Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Give me the name of one people among whom incredible prodigies were not performed....

“The daughters of the high priest Anius changed whatever they chose into wheat, wine or oil. Athalida, daughter of Mercury, was resuscitated several times. Aesculapius resuscitated Hippolytus. Hercules dragged Alcestis back from death. Heres returned to the world after passing a fortnight in hell. The parents of Romulus and Remus were a god and a vestal virgin. The Palladium fell from heaven in the city of Troy. The hair of Berenice became a constellation. .. . Give me the name of one people among whom incredible prodigies were not performed, especially when few knew how to read and write.” ~ Voltaire in Miracles & Idolatry  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Trotsky's Prophecies -- Proved Wrong by History

This prophecy from Trotsky is particularly menacing, because it shows that the communists want to control every aspect of peoples lives:

"One final prophecy: In the third year of soviet rule in America, you will no longer chew gum!" ~ Leon Trotsky in his essay If America Should go Communist (1934)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

One cannot resist an idea whose time has come

On résiste à l'invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l'invasion des idées." ~ Victor Hugo

Literal translation:

"One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas."

The Constitution is NOT an instrument for the government to restrain the people

"The Constitution is NOT an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the PEOPLE to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interest." ~ Patrick Henry

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Garrett Hardin on India’s 600 million population in 1974

This piece is via Stephen Hicks, Ph.D.

Hardin is one of the most widely-read intellectuals of the twentieth century, most known for two pieces, “The Tragedy of the Commons” and “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor.” The two are intimately related, as one diagnoses a fundamental problem with resources and the other draws policy conclusions.

“India, for example, now has a population of 600 million, which increases by 15 million each year. This population already puts a huge load on a relatively impoverished environment.Hardin,Garrett The country’s forests are now only a small fraction of what they were three centuries ago and floods and erosion continually destroy the insufficient farmland that remains. Every one of the 15 million new lives added to India’s population puts an additional burden on the environment, and increases the economic and social costs of crowding. However humanitarian our intent, every Indian life saved through medical or nutritional assistance from abroad diminishes the quality of life for those who remain, and for subsequent generations. If rich countries make it possible, through foreign aid, for 600 million Indians to swell to 1.2 billion in a mere 28 years, as their current growth rate threatens, will future generations of Indians thank us for hastening the destruction of their environment? Will our good intentions be sufficient excuse for the consequences of our actions? …”

The article’s conclusion:

“Without a true world government to control reproduction and the use of available resources, the sharing ethic of the spaceship is impossible. For the foreseeable future, our survival demands that we govern our actions by the ethics of a lifeboat, harsh though they may be. Posterity will be satisfied with nothing less.”

I note that India’s population has now passed the 1.2 billion mark that Hardin feared. Further, those Indians are living at a higher standard of living, including a historically-unprecedented lifting of hundreds of millions out of abject poverty.indian_people Even further, India’s forest coverage is increasing, according to official reports.

So a question: Is there a serious rethinking of Hardin’s argument occurring among intellectuals and policy makers, or is it still the prevailing orthodoxy?

(And I wonder how many of those 600 million additional Indians have grown up to become Hardinesque intellectuals advocating policies that would have made their own lives non-existent.)

Quantum theory: it's unreal

How to construct a better narrative over what really goes on in the subatomic world. Inaugural lecture of Professor Terry Rudolph. recorded on 29 October 2014


Friday, June 26, 2015

Draft version of George Orwell's 1984

The Nineteen Eighty-Four facsimile was published in the UK by Secker & Warburg in, not surprisingly, 1984. (The US edition was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.) It’s actually less than half of the published novel, the rest of the manuscript having disappeared somewhere along the way, but you wouldn’t buy this copy to read the story anyway: it’s a mess. Most of the text is handwritten, some is typed, but almost all of it is crisscrossed with corrections. Each page is printed twice: once as a facsimile of the original page, and once as a tidied-up typescript.

Click here to read an excerpt from the draft version of the manuscript.

Are We Better Off if We Buy Local?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

what is art? what is its role in man’s life?

In his book, "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand", Leonard Peikoff has devoted an entire chapter to aesthetics. He is the first philosopher to fully articulate the importance of Ayn Rand’s theory of art in the total framework of Objectivism, and to offer explicit justification for her view that aesthetics is one of “the five branches that make up a full system of philosophy.” He writes:

Esthetics asks: what is art? what is its role in man’s life? by what standards should an art work be judged?

To answer these questions, a knowledge of fundamentals is necessary. Hierarchically, esthetics, like politics, is a derivative, which rests on the three basic branches of philosophy. Politics, as the application of ethics to social questions, is the narrower of the two fields. Esthetics is more profound: art’s special root and concern is not ethics, but metaphysics.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A human being is dear to himself in respect of what makes him human ~ Seneca

“A living being has an attachment to itself, for there must be a standard by which all other things are judged. Since I treat my own welfare as the standard for all my actions, I am concerned for myself above everything else. Every living thing has an initial attachment to its own constitution; but a human being’s constitution is a rational one, and so a human being’s attachment is to himself not qua living being but qua rational being. For he is dear to himself in respect of what makes him human.” ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Purpose of Constitution - Patrick Henry

"The Constitution is NOT an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the PEOPLE to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interest." ~ Patrick Henry 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hayek on Meet the Press

Forty years ago, on June 22, 1975, F. A. Hayek was interviewed on NBC’s “Meeting the Press.”

Abridged transcription of that interview is available on this link - click here.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Will Rogers on politcal campaigns

Will Rogers thought all campaigning was bunk. To prove the point he mounted a mock campaign in 1928 for the presidency. His only vehicle was the pages of Life, a weekly humor magazine. Rogers ran as the "bunkless candidate" of the Anti-Bunk Party. His only campaign promise was that, if elected, he would resign. Every week, from Memorial Day through Election Day, Rogers caricatured the farcical humors of grave campaign politics. On election day he declared victory and resigned.

Asked what issues would motivate voters? Prohibition: "What's on your hip is bound to be on your mind".

Asked if there should be presidential debates? Yes: "Joint debate — in any joint you name".

How about appeals to the common man? Easy: "You can't make any commoner appeal than I can".

What does the farmer need? Obvious: "He needs a punch in the jaw if he believes that either of the parties cares a damn about him after the election".

Can voters be fooled? Darn tootin': "Of all the bunk handed out during a campaign the biggest one of all is to try and compliment the knowledge of the voter".

What about a candidate's image? Ballyhoo: "I hope there is some sane people who will appreciate dignity and not showmanship in their choice for the presidency".

What of ugly campaign rumors? Don't worry: "The things they whisper aren't as bad as what they say out loud".

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The intoxication of power

George Orwell has identified quite well, the intoxication of power:

"But always--do not forget this, Winston--always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--forever." ~ George Orwell in 1984

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Traffic jams & socialism

“A traffic jam is a collision between free enterprise and socialism. Free enterprise produces automobiles faster than socialism can build roads and road capacity.” ~ Andrew Galambos

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The object of power is power ~ 1984

"One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~ George Orwell in 1984

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Arguments on the internet are never ending

History is chiefly written by third-rate men

"It is the misfortune of humanity that its history is chiefly written by third-rate men. The first-rate man seldom has any impulse to record and philosophise; his impulse is to act; life, to him, is an adventure, not a syllogism or an autopsy. Thus the writing of history is left to college professors, moralists, theorists, dunder-heads.” ~ H L Mencken 

The essence of communist politics by George Orwell

These lines from George Orwell's 1984 present the essence of communist politics:

“The party seeks power for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power." 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

How did Edison create the electric light?

Human energy works to supply human needs and satisfy human desires, only when, and where, and precisely to the extent that men know they are free. It works effectively only to the extent that Government is weak, so that individuals are least prevented from acting freely, from using their energy of body and mind under their own individual control.

All history shows this fact. Every detail of common experience today proves it. The electric light proves it; the car in the garage proves it. How did Edison create the electric light? How did Americans create the millions of American cars?

They used free thought, free speech, free action and freehold property. The unhindered use of natural human rights creates this whole modern world. Nothing else makes it possible for men to create new things, and improve them and keep on improving them.

~ Rose Wilder Lane in The Discovery of Freedom

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ignorance, once dispelled, is impossible to re-establish

Ignorance is of a peculiar nature; once dispelled, it is impossible to re-establish it. It is not originally a thing of itself, but is only the absence of knowledge; and though man may be kept ignorant, he cannot be made ignorant.

There does not exist in the compass of language an arrangement of words to express so much as the means of effecting a counter-revolution. The means must be an obliteration of knowledge; and it has never yet been discovered how to make a man unknow his knowledge.

~ Rose Wilder Lane in The Discovery of Freedom

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot

"An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot. It will succeed where diplomatic management would fail; neither the Rhine, the Channel, nor the ocean can arrest its progress; it will march on the horizon of the world, and it will conquer." ~ Thomas Paine

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Accurate thinking requires words of precise meaning

Communist Party has been deliberately following Lenin's instruction, "First confuse the vocabulary." Thinking can be done only in words. Accurate thinking requires words of precise meaning. Communication between human beings is impossible without words whose precise meaning is generally understood....

Confuse the vocabulary, and people do not know what is happening; they can not communicate an alarm; they can not achieve any common purpose. Confuse the vocabulary, and millions are helpless against a small, disciplined number who know what they mean when they speak. Lenin had brains.

~ Rose Wilder Lane in The Discovery of Freedom

Monday, June 1, 2015

Freedom is a fact

"Freedom is not a permission granted by any Authority. Freedom is a fact. Whether or not this fact is known, freedom is in the nature of every living person, as gravitation is in the nature of this planet. Life is energy; liberty is the individual control of human life-energy. It can not be separated from life. Liberty is inalienable; as I can not transfer my life to anyone else, I can not transfer my liberty, my control of my life- energy, to anyone else." ~ Rose Wilder Lane in The Discovery of Freedom

What do you want to be when you give up?