I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
August 29, 2012 - 11:40 a.m.
I had another day where I didn't do anything so I'm going to have to write about my thoughts. That is supposed to be a good thing. The problem is that my readers don't seem to agree with me about that.
I might have to read Ayn Rand. I want to write about her philosophy but it isn't fair if I only know what other people say she said. It is fair to write about that though and just not blame it on Ayn Rand.
On particularly seductive idea is that there is a natural elite. These are the foundation of civilization and everyone else a parasite. Parasite is one of Rand's favorite words. She uses it 12 times in John Galt's speech, the grand summation of her philosophy. It's seductive because everyone views themselves as part of the elite and those people are the parasites. It feels good to be special. You are rewarded when you find reasons you are special. I'll admit it. I think I'm special. I think I'm smart and creative and that those are the qualities that drive civilization. I bet you have reasons to think you're special too. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you also realize you are in no position to make the judgments fairly and shouldn't expect the world to go along with your view of yourself. There's no harm in thinking yourself one of the elite but there is when you think that should give you special privileges. This fits in with the theme I've been discussing the last few day; that you should be extra skeptical of all facts and theories that feed your emotional needs. The fact that something makes you feel good does not make it true.
The conservative movement have convinced themselves that if a person makes a lot of money it's proof in and of itself that what he or she does is great economic value. They confuse making money with creating wealth. They conveniently ignore that you can make money by taking it away from someone else. They refuse to see the difference between creating wealth and transferring it. Does someone running a Ponzi scheme benefit society? I don't think the most ardent conservative would say so. But a bubble is simply a Ponzi scheme without the criminal intent. The new investors make the old investors rich till you run out of new investors. They want you to make believe that never happens. Instead anyone who makes money should be thought of as automatically creating jobs. They are the godlike job creators and it is everyone else's job to get out of their way and never question anything they do. Regulating them is catastrophic.
People who make money through money are of more value than those who work for a living so their earnings must be taxed at a lower rate. We already tax capital gains at only a little more than half the rate of money made through working and they aren't satisfied with that. They want to lower it even further. There are people that say we could solve all our economic problems by not taxing capital gains at all.
Here's a simple rule to follow. If you have a theory that says that things would be much better for everyone if you were given more money, power, rights, benefits, just keep it to yourself if you don't have overwhelming proof that it is correct.
I'll keep today's edition of Wise Madness short. I have some thoughts on abortion but I'll save them for another time. It's a beautiful day today. I really should go outside.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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