Sunday, October 30, 2005
My Two Cents Regarding Chomsky’s Two Million (Dollars)
Those who peruse blogs like this one are already aware of the latest fun with Chomsky info that recently came out. I first came across these latest hypocrisies of the MIT “genius” in a link at Dissecting Leftism. The -- excellent -- article, at Tech Central Station, exposes some details in Chomsky financial dealings. In themselves of course they’re unimportant. Being rich or investing in the stock market certainly doesn’t bother this free-market sympathizer (though I’ve never been rich or owned stock). The problem with Chomsky being rich and owning stock is that his entire reputation and following rests upon his credentials as a confirmed anti-capitalist. Of course, in the land of socialist idealism, being rich and owning stock is not all that novel. Even Marx -- the big man of modern socialism – played the stock market (usually with other people's money since, like his followers, he was also a notorious leech).
Chomsky is often cited as the world’s greatest living intellectual and, on occasion, christened the greatest intellectual who ever lived (really pushing it). Such pronouncements tend to call into question the definitions people are using when they say, “intellectual.” No doubt, Chomsky is very smart and educated and could likely converse on issues like which Beethoven string quartet is the finest, but being a “great intellectual” today usually requires no more than the fact that other “intellectuals” have praised you, and not for your knowledge of (for example) medieval literature or mastery of several languages (something Chomsky -- a linguist -- has failed to do). No, Chomsky is “great” in the eyes of kindred spirits for no other reason than his ability to relentlessly attribute negative character to America and its capitalist system. Although his worldview has been described in several renegade-sounding labels, ultimately he’s just a socialist. Of course that label offers some margin to move around but tax attorney’s offices and stock portfolios generally aren’t what one expects of someone who clearly doesn’t like capitalism.
(From the essay at Tech Central Station) “But trusts can't be all bad. After all, Chomsky, with a net worth north of $2,000,000, decided to create one for himself. A few years back he went to Boston's venerable white-shoe law firm, Palmer and Dodge, and with the help of a tax attorney specializing in "income-tax planning" set up an irrevocable trust to protect his assets from Uncle Sam. He named his tax attorney (every socialist radical needs one!) and a daughter as trustees. To the Diane Chomsky Irrevocable Trust (named for another daughter) he has assigned the copyright of several of his books, including multiple international editions."
I knew Chomsky sold a lot of books, tapes, and videos so he had to be raking in some of that evil capitalist cash. I knew he lived in a nice bourgeois suburban neighborhood. Nothing wrong with being rich and socialist (a rather popular paradox as a matter of fact), but this latest revelation really puts the icing on the stale Chomsky cake – the guy’s got stocks! That’s like a CEO attending the Communist International (this isn’t China after all!).
It seems that more and more when one hears or reads of a famous leftist’s chastisements of America, capitalism, and wealth in general, one can be almost certain that the whining Jacobin will be:
A. Filthy rich.
B. Well invested in large corporations
Please read the article to find out how deep the rabbit hole – and pile of rabbit s**t -- really goes.
Pictures of My Country and Fellow Citizens
A post at Riding Sun this week is particularly noteworthy – a series of photographs by Eolo Perfido, a French-born photographer based in Rome.
Just recently, the artist himself has added to the many comments made to the post thus far. Perhaps his “broken English,” and the innocence it conjures, softens the blow of what are some particularly cruel and dishonest symbolic images of the U.S. and its people.
There are some great (and not so great) comments after the post which are interesting, insightful, and -- in some cases – stupid.
It would be easy for an American to get on an anti-European rant after seeing the photos, mostly because they are so typical of what has come out of Europe in recent years, but that would be both unfair and equally lacking in honesty. There are a few comments at the Riding Sun post from Europeans themselves that are kind and certainly appreciated by Americans sick of the nonsense Euro-leftism inaccurately spouts as representative of European sentiment in general.
The images in the photo series are not so much French or European critiques of America as they are dishonest leftist portrayals of conservatism, which is why the same style of symbolism can be found in the “works” of numerous American artists (not to mention pop entertainment). To these fervent fools, in America, there was no Poe, Gershwin, or Grant Wood, just as there are no decent families, morals, or goodness in America today. There is no prosperous, dynamic society of people who regularly poll among the highest in their level of life satisfaction. No; there are only sadistic, ultra-patriotic religious nuts screaming in sewers (the photo images).
The left is as pampered, spoiled, and deluded as ever. The fact that many of them dominate the countries of Europe is a mere side note.
A Euro-leftist could, of course, travel to a bad, crime-ridden, poor neighborhood in Los Angeles or New York and find “proof” of America’s “sorry state,” but in over 90% of the country they’d find an efficient, well tuned, fun, and prosperous society that runs rings around Europe’s imploding former glory. European politicos have plenty to criticize in their own back yard. Their second-class status on the world stage ultimately has nothing to do with America and everything to do with their own self-destruction wrought by pathetic allegiance to authoritarian/collectivist political ideologies.
For sheer success and overall goodness, I’ll go with the worldview and lifestyle of a farmer from Iowa over a whining Marxist Euro café intellectual any day (or a whining Marxist American cafe' intellectual for that matter).
The artist/photographer of the photo series at Riding Sun claims he "loves" America and Americans – but then, so does Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore, and their consistent depiction of America is also on record as less than flattering.
Denigrating America is like hating George Bush – it’s trendy, it’s reflexive, and it requires no real knowledge, thought, or need for accurate or honest appraisal.
The tragedy in all of this is that some people really don’t know who their friends are. If history had been different, they could be sending their wealth and spirit to an authoritarian Soviet Empire. Instead, they occasionally get movies from America that they wish their fellow citizens wouldn’t watch, or food that they wish fellow citizens wouldn’t eat (the left, everywhere, is always concerned with what other people are choosing).
The best thing for Europe (and something that would be good for the world in general) would be for it to cast off the domination of wannabe socialist “revolutionaries” (in media, the arts, and government) and place their faith instead in common sense and a spirit of genuine friendship with the spirited country across the Atlantic.
Left-Land on Parade
The People's Cube does it again. Their most hilarious and insightful post yet -- brilliant!
A news article I had recently read regarding British leftist George Galloway's antics, referred to him as a "maverick" -- how nice. Anyone as far right as Galloway is far left, is typically referred to as "far right wing" or even "extreme right wing." Is it not a testament to the acrobatic guile of modern journalism to refer to a far left wing nut case in terms that make him sound heroic? Of course, in Galloway's case, I'm not sure far left can accurately describe him either since he's exhibited considerable sympathy for fascist extremists. What's the media going to throw at us next when referring to such types, "defiant free thinker who values the spiritual traditions of the weak and suffering (terrorists)?
If you can't read this, thank college Ed Schools, teacher unions, and government bureaucracy
(Note: One of these days/weeks I'll finish my essay regarding my personal encounters with the American public schools and the college Ed Schools that feed them -- really).
No Surprises here.
Left-land on Parade
(The following essay was originally posted at this site last year)
What exactly is so politically "correct" about the nonsense regularly palmed off on us by the self-absorbed brain-caste and their brethren in mainstream Leftland?
Last week [this essay is a repost from last year], you may recall my comments regarding an article in the Victims of Communism Memorial website. I'm still amazed at the author's observations regarding the definitions given in some dictionaries for political systems and personalities. The issue begs for further consideration.
The American Heritage (ironically) College Dictionary, 2002 offers some odd definition-bias that would put even Dan Rather to shame.
The dictionary (it's not the only dictionary with this bias) accurately notes the authoritarian, totalitarian, and dictatorial nature of Nazism, fascism, and their prime figureheads; Hitler and Mussolini.
When, however, the personalities and concepts associated with Communism are addressed, words denoting belligerence, oppressive control, and dictatorship are strangely absent.
Communism defined by the, no doubt, "progressive" scholars of the aforementioned dictionary is: "A theoretical economic system characterized by collective ownership of property and the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members" [emphasis mine]. Of course, communism has not been just a "theoretical" system any more than Nazi Germany was, and in practice it has been every bit as ruthless and totalitarian.
Stalin is described as a "Soviet politician who was general secretary of the Communist Party...and Premier" [emphasis mine].
Castro is merely a "Cuban revolutionary leader who overthrew Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and established a socialist state" [emphasis mine] (I guess it wasn't a communist state because communism is only a "theoretical" system?)
Here's a great definition of the guy (Pol Pot) who took Cambodia back to the "year zero" and was responsible for killing about a quarter of his country's population: "Cambodian political leader whose Khmer Rouge movement overthrew the Cambodian government in 1975" [emphasis mine] -- ever hear of, "The Killing Field's?"
At least the idiots who came up with these definitions realized that Hitler was chancellor and "absolute dictator" of the Third Reich. Remember when he and the Soviet "premier" invaded Poland together...also, can you say, "Gulag?"
This example of the pathetic whitewashing of Leftist history and values should be expected I guess, in a world where Saddam Hussein's dictatorship has often been referred to as, The Hussein "Administration" and George Bush's tenure in office is occasionally referred to as, the Bush "regime."
The Left's continued attempt to paint itself as docile and mainstream is far off the mark. Hating capitalism is one thing, pretending that the ruthless killers of millions are simple heads of state either shows a serious flaw in scholarship or a definite agenda regarding where some academics would like to see us go on the political spectrum.
How much more can these fools continue to whitewash, and even defend, tyranny? -- pathetic.
The new "leader" on the block
Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela, may someday have his own spot in the average dictionary as a “premier” or "leader." As the "revolution" in Venezuela continues, it's becoming a textbook case of Marxist coercion; lots of land confiscation, "redistribution,” and creeping control over all aspects of government and media. Make no mistake about it, Hugo is consolidating power. Next will come a “vote” to make him “leader for life” (an old totalitarian classic). His pal, Castro, in Cuba is getting old so someone needs to spread some authoritarian tyranny around to keep the autocratic leftist flame burning. In addition to the usual Socialist talking points, Chavez seems to be itching for a military conflict with the rich Capitalist neighbor to the north. As in most communist game plans, aside from tossing some symbolic (stolen) crumbs to the poor, Chavez is clearly amping up the martial rhetoric -- the usual nonsense about "spreading the 'revolution'." In a couple years, when we're bombing terrorist training camps in Venezuela I hope someone remembers that Jimmy Carter helped give this thug a seal of approval. He may be an emerging tyrant but hey, spoiled rich socialist college kids need another hero to worship, Che's become too mainstream.
A Comic Commentary from Promethean Visions:
In honor of Hugo Chavez and the predictable path of socialist "revolution."
Promethean Quote from The Promethean Observer:
"When one hears the argument that views in support of freedom are, 'Simplistic,' one is easily reminded of the complexity of thought that motivated Robespierre, Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and other collectivist tyrants -- the "complex" ideals of intellectuals have often resulted in the deaths of millions. 'Simplistic' minds tend to leave people alone."
Sunday, October 23, 2005
"Don't be a fool for you are a chap who dare to thwart the revolution..."
"Security" under socialist "philosophy" -- This is a (crude) translation of the "rules" posted at the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Of course, things in Cambodia could have been worse...some less than bright functionaries could have piled naked prisoners up and photographed them while humiliating their sense of self-esteem and sexual confidence (or, worse yet, "offended Islam").
Remember too that this list of rules and the slaughter of a quarter of Cambodia's population under the Khmer Rouge was really because of American bombing (say's Noam Chomsky) and not Marxist-Socialist "philosophy" implemented by a clique of French educated intellectuals.
(Another disturbing image from "The Killing Fields" can be seen at this week's Promethean Visions posting).
Unfair Definitions of “Fairness”...and other weekly stuff
(This is a rather long stretch of material, but there's considerable variety and the post will remain up for a week. By all means scroll down and consider the subjects you may find interesting, provocative, or annoying -- at least check out the cartoon near the end.)
The "progressively" less Mainstream Media has got to be squirming now. It's impossible to sideline the fact that the butcher of Bagdad is currently on trial. Although I'm quite sure attempts will be made to work Abu Ghraib and "Bush's war for oil" into the reporting. The main issue -- that Saddam Hussein really is a bad guy on steroids -- will have to be confronted and made noteworthy. Of course, he and his lawyers can be expected to spin the case against the evil American and British liberators of Iraq and, no doubt, news sources like the Neo-Comm New York Times will give it their best to put the trial itself "on trial" rather than acknowledge the evils done by a National Socialist dictator. Remember, he hated America and he kept capitalism controlled beneath his thumb, and that’s all that really matters.
Oh yes, just a reminder; the bombs going off in Iraq are under direction of an international Islamic-fascist Jihad -- not George Bush or Tony Blair (that's not too clear to some people).
Last week's posts included a link to The People's Cube regarding their on-going trials with a less than honest leftist/capitalist business (not a new concept). The plot continues, and the folks at the People's Cube continue to be ever so brilliant. The image of Nick Nolte as a potential Che Guevara non-look-alike is hilarious and the retorts to Cafe Press sublime. Some very skillful and entertaining writing.
Tech Central Station has an excellent summary of the libertarian view:
“...Consider the following classification system for government regulations and programs.
(a) interventions that work so much better than private alternatives that we feel grateful for them
(b) interventions that are better than private alternatives in some ways and worse in others
(c) interventions that are mostly worse than private alternatives
(d) interventions that are evil”
“Libertarians look at government and see interventions that are mostly in categories (b), (c), and (d). I would put municipal fire departments in category (a), government water treatment in category (b), public education and Social Security in category (c), and protectionist trade measures such as the Byrd Amendment in category (d). Where the United States is really lucky compared with countries like Zimbabwe is that those other countries' government interventions are predominantly in category (d).”
“My sense is that non-libertarians view interventions as fitting mostly into categories (a) and (b), and they believe that the programs that they favor are all category (a). I believe that their attachment to government interventions owes more to wishful thinking than to a realistic assessment of results. My reading of history is that progressives tend to exaggerate both the need for government interventions and the likely results of such interventions..."
Some Marxists never die, but I wish they’d at least fade away.
The following comments refer to excerpts from an article I had read some time ago (the beginning of September).
During the media parade over Hurricane Katrina related issues (used by many in the media to press leftists talking points on race, poverty, and “class”), Global Viewpoint editor, Nathan Gardels, interviewed American civil rights personality and former U.N. ambassador, Andrew Young. The exchange was classic leftist caricature in overdrive. I have to comment on some of the blatantly absurd statements made by both the interviewer and his echo.
"Nathan Gardels: To what extent is the catastrophe in New Orleans a symptom — perhaps even a metaphor — of where America as a whole has gone wrong: A vast class gap has re-emerged as the spirit of the Great Society lapsed and policies over the past 25 years generally favored private wealth over public investment, both in physical infrastructure, like the levees, as well as in human capital." (Emphasis mine)
(My Comments) : The levee that broke in New Orleans was one that had actually been upgraded. The greatest catastrophe in the Katrina fiasco was local and state government’s incompetence and corruption, an issue that has yet to be even acknowledged by the “everything is Bush’s fault” crowd.
The language chosen in this “question” is classic Marxist class rant. First of all, there’s an automatic assumption that, “America has gone wrong.” Many would beg to differ, particularly in view of the fact that it’s still the strongest economy in the world with a rather low unemployment rate, crime figures on par with many European countries (in spite of urban myths that seek to indicate otherwise), continues to innovate and diversify while vast numbers of people from around the world keep wanting to become its citizens.
Gardels claims that some “class-gap” has “re-emerged,” something that the left has continually claimed to be occurring throughout history everywhere, except their favored caste-system dictatorships (“of the proletariat”). The “class-gap,” which is a fairly dynamic but narrowly fluctuating statistic in America, is a non-issue ultimately (please see link).
"Andrew Young: I agree...Americans prospered during the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt when the old and weak were taken care of."
(My Comments) : God, ain’t this a load of crap (excuse my lack of decorum). Americans did not “prosper” during Roosevelt’s massive increase in central state authority, the great depression continued throughout his administration (largely due to his statist/anti-business policies). Even a secondary myth, that the Second World War ended the depression is not completely accurate. A war economy may be amped-up but is hardly a healthy economy. People are put to work making armaments, and guys going off to war can be said to be “employed” (I suppose), but a genuine economic rebound from the depression didn’t truly occur until war-time and Roosevelt-time controls were lifted from the economy during the 1950’s. Young’s additional fiction, “…when the old and weak were taken care of” seems to overlook the seven trillion dollars thus far spent by the federal government alone since the mid 60’s for “social programs.” In typical socialist illusion-land, instantly the poor and downtrodden have been cast aside because Bush is in the White House – this is absolute B.S. in high gear. Rest assured, there is still massive amounts of cash flowing to useless social service bureau-leeches (“the old and weak” – give me a break. Nice try).
"Gardels: Does this suggest that America needs what many other places in the world from Germany to South Korea already have — a stronger state?"
(My Comments) : Well, at least, now he’s getting to the point. With socialists, it’s never really about “the poor, weak, and oppressed.” It’s about feeding power to the state (to themselves and their “planning” philosophies). The U.S. federal government isn’t strong enough? (e.g. American’s are too free?). How can we demonstrate our “love and compassion” for fellow citizens in need? I’ve got it!...A stronger state, that’s what we need!
"Young: Private wealth is not always wise and rarely takes into account public responsibilities. But a creative, activist state can leverage that wealth."
(My Comments) : A new oxymoron; “creative…state.” If there’s one thing I admire about government offices and bureaucrats, it’s their “creativity.” …The usual disdain for “private wealth” and demand that free people perform their “responsibilities” (which will, of course be defined by people like young and other statist philosopher kings). This guy is too classic. Guess what Andrew? I don’t want to join your fasocialist commune. Call me, and people like me, “selfish”…then, leave us alone.
"Gardels: ...Back when you were with Dr. King, the big conflict was guns vs. butter, whether America could pay for both the Great Society and the Vietnam War. Can we now pay for rebuilding New Orleans and the Iraq war?"
(My Comments) : These guys are too much. As previously stated, the “Great Society” programs of the 1960’s (and continuing into today at greatly expanded cost) have cost over seven TRILLION dollars up to now – that’s some seriously expensive “butter.” I guess this fool’s either/or false predicament would prefer to see Islamo-fascists rule over Iraq and the greater middle east so the corrupt leaders of New Orleans could snag a new infusion of cash (which they’re going to get anyway!).
"Young: No, because I know how poor New Orleans is. I grew up there. Actually, I'm afraid of the opposite in the coming days and weeks. Because poor black people lived in the central city, they had access to public transportation to at least get to the Superdome or elsewhere, to get out where they were visible. I'm afraid the bodies they find around the suburbs will be largely white — poor people who didn't have access to public transportation or who stayed behind to watch their property while others in the family fled in their only car."
(My Comments) : There’s that phony diatribe again about the poor being abandoned, with the omission of exactly how that occurred through the negligence and incompetence of New Orleans’s black Mayor and Louisiana’s Democrat governor. (Remember the photo of flooded school busses left abandoned by the city’s mayor
Neither the interviewer nor his kindred echo in the above polemic can be called full-blown Stalinists, but their cliché talking points are classic commarxist worldview delusions.
The bottom line in the whole rant/"interview" is that an already powerful central government should be made more powerful and it should control its citizen's freedom for the sake of some contrived concern for the poor on the part of two intellectual elitists. I realize that fervent “name-calling” isn’t the hallmark of good debate, but these two clowns are nothing less than typical fasocialists and – I’ve got to say it – a__holes.
(The following essay was originally posted at this site last year)
In appraising daily events among people, one need not even consider politics to hold impressions as to what is, “fair” or “unfair.” When such values are extrapolated into the political sphere they are often embellished with common cries like, “It’s not fair…!” or, “It wouldn’t be fair if…!”
Anyone who has ever made a work schedule (I used to manage restaurants) realizes the power they hold to reward, punish, or acknowledge an employee by the shifts and hours they assign to them. When such employees take issue with their scheduling fate they inevitably argue the “fairness” of satisfying their personal interest in the matter. “I have more seniority than…” “I should get the good shifts and best hours…” “Why does X have off Saturday, I’ve worked here longer?” Of course seniority is a worthy consideration between employees of similar ability and application, but should a hard working, responsible, or superior worker be given a worse schedule at the expense of a less effective or committed employee who “has seniority?” Is there even such a thing as a “superior” employee, who deserves superior consideration? Similar mundane predicaments arise daily everywhere. Such issues can be extrapolated into the most complex social/political circumstance. Some economic systems clearly reward intelligence or initiative or even tolerate “luck” more than others. Some actually reward or tolerate apathy, sloth, and failure. In my college Teacher Education School, one fellow student once protested that in her classroom all students will get “A’s” because they all have equal potential and any shortcoming on the part of a student must be the teacher’s fault. (By saying this she was of course also suggesting that she was an “A” producing teacher in general). If everyone is “special” doesn’t that ultimately mean that no one is? (This insightful question was asked by a character in the recent movie, “The Incredibles”).
Is it fair when one sacrifices a dollar to buy a lottery ticket and wins two dollars…or thousands? Is it unfair when they “win” nothing and are a dollar poorer? Should one person be punished for winning or another rewarded for losing? Of course the typical left-minded political idealist would compel such people to “share” the win or the loss. If they didn’t “share” (relinquish) they’d be seen as “selfish” (e.g. “unfair”) and, in the ideal leftist system, probably publicly chastised and punished.
It’s ironic that some who see possession of wealth as unfair also see theft of wealth as…fair!
The entire socialist perspective is ultimately based on the idea of redistribution of wealth as a means of establishing “equality” and by default, “fairness.” To achieve such a “fair and equal” system always necessitates conformity and submission to an arbitrary authority (e.g. the state). Is being forced into such submission fair? Those of us on the right -- classical liberals -- don’t think so.
In the rarified realms of ideal philosophy and religion one can of course speak of everyone as being equal “in the end,” or equal “before the law” or “before God” etc. These ideal values hold little practical significance when genuine standards are applied in appraising the differences among us. In honest contexts, some people are "better" than others (though many people hate hearing that). Certainly some are more honest, thrifty, original, ambitious, or prone to take risks. None are “equal.” There isn’t a molecule in existence that is truly “equal” to another considering factors of time, location, or other contextual status. One can claim it to be unfair to lose a loved one to a natural disaster. Would it be fairer for it to be someone else?
Definitions of fairness always assume that one’s self or groups favored by one’s self should be on the receiving end of such fairness. Then there’s the argument that, “I want a system that is fair to everyone…so give me your money” (a paradox, indeed).
The same obsessions that some have regarding fairness toward individuals or groups are often applied to differences among nations as well.
In the United Nations, random members each get a turn leading its “Human Rights Commission.” This includes unelected dictatorships known for their serious lack of basic human rights – another bizarre manifestation of left-wing “fairness.”
It is often said that America’s wealth and success is unfair in a world where some nations are seen as unfairly poor. Zimbabwe is poor. North Korea is poor. Is this fair? I think it would be more honest and accurate to ask if it’s fair that the citizens of such countries live under authority that deprives them the freedom to pursue wealth and good fortune, but this is never much an issue of concern to those who sympathize with collectivism and the tyranny required to implement it. Robert Mugabe – in classic Marxist style – seized land from white farmers who he decided had owned it unfairly, and gave it to the blacks of Zimbabwe to farm. The result has been that the socialist definition of fairness has once again turned a “bread basket” into a region wrought with famine. Now some would claim that it’s not fair that some countries have so much food and Zimbabwe doesn’t. The socialist solution would no doubt be, to let them continue their stupid Marxist “agrarian reform” and give them food -- or seize it -- from the free market countries that produce surpluses.
In the left’s pathetically simple view; the US is wealthy, North Korea and Zimbabwe are poor, therefore citizens of the US should give their wealth to North Korea, – “We should all learn to share.” Usually the demand is made in a more roundabout way, “We need to do the things required to create a more just and equal order among nations.” How about supporting the concept of giving all citizens the freedom to create, buy, and sell freely, and allowing them to keep the wealth they obtain from such interactions? – Well, no, that’s not quite what they have in mind when calling for socialist "fairness."
One’s sympathy or support for capitalism or communism ultimately arises from the stance one takes in considering what is “fair” in a natural world that takes no sides. To classical liberals, communism -- the seizing of personal property, wealth, and values -- is unfair; to the left and its varieties of socialism, capitalism is unfair because free agents and actions will skew society considerably from a cherished “equality.” To them, it’s simply not fair that life isn’t fair (e.g. doesn’t give them automatic access to conditions as they want them to be).
Self-interest of course enters the picture when considering the motivations that draw one to a side of the political spectrum. First one must acknowledge the existence of self-interest in the first place. The Left prefers the word, “selfish” and thinks the concept is “socially constructed,” but that’s a whole other issue in the dichotomies that separate right from left.
Operating a large company for profit is no more an act of self-interest than imposing state authority over such an industry to placate one’s philosophical yearnings. Is it not an act of self-interest to want one’s own philosophy to be the standard upon which society operates?
Related to the issue of “what is fair” is the often-arbitrary appraisal of what one “deserves.” If someone works hard, is ambitious, makes sacrifices, bides their time, and achieves their goals, I would say they “deserve” the rewards of their actions – monetary or otherwise. To many on the left, however, a person’s mere possession of wealth is in itself cause to claim they “don’t deserve it” and it should be given to people who “deserve it more” (another one of the lefts’ more common and groundless assertions).
Those of us who value our individuality and have faith in our capacity to achieve our goals when unhindered will always see it as unfair when others seek to restrain our free thought and action or deprive us of what we seek or what we have gained. There will also be those who feel their own lower status can only be the result of victim hood at the hands of unfairness. One side of the issue will always favor individuality and freedom, the other, “equality” (of outcome) and coerced “redistribution.” Both sides will be arguing from a standpoint of self-interest. While a belief in self-interest and individual freedom certainly drives the philosophy of the right, the left is no less motivated by self-interest.
When the Right seeks to make the case for what it sees as fair to its own self-interest and values, it need only say, “Leave me alone.” The Left’s case is always stated as a variation on, “Give me your stuff” and, “Do what I tell you to do.” What could be a more unfair definition of fairness?
A Comic Commentary from Promethean Visions:
Clulelessness in oppressed times...
Promethean Quote from The Promethean Observer:
"Reading the favored tomes of the left (i.e. Marx and Chomsky) doesn’t make one 'well-informed,' as so many leftists would insist; it merely makes one well informed of the left’s biased perceptions. What’s so impressive about that?"
Saturday, October 15, 2005
“You Must Be Making Millions!”
First, some random stuff
11 Iraqi War Myths is one of the best hyper-sober, no B.S. appraisals I’ve seen regarding the myths that are now accepted regularly, by so many, as facts (thanks mostly to our pals in media play-land).
A sampling; regarding the myth/claim that “they” are Insurgents, not Terrorists :
“The word “insurgent” is a loaded term that confers legitimacy since it is neutrally defined as “one who opposes authority.” It is broad enough to apply to any American who votes for the Green Party, for example, as well as the citizen who bombs a government building in Oklahoma City in the middle of the day.
Obviously, it is intellectually dishonest to categorize Ralph Nader loyalists alongside those who use violence to overthrow a democratically elected government, so narrower terminology is not just appropriate, but morally imperative.
We modestly suggest that those who commit violent acts of terror against a democratic government and its citizens be known as terrorists.”
The very cool folks at The People’s Cube have run into a lefto-hypocrite organization disguising itself as a capitalist enterprise. The initial product that The People’s Cube sought to market was witty and well-done in itself. Their response to typical leftist attempts at censorship is brilliant, entertaining, and praiseworthy on all accounts.
Some media clones from the hate Bush parade have gone off the deep end completely. I happened to read the very same article that this critique’ addresses so well (and came to the same conclusions). The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank gave a play by play poetic description of the number of times George Bush blinked (!) while answering questions recently. The journalist (this person is really a journalist?!) also notes that Bush spoke, “unprotected by the usual lectern.” This one definitely deserves an award as among the most biased and rabidly psychotic anti-Bush “news articles” I’ve seen in quite awhile. I can’t ever remember a description of any prior president where attempts to describe and interpret body language was the prime focus of a story.
I wanted to laugh when I saw the latest tribute to John Lennon (Lenin?); “Working Class Hero.” I’ve never completely understood why filthy rich ego-maniacs so often consider themselves (and are considered by others) to be experts on “the working class.” Yes, Lennon was a great musician, but his credentials for the running of modern nation-states or understanding the dynamics of a successful economy were weak at best.
I like “rock” music, for what it is. Of course some pieces are better than others but few come close to a good jazz work or a symphony.
William Grim offers some excellent insight into the issue, pointing out that the most “revolutionary” of music genres is in fact the most bourgeoisie;
“After World War II, wage increases and new musicians' union restrictions on overnight travel made the 18-piece big band increasingly less viable from an economic standpoint. Solo singers like Sinatra and Como then became the focus of popular music, but even they needed a lot of backup musicians. What became known as rock and roll was really a sanitized version of what had been termed "race music," a prototype of r&b that was marketed only to the black community. Dumbing down "race music" for white audiences was an economic godsend for the recording companies. No longer did they need to worry about employing trained musicians or even performers who could read music. In fact, what was needed was an attractive face that could lip-synch. In the 50s Milli Vanilli was called Shelley Fabares. Rock music is the least revolutionary and most overwhelmingly bourgeois music of all time. It has been brilliantly marketed to the barbaric baby boomers and their monstrous progeny who, being victims of the American educational system, confused drug use, laziness and moral turpitude with revolution. I'm sure that V.I. Lenin would have laughed John Lennon off the stage of the First Internationale.”
My essay of the week, I guess...
I used to manage restaurants, three different ones over a period of a few years. I was one of those non-college-track guys (I eventually attended college later in life) whose attendance and organization as a waiter was adequate enough to get myself promoted to assistant manager and eventually manager in a twenty-four hour breakfast restaurant chain. During my “career in the food service industry” I saw plenty of minimum wage dishwashers, waitresses, and cooks become managers along with decent paychecks, respectability, and résumé points. A lot of people in America follow a similar career-track scenario, many of them immigrants or the children of immigrants. As a matter of fact, many in that famous statistical group, “the poor,” do this; being “poor” in a few year’s statistics and middle class or above a couple years later. Of course, certain political persuasions would rather you not consider this dynamic. To them, there is a static group of “oppressed” poor people forever stuck in minimum wage poverty. The actual number of people who do remain in the same economic status that they entered the work force in is a tiny fragment of the much touted “poverty” stats. Currently “those living in poverty” in the U.S. are about 13% of the population and that number barely fluctuates more than a single percentage point over decades. “Poverty” statistics are based on income (and not income from government assistance) and includes plenty of twenty-something slackers living at their parent’s home in a “destitute” lifestyle of listing to music from their CD collection. Some simply take a year off from college and go backpacking – little or no income, therefore, “in poverty.” Some of the others amongst the poor really are poor, but with half a brain and the sense to show up to work on time, will not be poor at another time in their life. There are plenty of rich people and even presidents who, earlier in their lives were poor. In any event, this ever changing population within the static statistic, “poor,” is certainly not just cause for “revolution” or any other authoritarian scheme to dismantle the distinctly positive attributes of a free economy.
…back to the restaurant.
I remember during my shifts as a waiter, when there was a line of people out the door, there was always some “regular” who’d comment that we (the restaurant) “must be making millions!” – so it had seemed. Of course I could see the same obvious reality myself. Just do the math. The average meal cost X dollars and there’s “a million” people lined up throwing money into a cash register – there ya have it, “millions of dollars” for the rich, capitalist (don’t forget “evil”) corporation.
It wasn’t until I was promoted and trained in the accounting part of management that I found out the real picture, the picture every business large and small faces. The “bottom-line” was a pathetic fragment of all that visual wealth coming through the restaurant’s doors. It hadn’t occurred to me that the restaurant was actually still paying, each month, for its original construction and equipment. It also hadn’t occurred to me that the food we were charging others for actually had to be paid for by us initially. The store was not only paying its staff as well as the manager and supervisor that hovered between individual stores, but their payroll taxes, half the “contribution” to social security, and unemployment insurance. There were utilities, “maintenance” (costly things like repairing the parking lot and cleaning the kitchen “chimney”), The usual varieties of fire and liability insurance etc., advertising, landscaping, the corporate headquarters’ accounting staff, lawyers etc. etc.
I was initially rather shocked that the clearly busy and successful restaurant I was working at was making a month-end profit barely adequate to purchase a new car! Of course this was the “bottom line” profit that would ultimately go to stock holders. Multiplied by the number of stores in the chain, the company as a whole was indeed “making millions” but, like most corporations, reinvesting a large portion of the money in other projects, or expansion. While “X” company was “making millions,” few considered the path to that end. Company wide, the restaurants were paying millions to a broad spectrum of other businesses and employees. This is something that doesn’t occur in countries that have declared war on business, profit, private ownership, and wealth, which is why those countries that have successfully defeated capitalism (always through force, since people naturally create, sell, and purchase when left unhindered) are destitute basket-cases (i.e. Cuba and North Korea) living off the charity and extorted funds of other nations. It’s bad enough that such ruthless leech states destroy human liberties like the right to self-expression, but their rulers have deliberately chosen to actually make their countries poor for no other reason than an obsession with an ideology and their envy of free people’s potential for success. There are few people working as waiters, landscapers, or advertisers when private institutions that employ such services have been outlawed or discouraged out of existence. Of course my example -- a restaurant -- isn’t the same thing as an oil company, airline, or movie production company -- wait! -- yes it is! Every company has expenses, unseen and unconsidered by those who can only decry profit as something evil and wrong. To “make millions” requires not only a much maligned, self-interest but the drive, intelligence, creativity, and organizational skill to attain such productive ends.
Every rich, successful business spends massive amounts of money. The cost of health insurance premiums alone for auto workers has threatened to bankrupt some companies. (This is not because of the high cost of a few serious, life saving treatments, but the cost of a lot of minor and simple office visits now deemed automatic rights by laborers – when you subsidize anything you get more of it).
Regarding that once successful restaurant chain I had worked for; it eventually went out of business. Like many who invest the money, risk, time, and effort into a business enterprise, it eventually failed (after decades of success). The managers and employees all moved on to other things. They could have instead just worshipped an ideology, “redistributed” wealth until it was gone and unreplenished, and lived the miserable existence that wealth envy as public policy eventually produces. Instead, they found their temporary niche and took their slice of a company’s effort “to make millions,” which is one reason that America and Americans are “rich” by any historical economic standard (and so many other countries that fail to see the virtue of freedom and individual achievement are stagnant or poor).
A single restaurant with a line out the door probably isn’t making millions, but it and its employees are likely doing better than those in a country where no such free economic conditions are even permitted.
Next time you decry the injustice of another’s success you may consider that they're maybe doing something you’re not, and that income is the result of considerable expenditure.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to make, or succeeding in making, “millions,” particularly when the collective alternative is stasis, failure, and the socialist journey to mere subsistence – or worse.
A Comic Commentary from Promethean Visions:
Finding the truth...
Promethean Quote from The Promethean Observer:
"There are three paths to peace for a Democracy:
1. Defeat the authoritarian enemy (a democracy’s adversary will never be another democracy).
2. Sit on your ass and let an authoritarian institution defeat you and establish its oppressive system of ideals over you, your family, and neighbors.
3. “Establish dialog” (See number 2)."
Monday, October 10, 2005
Film-making in a Violent and Sinful Land
I recently saw Sin City, the widely praised hybrid animation/human-actor film of violence and excess (there’s often a delay between when movies come out in America and eventually make it up to my area of Japan).
The artist in me liked the artistry aspects of the film. In spite of what one may have gleaned from past rants on this site, I like artists -- when they actually produce art (as opposed to pretending to have the credentials to effectively run a nation state).
This is not a film review but I will say that Sin City’s technique, a quasi-animated monochrome tableau, is “artistic” and impressive. Some of the script writing was rather well done as well (i.e. “delusions of eloquence”). One can see Quentin Tarantino’s contributions to the film; plenty of gratuitous violence to satisfy the perverse artiste’ in anyone (I’m personally not into the dismembered body parts kind of thing).
Halfway through the flick, an Irish character refers to America as the “land of opportunity” sarcastically while adding a chastisement regarding its “low taxes” (the left’s PR folks are never really clear why it’s a grand and heroic thing to take more of people’s money). This is all, of course, to let us know that the crime-laden cesspool of violence and cruelty we’re watching is supposed to be a city in America. Prior to the comment, I thought it was just some timeless fantasy locale. I’ve lived in several places in America, both urban and rural (New York City being one of them), and “Sin City” didn’t have the slightest resemblance in character to any of them. It was more than ironic that the Irish character in the movie was the one decrying America’s “low taxes” (which actually aren’t so low) considering that Ireland has only recently risen from perpetual poverty to considerable prosperity after having enacted free market principals – which include, of course, lowering taxes.
While watching this interesting, well done -- but disgusting -- movie, I was confirming to myself the premise of an article I had recently read which theorizes as to why Hollywood is in another serious slump (as it had been at other times in its past). The essay could be accused of some right wing conspiratorial perceptions but, on the whole, I think the writer is on to something. While some Americans and a whole lot of Europeans and Canadians etc. may gain satisfaction seeing the U.S. depicted as a corrupt, sinful, and horrid place, a lot of American audiences prefer something more uplifting, or at least honest. In watching such depictions of The United States (this isn’t the first movie to depict the country as a violent, gloomy, and evil society), you’d never know that, on average days, lots of Americans attend concerts, art galleries, and baseball games, or do the laundry, hug their childrdn, tie their shoe laces, and take their families to picnics or even (dare I say) church.
Unless you regularly read conservative or libertarian blogs and websites, it may never even occur to you to question the fantasy images Hollywood regularly produces depicting the U.S. In movie after movie, the villains are greedy corrupt corporations, and their military-industrial puppet masters. In truth, the State department and even the CIA are full of “progressives” who openly despise their country and sympathize with its enemies (not a new thing).
In many movies of late, the template has swayed so far from reality that the latest terrorist movie, Flight Plan features an air marshal and flight attendant as terrorists (it couldn’t possibly be an Islamic Fascist fanatic now, could it?!).
It now seldom occurs to the herd in Hollywood to make a movie where the bad guys actually bear some resemblance in character to the ones in real life – fanatical terrorists, totalitarian ideologues, and coercive socialist authoritarian control freaks. No, the frightening villain of most movies is…the business person -- capitalism and its supposed ever-present “greed.” Does it not strike one as a little odd when one of the wealthiest cliques’ in America -- the Hollywood crowd -- lectures the rest of us on the horrors of …wealth? Of course this shouldn’t be a surprise from an industry that has had a long love affair with everyone from Joe Stalin to Fidel Castro. I’d love to see a movie about Castro or Che, for example, where the audience actually gets to see what these guys really did, both in acts of violence and in their destruction of an island nation.
Hollywood will still no doubt continue to produce pampered elitists’ fantasies while wondering why their audiences in America continue dwindling, but the Democratic party keeps putting out the same Jacobin product as well and wonders why they keep losing elections (even against a “stupid simpleton/evil genius”).
If you like watching movies where evil violent villains scurry about in assorted rat holes, go for it, but if you’re considering such templates to be accurate depictions of America, at least have the knowledge, sense, and insight to know that they’re not. The real “sin” in all of this is that rich Hollywood spoiled brats hate the country that has afforded them wealth, prestige, and influence; one of the most dynamic, diverse, prosperous, and generally good countries to have graced the pages of history.
One must remember, there are many whose idea of good is an “equality” (leveled conformity) imposed by coercive centralized state authority and a “peace’ where, in all confrontations, freedom loses – truly sinful behavior.
A Comic Commentary from Promethean Visions:
Promethean Quote from The Promethean Observer:
"‘Geniuses’ are overrated. I prefer the simple wisdom of common folks; for their general decency and common sense, as well as the unlikelihood that they'd kill millions of people in some grandiose utopian social scheme.”
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
The "Religion of Peace" Kills More Innocents
The extremist wing of the "Religion of Peace" has taken some more innocent victims (along with the usual young suicidal dupes).
What exactly does Bali have to do with Iraq? For that matter, what does southern Thailand or the Philippines and other hotbeds of Islamo-fascist insurgency have to do with Iraq? Will we soon be hearing excuses blaming George Bush’s removal of a fascist dictator who used to kill Shiite Muslims? Will we be hearing the "poverty" excuse again? What exactly is it going to take to convince biased international news media and "commentators" to get a clue regarding the nature of Islamo-fascist Jihad’s motives and objectives?
As with fascist predecessors of times past, a time will come when the war that civilized peoples are now confronted with will be called what it is. At that time, contrived euphemisms like “the war on terror" will finally be changed to a more accurate moniker, (i.e. “the war with fanatical fascist Islamic extremism”). The continuing random acts of violence against innocents throughout the world in the name of “Jihad” will perhaps then be seen by enough people as deserving a more serious response (a course of action that should have been taken years ago). The "peacemakers” of the world never seem to want to act against foul sects (like Nazism and Islamo-fascism) while such institutions are still in their infancy. Instead, we must wait till the obvious distinction between good and evil shows itself in the deaths of millions (as we saw in the fascist and communist precedents).
As I have done in the past, I have to paraphrase Neal Boortz; “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslim.” Those are the facts. If you don't like that, all the more reason to end support and sympathy for such deliberate killers.
Islam is not a "religion of peace" anymore than Communism was a system of limited government that honored the individual.
For those decent, moderate Muslim who simply wish to practice their religion with tolerance toward others, you need to become a lot more vocal or consider that many members of your religion are putting it in a rather terrible light. While the tactics and polemics of Jihad might have a sympathetic voice with journalism majors and overpaid academics in the west, the common citizen can see where this is all going and, in the next few years, more of them will be loosing their patience.
Again, the recent bombing in Bali is another example of wanton brutality that has nothing to do with Iraq or any of the other phony excuses given for such actions (the World Trade Center itself was struck long before Iraq was liberated from its fascist dictatorship). To the horrid fools who make excuses for such actions, you best reconsider your twisted appraisal of events as sympathy for you will be diminished in coming years as well.
The public's mixed appraisals will soon be wearing thin, and more and more people will begin to see the "religion of peace" for what it is by the most honest method of appraisal -- simply observing its terrible and all too consistent actions.
Spontaneous Archetypal Variation and the Question of Good and Evil
Let a cloud of hydrogen simmer for a few billion years and all sorts of things are bound to happen.
You could end up with some beautiful flowers…and ugly weeds, some slow-moving docile creatures...and some quick agile predators. Carry the show further (yet nowhere near its “conclusion”) and you may even end up with a life-form smarter than the others but, none the less, packaged in designs slow-moving and docile or quick and agile…or, good and evil.
It should be noted that variation in temperament and the relative value of such differences are not the same thing. A dull person is not "just as creative" as any other. A person or group that is generally good is not just as evil as those that are genuinely evil.
The manifestation of archetypal variation in nature or human character is evident all around us and has been throughout our history. There have been, and continue to be, good and evil to varying degrees in individuals, families, clans, and nations. Nazi Germany was evil and – guess what – so was the former Soviet Union. To make the issue even more difficult; evil people sometimes do good things and good people occasionally do bad. Michael Moore proved to us that Saddam Hussein's fascist police state allowed some people to fly kites and Abu Ghraib proved that evil behavior can, and does, occur in free and open societies -- but this hardly makes either institution even vaguely equivalent.
Asking the perpetually moot question; "Are humans basically good or evil?" is like asking if rainbows are basically red or blue.
No one would suggest that rainbows should be "made blue," but plenty of Philosophers and assorted control freaks have suggested (often demanded) that “we” make people good (while tipping their own hats to some who are genuinely evil).
I once read of a psychology experiment where dominant “alpha males” of exceptional leadership abilities were taken from different schools and brought together, for a time, to a camp. Within their new context, they inevitably split off into their own hierarchy of leadership and submission. This episode is only anecdotal of course, but it can commonly be observed that human personality and character does indeed “branch off” in the same way as any phylum of plant or animal. (For that matter, even geological material over time diversifies into types ; hard, soft, dark, light, rough, smooth, etc.). Those who are lost in the ethers of high philosophical abstraction could of course argue that a scorpion is every bit as beautiful and harmless as a butterfly (or that "Bush is Hitler"). Fortunately such perspectives are primarily limited to the intellectual caste (along with their other fanciful notions).
In any given group of twenty or so people, there’s bound to be one who’s shy or domineering. In any group of a few million, there’s bound to be an axe murderer (this obviously doesn’t mean we should give axe murderers and control freaks our approval). Is it so surprising that humans and their complex world of values and character should diversify into the traits we call good or evil?
Of course good is preferable to evil and, relativism aside, there’s some space open for interpretation but, as long as the universe is one in which spontaneous archetypal variation occurs, we’ll never be rid of evil.
On the flip side, we’ll never be rid of good either – and that is certainly a good thing.
A Comic Commentary from Promethean Visions:
Hating the rich while skiing
Promethean Quote from The Promethean Observer:
"No one can 'prove' that I should be a slave to a collectivist ideal, and I can't "prove" that I should be left alone. None the less, I choose to be left alone."