Aldous Huxley on Servitude

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution” Continue reading “Aldous Huxley on Servitude”

Opposing Gun Control

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution ratified on December 15, 1791, along with nine other articles of the Bill of Rights.

I am a 2nd Amendment fundamentalist. The right to life and liberty is not something that one has because of the benevolence of one’s potential aggressors but because one has the power to resist aggression and tyranny. The greatest danger to one’s right to life and liberty is from the state because the state has a legal monopoly on the initiation of force, which it frequently exercises without any moral or ethical justification.

The primary reason for having arms to protect oneself is not because it deters the garden variety burglar (although that is a definite benefit) but because it puts the state on guard that it better behave or else. Continue reading “Opposing Gun Control”

Distributive Justice

The Elgin Marbles which were taken from the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, more than 200 years ago. 

Baransam1 asked in response to the latest AMA:

In the past, conquering Islam has broken many temples and erected mosques over the ruined temples. What should be our ideal stance in modern India? Shall we remove all those mosques and resurrect the temples? Or shall we let the mosques stand because the original criminals (breaking those temples) are all dead? I am not comfortable punishing descendants for their ancestor’s crimes. Instead of breaking and building mosques/temples, shall we remember and remind future Hindu generations of the atrocities committed by some violent rulers in the name of Islam? That will enable the future generation to be on their guard without committing new crimes (like the forceful demolition of Babri Masjid).

Let’s begin with an issue that is not as emotion-laden for Indians as the destruction of thousands of Hindu temples that accompanied the Islamic invasion of India, beginning with Muhammad Bin Qasim’s invasion of Sindh in 712 CE. Let’s begin with the loot by European colonial powers in the more recent past. Colonialism and looting go hand in hand. The British, as the most successful colonizers, are understandably the most successful looters. The British museum is the world’s largest receiver of stolen goods.

Continue reading “Distributive Justice”

The Prophet

Decades ago, I came across Kahlil Gibran’s book “The Prophet” and later an audio version of the book read by the Irish actor Richard Harris (1930 – 2002.) I read the book and listened to the recording so many times that I can recite the whole book from memory.

It is poetry in prose. It resonates deeply with my soul (whatever that is.) The background music elevate the words. I still listen to Harris’s recording whenever the mood strikes me, which is often. Here is the first chapter.

Below the fold, I have the text of the first chapter. (Project Gutenberg has the whole book.) I recommend reading it while listening to Harris’s recitation of the book. Listen.

Let me know if you want the rest of the audio.
Continue reading “The Prophet”

Jury Duty

In a comment to the post “Not Guilty“, Anirudh wrote:

Would you be in favor of bringing the jury system back to the Indian courts?

Are you familiar with the case of Nanavati vs. The State of Maharashtra? Even though the case was an open and shut case, the jury declared Commander Nanavati as not guilty. Wouldn’t that have been a miscarriage of justice? As in this case, is the jury not likely to be influenced or misled by popular media?

Why do you say a jury trial is “the least flawed compromise”?

Continue reading “Jury Duty”

Winter Solstice 2021

Today, Dec 21st, is the first day of winter 2021. The winter solstice — an event in which a the earth’s poles are most extremely inclined toward or away from the sun — will be at 10:59 am EST (which is 12:29 pm IST). Continue reading “Winter Solstice 2021”

First Powered Flight

Orville piloting; Wilbur on the right

In a field south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, exactly 118 years ago today, Dec 17th, 1903, Orville Wright took off in what is described as “the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft.” He and his older brother, Wilbur, were mechanics from Dayton, Ohio. What they invented has revolutionized the world. Continue reading “First Powered Flight”

Tornadoes

Nature is awesome in the sense that it evokes a sense of awe in us. Last Saturday a bunch of tornadoes tore through central and southern United states:  Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

About three-fourths of all tornadoes occur in the United States. I have never witnessed one since I spent most of my life in California — where we have droughts, floods and earthquakes but no tornadoes. Continue reading “Tornadoes”

Friedman on Inflation

“Perhaps the single most important and most thoroughly documented yet obstinately rejected proposition is that “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” That proposition has been known by some scholars and men of affairs for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Yet it has not prevented governmental authorities from yielding to the temptation to mulct their subjects by debasing their money—taxation without representation—while vigorously denying that they are doing anything of the kind and attributing the resulting inflation to all sorts of other devils incarnate.”

That quote is from Milton Friedman’s final chapter “An Epilogue” of his 1992 book Money Mischief. Governments, he correctly notes, cheat people out of their wealth by inflating the currency. It’s a pernicious way of levying taxes. This is exactly what the US government is recently doing with gay abandon. But as certain as the fact that the sun will rise tomorrow is the fact that inflating the dollar will end up badly.

Let’s continue with what Friedman wrote: Continue reading “Friedman on Inflation”

Modi’s Jizya

Devout Muslims do feel insulted and murder at the slightest suspicion that perhaps someone may have insulted their prophet. Here’s a very recent — and horrifying — example:

Nothing to see here, folks. Just peaceful people doing what their Religion of Peace commands them to do. Continue reading “Modi’s Jizya”

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