Article by Bob Podolsky republished by permission on Nov. 11, 2015
Orginally published at Titanians.org
1. Whenever someone wins (benefits) someone else must lose.
We have defined a “benefit” as an increase in creativity, it becomes obvious that this statement is false. While win/lose transactions can and do occur, it is also true that many kinds of win/win transactions take place every day. For example when John sells a widget to Mary for $20.oo Mary now has the widget and John has the money. Mary wanted the widget more than the money. Mary’s creativity is increased and Johns creativity is increased, he has the money.
In the case of Taxation, that is a zero sum game, the government steals the money from Mary who gets services she doesn’t want, such as war, police state, or funding for other invasions of privacy. Mary’s creativity is decreased, as her funds have been stolen from her.
As a matter of fact, one of the best ways to increase one’s own creativity is to voluntarily increase someone else’s creativity. For instance, when you explain the ideas in this website to a friend, both you and your friend would be likely to experience an increase in creativity. Certainly, neither of you could lose by it. It is always ethical to share true information about ethics; even with those whose behavior is not ethical.
Perhaps this is the right point at which to point out that the creativity of an individual or a group may be quantitatively conceived in accordance with the equation, C=EI where creativity, C, is seen as the product of ethical awareness, E, and intelligence, I. In this context E is a real number between -1 and +1 and I is a real number between 0 and +∞. Negative values of E indicate behavior that is destructive rather than creative.
Intelligence, I, represents the ability to predict and control events in the real world. While it is always ethical to increase the intelligence of someone who is creative (positive strong>E) it is unethical to increase the capabilities (intelligence) of some-one who behaves destructively (negative E), because to do so makes them more destructive rather than more creative.
On the other hand, attempts to increase the ethical awareness of a person who acts destructively do not increase their destructive capabilities and may, in fact, make them more creative rather than more destructive. So, when faced with a person who acts destructively, the only true information that one should impart to them is information about ethics.