Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we’re considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that’s a pretty narrow vision. It’s not one that, I think, describes what’s best in America.
Barack H. Obama
[secondary source] http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/10/26/barack-obama-doesnt-think-ayn-rand-is-a-fountainhead-of-ideas/
Of course, rules of fairness have to be enforced, because what other safeguard do we have -- besides the Press. Now, I never suggest that the Press is biased. I recognize they have their job to do and I have my job to do. My job is to lay out a positive vision for the future of the country, and their job is to make sure no one else finds out about it. Let's just say that some in the media have a certain way of looking at things. When suddenly I pulled ahead in some of the major polls, what was the headline?: "Polls show Obama leading from behind." And I've already seen early reports from tonight's dinner: "Headline: Obama embraced by Catholics, Romney dines with rich people."
http://rebirthofreason.com/Spirit/Videos/273.shtml [2012 Al Smith dinner in New York]
Since all demands for equality are by definition meritorious regardless of merit, and since consequences are irrelevant, some interpreters say that inequalities anywhere should be fought against equally. But some inequalities are more egregious, say others, and thus more deserving of society's immediate concern. ... People, they say, know what they want, so no hierarchy of importance is required. [The moral man] starts anywhere, singling out for crusade the specific injustice about which he feels strongly; he is moved by emotionally charged concretes in the here and now. His eyes are not on a vision of an ideal human future, but on a perceptual-level flux of social sores--inequality of health insurance, of gender pay, of wheelchair access, et al--sores to be picked up piecemeal, fought against, and, if the emotional charge runs down, dropped piecemeal.
Book: The DIM Hypothesis. (2012). New American Library, p 175-6
None of us -- none of us have to settle for the best this administration offers, a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us. Listen to the way we're already spoken to -- listen to the way we are spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate. It's the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio. Now when I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey, where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That is that we do in this country. That is the American dream. That's freedom and I will take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.
The other day I had a conversation with a co-worker about politics. At one point I said I don't really think it matters who wins the next election, because the real war is not being fought on that level. I explained that politics is an extension of ethics, and as long as our culture embraces altruism, you can never expect a real improvement.
Despite the rise in the income of the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers as a statistical category, both absolutely and relative to the incomes in other categories, as flesh-and-blood human beings those individuals who were in that category initially had their incomes actually fall by a whopping 50 percent between 1996 and 2005.
Book: Intellectuals and Society. Basic Books; p. 38
They have tried to sell us this trickle-down tax cut fairy dust before. Guess what? We've seen this before. It didn't work then. It will not work now. It's not a plan to create jobs. It is not a plan to lower our deficit.
President Barack Obama
In a state-run society the government promises you security. But it's a false promise predicated on the idea that the opposite of security is risk. Nothing could be further from the truth. The opposite of security is insecurity, and the only way to overcome insecurity is to take risks. The gentle government that promises to hold your hand as you cross the street refuses to let go on the other side.
The value, or WORTH of a man, is ... not absolute; but a thing dependent on the need and judgment of another.
Leviathan, English Works, 3, p. 76
So here's the point: "There are no self-made men. The individual is subservient to the state." This is what Lakoff was trying to conceive that other Democrats could take out into the public domain. They're not talking about roads. This isn't about roads and bridges. Obama and the Democrats are engaged in what I would call 'a determined philosophical takedown of the individual,' at the expense of the total empowerment of the state. If you read a sentence of this or a whole paragraph, what Obama's saying is: There is no self-made man.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
President Barack Obama
2012 campaign rally in Roanoke, Virginia
An entity which was not concerned with itself or, to put it better, an entity that did not value itself, would not exist for very long. But now children are below the understanding of the issues and, in effect, do not have a choice. It is when children begin to speak -- when they begin to acquire ideas -- that their choice begins. And the idea of self-sacrifice is a totally artificial, very evil idea which children and adults learn from others -- which is passed from person to person. Now this doesn't mean that if a child were left alone he would naturally be selfish, properly. No, because it an enormous achievement to discover rational selfishness. Not acting on whim or pleasure of the moment, but knowing what is rationally an imporant goal, of what value is it to you, and how to achieve it. The idea of being rationally selfish is not available to children. It would take a long period of thought -- or the proper teaching -- for them to discover it.
1962 Interview on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson
Capitalism is our economic system. The thing we value the most is freedom. We're American and if you believe in freedom, you can't have the free without the dumb. You can't have it. They go hand in hand. Freedom allows you to do dumb things, things we find reprehensible. ... And so football has to be tolerated no different than Ronald McDonald. Ronald McDonald has done far more damage to America than any football coach, any of these overpaid coaches that [Buzz Bissinger is] talking about. ... Football brings the poor and the rich, the black and the white, the Jews and the gentiles -- it brings everybody together, particularly at the college level. Your high school experience, for the most part, is segregated. Your little league experience is segregated. ... I watch our major broadcast media and I watch the clueless, people that don't have the diversity of experience that I have through college football and through life and I watch them consistently tear this country apart. I watched them do it with George Zimmerman, OJ Simpson, Rodney King. Whatever the big media story. Barack Obama. Consistently tear this country apart.
Jason Whitlock (sports writer)
May 2012 Intelligence Squared U.S. debate: "Ban college football"
The lack of money is the root of all evil
The degree of heritability of IQ places no constraint on the degree of modifiability that is possible. ... think about two facts: (a) the heritability of height is about .85 to .90 and (b) gains in average height of a standard deviation or more have appeared in a generation or less in several countries in the world. The average height of thirteen-year-old Korean boys increased by more than seven inches between 1965 and 2005, a difference of 2.4 SDs. The forty-year time span is far too brief for genetics to have played a role in the increase. ... the heritability of a characteristic within a given population places no theoretical constraint on the modifiability of that characteristic by environmental forces.
Richard E. Nisbett
Book: Intelligence and How to Get It: Why schools and cultures count. (2009). Norton; p 38
The [obesity] epidemic was caused by the overproduction of food in the United States. Beginning in the 1970s, there was a change in national agricultural policy. Instead of the government paying farmers not to engage in full production, as was the practice, they were encouraged to grow as much food as they could. At the same time, technological changes and the 'green revolution' made our farms much more productive. The price of food plummeted, while the number of calories available to the average American grew by about 1,000 a day.
National Institutes of Health, The New York Times, May 14, 2012
"Like most of my contemporaries, I first read The Fountainhead when I was 18 years old. I loved it. I too missed the point. I thought it was a book about a strong-willed architect...and his love life....I deliberately skipped over all the passages about egoism and altruism. And I spent the next year hoping I would meet a gaunt, orange-haired architect who would rape me. Or failing that, an architect who would rape me. Or failing that, an architect. I am certain that The Fountainhead did a great deal more for architects than Architectural Forum ever dreamed."
New York Times Book Review cited in Wikipedia
I think that today's conservatives are worse than today's liberals. I think ... if anyone destroys this country, it will be the conservatives -- because they do not know how to preach capitalism, to explain it to the people, because they do nothing except apologize, and because they're all altruists. They're all based on religious altruism and, on that combination of ideas, you cannot save this country.
1979 Interview by Tom Snyder on "The Tomorrow Show"
You get lots of people like [McCranie] or others who do this who have great intentions and are civically minded and spirited. But acting one by one by one, they set into motion this dynamic ... where suddenly we're not acting collaboratively or collectively as a public. We're acting individually as philanthropists to benefit the thing we're most passionate about. And suddenly we don't have a civic sphere anymore. We don't have political participation. We don't have an "us." We have a bunch of "I's."
Rob Reich (co-director of Stanford University's "Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society")
... we have all on occasion been asked whether there's a bubble in the market for residential housing; ... whether household and firm balance sheets will remain strong when interest rates rise; what risks to the financial system are posed by the government-sponsored enterprises; and how Basel II and other regulatory developments are likely to affect the structure and profitability of the domestic banking system. One's inclination is to answer by painting a benign picture so as not to cause unnecessary public concern. On the other hand, financial conditions do change, and it's our collective responsibility both to monitor those changes and to communicate truthfully to the public what we see.
Meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on March 16, 2004. [ http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/FOMC20040316meeting.pdf ]
The goal for corporations is to maximize profit and market share. And they also have a goal for their target, namely the population. They have to be turned into completely mindless consumers of goods that they do not want. You have to develop what are called created wants. So you have to create wants. You have to impose on people what's called a philosophy of futility. You have to focus them on the insignificant things of life, like fashionable consumption. I'm just basically quoting business literature. And it makes perfect sense. The ideal is to have individuals who are totally disassociated from one another. Whose conception of themselves, the sense of value, is just: "How many created wants can I satisfy?"
Documentary: The Corporation (2003) [ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379225/ ]
You know, I've often thought it's very ironic that I'm able to do all this and yet what am I on? I'm on networks. I'm distributed by studios that are owned by large corporate entities. Now, why would they put me out there when I am opposed to everything that they stand for? And I spend my time on their dime opposing what they believe in. Okay? Well, it's because they don't believe in anything. They put me on there because they know that there's[sic] millions of people that want to see my film or watch the TV show, and so they're going to make money. And I've been able to get my stuff out there because I'm driving my truck through this incredible flaw in capitalism, the greed flaw. The thing that says the rich man will sell you the rope to hang himself with if he thinks he can make a buck off it. Well, I'm the rope.
Documentary: The Corporation (2003) [ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379225/ ]
We mutually benefit from specialization and value-proxies and shared experience and knowledge, but as soon as we start gaming risk and shedding it onto others, we are a social cancer, and healthy, ethical economies can only tolerate a fringe of that, not an institutionalization of that.
When the interaction between two variables is labyrinthine it is meaningless to ascribe percentage values to the contribution made by either. And if this is true for just one gene interacting with one environmental variable, the argument must hold with even greater force for something as complex and multifactorial as human intelligence. Ironically, the IQ evangelists (such as Arthur Jensen, William Shockley, Richard Hernstein, and Charles Murray) use the heritability of IQ itself (sometimes called "general intelligence" or "little g") to argue that intelligence is a single measurable trait. This would be roughly analogous to saying that general health is one thing just because life span has a strong heritable component that can be expressed as a single number--age! No medical student who believed in "general health" as a monolithic entity would get very far in medical school or be allowed to become a physician--and rightly so--and yet whole careers in psychology and political movements have been built on the equally absurd belief in single measurable general intelligence.
V. S. Ramachandran
Book: The Tell-Tale Brain: A neuroscientist's quest for what makes us human. (2011). Norton; p 170-1
As the 2012 election campaign heats up, rather than hope and change, President Obama has opted for fear and envy ...
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
"When President Obama was running, I was telling all my neighbors we have to get out and vote," said Thompson. "And it's not just because he's black... well, yes, it is because he's black. I'm not going to tell a lie. It's because he's black. I'm black!" But is being black enough for President Obama this time around? For Carol Thompson and every View Park resident I spoke with, it is.
Shereen Marisol Meraji
Sociologists may contend that excessive income inequality restricts social mobility and leads to social segmentation and eventually social breakdown, but other social scientists counter this argument with examples of economically successful authoritarian or elitist societies. Arguments founded on moral fairness are easily disposed of in an atmosphere of moral relativism and cultural pluralism. Present-day believers in an absolute truth identified with virtue and justice are neither willing nor desirable companions for the defenders of social justice.
Liberals are uncomfortable with the topic of patriotism because their core philosophical impulses are to make America a different country than it is. This is not an evil impulse, and it can certainly manifest itself in patriotic ways. ... But at the most basic level love is about acceptance. If you are constantly trying to change the person you claim to love into someone he or she is not, there comes a point when it's reasonable to ask whether you really, truly, deeply love the person for who he or she is. Barack Obama campaigned promising to "fundamentally transform" America. We would not think a husband who promises to "fundamentally transform" his wife has a healthy love for her.
Book: The Tyranny of Cliche`s: How liberals cheat in the war of ideas. Sentinel; p 127-8
Experts tend to suffer from groupthink. ... Moreover, because experts tend to believe more than most in the absolute authority of experts, the average expert in the room will defer to the judgment of the superexpert. ... Some recent examples include Pearl Harbor, the Bay of Pigs, the failure to find WMDs in Iraq, and, of course, the release of New Coke. ... One of the more fascinating counterintuitive facts of life is that the introduction of dumb people can make a group of smart people collectively smarter. Bluntly stated, some stupid people are too stupid to automatically defer to smart people. Remember the story about the truck that got jammed in the tunnel because it was too small? All the experts were stumped. But some kid yelled, "Let the air out of the tires," saving the day.
Book: The Tyranny of Cliche`s: How liberals cheat in the war of ideas. 2012. Sentinel; p 93-4
According to Nash's theorem, your response in the Trust Game should be simply to keep whatever comes to you, even though you know some other person increased your wealth partly in the hope that you'd reciprocate. ... the unintended consequence of such "rational" behavior--that is, looking out for number one--is for both of you to miss the opportunity to gain by creating a larger pie, then sharing it. ... Yet with all deference to John Nash and his Nobel Prize, the Trust Game shows that rational self-interest is bupkis when it comes to real people. ... With large sums or small, in dollars or dinars, participants almost always behave with more trust and trustworthiness than the established theories predict they will.
Paul J. Zak
Book: The Moral Molecule -- The source of love and prosperity. 2012. Dutton; p 8
[Referring to the disvalue of statism as a social system for mankind] PASOK and New Democracy have long used the public sector to give patronage jobs to supporters. ... So the government created a monster that was more powerful than the government itself.
Marx ... did not quite grasp that formal property was not simply an instrument for appropriation but also the means to motivate people to create real additional usable value. Moreover, he did not see that it is the mechanisms contained in the property system itself that give assets and the labor invested in them the form required to create capital. ... That is why Marx did not fully understand that legal property is the indispensable process that fixes and deploys capital, that without property mankind cannot convert the fruits of its labor into fungible, liquid forms that can be differentiated, combined, divided, and invested to produce surplus value.
Hernando de Soto
Book: Hernando de Soto. (2000). The Mystery of Capital. Basic Books; pp. 215-16
The less one knows, the closer one comes to sharing with blocks of marble and bits of wood the advantage of being infallible and faultless.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
New Essays on Human Understanding
We consume about 25 percent of the world’s oil. We only have 2 percent of the reserves.
President Barack Obama
"The public's identification of order with law makes it impossible for the public to ask for one without asking for the other. There is clearly a public demand for an orderly society. One of human beings' most fundamental desires is for a peaceful existence secure from violence. But because the public has been conditioned to express its desire for order as one for law, all calls for a more orderly society are interpreted as calls for more law. And since under our current political system, all law is supplied by the state, all such calls are interpreted as calls for a more active and powerful state. The identification of order with law eliminates from public consciousness the very concept of the decentralized provision of order. With regard to legal services, it renders the classical liberal idea of a market-generated, spontaneous order incomprehensible. I began this Article with a reference to Orwell's concept of doublethink. But I am now describing the most effective contemporary example we have of Orwellian "newspeak," the process by which words are redefined to render certain thoughts unthinkable."
Has anyone noticed that Pres Obama apologized for the Koran burning done by some American soldiers. Would he have done this had they burned an American flag as some citizens did back a few decades ago, here at home? All liberals talked about then was the right to do such terrible things, in the spirit of the First Amendment. Why not now, when it involves the Koran?
Tibor R. Machan
Message from Tibor Machan
The data show a clear positive relationship, the more individualized the nation, the more citizens enjoy their life. This suggests that the benefits of individualization are greater than its costs. Inspection of the scattergrams shows a linear relationship. There is no pattern of diminishing returns. This indicates that individualization has not yet passed its optimum. The relationship appears to be contingent to level of education and economic prosperity. Positive correlations appear only among the most knowledgeable and prosperous nations. This suggests that the misgivings about individualization apply more to the past than to the future.
Those who tatoo or 'body pierce' themselves or others do so in the belief that an illustrated body compensates an empty mind, and those who wear a headscarf for religious motives or paint scriptural writings on walls, banners and majolicas do so likewise.
Manfred F. Schieder (1937 - )
It's 1961. I'm 6 years old, and in the kitchen of my buddy, Howie. Howie has a brother, a stay at home mother who is active in the local PTA, and a father who graduated from HS and is a janitor at Beth Steel. Howie's father is standing in the kitchen with one arm around his wife, who is crying and laughing. They are staring at his first weekly take home check that cleared the miracle amount of $100. They live in a clean neighborhood on a tree lined street, they send their kids to a good local school. They think they have just won the lottery. The day this is happening, JFK's federal budget is $100B, over half of which is for defense at the peak of the cold war. JFK will soon give his speech at Rice, and America the nation, as well as American economies, are about to go on a tear. A nation of inspired youth is about to head off in a hundred million different quests to change the world. As well as the odd adventure in Vietnam. Flash ahead to 2012. The federal government spends over $3600B/yr of the nation's income, not $100B/yr. But where are the stories of joyous janitors and their happy wives crying with joy over bringing home a weekly check in which Dad the HS grad has cleared over $3600/wk?
Atheists may have many other virtues, but on one of the least controversial and most objective measures of moral behavior—giving time, money, and blood to help strangers in need—religious people appear to be morally superior to secular folk.
So much of the argument out there all the time is up at 40,000 feet, these abstract arguments about who's conservative or who's liberal," Obama said. "Most Americans — and certainly most small business owners — you guys are just trying to figure out how do we make things work, how do we apply common sense. And that's what this is about
Barack H. Obama
Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.
Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire
It is a grave error to suppose that a dictatorship rules a nation by means of strict, rigid laws which are obeyed and enforced with rigorous, military precision. Such a rule would be evil, but almost bearable; men could endure the harshest edicts, provided these edicts were known, specific and stable; it is not the known that breaks men’s spirits, but the unpredictable. A dictatorship has to be capricious; it has to rule by means of the unexpected, the incomprehensible, the wantonly irrational; ...
“Antitrust: The Rule of Unreason,” The Objectivist Newsletter, Feb. 1962, 5
Blacks today are just as racially different from whites of two generations ago as they are from whites today. Yet the data suggest that the number of questions that blacks answer correctly on IQ tests today is very similar to the number answered correctly by past generations of whites. If race A differs from race B in IQ, and two generations of race A differ from each other by the same amount, where is the logic in suggesting that the IQ differences are even partly racial?
Vol. 28, American Spectator, 02-01-1995, pp 32.
[I]deology signifies a phenomenon intermediate between a simple lie at one pole, and an error, which is the result of a distorted and faulty conceptual apparatus, at the other.
Occupy Wall Street protesters had just a few hours to celebrate what they saw as their biggest victory so far: the peaceful shutdown of the nation's fifth-busiest port.
There cannot be any question of abolishing interest by any institutions, laws, and devices of bank manipulation. He who wants to "abolish" interst will have to induce people to value an apple available in a hundred years no less than a present apple. What can be abolished by laws and decrees is merely the right of the capitalists to receive interest. But such laws would bring about capital consumption and would very soon throw mankind back into the original state of natural poverty.
Ludwig von Mises
Overheard: "School children who see the exhibits in the Creation Museum in Kentucky will be confused when they learn in school that the universe is 14 billion years old rather than 6,000."
The individual politic tactic of hypothesizing an authority above all of us individually ... and then jarringly speaking for it as individuals and presenting our individual interpretations of what this remote supreme and yet curiously otherwise mute authority demands of us individually... is the oldest carny huckster political trick in the book.
RoR's Morality Needs No God thread
President Obama’s jobs bill is better than doing nothing in the face of a national crisis, but it won’t have much impact on unemployment.