Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ category

Pithy Quotes from Thomas Sowell

February 13, 2020

Thomas Sowell crams so much insight into so few words better than any author I have ever read. I always loved his “Random Thought” articles when he was writing his weekly column. I found out he has a twitter page. He posts what I would call random thoughts on it. Here are some pithy quotes from his twitter page (click here)

 

This is one of my favorites.  “Envy was once considered to be one of the seven deadly sins before it became one of the most admired virtues under its new name, “social justice.”

 

“What do you call it when someone takes someone else’s money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else’s money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social Justice.”

 

“The political left has never understood that, if you give the government enough power to create “social justice,” you have given it enough power to create despotism. Millions of people around the world have paid with their lives for overlooking that simple fact.”

 

“One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain.”

 

“You can see the agenda behind the rhetoric when profits are called “unconscionable” but taxes never are, even when taxes take more than half of what someone has earned, or add much more to the prices we have to pay than profits do.”

 

“The left’s vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends. In the United States, however, this vision conflicts with a Constitution that begins, “We the People…”

 

Related Articles:

Final Random Thoughts From Thomas Sowell, at austrianaddict. com.

Thomas Sowell’s Random Thoughts, at austrianaddict.com.

Random Thoughts By Thomas Sowell, at austrianaddict.com.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

December 25, 2019

Some Christmas Music

Christmas memories from my childhood are always brought back through music. Here are some Christmas songs that bring back good feelings.

 

A Christmas Song – Nat King Cole

O Holy Night – Jennifer Hudson

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley & Martina McBride

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams

 

Lindsey Sterling: What Child Is This

Let It Snow – Dean Martin

Martina McBride – White Christmas.

Same Old Land Syne – Dan Fogelberg

 

 

THE ECONOMICS OF CHRISTMAS.

How Economics Can Ruin Christmas, In A Good Way, By Art Carden, at aier.org.

Excerpt from the article:

“Some time ago, I resigned myself to the fact that economists are the wet blankets of the world. We can ruin almost any proposal and almost any situation with just a couple of analytical tools and the words “unintended consequences.” Rent control….. Minimum wages…… Laws against “price gouging…….the list of dreams that have been dashed upon the rocks of the principles of economics is long indeed.”

Not content to ruin the dreams of a few idealists, economists turned their attention to Christmas a few years ago. Here are a few thoughts from the Dismal Science that rain on the holiday parade.”

” You shouldn’t have. No, Really. You Shouldn’t have. The classic salvo in the literature on the economics of Christmas is Joel Waldfogel’s “The Deadweight Loss of Christmas,” which provides a bit of evidence that people would be happier if you gave them cash instead of an equally-expensive present.  Yes, it’s the thought that counts, but how many of us have given (or gotten) gifts that have ended up in an end-of-year Goodwill donation or a Spring yard sale?”

“The spectacular wealth we enjoy today has created the epitome of a first-world problem: over-gifting. It used to be that giving a gift required a meaningful material sacrifice. Today, baubles are so cheap that our problem isn’t a lack of generosity. It’s poorly-channeled generosity. You have probably heard people joke that kids are usually more interested in the boxes the toys come in than the toys themselves”

“If we’re honest with ourselves, we will see some of the ways in which Christmas lays bare our hypocrisy. You’ve probably heard someone say “don’t give until it hurts; give until it feels good,” and again, I think that if we’re really honest with ourselves a lot of our charitable endeavors have less to do helping the least of these among us than with showing that we’re the kind of people who care about the least of these among us. I’ve written before that “let not your left hand know what your right is doing” is not merely a sound Biblical injunction regarding our giving. It’s also excellent economics. If you haven’t read about people anonymously paying off others’ layaway accounts at Kmarts around the country, it’s an excellent example of what I’m talking about.”

“As a mentor has told me, economics shows us that it is very difficult to be charitable in ways that actually benefit the people we’re trying to help. Some people might find this sad–dismal, even. I actually think it’s kind of liberating because it suggests that–at the risk of being dramatic–a better world is possible. A new paradigm for charity and justice will require a lot of thinking outside the donation box. With Christmas 2019 and a brand new year right around the corner, it’s a challenge I look forward to meeting head-on.”

 

SATIRICAL HEADLINE

Santa Claus Accused Of Quid Pro Quo For Giving Children Gifts In Exchange For Good Behavior, at babylonbee.com.

Apollo 11 Moon Landing – 50th Anniversary

July 17, 2019

 

London, UK - November 15th 2018: The badge of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, pictured over the flag of the United States of America.

I was twelve and a half years old when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. I was captivated by NASA’s (and our countries) quest to land a man on the moon. For a kid it was everything you dreamed of. It was an adventure to the edge of the unknown. There were great risks. And the astronauts were larger than life.

I don’t remember much about Project Mercury. But I remember getting interested in the space program during Project Gemini. I put together a model of the the Gemini space capsule. I watched and read as much as I could about all the Gemini missions.

Logo for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

My interest was at it’s highest during the Apollo program. I put together models of the Saturn V rocket, the command module, and the lunar module. My brother and I went to the nearby park to get sand and used it to make a topographic moonscape of Apollo 11’s landing area on the ping pong table in our basement. (The local news paper printed a topographic map of the landing area on the front page). We did this for all the Apollo moon missions.

When Apollo 8 telecast live video (click here) of the Earth as they circled the moon on Christmas eve 1968, it revealed to me the reality of a moon landing that the men of NASA were attempting. It was amazing to see.

 

Every time I look at some of the videos of the space program it takes me back to that time. I feel the same emotions as I did when I saw it happen the first time.

Here are a few videos about Apollo 11 and NASA. The difficulty and the risk of attempting a moon landing is very clear in these videos. Today we in America are so risk averse, I doubt if we would ever try something this daring again.

 

FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION (click here) is a video about the whole space program from Project Mercury through the Apollo Program. This might be the best documentary about NASA that I have seen.

 

THE JOURNEYS OF APOLLO (click here)  is about the Apollo project. This is outstanding.

 

LAUNCH OF APOLLO 11 (CBS COVERAGE) (click here). Watch how slowly the Saturn V lifts off the launching pad. How does it not tip over?

 

APOLLO 11 LANDING FROM PDI TO TOUCHDOWN (click here). This is a great video. It explains the Power Decent Initiative in the first 1:30 of the video. It then shows the Apollo 11 lunar landing (with explanations) from the window of the Lunar Module. It also has the audio of Armstrong, Aldrin and mission control. This is awesome!

 

APOLLO 11 FIRST STEPS ON THE MOON (click here). This is a video of Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. This video is taken from the window of the LM.

 

APOLLO 11 LUNAR LIFTOFF (click here). This video shows the LM lifting off from the moon. It is a video (plus audio) taken from the window of the LM.

 

If you want to see what the liftoff from the moon looks like from the ground, watch this video (click here) of Apollo 17 (the last moon landing in 1972) taking off from the moon. The video is taken from a camera mounted on the Lunar Rover. (This is not Apollo 11. This is Apollo 17 taking off from the lunar surface)

 

THE SATURN V ROCKET STORY (click here): One of the most incredible achievements of the Apollo project was the Saturn V rocket. If the Saturn V had not worked, the rest didn’t matter. There was no moon landing without this marvel of engineering.

 

These videos, and others that I’ve watched, take me back to a great period in my life. If you are old enough to remember when this happened I hope you enjoy these videos. If you are young, you probably won’t know what a slide rule is. But ask yourself; How did they do this without modern day technology? Amazing!

 

July 4th – Individual Freedom vs. Government Tyranny

July 4, 2019

Statue of Liberty on the background of flag usa, sunrise and fireworks

I reread the fourth chapter in Thomas Sowell’s book, “The Quest for Cosmic Justice”, every 4th of July. It is a must read. The fourth chapter is titled “The Quiet Repeal of the American Revolution”. I wish what he states about the difference between the American Revolution and all other revolutions was understood by all Americans. Here are some excerpts from this chapter.

“The war for American independence was not simply a landmark event in the history of the United States. It was a landmark in the history of the world – and especially a landmark in the history of the evolution of free and democratic societies. It’s international significance was symbolized by France’s donation of the Statue of Liberty to the Unites States on the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and by the creation of a facsimile of this state in China, more than a century after that, by protesters vainly seeking to create a free and democratic government in that country”

 

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION IS SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHERS

“The American revolution was in some ways the most far-reaching of all the great revolutions in history. Other revolutions may have had more sweeping rhetoric, or greater extremes of violence and terror, or more categorical claims of change. They may even have had more radical changes of personnel, as in the change from czarist to Communist rulers in Moscow, while replacing one form of autocratic despotism with another and more bloody from.”

“The French Revolution of the succeeding decade used similar rhetoric, and was supported by such prominent figures in the American Revolution as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, but nevertheless the French Revolution was grounded on entirely different assumptions and of course took a different path all to characteristic of later revolutions that began with lofty ideals and ended with new and more ruthless despotism.”

  “The American Revolution, however, went further in rejecting a basic conception of man and society that goes back thousands of years, and which is still with us today…people with the most diverse philosophic persuasions have proceeded as if what was needed was to replace false doctrines with true doctrines and false leaders with true leaders – the heathens with the faithful, capitalists with socialists, royalty with republicans, and so on. But, unlike the French revolution and the Bolshevik revolution, for example, the American revolution and its resulting constitution established was not simply a particular system but a process of changing systems, practices, and leaders, together with a method of constraining whoever or whatever was ascendant at any given time…. it gave to the common man a voice, a veto, elbow room, and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of his “betters”….. it was seen by others in the world at large as a landmark in the general struggle for human freedom. That is why it must be opposed by those with more ambitious visions (even if they do not consciously feel any animosity against constitutional freedoms) because, on issue after issue, those freedoms stand between the morally self-anointed and the realization of dreams which have overwhelming importance to them. Some of these dreams revolve around the quest for cosmic justice, in which constitutional constraints may be seen as technicalities to be finessed. Other dreams may be about personal ambitions that can be fulfilled only in a very different kind of society from that established by the Constitution… Ego and ideals are of course not mutually exclusive but may readily exist in the same individual, who may even mistake the former from the latter.”

America was based on the idea that the individual was sovereign. Our founders knew that Government power had to be restrained or else it would be used arbitrarily by politicians and bureaucrats who were in position to wield it. Our Government was established to protect the individual and his property from aggression by these individuals.

In this chapter Sowell quotes a little known speech by Abraham Lincoln given in 1838 (read here) a mere sixty two years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln fears the dangers to our freedom would not come from foreign enemies, but from internal threats.

“If and when the fundamental principles and structure of American government should fall under attack, “men of sufficient talent and ambition will not be wanting to seize the opportunity” and “strike a blow” against free government.”

“What is particularly significant about Lincoln’s warning is that is was based on the vision of what human beings are like and especially what talented and ambitions leaders are like. To Lincoln, the historic achievement of American society in establishing a new form of government in the world was in jeopardy from later elites precisely because that achievement was already history:”

“Lincoln said: The field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And , when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question is, can the gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot.”

“While the ambitions of some might be satisfied with “a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair,” Lincoln said, “such belong not to the family of the lion or the tribe of the eagle.”

“Lincoln added: “What! Think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon? – Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. – It sees not distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible. it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen.”

Lincoln thought safeguarding those institutions would require a public sufficiently united, sufficiently attached to freedom, and sufficiently wise, “to successfully frustrate his designs.

We are not just talking about a single person with a tyrannical idea. We are also talking about a tyrannical idea which has many people with political power who want to implement this tyranny.

 

OUR HISTORY OF LIBERTY IS FADING

But for me here is the part of Lincoln’s speech that really hit me. He is talking about how the spirit of “76” will fade as time passes.

Lincoln said: “I do not mean to say, that the scenes of the revolution are not or ever will be entirely forgotten; but that like every thing else, they must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and more dim by the lapse of time. In history, we hope, they will be read of, and recounted, so long as the bible shall be read; but even granting that they will, their influence cannot be what it heretofore has been. even then, they cannot be so universally known, nor so vividly felt, as they were by the generation just gone to rest. At the close of that struggle, nearly every adult male had been a participator in some of its scenes. The consequence was, that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a father, a son or brother, a living history was to be found in every family – a history bearing the indubitable testimonies of its own authenticity, in the limbs mangled, in the scars of woulds received, in the midst of the very scenes related – a history, too, that could be read and understood alike by all, the wise and the ignorant, the learned and the unlearned. – But those histories are gone. they can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but, what invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done: the leveling of its walls. They are gone. – They were a forest of giant oaks: but the all-resistless hurricane had swept over them, and left only, here and there, a lonely trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage; unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few gentle breezes, and to combat with its mutilated limbs, a few more ruder storms, then to sink, and be no more.

“They were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence. Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws:…

“Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Today Ocasio Cortez and the rest of Americas socialist insurgents have a great deal of passion but no sober logic and reason. The side that is supposed to be for individual freedom and liberty has lost its passion. But more importantly it has lost the ability to supply the sober reason necessary to combat the passion of the socialist insurgents in our midst.

The party of Lincoln, the Republicans, are supposed to be the party of small government. But very few Republican politicians can articulate why freedom is superior to government central planning aka tyranny. So most have neither passion or reason. That’s a bad combination.

Will our side become passionate enough to learn the sober reasoning for freedom and liberty before the passion of the socialist insurgents win the day? Only the passage of time will answer that question.

 

THE CASE FOR FREEDOM

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (read here) was our statement of freedom form British tyranny. This document is talking about today as much as it was appropriate in its time. On July 4th, Independence Day, take some time to read the Declaration of Independence. Then tell me it isn’t speaking about the present. This document applies to the past, the present and the future.

 

 

PAUL HARVEY; OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES, OUR SACRED HONOR.

 

 

RAY CHARLES – AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

This brings a tear to my eye every time.

 

 

Related Article: July 4th 2018: Independence Day, at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article: July 4th: What Does Independence Day Mean? at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article: July 4th – Our Choice: Liberty or Tyranny, at austrianaddict.com.

 

 

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Kodi Lee Sings, ‘A Song For You’, AGT Audition

June 3, 2019

Taste in music is subjective, not objective. Many things can influence what we like and don’t like. I love the song this young man is singing. So will I biased to like him automatically, or will I judge him more harshly because I have listened to so many covers of this song and my expectations are high?

First I want you to listen to him sing without the back story. Drag this timeline to 2:30 and stop at 4:15. Do you think he is good? Do you like the song? Did that move you? Then watch the video from the beginning. Did you have a different reaction?

A Song For You’ by Kodi Lee (view here)

 

When I get a chance I watch some of these shows because I like to be surprised by some of the talented people who audition. I also like to see who the judges and the voters think is good and who I think is good. I’m not a fan of the back stories because I think these should be judged on talent alone and not tainted by a sympathy vote.

Without the back story, Kodi Lee is really good. This is one of the best covers of this song I’ve heard. The best part is he didn’t over sing it. This song stands on its own. It is bigger than the singer. When the singer tries to be bigger than this song they usually fail.

 

Listen to some other artists sing this song. Some are live versions and some are studio versions. Which do you like if any? Do you even like the song?

Leon Russell wrote this song. (view here).

This is OK.

Donny Hathaway (view here)

A lot of people think this is the best version of this song.

Ray Charles (view here)

I think Ray Charles sings this song the best.

Karen Carpenter (view here)

This is a great version of this song. Karen Carpenter has a great voice and she doesn’t over sing it.

Christina Aguilera Feat. Herbie Hancock (view here)

I think Christina Aguilera has an incredible voice. And I’m a huge fan of Herbie Hancock. But I don’t like this version because she over sings it and he over plays it.

Always remember value and taste are subjective.

 

Some Christmas Music

December 25, 2018

 

I hope these songs bring back some good memories. Songs sung by classic singers like Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, and Elvis Presley. As well as Martina McBride, Jennifer Hudson, Michael Buble, Kelly Rowland, and Dan Fogelberg. Enjoy.

The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole

O Holy Night -Jennifer Hudson

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley & Martina McBride

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams

Let It Snow – Dean Martin

White Christmas – Michael Buble & Kelly Rowland

Same Old Lang Syne – Dan Fogelberg

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Thanksgiving

November 22, 2018
https://image.shutterstock.com/image-vector/pilgrim-praying-over-thanksgiving-feast-450w-485069371.jpgTHE FIRST THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION by GEORGE WASHINGTON

[New York, 3 October 1789]

“By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.”

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.”

“and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.”

“Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.”

Go: Washington

 

 

BE THANKFUL OUR COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON FREE ENTERPRISE

THE ORIGINAL THANKSGIVING STORY

CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF AMERICAN FREE ENTERPRISE, by Richard Ebeling, at mises.org.

We have written in the past about the failure of the collective sharing experiment tried by the Pilgrims who came to the New World on the Mayflower. Here are some excerpts from the article:

“The Plymouth Colony was planned as a collectivist utopia. In the New World, they wanted to erect a New Jerusalem that would not only be religiously devout, but be built on a new foundation of communal sharing and social altruism. Their goal was the communism of Plato’s Republic, in which all would work and share in common, knowing neither private property nor self-interested acquisitiveness.”

“What resulted is recorded in the diary of Governor William Bradford, the head of the colony. The colonists collectively cleared and worked the land, but they brought forth neither the bountiful harvest they hoped for, nor did it create a spirit of shared and cheerful brotherhood.”

“The less industrious members of the colony came late to their work in the fields, and were slow and easy in their labors. Knowing that they and their families were to receive an equal share of whatever the group produced, they saw little reason to be more diligent in their efforts. The harder working among the colonists became resentful that their efforts would be redistributed to the more malingering members of the colony. Soon they, too, were coming late to work and were less energetic in the fields. Collective work equaled individual resentment.”

“Because of the disincentives and resentments that spread among the population, crops were sparse and the rationed equal shares from the collective harvest were not enough to ward off starvation and death. Two years of communism in practice had left alive only a fraction of the original number of the Plymouth colonists.”

“Realizing that another season like those that had just passed would mean the extinction of the entire community, the elders of the colony decided to try something radically different: the introduction of private property rights and the right of the individual families to keep the fruits of their own labor.”

“The Plymouth Colony experienced a great bounty of food. Private ownership meant that there was now a close link between work and reward. Industry became the order of the day as the men and women in each family went to the fields on their separate private farms…….Hard experience had taught the Plymouth colonists the fallacy and error in the ideas that since the time of the ancient Greeks had promised paradise through collectivism rather than individualism.”

“In the wilderness of the New World, the Plymouth Pilgrims had progressed from the false dream of communism to the sound realism of capitalism. At a time of economic uncertainty and growing political paternalism, it is worthwhile recalling this beginning of the American experiment and experience with economic freedom.”

If our country had been founded as a socialist collective state, you and I may not be alive today. A growing population can only be supported by a certain level of production. And socialist economic planning can’t produce as much as a free market system.