Monday, March 10, 2014

The word "i"

(Huge props to the late great Ayn Rand.)

"I" have rights that no-one else can claim.
For "I" am of one mind, and one body.
"I" choose the friendships and institutions "I" think are of value.
"I" choose them not based on blood or societal influence.
"I" choose them because they are of distinct and selfish pleasure.
If "I" choose to never ever give one ounce of time or monies to charity in my lifetime, that is still a superior ideal than by compulsion.
If "I" choose what is deemed by others to be the wrong path in life, that is still superior than being forced into the right path.
If a god created my existence, "I" thank you, but "I" am not chained to you for "I" am of free will to determine my own fate.
If "I" choose to love another more than myself, "I" still have to consciously relinquish the "I" in me for that other.

No matter how hard bureaucrats, religionists, the majority, or society has tried throughout history to extinguish the "I" with "We", they can never do so, for "I" is mine by natural right.
They can imprison me, or even incinerate me, but they can never take away the "I" in me.
"I" am indeed (self)ish, and "I" apologize to no-one for such an ideal.
For to get to "We" one has to start with "I".

Monday, February 24, 2014

What's wrong with the conservatives? (in quotes)

"Republicans don't believe in capitalism as much as Democrats believe in socialism." -Jason Lewis

"The Republicans stand for nothing except to oppose the Democrats." -self

"The Republican philosophy is not to win back America but to not lose through the 'gradual' erosion of capitalism towards socialism.  One example of this is another debt-ceiling increase; another more grotesque example is the reeling from Democratic race-baiting.  Republicans would say it's the Democrats fault.  I tend to think it's their fault because they refuse to fight back." -self

"If it takes the Tea Party to rejuvenate excitement into the Republicans, that's a problem." -self

"The Democrats are far better at language than Republicans.  They have made 'socialism' sound embracing and kind while 'capitalism', as in to capitalize, or prey upon others, be a discouraging word." -self

"The great hypocrisy of the Republicans, as the party of 'individualism', more freedoms, less government controls, advocate a singular definition of marriage through legislated controls.  On the other hand, the Democrats, as the party of less individual freedoms, more government controls, are the ones more than any other who spearheaded a plural definition of marriage, which equates to more individual liberties." -self


The following are quotes from the genius Ayn Rand. I have added bold to define the two party's:

"The three rules listed below are by no means exhaustive; they are merely the first leads to the understanding of a vast subject.

     - In any conflict between two men (or two groups) who hold the same basic principles, it is the more consistent one who wins (partisan races).

     - In any collaboration between two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins (Democrats).

     - When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side (Republicans); when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side (Democrats)."


"What are the 'conservatives'? What is it that they are seeking to 'conserve'?

It is generally understood that those who support the 'conservatives', expect them to uphold the system which has been camouflaged by the loose term of 'the American way of life'. The moral treason of the 'conservative' leaders lies in the fact that they are hiding behind that camouflage: they do not have the courage to admit that the American way of life was capitalism, that that was the politico-economic system born and established in the United States, the system which, in one brief century, achieved a level of freedom, of progress, of prosperity, of human happiness, unmatched in all the other systems and centuries combined—and that that is the system which they are now allowing to perish by silent default.

If the 'conservatives' do not stand for capitalism, they stand for and are nothing; they have no goal, no direction, no political principles, no social ideals, no intellectual values, no leadership to offer anyone.

Yet capitalism is what the 'conservatives' dare not advocate or defend.  They are paralyzed by the profound conflict between capitalism and the moral code which dominates our culture: the morality of altruism . . . Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot co-exist in the same man or in the same society." -Ayn Rand


(I've never fully understood the argument from depravity but have included it to show the complete quote.)

"There are three interrelated arguments used by today’s “conservatives” to justify capitalism, which can best be designated as: the argument from faith—the argument from tradition—the argument from depravity.

Sensing their need of a moral base, many 'conservatives' decided to choose religion as their moral justification; they claim that America and capitalism are based on faith in God.  Politically, such a claim contradicts the fundamental principles of the United States: in America, religion is a private matter which cannot and must not be brought into political issues.

Intellectually, to rest one's case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one's enemies--that one has no rational arguments to offer.  The 'conservatives' claim that there are no rational arguments to support the American system, no rational justification for freedom, justice, prosperity, individual rights, that these rest on a mystic revelation and can be accepted only on faith--that in reason and logic the enemy is right, but men must hold faith as superior to reason.

Consider the implication of that theory.  While the communists claim that they are the representatives of reason and science, the 'conservatives' concede it and retreat into the realm of mysticism, of faith, of the supernatural, into another world, surrendering this world to communism.  It is the kind of victory that the communists' irrational ideology could never have won on its own merits....

Now consider the second argument: the attempt to justify capitalism on the ground of tradition.  Certain groups are trying to switch the word 'conservative' into the exact opposite of its modern American usage, to switch it back to its nineteenth-century meaning, and to put this over on the public.  These groups declare that to be a 'conservative' means to uphold the status quo, the given, the established, regardless of what it might be, regardless of whether it is good or bad, right or wrong, defensible or indefensible.  They declare that we must defend the American political system not because it is right, but because our ancestors chose it, not because it is good, but because it is old....

The argument that we must respect 'tradition' as such, respect it merely because it is 'tradition,' means that we must accept the values other men have chosen, merely because other men have chosen them--with the necessary implication of: who are we to change them?  The affront to a man's self-esteem, in such an argument, and the profound contempt for man's nature are obvious.

This leads us to the third—and the worst—argument, used by some “conservatives”: the attempt to defend capitalism on the ground of man’s depravity.

This argument runs as follows: since men are weak, fallible, non-omniscient and innately depraved, no man may be entrusted with the responsibility of being a dictator and of ruling everybody else; therefore, a free society is the proper way of life for imperfect creatures. Please grasp fully the implications of this argument: since men are depraved, they are not good enough for a dictatorship; freedom is all that they deserve; if they were perfect, they would be worthy of a totalitarian state.

Dictatorship—this theory asserts—believe it or not, is the result of faith in man and in man’s goodness; if people believed that man is depraved by nature, they would not entrust a dictator with power. This means that a belief in human depravity protects human freedom—that it is wrong to enslave the depraved, but would be right to enslave the virtuous. And more: dictatorships—this theory declares—and all the other disasters of the modern world are man’s punishment for the sin of relying on his intellect and of attempting to improve his life on earth by seeking to devise a perfect political system and to establish a rational society. This means that humility, passivity, lethargic resignation and a belief in Original Sin are the bulwarks of capitalism. One could not go farther than this in historical, political, and psychological ignorance or subversion. This is truly the voice of the Dark Ages rising again—in the midst of our industrial civilization.

The cynical, man-hating advocates of this theory sneer at all ideals, scoff at all human aspirations and deride all attempts to improve men’s existence. “You can’t change human nature,” is their stock answer to the socialists. Thus they concede that socialism is the ideal, but human nature is unworthy of it; after which, they invite men to crusade for capitalism—a crusade one would have to start by spitting in one’s own face. Who will fight and die to defend his status as a miserable sinner? If, as a result of such theories, people become contemptuous of “conservatism,” do not wonder and do not ascribe it to the cleverness of the socialists." -A.R.


"Today's 'conservatives' are futile, impotent, and, culturally, dead.  They have nothing to offer and can achieve nothing.  They can only help to destroy intellectual standards, to disintegrate thought, to discredit capitalism, and to accelerate this country's uncontested collapse into despair and dictatorship." -A.R.


"So much for those American 'conservatives' who claim that religion is the base of capitalism--and who believe that they can have capitalism and eat it, too, as the moral cannibalism of the altruist ethics demands." -A.R.


"The 'neo-conservatives' are now trying to tell us that America was the product of 'faith in revealed truths' and of uncritical respect for traditions of the past (!).

It is certainly irrational to use the 'new' as a standard of value, to believe that an idea or a policy is good merely because it is new.  But it is much more preposterously irrational to use the 'old' as a standard of value, to claim that an idea or a policy is good merely because it is ancient.  The 'liberals' are constantly asserting that they represent the future, that they are 'new', 'progressive', 'forward-looking', etc.--and they denounce the 'conservatives' as old-fashioned representatives of a dead past.  The 'conservatives' concede it, and thus help the 'liberals' to propagate one of today's most grotesque inversions: collectivism, the ancient, frozen, status society, is offered to us in the name of progress--which capitalism, the only free, dynamic, creative society ever devised, is defended in the name of stagnation." -A.R. 


"What is the moral stature of those who are afraid to proclaim that they are the champions of freedom? What is the integrity of those who outdo their enemies in smearing, misrepresenting, spitting at, and apologizing for their own ideal? What is the rationality of those who expect to trick people into freedom, cheat them into justice, fool them into progress, con them into preserving their rights, and, while indoctrinating them with statism, put one over on them and let them wake up in a perfect capitalist society some morning?

These are the 'conservatives'—or most of their intellectual spokesmen." -A.R.


"Today’s culture is dominated by the philosophy of mysticism (irrationalism)—altruism—collectivism, the base from which only statism can be derived; the statists (of any brand: communist, fascist or welfare) are merely cashing in on it—while the 'conservatives' are scurrying to ride on the enemy’s premises and, somehow, to achieve political freedom by stealth. It can’t be done." -A.R.


"Capitalism is not the system of the past; it is the system of the future—if mankind is to have a future. Those who wish to fight for it, must discard the title of 'conservatives'.  'Conservatism' has always been a misleading name, inappropriate to America. Today, there is nothing left to 'conserve': the established political philosophy, the intellectual orthodoxy, and the status quo are collectivism. Those who reject all the basic premises of collectivism are radicals in the proper sense of the word: 'radical' means 'fundamental'. Today, the fighters for capitalism have to be, not bankrupt 'conservatives', but new radicals, new intellectuals and, above all, new, dedicated moralists." -A.R.