September 15th, 2001


Cryonics and mental illness...

Doug Skrecky, a frequent poster to Cryonet, a mailing list devoted to cryonics, made the following observation after one of the frequent bouts of sniping between members of rival cryonics organizations.

"...after seeing and evaluating the behaviour of a number of people involved in
cryonics, I've reluctantly concluded that a number are mentally ill.
A possibly relevant study was done on creativity and psychopathology in
291 world-famous men (British Journal of Psychiatry 165: 22-34
1994). Guess which profession was associated with the highest incidence of
psychopathology? No, it wasn't politicians, of which 17.8% suffered from
severe illness, including Hitler, Woodrow Wilson and Lincoln. The group
that scored the worst was writers. one is reminded of the saying: genius
is next to insanity. The breakdown for writers was as follows:

    Degree of Psychopathology

None       Mild      Marked      Severe
 2%         10%       42%         46%
Maupassant Chekov    Balzac      Conrad
           France    Bennett     Dostoevsky
           Hauptmann Brecht      Faulkner
           Melville  Camus       Gide
           Orwell    Dickens     Gogol
                     Dumas(pere) Hemingway
                     Flaubert    Hesse
                     Galsworthy  Ibsen
                     Gorky       Joyce
                     Hardy       Kafka
                     Hugo        Kipling
                     Huxley (A)  Lawrence
                     James (H)   Mann (T)
                     Maugham (S) Manzoni
                     Pasternak   Proust
                     Pirandello  Sartre
                     Shaw        Scott Fitzgerald
                     Thackeray   Stendhal
                     Trollope    Strindberg
                     Turgenev    Tolstoy
                     Zola        Waugh (E)

Unfortunately, my own observations tend to support Skreky's contention. (Present company excepted, of course...:>)


According to the Tax Foundation, in 1998, the combined burden of
federal, state, and local taxes claimed 39.0 percent of a median
two-income family's total income ($68,605). As a percentage of income,
taxes have more than doubled since 1955. Taxes now claim a greater
share of the median two-income family's income than
food (8.9 percent), clothing (3.9 percent), housing (15.9 percent),
and transportation (6.9 percent) - combined.

In my opinion, much of this money is badly misallocated, and is often used to restrict the freedom of U.S. citizens.

For example, Osama bin Laden, received training and funds from the CIA during Afghanistan's war with the Soviet Union. Afghanistan, which harbors bin Laden, derives much of its income from the sale of opium-derivatives--Afghanistan would not have these profits, but for the U.S.'s draconian drug policy. Other terrorist groups get the bulk of their funds the same way.

According to, at the end of 1999, more than 2 million prisoners were incarcerated in the U.S., making ours the world's largest prison system. Roughly 1 out of 143 U.S. citizens are incarcerated. Each of these prisoners costs over $71,000 per year in corrections, judicial, legal, and police costs. Prisoners arrested for drug offenses constitute 61% of the Federal prison population, and 21% of the state prison population.

Worse, federal forfeitures totaled approximately $730 million in 1994. Yet 80% of the people who had property forfeited were never charged with a crime.

I would strongly prefer that my money were not used to enforce such poor laws. Therefore, I've given a fair bit of thought to expatriating (well before the recent attack). Here's some of my preliminary thoughts on the matter.

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