Category Archives: Philosophy

He Said That? 12/3/18

From Dejan Stojanovic (born 1959), is a Serbian poet, writer, essayist, philosopher, businessman, and former journalist, The Shape (2012):

We don’t know anything about silent sages, buried knowledge, the eye of the mute poet, serene seers, yet how many talkative destroyers, prophets and ideologues, teachers and beautifiers there are on the other side.

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Hayek’s Case for Decentralized Communities, by Allen Mendenhall

After centuries of increasing centralization, decentralization is the wave of the future. From Allen Mendenhall at lewrockwell.com:

This talk was delivered at the Abbeville Institute’s conference on Secession and Nullification in Dallas, Texas on November 10, 2018.

My talk today is about decentralization and epistemology. At the outset I wish to disclaim any specialized expertise in this subject. I’m a lawyer by training who loves literature and earned a doctorate in English. It would be a stretch to call me a philosopher or a political theorist, hence this anchoring disclaimer to prevent me from sailing too deep into philosophical seas.

I have divided my argument, such as it is, into two parts: the impersonal and the personal. The former is a philosophical case for decentralization; the latter involves private considerations about intimate human relationships around which communities of common purpose organize and conduct themselves. In the end, the two approaches are mutually reinforcing, yielding, I hope, benevolent and humane considerations. Presenting them as separate, however, signals to different audiences whose tolerance for appeals to feeling may vary.

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Saudi Arabia: Brothers in Foreign Policy Crime, by Peter Van Buren

The US has never called Saudi Arabia to account and probably never will. From Peter Van Buren at antiwar.com:

The Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi story will someday be seen by historians (not in the US) as a near-perfect example of the failure of American policy in the Middle East begetting more failure. Only ignorance of history and the amazing sheepishness of the American people to have their opinions spoon fed to them will make things “work out.”

Forget the current arms sales (the naughty thing the media says made Trump “pardon” Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for supposedly ordering the murder, conveniently on a phone fully-tapped by the US, though sooner or later someone will claim the real driver is some sort of shady Trump real estates deal negotiated by Kushner) the US at present needs the Saudis as a hedge against the empowered Iran our wars of the last decades in Iraq inadvertently created, and of course as Israel’s new friend in that same regard in the music of the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” that powers the Jewish state’s relations in the neighborhood. Trump is boorish and gross, but he is just the ugly face of truth behind decades of US policy, A Few Good Men’s Colonel Jessup inside foreign affairs screaming we can’t handle the truth. The truth is every American president from Roosevelt to Trump bent over for the Saudis. And so will the next president, whether it’s Trump or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Representative Tulsi Gabbard eviscerating Trump as “Saudi Arabia’s bitch” is true enough, even if she was incomplete in not naming every other American leader since WWII. And, oh yeah, the Clinton Foundation, which was engorged with Saudi cash.

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How Social Media Is Becoming an Arm of the State, by Jose Nino

The “Is Becoming” in the title should be replaced with “Has Become.” From José Niño at mises.org:

Say the wrong things and you might get kicked off of your favorite social media platform.

Tech titans Apple, Facebook, and YouTube have wiped out talk-show host Alex Jones’s social media presence on the Internet. But the social media crusades weren’t over.

Facebook recently took down popular pages like Liberty Memes and hundreds of other prominent libertarian-leaning pages . In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, social media network Gab was on the receiving end of suspensions from payment processors like PayPal and Stripe and cloud hosting company Joyent. Although these companies did not provide clear explanations for their dissociation with Gab, the media had a field day when they learned that the synagogue shooter, Robert Bowers, had an account with the social media network.

Should libertarians fear social media de-platforming? Or is this a case of private actors exercising their legitimate property rights by excluding those they wish to no longer do business with?

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Nothing In Any Conspiracy Theory Is As Bad As What’s Being Done Out In The Open, by Caitlin Johnstone

Before you wade through the weeds of the government’s many conspiracies, consider what it does in broad daylight. From Caitline Johnstone at medium.com:

Yesterday President Trump posted a statement on the White House website saying his administration will be standing with the House of Saud despite the CIA’s assertion that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman personally ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who was living and working in the United States.

The statement reads like a long form version of one of Trump’s tweets, replete with gratuitous exclamation points and slogans like “America First!” and the lie that Iran is “the world’s leading sponsor of terror”, which will never be trueno matter how many times this administration deliberately repeats it. The world’s leading sponsor of terrorism is of course Saudi Arabia, along with Israel and the United States.

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Ten Reasons Why Governments Fail, by Anthony P. Mueller

Why governments don’t work. From Anthony P. Mueller at mises.org:

When politicians and bureaucrats fail to deliver what they promise — which happens a lot — we’re often told that the problem can be solved if only we get the right people to run the government instead. We’re told that the old crop of government agents were trying hard enough. Or that they didn’t have the right intentions. While it’s true that there are plenty of incompetent and ill-intentioned people in government, we can’t always blame the people involved. Often, the likelihood of failure is simply built in to the institution of government itself. In other words, politicians and bureaucrats don’t succeed because they can’tsucceed. The very nature of government administration is weighted against success.

Here are ten reasons why:

I. Knowledge

Government policies suffer from the pretense of knowledge . In order to perform a successful market intervention, politicians need to know more than they can. Market knowledge is not centralized, systematic, organized and general, but dispersed, heterogeneous, specific, and individual. Different from a market economy where there are many operators and a constant process of trial and error, the correction of government errors is limited because the government is a monopoly. For the politician, to admit an error is often worse than sticking with a wrong decision – even against own insight.

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13 Illustrations of the Benevolence of Capitalism, by George Reisman

Why capitalism works. From George Reisman at mises.org:

By the “benevolent nature of capitalism,” I mean the fact that it promotes human life and well-being and does so for everyone. There are many such insights, which have been developed over more than three  centuries, by a series of great thinkers, ranging from John Locke to Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. I present as many of them as I can in my book Capitalism.

I’m going to briefly discuss about a dozen or so of these insights that I consider to be the most important, and which I believe, taken all together, make the case for capitalism irresistible. Let me say that I apologize for the brevity of my discussions. Each one of the insights I go into would all by itself require a discussion longer than the entire time that has been allotted to me to speak today. Fortunately, I can fall back on the fact that, in my book at least, I  think I have presented them in the detail they deserve.

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