History & Culture
Starting in 19th century, the Great Enrichment sparked unprecedented prosperity around the world. Yaron Brook at Ingenuism talks to Deirdre McCloskey about what caused it–and why those lessons remain important to the future of progress.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” —Michael Jordan
Hero worshippers Andrew Bernstein and John Hersey are at it again. This time the target of their admiration is none other than the great basketball player, Michael Jordan. Is Michael Jordan the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All-Time)?
Brad Thompson, Professor of Political Science at Clemson University tells the remarkable story of John Adams.
God Versus Nature: The Conflict Between Religion and Science in History by Frederick Seiler
This brilliant book explores, in essentialized form, the conflict between science and religion. The conflict is based on the primacy of consciousness and mysticism vs the primacy of reason and reality. He traces this issue from the ancient world through the present.
Effective Discipline: The Montessori Way by Charlotte Cushman
This terrific book refutes the touchy-feely (subjectivist, emotionalist) approach to discipline often used today in Montessori Schools based on John Dewey and false views of self-esteem. Cushman defends Maria Montessori’s view which argues that bad behavior requires consequences. In the Montessori system, this requires, for example, “time-outs” (children made to sit, for a time, in the corner). The book is full of great advice to parents about rational methods of discipline.
Unsettled by Steven Koonin
I have read many books on climate. This book stands out in one important respect: the author’s only agenda seems to be respected for the truth which means for what we actually know. vs. what we don’t. Koonin is a genuine expert in science. (He does not get into philosophical issues).
Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom by Patrick Moore
His book has the same theme as Koonin’s. He gives many examples of fears which are not based on facts.
Onkar Ghate on “The Enlightenment and the Foundations of Liberty and Progress,” at the recent AynRandCon online conference.
Issues covered include:
- What were the essential ideas that defined the Age of Enlightenment?
- How did those ideas lead to the founding of America and the explosion of progress that was the Industrial Revolution?
- And why—in spite of that progress—did the world reverse course politically, leading to the rise of totalitarian statism in the 20th century?
- What is needed to shore up those deficiencies and put the Enlightenment’s ideals on a rational foundation.
Philosopher Aaron Briley shares his thoughts on Ice Cube’s “A Contract with Black America,” a plan touted to increase economic and social mobility in the black community, and what he thinks are two of its fundamental problems.
Andrew Bernstein and Bosch Fawstin interview Dr. Jason Hill, a philosophy professor at DePaul University in Chicago. Topics include transgender insanity, Dr. Hill’s battle with academic cancel culture regarding this issue, and, more broadly, the Left’s ongoing attempts to stifle all intellectual dissent. For anyone concerned with freedom of speech and of intellectual expression, these are immensely important issues.
Mandalorian’s Gina Carano: Inside Disney/Lucasfilm’s Culture of “Bullying” of an Independent Thinking Woman
Gina Carano was fired from the Disney+ series, The Mandalorian, after she posted messages on social media that the company claimed were “denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities.” In reality, Lucasfilm according to the Daily Caller, had reportedly looking to fire Carano for some time, due to her refusal to intellectual kneel and bow in obeisance and pay homage to left-wing views. Says Carano:
“My actions towards other human beings have spoken for themselves … I am the one that, on sets, people come and cry to. I’m the one that sticks up for someone … like, ‘Hey, this is enough, this person needs out of this, like, they can’t breathe.’”
“And I’ve always been like that. I’ve stuck up for, like, minorities everywhere. I’ve gotten in fistfights. I’ve been in actual fights growing up in Las Vegas because I cannot stand bullying.”
“I was prepared at any point to be let go because I’ve seen this happen to so many people…I’ve seen the looks on their faces. I’ve seen the bullying that takes place, and so when this started, they point their guns at you, and you know it’s only a matter of time. I’ve seen it happen to so many people, and I just thought to myself … you’re coming for me, I know you are.’”
“They’re making it very obvious through their employees who were coming for me, and so I was like, ‘I’m going to go down swinging and I’m going to stay true to myself.’ ”
“My body still is shaking, you know? It’s still devastating.”
“But the thought of this happening to anybody else, especially, like, somebody who could not handle this the way I can? No.”
“They don’t get to do that. They don’t get to make people feel like that. And if I buckle, then little girls and little boys, who are not getting … a good fair shake at growing up right now, if I buckle, it’s going to make it okay for these companies who have a history of lying to be lying, and to do this to other people. And they’ve done it to other people and —”
“And I’m not going down without a fight.”
Though I do not agree with all her posts and views, from the interview, Gina Carano is clearly a genuinely good and thoughtful person. Disney’s portrayal of her in the press and “excommunication” of her from the Star Wars universe on the other hand is disgusting, dishonest, and immoral.
“We had vision. We saw the vast possibilities of the oil industry, stood at the center of it, and brought our knowledge and imagination and business experience to bear in a dozen, in twenty, in thirty directions.” —John D. Rockefeller
Nihilism is born of hatred and resentment. It seeks to destroy. Strauss notes, however, that German nihilism was not absolute nihilism, which must ultimately result not only in the destruction of the “other” but also in the destruction of one’s own self through either individual suicide or a Jonestown-like collective suicide. Pure nihilism represents the highest form of self-hatred and self-abnegation, but German nihilism, particularly in its Nazi form, did pursue something rather than Heidegger’s “das Nichts” (nothingness). The Nazis did seek a “positive” value: their nihilism was mixed with a particular form of hedonism, namely, sadism. According to Strauss, there is reason to believe “that the business of destroying, and killing, and torturing” was a “source of an almost disinterested pleasure to the Nazis as such,” that they derived a “genuine pleasure from the aspect of the strong and ruthless who subjugate, exploit, and torture the weak and helpless.” They loved to hate, destroy, and to make others feel pain and to suffer.
But German nihilism was not simply about destruction for the sake of destruction or death for the sake of death. Its ultimate political goal was, as Strauss noted, German world-domination through war for the sake of war. Martial conflict, the young nihilists argued, brought out the best in men. As Strauss put it,
“The admiration of the warrior type as a type, the unconditional preference given to the warrior as warrior, is however not only genuine in German nihilism: it is even its distinctive feature. Our question: in favor of what does German nihilism reject the principles of civilization as such must therefore be answered by the statement: that it rejects those principles in favor of the military virtues.”
Self-sacrifice and self-denial represented the highest form of moral good for the German nihilists and the primary virtue was courage. Strauss was correct to see that the preference for war over peace and war for the sake of war led “for all practical purposes” to “nothing other than destruction.” Kant’s perpetual peace would be replaced by Nietzsche’s perpetual war. But if war—and all that comes with it—is a good in itself, then there can be no justice, only the will to power and the desire to destroy. The young conservative revolutionaries saw in the future not the return to an old past but a new beginning, one for which the end justified the means.
At the deepest philosophical level, German nihilism as it was birthed in Nazism represented “a return to a pre-modern ideal, but this pre-modern idea was not to be found in Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle. Its true origin, according to Strauss, was to be found in “pre-socratic philosophy” as described by Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy. Here, Strauss pulls no punches: “The relation of Nietzsche to the German Nazi is comparable to the relation of Rousseau to the French Revolution.” And of course, Nietzsche is the link to twenty-first century, right-wing nihilism—American-style.
[…] One hundred years after Weimar, the United States of America seems to be entering its own Weimar state of mind, where the forces of the progressive or nihilist Left and those of the reactionary or nihilist Right are competing against each other to destroy the tottering remnants of a free society.
Read the rest of German Nihilism, American-Style.