“Do This and Live”

As mentioned in yesterday’s article, Ayn Rand was known for her views of “anti-altruism,” or what she called the virtue of selfishness. However, what Rand called “selfishness” would be more accurate if it was referred to as “self-interest.” Pure selfishness is a total ignorance of the wants or needs of others, while self-interest does not promote such egotistical notions. Leonard Read explains: A vast majority of people in this and other countries, including many noted scholars, confuse Read more […]

The Federal Temptation

As a follow-up to a recent article, I thought a related idea was in order. A large part of what is involved in getting government out of our daily lives is getting us out of government. Leonard Read makes the point: Prosperity breeds a peculiar temptation—the temptation to solicit economic privileges from government. I am acquainted with many Americans, outstanding in their specializations, who seek special privileges—living off others by coercive governmental interventions. They yield to temptation, Read more […]

Get the Government Out

Liberals often mock conservatives for supposedly having no answers to modern problems. To hear liberals explain it, the conservative response to everything is “get the government out of it.” And while it is most definitely true that this is a foundational plank of the conservative message, liberals are only giving half of the story when they say this. The primary reason why “getting the government out” does not sound like a credible solution to most liberals is because most liberals don’t Read more […]

Let Your Words be Few

Those who are loudest in their threats get what they deserve: nothing but disdain. We freedom devotees who threaten our opponents only strengthen them in their misdeeds, their societal faults. The tactic we should employ? Calmness! Think exclusively of our own improvement and leave faults to the falsifiers. Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free. –Leonard Read Mark Twain said it best: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open Read more […]

Malt Corn, Statesmen, and Hypocrites

State of the Union? What State of the Union? I watched an episode of Moonshiners off my DVR and learned a whole lot more. I also read a little bit; not a bad alternative to allowing my blood pressure to skyrocket as a smug little man tells me how great things are going, but that there’s still much to do. Whatever. I learned instead that the natural yeast from malt corn doesn’t cause a hangover. I also learned, from reading Leonard Read, that “no individual keenly aware of his limitations Read more […]

The Remnant and the Masses

The concept of a “Remnant” is biblical in its origin, but—like most things biblical—has application both far and wide. Members of the Remnant, as contrasted with the masses, are the real movers and shakers of any given society. It is the Remnant who actually know and care about what is really happening; and are often the only ones doing anything about it. Encouraging as that may sound, it is also frustrating, because the Remnant are a slippery bunch. As Leonard Read tells it: Members of Read more […]

Without Freedom There Would be No Pencils

In a chapter entitled “Opportunity: The Great Art of Life?” from his book, How Do We Know?, Leonard Read writes the following: Opportunities are indeed rare in countries where one cannot act creatively as he or she pleases. Rare, too, are opportunities for you or me that are beyond the range of our potentialities or talents. Astronomy is no more within my range than is the making of an ordinary wooden lead pencil. And, all too rare are the astronomers—or those who have a part in pencil-making Read more […]

Paying the Price

In the first chapter of his little book, How Do We Know, Leonard Read quotes the first-century Roman poet, Juvenal, who writes: “All wish to possess knowledge, but few, comparatively speaking, are willing to pay the price.” Read claims that Juvenal only got it half-right; that is, few indeed are willing to pay the price, but according to Read, “never… has everyone wished to possess knowledge.” This is a curious statement coming from someone wishing to interest others in the quest for Read more […]

Reading Read (Leonard, that is)

Like many others, I resolved that 2013 would be different. Chagrined as I was regarding the difference between the expected and actual trajectory of my habits in 2012, I made yet another January resolution. New Year’s Resolutions are awkward things. We welcome them one month and show them the door the next, like lingering houseguests. To be honest, I have made my share of resolutions, and also have a trampled path leading to the metaphorical exit. Resolutions come and resolutions go; praise the Read more […]