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Note of the History on American Free Enterprise

February 23, 2010

By Ayn Rand

The idea or possibility of an uncontrolled economy has been entirely forgotten and is now being deliberately ignored.

Only the government can create a monopoly...

Only the government can create a monopoly...

If a detailed, factual study were made of all those instances in the history of American industry which have been used by Leftists as an indictment of Free Enterprise and as an argument in favor of a government-controlled economy, it would be found that the actions blamed on businessmen were caused, necessitated and made possible only by government interference into business. The evils, popularly ascribed to big industrialists, were not the result of an unregulated industry, but of government power over industry. The villain in the picture was not the businessman, but the legislator, not Free Enterprise, but government controls.

Businessmen were the victims, yet the victims have taken the blame (and are still taking it), while the guilty parties have used their own guilt as an argument for the extension of their power, for wider and wider opportunities to commit the same guilt on a greater and greater scale. Public opinion has been so misinformed about the true facts that we have now reached the stage where – as a cure for the country’s troubles – people are asking for more and more of the poison which made them sick in the first place.

As illustration, I will list below some examples which I have found in the course of my research into the history of just one industry – the American railroads.

One of the Leftist arguments in favor of government controls, is the idea that American railroads were built mainly through the financial help of the government and would have been impossible without it.  Actually, government help to the railroads amounted to 10% of the cost of all the railroads in the country – and the consequences of this help have been disastrous to the railroads. I quote from The Story of American Railroads by Stewart H. Holbrook (pp. 8 – 9): “In a little more than two decades, three transcontinental railroads were built with government help. All three wound up in bankruptcy courts. And thus, when James Jerome Hill said he was going to built a line from the Great Lakes to Puget Sound, without government cash or land grant, even his close friends thought him mad. But his Great Northern arrived at Puget Sound without a penny of federal help, nor did it fail. It was an achievement to shame the much-touted construction of the Erie Canal.”

The degree of government help received by any one railroad, stood in direct proportion to that railroad’s troubles and failures. The railroads with the worst histories of scandal, double-dealing and bankruptcy were the ones that had received the greatest amount of help from government. The railroads that did best and never went through bankruptcy were the ones that had neither received nor asked for government help. There may be exceptions to this rule, but in all my reading on railroads I have not found one yet.

It is generally believed that in the period when railroads first began to be built in this country, there was a great deal of useless “over-building,” a great many lines which were started and abandoned after proving themselves worthless and ruining those involved. The Leftists often use this period as an example of “the unplanned chaos” of Free Enterprise. The truth is that most (and perhaps all) of the useless railroads were built, not by men  who intended to build a railroad for profit, but by speculators with political pull, who started these ventures for the sole purpose of obtaining money from the government. There were many  forms of government help for these projects, such as federal land grants, subsidies, state bonds, municipal bonds, etc. A great many speculators started railroad projects as a quick means to get some government cash, with no concern for the future or the commercial possibilities of their railroads. They went through the motions of laying so many miles of shoddy rail, anywhere at all, without inquiring whether the locations they selected had any need for a railroad or any economic future. Some of those men collected the cash and vanished, never starting any railroad at all. This is the source of the popular impression that the origin of American railroads was a period of wild, unscrupulous speculation. But the railroads of this period which were planned and  built by businessmen for a proper, private, commercial purpose were the ones that survived, prospered and proved unusual foresight in the choice of their locations.

Among our major railroads, the most scandalous histories were those of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific (now called Southern Pacific). These were the two lines built with a federal government subsidy. The Union Pacific collapsed into bankruptcy very soon after its construction, with what was,  perhaps, the most disgraceful scandal in the history of any railroad; the scandal involved official corruption. The road did not become properly organized and managed until it was taken over by a private capitalist, Edward H. Harriman.

The Central Pacific-which was built by the “Big Four” of California, on federal subsidies-was the railroad which was guilty of all the evil popularly held against railroads. For almost thirty years, the Central Pacific controlled California, held a monopoly and permitted no competitor to enter the state. It charged disastrous rates, changed them every year, and took the entire profit of any California farmer or chipper, who had no other railroad to turn to. How was this made possible? It was done through the power of the California legislature. The Big Four controlled the legislature and held the state closed to competitors by legal restrictions-such as, for instance, a legislative act which gave the Big Four exclusive control of the entire coast line of California and forbade any other railroad to enter any port. During these thirty years, many attempts were made by private interests to start competing railroads in California and break the monopoly of the Central Pacific. These attempts were defeated – not by methods of free trade and free competition, but by legislative action

This thirty-year monopoly of the Big Four and the practices in which they engaged are always quoted as an example of the evils of big business and Free Enterprise. Yet the Big Four were not free enterprises; they were not businessmen who had achieved power by means of unregulated trade. They were typical representatives of what is now called “a mixed economy.” They achieved power by legislative interference into business; none of their abuses would have been possible in a free, unregulated economy.

The same Central Pacific is notorious for a land deal which led to the dispossession of farmers and to bloody riots in the late 1870´s. This is the incident which served as the basis for the anti-business novel, The Octopus, by Frank Norris, the incident which caused great public indignation and led to hatred of all railroads and of all big business. But this deal involved land given to the Big Four by the government – and the subsequent injustice was made possible only by legislative and judicial assistance. Yet it was not government interference into business that took the blame, it was business. (For a good factual history of the Central Pacific, see The Big Four by Oscar Lewis.)

At the other side of scale, the railroad that had the cleanest history, was most efficiently built in the most difficult circumstances, and was responsible, single-handed, for the development of the entire American Northwest, was the Great Northern, built by J.J. Hill  without any federal help whatever. Yet Hill was persecuted by the government all his life-under the Sherman Act, for being a monopolist (!).

The worst injustice has been done by popular misconception to Commodore Vanderbilt of the New York Central. He is always referred to as “an old pirate,” “a monster of Wall Street,” etc., and always denounced for the alleged ruthlessness of his Wall Street activities. But here is the actual story. When Vanderbilt began to organize several  small, obscure railroads into what was to become the New York Central system, he had to obtain a franchise from the City Council to permit his railroad, the New York and Harlem, to enter New York City. The Council was known to be corrupt and if one wanted a franchise, one had to pay for it, which Vanderbilt did. (Should he be blamed for this, or does the blame rest on the fact that the government held an arbitrary, unanswerable power in the matter and Vanderbilt had no choice ?) The stock of his company went up, once it was known that his railroad had permission to enter the city. A little while later, the Council suddenly revoked the franchise – and then Vanderbilt stock began to collapse. The aldermen (who had taken Vanderbilt’s money), together with a clique of speculators, were selling the Vanderbilt stock short. Vanderbilt fought them and saved his railroad. His ruthlessness consisted of buying his stock as fast as it was being dumped on the market, and thus preventing its price from crashing down to the level that the short-sellers needed. His risked everything he owned in this battle, but he won. The clique and the aldermen went broke.

And, as if this were not enough, the same trick was repeated again a little later, this time involving the New York State Legislature. Vanderbilt needed an act of the legislature to permit him to consolidate the two railroads which he owned. Again, he had to pay the legislators for a promise to pass the necessary bill. The stock of his company went up, the legislators started selling it short and denied Vanderbilt  the promised legislation. He had to  go through the same Wall Street battle again, he took on a frightening responsibility, he risked everything he owned plus millions borrowed from friends, but he won and ruined the Albany statesmen. “We busted the whole legislature,” he said, “and some of the honorable members had to go home without paying their board bills.”

Nothing is said or known nowadays about the details of this story, and it is viciously ironic that Vanderbilt is now as one of the examples of the evils of Free Enterprise by those who advocate government control. The Albany statesmen are forgotten and Vanderbilt is made to be a villain. If you now ask people just what was evil about Vanderbilt, they will answer : “Why, he  did something cruel in Wall Street and ruined a lot of people.”

(For details of this story see Grand Central by David Marshall, pages 60 – 64, and The Road of the Century by Alvin F. Harlow, pages 166 – 173)

The best illustration of the general confusion on the subject of business and government can be found in Holbrook’s The Story of American Railroads. On page 231 Mr. Holbrook writes : “Almost from the first, too, the railroads had to undergo the harassments of politicians and their catchpoles, or to pay blackmail in one way or another. The method was almost sure-fire; the politico, usually a member of a state legislature, thought up some law or regulation that would be costly or awkward to the railroads in his state.  He then put this into the form of  a bill, talked loudly about it, about how it must pass if the sovereign people were to be protected against the monster railroad, and then waited for some hireling of the railroads to dissuade him by a method as old as man. There is record of as many as thirty-five bills that would harass railroads being introduced at one sitting  of one legislature.” And the same Mr. Holbrook in the same book just four pages later (pages 235 – 36) writes : “In short, by 1870, to pick an arbitrary date, railroads had become, as only too many orators of the day pointed out, a law unto themselves. The had bought United States senators and congressmen, just as they bought rails and locomotives – with cash. They owned whole legislatures, and often the state courts… To call the roads of 1870 corrupt is none too strong a term.”

The connection between these two statements and the conclusion to be drawn from them has, apparently, never occurred to Mr. Holbrook. It is the railroads whom he blames and call “corrupt.” Yet  what could the railroads do, except try  to “own whole legislatures,” if these legislatures held the power of life or death over them ? What could the railroads do except resort to bribery, if they wished to exist at all ? Who was to blame and who was “corrupt” – the businessmen who had to pay “protection money” for the right to remain in business – or the politicians who held the power to sell that right?

Still another popular accusation against big business is the idea that selfish, private interests restrain and delay progress, when they are threatened with a new invention that might destroy their market. No private interest could or ever has done this, except with government help. The early history of the railroads is a good illustration. The railroads were violently opposed by the owners of canals and steamship companies, who were doing most of the transportation at the time. A great numbers of laws, regulations and restrictions were passed by various legislatures, at the instigation of the canal interests, in an attempt to hamper and stop the development of the railroads. This was done in the name of the “public welfare” (!). When the first railroad bridge was built across the Mississippi, the river steamship interests brought suit against its builder, and the court ordered the bridge destroyed as a “material obstruction and a nuisance.! The Supreme Court reversed the ruling, by a narrow margin, and allowed the bridge to stand. (See The Strategy of Great Railroads by Frank H. Spearman, pages 273 – 276). Ask yourself what the fate of the entire industrial development  of the United States would have been, if that narrow margin had been different – and what is the fate of all economics progress when it is left, not to objective demonstration, but to the arbitrary decision of a few men armed with political power.

It is important to note that the railroad owners did not start in business by corrupting the government. They had to turn to the practice of bribing legislators only in self-protection. The first and best builders of railroads were free enterprisers who took great risks on their own, with private capital and no government help. It was only when they demonstrated to the country that the new industry held a promise of tremendous wealth that the speculators and the legislators rushed into the game to milk the new giant for all it was worth. It was only when the legislatures began the blackmail of threatening to pass disastrous and impossible regulations that the railroads owners had to turn to bribery.

It is significant that the best of the railroads builders, those who started out with private funds, did not bribe legislatures to throttle competitors nor to obtain any kind of special legal advantage or privilege. They made their fortunes by their own personal ability – and if they resorted to bribery at all, like Commodore Vanderbilt, it was only to buy the removal of some artificial restriction such as a permission to consolidate. They did not pay to get something from the legislature, but only to get the legislature out of their way. But the builders who started out with government help, such as the Big Four of the Central Pacific, were the ones who used the government for special advantages and owed their fortunes to legislation more than to personal ability. This is the inevitable result of any kind or degree of “mixed economy.” It is only with the help of government regulations that a man of lesser ability can destroy his better competitors – and he is the only type of man who does, or ever has, run to government for economic help.

It is not a matter of accidental personalities, of “dishonest business-men” or “dishonest legislators.” The dishonesty is inherent in and created by the system. So long as a government holds the power of economic control, it will always attract the corrupt type of politician into the legislature, it will always work to the advantage of the dishonest businessman, and will penalize and, eventually, destroy the honest and the able.

The examples quoted are only a few of the more obvious ones; there is a great number of others, all demonstrating the same point. These were taken from the history of a single industry. One can well imagine what one would discover if one went through the history of other American industries in similar detail.

It is time to clarify in the public mind the pernicious confusion which was created by Marxism and which most people have unthinkingly accepted : the idea that economic controls are the proper function of government, that government is a tool of economic class interests, and that the issue is only which particular class or pressure group shall by served by the government. Most people believe that Free Enterprise is a controlled economy serving the interests of the industrialists – as opposed to the New Deal, which is a controlled economy allegedly serving the interests of the workers. The idea or possibility of an uncontrolled economy has been entirely forgotten and is now being deliberately ignored. Most people would see no difference between a businessman such as J. J. Hill of the Great Northern and a businessman such as the Big Four of the Central Pacific. Most people would simply dismiss the difference by saying that businessmen are crooks who will always corrupt the government and that the solutions is to let the government be corrupted by labor unions.

The issue is not between pro–business controls and pro–labor controls, but between controls and freedom. It is not the Big Four against the New Deal, but the Big Four and the New Deal on one side – against J. J. Hill and every honest worker on the other. Government control of economics, no matter in whose behalf, has been the source of all the evils in our industrial history – and the solution is the complete repeal of any and all forms of government interference into production and trade, the complete separation of State and Economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separations of Church and State.

43 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2010 3:38

    Thanks Vincent !
    Not sure if this is the correct venue for this, but, thought you may want to check this blog … I, personally, would like to see how you respond to this person.

    http://spinoza1111.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/my-latest-update-to-the-ayn-rand-wikipedia-article/

    Perhaps you have seen his blather before …

    Ed

    • February 23, 2010 3:38

      I read it and I am 101 percent sure that the blogger merely read or absorbed secondary information about Ayn Rand. Why do I know this? Because I started as an Ayn Rand critic.
      Someone who read a book or two of Ms Rand would understand “a bit” where she’s coming from, and would have an idea why she came up with her ideas. The problem is most of her critics, either her “first rate” critics (e.i. Murray Rothbard, William H. Buckley, Whitetaker Chamber, etc.) or her third-rate hippyish smear campaigners (like this blogger), are all dishonest. One must know his enemy. I consider Karl Marx and Immanuel Kant an enemy and so I read their works. This is for me to respond to their followers in any forum. However I must tell you there are a few people who claimed they read a few books of Ayn Rand, but my evaluation is that they did not understand her philosophy. Like I said to a friend, there are categories of Ayn Rand fans:
      a. Fans who read her novels.
      b. Fans who read her non-fiction books.
      c. Fans who read both.
      d. Fans who read both and were able to integrate the premises of her fiction books into her non-fiction works.
      e. Fans who can truly grasp the philosophy of Objectivism. By “truly grasp” I mean they were able to overcome their contradictions, false premises, floating abstractions, and undefined concepts which they consciously and subconsciously absorbed before reading Ayn Rand.

      • February 24, 2010 3:38

        Thanks, Vincent, for affirming your your moral standard and not stooping to his level … as evidenced by the last couple of statements in his tirade.
        Ed

      • February 24, 2010 3:38

        Thanks, Ed. This blog is a proof of my transformation, philosophically and intellectually. I started it a year before I met Ayn Rand, who was introduced to me by our university consultant who once worked as the Press Secretary of a former Philippine President. This man summoned me being the editor-in-chief of my campus’ weekly publication before meeting our university chairman. He asked me what particular books I read. He looked disappointed when I told him I just read my class textbooks. There and then he asked me to read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The man’s got so much respect for Ayn Rand. May God bless him.
        Now I’m very surprised to discover most Filipinos’ hatred and disregard of capitalism, reason, philosophy, individualism and ideas. Pardon my pretension, but I profoundly believe that my blog is a proof- a testimony- that most Filipinos reject reason, individualism and capitalism, and I can predict that if this culture of mediocrity and scary collectivist trend continued, my country which was never founded on the right philosophy and idea, would experience complete disaster and devastation.

      • Rand hates muslims, loves war permalink
        February 26, 2010 3:38

        “Fans who can truly grasp the philosophy of Objectivism. By “truly grasp” I mean they were able to overcome their contradictions, false premises, floating abstractions, and undefined concepts which they consciously and subconsciously absorbed before reading Ayn Rand.”

        I’m interested in asking, since you are against physical force how do you fund a government?

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 7, 2010 3:38

        So you’ve read Das Kapital and The Critique of Pure Reason? I’m impressed if you have. Let’s check you out a bit.

        On your honor and to establish your credibility, take this test online, timing yourself to thirty minutes, and do not use references. Post your answers in a comment on this page. I will grade you, explaining and giving citations for the right answers.

        1. True or false: Marx defined the capitalist as paying for labor power and not labor time.

        2. Define “noumena” as used in Kant.

        3. Marx believed that which of the following preceded capitalism?
        a. Communism
        b. Socialism
        c. Feudalism
        d. Slave society
        e. Mercantilism

        4. In Das Kapital, Marx explains the passage of early wage and hour legislation as being the result of
        a. Chartist demonstrations
        b. Labour union pressure
        c. Pressure in favor of these laws from factory owners
        d. A coalition of workers and landowners, the latter’s interests diverging from those of factory owners
        e. Royal command

        5. Kant felt which way about Hume?
        a. He thought Hume completely mistaken and wished to refute him
        b. He agreed completely with Hume
        c. He learned much from Hume but wanted to secure a place for certain forms of non-empirical knowledge without which we could not organize empirical knowledge
        d. He envied Hume’s more easily read style.
        e. He felt that Hume did not give enough credit to sense data as a source of knowledge.

        6. Kant is notoriously difficult to read. Why? Choose ALL that apply.
        a. He was self-educated
        b. He was a liberal socialist who wanted to confuse people.
        c. He was in poor health when he wrote his major works
        d. He didn’t want simple folk to read him and lose respect for religion
        e. He was dealing with the limit of our ability to know.

        7. Choose the best synonym for “transcendental” as used by Kant
        a. Important
        b. Having to do with religion
        c. Marginal
        d. Being a different class of knowledge such that ordinary knowledge requires transcendental knowledge as a precondition
        e. Above it all

        8. In Marx, the wage paid the worker declines to
        a. The legal minimum wage
        b. A negative number, since in advanced capitalist societies, people are willing to work for free, contributing large amounts of effort, to qualify for “real” jobs
        c. The amount necessary to sustain life
        d. The amount necessary to reproduce labour power: to support the worker and his family, and no more

        9. Marx’s relationship to Hegel is best characterized how?
        a. He disliked Hegel
        b. He wanted to extend Hegel’s system to the real world
        c. He believed all of Hegel
        d. He believed that Hegel’s idealism was a mistake and should be replaced by materialism

        10. Kant’s logic vocabulary predated modern logic and uses terms in a strange way. What is an antimony?
        a. A contradiction
        b. A proof
        c. A thesis
        d. A disproof
        c. A gap in an argument

        11. Kant classifies statements into four rather famous types depending on whether (1) they tell us something true or false about phenomena and (2) they are known by observation or through pure reason. Identify the two statements that belong in the same class.
        a. “Water contains hydrogen and oxygen” and “1+1=2”
        b. “Of any two points in time, one is before the other, or they are the same” and “all objects are located in three dimensional space”
        c. “All objects have some color(s)” and “the King of Prussia is bald”
        d. “The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the opposing sides”, and “e=mc squared”
        e. “God exists” and “water is wet”

        12. For Marx, the MOST historically progressive class would be
        a. The aristocracy
        b. The bourgeois
        c. The peasant
        d. Intellectuals
        e. Clergymen

        13. True or false. Marx would agree with Adam Smith that the baker does not bake out of altruism.

        14. Select the object or thing which, in Marx, has, pound for pound, the most use value
        a. Iron ore
        b. Money
        c. Newsprint paper
        d. Bread
        e. Raw cloth

        15. Select the object or thing which, in Marx, has, pound for pound, the most exchange value
        a. Iron ore
        b. Money
        c. Newsprint paper
        d. Bread
        e. Raw cloth

        16. The labour theory of value (Marx)
        a. Defines all value as the product of labour
        b. Was believed by Robert Heinlein (Starship Troopers)
        c. Defines the only valuable person to be the person who labours
        d. Did not apply, in Marx’s opinion, to gold mining

        17. What country did Marx believe socialism would first emerge?
        a. Britain
        b. The USA
        c. Russia

        18. True or false: Marx believed that socialism would emerge in the far distant future

        19. Essay: define “the alienation of labour” as seen in Marx

        20. Essay: define what Kant means by the Transcendental Aesthetic

    • spinoza1111 permalink
      December 5, 2010 3:38

      The truth generally hurts, Ed B. It often sounds like blather to people inundated by TV, which is lying to you because it’s owned by rich men.

      But hey, thanks for the publicity. Feel free to comment on any of my postings. I will try to treat guests with respect.

      • Juan Galdo permalink
        March 12, 2011 3:38

        you’re just blathering on.

  2. February 24, 2010 3:38

    “Now I’m very surprised to discover most Filipinos’ hatred and disregard of capitalism, reason, philosophy, individualism and ideas.’

    Vincent … has anyone reminded them that if it were not for all those things they disregard that they may now being living under the yoke of Japanese imperialism ?

    And, that’s a great story about how you discovered Rand. Me? While taking a break at the restaurant I worked at a fairly well dressed man approached me. He said he had watched my routine and how I did things. He plunked down a dog eared copy of ‘Atlas’ and said ” here, you need this more than I do”. Well, that was the last restaurant I worked in … got some training in machining and that training has gotten me through to today … and I credit the man who left me the book. That was thirty years ago.
    Ed

    • February 24, 2010 3:38

      Wow! That’s very interesting. Thanks for sharing your story.

      “…has anyone reminded them that if it were not for all those things they disregard that they may now being living under the yoke of Japanese imperialism”

      That I’m not sure. The real enemy are the educational institutions that preach the virtue of sacrifice, altruism, and collectivism. the Austrian Business Cycle Theory is totally unknown in all universities here. Only a few people know the names- Ayn Rand, Ludwig Von Mises, Henry Hazlitt, and even Milton Friedman. The so-called best university in the country- the University of the Philippines- that’s being subsidized by taxpayers’ money, is the breeding ground of communism in the country. It’s no surprise that the founder and leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Jose Maria Sison, was a former political science professor at UP before his self-imposed exile in The Netherlands. The country’s culture of mediocrity and lack of intellectual leadership are the result of this trend. I say that our Constitution reflects the reigning anti-ideologies of this culture (mediocrity): political correctness, progressive ideas, and egalitarianism. The anti-individual ideologies are bringing this nation to compete collectivism and dictatorship.

      This is the reason why I wrote this blog: Why the Communists are Advancing to Take Away Our Freedom?

      • February 24, 2010 3:38

        Are you sure that at some point you won’t be willing to run for political office ? It sure wouldn’t surprise me to see your name in the newspaper one day.

        By the way, I still have that same paperback book the gentleman gave me thirty years ago … even though I now have it in hardcover … probably never let it go !
        Ed

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 6, 2010 3:38

        In fact, the Phillipines have bought the “free market” line ever since Aguinaldo and MacArthur. There is almost no social infrastructure relative to developed countries, because the global economy has decided that the Phillipines should educate its children only enough to be, in the case of women, helpers in Hong Kong or, at best, nurses in the USA. The men are left to join the merchant marine and join the international minimum wage class.

        By most measures of well-being including public health and education, Cuba does much better since Cuba escaped being a US colony in 1958, when Fidel Castro overthrew US sponsored Batista.

        The Phillipine’s rich follow Rand, because instead of investing in what your country needs, they take for themselves, starting with Mrs. Marcos’ shopping.

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 6, 2010 3:38

        “Why the Communists Are Advancing To Take Away Our Freedom?”

        You know, that is not even grammatical.

        “Why, the Communists are advancing to take away our freedom, Madge!” “That’s terrible, dear.”

        “Daddy, why are the Communists advancing to take away our freedom?” “I don’t know, son but here’s mah gun.”

        “Sarge, the Communists are advancing.” “OK, men, open up on dem wid everyt’ing ya got. No Commie rat is gonna take away MY freedom in this man’s Army!”

        Oh the Communists are advancing
        And some of them homos are prancing
        To take away our freedom, I think,
        And I could use a drink,
        Because I don’t know why
        Tho’ I drink whisky and rye
        They wanna take away mah freedom
        To call the shots as I see ’em
        And select the shots when I drink ’em.

        And this grammatical failure runs deep. You make simple logical errors and cannot disambiguate propaganda and scholarship.

        Don’t quit your day job.

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 7, 2010 3:38

        You need to read GE Moore’s Principia Ethica. You see, altruism is by definition a virtue. Self-seeking is what we do by nature. Anyone who needs a trashy novel to tell him to look out for number one is a total loser, who’s been over-socialized to be, not altruistic, but passive aggressive and anhedonic, unable to get any gratification and a forty year old virgin in most cases.

        But the most successful lookers outers for number one-ers, like George Soros, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, can knock off looking out for number one, as opposed to losers who work as little computer programmers for sixteen hour days and get screwed all the same. Soros and Gates then discover what Kant knew: that moral seriousness commences precisely at the point where we stop following nature and become human beings.

        Rand bears close study, because as in the case of her hero Nietzsche, she’s a layered phenomenon. The top is bullshit, but in Howard Roarke we see precisely who we were meant to be and cannot, not because of “government”, but the way in which government and the corporation combine, in such as manner that we cannot tell where one starts and the other ends.

        “Your woraciousness, fellow-critters, I don’t blame ye so much for; dat is natur, and can’t be helped; but to gobern dat wicked natur, dat is de pint. You is sharks, sartin; but if you gobern de shark in you, why den you be angel; for all angel is not’ing more dan de shark well goberned. Now, look here, bred’ren, just try wonst to be cibil, a helping yourselbs from dat whale. Don’t be tearin’ de blubber out your neighbour’s mout, I say. Is not one shark dood right as toder to dat whale? And, by Gor, none on you has de right to dat whale; dat whale belong to some one else. I know some o’ you has berry brig mout, brigger dan oders; but den de brig mouts sometimes has de small bellies; so dat de brigness of de mout is not to swaller wid, but to bit off de blubber for de small fry ob sharks, dat can’t get into de scrouge to help demselves.”

        “Well done, old Fleece!” cried Stubb, “that’s Christianity; go on.”

        “No use goin’ on; de dam willains will keep a scougin’ and slappin’ each oder, Massa Stubb; dey don’t hear one word; no use a-preaching to such dam g’uttons as you call ’em, till dare bellies is full, and dare bellies is bottomless; and when dey do get ’em full, dey wont hear you den; for den dey sink in the sea, go fast to sleep on de coral, and can’t hear noting at all, no more, for eber and eber.”

        – Herman Melville, Moby Dick

  3. February 24, 2010 3:38

    Ed,

    “Are you sure that at some point you won’t be willing to run for political office ? It sure wouldn’t surprise me to see your name in the newspaper one day.”

    That’s the ambition of my parents. That’s why they encouraged me to take Law. Nope! Not in my wildest dreams. I’ve never dreamed of running for political office in the future. I’m very sure of this.

    Keep that copy, Ed.

    • February 24, 2010 3:38

      One can never tell what the future will bring …. at some point, because of your moral compass and intellectual bearing, you may feel compelled to enter the fray. Your dreams of justice for your nation …. do not close the door; it may be waiting for you to open it someday.
      Ed

      • February 24, 2010 3:38

        I’m very sure of it. I’d rather stay behind the curtain… I hope you know what I mean.

    • spinoza1111 permalink
      December 8, 2010 3:38

      Stop fucking with your ratings, homeboy.

  4. February 26, 2010 3:38

    Brilliant.

    I’ll bookmark this in my site, okay?

    Don’t forget to visit it. I insist.

  5. March 3, 2010 3:38

    Another note … found this today .. thought it might interest you:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0302/Apple-vs.-GM-Ayn-Rand-knew-the-difference.-Do-you

    Ed

    • March 3, 2010 3:38

      Thanks, Ed. That article has been circulating on Facebook…

    • spinoza1111 permalink
      December 6, 2010 3:38

      In fact, the microcomputer represents theft of pre-existing technology developed at taxpayer expense. Software technologies including compilers and operating systems already existed in 1970 which was when I took my first computer science class. It is an urban legend that capitalist adventurers invented the micro and its software.

      The micro itself was invented in a large corporation, Intel, which had gotten through its difficult early years with government assistance in the form of contracts.

      The “innovators” like Gates were for the most part rich kids with family money. I had plenty of programmer friends in the 1970s with as good or better ideas who had to set aside their dreams and work for banks because they didn’t have a rich Daddy.

      For more on this please see my book, “Build Your Own .Net Language and Compiler” (Edward G. Nilges, Apress 2004).

    • spinoza1111 permalink
      December 7, 2010 3:38

      Apple did not use government assistance as a startup, but it did use public relations, which is government’s evil twin, a business that both the corporation and government use to defraud. And today it lobbies Congress.

      It is true that if you compare Ford and GM, Ford is less “politically entrepreneural” than GM and arguably makes a better line of cars and has been more successful in the past few difficult years.

      But note that Ford was always number two and never absorbed GM. It had less appetite for acquiring smaller firms than GM although it did absorb Lincoln and some other marques. And, Ford has enjoyed government largesse, including the way in which corporations are taxed less relative to their size than individuals in our society.

      Had Ford acquired GM and become a super-auto company, this entity, as the biggest baddest player would like Conrail (the unification of almost all of the old American railways formed in the 1970s) be a quasi-government with considerable clout in Washington.

      While Rand admired the “high tech” of her time, she failed to see that without political entrepreneurship, there is an upper bound on corporate size. The Great Northern both created and served North Dakota and Montana, but this is because the money boys saw, correctly, that these are truly marginal lands (and if you’ve been there, as I have, you’d see why). They allowed Mr. Hill to build his niche business because they didn’t want to either treat their men well or see them all die. Hill pioneered work breaks because anyone who’s camped in the northern states knows that hot liquids and rest breaks aren’t a frill as they might be in Kansas.

      As in the computer business, niche businesses flourish for a while and then are absorbed in their time. Remember little Peter Norton and his virus cure? Niche businesses, avoiding political entrepreneurship, don’t acquire other businesses: they are acquired.

      Randroids might say they want a lot of small businesses to evolve to only medium size, competing forever, forgetting that in sports all games have an end. Well, if we’re doing railroad history, take the Nickel Plate.

      This charming, but ridiculous, little railroad was built after the civil war to service the Cleveland-Chicago run which the Pennsylvania and New York Central had managed to forget about, it being very easy to forget about Cleveland, the mistake on the lake. Its owners then had a few drinks and decided, what the hell, why not get to the Big Apple by way of Buffalo, through terrain that have Johnny Burgoyne no end of trouble at Saratoga during the Revolution, duplicating the New York Central, without ever providing shippers and passengers enough reason to take the Nickel Plate, apart from well-designed dining car china and free booze.

      The Nickel Plate staggered along and in the fifties I rode it with my family between Chicago and Cleveland. But the only reason it existed was the Interstate Commerce Commission. It was absorbed into the New York Central, then Penn Central, then Conrail.

      The natural tendency is either monopoly, or evil government interference to prevent monopoly. Multiple, non politically entrepreneural firms is strictly a transient phenomenon in any industry.

      I conclude that absence of government is an excellent incubator for new technologies and new businesses. But for mature industries such as railways and even, today, passenger aviation, this absence simply allows United Airlines, Conrail, GM and the banks to become quasi-governments with influence in Washington whether or not they want it, “too big to fail”.

      I take von Mises and Rand very seriously. I have changed my mind about Rand: a year ago I fought to get her delisted as a philosopher on wikipedia but would not do so today. This is because as a socialist, who will die in a ditch before conceding that altruism is folly because fairness and decency is what being humans mean, I will absorb their lessons and rise above them. The difficulty of this question reflects its importance. We must love one another or die.

  6. spinoza1111 permalink
    December 5, 2010 3:38

    You need to become familiar with the world history of railroads and the history of American labor.

    First of all: most of the world’s railways have been built with initial and ongoing government support, without the corruption which you document in the USA. This is because “free enterprise” in the USA has always been free enough to buy influence, with exceptions like Hill of Great Northern, resulting in your silly perception that, of a dimorphous monster composed, as was Stanford’s Southern Pacific, of a business part and a government part, the government part was “bad” while the business part was “good”.

    Hill as an individual was averse, probably from laziness and ignorance, to truck with government: he probably just didn’t want to fill out forms or cultivate powerful men, and like many American men before him and since, just wanted to be “left alone” with his toys. Men died in the snow as he played with his toys because in reality, Hill did NOT “bravely go where no man had gone before”. That would be individual workers who he probably underpaid even by the standards of his time.

    You think building a railroad is a game with toys, or a computer game. It is not. It is a COLLECTIVE effort of blood, sweat and tears, involving the labor of thousands of men, most of whom were treated like dogs, with lousy food, freezing accomodations, and 16 hour days, and many of whom were fobbed off with free booze in lieu of pay. And their descendants were singing as early as 1930,

    Once I built a railroad, now it’s done, buddy can you spare a dime

    Which brings me to my next point. “Government intervention” did not destroy American passenger service. Where I live I can take a decent train to Guangzhou with a comfortable reserved seat and travel with dignity: in most parts of America, to try to do so is to be treated like a second-class citizen.

    American passenger service was destroyed deliberately by the American railroads themselves in the 1950s because then and now, railway men interested in profit see more profit in freight as opposed to “varnish”. In the capitalist playbook, of course, this is supposed to result in the greatest possible good: but is this the case?

    It is not. Poor and even middle class people who can’t afford a car are stuck where they are, as was evident in New Orleans in 2005 when the wealthy and upper middle class were able to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina, but the poor and lower middle classes died because Amtrak had to curtail what little service was left.

    This is because the money boys (Wall Street) promised to revive American passenger rail service in 1950, but failed to keep this promise.

    They promised to end the need to transfer trains in Chicago when traveling cross country (as many wealthy people still did in 1950), and failed to keep this promise. People fled to the airlines especially after the Boeing 707 was introduced in 1959 not always because the 707 cut travel times coast to coast (to an uncomfortable, noisy and in the early days still rather unsafe four or five hours) but also because of the constant cutbacks in passenger service.

    Trains of the 1940s, especially Pullman, were good places in which to conduct business, and the three night trip could be used productively, but the businessman was forced off the train by 1959, not by any governmental action, but by the greed of the private owners of the railways. It is most ironic that you’re an admirer of Ayn Rand, because she was in turn a great admirer of the American passenger train. The sort of petty little men who drove the director of the New York Central to suicide were Rand’s villains whereas he was a Randian hero.

    The crumb bums who destroyed Robert Young were not government agents. They were the men who hated passenger service and were concerned, as real free marketers, with the next quarter’s bottom line. Robert Young’s Randroid, almost artistic vision was laughed at in the name of “real” free enterprise.

    You also need to read the history of American labor. Aside from anti-trust, a reason for government intervention was constant labor struggle becoming in some cases armed conflict, and the use of soldiers to attack striking workers in the Pullman strike, in Chicago of the 1890s.

    Even a strict free marketer is willing to call on the government to break unions, because it’s always been an article of faith, held by Rand and all other libertarians, that “individual freedom” may NOT include the freedom to meet after work and then approach the boss as a peaceful body asking for a single, open and fair contract for all workers.

    Voltaire said, “if you would converse with me, define your terms”. Government does this with respect to industry (read The Wealth of Nations, and note that “Nations” appears in its title). You cannot “enforce contracts” without some shared definition of what words mean and this is essentially a government function.

    This is why in civilized countries, rail passenger service was split off from freight and operated separately, because “operating passenger service” is quite different from “operating freight service” unless you’re operating Holocaust trains. It was found that passenger service, especially commuter rail, was both a necessity and best operated as a monopoly, and, to check the obvious greed factor, as a public utility. Libertarians of course engage in fantasy about a universal competition, which would be Pandaemonium, with separate electrical outlets and fights between workers sponsored by the bosses. They are ignored, just as Communists are.

    By the 1950s, the railroads were claiming that “featherbedding” was destroying them when their own policies of anti-passenger and high volume freight were doing the job. The unions were demanding job security for “firemen” on Diesel locomotives while the railroads were claiming that these jobs could be eliminated.

    There are arguments on both sides. A steam locomotive in the technology of that day was high maintenance demanding high skills exercised in harsh environments, whereas the Diesel was a more sheltered and easier to operate environment. However, the steam locomotive could have evolved, and did not, because the real point was breaking the power of the coal mining unions under John L. Lewis.

    Nobody seems to have realized it at the time, but this neatly committed the US, along with the destruction of passenger railways (including inter and intra urban service) put the United States in thrall to the Middle East, because of the fuel requirements of the Diesel, that of the jet aircraft that passengers were sent to, and that of the auto which replaced inter and intra urban service.

    I can take a continuously running MTR where I live that, in being a continuous flow operation, is by definition ALWAYS on time, and transfer in the far northwest of the New Territories on Shekou Bay to a light rail which also runs continuously. “Don’t try this at home”. To use Caltrain or light rail in Silicon Valley is to sit for hours feeling like a second class citizen.

    Sheer racism plays a part. The Southern reaction to integration of public facilities was to destroy the public facilities: I noted in North Carolina that there are few public pools but any number of private clubs which exercise de facto racial discrimination based overtly on income. Likewise, the destruction of American passenger rail service happened just as Dr. King was integrating buses, lunch counters, and passenger trains. Despite the fact that operating “separate but equal” passenger rail facilities is demonstrably more costly than integration, the capitalists who ran southern railways were also viscerally against the idea of actually operating Pullman sleeping cars for both blacks and whites, so those facilities were eliminated for both.

    “Business” and “government” are just names. What little engineers and trainspotters, usually men who’ve failed to complete a railroad career because of their lack of insight into politics and economics and their obsession with things, do not realize is that the successful businessman in real capitalism, as opposed to fantasy and recreational capitalism, sooner or later will start buying pieces of government.

    It’s in their interest to delude you, and have you blame government. The purpose, stated clearly in private bank letters to the superrich, is to eliminate all participation in government by all but the superrich.

    With GOVERNMENT help, meanwhile, plans are being executed here in China to connect Beijing and London with high-speed rail, reducing the passenger travel time between those capitals from about one and a half weeks to a few days, on board comfortable trains with first-class airline seating in its own cheapest coach class, and lavish private rooms at top class…rooms with Internet access that are rolling offices like the private railway cars of James Hill or Leland Stanford.

    Given America’s increasing hostility to the rest of the world, the mess it’s made of airport security (naked chicks in scanners instead of sky marshals), and the criminal destruction of its education system by conservatives, libertarians and other assholes, this will make the USA the Argentina of the next decade: a failed state that is excluded by its distance from the center of power (Beijing) even as Buenos Aires was isolated after 1945. Not one politician nor entrepreneur is contemplating linking to the surface network of Eurasia (its roads and rails) with a Bering Strait bridge, something that is technically feasible.

    Such a venture would of course need government assistance, like the Erie canal, and even the Great Northern (which needed Federal protection against the remaining Native Americans and eminent domain). But today, American businessmen, like the decadent Fascists of Argentina and Franco’s Spain, prefer to increase their profits by laying off workers and destroying schools.

    You don’t build a railroad without government intervention: get a clue. You’re talking about owning a very long strip of land at a minimum through lands which, at the time you build it, are semi or completely wild and require protection, militarily against bandits, marauders and indigenous folk, and legally against claims by previous landowners. John Locke overlooked the fact that even he who develops the virgin land will clamor for government once the Indians have slain his eldest son.

    Rand was right. It is all about celebrating the contribution of the individual, but the individual has to have a fulcrum with which to move the world, and we must also remember the locomotive engineer or gandy dancer who, multiplied several times over, actually built the railroad. The sniveling libertarians who ask us to decry government intervention are precisely the people who don’t want to create jobs, because they are too lazy to fill out forms and cultivate friends in order to bridge the Bering strait. No, they want to continue to make money operating shitty little fraudulent scams which they learned long ago.

    You’re being stiffed, you’re being sold down the river, you’re being above all, railroaded.

    Wake up!

    • December 5, 2010 3:38

      “First of all: most of the world’s railways have been built with initial and ongoing government support, without the corruption which you document in the USA. This is because “free enterprise” in the USA has always been free enough to buy influence, with exceptions like Hill of Great Northern, resulting in your silly perception that, of a dimorphous monster composed, as was Stanford’s Southern Pacific, of a business part and a government part, the government part was “bad” while the business part was “good”.”

      It’s you who should read the right books on American history on railroads. You may start with Thomas J. DiLorenzo’s How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, From the Pilgrims to the Present. Here’s an excerpt of his book http://mises.org/daily/2317

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 5, 2010 3:38

        Get a life, get a clue.

        “How Capitalism Saved America”.

        “Liberal Fascism”

        This is not a responsible source. It is biased propaganda, and this is evident from the title alone.

        Let’s look at my history bookshelf.

        “Europe’s Tragedy: a History of the Thirty Year’s War”: historians believe in a consensus that no matter who started it, as many as one out of three people in Germany died.

        “Princeton Readings in American Politics”: no, Ace, I worked and studied at Princeton and in fact most of the faculty is rather conservative. My professor in Philosophy of the Behavioral Science, Gil Harman, said he wished that Chomsky had stayed out of politics.

        “Austerity Britain: 1945-1952”

        “British History 1815-1914”: pretty goddamn neutral, right?

        “From Colony to Superpower: American Foreign Relations from 1776”

        “Principles of Public International Law”

        Etc., etc. And…I have read each one of these books. None starts, as does your idiot boy tome, with bias in the title!

        You ignorantly waddle into Border’s, grab a double latte, and dully scan titles. When you see something that gratifies, like a child you pick it up. Bright colors and a biased title. Next year, it will probably be “Naked Chicks Hate Obama and So Should You”.

        You go home and plop in front of Web sites which likewise gratify your stupidity, and confirm each other in self-referential loops, with A citing B and B, citing A.

        You are destroying my country.

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 6, 2010 3:38

        John D. Rockefeller got rich primarily by buying out other drillers. As to James J. Hill, libertarians love the exceptional narrative.

        Through the central Plains and throughout California, railroads were built with government assistance, corruption and monopoly, as were earlier railroads in the East. Only one example is given of a railroad, the Great Northern, which was more efficient and built without government assistance.

        However, it is fallacious to claim that because a railroad can be built in this way that “Capitalism Saved America”. The Great Northern simply ran through the same northern and western areas as the Northern Pacific, still delivering passengers and freight to Chicago at one end and Seattle at the other in the 1950s.

        But even if it did so in the 1950s with higher efficiency, lower costs and better service, which the Great Northern did, it failed the capitalist test. Some of its rolling stock quietly deteriorates at the end of the line, in the sunshine, in Union, Illinois (the Illinois Railway Museum). It’s very nice Pullman rolling stock, with a lounge section, open bunks and drawing rooms, but it’s also a graveyard.

        The Great Northern did not put the inefficient and subsidized producers out of business. If a businessman of the 1930s, say, needed to visit clients in Seattle and then down in San Francisco, he had to book on Leland Stanford’s evil trains to make it to Frisco.

        It is true that, given the author’s bogus and silly distinction between a political and a business entrepreneur, there are principled men in many businesses who choose to be business entrepreneurs. Bill Gates never sought government support. However, Larry Ellison, the almost as wealthy founder of Oracle, got his start with CIA contracts that provided him a solid cash flow during the difficult early years.

        The exceptions prove the rule. Ford Motor Company did not need GM sized subsidies. But GM did, and GM (like Union Pacific and Central Pacific vis a vis the Great Northern) dwarfs Ford.

        You’re talking about a virtual, fantasy world that you claim would be more efficient, in which all entrepreneurs refused government help. Not only would such a world require altruism, a Rand no-no, it has never even existed.

        Stories of Hill’s virtue simply do not change the rapaciousness of Leland Stanford, President Grant’s incompetence as regards corruption, or the antics of the ante-bellum railroad barons (“the public be damned”, etc.)

        The reasoning is utterly fallacious. It starts with a strawman, because the historians do not assert (x)[railwayBaron(x)->politicalEntrepreneur(x)] (for all x, if x was a railway baron, x was a political entrepreneur): they say that most were.

        It then presents the existence of James J. Hill as refuting the strawman whilst it doesn’t even refute the actual assertion.

        Marx acknowledged that individual capitalists could be well-intentioned and try, as James J. Hill seems to have tried, to treat workers fairly and avoid “political entrepreneurship”: Marx’s own friend (and financial angel) Engels was one example. But Marx also emphasized that “all that is solid melts into air”: in the aggregate, all of the good intentions of individuals are swept away. If the owner of the firm is a good guy, his son is not.

        The capitalist myth of the “good boss” is often trotted out. George Pullman was one. He provided his workers at his Chicago plant with subsidized rental housing. But when the workers were laid off when the demand for sleeping cars declined after the panic of the early 1890s, the laid off workers were still either billed for rent (that they could not pay even at subsidized rates) or evicted. And when the remaining employed workers went on strike for their friends, Pullman called on the government to send troops.

        I worked as a software engineer at an “employee friendly” company with good benefits, flexible hours and support for great technology in the early 1980s. But when its parent decided that this research arm was not producing enough measurable profit, they hired a new crop of managers who verbally assaulted engineers behind schedule trying to do a good job, and who in compensation funded lavish parties that in one case turned into a drunken brawl, the place had become so toxic.

        The good engineers left (as I did). The remainder stole equipment and talked about the technology they were going to make, buy or steal. The company was wildly profitable for a while, the majority stockholders got rich, the engineers lost their pensions (some died in motels). After the party ended and the rich had cashed their chips, some of the parent company’s executives went to jail.

        This is why, as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont stated on the floor of the Senate, a small fraction of people in the USA own most of the wealth today.

        Unlike James J. Hill, the majority of businessmen do NOT seek to make a superior product. They are “rent seekers” in economics-speak. They want something for nothing. The majority of businessmen are “political entrepreneurs”.

        Jung Chang, in her book Wild Swans, about what it was like to grow up in Mao’s China, writes that if Party members were like her parents, Communism might have worked, for her parents never sought special privileges as minor officials. They were not, insofar as was possible, “political entrepreneurs”: they focused on solving problems for their immediate community.

        Their reward was to be stabbed in the back and lied about by people envious of their position, and Jung Chang herself was punished by being deprived of her education and sent to rural areas to “learn from the peasants”.

        Anyone with real business experience sees that the same human relations and social mechanisms occur under all forms of really existing capitalism and Communism. Powered by the first generation of idealistic and humanistic capitalists, who refused or didn’t get government assistance, Britain was the top industrial power in the world in the 1850s.

        But then the sons of the owners and the aging factory owners themselves decided, collectively and in the aggregate, to focus on receiving safe returns, “political entrepreneurship” in Parliament, and promote posh back-stabbers while disregarding hard workers of the lower classes. Germany and America ate Britain’s lunch, because rent-seeking doesn’t create new industries.

        Here in Hong Kong, the situation is the same, as documented by Joe Studwell in Asian Godfathers. Basically, and in my direct experience, employers simply want to make employees sweat doing “the same old same old” while Shanghai innovates because it’s a lie (and a whopper) that entrepreneurs like risk: they don’t, and when they can arbitrage it away, they do so. Ordinary workers take on far more risk every day because in an at-will employment law environment, they can be fired at any time “for a good cause, a bad cause or no cause at all”.

        [Parenthetically, China is probably giving Randroids fits, for socially it is a Randroid world, where businesses and people can fuck or walk: there are enormous rewards but no more “iron ricebowl” for the “failures”. And I really, really know what I am talking about. I worked in mainland China as a software engineer, you see. And, I read real books.]

        [How is this possible in idiot boy’s Rand playbook? The government happens to be Leninist. WTF, right?]

        [Just a thought, inserted parenthetically.]

        A long dead railwayman long ago created a now defunct railway and he was a good guy. I’ll alert the fucking media.

        Mona tried to tell me
        To stay away from the train line
        She said that all the railroad men
        Just drink up your blood like wine
        And I said “Oh I didn’t know that
        But then again there’s only one I’ve met
        And he just smoked my eyelids
        And punched my cigarette

        – Bob Dylan (I might be insane, but I don’t make simple errors in logic. Now isn’t that a kiss my ass?)

        Get a clue.

    • exnihilonihilfit permalink
      December 6, 2010 3:38

      I agree with Spinoza1111. beautiful argument.

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 6, 2010 3:38

        Thanks, but we’re in the Munich beer hall. Here come the bully boys. You take the ugly mother on the right, and I’ll take the fireplug on the left. Try breaking your stein over his head and see if that makes him thoughtful, and then kick him in the nuts.

      • exnihilonihilfit permalink
        December 7, 2010 3:38

        i guess ill just stone the crow

  7. spinoza1111 permalink
    December 5, 2010 3:38

    Correction, the class was The Philosophy of the Behavioral Sciences, of course.

    This is shaping up as a major time waster. Please remove all references to my blog. Your pointers soil it.

    • December 5, 2010 3:38

      Well, what you talked about is largely based on propaganda and lies…

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 6, 2010 3:38

        Books with titles like “How Capitalism Saved America” are propaganda. What did America need saving from? Was Thomas Jefferson a secret socialist? A member of the Bavarian Illuminati?

        The only way in which any of the Founding Fathers came even close, fifty years before Marx, was that some of them may have been Freemasonry.

        This elite club did emphasize some forms of social service but on a completely voluntary basis. It’s news to me that Rand or libertarians think the Rotary Club is a socialist organization, for while she (inconsistently) disapproved of ordinary people’s right to form labour unions, it’s news to me that she also disapproved of rich people forming eleemosynary associations (which, by the way, use force and even fraud on members, because obeying their rules is a form of force and the higher ups may not reveal all dealings to ordinary members).

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 6, 2010 3:38

        I’ll alert the fucking New York Times that George C. Herring, a well-respected American historian, is a liar. You see, if you start jerking yourself off, and claiming, as the logic of your cases forces you to claim, that all academics are liars, then all you’ve done is proven that in civil society there is no independent and neutral source of truth, not even for your own bullshit.

        This is Fascism, because the next logical step is you start beating people over the head.

  8. spinoza1111 permalink
    December 6, 2010 3:38

    Little boys should not play with toys
    That they do not understand
    Such as ideas in silly books
    That they find upon the strand.

    Knowing nothing, seeing less,
    They will always and forever bless
    The daemons that destroy them
    Praising greed and sanctioning fear
    No longer feeling much of anything.

    Galvanized, year in year out
    Without the shadow of a doubt,
    Until human voices wake them and they drown.

    • December 6, 2010 3:38

      Are you insane?

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 6, 2010 3:38

        No. But I can write, and you can’t. Part of the problem is that you have a problem but cannot express it even to yourself.

      • December 7, 2010 3:38

        But everything you said is nonsense. They’re all part of leftist conspiracy theories. Only leftist and ignorant people buy your propagandic drivel.

      • spinoza1111 permalink
        December 8, 2010 3:38

        Hmm, maybe homeboy is not “fucking with the ratings”. These ratings are bizarre. They seem to let me vote more than once.

  9. spinoza1111 permalink
    December 7, 2010 3:38

    How would you even know that what I say is nonsense? You do not seem to be educated sufficiently to make that declaration, for not only do you confuse books with bias in their titles (“How Capitalism Saved America” or somesuch) with quality primary and secondary sources, you have made an argument that a student who’s completed a basic college class in logic (which classes I have taught) would recognize as fallacious in two ways: strawman, and existential generalization.

    You appear to have access to quality universities in the Phillipines, putting you in a privileged minority in a country where most children struggle to get an education, and it appears to me that before completing that education, you’d decided it was liberal and biased.

    In a corporation, that is rightfully called “contempt before investigation” and a bad attitude and gets people rightfully fired. As a teacher, I think universities and schools have an equivalent right to expect suspense of judgement. Had you not had such a chip on your shoulder you might have learned how to cite and reason.

    It is a postmodern vanity to tune out when sentence complexity increases. Humble and hard working people, like the janitor who learned computer science basics from me at another university, are impressed and endeavor to understand. He went from janitor to software engineer after my class because he didn’t have contempt for the university.

    But privileged little middle class shits (and I don’t know if you are one, so chill) learn quickly enough to excuse themselves from reading comprehension by repeating saws about what is drivel and what is not. My suspicion is that like most rightards, you have learned that certain books will flatter you and others won’t, and you avoid the latter.

    Futhermore there is something rather interesting happening on this page. You are being down-rated whilst my posts are more highly rated, yet this is a conservative page.

    So chill.

    No educated person, by the way, would use propandic, and the software here even tries to help you by underlining it as an error. It’s not a typo such as I make, not wishing to waste too much time by overly careful proofreading, you seem to think that’s the word. It’s propagandistic, homeboy.

    You don’t tell CEOs their business because you reason, rightfully, that you do not know their jobs. I’m telling you to lay off this Fascistic professor bullying, and if you don’t like it, buy a ticket to Hong Kong and we’ll settle things the old fashioned way, you dig me?

    • spinoza1111 permalink
      December 7, 2010 3:38

      Caution: I always give myself one favorable vote. However, strangely for a conservative site, I am getting more votes from strangers.

  10. February 14, 2011 3:38

    http://rideriantieconomicwarfare.blogspot.com/

    savings n loans, .com, mortgagae,
    small recession, medium recession, big recession and after forced all us citizens into a monopolized industry a depression. do a trend analysis of the last three recessions and what caused them, then project what the insurance monoploly will do.

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