Category Archives: Philosophy

He Said That? 1/20/18

From Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), Dutch philosopher:

I do not know how to teach philosophy without becoming a disturber of the peace.

Advertisements

Nuclear Annihilation and the Wisdom of Mass Salvation, by Robert Koehler

“Shithole” is now perfectly acceptable in public discourse. Utter the term “nuclear disarmament,” however, and you’re a crazed lunatic who should be put under the care of the state. From Robert Koehler at antiwar.com:

Mutually assured destruction is not wisdom. It’s playing with global holocaust.

Incoming! Incoming!

Uh . . . pardon me while I interrupt this false alarm to quote Martin Luther King:

“Science investigates,” he says in The Strength To Love, “religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

These words stopped me in my tracks on MLK Day. They seemed to fill a hole in the breaking news, which never quite manages to balance power with wisdom, or even acknowledge the distinction.

Our relationship to power is unquestioned, e.g.: “In the United States itself, there are around [nuclear] 4,500 warheads, of which approximately 1,740 are deployed,” Karthika Sasikumar writes at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. “Even more worrying, around 900 of these are on hair-trigger alert, which means that they could be launched within 10 minutes of receiving a warning (which could turn out to be a false alarm). . . .

“The threat to the United States is very real, but fattening the nuclear arsenal is not a rational response. The United States already has 100 times as many warheads as North Korea. . . .”

The U.S. has enormous power, but so what? Such data is almost never addressed in the mainstream media – certainly not in the context of . . . disarmament. That concept is sealed shut, barred from the consciousness of generals and news anchors. Certainly it didn’t come up in the coverage of what happened last Saturday in Hawaii, when an employee of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency hit the wrong link on his computer screen during a shift change and an incoming-missile alert went statewide, throwing residents and tourists into 38 minutes of panic: “Children going down manholes, stores closing their doors to those seeking shelter and cars driving at high speeds . . .”

Nor did it come up three days later, when a false missile alert went off in Japan, a country with a few memories of the real thing: “Within 10 seconds the fire that wiped out the city came after us at full speed. Everyone was naked. Bodies were swelling up. Some people were so deformed I couldn’t tell if they were male or female. People died screaming, ‘Please give me water!’”

To continue reading: Nuclear Annihilation and the Wisdom of Mass Salvation

He Said That? 1/10/18

From George Orwell (1903–1950), British novelist, essayist, and journalist, from a review of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, New English Weekly (21 March 1940):

[Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flag and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.

Choose Love: Don’t Ever Let Fear Turn You Against Your Playful Heart, by Doug “Uncola” Lynn

A moving article by Doug “Uncola” Lynn at theburningplatform.com:

The words in the title of this piece are not my own. Believe it or not, these are the words of actor and comedian, Jim Carrey, from the end of the video below.  It inspired this essay.

Quite often, I find myself considering what is called the ripples-in-the-pond effect. Like throwing a rock into a smooth body of water, the action (throwing the rock) creates a splash (consequence) that in turn releases ensuing vibrations (reactions) that ripple across the allegorical pond; which, I believe represents the fabric of space-time.  By this definition there are many variables that are enjoyable to think about.  The size of the rock or the number of throws, or actions, involved. For every splash, there are consequences; for good, or bad.

Another interesting construct for these considerations is called the Butterfly Effect. This is when a tiny butterfly flaps it little wings which then creates a chain of events that lead to a hurricane, or typhoon, on the other side of the earth. Whether by throwing rocks or flapping wings, both are seemingly small individual efforts generating domino effects with their own subsequent ramifications.  I enjoy contemplating these symbolizations because they reinforce my belief in the individual while, simultaneously, describing the individual’s effect on others within the matrix of a universally connected macrocosm.

If I strive for good, you, who are reading this, just might benefit.  Or, if I choose wrong, you will not. Personally, I find meaning in these possibilities.

The video below made me think of my college roommate. He died this time of year not too long ago; in the dead of winter. Back during our college days, we would often converse in our dorm room. Sometimes we would talk into the wee hours of the morning.  About our hopes and dreams, our future plans, and girls. He was a good-looking dude and dated some very attractive babes. Since he was so much better looking than I, I would tease him about that.

To continue reading: Choose Love: Don’t Ever Let Fear Turn You Against Your Playful Heart

Who Stole Our Culture? by William S. Lind

This is a good historical examination and analysis of cultural Marxism. From William S. Lind at lewrockwell.com:

Sometime during the last half-century, someone stole our culture. Just 50 years ago, in the 1950s, America was a great place. It was safe. It was decent. Children got good educations in the public schools. Even blue-collar fathers brought home middle-class incomes, so moms could stay home with the kids. Television shows reflected sound, traditional values.

Where did it all go? How did that America become the sleazy, decadent place we live in today – so different that those who grew up prior to the ’60s feel like it’s a foreign country? Did it just “happen”?

It didn’t just “happen.” In fact, a deliberate agenda was followed to steal our culture and leave a new and very different one in its place. The story of how and why is one of the most important parts of our nation’s history – and it is a story almost no one knows. The people behind it wanted it that way.

What happened, in short, is that America’s traditional culture, which had grown up over generations from our Western, Judeo-Christian roots, was swept aside by an ideology. We know that ideology best as “political correctness” or “multi-culturalism.” It really is cultural Marxism, Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms in an effort that goes back not to the 1960s, but to World War I. Incredible as it may seem, just as the old economic Marxism of the Soviet Union has faded away, a new cultural Marxism has become the ruling ideology of America’s elites. The No. 1 goal of that cultural Marxism, since its creation, has been the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion.

To understand anything, we have to know its history. To understand who stole our culture, we need to take a look at the history of “political correctness.”

To continue reading: Who Stole Our Culture?

 

Top Five Reasons Not to Vote, by Doug Casey

Democracy is mob rule, and voting simply ratifies it. From Doug Casey at lewrockwell.com:

Democracy is vastly overrated.

It’s not like the consensus of a bunch of friends agreeing to see the same movie. Most often, it boils down to a kinder and gentler variety of mob rule, dressed in a coat and tie. The essence of positive values like personal liberty, wealth, opportunity, fraternity, and equality lies not in democracy, but in free minds and free markets where government becomes trivial. Democracy focuses people’s thoughts on politics, not production; on the collective, not on their own lives.

Although democracy is just one way to structure a state, the concept has reached cult status; unassailable as political dogma. It is, as economist Joseph Schumpeter observed, “a surrogate faith for intellectuals deprived of religion.” Most of the founders of America were more concerned with liberty than democracy. Tocqueville saw democracy and liberty as almost polar opposites.

Democracy can work when everyone concerned knows one another, shares the same values and goals, and abhors any form of coercion. It is the natural way of accomplishing things among small groups.

But once belief in democracy becomes a political ideology, it’s necessarily transformed into majority rule. And, at that point, the majority (or even a plurality, a minority, or an individual) can enforce their will on everyone else by claiming to represent the will of the people.

The only form of democracy that suits a free society is economic democracy in the laissez-faire form, where each person votes with his money for what he wants in the marketplace. Only then can every individual obtain what he wants without compromising the interests of any other person. That’s the polar opposite of the “economic democracy” of socialist pundits who have twisted the term to mean the political allocation of wealth.

But many terms in politics wind up with inverted meanings. “Liberal” is certainly one of them.

To continue reading: Top Five Reasons Not to Vote

Children Learn What They’re Taught, by Robert Gore

Karl Marx

Many millennials embrace Marxism. So do their parents and grandparents.

From the millennials’ abilities will supposedly flow the wherewithal to fund “needs”: their elders‘ entitlements, debt, and ever-expanding blob of a government. Horror of horrors, polls and studies indicate that many millennials are embracing Marxism: they want somebody to fund their “needs”! Where did they learn this nonsense?

It must be those left-wing, snowflake sanctuary, social justice warrior haven, gender-bending colleges and their washed up Marxist professors. This is America, where everyone stands on their own two feet. That’s not how they were reared!

Except it is how they were reared. Good parents know their kids pay more attention to what they do than what they say. America has been slouching towards collectivism for decades. This bipartisan trend has been differentiated only by the hypocrisies the red and blue teams peddle. Regardless of what’s said, this country does statist collectivism. That anyone should express surprise or dismay that the young embrace collectivism betrays self-serving delusion that only fuels their cynicism.

Believe it or not, a fair number of millennials are reasonably well-informed. They just don’t get their information from their parents’ and grandparents’ favorite hypocrisy peddlers. The median age of Americans watching CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News is over 60, with Fox the most geriatric at 68.

The younger set watches a lot of videos, some from consistently ideological sources but many representing eclectic viewpoints that can’t be pigeonholed. Between the internet and their own experiences, the millennials are getting a pretty good idea of what the future holds, even if they don’t know the current vice-president or America’s allies in World War II. The future, after all, is far more relevant to them than Mike Pence or a war 72 years past.

Local, state, and the federal government spend over 35 percent of the GDP. Taxes paid skew heavily towards the most productive under our progressive tax regimes; that’s where the money is. Around half the population receives some sort of largess from one or more governments. From each according to their ability to each according to their need. However, need doesn’t carry the same requirement of deprivation that it did when the welfare state got rolling during the New Deal.

The needy still include those true tales of woe invariably cited by welfare state fans. But they also include relatively affluent Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries receiving far more than they put in. And tax-funded professors, administrators, and athletic coaches drawing fat salaries at public universities. Let’s not forget legions of other government employees, whose average pay, retirement pensions and medical benefits exceed those of their private sector brethren who support them. Then there are the hordes of contractors, lobbyists, and other teat-suckers who cluster around Washington D.C. and state capitals like flies cluster around particularly redolent corpses and turds.

Communist commissars—the “needy” class in the old Soviet Union that actually got most of the loot—never had it so good. For all their tax-looting, America’s commissars still spend more than they take in, so they’ve placed a huge claim on future production: debt and unfunded pension and medical promises. Even some of the dimmer millennial bulbs recognize who gets to pick up those collectivized obligations. That’s in addition to their not inconsequential student loan debt. The more astute realize that this mound of obligations has something to do with the anemic economy and dismal job prospects.

History demonstrates that collectivist regimes which stifle economic and political freedom often turn to war, plunder, and empire building to mask their repression and failures at home. Doesn’t that describe the US government to a tee? It has military bases and deploys special operations forces all over the world. In the name of global order and fighting terrorism, it has engaged in more wars this century than any other government. To instill domestic “order,” the national security state surveils everyone, including a president-elect, and subverts the press.

Not only do wars add a lot of chits to the debt pile, but guess which generation gets to fight them? Not that the military is having trouble filling its ranks. It offers steady jobs with good benefits—hard to find in the private sector—for those who avoid getting killed or maimed.

It takes a while for those millennials who find their way into the private sector to discover how thoroughly it is dominated by the public sector. The meddling, stifling, counterproductive hand of government weighs on every important economic activity. In some jurisdictions kids can’t even sell lemonade without a permit. It takes time, experience, and investigation to discover another truth: regulation protects the entrenched and stifles the new and innovative.

The apotheosis is finance and banking. Central bank debt monetization and interest rate suppression promote government debt and add to the millennials’ load. The Fed is owned by the banks, buys their securities, promotes their cartel, and acts as their agent in Washington. Cheap money drives up the price of financial assets, which millennials by and large don’t own. Reams of legislation and regulation not only make it difficult to impossible for competitive new entrants, but are explicitly designed to ensure that members of the old guard don’t fail. When they nevertheless fail, they get bailed out.

It is the intellectual crime of the century to call this bastardized state of affairs capitalism or freedom. Capitalism—investment, production, and voluntary exchange—is what people do when they’re left to their own devices and are free to pursue their own legitimate interests. It was dealt a mortal blow in 1913 with the establishment of the central bank and income tax, and buried in the New Deal. It’s no surprise the left falsely labels the grotesque and failing mixed economy capitalism. It’s every failure can be ascribed to capitalism and used as a justification for more government.

What’s revolting is the rhetoric of capitalism’s so-called defenders. Conservatives ritualistically praise a “free market system” that hasn’t existed for decades. It’s useful cover: invoke the free market while supporting and profiting from collectivist skims and scams. From the dwindling ranks of true entrepreneurs and honest businesspeople the rhetoric snares some of the more gullible. However, even when the red team has full control of the government, it just keeps getting bigger, more intrusive, and more powerful, reminiscent of communism.

At root, the conservative problem with capitalism is the phrase, “free to pursue their own legitimate interests.” The second law of government is that you can do almost anything to people if you tell them you’re doing it for them. (The first law of government is nothing succeeds like failure.) Liberals and conservatives alike pose as benefactors. A system based on freedom and self-interest—capitalism—obviates that pose. Ostensible benefactors can’t use government and other people’s money to bestow their “munificence,” extract their rents, and grasp their power. In part it explains the vitriolic hostility of both sides towards Ayn Rand, who extolled freedom and rational self-interest and condemned coercive altruism.

Millennials would be best advised to fight for their and others’ right to their own lives. Unfortunately, millennials learn what they are taught, and cutting through all the hypocrisy, the lesson plan is collectivism. As are the generations preceding them, millennials are collectivists. The only difference is they want to be the ones doing the collecting.

The Individual, Not the Collective

AMAZON

KINDLE

NOOK