Category Archives: Philosophy

Well-Gotten Gains, by Robert Gore

Time for a change.

Albert Jay Nock wrote one of the best essays ever written, “Isaiah’s Job,” which first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in 1936. The Wikipedia biography of Nock is linked here, a Mises Institute reprint of the essay here. If you take the time to read the essay, I can almost guarantee that somewhere in the future, you will take the time to reread it. The essay is about the prophet Isaiah, and here in three paragraphs is its central premise.

The prophet’s career began at the end of King Uzziah’s reign, say about 740 B.C. This reign was uncommonly long, almost half a century, and apparently prosperous. It was one of those prosperous reigns, however — like the reign of Marcus Aurelius at Rome, or the administration of Eubulus at Athens, or of Mr. Coolidge at Washington — where at the end the prosperity suddenly peters out and things go by the board with a resounding crash.

In the year of Uzziah’s death, the Lord commissioned the prophet to go out and warn the people of the wrath to come. “Tell them what a worthless lot they are.” He said, “Tell them what is wrong, and why and what is going to happen unless they have a change of heart and straighten up. Don’t mince matters. Make it clear that they are positively down to their last chance. Give it to them good and strong and keep on giving it to them. I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you,” He added, “that it won’t do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life.”

Isaiah had been very willing to take on the job — in fact, he had asked for it — but the prospect put a new face on the situation. It raised the obvious question: Why, if all that were so — if the enterprise were to be a failure from the start — was there any sense in starting it? “Ah,” the Lord said, “you do not get the point. There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it.”

I suppose I knew, deep down, before I wrote the first word of my first novel, The Gordian Knot, that I would be writing for the Remnant. That’s not to say I’m in the same league as the prophet Isaiah. My sales, and the sales of my next two novels, The Golden Pinnacle and Prime Deceit, certainly confirm that I wasn’t writing for the masses. As a first novel The Gordian Knot had its flaws, and perhaps only merited its small, presumably indulgent, readership. I’m a quick study, though, and I try to be as rigorously self-critical and open to improvement as a fallible human with an ego can be. The next two novels were much better, and years after I’ve written them, I can’t see anything in either one that I’d change. They deserve a wider audience, and some day they may get it.

Not that I’ve ever wanted to be a bestseller machine. We Remnant writers know that’s never going to happen, and the whole routine seems quite distasteful. Keep writing books that are just like that first bestseller, only a little different. Resign yourself to whatever pigeonhole agents, publishers, and the bestseller lists consign you. Pull away from the tedious job of writing until you reach the next-to-highest level of the contemporary writing pyramid: your name on the cover selling books ghostwritten by the name in much smaller print below. Finally, that highest level, attained by only a few: hefty sales of new books with your name on the cover, written after you’re dead. I can’t begin to imagine the joy those elite authors must feel.

I suppose I also knew, deep down, when I started Straight Line Logic that I was blogging for the Remnant. The hit counter on my site indicates that here again, I’m not writing for the masses. However, by the standards of the alternative media I’ve done relatively well in a relatively short time. My articles are regularly reposted on sites with much greater readership than mine. Occasionally I’m invited by people who like what I write to give speeches to groups with which they are affiliated.

Unfortunately, we’ve reached Peak Insanity, and I’m tired of chronicling and commenting upon it. Regular readers know the insane litany, rehashing it here would be tedious. It’s become a struggle to find something new to write about, or even to write about something old in an interesting new way.

I’m not closing Straight Line Logic down, but I’m scaling it way back. Once in a while I’ll put up an article when I think I’ve got something interesting to say, but with nowhere near the frequency I have been. And once in a while I’ll put up other writers’ articles that I feel have singular merit. However, there will be days, perhaps weeks, when I put up nothing at all. If you receive regular emails about the site you’ll know when something new goes up. If you don’t, just check the Home page every so often. I hope that Western Rifle Shooters Association, NCRenegade, The Burning Platform, Zero Hedge, Lew Rockwell, and the many other fine websites that have featured my work will continue to do so, intermittent though it may be. I thank all of them and the people who make them go, particularly Peter White, David DeGerolamo, Jim Quinn, and the Tyler Durdens.

Straight Line Logic has been invaluable to me. While the commentary has been on current events, I believe the best of my essays will endure, embraced by the Remnant of this and future generations. Just as important, I have met some wonderful people and made friends for life through Straight Line Logic. As I get older those friendships age like fine wine, and I cherish them as perhaps only an older connoisseur can.

Which brings up the fact that I’m not getting any younger. I’m sixty now and as I ponder the remainder of my days, it’s become an imperative to spend that time wisely and happily. I am involved with a startup, 4Ry Inc., whose technology has the potential to upend several multi-billion industries. One example: our nozzle at the end of a diesel fuel injector could potentially increase diesel engine efficiency by 10 to 15 percent and cut particulates and other noxious emissions by a like percentage. We are working now with a leading fuel injector research firm to develop that product.

If 4Ry is successful, we will vindicate and enrich a genius—and our majority shareholder—Dr. Arnold Kelly, who has been innovating (he has over 30 patents) and consequently fighting the system all his life, as most innovators must. He deserves much more that he has so far received. This, to me, is a challenge worth undertaking, exponentially more worthwhile and interesting than excoriating insane idiots for their insanity, about which I can do nothing but make people aware, and which I know in my bones is leading inevitably to cataclysmic disaster. I want to devote as much time as I can to 4Ry. For those who want more information about 4Ry, see 4rysprays.com, and three articles on SLL I wrote about it, “The Choice,” Parts One, Two and Three.

I have at least two more novels in me, probably more. I also have plays, screenplays, and short stories. Use a good part of the time I’ve been spending every day on Straight Line Logic and all those prospective works have a chance of getting written. Keep doing what I’m doing and only if I live far beyond the years the actuarial tables indicate I’ll live—and stay healthy—will I accomplish what I want to accomplish. Writing is in my bones, chromosomes, genes, and every vital organ. I can no more not write than a fish cannot swim or Arnold Kelly cannot invent. However, it’s time to concentrate on writing what I enjoy writing most. Writing, as I recently told a dear friend, for the ages, not the reviews or the sales.

I once proposed an alternative news agency, dedicated to truth and fighting the mainstream media and fake news (see “Breaking the Alternative Media’s Dependence on the Mainstream Media,” SLL). To me, that idea now seems like more chronicling of the insane and their insanity, but anyone who sincerely wants to run with it is welcome to it. If you’d like, contact me and after I vet you and your plans, I’ll try to help with funding. However, I will assume no operational role under any circumstance.

Rest assured, I’m not dropping off the planet. Someday the Remnant “will come back and build up a new society.” In the interim, they know where to find me and my works. As for the rest, they have never been my concern.

h/t Holly O for the title of this piece.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Lethal Moral Code–and Why Conservatives are Defenseless, by Anders Ingemarson

AOC, as she’s now known, realizes it’s all about morality. No amount of economic efficiency and look how much the rich pay in taxes is going to dent her “righteous” screeching. For that, you need a better morality, which conservatives don’t have. From Anders Ingemarson at separatestateandtheeconomy.com:

According to most accounts, from YouTube college-to-Congress dancing performances to tweets to media appearances, Ms. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a fun-loving, intelligent, passionate young woman with strong beliefs.

What contributes to her appeal is that she gets what most of her more seasoned opponents don’t understand or choose to evade: that morality trumps both politics and economics. When asked by Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes about her misrepresentation of certain facts she stated:

“If people want to really blow up one figure here or one word there, I would argue that they’re missing the forest for the trees. I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.” (emphasis added)

This insight puts her ahead of most politicians and pundits with decades of experience.

What’s more, her moral and political compasses are aligned; unlike most of those who oppose her, her political and economic goals are logical extensions of her moral code. Combined with her charisma she could be a tremendous force for good. It is therefore regrettable that she subscribes to the same old, reactionary, lethal moral code that repeatedly has brought, and continues to bring, misery on mankind: altruism.

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He Said That? 1/30/19

From W. Somerset Maugham (1874–1965), British playwright, novelist and short story writer, The Painted Veil (1925):

I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.

Denial and Defensiveness: The First Tools of the Statist. By John Hunt, MD

This is an incisive look at the psychology of a statist, and actually all those who cling to indefensible positions in the face of contrary evidence. From John Hunt at internationalman.com:

To protect his fragile ego when informed he may be an addict, the alcoholic uses denial first and defensiveness immediately after. This mechanism is a pre-requisite in essentially all addicts, and the drug that controls the addict relies on these underlying personality dysfunctions to protect itself.

“My friend, do you realize you are an addict?” a caring person cautiously, hesitantly, fearfully suggests.

“No I’m not. YOU are!” The addict shuts you and everyone else down, turns away, leaves in a huff, and will not engage in the conversation.

It’s the standard alcoholic’s reply, and standard progressive statist’s reply as well. Although it might be more sophisticated and intelligently stated than that schoolyard sentence, the denial and defensiveness will be identical. Anger, fighting and general stupidity ensues.

If you know addicts, you will empathize. And if you really know addicts, you know it is virtually impossible to cut through their denial (“No I’m not”) or defensiveness (“YOU are!)”

As far as definitions go, denial is straight-forward: a refusal to consider.

Defensiveness, however, is inaptly named. Defensiveness is best described as going on the offense to deflect the conversation away from introspection. The defensive person goes on the attack against the person who is suggesting something they don’t want to hear. Defensiveness, in the addict’s case, is a form of ATTACK.

Denial and defensiveness are ego protections employed to protect a fragile self-esteem from being aware of one’s internal contradictions (self-delusions).

Denial and defensiveness are destructive personality malfunctions. But they aren’t just used by addicts to enable their addiction. They are used by others too. Sociopaths exploit these personality functions to prey on their victims. The victim lies to herself about what her sociopathic controller really is. He couldn’t be an evil person, because I made the decision to marry him, and I can’t admit mistakes to myself. No logic is involved. Only self-delusion.

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He Said That? 1/28/19

From Brian Rathbone, author, Regent (2011):

Wisdom is the reward for surviving our own stupidity.

The Unprofitably Incompetent, by Robert Gore

Those who can’t do, demand.

Profit propels civilization. When a producer can make an item or provide a service at a cost lower than a customer values that item or service, and the customer has the means and the freedom to buy, the difference between what’s paid over cost is profit. That profit is the producer’s incentive to produce, and in turn funds the producer’s consumption, savings, and investment, which creates other producers’ profits. Profit is the necessary prerequisite for consumption, savings, investment, and consequently, progress.

Many of us profit every day. We offer services and provide goods, supporting ourselves at a cost that is lower than what we’re paid. We’re profitably competent, engaging in honest production and peaceful, voluntary exchange. The only alternatives to profitable competence are living off of someone else’s profitable competency via inheritance or charity, or criminality—theft via fraud or violence.

Criminals cloak their thefts in all sorts of justifications, some of which, like socialism, become full-blown political doctrines. Ironically, a larcenous litany of demands and rationalizations are efflorescing at a time when whatever is left of the overall profit pool has been drained. It has been mortgaged multiple times, just as hordes of the unprofitably incompetent, who had no hand in producing it, clamor for their “fair share.” They’ll insist the profitably competent figure out how to pay for it, but the fair share of nothing is nothing, political promises to the contrary notwithstanding.

“Your means, my ends; I wish, you fulfill,” is the foundational fantasy of modern governance. The favored groups shelter in their safe spaces—government and its rackets, crony corporations, academia, the media, and Hollywood—living on the delusion that there will always be someone who will produce, without question or protest, for their benefit. Upon that foundation they’ve constructed a phantasmagorical edifice of illusory constructs and passages to nowhere.

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Get Ready– they’re coming for your money, by Simon Black

Whatever money you’ve got, they want. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Every so often throughout history, the peasants grab their pitchforks and come for the elite. It happens when the wealth gap grows too extreme… when people feel like they are getting left behind, with no opportunity to advance.

Central banks around the world have printed trillions of dollars over last decade, and pushed interest rates to zero, and sometimes below. And all of that stimulus went directly into the pockets of the wealthy.

Since 2009, the world’s billionaires more than DOUBLED their combined wealth. All the billionaires in the world had $3.4 trillion in 2009. By 2017, they amassed $8.9 trillion.

Mark Zuckerberg multiplied his wealth almost 20 times over, from $3 billion in 2009, to over $58 billion in 2019.

$8.9 trillion is a massive, almost incomprehensible amount of wealth.

But it really shouldn’t be that surprising if you think about it… these people are wealthy for a reason. Typically, they are pretty good at making money. And with the snowball effect, if you give them more time, they will probably make even more.

For the last ten years, we’ve seen a huge asset price inflation in everything from the stock market, to bonds and real estate, and even fine art and wine.

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