Monday, November 30, 2015

Beer for philosophers...

Sadly the Belgian brewery no longer produces this particular brand of beer.

Orwell on Symbols of Democracy...

"That rifle on the wall of the labourer's cottage or working man's flat is the symbol of democracy." ~ George Orwell

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Landmark decision...

Difference between the right word and the almost right word...

"You were given the choice between war and dishonor.  You chose dishonor, and you will have war." ~ Churchill to Chamberlain after Munich, 1938

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." ~ Mark Twain

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Pilgrims and Property Rights: How our ancestors got fat & happy

Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind by George Makari

Excerpt from George Makari's, "Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind"
After his triumphant return to London, John Locke’s theory of the mind gradually spread, as did his views on the processes of thought, consciousness, delusion, and the capacity of reason to control man’s passions. Along with Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton, Locke became synonymous with the progressive advances of English culture.
Throughout Western Europe, Locke’s thought moved quickly throughout literary and philosophical circles, where its political implications were not missed. A swarm of French refugees, often trained in Protestant seminaries to reject divine right and employ private conscience, embraced Locke’s model of consciousness with its justification of inner difference. The French Huguenot exile Pierre Coste became Locke’s interpreter and French translator, and through Coste’s efforts the Essayspread throughout the continent.
Locke’s theories of the mind would become part of the curricula of universities, often finding a home among those who taught and studied logic. It also would be enshrined in those warehouses of learning, the Enlightenment dictionary and encyclopedia. In his seminal Historical and Critical Dictionary, the exiled Huguenot Pierre Bayle traced a line of thought from Thomas Willis’s animal soul to Locke’s thinking matter to an anonymous freethinker who considered humans to be no different than brutes. The 1747 Biographia britannica lavished seventeen pages of small type on the “celebrated” philosopher’s life and thought. Denis Diderot and Jean d’Alembert in their great Encyclopedia included a lengthy section on Locke, as did Johann Zedler’s German Universal-Lexicon. And in his famed Dictionary, Samuel Johnson turned to Locke’s authority 138 times. Johnson’s definition of madness as a disorderly jumble of ideas neatly followed Locke’s.
As this naturalized notion of the mind began to spread, some sought to push aside the paradoxes of God-given thinking matter and map out a fully natural model. In 1729, Ephraim Chambers’s Cyclopaedia defined psychology as “a Discourse Concerning the Soul” which was not a part of theology, but anthropology. In 1740, the Scotsman George Turnbull announced that he would study the human mind precisely as he studied the human body. When the Encyclopaedia Britannica emerged from Edinburgh, though it defined the mind as akin to spirit, the opposite of matter, it also allowed that the mind was now explored in the science of logic and morals, naturalistic inquiries that owed much to Locke.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Charlie Brown and Existentialism

Vanity Fair has published an article on Peanuts and Existentialism.

It is not an accident that Eichmann was a Kantian ~ Ayn Rand

"If a man believes that the good is intrinsic in certain actions, he will not hesitate to force others to perform them. If he believes that the human benefit or injury caused by such actions is of no significance, he will regard a sea of blood as of no significance. If he believes that the beneficiaries of such actions are irrelevant (or interchangeable), he will regard wholesale slaughter as his moral duty in the service of a “higher” good. It is the intrinsic theory of values that produces a Robespierre, a Lenin, a Stalin, or a Hitler. It is not an accident that Eichmann was a Kantian." ~ Ayn Rand (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Economy is idealism in its most practical form...

"I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people. The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.” ~ Calvin Coolidge (Inaugural Address, 1925)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

It's One Word..

Jefferson on Newspapers

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ian Fleming's James Bond is Anti-communist

Bond represents the individual spirit that is cultivated by the West against the communist idea of the regnant collective. Under communism, individuals were reduced to a product of their time and place on the continuum of material progress. In a study published in 1964 entitled “The Soviet Conception of Man,” professor Richard T. DeGeorge writes, “Under the Soviet view, there is no eternal essence or common nature which each individual man in the past, present, and future shares or has.” Instead, the Soviet conception of the individual is that it is created and exists only by and through the state and society. Any conception of individuality arises as a product of “self-consciousness on the part of the exploiting minority who were separated from and stood above the masses.” Thus, the only way an individual was able to change the world was to properly and completely submit to the State—which was embodied by the Party. In The Opium of the Intellectuals, Raymond Aron notes: “the aspiring communist gives his allegiance to the Party because the Party represents the class which has been elected to the role of collective saviour.”

An individual like Bond who thwarted communist schemes and plots without the Party or the collective was Fleming’s answer to Marx. As Bond demonstrated, an individual could accomplish great things and change—or save—the world. Of particular interest is that Bond describes himself as being deep down a “Scottish peasant” in The Man with the Golden Gun. A peasant, according to Soviet logic, was part of the anointed class and as such, Bond should have sympathized with communist doctrine. Instead, Fleming had him smash it wherever he found it.

Before the movies had Bond chasing international crime syndicates and henchmen with elaborate schemes for world domination, the novels had him hunting down the very real threat of communism across the globe. It’s obvious that both Fleming and Bond were committed to destroying communism and its “cruel machine” of spies and saboteurs, and although the KGB and Soviet Union are no longer threats, communism still exists and oppresses millions throughout the world. With the release of each new film, the world should never forget the lessons from Fleming’s original cold warrior who fought to save the world from tyranny and oppression. For Fleming, one person could change the world, and Bond has always been the fictionalized personification of those who were changing it one covert battle at a time.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Quotes from Margaret Thatcher

“I wasn’t lucky. I deserved it.”

"You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

"There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families."

“I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph.”

“Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides."

“Europe will never be like America. Europe is a product of history. America is a product of philosophy.”

Sunday, November 15, 2015

John Allison - Ayn Rand

The Failure of the Homeland Defense: Lessons from History

With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, America has accepted a permanent, institutionalized state of siege on its own soil. But is this the correct strategy? In this lecture, Dr. John Lewis examines several examples from history — including ancient Greece and ancient Rome — in which great nations, facing attack, have acted defensively rather than with bold offense. The results are clear: such a policy is suicidal. Rather than bracing for further attacks at home or spreading “democracy” abroad, America should destroy her enemies.

The reason behind the hammer and sickle symbol

There is a reason why, for 100 years, the communist symbol is hammer and sickle. "We want you to keep using these tools!"

Saturday, November 14, 2015

We the People' tell the government what to do - Reagan

"Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: 'We the People.' 'We the People' tell the government what to do; it doesn't tell us. 'We the People' are the driver; the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world's constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which 'We the People' tell the government what it is allowed to do. 'We the People' are free. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I've tried to do these past 8 years." ~ Ronald Reagan (in his Farewell Speech, 1988)


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Modern Educayshun

The follow up to #Equality, Modern Educayshun delves into the potential dangers of our increasingly reactionary culture bred by social media and political correctness.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How To Brainwash A Nation

This amazing interview was done back in 1985 with a former KGB agent who was trained in subversion techniques. He explains the 4 basic steps to socially engineering entire generations into thinking and behaving the way those in power want them to.

Ayn Rand on the anti-conceptual mentality

“As an example of the principle that the rational is the moral, observe that the anti-conceptual is the profoundly anti-moral. The basic commandment of [anti-conceptual] groups, which takes precedence over any other rules, is: loyalty to the group—not to ideas, but to people; not to the group's beliefs, which are minimal and chiefly ritualistic, but to the group's members and leaders. Whether a given member is right or wrong, the others must protect him from outsiders; whether he is innocent or guilty, the others must stand by him against outsiders; whether he is competent or not, the others must employ him or trade with him in preference to outsiders. Thus a physical qualification—the accident of birth in a given village or tribe—takes precedence over morality and justice. (But the physical is only the most frequently apparent and superficial qualification, since such groups reject the nonconforming children of their own members. The actual qualification is psycho-epistemological: men bound by the same concretes.)

“Primitive tribes are an obvious example of the anti-conceptual mentality—perhaps, with some justification: savages, like children, are on the preconceptual level of development. Their later counterparts, however, demonstrate that this mentality is not the product of ignorance (nor is it caused by lack of intelligence): it is self-made, i.e., self-arrested. It has resisted the rise of civilization and has manifested itself in countless forms throughout history. Its symptom is always an attempt to circumvent reality by substituting men for ideas, the man-made for the metaphysical, favors for rights, special pull for merit—i.e., an attempt to reduce man’s life to a small back-yard (or rat hole) exempt from the absolutism of reason. (The driving motive of these attempts is deeper than power-lust: the rulers of such groups seek protection from reality as anxiously as the followers.)” 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ronald Reagan: On Communism

How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

 I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written.

The other day someone told me the difference between a democracy and a people's democracy. It's the same difference between a jacket and a straitjacket.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Review of George Reisman’s “Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics” by Per-Olof Samuelsson

This is a slightly expanded version of a review Per-Olof Samuelsson submitted to Amazon a few years ago. This review seems to be appreciated by readers, and it was much appreciated by Dr. Reisman himself, who suggested that he make this expanded version for possible publication. 
George Reisman’s Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics is perhaps the greatest treatise on economics of all time; it certainly ranks with such works as Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations or Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action; and in one respect I think it surpasses them: even the great pro-capitalist economists in the past have had contradictions and/or inconsistencies in their reasoning that undercut their message and make it weaker than it could and should be. If there are contradictions or inconsistencies in Reisman’s treatise, I have yet to find them.
An achievement of this kind is always an integrated whole. But if I were to single out one insight as the greatest one, it would be the “primacy of profits” principle, the insight that wages are a deduction from profits, not vice versa. This lays the ground for the most thorough and fundamental refutation of the Marxian exploitation theory that is possible; it also lays the ground for what actually constitutes economy-wide profit (the “net consumption” theory of profits) and the actual relationships between profits, wages and investment, and for many other things as well. To make a comparison, I think this discovery ranks with Adam Smith’s original discovery of the principle of division of labor, or the early Austrians’ discovery of marginal utility. I sincerely hope that this principle gets thoroughly understood by economists in the future.
Some other highlights I could mention merely because I have not seen them mentioned by other reviewers:
The demonstration that the rise in the average standard of living rests entirely on lower prices for goods and services. This fact is obscured by the presence of inflation, and other economists (notably the Keynesians) have managed to create a lot of fog around this issue. Reisman’s analysis completely dissolves the fog. And this point also has a positive corollary. The only thing that actually does raise the average standard of living is a rise in the productivity of labor; behind such a rise stand saving, technological progress and capital accumulation; and behind these stands man’s reasoning mind.
Understanding the extent of the gulf between a pre-capitalist, non-division of labor society and a modern division of labor society. (E.g.: understanding why a rise in population would be a threat in the former kind of society, but a source of great benefit in the latter kind.)
The demonstration that one of the things capitalism is regularly denounced for – the concentration of great fortunes in relatively few hands – is actually to the benefit of everybody, not merely the owners of those fortunes.
The demonstration of what is wrong with modern “national income accounting”. To make a long story short, the “modern” accounting method makes it look like almost all expenditure in the economy is consumption expenditure, while the truth is that most expenditure in a modern advanced economy is expenditure for the sake of further production.
And those are just a few of the highlights.
Capitalism is not always easy reading, and a beginner would be well advised to start with The Government Against the Economy (the whole of this book, however, is incorporated into Capitalism as chapters 6–8), or with some of Reisman’s shorter pamphlets (or with one of Reisman’s own favorites, Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson). Some previous knowledge of Classical and Austrian economics is a great help. But, particularly in the first chapters, dealing with the role of material wealth in man’s life, there are passages that made me cheer aloud when I first read them, and possibly others will cheer aloud, too. (One such observation is that we value automobiles and other means of transportation for basically the same reason that we value having legs over not having legs.)
As is probably known, George Reisman was not only a student of Ludwig von Mises but also a student of Ayn Rand, and her influence permeates his book in more ways than I have space to tell. You may recall that one of the strikers in Atlas Shrugged was “a professor of economics who couldn’t get a job outside, because he taught that you can’t consume more than you have produced”. Well, this is what George Reisman teaches, for a thousand double-column pages and better than anyone has done before him.
PS: Reisman’s words of appreciation are worth quoting:
I believe that my treatment of the subject of profit is the most important and original fea­ture of the book and that the reversal of the Marxist view of the relationship between pro­fits and wages is one of the most important appli­cations of my theory of profit. Those are pre­cisely the points your review stresses. So I come away from your review with the very gratifying feeling that here at last is someone who really understands the book and has hit the nail on the head in reviewing it.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Earth Is An Oil-Producing Machine — We're Not Running Out

Ever since M. King Hubbert in the 1950s convinced a lot of people with his "peak oil" theory that production would collapse and we'd eventually exhaust our crude supplies, the clock has been running. And running. And it will continue to run for some time, as technology and new discoveries show that there's still an ocean of oil under our feet.

Engineering and Technology says "with the use of the innovative technologies, available fossil fuel resources could increase from the current 2.9 trillion barrels of oil equivalent to 4.8 trillion by 2050, which is almost twice as much as the projected global demand." That number could even reach 7.5 trillion barrels if technology and exploration techniques advance even faster.

This information backs up the idea that Earth is actually an oil-producing machine. We call energy sources such as crude oil and natural gas fossil fuels based on the assumption that they are the products of decaying organisms, maybe even dinosaurs themselves. But the label is a misnomer. Research from the last decade found that hydrocarbons are synthesized abiotically.

In other words, as Science magazine has reported, the "data imply that hydrocarbons are produced chemically" from carbon found in Earth's mantle. Nature magazine calls the product of this process an "unexpected bounty " of "natural gas and the building blocks of oil products.”

So don't feel guilty about exploiting this "bounty." There seems to be plenty to go around — and there will probably still be a lot left when technology, not hurried by government mandates and subsidies but guided by market forces, produces practical and affordable renewable energy.

But for now, enjoy our cheap, abundant and efficient "fossil" fuels.

the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought...

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we’re not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It’s merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won’t be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,’ he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction. ‘Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?’

~ George Orwell in 1984

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Reality Control - 1984

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word "doublethink" involved the use of doublethink."
~ from George Orwell's 1984 (Speaker - Winston Smith)