Enlightened insights taken from the past week’s reading:
"For most Americans war is little more than a video game, seen in snippets on the nightly news. It is a peculiar form of cultural blindness, an exercise that involves foreign people in faraway places and is not to be taken seriously. The rest of the world, which has experienced far too much of war’s devastation first hand has quite a different viewpoint, however."Philip Giraldi
"Unfortunately, our grey matter needs to catch up with the speed of change. We’re still running around in the forest because millions of years of hunting and gathering taught us to fear the tiger and the serpent around every bend. We don’t have claws or fangs so we needed to plan ahead to avoid disaster.
At our most basic level we’re survival machines. We imagine terrible futures so we can avoid them.
What we fear changes over time but it’s all rooted in the same fears. Tigers and serpents morph into fairies and demons and then into weaving looms and artificial intelligence. What we really fear is the end of ourselves. Death is the demon behind all our fears, shape-shifting into new forms as society grows and changes.
The fear of Zeus killing us all with a bolt of lightning is the same as the fear of superintelligent machines slaughtering us all."
"Statism runs counter to human nature, since it consists of the systematic, monopolistic exercise of a coercion which, in all areas where it is felt (including those corresponding to the definition of law and the maintenance of public order), blocks the creativity and entrepreneurial coordination which are precisely the most typical and essential manifestations of human nature. Furthermore, as we have already seen, statism fosters and drives irresponsibility and moral corruption, as it diverts the focus of human behavior toward a privileged pulling on the reins of political power, within a context of ineradicable ignorance that makes it impossible to know the costs of each government action. The above effects of statism appear whenever a state exists, even if every attempt is made to limit its power, an unattainable goal which renders classical liberalism a scientifically unfeasible utopia."
Jesus Huerta de Soto
"‘Invisible Government’ is a phrase for which it would be difficult to formulate a dictionary definition without sacrifice of accuracy to brevity. It may perhaps be best described as the political and economic control of the community — or the political control for selfish, if not sinister, economic purposes — by individual men, or groups or organizations, who are careful to evade the responsibility which should always accompany power. They operate behind a mask or puppets in politics and business, and these must take the blame in courts of law, and before the bar of public opinion, for any errors in the technique of knavery."
"A dominant protection company in an anarcho-capitalistic world will be tempted to become a state. A limited state is tempted to become an unlimited state. A dominant state is tempted to become an empire. An empire is tempted to become a world government. A group of states is tempted to become a world government. A limited government is tempted to become an unlimited government.
There is only one solution, and it’s costly. It involves constant vigilance. When people delegate powers of protection to others, they still have to be ready and able to secure their own protection by alternative means at any time while withdrawing their resources from any given protection provider. Only this readiness accompanied by constant monitoring helps prevent a given company from exploiting its position. If, on the other hand, people become lax or if they become greedy and rapacious and support a company’s aggression, war will result. A state may result."
"It’s hard to be an empire, for sure, but it’s even harder, apparently, to be a truly virtuous society. First, I suppose, you have to be not insane. It’s hard to think of one facet of American life that’s not insane now. Our politics are insane. Our ideologies are insane. The universities are insane. Medicine is insane. Show biz is insane. Sexual relations are insane. The arts are insane. The news media is utterly insane. And what passes for business enterprise in the USA these days is something beyond insane, like unto the swarms of serpents and bats issuing from some mouth of hell in the medieval triptychs. How do you memorialize all that?"
James Howard Kunstler
"Being a high civil servant subjects man to a dangerous temptation, simply because he is a part of the ruling apparatus. He finds himself caught in the strategy complex. The magic of becoming an executive and a strategist provokes long-repressed feelings of omnipotence. A strategist feels like a chess player. He wants to manipulate the world by remote control. Now he can keep others waiting, as he was forced to wait himself in his salad days, and thus he can feel himself superior."
"Every man must have freedom, must have the scope to form, test, and act upon his own choices, for any sort of development of his own personality to take place. He must, in short, be free in order that he may be fully human. In a sense, even the most frozen and totalitarian civilizations and societies have allowed at least a modicum of scope for individual choice and development. Even the most monolithic of despotisms have had to allow at least a bit of 'space' for freedom of choice, if only within the interstices of societal rules. The freer the society, of course, the less has been the interference with individual actions, and the greater the scope for the development of each individual. The freer the society, then, the greater will be the variety and the diversity among men, for the more fully developed will be every man's uniquely individual personality. On the other hand, the more despotic the society, the more restrictions on the freedom of the individual, the more uniformity there will be among men and the less the diversity, and the less developed will be the unique personality of each and every man. In a profound sense, then, a despotic society prevents its members from being fully human."