The Last Capitalist

A site dedicated to restoring individualism in the United States of America

Archive for March, 2009

Daily(ish) Ayn Rand Quote

Posted by jemartynowski on March 30, 2009

The main characteristic of this mentality (anti-conceptual mentality) is a special kind of passivity: not passivity as such and not across-the-board, but passivity beyond a certain limit—i.e., passivity in regard to the process of conceptualization and, therefore, in regard to fundamental principles. It is a mentality which decided, at a certain point of development, that it knows enough and does not care to look further. What does it accept as “enough”? The immediately given, directly perceivable concretes of its background . . .

To grasp and deal with such concretes, a human being needs a certain degree of conceptual development, a process which the brain of an animal cannot perform. But after the initial feat of learning to speak, a child can counterfeit this process, by memorization and imitation. The anti-conceptual mentality stops on this level of development—on the first levels of abstractions, which identify perceptual material consisting predominantly of physical objects—and does not choose to take the next, crucial, fully volitional step: the higher levels of abstraction from abstractions, which cannot be learned by imitation. (See my book Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.) . . .

The anti-conceptual mentality takes most things as irreducible primaries and regards them as “self-evident.” It treats concepts as if they were (memorized) percepts; it treats abstractions as if they were perceptual concretes. To such a mentality, everything is the given: the passage of time, the four seasons, the institution of marriage, the weather, the breeding of children, a flood, a fire, an earthquake, a revolution, a book are phenomena of the same order. The distinction between the metaphysical and the man-made is not merely unknown to this mentality, it is incommunicable.

-From Philosophy:  Who Needs It? by Ayn Rand

OK, so this is more of an excerpt, but it’s very relevant to a drunk argument I had the other day.  The person with whom I was loudly discussing economic systems has an attitude toward things that is most certainly there without his own thought process.  His “puppet mentality” as I call it is better described by Ayn Rand’s anti-conceptual mentality description. 

The topic of discussion was Wal Mart.  When capitalism is brought up, its “evils” are always “proven” by the existence of Wal Mart.  The terrible conditions of people working in some African country are proof that greed causes bad working conditions and these people are basically slaves.  Well, alright, not slaves by force, but since they have no other options, they are basically forced into it.  Hmm. 

The question is then asked what is the alternative?  If you win and Wal Mart and all other companies are disbanded, tell me what happens then.  The answer you get?  Angry yelling back at you and accusing you of being a “rapist” because you support evil corporations  (I swear to God that happened). 

Ayn Rand correctly asserts that if you make people think logically about non-concrete ideas that they were not previously conditioned with responses to, they have nothing.  The answer to my question above is that these people starve and live a life many times worse.  But, see to the anti-capitalist, this is no excuse.  Wal Mart must stay there for this reason and offer people “better” conditions.  Well, who decides this?  Who is the dictator of how much each person should have?  You?  Does everyone need to have a house with a two car garage and at least two TVs?

There are no answers to these questions because they would all be wrong.  Over the course of time, with a free market, capitalist society, things improve.  They improve because greed would cause someone else to come in and offer something a little better and put Wal Mart out of business.  Then, years later, perhaps, someone else will one-up that company.  The cycle of growth will continue. 

Now, there are most certainly issues here, such as the non-U.S. country not allowing competition, but then this is an anti-capitalist approach as well.  If they were a free market society, that wouldn’t even be an issue.  So, if anything, we should be pushing for more greed and capitalism in these third world countries.  But the anti-conceptual mentality would argue against that. 

That mentality tells you that since all we know over there is tyranny, only tyranny can be there.  It tells you that we can just have a better tyrant who is compassionate and caring, even though that is contradictory.  The anti-conceptualist mentality is all too common when arguing politics, because nobody is willing to dream of what could be.  Hopefully we can push past that some day

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Daily(ish) Ayn Rand Quote

Posted by jemartynowski on March 27, 2009

If concern with poverty and human suffering were the collectivists’ motive, they would have become champions of capitalism long ago; they would have discovered that it is the only political system capable of producing abundance. But they evaded the evidence as long as they could. When the issue became overwhelmingly clear to the whole world, the collectivists were faced with a choice: either turn to the right, in the name of humanity—or to the left, in the name of dictatorial power. They turned to the left—the New Left.

Instead of their old promises that collectivism would create universal abundance and their denunciations of capitalism for creating poverty, they are now denouncing capitalism for creating abundance. Instead of promising comfort and security for everyone, they are now denouncing people for being comfortable and secure.

-From Return of the Primitive:  The Anti-Industrial Revolution by Ayn Rand

For those of you who think that, at the very least, these left-wing crazies that have a vice grip on our collective junk have good intentions (feeding the poor, making things “equal”), I question your logic.  It is already obvious, historically, that collectivist systems inhibit growth and abundance.  The old left had illogical ideas that their methods would be the only way to keep advancements organized and regulated, therefore resulting in the betterment of society.  They were wrong. 

Now, though they might still try to make the same claims as old communists, President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and others have to be smart enough to know that these things are not true.  It comes out sometimes, when they admit that much of their agenda would harm the economy, so they need to wait until after we recover.  Jim Cramer, from CNBC’s Mad Money, a proud leftist, admits that the administration needs to stop pushing the things forward that even Cramer himself likes, because they are bad for the economy.  How, then, would these things be good for society just because we have a strong economy?  Perhaps I’m missing a step in logic. 

I’m not.  They aren’t kidding themselves either.  What they all really want is a forced charity.  They want to be able to forcefully collect money from the people to use as they see fit.  That is it.  No more, no less.  They believe they are smarter than you, so that they know best what to do with your resources.  If they were so smart, they would have found a way to accomplish their goals in a free market, not a dictatorship.

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Daily(ish) Ayn Rand Quote

Posted by jemartynowski on March 24, 2009

So long as a concept such as “the public interest” (or the “social” or “national” or “international” interest) is regarded as a valid principle to guide legislation—lobbies and pressure groups will necessarily continue to exist. Since there is no such entity as “the public,” since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that “the public interest” supersedes private interests and rights, can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others.

-From Capitalism:  The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand

Since President Obama wants to push the limits of socialism by expanding his already extreme powers to taking over ANY financial business that might go under or need to declare bankruptcy as essential to the “public good,” I’m friggin outraged.  This is why the public good is not good.  It’s essentially saying that mob rule is good, and individual rights are worthless.  I’d never wish anything physically harmful on another human being, but if this keeps up, I wouldn’t feel bad if he took a football to the groin or something.  With most dudes, I’d laugh but feel bad, but not this asshole.  I’d just laugh.  Damn it.  Mostly, I’m just annoyed by his antics, but this is going too far.  It’s socialist policy.  A power grab.  Nothing more.

Posted in Barack Obama Communism, Socialism and Democrats | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Daily(ish) Ayn Rand Quote

Posted by jemartynowski on March 20, 2009

Ours was the first government based on and strictly limited by a written document—the Constitution—which specifically forbids it to violate individual rights or to act on whim. The history of the atrocities perpetrated by all the other kinds of governments—unrestricted governments acting on unprovable assumptions—demonstrates the value and validity of the original political theory on which this country was built.

-from Philosophy:  Who Needs It? by Ayn Rand

Too many times we listen to politicians telling us how they want to run the country vs. the other candidate.  President Obama, now that he’s in office, is still doing this.  The funny thing about all of this is that Constitutionally nobody has the right do decide how the country is run.  Really, the debates and all of the speeches about policy are about how much we want to listen to the Constitution and how much we want to ignore it.  Honestly, most of the decisions these politicians are making are already made for them, they just choose to ignore that fact. 

The reason for these limitations is that the writers of the document knew that government can only screw up freedom.  Right now we are looking at a textbook example.  Taxpayer money should never have been used to bail out private institutions.  It was.  Every company is now being criticized for how they are using our money, and everyone wants them to be punished.  Know what?  If they weren’t given bailout money, they would have been punished earlier for these stupid decisions.  We could have had the same results we are now but without using taxpayer dollars.  Now, the government is using these screw ups to justify even more regulations.  It’s a snowball effect and we’re just getting rolling.  If only we had some sort of document that limited what the government could do…

Posted in Capitalism and Politics, Socialism and Democrats | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Outrage Misplaced Over AIG Bonus Pay

Posted by jemartynowski on March 17, 2009

“Those jerks!  They ran the company into the ground, took taxpayer money, and now they’re paying out large bonuses to themselves!”  We’re hearing this all over from both sides of the aisle in Washington.  President Obama and others are coming down on this company for paying bonus money to people who actually did hit their contractual goals.  Sure, this is a mistake, but one that was made a long time ago, when these contracts were signed.  The bigger mistake was made by the United States Government.

The people in power are doing a great job getting the American public all fired up over this, and they should be.  The problem here is that they are misplacing their anger.  The government of the United States, with full support from our president, approved of handing this company money knowing full well that these bonuses are on the books, payable because these people hit their goals.  This is one of the thousands of things the government should have looked at before they passed any bailout plan for anyone.  Sure, I don’t think we should have passed any handouts of our children’s money to companies, because it results in just what we have coming:  government control over them.  But the point is the misplaced anger.

President Obama, Democrats, and Republicans are blasting the company now because of these bonus payments.  Really, though, are they just mad at themselves for being suckered into paying for something they didn’t do enough research to know about?  What’s the difference between these contracts and the contracts the company had with crappy homeowners?  Legally, nothing.  The government just wants to pick and choose who gets what, which is the basis of this screw-up to begin with.

So, yes, be mad.  Just make sure we know where to direct our anger:  the stupid people who are too dumb to read contracts before throwing money around (the same people who want to decide what treatments we get medically.  Woohoo).

Posted in bailouts, Capitalism and Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Daily(ish) Ayn Rand Quote

Posted by jemartynowski on March 17, 2009

Observe the nature of today’s alleged peace movements. Professing love and concern for the survival of mankind, they keep screaming that the nuclear-weapons race should be stopped, that armed force should be abolished as a means of settling disputes among nations, and that war should be outlawed in the name of humanity. Yet these same peace movements do not oppose dictatorships; the political views of their members range through all shades of the statist spectrum, from welfare statism to socialism to fascism to communism. This means that they are opposed to the use of coercion by one nation against another, but not by the government of a nation against its own citizens; it means that they are opposed to the use of force against armed adversaries, but not against the disarmed.

-from Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand

This is a good argument to this day to the so-called “peace-loving” hippies.  Perhaps my main argument for capitalism to those illogical non-thinkers.  One cannot argue for peace and not laissez-faire capitalism.  They are one and the same.  Laissez-faire capitalism is the only social system that bans force from relationships.  THE ONLY ONE.  All others require forced submission, whether to the government, other individuals, the collective, or whatever you want to call it.  Force, not peace, is required for any other type of government.

Posted in Capitalism and Politics, laissaz-faire capitalism, Socialism and Democrats | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »