Friday, October 12, 2007
Alex Epstein on Atlas Shrugged
If you haven't read it already, Alex Epstein has taken a very original approach to a fifty-year-old novel with this commemoration, which starts off by asking why so many businessmen like Atlas Shrugged.
Because, in the form of a thrilling novel with inspiring heroes, it does something no other book has ever done: it presents the pursuit of profit, the essence of business, as a profoundly moral activity.From this beginning, he does a good job of getting the reader to understand why the novel is so original and causing him to want to read it.
Observe that while profit-seeking is widely recognized as economically indispensable, it is also widely regarded as morally tainted, if not outright immoral. This applies, not just to attempts to "profit" via theft or fraud, but to the pursuit of profit as such.
Myrhaf on the Big Tent
Myrhaf, looking at recent calls by Christian conservatives for a third-party run , does a good job of analyzing the conservative movement:
The Republican Big Tent is, I believe, a reaction to Marxism. When the Industrial Revolution was young, the conservatives hated it. They romanticized the middle ages and despised factories, smoke stacks, the division of labor, etc. They longed for the old order, in which everyone knew his place, when God was on his throne in Heaven and all was right in the world. J.R.R. Tolkien was such a conservative; his Shire is a happy, pre-capitalist English town, whereas Mordor is a twisted view of an industrial nation with regimentation and belching smoke stacks. The conservatives were the first enemies of capitalism.Read the whole thing for how Myrhaf thinks the conservatives will react to the rise of an up-and-coming secular philosophy. I think he is correct.
Then came along one Karl Marx, who secularized the conservatives' arguments against capitalism and created dialectical materialism and communism. Marxism was a tremendous success that spread like wildfire through the west. The conservatives had no choice but to band together with their enemy, the pro-capitalist liberals, against their greater enemy the socialists. In America the anti-socialist party accepted the term conservative and gave up liberal, which was immediately claimed by the socialists. [bold added]
When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade
In the early days of the Objectivist movement, one of the periodicals had a recurring feature called "The Horror File", which was a digest of particularly bad news that illustrated the power of philosophical ideas to affect political and cultural trends.
This proposal -- for a game to blog something that sounds like it "could have come straight out of Atlas Shrugged" -- could also be described as "'The Horror File' on steroids, for fun and profit".
Here is his entry, to give a taste:
It's heating up. The debate... is picking up speed... Unfortunately, this naturally leads to polarization of opposing views regarding a critically important issue for all of us. And this cheapens and oversimplifies the discussion.The contest will run until the end of the month. Pay his blog a visit for details....
Our [industry] can't be corrected with one liners and political scoring points.
We need cooperation. We need compromise. We don't need political hoopla.
Thankfully, the continued work of the ... Commission is a good example of how a group of people with differing views can work together on a critical issue. It would be premature to grade their efforts. However, they are making progress and we all should support their endeavor.
Why I Don't Text, Part 3,041
Because no matter what you say, you come off like an annoying teenager. Here's the first sentence of last night's post translated into "lingo":
Townhall.com, w itz prticulr mix of Xtian conservatives hz proved fertile blogging ground tym & tym 'gen, so wen I M n a hurry & n wnt of blogging materL, I wiL ofn stop by ther 4 inspiration, so 2 spk.I know that part of this is about convenience, but I love English too much to look at this on a regular basis. Or to write like this. Ever.
A Prime Example of Context-Dropping
My brother sent me the following image of a news clipping the other day:
The caption reads: "Mellisa Williamson, 35, a Bullitt Avenue resident, worries about the effects on her unborn child from the sound of jackhammers." In the meantime, she's smoking.
Interestingly enough, it is anti-smoking activists who much more commonly do dangerous things while mouthing concern over issues of health. They "worry about the effects" of secondhand smoke -- on adults who could easily avoid it -- while working to undermine property rights in the form of anti-smoking ordinances all over the country.
Such people are no better than this irresponsible pregnant woman in the sense that they are missing the big picture, but worse in the sense that they are capable, through government force, of harming many more people than she is.