Tata Nano

News Flash! Pregnant SUV Gives Birth To Twins

Tata Nano Twins

It’s got a windshield, steering wheel, tires…what more could you want?

“Well, how about profitability?”

“Sorry man, at a starting price of around $2,000 they had to leave that out, along with the power windows.”

“So…I guess they must use mainly volunteer labor to build them?”

“Yeah, mostly.”

“Then how’s this going to become the ‘blueprint’ for the car of the future?”

“Well, it starts at the grassroots level…beginning with your local church. You see, everyone’s got to pitch in. Get on board, so to speak, and do some serious praying…”

“Come on, cut the crap. I’m serious. I mean it’s exactly the kind of thing we should be doing here. So why aren’t we?”

“That’s the multi-billion dollar question. For all that money we dumped into the GM/Chrysler black hole a few years ago, we could have bought around seven million of these Tata Nanos instead.”

“You’re kidding me!”

“Of course I am. After all, who would want seven million of these little fuel-efficient things running around, when you could pocket a worthless 17.4 billion dollar I.O.U. instead?”

“You’re sick.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. Spend too much time trying to be logical I guess. Maybe I’ll give up math and take up drinking. I think that’s the formula the Romans used…”

Tata Nano Car

[This is a copy of a piece I posted a few years ago as Impulsive Writing (15)]

Evolution vs. Devolution (14)

Anticipatory vs Catastrophic Change
ANTICIPATORY vs CATASTROPHIC CHANGE
by Erich Fromm (from the first chapter of his book, May Man Prevail, 1961)

Societies have lives of their own; they are based on the existence of certain productive forces, geographical and climatic conditions, techniques of production, ideas and values, and a certain type of human character that develops under these conditions. They are organized in such a way that they tend to continue existing in the particular form to which they have adapted themselves. Usually, men in each society believe that the mode in which they exist is natural and inevitable. They hardly see any other possibilities and, in fact, they tend to believe that a basic change in their own mode of existence would lead to chaos and destruction. They are seriously convinced that their way is right, sanctioned by the gods or by the laws of human nature, and that the only alternative to the continuation of the particular form in which they exist is destruction. This belief is not simply the result of indoctrination; it is rooted in the affective part of man, in his character structure, which is molded by all social and cultural arrangements so that man wants to do what he has to do, so that his energy is channeled in such a way as to serve the particular function he has to fulfill as a useful member of a given society. It is for this very reason, namely that the patterns of thought are rooted in patterns of feeling, that patterns of thought are so very persistent and resistant to change. Continue reading

Evolution vs. Devolution (08)

bureaucrat

Part I – Active vs. Passive

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The following is from Ayn Rand’s “The Only Path To Tomorrow” which was originally published in Reader’s Digest, January 1944. It is a brief introduction to the core personality stereotypes that largely determine the relative importance of freedom in a given society. Understanding this basic ‘personality conflict’ will make it easier to comprehend Part II of this post (‘The Supernumerary’) which describes the basic cultural dynamic most responsible for detaching a society from reality (the Titanic metaphor in Evolution vs. Devolution (07) for example).

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“The greatest threat to mankind and civilization is the spread of the totalitarian philosophy. Its best ally is not the devotion of its followers but the confusion of its enemies. To fight it, we must understand it.

Totalitarianism is collectivism. Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group — whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.´´

Throughout history, no tyrant ever rose to power except on the claim of representing ‘the common good.’ Napoleon ‘served the common good’ of France. Hitler is ‘serving the common good’ of Germany. Horrors which no man would dare consider for his own selfish sake are perpetrated with a clear conscience by ‘altruists’ who justify themselves by-the common good.

No tyrant has ever lasted long by force of arms alone. Men have been enslaved primarily by spiritual weapons. And the greatest of these is the collectivist doctrine that the supremacy of the state over the individual constitutes the common good. No dictator could rise if men held as a sacred faith the conviction that they have inalienable rights of which they cannot be deprived for any cause whatsoever, by any man whatsoever, neither by evildoer nor supposed benefactor.

This is the basic tenet of individualism, as opposed to collectivism. Individualism holds that man is an independent entity with an inalienable right to the pursuit of his own happiness in a society where men deal with one another as equals.

The American system is founded on individualism. If it is to survive, we must understand the principles of individualism and hold them as our standard in any public question, in every issue we face. We must have a positive credo, a clear consistent faith.

We must learn to reject as total evil the conception that the common good is served by the abolition of individual rights. General happiness cannot be created out of general suffering and self-immolation. The only happy society is one of happy individuals. One cannot have a healthy forest made up of rotten trees.

The power of society must always be limited by the basic, inalienable rights of the individual.

The right of liberty means man’s right to individual action, individual choice, individual initiative and individual property. Without the right to private property no independent action is possible.

The right to the pursuit of happiness means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own, private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement. Each individual is the sole and final judge in this choice. A man’s happiness cannot be prescribed to him by another man or by any number of other men.

These rights are the unconditional, personal, private, individual possession of every man, granted to him by the fact of his birth and requiring no other sanction. Such was the conception of the founders of our country, who placed individual rights above any and all collective claims. Society can only be a traffic policeman in the intercourse of men with one another.

From the beginning of history, two antagonists have stood face to face, two opposite types of men: the Active and the Passive. The Active Man is the producer, the creator, the originator, the individualist. His basic need is independence — in order to think and work. He neither needs nor seeks power over other men — nor can he be made to work under any form of compulsion. Every type of good work — from laying bricks to writing a symphony — is done by the Active Man. Degrees of human ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man’s independence and initiative determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man.

The Passive Man is found on every level of society, in mansions and in slums, and his identification mark is his dread of independence. He is a parasite who expects to be taken care of by others, who wishes to be given directives, to obey, to submit, to be regulated, to be told. He welcomes collectivism, which eliminates any chance that he might have to think or act on his own initiative.

When a society is based on the needs of the Passive Man it destroys the Active; but when the Active is destroyed, the Passive can no longer be cared for. When a society is based on the needs of the Active Man, he carries the Passive ones along on his energy and raises them as he rises, as the whole society rises. This has been the pattern of all human progress.

Some humanitarians demand a collective state because of their pity for the incompetent or Passive Man. For his sake they wish to harness the Active. But the Active Man cannot function in harness. And once he is destroyed, the destruction of the Passive Man follows automatically. So if pity is the humanitarians’ first consideration, then in the name of pity, if nothing else, they should leave the Active Man free to function, in order to help the Passive. There is no other way to help him in the long run.

The history of mankind is the history of the struggle between the Active Man and the Passive, between the individual and the collective. The countries which have produced the happiest men, the highest standards of living and the greatest cultural advances have been the countries where the power of the collective — of the government, of the state — was limited and the individual was given freedom of independent action. As examples: The rise of Rome, with its conception of law based on a citizen’s rights, over the collectivist barbarism of its time. The rise of England, with a system of government based on the Magna Carta, over collectivist, totalitarian Spain. The rise of the United States to a degree of achievement unequaled in history — by grace of the individual freedom and independence which our Constitution gave each citizen against the collective.

While men are still pondering upon the causes of the rise and fall of civilizations, every page of history cries to us that there is but one source of progress: Individual Man in independent action. Collectivism is the ancient principle of savagery. A savage’s whole existence is ruled by the leaders of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

We are now facing a choice: to go forward or to go back.

Collectivism is not the ‘New Order of Tomorrow.’ It is the order of a very dark yesterday. But there is a New Order of Tomorrow. It belongs to Individual Man — the only creator of any tomorrows humanity has ever been granted.”

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Part II – The Supernumerary will be coming soon…

Evolution vs. Devolution (07)

EvD-08_titanic-sinking

Finger-Pointing vs. Self-Responsibility

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After the Titanic hit the iceberg the Captain was notified that the boiler room was beginning to flood. He immediately issued orders for the crew to begin dismantling the upper decks and to throw them overboard. He said it would lighten the ship, increase its speed, and thus enable them to return safely to port.

But when passengers on the upper decks heard of his plan, they immediately rushed to the bridge and insisted that it was the decks below the waterline–especially the ones that were actually leaking–that should be discarded. After all, it was they, not the upper decks, which were causing the ship to sink.

By that time the passengers on the middle decks had become aware of what was going on, and began a heated discussion about which of the two plans was best. Those in cabins well above the waterline easily agreed with the idea of discarding the decks below. But those closer to the water naturally favored the Captain’s insistence on removing the upper decks instead.

In the meantime a few passengers looked out of their port holes, noticed the increasing tilt of the ship, and decided it might be best to put on their life jackets, get into a lifeboat and row themselves back to land. Which is what they did. But by the time the argument raging on the bridge had concluded, and a decision reached, they had rowed too far away to see which decks, once removed, would best serve to righten (or leften) a sinking ship.

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Don’t have a life jacket? Don’t have a Lifeboat? Maybe the time has come to forget all the finger-pointing and spend that time instead on learning how best to acquire, and use them (e.g., NationalHomesteadProject.org)