Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Aristotle’

TGIF: Free Markets and the Pursuit of Happiness

Posted by M. C. on April 29, 2023

For Aristotle, the path to happiness in the sense of the good life is to live according to one’s nature as a rational/social being. Reason is in the driver’s seat in individual and social matters. This suggests a society based on individualism, persuasion, and trade rather than collectivism, force, and domination. (The Greek philosophers’ politics, however, left much to be desired.) The virtues we associate with the ancient Greeks — such as justice, prudence, moderation, and courage — described this way of living intelligently.

by Sheldon Richman


For some time now I’ve thought that many people’s antagonism to the market is motivated not by moral or economic objections but by aesthetic criteria. (I discuss this in What Social Animals Owe to Each Other and here.)

By that I mean they simply find market relations — involving private property, contracts, profit, competition, and “impersonal forces” such as supply and demand — unattractive, even ugly. They wish society had nothing to do with such relations, which they (mistakenly) believe have displaced the cozy cooperation and communalism that marked an earlier golden age. They long to return to the beautiful but lost Garden of Eden, where markets don’t exist and people can be human again. They make just two errors. First, they misunderstand the market. For example, competition and cooperation go together. And second, the longed-for Eden never existed. Before human beings transformed the earth, nature was a cruel master. People weren’t always so nice either.

The aesthetic rejection of markets could explain why we libertarians have made little progress in persuading people that crony capitalism is significantly different from the free market. The people who find markets ugly don’t care whether businesses get favors from the government or not. That’s not what matters to them.

Something underlies this revulsion at the market and the freedom it entails: self-interest, or what the critics would call selfishness. It’s also been called the pursuit of happiness. (Of course, Ayn Rand, who held that the pursuit of self-interest is entirely proper embraced the word selfishness at least for the shock value. See her book The Virtue of Selfishness.) The aesthetic rejection of markets may rest on an aesthetic reaction to self-interest. The line between ethics and aesthetics can be blurry.

See the rest here

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Humanity as it Exists Today Is Facing Extinction – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 6, 2022

By Gary D. Barnett

“The tyrant, who in order to hold his power, suppresses every superiority, does away with good men, forbids education and light, controls every movement of the citizens and, keeping them under a perpetual servitude, wants them to grow accustomed to baseness and cowardice, has his spies everywhere to listen to what is said in the meetings, and spreads dissension and calumny among the citizens and impoverishes them, is obliged to make war in order to keep his subjects occupied and impose on them permanent need of a chief.”

~ Aristotle

What Aristotle understood about tyrants and the weakness and pathetic nature of man over 2,400 years ago, still holds true today. What this means is that with all that time passed, all that history, all the benefit of the great thinker’s minds over thousands of years, modern ‘education,’ modern technology, and every opportunity for a human awakening, the common man has not advanced intellectually, nor has he succeeded concerning any quest to affirm his own freedom. Reality suggests, in fact, that humanity has not actually progressed at all, but has descended deeper into a state of chaotic ignorance.

Considering this long term habituated state of being, how then can any critical thinking individual expect humanity as a whole to suddenly change during this current totalitarian onslaught against individual freedom? Throughout history, some countries and some parts of the world, were under more brutal and tyrannical rule than others, but some collective freedom did always exist briefly in certain societies. This always led to a ‘hope’ that the possibility of liberty was just around the corner, or at least attainable to those willing to fight for it. This of course was never assured or achieved because the populations of these less-abused societies were never willing to face the truth, or to take full responsibility or risk for their own well-being. Real freedom can never exist so long as governments continue to rule over others, regardless of what governing structure is in place, but the perception that freedom remained attainable for the crowd was kept alive. Was this by design?

The major difference today is that this attempted fascist and communistic takeover is a total global effort, so virtually every country on earth is under siege by evil governing forces and those who control them. In other words, there is a concerted effort by the so-called master class, to assure a global takeover of humanity, thereby stifling any and all thought of individual thought and freedom among the collective masses. There is only one sanctuary in a world such as this, and that sanctuary can only exist in the intellectually mature psyche and souls of free-thinking independent individuals. If the few can rule the many, why then cannot the billions defeat the ruling cabal attempting to destroy humanity as it exists today? The threat of human destruction should have been recognized by most all as inevitable long ago considering all historical accounts of totalitarian aggression, not to just those few who have had the courage to face the truth.

War has been used for thousands of years to subdue and control the masses, all in the name of safety. The threat of war will continue to be an arrow in the quiver of the ruling monsters, just as is being witnessed today with the aggressive posturing by the U.S against Russia, China, and much of the rest of the world. But conventional war has ceased to be the first tool of tyranny, as now the bogus threat of non-existent ‘viruses’ and plagues, created division, and purposely stoked hatred have become the ‘modern’ methods of warfare. Modern war is no longer war against far away imagined enemies using guns and bullets under the guise of nationalism, but war directed specifically against the domestic populations on a global scale. This tactic not only allows for total control over societies, but also allows for mass murder by the state of its own citizenry, which is democide. One of the most state desired benefits of this atrocious approach to killing, is that it allows the rulers to target specific individuals or groups that are falsely made out to be a threat to government and the public. All those said to be out of favor with the ruling class are said to be a danger to the status quo, causing at the same time due to unending propaganda, the frightened general population to support aggression toward those brave enough to stand against the state.

The very people that could save humanity will be the targeted classes. This will include truthtellers, whistleblowers, dissenters, courageous anti-vaxxers, freedom advocates, honest protesters against the state, and all others not willing to be obedient fools and lay down and bow to heinous false authority. These are the saviors of mankind, but will be said to be the enemy of the people, when in fact they are the defenders of freedom and the enemy of tyranny.

The plan of the non-human claimed ‘elites’ and their minions in government is to depopulate this earth, murder those willing to defend themselves and others against this totalitarian takeover called “The Great Reset,’ monopolize all monetary systems and create a global digitized system in order to gain control of all money and property, alter the human genome so as to create a fully controllable cyborg society under technocratic management; all under the dishonest auspices of safety and protecting the earth from fake manmade climate change. This can be done with injectable bioweapons falsely called ‘vaccines,’ and other invasive techniques as well, but so far has mostly been accomplished by fully voluntary cooperation by the pathetic masses.

What is to come of modern man? Human problems, fears, lack of courage and conviction, desire to escape responsibility, indifference, and reliance on others instead of self, have caused not only a lessening of intellect, but also have exposed the underbelly of the miserable modern human animal. The four most evident characteristics of modern man are weakness, ignorance, dependency, and fear, and all of these traits can lead only to an empty life of servitude.

But I’m just kidding. Continue as you do, take no responsibility for self, hope and wish for better times, hide in the shadows, never put down your phone, watch only mainstream news, turn in your neighbors that do not comply with state orders, show your papers wherever you go, wear your masks, get your ‘Covid’ injection and every booster, and sing the national anthem loudly. Your “new normal” will be here before you know it!

“If you are too weak to give yourselves your own law, then a tyrant shall lay his yoke upon you and say: “Obey! Clench your teeth and obey!” And all good and evil shall be drowned in obedience to him.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Gary D. Barnett [send him mail] is a retired investment professional that has been writing about freedom and liberty matters, politics, and history for two decades. He is against all war and aggression, and against the state. He recently finished a collaboration with former U.S. Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, and was a contributor to her new book, “When China Sneezes” From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Political-Economic Crisis.” Currently, he lives in Montana with his wife and son. Visit his website.

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~ Aristotle

Posted by M. C. on January 6, 2022

“The tyrant, who in order to hold his power, suppresses every superiority, does away with good men, forbids education and light, controls every movement of the citizens and, keeping them under a perpetual servitude, wants them to grow accustomed to baseness and cowardice, has his spies everywhere to listen to what is said in the meetings, and spreads dissension and calumny among the citizens and impoverishes them, is obliged to make war in order to keep his subjects occupied and impose on them permanent need of a chief.”

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TGIF: Replace Your Divots | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on May 24, 2020


I am not, nor have I ever been, a golfer. I did golf once, just before the turn of the century, and I disliked it. Nevertheless, I live by a cardinal principle in golfer etiquette: Replace your divots.

A divot, of course, is a chunk of turf that is dislodged by a golf shot, leaving a hole on the course. Golfer etiquette requires that you should put the divot back in the hole if that’s possible. This is a common-sense act of consideration for other golfers because a ball in a hole is hard to hit.

We can readily see that Replace your divots is simply an application of the principle Be considerate of others. And that’s another way of saying, Respect others. You can easily find many appropriate applications of the principle in everyday life.

We can go a step further. If Replace your divots is a worthy principle, then Avoid creating divots in the first place if you can is a worthy corollary. Off the golf course, avoid creating divots would include covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze and cough even when you’re not in the middle of a serious pandemic.

We might be tempted to place this principle within rights theory. For example, the owner of the golf course probably has a rule, a term of use, that you must replace your divots. As a contractual matter, then, you are obligated to do so. Failure to comply is to violate the terms of your contract and hence a violation of the rights of the property owner. This reasoning is also used to show why falsely shouting fire in a theater is wrong.

I have no beef with that take, but there’s more to the story because even if it were not a violation of someone’s contractual rights, it would still be wrong to ignore your divots or falsely shout fire when it could endanger people. (You may shout fire, however, in a crowded online chat room. Context matters.)

Can this moral point be proved? Well, yes, in the sense that Aristotle thought ethics could be validated. Whenever we act we aim at an ultimate good: happiness, the good life, flourishing — call it what you will. We can’t help it because the idea of an ultimate end is baked into the very notion of action, which is the means that gets you there. (Sounds like praxeology, doesn’t it?) “Every art and every kind of inquiry, and likewise every act and purpose, seems to aim at some good: and so it has been well said that the good is that at which everything aims,” Aristotle wrote to launch his Nicomachean Ethics. “If then in what we do there be some end which we wish for on its own account, choosing all the others as means to this, but not every end without exception as a means to something else (for so we should go on ad infinitum, and desire would be left void and objectless),—this evidently will be the good or the best of all things.”

What plausibly (or intuitively) appears to advance flourishing you may reasonably presume to be good. But such presumptions are in principle defeatible by evidence or by a clash with other well-founded moral principles. A Socratic inquiry would uncover such conflicts.

In the Aristotelian and Spinozan sense, the flourishing of rational social animals — that’s us — is advanced by, among other things, reason-based relationships with other people (that is, no force, no injustice). I’m better off surrounded by people who live by reason (even if only by semi-conscious habit) than by irrational people. So I want to encourage other people to be rational, which in part means dealing with them on the basis of reason and respect. QED.

For more, I recommend Roderick T. Long’s important monograph Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand and my “What Social Animals Owe to Each Other.”

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Of Two Minds – Grab-Bag Resolutions 2020

Posted by M. C. on January 2, 2020

Charles Hugh Smith

A grab-bag of resolutions from the occasionally-controlled chaos of life.

Since “We are what we repeatedly do” (attributed to Aristotle), i.e. we are what we do every day, resolutions have little consequence until they become daily habits. With that in mind, here’s a grab-bag of resolutions I want to manifest in 2020:

1. Mourn what is lost but celebrate what remains.

2. Learn from the past but look to the future.

3. Get rid of something every week that I no longer use/am unlikely to use.

4. Don’t wait for someone else to clean up a mess; clean it up myself.

5. Make my own five-year plan; lay out what I need to learn and invest to reach these goals.

6. Forgive others, and myself.

7. Get stronger, not meaner.

8. Create more, ask for less.

9. Grow more food/lavish more care on my gardens and fruit trees…

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