Friday, February 18, 2005

Kyoto Count Up!

Found this great counter over at Go see how costly the Kyoto Protocol is...

Ayn Rand on Dictatorship:

After reading John Lewis's article "The New Right" at Capitalism Magazine, [ ], I decided to post these quotes of Miss Rand's on dictatorship. Future quotes from intellectuals will appear on this page, when it behooves me to do so!
Here we go:

"There are four characteristics which brand a country unmistakably as a dictatroship: one-party rule---executions without trial or with a mock trial, for political offenses--the nationalization of expropriation of private property---and censorship. A coutnry guilty of these outrages forfeits any moral prerogatives, any claim to national rights or sovereignty, and becomes an outlaw." from VOS.

Volumes can be and have been written about the issue of freedom versus dictatorship, but, in essence, it comes down to a single question: do you consider it moral to treat men as sacrificial animals and to rule them by physical force? from WTL's forward.

Dictatorship and determinism are reciprocally reinforcing corollaries: if one seeks to enslave men, one has to destroy their reliance on the validity of their own judgements and choices--if one believes that reason and volition are impotent, one has to accept the rule of force.
from "Representation without Authorization" in ARL,I,21,1.

Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demands for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoise; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen.
from CUI, "America's Persecuted Minority:Big Business,"

It makes no difference whether government controls allegedly favor the interests of labor or business, of the poor or the rich, of a special class or a special race: the results are the same. The notion that a dictatorship can benefit any one special group at the expense of others is a worn remnant of the Marxist mythology of class warfare, refuted by half a century of factual evidence. All men are victims and losers under a dictatorship; nobody wins--except the ruling clique.
from "The Fascist New Frontier"

A dictatorship has to promulgate some sort of distant goals and moral ideals in order to justify its rule and the people's immolation; the extent to which is succeeds in convincing its victims, is the extent of its own danger; sooner or later, its contradicitons are thrown in its face by the best of its subjects: the ablest, the most intelligent, the most honest. Thus a dictatorship is forced to destroy and to keep on destroying the best of its "human resources." And be it fifty years or five centuries later, ambitious thugs, and lethargic drones are all a dictatorship will have left to expoit and rule; the rest will die young, physically and spiritually.
from "The Inexplicable Personal Alchemy" NL

VOS= Virtue of Selfishness
WTL= We the Living
ARL= Ayn Rand Letter
CUI= Capitalism:The Unknown Ideal
NL= The New Left [The Return of the Primative]

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Bush's Inaugural Address: A Betrayal of the Concept of Freedom

Go straight to this hard hitting editorial by Harry Binswanger, a long time Objectivist philosopher and instructor.

Best Books of 2004

I thought I'd compile a listing of the books I read last year and throw it out here for all to see. These are in no particluar order and do not include every book I read last year, but the ones I liked the most and that should interest those looking for some pleasurable reading that also gives the reader something to think about and to enjoy. Of course, none compare to an 'Atlas Shrugged' and they aren't supposed to.

Booked to Die by John Dunning
The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
Deception Point by Dan Brown
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
The English Assassin by Daniel Silva
Darwin's Blade by Dan Simmons
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse ( a classic, and best intro to Wodehouse)
The first four books of Terry Goodkind's fantasy series, starting with:
Wizard's First Rule
Rules of Engagement by Gordon Kent
The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson (one of my top favorites)
Cutout by Francine Mathews ( best espionage book I've read in years)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (this marked about the 25th time I've read this novel)
Essays on We the Living edited by Robert Mayhew
The Crook Factory by Dan Simmons ( this story is set in WW2 and features Hemmingway and a cameo by Ian Fleming. Fun.)
Heart of a Pagan by Andrew Bernstein (worthy of several readings)
His Dark Materials a trilogy by Philip Pullman (excellent)

As for 2005, I've got stacks and stacks of books waiting for my eager eyesight. Authors like Robin Hobb, more John Dunning, more Terry Goodkind, Edward Cline's Sparrowhawk series, more Daniel Silva, many others.