Category Archives: Politics

Propaganda as Mechanization

“What caused the disturbances in people’s minds [in the 1920s and 1930s] was that we were all subjected to propaganda of a kind the human race had never before experienced; we were subject to two deliberate scientifically-organised lie-machines, the Nazi one and the Soviet one, operated in the interests of two tyrants who were also demagogues. 

What made things unique is the they told opposite lies. 

It was like having two anti-Christs contradicting one another. 

The machines plunged on whatever anyone said, however young or unauthoratative that person might be.”

—Bernard Wall, Headlong into Change (London: Harvill Press, 1969), 79.

Four invincible libertarian geniuses — do you know them?

For questions pertaining to the U.S. Constitution, I ask Kevin Gutzman (author of James Madison and the Making of America and The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution) or Brion McClanahan (author of The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution).

On economics I ask Jeff Herbener (I’ve asked him probably hundreds of questions over the years) of Grove City College, and Bob Murphy, author of many books. On anarcho-capitalism, again I ask Bob. (He wrote a very creative book on the subject called Chaos Theory.)
— Read on mailchi.mp/tomwoods/two-sentences-318861

And, of course, add Tom Woods and Jason Jewell. Six amazing scholars.

Law and Purpose

Effort required to *enforce* a law is a reasonable indicator of its validity. If we need to go out of the way to enforce something, then it might just not be compatible with English conception of law.  Hayek says, law simply helps us coexist. Its function is not to achieve specific goals set by some authority.

“In the usual sense of purpose, namely the anticipation of a particular, foreseeable event, the law indeed does not serve any purpose but countless different purposes of different individuals. It provides only the means for a large number of different purposes that as a whole are not known to anybody. In the ordinary sense of purpose law is therefore not a means to any purpose, but merely a condition for successful pursuit of most purposes. Of all multi-purpose instruments it is probably the one after language which assists the greatest variety of human purposes. It certainly has not been made for any one known purpose but rather has developed because it made people who operated under it more effective in the pursuit of their purposes”
— Friedrich Hayek

Law is indeed a lot like language, its function is to help us transact. And when it’s not structured to help us achieve our goals optimally, then alternatives tends to emerge. Black market norms are a good example. In that sense, one of the differences between a failed and a stable nation is also the nature of laws. More the law deviates from individual needs, more the corruption, disorder etc. In other words, lawlessness might indicate a problem with the law, not the law breakers.

The Rise of Viktor Orbán, Right-Wing Populist ~ The Imaginative Conservative

To secular and leftist Europeans, Hungary’s Fundamental Law came as a shock. The preamble set the tone—it is the opening line of the Hungarian National Hymn (anthem): “God, bless the Hungarians.” That was already too much for The Guardian. A writer for that left-wing British newspaper noted that the new constitution’s “preamble is heavily influenced by the Christian faith and commits Hungary to a whole new set of values, such as family, nation, fidelity, faith, love and labour.” It was enough to point this out: further criticism would apparently have been superfluous.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2018/11/viktor-orban-hungarian-resistance-lee-congdon.html

I consider myself an anti nationalist, but I found this article absolutely fascinating–BB.

Why Facebook’s Long Reign May Be Coming to an End – Foundation for Economic Education

Sears and Blockbuster fell because neither was able to adapt and grow with its consumer base. Facebook has routinely gone against the wishes and needs of its users and is just now starting to face the consequences.
— Read on fee.org/articles/not-too-big-to-fail-why-facebooks-long-reign-may-be-coming-to-an-end/

Spirit of Cecilia note: This is an excellent article. Indeed, one of the best I’ve seen on the issue. I don’t know Brittany Hunter, but I look forward to reading everything else she writes.

Socialism Kills

Socialism kills.

I’m happily shocked that the New York Times would print an anti-communist article. I also notice that the piece conveniently left out the fact that the Times once left one of its reporters behind in Cambodia, Dith Pran, a man who suffered a year in the gulag before making his escape.

The two mentioned in the article are two of three (the third being Pol Pot) responsible for murdering upwards of 50% of the Cambodian population between 1975 and 1978.

Their communism combined Karl Marx, Thomas Jefferson, and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Socialism kills (yes, worth repeating).

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/world/asia/khmer-rouge-nuon-chea-khieu-samphan-genocide-cambodia.html?emc=edit_th_181117&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=455752581117

Relativity

Theory

Theory of special relativity explains how relative positions of observers can often lead to contradicting perceptions. For example, two actors who are in different inertial frames can both claim to be in a state of rest, or they both can observe that the clock possessed by the other one is running slower, or dispute the length of the stick they are carrying. The vantage point matters, but thankfully with physics we have an explanatory scheme, once we prove the consequences of space and time in special relativity we can appease both the actors.

Depending on the mental state of an observer his perspective about a drunk destitute can vary from absolute empathy to an outright contempt, to a certain degree even this perception is transient. Our emotions are also relative to some reference point, try describing happiness in absolute sense, actually a sub-saharan African nomad might just be more contented than a wall-street banker. Recently I watched a documentary which claimed the slum dwellers of Kolkata are on an average happier than the residents of the United States. Ignorance can be bliss, but it’s irrelevant because no matter how attractive this happiness may sound not many Americans will trade their suburbs for an Indian slum residence. Similarly, ranking emotive responses of various individuals after disregarding their relative mental benchmark is quite meaningless.

“We are studying mental and not physical events, and much that we believe to know about the external world is, in fact, knowledge about ourselves” – F.A.Hayek

In “Human Action” Ludwig von Mises elaborates on the epistemological problems of historical interpretations, and rightly so, because no matter how unbiased a writer might be his narrative has to be from a vantage point determined by the particular facts he had prioritized and picked for analysis. We can logically classify information as relevant only based on our relative experience and exposure to various coherent abstract patterns. For example, a person unaware of a right-angled triangle can never classify the structure nor derive its Pythagorean properties, for him it might be just another triangle. Our comprehension is indeed relative to the recognizable abstract structures developed in our mind, rest becomes incomprehensible jitters. Why do you think every time you reread a book or go back and listen to your favorite song you discover something novel?

Continue reading Relativity