The God of the Machine - Tranche 51

Posted by mshupe 7 months, 3 weeks ago to Economics
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Chapter XXIII, Excerpt 2 of 2
The Dynamic Economy of the Future

When a country has a formal political organization, taxation is already authorized; the channel is there to divert from production into government expenditure. The theory that everyone votes does not take into account the nature of physical force. This is what happens in democracy; it releases force in such manner that there can be no control . . . such energy can be turned directly against the voter. His only safety is to retain for himself a ground on which he may resist firmly . . . land he owns himself.

The theory of “historic necessity,” on which collectivist argument relies, has no support in fact or principle. It is an infallible formula for disaster. Faith in the benevolent omnipotence of government is pure superstition, an aggregate residue of all the “magical” practices of primitive man. If the debt is not paid, the threat of war is the only recourse. A completely “planned” economy . . . a slave economy, can take high power machinery, running it with diminishing returns for a limited time, into a war.

Since discoveries occur only when men secure liberty by restraint of the political power, the moral order is clear. Progress is always possible, but it depends on the unpredictable use of intelligence. Man is not deterministic; there can be no set order of his discoveries. Everything can be done for a living future if men take the long view by which the long circuit of energy is created. Whoever is fortunate enough to be an American citizen came into the greatest inheritance man has ever enjoyed.


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  • Posted by VetteGuy 7 months, 3 weeks ago
    Thank you for this series of posts. I know it took a good bit of time to try to distill this book into 51 posts. I have kept up throughout, and read along in the book. I have not always commented because you or others have already highlighted the points that I found interesting. But I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your taking the lead on this "book club". As I've said before, this is exactly the kind of discussion I envision Galt, D'Anconia, Midas, and others having over a glass of Akston's wine in AR's Gulch. This has truly been a "Galt's Gulch" experience! Thanks again!
    VG
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    • Posted by 7 months, 3 weeks ago
      That is very high praise VG, thank you! I added the series to this forum as an afterthought, and thanks to you and a couple of others, it has had the most engagement. As Midas said to Dagny after crash landing in Mulligan's Valley, "well done." As you said, it's been a 17 week "book club," and I don't know if anything quite like this has been ever done before: 1) condense a work of nonfiction on economics, history, and philosophy written in laymen's terms, 2) a book with universal ideas and implications, 3) maintain a good chunk of the original's efficacy and elegance, and 4) relate passages to scenes in a world changing novel written by different author. This will be tough to follow, but it's been an awesome experience.
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  • Posted by j_IR1776wg 7 months, 3 weeks ago
    To summarize TGOTM properly would take a book longer than the original. The intelligence exhibited in every line of her book ought to place it at the top of the list for anyone wanting to understand the relationship between governments, the natural phenomenon of energy, and production and trade of goods by free men.

    I’ll begin with a Thomas Jefferson Letter to William Ludlow, September 6, 1824. That reads in part;

    ” I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have ... The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases. The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”

    Unfortunately, Government has become the legalized version of criminality. And for me, Isabel Paterson is screamingly correct that the physical reason is the Federal government siphoning off energy from the productive and diverting it into money-losing pipe-dreams, to their own pockets (thievery), and grounding it into the Earth. Indeed, the essence of government of whatever stripe is to take and divert the energy of those who produce. From above “…too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious…” which is why the Founders are considered geniuses. They not only recognized why the people in government had to be limited in their control over the lives of their fellow citizens, they invented a way to implement the limitations viz. the Constitution.

    Another factor has to be considered. I believe it was Ayn Rand who developed the concept of Consciousness before Existence. Indeed, it is those who believe that their thoughts create reality, whose whims are more real to them than the evidence of their senses, who are in charge and leading the way back to the past - to the days of living in caves.
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    • Posted by 7 months, 3 weeks ago
      Great except from Jefferson's letter, thank you, entirely appropriate here! In the last paragraph, should that read Existence before Consciousness? She was an adamant proponent of the primacy of existence. She also believed one had to study the nature of consciousness and knowledge (epistemology) before one could comprehend the nature of existence.
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      • Posted by j_IR1776wg 7 months, 3 weeks ago
        "Existence before Consciousness?" Yes you are correct as to Ayn Rand. I believe it is the people who believe the opposite (Consciousness before Existence) who are in charge of our institutions i.e. government, education, legal, and some industries which is why the state of the State is declining toward the world of the Primitive.
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  • Posted by 7 months, 3 weeks ago
    From the concluding paragraph of this series:
    "Since discoveries occur only when men secure liberty by restraint of the political power, the moral order is clear." The mind cannot be forced to think actively; it can be forced to cease thinking. Government is force. The moral order is rational self-interest.

    "Man is not deterministic; there can be no set order of his discoveries." Free will is real and causal. Central economic planning is futile and destructive.

    "Everything can be done for a living future if men take the long view by which the long circuit of energy is created." Political liberty triggers concept formation triggers complex integrations triggers specialization triggers money creation - the root of all good.

    "Whoever is fortunate enough to be an American citizen came into the greatest inheritance man has ever enjoyed." Americanism is heroic because every individual has heroic potential. It takes lifelong effort. Pride is moral ambition.
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