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The Venus Flytrap - About Author

About me
Have we been brainwashed by system?

Updated: 2013/09/08


Many people accept theories as follows unconsciously or consciously: Most of our thoughts consist of concepts and images which we encountered through various media. The media are controlled by big capitalists or governments. Most of them make prejudices which help current system to be perpetuated because those who receive the biggest benefit from current system control the media, etc. etc. In very truth, Fresco did nothing but formalizing this theory which had existed before he was born and already have been widely accepted even more extremely (and stupidly). Advocates of the theory always knew how to express their position appealingly. Declarations like this have been their favored repertory: we have to doubt everything which has been accepted.

In a skeptical viewpoint, the final thesis of the prejudice theorists is truly right. We really have to doubt everything. Then why their position becomes a problem? It's because they actually never doubt everything which has been accepted. Anyone who doubts the obvious truth that capitalism exploits labor, or that free trade can provide motive of war between nations would be regarded as a mentally challenged person by them just like a person who doubt the law of gravity. 'Everything accepted' never have meant everything accepted. It only meant ones which advocate current system among the accepted. And the system is capitalism.

Never mind what would be resulted from this biased doubt, does it at least reliable? Their assumption inevitably leads to the conclusion that capitalism, or the market economy in which we live is always more absurd than the public thinks. On the other hand, systems which are not capitalism would have been described as worse than they actually are. Arguments like these seem to be unable to be neither proved nor disproved. But disproving it is actually not that hard, because science has broken down wrong thoughts everywhere and, as a result, we have long list of thoughts which had been widely accepted once, but now turned out to be prejudices.

We can find the first clue from history of studies about primitive communities and the plasticity of human mind. If the common prejudice theorists are right, the history of studies on this subject would be filled of records that science disproved prejudices that most part of the human mind are genetic, and we can't eliminate evil from a human by controlling his environment. (Generally most of us believe that such beliefs give the reason why collectivist systems can't success.) How would be the real case?

In Chapter 9 of the body, we already have seen that Fresco's opinion about human nature is opposite to opinions by most of geneticists. Most scientists actually believe that genes are more important on our personality than ordinary people think. And they certainly don't believe that the human mind is largely plastic. But this is just a recent situation. Until 1970s, opinions about these subjects were in the influence of virtual environmental determinists like Margaret Mead. History of recent science is full of records that scientists broke down prejudices which were made by them. And it never has been done smoothly. Let's refer to Steven Pinker's explanation.

Research on human nature would be controversial in any era, but the new sciences picked a particularly bad decade in which to attract the spotlight. In the 1970s many intellectuals had become political radicals. Marxism was correct, liberalism was for wimps, and Marx had pronounced that "the ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class." The traditional misgivings about human nature were folded into a hard-left ideology, and scientists who examined the human mind in a biological context were now considered tools of a reactionary establishment. The critics announced they were part of a "radical science movement," giving us a convenient label for the group.

Such atmosphere of 1970s, though it would be almost unbelievable to some people, was real. Edward O. Wilson who is author of sociobiology had to encounter especially severe suppression.

At Harvard there were leaflets and teach-ins, a protester with a bullhorn calling for Wilson's dismissal, and invasions of his classroom by slogan-shouting students. When he spoke at other universities, posters called him the "Right-Wing Prophet of Patriarchy" and urged people to bring noisemakers to his lectures. Wilson was about to speak at a 1978 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science when a group of people carrying placards (one with a swastika) rushed onto the stage chanting, "Racist Wilson, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide." One protester grabbed the microphone and harangued the audience while another doused Wilson with a pitcher of water.

Considering Wilson's position in the sociobiology, and the belief which activist groups had that sociobiology were made by wicked intention to perpetuate the rule of the capitalist class, even such violence may be understandable. But attacks on James Neel and Napoleon Chagnon who studied about the Yanomamö people were something completely overstepped the mark.

Any hope that these tactics are a thing of the past was dashed by events in the year 2000. Anthropologists have long been hostile to anyone who discusses human aggression in a biological context. In 1976 the American Anthropological Association nearly passed a motion censuring Sociobiology and banning two symposia on the topic, and in 1983 they did pass one decreeing that Derek Freeman's Margaret Mead and Samoa was "poorly written, unscientific, irresponsible, and misleading." But that was mild compared with what was to come.

In September 2000, the anthropologists Terence Turner and Leslie Sponsel sent the executives of the association a letter (which quickly proliferated throughout cyberspace) warning of a scandal for anthropology that was soon to be divulged in a book by the journalist Patrick Tierney. The alleged perpetrators were the geneticist James Neel, a founder of the modern science of human genetics, and the anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon, famous for his thirty-year study of the Yanomamö people of the Amazon rainforest.

The accusations were truly shocking. Turner and Sponsel charged Neel and Chagnon with deliberately infecting the Yanomamö with measles (which is often fatal among indigenous peoples) and then withholding medical care in order to test Neel's "eugenically slanted genetic theories." According to Turner and Sponsel's rendition of these theories, polygynous headmen in foraging societies were biologically fitter than coddled Westerners because they possessed "dominant genes" for "innate ability" that were selected when the headmen engaged in violent competition for wives. Neel believed, said Turner and Sponsel, that "democracy, with its free breeding for the masses and its sentimental supports for the weak," is a mistake. They reasoned, "The political implication of this fascistic eugenics is clearly that society should be reorganized into small breeding isolates in which genetically superior males could emerge into dominance, eliminating or subordinating the male losers in the competition for leadership and women, and amassing harems of brood females."

Headlines such as "Scientist 'Killed Amazon Indians to Test Race Theory'" soon appeared around the world, followed by an excerpt of Tierney's book in The New Yorker and then the book itself, titled Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon. Under pressure from the publisher's libel lawyers, some of the more sensational accusations in the book had been excised, watered down, or put in the mouths of Venezuelan journalists or untraceable informants. But the substance of the charges remained.

Turner and Sponsel admitted that their charge against Neel "remains only an inference in the present state of our knowledge: there is no 'smoking gun' in the form of a written text or recorded speech by Neel." That turned out to be an understatement. Within days, scholars with direct knowledge of the events — historians, epidemiologists, anthropologists, and filmmakers — demolished the charges point by point.

Far from being a depraved eugenicist, James Neel (who died shortly before the accusations came out) was an honored and beloved scientist who had consistently attacked eugenics. Indeed, he is often credited with purging human genetics of old eugenic theories and thereby making it a respectable science. The cockamamie theory that Turner and Sponsel attributed to him was incoherent on the face of it and scientifically illiterate (for example, they confused a "dominant gene" with a gene for dominance). In any case there is not the slightest evidence that Neel held any belief close to it. Records show that Neel and Chagnon were surprised by the measles epidemic already in progress and made heroic efforts to contain it. The vaccine they administered, which Tierney had charged was the source of the epidemic, has never caused contagious transmission of measles in the hundreds of millions of people all over the world who have received it, and in all probability the efforts of Neel and Chagnon saved hundreds of Yanomamö lives. Confronted with public statements from epidemiologists refuting his claims, Tierney lamely said, "Experts I spoke to then had very different opinions than the ones they are expressing in public now."

How about social system? The threat which communism movement gave to the capitalist system and its alleged beneficiaries at one time was incomparably bigger than the threat which current The Venus Project movement gives. Perhaps wouldn't our media try to make prejudices about communism by describing it worse than it actually is? As a result, wouldn't the most people have excessively negative image about communism during the Cold War?

The Nazi Holocaust was a singular event that changed attitudes toward countless political and scientific topics. But it was not the only ideologically inspired holocaust in the twentieth century, and intellectuals are only beginning to assimilate the lessons of the others: the mass killings in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, and other totalitarian states carried out in the name of Marxism. The opening of Soviet archives and the release of data and memoirs on the Chinese and Cambodian revolutions are forcing a reevaluation of the consequences of ideology as wrenching as that following World War II. Historians are currently debating whether the Communists' mass executions, forced marches, slave labor, and man-made famines led to one hundred million deaths or "only" twenty-five million. They are debating whether these atrocities are morally worse than the Nazi Holocaust or "only" the equivalent.

When communism failed and the real state of it is known, people weren't surprised because the communism was better than they expected. They were surprised because it was too bad. It's true that many free-market economists expected that communism will fail. But even the most extreme free-market economists didn't dare expect communism would be that bad. Originally there were no forced labor, mass execution and starvation in the theory of communism. Communists rather promised that they would eliminate such things forever. If most people were too favourable to communism even after it was attempted and its tremendous weaknesses were exposed, think about how would they were like in the past.

If the arguments of common prejudice theorists are right, considering the real state of communism, it would have to be described as bad as at least Hitler's Nazism or something even worse than it. But it never happened. When the Cultural Revolution is happening in China, many western intellectuals celebrated it. They gave up their position only after it was known that the Cultural Revolution was just another massacre which happens in collectivist country. Even when McCarthyism existed and the hatred to communists went to extremes, people didn't have a sufficiently bad image of communist system itself. And after that time, there was actually no "suppression" to the people who thoughtlessly used violence to Wilson, Neel and Chagnon.

Why examples always show exactly the complete opposite of the argument of prejudice theorists? Perhaps it may be because we are born with psychology which makes negative prejudices on market economy as Steven Pinker argued. Perhaps it may be because interests which men of power gain from ideologies are actually opposite of the argument of prejudice theorists. (Always protectionism and interventionism are attractive to the big corporations, central planning is attractive to the governments instead of the free market.) Perhaps it may be because a simple reason that people living in places with abundant water do not realize the preciousness of water. We rarely think that the freedoms and rights we already have are fruits of a certain social system we have right now. We just regard them as granted, or given things which are irrelevant to the rule of law or economic freedom. As a result, things we already have always look worthless and the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

But we would not have to analyse the reason why the arguments of prejudice theorists are wrong here. At least on the basis of examples which are known, it is not an overstatement to say that people never ever had too negative image about so-called "alternatives" for capitalism of the past, the present, and the future (in accordance with the time when the prediction made). Nonetheless prejudice theorists and alternative-seekers complain that people have prejudices.


I was born and grew up in the social atmosphere which regards everything which opposes to economic freedom as desirable and everything capitalistic things as contemptible. The ideas that we have to expand the government intervention in the economy were called as progressive and opposing ideas called as conservative. It meant that the expansion of intervention is an inevitable and desirable direction of progress. (Any prejudice theorists didn't raise objections to this weird nomenclature which made an appearance at the 20th century.) Anyone who wants to expand the freedom of the individual and protect the rights of the minority had to choose to be progressive, and had to oppose economic freedom. It was natural because it was commonly accepted that the capitalism is generating or maintaining every type of discrimination. Anyone who is wise and thoughtful had to choose the left. It was a sort of intellectual accessory.

In short, what Mises described as follows was exactly the atmosphere in Korea until a recent date: "In the vocabularies of all languages the words "capitalistic" and "bourgeois" signify today all that is shameful, degrading, and infamous. Contrariwise, people call all that they deem good and praiseworthy "socialist." The regular scheme of arguing is this; a man arbitrarily calls anything he dislikes "capitalistic," and then deduces from this appellation that the thing is bad.... No decent man can advocate this "mad" system. The economists who contend that capitalism are beneficial not only to a small group but to everyone are "sycophants of the bourgeoisie." They are either too dull to recognize the truth or bribed apologists of the selfish class interests of the exploiters."

In the social atmosphere which regards everything contemnible as a malady of capitalism and market economy, I became the left naturally. It was natural because if someone wants to help kids who are suffering from hunger in Africa and make a world without discrimination they had to oppose capitalism. Though it was a short time, I also worked in the communist organization. I never liked their revolutionary approach, but I shared same opinions with them about the ultimate direction our society has to go. Even after I came to oppose their almost every suggestion, I maintained the belief that welfare, redistributive policies, and labor unions can improve common quality of life for a long time.

The first was simple doubt. Is it really true that workers have been paid insufficiently? Is it true that the higher real return is even physically possible? If it's denied any propagandas which is based on the exploitation theory would lose its persuasive power. The argument that competition between capitalists would drop the wages to survival wage to just maintain their livelihood was the essence of Marxist theory. (And it was also hidden assumption of the welfarism which argue that we can increase people's standard of living by collecting taxes from capitalists and distribute it to labors.) Because almost every final goods were producing to be sold by the general public, it was not too hard to arrive at a conclusion. But the result of the conclusion was beyond the imagination.

The exploitation theory was truly the weak link of every anti-capitalism theory. After denying it, I had to deny or doubt almost every idea I have accepted. I believed that developed capitalist system decrease wage level, and the relatively high standard of living which current labors are enjoying are just result of labor legislations. But such beliefs couldn't maintain anymore. I had no choice but to agree with Mises' word that "it is not labor legislation and labor-union pressure that have shortened hours of work and withdrawn married women and children from the factories; it is capitalism, which has made the wage earner so prosperous that he is able to buy more leisure time for himself and his dependents. The nineteenth century's labor legislation by and large achieved nothing more than to provide a legal ratification for changes which the interplay of the market factors had brought about previously."

It has been argued that foreign investment is just a method for rich countries to exploit the Third World countries, and it only benefits multinational corporations. But is it really true? If wage is equal to the marginal product of labor where competition exists, it's obvious that the only way to improve the quality of life of people in the Third World countries is to raise their marginal product of labor. The reason why their marginal product of labor is low is simple. It's because they don't have enough capital equipments. Foreign investment raises their marginal product of labor by providing the capital equipments and enabling labors to use it. It was a blessing for these countries rather than a misfortune.

Meeting with economics gave me another enlightenment. The public never have accepted economics unquestioningly. They always loved interventionists and collectivist arguments. I had believed that the history of economics is a record that a myth named free market have been disproved and modified by new discoveries of irrationality and impersonality of the market. The truth was almost the opposite. The opinions which are being accepted as wise alternatives of free market economics now were just old fallacies which have existed since the age of mercantilism or even earlier time. In fact, the history of economics was a record that economists have rebutted the fallacies which constantly revive.

We didn't have to doubt something we have accepted uncritically to accept Fresco's argument that unemployment happens because of automation. It was because what Fresco is saying was exactly what we have believed. Peter Joseph accused money economy for famines which are caused by relative poverty. (He called it a systematic daily mass murder of human beings.) But few had to doubt economists' teaching that the gap between rich and poor nations is chiefly because of obstacles which prevent the free movement of capital to accept his argument. Before Peter Joseph says something, it didn't exist in our belief structure at first.

People deluded themselves that they understand economics just by knowing ambiguous phrase "invisible hand," not knowing how wage and interest rates are decided in the market and what is its function. No matter what was economists' teaching about the gap between rich and poor nations, war, trade, and wages and exploitation, it never has been serious consideration for the most of the people. Now textbooks don't say anything about much more fatal fallacies of the mercantilists and exploitation theorists, give a long talk about incomplete aspects of the free market. Nonetheless prejudice theorists complain that people believe economics uncritically.

Though there always has been some degree of gap between common notion and serious economics, the gap never have been big as today. Perhaps the situations in Korea are comparatively better. Textbooks of Western Europe, including France and Germany, teach completely opposite of modern economics. It's not very hard to find a ridiculous argument that poor nations in sub-Saharan Africa has the most free market and India and China could make economic development because they didn't choose neoliberalism. (The reason why this argument is ridiculous is that actually the degree of freedom of sub-Saharan Africa is lower than India and China's. And as is well known, the economic development of India and China happen after they accept relatively free economy. Visit German textbooks containing Fakt, like Jacque Fresco, repeatedly emphasize that computer and robots cause unemployment.

What caused economic crisis was always not free market, but governments. It was particularly obvious in the case of subprime mortgage crisis. Saying that more government oversight was needed misses the point. More and riskier loans are exactly what the government wanted. Government, at the federal, state, and local level, developed hundreds of little programs intended to encourage more people to buy homes. The government introduced strong incentives to buy instead of rent, and to borrow heavily in order to buy. As lenders seldom accept risk despite full support, the government forced it with legislations including The Community Reinvestment Act. Nevertheless when the bubble bursts, the public accused free market for everything and the left groups which supported the policies made the crisis triumphantly announced the end of the financial capitalism. In such a social atmosphere, how can we talk about something without prejudice?

It's uncertain that whether I reached first doubt by myself or was helped from some liberal books. Anyway I started to doubt what I have believed uncritically. Because any books which were written from the anti-capitalist view couldn't answer my fundamental questions, I had to find the answer somewhere else. Books of classical liberalists and Austrian economists including Bastiat and Henry Hazlitt occupied the position which the Marxists' books had once occupied.

Initial will to fight against current evils including the gap between rich and poor nations, repeated economic crisis, wars didn't disappear. What changed was a solution. In fact, the arguments of prejudice theorists were true in exactly the opposite meaning. The public morbidly hated the market and economic freedom. And it was exactly such prejudices that are continuing current evils. I became the most active libertarian, and invested most of my free time in translating important libertarian books to Korean. (Recently I translated Ron Paul's End the Fed and Henry Hazlitt's The Failure of the New Economics.) But my interest was global and efforts for libertarianism had to be global, too.

I met Fresco's film Paradise or Oblivion almost by accident. But I remember I was shocked when I found its tremendous hits and positive responses. I had to do something. Thankfully, I had written a long article which refutes The Venus Project a long time ago. Unfortunately the original article was written when I still believe the idea of welfarism. I had to modify many parts of it. The desire to deal with every contradiction of The Venus Project doubled the quantity of the article. I didn't think that translating it into English would be very hard. But as soon as I started the work, it became almost hopeless. I had no choice but to admit that I don't have ability to translate an article which is more than 700 pages long into English.

I already have debated about The Venus Project in Korea. Though many supporters of The Venus Project maintained obstinate attitude, I could convince quite many of them. All I wanted was to make the same thing happen in countries which use English. For it, I was ready to expend about 5,000 dollar (4,950,000 wons). It was almost half of the money I saved as a student.

I always have been positive about the power of logic and reason. From observation and personal experience, I knew that the power which sustains almost every fallacy is just ignorance about logics which can refute them, rather than obstinateness. Above all, my own experience was the strongest evidence. I don't believe the things I believe as obvious truth until just several years ago anymore. What changed me was just meeting with new logics which can rebut them. I have debated with many people, containing fundamentalist Christians who deny the theory of evolution. Among them, there were people who eventually fail to accept obvious things in cognitive dissonance. But even they were changed at least a little when I debated with them persistently, taking my time. The declaration that it's impossible to change someone with logic is just an excuse for people who don't have ability to find and outargue hidden premises which support his major fallacies, or don't have a will to do it. If the opponent rejects conversation, it can't be helped. But if not, we never can depend on a lazy excuse that the conversation doesn't work.

You would not have to be a libertarian to agree with almost every point of the main body. Anyway its framework made when I still believe the idea of welfarism. I spent the most amounts of it on showing that The Venus Project would end in the same result with the worst systems humanity have experienced until now. I didn't have to assume that the laissez faire system is the best system for it. In fact, despite so many modifications, Chapter 10 of the main body is still quite interventionist. It consists of the only principle of interventionism which I still believe as valid. I believe that we should not give up the efforts to make a better system. The fact that experiments until now have failed because of ignorance about economics and prejudice can't mean future experiments would also fail. The thing is the philosophy and method of the experiments.

It's true that newly added parts are mentioning the theories of the Austrian school. But their importance would never have to be exaggerated. Except the business cycle theory, any original theories of Austrian school aren't used to develop point of an argument in the main body. (And as far as current crisis concerned, we don't need to accept the Austrian business cycle theory to notice that it happened because of government intervention.) If anything, what the most of newly added parts are based on is mainstream economics since Adam Smith. Only Keynesism was dealt with very critically. But this is not a very biased viewpoint as some people believe. Though it may sound shocking to some people, few economists categorize themselves as Keynesian in the pure meaning now. [1] All of its major arguments have been rebutted and rejected in academic economics.

It seems that I have to cope with a virtual personal attack of supporters of The Venus Project, too. They constantly, and needlessly emphasize things like imagination, creativity, critical thinking when they are debating about The Venus Project. They don't notice that it's actually same to say as follows: critics of The Venus Project oppose it because they are lack of mental abilities like imagination, creativity, critical thinking. Supporters of The Venus Project don't find any problem from Jacque Fresco who repeatedly emphasize that his opinion is irrelevant to any ideology which exists now with perfect confidence. Nevertheless if someone arguing with them argues that he's not a slave of any ideology, they suddenly start long lecture about the stupidity of the belief that a human can form his own opinions without be influenced by an ideology.

Anyway there is no reason to assume that every critic of The Venus Project accepted certain ideology uncritically. As Fresco accepted technocracy selectively, I also accepted arguments of Mises, Hayek, and Bastiat selectively. My opinions about some subjects are certainly different from theirs. I think that Mises misstated the methodology of natural science quite a lot emphasizing specificity of economics, and Hayek made a mistake when he argued that memes are naturally selected chiefly by group selection. Decrying opponents as slaves of certain ideology is just an empty, inessential personal attack.

As a skeptic, I have no intention to oppose very desirable belief that we have to doubt everything which was accepted. I want to oppose the bias of the doubt. Supporters of The Venus Project have to demand what they always demanded to their opponents to themselves: A doubt that what they have believed may be wrong. The doubt would be truly valuable when it gets to be able to contain even the most anti-capitalist ideas they have believed.

I want to answer to every counterarguments and questions which requires an answer. But unfortunately, I don't have enough energy and ability to do it. I had to pay to translate the most of the main body. I can't bear such expenditures constantly. I'll return to domestic tasks for a while, and invest my time and effort to promote libertarian movements in Korea. If the main text or the translation was not substantial, of course, I must be held responsible.



[1] Except some people including Paul Krugman! In fact, he already has been criticized because so many thoughtless statements he made about fields he doesn't know about very well. He doesn't have any authority on the subjects he talks about in the media. (The field gave Krugman Nobel Prize is international economics, not macroeconomics.) Krugman is more like a politician when he writes columns. And what he argues are actually far from the opinions of the mainstream economics.