Enlightened insights taken from the past week’s reading:
"What begot modern industrialization and the unprecedented improvement in material conditions that it brought about was neither capital previously accumulated nor previously assembled technological knowledge…. the early pioneers of capitalism started with scanty capital and scanty technological experience. At the outset of industrialization was the philosophy of private enterprise and initiative, and the practical application of this ideology made the capital swell and the technological know-how advance and ripen.
One must stress this point because its neglect misleads the statesmen of all backward nations in their plans for economic improvement. They think that industrialization means machines and textbooks of technology. In fact, it means economic freedom that creates both capital and technological knowledge."
Ludwig von Mises
"The notion that 'the people' have all the power, and are supreme over a government created through elections, is ludicrous on its face. That has never happened in history, and frankly, could not ever come to fruition, regardless of lofty ideology and delirious imagination.
The term democracy is bandied about as if it were a euphoric and magical state sought by all who claim to love freedom. This country after all is thought by the majority to be the greatest bastion of freedom on earth, so is this gross misconception about freedom surprising?"
Gary D. Barnett
"Freedom demands the destruction of the security and surveillance organs and the disempowering of the millions of informants who work for the state. This is not a call to murder our own stoolies — although some of the 2.3 million prisoners in cages in America’s own gulags would perhaps rightly accuse me of writing this from a position of privilege and comfort and not understanding the brutal dynamics of oppression – but instead to accept that unless these informants on the streets, in the prisons and manning our massive, government data-collection centers are disarmed we will never achieve liberty. I do not have quick and simple suggestions for how this is to be accomplished. But I know it must."
"The trans- phenomenon has gained plenty of traction in popular media and academia for a variety of reasons, the victimhood card is, of course, de jure and de facto, putting it at the front of the line. The other reason (among many, all root cause analysis discovers many vectors) is yet another assault on masculinity, no matter the destination of the gender dysmorphia even a transition to 'male'; the feminine is always superior to the masculine. The reason is [blood] simple. The masculine impulse will always challenge authority whether government or private, the nature of masculine ambition distilled. This is a partial explanation for the sex deficit of women among libertarians and the all the components ecologies of the anti-state and anti-authoritarian. The dearth of female adherents to anti-statist philosophy may very well be determined by a natural inclination to security and the mistaken perception that only a coercive state can do this.
Hence the media swooning and pearl clutching over the plight and experience of trans folk. One can see that media portrayals of the feminine are shallow, worshipful and tilted in a confirmation bias that favors state violence and aggression to organize society while the media portrayal of men is mostly that of doddering, intellectually stunted sexual predators whose existence is merely guaranteed by female steering and moralizing."
"Within an established totalitarian regime the purpose of propaganda is not to persuade, much less to inform, but rather to humiliate. From this point of view, propaganda should not approximate to the truth as closely as possible: on the contrary, it should do as much violence to it as possible. For by endlessly asserting what is patently untrue, by making such untruth ubiquitous and unavoidable, and finally by insisting that everyone publicly acquiesce in it, the regime displays its power and reduces individuals to nullities.
Apart from the massacres, deaths and famines for which communism was responsible, the worst thing about the system was the official lying: that is to say the lying in which everyone was forced to take part, by repetition, assent or failure to contradict. I came to the conclusion that the purpose of propaganda in communist countries was not to persuade, much less to inform, but to humiliate and emasculate.
If you are held responsible for what I do and I held responsible for what you do, does that make us not friends but mutual spies? Normal human bounds are dissolved by collective responsibility, to be repealed by distrust, fear, dissembling and withdrawal.
It is countries with no dissent, which live in the quiet of the grave, that are vulnerable and fragile."
"Let us pursue the subversive mission of applying the same moral rules against theft, kidnapping, and murder to our rulers that we apply to everyone else.Our warmakers believe they are exempt from normal moral rules. Because they are at war, they get to suspend all decency, all the norms that govern the conduct and interaction of human beings in all other circumstances. The anodyne term 'collateral damage,' along with perfunctory and meaningless words of regret, are employed when innocent civilians, including children, are maimed and butchered. A private individual behaving this way would be called a sociopath. Give him a fancy title and a nice suit, and he becomes a statesman."
"To those who still believe the soldiers past and present are fighting for our freedoms, and many have died for our freedoms, I would ask them to sight half a dozen ways in which we are more free today than in years past? We are in fact much less free. This means either their efforts have been a complete failure, or our freedoms were never what they were fighting for to begin with."
"I really think the mainstream idea that we can always make a mad dash for the black emptiness in the sky if things go to shit here keeps us from truly confronting our urgent need to preserve the ecosystemic context in which we evolved, and which there’s no evidence that we can live without.
I mean, we don’t even know that space colonization is possible. As of yet we have no evidence at all that humans are sufficiently separate and separable from Earth’s biosphere for survival apart from our ecosystem to be a real thing. Humans aren’t really separate 'things'; they’re a symbiotic collaboration of organisms with ecosystems of their own, all of which as far as we know are entirely dependent on the greater ecosystem from which we blossomed. So far all our attempts at creating independent biospheres have failed miserably, and the closest we’ve come to living in space has consisted of nothing but glorified scuba excursions: visits to space stations fully dependent on a lifeline of terrestrial supplies. That’s the difference between flying and jumping. It might be as delusional as our brains thinking they can hop out of our skulls and live independently of our bodies, or some river eddies saying they’re moving to dry land."
"The existentialists say 'Existence precedes essence', which means first we are alive, and then we define our own being and identity. This philosophy is what’s eating away at our culture. To some, this suggests a power to perfect man and society. They are willing to use the powers of the state to accomplish this feat. To others, this philosophy suggests that we create ourselves individually. This leads to all values being equivalent. Whatever one chooses becomes okay. Everything is permitted. The individual may do anything and no one can say it’s right or wrong.
These two highly destructive directions (elevating the state and elevating the individual) are diametrically opposed, and yet they both flow from the idea that existence precedes essence."
"A country with instability on the American scale tends to unleash wars, and wars have been the sole activity of the US in the 21st century, leaving 'a trail of destruction, suffering, refugee camps and death on an industrial scale.' Consequently, the rest of the world is organizing to put a halt to Washington’s aggression and violent overthrow of countries.
With America unable to produce leadership, handicapped by inferior weapons systems, and left behind by the revolution in military affairs, the neoconservatives drowning in their own arrogant hubris could easily foment a conflict that will leave America in ruins."
Paul Craig Roberts