Archive for Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged

Posted in Big Dog with tags , , , , , , , , , on Saturday, April 19 by KevinLHinton

I’ve spent the last 5 months reading this son of a bitch and have finally conquered it. The dedication required to read this is similar to the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy combined so I do not recommend it if you are a pussy.

The book is half philosophy thesis about how faggy liberals are ruining the world, a quarter mystery novel, and a quarter pornography. So at least 25% of it you should enjoy.

Just given that the book is kind of old, really big, written by a woman, and has a weird cover, I expected that it was going to be incredibly boring and shitty. I still think that is the proper assumption to make given all of those circumstances, but this book rules.

I have never read a book like it. It is an exciting mystery novel, it is science fiction, it has heroes and villains and good vs. evil. At the same time it is philosophy and defines a compelling moral code for all of us to live by.  If it had some traditional fantasy novel characters in it, I would probably proclaim it the best book ever written right now.

Here is a typical exceprt that I enjoyed:

“Rearden heard Bertram Scudder, outside the group, say to a girl who made some sound of indignation, “Don’t let him disturb you. You know, money is the root of all evil – and he’s the typical product of money.”

      Rearden did not think that Francisco could have heard it, but he saw Francisco turning to them with a gravely courteous smile.

      “So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Aconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

      “When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor – your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?

      “Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions – and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

      “But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made – before it can be looted or mooched – made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.

      “To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except by the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss – the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery – that you must offer them values, not wounds – that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best your money can find. And when men live by trade – with reason, not force, as their final arbiter – it is the best product that wins, the best performance, then man of best judgment and highest ability – and the degree of a man’s productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?  

      “When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world?’ You are.  

      “Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns – or dollars. Take your choice – there is no other – and your time is running out.”

 

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Michael Moore’s “Sicko”

Posted in Big Dog with tags , , , , , , , , on Sunday, March 2 by KevinLHinton

“Sicko” reminds  me more of “Bowling for Columbine” than “Fahrenheit 9/11”, which I think most people would agree is a good thing. Another bonus, healthcare is a more relevant issue than gun control. Maybe it is stupid that anybody can buy a gun, but I am not losing any sleep over it. The fact that people want to kill other people in the first place is a bigger concern to me than the means they use to do it.

There are 2 separate issues that Moore somehow co-mingles.

First – he had a Kevin Hinton style attack on Special Interest Groups. Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are clearly evil, and their obscene influence on Capital Hill is driving up America’s health care costs to an absurd level. This was the better part of the movie, and I agree. Those SOBs need to be put in check.

Second – universal, government sponsored, socialist health care is better than private health care. Is that even true?

I don’t really know, but I don’t really think it is the slam dunk that Sicko makes it out to be. There is too much focus in Michael Moore films on individual stories that play the sympathy card. I want more facts, less propaganda.

How much are our taxes going to go up if there is universal health care? Isn’t that the most obvious question that should be answered? Healthcare isn’t free. We can either pay for it with taxes, or directly through a private market. Is there any data that suggests a bureaucratic government run health care system is more efficient than a private one? Although capitalism has its flaws – it is typically way more efficient than our piece of crap government. 

Moore implies that health care is free in the UK – but fails to mention that payroll taxes there are like 5o%. How much of that goes to health care? I don’t know – but it is not like there is some magic going on over there, somebody is paying for it. Standard Moore propaganda where he misleads you with just part of the story.

In Moore’s extended interview with Tony Benn, an old English dude/labor leader, he explains the socialized healthcare as “Pay according to your means, get treated according to your needs.”  This is the heart of what bothers me about socialism and universal health care. People getting punished, because they have greater “means”.   

Yeah, it sounds great if you are the poor guy that couldn’t afford your own health insurance to begin with – now you get it for free. But what about the guy that worked hard all his life, and now has to pay for the lazy dudes health care and his own? Well, that guy is me – and I say fuck you. Go get a job and buy some insurance.  

Maybe that is ruff –  but guess what, that is life. When you were born, you were given the responsibility to take care of yourself. Quit looking for handouts. You are a looter. Why do I owe you anything you son of a bitch? Because I actually went to class in high school? Because I paid for my own college, and now work my ass off for an almost decent salary? Screw off – you got to fuck around all through high school – now it is my time to shine. Enjoy your diabetes.  

When poor people are having a tuff time it always seems like an easy answer say – hey, why don’t we just take some more of the rich people’s money to pay for it? Well, because I earned that money. It is not yours to take.  

That was a bit of a crazy conservative rant I just went on that I don’t actually believe.  But I do think that it raises some important questions that Moore fails to answer.  Typically I am fine with socializing things that qualify as fundamental needs that all people should have a right too – like education. Health care probably falls into that category. I just wish Moore would get into how it is actually implemented, and why it will make sense.  I am pro socialized health care for kids – it is not their fault their parents are incapable of taking care of them. 

On another note – rather than government sponsored health care – why isn’t there a not-for-profit insurance organization? That seems like it would solve a lot of problems, and could prevent the necessity of socializing health care.   

America is a Fraud

Posted in Big Dog with tags , , on Sunday, February 3 by KevinLHinton

America is analogous to our favorite TV shows that have run their course. Like “Friends”. It was a great idea, had a ton of success, but in the end NBC was just trying to ride out a dead show for as long as possible. Inventing fake drama between Ross and Rachel is no longer entertaining. America is dead too. This country was built on the driving, inventive, and innovative minds that all gathered in the westward expanding United States. We were the frontier for great minds and the possibility for progress. No longer though.

 

That adventure is over. There is nothing special or unique about America anymore. We are just a bunch of boring assholes fighting a failing fight to maintain the status quo established by our fathers and grandfathers. Think about your life – every single one of us consumes about 1000 times more than we produce. Does that make any sense? The world is about to change, and it is going to start with the demise of America as we know it. Scary shit, but it is a good thing.

Does anything scream that we are at the beginning of the end louder than the Canadian Dollar now being more valuable than the US dollar? I mean Fuck. Canada? Really?

What are the greatest innovative minds doing today in the US? Bullshit. If I had to point to the most promising leaders in America it would have to be Apple or Google. They are doing a nice job. But seriously, what do they do? They create a bunch of intangible crap that nobody really needs. We are not going to build America’s future on an IPod or a super fast search engine. Or at least I hope not.

We have real issues and real opportunity in America. We have an energy crisis. Isn’t that an incredible market opportunity? Build a clean and renewable energy source, and that alone could drive America’s economy for the next century.

Why doesn’t America build super fast bullet trains? I guarantee that the technology exists to build a train that could connect Seattle to Vancouver BC and make the commute less than an hour. Same with Spokane and Portland. Is there not a market for that?

Anyways, the point is that we continue to try and force the dream of America by playing games with our currency and foreign policy and fake profits in corporate America. There is no way we will be able to perpetrate the fraud of America for much longer, and thank God for that. I would rather live in a real world that rewards real productivity, than faking my way through life and gambling my future on our government’s ability to continue to convince China that our dollar is actually worth anything.

The sooner the better if you ask me. Moral of the story? Sell your stocks, invest it in gold or platinum, and start figuring out what we are going to do in our next life after this ultra-consumer based fraud of America is debunked in the near future. I pray that I live long enough to see it happen, and I will be surprised if I don’t.