Monday, April 25, 2011
Our good friends on the political left do not have any facts or reason to back up their perverse policy prescriptions. If they had relied on facts or reason in the first place, they would never have come to such ridiculous ideas that have been shown time after time in the laboratory of the real world to be doomed to failure.
The left rely on two primary techniques to advance their agenda: (1) Telling outright lies about their opponents, and (2) Smearing their opponents with ad hominem arguments. They rarely if ever try to present any facts to try to refute their opponents, nor do they try to use reason. Thus, for example, when political opponents of president 0bama express opposition to his policies, such as the failed $800 billion 'stimulus', or the government health care takeover, they don't try to counter our arguments. Instead, they use the inconsequential fact that 0bama's father was African, in order to falsely accuse us of racism.
These techniques are used in the most glaringly obvious and pathetic manner in an essay by Johann Hari in Slate, about 1 1/2 years ago. I had never read the essay until today, nor had I ever heard of Mr. Hari. But no matter. I think I will derive a great deal of enjoyment in the future by citing his essays, of which he has written many. In this essay, he tells many falsehoods about and engages in a great deal of smearing of one of the most eloquent defenders of capitalism and individual freedom: Ayn Rand. The title of his essay: How Ayn Rand Became an American Icon:
The perverse allure of a damaged woman.
A few choice excerpts:
Johann puts the derogatory "the masses" (a marxist term) into quotation marks as if Rand actually used it in her writings. I am not aware of any instances of Rand using it. Likewise, I am not aware of her ever calling anyone 'lice' or 'parasites'.
She opposed democracy on the grounds that "the masses"—her readers—were "lice" and "parasites" who scarcely deserved to live.
Rand did not oppose democracy. I have never read any argument of hers against it, ever. Many on the left do not make a distinction between socialism and democracy. They contend that a nation cannot be democratic unless it has a government-controlled economy. And thus, since Rand opposes socialism, she must also be opposed to democracy. Some of the chattering classes of the left take this view to such extremes that they praise the dictatorship of the Castro brothers in Cuba as 'democratic'.
Johann has little or no understanding of free-market economics nor of Rand's advocacy thereof. In order to denigrate the book, he resorts to outright lies of what Rand has written. For example, in reference to a fictitious train crash dramatized in Atlas Shrugged, Johann says:
One of the strikers deliberately causes a train crash, and Rand makes it clear she thinks the murder victims deserved it, describing in horror how they all supported the higher taxes that made the attack necessary.
The train crash was not caused by any of the strikers, nor was it a murder. It was caused by an incompetent employee of the railroad who was following orders from political bosses who were using their influence to get special favors. The victims of the crash were not supporting higher taxes. Rand was dramatizing how the passengers on the train supported political policies that led to their undoing. There was no attack.
Once again we get the marxist terminology falsely attributed to Rand. And Johann claims the heroes are 'fuming that the masses don't bow down'. I wonder if he bothered to read the oath the strikers in Atlas Shrugged took when they decided to withdraw from society:
Her heroes are a cocktail of extreme self-love and extreme self-pity: They insist they need no one, yet they spend all their time fuming that the masses don't bow down before their manifest superiority.
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine (Atlas Shrugged, p. 731).
Above all, Johann is baffled by the large number of people who find Rand's work to be informative and enlightening:
What I do find incomprehensible is that there are people—large numbers of people—who see her writing not as psychopathy but as philosophy, and urge us to follow her. Why? What in American culture did she drill into?
I can answer that question:
1. Rand has shown that the nihilistic, post-modern philosophical systems in vogue for most of the 20th century were the basis for perverse political-economic systems including socialism, nazism, and communism.
2. Rand provided an ethical defense of free enterprise and limited government, as opposed to the socialists who claim that capitalism is based merely on greediness and material comfort.
3. Rand hammered another nail into the coffin of of the long-refuted notion that socialism is in any way compatible with democracy.
Johann, if anyone is guilty of psychopathy, it is the political/economic ideas that you espouse and your methods for promoting them.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic. Watching this issue unfold has been amusing but, lately, worrying. This issue is tearing society apart, making fools out of our politicians.
Let's set a few things straight. The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.