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Globalism: Persuading the Individual to Stop Being an Individual

If society understood the reality of collectivism instead of the promise of collectivism then their support for collectivism would vanish.

The elite globalist leaders selling collectivism know this to be true and so they have had to rebrand collectivism as Globalism. Songs are written about globalism – John Lennon’s classic song “Imagine” is the globalist anthem. The successful marketing of collectivism requires the names to change from already rejected Communism and faltering Socialism (think Venezuela) to the promise of a New World Order renamed GLOBALISM that disingenuously pledges social justice and income equality.

Globalism is the new word for the old lie about collectivism – that surrendering individual rights and national sovereignty will deliver social justice and income equality.  

Philosopher Ayn Rand understood the sinister nature of collectivism and and wrote extensively about socialism/communism and how it persuades the individual to stop being an individual:

“Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.” 

The Islamization of Europe and the West demonstrates how mass social indoctrination toward collectivism leads to cultural suicide and the death of the individual.

Ayn Rand writes:

“When you consider socialism, do not fool yourself about its nature. Remember that there is no such dichotomy as “human rights” versus “property rights.” No human rights can exist without property rights. Since material goods are produced by the mind and effort of individual men, and are needed to sustain their lives, if the producer does not own the result of his effort, he does not own his life. To deny property rights means to turn men into property owned by the state. Whoever claims the “right” to “redistribute” the wealth produced by others is claiming the “right” to treat human beings as chattel.”

Europe’s surrender of its national sovereignty began after WWII with the 1957 Treaty of Rome that created the European Economic Committee (EEC) which eventually became the European Union(EU) of today. Internationalizing Europe’s sovereign nation states into the EU left the United States as the single greatest obstacle to one-world government.

Macron’s victory in France is a victory for collectivism at the expense of French sovereignty and French individualism represented by Marine Le Pen. It is a surrender to postmodern moral relativism, and historical revisionism designed to destroy democracy and its incomparable individual rights and freedoms. The question is WHO benefits from Macron’s victory?? The globalist elite of course. Socialism (total government control) is the death of democracy and is the prerequisite for internationalizing nation states and the imposition of one-world government Globalism. The greatest single obstacle to one-world government is the nation state. National sovereignty is to a country what individual sovereignty is to a human being.

The left-wing liberal agenda seeks to destroy the socio-political capitalist infrastructure of America and transform it into a dependent European-style socialist state with cradle to grave control by the government. Their strategy is to destroy American democracy by dismantling the supporting American institutions of family, religion, and education that promote independence, adulthood, individualism, and ego strength – the same qualities that made America great.

Ayn Rand warns us:

“Socialism is not a movement of the people. It is a movement of the intellectuals, originated, led and controlled by the intellectuals, carried by them out of their stuffy ivory towers into those bloody fields of practice where they unite with their allies and executors: the thugs.” 

American education, our elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and universities, are a specific target and field of practice. The anarchists, socialists, and hippies of the 60s have become the teachers and professors now indoctrinating their students toward collectivism. The problem, of course, is that these narcissistic intellectuals have never lived under collectivist tyranny – they are armchair pundits living in subjective reality. Anyone interested in the objective reality of collectivism should be listening to those who have escaped from its tyrannical rule.

The entire narrative of the Left is designed to induce regression through educational indoctrination and the media – as Hillary Clinton famously remarked they need “an unaware compliant public.” Unaware and compliant are the hallmarks of childhood. The pitch might sound good to a childish mind who is seduced by candy from a stranger but the adult mind understands the sinister end-game. Once the public is entirely dependent on the government they lose all individual rights and national sovereignty as the socialized state becomes part of the internationalized one-world government. The doors of the car lock and there is no escape – only exploitation and enslavement.

One-world government is the big lie of the 21st century. It promises redistribution of wealth and social justice. What it delivers is unapologetically described in chilling detail by globalist elite English aristocrat Lord Bertrand Russell in his 1952 book The Impact of Science on Society.

The left-wing liberal lemmings are the useful idiots who are too arrogant to understand that they are participating in their own destruction. They have been indoctrinated to believe they are fighting for “social justice” when in fact they are helping to establish the dystopian nightmare of one-world government where there is no middle class, no upward mobility, no national sovereignty, and no individual freedoms. There is only the ruling elite and the enslaved population who service them.

The left-wing liberal lemmings in Europe and in America should take a break from marching and “resisting” and start reading Bertrand Russell’s The Impact of Science on Society written in 1952. They will learn that their script was written 65 years ago by the globalist elites who dreamed of one-world government – a binary socio-political system of masters and slaves.

The globalist elite’s New World Order was their self-serving answer to the Malthusian problem of the earth not having enough resources to sustain the population growth. Tavistock Institute was exported to America with the purpose of indoctrinating Americans via education and the media – particularly television – the greatest vehicle for mass social engineering ever invented. The Hollywood glitterati and the protesting hoards should take a pause and understand there is no place for them in the New World Order – they are simply useful idiots who will be destroyed.

The aristocratic Lord Bertrand Russell and the late David Rockefeller had no moral problem with eliminating the useless eaters any more than Hitler with exterminating Jews, Islamists with exterminating infidels, or the Chinese Emperors with burying their concubines alive to service them in the afterlife. The point is elitism is supremacist – there is no egalitarian respect for human life only the pretense of humanitarian considerations. The Left and the Islamists have common cause in trying to destroy America from within – but it is the globalist elites who finance and disingenuously facilitate both groups because the social chaos they each engender is a prerequisite for imposing globalist one-world government. For the globalist elite whether in Europe or in America, the Left and the Islamists are BOTH useful idiots.

Socialism will never provide social justice – it will only provide the pathway to one-world government where no individual rights or self-determination exist. Socialism strips the individual of his selfness and transforms that individual into property of the state. The individual who willingly forfeits his selfness for socialism has been successfully persuaded to stop being an individual. Socialism is not a free ride it is slavery.

The Trump Insurgency

trump at rally with supportersIf you Google the words “Trump” and “insurgency” you will get over 650,000 links to articles and commentary. I recently said to a friend that Donald Trump has gone from being a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for President to the leader of a movement.

Can this movement now be called an insurgency?

The definition of an insurgency is a “rebellion against an existing government by a group not recognized as a belligerent.”

Is it Trump who created an insurgency or is Trump following the lead of a growing insurgency that was already taking place? I have written that Trump leads his followers by following their lead. The movement began during the Presidency of Bill Clinton and continues today. It is a struggle between the individualist and the collectivist.

Ayn Rand wrote a short nineteen page paper asking: What is the basic issue facing the world today? Rand, in her paper makes the case that, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” Rand defines these two principles as follows:

  • Individualism – Each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.
  • Collectivism – Each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.
trump supporters young

Trump supporters. Photo: Facebook.

Donald Trump has tapped into the “Individualism Movement.” Trump’s life is the embodiment of the individualist. Trump has been rich, then poor and then rich again. He has done this not with government handouts, but rather despite the government.

Members of the Individualism Movement go by many names: Silent Majority, TEA Party Patriots, Constitutionalists, Blue Dog Democrats, Anti-Establishment Republicans and the working class. They embody the insurgency.

Joseph P. William in his U.S. News & World Report column “New Insurgents, Old Problems“, wrote:

[Ronald Reagan in] His famous televised 1964 “A Time for Choosing” speech for GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, tapped into deep-seated anxiety about communism and runaway government spending. Decades before the Reagan Revolution, The Gipper laid out a then-radical vision for vastly smaller government, shaking up the party’s blue-blood ruling class and setting his course toward political immortality.

[ … ]

“We’ve certainly seen this before,” says Norm Ornstein, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute think tank and a veteran political scholar. In uncertain economic times, he says, “we get populism.” In Sanders’ case, that means disdain for bankers and Wall Street; the brand Trump’s selling sweeps in nativism, trade protectionism and mistrust of the GOP establishment.

Is Trump the new populist or the old individualist?

Here are just some of the reasons Trump’s campaign is different than any other of the candidates, Democrat or Republican, running for President:

  1. Not a career politician.
  2. Not politically correct.
  3. Isn’t influenced by money or big donors.
  4. When he sees something he says something.
  5. Turns his negatives into positives.
  6. Attacks against him consistently backfire.
  7. Fearless and is therefore feared.
  8. Has broad appeal due to his forthright comments.

Each of these are indicators of individualism on steroids.

Donald Trump is saying what people have wanted to say but have been afraid to do so. When Trump speaks he is not speaking to the media or the elite, he is speaking to John and Jane six-pack. He is speaking to each an every American.

Trump has shown that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. He is the new Individualist and the people love him for it.

It truly is a time for choosing.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Notes on a Phenomenon by Mark Steyn

Dems Defect — 20% Would Vote Trump!

GOP strategist: Trump mainstreams ‘white is ok’ attitude

Still don’t think Donald Trump can win? This chart should convince you – Washington Post

RELATED VIDEOS:

Video created by a Trump Supporter – “The Real Donald Trump Story”

“A Time for Choosing” by Ronald Reagan

Real Hero James U. Blanchard: You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down by Lawrence W. Reed

Great movements are marked by the dedication and accomplishments of steadfast individuals who make the most of every moment, every opportunity, and every available resource. When those great men and women pass from the scene, they leave behind untold numbers of friends and followers who derive comfort from their memory and inspiration from their deeds.

Such a man was James U. Blanchard III, who died on March 20, 1999, at the age of 56.

The causes to which he devoted ceaseless energy and with which his name will always be associated are liberty and sound money. Jim knew that neither is long safe without the other. Few American entrepreneurs in the second half of the 20th century did as much as he did to promote them both. The opening sentence of his family’s formal notice of his passing summed him up well: “James U. Blanchard III was a man who accomplished much against great odds and changed more people’s lives than he ever knew.”

I was privileged to know Jim Blanchard for the last 15 years of his life. For two years, I served as chief economist for his firm. I spoke at many of his conferences. I traveled with him to Brazil, Nicaragua, and Kenya. Though many others knew him better, it didn’t take much acquaintance with him for anyone to marvel at what a man in a wheelchair can get done if he puts his mind to it.

Jim was nearly killed in a tragic automobile accident at the age of 17 and was unable thereafter to walk. But if anything, his handicap only spurred him on.

Not once did I hear Jim bemoan his physical plight. If he talked about it at all, it was to relate how sitting in a wheelchair gave him time to read. In his 20s, he read voraciously. Introduced to the writings of Ayn Rand by a medical student friend, he became an unabashed defender of laissez-faire capitalism. Rand’s influence on Jim is perhaps best exemplified by the name he gave his oldest son: Anthem. Jim also became a devoted reader of the Freeman and of books by FEE’s founder, Leonard Read.

In 1974, Gerald Ford signed a bill that restored the right of Americans to own gold. The real hero of that moment was Jim Blanchard, who had formed the National Committee to Legalize Gold in 1971 and spearheaded a nationwide grassroots campaign. He knew that governments don’t like gold because they can’t print it. He saw gold ownership as a fundamental human right, a hedge against government mismanagement of money, and a first essential step down the long road to monetary integrity.

True to his spirit, some of Jim’s efforts were dramatic and unconventional. He arranged for a biplane to tow a “Legalize Gold” banner over President Nixon’s 1973 inauguration. He also held press conferences around the country at which he would brandish illegal bars of gold and publicly challenge federal officials to throw him in jail. These and many other stories about Jim’s colorful career can be found in his 1990 autobiography, Confessions of a Gold Bug.

Once gold became legal, Jim held his first annual investment conference in New Orleans. Expecting 250 attendees, he was stunned to see 750 show up. More than 40 years later, Blanchard’s New Orleans Investment Conference carries on and has drawn tens of thousands of individuals from all 50 states and dozens of nations. Investment advice comprised most of the 25 programs Jim assembled, but he always made sure that attendees were provided a hefty dose of sound-money and free-market ideas. His speakers included Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, Robert Bleiberg, Walter Williams, and many other great economists. Ayn Rand’s last public appearance was at a Blanchard conference. (In October 2015, I’ll be speaking again at the conference myself.)

In the meantime, Jim’s original $50 investment to begin a coin business in the 1970s grew into a giant within the industry. When he sold the business 15 years later, it was a $115-million-a-year precious-metals and rare-coin company. He cofounded the Industry Council for Tangible Assets to combat unscrupulous business practices in the coin and bullion industry, and he helped to reverse several burdensome laws and regulations that afflicted American investors.

Jim’s adventurous instincts and love of liberty combined to put him on the front lines of important struggles around the world. On my return in 1986 from visiting with activists in the anti-communist underground in Poland, I went to Jim with a request. I advised him that for $5,000, pro-freedom forces in Warsaw could translate Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose into Polish and then print and distribute hundreds of copies throughout the country. He wrote that check on the spot, and many others for similar causes behind the Iron Curtain. Not content only to fund these worthy endeavors, he often transported illicit, pro-freedom literature himself when he visited communist countries.

One of Jim’s favorite foreign projects was assisting anti-communist rebel forces inside war-torn Mozambique in the 1980s and early 1990s. He once sent a colleague and me on a clandestine journey inside the country to live for two weeks with the rebels in the bush and help to spread a pro-freedom message. Once the war was over and Mozambique adopted policies friendly to private property and free markets, Jim pitched in to assist in reconstruction.

“I remember my father as the bravest and most adventurous person that I have ever known to this day,” Anthem recently told me.

He never let anyone tell him no. He was fearless in his belief in the goodness of the human spirit. He understood that the path to personal betterment is best shepherded by free enterprise, and [he understood] the importance of balance between natural rights and property rights protected by a responsible, accountable, made-as-limited-as-possible government.

If Jim were alive today, he would beam with pride in his son, who carries three famous names: Anthem Hayek Blanchard is founder and president of Anthem Vault, a Nevada-based company pioneering a gold-backed cryptocurrency called HayekGold after Nobel laureate and Austrian economist F.A. Hayek. (Browse through the news items on the company’s web page and you’ll learn more about the currency that wouldn’t even be legal today had it not been for the work of Anthem’s father.)

Anthem says his father taught him “above all else” that true freedom can only be achieved once the world experiences a Hayekian choice in currency that technologies like bitcoin, HayekGold, and other virtual assets are wonderfully making a rapidly growing reality. I know Pop would be the most excited person in the world about all of these new technology developments enabling Austrian economics to flourish in a modern digital society.

Jim Blanchard overcame personal tragedy to become a powerful figure for liberty and sound money. His indomitable spirit lives on in all those who know that the noble causes to which he devoted his life require both hard work and eternal vigilance.

Video from FreedomFest: Remembering James U. Blanchard III with Lawrence Reed

RELATED ARTICLES:

Jim Blanchard’s 1990 autobiography, Confessions of a Gold Bug

Jim Blanchard’s 1984 interview of Austrian economist F.A. Hayek

Steve Mariotti’s 2014 interview with Anthem Hayek Blanchard


Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s.

EDITORS NOTE: Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.

The Industrial Manifesto

In the wake of two recessions following two fleeting, largely service-sector bubbles—the dot-com bubble and the housing/financial bubble—America’s intellectual and political leaders are championing the need for industrial progress.

The ubiquitous Thomas L. Friedman takes on the subject of industrial progress in his latest book, That Used to Be Us, coauthored by political scientist Michael Mandelbaum. The book begins by describing a China full of fast trains, stupendous buildings, and an aura of dynamism—and contrasting it to an America in which repairing a subway is a multi-year project. Such images resonate with readers and voters, who wonder with frustration why so much industrial innovation, production, and job-creation is happening overseas rather than in America.

In President Obama’s recent address on jobs, he angrily complained about the state of American industry:

Our highways are clogged with traffic. Our skies are the most congested in the world. It’s an outrage.

Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower. And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads?

Obama is right about this much; the state of American industry is an outrage. America has enormous, incalculable, untapped potential to make industrial progress—to radically increase our standard of living through far greater productivity in energy production, in manufacturing, in construction, in mining, in transportation. Unfortunately, the statist philosophy of Obama, Friedman, et al leads them to speciously attribute the problem to lack of government—despite the unprecedented expansion of government over the last 50 years. They propose still more increases in government spending and controls, as if some magic manipulation is going to spark the next industrial revolution.

At the same time, they ignore the most blatant impediment to industrial progress—an impediment caused by policies they support. This impediment is an open secret readily discoverable by asking American industrialists what is holding them back.

When I do this, I hear one theme repeated over and over: it is ruinously difficult to start new industrial projects because of our anti-industrial, “green” policies.

Consider the plight of the modern industrialist. Whether he wishes to construct a new apartment complex, open a coal mine, site a nuclear power plant, build a new factory, drill for oil, he cannot count on clear, objective laws to protect his right to develop. Instead, he must deal with open-ended environmental laws and near-omnipotent regulatory agencies that can forbid any project that is regarded as insufficiently “green.”

The industrialist is virtually guaranteed to face a labyrinth of opposition by environmental bureaucrats, controls, lawsuits, NIMBYs, and activist groups. Every step of the labyrinth costs time and money, and there is no guarantee a project will emerge alive; vital industrial projects can and have been shut down to preserve the likes of kangaroo rats and two-toed sloths.

Given this industrial climate, it is a wonder that any industrial development occurs in this country. Ask any leader of an industrial project how much opposition he faces in refining the fuel we use to drive, in fracking for the gas that heats our homes, in building the coal or nuclear plants that keep the power on, and you will marvel at the inhuman endurance our industrialists possess—an endurance we can’t, and shouldn’t have to, count on.

The “green” labyrinth goes far beyond traditional environmentalist targets such as coal and oil. The DC Metro subway system that Friedman and Mandelbaum complain about has been enmeshed in controversy for years over adding a new “Purple Line” to its system, with rabid opposition. Any proposed new road in California, the home of some of the country’s worst traffic, faces an uphill, if not impossible, battle.

Even allegedly “green” solar and wind projects frequently face environmentalist opposition. Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the biggest opponent of Cape Wind, a windmill project off the coast of Nantucket. Environmentalists were the first to object to a giant solar project in the middle of the Mojave Desert in California.

What is so remarkable about the “green” opposition to industrial projects is that Americans, who supposedly want industrial progress, are so accepting of it. Based on the “green” movement’s actions, one might expect its goals and policies to be viewed with suspicion if not derision.

Instead, the idea of “going green” has never been more popular, with practically every businessman, schoolteacher, and politician trying to prove his “green” chops, in his personal life or at the ballot box. And thus, countless industrial projects continue to be deferred and destroyed.

If we are to make industrial progress, we need to seriously question the idea of “going green,” and its role in our government.

The “Green” Ideal

What does “green” really mean? It is most commonly associated with a lack of pollution and other environmental health hazards, but this is both far too narrow and highly misleading. Consider the range of actions that fall under the banner of “green.” As industrialists experience, it is considered “green” to object to crucial industrial projects, from power plants to dams to apartment complexes, on the grounds that some plant or animal will be impacted—plants and animals that take precedence over the human animals who need or want the projects.

It is considered “green” to oppose not only fossil fuel plants (which produce 86% of the world’s energy), but hydroelectric plants and nuclear plants—which all told means 98% of the world’s energy production. It is considered “green” to turn off the heat or air-conditioning, even at the price of personal discomfort.

It is considered “green” to do less of anything industrial—from driving to flying to using a washing machine to using disposable diapers to consuming pretty much any modern product (there is now an attack on iPhones for being insufficiently “green” given the various materials that must be mined to make them).

Often the same activity will be characterized as both “green” and non-“green”—just ask the proponents and opponents of any given solar farm. The proponents will say that the installation is “green” because it doesn’t use fossil fuels (except, they evade, to mine, fabricate, transport and assemble it), it isn’t mining the earth’s precious “natural resources” (except, they evade, for enormous amounts of steel, concrete, and various rare and toxic elements), etc. The opponents will point to the fact that solar farms, because they use a diffuse, intermittent energy source, take up an enormous “footprint” on nature, that they require prominent, long-distance transmission lines to take to their customers, that they require large-“footprint” backup systems to store energy or fossil fuel plants to serve as backups, etc.

Clearly, “going green” is not primarily about human health—indeed, in its opposition to just about anything industrial, it threatens the industrial foundations of modern health and sanitation. The essence of “going green,” the common denominator in all its various iterations, is the belief that humans should minimize their impact on nature.

“Green” leaders and followers may disagree on how to implement this ideal, and they certainly do not follow it consistently, but nevertheless it is uncontroversial that minimizing impact is the ideal.

But if we take ideas seriously, then the “green” ideal should be more than controversial. It should be jettisoned, as it is squarely opposed to the requirements of human life, including the requirements of a healthy human environment.

The Industrial Ideal

Human beings survive by transforming nature to meet our needs. The higher our level of survival, the more we must transform nature. In other words, we survive to the extent we depart from the “green” ideal.

Nature does not provide us with the wealth or the environment we need to live long, healthy, happy lives; hence the historical life expectancy of 30. To live and thrive, we must create wealth and create a livable environment.  And every new  act of creation, from building a fire to building an air-conditioned home to building the Internet, requires additional impacting—transforming—nature.

The fundamental reason for today’s incredibly high standard of living is that thanks to industrialization—the pervasive use of man-made power to fuel industrial machines—human beings can do hundreds of times more work to transform nature than we could even 200 years ago. But if our ancestors had followed “green” strictures, industrialization would have never got off the ground.

When the early oil industry turned night into day by making cheap illumination available to millions, they did it by drilling thousands of deep holes in rural Pennsylvania, extracting the black gold beneath, refining it into various useful substances, burning kerosene to create light, and dealing with whatever waste products emerged. J. J. Hill’s Great Northern Railway, a private transcontinental railroad that revolutionized American transportation and commerce, required men to mine iron ore from the ground, to combine it with carbon to make steel, to mine and use coal to power the steel furnace, to pour the mixture into molds, to use the molds to make railroad tracks, to lay the railroad tracks across patches of wilderness, to displace various plants and animals that stood in the way, and many more changes to the status quo.

Fast forwarding to today, the Chinese airports and buildings that many marvel at also transform nature on a massive scale—from the magnitude of the physical structures themselves to the coal plants, gas plants, factories, mining operations, oil rigs, oil refineries, and heavy machinery that went into building them, not to mention the industrial transportation system that keeps them maintained and stocked with supplies.

Industrial progress is not “green.” “Going industrial” requires a commitment to impacting nature as much as necessary to make it more hospitable to human life. And it is no accident that in generations past, Americans viewed industrial progress, not industrial abstention, as an ideal to strive for. Earlier generations took pride in transforming nature—in being a people that “tamed a continent,” that built new factories, that paved new roads, that drilled new wells, that mined the earth for resources. Whole towns would celebrate when a new bridge was built, when a factory was erected. They would proudly drive their automobiles, fly in planes, support new railroads, build new roads—without a shred of guilt over the fate of the two-toed sloth.

What about “green” support for “green energy” and a “green economy”? Is this not just a new, superior form of industry? Far from it. Any talk of green industry is ultimately contradictory, which is why such industries never materialize on a significant scale. All energy production requires an enormous amount of industrial development, both in its production and in its consumption.

Thus, environmentalists frequently oppose every power source, including solar and wind, for their various impacts. (They complain that solar and wind farms have the largest land “footprint” of any form of energy generation, which is true.) Similarly, for all the talk of “green construction,” “green building,” and “green jobs,” any activity with a major industrial presence will draw “green” opposition—as the valuable website www.projectnoproject.comaptly details.

The more consistent anti-industrialists are explicit about their goal, including its ultimate implication: de-development and depopulation. Stanford environmentalist celebrity Paul Ehrlich, who likens population growth to a “cancer,” “A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.” Billionaire Ted Turner, a “mainstream” figure, says: “A total [world] population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”

The true nature of “green” emerged particularly clearly in a debate over nuclear fusion in the late 1980s. Some uninformed news reports announced that fusion—which, if it worked, would be the cheapest, cleanest, most plentiful source of energy every created—was on its way to commercial reality. Many expected environmentalists to embrace this development. They condemned it.

“It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet,” said leading environmentalist Jeremy Rifkin. Ehrlich memorably said that allowing human beings to use fusion was “like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.” Environmentalist icon Amory Lovins stresses he would oppose any fusion-like energy breakthrough: “Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”

Do not make the mistake of writing off these anti-industrialists as “extremists” who don’t reflect on “moderate” greens. While the “extremists” are more consistent than the “moderates,” they share the same ideal—the anti-impact ideal that destroys industrial progress to whatever extent it is practiced.

But what about the “environmental impact” of industrial development? Isn’t the “green” movement providing a salutary influence us by helping us combat that problem? Again, no.

The idea of “environmental impact” is what philosopher Ayn Rand called an “intellectual package-deal.” Such a concept dishonestly packages together two very different things—the impact of development on the human environment and the impact of development on the non-human environment. Industrial development will certainly often harm various non-human environments—but it is a godsend to the human environment. By lumping together concern with the non-human environment (e.g., displacing some caribou to get billions of barrels of the lifeblood of civilization) and the human environment (e.g., air quality), anti-industrialists are able to dupe Americans into thinking that sacrificing to caribou somehow benefits them.

Historically, industrial progress brought with it a radical improvement of the human environment. Indeed, industrial progress essentially is the improvement of the human environment. The reason we develop is to make our surroundings better so that our lives are better, cleaner, healthier safer—in the face of a natural environment that is often hostile to human life.

Contrary to “green” mythology, man’s natural environment is neither clean nor safe. In a non- industrialized, “natural” state, men face all sorts of health dangers in the air and water, from the choking smoke of an open fire made using plant matter (a cause of over a million deaths a year to this day) to the feces-infested local brook that he must share with farm animals. Industrial development gives men the technology and tools to make their environment healthier—from sanitation systems to sturdier buildings to less onerous job conditions to comfortable furniture to having healthy, fresh food at one’s disposal year round, to the wealth and ability to preserve and travel to the most beautiful parts of nature. And so long as we embrace policies that protect property rights, including air and water rights, we protect industrial development and protect individuals from pollution.

As for the “sustainability” of industrial progress, an accusation that dates back to Marx, this fails to recognize the fact (elaborated on by Julian Simon and Ayn Rand) that man has an unlimited capacity to rearrange nature’s endless stockpile of raw materials into useful resources—which is why the more resources we use, the more resources we have.

Human life requires changing nature on a massive scale. Any cause that holds minimal impact as an ideal is anti-human and an enemy of the human environment.

Today’s anti-industrial movement is not new in this respect. Throughout history, there have been major, anti-industrial groups or movements. The basic premise they have in common is that it is arrogant and wrong for man to transform nature as he sees fit. Man, they believe, should not tame nature but exist in some sort of mystical “harmony” with it (how he is supposed to cope with nature’s dangers and a life expectancy of 30 is rarely specified). Perhaps the iconic anti-industrialist was the 18th Century’s Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who worshiped nature untouched by man and regarded the transformation of nature in his time (let alone the then-unimaginable transformation that is our modern world) as evil.

But the modern-day followers of Rousseau know they cannot succeed by being directly anti-industrial. So they create a false association between themselves and environmental progress, and a false opposition between industrial progress and environmental progress.

Part of this false conceptualization has been achieved by using an old socialist trick to obscure the massive environmental improvement that industrial capitalism brought. The trick is to criticize something by comparison to a nonexistent and impossible utopia.

Socialists used this technique to criticize capitalism for causing poverty, even though capitalism inherited poverty–and cured it. Yet Marxists would attack capitalism’s incredible contribution to human life, including to the life of laborers, by comparing that contribution, not to its predecessors and not to any known alternatives, but to a fictional socialist utopia whose advertised results contradicted everything known (even then) about socialism’s destructive nature.

Environmentalists have done the equivalent to industrial progress. Instead of comparing the human environment pre-industrial and post-industrial, they compared the post-industrial environment to a non-existent pollution-free utopia achieved by man living in “harmony” with nature. They did this in spite of conclusive historical evidence that living in “harmony” with nature means living very briefly. Historically, to the extent humans didn’t mine, didn’t burn fuels, didn’t develop, and were unwilling or unable to control or displace other species where necessary, they died early and often. The modern standard of living is an unprecedented, singular achievement that continues only so long as men are free to command nature on a large scale.

Early environmentalists cursed the coal fumes of newly industrial cities, evading the wood fumes, dung fumes, and starvation coal had replaced–and the work-hours it saved and years of life it added to human life. They cursed smog, evading that it replaced rampant airborne disease from horse-drawn society. And when increased production of coal and oil and natural gas produced the energy and technology to develop ways to radically reduce their pollution, environmentalists took credit–as if laws against pollution weren’t essential to capitalism, the system where protection of all forms of property is sacrosanct.

Development, industrial progress, and capitalism promote a human environment. The anti-industrial “green” movement opposes it. This is a truth that Americans desperately need to understand. At present, the philosophical confusion caused by anti-industrialists causes Americans who are genuinely concerned about their health and well-being to embrace the ideas and policies of those who want to sacrifice that health and well-being to the non-human. We are taught to denigrate fossil fuels, which have doubled the human life expectancy, and to strive for a mythical “green energy” economy, powered by fuel sources that have failed for decades. We are not taught that industrialization has enabled man to be orders of magnitude less vulnerable to climate, but that a degree rise in temperature over 150 years portends catastrophe. With proposals on the table such as 80% cuts in CO2 emissions, “green” confusion could mean economic suicide.

Such is the power of moral idealism and philosophical corruption. The ideal—and the corruption—need to be replaced.

Industrial Progress: A New Cultural Ideal for America

The only solution to a false ideal put forward by philosophical corruption is a true ideal put forward with philosophical clarity.

We need to embrace, unambiguously, the never-ending project that is the industrial revolution: the transformation of nature on a massive scale, with the unlimited potential to produce more energy, create more wealth, create more productivity, increase leisure time, transport things more quickly, conduct more complex scientific experiments, build sturdier, more comfortable places to live. We can travel farther and faster. We can live longer and better.

For the same reasons, we need to embrace, unambiguously, the harmony of industrial progress and the human environment. Industrial progress should be celebrated in classrooms, on YouTube, on t-shirts. Americans should think of fracking with the same excitement they feel for iPhones.

It is a moral embarrassment that in today’s world, where billions die for lack of energy, where Americans still have so much untapped potential, that what passes for idealism is driving a battery-powered car or sorting through one’s trash to make sure everything is in its “proper” bin. What does it say about our cultural self-esteem when we believe it is wrong to do something as necessary as generate trash—which simply amounts to taking some matter from the earth, making profitable use of it, and putting its waste product in a safe place?

For too long, Americans have taken industrial progress for granted, and carelessly embraced “going green” as an ideal–expecting that the unprecedented standard of living we had would automatically continue, even though we permitted environmentalists to oppose new energy production and new development at every turn. Today, we are paying the price, with an economy whose productive fundamentals are less and less sound.

So long as the anti-industrialists have the moral high ground, they can inspire support for their suicidal “green economy,” and inspire guilt to gain power and thwart the opposition. Way too much of free-market criticism of environmentalism bends over backwards to declare itself “green” and mouth environmentalist terminology such as “protect the environment”—as if the kangaroo rat environment and the human environment are interchangeably valuable.

Thus, we must clearly identify and steadfastly reject any trace of the “green” ideal: to sacrifice the human environment to the non-human environment. And any trace of “green” must be removed from politics. The one and only industrial policy that is needed is the proper definition and protection of property rights for individuals and companies. Human ingenuity directed toward the improvement of human life, will do the rest.

In the past, Americans’ unprecedented industrial freedom and growth depended on a certain industrial philosophy. With industrial progress as our ideal, and with policies that fully respect property rights and fully allow free markets, the brilliantly talented individuals of this great country can lead us to the next industrial renaissance and an ever-improving environment.

Don’t “go green.” Go industrial.

The American Creed

Ayn Rand wrote a short nineteen page paper asking: What is the basic issue facing the world today?

Rand, in her paper makes the case that, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” Rand defines these two principles as follows:

  • Individualism – Each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.
  • Collectivism – Each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.
dean alfange

Dean Alfange

I recently came across a credo written by Dean Alfange on entrepreneurship. The creed originally appeared in This Week Magazine, and a condensed version appeared in Reader’s Digest in both the October 1952 and January 1954 issues. The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge gave Alfange an award for the composition in 1952. Here is what Alfange wrote:

“I do not choose to be a common man,
It is my right to be uncommon … if I can,
I seek opportunity … not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen.
Humbled and dulled by having the
State look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk;
To dream and to build.
To fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole;
I prefer the challenges of life
To the guaranteed existence;
The thrill of fulfillment
To the stale calm of Utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence
Nor my dignity for a handout
I will never cower before any master
Nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect.
Proud and unafraid;
To think and act for myself,
To enjoy the benefit of my creations
And to face the world boldly and say:
This, with God’s help, I have done
All this is what it means
To be an Entrepreneur.”

Many are concerned that America has become anything but entrepreneurial and that government has grown to such a point as to make America anything but exceptional. There are growing concerns that individualism is losing ground to collectivism. That the American dream is being lost one government program at a time.

May I say that the naysayers are wrong. America will remain preeminent so long as it is guided by principled men and women who have character.

In her paper Rand wrote:

A great many people today hold the childish notion that society can do anything it pleases; that principles are unnecessary, rights are only an illusion and expediency is the practical guide to action.

It is true that society can abandon moral principles and turn itself into a herd running amuck to destruction. Just as it is true that a man can cut his own throat any time he chooses. But a man cannot do this if he wishes to survive. And society cannot abandon moral principles if it expects to exist.

While we are witnessing herds in places like Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland, the greater part of America is peaceful and not cutting their own throats.  America will survive despite the efforts of those who wish to commit social suicide.

The Good Life and the Sanction of the Victim by Steven Horwitz

Few libertarian authors generate more heated disagreement than Ayn Rand. Whatever her flaws, she could often be a very sharp observer of human behavior and human culture, and there are ways to put those observations into use beyond politics and in interpersonal relationships instead.

The primary moral message of Atlas Shrugged, I would argue, is the idea that evil has, to a large degree, only the power that its victims grant to it.

Consider the image that provides the book’s title. Francisco D’Anconia asks a party guest,

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders — what would you tell him to do?

Francisco answers his own question: “To shrug.”

The point here is that Atlas is only a victim because of his willingness to think he is morally obligated to suffer, to continue doing the thing that is crushing him.

This concept is refined further in the book and is best summarized as the importance of “the sanction of the victim.”

In the book’s political economy, this idea refers to the fact that the creators and producers continued to work hard at what they love, even as those around them made it increasingly more difficult to do so.

Like Atlas, the weight of the “looters” continued to bear down on the attempts of the producers to keep the railways and steel factories open. What John Galt does is to try to convince them all that it is time to shrug — to withdraw their sanction from the very code that made them victims.

For most of the main characters in the book, the key moment is when they realize they are complicit in their own unhappiness because they have accepted the moral code of their victimizers. This is why Rand insisted, both in her novels and nonfiction, on the importance of philosophy, and especially ethics.

Characters like Hank Rearden don’t think they need philosophy as they can just continue doing what that they love and ignore the people who try to bring them down. But without philosophy, Rand argues, Hank and the others who Galt tries to get to join him in his strike cannot understand their own victimization.

Choosing to ignore ethics simply allows others to dictate the terms of morality, and to the extent that the producers of the world tacitly or explicitly accept the looters’ morality, they have given them “the sanction of the victim.”

Whether it’s Atlas shrugging, Rearden leaving his unhappy marriage, or capital going on strike, all of them are connected by the refusal to bear a burden that has been self-imposed by accepting without question the (mistaken) moral code of others.

This basic idea also has relevance outside the context of political economy, and understanding it can make your life a better place.

Rearden’s relationship provides one example. If you are in a relationship where it seems impossible to please your partner, despite your best honest efforts to do so, it’s likely to make you miserable. Here is where it’s worth asking if you bear some responsibility by having bought into your partner’s problematic value scale that makes pleasing him or her impossible.

By agreeing to a set of rules that has rigged the game against you, you agree to lose and forgo your own happiness. You have given that person the sanction that turns you into a victim by agreeing to a code that ensures you can never win.

Recognizing this point can improve your life immensely if you simply shrug. Naming what’s happening and refusing to agree to the other person’s rules is the first step to happiness, either by changing the rules or ending the arrangement. But you first must recognize the role played by your passive acceptance of a rigged system.

You can see this idea at work in the office as well. Co-workers who make you miserable often do so because they are able to convince you to play office politics by their rules they created, and those rules are likely to make you the loser. Again, recognizing that you do not need to accept those rules, and sanction the implicit moral code they involve, is the first step in freeing yourself from your victimization.

What Atlas Shrugged ultimately asks us to consider is whether we have thought carefully about the moral rules and ethical principles that we explicitly or implicitly accept. If you are unhappy with your life, and especially with your various professional or interpersonal relationships, it is worth asking whether that unhappiness is of a kind with Atlas trying to carry a weight that he cannot possibly support.

If so, withdraw your sanction of the rules of a rigged game. Shrug off that weight. Find new rules or different players. As Rand emphasized, your happiness is within your grasp if only you recognize your role in making it possible:

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.

Steven Horwitz

Steven Horwitz is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University and the author of Microfoundations and Macroeconomics: An Austrian Perspective, now in paperback.

Savages and The Civilized Woman

Pamela Geller takes on the savages and smart people support her!

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Israel Puts Price Controls on Books, Sales Plummet

A lesson on the terrible consequences of price controls comes from Israel this week, the Blaze reports:

A new Israeli law controlling the price of books and mandating guaranteed minimum compensation for writers has had the complete opposite effect of what lawmakers had intended. . . .

Under the new law’s dictates, any new book that’s been on the shelf 18 months or less may not be discounted. During the same time period, Israeli authors are guaranteed to earn a minimum of 8 percent of the price of the first 6,000 books sold and 10 percent of all subsequent books sold, the Jerusalem Post explained last year.

The results were swift and predictable:

Publishers told Haaretz that the law “has upset the entire literary food chain” with sales of new book titles down between 40 and 60 percent and down 20 percent for books overall. . . . Booksellers say they’ve experienced a 25 percent drop in children’s book sales in just one year, according to Channel 2.

The combination of price controls on books and minimum wages for authors has had pronounced effects on new, young, and unestablished writers:

Publishers have been hesitant to bank on new writers under the government mandate, because they don’t want to take the financial risk on books they’re not allowed to put on sale. And from a consumer perspective, those looking for new books are less likely to drop some $25 on the debut novel of a writer they’ve never heard of.

“Almost the only way for unknown writers to become popular is to put their first book on sale, even to give it for free if possible, to publicize their name and get their audience and eventually make money from their writing,” [Boaz] Arad said. Thus the new law has been particularly devastating on new authors who can’t get their work to the public.

Arad, chief of the Ayn Rand Center-Israel, said that the parliament blithely ignored the fates of similar laws in Europe, telling the Blaze, “It’s no surprise that we face a book market struggling and suffering and it’s the most unbecoming situation for the ‘People of the Book.’”

Good intentions fail to trump the laws of supply and demand once again.

To “protect” authors, the government has driven off readers.

Read more coverage of the story here.

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