The Moral Individual is about ideas for those rare indivdiuals who think for themselves. H.L. Mencken said, "My guess is that well over 80 percent of the human race goes through life without having a single original thought."|
There is no agenda here, no program to support, and nothing to join; there are only ideas about politics, philosophy, religion, psychology, freedom, independence, individualism, humor, living successfully, living freely, living happily, love, history, and the world; take them or leave them.
Freedom and Individualism Notes: Practical Freedom
|By, "practical freedom," I mean identifying what it is you want to do and achieving the conditions in which you are free do it. Freedom means being able to do whatever you choose to do without the interference of any other individuals or human agencies, including government. If you are able to do whatever you choose, you are free.
Fugitive From Asteron: A Review
|Fugitive From Asteron is Gen LaGreca's third published novel, but the first that she wrote. I've been looking forward to it since I had an opportunity to see a very early draft. It has been worth the wait.|
"A science fiction adventure story for young adults and the forever young," she describes it, but it is much more than that. It is a grand picture of two opposites: a world of totalitarian oppression versus a world of individual freedom.
Freedom and Individualism Notes: Harry Browne's Freedom Principles
|Harry Browne defines freedom as living your life as you want to live it. He claims that you can enjoy a high degree of freedom right now. He indicates that:|
Hoping to be free, many people engage in continual social combat—joining movements, urging political action, writing letters to editors and Congressmen, trying to educate people. They hope that someday it will all prove to have been worthwhile.
Freedom and Individualism Notes: About Freedom
|Sometimes the nature of property is included in the concept of freedom, because property represents the product of one's chosen work and effort. The principle is: one's freedom to produce and keep the product of one's effort is as necessary to one's life as freedom itself. If one is unable to keep what one has produced, one is not free. The principle is correct, but is subsumed in the definition of freedom itself, since keeping and preserving ones property are both actions one must be free to perform.
Freedom and Individualism Notes: What Is Freedom?
|I was recently criticized for not accepting Ayn Rand's definition of freedom. The criticism is correct. I do not accept Ayn Rand's definition of freedom, and neither does anyone else, because she never provided one.
Freedom and Individualism Notes: Principles
|Principles describe or explain aspects of reality that are universal and absolute. Universal means they are true in all cases where the principles apply. Absolute means they are invariable and not contingent on anything else.
Freedom and Individualism Notes: Individualists
|Freedom is only possible for independent individualists. Whatever others mean by freedom, true freedom pertains only to individuals, there is no such thing as "collective freedom," and only the independent are truly free—dependence is the opposite of freedom.
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Teams
|The "team" concept is ubiquitous in business, education, politics, and most organizations. It's supposed purpose is to facilitate cooperation between individuals for the achievement of some common purpose or goal.|
Is there anyone who does not believe this idea and does not repeat it themselves? It sounds so good. If we all just work together as a team, we can achieve anything.
Freedom and Individualism Notes: Only For Individualists
|If it is truly freedom you want, then an individualist you must be. I am not, however trying to encourage anyone to be an individualist if that is not their own choosing. I do not, in fact, believe it is possible to make someone who is not an individualist become one, or even want to.
|"Everybody knows smoking is harmful to your health." Here's the problem with what everyone knows. It's almost always wrong. It is almost a principle that if everybody, or almost everybody, believes something it is probably not true.|
Freedom and Individualism Notes: Individual Freedom
|Those who believe that freedom or liberty is theirs, just because they were born, might like to ask themselves sometime, why they have a right to anything they have not produced or earned by their own effort. They do not have to ask that question of course, and I'm not encouraging them to, it's only a suggestion.
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Organizations
|"Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn't done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence." [Ayn Rand, "For the New Intellectual—The Fountainhead," "The Soul Of An Individualist"]|
Most people believe the opposite of this. They believe human virtue and value are determined in some collective sense, by what one has, "contributed to society," or what they mean to other people, or by what they are associated with. There is in most people a belief they must be associated with something to have any real value or purpose, and this belief becomes an emotional need to, "belong." There a many specific reasons why people join organizations but the overwhelming one is the "need" to be accepted and recognized.
Conversations With Raymond: Art And Culture
|I thought I heard a motorcycle and it sounded like it stopped just outside. In a few minutes Julie ushered Christy into the kitchen. She was beaming as usual.|
"Ray's running a little late," she said while removing her leather jacket and draping on the back of one of the chairs. "He said to apologize for him, but I won't," she laughed while giving me her customary hug.
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Government
|The purpose of these articles is to demonstrate that most of the things most people believe are not true, that they not only believe them but take them for granted as unquestionable facts. The necessity of government is one of those things people take for granted.|
Why Do Most People Believe What Is Not True?
|I think the most quoted words about, "rights," at least in The United States, are these from The Declaration of Independence:|
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
While I've heard these words hundreds of times, I've never heard the words, "How did Thomas Jefferson know that?"
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Penal Law
|Penal law is sometimes called criminal law, which is law that defines both what constitutes crime and the penalties or punishments that pertain to particular crimes, and how they are to be prosecuted. This chapter is only about laws pertaining to the punishment or prosecution of crime.|
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True:
Real Law Versus Man-Made Law
|Real Law which I've also referred to as the "laws of reality" are the principles that describe the nature of reality. Those principles determine what an individual must do and how one must live to live successfully and happily in this world.|
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Natural Laws
|Most people have never heard of the concept of 'natural law,' and are apt to confuse it with what are called 'the laws of nature.' The difference is very important.|
The laws of nature are principles determined by the nature of reality itself and include all scientific principle, such as those of physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine. They also include those principles that are determined by the nature of things such as life, consciousness, and the human mind. It is because these laws are determined by reality that I call them the laws of reality.
Conversations With Raymond: What's Important
|The last time Ray and Christy came for lunch, we had been discussing art. I had asked Christy if she thought art was important which she declined to answer because she thought the real question was, "what is important?"|
We had agreed to continue our discussion the next saturday, but I knew the following Wednesday was a holiday, so I invited them both for breakfast. They arrived at 9:00.
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Laws
|The word law is a bit ambiguous because it is used to identify two very different things. It is sometimes used to mean principles, especially the principles of science. It is not this use of the word law that is of interest here.|
All other laws are the inventions of human beings. Most man-made laws are government laws, but there are others coming from religion or other ideologies.
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Patriotism
|Most Americans identify themselves as patriotic Americans. They may not use the same word, but almost all people in whatever country they were born and raised identify themselves as patriotic, whether patriotic Greeks, or Thais, or Russians, or Koreans. (Perhaps not if they were born in North Korea, although publicly they better not admit it.)|
Conversations With Raymond: Art
|Our discussion had been a continuation of our discussion of beauty which turned to the subject of art. It was Christy who had brought it up actually. At was at that time that we adjourned from the kitchen to the dining room where Julie had set the table for lunch. I had prearranged the seating so that Ray and Christy would be seated next to each other with Christy next to the corner at the head of the table where I sat. I did not even try to hide the fact that I was in love with her. You may not understand that, but Ray should have.|
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Duty And Honor
|Both "duty" and "honor" have good and important meanings. This fact makes the way both these word are usually used very deceiving and very dangerous. I will explain the true meanings first.|
The True Meanings of Duty and Honor
Duty means an obligation. If one has a duty to do something, it means they are morally obligated to do it. The only moral obligations one has to others is to never interfere in anyone else's life and keep all of ones promises. There are no other "social" moral obligations. There is one other thing a person is obligated to do if they choose to live happily and successfully in this world and that is to be the best possible human being they can be in all things, physically, intellectually, and morally. There are no other human duties and every attempt to saddle anyone with any other supposed duty is a form of oppression.
Honor implies honesty, but it actually means that aspect of human nature that requires honesty. Honesty does not mean never lying, it means never attempting to fake reality and never attempting to gain anything: wealth, position, or reputation, by means of intentional deception or evasion of the truth. It is immoral to be dishonest with others, but the greatest harm dishonesty does is to one's own conscious awareness that one who is dishonest is a cheat and a fake who has violated that unforgiving sense of honor that produces an inescapable sense of guilt.
|I have no use for Islam, the most backward of all religions. It keeps its adherents in abject ignorance, oppresses its women, rejects all advanced cultural achievements, and is characterized by followers who do horrible things in its name.|
Does that mean that all Muslims are evil? No, there are Muslims that are probably not a threat to anyone, because they are bad Muslims, Muslims who do not follow the teachings of Islam very well. It is the good Muslims that are evil, because they have completely submitted themselves to Islam's laws and teachings.
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Justice
|Justice is the relationship between one's choices and actions and the consequences of those choices and actions. The consequences of one's actions are always just so long as those consequences do not involve any interference by other human beings. I will call this, "real justice," because when there is no human interference, reality alone determines the consequences of one's actions. Reality penalizes all wrong acts and rewards all right ones. Right acts are those that conform to the nature of reality. Wrong acts are those in defiance of the nature of reality.|
Almost all popular views of what justice means are contradictions of real justice. All political justice not only contradicts real justice but defies it.
Conversations With Raymond: Beauty Again
|Julie brought me the phone and said it was Mr. LePage, whom you know as Raymond, or Ray.|
"Hi Ray. What's up?" Raymond almost never calls me unless he wants something.
"Sorry to bother you, Regi. I promised Christy I'd find out when we can have another talk. I was wondering ...."
I didn't give him time to finish. "All you had to say was that Christy wanted to see me, Ray. She can come any time she chooses, uninvited. She can even drag you along if she chooses. How about Saturday, or today if she likes," I teased.
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Rights
| Everyone knows everyone has rights, but no one can say exactly what rights are. The founders of the United States described rights as something humans are endowed with by God: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." [Declaration of Independence]|
There are many in the United States who truly believe rights are actually provided by God, that without God there would be no rights, and that to deny rights is essentially a denial of the God that gave them.
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True
|"The majority of men prefer delusion to truth. It soothes. It is easy to grasp. Above all, it fits more snugly than the truth into a universe of false appearances—of complex and irrational phenomena, defectively grasped." [H.L. Mencken, The Anti-Christ]|
"The average man never really thinks from end to end of his life. The mental activity of such people is only a mouthing of cliches. What they mistake for thought is simply a repetition of what they have heard. My guess is that well over 80 percent of the human race goes through life without having a single original thought." [H.L. Mencken, Minority Report]
I might have entitled this article, "collectivism," except that collectivism is sometimes used to describe a particular political view. What I want to emphasize is the way all individuals regard others which is either a collectivist view or an individualist view.|
Islam Never Has To Be Taken Seriously
|It is absolutely true that most Muslims are not terrorists, and most do not support terrorism. It is also true that those Muslims who do not support terrorism are bad Muslims. The Koran teaches that a good Muslim must kill all non-Muslims that refuse to become Muslims or at least submit to Muslim law (Sharia).|
No More Philosophy
|There will be no more explicit philosophy on The Moral Individual site: first because Ayn Rand said, "Never Take Any Of It Seriously," and, second, because H.L. Mencken explained why no one is interested in it. Of course Ayn Rand never meant philosophy itself was not to be taken seriously, but that whoever understands true philosophy never has to take anything else seriously.
| Here's a lie: "The politically correct crowd just got a great American novel banned."|
It is a New York Post headline. The truth would not have had the same emotional impact. The whole article is an attempt, not to convince people by means of reason, but by appeal to their feelings.
Conversations With Raymond: Beauty
|Ray and Christy arrived a little earlier than I expected, because Ray has a tendency to just barely meet schedules. It was Christy who had made sure they were on time.|
"Hope we're not too early," Ray said as they strolled out to the terrace.
"More like on time, for a change," I said.
Not Just Idiots, but Blithering Idiots
|H.L. Mencken said: "So long as there are men in the world, 99 percent of them will be idiots...." [Letter to Upton Sinclair, 14 Oct (17), The New Mencken Letters , edited by Carl Bode, p.76]|
When one of these idiots goes to a university and gets a degree he doesn't recover from his idiocy, he becomes, instead, a blithering idiot, often one that writes political columns.
As evidence I present the recent Huffington Post article written by their Washington Bureau Chief, Ryan Grim, "Dear Islamophobes: Your Racism Is Putting Us All In Danger."
|Many Internet sites supposedly dedicated to the principles of individualism, individual freedom, and even certain related philosophical principles, have devolved into blogs; mostly with links to stories about all the horrible things the government or the police are doing while the continuous worldwide Muslim atrocities pretty much miss their notice, strangely enough.
Conversations With Raymond: Be Prepared
|Ray called earlier in the week and asked if he could bring Christy with him for our Sunday lunch which we had previously scheduled. They arrived about eleven thirty.
What Is "It?"
| What is the "it" that must never be taken seriously?
If you have read the article, "Never Take Any Of It Seriously," you may have the impression that it is only politics that never has to be taken seriously. It is actually much more than that.
Conversations With Raymond: Love and Atheism
|Raymond knows I work during the week, and unless I've invited him, he seldom shows up on his own except on weekends. I knew something must be up when he came around early Wednesday morning. I was still having breakfast and asked him if he'd like some. When he said no, I knew it was serious.
Conversations With Raymond: Who Ray Is
|I've written about some of these conversations before. Those conversations did not explain much about Raymond or my relationship with him. Since I intend to record more of our conversations I thought it best to explain a little more about how they came about.
Some Free Individuals
|For many years I've been convinced that no freedom movement will ever be successful but that freedom is possible to anyone who is willing to seek it. Freedom, in fact, is only possible to individuals who free themselves.
Richard Reiben Obituary
|Richard died of heart-related problems while visiting one of his most-loved places on earth, Malaysia.
Never Take Any Of It Seriously
|In case you don't know who said, "Never take any of it seriously," it was the author and philosopher, Ayn Rand.|
What she actually said, or wrote, was: "We never had to take any of it seriously, did we?" [Dagney Taggart to John Galt in [Atlas Shrugged "Part Three / Chapter I Atlantis"]
Who Is We?
|What you believe and how you conduct your life is no one else's business, as long as you mind your own.
How We Know
|This Foreword pertains only to the online version of this critique of Dr. Harry Binswanger's How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation. [Please see the Introduction.]|
I have chosen to make this book available online because I wish to find out if anyone is interested in philosophy, or more precisely, the truth. This book may be considered a predecessor to my complete philosophy which will be entitled, Philosophy If You Want It, which will not be published online, and if no interest is shown in the current book, will most likely not be published at all.
Notes On Tathagatagarbhaianism
|Most Tathagatagarbhaianists are, in spite of their great seriousness, rather casual about terminology. Except when writing academic papers, an event so rare there is no record of it ever having happened, most do not refer to themselves as Tathagatagarbhaianists, but rather as Tathists, based on the diminutive of Tathagatagarbha, Tath.|
The Wisdom of Tathagatagarbha
|The one true God...I've been accused, more than once, of being an atheist. I'm not an atheist. I just don't believe in your God.|