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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Saul Alinsky Hated Capitalism, But He Also Hated The Liberals

Saul Alinsky believed that reason has nothing to do with practical politics, principles are meaningless, and the only value worth achieving is the destruction of capitalism.

He hated the liberals because he thought that they were moderate leftists and they did not hate capitalism as much as he did. In his book, Reveille for Radicals, published in 1946, he gives a comprehensive account of the reasons behind his hatred of the liberals.

He refused to call himself a liberal, preferring the term “radical” for himself and his acolytes. He saw clear lines of distinction between his ideas and that of the liberals. In Reveille for Radicals he has devoted many pages to criticize the liberals for their soft politics. Here’re a few excerpts:
Liberals regard themselves as well informed and well balanced. They refer to Radicals as “cranks.” They forget, however, that the definition of a crank is an object which makes revolutions.
Liberals charge Radicals with passionate partisanship. To this accusation the Radical’s jaw tightens as he snaps, ‘Guilty! We are partisan for the people. Furthermore, we know that all people are partisan. The only non-partisan people are those who are dead. You too are partisan—if not for the people, then for whom?’”
Liberals have distorted egotistical concepts of their self-impor­tance in the general social scheme. They deliberate as ponderously and as timelessly as though their decisions would cause the world to shake and tremble. Theirs is truly a perfect case of the moun­tain laboring and bringing forth a mouse—a small, white, pink­ eyed mouse. The fact is that outside of their own intimate asso­ciates few know of or give a hang what these Liberal groups decide. They truly fit the old description that ‘A Liberal is one who puts his foot down firmly on thin air.’” 
Alinsky believed that the liberals like to indulge in sterile wishful thinking, which makes them incapable of acquiring or wielding absolute political power. He suggests that the liberals must submit to the will of the radicals. He is convinced that unless his radicals are able to dominate the liberals, the capitalist system cannot be overthrown.
A fundamental difference between Liberals and Radicals is to be found in the issue of power, liberals fear power or its application. They labor in confusion over the significance of power and fail to recognize that only through the achievement and constructive use of power can people better themselves.” 
Radicals precipitate the social crisis by action—by using power. Liberals may then timidly follow along or else, as in most cases, be swept forward along the course set by Radicals, but all because of forces unloosed by Radical action. They are forced to positive action only in spite of their desires.
Alinsky was of the view that his radicals are engaged in an all-out war against the capitalist society and it was obligatory for them to use every means to vanquish the enemy.
In our war against the social menaces of mankind there can be no compromise. It is life or death. Failing to understand this, many well-meaning Liberals look askance and with horror at the viciousness with which a People’s Organization will attack or counterattack in its battles. These Liberals cannot and never will be able to understand the feelings of the rank-and-file people fighting in their own People’s Organization any more than one who has never gone through combat action can fully grasp what combat means.” 
The nihilistic and violent ideas of Saul Alinsky make it clear that he advocated a harsh treatment for anyone who doesn’t join his political movement. If the Alinsky radicals manage to seize absolute power, they will have no moral qualms about using coercive and violent methods for fundamentally transforming the society. Great purges and mass terror will become the official government policy.

Why did the Jacobin leader Maximilien de Robespierre, the Soviet tyrant Josef Stalin, and the Khmer Rogue leader Pol Pot become mass murderers? All things considered, these tyrants were motivated by nihilistic ideas—they were immune to reason, they lacked principles, and they denied values. Saul Alinsky was motivated by the same ideas. Therefore his ideas have the potential for inspiring the rise of political forces that are as destructive as any mass murdering regime in history.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Nietzsche on Liberalism

"Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. Their effects are known well enough: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic — every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization."

~ Friedrich Nietzsche in Twilight of the Idols

Friday, July 29, 2016

Review of Human Action by Nathaniel Branden

Nathaniel Branden reviewed Human Action by Ludwig Von Mises in the 1963 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter. Here's an excerpt from the review:

In Human Action, Professor Mises offers a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the nature of production and trade. He shows why a free economy is necessarily the most productive and efficient; why coercive interference with men’s free choices in the market invariably leads to a lowering of the standard of living; why slavery is incompatible with an industrial civilization.

Among the many issues he discusses are: economic calculation in a market economy; the determinants of prices, wages and production policies; the gold standard; interest rates and credit expansion; the causes of depression; the impossibility of rational economic calculation in a socialist system (this demonstration is one of his most important achievements); the contradictions and destructiveness of interventionism; common misconceptions concerning the history and nature of capitalism; the economics of war; confiscatory taxation.

One of the great merits of the book is its encyclopedic character; it deals with virtually every major problem in economic theory. It contains many historical illustrations and references that provide further illumination—such as, for instance, a discussion of the “welfare state” policies of the disintegrating Roman Empire, and the manner in which these policies made the Empire vulnerable to the barbarian invaders (an analogy that is far from academic in our present political context).

Today, government officials and economics of the statist persuasion clearly believe that there are no economic laws, no immutable principles regarding production and trade—and that, given sufficient power they may impose any regulations or controls they wish and still retain a high level of material prosperity. Thus, they believe that they can pass legislation which results in forcing wages above their market level, and yet escape the consequence of unemployment; they believe that they can dictate the pricing and production policies of industrialists, and yet suffer no consequent diminution of goods and services; they believe that they can indulge in unlimited deficit spending, and yet avoid inflation; they believe that they can manipulate the money supply, expanding credit at whim, and yet escape a depression; they believe that they can create an atmosphere of chronic uncertainty, and yet have men continue to invest and produce, happily and confidently. When their plans fail, when economic disaster occurs, they do not question their policies, they denounce the “selfish greed” of businessmen for thwarting the noble plans that would have worked if everyone had wanted them to work. It is the barbaric absurdity of these belief—the dream which sees economic laws as a myth and the social planner’s whim as omnipotent—that Professor Mises brilliantly exposes. He delineates the principles that necessarily operate in an exchange economy, establishing the conditions on which successful material production necessarily depends. To put the matter another way: he brings the law of causality into the context of man’s productive activity.

In justice to Professor Mises’ position and our own, it must be mentioned that there are many sections of Human Action with which Objectivists cannot agree. These sections pertain, not to the sphere of economics as such, but to the philosophical framework in which his economic theories are presented. We must take the gravest exception, for example, to the general doctrine of praxeology; to the assertion that all value-judgments are outside the province of reason; that a scientific ethics is impossible; to the disavowal of the concept of inalienable rights; and to many of the psychological views expressed.

(Full review is available here)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Jean-Paul Sartre: The Intellectual Henchman of Tyrants

Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre & Che Guevara
(Havana, March 1960)
The intellectuals never tire of talking about freedom, world peace, fair wages, and human rights, but they are hand-in-glove with the worst mass murdering regimes.

Jean-Paul Sartre in particular is a case-study of the type of intellectual who is a life-long supporter of tyranny. He promoted the farce called existentialism. He was a communist and in bed with the Soviet regime. He even had a role to play in Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge nightmare.

In the early 1950s, when Sartre returned from his first trip to Stalin’s Soviet Union, he declared that the workers of USSR had the “entire freedom to criticize.” He also claimed that the workers in USSR were capable of criticizing their government in much more effective manner than the average French worker.

Eventually he would admit that he always knew that Stalin had turned the entire Soviet Union into a deadly concentration camp and was massacring millions of citizens.

During the 1940s and 1950s the top leaders of the Khmer Rouge, including the dreaded “brother number one” Pol Pot, were educated and indoctrinated as communist party members in France. It is well-known that Sartre’s ideas inspired the Khmer Rouge leaders.

In his essay, "The Heartless Lovers of Mankind," historian Paul Johnson writes: “The events in Cambodia in the 1970s, in which between one-fifth and one-third of the nation was starved to death or murdered, were entirely the work of a group of intellectuals, who were for the most part  pupils and admirers of Jean-Paul Sartre -- ‘Sartre's Children,’ as I call them.”

Sartre was an admirer of Ernesto Che Guevara, the brutal henchman of the Castro regime who oversaw the execution of thousands of people in post-revolution Cuba. Guevara had read Sartre’s works in his youth and was inspired by his ideas. In March 1960s, Sartre went to Cuba to meet Castro and Guevara. When he was back in France, Sartre wrote several newspaper articles praising Castro and Guevara for the work that they were doing in Cuba.

When Guevara was killed by Bolivian soldiers in 1967, Sartre declared him to be "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age.” He called Guevara the "era's most perfect man." He complimented Guevara by declaring that "he lived his words, spoke his own actions and his story and the story of the world ran parallel.”

Even in France, his own country, Sartre called for violent overthrow of bourgeoisie society. During the Algerian war he supported the killing of Europeans. In his preface to Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, Sartre wrote: “It is necessary to kill. To shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to eliminate at the same time an oppressor and oppressed.”

It is not surprising that Sartre inspired and supported tyrannical leftist regimes such as the Soviet Union, Khmer Rouge  Castro’s Cuba and others.

His existentialism is based on the principle of the meaninglessness of existence and it offers a nihilistic account of liberty—instead of freedom from the government, existentialism proposes freedom from reality. When someone denies reality, he can close his eyes to the terror and bloodshed, and become an apologist for the worst dictatorships.

In The Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre has denied individualism—he asserts that freedom is only possible when men act collectively and that it is the moral duty of the government to impose collectivism through a reign of terror.

Sartre’s writing is entirely devoted to justifying terror and bloodshed. When you read about his totalitarian ideas, his extravagant endorsements of the tyrants, you wonder how it is possible for someone who is widely regarded as a brilliant intellectual to be so venal.

Related:

Khmer Rouge: The Marxists Who Sacrificed Millions To Establish An Agrarian Utopia.

Khrushchev’s Secret Speech On Stalin’s Crimes

Ayn Rand On ‘The Butcher Of The Ukraine’

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca

Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is full of suspense and entertainment, from the opening line: “Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again” — to the last line: “And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.”

The novel has unforgettable characters. The protagonist (who is also the novel's narrator) is the second wife of Maxim de Winter, the rich owner of the grand estate, Manderley. But her name is never revealed.

The book gets its title from Rebecca, the first wife of Maxim de Winter. She never appears in the book, she died in a sailing accident before the story started. But her spirit pervades Manderley. When she was alive she used to be a glorious socialite and perhaps malevolent.

The nameless narrator, the second Mrs. de Winter, tries to escape the spirit of Rebecca but she can’t. Everyone around her is constantly comparing her with Rebecca. Even the servants are loyal to Rebecca and they make the narrator feel inferior. Apparently she is too shy and awkward to fill Rebecca’s shoes.

The novel has an interesting villain, the sinister Mrs. Danvers. She was the devoted housekeeper of Rebecca and continues to be incharge of Manderley; she frightens and intimidates her new mistress. Towards the end of the novel the big secret that Manderley is hiding gets revealed.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Infernal World of Saul Alinsky: Reveille for Radicals

Reveille for Radicals
Saul Alinsky
Vintage

In “The Nihilism of Saul Alinsky,” I discuss the coercive and violent methods that Soul Alinsky has described in his book Rules for Radicals for bringing capitalist society to a standstill.

Alinsky was a nihilist, and nihilism, being a rejection of philosophy, precludes the development of any political ideas. That is why we don’t find any philosophy, any political ideas in Rules for Radicals; the sole purpose of the book is to describe the methods for destroying the system.

But the question remains: Why does Alinsky reject philosophy and political ideas? The answer to this and related questions can be found in Reveille for Radicals, his first book, which was published in 1946, twenty-five years before Rules for Radicals.

In Reveille for Radicals, Alinsky does not make any attempt to prove, logically and through evidence, that his ideas will lead to the development of a better world for the people. He arrogantly asserts that when the goal is to destroy capitalism it is justified to use any means.

He sermonizes like a messiah who is exhorting his followers to struggle for the achievement of some goal, without questioning if that goal is worth achieving. In his flowery language you can detect the illogical zeal of a messiah who is propagating a religion. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter, “The Crisis:”
“The chance to work with the people means the opportunity for the fulfillment of the vision of man. It is the opportunity of a life for mankind of peace, happiness, security, dignity, and purpose. An opportunity to create a world where life will be so precious, worthwhile and meaningful that men will not kill other men, will not exploit other men, either economically, politically, or socially; where values will be social and not selfish; where man will not be judged as Christian or non-Christian, as black, yellow, or white, as materially rich or poor, but will be judged as a man. A world in which man’s practices will catch up with his ethical teachings and where he will live the full consistent life of practicing what he preaches. A world where man is actually treated and regarded as being created in God’s own image, where “all men are created equal.” That is the opportunity. Dare we fail?”
Only a madman or a fanatic will think of developing a political movement for creating a world where man is regarded as being created in God’s own image. Alinsky was not religious—in the book he has criticized the conservatives for their religious beliefs. When he talks about creating man in “God’s own image,” it is not the God of religion that he is referring to. Perhaps the local thug or radical can be the role model for Alinsky’s God!

Alinsky hates the concepts of individualism and liberty—the political ideas that he describes in Reveille for Radicals are a heady cocktail of socialism, mysticism and anarchism. He believes in the central Marxist tenet of common ownership of property. In the chapter, “Where is the Radical Today?” he writes:
“Radicals want to advance from the jungle of laissez-faire capitalism to a world worthy of the name of human civilization.They hope for a future where the means of economic production will be owned by all of the people instead of just a comparative hand­ful. They feel that this minority control of production facilities is injurious to the large masses of people not only because of eco­nomic monopolies but because the political power inherent in this form of centralized economy does not augur for an ever expanding democratic way of life. Radicals want to see the established polit­ical rights or political freedom of the common man augmented by economic freedom.” 
However, unlike the Marxists, Alinsky does not aspire to build any kind of utopia through a swift and brutal revolution; nor does he advocate a complete government takeover of the economy. His is a long-term project spanning several decades for slowly strangulating laissez-faire capitalism by organizing a series of agitations at the local level in the name emotive issues like social equality, racial harmony, multiculturalism, free healthcare and education, and basic income for all.

He is advocating anarchism of the worst kind when he proposes a greater role in the society for the people’s organizations which will be controlled by his radicals. He suggests that the people’s organizations should have the power to decide who gets to benefit from the taxpayer funded welfare schemes. He also proposes that the people’s organizations should have the muscle to extort financial and political privileges from the citizens, businesses and even the government. But what are the people’s organizations?

In the chapter, “Conflict Tactics,” he explains:
“A People’s Organization is not a philanthropic plaything nor a social service’s ameliorative gesture. It is a deep, hard-driving force, striking and cutting at the very roots of all the evils which beset the people. It recognizes the existence of the vicious circle in which most human beings are caught and strives viciously to break this circle. It thinks and acts in terms of social surgery and not cosmetic cover-ups. This is one of the reasons why a Peo­ple’s Organization will find that it has to fight its way every foot of the road towards its destination—a people’s world.”
It is noteworthy that Alinsky does not care to clarify what he means by a people’s world? Is he vying for a dictatorship of his chosen people? Does he want a totalitarian socialist state! A chaotic and violent anarchy! While he does not provide any clue to what he means by a people’s world, he makes it clear that his ultimate goal is to stop all development activity.
He abhors the modern industries, claiming that the industrial civilization has led to “the rise of forces of so menac­ing a character that today they threaten the very foundations upon which rest the hopes of those committed to the democratic way of life. These destructive forces are unemployment, deteriora­tion, disease, and crime. From the havoc wrought by these forces issue distrust, bigotry, disorganization, and demoralisation.
Seriously, he blames capitalism for, above all things, deterioration and disease. He blames capitalism for such things even though it has led to a massive rise in human life expectancy!

Reveille for Radicals, in its 256-pages of soaring assertions, offers a glimpse into the infernal world of Saul Alinsky where there is absolute hatred for capitalism. He arrogantly attributes to himself and his radicals the mandate for fixing all the wrongs that he thinks capitalism has done to the world. The book is full of mistakes, contradictions and madness, but it also has many ideas for motivating the modern nihilistic left to band together for attacking laissez-faire capitalism.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ayn Rand's Letter to a Book Reviewer

“And it terrified me to think our country was no longer permitted to speak in defense of the individual, that the mere mention of such an issue was to be evaded and hushed up as too dangerous.”


Lorine Pruette's review of The Fountainhead in NYT

Friday, July 22, 2016

Communism Is Dangerous For The Communists

Most communists don’t seem to realize that Josef Stalin, during his 30-year reign in Soviet Union, prosecuted and slaughtered more communists than all the capitalist nations of the world put together. The truth is that communism is extremely dangerous for the communists.

(Here and here

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Nihilism of Saul Alinsky: Rules for Radicals

Rules for Radicals
Saul Alinsky
Vintage

“What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

~ Saul Alinsky in Rules for Radicals (chapter: "The Purpose")

Saul Alinsky was inspired by communism, but unlike the communists he was not intent on replacing capitalism with a dictatorship of the proletariat, or even with a dictatorship of the have-nots. He was not motivated by the dream of building a socialist or communist empire. In Rules for Radicals he does not promise to build an utopia. His only motivation was to shake the foundations of capitalism by waging an unrelenting war of attrition.

He has no higher goal when he exhorts his radicals to rouse the backward communities by propagating all kinds of false grievances. He has no intention of helping the backward communities (the have-nots); he only wants to organize them into groups through which destructive assaults can be launched on the life and livelihood of those who get perceived as the haves.

It is noteworthy that in the 224-page book, Alinsky has not cared to explain why people must take power away from the haves and hand it over to the have-nots. What makes the have-nots eligible to exercise political power over the haves? Alinsky wants to smash capitalism, but what will he replace it with? Will the economic condition of the have-nots improve if they are granted political power?

Alinsky completely evades the moral implications of his political ideas. He wants agitation for the sake of agitation, destruction for the sake of destruction, protests for the sake of bringing society to a standstill. He wants to project an unending list of imaginary grievances to instigate suspicion and hatred between groups. This is nihilism of the worst kind.

Even though Alinsky was an atheist, he mentions Lucifer in the book’s dedication page:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins—or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.

He calls Lucifer, or the mythical Satan, the first radical which in the context of his book means the first Alinsky radical, or the first Alinsky community organizer. He praises Lucifer for rebelling against the establishment to win his own kingdom. But what was the kingdom that Lucifer won: It was the mythological hell! One is justified to ask why should anyone aim to win a hell?

Alinsky's intention is to create a crop of radicals who, like the acolytes of Satan, will propagate evil ideas, and create on earth a new hell in which both the haves and the have-nots will suffer. In his book, he has not even tried to defend his ideas—he does not claim that his ideas will lead to better social, political, and economic outcomes. He must have known that his ideas are absurd and useless. But he continued to propagate his ideas because he was a nihilist.

It doesn't matter to Alinsky that the communists have slaughtered more than 140 million people in the last 100 years. He is inspired by communism and he holds the communist leaders in high esteem. Lenin, Mao, and Castro are his heroes. He fondly refers them as the great world leaders of change. He uses Mao’s famous saying, “Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun,” to make a case for a Leninist political strategy. Here’s an excerpt:

‘Power comes out of the barrel of a gun!’ is an absurd rallying cry when the other side has all the guns. Lenin was a pragmatist; when he returned to what was then Petrograd from exile, he said that the Bolsheviks stood for getting power through the ballot but would reconsider after they got the guns! Militant mouthings? Spouting quotes from Mao, Castro, and Che Guevara, which are as germane to our highly technological, computerized, cybernetic, nuclear-powered, mass media society as a stagecoach on a jet runway at Kennedy airport?

In the typical Marxist fashion, Alinsky insists that people must seize power. “In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people.” But who are the people? It is clear that for Alinsky, the people who deserve to gain power are those who have discarded their individualism and joined his collectivist groups.

The communists used to believe that mankind is divided into two-parts: the bourgeoise and the proletariat. But Alinsky proposes a three-part division: the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Have-a- Little, Want Mores. By the Have-a- Little, Want Mores, he is referring to the middle class in a rather contemptuous way. He also describes the middle class as do-nothings, and as “social, economic, and political schizoids.”

He exhorts his radicals to overlook the ethical or legal issues in their quest for power. He is of the view that when the goal is to overthrow capitalism, it is justified to use any kind of means, even the most criminal and immoral ones. He justifies all kinds of corrupt practices:

To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles. The real arena is corrupt and bloody. Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life.

The community organizer has a central role to play in Alinsky’s overall political strategy, but he also seems to be highly contemptuous of the community organizers. He compares the role of the community organizers with that of a septic tank. He writes: “He [The community organizer] acts as the septic tank in the early stages—he gets all the shit. Later, as power increases, the risks diminish, and gradually the people step out front to take the risks.”

Alinsky’s methods are being extensively applied by the modern leftists (progressives) to mobilize the backward communities into groups whose agenda is to create chaos and lawlessness. His nihilistic political strategy enables the leftists to jump from one divisive issue to the next and put immense pressure on citizens, businesses and the government. Many leading leftist (progressive) politicians are Alinsky’s followers—their political campaigns are full of Alinsky trademarks.

Rules for Radicals is a useful book for those who wish to understand why the leftist (progressive) politicians speak or act in ways that they do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Crichton: Media is the nut on the sidewalk

"I often think people are nervous, jittery in this media climate of what if, what if, maybe, perhaps, could be — when there is usually no sensible reason to feel nervous. Like a bearded nut in robes on the sidewalk proclaiming the end of the world is near, the media is just doing what makes it feel good, not reporting hard facts. We need to start seeing the media as a bearded nut on the sidewalk, shouting out false fears. Its not sensible to listen to it."

~ Michael Crichton in 'State of Fear'

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ode To The Welfare State

Ode To The Welfare State

Father, must I go to work?
No, my lucky son.
We’re living now on Easy Street
On dough from Washington.

We’ve left it up to Uncle Sam,
So don’t get exercised.
Nobody has to give a damn—
We’ve all been subsidised.

But if Sam treats us all so well
And feeds us milk and honey,
Please, daddy, tell me what the hell
He’s going to use for money.

Don’t worry, bub, there’s not a hitch
In this here noble plan—
He simply soaks the filthy rich
And helps the common man.

But, father, won’t there come a time
When they run out of cash
And we have left them not a dime
When things will go to smash?

My faith in you is shrinking, son,
You nosy little brat;
You do too damn much thinking, son,
To be a Democrat.

This poem appeared in the New York Daily News on November 4, 1949.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

On The Essence of Capitalism's Foreign Policy

"The essence of capitalism’s foreign policy is free trade — i.e., the abolition of trade barriers, of protective tariffs, of special privileges — the opening of the world’s trade routes to free international exchange and competition among the private citizens of all countries dealing directly with one another. During the nineteenth century, it was free trade that liberated the world, undercutting and wrecking the remnants of feudalism and the statist tyranny of absolute monarchies."

~ Ayn Rand in 'The Roots of War' (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Green Energy is Like Communism


If you are waiting for green energy (promoted by Regressive Left Inc.), then keep waiting till hell freezes over... 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Book Review: Nietzsche And The Nazis

Nietzsche And The Nazis
Stephen R. C. Hicks
Ockham’s Razor Publishing 

In Nietzsche And The Nazis, Stephen Hicks meticulously exposes some of the common misconceptions about the Nazis.

He rejects the idea that the Nazis were a group of deranged people who lucked or manipulated their way into political power. Millions of voters in a democracy can be wrong, but all of them cannot be deluded.

It was through democratic and constitutional means that the Nazis developed from a fringe political movement into the party that enjoyed total power to transform the nature of German politics and society. Hicks shows that long before Hitler’s rise to power, the Nazi ideas were being propagated in Germany by many leading intellectuals. Over the course of several years, these intellectuals did some kind of groundwork for making the Nazi ideology acceptable to the people.

National Socialism was a philosophy intensive movement. The who’s who list of powerful minds and cultural leaders who supported the Nazi political movement included Nobel prize winners, professors, and popular authors.

Hicks thinks that it is important for us to fully understand what motivated National Socialism, because even though the Nazis lost the war, it was a close call and we can’t be sure that it won’t happen again. He points out:

“The Nazi intellectuals were not lightweights, and we run the risk of underestimating our enemy if we dismiss their ideology as attractive only to a few cranky weirdos. If your enemy has a machine gun but you believe he only has a pea shooter then you are setting yourself up for failure.”

The book’s purpose is to explore Nietzsche’s writings to find out the extent to which his ideas were responsible for the rise of Nazism. Nietzsche was certainly not a Nazi, but his ideas are often blamed for creating the cultural environment in which Nazism could arise and prosper.

“Nazis have often cited Nietzsche as one of their philosophical precursors, and even though Nietzsche died thirty-three years before the Nazis came to power, references to Nietzsche crop up regularly in Nazi writings and activities.”

The top leaders of the Nazi party were enamoured by Nietzsche. “In 1935, Hitler attended and participated in the funeral of Nietzsche’s sister Elisabeth. In 1938, the Nazis built a monument to Nietzsche. In 1943, Hitler gave a set of Nietzsche’s writings as a gift to fellow dictator Benito Mussolini.”

Joseph Goebbels was a great admirer of Nietzsche—in his semi-autobiographical novel he drew a connection between the novel’s protagonist and Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra.

Hicks takes a broad look at Nietzsche’s works to discover the nature of the ideas that the philosopher could have planted in the minds of the German intellectuals, academics, politicians and cultural leaders. While there are a few similarities between Nietzsche’s ideas and the Nazis, many of his ideas are at loggerheads with Nazism.

The most significant point of difference between Nietzsche and the Nazis is that Nietzsche was not an anti-semitic. He believed that the most repulsive sign of Germany’s decline is the country’s irrational hatred of the Jews.

Nietzsche is often regarded as an individualist philosopher, but Hicks is of the view that Nietzsche’s commitment to individualism is overrated. There are certain elements in Nietzsche which seem to advance strongly collectivistic and anti-individualistic themes.

Nietzsche believed that individuals are the product of their biological heritage. He had a complete “contempt for the vast majority of the population, believing them to be sheep and a disgrace to the dignity of the human species.” He believed that it would be an improvement if the general population were sacrificed or slaughtered.

Both Nietzsche and the Nazis have dismissed capitalism as a dehumanizing economic system. Though Nietzsche has not articulated his political views clearly, the Nazi party had a strong commitment to socialism.

In his 1927 speech Hitler declared: “We are socialist, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”

The Nazi Party was an intellectual project; its intellectual foundations were so strong that when the Nazis came to power, they had full knowledge of the policies that they had to enact to fundamentally transform Germany from a constitutional democracy to an authoritarian dictatorship. As the intellectuals had already convinced the general population that Nazi ideas were good for the world, Hitler faced negligible opposition to his policies.

While the rise of the Nazis has been analyzed in thousands of publications, Nietzsche and the Nazis is unique because it looks at the monumental evil of Nazism from the perspective of philosophy. The book is compact and eloquently written; its arguments, stated in clear, straightforward language, are quite convincing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Free Banking and the Fed (OCON 2014)

Michael Crichton on Environmentalism as a Religion

"The romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual experience of nature. People who live in nature are not romantic about it at all. They may hold spiritual beliefs about the world around them, they may have a sense of the unity of nature or the aliveness of all things, but they still kill the animals and uproot the plants in order to eat, to live. If they don't, they will die."

"The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people want is to spend a week or two in a cabin in the woods, with screens on the windows. They want a simplified life for a while, without all their stuff. Or a nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking. Nobody wants to go back to nature in any real way, and nobody does. It's all talk — and as the years go on, and the world population grows increasingly urban, it's uninformed talk. Farmers know what they're talking about. City people don't. It's all fantasy."

"The notion that the natural world obeys its own rules and doesn't give a damn about your expectations comes as a massive shock... it will demand that you adapt to it — and if you don't, you die. It is a harsh, powerful, and unforgiving world, that most urban westerners have never experienced."

~ Michael Crichton in his speech - Environmentalism as a Religion (2003)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago

"Oh, Western freedom-loving "left-wing" thinkers! Oh, left-wing labourists! Oh, American, German and French progressive students! All of this is still not enough for you. The whole book has been useless for you. You will understand everything immediately, when you yourself — "hands behind the back" — toddle into our Archipelago."

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ayn Rand On ‘The Butcher Of The Ukraine’

Nestor Lakoba, Nikita Khrushchev,
Lavrenti Beria & Aghasi Khanjian in 1935 
In “Khrushchev’s Secret Speech on Stalin’s Crimes,” I discuss Nikita Khrushchev’s speech of February 25, 1956, in which he denounced Josef Stalin as a brutal despot. His speech was nothing less than a sensational, count-by-count indictment of the dictator’s crimes.

But the question remains: What was Khrushchev’s role in Stalin’s mass terror campaigns against the Communist Party members and the general population?

Before addressing this question, I want to point out that Ayn Rand has called Khrushchev “the butcher of the Ukraine.” In her article “To Dream the Noncommercial Dream” (The Voice of Reason), Rand wrote:

When Khrushchev visited the United States in 1959, he was interviewed on various television news programs, usually through the voice of a translator: but on one occasion his answers were broadcast in Russian (with the English translation following). He was asked about the grounds of his faith in the ultimate triumph of world communism. And suddenly this cynical old brute—this Big Boss, feared by the whole world, known in Russia as “the Butcher of the Ukraine” for the mass slaughter that raised him to prominence—began to recite the credo of dialectic materialism in the exact words and tone in which I have heard it recited at exams, in my college days, by students at the University of Leningrad. He had the same uninflected, monotonous tone of a memorised lesson, the same automatic progression of sounds rather than meaning, the same earnest, dutiful, desperate hope that the sacred formulas will come out correctly. But in the face and eyes of a large television closeup, there was a shade more intensity than in the faces of the poor little college robots, more superstitious awe, and less comprehension: it was the face of a man performing a magic ritual on which his life depends. This man, I thought, believes it; he is compelled to believe it; he does not know what it means—but he knows that if this string of sounds were taken away from him, he would left to face something more frightening than death.

When Stalin was alive, Khrushchev used to support him without any reservations. In the speech that Khrushchev gave at the Ukrainian Party Congress in 1926, he endorsed Stalin’s repressive measures against political rivals such as Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinovyev, Lev Kamenev and others.

In December 1929, Stalin announced the policy of liquidating the kulaks, whom he regarded as class enemies. (In the Soviet Union, the rich peasants were labeled as kulaks.) It is believed that between 1930 and 1931 close to 2 million kulaks were uprooted and deported to slave camps, where many of them perished. Khrushchev played a major role in the destruction of the kulaks.

During the 1930s, when Stalin was terrorizing Soviet Union with his mass terror campaigns, Khrushchev used to lavish extravagant praise on him. Impressed by Khrushchev’s loyalty, in 1938 Stalin made him the first secretary of the Communist Party in Ukraine. Here Khrushchev distinguished himself by ensuring that more people were killed than Stalin required. He unleashed terror campaigns in which tens of thousands of Ukrainians were liquidated.

The entire leadership of the Ukrainian Soviet government and the Communist Party was liquidated on Stalin’s orders. All the top ministers of the state were arrested and executed by the middle of 1938. Khrushchev had a major role to play in the planning of these killings. It’s believed that around 40% of the Ukrainian Communist Party was purged during this period.

While Khrushchev was at the helm of Ukraine, the infamous Vinnytsia massacre took place in which thousands of people were branded as enemies of the state and executed. 66 mass graves with hundreds and in some cases thousands of bodies were discovered in 1943, during the German occupation of Ukraine. Given the lack of complete data, it is difficult to establish the total loss of life in Ukraine. But most estimates suggest that the percentage of Ukrainian victims, in the millions who were killed in Soviet Union, was disproportionately high.

As to the role that Khrushchev played in the liquidation of millions of people in Stalin’s Soviet Union, consider these facts:
1. After Lenin died, Khrushchev was one of Stalin’s most loyal and enthusiastic supporters.
2. Khrushchev endorsed the purge of Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinovyev, and Lev Kamenev.
3. Khrushchev played a major role in the destruction of the kulaks.
4. Khrushchev was an eager participant in Stalin’s great purges during the 1930s.
5. During the 1930s, the largest massacre in Soviet Union happened in Ukraine where Khrushchev was in control. 
Khrushchev was indeed the butcher of the Ukraine. He is known to have remarked that he was "soaked in blood, up to his elbows.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Socialist Hell Versus Capitalist Hell

A man dies and goes to hell. He finds himself at a lobby where there are two doors, above one door a sign hangs, it reads "Socialist Hell". Above the second door a sign hangs reading "Capitalist Hell".

The man notices a long line of people snaking towards the entrance of Socialist Hell, but nobody is in line at all for Capitalist Hell. The man decides to find out why and visits the guard of Capitalist Hell.

"So, what goes on here?"

"Well, first we fillet your skin and throw salt all over your raw flesh and stitch you back up. Then, we shove hot coals in every orifice you have. Finally, we throw you in a pit of fire to writhe in agony for all eternity."

"Holy Hell! Thats terrible! Im going to go check out Socialist Hell !"

"Ok"

The man stands in line for Socialist Hell but soon grows impatient and soon just cuts the line and goes up to the guard: "So, what goes on in here"

"Well, first we fillet your skin and throw salt over your raw flesh and stitch you back up. Then, we shove hot coals in every orifice you have. Finally, we throw you into a pit of fire to writhe in agony for all of eternity"

"What the hell! Thats the exact same thing as Capitalist Hell, why is there no line for there but a huge line for here?"

"Well, sometimes we dont have salt, and sometimes we dont have any coal, and sometimes we have no fire at all!"

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Khrushchev’s Secret Speech On Stalin’s Crimes

Nikita Khrushchev and Joseph Stalin, January 1936
February 25, 1956Nikita Khrushchev shook the foundations of the Soviet Union with his four-hour-long, angry speech denouncing Josef Stalin as a vicious despot who had ruled by terror for 30-years.

He delivered the speech at a secret session of the Soviet Communist Party’s 20th congress, where the audience was senior officials who had some knowledge of Stalin’s crimes, but now for the first time they could see the detailed picture.

Ostensibly, Khrushchev’s intention was to draw the Communist Party towards Leninism by destroying the Stalinist cult that was still powerful three years after Stalin’s death. His real motivation, however, was to consolidate his power. By exposing Stalin’s crimes, he hoped to sideline the Stalin loyalists such as Vyacheslav Molotov with whom he was engaged in a power struggle.

Khrushchev was a staunch communist. His speech glosses over Stalin’s campaigns of mass terror in which millions of Soviet citizens were starved to death, or were unjustly taken into custody, and tortured and liquidated. He condemned Stalin only for the crimes which he had committed against the members of the communist party.

But Khrushchev could not have foreseen that even a speech, which dwelled on a small fraction of Stalin’s crimes, would unleash forces that would eventually destroy the Soviet empire.

Inside the Soviet Union, Khrushchev’s speech was published in 1988, some 32 years later. But it got leaked to the outside world within a month. By June 1956, the speech had been published in a number of newspapers of USA and Europe.

The idea that Stalin misused his great power for more than three decades had a dramatic impact in Eastern Europe, where people became restive to gain freedom from Soviet communism. There were revolts in Hungary and Poland in the later part of 1956. Even though the revolts were quickly crushed by the Warsaw Pact troops, it was a blow for Khrushchev because the Stalinists were able to claim that the policy of rejecting Stalin was flawed.

The Soviet communists continued to support Khrushchev's “de-Stalinization” campaign because they feared that if he lost power, the post of Soviet premier could go to another tyrant like Stalin. However, in 1964 Khrushchev was forced to step down, and this paved way for Leonid Brezhnev’s twenty year reign, which was marked by stagnation and a partial return to Stalinism.

But Khrushchev’s speech of 1956 was never forgotten by many communists. One was Mikhail Gorbachev, who in 1956 was a student at Moscow University. He came to power in 1985 and tried to reform the Soviet society. He didn’t succeed. Stalin’s Soviet Union proved impregnable to reforms, and the empire was dissolved on December 26, 1991.

Here’s a look at the highlights of Khrushchev’s speech:

Lenin's Testament and Remarks by Nadezhda Krupskaya 

Khrushchev recalled Lenin’s Testament, a document that Stalin had suppressed for three decades, in which Lenin has warned that Stalin must be removed from the post of General Secretary because he was excessively rude, lacked tolerance, kindness and considerateness toward his comrades, and was likely to abuse his power.

Khrushchev read from several letters that Lenin and his wife Nadezhda Krupskaya had written to complain about Stalin’s bad behavior. On December 23, 1922, Nadezhda Krupskaya wrote to Lev Kamenev, who was at that time head of the Politburo, complaining that Stalin had been excessively rude with her.

In March 1923 Lenin sent a harsh letter to Stalin:

Dear comrade Stalin! 

You permitted yourself a rude summons of my wife to the telephone and a rude reprimand of her. Despite the fact that she told you that she agreed to forget what was said, nevertheless Zinoviev and Kamenev heard about it from her. I have no intention to forget so easily that which is being done against me. I need not stress here that I consider as directed against me that which is being done against my wife. I ask you, therefore, that you weigh carefully whether you are agreeable to retracting your words and apologizing, or whether you prefer the severance of relations between us. 

SINCERELY: LENIN, MARCH 5, 1923

Stalin’s Concept of “Enemy of the People”

Khrushchev revealed that in the late 1920s, Stalin introduced the concept of enemy of the people which granted the penal organs of the state the absolute power to deploy extreme methods for annihilating political adversaries. Khrushchev said:

“Stalin originated the concept “enemy of the people.” This term automatically made it unnecessary that the ideological errors of a man or men engaged in a controversy be proven. It made possible the use of the cruelest repression, violating all norms of revolutionary legality, against anyone who in any way disagreed with Stalin, against those who were only suspected of hostile intent, against those who had bad reputations. The concept “enemy of the people” actually eliminated the possibility of any kind of ideological fight or the making of one’s views known on this or that issue, even [issues] of a practical nature. On the whole, the only proof of guilt actually used, against all norms of current legal science, was the “confession” of the accused himself. As subsequent probing has proven, “confessions” were acquired through physical pressures against the accused. This led to glaring violations of revolutionary legality and to the fact that many entirely innocent individuals – [persons] who in the past had defended the Party line – became victims.”

The Great Purge of 17th Party Congress

Khrushchev shocked the audience by revealing that in Stalin’s great purge of the 1930s thousands of innocent communists were arrested on false charges and were subjected to brutal torture to force them to confess that they had conspired against the state. In most cases the executions were carried out after the confessions had been extracted.

There was indignation in the hall, when Khrushchev said that “of the 139 members and candidates of the Central Committee who were elected at the 17th Congress, 98 persons, i.e., 70 percent, were arrested and shot (mostly in 1937-1938).” Further, Khrushchev said, “The same fate met not only Central Committee members but also the majority of the delegates to the 17th Party Congress. Of 1,966 delegates with either voting or advisory rights, 1,108 persons were arrested on charges of anti-revolutionary crimes, i.e., decidedly more than a majority.

The Murder of Kirov and the Subsequent Purge

Khrushchev alleged that Stalin had ordered the assassination of one of his most trusted aides Kirov in 1934. But Stalin falsely claimed that Kirov was killed by counter-revolutionary members of the Communist Party because he wanted to use the murder as a pretext for passing a new directive which gave unlimited powers to the intelligence agencies and the judicial organs to arrest people and execute them after obtaining confessions through torture.

According to Khrushchev, many senior members of the politburo were arrested and subjected to terrible torture to extract the confession that they were involved in Kirov’s killing. He said: “Many thousands of honest and innocent Communists have died as a result of this monstrous falsification of such “cases,” as a result of the fact that all kinds of slanderous “confessions” were accepted, and as a result of the practice of forcing accusations against oneself and others.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Isaac Newton's "Principia Mathematica"

On 5 July 1687, Issac Newton published Principia Mathematica, one of the most important books in history of science (and also philosophy):

Title page of Principia, first edition (1686/1687)
Here is an excerpt from the preface of the Principia Mathematica:

"We offer this work as the mathematical principles of philosophy; for all the difficulty of philosophy seems to consist in this--from the phenomena of motions to investigate the forces of nature, and then from these forces to demonstrate the other phenomena; and to this end the general propositions in the first and second book are directed. In the third book we give an example of this in the explication of the System of the World; for by the propositions mathematically demonstrated in the former books, we in the third derive from the celestial phenomena the forces of gravity with which bodies tend to the sun and the several planets. Then from these forces, by other propositions which are also mathematical, we deduce the motions of the planets, the comets, the moon, and the sea. I wish we could derive the rest of the phenomena of nature by the same kind of reasoning from mechanical principles; for I am induced by many reasons to suspect that they may all depend upon certain forces by which the particles of bodies, by some causes hitherto unknown, are either mutually impelled towards each other, and cohere in regular figures, or are repelled and recede from each other; which forces being unknown, philosophers have hitherto attempted the search of nature in vain; but I hope the principles her laid down will afford some light either to this or some truer method of philosophy..." 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Calvin Coolidge on Luck

"There are those who complain that they do not have any luck. They are opportunists, who think that their destiny is all shaped outside themselves. They are waiting for something to happen...Our real luck lies within ourselves. It is a question of character. It depends on whether we follow the inner light of our conscience...If we cannot control our environment, we can control ourselves and our destiny. The man who is right makes his own luck."

~ Calvin Coolidge (July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016

Khmer Rouge: The Marxists Who Sacrificed Millions To Establish An Agrarian Utopia

L to R: Mao Zedong, Pol Pot and Ieng Sary
The Khmer Rouge (1975—1979), led by Marxist Pol Pot, killed two million people in Cambodia—one-fourth of the total population. Aiming to establish a classless agrarian utopia where there was complete rejection of capitalism, the Khmer Rouge destroyed all the cities, all the industries, hospitals and schools, and every speck of modernity in Cambodia.

All this in just four years! The entire upper class of Cambodian society was wiped out.

When Pol Pot acquired power in 1975, after the bloody civil war, he declared that Cambodia would make a fresh start at “Year Zero.” He ordered that the entire country would be isolated from rest of the world, especially from Western influence. He abolished money and private property, then used his revolutionary militia to force the evacuation of the cities.  They forced everyone to move into the countryside and do back-breaking work in collective farms.

In 1975, Ayn Rand spoke about the barbarism of the Khmer Rouge in her article, "The Lessons of Vietnam" (The Voice of Reason). Here’s an excerpt:
“Since the Khmer Rouge are peasants who feel hatred for cities, the inhabitants of Phnom Penh—its entire population without exceptions—were ordered to march out of the city and go on marching until they reached uninhabited countryside, where they were to start farming on their own, without knowledge, tools, or seed. This order applied to everyone: young and old, rich and poor, men, women, and children, the well and the ill, even the crippled and, according to a news report, even the hospital patients who had just had their legs amputated. Everyone was ordered to walk. They walked.”
Pol Pot and his Marxist comrades believed that modern education is evil because it leads to inequality in the society. They ordered anyone who seemed like an intellectual to be killed. There were many instances of people being condemned because they were wearing glasses, or they knew a foreign language. Hundreds of thousands of the educated middle-class were tortured and executed in the collective farms and the special prisons.
Skulls of Victims on Display in S-21 Museum
A popular Khmer Rouge slogan of that time read: “What is rotten must be removed.” They exterminated anyone who did not fit their social ideal either by execution or simply by starvation and working people to death in the fields. The areas where people were killed and buried became known as the "killing fields." In order to save bullets, those being killed were often hit over the head with clubs, before being hurled into the mass-graves.

People Being Forced out of Phnom Penh
The Security Prison-21 (S-21) that the Khmer Rouge operated was so deadly that only seven of the roughly 20,000 people imprisoned there are known to have survived. Whenever a new prisoner was brought to S-21 he was made aware of 10 rules:
    1. You must answer accordingly to my question. Don’t turn them away.
    2. Don’t try to hide the facts by making pretexts this and that, you are strictly prohibited to contest me.
    3. Don’t be a fool for you are a chap who dare to thwart the revolution.
    4. You must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.
    5. Don’t tell me either about your immoralities or the essence of the revolution.
    6. While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all.
    7. Do nothing, sit still and wait for my orders. If there is no order, keep quiet. When I ask you to do something, you must do it right away without protesting.
    8. Don’t make pretext about Kampuchea Krom in order to hide your secret or traitor.
    9. If you don’t follow all the above rules, you shall get many lashes of electric wire.
    10. If you disobey any point of my regulations you shall get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge. 
There were 150 detention centers like S-21 in Cambodia.