Radical Positivism


Open to all,

its definitive credo is:

Universal human progress by private and voluntary means.

What Color Are You?

By John G Lankford


What color are you?

Do you realize it doesn't matter?

It may seem to matter a lot in your life and the lives of those around you, but you're going to learn neither your color nor anyone else's makes any important difference. You are going to understand why in less than half an hour. You're going to learn everyone telling you it does matter, trying to convince you to divide humankind on color lines, is deceiving you, sometimes for personal gain.

But we're not going to dwell on that. We're positivists. We make our decisions on the best indications of truth available, and we talk about the strengths of our positions. And our positions have such strength that scolding other people, or their positions, is just a waste of time. Once you have grasped our perspective and the evidence supporting it, you will have no time to waste vilifying others, even when they waste their time vilifying you. You will understand they simply have nothing better to offer.

And you, having something much better, will be a positive person. You will be a positivist. You will be a radical positivist, with insights that reach to the roots of human understanding, and constructive energy that reaches to the summits of human achievement.

What gender are you?

What is your national origin?

What is your family's social position?

How wealthy are you?

What are your religious convictions?

Ultimately, not one of those things matters.

Is this beginning to sound familiar? If you've read the writings and documents generated by the founders of the United States of America, it should. Those were people of a narrow range of color, culture, and gender, limited by the traditions and circumstances of their time and often tormented by those limitations, because they envisioned certain ideals they could not themselves find the means or courage to approach. To them, those ideals were a challenge, the propositions of new schools of thought. By deciding to found a nation dedicated to them, they raised them as a banner to become the hope and inspiration of the world.

Radical positivists are heirs to those ideals. We did not inherit them because those people, or any people, designated, consecrated, or ordained us as such, but because those ideals were abandoned, and we simply picked them up.

They will never be perfectly realized. People who care about them will always be troubled by shortfalls between actual achievement and envisioned goals. But they will be approached much more closely than people now believe possible, by people all over the world.

Are your ancestors from Africa? Have you noticed people who refer to you as members of that category, including people in your own community, cannot get comfortable with any name, no matter how respectful? Are you old enough to have been a colored person, a Negro, a black person, and an Afro-American? Have you wondered why? It's very simple. Ethnicity is a false distinction between people, and people tagged with categories within false distinctions are uncomfortable about that. People are people, and crave to be known and accepted as such, not specially categorized, no matter how politely.

The person writing this essay is two meters tall. That is six feet, six and a fraction inches. I can assure you he would not be comfortable always being referred to as Stretch, Goliath, Extended Person, or even Attitudinally Hyper-endowed. I can assure you he likes to be called by name and treated as a normal person: not average, because nobody is average, but normal. You feel the same way, whatever your ethnicity or physical characteristics, do you not? Physical characteristics do not define humanity.

Are you of Asian extraction? Does the antiquity of your ancestors' cultures, and the glory and sophistication they achieved, cause you to look on others as relative inferiors or barbarians? Stop. The very successes of those cultures caused them to crystallize into stagnations from which they did not emerge until less civilized, but more vigorous people came and agitated them into stupendous reawakenings. Had that not happened, unless you were very lucky, you would never have tasted freedom. Now, as you will see, your color, configuration, and ancestry do not matter. You have to help prevent the stagnation and decay that happened to some some Asian cultures, probably happened to African and original American cultures, and nearly happened to European cultures, from happening to the entire world.

Is your skin white, or what is considered white? Do you believe that because white males predominated almost to the point of exclusivity in the foundation of the United States of America and the enunciation of its great ideals, they were or you are exalted above others? Forget it. You will not have time for such attitudes. Do you feel guilty, apologetic, about white peoples' oppression of other peoples? Correct your own, personal conduct toward other people, and let your ancestors answer for their actions as you must face responsibility for yours. There is not a broad genetic category of people on earth that has not been both oppressor and oppressed, master and slave, violator and victim. You have no choice but to live now. Begin.

Is your skin, or was your ancestors' skin, red? Once again, vanity and pride on that account will not ennoble you, and anger, resentment, and despair over injustice will not entitle you. Do you imagine they lived in a peaceful Paradise, a garden of brotherly love? How could the honor of the warrior have been so greatly valued, had there been no wars among them? Other peoples brought them miseries, but they also brought them gifts. Which will you cherish? As with the ideals of the founders of the United States of America, pick up the abandoned gifts from your ancestors and others'. You will need them to help your true people: humankind.

Radical positivists discriminate among people. We categorize people. We divide them into three categories: Provident, Predatory, or Parasitical. As distinguished from classifications according to ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion, or other inherited trait, the categories by which we discriminate are ultimately voluntary. Each label is earned over time by conduct within each individual's control. Unlike the prevailing categories by which discrimination traditionally took place, the ones we use -- Provident, Predator, Parasite -- are vitally significant to those who bear them, and to the condition and future of humankind. In social, economic, and political matters, the false categories are not.

Infants cannot help being parasitical. Nature made humans helpless in the earliest years of life. Nature also gave humans instincts to provide for and care for helpless people, whether infant, injured, ill, or elderly. Those made helpless and dependent by such conditions of life often exhibit infantile behavior patterns, signaling other people to render them support. Tragically, there are people who, though sound of mind and body, never outgrow infantile, parasitic dependence, and never cease to whine like babies. Those, radical positivists categorize as parasites.

Parasites excuse themselves from responsibility to contribute, even to their own support. Rather than seek ways to overcome legitimate obstacles, they invent obstacles so as not to have to attempt anything. If they have problems, they magnify them. If they have none, they invent them. If indulged, they impose on others a tax, the unfairest tax of all: subsidy of unfairly and unequally favored whiners and alibi merchants. If they choose to waste their lives so, that is their right. It is not their right to deprive others so they may exercise it.

Juveniles and early adolescents gradually develop senses of individual identity, of self, and distinguish it from all around them, all the world outside Since we have, or are, or are installed in, (a private matter of faith), animal bodies, our first interactions with the world are animal reactions. Every living being attempts to prevail over, or at least prosper within, its environment. The first and most primitive means of doing so is predation. Creatures take by force, or snatch by cunning, guile, or deception. We are all predators in the sense that we eat living or recently living beings, from the gentle lamb savaging a tuft of tortured clover to a ravening wolf to a human cannibal. For eons, humans did no differently from animals: gathering, foraging, fishing, hunting, and raiding other human clans. The predator dwells within us all, and emerges first and quite naturally in the juvenile and adolescent. Again tragically, some remain arrested at the juvenile-adolescent predatory stage, and never become humanly fulfilled.

Predators diminish their environment. By force or by stealth, they live by subtracting from the entire available realm of people, creatures, and things not themselves. When their activity is completed, what remains is an absence, one replenished if at all other than by their efforts and sometimes in spite of them. Predators are usually nomadic, rarely fortunate enough to be able to remain in one location and benefit from perpetual streams of prey. Creatures capable of knowing them learn to fear and flee them. People avoid them. Their wandering in search of fresh fields of victims never ceases. Their lives are little more than animalistic scrambles for hand-to-mouth survival, for they never replace what they devour.

Late adolescence, the years of reproductive fertility, bring another trait to the foreground: Providence. In the prime and strength of life, members of many species provide not only for themselves, but also for the infants and juveniles their bodies produce, for their ill and their injured, and for those burdened and hobbled by the infirmities of old age. If those in prime health cannot or do not provide, the others wither and die. In the simpler, more primitive species, this happens as a matter of course. In savage, or selfish, or barely subsisting human communities, it happens as well. It is a legitimate objective of human endeavor to bring all people above such conditions by improving their means of self-support at adequate levels.

Many species carry provident traits and drives. Some generate or build shells. Some burrow dens or build nests. Leafcutter ants carry trimmed leaf fragments underground and there industriously cultivate the fungi they eat. Honeybees process their provender, even though those workers that gather nectar do not survive to eat of the honey made from it. Most species have one or a few rote techniques to assist their providence..

Humans have the capacity of verbalized abstract thought, the ability to envision, depict, and describe things, even ideas, not physically present. As a result, humans can construct and fashion not a few, but uncountable multitudes of things to assist their life processes. Humans can also enhance the health and productivity of other species, leaving more abundance than they take. Those abilities are one great difference between humans and other species. Parasitism and predation we share with other creatures. The degree of providence of which we are capable is uniquely our own. Particularly as humankind has made its way out of savagery and devised ways to live more comfortably and sumptuously, providence has developed into our grandest, most successful, and highest trait. Only by exercising the great capacity of providence, whenever capable of doing so, is a human being fully defined and fulfilled.

Are you a Provident, a Predator, or a Parasite? What about others around you, those of full capacity to fit any of the three categories? How can you tell?

It is very simple. Providents support and improve their own lives and those of other people, even other creatures, even inanimate components of their environments. Predators endanger lives and diminish their habitats. Parasites drain them, and other human resources as well, with infantile whines and sniveling.

If what you habitually do were never done by you or anyone else again, and it would be missed, providence is your prevailing characteristic. Otherwise, you are a predator or a parasite, and, for your own sake as much as if not more than that of others, you have to complete your arrested development and become provident. If you do not, providents have no duty to subsidize you or suffer your depredations, indeed have a moral right to banish you from among us.

Radical positivism advocates human providence, and exhorts and encourages those needlessly stalled, for whatever reason, in infantile parasitism or juvenile-adolescent predation, to complete the development process and join in the provident, fulfilling enterprise of human life, individual and communal. Indeed, radical positivists intend to insist on that Nothing less is human, nothing less deserves indulgence, that is, nothing less, as a moral matter, is humanly permissible.

The evolution of our species, within its single biological category, corresponded to the stages of development of each individual specimen. In savagery, we were scavengers, taking what nature cast off and other, stronger creatures would permit us. Still savages, we became fishers, hunters, and raiders, tearing away the lives and possessions of others by strength, coercion, and guile. Gradually we discovered and developed ways to improve our lives and our chances by ingenuity, innovation, and industry, learning to use our unique verbalized abstract thinking capacity to expand and elevate our potentials. When weapons became so powerful as to be a threat to the survival of all rather than an expedient to the prevalence of some over others, the era of predation had ended, and that of providence begun. As a species, we have just begun to enter our adulthood, we are promising but awkward neophytes, and we can no longer tolerate brutish, babyish, or brattish ways in our midst.

The fulfillment of humanity is the attainment of providence: The alternatives are animal, infantile, juvenile, adolescent. Other categories do not matter. Wealth and poverty, high and low social class, opportunity and difficulty, and certainly all of the naturally inherited attributes are of no consequence. If your stature, and pattern of behavior, is provident, you are a specimen of fulfilled and fully accredited humanity, ready and welcome to join the glorious enterprise of human advancement.

Radical Positivists of the world unite, and make it a better place for all!

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