Friday, May 13, 2011

Race Matters

Race Matters
by Cornel West

Thought-provoking essays that address a number of controversial issues of concern to African Americans. West analyzes such subjects as nihilism in black America, the crisis of black leadership, affirmative action, black-Jewish relations, sexuality, and the legacy of Malcolm X. His writing style is scholarly and sparse-he does not waste words, and his prose is easy to read. Yet his viewpoints are radical and passionately felt. He is not afraid to speak frankly and, while he presents many criticisms, he also offers many solutions. Not everyone will agree with his point of view, but if one of his objectives is to make readers at least think about the problems he has dissected, then he has succeeded admirably.

West's work has been described as a "polemical weapon that attempts to transform linguistic, social, cultural, and political tradition to increase the scope of individual development and democratic actions." West's writing, speaking, and teaching weaves together the American traditions of the Baptist Church, transcendentalism, socialism, and pragmatism.

Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand

The book's female protagonist, Dagny Taggart, struggles to manage a transcontinental railroad amid the pressures and restrictions of massive bureaucracy. Her antagonistic reaction to a libertarian group seeking an end to government regulation is later echoed and modified in her encounter with a utopian community, Galt's Gulch, whose members regard self-determination rather than collective responsibility as the highest ideal.

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand's greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy through an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics, and sex.
Set in a near-future U.S.A. whose economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life-from the productive genius who becomes a worthless the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own the philosopher who becomes a the woman who runs a transcontinental the lowest track worker in her train tunnels.

Peopled by larger-than-life heroes and villains, charged with towering questions of good and evil, Atlas Shrugged is a philosophical revolution told in the form of an action thriller.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"The Private Production of Defense"

"The Private Production of Defense"
by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

"Among the most popular and consequential beliefs of our age
is the belief in collective security. Nothing less significant than
the legitimacy of the modern state rests on this belief.
I will demonstrate that the idea of collective security is a
myth that provides no justification for the modern state, and
that all security is and must be private. Yet, before coming to the
conclusion let me begin with the problem. First, I will present a
two-step reconstruction of the myth of collective security, and at
each step raise a few theoretical concerns."

"Never during its entire history has the continental U.S.
been territorially attacked by any foreign army. (Pearl Harbor
was the result of a preceding U.S. provocation.) Yet the U.S. has
the distinction of having possessed a government that declared
war against a large part of its own population and engaged in the
wanton murder of hundreds of thousands of its own citizens. Moreover,
while the relations between American citizens and foreigners do not appear to be unusually contentious, almost from its very
beginnings the U.S. government pursued relentless aggressive expansionism.
Beginning with the Spanish–American War, culminating
in World War I and World War II, and continuing to the
present, the U.S. government has become entangled in hundreds
of foreign conflicts and risen to the rank of the world’s dominant
imperialist power. Thus, nearly every president since the turn of
this century also has been responsible for the murder, killing, or
starvation of countless innocent foreigners all over the world. In
short, while we have become more helpless, impoverished,
threatened, and insecure, the U.S. government has become ever
more brazen and aggressive. In the name of national security, it
defends us, equipped with enormous stockpiles of weapons of aggression
and mass destruction, by bullying ever new “Hitlers,” big
or small, and all suspected Hitlerite sympathizers anywhere
and everywhere outside of the territory of the U.S."