attempt to commit suicide - but I stand by my view that I have a moral right to run my own life even at the price of making my own errors!

I spent many weeks in that psychiatric ward and then returned to public high school. I had however lost all my ambition in life. And so on my 16:th birthday, the legal minimum age to leave school in New Jersey, I dropped out of high school. I subsequently spent the following days doing nothing in particular - my only activity to speak of being to watch television.

After maybe a month my parents decided that it would be best for me to return to Sweden and to begin working. So a few weeks after I dropped out of school they sent me back to Sweden. I began living with an uncle and worked as a gardener. After a few months I got a job as an apprentice in a chemical laboratory at an iron ore mine in central Sweden and began living with the chief chemist at the lab and his wife, who were immigrants from West Germany. I was happy again for the first time in several years. I worked as an apprentice at the chemical laboratory for about one and a half years, doing quantitative analyses of iron ore. I enjoyed the work. But then I had to stop. I could not get a permanent job at the lab since I had no formal education in chemistry. And nor could I work there permanently as a mere apprentice.

So I had to go live with my parents in a suburb Stockholm (they had by now also moved back to Sweden). My father got a job for me as an apprentice at a laboratory at a university in Stockholm. But I was bored to death with that by me unchosen job.

I did not have any purpose, any significant values or any happiness. I had no friends, I had no recreational activities, I read no books, I did not even watch television much. My favorite activity was sleeping. It was as though I was a disciple of the philosopher Schopenhauer. When I was alone in my room I would often have private outbreaks of rage. I lived in a value vacuum. My sister, who is four years younger than me, has told me afterwards that at this time (i.e. the year 1972) her friends would ask her which drugs it was that I was on. When we took a ride on the trolley-car, I would have such a wooden expression on my face and I would move so stiffly, that her friends assumed that I was doing drugs. Looking back, I feel that I was living in a sort of living death at the time. I was like a zombie.

I was in the process of developing a case of schizophrenia. In the summer of 1972 I was hospitalized for about three months in a mental hospital. In January 1973 I was hospitalized again, in the same hospital. It was not until 1974 that I was released again.

THE CAUSAL FACTORS OF MY SCHIZOPHRENIA

I believe that the direct cause of my schizophrenia was that I lost my implicit confidence in the axiom of identity. I believe this because of my distinct memory of the nature of the thoughts which I had at the time. I had thoughts along the pattern that literally anything could somehow happen in the universe which I lived in.

The most common thought which kept recurring to me was the one that the house which I lived in might somehow just disappear into thin air when I was out. Every single day, when I went to work in the morning, I would worry about whether the house would still be there when I returned in the late afternoon. I was plagued with the thought that when I came back from work in the afternoon, the house might for some mysterious reason just not be there - and so I would just freeze or starve to death all alone out on the sidewalk. After all, I felt, the mere fact that the house was there when I left it in the morning did not necessarily mean that it would still be there when I got back!

I did not feel afraid that the house would disappear when I was inside it. It was only when I was not “watching it”, so to speak, that it might disappear according to my feeling. Naturally, my lack of confidence in the axiom of identity caused me to feel a great deal of chronic anxiety. I felt as though I was living in a “Humean” kind of universe, where nothing was stable and nothing could be depended on (at the time I had never studied philosophy, so I had never heard of David Hume - but anyone who seriously believed in his philosophy in a really serious way would probably have felt the way I did at the time). I must have felt the same way that savages felt - savages who were afraid of such bizarre things as the eventuality that their wife might somehow turn into a giant spider while they were sleeping and bite them to death.

Another manifestation of my loss of confidence in the axiom of identity was a thought which I sometimes had when I was eating. I would think to myself “How can I be sure that I will not in the next moment accidentally stick my fork into my eye and blind myself? After all the distance between my mouth and my eye is only a couple of inches or so?”. I did not know how to answer that question. I evidently had lost the principle of causality - the corollary of identity.

So I felt "in my bones" that David Hume´s brand of metaphysics did in fact apply to the reality which I lived in. No wonder that I was plagued by a never-ending chronic anxiety!

My irrational thoughts probably had a lasting physical effect on my brain. My psychosis must have involved physical changes in my brain - because I did eventually respond to the medications which I was given from the summer of 1972 onwards.

The medicine which helped me the most was chlorpromazine, which is a classic drug for treating schizophrenia. I believe that it was said drug, combined with the lack of stress in the peaceful daily life in the mental hospital, which caused me to begin to recover from my schizophrenia in 1973. I actually rather enjoyed my stay in the mental hospital during 1973 - for I was free to indulge in my fantasies all day! I did not have to work, but could instead wander the corridors of the mental ward for hours at a time, lost in the unreal world of my strange thoughts.

My thoughts were very concrete-bound, perceptual-level fantasies - having to do with the physical production of such goods as coal, steel, oil, ships and so forth. I conjured up fictional societies in my mind which produced these goods - and I spent my time thinking about how these societies would develop, in a concrete-bound way, over time. It is difficult to describe those fantasies to anyone who has not had them. But I wasted awfully many hours creating and elaborating on those pointless daydreams.

So subjectivism was a central attribute of my schizophrenia - just as it is in schizophrenia in general, according to Dr. Peikoff in his essay on schizophrenia titled Madness and Modernism.

I believe that I have read or heard somewhere that schizophrenics have very concrete-bound and perceptual-level thoughts. That certainly was so in my case. I believe that one could describe my schizophrenia by saying that it had two essential characteristics. One was that I had lost my implicit confidence in the axiom of identity. The other was that I had been reduced back to the perceptual level.

Since I did not have confidence in identity, I could not hold abstractions, and so I was reduced back to the perceptual level. After all, abstract concepts depend on concretes having stable attributes. One cannot abstract from an entity´s attributes if it has no attributes which endure. The concretes must have identity for abstraction to be possible. In a Humean universe abstract concepts are impossible. So, I believe that there was a logical connection between my loss of confidence in the axiom of identity and my loss of the ability (or will) to abstract. When identity is absent, abstraction becomes impossible.

I believe that I understand what the motivation was which led me to spend all my time immersing myself in my own thoughts.

When I moved to the suburb of Stockholm in 1972, I entered into a “value vacuum”. I did not pursue any values to speak of. And I believe that said fact entailed that I lost the one thing which, in a sense, is the tie between every person´s inner mind and outer reality. That thing is the pursuit of values. After all, it is the need to obtain values out there in reality which motivates normal people to put forth the effort to think about things in "reality out there". When I entered into a value vacuum and ceased to pursue values in external reality my mind was severed from external reality. My mind then lost its tie to said reality.

But I still felt a psychological need to think about something, since I was habituated to having an active mind. I was not comfortable with mental inactivity. So my mind began to just “spin its wheels”, by thinking about imaginary worlds which I invented out of whole cloth. The imaginary pursuit of values in those worlds constituted a psycho-epistemological or psychological surrogate for the real pursuit of values in the real world.

Now here is the specific process by which I was rendered a psychotic:

Due to the fact that I "lived" in the inner world of my own thoughts - i.e. due to the fact that I spent my days immersed in my own consciousness instead of concerning myself with reality out there - I lost the factor which maintained my confidence in the axiom of identity.

That factor was the perception that entities endure over time. All normal men see all the time that entities endure, that they are stable. Houses do not in fact dissappear into thin air for no reason at all. Wives do not in fact turn into giant spiders for no reason at all. Cats in fact do not give birth to baby elephants. When a man opens his eyes again after having closed them for a moment the room does in fact contain the very same items of furniture as it did before he closed them.

Men´s confidence in the axiom of identity is maintained by the simple fact that they actually see all the time that entities do not morph into others, or dissappear into thin air, or come into existence out of empty space, for no reason at all. Men who focus on "reality out there" are reminded all the time of the stableness of entities by what they actually perceive in "reality out there".

But men who attempt to practice the morality of altruism in a serious way will eschew personal values. They will find themselves living in a value vacuum. This may prompt them to flee into their own consciousnesses in order to experience the pursuit of fictional values as a surrogate for the pursuit of values in reality. Since they begin to live in the inner world of their own consciousnesses they are no longer reminded of the validity of the axiom of identity.

For, in the world of their own consciousnesses entities can morph into something entirely different for no reason at all, or dissappear into thin air for no reason at all, or come into existence out of empty space for no reason at all - if only the ruling consciousness wishes it. In the realm of consciousness the axiom of identity does not apply, so to speak. So, men who turn inwards and live in the world of their own consciousness will likely wind up feeling in their bones that they live in a Humean universe - i.e. a universe which is chaotic and unintelligible, a universe in which everything flows and nothing abides - i.e. a terrifying universe. The stress and the feeling of terror which comes from feeling that they live in such a universe breaks down their minds - it renders them psychotic.

Also, Ayn Rand stated that the three fundamental metaphysical axioms - existence, consciousness and identity - are what ties a conceptual consciousness to perceptual reality. Well, in that case - if a person loses his implicit confidence in the truth of one or more of those axioms - that must in logic cause the conceptual level of his consciousness to become cut off from reality. Which is the same thing as going insane.

So:

A psychosis is a manifestation of a screwed-up metaphysics. That is my hypothesis concerning the cause of psychosis. And a screwed-up metaphysics can, in extreme cases, result from the influence of bad, i.e. fallacious philosophical ideas. That is the hypothesis which I present to the world in the book which I am working on, "Bad Philosophy as a Cause of Psychosis".

Philosophy matters in the forming of individual men´s psychologies!

In order to provide more evidence for the assertion made in the immediately preceding paragraph, I will demonstrate that a good philosophy can promote mental health by means of writing in detail about how Objectivism helped me to recover from my psychosis in the next essay, “Objectivism and My Recovery From Schizophrenia”.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Socialismen är plundring

Socialister är inte mästare på konsten att producera. De är istället mästare på konsten att plundra.

Detta bevisas bl a av boken "Le livre noir du Communisme: Crimes, terreur, répression" som skrevs av ett halvt dussin européiska intellektuella och publicerades i Frankrike 1997. På svenska betyder titeln "Kommunismens svarta bok: brott, terror, förtryck". Undertecknad har nyligen läst [Jag skrev ursprungligen denna essä i början av år 2009, då jag hade läst om denna utmärkta bok från 1990-talet.] den engelska översättningen av boken, publicerad av Harvard University Press. Författarna till boken har gått igenom arkiven i Ryssland som öppnades efter Sovjetunionens kollaps. Boken presenterar en lång rad avslöjande citat ur kommunisternas egna dokument och brev.

Det framgår att Lenin och hans kumpaner var plundrare redan från början. Redan under inbördeskrigets första skede 1918 konfiskerade Lenins trupper mat från de ryska bönderna. De kommunistiska trupperna producerade ingen mat själva - så stadsbefolkningarna skulle ha svultit ihjäl om inte de kommunistiska trupperna rövade mat från den omkringliggande landsbygden. Bönderna ville förstås behålla resultatet av sin produktion - så de rövande kommunisterna blev innerligt hatade av bönderna. Och bönderna gjorde motstånd.

Men Lenin hade en "lösning" på detta problem. I ett meddelande till Tsyurupa, Folkets livsmedelskommissarie, av den 8:e augusti 1918 instruerade Lenin Tsyurupa att utfärda en order om att "i alla spannmålsproducerande områden skall 25 namngivna gisslan från de mest välmående av den lokala befolkningen plikta med sina liv för alla eventuella misslyckanden med att uppfylla rekvisitionsplanen". Kommunisterna gjorde "rekvisitionerna" successivt mera och mera välorganiserade. År 1919 infördes ett system där, enligt Svarta boken, "Varje provins, distrikt, volost och by fick krav på sig att överlämna till staten en kvot som fastställdes i förväg enligt uppskattningar om skördens storlek ... Bara när hela byn hade uppfyllt sin kvot började myndigheterna distribuera kvitton som tillät innehavarna att köpa tillverkade varor, och även då tillfredsställdes bara omkring 15% av människornas behov."

Men problemen för kommunisterna blev bara större och större. Socialiseringen av fabrikerna i städerna ledde till produktionsminskningar i industrin. Vilket gjorde det allt svårare för regimen att ge bönderna några tillverkade varor i utbyte mot maten de ville ta från bönderna för att inte arbetarna i städerna skulle svälta. Säkerhetspolisen Tjekan rapporterade till regeringen den 16 december 1919 "På senare tid har livsmedelskrisen förvärrats, och de arbetande massorna svälter. De har inte längre tillräckligt med fysisk styrka för att fortsätta att arbeta, och allt oftare är de frånvarande som följd av kyla och hunger. I många av de metallurgiska företagen i Moskva är arbetarna desperata och beredda att vidta vilka åtgärder som helst - strejker, upplopp, revolter - om inte någon lösning på dessa problem hittas omedelbart".

Kommunisternas "lösning" var en kombination av två åtgärder - hårdare ransonering av maten i städerna och en ännu mera brutal rekvisition av mat på landsbygden. Lenin skrev till Trotsky den 1:e februari 1920 "Brödransonen måste reduceras för alla som inte arbetar i transportsektorn, eftersom den sektorn är så viktig just nu, och den (ransonen) måste ökas för dem som arbetar i denna sektor. Om det måste vara så, låt då tusentals dö som följd, ty landet måste räddas".

Men ju "effektivare" kommunisterna blev på att lägga beslag på böndernas mat desto mera fick bönderna svälta. Gång på gång bröt bonderevolter ut under åren 1919-1922. Kommunisterna kunde slå ner dem alla p.g.a. bättre beväpning. Kanoner och kulsprutor slog lätt högafflar. Bönderna hade ingen utväg.

Författarna skriver i Svarta boken "Bolsjevikledaren Antonov-Ovseenko, som ledde repressionen av bonderebellerna i Tambov, erkände senare att om rekvisitionsplanerna under 1920 och 1921 hade genomförts enligt instruktionerna hade det inneburit en säker död för bönderna. I genomsnitt hade de då fått kvar ca 20 kilo spannmål och ca 30 kilo potatis per person per år - ca en tiondel av minimibehovet för att överleva". Efter ett par år upphörde revolterna därför att bönderna hade blivit utmattade av svälten och lidandet.

Utvecklingen i Sovjetunionen var mycket logiskt. Ty socialismen är ju till sin natur inget annat än en fråga om "omfördelning" - d.v.s. plundring - satt i system.

"Omfördelning: Smaka på det ordet - det är just det ordet som våra egna Socialdemokrater älskar att använda! Nåja - kommunisterna i Sovjetunionen genomförde den där omfördelningen på ett mera konsekvent sätt än våra räddhågade sossar!

Makthavarna i Sovjetunionen utplundrade sitt folk med naket våld. Politikerna i Sverige och resten av de idag halvsocialistiska välfärdsstaterna utplundrar sina medborgare med skatter. Bönderna i Sovjetunionen avrättades om de ertappades med att gömma undan mat ute i skogen. Medborgarna i Sverige slängs i fängelse om de ertappas med att gömma undan pengar medelst skattefusk.

Det finns förstås många skillnader mellan f.d. Sovjetunionen och dagens välfärdsstater. Men grundprinciperna är desamma. Socialismen förkastar idén om den enskildes egendomsrätt. Helt följdriktigt betyder socialismen inget annat än legaliserad stöld. Skillnaden mellan socialdemokraterna och kommunisterna är bara att de förra är som fega och patetiska ficktjuvar medan de senare är som förhärdade och beväpnade bankrånare.

Det är verkligen tur för svenska folket att sossarna är sådana patetiska fegisar jämfört med deras ideologiska brödrar - kommunisterna och fascisterna.

Sossarna vågar minsann nalla våra pengar - men de vågar ännu så länge åtminstone inte slå ihjäl oss!