…from Cafe Hayek a quote from “Oscar Wilde’s February 1891 Forthnightly Review essay, “The Soul of Man Under Socialism” – a selection that appears in the superb just-published reader, Individualism, edited by George H. Smith and Marilyn Moore:”
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognizes infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it…. For the egoist is he who makes claims upon others, and the Individualist will not desire to do that.
Sheldon uses his friendship algorithm
One of my favorite blog postings this year is The Left is Too Smart to Fail by Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish. Science is for Stupid People is equally worthy and an excellent companion piece to the first article.
Tysonism is why ObamaCare suffered a disastrous launch, why the VA reorganization didn’t work and why we’re back in Iraq. Technocrats don’t make mistakes. They can’t. They’re only at the top because they’re smart. If they ever admitted to being stupid, they would lose their right to rule.
Like Lysenkoism, Tysonism uses ideology to determine the outcomes of science. That’s how we keep ending up with Global Warming as settled science no matter how often the actual science contradicts it.
Tysonism appropriates science without understanding it. Its science consists of factoids, some right and some wrong, which simplify and clarify everything. Its manufactured intelligence makes people feel smart without actually giving them the critical tools to question the false assumptions of a Tyson.
What the left calls science is really a hypothesis accepted as a fact without the skepticism. Its intelligence is a conclusion without bothering to determine whether it’s true. Science and intelligence are perpetual processes that are never truly settled. But in law and government, as in all other fields, the left discards the process and asserts an inevitable outcome by virtue of its superiority.
Intelligence as ideology is at the heart of the left. Its Orwellian twist discards the need for using intelligence to question its ideology by asserting that the issue is settled. To be smart is to be left and to be left is to be smart. And only stupid people would question that.
There is no need to think about anything because the smart people have already done all the thinking. You can show you are smart by accepting their conclusions or show your stupidity by questioning them.
Science and skepticism are the tools of stupid people. As Socrates put it, I know that I know nothing. We have the most to fear from the smart people who don’t know and will never admit how little they know.
F. A. Hayek
Kevin Williamson writes The Unmanageable Man in The National Review.
The scientific study of complex adaptive systems such as markets has taken Ludwig von Mises’s philosophical critique of central planning and developed a formidable body of knowledge that suggests a much more general and sweeping understanding of Mises’s underlying principle. Even a relatively simple economic activity — say, the cultivation and sale of wheat — is far too complex to be comprehended, anticipated, or managed by any bureaucracy, agency, or committee, no matter how intelligent and well-meaning its agents, no matter how well-equipped and incentivized they may be.
F. A. Hayek warned us against the “pretense of knowledge.” But the fact is that our public-policy debate is broadly organized around that very pretense, which is practically an article of faith.
Reality is remorselessly wearing away at the planners’ pretense. In 2008, the best and brightest in Washington, who believe themselves to be among the most intelligent and powerful men and women in the world, stood by helplessly as their ambitions were done in by the very houses in which we live, like cells turning against the body as cancer. Washington’s response was to apply to health care the same effective management it had brought to housing policy, executing its program with approximately the ineptitude that one might have expected.
“In retrospect it was apparent to me that most of the violence in my lifetime had been directed by utopians like myself against those who would not go along with their impossible dreams. “Idealism kills,” the philosopher Nietzsche had warned before all this bloodshed began. But nobody listened.”
“I agree with the observation more than I would like to. It is the human wish to be told lies that keeps us as primitive morally and socially as we are. But stoic realism is, after all, what being a conservative is about. It is about accepting the absolute limits that life places on human hope. One could define the viewpoint of the left as just the opposite. It is an obstinate, compulsive, destructive belief in the fantasy of change, in the hope of a human redemption.”
“I have watched my friends on the left, whose ideas created an empire of inhumanity, survive the catastrophe of their schemes and go on to unexpected triumphs by turning their backs on the ashes of their ideological defeats. Forced to witness the collapse of everything they had once dreamed of and worked to achieve, they have emerged unchastened and unchanged in pursuit of the same destructive illusions. And they have been rewarded for their misdeeds with a cultural cachet and unprecedented influence in the country most responsible for the worldwide defeat of their misguided schemes.
I cannot explain this dystopian paradox except by agreeing with my interlocutor that politics is indeed irrational; and that socialism is a wish that runs as deep as any religious faith. I do not know that the truth must necessarily remain in the shadows, as he writes. But I am persuaded that a lie grounded in human desire is too powerful for mere reason to kill.”
Excerpt From: Horowitz, David. “The Black Book of the American Left.” Encounter Books, 2013-11-04. iBooks.
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Life Lessons from Navy Seal Training byWilliam H. McRaven in the Wall Street Journal:
Excerpt and Summary
To the graduating class of 2014, you are moments away from graduating. Moments away from beginning your journey through life. Moments away from starting to change the world—for the better.
It will not be easy.
But start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up—if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. And what started here will indeed have changed the world, for the better.
Read and share the whole article. Please.