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.
What Will You Do With Freedom?
|Almost none of the liberty-minded people I talk to actually intend or expect to be free during their life-time. They argue about what freedom means, what rights are, and what kind of society a free society ought to be. They debate economics, ethics, and politics. They have a million schemes for, "promoting freedom," and clamor to be part of every liberty-oriented program, seminar, rally, retreat, meeting, and movement. They know that none of these schemes are going to work; they don't expect them to actually make them free. If they really expected to be free, if they thought freedom was imminent they'd spend their efforts deciding what to do once they were free.
A Superficial Choice
|We all know politics is mostly superficial. Since we are going to be saddled with one brand of superficiality or another, and, like it or not, will not be able escape it short of becoming hermits, I thought it would be interesting to know which brand of superficiality people preferred.
Decent People Matter
|Although there are more decent people than any other kind, they are seldom recognized and one seldom hears about them. It is because decent people are not featured in main stream media news. They do not cause trouble, do not commit crimes, and seldom do anything that would call attention to themselves.
Art, Censorship, and Morality
|The main point of Wendy McElroy's recent article, "Freedom of Art Is a Prerequisite of Morality," is in opposition to censorship of art.
Moral Defense And The Use Of Force
|Presuming one has made oneself into a being worth defending and has produced something of value to prevent loosing, of course defense and protection are real values; but defense and protection do not equal the use of force, and in most cases do not require the use of force.
What's Wrong With NAP
|What's wrong with NAP? The same thing that is wrong with the Ten Commandments.
Gullible II—Critical Thinking
|This article deals with only one concept by which, not only the freedom-oriented, but almost everyone who is interested in what is true and right, has been taken in—the so-called concept of, "critical thinking."
|One of the most baffling phenomena in the modern world is the gullibility of that small class of people who regard themselves as "freedom-oriented:" the libertarians, the Objectivists, the various flavors of self-styled anarchists, the anti-staters, the egoists, and voluntaryists.
Reality—An Introduction to Philosophy
|Everyone has a philosophy. Most could not identify their philosophy or explain what it is. One's philosophy is all one believes about the nature of reality, what one assumes life is, the value they put on knowledge and the ability to reason and what they think knowledge is and how they believe they ought to relate to others, and most of all, what they think the purpose of their life is and what they are living for.
Religion And Freedom
|H.L. Mencken said: "I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind—that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking."
Untrue Things People Believe: Science
|Science is the objective study of physical existence. About one tenth of one percent of what is called science is actually science.
|The man was acting very peculiarly. He looked peculiar too. He was not tall, perhaps five seven, and had on a brown suit, brown soft hat, brown shoes and a striped green and yellow tie. He would have looked like a typical well-dressed businessman—if it had been 1955.
Real Freedom Fighters
|I am coming 'round to the idea that real fighters for liberty do not cluster, do not congregate, do not organize, do not form groups, do not muster their numbers, do not fight against the collective, and do not rally to make themselves count. Exceptionally, they come to the support of one another in unequivocal battles in defense of individual freedom. As a matter of course, they defend themselves, upon their own responsibility, from the aggressions of the collective.
Who Can Be Free?
|Wendy McElroy has posted a comment from one of her readers on her blog concerning the impossibility of fixing government tyranny by passing more laws. On that point the writer is correct.|
Libertarians Verses Everyone Else—Numbers
|Sometimes it is good, merely for the sake of perspective, to stand back and see where one's own views and positions stand in relation to society as a whole. The following statistics have been gleaned from several sources and are not meant to be authoritative, but only to provide a general picture of where libertarian views stand in relation to others in the United States.|
Psychological Flaws, Corruptions, Errors, and Wrong Premises
|Unfortunately, almost all that goes by the name Objectivism today embraces, in some form or another, both hedonism and subjectivism which contradict all of Objectivist ethics.
Untrue Things People Believe: Anthropology
|Literally, anthropology means the study of man, but it is not a study of the nature of man like physiology or neurology, or even the philosophical nature of man, as the rational animal, and it is not the study of what men have done, like history, or of man's accomplishments such as in the sciences and technological. It is not even a study of the great and important men which a study of the more significant biographies might be. Anthropology may best be thought of as the study of every failed, irrational, backward, and ignorant human culture, society, and practice in history.|
Untrue Things People Believe: Sociology
|Sociology, is a pseudoscience, like psychology, and evolution. Unlike psychology and evolution there is no science at all associated with it.
|The so-called "Black Swan" problem has always been one of my favorites. For me it represents one of those so-called philosophical problems invented by various sophists, such as Protagoras or Zeno. But the black swan problem is not really a sophistic argument at all. It is simply a huge mistake. The wonder of it is that so many otherwise brilliant minds could have been taken in by it.
Untrue Things People Believe: Environmentalism & Ecology
|Environmentalism, like psychology and evolution, is a pseudo-science. It is put over as a science, and, since most people's scientific knowledge is minimal, it is able to claim outrageously unscientific things and get away with it. Most notably, so-called anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.
Untrue Things People Believe: Evolution
|Was man created? No! Did man evolve? Nobody knows, though that is the hypothesis being promoted in academia and the political world, and accepted as received truth by every pseudo-science, such as environmentalism, psychology, and sociology.
Untrue Things People Believe: Repression
|I've addressed the question of repression in both the Desires article and the article, Repress, Repress, Repress. Here I want to emphasize the great danger and very real harm that is caused by the completely wrong-headed idea propagated by psychologists that repression is bad.
Untrue Things People Believe: Emotions
|We certainly have emotions and they are very important. They are, in fact, necessary for our enjoyment of life. Unfortunately the emotions are not a source of enjoyment for most people, because what most people believe about them is not true.
Conversations With Raymond: Conflicts
| I called Raymond on Monday to ask if he and Christy could come to lunch the following Saturday.
When he answered the phone he sounded like he expected bad news.
Ayn Rand, Beauty, Love, and Tenderness
|One great anomaly in the fiction of Ayn Rand, who held that romantic love is the greatest ideal of man, is that her depiction of love expressed physically is very wrong.
Untrue Things People Believe: Psychology
|Psychology, which is the study of human consciousness, or the mind, is a very important discipline that unfortunately got off on the wrong foot, so to speak, and has never recovered. What goes by the name psychology today is as wrong and as superstitious as alchemy was or astrology still is.
Why Trump Is Winning
|If you think there is some esoteric philosophical, social, or political explanation for Donald Trump's political success it is probably because you have fallen for the great political lie that politics actually matters
Atlas Shrugged: A Model for Individualist Revolution
|Revolution is not the theme of Atlas Shrugged, the theme is rebellion, a rebellion of men against the chains of slavery, chains they had themselves made and given to their masters. The result of that rebellion is a revolution, but revolution is not the purpose of the rebellion.
Ayn Rand's Mistake
|Sometime in late 1940 or early 1941, Ayn Rand began efforts to form an "individualist" movement that would counter the growing collectivist, socialist, and communist movements active in those years. She expended a huge amount of time and energy on this "project" which she firmly believed would bring a kind of counter-revolution and restoration of individual liberty and free-market culture to America.
Untrue Things People Believe: Constitutions
|I am only concerned with the American Constitution, but many other constitutions around the world are modeled on the American one and this will apply to them to some extent as well. The American Constitution begins with a lie ...
Repress, Repress, Repress
|Psychologists tell us one of the great human problems is "repression."
Untrue Things People Believe: Contracts
|A contract is a documented agreement between two or more parties (individuals or corporations) that is legally binding.
Anarchism and Society
|The following are the words of anarchist, Emma Goldman. They are a description of America and the American government, and the society resulting from it. Though published in 1934, the description would require little change to make it an up-to-date description of America today.
Untrue Things People Believe: Corporations
|Corporations are another kind of organization. Unlike other organizations, corporations are not formed by their members, or any people at all. Corporations actually exist to hide or at least protect any real people associated with them.
Ayn Rand's Ethics
|I regard Ayn Rand as a friend, not in the sense of an acquaintance, but in the sense of being an individual of like mind and soul. I regard individualism as the ultimate virtue, and a self-sufficient individual as the kind of human most worthy of my respect and love.
Valentine Flowers for Every Girl
| Hayden Godfrey is a man after my own heart.|
"Hayden Godfrey, a 17-year-old student at Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah, passed out carnations to every girl at school—all 834 of them!—on Thursday."
Most Of What You Believe Is Not True: Unions
|Labor unions are organizations that supposedly help workers have more success as employees. In fact unions only "help" employees who cannot (or will not) improve themselves and their position by their own effort while harming the truly competent and ambitious. Unions are essentially gangs that achieve whatever they achieve by intimidation and threats.
Freedom and Individualism Notes: Money
|Money is a tangible representation of one's independence, the symbol of his productivity, as well as a means to freedom itself.
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.|