Monday, November 19, 2012
Nietzsche and Marx It is terrible to admit it, but these are the two most important thinkers of modern times. Nietzsche correctly diagnosed the disease of envy. It is widespread and the condition of the patient is dire. It has given us a common sense which deems it appropriate for the poor to bomb their neighbors but not for the wealthy neighbors to use deadly force to defend themselves against the bombing. It has given us a common sense which feels that the government should take as much capital from the employers in a society as is necessary to provide the non-wealthy a comfortable standard of living. It forces the mind to ignore the catastrophic results of this policy. Marx packaged the purified essence of envy in a delivery system which enabled the disease to destroy the Western world's political and economic systems in about one hundred and fifty years. 100 million died in the process, and untold millions were impoverished. He gave us to believe that any argument against the justice or prudence of enforcing equality of economic outcomes may be dismissed as nothing more than an epiphenomenon of the greed of the wealthy desiring to protect their wealth from redistribution. This stops the mind from using its own defenses to remove the virus. When reason is prevented from attempting to persuade, the patient is terminally ill and there is no hope of saving him.
Monday, November 05, 2012
If You Can Keep It Human nature being what it is, the American political system is the best known political system. But the system makes no guarantee of its own longevity, human nature being what it is. Nothing in either human nature or the American political system should lead us to believe that a 1,000-year run of the system likely. A quarter of a millennium may just as well be considered a good run. Indeed, the system has had a few wrenches thrown into its works during the last 100 years and is running very poorly now. You have a republic if you can keep it. If you can't keep it, then you can't keep it. We are such that we are prone to be swayed by our sloth, envy, greed and lust for power. Our political system is such that it cannot withstand all manifestations of these vices without breaking down. It is the best known system for handling these vices, but they still have the capacity to gain the upper hand and destroy it. An economic or political collapse would bring much misery and death. Many of those who would die or suffer would be innocent and quite undeserving of their fates. But it isn't appropriate to be depressed about this. This is what is naturally so. This is our nature as human beings. It is rather appropriate to be grateful for this world and to do one's best to make things go as well as they possibly can, knowing that the end will come eventually.