Do this, President Trump

If President Donald J Trump has any sense, he would do this. Give a presidential pardon to Julian Assange on the final day of his presidency. Listen to Tucker Carlson make the case.

Source: Fox News.

Trump should also pardon Edward Snowden so that he can end his self-imposed exile in Russia. Will Trump do that? I don’t think so. He’s too stupid to do something that important.

Happy Birthday, Swami Vivekananda

“There is no God separate from you, no God higher than you, the real ‘you’. All the gods are little beings to you, all the ideas of God and Father in heaven are but your own reflection. God Himself is your image. ‘God created man after His own image.’ That is wrong. Man creates God after his own image. That is right. Throughout the universe we are creating gods after our own image. We create the god and fall down at his feet and worship him; and when this dream comes, we love it!”

Swami Vivekananda, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3

“Astrology and all these mystical things are generally signs of a weak mind; therefore as soon as they are becoming prominent in our minds, we should see a physician, take good food, and rest.”

Also see Happy Birthday, Swami Vivekananda. (Hauled from the archives exactly 10 years ago.)

 

Joe Biden is not a Retard

It’s hard to argue that people generally are not stupid. Just look at the Americans. They aren’t the worst of the lot but still they are bad.

The Dems and Repubs end up competing with each other on who can choose the worse presidential candidate. Four years ago the choice was between the evil witch Clinton and the stupid imbecile Trump — and the majority of the voters chose Clinton. By sheer luck, Clinton did not win the needed 270+ electoral college votes. So Americans got a break from suffering the consequences of their stupidity.

This time around Americans have not had that luck. Sleepy Joe did win, although with some ballot fraud, a great deal of help from Silicon Valley tech giants (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and the corrupt main stream media that buried the Hunter Biden case.

Joe Biden is quite senile but he is not a retard. He knows — or his advisors do — that poverty cannot be cured by promising to distribute checks. But it is the right thing to do to get popular support. Continue reading

For Wrong People to do the Right Thing

“We will not solve our problem by electing the right people. We will only solve our problem by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.” — Milton Friedman.

He was one of the greatest economists of the 20th century not just because of his academic contributions but also because he was tireless in his public outreach. Unlike his colleagues whom he greatly respected, such as Friedrich Hayek and James Buchanan (both amazing scholars) who did not address the general public, Friedman patiently explained economics to everyone who cared to ask him.

It is never too late to start learning from his books and lectures about how to think about public policy. Here’s an excerpt from one such Q&A session:
Continue reading

The World Economy

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The world economy was pretty huge at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The aggregate global GDP was US$ 88 trillion according to howmuch.net.

US continued to lead at $21.43T, about 50% larger than the next biggest, China at $14.34T. China, which used to be neck and neck with India around 40 years ago, is now five times as large as India in annual GDP terms: China’s $15T versus India’s $3T. The US and China together account for 40% of the world GDP and 23% of the world population. India accounts for 3.3% of the world GDP and 17% of the world population.

howmuch.net notes that:

  • The U.S. remains by far the largest economy in the world with a GDP of $21.43T or 24.42% of the entire globe.
  • China’s economy grew from 2018 to 2019 to $14.34, but the country is still nowhere close to catching up to the U.S.
  • The rest of the world’s economic powerhouses have comparatively much smaller economies, including Japan ($5.08T), Germany ($3.84T) and India ($2.88T).
  • Our visualization doesn’t take into account the size of each country’s population.

My focus here is on India. India’s economy is estimated to have shrunk by 10% in 2020, thanks to the usual brain-dead economic policies of the Indian government; China’s economy expanded by 2%. In 2021, China’s GDP is expected to grow by 8% or so in 2021.

Well, the one constant in this world is change. The world’s biggest economies move in their rankings over time. According to satista.com, this is projected: Continue reading

Cancel Culture — Salem Witch Trials Redux

Freedom of speech and expression is the indispensable foundation of a society of free individuals. Civilization cannot long survive without it any more than it can survive without food. As Rowan Atkinson so eloquently argued in his defense of free speech, it is the second most essential thing; the first being food in your mouth and the third being a roof over your head. I am afraid that the trend has not been good in that sphere and it is imperative that we fight for our freedoms. The mindless collective is the greatest threat humanity faces, not climate change or even total nuclear war. Continue reading

Schopenhauer on the Upanishads

“Temples and churches, pagodas and mosques, in all lands and in all ages, in splendour and vastness, testify to the metaphysical need of man, which, strong and ineradicable, follows close upon his physical need. Certainly whoever is satirically inclined might add that this metaphysical need is a modest fellow who is content with poor fare. It sometimes allows itself to be satisfied with clumsy fables and insipid tales. If only imprinted early enough, they are for a man adequate explanations of his existence and supports of his morality. Consider, for example, the Koran. This wretched book was sufficient to found a religion of the world, to satisfy the metaphysical need of innumerable millions of men for twelve hundred years, to become the foundation of their morality, and of no small contempt for death, and also to inspire them to bloody wars and most extended conquests. We find in it the saddest and the poorest form of Theism. Much may be lost through translation; but I have not been able to discover one single valuable thought in it. Such things show that metaphysical capacity does not go hand in hand with the metaphysical need. Yet it will appear that in the early ages of the present surface of the earth this was not the case, and that those who stood considerably nearer than we do to the beginning of the human race and the source of organic nature, had also both greater energy of the intuitive faculty of knowledge, and a truer disposition of mind, so that they were capable of a purer, more direct comprehension of the inner being of nature, and were thus in a position to satisfy the metaphysical need in a more worthy manner. Thus originated in the primitive ancestors of the Brahmans, the Rishis, the almost superhuman conceptions which were afterwards set down in the Upanishads of the Vedas.” Continue reading

The Nietzschean Ladder

Asking the question “compared to what?” helps in putting things into perspective. The year 2020 was bad. Yes, but compared to what? It looks bad only when compared to what one would have expected from the relatively peaceful and prosperous past few years. Humanity has endured a lot more pain and suffering in many wars and pandemics. It’s far from being the worst year ever in human history. I am afraid that the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are yet to come, and when they do, 2020 will not look as bad.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s aphorism “Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker” (What does not kill me, makes me stronger) is obviously true of infectious diseases. If an infection does not kill, the organism develops immunity and becomes better at fighting infections. In an analogous way, if a collective is able to survive a shock by developing an appropriate solution, it becomes better than what it was before the shock. Continue reading