Monthly Archives: February 2014

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Putting “Death is Wrong” in Children’s Hands – Article by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Education, Philosophy, Science, Technology, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Gennady Stolyarov II
February 25, 2014
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After three days of fundraising (in conjunction with the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension) to provide 1000 children with free copies of my illustrated book on indefinite life extension, Death is Wrong, I am pleased to report some promising and exciting developments.

We have already accumulated $400 in pledges from 22 generous donors. In 5% of the total time for this campaign, we are 8% of the way toward our goal. We hope to maintain this rate of progress and build up the momentum. I invite you to watch this video update where I discuss latest developments.

I am eager to begin sending out copies of Death is Wrong via this initiative as soon as possible. Some of the funds committed thus far have been sent to me via PayPal. (The funds donated via credit-card payments will be made available 15 days after the campaign’s conclusion.) Thus, I already have access to $100 of donated funds – enough to order and ship 20 copies of Death is Wrong to longevity activists who can present a brief but credible discussion of how they aim to spread the book to children in their local areas. Here I offer instructions to any supporters of indefinite life extension who seek to undertake this important project.

Instructions for Longevity Activists to Request Copies of Death is Wrong

  • Send an e-mail to gennadystolyarovii@gmail.com.
  • Provide your name, your mailing address, a statement of your support for indefinite life extension, and a brief description of your plan to spread the book to children in your local area. Remember that all copies received pursuant to this initiative would need to be offered to children free of charge (as gifts or reading opportunities) and may not be resold.
  • Provide the number of copies of Death is Wrong that you are requesting.
  • Preferably, provide an indication that you would be willing to send photographs of the books that have been delivered to you as well as events where you will be distributing the books.

Photographs will be important in highlighting the successes brought about by this campaign. The more visible impact we can demonstrate of the books being delivered to activists and given into children’s hands, the more palpable the cultural transformation brought about by this initiative will become. People who are watching our efforts will realize that, yes, we are taking active measures to beat back the age-old skeletons in humanity’s closet – the excuses, evasions, and rationalizations for death that have led so many to attempt to ignore or justify the most pressing problem facing us all.

Publicity for the Fundraiser

I am looking forward to a major opportunity to raise awareness of this initiative and of the importance of communicating the message of indefinite life extension to children. On March 1, 2014, I will be speaking at the Transhuman Visions 2.0 Conference in Piedmont, CA, along with my wife Wendy Stolyarov, who illustrated Death is Wrong. I am excited to be able to speak directly to over 150 futurists, transhumanists, life-extension advocates, media representatives, and other thinkers who ponder the impact of technology and its accelerating progress. Attendees will be able to purchase autographed copies of Death is Wrong and will also be informed about ways to contribute to the fundraiser.

I was also pleased to be interviewed by Leanne Butkovic of Fast Company earlier this month. Her provocative article, “How Young Is Too Young To Learn About The Singularity?”, has raised the profile of Death is Wrong and has exposed it to new audiences. The article features an extensive question-and-answer component where I offer perspectives regarding my background and its influence on the book, my objectives with regard to the book’s influence on children, and the relationship of the concepts in Death is Wrong to technological and societal evolution more generally.

In addition, I could not be more grateful for the support offered by numerous individuals and organizations in the transhumanist and life-extensionist community – including IEET, Fight Aging!, Immortal Life, The Wave Chronicle, Philly Futurists, the Lifeboat Foundation, and Brighter Brains. The consistent, daily efforts by these pillars of longevity advocacy are what enable the ongoing transformation of the pursuit of indefinite life extension into a genuine social and cultural movement – a cause that changes the world – rather than a mere dream in the minds of some.

In November 2013, Franco Cortese wrote that, for those of us who are not scientists or medical doctors ourselves, “the final objective of increased funding for Radical Longevity and Life Extension research can be more effectively and efficiently achieved through public advocacy for Radical Life Extension than it can by direct funding or direct research, per unit of time or effort.” I am happy to have taken his advice to heart and to have launched myself into the role of an activist for indefinite life extension, advocating for it through writing, speaking, fundraising, and – soon – traveling. I encourage others to join me. Think about your absolute and comparative advantages, your skill sets, your strengths in reaching new demographics and catalyzing progress. We are in the early days of our movement, still. We do not have a hierarchy or a leadership, but you can be a leader through your example, your perseverance, and your hard work. Let us work to reach the goal of indefinite life extension – the grand triumph of humankind over the forces of ruin and decay – in time to avert our own senescence and death.

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Fast Company Publishes Article on “Death is Wrong” – Post by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Education, Philosophy, Science, Technology, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
February 24, 2014
Recommend this page.
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Earlier this month I was interviewed by Leanne Butkovic of Fast Company. The result is this article about Death is Wrong – which also mentions the new Indiegogo fundraiser. There is an extensive question-and-answer portion, where the answers were transcribed from our 50-minute Skype conversation.

This is great progress for spreading awareness of the book and increasing its cultural impact.

 

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Join Us in This Project to Tell Children That Death is Wrong – Article by Eric Schulke

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Categories: Education, Philosophy, Science, Technology, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Eric Schulke
February 23, 2014
Recommend this page.
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Reaching and teaching our youth about the concepts of life and death that are presented in the new children’s book Death is Wrong will be one of the most critical things we can do for the Indefinite Life Extension Movement. Ideas and beliefs form and incubate so easily in the minds of children as they they seek to understand and make sense of their “new” world in which they are exploring. Sadly, the societal concepts of Life and Death take root very early in their development and grow into solid belief structures that become extremely hard to change.

We began a new fundraiser today to raise monies to help distribute a 1,000 copies of the book Death is Wrong, by Gennady Stolyarov II. Friends, this is a project that can go a long way in helping both our children and their parents in conceiving a world where death no longer has its hold. A thousand books might not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it can make a huge difference. These books will sit upon on the shelves of schools, public libraries, college campuses, among other venues, for years to come. They will be there when the inquisitive, young minds seek answers about Indefinite Life Extension. They will be added to the many educational tools available to our teachers and other educators.

In elementary school, I discovered priceless information in my library. I remember that the more I read, discovered, and learned about this world, the more excited I was to search the shelves for more gems of knowledge. I believe these books will aid thousands of kids to think and truly ponder the value and feasibility of indefinite life extension. Even if we only reach a fraction of our goal, say 30% as an example, it would prove invaluable to the 300 children whose hands this book would fall into.

Through this project, other children will be able to have these books delivered to their homes, where they will end up on their nightstands and bookshelves in their rooms; many of them becoming their most prized possessions. I often think back to some of the key books that shaped my life, which I had as a child.

Still, in other areas, this campaign will make it possible for more parents to have this book readily accessible, to impress the importance of indefinite life extension upon their kids.

There are many varied options for distribution of this book. Indefinite Life Extension Activists who wish to spread copies of this book will be able to make requests to the Author once the fundraiser has been completed.

Startup

The truth of Indefinite Life Extension is a blazing fire that is hard to put out. The more places it can be kindled, the faster we can set this world on fire with awareness of this vital cause.

When I was a child, I expressed a deep long-term anger over death, and was sure that somebody was going to tell me that something was going to be done about it. Nobody did. I remember how crushing that was to me. I felt betrayed by the world I found myself born into. Then over the years, my feelings of betrayal incrementally grew into the norm of society. Like a frog in a pot of water that was slowly being heated, I didn’t jump out right away. If books like Death is Wrong were available at the time, the adults who were around would have had more options on how to answer my questions, where to direct me, how to console me, and what to say; to encourage me to ponder life and death on my own and reach my own conclusions.

As the author, Gennady Stolyarov II, writes,

Death is Wrong fills an important void and inspires a new generation to join the struggle for a greatly increased longevity. Virtually everyone learns about death as a child, and the initial reaction is the correct one: feelings of bewilderment, horror, and outrage. Yet, there has been no resource to validate these completely correct and natural first impressions. Almost immediately, our young ones are met with excuses and rationalizations, so that they might be consoled and return to a semblance of normalcy. Over millennia of facing inevitable demises, humans have constructed elaborate edifices of rationalization, designed to keep thoughts of death from intruding upon their day-to-day lives.

Max Planck has said that,

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents finally die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

It’s also fairly common sense. We all know that the older a person gets, the more likely they are to stay “buckled in” with the “safety” of their belief systems and various perspectives on life and death.

Our “opponents” will eventually see the light, too. With regards to this fundraiser, we are not concerned with opponents as much as we are with people who are simply uninformed; individuals who have not been given enough information and an opportunity to ponder indefinite life extension and its far reaching implications. It is our sole duty to inform people. If we were trapped in a cave with a crowd of people and we found a way out, it would be incumbent upon us to show them the way out too. Some won’t listen and some will blatantly choose not to leave, but at the very least, they had the knowledge and the option to escape.

As for our children, our children will listen. Let us not leave them behind to die. Let us fan this spark of knowledge in their minds that will grow into the raging infernos of passion and activism for this earth-changing cause that is waiting to become a reality. As this knowledge is disseminated throughout the world, the more people will rally to its cause. Let’s start now, before it’s too late.

Carrara Marmor Steinbruch - Carrara  marble stone pit 10

The movement for indefinite life extension continues to move forward through various individuals, projects and organizations. We must continue chipping away. As each bit of momentum picks up, we will soon be able to look back and see that the steep side of this mountain is gone. We will have made it to the other side. Please consider giving to this cause and spreading this important information to our youth and their parents and educators.

Eric Schulke was a director at LongeCity during 2009-2013. He has also been an activist with the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension and other causes for over 13 years.

Thanks go to Jason Shields for his work in editing this article.

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Help Teach 1000 Children That Death is Wrong – Indiegogo Fundraiser

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Categories: Education, Philosophy, Science, Technology, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Help me teach 1000 children that death is wrong.

I have partnered with the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension to initiate an ambitious new Indiegogo fundraiser to get 1000 copies of Death is Wrong to children, free of cost to them, by using my ability to obtain highly discounted paperback copies on Createspace. My goal is to raise $5,000, which will enable me to order and ship 1000 copies to longevity activists throughout the United States.

Support this campaign to help create the next generation of scientists, technologists, futurists, philosophers, and advocates of indefinite life extension!

 

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Homeschooling’s Secular, Rational Benefits – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Education, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mr. Stolyarov explains why homeschooling is an excellent educational approach for freethinkers, as it facilitates the development of an individual learner’s faculties, rather than teaching to the average student or to the lowest common denominator. In this brief video, Mr. Stolyarov refutes common fallacies about homeschooling and discusses the extensive options available to parents who homeschool their children.

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Charity, Compulsion, and Conditionality – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Economics, Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Libertarians’ opposition to coercive redistribution of wealth does not mean that they are opposed to charitable giving that improves people’s lives.

In this video, Mr. Stolyarov analyzes why private charities are more effective in benefiting their intended recipients than programs which involve coercive redistribution of wealth. Paradoxically, it is the extreme conditionality of many coercive welfare programs that leads them to be less effective than the voluntary decisions of diverse individuals and organizations.

References

– “The Costs of Public Income Redistribution and Private Charity” – James Rolph Edwards – Journal of Libertarian Studies – Summer 2007
In Our Hands: A Plan To Replace The Welfare State (2006) – Book by Charles Murray

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“Exploring Capitalist Fiction” – Allen Mendenhall Interviews Edward W. Younkins

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Categories: Business, Education, Fiction, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Allen Mendenhall and Edward W. Younkins
February 16, 2014
Recommend this page.
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This interview is reprinted with permission from Allen Mendenhall’s blog.

Read Mr. Stolyarov’s review of Dr. Younkins’s book, Exploring Capitalist Fiction.

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AM:       Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.  I’d like to start by asking why you chose to write Exploring Capitalist Fiction.  Was there a void you were seeking to fill?

EY:          The origins of this book go back to the Spring of 1992 when I began teaching a course called Business Through Literature in Wheeling Jesuit University’s MBA program.  Exploring Capitalist Fiction is heavily based on my lectures and notes on the novels, plays, and films used in this popular course over the years and on what I have learned from my students in class discussions and in their papers.

The idea to write this book originated a few years ago when one of Wheeling Jesuit University’s MBA graduates, who had taken and enjoyed the Business Through Literature course, proposed that I write a book based on the novels, plays, and films covered in that course.  I agreed as I concluded that the subject matter was important and bookworthy and that the book would be fun for me to write and for others to read.  I went on to select twenty-five works to include in the book out of the more than eighty different ones that had been used in my course over the years.  I have endeavored to select the ones that have been the most influential, are the most relevant, and are the most interesting.  In a few instances, I have chosen works that I believe to be undervalued treasures.

I was not intentionally trying to fill a void as there are a number of similar books by fine authors such as Joseph A. Badaracco, Robert A. Brawer, Robert Coles, Emily Stipes Watts, and Oliver F. Williams, among others.  Of course, I did see my evenhanded study of business and capitalism in literature as a nice complement and supplement to these works.

AM:       I assume that you’ll use this book to teach your own courses, and I suspect other teachers will also use the book in their courses.  Anyone who reads the book will quickly understand the reason you believe that imaginative literature and film have pedagogical value in business courses, but would you mind stating some of those reasons for the benefit of those who haven’t read the book yet?

EY:          The underpinning premise of this book and of my course is that fiction, including novels, plays, and films, can be a powerful force to educate students and employees in ways that lectures, textbooks, articles, case studies, and other traditional teaching approaches cannot.  Works of fiction can address a range of issues and topics, provide detailed real-life descriptions of the organizational contexts in which workers find themselves, and tell interesting, engaging, and memorable stories that are richer and more likely to stay with the reader or viewer longer than lectures and other teaching approaches.  Imaginative literature can enrich business teaching materials and provide an excellent supplement to the theories, concepts, and issues that students experience in their business courses.  Reading novels and plays and watching films are excellent ways to develop critical thinking, to learn about character, and to instill moral values.  It is likely that people who read business novels and plays and watch movies about business will continue to search for more of them as sources of entertainment, inspiration, and education.

AM:       Who are the intended audiences for your new book?

EY:          My target audiences include college students, business teachers, general readers, and people employed in the business world.  My summaries and analyses of twenty-five works are intended to create the feel of what it is like to work in business.  The premise of the book is that fiction can provide a powerful teaching tool to sensitize business students without business experiences and to educate and train managers in real businesses.  Studying fictions of business can provide insights to often inexperienced business students and new employees with respect to real-life situations.

In each of my 25 chapters I provide a sequential summary of the fictional work, interspersed with some commentary that highlights the managerial, economic, and philosophical implications of the ideas found in the work.  My emphasis is on the business applications of the lessons of particular novels, plays, and films.  This book highlights the lessons that an individual can take from each work and apply to his or her own life.  It is not literary analysis for its own sake.

I do not delve deeply into these novels, plays, and films in order to identify previously-covered and previously-uncovered themes in existing scholarship.  My book is essentially a study guide for people interested in becoming familiar with the major relevant themes in significant works of literature and film.  The book can also serve as a guide for professors who desire to expand their teaching approaches beyond the traditional ones employed in schools of business.

Of course, literary scholars can use my book as a starting point, catalyst, or reference work for their own in-depth scholarly studies of these and other works.  For example, I can envision a number of scholars, from a variety of viewpoints, contributing essays to book collections devoted to different literary works.  One possible collection that readily comes to mind would be devoted to David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.  Other candidates for potential collections might include Howell’s The Rise of Silas Lapham, Norris’s The Octopus, Dreiser’s The Financer, Cahan’s The Rise of David Levinsky, Lewis’s Babbitt, Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Hawley’s Executive Suite, Lodge’s Nice Work, Sterner’s Other People’s Money, among others.  It would be great if some of the contributing literary scholars to these volumes would come from pro-business, pro-capitalist thinkers such as Paul Cantor, Stephen Cox, Ryan McMaken, Sarah Skwire, Amy Willis, Michelle Vachris, and yourself.  As you know most literary critics are from the left.  Those mentioned above celebrate individualism and freedom in place of collectivism and determinism.

AM:       What can be learned from business fiction?

EY:          Fiction can be used to teach, explicate, and illustrate a wide range of business issues and concepts.  Many fictional works address human problems in business such as managing interpersonal conflict and office politics; using different styles of management; the potential loss of one’s individuality as a person tends to become an “organization man”; the stultifying effect of routine in business; the difficulty in balancing work life and home life; hiring and keeping virtuous employees; maintaining one’s personal integrity while satisfying the company’s demands for loyalty, conformity and adaptation to the firm’s culture; communication problems a business may experience; fundamental moral dilemmas; depersonalization and mechanization of human relationships; and so on.  Fictional works tend to describe human behavior and motivations more eloquently, powerfully, and engagingly than texts, articles, or cases typically do.  Literary authors and filmmakers are likely to develop and present ideas through individual characters.  They depict human insights and interests from the perspective of individuals within an organizational setting.  Reading imaginative literature and watching films are excellent ways to develop critical thinking and to learn about values and character.

Many novels, plays, and films are concerned with the actual operation of the business system.  Some deal directly with business problems such as government regulation, cost control, new product development, labor relations, environmental pollution, health and safety, plant openings and closings, tactics used and selection of takeover targets, structuring financial transactions, succession planning, strategic planning, the creation of mission statements, the company’s role in the community, social responsibility, etc.  Assessing fictional situations makes a person more thoughtful, better prepared for situations, and better able to predict the consequences of alternative actions.  Fiction can address both matters of morality and practical issues.  There are many fine selections in literature and film which prompt readers to wrestle with business situations.

Older novels, plays, and films can supply information on the history of a subject or topic.  They can act as historical references for actual past instances and can help students to understand the reasons for successes and failures of the past.  Older literature can provide a good history lesson and can help people to understand the development of our various businesses and industries.  These stories can be inspiring and motivational and can demonstrate how various organizations and managers were able to overcome obstacles, adapt, and survive.  Fictional works are cultural artifacts from different time periods that can be valuable when discussing the history of business.  Many fictional works present history in a form that is more interesting than when one just reads history books.

Imaginative literature reflects a variety of cultural, social, ethical, political, economic, and philosophical perspectives that have been found in American society.  Various images of businessmen have appeared in fictional works.  These include the businessman as Scrooge-like miser, confidence man, robber baron, hero, superman, technocrat, organization man, small businessman, buffoon, rugged individualist, corporate capitalist, financial capitalist, man of integrity, etc.

AM:       How will your teaching approach change in your Business Through Literature course now that you have published your own book on the subject?

EY:          In the past students in this course have read, analyzed, and discussed novels, plays, and films.  Each student prepared a minimum of 6 short papers (2000 words each) on the assigned works.  Grades were based on these papers and class discussions.

I am experimenting this semester using my book in the class for the first time.  I am requiring each student to take notes on each chapter of the book to help them in bringing up topics for class discussion and in participating in class discussions.  Each student is also required to prepare and turn in three essay questions on each chapter.  These are turned in before each relevant class.  Grades for the class are based on class participation and two essay tests.

AM:       Isn’t the reverse also true that literature students ought to study economics or at least gain an understanding of business from something besides imaginative literature and film, which tend not to portray capitalists in a favorable light?

EY:          It would definitely be beneficial for literature students to study classes in business areas such as management, marketing, accounting, and finance.  It would help them somewhat if they took a course or two in economics.  Unfortunately, almost all college-level economics courses are based on Keynesian economics.  I would encourage anyone who takes such courses to read and study Austrian economics in order to gain a more realistic perspective.

AM:       You’ve written a great deal about Ayn Rand, and the chapter on Atlas Shrugged is the longest one in your book.  Rand can be a divisive figure, even, perhaps especially, among what you might call “libertarians” or “free marketers” or “capitalists” and the like.  But even the people in those categories who reject Objectivism tend to praise Rand’s novels.  What do you make of that, and do you think there’s a lesson there about the novel as a medium for transmitting philosophy?

EY:          I suspect that there are a lot of people like me who value “novels of ideas.”  There have been many good philosophical novels but none have been as brilliantly integrated and unified as Atlas Shrugged.  Rand characterizes grand themes and presents an entire and integrated view of how a man should live his life.  Rand’s great power comes from her ability to unify everything in the novel to form an integrated whole.  The theme and the plot are inextricably integrated.  Rand is a superb practitioner of synthesis and unity whose literary style and subject are organically linked and fused to the content of her philosophy.  She unifies the many aspects of Atlas Shrugged according to the principles of reality.  People from the various schools of “free-market” thought are in accord in promoting an appropriate reality-based social system in which each person is free to strive for his personal flourishing and happiness.

AM:       I want to ask about Henry Hazlitt’s Time Will Run Back, the subject of chapter twelve of your book.  Why do you think this book has not received much attention?  It has been, I’d venture to say, all but forgotten or overlooked by even the most ardent fans of Hazlitt.  Is the book lacking something, or are there other factors at play here?

EY:          Hazlitt’s novel may not be “literary” enough for many people.  However, in my opinion, the author does skillfully use fiction to illustrate his teachings on economics.  I think that the book also has a good story line.  Economics professors tend to shy away from using it in their classes.  Some may be so quantitatively oriented that they cannot envision using a novel to teach economics.  Others may perceive the Austrian economics principles found in Time Will Run Back to not fit in with the Keynesian economics principles found in most textbooks (and of course they are right).

AM:       Thank you again for doing this interview.  All the best in 2014.

Exploring_Capitalist_Fiction Edward W. Younkins. Exploring Capitalist Fiction:  Business Through Literature and Film. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2014.

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Dr. Edward W. Younkins is Professor of Accountancy at Wheeling Jesuit University. He is the author of Capitalism and Commerce: Conceptual Foundations of Free Enterprise [Lexington Books, 2002], Philosophers of Capitalism: Menger, Mises, Rand, and Beyond [Lexington Books, 2005] (See Mr. Stolyarov’s review of this book.), and Flourishing and Happiness in a Free Society: Toward a Synthesis of Aristotelianism, Austrian Economics, and Ayn Rand’s Objectivism [Rowman & Littlefield Pub Incorporated, 2011] (See Mr. Stolyarov’s review of this book.). Many of Dr. Younkins’s essays can be found online at his web page at www.quebecoislibre.org. You can contact Dr. Younkins at younkins@wju.edu.

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Allen Mendenhall is a writer, attorney, editor, speaker, and literary critic.  As of January 2013, he is a staff attorney for Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Supreme Court of Alabama.  He holds a B.A. in English from Furman University, M.A. in English from West Virginia University, J.D. from West Virginia University College of Law, and LL.M. in transnational law from Temple University Beasley School of Law.  He is a Ph.D. candidate at Auburn University, where he received a Graduate Dean Fellowship. He is managing editor of the Southern Literary Review and has been an adjunct legal associate at the Cato Institute as well as a Humane Studies Fellow with the Institute for Humane Studies in Arlington, Virginia.  He is a member of The Philadelphia Society and an associate of The Abbeville Institute and soon will serve as an ambassador for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

He has studied at the University of London (Birkbeck College), the Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham, Centro Universitario Vila Velha, Fundacao Getulio Vargas (Direito Rio), and the Tokyo campus of Temple University Beasley School of Law.

He is the author of over 100 publications in such outlets as law reviews, peer-reviewed journals, magazines, newspapers, literary journals and periodicals, and encyclopedias.  He lives in Auburn, Alabama, with his wife, Giuliana, and son, Noah, and blogs at The Literary Lawyer, The Literary Table, Austrian Economics and Literature, and TheMendenhall.

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At the Fed, the More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same – Article by Ron Paul

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Categories: Economics, Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
February 16, 2014
Recommend this page.
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Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen testified before Congress for the first time since replacing Ben Bernanke at the beginning of the month. Her testimony confirmed what many of us suspected, that interventionist Keynesian policies at the Federal Reserve are well-entrenched and far from over. Mrs. Yellen practically bent over backwards to reassure Wall Street that the Fed would continue its accommodative monetary policy well into any new economic recovery. The same monetary policy that got us into this mess will remain in place until the next crisis hits.

Isn’t it amazing that the same people who failed to see the real estate bubble developing, the same people who were so confident about economic recovery that they were talking about “green shoots” five years ago, the same people who have presided over the continued destruction of the dollar’s purchasing power never suffer any repercussions for the failures they have caused? They treat the people of the United States as though we were pawns in a giant chess game, one in which they always win and we the people always lose. No matter how badly they fail, they always get a blank check to do more of the same.

It is about time that the power brokers in Washington paid attention to what the Austrian economists have been saying for decades. Our economic crises are caused by central-bank infusions of easy money into the banking system. This easy money distorts the structure of production and results in malinvested resources, an allocation of resources into economic bubbles and away from sectors that actually serve consumers’ needs. The only true solution to these burst bubbles is to allow the malinvested resources to be liquidated and put to use in other areas. Yet the Federal Reserve’s solution has always been to pump more money and credit into the financial system in order to keep the boom period going, and Mrs. Yellen’s proposals are no exception.

Every time the Fed engages in this loose monetary policy, it just sows the seeds for the next crisis, making the next crash even worse. Look at charts of the federal funds rate to see how the Fed has had to lower interest rates further and longer with each successive crisis. From six percent, to three percent, to one percent, and now the Fed is at zero. Some Keynesian economists have even urged central banks to drop interest rates below zero, which would mean charging people to keep money in bank accounts.

Chairman Yellen understands how ludicrous negative interest rates are, and she said as much in her question and answer period last week. But that zero lower rate means the Fed has had to resort to unusual and extraordinary measures: quantitative easing. As a result, the Fed now sits on a balance sheet equivalent to nearly 25 percent of US GDP, and is committing to continuing to purchase tens of billions more dollars of assets each month.

When will this madness stop? Sound economic growth is based on savings and investment, deferring consumption today in order to consume more in the future. Everything the Fed is doing is exactly the opposite, engaging in short-sighted policies in an attempt to spur consumption today, which will lead to a depletion of capital, a crippling of the economy, and the impoverishment of future generations. We owe it not only to ourselves, but to our children and our grandchildren, to rein in the Federal Reserve and end once and for all its misguided and destructive monetary policy.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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Majoritarian Processes versus Open Playing Fields – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Philosophy, Politics, Technology, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Putting innovation to a vote is never a good idea. Consider the breakthroughs that have improved our lives the most during the 20th and early 21st centuries. Did anyone vote for or ordain the creation of desktop PCs, the Internet, smartphones, or tablet computers?

It is only when some subset of reality is a fully open playing field, away from the notice of vested interests or their ability to control it, that innovation can emerge in a sufficiently mature and pervasive form that any attempts to suffocate it politically become seen as transparently immoral and protectionist.

All major improvements to our lives come from these open playing fields.

References
– “Putting Innovation to a Vote? Majoritarian Processes versus Open Playing Fields” – Essay by G. Stolyarov II
– “Satoshi Nakamoto” – Wikipedia
The Seasteading Institute

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Will No One Challenge Obama’s Executive Orders? – Article by Ron Paul

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Categories: Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
February 11, 2014
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President Obama’s state of the union pledge to “act with or without Congress” marks a milestone in presidential usurpation of Congressional authority.  Most modern presidents have used executive orders to change and even create laws without Congressional approval. However President Obama is unusually brazen, in that most presidents do not brag about their plans to rule by executive order in state of the union speeches.

Sadly, his pledge to use his pen to implement laws and policies without the consent of Congress not only received thunderous applause from representatives of the president’s party, some representatives have even pledged to help Obama get around Congress by providing him with ideas for executive orders. The Constitution’s authors would be horrified to see legislators actively aiding and abetting a president taking power away from the legislature.

Executive orders are perfectly legitimate and even necessary if, in the words of leading Constitutional Scholar Judge Andrew Napolitano, they “….  guide the executive branch on how to enforce a law or…complement and supplement what Congress has already done.” The problem is that most modern presidents have abused this power to issue orders that, as Judge Napolitano puts it, “restates federal law, or contradicts federal law, or does the opposite of what the federal law is supposed to do.”

Political opponents of the president rightly condemned Obama for disregarding the Constitution. However, it was not that long ago that many of the same politicians were labeling as “unpatriotic” or worse anyone who dared question President Bush’s assertions that he had the “inherent” authority to launch wars, spy on Americans, and even indefinitely detain American citizens.

Partisan considerations also make some members of the opposition party hesitate to rein in the president. These members are reluctant to set a precedent of “tying the president’s hands” that could be used against a future president of their own party.

The concentration of power in the office of the president is yet one more negative consequence of our interventionist foreign policy. A foreign policy based on interventionism requires a strong and energetic executive, unfettered by Constitutional niceties such as waiting for Congress to pass laws or declare war.  So it simply was natural, as America abandoned the traditional foreign policy of non-interventionism, for presidents to act “without waiting for Congress.” After all, the president is “commander-in-chief” and he needs to protect “national security,” they argued. Once it became accepted practice for the president to disregard Congress in foreign affairs, it was only a matter of time before presidents would begin usurping Congressional authority in domestic matters.

It should not be surprising that some of the biggest promoters of an “energetic” executive are the neoconservatives. They are also enthusiastic promoters of the warfare state. Sadly, they have misled many constitutionalists into believing that one can consistently support unchecked presidential authority in foreign policy, but limit presidential authority in domestic matters. Until it is fully understood that virtually limitless presidential authority in foreign affairs cannot coexist with strict limits on Presidential authority in domestic matters, we will never limit the power of the Presidency.

The people must also insist that politicians stop viewing issues concerning the separation of powers through a partisan lens and instead be willing to act against any president who exceeds his constitutional limitations. Thankfully we have scholars such as Louis Fisher, who has just published an important new book on presidential power, to help us better understand the Founders’ intent with regard to separation of powers. The key to achieving this goal is to make sure the people understand that any president of any party who would exceed constitutional limitations is a threat to liberty, and any member of Congress who ignores or facilitates presidential usurpation is being derelict in his Constitutional duty.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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