J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 05-08-2018

The Good, the Bad and the Exaggerated in Michael Moore’s New Film, ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’

Michael Moore’s new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, doesn’t pull any punches in its depiction of capitalism as the monster that is destroying America. Moore’s villains range from Wall Street bankers to Wal-Mart to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, while capitalism’s victims include those who are losing their jobs, their houses and, in some cases, their faith in a system that is supposed to reward hard work and playing by the rules. So Michael Moore scores some points there, although he was very selective in the way he did it. I don’t believe in the level of redistribution that Michael Moore would believe in – unconditional, not based on effort. At the same time, Michael Moore’s conclusion isn’t that we need to have more regulatory reform, especially to protect consumers, which is something I think we are in great need of – or that we simply need some more redistribution, which I also agree with if done smartly. 

Michael Moore was right that the mortgage area needs serious regulatory reform in order to make mortgages very transparent. A lot of people wanted something more than they could afford. So we have a lot lower prices than we had. It’s a lot cheaper to fly and there is a lot more competition. The problem is we have a lot of people who really enjoy flying. 

We all value art, but [because] a lot of people want to be artists, they don’t get paid [much]. No occupation pays well when a lot of people enjoy doing it – unless we simply tell some people that they can’t do what they love. In the mortgage field, a lot of people weren’t making well-informed decisions. 

Keywords: [“Moore”,”people”,”lot”]
Source: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/the-good-the-bad-and-the…

Jeri Hogarth: Jessica Jones & Female Capitalist Success

I’ve loved Jessica Jones’ ruthless lawyer, Jeri Hogarth, since she debuted in the first season. I thought it was a brilliant switch to make the comics’ male Jeryn Hogarth into Jeri Hogarth, but still imbue her with all the callousness, drive, and selfish confidence that we associate with high-powered corporate lawyers. That’s because Jeri’s queerness is never the source of her evil; wealth is. Jeri is a powerful, driven career woman, but the things that make her so powerful-buying into the corporate game, shameless self-interest, and a confidence that being smart and rich gives you the right to control other people-are also the things that so often make her evil. As the second season opens, we find Jeri doing much of the same. 

Jeri is rude to the sex workers she hires; she ogles her yoga instructor. Jeri is, as she’s always been, a woman who likes a little indebtedness in her romantic partners, her associates, and her friends. Her growth here was getting back to being Jeri even in the face of something she couldn’t control-something that, in its power over her and in the way it leads to her humiliation, could have made her not feel like Jeri anymore. In all her many facets, Jeri captures my incredibly complicated feelings about women like this. With Jeri Hogarth, Netflix is exploring those contradictions of female corporate power. 

We see Jeri’s admirable tenacity, intelligence, and confidence in a world that tells her to shrink herself. Jeri is a powerful, successful queer woman in a world that makes it really, really hard to be such a thing and still be decent. 

Keywords: [“Jeri”,”power”,”she's”]
Source: https://www.themarysue.com/jeri-hogarth-jessica-jones-season-2

Why Intellectuals Hate Capitalism

Mackey, 62, continues to set the pace for what’s expected in organic and sustainably harvested food. Because of Whole Foods’ educated customer base and because Mackey is himself a vegan and a champion of collaboration between management and workers, it’s easy to mistake him for a progressive left-winger. A high-profile critic of the minimum wage, Obamacare, and the regulatory state, Mackey believes that free markets are the best way not only to raise living standards but to create meaning for individuals, communities, and society. Conscious Capitalism, the 2013 book he co-authored with Rajendra Sisodia, lays out a detailed vision for a post-industrial capitalism that addresses spiritual desire as much as physical need. Reason: You believe capitalism is not only the greatest wealth creator but helps poor people get rich. 

John Mackey: Intellectuals have always disdained commerce. You might say that capitalism was the first time that businesspeople caught a break. Mackey: It’s sort of where people stand in the social hierarchy. Mackey: I don’t know if it’s a psychological switch so much as that they weren’t necessarily grounded in the philosophy of capitalism. They’re attempting to not fall, so they try to rig the game, and we have crony capitalism. 

Mackey: The impetus behind so many of these types of regulations in the workplace is, in a sense, to shackle business again-to get it back under the control of the intellectuals. It’ll stifle the dynamic creative destruction of capitalism. 

Keywords: [“Mackey”,”capitalism”,”business”]
Source: https://reason.com/archives/2015/10/27/why-intellectuals-hate-capital

Antonio Gramsci

Brecht’s key debate was class equality, where the influence of Karl Marx, Louis Althusser and Antonio Gramsci’s theories were and still are evident in Brecht’s plays. The Threepenny Opera: The Ballad Opera and the Socio-political Criticism and Change Bertolt Brecht’s aggressive political idealism and determination in using art to pose challenging questions about the conflicts between society and morality generated intense controversy throughout his lifetime. Brecht offers alternatives in life rather than Gay’s mocking characters that just make the viewer laugh 19 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. The problems stem from the fact that when Brecht wrote the play he was only beginning to explore Marxism and he did not yet identify with the class struggle. Brecht’s final goal is that he wants the audience to leave his play with a logical desire to change society. 

Brecht is trying to make people think about the play rather than feel emotions. Brecht’s use of songs does not represent any attempt aiming at intensifying or heightening the conflict of the play. The songs in Brecht’s plays deserve some discussion because they are as famous as the play itself. Brecht exposes his understanding of death penalty in the play. The story of the play is dramatized by Brecht from an old Chinese parable. 

Brecht’s attitude towards war is derived from Marxism. Brecht should have something rather than cause and effect to connect the separate parts of his play. 

Keywords: [“Brecht”,”play”,”war”]
Source: https://www.scribd.com/doc/82102711/Bertolt-Brecht

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 01-31-2018

“Liberals” -Ayn Rand Lexicon

The basic and crucial political issue of our age is: capitalism versus socialism, or freedom versus statism. For decades, this issue has been silenced, suppressed, evaded, and hidden under the foggy, undefined rubber-terms of “Conservatism” and “Liberalism” which had lost their original meaning and could be stretched to mean all things to all men. The goal of the “Liberals”-as it emerges from the record of the past decades-was to smuggle this country into welfare statism by means of single, concrete, specific measures, enlarging the power of the government a step at a time, never permitting these steps to be summed up into principles, never permitting their direction to be identified or the basic issue to be named. The most timid, frightened, conservative defenders of the status quo-of the intellectual status quo-are today’s liberals. In the 1930’s, the “Liberals” had a program of broad social reforms and a crusading spirit, they advocated a planned society, they talked in terms of abstract principles, they propounded theories of a predominantly socialistic nature-and most of them were touchy about the accusation that they were enlarging the government’s power; most of them were assuring their opponents that government power was only a temporary means to an end-a “Noble end,” the liberation of the individual from his bondage to material needs. Today, nobody talks of a planned society in the “Liberal” camp; long-range programs, theories, principles, abstractions, and “Noble ends” are not fashionable any longer. Modern “Liberals” deride any political concern with such large-scale matters as an entire society or an economy as a whole; they concern themselves with single, concrete-bound, range-of-the-moment projects and demands, without regard to cost, context, or consequences. “Pragmatic”-not “Idealistic”-is their favorite adjective when they are called upon to justify their “Stance,” as they call it, not “Stand.” They are militantly opposed to political philosophy; they denounce political concepts as “Tags,” “Labels,” “Myths,” “Illusions”-and resist any attempt to “Label”-i.e., to identify-their own views. The only thing that has not rusted in their ideological equipment, but has grown savagely brighter and clearer through the years, is their lust for power-for an autocratic, statist, totalitarian government power. The majority of those who are loosely identified by the term “Liberals” are afraid to let themselves discover that what they advocate is statism. They do not want to accept the full meaning of their goal; they want to keep all the advantages and effects of capitalism, while destroying the cause, and they want to establish statism without its necessary effects. For more than fifty years, the West’s liberal intellectuals have proclaimed their love for mankind, while being bored by the rivers of blood pouring out of the Soviet Union.

Keywords: [“Liberal”,”power”,”mean”]
Source: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/liberals.html

MSNBC, Joy Reid and the Myth of Compassionate Capitalism

MSNBC’s Joy Reid, a fervent Clinton supporter, tweeted ” we need a global conversation on how to develop a ‘compassionate capitalism’ that answers economic displacement w/ alternatives to fascism,” invoking the ‘compassionate capitalism’ myth championed by Betsy Devos’ father, Rich Devos, in a 1993 book. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi expressed a similar worldview perspective during a CNN Town Hall in February 2016, during which she told a millennial that the solution to the problems caused by capitalism are not progressive policies, but trying to make wealthy people more compassionate. The 2011 Citizens United Supreme Court decision exemplifies how far wealthy and corporate interests have successfully scaled back the constraints of democracy to further their own interests. Democratic Party officials have attended closed door conferences with billionaire donors on several occasions since Hillary Clinton’s election loss to discuss and formulate party strategies moving forward without the transparency and input from voters. While several progressive policies championed by Bernie Sanders increasingly gain popularity with voters, like single payer healthcare, the majority of Democrats refuse to join their constituents in supporting it. What those Democrats who don’t support it ignore are the working and middle class people their “Pragmatism” leaves behind, just as they did when Obamacare was initially enacted to benefit the health insurance industry who were afraid of a single payer system while leaving 28 million people uninsured. Ignoring those progressive policies that have made Bernie Sanders the most popular politician in the country, MSNBC’s Joy Reid and several other neo-liberals have propagated horseshoe theory to corroborate their own toxic politics. The pejorative political science theory claims the far-right and far-left of the presupposed political spectrum that places preserving the status quo in the middle have more in common with each other than the center. This theory is demonstrably false, but it has never stopped Clinton loyalists from trying to equate Sanders Supporters to Trump supporters as a smear tactic. Recently Bloomberg writer Noah Smith, without citing any evidence because it doesn’t exist, tried to claim that far-left supporters in America and the UK were cheering on France’s far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. MSNBC’s Joy Reid responded to Smith that the only difference she saw from the far left and far right was the right’s overt racism, a ridiculous notion with no basis in reality and represents an overt failure in itself to understand the policies and global perspective that differentiates progressives from other political ideologies, especially the far right. These sweeping claims and generalizations are the norm in the reality Joy Reid lives in where Hillary Clinton was a good candidate and neo-liberalism is the antidote to fascism.

Keywords: [“support”,”Party”,”policies”]
Source: https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/10/msnbc-joy-reid-and-the…

JR Test Site News for 01-24-2018

Andrew Bernstein: The Capitalist Manifesto

John Mackey’s Whole Foods Vision to Reshape Capitalism

“It is something you discover and also create.” Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, is riffing on the gospel of what he calls Conscious Capitalism. Liberal Whole Foods customers organized nationwide boycotts, while self-described “Radical conservative” Tea Party types rallied around Mackey, calling for Whole Foods “Buycotts.” Now, sitting in a soulless beige conference room in Whole Foods’ Austin headquarters, with Mount Bonnell looming beyond the window and two protective publicists at his side, Mackey finally starts to relax. Two years ago, Mackey began rolling out his Catalyzing Conscious Capitalism Summit, which he will be expanding to Europe and India next year. The way Mackey sees it, Whole Foods has already left the world in better shape than he found it. Mackey has always considered himself a philosopher in the making, once telling Time that if his ex-girlfriend had never persuaded him to launch Whole Foods, “I’d probably be in an attic somewhere scribbling off insane philosophies that nobody reads.” The pursuit of any of these shiny goals, he says – harmonized with the needs of all a company’s many stakeholders – will deliver the enterprise to a Conscious Capitalist state of perfection. “Our purpose is to organize people’s lives to save them space and time. There’s a certain Zen quality to being organized,” says Kip Tindell, CEO and cofounder, noting that the company’s other deeper purpose is “To be the best retail store in America.” Ever since Mackey turned Tindell on to the Conscious Capitalism model, the purveyor of plastic tubs says he’s seen the light. In Mackey’s eyes, Whole Foods itself pursues both the good and the heroic. “The experience of being in the birth canal,” Mackey recalls on his Conscious Capitalism. As Gilbert explains, “The odds that an existing public company like Whole Foods with a large amount of disembodied third-party institutional investors is going to vote to expand its corporate responsibilities are pretty remote to say the least. That’s why we haven’t spent a lot of time talking to the John Mackeys of the world. They are already public companies. The genie is out of the bottle.” Mackey professes to be aloof from any concerns about Whole Foods’ stock price. “The endgame is now under way for OATS.” wrote Rahodeb, Mackey’s alter ego, of Whole Foods’ largest then-rival, Wild Oats. “Whole Foods is systematically destroying their viability as a business – market by market, city by city.” Mackey was cleared of any impropriety in the “Sock puppeting” fiasco.

Keywords: [“Mackey”,”company”,”food”]
Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/1460600/john-mackeys-whole-foods-vision-reshape-capitalism

BICHLER & NITZAN The Enlightened Capitalist In order to buck this trend, however symbolically, we wrote a short, pointy article titled ‘Why Capitalists Do Not Want Recovery, and What That Means for America’. Clearly, the enlightened capitalist press wasn’t particularly keen on showcasing the power basis of accumulation. 3- BICHLER & NITZAN The Enlightened Capitalist I think that you are doing tremendous harm by publishing articles that mislead the public into thinking that capitalists do not want recovery. Small businesses are being looted and taken over by the government while shortages increase and inflation soars at over 60%. Are capitalists profiting from this crisis? No just corrupt politicians and businessmen that collude with state run enterprises all of whom would never survive in a capitalist economy. The leading capitalists and their investment organs are taking over larger and larger chunks of our natural resources, human-made artefacts and collective knowledge; they formulate and steer public policy to their own advantage; and they dominate ideology, education and the mass media. Second, the very power logic of accumulation – the need to strategically sabotage others in order to increase one’s own share of the total – forces capitalists to continue and dig their own graves, so to speak. Now, of course, most capitalists, particularly the smaller ones, are unaware of and certainly won’t admit these power underpinnings of capitalism. For politically correct capitalists with substantial money to invest, Mr. X’s fund offers a carefully hedged, two-pronged strategy: buying and holding do-good companies that profit from saving the planet while shorting firms that harm the environment and governments that misallocate the world’s resources. To see real capitalists in action, you need go to their ‘impact investing’ gatherings, where they deliberate saving the world, capitalist style. The mandate of the ‘ethical fund manager’ is simple: leverage the world’s distortions and imperfections by selling short and buying long future variations of inequality, the ups and downs of expected hunger, anticipated ecological degradation and regeneration and other assorted disasters and triumphs – and do it all in such a way that we, your capitalist clients, end up beating the holy average. The problem is that, according to the enlightened capitalist, we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds, but in one of the worst. So in the end, the only way to beat the big unreal capitalists of the distorted world is to join them.

Keywords: [“Capitalist”,”world”,”power”]
Source: http://bnarchives.yorku.ca/397/3/20140400_bn_the_enlightened_capitalist.pdf

JR Test Site News for 01-22-2018

History of Early Modern Europe

1648-1715 France, under Louis XIV, flourishes as the mightiest European nation;the Early Enlightenment concludes with the War of the Spanish Succession Enlightenmentca. 1715-1800 a five-way balance of power prevails in Europe;Britain wins the Seven Years’ War, thereby becoming the global colonial superpower;the Enlightenment concludes with the French Revolution General Features. On the negative side, the scale of war between Western powers grew steadily. Notwithstanding these dramatic changes, political power in Early Modern Europe remained concentrated in the hands of the upper class, composed primarily of nobility and clergy. Over seven million were killed in the Thirty Years’ War, making it the bloodiest conflict in Europe prior to the First World War.K262-263,8. 1648-1715 France, under Louis XIV, flourishes as the mightiest European nation;the Early Enlightenment concludes with the War of the Spanish Succession Late Enlightenment. 1715-1800 a five-way balance of power prevails in Europe;Britain wins the Seven Years’ War, thereby becoming the global colonial superpower;the Enlightenment concludes with the French Revolution. During the period from the Enlightenment to World War I, the primary powers of Europe were France, England, Austria, Prussia, and Russia. The foremost conflict of the Early Enlightenment was the War of the Spanish Succession. The foremost conflict of the Late Enlightenment was the Seven Years’ War., which involved most of Europe. The Enlightenment period witnessed a string of wars between these nations over control of India, North America, and the Caribbean. Victory in the Seven Years’ War allowed the British Empire to absorb New France and ejected the French from India. The Seven Years’ War thus marks the rise of the British Empire as the supreme global colonial power. The Revolution ended when Napoleon, a celebrated military officer of the French Revolutionary Wars, seized control of the nation in 1799. War with Europe continued; the French Revolutionary Wars simply became the Napoleonic Wars.58,74.

Keywords: [“War”,”power”,”Enlightenment”]
Source: http://www.essential-humanities.net/western-history/early-modern-europe

Literature Periods & Movements

The Enlightenment, sometimes referred to as the Age of Reason, was a confluence of ideas and activities that took place throughout the eighteenth century in Western Europe, England, and the American colonies. Scientific rationalism, exemplified by the scientific method, was the hallmark of everything related to the Enlightenment. Following close on the heels of the Renaissance, Enlightenment thinkers believed that the advances of science and industry heralded a new age of egalitarianism and progress for humankind. Many intellectuals of the Enlightenment practiced a variety of Deism, which is a rejection of organized, doctrinal religion in favor of a more personal and spiritual kind of faith. The Enlightenment would see these ideas applied to every segment of life and society, with huge ramifications for citizens and rulers alike. The idea of a “Public,” an informed collection of citizens invested in the common good and preservation of the state, reached fruition during the Enlightenment. The trend of solitary reading, initiated during the Renaissance, continued unabated throughout the Enlightenment. In Europe, Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were the torchbearers of Enlightenment literature and philosophy. In all honesty, the Enlightenment was a bit of a dry spell for English literature. Unlike most of his Enlightenment brethren, Pope was singularly pessimistic about the future of civil society. Like many other intellectual movements, the Enlightenment frame of mind transcended the distance between Europe and the American colonies. The vastly different political climate of the colonies meant that the Enlightenment was realized in very different ways. The principles set forth during the Enlightenment had consequences in the near term that very few anticipated, and these would spell the end of the so-called Age of Reason. Granted, there had been substantial gains made in nearly all walks of life thanks to the progressive ideas of the Enlightenment. Despite its apparent failures and setbacks, the Enlightenment paved the way for the modern world.

Keywords: [“Enlightenment”,”century”,”literature”]
Source: http://www.online-literature.com/periods/enlightenment.php

The Counter-Enlightenment: Neoreaction

Land’s prose is almost unreadably bad. What do the neoreactionaries want? The explicitly anti-democratic outlook of neoreactionaries has led to some commentators labelling them as Nazis or fascists. The neoreactionaries aren’t morbidly obsessed with race. Neoreactionaries would reject the state-controlled economic model which was central to fascism. The really interesting thing is that, for dedicated enemies of political freedom, neoreactionaries are remarkably sympathetic towards libertarianism. What neoreactionaries object to about the modern West is not just democracy and egalitarianism but the redistribution of resources that tends to go with them. For a social democrat like me, this is part of the whole point of having democracy – it’s a feature, not a bug – but neoreactionaries don’t see it that way. From the neoreactionary perspective, centre-left fiscal policies are destined to bring about nothing less than the end of civilisation. It seems to be a common rhetorical strategy of neoreactionaries to present their ideas as being no more than a perceptive and necessary recognition of the facts of life. The only real point of contact between the original reactionaries and the neoreactionaries is that they both have the same enemies – democracy as a form of government and liberalism as its content. Most of all, the sheer vulgar materialism of the neoreactionary outlook is foreign to reactionary culture and spirit. Mr Reactionary reads Evelyn Waugh and goes to the Latin Mass; but Mr Neoreactionary curses the IRS and has a STEM degree. A disproportionate number of neoreactionaries seem to be connected with the tech industry in the United States. Another consequence of the STEM degree thing is the near-autistic degree of rationalism evident among neoreactionaries. The most succinct summary remains that of the editors of RationalWiki, who suggest that neoreactionaries are just “The latest in a long line of intellectuals who somehow think that their chosen authoritarian thugs wouldn’t put them up against the wall”.

Keywords: [“neoreactionary”,”reactionary”,”Neoreaction”]
Source: http://counterenlightenment.blogspot.com/p/neoreaction.html

JR Test Site News for 01-22-2018

Age of Enlightenment & Expansionism, 1650

During the 80 years and 30 years wars, the culmination of the European Wars of Religion, France switched sides, to join the Protestants which were gaining power. Religious Restrictions Re-Introduced in France: Staunch Catholic Louis XIV abolishes the Edict of Nantes, which ensured religious tolerance for Protestants, gained after French Wars of Religion. War of Grand Alliance – Coalition Against France: England cooperates with other continental powers to curb the dominance of France. France had become a major continental power, at the expense of Spain. War of Spanish Succession (1706-14): Grandson of Louis XIV of France inherits the throne of Spain. Austria had a claim on the throne, and attempted to forcibly make good on it, with the help of the Dutch and Great Britain, which were mostly interested in avoiding a unified Spain and France. War of the Polish Succession (1733): France and Spain want one candidate related to their respective monarchs, and Austria wants another, part of the Habsburg family. Beginning of French and Indian War (1754): Conflict between France and Great Britain over disputed lands west of British colonies in modern U.S. Would become incorporated in Seven Years War in Europe. France performs poorly, sending France into a downward spiral, which helps bring about the French Revolution. France falls from its dominant position among European powers, while Great Britain rises to top after the French & Indian War. France still remains a continental power, due to its population, geopolitical position and cohesion. France Purchases Corsica (1764): France purchases Corsica from Rep. of Genoa, part of France ever since. France would lag behind, since it had a top-caliber upper class, but an uneducated lower-class, and would be ravaged by war in its near abroad and on it own soil, as was also the case with much of the rest of continental Europe. England rises to supremacy after its overwhelming victory over France in the Seven Years War and French and Indian War. GB became more advanced than France, moving toward democracy and capitalism, while France remained feudalistic and elitist.

Keywords: [“France”,”power”,”war”]
Source: http://worldology.com/Europe/enlightenment.htm

Enlightened Capitalism and Free Marketeers

Print or PDF. How is society best organized to maximize the happiness of the people? The answer is an intellectually based, empirically proven and emotionally satisfying business operating philosophy that. Free people freely engaging in commerce in free markets – Free Market Capitalism. Act with integrity, honesty and fair dealing, the result is the 6 benefits of Free Market Capitalism: Maximum wealth creation, prosperity and opportunity. The widest distribution of that wealth, prosperity and opportunity. Maximum opportunity for everyone to fulfill their potential. Enough wealth to provide for those who cannot care for themselves, Upward pressure on real wages. This commentary on the Enlightened Capitalist Jean Valjean of LES MISERABLES by Victor Hugo says most eloquently how the Enlightened Capitalist benefits mankind. Enlightened Capitalism is a comprehensive business philosophy that advocates what Victor Hugo’s fictional Jean Valjean did; “Doing well in business, by doing good things for others”. It is essentially a philosophy of enlightened self interest. Directly benefits those who make the business possible, indirectly benefits the community so business can thrive in a stable world. Free Market Capitalism, especially when practiced by Enlightened Capitalists has throughout history provided not only the best, but the only sustainable path to widely dispersed prosperity, opportunity and stability. The mission of capitalism’s greatest advocate, Adam Smith, was not to study the wealth of individuals, but the “Wealth of Nations”. Advocates of Free Market Capitalism too often fail to clearly say that their goal is to help the most people enjoy permanent prosperity. Present the remarkable success enjoyed by Enlightened Capitalists – the Free MarketEErs, Educate the public about Enlightened Capitalism and encourage others to adopt the philosophy, Fund Enlightened Capitalism endeavors in a multitude of ways, and. Advocate political action to create an electoral majority in favor of the policies that will benefit the most people: low tax rates, small government, less regulation and legal reform.

Keywords: [“Enlightened”,”Capitalism”,”Free”]
Source: https://freemarketeers.net

Consumerism and the New Capitalism

For the public at large, the integrating and transformative experiences of culture have been replaced by the collective viewing experience and by participation in consumer trends. The American public has been inundated by an unending parade of commodities and fabricated television spectacles that keeps it preoccupied with the ideals and values of consumerism. Consumerism is the myth that the individual will be gratified and integrated by consuming. The public fetishistically substitutes consumer ideals for the lost acculturating experiences of art, religion and family. The consumer sublimates the desire for cultural fulfillment to the rewards of buying and owning commodities, and substitutes media-manipulated undulations in the public persona for spiritual rebirth. As deceptive advertising and academic nihilism gutted culture of its subjectively realized values, the public was easily swayed onto the path of consumerism. Mass media perpetuates the myth of consumerism as a priority of the New Capitalism. As America settles into its nightly routine of television viewing, corporate profiteers are quick to substitute the lure of material luxury and consumer gratification for the fading spirit. In its duplicitous plot to throttle the public, corporate policy assumes only the self-interested exploitation of the consumer market and environmental resources. More than to simply insure a profit, consumerism is the means by which the New Capitalism maintains control of its buying public. In corporate capitalism the consumer is a target – he is acted upon. In the New Capitalism’s seduction of the television audience, the individuating personality identifies with advertising fantasies and consumer ideals. The affront on human values by mass media advertising has left a well actualized consumer but a poorly individuated personality. While capitalism has been linked to the origin of consciousness, consumerism and advertising deceit have become potential threats to consciousness. The affectiveness of the sociocultural symbol diminishes as its exploitation in the media siphons ineffable content to attract the consumer.

Keywords: [“consumer”,”value”,”consumerism”]
Source: https://www.westland.net/venice/art/cronk/consumer.htm

JR Test Site News for 01-22-2018

The Greatness of Western Civilization

Western culture, claim the intellectuals, is in no way superior to that of African tribalists or Eskimo seal hunters. There are three fundamental respects in which Western culture is objectively the best. These are the core values or core achievements of Western civilization, and what made America great. The Greeks were the first to identify philosophically that knowledge is gained through reason and logic as opposed to mysticism. The rule of reason reached its zenith in the West in the 18th century – the Age of Enlightenment. “For the first time in modern history,” writes one philosopher, “An authentic respect for reason became the mark of an entire culture.” America is a product of the Enlightenment. An indispensable achievement leading to the Enlightenment was the recognition of the concept of individual rights. The individual, said Locke, has an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of his own happiness. The triumph of reason and rights made possible the full development and application of science and technology and ultimately modern industrial society. Reason and rights freed man’s mind from the tyranny of religious dogma and freed man’s productive capacity from the tyranny of state control. The result of the core achievements of Western civilization has been an increase in freedom, wealth, health, comfort, and life expectancy unprecedented in the history of the world. The achievements were greatest in the country where the principles of reason and rights were implemented most consistently – the United States of America. Pro-life cultures acknowledge and respect man’s nature as a rational being who must discover and create the conditions which his survival and happiness require – which means that they advocate reason, rights, freedom, and technological progress. Despite its undeniable triumphs, Western civilization is by no means secure. Its core principles are under attack from every direction – by religious fanatics, by dictators and, most disgracefully, by Western intellectuals, who are denouncing reason in the name of skepticism, rights in the name of special entitlements, and progress in the name of environmentalism.

Keywords: [“reason”,”right”,”core”]
Source: http://capitalismmagazine.com/2004/09/the-greatness-of-western-civilization

“Dark Enlightenment”: The neo-fascist philosophy that underpins both the alt-right and Silicon Valley technophiles

In contrast, the tech elites in Silicon Valley look like a relatively worldly bunch, despite the calls from some quarters of the valley to break away from the plebeian masses of the US. But despite their differences, strands of the two groups share strong links to “Dark Enlightenment,” an obscure neo-fascist philosophy started by a British academic in the 1990s. The primary figure behind Dark Enlightenment is Nick Land, who was a philosophy professor at Warwick University until he quit academia in 1998. Land has never been a typical academic, and that shows in his writing. Land’s writings on in his blog and twitter can read like an alt-right rant, and comment sections on the far-right outlet Breitbart are apt to mention his work. The major proponent of the movement other than Land is software engineer Curtis Yarvin, who blogs as “Mencius Moldbug.” While most Silicon Valley techies are unaware of and uninterested in Dark Enlightenment, there are notable figures and ideas that seem to share intellectual heritage and connections with the movement. Growing Silicon Valley interest in creating a small, separate state is straight out of Land’s writing. Of course, both Silicon Valley and Dark Enlightenment are products of and devotees to internet culture. Noys notes that certain values in Silicon Valley are vaguely sympathetic to Land’s thinking. Land says that, though he expects Dark Enlightenment micro-states to first form on islands, Silicon Valley is “Bound to be involved in the process” as these societies form. The alt right and Silicon Valley are not the only two cliques with ties to Dark Enlightenment thinking. A London gallery, LD50, was shut down amid protests after Land was invited to talk at the gallery, providing a platform for Dark Enlightenment ideas. Land’s theories sound easily dismissible, and Nick Land is still largely unknown, but his neo-fascist ideas are finding niches where they flourish. Land, who has long perceived himself as a visionary, firmly believes that society and government as we know it will break down and his vision for the future will come to pass. “The crack-up is obvious to everyone,” Land writes.

Keywords: [“Land”,”Dark”,”Enlightenment”]
Source: https://qz.com/1007144

Democracy

A study of the relationship between the rise of democratic institutions and the development of other aspects of society may help us better understand and more effectively harness the power of democracy. In the intellectual sphere it gave rise to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, in the field of religion to the Reformation, in economy to the rise of capitalism, in politics to the rise of democracy. The idea of universe human rights and freedoms which we now identify as the essence of democracy was at first cited as a justification for redistribution of power to the commercial class and only much later as a principle for extending rights and privileges to all citizens. The people’s existence was made subordinate to the rights and arbitrary rule of monarchs, feudal lords and priests. A rigid structure of governance, economic activity controlled by feudal lords and thought defined by religion ruled society. The feudal system maintained a delicate balance between the rights and power of feudal lords and those of the central monarch. The rise of city-states undermined the power of rural, land-based feudal kingdoms and created an alternative source of support for the monarch. The shift to a new system of wage payments for agricultural labor not only increased agricultural productivity, but also freed peasants from permanent ties to their feudal rulers. Under the feudal system, ownership of land was the principle source of wealth and power. Their direct power was limited to their own feudal domain or manors. The rise of a money economy, the revival of commerce, the rise of guild and communes, the decline of feudalism and the accumulation of agricultural surpluses provided the basis for economic recovery and significant material progress. Till the 15th century, England was a cluster of counties divided among various feudal lords with a monarch dependent on them for military and financial support. The growth of the nation-state diminished the importance of feudal lords. With the growth of a money economy, the feudal lords found the serf labor less competent than free labor. Many merchants demanded communal freedom of the towns from the feudal lords.

Keywords: [“feudal”,”rise”,”power”]
Source: http://www.icpd.org/democracy/index.htm

JR Test Site News for 01-21-2018

SparkNotes: The Enlightenment: The English Enlightenment

Key People Thomas Hobbes – Pessimistic English political philosopher; argued that man in his natural state is selfish and savage and therefore a single absolute ruler is the best form of government John Locke – Optimistic English political philosopher; argued for man’s essentially good nature; advocated representative government as an ideal form The English Civil War. Seventeenth-century England endured a pair of tense struggles for political power that had a profound impact on the philosophers of the English Enlightenment. The first power struggle came in 1649., when the English Civil War resulted in the execution of King Charles I and the establishment of a commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. The reestablished monarchy had clear limits placed on its absolute power as was made clear in the bloodless Glorious Revolution of 1688., in which the English people overthrew a king they deemed unacceptable and basically chose their next rulers. The English people rallied behind James II’s Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, who led a nonviolent coup that dethroned James II and sent him to France. In the years that followed, an English Bill of Rights was drafted, boosting parliamentary power and personal liberties. The first major figure in the English Enlightenment was the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who began his career as a tutor but branched out to philosophy around the age of thirty. In 1640, fearing that some of his writings had angered England’s parliament, Hobbes fled to Paris, where he penned a substantial body of his work. In Leviathan, Hobbes elaborates on the nature of man and justifies absolutist rule. Hobbes also claims that any group of men who ascend to positions of great power will be prone to abusing it, seeking more power than necessary for the stability of society. An atheist, Hobbes long argued that religion is useful as a propaganda machine for the state, as it is the entity most capable of reminding the ignorant masses of their role and their duties. The rules Hobbes sets forth as to precisely when a citizen may transfer allegiance to a new sovereign are unclear. The greatest criticism of Hobbes focuses on his failure to describe how totally selfish men would be able to create and maintain the covenant of the state. Hobbes avoids the errors inherent in assuming that all human beings are inherently virtuous, but he is hard-pressed to explain how humans would behave in the manner he describes if they are inherently stupid. Hobbes represents the pessimistic side of the Enlightenment and sees progress as the result of the suppression of man’s instincts rather than the granting of freedom to those instincts.

Keywords: [“Hobbes”,”power”,”English”]
Source: http://www.sparknotes.com/history/european/enlightenment/section2.rhtml

The Marxist-Leninist Theory of History

Marx’s own system contains a feature that can only be understood as reflecting the reality of capital. There is already a name for such a scale of value: It is the value of capital, including human capital. Pyramid building is labor intensive production, while automobile building is capital intensive production. Capital intensive production requires skills and knowledge, whose fruits may be effected by the industrial workers, but which may only be conceived and held systematically in the consciousness of the industralist, i.e. the Henry Ford. Even the level of capital development represented by pyramid building, whose products remain marvels of human achievement, is historically credited to one genius, the semi-divine III Dynasty architect Imhotep,. Marx’s denial of the existence and necessity of capital means that his own theory is incoherent, since it denies but does actually contain a scale of value, which we can now recognize as that of capital, to explain improved modes of production, increased productivity, and more technologically and aesthetically sophisticated products. In the end, as the workers were impoverished and the number of capitalists dwindled, the capitalists would end up with no one to sell their goods to and nothing to do with the capital derived from their profits. Labor intensive production gives way to capital intensive production, and greater capital means great productivity, not just in quantity, but in kind. Since British industry was largely involved in building railroads in Marx’s day, he seems to have actually believed that, once the railroads were built, there would be nothing for that workforce, or its capital, to do. Simply a different way of doing things represents new knowledge and new capital. The value of capital can simply evaporate in misconceived investments. Marx’s thesis of the fictional nature of capital is thus equivalent to his lack of imagination regarding what it would be possible for people to do with their capital. No. Since Marx was the kind of person who would never know what to do with capital, he did not believe there was anything to do with it. With surviving employed labor concentrated in large corporate entities, and the capitalists left with nothing to do with their capital and few consumers with the means to purchase capitalist production, the revolution would more or less happen of itself when the system collapsed in a panic of banks and investors. Although nominal wages were falling in the United States from 1865-1897, apparently in line with Marxist expectations, real wages were actually rising, and there didn’t seem to be a problem with over-production or with capital investment.

Keywords: [“Capital”,”Marx”,”production”]
Source: http://friesian.com/marx.htm

JR Test Site News for 01-21-2018

The Enlightened Capitalist

Clearly, the enlightened capitalist press wasn’t particularly keen on showcasing the power basis of accumulation. Scarcely had a day passed from the article’s publication that we got an angry email from an asset manager whom we’ll call ‘Mr. X’. Mr. X is an enlightened capitalist, and reading our piece had set him on fire. Small businesses are being looted and taken over by the government while shortages increase and inflation soars at over 60%. Are capitalists profiting from this crisis? No just corrupt politicians and businessmen that collude with state run enterprises all of whom would never survive in a capitalist economy. Mr. X’s emotional email reflects a broader capitalist anxiety. The leading capitalists and their investment organs are taking over larger and larger chunks of our natural resources, human-made artefacts and collective knowledge; they formulate and steer public policy to their own advantage; and they dominate ideology, education and the mass media. Second, the very power logic of accumulation – the need to strategically sabotage others in order to increase one’s own share of the total – forces capitalists to continue and dig their own graves, so to speak. Now, of course, most capitalists, particularly the smaller ones, are unaware of and certainly won’t admit these power underpinnings of capitalism. For politically correct capitalists with substantial money to invest, Mr. X’s fund offers a carefully hedged, two-pronged strategy: buying and holding do-good companies that profit from saving the planet while shorting firms that harm the environment and governments that misallocate the world’s resources. Now, once upon a time there existed a real, undistorted capitalist system as outlined above. So who are the real capitalists? If you haven’t guessed it by now, real capitalists are those who never accumulate. To be a real capitalist, you have to either lose money or break even with enough income to survive. To see real capitalists in action, you need go to their ‘impact investing’ gatherings, where they deliberate saving the world, capitalist style. The mandate of the ‘ethical fund manager’ is simple: leverage the world’s distortions and imperfections by selling short and buying long future variations of inequality, the ups and downs of expected hunger, anticipated ecological degradation and regeneration and other assorted disasters and triumphs – and do it all in such a way that we, your capitalist clients, end up beating the holy average. The problem is that, according to the enlightened capitalist, we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds, but in one of the worst. So in the end, the only way to beat the big unreal capitalists of the distorted world is to joint them.

Keywords: [“capitalist”,”world”,”power”]
Source: https://dissidentvoice.org/2014/05/the-enlightened-capitalist

On Anarchism, Noam Chomsky interviewed by Tom Lane

Though Chomsky has written a considerable amount about anarchism in the past three decades, people often ask him for a more tangible, detailed vision of social change. His political analysis never fails to instill outrage and anger with the way the world works, but many readers are left uncertain about what exactly Chomsky would do to change it. For Chomsky, those principles arise from the historical trend of thought and action known as anarchism. “In Latin America,” Chomsky says, “I talked about many of these topics, and far more important, learned about them from people who are actually doing things, a good deal of which had an anarchist flavor. Also had a chance to meet with lively and interesting groups of anarchists, from Buenos Aires to Belem at the mouth of the Amazon. But the discussions were much more focused and specific than I often see here; and rightly, I think.” As a brief introduction to some of his thoughts on anarchism, perhaps they may inspire the reader to pursue other writings on the subject, and more importantly, to develop the concept of anarchism through the process of working for a more free and democratic society. No one owns the term “Anarchism.” It is used for a wide range of different currents of thought and action, varying widely. In your opinion, what specific realization of anarchism is appropriate in this epoch? I tend to agree that anarchism is formless and utopian, though hardly more so than the inane doctrines of neoliberalism, Marxism-Leninism, and other ideologies that have appealed to the powerful and their intellectual servants over the years, for reasons that are all too easy to explain. Anarchism, in my view, is an expression of the idea that the burden of proof is always on those who argue that authority and domination are necessary. What sort of conception of human nature is anarchism predicated on? Would people have less incentive to work in an egalitarian society? Would an absence of government allow the strong to dominate the weak? Would democratic decision-making result in excessive conflict, indecision and “Mob rule”? As I understand the term “Anarchism,” it is based on the hope that core elements of human nature include sentiments of solidarity, mutual support, sympathy, concern for others, and so on. Anarchism is sometimes called libertarian socialism – How does it differ from other ideologies that are often associated with socialism, such as Leninism? Many “Anarcho-capitalists” claim that anarchism means the freedom to do what you want with your property and engage in free contract with others. Is capitalism in any way compatible with anarchism as you see it? What are the prospects for realizing anarchism in our society? What steps should we take?

Keywords: [“anarchism”,”anarchist”,”work”]
Source: https://chomsky.info/19961223

JR Test Site News for 01-20-2018

Locke: Government

John Locke’s intellectual curiosity and social activism also led him to consider issues of general public concern in the lively political climate of seventeenth-century England. Locke’s political philosophy found its greatest expression in the , published anonymously during the same year that the Essay appeared under his own name. In the Locke offered a point-by-point critique of Robert Filmer’s , a quasi-religious attempt to show that absolute monarchy is the natural system of human social organization. The develops Locke’s own detailed account of the origin, aims, and structure of any civil government. From the outset, Locke openly declared the remarkable theme of his political theory: in order to preserve the public good, the central function of government must be the protection of private property. Originally, Locke supposed, the earth and everything on it belongs to all of us in common; among perfectly equal inhabitants, all have the same right to make use of whatever they find and can use. Applying these actions to natural objects by mixing our labor with them, Locke argued, provides a clear means for appropriating them as an extension of our own personal property. The same principle of appropriation by the investment of labor can be extended to control over the surface of the earth as well, on Locke’s view. The first instance of social organization, on Locke’s view, is the development of the family, a voluntary association designed to secure the propagation of the human species through successive generations. In practice, Locke supposed that the will expressed by the majority must be accepted as determinative over the conduct of each individual citizen who consents to be governed at all. The structure or form of the government so established is a matter of relatively less importance, on Locke’s view. Since standing laws continue in force long after they have been established, Locke pointed out that the legislative body responsible for deciding what the laws should be need only meet occasionally, but the executive branch of government, responsible for ensuring that the laws are actually obeyed, must be continuous in its operation within the society. Locke’s presumption is that the legislative function of government will be vested in a representative assembly, which naturally retains the supreme power over the commonwealth as a whole: whenever it assembles, the majority of its members speak jointly for everyone in the society. The most likely cause of such a revolution, Locke supposed, would be abuse of power by the government itself: when the society unduly interferes with the property interests of the citizens, they are bound to protect themselves by withdrawing their consent. On Locke’s view the possibility of revolution is a permanent feature of any properly-formed civil society.

Keywords: [“Locke”,”state”,”individual”]
Source: http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/4n.htm

Real-World Economics Review Blog

Clearly, the enlightened capitalist press wasn’t particularly keen on showcasing the power basis of accumulation. Small businesses are being looted and taken over by the government while shortages increase and inflation soars at over 60%. Are capitalists profiting from this crisis? No just corrupt politicians and businessmen that collude with state run enterprises all of whom would never survive in a capitalist economy. The leading capitalists and their investment organs are taking over larger and larger chunks of our natural resources, human-made artefacts and collective knowledge; they formulate and steer public policy to their own advantage; and they dominate ideology, education and the mass media. Second, the very power logic of accumulation – the need to strategically sabotage others in order to increase one’s own share of the total – forces capitalists to continue and dig their own graves, so to speak. Now, of course, most capitalists, particularly the smaller ones, are unaware of and certainly won’t admit these power underpinnings of capitalism. For politically correct capitalists with substantial money to invest, Mr. X’s fund offers a carefully hedged, two-pronged strategy: buying and holding do-good companies that profit from saving the planet while shorting firms that harm the environment and governments that misallocate the world’s resources. Now, once upon a time there existed a real, undistorted capitalist system as outlined above. So who are the real capitalists? If you haven’t guessed it by now, real capitalists are those who never accumulate. To be a real capitalist, you have to either lose money or break even with enough income to survive. Many real capitalists are perfectly happy with a steady state. To see real capitalists in action, you need go to their ‘impact investing’ gatherings, where they deliberate saving the world, capitalist style. The mandate of the ‘ethical fund manager’ is simple: leverage the world’s distortions and imperfections by selling short and buying long future variations of inequality, the ups and downs of expected hunger, anticipated ecological degradation and regeneration and other assorted disasters and triumphs – and do it all in such a way that we, your capitalist clients, end up beating the holy average. The problem is that, according to the enlightened capitalist, we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds, but in one of the worst. So in the end, the only way to beat the big unreal capitalists of the distorted world is to joint them. Why not? Because such a revelation, says the ecological capitalist, would allow corrupt politicians and their crony big businessmen to discredit the no-growth capitalists, thus killing the very chance of ever achieving the homeostatic bliss…. References.

Keywords: [“capitalist”,”world”,”power”]
Source: https://rwer.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/the-enlightened-capitalist

JR Test Site News for 01-20-2018

Adam Smith and “The Wealth Of Nations”

What was the most important document published in 1776? The Declaration of Independence is the easy answer for Americans, but many would argue that Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” had a bigger and more global impact. Smith, a Scottish philosopher by trade, wrote the book to upend the mercantilist system. Smith believed humans ultimately promote public interest through their everyday economic choices. “He generally neither intends to promote the public interest nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention,” states Smith in “An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth Of Nations”. What is the Effect of the Invisible Hand on the Government? The automatic pricing and distribution mechanisms in the economy-which Adam Smith called an “Invisible hand”-interacts directly and indirectly with centralized, top-down planning authorities. The Elements of Prosperity: According to Adam Smith Boiling the principles Smith expressed regarding the invisible hand and other concepts down to essentials, Smith believed that a nation needed the following three elements to bring about universal prosperity. Smith wanted people to practice thrift, hard work, and enlightened self-interest. Extending upon self-interest in trade, Smith saw thrift and savings as important virtues, especially when savings were used to invest. Smith saw the responsibilities of the government being limited to the defense of the nation, universal education, public works, the enforcement of legal rights and the punishment of crime. The third element Smith proposed was a solid currency twinned with free-market principles. With hard currency acting as a check to spending, Smith wanted the government to follow free-market principles by keeping taxes low and allowing free trade across borders by eliminating tariffs. He pointed out that tariffs and other taxes only succeeded in making life more expensive for the people while also stifling industry and trade abroad. Smith’s Theories Overthrow Mercantilism To drive home the damaging nature of tariffs, Smith used the example of making wine in Scotland. Both the opponents of and believers in Adam Smith’s free market capitalism have added to the framework setup in “The Wealth of Nations”. Oddly enough, Adam Smith, the champion of the free market, spent the last years of his life as the Commissioner of Customs, meaning he was responsible for enforcing all the tariffs. Smith overturned the miserly view of mercantilism and gave us a vision of plenty and freedom for all.

Keywords: [“Smith”,”government”,”Invisible”]
Source: https://www.investopedia.com/updates/adam-smith-wealth-of-nations

Taking notes 34: The enlightened capitalist – Philosophers for Change

Clearly, the enlightened capitalist press wasn’t particularly keen on showcasing the power basis of accumulation. Scarcely had a day passed from the article’s publication that we got an angry email from an asset manager whom we’ll call ‘Mr. X’. Mr. X is an enlightened capitalist, and reading our piece had set him on fire. Small businesses are being looted and taken over by the government while shortages increase and inflation soars at over 60%. Are capitalists profiting from this crisis? No just corrupt politicians and businessmen that collude with state run enterprises all of whom would never survive in a capitalist economy. Mr. X’s emotional email reflects a broader capitalist anxiety. The leading capitalists and their investment organs are taking over larger and larger chunks of our natural resources, human-made artefacts and collective knowledge; they formulate and steer public policy to their own advantage; and they dominate ideology, education and the mass media. Now, of course, most capitalists, particularly the smaller ones, are unaware of and certainly won’t admit these power underpinnings of capitalism. For politically correct capitalists with substantial money to invest, Mr. X’s fund offers a carefully hedged, two-pronged strategy: buying and holding do-good companies that profit from saving the planet while shorting firms that harm the environment and governments that misallocate the world’s resources. Now, once upon a time there existed a real, undistorted capitalist system as outlined above. So who are the real capitalists? If you haven’t guessed it by now, real capitalists are those who never accumulate. To be a real capitalist, you have to either lose money or break even with enough income to survive. To see real capitalists in action, you need go to their ‘impact investing’ gatherings, where they deliberate saving the world, capitalist style. The mandate of the ‘ethical fund manager’ is simple: leverage the world’s distortions and imperfections by selling short and buying long future variations of inequality, the ups and downs of expected hunger, anticipated ecological degradation and regeneration and other assorted disasters and triumphs – and do it all in such a way that we, your capitalist clients, end up beating the holy average. The problem is that, according to the enlightened capitalist, we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds, but in one of the worst. So in the end, the only way to beat the big unreal capitalists of the distorted world is to joint them. Why not? Because such a revelation, says the ecological capitalist, would allow corrupt politicians and their crony big businessmen to discredit the no-growth capitalists, thus killing the very chance of ever achieving the homeostatic bliss…. References.

Keywords: [“capitalist”,”world”,”power”]
Source: https://philosophersforchange.org/2014/05/06/taking-notes-34-the…