Archive for September, 2010

An essay by Ayn Rand

I stumbled across this website where the blogger had managed to find an “out of print” copy of Ayn Rand’s first  essay which appeared in print, in Readers Digest in 1944, and thought it well worth repeating here.

If you haven’t heard of Ayn Rand, a Russian who emigrated to the USA, her history makes interesting reading om Wikipedia. However, her life story is rather sad at the end.

Pam (my wife) has just read her mammoth work of fiction Atlas Shrugged, over a thousand pages, which she borrowed from the library. On the strength of her interest and absorption in the book, I am just about to buy the Kindle version to read when travelling on the underground.

Without further ado, here is her essay.

The Only Path to Tomorrow
by Ayn Rand

The greatest threat to mankind and civilization is the spread of the totalitarian philosophy. Its best ally is not the devotion of its followers but the confusion of its enemies. To fight it, we must understand it.

Totalitarianism is collectivism. Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group – whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.”

Throughout history no tyrant ever rose to power except on the claim of representing “the common good.” Napoleon “served the common good” of France. Hitler is “serving the common good” of Germany. Horrors which no man would dare consider for his own selfish sake are perpetrated with a clear conscience by “altruists” who justify themselves by – the common good.

No tyrant has ever lasted long by force of arms alone. Men have been enslaved primarily by spiritual weapons. And the greatest of these is the collectivist doctrine that the supremacy of the state over the individual constitutes the common good. No dictator could rise if men held as a sacred faith the conviction that they have inalienable rights of which they cannot be deprived for any cause whatsoever, by any man whatsoever, neither by evildoer nor supposed benefactor.

This is the basic tenet of individualism, as opposed to collectivism. Individualism holds that man is an independent entity with an inalienable right to the pursuit of his own happiness in a society where men deal with one another as equals.

The American system is founded on individualism. If it is to survive, we must understand the principles of individualism and hold them as our standard in any public question, in every issue we face. We must have a positive credo, a clear, consistent faith.

We must learn to reject as total evil the conception that the common good is served by the abolition of individual rights. General happiness cannot be created out of general suffering and self-immolation. The only happy society is one of happy individuals. One cannot have a healthy forest made up of rotten trees.

The power of society must always be limited by the basic, inalienable rights of the individual.

The right of liberty means man’s right to individual action, individual initiative and individual property. Without the right to private property no independent action is possible.

The right to the pursuit of happiness means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own, private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement. Each individual is the sole and final judge in this choice. A man’s happiness cannot be prescribed to him by another man or by any number of other men.

These rights are the unconditional, personal, private, individual possession of every man, granted to him by the fact of his birth and requiring no other sanction. Such was the conception of the founders of our country, who placed individual rights above any and all collective claims. Society can be only a traffic policeman in the intercourse of men with one another.

From the beginning of history, two antagonists have stood face to face, two opposite types of men: the Active and the Passive. The Active Man is the producer, the creator, the originator, the individualist. His basic need is independence – in order to think and work. He neither needs nor seeks power over other men – nor can he be made to work under any form of compulsion. Every type of good work – from laying bricks to writing a symphony – is done by the Active Man. Degrees of human ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man’s independence and initiative determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man.

The Passive Man is found on every level of society, in mansions and in slums, and his identification mark is his dread of independence. He is a parasite who expects to be taken care of by others, who wishes to be given directives, to obey, to submit, to be regulated, to be told. He welcomes collectivism, which eliminates any chance that he might have to think or act on his own initiative.

When a society is based on the needs of the Passive Man it destroys the Active; but when the Active is destroyed, the passive can no longer be cared for. When a society is based on the needs of the Active Man, he carries the Passive ones along on his energy and raises them as he rises, as the whole society rises. This has been the pattern of all human progress.

Some humanitarians demand a collective state because of their pity for the incompetent or Passive Man. For his sake they wish to harness the Active. But the Active Man cannot function in harness. And once he is destroyed, the destruction of the Passive Man follows automatically. So if pity is the humanitarians’ first consideration, then in the name of pity, if nothing else, they should leave the Active Man free to function, in order to help the Passive. There is no other way to help him in the long run.

The history of mankind is the history of the struggle between the Active Man and the Passive, between the individual and the collective. The countries which have produced the happiest men, the highest standards of living and the greatest cultural advances have been the countries where the power of the collective – of the government, of the state – was limited and the individual was given freedom of independent action. As examples: The rise of Rome, with its conception of law based on a citizen’s rights, over the collectivist barbarism of its time. The rise of England, with a system of government based on the Magna Carta, over collectivist, totalitarian Spain. The rise of the United States to a degree of achievement unequaled in history – by grace of the individual freedom and independence which our Constitution gave each citizen against the collective.

While men are still pondering upon the causes of the rise and fall of civilizations, every page of history cries to us that there is but one source of progress: Individual Man in independent action. Collectivism is the ancient principle of savagery. A savage’s whole existence is ruled by the leaders of the tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

We are now facing a choice: to go forward or to go back.

Collectivism is not the “New Order of Tomorrow.” It is the order of a very dark yesterday. But there is a New Order of Tomorrow. It belongs to Individual Man – the only creator of any tomorrows humanity has ever been granted.

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Why are Socialists against Grammar Schools

This list is taken from the following blog.

These are some, not all, of the Labour MPs who went exclusively to grammer schools. They do not include all those who went to private schools.

  • Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington)
  • Nick Ainger (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire)
  • Graham Allen (Nottingham North)
  • David Anderson (Blaydon)
  • Janet Anderson (Rossendale and Darwen)
  • Hilary Armstrong (North West Durham)
  • Charlotte Atkins (Staffordshire Moorlands)
  • John Austin (Erith and Thamesmead)
  • Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West)
  • Vera Baird (Redcar)
  • Margaret Beckett (Derby South)
  • Stuart Bell (Middlesbrough)
  • Roger Berry (Kingswood)
  • Liz Blackman (Erewash)
  • Hazel Blears (Salford)
  • David Borrow (South Ribble)
  • Karen Buck (Regent’s Park and Kensington North)
  • Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield)
  • Colin Burgon (Elmet)
  • Alan Campbell (Tynemouth)
  • Martin Caton (Gower)
  • Colin Challen (Morley and Rothwell)
  • Ben Chapman (Wirral South)
  • David Chaytor (Bury North)
  • Paul Clark (Gillingham)
  • Vernon Coaker (Gedling)
  • Ann Coffey (Stockport)
  • Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire)
  • Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)
  • David Crausby (Bolton North East)
  • Tony Cunningham (Workington)
  • Janet Dean (Burton)
  • Andrew Dismore (Hendon)
  • Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras)
  • Jeffrey Ennis (Barnsley East and Mexborough)
  • Bill Etherington (Sunderland North)
  • Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
  • Frank Field (Birkenhead)
  • Michael Foster (Hastings and Rye)
  • Hywel Francis (Aberavon)
  • Bruce George (Walsall South)
  • Neil Gerrard (Walthamstow)
  • Mark Hendrick (Preston)
  • John Heppell (Nottingham East)
  • Stephen Hesford (Wirral West)
  • Patricia Hewitt (Leicester West)
  • Keith Hill (Streatham)
  • Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
  • Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)
  • Kim Howells (Pontypridd)
  • Beverley Hughes (Stretford and Urmston)
  • John Hutton (Barrow and Furness)
  • Eric Illsley (Barnsley Central)
  • Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Highgate)
  • Alan Johnson (Hull West and Hessle)
  • Diana Johnson (Hull North)
  • Martyn Jones (Clwyd South)
  • Gerald Kaufman (Manchester Gorton)
  • Barbara Keeley (Worsley)
  • Alan Keen (Feltham and Heston)
  • Stephen Ladyman (South Thanet)
  • Tony Lloyd (Manchester Central)
  • Andrew MacKinlay (Thurrock)
  • Christine McCafferty (Calder Valley)
  • Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Portsmouth North)
  • John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington)
  • Tony McNulty (Harrow East)
  • Alun Michael (Cardiff South and Penarth)
  • Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby)
  • Madeleine Moon (Bridgend)
  • Kali Mountford (Colne Valley)
  • Denis Murphy (Wansbeck)
  • Edward O’Hara (Knowsley South)
  • James Plaskitt (Warwick and Leamington)
  • Greg Pope (Hyndburn)
  • Stephen Pound (Ealing North)
  • Joan Ruddock (Lewisham Deptford)
  • Christine Russell (City of Chester)
  • Martin Salter (Reading West)
  • Alison Seabeck (Plymouth Devonport)
  • Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)
  • Siôn Simon (Birmingham Erdington)
  • Alan Simpson (Nottingham South)
  • Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
  • Andrew Smith (Oxford East)
  • John Smith (Vale of Glamorgan)
  • Peter Soulsby (Leicester South)
  • Helen Southworth (Warrington South)
  • Jack Straw (Blackburn)
  • Gerry Sutcliffe (Bradford South)
  • David Taylor (North West Leicestershire)
  • Stephen Timms (East Ham)
  • Paddy Tipping (Sherwood)
  • Jon Trickett (Hemsworth)
  • Des Turner (Brighton Kemptown)
  • Neil Turner (Wigan)
  • Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North)
  • Alan Whitehead (Southampton Test)
  • Alan Williams (Swansea West)
  • Mike Wood (Batley and Spen)
  • Phil Woolas (Oldham East and Saddleworth)
  • Tony Wright (Cannock Chase)
  • Derek Wyatt (Sittingbourne and Sheppey)

I guess grammar schools are OK if a politician has gone to one, but it is not acceptable if the hoi polloi go.

Ampers

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Do we have a left-wing Media?

Put it this way, look at the following and imagine the outcry if the Tories published this as a poster?

Ed Miliband Oy Vey

A reconstruction of an official Labour poster shown below

Should any Labour supporter stumble upon my blog (Heaven Forbid, for their sake) there is a precedent for this which was started by the socialists.

And if any Jew is upset by this, I sincerely apologise, but I am making a point and the point has nothing to do with your religion. It will become clear further below.

The last and, I think, the only Jewish leader of a political party was Michael Howard of whom, Anne Widdecombe said “there is something of the night about him“. Some people think Disraeli was a Jewish leader and Prime Minister but this is not true, he was a Christian, having converted at around the age of thirteen.

Anyway, here is the original socialist poster which was not commented upon by the left-wing media.

Michael Howard Oy Vey

The original official Labour poster.

Exercise for today:

If the first poster of Ed Millipede was published by the Tory Party, what sort of reaction would we expect to see by the media, especially the BBC?

Ampers

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The Coalition Government 2010 style

Before I come up with some ideas, I would like to state my true feelings on this subject. I would like to see the UK Parliament reduced to one MP per county and their job, and the job of the Civil service, restricted to the Foreign Office handling our overseas commitments including the Army. Perhaps a small tax to pay for this. I would like to see local government work restricted to roads and the police, perhaps another small tax to pay for this. Everything else I would like to see run locally by the people living in the area. That would help the economy by millions of reduced journeys every day.

However, I am a realist and know the return to Libertarianism is a non-starter so here are my thoughts on what I would like to see happen.

First of all I would like to see the same size criteria applied for Corporates, SME (small and medium size business) and SoHo and that is, Soho up to 20 employees. SMEs from 20 to 500 employees and Corporates over 500 employees. At present there are several organisations using different criteria for each of these sectors and we need to standardise.

Then I would like to see a merger tax on all corporates and also on SMEs if their merger results in them becoming a corporate body. This would be £1,000 for each employee reduction during the first five years up to 10% of the workforce. Then £5,000 for the next 10% and then £10,000 after that. (A reduction where 100 employees are shed, and 25 employees are hired would count as 75.) This would halt the spread of multi-nations and home corporates. I would like to see no NI contributions for SoHo companies for the first five years of business. Also, for the same period, I would like to see VAT registration as voluntary, and no corporation tax at all for the first ten years providing 50% of the net profits are ploughed back into the company for each of these ten years.

I would like corporation tax reduced for Soho companies for each year they record net growth after that.

The future for Britain is for new (and successful) SoHo companies, these are the ones who create jobs. I haven’t thought too much about SMEs at present so we can leave them alone!

I also think that leasehold property in the residential sector is very unsocial so I would like to make the following changes to long-term leasehold – this doesn’t apply to short-term leases of six months or a year. If you purchased leasehold property and, when you purchased it, the leasehold contract was initially for 99 years or above – no matter how long it had to run when you purchased it – then the property should revert to you for the cost of fees providing they are reasonable. Say £250 plus cost of stamp duty or registration fees at the Land Registry. Original leasehold residential property where the original lease was under 99 years, then a sliding scale between £1,000 and £10,000 could apply.

There, at a stroke I have improved the employment situation and expanded home ownership throughout the UK.

Tomorrow I will conquer the world!

Ampers

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Rights and expectations from the State

Here is an excellent post by Old Holborn which I felt deserved a wider audience, a link to his website is below.

Rights and Expectations

from Old Holborn by Old Holborn
A socialist slave farm

One of the great tricks of the Soviets to keep their peoples enslaved was offer them jobs for life, housing for life, free education and standard medical care for life. All in exchange for their complete and utter obedience. Rock the boat and you’d suddenly find that University place for your child vanished. Criticise the regime and your job would never advance above steaming open envelopes. Question authority and bang went your papers that allowed you to visit a beach.

We’ve seen a serious attempt over the last 13 years by Labour to create an identical “client” state whereby the motto “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” has seen millions working for the State (some rewarded very handsomely indeed for their party loyalty), millions on benefits, millions receiving handouts, millions dependent on a “benevolent Regime” borrowing money from our grandchildren to secure votes for a party that saw the biggest erosion in individual freedom since the storming of the Winter Palace.

Even the Soviets, who had literally everything to lose finally decided that freedom was more important to them than any promise not to starve and some free coal, threw off the shackles of the Politburo and decided to take their chances with freedom, no matter where that lead. For most, it has proved an excellent choice. No more waiting 15 years and licking the Party’s arse for the chance to own a car. No more begging for the right to travel freely. Simply study and work and take the best paid job you can find.

Above the squeals from the socialists this morning, I discover that “mortgage interest” to the unemployed is to be cut from 6% to just under 4% and there is uproar. This is not social housing. This is housing that citizens have decided to purchase in the hope of making capital gains and retiring to a villa in Benidorm. And we’re paying for it, yet again. Never mind the scandal of “right to buy” which saw the feckless rewarded with hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayer funded council house selling windfalls, enabling the South of Spain to become the new home to millions who would otherwise be facing the consequences of not bothering to work at school, piss their wages up the wall every week and spend 16 hours a day watching Jeremy Kyle.

Owning a property is not a human right. It is what you achieve by applying yourself, taking responsibility for your actions, making sacrifices and being ambitious to better yourself and take control of your finances and your life. Why the hell do the unemployed have the right for the taxpayer to fund their property ambitions? Will we share in the capital gains when it’s time to sell up and cash in? Will we hell. After a life of whizzing around on a mobility scooter and claiming every benefit known to man, they’ll be off to a well earned “retirement” using the capital acquired by the taxpayer being forced to fund their property empire.

“If we don’t, it’ll create homeless people” the socialists scream. Yes, it will. One more reason to pay attention at school, learn a trade or a skill and save a bit of money instead of buying 42″ TVs and big bore exhausts. One more reason to limit your reproduction until YOU can actually afford it. One more reason not to shack up with the first Somali asylum seeker who asks you in broken English if you want “jiggy jiggy. Get council flat, innit”. One more reason to build a stable family that you can rely on in hard times.

It may be your expectation thanks to 13 years of bankrupting Labour socialist hell that someone else will always pick up the bill for your actions but it is a long way from being your right. Get used to it. There’s going to lots more screaming before this spoilt baby is weaned from the tit of the State. If we want a small state and small government then we will have to learn to prise our hands out of it’s all powerful grip. All of us

Old Holborn

You can read the comments from his actual blog website, and Old Holborns home page has a wealth of interesting articles.

Ampers

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You don’t need a degree

This is addressed at alarmed parents and frustrated teenagers who worry about a University place in these trying times.

A visit to this website will show you that nine of the richest people in this world never went to University and the combined wealth of eight of them total over US$130 billion dollars. (The wealth of one of them, although in billions cannot be verified.)

Naturally only the very talented few make it to those dizzy hights but stories abound of how entrepreneurs make a very comfortable living.

The students who will go on to do well in life, even if they miss out on a University place, will be those who spent their school years soaking up the knowledge as they went along. In other words a dilligent school leaver has the ability to make good once they learn how the wicked world works.  Go out there, do anything to get work. If there really isn’t much, do something to help your local community whilst you are looking as a future employer will be more impressed with “Helping the local community doing xxx” rather than plain “unemployed” as this shows gumption and get-up-and-go.

When the Open University first started it was seen as a joke but nowadays employers look upon it as much more important than most standard degrees. It shows diligence and dedication, traits which will be an asset in any company. Especially as it takes six years at 10 hours a week. This is not for everyone, especially for the hedonistic. Go for it.

And for those who have decided that they want fun whilst they can enjoy it, the writer is over seventy and still has a most enjoyable life because he can afford it, because he concentrated on earning when he was young, and has had fifty years of enjoyment rather than just a few years at the beginning.

It’s up to you, you pays yer money and you takes yer choices…

Ampers.

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Why are they all screaming?

A look at this blog giving the official figures of the cuts show that, in fact, they are extremely small.

So why are the left, including their army, the Unions, and their propaganda machine, the BBC, yelling “disaster” at the top of their voices?

They are right, in a way, to yell disaster as the cuts – as you will see from the above link – are nowhere near sufficient.

The real reason is nothing to do with the cuts, but the coalition’s alleged plans to roll back the State, thus undoing all the work of Labour since the war, aided and abetted I have to say, by the Conservatives of the past.

Ampers

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