Happy 101st Birthday, Milton Friedman

Today is the 101st birthday of Prof Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006). His erudition, eloquence and dedicated struggle for human freedom and dignity have helped advance civilization. Here he is on Phil Donohue’s show in 1979. In this 2-minute extract, Donohue asks him about capitalism and greed. The response is classic Friedman — devastating but funny, profound and based entirely on common sense. Happy 101st birthday, Milton Friedman. May your tribe increase. Your eloquence has illuminated the world.

Pat Condell on Free Speech–the Cornerstone of Our Civilization

Pat Condell is a hero in the true sense of the word — a warrior known for his exceptional courage and bravery. But you would not have heroes if there were no cowards. He is a heroic defender of human freedom and therefore the cowardly attacks on him. He is being censored. Vimeo took his videos down. Now YouTube has done that to some of his videos.

However, the internet is what it is because of its distributed nature. The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it, as John Gilmore put it. So here is the incomparable Pat on dotsub.com thanking the anonymous cowards who are afraid of what Pat has to say and what they don’t want you to hear.
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Hauled from the archives: Bigger is Better

Bigger is Better

Here I will address, as promised, the matter of why the argument — that India’s failure to develop cannot be compared with Singapore’s enviable success due to differences in size — is meaningless. It is based on an absolute misapprehension of the way the world works. All we need to do to see through the matter is a little bit of common sense, a quiet place, and a bit of time to turn things around in one’s head.
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Trending: Writing to the White House demanding visa denial to those one dislikes

It had to come to this: people running to Uncle Sam complaining that they have been teased at school by someone they did not like the looks of. Taking a cue from the 65 members of the Indian parliament (what a bunch of retarded wankers) who wrote to the POTUS demanding that Modi be denied a US visa, now 65 members (that’s the whole bunch) of the Sadbhavana Group Housing Society of Rohini, Delhi have brought their complaint to the POTUS as well. Don’t know how the letter they wrote became public; perhaps Snowden or that Assange fellow had something to do with this leak. But anyhow, here’s the full text of the letter presented for your benefit. Please feel free to use it as a template to write your own letter to the POTUS regarding that idiot neighbor who plays his stereo too loud.
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Hitler Loses it on Hearing that Modi may Become India’s PM

The day may come when Shri Narendra Modi becomes the PM of India. All of us who fear and dread — chief among them Antonia Maino & her minions such as Diggy Singh, Shashi, Sagarika, Rajdeep, Barkha — that awful day are in good company. It is being reported that dear old Adolf too would not like Modi to lead India. Oh the humanity. Here, take a look.

(The NY Times had a nice write up on the Hitler Meme back in Oct 2008. That clip is from the German movie “Downfall” of 2004.

In the original scene, Hitler is told that his reign of power is over; he then deafens himself to reality, eloquently savages everyone who cost him his dreams, vows revenge and finally resigns himself to private grief. The homemade spoofs plug into this transformation just about any hubristic entity that might come undone . . .

The meme of the parodies — the cultural kernel of them, the part that’s contagious and transmissible — has proved surprisingly hardy, almost unnervingly so. It seems that late-life Hitler can be made to speak for almost anyone in the midst of a crisis.

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Hitchens: Letters to a Young Contrarian

CHitchens “Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”

That’s Christopher Hitchens in Letters to a Young Contrarian.

I agree with Hitchens on many things, but not everything. Distrust compassion? Compassion and empathy are what make us human. I am sure that he is confusing two distinct emotions: perhaps he meant pity. Distrust pity; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Then there’s the very strange “Picture all experts as if they were mammals.” Actually, all experts are mammals. Unless of course that there are experts who are birds or reptiles. Anyway, the man was a brilliant polemicist, amazing writer and a debater par excellence. He was not a deep thinker. But then you cannot be reading & writing thousands of words a day, drinking scotch by the gallons, chain-smoking, debating, speaking at conferences, appearing on TV, making documentaries, reporting from war zones, teaching, traveling the world, promoting books — and also find the time and energy to think deeply. The bottom line: good guy who lived life king sized and mostly poured derision on the pretentious and the fake.

The Internet as the Great Truth-seeking Machine

rashomon Rashomon

After I watched the movie Argo, I had a one of those Rashomon moments, a realization that there is more to the story than was related to you. You may recall Rashomon (1950) introduced the master movie director Akira Kurosawa to the wider world. Set in medieval Japan, it is the story of the rape of a woman and subsequent mutually inconsistent accounts told about the incident by various eye-witnesses. According to Kurosawa, there are no particular truths, no definitive version of what actually happened at a particular time and place. What is recalled and later told depends on the observer and the particular vantage point.
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Shantanu Bhagwat: “On Narendra Modi and the hottest place in hell”

Shantanu Bhagwat has a post at his Reclaiming India blog at The Times of India website in which he states that Indians must not stand as neutral observers in the upcoming general elections because the UPA is “an existential threat to India” and therefore it must go. At the start of the post Shantanu recalls a recent conversation he had with Rajesh Jain. Rajesh made his point through a quote attributed to Dante. “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality”. Shantanu explains why he will not be neutral and is firmly committed to supporting Narendra Modi. Me too. Indeed, Shantanu quotes yours truly in his post. As you may know, I am not one to shy away from taking sides in the good fight.
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Nehru in his own words

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Nehru was Gandhi’s blue-eyed boy and based solely on that dubious distinction, became the first prime minister of India. The sentiment expressed by that quote is consistent with who Nehru apparently was. Some have asked what the source of that quote is. It is from Wikiquote on Nehru. The reference to that quote leads to a 404 error. Apparently that page no longer exists on the Pioneer website. Perhaps one of these days we will figure out the source and its authenticity. But I would not be surprised if much of what Nehru or any of the celebrated Nehru-Gandhi-Maino clan’s inconvenient declarations have been removed from the public records. We have to remember that Congress governments have carefully controlled what the public gets to know. India, like all third-rate countries like North Korea and others, suffers from government censorship and control of the media. That makes the national motto — Satyameva Jayate: Truth Alone Prevails — an ironic parody of reality.