Posts Tagged Ayn Rand

Why the John Galt strategy won’t work

a fictional character made up by a terrible person
Image by sushiesque via Flickr

The Mogambo Guru (TMG, as he phrase it) is a regular contributor to Bonner and Wigginson’s “The Daily Reckoning” and in a recent piece he explains why the John Galt strategy won’t work, and at the same time, why Michelle Malkin‘s strategy won’t work, either:

Dr. Helen Smith, who is a Tennessee forensic psychologist and political blogger … “dubbed the phenomenon ‘Going Galt’ last fall” which is “a reference to the famed Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged, in which protagonist John Galt leads the entrepreneurial class to cease productive activities in order to starve the government of revenue.” [Ms Malkin] apparently is not interested in guns, and sums up the situation of “Going Galt” as being that “There’s only one monkey wrench that can stop the redistributionist thieves’ engine. It’s engraved with the word: Enough.”

Ayn Rand came up with this “don’t work and starve the government of revenue” idea for the fictional John Galt in her novel Atlas Shrugged, which was written in 1957 when the dollar was still more-or-less linked to gold and thus the money supply was constant.

Back then, the only place that the government could get money was to borrow it from those who had saved their money, whereas today the poor old dollar is just a piece of fiat currency or computer-embedded digital crap that the Federal Reserve can create more of anytime it wants, whether or not anybody ever saves any! Hahaha!

So, if you think that the federal government needs your stupid tax money or that you can hurt them by working less, then I laugh – Hahahaha! – at the very concept! The Fed can, literally, create unlimited amounts of credit in the banks, which becomes unlimited amounts of money, with which to buy unlimited amounts of Treasury debt so that the government can spend unlimited more amounts of money than it collects in taxes!

And the only thing you can do about it, because the amount of corruption is always at its maximum at the end of long monetary booms, is to save yourself and get rich by buying gold, which is a bet against government and their stupidity, and which is the only sure-fire, can’t miss bet you will ever have in this cold, cruel world.

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Literacy vs digital literacy = fundamental vs derivative?

A fellow blogger and teacher of history in the UK, Doug Belshaw, is working on his Ed.D. and his thesis is on digital literacy. I’m sceptical about “digital literacy” being touted as some completely new kind of animal, unrelated to “literacy”, and after groping for the right words, found better ones written by Ayn Rand. Here’s the comments I posted on his website:

I’m still not convinced this hunt for the ultimate definition of “literacy” isn’t a giant red herring. Perhaps “literacy” meant being able to read and write, but even in those pre-digital days, critical thinking and the ability to make connections and understand cultural references were all considered important, even if they weren’t given an umbrella name like “literacy”. Those skills are still important in the digital age; the digital age hasn’t made them any more or less important, I would argue. I’d agree that “writing” means something new with the advent of web-publishing for everyone thanks to Blogger, WordPress, etc.: when you have the option to add media and links, it matters whether you use this or not.

On a slightly different tack, Stokes writes In education’s continuing mission of meeting the needs of learners: Gatto would argue that never was compulsory schooling’s mission. And skills that may have been appropriate for the medieval clerk, are giving way to skills of analysis and innovation that are considered desirable in today’s modern cultures “Considered desirable”… by whom? “Proficiency with words and numbers is insufficient “. Insufficient… for whom? Who decides? Literacy is not a natural phenomenon, but man-made. It’s important to examine the values that underpin literacy, in order to make up our minds whether those values are our own, or did we absorb them uncritically?

My favourite philosopher at the moment, Ayn Rand, has exactly the words I was groping for to express my uneasiness with “digital literacy”: “all human knowledge has a hierarchical structure… [we must] learn to distinguish the fundamental from the derivative.” Is digital literacy a fundamental, or a derivative? And what are the consequences of learning/teaching a derivative while ignoring the fundamental? To whose benefit is it to push a derivative before a fundamental? Or even, to push a derivative AS IF IT WAS a fundamental? The quote comes from Ch 2 “Philosophical Detection” (I think) in her book “Philosophy: Who Needs It?” Here’s a link to Rule of Fundamentality entry in the Ayn Rand Lexicon…
Search for the book on Google books, then search for “fundamental” and “derivative” (the excerpts they give you are severely limited. If you can, get the book).

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