Greetings, all. Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US. Among all the American holidays, this one is my favorite. Never mind the genesis and history of this tradition — some of it is not very pretty. What matters to me is the idea of thanksgiving.
Gratitude is one of the most healthy emotions we have. Life is not always nice but every now and then it is good for our mental health to pause and say, “I am thankful that I have so much to be thankful about.”
Here’s the Sanskrit mantra that expresses my core desire
- लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु
- Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.
- May all beings be happy.
Happy Thanksgiving Day.
Regarding effective propaganda, it is hard to improve upon what was written long years ago.
“But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.”
The author? Herr Adolf Hitler. The book was Mein Kampf (My Struggle), the autobiographical manifesto of the Nazi leader published in 1925 and 1926. One of the biggest contemporary pernicious lies that is being repeated — and therefore believed by the public — is about climate change and the imminent global catastrophe that is certain to follow if costly steps are not immediately taken. Continue reading
As a liberal — in the classical sense of the word meaning one who believes in liberty — I have special respect for Albert Jay Nock (1870 – 1945), the American libertarian who was a radical anti-statist.
It’s astonishing to me how much our views match. Perhaps I am one of Nock’s reincarnations. (I should write about reincarnation one of these days.) Like him, I am a philosophical anarchist: I hold the state in contempt and believe that it lacks moral legitimacy but I am also against the use of violence to overthrow the state. Like him, I am opposed to centralization, regulation, the income tax, state welfare, majoritarian democracy and state mandated education. Continue reading
If you are not worried about the climate change hoax, you are not paying attention. It’s the biggest scam that’s going around.
In a previous post I proposed that a simple test of the super loser — having a facebook account. Here’s another simple test to figure out if you’re a super retard. You might be a
redneck super retard if you believe in the currently fashionable tripe about climate change.
The stand-up comedian Jeff Foxworthy (a proud descendant of a long line of rednecks) defines a redneck as someone “with a glorious lack of sophistication.” I define a super retard as one with a glorious inability to competently arrive at conclusions that evidence and reason compel. My sincere advice to you is to not be a super retard (although being a simple retard is still acceptable.) Continue reading
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I think people who have facebook accounts are super losers. Let’s face it, the overwhelmingly vast majority of the people (including yours truly) are losers in some way or the other. But what sets super losers apart from garden variety losers is that the former have facebook accounts.
The only positive thing that facebook has inadvertently done is to create a simple test for determining whether one is a super loser or not. It would have been very difficult to estimate the number of super losers in the world but thanks to facebook, you can get an accurate count — the number of facebook accounts. Bill Maher should have pointed that out in his “New Rule” segment about facebook. Here’s that bit:
James Buchanan proposed a simple test to distinguish economists from non-economists. It was that economists would not agree with the old adage that “whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well.” If you’re confused by that, you aren’t an economist.
Economists know that everything has costs and benefits. Not just this or that thing but everything. That includes good things and bad things. Even good things have costs, and bad things have benefits. Furthermore, economists “think at the margin.” And finally, there’s such a thing as “sunk costs.”
To keep this brief, let’s just say that an economist would stop before reaching that nebulous “well done” stage. He would stop when the marginal cost exceeds the marginal benefit. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing as long as the net benefit is positive. And then stop.
Back to our topic at hand on billionaires (the previous bits are part 1 and part 2.) Continue reading
I agree with the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 -1900) that “without music, life would be a mistake.” Music — together with literature and poetry — helps me keep my balance, beside being a source of pure joy. I love to share what I enjoy.
Here I present to you a perennial favorite, the “Moonlight Sonata” by another German genius, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827.) He completed writing it in 1801.
Thus it has been around for nearly 220 years and is one of the crowning pieces of the Western musical canon, and will last as long as that tradition endures, which is likely to be at least a couple of centuries. It’s an example of those rare successful attempts by humans to achieve the sublime. Continue reading
I concluded the previous part of this piece with the claim that “it is not possible to create wealth without also creating inequality. Inequality in a modern free society is a healthy sign, just as inequality in an un-free society signals disease.”
There are different ways of amassing wealth. In the past, most of what was produced was consumed. That’s because nearly everyone was almost uniformly poor in the past. There wasn’t much left over, and therefore there was not much accumulated wealth.
Still over hundreds of years, wealth in the form of precious metals and gems accumulated in certain parts of the world, which tempted barbarian invaders to do their killing and plundering. That’s the old way to acquire wealth: don’t bother producing any wealth, just take it from others by force.
Then around 250 years ago, some people figured out how to use energy sources (fossil fuels like coal) effectively and wealth production took off. That’s the first Industrial Revolution. That made it possible to produce a lot more wealth and gradually people started climbing out of extreme poverty. Continue reading
South Korea is weird. Meaning, it is “Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic.”
The last bit was not always true. It was a military dictatorship or autocracy until 1997 when it became a modern democracy with the election of Kim Dae-jung. Here’s some interesting facts about South Korea from the wiki: Continue reading
Billionaires are Better
Let me tell you about the billionaires. They are different from you and me. They create and possess immense wealth, and they benefit society immeasurably. They are different from you and me. They are better. 
The rest of this piece is a justification of the previous bit. To get started, it’s important to properly understand what we mean by rich people. They have more wealth compared to the non-rich. What’s wealth? It is whatever we as a collective commonly value.
Wealth is always reported in monetary terms (Bill Gates is worth $113 billion, for example) but money is not wealth: it’s only convenient to measure wealth in terms of units of money. This distinction is very important. Those who are unable to make that distinction end up writing nonsense, as did one opinion writer of the New York Times  recently. More about that later. Continue reading