September 06, 1999 -- "The Floodgates will Open
I highly recommend you read this article first.
This is the column that will (potentially) piss off TUSPCO the most.
Apparently the people that run TUSPCO don't want anyone quoting AJG's definitions and/or postulates.
If I were to adhere to this claim it would be impossible to discuss Galambos' ideas.
I do not believe that was Galambos' intent. Galambos used to teach a course, the predecessor course to V-50, which contained many but not all of the ideas in V-50. One of the ideas missing was the uselessness of political action as we know it today. One of the people who took one of the original courses offered by Galambos was Harry Browne who went on to found the Libertarian Party. Galambos realized after the founding of the Libertarian Party that his own ideas, if misused, would just end up creating more political parties running on the platform of reduced statist government. But that the opposite effect would result - more statist government! So he put the restriction about first disclosure in his contract with his students. (My wife says, "The NDA may already have been in place. I think TUSPCO has a signed contract with Harry Browne with an NDA as part of it but I can't be sure. I do know that Galambos didn't approve of Harry Browne's actions.")
Galambos wanted to be first.
But he didn't want to be last! He wanted his ideas to become conventional! He wanted people to compensate innovators just because it's the natural thing to do! And not because a secret society says it's the right thing to do! He wanted to disclose his ideas first, because being first is very important, obviously, in the innovation business, and secondly because he wanted a written record of his ideas untarnished by anyone else's interpretation!
So I waited a long time for Volume One of SIAA to be published so I could read it and spread the word! And now it's published and I want to talk about it!
Okay, enough blather. Here's my shortened version of Galambos' Theory of Volition.
First, you should know that Volition means "choice". It's all about choices and choosing. For instance, you can decide right now that I'm full of crap and stop reading. Honestly. At least in 1999 while I'm writing this no one is forcing you to to read it.
Second, Galambos defines two postulates.
"Postulate number one: All men live to pursue happiness."
[Llater Galambos switched from 'men' to 'volitional beings' - beings that can make choices.]
"Postulate number two: All concepts of happiness which do not include immoral action are equally valid." [Both are from page 96 of SIAA.]
In fairness let me point out that Galambos spends the proceeding 95 pages leading up to these! He defines property (which includes ideas), the scientific method and how it applies to Volitional Science, and gets a little bit into what constitutes rational behavior.
(The biggest problem that I've noticed some people have - especially people with a scientific bent, who have been raised to believe that the free flow of information is what gives science its power - is the concept that the person who creates an idea also owns that idea. Guest what - I'm going to skip over that for now, because it's a sink-hole of pain to get into.)
Rational behavior, in short, is living according to the scientific method, meaning, you observe the world, formulate a hypothesis about it, test it, and observe the results of your test. If even one time the results of your test do not corroborate the hypothesis, then your hypothesis doesn't get to be promoted to "theory." Theories are hypotheses that have been tested enough times to warrant confidence in their truthfulness. You live your life a certain way because it works, and not because, like our current statist government, it is supposed to work, if only we elected the right people. Our current statist government is not rational.
There is this idea floating around that all science is wrong, because things like Newton's theory of gravitation get redefined at the quantum level. It's much more accurate to say that all of science is correct within the bounds of observable behavior.
If you want to decide that Newton was wrong about gravitation and try to float off a cliff, then, if the cliff is high enough, you'll have time to understand that Newton was correct before you go splat. Newton was not wrong about gravitation. There are circumstances where a more refined theory of gravitation is required. But that doesn't make the original theory wrong.
From the two postulates and his definition of property Galambos works out why our current societal structure is faulty and how a change in thinking about it - a more rational approach to the problem - will be beneficial. There are many details of his solution that are not presented in his course V-50 (which constitutes Volume One of SIAA). Another course, V-201, which describes the mechanisms for implementing ("building") freedom contains those ideas in detail (although some if it spills over into V-50) and will be published as the next three or four volumes of SIAA.
At this point, you must be saying, what is the big deal?
The big deal all comes about because of the definition of property - property includes ideas. Here is Galambos' definition of property: "Property is individual man's [volitional being's] life and all non-procreative derivatives of his life Property is the basis of ownership because to own means to have and hold Property." [Page 21 of SIAA.]
This is the real crux of the whole thing and the rest is derivative from this.
Now, I want to own my ideas! And Galambos wanted to own his ideas! And he wanted Newton to own his ideas! And for Einstein to own his ideas!
This is contrary to everyday life, where we are raised to believe that ideas belong to everyone - a communism of ideas. To paraphrase Marx, "From each according to his ability [to generate ideas] and to each according to his need [to use ideas]." [I'm told Galambos had similar phraseology in V-201, "the communistic warehouse of ideas".]
So by Galambos' definition, which I agree with, Galambos owns his ideas and his definitions. And he said you couldn't disclose them before he did if you took his course and signed a contract with him agreeing to that. I never signed that contract but my wife did and so I lived within the bounds of that agreement and Galambos' intent until the publishing of SIAA. But now it's out! (At least Volume One is out.) And my reading of SIAA was that Galambos wanted to be the first person to publish his ideas. He didn't require that everyone who reads SIAA refrain from talking about it until the person they wanted to talk to also read the book. That would require everyone in the world to read his book before his ideas could be generally accepted and he explicitly states that is not necessary. He said, once the book is published, the "floodgates will open." I could be completely wrong, but the way I read it, is that it's okay to talk about his ideas (at least the V-50 ideas) now.
Still, you're probably wondering what the big deal is. It probably, to this point, seems as if I'm in some kind of silent debate with myself about something completely inconsequential.
But in fact this is the most important thing! Who owns ideas? To own something in Galambos' world means to have 100% control over it. So the big argument is over who controls Galambos' ideas! The answer is Galambos! And Galambos wanted to get his ideas into broad circulation provided he could publish them first.
(Note: TUSPCO is believed to be the "primary heir" to Galambos' ideas. Unless he gave them permission to further restrict the distribution of his ideas, they just can't make these restrictions. And even if he gave them permission to restrict the distribution of his ideas that would violate the contract he has with my wife which says that when the book comes out it is okay to talk about the ideas. Plus, what kind of idiot would publish a book if he wanted to restrict the dissemination of his ideas?)
Many of the people that signed that contract with Galambos are afraid. They are afraid they will violate Galambos' property rights. Some of his students have - some of them published web sites or other materials before SIAA was published. Other people, who didn't want to get in trouble for quoting AJG but wanted to promulgate AJG's ideas recast them in their own words and didn't give credit to Galambos. Galambos calls this plunder. Stealing someone else's ideas is plunder of the worst sort.
So here's the Theory of Volition, greatly simplified: Beings that can make choices pursue happiness; all ideas of happiness that are not immoral are equally valid; volitional beings own some property including their bodies and original ideas and can own other property as well; and to own something means to have 100% control over it. Moral actions are those that involve zero coercion.
The fallout of this theory is that if you really believe it, you end up adopting a new world view of how a rational society should be structured. A valid society is one based on ownership that does not promote plunder, including the plunder of ideas. Since you own yourself and your original ideas, any attempt to control you by another volitional being is a form of plunder called coercion. Coercion is controlling another person's property without their permission.
From now on, I will pretty much only talk about coercion and choices, as those ideas embody the spirit of the whole theory.
What's the great mistake in the whole thing? Simply the use of the word happiness. But I'll get to that in my next column.
And remember - if anything I say sounds incredibly wrong, then I would encourage you to return to the original source of these ideas, the 900 page Volume One of Sic Atur Ad Astra. It's a transcription of his original taped course and so it's very conversational and a relatively easy read once you get into the main concepts. You can even check out for yourself if it's okay by Galambos' own theory for me to discuss his ideas. Galambos works out his reasoning in much greater detail than I can do here.
Just remember this - I'm doing this according to my understanding of the concepts in his book, and not because I signed some lame secrecy agreement. I'm giving lots of credit to Galambos because that's the right thing to do - it improves the quality of my life to do so. I'm trying to spread his ideas around because it is in my best interest to do so. And I'm trying to do it in a non-coercive, non-plundering manner, where Galambos retains control of his ideas and I just talk about the ideas as I understand he would have wanted me to.
[Note: my wife Kayler made about 40 editorial corrections to this article for me. And she still doesn't agree with all of it - especially my problem with the word happiness.]
I just thought of something cool. Actually, I just remembered something cool. I'm pretty sure this is Galambos' idea. We can simplify the credit thing if each person says what they want credit for. For instance, I think I deserve credit for rewriting Karl Marx's famous saying and applying it to ideas. [Guess what - I learned much later from a student that Galambos developed this terminology in a later course. If I developed the phrasology independently, then who owns it? Good question that I won't address now - in fact, not for a long time, because I don't actually know the answer. It hasn't been published yet - it's in course V-201.] Later, after I develop the idea in writing, I will want credit for generalizing Galambos' first and second postulates. In this way we don't have to give unproductive credit for minor details. [I think Galambos has something like this in V-201 from a strange web site I read about a year ago - some kind of registry. My registry is my web page, I guess.]
Here are some links to other Galambos sites:
http://www.galambos.com - Here's a site about Galambos with a domain name taken from his name! This might be the kind of thing that TUSPCO is mad about, for instance, using Galambos name as a domain name seems crude. I do notice that the definition page has gone missing though! Also, it reprints in its entirety Conservatism Is Not Capitalism, Capitalism Is Not Conservatism, which strikes me as a copyright violation. Not sure how the owner of this site justifies that!
http://www.truth-seeker.com/123_2/37gal.html - This is an article by a student who apparently thought the books would be out in 1997 so she didn't see a problem with publishing her article. Don't get too hung up about the idea that Einstein could prevent the bomb from being made. It's very complicated and I don't understand enough details myself to explain it (it's a V-201 concept largely). There's some other weird stuff in there too that sounds very cultish.
http://www.truth-seeker.com/123_2/28_29lange.html - Here's another article at Truth Seeker that mentions Galambos and his influence. My wife believes that Bonnie Lange was an associate of Galambos - perhaps a course instructor. BTW, I am in no way endorsing Truth Seeker!
http://www.truth-seeker.com/123_2/property.html - Here's yet another Truth Seeker article, which is a direct reprint of one of Galambos articles. Given the broken links it looks like it was lifted from the http://www.galambos.com site.
http://www.wkpub.com/democracy.html - I would say this guy doesn't give anywhere near enough credit to Galambos! As near as I can tell every idea in this paper is Galambos' idea originally, except a bit screwed up. I'm not sure what this guy thinks his contribution is. Maybe he figures that since he's in Spain no one will notice him.
http://www.wkpub.com/econgov.html - This is the page I referred to earlier as a "strange" web site. This is by the same author as the preceding site. It purports to introduce new concepts but I'm pretty sure they are all from V-201 and taken without attribution to Galambos. He says at the top of the page that "These essays are written with gratitude to the ideas of Ayn Rand and Andrew J. Galambos." Good try - but the rest of it reads as if these are Robert Klassen's ideas. Carl Byington originally referred me to this page (actually he referred my wife who pointed it out to me). Since I first saw it 6 months or a year ago it has been updated to mention the Internet. The registry idea is important - too bad this guy can't explain anything worth squat.
After reviewing these sites, I can see that there are probably some copyright violations and some serious lifting of ideas going on - without, IMHO, the proper balance of credit. So I can see why TUSPCO might have been upset. Sadly, their approach is all wrong and inconsistent with building freedom! But that will have to wait for another column.
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