Category Archives: Philosophy

Why the Marxist Left Loves Lincoln, by Thomas DiLorenzo

It’s not just that Marxists would approve of many of Lincoln’s policies, but Lincoln had an actual affinity for the work of Karl Marx. From Thomas DiLorenzo at lewrockwell.com:

“No leader of a powerful nation” should allow such a thing as “the dismemberment of the Soviet Union.”

–Marxist “Civil War” historian Eric Foner, The Nation, Feb. 11, 1991

A July 27, 2019 article in the Washington Post by Gillian Brockell was headlined, “You Know Who Was into Karl Marx?  No, not AOC.  Abraham Lincoln.”  Following up on the New York Times’ 2017 weeks-long celebration of the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the Post was doing its part to celebrate and promote Marxian socialism by crowing that “the first Republican president . . . was surrounded by socialists and looked to them for counsel.”  The message being conveyed by the Post was that this is what all American presidents should do.  They should listen to and obey the Washington Post, in other words.

Much of Lincoln’s socialilstic “counsel” came from Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, described by the Post as “the newspaper largely responsible for transmitting the ideals and ideas that formed the Republican Party in 1854,” many of which were “overtly socialist.”

It is little wonder that the ideas promulgated by the New York Tribune, the mouthpiece of the Republican Party, were overtly socialist:  Karl Marx himself was a twice-weekly columnist for the paper from 1852 to 1862, contributing over 500 articles.  An April 1957 article in American Heritage magazine entitled “When Marx Worked for Horace Greeley” spoke of how “the organ of . . . the new Republican party, sustained Karl Marx over the years when he was mapping out his crowning tract of overthrow, Das Kapital . . . The Tribune was not only Marx’s meal ticket but his experimental outlet for agitation and ideas during the most creative period of his life.”  Without this financial support, “there might possibly – who knows?—have been no Das Kapital” and maybe even no “Lenin and a Stalin as the master’s disciples . . .”   Much of what was written in The New York Tribune by Karl Marx “went bodily into Das Kapital.”

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Think the ‘Cancel’ Mobs Can’t Get Any Worse? Think Again, by Harlan Hill

Of course it can get worse, and it will, because violent insanity that’s unchecked doesn’t get better. From Harlan Hill at realclearpolitics.com:

America is in the midst of one of the great moral panics in our nation’s history. If we don’t stand up for our nation’s core values, the situation could get even worse – and soon. If you’ve spent any time on social media in the last three weeks, you’ve probably noticed the organized campaigns to get college and even high school students expelled or denied admission based on their political views. You’ve also seen gleeful mobs celebrating as Americans lose their jobs for running afoul of someone’s momentary political obsessions.

In every sector of American society, people are having their careers destroyed to the pitiless baying of the “woke” masses. It’s happening in business. CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman spent 20 years building the fitness brand into a multi-billion dollar company, only to be thrown out of the empire he built for declining to go along with the “racism is a public health crisis”  dogma.

It’s happening in journalism. New York Times editor James Bennet, a liberal, was fired for publishing an op-ed by a sitting Republican senator advocating for a military response to nationwide rioting — a position the majority of Americans agreed with. The same fate befell Philadelphia Inquirer editor Stan Wischowski, who was terminated for approving an article that condemned looting and arson.

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‘The God That Failed’: Why the U.S. Cannot Now Re-Impose Its Civilisational Worldview, by Alastair Crooke

The US lacks the power to impose its vision on the world. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

It was always a paradox: John Stuart Mill, in his seminal (1859), On Liberty, never doubted that a universal civilisation, grounded in liberal values, was the eventual destination of all of humankind. He looked forward to an ‘Exact Science of Human Nature’, which would formulate laws of psychology and society as precise and universal as those of the physical sciences. Yet, not only did that science never emerge, in today’s world, such social ‘laws’ are taken as strictly (western) cultural constructs, rather than as laws or science.

So, not only was the claim to universal civilisation not supported by evidence, but the very idea of humans sharing a common destination (‘End of Times’) is nothing more than an apocalyptic remnant of Latin Christianity, and of one minor current in Judaism. Mill’s was always a matter of secularized religion – faith – rather than empiricism. A shared human ‘destination’ does not exist in Orthodox Christianity, Taoism or Buddhism. It could never therefore qualify as universal.

Liberal core tenets of individual autonomy, freedom, industry, free trade and commerce essentially reflected the triumph of the Protestant worldview in Europe’s 30-years’ civil war. It was not fully even a Christian view, but more a Protestant one.

This narrow, sectarian pillar was able to be projected into a universal project – only so long as it was underpinned by power. In Mill’s day, the civilisational claim served Europe’s need for colonial validation. Mill tacitly acknowledges this when he validates the clearing of the indigenous American populations for not having tamed the wilderness, nor made the land productive.

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This Way Lies Madness: The Summer of Hate Meets the Age of Intolerance, by John W. Whitehead

Don’t meet hate with hate. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Violence creates many more social problems than it solves…. If they succumb to the temptation of using violence in their struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. Violence isn’t the way.”—Martin Luther King Jr.

Marches, protests, boycotts, sit-ins: these are nonviolent tactics that work.

Looting, vandalism, the destruction of public property, intimidation tactics aimed at eliminating anything that might cause offense to the establishment: these tactics of mobs and bullies may work in the short term, but they will only give rise to greater injustices in the long term.

George Floyd’s death sparked the flame of outrage over racial injustice and police brutality, but political correctness is creating a raging inferno that threatens to engulf the nation.

In Boston, racial justice activists beheaded a statue of Christopher Columbus. Protesters in Richmond, Va., used ropes to topple that city’s Columbus statue, spray-painted it, set it on fire and tossed it into a lake. Columbus’ crimes against indigenous peoples throughout the Americas are well known.

In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, protesters tore down a statue of Francis Scott Key, who penned “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Key was also a slaveholding lawyer who tried to prosecute abolitionists vocally opposing slavery.

Activists who object to Yale University being named after its founder Elihu Yale, a slave trader, are lobbying to re-name the school.

Students at Harvard University want to re-name Mather House, one of the dorms named after Increase Mather, the college president from 1685 to 1692 and a slave owner.

Administrators at Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, N.J.—named after the nation’s 28th president, who guided the nation through World War I while upholding segregation policies—are now looking for a new name.

In an apparent bid to be more culturally sensitive, Land O’ Lakes has removed from its packaging the image of a Native American princess that had been featured on its products for a hundred years.

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The Rise, Fall, and Renaissance of Classical Liberalism, by Ralph Raico

This article was written in 1992 and the tone is probably more hopeful than if it were written now. From Ralph Raico at lewrockwell.com:

[This article appeared in the Future of Freedom Foundation’s Freedom Daily, August 1992]

Classical liberalism—or simply liberalism, as it was called until around the turn of the century—is the signature political philosophy of Western civilization. Hints and suggestions of the liberal idea can be found in other great cultures. But it was the distinctive society produced in Europe—and in the outposts of Europe, and above all America—that served as the seedbed of liberalism. In turn, that society was decisively shaped by the liberal movement.

Decentralization and the division of power have been the hallmarks of the history of Europe. After the fall of Rome, no empire was ever able to dominate the continent. Instead, Europe became a complex mosaic of competing nations, principalities, and city-states. The various rulers found themselves in competition with each other. If one of them indulged in predatory taxation or arbitrary confiscations of property, he might well lose his most productive citizens, who could “exit,” together with their capital. The kings also found powerful rivals in ambitious barons and in religious authorities that were backed by an international Church. Parliaments emerged that limited the taxing power of kings, and free cities arose with special charters that put the merchant elite in charge.

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The Race Worthy of Hate, by Eric Peters

Collectivism is a political philosophy (or religion), not a race, but it’s certainly “worthy of hate.” From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

One of the many depressing aspects of the falling apart of the country is the reorganization of it along constructed racial lines.

The blacks are out of control! Or rather, are presented as such. Whites oppress! All of them, all the time. Since time began!

It is the Jews who are behind it all!

But who is really behind it all? Let’s pull back the curtain and see what we can find.

The Gauleiter of Virginia – Ralph Northam, aka “Coonman” – isn’t Jewish. Neither is the Gauleiter of New York or California.

Their “race” – their religion – is authoritarian collectivism.

And that is our enemy.

Not Barack Obama’s skin. His “faith.” Which he shares with his predecessor, whose white skin and non-Jewishness didn’t immunize him against authoritarian collectivism.

This is the foundational disease and it comes in every color of the rainbow. To avoid becoming sickened by it, we must not let it infect us.

Or rather, not allow it to undermine us. And empower those preaching it.

If we collectivize others then we have no basis for objecting to being collectivized ourselves.

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See Things as They Truly Are, by Hardscrabble Farmer

Hardscrabble Farmer gives a lesson in observation and thought. From Hardscrabble Farmer at theburningplatform.com:

Anyone who has a desire to see things as they truly are need only apply a few basic skills to the task.

First, you must observe and it should be intentional. What am I seeing? What patterns emerge? What are the physics of the actions? What are the underlying motivations? What systems are in effect and what similarities and exceptions emerge. It is helpful if you start small- the act of swinging a hammer at nails several hundred thousand times will reveal a right way and a wrong way to hold the tool, to capitalize on the momentum, to focus energy, to account for the materials in use and the conditions.

After a million or more swings there will be very few secrets left and little left uncovered in the mystery of driving nails. Knowing what you do it will become next to impossible for someone to fool you into thinking there is a better way to swing a hammer or that it is really best used as a pry bar or demolition tool. You will have the experience and the discernment to know whether the guy next to you is a good carpenter or someone pretending that they know what they’re doing.

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Crime Is Crime, by Robert Gore

You can fool most of the people most of the time, but you can’t fool reality any of the time.

The reigning chaos reflects perfectly what passes for thought in millions of minds. Minds that have been taught that reality is whatever one believes it to be. That reason is a superstition and is inferior to random feelings and emotions. That observation, hypotheses, experimentation, discovery, and science itself are akin to voodoo rituals. That consumption precedes production and is morally superior to it. That anyone’s work, income and wealth are subject to anyone else’s proclaimed need. That actions have no consequences.

Rioters and looters are faithfully adhering to the distilled essence of what our rulers and intellectuals have been telling them for decades: If you need it, or just want it, it’s yours to have or destroy. They are simply eliminating the government middleman. The only surprise is that it didn’t happen long ago.

The Age of Chaos has arrived. Violence is accomplishing what violence always accomplishes—destruction, ruin, and death. The only theoretical justification for government is that it employs force to protect its citizens from violence—invasion, violence against persons or property, and the indirect violence implicit in procuring and keeping value through fraud or extortion.

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The Expert Model, by Kevin Duffy

The experts, expert though they may be, simply cannot centralize decision making and come up with better outcomes than individuals making the best decisions for themselves. From Kevin Duffy at lewrockwell.com:

In order to navigate an impossibly complex world, we take shortcuts, build logical frameworks and adopt ideologies. These are lenses through which we view events, our own reality in a sense. Over time, these lenses become hardened and extremely difficult to change, regardless of the counter evidence.

There are essentially two views of the world: order and chaos. Some see a natural order: the food chain, pecking orders, innate behaviors, complex adaptive systems, natural selection. Others see chaos requiring direction by a group of experts.

At least when it comes to economic activity, the overwhelming majority adopt the chaos view. They fail to grasp Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” of mutually beneficial trade, Friedrich Hayek’s “pretense of knowledge” with regard to central planners, or Frederic Bastiat’s “seen and unseen costs” concerning the unintended consequences of economic policies.

Interventionists dread uncertainty; above all, they fear losing control.

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The Pleasures of Life Are Being Destroyed by the Criminal State and Its Enforcers, by Gary D. Barnett

If you want life’s joys, pleasures, and treasures from here on out, you’re going to have to stand up and fight for them. From Gary D. Barnett at lewrockwell.com:

“Simply to have all the necessities of life and three meals a day will not bring happiness. Happiness is hidden in the unnecessary and in those impractical things that bring delight to the inner person. . . . When we lack proper time for the simple pleasures of life, for the enjoyment of eating, drinking, playing, creating, visiting friends, and watching children at play, then we have missed the purpose of life. Not on bread alone do we live but on all these human and heart-hungry luxuries.”

~ Edward M Hays (Unsourced)

Life holds the key to a plethora of physical, emotional and spiritual pleasures, whether simple or complex. A pleasurable life can be magnificent, and life without pleasure will certainly be mundane, but it can also be hell on earth. The pleasures I speak of have to do with everyday living, loving, and beauty. They have to do with freedom, nature, food, art and music. When one is free to experience life to the fullest, to love, dream, to laugh and cry, to embrace others, to play games, to travel to exotic lands, and to learn, his mind is consumed by joy and excitement. When one is free to love and nurture his family, to help others in need, and to experience every part of life, then he is whole. But if one is restricted or controlled, spied upon, beaten, incarcerated for victimless crimes, isolated from his fellow man, threatened, abused, and shamed, then all pleasure is taken from him, and he is left with emptiness. This is the agenda sought by the criminal state, one of attempting to take total control of our lives, which if accomplished would leave us empty and filled with despair instead of joy.

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