Dali Lama words of wisdom 

So long as I am alive, my time and my life must be utilized properly. Then after my death, I don’t care how people remember me.

Love, compassion, and forgiveness-these are the things I preach

The main cause of suffering is egoistic desire for one’s own comfort and happiness.

Many of our troubles are man-made, created by our own ignorance and greed and irresponsible actions.

Sooner or later you’ll find a limitation of resources and will have to adopt a more content lifestyle.

Education and compassion… if you combine these to your whole life will be constructive and happy.

It’s best not to get too excited or too depressed by the ups and downs of life.

If you shift your focus from oneself to others, and think more about others’ well-being and welfare, it has an immediate liberating effect.

Passed Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment for HISTORY 

I took and passed the 4 hour AEPA History exam (plus essay). I am now certified to teach US and World history. http://www.aepa.nesinc.com/

Sample US history questions:
– The concept of Manifest Destiny would most likely have been used to justify…
– Which of the following best characterizes the Populist Party’s political efforts in the early 1890’s…
– One result of the Hartford Convention of 1814 was…

Sample World history questions:
– Bantu-speakers settled in all the following areas of Africa except….
– The Delhi Sultanate and the Aztecs had which of the following methods of governing in common?…
– Which of the following most clearly differentiates the period from 1450 to 1750 from earlier periods?…

Understanding What Your Professor is Really Saying

WHAT THE PROFESSOR SAYS vs. WHAT THE PROFESSOR MEANS

You’ll be using one of the leading textbooks in the field. – I used it as a grad student.

If you follow these few simple rules, you’ll do fine in this course. – If you don’t need any sleep, you’ll do fine in the course.

The gist of what the author is saying to what’s most important. – I don’t understand the details either.

Various authorities agree that … – My hunch is that …

The answer to your question is beyond the scope of this class. – I don’t know.

You’ll have to see me during my office hours for an answer to your question. – I don’t know.

In answer to your question, you must recognize that there are several disparate points of view. – I really don’t know.

Today we are going to discuss a most important topic. – Today we are going to discuss my dissertation.

Unfortunately, we haven’t the time to consider all of the people who made contributions to this field. – I disagree with what roughly half of the people in this field have said.

We can continue this discussion – 1) I’m tired of this – let’s quit. or 2) You’re winning the argument – let’s quit.

Today we’ll let a member of the class lead the discussion. It will be a good educational experience. – I stayed out too late last night and didn’t have time to prepare a lecture.

Any questions ? – I’m ready to leave.

The implications of this study are clear. – I don’t know what it means either, but there will be a question about it on the test.

The test will be 50-question multiple choice. – The test will be a 60-question multiple guess, plus three short answer questions (1,000 words or more) and no one will score above 75 percent.

The test scores were generally good. – Some of you managed a B.

The test scores were a little below my expectations. – Where was the party last night ?

Some of you could have done a little better. – Everyone flunked.

Before we begin the lecture today, are there any questions about the previous material ? – Has anyone opened the book yet ?

According to my sources … – According to the guy who taught this class last year …

It’s been rewarding to teach this class. – I hope they find someone else to teach this class next year.

Bill Moyers’ A World of Ideas [Quotes]

Barbara Tuchman

How would you sum up the original idea of America? A liberation from tyranny which had existed for centuries, in which government was in the hands of rulers with no particular right other than dynastic, of nobles who had nothing but property to justify their exercise of rule, and the monarchs who had only heredity to justify thiers. The interesting thing was that I found that the Dutch had voiced the same thing when they abjured the rule of Spain. The Oath of Abjuration written almost 200 years before our declaration of independence contains almost the same words.

On the whole, the ruling groups don’t truly govern in the interests of the underprivileged classes. We are going to feel the effects, just as the French did when the French Revolution occurred, through the same ignoring of the misery of the poor classes, and to the same financial irresponsibility. What really started the French Revolution was the condition of the deficit, which was owed because of their help to us – which is again another irony.

If we are moved merely by greed, and there’s no longer any respect for decent or honest government, then we will suffer the results. We’ve been suffering from them ever since Watergate-and now again with the Iran-Contra business.

History’s lessons move very slowly. People don’t put them into operation right away, when they’ve become visible, but only when they rise to the surface, and begin to flood the bottoms of your cellars, only when they affect your own living conditions. In the Middle Ages, the sewage wasn’t properly disposed of, but people didn’t pay attention to it until the waters of the rivers and the filth rose over the doorsteps. Then they had to. That’s what is beginning to happen, it is beginning to rise over the doorsteps. It is already, isn’t it?

We’re becoming accustomed to an almost satisfied with people in government who are either venal or stupid. And with the emphasis on fundraising for all elections, which is ruining the electoral system, we will be accepting entertainers as our candidates, not those who have learned the processes and practices of government. You can’t govern without having to training in it. Even Plato said that a long time ago. You need to be trained in government, to exercise it, to practice it. But the American public is now satisfying itself with entertainers.

I think all these developments must certainly affect, if not the person in government, at least the office. And it would be too bad if we lost respect for the office. I think that’s the point I was trying to make in the chapter on popes in The March of Folly. The activity of the Popes themselves cost the papacy so much respect and so much prestige that it made the Reformation possible. It didn’t cause the Reformation, but it made the idea of overthrowing the Roman Church possible.

The trouble is that our public men are really artificial. They’re created by the most devastating tool technology has invented, which is the Teleprompter. They don’t speak spontaneously. You don’t hear them meet a situation out of their own minds. They read this thing that’s going around there in front of them, these words that have been created for them by PR men. This is not the real man that we see. It allows an inadequate, minor individual to appear to be a statesman because he’s got very good speechwriters, and to read the stuff off because he’s a trained actor.

Governments persist in folly because they don’t want to let go of their position, or their power. They are afraid that if they let go, if they say, we were wrong, or we’re doing the wrong thing, they will be booted out, or they will lose their status. It’s not wanting to be left out in the next White House luncheon, or to be shoved into the wilderness if you report unpleasing information.

People say, what’s the use of reading history? I say, well, what’s the use of Beethoven’s sonatas?

Revolutions produce other men, not new men. Halfway between truth and endless error, the mold of the species is permanent. That is Earth’s burden.

Michael Josephson

Now we don’t know what to believe. People don’t believe their own government. When we reach the point where we can’t even trust the facts are government gives us, then we have lost something very significant in a democracy.

If even a small minority of people will speak up and demand more of themselves and others, even if only in their own lives, we’ll turn the pendulum around, and we’ll begin to swing back to the days when we could be really proud of the kind of people we are because of what we contribute to each other and to society. Ethics is a minority movement, and always will be. But a strong minority can change the tenor of this society in a meaningful way.

Joseph Heller

Most of the voting and party membership is pretty much based on something that might be called parochial loyalties. That’s the reason someone like John Connolly could switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party so easily.

Normally, the candidates are supported by people who are from the same financial and social status. Whether they come from Democrats or Republicans, they are backed by money. Finance is extremely important in American politics. H. L. Menckin says that this is the only society in which virtue has become synonymous with money and that the United States is the only large state ever founded solely on the philosophy of business.

We can’t eliminate politics. And no one who has enjoyed democracy has knowingly voted for a different system of government. It is congenial, it is entertaining. For you and me, who are among those in this country who are well fed and well housed and who can be reasonably sure that their income will continue and enable us to live as we are living, there’s no substitute for democracy. Consider how few the alternatives are.

I do believe the individual is important. But the individual does not count to governments. Governments are not normally concerned with the welfare of the people they govern. Even history is not concerned with them. During Rembrandt’s life, the potato was brought over from South America and cultivated successfully in Europe during the Thirty Years’ War. The cultivation of the potato was more important to more people than was Rembrandt’s painting of Aristotle or William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of blood. The potato gave tens of thousands of people life. You will not read about it.

We tend to measure progress by profit. That’s one way of looking at progress, but it’s not the only way. We have more millionaires now than any nation ever had in its history. At the same time, we have more homeless. We have very real problems here, and we don’t even seem to agree on what they are.

The motion in the Athenian assembly to invade Syracuse was deceitful, corrupt, stupid, chauvinistic, irrational and suicidal. It passed by a huge majority.

The emotions of people in a democratic society are no more rational than they are in any other type of society. They are manipulated. It is the function of leader in a democracy, if he wishes to be a leader, to manipulate the emotions and the ideas of the population.

The word quote “democracy” does not appear in the Constitution at all.

Money and conquest and commerce are the constants in human history.

Money goes where it will increase the fastest rather than where it is needed, and it has no national loyalties. We’ve seen that since the end of World War II. It may be that we no longer have to go to war to take possession of a country’s resources.

If you expect the democratic system of government to provide efficient government, you’re going to be disappointed. Hamilton and Jefferson and Carlyle and others assumed that in an industrial society the captains of industry would and should be the political leaders. They assumed that they would be men of intelligence, man of integrity, men of vision, and men who, having achieved wealth, would no longer have the accumulation of wealth as their goal and would be interested in the public good. That has not happened, as we know.

I believe the federal government is ungovernable.

We don’t have a tradition of revolution, and I don’t believe we’ll ever have another revolution, mainly because revolutions are middle-class phenomenon. Revolutions are not conducted by the most underprivileged in a society. They’re usually conducted by educated people. When Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death,” he was living in a part of the world that have more liberty than any other place.

Noam Chomsky

Even the mainstream Democratic theorists have always understood that when the voice of the people is heard, you’re in trouble, because the stupid and ignorant masses, as they are called, are going to make the wrong decisions. So, therefore, we have to have what Walter Lippman, back in 1920 or so, called “manufacture of consent.” We have to ensure that actual power is in the hands of what he called a specialized class – us smart guys, who are going to make the right decisions. We’ve got to keep the general population marginalized because they’re always going to make mistakes. The Founding Fathers had very strong feelings on this subject. The Federalists, for example, were very much afraid of popular democracy.

From a point of view which perceives democracy as a problem to be overcome, and sees the right solution is being farsighted leaders with a specialized class and social managers – from that point of view, you must find means of marginalizing the population. Reducing them to apathy and obedience, allowing them to participate in the political system, but as consumers, not as true participants.

We are the only major industrial democracy that doesn’t have a labor-based political party – a party based on the poor or the working class. We have only one political party – it’s the business party. We have two factions of the business party called the Democrats and the Republicans.

Is Western Civilization truly superior? To What? In What Way?

I didn’t expect to experience an epiphany when I visited the Tucson Museum of Art for the first time.

My visit was late on a weekday. The museum was nearly deserted with a sprinkling of security personnel and a few clerks manning the entrances. The serenity I experienced by taking in some “culture” that day was soon disturbed.

The violence depicted in the museum’s section of Spanish Colonial art was stunning. The collection included a painting of St. Catherine with a severed head at her feet. Another painting depicted St. James killing a Muslim. Yet another oversized painting was titled “The Slaughter of the Innocents” in which a baby is shown impaled by a pike, among other scenes of horror.

Next, I discerned a smallish white marble sculpture of something lying on a plate under plexiglass. I was fairly certain from 30 feet away what I was looking at. As I drew near, I realized that I was correct in my precognition. The lump of sculpture was the severed head of John the Baptist.

After experiencing these unsettling scenes, I gladly moved on to the display of pre-Columbian Latin American art.

My serenity was restored.

In contrast to the brutality just described, the magnificence of nature and the wonder that is man was clearly on display, created by ancient native artists.

Included in this section were splendid examples of pottery etched with intricate designs and the beauty of the human form. Dazzling ceremonial animal masks looked down upon me. Nature and man were depicted as being good, not debased.

We know, of course, that all cultures have their dark sides, Latin American civilizations are no exception. However, violence was not a preoccupation of the Mesoamerican artists I encountered that day, unlike the dreadful and explicit offerings provided by artists of the supposedly culturally, morally, and religiously superior Europeans.

This got me rethinking our traditional teachings of Western history in relation to others on the planet.

Exactly who is civilized and who is savage? Does the depiction of violence in European art serve some higher purpose or does it unwittingly reveal a telling flaw?

Extreme violence is expressed not only in Western art but also in many of its most ancient and revered texts. The Bible and the Iliad both teem with accounts of appalling brutality.

So, my epiphany was this: Who has the standing to declare some civilizations ‘savage’ and others ‘superior’?

Louis Pasteur once wrote that “I am on the edge of mysteries and the veil is getting thinner and thinner.” I feel my own veil of ignorance has been lifted to improve my understanding that no civilization is inherently superior, much less perfect, especially when violence enters the equation.

My hope is that by recognizing our own fierce Western heritage, we can deal more humanely with those at home and abroad who differ from us. We need to understand that we possess brutal proclivities that have been instilled in us for millennia by texts, traditions, and, in part, by art.

Business hours

We’re OPEN Most days about 9 or 10, occasionally as early as 7, But some days as late as 12 or 1. We’re CLOSED About 5:30 or 6, occasionally about 4 or 5, But sometimes as late as 11 or 12. Some days or afternoons we aren’t here at all But lately, we’ve been here just about all the time, Except when we’re someplace else. But we should be here then, too.  …  sign seen in Henniker, New Hampshire.

 

Listen to the words of wisdom

I just want to live in a sane, global, civil society where religion no longer divides human beings from one another. It is time we recognized that we are all members of the same sect: humanity.  – Sam Harris

Enhanced photo of Earth rising. NASA

“O my children! my poor children!
Listen to the words of wisdom,
Listen to the words of warning,
From the lips of the Great Spirit,
From the Master of Life, who made you!
“I have given you lands to hunt in,
I have given you streams to fish in,
I have given you bear and bison,
I have given you roe and reindeer,
I have given you brant and beaver,
Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl,
Filled the rivers full of fishes:
Why then are you not contented?
Why then will you hunt each other?
“I am weary of your quarrels,
Weary of your wars and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers for vengeance,
Of your wranglings and dissensions;
All your strength is in your union,
All your danger is in discord;
Therefore be at peace henceforward,
And as brothers live together.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Milton Friedman, the Father of our Demise, said that the Concept of Social Responsibility is Subversive.

The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits!

by Milton Friedman

The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970. Copyright @ 1970 by The New York Times Company.

When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the “social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system,” I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life. The businessmen believe that they are defending free en­terprise when they declaim that business is not concerned “merely” with profit but also with promoting desirable “social” ends; that business has a “social conscience” and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing em­ployment, eliminating discrimination, avoid­ing pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of re­formers. In fact they are–or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously–preach­ing pure and unadulterated socialism. Busi­nessmen who talk this way are unwitting pup­pets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.

The discussions of the “social responsibili­ties of business” are notable for their analytical looseness and lack of rigor. What does it mean to say that “business” has responsibilities? Only people can have responsibilities. [Peter Bakke: But businesses are NOW treated as people per the law.] A corporation is an artificial person and in this sense may have artificial responsibilities, but “business” as a whole cannot be said to have responsibilities, even in this vague sense. The first step toward clarity in examining the doctrine of the social responsibility of business is to ask precisely what it implies for whom.

Presumably, the individuals who are to be responsible are businessmen, which means in­dividual proprietors or corporate executives. Most of the discussion of social responsibility is directed at corporations, so in what follows I shall mostly neglect the individual proprietors and speak of corporate executives.

In a free-enterprise, private-property sys­tem, a corporate executive is an employee of the owners of the business. He has direct re­sponsibility to his employers. That responsi­bility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible while con­forming to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom. Of course, in some cases his employers may have a different objective. A group of persons might establish a corporation for an eleemosynary purpose–for exam­ple, a hospital or a school. The manager of such a corporation will not have money profit as his objective but the rendering of certain services.

In either case, the key point is that, in his capacity as a corporate executive, the manager is the agent of the individuals who own the corporation or establish the eleemosynary institution, and his primary responsibility is to them.

Needless to say, this does not mean that it is easy to judge how well he is performing his task. But at least the criterion of performance is straightforward, and the persons among whom a voluntary contractual arrangement exists are clearly defined.

Of course, the corporate executive is also a person in his own right. As a person, he may have many other responsibilities that he rec­ognizes or assumes voluntarily–to his family, his conscience, his feelings of charity, his church, his clubs, his city, his country. He may feel impelled by these responsibilities to de­vote part of his income to causes he regards as worthy, to refuse to work for particular corpo­rations, even to leave his job, for example, to join his country’s armed forces. If we wish, we may refer to some of these responsibilities as “social responsibilities.” But in these respects he is acting as a principal, not an agent; he is spending his own money or time or energy, not the money of his employers or the time or energy he has contracted to devote to their purposes. If these are “social responsibili­ties,” they are the social responsibilities of in­dividuals, not of business.

What does it mean to say that the corpo­rate executive has a “social responsibility” in his capacity as businessman? If this statement is not pure rhetoric, it must mean that he is to act in some way that is not in the interest of his employers. For example, that he is to refrain from increasing the price of the product in order to contribute to the social objective of preventing inflation, even though a price increase would be in the best interests of the corporation. Or that he is to make expendi­tures on reducing pollution beyond the amount that is in the best interests of the cor­poration or that is required by law in order to contribute to the social objective of improving the environment. Or that, at the expense of corporate profits, he is to hire “hardcore” un­employed instead of better qualified available workmen to contribute to the social objective of reducing poverty.

In each of these cases, the corporate exec­utive would be spending someone else’s money for a general social interest. Insofar as his actions in accord with his “social responsi­bility” reduce returns to stockholders, he is spending their money. Insofar as his actions raise the price to customers, he is spending the customers’ money. Insofar as his actions lower the wages of some employees, he is spending their money.

The stockholders or the customers or the employees could separately spend their own money on the particular action if they wished to do so. The executive is exercising a distinct “social responsibility,” rather than serving as an agent of the stockholders or the customers or the employees, only if he spends the money in a different way than they would have spent it.

But if he does this, he is in effect imposing taxes, on the one hand, and deciding how the tax proceeds shall be spent, on the other.

This process raises political questions on two levels: principle and consequences. On the level of political principle, the imposition of taxes and the expenditure of tax proceeds are gov­ernmental functions. We have established elab­orate constitutional, parliamentary and judicial provisions to control these functions, to assure that taxes are imposed so far as possible in ac­cordance with the preferences and desires of the public–after all, “taxation without repre­sentation” was one of the battle cries of the American Revolution. We have a system of checks and balances to separate the legisla­tive function of imposing taxes and enacting expenditures from the executive function of collecting taxes and administering expendi­ture programs and from the judicial function of mediating disputes and interpreting the law.

Here the businessman–self-selected or appointed directly or indirectly by stockhold­ers–is to be simultaneously legislator, execu­tive and, jurist. He is to decide whom to tax by how much and for what purpose, and he is to spend the proceeds–all this guided only by general exhortations from on high to restrain inflation, improve the environment, fight poverty and so on and on.

The whole justification for permitting the corporate executive to be selected by the stockholders is that the executive is an agent serving the interests of his principal. This jus­tification disappears when the corporate ex­ecutive imposes taxes and spends the pro­ceeds for “social” purposes. He becomes in effect a public employee, a civil servant, even though he remains in name an employee of a private enterprise. On grounds of political principle, it is intolerable that such civil ser­vants–insofar as their actions in the name of social responsibility are real and not just win­dow-dressing–should be selected as they are now. If they are to be civil servants, then they must be elected through a political process. If they are to impose taxes and make expendi­tures to foster “social” objectives, then politi­cal machinery must be set up to make the as­sessment of taxes and to determine through a political process the objectives to be served.

This is the basic reason why the doctrine of “social responsibility” involves the acceptance of the socialist view that political mechanisms, not market mechanisms, are the appropriate way to determine the allocation of scarce re­sources to alternative uses.

On the grounds of consequences, can the corporate executive in fact discharge his al­leged “social responsibilities?” On the other hand, suppose he could get away with spending the stockholders’ or customers’ or employees’ money. How is he to know how to spend it? He is told that he must contribute to fighting inflation. How is he to know what ac­tion of his will contribute to that end? He is presumably an expert in running his company–in producing a product or selling it or financing it. But nothing about his selection makes him an expert on inflation. Will his hold­ ing down the price of his product reduce infla­tionary pressure? Or, by leaving more spending power in the hands of his customers, simply divert it elsewhere? Or, by forcing him to produce less because of the lower price, will it simply contribute to shortages? Even if he could an­swer these questions, how much cost is he justi­fied in imposing on his stockholders, customers and employees for this social purpose? What is his appropriate share and what is the appropri­ate share of others?

And, whether he wants to or not, can he get away with spending his stockholders’, cus­tomers’ or employees’ money? Will not the stockholders fire him? (Either the present ones or those who take over when his actions in the name of social responsibility have re­duced the corporation’s profits and the price of its stock.) His customers and his employees can desert him for other producers and em­ployers less scrupulous in exercising their so­cial responsibilities.

This facet of “social responsibility” doc­ trine is brought into sharp relief when the doctrine is used to justify wage restraint by trade unions. The conflict of interest is naked and clear when union officials are asked to subordinate the interest of their members to some more general purpose. If the union offi­cials try to enforce wage restraint, the consequence is likely to be wildcat strikes, rank­-and-file revolts and the emergence of strong competitors for their jobs. We thus have the ironic phenomenon that union leaders–at least in the U.S.–have objected to Govern­ment interference with the market far more consistently and courageously than have business leaders.

The difficulty of exercising “social responsibility” illustrates, of course, the great virtue of private competitive enterprise–it forces people to be responsible for their own actions and makes it difficult for them to “exploit” other people for either selfish or unselfish purposes. They can do good–but only at their own expense.

Many a reader who has followed the argu­ment this far may be tempted to remonstrate that it is all well and good to speak of Government’s having the responsibility to im­pose taxes and determine expenditures for such “social” purposes as controlling pollu­tion or training the hard-core unemployed, but that the problems are too urgent to wait on the slow course of political processes, that the exercise of social responsibility by busi­nessmen is a quicker and surer way to solve pressing current problems.

Aside from the question of fact–I share Adam Smith’s skepticism about the benefits that can be expected from “those who affected to trade for the public good”–this argument must be rejected on grounds of principle. What it amounts to is an assertion that those who favor the taxes and expenditures in question have failed to persuade a majority of their fellow citizens to be of like mind and that they are seeking to attain by undemocratic procedures what they cannot attain by democratic proce­dures. In a free society, it is hard for “evil” people to do “evil,” especially since one man’s good is another’s evil.

I have, for simplicity, concentrated on the special case of the corporate executive, ex­cept only for the brief digression on trade unions. But precisely the same argument ap­plies to the newer phenomenon of calling upon stockholders to require corporations to exercise social responsibility (the recent G.M crusade for example). In most of these cases, what is in effect involved is some stockholders trying to get other stockholders (or customers or employees) to contribute against their will to “social” causes favored by the activists. In­sofar as they succeed, they are again imposing taxes and spending the proceeds.

The situation of the individual proprietor is somewhat different. If he acts to reduce the returns of his enterprise in order to exercise his “social responsibility,” he is spending his own money, not someone else’s. If he wishes to spend his money on such purposes, that is his right, and I cannot see that there is any ob­jection to his doing so. In the process, he, too, may impose costs on employees and cus­tomers. However, because he is far less likely than a large corporation or union to have mo­nopolistic power, any such side effects will tend to be minor.

Of course, in practice the doctrine of social responsibility is frequently a cloak for actions that are justified on other grounds rather than a reason for those actions.

To illustrate, it may well be in the long run interest of a corporation that is a major employer in a small community to devote resources to providing amenities to that community or to improving its government. That may make it easier to attract desirable employees, it may reduce the wage bill or lessen losses from pilferage and sabotage or have other worthwhile effects. Or it may be that, given the laws about the deductibility of corporate charitable contributions, the stockholders can contribute more to chari­ties they favor by having the corporation make the gift than by doing it themselves, since they can in that way contribute an amount that would otherwise have been paid as corporate taxes.

In each of these–and many similar–cases, there is a strong temptation to rationalize these actions as an exercise of “social responsibility.” In the present climate of opinion, with its wide spread aversion to “capitalism,” “profits,” the “soulless corporation” and so on, this is one way for a corporation to generate goodwill as a by-product of expenditures that are entirely justified in its own self-interest.

It would be inconsistent of me to call on corporate executives to refrain from this hyp­ocritical window-dressing because it harms the foundations of a free society. That would be to call on them to exercise a “social re­sponsibility”! If our institutions, and the atti­tudes of the public make it in their self-inter­est to cloak their actions in this way, I cannot summon much indignation to denounce them. At the same time, I can express admiration for those individual proprietors or owners of closely held corporations or stockholders of more broadly held corporations who disdain such tactics as approaching fraud.

Whether blameworthy or not, the use of the cloak of social responsibility, and the nonsense spoken in its name by influential and presti­gious businessmen, does clearly harm the foun­dations of a free society. I have been impressed time and again by the schizophrenic character of many businessmen. They are capable of being extremely farsighted and clearheaded in matters that are internal to their businesses. They are incredibly shortsighted and muddle­headed in matters that are outside their businesses but affect the possible survival of busi­ness in general. This shortsightedness is strikingly exemplified in the calls from many businessmen for wage and price guidelines or controls or income policies. There is nothing that could do more in a brief period to destroy a market system and replace it by a centrally con­trolled system than effective governmental con­trol of prices and wages.

The shortsightedness is also exemplified in speeches by businessmen on social respon­sibility. This may gain them kudos in the short run. But it helps to strengthen the already too prevalent view that the pursuit of profits is wicked and immoral and must be curbed and controlled by external forces. Once this view is adopted, the external forces that curb the market will not be the social consciences, however highly developed, of the pontificating executives; it will be the iron fist of Government bureaucrats. Here, as with price and wage controls, businessmen seem to me to reveal a suicidal impulse.

The political principle that underlies the market mechanism is unanimity. In an ideal free market resting on private property, no individual can coerce any other, all coopera­tion is voluntary, all parties to such coopera­tion benefit or they need not participate. There are no values, no “social” responsibilities in any sense other than the shared values and responsibilities of individuals. Society is a collection of individuals and of the various groups they voluntarily form.

The political principle that underlies the political mechanism is conformity. The indi­vidual must serve a more general social inter­est–whether that be determined by a church or a dictator or a majority. The individual may have a vote and say in what is to be done, but if he is overruled, he must conform. It is appropriate for some to require others to contribute to a general social purpose whether they wish to or not.

Unfortunately, unanimity is not always feasi­ble. There are some respects in which conformity appears unavoidable, so I do not see how one can avoid the use of the political mecha­nism altogether.

But the doctrine of “social responsibility” taken seriously would extend the scope of the political mechanism to every human activity. It does not differ in philosophy from the most explicitly collectivist doctrine. It differs only by professing to believe that collectivist ends can be attained without collectivist means.

That is why, in my book Capitalism and Freedom, I have called it a “fundamentally subversive doctrine” in a free society, and have said that in such a society, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it sresources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game [Peter Bakke: what a horrible and idiotic phrase. Rules as defined by whom? The gamemasters, of course. To quote Friedman earlier in this article, “rules of the game” is “notable for [its] analytical looseness and lack of rigor], which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”

trump, the president, may be a threat to national security

The Trump administration is flagrantly defying U.S. Law:

50 U.S. Code § 3033.Inspector General of the Intelligence Community

(5)

(A)

An employee of an element of the intelligence community, an employee assigned or detailed to an element of the intelligence community, or an employee of a contractor to the intelligence community who intends to report to Congress a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern may report such complaint or information to the Inspector General.
(B)

Not later than the end of the 14-calendar-day period beginning on the date of receipt from an employee of a complaint or information under subparagraph (A), the Inspector General shall determine whether the complaint or information appears credible. Upon making such a determination, the Inspector General shall transmit to the Director a notice of that determination, together with the complaint or information.
(C)

Upon receipt of a transmittal from the Inspector General under subparagraph (B), the Director shall, within 7 calendar days of such receipt, forward such transmittal to the congressional intelligence committees, together with any comments the Director considers appropriate.
(D)

(i)

If the Inspector General does not find credible under subparagraph (B) a complaint or information submitted under subparagraph (A), or does not transmit the complaint or information to the Director in accurate form under subparagraph (B), the employee (subject to clause (ii)) may submit the complaint or information to Congress by contacting either or both of the congressional intelligence committees directly.
(ii)An employee may contact the congressional intelligence committees directly as described in clause (i) only if the employee—

(I)

before making such a contact, furnishes to the Director, through the Inspector General, a statement of the employee’s complaint or information and notice of the employee’s intent to contact the congressional intelligence committees directly; and
(II)

obtains and follows from the Director, through the Inspector General, direction on how to contact the congressional intelligence committees in accordance with appropriate security practices.
(iii)

A member or employee of one of the congressional intelligence committees who receives a complaint or information under this subparagraph does so in that member or employee’s official capacity as a member or employee of such committee.
(E)

The Inspector General shall notify an employee who reports a complaint or information to the Inspector General under this paragraph of each action taken under this paragraph with respect to the complaint or information. Such notice shall be provided not later than 3 days after any such action is taken.
(F)

An action taken by the Director or the Inspector General under this paragraph shall not be subject to judicial review.
(G)In this paragraph, the term “urgent concern” means any of the following:

(i)

A serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity within the responsibility and authority of the Director of National Intelligence involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters.
(ii)

A false statement to Congress, or a willful withholding from Congress, on an issue of material fact relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity.
(iii)

An action, including a personnel action described in section 2302(a)(2)(A) of title 5, constituting reprisal or threat of reprisal prohibited under subsection (g)(3)(B) of this section in response to an employee’s reporting an urgent concern in accordance with this paragraph.
(H)

Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the protections afforded to an employee under section 3517(d) of this title or section 8H of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.).
(I)

An individual who has submitted a complaint or information to the Inspector General under this section may notify any member of either of the congressional intelligence committees, or a staff member of either of such committees, of the fact that such individual has made a submission to the Inspector General, and of the date on which such submission was made.

Malcolm Gladwell Can Write About Almost Anything.

The following is the article that was the foundation for Gladwell’s viral TED talk about spaghetti sauces.

Does an article about ketchup, mustard, and spaghetti sauce sound weird?

Weird is Gladwell’s oeuvre.

“Today there are thirty-six varieties of Ragú spaghetti sauce, under six rubrics—Old World Style, Chunky Garden Style, Robusto, Light, Cheese Creations, and Rich & Meaty—which means that there is very nearly an optimal spaghetti sauce for every man, woman, and child in America. Measured against the monotony that confronted Howard Moskowitz twenty years ago, this is progress. Happiness, in one sense, is a function of how closely our world conforms to the infinite variety of human preference. But that makes it easy to forget that sometimes happiness can be found in having what we’ve always had and everyone else is having. “

Read more at the New Yorker.

gladwell malcolm